September 30, 2006

Did I say, Blech?

And so the blogosphere has decided to impart upon me… more 'make the bile in your throat rise' stories.

Blech.

Jerry has his story HERE. His is a fuzzy story… and not a warm fuzzy story either. Honestly? It was the demise that made me shudder the most. Blech. But hey, as I like to say, that’s the man’s job… kills the bugs and get rid of the bodies. Applies to rodents too… although if you’ve read my five part rat in the car story, you’ll know I’ll set a trap. I just can’t dispose of the carcass.

Then Sticks has her disgusting story HERE. Bah! It made me want to hurl. And I can’t believe she DIDN’T when it happened. Blech.

And last, but not least, Tink, has her story HERE. I am telling you now, if my boys do this to me, they are not long for this world. Good God. It made me nearly crawl out of my skin. Blech.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Welcome to Bones' World

In the car on our way to a local pizza place for dinner, Bones asked, “Mom? What is puberty?”

His brothers were snickering and my husband got a combination of a deer in the headlights look combined with a bit of frustration and anger. I could tell it was not the question, as that something had occurred.

I answered his question and said, “Why?”

My 2nd son said “He was just wondering…”

Me: Just wondering? Out of the blue? He is 7. Why the question.

Bones: I asked earlier, but Dad got mad.

Dad: I didn’t get mad at the question! I got mad that you were SHOUTING the question at me from across The Gap. We’re looking at clothes and from across the store, over all the shirts, I hear you YELLING that question at me and people were staring and listening. Save your questions for home… Ok?

Heh.

We arrived at the pizza place when I overheard Bones say, while talking to his brothers, “What he needs is mouth to mouth constipation.”

I ignored it.

I heard it again. His siblings were laughing. Finally Ringo said, “You mean RESUSCITATION.”

And finally, we were all seated and Bones said, “Mom. I have another question for you. But I have to wait until we’re home…”

Me: Ask softly and I will tell you if I can answer it here.

Quietly Bones: What’s a jockstrap?

Quietly Me: Well, it’s kind of like underwear. Men wear it when they play sports or go running. It keeps your balls close to your body so it’s not so uncomfortable.

Bones: Do they ever rip them off and eat them?

Me: *blink*

Bones: Well?

Me: NOoo. It’s like UNDERWEAR. Do you rip off your underwear and eat them?

Bones: You’re sure. They never rip off their jockstraps and eat them.

Meanwhile, my 2nd son is laughing so hard, he has tears streaming down his face.

Me: I’m sure.

My second son: He saw this joke in a movie where they ripped them off and ate them.

Nice. You know… if you had told me 30 years ago, that I’d be sitting at a dinner table, explaining the meaning of jockstraps and how they are NOT edible underwear, NEVER, NEVER, NEVER in a million years would I have believed you. I just so did not see my life taking this path…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:11 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Webelos

I had my Webelos Den at my home today. We have a couple badges to earn in their effort to get their Webelos badge, which they must have before we can earn the Arrow of Light badge.

I know, it’s probably foreign to most of y’all, but it is a big deal to my young Webelos. They want that Arrow of Light badge that they can wear on their Boy Scout uniform when they cross over in 18 months.

And I am determined to help them make it happen.

So I had them over and we made “Peanut Butter Balls” and talked about nutrition and fitness and tobacco use and illegal drugs and… inhalants. If it was in the book, we spoke on it. I also taught them how to play chess… something I will make as an ongoing task for us at every meeting.

I sent a synopsis home to every parent on what we discussed. Being with these boys for over an hour was like being with… a pinball machine. That ball careened all over the place. Fast paced, questions my way, comments, commentary… and it makes me wonder, when they are alone with all this data, in their head, as it churns and burns, and gets simmered down… what information will be left? What will they remember? Will it be the significant stuff? Will it… even be right? What facts will get twisted and misconstrued? What stories will get melded into something totally unrecognizable?

Good Lord.

Let me tell you… these boys remember STUFF! As we were in my car making our way back to my home, they started talking about snacks. One of them asked if marshmallows were good for you… and next I heard was “Mrs. Bou doesn’t like marshmallows! She HATES them. Someone put them in her chocolate ice cream once…”

I started to laugh that this one boy remembered my telling him the story last camping trip. Some boys were standing around eating s’mores (which I hate) and when asked, I told them of the time I was 2 years old, my grandmother sat me on the counter and was feeding me chocolate ice cream and as I ate it, I found someone had put squishy stuff in my ice cream. It completely skeeved me out and I’ve not eaten marshmallows since. (It was Rocky Road ice cream. Blech!)

However, one boy had not heard the story, so I rattled it off, they started laughing and one said, “Mrs. Bou, you need to write that story down and sell it. You have good stories.”

Heh. That made me laugh.

Anyway, the boys are also well aware of my chocolate addiction and talk about it often. That has started to elicit laughs from me as well.

So they’ve remembered I HATE marshmallows and love chocolate.

I am looking forward to hearing from their parents what they remember from the meeting…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:07 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 27, 2006

Location, Location, Location

Bones has been home sick for the past two days with a low grade fever and complaining his stomach hurt. This morning, fever having broken yesterday, he awoke and said he wanted to go to school.

I prepared lunches, got his breakfast together, quickly dressed for work and set off to take The Boyz to school. On the way, he said his stomach felt a bit icky and asked for the a/c on full blast. I thought it might be a touch of motion sickness, as tends to happen when you sit in the back of the asexual Mom-mobile.

We got to school and I walked him in and pulled his teacher aside saying he seemed fine, but in the event he really wasn’t, to call me at work and I’d come get him. Bones had just left us to use the restroom when a little boy came in and pulled on the teacher’s shirt saying Bones was in the bathroom puking.

Lovely.

So I went in to fetch him, gathered up his work and took him back home.

About 11:00 he said to me, ‘MOM! I feel GREAT! Pleeeeeeeease let me go to school!”

Me: Dude, you threw up in a school. That’s a big NO on the attendance situation.

Bones: But… I didn’t throw up on the carpet or my desk!

Me: *blink*

As if location matters?!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:10 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Be Still my Heart

The 6th grade dance is next Friday. My son had said he didn’t want to go. I received the flyer yesterday and said, ‘It’s $15 for the year if you want to attend these. What’s up? Wanna go?” and he said, “Yeah.”

Heh.

Change in heart.

So today I said, “So you’re going to the dance...”

Ringo: Yeah, David’s going, so I’ll go.

Me: You know my cell. Call me if you want to come home early; I’ll pick you up.

Ringo: We’re probably going to just sit in the back and eat brownies…

Me: What?

Ringo: Yeah, David says they always have a lot of food. (David has an older brother, so David is in the know…) So we’re going to sit at the food table…

Me: *blink*

I remember when my boys were toddlers, I used to say, “it’s all about the snacks…” and it was! If I packed good snacks, we could make it through anything.

That seems to not have changed.

Meanwhile he informed me that one of the more confident boys in his class, a boy I’d say definitely has balls of steel even at this young age, is going to ask one of my son’s friends… a girl that has been ‘just a friend’ for a very long time. Caroline.

I’ve secretly known that he has admired her from afar for a long long time, but will say nothing. It’s his business not mine. So he said in the car, “It seems that Jack is asking Caroline to the dance…”

Me: Boys are asking girls to the dance?!

Ringo: Ummm, yeah. Mommm, it’s a DANCE!

Me: Oh. Yeah. Well, for some it is. For others it’s about the brownies. I feel bad for Caroline…

Ringo: Me too.

I could tell by his expression this bothered him. It was a clue to me that he truly cares about her but will always watch from a distance.

Ringo: But, Jack is also asking Caitlyn and Beth, so he figures someone will say yes.

I was telling my sister, Morrigan, this story and she said, ‘IN SIXTH GRADE HE ALREADY KNOWS THE SHOTGUN APPROACH?!!!’

Heh. Evidently.

Ringo: Harry’s not going.

Me: Really? Well, Harry doesn’t like to eat…

Ringo: Yeah, and he hates dancing.

Me: Is he into girls at all?

Ringo: No. So I guess if you aren’t into girls, dancing or food, there is no reason to go.

Indeed.

So this middle school thing… it’s going to hurt. I can tell. I’m going to watch my boy pining for a cute little girl, a little girl he deems made of unobtainium.

Bullies and girls on pedestals.

I hope my heart can take it…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:09 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Right Under my Nose

I’ve made no bones about the fact I’m a cynic. Humanity gets me down. I think that the vast majority of the population is messed up and no damn good. I have to actively search for good. Some days it is easy. Some days it is a struggle.

Days like yesterday, hearing some pretty awful things that kids did… it makes it even more of a struggle.

I try not to dwell. I perpetually search for the goodness in people and the good that surrounds me. I try to appreciate every day… me being of the mindset also that life is very short. One day you’re tooling around with the world by its tail and then next thing you know… you’re dead or someone close to you is dead.

Life is very temporary to me.

Our country is at war and it is not lost on me. I don’t blog it. I’m not in the military nor am I a military spouse, so I have not a real first hand perspective of what is happening. But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected me.

It has. Greatly.

Today when I opened my local paper, I found THIS article. How easy it is sometimes to find the good. Some days I don’t even have to look… some days it has been placed there, right under my nose, for me not to miss, big as day, in headlines.

There are good people. And reading about them gives me hope… losing a son in Iraq, devastated by their loss, taking his life insurance money and adopting older children from another country, that would never normally be adopted, giving them a chance in America, giving them a loving family, healing wounds, loving children, never forgetting, but trying to do good.

Some days… all is right in my little world. I'm always looking for hope.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:55 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

September 26, 2006

Done.

There have been problems in the 6th grade, my eldest boy’s class. Bullying problems. Not just one or two, but a handful of boys. Boys that were problems since Kindergarten are now in Middle School. My son has not been the victim...yet, but he asked me a couple weeks ago to please go speak to the principal in confidence as he was worried about a kid that was being bullied.

My son and the other boys won’t tell anyone when this happens. The Middle School Code of Silence. I’ve explained if it is a safety issue, he must. But he won’t. The closest we got was his telling me of the problem… and asking me to talk to The Man.

It’s tough to be in Middle School. And I’ll take on anyone. I’m not afraid. I told him I had intended to, without his knowing, anyway. It was the right and honorable thing to do. He thanked me. And the next morning, when the office cleared out, I walked into the principal’s office and explained what had occurred.

He handled the situation, reporting back to me as to what had been done and the preventions put in place.

This week the same group of bullies caused trouble again. All the boys in 6th grade were pulled in. They have all been told where the situation stands, that expulsion is to be an option used very soon. Now the bullies know… and they know the other boys know.

All the 6th grade boys lost PE for the next two days. My son is pissed as hell, telling me it was because of the ‘assholes’ in his class that they’ve lost PE. I let him vent. I want him to be open. I don’t foresee this situation getting any better yet so I need an open line with him.

I put the word out on the street tonight about how I feel about this. My son has not been a target, but should I find he is, I am starting to tell the Moms what I told one today:

I will not tolerate my son being bullied. If my son is hurt during an action, I am coming after the kid, the family, the school, and the church and I will spare no expense to make sure EVERYONE feels my wrath and the pain. I will spread it out thick. No one will be spared.

The Mom I said this to today started to laugh and said, “And in your good Christian way.”

I laughed and said, “You’re joking. Right?”

Screw Christianity. Mess with my kid and you’re messing with me. I’m done with this. We’ve given my son cart blanch to do what he has to do to defend himself and if that means taking a chair and beating a kid with it to defend himself, then so be it.

I’m not kidding. And if you think the principal isn’t going to hear my schpiel, you are wrong. Every mother I know is going to hear this from me as well.

I’m done.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:15 PM | Comments (29) | TrackBack

September 25, 2006

Family Day

As Tammi of Tammi's World pointed out... today is Family Day. I was nearly remiss in posting on it.

Why?

Because... I guess... I just view what we do as a family as normal. I continue to live out the traditions my Mother and Father set before me. The same traditions my Better Half's parents set before him.

We're all about Family.

We sit down to eat every night as a family. There are days, of course, where we cannot, but those are few and far between. Even on nights like tonight where we have baseball, I try to have my husband come home just a wee bit early so we can all still sit at the table and eat together... even if its quickly.

The boys set the table. The TV is off.

It is time for us to regroup from our days... hear of the good and the bad. We go around the table and each child has to say one good thing that happened to them. We must be thankful for the good that happens and not dwell on the bad. Trust me, we hear the bad all the time, but at dinner, we try to focus on our blessings.

Tonight Bones asked me to keep the music on. I had music playing as I was cooking this evening, so with background music (Coldplay, heh!)... we had our family dinner and then we were off to baseball.

And nearly every Sunday night, we get together with my Better Half's family, who live nearby.

Sunday Dinner.

People seem surprised that we do this, nearly every Sunday.

I am equally surprised that they do not.

Family. I'm all about Family.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:03 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Bad Contest Ideas... Played Out. Gah!

Some days... I don't think. I don't. I can't possibly be thinking in long range planning terms, which truly is a shame as long range planning is what I do for a LIVING.

And I must truly suck at my job to have not thought this recent scenario out thoroughly.

In this POST about my roach experience, I turned it into a contest.

WHAT.WAS.I.THINKING?!

First... Sissy went ahead and grabbed First Place, which she can GLADLY HAVE if it means I don't ever have to experience anything even remotely close to her story HERE.

Gah! I thought I'd puke.

And then! Gah! Again! My blog bro T1G posted HERE something that just is so very wrong. It reminded me of a Star Trek movie. Blech.

If you have bug issues... don't read those posts. Consider thyself warned...


Posted by Boudicca at 09:39 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Little Ovens

Bones has been sick today. He woke me up at 4AM to tell me he felt poorly. I sent him back to bed telling him he’d not have to go to school. He awoke around 7:30 and asked me to lay on the couch with him and snuggle.

I lay down on the couch, on my side, and then took his little body, and pulled it in close to me, so we were spooning. I put his head on my arm and pulled a blanket over us and he fell back to sleep for an hour.

He is so small and sweet. I love kissing his hair as he sleeps.

He’s like a little toaster. The kid can put off some serious heat. Forget the fact he was running a low grade fever, the kid throws heat.

And it reminded of this summer when I was at my Aunt’s home. The kids wanted to take turns sleeping with me… or perhaps take turns NOT sleeping with Bones. Bones loves to be in your personal space, whether asleep or awake. My Aunt had a nice queen sized bed with a feather bed and quilts in each spare room and at night, unbeknownst to me, she turned the A/C down to 65 degrees.

I’d get the boys ready for bed, get them all tucked in, with whatever boy was sleeping with me all set in our big bed, and then I’d go talk to my Aunt until the wee hours of the morning.

That first night, I came to bed, and immediately started to shiver. It was July. I had no idea what the problem was, all I knew was I was freezing cold. As I quickly slid between the covers, I found them to be icy as well. And when I get cold, my whole body shakes. I was a mess.

Realizing that Bones was laying there all snug and warm, I did what any thinking person would do and I pulled his little body close and mooched the heat off of him! I have to say, that as I got warm next to his tiny little body I did feel bad about it. For a second. Stealing the heat off of a 7 year old. Really. Isn’t that akin to stealing candy from a baby?

But as I said, that was only for a second. Or a tenth of a second. Or maybe less. Sleeping with him is like sleeping with a furnace. I figure its a benefit!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:17 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

The Great Bambino

My older boys are playing what we call ‘Fall Ball’. Baseball the fall months. It's warm enough to play Fall Ball here. It was over 90 degrees this afternoon.

Bones, of course, is not playing ball. He played t-ball last year, if you remember and HATED it. I thought it was precious to watch, but he was bored out of his mind, declaring to me at the end of the season he would never play again as “All they do is stand around and pick their noses…”

Which is a pretty spot on statement for t-ball.

But he may not have said noses. He may have said butts. Either way, point made and taken. He is not playing.

And if you recall, my eldest boys first season of baseball was last year as well. I was nervous, their having only played with whiffle balls in the back yard with their Dad or TGOO. The beginning of the season, they were the worst players. By the end of the season, they were dead middle of the pack. No kidding. Parents were telling me they were not only the most improved, but were still taken back it was their first season ever.

My children aren’t clumsy and sports is not going to be their ticket in life. It won’t be their retirement plan. But my older boys love the sport and their love of it has helped them improve tremendously.

So when they asked to play Fall Ball, as much as a complete pain in the neck it is for me, I said yes and signed them up. I was sitting in the bleachers tonight putting together my Webelo plan for the year , when I heard some kid in the outfield yell, “The Great Bambino is up! Everyone get ready!!!”

I looked up to see who this child was that they could be speaking of, and up strode my eldest, a bit of a swagger, bat on his shoulder, getting in the proper stance, and nailing the ball into the outfield… every time.

I couldn’t believe it was my son…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:11 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 24, 2006

Flora and Fauna and Dinner to Boot

As I posted earlier, Rachel and her hubby had me over for dinner Friday night. Now her post on it is HERE. And she talks about how I must think they are freaky with their menagerie and how patient I was with the walk in the yard.

No.

First, I saw my first chinchilla and let me tell you, it is a weird freaky looking animal, but really really cool! I can’t figure out what in the hell it reminds me of. It’s like a hamster on steroids… except with shorty bunny ears. Rachel swears this mutant rodent from Pluto hates her… it ‘yells’ at her. I’m telling you, that is not the case. It is a female mammal and I think she’s in LOVE with Rachel’s husband and is jealous. She wants to be top mammarian and she’s not. Heh.

Second, I saw my first set of Gecko balls. Can you beat that with a stick?! How many people can say that? And let me tell you, if Gecko’s were human, and everything stayed proportionate, they’d have to have a wheel barrow in front of them to carry their balls, they’d be that massive.

Third, I saw a Sea Cucumber take a dump. They poop sand, in case you didn’t know. And they don’t really take a dump. They SHOOT this ball of sand poop out their backside like a cannon. Way cool. I’m a mom with three boys… this poop humor has become ingrained.

BTW, the Cucumber’s name was Larry… for those in the know. I thought that was hysterical.

Now YOU tell ME, how you can beat an evening like that? You can’t. I was laughing hysterically.

I was carless in Orlando, so Rachel was kind enough to pick me up from the hotel and take me back to their fantastic home. I LOVE their home. When they bought it, the yard was an overgrown, mismanaged mess. Rachel and her hubby have planted all sorts of wonderful plants throughout their yard and she gave me a tour, telling me what every plant was. She thought she must be boring me. She was not. I love nature walks. I’m a nature girl.

And I’m envious as all get out as I’m the Black Thumb of West Palm Beach. I swear local botanical societies have a picture of me on wanted posters at nurseries, instructing them NOT to sell to me. I commit herbicide.

They have a wonderful yard that is going to be BEAUTIFUL when their plantings fill in. And Rachel is entertaining and warm. Her tour was funny and enlightening.

And then her husband cooked the most MAGNIFICENT meal. I am a good cook. I am. But he is tremendous. He grilled shrimp and scallops and then created this sauce with butter, leeks, garlic, tequila and Lord only knows what else that was so good, I asked for more... and I'm in the process of trying to trim down for the April wedding. Good Lord.

In their dining area is an enormous salt water fish tank. We pulled our chairs up to the tank after dinner and watched the fish. They have all these little hermit crabs that were a riot! They reminded me of puppies. I know, an odd thing to say, but you had to see them, crawling all over, falling down off places they’d climbed, tussling with each other. They cracked me up. And there was this funky fish named Scooter that I’d have named Ritalin. He looked like a teeny tiny Kumodo dragon under water and he was hyper. And of course there was Larry the Sea Cucumber, that the only way I could tell which end was which was that occasionally one end would shoot a tiny sand ball of poop into a growing pile.

We need a fish tank. A real one like they have. Not this junky one we have with the three surviving Cub Scout gold fish.

Needless to say, I had a wonderful time, which was a given. I had met them before and Rachel exudes a warmth that just makes you feel comfortable and makes you WANT to hug her. And she and Jim (his blog is HERE)… they are such a good couple; their love for each other is evident.

That alone makes for a wonderful visit…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:53 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Seven

I was tagged by my blog daughter Sissy for 7 songs I’m really into.

Keep in mind that the music I listen to most is either from when I go running or with the boyz, so there are repeat artists.

As I am apt to say, ‘It is what it is…’

X Amount of Words… Blue October
Goodnight Saigon… Billy Joel
Politik… Coldplay
Clocks… Coldplay
A Boy Named Sue… Johnny Cash (per the boyz)
Ghost Riders… Johnny Cash (per the boyz)
Daddy Sang Bass… Johnny Cash (per the boyz)


Posted by Boudicca at 09:38 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Just Call me Mama Bear

I posted it on it briefly, but holy crap, I slept like the dead this weekend.

No stress.

Great bed.

I put the a/c on less than 65 so it was nice and cool.

I hibernated.

I can’t remember the last time I slept like that... nothing running through my head... no discomfort. I typically wake every hour to hour and a half. I typically hurt. My arms have fallen asleep or my back hurts, or my neck is stiff or something. I put a featherbed on my mattress at home a couple weeks ago and that was a huge help. I’ve been sleeping pretty well ever since.

At the hotel it was a big fluffy king sized bed with lots of fluffy pillows and crisp white sheets with a thick down comforter covered in another crisp white sheet. Turning that a/c down low… whoooeee! I like to sleep in an icy cold room with lots of blankets. My husband likes a room that is moderately warm.

This weekend, I hibernated. It was wonderful…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:35 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Bodies at Rest

I’ve been at a meeting all weekend in Orlando, a convention actually. People to see, dinners to attend, and a talk to give were on my agenda.

Thankfully for the 100 women that had to sit in on my schpiel on Saturday, I was BIG energy. They caught me on a hugely extroverted big energy day, which made the meeting that much more entertaining for them and made the time fly for everyone, including me. They know they are in trouble when I look at them and say, "I can't do this podium thing" and grab the mic and start walking the room as I lecture.

And voluntary audience participation is a wonderful thing...

There is a woman at this conference that I cannot stand. She far surpassed annoyance almost 10 years ago… and skirted on the edge of sheer hatred from me. I am capable of tolerating her now, but only in small doses. I cringe when she hugs me, but am polite. She makes an effort to kiss my ass every time she sees me after our very public altercation those many years ago, when I put her in her place. I don’t suffer fools lightly and I don’t suffer cruel people at all. She’s been working to get on my good side since. It is a task at which she will never succeed. I don’t hate her… I am apathetic. I care not what happens to her good or bad… I feel nothing.

Why she seems to think it is a compliment to tell me I look like Lisa Marie Presley, I do not know. Those that know me can vouch… I look NOTHING like her. Yet, every time I see this woman she says to me, “You are such a beautiful girl. Have I ever told you that I think you look like Elvis Presley’s daughter? What’s her name. Priscilla’s daughter.”

Me: You mean the one that was married to that whack Michael Jackson.

Her: Yes! That’s the one. You have her eyes. You look so much like her. I find it uncanny.

Usually I just smile at her sweetly, biting my tongue. This year I replied with, ‘You say this to me every year and you must know NOBODY has ever thought I looked like her. And I look in mirror and think of what you said and know you are wrong… I have no idea where you come up with stuff like that.’

What a whack.

And on Friday night, I had dinner with Rachel of Perieraville and her husband, Jim. I have to blog the dinner tonight, but let me say, I had met them before and they are the most wonderful people. Tremendously hospitable, fabulous cooks, and funny. I laughed and had the best time.

As of now, I am getting ready to check out and head back to West Palm Beach. And even know I slept like the dead for the last two nights, absolutely some of the most tremendous sleep I’ve ever gotten, I miss my family and am looking forward to seeing my boys and hearing of their week, of reconnecting with my husband… and seeing how those couches turned out! We had our couches recovered and they came in yesterday!!!

Posted by Boudicca at 10:19 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

September 21, 2006

Happy Days!

Today I called my best girlfriend of 27 years and wished her… a Happy last day of being 39! Wahooo!

We were saying it sounded like it should be a song. She said a Country Song. We thought something along the lines of… “My wife left me, my dog died, I lost my job… and it’s my last day of being 39…” Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:58 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Sleigh Bells Riiiiing...

I received THIS from TGOO today.

As good fortune would have it… I began my Christmas shopping on 9 September. Heh.

I LOVE Christmas…

Posted by Boudicca at 07:56 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

It's All About the Snacks

Somehow I got stuck with Bones’ religion homework. I say stuck as half the time I’m totally clueless. Why he did not want to wait for his father to come home, escaped me.

Side note: At Open House my husband attended the 2nd grade orientation. This is a big year as Bones makes his 1st Holy Communion. So my husband is sitting there in the little kid chair, listening to the teacher speak about expectations, and she says that there is help on line for the religion homework they receive. She gave out the URL. My husband came home and said something like the following, “Can you believe there is a WEBSITE that helps us with this! Why did we not know this. For years, I’ve been trying to pull these answers out of my ass, and this entire time there has been help on-line!!!” Heh. For some reason I thought it was pretty daggum funny.

Anyway, of course I had to enlist the help of his older brothers to answer some of these questions like… Holy Order. I had no idea what that was. Bones said, “Don’t worry Mom! I know that one! It’s when God gives you an order!”

I looked at him and said, ‘Dude, I feel really certain, that although I DO NOT know the answer, that that is also NOT the answer…”

Ringo piped in and said, “It’s when you become a priest, Mom.”

So Bones wrote down the answer and I absent mindedly said, “So, are any of you thinking of becoming a priest?”

And Bones said, ‘Oh I am. I’m going to become a priest.”

The other two boys and I: *blink*

Son#2: Really? Do you know you can’t get married or have kids if you become a priest?

Bones: You can’t?! Well that stinks!

Son#2: No kidding.

Me: But… you can become a Deacon and do a lot of what a priest does and still have a family.

Bones: Hmm. I really wanted to be a priest like Father Joe. (Young Italian priest we have at our Parish.) But he can’t get married and have kids?

Me: No. Episcopal priests can, but Catholic priests cannot.

So they are thinking about it all. It was kind of interesting. I didn’t expect Bones to say he wanted to be a priest. That has always been the inclination of my 2nd Son, who memorized the entire passage for the Holy Eucharist and used to imitate the priest during snack, raising his mug of milk like a chalice.

Bones and I did not finish his homework. It was saved for my husband who assisted after dinner.

The question was, "What is your favorite part of your Parish?" He looked at me and said, "Eating the bread." (Referring to taking communion, which he is not able to do yet.)

My eyes opened wide and I said, "No, you can't put that." I walked out of the room to hear him say, "Fine. Dad, my favorite part is eating doughnuts..."

Evidently they serve doughnuts after Mass. My son who proclaimed his want of being a priest to me, just four hours earlier, says his favorite part of going to Church is eating the doughnuts after.

As I am known to say, "It's all about the snacks."

Posted by Boudicca at 07:51 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Children Eat The Strangest Things

Eric’s post HERE on the oddities of his diet as a wee lad, reminded me of my boys when they were little. I think all mothers have stories like these. The little people go through the early years with the most peculiar tastes waxing and waning, some evidently never waning, and ticks and idiosyncrasies appearing and disappearing… always making one wonder if one of these will actually stay. Ahhh, but that’s a whole other post…

About the food, my eldest was the first to show me the light that children will eat the oddest things. They may turn up their nose to a wonderfully homemade lasagna with homemade sauce only to sit down and eat an entire pint of ricotta cheese with a spoon with a side of a cup of broccoli. I kid you not.

He was all of 18 months old and we were at my father in law’s best friend’s home. Back then both of the old men were married, not yet widowered. His best buddy, Joe, and his wife were right off the boat from Italy. When we’d go over for dinner, it would be a spread that would rival the Italian stereotypes one sees in the movies. And there before us was all this homemade Italian pasta and 'gravy'.

Ringo would have none of it. But for some reason, Joe’s wife had a pint of ricotta cheese sitting out and with a spoon, my son dug in and finished it off, while devouring at least a cup of broccoli.

He’s the same kid that at age two, sat down and consumed nearly two pints of blueberries. I called TGOO and said, “What is the nutritional value of blueberries?! Your grandson just ate two pints!” He told me it’s an anti-carcinogen, so hey, Ringo may be home free for the big C. You never know…

And as Eric’s Mom can attest, changing those diapers the next day is not for the faint of heart. Tar comes to mind…

My second son was always a pretty normal kid when it came to eating, except for the fact his food had to be ‘just so’. He’s a bit anal retentive with a touch of OCD, so if you were going to prepare his hotdog, it had to be with a ketchup stripe down each side of the dog and three dots of ketchup down the middle. It’s the only way he’d eat it.

But Bones of course, was not normal either. Tell me I’m not the only parent that does this. You go out to a restaurant, they hand you a cup of water with lemon, and you take out the lemon and hand it to your toddler to see what face they make? I’m telling you, people pay good money for that kind of entertainment.

I was cooking fajitas, he was grabbing onto my leg, wanting to be picked up as I was cutting green peppers. I sliced a piece off, handing it to him, just to try to keep him at bay for a few seconds, figuring he’d spit it out, I'd get an entertainment face and he'd play with it, when… he ate it and… asked for more.

Since he was one year old, he’d eat a whole green bell pepper like an apple.

And for lunch, starting at that age, he only wanted garlic hummus. I remember taking him for his 1 year check up, having quickly fed him lunch and getting him to his appointment. The doctor went to look in his mouth, when I could smell the garlic wafting from my normally sweet smelling baby. I quickly said, “Oh! I’m sorry! He just ate lunch!”

The doctor replied, “What in the world did you feed him?”

Me: Today he only wanted Garlic Hummus. He ate a whole jar…

Doctor: *blink*

That may be the norm in Middle Eastern countries, but it is not every day my American Pediatrician hears that the baby he is examining lives on bell peppers and garlic hummus…

Posted by Boudicca at 07:31 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 20, 2006

Contests

I’ll match Sissy her bug in the pool of Raid and raise her a roach in a bed.

That’s right.

Last night I was awakened at 2AM by feeling something crawling along the edge of my face, along my hairline. I startled and flicked my hand only to feel that I actually flung SOMETHING.

So I do what any good wife does and… woke my husband.

Me: Hun. Wake up!

Him: What.

Me: Get up. Turn on a light. There’s a bug in the bed…

See, bug killing is a man’s job. Oh yes. Even if it is 2AM.

(And right about now, all the men who read me are thinking, once again, “I am so glad I’m not married to this spazz fruitcake.” And to think my sister is just like me in so many ways. Makes me wonder if her soon to be husband reaaaaaalllllly knows what he is getting into. Heh.)

He got up and turned on the light while I quickly sat up into a ball, knees to my chest, arms wrapped around my legs. He looked all over the bed, and evidently saw a roach, a big one he said, and flung it off the bed… but didn’t see where it landed!

So now I’m absolutely horrified that there was a ROACH ON MY HEAD whilst I slumbered, its not bad enough it was in MY BED, and now I realize, it’s gone. He can’t find it.

Note I said HE. Bug finding as well as killing is a man’s job. Even if its 2AM.

I looked at him and said, “Hun, its got to be here. Oh my God. You lost it. You’re sure its not still in the bed?”

Him: Yeah, its not in the bed. I’ve pulled everything back…

Me: We’re sleeping with the light on. I’m afraid it will come back!

And so he humored me and… we slept with the light on. That was lovely. I wake up typically every hour and I awoke to a BRIGHT room. It felt more like an afternoon nap.

And some of you may be saying, “Why didn’t you go sleep on the couch?”, well, that would be because my couch is being recovered and I don’t have one!

I obviously changed the sheets this morning. I nearly asphyxiated during the process, so afraid that as I pulled off the sheets, a roach would make its way out. That’s a heart attack waiting to happen…

Meanwhile, I have been fighting the urge all day to cut off the hair it touched and to somehow remove that part of my face. Gah!

And in a measure of sympathy the guys at work said, "Well, you know... they say a roach is only as dirty as the place it lives... and we know you, so it was a clean roach."

Holy crap. Thanks but no thanks. It didn't help. I'm having a hard time convincing myself to go to sleep tonight...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:45 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Buddies and Mentors

My son got in the car today and said, “I got my buddy today in school…”

The middle school Social Studies teacher has each grade she teaches adopt a lower grade. The bigger kids go into the younger kids’ classroom and read to them, talk to them, write them letters and even have their picture taken with them. This happens once a month for the entire year.

Last year Bones had a ‘buddy’ from 7th grade. This is a BIG deal to the little kids. It was with great pride that Bones would tell me of his buddy and a picture of him and his buddy still sits sticks to my fridge.

Everywhere we’d go throughout the year, whenever we’d see a 7th grader, Bones would say, ‘See that boy? That’s Josh, he’s Valerie’s Buddy’. All 7th graders lost whatever identity they had and acquired a new one “So and so’s buddy”.

The big kids get a kick out of it… mentoring to the small. And the little kids love it… they are lavished attention by a big kid. It’s a great program.

So today Ringo received his buddy… a little boy in kindergarten. There are more 6th graders than kindergartners so he and his good friend share a little guy named Brandon.

When looking at the choice, I realize that the teachers put thought into this. My son and his good friend are the best readers in their grade. They both won the reading competition last year. They also each have two younger brothers and are used to small children. Both of them are actually GREAT with small boys.

And it would seem that young Brandon… doesn’t talk. He knows how, he just chooses not to. He said four words today according to Ringo. His good friend pulled out a book that he’d brought to read to their Buddy and it was a book about monsters and it elicited a ‘I like Monster books’.

That's it. Not another word was said.

Ringo proceeded to tell me funny stories about all the little kindergartners and how much he liked this little guy Brandon… who is so shy he says nothing. And I think it is good that Ringo and his good friend are together with young Brandon as I think it will help him.

Today I was over at Army Wife’s where she had THIS post and she writes of the book her kids were being read to bed called, “Walter the Farting Dog”. I busted out laughing and said to Ringo, ‘Hey! I should get this book! Do you think that Brandon would like it?’

We read the synopsis at Amazon and I think I’m going to pick it up at the library for Ringo to take to school next month for Brandon. I’m also getting a couple Monster stickers for him to give Brandon as well. Just something to slip him on the sly.

I’m really excited about this year and the buddy system. I can’t wait to hear the stories. Ringo laughs readily and is able to find the humor in the smallest things. He weaves great stories… and I can’t wait to hear the buddy stories.

Meanwhile, I shall be searching the shelves for Monster books that young Brandon may not have read had read to him…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:33 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

You Might Be a Runner If...

The guys at work are still having problems keeping their blood pressure under control. They seem to be free from the heart attack woods, but they’re still trying to manage their BP. (They're all on meds.)

I was talking to one of them today and he said, “One day mine was 225/150. I was at the clinic at work and they made me lie down and told me I was a stroke waiting to happen.”

I said, ‘Holy crap. Mine is usually about 95/55…’

Him: That’s runner’s blood pressure!

Me: Ummm… I’m a runner.

Him: OH yeah. What’s your resting heart rate?

Me: 50.

Him: Yeah, you’re a runner…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

September 19, 2006

Cryptic II

Heh. For my post on Cryptic... my best friend of 27 years is turning 40 on Friday.

She guessed it in the comments! Ahhh, but she knew. I am so excited for her birthday! But I can say nothing else...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:15 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Caelan Aibhlinn

When I started blogging over two years ago… they were just a couple thinking about having kids.

When it came time for their sweet Brenna to be born, I checked their site over and over, waiting for her birth. I was so happy for them.

And this morning I found out… their second blessing was born, a wee bit early, but ready nevertheless.

Go over to Iowa Geek and welcome the sweet Caelan Aibhlinn, which is Gaelic and pronounced, “Kay Lynn" "Ave-Leen", to Daddy Doug, Momma Jody, and big sister Brenna.

I love the babies… and what a love she looks to be!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:04 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Missing the Boat

I hope I have never portrayed myself as one who thinks they are perfect. I am far from it. I make mistakes every day and will readily own up to them.

But today I made one and found the oddest situation.

I had to go to Quest laboratories to have lab drawn for a full blood work up. I hadn’t had one in years and I dictated to my doctor that I thought it about time we see where everything stands… cholesterol, triglycerides, thyroid, etc.

I found when having lab tests run on my middle boy last year that you could make an appointment for your lab work, so as to not have to wait for hours. This is Palm Beach County. I think I have never walked into a lab where there has been less than an hour wait.

Since it was to be fasting blood work, I scheduled it on a day I knew I could get there nice and early as I tend towards hypoglycemia. I made my appointment for 8:15 this morning and was given a confirmation number, one I erroneously wrote on a sticky pad instead of my lab chit I was to take in with me.

And so this morning, during the hectic rush, I checked to make sure I had my lab chit, forgetting my confirmation number was not on there, feeling foggy anyway, as I had not eaten in 11 hours. I got the kids to school and went directly to the lab.

I was met by a room full of people and a front desk being run by women with the worst demeanor I have witnessed in a long time. I saw a girl I know in the waiting room, signed in and sat down next to her. I said to her, “Wow. They scare me. I’m afraid to say anything for fear they will bite my head off.”

I looked around me and all the people in the room were quiet, staring at each other. The tone had been set.

My name was called and my confirmation number asked for. I explained that I forgot it and was met with an icy stare combined with the “you are the 100th stupid person I have dealt with today and it is only 8AM.” I apologized and asked if she could look it up.

It would seem, that although you can call a central location to make appointments… the women who work in the lab have NO VISIBILITY as to who is scheduled to come that day in addition to the normal Walk-ins. They don’t get an appointment list. So there was no way of knowing.

I apologized again and said I would call the appointment place and get the confirmation number, whereas I was told that they would not have it either. I told her I’d try anyway.

I called, was put on hold for 15 minutes, where the girl informed me that confirmation numbers were the responsibility of the patient and once they were given, they were not recorded in the system.

The woman on the phone told me she could in fact confirm that I did have an appointment, but that was it, so I handed my cell to the hostile woman at the front desk, who spoke to her, realizing I was not up there lying.

Am I the only one who finds that odd? All of this odd? A central appointment number that does not keep the confirmation numbers and does not share any information with the branches? Yet, they have me listed and can in fact confirm I made an appointment?

Thankfully the vampires in the back were in a great mood, but they kept to themselves, not venturing out to the front area.

I just found the entire thing… so behind the times. It is as if they wanted to be technically on top of things… but missed it in a BIG way. Very big.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:01 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

September 18, 2006

Cryptic

There have been days in my life where I have totally blown it. I've forgotten events, said the wrong thing, acted too selfishly.

I regret them. There are some times I would change... thought harder before I spoke, taken better notes, been more selfless.

I am sure most of us have those moments. Some days, those bad moments loom large in my head.

But I am in the process of doing one deed, one which cannot be blogged on yet, that I think may be so right, that I am sitting here smugly tonight. I cannot wait.

I am so excited.

And I cannot tell you... and it won't mean anything to any of you... only to one person.

But I cannot wait...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:58 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

The Rules

My husband is a big fan of The Transporter movies. It’s the car stuff. He’s a big car buff as well as action flicks.

In turn, my boys have watched these movies with him. They can quote it.

Today my better half walked in the door after work and my second son didn’t acknowledge him. He always does, but he was engrossed in boy stuff.

So my husband said loudly to my second son, “Mr. T, what’s the 1st rule of the car?”

And my son replied, “Respect the car! No wait. Greet the man!”

Heh. For some reason I thought that was so damn funny…

Posted by Boudicca at 10:03 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

September 17, 2006

Popish Thoughts

Am I the only one having a hard time adjusting to this Pope?

Pope John Paul II became Pope when I was in middle school. I don't remember any Popes before him. He was it.

He was the Pope I remember during the Cold War. He was the Pope I remember from all the good times and the bad times. He was IT. THE MAN.

And now? I'm sure this gentleman now is a perfectly wonderful man. I'm sure he is going to do a great job. But, I just feel like they should call him something else.

He can't be the Pope because he Pope I grew to love... is dead. And in my mind and heart... that was his NAME, not his title.

So I'm still not adjusted. Any time they talk about The Pope and a picture flashes across my TV screen, it takes me a minute to adjust.

I'm just... not there yet.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:26 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Hard to be Humble

We’ve been selling popcorn for the last two days for Cub Scouts. People have been very generous and kind.

Over and over we heard people say, “Oh. Popcorn. I wish it was cookies. We LOVE those Girl Scout cookies.”

Near the end of our first shift of selling, a couple came up to us and started to talk. As they bought their popcorn the woman said something about how much she loved those girl scouts cookies and Bones looked her straight in the eye and said, “Yeah, but we LOOK better!”

The woman looked at me shocked, the husband busted out laughing and all I could say was, “Some days… it is so hard to be humble.”

Posted by Boudicca at 08:57 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Just Say No

My father in law has been dating a woman for the last 9 months. We truly love her to pieces. As I said to my sister in law (married to my husband’s younger brother) when I first met her, “What’s she doing with him?”

She has an absolute heart of gold.

For the last two weeks, she has shown up to our Sunday family dinner with containers full of baked goods for the boys’ lunches.

Last week it was chocolate chip cookies. Homemade. Not the slice and bake stuff, but the real thing. That is my weakness. After day three of these cookies in my house, my coming home from work, ravenous, and grabbing SIX of them at a time I realized, the cookies had to go. The boys didn’t want them anymore and that left me… so… I threw them away.

I just couldn’t have them in the house anymore.

Tonight? His girlfriend brought homemade rugalach. Holy crap. It’s one of my favorite baked goods. They are fantastic…

…and if the boys don’t like it… they too are going in the garbage! I appear to be missing will power.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:54 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

September 16, 2006

Great Book

I had to wait to blog on this…

I read the Life of Pi, a book recommended by a couple of my readers and I LOVED it. The author was funny and just did a fantastic job with his characters and pulling the story through. I truly enjoyed it and it is a book that I heartily recommend to people.

I enjoyed it that much.

My hesitation to blog it? I read it in August and The Great Omnipotent One’s birthday was early September. I knew if I blogged it, he’d go straight out to the library and check it out and I also knew that my Mom had bought it for him for his birthday. I didn’t want to ruin it.

He enjoyed it as well.

Oh! And when I went to check it out from the library, they only had it in LARGE print. So, with boyz in tow, I stumbled into the LARGE print section of the library to find said book, which is much thicker when printed in LARGE print. I picked it up, realizing that as I carried it around town (I take my books with me everywhere) that everyone would see I was reading a LARGE print book, as its readily evident on the spine as well as the front cover.

As I picked it up, I opened it and then looked at my 2nd son and said, “Hmm, this looks like it was written for a Kindergartner, doesn’t it?”

And my 2nd son replied, “It’s OK Mom, you can get that book. Everyone will know that a Kindergartner can’t read a book like that…”

Nothing like the reassurance of a 9 year old. So I picked it up, laughing to myself as we checked out.

I am currently reading The Kite Runner. I’m a bit disturbed by it so far. We shall see…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:42 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Buttons and Popcorn

There are days I am truly amazed how my boys know… how to push every single one of my buttons.

Effortlessly I might add.

In other news…Today? The two eldest boys had baseball in the morning and then in the afternoon the two youngest sold popcorn for Cub Scouts.

Last year, we sold popcorn in front of a big hardware store chain that rhymes with ‘blows’. This year ‘blows’ sent us a $25 gift certificate and said they were so sorry they could not let us sell, as if they did, they’d have to let the skinheads do something too.

That’s right, I do believe Cub Scouts got compared to skinheads.

Lovely.

They’ve lost my business. We sold instead in front of Ace Hardware… who has now acquired it.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:39 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Waiting For the Shoe

We have just completed the 4th week of school and I cannot believe Bones.

For two years he has struggled in school. For two years I’ve been told the teachers could not control his impulsive behavior, that he was sweet, but a serious distraction. For two years he was barely able to keep up with the work… the reading, the math, it overwhelmed him.

We finally decided to try something, we put him on an artificial stimulant. I’d done everything else, changed his diet, behavior modification, got him outside to play or swim for hours, everything. Nothing worked.

And so finally, after spending big money having him extensively tested, and being told he definitely had ADHD, we listened to the suggestion and put him on something.

After fighting it for two years.

And now I have this child who has NO side effects, nobody knows he’s on anything, he’s just as light and lively and funny, no personality change or anything… and YESTERDAY was the first day he got in any kind of trouble for talking out. And I look through his work and he’s completing it. And he READS to me effortlessly. And he told me he likes math.

And I am sitting here thinking, “This cannot be real.” I am waiting for the shoe to drop.

By this time, the last two years, teachers were already pulling me aside saying, “Something is not right…” By this time, the last two years, I was already sick trying to figure out what I could do to fix it. By this time, the last two years, I’d already hired tutors and had been fighting with him to do his homework. But this year... his teacher has no clue we've had trouble. She says he is the sweetest boy, so attentive and so well behaved.

And I am sitting here thinking, “This cannot be real.” I am waiting for the shoe to drop.

And I hear my pediatrician, who also did not want to put him on anything until we had to, in my head saying, ‘Bou… I promise you, if this truly is what it is, and all the testing you had done is saying it is, then you will be astounded by the difference in your child.’

And he was right. I am astounded. Completely astounded.

But still… I am sitting here thinking, “This cannot be real.” I am waiting for the shoe to drop…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:33 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

September 14, 2006

Feelin' The Love

Ahhh, yes, the spirit of the Lord is living within our family tonight. It is so evident.

Thursday is religion homework. The big joke in the family is, since I am not Catholic, that it’s Dad’s job to help with religion. I might ask if there is homework and the response will be, “Yeah, but its religion, you can’t help…”

I don’t tell them differently. Episcopal is so very close to Catholic, I can in fact answer many of the questions, but I help with ALL their homework, and think this is a good time for them to bond with their Dad as well as their Pop. Their Pop goes to Mass a few times a week. It is good they go to him. It makes him feel good about himself to provide answers to his grandsons about their faith.

Every now and then, like today, where their father is traveling until Sunday, they will have religion homework and I will help some… but today, as I have in the past, I had Bones ask his older brothers. I figured it would solidify in the eldest’s heads what they know by teaching it as well as it has them mentoring.

Sometimes it works… and sometimes… not so much.

I guess Son#2 was tired and frustrated with the questions and snapped at Bones. The directions said to write down someone’s name and then write down that person’s answer to the question.

Bones was really aggravated with his older brother and came stomping back into the kitchen as I cleaned it, sitting down at the table and grabbing his pencil to write his answers he declared, “MOM! Can I write on this space, “Son#2 the Crap Face”?”

I raised an eyebrow and said, “Hmm… do you think your religion teacher would fully appreciate that?” and so he wrote down the proper name as he said, ‘Do you think I’d REALLY do that?”

I replied, “Oh yes. Oh yes I do…”

Posted by Boudicca at 07:24 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Didn't Make the Cut

I had jury duty today. I was dismissed and not chosen during jury selection. No big surprise there to people who know me.

First, everyone tells me, engineers don’t get picked to serve. Military men either. And I have to question that as The Great Omnipotent One was asked to serve on a jury and he’s retired military with a bachelor’s in engineering and a master’s in a mathematical field.

But mostly people told me I’d not get picked because I’m opinionated, which is evidently a trait of engineers?

I have to talk about that one for a second. The definition according to Merriam Webster of opinionated is: unduly adhering to one's own opinion.

People say this as if it’s a bad thing. What this means to me is I have an opinion and I’m not easily swayed. Let me tell you… I base my opinions on cold hard facts and personal experience. Data. And no, I’m not wavering. I don’t whip up opinions like wishes. I put serious thought into my beliefs, my opinions on things. If you have more data, I will listen and adjust accordingly, but for the most part... I'm pretty firmly set.

I think to me, not wavering is saying, I’ve thought it out clearly and I’ve made my stand. And as I am apt to say when someone says to me after I’ve said something to them extraordinarily bluntly, and they’ve typically replied, “Don’t sugar coat it Bou, tell us how you really feel”, “There is NEVER any doubt in anyone’s mind on how I feel about a particular topic.” My husband considers this a bonus trait. He never has to try to read my mind.

Look, if you get all warm and fuzzy on a thought, people may misconstrue your meaning. I don’t like to be misconstrued. Things are black and white to me, there isn’t much gray.

The only risk someone like me poses to a court room is a hung jury as if I feel I am right based on the data that has been given me, based on my unemotional assessment of a situation, I am NOT going to back down. I will stand firmly in my beliefs and tell everyone else to screw off if they don’t believe the same way as… I.don’t.care. if people agree with me or not. I don’t look at them in the mirror in the morning. I only look at me.

So when people call me opinionated, I take that as a compliment, just as long as they are not confusing ‘opinionated’ with ‘judgmental’. People do that. And I’m NOT judgmental, but I am opinionated.

People without opinions scare me. What do they stand for? People who aren’t opinionated… do they stand for anything? Do they go with the wind? Are they easily swayed by crowds? I don’t know.

But if being opinionated means I should not sit on a jury, then so be it. Their loss… because… I would sift through the data and farm out an unemotional answer. That’s what the lawyer’s SAY they want… but me thinks that may not be true.

Of the 5 engineers and 1 mathematician in the jury pool, not one got picked.

There were other factors that came into play for my not being selected, I am sure. (My husband's profession being one.)

Anyway, they had this form that we were to speak to. It asked some basic questions. I was the last juror, sitting in my assigned last seat in the back of the room, the last of 32 people. I sat through people answering this sheet and I could not believe how people carried on.

The yes or no question of 'Have you ever had a law suit brought against you' elicited a variety of novella type answers. No explanation was asked. None. Yet, they were mostly given. And almost every person read the question aloud and then answered. Completely inefficient. The judge and every atty in that room knew the questions by heart by now.

By the 10th juror I wanted to scream, ‘JUST THE FACTS, M’AM!’ I answered mine like this, “I’m Boudicca, I’ve been an engineer for 18 years, I’m married and my husband is a ‘insert occupation here’, and the answers to 6-10 are NO.”

And...I decided I picked the right profession. As I sat there for a couple hours, people watching, listening, observing the attorneys, I think it would suck to be a trial attorney. It’s just variations of the same stuff every time. The same type people for jurors, same answers, different faces.

And the judge? I CANNOT think of a job MORE BORING, than that of a judge. Having to sit there and listen to all this crap over and over… the attorneys tap dancing, the jurors just sitting there… same thing, with variations, over and over.

Holy crap. I was bored after an hour. After 30 YEARS? I’d be so done with it.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:21 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

September 13, 2006

Happy Birthday, Harvey!

This is a wee bit early, but I wanted to make sure it was up for his birthday.

My blog father, Harvey, is the big 4-0 today (Sept 14th)!

Whooo hoooo!

And in THIS post he asked for something blue. But before I get to that, I found this car, that I think Harvey should own.

carforharvey.jpg

As for something Blue… and while its safe for work… it is still in the extended entry.

Happy Birthday, Harvey. Forty is GREAT. I loved the year and feel certain this is going to be the best decade of my life. Embrace it, don’t dread it.

bluebikini.jpg

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Ain't Florida Great?

I do believe, that only in the State of Florida, can you be 81 years old, walk with a walker because your legs barely work, have a light tremor from Parkinson’s, and fail the vision test during the mandatory vision screening… and STILL walk out with your Driver’s License and keys to your car, to continue driving, for another five weeks, at which point it will be your birthday, and if you still cannot pass the vision test, only then will your license be revoked.

I frickin’ LOVE that.

And amazing still is the person who failed the test STILL THINKS that the State of Florida is out to get him and that he can see ‘perfectly fine’.

I frickin’ LOVE that one too, especially since you pretty much have to BE BLIND to fail the FDOT eye test.

Yet… he still drives.

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September 12, 2006

The Calling

I received a phone call yesterday, a man I know… and a conversation enused, and this is a synopsis, a shortened version of the conversation, as best as I can recollect, as follows:

The Voice: Hey. Its so-and-so

Me, puzzled: Hey! How are YOU?!

The Voice: I’m good. How are things with the kids?

Me: Good. Very good. Thank you…

The Voice: It is time for you to come back.

Me: It can’t be.

The Voice: It is.

Me: It’s been over 11 years now. You know that right? I do believe over 12…

The Voice: We know. We are aware, but we want you back and we think its time for you to consider. I said I’d be the one who called.

Me: I think I’m ready. I have wondered. It would not be easy. It was so hard the first time…

The Voice: You’ll like everyone. It’s a good group of guys. And all that remember you, they want you back. We want you to think about it… We need you, really.

Me: I sucked. You don’t remember it, but I truly sucked. And it would take me so long to get back to even where I was.

The Voice: No you didn’t-

Me: Yes. I did.

The Voice: No. You didn’t. And you would be back to where you were, before you know it.

Me: I remember nothing. Really. I know it would come back, it’s like riding a bike. I hear things have changed. Technology has changed in 12 years.

The Voice: It has! You’ll be amazed. We need you for Oktoberfest.

Me: Phht. Fat chance of Oktoberfest. Let me come to practice. We will see. It was so hard for me the first time, and I think it is because I’m so small. I don’t have the lung capacity you have.

The Voice: We’ll work with it. You should try it. Come on Wednesday. Beginners are at 6:30. It’ll come back.

Me: Just remember… if I come back, I will be the weak link. Just as long as everyone realizes that, I’m cool.

And so… it appears… I may be going back to playing the bagpipes. Hey, I’m all about the blog fodder! But it is time, I think. I have wondered. I will take my pipes out of mothballs. The Great Omnipotent One stored them for me.

I need a new bag and new reeds. I need to find my practice chanter and books. I was never a good player. Bagpipes is a tough instrument. I quit playing when I became pregnant with my 1st son and never went back. I had played for nearly three years.

But I do believe… it may be time.

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The Day After

I woke this morning more tired than normal. I ended up not pulling myself out until 6:15, causing me to feel like I was running 15 minutes behind all day.

By 7:00 I had cooked a full breakfast for the kids, prepared dinner for this evening, had made four lunches and set my husband’s stuff out so he wouldn’t forget it. (My husband gets the kids up and dressed.) We were out of the house by 7:15, 15 minutes late, my kicking myself for sleeping in and already stressed.

Five minutes into our 30 minute drive Bones said, “Hey, Mom, did you know that yesterday was the day that five years ago that bad guys killed a lot of people?”

And from there… the questions started.

Mom, did you know anyone in the buildings?
Mom, they stole those planes didn’t they? The bad guys stole those planes.
Did the people burn to death in the planes?
Did one building fall on another?
Mom, why did the building fall down when the plane only hit the top part?
How fast do you think those planes were going?
Did all the firemen die?
How many lived?
Why, Mom, did they keep going in the building when they knew what was happening?
Did any policemen die?
Where is the Pentagon?
Who works there?
Is it worse to hit the Pentagon than the White House?
The White House… would the President have died?
Where was that plane going that crashed in Pennsylvania?
How many people died, Mom?
Do you think the planes exploded first?

And on… and on… and on. I found myself reliving 9/11, but this time with thinking questioning children. The first time, they were too young. There were no questions of ‘why’. There was no trying to make sense of something of which no sense can be made.

But now they are aware and they are trying to comprehend all of it and cannot, and so they ask the person who creates order in their lives to try to help them. And she cannot.

I answered all their questions as best I could. I tried not to be short, although I wanted to scream at them, “SHUT UP! I CANNOT TAKE IT ANYMORE!” as I remembered my nearly vomiting all over myself as I realized the firefighters knew… they knew what was happening… and still ran towards the top to save people.

We pulled up to the school, with my knuckles white on the steering wheel, I opened the door for them to get out, doing my best imitation of a smile, wishing them a good day at school as I really wanted to scream, “GET OUT!”… as I remembered crying five years ago, watching it all… wondering if she got out… wondering what was next…

I was already in full sensory overload. I spent the day thinking of THIS man… I have spoken of the boy I call my 4th Son, best friends with my eldest for as long as we remember. His mother is Bones’ Godmother and her oldest brother was that man's best friend. Her oldest brother is the one who goes to the baseball games of the sons of his best buddy who was murdered five years ago.

And I spent the day thinking of Michele and the firefighters and… what is next... for America, for my sons.

And I got to work and it was the usual chaos and already in sensory overload it was the barrage of questions and my internal thoughts… my constant thoughts melded into a continuous stream, “Wait. Why am I removing the tailcone?Sh*t, I forgot about that sensor.Can we clean this on the flight line?Do we want to?Why isn’t that jerk answering my emails.I know he’s quitting but I need a damn answer.Is that designer going to call me back?Another email.I have to answer the Wizards in Seattle.Ohsh*t.Where are the tubes.I need to get to the tubes.Oh, the tail cone.It has to come off.The ducts and igniters.Holy crap.Who did this.Why did they do this.Thank God someone smarter than me streamlined this process.Where is that paperwork.I need that process to correct this.Yes, I’m getting to that today.More email.I’m going to shut down my email.You’ve got to be kidding me.I need a bigger stick.Someone has to beat that man senseless, what a dork.Its going to rain.I’m wearing a white shirt.Sh*t.I need my umbrella….”

And on and on my brain churned to the same cadence as the morning barrage of questions… until it was time to get my boys from school and finish dinner and help with homework and stop the fighting and… and… and…

I was speaking to Army Wife this evening and we were saying that there are days when we have to walk or run with our iPods, so cranked up we can hear nothing. We want to be able to hear NOT ONE PERSON.

And that was tonight. We ate dinner and I looked at my husband and said, ‘I have to go running’ and he nodded his head in agreement, and I grabbed my running shoes and went to the gym.

And I cranked the music to deafening levels, I am sure. I could not stand the thought of listening to another person speak or breath. I could not stand the sound of my own heart beat or the sound of my own breathlessness. I could not handle any more thinking.

And the music… it drowns it out.

I knew what tonight’s run would be like, so I intentionally timed it to 25 minutes, not one minute longer. I would run my knees into the ground if I didn’t… I would run until my knees wouldn’t run anymore. So I ran for 15 and sprinted off and on the last 10 with the music screaming in my ears… I was alone… not thinking… not feeling… nothing.

I am mellow now. Oh soooooo mellow. I am ready for tomorrow. And I hear of these studies sometimes that say, “People who exercise are less apt to suffer from depression.”

And to that I want so say, “NO. SH*T.”

Posted by Boudicca at 08:23 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 11, 2006

2996 Tribute

2,996 is a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

On September 11, 2006, 2,996 volunteer bloggers
will join together for a tribute to the victims of 9/11.
Each person will pay tribute to a single victim.

We will honor them by remembering their lives,
and not by remembering their murderers.

Please go HERE to see the names of the victims of 9/11
and to the links to the blogs paying tribute to them.

Mine... is below.

**Update: Thank you to Sue for giving me the mirror site for the 2966 Tribute. The other site has been inundated with hits and appears to be down. Please go HERE for the victims and those who pay tribute.**

Posted by Boudicca at 12:00 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

In Memory of Don Simmons

Mr. Simmons.JPG

It is here. September 11. I am posting early. I want this on my blog all day. I want anyone who peruses the blogs and stumbles upon mine to know him. I want anyone who reads me on a regular basis to know him. He is more than a statistic. He is more than a name read in the paper.

And I wish… I’d known him.

But I didn’t.

And never will.

Everything I’ve read about him says he was a wonderful man, husband, son, brother and father.

On September 11, 2001, Don Simmons was at work as a civilian for the US Army in the Pentagon as he had for the past 11 years. And on that day, he was murdered.

His death left a cavernous void in the lives of his wife, his son, siblings and his parents. He was 58 years of age and but two years from retirement.

He will never paint the sceneries of mountains as I read he liked to do.

He will never again fish with his wife.

He will never travel with her again to do the things they loved to do together… the antique shops, the mountains, the beach, the craft shows and the county fairs. I read they did everything together, never leaving the other’s side. She even worked in the Pentagon as well.

He was active in politics and was a patriot, having served his country for four years in the US Army in the 60s. There is no doubt in my mind that he was active in the process that makes being an American great, listening to his options and voting in this great land and supporting our troops.

He will no longer be there to offer his warmth and compassion to his friends and family.

Today I think of everyone that died on that tragic day, but today I also know a name. Today I have a face and some sketch of who he was… but it is just that. It is not much.

I am saddened I cannot do this man the justice he so truly deserves. I know of him only of what I could find in various articles, but there is not much. But even if I had known him personally and could have written volumes, I still would not have been able to do for him what he so rightfully deserves.

Today I remember the victims of 9/11.

Today I remember Don Simmons and I pray for his family and friends that they continue to be strong in the absence of a man I know they loved dearly.


And to the family of Mr. Simmons, I express to you my deepest sympathy in your loss. I feel certain that one day you will come across this post for your loved one. I scoured the internet for information on Mr. Simmons and incorporated what I could find. Writing this was the single hardest writing I have ever done; there is no way I can do justice to the man that you called Father, Husband, Son, Brother or Friend. But he deserved to be recognized and I was honored to be assigned his name when I chose to participate in the 2996 Tribute.

If there is something you would like to share, let me know… and I will add it.

If there is something I have written incorrectly, let me know… and I will change it.

It is never too late… my e-mail address is boudicah@hotmail.com

My prayers remain with you.

Posted by Boudicca at 12:00 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

September 09, 2006

Woefully Inadequate

I’ve written my post for 9/11. As I have written in the past, I am participating in THIS event.

I just can’t do the man justice. I can’t. And I’m trying, but it is an impossible feat.

I read THIS post from blog sister Michele at Letters from NYC, and I just cannot even fathom any of it… what the survivors went through and continue to struggle with.

I just can’t.

My post will be up Midnight, 9/11. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done as a blogger… and what bothers me enormously is that I will one day be Googled for this man… and I am so not worthy of being the person to provide information on this man, who was so dearly loved, and who died so tragically.

You will notice that whenever I attend the funeral of someone I think might one day be searched for, I link only to their obituary or to an article written for them in the paper. I never put their name… I don’t want to be considered a data source on these great people.

And so that is paining me as well… that someone is going to google this man and they will find my site. He is worthy of far better than I will be able to provide for him on Monday.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:00 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Birthday Stuff

As many of you noted, Friday was my birthday, the 41st to be exact. I thought I was flying under the radar, until I heard about Harvey’s post. I could not believe he remembered! And that gift was so... YUMMY! Then Tammi called and sang me Happy Birthday, and telling me she too had a post up. (Go Navy!) I want to thank everyone. Comments, phone calls, posts, emails… thank you.

I am hesitant to do this as I’m so horribly afraid I will forget someone, so if you had a post for me, please let me know if I’ve forgotten to put a link. I have a do no harm policy on my blog, and so it is not intentional…

VW's good wishes are HERE

Sissy's are HERE, where she sweetly pointed out I am only 1.5 years younger than her Mom... Heh.

Caltechgirl's wishes for me are HERE.

Mrs, Who, where, she like VW, wish they had that kitchen gadget that Harvey got me, has her wishes HERE.

Tink sent me a card HERE.

Oddy Bobo sent over some of her friends HERE. They need to play at my house...

And the Confabulator sent his good wishes HERE.

And the reason I was at the kitchen store to buy an angel food cake pan was… because I had requested what has become my favorite cake. It has always been my Mother’s, something I have made for her birthday every year, and has now become my favorite, hence my request for it when my Better Half asked. He and the boys make my cake every year!

Angel food cake (store bought mix) and… Fudge Icing. Folks, this is just scary good. Add vanilla ice cream and you are set. The Fudge Icing recipe is at the end of this post. It’s doubled for the Angel food. For anything else, cut it in half.

Heavenly.

Anyway, a real highlight, other than being serenaded by both Tammi and my sister, Morrigan, was a message that was left on my cell phone by my blog daughter VW’s boys.

As everyone knows, VW and I went to college together. We go WAAAAY back. And since her elder boy, Tater, was 11 months old, we have gone for breakfast once a week. When Tot came along, we continued, taking him with us in an infant car seat. Tater has always liked me, but Tot… Good Lord, y’all probably remember some of the posts, but that boy HATED me. I used to joke that our theme song was a rendition of Puddle of Mud’s song, “She F***ing Hates Me” except change the pronoun from She to He.

Hate is probably not a strong enough word.

But something happened about a year ago (he’s almost 3 now) and he now requests to hold my hand, will let me smooch all over his cute little neck (where there is no spit, snot or remnants of food), will sit in my lap, voluntarily come over and kiss me… and, this is big, WANTS to sit next to me at breakfast. He may not remain there for the entire hour, usually at 45 minutes he’s ready for Mom, but this is BIG.

So VW told her boys it was my birthday and immediately Tater said, “I HAVE to sing happy birthday to Aunt Bou!!!” She rang up my cell and in my message I heard a voice of angels… a sweet 4 year old boy singing Happy Birthday to me, and then… he got to “Happy Birrrrthdayyyy toooooo….” And forgot who he was singing to and I heard “Maaaaamawwww”. Heh heh heh. I was LMAO. Evidently he speaks on the cell phone more often to his grandmother.

But Tot was not to be outdone. He wanted to sing as well, but being two, he wanted to do it ON HIS OWN. He was not about to sing with his brother. And so I next heard, ever so quietly, the sweetest softest baby voice, singing as best he could, “Happy Birthday”, this boy who just 12 months ago hated my guts.

And I saved the message on my cell. I hope to never be rid of it.


Fudge Icing for Angel Food Cake

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup cocoa

2 cup sugar

2 tsp vanilla.

NOTE: Don’t cool it until it’s too stiff. It needs to be spread on the cake while it’s still a little soupy, so it’ll soak into the pores of the cake and adhere to its surface.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:22 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 08, 2006

Tiger Cubs, Sailors, and Marines

The Honor Guard walked the casket down the aisle, Sailors and a Marine. They walked sharply down the long aisle with the flag draped casket between them. The congregation stood as the processional started; the church was full.

And as they made their way down the aisle of the church, as we watched the Honor Guard pass with his casket, behind them was a representative of every level of Boy Scouting… from Eagle Scout… down to Tiger Cub. All of them two by two, behind the honor guard, in Boy Scout Rank order… two Eagle Scouts in the lead, down to the little Tiger Cub with his partner a Wolf Cub.

From cradle to grave were represented in this procession, from starting as a Tiger Cub in scouting, through Eagle Scout, into the ranks of the service, and into the grave as a Rear Admiral. It was his life.

I looked out over the congregants and I saw Christians and Jews, black and white, enlisted and officer, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, women and men, old and young, politicians and voters, the have’s and the have nots… I saw a cross section of America. Never in my life had I attended a funeral for someone who had touched the lives of so many people… so many people from such different arrays of life.

I attended a Funeral Mass today, a funeral for THIS man. I met him through my DAR chapter when I was Regent. Someone had given me his name as a speaker and I called him, never having met him. He was so kind and said he’d be happy to speak.

That was four years ago.

We had him back again. We could never get enough of him. He had a brilliant mind and the most amazing ability to not only articulate but to keep his audience enthralled with what he had to say.

He always came to speak on the Middle East. He gave us the history of each country as well as their current economic situation. And as dry as it may sound, we could never get enough.

Brilliant mind. I knew it before I even saw his educational resume… Holy Cross, Princeton, and Northwestern. He was well decorated, but never spoke of it. He was one of the most humble men I have ever met. He was a good Christian man, perpetually involved with his church and the community.

I used to say to him, “I wish I lived next door to you. I’d want to have coffee with you every morning… just to hear what you had to say. Just to learn from you.”

He laughed. He’d give me a bit of a hug.

I saw him every Memorial Day. Through the throngs of people who would go to speak to him, he would kindly remember who I was, and I’d quickly make my way through to pay my respects to him and he’d give me a bit of a hug.

This past Memorial Day he wasn’t at the big event I attend every year. They said he’d fallen. (I posted on it HERE.) I was alarmed, but more so as I knew his wife had passed not so long ago and he had said he was so lonely for her. I had hoped he had the will to live.

He did.

I just expected I’d see him in May. It was a given to me… something I never considered would not happen. Never. To me, going to the Memorial Day tribute was to pay respects to our fallen men and women, lay a wreath, see the Admiral, and then spend time with my family. It was just… what I’ve done, for the past few years.

I never asked how old he was. It was not my place. I knew he’d been in WWII, but didn’t know when. I heard him tell someone once, “I don’t tell someone how old I am. They may judge me for it.” I liked that in him.

He was active until the day he died. He was President of the Boy Scout Council down here, an ENORMOUS proponent of scouting, hence the tremendous showing at his funeral of adult Boy Scout volunteers as well as the men in the BSA council jackets and of course the reason for the boys behind the Honor Guard. He stayed active in politics, the Church and his community until the end.

So imagine my surprise… when I found out… he was 80.

I do not judge. I know plenty of 80 year old people that are as active as he. But I still… didn’t expect it.

It is not his activity that surprised me at his age, but the GREAT leadership skills he still possessed, that people still flocked to him for advice, to listen to what he had to say, to bounce things off of him… and to have him lead them to greatness.

I did not know him well, but I am so blessed that he touched my life. And now he is gone and the void feels great. It is not a tragedy, his death. It is the natural cycle of things. But I wasn’t ready, nor was anyone else.

As I heard the beautifully warm voice of the psalmist during Mass sing Ave Maria, I started to think… he was of the Greatest Generation. And he is another that is gone. And we ache. They are going so quickly. The second funeral of a Great Man from the Greatest Generation I have attended this year. This one hurt horribly…

May he rest in Peace. May we take solace that he is with his wife and that he never suffered.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:43 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 07, 2006

Gadget Addictions

My name is Bou… and I’m a kitchen gadget addict.

Ugh. It is true. It hit me full on today. It is worse than my office supply addiction.

I walked into a kitchen store to buy an angel food cake pan, which I really needed, and spent 15 minutes perusing the small store looking at all the gadgets hanging on the wall, sitting in baskets along the floor, propped up on display.

And I left with stainless steel measuring cups.

Like I needed something else that measures.

But I love these. They are heavy in my hand and the smallest measurement is 1/8th of a cup! I’ve never had one with a measurement so small! Not that I’ve ever had a requirement to measure something at 1/8th of a cup, but the possibilities are there, afterall I could cut a recipe in half, one that calls for ¼ of a cup.

I use all my kitchen stuff. I cook a lot. I’m actually good at it. I’m always willing to try new things and over time I am able to recognize which flavors taste well together.

I have to stay out of that store. And they teach cooking classes that looked WONDERFUL, and I took a brochure… but then realized… if I take the classes I will be amongst all those kitchen gadgets for a couple hours.

Not an option. I can’t take them. I’ll buy out the store…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:48 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Turkeys and Ribs

In my mind, Labor Day is a day for grilling.

This year, I scoured the internet for a spare rib recipe. Something a bit out of the ordinary. I found one for Korean spare ribs. For some reason, it just sounded… Good.

So I marinated them for 24 hours, taking care to turn them often. The marinade smelled good, with the sesame oil, brown sugar, green onion and soy sauce. I know, it’s so not typical, but it just sounded… Good.

I’ve said that twice now, haven’t I?

It was with great anticipation as I turned those ribs in their marinade.

And so the day came to a close. I had baked some potatoes and was making the salad when I asked my husband to put the ribs on the grill.

I turned the timer on 6 minutes as the recipe said to turn them every 6 minutes. I didn’t want us to get pre-occupied and forget, as is apt to happen with life with three boys.

The timer went off and my husband was in the middle of something and I said, “I’ll go turn them…” I walked outside and my jaw dropped. I said, “Hun, is there supposed to be 1 foot flames shooting out from all over your grill?”

He raced past me to turn the grill off and when the fire was gone, he took his BBQ tongs and held up a big black brick… that had at one time been the spare ribs I had been dreaming about, drooling over, for the previous 24 hours.

Do you remember that scene in the Christmas story when the dog comes and steals the family turkey off the table? Remember the horror the father felt?

I was so channeling him at that instant… the anticipation of a wonderful meal and for it not to come to fruition, to watch it literally go up in flames before one’s eyes.

And so I stood in the doorway and said, “I guess I’ll call Reds…” and I called the BBQ down the street and ordered a rack of ribs. My husband and the boys ate more than their share. And I ate two. It just wasn’t the same.

Maybe we should have gone for Chinese*…

I’m still craving ribs. But now I’m craving my Dad’s old fashioned kind. I suspect we will be having these for dinner this weekend… its all I’ve been thinking about.

*Obscure reference to the Christmas Story in case you didn’t catch it…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:35 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

September 05, 2006

Not on His Top 10 List of Ways to Die

The unexpected death of Steve Irwin has been the topic of conversation with my boys today. It was the big dinner conversation. They always watched the Crocodile Hunter and just couldn’t believe he died.

In the car on the way for my 2nd son to pick his instrument for band (4th grade starts band in our school), he said to me, “Mom. I just feel so bad for his kids. And it’s so harsh how it happened…”

*big pause*

“… to be killed by… a FISH. That just totally stinks…”

Indeed.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:04 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Cucumberous Motivations

This evening I had to take my 2nd son to school to pick an instrument for school band. I have one trumpet player and wondered what we would have as of tomorrow when band starts.

The only instruments he wanted to play were… saxophone and trombone. Well… and the lute and mandolin and dulcimer, but as far as concert band, that was it.

We are not big people and my son is the smallest of small. He’s a beautiful boy with a sharp analytical mind. Stature was not in the basket of gifts he was given and until now, it mattered not to him.

He tried the sax and his hands were too small and couldn’t fit on the keys,

He tried the trombone and although his small body could push some major air through it, he could not reach past the 5th position on the slide. To play trombone, he had to reach the 6th, ignoring the 7th, as according to the band instructor, “It’s not played much. He’d grow into it.” But not being able to reach the 6th was a real deal breaker.

And my son was heart broken. Absolutely heart broken. The skies were falling around his little world. And ultimately, I had to explain to him that we all have set backs in life, but it is how we handle it that matters.

After much angst, he chose the trumpet and has vowed he is going to be the best trumpet player in the band, surpassing even his brother. I promised him in 6th grade he can switch instruments, as I’m renting. He told me not only would he switch, but he was going to learn how to play them all.

Suddenly we were taking the world on fire.

We were in the car on the way home and he said, “Mom, I want to learn the sax and the trombone… and do we have a tuba in our band?”

Me: We have not had one, but if you want to play tuba, I’ll talk to the band director and I’m sure something can be worked out.

Son#2: I REALLY REALLY want to play tuba the most.

Me: Really? Why… I didn’t know this.

And I sat there trying to picture this very little person playing tuba.

Son#2: Yes. Two reasons. First I think its super cool, but 2nd, I like it because Larry plays the tuba and it looks fun.

Me: *blink*

Larry is a frickin’ cartoon cucumber on a cartoon called Veggie Tales. We are picking our instruments from a talking cartoon cucumber?! Say it isn’t so!

And I can so picture him in high school, with all his fellow tuba players and one day they’re talking at band practice as to how they got turned on to the tuba and my son saying, “Oh… it was Larry the Cucumber…” Lovely.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:59 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

September 04, 2006

HB, TGOO

Today is The Great Omnipotent One’s birthday! (He who is also known commenting here as Angus of "insert any Celtic place here".) Whoo hoo! Sixty-six years ago today he was born.

For his birthday? The gift did not arrive yet. So I can’t blog on it. But I hope he likes it. It’s tough to buy something for a man who wants nothing. He has not a materialistic bone in his body and if he wants something, he just goes and gets it. It makes buying for him interesting to say the least. Typically we try to go with consumable gifts.

Even if I won the lottery, I’d not be able to buy for him. I know nothing of lathes and he truly has no wants or needs.

That said, the only other thing I could think of was a camera to attach to my laptop so I could take video of the boys and send it to he and my Mom. And that’s what I did. I bought a Logitech laptop camera and I had the boys make him a video singing Happy Birthday.

The first one… well it was goofy enough until I realized that the kids had all stopped mid song when it got to ‘toooo….’ as if they’d forgotten his name. Two of the kids stumbled through Big Daddy as they were distracted by my 2nd son who had decided to call him ‘Grandpa Jenkins’. No clue where that name came from. Jenkins isn’t a family name on either side.

The second video Bones was making such terrible faces, you could see the long arm of their mother suddenly come across the screen and bop him on the head.

The third time was a charm. Funny still, but a charm.

And the best now is that we signed up through a messenger service and we can now video conference so the kids can see them frequently and TGOO and Mom can see the kids. I’m still working on getting rid of the echo and still adjusting to the fact the picture is only 2 inches by 2 inches… if that, but it’s still very cool.

Modern technology. You gotta love it.

Happy Birthday, TGOO! I hope there aren’t 66 more, that would pretty much suck, your body would be so shot, but I’m hoping for another 40!

Posted by Boudicca at 08:10 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

The Breakfast of Champions

I’ve posted before that I get up every school morning by 6AM and fix my boys a full hot breakfast. We have the breakfast discussion the night before during dinner. Sausage links or patties? Bacon? Biscuits with egg, cheese and sausage or omelets? Bacon in the omelet and what kind of cheese?

Mom, wife, engineer, and short order cook. Breakfast is just really really important. I need to make sure they don’t zone out in school because they’re hungry. They need to be able to concentrate and make it to lunch. And they are allowed to have a doughnut or pancakes for breakfast, but the rule is, only if they have eggs too. No sugar without a protein… even if it’s grilled cheese sandwich. EVERYONE gets protein in the morning.

This morning I was kind of tired. The 6AM short order cook jobs starts tomorrow and I just did not feel like fixing my kids' a hot breakfast. Slinging cereal on the table was the extent of my effort this morning.

With that, the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection:

Bones: Mom. May I have a Krispy Kreme doughnut for breakfast?

Me: Yes.

30 minutes later.

Bones: Mom. May I have ANOTHER doughnut?

Me: Son, you were lucky I let you have the first one without an egg. No. You have to have protein.

Bones: I don’t want protein…

Me: Then don’t come to me telling me you’re hungry. I’m not caving.

Bones: OoooooK. What can I have?

Me: Peanut butter toast? Grilled Cheese? Bacon? Sausage? Eggs? Your choice…

A big NO was repeated after each suggestion.

Finally Bones said, “Can you make me nachos?”

Me: Nachos it is…

So while the rest of you were drinking coffee and eating cereal for breakfast this morning, Bones had a Krispy Kreme doughnut and nachos. Nothing like thinking out of the box…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:02 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

September 03, 2006

The Hail Mary Award

The following conversation took place in my asexual mom-mobile today, as I was taking the boys to the pool. Bones is set to make his First Holy Communion in March.

Bones: Mom, what’s that thing called before you have your First Holy Communion?

Me: First Reconciliation.

Bones: yeah. That. What do you do?

Me: You’ll see Father and confess your sins. Then he'll tell you what you have to do to repent.

Bones: Really?

My 2nd Son: It’s no big deal. It doesn’t take long…

Bones: Yeah, but… with all the things I do wrong! That’s a lot of sins MOM! That could take me ALL DAY!!!

Me (laughing): Dude, being a pain in the neck to your brothers is not a sin. You’re a good boy that makes bad choices. Those aren’t sins. Don’t sweat it. Nobody your age commits the big bad stuff…

2nd Son: Oh yeah, but Mom, remember Nick? He was one of the first ones with my group and he was on the altar for a LONG time. He had a whole lot of Hail Mary’s to say…

Me: Phht. You don’t know that. Maybe Nick completely forgot the Hail Mary and decided he needed to just stay up there for a long time until he thought it was long enough!

2nd Son: No, Mom, he could have left after the 2nd kid was finished or even the 3rd. But he was up there a long long time, plus… you forget what kind of kid Nick is. Trust me, Mom, he had a lot to say!

Poor Nick. Twenty years from now, a group of the kids from elementary school will get together to grab a beer and catch up and Poor Nick will be the kid they remember as having to say the most Hail Mary’s at his First Reconciliation. I think he’s been permanently labeled.

Meanwhile, Bones is getting cold feet. He’s worried that he’ll be the kid in his class that everyone remembers as the kid who ‘had to say more Hail Mary’s’ than any other kid in the class. For some reason I doubt it. I really do.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:46 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Going Into The Closet

I’ve been cleaning out my closet… my clothes are really dated. I’m ready to start dressing a bit more ‘hip’ if you will.

And some things I noticed in my closet…

The frickin’ hangers multiplied. They make rabbits look celibate. Just cleaning out all the hangers made a big difference. Note to self: do not buy any more clothes that require dry cleaning.

Also, I have a lot of suits still. They fit and I’m not parting with them as I know there are events I must wear them to, but I’m so frickin’ OVER the suit, hose and heels dealie. I mean I’m REALLY over it. I’m surprised I had not one black suit, considering my other observation… I have A LOT of black in my closet. Red is the 2nd color. I have two red suits.

And lastly, I am way too emotionally attached to clothes. My clothes have memories I cannot part with. I have dresses in my closet I will NEVER wear again, but I can’t part with them as the memories are too strong.

I have the dress I wore for my husband’s and my engagement picture. Doesn’t fit, doesn’t matter, I’m not getting rid of it.

I have the dress I wore for my rehearsal dinner. Doesn’t fit, doesn’t matter, I’m not getting rid of it.

I have a dress I wore when I got pregnant with my 2nd son. Not blog fodder! Completely out of style, doesn’t fit, doesn’t matter, I’m not getting rid of it.

I also have the dress my Mom wore when she winged TGOO. I was never able to wear it… my Mom not only looked like a young Elizabeth Taylor back then, but she had a body like her as well. (Forunately for Mom, she still has a great bod, while ET looks like crap.) I was never curvy like my Mom so I could never quite fill up the dress in all the right spots. *ahem*

I have an article of clothing that was my grandmother’s that I can’t part with.

And I still have my interview suit from 18 years ago when I was interviewing with Company X. I’ll never fit in that suit again, but I love that suit and I can’t part with it.

I know I’m in trouble when my closet becomes full of memory clothes and there is no room for those I actually wear!

Posted by Boudicca at 08:39 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Let Them Eat Pie

Tonight we had the family over for dinner. Baked chicken with broiled small potatoes, apple sauce, fresh salad and dinner rolls were on the menu.

While perusing a Carnival of the Recipes a couple weeks ago, I found THIS recipe for Pear Pie. It looked marvelous and I decided to try it out on the extended family at dinner.

It is a GREAT pie. Its rich, but it is very very good. If you decide to make it however, I have one suggestion. Keep an eye on the crust. When it starts looking really dark along the edges, take some aluminum foil and cut it to fit the edges… just to cover them. I know, it’s a pain in the neck… round HOT pie plate, and rectangular aluminum foil, but otherwise your crust will burn up. Make the foil cover pieces before you even put the pie in the oven, so when you take it out, you can just put the foil on and then throw the pie back in to finish baking.

I’ll make this pie again. No Doubt.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

September 02, 2006

Fall Cleaning

I’ve been cleaning my bathroom today. My vanity seems to be a dumping ground for old make up and hair paraphernalia. I was stunned by the things I found… bows I wore in my hair from the late 80s, eye make up from God only knows when, free samples of every make up company handed out with purchases I made way too long ago, and I really must stop buying razors. I didn’t realize I had a problem of having to try new razors until I realized I had THREE.

And I tell you, I truly am an idiot. I had so many knee bandages you’d think at some point I’d have realized I had a problem. But I have a knee brace, two or three Ace ‘cuffs’ for lack of a better word, and I have a couple that take magnets, not to mention the number of actual ace bandages I have. You would think that at some point when I was trying a new one, I’d have thought, “Stop running!” or “Karate is killing your knees!” But no, it never happened. I just kept pushing and pushing. I have a voice in my head that I hear now that says, “Stop, Bou”. I never had that before. It occurred this year. Thankfully.

Of course I threw all the make up and bows away, saving two bows I must confess, not to wear, but as keepsakes to my youth, but I kept all the bandages and braces. I suspect I’ll need those. My years of pavement running are officially over, having run my last one a couple weeks ago and paying for it every night for a week later. I’m done with that.

I’m just in a ‘clean it out’ mood. Fall is coming. My body knows it instinctively. While others write about the evening temperatures beginning to drop into ‘sleep with the window open’ range, we still hover in the 70s at night and during the day, we’re in the 90s. September is just as hot as August. And just as frickin’ humid. It is the humidity that keeps us from sleeping with windows open. The air is still stagnant, hot and wet. The end of October we start seeing some nice cooling… highs in the upper 80s and lows in the upper 60s. That’s fall.

But fall used to be my favorite season and for some reason, while others feel the urge to clean during spring, I feel it now. Perhaps in the preparation for the Christmas holidays and the New Year, I feel this need. My Mom always made sure the house was super clean before Christmas so as not to ‘decorate over dirt’.

But the fall…I miss college football with the windows open and the feel of a chilly breeze, hot chili on the stove. I miss the smell of burning leaves or chimneys lit to keep the occupants of their home warm. I miss being able to keep a pumpkin on my porch without it rotting into a gooey bug infested mess within 48 hours. I miss men in sweaters, with their sweaters pushed up on their forearms, and stretched nicely across their shoulders and chests. I miss running in the fall, the cool crisp air filling my lungs. I miss the leaves turning colors.

As of Tuesday, I will be the owner of some property in Alabama. I intend to retire there. I will spend my retirement years enjoying all those things I miss… savoring every minute. I’ll sit on my front porch and watch the kids bundled up for school, the leaves swirling in the wind. I’ll have a pumpkin on my porch for a week and it won’t rot. I'll pay a guy to deliver wood for my fireplace and after dinner I'll have a nice fire.

I’ll smell fall… I’ll watch fall… I’ll listen to fall. It will be a full sensory experience and I so look forward to it.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:24 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

September 01, 2006

Decorating Fads or Just Bad Taste?

Ack! First Bones only wanted a lava lamp for his birthday. The Drama King stated something along the lines of, ‘All I’ve ever wanted my whole life was a lava lamp.’

So upon his 7th birthday, Morrigan bought him a lava lamp. The Drama King continued, “Every time I look at my lava lamp, I’ll think of you, Aunt Mo.”

Aunt Mo was rather taken back by that as she looked at me and said quietly, outside of his earshot, “The lava lamp? It’s going to be the lava lamp that reminds him of me? Not all the stuff we’ve done together, but the lava lamp?”

And now my 11 year old wants a strobe light. Lovely. I told him when he was three and he asked if I would paint his bedroom black that I did not have caves in my home. But now? Is a strobe light the opposite of a cave? I am so hoping this is just a phase of an 11 year old. I can hear it 20 years from now, “Oh yeah, when I was in 6th grade I had a strobe light in my room…”

Those damn things give me a headache.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:31 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Worse than Godzilla AND King Kong!

Y’all are going to be sick of me. Ioke again. I just had to look. It’s a Cat 4 now and expected to be a Cat 3 on Tuesday… as it heads straight for Japan. Now I know anything can happen, but as of the current track, that bad boy is heading for Tokyo.

I did some research. Surprise. And thinking. Surprise. Tokyo has a population of about 12.5 million. Houston has a population of just over 2 million. In the metro area of Houston which is 10 counties, it’s 5.3 million.

Think back to when Rita was zooming in on Houston and what a frickin’ mess that was. And there were 1/5 the number of people in Houston proper as there are in Tokyo.

I’ve never been to Tokyo. It’s actually one of those places I have no desire to visit. I’d love to go to Japan, but Tokyo is too big for me. I’m more of a country kind of girl. But when I think of Tokyo building code, I don’t think of Miami/Dade building code which is the highest benchmark standard everyone quotes in Hurricane Country. I think of some pretty sturdy buildings, but overall, I picture Tokyo as a mixture of extraordinarily old buildings as well as some newer sky scraper stuff. In my mind, none will hold up that well.

Surely there must be evacuation plans. Good Lord. One must think so. But HOW does one evacuate 12.5 million people? What a mess Houston was and it was 2 million. So the answer in my mind is… One does not.

Needless to say, I am keeping an eye on it. I’m really really hoping they dodge this one…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:23 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack