March 30, 2007

Planetary Costs

First Holy Communion is tomorrow for Bones. I was thinking about the differences between having a boy and a girl and came up with these thoughts…

Girl:

Dress: $50
Shoes: $50
Veil: $10
Socks: $2
Accessories: $20
Time to Get Ready: 1 hour (There is hair to do)
Probability of having a melt down? High.


Boy:

White tie: $10
White shirt: 0 (passed down from older brother)
White undershirt : 0 (passed down from older brother)
Socks: 0 (already owned)
Blue Pants: 0 (wearing school church pants)
Shoes: $15 (Payless Special)
Belt: 0 (already owned)
Time to Get Ready: 5 minutes
Probability of having a major meltdown? Low

I’m glad I have boys…

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March 29, 2007

Then... and Now

I don’t blog the war. There are people that are involved on so many levels that do it wonderfully, giving voices to our soldiers and their families.

I don’t blog the politics of the war. There are people on both sides as well as in between that have all that ground covered as well.

I hear the news that many think that this war is like Vietnam. And I am here to tell you, whether that is right or wrong, there is one big difference that we should all see…

We treat our Veterans coming home from this War, far differently than we treated those that came home from Vietnam and even Korea.

I called my Dad as soon as the incident I will write about below occurred and he brought to my attention how many Vietnam and Korea Veterans are in places of position to make sure that history does NOT repeat itself.

I go to a gym down the street. I walked in today to work out and I saw a young man lifting weights. He had his iPod on and was keeping to himself. He was tall lean good looking kid, fit,… I figured mid-20s, shaggy hair the way young people wear it now with a light beard. He stood out as there are not a lot of young people where I work out. I am a member of a gym that is mostly retirees. It’s located in a neighborhood.

I didn’t think anything of it. We get kids home from college or visiting their folks frequently. It was nice to see a nice young face though. It mixes things up.

I know all the trainers at the gym, having worked out there for nearly eight years, lifting for the last four. I was talking to my buddy, Willie, who is on staff and he said to me, ‘I’m going to be training that young man over there… in the white t-shirt.”

I replied, “Good! You need young men to train! It will keep you sharp instead of all the middle aged women like me and the retirees and the 80 year olds. This is a good mix up for you.”

He looked at me thoughtfully and said, “I’m training him for free. He just came back from Iraq.”

I didn’t look over at the young man, but mentally reassessed everything I could based on what I had seen when I walked in. As I finished my pull downs I said to him, “Marine Corps?”

“Yes,” replied Willie, “Lost his leg.”

I hadn’t noticed. I didn’t look back to see. No reason to make the young man feel self conscious as I knew he probably already did. It’s odd enough to come to a gym where you are the youngest by 20 years… I’m sure odder still newly missing a leg and having that swirl of thoughts.

I said, “Is he back with his folks? His folks have him here?”

Willie said, “Actually, his folks were going to buy him a membership, but when the gym found out who he was, they insisted they give him his membership for free. When I walked up to him and told him I wanted to train him for free, he looked at me like I was weird and asked why. I told him, “Because… I WANT to. It’s not charity. I WANT to do this.” He was cool with it. We start next week. I WANT to do something for him...”

And that’s the thing. Charity is when you give to someone who is needy. That is not the case here. This is people doing for this young man because they WANT to help. He has asked for nothing. I can tell… he wants to blend.

I remember after Desert Storm, a friend of mine came back after being a POW. This is not blog fodder. I have mentioned it before, but it is THEIR story to tell, not mine. But I will say that he told me it used to really really bother him when people would call him a hero. He would say to me, “I’m no hero. I just got captured and through God’s grace lived.”

He felt a lot of guilt. It is what it is. And PTSD is a terrible thing.

And with this young man, as happened with my friend, people want to help. It is the only thing people know to do. Nobody can fix it, but most would like to make life a little nicer in small ways if they can.

That is what I saw today. What a difference from 30 years ago…

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Bones The Fortune Teller

The 2nd graders had First Holy Communion rehearsal today. I took another little boy home. On the way, the two boys were discussing a kid named Nick that’s in one of their classes.

A little background, when you get in trouble in 2nd grade you have to move your clip, an actual clothespin clip, to ‘Stop’. If you get in trouble again, you move it to ‘Think’. One more time moves you to ‘Pray’ which means you have to write a prayer and take it home to Mom and Dad to sign.

Yes, we’ve been to Pray… twice in 2nd grade.

Ringo once, where he did not pass go and collect 200 dollars… he went DIRECTLY to pray, when he drew a cartoon of the school blowing up.

Mr. T feels very smug as he never even moved his clip in all of 2nd grade.

And Bones went to Pray once for… I don’t even remember. It was not quite so drama filled as drawing a picture of the school blowing up. I think it was just Bones being Bones too much.

Anyway, so Bones and his buddy are in the car on the way home tonight and the following conversation ensued.

Chris: And you know what? Nick gets in so much trouble. Last week he moved his clip all the way to pray in ONE HOUR.

Me: Wait. Who is Nick.

Bones: You know Nick. Big and tall Nick. Always getting in trouble.

Me: OHHHH! I know Nick. I know his Mama. Wow. Nick gets in that much trouble?

Chris: Yup. He gets in A LOT of trouble. He’s really mean.

Bones: He’s going to grow up and be a Mass Murderer.

Me: *blink*

Chris: Or be a Gangster. I think he wants to be a Gangster.

Bones: Yeah. A Mass Murderer or a Gangster.

Lovely.

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March 28, 2007

Magic E's and Zeros

For years my eldest son has poked fun at my middle son about spelling. When Mr. T was learning how to spell in 1st grade, he was always uncertain of himself so he’d add ‘the magic e’ to the end of every word.

So it would go something like this while learning spelling words:

Me: BAD

T: B-A-D……E!

There was always a prolonged pause and just when you were about to say, RIGHT!, he’d say… E!!!

Every time… nearly every word… L-I-C-K….E! D-O-G….E!

And so my eldest still likes to tease him, now the wonderful 4th grade speller, than he always had to add the E.

But no more. My eldest officially can no longer tease my 2nd son.

No.

Because of today.

He did poorly on a math test. It was conversions… metric, US measuring, minutes to hours, etc. I never get angry when he does poorly, I just want to make sure he understands what he did wrong. It’s not that the grades are not important, its just more important that he not be afraid to tell me he’s not done well so we can review the information. I don’t want him to fall behind.

So that’s our deal. You make a bad grade in math, just tell me so we can review it. No yelling, no punishment, no nothing… except going over it one on one so he gets the concepts.

And he’s really great about it. He got in the car yesterday and said, “Mom. I got a D on my math test. Can we go over it when we get home so I get an A on the next one?” He was really bummed. Usually he truly thinks he understood the concepts.

He brought it to me tonight and we went over every problem he missed, as he perpetually did the ‘Ah! Ha!’ realizing what stupid thing he’d done.

And then we got to a conversion from milligrams to grams and he had an extra zero.

I said, “Wow. You were off a zero. Where did that one come from? Look at this… you have a few problems that are short or have too many zeroes…”

Quietly he said, “I know. Mom. I have something to tell you. If I don’t really know an answer… if I don’t think it looks right, I… just add a Zero. Sometimes I take one away, if I think the answer looks too big, but mostly… I just add a Zero.”

Me: *Blink*

Ringo: It’s true…

Me: wow. First… you need to have a little faith in yourself that you know what you’re doing. No more adding zeros. Second… holy crap, you aren’t allowed to make fun of Mr. T and the magic E any… more…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:58 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

The Many Faces of Bones

Bones is quite the philosopher and drama king.

Bones as the Drama King: Mom. You know how if people get shocked and scared really bad how their hair just turns totally white? Well, that’s what I think will happen to me when you get rid of Isaac.

Heh. The dog still goes. The kiss of death was when he peed on my clean laundry this morning…

Bones as the Philosopher: Mom. Old people shouldn’t smoke. They’re going to die soon anyway. Smoking only makes them die quicker. And they might die in pain. They shouldn’t smoke.

Lovely.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 27, 2007

Poop and Feet

I was away for the weekend and during that time I had great hopes that our new dog would bond with the boys. Eh, he did, but only as I was gone. It wasn’t permanent. As soon as I walked in the door, I regained my title as solid with his becoming my shadow.

Anyway, tasks were divvied up while I was away and this conversation took place yesterday when I was taking the dog for a walk.

Bones: Mom. Did you know that picking up poop is the job of the youngest kid? I don’t mind, but do you really think that’s fair? I mean, anyone can pick up poop. Why is it MY job?

My husband informed me that was not the case, that every boy picked up their share of poop, but in Bones’ eyes, it was all about him.

Big Surprise.

We were in the car yesterday and Bones said to me, “Mom, no offense, but why is it that Aunt Morrigan’s feet are all nice and smooth and yours are so… bumpy?”

Me: Well, I go mostly barefoot, took Karate for a long time, and I’m six years older. All those bumps are calluses.

Bones: I don’t see where age has anything to do with it. Like I said… no offense, but your feet… I like Aunt Morrigan’s much better.

I figured Mo would get a kick out of that.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:14 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Faces

I don't typically post pictures of me, but... I'll put one typical of me in the extended entry.

I had to speak at this convention and as I was waiting at one of the opposing podiums, one of my girlfriends in the audience said, "Smile!" And I popped off one of my famous picture faces.

I think I've been making this picture face since I was 18. I can't wait until I'm 85, surrounded by grandkids, making this face.

Readytospeak.jpg

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March 26, 2007

Today

Stress is slowly starting to abate here. I was in Orlando this weekend for a conference. I was helping to run it and it was absolutely insane, leaving me drained and physically spent.

The Quilt is finished for Bone’s Holy Communion class. I’d have taken a picture…but… my camera was destroyed in the great camping adventure of Spring 2007. Which reminds me… trying to save that tent really left me bruised up. That Monday when I took a shower and was actually not zoned out, I found bruises all over my torso from having thrown my body against the tent to save it all.

Anyway, Holy Communion is this weekend. My folks are coming in town and we’re going to have about 20 people over for lunch. We’re all excited about it. Bones has asked for ice cream sundaes for dessert, which makes my life easy.

Meanwhile, the dog is not working out and it has caused significant stress in my life. It is unfortunate. We all so wanted it to work, but the myriad problems, that I won’t go into here, will take a significant amount of time to overcome and I just don’t have the time to deal with it. So he may go back.

I will know soon.

Fortunately, I lucked into a GREAT vet who has met my boys. As he put it, “People can love each other and not be able to be married, hence there is divorce. You can divorce yourself from this relationship too.” He doesn’t think it is probably a good fit, but has given me some great advice and in the event this dog goes back, I will wait until summer, and then work with the vet to find my family a dog that is a great fit. He hears things and sees things and this may be the way to go.

We’re just going with the flow for now. Some hours I’d like him to stay, and then hours later I’m ready to drive him back.

So we’ll see.

Ringo is starting to become a great source of entertainment for me. He has the same sense of humor as I, and I am seeing him more and more as the son the most like me. He and I get to laughing so hard at things, we’re both nearly crying. We have little inside jokes now that we’ll poke at each other, starting the other to laugh.

I’m going to miss him when he goes to college in 7 years. Heh. Not that I’m already dreading it, but he’s a good kid, with a good head on his shoulders and he thinks like I think.

And he surprises me by the mathematical thought.

For instance, we are in a drought here in South Florida. We’re on water restrictions and are under a burn ban. South Florida is a tinderbox right now.

So we were driving down the road of our neighborhood and my son said, “Look at the canals. They are down two inches. And that doesn’t count the width of the canals. A couple inches and then all those yards across… that’s a whole lot of water we’re down…”

That’s something I would do. I would look at a situation and assess it mathematically. I was just surprised to hear my 12 year old do the same.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:26 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Titillating Observations

I don’t like to be cutting to anyone. Ever. Really. Not even the rich and famous should I stumble upon them… however.

I don’t know why I feel the need to say this. But I do.

I attended an event where Penelope Cruz was in attendance and ladies, if you have ever been jealous of her, don’t be.

Men, if you think she is hot in the movies… she is not in person.

I do not know what possessed her to get breast implants, but she did and she got them BIG. I mean, cantaloupe sized. Skin stretched over them huge.

And they look horrible.

They were so awful in fact, that the men at my table were saying they didn’t even recognize her… they were locked in her overdone boob job and said when they realized who she was (it was brought to our attention), “Wow! I walked by and thought, “Look at the bad boob job on that bimbo!””

I know. Not nice, but it is what the men at the table unanimously said.

And it kind of made me sad. Even beautiful women can be so insecure that they do ridiculous things to themselves.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:16 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Movie Memories

My husband has been watching one of my favorite movies tonight… Midnight Run with Robert DeNiro, Charles Grodin and Dennis Farino.

Do you remember that movie? I LOVED that flick. My favorite part was Dennis Farino, always threatening the guys with something absurd.

“I’m going to poke you in the heart with a pencil!”

I changed that. I always tell people, ‘I’d rather poke my eye out with a pencil’ That’s where I got it.

“I’ll cut your heart out with a f*&^ing spoon.”

I’ve used that one. When we first got married, I told my husband, ‘If you cheat on me, keep it to yourself. That’s your business. Because if I find out, I’ll cut your heart out with a f&*^ing spoon.” It’s a joke with us. He says now that if he cheated and I found out, the first thing he’d do is hide all the spoons.

Great flick.

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March 19, 2007

The Blogging Thing…

It’s coming up on three years. Sometimes I think of things I have to put down and other times, I have nothing. I always said I’d not blog if it ever became an obligation. I don’t. Sometimes I put nothing up.

But I think what is bugging me most right now is how little time I have to read. There are some really really funny people out there and I’ve not had time to see how they’re doing, what their thoughts are, or what’s going on. There are some deep people that I truly enjoy seeing their perspective and I have been unable. That bugs me. But life is so crazy here… I feel like I have not even an hour to spare.

So even if I don’t post… there is a good chance I will be lurking. I want to catch up… I want to know what is going on. I just need things to chill.

I have some posts I slowly add to in the hopper… they will just be slow in coming.

For now... a funny story from camping. I thought it was funny.

My girlfriend was camping alone with her sons too. She had bought an airplane kite for them. She was in their tent trying to put it together; they were camping beside ours. Two Moms... seven boys.

I heard from her tent, "Bou! I need your help! I need an engineer!"

I crawled out of my tent and entered hers to see her amongst kite 'stuff'. She looked at me and said, "Can you put this together?" I looked at the mess and the box and said, "Sure."

As she parted she said, "You work on airplanes..."

I did a big, *BLINK!* I told another family later... Yeah, I work on airplanes. REAL airplanes. Not those made of nylon and plastic...

It just struck me funny. And the plane flew great. It was a highlight of the trip.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:48 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Growing Pains

The following conversation took place in the pediatrician’s office today. The appointment was for Ringo.

Pede: So what’s hurting?

Ringo: My ankle.

Pede: Really? How long has it been hurting?

Ringo: About a year…

Pede: *Blink* *Looks up at me* A year?

Ringo: yeah, about…

Pede, still looking at me: Wow. I’m so glad you rushed in!

Heh.

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

March 18, 2007

Back

I'm back. A great time was had by all. I'm sure I'll blog parts of it.

But not tonight.

I'm tired. Camping with three boys will wear you out...

Tomorrow maybe... or the next. If I'm motivated.

And just a warning shot... this blog may be dark soon. I just don't know for how long. Nor do I know when. Permanent? Vacation? No idea. But its no longer a catharsis for me and I thought that when that occurred that I would stop writing.

So I'm writing now, but less and less... and maybe time away will make me want to write again, I don't know. It's all up in the air.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:13 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

March 16, 2007

12 Year Old Humor

My eldest was in the kitchen this evening with the dog when I heard him say to Isaac, “Look… the solid is here…”

I looked at him with raised eyebrow, “What,” said I?

Ringo replied, “The solid. Only solids have shadows. You are the solid… he is your shadow. I could call you The Opaque if you want…”

Me: Umm. No. Solid is good…

So it appears I am now known to my 12 year old as ‘The Solid’. Some of the stuff he has said lately has been cracking me up…

Posted by Boudicca at 10:07 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

When I Said Stories...

...I didn’t mean these kinds of stories.

Good Grief.

And you all were supposed to be praying. You know… good weather, no rain, yada yada yada, and you obviously didn’t. Or I’d not be here right now!

Crap.

Where to start… other than the fact nobody got hurt.

I was up late last night… 2AM, trying to meet a deadline for some things I’m working on. I had to be up early to meet another family that we camp next to. (We're camping with Cub Scouts.) My husband has to work all weekend, so it was just me and the boys. I was to be at our friends' at 10 so we could head out… but I couldn’t do it and the stress of meeting their schedule was seriously giving me a migraine. No joke. So I told them I’d do it on my own… and immediately the tension went away.

My issue really was my cooler. I have one filled with ice and perishables and it’s really heavy. I can’t lift it myself and thinking of how to get it out of my van and onto a boat and to my campsite was not a pleasant thought.

I don’t like to ask for help.

And so the boys and I pulled up to the dock about 1, ready to get set and go… I opened my car and saw that big cooler and something in me must’ve felt really big. I lifted it up and put it on the ground… a boat cooler with 7 bags of ice and a gallon of milk and Lord only knows what else… and I heard behind me a male voice say, “Whoaaaaa….”

I turned around and there stood this Robert DeNiro look alike… no joke… and a friend. They immediately rushed over and said, “You won’t be carrying this… where do you want it?” I kind of laughed and said I had every intention of handling the situation, but since they offered, I told them where it went.

As they left, I heard the DeNiro look alike say to his friend in heavy NY accent, ‘Did you see that name on that cooler? They’re Italian…”

It was so funny to hear that. My husband is. I am not. But it made me laugh… Italian men crack me up.

I got to camp, got it set up, our friends were there already set up… and I believe it was probably 2:30 before we finally arrived. Camp was set up at 3. My kids were out playing and I was messing around with a rain fly rod that had broken… fixing it with duct tape.

A ranger came through and said that a nasty storm was coming through and to get our stuff tucked in.

And I did. I quickly threw everything into the middle of the tent… anything I didn’t want wet and when it started to rain, I tucked myself in the tent as well. My boys were out playing and I didn’t think anything of it immediately… I knew who they were with. I figured heavy rain.

Within minutes, it went from rain to 50-60 mph gusts… it was a damn squall. I was in the tent trying to hold it up… I’m not kidding, trying to hold it up when I heard a snap. I thought my tent was coming apart with ME in it, so I jumped out and tried to hold it up from the outside.

And that’s when the back end caved in. It was like an umbrella turned inside out.

I turned around to see my friend running with her two year old on her hip. I ran after her asking her if she’d seen my boys. She said she thought they were holed up in the bathroom.

I followed her into the women’s restroom and about two minutes later said, ‘I have to see if they’re there…” I went to the men’s room and they only had one of my sons.

It wasn't that I was worried that something would happen to them. I felt certain they were safe. What had me worried was that they might be scared and I wasn't there. They needed to know I was there... I needed to be there if they were afraid.

I ran down the path, soaked to the bone, the driving rain and frickin’ hail pelting me, clad only in a black tank top and shorts, on my way to the dock as I knew they’d been there, when I saw them running towards me. They were with a Dad who is a deputy in town and they had been seeking cover with him, until they ran to the restrooms, which is the safest place.

And then it was over. The entire thing lasted 10 or 15 minutes. I thought the worst was being pelted by marble sized hail.

I was wrong. Actually the worst was worrying for my children.

The 2nd worst was finding my tent 4 inches in water. Most everything was soaked…towels, clothes, camera ruined, blankets, pillows.

And so, we made the command decision to tear the tent down to dry out, leave the coolers, take home the wet stuff and dry it out and come back in the morning and start again. So that’s why I’m here tonight… but will be gone for the weekend.

We’re going back. I’m camping this weekend. Dammit. I just hope I can get that damn tent dried out…


Posted by Boudicca at 10:04 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

March 15, 2007

One Mom, Three Boys, One Tent

I am off for the weekend. I leave at 9:30AM to take my three boys camping.

Me.

Three boys.

One tent.

On an island.

Pray for no rain. Cool weather. Not many mosquitos.

And pray for my sanity. It appears there is going to be fishing involved. A lot of fishing. I don't do fishing, yet there are three rods in my mini-van. I don't touch live fish. I only touch the dead ones and then its with a fork and my lips.

It's all about the snacks... we have lots of snacks. Fish are not part of the snacks. Chocolate is.

Stories on Sunday. I'm sure...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:02 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

March 14, 2007

Dorky Realizations

There are times I wonder who the deep thinker is in this family. I strongly suspect it is not me.

I was in the car with my eldest, who can now sit up front as he’s 12. So I have someone sitting shotgun all the time, which is taking some getting used to. It’s like having a short adult with me now when I drive. Anyway, we were talking and he said to me, “Mom, could Helen Keller think?”

I looked at him like he was a dork and said, “Of course. She was smart. She was deaf, blind, and mute, not retarded.” (I know, not politically correct, but it is what I said.)

He got quiet and then said, “But… how? If she had never heard words… HOW did she think?”

Whoa. Interesting. I had never thought of that. So who was the real dork? Not him.

We had a big discussion on emotional thought from there, but I so did not see that coming.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:22 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

The Little Newton

It’s been crazy here. The usual stuff around the house… volunteer work, regular work, kids, preparation for Bones’ First Holy Communion, and then of course a dog.

Issak is the sweetest dog. He came named and I don’t know about the spelling, but it is what it is. My Mom calls him, ‘the little Newton’. I will probably take to calling him Sir Isaac.

This dog is IN LOVE with me. In love. Wait. Did I say it? Yes. In love. To put it one way, my eldest asked me on Monday, “So Mom, what’s it like to have a breathing, moving shadow that you have to feed?” That’s pretty much it.

If I move left, the dog is at my heel and moves left. If I move right, he moves right. He is stuck to me like glue. It gives a whole new meaning to the puppy love thing. I know where they’re coming from. And the expression, “He follows her around like a puppy”?

Yeah. Got it now.

I never was the type of woman that men fell all over. I never had a guy that ‘followed me around like a puppy’. I’m a strong personality, obviously, and I gravitate towards strong men. So I totally did not identify with the expression.

On any level.

Until now.

Good grief.

It is funny, but I have been lonely. Getting this dog has been more about me than the boys. The boys wanted one, but I needed one, if that makes sense. I needed something small I could love. I needed something that could still show it loved me. I needed another heartbeat in the house.

My boys are growing up. And where I know I will not be able to fill the void when they leave me, I just felt a dog would help me with the transition.

So much thought went into this. I wanted a dog that was around 2 years old. I don’t want a baby mammal anything ever again. No crying at night. No teething. No potty training.

I wanted a dog that would last awhile...something that the boys could grow up with, but would still be with me when they left. If all goes well, I have another 12 or so years with this little guy.

I wanted a smaller dog so that I could pick it up if it was sick and I had to take it to the vet. I didn’t want a dog with back or hip problems that I couldn’t get into my vehicle. And although I am strong now, I don’t know what my future has in store for me, and 10 years from now, it could be a different story.

And when I heard of the woman that had this particular dog, it just ‘felt’ right. And so we did it. And I am happy.

What have I learned? Show dogs don’t go to the bathroom when on a leash. That took two days for me to figure out, poor little guy! Finally in an act of desperation, I said a quick prayer and unhooked him, only to find him sniffing all over my yard looking for the perfect place.

He will pee while on a leash if my boys hold the leash. If I’m holding it, he’s at my heels and won’t do anything but sit or walk. We’re working on it. I’ve gotten instructions from the original owner on how to train him to ‘pee on the lead’.

He LOVES me and tolerates everyone else. The second morning, my husband took him out one last time before we went to work and my son came running in saying, “we can’t get Issak in!” I walked out to see him sitting there in the bushes, head cocked, looking at my husband as if saying, “Are YOU talkin’ to ME?” I said, “Issak!” and BOOM!, he was at my feet.

Muwhahahahaha! To have the power!!!

He is deathly afraid of doors. Something must’ve happened to him, because to get him to go outside can take quite a lot of coaxing.

He had never been in a screened enclosure before. I took him out onto our screened in back porch the 2nd day and he looked at my big back yard, bounded for it and BOING! he bounced off the screen and looked at me rather stunned.

Now when he gets near the screening, he does like he does near the doors… he crouches low like a lion in the grass and creeps towards it. It’s very funny.

He is sleeping at my feet as I type this. We love him and I can only hope he learns to love us just as much.

Sir Isaac from the front:
Sir Isaac 002.jpg

Sir Isaac from the side:
Sir Isaac 001.jpg

Posted by Boudicca at 09:15 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

March 11, 2007

Additions... No Subtraction

Because I don’t have enough in my life… just to add another dimension… just a bit more chaos to the home where Chaos is King… we got a dog today.

He’s a 2 year old, 14 pound, Silky Terrier, named Issak. He is a show dog that is no longer being shown, so he’s been trained… I have no potty training, crying puppy noises, or anything like that to deal with. It has been in the works for about a month now, but today was the day my husband made the drive to pick him up.

I’ll post a picture when he’s not so nervous. He’s in the process of getting used to us. He went from a home with six other dogs to a home with three stinky boys, a goldfish and a hamster…

…which brings me to…

Silky Terriers are ratters. They hunt rodents: squirrels, rats, and that would be hamsters too. So yesterday, in preparation of Issak coming to our home, my husband went to the pet store and bought an enormous tank to put Cuddles cage set up within. We have no desire for the boys’ hamster to become a snack for their new dog. Damage doesn’t even begin to describe what that would do. YEARS of therapy would be required. No doubt.

While in the pet store looking at tanks, trying to assess the correct size, evidently a salesman came to assist my husband. My husband told him it was for a hamster, to which the salesman said “You do know you don’t need a tank this size for your hamster… right?”

My husband told him he did know, but we were now acquiring a dog, and this was as much about protecting the hamster from the dog as it was for living quarters.

And from there, from what I understand, the salesman, along with another salesman said, “When we die, if we come back… we want to come back as YOUR hamster!”

Heh.

So below is a picture of our new hamster abode. The premier condo of all hamster living spaces. The boys are begging for some sort of turtle/lizard/thing so when the hamster goes, that’s what’s next in the tank. 75Gallon tank in case you’re wondering.

Hey, it was on sale.

March07 005.jpg

Son#4’s Mom and I were talking and when I related this story to her she asked me if we were really going to eventually do the turtle/lizard/other things deal in the tank and I told her with three boys, its hard to avoid all these 'boy' things.

I was laughing after she said, “You are such a good earthy crunchy Mom, doing all this stuff for your boys. That’s why I have Son#4 come visit!”

It’s always something. So as of now we have, one Mom, one Dad, three boys, one hamster, one fish, and one dog. We need a partridge in a pear tree… although next on the list after the goldfish dies is Japanese Fighting Fish.

Or so I've been told...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:12 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

Eyes and Hearts Open

My husband and I had a black tie affair to attend last week. My husband’s business partner and wife were the co-chairs with another couple, and so we went to support them, as well as support the cause.

The cause? Leukemia and lymphoma.

My husband’s partner’s father died of leukemia nearly three years ago. His death marked us all. It was the first time I had ever sat Shiva with a family. It was a healing experience, sitting Shiva, and it was wonderful getting to know the family better… funny stories, sadness, laughter, all mixed in. He was a good man and watching the events unfold as his life was snuffed out early by this horrible disease was worse that difficult to watch.

My best friend from high school, PFB, was in town this week with her husband and son, Mr. Smoochy Pants. They watched my boys while my husband and I attended. The boys had a fantastic time with them, playing with PFBs husband and Mr. Smoochy… and PFB had her hands full!

My husband and I had been at the event for awhile, milling around, seeing people we knew. Everyone had come out in full force to support my husband’s business partner, so for once, we were at an event where I knew quite a few people. That makes a big difference.

As my husband and I were walking around talking, looking at items on the silent auction (we look only… we could never afford to bid) I noticed all these kids at this event. Teenagers down to pre-school children, dressed in tuxes and beautiful gowns fit for princes and princesses. This is ‘the season’ down here and we attend a couple functions a year, but never have we seen children in attendance.

I said to my husband, “Wow. Look at that. The people who put this together this year must have put so much time and energy into it, they included their families…” My husband looked around and said, ‘yeah, look at that. I’ve not seen that done before!”

Kids added a different feeling to the event. An exuberance. The teenage boys looked a bit bored, the teenage girls looked like they were excited to be dressed up and pretty, and the younger kids looked like they were having fun.

And so we sat at our table, talking amongst friends, and the speakers came out and spoke of people we knew of that had died this year of leukemia or lymphoma. The gala chairs stood up and said a few words.

And then the next speaker came out, a man who looked to be my age, and he started to speak and tell us of when his son… was diagnosed with ALL… nearly three years ago. And his sons, the son with leukemia and his brother, jumped up and joined him on the podium… and there was a revelation for all of us…

The children at this event? They all had leukemia or lymphoma… or were the family members of a child that did.

It was as if we felt a blow to the stomach. The mixed emotions of wanting to hug these children or vomit at the thought of what they were going through. Leukemia and Lymphona not only affect the person diagnosed, but the families as well. It is a long reaching disease.

Cures for these diseases are often found through private research. The new drug Gleevec, a drug given now to people with a form of chronic leukemia, was found during private research. Gleevec is hoped to be an eventual cure, or lead to one, and now assists in putting the blood cancer in remission and keeping it there. I knew of Gleevec already… it came out 3 months after the death of a friend of mine who could have used it… if it had just been a year earlier.

What I did not know is that childhood ALL now has a cure rate of 80%. When I was a child it was 3%.

And I took heart in the statistics, watching the children around us… I have hope. One day the cure will be 100%. And maybe one day… we’ll be able to prevent it.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:46 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 06, 2007

TTFN!

It comes in threes… right? I should be finished with the whole ‘it’s broken’ thing. And nothing ever breaks at a good time.

Never.

First there was the whole health thing. There was the message on my voicemail, “Hi, Bou. This is Dr. Smiths’ office. Your Echocardiogram came back fine. Thank you! *click*”

Then, “Hi, Bou, this is Dr. Smith’s office. Your chest X-Ray came back fine. Thank you! *click*”

The last message was, “Hi Bou. This is Dr. Smith’s office. The results of your bloodwork came in. Can you give us a call?”

Gah!

Luckily, I don’t have hepatitis. Not that I thought I did… but, hey, some things point that way and I don’t have it, which is a relief, really, as I didn’t want to be all yellow for Mo’s wedding.

It’s just not my color.

Then in the midst of putting the 2nd Grader’s First Holy Communion Quilt together, my sewing machine broke. That was a real charm. I took it in and luckily the super duper sewing and vacuum fix it man, bumped my machine to the front of the fix it line as he said to me, “You really need your machine to work. You have a project. Most of these women want their machines tomorrow because there is nothing good on TV…”

Whooo hooo! My machine works. Life is good. Time to sew.

And then, after having put together the seating for 180 women for a Fashion Show Benefit I assist with every year, just last week, I started to do the seating for a State Conference I have in two weeks, 500-600 women, two luncheons and a formal dinner.

And my computer has a virus. One I cannot seem to get rid of.

LOOOOVE that. LOVE IT.

I called VW, who is my resident computer person, who gave me excellent advice. And then that didn’t work, and it was 5:00 and I don’t call people with young children at the bewitching hour, so I called Eric, another computer guy, and right now? All the Kings Horses and All the Kings Men, (VW has a dog the size of a horse and Eric’s a man, so there you have it) can’t seem to get this virus off my machine.

GRRRR
I have been in the bowels of my computer and I like not what I see. I think it’s scary. I don’t like being at a C prompt. Twenty years ago? No biggy. Now? That means something bad has happened and I don’t like it. Fortunately VW and Eric have coaxed me through it… but they’ve done all they can do remotely.

I may have to call in someone now, the big guns with special software to take it off. Meanwhile, like I have the time to waste on crap like this. Pisses me off.

So… blogging will be light as I’m sewing, debugging, seating for a conference, and breathing. Or trying to.

Oh and death is all around again and I’ve got the viewings and funerals stacked up like cord wood, or so it seems. Bah. I’m done.

Toast.

I’m off to try to figure out what in the hell is ERROR -94 is.

Tah Tah!


Posted by Boudicca at 09:10 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

March 05, 2007

Helen Keller According to Bones

I was at school today and one of the Cub Scout Moms said to me, “I absolutely LOVE hearing stories about Bones…”

At first I was taken back. Was she reading my blog? Nobody really knows about my blog. Stories about Bones?

It turns out her son, who is in Bones’ class, thinks he is a riot and comes home quoting him.

She said the other day, her son did something and stopped and said, “That’s a Dramatic Pause.” His mother did a double take and said, “What? Where did you hear that?” and he replied, “Bones. He does them. Or if you’re talking to him and stop he’ll say, “What’s that? A dramatic pause?””

He did not get that from his father nor me.

Stories of Bones. On the internet and around dinner tables. Lovely.

There is much that happens with him that I can’t even remember, the vastness that is Bones’ personality, and sometimes I can’t convey it here because you have to see him talk. You see, Bones thinks he’s super cool. He struts when he walks and he thinks he looks good.

I mean STRUT. To the point people say things to me and I just nod my head knowingly, shrugging and rolling my eyes. He’s like a little John Travolta in Stayin’ Alive.

I do believe I just dated myself there…

He has a confident manner when he speaks to you… he does not understand the difference that is age. If you are 6 or you are 60, he will speak to you with the same mannerisms, the same tone of voice, the same expression.

The entire world is his theater. And his interpretation of life around him alone should garner him his own reality show.

For instance, today he told me they are reading about Helen Keller.

It took all I had to keep from saying, “Helen Keller was a Socialist and Communist sympathizer”, which would take away from his story. I still always laugh when I realize the State of Alabama picked her for their State Quarter. I guess that just goes to show, that America can embrace anyone, we are a democracy, but really, I wonder how many Alabamians realized her political history when they voted.

Anyway, I had to egg him on as I had to know what Bones thought of Helen Keller. I had to know what little pieces of information that he deemed important from the story his class read.

He remembered she was deaf, blind and mute. We discussed WHY she was mute. He knew about Annie Sullivan. But the only story that stuck with him was some story of Helen Keller, who could not speak, hear or see, getting stuck in a tree in a storm. And her dear friend Annie saw her in the tree and went out and put a warm hand in Helen’s lap.

I wonder if the author ever thought that a warm hand in Helen’s lap would have such meaning to a 7 year old boy.

And from there, Annie proceeded to save Helen from the storm.

At that point, Bones looked at me waiting, eyebrows raised, expression waiting, and as his buddy from class says, with ‘Bones’ dramatic pause’.

There are days, most days, we need a video camera at our dinner table.

And for the record, I did at the end tell the boys of Helen Keller's political leanings. It provided me yet another opportunity to explain... again... why our capitalistic democratic society is best.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:17 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 04, 2007

Pizza and Quilts

Today’s dinner conversation dealt with ‘the pizza piece’. I don’t know if I’ve blogged on it before.

During Holy Communion in the Catholic Church, the Priest stands at the altar, holds the big round host, does his thing and then breaks it into pieces. My boys call these pieces ‘the Pizza Piece’.

There are limited numbers of those, of course, so most everyone gets the round ones bought from Catholic Communion Items ‘R Us, except a select few.

Evidently today, everyone in the family got The Pizza Piece. Well, except for Bones, who makes his First Holy Communion in three weeks. He’s excited about being able to take Communion with his brothers, but more excited about the prospect of getting The Pizza Piece.

I wish I had a video camera so I could show the great animation that comes with The Pizza Piece discussions. It really is funny. You’d think they’d won a great prize.

And so Bones’ Holy Communion is coming up, which means I’m… a quilting madwoman. You can see it HERE from two years ago when I made the quilt for Mr. T’s class. This year, the quilt is 80 squares. It’s HUGE. Mr. T’s 2nd grade quilt was 64. Each square is 8 1/2 X 8 1/2 inches.

Big. This quilt is Big.

I’ll take pictures later in the week when I get the quilt top together. I have two great Moms helping me and I’m doing the finishing touches. But today has been a real bitch.

I don’t want to do this quilt ever again.

Parents do not listen. They used different fabric than what I gave them. They cut it different. I don’t even know if they washed it. One used some sort of burlap. They used materials I told them not to use.

It makes me nuts.

And to make matters worse, I’m fighting with my machine. I have a very basic sewing machine. Nothing big and fancy. I think I paid like $150 for it. It’s not that old and I need to take it in. I fought with it so much today, I had it torn apart to see if I couldn’t figure out what in the hell was going on.

It’s never a good sign with the seamstress has a screw driver in her hand and is cussing like a sailor.

It’s a quilt for children making their 1st Holy Communion and I’m over it cussing up a storm in between squares.

Not nice.

So we shall see. I’m debating taking it to the shop tomorrow or seeing if I can eek it out through this quilt. I’m leaning towards the shop. With my luck it’ll break when I need it working most.

As for the finished quilt, there is debate as to where it will go this year. I don’t remember where the quilt from Ringo’s class went, but the quilt from the next class went on the coffin of a friend of mine. The quilt is given to someone who has need of healing… and my friend ended up dying of myriad things, cancer being one. She had been given the quilt by that year’s Holy Communion class that April and died in October, hence the quilt on her casket.

The quilt I made for Mr. T’s class went to our local cancer hospital. They had a new wing built for children with cancer, and the quilt went there as a wall hanging.

Last year’s quilt, which I did not make, went to another friend of mine who had cancer as well. She ended up dying in July and once again... it ended up on her casket instead of the flower spray.

So I tell people, “You don’t want this quilt. You really DON’T!” It’s been on too many coffins for me.

I was talking to one of the Moms helping me, who has never quilted, and I said to her, “Look, you shouldn’t be stressing about your end and how it looks. Do the best you can do, and it’ll work. Nobody is focusing on our work… but only on their square and its placement in the quilt.”

She said I was right and she’s not stressing… and then she said, “My grandmother always says things can be broken into two categories… the first is ‘Who gives a shit’ and the second is ‘Oh shit’”.

I laughed and said, “This quilt falls under ‘who gives a shit’. The person who gets it is the one who’s dealing with the ‘Oh shit’.” Gah!

I so pray my family is never in a way that it gets this quilt. Ever.


Posted by Boudicca at 10:56 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

March 03, 2007

12 Years

I've been blinking too much again.

Just 12 years ago, I was watching my first born son for the first time, holding him to my breast, moving my lips softly across his peach fuzz covered head, nuzzling my nose into his neck.

And today I'm helping him set up his iPod shuffle, the only thing he wanted for his birthday. (Well, he wants a cell phone but I've told him NO and he knows better than to argue.)

We've moved into 'pre-teen-dom' and if its not obvious by his look and mannerisms, it is by the things he asks for as gifts.

And for those scoffing at iPods, it really is the current equivalent of a kid getting his first stereo. Luckily its much smaller.

So he's busy playing songs off his new Weird Al Yankovich CD, yet something else he asked for, something supplied to him by his Mimi and Big Daddy (or as the kids say, "Mim and Big"), and downloading into his new shuffle. He has an iTunes gift card to buy more of his favorite music.

By the way, did you know that when you go to buy Weird Al Yankovich, he's not in the Pop section of the music store, but rather in the 'comedy' section? Me either. I thought that was for stuff that was funny...

He looks like a 12 year old. Although he's not had his growth spurt, his upper body is starting to take on the muscular shape he will have. His face is starting to look older again, and his bedroom has taken on that musky 'boy/male teenager' smell. He loves to sleep, eat, and hang with his buddies.

I was running my hands through his thick wavy hair today, thinking of how 12 years ago he had none.

I was making his birthday dessert (my kids will pick things other than cake), a Chocolate Ganache Bombe, which is a light cake with ground pecans and buttermilk, formed into a bowl where it is filled with two different types of chocolate mousse, then the entire thing is covered in a dark chocolate ganache. And 12 years ago, my baby was drinking from the tap... the Mama tap.

I love my boy.

Happy 12th Birthday, Ringo. The time is passing too quickly...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:30 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

March 02, 2007

The Swiss are Coming! The Swiss are Coming!

Did anyone else see this? The Swiss ‘accidentally’ invaded Lichtenstein?

I don’t know. I personally think the Lichtensteinese are taking this all too casually. I think the quote was, “It's not like they stormed over here with attack helicopters or something”.

No, they didn’t. But you know how this all starts don’t you? First a little getting lost here… then a little getting lost there… and next thing you know, Human Sacrifice, Cats and Dogs living together, Mass Hysteria!

Hey. It’s true. I heard that somewhere.

So to the Lichtensteinese or the Lichtensteinians I say, “Unite! Don’t take this from the Swiss! They only claim to me a neutral peace loving country!”

You never know. This could be WWIII… all started in the little unsuspecting country of Lichtenstein.

Whew.


Posted by Boudicca at 11:15 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Different Minds

The guys at work are missing the boat when it comes to me. Big. Maybe I should chalk it up to a Mars/Venus thing? Man brain vs. woman brain? The age old ‘men never understand women’?

I walked into work today and the guys were standing around, one of them reading a screen and I heard one say, “Wait. This’ll really spool her up. Ready?!”

I said, “What? Did I fail some asinine ISO9000 audit? Were my labels on my desk drawers not straight? Did I have the wrong file in the wrong fer-eakin’ drawer?”

No.

It would seem, that as of Monday, we must all register our cell phones with security. We are not allowed to have cell phones that take pictures, along with no cameras, recording devices, etcetra…etcetra… etceterrrraaaaa.

Fine. I’m cool. The no camera/recording device thing was standard at Company X. We work national defense. And Company X is allowed cell phones with cameras, but we are not. Some people chafe at that. I don’t care. I personally think they should not be able to either, being the type of defense work we do, but hey, if they think we are a security risk by their SHARING THEIR PROPRIETARY DATA WITH US, I’m cool.

They invented the stuff. Not us.

So now we get a memo saying we have to register our cell phones, PDAs and anything we’re allowed to have on company property that is electronic, with security, to ensure we have the legal equipment. (After registration, if caught with something you should not have, termination is probably in order.)

And… they thought this was going to spool me up?

I looked at them, looked at the schedule as to when I’m supposed to go to register my phone, grabbed a black bold sharpie and put it on my calendar. They didn’t get it.

I don’t care about registering my phone or any electronic device if it’s for security reasons… even though I know its just window dressing. It must be done. I work in the defense industry. As I told them today, ‘Never in our history, has it been so easy to be a bad guy.’

With camera phones… holy crap. The spy networks all over the world must’ve been jumping up and down with how much easier everything is now since ‘everyone has one’. If the companies I work for need to put up a front for security reasons… so be it. It comes with the territory.

We all know damn well if we wanted to do something bad, we could. When you’ve been doing what we’ve been doing long enough, you know your hardware. I know the materials, the torques, the dimensions and the manufacturer. One guy I work with can rattle off damn near every part number on our product. It’s insane.

I think we’re all a group of idiot savants sometimes.

But it is what it is and as much as the guys I work with are offended that someone would act like they’re a bad guy, when we’re all patriotic Americans, you have to do what you have to do.

By the time I left, all the guys with heart stints were talking about registering their stints. They were seriously offended. Me? Not so much. If at all…

I told them there is a BIG DIFFERENCE in my mind to having to register my phone with security as opposed to having to label every drawer on my desk with the contents, putting tape on books so you can ‘tell which one is missing’, and putting tape in a box on the floor so you know where the garbage can goes… as well as making sure every chair has five spokes.

One is security. The other is… some seriously screwed up pathetic people with fragile egos who have been put in charge of the ridiculous, their heads swelling with the thought they are in positions of power, when in reality, they just look like twits.

Big Difference.

In my mind.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:13 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Enterprise

I’ve been watching with horror as the scene has unfolded at Enterprise High School, teachers and students dead and injured due to a horrific storm spawning tornadoes.

Enterprise High School is not far from where I went to high school. You see, if you live in the panhandle, you are considered L.A… Lower Alabama. The accent of the region varies between light gulf coast to heavy Alabama. My folks live but 15 minutes from the Alabama border, I believe. And when you live so close to another state, you play their high schools in football… and when in marching band, you march down their streets.

Enterprise, Alabama is a small southern town. PFB and I marched down their streets around 1982, in some sort of parade, that for the life of me, I cannot remember the event. I suspect it may have been just the two marching bands before our football game snaking their way down the main drag. I remember there was a blinking light and stop sign.

They have one high school.

It’s a wonderful small town.

And Enterprise to me, is the picture of small town southern life… they embrace their town’s history. For in the middle of the Enterprise, the citizens erected a statue of a Boll Weevil. The Boll Weevil was credited for bringing great economic diversity to the South, forcing many southern farmers to venture out beyond their cotton crops and plant peanuts and soy beans among other things. George Washington Carver may not have been able to convince the farmers with his science, but the Boll Weevil did by destroying their cotton crops.

This morning my boys got a less on the Boll Weevil at breakfast.

I am sickened for the families. I know the town will pull together and do what was done in Mississippi after Katrina. It’s what good Southern Communities do… they pull in and do what needs to be done to repair their lives and their community.

But it never hurts to keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Never. Hurts.

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

March 01, 2007

Party Girls

So what happens when your best friend from college gets married at 25, when you’re still wild and crazy, and you get married when you’re 36 and have calmed down?

Revenge.

And so it was... Saturday night when we went out to dinner, Tally5-0, having dug deep into the recesses of a drawer, under magazines and such, retrieving something hidden away for nine years, brought with her the… Penis Sippy Cup.

Many moons ago at Tally’s bachelorette party, this sippy cup was used for the evening by the bride to be, bought by her roommate and said, ‘good friend’. And now pay backs were here and with a wonderful waitress, who took the sippy cup to the bar and kept it flowing with alcohol, although I thought some sort of white drink would have been more fitting, the cup was used yet again… and in the presence of my Mom, who is so cool its not even funny.

Hmm. We had a guy come by and take a picture of it with his cell phone. It was kind of odd…

We had another guy come by who was really funny and playfully started to take off his red sweater while saying, “I’m the stripper you ordered!”

You can’t miss a 10 inch tall Penis Sippy Cup and being as we were the first table in the pub… well… yeah.

the cup.JPG

Of course nobody really noticed the chocolate cake that said, “To Have and To Hold” that had a 4 inch Marzipan Penis dressed in a tux standing up right in the middle. No.

We have many pictures of hesitation to touch… although by the end of the evening, it was being handled without thought. The funniest thing was when I saw Tally5-0 pick up one of the marzipan balls and pop it in her mouth. I nearly peed I was laughing so hard.

Mos cake.JPG

Many many funny things happened that night, most of it was probably a case of ‘you had to be there’, but I have to say I absolutely loved being with Morrigan’s good friends and my Mom. We laughed all night, Mom told us some FUNNY stories, shots were done (I even did one as did my Mom, although in her defense, she sipped hers), pictures taken and… I think it was one of the best nights I’ve had in a long long time.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:59 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack