But gravy goes good with birthday cake…

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This is my birthday cake.  I tried to leave one piece of it so you could see it, but lunch came and the piece was sitting there, looking so darn pitiful and lonely.  So H-T and I split it.  We’re empathetic like that. And now, this is all that’s left to remind me of today’s significance. 

My birthday will come and go as quickly as this here cake did.  Is that bad?

Not when you’ve had as many of them as I’ve had now. 

Birthdays at this point are just a day for me to look back over the last year and consider all my blessings.  In fact Thanksgiving and my birthday are basically the same holiday, as far as I’m concerned.  If I tried to count all my blessings, I’d run out of numbers.

I’m so blessed to have…

HPIM1808 the most loving, supportive, kind, wet-your-pants funny husband in the whole wide world

HPIM1560e the two most wonderful, intelligent, creative, kind-hearted boys in the whole wide world

Everything else is just….



Guest Post: When You Fall In Love With A Techie

Well my busy week got stopped in its tracks by a lovely stomach virus, of all things.  Oh, I’m still busy alright, but unfortunately it is the kind of busy that takes you from the couch, to the bathroom, and back to the bed again.  Now that’s busy!

So, my hubby being the bestest of all hubbies, has agreed to fill in for me here at TT today.  Knowing that he is a little long winded, I had better warn you now that this will probably be the LONGEST post ever to grace the Topsy-Techie annals.  But hang in there, cause when my hubby writes something, it is definitely worth reading.  (Just don’t drink Coke at the same time, unless you particularly enjoy that burning sensation when it comes out through your nose).

So without further ado…I give you Resistant Techie…

It was like Romeo and Juliet. I fell in love with a digital techie. She fell in love with someone who was analog. It was a forbidden love, but against all odds(which she could easily calculate with one of her cell phone features) we have been together for two decades. When we first fell in love, everything was in VHS. Fortunately for us, our marriage was digitally remastered, with bonus features included. I am Topsy’s almost Amish husband. I still know what a pencil and paper is, so she keeps me around for nostalgia.

So what is it like being married to a techie goddess?

Well, you can probably already guess that she is in charge of making sure everything electronic works. She focuses in with laser intensity on any technical problem in paradise. Actually, I would call it hyper-focus. We could easily be in the middle of a tornado evacuation and she would still be sitting at the computer with battle-hardened determination to solve the problem or go down with ship trying. I can imagine her shouting, “Take the boys and go to the basement. I will be there as soon as this computer finishes reformatting!” I hate to stop and ask for directions when I am driving, but you should see my Topsy when she is in troubleshooting mode  After spending grueling hours literally taking the whole thing apart, she will finally look up in defeat and say, “I guess I am going to have to call technical support.” Then she will wrinkle her nose and say, “They don’t know anything!” The thought of having to wait on the phone and then defer to someone in India for technical advice only spurs her to renew her digital hunt for the malfunctioning prey.

I also never have to worry about expressing my affection. Most guys struggle to know how to say “I love you.” I have never faced such difficulty. It can be said to my dearest Topsy in a variety of meaningful ways as long as it includes something with many buttons, cool functions and wireless options. Some fellows send flowers, jewelry, perfume or candy. My Topsy simply turns her nose up at such things. They do not flash, beep, whirl or perform twelve amazing functions all at the same time. I once bought her a very expensive bottle of perfume. She smiled and promptly made me return it for a full refund. However, she has never made me return any new gadget. I can count on overcoming her frugality with the simple expression, “But it has all of the latest features…” Her eyes will light up like I just whipped out a diamond necklace. Forget that commercial slogan, “He went to Jareds!” Topsy rolls her eyes at such waste. The real way to her heart is to whisper, “He went to Best Buy!” Forget Victoria’s Secret—if I want to impress her I better find out Bill Gates’ latest secret. Dear Topsy, how do I love thee?  Let me show you the latest program that can count the ways. I love thee to the zip, the byte and the Google Beta heights…

It also means that while our old house looks like a classic on the outside, it resembles the bridge of the Starship Enterprise on the inside. The many gables and antique features of the exterior is simply clever camouflage. The decorations on the inside must all match the colors of the computers. And while my crew may appear to be just a normal American family, that myth is quickly shattered when you actually hear them conversing with each other: “Mom, you now you cannot slink the gleeb with the twerper circuit!” or, “I already linked the mozinga to the swalp drive.” Most of the time I have no idea what exotic language they are actually talking to each other in. They could be plotting my slow demise for all I know, or they could be talking about the latest program to bake brownies, or both. I understand their jargon no more that I could understand R2-D2. It also means that every available electrical outlet in the house has something plugged into it. It is a good thing that she is so conscientious about the environment and recycling because surely it somehow offsets some of what must be an enormous carbon footprint left by our massive power consumption. We simply do not have enough power outlets to suffice in a techie household. I fully expect to walk in one day and hear a Scottish voice yelling back up to my wife from the basement, “Aye Cap’n,  the warp reactors are on hyper overload as it is, you will have to lower the shields if you want to go any faster.”

Most of all, it makes my dear Topsy very, very popular. Britney can sing about how everyone wants a piece of her, but my wife has her beat hands down when it comes to technology fame. Everyone wants her to do something. She is a Geek Samaritan when it comes to helping everyone out the digital ditch they have fallen into. We were both at a Diocesan event where I was being examined by a church commission to determine if I should move forward in the process of preparing for Holy Orders. When our Bishop found out that she did technical design work, he suddenly turned his attention to her. Apparently there is no shortage of people who wear clerical collars and labor in theology, but someone who can do techie stuff, now that is a burning bush from God if ever there was one. Of course, Topsy is pretty popular with me as well. She does it all and makes it look easy. In short, she keeps us all recharged and updated. I happen to think that she is the hottest thing since…the latest new gadget that just came out. Just ask Topsy, I  am sure that she can tell you what it is.

You Get What You Ask For…

So last week I begged for a meme – –  any meme  – – to help me get through my super-duper-allyooper big busy remodeling week, and TLC – -my chocolate-lovin’ bloggin’ buddy over at Send Chocolate – – came through for me.  She tagged me with the task of sharing seven random facts about myself.

So for you, my lovin’ groupies, I’ll do just that.  (Actually I’m just way too exhausted after this week’s project to come up with anything else tonight.)

Here goes nuffin…

  1. I collect antique school books.  I mean the REALLY old ones that came just after the chalk and slate.  They are SO cool!  And you haven’t lived until you have read a school health textbook from 1895.  Leeches, anyone?
  2. I have to have the last word on things.  Unfortunately, my eldest son inherited the trait, which means that arguments with us can go on for days.  You think I’m kidding??  I’m not EVEN kidding.  Days!  And even when it’s “over” he and I are still muttering our last words under our breath as we go off to lick our battle wounds. (And Twittering is becoming an equally difficult problem.  STOP RESPONDING TO ME PEOPLE!! Don’t you understand that I need to be the last one tweeting??!!)
  3. I’m a neglectful parent – – of my plants.  I have two peace lilies that I have killed and brought back to life almost thirty times because of dehydration.  I simply cannot remember to water the poor things.
  4. I have a weird fascination with near death experiences.  I read everything I can about them.  I have never died or been near death so far as I know, but yet I can’t get enough of the NDE’s.  Anybody wanna share?
  5. My wardrobe looks like I shop at my local senior center.  I have no  reasoning for why I tend to dress
    Notice the geriatric neckline and perfectly matching pink capris!

    Notice the geriatric neckline and perfectly matching pink capris!

    like a seventy year old Florida retiree, but my closet is basically a Golden Girls version of Garanimals.  When I accidentally buy something from the JCPenney juniors department, my hubby gets so turned on I have to beat him off with a stick (ok – – walking cane – – whatever)

  6. Everybody has weird useless talents, right? Well mine is for song lyrics.  I can sing along to every song on the radio if I have heard it at least three times.  This holds true for every genre and era of music.  If I’ve heard it, I can sing along with it.  I would estimate that I know approximately a thousand songs from beginning to end. (Wanna take one guess as to how I used to study for tests?) One important exception to this gift of mine – – rap music.  Can’t repeat even one line.  It HAS to have a melody for me to remember it.
  7. I have never watched even one episode of Desperate Housewives.  There.  I’ve said it.  It’s out in the open, and I feel strangely free.  Cleansed even.  God, the things I will admit to random faceless strangers!!

So let’s hear your most random factoid in the comments section, folks!

The Dangers of Remodeling


Remodeling should definitely come with some kind of warning on the package.  Last night, I got up as usual in the pitch black darkness to take care of business, and had forgotten about the dining room rug rolled up in the hallway. 

So I guess you know what happened next.  Tripsy-daisy, right into the pile of yard sale items I had been collecting.  Out went my lower back, in came my hubby running, and splat went the small amount of dignity I still have left at almost 40. 

I received some valuable information in the process though. I found out that I do not have one of those dogs that will come to my rescue in case of an emergency.  Our black lab was so traumatized by the noise of my fall that she jumped up on the couch and lay there shivering until I physically removed her.  

I needed that couch. The rest of the night was spent laying on it on an ice pack, praying that my shaken hubby would be able to get back to sleep before a big day at work today.  I didn’t know I had woken up Uber, although he informed me that a big crash had interrupted his beauty rest as well.  If I had, I would have added even more guilt to my repertoire, so I’m glad he never came out of his room.

I have about one million things to do today, and no back to do it with, so any good thoughts and prayers sent my way would be greatly appreciated….

And I’m a big believer in learning from other people’s mistakes, so if YOU undertake a remodeling project, you might want to leave a night light on in the hallway.  Just a thought…

The "All Science All The Time" Channel

When we dropped our satellite subscription, we lost a few of our fave channels – – no, I don’t mean the Home Shopping Network.  I’ve got all the space bags I need, thank you very much.  But one of the biggest losses were the channels that provided our science fix.  Discovery…The Science Channel…Rural Living (hey you watch a couple dozen cows being born and say you haven’t learned something!)

Anyway, I’ve started to notice these subtle ways that our science-obsessed family has tried to make up for their losses. 

  1. R-T has been giving the boys nightmares with horror stories of all that could go wrong with the Hadron Collider.  He loves to torture them with ideas of black holes and tears in the universe, and then leave them quaking as he goes and grabs a diet coke and goes about his evening.
  2. H-T has changed his home page on his browser to the Discovery Channel.  Poor kid.  He’ll probably need therapy just to overcome the grief of losing something so obviously crucial to his formation as a child.
  3. Spore has landed.  The boys have barely come up for air since the arrival of this multi-million dollar genetic science game.
  4. R-T and I are hooked on Fringe.  We knew it would happen, yet we dared to watch anyway. But this thing is FULL of science jargon and science labs and science geeks – – our peeps!!  How could we not get hooked??
  5. The worst of all?  When he looked terribly bored the other day, I offered Uber a copy of our latest issue of National Geographic.  He took it and then politely handed it back.  “I finished that one.”  What have I done to my children??

I’m thinking of installing a webcam in each room of our house.  Surely our daily activities would justify a new reality science channel?  The All-Science-All-The-Time Channel. 

We are so weird. (But in a really cool way, of course.)



The Least, The Last, and the Lost?

Tonight was the yearly banquet to honor those who contribute their time or energies at the rescue mission where my hubby is the operations director.  It went overly long, as those things often do.  But the food was good (the chocolate cheesecake is actually the only part I really paid attention to, but I feel sure the rest of it was probably swell also), and being the director’s spouse, I got front row table seats, so hey diddle, diddle.  What’s to really complain about?

Anyway, the keynote speaker was the director of a rescue mission about thirty miles south of our town.  Long-winded as he was, he was a humble man with a true passion for the homeless and disenfranchised of our region. But one interesting thing I made note of was that he kept using a phrase throughout his homily to refer to those that come in and out of the doors of our respective shelters.  He called them “the least, the last, and the lost.”  This was a powerful alliterative construction that he obviously didn’t coin himself, but it somehow irked me each time he used it.

The “least?”  I feel sure that this is a throwback to the King James version of Matthew’s gospel where Jesus declares that “Inasmuch as ye have done it(feed, clothed, etc.) unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”  Personally, I always got irked by that translation as well.  Obviously Jesus doesn’t “rank” us the way we tend to do to each other.  Calling the homeless, the marginalized, the mentally disabled the “least”, is kind of like me saying that strawberry cheesecake is somehow the least of the cheesecake family.  I mean let’s face it – – strawberry may not be chocolate, but if you add some drizzled hot fudge, and a dollop of real whipped cream, it’s every bit as good, if not better. 

The “last?”  Again, probably another throwback to that ever quoted scripture about the first being last, and the last being first in the new kingdom.  But even though I definitely understand the jist of everything being evened out in the afterlife, why should the homeless have to wait till then??  Why should I get to sit there in comfort, (well, except for this unspeakable thing my panties and slip were doing – – trust me, I won’t go there) and eat my scrumptious cheesecake.  Why should they have to wait till heaven to get their cheesecake?  A HUGE thanks to all the terrific people who support our local shelter  – – thanks to them they have some seriously good cheesecake to serve there from time to time!

The “lost?”  Ok.  I’ll grant him this one.  Being homeless and marginalized and destitute would make anyone feel lost.  I know the speaker was probably using this as more of a spiritual metaphor, but earthly creature that I am, my mind kept turning to these feelings of incredible empathy as I could so easily put myself in the place of someone who has either thrown everything away or had it stripped from them.  Feelings of vicarious panic and desperation are easy to muster up if given fuel for thought.  I mean gee, I feel lost when there are too many feet away between me and my cheesecake, so imagine how scary it must be to be estranged from your family, your friends – -everyone you know – –  because of drug and alcohol addiction.  That is truly lost.

I know I don’t write thoughtful posts too often, so grab any meat here while you can.  I’ll be back to my fluffy cheesecake posts all too soon, I’m sure…

Jet Lag + First Day of School = OMG squared

tired Look who’s back!  After an overnight flight on which I got about one hour of sleep, I got back home yesterday at a little after 10 a.m.  I would not be exaggerating to say that I spent the rest of the day and night in bed, and no, R-T doesn’t have an extra spring in his step today.  The majority of that was spent catching up on some much needed z’s. 

But I’m definitely still lagging today as we start our first official day of homeschool for the year.  I’m pretty sure that when the airport locates my brain in their lost luggage pile, they will send it along, and everything will get into a groove.  Until then, well, let’s just say we will be winging it a bit.

Thank goodness for cyberschools!  Because of Time4Learning and 3DLearn, at least the majority of lesson planning is taken care of.  Uber is so psyched to find eight or nine new kids in his class this year, and social butterfly on steroids that he is, he has been busily “working the room” trying to get as much info as possible on each one (read: figure out which ones will be IM-worthy) since this morning. I LOVE the social aspect of 3-D Learn, and it is such a perfect fit for my geek-socialite.

H-T, ever my comedian, started out the day on a fun note.  As we sat down for Morning Prayer (we are Episcopalian and do Morning Prayer from the Book of Common Prayer each morning before school), the following conversation took place:

Me:  So.  Here we are.  Starting out our new school year.  Welcome to 7th and 9th grades, guys!

Uber:  I am so excited that today is the first day of school!  I can’t wait to get started.

H-T: (staring with utter confusion at his brother). Uber, you know, those bangs of yours hide your lobotomy scars really well.


Yep, it’s back to school at the Topsy-Techie household.  How is school going for everyone else? 

p.s.  Stay tuned for a picture post from my Vegas excursion…as soon as Delta sends over my lost brain, I will be right back up to speed, I promise!