January 31, 2008

Camping with Sick Dogs

Well, it's official. I'm sick as a big dog. I've been fighting it for three days, but today, a couple hours ago, my body finally succumbed.

It pisses me off.

I haven't been sick in 4 years. I just blew my record. I think its not a coincidence that I quit running the first of November and now I'm sick. I never got sick when I was running. Dammit.

The stress for the last couple months, the lack of sleep, and the vast quantity of people I was around this weekend didn't help.

And I'm taking the boys camping tomorrow. The weather should hold up... I'm keeping my fingers crossed. My husband and eldest are staying behind for the first night. The camping trip was planned to start on the night of a Middle School dance.

One does not miss a Middle School dance.

No.

So I'll set up camp and then they'll join us Saturday morning.

Hey, I'm all about the life experience. This weekend could definitely make the 'life experience' category.

Definitely.

More on Sunday... the weather should hold up, but the guys at work have decided since I'm going camping, they should think about canceling their golf games.

Funny guys... Heh.

Ciao.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:05 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

January 30, 2008

Why I Think McCain Took Florida… and Why it Might Not Matter That He Did

This isn’t an endorsement of anyone… this is just what I saw in numbers.

If you don’t live in Florida, you don’t know Florida. I’m not an expert, not by any stretch, but I can give you my opinion, based on what I heard and what I know of the various Florida counties. I’ve lived here off and on in various parts of the state for 42 years.

By trade, I’m actually an analyst who got moved into an engineering position. So you can imagine what these primaries have been to me. Its data. It has been making me happy crazy, sifting through the data. As each state has closed its polls, I’ve been on-line, watching what has happened precinct by precinct.

Forget the fact I don’t love any of the candidates. Its data. I love data.

In Florida, this was even better for me… as I know most of the State. I have some questions, don’t get me wrong, but for the most part, I think I have a pretty good idea as to what happened.

I’m not so arrogant as to say ‘I’m RIGHT’, but my opinion, living here in Florida, I believe is a helluva lot better than some of the talking heads who don’t. I listened to one of them last night on TV, rolled my eyes, looked at my husband and made the talking motion with my hand.

Florida is NOT the Bible Belt. We are a pretty good melting pot, with the panhandle views being distinctly different than those of the southern part of the State. Different issues/different views. We’re full of staunch Christians in the northern part and center of the state with a very large Jewish population in the southern end, military, retirees, retired military, New York/New Jersey transplants on the East Coast and Ohio/Michigan transplants on the West Coast, and a completely Hispanic culture in Miami. That’s a broad stroke summary.

We are a State deep in the foreclosure fiasco with economy pretty big on our minds… but for most I’ve spoken to… the thought is that it will iron out, National Security is a very large concern.

Beating Hillary and Obama is BIG on most minds as well. That is a BIG factor down here… WHO can beat Hillary or Obama.

Joe Lieberman came down here (my end of the State) and campaigned for McCain. (McCain took my county.) Mr. Lieberman is very well liked down here, and although most of our Jewish population is Democrat, Mr. Lieberman made many many of our Jewish Republicans think twice and made many of the non-Jewish Republicans think twice too… because Lieberman is just very well respected. I have often wondered if it had been a Lieberman/Gore ticket instead of Gore/Lieberman ticket, if the Dems would have taken Florida.

We’ll never know.

So that’s a broad breakdown of our State. Now let’s look county by county. As the primaries have ended in each State, I’ve looked at their individual counties and it has meant NOTHING to me. I don’t know what goes on everywhere. But in Florida… I know who lives where.

Let’s start with our military counties: Escambia, Santa Rosa, Okaloosa and Walton in the panhandle, home of NAS Pensacola, Corey Station and Whiting field, where all Naval Aviators are trained and where there is an enormous Navy presence both retired and active duty, and Eglin AFB and Hurlburt field, which is all Air Force all the time, both retired and active duty. All four counties were very strong McCain, nearly 40% of the votes in Okaloosa with the lowest going to Walton at 35%. Romney didn’t even break 30% in those counties… with Huckabee close on his tail.

Moving onto Hillsborough County, which is the Tampa area and also very military, both active duty and retired, McCain raked it in at 37% with Romney trailing at 30%. Tampa is a pretty moderate area also with military.

National Defense is big in those counties. Very big.

Huckabee only took three little counties, one borders on the Alabama line and the others are tiny counties in the northern middle of the state. But even those counties… McCain only trailed by 20 or so votes. That is votes… not percentage points. It was not a large margin.

I think the biggest eye opener when I looked at the stats was how much they really really do NOT like Romney in Miami-Dade, although it should not have been a shock. McCain cleaned house with nearly 50%, Giuliani was 2nd with 26% and Romney tanked at 16%.

Why is that? It’s the immigration policies. McCain is much more liberal, as every Conservative screams about and Giuliani was next in line. Romney was the only one more adamant about illegal immigration and in Miami, he paid the price.

Miami-Dade is the county with the largest population, by far.

I suspect that we will see that same voting phenomena in the southern cities of Texas and California. Anywhere where there is a big immigrant population, I really think Romney is going to take a hit.

Most of the people I spoke to didn’t think Giuliani had a prayer and so they weren’t going to waste their vote. That left them between Romney and McCain and a toss up between National Security and the Economy and McCain won this flip.

A five point spread is NOT a big spread. It’s not.

I think California is more like Florida than any other state up for grabs on Super Tuesday. California isn’t a winner take all, but its 170 delegates for sure for whoever gets the popular vote. With their Governor endorsing McCain, with their melting pot of immigrants like we have in Florida as well as the military presence, both active duty and retired, it can still go either way, but I’ll be a bit surprised if McCain doesn’t make a damn strong stand.

I don’t think Huckabee has a prayer in California.

We’ll see. The bottom line is, however, when you think ‘Conservative State’, Florida and California are not the poster children. They’re too eclectic.

I wasn’t surprised McCain took Florida. I was just surprised by how much the folks of Miami-Dade TRULY did NOT want Romney, which was rather ridiculous of me now that I think of it. That should have been a given. That is a piece of this election puzzle I had not thought out… something that cannot be discounted.

My biggest surprise though was Collier County, nearly right across from Miami-Dade, where Romney absolutely spanked McCain. I was very surprised by that… and wondering how that county ended up so pro Romney in an area that was so… not. I don’t mean that in a negative tone… but whenever you have a county that sits alone in its views, a big spike in the data, one has to wonder what they have in that county. Counties aren’t cookie cutters, but… they are very similar. Collier was not. And for clarification, the vast majority of the State, with the exception of those I spiked out, McCain just barely beat Romney... I mean 5-8 points.

Also, the northeast of the state, where Jacksonville and St. Augustine are located, Romney absolutely SMOKED McCain. There is a lot of military up that way and I was a bit surprised by that as well. However, it borders on Georgia, which is much more traditional conservative. This may be an indicator as to how it will go in the more Southern states like Georgia and Alabama. Where they may have voted for Huckabee, more of the Bible Belt vote, many will once again think he may not have a prayer and choose between Romney and McCain. I have strong suspicions they’ll go with Romney.

Super Tuesday should be interesting. I would not use Florida as a pulse to the Conservative nation. Not by any stretch. And the talking heads are saying McCain’s win is big in Florida because we are the first State where our primaries do not allow voting by Independents.

Don’t believe that.

We are an odd mixture in our State, very independent minded folks, a big melting pot… and I don’t think you’ll find quite our mix in the other States.

I just don’t.

And on a side note, Thompson would have taken some votes from McCain down here. I know a lot of people who wanted to vote for him. If Thompson had stayed in the race and made a good strong show of wanting the big job, I think Romney might have taken Florida. I know many many people who were going to vote for Thompson and ended up voting for McCain. Many. I don’t know any who were going to vote for Thompson and then voted for Romney.

Giuliani was never spoken of as a serious contender down here. He just wasn’t. I don’t think it was the multiple wife thing… there were just big trust issues.

If you live in Florida and see a different spin, feel free to leave it in the comments. I have quite a few Florida readers. No need to be rude. I’m not endorsing anyone… just telling you what I think I read in the data and what I heard.

Oh and the data? Go here for county by county and here’s a map of the state by county.

Florida.gif

And let me end with... VOTE in your State. Do NOT let the results of previous States be an indicator as to what is going on in our Nation. Every State has DIFFERENT issues and a different mix of citizens. Florida in my mind is a prime example. You cannot compare Florida with Illinois or Rhode Island or Kentucky.

We are the United States... a sovereign nation of many sovereign states. Each state is different. Wonderfully different.

VOTE. VOTE. VOTE. Even if you don't like the candidates... VOTE.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:12 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

January 29, 2008

Chasing My Right to Vote

I didn’t vote absentee ballot because I knew Palm Beach County would somehow botch them up. They did, by initially not indicating the correct postage on the ballot, but cutting a deal with the postal service, they ensured it would all get delivered.

Who knows what else will get botched up in the absentee ballot process? Our newspaper even put something out saying if you wanted your vote to count, SHOW UP to vote.

I didn’t vote EARLY because I knew Palm Beach County would somehow botch it up. It hasn’t been proven… yet… but an article in our local newspaper did say that all the early voting definitely upped the chances of mistakes.

If a mistake in early voting can be made, Palm Beach County will find it.

So I decided… I will show up to vote, IN PERSON, kids in tow, to make sure my vote counted. Or rather to ensure as best that *I* could.

Last night I went through my wallet to get my voter registration card and unfortunately, I found two. They were both dateless. My neighborhood has been bounced around to various precincts so many times, I couldn’t remember where we were supposed to vote.

So I called a friend of mine in the neighborhood and she said she was unsure as well. My husband couldn’t find his card. My girlfriend and I decided that I would go to the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections website and figure out where we go.

I did.

It said I was to go to a building down the street that is very close and readily apparent. It’s easy to find.

Today I picked up the boys from school and took them with me to vote. I walked into the precinct that was listed on the website and the ladies there said to me, ‘Oh you don’t vote here. You vote at XYZ Middle School…”

That was one of the two choices I had in my wallet… it is one of the places we have been bounced from. It is out of the way, difficult to find, and I pass two other precincts on the way.

They then informed me that they had turned away many from my neighborhood already. A large number in my neighborhood thought this was where they were supposed to vote because we were all confused, and given we are all connected via technology, we decided to look it up on the Supervisor of Elections website… which was WRONG.

Please tell me what these folks do in between elections? How is it that it was wrong? How is it that it was wrong given that… the frickin’ Supervisor of Elections LIVES in MY neighborhood?! I saw an article on-line today saying how he voted and was a satisfied customer. I wanted to scream when I saw his quote. Sure, we get bounced around all over and HE is able to keep track of where we’re supposed to vote because HE’S IN THE KNOW! His site is WRONG, but hell, what does it matter to him? He frickin’ WORKS there!

Let me make this a bit plainer as to how horrible it is to vote where we do. It’s a lovely area, don’t get me wrong, but its two lane roads, some dirt, some paved, and the streets aren’t labeled properly.

To get to this new precinct, I had to get directions! It went like this, turn left on WestPond, turn left on Rum, turn right on Tangerine, turn left on Guava, turn right on 50th, turn left on 139th… and make sure you get the right school as there are TWO located there.

I go on these roads once every four years… once every two years at best. By the time people get off of work, it is dark in addition to being poorly marked. There is no sign on the right side of the road for 50th.

I don’t know how many votes were lost today because of this. I know a friend of mine’s husband, coming from work said, “NO WAY”. The traffic is too difficult, the road’s too dark, and you can’t find where to turn.

Could they have POSSIBLY made it any more difficult for the people in my neighborhood to vote?

I think not.

I made sure my boys saw how persistent I was. I told them, “Voting is your RIGHT as an American. NEVER let anyone take that from you… not even if the people in charge are incompetent pinheads.”

The entire situation pisses me off to no end…
I voted.jpg


Posted by Boudicca at 08:13 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

January 28, 2008

Whats In A Name can be... Not So Good.

My younger two boys are into Webkinz, in particular my middle son. Its all rather benign. There is no shooting, killing or blood involved with these little computer stuffed animals.

It was a shock, but should not have been, when I heard Mr. T talking to his younger brother today about how he makes his choice as to which of these sweet little fuzzy Webkinz to purchase.

He picks them based upon their ability to kill… that would be, those at or near the top of the food chain, such as a German Shepherd or a polar bear, or even a platypus, that he has informed me can poison the enemy, makes his cut list, whereas the sweet little kittens and horses don’t. The koala bear made it just for the sheer disgustingness of the fact it feeds its poop to its young.

Little boy minds work differently than little girl minds.

Most definitely.

So in the car today, coming home from the movie, he asked me to stop by the local chocolate store, which happens to have the best selection of Webkinz. He had birthday money burning a hole in his pocket. These trips to Hoffman’s to buy these Webkinz are starting to make me fat. I can’t walk into a chocolate specialty store and not actually BUY chocolate. It’s frickin’ KILLING me.

So much for starting to detox this week.

Anyway, so in the store we were and he bought a platypus. The Webkinz come in big versions and smaller versions, the smaller called Lil’ kinz. He already had the big platypus, so it was the Lil’ kinz platypus he’d wanted.

We got in the car and he said, ‘Mom, I need to name it…’

I was kind of stumped. I typically help him, but this time, nothing was jumping at me for a frickin’ platypus. I couldn’t think of any famous platypuses (I thought platypi, but it is not the plural, but I think it should be). It wasn’t like the pug that Bones bought that I looked at and said, “Frank!” and he said, “YES! Frank!” (Frank was the talking pug in Men in Black. Why in the HELL do I remember THAT? But I can’t remember names of people?)

So as we’re going through names I said, “Well, Platty?”

And he replied, “Nope. I named the big one Platty… We need to keep thinking… Hmmmm”

And I just sat there, sucking in air, hoping that the two little boys wouldn’t pick that last syllable to add a ‘y’ to.

Thankfully we were saved by my quickly saying, “Oh! Fancy Flippers!” and so he has been dubbed. Holy crap… I was worried.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:36 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Beef with a Side of.... What?

Here is my beef with the Veggie Tale movies.

I can’t figure out what kind of vegetable everyone is.

In case y’all don’t know Veggie Tales, its cartoons with anthropomorphic vegetables.

Talking aspargus? Got it. Mr. T had to point out that the blind dude was a stalk of corn. I knew Sedgewick was a gourd. And we all know Larry the cucumber… well, those of us who know Veggie Tales do.

I figured out ¾ of the way through that George was a grape, but that’s only because Sedgewick the gourd screamed at him at one point, “You Crazy Grape!”, otherwise, I thought he might have been some sort of pea on steroids.

But… what… in the heck… are Eloise and her brother? It’s a green stalk with a round thing on the top. WHAT ARE THEY?

That makes me nuts. They need to put their cast of characters at the end like this:

Larry the CUCUMBER: voice of so and so.

George the GRAPE: voice of so and so.

Butler the Asparagus: voice of so and so.

But NOOOO, they don’t, and now I have spent too much time searching on the web and I’m done. The mystery is unsolved. What in the heck is Eloise?

GRRR

Posted by Boudicca at 09:24 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

The Beauty of America

I don’t know how it is in the other states, but right now in Florida, it is politically insane. Our primaries are tomorrow. I have been voting for 24 years and NEVER EVER in my memory do I recall anything like the frantic energy that is encircling our primaries.

Today I think I got no less than 10 political phone calls. I got a call from everyone except from the Huckabee camp. One after the other, call after call, everyone wants my vote.

I didn’t vote early or by absentee. I don’t trust Palm Beach County to get it right. They already screwed up the absentee ballot and forgot to put how much postage was required to return it. They caught it and made a deal with the postmaster that they’d still be delivered… at the expense of the taxpayer. Our newspaper even did an article on how if you want to make sure your vote counts, and you live in Palm Beach County, show up on ELECTION day. How scary is that?

And so I’ll take my boys. We’ll go after all school activities. I need to reiterate the importance. My husband who NEVER votes in the primaries, is voting in this one. I don’t know anyone not voting this go. Everyone I know will be out in full force.

Everyone.

Tomorrow will be interesting. I’m kind of excited. I’m not in love with any of the candidates, but it’s a real election. A real contest.

I’m glad I’m an American.

If you live in Florida… VOTE TOMORROW!!! (Or today, if you’re reading this on Tuesday…)

Posted by Boudicca at 09:17 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 27, 2008

I'll Take the Category: Odd Tattoos, Life Experiences and Vegetables

I need to enroll in some sort of fair food/chocolate detox program. Holy crap. I’m so full of fried food and chocolate, ‘be still my heart’ is not an expression I’d like to use anytime soon. My heart is currently full of too much fat. It just might stop.

So this week will be spent detoxing and getting back on track.

Highlights… oh… well… tear drop tattoos, bigger police presence, being guarded by someone armed with an assault rifle… just to name a few.

Interesting. Definitely interesting.

On a lighter side, one of the funny women in our room informed the fair deputy armed to protect us, that he is considered a risk taker because he smokes. I figured it out just by the assault rifle in his lap. I mean… that was a pretty good indicator in my book. Forget that he lights up…

Heh.

Cool weather here, the boys are off from school tomorrow as the school grounds are cleaned up. I’m getting a trailer hitch for the asexual Mom-mobile as I’m taking the boys camping this weekend and I need a better way to haul all our bikes. Oh… yeah, camping. That means no blogging and probably lots of rain. Of course blog fodder…

Anyway, I’m taking them to see the new Veggie Tales movie, I believe it’s called, “The Pirates Who Don’t Do Much of Anything”. I’m a huge Veggie Tales fan. I’d probably want to see it even if I didn’t have kids. I mean, who in the hell can resist a cartoon with talking vegetables?!

Pulease…

I’m off to bed. I think my ears have finally quit ringing…

Posted by Boudicca at 11:05 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 25, 2008

Beat and Fried

I'm fried. I'm beat. I'm dead dog tired.

I may be like this every year, but I don't remember. I'm going to take a hot shower and crawl into bed. The thought of tomorrow and how long it will be is a bit daunting to me.

I'm in full sensory overload. I need a deprivation tank.

I am thankful for the women who work with me in the back.

I am thankful my kids are having a wonderful time.

I am thankful for the Deputy who escorted me today when I didn't want or thought I needed an escort. His insistence and presence were much appreciated when I went into the bank only to find out its neighboring branch had just been robbed. When I got back into the Patrol car, I made sure he knew I did appreciate his watchfulness. It opened my eyes...

And, hey, I'd never been in a Patrol car, front OR back, so it was pretty cool. I'm all about the life experience and I can check that one off as something I've done. Heh.

I'm thankful that we have had good weather and it appears to be successful.

I'll be more thankful when the ringing in my ears stops and I don't feel so tense. Easing up on the chocolate might be a good thing...

Two more days...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:27 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 24, 2008

Cherries

Today was a very cool day. Very cool.

I went to lunch today with Tammi, Tammi's Cuz, and Pam.

I got to meet Pam.

Like my blog? I mean the cool sword at the top? The tartan in the background? The logo? PAM did ALL of that.

I love my blog. I have thought of going back to blogger because of issues with commenting, but I won't. I won't go because I LOVE my blog. I love the look, I love the logo, I love my sword.

I LOVE my blog.

And Pam made all of it.

And I got to meet her today.

And she is... nice... and just... it is hard to describe. There is a warmth about her... a kindness in her face. Maybe some of it is from reading her, you feel like you know someone, but I'd have her in my home and have her to dinner in a heartbeat.

Its a shame that we live an hour apart and it took this long.

And then we had lunch with Tammi, who I can now say I've known for YEARS and mean it even though I laugh. She cracks me up and we just fell into conversation like we saw each other last week. I love that.

And I met her cuz, who was also wonderful. She had me laughing and is another warm person. I'm now picturing cuz and Tammi in the mattress store and laughing even harder because when you know the characters, sometimes the stories are just that much funnier!

On an odd side note, I had us meet at a new Chili's that is not on mapquest yet. So I was stressing, trying to find a way for them to find the restaurant, knowing too that Tammi has direction issues (heh), when I realized that you could see Barnes and Nobles from the street and since Chili's was in the back of this crazy windy shopping plaza, it seemed the best bet that I just them meet me at B&N and then have them follow me to Chili's.

Except.

They all accidentally found Chilis... and never saw Barnes and Nobles and I'm STILL trying to figure out how in the hell that happened. Thank God for cell phones. :)

BTW, Pam had never met a blogger before... we were her first. I hope we haven't scared her away!

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

Gator Shoes and Belts for EVERYONE!

Remember that frickin’ 15 foot gator I told you about? HERE and HERE with picture HERE. I was off by 3 feet. It was only a 12 footer.

I will tell you, I spoke to the man that lived in that house and I could tell he thought I was nuts when I told him how big we thought it was. (What can I say, we were far away and it was just massive.)

I could tell by the expression on his face that he thought I was a drama queen.

Not my problem. I blew it off. Wasn’t my yard, wasn’t my gator problem. I figured, “Think I’m a drama queen? Wait until you see that sucker… UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL.”

I had the luxury of being in my damn car. HE was going to be on a riding lawn mower.

In Florida, lakes and canals curve around our neighborhoods. So you can have a lake from one side of a neighborhood to another. So a gator could sun in the morning on one side of the neighborhood and then sun in the evening elsewhere. Everyone gets to see the gator… if they live on one of these lakes/ponds/canals/small bodies of water.

Last week we were driving home and the boys were yelling, ‘Mom! Mom! Mom! Mom! Stop the car! Turn around! Go back! There’s that gator!” and sure enough, when I went back, there it lay, on the bank. I thought someone would have caught it, but they did not.

Flash forward a couple days and my husband informs me that a client of his who lives in our neighborhood said she’d seen that gator in her backyard and that she didn’t let her dog out alone anymore and was very careful.

I said, “I can’t believe she hasn’t called. Why haven’t they come and gotten that monster?”

And my husband replied, “Because she said they told her they would have to kill it. They would not trap and release and she doesn’t want them to kill it.”

And at that point, I did a *Blink*.

What? Monster huge gators are BAD. BAD. BAD. They aren’t afraid of ANYTHING.

This evening I was dropping something off at another neighbor’s home when the wife said to me, “Did you hear? On Tuesday they finally trapped that 12 foot gator! They’ve been trying to catch him for TWO YEARS.”

I said, “Did they measure it?” and she replied, “Definitely a 12 footer…”

And I felt redeemed.

And I’m glad that monster isn’t living in my neighborhood anymore…

And obviously someone one of those folks along the lake had the sense to call. Thank God.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:54 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

January 22, 2008

The Oatmeal Patriot

Just so you know… I’m the geek in the family, the straightman to both my brother and my sister.

A little background history. Any parent who has many children, in particular teenage children is going to get this. Any child who has a couple siblings will get it as well.

I was 14, a freshman in high school, my brother, TN, was in 7th grade (frickin’ Middle School) and Morrigan was in 3rd grade. I got up at 6AM every morning to shower and get ready for school. My Mom got up EVERY morning with us, even us ungrateful 14 year olds. We ate breakfast in shifts, as our schools all started at different times. I was first shift.

One cold winter morning, she got up and prepared me a bowl of oatmeal. I will tell you now… I hate soggy bread. I don’t do gravy on bread, I don’t do much syrup on pancakes, I hate mushy bread. And oatmeal equates to… soggy bread.

I looked at the bowl and said, “I don’t like oatmeal…” to which she replied, “Of course you like oatmeal.”

So now you get it… it’s a 14 year old daughter, a tired mother, 6:30 in the morning and… a full on fight ensues as to whether or not I like oatmeal. And as I grabbed my books to storm out of the house, she yelled, “I made it for you yesterday morning and you told me how much you LOVED it!” to which I retorted, “NO YOU DID NOT! I HATE OATMEAL!” and I stomped out of the house.

Well… it was my sister who loves oatmeal and my sister she had served it to the morning before and my sister who had carried on about how she loved it. Honestly, first clue that she may have had the wrong child should actually have been the fact I was 14, and really didn’t love ANYTHING.

And for the record, we joke about this all the time. We laugh about it. Its kind of one of those family jokes.

Flash forward to today, Mo and I get an email from our bro telling us that Heath Ledger is dead. I have posted in the past before about how it is not uncommon for us all to email as a family and there can be a huge multi hour email chain, with everyone doing a ‘reply all’ and carrying on about whatever the topic happens to be.

And this is pretty much what happened.

Me: Who is Heath Ledger?

Morrigan: What freakish rock do you live under? Really? Really?

TN: Actor. Wasn't sure if you knew of him or not. I *did* know Mo had heard of him. He was in BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

(Give my bro credit there… he understands my rock. He scored major points on that one…)

Morrigan: You would have seen him in the Patriot or Monster's Ball. Your sons might have seen Knight's Tale.

Me: It is a VERY LARGE freakish rock. I thought we went to high school with him, then I realized that was Heath O*****.

Morrigan: Oh for the love of God.
You saw the Patriot- it had Mel Gibson in it. Heath was his son

TN: Yup, you saw THE PATRIOT. Remember, your husband taped it and we watched it in Pensacola? And the last 20 or so minutes didn't tape? That was fun.

Morrigan: He's in the Batman that's coming out in July. He plays the Joker.

Me: Ummm... I didn't see Patriot. MY HUSBAND, not to be confused with the wife who has a set of tits and longer hair, saw it.

Morrigan: Honestly Bou- I thought this was one of you fave movies- are you sure you don't remember it?

Me: SWEAR to God and I don't like oatmeal either.

Morrigan: YES YOU DO!!!! *handing you a large bowl of oatmeal and sitting you in front of your favorite movie, The Patriot*

TN: Bwahahahahahahaha!

And it just went from there, somehow moving into the fact I didn’t know who some guy named Terry Gilliam is.

Some days it is tough to be me. Mostly… it is really tough to be my Mom. Heh heh heh!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:12 PM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Green Sleeves

It’s Girl Scout cookie time in our neck of the woods.

I think I should just melt down many boxes of thin mints and spread them all over my abs and already waistless body. It’s going there anyway. I may as well just bypass the eating of them…

I went running tonight for the first time in just over two months. I’ve been crazy busy, working more, and I just haven’t been able to wrap my mind around working out. I’ve had work out burn out, if you will.

It’s amazing what two sleeves of Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies will do for motivation…

*Gasp!* Did I really say TWO sleeves? Shhhh… ok… it was over a three day period.

I think.

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

January 21, 2008

Boys will be Boys

Every now and then, raising boys, lost in the sea of testosterone... I feel so alone. Heh.

And then... I see THIS post and think... I have legions of women with me. (Make sure to click the picture for bigness to get the full effect.)

I surely do! What a great post. Boys will be boys... wherever they are.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:36 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Negative Influences

When you take your sweet baby home from the hospital, swaddled in a blanket, their little head flopping to the side, sweet lips pursed in memory of the last feeding and anticipation of the next, there are some things you never expect to hear yourself say.

You don’t picture them as 13.

You don’t picture what is in store.

And to hear your self yelling the following, is certainly a big change from the cooing sounds a mother makes when snuggling with her newborn:

“Turn that music down! There is no need for it to be so loud blaring across our backyard. AND FURTHERMORE, music that calls women BITCHES is absolutely unacceptable. Not only will I NOT tolerate it, it WILL NOT be blared across my yard. Have I made myself clear? HAVE I?”

My son is listening to rap. Luckily he also listens to some of the alternative rock I listen to and the hard rock of his father. He tends to rap. And sometimes women are denigrated in the music.

I wonder what Mr. King would think of THAT progress?

Ringo and I had a long talk this afternoon about rap music and the entire culture that goes with it. I told him I don’t have the time to monitor everything he listens to, but I would hope he will use his good judgment and think about what he is listening to, what it perpetuates, and think of alternatives. And I said, “If you find this is the trash you must listen to, and I’m not around, and you have made this choice, I ask you to respect me enough to not listen to it with your brothers around. I don’t need them exposed to such negativity and vile lyrics.”

I don’t know what his choice is going to be. I know that he is 13 in four weeks and there are many decisions he’ll have to make with regard to what our multi media culture throws at him. I hope that by explaining why *I* feel something is wrong will be enough to get him to think. Banning something like music is only going to cause him to go behind my back, pushing him to lie to my face. It’s what 13 year olds do.

I am hoping our discussion took. I can guarantee you one thing… music that denigrates women, glorifies violence, and says ugly things about our police force… will NOT be played around me.

I won’t allow it.

And I look at too large a portion of the black segment of our society today and I wonder, what would Dr. Martin Luther King think? I think he’d side with Bill Cosby.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:33 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 20, 2008

My Middle Son

Today is my middle son’s birthday. He is 11 today. In my head he has been 11 for awhile… he just… seems 11. He has hit this crazy growth spurt and yesterday I had to go out and buy him more shorts for school. Yes, here in January, the kids in S. FL wear shorts to school. I’ve never had to buy school clothes in mid-year, but yesterday I did.

He seems bigger to everyone. It actually started to happen when I was out of town. I went away in October for a long weekend with my sister when we went to the Straight White House, and when I came back, I kept staring at him. He had grown in those four days. And it kept on kept on.

He’s not getting the narrow face of a man yet, it is just length in legs and torso. He is lean. He went from wearing size 7 shorts at the beginning of the school year to 10 slims as of yesterday and I’m not sure they’ll make it through the end of the year.

My middle boy, small in size, big in brain and athleticism, beautiful features that have not taken on the manly look yet, girls will be crazy for him one day. I hear there is a little girl with a crush on him now… a girl whose parents I know and like very much. She is a smart and cute girl and is actually… one if his best friends. Those are the girls I’d like to see have a crush on him. The nice girls from the nice families that have a good brain and think.

As he said to me a few years ago when I told him to really look at the smart girls, remembering the years I was overlooked as a young girl, ‘Mom, smart is good, but I think smart AND pretty is better…’ Heh.

He is my boy that can sleep through anything. When we went to NYC 14 months ago, the kid slept everywhere. I have pictures of him sleeping on the subway, sleeping sitting up on a bench, anywhere he could be warm and comfortable, he would sleep. He is my child that is up with the sun and asleep by 9. Life was good when he learned how to turn on the TV by himself in the mornings… I’d have a glass of chocolate milk in the fridge for him and his little feet would putter in the dark, into the kitchen, get his chocolate milk and then watch TV while the rest of the house slept. He was four and it was usually 6AM… sometimes earlier.

He is a straight A student, completely self motivated and driven. He is his own person and rarely cares what anyone else thinks. He has an enormous sense of justice… injustices make him insane. But life is not fair and we are working on it… but to him, life is very black and white. His life should prove to be interesting…

He is rather unforgiving and can be harsh on others, something he acquired honestly from his mother. We are working on that too. He is the harshest upon himself.

His dinner of choice tonight? Hamburgers and hot dogs with an angel food cake with fudge frosting, strawberries and chocolate leaves. He helped me make the chocolate leaves. He is always quick to help me in the kitchen, which is a good thing as my boys need to be able to take care of themselves.

Mr. T in NYC on the subway
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Mr. T in the middle of a hotel lobby (he was nearly snoring)
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Mr. T at Morrigan’s wedding… wearing a kilt when his brothers would not.
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Mr. T playing the Trombone at my folks' on Thanksgiving... funny story. He picked out a piece he knew we'd all knew, forgetting that he plays the harmony. We all clapped politey, having NO CLUE what in the hell he played.
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Mr. T with his brothers picking out our Christmas Tree. I haven't been asked lately if they all have the same father. Last year I had that asked, what, three times in one month?
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Mr. T’s birthday cake.
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In 11 more years, he will be 22. These last 11 went so quickly, I cannot imagine how the next 11 will go… he will be a man before I know it.

Happy Birthday, Mr. T. Should all the children be so blessed to be as loved as you are… for if they were, I suspect the problems of this world would be so very different…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:44 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

January 18, 2008

What To Do With That Spare Camel Lying Around

Most of you know, I don’t watch a lot of TV. I am usually sequestered on the other side of the house when it’s on. I can’t take the perpetual noise. At times, it is an assault to my ears.

But my boys do watch it and although I monitor it, in the sense I know what channels they watch, they know what they can and cannot watch and will ask if there is doubt. It is mild weather here, so they spend most of their time outside, but there are times they sit and watch.

And it’s not like when we were kids. Television had nothing during the day when we were kids, except soap operas and game shows and if there was more, it was kids’ sitcoms like The Brady Bunch. (Yes, I loved that show…)

Now, there is the Military Channel, Discovery Channel, Nickelodeon, Disney (they don’t watch it), History Channel, and Animal Planet… and I know there are more. I’m amazed when I walk through to find my eldest boy glued to the Military Channel and absorbing it. Or when I come through and they’re watching the Discovery Channel and learning about things during all times of the week, that we used to have to wait to see during the once a week Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. (I loved this show too.)

And while I’m on shows we watched as kids, I LOVED Wide World of Sports. The music that played in the background, I could identify it immediately. “The thrill of victory….. and the agony of defeat’ as we watched, every week, Vinko Bogataj’s spectacular crash off the ski ramp, taking out a retaining fence, after having tumbled uncontrollably in the air on two skis. Holy crap. How can you forget that? We’d watch it just for that…

Anyway, so my kids… they are getting more science and understanding of the world around us from these various shows than I ever did. It just amazes me… some of it in not always a good way, like the time when I was at work and Mr. T came with me for Take Your Child to Work Day, and upon seeing a picture of some Meerkats (it was a joke pasted on someone’s desk, each Meerkat was labeled with a co-worker’s name) he leaned over and said to me, “I’ve seen Meerkats mate…”

Thank.You.Meerkat Manor.And.Animal.Planet.

I am a 42 year old woman and have never seen Meerkats mate. It is not a lofty goal of mine either.

I am a bit clueless of these various shows. I blow them off, to be honest. They seem like a non-event.

So imagine my surprise when I came through the kitchen/family room (we have one of those one big room homes) and there were my boys watching some show where this guy had a… dead camel.

I watched the ‘host’ of this show, as he doubled over to his knees and proceeded to vomit… and I suspect it was not the first time he’d hurled as it was clear liquid, you know, like when your stomach is finally empty and all that’s left is whatever liquid you put in it in an attempt to keep hydrated from the previous puking event.

I stood there, watching this guy throw up on TV, and then looked over at my boys who were… glued. Now if it had been me, I’d have changed the channel. Perhaps it is because I’m a Mom and I’ve just had my share of puking in the last 12 years, most of which y’all have been privy too… from chocolate cake puke to pizza puke to green cool whip puke, but I have absolutely NO DESIRE… AT ALL… to watch someone vomit.

I’ve participated in my fair share, I’ve been puked on, I’ve held people while they hurled, I’ve cleaned it up… I’ve had it on my clothes, in my hair, and in my bed.

NO. I’m done. So if I see someone puking on TV I think, ‘Why should I watch this at leisure? It is a PART OF MY LIFE!!!’ and I’ll change the channel.

Not my boys.

They stood there entranced as this man emptied the contents of his liquid filled stomach into the sand… next to the dead camel.

Are you envisioning this yet?

And I could swear I heard the man say something like, “you have to drink the juice of the intestines to try to stay hydrated…”

I may have heard wrong. Really. But whatever I heard, made the bile start to rise in my throat.

I walked out.

They stayed glued.

A couple minutes I had to walk back in to get something and I looked up and the man is now taking the guts out from the camel and walking them away from the camel. All the innards… pulled out from the camel… being pulled away from the camel as if he were pulling a wagon.

Now it’s just a train wreck to me. I can’t quit watching in that horror ‘could this possibly be for real’ kind of way. The boys are talking amongst themselves and finally look up as the man is now using the carcass of this camel as a place to HIDE, like something out of frickin’ Star Wars, and they say to me, “He is showing us how to protect ourselves from a sandstorm…”

Me: What? Are you kidding me?

Boys: No. Look. He cleaned it out and now he is folding himself in for protection.

Me: And you need this information… why? Because here in S. FL or anywhere in the United States, you may get trapped somewhere in a sandstorm and if you’re lucky enough, there may be a dead camel you can HIDE IN?

They went back to watching… shaking there heads because evidently, ‘Mom doesn’t get it’.

I was trying to figure out the timeline. “Oh shit, there’s a sandstorm coming… quick, slay the camel, gut it, skin it, and hide in it. Sure! I have plenty of time!” or “Shit, I’m stuck in this desert, and my camel’s dead. I better drag it with me everywhere I go, because I might need it for shelter for a sandstorm and don’t worry that dragging the extra few hundred pound carcass might exhaust me or make me thirsty because I have plenty of intestine juice I can drink.”

I think I want to hurl just thinking about that last one. Yuck.

The show continued…

The man very proud of himself, had skinned the camel. Too bad I missed that one. He held up the hide and wrapped himself in it, to show he could use it as a blanket now, to keep warm on those frigid desert nights.

And NOT ONCE did this man ever describe how any of this smelled, at least not that I heard. Dead camels in the hot desert, guts pulled out, skin pulled off… there had to be smell and I’m thinking it wasn’t so good, if anything, the whole vomiting thing had to smell nasty as all get out.

Good God, Yuck.

And as if this was not all absurd enough… Good God… no kidding… the camera focused on the top 1/3 of his body as he walked, with his dick in his hand… and he proceeded to urinate in a GIGANTIC circle around the dead hollow camel.

He was marking his territory so some freaky animal wouldn’t come after his gutted skinless camel shelter.

No, they did not show his 'male member', but folks, he was walking and peeing, and you could tell that’s what he was doing. The man has no shame…

He then told the audience, which I am assuming was more than my three absolutely fascinated boys, that throughout the night, any time nature called, they were to empty their bladders in a circle around the camel hut, to ward off the other mammals that might want it… you know… to eat.

Blech.

And sure, this works great if you have boys parts, but what if you're a girl trapped in this situation? Are we to walk like a duck and pee in a big circle around said animal carcass? Well?

I’m not sure of the practical application of this show and why it exists. I mean, I guess we could extrapolate to some nasty horrible hail storm in the middle of a cow field and hiding in a cow’s body, skinning it for a blanket, and then peeing around it in a big circle to ward off… wolves?

Who in the hell knows.

But hey, now my boys know. Whether they could actually DO IT or not, is a different story. But now… they know.

And now… so do I. Ick.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:21 PM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

January 16, 2008

Living with Blogs and a Teenager

I know I post on Ringo a lot and the stresses of our almost 13 year old to 42 year old relationship.

Just so y'all know... he reads me. He is my biggest fan. The Christmas Tree and Pancake story? He read it out loud, imitating Bones and all that Bones said about the green pancakes and chocolate chips, the dialogue, and Ringo did it with all the hand motions that Bones uses, that y'all are unfortunately not privy too.

Bones is funny in dialogue, but to see him in his full demonstrative mode is absolutely classic.

And so Ringo was imitating him and he and I got to laughing so hard we were both crying.

I never want to put anything out that will embarrass him. He's going to be a teenager, so I'm pretty open about what I put about him... and we laugh.

... and he even knows about the hand puppet post.

He's so daggum funny... but I am aware, that as he gets older, I will blog on him less and less. Right now its funny, but we are approaching a time, when it will not be. There is already much I leave out... but as he turns into a man, there will be more.

As of now, its all fun and games... what a great kid... when we aren't making each other nuts.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:55 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

I Am Stupider Than a 5th Grader

We have a four day week due to the end of the quarter at school.

Thank God.

I’ve been fighting a migraine all week. Today it got so bad, after school I dragged Bones to the store so I could get something before the headache went completely migraine on me. If I catch it in time, I can prevent it. If I don’t… vomiting follows and it’s just a bad scene.

By the time we got into the car, package in hand, I could feel myself trying to crawl away from the light and I was practically tearing the box open with my teeth.

An hour later, some of the pain having subsided, Ringo got in the car and said, “Mom, why is your one eye half closed. You look like you just woke up…” I guess subconsciously my eyes were closing to keep the light out. Who knows?

All I know is I’m pain free right now, I have a mere shadow of it left, as if its lurking and ready to come back, and I’m hoping a hot shower and decent sleep will help.

Meanwhile, I’m so frickin’ sick of 5th grade. I know. I’ve ranted here before about it. These book report art projects are going to be the frickin’ end of me. I can’t believe I have one more kid to put through 5th grade. I truly think it might be the end of me. The thought of Bones in 5th grade is enough to bring me to my knees.

This project? Create a cereal box out of the book, with specifications on what goes on the sides.

Create a cereal box.

Wtf happened to, “Write a book report. Don’t forget the name of the book and the author. Give a brief summary and Conclusion.” The Frickin’ End.

Done.

I’m done.

I think to date we’ve created two book covers, a movie poster, a cereal box and I KNOW at the end of the school year we have some shadow box thing coming.

Please.

I’m done.

Can you tell?

GRRRRR.

On a lighter note… Ringo made a 75 on this last math test, and I’m not putting this out there as blog fodder to embarrass the stew out of him, but it’s kind of funny and hey, someone may learn from this.

He has great math aptitude and other than getting bored and deciding to go on homework strike for two weeks (I didn’t blog that, I don’t think… it was a real low here in the House of Bou), he makes A’s on his math tests. Oh and the time he went on the two week strike where I nearly unleashed the Hounds of Hell onto him? He still made a 97 on the test.

The kid has it going on analytically.

I never get mad at test grades unless the kid is really screwing around. So he jumped in the car and said, first thing out of his mouth, “Mom, I made a 75 on my math test.”

Me: Holy crap. What’s up with that? Did you do the homework?

Ringo: yeah.

Me: You know the drill. I don’t care about the grade. Do you understand the information? Math builds on itself…

Ringo, looking sheepish: yeah, well, this math building thing. I get that now…

Me: why?

Ringo: You’ll see…

So I drove home thinking, “What in the world?”

I got his test and went over all the problems he missed, which is also part of our drill. Actually, our drill is, confess up front about the grade, go over the test and make sure that the concepts are clear, reteach if I need to.

The we move on. Water under the bridge, its done.

So I looked at what he missed and it was to round to the nearest tenth on every problem. He missed THREE five point problems because he rounded to the wrong number. I shook my head, blinked a couple times and said, “Dude, this is greater than five… you have to round UP.”

He had a blank stare and I said, “Do you get this? Do you get rounding?” and I explained the concept.

Finally he grinned and said, “Remember how we talked about math building? Well, I failed that test in 3rd grade. I never got it. I thought if that 2nd number was great than the first you rounded up, otherwise you rounded down. I never got rounding until… now.”

Good grief. The kid can find the volume of a cylinder and solve for X, but until now, none of us realized… he didn’t understand the concept of rounding

Holy crap. We keep laughing about it… and what is pretty funny is rounding is a real world concept. He may never find the volume of a cylinder again, except in math class… but he WILL round in real life!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:49 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

A Sandwich By Any Other Name Is Still... A Sandwich

There are days that I sit at work and think, “Is this for real?”

I got in yesterday to a harried crew and a quick email from my Tech Lead to sit on a telecon for him while he was needed on another. Its one I sat in on for two years and only recently cut the cord on. I was fine with sitting in, but got the note late and so didn’t get on until 15 minutes after it started.

I found myself suddenly thrust upon an extraordinarily heated discussion, seriously pissed off people, the sound of military men on radios and jets taking off in the background.

Usually it’s a sedate little group in an office.

I quickly emailed my TL and said, “Did I get the right place? This is INSANE.”

TL: yes.

Me: Are you sure, because I’m hearing jets. We never get jets. I think I have the wrong call… I need to hang up…

TL: NO! You’re on the right call. We have some folks from ABC AFB on this time. STAY ON THE CALL!

Note the yelling people didn't phase me... it was the new background noise. I'm used to the angry people... and fine with it... as long as I'm not involved.

Today’s conversation… good grief. One of the guys is going on a business trip to Greece… and not taking his wife. I gave him some garbage, “Not taking your wife?”

To which he said, “Hell no… I'm going ALONE! Joe never takes his to Italy!” to which Joe jumped in and said, ‘No way, I vacation alone in Italy. Would you take a sandwich to a buffet?”

Me: Wait.

Joe: Well?

Me: I think you just called me a sandwich. I’m a wife. I’m a sandwich.

Joe: You get what I mean.

Me: We’re sandwiches. I hope to God I’m not a plain old bologna sandwich. I hope I’m at least prime rib.

Joe: A sandwich is a sandwich, Bou. You’re missing it…

Me: I’m a sandwich.

And for the rest of the day, when anyone needed technical advice in my area of expertise I’d hear someone in the room say, “Well, you need to ask the sandwich.”

That may be my new nickname…

… and as a bonus, as I was leaving Joe said, “OK, I think you’re a pastrami on rye.”

I hope to God that was a compliment…


Posted by Boudicca at 09:43 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 15, 2008

I Have No Title For This Post

Good Lord, there are days I am just a creative void. Blech.

I’m definitely Ms. Practicality.

I was over at MSN today going through little articles they had and I could not help myself. It had some article called ‘smooth dating moves’ or something. Of course at first, I’m such a dope I thought it said, “smooth dating movies’ and I thought, ‘Oh, I liked Say Anything…’, but then I realized I need to learn out to read.

Reading is good.

Anyway, so where was I? Oh yes, dating smooth moves. So glad I never have to worry about that again because I totally hated dating.

I had to click. What in the world could people say were smooth moves? Either you are genuine or you are not. Smooth moves sounds so… fake.

What the article had was a list of things that people said or did that impressed the other party. I read through them all and don’t get me wrong, what people did and said was nice, but the one that stuck out most was the one about the small gas cans.

From THIS article on MSN:

“This may sound strange, but he brought me small gas cans. He was coming over to go out on the lake in my boat that evening. I’d mentioned I’d need help hoisting the five-gallon gas can to add fuel to the boat. When he came over, he brought two 2.5-gallon gas cans, full of gas, for me. Those I could manage without help! I thought that was incredibly thoughtful of him, hearing the problem and solving it for me.”

I’m sorry, but save the flattery and the wine. Be thoughtful. This guy on that date listened… and was thoughtful. Very very cool.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:19 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 14, 2008

Lemoney Laughs

Whether or not you have kids... I really think this is a funny post.

I keep quoting parts of it in my head and laughing... I can't wait to tell the guys at work.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:32 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

My Mr. Clean or at least... Part of Him

You know how some parents talk about some of their kids changing into many outfits during a day?

Well Bones does that with underwear.

What is up with that?

I have come to the conclusion that he wakes up in the morning and changes his underwear and then at night, after he showers, he gets new underwear again.

Good Grief.

He is the Un-Commando. He never has to worry about his underwear being clean if he gets in a car accident...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:06 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Just Another Silent Monday

I love Mondays.

I know, everyone else dreads them as its back to work or school, but I have Mondays off. I have my home to myself. Nobody wants me. Nobody needs me.

It’s just me.

I get up, get the kids to school, go for my walk, come home and take a shower, read the paper and eat breakfast, clean the kitchen, throw in laundry, make my grocery list, pay bills or whatnot…. All… in… silence.

No TV.

No music.

My windows open, the cool Florida January breeze running through my home making the tile cool to my feet, the smell of Florida winter freshening my home… the sound of… nothing.

It is a day of rejuvenation. I regroup on Mondays. I schedule no appointments, I don’t run errands until right before I need to pick up the boys, and I do nothing but hang at the house.

Alone.

With the sound of silence.

I love Mondays.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:00 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Running From my Mind

For those of you who have been reading for any length, you will remember that this is a tough time of year for me. This is the time where I wonder, “Can I do this? Can I do this again?”

The stress is overwhelming, just having come off the stress of the holidays and with the normal family and work issues, and I start to feel like I’m coming unhinged, putting on the good face for everyone, that I’m fine, when inside I feel the anxiety growing. Many a deep breath are taken to quell the anxiety.

It’s the big fundraiser for our school. Big lights, big sound, big motion, long hours. The kids have a wonderful time during the three day event, but the preparation and the first day can throw me into a tailspin.

I have two saving graces during the event itself. The first is that my kids truly have a fantastic time… the entire school does and that positive energy of laughing children and happy parents helps to buoy me. The second though, is the great women I work with. We are holed up for three days, coming out every couple hours, as we do our behind the scenes work and the women I work with are absolutely hysterical. This is my fourth year and I’ve truly grown to love those women.

They are my lifeline during this event.

Today in the car I was listening to the radio. My Silent Monday, and I turned the radio on and one of my favorite songs came on. And even though it is a slow song, it is still one I may download to run to.

The urge for a good long run is becoming overwhelming.

Who has never felt this way? An escape… Snow Patrol and Chasing Cars. There is something about this song that brings me peace to my too often unsettled soul.


Posted by Boudicca at 08:50 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 13, 2008

Green pancakes and Trees

I woke up this morning to music videos set on rap music. My husband was up early to play golf and I was left at home with my three boys plus one of Ringo’s buddies who spent the night.

Rap music. As a wake up. No thanks.

It only got better.

I walked into the kitchen later to find Ringo and his buddy wanting to make pancakes. I told them it was cool and left them to their own devices, giving a quick heads up that making one uber huge pancake may seem like a GREAT and FUN idea, but sucks as it won’t cook all the way through and is hard to flip and stove controls can be your friend or your enemy… hotter heat is not better. Medium was their friend.

Then I left. They are 13… well Ringo will be in a month. I figured they could handle it.

Until Bones came running in yelling and complaining, “Mom, I hate this! Why did you let them make the pancakes! They made them GREEN and they ALL have chocolate chips. Green pancakes? That’s disgusting! And I HATE chocolate chips in my pancakes!”

Of course he does, because obviously it adds too much sweet as he pours on the syrup and the whipped cream. His favorite pancakes have butter, maple syrup, chocolate syrup and whipped cream. The thought of his favorite breakfast makes my pancreas hurt.

I put a stop to those. My ADHD kid doesn’t need all that daggum sugar.

Anyway, back to this morning… green chocolate chip pancakes. I walked to the kitchen, and sure enough, there were… green pancakes. St. Patrick’s Day green. Grass Green. Green eggs and ham Green. What is up with the need to make their food colored?

What.is.up.with.that?

Last time, Ringo had some funky science project where he was supposed to bring in cool whip as, I guess, something to act as chlorophyll, so he dyed it green, ate it after it had been out to long, and threw up all over the bathroom. I think I blogged that. Projectile green cool whip puke.

I think that that incident alone, would have sworn me off green funky foods.

Lettuce? Yes.
Cucumbers? Yes.
Zuchini? Yes.
Green eggs, ham, pancakes or cool whip? NO.

So I explained the Ringo the importance of communication. Those who read often, are we seeing a trend here? This is where I should have broken out the frickin’ hand puppets. He said, ‘I just assumed EVERYONE liked chocolate chips in their pancakes…”

To which I replied, “You NEVER assume you know everything about everyone. You ASK. ALWAYS. If you fail to learn to communicate, you will have a very hard life… Very hard.”

Actually I may have said “You will fail at life.”

I can’t remember. But either way, it will be bad.

I made another batch for Bones as Ringo and his buddy didn’t heed my advice of ‘Medium is your friend’ because, wtf do I know; I’m just the Mom, and proceeded to burn a couple.

After the pancake deal was over, Ringo started to wipe down the counters while standing next to me and he whispered, “Thank you for letting us make green pancakes…”

It made it seem a bit more worthwhile…

…until the Christmas tree incident.

An hour or so later, the kids went outside to walk around. I looked out my front door and there the four of them came, up the street, towing… A Christmas Tree.

I ran out the front door yelling, “WHAT. IS. THAT?”

Mr. T: It’s a Christmas Tree…

Me: I know. Whose idea was this? Where did it come from? Where is Ringo?!”

This just has Ringo and his buddy written all over it.

Ringo came around the corner and said, “What? The guy saw us take it. It was just sitting on the street. He said he didn’t want it and we could have it.”

Me: Of course he said you could have it. HE PUT IT OUT THERE FOR THE GARBAGE MAN TO PICK UP TOMORROW!!!

Ringo: *blink*

Me: What in the heck are you thinking you will do with this tree?

Bones: We’re going to plant it in the back yard.

Me: IT’S… DEEEEEEAAD. You can’t plant it. It won’t grow. It’s dead. Keep it right there in the street next to our mailbox. The garbage man can pick it up from our house now.

Good Grief.

And to tell you how big our tree was, my husband hauled it to the curb. I saw it when I came back from tutoring the young man I’m helping in Algebra. I said to Ringo, “Where is that tree? Did you return it?”

Ringo: no, its right there in the street…

Me: I didn’t see it…

Ringo: Oh, because its under ours.

Our tree was HUGE this year. Next year… we go back to being plastic people.

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

A Tough Role Played... But Needed

There are certain things that I feel strongly about. Occasionally you catch a glimpse of them here or there when I draw my sword in anger and let off a rant or passionately write about something close to my heart.

I feel very strongly that nobody should ever have to die alone.

This is probably why I have thought about giving my volunteer time to Hospice when my kids fly the coop. I suspect I will spend my time with the local VA Center as I feel even more passionately about our Veterans… but Hospice is always in the back of my mind.

I cannot keep people out of pain when they die. I cannot provide medical comfort. But I can hold a hand, fluff a pillow, and… listen if they have words to say.

People should not endure the dying process alone. Not good people. They should not.

We do not come into this world alone. We come into this world with our mothers and with those tending to them. We come into this world, most of us, with people who are waiting for us… people excited at our entrance.

People should not endure the dying process alone. Not good people. They should not.

It makes life lopsided. If you come in with people waiting for you, you should leave with people with you during the process.

I don’t care if it’s family, medical staff, or a stranger.

I know, it is not possible mostly. I have a friend whose mother in law went down stairs early one morning to clean house while her husband slept. When she came up to awaken him, he’d passed of a heart attack, in those few short minutes.

But, in my mind, he was not alone. He’d been in bed sleeping with his wife. She got up for such a short time... and he was gone.

My grandmother died in a hospital, unconscious… a victim of gross mal practice. The family had been around her. When they left, she died. In my mind, she did not die alone. They had been with her, holding her hand.

That isn’t alone to me. The dying process was taking place with my family there. The instant she died, she may have not had family, but the process took place with family there, she knew she was loved...

And so on Friday, there was a fatal car wreck near the kids’ school. Two cars traveling in opposite directions on a two lane road, doing the speed limit of 45mph, when one veered into the other’s lane, and they hit head on, making it the equivalent of a 90 mph crash.

Both men died.

One of our part time teachers happened to be there when the wreck occurred. He leapt from his car to one of the victims in the accident to see if he could help. It was an ugly accident… and he held the man in his arms… and he died.

You can imagine how shaken our teacher is.

I suspect not many of us put ourselves in his shoes. Normal Friday, doing your own thing, suddenly you find yourself being the first at horrible accident, you rush over to help, only to have someone die in your arms… or holding your hand.

That was his Friday.

And when I found out when at the school shortly thereafter, I said to him, ‘You were privileged to be there. NOBODY deserves to die alone.”

He said to me, “I don’t feel privileged. We come into this world alone.”

I looked him square in the eye, paused and said, “You are wrong. We come into this world with our Mothers. NOBODY, NOBODY deserves to die alone. You were with this man in his final moments… and he was not alone.”

I feel so strongly about it… and I know our teacher may disagree, afterall, he is the one who had to deal with the horror, but nobody deserves to die alone, and definitely not like that… alone in a car wreck. Nobody.

And this man… did not.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:15 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 12, 2008

Potty Talk

Erica’s disgusting but funny post on bathrooms at work reminded me of a story.

Unlike Erica, who says she works in an older building, a dump, I work in a brand new building, three stories. I don’t know who designed it, but they were obviously the least competent… they had to be. In the hallways, it is warm. In the big office, it is warm. Walk into the office I share with nine engineers and it is frickin’ frigid. I have a space heater and I wear a sweater.

All year long.

Someone botched up the air conditioning and how it flows. We’ve had people in to look at it, and now we just deal. Mr. Magoo’s space heater puts out so much heat, we call it ‘The Pizza Oven.” When I bought my space heater, I hit a two for one sale, so I put one in my Tech Lead’s cube. He needs it every now and then, but mostly, he breaks it out when we’re in conference in his cube and there is fear I might freeze to death.

Keeping an office space at 65 degrees is absolutely ridiculous.

And you know… that is absolute freezing to death weather. Absolutely. Not that I’ve ever been dramatic about it in our office… not me. Heh.

And the plumbing in the restrooms is... complete crap, if you'll excuse the pun. If the commodes in my home are deemed 'low flush', these must be 'nearly no flush'.

As in Erica's office, there are signs posted all over the women's restrooms as to what you can and cannot flush. We've NEVER had a problem, but I think that's because there are so few women and 50% are post menopausal. I think there are only... 3 of us that use the restroom that are pre menopausal... and we're all engineers.

Then again, it may have NOTHING to do with our understanding of systems and more along the lines of... if any of the three of us clog up the restroom, its pretty damn obvious who did it, since of the three it could be, two of us don't work on the same day.

Our small office space is also next to the restrooms. Over the past year, one of the bookends behind me, Joe, has been disturbed by an unknown man working on the first floor of our building, dubbed, “Napkin Boy”.

It seems Napkin Boy takes the paper towels that one would dry their hands with and keeps them on top of the urinal. I’ve not been in a men’s restroom, but from what I’ve seen in movies, some urinals, the top comes out from the wall a couple inches. That's where these paper towels are set.

This has made my co-worker NUTS. I mean, near insane. There have been rants of all sorts and even speculation of the identity of Napkin Boy. I always feel bad for someone who MIGHT be Napkin Boy that week, because they’re not treated as nice as every other man in the office… until there seems to be some assurance, that this poor person is in fact NOT Napkin Boy.

It is a guilty until proven innocent case. And I do believe… nearly every man we know has been accused. I’m not sure how they’ve been proven innocent. Perhaps “Joe” has had some clandestine excursion into the men’s room to spy… I don’t ask. I already know more about men’s bathroom habits from my co-workers than I truly cared to know. And as hard as it is to make me blush, it is not so hard to make my jaw drop or to get the proverbial *blink*. There have been many bathroom *blink* conversations… that leave me speechless.

One day I came in, and one of the guys I work with, put some of the paper towels on Joe’s desk as a joke. I think it may have had a yellow sticky on it that said, “Love Napkin Boy”. That didn’t go over big.

Napkin Boy and his antics went on for a better part of a year. Every day. I’m not kidding. Most of us would laugh at it, but it would seriously rile Joe up.

And then this summer, when I was furloughed, I came in to change my computer passwords and as I approached our hallway, there was a hideous stench. There were fans in the hall and parts of the carpet were marked off so nobody would walk over it.

I made my way to our office, badged in, looked at Mr. Magoo with raised eyebrows and without my having to say anything he said, ‘Napkin Boy. Some of those paper towels fell in the urinal and someone flushed… and the entire system backed into the hallway.”

The men’s bathroom was closed for two weeks as they tore out the drywall and repaired the bathrooms. The carpet was cleaned and the stench went away with time.

And Napkin Boy has disappeared. I thought there was going to be a lynching. Everyone at that point was on a rampage for Napkin Boy. The paper towel on the urinal habit has stopped… but that was a tough way for someone to learn a lesson.

He could have died. Really!

And my lesson? I’ve never seen a urinal up close. I had no idea they flushed… I guess I’d never given it much thought.

And now I know…

But what I don't get is... they are not deep like toilets. Why didn't someone stop those papertowels before they went down??? There is a logistics issue that keeps sticking in my head. I can't imagine the hole in a urinal is that big. And I don't think men have toilet paper next to a urinal so the hole surely was not made big enough to accomodate anything but "liquid".

I'm not getting why someone 'let' this happen. I'm not.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:36 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Numbers Running Through My Head

I don’t blog politics because I keep them pretty close, which is why I’ve not posted who I’m voting against.

But these primaries have me fascinated. They really do. And I think it’s the mathematician in me.

I have every primary for the month of January written on my calendar. I’ve been reading about all the folks running, on both sides, and how they may or may not fair in each state.

I’m absolutely fascinated by the potential of who is going to drop next, who they’ll support, what each state views as their issue, and how they show it in the polls.

This is a thought stream, “Hunh, Romney considers himself a Michigan boy. He’s not taken first in a horse race yet, although there were only two. If he loses Michigan, will he drop out? If he drops out, who will he support?”

Or, “South Carolina is pretty daggum important to Edwards. If he loses SC as well, he’s toast. He’ll have to drop… and who would he support?”

Or, “If Huckabee loses Michigan and SC, he’ll have to drop. Who would he support? I don’t see him supporting Giuliani… and does that Mormon thing bug him? Really?”

And on and on and on… I have a mental matrix going on as to who might drop after various primaries and frontrunners truly start to shake out, and who they might back.

I go back and forth.

To me, I hate to say it, but it’s a bit of a game… crystal balling it… playing with the combinations of things that could happen.

I find it absolutely fascinating…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:13 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 11, 2008

Inspirational Qu0tes

I got this at work today.

It isn't that I've not been paying attention... I've just been a bit busy. :)

For you SEC fans out there... Heh.

OandNine.jpg

Posted by Boudicca at 10:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 10, 2008

The Good Old Fashioned American Soap Opera

I'm following these primaries very closely. I have every State's primary for the month of January on my calendar. I decided who I was voting against about three weeks ago and now I'm ready to cast my ballot. It can't come soon enough.

I just read that Richardson ended his bid.

Am I the only one who read that and thought, "Who?"

I keep up, but I didn't even know this guy. Granted, I'm not a Dem, but still. I knew Dodd and Biden. I know the other three.

Richardson? Maybe this is why he was not faring so well... the whole 'name recognition issue' as in, he had NONE. Granted, I do live under a rock, but still.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering what ol' Hilly Baby is going to think as more and more Dems throw their weight behind Obama Hussein.

Kerry today.

Edwards tomorrow?

Interesting...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:51 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Like Mother Like Son?

On Wednesday at work, after Hilly won the NH primaries, there was, of course, great discussion. All of it negative.

I was working in a bit of a crucible and was not listening to most of it as I knew I had my trip ahead. At one point, the guys were up in the front of the office in my Tech Lead's cube all laughing about something.

I heard Hillary’s name.

I heard my name.

I heard laughing.

I don’t think that is typically a good sign.

As they were walking out of my TL’s cube I looked up at them with an eyebrow raised and one of them said, “I told them I’d never vote for Hillary for President. But I’d vote for Bou.”

I said, ‘REALLY?’

And all the guys in unison said, “Hell, yeah!”

Except for my TL who was silent.

I said, laughing, “Interesting because I think it would totally suck for all of you when it became a dictatorship.”

And at that point, my TL popped out of his cube and yelled at the other guys, ‘See! I told you!”

I thought that was hysterical. He evidently told them I’d be Queen if I were President.

So…

Today my 2nd son was at dinner and he said, “Mom, we are having Biz Town and I’m going to run for Mayor.”

Biz Town is this very cool event for 5th graders… the classes go on a field trip to this place that is set up like a town and the kids have check books and bank deposit slips and jobs and they run a town. The kids interview in advance for their jobs. I volunteered last time and it’s a great educational experience and a lot of fun.

So, Mr. T wants to be Mayor.

And he has this whole thing figured out.

He continued, “All these girls are running and then me and Frank. The girls will be split, voting for all their friends, and I’ll get a couple girl votes, but Frank is a bully so only a few boys will vote for him and all the rest of the boys will vote for me. So I’ll get the most votes…”

He did this mini analysis before he decided to run. Now he has to write some sort of campaign speech.

Of all my kids… he’s the one I’d vote, “Most likely to be a dictator.” Or, “least likely to take someone’s crap.” Or, “Can’t stand fools and people who don’t think.”

Should be an interesting time… I obviously volunteered to chaperone. Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:29 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

January 09, 2008

Travel Time

I am off at dinner time to Lake City for the meeting where I’m the guest speaker. If it were not for the woman who asked, I’d never have said yes. Five hour drive one way, three hour meeting, 30 minute speech, five hour drive back home.

However, the company will be most excellent as they are a group of enormously patriotic women, who spend most of their free time volunteering at the local VA hospital. You can’t beat hanging with folks like that.

Meanwhile, I tried on my blue suit last night only to realize I’d gained too much weight over Christmas and it doesn’t fit well… not even with Spanx, which is just as well as when I put it on with my red white and blue scarf that has in script, the name of every President of the United States (I told you we were a patriotic group!), I thought I looked like a Hillary Clinton wannabe.

Blech. I can’t stand Hillary.

Black pants and boots now, with a jacket and my scarf. I have to have the scarf…

Meanwhile, I leave you with this last thought for the day. I can’t get this picture out of my head every time I think of a certain Presidential Candidate. It is what it is…

Ciao.

Huckleberry Hound.jpg

Posted by Boudicca at 12:29 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 08, 2008

Hand Signals

My eldest has kind of had me wound tight lately. It is the norm. Its just his being his age.

And me being mine.

So today, in great frustration I said to the men I work with, "I'm done! This lack of communication! I cannot take it anymore! I'm not going to try anymore. I'm going to just get hand puppets and for now on we'll communicate via handpuppets because its got to be a lot easier than what we're trying to do now."

Handpuppets.

And when we outgrow this difficult communication stage, I'll just box them up and store them. And one day when he has his own 12 year old who is driving him around the bend...

...I'll go into the closet...

and get out the handpuppets...

and mail them to him with a little note that says...

Good Luck!

GRRRRR

Posted by Boudicca at 10:02 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

January 07, 2008

I SCREAM! YOU SCREAM! WE ALL SCREAM FOR ICE CREAM!

We eat a lot of ice cream in this family. Well, I don’t. It is too high in calories for me to eat every day, but my kids do. A lot.

(Ice cream can be a trigger food, as in I can’t control when I stop. Moose Tracks and Mint Chocolate chip are banned in this house.)

A few years ago, my brother came home for Christmas and gave my folks an ice cream scoop. He had received it at work and realized it would get used more at my folks’ home. My brother works in a place where he comes in contact with a lot of comedians and people in show-biz and evidently one of the female comics used it as a prop, I believe saying it was the best ice cream scoop for bulimics.

I may have remembered that wrong and he can correct it in the comments.

Anyway, every time we go to my folks’ we say, “Damn, that’s a great scoop” and then forget about it. We’ve had nearly every kind of ice cream scoop made… the kind you put in your hand that supposedly takes the warmth of your hand and helps it scoop out the ice cream, the kind that has a clicker on it to click the ice cream out, big spoons, you name it.

This Christmas I knew I wanted to get that scoop for my husband in his stocking. My Mom and I looked in every store we happened to be in and not one of them carried the great ice cream scoop TN had bestowed upon them.

On a lark, we ended up at Bed Bath and Beyond, looking for something for TGOO, when I went to see their ice cream scoop selection, I’d become a bit obsessed, and… there it was.

The Wilton Ice Cream Scoop.

I had no idea Wilton makes it. It makes sense… the cake company making ice cream scoops.

It’s like a cross between an ice cream paddle and a scoop.

We are in LOVE with this scoop. If you’re looking for perfect round balls for a sundae or something, that’s not going to happen, but just for piling ice cream in a dish, this is THE BEST scoop ever. Hard ice cream or soft, strong wristed people or weak like me… ice cream slides out of the carton.

Holy crap.

We love this ice cream scoop.

Sometimes… it’s the little things.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:01 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

Registering

Our primaries are coming up in a couple weeks. I'm ready... I think.

I'm an Independent, but registered Republican so I can vote in primaries. I tend to lean more conservative than liberal. But I'm not right wing by any stretch.

Have you registered? Are you READY for YOUR State's primaries?

This is an important election folks. This is so seriously important. You must vote. You must. It is a right of ours that our forefather's fought for... Democracy. A Democracy of many sovereign states.

Women? Are you voting? Because you know WE have not always had this right. WE did not get this right until 1920. Until then... we were expected not to know about politics, not to care, and we surely were incapable of voting.

Are you exercising the right that our foremothers fought for, for TWENTY years? Are you?

If you're not... don't tell me. It will piss me off. Consider it Rhetorical for you.

My speech on Thursday? I am attending a 2 hour meeting where I have been asked to be the primary speaker on Women's Issues. I am doing a comparison of Women's Issues, Health and Politics, 1900-2007.

Yeah, I really didn't have a hard time filling 20 minutes. I just don't want to talk so much they can't wait to leave. I don't want them wishing I'd shut up already.

Especially since I feel so passionately about some of the things I've learned and the progress we've made.

Nearly 100 years ago we could not vote. Now we have a woman running for President. Granted, I can't stand her. She makes the bile rise in my throat, but that is tremendous progress.

It really is...

The other day Bones said, "Mom, are you going to vote for Rice?"

I replied, "Dude, Condoleeza Rice isn't running. She has a job, Secretary of State. An important, REALLY important job..."

But you know what occured to me? He never questioned that she COULD run for office. He never thought, "Oh, Rice is a woman, so I must have some fact wrong..."

Never.

He knows no bias.

I don't know where I'm going with this... except... Register. Vote.

Vote.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:55 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

January 06, 2008

Eight Years

Today is eight years since my Mother in law died unexpectedly. Most of you know the story. She was leading the rosary on the altar when she had a massive stroke and died.

Died in church... which the probability is infinitely higher in doing so, when you go EVERY day.

My father in law has never recovered.

He has done is best to drag us all down with him.

We have done our best to keep him afloat, but there are days that are tough.

He is an old man now, whithered away from life and her death and general aging. She would be 82 now and I wonder what SHE would be like. We think often she died to be spared having to deal with him as an old man. It would be hell for her to live with him the way he is now... she was a small woman, he is a big man. His physical demands would have killed her.

His physical demands may have killed her. We speak of that too...

We miss her.

I miss her.

We talk about her. I used to have dreams with her in them, in the beginning, and I found them comforting. I've not had one in 7 years. I wonder if I had another, if I would regrieve her loss again.

Perhaps that is why I don't... the pain would be too much to have her taken from me again.

We have a little four year old boy that lives next door. He's cute as a button and looks like a Viking Child. He's tall for his age, blonde haired and blue eyed. He came over today while we were taking down Christmas lights outside. My kids were playing outside and my father in law was inside.

I had Pop come over for dinner tonight. It was not right to have him eat alone today.

So the Viking Child asked me if he could go in my house. He LOVES my house. It is full of boy toys and he has two sisters. I bent down and said, "No, honey, the boys are outside..."

Fifteen minutes passed and he asked again. I thought for a moment and said, "Little buddy, I'd let you, but their is a very grumpy old man in my house and its not the place for you right now..."

I figured he'd let it go at that, but instead the Viking Child looked up at me, with his rosey cheeks and blue eyes and said in his four year old voice, "How did he get in there? How did that man get in your house?"

I could not quit laughing.

Pop has good days and bad. We just went through a patch of good days, which means the bad are coming. It is what it is. He is my children's grandfather.

It has been eight years... and it still feels like yesterday when he called me on the phone, crying, "I'm following the ambulance..."

"What?"

"I'm following the ambulance. She just fell in church. She just fell down in church on the altar." and he was sobbing.

It feels like yesterday.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:34 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Because I Didn't have ENOUGH Stress in my Life...

I have a speech I have to give on Thursday. I thought I was giving it in Gainesville. I thought that's where this group is located.

Its north of that... an extra 45 minutes. Crap. Its 5 hours one way now.

I've written a 20 minute speech. I've done a lot of public speaking, but its been normally work related. I've run one hour meetings where I have to speak in front of a crowd. Non-event. Doesn't phase me. I know Robert's Rules. Whether I wanted to or not...

I give reports on various chairmanships all the time. Typically I am asked to speak for 5 minutes.

Twenty minutes is A LOT of time. I called my contact and said, "I've got 20 minutes prepared. If you want less, I'll talk really really fast or cut some out."

She said, 'Oh, we have 30 minutes allotted for you, but you can have a whole hour if you want!"

An hour?!

Is she frickin' nuts?! I don't think I've held a continuous conversation with anyone for 20 minutes... let alone a frickin' HOUR.

Good Grief.

So I have 20, with questions etc, I'm sure it will get to 30. If not, nobody has ever been upset leaving a meeting 10 minutes early.

Never.

I hope they have coffee.

For my audience.... not me.

I said to my contact, 'I could not talk that long. I would bore everyone. I am trying hard not to make them sleep now... at 20 minutes."

She said, "Bou, you are the most energetic and enthusiastic speaker I have ever heard. That's why I asked YOU to come speak."

Good Lord. Anyone can be energetic and enthusiastic for FIVE MINUTES! Even 10! She based it on that?!

Holy crap. Thankfully I can be very demonstrative. Perhaps that will correlate to entertaining.

I need shoes... tap dancing shoes...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:19 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

January 05, 2008

Beware of the Penguins

TGOO sent this to me today. This is hysterical.


Posted by Boudicca at 10:21 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

War Games

I wrote this a few nights ago and was hesitant about posting it. I thought, "Someone may think I'm raising psychopaths" or that they'd think I'd have children immune to violence and are going to end up damaged individuals.

And then I thought, "Screw it." For years we've had kids playing cops and robbers, Army, cowboys and Indians. It is what it is... and we speak of gun safety a lot in this house. My kids are very aware... and as educated as I can make them.

Shakey Pete suggested once that I take the boys out and shoot a melon with a gun, so they can see the real damage a real gun can do. I think that was an excellent suggestion and one I will try to have performed for them this year.

Anyway... this is the post. We've had great fun this Christmas. Pictures follow... and really, its for TGOO. I've been describing this all to him over the last few days and knew he'd get a kick out of it.

-Bou

I think the average Mom plays into the societal games when they have a boy-child. “No weapons in this house! I will not have all the guns etc.” And if you don’t feel that way, chances are most of the Moms around you do, so you keep quiet and make sure the toy weapons aren’t out during play dates.

I don’t know how long that lasts. Not long. I think it lasted until my eldest was maybe 5 when we discovered Nerf. I don’t know. I never said it would be a ‘no weapon’ home, but most of my girlfriends were and so my home pretty much stayed that way as well.

But sometime between his fifth year and now, our home became an arsenal of Nerf and airsoft guns. I’ve blogged on the weaponry before. Halloween costumes are bought based upon the plastic/rubber weapon they come with. Air soft guns came into play last Christmas and now are here in full force. We now have eye protection for every child that could come to play and they have taken to wearing stocking caps over their ears as well.

We have seven now… from handguns to machine guns to rifle. Red pellets, green pellets, blue pellets. On a side note, air soft guns have ranges… ranges for how fast the pellets travel, I guess. And the faster they travel, the harder they hit, so all of our air soft arsenal has been kept in the low range, except the rifle which is used strictly for target practice.

The sweet little wood swing set in the backyard has been converted into a fort. The crappy PVC pipe patio furniture with funky bright orange cushions has been set in the backyard and turned on its side to form a bunker of sorts. The cushions line the walls of the fort and bunker.

My backyard now has a new sound. Instead of boys running and playing, it’s the sound of air soft machine gun fire, screaming, yelling, kids yelling to teammates… walkie talkies are next.

I see that slowly they’ll understand that they can spread out further and use their walkie talkies to communicate. It is coming.

Thank God we live on an acre. This Army game they are playing takes up the entire yard.

It was cold for us here… the one night dipping down to 35 degrees. The high hit close to 60. It was drizzly and in the 50s and my boys were outside like its summer… up at the crack of dawn with my having to yell for them to come in for meals.

This is what it’s SUPPOSED to be like… playing outside all day long.

Thank God for toy weapons. And I realized as I watched them, that anything was fair game. If they ran out of ammo, someone would pick up a football or dodgeball and throw it at the ‘enemy’. Anything goes with boys… and it makes me laugh. I laugh even harder when we’re sitting around the dinner table and I hear them laughing and joking about what they did that day playing in the yard.

Hunh. Twelve years ago I’d have laughed at you… now my house is a boy house, an arsenal and I’m embracing it.

On the downside, those little plastic BBs are expensive. A big container is $20. They received one for Christmas and then I bought them one more when my nephews came down so everyone would be able to play… more of a free for all. They went through two containers… 20,000 plastic BBs.

Bones came in and said, “Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, Mom, you need to buy us more ammo…” and I replied, “Phht, I don’t think so. There are over 20,000 plastic pellets in my yard. You want to keep playing, you start collecting.”

So over the last two days, that’s what they’ve been doing, collecting pellets. They can use their own cash or collect… they’ve opted to collect. And they’ve been laughing as they do it. It appears to be a new part of the game…

I call this one: Run! Ringo! Run!

Duck Ringo.jpg

This is prime example as to what happened to our crappy porch furniture that is 20+ years old. Note that Bones has in his hand a canister of ammo... it holds 10,000 pellets. Yes, my spastic child dropped and spilled many. Yet I was told over and over, that they loved him being in charge of ammo. His team created a protection fort for him with towels (not pictured) and they'd hand off their guns to him, he'd refill them and the shooter would be off. It evidently expedited the process... but then he wanted to shoot and everyone loaded their own.
Crappy porch bunker blog.jpg

This one is before the knit caps over their ears and tshirts over their necks came into play. Also note all the potential weapons... football and stomp rockets. Anything goes in War.

freeforall blog.jpg

And this last one shows the new use for their old swing set.

New Uses for old toys blog.jpg


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January 04, 2008

Chocolate Cakes

I ended up not making the chocolate chip cake, instead opting for a caramel cake, which was wonderful. Consensus had been not chocolate. As much as I liked the caramel cake, I think the caramel icing would have been better poured over an apple cake of some kind. I am going to experiment and make one of those one day.

My folks need to brace themselves. It will probably be the next time they come down or I go up that way.

Anyway, per request, the recipe for the chocolate chip cake I was GOING to make and which I really do love. Its just such a big cake, I can’t make it for the family.

Oh… by the way, there is NOTHING low fat about it. It’s probably why it’s so good.

German Chocolate Chip Cake

Serves 8-12

Preheat oven to 350 and requires a bundt pan.

1 pkg yellow cake mix
1 small pkg vanilla instant pudding
½ cup water
4 eggs
½ cup oil
1 cup sour cream
1 6oz pkg semi sweet chocolate chips
1 4oz German chocolate Bakers bar, grated (green box, if I recall)

Mix cake and pudding mix.
Add ½ cup of water and ½ cup of oil; beat until smooth.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Fold in sour cream and grated chocolate bar.
Add chocolate chips.
Pour into well greased bundt pan and bake for 50-55 minutes at 350 degrees.

Needs no icing, but I have been known to sprinkle a bit of powdered sugar over it.

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Bones... Not a Plastic Surgeon in the Making

Bones scares me. Not in a bad way. More along the lines of his interpretation of life. What he hears and then filters.

I have rosacea. My cheeks stay red. About two years ago I had precancerous cells on my face that the dermatologist burned off. The boys asked me what it was like and I told them it was a blow torch looking thing, and it froze off whatever was on my face and it didn't hurt. At all.

They all heard this. They all saw what my face looked like.

And today Bones was talking to my sister in law and he said, "You see my Mom's face? It is red all the time because she has skin cancer."

I replied, "Bones, that is not true. I have rosacea which is a skin disorder. I do not have skin cancer. I had precancerous cells on my face a couple years ago..."

And while staring at my sister in law matter of factly, he continued with, "Oh yeah, oh yeah, they burned it off with a match."

Holy crap. Can you imagine? We all laughed but how horrible. This kid has actually been walking around thinking I have skin cancer and the doctor burned something off my face with a frickin' match?

Good Grief.

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January 03, 2008

Christmas Memories in Pictures

Remember the Christmas Eve 'activity'?

Well, here is the event... the dried apple sarcophogus. Truly a Christmas Eve to remember.
apple mummy.jpg

Shroud of dried Apple.jpg

And when my husband was decorating the house... I can't remember if I blogged this...

Mr. T had two blue light balls that he wanted to hang. We have a white lamp post that sits out front and I told him that something around that area worked.

So he hung them on each side... and holy crap, it looks phalic to me.

I couldn't quit laughing and finally said to my husband, "Umm... what do YOU think this looks like?"

So he added the third blue ball to try to offset it. I personally think its still funny, but if he thinks it looks better, then I will let him think so. Heh.

Phalic lights.jpg

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January 02, 2008

Food, Plants and Cold

I have 10 at the house and its crazy. Dinner tonight was good, homemade chicken pot pie, but the dessert, TGOO's Apple Praline Pie was just... wow... indescribable. As my husband cut into it he said, "Oh... hun..."

The good thing about having so many for dinner (11 including my fil) is that it all gets eaten and this crew is HUGELY appreciative.

Tomorrow night... bierocks, which will be a good cold weather food. I make ours with a pot roast I'll have simmering all day. I am polling for dessert and haven't gotten an answer yet, but I'm looking to make a chocolate chip cake.

Cold.

Holy crap. It is getting down to 34 tonight. And... I am bringing in my plants.

*I* am bringing in my plants.

I *AM* bringing in my plants.

I am *BRINGING* in my plants.

I am bringing *IN* my plants.

No matter how I phrase it, it sounds so odd coming from me, the plant killer. Why just last year, I'd have been inclined to say, "Screw 'em, if they live, they were meant to be."

Now... I am bringing in my plants.

Good Grief. What is happening to me? I am getting soft...

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If They Surf, Do They Say, "Hooters up!"?

And so my husband told me yesterday that he said something to my eldest about watching the Hooters Calendar show on TV on New Year's Eve.

My son denied it.

My husband said, “I SAW you watching it!”

To which he evidently got the blank stare that we are becoming accustomed to, but is still maddening nevertheless, and a reply of, “I thought it was a surfing show. I was waiting for a surf contest…”

And my husband, being astounded by the answer said, “What? You did not…”

To which my eldest replied again, that yes in fact, he thought he was watching a surfing show and was waiting for the surfing to start.

My husband finally said to him, “Well, you can’t convince me you didn’t see anything you liked there…”

To which he evidently got the blank stare that we are becoming accustomed to, but is still maddening nevertheless, and a reply of, “----“ Which was supposed to mean, “I do not know from what planet you are from, but we are not speaking the same language.”

And my husband, finally having had enough, waved his arms above his head and said, “PLEASE! *I* saw a LOT of GREAT stuff! How could you say that? There was not one girl there that you didn’t like? They ALL looked fantastic!”

To which… my son grinned and walked away.

They all make me nuts.

Really.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:28 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

New Years, Food and Drink

I had the masses over for dinner tonight... 15 total. I made a turkey that I swear to you, was THE BEST turkey I have ever tasted. Holy crap. I have one of those Rival roasters and it keeps the birds pretty moist.

But Good Lord, this was sinful. I made my own gravy with the help of my brother in law who is a chef, and there was not a drop of gravy left, 1 tiny baggy of turkey (15 lb turkey), and nothing else. I made chocolate covered strawberries to go with my father in law's cheesecake and it was just divine.

All of it.

With that, I'm a bit beat. I suddenly ended up with houseguests, 5 extra folks, who I love dearly and are always welcome to stay... so there will be 10 of us for the next day or so.

Until then... I found this over at Sticks today. It is odd... I put in my real name and my blog name.

With my real name... I kind of liked this drink, although I'm not sure how sly I am. Not really. I'm pretty in your face about anything.

The Recipe For Bou
3 parts Intellect
2 parts Kindness
1 part Slyness

Splash of Passion

Limit yourself to one serving. This cocktail is strong!
What's the Recipe for Your Personality?

And this one with my real name is... so far off. Holy crap. There is nothing naughty about me. Please. I've always been the girl next door, the girl that guys were OK with bringing home to Mom.

I'm not flirty. I don't know if I'd even pick up if someone was flirting WITH me. I'm a bit clueless.

Phht, and trust me, there is NOTHING frickin' glamorous about me. Good Lord. I think I spent from 1995-2003 covered in puke, poop, or urine. If you find that glamorous... Good God, you need therapy.

Oh. And I don't know if there would be a splash of Sensitivity in my personality. Y'all can ask Morrigan about that one...

The Recipe For Bou’s Real Name
3 parts Naughtiness
2 parts Flirtation
1 part Glamour

Splash of Sensitivity

Finish off with an olive
What's the Recipe for Your Personality?
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