We leave in the AM to head back to West Palm Beach. It’s been a wonderful week. We crammed in as much family time as we could. We are only able to see my brother twice a year and so this is always fun for the boys… as they get older, the teasing is more fun.
My folks back porch and yard are covered in marshmallows. I was helping Bones with some crafty thing, I believe we were making super balls, when I said, “I keep sticking to the porch!” and he and Mr. T said in unison, “Its probably marshmallow.” The classic was seeing TGOO out there with them one day, playing war, his using Ringo’s marshmallow weapon. He said Bones is that soldier that just won’t die. “It’s just a flesh wound!!!”
There is a pair of safety glasses missing. The house has been turned upside down, to no avail. I finally told TGOO that when he runs over one with the lawn mower, not to feel bad. I know exactly what happened. My ADHD kid was wearing them, something happened that distracted him, “Bright Shiney Object!” and off they were flung, to Lord only knows where.
TGOO took the boys into his woodworking shop and showed them his lathe and how it works. They were able to watch him ‘make wood chips’, as he calls it. He took a piece of wood and used his various tools on it to demonstrate what can be done. In the end, Bones asked to keep the wood, which is about as long as a stool leg. We do believe that TGOO has officially armed Bones. Jury is out still as to whether this is a good idea, but for now, Bones is very happy.
My husband the packing Master is in the process of packing the car. The goal is to get home before any drunks get on the road for New Years Eve. Then we’ll hunker down at home, my better half and I will probably fall asleep and my 11 year old will tell us the next morning what we missed as we seem to have passed the ‘stay up all night’ torch to him.
And on a different Bones tangent, I read the funniest story today over at Lex’s. I hope my Bones doesn’t grow up to be anything like the Bones in the story. Good Grief. One hopes they can teach their children a bit of self restraint and humility.
Anyway, my favorite part of Lex’s Bones story is the Three Little Pigs and the quote, “Sir, his own guys threw him out to us.” Heh. I laughed out loud. There are some things you can so envision… and seeing it play out with grown men instead of little boys, makes it all the funnier.
Y’all be safe and in case I’m not back on for New Year’s Eve, which I am sure I will be as what else would I do on New Year’s Eve?… the pathetic life I lead… Happy New Year.
My Mom got each of the boys this little electronic ball called 20 Questions. Has anyone else seen this thing?
The kids kind of play it, but it has become an adult fave. Someone constantly has one of these toys in their hands, trying to stump it. It guesses everything!
Newspaper? Bing. (After a few tries… I answered some questions wrong.)
Poop? Bing. (Answered it manure.)
Salt, bed, DVD, you name it. It’s been getting just about everything on the first try.
Meanwhile, my brother has spent some time in the attic today getting out old toys we’d gotten as kids.
First we have this, which is one of the gifts left to us in the motel, Christmas of 1971. The wooden people with their faces taped on. TN noticed some of the tape is coming off. I noticed their taped faces are fading. Did anyone else have one of these? It came with a camper.
Then we have this stocking stuffer, evidently Mo’s according to TN. It’s a kaleidascope of sorts.
Then we have TN’s prized possessions… and now this is the test. I feel certain nobody had those other toys, but do any of the guys out there in our age range (born in the mid to late 60s) remember these?
The boys got a game from my Mom called, Whoonu. It’s by Cranium. It’s a simple game played strictly with chips and cards.
Nope. It’s nothing like poker.
To summarize, every person except one (the Whozit) receives a certain number of cards. The players with cards must pick one or two from their hand that they think the Whozit would like most and put it in an envelope. The Whozit then takes the envelope and sorts these various cards from best liked to least.
So Mr. T was the person designated as the Whozit, the man without the cards… the rest of us were sorting through our hands of four cards, trying to pick two cards that we thought he’d like, to slide into the envelope. After handing Mr. T the envelope, my eldest says of his remaining two cards, “Mom, I knew you’d hate these… pumpkin carving and ice skating!”
Mr. T: Wait. I LOVE those things!
Ringo: I know. But Mom doesn’t.
Me: Well, no, but we’re picking for T. Not me…
Ringo: Uh oh.
Needless to say, Ringo lost that round…but I could not believe what he put down.
Mr. T ordered the cards from worst to best, raising an eyebrow over a couple of them, obviously Ringo’s choices. He flipped over the one he liked least and it said, “Doing Laundry.”
Ringo fessed up that this was one of his choices FOR ME.
Over pumpkin carving!
I truly loathe ice skating… going into an icey cold building, wearing pinchy shoes that stand on blades, and then attempting to slide around on a frickin’ cold floor while not busting my teeth in, feeling completely inept as other people slide around as if born doing this crap… it has absolutely NO redeeming qualities. None. Zippo. Zilch.
No good feelings. At all.
So I looked at the card flipped over, the card Ringo put down for his brother, but meant for ME and I said, “Doing Laundry? You think I LIKE doing laundry?”
Ringo: Sure. You do it all the time.
Me: I do it because I HAVE to do it! I don’t LIKE doing it!!! I’d like Pumpkin carving A LOT MORE than doing laundry!
Ringo: Really? Because you really don’t like Pumpkin Carving.
Me: No. I don’t. But I like it more than doing frickin’ laundry.
Ringo: I noticed you didn’t say you like going ice skating more than doing laundry.
Me: No. I’d rather do laundry. Any day.
Ice skating sucks.
Back on the track of the lesson ‘less is more’, here is an example of one of MANY of Bones’ cookies.
I don’t eat the ones he made. They taste awful.
I overheard on the news today about cloning animals and starting to use them as food. TGOO and I were talking about it tonight while we were putting dinner together. I have come to realize, I am a very simple girl.
Old fashioned if you may.
I don’t want to serve cloned live stock on my dinner table.
I don’t want genetically altered vegetables.
I don’t want steroids in my meat. I’m fine buying poultry that are on the small side.
I don’t want anti-biotics in my meat either.
And someone can stand up and say that I don’t understand the science behind any of this and that its all safe and you know what? I don’t care. I don’t like it. I don’t want it. I don’t think its good.
I want my food as it was intended.
So… I won’t buy genetically altered vegetables. And when cloned meat comes out? I’ll become a vegetarian before I serve it on my table.
I have been buying free range chicken for 3 years now and I buy organic ground beef. I can’t afford all organic beef, which is why most of us down where I live call “Whole Foods” “Whole Paycheck”. I’d buy all organic if I could afford it.
I find this whole thing of ‘messing with my food’ really troublesome. I don’t trust anyone to have done the proper research to really really know what is safe and what is not…and so I’ll try like hell to stick with what I know.
Even though I feel like it costs me my whole paycheck.
Last night we went to see Casino Royale. We being my Better Half, Mo, Mo’s Beau, TN, and me.
So here’s my question to my readers, before I go into the funny part of my story. And answer truthfully. I want an HONEST answer. There is no wrong answer here… just an opinion. I promise not to track you down to seek some type of revenge for not seeing things my way. Really. *ahem*
OK. For those of you who have seen Casino Royale, the blonde chick, Le Chifre’s girlfriend… hottie or ‘ho? Great bod or skank? Just wondering.
My eldest saw this movie with his best buddy 4 weeks ago, a sort of guy’s night out, his buddy, his buddy’s bro and his buddy’s Dad… and Ringo, who will be 12 in March. Mo knows he saw this.
So as we’re sitting in the movie, the first chick throws herself at Bond (not giving away movie parts here, folks, it’s a BOND movie… sex happens) and immediately running through Mo’s head is “Wait! Ringo saw this!”
She says in the car, “I want to ask Ringo who he remembers best, the girl in the red dress or the purple dress… or the blonde! The girl in the red dress grinding on Bond’s leg, throwing her breasts in his face! I couldn’t believe he saw that!”
She was pretty aggrivated with the whole ‘Ringo saw making out’ on the big screen. I don’t know why it didn’t faze me. The kid is going to be 12. I’m wondering how much his brain retained, really, although I shouldn’t as the kid has a very high IQ and keeps his nose in a book. He notices things… and retains… easily. Photo memory and all that crap.
Anyway, we’re back in the car and Mo is kind of going on about this whole sex thing and finally I said tongue in cheek, “You mean to tell me that a relationship between two people who care about each other, showing each other how much they love one another bothers you more than all that violence?”
TN busted out laughing.
Morrigan replied, “LOVE?!! There was NO LOVE! Just sex!”
Heh. Great Bond flick. This new Bond is an absolute hotty. Holy crap. Total Day Pass material.
And don’t forget to answer my poll… inquiring minds want to know. BTW, my vote was skank/’ho. I thought she looked like she needed a bath.
Here’s a little game I’ll call, “Guess the cookie”.
Today I was the Christmas cookie baking mad woman. I think 6 dozen sugar cookies and 4 dozen molasses cookies were baked. Mr. T and Bones did most of the decorating while I was in charge of ‘cookie cutting’. We had some serious issues with Bones and the sprinkles and the concept of ‘less is more’, which is a direct relation to the concept of ‘bigger is not better’, a concept I know most men cannot grasp and one I feel certain Bones never will.
I can just tell.
Anyway, half way through the sugar cookie baking, Morrigan came home with Mom as they spent part of today planning the Great Wedding of 2007. Mo grabbed a cookie and said, ‘WHAT is THIS?’
Look at this picture and tell me if you can guess.
The rest of this post is in the extended entry.
One of the cookies wasn’t decorated like this one… less colors I guess and TN looked at it in the below position and said, “This cookie looks like ...a klansman”.
Nothing quite says Merry Christmas like “KKK” cookies, eh?
Then he looked at it and thought it was an anteater. (Flipped to the side.)
The answer is… it’s a campfire.
And why in the world would we have a campfire cookie cutter? Because I was a Bluebird when I was a little girl (kind of like a Brownie) and they grow up to be Camp Fire Girls. So we have Bluebird and campfire cookie cutters.
Just some random thoughts on the day after Christmas, observances if you will.
My folks’ home is not going to have a problem with resale value. It’s an older home and they have those old fashioned toilets with GREAT flush. Do you know, we’ve not had to pull out a plunger once since we’ve been here, something that is a weekly occurrence in our home with the low flush commodes? That alone should make people want to buy this house when my folks decide its time!
The best gift of the day yesterday was the marshmallow shooters that Morrigan got my sons, complete with the ammo which is… mini marshmallows. The boys spent the better part of yesterday shooting each other, an old fashioned kids shoot out, made new with marshmallow ammo. Thankfully, TGOO has mellowed considerably as his yard was FULL of marshmallows. It looked like it had hailed. This morning I found they’d held their shape… but still turned to goo.
The funniest gift of the day came from TGOO and Mom, Morrigan and I each received one. A book, Being Dead Is No Excuse, with the subtitle “The Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral”. Oh, but it gets better as the inscription inside, written by my father, reads, “Learn how to do it before there’s pressure…”
The book is absolutely hysterical and full of recipes. There’s ‘The Top Ten Funeral Foods’ as well as “The Eternal Pantry- A Legacy for your Children”. I’m happy to state that my Pantry meets 80% of the requirements of this ‘Eternal List’ so I am evidently 80% prepared for any funeral thrown my way, where I may have to prepare food.
I’m surprised my Mom and TGOO didn’t highlight their favorite recipes to be served at their funerals.
An oversight… I am sure.
Then there is the ‘we read each others minds’ that happened with both my Mom and TGOO and then with them together.
They both got each other similar gifts, which cracked us up. She got him a radio for the shower. He got her soap, conditioner, and shampoo dispensers…with a radio. Kind of the female version of what she got him.
Then my husband bought me these wonderful Three Kings statues, and they are HEAVY. Heavy and beautiful. As I opened them and put the first one in my hand I thought, “In the library…”
And as TGOO lifted one up he said, “Mr. Green, in the library, with the Wiseman.” Heh.
Then of course I’ve come to realize, yet again, that my mother and I really need to consult each other before buying gifts as we buy the same thing or along the same lines for everyone. I filled my boys stockings with things like band aids (I ordered ninja, pirate, and bacon band aids for the boys), chapstick and office supplies (they love pens, pencils, and post it notes) and my Mom filled all the men’s stockings with chapstick and band aids.
I bought my Mom and Morrigan lip gloss for their stockings and found my Mom had put lip gloss in mine.
Luckily, I didn’t purchase the electronic kid Soduko games for my kids that I had in my hands at Toys R Us last month because… my Mom did.
My eldest received an air soft gun, one he has been requesting for over a year. (Looks like a rifle.) We have been drilling him on the rules and safety and each child got a pair of safety glasses. To be outside with him while he uses it, everyone has to have on a pair of safety glasses and everyone is responsible for everyone else’s safety. Bones seems to enjoy wearing his… forgetting he has them on.
TGOO has a lathe and can turn bowls and what not. He usually makes wooden flutes, absolutely beautiful Native American flutes. With the extra wood, he makes Christmas ornaments. This is the one I received in my stocking. Needless to say, its one of those Keepsake gifts...
(My focus stinks at times... this ornament seems to be a classic example.)
And while on the Christmas ornament train of thought, I received this squirrel ornament from Morrigan. I saw one first on TGOO and Mom’s tree and thought it hugely appropriate as TGOO has been battling the squirrels since I was 9. It took Ivan, really, for him to claim some sort of victory. Not enough trees for the squirrels I guess. Anyway, when I saw the ornament, I immediately thought of Eric, since he is the blogger known most for his affinity to squirrels. I think Eric needs a tree full of these ornaments! Heh.
As we celebrate Christmas today with our families and friends, let us not forget those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to give us the freedoms we have.
And we continue to pray for the safety of our men and women currently serving our country... away from their loved ones this Christmas.
We Must Not Forget.
Merry Christmas, from the House of Boudicca!
This is the picture from our Christmas cards this year, taken while the boys were on Liberty Island.
All the stockings are now hung, by the chimney with care.
Awaiting for St. Nick, soon to be there.
The children are nestled are snug in their beds.
Visions of Lord only knows what, is in their heads.
Merry Christmas to you and yours. I am off... children sleeping, presents wrapped, stockings stuffed... looking forward to tomorrow morning.
We just got back from taking the boys to see Night at the Museum, with Ben Stiller and Robin Williams. Very fun movie. I'd say its a cross between Jumanji and National Treasure.
It's PG, although there is nothing really foul in the movie. I think some of the fighting took it to a PG, although really I thought it would have been G. Even the divorced parents are nice and supportive of each other. No sex, serious violence, or ugliness.
Anyway, if you liked Jumanji and National Treasure, you may want to consider it as its a fun movie for kids. We enjoyed it, but it really is more of a kids adventure movie.
On other topics, as the Great Wedding of 2007 approaches, of which I have done really NOTHING to look better in the attendant's dress, TGOO has eliminated all junk, eating between meals and eating at night and has shed about 8 lbs.
He's the incredible shrinking man. He looks fantastic. And its not that he didn't before, but we're not big people, so 8 lbs is more apparent on our bodies.
So we have my husband who lost it and kept it off... TGOO who lost it and will keep it off and me standing there thinking, "I MUST get motivated..." GRRRR
So I here I sit in Pensacola, Florida, Cradle of Naval Aviation, Home of the Blue Angels and... home of The Cock 'o The Walk, where I intend to get the deep fried oysters and hush puppies that I have been craving for 6 months.
I rode by the restaurant today to check out their hours and the only day lunch is served is on Sundays. Nothing like going to 'God's House' (as the boys used to call it) and then having a good lunch of deep fried Southern Food.
I'm skipping the God's House tomorrow, however, and going directly to the oysters and hush puppies... french fries are optional. Heart attack special.
I cannot wait...
Oh and I may walk this week, but there will be no running or weight lifting. None. Vacation is a wonderful thing.
We arrived today into Pensacola. Christmas is being spent with TGOO, Mom, and my siblings. Mo is bringing her Beau as well. Bones is still grappling with the whole "Morrigan is getting married" thing.
Last night we spent in Gainesville, Florida, at a Holiday Inn. In an effort to help the boys sleep more comfortably, I'd reserved a roll-a-way bed. When we arrived, we were informed the bed was so disgusting, the hotel wouldn't rent it out. Blech.
So the three boys squished into the double bed, and invariably that leads to much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth as to who kicked whom, and who rolled over the other, and who's elbow landed in who's back.
The first thing in the morning, getting a jump in the 'I slept poorly because my brother did the following awful thing to me while he was sleeping' song that we have grown to know so well, my husband said to the boys, "Boys. You would NOT believe what it was like to sleep with your Mom last night! Do you know... she jabbed a TOE up my NOSE!"
The boys stared at him.
"It's true", he continued, "she tossed and turned and rolled all over me and she punched me in the forehead. She jabbed that toe in my nose and I wasn't able to sleep at all!"
Eh... the tossing and turning, yeah, that's true. I hurt so bad at night when I sleep, I move constantly. But the rest, it was funny.
Finally Bones said very quietly, "She did? You know Dad, when Mom sleeps with me, she kisses me all night and is so sweet. Mom is very gentle when she sleeps with me."
I couldn't quit laughing. We both laughed actually.
You wonder sometimes what your children will remember. I love laying next to my boys at night, kissing the tops of the heads or keeping my lips pressed against their foreheads while they sleep, stroking their hair. I call it, "Inhaling my children."
I love how they smell, freshly bathed, when they sleep.
I love listening to their sleepy noises.
I love how angelic they look while slumbering.
And it was heart warming to know... that Bones seems to realize it. "Mom is very gentle when she sleeps with me."
That's because Mom is busy taking it all in... knowing one day it will come to an end.
It goes so quickly.
My blogson Contagion tagged me with this Christmas meme… which entitles him to a stocking full of switches!!! He accuses me of ignoring me, when in reality, his sitemeter is going crazy with readers so he just isn’t able to sort through all the data to see me lurking. Hurmpf!
Anyway, I’m to tag five people and… I’m way behind in blog reading AND email, so I will tag 5 and if you’ve been tagged skip it. Or if you just don’t want to do it… you can skip it too.
1.Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping! I love to wrap gifts. I never let them wrap any of my gifts at the stores when offered, ever.
2.Real tree or artificial? It’s a tough one. When we’re in town, we try to do real. When we travel, we pull down the fake. Sometimes… we do both. But doing both requires a lot of energy and I don’t seem to have a lot of that lately.
3.When do you put up the tree? If I could, I’d put it up Thanksgiving weekend, but life happens and we typically put it up the first weekend in December.
4.When do you take the tree down? Good Grief. On the day of the Epiphany! Sheesh!
5.Do you like eggnog? Blech. No. I don’t do thick stuff like eggnog. Or custard. Pudding, barely. Nope nope. No eggnog. Ick.
6.Favorite gift you received as a child? Ohhh! How fortuitous! I just blogged this HERE! A camper.
7.Do you have a nativity scene? Yup. A couple. One my Mother gave us for our first Christmas and one my husband brought into the marriage. I even have a removable baby Jesus for our Nativity.
8.Hardest person to buy for? Mmm, I think my husband. I think my soon to be brother in law will win that award eventually.
9.Easiest person to buy for? Bones.
10.Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail. And yes, it is 100% my job.
11.Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Worst? Nope. Never. Funniest? Yeah, there are a couple, my grandmother Nana was good at strange gifts, but never ever a worst. It’s a GIFT.
12.Favorite Christmas movie? A Christmas Story!
13.When do you start shopping? Sometimes in July.
14.Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Um. No. Ick.
15.Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies!
16.Clear lights or colored on the tree? Color. And they don’t blink.
17.Favorite Christmas song? O Come Emmanuel.
18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? We alternate. One year we go to Pensacola and the next we stay here. At my folks’ house its wonderful as everyone is there. On the years we don’t go for Christmas, we go for Thanksgiving.
19.Can you name all of Santa’s Reindeers? Yup.
20.Angel on the tree top or a star? Angel.
21.Open the presents on Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve, one gift and it’s always a Christmas ornament. Otherwise, all gifts are opened Christmas morning, starting with the stocking.
22.Most annoying thing about this time of year? I never have enough time. I try. Every year I say I will do better, but I never do. And I’m always stressed. But I think it may be… Christmas decorations in the stores before Halloween. That irritates the stew out of me.
23.Do you have Jebus in your heart this Christmas? Jebus? Who is he? Is that T1G? If Jebus = T1G, then NO!!! Ack! I'm married!
24.What would you like for Christmas? Cookies? Heh. Hmm. The kind of sleep where I wake up in the same position I fell asleep in? More time? More patience? I do believe the list could be endless…
And five people, Heh, Merry Christmas to:
Christmas cards went out today. The line two days ago for postage? That was the CAR LINE to GET TO the machine. Christmas stamps are highly overrated. Like Jody’s mine have flags.
Packing is underway and laundry as well as I have to pack amongst all this. Work is chaotic as I’m trying to get everything closed out as I won’t be back until the 2nd week of January.
Yesteday I chaperoned five 6th grade boys to see the movie Nativity. (None of them liked it. Not for kids really.) It seemed like a good field trip given they go to Catholic school. Actually, I strictly drove… dropped off and picked up. I didn’t have to stay through the movie.
On the way there… Good Grief. Here I am, with five boys going to see some great Christmas Christian religious movie and all they could talk about were things like passing gas and blowing things up and making nuclear weapons. Oh, and exactly what the highest altitude a bottle rocket could reach and whether or not you could shoot one into space.
The passing gas thing, that seemed to be key yesterday. One of the boys said, “Wouldn’t it be funny if someone farted so loud and so big the entire Earth shook?”
I just kept looking ahead… driving.
A voice in the back, not my son, replied, “And that would be my Dad…”
I just kept looking ahead… driving. I know his Dad!!! Ack!
And then one of them left me a treat of a big gassy fart in my car as they left. I know exactly which one did it too… one of those silent killers. I went back to work with my windows rolled down.
I’m just Ringo’s Mom to them, as it should be as that’s my job, but on the way home one of the boys said, “Mrs. L. You have a job?” When I answered to the affirmative he said, “What do you do?”
So I told him… who I work for, what I do, what aircraft I work on and there was SILENCE in the car. I heard some boy in the back whistle and the other said, “Wow! That is so cool! YOU do that?”
It was just really funny. Not the typical Mom part time job, for sure, but it’s the only one I know. Hey and it looks good on paper even if it does bore me to tears on some days.
I told them not to be too impressed. I might be able to tell you how to fix certain things on certain aircraft, but I can never seem to find my car in the mall parking lot.
Meanwhile, the other night I was finishing my Christmas cards. I was going through my address book, pouring through addresses on envelopes of other cards I’d received and I thought, “You’d think I’d get my frickin’ crap together and create labels in WORD once and for all…”
Then yesterday as I was driving the boys and my mind was wandering something hit me… an epiphany of sorts and the thought was “Wait. I think you did…”
So last night as I was sorting the cards, I went back to my PC, found a ‘Christmas’ file, opened it and lo’ and behold… there was everyone on my Christmas card list and their addresses all typed in so all I’d have to do is hit ‘print’.
Which I would have done if I’d remembered I’d created them…
Which I still don’t. Remember.
When in the HELL did I do that?! In my sleep?
So we found out today that someone we know very well, a relationship that is somewhat precarious, but still... a friend of the family for a very very long time, has been diagnosed with a glioblastoma. He has between 3 months and 18, more than likely, around 12, if he doesn't die during surgery.
He's young and fit... in his early 50s. Watches what he eats, considered in GREAT shape for any age and well thought of.
And Boom! Death sentence.
It is of course the discussion in this house tonight. What would we do? Do you quit your job? With this type of illness, disability would come into play shortly. What does one do???
Of course the future loss of this man is absolutely blowing us away... but mind boggling on a different level, far lower, is... what do you do when told you have not much time to live?
I can't even imagine...
Christmas cards were picked up from the photo place today and copies of the letter made. Postage not bought as the post office was INSANE today.
Christmas cards are going out in the next day or two.
All shopping has been completed that is going to be completed here.
Half the laundry is accomplished for our trip.
Wrapping starts… soon, Santa gifts having already been put aside.
The family calendar… I haven’t done crap.
Every year I put together a calendar for the family that highlights things from the previous year. Every year it’s a big ‘Oh shit!’ as I realize I need to go through photos and put it together for publishing.
I’m getting the photos together today. Tomorrow I start the calendar. I already prepared my Mom, “I intend to complete 6 months per night, so there is no way to know how this year’s will turn out.”
Now… its getting close to baking more cookies.
Today the Senior Middle School Band played at an ‘elder care’ center for Alzheimer patients. It’s held at a local church and in the morning, caregivers can drop off their parent/grandparent/whomever, and get a break from care giving. The band director decided this should be the senior band’s first foray into the public sect for playing.
He asked me to play a flute duet with him to fill time. (I seem to be hitting all the elderly hot spots this week. Nursing homes and Alzheimer elder care places. I refuse to do Hospice this week.) Many of the kids have dropped out of band, in 6th grade, according to my son; you’re looked at like a loser if you’re in band. Luckily my son has enough friends that he seems to be fighting this stigma, which is good because I’m not letting him quit. Anyway, Senior Band only had six kids, so by the time everyone played one solo and they played a couple tunes, it was not even 30 minutes. Hence, this need for filler.
I told the band director it wasn’t a problem and we selected Bring a Torch Jeanette Isabella, which he and I have played in the past, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman. Our first practice was Friday.
I sucked. My sound was breaking and I just did not have a good pitch. I was pretty horrified, but I’d not picked up my flute since July.
He kept saying, “You don’t suck” and I’d raise my eyebrow and say, “Yes. I do.”
Finally as we were packing up after Friday’s rehearsal I said, “Well, the good thing is, our audience. They’ll never remember what I looked like; let alone what I sounded like. Within a few minutes they’ll forget I even played.”
It made me wonder if this wasn’t the reason that this group was selected for the Senior Band performance.
But I did practice this weekend. I have no desire to make a fool of myself, whether the audience will forget me or not.
And we sounded… so good. My tone came in nice and warm. My pitch was good. I hit every note without a crack. He and I sounded very good. One of the Moms said she thought she’d cry.
I’d not go that far, but it was nice.
And the kids sounded fabulous. They’re really coming together and I was proud of them. I’m hoping that one day when they play at Mass, they blow the doors off the church and their classmates will realize they are talented.
The highlight of course… the one thing that made it all worthwhile?! Afterwards a woman came out with… homemade cookies!!! Gingerbread cookies! And they weren’t the snappy gingerbread cookies like gingerbread men are made. (For the record, when the boys make Gingerbread cookies at TGOO’s, they all seem to come out anatomically correct…) These cookies were crunchy but fluffy.
They were SOOO good.
I think it may be all about the cookies…
Tammi frequently has a question on Saturdays. Sometimes time prevents me from answering. Other times, I just can’t think of the answer that best applies to me.
I can be rather slow on the take. I find myself thinking of the question for a couple days, mulling it over before I think of an answer, then its too late.
Her question this past Saturday was what is your favorite part of the holiday season. I guess I should feel bad about my answer. But I really don’t.
It’s the cookies.
OK. The cookies and the music. I love Christmas music. And the cookies. There’s nothing like assorted homemade Christmas cookies to stave off the stress.
I love the joy it brings my children. Christmas magic. My kids get so excited and it’s a thrill. And I love it when all my family is together. And Christmas morning. I love all of that... I look forward to it.
But day in and day out? It’s the cookies. And the music.
A few weeks ago she asked about the favorite gift we’ve ever gotten. (I can't find the link! I know it was her blog!) That’s a two part answer, child and adult.
As a child, it was some sort of camper. I don’t think it was Barbie, but it had funny looking wooden people and all this cool wooden food and chairs. What I remember about it though, is that I had asked for it for Christmas, Christmas falling just as we were to move to Washington DC from Mayport, Florida. If I recall, my folks weren’t able to get the gift, so Santa left me a note, saying that it would be waiting for me when we moved. The note had a Santa head sticker on it.
Sure enough, we got to DC, where we lived in a motel for what I think must’ve been a couple months until our home was ready, and sitting in the motel family room when we walked in was my camper. And my brother, TN, got some sort of Space Capsule. Mmm. I had just turned 6, so TN was 4 and Morrigan was about to celebrate her first birthday, which she did celebrate while we lived in that motel. I don’t remember what she got.
As an adult, my favorite Christmas gift was given to me last year by my husband.
My Kitchen-Aid mixer.
TGOO had been telling him I needed one, with as much as I cook and bake. My sister in law works for a major department store and so the telephone lines burned, as my husband talked to my father about what kind he should get me. Then he’d call my sister in law to see if she had it in the color he wanted. Her store happened to be having a tremendous sale on them, and she found my color in… San Francisco and had it shipped to her store. So there were many many people involved with that mixer.
And I love it. I LOVE my mixer. I love it so much, if I won the lottery, I’d have my kitchen redone and I’d have it all done around that damn mixer. The mixer would be the focal point.
Today as I was making my cheese mashed potatoes, having dumped everything into my Kitchen-Aid, I said to my husband, “I do not know how I lived without that thing.”
Best gift. Ever.
From TGOO today via email, a game for you Christmas Story fans. Go HERE.
Heh. Don’t shoot your eye out!
Also from TGOO, something I found to be interesting, being the football fan. I’m printing it here, but the author is Derrek Z. Jackson of the Boston Globe and the original article can be found HERE. I did some research on his past articles, being this is his 11th annual and the Florida Gators did not always fare so well in the past. (They fare very well in his poll for graduating athletes.) It does make me wonder if they changed something or… if it’s the luck of the draw. Who knows.
And of course we all know, I’d be rooting for Navy over Boston College…
Graduating to a new standard
By Derrick Z. Jackson, Globe Staff, December 4, 2006
The matchups are all set for the bowl games that will end the 2006 college
football season. But which teams in the Associated Press Top 25 would be
the most deserving of the national title game, by the graduation rates of
The answer would not be Ohio State vs. Florida.
It would be Navy vs. Boston College, in my 11th-annual Graduation Gap
Bowl. Those schools have respective National Collegiate Athletic Association graduation success rates of 98 percent and 96 percent.
To be fair, Florida is no slouch. It ranks sixth in graduation rates among
the AP teams, at 80 percent. But it is one of only two Top 10 teams to
also be in the Top 10 in the classroom. Michigan is the other team, but its 71
percent graduation rate cuts down the middle of a horrible gap between
white players (91 percent) and black players (50 percent). Ohio State is tied
for 23rd at 55 percent. Check out the comparisons below.
Top 25 Graduation Rates
Team Players' graduation %
1. Navy 98
2. Boston College 96
3. Notre Dame 95
4. Wake Forest 93
5. Nebraska 88
6. Florida 80
7. Penn State 80
8. Texas Christian 78
9. Virginia Tech 74
10. Michigan 71
11. South Florida 66
12. Boise State 65
13. Maryland 64
14. South Carolina 64
15. Auburn 63
16. Texas A&M 63
17. West Virginia 63
18. Wisconsin 62
19. Oregon State 60
20. UCLA 59
21. Rutgers 58
22. Tennessee 58
23. Arkansas 55
24. Georgia Tech 55
25. OSU and USC 55
Barely passing graduation rates in the AP rankings: Brigham Young 53,
Louisville 53, Oklahoma 52, Houston 51.
Teams that should be dropped from bowls on overall graduation success
rates: Hawaii 49, LSU 49, California 44, Georgia 41, Texas 40.
Today was our visit to Santa. One hour. It was ONE HOUR to see him. They added this crap where they take extra ‘candid’ pictures and for a fee they can mail them to you in 48 hours. It added forever to the wait as each child had to sit for 20 clicks.
Our Santa is a good Santa, real beard and all. My kids loved him, even Ringo who knows. Mr. T gave Santa a BIG hug at the end. My kids have never hugged Santa. I mean it was a genuine huge hug. Bones did as well. It melted me.
But I needed that… I needed this good experience with Santa to balance out what happened in line.
Here we were, standing in line with all these sweet little girls, dressed in red velvet, mothers perpetually brushing out their gold spun hair or putting bows in the brown ringlets, black patent leather shoes, practicing their little smiles and whispering what they were going to ask from Santa.
Sugar and girl sweetness surrounded us.
We finally got near the front, a pair of these little girls in front and a pair behind us, and I saw Bones look at Ringo and say, “Oh yeah? Well I will toot at you!”
And with that, he turned his back to his eldest brother, pointed his butt at him and farted! Oh My God! While we were waiting to see Santa! The man who’s supposed to know who’s been naughty and nice! In THE line!!
I was horrified. I took him by the arm, giving him the evil eye, and was about to tell him how much trouble he was in, under my breath when… suddenly… I could not breathe!
If human gas had color, this one was green, and this horrible odor permeated our noses. I looked at him, horrified and said, “You did NOT just do this!”
He was laughing.
Ringo was holding his nose, acting as if he were gagging.
WHILE WE WERE WAITING TO SEE THE MAN!
And of course as Bones crawled into Santa’s lap, he was the epitome of good boy. The saint. The characterization of how all boys in the good column on Santa’s list should be.
A couple days ago i had a very funny comment in THIS post. My post was about the parking lot fight that occured after Bones' reconciliation because during confession he had 'stolen' his older brother's sin. Love that.
Anyway, the comment was absolutely hysterical. And it was signed Bitterroot.
But I could tell by the comment who it was from. HC, his other name, is the husband of my blog daughter, Mrs. Who. He has guest posted over there before and told some absolutely hysterical stories about growing up Catholic.
And now it seems... he has taken to blogging. So please welcome Bitterroot at Friction and Harmony! He's already got some great stories up. He's going to be a fun read!
Tonight we decorated the tree. It was supposed to be Sunday, but we ran out of lights and I had to buy more. Then Monday my eldest didn’t finish his homework. Tuesday my husband had a meeting. Wednesday we had cub scouts. So tonight was the night.
I decided to make cookies my mother in law used to make at Christmas, Russian Tea Cookies, and hot chocolate. My laptop played Christmas music and the kids had a great time.
I found all my beautiful ornaments made it to the back of the tree. The boys just don’t want to decorate the back. As Mr. T says, “Why decorate the back? Nobody sees it!”
So the front of the tree is filled with preschool ornaments they made, such as the Styrofoam cup decorated like a bell and hung with a green pipe cleaner, green paper Christmas trees with a picture of a 3 year old on it, and anything that has light and motion.
The back of the tree is blown glass, Christopher Radko, and porcelain. For years I used to have my own tree. It was done in porcelain and white. White doves, white lights, white and gold ornaments. Simple but elegant.
Eh, but that’s effort and I can’t do that anymore. So now I take the back of the tree and the boys take the front.
Anyway, this hot chocolate and cookie thing seemed like a great idea until about 8:15 when my ADHD child was bouncing off the walls uncontrollably. He was like the frickin’ energizer bunny on speed. I couldn’t figure out what the deal was and then I thought, ‘Oops. White powdered sugar and hot chocolate.” Luckily he was out within minutes when I put him to bed at 8:45.
He must’ve crashed off that sugar rush…
THIS post over at T1G’s reminded me of my kids. Of course we don’t have a huge bucket of oats we are leaving reindeer, we don’t live on a farm. But every year, we leave oats as in Quaker oats for the reindeer out in a Tupperware container. Every year I go outside and dump some of the oats in the bushes and then scatter some on the ground as, you know, reindeer are slobs.
Last year Mr. T informed me that we needed to add raisins, I can’t remember why, and glitter. Evidently glitter makes the reindeer fly faster.
So into his room he went to make the reindeer food. He came out with the container, mixed up glitter, raisins and oats and I said, “Mr. T. That is a lot of fiber there. I’m thinking that those reindeer are going to have gas. Glitter farts. Santa is going to be behind glitter farts. He is going to be COVERED in glitter.”
But this is what we do now. Glitter, raisins and oats.
About two months later, I went to grab my container of raisins as I add them to my cereal some days. (I eat this cardboard cereal for breakfast made of sticks and twigs and the raisins give it taste.) I opened the container and it was FULL of glitter! He had mixed the glitter in with the raisins and then grabbed scoops full for the reindeer food.
I looked at my husband with astonishment and said, “I’m throwing this out” and I set in on the counter.
My husband decided he could ‘fix it’ by just scooping out the top layer of raisins. That is something his Mom would do. She never wasted anything. It looked good enough; I do think he did a good job getting it out, but I do think that I may occasionally ingest glitter in my cereal.
I’m not noticing I’m getting faster at anything. I think it’s a lie…
The field trip was today to the nursing home. It was a smaller group than two years ago. There were a couple grandfatherly men that had it all going on and the kids loved talking to them. Three quarters of the women were sleeping… the staff was wonderful, coming by to rub their shoulders to try and get them aware. I’m not sure it was medication or the fact their bodies were done living and now just wanted to be dormant until it was time to die.
The pervasive smell of urine permeated the air. The place was very very clean, but when you have that many decaying bodies wearing diapers, I think the smell must be unavoidable.
A woman in the corner had Parkinson’s disease. I think that has become a fear of mine. Although I can think of worse ways to die, living the last years shaking as my father in law does, knowing that choking to death is a reality that cannot be ignored, is not big on my list.
I’d still like to be in my 90s, having loved my life, but ready to die, and just wake up dead one morning.
Most though, most of the people were in and out of some sort of vegetative state. I found it disturbing as I always do. I cannot get used to it.
The kids did a great job. They started by singing “Proud to be an American” which is always touching to hear from the kids. They went next into 'Silent Night' and I watched all the residents perk up and most sang. I have to say, that was very cool… even the nearly comatose were mouthing the words. That made me choke up.
Christmas cards had been made by all the children and they each found a resident to hand one to. Not one resident was left out.
As the children were singing I looked at one of the Moms and said, “There are a couple people that don’t belong here… I think they must be in rehab.”
She replied, “That would make me work real hard!” I agreed.
As I left I realized how much like my father I am. I thought to myself, “I will take an entire bottle of loratab and end it before I ever allow myself to end up like that…”
Needless to say, when I went to the gym today, I ran an extra mile… because I could. And my choices for meals today were very healthy… that getting old into a vegetative state thing is scary stuff…
I don’t think I recall ever being as overwhelmed and stressed about the holidays as I am this year. I’m just absolutely not ready. At all. My shopping is nearly complete, but there is so much left to do… and it is making me sick.
Thanksgiving may shortly become my favorite holiday. Throw a bird in the oven, make a couple pies, have some family over, eat, watch football. The end.
My reindeer with the butt that won’t shine? Seems my husband never really got the antlers to shine either. If you recall, I’d cannibalized the working antlers off of him and placed them on his brother reindeer that had a shiny butt. I just wanted one complete reindeer.
Now I have a complete old reindeer, a new grazing reindeer, and an old reindeer whose butt is in the bushes to hide the fact his butt’s got no shine and his frickin’ antlers don’t work either.
And… to make it better, I put them all too close together so it’s just this cluster of reindeer lights and if you look closely and squink your eyes you can distinguish the two whole deer, but the one looks like a big thick deformed lighted stick as it has no ears and no butt. Very odd. The neighbors are probably wondering what type of statement we’re trying to make.
I’m finally getting my Christmas picture to the photo shop tomorrow for cards. Every year I say I’m going to have a formal sitting so my kids’ Christmas pictures look perfect and I look like I have my shit together. And every year it’s something I throw together with my 35mm, hoping everyone looks clean and happy. Brushed hair is becoming an option. This year is a picture from NYC.
And yes, I put a letter together. It has the same type of writing as my blog. I keep it very light and kind of poke fun at our year. I started that letter today.
I had my performance review at work today. Someone found money. It is unclear exactly what I will work on next year, but it could be Flight Test. That would be fun. I’ve liked working it in the past and on the newest program, it would be interesting and something new. In the world of contract engineering, you always assume your paycheck in hand is your last. You never count on gainful employment the following year.
I’m chaperoning the 4th grade class to a local nursing home tomorrow. I remember when I took Ringo’s class. They all sang Christmas songs and then were instructed to go talk to the residents. I watched as my eldest went to this older woman completely gorked out on Lord only knows what, and as he started to speak to her, her head lolled to the side and drool came out. He just stood there… mortified. Makes me wonder what we are in store for tomorrow. And for the record, his expression was priceless.
I don’t have a picture of Bones and his bling, but the moment I get one, I will post it. I noticed the 50centbling is no longer on his necklace. He said he just loved his cross so much and he thought the 50centbling didn’t look good with it. Heh. And he wasn’t even prompted.
I always enjoyed Peter Boyle as an actor. I’m sorry to hear he has passed. My favorite Xfiles episode was the one with him it in, where he could foresee how others would die. I never watched that Raymond show, but the other things I watched Mr. Boyle in, I did enjoy. I’m sorry for his family.
There is a woman at my place of work that wears the tightest clothes I have ever seen in my life. We’ll call her Marguerita. Joe who sits behind me damn near has a heart attack on the days he sees her in the break room. He came in today and said to me, “Bou. Did you see Marguerita today? You have to see her.”
How many times do I have to answer, “Joe. I’m completely heterosexual. It does nothing for me.” But still, with each day of painted on jeans and breasts falling out of a sweater, he asks. I guess he’s just looking for someone to share the joy with… but it’s not me. Every time I see her, I think “whore”. Evidently he doesn’t feel the same way about her attire and the way she moves.
I realized this week I will be taking the three boys camping with Cub Scouts alone this year in March. This should prove to be interesting. I'm already going through my mental list on what I can jettison to make it easier. Air mattress? Gone. I'm sleeping on the ground. I've got to lighten the load... we're camping on an island so I have to get this crap on a boat and then haul it off the boat to our campsite and put up our tent and set up camp. I can do it. No doubt. I just think I don't need so much... crap.
Blogging will be sporadic. I must get my cards out. I have sent New Years cards a few times... I refuse to do that this year. I refuse.
Bones had his First Reconciliation on Saturday. As we were leaving I said, “So, what did you have to say for penance?”
Bones: One Hail Mary.
Mr. T got the most stunned expression upon his face. It was a mixture of shock and, well horror I guess as I think Mr. T decided Bones had lied to God.
Mr. T, with the expression: WHAT?! NO WAY!!! You didn’t tell him everything then! You only told him ONE THING if you only got ONE Hail Mary!!
Bones: That’s not true. I told him more than one thing. I told him I back sass my Mom and that I threw you on the couch!
Mr. T: Wait! You have never thrown me on the couch! I did that to YOU. That was MY confession. You STOLE MY CONFESSION!
A rumble was started in the parking lot of the church. I was kind of horrified. We ushered them into the back of my husband’s car as we tried to explain to Mr. T that throwing his brothers on the couch was really just symbolic of the fact they repeatedly beat the ever living stew out of each other.
Everyone else went to their first confession and left peacefully and happy. We went and had a fight between the kids that someone stole someone else’s sin.
Nice. Real nice.
Hi. His name is Bones. And he has an addiction to… Bling.
And no. Not good Bling, if there is such a thing, but fake Bling one buys for 50 cents outside the grocery store.
Essentially he is addicted to the new version of penny candy. Let’s call it 50centbling.
Meanwhile, for the last 6 months he has been begging me for a cross necklace from our local Catholic store where I buy all the boys’ First Holy Communion ties. Actually, he asked for one two years ago when Mr. T got his, but I told him this was something you received after First Holy Communion and he had to wait. But the last 6 months, as he has been learning his prayers, he has been thinking of that cross…
… as to him, the cross is… the ultimate Bling.
This past Sunday the two older boys were not feeling well and so they stayed home from church with me, while with much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth, Bones attended Mass with his father. I told him, “Look, chill out. Maybe Dad will take you for a doughnut or something after.”
Sure enough. “Or something” came to light when he came strutting into the kitchen to greet me after Mass, sporting ‘the ultimate Bling’.
“What is this?” said I, as I gave his father the evil eye, realizing someone had been conned. Conned into a cross. There could be worse things to be conned into.
“It’s my new cross necklace!” replied he, as I continued to stare down his father.
His father shrugged and said, “It was time.” I decided, it was after Bones’ First Reconciliation and honestly, if he was going to wear it and wear it happily, who was I to say he had to wait until his First Holy Communion.
But how quickly the sparkle and shininess of the new Bling fades as today, on our way to Publix to get groceries for dinner, I heard a voice from the back of my van say, ‘Mom. I brought some money with me.’
Sure enough, into Publix we walked, and out came four quarters of his own money, and knowing the drill he placed them into the 50centbling machine. Out popped two metallic appearing $, not even made in China, but probably made in the Honduras or even better, some fourth world country yet to be known to Americans, by slave labor fingerless children working with their toes.
Said I, “Surely you don’t intend to wear that 50centbling next to your cross…”
“Why not?!” came the incredulous retort from my 7 year old 50centbling Master.
As we finished dinner tonight, he came to my side to kiss me. My affectionate child. I was nearly blinded by his necklace.
On THE SAME CHAIN as his brand new cross, was some gangsta symbol wannabe 50centbling and two of the metallic appearing $. Dangling right there… like he was wearing a charm bracelet as a necklace.
My kid exudes nothing but class. What a fashion disaster.
My husband was in the attic. He was getting the decorations down, I would take them from him while meeting him halfway up the stairs. The boys would take them into the house. We had an assembly line.
We took down one box that was cardboard and on it was labeled, Xmas Ornaments.
My second said, “Mom! You shouldn’t write it Xmas! It takes the Christ out of Christmas!”
I looked at him, doing a double take and from the attic I heard my husband say, “What did he say?”
I shouted up into the attic, “He said not to use Xmas. It takes the Christ out of Christmas!”
He stopped and grinned and I said loud enough for him to hear, “That’s what you get when you send your kids to Catholic school!!!”
So we’ve got the lights out and are decorating the front of the house. This is our ‘off year’ which means we are spending Christmas at my folks which in turn means we will not be imitating The Griswalds. On the off year, I do most of the lights outside as well.
On the ‘on year’ I’m in charge of things such as the lighted reindeer in the front yard. Last year there was one I just could not get to work, so I cannibalized parts of it to make sure I could get the other to work. (There are two reindeer, that we purchased about 8 years ago… so they are very very worn.)
This year, since I’m doing the lights outside my husband decided to get the broken reindeer to work. He spent about an hour on it and finally said, “The backend doesn’t light.”
Me: That’s the one I ended up k-balling from last year. Since I couldn’t get the backend to work, I took its ears, that did work and put it on the other one’s ears that didn’t. So its ass doesn’t light, huh?
Husband: Nope. It’s dark.
Me: OK. Stick it in those bushes so that only the head is coming out. It’ll hide the fact its butt is broken.
And so that is what we have at the House of Bou this year. Three reindeer (I bought another on sale as I knew this one reindeer is possibly helping to celebrate its last Christmas), one of them feeding, one of them watching and the other one appearing to come out of some bushes as its butt’s got no shine.
It may be time for that reindeer to be put down once and for all…
We play a game in my home called “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie”. I know many of you are familiar with this children’s book. If not, a quick summary… the story is… if you give a mouse a cookie, then he’s going to ask for some milk, and after he drinks the milk he will ask for… and on and on and on it goes with this little mouse getting in all sorts of trouble until at the end of the story he is back to asking for a cookie.
Distraction is something that reigns in this household and I truly am as guilty as any of the others. With so much perpetual chaos, it is difficult to stay focused. This game is easy to play, obviously, when in the House of Boudicca.
For instance, we were in the car the other day and Bones asked for something to eat. I happened to have a small bag of chips in the front seat, unopened, from one of their lunches, which I offered up.
He ate the chips and said, “I need something to drink…”
From the back of my car, I heard the quiet laughing voice of Ringo say, “If you give Bones some chips, he’ll ask for a drink. When you hand him a bottle of water, he’ll then tell you that he has to pee…”
We all laughed of course.
So today I sent my husband into the attic to get the Christmas decorations down so we could put up the tree and start decorating the house. He got in the garage and realized what a mess it was… so I walked out to see if I could not assist (he had three boys ‘helping’) and I found him cleaning. Going through baseball shoes to see which ones might be too small, then moving on to a cabinet that has had crap on it for years and suddenly… it MUST be gone through.
I stared at him, Bones was rolling his eyes and all I thought was “If you ask your husband to get the Christmas decorations out of the attic, he’ll feel the need to straighten a section of the garage, and while straightening that section of the garage, he’ll see some old baseball shoes and wonder if they still fit the kids… and…”
I left. It’s futile fighting it. I eventually heard Bones say, “Daaaaad, come on!” and great cheering as he was victorious in leading his father back to the task at hand. And parts of the garage do look infinitely better...
On a sidenote, with the Christmas tree being put up, I decided to bake and that this year’s first batch of cookies came from Shakey Pete’s Shootin’ Shack… his wife Linda Lou’s Oatmeal Raisin Cookies… also known as Grandma Hagen’s cookies. Go HERE for the recipe. Mmmm. Very good. A definite keeper. They have an excellent light flavor of everything… not too sweet, just right.
And just as a tip whenever I have a friend who has just had a baby, I try take home baked oatmeal raisin cookies when I visit. They are high in fiber with all the oatmeal and the raisins have iron. If she’s nursing, chocolate is not always a good choice. And cookies are easy to pack and take home when the hospital stay is over. Balloons and flowers are tough.
Yet another rendition of “Just what have I missed whilst living under that rock”.
Who… in the hell… is Matt Kearney?
Once again, I was on MSN and all over the place it has about some guy name Matt who is in concert and evidently its some big whoop-de-doo.
There are some sales clerks that make shopping so worth it. This happened in a department store tonight:
Setting, I'm at the register and I have my list in hand. I NEVER shop without my list. It is a male shopping clerk and I a buying underwear for my husband.
Clerk: Oh! The infamous list. You CANNOT shop without it.
Me: NO. I can't. It is a must in shopping.
Clerk: Yes it is. Checking off who was naughty and nice?
Me: Well. They were all pretty much naughty this year. I'm just choosing to overlook their naughtiness...
Clerk: Ahhh, well, sometimes naughty can be very very good.
Me: *somewhat surprised* Oh! Oh, yes... it.... can.
It’s official. After my experience in the mall tonight… it is official. I'm Old.
And I can’t do the teenage thing. I.just.can’t. I want off this crazy ride as I don’t have the stomach for it.
My husband has an older sister that has three children. I love these children as if they were my own and I love them all equally. This story, however, is about the two eldest, as they are the teenagers.
My niece is a freshman in college, away from home for the first time. Absolutely stop traffic gorgeous, great bod, made such great grades in college that she’s practically being paid to go to college with all her scholarships. She also is funny as all get out. All around good kid.
My nephew is in 10th grade this year. He’s 6 feet tall, blue eyed, and is just so cute. He’s great with my boys, a kind heart, and sharp wit. I suspect he thinks I’m his lunatic aunt, and I’m cool with that. He’s a straight A student and is one hell of an athlete.
Both kids… they got it all goin’ on.
For the last 4 years, I have been buying my nieces clothes for Christmas at Macy’s (they have one in their town so she can exchange what does not fit or is not her style) and for the last 4 years I have called my sister in law and said, “What is this?! They want me to dress my niece LIKE A WHORE!” Gah! I hate that.
What is with this tight thin material they want to put our teenage girls in? It pisses me off. Everything I picked up, the material was so thin, I think I could have poked a hole in it with my tongue. I wanted to say, “Excuse me, when did they start making clothes out of tissue paper?”
I found her a pair of jeans and a shirt that I actually liked and will look great on her 18 year old athletic great body, but still, I cringed when I bought it. I’m not saying Potato Sacks, but come on.
It’s just not right…
I'm so glad I don't have daughters.
I had called my sister in law about my nephew. He is getting an iPod for Christmas from his Mom, so I wanted to buy him a CD to go with the clothes I am purchasing. And this was the conversation that occurred with her, to the best of my recollection:
Me: What does he like? What does he listen to?
SIL: He listens to… notorious b-i-g.
Me: what? Isn’t that hip hop?
Me: You’re kidding me. He listens to that crap? Good God. I cannot believe it. OK… fine.
So off to FYE I went to buy this utter crap for my nephew, who I absolutely adore. I’m completely clueless as all these Hip Hoppers have such odd names.
I started off in the ‘B’s for ‘Big’. Because… I didn’t think that ‘notorious’ was possibly really part of his name. I figured my sister in law just threw the adjective in there.
I live under a rock.
When Big didn’t show up alone (there are some hip hoppers called Big something or other) I thought, ‘Wow. Notorious? Could it really be part of his name?”
Sure enough. I went to the ‘N’s’ and there it was. Notorious BIG.
Great. And I couldn’t tell which was his latest disk. So as good fortune would have it, there was this 16 year old kid who worked for FYE, standing right there next to me! So I did what all us old ladies do when we’re lost buying for our kids/nieces/nephews/assorted young people, and I… asked. And the following conversation is what Morrigan says makes me officially old. As I told her this story I repeatedly heard from her, “Stop it.” And “No. You. Didn’t say that.”
Me: I am searching for a CD for my nephew. Some guy named Notorious Big.
Clerk: *pause* Oh. You mean Notorious B-I-G.
Me: Umm. Yeah. Him. I can’t tell which is his latest CD…
Clerk: *looking at the back of the CD, which I had already done* Well, it doesn’t really matter as he’s dead.
Clerk: Yeah. Shot. So there has been no new music. You can pick anything.
Me: But this one says 2005… was this death recent?
Clerk: *pause* Um. No. Like 10 years ago. They must’ve compiled some of his music together.
Me: Wow. Did one of those other hip hop guys shoot him?
Clerk: No. It did deal with money though…
Me: Was he with Tupac Shakur?
Clerk: different thing.
So I bought this complete crap for my nephew. What happened to The Cure and The Smiths? Why is he not listening to Linkin’ Park or Panic! In the Disco?
I can’t do this… I can’t.
It’s been a long week. So here are some random thoughts…
My kids find comfort in the sound of my sewing. I found that to be… nice. I hope it is a sound they remember fondly when they are adults.
My 11 year old may not make it to 12. The jury is still out. I cannot believe I have two more kids to get through middle school and I can barely get this one through.
Bones’ First Reconciliation is tomorrow. He is pretty funny about it. It’s not like there are any big ticket items… no raping, pillaging and burning of towns at age 7. He’s excited though and he said he’ll just hit the big ones like “I sometimes don’t listen to my Mom” “I fight with my brothers.”
Mr. T informed him, “Yeah, I told Father about the time I threw you on the couch.” I’m sure Father gets a lot of that and it makes me laugh.
I don’t think 11 year olds should be out until 11:15. My eldest has a best friend whose parents occasionally invite him to do things with them. Tonight it was an 8:15 movie that ends at 10:45. I told her this is the last time my son is out past 9:30 with them. I’m done with it. And I don’t care that everyone may think I’m the wicked one… It’s currently 10:30, I’m tired, and everyone in my house is sleeping, and I’m waiting on an 11 year old. That pisses me off.
I may get laid off. Money didn’t come through for our contracts and as of now, I may not have work for next year. I’m at peace with it. I have been through many lay offs and have seen many a boss make themselves sick over having to lay off their employees. I told my boss and tech lead on Tuesday when it became apparent that money was going away, “I have burned no bridges. You know what kind of employee I am and how hard I work. I feel solid in the knowledge that if you need me, you’ll call me again.” I told them not to lose any sleep over it as I’m not.
And I’m not.
I really like the company I work for. I really like the relationships I have formed at Company X that we subcontract to. And I really enjoy working with the Wizards in Seattle. I will miss the men I work with.
I won’t miss counting clamps, bolts, and researching torque values…
Some of the men I work with, who already retired once and now do this…just because… are worried about getting laid off and having to spend 24/7 with their wives. I suspect their wives are more horrified… That makes me laugh.
Oh. My kids really meant ‘Lick’. I couple people put that ‘licking’ meant beating. Nope. I heard one of them say today, ‘You DID lick me!” and the other said, ‘I did. And if you don’t stop it, I’ll lick your belly button.” I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or gag. The problem may be that THEY don’t know what lick means. They just heard it and thought people were licking each other. They would come by this trait of not understanding honestly… as they would acquire that trait from me… who in turn acquired it from my Mom. Heh.
I still need to buy stocking stuffers. Ugh.
We will be visiting Santa this weekend, I hope. I have just about finished my Christmas shopping for the boys. I have an item here and there I need to pick up, mainly stocking stuff.
But I have learned, never wait until the day before Christmas to see Santa. The line may be short, but there is nothing worse than having your Christmas shopping complete for the children and then taking them to Santa only to hear them say, "Santa, more than anything in the whole wide world I want XYZ."
And... this is the FIRST TIME YOU HAVE EVER HEARD OF XYZ, because for the last month you have been hearing about ABC!!! Gah!
So I have to get the visit accomplished so I can sleep soundly that my shopping is complete.
This will be the first visit to Santa that I have a child that does not believe. I pulled him aside and asked that he still be in the picture, but he didn't have to sit on Santa's lap or anything if he didn't want to. I suspect he won't. But he was a big enough person to say the photo shoot was cool...
It seems like only yesterday that I had to sit on Santa's lap and have him sit on mine as Santa was so big and scary. Really. Just yesterday.
Did you give to Valour-IT? Have you wondered who the people are that you are helping?
I received something in an email yesterday, from the head of Team Navy for the Valour-IT fundraiser that just occurred… and so I will send you to his blog, xformed of Chaotic Synaptic Activity. Go HERE. Read about your money at work...
Valour-IT is such a worthy cause.
Army Wife has been collecting Christmas cookie recipes!
The FIRST post is HERE. If you've not done your baking... maybe this is the weekend. I am thinking that it is the perfect opportunity to help get me in the mood. There are some GREAT recipes!!!
Oh and yes, you read that right. It is part ONE. She had such high participation, there will be a part TWO. Gotta love those bakers!
We were at dinner last night and my eldest, Ringo, said to me out of the blue, “I want to switch places with you.”
He meant to switch lives, not as in dinner seats.
So I replied, “Really? You do? Do you know what I’ve been doing for the last 6 weeks at work? I have been counting clamps, bolts, nuts, spacers and packings on every single hose, tube, and manifold on our product. I have been checking the material the couplings are made of so I can check the torque on each one, as aluminum and titanium and steel have different torque values. I’ve also been ensuring that all couplings that have a lubricant have the correct torque. For six weeks.”
He stared at me blankly.
I continued, “So you want to switch places with me? You want to go to work and do what I do and I can go to school for you instead?”
My second son, Mr. T, looked at his older brother and then looked back at me, waiting for his brother to answer.
Finally Mr. T said, “Ringo, trade with her on Mondays. That’s her day off from work…”
Overheard today while I was shopping, my eldest and youngest behind me, as my 2nd son was at band practice.
“Stop it or I’m going to Lick You!”
Wha?! Is this some new threat being bandied about in the world of children?
“I’m going to Lick You”.
What is that about? I think that would only work if you were threatening to lick a complete germ phobe like… Monk.
And you know what happens when you visit the Philadelphia Zoo? You get conversations like this, with random son names as I can’t remember who said what:
Son A: You jerk,.
Son B: You pig.
Son A: You snot.
Son B: You’re a snot face.
Son A: You’re an elephant shrew…
Son B: *pause* You’re an elephant shrew butt.
Nice. Points for creativity however...
So I was perusing the blogs the other day when I saw THIS post. It seems a certain blog brother of mine wants a certain weapon for Christmas.
Of course the commenters came up with the classic, “You’ll shoot your eye out!” Cracked me up.
And then that bunny suit came into my head and one thing led to another and
I have been laughing myself silly!
And a thank you to Eric for his photoshopping assistance.
We WILL be decorating for Christmas this weekend. Why?
Because when the kids want to decorate for Christmas and you don’t, they will.
I found them on the internet today downloading Christmas pictures to color and put on my walls with tape.
Hey, I’m all about self motivation, and I commend them for it, but colored pictures off the internet is not going to cut it.
I did get started today. I bought one of those cinnamon brooms from Publix and put it in the house. I figured if the house smelled like cinnamon, it was a start.
We used the Christmas china tonight as well. We are making strides.
And the sheets… when my kids were small, after Christmas one year I found a magazine called Domestications that had Christmas Sheets on sale. So I bought a set for each of their beds as well as an entire bedding ensemble for the Master Bed.
Yes, my husband is a very tolerant and patient man. He sleeps on a big puffy bed with sheets covered in burgundy Christmas Ornaments for the entire month of Christmas. Heh.
When I get the sheets on my master bed, I may post a picture. I suspect that Thursday or Saturday will be sheet changing day.
‘Tis the season and all that jazz…
I went into work today and said, ‘So how did this 6S evaluation go?’
One of them said, “Hell if we know. We don’t think they came down here.”
Me: Phht. You mean I cleaned up my desk for nothing?
As I bent down and opened the lower filing cabinet drawer and took out all my blueprints and papers dealing with all the hoses, tubes and manifolds I’ve been working on our project, and plopped them back onto the back corner of my desk, one of the bookends started to laugh.
“You know, your desk was so clean, Tammy came in yesterday and said, “Did Bou quit?””
Heh. Funny guys.
THIS post by Shoe over at Chou Chope, holy crap. And it wasn’t just the Bou Blink. It was the entire post. I can see that happening in my house. Good Grief.
Oh just in case you were wondering… I am #3 in google for hamster rigor mortis.
I’m so proud…
And just how far behind am I for Christmas?
I have not decorated.
I keep forgetting to use our Christmas china.
I’ve not changed the sheets to Christmas sheets.
I’ve not written the annual Christmas letter… but I HAVE taken the picture.
I have done no baking.
I have yet to buy the teachers' gifts.
And just how far behind am I for Christmas?
Every other kid is probably getting Christmas cookies in their lunch. My kids are getting the Pillsbury pre-sliced sugar cookies I found in the back of the fridge when I was cleaning it out today.
THAT is how behind I am for Christmas.
Are there any other companies doing the 6S thing? We evidently had a big review today that I missed (I try to not be at work on those days, a perk of being part time) and in it they were to speak of 6S in the work place.
Judging us I guess. More certifications? Hell if I know. I just do my job and conveniently plan my days off around the days the big dogs are coming in to evaluate. Oh first I dump all my work from my desk into a drawer so it looks all neat and tidy, and then I make sure I can’t work that day.
Meanwhile I have the obligatory ‘paperwork’ taped to the wall next to my desk so it looks like I know what’s going on.
Anyway, we all hate this stuff. We play the game and do what we have to do 9(well, except me that tries to skip as much as possible), we don’t want to be the weak link, but we all frickin’ hate it.
So at work the other day I said, ‘6S. What are the 6S’s and does anyone care?’
And one of the bookends in the back chimed in: “Shoot, Shave, Shower, Shampoo, Shit, and Sex.”
Someone chimed in, “And not necessarily in that order.”
They all make me laugh. One of them did blush the other day when I walked in and they were talking about blood pressure meds and Viagra.
It may have been when my eyes widened when I realized what they were discussing that he blushed.
Or it could have been when I said, “Wait! I’m leaving!! There are things I don’t need to know…” Heh.
During Thanksgiving break there was a cold snap here in S. Florida. It was evidently warmer in New York than it was here in Palm Beach County.
There is a school out in a town called Indiantown that we as a school support. Every year before Thanksgiving, our 4th graders visit and spend a day with the kids of this school and our school take them things. When my eldest went, we had a big towel drive and supplied hundreds of towels to the families of that school. This year the 4th grade had a school supply drive.
You see, this school in Indiantown is comprised of all children of migrant workers. I live in Palm Beach County… home to some of the wealthiest people in the United States and home to some of the poorest.
This last cold snap, it got very cold. Most of the homes these children live in don’t have heat so the families were told they could come sleep at the school. The children showed up and there were no pajamas or blankets. When asked where their things were, the administration was told these children didn’t have blankets or pajamas. They had nothing.
So this Christmas, our Principal assigned every grade in the school something to donate for this school. My 2nd grader was assigned pajamas at size 12 and an unused toy for a child his age. My 4th grader was assigned pajamas in size 14 and an unused toy for a child his age. And my 6th grader was assigned a blanket and an unused toy for a child his age.
I took the boys shopping on Friday. I may be behind in my own personal Christmas, but on Friday I shopped for the Marines' Toys for Tots that I support every year as well as for this school in Indiantown.
My boys felt good and I felt good. And THAT is what Christmas should feel like.
I’ve told this story before. I’m going to tell it again as I have a real point.
We all go through bad times. The darkest time I can remember in my life as a parent was when my kids were 4 ½, 2 ½, and just over 6 months. Looking back, that had to be the age. My second one may have already turned 3 with my eldest on the cusp of 5. Maybe.
My eldest had asthma. We had already done the 911 rush to the ER trip and I was frequently up nebulizing him preventatively with a medication under the care of a pulmonologist as well as dealing with his attacks. Many trips were spent to the pediatric pulmonologist that was 45 minutes away… hauling three kids. There was considerable worry involved.
My second son was just making great strides in overcoming his apraxia of speech. He was in private speech therapy as well as I was driving him down to some fantastic speech therapists that taught at a public pre-school he qualified for, located 30 minutes south of us. Of course there was considerable worry as well.
Bones was a tiny little guy. No sleeping in our home. Babies are wonderful, but they are a lot of work.
My mother in law had just died and my husband’s family was coming unhinged. She had been the only person I had ever relied on to help me with the boys as I had no family here. She was my ‘Go To Girl’ as a friend of mine put it. And she was gone. And I missed her on so many levels it was nearly suffocating.
Things were not good in my head. Not even close. I remember feeling like a zombie, the chaos swirling around me, my husband coming in as everything was hitting the 5-6:00 crescendo and I’d be standing at the sink washing dishes, totally zoned out, staring into space. I remember feeling like I was on the outside looking in. My husband owns his own business and works A LOT. He travels a good bit too… so I was alone more than people knew with our three busy boys.
One Saturday my husband looked at me and threw me the keys to his sports car and said, ‘Go. Get out. Go to the mall. Go shopping. You have to get out, you’re losing it.”
I threw his keys back at him and said, “I have to take my mini-van, because if I do not see the car seats in the back of my car, I’m afraid I’ll get on I-95 North and keep driving, and I’ll never come back.”
That kind of became a saying of mine for a few years. “One day I’ll get on I-95 N and keep going until I hit Maine.”
Then it became, “One day I’ll get on I-95 N and keep going until I hit Maine and then I’ll take the ferry to Nova Scotia.”
But in all the chaos, in all my darkest days… I never doubted the love I had for my children. In all that I did, the sleepless nights, the dead dog tired days where I literally dragged myself places, the days where I popped Advil like candy to stave off the perpetual migraine lurking in the recesses of my brain, the times I would be on my feet at the grocery store nearly crying I was so tired… I never ever doubted the love I had for my children.
I got a call last week from my best friend from high school. I blog on her sometimes; she is the mother of Mr. Smoochy Pants. Their next door neighbors had a little boy who is the same age as Mr. Smoochy Pants… to be three at the beginning of the new year.
The next door neighbor child died last week of bacterial spinal meningitis. One minute he was fine. The next he had an ear infection. And then… he was gone. He had had all his inoculations, he didn’t do anything or go anywhere that other families didn’t go, it was all so… normal… and then not.
This entire thing has been completely incomprehensible to me. I don’t know the family, but only of them. And I have spent an inordinate amount of time thinking about them. Praying for them. Wondering how one continues after something like that.
And when looking back at the times I view as dark, I realize, they were not dark. Those were just a bit of a tough patch.
Losing a child… that is dark. Black. Dark. Deep dark to the recesses of hell.
I am sick for them…
I’m just about too damn tired to post. I’m beat. I hurt. I’m so tired my body decided I was finished right after dinner and I was in so much pain I had to lay down for an hour.
‘Tis the season. Too much to do and too little time.
But we are all that tired. We had a Cub Scout outing this morning that had us up at 6 and out of the house by 6:30. All day was spent at a Day camp with canoeing, archery, BB guns, and rock climbing. It was fantastic and the Boy Scouts did an excellent job organizing it. It was impressive.
So, how tired are we?
Mr. T came in to kiss me goodnight after his shower and as he nuzzled his nose into my neck he said “I am so tired, that I sat down in the shower and realized I fell asleep. Mom… that warm water just felt soooo good.”
We’re so tired that Bones came in to kiss me and voluntarily went to bed on his own. I got up to tuck him in and he said as I bent to kiss him on his sweet soft cheek, “Mom. I am so tired I can hardly see…”
That said, I’m not too tired to say, “Whooo hoooo! Congratulations Navy!!”
This may forever go down in the family history in my mind as ‘the Christmas of No.’
Ringo: I want a Cell Phone for Christmas.
Bones: I want a PSP for Christmas.
Bones: A pet?
Bones: Just a little dwarf hamster.
Bones: Socker Bockers?
Me: Why in the heck would I want to get something that promotes y’all beating the ever living crap out of each other? You do that already. Does THAT sound like fun?
Obviously Bones is considerably more persistent in his wants. Still, last week Ringo said, “I think I want an iPod”.
I said, “No.”
There has been great emoting with every time I have said no, which I shall omit for space purposes and the fact that any of y’all that are parents know the drill of the weeping, whining and gnashing of teeth… but Bones really does take the cake.
Originally I told him yes to the PSP, not understanding what it was. Big mistake. BIG. I went to EB Games to check it out and nearly stroked. It’s 250 bucks and is nothing but a frickin’ glorified Gameboy SP or Ninetendo DS. It can also hold music and pictures as well as play games, but that is not something my kids would ever utilize.
So I’m going to spend the big bucks on something that is nothing better than a gaming system only one child can play?
I don’t think so.
So I told him we’d go on line and look at all the gaming systems out there and I thought, ‘Well… if there is something that is not crazy expensive, I will pick it up for all the boys as another big gift from Santa.’ They’re already getting a basketball hoop.
I went on line and damn near had a coronary. (I’ve now almost stroked and had a heart attack. My body should give out shortly.) Holy crap. Just for curiosity I popped in PS3, the new gaming system I saw at EB Games, into the ToysRUs site to see how much they go for. Good Lord. Between $400 and $600!!!
Folks… that’s half of a thousand dollars on… a gaming system?! And people are clamoring for these?
I said to the boys, “Holy crap! Did you know how expensive PS3’s are?”
And Mr. T said, “Yeah Mom. They’re like 600 dollars. We’d never ask for something like that.”
It’s INSANE. Absolutely insane.
As I continued to surf, my eldest said, “You know Mom, there is a new system called the Nintendo Wii. It’s cool.” (That’s pronounced WE for those of you who are like I was and are not in the know.)
The Wii can do things like allow you to interact and pretend you’re hitting a ball while holding this remote. You have internet access and an assortment of other things. That system with the remote will run closer to $300.
If you could get one.
Sticker shock. How I miss the days of plastic Fisher Price toys that I could get for 10 to 15 bucks or a big rubber ball for 2. I see the parents with the little children and… I want to stop them and say, ‘Oh my God! Enjoy it! The toys are so cheap and they don’t know the difference!’
I long for the day of being excited about buying someone the Fisher Price Farm for Christmas.
Now I’m faced with boys who want cell phones and gaming systems that are probably more technically advanced than the computers used to launch us to the moon in the 60s.
Finally I said, “Listen to me, boys. This is insane. I cannot imagine that all this stuff costs so much money. I’m not going to do it. I can’t afford it and its ridiculous… absolutely ridiculous. So here’s the deal. I’ll make up a work chart and if you want a Wii, you can work for it. Give yourselves 6 months. That’s about how long it will take. Above and beyond the normal things you do like setting the table, helping clean the kitchen and helping with folding the laundry, we will put a fixed price on things you can do to work off the price of a Wii. Washing my car, sweeping the back porch, we’ll come up with a chart.”
I will of course have to monitor who is doing what as it’s not fair that Mr. T, who is VERY motivated to get this Wii, does all the labor only to have his brothers reap the rewards, in particular his brother Bones who is an awful lot of talk and disorganized action.
I don’t need this to be a real life lesson on why Socialism sucks wet socks, although it will of course come up in discussion. It’s too big of an opportunity for it not to.
And six months gives me time to start setting aside cash as this should be a good lesson for all of them… one I want them to learn: Saving and working towards a goal.
The part that is blowing me away is how many people are buying these PS3s and don’t seem to be blinking at the fact. My husband and I have good jobs. We do very well. And spending on something like that is just NOT in our budget. Because you know these folks aren’t just stopping at a $600 PS3 for Christmas. They will keep spending. And if I did have that kind of cash to plunk down on a system like that, I’d not.
As I keep saying… it’s just IN-SANE.
So on Tuesday, my eldest was at band practice. He is learning to play Taps. His band director told him this was an important song to learn. Ringo almost has it… although he is still struggling with the High G. I chimed in and said, “You know, they are short buglers for funerals that can play Taps. I read about it.”
At band practice, my son had his typical 6th grade bordering on bad attitude that is making me nuts as of late.
The band director looked at my son and said, “Learning how to play certain songs, you can actually earn money doing it.”
Ringo: Really? Just playing the trumpet? Someone would pay me?
Band Director: If you play well. Absolutely. In some cases you can earn up to $100.
There was silence in the make shift band hall as the kids gave thought that anyone would actually pay them to play if they were good enough. Big silence from MY kids.
And then, from the back of the room, I heard this whispering tiny voice from my 2nd son, Mr. T, trying to quietly project to the front of the room, ‘Ringo. Ringo! Think… of… the… Wiiiiiii!”