August 31, 2009

Maybe It's All A Front for Arms Dealers...

My son is going to a small Catholic High School. They... have uniforms.

I waited until the last minute to buy uniforms because 1) he grows every summer and I didn't want to buy uniforms I had to return (one month he grew 2 inches), 2) it's a half hour to 40 minute drive to the uniform store and 3) I knew it would take a few hours out of my day and I, quite frankly, don't have a few hours.

I'd never been to this uniform store. It was an absolute filthy hell hole.

And they didn't have any more uniforms so we had to order them.

Long story short, I ended up finding out this uniform hell hole was a chain, and when I called to check on the status of his uniforms, this being the 3rd week of school and still no uniforms, I decided to let the corporate office know exactly what I thought of 1) their store cleanliness, 2) their store help (sucked) and 3) their lack of uniforms.

They were very polite and apologized, but this is the part I found ghastly and funny at the same time.

She said to me, "Mrs. L, it shows here that they are currently going through customs and should be at your home on Tuesday or Wednesday."

*blink*

Going through customs?

Said I, "Ummm... where EXACTLY are they coming from?"

She replied, "OH! Well, the uniforms themselves are from here in America, but then we ship them off to Nicaragua to be embroidered."

Nicaragua.

I was flabbergasted. I said, "REALLY."

She chipperly replied, "OH yes! We have an amazing factory down there!!!" blah blah blah.

*blink*

Really.

Why are we shipping our school's uniforms off to Nicaragua to get embroidered?

I'm going to be asking some questions about why we are using this place and why we're doing business with a company that is shipping business off shore when it could readily be done here.

Really.

Every day now I say to my son, "Hey, check the front porch to see if your Nicarguan uniforms are here..."

Anyway, from my bro, who lives in LA... a fire video that just really hammers home the serious doo doo that is going on out west.

Fire scares the hell out of me...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:32 PM | Comments (6)

Fall Out

I've not posted this. It's not that I think it's irrelevant and I have thought of it a number of times, but I'm kind of in a quandry about it.

I live in a suspected cancer cluster. Rather, my neighborhood shares a zip code with a suspected cancer cluster.

Wells in my neighborhood have been tested, meetings in the area have been held, and it makes the front page of our local paper three or four times a week. Erin O'what's her name, that they made a film about, her legal team has been called by people within the zip code.

A cancer cluster is serious. When you're talking children with brain cancer, that's some pretty serious sh**.

There is a lot of finger pointing and speculation. All I know, at the heart of it all, where most of the cases have occured, I've never wanted to live. Parts of it have always seemed unclean to me and I have driven through many a time thinking I'd not want to drink their water.

Although, it could very well NOT be the water.

The water is what everyone is focusing upon.

A couple weeks ago, I was out and about walking/running with a neighbor friend of mine. She asked me what I thought.

I'm not a 'sky is falling' kind of girl. I want data. I want facts. The data from what I've heard, incidences, is disturbing. Any child with cancer will break your heart.

There is a big plant where I used to work, that is near here. It has deep pockets. People think there has been run off into the water sources... the way the water flows, it could be so.

It could be... but I told her I think those would not be all their problems. I think it is multifold.

I think people put wells illegally where they have no business being. I think there are agricultural pesticides that have been sprayed in that area for years (orange groves). I think there has probably been illegal dumping.

... and I think the fact that when it rained, it used to flood all the way up to people's homes, only to have all the run off from every piece of property end up in the water table... is not a good thing.

Someone asked me if I had every considered buying property out that way as an investment. (I live in a planned development with paved streets, although we are on well and septic. It is very rural, horse country, out that way.) An acre was going for but 10K a lot.

I told them, "1) I don't have a spare 10K. 2) I don't buy land where when it rains I need a boat to get to my house". Drainage is key to me.

It's the simple things.

So we're waiting. As if the housing market weren't bad enough, now our homes are zoned in a potential cancer cluster. Talk about tanking.

I told my Mom and Dad that when we want to sell in 20 years, we may have to market our homes to those who want a nice place to die. You don't have to worry about getting cancer if you're already dying.

"Spacious home on property with room to roam. Perfect place to spend your last months. Enough room for caregivers and for family to stay during your funeral!"

Hey, I'm all about the positive side.

Not to be flippant. I just need data. I can't get all freaky without the data, and even then, that's not my personality. I'm all about finding solutions... not spazzing out.

The whole thing is disconcerting though. It is. We're probably going to be forced to cough up the cash to go on city water, water I don't deem any better, but that has not been thought to cause the Big C.

There are folks who are in hysterics over this. Folks abandoning their homes and allowing foreclosure to happen.

But someone was quoted in our paper last week along the effects that he hoped it was proven negative, that everyone would spend the time to clear our names, everyone being the legal firms, the newspaper, etc.

Right.

Because... Negative Cancer Clusters don't sell papers or air time.

This will be interesting.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:19 PM | Comments (5)

August 30, 2009

Inspirations... Or... Why We Run

Yesterday we had a small gathering, a pool party, for my Team in Training team mates before we go to our first race. My current team has two races going on, VA Beach Labor Day weekend, and Nike Women's at the end of October.

This was our send off.

It was hosted by our Honored Hero's mom, who is on our team.

My husband and two younger sons attended with me, as my eldest was at a party with some friends.

I spent a lot of time preparing Mr. T and Bones. They'd never met anyone fighting cancer, let alone someone fighting it for seven years, the ravages of the disease having taken it's toll on a young 21 year old body.

We had conversations as to whether it was contagious. Bones wanted to know how our Hero had caught it. The boys wanted to know how it could have been prevented. They wanted to understand if he will make it.

And when they met him, they realized... it is a tough horrible battle our young friend is fighting, but it is his positive attitude and strength of his family that has brought him this far. Bones remarked on it in the car.

"Mom," he said, "He laughs so much!"

I think Bones expected someone sullen, depressed with the fight. Some may have that attitude, but our Hero does not. Quick to laugh, loving conversation, our Hero has such an amazing spirit, it makes you want to fight for him.

His skin is red in palor and peeling from all the chemicals and radiation. He is bloated and his hair thinned. His arm and legs so thin. His eye lashes are gone, his eyes dry and irritated. He cannot walk as his hip bones were removed due to infection last year.

Yet he laughs readily, enjoys the company, quickly talks about his favorite college football teams, Notre Dame and University of TN, and his favorite pro team, the Eagles. He speaks enthusiastically of his hip replacement that will happen next year at Duke, after he heals a bit more and has more strength.

You hope for him. You pray for him. His enthusiasm is infectious. Your heart grows big for him.

You want to run faster for him.

He inspires.

And you take deep breaths of air, filling your lungs, in hopes that it will choke down the suffocating pain you feel in this young man's plight. You grit your teeth to keep the burning tears in the back of your eyes, in hopes he does not see the anger you feel that he and his family should have to suffer.

Why him?

You wonder on the drive home, why do bad things happen to such good people?

Two weeks ago, as I heard he was fighting yet another infection, I decided it was time to do something for him to remember how much he has inspired us.

I am making him a quilt. I have given every team member a 9 inch x 9 inch square for them to write him a message or decorate for him and I will sew it into a quilt. It will be lap quilt sized, something he can use over his lap in a wheel chair, or take with him on hospital stays.

Everyone seems very happy to participate! I've downloaded the logos from our two races as well as the Team in Training logo, and will have them put to fabric. I'm currently figuring out what I will have stitched on the borders.

I will post a picture here when I am finished.

My heart breaks.

He presented us yesterday, each of us, a rose, and a button with his picture on it. I will wear the button all weekend long on my shirts, and on race day, I will wear it on my hat. (I'd wear it on my heart, but I'm afraid of chafing! Doing 13.1 miles with something constantly running can be difficult...)

He is our Hero. You can see his caring bridge site HERE. Seven years is a long time in hell. But to meet a man living in hell and so full of hope... I have not the words.

He is the definition of inspiration.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:40 AM | Comments (6)

August 28, 2009

Running, Saints, and Speedy Gonzalez

Tomorrow morning is our last training before race day. I fly out Friday for VA Beach and the race is Sunday morning. If I get my act together, I'll have my sister or TGOO live blog my splits.

Probably TGOO. I'm not sure Mo will be up that early...

Anyway, since it's my last training before the race, we're only doing 5 miles which means I get to sleep in until 5:00!!! Woot!!
------------------------------------
When I die, I want the Michael/Ted treatment where everyone forgets all the awful things you've done in your life and makes you a saint.

Can I have that?

It shouldn't be so hard because I've not really done anything so awful. I mean, when the saint bar is set way down at crimes against children and killing a woman, really, it's pretty easy.

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

One of the bookends at work just bought himself a new car. 370Z to be exact. He calls it his 2nd childhood.

We all went out and opened the car, and then opened the hood and looked under it. We ooo'd and ahhhh'd. It looks like it rides on rails and like it would be fun to drive.

I was pulling in one afternoon after running an errand and he was driving out. I watched him as he pulled out of the parking lot with a big ol' grin on his face. I can't wait to tease him about that.
------------------------------

Speaking of new cars, I do feel bad for the folks who did Cash for Clunkers. Not only do they now have a car payment, they have to pay taxes on that Clunker money.

I know, nothing is free... but it still sucks to be them. Just another tax quietly levied on the 'not rich' when they least expected it.

Americans need to get more used to this... or more wary.
--------------------------

We ALMOST went to our first HS football game tonight. It was canceled due to rain.

I have not been to a HS football game in probably... 20 years. I attended one of my sister's.

Talk about weird...

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

My big project at work is just about complete. It's a load off my mind. There were days it made me brain dead.

In the end, I think it'll be a better product for it. There is just a lot of work ahead of us.

I need to stay employed. I need the work. We've got to hang in there...


Posted by Boudicca at 08:36 PM | Comments (8)

August 27, 2009

When Your Son is Closer in Age to the Teacher than You Are

This just popped into my head.

We met my son's Biology teacher. She is one of his favorites.

We got home and my husband said to him, 'Yeah, we're struggling to figure out why you like her so much."

I chimed in, "Yeah, the 5'2, 110 lb, bleach blonde 25 year old act makes it tough to figure out why."

My son grinned. Tonight she was wearing a cute chiffon dress that was right above the knee with little heals. It swished around her hips as she walked.

I'm not sure there is a boy in that class paying attention to the Biology she is teaching. Oh they have Biology going on... but. Heh.

During the quick time in her classroom, I leaned over to my husband and said, 'You're old enough to be her Dad..."

He laughed. But I'm not sure how funny he REALLY thought it was...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:49 PM | Comments (2)

Treading

Swamped.

Treading water.

I'm working every waking hour the kids are in school... trying to stay afloat...my house is a wreck, laundry is piling up, all the things I used to do when I only worked 10-15 hours a week aren't getting done.

Tired.

Race weekend is next week. I leave Friday morning. Maybe I'll sleep all weekend... wake up, run 13.1 miles, and then go back to the hotel to sleep until my flight leaves.

More tomorrow...

But on a quick sidenote, we had an open house for Ringo at his High School. My husband and I attended and... I love his teachers. I want to take his classes. I want to see what was missing from my high school education or learn it all again.

I was so excited for him when we left. He has some fantastic teachers... if he pays attention and stays organized, he is going to learn so much... and will be so ready for college.

Enthusiastic. Professional. Organized. EXCITED to be teaching young minds.

I have hope.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:47 PM | Comments (10)

August 26, 2009

They Can Kiss My Sinning...

In our local paper today was an article on a 'sin tax'. This would be a tax upon foods that have been deemed... bad for you.

Talk about frickin' Nanny State. I cannot believe Americans are OK with this.

Really.

Where in the hell is our country going? Where? Where in the hell is personal responsibility? Why does everyone feel they have to govern everyone else's bad choices?

There is so much wrong with this, I cannot even see straight. And to read the article, I wanted to scream as the article continued to cite people who were so for this, thought this was such a grand idea, that I was left wondering if they had "Nanny" written on the frickin' resume.

Let's get some things straight here. I'm an endurance athlete. I eat healthy. This is what I eat just about every day:

Breakfast: 1 egg with a piece of 12 grain toast (no butter) and a big glass of water. SOMETIMES I live on the edge and have cheerios with skim milk, but I don't stay full as long.

Two to three times a week, I have ONE cup of coffee with nondairy creamer and I don't finish the cup.

10AM (IF I'm hungry): 1 small banana and peanut butter or a piece of fruit. Sometimes I live on the edge and eat 1 small banana with a handful of chocolate chips. And a glass of water.

I drink water all day.

Lunch: 1/2 sandwich of lean turkey breast with mustard (read: no mayo or cheese) on 12 grain bread and about 15 sunchips and a piece of fruit. SOMETIMES I have a salad with a slice of pita bread or a bowl of homemade vegetable soup with a slice of pita bread.

Snack at home: A piece of chocolate or a couple cookies or some popcorn. Sometimes hummus with crackers or cheese and crackers.

Dinner: Something made with chicken and the portions are very controlled. Vegetables.

SOMETIMES if I live on the edge, I eat a bowl of ice cream.

That's it. And I run/walk 3-4 times a week and after my Saturday run, which is never less than 5 miles, but can be as much as 13 miles, I am known to have a bagel with cream cheese and 1/4 of a muffin.

You'd think I would be scary thin, but I'm not. I lean a bit more on the carbs and not as heavy on the veges as I should. But it is what it is and overall, I eat pretty well.

So.

They want to tax me more when I decide to live on the edge and buy doughnuts (once a month) or a muffin (Saturdays) or chocolate (every day... I do have chocolate).

My resting heart rate is 65. My BP is 90/60. I'm in my BMI. And I love ice cream and chocolate and I'm going to get punished because some f***ing self righteous Nanny can't mind their own f***ing business.

Right.

Do they REALLY think that this is the problem? Do they REALLY think it is JUST the quality of the food we eat? REALLY?

Because... when was the last time any of the Nannies went out to eat? Last I looked, the portions in our restaurants were disgusting. I hear it is not so bad in Europe, but when we eat out, I'm lucky if I finish HALF of my meal and then I have the rest thrown out.

No doggy bag? NO. Chances are, if I'm eating out, it's not the best food for me and I don't eat like that at home.

It's not my fault I'm wasting food. It is the RESTAURANT'S for making the portions so damn big. Really.

But the Nannies aren't going there are they? They do not even want to TOUCH on portion control.

And what is their delineation of a good food vs. a bad food? White bread is not good for you. We all need to be eating Whole Wheat. So are we going to tax everyone eating Wonderbread?

What about sugar coated cereals? Or Eggo Waffles? I mean, those are not good breakfasts. Shouldn't we all be eating oatmeal or eggs? Are we going to tax any breakfast food that has processed sugar in it?

What about pizza? Pizza really... not so good. Lots of white bread (read not so good carbs) and cheese... if you talked to a dietician and you asked them about pizza they'd frown and say, "OK... limit it to not very often and to one piece." One piece. How many people eat one piece? Really?

Sub sandwiches... all that white bread. French fries. Fried carbs... both of them, really tough for a body to process. Hamburgers? Oooooo... anyone who thinks a good old fashioned greasy hamburger on a big old white bun is good for you, is rockin' on the wrong side of the nutritional highway.

Where does it stop?

My father in law is 5'5 (and shrinking) and weighs 215 pounds. In his day, he was 5'6 and weighed 260. He was as big around as he was tall.

Big man.

Big.

He hates chocolate, never eats ice cream, rarely eats dessert, never eats potato chips.

But hand that man a pizza and he'll eat half or more. Easy. Ask him what he wants for lunch and he wants a chicken parmesan sub... foot long please and it's best if that chicken has been fried and he'll have fries with that.

Dinner? Helping after helping there is no end.

Yet, in theory, according to the Nannies, he will pay not a penny more for how he eats, even though he has always eaten what three adults would eat.

Yet, here I am, very fit, eating well every day, but 'sinning' every day as well, and yet *I* am going to get penalized.

Screw them.

I am so sick of the lack of personal responsibility in this country it makes the bile rise in my throat. I am so sick of the Nannies telling me what is best for me and for my family it can throw me into a rage.

Don't even get me started on the fashion industry and what they've done to women to make them feel better about themselves. They have actually put smaller sizes on bigger clothes... so women don't feel so fat.

"OH look, I'm still in a size SIX!!! Whoo hooo!" Think again... you're in a 10. Someone lied to you... and you happily paid them to lie to you.

The whole thing pisses me off.

Sin Tax.

So when are the thugs going to start showing up on our doorsteps and weighing us to make sure we are living the lifestyle they deem is appropriate for us?

Huh?

When?

Meanwhile, if I have to read or overhear one more thing regarding the virtues of one Ted Kennedy, I might have to barf. The man was a complete frickin' loser.

LOOOOOOOSER.

What is happening to my Country?

Posted by Boudicca at 08:49 PM | Comments (29)

August 24, 2009

Keeping it in Perspective

I may actually enjoy high school this time around. I completely 'get it' now.

Well, enjoying it through my son's eyes completely depends on whether he pulls the grades or not. If he screws around, the enjoyment factor will be... 0.

He and I have already been laughing at the crap that happens in high school. This was a conversation that happened today on our way to his double bass lesson.

Ringo: You know John? He isn't even talking to us anymore.

Me: What? Why?

Ringo: Because... he's a football player now.

Me: What?!

Ringo, laughing: ooooooo, the big football player.

Me: Is he like... too good for you?

Ringo: We think so. (Sidenote: 'we' refers to the group of them that went to Middle School together.)

Me: Wait. We're talking 'insert name of very small school' High School football.

Ringo: laughing

Me: Your entire school is smaller than the freshman class at the local public high school.

Ringo: laughing

Me: You aren't exactly known for your stellar sports program...

Ringo, laughing harder: I know! And get this... it's FRESHMAN FOOTBALL!

Me: bwhahahahahaha

Ringo: And NOBODY GETS CUT!

Me and Ringo: Bwahahahahahaha

Me: That's good stuff.

Ringo: I know. Seriously. We can't quit laughing about it. He's too good for us because he's playing freshman ball, where NOBODY gets cut, at ABC Catholic High School. He said something to us once like, "You know... football changes everything man..." and David said, "Come on, John..." and now he doesn't talk to us.

Me and Ringo: Bwhahahahahaha!

I had to laugh. I told him in 30 years when John is having his knees replaced due to some old high school football injury, he can go play the bass guitar for him to cheer him up.

Afterall, music is forever.

Football? Not so much...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:34 PM | Comments (5)

August 22, 2009

Form, Fit, and Function

It is time for me to go shopping for clothes. This is not a favorite past time of mine I might add. I tend to find one store I like to shop at and then I always shop there.

I learn the store, it's location in the mall, figure out when the sales are... and it makes it all so easy. Except when your favorite store goes shutters up and then... you're stuck.

Like has happened to me. J. Jill closed and now I am stuck with the masses in the huge stores until I find another small store favorite.

I need shorts. I am a Florida girl. When not at work, you'll find me in shorts and a tshirt, and until all the running started causing issues with my feet, I'd be barefoot. Now I wear sandals I call my Jesus sandals.

So my husband informed me, "Go to Macy's. They're having a one day sale."

I hate Macy's. HATE.IT. It's crowded, I can't find anything, and it's just... too much.

It was on my list of things to do today and as I made my way there I realized... "Holy crap! I don't know where the women's section is."

Somewhat sheepishly, I called my husband and said, "Hey, where are the women's clothes located in Macy's?"

I don't shop. He does. I don't know the mall. He does. I think half my wardrobe has been bought by either my Mom or my husband, the exception being my evening gowns. I buy my own evening gowns...

My aversion to shopping has many negative attributes, quite frankly, but the positive is one our accountant likes to remind my spouse of, "You don't know how lucky you are," she tells him, "Really, you don't. Your wife is grounded and doesn't spend."

So there is that. And the fact that I'm the mother of his children. Working in my favor.

My husband knows all this by now, after nearly 20 years of marriage, as how many times have I called him to find out what side of the mall a certain store might be on so I don't have to actually do any walking IN the mall?

In and out, you'd think I was planning a heist.

He replied to me today, "Women's clothes are on the first and second floor, it varies. Stay off the third floor. It's home furnishing stuff and kids."

I said quickly, "Thanks" *click*

Into Macy's I walked. Did I say I hate Macy's? Hate.

And on the first floor is the Juniors department.

I am 5'2" and I'm a runner/walker. Although I'd not say I was 'lean' for my age and height, I'm far from being overweight. People tell me I'm tiny. Eh, not as tiny as my sister or Mom, but I'll take it.

And... I have the legs. I came by them honestly. I inherited leg genes from my Mom and grandmother. Even at age 43, they look pretty damn good. And... I'm a runner, so although they are not as firm as they were 20 years ago, they're still pretty shapily and you can tell I'm active.

I may be shaped like a tree (read: no waist), but I've got the gams.

I walked into the Juniors department as their clothes will still fit me, and looked at their shorts.

Daisy Dukes.

I may wear my shorts a bit shorter than most of my friends, but I don't do Daisy Dukes. (I did as a teenager.)

Or Daisy's smaller cousin, Whore Shorts.

I am here to tell you, there were shorts that were so small, I feel certain that if I were to wear them, when I sat, my backside would STICK to the chair unless my underwear covered it, because there was not enough short fabric to be between my backside and the chair.

NO.

Give me a daggum break. Who in the hell needs shorts THAT short unless of course you're going to combine them with a pair of 3 inch FMPs and troll the streets looking like a frickin' crack whore?

So up to the 2nd floor I walked where I ended up in some bizarre world of women's clothes that I was supposed to want to wear.

Nothing.

First, there was NOTHING my size. Second, I may not want to wear Daisy Dukes or Whore Shorts, but I don't want them down to my knees either.

Shorts.

Just a pair of frickin' shorts.

So tomorrow I'm off to Kohl's to see what they have on sale and if I find nothing, I'm off to Sports Authority, Gander Mountain or the local diving/surf shop to see what they have in the more athletic departments. That may be my best bet.

Shorts.

How frickin' hard can that be?

Posted by Boudicca at 07:56 PM | Comments (12)

You've not Lived Until You've had an Axolotl as a Pet

As I wrote in an earlier post, Mr. T got the teacher he'd hoped to get for 7th grade. Made his day, it did.

Bonus on top, in his mind, said class gets to 'pick a pet' for the year. I gather it's like a class mascot. Last year's mascot was a monkey. Ringo's year was a unicorn... named Eunice.

Eunice the Unicorn.

Ringo wanted to be Eugene the Unicorn. And he didn't vote for the unicorn, unicorns not being real and all, but there were more girls than boys in his class, the girls voted for the unicorn and also decided they wanted a girl.

The rest is history.

And so on Tuesday, the first day of school, my 2nd son came home, hellbent on doing research on possible class pets for his class. He spent hours perusing the internet, looking for the most bizarre creatures he could find.

There was the Blob Fish.

Then there was the Dumbo Octpus.

Oh and the axolotl.

And... then the Yeti-crab.

He was able to fire off nominations for the Yeti-crab and the axolotl that I believe was put on the board as 'a sea monkey with legs'. He brought a picture of the Yeti-crab to show everyone.

He did some serious serious research.

On Thursday morning, as he packed his backpack and organized his research, I said to him, 'Dude, have you ever thought that NO ONE is going to vote for these? You're going to be the ONLY kid who wants these funky animals as a 'class pet'."

He replied, 'No way. These are cool.'

Flash forward to dinner tonight, we were all cutting up and laughing and finally I said, 'OH! How did the vote go? Did any of your funky animals get the vote?"

He shook his head with intentional drama and dejection and said, 'Sadly... no. And I was the only one to vote for my Yeti-crab and nobody voted for the axolotl.'

I commiserated with him and said, "And the blob fish?"

Sullenly he said, 'No. I didn't even bother to nominate that one. Once people saw it, they'd NEVER have voted. Heck, it even makes ME want to barf to look at it!"

And so the final vote is between the Polar Bear from the Coke commercials *ahem* girl vote *ahem* and a spitting llama.

He's voting for the spitting llama, obviously.

This will be interesting... I'm pulling for the spitting llama...

Posted by Boudicca at 07:31 PM | Comments (6)

August 21, 2009

Running on Toast

Long damn day. The project I'm working on is starting to take it's toll.

I'm tired.

My brain is fried.

It hurts to... think... to even not think and just to exist.

I think I have Nozzle Head. At 6PM, as my tech lead was packing up to leave, he stopped in my cube and said, "Bou, go home. You've looked at the numbers too long, you need a break."

And I should have listened. But I didn't. And I stayed staring and manipulating for another hour and now I'm frickin' toast.

Tired.

Up at 4 to run 7.5 miles. On the countdown... race is in two weeks.

Off.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:38 PM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2009

The Same But Different

It has been 26 years since I was last in a high school parking lot as school let out. I had car keys in my hand that time and was leaving school to go home.

Today was my first high school pick up. Much has changed and nothing has changed.

Having a teenager in general is just... odd. As I've posted before, I'm slowly becoming the smallest person in my home.

If you have children, remember when they were babies and their clothes were so tiny, you could use their socks as finger puppets? I could do his colored clothes and have room for four more baby loads.

Now his clothes are so big that his clothes alone take up one load.

And his clothes smell... faintly of cologne. (My sil bought him a nice cologne... no more AXE. Blech.)

Hair product, hours to get ready, long showers... cleanliness is of the utmost importance. Thankfully. Although with him it's always been more so.

Sitting in my car during high school pick up, as the juniors and seniors walked to their cars with keys in hand, I looked at how much seemed the same.

Differences? As soon as the kids are turned loose, cell phones come out of backpacks, messages are checked, and friends are called.

Backpacks. We didn't have backpacks. We just carried our books, right?

Knee socks seem to have made a come back. They may have to all wear khaki shorts, blue or white special shirts and tan or black shoes, but a girl can make herself stand out by the socks she wears. Funky knee socks do the trick.

Classes were different. AP classes had just been introduced and weren't really talked about. Now, by the Junior year, if you're college bound, you're taking at least one AP class. My son will probably take nothing but AP his last two years.

Everyone talks about SAT prep. NOW. Did we prep for the SAT? I think I sharpened a #2 pencil...

So much the same.... so much different. Odd. Very odd.

And yesterday, when I dropped my son off at his first day of school, I sent a txt message to my four high school friends that I keep in touch with somewhat regularly, and whose cell numbers are in my cell and the text informed them that we are all officially old as my eldest is now in high school. I have the oldest kid of all my friends.

Thirty years ago I was a freshman.

Odd. Very odd.

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

August 19, 2009

Four More Years

The first day of school for my freshman went off without a hitch. The entire school is in tomorrow and he's playing his double bass for the band director, so the band director can see what he can and cannot do.

It appears he may be in the wrong band class, which means a big schedule change.

On a funny note, some of the teachers were my brother in law's teachers so when they had my son today, the first thing they asked was if his uncle was his Dad. My brother in law is 46... you can do the math as to how long some of those folks have been teaching there.

On another funny note, since today was freshman day only, there is a girl in his honors English class that is also taking Honors Algebra II. She is the ONLY freshman taking Honors Algebra II, so when she went to that classroom today... it was only her and her teacher. My son can't quit laughing about that.

I told him he didn't have it that much better since he was one of only four freshman in one of is classes, but at least he had SOMEONE to talk to.

And bonus for that girl, the math teacher knows she has a sharp kid in her class... very sharp. And who she is.

My son can't believe how old and run down the school is. I think that is what mesmerized most of the kids today, and that's saying a lot since my son is coming from a very very old and dated school.

As for me, it's been a rather odd day. I'm exhausted from all the traveling and running around. Dropping him off at school... I didn't expect it to bother me. It didn't bother me when I dropped him off at Preschool. I didn't attend the BooHoo breakfast for parents when I took him to Kindergarten.

Halfway to work however, a song came on from my iPod and it just kind of hit home I guess. My son is leaving me in four years... if he doesn't screw this up. And as much as I always say quite confidently, that it will be time, and we'll both be ready, for the first time today, I was not so sure.

For the first time... I thought maybe when he leaves home for college, it will be harder than I think.

Time will tell...

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

August 18, 2009

Artists and School...

I read this afternoon about the thoughts that Mozart could have died from complications from Strep Throat. I had no idea why I continually find his death fascinating, until I read that others persue it because of the imagined loss... of what could have been... due to his untimely and early death, at his peak.

And I think that sums it up for me. I think that is it. He is one of my favorite composers. I love Mozart. My soul does not connect with all musicians of that century, such as what Bach composed, but I truly love Mozart and always have.

And speaking of untimely artistic death... Stieg Larsson...

...I am nearly finished with The Girl That Played With Fire. A most excellent read, but as my Mother and I were saying to each other, we are careful who we recommend his books to. Some would find his subject matter... difficult. I just think he was a great thriller writer.

There are times I have to put his book down and walk away, because the tension within me gets to be too much. I have to pick it back up later and start again.

He finished three of his books and was nearly finished with the fourth when he died. My Mom said he had intended for ten books. I cannot imagine what they would have been like. I just know that at the end of the third book, which has yet to come out in the US, I will miss Lisbeth and Mikael.

The first day of school for my younngest two was very very good. I'm so... full of hope!

My 2nd son got the teacher he wanted, most of his friends are in his class, and he's thrilled.

A funny sidenote, last night we were getting ready for school, I had the school supplies strewn all over the kitchen table and I directed Mr. T to get his backpack and pencil pouch. He came into the kitchen saying he had to clean it out from... last year.

I can't do everything. They're supposed to clean it out the last day of school. But no, here he was cleaning it out the day before the first day of school. They make me nuts.

So he pulled out his notebook and said, 'Oh, yeah, this is when Lizzy and Lilly were having an argument over who loved me more...'

*blink*

I pulled the paper over and sure enough, in girl's handwriting, different colored highlighters, I saw over and over, "I love you, Mister T." "But I love you MORE Mister T." "No, but I think you're the bestest, so here is a poem..." and she proceeded to write a poem using every letter of his name.

It cracked me up. Both girls are in his class again this year. They are only joking, of course, but they truly must consider him some sort of friend if they love to tease him.

Bones had a fantastic day. He said to me, "Mom, I just felt so calm inside." I replied, "Think 'calm' and think 'focused'." This has the potential to be a long school year. Calm and focused. Calm and focused.

We went to orientation for my eldest for high school, this evening. His school has a staggered start for freshman that I love. The first day is grades 10-12 and the second day is... freshman only. That way the freshman can break out their maps and find all their classes without being made fun of. They can get lost and it's no big deal... they'll all be lost.

The next day they only have half their classes and the day after the remaining half. They ease in.

The difference between when I was in public high school and this Catholic high school he is attending, is already they're talking about looking at colleges. Planning for college starts NOW. There are financial aid seminars starting next month for families of freshmen. We're already getting information mailed home on scholarship opportunities within the state that they need to start working towards NOW.

The kids are expected to meet with their guidance counselors once a semester and he's been assigned one.

Really?

I don't think I ever saw my guidance counselor ONCE in four years. EVER.

Our goal is to stay organized. I have so much hope. I do. He supposedly has great teachers. I just want him to stay motivated... that has to come from within and right now he is. Very.

This will be a big change. He is going from a school that has K-8, where the smallest children just quit peeing in their pants last year, to 9-12, where the oldest kids are driving, shaving and probably having sex and drinking.

Big difference.

Big.

Posted by Boudicca at 03:06 PM | Comments (13)

August 17, 2009

HB, TN, 42

My brother's birthday is today. The big 4-2.

Some of you may see him comment here occasionally as Toluca Nole.

As my boys get older, the more they understand his sense of humor and the more they hang around him. Bones in particular, has gone into some sort of hero worship this year.

Bones declared to my brother this past summer vacation that he, my brother, was the funniest guy he knew. To me, that's saying a lot since Bones is all about 'funny'.

It cracks me up.

Happy Birthday, TN. Just think... just four more years and ALL of Mom and Dad's kids will be over 40! Muwahahahahahaha!!!

Posted by Boudicca at 09:23 PM | Comments (10)

August 16, 2009

A New Year Waiting

My children start school this week. I'm not excited about it... I love summer.

Children in school are a LOT of work. A lot of work. Projects, homework, after school activities... cooking dinner on the fly, it's exhausting to me.

I do have great hope, however. I LOVE the teacher that Bones has. I love her. Her son has ADHD so she gets it, she is a positive person, and this will be the third time we've had her, each of my other two sons having had her and loving her as well. If she tells me something is wrong, I'll believe her.

I love the kids in his class. I swear to you, someone is watching out for us. Last year, was truly the worst year we have ever had at school. Hands down, for my eldest AND youngest, the worst year ever. So there isn't a whole helluva lot that can happen, other than some seriously bad sh--, that will make this year worse.

The bonus for Bones... Good grief... the mean girls are ALL in the other class. No kidding... I'm stunned. I mean MEAN girls. MEAN. And not one of them is in his class.

We're going drug free. After the $2000 cardiology appointments, the multiple medications and the horrible stomach issues... we're going no meds this year.

As of now.

This means MUCH MORE work for me as well as for him. I've put him on notice, we're working together on this... but this could be a tough year. Not a bad year... just a tough year.

As for Mr. T, he just loves school and is excited about going back. He can't wait to see if he gets the teacher he wants (the teacher that did the marathon with me) and to see if any of his best buddies are in his class.

Ringo starts high school on Wednesday. There is much trepidation on all of our parts since the last five years were so bad for us, so we are viewing this as a way to start afresh. Clean slate. We'll see.

I have hope. I... am just... cautious.

I remember when we'd go visit my husband at the office when my kids were small. Bones loved to ride the elevator as his brothers took the stairs. He'd always want to 'race' them.

His being all of 4 - 5 years of age, I'd take the elevator with him as his brothers raced the stairs, not taking the first stair until the doors of the elevator were completely closed.

And EVERY time, when the door closed, he would get so excited the energy was hardly contained, he'd rub his hands, jump up and down a bit and then look at me gasping, "We're going to WIN!"

And he said it with such hope and conviction.

And we never did win because the elevator is very slow and has a 5 second pause before it starts its slow ascent and another 5 second pause before the doors open.

Never.

And yet that is how it went every.single.time we raced... the hope emanating from him, "WE'RE GOING TO WIN!"

I would laugh to myself and shake my head.

But I wonder sometimes at the beginning of each school year, if I am not that 4 year old boy... so full of hope and excitement... except now after five years of disappointment in one way or another... I have a nervousness in my stomach... waiting for that shoe to drop.

Waiting to lose.

Hoping to win, but waiting to lose.

That is where I am.

But at least I still have hope.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:52 PM | Comments (8)

August 15, 2009

Running, Hurricanes, Foot Clips

3:45AM was very early to get up to run this morning.

Very early.

Allow me to be so bold as to say, there is NOTHING in this world, I enjoy enough, that I want to be awakened at 3:45AM to do it.

Nothing.

And that means even if it some how involves chocolate.

NOTHING.

But... it was not as bad as I thought once I got moving. We did 10 miles today and starting tomorrow, we taper down for the race. My race is in three weeks.

I don't think I'm going to do well. I'm a bit bummed out, but... I just think I'm going to be running slow, which is far better than running injured. My hopes of cutting 30 minutes off my December Half time and 15 off my Disney Half split, are just that... hopes.

It ain't happenin'.

Whatever.

I've met some GREAT people, some women I am going to miss. I really really am. One woman I train with is a civil engineer for the county and it's so fun to quiz her on what's going on with the various road construction and having her explain to us what they're doing and why. I find it fascinating. I should have majored in civil engineering. I think I'd have enjoyed it.

Meanwhile, there are a couple storms brewing in the Atlantic. I am NOT looking forward to putting my hurricane shutters on. I have a long post I'll do one day, explaining the ins and outs of shuttering for those who have never seen it done. I have had people ask me questions.

But let me just state, that shuttering a house is a HUGE pain in the a$$. HUGE. I think prepping for the 'canes is worse sometimes than the actual 'cane.

And lastly, what I think I am seeing as a difference between those of us who HAVE done an endurance event versus those who have not, played out in my house last weekend. My husband has a bike he likes to ride. I've been toying with switching to cycling and triathlons, but the cycling scares me because of the clip the shoe deal and because of what happens when you crash.

You don't crash with running shoes on. Bike crashes and near misses are... scary.

So that and the fact I don't actually OWN a bike for serious riding, are keeping me from switching.

And the following conversation occurred to the best of my recollection between my spouse and I as I was finishing showering from last week's 8 mile run.

Me: I am trying to convince K. to start cycling.

Husband: Really?

Me: Yeah. Her running days are over. The arthritis in her ankles is bad and... it's just time. Would you be interested in doing a cycling event next summer?

Husband: *blink* What?

Me: Well... Ummm... I've been thinking. I could get a used bike. Maybe we could train together.

Husband: Train.

Me: Yeah. They have a 100 mile bike ride in Cocoa Beach next summer. We could do it with the team.

Husband: 100 miles?

Me: Yeah. We have to train. No biggy. But you know what is keeping me? I'm afraid of crashing.

Husband: You are afraid of crashing. On a bike?

Me: or tipping...

Husband: *blink*

Me: It's my only hesitation.

Husband: Wait. You're afraid of crashing or tipping? I don't want to do it because you're talking ONE HUNDRED MILES!

Me: Oh. Phht. That's nothing. I can do the 100 miles. I just don't want to crash.

Husband: ONE HUNDRED MILES!

Me: *blink* And?

Husband: It's the training and the mileage. No. I won't. I can't believe you're afraid of crashing or tipping.

Me: I've done a marathon. I KNOW I can do the 100 miles... no sweat. I just don't want to crash...

He laughed as he walked out of the bathroom saying something like, "... not worried about 100 miles... just worried about crashing..."

And I think that what it hammered home to me, is that I feel like I can do just about anything physically if I train hard enough for it. The triathlons don't scare me, the 100 miles on a bike doesn't make me even blink.

I'm not stupid... and Ironman is out of the question.

And so is that crazy ass marathon my buddy did that was up in the NC mountains, this past Feb, 13 miles UP the mountain and 13 miles DOWN the mountain and he got mild hypothermia and being a flatlander from FL he wasn't used to altitude. INSANE.

But in general, endurance events are like, "Ho hum. Absolutely I can do that if you tell me how to train."

Riding a bike with my feet clipped in? Now THAT seems scary to me...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:41 PM | Comments (3)

August 13, 2009

Phones, TV, and that Doughnut Guy

My husband is the techy guy. He has an iPhone. He loves the TVs, DVDs, all that... man crap.

That's pretty much what I consider it. It's all man stuff.

So for me to upgrade to a smartphone, is just a very odd thing in this house. To see me sitting down at the kitchen table studying it, reading about it, learning it... it is a very odd thing.

But my deal is... if I own it, I want to know every aspect of how it works. I may not use the apps, but I'm going to know what is there, what is not, and how it all comes together.

And so last night, I went to the gym while my husband took the boys to the pool and on our drive back, I clicked on this function called Sprint TV. The following conversation occurred to the best of my recollection with my two younger sons in the backseat, my husband was driving:

Me, playing with my phone.

Bones: What're you listening to?

Me: I have TV. I'm... watching Monk. (One of the only TV shows I ever watch... and remember, I don't watch TV, so the fact I'm watching a TV on a cell phone makes me laugh to myself even more.)

Husband: You have TV on your phone?

Me: Yup!

Husband: You're watching Monk?

Me: Yup! It's preloaded I guess. Not live.

Boys in the back: Dad! MOM has TV on her phone! Do YOU?!

Husband: No... wow.... I don't think I do.

Mr. T: I want a Blackberry!

And so it goes... with one app, suddenly the iPhone isn't the most favored phone, although I suspect he has some free TV app too, but just does not know it.

That's the toughest part about my phone. My kids want to play with it. Luckily, it only has one free game. They're already bored with that...

Training is at 5AM tomorrow morning. I'm up at 3:45... with the guy who makes the doughnuts.

Good Grief.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:00 PM | Comments (8)

August 12, 2009

My New Favorite Fruit

So I bit the bullet and got a Blackberry. When I make up my mind, I act.

As I said to Mo, "It has much more than I need, but hell, for $50, who cares?"

I'm already playing with it, fascinated by the fact I can get the weather at all times!!! Gah! It is playing to my inner weather wonk.

My schedule for August is already plugged in and I'm working on the rest of the school year.

But buying it, was interesting. I walked into the store with my three boys, having promised them a movie for that same afternoon. The conversation with the cell phone guy (cpg from here on out) went something like this:

Me: I would like to purchase a Blackberry. I want the Curve.

CPG: OK.

Me: I need it within 15 minutes. Is this doable?

CPG: *blink* Well, it will be tough. I need to teach you the phone...

Me: No you don't.

CPG: You don't have one already. I need to go through it with you.

Me: Does it come with a book?

CPG: *big pause* Yes...

Me: I'll read the book.

CPG: *blink*

Me: Really. I know how.

CPG: But I need to set up your email...

Me: No. I don't want email access...

CPG: Why would you NOT want email access?

Me: Look, I want to be able to call and use the scheduler. That's it. Nothing else. Can you or can you not download all my numbers into my phone in this time frame?

CPG: *blank stare* Yes. It takes 5 minutes.

Me: Then we're good to go. Let's get started.

And I got my phone and we went with it.

CPG: You want the insurance...

Me: No I don't.

CPG: *blank stare* You do... at least the minimum.

Me: No, I don't.

CPG: Do you know what the #1 cause is of people having their phones damaged? It's...

Me, interrupting: Probably people dropping it in the toilet. I hear that all the time. My question is... why is the cell phone with you when you're going to the bathroom? No. I don't need the insurance.

CPG: *Blink*

My ringer went off on my phone as Bones had walked across the phone store and called me from a random phone.

CPG: NO! Are you kidding?

Me: I don't download ringers.

CPG: *blank stare* It's obvious.

The entire process went just like that. At one point my eldest leaned over and whispered, "Mom... you are so boring." I said, "Yes, I like it just like that."

(Side note: When I relayed this conversation to my sister, Mo, I said, "I got a lot of blank stares from him." She replied, "Bou, you get a lot of blank stares from all of us when we talk to you." Nice.)

The CPG said to me, "You really aren't going to set up your email are you?" and I replied, "I'm really... not."

We both laughed. It was actually a great experience. As I was packing up he said, "You'll be back for me to help you."

I grinned and said, "Oh no. I won't."

And I won't.

I have a book. And the internet. Why do I need anything else?

Posted by Boudicca at 09:38 PM | Comments (10)

August 11, 2009

An Open Letter... Will You Listen?

Dear President Obama,

First let me say, that I have never written so many letters to a President! I know, you won't actually read this, but it surely makes me feel better putting it out there, knowing I actually did write it even though I didn't send it to an email address at the White House or put a stamp on it only for it to wallow with whoever sorts your mail.

I thought I'd clue you in on a couple things because: 1) you are surrounded by yes men, 2) your yes men appear to be rather clueless and mean spirited and 3) you don't seem to understand some very basic things going on in this country.

It appears that either you feel or those close to you feel that by winning the election with 52% of the ballot, that all those Americans actually voted FOR you. Quite frankly, nothing could be further from the truth. You see, President Obama, the average American doesn't vote FOR anyone. They vote against who they feel they like less.

I would wager to guess that of the 52% only 30% actually voted FOR you. That is 30% of the 100% who voted, not 30% of the 52%. Everyone else, just liked John McCain less. The average American has become disenfranchised with both parties. I find very few who truly vote on party lines anymore and fewer still who identify whole heartedly with the party in which they are registered.

So this brings me to the next point, Health Care Reform. I know what's in the plan and what is not. My husband is in the healthcare profession and we have been taking the time to research your Health Care Reform. We do not believe all we hear or see... we read and research, something that appears to be a novel approach to our elected officials.

You and your Yes men, seem so very much surprised by the outrage of the average American. You want to label all of us as crazy Conservatives. Mobs, I believe has been used. Those who attend Tea Parties are far right losers.

Truly, sir, nothing could be further from the truth.

I may not be attending this particular Tea Party, but I have attended one and, I am an Independent. Neither party floats my boat, both having left me wondering if a third party will ever come out of this political disaster in which our country has found itself.

You need to understand, I identify with those folks I see on TV, these Americans that your constituents are labeling as headcases and nut jobs. They are average people who either did not vote for you OR, and this OR is very important, voted AGAINST John McCain. Just because the vote was marked in your box does not mean they like you or what you stand for. They just disliked you less... at the time.

Still puzzled by the outrage? This is just the beginning. If it makes you feel better by labeling everyone as a Right Wing Fanatic, then so be it. If it makes you feel better thinking that every American soul that you see on TV at these meetings has been orchestrated by Talk Radio and Fox News, if it makes you sleep better, than so be it.

But I am here to tell you the truth. The Emperor is not wearing clothes. America overall, did not vote FOR you, they voted AGAINST John McCain and the Republican Party.

And that, Mr. President, is all the difference in the world on how your plans for America will play out. America is going to fight you for the next 3.5 years as you try to shove vast liberal agenda down our throats because... even those who voted against John McCain don't want what you're offering.

Open your eyes. Move to the Middle. Don't try to turn us into California.

We don't want what you're offering and we're not buying.

Signed,

A Moderate American who doesn't want your Health Care Reform

Posted by Boudicca at 05:47 PM | Comments (29)

August 10, 2009

My Spirit is Tall

I've always been the 2nd tallest person in this home. To most of you, it may not say much, but being that I'm 5'2", it's saying a lot.

I'm not the 2nd tallest person anywhere.

Well, with the exception when I stood with my grandmothers, and then I was THE tallest as my one grandmother was 5' and the other 4'11".

Barring that, I'm never the tallest or 2nd tallest. I'm always the shortest or 2nd shortest.

So I'm kind of struggling with this 'kid growing' thing as I watch myself slowly morph into the smallest person in the family. I have probably 5 more years, but slowly slowly, my stature is shrinking in this family, with Ringo close on my heels to take my 2nd place spot.

I give it one more year... and I'll be 3rd... and a year after that... where I will fall to 4th.

Already, when I hug Ringo, my head is on his shoulder. When I hug him I nuzzle his neck. The bonus is, we appear to be past this Jekyl/Hyde deal where there could never be any PDA.

As a matter of fact, when he had all those boys sleeping over, he was in his own bed, fast asleep and every other boy was awake. I walked in and said, "I guess I should wake him up. Hmm. Maybe I should go kiss his forehead and tell him how much I love him. Wake him up with a little embarrassment?"

One of his buddies rolled his eyes and said, "Oh please. We all have Moms. All our Moms do that! That's not embarrassing! That's what Moms do!"

Heh.

They all agreed and then went into his bedroom and played his drums and cymbals as loud as they could, crashing him awake.

But what his buddy said rang true to me... at 14, all of them are over the embarrassment of mothers who love them. They've moved into acceptance.

And that is what I've seen with my son, who, in front of his friends, will move into me and put his head on my shoulder. I can brush my lips against his forehead and he doesn't jerk away. He's OK with it all. He's his own person.

Now mind you, I don't do abuse the realization that PDA is OK. Only when we part ways, may I quickly give him a hug. I truly try to not kiss his forehead in public and if I tell him I love him, I do it quietly. His buddies may be aware, but they say nothing.

Their Moms are the same way and enough of them have watched friends at school lose parents to death, that I think they are aware that what they have is... good.

And so this evening, as I passed my eldest in the hall, I hugged onto him, nuzzled his neck, told him how much I loved him and let him go.

As we parted ways I said in a joking sniffing way, "I can't believe I am slowly becoming the shortest person in this family! I have been the 2nd tallest person in this family... always!!!"

As he loped away, he grinned, looked over his shoulder and said quietly chuckling , "You can be the 2nd tallest person in spirit."

For some reason I thought that was pretty funny. I'm still laughing.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:52 PM | Comments (9)

August 09, 2009

Blog Question

Is anyone else having a problem getting to blogs, and being redirected because of a dg.specificclick? I only get it on sites with sitemeter.

It started yesterday afternoon.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:07 PM | Comments (3)

Old Art, New Platform

This post by VW reminded me of the conversation we had at breakfast with her and her boys.

First, go see her post. She was explaining stop action movies with her boys and she created this 'movie' by using pictures of her boys doing various poses and then stringing them together.

Their grandmother made the Pikachu costumes, which crack me up.

So the conversation was at breakfast when my eldest said that he made these little stop action cartoons using Power Point. Draw a picture, slowly edit the action and then move through them quickly to see the movie. (Now I know what he learned in school. In computer lab he made stop and go movies. In Language Arts he learned Texas Hold 'em.)

But where it really started was when he was in 6th grade. There was a requirement for Post It Note pads on the school supply list.

I know not whether he actually ever used them for their true purpose, but he came home showing his brothers and from then on, the bottom of every Post It Note pad in this home became covered in... stop go action.

And only dealing with stick figures.

Stick figure death to be precise.

Stick figures shooting another stick figure, complete with bullet moving and head exploding.

Stick figures blowing up other stick figures with various devices.

The perfect platform to showcase stick figure death cartoons.

Complete with red color blood at times. And UFOs. And stick figure pirates... or they could be ninjas.

I have yet to see one of my eldest's all time favorite stick figure drawings turned into a cartoon, from when he was in 1st grade, where massive sea serpents would come from the depths of the ocean, biting a ship in half and eating all the stick figure sailors, leaving some without arms, blood trailing in the water, some headless and floating, half bodies... strings of stick figures holding hands at the bottom of the ocean all without heads.

I thought for sure we were going to end up in counseling over those pictures. Instead I got a teacher, fortunately, who shrugged and said, "He's a boy."

We've moved on from those big ones, however, onto smaller canvas... and action.

In the old days we used the corner pages of our notebooks. I know I did it... but mine were probably filled with moving bunnies.

Or butterflies.

There are NO bunnies and butterflies in my sons' art. Not unless, of course, the bunnies are killers.

Or stick figures are shooting butterflies.

I feel certain...

stick figure post it death 1.jpg

stick figure action death 2.jpg

Posted by Boudicca at 06:59 PM | Comments (5)

Moving into the Modern Age of Technology

I am soliciting... input.

A little background. I think y'all pretty much know me by now in the fact that I shun too much technology. I find it ironic that during the day I work on one of the most high tech and elite, if you will, jet engines in production for our military.

I am able to navigate multiple intricate systems, know the ins and outs of what works and what does not, work with so many pages open on my desktop that I have been warned by IT that I'm going to crash my own computer.

Yet I prefer to stay somewhat... disconnected.

My cell phone that flips open and pretty much dials only... no high tech, no camera, I never surf the 'net using it and I absolutely have never used it to answer email.

I like it... stone age.

Part of it is because in reality, I'm not big on communication anymore. It's not that I'm a b*tch, although some may disagree, and that I just hate conversing, but it's truly because I spend so much time on the cusp of sensory overload, the thought of having to communicate more than I already do, is too tough for me.

This is why I don't Facebook. Facebook is not on the user's time. Everyone knows when you're on and you can't... mmm... searching for words... lurk? That sounds so dirty, does it not? But you can't come and go as you please like you do on the internet.

I pop onto a blog, I pop off. I know that there are systems that tell the blogger that I'm there, but overall, it's come and go... quietly.

Twitter... folks, I don't get it. I read how there are those Hollywood types who are on it all the time. Do I really need to know what they're doing every minute of the day, what they're thinking? Really?

Do I want anyone to know what I'm doing any time during the day and what I'm thinking?

Really?

No.

Putting it out here once a day is enough for me. That's my max comfort level. Even then, you'd be amazed how many posts I delete, that never make it to final edit. (Mostly political, sometimes a good rant at someone that really doesn't need to be public.)

I'm not condemning those who love Facebook or Twitter. Quite the opposite. I'm glad that things have progressed that people have platforms that suit their personalities for information gathering, that they can obtain from these various technologies, something that they have wanted.

Communication and being aware of what is going on around you from a societal standpoint, is not a bad thing at all.

As for me, I hardly even talk on the phone anymore. I have grown to like texting more. It is quiet. (No, I don't text while driving.) I can answer on my time and think.

But as I said... I find myself perpetually on the cusp of sensory overload, so I take the paths that I think I can cope best with...and that pretty much eliminates Facebook, MySpace, Twitter... and any other form of communication that is out there that I may have left out.

However... my life is taking an odd turn in two weeks.

My son is going to high school.

With that comes a different school schedule for him, high school activities such a jazz band and his private lessons for music, band booster meetings for me, high school football games, and on and on, added to the list of what I already had of my work, school treasurer (one more year), after school tutoring for Bones (we're not doing drugs this year), drama lessons for Bones, concert band for Mr. T, Boy Scouts, and... I know I've left things out.

To date, I think I've forgotten or messed up one appointment per year. However, I forgot a double bass lesson two weeks ago as we were coming off vacation. And then... I showed up to a changed orthodontic appointment last week... how it did not make my calendar, I don't know.

That is two in two weeks.

I find that inexcusable.

As much as my life may appear chaotic, I am very organized in my head and with my multicolored calendar.

And that brings me to my question... how many of you use a cell phone/PDA to keep your lives in order?

My cell phone is falling apart and for $50 I can get a smart phone with a scheduler. I'm seriously considering it.

Me. The person who shuns the high technology and really does prefer to stay disconnected... is thinking of going to a Blackberry.

Mo thinks this is very funny. She said to me, "You can check your email!"

I replied, "Why would I WANT to check my email?"

She and Flam replied in return, "Why would you NOT want to check your email?"

True. Sitting in my car waiting on my kids, I could actually check my email and converse with my family, as we tend to do in one long email string. I do come home at times and find that they've had this huge email conversation that I've been left out of the loop.

There is that. Which is a bonus.

But the scheduling is what is enticing me.

What say you? Do you or do you not? What do you think?

Posted by Boudicca at 06:35 PM | Comments (18)

August 07, 2009

Get A Piece of the Rock!

And so this evening, being rather beat from work, and hearing that a woman I know was going to be on national news, I sat down on the couch and watched the local news as my husband putzed in the kitchen putting dinner in the oven.

(He cooked... it was wonderful... hell, he could have burned it and it would have still been wonderful!)

I have not watched the local news, on any channel, in probably close to eight years. I'm not kidding.

As I watched the news come on, the following conversation occured to the best of my recollection:

Me: HOLY CRAP!

Husband, stopping in his tracks: WHAT?

Me: Good Lord. Look how old he is! Look at John Doe (the local newscaster), he's OLD!

Husband, big sigh: Hun, we're all getting old.

Me: NO. He is OLD. His face is melting. Look... oh my God...

Husband: Hun, how long has it been since you saw the news.

Me, absentmindedly: Wow. A long time. *pause* HOLY CRAP! LOOK AT HIM! (referring to someone new...)

Husband:

Me: The weather guy. Holy sh**. I can't believe it. I almost didn't recognize him.

Husband:

Me: Wow.

Husband: Oh you should see the weather guy on channel 123, you won't believe it.

Me: GAH! Look at Fredo Perez (not his real name)

Husband: Old.

Me: NO! NO! Too much botox! Holy sh--. I'm scared of him! YOU COME OVER HERE AND SEE THIS! Come over here! He looks like a corpse! Look. OMG. There are NO wrinkles. LOOK AT THIS!

Husband, walking from behind the counter: Wow, that is kind of bad...

Me: Holy smokes. He's all one color too. Like they beiged him all up. His face... he's scary. He's really really scary. Someone needs to tell him to stay away from the Botox...

And that my friends, was our night, of my peeking out from under the rock.

I scared myself... or rather, a certain news reporter did. Holy crap.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:47 PM | Comments (5)

The Signs of a GREAT First Day... According to a 5 Year Old

I think I've not hidden the fact I love little kids. I think they're a riot.

All little kids? No. But many... yeah, especially if they're around 4 or 5 years old. I just think they're so innocent and trippin' funny.

Large groups of them? No. Too much noise and motion. One or two at a time? They crack me up.

And so this is a story of sweetness regarding my best girlfriend from high school's little boy, who I have written of before as... Mr. Smoochy Pants.

Smoochy is an itty bitty guy, white hair the color of corn silk, chipmunk kissy cheeks, with the sweetest smile showing tiny chicklet white teeth. He is a precise little man, quietly spoken, with a very firm grasp on what is right... and what is wrong... and there is not much gray. The way he moves, the way he talks, the way he... is... everyone wants a piece of the sunshine.

You just want a hug.

And he starts kindergarten on Monday. Today they went to meet his teacher and sit in his class, learn where the bathroom is located, and all that will be expected.

So in he walked, the little big man, a bit nervous, but oh so excited. He met his teacher who was evidently all you'd want a kindergarten teacher to be and then some.

And from what I hear, he went and sat down in his little desk, looking around the room and then got... very quiet.

Still. Quiet. Nothing.

My girlfriend leaned down and in a hushed voice he said with his precise diction, "Mama..."

She said in an equal whisper, "Yes, buddy..."

He continued, hushed but with excitement, "Mama.... I'm number 14!"

She said, "Yes, sir! You are!"

And with I'm sure a twinkle in his eye because that's how he gets when he's over the moon, he said, in a hushed beside himself whisper, "I got Tony Stewart's number!"

And with that, the deal was sealed! He KNOWS it will be a great year because... hey, he got Tony Stewart's number.

I could not quit laughing.

And although I knew Tony was in race cars, because if some guy named Tony Stewart had a number and Smoochy was talking about him, then it doesn't take much deduction... I did have to look him up.

It's that big rock I live under...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:22 PM | Comments (3)

August 06, 2009

Thinking on Thursday

I got an email from VW today talking about a site the White House has, requesting you forward email information you receive regarding health care reform from folks you know.

Nark on your Neighbor, is how I look at it.

Whether they meant it to be that way or not, that's what it smacks of. To learn more, go over to VW's. She has the whole gig up HERE.
=====================

Lab results did not come in. I'm 'pushing water' as my doc phrased it. I think it's kidney related, not having started there. Fortunately, he's a triathlete, he has done full marathons, half marathons, 100 mile cycle rides and triathlons all for Team in Training. So... he completely gets it... my mentality I guess.

He said he'll call me as soon as he hears. I know HE will.
==========================

Who would have thought that one could replace the words M*therf*cker with Coffee Maker?

Really.

Yet a saw a movie today where they did. I'd never use the MF word, never have, never will, which probably would surprise some as I can be very crass *ahem*, but I could definitely call someone a 'coffeemaker'.

There is something just lost in the translation a bit when you hear, "Yippee Kai Yay Coffee Maker!"

GForce.... what an odd little movie. I liked the three little mice...
=========================

I saw today that John Hughes died. How odd. This past summer when we were at Mo's, we were trying to think of a movie to rent for the boys to watch. I immediately thought of all the John Hughes movies, 16 candles, The Breakfast Club.

I loved The Breakfast Club. I nearly rented it for them... but we found something more current.

John Hughes really connected with my generation. His stuff was just fun to watch.
=======================

Ever wonder as an adult what you'd write for an essay, "What did you do during your summer vacation?"

My eldest son has a friend who got hit by a car. (He's fine, but for the Grace of God.)

He knows of another kid who got bit by a shark. (I hear he's fine... but for the Grace of God.)

I told my son, "Wow, your summer is just so... boring in comparison!"

This summer I've tried my best to finish the Vince Flynn series. I like to hope there is someone like Mitch Rapp out there protecting our interests. I think that is the draw... I want to think there is a Thomas Stansfield, Irene Kennedy and Mitch Rapp out there doing the right thing.

I have great doubt... but I love reading it and hoping there is.
===========

Update: OH! Our breakfast was very good, but their chocolate chip belgian waffle was a belgian waffle with mini chocolate chips generously sprinkled upon it.

Essentially, the belgian waffle was a vehicle for the chocolate only. It was good... but I'll pass next time. Too many other things to try now...


Posted by Boudicca at 08:25 PM | Comments (7)

August 05, 2009

Societal Thoughts

More odd random thoughts... bonus for you is it's not 1AM.

I don't have Ovarian Cancer. I was happy about that result. Let's see then exactly what in the hell it is.

I like Mentos. I think they're my favorite non-chocolate candy. Why don't they make chocolate Mentos?

I can't believe they're releasing Squeaky Fromme. Really. That should make anyone who has a violent crime against their family, shudder. If they let go anyone who nearly assassinated a President... all hope is lost for the rest of us. I mean really, does someone now think that after all this time in prison, that she's suddenly... sane?

This clunker's for cash deal. Really. WTF? What are we doing to do with all these old clunkers? Was one bail out for the auto industry not enough, although I am hearing that this bail out was mostly for the foreign car industry?

Bones is spending the night with a friend tonight. When he is gone, 75% of the noise in the house is gone too. We miss him. He is our spark. Our noisy spark.

School starts in 2 weeks and I'm not happy.

I'm amazed at how much I can't stand Obama. I'm amazed at how much money he freely spends and thinks that people making over 250K a year will handle this burden. I am amazed that people really think that 250K makes one rich and that they should be punished for making the money they make. It makes me not to want to ever strive to do better. I don't want my husband's business to grow with me going back full time to ever experience being on the other side of the coin.

I am going with my boys and my niece and sister in law to see G-Force tomorrow. I know it looks stupid, but during the previews when the 3 white mice were shouting in unison at the Guinea Pig, "POOP IN HIS HAND! POOP IN HIS HAND!" I knew I had to see it. I'm immature that way... or maybe it's just having boys.

I'm uncomfortable. I may have a kidney infection and my doctor needs to get the results in soon because... I'm uncomfortable. Not as uncomfortable as a certain person near and dear to me who just had a 12mm kidney stone pulverized to sand and is currently passing all of it... not nearly as uncomfortable as that. That just sucks... I was worried for her... still am.

There is a new pancake house down the street from me and VW and I are taking our kids there for breakfast tomorrow morning. I am BESIDE myself excited!!! Even my eldest just informed me he's going... getting up at 7:45 so he can have pancakes. Food... the call for all teenage boys. It'll get them every time...

He also informed me that it is irrelevant that Paula Abdul is leaving that TV Show. He said she is an airhead and annoying.

He's still farming and has yet to acquire a goat.

That's all from here.

Oh and go wish VW a belated happy birthday! She's not really changed much and her youngest boy... holy crap he's her clone.


Posted by Boudicca at 09:13 PM | Comments (14)

August 04, 2009

Don't Deal Drugs... Invest in Them

My kids have been sick this past week. My eldest told me his ear hurt and so I made my way for my 3rd visit to the pediatrician's in the same week.

I consider it a bonus he told me. His communication skills can be lacking. His deep voice, tendancy to mumble, and all around quietness make conversing a challenge at times.

He is getting better.

And so I took him in and we waited with all the crying babies and screaming toddlers to see one of our favorite doctors, one we don't see often. He is a cross between Bill Cosby and Eddie Murphy and his demeanor and crazy fun personality make his bill seem more like a fee for admission... something easily paid for with a laugh.

We left with the diagnosis for a middle ear infection and a script for some drops. When I went to pick up the script... the bill was... I kid you not, $100... and the bill said I had saved THIRTY SEVEN DOLLARS!

Holy crap.

This tiny little bottle of drops was normally $137? What in the hell was it made of?

I got in the car, put it in my son's lap and said, "Good God. Dude. I just paid 100 bucks for those drops. You will use EVERY LAST drop. We will not waste any. Do you hear? No skipping dosages. No missing the ear. Holy crap. One hundred dollars. I may stroke..."

ONE hundred dollars.

One HUNDRED dollars.

One hundred DOLLARS.

It doesn't matter how I say it, I'm stunned.

Five days. Five drops. I did the math.

I was going to bed and I picked up this tiny bottle and said to my son, "Hey, we have to put these drops in. They're $4.00 a drop. Liquid gold we have here, son. We'll use every last drop in this bottle..."

He put his head in my lap as I slowly dripped them into his ear canal, mushing it around, tugging on his ear lobe, pulling on his ear making sure they were deep down inside his ear.

As I left I said to him, "Hey, I suspect some will ooze out. Let me know. I think it should ooze out gold..."

This morning when I woke him up I said, "Did any of that stuff come out?"

He sleepily nodded. I continued, "Did it come out gold?" and he groggily shook his head to the negative grinned and tried to go back to sleep.

I wonder if there was fear this ear infection was going to kill him. Surely there had to be something out there that didn't cost $100.

Surely.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:12 PM | Comments (15)

August 02, 2009

Stories Unearthed from the Sands of A Faraway Desert

The Navy does not leave their men and women behind. It doesn't matter how many years have passed, they will follow every lead, turn every stone, rake every piece of sand to find them and bring them home.

For the family I wish them peace, a peace they have not had in 18 years.

Eighteen years is a long time to question, wonder, worry, grieve.

I witnessed that anguish for 37 days, a story I am finally going to tell here. I've been blogging for 5 years and have alluded to it... and those who know me well know the story as it is a part of me. I will leave out names, but share my side of the story.

It was shortly after Captain Speicher was shot down, during GWI in January. And for those of you who are wondering how he became such a young Captain, when you are listed as other than KIA, you continue to get promoted.

I said something to TGOO about this once, as we were talking about people he knew that were POWs in Vietnam. I said something like, "Wow, what if they were a really crappy officer, and they still got promoted?"

He replied, "Of course. Can you imagine? Not only did you pay this huge sacrifice for your Country, you're held captive, and then released only to find out you were passed over for promotion?"

But that is how it works and it is the right thing to do. So if any of you saw a picture of Captain Speicher and were doing a double take as to how such a young man could be a Navy Captain, it is because time stopped when he was 33, but his career continued as if he were still with us.

As it should have. And this is not to say he does not deserve them, that it was solely automatic. Not at all... all I have read has said he was a good guy.

I have spoken of a very close girlfriend of mine that I visit once a year when I go home. She is the friend that I can go a year or two without seeing and then pick up the phone and say, "Hey, -----" and pick up the last sentence of our last conversation and continue as if there was never a pause.

We have been through some seriously bad stuff together. And because of what we have endured together, there is a bond between us that can never be broken.

I got the phone call at work. She was freaking out because her husband had been shot down. Nobody was sure exactly what had happened... but it wasn't good.

As the days progressed, he was deemed KIA. I got an education on ejection seats, cockpits and his type of aircraft, as I sought out every Navy and Marine pilot I worked with to try to understand the scenario and the probability of survival.

His beacon in his seat didn't go off, although we found out later it had failed. His plane had been hit by a SAM. For reasons I won't go into here, his wingman saw nothing.

Everyone assumed he was KIA, but it was changed to MIA. Letters started to pour in from his squadron mates about how much he had loved his wife. They sent pictures of him, pictures he had of her... sent them to her with deeply heart felt letters as they were helpless and crushed... young men at war, experiencing loss.

Meanwhile, she was on the West Coast, and here I was working at Company X in West Palm Beach. Did she need me to fly out? No. So I did the next best thing and I called... every single day.

We'd go over what was in her head. What she'd gotten in the mail. The phone calls she received. And over and over she kept saying to me, "Bou, he is not dead. Wouldn't I feel it in my bones? Wouldn't I just KNOW my soulmate is dead? I don't feel it. I won't believe it."

And for 37 days, after the initial shock wore off, that was her frame of mind. "I would feel it. I don't feel it. He's not dead." And she would tell me, in near hysteria at times how she was sick of people treating him as if he were dead, as she wasn't going to believe it.

And I did nothing but listen and offer encouragement and tell her, "If you don't believe it... then he's not."

Lest I appear that I was the picture of strength for her, never in near hysterics, that is an inaccurate picture. For her, I was what she needed me to be. Off the phone, I was a mess, keeping the TV on 24/7 on CNN, literally sleeping with the news on in my bedroom. Coverage of the war, I could not get enough. I was a mess inside... but never to her.

She would ask me often what I thought. I'd analyzed the data every which way. I'd gone over it with pilots, with my Dad, with everyone I knew as I knew the details of how he went down. And no matter how I looked at it, with the data I had... he was dead. In my heart I was crushed, dealing with my own issues, of realizing that at age of 25, my best girlfriend from college could very well be a widow, something that is not supposed to happen to one so young.

What good would it have done to tell her that I couldn't see a way around it? That I'd talked to so many, and it... just was so bleak. What good? If he was dead, we'd find out soon enough and we'd deal with it then. If living on hope was what we needed, then that was what we'd do.

And so I'd tell her, "If you believe it in your heart... then who am I to say? It is true." And I did believe it. As much as I looked at the cold hard data and it said otherwise, if she felt it in her bones he was alive, then I believed that too.

He was not my mate. I was not spiritually tied to him. In my mind, she should know things in her heart that I did not.

And so she believed and prayed and I believed through her and prayed.

Senator McCain came to her aid. This past presidential election was very personal to me. Everyone else looked at it from afar, a distance to people they did not know running for the big office. That was not how I looked at it. Senator McCain helped keep my friend sane... I could not picture our current President doing what Senator McCain did... and for that, I view the Senator in a different light.

I am thankful for him and all that he did. One day I hope I can tell him personally.

And he had my friend meet up with Mrs. Bush, where Mrs. Bush hugged her and told her that if she did not believe in her heart that her husband was dead, then he was not. And she related the story of 'her George.'

My friend came home with a renewed resolve that her husband was alive. Nothing bothered her anymore. She was at peace with her beliefs and it didn't matter if the CACO showed up or the Mailman with letters from his squadron... he was alive and she did not question it.

And in turn, I felt more that she was right, data nor not, and if people asked me, I'd say he was alive. They would see. Her faith had buoyed me to believe the same, unequivocally.

When the POWs were released to the Red Cross, there he was. Nobody knew he'd been a captive. His video had never been shown, although he had prayed it would be so his family would know he was alive.

And for 37 days, I witnessed what it was like for a family not to know.

And the Speichers have been going through this for EIGHTEEN YEARS. It is something I cannot fathom.

May they have peace. May they be able to grieve properly and give him the final respects he so rightfully deserved. May they be able to continue knowing that we all know he was a hero, having paid the ultimate sacrifice and that our hearts are with them.

May they have peace.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:41 PM | Comments (14)

August 01, 2009

Same Question, Different Phrasing

It happened... again... and THIS time my husband was there to witness it.

Except he didn't hear it.

And I'm still stunned. I'm always stunned.

We took the kids out to dinner tonight. We splurged and took them to the Cheesecake Factory, a place I am loathe to eat, because if you don't end up at a booth, you are essentially dining with others and hearing their conversation as they are hearing yours.

I really hate that.

Anyway, so there were two ladies who were sitting next to us, pretty much sharing a table since there was all of six inches between the two tables. At the end of dinner, the one woman said to me, "Are they all yours?"

My husband is sitting RIGHT THERE.

I smiled sweetly and nodded my head with a "mmm, hmmm".

She repeated, "They're all YOURS?"

And again I smiled sweetly and said, "YES."

We've moved up in the world. Now I'm asked if they're all mine. This is far better than the usual, "Same Father?"

I told the boys they need to brace themselves. If I have ONE MORE person ask me that, a question I find so offensive, (Same Father?) I'm going to answer, "No. I'm a whore."

My husband thinks this is horrible. There are blended families.

But I just think it is f***ing rude as sh** to say to a complete stranger, "Same Father?"

Really.

Mr. T thinks this is hysterical. I think he's actually waiting with great anticipation, an anticipation that would rival waiting for Christmas, for some pinhead to dare to ask me "Same Father?".

He grins at the thought of the entire scenario of my looking blankly at said pinhead and replying, 'No. I'm a whore."

I know they look completely different. My eldest is dark with crazy curly dark brown hair and dark eyes the color of the deepest darkest chocolate, nearly black.

My middle son looks exactly like my family, people thinking he looks more like my sister's son than mine, to be honest. Blue eyes, fair skin, he is a clone of my father when he was a boy, light brown hair thick as carpet with more of a straw feel, slight build, but different than Ringo's.

And my youngest, floppy sandy colored hair that has NO body to it whatsoever, like spun silk, white skin, features of his father's in a lighter color palette, thin and boney, blue eyes almond shaped.

Different.

I'd just never think of saying anything to anyone about it if I saw them in the street.

I'd just... not.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:40 PM | Comments (19)