October 31, 2007

The House of Bou and the Blustery Day

I called Morrigan this morning and the following conversation occurred to the best of my recollection. Keep in mind, Tropical Storm Noel has been off the coast of Cuba today and we are not so far from Cuba.

Mo: How’s it going?

Me: It’s blustery.

Mo: Blustery? Who are you? Winnie the Pooh?

Me: Blustery seemed like a good word!

Mo: Guard that honey! Heh.

Blustery. It was a blustery day. Nothing really describes it better…

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Tropical Halloweens

I love Halloween. Little people coming to my door, all dressed up and excited… almost like its Christmas. One little piece of candy and they scoot off like they hit the Mother Lode.

This year I went through my things and found old Halloween tattoos from a neighborhood party I helped organize four years ago. Or was it five? So the littlest people got tattoos and candy and let me tell you, there was not a happier bunch.

I have a couple Moms that always come together, always telling me how much they love my home for its Halloween decorations and trust me, I don’t do anything extravagant, but just fun. My kids LOVE to decorate for Halloween. So it’s a big thing for us. And they came by it honestly. My Mom always had decorations for the major holidays and they are firmly ingrained in the Happy Memory Box of my mind. I always intended to do the same for my children and it has evidently happened and so my children greet each holiday as an excuse to decorate and laugh and smile.

I have some ghost decorations I made for my lawn. There are eight PVC pipes about 2 feet tall with a Styrofoam ball on top, topped with a sheet that runs the length of the pipe and tied just below the ball, and two big black eyes painted onto the face of each… and each sheet corner is tied to the neighboring ‘ghost’ so it looks like a circle of ghosts dancing when the wind blows.

Except when its Tropical Storm type winds and then the ghosts fall to the ground and then the grass gets cut and next thing you know, the ghosts look like The Ghost of Pig Pen.

I spent this afternoon cleaning up Halloween decorations to get ready for tonight. It made me laugh… it was windy and rainy and I’m out there hammering PVC pipe into the ground and picking up grassy ghosties.

Meanwhile, news of Ringo’s illness spread through the neighborhood and by the end of the night I had kids saying as I answered the door, “Trick or Treat! How is Ringo?! We heard he’s sick!”

It’s like living with frickin’ Ferris Beuller.

(You know a kid genuinely feels poorly when he opts to not Trick or Treat.)

The kids had a wonderful time. I fell in love with every little child that came to my door. I laughed with all of them. I laughed a lot with the older children. Just going to someone’s door and getting candy can bring so much laughter and happiness. A $3.00 bag of candy.

Whoda thunk it?

I've already cleaned up the pumpkins. One learns quickly that one does not wait to take the pumpkins to the trash or in the 85 degree weather and 99% humidity said pumpkin will turn to mush on one's front porch, rendering the porch stinky, buggy, and... stained. So now, I grab a garbage back, throw the pumpkins in them, take them down to the garbage for pick up as I turn off the porch light.

If you move to S. Florida... learn this ritual!

Tomorrow I quickly put the Halloween decorations away, washing the sheets of the Ghosts of Pig Pen, and start to decorate for fall… my fall wreaths and cornucopias.

I love the holidays…

Now it just needs to drop 10 degrees and quit being so Blustery!

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October 30, 2007

It's NOT Noel, It's TRICK OR TREAT!

It’s ‘tropical stormy’ feeling out there tonight. Noel is supposed to pass us sometime on Thursday… as a tropical storm. So as it swirls off the coast of Cuba, we have a case of the breezies with sporadic rain.

It’s… odd weather. If you’ve not been in it, its not scary or bad… just… odd. Your body can feel something is not right, that something is coming. I feel the urge to be outside in it. I don’t know why, but the wind is nice. Obviously if it was scary, I’d feel the urge to stay inside. I have a pretty good sense of my own mortality.

I sure as hell hope these folks are right about the forecast. I’m going to really be pissed if I wake up tomorrow morning looking at a ‘cane coming right for us. It’s really going to piss me off.

A lot.

All my frickin’ Halloween decorations!

Trick or Treating!

Costumes!

Bags of candy I MUST give away!!!

Gah!

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October 29, 2007

Cows, Corn and... Cookies?

Highlights, highlights, highlights.

Good grief.

Teresa, Morrigan, Eric’s wonderful wife, Fiona, Sissy, and I went to a corn maze. I’d been on-line before we left for Tennessee and had looked up the Mayfield Ice Cream plant, as I thought Mo might want to do the tour. I figured we’d offer it up to anyone who wanted to go. While perusing the site, I found this corn maze.

So everyone partied pretty hard at Eric’s on Friday night, well, except the five of us girls. I know that Sissy, Mo and I had left Eric’s around 12:15 to head back to the hotel and with the expectations to meet back at 10AM for breakfast, the three of us had had a good eight hours sleep.

We were perky.

Eric, when he opened the door for us… was not.

At all.

His voice still had sleep in it as he clutched his coffee mug. He said he’d been up for awhile, but the man was still moving in slow mo.

We were not.

We were perky.

We bounced into his house, ‘Eric, Eric, Eric, turn on your computer! We need to check out the Mayfield site! We need directions! Eric, do this! Eric, do that!”

Heh. It was funny as hell.

It was like he was half dead and we were on speed.

But in actuality, he was still waking up and we were PERKY!

Anyway, after breakfast, with directions in hand, we made our way to the Ice Cream plant for the tour, where we all got ice cream (Yum!) and where yesterday’s picture was taken, and then made our way to the corn maze.

Holy crap.

It was 8 acres of corn field that was on its last leg, the corn maze having opened on 1 Sept. What a frickin’ BLAST! There was even this big ladder look out tower, which I suspect was for the corn maze people to find ‘lost’ corn maze visitors, but could have been so that the corn maze visitors could see the layout of the land.

There were 10 Mayfield milk jugs throughout the field, each was numbered, 1 through 10. As you hit the jugs, there was a laminated question that contained four answers. Each answer, A-D, had a corresponding path associated. So if you answered the question correctly, you ended up on the path that took you to the next jug. If not… well… you didn’t.

The questions were supposed to be cow related. Some of them were. Others were not. Like the one that said something like, “What word is the 15th word in Rocky Top?” at which point Morrigan, who worked as a cocktail waitress through college where there was a great entertainer who would sing Rocky Top whilst playing his guitar night after night, barreled out Rocky Top, counting the words.

We got that one right.

And we both laughed because… Whoa, I hate to admit this to our Tennessee fans, at the time she was waiting tables and at the time I was visiting, and we were all singing Rocky Top at the top of our lungs (late 80s, early 90s), we didn’t know that it was the song of UT.

Hey, but she knows the song. Very well.

And then there was the “Start on the right foot, alternating feet to Yankee Doodle Dandee… what foot do you end up on?” with the last two answers being, ‘I got lost’ and ‘I don’t care’. We guessed. I was laughing at the thought of watching the young family behind us doing it. It would have been a good Candid Camera moment.

Anyway, we got to one question and it said, “How many times does a cow chew per minute?”

We decided to use a lifeline. I flipped open my cell phone and thought, “I can call Eric, Johnny Oh, Denny… or… Jimbo!”

And so I called Jimbo, because he’s had quite the education in farming lately and the whole thought of asking him this question tickled me to no end.

He guessed 40 and then polled Jerry, who has great experience in farming, and Tommy, who for some reason I suspect has great knowledge in farming.

I got their three numbers, immediately threw out Jimbo’s (heh), and it was between Tommy and Jerry’s.

Turns out they were all wrong, guessing 25, 35 and 40. The answer was 50. (I love the internet.) We realized they were wrong immediately as we ended up at jug five when we were supposed to be going to jug nine.

But it was GREAT fun, either way. Right or wrong. It was just fun including the folks at the house knowing they’d have no frickin’ clue. I could picture Jimbo’s face as he said, “What?!”

Heh.

Needless to say… there was A LOT of laughter.

By the way, cows eat up to 8 hours a day. We got that one wrong too…

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Life with Erica

I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Erica this weekend. I have to tell you, I absolutely ADORE her. She is warm and funny. If anyone ever says that folks from NYC are cold or unwelcoming, I will cite Erica as my example of the contrary. She gives the best hugs and the memories of meeting her this weekend, warms my heart.

And I love her voice. And the way she talks, not the accent, but the way she puts words together… her thoughts. Sharp mind and wit abound.

The following conversation occurred, to the best of my recollection, in the car between Morrigan and me on our way home from Eric’s.

Me: Erica has a great frickin’ voice. I love her voice.

Morrigan: She does.

Me: Her vocabulary and how she strings words together, it amazes me.

Morrigan: She cracks me up.

Me: She should have her own radio show.

Morrigan: *Pause* Well, she does have a fairly thick accent.

(This was not meant as a slam, but most radio personalities seem to pride themselves on that ‘no accent’ thing.)

Me: Yeah, but I think that it could make it more personal. You know, ‘Life with Erica’, something like that.

Morrigan: I can see that…

Me: Except, well, she probably can’t call people dooshbags.

Morrigan, laughing: Probably not.

Heh.

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October 28, 2007

Rejuvenation

I’m exhausted. Wonderful weekend. Great people. Good food. Laughter. Guitar playing and Great Guys Singing. Corn mazes. Cows. Hay and straw.

More tomorrow.

Oh... and I think my boys grew.

More in the extended entry…


Morrigan and me. Heh. Oh that would be me in the back...

Moo.JPG

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October 26, 2007

Windows, Water, and Whims

So here I sit in Mo and Flam’s humble abode in downtown Atlanta. As I’ve said before, they live in a ‘transitional’ neighborhood, which means… they live in the ghetto. We call this, “the little house in the hood”.

I love this home. It’s a row house and I love row houses and their neighborhoods. My maternal grandmother, Nana, lived in a row house. There is just something about row house neighborhoods that screams, ‘AMERICA!’ to me, although I think perhaps in the wee early mornings in the ‘hood, it probably screams something else. I loved my grandmother’s home and although her neighborhood had deteriorated when I was an adult, I have fond memories of it all from when I was a kid.

Her windows were so old… they puddled. Not hugely, but they were ‘warped’ I guess from the 100 years of sunlight streaming through them. There were stories about the house… stories from my mother’s childhood and my grandmother’s, as my grandmother was born in that house.

I think of all the homes I was in growing up, hers was my favorite.

Those fond memories are probably part of why I enjoy Mo’s house so much.

This morning I was taking a shower in their guest bathroom and in the shower is a square window. I think that was big back when these homes were built… adequate ventilation was not available, so to get steam out of the bathrooms, you’d open the window. For me, the window comes about nose height. As I lathered my hair, I could peer out of the window into the neighbor’s backyard, which I think is personally kind of funny. I have to fight this childish urge to fling open the window and yell at anyone I might see, “Hey! I’m Naked!!!”

I think it would be odd to be on the neighbor’s back porch and look up to the window and watch someone showering. A man six feet tall, 8 inches taller than I, would be viewable from shoulders up!

For some reason that always cracks me up.

Anyway, the drought here in Georgia is BAD, Bad, bad, bad… bad. The front page of their newspaper is consumed with it as well as throughout on how to ‘conserve water’ on a daily basis. It was like that in our newspaper at the peak of our drought this spring/early summer… but it is worse here.

And I would say, if any of you reading this live in Florida, I suggest you stand up and take note as to what is going on north of us, because it is going to be US in the Spring, if not worse. I know in Palm Beach County, our rainy season is just about over and the Lake is still 5 feet below the average.

And the season starts next month which means, our population is about to double.

I remember about 10 years ago when TGOO told me that one day wars would be fought over water, not oil. I just never expected one day to be coming so soon… As he said at the time, “There are just too many damn people in this world.”

True that, but sometimes, it just feels like there are just too many damn people in Florida.

And maybe Georgia.


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October 25, 2007

Flying the Scary Skies

I am sitting in the airport waiting for my flight. I’m flying to Atlanta where Morrigan and I will hang until tomorrow afternoon, where we will drive up with Sissy to the Straight White House. It’s become an annual tradition for us, now on this its 3rd year. I’ve grown very fond of the bloggers who will be there.

Two bloggers I have NOT met before will be there… Jerry of Back Home Again. If you’ve not read him, he’s ‘back home again’ as he works from home and assists in taking care of his aging parents, although his Dad doesn’t seem to realize he’s aging. Those are the best stories… blind man driving farm equipment, pushing burning straw. LOOOVE those!!! His Dad reminds me of my grandfather. (No, his folks no longer drive motor vehicles…)

I’ll also be meeting Erica, who I email quite frequently. I’m excited about meeting her as well… she cracks me up. She and Teresa will be driving to Eric’s from the airport, together, and I wish I could be a fly on the wall for that car trip. I suspect there will be much laughter.

I’m a bit concerned about the weather. As my eldest told Mo yesterday, “Mom can’t handle any weather colder than 76 degrees.” Amazing how well your kids get to know you!

The highs are supposed to be in the high 60s and the lows in the 40s. I’m starting to shiver and mildly freak just typing how frickin’ cold it’s going to be! Gah!!! On a positive, I have yet to actually freeze to death at Eric’s although I swear to you, the last two years, I saw it on my radar, this freezing to death. Good Lord… it got into the 30’s. Ack!!!

The house is all clean, laundry done, directions left for my husband. Luckily, the boys have off of school tomorrow, so he doesn’t have to pry anyone out of bed, make lunches, fix breakfast and heard cats into a wheelbarrow to carry them to school. That’s pretty much what it feels like in the morning. We tag team… it does suck to do it alone.

I called him a few minutes ago and said, “I parked in short term parking since long term is closed and I’m in 4F, space 93… you know… just in case something happens to me.

He replied, “Finding your car is going to be the least of our worries if something happens to you.

I retorted, “It’s the little things that will throw you over the edge and you’ll eventually have to find my car… so hey… now you know where it is. I ALWAYS do this…”

And he said, “Yes, and I NEVER do this. I figure if something happens to me, security will help you find my car and it’ll be no big deal at all.”

Well, to each his own. It is part of my tradition now. I always call to tell him where my car is… just in case. Its my own good luck charm I suppose.

Holy crap I hate flying.

I’ll be back Sunday. Same bat time… same bat channel. Ciao.

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Chance of Rain? Absolutely 100%

Next weekend I take the boys camping. It’s what I call ‘pull up’ camping as in I get to pull my asexual mom-mobile right up to the camp site. That’s the easiest camping there is. It’ll be just me and the boys as my husband will be out of town on business.

Remember THIS trip, where I took the three boys camping with Cub Scouts, schlepped all the crap, by boat to the island, set up camp, a big rainstorm came with gusts up to 115 mph, destroyed our tent and everything in it, so I schlepped the boys BACK home by boat, dried everything at home, and then the next morning schlepped it all BACK to the island where we commenced camping?

Yeah, well, my husband upon learning he had another business trip during this upcoming camping trip was feeling bad about leaving me camping with three boys. (Or so he says… yeah, right, remember THIS trip? He’s not a camper.) Anyway, he was expressing his concern and finally I said, ‘Wait, last camping trip I… and I proceeded to describe the entire weekend from the above paragraph… and this trip, I’ll pull my car in, set up camp, if it rains, I can throw all my crap back into the car, I can carry as much stuff as I want and NOT even take it from the car… there are no boats, temperamental boat captains whose happiness in life seems to be determined by how much drinking he did the night before or whether or not he got laid said same night, no serious hauling or anything… if I can do THAT, phhht, don’t even THINK about this. This is frickin’ CAKE.”

Yesterday I was on the phone with Coleman ordering new tent poles. I did notice last go round that our rainfly poles had stress fractures and although I mended them with duct tape, after the bad weather and the tent being flattened, duct tape wasn’t going to be a fix any longer. And after the bad weather, all the tent poles looked overly stressed, so I’m replacing them all.

And… I’m buying a self inflatable camping mat. The more I camp, the less crap I want to take. I’ve got a blow up air mattress, but the thought of lugging that monster out to the site, does NOTHING for me. I slept on the ground last time, since I didn’t want to haul that thing on that frickin’ boat with the sometimes grouchy boat captain, and Good Lord, there are people who can sleep on the ground and people who cannot.

I saw the picture on MSN yesterday on the internet of all those firefighters sleeping on the roadside with the curb as their pillow. I could feel my head start to twitch at the thought of how much I would HURT the next day doing that. I have the same reaction when I see pictures of our soldiers sleeping wherever they can.

I fall into the category of ‘who cannot’, although if I HAD to, like these brave young men and woman, I would. But I suspect they are must more functional than I would be the next morning…

I wasn’t always like that. I remember in 1979, we had just moved to Pensacola. I was turning 14 and TGOO was almost 39. We all slept on the floor of our new home until our furniture arrived. We three kids sprung up in the morning. TGOO walked around like an old man, his knees hurting and talking about how his blow up pool raft he’d slept on to keep from sleeping directly on the floor, had lost its air. It was funny hearing him tell it. He tells a good story. But I remember thinking, “Hunh, Glad I’m not like that.”

Phht, well NOW I am. Holy crap.

So… moral of this whole story. Mmm. If you live in South Florida, don’t plan any outdoor activities next weekend. I’m going camping so that means… it’s going to rain.

Posted by Boudicca at 05:08 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 23, 2007

Launch Stories

We were at work today and the Space Shuttle launched. Its one of the perks living in Florida. We go outside and watch every 'day' launch. Night launches are the coolest, but those are rarer, plus it has to be a cloudless night.

Today was cloudless and we all shuffled outside to watch... as we always do.

I missed the actual launch by 10 seconds, but saw the contrails as the Shuttle made its way to orbit.

One of my co-workers said, upon realizing I'd missed it by 10 seconds, "Oh, seen one, seen them all, huh?"

And I said, "Well, except one..."

And then of course there was the silence of remembering 'that one'.

We walked back inside and for the first time girlfriend engineer and I talked about where she was during the tragedy, January 1986. She is only two years older than I, but that was enough for her to be in the workforce already while I was in college.

She had already started at Company X.

She said she was a new engineer there and the Rocket guys worked on the other side of the building. What would be 'our' side, when I started working there two years later, was military aircraft.

Everyone piled outside to watch the launch, military aircraft engineers alongside rocket engineers and then... she said... something went terribly wrong and she didn't understand and just stood there thinking, "Hunh", while she heard suddenly the rocket guys yell, "OH SHIT" and started to run like hell back to the building to their desks.

Odd I'd never heard that story from her before. It is one of those events where everyone remembers exactly where they were and what they were doing.

Every launch... I remember that crew.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:59 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Angels in the Outfield

Ahhh… there are days and then there are days. Some days are just a bit more exhausting than others. Living with a 12 year old means that some days will have more drama than other days.

Today was high drama.

We lived.

He and I were in the car today, I looked in the mirror and said, ‘Good Lord, I look like crap…” and without missing a beat he said in the funniest little voice, “Ohhh, Mom, its not the outside, but what’s on the inside that counts.” That had me laughing pretty hard because… I really did look like crap. It was one of those days where I was at work, running my hands through my hair and rubbing my eyes in concentration.

Anyway, so it was a long day, as Tuesdays are apt to be. When I wasn’t with my nose to the grindstone at work, we were on the internet watching the California fires in horror. Because of things we had to do after school, I knew we weren’t going to get home until close to 5:00.

Long day.

And then about 1:00, I got a call on my cell while I was at work, from my friend whose son I tutored on Saturday. She left a message for me that informed me that since I would not accept payment, that she had cooked me dinner.

Holy crap.

She just needed to drop it off at my house, but she had cooked my entire family DINNER.

Folks… this is BIG. After a day like today, long, work, BIG drama with the kids, I usually come into the house and think, “Oh no. They are going to want to eat. I HAVE to FEED them too! Gah!”

I called her back later, I don’t blog from work nor do I use my cell phone at work, and I said, “You did NOT have to do this!”

And she replied, “And you did NOT have to tutor my son for two and half hours on Saturday.”

I said to her, “Are you kidding? I had a BLAST!”

And there was a pause and then she replied, “You had a blast. Bou, do you know, you’re the ONLY person I know, that would say they had a blast doing math… and truly mean it?”

I think she just hangs around the wrong people…

And so I thanked her profusely again and when I received our meal, it was a Shepherd’s Pie, with a loaf of bread and for dessert, homemade rice krispie treats, a glow in the dark necklace for Halloween for each of my boys, and a little ghost chocolate bar for each of them… all done up on a Halloween plate.

I seriously thought I’d lose it. I’m telling you… I cannot remember the last time I was so stunned by the kindness of someone. I went from ragged out crazy ‘I’m so frickin’ beat it hurts to breath’ day, to a meal for my family… and words cannot express enough how completely wonderful that was.

Bones said to me, “What’s that?”

As I took it out of the bag I said, “Shepherd’s Pie.”

About five minutes later he came back into the kitchen and said, “Mom, what exactly does a Joseph Pie have in it?”

I sat there for a minute and thought, “Joseph pie????” and then realized the connection, and so.... that’s what we call it in the house now.

Joseph Pie.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:27 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

October 22, 2007

Fires near 'Sandy Eggo'

I'm back from my sub class... very good class.

The first thing I did when I got in was check Lex's site. I've been there since this afternoon, reading his updates. He's on the outskirts of the fires and while not yet in an evac zone... he's got evac zones on two sides. He lives, in what he calls, "Sandy Eggo".

And it does suck to read him and know there is NOTHING any of us can do. Nothing. We can't change the course of the fires. We can't make it go away. We can't guarantee his home will make it.

But we can continue to send he and his family and neighbors good thoughts and prayers.

Fire scares the hell out of me. I deal with hurricanes and I never freak. I just do what I have to do. But fire? Fire makes me nervous.

Let us hope they can get this contained soon.

**Update- According to Lex's latest comment on his post, they evac'd. Their home was suddenly in the zone and they are on their way to Coronado."

Posted by Boudicca at 08:37 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Conversations from Work...

Blogging early tonight as I'm off to take the Substitute Teaching course offered by Palm Beach County. I need to know how to manage a class. I think the class's subheader is something like, "Surviving". That doesn't give me warm fuzzies. I need a back up plan though for the next time I get furloughed.

Anyway... on to the post.

I walked in to work today and said to Mr. Magoo, “Someone needs to invent a way for a woman to take a model of her body so when she washes her jeans and they come out of the dryer too tight, she can snug them onto the model and let the model stretch them out so she doesn’t have to. I hate it when this happens…”

A male voice from another cube: That’s why I quit wearing jeans.

Me: Yeah, but if I wore khakis like you, I’d have to iron. I hate ironing.

Mr. Magoo: I know what you’re saying about the jeans, but that only happens the first time you wash them after you buy them and then its fine…

Me: It does? For you? It does?

Girlfriend engineer in the back of the room: Danger! Danger! Don’t go there with her! Tell her it’s the dryer! Danger! Danger!

Mr. Magoo: *pause* Yes, you are right. I hate it when that happens. Excellent idea for an invention.

Heh.


Girlfriend Engineer, Male Tech Lead and I were sitting in his cube discussing a project we’re working on.

Me: Ok, I think I get most of these odd tooling issues.

Girlfriend Engineer: I’m not sure I understand this Repair Parts Protection.

Me: Me either. So what is that, a condom for the repair tool?

Tech Lead, head in hands: I saw this coming. I KNEW one of you was going to say that…

Hey, if I hadn’t said it, SHE would have!

Posted by Boudicca at 03:55 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

One of Many Menaces to Society

You may recall from this post last year that I have a father in law we don’t think should be on the road... as in... driving.

We have asked him to quit driving, told him to quit driving, attempted to reason with him about his driving. Nada. Nothing.

Let us recap, shall we?

82 year old white male, Parkinson’s Disease with medication that can contain the tremors but also makes him fall asleep, one hip replacement that took but severe atrophy in the muscles due to waiting too long for the surgery renders him unable to walk without assistance, other hip is close to shot, uses walker for mobility, cannot turn at the waist so must use mirrors only when driving, vision considered marginal, in June had intermittent TIAs which appears to have cleared up once taken off Coumadin, and we think he has severe hearing loss, but he refuses to get it checked.

We were at dinner with some family friends in August, they came to our home, and my father in law kept going on and on about how tired he was. His medications knock him for a loop. He looks absolutely horrible. He’s scary. At dinner he said to our friend, “This medicine, I can hardly stay awake!” The family friend said, “You should NOT be driving…” to which he replied all chirpy and suddenly energetically, “OH! I am fine! I don’t get like this when I’m driving!!!’

Right.

Our family friend said to us on the side, “There is NO WAY in hell that man should be driving.” No kidding.

We do not have power of attorney and taking him to court to do it would be a waste of money as no court would find that he is not of the right mind. He may be a complete jerk, but he’s got all his mental faculties.

HIPAA prevents us from talking to his physicians to find out what they are seeing. We can call and tell them what WE think, but they cannot share information. My sister in law has called the neurologist to get his license pulled… no avail.

So we found out from his ophthalmologist, who is a good friend of my husband’s, that last year when Pop had cataract surgery, instead of just signing the paper saying Pop was good to go, he spent some time with the paperwork and filled it out indicating that Pop needed an eye exam in one year as well as a full physical and needed to take the driving test.

He passed the eye exam.

We hear that the neurologist and internist are passing him on the physical.

The Florida driving section of the test is a JOKE and he will pass that too.

We are so frustrated there are no words that describe it.

The law is not on our side. The doctors, except for one, are not on our side.

And so we wait and hope he doesn’t kill someone. It’s that bad. He is the type of driver that causes accidents; stopping at green lights, changing lanes without looking and without warning and the list of things goes on.

It’s so… wrong.

Posted by Boudicca at 03:50 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

October 20, 2007

Math Skillz

I got a call from a neighbor earlier in the week. Her son is not doing well in Algebra II and she’s worried. She asked me to tutor him.

His test is Tuesday and I tutored him today. I was worried we were attempting to cram for a math test, which you just can’t do, at least not a major test. No. It all builds on itself at this level.

I’ve actually been really excited about this. It’s been a long time since I’ve played in Algebra. I worked in the Math Lab in college and tutored a lot of College Algebra, but that was 20 years ago.

I called her this morning to make sure we were set and I told her on the outset I was not charging. She had a fit but I told her if she intended to pay me, I wasn’t coming over. First, I’ve not tutored Algebra in 20 years and was not sure I could be of any help. Second, I wasn’t sure what his problems were… it was too much of an unknown. Third, I was too excited at the prospect to get paid.

I told her, next go round, if I did help and he does well, if he and I clicked, then we’d talk about paying. But not now.

Holy crap, I had a blast. I had SO MUCH fun. I frickin’ LOVE math. It brought it all back. I just hope he had as much fun as I did. And he'd done all his homework... he just can't ask questions in class, so we weren't really cramming, but more going over things he KNEW he did not understand.

But what has changed? They use graph calculators now. Their book actually has the directions on how to plot functions and equations so you can find the answer to the problem they are asking by looking at the graph the calculator creates.

When I was in high school, calculators had four basic functions.

I was at a loss. It was the end of our session anyway (we’d been going at it for 2 hours), so I told him to call me tomorrow if he needs calculator help, which will amount to my reading it and figuring it out for him.

But because of this graphic calculator thing that everyone supposedly NEEDS, the problems they had regarded things I had never seen. It was really really odd.

(In college I had an HP that was fully programmable and could launch the frickin' space shuttle, but even it did not have a 'graph' screen.)

So other than that one section, he is now fully versed in functions, inverse functions, exponents and how to manipulate them, and graphing functions (by hand), to name just a few.

It was… so… much… fun.

I can't believe I could get paid for it. Holy crap.

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

Some Folks Make me Smile

There is just something about this post by Jimbo, that I love. I can't put my finger on it, but I love it.

Go HERE... the US south of NJ from a Joisey native. Cracked me up. I wish I could answer his questions though.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:03 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

OSS and SEC

I’m going to do a little football recap here. I keep track of college ball. It’s the only sport I follow. I don’t do pro and I don’t do any other sport, except maybe in the spring for college Basketball play-offs. Those are fun.

So here you go, my opinions.

Ohio State Sucks. OSS. Their schedule sucks, they haven’t played anyone worth a damn, and they shouldn’t be #1. I’m sorry. If they win the title, I’m going to black out this year as a mistake and forget about it.

I’m glad UF beat Kentucky because I’m really frickin’ pissed that LSU lost to them last week. I wanted to see LSU take the whole thing. I’m all about SEC. The SEC eat their young and it doesn’t matter who is ranked and who they’re playing, when it is SEC vs. SEC, its played like a National Championship and unranked can win just as readily as anyone else.

Did Tennessee even show up to play ‘Bama today? Hello? They got completely spanked. Holy crap.

I will root for any SEC team except South Carolina. I will NEVER EVER root for them as long as Spurrier is their coach. Always a diehard Gator fan, I didn’t root for the Gators when he coached there and I won’t root for SC. I am however, a diehard Gator fan again… although SEC allegiance does trump. If UF isn’t going to with the National Title, I want an SEC team to do it.

Except in the case of Florida teams… I will root for FSU or maybe USF (still trying to figure that one out) to take the title. I will NEVER root for Miami. EVER. In my life. Needless to say, I’m not happy FSU lost to Miami. At all.

Vandy is my favorite team this week.

For the record, TGOO’s favorite team of the week is any team that beats Notre Dame. I mean other than Navy being his fave, which is a given. That’s how I feel about SC.

I would have liked to see Navy beat Wake Forest, but really, it only matters that Navy beats Army. And I’d like to have seen Army beat Georgia Tech, because I really only want to see Army lose one game… and that’s to Navy.

And as much as I’ve become an Illinois fan, I like Ron Zook, I’m a bigger Michigan fan (Hubba graduated from UMich) and they better get their act together. I want them in great shape so they can finally beat the snot out of Ohio State Sucks.

And in the end, if the Illini beat UMich tonight, I sure as hell hope the Illini can keep it up and beat Ohio State Sucks in a few weeks.

I still want LSU to take it all. Good Lord I hope they beat Auburn tonight. May they take out their anger from the Kentucky loss on the Tigers (Auburn). But… once again, it is SEC vs. SEC, so who the hell knows. Tiger to Tiger, Auburn will play like this is the title and has just a good a chance of taking it as they would if they were number 4 and not 18.

So that’s my take on football this week. (Heh, wonder how many people I just pissed off in one post? Football is touchy touchy touchy…)

I wish my Nana was alive. She was a HUGE Ohio State Sucks fan. We'd be going at it every week...

Posted by Boudicca at 07:47 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

October 19, 2007

Fine Tuning the 'Druther Dies'

I heard this from my sister, who heard this from one of her best girlfriends, who heard it from her Mom who heard it from MY Mom.

Get that?

Morrigan and I can’t quit laughing at this.

It would appear that Pensacola was hit by some tornados yesterday. And TGOO was at Wal-Mart picking up a couple items when the severe weather hit.

And so there he was at the check out line, when over the Wal-Mart intercom, a voice told the customers that there was a severe weather alert and they were to move to the center of the store and far away from the windows and doors.

TGOO said he thought, and I swear this is the quote, “Screw that. If I’m going to die, it’s not going to be in Wal-Mart” so he checked out, grabbed his stuff and walked to the door where he was stopped by a Wal-Mart employee who said, “Sir, you need to stay away from the doors” to which he replied, “I’m leaving.”

To which the employee said, ‘Oh, OK’ and TGOO proceeded to walk into the pouring rain out to his Jeep. Said Jeep was now standing in 8 inches of water.

Keep in mind that TGOO doesn’t ‘shop’. He’s a very goal oriented person. This is the man, that if y’all recall, keeps our meals planned for the week we visit, in an EXCEL spreadsheet, complete with corresponding grocery list items for the meals, and one does NOT deviate from the plan. You must ask six months in advance for an evening to cook because… it is planned six months in advance. So he has his list of exactly what he needs at the store, checks it off, does not deviate and leaves.

He was in there for, what, ten minutes? And his Jeep was already in 8 inches of water?

He was wearing his work boots and jeans and said he waded out to the car in spots, having water halfway to his knees at times, and got in his Jeep and left.

I said, “So did you see any tornados?” and he replied, “Hell no. Those were 10 miles away in Downtown. But I wasn’t going to die with all those people in Wal-Mart. I’d rather die in my car.”

Heh.

Then he briefly went on about how Wal-Marts are built with their aluminum roofs and how that was the last place he’d want to be in a tornado. And he couldn't imagine being dead and having someone say, "Oh, he died in Wal-Mart." I can't quit laughing at that. He has a point.

You know… its all about priorities and preferences. I’ve said to people before, I have NO DESIRE to fall 30,000 feet out of the sky, hence my intense dislike of flying. TGOO has just kind of refined his ‘druther not dies’. Wal-Mart made his list.

Makes me laugh…

Morrigan sent me this YOUtube video of the tornado and she received it from a friend who got it from another friend of ours. Language alert. Very very cool though… I’ve never seen a tornado before and I’m content to just watch one on Youtube.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:12 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

October 18, 2007

Halloween Priorities... It's Not About The Snacks Anymore

Halloween certainly changes as the kids get older. I don’t know how it is with the girls, but I imagine over time they don’t want to dress up as any of ‘the Princesses’ anymore.

For the boys? We appear to be finished with Ninjas, dinosaurs, and Knights of the Round Table. I tried to talk Bones into being a Banana, but he refused. He had no intention of going as a piece of fruit, no matter how funny I thought the costume looked.

He’s going as a skull biker. Good Lord. Complete with fake leather jacket, spiky leather snappy things to wear on his wrists, biker spiky gloves and a fake knit cap with a skull head attached. And of course… I had to get the obligatory weapon.

Because it’s all about the weapons.

I have found in this home that Halloween appears to be about the accessories. It is about the weapons.

When Mr. T was the Knight of the Round Table for the past TWO years, it was not so much the costume as it was the cool shield and the sword.

The boys have always wanted cool fake axes or some plastic medieval looking weapon. Its one of the reasons ninjas were so big in this home for so many years. There are nun chucks, funky knives and swords… ninjas are the KING of cool accessories.

So Bones is going as a skull biker for… the cool costume AND the accessory.

Mr. T has moved past being his namesake Knight of the Round Table and moved onto the Grim Reaper. The Grim Reaper gets to carry a plastic scythe. You can’t beat that.

But Ringo? He has moved past scary and into… Good Lord. Pimp. I’m not kidding. For years, he was all about scary and gross and weapons. Now he’s about purple hats with big blue feathers and frickin’ bling.

We’re in search of the perfect ‘Mac Daddy’ jacket. Gah!

I’m horrified. He said he was going as a Pimp or a Rapper. He thinks the clothing is wild and crazy and fun. Phht. I finally told him what a Pimp REALLY was. His eyes were as big as saucers. I even went so far as to tell him that they beat their ‘hos and keep them strung out on crack and heroine. I refuse to let the Pimp thing be glamorized in this house.

He’s set though. He wants the cool pimp clothes.

Today I thought I’d look at the fabric store for a pattern for a pimp jacket. I figured I’d quickly sew him one. (Scary thought, but anything passes during Halloween… its dark.) I think that pimps don’t have their Mamas sew their clothes because I didn’t find one pattern for a ‘pimp’ costume.

Big surprise.

As of now, we have the Skull Biker, the Grim Reaper and… the Pimp. Lovely. Oh yes… and the pimp is carrying an airsoft gun.

Because… you know… its all about the weapons. Good grief.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:38 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

This Week I...

…helped two seventh grade boys finish a project on ‘elephant nose fish’ for their Spanish class. I still have no idea what in the hell these fish have to do with Spanish, but so be it. The paper mache fish they were making was an absolute frickin’ DISASTER, so I stepped in and came up with a redesign using a template, construction paper and… paint.

It’s called, “Cut out the fish and paint them”. The boys did a fantastic job, I feel certain they got an A. I’m glad it’s over.

… helped a fifth grader with a book report that is no frickin’ book report. It was to pick a Caldecott winner book and create a book cover for it, with a picture on the front, illustrated by the student, front flap a rough summary of the book with a cliff hanger enticing you to want to read said book, back flap a biographical sketch of both the real author and the student with picture of student, and back cover three reviews of the book consisting of a review by the student and two ‘other people’ which translates to ‘family’.

Right.

He physically did the entire thing himself, but there were many many questions, asking of guidance, and I know more now about The Polar Express than I did before… even though I’d also seen the movie.

…created a simple machine for my 3rd grader so he can get 20 points extra credit on his next Science test. A water wheel to be exact. That was tonight. (They had an engineer come speak to them this week on simple machines and he had them help him build one. Very cool.)

I looked through the list of ‘simple machines’ we were given as options and there was NOT ONE that a 3rd grader could do. NOT ONE. Construction of the wheel consisted of two corks skewered by a knitting needle, with an empty water bottle in between the corks, one cork sliced for four plastic fins (we used shrinky dink paper), and the other cork attached with a string to pull up a small box when water was poured on the plastic fins on the other side of the bottle.

What part was he supposed to be able to do? Poke the knitting needle through the plastic bottle? My husband did that part with a hot awl. Poke the knitting needle through the corks? I did that and it was a bear. Slice the four slots in the cork with the cutter/Xacto knife? Right. No ER visits for us tonight. Put the super glue on the cork and fins? Bones and super glue is a recipe for disaster. He’d have ended up with his hand stuck to an eyebrow.

So that one was truly a case of “Mom earned student 20 points extra in Science”. The good thing is, he got to work the water wheel when I was finished so he has a better understanding of what one is and how it works.

I called my Mom today ranting about frickin’ school projects and how I don’t remember doing ANY projects when I was in elementary and middle school. NONE.

My Mom was a corporate trainer before she retired and is a plethora of information with regard to people and how they learn, as well as interpersonal communication. (Morrigan inherited her communication abilities. My apple fell from TGOO’s blunt and insensitive tree.)

And after we talked at length, I am wondering now if maybe the schools have changed, adding projects, to bring in kids who have to learn by doing or seeing. It could be.

But I have to tell you… I’m kind of done with school. Third grade is harder this go round… and this is my fourth time.

It's driving me to... eat ice cream!

Posted by Boudicca at 08:27 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 17, 2007

Trying to Live in His World... When I Can

First I want to thank everyone for the comments. Yesterday was a tough day. It’s been a tough week.

And thank you too to all the lurkers who came out. Everyone’s comments mean much to me and for people to take the breath and make a comment when they never have or don’t typically, is not lost on me at all.

It was good to hear, in particular, from adults who have ADHD or ADD and who function with it every day and are successful. I don’t have it. I don’t understand what its like. So it is hard for me to know how one learns to deal or how one assimilates into adulthood with it.

We spent two years fighting with this until I realized that it didn’t matter what I did, it wasn’t going away. Changing his diet, taking him to a pool to swim every night for an hour to burn off extra energy, nothing did it. Of course, because… it is a disorder.

I think the big ‘in my face’ was when I attended a seminar hosted by the school called F.A.T. City. I thought I’d cry as I saw someone try to show me what it was like to be my son, the constant chaos that was around him that we filter out, but that he cannot.

I know there are many people who don’t believe this exists. It’s in my comments as well, bringing out how some people think that this is just an excuse for some kids to not do their homework. Well… it’s never been an excuse not to do homework in this home. I’m on him just as hard as I am the others. Homework is not an option.

But ADHD is more than just a homework issue for children. It’s an inability to focus in class. It’s sitting in class with the teacher speaking, and the child hearing the teacher… but the teacher’s voice doesn’t take any more precedence over the sound of someone’s sneakers tapping the floor, or the feeling of his shirt rubbing his neck funny, or the fact he has noticed that there is a bug crawling on the wall. Things that you and I filter out, day in and day out… he cannot. It is a barrage and his body takes it all in at once…

When we opted for the ‘medicated’ route, his grades went from near failing to A’s and B’s. My child nearly failed Kindergarten and 1st Grade… he was unable to sit in reading group and learn to read. He couldn’t sit still… the constantly moving… as his teacher said to me once, “There are days I have to ask my assistant is it just me or does he seem like he’s on speed today?”

We kept a journal and there was no rhyme or reason that I could ever figure. We have days when he is just busy and there are the other days where it is like, as his 1st grade teacher said, he’s on speed. I will say that… I think that video games, long exposure, makes it worse, and so we have created rules accordingly. No video games before bed, no more than an hour a day (he actually doesn’t play them often), when Ringo’s buddies come to spend the night, he can’t do all night video games with them. Exposure for too long… and he cannot sleep and he cannot turn his brain off.

A few Sundays ago, my husband took the kids’ to Mass. They sat in the pew and Bones was boucing… he just could not sit still. So my husband put his hand on his head, in an affectionate way, to try to get him to sit still, and immediately his leg started bouncing, and when my husband put his other arm on my son’s leg, within minutes he was bouncing his fists on his knees.

There are days he is just… contained energy. Those are the days I try to get him to the pool if I can’t get him outside. Those are the days that are brutal for him in school.

The success stories in my family with those with ADHD are not great. Yes, it’s in my family. We suspect my grandfather had it, my uncle had it, and my uncle’s son who is in and out of jail has it. Self-medicating in some form is not uncommon for those with this disorder. My cousin took the self-medicating to all new heights that is not even bloggable.

It’s real. We live it. And as one person wrote, it’s about teaching him to cope. Yes, that is what it’s all about. He must learn how to cope and live with it, but he can’t learn on his own and at eight years old, he does not feel the difference between when he’s on the Ritalin and when he’s not, yet the teachers notice and his grades reflect the difference. It’s not something you can fake, it’s not psychological. But he swears to me, he feels no different.

I am hoping with time, he can feel the difference, so he can learn to block out all the extra stuff when he needs to. My uncle learned to cope. My cousin did not.

I have him signed up for an art class, but that is not his forte. His forte is… performing. I’m trying to find a little theater for him as an outlet. I found out a few weeks ago, his teacher allows him to perform in front of class every Wednesday. He and a buddy of his write plays and they put them on for the class… every week.

I am so in love with his teacher. She’s young, energetic, she ‘gets it’ and she wants him to do well. This is his outlet and she knows it and so she has set up this special time for him.

And today when I was helping with the school book fair, a Mom came up to me and said, “I love Bones. He warms my heart and he is the sweetest boy.” Evidently, she volunteers in the class on Thursdays and has gotten to know him.

He is so upbeat and happy energy. He wants to please and he loves to laugh and make people laugh. He is my ray of hope and optimism… the loving child who is not afraid to show it. He’s enthusiastic to the point it is infectious. He is expressive to the point I wish I had video to share with you all at times, as you have to see it to understand.

A classic Bonism… the end of year report card came out and Bones declared to us at the table, “I got STRAIGHT A’s and B’s!” He said it with the enthusiasm that one would declare themselves a straight A student. There was just something about it that made me laugh.

My husband looked at him and praised him and then looked at me and said, “And we should all be so thrilled if we could all be so fortunate to go through life being an A and B student!”

And he was right. I sure as hell was never an all A and B student. I have plenty of bad grades in my school records. Blech. To be able to go through life as a ‘Straight A and B’ student and be euphoric about it would be a wonderful thing.

Bones sees the obvious I do not always see. He basks in the warmth of his own reality.

He has much to offer this world. I hope the world is ready…


Posted by Boudicca at 10:50 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 16, 2007

I Have a Room with a View

I’m absolutely exhausted. Its work and life. But really… Good Lord I hate to say it… but it’s Bones.

People who do not live with an ADHD kid… don’t get it. They are absolutely exhausting.

In the case of Bones, as Morrigan puts it, every thought comes out of his mouth. So when he is with me, there is no quiet time, there is no thinking and filtering before speaking. It is a constant onslaught of thought at a million miles a minute, good, bad, happy, sad… it’s a roller coaster of thoughts. And those who know me, and know how I can get into sensory overload, know this can be very trying for me.

He has opened a whole new world to me. Good and Bad. I have a greater appreciation for things… and more of an understanding how a child can be smart, but not excel in school because school just doesn’t teach them the way they need to be taught.

He sees things… abstractly. I’m not an abstract thinker. I’m not an inventor type. I don’t think out of the box much. I am in the here and now, I’m focused and I can only see what is tangible. In the Bible, I would be Doubting Thomas.

He and I are polarized. He is the 0 to my 1.

I am exceedingly focused, to the point that even my 10 year old has commented on it.

Meanwhile, with Bones, I sit to do his homework with him, not FOR him, and he’s all over the road. I’m constantly pulling him back on task. He’ll have to write a sentence of but six words, and I’ll walk away to put a cup in the dishwasher, only to turn around and find him gone. I mean… gone. I’ll look at his paper and he’ll have the first two words and then evidently, he’ll have remembered that he wants to wear his favorite shirt to school tomorrow and I’ll find him rummaging around looking for his shirt.

In the middle of doing homework.

Whereas school work is a breeze for the other two, it is a struggle for him. He doesn’t grasp the concepts the same way and I’ll look on with great puzzlement at his thought process as to me, it is absolutely non-linear. There appears to be no linearity to his thinking, at all.

We only have him medicated for school hours. (Low dosage and we are lucky he has no side effects.) I’ve cited one example of being him for homework. Now imagine being like that in a class of 25 kids, trying to stay on task with noise.

Homework in this home is done in quiet, no TVs, no noise, excellent lighting, no distractions. I even have Bones do his homework away from the rest of the boys.

My other two boys… they never needed help. Sure, they may ask for assistance, but they immediately came home and started their homework. They found a quiet place and did it on their own.

With Bones it is a constant battle. Every step of the way, every piece of homework, is some sort of fight and God forbid should we try to get ahead… because he just can’t see the reason. He is given four pages of spelling on Monday and its due on Thursday. It is a struggle to get him to do one a night, let alone just finishing it all on Monday.

And I have to sit with him or be near him to keep him on task. He just flakes out otherwise.

It is exhausting.

I am set that we will see this through and Bones will be fine and I will be next to him every step of the way. He and I are in this together, as nutso as he makes me. My husband understands… he sees it when he comes home and he knows what a struggle it is for me.

We spoke of it again tonight.

I should not even admit this… this shows how shallow or simple that I can be, but tonight in frustration over some struggles Bones and I had today over some very basic homework, I said to my husband, ‘I just didn’t think you and I would have a child of average intelligence and it is such a struggle for me.’

He replied, “Bou, he is not average… *tapping my son’s school book* this is just not where it is for him. He’s brilliant in other ways. He is off the charts in 3 dimensional thinking. (we had him tested) He will be the kid that may go to an alternative school, will have to travel a different path to find what fits him best.”

And I have to think that there is this big lesson in here for me. I have said often, that Bones was put here for a reason. He’s not ‘supposed’ to be here. He’s my condom kid. And days like today, I wonder if that reason is to open my eyes yet again, to a whole world I had never seen. As frustrating as it is… I will say, it is one helluva ride.

He loves differently than the other two. He emotes. He hugs more, tells you how much he loves you, cares deeply and gets hurt deeply. He will be the one that picks out my nursing home… he’ll be the one that calls every day to see how I’m doing. He sees the world perhaps, from an artistic view. It is a view I do not grasp, but I am slowly learning to love.

I just wish I had a crystal ball… so I could see how it all turns out…

…because there are nights I cry myself to sleep over it. I just want to know, he’ll be OK.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:01 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

October 15, 2007

A Lesson for Me on Golf

You cannot judge people by how they look. You cannot. I have a DEAR friend that is 75 years old. If you saw her in the street, you’d think, ‘Oh sweet older lady.”

And she is. She is sweet, and she is warm, and she is well read, and she is funny, and she is a good Catholic woman, and… I think I said this, she is funny.

She and I went out for tea early last week, to catch up. We’d not seen each other through the summer, and so we try to make it a monthly thing to get together and just go over life. We really enjoy each other’s company.

So she was telling me her husband, who is 80, was struggling to play golf now. His back hurts and his hips aren't working so well. She had told him maybe he should just play 9 holes. He evidently replied rather testily, "Real golfers DO NOT just play 9 holes.”

Point taken.

His physical therapist told my friend, “I’m going to tell your husband just to play 9 holes…” to which my friend replied, no joke, “Well, good luck with that one. I have come to the conclusion that telling a golfer to only golf 9 holes is the equivalent of telling a man to only put it in an inch.”

I nearly spewed my tea across the table when she told me that. Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:57 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 14, 2007

An Educational Weekend

Mr. T and I had a GREAT time. Funny guy. Holy crap.

I learned all about different animals and who would win in animal wars.

Like hippos can take a bull shark.

And a walrus can take a polar bear.

And a lion will take a tiger because the tiger gets confused by the lion’s mane and can’t find his neck to bite it.

Mr. T thinks that the polar bear can take the walrus though if they are far from water. Water is the home field advantage for walruses.

And a bull shark will stand a chance if it stays away from a hippo’s mouth. Or so I’m told.

I also learned that ‘snow caps’ are not a good snack to eat in bed. I’m not a ‘eat in bed’ kind ‘o gal, but it seemed like a fun thing to try last night. I ended up with ‘snow’ on my side of the bed. Mr. T looked at me and said, “Sheesh, and Dad was worried about me!”

I took him out for breakfast this morning and we went bike riding. Morrigan called right before we were going to breakfast. She exclaimed, “For the Love of God, this is the date that just does not end!”

We had a blast.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:27 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I Need a Spinning Class

I was over at Teresa’s and found THIS. Put in my comments what you see… even you lurkers who have never commented feel free. You can fake out the email address. I don’t care about that stuff.

In the extended entry I have my take. Read it after you take a look.

I only frickin’ see her spinning counter clockwise! What the hell? I read all of Teresa’s commenters and they saw it clockwise. And then… they got her to change direction!!

All these freaky little tips about focusing here and there. Bah! NONE OF IT WORKED.

I went BACK to the site and read the comments and this guy says, “Oh cover up 2/3 of her and you can focus on the feet… blah blah blah” Nada, nothing, zippo, the chick still spins counter clockwise.

You know what it reminds me of? Those freaky pictures where you can ‘supposedly’ see something. Those came out about 15 years ago. Remember those? NEVER ONCE did I see any of those hidden pictures. I saw what I saw… the facts, the obvious, nothing else.

People would say, “Unfocus you eyes…” and I’d do it and I’d still see nothing. I hated those damn things and I was happy when the fad went away. I wanted to scream, “The Emperor isn’t wearing any clothes!” the equivalent of, “You all are FAKING IT! There is NO hidden picture!”

Gah!

Oh! And it’s like poetry! I can’t do poetry either! People read it and see all this meaning. Not me. I see what the poet put there and if there is some deeper meaning to it, then I’m completely lost. I don’t read into things. AT all. A spade is a spade unless it actually physically changes shape. My English Prof and I used to go around and around about poetry. God I so hated that section of the class.

And this spinny chick is right up there. She is going counter clockwise ONLY. There is not changing the focus or anything.

SHE ONLY SPINS COUNTER CLOCKWISE.

Dammit.

(No, I’m not really pissed. Just kind of stunned that there is a whole world out there that many of you see that I just… don’t.)

Posted by Boudicca at 09:24 PM | Comments (40) | TrackBack

June Probably Didn't HAVE to Run

I’m the Anti-June Cleaver.

She’s got pearls, the dress, the happy smile, the perfectly coifed hair, dinner on the table by 5:00, the kids are clean, and the house is spotless, all of which she did effortlessly in 2 inch heels.

I’m in a t-shirt, shorts, no shoes, pony tail, scant make up (except for lipstick, OF COURSE), the kids have been playing all day, the house is… kind of picked up and my husband is coming home to, after nearly a week of travel, pizza for dinner. I couldn’t even get that ordered by 5. The boys and I ate at 7. He had reheated when he got home at 8.

Luckily he didn’t marry me for my domestic skillz, of which they appear to be piss poor at best on some days. And luckily he likes pizza, after all, he’s my pizzaman, having worked his way through his under-grad degree at a local Pizzeria. Not until I met him did I know you could order a pizza ‘well done’. I thought that was reserved for meat.

Anyway, June Cleaver and Martha Stewart can kiss my ass. Just being them, fictitious or not, have made women’s lives way too hard. Who in the hell can realistically keep up with that?

So I’ve spent a good portion of tonight trying to sort out my lesser ability to cope lately with the poop that’s been flung upon me. School Treasury stuff gone bad (a problem I found I inherited, but not being an accounting person, didn’t know until someone who IS pointed it out to me… three years after the fact), work crap, the boys and everything that comes with raising kids, and just life. Day in and day out, I take it all and stride and just… do.

But this week the ‘doing’ has had a distinct edge I have not been able to smooth out and tonight it finally occurred to me.

I’m not getting my cardio in like I have to.

I’m an endorphin junky. I MUST get in about 3-5 hours a week or my mind gets all wonky. Running or biking or lifting… it helps clear my head. And when work started up this week, cardio took a back seat.

I can’t do that. I know I can’t, but stupid me, as I’m listening to crap in my head wondering ‘what is wrong’ realizes a bit too late, every time, that it’s the endorphins I’m missing that keep me even keeled.

And quite honestly, it may be why I don’t get all PMS moody like some women. The cardio always works everything out for me. However… if I don’t get the cardio, no matter what time of the month, I’m not so nice.

It can suck to be in my head.

So I have to make it a priority now that work has started again. I have to make it a priority to get my 30-60 minutes a day to either start or end my day. I just have to… like eating, sleeping, or breathing.

Today was one of those days where I flipped through my iPod trying to figure out what music would help settle my soul. Nothing was it… until it hit me around dinner.

Heh.

The Outfield. I’ll start my run to that tomorrow. College, 1987, my senior year, life was so much simpler. I was making nearly straight As, setting the curve in some classes, loving learning, working hard and playing hard… I was madly in love with the man I thought I’d marry (I was wrong, he and I both dodged a big bad bullet with that one… I’d have made a terrible wife for him and his life was not suited for me), my girlfriends were planning their weddings and were all high on love and marriage and… futures. The future was so bright. I had the world by the tail and was going to take it all on. Nobody was going to stand in my way.

It was uncomplicated. Scary. I remember being scared at times, but thrilling.

That’s what it brings back to me…

We listened to this Album all the time. Funny the feelings songs can invoke.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:11 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 13, 2007

Beds, Boys, and Chocolate

As young boys, my children loved to sleep in ‘the big bed’. Our bed is King sized, with a feather bed, wonderfully soft cotton sheets, many pillows, and a comfortable blanket. I’m not sure that was really it, the bed that is, but rather sleeping with Mom and Dad.

To them it was a treat.

To us it was a disaster.

Sleeping with young children is like sleeping with octopi. Arms and legs are all over the place, and since children sleep like the dead, they are oblivious to the fact they have a foot in your back, a hand in your face, and a leg crushing your ribs.

The absolute worst was when some diapered toddler made their way into ‘the big bed’ only to spoon up against me and then at 4AM, when the diaper had held all it could hold, or perhaps there was some small odd opening either in the top of the diaper or in a leg, where their little ‘hose’ would be pointing, and I’d awaken to this sudden warmth upon my back as I got peed upon.

Oh some memories are wonderful to be… just memories.

Needless to say, when the little people were in the bed, there was not much sleeping done by dear old Mom and Dad.

I think this whole occasional merging in the middle of the night into the big bed had its last go of it when my eldest was about seven. The boys were seven, five and three and all shared one room, so it was obvious when one was missing. Two parents, sleeping soundly, suddenly found a three and five year old sleep wrestling, between them. The parents too tired, just lay there, hoping it would go away. At some point in time, the seven year old realized he was alone in the bedroom and made his way to the big bed too, realizing there was no more room, he slept at the foot of the bed.

So get the picture, Mom, three year old, five year old, Dad, sleeping like sardines, and a seven year old sleeping perpendicular to everyone at the foot of the bed.

It was insane. Finally my husband had had it and said, “That’s it! Everyone back in their OWN beds” to which we heard in the dark, our seven year old yell in exasperation, “That’s NOT fair! I JUST got here!”

That pretty much ended it. Our patience meter had been pegged. Its not to say that we still haven’t had a straggler make his way to the big bed ever again, but I can’t remember the last time. Boys sleep in their own beds.

The exception was a year ago when my husband was out of town and the two younger boys asked to sleep with me in the big bed while their father was gone. The eldest likes to sleep too much now, and realizes that sleeping with his brothers is a real pain in the neck.

So that’s the history.

This weekend, my husband is out of town on business. Tonight my eldest is sleeping at a friend’s home and my youngest is at a birthday slumber party. That left just me and Mr. T. I was afraid he was going to be really really upset about it, the whole “This isn’t fair! Why do THEY get to sleep over! I NEVER do anything!” because, you know, my children are deprived, I’m a mean Mom, and I try to make sure life is as inequitable as possible.

Gah. I hate the crap I hear sometimes.

Upon realizing that Mr. T was going to be home alone, Ringo got worried for him. I went to tuck him in the other night and as I left the room, I heard a voice in the dark say, “Mom, can you invite Adam for a sleepover with Mr. T? They can use my room if they want…”

There was something in that I found so touching. My 12 year old is like all his age… very much into self absorption, but he was genuinely worried for his brother. I liked that… maybe this ‘He is your brother! Love him! Look out for each other!” is taking.

Anyway, I asked to have Adam come over to play and stay the night and he couldn’t as he was going out of town.

We were in the car when I finally broke the news to Mr. T, that it would be just him and me tonight. Up until this time, he had no idea I’d been planning on Adam spending the night nor that his older brother would be gone. His reply was, “Wait. Just you… and me? I get you all to myself?”

Me: *blink* Ummm, yeah, you do.

Mr. T: Are you kidding? I don’t have to share you?

Me: Nope. It’s just the two of us dude.

Mr. T: Can we go to my favorite restaurant?

Me: Sure.

Mr. T: And… rent a movie?

Me: Absolutely…

Mr. T: and… get ice cream?

Me: Yup.

And so his brothers got in the car and he said to them with a big grin, “I am staying home alone with Mom tomorrow night. Just me. We’re going to the Fishbar for dinner and we’re going to get a movie and then ice cream.”

The other two boys looked at each other and said, “Wow. That sounds like fun.”

Mr. T: Hey, Mom, since Dad’s not home, can I sleep on his side of the bed?

Me: Sure. I think that will work.

Mr. T: And watch the movie in the big bed?

Me: Yup, that too.

He got this smug grin on his face and the other two looked at each other and then sat back looking at me and I could read it on their faces, ‘envy’.

Now everyone gets a special night.

My husband called this evening to see how things were going. Mr. T spoke to him first. When it was my turn I said, “Hey, we’re going to the big bed to eat snacks and watch Fantastic 4.”

My husband replied, “Snacks. You’re going to eat SNACKS in our bed? He’s going to eat snacks on MY side of the bed?”

I got quiet, and said, “Well, yeah.” I figured when Mr. T bought his Bunch a Crunch that if he spilled some in the bed, I’d just wash the sheets before my husband got home. Heh.

Right before I turned the movie on, I looked at Mr. T and said, “You didn’t tell your Dad we got snacks for the movie.”

He got wide eyed and said, “NO WAY!”, as if to tell his Dad that would be so stupid.

I said, “Yeah, well… phhht, I did.”

He looked at me as if I had an IQ of about 2 and shook his head.

Hey, I’ll wash the sheets if there’s chocolate in them. No biggy…, then again, the thought of my husband finding chocolate between his toes, does make me laugh. Heh heh heh…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:57 PM | Comments (11)

Is this like the Golden Ticket?

I stole this from T1G who got it from CTG. I took it first and got an Osprey. Taking it again... I received a Snow Leopard. Y'all can decide if it's correct...

There is some of this I don't agree with. I am not shy... more introverted in crowds. I am not soft spoken... if you piss me off or if I have my mind set to something... both of which happens fairly frequently. Interesting.

Oh on a side note, my eldest has read this series and enjoyed it. We are waiting for the movie in December, he for he liked the book and me because... well... it has Daniel Craig and he is just a hottie. Yum.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:42 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 12, 2007

Failing the Blame Game

I’ve blogged on before my one girly addiction… lipstick. I lay blame firmly upon my mother, who always reminded me to wear my lipstick as I was leaving the house. Every face needs a bit of color.

And I have followed her advice, nearly religiously, exceptions here or there, to the point that I now have a lipstick problem.

Those clear baggies you have to use for airport security for lipstick and liquids? I have two. They are pretty full of lipstick, lip liners, and lip gloss. I appear to be all about the lips. Actually, its lips and eyes. I always wear eye liner and lip-something. I just don’t carry spare eye liner with me. That’s a once a day application, first thing in the morning.

Anyway, my purse is full of mostly lip-stuff.

So imagine my dismay when I read today that some lipsticks contain lead! NO! I found a list on-line eventually, and fortuitously found that I appear not to be getting lead poisoning.

Wow. I was scared at first.

I looked at the list of symptoms of lead poisoning and I so had some of them:

• Irritability
• Aggressive behavior
• Difficulty sleeping
• Headaches
• Loss of previous developmental skills (in young children)

I’m just a walking case of lead poisoning! And it could be all that daggum lipstick! And then… to my dismay, I realized upon looking at the offending leaded lipstick list… my lipsticks are not the offending brands and there were logical explanations to all of it.

• Irritability - Yes. I am. Many times. Stress does that.

• Aggressive behavior - Yes. Always. That is why this is “Boudicca’s Voice” and not “Larry the Lounge Lizard’s Voice”. As my sister has said to me on more than one occasion, ‘There is NOTHING passive aggressive about you. You’re just… aggressive.”

• Difficulty sleeping - Yes, I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in about… mmm… 13 years, around the time I got pregnant with my first child.

• Loss of previous developmental skills (in young children)- well, I’m not a young child, but thought this perhaps could be attributing cause to the fact that I can’t remember anything if I don’t write it down and the fact I can never find my damn asexual mom-mobile in the mall parking lot.

• Headaches - Always. Migraines since I was 9.

Sheesh.

And here I thought I had something easy to blame my life on. Life on the edge due to lipstick.

Instead its just... me. Dammit.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:48 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Passing 7th Grade... AGAIN

Some people are content to have fish tanks with cool fish.

Not here. Oh no.

We have to make Elephant Nose Fish from the Amazon out of paper mache.

Stupid school projects.

It is NOT going well.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:45 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 11, 2007

Perspective

It’s been a tough go of it lately… this last couple days. Everything and nothing. I’ve been a woman on the edge… for sure.

Times like this I’d love to be able to say, ‘It’s PMS!’ and blame it on hormones gone wonky. But its not. Its just frickin’ life and too much and too little and sensory overload and… just life.

I got a call this morning asking me to take food tonight to a family in the school. One of the Dads at school had something like an aneurysm about 10 days ago. He actually has something called arteriovenous malformation or AVM. It’s basically a malformation of the vascular system in the brain. It can rupture, which his did. Obviously its pretty serious. And he’s early 40s.

The treatment they used on him was phenomenal. They snaked this tube up through him like an angiogram, up through the superior vena cava, through the major arteries, ALL THE WAY UP to his brain, and then they kind of glued everything to fix it.

And that would be… the layman’s version of what they did. I think you get the drift though. Essentially he never had to have brain surgery. They never cracked his skull.

He came home today and I got the call this morning, asking me to take a meal. As crazy insane as my day was, I was not going to say no. So I cooked up a baked ziti for them, pulled together a salad, bought a big loaf of Italian bread, and took it to them this evening for dinner.

She is not doing well. I know, first impulse may be, ‘Bou, WTF do you expect? Her husband almost died, he’s a mess, they have two kids, and this sucks!’

No, that is true. Completely. And I knew that 'inside' she would be a mess. Who would not be? But, we all put on a good face. It is what it is. “How are you doing?” “Oh, well, it’ll all work out. It’s fine.”

No, she is past that. She is overwhelmed and scared and… everything. And it shows. You can hear it when you talk to her on the phone and see it when you are with her. It is visible… through every facial expression, every gesture and… you can see it in her eyes. She is running ragged and scared.

And I would be too.

I didn’t want to intrude tonight as he just came home. I got to the door and handed her the salad and bread, handing her son, who is a friend of my eldest’s, the big pan of ziti. She asked me in and I declined… she didn’t need visitors, I felt she was being polite and they needed to eat and just 'be'. She hugged me and she was trying not to cry.

And as I walked back to my car, I thought, “I do not have stress. THAT is stress…”

It’s all about keeping it all in perspective.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:40 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 10, 2007

Chicken Lady

I was sifting through old email and I found this from TGOO. I remember how much it made me laugh.

I love Terry Bradshaw. Just his laughing will make me laugh. I don't know what it is about him, but when he laughs it seems to fill his soul. And this chicken lady... I'd love to have a cup of coffee with her. She cracks me up. What a joy she has about her...

Go HERE. CPR, Chickens, Terry Bradshaw.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:25 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Common Boy

Too much stress to blog.

Obviously work started again.

I’m in absolute overload. They drain me and what is left the kids zap away.

I will say that as I walked through the school today during pick up, I accidentally found myself amongst a group of 7th grade boys.

Good Lord. I was awash in a sea of Axe. I thought I’d hurl.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:43 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

October 08, 2007

Trying to be a Blue Girl

I started back to work last Thursday. I have a job until the end of the year and then its touch and go again. It is what it is.

“Mama, don’t let your babies grow to work in aerospaaaaaace…”

Doesn’t quite have the same catchy phrasing as Cowboys.

Cowboy sounds romantic.

Aerospace? Not so much.

Anyway, it’s a sucky gig right now, but I’m not complaining because it’s a damn job and they pay me a good wage. I told my Mom, ‘I’m a whore. Whores can’t like all the tricks they turn. They just suck it up and do it. I just do it sitting on my ass, not lying on my back.”

The sucky gig is that I’m writing a training manual for someone to learn how to do my job… and for them to do it. I’m basically teaching someone how to do what I do so I will then… no longer do it!

But it’s all cool. It happens. It’s the nature of the beast and they actually have me working side by side with an engineer who was my mentor back when I got my first job nearly 20 years ago at CompanyX. We’ve always been good friends and she’s a riot. We’re both spazz and… we do seem to provide the office entertainment.

It’s a bonus to working with us. We don’t charge for the entertainment. It's part of our package.

And keep in mind, she and I have been working with these guys for a LONG TIME, anywhere from 15 to 20 years, between where we work now and when we all worked at CompanyX. None of us worry about the whole sexist crap. In our little office, just about anything is up for a joke.

So today we had a question on the section of the manual we’re writing. The folks who are about to take this on as their job have to do one thing different than we do, and we needed to make sure we understood the process.

We dragged our Tech Lead, a guy I’ve worked with for nearly 20 years as well and who has been a dear friend, to our workspace, sat him down and said, “Explain this to us, please.”

And he did. He went on and on and was very methodical.

And I didn’t get it. At all.

I have no idea why I did the following… but looking back, it set the punch line in motion. He finished speaking, I looked at him blankly and I turned to my girlfriend engineer and pretending he was not even there I said to her, “Did you get any of that? Because I’m lost. Maybe you can explain it to me. Kind of like an interpreter.”

She had never quit looking at him as I spoke and finally she said without missing a beat, still looking at him, “Nope. I don’t get it either. I think we need to take off our pink hearing aids and put on our blue hearing aids. I think the problem is… we’re listening like girls. We need to be listening like a boy.”

Holy crap. I busted out laughing; a couple of the guys in the room stood up out of their cubes and stared as they shook their heads.

I so know I’m going to quote her. Heh. I can feel it.

And we still don’t get the concept, but she and I figured we’d muddle through it and get it right and then have him review it. Maybe some blue light will click in our heads and it will all suddenly become clear…

You know, the blue light special. Heh.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:32 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 07, 2007

Angels and Fools

Ringo’s best buddy has an older brother I’ll call… Eli.

Eli turned 16 last week.

Eli’s folks bought him a new car.

They bought him a Mustang GT that has been worked up to 400HP with rumors it could be running at 450HP.

I don’t think I’m the only person that thinks his parents are stupid insane.

We have a 16 year old boy, new driver, being handed keys to 400-450HP under the hood.

I informed MY boy that he will NOT be riding with THAT boy. Those are the rules. Not only is he not allowed to ride with new drivers, he definitely can’t ride with new drivers with Mustangs that evidently can race with a Cobra.

No.

I decided I should say something to the Mom. My husband has had the thought I should stay out of it. I decided that she needed to hear from an outsider that I think she’s acting like a pinhead giving that much motor power to a 16 year old boy.

I know the boy. Good kid. But this is a mistake. He and his brother are already talking about whether Eli’s new car is faster than my husband’s car, which is currently running at 500HP on the block. (1994 Twin Turbo Supra, worked up. I posted on his wreck HERE, caused by a careless jerk going over 85MPH on I-95 in the rain at 1AM. Scared the crap out of all of us. We rebuilt.)

So I did. Today when I saw her she told me that Eli got his car. I acted surprised. She said, “Yeah, we got him a Mustang GT”.

Me: Wow. That’s a pretty fast car for a 16 year old boy.

The Mom: *blink*

Me: Ringo told me he was getting one, but I wasn’t sure. He said it’s like 400 HP.

The Mom: I don’t know. I just know its 8 cylinder.

At that point I took a deep breath and plunged forward.

Me: I had a couple friends in high school, who’s Dad was a Florida Highway Patrolman. He worked lots of car wrecks and insisted when they learned to drive that they only drive VW Bugs. He said he thought the speed potential was dangerous for teenage boys.

The Mom: I saw a VW Bug in a wreck today. Wow, what a mess.

Me, thinking… ‘you are so stupid, you make me nuts’: Yeah, I think good protection in a car is good too. Hey, take care. I have to go.

And I walked away.

I said my peace. I’ll not say another word. My son can’t ride with her son. Those are the rules.

Good Lord. I wonder what she’ll think when she sees her car insurance bill… teenage boy, 8 cylinder Mustang GT. Holy crap.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:36 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

October 06, 2007

Smell of Dead Rodent Would Be Better

Having a 12 year old is a lot like having a 2 year old, I think. Lots of energy. The difference is… 2 year olds still smell like baby soap and 12 year olds smell like… Axe.

Good Lord. I don’t know if I can live here anymore.

(I posted on the beginning of this offensive journey of the senses HERE.)

He takes a shower in the morning and I can’t walk in the bathroom for an hour. Starting the other morning, the fumes were so strong they knocked me back when he entered the kitchen.

Worse yet, my asexual Mom-mobile. It smells like Axe. It’s horrible. I ride in the van with him to school and I want to put the windows down. Then when he gets out, the smell stays.

Holy crap.

He and I have to talk. My biggest concern is that one morning, my throat will just close off, refusing to allow my lungs to take in any more air, in response to the smell of Axe, my body preferring to shut down and die, than have to take in one more lungful of that foul odor.

Or so I thought it was body soap.

My husband informed me last night that when he had to make a late night run to Publix the other night, Ringo wanted to go. My husband thought he wanted to go, just to keep him company. I figured he wanted to get away from his brothers.

We were both wrong.

My son quickly left my husband and told him he’d meet up. My husband eventually found him in the men’s section, spraying all the different Axe in the air and smelling it. My husband said he felt so bad for the restocking guy who was coming down the aisle as they left. That guy had to go home with a migraine. My son had checked just about every scent.

So on his bedside table is Axe Ice.

It's not bad enough he literally bathes with the crap, now he sprays it on too.

Just shoot me. Or cut off my nose. Gah!

It is time we have the discussion of… Less is More.

None is better…

Seriously, if he wants that sweet young thing I suspect he has a crush on, to want to be around him, he's got to lose the Axe. Gah.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:57 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

October 05, 2007

Veteran Not Forgotten

I was sent THIS in an email today. It's a Youtube video, about 9 minutes long. You may start out in not wanting to watch it all... but you won't be able to help yourself.

I promise you it is worth it. Take a few tissues.

No, its not sad in a 'I feel so awful for those people!' way. It's sad in a touching way, a way that opens your eyes to the wonderfulness that is small town USA, people who don't forget, teenagers who understand what our military does now and has done in the past.

And... it shows that their young people are grounded and that the community has passed the baton of appreciation and thoughtfulness to the next generation... and they are continuing to run with it.

Excellent video. It gives me hope.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:15 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

October 04, 2007

The Pimping Godfather

My eldest has a cotillion class again this fall. He asked to attend. He’s not stupid. At the school dances, when he dances with the girls there is a ‘Save Room For Jesus’ rule. The have to dance at an arms width apart.

At cotillion, as he put it, “Jesus is skinnier”.

My husband took him shopping as I refuse. My son is the worst about picking out clothes and it annoys the crap out of me. We finally decided it was in everyone’s best interest if I don’t participate. If I don’t go, he’ll live and I won’t have a stroke.

Besides, as I've said, "I'm the anti-fashionista". My husband is all the fashion. It is best they go together.

So they bought him a new sports coat, my son picking black and a shirt, my son picking black with white stripes, and a tie, my son picking gray, and gray pants and black shoes.

He got dressed for the first night of cotillion and I whispered to my husband, “Good Lord, he looks like the frickin’ Godfather. He looks like he’s in the mob.”

Oh, he looked great. He has good taste. But the kid had mini-mafia written all over him, which is not helped by the fact he is half his father, who is 100% Italian… well with a smattering of Sicilian. Dark hair, olive skin, dark eyes, long eyelashes, broad shoulders, small waist… I’ve said since he started to walk that he looks like he should be playing stick ball in the streets of Italy.

But the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

Remember when we went to NYC for Thanksgiving and we got lost in the subway and we ended up in Bedford-Stuyvesant?

But at the time we didn’t know we were traveling through Bed-Stuy, but my husband, having grown up in NJ and knowing something about NYC, knew we were not in a good area. The key may have been when most everyone around us was wearing grills and sporting Bling.

I was never afraid. Please, it was the day before Thanksgiving and everyone just wanted to get home. It was not some scary lonely 2AM excursion, but instead during the time when most were coming home from work… or wherever.

But later, when we were back home and he was at work, he was telling his business partner, who is from Brooklyn, and some other buddies and they said to him, “Nobody was going to mess with you. You look like you’re with the mafia.”

My husband, when he was younger, looked like Al Pacino from the Godfather. Now, 10-20 years older, he looks like a cross between… mmmm… Andy Garcia and George Clooney, or so some of his clients have told him. He is lean like Garcia with the coloring, but has more like George Clooney eyes, and my husband is probably 50% gray, which gives him more of a distinguishing air. He’s still very trim, only weighing 10 pounds more than when he graduated from high school and is broad shouldered…. Like father like son.

He looks like he should be the father of some kid playing stickball in the streets of Italy.

So flash forward to a couple weeks ago. My eldest, stick ball boy, had to take a picture in to school for something. We were flipping through pictures when I found a picture of the five of us on a ferry going to the Statue of Liberty. He took it from me and said, “Hey! We look good!”

And I looked at it again and said, “You look like the mafia! Look at you with your black wool overcoat, and your snappy clothes. You look like the God fatha!”

We laughed and he said, “Yeah, I forgot to tell you, that’s why they say nobody messed with us on the subway. Everyone thought I was connected and was trying to figure out who I was.”

I still laugh.

Oh and when I picked my son up from cotillion the other night? He got in the car grinning and said, "Someone said I looked like a pimp, but most everyone was calling me, 'The Godfather'". He thought that was cool.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:22 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Too Much Swish for Me

The update on the city of West Palm Beach and their poopy drinking water?

No drinking the water indefinitely. Definitely through Saturday. At some point, they may lift the bans in small areas. Other areas… who knows?

They have no idea where the contamination is coming from. Fourteen people are confirmed sick. They’re getting county and state assistance now.

I’m so daggum glad I’m on well water.

My husband said today, “We’re not living in a 3rd World Country here. I can’t believe this mess.” Meanwhile, the bottled water companies are turning a huge profit, and people are still… paying for water! Who cares that you can’t drink it? That’s just… a minor detail.

I said to him, “So… what do you think the dentists in West Palm Beach are doing on a boil water alert?”

He stood there for a minute, shrugged his shoulders and said, ‘I don’t want to know.’

I could hear the dentists saying now, ‘Swish, but don’t swallow!’

Blech.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:01 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

October 03, 2007

And Babies Make Four

And for those who know of Helen...

... they were born today. She has a post HERE and at the end of the 'story of the Lemonheads' link are pictures of her precious babies.

May their family contine to be so blessed and if all babies were born into this world with as much love and adoration as 'Nick and Nora' there would be much less strife in this world. Of that I feel certain.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Dream Jobs

From Contagion's I got this quiz. I decided what the hell. I knew for sure I'd not get the prospector. I mean... I like to camp, but I've had people tell me that what I do is just "sleep outside". There's not a lot of roughing it when I camp. I want bathrooms nearby, no defecating in the woods. NO. I take a cooler full of food and we eat like we do at home. There's not roughing it with nuts and berries, catch your own meal like rabbit, or sitting around a campfire eating pork and beans. NO. And... I try not to sleep directly on the ground. I did that last time, trying to cut down on crap we take and that's just... not happening again. I'm 42. I need an airmattress under me even if its 2 inches thick. Something. Anything. I always thought I was pretty well padded, but evidently not when pressed against the ground for 8 hours. Blech.

Anyway, so I was curious. I'm definitely not a princess type either. I'm the anti-fashionista and you can dress me up and take me out, I own more formals and long white gloves than most, but day to day? I'm jeans and tshirts and far from the damsel in distress.

Breakdancing machine? NO. I hate dancing. I don't do it and I'm at the age now where I can also say, "And you can't make me."

Drug Lord? Please. I've never even smoked a cigarette.

Mafia Boss.... eh, I wear black, but... that doesn't fit either, although I'm married to man who looks like one and a son that some of the boys have started to call The Godfather. Eh, but that's a whole other post waiting to be written.

So what I got, I guess seems appropriate considering my martial arts training, while limited (I didn't test for black belt), the fact I wear mostly black and... I guess my nasty take no prisoners temper came into play too. I guess... considering none of the other jobs fit AT ALL.

(BTW, its kind of a longish quiz, so be ready. It's one page, but it's not just the typical 4 question quiz.)

Oh and quite frankly, I'd rather be a Ninja assasin than be in aerospace. I start back to work tomorrow. I so wish I'd picked something else to go into. I wish I'd been a linguist.

You scored as Ninja Assassin, You are MADE to be a ninja!! Quit your job immediately!! You are ready to kill people for money...they'll never even know you're there. Stay low so as not to be detected!!

Ninja Assassin

70%

Mafia Boss

63%

Pirate Captain

53%

Drug Lord

50%

Cowboy Outlaw

48%

An Old Prospector

45%

Break-dancing Machine

38%

Pretty Princess

35%

What should you be doing for a living?!
created with QuizFarm.com
Posted by Boudicca at 06:57 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

You Are What You Drink?

If you recall, I posted a few months ago, how in the height of the drought, the Mayor of West Palm Beach, decided to have the water folks dump recycled treated waste water into the water the well fields.

I thought there was a big ‘ick’ factor to that. I know, we went through this, it is all mental. But… ick. I thought it was even ‘ickier’ that they weren’t honest about it until mid July.

But, I’ll have you know, that the last six days (and just released, for another 72 hours), the City of West Palm Beach has been on a boil water alert due too… fecal something or other. Some sort of fecal contamination. I didn’t bother with the second word because… fecal and drinking water raises that ‘ick’ factor to the nth degree.

Good Lord. Ick.

These two incidents are not related, but it just confirms to me that we all made the right choice when our neighborhood voted on whether or not to stick with well water or to go to city water.

This household voted no. First, I have a kick ass water system. Second, I have a kick ass water system guy who I trust and really like. Third, the city of WPB water has a funky smell and has always tasted like dirt.

That third one was big. You cannot drink their water in the restaurants. You have to ask for bottled water. It just tastes… TOO damn nasty to drink.

And now they are on boil water alert, and this is not the first time, and it’s not even due to a hurricane.

They just can’t get their water act together.

I don’t get it. How can a huge city like NYC bring decent water to their citizens and a medium sized city like West Palm continually… sucks at it. I mean, their water is putrid and that was before the boil water. And to keep it closer, in case someone says, “OH, but northern water is different than city water”, Miami, Tampa, Jacksonville… they all have drinkable water and not near the issues they have in West Palm.

I’m so glad we voted no. Blech. Just say no to poopy water

Posted by Boudicca at 06:45 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

October 02, 2007

Hamsters... Part IV

My younger two boys are in Cub Scouts and this is our big popcorn season. I had to take the boys out on Sunday, my husband’s turn being the day before. As I left the house I said to my eldest, “Check the hamster’s cage and change her water and make sure she has fresh food…”

I was in the asexual Mom-mobile when I got a call from my husband, “The hamster is dead.”

Me: What?

Him: The hamster is dead.

Me: Great. Like I’m going to want to frickin’ deal with this today. How is Ringo?

Him: Fine. She was just laying there, no biggy. He said she was fine yesterday.

Me: Crap. Well, I’m sure as hell not going to mention it now. We’re about to sell popcorn and we need to be happy and all that crap. Get a box and stash her in it. They’ll want to see.

I could hear the *blink* on the other end.

Me: Bye.

This one lasted us a long time… I think she was nearly 2 years old. Let’s see, the fair Fiona lasted 11 months, and if you recall I frickin’ PAID to have it euthanized as I thought it had uterine cancer. Blech, that was nasty and I was right. I could have saved the 38 bucks as the guys at work said they’d have come to my house wearing a white doctor’s coat and used a shovel, saving me the cash. I think the doctor’s visit was a better route ensuring the boys don’t end up in family therapy one day, calling me saying, “They say its all your fault, MOM!”

Let’s see, Nibbles lasted 9 months, dying of breast cancer. That was a no brainer. She looked like she had it… they were HUGE. Definitely tumorous looking.

And now Cuddles is gone and with Mr. T, there was much weeping and crying and gnashing of teeth upon learning about the death of his pet.

They had a small viewing and then his Dad got a shovel and they had some sort of Christian burial on the back side yard, which is now home to three hamster bodies in an assortment of boxes, I think mainly shoe.

Today it was determined that we could buy a new hamster. I’m OK with hamsters. I was thinking the other day, I don’t want a pet that’s still going to be here when the kids leave. And we tried the dog thing and that was a disaster. I was up at 5AM walking it, always worried I was gone too much and I do typically have a job, and the dog hated the boys and only loved me and turned freaky MEAN when ANYONE got in my space and then he peed on the boys' clean laundry. No dogs and definitely not another psycho terrier.

Dogs are wonderful, but they are work and honestly, I can hardly handle the three crazy kids. I can’t have one more heart beat depending on me… for anything… as much as my kids want one. I know my limitations and… a dog is it.

So we pull up to the pet store and I hear Bones say, ‘Let’s get a snake.’

Me: No snake.

Ringo: A cat.

Me: A cat? YOU are allergic to cats.

Ringo: Only when I touch them and then rub my eyes.

Me: No cat.

Ringo: All cats are not like Espy (Morrigan’s nasty ass cat). Most cats are nice…

Me: No cat.

We walked in the store and saw the big tank full of hamsters. I wanted a girl hamster as I heard the boy hamsters get a very musky scent. Damn if we aren’t playing Russian Roulette with this girl hamster thing. One day we’ll buy one that is knocked up and I’ll end up with LOTS of hamsters and I’ll be saying, “We should have just gotten a damn dog…”

Bones said, "Can we get a ferret instead?"

Me: No.

Ringo: A parakeet (as he had his hands in the parakeet cage 'herding them')

Me: NO. I can't stand birds. They are dirty. Their poop is nasty.

Bones: A hedgehog?

Me: NO!!!!

Finally, Bones looked in the tank and pointed to a small black hamster and said, “Mom… that one has breast cancer, just like Nibbles did. LOOK!” and he pointed to the backside of the hamster and I had to say, ‘Dude, that’s a boy hamster."

Bones: NO! Look! It has those big lumps like Nibbles did!

Me: Umm, no. That’s a boy hamster. Those are its… balls.

Bones: Oh. OH!

Yeah. Boy hamsters are ball freaks of nature.

We immediately picked a sweet little fuzzy light brown and white one. She curled up in our hands.

And so we have our newest addition. There was much argument about the name. Bones wanted to name her Fuzzy. Mr. T and Ringo wanted to call her Frappacino. Then Bones and Mr. T wanted to call her Puddles as half way home from the pet store I said, “Gah! My van smells like hamster! Did she pee?!”

And they settled on Nippers. Pix to follow... eventually.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:05 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Channeling a Bit of Snoopy

Today’s run… sucked. My chest still hurts to run. I hate that. I hate that. There could be worse, oh trust me, I’m aware, but I’m ready to put this whole biopsy thing behind me and it is making me a bit nuts.

I’m not a big busted woman and I thought my cardio would be no biggy, but no matter how tight I wrap, man I frickin’ hurt. A reader of mine sent me THIS link, which definitely had me laugh, and then made me think, “Wow, I wonder how much I would have to run to look like that?” Ummm, that would be referring to the torso and waist… not the ‘appendages’. Granted, I’m sure it’s not a real woman, but simulated… I mean who in the heck would have the guts to let themselves go bare chested so someone could demonstrate bounce? Even the C cup had bounceage, although I still don’t believe that 8 inch crap I read.

(Just skip the intro. And I shouldn't admit this, but I had to see the A through the FF+G. Wow.)

Running always hurts. I don’t think I’ve ever gone out, whether on pavement, treadmill or elliptical that it hasn’t sucked at some point, typically at the beginning. Remember the Peanuts cartoon and how Snoopy used to run and all his body parts would complain?

That was me today.

Actually it’s me a lot until I work out the kinks. My lungs hurt, my hamstrings ache, my quads are tight, whine whine whine, my entire body whines the first 10-15 minutes and if it’s still whining by then, I start having to play games.

I’m just going to run two miles and then I’ll stop. I hit two miles and think, I’ll just go for 20 minutes and then I’ll stop. And on and on it goes until I hit 30 minutes or 3 miles… preferably 30 minutes.

Add the new ache of today though, since the biopsy? All the games weren’t working. The music did nothing. I hit 2.5 miles and thought, “I hate this. Why am I doing this? I am never going to look 18 again. I am not in the military. I don’t have to do this. I don’t have some DI screaming at me. Why am I doing this?”

So I quit. I figured, ‘Screw it. I’m done. This hurts too much.”

When I was in the shower suddenly a thought popped into my head, “Cardio. You do it for your heart.” Bing! Bing! Bing!

It will be enough to get me out there again, but damn if I don’t hate it… most days.

Posted by Boudicca at 06:52 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

October 01, 2007

"Honey, If you need me, I'll be reading at the Grocery Store"

I was in town for a couple hours tonight, so Son#4’s Mom asked to meet me for dinner. I said, “Sure, where do you want to go?” and she replied… no kidding… “The new Greenwise Publix.”

Greenwise is the organic section of our grocery store chain, the Publix label for organic foods. We have an entire Greenwise store now that just opened up across the street from Whole Paycheck Foods. It’s HUGE.

And she wanted to go there for dinner? Ummm… OK.

I said, ‘Hey, I’m game. What in the heck are we going to eat?”

“Oh they have a whole bunch of grab and go food and they have a place upstairs that you can sit and eat,” she replied.

Interesting.

I was waiting to pick up Bones from Cub Scouts today and I was talking to one of the Moms. I said, “Heh, I’m going to Greenwise for dinner tonight…”

And you know what she said?

“Good luck finding a parking spot…”

NO kidding.

So I called my friend as I was leaving the house and said, kind of laughing, “Hey, I hear we may have a ‘tough time’ finding a parking spot.”

And she replied, completely serious, “OH no. It’s ugly weather. I’m sure we’ll be fine.”

Folks, we’re talking about eating at a frickin’ GROCERY store and I’m to be thankful the weather is el crappola so we can find a parking spot? I wasn’t even sure what to say. It felt…surreal.

I met her there and sure enough, the place was busy, but when we walked in she said, “Oh, thankfully it is not too bad today. We can move…”

I think I did a *blink*.

She said, “Hey, lets walk around so you can see it!” and at that… I took a tour of… a Grocery store.

And holy crap. It was amazing.

The bakery, the deli, the… dessert section where this sweet little Cuban lady, who’d I would have loved to be my grandmother, where I picked out this little chocolate torte for dessert and she said, “Ooooooh, you like this. It will make you relaxed and happy!”

Ooooooh, I liked very much. And I felt this urge to hug her as I laughed. She was so lovely. Chocolate, which is kind of on my do not eat list… still makes me so very happy. I think it’s like valium, but without the script. Or I imagine it must be, as I’ve never had valium, but its just… GOOD.

I just can’t explain it. There was food ‘to go’ all over… good food, not junk food. And at one point I saw these little chicken teriyaki dumplings and I said to my friend, “OH! Those look good!” and she said, “Yeah… but you probably need to heat them up.

Good point.

After we paid, we went to walk upstairs and there was a young man there holding a bin of plastic forks (wrapped in plastic). He handed us one and then told us there was more upstairs.

Upstairs? Two tops and four tops all over. Flowers on each table. A microwave so next time I’ll get the little dumplings, although the California Roll with brown rice was very good.

When we walked upstairs she said, “Hey, you want to sit in one of those cozy chairs?”

Scattered throughout were little upholstered stuffed chairs with these round table tops that you could put down, like a TV tray, and eat. (I’m sure they’ll be grungy in no time.) I looked to where she was pointing and said, “There’s a man sitting there reading…” so we opted for a two top.

But Good Grief. He was sitting there reading, drinking coffee like it was… Barnes and Nobles. Or Starbucks! “Hey, hon, what’s the plan for tonight?” “Well, babe, I thought I’d go to Publix and read…”

Works for me.

My friend says she’s grabbed one of their breakfast muffins and a coffee from their coffee station and just gone upstairs to eat. That works for me too!

There were ENTIRE families there eating dinner.

I know I’ll have no problem stopping by there with the kids to grab something when we’re on the run. It beats any fast food…

But I have to say, it was the oddest frickin’ experience. I ate dinner at the grocery store today… and I’d do it again! It was so… cool!

Posted by Boudicca at 08:07 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack