June 30, 2009

Post Tibial Barometer

I think we all know my Post Tibial Tendon is my Achilles. It's been a problem.

It's still a problem.

They are both giving me problems again. The interesting part is... both. Usually it's just my left tendon.

And so I've been giving this whole running thing a lot of thought again. I called a girlfriend of mine who is a PT, to get the name of a good Podiatrist. I have to get a handle on this issue.

The conversation went like this:

Me: I need the name of the best podiatrist you know. I need someone to figure out what I need to be doing... no nursing me through a race... figure out wtf is going on.

PT: OK.

Me: Maybe... maybe I'm just looking for finality. Maybe I'm looking for someone to just say, "Bou... you're not a runner."

PT: *big damn pause* Bou... You're not a runner.

Me:

PT: You have the heart of a runner, you have the intensity of a runner, but you're not a runner. We have to find you something else.

And she's right. I know she is and I'm proactively trying to figure out how to fix this post tibial mess for THIS race and for my January race, probably having cut out the two races in between, and to find something for my after life.

My Post Running Life.

I picked up brochures on Yoga and Pilates from my gym.

I'm dyin'.

I know... so many of my readers love it... so many of them, but... I just don't think Pilates and Yoga are going to make me feel crappy enough.

Does that make sense?

I don't think I'm going to leave Pilates or Yoga and feel like I want to collapse or vomit and that's been pretty much my barometer of a good work out for the last... 7 years.

I know. It's sick.

I said to my coach, who has his doctorates in PT and who does NOT think this post tibial thing is a show stopper, that maybe it's my shoes. He said to me, "How many miles have you logged on those shoes?"

I had counted. I'd logged over 350 miles on the shoes I was wearing... and he said that was 50 miles too much and Runner's World said it was 2 months too long (something like if you run 25+ miles a week swap out your shoes every 3 months... I was on month 5).

And so I decided that maybe my post tibial tendons act as sort of a barometer for my body on when I'm not getting enough support, so I bought new shoes on Friday and I'm... feeling great.

I am pain free for the first time in three weeks.

The depression is gone. I'm Jonesin' to run again, not dreading it. I've added more walking back into it as my body is breaking down and I know it.

I know it.

And I have the fliers on Pilates and Yoga... and I think they just need to jack it up to guarantee a good vomit afterwards.

Pilates and Yoga for completely driven Type A Mental Cases.

That would be me.

And as insane as I am about how hard I want to work out, I do know my limits. I see this Cross Fit stuff and have NO DESIRE to try it.

NONE.

I see nothing but torn rotator cuffs and serious frickin' injuries. I see broken bodies.

Pilates and Yoga... I'll get there. I know it's better for me.

It's just going to take time...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:41 PM | Comments (13)

June 29, 2009

Scouts, Guns, Fire... His Heaven

The boys had a great time at Boy Scout camp. I was surprised. Last year, they had such a miserable time I had to practically talk them into staying in Scouting.

This year, they felt in control. As Mr. T said, "We learned how to cope." It didn't hurt that according to Ringo, the food was far better and the pool was nice... not over chlorinated and dirty.

They knew the ropes this year and could figure out what they wanted to do... understood the comings and goings, plus Mom showed up on Tuesday and Wednesday nights with dry ice and icey desserts for everyone.

One of the Scouts declared me their favorite Mom. Heh.

Anyway, when it came time to sign up for badges, my eldest signed up for Rifle. I counseled my second son on... not.

First, Mr. T is very competitive. I could see him competing with his older brother and quite frankly, neither of them needs to live in the other's shadow.

Second, you had to get three shots within a quarter sized round target at 50 feet, five times to get the badge. And being the perfectionist he is, if he failed, it was going to be disasterous.

So I got him to sign up for Pulp and Paper, where he learned all about... pulp and paper, and he made paper as well.

I told him he can sign up for rifle in a year or two when he's grown even more and matured even more.

He was cool. He loved Pulp and Paper.

Ringo loved Rifle.

The boys in his Troop were bragging to their Dads whenever their Dads showed up for something. "Look at Ringo's! First shot!"

It would seem, that my son went to the Rifle Range with his buddies and first go round, "BLAM BLAM BLAM!" five times, all touching each other in the center of each target.

He was done in as long as it takes to shoot 15 rounds.

His one buddy looked at him, according to Ringo and said, "Let me see that! I hate you! It's taken me FIVE targets and the ENTIRE HOUR to get what you got in five minutes."

That was my fear for Mr. T. That would have completely demoralized him to have his brother excel so much in something he could remotely struggle with.

Ringo's response to his buddy, 'Next time you're there and ANYONE doubts my marksmanship, you tell them otherwise."

I laughed when I heard this and said, "yeah, your marksmanship with a BB gun..."

There was silence in my car. He said, "Mom. I was using a .22"

I looked at him and said, "WHAT? You were using a REAL gun!"

He said, "Yeah, and... wow... guess what? On the shotgun range... I used... a REAL SHOTGUN! Imagine that!"

Smart a$$.

Seriously though, I had no idea. I'd only been on those ranges with cub scouts and they used BB guns.

Boy Scouts... it's the real deal.

What's killing me though is they had something called The Great American Shoot Out where all the Scout Masters and Senior Patrol Leaders (Ringo) of each Troop got together and had a contest... one that Ringo would have won easily... bringing great honor to himself and his Troop.

Did he go?

NO.

He didn't go because he and his Troop wanted to build this massive bon fire that night and he spent all day chopping wood in the ax yard.

My son is getting strong. He is not tall, we are not big people, but he is broad shouldered and the muscles in his neck are starting to form, as they are in his arms and shoulders. When I got there Tuesday night, he was standing in the ax yard, chopping log after log after log... splitting, chopping, sorting wood, finding the good pieces.

I stood there for an hour watching him... the intensity.

One of the fathers came up to me and said, "Bou, he has been doing that for two days. They want a fire, a big fire, and he's determined that they'll have one."

The smaller Scouts had taken their turns long ago, and had worn out, and he chopped all day long... taking his turns and then some... and after they engineered the wood in just the right way so it would get the right amount of air with kindling and little scraps to get it started... and they built... no kidding... I swear an 6-8 foot fire.

Their fire pit was huge, they had buckets of water, and they built this massive fire that I swear rivaled the fires that the BSA was putting on for ALL the Troops.

It was... amazing.

And he was proud... he sat there in his chair, looking like he needed a beer and a cigar, grinning as the fire roared.

I said to him, "Was it worth it having that big old fire over winning The Great American Shoot Out, because you know daggum well, you'd have won..."

He grinned and said, "Oh yeah, it was totally worth it..."

I birthed a sharp shooting pyromaniac.

Good Lord.

Oh and the real highlight was when we got home and Mr. T opened his foot locker and found carpenter ants had nested in it. No kidding nest complete with larvae.

Gah!

His Dad cleaned it out with him. I did have to, however, get rid of the residual carpenter ants in my car.

Yuck.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:05 PM | Comments (9)

June 27, 2009

She's Growing... I'M NOT.

And so in my effort to find some happy stories, I will start with a Bones' story.

This could be entitled, "Out of the Mouth of Babes" or "You Know Your Clothes Might Be Too Tight When..."

I was dressing for the funeral. I put on a pair of black pants and found a pair of black closed toed heels as my toes are still a disaster from the marathon, toenails not having grown back all the way. It's fine to wear sandals in public, I don't care what people think, but a funeral? I should exhibit a modicum of class and cover the nastiness that is my feet.

I looked in my closet, which is in desperate need of cleaning, and found a black sweater, fitted, but simple and classic.

I put it on, it was a bit snug, as I said, it is fitted. I've lost some weight lately and thought it might fit a bit better. I looked in the mirror and couldn't decide. It looked better than 3 months ago, but good enough?

I said to my husband, "Yes? No? Lumpy? Should I change?"

He said, "No, that's fine. You look nice. Really."

Now, those of you who have read me long enough or who know me, you know I'm somewhat of a fashion disaster. My husband, on the other hand, could model for GQ.

I'm fine staying in simple blacks and jeans... it's easier that way. As a matter of fact, I wore a bright pink shirt to work the other day, and one of the guys I work with said, "WHOA! I don't think I've ever seen you in anything but black!"

Right.

Time to update the wardrobe. If I'm intent on not being the Grim Frickin' Reaper, I should not dress like him, scythe or not.

Anyway, clothes. So if I ask my husband, "Does this dress make me look fat?" I want the God's Honest Truth. It's not a trick question. I can't always tell in mirrors and Dear God, I am his WIFE. Surely, he does not want me out there looking the part of the fool, while standing next to him, does he?

So I expect an answer. A yes or no. What I don't need is an expansion.

I want, "Don't wear that" or "No" not, "Have you considered buying a girdle?"

No.

Simple answer. No expansion. Nothing that encroaches on mean.

Keep it simple stupid, works.

Anyway, so my husband said it looked fine, I was still doubtful, but didn't have time to change and as I grabbed my bag, Bones, who had propped himself up on my bed to watch us get ready said to me, "Mom, next year, you're going to outgrow that sweater. You only have one more year."

I stood there, motionless. "Dude, I'm not growing anymore..."

Mr. T chimed in, "Shhhhhh, adults don't grow, unless they get fat..."

Bones said in return, "I know. I'm just saying. She's got maybe one more year..."

Which essentially meant, 'Mom, that sweater is snug.'

The sweater goes in Good Will now. Yes, I wore it, it was too late. Next time I'll ask Bones.

And now for some pictures of my niece, who I will be smooching on, on Friday!

I call this picture, Spun Sugar. This was Father's Day, and I think this dress looks like it's made out of spun sugar.
spun sugar small.jpg

This is just a Big Baby Head picture.
big baby head small.JPG

And this one, we love. I love to zoom in on the fuzz on her head. The kid looks like Ringo and Bones in the fact, it looks like someone blew her head up with air.

laughing bonky head small.JPG

I cannot wait to get my hands on her!!!

Posted by Boudicca at 08:44 PM | Comments (4)

Not Turning in my Sword for a Scythe

We all make choices in life. I chose to be a member of an organization where the women are all 30-40 years older than I.

They will die or their spouses will and I'll be sad, but I made the conscious choice to know them and be a part of their lives and I'll go to the funerals and bake and empathize.

I made the choice to be a member of an organization where people die of a horrible disease, where we fight collectively for a cure. I made the conscious choice to know the people we are fighting for, to get to know their families and their stories.

Some will die... some will survive... all will fight.

Eh.

It is the little curve balls that life throws you that make you sit up and take a bit more notice.

Am I the only one that feels kind of prickly at times? Nervous? Waiting for another phone call?

It is the sudden deaths that leave me... hollow, I guess. They leave me waiting to see who is next.

Nearly 10 years ago, I got the first phone call... 830AM, just after Mass had started, my father in law was on the other end, "Pop. Slow down. I can't hear you. Where are you? Wait. What happened to Ma? Yeah. OK. Let me make more phone calls and I'll meet you there..."

And I spent the next hour calling my husband, his brother, his wife, trying to find my sister in law who was on vacation somewhere with her family, dropping my kids off at pre-school so I could get to the hospital, only to find, that in reality, she was gone.

Nobody actually had come to terms with it yet.

The next year or so, the phone would ring and I'd think, "Who's dead now?"

I guess that is what this has done to me. It's not in the natural order of things for a 41 year old man to die. It was complications from Sleep Apnea from what I understand. He was not a big man, about 6' tall and lean. Just not what you would picture having an issue that would kill him in his sleep... at 41.

I've had a headache most of the day, and I think it's a combination of things, the 4AM wake up, the 530AM run, picking up the boys from camp, the funeral, not eating, not drinking enough... and a pervasive sadness.

My eyes hurt from the tears. I am not a crier, but today, there was no control. I walked in, looked in the room, and there was his body in the casket. I looked at my husband and said, "I can't... I'm not going in there..."

It's the first funeral I have EVER been to, that was open casket, where I could not provide comfort to the family. I've written of it here before... I've been there and done that so many times, I can instinctively feel what families need. I know what to say. I can keep it together, and if the family wants to carry on about how great the dead look, what a great job the undertaker did, I can nod my head, and talk to them about it, touch the suit or dress of the deceased, talk to the family.

There was going to be none of that today. Dragging me into that room today would have been akin to giving a cat a bath. No way.

And it's when I turned to leave the room, that the water started to flow down my face. It was not a sobbing, but an uncontrolled rush of burning hot tears like a waterfall.

It was as if... my heart and my tears were connnected. It felt like my heart was going to burst with grief and as soon as the tears started to flow, my eyes started to burn, the pressure was relieved from my heart, and then when the pressure in my heart had subsided enough, the water stopped.

It was an odd experience, my eyes had truly become a relief valve to my grief... to my aching heart.

I didn't cry again until I met his family and told them, with the utmost sincerity, how sad I was for them, how I was so sorry for the pain and the loss.

Whatever.

Basically, I feel like the Grim Reaper as of late. My boss is doing very poorly, I lost a dear friend, a friend's baby died a few weeks ago, and... well... this feels like the death blog, and I'm kind of done with it.

So.

No more death. I don't feel like playing with HTML to figure out how to drape this damn thing in black.

It's time for happy stories...

I need more Cow Bell.

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

June 25, 2009

He's On MY Front Page

I've been busy with Boy Scouts.

I also had a friend die earlier this week... 40 years old, unexpected; we're devastated.

I'm in a far better place today than I was on Tuesday. I was a mess on Tuesday.

Today I guess I'm more of the mindset, "Why does our society give a crap that Michael Jackson died? Why is he on the front page?"

My friend belongs on the front page.

My friend deserves the mourning.

Not some celebrity.

My friend was my mechanic. I think some of you will remember when I switched mechanics, switching to a shop that is owned by a friend of my husband's, a woman.

Her main mechanic has been my husband's mechanic for 20 years... we came to her shop when he moved over from Toyota... his specialty, with his niche being my husband's brand of car.

He's the guy that rebuilt my husband's car after it was totalled four years ago.

I switched to him four years ago, initially being afraid of him. Odd... I remember my husband saying, 'Hey, while you're down there getting your oil changed, ask him for a piece of tubing... it should look like this."

I came home and said, "I didn't ask. I am afraid of him. I think he's kind of moody and I didn't want to annoy him."

My husband laughed and shook his head.

He'd quietly come into the office, tell the boss lady what was up with my car, hand her my keys and walk out. Finally, I just engaged him. He came in, had my keys in his hand and I flat asked HIM the questions.

He started addressing me... and over time, I got to know him, and... to care deeply for him, as my husband did.

I looked at him like a younger brother.

I would spend my time with him under the hood of my car. He'd look at something and explain it to me. He'd hook some electronic reader up, sit in the front seat, I'd sit shotgun, and we'd talk about life as he did his testing.

A few months ago, he was listening to something, trying to figure out what was wrong with my motor, when I grabbed his flashlight and some extra tool and said, "I'm here. Use me. Tell me where to point the light" as he'd been juggling all the crap.

He grinned and said it was kind of his job and I told him I knew it, but hey, if I was offering to help, to take me up on it. So I handed him what he needed and held the light, and we laughed and talked as he worked on my car.

About a year ago, we were standing in the parking lot talking. Boss Lady was there and I said, "We gotta get this car to 300,000 miles. Bones will be leaving the house then and I am NOT buying another mini-van. We have to make this one last..."

My mechanic grinned and said, "So, what're you going to buy after you get rid of this?"

I sat there for a moment and replied, "A car that seats ONE. I'm not haulin' anyone anywhere ever again, after he leaves home. No more equipment, no more kids... just me. A car that seats ONE."

He busted out laughing and he said, "Well, you know they don't make one seated cars..." and then he continued, "Tell you what, you find yourself a nice little sporty two seater, and I'll pull out the passenger seat and I'll put in a potted plant for you."

And so that was our running joke... I have a bit more than 150K miles on my car until potted plant time. We were both joking... yet not. I had every intent of showing up to the shop in a two seated car with a big potted plant in the passenger seat, when Bones left home and I turned in the asexual Mom-mobile.

He used to tease me... I put so many miles on my car, every time he'd change the oil I'd make some sort of crack comment like, "OK! See you in 6 weeks!"

Last time I had my oil changed, on the little oil change sticker where it asked for the date for the next oil change, he penciled in 7 days later.

But mostly? He looked after me. I had an alternator problem in my car a few months ago. We were listening to it, hearing it go bad over time.

He always listened to me. If I came in and said, "My motor is making this clicking noise and it's coming from here..." He'd drop everything to listen... and when it wasn't reproduced, he never treated me like I was out of my mind.

He always believed me and treated me like I was smart.

And so we sat over my motor, listening to the bearing go bad on the alternator. It was suggested by someone that I just let the alternator go bad and then replace it when it finally gave up the ghost.

I sat there not saying anything as the person walked away. My mechanic looked at me and finally broke the silence. He said, "Bou, I can't let you wait until it quits working. I need to replace it. I'll worry about you. I'll worry about where you'll be when it finally dies. Let me replace it."

"I'll worry about you"

How many mechanics say that to their customers... and mean it?

He was the guy I went to before every long trip. Before every Southern Tour... I'd take my vehicle to him to go over. I knew I was safe if he gave it the once or twice over.

He was going to get me to 300,000 miles.

He was going to put a potted plant in my car.

He was 40.

And he deserves to be on the front page of our local paper because he was a good guy and deserving of public mourning.

In my eyes.

I miss him.

Tremendously.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:54 PM | Comments (16)

June 22, 2009

We're Having a Heat Wave!

Bones had his first day of Drama Camp today. I was nervous as I'm not big on camps.

They are expensive.

It is summer.

During the summer... My children are MINE. I don't pawn them off on anyone.

They are only young once... I want to squeeze every drop that I can from their childhood so summers are OURS.

But this was a need to do, type camp. We were both nervous as 8-5 is a long daggum day.

Seriously.

I don't even work in an office 8-5 anymore. When I go in at 8, by 3PM I'm going stir crazy. I feel like I'm in jail. My kids don't go to school 8-5. They go 8-2:30.

Yikes!

I dropped him off and he had completely introverted into himself. No expression. Mr. Cool with a bravado about him that comes out when he's nervous.

Quiet. Expressionless as if he cannot be bothered to emote. He's too cool.

The director came out and saw Bones just give me a wave off. He said, "Oh, he's cool..." and I replied, 'No, he is nervous..."

With that the director said, "Well then, let's the three of us take a tour!" and we did.

By the time Bones got to his Drama class, he was more comfortable, although still not emoting. He knew a counselor as he's a Life Scout in my eldest boys' Troop.

I picked him up at 5 and he was bouncing in my car. "Mom! Mom! Mom!..." and he took off on a long excited dissertation of his day... full of emotion.

An hour later he asked if we could maybe afford to send him to Drama Camp later in July for another week. I am considering it... it is so nice to see him so happy.

Meanwhile, my eldest boys are at Boy Scout camp where the temps have been topping out at 98 degrees... where it supposedly feels like 105.

I think it feels like 115.

I can't run in this heat. At 9PM tonight it was still 93 degrees. It is 10:45 and 88. The humidity is seriously 100% and no rain. We're drinking air.

I'm sleeping there tomorrow night, so on my way I'm picking up dry ice and taking them Italian Ice for a treat. I think that will be a big hit. And the temps are supposed to drop into the 80s as a high for the days coming.

A virtual cold front!

So all is going well for the boys so far...

On the work front, I found out my boss is probably dying. He doesn't know. It's an odd story... he's in ICU. He'll make it out of ICU, hopefully, but I think he's not long for this world.

To some degree I'm in a bit of denial, although I did talk to my Tech Lead about it earlier this evening via phone. We're both trying to come to grips with it... I guess we'll talk about it at work tomorrow... trying to make sense of it all.

... hoping we are wrong.

Meanwhile, this song has been on my mind ALL DAY LONG!!! (Move the cursor to 2 minutes 45 seconds... otherwise you have to watch the movie.)

**UPDATE, when you have Solar Hot Water, and you live in S FL, and there is a heat wave, when you take a shower, the water will come out of the shower head at a temperature that will burn the skin off your bones. Holy crap...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:57 PM | Comments (7)

June 21, 2009

Father's Day from 180 Degrees

It was morning, we were sleeping and the phone rang. I kept my eyes closed, not ready to wake up. Besides, I don't sleep well anymore, and sometimes when I wake up, it feels like overnight, my eye lids turned to sandpaper.

I could tell already it was one of those mornings.

Maybe the phone ringing would go away. I didn't want to deal.

I heard my husband's voice, "Hellooo?" I kept my eyes shut, praying it was not for me.

"Yeah, Dad... Sure... No... Well... I had plans already... no... OK... let me call you back..... OK...." *click*

Keeping my eyes closed I said, "s'up with your Dad?"

"He wants me to pick him up from church this morning. He wants to go to 10:30 Mass, but we were going to go to breakfast with the kids. The transportation guy from the facility can't pick him up after Mass and his best buddy who usually takes him home is gone for the summer."

There was silence.

My husband doesn't deal well with being torn between obligations of his father and his family.

As vocal as I can be about how much his father pisses me off, I also recognize that we need to live without regrets... and it is... his father and the grandfather of my children. I try to intercede to mediate as much as possible.

I broke the silence, 'We can do both. Let's get up and you take a shower. I'll get the boys up and I'll help them finish their packing. We can be out of the house, enjoy breakfast and you can still pick him up. He can go to Mass... we can do breakfast as a family."

There was still silence.

I finally opened my eyes. He was staring at the ceiling. It is Father's Day.

"Come on!", I cajoled. "Seriously, we can do it both and not feel rushed. I promise, but we need to get moving..."

Sundays are our only days to sleep in. He is up at 5:30 to 6:00 on work days and I train on Saturdays, pulling me out of bed at 4:30. Sundays we sleep until 9 or 9:30.

Slugs that we are.

We love to stay up on Saturday nights and then just... sleep on Sunday. Mass doesn't start until 10:30, so the family does it all.

He got out of bed to take his shower and I got out of bed, woke up the two boys still sleeping, and had Mr. T, my early riser, help me finish his packing. I had the boys packed, and we were dressed and ready to go by 9:45, so we could get a good Father's Day breakfast and then he could pick up his father.

The deal was we needed separate cars.

We had a fantastic breakfast, a place I found for us at the last minute, since I'm the resident expert on every Southern Style Breakfast Greasy Spoon in the North County.

It amazes my husband and makes him laugh. Me the health freak of the family knows the best place to get cheese eggs, grits, bacon, home fries and anything else you could have a hankerin' for in the morning hours.

I love breakfast.

After breakfast I left with the boys, so he could get his Father from Mass, he goes to a different church than my family (not a close church to us), and we had elected to skip Mass so we could spend a nice family meal together on Father's Day since the boys had Boy Scout camp and since my husband has been out of town. We had taken separate cars in case my husband ran late and I knew I needed my car to get them to camp.

My cell phone rang... and it was my husband saying, "My Dad wants to hang out at our house all day."

I replied a yes, of course. It is the right thing to do.

My father in law.

I have said often that I could create a blog strictly on him... who he is, what he's done and the relationships he has and has destroyed.

I was talking to my girlfriend about him the other day, speaking of his rapid deterioration down the slippery exponential slope. She said to me, "Bou, we'll all be there one day."

And I said to her, I kid you not, "Yes, but I hope that I will live such a life, that when I'm there, and God forbid, afflicted with all that ails him, that my kids will have empathy because I was a good person. He was a bastard before. Now he's a bastard with Parkinson's Disease, amongst other things."

And I guess that pretty much sums it up. The ugliness in it's entirety.

His body is melting, taking a phrase from my own father. Pop is melting... slowly, like a candle. His color is faded, he is stooped on a walker, his legs don't work right the hips being a mess, years of choosing to not exercise have come home to roost in a broken body, his voice is quiet and there is a slur, he shuffles...

There is nothing about this man that is the same as who I met 20 years ago.

Nothing really.

The robust bastard I met is melting... and it is difficult to watch. The bravado is gone... although I watch because the manipulation is still there, although completely ineffective.

Of the four children, two of them take an active interest. My husband and an out of town sister, being the other.

He has fallen on our shoulders.

There is resentment at times on our part. Actually there are times of extreme resentment... things I cannot post here. It is deserved. I hope often that God is watching and counting somewhere, "Check mark for Bou's husband... minus mark for "insert name here of sibling""

Childish. I know.

But it is difficult to watch my husband struggle with all he struggles with when it comes to his father.

Yet he perserveres.

The 180 degree role reversal has occurred.

My husband is the father... and his father... the child.

We must live without regret. When all is said and done, my husband must be able to look himself in the mirror and know he did it all right.

No regrets.

That is what I tell him.

And so tonight I said to him, "Since your father has lost his license, all his buddies are out of town, and transportation can't take him back to the Assisted Living Community from Mass... maybe on Sunday now, you should pick him up after Mass and bring him back here. Have him wait for you at his church, and pick him up, and he'll just hang with us for the day... every Sunday. We do Sunday dinner with him anyway... this way he'll just be here."

My husband was quiet for a moment and then I heard him say so quietly, "yeah, I think you're right. I am going to think about it..."

No regrets.

Happy Father's Day to all you Fathers. And in particular... to those of you... who are now the Father to their own Father, he having become the child.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:16 PM | Comments (8)

June 20, 2009

Camp Time

My two older boys are going to Boy Scout Camp tomorrow. It's a week in the Florida heat.

Sleeping in a Valley Forge type tent.

Blech.

Last year I thought for sure that was it for Boy Scouts. They hated camp so much, I just KNEW they'd throw in the towel.

It was dirty, hot, the bathrooms were nasty, and the food was... not Mom's.

Mr. T who is lactose intolerant, was dying as they perpetually served Mac n' Cheese, eggs and cheese, lasagna, grilled cheese.

When I showed up Tuesday night (I'm a night chaperone) the first thing he said to me was, "Do you think they can serve SOMETHING without milk in it?"

Of course when I got there, he was miserable because he refused to use the bathroom for two days. He'd pee in the woods, but that was it. He found the personal hygiene of the boys to be so foul, and the latrines so nasty, that he refused to use them.

He was a miserable mess who wanted to come home. Ringo is a bit more easy going...although he did tell me he thought the average boy was an unhygienic disgusting pig.

If you recall, I sneaked him into the women's restroom, being clean, as I was the only woman, with the exception of a very very occasional other Mom. He was happy. Life was good.

Something happened over the last twelve months. I haven't put my finger on it.

They bonded more with their Troop? They know the boys better? They're into Scouting? They know what to expect? They FORGOT how much they hated it?

I'm not sure.

But not only are they going back, but they aren't dreading it, talking of it with great anticipation, and my eldest boy ran for and won Senior Patrol Leader for the Troop during this week long camp.

That means he's in charge of the duty roster.

I got a list of the boys attending camp, an older boy who had been SPL gave me the list of duties, and I handed them off with a couple words of advice.

"You may not want Latrine duty, but every leader must be willing to take the sh** jobs, as well as the easy ones. Pun intended. Don't leave yourself off latrine duty... people will notice." (There are more boys than days for Latrine Duty.)

Point taken. He agreed. I also suggested he pair off the new boys with older ones for Latrine duty, so they really know how they're supposed to be cleaned.

It doesn't mean he's not doing nice things for himself being SPL.

He and Mr. T went over the list today, going over pairings, who would be better with who on certain detail, and of course, "Hey! Don't put me or you for breakfast duty on Tuesday or Thursday morning! Those are the mornings we get to swim!"

The benies of being the leader... but not so obvious to everyone else.

So today has been spent doing laundry, packing, finishing the duty roster, ironing Class A and sewing on patches, shopping for incidentals, and just... getting ready.

Meanwhile, Bones is beside himself because he gets to be the only child for a week. Trust me when I say, he will NOT miss his brothers.

I've signed him up for Drama Camp. Yes. I did. It's from 8 to 5 and is a block from where I work, so I'll be able to work some serious hours, which is needed, as I'll have a son in private high school in a couple months. Tuition has to be paid somehow...

So we'll see. I am camp chaperone on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, which means I'll be baking during the week as well. They ask parents that visit to please bring ice and a treat for the boys.

Bones will be all Dramatic on us and I'm praying he likes it as I'm so hoping we can parlay his flare for the dramatic into an avenue of getting him out of the school he is currently in, into one of the public middle schools that specializes in kids who are artistic.

Obviously... I'll keep you posted. ;-)

Posted by Boudicca at 01:52 PM | Comments (7)

June 19, 2009

When Mom Gets Replaced with I-motional Support

My eldest son had his well 'child' check today as well as a couple innoculations, menigitis and chicken pox booster.

What a difference 10 years makes.

We tell the story frequently, of how I took him in for his 5 year shots, only for him to jump off the table after his first shot, screaming, 'You HIT MY BONE!'

I had to chase him down the hall and bring him back... for a second.

That was a real highlight in motherhood.

This go round, he grabbed his iPod, started to play a game and looked at the nurse and said, "OK, whenever you're ready. I just don't want to know..." and he proceeded to distract himself while she hit him in both arms.

Gone were the days where I had to promise doughnuts.

Doughnuts... the magic food for innoculation day.

"Mom, do we have to have a shot?"

"Yes, but if you're good and we just get it over with, we'll get doughnuts after."

They still talk about it amongst themselves. They did so today.

We were sitting in the waiting room, when a four year old came barreling out of one of the rooms, just having had a shot.

Holy crap. He made ANYTHING I have EVER seen in the pediatrician's office look tame.

He came screaming out, into the room where we all sat, THREW himself on the floor, screamed at EVERYONE at the top of his lungs, and continued to flop around on the floor like a fish.

It was a train wreck.

The room went silent as we all stared.

He continued... until they had him dragged to the car and then some, I am sure.

Absolutely spectacular show. Really.

He left the room and my two older boys sat quietly playing their DS while my son listened to his iPod. All three of them looked at each other.

Without looking up, Mr. T said, "They should have promised him doughnuts."

Bones: Hey, I remember that. I loved that. We always got doughnuts.

Mr. T: I know.

Ringo: Are we getting doughnuts today?

Me: Phht. I don't think so.

Nobody in the room said anything as we continued our silent banter amongst ourselves.

Doughnuts. One of my favorite foods.

When my paternal grandmother got so old she just really didn't give a crap anymore, I swear to you, she lived on pistachio ice cream and nutter butter cookies while reading romance novels that she got by the sack load from the local library.

Her ass got as wide as an axe handle, but she was happy. From 85 lbs her entire life, she probably gained 30 lbs in nutter butters and ice cream before she died. (She was never anorexic. If you were 4'8" you'd be 85 lbs too. I may be off on the height by an inch... maybe.)

Anyway, if I were going to throw caution into the wind, and pay no mind to anything but pleasure, I'd live on doughnuts.

With an occasional vanilla ice cream with chocolate syrup and peanuts, thrown in for good measure.

And I'd read all day... all fiction. All the time.

I hardly eat doughnuts anymore. Truth be told... they are really bad for you.

Our newspaper did an article on an Ironman Triathlete who is also a cardiologist, last year. They asked him what foods he avoided and he said.... Doughnuts.

I was heart broken.

Really.

Why could he have not said, "Spinach. Really, it's so bad for an athlete..."

Or.

"Turnip Greens. Endurance athletes have proven time and time again, that they should stay away from Turnip Greens. No matter how they are prepared, just stay away."

Or... even Sweet Potatoes. Blech. Why couldn't he have said, "Sweet potatoes will give endurance athletes the runs. Stay away..."

But no.

He singled out my favorite food. And it doesn't matter what kind of doughnut, I love them all as long as they don't have cream in them. Blech. Those are the worst. I don't do cream filled ANYTHING. Gag!

And could he have at least singled out 'Cream Filled Doughnuts are the bane of an athlete's existence, but the cruellers will see you to the finishs line..."? He needed to throw me a bone.

He did not.

And so I stay away from doughnuts.

And today... my 14 year old kid didn't need them. Hell, he didn't need me. He just needed his iPod.

Hunh.

Posted by Boudicca at 06:11 PM | Comments (8)

June 18, 2009

It's All Mental or Is it I'M Mental?

Blogging can be kind of difficult. Not difficult as in life and death or anything that could be remotely compared to that.

But just after awhile you think... Why? I get sick of being in my head at times, I wonder if at times, surely y'all must be sick of it as well.

I just forget, that after five years, you meet great people, people that get to know you and your family and they wonder, "What will happen next?"

I had someone tell me once he liked reading me because it was more of a feel good story. Sure, bad things happen (it's life), but overall, it was a good story of hope in a regular family.

I had another person tell me that I was a peek into the life they didn't choose. They didn't marry and have a family... and I was a glimpse as to what that kind of life is like.

I don't typically trudge the truly awful out here! Heh. Trust me, it happens. There is a lot that has happened in the last five years that I've not put down here because the truly seriously bad sh** gets sorted out and worked on here in the privacy of my home.

I don't bring my financial worries, marital downs (there aren't many of those, FYI, but we're both human), serious kid crap here. Two reasons I guess... first because this is my blog and my family didn't ask for this. It's not right to air the nasty dirt in public. Second, because really, as bad as it may be TO ME and my family, there are 10 people reading me who have it worse.

No reason to b*tch. No matter what happens, I feel like I walk amongst the blessed... even when I'm scared to death.

The exception to the no dirt in public rule is my father in law, and not because I don't respect him, but because as we struggle with his aging and the issues it brings to the table, I know others are sorting through the same troubles and maybe if it brings solace to someone that we're struggling too... they won't feel so lonely through it all. (There are some things about him I don't post, however. Just trust me on that. There is some modicum of civility that must be adhered to. Sidenote: Harvey thinks that should be my next blog title, "A Modicum of Civility". Heh.)

So I was emailing my loyal reader George, and it got me to thinking of the last 5 years and all that has changed since I started blogging. (My blogiversary was last week... no blog change. I can't do that in my head right now. Nothing is a simple as you think it will be.)

Five years ago...

Bones was entering Kindergarten. He is now going into 5th grade. He was undiagnosed ADHD. He was funny and cute. I hated his teacher. Looking back... I still can't stand her and wish he'd not had her. I only hated his 4th grade teacher more, but we won't go there. (Notice I never blogged on that last year...) Since then, he's learned he can't stand baseball (too slow), thinks about playing soccer, learned how to play lacrosse and took up the saxophone. He is quitting the sax and taking up voice. We are trying to get out of the school he currently attends, as in Middle School it will be a disasterous fit for him. People love to be around him or hate it... they can either handle his high energy or not. He's funny as hell... but a high maintenance kid. He wants to be an actor when he grows up. Think of being around him as like being around Jim Carrey... except in a 10 year old body.

Y'all have been with me the last 5 years as I've worried over him... and I've gotten comments and private email from others with children with ADHD as well as those who have it themselves as adults and I've listened to every word... filing all the data away.

Mr. T was entering 2nd grade. He's been lucky and had great teachers every year... or rather when he's had a 'not great' teacher, he's been able to adapt and make the best of it. Our current school is a GREAT fit for him and he is thriving. Since you've been reading me, he's taken up soccer, baseball and thinks about lacrosse. He may try out for the school soccer team next year. He's been elected into Student Government for the last two years by his classmates, and was elected class Mayor in 5th grade for an event they had to attend. He took up the trumpet because his arms were too short for trombone, and the minute he gained that inch, he tossed away the trumpet... being the sole trombone player in his school band. He's in Boy Scouts and loves it... currently a 1st class, he'll make Star, for sure, in 6 months. He'll be in 7th grade and is nearly a straight A student. I'm helping him to figure out how to keep it all A's next year... He wants to go to Georgia Tech.

Ringo was going into 4th grade. It's the year that he started to mentally 'check out'. (Inference here... same crappy 4th grade teacher.) I didn't see the signs. By 5th grade... how I missed it, I'll never know. I thought it was him... there was so much more going on. I can't beat myself up over it, however. As bad a fit as our school was, he made it through and learned a lot. He has NO fond memories and never intends to go back to visit. His philosophy is nothing can be as bad as the last four years... it can only get better. (Note also, none of this was ever blogged upon.) He has high hopes. He was close to making black belt when you started to read me, quit karate as our dojo closed, took up soccer, and baseball. He took up the trumpet for three years, hating it, and turned it in for an electric bass guitar, which he loves. He plays drums, electric bass, and the double bass. He joined Scouting late just to be with his brother, is a 1st class and will be Star in 6 months. He's taken to it like a fish to water and runs for all leadership positions. He has so much hope for next year... as I do too. I suspect he'll start shaving next year... and by the end of 9th grade if not sooner, he'll be my height. That is kind of crazy...

I wasn't working when you started to read me. I was training for my black belt as well, was a stay at home Mom, had just gotten three kids in school full time and was wondering what was next in my life. In Nov of that year I started working again for 10 hours a week, back in engineering on our current latest and greatest fighter aircraft. I never thought anyone would value me as an employee again. They set out to prove me wrong... and I am happy for the faith others had.

You went through three hurricanes with me (Frances, Jeanne, Wilma), and two others that my folks endured (Ivan and Dennis) and I met Tammi as she lived through Charley.

One of my co-workers nearly had a heart attack at work, pissing me off, while another narrowly escaped it... with me riding his ass... they both got stints and huge lectures from me. My husband even bought me a one way flow valve for CPR for them (I'm certified), but I told them if they pushed it that hard, they better hope I didn't let them die instead. Pinheads. My boss has had cancer... three times. And I realized that the friendship I started with my Tech Lead 21 yaars ago, when we were both nothing but kids... has endured longer than most marriages and I view him as a major stable factor in my life. I got lucky. I have great men in my life.

I ran my first half marathon with you, and my first Full... while enduring physical breakdowns as my body... just isn't Kenyan. I had my gall bladder removed, my sister got married, she created me a niece 'The Great Flambina', and three weeks ago I got a nephew. (My husband's bro... the baby is very yummy. He looks like a little monkey.) I've made many quilts... three of them for First Holy Communion for my kids' classes and a wedding quilt I'm still working on... although I did finish the Great Flambina's baby quilt. (Ran into a technical difficulty with the wedding quilt...)

OH! And we took our first true family vacation and went skiing... and loved it!

My kids saw their first snow with you. Flew on their first airplane where Bones realized that bathrooms in airplanes were just 'flying port-o-lets'. Slept on subways through NYC and rode through some not so very nice places where the fact my husband can look like a Mafia Don was probably the only thing that saved our asses. Went to the Macy's Day Parade... twice. (We have family in the area.)

I've made great friends and met some wonderful bloggers. I've been touched by the deaths of bloggers and blogger's family members... horrified as I could do nothing but watch. We grow attached to those we read...

And if there is anything about blogging that I am thankful for it is... the people I've met... from all over the world.

I am humbled that you come back... and always thankful to hear from you. Whether I am able to respond in comments or not... I am always appreciative of what you write.

Always.

Five years.

I am pushing into my mid-40s now, I have a teenager with another on his coat-tail. I'll have a kid driving in 9 months... and I suspect y'all will live through it with me.

I don't do Facebook and appear to be the last hold out and will remain so for multiple reasons. I'd not know how to be a Twit or Twitterer or how to Tweet to save my life. I need a new cell phone as mine is on its last leg, but I mourn the fact I can no longer get one without a camera... so I don't replace it.

I'm kind of a fuddy dud I think.

And I'm OK with that...

Thank you for reading me these last 5 years. So much has happened. It took me really sitting down and reviewing it in my head today to realize... we've really been through a lot.

Thank you...

Posted by Boudicca at 03:57 PM | Comments (13)

June 17, 2009

Cool to One... Not So Much to The Other

It's been kind of crazy here. My folks are here, which always makes us happy.

My eldest son has gotten a job volunteering at the local hospital... in the lab. He's filing for now, but they've told him they'll teach him some stuff on the days he's done filing. He's pretty excited.

I'M excited because he's in a professional environment. There is potential for him to learn so much from this group.

Right now he seems most enthralled with all the different types of 'codes' listed on the back of his badge. I told him the only acceptable was was 'code blue'. The rest of them... I had no desire for them to be used while he was working there.

He thinks the one for contamination spill, hostages or what appears to be Weapons of Mass Destruction (I think he misinterpreted that one...) are very cool.

Me?

Not so much.

Blogging... is tougher lately. Motivation is low. It's summer... I'm in my 5th year of this.

I think in blogging years, that makes me an old lady.

I have thought more of quitting lately... it's never fun when you look at a blank screen and think, "Crap". So it will be intermittent.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:41 PM | Comments (10)

June 15, 2009

Flag Day Belated

I attended a flag retirement ceremony yesterday... Flag Day. It was put on by an organization I'm in and I was surprised by how many were in attendance.

What surprised me most was how nasty the smoke was as we started to burn the flags. It smelled absolutely awful... a stench I smelled for an hour or so after it was over. A smell that made me thankful I am not asthmatic.

It made our newspaper, a great article, with online photos. My favorite quote was "I don't think the founding fathers anticipated that flags would one day be made of fire-retardant material."

Heh.

There was a bagpiper who played Amazing Grace as the first flag was retired. A Barbershop Quartet who sang the Star Spangled Banner. A Boy Scout bugler that played Taps.

It was wonderful.

Article is HERE and the pix are HERE. A certain someone can be seen in picture 17.

I'll be there next year too... it's an annual event.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:15 PM | Comments (4)

June 14, 2009

A Time and Place for Everything

My folks, coming in town, made us all do the big "OH SH**!" this morning as the house needed to be clean.

I quickly cleaned the guest room and bathroom, then I had to run off to a Flag retirement ceremony.

But it was while I was cleaning the bathroom when I noticed crushed goldfish on the floor, on the rug... around the commode.

WHO eats goldfish in the bathroom?

WHO EATS in the bathroom?

WHO?

YUCK!

And I know the answer to WHO. I know it was Bones... I guess I'm not sure I want to know what the answer is...

I'm hoping he just had crushed goldfish all over him and they ended up in the bathroom... not that he was so hungry AND had to go to the bathroom, that he did both at the same time.

Blech.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:42 PM | Comments (8)

Time Zones

My folks are here in town. I decided to finally take the two sauces that Eric had given me this past summer and make some ribs 'Eric Style'.

I went over the directions he gave me, emailed a couple times to make sure I got it all right, and put them on at 5:30.

OK... the directions were for to marinate the ribs, put them on the grill on low, and they'd be done in 30 minutes.

Bones was excited. He hates spare ribs, but he likes Eric's ribs.

And so I put them on, watching the grill temp (I've never grilled before), flipping, dipping, grilling.

Thirty minutes comes and goes, and these suckers aren't done.

Dip, flip, grill, watch the temperature...

One hour and these suckers aren't done.

About an hour and half later, the ribs are perfect. They looked just like when Eric cooked them.

I walked in and said to my family, "Thirty minutes. That's 30 minutes Eric time. That's East Tennessee, bottle of beer in the hand, talking to your buddies, 30 minutes, which is an hour and a half to the rest of us."

Heh.

The ribs were outstanding...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:27 PM | Comments (6)

June 13, 2009

New Phases

This morning's run could very well have been the worst run I've ever had. We meet at 6AM, everyone pounding the pavement by 6:15, and when I got back to my car at 7:45, it was already 85 degrees and so humid I could hardly breathe.

The humidity is kicking my ass. I told one of the coaches, "I need a sphere of sponges around me to soak the water out of the air before it gets to me."

I slogged through it; it was an absolute disaster.

We're talking of meeting at 5AM soon, but I'm really not sure it's going to be any better. The sun won't be on us, but our summer mornings before dawn, are still 80-85 degrees with 95% humidity... on a good day.

It needs to rain. We need to run in the rain. If it's going to be that frickin' awful, it needs to just rain.

Anyway.

Our Honored Hero for our Team in Training team nearly died this week. He'll be up at Duke with his stem cell transplant doctor on Monday for a long duration, figuring out what is next.

He keeps me motivated to keep training this week.

I feel like complete crap though, it's like I never got my electrolytes balanced... just... nasty. But I don't have cancer. Anything I go through is a nit... what he is going through, is scary as hell.

Meanwhile, I was telling my husband tonight that we are about to start a weird phase of our life, when boys just show up at our home. My eldest gets his permit in 9 months... he has buddies getting their permits in just a couple months.

That means within the next 14 months, some of his buddies will be driving. They can just drive over...

That is going to be odd... having teenagers just showing up at my home. Pulling in and wondering, "Whose car is that in my driveway?"

Hunh.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:41 PM | Comments (4)

June 12, 2009

Just Call Me The Puppet Hater

So my brother keeps sending these links to some show by a guy named Craig Ferguson.

He thinks these puppets are a riot.

I do not.

He calls me the Puppet Hater.

Good Lord.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:07 PM | Comments (13)

June 11, 2009

A Peacefulness... Sets In

You know you are an extraordinarly devout Catholic family when 'The Bish' shows up to a family funeral. Partakes. Presence looms large...

The strength of some people perpetually amazes me. There was weeping throughout the church, but a peace with the family, the parents celebrating they had 10 months longer than they ever expected.

Half full or half empty? Attitude plays so much.

The EMT crew that responded to the call came. They were young men... young. Honestly? It sucks to be the family, but it sucks to be that EMT crew. Coming to the Mass, one of them a Catholic for sure, two of the crew not knowing the family personally other than having responded before... they are trying to come to terms with it.

To come in finding a father performing CPR on a baby... doesn't matter if you know the circumstances or not going in, that's a tough gig.

I think I'm at peace with it... because the parents are. The hardest part of a funeral is the grieving of those left behind. But when those left behind have the attitude of 'Half Full', a celebration of life, peace, acceptance... the pain in the hearts of those who look from the outside is patted down.

Not extinguished...

Just... tempered.

There is no bringing her back, but their attitude, their strong faith, will keep her alive.

That brings me peace.

Posted by Boudicca at 06:10 PM | Comments (6)

Knowing from Where You Come

This post is for my sister and my Mom, who I think will think this is funny (even if they don't comment). The rest of you may not... eh, but they will. Heh.

I had a not so nice project fall into my lap at work earlier this week. I called Company X for clarification. The conversation went something like this:

Me: This kind of sucks. This could get ugly. I'm going to need to pull together a team I think.

CX: Yeah, you are.

Me: I think I need the field. I need to call the field.

CX: You know some reps or do I need to help?

Me: No. I know plenty from my past. I'm going to call so and so.

CX: You know him?

Me: Yeah, we go way back...

CX: You know he's the head rep out there now, right?

Me: Yeah, I heard. It's perfect...

CX: But he may assign you one of his reps to work this. Do you know Marie?

Me: I've been on telecons with her. She has a good reputation...

CX: You'll get along fine. She's sharp as hell and a real pain in the ass. She's JUST like you! bwhahahahaha.

Me: *blink* Oh. Thanks!

CX: My pleasure. Good luck. *click*

Flash forward to today. My folks are coming in Sunday. I was talking to TGOO and said, "The boys and I are thinking of things for us to do while you're in town!"

He replied, "I have a 1000 page book on the history of the British Isles. I have a lot I can read..."

Me: Yeah, but we have to do other things.

TGOO: Do you know, the last book I read on the British Isles, it was on the DNA, and it appears that from my Y-DNA, we are descended from a Danish Viking?

Me: Oh. Is that where you and I get our sparkling personalities?

TGOO: Bwahahahhahaha! Yeah, that's it.

Heh.

Posted by Boudicca at 05:36 PM | Comments (5)

June 09, 2009

Chicken Pot Pie

Some serious doo doo has hit the fan here, so blog fodder is short for awhile.

Meanwhile, for MikeD, my Chicken Pot Pie recipe. When I cut this in half, I still use two full pie crusts as my family is all about the pie crust... and I keep the egg quantity the same as they're also all about the eggs! :)

Chicken Pot Pie

3 lbs. chicken breasts (This is good for turkey leftovers too)
4 (14 oz or 396 grams) cans chicken broth (I use canned Fat Free or boxed FF)
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 stalk celery cut into 2" pieces
1 medium onion, quartered
1 bay leaf
1 (16oz) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables
2 lg. potatoes, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup flour
1 cup milk (I use skim)
1/2 tsp salt (I leave this out)
1 1/4 tsp pepper (I leave this out... it's too peppery for me)
1/4 tsp dried thyme
2 boiled eggs, sliced
2 9" refrigerated pie crusts (Pillsbury, comes in the red box in the refrigerator section of Publix)

Combine first 7 ingredients in large Dutch oven; bring to a boil and cook until chicken is tender. If chicken has already been cooked, just allow it to simmer a few minutes for the chicken to pick up some of the flavor and get really tender. Remove chicken. Throw out vegetables and bay leaf. Keep the broth. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces.

Bring broth to a boil again and add frozen vegetables and potatoes. Bring to a boil again and simmer eight minutes or until tender. Remove these veggies from the broth and set aside, then measure out three cups of broth and set it aside too.

Melt butter in Dutch oven over low heat, add flour, stirring constantly. Gradually add three cups of broth and milk, cook over medium heat stirring constantly until mixture is thickened and bubbly. Stir in 1/2 tsp salt and 1 1/4 tsp pepper, and thyme. Add vegetables, chicken and boiled eggs; stir gently. (NOTE: The extra pepper can make this dish spicy, so if you are serving to children or those who do not like spice, leave out the last 1 1/4 tsp pepper. I never include it and it tastes fine.)

Unfold the piecrusts: cut and paste one of them so it fits the bottom of the a 13X9" baking dish and brown it in the oven (about 10 minutes at 400deg.). Spoon the chicken & vegetable mixture on top of the crust and cut and paste the other crust so it covers the top. Cut slits in the top and bake at 400 deg for 20 minutes.
6-8 servings.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:04 PM | Comments (12)

June 08, 2009

A Pox on my Kitchen

This is a lean team going to the Virginia Beach race...not a huge number of participants. I'm going to be sticking close to some of my 'mentees', as I am their mentor.

One woman in particular, has set a goal for herself, and I'm bound and determined that she will meet it.

The problem is... she is 5'10" and I'm 5'2". I make it a personal rule not to run with tall people.

When I run with her, it's like a frickin' chihuahua running with a frickin' great dane.

It takes two steps of mine to one step of hers. What is a slow plodding pace for her, is a bit speedier for me.

So I'm trying to kick it up a notch so I can keep up with her, help her meet her goal and in turn I'll meet mine.

It's hot and humid and I've really been kicking myself, feeling like a slug, feeling like I'm slogging through every single frickin' run. I had the mileage wrong. I'm doing better than I expected.

I'm officially doing a 12 minute mile for 35 minutes. My goal is to get it to a consistent 11 minute mile. I want to finish the last 1/2 marathon of the my race year in 2 hours and 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, I keep hearing my sports doctor's words that every 10 lbs is a minute a mile. If I shave of 10 lbs, it should be easier for me to bring my time down.

I'm working on it. I'm not that big to begin with, this is vanity weight, so every pound I pull off is a serious struggle. I'm losing a pound a week and good Lord, it's slow going.

As I posted on Saturday, it was Bones Birthday.

Have you ever had one of those days where you just NEED to stay out of the kitchen? Everything you touch just... doesn't go well?

I burned his cake.

I frickin' BURNED his cake.

I have been baking since I was 12. I am 43. Do the math. NEVER in my life have I... burned a cake. I did it.

Fortunately, I don't do cakes from scratch. As a good friend of mine likes to say, "Duncan Hines pays baking scientists good money to perfect it. Why should I mess with something someone spent years on and got right?"

Point taken.

I do however, make my own icing.

I'm jumping ahead of myself.

So I burned the cake. Aghast, I went back out to the store to buy another yellow cake mix. Cake #2 was perfect.

Then I was making his favorite, my Chicken Pot Pie, when I forgot to add the chicken broth to the roux and when I remembered, it was lumpy. It took a long time with a whisk to get the lumps out.

And as I was making the Chocolate Buttercream Icing, as I added the powdered sugar I looked at Bones and said, "Why is this so lumpy?"

I looked at the recipe and it said, 'Sifted powered sugar". Nice. Half of it got sifted, but still... it just was not as fluffy.

Lessons learned on all accounts. I was just too distracted or something. But really, I had no business in the kitchen.

Now I'm avoiding my kitchen so I don't finish off that frickin' cake.

It's sitting in my kitchen, giving off cake vibes that say, "EAT ME!"

Gotta love what I'm going to get googled for on that one...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:12 PM | Comments (6)

June 07, 2009

The Baby With the Broken Heart

Last year, a woman very dear to my husband had a baby... born with severe heart defects. There were other defects as well, organs on the wrong side of the body, but those were supposedly all fixable... the heart was a different gig.

The doctors were encouraging though, when they found it on the ultrasound. It was bad, very bad, but with the right care there was so much hope.

And she was born, and surgeries were done, and it was realized that the problems were far worse than anyone knew.

She needed a heart transplant.

They sent her home finally.

She was permanently on a vent.

And as poorly as she did in the hospital, she did the absolutely opposite at home. She was still a horribly sick little baby with the broken heart, but she seemed to thrive at home.

Odd, that.

Odd that we all knew how sick she was. We all knew how bad it was. But... I guess we were all still in denial.

She probably would not make it... but it is not something we talked about, not even really in my home, where it was spoken of frequently, in medical terms.

Not even in my home, where I had never met her, or held her, where we did not love her as family, but loved her from afar as friends of the family.

Who can not love a baby? Who cannot love a baby with a broken heart?

Our local newspaper did a big article on her on Mother's Day. The article was on all the Mothers in this very loved baby's family. One Mother, two grandmothers, two great grandmothers.... generations of love, one small baby, with a very small heart. They even did an article on the father on the inside page... so much love... so much love.

And our phone rang in the early hours this morning. Half sleepy, I looked at my husband and said, "Who was that?" blurry eyed looking at the clock.

He stood in the middle of the room... and told me the sweet baby was no longer.

Her heart had failed. She was gone. The middle of the night... seven weeks from her first birthday.

It has kind of messed with our heads here. We talk about it, talk around it, leave it, come back to it... we're lost.

How does one provide comfort to someone who has lost a child?

He said to me, "We knew it would come. But not now... in the back of our minds, we all felt she'd get that heart transplant, and it would all be better."

We had fooled ourselves, I guess. I think if I'd told anyone else the story of the sweet baby, they would have known it was imminent, but over time... we just started to cling to the hope. Perhaps it was God's will she be the miracle.

We take solace in the fact that the team that responded to the call to the house, was headed up by one of the best EMTs we know... a friend of the baby's family. It was if God put him there...

Her heart may have been broken, but she stole all of ours, and we never had the luxury of holding her. She stole it just on the virtue of being... her.

We will be attending a funeral this week, with a little white casket. I'm unsure how I will deal with this. As much as I deal with death and dying, more so than the average person my age, I am nervous.

I am sad, scared, angry, helpless.

I pray for her soul and for her family... may they have the strength to continue on and take solace in the fact there will be no suffering. Our hearts know no boundaries for love. Our hearts know no boundaries for grief.

May there be Peace.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:07 PM | Comments (14)

June 06, 2009

HB, Bones!

Today is 'D' Day. That's one of the first things TGOO said to me when Bones was born. "He's born on D Day."

And what I'm hoping is, knowing his entire life he was born on D Day, will push him to fully understand it, to read about it, to be able to tell others about the events of his birthday, 55 years before his birth.

Today is his 10th, D Day's 65th.

Bones it the cartoon in our family. It's like living with Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes, except he has two older brothers and never had a Hobbes, but preferred a stuffed Ernie from Sesame Street.

When I found out I was pregnant, something not foreseen in our life plan, I said to my husband, "There has to be a reason for this..."

There are days that that very phrase is the only thing that sees me through, "There has to be a reason for this..."

Big energy all the time, he is my high maintenance child. My ADHD child that struggles with concepts that have always come easy for me... a child I do not understand or relate to.

On any level.

He is here... and I learn from him... every day.

He has a zest for life I cannot even imagine. I NEVER bounded out of bed excited about the start of the new day, looking at each day as a gift bestowed upon me by the universe, for my sole pleasure.

Yet, that is his outlook. Every day is golden, a wonder, a whole new adventure.

Extroverted, funny, enthusiastic, a dear friend of mine said once, "Every adult that meets him thinks, "I want that. I want to be like that.""

Everything is big to him, nothing is small. His voice is big, his expressions are big, life is big. Nothing done to him is small, no discussion with him is insignificant, no argument with him is not worth his pushing the limits.

With the good, comes the bad.

The Yin and the Yang.

He is both.

He is the child I worry for most. Not identifying with him on any level, I can't fathom what is going to happen in his life, what choices he will make.

He's all over the road, 100 MPH, from sun up until sun down. He exhausts me at times, making me want to hide in a dark quiet room. Sensory Deprivation Tank comes to mind.

But he is mine, he is ours, he makes us laugh, he pushes us to see life at an angle we never would have... and we love him dearly.

And so to Bones I say, “Happy Birthday my youngest son. Should all the children be so blessed to be as loved as you are… for if they were, I suspect the problems of this world would be so very different… We love you so.”

Bones smaller.jpg
Taken in Pensacola in July 2008.

Bones in Alabama.jpg
Taken in Alabama in Huntsville, July 2008.

Bones and Rolly Pollies2.jpg
Taken at my Aunt's house in Alabama. The boys, unbeknownst to me, had smuggled Rolly Pollies to her home, in plastic bags, in the asexual Mom-mobile. I was not pleased. This is probably how we have non-native plants and bugs introduced in various states... little boys smuggling all this crap across state borders.


Posted by Boudicca at 12:30 PM | Comments (12)

June 04, 2009

Running and Not Sleeping

I went running yesterday at 5:30.

I thought I might die. 5:30 PM, in June, in FLORIDA, is dumb. Even if it was just 30 minutes... I slogged through it. I think I wasn't even running in parts... just kind of bouncing in place with cement in my legs.

I got a copy of the Full training schedule as we do have people on the team training for a Full marathon.

My constant thought? "Thank God it's not me..." Good Lord... I'm so glad I'm training only for a Half.

Next week I up my daily run to 36 min max. They'll be at close to an hour for the Full. I'll still have three days off... they'll only have two.

My Saturday training in mid July is 1 hour, 40 min. They'll be at 2 hour 40 min. Easy.

It was the daily long long pounding that did me in. I do not miss it... in particular in this heat.

Meanwhile, I awoke at 2:20 this morning, bolt right up, trying to convince myself that I wasn't supposed to get up, I could wait until 7:30.

As I was getting ready for work my husband said, "You don't look like you slept well."

I replied, "I was up at 2:20 in a panic that I had to get up. I spent too much time trying to convince myself that it was OK to go back to sleep."

He said, "This happens to you. Over the years, how many times have I found you wandering the house or sitting up in bed at some weird hour in the morning, having to convince you to go back to sleep?"

Does this happen to anyone else?

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

June 03, 2009

Sarcasm is the Body's Natural Defense Against Stupidity

We got in the car from one of Ringo's many music lessons and he said to me, "What are we doing tonight?"

Me: I'm going to work out. I have to run for 30 minutes.

Ringo: Other than that.

Me: Nothing. Why?

Ringo: Jeff called me. I think they want to see an 8:00 movie.

With that, I told him it was fine, and he called Jeff back.

Ringo gruffily: Hey, yeah, what's up?

Me, in the background, mimicking: Hey Jeff! It's me Ringo. How are you? It's so good to hear from you! Thank you for calling!

Ringo, shooting me a dirty look, while grinning: Yeah. I'll have to ask my Mom. I'll call you back. *click*

Ringo: They want to see "Drag Me to Hell".

Me: What? What in the heck is that about?

Bones: Mom. It's about some guy being dragged to hell.

Me: What kind of movie is that?

Bones: Mom. It's a horror movie. Please. I mean, the guy is being dragged to hell. Did you think it was a comedy?

*silence*

Ringo: I don't have to go.

Me:

Ringo: I mean... I can skip it.

Me: It sounds like the family has plans tonight and you need to tell him no.

Ringo on phone: Yeah, hey, thanks for asking, but I can't. We have plans... Yeah. Ok. Bye. *click*

*silence*

Me: Anytime.

Ringo: Yeah, thanks.

Me: Next four years... anytime. I have big shoulders.

Posted by Boudicca at 04:58 PM | Comments (13)

June 01, 2009

Someone Forgot to Tell ME!

Have you ever googled your name? I do occasionally to ensure there are certain things not showing up.

I do images sometimes, making sure there aren't any images of me that I was unaware of, at least associated with my name.

I'm aware of who has my address and where.

Today, on a lark, I googled my maiden name.

And found out someone thinks I'm dead.

That was very odd. It had me buried at my birth place. I was born in a very odd place to be born, not some common place like West Palm Beach or Miami or anything like that. When I tell people where I was born, I usually get, "REALLY?"

Really.

So it was odd when I noticed my maiden name WITH my married name, it was definitely me... and that I was dead.

Odd.

It's a genealogy source and I'd correct them and tell them it's wrong, I'm very much alive, but I decided... I don't care if people think I'm dead.

Really.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:49 PM | Comments (7)

They Need to Bottle it and Sell It

Sunday we were at a party for Son#4. His parents had a small graduation party. It was SO nice... and even though our boys have just graduated from 8th grade, it was a nice transition party. It was a small get together signifying his moving into more of a manhood role.

Son#4 is a great kid. My boys think of him as a brother and during the car ride home, they were already plotting what they were going to do with him this summer.

My husband and I were cracking up.

But what this post is really about is my girlfriend's parents.

Genetics are an amazing thing. Her Dad is 87 years old and was in Patton's 3rd Army, Infantry.

What are you picturing? Seriously, be honest with yourself. I said 87, WWII vet, what did you picture?

Slight man? Elderly. Moving slow. Gaunt maybe? Hard of hearing? Glasses? Maybe slightly stooped?

Folks, the man has found the frickin' Fountain of Youth. I joke with him and her Mom that they don't let the grass grow under their feet. They are snowbirds and have a job at both places.

They go North, get settled, and Boom!, the next day he's up early and out at his job at the Golf Course. They come back here, get settled, and Boom!, the next day he's up early and out at his job at the Golf Course.

There is no tremor in his voice, no volume issues that can come with aging. He walks with an assuredness of someone 40 or 50 years old. He's built strong as an ox still, his skin is amazing, and I swear to you, the man does not look a frickin' day over 60.

SIXTY.

Sixty. The way he moves, talks, carries himself... there are no hearing issues, vision issues, or any memory issues that are obvious to me, although if you ask his wife she may say otherwise.

I am absolutely astounded. I love talking to him because he's so extroverted and full of energy.

He told my husband yesterday that two years ago he noticed he doesn't have the strength he had. Built like a bull, the man had to be strong as hell in his youth, he said it is frustrating to see something he wants to pick up... but can't.

That happened at... 85.

And lest you think his wife is just withering away... NO. My husband and I were just discussing her as well. Her too, I'd put in her 60s. She keeps up with him, and although I know she's had more health issues, if you told me she was 79 (I think she is now... she is a bit younger), I too would tell you, "NO WAY."

And I attribute it to a couple things. They have always taken care of themselves, they are active, and damn, they got good genes!

Posted by Boudicca at 06:12 AM | Comments (3)