February 28, 2009

Sleepless in Atlanta

It is nearly midnight and I can hear my sister pacing with the baby. She, the baby, is very squeaky tonight.

Is it a bad thing that I've nicknamed her Squeaky Fromme? Heh. Probably.

The weird crap that pops into my head. I suspect that this child, like my eldest, will be two years old before she knows her real name. Mo and I have a hundred nicknames for her each day.

I offered to pace with the squeakster tonight, but Mo said she has it under control.

I'll pace all night long and think nothing of it. I can sleep when I get home... Mo cannot.

So the pacing and squeaking continue upstairs... hopefully there will be sleep for the weary soon.

The little chupa lupa is so yummy, her little fuzzy head the size of an orange, her little cheerio lips, her sweet smell, her tiny sighs... but she is exhausting to her Mama.

I'm going to miss her.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:53 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Feeling Toasty in a Timeless Classic

OK.

I’m taking a poll.

Cardigans… timeless or dated?

I have clothes in my closet from the late 80s, early 90s. Yes, I still fit in them. Not pants… just a few shirts and some sweaters.

It irritates the ever living stew out of Mo, so I wear them around her INTENTIONALLY.

I wear them at home because… I like them.

For instance, I am currently wearing a black tank top with a brownish mauvish purplish cardigan circa 1989. I love this sweater.

Mo hates it.

I’m not sure why. I keep telling her, “It’s a CARDIGAN! They don’t go out of style. Think Mr. Rogers.”

Mo: Yes. Mr. Rogers.

Me: Yes. Timeless.

Mo: Shoulder pads are timeless?

That’s her beef. This cardigan has small shoulder pads I’ve neglected to cut out.

Me: Hardly noticeable. I wear this sweater to work.

Mo: *blink* You do? No.

Me: Of course! Just like this, with this shelf tank. It’s a GREAT sweater.

Mo: You work with engineers. They don’t notice.

Me: Timeless.

So I’m sitting here on line trying to find this sweater as she says I might be able to. It was made by Tarazzia (ring any bells, girls?) around the time that my Forenza sweater and socks and my Outback Red sweater were made.

None of this is around anymore.

Mo would say, ‘mmmm. I wonder why.”

She taunts me. I don’t know how I live with it.

Oh wait. I don’t. She’s in Atlanta.

It was listed under… vintage clothing. Holy crap. I didn’t find my sweater, but found other clothes for the now defunct clothing company.

To me, a cardigan is a cardigan. Sure, I need to cut out the tiny shoulder pads, but really… a cardigan is a cardigan. Hell, I’m wearing it with low rise jeans.

It’s like her giving me crap over my County Seat turtle neck. NOBODY can see it’s by County Seat. Only SHE knows it because she has seen me wear it for 20 years.

Sheesh.

She wants to sign me up for some show called, “What Not to Wear” on TLC.

Please.

I look great.

Heh.

Just ask my Dad…

Posted by Boudicca at 06:03 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

Who's Playing This Sport Anyway?

Bones had another Lacrosse game today and this time they lost 8-2.

I’m pretty happy.

Their first game they lost 16-0. Second game 6-0. This time 8-2.

I am sensing a trend. Total annihilation, a solid beating, and finally scoring.

Call me an optimist, but I think they’re improving.

One of the things that stressed me out so much last week, other than teen angst, is kids’ sports. We don’t play rec sports with our kids for a reason.

First, my kids are annoyed that sports act like their life should revolve around it, multiple practices, games, coaches carrying on like whatever sport should be central to all else.

They hate that.

They like to learn the sport and then they’re done. Their attitude is, “I’d rather play outside at home, then in a sport that rules my life.”

Second, we don’t see any reason for the vast crazy competitiveness of kids’ sports. Drafting, loading teams, etc. To us, it is to teach them how to play on a team, understand strategy, learn the sport, and fine hone some athletic skills.

Our kids will not be playing sports as a job out of college or high school. It’s supposed to be FUN.

Third, the parents, and really it is the reason for our second reason. And THAT is what has stressed me out this week. Parents ruin kids’ sports. I don’t get it.

It is as if they are trying to transfer themselves onto the field… living vicariously through their children. It makes me sick.

And I can’t go into it as I try to have a do no harm policy. I have nothing nice to say as to what I have heard this last week and what I have witnessed.

I find it revolting.

And depressing.

We ARE finishing out the season as we are not quitters. We are finishing as I think Bones needs this sport right now. He is enjoying it (the only reason to play), is sleeping well on nights he’s played (big bonus), and is understanding team work (a life skill).

After this season? I’m not sure. It costs a lot of money… a ‘rich white boys’ sport’ and we’re not rich white parents.

I’m not impressed by how the league has handled a few things. I’m not impressed by some of the parents.

At this point, however, it is invisible to Bones and that’s all that matters.

And hey, the only lost 8-2.

As for the teenage angst, the latest drama gone, the new one as he’s totally pissed off that for 8th grade superlatives for the Yearbook, he got, “Most Likely to be a Spy”. He wanted to be, “Most Likely to be a Rock Star.” Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 05:57 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 27, 2009

Sweetness

I know I said my sister gave birth to a monkey, but you have to see the baby.

She is so yummy and cute and sweet, but she has these LONG toes that look like monkey toes and... she is losing the hair on the front of her head and she has this sweet little tiny face with these large eyes and I said to Mo, "Oh, she looks like a baby Orangutan!"

She doesn't... but the hairline... it is funny.

I've spent the day smooching, hugging, loving, walking, inhaling, and whatever else I could do with this wonderful package of love.

Tonight she was fussing and not wanting to sleep so I told Morrigan I would walk her. The Flambina was fussing on her own and I said, "I'm going to walk with her because... I can. On Monday... I can't."

So we've walked and talked and I've shown her the baby in the mirror, of which she has barely an interest, she's more interested in the contrast between the mirror and the frame.

I've smooched her sweet cheeks as she's been perched on my shoulder.

I've smooched the sweet back of her neck when I have her facing out and we explore the room.

I've nuzzled her neck as she quietly slept in my arms as I walked around the kitchen.

She is yummy. I had forgotten how yummy they are at this age and I had wondered if I'd remember how to hold a baby so small, how to burp it, soothe it, keep it safe.

I did not. It came back instantly.

She is so yummy.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:55 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 26, 2009

Cheep Cheep!

My sister gave birth to a baby monkey.

All is well at home, having gotten resolved this afternoon. I don't think I can do any more teenage drama.

I'll stick with baby monkeys...

She is so tiny, only as big as my boys were when they were born. I cannot imagine how tiny she was four weeks ago. Of course Mo can't believe I had a baby that big in my body.

I can't believe she had a baby smaller...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:26 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 25, 2009

Smoochilious

Today took a turn for the worse and the incredibly absurd.

Much hangs in the balance for one of my kids over the next few days. It could be prove to be interesting. Will adults act like adults? Will a child be forced to be the adult in a weird and stupid situation?

I'm amazed at what swirls around me at times.

I don't know how people do things without a cohesive family unit. Sometimes it is the family that makes you insane, but at the same time is the only thing that keeps you going.

Family synergy.

I'm off tomorrow to see my niece. She is my mental happy place as of late.

I'll be posting from Atlanta.

Ciao.

sleepy G.JPG

Posted by Boudicca at 10:59 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

February 24, 2009

Off

I'm in such a bad place, such a sh*tty mood, that I can't even blog.

Yesterday the internet was down all day. Today anything I tried to write sounded like trite drivel... as if what I write is not trite enough.

Today just sucked so bad I cannot be thankful enough that its over.

Seriously bad place.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

Seriously bad frickin' place... The foulest mood I can remember being in... in years and trust me... I can get in a bad mood.

Bad place. Bad. None of it bloggable.

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

February 22, 2009

Jar City

Have any of you read Jar City? Its an Icelandic mystery novel.

Yes? No? Recommend?

It would seem I'm on a Nordic roll with my choice of reading as of late. I really enjoyed The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and look forward to its sequel coming to America in July.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:21 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Morbid Marital Musings

Me: I had to ask your father a series of questions. He wants to go to XYZ Funeral Home because Price is closed. (See below post...)

Husband: Really?

Me: I frickin' HATE XYZ funeral home. I hate it.

Husband: Yeah, I remember.

Me: NO. I need to reclarify. I HATE IT. It smells, its dark... its cheap feeling. If I die, you are NOT to send me there. I don't care if every family we know goes there. DO NOT SEND MY BODY THERE.

In my mind, there are two types of funeral homes. Actually, there may be more, but in particular, this has been my experience.

There are the high end funeral homes, that try hard to make it feel like home, even though it really can't, and there are the funeral homes that TRY to appear high end, but either didn't have the cash to go high end or had a crappy designer and ended up with a feel of cheap high end on the cusp of brothel.

There is nothing like the feel of walking into a funeral parlor and wondering if they turn tricks there at night... or if they just shared the same decorator as the local whore house... if there was a local whore house.

Husband: OK... where do you want to go then?

Me: I'm working on it. I'll get back to you...

He doesn't even blink after these conversations anymore, we've had them so many times. Death is always at my door in the form of someone I know.

When my girlfriend, J, died of Leukemia, some of you may remember that he had to endure my telling him even what dress to put me in.

My body doesn't fit into that dress anymore.

He and I need to talk again... more in depth.

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

Lessons With Pop

We're working on getting Pop situated and acclimated to his new digs. (We moved my fil into Assisted Living yesterday.) Its a big change for all of us.

My husband was returning the moving truck to U-haul, when I sat down with Pop to go over paperwork the place needed to have. His mind is sharp. He's not lost any of his faculties... his body is just worn out.

I went through the series of questions, 'Pop, what hospital do you prefer? What pharmacy?" and moved into the next set that was a bit more... humbling.

"Pop," said I, "Do you have a living will?"

Pop: Yes.

Me: What is your DNR status?

Pop: I have a DNR order.

Me: Ummm...

Pop:

Me: Uhh... *blink*

Pop:

Me, deep breath: Pop, what is the funeral home you prefer?

Pop:

Me:

Pop: XYZ Funeral Home I suppose. Price is closed now. They did Lou's funeral. XYZ I guess.

The questions I had to ask... it was humiliating for me. I was embarrassed to ask him.

For the most part, he didn't care, but I went through page after page, looking at them thinking, "Crap."

Me: Pop. They're making me ask you about your bowel habits...

And Pop, without skipping a beat would tell me.

Me: Pop... there are a series of questions they need me to ask you but I can't. You have nothing wrong with your mind. I'm just putting down that we did them, OK?

Pop: How stupid are the questions?

Me: Don't go there. I can't embarrass the both of us by sitting here acting like you might not remember three words after I repeat them.

Pop: You're kidding...

Me: OK, here's a good one. Count backwards from 100, by 7, until you get to 65.

Pop:

Me:

Pop, giving me a blank look like you're kidding as he had JUST quoted every single phone number of all his doctors, his son's and the hospital and the frickin' pharmacy... from memory: 100, 93... 86...

Me: OK, wait, stop, you win. I can't count backwards by 7 that fast. I'm putting down you can do it all.

Pop laughed.

And on it went.

I met a woman named Nancy in his hallway. I'm sure I'm going to get to know everyone. I met her, had a nice conversation with her, she flirted with my 13 year old son, who shamelessly flirted back, and sat down with her and her female friend while I went to unpack Pop's stuff.

My son would rather have talked with the residents than hung out with us any longer, which is cool, because little does he know he'll be doing all his volunteer hours for school there.

I saw Nancy again in the hall today.

Me: Hi, Nancy!

Nancy: Oh hi!

Me: It is Nancy, correct? I will be seeing you frequently, I just wanted to make sure...

Nancy: Yes it is...

I was in the car tonight after we picked up Pop to take him to dinner. I said to my husband, "I met Nancy again tonight."

Husband: You'll meet her for the first time every time you meet her...

Me: No...

Husband: Yes, I'm afraid so...

It's a change for all of us.

We're in the process of trying to get a new mattress into his pad as the reeking smell of urine followed him into his new place... as it is fully attached to his mattress.

Bones sprayed febreeze in his place today. I walked into the intermingled overpowering smell of urine and febreeze and nearly gagged.

One step at a time... we will all adjust.

I haven't decided yet whether it is better to be like Pop, with a full mind but broken body, or Nancy, who has no mind and a fully functional body.

I think I want to just die in my sleep before I have to find out...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:14 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Artists, Sand, Fish, Thankfully NO Birds

Today has been one of those days, again, that we left the house early and got home late.

And it’s a Saturday, which kind of sort of sucks.

Bones had a Lacrosse game today, so we were out the door, my taking with me my niece, as my husband and his brother were set to move my father in law into Assisted Living. (My sister in law works weekends.)

In between I was gathering sand in buckets for a party I’m helping to throw tomorrow for Cub Scouts.

Artistic people kind of make me nuts at times. Sometimes they are not very… practical.

I’m shaking my head as I write this. The functionality doesn't appear to exist in their planning.

I don’t relate to them on any level at times.

For instance, I’ve been helping plan this for the last four weeks. I’m planning it with two very artistic women. They decided it was a Hawaiian theme and that beach buckets full of sand would work great as the beginning of a center piece for half the tables. (We’ll get to the other half of the tables in a minute.)

I volunteered to buy the buckets from the Dollar Store not fully realizing that ‘she who has the buckets… fills the buckets”. So today, amidst the moving my father in law and the sports, and looking after my niece, I had to go to the beach to fill these buckets.

I called one of the women as I sat in the parking lot of the beach with my niece and eldest son and said, “Talk to me about your vision. HOW FULL EXACTLY do you want these buckets because I see… tippage. These suckers could tip over in my car and I’ll be vacuuming sand for years.”

Now in my mind, I’d already figured out how to get the buckets wedged so they’d not fall and make a mess, but the more full the buckets, the bigger the probability that sand would escape... in mass.

She said to me… get this… “Why are you taking each of the buckets? Why didn’t you just take one BIG bucket, fill it with sand and put it in your car?”

*blink*

I sat there for a minute and said, “Do you realize HOW HEAVY that big container would have to be, to carry enough sand for ALL these buckets? And then I have to CARRY it from the beach to my car, and then LIFT it into my trunk?”

She laughed and said, “Oh! I didn’t think about that!”

*blink*

Right.

The other half of the tables?

They had me buy 10 little round fishbowl type bowls from the Dollar Store as well, and they are having goldfish as the other center pieces.

Some may think it’s really a cool idea, and how they describe what they’re going to do does sound cool.

In theory.

But I can’t help but picture a fish or two that die during the meal as well as fish pooping as we eat.

Nothing like watching fish defecation to get one’s appetite going.

Whatever.

I said fine, bought the bowls and found… that ‘she who has the bowls, must also buy the fish’.

I HATE FISH. I hate fish and birds. I find them disgusting and dirty and at least I tolerate fish; I do not tolerate birds.

Fish and birds are only good when cooked and are sitting on my plate ready to eat. Fish and birds are nasty when alive.

The thought of buying these fish and carrying them in my car along with buckets of sand, was more than I could stand. Luckily I said to her, “I will have chocolate covered strawberries in my car. I think someone else needs to get the fish, lest the chocolate melts.”

Someone else is picking up the fish.

We got home from moving Pop in at 9:00. Tonight. I immediately started to make my assigned potato salad and chocolate covered strawberries.

I’m beat.

OH!

And my husband told me tonight that he was there when my niece got on the phone with my sister in law and said, “MOM! I spent the entire day with Aunt Bou! It was the BEST DAY of my entire life!”

OK. She’s 6. Not a very long 'entire life'.

And not bad for the adult in the family who gets the bad rap for not letting any kids get away from anything. I’m known to reign with an iron clad fist at times, according to the other adults.

Funny she had the best time of her entire life with ME.

Cracked me up.

Posted by Boudicca at 12:18 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The First Day of... The Next Chapter

We moved my father in law in today… into Assisted Living.

I have a lot of thoughts in my head about it and we’ll see how this works. It was time… he was falling more and more and he needed someone to clean his place, wash his clothes, get his meals, bathe him a few times a week, and to pick him up when he fell.

Remember when you sent your child off to school the first day, whether it be pre-school or kindergarten?

Remember that concern, “Will they make friends? Will they like it? Will I have to fight for them to go the whole year? Will… they make friends?”

That’s kind of where I am. The concern.

Will he make friends? Will he like it? Will we have to fight for him to stay?

But mostly… will he make friends?

I so want him to be happy and to have rich and full relationships. I want him to have friends.

Posted by Boudicca at 12:11 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

February 19, 2009

Random Thoughts on Society and Life

Am I the only person in America that had not heard of Rihanna before it became public that some guy I'd not heard of named Chris, had decided to beat her?

No clue who these people were.

None.

But I know now.

Here's my quick take... he's not remorseful... he's only remorseful that he got caught and that his career, whatever the hell it was, is taking a dive because he beat a woman.

And his career is ONLY taking a dive because he beat this chick Rihanna. If it had been any other woman, the press would have turned a blind eye and Chris the dickhead would not be remorseful.

Also, I had to wonder if Chris the f***head witnessed this particular behavior pattern from his father or from some man his mother was with... if his folks aren't still married.

His parents must be so proud... in particular if they taught him this behavior.

----------------

Mr. T asked me to correct yesterday's story regarding the Chinese man being executed.

His actual statement was along the lines of a cannibal and a Chinese man were both to be executed and they executed the Chinese man first and the cannibal asked for Chinese food as his last supper.

You know... we had to get that cleared up, because what I put yesterday was just NOT ghastly enough.

We had to clarify the ghastliness of it all.

-----------------------

We are having lay offs at work. So far I am fine.

Here's my beef.

We are laying off because the work is being sent to subcontractors overseas instead of subcontractors in the US, which normally you might think, "Hey, who cares?" except this is National Defense work and it bothers me on a very deep level that work being done on a very modern aircraft that is a very important part of our air superiority is being done by folks who are not Americans.

And being done poorly. There are a lot of redos...

So... you know that joke about the great comfort the US military pilot must take in knowing that his ejection seat and airplane were built and manufactured by the lowest bidders?

He can now take solace in the fact that all after market work is being done by the lowest bidder NOT in America.

Love that.

Enough said.

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My dryer broke after drying the fourth load of laundry today and with a wet load in the washing machine.

Not happy.

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I have pictures of the Great Flambina to post, but have not had the time yet. She is just as yummy and smoochilious and I see her next week.

GRRR... I cannot wait.
---------------------

I liked my hair better in Colorado.

I officially have a toenail fungus due to the problems I had with the marathon. Any suggestions on this Vicks Vapor Rub cure? Can you do it if the toe doesn't have a toenail?

I will spare the gruesome story...

I'm so damn attractive, I scare myself sometimes.
----------------------------------------

I'm exhausted...
-------------------------------

On Saturday I'm meeting some women I trained with and taking my first foray back into cardio exercise since the marathon.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:09 PM | Comments (15) | TrackBack

February 18, 2009

So Many Lines Crossed...

Let me refresh the pet history and status.

We have owned four hamsters, four goldfish, a dog for one week, and two beta fish. We currently have one beta fish, everything else has died except for the dog, which we had to give back, because if you recall he fell madly in love with me and hated everyone else causing great family stress.

In our possession we have the 90 gallon fish tank that we used to house the hamsters in… one at a time as we never owned more than one… at a time.

It was the frickin’ Palm Beach condo for hamsters… that hamster had more equivalent living space to body size than the average person in America probably does.

Mr. T is currently doing something with mealworms in Science. I believe he is tracking their life cycle from beginning to end. In a glass jar he has three mealworms, a couple cups of oatmeal, lettuce, parts of an apple and whatever else he may deem edible for a mealworm or two or three.

He takes his mealworms into Science, along with the progress chart, every Tuesday or Wednesday.

Pay attention to the wording… he takes them in which means… he keeps them at home and once a week I transport him and his jarred crew to school.

Today, he got in my car and said, “Mom, after this experiment can we have mealworms for pets?”

And the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection.

Me: What?

Mr. T: I thought maybe we could take that fish tank and fill it full of mealworms.

Me, thinking he meant the one beta fish tank which is a 6”x6”x6” cube, that is currently empty as the beta fish met an untimely demise: I don’t know. We can talk.

The boys, cheered.

I sat there for a minute wondering why they were cheering.

Mr. T: GREAT! We can get 1000s of mealworms and put them in that tank!

Me: Wait.

Ringo, laughing: That would be GREAT.

Me: Wait. THOUSANDS of mealworms? They won’t fit in that old beta fish tank.

Mr. T: NO! Not THAT tank. The old tank we put the hamsters in! We could have our own mealworm farm.

Me: NO.

The boys were no longer cheering.

Mr. T: They don’t require any clean up. It would be easy…

Me: WE ARE NOT HAVING MEALWORMS AS PETS.

Good Lord.

Tonight, we came home and the two younger boys had his mealworms on the kitchen table, splayed out on a paper towel. Two worms were there, while he sifted the oatmeal back into the glass jar.

Bones: Mom… remember when the jar fell over in your car?

Me: *blink*

Mr. T, looking at Bones: I really think he slipped through one of these holes in the top of the lid.

Me: *blink*

Bones: Well, Mr. T is missing one now and we think he’s in your car.

Me: There is a mealworm in my car.

Bones: Yes. And we’ll never find him…

Mr. T: He’s probably under a seat…

Bones: He blends…

Mr. T: We’d never find him…

Nice.

So on top of all the other weird crap that has been in my car, please feel free to add, “a mealworm.”

Meanwhile, as we drove around town, the boys got into some bizarre conversation about cannibals and I swear this conversation occurred.

Mr. T, not wearing his politically correct or sensitive hat today: Mom, let’s say that you have a cannibal in an execution chamber and the guy they are executing is Chinese, and they use the electric chair and burn him. If the cannibal asks for Chinese food, will they just feed him that Chinese guy in the electric chair?

Me: *gasp*

Bones and Ringo laughed.

Me: That is so not right…

And then the conversation continued on the ways to execute from the old fashioned ways, to the ways in Florida, to methods in other states, and how firing squads work and what happens if a guillotine doesn’t work right, and on and on and on…

… and after about five minutes I finally said, “Enough.”

I just couldn’t take it anymore.

Blech.


Posted by Boudicca at 10:23 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

February 17, 2009

Life's Nasty Turns

We hit the ground running this morning, leaving the house at 7AM and arriving home at 4:30 and then off for Bones' lacrosse practice.

Tomorrow will be uglier, leaving at 7AM and arriving home around 7PM. I strongly suspect it will be fast food for supper. I don't think I'll be able to manage much more than that.

Tonight I became an expert on past and present participles, antecedents, possessive pronouns, demonstrative pronouns, definite articles, indefinite articles, and on and on...

Are my kids the only ones who still learn this in school? We're heavy in grammar in our school... and I like it.

We had a father in our school die last week. His funeral was on Monday... and we missed it as we were away.

He was six months younger than I... leaving behind a wife and three little girls the exact same ages as my boys.

I have called them the "Anti-'insert my last name here" as they are the opposite of us... their three with ours.

He had lung cancer. He was a smoker and obviously for him, it was a genetic trigger or something to be so susceptible to lung cancer at such a young age.

Smoking kills. Period. If you smoke, you will die of heart disease or cancer.

Period.

The percentage of people who escape heart disease and cancer after being a long time habitual smoker is very small.

It is what it is.

And he'd have taken it all back if he could. Every white stick... he'd have taken it all back.

I had been bracing the boys for his death in the last few weeks. When I knew the girls knew, when the angels from Hospice had been called, I told my boys. I spent time talking to them about the funeral and how we would go as a family as it is one of the most important things to do as a human being... to honor someone's family when they die... to be supportive as they grieve.

Long conversations have been held... as I told them, that those girls would remember their being there, their presence, for the rest of their lives.

Greasing the skids I was, for the fight in not wanting to attend, on how sometimes we have to do things that really just suck, because it is the right thing to do.

I had decided against the viewing. I thought that might be too much.

At least for Bones.

And my boys are unsure now on what to do... they want to help their friends but don't know how, and they couldn't attend the funeral and know that... their presence alone would have been a huge demonstration to the girls that they cared... and they couldn't even do that.

So we are struggling as a family on what we can do to help... when in reality we know there is nothing.

Not a damn thing.

And I told them just to listen... because really that's all they can do. Be their friend if they reach out... keep an eye on them.

Bones came home today, the youngest girl had been his girlfriend in kindergarten, and said, "They were in school today. Sam seemed OK, but Frank and me, we decided she was just keeping her mind elsewhere."

That from a nine year old... two nine year olds talking about grieving, about what to do to help their nine year old friend.

We lose a parent a year at our small little school.

We have officially lost more parents in 8th grade to death, than the number of parents that are divorced, if that makes sense. More parents are widowed or widowered than are divorced.

I find it odd...

The loss of a parent is incomprehensible to to me... to lose one as a child... makes the bile rise in my throat and my eyes well with tears.

I pray for them tonight.

And suddenly my life does not seem so stressful.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:33 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 16, 2009

Birthdays, Monoskis, and Big Falls

We are home. Sad. But home. We love Colorado.

Back to life.

Today is my husband's birthday! It was a travel day, which means there wasn't going to be any 'real' celebrating as I like to do. I'm all about making a favorite meal with the favorite cake and making the day special.

Last night after skiing, while waiting on pizza, I took the boys out to the local grocery store to buy cards and plot to do SOMETHING... ANYTHING for his birthday.

(Sidenote... the only thing I didn't not like about Steamboat was their grocery store, City Market. The employees were SUPER nice, LOVE THAT, but the food selections were not good and the lay out didn't appear to have any logic to it at all. Its the first time I've ever been in any kind of grocery store and felt absolutely lost. Its not good when you can't even find the butter... because its not anywhere NEAR the dairy.)

Anyway, off we went to town and stopped in the card section where my sons picked up some absolutely HYSTERICAL birthday cards for their Dad.

They all played songs of course... or did something. Hoops and Yo Yo rocks.

We picked up a couple other things, cinnamon rolls for a birthday breakfast, candles for him to blow out, and made our way back.

I KNEW there was no way they could sign these cards at the condo or he'd hear them, so I had them sign them in the lobby, where the guy working the front desk laughed so hard at the cards and my boys, I think it may have made his night.

I cooked a big birthday breakfast for him and we'll be celebrating in normal fashion on Thursday, which is typically our more dead week night.

Onto skiing... a couple stories.

This morning, the boys were talking about this man they saw with no legs, skiing on a single ski. I informed them that this was a mono-ski and that Denny uses one.

Bones was at a loss... saying, "But, Mom, Denny HAS legs. Why does he need one of those."

The other two boys and I stared at him and did a collective *blink* as Ringo explained to him about how Denny fell out of the tree and now his legs don't work.

It was funny in a twisted way, because for some reason, in Bones' mind, a mono ski is for someone who doesn't have legs. Now he gets the mechanics of it.

They were astounded by the entire mono-ski thing and I told them how I knew Denny was doing blue slopes and was probably going to move to black,

They were in awe. It was pretty funny.

Meanwhile, as Denny maneuvers through his blue slopes, I spent my time cussing at my instructor mentally, as I took one of my two falls the entire weekend, on the blue slopes.

The snow was too powdery and hilly for me as it had been so overskiied. Denny calls it choppy and that's pretty much right.

So here I was, 1/4 of the way down this nasty steep choppy blue slope when I lost control and fell. The ski snapped off my boot exactly as it was supposed to and I looked down the hill and there was my entire class... WAITING ON ME.

I hate that.

I hate people waiting on me.

I hate it more when I can watch them waiting on me.

I hate it even more when I can watch them waiting on me and its obvious I look like a damn fool.

Cold sweat, slight panic at the thought that even after I got the f***ing ski back on, I was still going to have to make it down the f***ing hill.

I muttered f*** a lot yesterday, under my breath. I strongly suspect my instructor overheard a couple times.

I was past caring.

Anyway, so there was I, trying to get my ski snapped in, and the ski would move, or the ski would sink in the soft deep snow, or I'd lose my balance... or... or... or...

The instructor's voice carried well... way up to me, as if he was standing beside me. I think he must've taken voice lessons from a DI in the Marine Corps. He wasn't mean... but man, the guy's voice could carry instruction far and wide.

Finally, I thought, "F*** this" and I looked up the mountain and decided to take my other ski off and just slide down on my butt.

Evidently my instructor was a mind reader too because I heard, "Don't you slide down this mountain! Take your time and you put that ski back on!"

Heh.

And so I did.

I said to him at lunch, "I was going to slide down that hill on my butt..." and he said, "I could tell! It was written all over you that that's what was next! You looked up that hill, looked down at that last ski and I thought, "Oh no she doesn't..." That's more dangerous than what you were doing. Never slide down..."

So that's my big fall story. Luckily nothing broke and I didn't get nailed by a snow boarder.

That would have sucked...

*Update- Crap, I forgot about the funny 3rd fall with the boys when I took out a small tree, right next to the action photo sign. It didn't get caught on film, but I'll blog that when I post pictures."

Posted by Boudicca at 11:21 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

February 15, 2009

Colorado Vs. FL... Different... But?

In Colorado, during ski season, you can stand outside the grocery store for hours with a carton of ice cream and it stays frozen.

In Florida, in 5 minutes you have a drippy mess.

In Colorado, hair is WONDERFUL. Its straight and has a nice fullness. It's movie star hair.

In Florida, in 5 minutes nearly everyone looks like Rosana Rosanadana without major product, hairspray, or pulling their hair up. Freaked out frizz reigns.

In Colorado, I can stand outside in 30 degree weather during the day with just jeans and a light jacket and I feel pretty good.

In Florida, we don't get 30 degree. In NYC, TN, Chicago, Michigan, it gets to 30 and I want to die.

In Colorado, their cows and horses are... fuzzy. They look like... kinda weird, but cool. (They told me it was a winter coat?)

In Florida, our cows and horses are... slick. I surely don't think they have a winter coat. Ever.

This is what I fear for those folks who live in places like Steamboat.

I fear the Floridaization. I fear the builders and the folks coming in to live because its so wonderful and beautiful.

I am sorry for the true Colorado folks whose families have lived here for generations because its already changing and I can feel change still coming as I see the boom in building going on.

People say to me, 'Oh you live in S. FL! I love it there!'

Right.

Love it and leave it, OK? Don't come live.

Because what we have had over the past 30 years are skads of people who fell in love with it, all we had to offer, and decided to move down, overcrowding our schools, roads, and infrastructure and then...

Get this...

... wanted to change it so it was more like home.

I get a bit testy about this. If its not like where you came from, then go back home. We like our areas the way they are... and we don't need your input on 'how to make it better.'

Its why there are so many nasty bumper stickers in FL telling people to leave if they don't like it... and worse.

I've not seen any here... telling people to leave if they don't like it.

But it doesn't take long before natives get resentful.

I see overbuilding... and that is never a good sign.

From my personal experience.

I'll come back one day to visit... but I promise to all those who live in Colorado, never to come live. I like what you have EXACTLY as it is... I don't want to change anything.

That's what my home is for... just as this is theirs.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:34 PM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Color Me Green

I'm so tired tonight I can barely blog.

I had an instructor today who decided I was ready for the blue slopes, although I really only wanted to do green. (For those who don't ski it goes green, blue, blue/black, black... on up those diamond counts.)

At one point I nearly quit my lesson. I was on the top of a hill looking down, I was frustrated by the past hill, and horrified by the state of the current hill as it had already been overskiied, and for the first time I thought, "I hate this very much."

I spent most of the lesson hating it to be honest. He kept saying to be a better skiier you have to push yourself.

I told him on one of our lift rides, that I don't really need to be better. I don't need to be blue. I'm content to do green and just casually and slowly ski around... and I'd not be bored.

I told him my personal life, my real life was big stress. I don't want my vacation to be big stress.

I don't think he got it. You who read me... get it. There are times I'm so stressed I worry I'm on the cusp of a heart attack. I can hardly breath at times.

I don't want my vacation to be that way.

He was an EXCELLENT instructor and I learned a lot. I learned a lot perpetually being on the edge of a controlled crash... for 3 hours.

In the end... I realize however, he was right. It was 3 hours of mostly pure suckage with me trying not to vomit as I made my way down the mountain, but... the last hour, we hit some greens I'd done yesterday and whereas I took those greens very slowly yesterday, today I literally FLEW through them, enjoying them immensely.

At the end he also took us on some blues that had hardly been skiied. I flew down them with no stress.

He showed me the worst kind of slopes and the best and took me down the easiest to rebuild my confidence.

So it was worth it... but there were times, I was truly hating life.

I'll never be a Black Diamond Girl.

And I'm OK with that.

Because... in real life, I'm a Double Black Diamond Girl.

On vacation... I just prefer to be Green... with speed.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:17 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 14, 2009

Snowmobiles, tubes, hair

It's official.

I'm beat.

I need to go home; I need to get sleep.

We're all exhausted and tomorrow will probably do us in. We have our last day of skiing and then we're off to get back home.

This morning my husband was well enough to make up yesterday's ski lesson. He says he is worse skiing than he was from the last one, but I told him it doesn't matter. All that matters is that we can all eventually do Green Slopes, the easiest, and to just enjoy ourselves.

That's it.

He got back and we went to a place called the Saddleback Ranch where we went snowmobiling and snow tubing.

Let me state first that they are FANTASTIC and if you're in the area, this is the place to go. Its acres and acres and so well run. The folks are warm, friendly, and love people.

They have all sorts of stuff from sleigh rides to winter horseback riding and they are a full running ranch with cattle etc.

Very cool.

As for snowmobiling, I think we're all in agreement as a family that it was a 'been there/done that' moment. We for the most part enjoyed it, but never want to do it again.

Until I got the hang of it, I frickin' HATED it.

Keep in mind, I've not hated anything I've done here. I've been beat to hell, hauling kids all over as my husband has been so sick, and never once have I thought, "I hate this."

But today, we were 30 minutes into it, we had all stopped, and my husband said to me, "How are you doing?" and I replied, "I hate this very much."

Honestly, there were two things that made it a good experience, one was how beautiful it was out there in the middle of the ranch, and the other was our guides.

I cannot say enough about the two guys who took us around. My husband and I each drove and had a kid on the back and Ringo rode with one of the guides.

Good Lord. Wonderful men. Funny, warm, never condescending, encouraging, and when one of them asked me about 40 minutes into it what my biggest fears were, I replied, "In order, that I'll kill my son, kill me, or wreck this machine."

He said, 'You're not going to kill your son, you won't kill yourself, and you won't wreck the machine. We won't let that happen."

And for some reason... I believed him and it was much better after that.

But really, the machines are heavy and it is a lot for me to manage, to turn took a full body effort, and my hands are too small to keep working that gas on the right handle.

It was just really too exhausting. I think if I were a much bigger person, it would be different.

Two thumbs up though, for their snowmobiliing tour. If you're going to do it, you need to do it with them. Family run, great people, beautiful land.

But then we went snow tubing and THAT was fantastic.

HOLY CRAP.

If you ever get the chance, go snow tubing. It was cold, but we had an absolute blast.

I took pictures and will download when we get home, but we all laughed the entire time.

Even my husband, who was absolutely dragging ass tired, laughed as we barreled down the tubing slopes.

Absolute blast.

Tomorrow we are up to do our last day of skiing. I'm trying to figure out how I'll force myself awake. I am absolutely beat.

And the cold here in Colorado is different than the Southern cold or the NE cold or Chicago cold. It doesn't feel... so cold.

Odd. I know.

But it doesn't feel as bitterly nasty cold. Chicago has that nasty wicked wind. Midwest cold is just bone chilling. Southern cold too... it is wet. It just seems to... cut deep.

But Colorado cold it is drier and its actually a comfortable cold.

Does that make sense?

I still could not live here, although the folks I've met have been the nicest people you could want to meet, they take kindness and hospitality to another level (I'm talking locals as well as the folks who just came in to work and ski), and it is gorgeous... but... it is too cold for me.

Ringo wants to live in Colorado. I told him I'd come visit. He said, "You'll only come visit so you can go skiing!" and I grinned.

He said, "I like my hair here better...".

I hope he isn't basing his life choices on his hair. Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:50 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

February 13, 2009

Skiing Day 2

Well my husband is sick as a big dog and missed today's skiing. He is hoping to make it up tomorrow morning.

He stayed at the condo sleeping all day, slightly feverish too most likely, while I took the three crazy boys to the slopes.

So.

I spent my morning with an absolutely amazing ski instructor, the oldest out here in Steamboat... 78 years old and fit like I have never seen. An amazing man with vast quantities of knowledge and patience, I think I lucked out having him.

And so he took us on the green slopes, with a small jaunt into some blues, my requesting to stick with him as he didn't seem like the aggressive type. The other instructors seemed like they were all about pushing into the darker blue by the end of the day, and while at first that seemed appealing, I realized, I was cool hanging back and taking it slow.

I decided I enjoy the easier slopes. I can watch more scenery without worrying, its not so much pressure on my knees, and I don't have to worry about my skills being too new... over my head.

I suspect I'll hit some blues on Sunday, but I went over the entire mountain map with my eldest today and you can really hit some nice slopes doing the greens here at Steamboat.

I had kind of an eye opening moment this afternoon.

I'd spent all day on the slopes with my instructor and my class and I was pretty much beat to hell. I was tired and went to get the kids who were jumping all over, "Mom! Mom! Mom! Let's go some more!"

Thank the Good Lord that the lifts close at 4. It meant I was limited as to how much more I'd have to take.

But they didn't want to do the lower greens over and over, they wanted to ride the Gondola up midway and repeat a run they'd done with their instructor, one I'd done with mine as well.

It's not a bad run, but its not easy for folks who have only been skiing two days. It takes about... an hour.

Nine minutes to get up there... an hour to come down.

And so I said yes, and found myself on the Gondola with three crazy boys, had our picture taken as the sign for the green run we were going to do, and started down the mountain.

We were all tired. Their souls and hearts were crying, MORE! MORE! MORE!, but their bodies were tired as was mine.

We set up rules... I was always last as I don't leave anyone on the mountain. They were to stop at certain areas we were familiar with so we could constantly regroup.

But the eye opening moment came as my achy knees led me to the Gondola with my boys.

I was standing behind them thinking, "How many Moms say to their three boys, 'OK, lets' go. Up the mountain. I'll take you down"? I've taken my boys camping... alone, taken them skiing... alone, and its not that its anything amazing, but its the fact that I look back on my life and if you'd told me 20 years ago that I'd be a mother with three boys, doing all this crap and thinking nothing of it, more of a "Sure! Let's go!" attitude, even if it was pushing past my personal comfort zone... I'd have told you to pound sand.

But instead every day its something new. Every year its some new experience. Some of them... suck... and some of them are wonderful, but its always something new.

And... I'm realizing... that I'd have it no other way.

Tomorrow is snowmobiling in which *I* will be driving one.

We will also snow tube.

Its going to be a big day full of new experiences and... I'd have it no other way.

We're happy.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:08 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

February 12, 2009

Skiing Day 1

Twenty three years ago, a group of friends of mine in college decided to go skiing and asked me to go. The lodging was cheap, we all chipped in for groceries and gas, and we drove up to some place in North Carolina for the weekend.

I think with lift tickets, ski rentals, buying ski clothes, doing it all on the super scary cheap, cost me like $150 for three days.

I couldn't afford ski lessons, so I just watched from afar and tried to mimic. By the last day, from watching people move and figuring the physics of the entire process, I'd pushed past snow plowing into the next step.

The next winter I went cross country skiing with TGOO, where I spent all my time pulling myself out of the snow.

So when it came for us to sign up, I put, "No ski experience."

I figured there had to be BIG gaps in my ski knowledge since... I'd taught myself. Besides, that was 23 years ago and its not like riding a bike... in particular when you pretty much sucked.

And so this morning we stood in line and one of the ski instructors looked at me and said, 'Don't lie to me. Have you EVER in your life skiied? Ever. I don't care when. Ever."

I got quiet and said finally, "Over 20 years ago I did for two days, I taught myself."

He replied, "I can tell by how you walk in your boots. Did you get past plowing?"

I said, "Oh yeah. I eventually figured it out. I watched people and through trial and error, figured out how to stop without snow plowing."

He looked at me and said, "You don't belong in this group. You're a level 3."

I balked of course and he continued, "Your body remembers. I promise you. You will be surprised."

I ended up going where he told me to go, instructor after instructor heard my story from the other instructor and each time I said, "I don't mind being with the Level 1's..." but I started to add, "But I'm no longer going to fight this because YOU know what you're doing and I don't. Put me where you think I belong."

Level 3 it was, although to be honest, I was really in between levels. They broke my group up, putting me in the lower end and... Bill, was right.

One's body remembers, even if it was a 23 years ago and the weekend is barely remembered by the brain, although I'm sure alcohol came into play with the memory thing.

I'll be moving up tomorrow, onto what they call blue diamond slopes, although I suspect they'll be light blue as opposed to 'dark blue', the ones closest to black, but what is amazing is how my boys, who have NEVER in their lives had skiis on their feet, will surpass me by tomorrow, last lesson.

They're probably a half a lesson behind me now... that's it.

The bonus of all the endurance training, is other than the discomfort from the boots, I'm not sore at all. We'll see how it is in the morning, but right now, there is not a muscle ache to be found.

After our lessons, 10-3, I was ready to go for a couple more hours.

Unfortunately, my husband has a nasty cold. We feel awful for him and he has been a real trooper, still learning to ski. I've been impressed. We cut the rest of the day short so we could get him home to nap, but the plan for tomorrow is for him to take a decongestant, an Advil, kick back and drink something hot, while the boys and I try to get a couple more hours on the slopes.

If that doesn't work, he may go ahead and take the shuttle back, always an option.

So far we have been hugely impressed with every person we have run across at Steamboat. They are known for their ski school and I will tell you, they are absolutely amazing.

Let's put it this way, my boys had one instructor, my husband had another, and I had yet another. Sometimes another instructor would show up and help out and we all LOVED our instructors. There was not a bad one in the bunch.

That's where we are.

Oh, and Teresa was right. Skiing, you're hot as hell. Just like when I would go running in 30-40 degree weather, after 20 minutes I'd want to run naked, it is the same thing here... after an hour, I was ready to ski naked. I kept trying to think of ways to get rid of something... cool down.

Its all learning... trying to figure out what works and what does not.

What a great place.

It is 9:30 and everyone in the condo is sleeping. My boys crashed at 9... absolutely unheard of.

I'm off as well, but... I still feel like I'm skiing. That sensation is still there and when I walk, I walk hard, feeling like I'm still wearing ski boots.

Very odd...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:23 PM | Comments (6)

February 11, 2009

Where's Bou?

She's in Colorado, Steamboat Springs to be exact.

We were out of bed by 430AM this morning and in a plane taking off by 7AM, and in Colorado with my kids seeing snow for the VERY FIRST time by Noon.

We didn't make it out of the airport before the boys were making their first snowball.

The grin on Bones' face as we landed... white as far as the eye could see, coating everything, I wished I had some sort of camera that could capture his happiness and anticipation.

The world through Bones' eyes can be exhilerating.

We have been fitted for skiis and start our foray into the world of snow and sliding down mountains on flat sticks in the morning. The boys are excited... and I am as well.

There is so much to do here. I'd REALLY REALLY like to try snow shoeing, but I suspect that won't happen. The boys and my husband would enjoy snow shoeing as much as running, I suspect.

Snow tubing is on the list, however, as is snow mobiling.

Yes, I am officially cold. It has been snowing like crazy here, which is very cool, but tonight, we all got really cold. I suspect skiing will be different, first as we'll have layer upon layer of clothing, but second, the days are not as cold as the nights, obviously.

The smartest thing I did was get us a place with a washer and dryer. As adults, we won't need them... but with children playing in the snow in blue jeans? Yes, all their clothes are always wet.

Which brings me to... we could have saved some serious cash by not skiing and just throwing them out in the snow. No matter where we are, there is a snowball fight.

Registering to ski with our package? The boys stayed outside beating the ever living crap out of each other with snow.

I got a text from Mo saying the boys should make snow angels.

*blink*

And who's kids would those be?

Mine don't make angels. Mine are all about heaving it at each other.

From the minute we walked into the condo, they were outside rolling in it, balling it up, pelting it, licking it... it has been a full sensory experience.

They're like a pack of puppies. And snow is a great age equalizer.

With snow? The 14 year old acts 9. The 12 year old acts 9. The 9 year old acts 9.

Lots of pictures are being taken... I can see why so many people move out here as it truly is gorgeous.

Its just a bit too cold for me... to live. Visiting is fantastic... but not to live.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:28 PM | Comments (11)

February 08, 2009

More Than a Thousand Words

I was reading through the internet news sites last night when I found THIS link about boudoir photography.

It talked about what a great gift it is for your boyfriend (I don't think they mention husband) and I am gathering this is mostly a young woman’s gift to a boyfriend, not a 40 something year old middle aged woman’s gift to her husband of scads of years.

First, no way in hell do I want anyone to see that much of my body. Sure, my husband can, but he participated in my body getting to this current ‘post production’ state. Pregnancies wreaked havoc on this old bod.

Second, I realize men are visual creatures, but… does he really appreciate this if he sees you day in and day out? When would he look at it? Hopefully not right after I’ve woken up with my hair all mussed up, sleepy eyed, pillow faced… as surely he would wonder, “Well… what happened to THIS woman? Surely they are not the same…”

Third, where in the world do you hang something like that?

Which brings me to a story.

About 12 years ago, we knew a couple who invited us to their home for dinner. Ringo was but a baby, and off we carted him, so we could enjoy adult company.

We’d never been to their home before, and so she gave us a tour. It was a wonderfully decorated home… it was very family and fun oriented.

And then we got to their bedroom and in the middle of their four poster bed was a ginormous picture of her in black merry widow, garter belt and stockings, with a come hither look upon her face with her wind blown hair.

I stood there and stared.

My husband stood there and tried not to stare. Suddenly that room seemed very small to him and no matter where he looked, it was as if that picture had grown in size to encompass the entire room.

Uncomfortable for us doesn’t begin to describe it.

It didn’t faze her in the least. It was part of their artwork.

Me? I’d not want strangers to see me that way. I’d not want my CHILDREN to see me that way. They had two children… boys… and there was that picture, big as day, with their Mama oozing sex kitten, in the Master Bedroom.

Hey, she looked great. Really. I wish I looked like that.

*I* would look like a fool. A middle aged fool at that.

But it truly lends itself to… where in the world do you put something like that.

I said to my husband, “I think if I got you something like that, you’d have to keep it in the closet…”

The whole thing seemed… just very impractical to me. Maybe that’s why they are targeting this to young women with boyfriends and not middle aged Moms who’ve been married too long… and pay the bills

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

When Mom Acts like a Concrete Shoe

My second son has a science experiment going on in school.

They are studying... mealworms.

Now, as I said, this is my second son, which means... we've been through the mealworm experiment with my first son.

There is a difference in these two boys.

My eldest is the absent minded professor, huge underachiever that could not give a rat's ass what anyone thinks. He consistently tests in the 99% of all national testing for his age, took the SATs in 7th grade and scored very very well, and in the testing for private Catholic high school his composite was well above the 90% while most of his individual scores were in the... 98%.

Yet he pulls Bs and Cs in school.

Meanwhile, my second son, is an overachieving type, relentlessly persuing, not just the A, but the HIGHEST A and is extraordinarily organized. His test scores don't match his grades as he's not a good test taker, but he behaves in class, participates, studies, and works his butt off.

Funny side note, one of his buddies who I will call Matt, was lamenting how he is constantly being expected to perform like his straight A over achieving brother, who is now attending one of the elite public high schools... still making As, and with perfect behavior to boot.

Matt marches to the beat of his own drummer and is much like my eldest... the brain is there, but he's not going to make an A, for various reasons, and nor... does he care.

Mr. T said, "Yeah, I don't have that problem of teachers expecting anything from me. Anything *I* do is great. Anything *I* do exceeds all expectations. I'm golden in comparison..." and he laughed.

Ringo heard this, frowned at him and laughed and said, "Hey, thats not nice..."

Back to mealworms.

Evidently, two years ago when it was Ringo's mealworm gig, he shoved his mealworms in the locker and forgot about them for two weeks. They molded.

Evidently, it was such a problem, all the kids had to leave the room while he donned, goggles, masks and gloves to clean out his mealworm container.

Evidently, the teacher remembers ALL her frustrations with Ringo and his mealworm experiment and has made a humorous point to Mr. T, that he should not walk in his brother's footsteps in this case.

(Ringo's science teacher really likes him... go figure.)

This has become a big family joke.

And so now we have mealworms and Mr. OverAchieving Second Son, is bound and determined that the mealworms will not only flourish under his care, but he will prove to the world that he is King of the Mealworms.

Except all his died last week.

When the back rec room got too cold.

Because someone refused to turn on the heat.

And they sat in a 56 deg room next to a 34 deg window.

The following conversation ensued... to the best of my recollection:

Mr. T: Mom, ALL my mealworms died.

Me: *blink*

Mr. T: I'm not kidding.

Me: Why? Maybe they were defective.

Mr. T: No, Mom, they got too cold and died.

Me: Maybe they're hibernating. Are you sure they're dead?

Ringo, laughing hysterically: OH yeah, they're dead. They're all gooey and rolled up in little balls.

Mr. T: Dead. Every one of them...

Me: You get an F if you kill them!

Mr. T: No, she'll make an exception. Its not like Ringo when he didn't clean the jar and they luckily lived. I am doing everything I'm supposed to do and they died... because you didn't turn on the heat. They got too cold.

Me: Oh.

Mr. T: I'm taking them in tomorrow and saying, "Mrs. E, my mealworms died because my Mom REFUSED to turn on the heat and the room they were in got down to 56 degrees." I know she'll understand...

Great. Now all the teachers will know about my Bad Mom issues... heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:38 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

February 07, 2009

What Color Carpet is at These Award Ceremonies?

I’m just racking up Bad Mother of the Year Awards this year.

And its only February.

First I send my kids to school with bacon sandwiches on slightly stale rolls because I didn’t have any meat in the house (by the way, they were a hit) and then… I let them nearly freeze to death in their sleep.

Or so it would seem, according to them.

Y’all know the ongoing saga my husband and I have been having over heating the house.

Living in South Florida we don’t get that cold here and when we do, it’s not for very long.

Unfortunately, however, in a concrete block home, we retain the cold. Once its here… it is here.

We had another cold snap and I told everyone to suck it up, they could surely deal with a home at 68 to 69 degrees, they just needed to wear more clothes.

I was pretty damn emphatic too.

I was home Thursday morning, doing things around the house before I went into work, when I had to put on another layer. I looked at the thermostat and it said 65.

Eh.

I figured if I was being such a hard ass about the heat at night with it at 69, I needed to suck it up during morning and deal with 65.

Flash forward to last night, we were getting ready for bed when my husband said, ‘I know you don’t want to turn on the heat, and honestly, I don’t get it. We air condition the house in the summer, why can we not heat it in the winter? But whatever, I just wanted you to know, that your sons informed me that they are so cold at night when they sleep, they can’t sleep. Your second son got up and got more blankets, wrapped himself in them and crawled back in bed and was still shivering. Your eldest son, got out of bed, put on socks, jeans, and a hoody and crawled back in bed and says he was still cold.”

Great.

He was using my kids as weapons.

What could I do?

Feeling like complete and utter crap I said, “Fine…” and I turned the heat to 69.

Now… we have two thermostats in this home and I’d not been checking the one in the back side of the house, just the front… and that was evidently the mistake.

I was in the car with Ringo today and I said, “I turned on the heat last night” and the following conversation ensued to the best of my recollection.

Ringo: I know. Thanks. It was really cold.

Me: I heard you put a hoody and jeans on. You were still cold?

Ringo: I was shivering. Mom, it was so cold in the house…

Me, realizing I’d never checked that back thermostat where they sleep: Did you look at the thermostat?

Ringo: Yeah, it was 56 degrees.

Me: Holy crap.

Ringo: Mom, it would have been warmer to sleep outside.

Heh.

Lesson learned… check that back thermostat before I get too testy about the heat.

Also... I have noted, that not one child would speak to ME about the house being cold. They all went to the parent they KNEW would side with them... their Dad.

Everyone was afraid to talk to me, which is absolutely cracking me up.

Muwahahahahaha! Next time I feel powerless in this home, I need to just reassure myself that after all, I *AM* the Air Boss. Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:02 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Easy Cake to Take

I had a meeting today and it was a pot luck. I was assigned a dessert.

I needed something quick and I do the homemade since hardly anyone else does... and suddenly I remembered my Mom's Mom, my Nana, used to always make a pineapple upside down cake.

Whenever she visited she would make one in my big cast iron skillet. She'd tell me over and over how easy it was as she just used a yellow cake mix.

Folks... it was easy. Single handedly, the easiest dessert to take anywhere and pretty much everyone likes it... if you hate pineapple, you just pick off that part.

As for me? I love it... then again, it could be memories.

So... here you go.

PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE

2/3 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar (I may go with 1 cup next time)
1 large can of pineapple slices, drained
1 small jar marachino cherries, as many as required, drained

Place the butter and brown sugar in a large cast iron skillet and melt until it boils or bubbles. (Don't burn or carmelize.)

Place pineapples in the butter and sugar mixture. Put cherries in the center of the pineapple. Cut the slices of pineapple into halves and line the sides of the frying pan with them (standing up on edge).

Prepare a box of yellow cake mix following the directions on the box to mix the batter and pour the batter over the pineapple and cherries. (I always use Duncan Hines.)

Bake at 350°F degrees in the middle rack of the oven. The cake box does not specify how long it takes for a skillet, so start watching it at 30 minutes. I found it took about 40 minutes.

When the cake is done, loosen the edges with a butter knife. Allow it to sit five minutes, then turn it upside down on a serving dish.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:57 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

February 06, 2009

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Doctor

It's been three weeks since I saw my doctor last about my feet.

Since then, I lost one toe nail (looks nasty), have another that will come off in the next four weeks, the swelling has subsided as has the pain, but the pain is still intermittent and the swelling still occurs by the end of the day.

I walked in and they said, "So how is your calf?" and I replied, "My calf has been fine. My feet are still giving me problems. Do you think I could have a fracture?"

He pressed around, said some things were out of place, but he didn't want to manipulate anything in my feet until he took an XRay.

Up on the light board the XRays went and he said, "Well... you don't have a stress fracture THERE... but... you MAY have one HERE."

So. It would appear that during my marathon, I may have stress fractured my left foot and of course, kept right on running. I find out Monday as he's sending it out for review with a radiologist. It could be a shadow.

I'm taped like I've never been taped...

I don't know why I think this is funny... but I do.

What a mess.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:14 PM | Comments (9)

February 04, 2009

You Never Know What You'll Be Caught Doing...

OK... this is cool.

Go HERE to see the Inauguration.

NO. You aren't going to watch... its a still shot someone caught and you can literally Zoom WAAAAY in, to the point that you can see the music on the Marine Corps band's stand. You can scan all over the audience... and the people behind Obama.

Its amazing... and looking at people's expressions. Very very fun...

I saw a person or two seemingly sleeping.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:46 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Heart And Soul

A lot on my mind tonight... a lot going on. Angst, stress, kids, life...

I've been doing a lot of thinking today as well, memories from my own childhood, going to my grandmother's house in Alabama. She had a piano there and the entire time we visited, someone would jump on and either play or attempt to.

TGOO and his sister had lessons when young, and so they'd hammer out stuff they'd learned as children. My aunt still plays and its fun to sit down and watch her in her home.

I don't play, although I do have my grandmother's piano in MY home. I've toyed often with learning... waiting for... more time I expect. I do think I'll eventually learn, if anything to be able to play for me.

And to know my grandmother's piano is getting used.

TGOO taught us Heart and Soul when we were kids. All of us used to play around with it. I remember playing with my Uncle... he's been gone now for... six years now? How long... TGOO knows. It was his younger brother, taken too young, to cancer. He was in his early 50s...

Anyway, the memories made me look up the song on youtube. I figured, surely we aren't the only family that would mess around on the piano with Heart and Soul.

And we weren't...

How fun is this? Brother and Sister...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

February 03, 2009

They're Not the Family Circus I Grew Up With

On Fridays I carpool with another Mom, who also has three boys, ages 9, 8 and 5. They're cute kids, but poorly behaved.

I tolerate it as its nice not to have to drive every other Friday, but in all honesty, I'm astounded by how poorly behaved these boys are.

Let me say as well, when I pull up at school, and they all jump out of the asexual mom-mobile, we look like a clown car, boys pouring out of my vehicle, noise and motion and chaos. I often wish it was taped so I could watch what it must look like.

Now it is one thing to be nasty at home, but I know my kids are mostly on their best behavior when with other parents, which makes me wonder... if the kids are as bad as they are in MY car, how bad are they at home?

I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that.

And I strongly suspect the problem boils down to a Mom who works and is overwhelmed and a Dad who is either not there, or when he is, is no help. He has no parenting skills.

Today she asked me to take her boys in as she had a meeting at work. I said no problem, as God only knows I may need her assistance at some point.

We were driving to school and I asked the five year old, "So, do you have any friends you like to hang out with at school?"

He smiled and said, "Yeah. His name is Drake."

Then the 2nd son chimed in, "He has a girlfriend!"

And... the five year old replied, "NO I DON'T! YOU DO! AND YOU LIKE TO KISS HER ON THE BAGINA!"

*BLINK*

And with that, my two boys sat in stunned silence, as the three brothers continued to bicker and I tried to keep my vehicle on the road as I attempted to stave off the heart attack or stroke I was surely about to have.

Hmmm.

I am saying nothing to the mother. I would normally, but I've given her an ear full about a couple other things and am treading on thin ice as it is.

But mostly I'm not saying anything because... I live in a glass house. I don't throw stones.

My eldest wasn't with us as he was sick, but I told him the story when we got home and he shook his head and said, "Why am I not surprised?"

Good Lord. I'm wondering at what age there will be a modicum of civility in that home. The things I have seen and heard...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:07 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

Don't Call Me Florence

I was BACK at the pediatrician's today.

Tell me, do I have toddlers or pre-teen and teenagers because, I am at the pediatrician as much as I was when my children were babies and I think I must be missing something... some sort of medical time warp.

Last week I went after Mr. T had four days of a temp of 102. That's not good. I will let the fever ride for two or three days... when they hit four, and ibuprofen (the magic drug) doesn't take it down below 100, I take them in. Something else must be going on.

But nope, it was some funky virus going around that kicked his butt for SEVEN days. He missed the entire week of school.

This virus ENDS with cold symptoms.

Ringo woke up Sunday immediately with them, moving past the fever, but also gaining a tight chest.

I kept him home yesterday and by last night, when he openly said, "It really hurts to breathe, not as bad as when I had pneumonia this summer, but bad..." that was cause enough for me to take him in.

And... they have no clue what he has. But this is what a hard nosed mother I can be.

And I mean hard nosed mother in the nicest sense, not as in cussing and calling me ugly names.

The doctor said, 'Breathe in...' and he did, she said, 'deeper', and he did, and she said, "NO... as DEEP as you can..." and it was the same.

She looked at him and said, "Is that the deepest you can breathe?" and when he mumbled a 'yes' she said, "Yeah, you sound tight, we need you on a breathing treatment."

Me?

I was sitting there biting my tongue about ready to poke him in the back and say, "Suck it up and breathe deep. Quit being lazy!"

Nice.

She did a breathing treatment and his lungs filled with air.

I'm amazed sometimes my kids are alive. Really.

She said to me, "Make him breathe deep and if you can't, put him on the nebulizer. Babies and 13 year old boys won't tell you when something is wrong..."

Does she live in my house?

And so he has an inhaler now, and breathing treatments until he can move past whatever it is that is settled into his lungs. They say it is viral, so we'll see. He's going to try to go to school tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the doc and I were talking and she brought up a good point.

She told me with budget cut backs, she thinks the janitorial staffs have been cut too much and the schools are not as clean as they once were. She said when she was a kid, there were janitors all over... now? It is skeletal.

She could have a point. I don't know how often the desks actually get 'cleaned' at our school and is something I'm going to ask. I know the lower grades the teachers are constantly bleaching the big tables, but when the kids move to desks and constantly switch classes? I don't know.

Food for thought... she swears she sees more sick kids now than she did 10 years ago... and its not due to a population boom.

Posted by Boudicca at 05:04 PM | Comments (5)

February 02, 2009

When Real World Meets Blogs

Last Monday when Morrigan was in labor, when according to my blog, we were in the final stretches, I got a call from Elisson, asking me how she was doing.

We chatted for awhile and I told him what hospital she was in, he living in the same area as Mo.

The next day, the baby having been born, Elisson called me in the afternoon... and I just knew it. I KNEW IT.

We were talking and suddenly I stopped and if you can picture it, I had that squinty eyed accusing face and said to him in the phone, 'WHERE ARE YOU?"

He said, "What?"

I replied, "Where... are... you?"

He laughed and said, "At the hospital..."

To which I said, "I KNEW IT! I KNEW YOU WERE GOING TO SEE MY NIECE BEFORE I DID!!!"

Gah!

And he did. And... he met my Mom and TGOO. For some reason I think that's the funniest. Evidently he peaked around the door and my Mom said, "OH! Its Blog Elisson!" as she reads him.

She jokingly told me later, 'I almost didn't recognize him without a colander on his head!"

I keep laughing about Elisson meeting my folks. For some reason it cracks me up...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:26 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Mirror Mirror on the Wall... Who's that Middle Aged Broad?

It was cold on Saturday and I was doing my checklist of errands, so I threw my hair into a pony tail, put on make up (powder, eyeliner, and lip stick), threw on a ball cap, put on my flight line jacket to keep warm, and wearing jeans and clogs, made my way out to get it all done.

On the top of my list, after stopping by my mechanic's, I had to go to the department store and buy some foundation. I ran out weeks ago and have just been using a powder.

At the counter I met a really nice young woman, probably in her late 20s. She had a lot of energy, wasn’t superficial in the least (surprise) and was new on the job. (I’m not sure she’ll last as she didn’t have that ‘attitude’ the rest of them get. She just seemed too nice and down to earth to be working a cosmetic counter.)

I told her I didn’t know what shade I wore as I was switching back to their brand and I couldn’t remember.

She enthusiastically grabbed the colors she thought I’d wear and she put lines on my face, trying to match my skin tone to the foundation.

Then she handed me a mirror…

… and that’s when I realized it has happened.

My grandfather used to talk about not feeling his age, looking in the mirror and wondering who was standing before him.

As I had been talking to this young woman, with the young smooth skin, the young taut skin, the skin with the glow of youth, I’d, in my mind, become her age.

I was looking at her, thinking we were the same.

But when she handed me the mirror… we were not.

I think there was nearly an audible *GASP!* as I looked in the mirror and saw, not the fairest of them all, but a middle aged woman, the skin of middle aged texture, more of a dullness to it, the youthful shine gone, the skin becoming more saggy around the jaw line, the fine lines around the lips…

She looked at me, at the look on my face, and said, “What’s wrong?”

And I replied to her, “I didn’t expect to see the 43 year old me. Talking to you… I expected to see the 20 something year old me.”

She looked at me odd and I continued, “Don’t worry. When you’re my age you’ll understand.”

It was the first time, and will not be the last, that I was surprised by the woman in the mirror.

And it solidified my thought when I walked into the mall… I am so much more comfortable at the garage and with my mechanic, than I am at the mall at a cosmetics counter.

That part doesn’t have anything to do with age… it just is.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:14 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

February 01, 2009

Funky Baby

I've spent most of the day working on a baby quilt for the Flambina.

I picked out the pattern 8 months ago and Mr. T and I picked out the fabric shortly thereafter.

I started it this weekend and as I've been cutting and sewing I have decided that... this will be the funkiest quilt I have ever made.

No kidding.

Funky.

I put the squares together tonight to get a feel for it and I think I'm going to like it... but I am wondering if friends of Mo and Flam's are going to see it and think, "Has anyone bothered to tell them that Bou might be color blind?"

Whoa.

Really.

This should be interesting...

Here are a few pix... My Mom is holding her in all of them. By evidence in the last picture, Mo and Flam obviously have that house very warm or their baby wouldn't be so happy to be naked.

I can't wait to smooch on her...

big yawn.JPG

kiss me.JPG

sleepy .JPG

Posted by Boudicca at 10:24 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Don't Mess With the Air Boss

When my husband and I got engaged, and being that he was Catholic, we had to go through all sorts of pre-marital counseling.

I guess this is what churches do to try and curb divorce rates.

And on a side note, my kids go to a very small Parish Catholic school (K-8) and I do believe that in this current 8th grade class, we've had more children who have lost a parent (lost as in, died, not as in can't be found), than have parents who are divorced. Very odd...

Anyway, during this pre marital class, they said the three things that couples fight about most are children, sex, and finances.

I'm not going to divulge any nitty gritty marital details here, because that's not my style, but I will say that we've never fought about those things.

During our pre-marital counseling, as we were to write each other letters and what not, everyone else was battling it out about finances and children (from what I overheard... I don't remember hearing anything about sex... but who knows) we were battling it out over a big screen TV he bought while I was on a business trip.

Did it bug me how much it cost? No. I don't watch TV and the noise makes me half insane.

And so that was our BIG issue... pretty benign if you ask me.

Seventeen years later and we still don't fight about the big three. We were just always on the same page.

We fight about... things like... whether we're going to turn the heat on in the house.

That's our latest thorn.

Oh there have been so many times I've nearly blogged on it here in the last two weeks as I think its rather funny.

Him?

Not so much.

I'm what TGOO refers to as the 'Air Boss'. I control the a/c and heat in the house.

Why me? I pay the bills. I'm still in the 'how low can I go' mode for power. Last month, we hit a record low of... $145.

That is a BIG deal as there are five of us and I live in a big house that is fully electric. We have no gas in this home... 100% electric. When I tell people about last month's bill, and they know my home, there is always a *gasp!*.

My goal is to keep it under $300 all through the summer. We'll see...

I really think that solar hot water made a HUGE difference.

And that brings me to the big issue that is between my husband and me... the heat. We've had a number of cold snaps come through and I absolutely REFUSE to turn on the heat.

Oh he has tried. I've come in from our Carnival, his sleeping, to find the heat on and I've quickly snapped it off.

Then there was the time it was time for bed and he declared, 'I work too hard to have to live in a house this cold!' and with that, he turned on the heat.

I quietly smiled and said OK, until I heard him sleeping, and crept out and turned it off. He who sleeps the lightest is in control of the heat.

That would be moi.

For the record, the house has never gotten below 68 degrees. Its not like there are ice sickles hanging from inside our windows. It's just 10 degrees cooler than we keep our a/c set.

My response has been a 'suck it up, Bucko! You'll live!"

Heh. I've been teasing my friends that the only reason he's not kicked me to the curb on this heat issue is the fact I keep saying, "Our power bill was $145 last month! ONE HUNDRED AND FORTY FIVE!"

And logic kicks in and he throws on another sweater.

As for my solar hot water... if you live in TX or FL or some place that gets big sun a lot, let me tell you, so far I'm in love. I'm heating water for free. It can be 35 degrees out, the sun is shining, and my water is hot as hell.

For free.

I love that...

And honestly, if I had it my way, it would be 70 deg at night every night when we slept... cranking the a/c down. But truly, he hates sleeping in the cold.

I frickin' LOVE to hibernate. Maybe subconsiously I realize this is the only way I get to hibernate, declaring heating is too much money...

I think we're pretty lucky. Most argue about serious stuff... ours is about temperature and even then, when we argue, we're laughing.

Not bad at all...

Posted by Boudicca at 03:29 PM | Comments (17)