Saturday, July 31, 2010

Scrapbook Saturday

I’ve had a hard time scrapping much since school got out, what with DH not being home much & the boys underfoot constantly & then going on vacation twice. But this week I was able to sit down and get some work done.






For complete credits & more layouts please visit my gallery at SSD.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting away from it all

People say that when they head out on vacation. “We just want to get away from it all.” and usually they have an image like this in their mind


and this


Look at all the bucolic nothingness! The lack of people! The lack of cars! The lack of stuff in general!

Here is the problem.

Those are my views every single day


I am already away from it.

It’s reason #6 on the long list of Reasons Why Stacey Hates Camping. Not only am I even FURTHER away from it all when we go camping, I lose what little connection I have with it all because there is no internet when camping.

I’m not regularly surrounded by enough all to want to give up the small amount I have of it.

When I go on vacation I want to get near it all. I want lots of restaurants, shopping places and activities within 5 minutes of me. I want to be paralyzed by the overwhelming choice available to me. I accept this means crowds & traffic, but that is the price of having it all nearby.

Its not a price I am willing to pay on an ongoing basis, hence the bucolic living situation, but it is a price I can deal with for 4-5 days every 6 months or so.

I like to vacation in population centers, to stare in wonder at the tall tall buildings, to feel hemmed in by all the traffic, to see the many many varieties of people there are to see (though standing in line behind some of them for a hour does lack a bit of  appeal but as I said – the price you pay). I like the rocking fast cable internet I encounter in population centers. I like the stores selling things I wouldn’t find on line because it would never occur to me to search for them.  I love the many different types of restaurants available. I like wondering about people who choose to live in these environments.I like amusement parks & cheesy tourist traps. I like crowded beaches & lakes. I like the feeling of being a part of something lots of people are doing.

DH though wants to get away from it all.

What he means is, he wants to get away from his job, which means going someplace with no cell service & no internet.

Because just leaving the phone & laptop at home are not enough. His conscious will not allow that. It must be a legitimate LACK of service causing his unavailability, not his personal choice.

Meanwhile I am busy screaming “You’ll pry my wifi from my cold dead hands!!!”

Which I realize makes no sense as you cannot hold wifi, but work with me here.

So he goes off on separate ‘man camping’ trips (that in a few years he will have a hard time legitimately leaving the boys out of…hehehehehe) and I dream about a girls trip to the city with spa treatment, bar outings, restaurant meals and lots of shopping.

This trip never happens because A) it’s more expensive than man camping and B) who’d watch the kids? Especially give the current 16 hour a day in another city work schedule DH has.

What this post is saying is

I’m NOT going to BlogHer, AGAIN! Despite it being on the East Coast and accessible by train from the local train station for a reasonable fare.

I think I just need to accept that short of it being held in DC I’ll never get there & probably I won’t get to DC either for the whole conference but I might make a few parties.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Word-ish Wednesday

Have I shared Havoc’s latest hair cut with you?  I don’t think I have. It was all his idea. My contribution was to drive him there & pay for it.

And to put it off for as long as possible


Obviously we couldn’t get it done until AFTER the family photos in Wheeling.

And it had to wait until after we had been to the beach because we have so very few beach photos & the scrapper in me didn’t want the hair detracting from the beach setting.

He wanted an Airbender type hair cut, or a mohawk if the arrow was too difficult.

Obviously, given that it isn’t a straight arrow it was sort of a challenge.

He’s never watched the Avatar Airbender cartoon series. Nor has he expressed any interest in seeing the movie.

He just thought the hair was cool.

And I thought “Its just hair. Its the most expendable & constantly renewing part of the body.”

And I thought “He’s 7. It’ll be cute. Colored mohawks are sort of a right of passage for the 6-8 year old male set locally”

And I hoped “This means we get the goth/emo posure crap of the way now right? We don’t have to deal with the ‘statement’ hair when he is 15 now. Been there, done that. Right? “


Oh you so wish it were so Mom.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Three weeks

Until they go back to school.

We are nearing the proverbial wall of togetherness. The point where you have had all you can take of your loved ones, those people you wanted to spend time with at the start of this vacation, those people you now wish would go somewhere ANYWHERE for a few hours & leave you the eff alone in the glorious silence.

DH took the boys into town Saturday for lunch & then met up with some friends who have a membership at the Rec Club for swimming. They were gone about 3 hours & I think that was the first time I have been childless in all of July.

Usually he takes them into town most Saturdays but between our two long weekend vacations and his working 16 hour days there have not been many Saturdays available.

I expect this feeling to hit towards the end of summer, the last 10 days of summer vacation usually find us all over spending time with one another & eagerly looking forward to being with other people for a change. It’s early this year and that is probably due to all the single parenting I have been doing since mid June. DH has been home by 7 maybe 3 times in 5 weeks, normally he is home by 6:30. This summer he has been home around 10pm and it’s been slowly wearing me down. I’ve lost almost all desire to cook dinner. I’m short tempered about little things with the boys.  I find that ‘yelling’ is my default response to everything these days. When DH is home while the kids are awake I find myself hiding in my bedroom to have some alone time.

I need my normality back.

Not so much the kids being in school, though I like that normality, but mostly I need my partner back. I need to share the discipline. I need adult conversation when my brain is still alert, not at 10pm when I am half asleep. I need someone to say “Thanks for dinner, it was delicious”. I need at least an hour a day where someone else can get the juice or mediate the quarrels. I need to fax employment related documents only he can provide from his office where he never is these days. I need some else to be here, to lean on, to talk to.

His job at this site has 2.5 more weeks to go. He stayed there overnight last night & might stay again tonight. I don’t know if he will be staying in town the rest of the week or driving back & forth. He’ll be staying on site Sunday & Monday nights next week as well & I have no idea after that.

I let the boys camp in the living room last night just for variety. I knew they would be up all evening anyway. Mom being alone in the house every night has triggered an avalanche of sleep putting off behavior the past few weeks. First someone needed to go to the bathroom, then they wanted the good dreams spray, then a glass of water, then the lighting was all wrong, then there was some life changing question that just *had* to be answered, then a complaint about how the sibling was keeping them awake, then missing stuffed animals, etc. They don’t do this when DH is home. I get so fed up with all this that one night I bribed them each $1 to stay in bed all night but I can’t afford to keep that up.

So since DH wasn’t going to be home at all I decided I’d watch TV in bed & let them have the living room, warning them that if I had to come in and tell them to be quiet twice, they would be moved back to their own room.

Naturally I was in there within 15 minutes. When I came in the second time there was much wailing & gnashing of teeth and finally, between sobs Mayhem says “I can’t help talking Mom. It’s what kids do” and I had to leave before I started laughing.

It hasn’t all be miserable but it’s wearying & I worry I am going to be so worn down that getting back to our regularly scheduled lives is going to be very hard.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday Ramblings


It’s been 95-108 here during the day. There is not enough money in the world to get me to turn my oven on. I think we have had sandwiches and raw veggies for dinner nearly every night, except when we had taquitos cooked in the microwave.




The living room is a mess. It’s always a mess. I could sweep 3x a day and there would still be stuff to sweep up. The kids are in and out of it all day long so it hardly seems worth the effort to clean it until they go back to school.




I got a Kindle for my birthday!!!! I bought Tony Bourdain’s latest book, Murder Most Royal by Jean Plaidy and Terry Pratchett’s The Last Continent. So far I have read Plaidy & am about a third of the way through Pratchett.





Actually it is a phrase – gnomic utterances. They are saying that are mysterious and often incomprehensible yet seemingly wise.  I can think of a couple people I can apply this to, we’ll have to see how the week shapes up


The last few weeks have been rather disjointed for me, with all the coming & goings that we have had. I’m hoping things settle down now for the next 3 weeks until school starts again & I can get back into my regular routine.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weekly Winners – Beach edition

I missed weekly winners last week because I was at the beach with no laptop & no Nikon but I did get some decent photos with my phone and my old point & shoot. We were at  the beach around 8am so the lighting was difficult to work with






Be sure to visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom for more Weekly Winners

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vacation #2 – the beach

2010-07-18 09.45.43

We had a great time at Rehoboth Beach & were bummed we only had 2 nights there. Next year I think we may try for 4 nights or so. A whole 6 nights might be a bit much just from a sand & sun point.

My SILs rented a house a couple blocks from the beach. It was a 70 year old bungalow style house that had been updated a bit. Lovely hardwood floors everywhere. A very nice place but like nearly all house rentals you have to bring everything but plates. Sheets, towels, toilet paper, food are all on you & guess who’s husband failed to mention the sheets & towels thing until we were sitting on the front porch of the house waiting for his sisters to arrive with the key?


We brought food. I had foreseen that, but we bring food everywhere we go so it’s not really an issue. I’d wondered about the linens but since nothing had been said & nothing was on the rental website I figured sheets were provided.

Apparently my SIL sent DH an email on July 7 reminding him about the sheets, towels & toilet paper issue, but DH never saw it until we were sitting on the porch. Fortunately they brought extras.

And you have to clean up after yourself.

Cooking, cleaning, washing dishes, had we been there longer I would have done laundry.

Exactly how is that a vacation really? Same work, different location.

But it was really nice to have the whole house available. It had a big main room with cable tv,a/c, two bedrooms downstairs and a big open upstairs that could sleep 6-8 people, plus a nice kitchen, dining room & screen porch

I think though if just the 4 of us stay at the beach I would prefer an efficiency suite at a hotel. They provide everything but the food and clean up after you.

To me a vacation is meant to be spent in comfort and laziness, which is why I hate camping.

The boys loved the beach. Havoc spent most of his time in the waves and Mayhem spent his buried in sand




There was a Funland on the boardwalk about 2 blocks from our street, we went a couple times. It had rides for the kids


2010-07-18 15.06.33

2010-07-18 15.11.53

I left the D40 at home. These were all taken with my cell.

Apart from the 53 minute wait at the Bay Bridge toll booth, it was a great trip & I think we’ll try to get a beach destination vacation in next year or the one after.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

It’s my birthday today

43 years ago I made my somewhat drowsy entrance into the world.  Apparently I was a ‘good baby’, meaning I slept a lot.

I wish I could still sleep a lot.

For my birthday I want my insomnia to go away & never ever come back.

Since that will never happen, in lieu of that I will take a Kindle.

Since that will never happen either, I’ll take stuffing myself with sushi.

But that may not happen either for financial reasons so how about 3 hours alone with a book?


I did get a rather nice present yesterday & wasn’t even aware of it until DH told me about it.

Apparently, this really good looking, really buff lifeguard was checking me out big time while we packing up to leave the beach. DH said he first though the guy was just looking around & stopped on us because we’re by his chair & we’re packing up but the longer he watched the more apparent it became that the man was eyeing me up appreciatively.

So I feel all sexy now that some 20 year old guy thought I was worth staring at in that way.

Happy birthday to me.

It seems I’ve still got it. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

More packing

We’re headed for our second mini vacation this weekend!

We’re going to the beach. We’ve never been to the beach.

Not ‘to the beach’ as the destination. My folks live a few miles from the beach in FL & every couple of years we manage to actually sit on sand and get in waves for a couple hours during our visit. But we’ve never gone anywhere where the beach is the whole point of going.

We’re not beach people you see. I can certainly see the attraction of a beach if you are a beach type person – sun, sand, surf. But I need shade & sand gets everywhere (and when you are a girl, everywhere is just that, EVERYWHERE. Getting sand out of your everywhere is a PITA). That doesn’t mean I am anti-beach, just that it would never occur to me to arrange a vacation there. A few days at a beach (with lots of SPF) is a nice change.

It is one of my SIL’s 50th birthday this month & to celebrate she rented a house for a week and invited all her siblings & their families to visit. Last weekend was spent with my family, this weekend will be spent with DH’s. We haven’t seen any of them in about 18 months & that was at a wedding, so it will be nice to have some time to just chat with them.

So I have to pack again. There ought to be a law about that. You should be allowed at least a month between vacation packings. I just got everything unpacked & washed & put away!

Fortunately I did leave the enormous suitcase out, rather than stack it back in the closet, under all the smaller suitcases, carry ons, insulated tote bags and assorted shipping boxes.

My main concern this time is the books. I underpacked my books for last weekend. I only brought one, started it Thursday evening & finished it Friday. That left me with NO BOOKS to read and 3 more days to get through. I used to be able to borrow books from my folks but they switched to Kindles a year ago & my brother & his family don’t read much. Fortunately there was a Books A Million a mile from the hotel & I was able to buy a couple more.

This time I am not so sure about the availability of book stores so I am bringing half a dozen books, even though it’s only 2 nights.

Better too many books than not enough.

I found a great old fashioned cozy mystery series. Though it is set in modern times it has a very Agatha Christie or Dorothy Sayers feel to it. I read the last book, Death at the Alma Mater, yesterday & will be picking up the first two books in the series – Death of a Cozy Writer & Death & the Lit Chick, from the library today. I’m also bringing Cook the Books, the latest Gourmet Girl mystery. I’m still deciding on a 4th book. Amazon just released the Kindle app for Android & I’m thinking I’d like to get a Kindle book to test it out. Something funny.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The long & winding road home

The fun thing about Google maps, or the really freaking annoying thing about Google maps, depending on how you look at it, is they never seem to send us the same way twice.

I make the drive from our house to my hometown once a year. I’ve been making it since 1992, and from this area specifically since 1996.

So I know how to get to Wheeling.

I66,to I81, to I68, to I79, to I70, with a few assorted cut offs here & there to shave a little time off the trip. It takes 5.5 to 6 hours depending on tractors, coal trucks and general traffic conditions.

But my new phone has Google maps supported navigation & just because I could I put in my start & end point & asked it to tell me how to get there.

It cut out 3 of the interstates and had us on US40 for most of the drive.

Before there were interstates there was US40. Interstates were built to remove most of the traffic from the often 2 lane road that winds through the mountains and a bunch of tiny towns, which saves travel time. But Google seems to think that US40 is the way to go.

Since it is pretty much impossible for even us to get lost on US40 (it runs right into downtown Wheeling), we took it.

It was a perfectly nice drive and we made it in 5.75 hours. It was nice to see different scenery. Seeing the same old scenery (not at my hometown) makes the trip tedious to me. I know exactly where we are and exactly how much longer we will be.

When it was time to leave I gave Google our start & end points because I didn’t quite recall a couple of the turn offs and it didn’t save the previous directions.

It sent me down I70, I79, and I68, with a brief foray off into the wilds of the eastern panhandle of WV to avoid I81 and then onto I66!


Why a different way back? All the traffic reports looked clear. No new road construction projects had begun.

It does this to us for the trip to Florida every year. Sometimes it sends us through the middle of Virginia and across South Carolina to I95. Sometimes we are sent down I95 the whole way. Sometimes we are routed through Tampa, sometimes Orlando.

And never the same route home.

DH thinks some programmer is sitting in an office in California laughing his ass off.

This’d be the same guy who sends people down a dirt road to get to our road when there is a perfectly good paved road available 500 yards away.

Since you cannot just drag & drop new routes on the phone the way you can on the computer, we had to drive past the i79 turn off point & then tell it to reconfigure our route.

It told us to turn around.

Eventually we got far enough past the turn that it came up with the same route we took to Wheeling.

I like that route. I think we may use it again the next couple of visits.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Weekly Winners – Wheeling edition

We’re visiting my hometown for a few days. It’s my parents 45th wedding anniversary this week and as a present my brother & I are getting them a giant portrait of our entire family – all 11 people. So we spent a couple hours up at Oglebay getting group and individual family photos taken. While my brother’s family was getting theirs done the rest of us passed around my camera.

I took this one


DH took this one


Havoc took this one


Mayhem took this one (we’re all worried he’ll drop the camera)


My sons & their cousins, waiting for the grown ups to sort out where the next group photo would be.


oh, over there


Then we went to their house to swim



My parents


Everyone slept soundly that night


For more Weekly Winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, July 09, 2010

Bad hotel karma

One of the reasons I am no fan of travel is that I have bad hotel karma.

I always end up with the room by the ice & vending machines, or the elevators, or the side entrance from the parking lot, or with a bed that as a huge dip in the middle, or the a/c that sounds like a freight train charging through the room whenever it kicks on, or with the neighbors who watch TV loudly until 3 am, or end up on a fold out couch bed with a mattress that is mere millimeters thick over hard metal bars.

Hotel pillows are terrible, soft, flat things & I hate them. They are too flat to lay on one pillow but piling two of them makes the pillow too high. So I have to travel with my own pillow.

Plus I travel with children who wake at the crack of dawn. When I was a child I traveled with adults who woke at the crack of dawn.

Does no one I am related to by blood understand that humans are meant to stay in bed until at least 7am, 8am preferably?

Oh. And I have insomnia, which makes sleep under the best of conditions a challenge and sleep under any of the above conditions damn near impossible.

Yesterday we checked into the hotel we will be staying in for 4 nights. It is a room by the ice & vending machines, with an a/c unit that sounds as if a freight train is rattling to pieces while emitting a high pitched whine. It is a room on the first floor by the door that opens on the parking lot & people were still coming & going, shouting & honking horns at one another until 2am.

And I left my pillow at home.

But the mattress was decent.

At 7am I went to the front desk & requested a new room, mainly because of the a/c problem. OMG! the noise. It sounded like this for about 8 minutes





rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle

rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle



rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle

rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle


rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle

rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle rattle


Then suddenly there was total silence for about 5 minutes and the humidity began rising then it would start over again.

Supposedly they will be moving our luggage to a new room while we are out today doing our family photos.

Given my hotel karma I somehow doubt this will happen.


Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Going home again

I left my home town at 18 for college. I left the whole state at 25 for a job.

That was 18 years ago

My parents forget sometimes just how long it has been since I spent more than a week in Wheeling.

Sure, once upon a time I was not only able to follow directions that included landmarks that hadn’t existed since 1973 but often used those landmarks myself when giving others directions.

But I mostly left in 1985 & really left in 1992.

Things have been built since I left. Some of those things have also ceased to exist. Some of them I have never seen even though they still exist. Some of them had the same name as other things that used to exist in a different location.

“Down by the old Reisbecks building”

Possibly this refers to the office/department store one down town but that is usually followed by “You remember, where Mr Dale had his office.”

So maybe it refers to the short lived grocery store of the same name, which I think is in a different part of town, but I can’t be sure because it opened and closed in the 1990s when I was only ever in town for the occasional long weekend and can’t recall ever visiting it, though I do recall being told about it.

“You know, the road out the Pike, it comes out by that truck stop”

Ok, I do know of a truck stop off I70 in the Dallas Pike area, but since I never had any reason to stop at it, or anyplace else in Dallas Pike in the 18 years I lived in Wheeling or the 5 that I was a frequent visitor, I have no idea what road you are referring to and no hope of finding the place in the Grove (or maybe Triadelphia, I can’t tell for sure) where this road begins.

Bethlehem, Elm Grove and downtown Wheeling, the areas I spent most of time in, are still fairly clear in my mind geographically, but the rest of the area is a mystery now. Those areas of my brain are now filled with references to where the Lowe’s wasn’t built in Brandiwyne (they successfully kept Lowes from building there) and ‘that road that dog legs back behind where the Farmer Jack used to be’ (it closed in 1997, 2 months after I moved here and has been 2 other stores since).

My parents think I want a hotel room in Elm Grove to be near the di Carlo’s pizza store, (which is true enough) but mostly I want one there because I know where I am there. I can get to my brother’s house, the park, my parents’ apartment, the other park and yes, the pizza place, easily and quickly.

Getting me a hotel in Warwood, or across the river in St Clairsville just makes it highly likely I will get lost and then have to endure conversations about how could I possibly think that turning THERE would have gotten me to the interstate, followed by directions for back routes with landmarks I don’t recall.

We ended up with a room at a hotel in Dallas Pike, which is fine. It’s right on I70 at the top of a mountain with a two mile long  stretch of road leading down right into Elm Grove

Except my dad seems to think this back road going behind a truck stop will be quicker.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

101 degrees today

Ear infection

Iffy internet connection.

Pool that needs to be scrubbed before being refilled

Packing before a trip

Tracking down people I need to call

Errands that need to be run before we leave

Chores that need completed

Three new books arriving today

DH once again working until 10pm

Wordy, interesting blog posts are unlikely this week.


I tried to do this as haikus for some reason or other.

Like a part of my high school brain suddenly reemerged from Sister Joan’s English class and panicked – Must write haiku assignment!!!

Because I cannot think of a single reason why my current brain would think haiku writing was a good idea.

I can’t write a haiku to save my life.

I considered breaking up those sentences and calling it free verse


that needs scrubbed

before refilling.

Because that is as close as I get to poetry, but I figured that would just look confusing.

The heat must be affecting my brain for me to be thinking about poetry. Even in the air conditioning.

Hopefully I’ll have something more coherent tomorrow

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Weekly Winners

We have nectarines blossoming




Fixing a flat


And Batman visited


For more weekly winners please visit Lotus at Sarcastic Mom.

Thanks for stopping by!