Monday, November 30, 2009

Parenting fail

I had planned to do a post today about our trip home.

I had planned to go grocery shopping.

I had planned to trade in some of my used DS puzzle games at Gamestop

I had planned to go to the library & check out the last 3 Terry Pratchett books

I had planned to then drive out a bunch of long, winding roads to pick the dog up from the kennel.

Then I had planned I would come home, edit some photos, finish the laundry & maybe play whatever new game I had bought.

This was all planned at 8am. At 8:45, as I was gathering the last of my things for my errands the phone rang. It was the school.

Mayhem has lice.

Or maybe he had had lice. The nurse said she found dead ones & some eggs and thought I had been treating him for it over vacation. 

I’ve never encountered lice. Had no clue Mayhem had them. Couldn’t begin to guess where or when he got them.

She said to get some RID or other lice meds & I said “oh I’m on my way Wal Mart & I’ll add it to the list” and she says “Do you want us to check Havoc?” and I said yes please and that was the end of the conversation.

45 minutes later, while I am about halfway through my shopping I get another call from the school.

“Um, you are aware you need to come and pick Mayhem up aren’t you Ma’am?”

No. No I am not aware of that, which is why I am in Wal Mart, 45 minutes away from the school with a half full shopping cart.

I’d been thinking getting lice was like getting your knee bloodied- the school has to tell me about it but I just need to change the bandage when he gets home at 4.

Turns out lice is contagious.


Not that I didn’t know that. I did know it on an intellectual level. I just didn’t connect it to Mayhem not being allowed to stay in class.

Being the awesome parent that I am I decide to grab the rest of the stuff on my list and check out, rather than just grabbing the RID from the cart & hurrying over to the express lane. He’s already going to have waited 90 minutes by the time I get there, what is another 10 really? And we NEED milk & waffles and the way to the dog kennel goes no where near a grocery store.

I finish the groceries, skip everything else that I needed there, rush down to school, pick up Mayhem, hurry home, unload the groceries, and then Mayhem & I set off on the trek to the kennels, because you have to make an appointment to pick up the dog and if you are 15 minutes or more late they charge you for another day.

We get the dog, come home, treat Mayhem’s head, strip all the beds, because he was in every bed last night & this morning, start washing sheets in hot water, spray down the car seats and the sofa, chase down the dog who has gotten off her lead ALREADY and along the way realize Mayhem has been playing outside in the icy rain for about a half hour with me not realizing it was raining

I’m am just MADE of awesome today.

I’m waiting now for Havoc to get home so we can hurry off to tae kwon do where apparently they are practicing for some tournament that is going to cost $80 that I don’t have because it is Xmas and I need to buy gifts with that $80.

I suppose I actually *do* have it because I wasn’t able to spend it at Wal Mart today.

Then I think we’ll hit McDs on the way home because i have had no time to get anything in the slow cooker and it will be late when we get home, making it 3 straight days of fast food crap for dinner.

Mother of the Year, that’s me.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Love you,honey

Today is DH & I’s anniversary.

We were married at Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV in 1993.

This is the part where I want to say all those lovey sentimental things about what a wonderful man I married.

But I lean more toward sarcasm & humor and don’t do lovey sentiment very well even though I feel it. It’s just not how I express myself and after 16 years married & 20 years together he understands that.

It has been a wonderful 16 years. Things are very different now than we imagined them at the time but I wouldn’t change one of them.

DH proposed to me under stress. We’d planned not to get married, just live together. He was finishing up school, looking for work and some TV show or other that he’d watched for years had the series finally that night. All these endings & changes he couldn’t control so I think he grabbed for something he could.

He woke me up out of a sound sleep at 1 in the morning (and really you had better be dying or the house burning down if you do that) and asked me to marry him.

I told him to ask me again in the morning if he was serious.

cuz I’m all romantic like that.

In the morning he did ask me again and I said yes this time.

Thank you for asking me again honey.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

I’m no good at meaningful thankful posts. I come off sappy, maudlin or cynical, at least to my way of reading it but I am going to make an attempt to list the things I am right now thankful for.

1. Modern medicine & VA insurance. Because of both my father can go bike riding, running, swimming, fishing and even wrestle with his grandkids and still have money to live on.

2. The mini van. OMG! The trip down was so much nicer than in the Cruiser. I loved my Cruiser but it was so crowded the past couple years on the drive to FL. I had none of the clausterphobic feel I’d had last year.

3. Internet being like crack. My husband is still employed because even when forced to economize the majority of people will cut cable before giving up their internet fix. It’s become almost as necessary as electricity.

4. My little demons who keep life from getting dull and routine

On the non Thankful side I’m not wild about certain developments.  When did the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade become “Parade – the Musical”? what is with all the musical acts? I want to see floats and marching bands, not singers standing still. If the casts from Cats is going to perform in the Macy’s Parade then they should have to do it while marching!

I hope you all have a happy day and a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Some info from my previous post

A few people asked about the skin on my DS in my last post

This is my DS skin. Matrix Productions WraptorSkinz for the DS Lite.

I love these skins. They come in an assortment of colors & patterns, are relatively low cost, come on and off easily & leave no residue. They have them for an assortment of gaming systems & phones. I had several for my Razr phone when I had it. They don’t make any of those styles anymore apparently or I’d link you up. My favorite was very trippy. They don’t make a skin for my Pantech Matrix phone or I’d have one on it. When I some day get an iPhone though, it will be Wraptored.

I get paid not one darn cent for telling you this, I’m just sharing a product I am pleased with. Though if you should click on that link & buy that specific skin I do get some cents from Amazon. (insert legal jargon here)

Regarding my post on Monday…It is now Wednesday and I still have NOT had any ice cream. My parents have dinner early (which is apparently a law in Florida if you are over 65) and that throws off my snacking rhythm. And the little restaurant in their community is closed for remodeling so there is no quick walk to a peanut butter & chocolate waffle cone. I’m setting an alarm for 2:30 to remind me to go get some today.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Old but still cool occasionally

A few weeks ago my insurance company left a long pre-recorded message on my answering machine. I don’t remember it specifically but the gist of it was:

Hey ancient crone! Our records indicate we’ve never had any claims to reject from you for a mammogram. You do realize you are a woman of a certain age and getting older & ought to have your bewbs squished annually don’t you? Oh, we’re not saying we’ll pay for it. This message in NO WAY implies that bewb squishing is a covered service under your policy terms. It might be, but we are not about to confirm that until we absolutely have to. Possibly we’ll have some money left over from fully covering Viagra prescriptions and be able to throw a few bucks your way. Either way, you’re old and should make a bewb squishing appointment with the hospital after referral from the appropriate provider, after getting permission from your primary care physician to see that provider so you can then make the appointment. (Ha ha! That’s $45 in flat fees right there plus 20% of whatever extra little charges we can manage and we are not about to tell you whether the squishing is a $30 specialist fee or $100 hospital fee now because then we might not be able to stick you for more money later). We’re your insurance company and we care about you, so start the bewb squishing process today for your health!

Seeing as how they care so much about my health I took their advice. I’m 42 and by rights, even with the every other year suggestion of my various physicians, I ought to have had at least one mammogram by now. But due to my doc of 10 years leaving the practice to go back to school 2 years ago and the variety of specialists I’ve been to see for my endo, the mammogram thing took a back seat & was overlooked. There was also apparently a typo on a referral form making me 5 years younger than I am, which was only realized at the last OBs.

I was able to do the insurance companies out of their flat fees by making some phone calls. Everyone  had seen me recently enough to just fax paperwork without my presence. HA!

Last Thursday I went to the Medical Imaging Center and waited my turn. Despite my early appointment this naturally took much much longer than anticipated. Fortunately I had brought my Nintendo DS, which is all sylin’ with a black & purple skin and in a black & purple case


Everyone in the registration area thought it was really cool and asked me about the skins. Everyone in the lobby thought getting yourself a DS was a great idea & maybe they’d take Junior’s old one since he was getting a DSi for Xmas and then pimp theirs out too. The techs asked me about what games I play and where I got the skins & the case.

And for the first time ever I felt like one of the cool people, a trendsetter even.

I’ll bet I was the hippest crone getting a mammogram that day.  W00T!

Monday, November 23, 2009

On vacation

For probably the first time in 8 years we managed to get through Virginia without getting lost. Though gas stations remain elusive around Lynchburg. Hotels and restaurants abound but gas stations are hidden from view. I hate going into restaurant bathrooms when all I need is to use the facilities. Like I am committing a crime buy using a bathroom in a place where I buy nothing. Gas stations though expect you to use their restrooms & not buy things.

We did track one down eventually for the boys and then found our way right back to the highway. We managed North Carolina fine, though gas stations continued to be elusive. We were able to get on all the various interstates with no confusion. We  made very good time with little traffic. The boys watched various movies and played intermittently with the DS. DH & I listened to The Color of Magic

We arrived in Walterboro SC, at 10:30pm along with every other mini van on the highway and finally got one of the last 3 rooms in town. Next to the elevator, on the second floor. You’d think with it being 11p and the hotel being full the elevator use would come to a end fairly soon. But no.

And of course the boys were up at 6a. We were greeting the dawn at the Waffle House at 6:45. We were on the road by 7:30.

This time we got lost on I10, which never happens because it is an interstate & all the exits are clearly marked. But somehow we drove 12 miles past it without realizing.  The final area of confusion was at Gainsville, which is not actually on I75 but rather just near it so you have to by/around/through Gainsville to get there. There are some signs saying I75 this way but no mileage mentioned. Google’s directions with their little maps that don’t show anything more than the turning point left us confused as to just where we were. And given neither of us trusts  Google maps all that much, we were fairly sure we were lost actually, though since we were following directions we were not lost technically.

I’m fairly sure there is a better way to get to I75 than Google told us. I’m even more sure that going to Ocala & getting on I75 is easier. I’ll be keeping that in mind in future.

But eventually the long tedious stretch of I75 began. Miles of flat road with palm trees. The thing I find most tedious about I75 is the lack of ice cream shops. ( I don’t know why I associate ice cream & Florida but I always *want* it while I am here. It’s a like a switch in brains says “Oh Florida state line? Where is the soft serve?) All the way down there was a DQ every hour just about, or a Coldstone.But after that first exit on 75, where we had lunch, there is nothing until Ft Meyers, which is 20 minutes from my parents’ house. And we just can’t bring ourselves to stop for ice cream 20 minutes from our destination (after which we will have ample time to go get ice cream whenever we want). I spend the whole 4 hours watching FOOD signs go by hoping for a Dairy Queen and am disappointed over and over again.

We made excellent time though. We were here at 5:40, 2 hours before my parents expected us. We went out to CiCi’s for dinner. I was all for it because there is a Baskin Robbins right next to it.

But they had closed.

It’s now Monday and I still have not achieved a waffle cone or peanut butter milkshake.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Weekly Winners – week 47


Some P365 photos this week.

What is in the fridge?


Aftermath of a nor’easter


Our dog was missing for several days. She is back now


New cat bed, or possibly napkin holder




For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom

Thanks for stopping by

Friday, November 20, 2009

It’s a destination, not a journey

We’re heading out this morning on the 2 day trip to Naples FL. The car is packed, the dog is at the kennel, the cats have been rounded up and the house sitter has arrived (She brought her netbook, I warrned her about the phone problem)

We’ve decided on the wander through Virginia and North Carolina route for the beginning of the trip and then cut down 301 to Ocala or Gainsville (we almost always miss the Gainsville exit) to meet up with I75 route for the end of the trip. I predict we will get lost in Danville or maybe Lynchburg because it wouldn’t be a vacation without driving 10-15 miles in the wrong direction. Though maybe for variety construction detours around Columbia SC will confuse us into heading west rather than south. It’s been a few years for that one.

The longest part of this 1150 mile drive, mentally, is the 272 miles on I75. Florida just goes on and on.  And it’s interstate so apart from spotting Waffle Houses there isn’t much to do but watch the mile markers go by and calculate in your head how much longer this trip is going to take. One year I counted all the Waffle Houses we passed from Washington DC to Naples. It was an impressive total but I cannot recall it.

The boys have picked out some movies for the trip – mostly Scooby Doos, plus Wall-E, The Road to El Dorado and Ratatoulli. I have Scooby Doo’s complete 3rd season as a surprise for the long I75 stretch.  I also have Mario Party for the DS as a surprise if needed though I’m hoping on keeping it for I95 in Virginia part of the trip back (it’s the longest part of the trip home).

DH and I have some audio books to listen to (the boys have headsets for the DVD player & we set the radio speakers to the front only so we don’t have sound overlap). We have Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic and Going Postal. We also have the latest Hitchhiker’s Guide book - And Another Thing by Eoin Colfer. It’s had mixed reviews but listening to Douglas Adams on the trip is a tradition we’ve had since 1994, so we’re giving it a chance. We also have a BBC radio program – Old Harry’s Game, which is very funny. 

We’re hoping to get to Savannah, GA today. Theoretically we should get there about 10pm. I’ll be twittering & updating Facebook as events unfold so you can follow along if you want.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Technology is helping me again

I really wish it would stop doing that.

It’s the phone this time.

Actually it has been the phone for almost two years now but it comes in waves. Sometimes all those wonderful ‘features’ are the problem.

When I grew up (oh here she goes…) in the 70’s, a phone was physically attached to the wall. Possibly if there was a second phone in the house it was ‘portable’ in the sense that you could carry it into another room and plug it into a phone jack there (assuming there was a phone jack there and probably there was not) and then use it, but you were still tethered in place by a cord. Maybe, if you parents really loved you, you might have had a princess phone in your room, which was sleeker and lighter & usually had a longer cord so you could roll around on your canopy bed and hang upside down off the side while talking to your best friend about what this guy said to this girl about this other girl (we didn’t have BFFs back in the day. We had to use whole words). If they really really loved you they might have had a second line put in JUST FOR YOU! My parents didn’t love me that much (no phone in my room, no canopy bed and certainly no second line) so I had to stand in the kitchen, where the phone was mounted, when I was on the phone. Eventually a long cord for the handset was purchased and I could sit on the floor in the hall. But due to the house layout everyone could here exactly what I was saying.

It was hell.

But no one in my family ever stood in the kitchen listening to a vague distant ringing while shouting “Where the hell is the phone?!?!” and sometimes I sorta miss knowing exactly where the phone is. Today for example.

We have 2 portable phones. We got them because it would be convenient to be able to wander around the house while talking, which it is. And there is no jack in the kitchen or the playroom and it' would be handy to be able to just take the handset with us so we don’t have to keep getting up and going to the other end of the house when the phone rings. Which it is. But 75% of the time we leave the phone where ever we were when we finished speaking so we still have to get up and go get it – assuming we can find it. It only rings 4 times before the answering machine comes on and sometimes that is not enough ringing to find even one handset. Especially when both of them are later discovered in the towel closet & no one can remember even being in the towel closet.

One of the helpful features of our portable phone set is that it scan a couple of bands for the best frequency when you answer the phone. One of those frequencies is the one the wireless router uses. So about half the time if you answer the phone you cut off the internet. There is no way to tell it to stop doing this. You can have it rescan once you realize it has cut off the router but there is no way of preventing it.

The problem we hadn’t foreseen at all is one of power. There is no battery back up. The phone unit runs on electricity so if the power goes out, so does the phone. Meaning I can’t call the electric company to tell them I have no power. We only get cell signal in one corner of the house where the cell booster lives and it runs on electricity. So in order to call the electric company I have to go outside in whatever bad weather is happening and stand on the highest ground I can find and hope for a bar on my cell. Also due to a recent weird wiring issue the phone base had to be plugged into the jack in the living room instead of our bedroom. The nearest electrical outlet is one that is on the switch. So we can never turn the lights off completely in the living room or the phone won’t work.

In the past week I have lost one handset completely, even the locator beep doesn’t turn it up. The phone is currently cutting out my internet connection about 85% of the time. I absentmindedly turned the living room lights off twice on days when I was expecting phone calls and only realized when wondered why it had been so blessedly telemarketing call free all afternoon. And the power went out yesterday morning. I asked DH to call me at 9am because I had an appointment & a dead cell phone so no way of knowing what time it was. Both of us forgot it wouldn’t matter if he called me because the phone wouldn’t work.

I swear I am going to go buy one of those old school wall mount phones off of ebay & run a jack back to the spot on the kitchen wall where there originally was a phone mounted in 1978.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Photos for a timeline

There will be no photos in this post despite the title.

Havoc came home with a school project. It is related to their current social studies segment somehow that was never adequately explained. They have to do a time line of their lives.

All 6-7 years of it

What came home was a couple pieces of construction paper glued together with numbers running along the bottom. The child is supposed to, with parental help, mark milestones or events for each year, they want you to use photos. Parent helps arrange the photos & labels & the child decorates it.

Havoc says “Do we have some photos of me to use?”

Oh little boy. Are they so prevalent they are background decor in your life now? Have the numerous photo albums, the hardbound book of your play last year and the non stop photo slide show screen saver on my computer become the same as the legos on the floor? Just things you don’t notice?

I say “Havoc. Mommy has over 10,000 photos that she knows of and that doesn't include the last 5 months.”

“You have 10,000 photos of me?”

“Of you and your brother mostly, but a couple thousand are of things like toys and the house and vacations.”

Havoc goes off to inform Mayhem that Mama has “Ten thousand photos of ME, Mayhem”, which of course sends Mayhem to me wondering “You have 10 fousand pichers of me?”

We looked at the folders of photos on my laptop. Mayhem did not mind that his brother had 15 folders all to himself, while he did not. Until Havoc started bragging on how he has more photos than Mayhem. I had to explain to Mayhem that 10 years from now Havoc would move out & go to college and Mayhem would still be here. Then there would be folders of just Mayhem photos. This seemed to satisfy him and he went back to playing Lego Batman while Havoc and I sorted out timeline photos.

OMG! I have so many photos! I am so not lying when I say over 10,000 and geez can we say ‘excessive’? Havoc had about 20 photos picked out before we finished years 0 & 1 and there was no room. 4 photos a year was pretty much the max. It took us over an hour to choose 30 photos for 8 columns. Every column has a birthday photo, a vacation photo, a Christmas related photo and either a 1st day of school or Ren Fair photo. I had to start skipping folders and just going right to the month with the event because Havoc wanted to look at and discuss every single thing in every photo. Which is sweet and fun to do for about 45 minutes. But after and hour and beginning each time with “how old was I in this photo” which when you are looking at things chronologically and are still looking at pictures in the May2005 folder, gets really really annoying.

It’s a cute timeline. We glued in the pictures I printed & Havoc drew in the columns around them images he remembered from the photos we weren’t able to fit. He took it in today.

I wish I had taken a picture of it.

Monday, November 16, 2009

A problem with rural life


I live in the middle of nowhere. There is a town to the east of us and a tiny town south west of us in a 20 mile radius. If you double and add some to that radius you get a larger town north of us and a small city south of us. There is one main road connecting all 4 places and we live about 12 miles from that. Everything else is winding country roads. We don’t exist on Google or Mapquest. Our address comes up about a mile & half from where we actually live and on a different dirt road in another county. Directions from that spot to the main road include this bit “turn left onto unnamed dirt road 0.7 miles” which is totally bogus. The road has a name and if you drive about 50 yards further there is a perfectly good paved road that parallels ‘unnamed dirt road’.

The kennel we are putting the dog in while on vacation has a similar problem. (Athena does not stay on her lead run, she gets out of every collar & harness ever made & then disappears for a few hours & turns up again around 4pm. We don’t want to stress out the house sitter with worrying about the dog getting loose & whether she will ever come back. The cats just hang out in the yard). They say on their website basically - “Google us for directions? Good luck with that.” and then spell out different ways you can get to them from the various towns in the area. (including helpful bits like ‘if the bridge is flooded out, go back to this road…) What we can’t figure out is if there is a more direct way or which of the two nearest places should be our starting point. We have to pick up the directions midway in whichever we choose but I wish I could figure out the mileage so I knew which was shorter. The road we’d meet up with from the south town does seem like it goes on forever but I think that is because it’s just the one road, then just one turn there at the end (well, not the end but the road the kennel is on, 3.2 miles later). If we met up with the road in the east town directions there are 3 other roads we’d have to turn on before that last one, which keeps things from seeming to take so long.

I’ve been moving routes around on google maps, getting from the general area of my house to the turn for the road to the kennel, which are at least locations google can find, but it can’t seem to make up it’s mind how I should get there and knowing it will not make the 50 yard change to a paved road I distrust everything it says. It says it’s only 15 miles away but should take anywhere from 43 to 47 minutes to get there. Which leads me to suspect there are dirt roads involved

Tomorrow I have to sort out how to get to Florida. Do I go to I95 and straight down to Jacksonville or do I drive through Virginia, meander into North Carolina, then using various interstates, finally meeting up with I95 near the Georgia border? Do I cut across Florida at Jacksonville and pick up I75 somewhere north of Tampa? Continue down 95 to I4 and take it across to I75?  Or do I head south from Orlando to Immokalee and then from there over to Naples? Could I just avoid Tampa and Orlando somehow? The trip, on paper could take 17 to 19.5 hours depending on changes. I just find endless I95 boring, though really ‘get on I95 in Washington DC, drive 850 miles to I4, make a left’ makes it hard to get lost. And we regularly get lost driving through the small towns on the US & state routes in Virginia and Florida. Last year we drove a half hour in the wrong direction around Immokalee after turning around because we though we had originally been headed the wrong way, though it turned out we weren’t. Interstate travel keeps that from happening.

But it’s so dull.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 46


The weather was finally enough to rake up the leaves.


and jump in the pile


These guys joined us


for a game of Hunt the Dinosaur


they were well hidden


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks for stopping by

Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Saturday Scan

Gert&LeoHickey&another couple

We think this is a wedding photo. The couple on the right are my grandparents Gertrude & Leo. The couple on the left are Helen & Richard. According to a wedding announcement in the paper those were the names of their attendants. It was a very small wedding on April 17, 1933. It was so small it was not common knowledge. Because it was the Depression, there was little money. Nan went back to live with her parents and Pap went back to live with his parents until they could afford a place of their own. That would take almost two years. They moved in together and formally announced their wedding 1935. The other couple also had married in that time.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Five for Friday

Five interconnected thoughts

1. If the county you live in has a freezing rain warning and the neighboring county doesn’t and you live a mile from the county line what are the odds there will be freezing rain near you? 

2. Did you know there was a historic storm pounding the mid Atlantic region? I didn’t and I live here. I just thought it was …winter finally arriving. Though admittedly the wind is sort of strong for November. Obviously I only ever glance at the weatherbug on my desktop for the forecast photo & high temp.

3. My special power is that I can find my way anywhere after I have been there once. Any city, any country, even if it has been 10 years, assuming the building still exists, I can find my way to it. Anywhere. Except for the city near where I live. I have lived here 14 years, been in that city once a month for 10 of those and once every couple of months the rest of the time. Yet I cannot find my way to the pedestrian mall. Ever. I always just sort of stumble upon it while driving up and down the streets muttering “It’s around here somewhere”. Then, when I pull out of the parking garage I can never find my way back to main road out of town without touring a few residential areas. I know there is a direct route because I have ridden with people who have taken it, but for the life of me I cannot ever remember it. The only place I can ever find is the Barnes & Noble shopping plaza and my favorite sushi bar. Most of the time though that is all I need.

4. My goodness used book store prices have gotten high! I usually buy off of so I am used to paying $3 for a hardback and $.75 for a paperback. (plus $2.50-3 in shipping) but the two at the pedestrian mall  wanted $10 for a hardback and $5 for a paperback and I can get the paperback new for $6! Of course does not have to pay Ye Olde Historic Towne Malle rents either…

5. I had another thought when I sat down here but as with many things, if I don’t make notes, it goes away. I’ve been trying to think backwards in the hope of connecting up to it, then I tried picking a point in the past and thinking forward, then I tried free associating. But all I can come up with is “books? …was is something else about books?…or reading? Something to do with paper I think…” I just know it will come to me in the middle of Body Pump a few hours from now & once again I won’t be able to write it down,

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Duty, and it's burden

The school PTO meeting was last night.  I wanted to go, but I didn't want to go. I want to be an involved parent, etc. But I'm not really an 'involved' person. Ask anyone who's known me for more than 3 days and they'll tell you I am not a joiner. I'm perfectly willing to show up & help out but I'm just not good at large group dynamics. I don't do organizations in general, especially not organizations that expect me to go out and harass annoy badger offer my friends opportunities to buy overpriced lovely gift wrap. I'd rather just give them the money directly. "Here's $50, which is more than I will ever raise. Take it & let's call it done for the season." I can't pretend to be enthusiastic about the gift wrap or any of the other junk in the catalog.  I can't see how anyone is. Yet, there they are, just beaming with joy about a faux metal (ie plastic) plate stand that looks really big in the photograph but is, according to the measurements, not actually large enough to hold a saucer.  I can't sell it. I just can't. I don't care if it's the done thing - you buy junk from me for my kid & I'll buy junk from you for your kid. I don't want to sell junk. I don't want to BUY junk. Here. Take the $10, keep the junk.

but I digress....

I'm not a joiner. I have a really hard time dealing with new people in large groups. OK. I have hard time dealing with new people in groups of 2 or more. I'm shy. Mostly because I am different & I know it. I am a 42 year old pagan, blogging mom who is not from around here. Judging by most other experiences & my former co-workers, I'm fairly confident I will be meeting Baptists in their late 20's who check their email occasionally & have all gone to school together since kindergarten. It’s a closed group. I’m the New Girl and the Weird New Girl at that. I’m no good at putting myself forward & introducing myself to people. It’s grade school all over again. Am I wearing the right thing? Do I look too desperate? too aloof? Is there anyone, anyone at all, that even seems vaguely familiar? Oh god what if there is and I can’t remember their name but they remember mine?

Plus the bonus of adult angst. Why do I care? I’m too old for this angst. I know better. There are others here who feel this way. Just relax, give it a chance. The MOPS thing worked out in the long run. You can do this. Oh god I look too desperate don’t I? I look aloof don’t I? I know her from somewhere, where? PANIC where? Who is she?

Then once you join a group you then have the interpersonal stuff to deal with. I ended up on a ‘side’ of an argument in the kids’ preschool without even being aware there was an argument or a side to be on simply because I only sort of knew one person & sat next to her.

Here’s the thing. I don’t give a rip who runs the bounce house concession at the fun fair or who organized the spring charity drive. I don’t know the backstory to this drama and I refuse to be told it. Tell me when to show up and where to stand and what to bring.

I’m a good soldier in the trenches, don’t drag me into the politics

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hug a vet today

This is my grandfather


He served 3 years on a sub in the Pacific during WWII.

This is my dad


He served 5 years, also in the Pacific, right before the Vietnam war

Thank a vet today for their service!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Sunday was beautiful! It was in the mid 70’s. DH went off for a few hours on his new ride with some of the guys and the boys and I raked leaves. With only one rake and one broom it took quite some time.


There were a lot of leaves. We made a huge pile. It’s about a 5 foot circle and 3 feet deep.


The boys took a long running start and leapt in


And threw leaves


Then the tree branch was noticed and I suggested jumping from it



Even these guys joined in the fun and we played Hunt the Dino in the leaves.


The stegosaurus thought it would be fun to stay hidden so Mayhem had to burrow through the whole pile looking for him


By the time the stegosaurus came out of hiding the sun was starting to set, so we piled the much flatter & more crushed leaves back up  and used them to mulch the nearby trees.

I’m glad we managed to get one day of playing with the leaves in this fall. It has been so wet & unpleasant on the weekends lately.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Things to do

We’re heading on on vacation in 2 weeks and I have some goals I need to complete before then.

1. Confirm house sitter will be home from college when we leave & not 3 days later (the cats will starve & turn to catibalism if not fed for 3 days)

2. Get oil change etc for the car

3. Get annual exam etc for me

4. Transfer my blog to a new host & switch to Wordpress, which means getting my domain away from blogger when there is no means I can find to contact them. Or can a new host do that? Anyone?

5. Decide what I need and find a new host. Do I need 25 FTP accounts? or 50 external domains? 500 email addresses? I just want this blog to have threaded replies. Not run a store or go all Pioneer Woman. I’m happy with blogger otherwise but I’m willing to pay to respond to my commenters better. Host suggestions welcome.

6. Sort out clothing for trip

7. Find ‘surprise’ movie or DS game for boys. I always get them something for the trip down and then just when it’s all been going on too long for everyone I spring it on them.

8. Find audiobooks for the trip.

9. Work out meal plan for the next 2 weeks. The college student eats take out mostly so I need to clean the fridge & use up the leftovers.

10. Make list of all electronics being taken and all their various chargers & see about finding an all in one with exchangable tips.

so what do you have to do this week? And do you like your blog host, assuming it isn’t blogger?

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 45


A some of my daily photos this week.


DH got a new bike. It’s shiny


Cats spent time in the cedars


Havoc and Athena go for a walk


And these guys joined us for dinner at Chili’s. We couldn’t keep them out of the fries.

For more Weekly Winners please visit  Lotus at Sarcastic Mom. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 07, 2009

The timing is all wrong


These are bacon garlic cheese biscuits that turned out like bacon scented rocks.

I made them last week. Ordinarily when I am trying to work out a recipe variation like this I make them every couple days until I get it exactly as I want it.

But right now I am participating in a Skinny Jeans weight loss competition and biscuits 4 times a week are not on my meal plan. I’ve lost about 7lbs in 2 weeks & the only real change I’ve made to my life is to eat lower fat foods and less foods in general. I already exercise 4-5 times a week. Eating less is obviously the missing element in my diet plan. see evil dip

So bacon biscuits have to be perfected on Saturdays, which is my ‘free play’ day, as Mayhem puts it.

I have to get this done before Thanksgiving. We’ll be at my parents’ place for it and mom allows no one to help with the meal. It’s the traditional meal. Mom knows how to make it. No one can muck about putting oysters or sausage in the stuffing or making savory sweet potatoes. Supper is as it always has been at her house. If I want to get creative with the food I can do it when supper is at my house (I get creative with the phone when it is my turn. Side dishes are fun to play with, making the whole meal is not.)  My SIL is allowed to contribute an appetizer for her side of the family (she’s part Lebanese), if they are with us for dinner. The only area I’m allowed any scope at all is bread. Last time we were together for the holiday I made sweet corn bread, nice but bland. This time I thought I’d go with more flavor & texture.

I have a page of thoughts of things I want to try with the biscuits. At least 3 batches of testing depending on how it goes. Problem is a half batch is still a dozen biscuits.

I suppose I could try quartering it.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ah boys

My sons have reached that stage in their male development when most of their conversation and anything they deem funny involves the words fart, butt, poop, and underwear. (not trying to be sexist but I know no little girls who do this. This is just reality as I know it.)

It is so prevalent that the other day at the trunk or treat I actually uttered the immortal mom phrase:

“If I hear you mention your hind end one more time I am going to smack it.”

(for full effect imagine slight southern part hillbilly accent saying it. I don’t know why by I often go all hick when telling my kids off in public, especially in Wal Mart, though I sound standard American the rest of the time)

Mayhem’s favorite thing right now is to ask “What color is my underwear?” in a silly voice and then crack up laughing at himself. He rarely wears any so I guess that is the joke.

He also does not seem to understand the difference between knock knock joke and jokes of the ‘why did the chicken cross the road” type. This is a typical Mayhem joke:

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?


Underwear who?

Why did the underwear cross the road?

I don’t know, why?

To get away from the butt.

followed by hysterical laughter.

He used to understand the difference but about 18 months ago decided they were both funnier combined and we cannot get him to stop.

Havoc’s entire conversation revolves around farting and butts,  “who farted?”, “ew you farted”, “was that a fart?”, “this smells like farts.” “let’s kick the butt” “sit it on the butt” and variations, constantly.

Constantly. Really. To the point where I now send him to his room for saying it because I am so sick and tired of hearing it. It’s not the words themselves, though honestly, as a subject it does leave something to be desired, it’s the repetition. Substitute roses and fairies for fart & butt and I would still be totally over this self imposed conversational limitation of theirs.

The thing is…judging by the preteen, teen and adult males that I know…it isn’t going to end. Oh the topics will broaden to include sports, boobs and beer at some point, and no doubt they will be able to discourse on politics, paleontology and philosophy at will,  but you name me a male that doesn’t appreciate a good fart or underwear joke.

If you are visiting from Shimelle’s class, I tend to post before I see her daily prompt. This is actually inspired yesterday’s prompt

Thursday, November 05, 2009

The holiday album dilemma

There is just too much choice out there and I need to decide now, if not very very soon just what sort of holiday album I am going to do this year.

I’ve done shimelle’s Journal Your Christmas for the past 2 years and even though I didn’t complete last year’s album I did get plenty of pages done. But the not completing it bugged me. I think I need to scale back my expectations this year. And possibly my design style. I’m thinking very clean, almost graphic only style with either white or black backgrounds. I’d like to do just graphic only but I know I’ll end up wanting to use a bunch of embellishments on some layouts and that would be jarring in appearance I think sitting amid a bunch of smooth, unshadowed graphic designs.

But I really want more of a photo book look than a scrapbook look I think.

Then there is the thought that occurred to me that ‘the holidays’ actually started last Friday with the Halloween party at school. Possibly they could start on Thanksgiving, which would give me a bit more time to get my plans sorted. Though since I take a photo a day anyway doing a ‘2009 Holiday Season’ photo book can pretty much start whenever I feel like it. I never take just one photo so I can even make sure there is no photo overlap between it and my 365 project.

I could even get Havoc & Mayhem to take the photos for it. Now there is an idea! Start the day we leave to visit my parents in a couple weeks and run through the end of their xmas break & use their photos! Havoc loves to use my D40, Mayhem prefers seeing things on the screen on the old Olympus, so there would be no fighting over the camera. This could work!

But still, if I want to do scrapbook pages (which I just know I will end up making in December) I need to get my act together pretty much this weekend or so and pick my templates, design style & a start date

I’m thinking of getting these templates

and adapting them as I go, but they want more photos than I usually manage.

I like these as well

and I have some by Janet Phillips, that are no longer available that I’m sorting through. Then I have to work out what kits to use. My favorite designers haven’t put any out yet.

You know, I never do a holiday newsletter. They are too complicated & time consuming.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New toys!

On November 4, 2008 I wrote this post about how I came back from voting to find my new long awaited Nikon D40 waiting on the porch.

Well, 364 days later, I came home from voting to find my new lens waiting for me on the porch.

and we get to vote again next year!  So I should start considering what lens I want for then.


I also got the Pioneer Woman’s new cookbook!  Yaay!

I’ve been considering lenses since I got the camera. I want an 18-200mm zoom but it’s like $600 and the camera itself with kit lens was $400 and I can’t quite make that mental leap yet. I know a lot of scrapbookers who just love their 50mm lenses. But the 50mm that auto focuses with the D40 is about $500 and there is that leap again.

Then I read Ken Rockwell’s review of the 35mm-f1.8 and it said things like

“A fast, light, inexpensive normal lens for Nikon's DX cameras, especially for use in low-light without flash”


“It is especially wonderful for shooting anything hand-held in available light.”


“For $199.95, this lens is a must-have for anyone shooting a DX camera in available light and who doesn't already have a fast 50mm lens. It's a no-brainer for low-light.”

Seeing a theme?

Low light. I haz it.

My house is underground and faces exactly the wrong way (north west) to take advantage of natural light (south east, but NW is the right way for wonderful views). While I do have sliding glass or French doors in every room, the sun is going down by the time it reaches them directly. Not too much of a problem in summer but starting about now and continuing until May, low light is an everyday thing. Especially when you have to close the curtains against the chill from all that glass.

I took a practice shot


Never, in the history of ever, have I managed to take a flash free naturally lit shot IN FOCUS of the stack of books on my nightstand. Usually I have to turn on every light in the room plus bring in the clamp on reading lamp to get a decent flash free shot .

And then it turns out all yellow toned. This turned out actual room color toned. You can see the reflection of the lights in the kitchen on some of the spines but I’m pleased with the outcome.

Then I did a close up


I’d like more of a bokeh background but again, no flash, natural light in the kitchen. Normally the whole thing would just be a blur. So a definite and large improvement in this situation.  I’m going to keep it on my camera the rest of the week and see how it goes in ‘real life’ shooting.

I got it new from Amazon for $199. Though I have seen it for as much as $230 online. I almost bought one used on ebay. My highest bid was $175 and the winner got it for $195 plus shipping, so I feel good that if I really don’t like it, I’m probably only out $5-10.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Dental drama – that wasn’t

I cracked a filling out of one of my bottom front teeth a couple weeks ago.

I was eating a ball of frozen cookie dough (homemade!) and I suppose one of the chocolate chips hit it at just the right angle to knock it out. Last time I broke a filling it was on a frozen Twix bar so you’d think I’d know better but some of us it seems are just doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past.

This particular filling was a long skinny one on the side of my tooth. Not very deep at all. It didn’t hurt & was just mildly annoying because it was something for my tongue to worry at. But since I had some of my teeth filed a bit for the InvisaLine braces I had a couple years ago, my tongue had been worrying at those teeth anyway.

So the 2 week wait to see the dentist was no big deal. Even my usual dental terror didn’t bother to go into it’s usual overdrive 3 days before the event. I was feeling fairly certain there would be a minimum of drilling or just roughing up the area & then a new filling and done. Maybe 20 minutes. Probably $125.

I get there early, they take me fairly quickly, which is good because the waiting room is where the dental terror kicks in every time. They took a quick xray and left me to sit in the chair. And sit. And imagine all the ways they are going to hurt me. And remember all the ways dentists have hurt me in the past. I have sensitive teeth, just cleaning them with that whirling rubbery thing can send shocks up my nerves. And I can feel that pain right now just typing about it, so you can imagine what being in the chair does. I’m usually borderline hysterical and in tears when I need a root canal and often unable to open my mouth of involuntary fear response when I need a filling. 

Waiting is not good.

But I was able to talk myself down this time because really…I didn’t think it would be that bad. The shot would hurt but it’s the endless drilling that gets me and I just couldn’t see how there could be much necessary in this case.

Then at last the dentist came in. She looked at it and said.”Oh, all we need to do is dry out the space, rough it up and bit and refill it. No numbing needed”

and I said “AMEN!”

And then she said “That apparently was a more or less cosmetic filling and given your teeth line now really isn’t that noticeable. It’s not going to trap food and if it doesn’t bother you, you don’t actually need it done.”

and I said “HALLELUJAH!”

And the she said “Here is the sheet with the prices if you want it done.”

and I said “SWEET JESUS!”

$193 to get the tooth filled now. $78 for what had been done so far – a xray and talking to the doctor. $115 for the filling.  If I came back in the next 6 months they would only charge me the $115 total.

We have no dental insurance. Do any of the proposed universal coverage plans even mention dental? I have about $2500 of non critical but needed dental work hanging out there hoping someday I might have dental insurance that will cover at least some of it

and then I said “Well, I’ll be going now.”

Because it doesn’t hurt and it doesn’t bother me and it’s only noticeable if you look closely and if the tooth is not going to fall apart from decay without it,then, I’m good for now. 

Monday, November 02, 2009

It’s NaBloPoMo!

And I'm not doing this year. I did it last year and the year before and the year before that (on a different blog). I just don’t know that I am up for 31 days of posts right now.

They have to be real posts too, not just random memes to fill in the spots. At least, that is my personal rule when I do it. Honest to god content posts only, with Weekly Winners the only allowable meme…and one Wordless Wednesday in the month… and one post about how doing all these posts is a such challenge. But the rest must be original content!

I don’t know that I have that much original content in me right now.

And I’m going of town for about 12 days in the middle of it, with 4 of those days on the road and probably no time to post on at least 3 of them.

Unless I post from my phone.

But posting from my phone, even with the QWERTY keyboard is a PITA

Although…I am starting a class today called Blogging for Scrapbookers.  There is a button for it over there on the sidebar somewhere. It’s run by shimelle, who also runs Learn Something New Everyday and Journal Your Christmas every year, which I also take. This class will be giving me 15 blogging prompts plus a book with a year’s worth of topics for scrapbookers.

So it’s not as if I won’t have ideas for content.

Am I dithering? I’m dithering aren’t I?  I suppose I should start looking for omens and signs from the heavens to direct me in the way I should go.

Maybe I should do a tarot spread?  I wonder what card would indicate “I see much posting in your future.” Pentacles I think. Maybe the six or the eight. Though pentacles are about money and I’ve made just enough from the ads on this blog to pay for the domain name for another year. Wands might be more appropriate

And now some more ideas for content have occurred to me. I could do a lot with the suit of Wands.

I suppose that is a sign

But only tomorrow will tell for sure.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Weekly Winners - week 44

A random collection from around the house this time

Fall colors


Mushrooms in the yard


Pumpkins on the porch (eventually)


Trick or Treaters



Clone troopers working


For more Weekly Winner please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom to see the other participants.  Thanks for stopping by!