Friday, February 29, 2008

People mean well most days, but........

I often avoid the topic I am going to blog about due to the raw emotion it brings me, but have found in reading a section of Elizabeth Gilbert's book Eat, Pray, Love that really resonates with me. After a lot of prayer and consideration the last several years, Bart and I have reached the decision to not have children. This decision does not stem from anything religious, career-oriented, children hating or selfish motives, but just out of the understanding that we have elected to not partake of this journey for our lives. Now, before sharing some passages from Gilbert's book that helped me find some peace and understanding, I want to share with you some experiences we have had.

Many times when people ask about if we have any children or plan to, I many times find myself saying, "not yet" instead of being truthful and saying I don't intend to. The reason I chose to start responding that way began with other's responses. Bart and I have endured the following questions or statements before:
  • Do you hate children?
  • You have to - that is what you are supposed to do
  • Children are blessings..... you can't miss out
  • You'll change your mind one day
  • Hope it isn't too late WHEN you do change your mind
  • You aren't getting any younger, you should start now. You'll be thankful later.
  • That is a selfish thing to say. Do you want to save your money?

I kid you not, these are the responses we are often left to deal with when people say such things. Let me set the record straight, we LOVE children and one of the greatest days for me was when I became an aunt. Some of our decision comes from the desire to find ourselves a place in social justice issues and to be able to move freely. I once heard someone say, "Some people are placed on the earth to raise their children, and others are placed on earth to raise those children who are without". I can't remember where I heard it, but I think that describes Bart and me best. We won't have our own children, but my hope is that in our future work and careers we will touch lives and become family among many differing people.

My purpose for this blog is not to guilt individuals to avoid this topic with us nor to claim myself to be a speaker on behalf of all childless people everywhere. It is purely to begin to help myself understand that I need not hide my childless journey anymore. It is time for me to be true to my goals and future by telling the truth from now on, regardless of what responses I receive from others. I am allowing others opinions and beliefs to dictate how I respond to such an easy question and allow that fear to dominate my interactions with people who genuinely just want to understand. Being known as different is not necessarily a bad thing, and sometime people just want to know why what you believe makes you so different?

Let me share some passages from Gilbert's book that have helped me reach the conclusion that I can speak the truth for my life with no shame and really begin to live my life to help others:

"But what if, either by choice or by reluctant necessity, you end up not participating in this comforting cycle of family and continuity? What if you step out? Where do you sit at the reunion? How do you mark time's passage without the fear that you've just frittered away your time on earth without being relevant? You'll need to find another purpose, another measure by which to judge whether or not you have been a successful human being. I love children, but what if I don't have any? What kind of person does that make me?"

"Not all reasons not to have children are the same, either, though. Nor are all those reasons necessarily selfish"

"It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection"

To all of you who are parents or will be parents, thank you for being the people you are. I agree with Oprah that it is the toughest job in the world. Most of all, to my friends and family, and to anyone who may read this - THANK YOU for allowing me the chance to finally tell the truth about who I really am and to finally let go of the misconception that childless=purposeless. I know I have a purpose to not be a mom and I cannot wait to find out what that journey is going to encompass.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Good questions to think about

I am behind in reading my Eat, Pray, Love book because I have found sections that make me stop and really think. There are two that speak to me and I will start with one now. I will try to post the other tomorrow as I am still thinking about how I want to say what I want to say (hee hee- that was confusing!!). In Elizabeth Gilbert's book she asks the greatest questions, things that I have started asking myself. Take a second to reflect on them for yourself and see what your answers are. Here are the questions (found on page 83 in her book):
  • What are my choices to be?
  • What do I believe that I deserve in this life?
  • Where can I accept sacrifice?
  • Where can I not?

I am still thinking over these questions, and I probably won't bore you with the answers for them. I challenge you to consider these questions and reflect on what your answers would be. You are welcome to leave them as comments, but I respect the sensitivity of privacy that would accompany these types of questions.

My Apron from my swap partner

Today I received my apron from my swap partner. I was overjoyed at how beautiful this apron is. Even better, it is reversible. I absolutely LOVE it. I want to wear it outside of the house as a top - that is how crazy I am about it. Thanks go out to my AWESOME apron creator - Julie Ross from San Diego, CA. While making the apron and receiving one is such a fun part of this swap, I think the greatest part for me is that someone I never knew before put hours of their precious time into a gift for me to enjoy. Can you imagine what a better world we would live in if we all acted selfless like this? I would put a link on to my swap partner's blog, but I also want to protect her privacy - so for all of you out there, if you could take a moment to leave some comments about the apron that she could check in the comment section - I would love to hear what you think too!!!!! Julie - from the bottom of my heart - thank you for your time and effort that you put into my apron. I LOVE it and cannot begin to thank you enough. You created a masterpiece. Blessings to you and your family.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Chocolate Yogurt????

I picked up this yogurt at Whole Foods because chocolate yogurt sounds interesting. I am still out on the taste, I think it is good. I had banana with it too and that seemed to make it taste yummy!! I have another yogurt that is caramel flavored. We will have to see what that is like.

My apron is finished

Check out my craft blog to see the tutu I made my niece and my apron I made for a swap.

I had a great time making them!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Apron started

I started my apron for the apron swap I am participating in. Check out my craft blog:

I will hopefully be finished or close to finished by today. Check back tonight for some more pics hopefully. Enjoy!

Friday, February 22, 2008

March Book Selection

I have started this book so many times and have enjoyed it, but always seem to quit reading before I finished it. I am going to try again!! I am finishing Eat, Pray, Love for February and will start March with:

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman by Mary Wollstonecraft

Synopsis from

Writing in an age when the call for the rights of man had brought revolution to America and France, Mary Wollstonecraft produced her own declaration of female independence in 1792. Passionate and forthright, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman attacked the prevailing view of docile, decorative femininity and instead laid out the principles of emancipation: an equal education for girls and boys, an end to prejudice, and the call for women to become defined by their profession, not their partner. Mary Wollstonecraft’s work was received with a mixture of admiration and outrage—Walpole called her “a hyena in petticoats”—yet it established her as the mother of modern feminism.

Want more information? Check out this link to Amazon:

Here is to finishing the book for the first time!

My Dreams for 2008


  • Read one book written by a woman or about a woman who fought for the rights of women each month
  • Take dance lessons - possibly swing and salsa
  • Participate in at least 3 sewing classes to increase my knowledge and skills
  • Get involved in Yoga again
  • Chase my Number One dream (I will share eventually, but am still intimidated by the hugeness {is that even a word?} of what this dream entails!)
  • Try a new recipe once a month (let's keep it realistic - maybe I can try for more - but keep it simple for now!!!)
  • Participate in the 3 Day Walk to end breast cancer - 60 miles baby!!!!
  • Visit the Kimball Art Museum at least 2 times this year (I still haven't made it there)
  • Take a cooking class
  • Write out a life plan - what do I want my life to encompass and how will I get there?
  • Visit The Women's Museum in Dallas

Some of these may seem so weird, but they are things that I have always wanted to do and I can do them here all locally! I am still processing if there is anything else I really want to do for myself - so I'll just keep updating. Good Luck to anyone else starting their own fun little journey!

The Year of ME!!!

I have caught the fever!! I have been reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I am not one to usually get caught up with Oprah books, but after seeing her on Oprah, I knew I had to read the book. It is the story of a woman who takes a year to spend time in 3 countries, Italy, India and Indonesia to spend time studying herself and finding one's passion. While reading this book, I have had the "fever" to declare something as wonderful for myself like she has. Now, I have no plans to divorce my husband, nor can I afford to take off for a year and travel the world (if only we all could, huh?). I started thinking about what could I do to have my own Eat, Pray, Love moments here? I already have started the journey of higher knowledge by returning to school for my Masters Degree, but what else could I do to rejuvinate myself? So, I have come up with a list of things I really want to do or have wanted to do, but somehow, always make excuses or put off!! I am sure as I go along I will think of new things, but I am going to start my list and begin the year of ME. A lot of times we are told it is self-absorbed to focus on ourselves and dreams, but why not? Wouldn't we all be happier and healthier if we even did one thing a year we wanted to? I will post my list above this. Wish me luck and consider doing something you want or for yourself this year. Tell me what it is or what all you want to do in my comments. Keep me posted if anyone else decides to make this your year too!!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Cool Apron Contest

Check out this blog:

Not only do they have a great blog, but they are hosting a contest. Check it out and you could get some pretty neat gifts and ideas!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Where I find my HOPE for the future of America

I know many people say you shouldn't discuss politics because it can become very heated or even offensive to some individuals. I, however, feel differently. I don't expect you to agree with everything I say on my blog, but I know all of you will respect what I say - and that is all that matters to me. I am HUGE HUGE HUGE fan of Barack Obama and see him as the change that America needs. He is the first and only candidate that has been able to inspire me to watch debates, to follow the primaries, to read about issues and concerns in America and to REALLY believe that I can make a change by simply voting. Even if you are not interested in voting for Barack Obama - I encourage you to visit his site and really get to know what makes this man a great candidate for America. No matter which candidate you are for - get to those voting booths and make a difference. Thanks for allowing my plug!! If you do disagree - I ask that you politely not leave hateful messages in my comments, but just peruse the rest of my blog entries. Thank you! Please enjoy the will I am video below done by Obama supporters. It is a good one!! You will need to silence my playlist found at the bottom of my blog.

Yes We Can Obama Song by

Sunday, February 17, 2008

FNP tacos and Apples

Last night we had a small party at our place with some GREAT friends we have made down here. My friend Lori and I had gone to OKC for a craft fair and she LOVES Indian Tacos. We decided we should have a taco night and learn to make the fry bread. She and her husband Russ came over early last night and we made fry bread. No burns, No restarts and No cussing - everything went smoothly and the fry bread tasted awesome!!! Our friends Michael and Cami joined us as well. We discussed some confusion on what people thought Indian tacos were - maybe made with curry. My suggestion was we rename the taco to what my textbooks for social work suggested out of respect to address Native Americans by. In my textbook Native Americans were called First Nation People. We discovered that while politically correct it took a really long time for someone to say, " I love these First Nation People Tacos". Russ came up with the idea that we call them FNP tacos. Probably you are saying to yourself at this moment, "Really Tracey?".

We then spent about 3 hours playing Apples to Apples. If you do not have this game, you really must invest in it. It was a blast with TONS of laughter. We made Michael laugh so hard that he was having mini asthma attacks all night. Awesome!! (Just teasing, we were really concerned we might be killing Michael) I got to use my new tablecloth that my mom bought me at the craft fair although it did not go with theme for the night. It has cowboys and cows on it. Bart said "Way to be sensitive Tracey. We are celebrating Native American heritage tonight and you set the table with Texas cowboys." I started to change the table, but Bart said it looked fine and he knew that is not what I meant for the night. I really just wanted to use my new tablecloth and give Lori some tacos!!

It was really a great time. I think we should continue this tradition every couple of months and try different ethnic foods. It would be a great educational experience and some good food. Enjoy!

It's Like Being Smacked In the Kidney 3000 times

Bart always lovingly tells me that I constantly try to "one up" him. He does with kindness and teasing, but there is a level of truth in that statement. There is something about him that makes me want to constantly beat him or outsmart him. It is like a friendly competition. (Some of this does come from the fact that I know Bart likes smart girls!!)

So with this thought in mind, it is only fitting that I tell you about my kidney stones. Now, this will NOT include the process of passing a stone, but what led up to it. So rest assured, no grossness here!!!

We celebrated Bart's 30th birthday (in 2005) with a big party at our place in Tulsa. We had a great time. I made his cake for him, we watched a DVD slideshow of pictures from his life and enjoyed the time with friends and family. We went to bed that night tired and happy. The next morning I woke up early in the morning feeling like I was going to be sick. After time spent kneeling (we all have been there) I went back to bed. Once at the edge of the bed, a weird sensation happened and I collapsed into the fetal position. After crying and getting Bart awake, we decided we better go to the hospital. At this point, I don't know what is going on with me, all I know is that it hurts.

We get to the window to do all the check in stuff. Now, Bart was not given a lot of time to get ready so he had on pj pants and he forgot a book (that should tell all of you who know Bart well how freaked out he was). As we sit at the window, I am in intense pain. About every two minutes I continually cry out in pain and begin to pull on Bart's pants, who is fighting against me to keep his pants pulled up and give my info to the girl. This girl behind the counter was the worst person I have EVER encountered in life, and if I should meet up with her again in life, Beware lady - I have your face memorized in my brain. As I am struggling through my pain, she begins to say, "I bet you have a kidney stone, They really hurt, You are really acting like a kidney stone is passing, Oops, she is pulling down your pants". After a look at Bart that said exactly what I planned to say and do, he interceded and continued the registration process.

They got me back fast. I refused pain medicine but they insisted. I was out of my mind, because as soon as they got the meds into my veins, the world was a wonderful place. For three hours we waited in the ER room to find out I was passing a stone. I had to go to my Urologist (who was a beautiful, beautiful man) for X-rays in the weeks following our ER adventure. Come to find out I had several stones. I had to have a procedure done which my urologist said is "like being smacked in the kidney 3000 times". WHAT? Was that supposed to make me relax? "Oh, ok, great, because if you were about to say 3001 times I was going to run out of here." It was some kind of sonic procedure that looked like a ball. I laid on top of it and it sent sonar waves or something like that , to break up the stones. Thankfully you are put under during this procedure.

Some highlights from this whole experience:
  • Bart and mom got to watch me sit up, throw up, drink cranberry juice, lay down, fall asleep, sit up, throw up, drink cranberry juice, lay down, fall asleep for about 4 hours after the procedure. Lucky people!!
  • I disgustingly learned that some individuals keep their stones and make earrings and rings out of them.
  • I had the misfortune of nerves before the procedure and responded inappropriately to my doctor when asked "How do you feel today?". My response, "I don't have any underwear on" Note to self: Consider what you are going to say before you open your mouth.
  • I spent my time recooperating after a sewage outbreak at our apartment (that story to come soon)
  • When Bart met my doctor, his first comment to my mom was, "He isn't that good looking"

Good times. So it would appear that I once again "out did" Bart. This one was not intentional I can say with all honesty. I would have preferred the whole weekend to be about him. The one thing I learned out of this whole situation is: Bart loves me a whole bunch and his concern for me trumped remembering to grab a book. He REALLY loves me.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Music Mania

I put a playlist on here of songs I enjoy. As a side note, do not feel bad if you hate the music as Bart and I have very different tastes in music. We will be traveling places together and I will put in a CD and he will look at me and say, "Who is this?". I will tell him and his next response is "Huh" - which in Bart translation means "Yeah, I don't like it!!".

I find this type of music helpful while studying or when I want creative thoughts to come to me. I hope some of you might enjoy this music!!

A Great Gift

I have been so busy lately with work and school that I haven't had a chance to really work on sewing or anything I enjoy, so I have been very sad and mopey. Last night while I was at work I received a wonderful gift. It was what I needed to know that I was at the right job and that even if I haven't had a chance to do what I love to do lately - it is ok! My gift came from a gentleman at the Independent Living Community that I work at. He went to his room after dinner and made it for me. I think it is quite impressive. Please enjoy my wonderful artwork gift.

Monday, February 11, 2008

How To Be A Great Wife

I have always found this to be fascinating, and my friend recently emailed this to me. I find some parts of endearing and others not so much!!! Hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Dog Days of Winter???

No real story for this picture. We have had some rare weekends lately ranging in the 70's here in Texas. So, last weekend we met some friends at the park and enjoyed sitting out in the sunlight and warmth. My favorite picture of the day is below.

New Collections

I have finally found the book I wanted. I could have gone to Barnes and Noble and purchased it with Bart's discount, but the cheap part of me wanted to find it in a half price bookstore. We searched around everywhere last weekend and could not find it. I settled with getting it from the library until I could find it. We stopped by Half Price Bookstore today and I FOUND IT. The book I have searched the heavens and earth for is: Amy Sedaris' book "I like you". WARNING: this book is not for the easily offended. If you cannot handle a sarcastic humor focusing on some umcomfortable topics, you may want to reconsider reading this book. I think Amy and her brother David Sedaris are comedic geniuses!!!

I have also started collecting older cookbooks from the 1950's. I enjoy the volume of recipes you get in these books. Also, in some of the books, I have been able to find other clippings from who had previously owned the book. Pretty cool. I have the 2nd volume of the Meta Given's Modern Encyclopedia of Cooking - very neat. I just found the 1st volume on Amazon, so hopefully it will be joining my collection.

The last exciting addition to my book collection is a book from the 1940s about sewing. The most amazing thing this book has in it is a pattern for a mother and daughter apron. The sizes for the women are size 14 and size 8. Whatever happened to the good old days when we didn't use the term - PLUS SIZED women. Those were good days!!!

Working for a living

Bart and I have not left the country!!! We both started new jobs this week and are trying to set a routine in place. Bart started his job at the Lowes this week. He is now actually employed by Lowes instead of working for a company hired by Lowes. He works 6am to 3pm Monday to Friday. I wouldn't say it is his dream job, but he likes the people and he knows his flooring!!!

I started orientation at a Independent Living Facility. I will be the concierge. I will answer phones, light paperwork, assist the residents and be there to help if a resident needs something. I will work 5pm to 10pm tues to thurs, and 5pm to 8pm on fridays. Working at evenings will be a bit of an adjustment, but this job will be invaluable when I start my field work next sememster for school. Those will be busy days. I will do field in the am or afternoon, classes in the am or afternoon depending when my field is, and working in the evenings.

I have training on Monday and start my job on Tuesday evening. This week will probably be the hardest as I start a new routine and begin passing Bart in the night!!! Thank God for weekends to catch up and see each other. I will try to post some more this week.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Date Night and the 3 R's (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)

I borrowed this pic from a Whole Foods in Ann Arbor found on Flicker at this link: Bart wouldn't let me take my camera. I will go back without him and do it!!!!

Bart took me on an interesting "quick" date last night at my request. Since moving to the metroplex I have desired to take a look in the Whole Foods Grocery Store. I never made it, but after a recent news broadcast, I knew I needed to get there. The company has made the commitment to stop using all plastic bags by Earth Day of this year. You can still use their paper sacks or buy one of their reusable bags for .99 a bag. They are made from 80% post recycled material like old plastic soda bottles. Pretty Neat. The bags are adorable and I can use them even if I stop at Walmart or Target. I was so excited last night, coming up with new ideas. I can use one of the bags when I go to the library instead of having to carry all my books, or making Bart carry half of my stack.

Aren't they so cool

The store has some products that I will continue to purchase at my other stores, but nothing matches what I like to call their "Aisle of Grains and Goodies". I about exploded with excitement last night. I can purchase things like flax seed, barley, alphabet soup, wild rices, all kinds of flours and even local honey out of these huge dispensers. Bart and I have made it our goal this year to eat healthier and to improve what we use and do this year. Having a store like Whole Foods will make it easier for me to make all of the tasty recipes that require items you can't normally find at your neighborhood grocery store. I hope to post some of our yummy meals this year for you.

I also have a basket that I got last year to use when we go to the local farmers market. It is the cutest basket, and I use it around the house too. I use it when I am picking up around the house or to hold some of my craft items. I hope to use it for picking fruit this spring and summer. We have found a couple of local farms that allow you to come in and for a small price pick some of their fruit and vegetables. I hope to post some pics of that later this year. You can find this basket at The Container Store under Handled Bins and Baskets.

The last thing we are considering is starting our own little garden. We only have a front yard, as our back yard is actually a driveway for us to park our cars. So, we are trying to decide if we have an area to plant or if we will container garden. Stay tuned for some pics on that as well.

I recently picked up a book at the library to begin my own research on the organic v. regular foods. It is a great book and represents both sides equally I feel. Plus, it explains all the lingo that is thrown around in case you are like me, a organics virgin. If you have questions, a quest to understand the history of organics or you are just bored, pick up this book.

Check it out at Amazon:

I also have started into the exciting world of repurposing or refashioning clothes. I am involved in an online group or two right now where the challenges are to refashion your old clothes. It will probably be closer to the end of February when I actually finish some of the projects, but check out my craft blog later to see those projects:
Thanks for allowing me to indulge in what excites me right now. Even if it is not your cup of tea, I hope you will enjoy our adventure this year as we reuse and repurpose items. It should be a good time!!

Friday, February 01, 2008

Confusing words can lead to embarrassing moments

When Bart and I were preparing to get married we had to each take a blood test for Syphilis before we could get a marriage license. Oklahoma law mandated it back it our times. I think you don't have to do it anymore. Anyway - we went to the doctor and had our tests done. We waited for just a few minutes for the results. The nurse came back in and told us we were both negative and gave us the paper so we could get our license. Then came the moment that I will never live down from my husband or family members. There are times where I swear my brain shuts down to reboot and during this time all stupid thoughts escape while I can't stop them. Here is how the conversation went:

Nurse: "Here is the paper. You are both negative"
T: "Wooooo. That is a relief. I was nervous"
(Bart looks at me with a horrified face that says, "why are you concerned that you would be positive?")
T: "Although I have to say I don't think it is any of Oklahoma's business. I mean, who cares if I have a curve in my spine. I am so relieved that my spine is okay."

Bart and the nurse started laughing so hard that I was VERY confused. What did I say that was so funny? Bart finally gets himself composed enough to say,

"Tracey, that is scoliosis. This test was to see if you had a genital disease."

My face was so red and so horrified. The whole time up to this appointment I had tried to figure out where in the world the government felt it had the right to know how my spine was. I recalled all the times in elementary and middle school they used to call us down to check our spines. I figured it must continue on into adulthood.

I promise you I am a smart girl. I just have my moments. I guess being a Doctor is nowhere to be seen in my future!!!!!