Sunday, May 31, 2009

Weekly Winners – week 22

It was time to mow the lawn. The stuff was tall enough to hide small children and medium sized dogs. (there is a small child hiding in this photo)DSC_3474-2

It was tall enough to hide trees


I was lucky to find the tractor.


It’s because of all the rain


The dinos are forting up. They are not happy about the sudden influx of dogs & kittens.


Who? Us?

528For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Friday, May 29, 2009

Making plans

Yesterday was Mayhem’s last day of school. Havoc goes until June 9th and then we have about 10 weeks of nothing much going on.

There will be some vacation bible school for the little pagans. I know of at least 6 so far, but we’ll probably limit it to one a month, depending on who else of their friends is going to which one. 

The dog has training every Saturday at noon starting next week for 8 weeks.

That is about as planned as I am so far.

I’m hoping to get in a day trip up to the Smithsonian, maybe the Air & Space museum this time.

I’d like to go spend 4-6 days in Wheeling but that depends on finding a place to stay. My parents are trying to organize something but I am not sure what. They rent an efficiency apartment for 6 weeks in the summer. No room for us. My brother & his family are bursting out of their house as it is, so no room for us. Jamboree in the Hills, Beast of the East and another little league tournament are taking up hotel rooms for nearly the whole month.

I’d hate to go another year without DiCarlos’ pizza.

Other than that it’ll be business as usual, only with mudpuddles & swimming taking the place of indoor play.  Gym 3x a week, errands planned for only one day a week, meeting up with friends at least once a week, swapping cook outs on weekends with some other families.

Not sleeping in though.  Never sleeping in. The boys are up by 6am, if not earlier no matter what. A Very very good thing during the school yea. They wake *me* up to get ready for school. But oh I would love to sleep in this summer.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

And the month drags on

I’m used to Memorial day weekend being more or less the end of May. Yet here we are, still in May, with an entire weekend of it still to come.

I want it to end before any more events overtake us.

The unexpected dying car event, where a ‘let’s see what is out there’ fun car browse became a ‘who ever will give us the most for this dying car, assuming we can get it, steam billowing as it overheats, into the used car lot, gets our business’ car shop.

We are now the proud owners of 48 months of car payments, that we were not planning on making until the end of the year, if not a little later.

The unexpected dog event. DH’s boss gave him about $300 worth of dog kennel set up, while we were taking the unadopted kittens to the shelter (Kittens get adopted fast at our local shelter) I agreed to look at dogs and we found Athena.

$45 adoption fee, $100 miscellaneous dog supplies and $108 vet visit for our kittens before the shelter would let us take her, we have a dog.

The unexpected a/c event. The fan in the unit is whining, loudly, in an expensive way. Not an inexpensive “i need some WD-40” way, but in an “the fan of your $10,000 ground exchange heating & cooling unit needs replaced” way. I’ll find out this afternoon how much that will cost

And this morning I woke to the unexpected laptop event.  The hard drive is buzzing in an ominous way. It sounds like a nest of angry hornets – an expensive nest of angry hornets. Everything that can be backed up is an I’m trying to find all the program discs & files & serial numbers & get a list of them all so I know what I’ll need to download when the hard drive dies and has to be replaced.

Even more ominously, it has stopped buzzing while I type……

Can it just be June already so we can start over fresh?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pros & cons

On the plus side this weekend

DH & the boys got to go camping & swimming in the river with friends

I got to spend 24 hours alone

I set the pool up

I scrubbed the kitchen floor

I mowed the lawn

On the minus side

The a/c fan started making an ominous, expensive sounding, squeaking noise at 10pm on Friday night (because nothing requiring service ever breaks at 8am on a Tuesday)

My hands were raw & pretty much unusable yesterday. It hurt to just turn a door knob

The dog got out of her kennel while we were at dinner. Making the 4th time so far. She stays in the yard but we don’t know how she did it this time. First time she broke the gate latch. Second time she dug under the fence. Third time we found and area that we assumed she had scooted herself under (if dog ribs squish flat).We fixed all those. This time we have no clue. Gate still bungee corded shut, hole still filled in and pavered over. Area she went under blocked off with another paver. All pavers still in place.Our only remaining idea is that she got on her doghouse and jumped over the fence.

Not sure what to do about that at this point.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 21

We’ve had a lot happening this week at our house

We picked up a dog from the animal shelter 519

We had a load of gravel delivered


I had to rake it out and level it


So I could then set up this


My arms, back, shoulders and hands ache so much I can barely type. 

For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Friday, May 22, 2009

Adjusting to the new member

We have a dog now. Her name is Athena. She is from the shelter. They think she is about a year old & a mix of Plott Hound, Greyhound and something else, probably Beagle or Retriever.

In other words, she is a dog. She’s about dog sized & looks like a dog. Or at least she is more or less the vague image that comes to my mind when someone says “dog”, maybe a little taller and darker in the coat. The sort of dog found roaming the neighborhood when I was kid – your hound retriever huntin’ dog mutt. We had a miniature schnauzer, which is fine but small and yappy & not really what I think of when I picture a dog in my mind.

Havoc is over the moon with joy.


I’m just ok with it. I am not a dog person but I’ll get used her. She is a nice dog, knows some commands & is just a bit over enthusiastic right now, which is natural enough. We start obedience training next Saturday. The whole family is going.

DH brings her in the house for a little bit in the evenings after their jog/walk.  Smoke was not overjoyed at the prospect


We don’t know what Thor thought, he stayed under the sofa until Athena went back to her kennel.

I did this layout Wednesday


The dog is bigger than Mayhem in weight and taller when she stands on her back legs or jumps up. Mayhem is not at all sure about this dog thing. He wants to play with her but he is afraid of her. We’re hoping the training class will help him assume an air of authority with her. So mostly he has been playing Wii


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Havoc’s journal entry


That’s the dog, in the back of DH’s truck, coming down our driveway.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 20

I went to a bonfire & drumming circle last Sunday night & tried to take some photos. It was a very long exposure time. Next time I’ll remember a tripod


I need new gym shoes


Iris after the rain


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Friday, May 15, 2009

20 years ago today

I moved into a new apartment.

May 15 was, maybe still is, moving day in Morgantown, WV. It’s the day that apartment leases all over town began. Finals had been over a week or so and graduation was the prior weekend. It was time to pack up & move to a new place, maybe to stay in town for the summer, maybe to go someplace else for the summer, maybe to leave & never return.

My boyfriend of 2 years had left a few days before – never to return. He was off to spend 2 years with Peace Corps in Africa. There had been plans to continue the relationship long distance. Plans we both meant at the time, though with time, we’d both let it go.

I still had senior year & plans for grad school in my future, including an intensive French class over 6 weeks in summer school. (6 credit hours in 6 weeks!) I was moving into a 3rd floor apartment, over the pizza shop where I worked. I’d be rooming with 2 of my sorority sisters, who had moved out of the sorority house. I can no longer recall where I lived before this apartment, not the sorority house. I’d moved out of their in January & sublet a place with a couple people I barely knew, but I lived in 11 places in 7 years in Morgantown & it’s gotten a bit confused in my mind.

Anyway, I had boxes of things & some furniture & they had boxes of things & other bits of furniture and there are no elevators. We made many many trips up and down many many stairs that day. There was no air conditioning and it was unseasonably hot too. You had to get it all moved that day though. Other people were bringing their things into your old apartment while you were taking your stuff out and still others were taking their things out of your new apartment while you were bringing your things in. Unless you got lucky & had a place nice enough you chose to renew the lease, May 15th was a very stressful day. Not many people remained in the same apartment 2 years in a row.

By night everything was moved, we were tired, hot & needed a drink. In the basement of the building, under the pizza store, was a bar, owned by the same people as the pizza place. Naturally we all knew one another & the pizza employees hung out down there after work & pizzas would be ‘made wrong by accident’ for the bar employees and beers would get poured wrong by accident for the pizza employees.

On this night, when we arrived hot & tired & thirsty in the bar, there were several of my co-workers hanging out & we joined them. One of them, who I’d been working with for over a year & found incredibly unappealing personally, though I knew people who found him attractive, began hitting on me.

And hitting on me

And hitting on me

All. night. long.

Finally, in desperation, I threw myself at a different one of my coworkers & began hitting on him, to avoid the guy.

20 years later he is still protecting me from the unwanted advances of other men.

(this is the part where I would insert a photo of us from 1989, but my scanner software crapped out on me and will not reinstall no matter what I do. so here is one from 2006. Imagine us each about 30lbs skinnier, 20 years younger and with much longer hair – much much longer in his case)

outside (21)

Happy Dating Anniversary Sweetheart!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Happy Birthday George Lucas

Thank you for your intergalactic epic and thank you for introducing me to this guy

The object of my affection since 1977. 32 years later I still get that giggly little girl feeling when I see him. He’s everything my pre-teen dreams of dashing pirates wanted.

It’s a bit more of a grown up feeling when I see Indiana Jones.

Thank you for him too. Just something about a tough, rugged manly, highly intelligent, professorial guy with a bullwhip. He is such an awesome character - a sensitive badass. Thanks for creating him.

My boys love the Star Wars & Indiana Jones sagas. They love the Lego Star Wars game. Mayhem is so obsessed with it, we had to enforce a game play time limit because he was getting up at 5am to play it.

He is currently watching Return of the Jedi as I type this.

George, you have brought a lot of happiness & imagination to my life. Thank you and Happy Birthday!

I did the blogthings Star Wars name & title & this is my result

Your Star Wars Name Is Stacr Hiwhe
Your Star Wars Title Is Drocho of Mehyam

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Some layouts

I’ve been catching up on my scrapping recently, doing some challenges at SSD. These are my latest pages.   




Right now I am working on one from the festival I went to over the weekend. It happened to be on the 9th, which is the photo your day challenge at Sweet Shoppe. I’m not happy with how it is going so I may just scrap it & start over.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Outdoor improvements

I spent Friday & Saturday at a Beltane Festival, attending workshops and drumming at a bonfire.  While I was doing that, DH was doing this 510

He’s turned our deck 90 degrees so we have a larger open space. We bought a 16ft Intex pool this year and needed more space. (We’ve had the 12ft one the past 3 years). In another 3-4 years we’ll probably upgrade again to an 18ft one, but we don’t want to move the deck again.I was was surprised he moved the deck. Previous estimates had indicated it would be a 2 person job.  I had cleared out as much rock, ancient wood blocking and random vegetation as I could manage prior to the festival. But I had thought the deck would not be moved until this weekend

It’s been raining constantly for 2 weeks now and he is also in the middle of theDSC_3352

retaining wall project. Which is now going into it’s 3rd and hopefully final summer (it requires a confluence of weather, equipment, time and funding that does not happen very often & then only in short bursts). It’s purpose is to give us more turning space in the driveway and keep the hillside from washing down into the driveway. We’ll be planting some of that forsythia bush and those irises you see in the deck photo, along the top of this retaining wall.

With any luck Dh will be able to finish that wall this weekend. Later this week, assuming the rain is done, he’ll get some sand and some gravel and I’ll get that all raked out in the new space around the deck. So next weekend we should be able to set the pool up. We have slate tile left from when we did the kitchen & we’re going to lay it between the deck & the brick wall to extend the deck’s seating area. That may not get finished until June though.  Eventually the whole pool area will be pavered over rather than gravel. But that is the newest 3-5 year plan.

I host bunco on the summer solstice. My only real goal is to have the yard looking ‘nice’ for that day because we play outside when I host.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Weekly Winners – week 19

The week started out with sushi for lunch


We had a kitten infestation under the sofa


We got together with friends.


Games were sort of organized


But didn’t last


Back at home, someone armed these guys.  


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Friday, May 08, 2009

what to wear

I’m getting ready to go to a pagan festival. The Blue Ridge Beltane festival, which requires a bit of driving but not so much driving that I will be doing anything so foolish as camping, I’ll just be getting home late & leaving early. I’d rather spend a couple hours on the road than sleep in a tent. Cuz I am that sort of nature worshiping pagan.

My biggest concern is what to wear.

You can go so many directions with clothes at a pagan festival. Some of them even consider clothing optional (not this one).

You can unleash your inner fairy and float around in sheer scarves & wings. You can go pagan primitive, wearing one long unadorned woven cotton tunic and carry a staff. You could be the pagan Mr T and wear every pentacle you own, plus ones borrowed from friends. Goth is always popular as is the Stevie Nicks gypsy look. Or belly dancing clothes.  Men in tights or kilts. Many people just wear parts of the Ren fest clothing.

There is nothing wrong with jeans and tee shirt, but in this environment it seems to imply you aren’t really trying.

I am a big fan of the Stevie Nicks gypsy look personally, though I lack the clothing to carry it off. My opportunities to look like a backup singer for Rhiannon are limited so I don’t buy that sort of thing much any more.

And it’s been raining.  And isolated thundershowers are expected.

Its one thing to be all whispy & floaty & swirly in your flowing silky skirts & scarves. It’s another to be drowned rat with lots of clammy fabric clinging to you.

And let’s not discuss the inner thigh clearance issue and the discomfort that can bring on humid days.

And I really don’t like getting weird looks when I stop at a gas station.

“Is that a fairy? IDriving a mini van?”

So I currently have about 3 outfits stuffed in my backpack on the theory that I will see what everyone else is wearing and change when I get there.

Because paganism is all about expressing your individuality. :)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Rebellious minions


Conversation between two girls and four boys pretending they are in Star Wars. Oldest Girl & Oldest Boy are trying to organize it.

Oldest Boy – I am a Jedi!

Second boy – I am Jedi too

Oldest Girl – I am a Princess

Third boy – I jedi too

OB – We can’t all be Jedi

OG to Third Boy – You are guard

Clamoring of protests from the masses about not being Jedi

Second boy – I’m still a Jedi – HMMMMMMM- waving imaginary light saber around

Third boy begins sword fighting with second boy

Oldest girl, shouting – No, guards don’t fight Jedi! are you a storm trooper? You have to use a gun

Younger girl – I’m a princess

OG – No I’m the princess, you have to be a guard too.

Youngest boy makes phaser sounds and jumps around

OS – You are not supposed to shoot other guards!

YG – I am too a princess. you be a guard

OG – I said I was a princess first

Boys leap around waving imaginary light sabers arguing about who is on who’s side and how some of them have to be Storm Troopers but keep switching sides. Younger girl starts imaginary laser fire. Second Boy insists he is too a Jedi

OG tries to take charge shouting – I am the princess you all have to OBEY ME!!!

Mass jumping around & use of weapons. Protests of “I’m a Jedi” “I’m a stormtrooper.” “No you are a guard” are heard

OG repeats - I am the princess you all have to OBEY ME!!!

Younger Girl – Well, I am the Queen!

OB – I’m the Jedi master, I don’t have to listen to you.

Two younger boys leap off hill while pretending to be hit by laser fire or maybe by army men, the plot has been lost.

OG tries one more time – I’m in charge! Line up guards!

Youngest boy – what is a guard?

OG gives up & goes to play with the dog. Youngest boy wanders off and others fall off the dirt pile while pretending to be shot.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Communal parenting

We visited some friends this weekend. It was their youngest’s 1st birthday. Other friends were there with their kids also. We have all known each other since before our kids were born. When we are together we are all equally in charge of the kids.

If the actual parent isn’t around & a child is acting up, one of the rest of us intervenes. Not just an “Oh honey I’m not sure your mommy would want you doing that.” but “Stop that! You know better!” in true parent form. Actual discipline is left to the parents but immediate intervention & correction is done by whoever is handy. And we back each other up, like parents. “If she tells you to stop it, you know you are supposed to stop it.”

It’s very relaxing actually. We can go off & talk or look at something or go do something sure in knowledge that our kids are not running wild & being menaces to others.

I feel for the kids though.

I grew up in a neighborhood just like this. My kids have eyes on them everywhere & the knowledge of immediate correction of the actions, only on certain occasions & are generally too busy having fun in the new place to notice much yet. But I had it all day,every day. There was no where to hide you wouldn’t been seen and ratted out, if not actually intervened on.

Not that we were bad kids or that our kids are bad kids, but at that age where throwing dirt at one another seems fun. Except there are rocks in that dirt and you are whipping it as hard as you can because dirt doesn't fly far. Or you have been told & told to stop swinging on the gate & even after someone gets clobbered with it you all are still swinging on the gate, because the gate is fun and he should have gotten out of the way

Intervention is needed.

But it was sort of oppressive knowing you are always being watched.

Good for the parents & good for the kids, though any of my childhood friends would admit we disagreed wholeheartedly at the time

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 18

Some signs of Spring

Flowering phylox



Budding Iris


And the shadows are shrinking


I also have some macro shots:

The Rebel pilot


and this guy, who has been sweeping my counter for mines all week.


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom