Thursday, March 31, 2011
Bummed about bad things happening to good people. I know, I know. So before anyone starts lighting up my inbox with backlash . . . .
Also bummed about MORE than three.
My mamma always said bad things happen in sets of three. Did yours?
Last month, there was the terrible fatal car accident. Our friend, E, was the first responder. Then, my friend Annie's rollover accident. And I was waiting for the third. Then, there was another terrible car accident that was right next to the J's place. It stopped my heart beating cold in my chest. Then, same family, different day, the J's bus got hit by a car on the way home. My heart's been stopping & restarting with too much frequency.
Now, Jam . . . my dear friend from my high school days is standing vigil at the side of her father who is very ill. I've been keeping up with his status through facebook and a site they are updating daily. Today's journal entry begins, " Jim's condition deteriorated yesterday" and these words pepper the paragraph: temp to rise to 102.8 . . . indicating a severe infection . . . rushed back to surgery . . . hoping he is stong enough . . . back to surgery on Sunday . . . . living with hope . . . " The journal ends with, "Keep the prayers coming, please. Jim is in God's hands."
You guessed it. My heart is aching.
And this, too. This is a local family. This is tragic in so many ways. I can't imagine. They were taking a family trip. All geared up and buckled in. Excess speed wasn't a factor. Alcohol wasn't a factor. An oncoming truck just randomly crossed the center line & hit them head on. Both cars burst into flames. A family of four suddenly reduced by half in the blink of an eye.
And with all the pain and suffering and tragedy around us, it seems so horribly out of place that silly little things go on. Like Blue Bell ice cream coming to this town. What's the big deal? Facebook is absolutely lit up with point & shoot pictures of Blue Bell trucks. There's special pricing at King Soopers this week. And people I know are skating through life . . overspending, overindulging, raking in blessing after blessing.
Giant bummer. I guess this is one of those times when, whether you are a Believer or not, whatever belief system to cling to . . . everyone has to ask, "why?" and "how much more?"
Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Grocery shopping with children should be an olympic sport.
But when they aren't there . . . it's kind of weird. There's no one to be the "getter". It took me just as long, only nobody spilled my coffee and I had zero disciplinary moments. Nobody tried to juggle mangoes or make the lobsters "talk". Blissful, I guess.
While I was at the grocery store, I took a phone call from accounting. My heart sinks when I see that number come up. It was a friendly reminder that our tax prep paperwork has to be in by Friday in order for them to complete on time. Sheesh. Have I vented about how much I hate taxes. I. Hate. Taxes. Everything about them. I hate preparing documents, saving receipts and driving there. Ugh. I hate the "you owe the government" phone call. And I've come to hate the "you get 14 cents back" phone call.
So, I unloaded groceries this morning & spent the rest of my alone time prepping payroll and taxes. Joyful. Just about as joyful as back to back mamogram and pelvic exam appointments. My time is up and I have to go fetch Mimi . . .
And, I'm STILL tired.
And now, very hungry.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I can't. I love all weekends. I can't pick a favorite. I love weekends when we do nothing. I love weekends when we do something. I love yardwork on weekends. I love going to movies, eating out, sleeping until 7 and staying up until 11. I love being outside, having movie night, riding bikes and going for hikes. Usually, I'm so busy loving what we're doing (or not doing) on the weekend, that I don't pause to take pictures.
So, there's no photo for this challenge.
Instead, there's a video of happenings on some random weekend in our house . . .
A Major Myth in Gifted Education
I took this from a newsletter addition to the Gifted & Talented Newsletter from spring, 2011 . . .
One major myth in gifted education is the belief that a student who is identified gifted and talented should perform well in all content areas. For example, a student may perform well in language arts, but average in mathematics. The following is an excerpt from an article written by Joyce Van Tassel-Baska on Myths About Gifted Students from the Hoagies homepage:
Myth: Gifted students are good at everything and should be reminded of that when they fail to perform at high levels.
Reality: Gifted students vary in their abilities to perform just like any other group of students.
Students who seem to 'have it all' can mislead educators into thinking that they need little help or support in the development of their talent. "Although in the past we've tended to stereotype gifted students as exceptional 'across the board', few are actually good in everything they do." While it is true that some students may be good at a wide variety of things, and some are truly exceptional in some areas, all students have different learning styles, performance abilities, production rates and quality of work. For example, some gifted students are poor test-takers, others are poor at organization and time management, and still others have difficulty with homework. Some gifted students have a learning disability which may mask their giftedness or interfere with production of academic work.
Talent development implies that a gifted individual must learn, practice and refine their raw abilities over time in order to produce quality work or performance. To do so, the individual must encounter periods of personal and professional growth through challenge, struggle, success and failure. Delisle and Galbraith cite Bejamin Bloom as stating, "no matter what the initial characteristics (or gifts) of the individuals, unless there is along and intensive process of encouragement, nurturance, education, and training, the individuals will not attain the extreme levels of capability."
The implicit internalized belief that a gifted student should "be good at everything" and is a guaranteed success can create enormous feelings of personal failure, self-doubt, and distress when the student encounters his or her first experience with struggle and failure. Cross uses the illustration of Thomas Edison as an example of how "being good" even at one thing, such as the light bulb, took years of experiments, trial and error and perseverance.
Why. I bet you're wondering why I'm on the "parenting gifted children" soapbox right now. Truth is, it's one of my soapboxes. My forever soapboxes. I have a friend of a friend who has gifted children. They've been identified as gifted by the district that they go to school in. I get that. Me too. But, I've been watching this mom from a distance and she is HARD on her kids. I am too, but it's been some time until I could put into words the difference. Here's how it sums up for me: my kids get to struggle. They get to fail and they're learning to pick themselves up and go on. My friend's friend doesn't make mistakes available. She expects perfection every inch of the way . . . . so this article was a light bulb moment for me. It validates that my gifted kids still get the luxury to screw up, and that expecting my gifted readers and non-verbal kids to attack math with the same gusto that they dive into a good fiction is not realistic. I need to loosen their expectation on excellence in areas where they truly are AVERAGE!!!
Monday, March 28, 2011
There are alot of nights that I love. I could have picked our wedding. I could have chosen an anniversary. Big was born at night. Middle and Mimi were born in the afternoon. Of all the days and nights I remember with most tenderness, this is at the top. Christmas, 2003.
Little was born just before 9 pm. It was THE best Christmas present ever. It was actually a great time to have a baby . . the hospital was very quiet, the staff was really attentive & my doctor came in especially for me.
Little's delivery was really special for a couple of reasons . . .
First, beginning in college, I had experienced several dreams about having a son. Finally holding him made all that dreams come true. Second, I had a really odd experience with Big . . . a discussion about baby boys. I'll blog it later, because it's just too much of a story for right this minute. Suffice it to say that she told me we were having a boy when shortly before Middle was born. We knew that Middle was a girl and Big was really involved with her. In a strange moment, she just said that she remembered being in heaven and that there was a little boy with white hair that was coming to our family. Goosebumps. Her prediction came true when Little was born. And last, during my pregnancy with Little, one of our closest relatives expressed concern for us over having a third child. I understand that it was some form of love talking, but the message stayed the same. People whom we loved thought that having three kids was a mistake and that we wouldn't be able to adequately care for or provide for more than two. The word 'mistake' rang in my head. Heck, it still rings in my head. My resolve to provide well and care for our kids has forever been changed and shaped by that conversation.
In a nutshell, receiving a gift on Christmas night . . a white-haired boy who my oldest daughter already knew about . . . . is a night that stands out in my mind. Plus, isn't it weird that it's photo challenge day 25 and his birthday is the 25th. Crazy . . .
I actually looked for a nice ponytail. That's my life. I have had EVERY hairstyle in the book. Long and curly, long layers, straight . . the Friends Cut. Remember when EVERYONE looked like Jennifer Anniston or Courtney Cox? I've gone short. I've been two shakes short of bald. I've had bob cuts of all lenths. I've work asymmetric things, long in front-shaved-in-back things. I've had short bangs, long bangs, whispy bangs and no bangs. I change my hair alot. Right now, I'm wearing long layers with no bangs. I don't color. I cut my hair about twice per year, whether I need it or not. I've recently developed a silver streak on the left side, kind of like Elvira. I kind of like it. It's just a streak. Like I got hit in the head with a hammer and the impact spot changed my hair in that location. Think Cruella De'Ville.
Still, my hair has never looked as good as the day I said I would. It was a curly hair helmet . . . but it looked sweet!
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Then, as I executed a sharp right around a cone zone and into Montezuma lot, suddenly, there was nothing. Well, nothing except a river rock wall coming mighty quickly toward a car that wasn't turning very well. I was taken back immediately to my first car-owner days. I drove this:
I bought it from a farmer for $800. I had to hire a tow truck to pull it out of the field where it had been parked for a zillion years. It was a complete hunk of junk. But it was MY hunk of junk, purchased completely with hard earned tips from my job as a breakfast waitress. Anyway, it had four gears, no get up and go and zero power steering. I had to put all of my then-110 pounds into it and hang on the wheel to make a turn.
Friday, I called for service on my car.
Authorized service has changed locations.
It's not close.
It's no longer under warranty.
And the worst part . . . my lease ISN'T up this May . . . it's NEXT May.
About $597.30 worth of sad. So, I guess since I'll be driving this guy (his name is Beck . . do you name your cars?) for another 13 months . . .
I'll go ahead and have the oil leak fixed. Ironic, if I do the oil leak AND the power steering, the price drops to $397.70. That's better. I'll also have the passenger side rear view mirror fixed. I snagged it on the side of the garage and cracked that sucker right off. Darn hard luck.
Warning to all: Don't do that. It's very expensive to fix. Very expensive. Crud.
And that's my sad car story of the day.
But while I'm on a money-rant, I feel compelled to say . . . our insurance guy came over. My dad was an insurance sales man. I remember going on house calls with him when I was a kid. It was mind-numbingly boring. Still is. But, now, I finally get the difference between term life and whole life. An ah-hah moment. And did you know there's such a thing as a long-term care insurance package? You can purchase it . . . and it gives you and your spouse a combined total of long term care years. Hmm.
Still on money: I sold (yes, sold) the mahonka entertainment center. Yea, me. We're moving it today. I'm so excited. Now I can finally get what I want for that space. Double yea for me.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
I pulled the laptop out to the garage and showed Big how to post to Craigslist while I pulled things out, set things aside, locating missing pieces and sorted for trash, sell or giveaway. We posted 29 things for sale. Three freebies. Two are left.
When I came inside, I still wasn't quite done. I hit the old Thomas stuff. Made a bunch of lots for ebay sale. Then hit the armoire that houses clothes. Then into Little's closet. And on to Mimi's.
I'm plum tuckered out tonight, but feeling satisfied and motivated. I'm ready to dive headlong into a task per week of organizing. Ahh, organizing. My secret fettish.
While I was pitching, purging, sorting and tossing, I thought alot today about gifts. In the last several months, I've been really troubled by gifts . . both giving them and receiving. I'm dangerously close to a blogger-taboo topic, so I'll skirt the real point and redirect toward my own point.
In the last several months, I've been contemplating gift giving. And receiving. I've never considered myself to be a poor gift giver. Or a poor gift recipient. I do believe there are two sides to every story and if ever I've given the vibe that I don't appreciate a gift, I apologize. Likewise, if I've missed an occasion and failed to deliver a gift, I apologize. My personal belief is that any gift should come right from the heart. We live in a world chock-full of materialistic stuff. Most of us have way too much stuff. We have houses that are full, basements that are overflowing, garages that burst at the seams and call for storage units . . . all full of STUFF. I'd rather give a heartfelt handmade card with a personally illustrated smiley face artfully displayed on the back of a napkin than a $200 THING that is neither wanted or needed. I'm a big fan of gift cards.
So . . . Gifts.
Remember our days of youth when you'd get a gift and then the giver would want it back. I can remember playground chides in that innocent childlike tone . . . "Indian Giver!!" I was always taught that once a gift changed hands, it's like deeded property. Once officially gifted, it's the recipeints property, and therefore belongs to them. If they choose to keep it, sell it, or trash it . . that's their choice. And if that happens, the person who GAVE the gift doesn't get to say anything about it. You don't get to be mad or hurt about someone else's property. You just don't. Because . . . well, it's not yours anymore.
It all seems really intuitive to me, but just to make sure I'm not minimizing a bigger situation, I've been trying to come up with an example. Sure, there are a few. In years to come, if I gift my original wedding band to one of the girls and they hock it to feed a habit or buy fishnets, it's likely I'll be disappointed. But, if they don't like a t-shirt that I gift to them and they leave it at the pool or put it in the goodwill box, that's okay. It's more than okay. My girls today sorted through baskets of STUFF figuring out what they could give, sell or trade. I'm okay with that. Even for things that might be important. In the end, it's all material STUFF. It's JUNK. It's tangible CRAP that doesn't mean a good God damn. I'm actually overjoyed to see perfectly good t-shirts and shorts that are too small tip the brim of the Goodwill box. Someone can put those things to use, and I think it's important to teach kids to be selfless and giving.
I'm not sure where that brings my thoughts . . . or if that leaves them anywhere. But, I know that this topic has been at the front of my brain since the beginning of December, so it feels good to get it out. I need to free up some brain space . . .
Friday, March 25, 2011
Tubing has changed ALOT since I was a kid. We used to fill up inner tubes. Real ones. Preferably from a big truck or a tractor. And drive out to the boondocks or the foothills. We'd park our cars, and schlep those tubes uphill on our feet. With our legs. And our lungs. Now, you pay. By the hour. And there's a magic carpet that lifts you to the top. It's pretty sweet.
Tired little bear cub after a busy day tubing . . .
Apparently, we like blue . . . this picture reminds me of my FRIEND Mel's "All dressed up and even somewhere to go" post. They were dressed up and looking sweet. This is our element. Winter gear. MOTH says I look like a cancer survivor. I like it.
Very handsome and rugged mountain-man husband . . .
Day 23; Blogger Photo Challenge; A Photo of Your Friend as a Baby.
Huh? My gut response is . . . what friend? Then, Homestead comes to mind. But I have no baby photos of her. We didn't meet until I was seventeen. MOTH comes to mind. I don't have any baby pictures of him either. How sad. I don't have friends OR pictures of them as babies.
Since I'm dinkering around with my camera today and uploading pictures, I'm taking the liberty to change today's topic. I choose: Photos of the last time you made an ass of yourself in the name of family fun. Here's ME. Notice the cotton candy coming up off of my hair. It was a strange cross between "What About Mary" and those crazy troll pencil toppers from my youth. I think I see a fourth grader in the back ground, which means this was taken at about 9 am. Eee-gads. I'm thinking I look pretty stunning for that time of the morning. Bummer that you can't see my outfit. It was rockin'.
Nice poodle, right. I drew that. I've got mad skills.
And just when you think a crazy post is coming to an end, I add another picture. Midway through the morning, my mom showed up. I 'bout fell of of my stool. Bet you're wondering why I needed a stool. The cotton candy machine was too high for me to reach my stubby little arm in there AND twist the stick in the right direction, so I had to borrow the rollie-stool from the library. I needed more height. Don't laugh. It's the story of my life. Anywhoozle . . . my mom came sauntering in, picked up a broom and started cleaning up, passing out popcorn and doing the twist with a bunch of first graders. It was downright awesome. And she wanted a picture of US . . . so here it is. Note my jazzy sharpie-saddle-shoes.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I dropped the big kids & MOTH off at the gondola this morning. The kids looked draggy & worn. Big said her chins hurt. Middle has a cut on the bottom of her foot. Little was "too hot" (insert nasal whiny voice here). I promised they'd be fine when the got up higher. To everyone's slumped shoulders & droopy heads, I patted their bottoms, kissed their freshly chap-sticked lips & sent them off.
MOTH just sent me this: There's at least six inches if fresh powder - yyyyyyaaaaaahhhhhooooo!!! The kids are loving it!! Skiing the blues on seven -- we're back on the chair - more later--
Here's the silver lining this morning:
Being the one that stays back with little kids makes for a long day BUT it was fast and fun with a buddy. Thanks, Momma J.
So the power steering goes out in the middle of a driving family vacation. Thank goodness it wasn't the brakes.
And Mimi has a fever that's hovering around 101 and is blessing me with intermittent explosive diarrhea. At least she's not vomiting. What's the big deal about sitting in a tepid bath at 5:15 in the morning anyway?? At least we weren't camping! And, the true silver lining for today . . . We're hunkered down in a house . . . A gorgeous mountain home with warm running water, a fire place, cable & a new barbie movie. This is a great place to be "in for the day!!"
Monday, March 21, 2011
When I was a kid, my dad had a deer head in the living room. He had me convinced that there was a video camera planted in the eyeball and it watched us all the time. I was afraid of that deer head until I was in college!!
Sunday, March 20, 2011
Thursday I ran around like a chicken with no head -- getting ready to leave & prepping for the carnival st school. I would have been plenty busy with one or the other but doing both had me scooting about at a furious rate. I was so busy I didn't know if I'd lost my horse or found a rope!!
I sometimes wish I was not the type for cleaning before departure - but I am. I like to come home to a clean house. What can I say?
I spun cotton candy for 8 hours on Friday. I came home a hot sticky mess with blue raspberry sugar floss standing up off of my ponytail like troll hair. Middle won the best dressed contest for 3rd grade. Big looked fab too. Photographic evidence coming next week.
We went tubing yesterday. Good fun. More later.
There is no wireless here. Shhh. Sweet freedom!
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Here's my HOMEtown:
I venture up to 'them 'thar hills as often as I can . . . . to breathe. We hike and fish and take pictures. The kids chase chipmunks and play nature spy. The area is very beautiful!
Tuesday, March 15, 2011
Really? I have none. I barely have photos of me at all . . . and that's me behind a kid. Or me with one eye ball in the back half of a mostly blurry action photo. I have nothing of me standing up. I have wedding pictures. But I already used that. So I went back further. And here's what I've got: me standing up . . . one one leg . . in the palm of my partner, Tim . . . sometime in college . . . most likely my junior year . . . .
I was starting to piece together friends to check between 10 and noon . . . and then check between 3 and 5 . . . and then come back to feed . . . and stay for a while until the next person shows up to sleep over. It was overwhelming and complicated. And then, I called a few kennels. Up until this moment, we've been very hesitant to kennel Moose because, quite frankly, he's socially retarded.
We adopted him from a foster family in Nebraska at the tender age of 11 months. In his short life, he'd been shuttled around between four families, lived on his own, impounded a couple of times and had a really shitty life. On a snowy November evening, the big girls and I drove to Denver to meet the transport chain and take custody of our new pooch. It was love at first site. He glommed onto me like we were long lost soul mates. And he put his fifty pound head in the girls' laps on the way home and let them pet his ears and play with his paws.
And then we got home.
And he saw MOTH. A man.
Uh-oh. And so began the sinking feeling of 'oh, crap . . what did we do?' But MOTH is an animal whisperer, and his patience paid off. Moose loves Little and he adores Mimi. He wakes Big with kisses every morning. He's truly our baby.
But when a man comes around, he absolutely FREAKS out. If that man happens to be wearing a ball cap, he WIGS. And if that man has the scent of cigarettes on his clothes, Moose first reacts semi-agressively and then he runs away and hides. After the Sears man repaired our dryer and pulled the dead pigeon out of the vent last year, Moose wouldn't go upstairs until the scent of smoke was completely gone . . . it was a full day with windows wide open and febreze everywhere.
Our regular vet offers kennel servicing and that made good sense to me. They aren't known for their kennel and boarding care, but that's okay with me. I'm not looking for a puppy playgroup. I'm looking for a chick that he can lean into and for a cute girl to scratch his ears, pat his head and tell him how handsome he is. I want him to eat his own food. Because I hate doggie diarrhea. He needs his own bed. And he should have Tana with him. Co-habitating is a must. He should have limited interaction with other dogs.
I began calling.
And today, he did a day care trial to make sure he wasn't aggressive or dominant. The staff needed to make sure he wasn't a danger to himself or the other animals there.
So at 8:15 today, I loaded my giant dog and took him to day care. Two cute girls did his intake and before I left, he had leaned into one so hard that she was pinned in a corner and had no choice but to scratch his butt and laugh. They fell in love with him.
I drove away feeling that sinking, sick feeling like when you drop your first born off at pre-school for the first day.
He did great. The only hiccup was that the swing shift kennel tech is a man . . . and Moose would NOT let him put his head collar on when I arrived for pick up. But that's it. He didn't eat any chihuahuas. He didn't jump the privacy fence, eat rocks, dig his way to China or attack the staff.
And so. . . freedom is one step closer. We've found a group of folks to love our giant dog while we are away. I'm so, very relieved.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I like doing a lot of things:
|Turning soil, planting flowers, working in the garden . . .|
|Going to playgrounds . . . I'm always in search of a good one. It's one of my lifetime dreams to have enough money to buy a playground and plop it in the middle of a park for a community of youngsters who don't otherwise get outside.|
|And after a long day of gardening, playing and yoga-ing, I love to settle in for a little TV time with my hubby & dawgs. I'm a late blooming late night TV addict.|
Here's my plan this week. I usually start with a blank sheet of paper. This week, it's on the back of Little's spelling homework. I believe in recycling. It looks like this:
Fri: OUT OF TOWN
So, that's an easy week. Then, I look at what I have. Here's what I filled in by standing with the refrigerator door open and looking for a giant switch that says "inspiration ON".
Monday: BFD. Around mi casa, that's Breakfast For Dinner. Yesterday, Pampered Chef Dawn let me play with her manual food processor and I made strawberry stuff. Compote? Salsa? Maybe . . . but it's just strawberries. Fresh. Not puree but cut more fine that chunks. It will be lovely on top of baby pancakes with whipped cream. Eggs for any takers. That's one meal done.
Tuesday: Mexican night. I have ground buffalo and beef. Half and half will be perfect. Plus leftover burritos will cure the brown bag blues for the school lunches this week. I have taco shells and tostada shells. I have lettuce and sour cream and salsa. I don't even need a quick grocery run. Two down.
Wednesday: Steak bites. They're already done and in the freezer. I'll kabob them with pineapple and serve them with california vegetable blend. I have all that too . . . .
Thursday: Well, that's easy. It's fundraiser night for the school at Jason's Deli. Salad bar all around. But . . . I could have done chicken with wild rice, too.
Friday: We'll be on the road at dinner time, so I'm planning something en route to our vacation destination. I'll shop while there for meals for the rest of the week . . . but since I'm in cooking mode, I'm already leaning toward these main meals: spaghetti on a ski day, because it's so crock-pot-able, tacos or some sort of Mexican buffet. Because it's easy. Flank steak. I'll marinate that early and we'll grill one night. It wouldn't be a vacation if we didn't eat at Eric's, so that takes care of one meal. That's four, and on the last night, we'll have to eat all of what's left, which means we'll be eating Aunt Lola's Garbage Salads. Yum :)
Sunday, March 13, 2011
UGH!! MOTH had the crud. He was green on Saturday morning. So I medicated him and sent him back to bed. He hurled and curled and arfed and barfed. And finally fell back to sleep. I took the kids outside. We played frisbee. And then played on the tramoline. While they jumped, I finished my angry raking from last week. I picked up toys and poop. I raked wood chips and cleaned beds. Then we blew bubbles. And the kids got out sidewalk chalk. They drew elephants and geckos. They painted daisies and played hopscotch. And I cleaned flower beds and played with the sprinklers. I tacked landscape fabric down and cut dead overgrowth off. It was glorious.
When we stopped and looked about at each other, we were all dirty and gross. We were covered in dust and chalk and dry grass. But our cheeks had been kissed by the sun and we were appropriately tired and needing a refuel. Ack. It was 4 o'clock. We hadn't stopped for lunch. Or snacks.
We ate dinner. And tiptoed around the house while MOTH continued to sleep. He woke up long enough to amble through the kitchen, suck on a few ice chips and eat two or three saltines. Then, he went back to bed and the kids and I watched Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2 with big bowls of popcorn in our laps. It was fabulous. I put them all to bed and sunk into a comfy chair so that I could take my ipad for a test drive with what's sure to be my favorite new app: People. It was fabulous. While I do adore the paper edition, this is going to be right fun, maties!
Daylight savings time. Yea. Or not.
The adjustment always sucks, but I do love the light. I awoke early. What's new. And petered around the house for a while. Invoicing. Dabbling. Picking up. Petting the dog. Then watched Ben 10 with Little. And made breakfast. Then outside again. MOTH was still green around 11, when he finally woke up. He was out of bed long enough for me to fog the bed and surrounding areas along with anything else he may have touched, coughed on or come near with Lysol.
I hosted a Pampered Chef party today. I've never done that before. It wasn't a raging success, but I do like the gadgets. And I've learned something crucial. I'm not as bad of a cook as I claim to be. For many years, I've joked that if things can't be microwaved or toasted, I don't know what to do with them. But, guess what? That was all my lack of confidence talking. I actually cook quite well. And, I like to cook. Most days, I really like to cook. What I don't like is picky eaters with poor table manners. I happen to have three. Picky eaters, that is. Their table manners are fine. There are really a limited number of dishes that can fill a square for EVERY one of my family members, so most meals, someone is sacrificing. Guess what? Deal with it. Until and unless someone else steps up to plan meals, shop for ingredients, thaw what needs thawing, marinade what's bland, tenderize what's tough and work like hell to put a protein, carb and veggie on the plate all at the same time . . . and warm . . . anyone who sits at my table can either say "thanks" or have cereal. The end. Plus, I think most women who cook or make an attempt to cook need other women to say, "Bloody Hell, Woman . . . good show!" And even if the meal is wretched, overcooked, undercooked, horrid, they need folks around them saying, "Fine effort, Woman . . . Let me help you clean up!" I'm planning to share a few recipes this week. More on my brood of picky eaters this week, too.
The entire weekend was peppered with laundry. Lots of laundry this weekend. I'm down to putting away three stacks and swapping one more load. But as soon as these kids get naked, I'll be a full load down again.
I'm doing baths and the bedtime routine now, and settling in for some DVR time. Oh, and finishing People on the iPad.
While I'm stringing random thoughts together and rambling on . . . I have these things to add:
1. I received the most hilarious voicemessage from Homestead this weekend. Laugh out loud hilarious. I love that woman.
2. I've been working out the P90X . . and Jillian . . . and the Core Secrets guy. I'm switching back and forth. The Yoga on P90X is pretty stinkin' good. And my legs are stronger than I gave myself credit. Also, I can still do pull ups. I'm so proud of myself!
3. I'm grounding myself from Facebook again. I'm totally annoyed with the hypocritcal general comments. I'm certain I'm not supposed to take them personally, but I do. So, I'm off Facebook until my attitude adjusts. Or maybe longer.
4. I'm counting down to our spring break get-away . . . . but am anxious about leaving our four-legged family members in someone else's keep. What a catch-22.
5. I'm making a financial revelation . . . still formulating it in my head . . but, like the cooking revelation, I'm turning over a new leaf. I'm tired of feeling guilty about having a financial compass that keeps the bills paid and the savings account stocked. I'm tired of "friends" giving me the "wish I had" or the "must be nice" line. I'm making a resolution about it this week. More to follow.
More later . . . sounds like the children are wrestling upstairs. Someone just made the whole house shudder, like they'd jumped off the top robe in a welter weight fight . . . . I heard one of the girls holler, "brazilian jujitsu!!" I gotta go . . .
Ump. I love my room. But taking and posting pictures of it seems kind-of, um, intimate. Still, I hiked up with my camera and snapped a few shots. I'm very brave today.
Friday, March 11, 2011
Blogger Photo Challenge; Day 18; A Photo of One of Your Classes.
Again, I say, hmmm.
What does this mean to a middle aged women who's past her prime for taking pictures-of-her-class?
My mind goes to my class. I've always contended that I have none. Plenty of folks would agree. But, just recently, I believe I've found my own step and come into my own. I'm not as class-less as I once thought. I believe I've shown a good deal of class, in the last few months, for certain. I know what I'd like to say, but that's in a future post about regrets. So . . . .
Class . . pictures?
Class . . ring?
Class . . middle class?
Class . . working class?
It brings up an interesting topic: my high school senior class. My senior class is having it's 20 year reunion this summer. Do people attend those? I keep seeing things get posted on facebook for dinners and family events and all kinds of random stuff. Apparently, people DO attend class reunions. There are folks writing on the wall, saying they're a "plus 2". But, I'm situated squarely on the fence. I'm not sure I WANT to go to a 20 year reunion. Let's face it. High school was NOT the best time of my life. More than anything, I'm pretty sure I didn't like the person I was in high school. It's eons ago . . . and my most heartfelt wish is to leave high school and all the memories and people surrounding it where they are . . . in the past.
But everything else . . . can stay in the past. So, seeing as how my high school 20 year class reunion is on my mind, it seems fitting for me to post my . . . . senior class picture . . . .
Harlan Coben is one of my favorite authors. Of ALL time. Right now, I'm reading:
I'm also paraphrasing the storyline of Hamlet for Big . . .
I cruised the shoes. I meandered through the belts. I bought a new black belt. I have one, but I can't find it anywhere. I bought a metal jewelry type belt. I also have one of these, but my son was wearing it as a nerf-gun ammo sling and now I can't find that either. I bought a green short sleeved peasant shirt with some very bohemian embroidery on it. I like it. I bought a very ugly purple shirt. It's so ugly, I'm certain it will look great off the hanger. Sometimes you stumble onto these things. I bought a very simple black casual dress. I'm not much of a dress-girl, but I am liking them with leggings and boots. It's a tad outside my comfort zone, but it's working. For now.
I tried to buy a bra. Did I blog this? I must digress: I went to Victoria's Secret trying to buy a bra. I whisper-asked the size tripe 000 sales girl clad in all black to avoid gawking at my back fat and look at my tag . . . "can you just tell me what kind of bra this is? I want one just like it." She chuckled, then laughed, the spilled the most terrible news. Apparently all the words and sizes are worn off the tag. But, she's been a Vicky's girl forever and remembers that these stopped being available in 2007. "What??", I gaped!! Seems like I just bought this thing. I remember buying a pink one, a black one and a nude one all at the same time . . . . Really? I've been wearing the same bras since 2007. I deserve a new bra. She tried to do a fitting but I just could NOT bear the horror of showing more skin that my already-visible wrists to a near stranger who was giving my body-anxiety. I could barely look her in the eye. So I left feeling a little devastated and hoping my wires don't start poking me. Praying to the bra-Gods that these 3 year old boobie-hatches that have been in constant daily use will hold up until I find adequate replacements.
So . . . . I tried to buy a bra at Kohl's today. I got overwhelmed. And left. They're either huge . . . they could be helmets . . . or itty tiny little training bras with butterflies in the center. Or they're funky colors, polka dots and bold stripes. I'm not one for showing much undergarment, plus, apparently I wear them until they are truly DEAD. One black and one nude will do the trick. Where can I find that? Anyone?
I also tried to look at pants. But I just couldn't get the 'oomph' up to visit a dressing room. I despise dressing rooms. I think there is some sort of bad-judgement airborne chemical that is pumped into dressing rooms. Like a tear gas or a dental happy gas, but for the brief time that you're in there, the gas lulls you into thinking your ass looks good and that you're making good decisions. Then, you get it home and, since the gas isn't pumped into your bedroom, you come to your senses. It's all an evil conspiracy.
So, no pants, a couple of shirts and one simple dress. Oh, and a pair of black slouchy boots. Which I'm certain I will adore. I already do, actually.
And the super good news . . . this is the kind of shopping I really love. I had Kohl's cash. Expired but they'll still take it. And a 30% off coupon. I love it when the "you saved:" line is twice the amount spent. Love it. It was practically free shopping. Love that!!
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
beep . . . are you driving? call me . . . .
beep . . . it's me (business partner) . . . . i just sent you a forwarded voicemessage . . . it's urgent . . .
beep . . . hey, hon, how'd the morning go . . .
beep . . . hi, honey, it's mom . . . I'm at band this morning . . . just didn't want you to worry . . . .
beep . . . hello, ma'am, this is Peter with the Department of Unemployement (insert, 'oh, shit' here)
beep . . . Ivan calling with ADT security . . .
beep . . . hey, Elle, it's Jen from Dr. G's office . . . call me about that claim .. .
beep . . . it's me . . (business partner again) . . .
beep . . . It's Mike from the bank . . . we need to reschedule that meeting from Tuesday
beep . . . it's Juan . . . are we still on for Friday at 10:30? Call me.
beep . . . Elle, it's Mandi . . . is it 12:30 today or 1? Call me . . or maybe just send a text . . .
beep . . . Peter again, thanks for the fast response . . . I have a few more questions . . can you call me again
beep . . . It's Rita, returning your call from yesterday . . .
And I looked up, and it was 11:07 am. Good hell. My phone was smoldering.
I was sans kids this morning and fully intended to bust out all of this month's invoicing along with a slew of reimbursements, update the banking, get the accounting sent off, return a few phone calls, work out, shower & be right on time to pick up Mimi and meet Mandi at 12:30. Enter Peter from the Department of Unemployment.
And here begins my rant. Note: names have been changed to protect the guilty.
Here's a good example of ONE of the things wrong with our country.
Here's a good example of ONE of the things wrong with our system.
Last week, I received paperwork from the department of unemployment. I had to back research and figure beginning and end dates on a person who used to work for the company. Said person quit. But said person filed for unemployment. Long, awkward pause. Can you even DO that? When you live in a work-at-will state and can be hired or fired for anything with no notice . . . AND you resign from your position . . . . can you file for unemployment? All firing humor aside, if you quit your job, can you still file for unemployment? That makes no good sense to me. I absolutely don't get it. Anyway, turns out said person filed for unemployment and it's possible that we'll have to pay out a whopping sum that accrued during her (gasp!) 60 days of work with our company. Seriously. To add insult to injury, the sob story that supports the claim on her end doesn't align at all with the written side of things within the company. Crap. Ever have that gut-wrenching feeling that you need to tighten the ropes and baton down for a pissing match?
I didn't get half of my list done. It was one of those mornings where one apple fell out of balance and the whole cart tipped.
Really? What am I? 18? In reality, the last party I attended was a home show for Thirty-One. I didn't take photographs. Before that . . . . um, probably some home based business thing like Silpada or Lia Sophia. I have a circle of acquaintences that does those sort of shows with regularity.
When I think of the word 'party', I actually think about mylar balloons and cute cupcakes. How old am I? The word 'party' actually conjures the image of a kids' birthday party. I'm not so old that I've forgotten college keggers or underwear parties at the hockey house, but . . . . I have NO pictures of me at ANY party. That's going back for many, many years . . . birthday parties right on down. The last party where I was photographed was the birthday party when Mimi was born. And let's just say: the blood loss was extreme. I'm pale as a sheet and have yards of exposed flesh. Ergo, no such photo shall be posted.
So . . . . today, I'm posting a cool picture that Big took today in the back yard. She calls it "ooh, ahh."
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
I'm opting out. Not really because I don't have a picture of me and someone I love, but because this blogger photo challenge has REALLY demonstrated to me how few people are in my 'inner circle'. There was a brief stint of time when I was the life of the party, but I've since become a hopeless homebody with minimal friends and no real drive for social outlet. I'm comfortable staying in. I like pajamas better than jeggings. I don't drink and don't really want to be a designated driver. For the record, though . . . I could post a picture of . . . (read: see me puffing myself up . . . I have friends, er, um, sort-of.)
a. Me and MOTH. I have a wonderful wedding shot of us in the back of the drive away car.
b. Me and my mom. Or my dad. I've already used them. Or my brother. Also used.
c. Me and Mel . . . . I love her. There are no pictures.
d. Me and a few girls from the 'hood. Frankie or Cinn from down the street. Cathy from up the street.
e. Me and some PTA folks . . . Mandi . . Cinn . . . Jaime . . . .
f. Me and Homestead. I've posted about her. Or others from by 1st four years of college . . . But i just posted a bridesmaid shot . . . so that about covers that.
j. Me and nursing school buddies . . . Fashion Kate . . . I've posted about her. But I don't have a picture anyway.
k. Whoa. I'm at K and I've already gone back 20 years. Me and Jam . . . a still strong high school buddy . . . Or Reece . . . we've reconnected.
l. Me and one of my kids . . . . . . I love all of them. Tons.
m. Me and my accountant. I love him. Alot. Especially at tax time.
n. Me and the a few of the staff members at school. They make my life easier. I love Carrie. I love Annie. I love Dea. I love Heidi. I love Shirley . . I love all the people who love my kids.
0. Me and Kevin, the checker at Costco that I like so much.
p. Me and Tim, he's the Schwann's man that visits my door every second Tuesday. He makes me a better cook.
q. Me and . . . well, I guess that's it.
Tonight, I choose to Blog Photo Rube Goldberg. I bet you want to know why. Well, my daughter is a fountain of information right now. She has a project due in mid-April based on this famous American cartoonist. Anyone know him? He was famous for depicting cartoons of simple actions . . like watering a plant or turning on a light . . . but through an elaborate set of simple machines that made the whole act overwhelmingly complicated. So, Big's project is to build a Rube Goldberg machine that waters a plant. It has to use six examples of simple machines and it has to work.
I listened to her spew details of how she was going to do that and explain her sketch over Shepherd's Pie at the dinner table. I just learned a lot from my kid. For starters, I learned who this fella is. I also learned about simple machines. Scissors are a simple machine. No, I didn't know that. Incline planes, levers, pulleys, wedges. Hmm. She has a plan. Ever the eco-conscious child, she's planning to construct this Rube Goldberg machine out of garbage. She's making an incline plane out of a paper towel tube, which she's filleting open to look like "the half pipe on peak 8." Hmmm. I really did have to stifle a chuckle. She's really excited to build this thing. I find it adorable that she has a sparkle in her eye and speaks with excited urgency over doing homework. Her educational fire is stoked and smoldering white hot.
So, here's a famous Rube for your viewing pleasure . . . it's cool to learn something new.
Monday, March 07, 2011
Well, that's not fair. Really, when someone asks you for a favorite family member, it's not fair to pick. I can't pick Big over Little or Middle over Mimi. They are all my favorite. So, today I'm posting pictures of our four-legged family members.
|Moose loves us. And we love him. He's a perfect adopted addition.|
|Montana, aka Tana, the English Setter. Middle named her for her birthplace (sort of) and the place where she first learned about English Setters. She's very sweet . . . kinda neurotic . . . but very sweet.|
Sunday, March 06, 2011
Friends come and go but these gals have been around since I tied the knot. Well, actually . . . BEFORE.
Dance team buddies and former room-mates on the right & left, Homestead, my maid of honor and Skid, the cutest little flower girl ever (eee-gads, she's graduating from high school in May.) And, as a side-thought: Have I always been this short? Were you guys standing on tree stumps?
Rewind for the story: when we re-did the kitchen and chopped the wall out, we added one base cabinet in the switcher-oo. Old Posts:
So, know this. The new base cabinet has one more drawer. One stinkin' extra drawer. And I can't find a matching pull to the existing hardware. I've been searching for ages. Moreover, our existing pulls are an odd shape. They are shorter than the standard pull, therefore, twice as much. The four millimeter difference equates to an upcharge of approximately $8 per pull. Damn.
In the heat of the remodel, I gave up.
We've been living since the remodel with three drawers that are pull-less. Why? Because I took one drawer's worth off to go shopping and have been carrying it around in a ziploc bag for about 18 months. Or more. Heck, I don't even really know. I just know it's been hopping from purse to purse for ages. Then, I didn't want to give my pull up so that the contractor could have one, so I took another one for him. There, three drawers sans pulls. Last week, I meandered through the drawer pull row and spied something that looked shorter. Hmmm, I thought. And for $19.99, I took home a six pack.
Imagine my surprise and delight when they fit. No filling old holes. No drilling new holes. Out with the old pulls and in with the new . . . just like the pull-Gods intended. Rad. Except . . .
In the meantime, I had managed to find knobs I liked. But there was no such matching pull. So, we'd been livin' mis-matched . . . I'm fine with it, but I like the idea of having the dumb projected completed more than I love the knobs that I chose. So, today . . . here's what happened . . .
Out with the old knobs (which I adore because they are so ME. I love green. I love blue. I love daisies. So pulls in blue and green with daisies practically had my name etched on the backside. Which begs the question, what does one do with 35 fabulous knobs in the perfect hue with daisies in perfect symmetry?)
In with new knobs which I let the kids pick. They feel like eggs and we call them the egg-knobs. And pulls. Which fit exactly right. They are satin-ish stainless-looking and match two of my appliances. Yes, only two. But eventually, all four.
Also in the kitchen, I've been bugged by these four cabinet doors that will NOT close. I close them and they pop open just an inch or two. It makes me bonkers. I've adjusted the hinges. I've done it all. So, while I'm playing in the kitchen . . . I'm also changing out hinges on the popper-open doors. Well, MOTH was . . . because feverish Mimi was on my lap . . . . but he went to open gym and medicine kicked in, so now I'm changing hinges and she's putting babies to bed in frying pans.
And . . . . becasue I'm in love with my new light . . . here's the light. We did this a last weekend, or was it the weekend before. Did I tell the story of me electrocuting MOTH? It was an accident . . . . But, here's my new light. I absolutely positively LOVE it.
Friday, March 04, 2011
Don't get me wrong . . . I have friends. I have friends for casual conversation, "my girlfriend that works with me on PTA," or "my friend from college," or "my friend from nursing school." But FRIENDS, as in REAL friends are pretty limited. When I'm having a particularly shitty day, I don't have a friend who lets me root my ass to her love seat while we watch Hoarders and compare notes on our lives. I don't have handfuls of friends that I see every Friday night for Bunco or Girl's Night. I don't have girlfriends that have my back, my kids or will handle my life if it slides down the crapper. I have acquaintances by the truckload. I have very few friends.
So, today, I'm blogging about the details of the day, as so eloquently stated by my FRIEND. Today, I thought alot about the details of the day. The long, long, long list of things that I do-slash-we-as-women-and-mothers DO, as in accomplish every day. From time to time, I think it's worth recording. It's an important page in my history.
Today, by me, Elle.
My eyes opened at 6:21 this morning mostly because my overfull bladder was sending signals to my brain. I awoke to the shower running (wonder if shower running is related to bladder which is related to waking. Hmm.) MOTH midway through his morning routine. I tried to slip out of bed unnoticed by Mimi, who was snoozing next to me. She was hot and pressed up against my back like a tiny human parasite. MOTH left, I slipped out of bed, Mimi woke and started crying . . . all in the same four minutes. Bathroom visits, ponytail and slippers. Mimi and I woke up Little. Then Middle. Then Big. We met in the kitchen for waffles. Middle played barista. Big sat in a lump. Little didn't show up, and when I called for him, a teary voice choked back, "I can't find the right shirt." It was pajama day in his class. Despite our efforts to lay out the right things the night before, he changed his mind. Tears streaking down his face, he couldn't find his Ironman pants OR his Lego Star Wars top. Crisis averted when I swapped laundry and found his pants. Threw the still damp stuff on the bed to deal with later. Produced pants, fed the swarm, cleaned the kitchen, did hair, morning bathroom routine, tennies for jumprope for heart, $5 for a water bottle, Friday read stuff, planners, lunches, snacks . . . .
Loaded the kids. Picked up the munchkin down the street. Dropped four off at elementary school. Took Mimi to pre-school. Forced a smile and a "what's wrong, Sugar?" to the one in the parakeet pants. "I not like my pants ya-day. I want to go nakee." Go ahead, fellow moms, just try to talk a stubborn three-year old out of that one when you are actually on your way into the school. Dropped her off. Thank Gawd Miss Cole was there today. She eases the awkward transition from coat hanging into an actual activity. God bless the ones who get that.
On the phone already. Texted the ring leader. Gonna be late for meeting at 8:30 . . . . which location again? Ran home, fed the dogs, in and out of the shower in 2.7 seconds. Pits and tits only. Super quick makeup, as trendy an outfit as I could muster, wet hair and power jewelry . . . kennel the dogs, lock the doors, into the car . . . only five minutes late to breakfast meeting.
Discussion . . . much, much, much discussion. Plus a birthday celebration and gobs of brainstorming. I'll fast forward through that part of the morning. Because. That's why. The best part was texting a bag lady during the meeting.
Left the meeting, hit the bank. Opened a new checking account. And a savings account. And got a bonus debit card, which I will shred. Applied for a new home mortgage card . . . enrolled in identity protection. Updated the information on Mimi's account. Made a deposit. Took a good look at my credit. Hit Costco . . spend $52 in gas. Holy cow. I'm so glad my tank wasn't actually empty. Made a return. Got $39 back. Spent $16 in flowers for my (and I use this term loosely) girlfriend's birthday.
Picked up Mimi. Thankfully, she was still wearing pants. Made good on the promise to buy her a book from the book fair if she kept her britches on. Brought her home. Lunch, reading, potty, swapped the laundry, fixed the damp pile on the bed, noticed my phone battery is dead. Plugged in. Texted MOTH. Kenneled the puppy frogs again and headed for school. On Fridays, I run the school store in Middle's homeroom. More on that later, but the kids love it and I hate to beg out. Dropped off birthday flowers for above mentioned girlfriend to her son with strict instructions to hand deliver and be careful. Please don't swing them like a light sabre. Mimi flopped around under my chair while I shuffled sixty kids through the store. Loaded to come home. Brought five kids home. Dropped one off. Fed snacks, made chocolate milk, let Little run around in the back yard. Listened to Big verbally barf her day out while she sat on the kitchen counter and swung her ever-stretching legs. Helped Middle and Little with markers. Made coffee. Planned dinner. Saw Middle race through the kitchen with a roll of duct tape. Saw Big follow her with a long length of rope. Heard them scheming. Heard myself say, "you can not tie him up and duct tape him to a chair!" Sent Big and MOTH out the door for the last volleyball game of the season. Took a phone call. Made a phone call. Swapped the laundry. Put away a bunch of crap. Checked email. Responded asap to Middle yelling, "Mom . . . she's BARFING!" Said a quick but heartfelt prayer of thanks for hardwood floors and clorox wipes. Stripped a kid, cleaned the floor, almost hurled, found a bucket . . . . took another phone call, talked about budget and the cost of a hydraulic playground addition with bars. Stretched Middle, loaded again, dropped Middle off at gymnastics. Sang really loud and told alot of jokes, had a freeze out and made promises to keep Mimi awake on the way home. Failed. Carried her in and encouraged Little to practice piano. Sat with Mimi and played with her floppy arms until she woke up (sort-of) on her own.
Now: it's 6:20. Middle gets home in an hour. Big and MOTH will pick her up. I'm blogging with Mimi in my lap. She's singing the "two-three" song and the "I like pancakes" song. She has a barbie band-aide on her forehead. She's nakee again. Except for the tube scarf which she has taken to wearing as a giant body-condom. She gets inside that scarf and waddles around like a penguin. She's happy. MOTH is texting. He won't make it to pick up Middle. Nix the bath I'm thinking about with the little ones. Little is now fighting with Mimi over a Lego ship and a bat castle. I'm going upstairs to put that fire out. Then, more laundry, dinner, I'll pick up Middle & come home to feed them, clean them & tuck them in. Also, backpacks, lunchboxes and Friday folders. Because . . . this much is true . . . the details of the day don't take care of themselves.