April 30, 2008

Perpetually Humbled

It was a late night last night and a change of plans had my husband taking the children to school this morning, leaving me with an extra 30 minutes before I head to work. It works out as it is helping me rid the unending need to write… a need I’ve had since last night when I returned home from seeing Mr. Rubinstein, but unable to fulfill the need as my 7th grader needed an assist with homework.

All night as I slept, the voice in my head would not stop, going over and over the event of seeing him speak again. Sometimes I think I have some sort of nighttime schizophrenia… the voice does not stop and can only be quelled by putting words… to computer.

This was the 2nd time I’d had the pleasure of hearing him speak. The first time (HERE) was because he was speaking to my eldest boy’s Social Studies class. All parents were invited and on a whim I thought, “I’ll go in late to work. I MUST hear this gentleman.”

Last night… I went last night for a different reason, it was multi layered. I went because I had to hear his story again. I had to hear this first hand account of history as it can’t be heard too many times. I had to have my husband hear it. And… what y’all don’t know is, I have had the pleasure of speaking to Mr. Rubinstein twice on the phone.

A dear friend of his, his son found my blog, and told Mr. Rubinstein what I’d written. He got my number and rang me up and having had these conversations, I needed to meet him in person. I needed to tell him face to face how much I’ve enjoyed listening to him.

There was a retired Admiral that used to speak to a woman’s organization in which I belong. I loved this man. He died last year, I believe he was close to 90. He served in WWII and Vietnam and was just a tremendous human being… living a good life towards human kind, a huge proponent of Scouting, active in Public schools, a man who walked the walk and talked the talk, but also had an amazing way of conveying history. Like Mr. Rubinstein, I could listen to Admiral Morris speak for hours. I used to say to him, ‘I wish I lived next door to you, so I could just have coffee with you some mornings and talk. I just want to know your take on… everything.’

And that is how I feel about Mr. Rubinstein. I wish I lived next door to him so I could have coffee with him some mornings and just… talk. He is… a jewel.

I heard things last night I had not heard in his previous talk as he had a full two hours with us adults. He is riveting. People did not move… when he speaks, you can hear not a sound in the room.

When he speaks of the Holocaust, he is able to actually enable you to envision it. You suddenly see the SS coming for his father, his Mother’s terror, their resignation, the Scouts, the young men who hid them in an attic, the French policemen… you picture his mother leaning out the window of the SS limosine that Mr. Rubinstein had been so bold to procure to take them to a Church, leaning out the window trying to get Mr. Rubinstein’s attention by waving her hand and yelling after him, “HALLO!” which he said horrified him since only the German’s pronounce the ‘H’ and she was supposed to be French, which means she should have yelled, “Allo!”.

Did I not tell you that part of the story last time? A 19 year old man and his mother, on the run for nearly six weeks, so close to the Swiss border they could see it, but so far from it they could not get there readily. At the end of their rope to get to a bus to take them the rest of the way, he saw an SS Limosine waiting for someone, being driven by an officer of the SS.

He had an invitation to a Baptism forged on a sheet of paper and had previously dressed his Mom as a Catholic wearing a cross, and walked to the car, explaining to the SS officer his problem, the need to get to the bus since the train was broken, trying to make this Baptism on time, and the SS officer offered to give them a lift. With enough time to buy some apples, when Mr. Rubinstein came back to the car… it was gone. And that is when he saw it drive around, with his mother leaning out the back window, calling for him, but this time in the other seat was a civilian German Gestapo type. The SS officer was his driver.

There was conversation with the evil men in the front of the car. They could have been found out... but they were not.

And this car drove them to the next destination, the bus they needed to catch to take them to the town with the Catholic chapel, where surely a Catholic priest would see their way to Switzerland.

And he did.

And they arrived.

And when you hear him tell it, you are there. You are transported back and when he tells of his bold move to garner the SS limo as their transport, you can hear people in the room gasp! We all know he made it safe! He is there! In front of us speaking! Yet, whenever he tells his story, you find yourself on the edge of your seat, worried as to what will happen next; holding your breath as if the story will take a turn and it won’t end as we know it will.

Mr. Rubinstein can immerse you in the horror of the events and simultaneously bathe you in Hope, hope for humanity as he points out the people along the way who were steeped in compassion and helped him and his mother escape.

When he speaks you hear his sense of humor, as he shakes his head at the absurdity of things he witnessed around him. Being in Copenhagen, realizing he was really going to go to Auschwitz and see his father’s final grave, he says people stood in the streets holding signs for Auschwitz, as if they could be standing there just as easily holding signs that said, “Epcot”. The absurdity… of it… is not lost on him.

Mr. Rubinstein catches it all… he was able to absorb all that was around him at 19 when he ran with his mother, in the 60s when he went to Auschwitz, and now… at nearly 85… nothing is lost on him. He sees all that is around him, is able to analyze it and convey it in such a way… you want more… you want to hear it again… they are stories that are not tiring.

He… was born with a gift. This fabulous gift of communication, of telling history and, although the word is the wrong word, it is what it is, he makes it fun... as all teachers of history should be able to do. The horrors of it all, the Hope he saw, you crave more… you want to hear it again. You want him to be able to tell more. You want everyone you know to hear him.

And that is why his life needs to be made into a movie. It is what it is. I know he knows people who know Steven Spielburg, but Mr. Spielburg needs to get down here NOW and listen to Mr. Rubinstein do what he does best. He needs to make a movie of his life… from the late 30s until now. It should begin at the beginning… and end by showing a man with so many gifts… who keeps on giving.

My life has been permanently altered in so many ways by this great man I listened to last night.

Oh! And I got to meet his wife! They have been married for 57 years! She was SO lovely. The great woman who has stood alongside that great man… for 57 years. She looks after him and she is a beatiful woman... I sense a very strong woman.

And the best part? I got to hug him. I’d not trade that… for anything.


Posted by Boudicca at 07:00 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

April 28, 2008

From Doughnuts to Math

The mind is blank. I am tired. I have nothing to offer, except as good fortune would have it, I found this at Bob's yesterday. Seems about right... I like this answer far better than being a Boston Creme Doughnut. Yuck. Why couldn't I get crueller?


What is your Perfect Major? (PLEASE RATE ME!!<3)
created with QuizFarm.com
You scored as Mathematics

You should be a Math major! Like Pythagoras, you are analytical, rational, and when are always ready to tackle the problem head-on!

Mathematics

100%

Engineering

100%

English

83%

Journalism

83%

Anthropology

67%

Philosophy

67%

Linguistics

58%

Theater

58%

Psychology

58%

Biology

50%

Art

33%

Sociology

33%

Chemistry

17%

Dance

8%
Posted by Boudicca at 09:31 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

April 27, 2008

Leon Rubinstein

I have written in the past of hearing a phenomenal speaker, Mr. Leon Rubinstein, a survivor of the holocaust.

If you live locally (northern Palm Beach County) and would like to hear him speak, please contact me. He is speaking on Tuesday night from 7 until 9 and I have the details. You can reach me at boudicah at hotmail dot com.

If you are local... you will not want to miss this. It is a blessing in life to be able to hear such people tell their stories.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:33 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Odd Things I Discovered Today

Through VW, I found that if I were a doughnut, I'd be...

You Are a Boston Creme Donut
You have a tough exterior. No one wants to mess with you.
But on the inside, you're a total pushover and completely soft.
You're a traditionalist, and you don't change easily.
You're likely to eat the same doughnut every morning, and pout if it's sold out.
What Donut Are You?

I hate these kinds of doughnuts. Blech. They have that creamy crap that squirts out when you bite them. *shudder*

NO.

And... today in the car, on the drive down to my bil's house for supper, I heard my boys quoting... Monty Python, in particular the sketch below.

First, other than Monty Python's Holy Grail, which we all love, they have not watched or heard quoted any of their stuff in this home. Holy Grail quotes are the norm, but to be honest, my boys don't know its Monty Python. They just know its funny stuff.

So imagine my surprise when I heard it quoted today, by Bones no less who can remember lines... to the point I find it astounding at times, getting the inflection as well as he's very expressive. You don't have to watch the entire video to get it, but get to the point where the gentleman walks in the VERY first room... Room 12.

Bones has that down cold. All of it... ending with pervert. As I heard it, I knew exactly what he was quoting, but could not quit laughing my butt off, hearing it come from his mouth.

I said to Ringo later, what makes me laugh even more, is I think Monty Python is HYSTERICAL, but since this is not stuff we watch in this house at all (other than Holy Grail), it is obiously a genetic sense of humor the boys have. A genetic predisposition to love Monty Python. They actively search for it on the internet now... that I told them this funny group had a name. Heh.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:27 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Spring Cleaning? Nesting? A Disease?

Well I learned some things.

Clean the exhaust fan a few times a year in the bathrooms. For those who asked, he said, fans, not ductwork. They told me if the fans get too full of dust, they won’t pull the moisture out.

No wallpaper in bathrooms. (We’re NOT big wallpaper people anyway, but that bathroom just needed something.) No wallpaper on any north walls according to Joan, which, the only wall paper in the house happened to be on… a north wall! Gah!

And fixing this bathroom has set off some sort of decorating bug in me, which is odd since I’m the Anti-Martha Stewart. Things I’ve hated about this house for 13 years are going to be changed.

Not all of them… some of them.

One of the things I’ve hated most about it is the lighting in the bathrooms. We got the builder’s grade lighting. Y’all may have it in your home as it’s very popular as it’s so cheap to put in. (I priced it at our local lighting store and it literally costs 10% of what nice lighting costs… and that’s not builder costs. I figure it cost the builder five bucks to put in, per vanity.) I call it, “Stripper Dressing Room” lighting. Y’all have seen it, long silver strip of round lights all in a row. They put off some serious heat.

I can’t stand them.

(Sidenote: I call it that because I’ve seen movies with Vaudeville actors dressing in front of mirrors with all those round lights. We don’t have Vaudeville anymore, so I decided strippers must use the same type set up. I could be wrong… never having been backstage of a strip joint, but the name stays.)

stripper lights.jpg

So we went to the lighting stores and picked out new lighting. We’re redoing the master now, but the extra bath is next. The boys’ bath may never get redone… who knows?

We’ve settled on a new color paint. We tend to decorate old world colors, very traditional, lots of jewel tones with browns and beiges.

So after the drywall gets replaced, this will be our new project, updating the bathroom in our home, changing paint, getting rid of the stripper lights, installing new towel racks, changing the mirrors (we took them down and are having them framed). When I’ve saved up enough money, I’ll reface the cabinetry, but replacing the drywall has pretty much eaten up any extra funds we had.

Y’all may very well get the final pictures, but I think it’ll be a couple weeks. That daggum dry wall guy needs to call us! I can’t do ANYTHING until that drywall is replaced!

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

April 25, 2008

"Lessons About Mildew" or "Perils of Living in Humidity" or "Black Death" Pick one.

And so we have had… a mildew problem in our master bath. It started just on this semi circular window we have above the tub… just along the edge of the window…a black outline appeared along the window frame. Within a couple years it had slowly crept up the ceiling.

I should have done something about it then, investigated what was causing it, but it just was not on my radar. I don’t spend that much time in the room, VW and I were joking this morning that I’m pretty low maintenance and probably spend 20 minutes a day, max, my husband, eh, more. But once I leave, its out of my mind. I don’t think about it.

I think of kids’ grades, behavioral issues, work, what we’re having for supper, what appliance probably needs to be replaced due to consistent breakage and age (is it more effective to get the POS continually fixed or buy a new one?), car maintenance, general parental worries and … whatnot.

Spots of black mildew on a bathroom ceiling, don’t register other than when I’m showering and then I think, “Damn, I need to remember to take care of that…”

As good fortune would have it, my husband has a client and a friend of his partner’s that is in the restoration business. I was fully set to purchase some Killz, throw it on the ceiling and spray bleach on the window, but I also wanted the wallpaper taken down and in passing, this client of his essentially said, “Look, it’s a quality of life issue. I can take it down quickly or you can take it down and it will take a weekend.”

Wow. Guess which one won out? The thought of fighting wallpaper for 16 hours was not the winner.

So he came out a couple weeks ago and looked at the mildew problem and GASPED. Folks, I did not think it was a gaspable issue. My folks have seen it. They’ll tell you, it was spots of black on the ceiling… esthetically not appealing, but it was not a black ceiling by any stretch. It was six years of not fixing the problem... but it was not *GASP!*

He looked at me and said, “Bou, have you had any health problems?!”

Me: *blink*

What? I think spending 20 minutes a day in a small room is not going to garner anyone health problems with a little mildew. He acted like this was… anthrax. I’m not kidding. He acted like little mildew spores could somehow have flung themselves to the far reaches of my home and we were now all going to die of… Black Lung Disease.

Or whatever disease you get from mildew.

I told my Mom this story saying, “Mom, humans lived in caves for thousands of years and nobody worried about mildew!”

She said, “Uh, well, not that they knew of. You don’t know it wasn’t a issue.”

I said the SAME exact thing to the guys at work and their response? “Bou, they would never have lived long enough for anyone to know mildew was a problem. Hell, mildew could have killed them! I think they died in their 20s…”

Hell, maybe it did, I just don’t remember reading in any books that malnutrition, wild animals, and mildew were the leading causes of caveman death.

Not that they’d know…

I’m not poo pooing this issue with mildew. Not at all. I just figured that it was a bathroom and not so bad. I seriously figured they’d throw some Killz on the ceiling, bleach on the walls and Boom! it would be finished!

But no.

A team of five came in, and in retrospect, I’m surprised they didn’t have HazMat suits on considering what’s been done.

My bathroom is now hermetically sealed off from the rest of the house. I call it ET’s bathroom.
Picture 38.jpg

There is some sort of hepa/dehumidifier thing in my bedroom that ran all night. It looks like Wall-e’s bigger and blind cousin. It sounds like… wow… loud. Holy crap. Loud. I’m perpetually amazed at how the human body reacts to such violations against it. One minute you’re lying in bed to the loud hum/rumble of Wall-e’s cousin three feet from the bed, and the next minute you’re awake in the middle of the night, completely STARTLED there is this loud hum/rumble in the room with you… as if you’re noticing for the first time.

Folks, I’m not talking white noise here. This is like frickin’ NEON explosion noise. This makes white noise seem like cotton.

But yet, your ears completely don’t hear it when you sleep.

Fascinating.

My Sleeping Companion that Snores like a WindTunnel
Picture 42.jpg

And if you unzip the seal, where I was told that a negative airflow had been created at some point and now it has been completely ‘hepa vac’d’ and some other space age weird crap, you will find… no frickin’ drywall.

They took it all. The entire wall where the window was located? Gone. The ceiling? Cut out. The offending spores removed, probably in some sort of vacu-sealed container to ensure that any offending potentially life threatening spores can no longer inflict any damage on the human race.

I'm calling this photo, "Maybe We Should Use Mildew as a Chemical Weapon Since it Required Removal of ALL Drywall" or for short, "WoMD" (Sidenote, there was wallpaper on this wall... a breeding ground for mildew.)
Picture 39.jpg

I'm entitling this picture, 'A bathroom ceiling without drywall'.
Picture 40.jpg

This is a photo of Wall-e's cousin's 2nd cousin twice removed who resides in ET's bathroom.
Picture 41.jpg

Now, the interesting side… what caused it. Evidently we have had poor ventilation in our bathroom. My husband had deemed the exhaust fan completely worthless and ineffective awhile ago. When my brother was in town, I remembered I wanted to check the air vent as I was told already when the room was looked at, that it could be a ventilation problem. TN climbed up a ladder and sure enough, the a/c vent was closed.

According to the restoration people, I need to clean the exhaust vent in every bathroom every 3-6 months. OK, other than not thinking immediately that I should use the FOIL method on that math problem, am I also the only one who didn’t know that you should clean the exhaust vent in one’s bathroom for dust at least twice a year? And it makes sense since I live in Florida and dust rules here.

Evidently that was the problem. And in case anyone is wondering, yes I clean my A/C filter every month. Its part of my monthly house maintenance… I just never thought about the bathroom exhaust fans.

So that’s where we are…drywall is going up next week and we are currently discussing paint as we will be repainting. NO wallpaper. Wallpaper in Florida… let alone in a bathroom, is not a good idea according to the restoration people.

And what I've learned from all this? You may not hear a big ass'd loud fan when you sleep, but you can still hear it when you blog.

I assure you.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:21 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

April 24, 2008

Math Obsession...

And if you don't have it, you may want to skip along. At the end of this post, there is a problem.

First, sympathy for my students as I can’t get them out of my head and I obsess. I have a new student, an extraordinarily bright Algebra I student, who wants to pull an A this last 9 weeks so he can take Honors Geometry next year. He’s pulling a B to B+, so it’s not a stretch.

We were going over something pretty simple and it occurred to me when I left his house that I’d been remiss in explaining a part. I started to obsess, worrying he’d not get it, and decided I’d send him an email via his Mom. I was on my way to Publix, composing the email in my head… when I saw him in Publix! How fortuitous!!!

So the poor kid, I accosted him in Publix. He had a buddy with him and I hailed him down and explained this math to him telling him to call me later if it didn’t make sense. He just kept grinning and promising he would.

I know in his head he was thinking, “Holy crap, she’s totally whack.”

Meanwhile, I was going over something for my girl Alg II student when I realized that my boy Alg II student may have missed it as we didn’t have time to go over everything and he had a test on Friday. Obsessing over him… I am sensing a trend… I called his Mom and said, “Have him come by and bring his book, or I’ll ride my bike over or something, but I have to go over this with him!”

He’s 16 and driving. He drove. Remember those days when you were excited to go get a carton of milk?

We went over it and I realized he didn’t have a grasp on Vertical and Horizontal asymptotes and Holes of rational equations and so I ended up doing 2 hours of research on line last night, composing my own simplified explanation… far frickin’ better than his damn book… and emailing it to his Mom last night.

And in the throes of this, I got a call from my nephew. He’s a junior in high school, #1 in his class, amazing athlete and all around good kid. I love this boy. I have hopes he’ll go to Holy Cross, Fordham or Georgetown… no pressure, but I can dream for the kid.

He said, “Aunt Bou, I’m taking an SAT prep class and I want to make sure I get this problem right and I’m confused. Can you help?”

I said, “Sure! Throw it at me…” to which he did and while on the phone… it did not go smoothly.

I finally said, “Let me call you back. I can solve this….” My sister in law told me later that my nephew said to her, “I know Aunt Bou. She’s doing all sorts of weird stuff to get the answer and in an SAT prep class, it should be easy. It’s Algebra…”

Well, I DID start out doing basic math, but I knew we were in trouble when I got an imaginary number in my answer.

Here’s how it was given to me:

m^2+n^2=12
mn=9
What does (m+n)^2=?

For my Math Geek readers... STOP RIGHT HERE and try to figure it out. I'll tell you what I did next. And I tried to get the little superscript thingie to work and it didn't, so we're stuck with these stupid ^.

Doing basic substitution, no matter how I did it using the first OR second to define one of the variables in terms of the other, I consistently got: m^4-12m^2+81.

Hello? Eighty-one has two sets of factors, 9*9 and 3*27 and neither of them, no matter what you do, will get you 12.

So I decided to create a variable u and make u=m^2 so I could use the quadratic equation, u2-12u+81. I ended up with a frickin’ imaginary number in my answer.

And actually, at this point, I wanted to just solve the damn thing because I know for a fact, they aren’t going to do any funky substitution for u=m^2 so an SAT student can use the quadratic on a timed test.

But I had to know.

I called my sil back and said, “Lee, I’m getting an imaginary number after I started to take the square root of a negative number. That can’t be right. So… one of two things happened… the teacher messed up when creating this problem OR my nephew wrote it down wrong. Write all this down for what I think the problem SHOULD be and have him put it in his back pocket. He’ll get credit for it then…”

And what I thought it should be is… m^2+n^2=18.

How arrogant of me really. But this is what I thought…

n=9/m

m^2+81/m^2=18

m^4+81=18m^2

m^4-18m^2+81=0

(m^2-9)(m^2-9)=0

m^2=9, m=3
Therefore n=3

(3+3)^2= 6^2=36

However… that is wrong. The real problem is the real problem… and the solution is in the extended entry. And I told my sil, I could have worked on this every day and all day on Sunday… and it would NEVER have occurred to me to work it this way… Never.


We are solving for (m+n)^2...

Using the foil method this equals to m^2+2mn+n^2.

We know what mn is… it equals 9.

m^2+ 2x9+n^2

m^2+18+n^2

And we know that m^2 +n^2 equals 12.

Therefore, 12+18=30.

Holy crap.

Frickin' foil method... I'm telling you... substitution was my first choice. I'd never have thought of foiling it out.

BUT I WILL NEXT TIME!!!

Posted by Boudicca at 08:20 PM | Comments (36) | TrackBack

April 23, 2008

Math...

Craziness here... all dealing with Math.

More later...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:13 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

April 21, 2008

Moving Moron To A Whole New Level

A couple odd things I’ve read lately and my thoughts. There should be another award other than Darwin. Something for the incredibly stupid. I'd put these two folks up for it...

Jimmy Carter is an idiot. He was a dork in the 70s and he’s a mentally inept dork now. Someone Baker Act him. Please.

Did anyone else see this article about the pet store owner with the 12 foot python? The cop comes in to save her and she asks him to spare the expensive reptile, so he dons gloves and pries the snake’s mouth open? Meanwhile others are wrestling the reptile to keep it from wrapping itself around her neck.

I have to shake my head.

This reminds me of January when we had the 12 foot gator living in our neighborhood swimming from pond to pond. A client of my husband’s is a neighbor of ours and she said, “OH yes! I’ve seen that gator in my back yard, but when I called Fish and Wildlife they said they were going to KILL IT! So I just keep my small dog inside or on a leash…”

He told me that and I did a big *blink*. A 12 foot gator is the top of the frickin’ food chain. A 12 foot gator is afraid of NOTHING. A 12 foot gator is going to be a monster and is a hazard to… well… everyone.

So I had a bit of déjà vu here with this chick in the pet store and the 12 foot python. Top of the food chain now… and afraid of NOTHING. And someone wants to OWN that? Why not just get a 12 foot gator to roam their house while they're at it. And throw a lion in for good measure. Let them fight it out to the end to see who truly is the top.

We can call it Extreme Pet Owning.

Good God. People are so damn dumb sometimes. And to think they all vote… Good God.

Update: While I'm at it, did y'all see this article on the latest Russian Space fiasco?

No kidding, when I first read about the 'hard landing' in the news, hours after it happened, I went on this huge tirade as only I can, with my husband about the quality of the Russian space program given this was the SECOND incident and that Space... the landing of a capsule is a pretty damn exact science. Holy crap. The margin of error allowed is... well... just not. And they were 250+ miles off? I nearly had a daggum stroke... and then I started researching G forces and what those astronauts went through and long term effects, etc, etc, etc.

Good Lord.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:17 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

A New Exact Science?

One of my sons… not my oldest and not my youngest: Mom, my crap was 1 foot 2 inches.

Me: *blink*

I looked at my youngest, he was sitting on my ottoman, looking at me wide eyed and quiet.

Me: Crap? What crap?

Son: My crap. You know. One foot 2 inches.

Me: *blink* Crap? Like a foot of socks? A foot of paper?

My youngest still sat at the ottoman, looking from me to my other son, wide eyed and quiet.

Son: NO! My crap! you know… my crap.

Me: Wait. As in… you went to the bathroom?

My youngest still sat on the ottoman, this time nodding his head, in silence, still wide eyed.

Son: YES!

Me, speechless: *blink* Um. How do you know this? You measured it?

Son: Yup.

Me: Um. With a ruler?

Son: No… I just know what one foot two inches looks like.

Me: But it could have been one foot three inches? Or one foot one inch?

Son: Yeah, it could’ve.

I looked at my youngest: You bore ‘witness’ to this?

My youngest sat on the ottoman, wide eyed and quiet, nodding his head quickly up and down.

Me: Interesting. Maybe you almost set some sort of world record.

Son: YUP! Maybe!

And with that, they scampered out to play.

Good Lord, you can’t make some of this stuff up…

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

April 20, 2008

New Incentives

I posted a couple years or so ago how I hate wearing bras and how I was making a New Years resolution to not wear one anymore. As good fortune would have it, the fashion industry came out with those little spaghetti strap tank/camisole things that every young woman wears, whether she should or not, uncovered. I personally have no desire to see a woman that unclothed, in particular if there is muffin top involved, but most young women, and some middle aged women, evidently have no issues dressing as such.

That's cool. We're all different. It keeps the world less boring.

However, for me, these little tops have been great because I can throw one on, put a shirt over it and I don’t have to wear a bra. These tanks are much less confining than bras. I probably only wear a bra a couple times a week now and on weekends at home? NO.

I hate wearing shoes. I’ve posted that a number of times. I wear my running shoes because I have to. Around my house, I am barefoot. If I’m out, I wear sandals and if it’s cold, I wear clogs. I do not like shoes. They are confining and can make me miserable.

I was at a meeting yesterday with a bunch of women. My one friend is 82. She was pulling up her stockings. She still wears stockings! She said she flat refuses to wear girdles anymore and she won’t wear panty hose. It’s all too confining and she hates it.

I was like, “Hear! Hear!” and I went on about how I hate wearing a bra and shoes make me miserable, and she and the other ladies were laughing, and I continued, “The way I figure it, in about 20 years, I’ll decide all clothes are too confining and I’ll just walk around the house NUDE, dreading the times I have to leave the house, forcing me to put on clothes.”

My friend said, “Oh, but I bet your husband will be happy with that!”

Wow, talk about incentive to stay in some sort of shape… I hadn’t thought about the fact he’d have to look at my nude body all day. Hunh.


Posted by Boudicca at 08:54 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

April 18, 2008

Lost in Translation

I wonder sometimes if my children speak the same language as everyone else. Oh don’t get me wrong, we are solely an English speaking family with the exception of their father being able to cuss in Italian and their mother being able to conjugate the verb To Vomit in French, however, I think my kids must not truly understand what others are saying around them.

Take Mr. T for instance, a couple weeks ago I blogged on his needing to do a book report on a scientist. I was thrilled. We could not find the book we wanted on Daniel Bernoulli because… no such book existed, so he chose Stephen Hawking. (Sidenote: I am just beyond envious that CalTechGirl has heard him speak…)

Flash forward to today and he said, “Hey, my buddy Matthew is doing his report on 50 Cent.”

Me: What?

Mr. T: 50 Cent

Me: Wait. I thought you said it had to be on a scientist.

Mr. T: No… just someone famous.

Me: Let’s step back. Your buddy Matthew, picked some dork named 50 cent and they ACTUALLY had a book ON HIM in the LIBRARY and they didn’t have one on frickin’ Daniel Bernoulli?

Mr. T: Evidently. Hey, Matthew has never even heard of Stephen Hawking, who is only like THE smartest guy in the world. My report is going to ROCK!

Yeah, rock on little dude, something is seriously seriously screwed up with our society. Daniel Bernoulli… one of the greatest mathematicians of all time… as in… all time… and he doesn’t have a child’s biography in the library, whereas some clown I’ve never even heard of named after half of a dollar, who can’t even remember to put the frickin’ S on the end of his last name ‘cent’, has a book? Some guy probably dumber than dirt and won’t contribute jack to our society or to the human race in the way of higher thinking or… or… or… ANYTHING, gets a book?

WHAT.IS.THAT.ABOUT?

Damn.

Off my soap box. My son needs to learn how to understand what people are saying or not lose the translation as he brings it home to the family. I’m happy we did a famous scientist, but… those weren’t REALLY the directions.

Meanwhile, we have Bones. He came home the week before Spring Break, pinging off the walls as only he can do after school in the full throes of the bounce back effect he gets from his Ritalin after it’s worn off.

“MOM! MOM! MOM! MOm! Mom! mom! *bounce bounce bounce* We HAVE to sign up for this Jump Rope for Heart. *wiggle bounce jump tug-on-Mom’s-arm* We HAVE to!”

So we did. It’s a jump rope-a-thon held in a couple weeks.

He came home on Tuesday and said, pinging off the walls as only he can do after school in the full throes of the bounce back effect he gets from his Ritalin when it wears off.

“MOM! MOM! WHY did I sign up for the Jump Rope for Heart?! *bounce, whine, shuffle feet, bounce* I can’t believe it. I don’t want to do it. *bounce, tug-on-Mom’s-arm, get-in-Mom’s-personal space, mope-up-and-down, bounce*”

Me: You WANTED to do this. What is up?

Bones: Mom. I HATE jumping rope! You have to jump rope!

Me: *blink* Umm. Yes you do.

Bones: NOBODY TOLD me you had to jump rope!

Me and his brothers, collectively: *blink*

Me: Umm, Bones, I figured that was obvious since it’s called “Jump Rope for Heart”.

Bones, doing the saggy body mopey exasperated thing he does: NO! It wasn’t. And I hate it. And I’m not good at it and… I don’t want to do it. At all.

He won’t have to. I realized that we have a really serious scheduling conflict with it, but we all thought it was so funny. WHO would NOT know that Jump Rope For Heart had… jumping rope?

Novel concept. Indeed.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:20 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Golf Extended

Only because so many people said it in the comments, I felt inclined to post it instead of replying in the comments.

Heh. Folks... I live near PGA National HQ. REALLY REALLY REALLY close. My son has had lessons with golf pros from said HQ. The problem is we don't take him out. He's not expressed a great interest until now and I'm not going to waste cash on lessons with a pro if he's not going to follow through with practice.

That said... we are sending him to camp for a week this summer. Its the same one he went to last year. It's not cheap, but everytime he goes, he gets a lot out of it.

So... yeah... the lessons are covered. ;-) One on one with a pro is covered. We just need practice and some refresher lessons. It's been nearly a year since he's had them, he's made some improvements and its time... but we have it covered.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:11 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 17, 2008

Strengthening the Weakest Link

All of you know… I have a 13 year old. He’s a great kid. He is. We have our issues, but living with anyone day in and day out will give you… issues. He is growing into his own person… I am finding him to be a very complicated individual and I think that’s good. People should be complex.

I think what I’ve blogged upon most lately is that he does not speak so much. He is quiet. Quiet and funny, quiet and sullen, quiet and contemplative. Quiet is the norm. Social… with his buddies, not so much with us.

His younger brothers annoy him, sometimes rightfully so and sometimes because he’s a bit prickly.

In general, I try not to ask any questions that allow for a monosyllabic answer and in those cases, I tend just to receive a shrug.

He doesn’t like school much, is unmotivated and bored, but we’re working through it and I’m trying to find him incentives to do well. He has a couple teachers working with him. I have hope.

But what I found is… when I am on the golf course with him, he talks. He may not talk about what is going on in his life, but he talks.

He made the preliminary cuts for the school golf team which means he’d played 18 holes before and had no behavioral issues at school. He didn’t make the final cut as he is missing consistency in his stroke. That’s cool; the kids who made the cut practice a lot. He has a goal now and although obviously disappointed he’s not devastated. He thinks the kids who made the cut deserve it and that compared to them he did not. But he’s also not the worst who tried out and I think he took solace in that, even though I’m sure he was in the bottom quarter.

Throughout spring break, I would take him to the public course across the street. Depending on who was working the cash register, it was either $9 for me to chauffeur him around for 9 holes or $14. That is in total… cart fee, greens fees, everything.

The first day I showed up, I asked the Starter a ton of questions, while acting remorseful my son did not take up swimming. He said, “He can’t make any money swimming!” He took to calling me Ms. Daisy as I drove around on the cart. My son kept saying, “Mom, you’re allowed to go faster…” He gave me the tips on where I could and could not drive. We laughed a lot during that first round.

Mainly at me.

It’s cool.

The big thing is, I can never see where his ball lands. I’m near sighted but not to the point it affects my life when I don’t wear my glasses. Whereas my Mom and brother were legally blind without their glasses before they had eye surgery, that is not my case. It is just an inconvenience for me, getting worse only in the fact that squinting doesn’t cure it so much anymore.

Glasses are my friend during night driving.

But during golf, that near sighted thing is a real pain in the neck. He hits it and it vanishes into thin air. Nothing. It’s like a magic trick… “Now you see… Now you don’t.”

I was driving the cart and said, “Son, I have NO fer-ick-in’ clue where your ball went.”

His reply? “Mom, its that white orbital shaped thing right in front of you. Look. You drive, I’ll steer. See it? Now? Mom. It’s right there…”

I told him I wished we could video tape those first two holes with my getting the hang of the cart and trying to figure out this stupid game and looking for his ball. The conversations were very funny… he spent the entire time grinning.

I like that.

I said, “Dude, what in the HELL would we do if it was ME that was golfing?”

He said, “Mom, we’d get you a bright pink ball so you’d not miss it.”

I think I’d just need a BIGGER ball. Maybe beach ball sized…

He talks. He laughs. He grins. Good holes and bad. We laugh equally at good shots and bad.

Giddy me: “Holy crap! Dude! That was great!”

Him, grinning and excited: I know! Did you hear it! It was GREAT!

Or bad shot, me: Man, that sucked.

Him, grinning: That… did. Wow.

Or…

Me: Son, that’s the fifth ball you’ve hit into the water off that tee… we’re kind of wasting cash.

Him: I’m done with this tee. Go drive on the fairway, I’ll just roll it on and play from where it rolls.

Me: We can do that because… we aren’t playing anyone. It’s just you against you.

Him, contemplatively: you are right… every hole could be a hole in one, right?

Me: Son in your little world, you make the rules. They’re all holes in one…

At one hole he went to tee off and the guy in the adjacent hole teeing off, hit a bad ball. We heard a “F***!” as the guy threw his club down.

I raised my eyebrows and looked at my son. He burst out laughing. I said, “Dude, don’t ever take this game too seriously. It’s a game… have fun.”

He came over to me and said, ‘What is up with that? He’s not even playing for money…”

Me: There’s no cool mill riding on that hole and you aren’t playing for your retirement. Deep breath, have a good time. If you’re that bunched up over the game, find something else to do, because that means… you’re not having fun.

He agreed and we laughed about the ‘F*** guy’ the rest of the way he played.

Meanwhile, on the next hole we were adjacent to some guy playing the ‘yellow’ tees which is professional. He said, “Mom! I want to watch this guy! Stop here.”

So we stopped and the guy hit it and we heard the nice ‘THWACK!’ of a perfectly hit ball and then a “Gooooooong!”

I looked at my son and whispered, “What was that?”

He whispered back, “It was that big metal light post… he hit it.”

The guy shook his head grabbed a club and waved to us. I waved back and said, “I know he is bummed he hit that post, but damn, that’s pretty far away. I think that should be your new aspiration… to hit that metal light post.”

The rest of the ride, he’d hit a ball kind of far and one of us would say, “GOOOOOONNNNG” and imitate the sound of the ball hitting the post.

Let me say, I do not like golf. I’ve always struggled with categorizing it as a sport (I know, I’m going to have readers hate me for that statement… but it is what it is), but that said, I absolutely adore Tiger Woods. I think HE is a tremendous athlete, a true gentleman and a damn hard worker. He is a great role model in a time that it pisses me off when people look to sports for role models.

But golf has provided me with an opportunity for me to connect with my son. I don’t know how long it will last. I can’t give him tips. I am just now learning the terminology. I know he drives well, putts not so well, and pitches OK. I know he’s consistent, whether a par 3 or 4, he’ll hit a six. I know he always hits the ball… he connects every time.

I know he grins a lot.

I know he hates people waiting on him, as mellow as he is; he keeps an eye out to invite people to play through.

He has a great perspective.

And I have a good time.

I never saw this coming… connecting with him on a golf course. Never.

But it makes me happy and I hope… it lasts.

When he got cut a couple days ago I said, “Son, I can take you out still. Let’s shoot for next year’s team. I can still take you out once a week…”

And his reply to me... with a grin... was… “Or twice.”

I have hope.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:56 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Routers, Mickey and Thoughts Running Through My Head

Craziness. Absolute craziness. Posts in the hopper, but not ready for Prime Time.

I’m having one helluva time with my router and will be purchasing a new one shortly. As for now… I never know when I’ll have access. Pisses me off to no end… meanwhile, I’m trying to figure out for sure what marathon I’m doing, and it appears the Disney Marathon in January 2009, the goal being to do the Nation’s Triathlon in the fall of 2009… but its all just mental conjecture right now.

I’m blogging over Elisson’s along with a cast of characters other bloggers whilst he traipses through Japan.

I’ve read a couple funny posts… they are very adult, but still absolutely cracked me up. This post by Holder, because I just thought it was damn funny... maybe its a science thing as to why I thought it was, but I couldn't quit laughing at the potential thought process.

And THIS Post by Bob, because it reminded me of the women in my family… my Mom is notorious for getting words a bit messed up, but in fairness, Mo and I have it as well… but Mo wins for sure, one way or another.

We still tease about the time she was 12 and playing Trivial Pursuit with TN and she says said something like, “A substance containing no medication and prescribed or given to reinforce a patient's expectation to get well.”

TN replied, “Placebo.”

She looked at the answer and smugly retorted, “NOPE! Place Boe!”

Heh. She’ll never live that down and now its on the internet… gotta love that.

Meanwhile new words to the song about the pronounciation of tomato vs tomahto run through my head except with Bob's Scrabble words... You say Felatio, I say Gelato, lets call the whole thing off!

Posted by Boudicca at 06:12 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 14, 2008

If People Get Paid for Sex... Why Not?

Parade magazine comes out every year with this ‘what people make’ article. It takes up the entire magazine. If y’all don’t know what Parade is, it’s the magazine that comes out on Sundays in most people’s newspapers.

I always read it when the ‘what people make’ section comes out. I find it… interesting… to see people who have amazing jobs helping society like Victim Advocates, fire fighters, social workers and the like making some sub standard living while people like Miley Cyrus pull in something obscene like 18 Mill. I may be off on that number, I pulled it out of the air, but I think I’m close.

It just boggles my mind. I know what my profession tops out at, but I always kind of wonder what others top.

Also, I enjoy looking to see what various people actually do to support themselves. The article has a wide variety from professional clowns, to farmers, to teachers, to tow truck drivers, to billiards players to airline baggage handlers.

The gamut.

And then… well… only in America, can you find that… someone can make a living as… a competitive food eater. No kidding. There he was.

“What do you do for a living?”

“I’m a competitive food eater. I eat as much and as fast as I can. And I get PAID to do it.”

Only in America (and maybe Japan) do people get paid to eat as much food as they can and to eat it as quickly as humanly possible. Getting paid for yet another primal necessity. I wonder if people get paid to breathe too... or... well... we won't go there.

Truly truly boggles the mind. His Mama must be so proud…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:42 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

All Is Quiet On the NorthWestern Front... of the State

The call was a good call and she should be out in a few days minus an organ and some pieces and parts. Preliminarily, she is fine and we expect the path report soon.

I don’t know if I could have handled bad news, honestly. And as hard as the recovery will be from this… she has been through worse. This will be a blip on her radar… a big one, but a blip, nonetheless.

Anyway, I sent them six pints of Ben and Jerry’s. You can send ice cream on-line and although it’s not cheap, I figured of all the stuff I could send, she’d be able to eat ice cream or sorbet the quickest. Plus, although ultimately she is the one dealing with this... there is also her three boys and her husband worrying, so I figured the entire family could do an ice cream party.

Not that she’ll feel like partying anytime soon. Drugs will be her friend for a long time to come I suspect.

Ben and Jerry’s is extraordinarily efficient! I ordered it this morning and its been shipped from Vermont already and they sent me a little tracky thing so I can track it as it gets to her house! It’s the little things in life… really.

So… this is what I sent. Unfortunately, not knowing exactly what they like, the choices have ME written all over them, although I have it on good authority that her boys love chocolate and I KNOW she does.

1st pint = Berried Treasure™ Sorbet
2nd pint = Chunky Monkey® Original
3rd pint = Neapolitan Dynamite™ Original
4th pint = Peanut Butter Cup™ Original
5th pint = Vanilla HEATH® BarCrunch Original
6th pint = Chocolate Fudge Brownie™ Original

I’ll try not to be a pest to the family, but I’ll be calling every day, if anything to leave a message. I guess it’s my MO. When he was a POW, I called her every day, just to leave messages, sometimes two or three times a day… and honestly, they endured that whole mess… they will endure this too. I won’t bug her husband like that… but it will be taking a lot from me not to! GRRRR

I get to see her in July... it is not soon enough.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:37 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Pathetic Attempts to Help

Waiting. Waiting. Waiting.

I can do nothing. It sucks.

I called her husband to get his cell. I don’t want to be a pest, but I need to know how this goes. I told him it sucks to be her, it sucks to be him, and on a lesser level, it does suck to be me because I want to fix this and help. I can do neither.

I’m 600 miles away. I can do nothing.

So I sent 6 pints of Ben and Jerry’s… one of them sorbet in case ice cream won’t sit in her stomach well after surgery. It should arrive in a few days… just in time for her to be home.

Sucks. Sucks. Sucks.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:44 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

April 13, 2008

Taking a Gander at the Future

I took the boys to a new store today called Gander Mountain. I’d never heard of it before, but heard they had camping supplies and being we have another trip coming up and that we do need a 2 man tent (for something else), I thought we’d stop by.

Good God.

We tried Saturday, which was evidently the Grand Opening. Bones said, “Dad is not going to believe you when you tell him it’s worse than the mall at Christmas.” That’s exactly what it was… worse than the mall at Christmas. (My husband has been out of town this week… so I’ve been trying to think of fun things for the boys to do… going to Gander Mountain made them happy. They evidently have a great supply of air soft and paintball guns.)

We left. I was afraid we’d never get out of the parking lot it was such a zoo.

We went back tonight to scope things out and Ringo looked at me and said, “Mom, we’re the only people here not driving a… truck.” Sure enough, other than my mini-van in the parking lot, there were only two others. It was a full lot… of big ol’ pick-em-up trucks.

It’s a great store… I think they’re going to put Sports Authority out of business. I did say to my husband though when he called, “This store brings out the inner Redneck in all of us…”

This afternoon I had to get to the bookstore to pick up the book Hoot for Mr. T. Ringo HATED reading this book in 5th grade. Actually, he declared he hates reading anything that Carl Hiassen writes.

Ringo: All his stuff has a moral. I hate that.

Me: *blink* Umm…because we should all live in a moraless society?

Ringo: It’s not that… it’s just… I hate it. I read Flush and it had a moral too. I had to read it in Lit.

Me: What was the moral to Hoot?

Ringo: I forget.

Mr. T: Don’t hurt owls?

Evidently the moral was not so impressive that Ringo remembered them. Hiassen is known to be a great adult author, but evidently in Ringo’s eyes he’s missing it on their level. And my boys didn’t like the movie either.

As we were driving home, Mr. T said, ‘Do you know, some people like to read encyclopedias?”

Me: Yeah, I used to love sitting down and reading encyclopedias.

Mr. T: *blink* You did?

Me: I LOVED it. The libraries had The World Book Encyclopedias and during library time, I’d pick a letter and read. I loved those. That’s how we used to do all our research papers too! We didn’t have the internet back then…

Mr. T: *GASP* You Didn’t?!

Here we go again. ‘Back in the day…’ Good Lord I can’t escape it this weekend. I’m so old in my children’s eyes. We didn’t have microwaves so we boiled hot dogs, and we used encyclopedias because there wasn’t internet.

But really, what it begs of me is… what will be discovered in the next 10 years… that my boys will say to their kids, “But we didn’t have that growing up…” something that they use every day, all the time, in their lives, that their kids will be like, *blink* “you didn’t?!”


Posted by Boudicca at 08:32 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Slicker than Teflon

This is a political post of bewilderment.

Remember Slick Willie? And how nothing would stick to that man?

What in the hell does that make Obama? Never in my life, did I expect to see someone say and do so many potentially offensive things, and get a total bye from the public.

Hang with a bigot for 20 years? No big deal.

Pigeon hole the small town American working class with a back slap? Let it sliiiiide.

Good Lord. Never.

Talk about reverse discrimination at its finest. If a white man had done any of these things, they’d have tarred and feathered him morning, noon and night for days and days. Nightly news, short news blurbs, front page of the paper, every magazine in print would be calling for his head.

White man goes to a church for 20 years that hates black people? He can kiss his ass goodbye for any public forum. His name would be mud. And nobody would ever let him forget it.

Obama does the same, and he feels the heat for a couple days, and then its smooooooth sailing and he’s home free. Kisses and hugs from the general public and all appears to be forgotten.

White man lumps the small town working class into a bitter group that cleaves to anything, and the media would have him drawn and quartered in the streets. He can kiss his ass goodbye for any public forum. He’d be the rich white man completely out of touch with America. People would want to see him fry. On the 6:00 News.

Obama says the same thing, and although he is catching some flak right now, I guaran-damn-tee you, in a couple days it’ll be smoooooooooth sailing and he’s home free. Kisses and Hugs from the general populace and all will be forgotten.

I’m sorry, but the man gets away with things… America is OK with the people in which he hangs and the things he says… because he’s not white.

That just absolutely boggles my mind. Slick Willie had NOTHING on Obama. Obama took the slick and perfected it.

Absolutely amazing.

It reminds me of that old expression TGOO used to use, “Slick as Snot on a Door knob.”

Maybe it should be Sno’t’bama. Blech.

Or like he’s coated in Lube. Just call him KY Obama. And KY doesn’t stand for Kentucky. Just sayin’…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:31 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

April 12, 2008

Back in the Day

My kids are addicted to something called Raymon Raving Rabbids II for the Wii. They asked me to rent it for the week before they pooled their money to buy it.

I don't know why its Rabbids and not Rabbits as its definitely rabbits.

The 'rabbits' look like Zombies. I think I may have nightmares.

The 'rabbits' play music from the 70s and 80s. I walked in as Ringo was playing it and I said, "What is THAT?"

He replied, while not looking up and bobbing the Wii controllers all over, "Smoke on the Water".

Ummm. Yeah, I knew the Deep Purple song. I wanted to understand why Zombie Rabbits were singing it.

I walked in to see Bones moving furiously, one arm twirling while the other pulsed towards the TV, while the song Celebration by Kool & the Gang blared. If I thought the kid had any coordination issues, they are officially gone.

Good Grief.

I was told spinning one's arms makes the bunnies spin.

So I have Guitar Hero which has introduced a plethora of music to my children, that they would not have ordinarily listened to, such as Paint It Black, by the Stones, which is a most excellent song to run to.

And I have this Zombie Bunny Wii game having them listen to groups like Deep Purple and Kool & the Gang which is a frickin' odd mix.

Meanwhile, my eldest said to me, 'Mom, have you ever heard that song, Freebird?" I nearly choked. I closed my eyes and shook my head, took a deep breath and said, "Of course."

He replied, "I love that song..."

The temptation to ask him if he's smoking weed was overwhelming. But instead I said, "Well... back in the day...before there were cell phones... everyone swayed back and forth with their lighters up in the air lit, at concerts when Freebird was played."

He said, "Oh yeahhhh! I heard about that..."

I loved when I had to explain to him later that we actually boiled hotdogs because... back in the day... we didn't have microwaves.

Good Grief.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:18 PM | Comments (12) | TrackBack

Waiting on Low Simmer

We find out Monday afternoon if she has cancer.

She did everything right. She didn’t feel well and went to the doctor. She was blown off. She had a woman doctor who ‘specialized’ in women’s health and when she complained of pain on her left side, she was told it was normal as she was over 40. All exams always came out normal.

And she went back and said, “No really…” and was told that this was so normal and to just suck it up.

And then at 18 months, as the pain was getting worse, she switched doctors and the new one said, “I don’t care if you’re over 40, I’m getting you an ultrasound”.

A simple test.

One that could have been effortlessly ordered 18 months ago.

And they found a large tumor on her ovary and tube.

Additional exams and tests… a CA-125 was seriously elevated, but being one data point instead of the many data points fed into an algorithm making the test more accurate, was just that… one data point, that could be elevated for myriad reasons, one of them endometriosis, with which she has always struggled.

Surgery is scheduled now and she wants them to take it all, cancer or not. It seems extreme to the doctor as the new protocol is to leave stuff alone if cancer is not there. But my friend… she doesn’t want to own the equipment anymore.

Ovarian cancer runs in her family as does breast cancer. Estrogen related cancer is in her family all over the family tree. Women in her family have died of ovarian cancer, which makes this 18 month oversight all the more sickening to me.

She keeps telling them, “You cut me open and you take it all. The whole thing. Don’t slice it up and take it out, just scoop it out intact, get it out of me… the uterus, the tubes, the ovaries, leave nothing.”

The surgeon has told my friend that she has made her wishes crystal clear, but if cancer is not there, she may not be allowed to take it… but I suspect the good surgeon will find a way to make all these pieces and parts just go away.

Some may think my friend is being extreme, in the event there is no cancer. I don’t. I’d be saying, “Take ALL my girl parts and while you’re at, take my breasts, shoot me full of testosterone and make me a MAN!”

I’d be done. So very very done.

We will find out. I am waiting. I am sickened by it. If she has cancer, I will be angry… angrier than I’ve been in a long time, wanting to rail at the world with rage… yet no where exactly to direct it.

But I am counting on it being OK. I am counting on it being benign.

Because quite frankly… I can’t wrap my mind around it being any other way. The strongest woman I have ever met in my life… I cannot begin to comprehend it being anything other than… nothing.

Not now.

And... since I can't be there... I'm ordering them ice cream. Lots and lots of ice cream.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:50 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

April 11, 2008

Nobody Consulted the Queen

So I have this girlfriend I’ve known since I was… 20. Mmmm… puts her as one of my best girlfriends for 22 years. She’s not the one I’ve known the longest and she’s not the one that’s been through the most with me… but she’s close to the top for the enduring friendship through bad shit race.

And tonight when I was in the shower, the phone rang, and I just got the message and it’s a very to the point message, as this is how my girlfriend is, being an engineer, she sugar coats not much and is very direct, peas in a pod at times she and I are, and the message said this, nearly verbatim (we talk like once a year):

Hey girl. I hope this is still your number. Its me. I have some big stuff coming up Monday. I was just calling to tell you… I love you. You’ve been a great friend. I don’t know what I would have done without you. So. I love you, girl. Bye.

*click*

So its too late to call and y’all know as much as I do, although the hands will tilt in my favor as I call her tomorrow to get the scoopage.

I’m guessing surgery. Potential big C. Not sure. Definitely surgery.

But here’s the deal. If I know you and correspond with you… if I consider you a friend… without a shadow of a doubt, you aren’t on the ‘deserve to die’ list.

Nope.

If you are an Al Qaeda sympathizer, a terrorist, or you do bad things to children, then… chances are pretty damn good that you deserve to die, preferably quickly and with minimal cost to the taxpayer.

Mmm… that puts my girlfriend, Marine wife, Mother, smart as hell Engineer, and all around great gal… on the safe list.

But sometimes life doesn’t consult me. Which I find puzzling. As most who know me know I really am the Queen.

In my world anyway.

I like to think…

Interesting.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:00 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Time Are A Changin'

Yesterday I had Son#4 spend the night.

He called the other day to speak to my eldest. I looked at Ringo as I handed him the phone and said, “Holy crap, his voice dropped two octaves.”

It’s been dropping for awhile, but it was more obvious that it’s solidifying when I picked up the phone this go round.

I went to drop Ringo off at his house and holy crap, he’s getting a moustache too.

While Ringo was gone, a buddy of his called the house and I answered. Once again, it was like talking into a well.

All these boys, the changes are a-happenin’. All over the place. Facial hair. Voice changes.

I know it happens… but I just didn’t expect it… NOW!

And if there were an award for funniest damn comment, Peggy U would get it for her comment in THIS post… about flatulent cows. Good Grief. There are days my commenters so make this daggum blog…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:41 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

April 09, 2008

Mine Fields in ManHunt

The low light of last night's manhunt game in my front and back yard as well as that of my neighbor's was...

My neighbor has TWO big dogs. There are two sections of the yard that are used for... pottying. I'd not know these sections. I don't go in their yard nor do I watch when they let their dogs out to... potty.

And so as the kids were playing, my middle son ran into the neighbor's yard and evidently SLID in a big huge pile of dog poop. Slid as in poop got up his leg as well as onto his sandals.

He came in, walking stiff, and promptly took a shower.

It was funny only because... well, it was funny on many levels, but on one level because if I had one son I would most elect to be like 'Monk' (the TV show, not a priest type person), I would select him.

This morning I was out riding my bike and I saw my neighbor. She said, "Bou, I was out walking the dog, and it appears that one of the kids went sliding through some poop..."

I raised my eyebrows and smirked, telling her it was my middle son. I told the kids before they play again, they need to really get the lay of the land.

They need to stay away from the mine fields...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:11 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Insight into Working Aero

In light of the issues going on with the various airlines and their inspections, or lack thereof, I thought I’d dig this out of my email.

For the record, in my last job at Company X, a very well known aerospace corporation, Fortune 50 type, I worked in a group that analyzed mission data. Pretty much all the guys in my group had shrines to Amtrak in their cubes.

It wasn’t the military business that made me nervous. If I had a choice between flying a military aircraft and flying a civilian… I’ll choose military hands down any day of the week. I’ve worked military aircraft maintenance off and on for 20 years and I have never worked with such dedicated people and I prefer the way their maintenance programs are set up.

And so… You might work in the aerospace industry if… (with my commentary)

1. You sat at the same desk for 4 years and worked for 8 different managers. Or have moved 10 times in two years and have never known who your boss was. (This is not normal?)

2. Your resume is on a flashdrive in your pocket. (We didn’t have flashdrives…)

3. Someone asks you what you do for a living and you lie. (This has been known to happen. It prevents people’s eyes from glazing over…)

4. You get really excited about a 2% pay increase. (YES!)

5. Its dark on your drive to and from work. (Holy crap, I remember praying I’d not fall asleep on the drive home.)

6. Fun is when "projects" are assigned to someone else. (Typical conversation where I now work, Me: YOU got assigned that project?! BWAHAHAHAHAHA!)

7. Communication is something your "group" is having problems with. (Rule #1 with engineers… they do not communicate. I suspect most are mildly autistic…)

8 . Free food left over from a meeting is your main staple. (Good God, especially if its cake.)

9 . All art involves a white board. (Umm… engineers are very visual. Lots of figures… ‘art’.)

10 . All real work is done prior to 8:00am and after 4:30pm. (In case you miss this one, it’s because the core hours are filled with… MEETINGS! Gah! Luckily, this is not the case in my current job where I notoriously SHUN meetings. Meetings peg my ‘fight or flight’ instinct. Flight comes to mind.)

11 . You're already late on the assignment you just received. (Oh hello… this is not the norm at other companies?)

12 . Dilbert is your favorite cartoon. (Isn’t he everywhere?)

13 . Your boss's favorite lines are ...
"When you get a few minutes ..."
"I have an opportunity for you ..."
"Cross-charging is forbidden."
"...the directional truth in a white water world ..."
"We have a new culture that will enable us to ..."
"We have a new engineering vice-president."
"This reorganization will allow us to streamline our way of doing business, of becoming more competitive." (Oh I could add to this… dealing with the new ‘quality initiatives’. Six Sigma. Quality circles. ACE. ISO9000….)

14 . 99% of the people in your company do not know what you do. (Yup.)

15 . 99% of the people in your company do not care what you do. (Absolutely, nor do I care what they do.)

16 . Vacation is something you rollover to next year or a check you get every January. (Uh. No. At the companies I know of… you don’t use it, you lose it. What is this check of which they speak? Rollover? Please.)

17 . Change is the norm. (I wish I could post a picture of the Power Point slide I have posted at my desk of the organization I work within Company X. As a joke, I refuse to print a new one everytime there is a personnel change. Instead, I cross out the name and print the new one in a different color ink. On one slot, I’m having to resort to highlighters next as I’ve used all colors of available ink. To not have change… we’d wonder what was wrong.)

18 . Nepotism is strongly encouraged. (Oh hell yea. Everyone is someone’s daughter/son/niece/nephew/spouse. Inter company marriages are the norm.)

19 . Your company announces no pay increase because it is investing money in a new aircraft development.(See #4)

20 . Your company announces no pay increase because the airline industry is in a downturn. And your boss gets voted "man of the year in aerospace " (See #4.)

21 . Your fear to fly is becoming even worse. (In my old job at Company X, a couple of the guys had shrines to Amtrak in their cubes. I love Amtrak. Very much. You would too… if you only knew… Muwahahahahaha. BTW, they may not communicate, but engineers are really funny guys. Really.)

22 . Everyone at the company says that without his work there would be no aircraft. (Nope. Not me. Without my work, they would find someone else to do it or there would be a work around. I’m not so egocentric.)

23 . An ordinary secretary has more power than an old engineer. (We don’t have secretaries. What is this job of which they speak? We got rid of the secretaries about 10 years ago because engineers know how to type…)

24 . You read this entire list and understand it. (Hell yeah.)

25 . Not allowing firearms on company property is seen strictly as a suicide prevention measure. (Well… no… it’s a ‘going postal’ prevention.)

26 . The only people you forward this to are in aerospace too because no one else would understand! (I don’t know… I suspect some of this stuff is the norm in all companies. Doesn’t every company have pointy haired bosses?)

Posted by Boudicca at 08:31 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

April 08, 2008

Living As Kids Should

Boys will find boys.

And occasionally a girl who fits will stumble upon them and play.

It is 9PM and I have seven boys and one girl playing manhunt on our and our neighbor’s acre.

Yelling, running, laughing… and flashlights.

Can’t beat this with a stick…

(It is obviously Spring Break.)

Posted by Boudicca at 08:15 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

When I Come Back, Let Me Run In the Snow, Not Swim in a Bowl

And so last Thursday, as I was leaving the school with boys in tow, I had a frown on my face. The principal looked at me with raised eyebrows. I said, “Pets. They want pets. I am being beaten down for pets…”

He said, “Mrs. L, be strong! Remember the word… NO.”

We laughed and I got the kids to the car.

Y’all remember how I came home with three fish, three hermit crabs and a hamster. By the way, the hermit crabs names are Meatloaf, Pork Chop, and Clam Chowder. There is suspicion that someone was hungry when they were named…

Anyway, I had to see the principal on Friday afternoon after I picked up the kids. He had some things to ask me. I went in, head hanging and said, “I tried… but we have pets now.”

He replied, “Oh? What did you get?”

I said someone morosely, “Three fish, three hermit crabs and a hamster.”

His face lightened and he gave me the fist to fist bump and said, “Hey! That’s GREAT! Those are the perfect pets! NO MAINTENANCE and you forewent the cats and dogs and all that comes with those!!! PERFECT!”

With a look of horror on my face, I retorted, “NO! We do not do big mammals in my home. No more mammals. No more potty training mammals, no more baby mammals… I’m done with taking care of mammals. Three boys is enough…”

So come Saturday, one of the fish had already committed suicide. It jumped out of the tank, landed on Ringo’s sock, and then when he got it back in the little glass bowl, the fish started swimming upside down, indicative of some sort of neurological damage, if fish even have a neurological system. He died shortly thereafter.

The other two fish died yesterday.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, Mom, Morrigan, and I attended a fantastic meeting where the speaker was a woman I know that works the Iditarod. She is a chip checker… checking the chips on each dog to make sure they are registered and what not. Sixteen dogs per team, sixteen teams she usually checks. She is an absolutely AMAZING woman and her talk was just outstanding. We could not get enough of her.

I will tell any of you, if you get a chance to ever listen to someone speak knowledgeably about the Iditarod, please do so. It’s absolutely fascinating.

So she told us how the Mushers spend their time taking care of these dogs. The dogs are in top condition, obviously, and are very well loved and taken care of. Vets are at the major points, checking the dogs and pulling any that do not seem fit. A team can end the race with no fewer than six dogs this year and five dogs in previous years. And if a Musher realizes a dog is not fit to run for any reason, I believe the dog goes in the basket and is carried to the next stopping point where the Vet will take care.

All of it… I just can’t say enough. She said that after each run, the dogs are fed (special food) and the Musher will massage the dogs’ feet and bodies. These dogs LOVE to run and their Mushers take extraordinary care.

I’m adding it to my list of top 100 things I want to do before I die. I know, y’all are laughing yourselves silly at thinking of me in Alaska in the winter, considering when it drops below 70 I don a sweater and below 60 I am miserable, but it’s a mental thing and having the right clothing and I just… must go. Just to watch. I must go.

Anyway, so between the ‘pets’ we acquired this weekend and listening to this extraordinary woman speak on the Iditarod and all it entails and the care of the dogs, I came up with the following:

If you lead a wonderful life, you are kind and good, then you come back as an Iditarod dog.

If you lead a crappy life, are a real creep, mean and black hearted, you come back as a little fish, stuck in a tiny little glass bowl, owned by a 13 year old boy.

Heh.

My 13 year old doesn’t think that’s too funny…

I see a fish tank on the horizon… a real fresh water fish tank. My husband has owned one before. As long as I don’t have to care for it… I’m cool. I see it coming though…

And for your reading enjoyment… a flavor of this year’s Itadrod. Very cool reading…


Posted by Boudicca at 08:11 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

April 07, 2008

Big Boys and Small Boys... Boys are Boys

This evening TN and TGOO went outside to play airsoft guns with the boys. At night.

The other night when this was brought up, Bones said he was going to dress all in black. TN said he was going to get naked and paint his body green so he blended with the grass. The boys thought this was a riot.

Tonight they all went out, TGOO with a bandana around his head, everyone with eye protection, and nobody naked painted green. The boys were all in black.

TGOO and TN would hide and then I guess they had multiple rounds of gun fights. To be honest, I think they hid because they were so full of coconut cake, they weren’t about to run around the yard with the boys. TGOO and TN would hide and then my boys would quietly run in single file, through the house, through the front door, and disappear into the war zone.

Everyone came back in laughing and sweaty. TGOO said it was a blast. Bones said he loves sleeping after they play like this.

The boys showered and Bones and Mr. T were asleep minutes after I turned off the light.

We’ve had so much fun…

Posted by Boudicca at 09:33 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Cannonball Run

A couple nights ago, I made something called Cannonballs for dessert. TGOO used to have them at the Naval Academy when he was a Midshipman. I got the recipe from him 20 years ago and make them on occasion when we have guests. I decided to make them with family in town, as I felt certain TN hadn’t had them since we were kids.

TGOO doesn’t remember the last time he had them… he thinks 20 years.

I think the key to enjoying this dessert without feeling like you want to be ill is to pick small apples. The bigger the apple… the more you wish there was a vomitorium nearby.

This is essentially a cinnamony/sugary individual apple pie with a wonderfully rummy/sugary hardsauce on top… the hardsauce melts over the cannonball and is really… yummy. I prefer to serve these in a bowl.

Cannonballs for Six

1 package Pillsbury pie shell dough (2 come in the red square package)
Cinnamon sugar
6 apples (bigger is not better… just sayin’)

Core and peel the apples.

Take the pie shell doughs, while still rolled, and cut each evenly into four pieces. (This gives you eight pieces of dough and you will have dough leftover.)

Take one piece, unroll, cut in half, and piece the parts together blending so there is no seam, so its not one long piece but more squarish. Roll out on a floured surface so that when apple is placed in the center, the dough can wrap up around the apple.

Place the apple in the center of the dough and fill with cinnamon sugar, to the top of the core hole. Pull the dough up and around the apple, patting the dough so the apple is covered in pie dough. The hole at the top should be covered in dough. It should look like a pie dough ball.

I have found that sometimes the bottom of the apple is a bit too structurally weak to handle all the cinnamon sugar, perhaps rolled a bit too thin, so I take a small piece of extra dough cut into a square, roll it out a bit, and wrap the bottom of the apple as reinforcement. I blend the dough reinforcement into the dough around the apple.

With a spatula lift the apple off the floured surface and place onto a greased cookie sheet.

Repeat with remaining 5 apples.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes, or until dough is golden brown.


Serve with Hardsauce (a big dollop on top is most excellent!)

Hardsauce

½ lb confectioner’s sugar
¼ lb butter softened
1 T rum

Beat sugar and butter until light. Add rum (or rum extract or vanilla extract) and mix.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:58 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 06, 2008

Six Words, T1G Sucks, It's Finished

I have been tagged by T1G for this 6 word memoir Meme. I've worked on it. Its the Memoir thing that has thrown me!

Here are some prelims:

Good God, Why Am I Cursed? does not cut it.

T1G's a pain in my ass. Sounds better!

Sucking at Creativity for 42 years. We're getting closer.

Boys Drool, Girls Rule, My Life. Heh.

But I think this is what I'm settling upon:

House Full of Boys, Chaos Reigns.

BoysatRiver.jpg

It doesn't describe my entire life, but it most definitely describes it now!

And the Rules are:

1) Write your own six word memoir.

2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like.

3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere.

4) Tag at least six more blogs with links.

However... I'm tasking you instead, to leave your six words in my comments. Y'all are the creative bunch.

Most definitely...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:17 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Some Days We Feel Like a Nut

My family is still in town and we’ve been cooking like crazy. Tonight’s dessert was a Coconut Cake.

I had heard people rave about this cake, but had never tried it. What I found is, it is light as you eat it, and then as your blood sugar goes up, you realize, “Holy crap, I am full!”

EXCELLENT cake.

Easy cake to make. For your enjoyment… should you choose:

Coconut Cake

1 yellow cake mix
1 4 oz vanilla instant pudding (the box closest to 4 oz)
1 1/3 cup water
4 eggs
¼ cup oil

Blend the first 5 ingredients (2 minutes)

Add
2 cups coconut
1 cup chopped nuts

Bake in three 9 inch pans, 350 deg for 30 minutes.

Frosting
2 Tbs butter
2 Cups coconut

Melt butter in skillet. Add coconut. Cook over low-medium heat, stirring continually until coconut is browned.

Cream
1 stick of butter
8 oz cream cheese
1 lb confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp milk (if needed)

Add 1 cup browned coconut to creamed mixture. Frost between layers, sides and top. Spring cake with remaining browned coconut.

If I remember, I'll post last night's recipe... cannonballs. Any USNA grads may remember those...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

April 05, 2008

Limericks From a Toof Fairy

Well... per the last post with the little poem that TGOO wrote for Mr. T's teeth, readers commented that they expected a lymerick.

The limerick was discussed some this afternoon... but the limerick that kept coming up about some guy named Dave who kept a dead whore in a cave and something about money saved... just didn't cut it as we couldn't quite figure out how to fit teeth into the verbage.

So.

Cleaned up... a limerick suitable for an 11 year old boy, from the Tooth Fairy who evidently sucks and keeps forgetting to pick up the teeth.

There once was a lad from Monroe,

Whose pile of teeth continued to grow,

As he slipped into bed,

And laid down his head,

Said, "That Toof Fairy owes me some dough!"

Posted by Boudicca at 09:47 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 04, 2008

Writing Tooth Poetry Under the Bus

Mr. T feels like he’s in the know.

Yesterday when we were in the pet store buying our pets, there were two rabbits in a cage next to the hamsters. One was male and one was female.

Mr. T said to me, “Mom… what are they doing?”

I looked at him, raised an eyebrow and looked down at him.

He said, “OH!”

Then finally, “I’ve never seen… rabbits… do it.”

It was kind of funny. He was amazed at the whole thing and even happier that he once again knew something his younger brother did not.

Someone is going to be surprised when they get a pregnant bunny.

Flash forward to lunch today when Mo threw me under the frickin’ bus. Leave it to my sister to come in town and within a couple hours she’s already saintly and… well… I’m not so much.

Not that I ever thought I was…

Anyway, it was Mo, Mr. T, Bones and I sitting in the Food Court, while Ringo was with his buddies. Currently Mr. T has pretty much no teeth other than his front four top and bottom teeth. He has lost his eye teeth and molars… nearly all at once. Its been six teeth in four weeks.

So as we sat there at lunch, I said to Mo, “Look at him, he has no back teeth…”

Mr. T showed her his lack of back teeth and something came up about the Tooth Fairy. And that’s when it just went downhill.

Mr. T: It took like two weeks for her to come get four of those teeth.

Mo, looking askance at me: REALLY.

Bones: Yup. It took forever. And he STILL has two more teeth under his pillow!

Mo, looking at me, pointedly, and then back at the boys: REALLY?!

Mr. T, knowing full well he’s throwing me under the bus as well: Yup, one of them has been under for 2 weeks and the other just from two days ago.

Morrigan: So what are we going to do about this? I mean, surely the tooth fairy should have to do something because she’s missed so many days…

Me: Sure, because you know, she just sucks, because its not as if she has anything else to do like clean a house, work, take care of a family…

I was ignored…

Bones: I think she should have to pay us one gold dollar for every day she’s missed.

Me: *blink*

Mo: *blink*

Mr. T: Yeah!

Mo: Well, interest doesn’t work that way. I mean, those missed days are probably only worth a few pennies to the bank. Do you REALLY want a handful of pennies?

Mr. T: Not really….

Mo: I think… I think the Tooth Fairy should have to write you a poem. I think something creative?

Me, staring her down: Creative? The tooth fairy has to be frickin’ creative?

Mo: Yes… I think that would be a good thing… leave a note for her that she has to leave you a poem.

Me: Roses are red, violets are blue… I forgot your teeth…

Mr. T: … and I hate you.

That pretty much closed it out. Mr. T seemed to take great pleasure again in being ‘in the know’. He was in on it with the adults.

Tonight I slipped in and swapped teeth for money.

Sidenote: In this house, every single tooth is worth a gold dollar. When Ringo was 5, I went to the bank and got as many gold dollars as we had baby teeth in children’s heads and it was a heavy big pack of coins. Now… there are so few left.

Mo told TGOO this story about the teeth and TGOO sat down and wrote a poem on a 3 x 5 card and Mo put it under Mr. T’s pillow.

Roses Are Red
Teeth Are White
Thorns Will Stick You
But Teeth… Will Bite!

Love, Toof Fairy

This should be interesting tomorrow morning!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:51 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 03, 2008

From Sliding to Shaking

My son has a GREAT bass guitar teacher. He's young and cool. He's a great musician and my son has completely connected with him. His teacher incorporates all the modern technology, things like using his iPod while he plays.

Ringo downloads his music and then plays the part that his teacher has written for him... he can hear the music and play along.

He is mastering Slide by The Goo Goo Dolls. My son is loving this... playing Rock 'n Roll.

When he was finished today, I said, "How'd it go?" His teacher looked at me and said, "Well... he's playing AC/DC next."

I replied, "That's cool. I'm OK with AC/DC."

He got kind of quiet, shuffled his feet and said, "Well, their lyrics are questionable on this song."

I said, "Hey, as long as they aren't calling women bitches, I'm cool." He laughed.

We got in the car and I said to my son, "What are you learning next?" and he said, "Oh my teacher was worried you'd not like it. Its called, "You Shook Me All Night Long." I told him you'd be OK with it."

I looked over and said, "I told him he can pick anything he wants as long as its not calling women bitches..."

My son grinned.

Evidently we'll be listening to a lot of AC/DC in the next few weeks...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:18 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

The Growing Zoo

My brother in law, Flam, arrived this afternoon. I’ve spent the day doing last minute things getting ready for everyone’s arrival. Morrigan arrives tomorrow morning, my folks in the afternoon, and TN on Saturday.

We had an 1.5 hours to kill between school and Ringo’s bass lesson this afternoon. Suddenly the urging from my boys to ‘get pets’ became a continual chorus. They wanted pets so they could show their Uncle TN.

I started my day with just me in my asexual Mom-mobile.

I ended my day with one mother, three boys, three fish (two glow fish and a neon tetra), a hamster and three hermit crabs.

We have pets.

Still no partridge in a pear tree. Don’t count us out, however. It could still happen…

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

Teaching About Great Minds

Elvis has left the building and been replaced by… Stephen Hawking.

My second son has to do a report on a scientist. Being a mathematician, I said to him immediately, “Oh, how about Bernoulli?”

I explained who Daniel Bernoulli was and what he had done. He seemed excited. We looked him up on the internet. But when we got to the library, to the Juvenile section, there was not a book on Bernoulli. Not one.

He was deflated.

I stood looking at the vast book section with such an enormous omission and finally said, “Carl Sagan. I think you should think about Carl Sagan.”

And this was the conversation to the best of my recollection.

Mr. T: Carl Sagan? Who was that?

Me: Oh he was only one of the greatest scientists in explaining space to the every day person! He was a FANASTIC teacher. He could take all these complex theories and put it in such a way we could all understand without having to be a scientist.

Mr. T: But… what did he discover?

Me: Ummm… I don’t think he discovered anything. I don’t know. But he was an AMAZING teacher…

Mr. T: But… did he discover anything?

With that, I realized, this ‘discovery thing’ was important to him and I said, “Stephen Hawking. You need to read up on Stephen Hawking, one of the most brilliant scientific minds of our time.”

And at that, I pulled out the ONLY book on Stephen Hawking. I’m going to make an assumption there were many and they all got checked out. I was still astounded that they had a book on frickin’ Sandra Bullock, but not on Daniel Bernoulli.

Mr. T looked at the book and said, “Mom, what is wrong with him?”

Me: He has ALS, also called Lou Gehrig’s disease. His body is broken.

He sat there looking at the book and reading the back.

I continued: He is a perfect example of why you cannot judge someone based on how they look. You should not be afraid of anyone or shy away from anyone who is handicapped. Just because something is wrong with their body does not mean something is wrong with their mind. A brilliant brain can rest inside that body that doesn’t quite work or inside that body that is completely broken.

He sat there for a moment and said, “He’s married…”

It took all I had to not say, “The brain is the ultimate aphrodisiac”. I refrained and said, “Geeks rule the world. If you have personality and sharp mind, you will get the girls.”

He smirked and got the book. His report will be on Stephen Hawking. I love this…

Posted by Boudicca at 08:57 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

April 02, 2008

History... On a Personal Level

I am fortunate to know some people who have lived through some pretty amazing times.

For instance, I know a man who actually had spoken with Patton. I can call him up and ask him how Patton's voice sounded and he'll remember. (He did NOT sound like George C. Scott.) He was a young tank commander under Patton.

So today, given all the reading I'd done on MacArthur, and fully settling into my own opinion that he was an egomaniac and Truman did the right thing for firing him for insubordination, and thank GOD he was NOT allowed to frickin' NUKE China, because can you imagine what in the hell this world would be like now, not only environmentally, but because if we'd used Nukes then, God knows who all would have Nukes now and freely use them, the political ramifications are absolutely astounding, I decided to ask my dear friend who is married to the man who spoke to Patton about MacArthur.

Wow, how was that for a huge sentence?

Anyway, I saw her today and said, "Did your husband ever speak to MacArthur and if so, was he really the nutjob I think he was?"

She is 82. She said, "Oh Bou, he was an egomaniac of the worst kind. He was absolutely what you called him, 'a nutjob', and Truman could not fire him fast enough..."

And then she proceeded to tell me stories of his firing that I'd not read. I told her I had to ask because History... I want to know it from someone who was there if I can.

She said, "Well, history is written by the winners, but rest assured, MacArthur was not right" and we proceeded to then talk about odd relationships in his life.

Very fascinating. Very odd. Very fun.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:05 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

If I Were Elvis, I'd Hide Under a Pile of Books... Real Quiet Like

Elvis was Lost and now he is Found. Tomorrow he is off to the library so he doesn’t get lost… again. Which is possible. Because this is my house… and chaos reigns.

I do need to give credit to my eldest, who sometimes is the voice of reason when I'm just... done. We were in the asexual Mom-mobile and I was saying to Bones, "You need to think! I am starting to pay fines on that book! Think. Where did we have it last?"

Finally Ringo said, "Mom, did you renew the book?"

I looked at him puzzled and he continued, "Mom, IF you renew it... then there are no more accruing fines and you have 30 more days to find it... for free."

Bingo! Of course I renewed it today and found it this evening.

Meanwhile, on my mind lately has been this thing about people should walk 10,000 paces a day for good health. Have y’all heard that?

I’m a pretty active person, so I’ve thought, ‘I bet I get close to there’. Hell, I figured just walking around with laundry and walking from my sink to my stove repeatedly as I cooked probably got me damn close.

10,000 paces.

Folks, that is a lot of paces. I decided to figure it out.

To put it in perspective, I went to the gym the other day and did the elliptical for 30 minutes. For those of you who do the elliptical, for the one I do a Precor machine w/out arms, I tend to keep it at about 170- 180 strides/minute, except when I’m doing interval training when I do one minute at 200-220 and 2 minutes at 170-180.

The other day, I got my heart rate elevated up to over 170, which is kind of unheard of for me, so I was really really pushing it. (My resting heart rate is around 50, so to get me as high as I did, I'm sprinting and pushing... and obviously sweating like crazy and seriously thinking about vomiting.)

I hit not quite 5000 paces.

There is no way in hell, that unless you go outside and walk for an hour, you hit 10,000 paces a day. No way. And I bet it has to be an hour.

I’m not saying that’s a bad thing. I personally think everyone needs to try to get at least 30 minutes of cardio a day and an hour really would be optimal. We are a very sedentary society and that’s not good.

But it has put a whole new perspective on how you really do need to work to get that 10,000 paces.

Meanwhile, the song I work out to the most lately is Breathe (2AM) by…Anna Nalick. I love this song. The lyrics are great.

I like the chorus,

But you can't jump the track, we're like cars on a cable,
And life's like an hourglass, glued to the table
No one can find the rewind button now
Sing it if you understand.
and breathe, just breathe
woah breathe, just breathe,

Good Lord if that’s not my life on most days… telling myself to breathe.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:54 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 01, 2008

Of Generals, False Elvis Sightings, and Hate

My fifth grader got in the asexual Mom-mobile today me and said, ‘Mom, Did you know that General MacArthur was in Korea and he wanted to bomb China, but President Truman said no because he didn’t want the Chinese involved (he meant Soviet Union), so he went to Congress. President Truman got mad and fired him.”

Folks.

Did you learn all this in 5th grade? I don’t think I knew who the hell General Douglas MacArthur was in 5th grade. I had no idea about many things at this age that my son has come home with as of late. I know for a fact we did NOT study the Korean War.

We did not.

I’ve been researching General MacArthur today. Interesting stuff, that history. I think his social studies book didn't get it quite right with the Congress stuff and exactly why he got fired, but he and I need to do a little research.

He’s also been studying Rosa Parks and the civil rights movement. Later on in the car he said, “Mom, does Obama hate white people?”

I got quiet and said, “I don’t know.”

He continued, “He says he doesn’t hate white people.”

I said, “Remember how I tell you to be careful who you hang out with because you will be judged by the company you keep? Well, Obama has been going to a church with a Pastor who says some pretty awful things and appears to hate white people.”

He pressed, “But Mom, DOES HE hate white people?”

And finally I said, “Buddy, I don’t know. I think if he truly liked white people, he should have stopped going to that church and hanging out with a man so full of anger and hate. I personally don’t think it looks so good.”

Meanwhile, my hunt is still on for the missing Elvis library book. There have been NO sightings of Elvis in this home. Dammit. I even checked in the asexual Mom-mobile as it has been known to eat things… you know… like the kite eating tree.

Sometimes things just disappear in there.

It wasn’t in the vehicle.

The hunt continues. It doesn’t help that Ringo swears he saw it one day, but can’t remember where. I think it was a false sighting. Given the topic of the book, it would be appropriate.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:11 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack