March 31, 2011

Maybe The Lines Need to be DARKER

I had a doctor's appointment the other day. They weighed me before I went back, per the usual.

We got in the small room and I hopped up on the table for the nurse to take my blood pressure. She had the computer on already, pulled up my chart and went to put in the new stats when she stopped.

She looked at me and said, "Did you lose weight?"

"Yes."

"Wait. Did you lose A LOT of weight?"

"Yes."

She said, "OK, I just wanted to make sure. I pull up these charts and I see something like that and I want to make sure I REALLY have the right person! Did... you do it on purpose?"

"Yes."

"Good. Unintentional is NOT good!"

She took my blood pressure and said, "Your blood pressure is low..."

I replied cheerfully, 'It is. That's normal..."

She said, "No, I have to retake it. This is low..."

I sat there patiently as when my weight is where it should be, my blood pressure is low. Not as low as it was during that one delivery when it dropped to 60/30 and all these sirens and bells started going off, the nurse freaked and I said to her calmly, "Ginger, it's cool. My bp is always low" to which she said loudly, "NOT THIS LOW!" as she shot something into an IV and put a O2 mask over my face.

Not that low.

But low.

She took my bp again and said, "Bou, It's... 97/55? I can't tell that bottom number. At some point, its just too soft... Yeah, I'm going to put 55..."

That's about right for me. When I'm at my right weight, and in shape, my resting pulse is in the 50s and my bp is low. I'm thinking I'm darn close to target weight. Darn close.

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I'm just about finished redecorating my eldest boy's room. It's been a six month work in progress as I've slowly been collecting things for his room.

I decided all the paintball stuff needed to come off the extra twin bed he has in that room, so I bought baskets to store it in, under the bed.

Except... the beds sit too low. So I decided to buy bed risers, just a couple inches up off the floor and we'd be set.

Bones was with me and Bed Bath and Beyond is a good 30 minute trip from the house. I picked up a set of risers in natural wood and as I walked out the aisle I realized I needed TWO sets.

Bones, always the kid who wants to be helpful said, "Don't worry! I'll go get them!"

So off he scampered to grab another set while I made my way to the cashier.

We were home an hour later with Ringo in tow and I decided to quickly put the risers under the beds before I was off to get Mr. T from band practice. I went into the back to break out out both boxes when Bones said...

'And! I got you a DIFFERENT color than the one you bought! I thought it would look great if you had two different colors of wood."

I stood there for a second, blank faced, as I tried to assimilate what he'd just said to me. Finally I said, flatly, "What... what did you say?"

He replied, "Yeah, look here. YOU picked out the light wood. It says natural wood. *I* got the dark one. I thought it would look good..."

Ringo stood there silently in disbelief and that's about when I became unhinged, my head spun around three times and green goop poured out my eyes.

Possessed I was.

WTF?

I grabbed the box, completely bat crap crazy mad, and threw it in the car so I could go BACK and exchange it.

Who does that? Who does that?

I was still livid when my husband got home. I said to him after, "Who DOES that? WHO?! Who decides they're going to NOT ONLY change colors with something they're helping YOU with, BUT! BUT! They DON'T TELL YOU! WHO.DOES.THAT? And furthermore, it was NO accident. He did it ON.PURPOSE! I didn't even have the f*ing box out of bag when he proudly told me he'd changed my colors because HE thought it would look GREAT! WHO.DOES.THAT?!"

To which my husband replied, "Bones does. His life is chaos and color. That's who he is..."

Bones and I DO NOT live on the same planet. DO.NOT.

Seriously.

I can't trust that kid with anything. He colors WAY too far outside the lines for me.

Good grief.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:39 PM | Comments (7)

March 29, 2011

Pick your Poison

I received a mini chocolate fondue maker from a good friend the other day. I'm using it for a luncheon I'm having on Sunday. It needed to be tested to ensure it worked and of course, Bones was all about it.

I swear this was our conversation today at dinner.

Mr. T: So how does this work? How does the chocolate get to the top?

Me: By auger. There's an auger in the center of that middle piece and it pushes the chocolate to the top.

Bones: Ahhh. An auger. They used augers for irrigation for the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

The other four members of the family: *blink*

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Mr. T came home the other day and informed me that a girl in his class that WAS going to go to the local Catholic HS with him is no longer, but instead going to one of the public high schools, one I wouldn't be caught dead sending my sons to. Well... at least lowest on the list.

The reason? "It's not the money. My Mom said she's afraid I'll get into drugs if I go to ABC Catholic HS."

I sat there speechless at first.

My eldest busted out laughing when he heard it. He said, "Really? Are you kidding? Sure we have drugs, but ALL the high schools have drugs. Actually, they have MORE of a problem then we do!"

There was just so much wrong with this little girl's statement.

First, if I was her, I'd be so dang pissed that my Mom thought so little of my character that just sending me to a certain school assured that I would make such bad choices as to getting into drugs. That would SERIOUSLY piss me off.

Second, ALL the high schools have drugs. As I like to say, "Sure, ABC Catholic HS has drugs. Maybe a higher quality drug. They ALL have drugs."

All high schools have drugs and sex. Period. If you think your kids' HS does not, your head is in the sand and good luck with that.

What my son's high school does NOT have is... knife fights. Last year, this local HS that this girl is going to go to, had a knife fight on week 6 of school, the students gathered around to WATCH and a bunch of them got maced by the police.

We have absolutely NEVER had anything REMOTELY happen like that at our school. As a matter of fact, after the knife fight incident, and then a lock down at another area public HS due to a gun issue, my oldest said to me, "I'm OK where I am. I don't need to experience those high schools..."

The HS where Mr. T applied and got waitlisted is like a private HS. There aren't those issues... no guns, knife fights... but... guess what? Yes, there are drugs.

As a matter of fact, last weekend I had a van full of 16 year old boys due to the fact that none of my son's friends have a car and most don't have their license. (None of them have felt a big rush to drive.)

This particular group of my eldest's friends all go to a local HS just north of us, one with a big finance magnet. The boys informed me... well... this is the conversation:

Peter: Mrs. L, I have decided that high school is 60% social, 30% sex, and 10% academic.

Me: *blink* 30% sex.

Ringo: My high school is more academic than 10%.

Me: 30% sex?

Peter: Not where we are.

Me: 30% sex?

John: Peter, you damaged her. Mrs. L is stuck on this 30% statistic. Mrs. L, he just threw that out there...

Me: 30%?

The boys were laughing.

Peter: Things have changed since you were in HS.

Me:

Peter: HS is a joke.

John: Agreed.

Folks, 10% academic? John proceeded to tell me how their AP pass rates were miserable and that the AP History teacher bumps everyone's grade up 25 points, hence the inflated grades I hear coming out of some of these high schools.

10% academic. And we wonder why our kids are failing... even if they appear to be passing.

That is other than a handful of schools... I'd say only two of which are public. The rest... are a joke.

And this girl's Mom is not going to send her to ABC Catholic school because she's afraid of the drugs.

Wonder what she'll think of the knife fights...

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

March 28, 2011

Is It Growing Up? Really?

I won the election this weekend. For 18 years I've been active in this group and I have wondered often if the time given and energy spent has been noticed by anyone.

The win was definitive, with my garnering 71% of the vote.

I felt appreciated. It is good...

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My Mom and I had an absolute blast this weekend. I'm not sure I remember the last time I laughed that hard... well, probably the last time I got together either with Mo or my Mom. It could go either way.

My Dad bought us matching cameos to wear. They are BEAUTIFUL!

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

Meanwhile, I'm puzzled with Bones. Last quarter we went from his getting the lowest number in conduct in Math, accompanied by notes from his teacher, and a B for the grade, to now getting 4s and having an A in his class.

Evidently his teacher is telling him how he's really helping to accelerate the class. Bones pulled a 100% on the last quiz.

Ok.

So I've been doing this parenting thing for 16 years and although I don't have it figured out, I have a pretty good handle on things. And this is pretty much it boiled down:

1) My boys aren't saints
2) My boys sometimes do really stupid things
3) Bones is a tough one to handle in particular for structured teachers like... Math teachers
4) My boys aren't saints

I'm just at a loss. Actually, on a couple fronts.

First, Bones FAILED math in 5th grade. His teacher sucked, he didn't understand it, and I thought he needed to be in Special Ed. His teacher was no help... at all... ever. Even with multiple meetings. Ever.

Second, Bones is making As and Bs in math now. He not only completely grasps the concept, I'm getting the impression he's at the top of the class. Whereas I understand math is a neurological maturity that happens... seriously... wtf? How does one go from seeming like ESE material to wondering if the kid needs to be in advanced math? How?

Third, Bones makes his math teacher, a man, bat crap crazy. I credit his teacher for Bones suddenly 'getting it'. I actually think he is a HUGE part of it and it has made me realize how badly his teacher last year SUCKED on many fronts. Last quarter I said nearly every day, 'This is the BEST math teacher you have had and may ever have. You MUST not distract the class. It is disrespectful and this teacher, above ALL teachers, does NOT deserve that..."

And now? I have Mr. A student with 4's in conduct and his teacher singing his praises?

The week before Spring break the same kid was in the dog house?

I want to email the teacher and see if this is some sort of child psychology. Tell the kid he's doing well, continuing to praise him for what you see that is good, give him goals to make an A and be the BEST student and he will live up to that expectation?

Is that what's going on?

And I'm afraid to email him to find out. Because deep in my heart, I want another wonky thing to have occurred like going from an F in Math to an A/B.

Deep in my heart I want him to have been a pain in the neck last quarter and an angel this quarter, some sort of neurlogical development.

But... see that section on my kids, my list? The first and last... My boys aren't saints.

I don't believe it for a second. I just can't bring myself to hear it... again.

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

March 22, 2011

Digging up Bones

My internet is up and running. The big joke at work is "Never over ride your WAN!" to which someone usually pipes up and says, "What's a WAN?"

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President Obama has confused me. Bush was a bad man for sending us into Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush lied, People died. Right?

So he ran under the guise that HE was going to ensure we were no longer at war.

And then, as I said to my husband right after the election, "Now he knows the secret handshake. Now he knows we can't get out..."

Sure enough, we're still there.

And now? And NOW? We're in Libya.

So we're still in Iraq and Afghanistan and now we're bombing Libya.

Look, I'm not saying we shouldn't be doing it, but I just find it astounding that two years later, not only did he not do what he said he was going to do, but he's committed our military somewhere else.

I sense a goat rope coming our way.

Maybe I'm too simple to understand...

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

I wasn't ready for Spring Break to be over. The sleep... was nice. The lack of homework... was nice.

Bones is on his Math teacher's last dang nerve. And... I completely get it. I'm absolutely on his Math teacher's side.

So I've put Bones on notice that he's in deep dirt with me if he ends up with one more little note in his planner.

More than any other type of teacher, Math teachers struggle with Bones' type of personality and it's NOT up to the math teachers to adapt, but for Bones to understand.

Thankfully he only has him three times a week for 90 minutes. We have nine more weeks for this guy to have to tolerate my son. It could be a long nine weeks...

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I have spent the better part of the last four or five nights digging up dead people. I decided it was time to go ahead and get formally documented all my kin that participated in the Revolutionary War, came in through Jamestowne or over on the Mayflower.

TGOO has all this stuff in his head, a lot of it in his files, and I decided now it was the time for my files to be created and documentation to take place for future generations. With both my folks families involved, I think I'm at 11 folks involved with the Revolutionary War.

It's been interesting... sad sometimes.

I ran across one woman whose birth and death date had some discrepancy. The conversation went like this...

Me: Someone messed up Granny's papers. They have Sally's birth and death in 1790.

TGOO: Sally was born in 1754. I'm not sure she really died in 1790, but that's what we have. Her Dad had her in his will and he died in 1800. Why would he do that? Besides, her last child was born in 1790.

Me: Dad, she may have died in 1790. In childbirth.

TGOO: Yeah, but the will, that doesn't make sense. Why would he keep her in the will?

Me: Dad. I think she had twins. I'm looking through the names... Dad, I think she died in childbirth, giving birth to twin girls...

Now here it is over 200 years later... and I want to know what happened to Sally. I am... sad for her.

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While digging up dead people, I said to TGOO, "Wow. I'm glad I wasn't a male on Mom's side. Holy crap. They seem to have died young..."

It would be interesting to have actual death certificates on BOTH sides. Is there a trend? All heart attacks? Diabetes? Makes one wonder...

On my Dad's side I found a son who died just two years after his dad. As my Dad said, "Wouldn't you love to have their death certificates?"

Yeah, theirs, Sally's, and a lot of men on my Mom's side!

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Lastly, this is a funny conversation about VW.

We recently found she is missing ONE link between her and someone who participated in the Revolutionary War. That link MIGHT be located in a cemetery about five hours north of here.

I told her I'd gladly go stomping through that cemetery with her. We can drive up there, I have some friends we might be able to stay with, and we can search gravestones. All my girlfriends up there are of the paper gravedigging type, so they'd be cool. Even if they are all over 80.

Years old.

And VW pretty much said this to me, which I found to be a dang riot, 'Yeah, remember how I told you that my Dad's family was up that way and how we don't have anything to do with them? So when we go up there, we need to avoid the live ones."

I'm sorry, but I think that's one of the funniest things I've heard in a long time. I've been telling all my friends into genealogy this story.

Sometimes... the dead ones are the safest!

Posted by Boudicca at 08:57 PM | Comments (10)

March 21, 2011

Oops!

In her zeal to increase the power of her home wireless internet, Boudicca struck again. This time, instead of laying waste London, she managed to strike dead the ip address of her modem and router. The result is that she's having to piggy back on an unsuspecting neighbor's network. She promises to be back as soon as the geek pays her a visit and sets up her network again. Stay tuned.
TGOO

Posted by TGOO at 04:03 PM | Comments (5)

March 17, 2011

Madness

This thing in Japan is a nightmare of suffering that just won't stop. It keeps getting worse and worse, making me feel more and more sick.

I told my husband, 'I have this urge to fly over, get a family that's lost everything, bring them over here to live with us and let them regroup."

He's got to think I'm a nut.

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Mr. T is taking this March Madness thing VERY seriously. Of his seven predictions, he was off by 1. He is currently 6-1. He thought Vandy would win.

They did not.

Stay tuned... (he picks his slots every morning just for those games being played that day)

Posted by Boudicca at 10:56 PM | Comments (4)

March 16, 2011

Our Personal Seige on Atlanta

I'm still with my sister, visiting before the birth of Flambina/Flambino #2. It's been crazy, just spending as much time with the Great Flambina as possible.

But I have decided as well, that since most of the history of Atlanta is five minutes from my sister's home, we will see it. ALL.OF.IT.

Over time, of course.

This was actually spurred by the fact that my boys were short two requirements for an Eagle Merit Badge, Citizenship of the Nation. I scheduled visits for various sites to get what they needed for completing the badge. They move to Life Scout next month if completed, and then they're off to figure out an Eagle Scout project.

Anyway, yesterday I took them to something called Cyclorama. It's kind of a museum dealing with the Civil War, that houses an enormous 'painting' and diorama of the seige upon Atlanta. It was absolutely fascinating and the boys learned a great deal.

As we made our way through the various displays, Mr. T finally said to me, "What side would we be on, Mom, the North right?"

An odd question to ask, but he was puzzled only because I have family, and therefore HE has family, that fought on BOTH sides. On my mother's side, my ggg grandfather personally heard Lincoln speak from the back of a train and immediately enlisted. On my father's side, they were Southern.

Everyone fought. So many died. I explained to Mr. T that there are no saints in war, that there are two sides to every story and that it was a HUGELY dark time in our history, a time where I could see both sides, and could grieve for everyone's losses. It ended how it needed to end, but not without families divided and despair to everyone. Americans died... both sides... Americans died.

I snapped pictures of the boys in the museum section. I said at one point, "I live with Clowns." Mr. T replied, "No, Mom, you live with ONE clown..." (This "I live with Clowns" is my new saying. I say it often...)

world on shoulders1.jpg

I call this one... Poser.

Poser.jpg

I took the boys to the Capitol building as well. Their state legislature was in session so we watched from a window. Everyone was dressed to the teeth... except us, the tourists. Mr. T was wearing his Gator sweatshirt, bright orange.

Nothing stands out more than being in the Georgia State Capitol wearing bright orange Gator clothes.

I feel certain we were in UGA territory. Thankfully nobody said anything, but if they had, I'd have replied, 'The kid is a HUGE Gator fan, but ONLY wants to go to Tech." I figured that would have settled it.

I took the kids to The Varsity for lunch, where the woman behind the counter was polite enough to not follow her questions of "These are your boys? All three of them? They don't look anything alike!" with, "All the same father?" I hate it when that happens. (I loved her and would go back the The Varsity just based on that one employee.)

And we ended our day playing in Mo's backyard with the Great Flambina, who is 'all two all the time'. She's so dang funny.

One of her favorite past times is going into her sandbox and having someone hide the little plastic animals, that she can then find.

This is the difference between Mom, babysitter, or Aunt playing in the sandbox. Mom, babysitter, and Aunt play the normal ways.

Boy cousins... do things like, taking the lid of the sandbox and pretending that the sandbox wants to close. What Boy cousins don't expect, is for the little girl cousin to then demand... that it be closed!

Close Sesame.jpg

Ringo would slowly and gently shut it per her demand, and then the four of us would stand there staring at each other doing a WTF? No more than five seconds would pass before Ringo would open it and there she would sit, happy as a clam, demanding he shut it again.

We thought it was hysterical, but we did have issues closing her in her sandbox, fearing we would scare her unintentionally, so we coaxed her out and Bones climbed in.

We'd close Bones in (no worries about scaring him...), and then I'd take her to the garden and walk around, and while her back was turned, Ringo would open the box and Bones would climb out and hide. When she came back, she'd open the sandbox and he was GONE!

She was absolutely mystified, sifting through the sand looking for him. I'd take her back to the garden and he'd reappear. We took to calling it, "The magic Sandbox."

Funnier still is when Bones would disappear and T would have stepped in, so when she opened it, T was there instead. She laughed hysterically.

So the last few pictures are of playing in the sandbox.

And Bones being Bones, we took Flambina to the zoo and at the Panda exhibit you can get a handstamp. That's what MOST people do. Bones covered himself in Panda stamps.
Bones and Flambina in sandbox.jpg

And this is Bones and Flambina pretending to sleep in the sandbox. (The sleeping thing is a family joke my boys are passing on to their cousin...)

Pretending to sleep in sand.jpg

And how we ended our day...

T and Flambina snuggle.jpg

We're going home tomorrow. I'm beat...


Posted by Boudicca at 08:18 PM | Comments (7)

March 14, 2011

Family

I'm visiting my sister, who is due in three weeks. The boys are hanging with my niece. We're here just for a couple days, running up for part of Spring Break to visit before the new arrival.

I'm not sure what The Flambina thinks when she sees the boys. Are they another pair of adult legs to get her things in high places? Another set of arms to snuggle in?

Bones, she definitely does NOT view the same way as the other two. He entertains and I think... she may view him as a big version of her. It's interesting.

She is starting to talk which is very funny. We're loving her...

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We found out today that Mr. T didn't get into his high school of choice. He applied to a GREAT public school with a tremendous math and science department. He'll be going to school with Ringo which is really a good school, just not his first choice.

He has the opportunity to be a very big fish in a small pond. He's a smart kid and there is real potential for him to shine.

His whole goal is to get into Georgia Tech. He can do that readily from the school he is going to go to now.

Plus, the band director at Ringo's school has told Mr. T that he really really needs him. He said at the Open House, "T, we need you and we WANT you..."

So we're all being very philosophical about it. My husband is the most upset, but I just think... in life you have to learn how to deal with the hand you're dealt. Sometimes it's not the hand you want and when you look back, you realize it was for the best.

That line from that song, "Sometimes we thank God, for unanswered prayers..."

It's all good. It all works out... and he's cool.

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This time change is kicking my butt...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:48 PM | Comments (7)

March 12, 2011

Epic

I have not time for blogging. I'm too horrified by what has happened in Japan.

I cannot break away from the horror of it all... feeling helpless to assist, watching it all unfold, the sheer ghastliness of it all.

Their people working to keep a full on nuclear reactor from melting down are kindred spirits to the fire fighters in 9/11 running those stairs to try to save the people in the tower.

When I lose all hope in humanity, these types of people come to mind. I think I am not made of the same substance as these heroic people. I would love to think I am... but I feel certain I am not.

I'm obsessing. And to be down right ugly about it, what passes through my mind is, "It didn't deserve to happen to THOSE people..." I can think of others that I would lose no sleep. I am not God. I was not able to choose.

I am losing sleep for the people of Japan. I truly am...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:35 PM | Comments (6)

March 10, 2011

Baseball, Scouts and... Clams

I have not missed my father in law, since he passed in August... until today. It is the truth, as sad and not nice as it is, it is the truth.

My brother in law was a very good baseball player. He was a pitcher for the school that my eldest boy now attends. This year... the school is 50 years old. There have been various celebrations, but this weekends is a 50th anniversary of the baseball team with a 50 year team. My brother in law made the team. (They don't play, just are honored.)

My father in law would have eaten it up. He LOVED watching my brother in law play baseball. He was like... the team Dad. He drove those boys everywhere, to practices, to games, all over. I think he was even the team doctor.

They were happy years for Pop, those baseball years. He'd love to reminisce about them.

He'd have been so proud of my brother in law, making that team. He'd have gone to all the celebrations and bragged to all his friends.

Today... I missed him.

We're going as a family to see the introduction of the celebration with my brother in law and the others that were selected. Pop's presence will be noticeably absent to us...

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There is a Scout in Scouts with my eldest that has had a tough life. Life has not been easy for him... a tough road from the get go. I think his Mom is a drug addict. I know his Dad has a drinking problem. The kid has been in and out of trouble... and the only stable influence this kid has had... I do believe is Scouting.

He's dropped out of high school and is taking the GED. (Long story I'm not getting into here... but it was a good choice.) He struggles with the Math. He really really struggles with it.

He has two goals... he wants to pass the GED and after that, he wants to be a Marine. He's already talked to the Marine recruiter who said he really NEEDS to get the math right. He REALLY needs to improve his math and then they'll talk.

This boy NEEDS the Marines. He said to me today, "I'd do it for free, M'am. They don't have to pay me. I'd do it for free, fight for my Country with other Americans. I hope they give me a chance to be a Marine..."

It's not the money. It's not to have a job. He truly wants to be a Marine.

He has one Eagle Merit badge left to get and his Eagle project. The badge he has left to get is the one I am the counselor for. This young man is now on my radar. He'll have his badge because I'm about to live in his life. I got his cell number. He took the initiative to seek me out on two fronts... one, I'm the badge counselor, and two, I'd told him once I'd help him with his math.

So I'm going to be meeting him at the local library on weekdays, maybe during my lunch, to figure out how to make the math make sense.

I told one of the ScoutMasters today, "Of all the boys we have, this one NEEDS Scouts. He NEEDS his Eagle Scout. He NEEDS the Marines. This boy NEEDS us."

I'm worried, I'll be honest. I'm worried that it is a real learning disability and not years of neglect. I'm doing research on how to figure out ways to get simple Algebra through to him. I'll do anything it takes.

I so... want this boy to be a Marine. If you're a praying type, throw this kid in your prayers. He is a good kid, a kind kid, a kid with a good heart, but who is easily influenced. He's good looking and polite, probably one of the most respectful young men I've ever met.

He'd make a good Marine. Pray for this kid... and that I can find what I need to give him the guidance so he can make it all come together in his head.

I'll keep you posted...

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This clam has been the video of choice today for my family. My brother sent us a couple of them and I can't quit laughing... Enjoy.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:09 PM | Comments (8)

March 09, 2011

Iditarod

I have three girlfriends who went up to the Iditarod this year. My one girlfriend goes every year, this being her 12th, I believe. My other two friends have always wanted to go and they saved enough cash so that this would be their year.

I told them to start a blog. I had all sorts of crazy names for them. They are creative in their own right and to blogger they went.

One morning they sent me a picture of an Alaska sunrise, on my cell phone and said, 'Morning in Alaska'. The next morning while in traffic taking my son to school, I snapped a picture of all the cars, sent it to their phone and said, "Morning in West Palm Beach". When I saw the running of the reindeer, I was wondering why they did not partake. Evidently my girlfriends were teatotalling it, and runners with reindeer... are drunk. Or close.

I'm linking my favorite post. A few notes here:

1) I am still an anonymous blogger to most of my life. The two lives really do not intersect. These women are very dear to me, but they do not know I blog. I'm about to take a chance and have two worlds collide. Should you comment, please DO NOT put that I sent you there. They don't know about my safe haven here. Not that it would be a bad thing, but I just... believe it or not... can be rather private. (Yeah, there is a certain element of guilt here since I really do love these ladies to pieces...)

2) This is my favorite post of all of their posts (short blog for them as it was a short trip, they didn't stay for the whole thing) as it encompasses so much.

3) To my Dad... please scroll down and you will find a video. This is the Scottish Musher, Wattie McDonald. Very cool to see a true Scotsman enter the race in kilt. I thought you might enjoy it.

I forgot to ask them this morning when I spoke to them, if they'd seen the Northern Lights. It's on my Bucket List.

Go HERE...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:23 PM | Comments (4)

March 06, 2011

No Larry the Lobster

For my son's 16th birthday, he asked for a chin-up bar. The fact he would ask for anything fitness related had me elated in general. He's not my kid who loves sports. He LOVES to paintball, run around all day long shooting at people, but in general, he doesn't love throwing/hitting/kicking a ball.

It's not his gig.

I expect he'll probably get into weight lifting at some point.

Anyway, being all of 5'3" and having a size 11 shoe and arms he swears will start dragging the Earth any dang day now, if he wants a chin-up bar to bulk up, I'm good.

So to Target I went to buy said bar. I never paid attention to the packaging, but evidently it is one of those 'As seen on TV!' dowhoppies, something about 'Get Ripped in 90 Days!'

My son set right to it and told me today his abs are sore. He was happy.

This afternoon I was coming through the house when I heard Ringo YELLING at Bones. I mean, yelling with a ferocity that I had not heard in a long time.

"And you know what you did?! You left that CHAIR in my doorway! You left it there and then last night it was DARK and when I went into my room to go to bed, I TRIPPED over it. Do you hear me?! I tripped over YOUR chair in MY doorway. MOVE IT. MOVE YOUR CHAIR. DO.NOT.KEEP it there!"

The chair? It's a little purple Little Tykes chair that somehow wasn't gotten rid of when the Little Tykes picnic table found a new home. I think the chair was hidden away since the chair had dual purpose: sitting and standing. It's used to reach tall objects.

Reaching tall objects is a struggle for all of us. I'm just as guilty of using that little purple plastic chair as the boys are. I sometimes need just six more inches to reach something. The chair gives me an entire foot!

Anyway, so Bones ran off with his little purple chair while shouting over his shoulder, "Well, Sorrrr-eeee!"

Ringo wasn't cutting him any slack. "Don't say you're sorry! Just keep that chair away from my door!"

I was at a loss then. What was with this chair?

A few hours later, I was in Ringo's room looking for something, reassessing the great adventure he and I are going to embark upon, throwing everything out and remodeling, when Bones came up to the room, planted the purple chair under the chin-up bar, held on and did exactly 1.5 chin ups.

I was impressed. I can't do one. I can do sit ups all day long and Sunday too, but pull ups? I have nearly NO upper body strength. I can complete a marathon, but I can't do a pull up.

But Bones can. He grinned at me the entire time he pulled himself up.

He hopped down, looked at me and said, "Mom, Mom, Mom, I'm going to be RIPPED in 90 days!" and he gathered his little plastic purple chair and scampered off.

I wasn't sure what to think. I think I was in too much shock. I knew that Ringo was working on chin ups, but to see my flakey, blonde haired, 65 pound 11 year old son tell me he's going to be 'Ripped in 90 days'... it made me laugh.

Holy crap.

Tonight I was sitting here answering email when his skinny self came up to me, lifted up his shirt and said, "Mom, Mom, Mom, so, do you think I'll be ripped in 90 days?"

How do you answer that? There he stood with not an ounce of fat or muscle upon his frame. Not an ounce. He is skin and connective tissue stretched over bones. Picture Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes lifting his shirt. That's Bones.

He's called Bones for a reason.

He grabbed a 1/2 inch of skin from his abs, pulled it away from his body and said, "Do you think the flab will go away?"

I started to laugh and said, 'That's not flab! Dude. That is SKIN. That is skin and connective tissue!"

Said Bones, "Why do I have so much of it?"

To which I replied, "Your body is going to stretch into it all eventually! Sheesh! And no... you won't be ripped in 90 days. I'm sorry to disappoint you, but it doesn't work that way. You dont' have enough testosterone or muscle yet to 'get ripped'"

His shoulders slumped and he said, "Well, I'm still going to try."

I told him to go for it.

Good grief. The mystery of the little purple chair in Ringo's doorway has been solved. Bones is working on getting ripped...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:19 PM | Comments (5)

It Was a Dark and Stormy Night

Motivation to write about anything is pretty non-existent these days. Contemplating saving all my posts to disk for my kids, getting rid of the junk that doesn't apply to them, and closing up shop is running rather high as well.

Time will tell. It's been a good run, over six years.

You know it's low when I didn't even write on my son's 16th birthday. In fairness to me, I have a lot on my plate and am treading water. I'll put a belated birthday post up... eventually.

Anyway, over at Lex's he has a new occasional poster, Whisper. Today's post has a series of pix, aircraft and carrier shots. But what he writes of is the young man on the flight deck, who he refers to as shuffleboard stick guy.

Crappy job. Long days, crappy weather, dangerous job, lonely.

And it reminded me of a young E4 I met 18 years ago, back when I worked the C-17. My group helped to field the C-17. (I know, I don't talk about work much, so if it bores you, move along.)

The C-17 is powered by a commercial engine that was converted to military use, to work with the C-17 airframe. My group did the studies for spare parts, field supportability for peacetime and wartime scenarios, etc, went to the field with other engineers to talk to the pilots of the C-141s who were converting to C-17 about their missions, so a mission profile could be developed, and we went to various facilities to watch a USAF crew attempt to tear down the engine using directions written by my company... all levels of maintenance.

My number was drawn to sit in with the USAF crew when it got to what we call Depot, which is where a lot of the overhaul goes on. When a motor has hit a critical point for cycles, it has to be thoroughly inspected, some parts such as rotating parts have to be replaced or overhauled, or sometimes the engine just gets seriously damaged in some way sending it in for overhaul.

So I sat out there for a few weeks while the USAF guys tore it down. Our writers were there making corrections, our Support guys were there as well to make sure all tooling worked, and I got to turn some wrenches and help, which was very cool.

I have some crazy funny stories from those times. And the notion of 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas' may have very well been invented from those six weeks.

I really got to know the young USAF mechanics. Oh my Lord they were young. One of them was right off a farm. I think he'd just graduated from high school and he would get us to laughing so hard we could hardly stand it. He was sweet.

Another was newly married. They were contemplating children, but trying to figure out how they were going to manage it on his salary, which was not much.

And the one I really got to know, was a young E-4, about to make E-5. He was in his mid 20s, divorced from a woman who had become a drug addict, and had two small children. He had family helping him, but it was a tough go. He was earnest and a hard worker. He had full custody of those babies, something that probably does not happen often to men, let alone military men.

I remember we were all out to dinner one night (this is where shuffleboard stick guy comes into play from Whisper's post) and the guys were talking about the crappiest duty they'd ever had.

Look at the picture of shuffleboard stick guy. What is he thinking? It is rainy and overcast. It's got to be cold. He's had a long day. Where is his mind?

And it made me think of that dinner conversation. And the young E-4 said he was stationed in Alaska. And it was wintertime and it was dark and cold and snowy. A plane came in and it was 2AM and it had to be fixed so it could be turned around to fly out.

He was out on the flightline, with the wind whipping around, and he couldn't wear gloves because he needed to be able to touch what he was doing. He said he'd never been so damn cold and then a cold fluid poured from whatever he was working on, above his head, and the fluid ran down his hands, into his jacket and down his arm.

He said he remembered thinking he was tired (long days), cold in Alaska in winter, depressed, and alone and now he was wet too.

And then he said, "You know what got me through that night? As bad as it got, as cold as it was, as miserable as I grew, I just kept thinking of my wife, warm in bed, and how I couldn't wait to get back home to her and crawl in next to her, wrapping myself around her... how her hair smelled, how soft her skin was, how it sounded to hear her breathe when she slept. All night as I worked on that plane, that's what I thought about. Home."

That has always stayed with me. Obviously she wasn't the drug addict at the time. It was during better days that this occurred... but he unlocked a secret.

See shuffleboard guy? His mind might be blank. He might be cursing the world for being where he is. Or... he could be somewhere else, thinking of someone, looking forward to going home.

I'm perpetually amazed at the young men and women that serve our Country.

We take them for granted.

Posted by Boudicca at 02:49 PM | Comments (14)

March 01, 2011

Dark Odds and Ends

My son turns 16 this week. Thursday. I will have a 16 year old. Crazy stuff...

I decided to redecorate his room for his 16th year. We have taken on a music theme with earth tones. He wants to hang his guitars from the wall and for his birthday, I've taken to buying him music posters.

Posters of music... HE listens too.

I ended up at Spencers at some point. Good Lord, I've not been in that store in 20 or 30 years. I'm going to question my son next time he goes in there. I think that entire store revolves around beer pong and sex.

To even get to the posters I had to pass an entire shelf of sex related stuff that I quickly tried to pass, somewhat horrified realizing my son had been in there with his buddies. I keep shaking my head trying to get the visual of what I saw out of it.

And I think the first poster I flipped to had two girls with hands in each other's pants. I did a quick flip on that one, once again thinking of my son in that store.

Gah!

Anyway, I found some posters, a Victor Hugo quote on music that I thought should add more of a philosophical flair. A poster with pictures of various famous rock group guitars, that could add to discussion.

All of this to offset posters for groups he listens to.

Like... Disturbed. It is in fact disturbing.

Avenged Sevenfold. Don't let the name fool you. It's not a Christian group.

And then of course, Bob Marley. I'm not sure he really likes Bob Marley, or he likes the fact he knows how many types of lice were found in his hair upon his death. New species evidently. Those are the types of thought provoking conversations that happen in my car.

We're getting rid of stuff, getting a new throw rug for under his drumset and getting new sheets.

Right now he has a road rug from when he was a toddler under his drumset. He is perfectly cool with it, saying that all boys who were truly loved by their parents own one of these road rugs. His friends seem to agree, so even though the road rug is not considered babyish, in my mind, it's... gotta go.

Who knew when I bought that little road rug that it would eventually be a symbol of my love? Who knew?

I expect this project to be done in a month. Pictures to follow.

Sixteen. Good grief.

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Mr. T finds out if he got into the high school he applied to... in two weeks. He doesn't think he got in. It's a lottery system and he feels certain he didn't make the pull.

He's going to be devastated. I know he is.

Even though we have a back up plan to attend the school that Ringo is attending, he is going to be crushed.

So a few prayers tossed that way would be appreciated. He will be fine no matter where he ends, but he has his heart set on trying this school to see if he could succeed.

The principal is allowed to take 20% of her choice. He's not the kind of kid that would make that cut. So... fingers crossed.

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I received a phone call from Bones' school asking me to chaperone the Boys' Choir competition trip to Orlando. I said yes.

I'm not sure what I got myself into...

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I found the most bizarre article today on Greek burial problems... rent a grave for three years and... wow.

Did anyone else see this or was I the only one with a dark enough sense of humor to have to click on the button? Ghastly... absolutely ghastly!

There are some classic lines in that article, but I think this one may be my fave:

As a pagan friend of mine put it in an e-mail, "Clearly, if you are going to clean the skull of a fellow monk to make an offering bowl to the gods, you have a very different perspective than those who talk about eternal life, pump bodies full of chemicals, and seal people vacuum-pack-style into coffins."

Good grief.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:19 PM | Comments (16)