Would you Rather…

My sisters and I occasionally have a discussion around “rathers”. We will say things like “Would you rather have an infestation of fleas in your house or have 10 mice?” Or we might say “Would you rather have one large snake loose in your house or a thousand cock roaches?” Personally, I would always choose anything over fleas and bugs. I have encountered a flea infestation and it is pure misery. I could not walk from my bed to my bathroom (about five steps) in the middle of the night, without three or four of the little boogers attaching to my ankles.

But let’s talk mice. I have, for the last couple of months, seen ‘evidence’ of mice activity. The first I noticed was in my pantry. Horrid! So I emptied the whole thing and scrubbed every shelf with hot, disinfecting soapy water. I then saw ‘evidence’ underneath my sink and in the top of my trash can. I do not understand how mice can jump into a trash can, but honestly, I do not want to know. 

My son, Noah, has found ‘evidence’ in his bedroom, which is a large room, previously part of the garage. I’m wondering if perhaps the insulation is not as great out there or easier access or something…

Two nights ago one chunky mouse ran across the floor. I, of course, screamed as if it were an anaconda wrapping itself around my legs.

After putting out a sticky trap (which is an awful invention), the next morning we discovered a small mouse stuck in the thick, gooey gunk. It was still alive. Horrid! 

I will now be purchasing old-fashioned traps so that the unsuspecting (chunky) mouse, anticipating a late-night peanut butter snack, will not know what hit it. Though that is certainly an unpleasant thought, those sticky things are torturous, for mouse and human. 

My husband is a bit perplexed when I ask him if there isn’t a way to simply catch the mice and drive them far out to a nice field and set them free? In his oh so famous way, he says “Now come on, Beck. You know we can’t do that.” It is always worth an ask. 

These “rathers” that my sisters and I talk about remind me of another “rather” game that is often mixed into normal conversation of kids. It is those question of asking “Would you rather lose your hearing or your sight?” Or “Would you rather have an arm cut off or a leg cut off?” On a lighter note, I remember talking with girls on the playground and asking things like “Would you rather marry a prince or an astronaut?” And “Would you rather live on a farm with horses or on the top floor of a fancy apartment building in New York City?” When you are a kid, you just assume that one of those options will present itself.  

It is interesting how we formulate our “rathers”. It seems we continue those conversations throughout our lives, though when we are all grown up and sophisticated, they become internal questions.

For tonight, I would rather my mice go away. 


I have a new calendar book. It covers May 2018 through June 2019. My previous one, of course, ended in June of 2018, last month.

I am not sure if it is due to my thrifty upbringing or because I took ecology class in high school (which I took only because I thought it was a ‘cool’ thing to do, not because I cared about the earth. Sorry Earth. I do care, now.)

I have a hard time throwing away perfectly good paper, even though I, of course, recycle. It may be the writer in me. It hurts my heart to dispose of blank paper that could be filled with words. 

So when it came time to dispose of my old appointment book, I went through and pulled out all the blank pages. I then cut them up neatly into smaller sheets, perfect for a grocery list or a reminder note. 

I often keep little notes in my kitchen drawer that state consistent reminders, things like “clothes in dryer”. I will put this note on the counter so when I awaken in the morning I will remember to warm up the clothes and fold them before I leave the house for the day. 

Another note is “fruits and veggies”. Again, will leave this note on the counter before I go to bed to remind myself to grab a banana and the bag of carrots and cauliflower that I cut up the night before.

Often I will put a person’s name on a piece of paper when they come to mind late in the evening or during the night and I must remember to call or email that person.

I could buy a thick stack of yellow sticky notes or those cute cubes of square paper at any store. But why should I toss away perfectly good paper when I can create my own notes, save a few bucks, and maybe even a tree or two.

On occasion I have seen my husband or one of my sons toss a spiral type notebook into the trash, when they no longer have a use for it. I fish it out and ask why they have thrown away perfectly good paper!?!!

I know, at these times, I sound and act like my mother. I know I may get an occasional eye-roll when I step onto the soap box about being frugal. 

Perhaps we all spend freely in some areas and are parsimonious in others. I am certainly aware of that quality in myself. Do I really need eight black tee shirts? Though in my defense, not one of them is identical. They each have their own little differences which make them unique and just right for the outfit. 

The ability to show restraint is an extremely important quality. I may choose saving blank paper and you may choose owning only one black tee shirt. 

Prudence needs to be evidenced in some part of every life. 

Life Lessons/Serious Sunday

My husband loves the movie Nanny McPhee. I know that sounds kind of weird. He loves it because several years ago he heard a speaker make reference to the movie in regard to the way the Lord works in our lives. That piqued his interest and we watched it the next week.

It is one of those movies you have to stick with because, in the beginning, it is easy to lose interest. 

The movie is set in Victorian England in the 1860s. Cedric Brown is a widowed undertaker with seven unruly children. He loves them very much but since the death of his wife, is unable to spend much time with them and do the parenting needed.

The children terrorize and run off several nannies and all seems bleak until the frighteningly hideous Nanny McPhee appears. She tells Cedric that she is a “government nanny”.

McPhee is not the least rattled by the children’s behavior. She is as cool as a cucumber. In time, with discipline and a little ‘magic’, she transforms the family’s lives. In the process, she changes from ugly to beautiful. Her warts and unibrow disappear and her oversized nose shrinks. 

Over time, the children change into responsible, well-mannered people and are able to help their clumsy father with his own problems, thus making Nanny McPhee less and less needed.

This, of course, is the storyline. The children have come to love and appreciate her and want her to stay. Oh, the irony.

At the end of the movie, Nanny McPhee (who is now lovely) magically makes it snow. The children are thrilled. When she turns to go, against their cries for her to remain with them, she has this great line, “When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go.”

There are myriad lessons to learn from this film. If you see the movie, find the golden nuggets that fit your life. They are to be found. 

One of my (several) favorites is that Nanny McPhee is fair and wise. She teaches the children that they cannot rely on ‘magic’ or luck to improve life. She reveals to them that they must, along with a higher belief system, use their own brilliant minds and creative thinking to change their circumstances. 

What a novel concept. 

Horseradish is not made from Horses

One of July’s ‘National Month’ tributes is National Horseradish Month. 

When I was a little girl, I remember hearing adults talk about horseradish. I could not wrap my head around what in the world that could be. I felt sure it had something to do with horses and I wanted nothing to do with it.

I grew into a hearty eater. I am a passionate eater. There is very little food that I do not like or have not tried. Growing up in a somewhat simple life, we normally stuck to the basics when it came to food. “Basics” meaning pot roast, (real) mashed potatoes and gravy, fresh vegetables, salad, dinner rolls. To most people, that sounds heavenly. To me, it became old hat and I was eager to branch out and try new foods I had never tasted.

It was about 15 years ago that I got my first taste of real horseradish. Yeah, I had tried that stuff that comes out of the pumper at Arby’s but…not quite the same.

I cannot remember the details of whose wedding we were celebrating, but it was enchanting. The reception was held at a beautiful historic building in the city. It was so lovely; the china, the crystal, the chefs in tall white hats carving tender roast beef served with, yep, freshly made horseradish. It was divine and I was hooked. 

Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana) is a hardy perennial plant of the mustard family. It is native to southeastern Europe and western Asia. Horseradish is known for its pungent root. The root is grated and then mixed with water, vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Pretty simple. 

Hats off to National Horseradish Day. If you haven’t tried it, I strongly encourage the plunge. You will not be disappointed. As an added bonus, your sinus congestion will be cleared immediately.