Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Room Fairy

My mom just sent this to me via e-mail. I had forgotten all about it. It's something I did for Kate when she was younger and struggling to keep her room clean. Unsurprisingly, not that much has changed! Hope you enjoy it and don't think I'm a complete loon! (Or at least, I hope you enjoy it, decide I am a complete loon, but figure I'm harmless enough.)

Dear Kate,

Today you have been visited by the room fairy. Actually, I am the very same room fairy that use to visit your mom when she was growing up in Pittsburgh. Somehow I always knew that she would one day need my help again. Because you are loved, your room has been cleaned from top to bottom by me, Room Fairy No.8: Specialist in the Servicing and Organizing of Artistic Stuff and Milky Pens.

A visit from a Room Fairy is a rare and wonderful thing and you should never assume that I will visit often. Some girls live their whole lives without ever having an encounter with a Room Fairy all their own. Ask your friends. I bet some of them have never heard of us.

If you are familiar with the story of Cinderella you will remember that she had to be home by midnight or the spell would be broken. Since Fairy Godmothers and Room Fairies operate in a very similar way, there are now some rules about your room. We find that having some guidelines makes things easier for everyone involved.

Rule No.1: Since Claire is only 4 years old she is not old enough to have a Room Fairy too. I will only be checking on your part of the room you share and will surely understand that she may sometimes make things messy. But Room Fairies are very clever and I will always be able to tell if you have been doing your part to keep things tidy.

Rule No.2: You will not leave clothes on the floor or cram them into the dresser drawers. The items that need to be hung up will be hung up securely on hangers. I have spoken with your mother and she will help you decide where your clothes should go and make sure that you have enough hangers.

Rule No.3: While it is true that Fairies in general are a friendly people, there are times that we have our disagreements. Currently we are working on improving our relationship with the Laundry Fairies. Putting clean clothes down the laundry chute will certainly make them angry and they will, no doubt, blame us for the extra work. Please, in an effort to preserve the peace, think twice before you toss.

Rule No.4: Your bed will be made neatly each morning and decorated as you see fit. Making a bed includes pulling up all of the bedding (sheets included) and keeping the linens from dragging on the floor. Some children think that this is an easy rule to bend, but be sure, we are very serious about it and will check under the covers.

Rule No.5: Your room will be generally tidy. This means that parents will not feel the urge to scream when they enter your room and no one will trip and break their neck should they make a surprise visit to your room.

I am a very busy Room Fairy and normally I would not be able to check on your progress each and every day. But since I was so very fond of your mother and because I know that you have a good heart and a quick mind, I will make a point of stopping in each school day around noon to see how you are doing. I tend to go to glamorous, all-night parties on the weekend and I do not check into the Room Fairy Office unless there is a very serious emergency. I will leave the details about your room to your mom and dad on the weekends. If I feel that you are living up to your end of the bargain I will leave my calling card with you. Oh my, I forget that children these days probably don’t know what a calling card is. Fairies live for so long and usually have trouble leaving our old-fashioned ways behind us. A calling card was something like a business card that your dad may have in his wallet. When someone wanted to visit a friend or neighbor, they would present the maid or butler with their calling card and it would be taken to the lady of the house. If she was able to see them at that time she would have them invited in and the visit would begin. I think it’s a lovely tradition, but people just don’t seem to do it anymore. Anyhow, if I feel that you have done a good job, I will leave my card with you in this envelope which you make keep on your door. Don’t be surprised if I am picky. I have heard wonderful things about you and I expect wonderful things from you. See, I know you can do it.

When you have collected ten of my calling cards you may return them to me (in the envelope) and I will let you know what your reward will be. I will have to speak with your mother from time to time and make sure that what I have planned will be ok with her. We fairies are not very practical and I wouldn’t want to put her in an awkward position. Sometimes you may receive a little surprise right away and sometimes you may receive instructions about your reward. Please remember that Fairies cannot carry a lot and we do not use Big People money so the rewards will always be very special because they come from a Fairy, but they will not always be fancy.

If you think that this is an arrangement that you could live with, please complete the enclosed form and leave it in this envelope for me to see tomorrow. You have my word that I will do all I can to work with you in this very exciting adventure of having a special room for yourself. I have gone over these plans with your mom and she can answer any questions you may have. I’m sorry that this is such a long document, but with the unfortunate rise in Lawyer Fairies, we can never be too careful and find it best to straighten things out at the very beginning.

Have a wonderful evening and enjoy your clean room. It really is quite lovely; I like what you’ve done with it.

Magically Yours,
Room Fairy No.8: Specialist in the Servicing and Organizing of Artistic Stuff and Milky Pens.

Room Fairy Registration and Contract

Name ____________________________________________________

Age________Boy or Girl (Please circle one)

Location of Bedroom (Example: first floor, back of house)

Do you share a room? Y_____N_____

Name of Room Mate__________________________________________________

Age of Room Mate________ Boy or Girl (please circle one)

Would you like your Room Mate to receive a letter of
explanation about our services? Y_____N________

Mother’s name_____________________________________

Father’s name______________________________________

Name of brothers or sisters and ages_______________________________

Please answer the following questions.

The thing I like best about my room________________________________________

The thing I like least about my room__________________________________________

I find this the hardest thing about cleaning my room _____________________________

Please circle the number that tells how you feel about the Room Fairy service with 1 being “bad” and 10 being “great”.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

I, ________________________________, promise to do my very best to work with my

Room Fairy to make my room a special place to play, work, rest and dream.



Hmmmm...if only there were a Checkbook Fairy!!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

The Spice of Life

Time for that post about the Clergy Spouse Retreat! Each year the Clergy Spouses (dubbed "Spice" by resident lunatic, Brett Probert) have a three day retreat at one of the conference camps. This year the retreat was held at Camp Allegheny, near Johnstown, PA. For ten years I have been attending these retreats and I think I have only missed two...once because I was pregnant with Claire and near my due date and once because the retreat was rescheduled due to the September 11 attacks. There are very few other reasons I would miss it. Being a clergy spouse isn't easy. At least I don't think it is, and I really like people. As a clergy spouse you are in a unique situation where you are thrown into a new environment, and yet, you can only really connect with that new environment in so many ways. No matter how much you love your congregation and no matter how dear certain people become to you, you still have to have some boundaries regarding confidentiality and intimacy. I've gone round and round about this with some people and we don't all agree, but if you're looking to find your best friend in your local church, chances are you're going to be terribly disappointed. To me, a best friend is someone I can say anything to at any time. Say the wrong something to the wrong someone in a church and your husband is suddenly standing in the pulpit each Sunday with a giant target on his chest. The same holds true for your children. There is a certain amount of protection that is necessary to survive the role of clergy family.

Now, this all sounds very negative, but it isn't. It's real. I have met hundreds of truly lovely people in our ten years of ministry. The far majority of people I've met would never do something to hurt me or my family and I am so blessed for that. But it only takes a handful of people to make things really, really miserable.
What I'm saying is, that even though we're dealing with the most intimate issues of our humanity...spirituality, love, service, death and life...I have always felt I needed to be a bit guarded. That's just been my experience. The clergy spouse retreat gives me the opportunity to unload, relax and let that guard down. Of course, you have to watch what you say there as well, because everyone knows everyone (!), but these are friends that I have grown to have such a deep connection with, that I feel I can trust them and be myself. And we have so much fun! This year's theme was "joy"..."The joy of the Lord is my strength". The retreat committee did an excellent job! It's not easy to plan such an event and work out all the details. Having served on the retreat committee for two years, I can appreciate all that dedication. This year's committee really thought of everything. We had plenty of time to relax and also had nice options to choose from. There were some crafty things to do. I made this snowman and some other people made really nice stamped cards or learned how to crochet. There was even horse-back riding. Thursday night Bishop Bickerton joined us and we spoke for a while about joy and how to have joy in our lives. I think it's basically a decision we make. Joy doesn't mean that nothing "bad" ever happens or even necessarily that you're happy all the time. But joy comes from knowing that through it all, we're God's and he's always, always with us. The bishop was a little under the weather and he had a long drive to and from Cranberry Township, but we were really glad that he made the time for us.

This year we didn't have breakfast until 9 AM! Usually we have to get up for breakfast at 8:00 or so...while that's certainly not early and we're all usually up before that on a regular school day, it was nice to sleep in a little bit. However, I was starving!!
I really had a good time. I just love these friends. There are some people I have seen every year since 1996 and some people I met for the first time. Then there's Ken! Bless his heart! Ken has been at every retreat I've ever been to and always has something wonderful to share. He is so comfortable with himself, he doesn't mind being the only guy there. (Then again, we're such a beautiful bunch, who could complain??!) Christine was there (calling me a heathen) with her mother, Wilma Jean. When Wilma Jean talks, we listen! Mary was there too, knitting something amazing! She is the first person I ever saw knitting socks with self-striping yarn and little bamboo needles. She inspired me to learn to knit. Now I want to learn to quilt because she's an amazing quilter. She's going to think I'm stalking her! Cheryl and Kathy signed one of the hymns for us...beautiful. We told jokes, shared funny stories and talk way into the night. I took an upper bunk (big mistake) and got so wrapped up in my sleeping bag that I abandoned it the second night. Wilma was there with her cousin, Lynn who is a Presbyterian pastor's wife. That's cool...I think we should do more together. These are just some of the people I thought of, but they're all great. As soon as the weather gets cool and I know retreat's coming I start to think of them. Maybe next year Doreen will be able to make it, but she's in Ireland now and that's a bit of a trek!

Since I've been home I made this bib for a baby Keith baptized on Sunday. Not bad for one night's work.
I also finished Carlie's socks! I knitted about 9 inches of the leg while on retreat and got them finished this afternoon. I can't believe how well the stripes line up. I had made really detailed notes about where to stop and start different parts of the pattern. I guess it paid off!

I hope they fit her. I'm going to include a pair of googly eyes in the package, too and tell her if they don't fit she can make them into sock puppets!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Back from camp

Big post tomorrow about the Clergy Spouse Retreat, but for now, check out Kate's blog.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


It's International Talk Like A Pirate Day!


It is.

I swear.

I found
this website to confirm it!

And just to show you how far-reaching the whole knitting thing is...

A Booty Bag! I know about a dozen kids that would love this! Too bad I knit at a snail's pace!

Watch this to get you in the Pirate mood (whatever that is)! I just loved the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. The sequel wasn't nearly as good, but the music from the movies is great! (You'll want your speakers on. Savvy?)

Now that's some serious knitting music!!!!

Monday, September 18, 2006


Just a short post because it's nearly time for kick-off (GO STEELERS), and because I don't have anything to say nearly as important as Keith, Brett and Chris!

Saw the Povertyneck Hillbillies last night at a benefit concert for the TJ Youth Football organization. Despite the fact that the event staff did not seem to have their heads screwed on tight (should the "security" really be guzzling beer all night? Isn't that like getting drunk at your own party?) and despite the fact that I had to relocate my car to a far-away shuttle stop after being told to park in the closer lot by the event staff (perhaps they had already begun to enjoy the bubbly) and despite the fact that I kept wondering, " SHOULD THEY REALLY BE SERVING BEER AT A FUNCTION DESIGNED TO RAISE FUNDS FOR YOUTH FOOTBALL????!!!!" (a drunk football mom is not a pretty sight).....


....I had a really good time.

There were two main reasons for having a good time.

Number one...I went with my super-cool daughter, Kate who is a great gig date! Even if she did abandon me to rush the stage and stand at Chris's feet, she's so much fun to hang with. Love you, Kate!

Number two...The Povertyneck Hillbillies are awesome! I still enjoy seeing them after all these times.

If you want to see their new video featuring Steeler's Quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, click on the button to the right.

To vote for their video on GAC tv (Great American Coutry)...go here! Last week they were Number 2 in the nation! Move over Carrie Underwood!!!! You can vote once every 24 hours (and if you know how to delete the cookies on your computer, you can vote over and over...not that I would condone stuffing the ballot box...wink, wink)

Gotta Go! Enjoy the game!


Saturday, September 16, 2006

Other folks

Other people have some really neat things on their blog right now.

The Yarn Harlot had a picture from one of her recents adventures of this really cool t-shirt.

Well, actually, the picture was of a person wearing that really cool t-shirt.

There is a comment-war on this blog. These people are great (OK, my husband included)...they do a lot of great things, but they're a bit silly! Love you, guys!

Anny is back! Yay!

This is a new blog I've been reading. Check out the first sentence. "This is what I've been working on for the last two days". "TWO DAYS"????!!!!!! If I accomplished that much in two weeks I'd be thrilled!

I've recently realized (well, I've re-confirmed what I think I already knew) that I love to read about knitting, talk about knitting, blog about knitting, photograph knitting, and dream about knitting, but I can only actually knit for so long. I just can't seem to get comfortable and I can't really sit and do much of anything for too long. I need to get up and move and I have a really short attention span. I see people who accomplish so much with their knitting projects and I get really down. It takes me forever to finish something.

For instance, this guy will be in college before he gets his baby blanket. Ain't he cute???

My next mission is to find a knitting circle somewhere near me. Not a class, but just a group of people knitting. So, if anyone reading this is from the South Hills of Pittsburgh and you know some knitters, send them my way!

Well, time to go. Elliot just informed us that he is going to make juice by himself...this can't be good! Maybe I'll even do some knitting today!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I Heart Bake Sales!

Elliot and I spent the afternoon doing some good, 0ld-fashioned baking.

He made these...

...and I made these.

76 lemons??!! No, no, no. Didn't I explain the whole "Western Pennsylvania's Love Affair With Football" thing?

76 football cookies. After all, the bakesale is right before the NFL Season Opener and after all, the Steelers are playing, right? We'll all need tons of sugar to get through our first game without Big Ben. Appendicitis?? Good grief.

Lessons learned today? Flour looks really cute on 5-year old faces...

...but kind of stupid on my favorite black sweatshirt!!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Random Catch-Up

Well...hello. I'm just checking in to acknowledge the continuation of my existence! Here are one or two random thoughts I've had lately... incredibly blessed are we to live in a place where we can see fireworks at a ballgame and know that the lights and sounds are all orchestrated and not part of some military attack?

...why does The United Methodist Church have no presence in Downtown Pittsburgh? Really. I'm asking. And if I'm wrong and we do have something going on in the city I would be glad to admit my error. I saw information about this in the program for the musical Rent. I was embarassed that there was no United Methodist church listed among the active congregations working in Pittsburgh. (And no, you haven't somehow skipped over to my husband's blog...I can be serious too!) much better would this picture be with Christian in it?
We moved here after the picture was taken, but he did get his own picture taken last week. The band was in the Fall Fantasy Parade at Kennywood last week. They really looked sharp!

...isn't it ironic that I moved to the city/suburbs from the country and now I see more wildlife than I ever did. On my way to the highschool last evening I saw 5 deer, 2 groundhogs and 10 wild turkeys. Cool.

...did you know that if you buy beer in a can at Heinz Field the vendor will have to open the can and pour the beer for you? I know this because last Thursday I worked a booth at the Steeler game. Aramark (a vending and food services company) allows various non-profit organizations to work their booths (concessions and beverages) at the stadium in order to raise money for their group. The TJ Band Patrons work these games and I went to my first one last week. It was really fun and I had the best view in the stadium (of the city, that is...not the game). I can say I have actually bled to raise money for Christian's band trip. I cut my finger opening one of the 407 cans of beer we sold from our cart. We advertised "the coldest beer in the stadium" since it had been on ice for nearly two hours. I was advertising "the coldest hands in the stadium" since my hands were in ice for nearly four hours. Most of our customers were very nice, seemed to be drinking well-within moderation and some even left us tips. Pittsburghers are great! The women were so happy to be carded, but the guys looked a bit less-pleased. So, if you're at the stadium, be nice to the vendors! I'm going back on Thursday, September 7...the season opener. Pray for me. It will be a madhouse. I did get to (shhhh) sneak down after we finished (the beer booths close early because we serve no alcohol after the fourth quarter starts)and saw the last 5 minutes or so from the back of the first section. It's amazing in Heinz Field...and very very loud...almost a scary sort of roaring noise. I can't imagine how expensive the tickets in that first section are, but
the view is fantastic...even from the fifth level the players look like real people, not little black and gold ants!

...TJ Football beat Belle Vernon, 48-0...yippee! Woodland HIlls HIgh School lost (yes, lost) to Mt. Lebanon. High School football is serious business around here. Check out these rankings. it beginning to sound like I care about sports? Scary. Where's the knitting? Where are the recipes? Have I temporarily taken leave of my senses. (Yep, it's Fall in Western happens)

...if you haven't seen the Pixar movie Cars, don't walk, RUN to see it!

It's in our dollar theater now, so you may have missed it since it was released in early June, but do yourself a favor and see it as soon as you can even if you have to wait for the DVD. It is truly amazing...the animation is my absolute favorite so far. I'm a big fan of Pixar. Not only do their movies look great, but the story-writing holds up, too.