January 31, 2012

Pictures, 1000 words, whatever

Mr. T had to do a report on Sir Francis Drake for English. While he was at the library with his Biology tutor, I found the ONLY book they had on him... in the Juvenile section.

I grabbed the book, looked at the front cover and busted out laughing.

drake.jpg

A few weeks ago, Eric over at Straight White Guy, posted THIS photo of himself and even commented on how he thought he might look like Sir Francis Drake, but I guess he didn't realize that Sir Drake was in fact a redhead.

Or was he?

Meanwhile, El Capitan took that photo and ran with it, via photoshop.

Good stuff.

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

Tonight my husband and I had to attend a Christening Class so we can be Godparents to the Fat Pookie, who I will promptly find a new name for, because it's a funny name as a baby, but she isn't going to be a baby forever.

God love this yummy girl. That is a little tutu skirt shoved into that walker.
Pookie1.jpg

Anyway, we walked into the Chapel and I found this hanging above the altar.

falling.jpg

I sat there for a minute staring. My husband sat down next to me and I whispered, "Hun. He looks like he's falling off that cross..."

He looked at me and said, "What?"

I pointed and said, "He's falling off..."

He rolled his eyes and said, "No. He's welcoming you to heaven..."

I said, "Whatever. I think he looks like he's falling off..."

Doesn't he?!

Posted by Boudicca at 10:25 PM | Comments (8)

January 30, 2012

I Knew I was Right

I was talking to my gf that I jobshare with and she has a non-communicative 15 year old in her house too. I was telling her my marriage scenario (previous post) and she told me... holy cats...

... she told me that her brother in law, who lives on the West Coast of the US, called his parents one Christmas and said, 'Merry Christmas. Oh, by the way, I got married two weeks ago..."

They didn't even know he had a girlfriend.

So, yeah, it happens. Holy crap.

And to think I was just kind of joking with myself...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:41 PM | Comments (4)

January 29, 2012

My Future in the Dark

Boys don't share. They don't communicate. Mostly, I'm OK with it. My only frustration is knowing that they have to be able to communicate in the real world and I worry for that.

I say to them all the time, "It doesn't matter how loud you think; I still cannot hear you."

The house was empty yesterday afternoon and I was busy working on my latest quilt, cutting, sewing, ironing. I got lost in my thoughts.

My boys were all together at a school fair. My eldest drives and had driven he and my second son. Bones was with friends at the fair with one of their Moms. Ringo drove them all home at the end of the night. That means... for the first time ever, my husband and I didn't have to go to the school fair. (We did go Saturday night for OUR fun.)

The boys are acquiring lives without us. They are becoming independent.

And I started to think, when they move away, they'll not call home and I won't know what's going on in their lives and I'll probably just ask questions not too invasive and I absolutely won't get an answer beyond the absolute minimum required.

At least with my older two, this is the case. Bones is an open book. I'll get a blow by blow. But my eldest sons? No. In particular Ringo. I might get some data from Mr. T, but Ringo is as closed as they come.

He takes 'private' to a whole new level.

And I pictured my getting a phone call one day that goes like this:

One of my two older boys: Hey, Mom. I'm getting married on dd/mm. Can you make sure it's good for you?

Me: You're getting married? I didn't know you were dating anyone!

One of my two older boys: Yeah. I've been seeing this girl awhile.

Me: I've... never even met her.

One of my two older boys: I'll bring her home before the wedding so you can meet her.

And then I started to think about girls, and how they share a lot, and they tell their Moms things and I started thinking about when I might meet said fiancee and meet her parents, and I pictured her Mom and I have the following conversation:

Future MIL of one of my two older boys: We just LOVE your son. We've had so much fun getting to know him.

Me: *blink*

Future MIL of one of my two older boys: And when he came over last month and went on vacation with us, it was so much fun. He is so good to our daughter. We're so excited about adding him to our family.

Me: *blink*

Future MIL of one of our two older boys: And four years ago when we first met him and he celebrated New Years with all of us, we just knew he was a keeper!

Me: *blink*

I so see this happening. In a heartbeat. In particular with Ringo.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:45 PM | Comments (6)

Locusts

Conversation this morning between my husband and me.

Me: I'm going to work. Make sure no one eats my apple.

Hunhead: Hon, I can assure you, no one is going to 'eat your apple'.

Me: No, it's not a regular apple. It's a caramel apple rolled in nuts. I bought it at the fair last night.

Hunhead: Hmm. Nobody will eat it. They'll realize you bought it for you.

Me: What house do you live in? I live in a house full of locusts. They eat anything...

When it comes to food, not much is safe in this house. Maybe brussel sprouts. That's it.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:24 AM | Comments (5)

January 24, 2012

Chef Bones

Bones has informed us he wants to go to Culinary School and be a chef. We are not telling him no. As a matter of fact, we've been telling him he could be the SINGING chef. He rolls his eyes.

First, college is not for everyone. If he wants to be a chef, we'll gladly help him go the route he needs to go. He may change his mind and decide to go to college, but if this is the route he still wants to take after getting out of high school, so be it.

Second, if he wants to go to culinary school, as he gets older he'll probably start cooking at the house and I'm not going to say no to that. I could very well not have to cook in the next couple years.

I'm always thinking ahead.

And last, funnily enough, I've been looking into cooking classes for him and I have a couple girlfriends who have volunteered to go with him and be his partner if I can't go. "Bou, I love that kid! Let ME go with him..." I'm not sure they want to go to learn to cook, but for the sheer entertainment factor of being with Bones.

Bones is completely addicted to the Cooking channel. I think he's seen every episode of Chopped.... multiple times. He has favorites (Alton Brown?) and those he does not like so much (Paula Dean), and some in between. There is some young chicky girl he likes to watch, but I think it's more of a case of he thinks she's hot.

He watches all the competition shows. I forget their names. It's crazy. I think he gets caught up in the drama as much as he does what they are cooking.

In the last week we now have a fridge full of some sort of cinnamon honey butter and a pitcher of Italian lemonade has been made. It has basil in it. My fridge smells like basil.

Tonight he asked to cook dinner or rather to learn to cook one of his favorite dishes I make, Chicken Divan. I sauteed the chicken and steamed the broccoli, but he made the cheese sauce.

I'm thinking if I play my cards right, I could very well get out of cooking in the next couple years... and that's not a bad thing. We could also end up having to order a lot of pizza as well... this could be interesting.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:33 PM | Comments (8)

January 23, 2012

Sometimes... Changing that One Letter leads to Trouble

A brief cast of characters for this story: I job share my job with another female engineer who I will call, Tabitha. We have an engineering aid who I will call Eve.

I've known Tabitha for 25 years. She was my mentor out of college. Eve has been our assistant for the past 7 years. She is about 15 years older than Tabitha and I (we're two years apart) and is kind of the mother of the group. She keeps all of us unruly engineers in line, barking at us about deadlines, and shaming us when we stray out of process. Which happens. When we're under stress. Too often.

Eve is a DEVOUT Catholic and Tabitha is a Presbyterian. I threaten to join Tabitha's church often. Cool people.

So Glowing St. Gerard is at my place of work. I kept him. I got attached.

To a piece of plastic.

A piece of glowing plastic.

Really, I decided that since he is the Patron Saint of Motherhood, and since I'm a mother, and since there are times my job is so stressful I think I surely must be in the depths of hell and I therefore need some protecting, that he should stay on a shelf on my credenza.

Someone said to me, 'Do you think he'll scare the cleaning men at night?' to which I replied, "Hell no, they're all Latin."

And I kept him because the twisted side of me cannot not quit laughing at the thought of this 8" statue glowing all night in the middle of an aerospace building.

Today I brought him to his new home. When I got to my cube, Eve was in Tabitha's cube talking to her. Tabitha sits right behind me.

I grabbed Glow in the Dark (GitD for now on) St. Gerard and said, "I'm putting him on my shelf. Do you think I'll get in trouble for that?"

Eve, taking it from my hand: Oh! Look at this! Nah, I think you'll be fine.

Tabitha: So you decided to keep him here? (I brought him in on Friday for her to see.)

Me: Yup. I think he's going to watch over both of us. We're Moms. We need it.

Eve: What is up with him?

Me: We emptied Joe's place and I found him. *excitedly* He glows!!!

Eve is now stroking him with her hand, as he's very textured with his cross and rosary: He grows?

Immediately, Tabitha's eyebrows shoot up and she and I lock eyes.

Me: Um. NO. He GLOWS. That's 8 inches you have in your hand there. He ain't getting in bigger than that...

Tabitha: However, he's probably glowing now!

And the cackeling commenced and my Tech Lead walked by, stopped, looked in Eve's hand, looked at the three of us and said, 'I. Do.NOT.want.to.know...' and he kept walking.

I can't look at my 8 inch GitD St. Gerard the same way anymore. Good grief.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:16 PM | Comments (8)

January 20, 2012

HB, Mr. T

Today is my second son's 15th birthday. I was ready when my eldest turned 15, but this one feels... really weird. I can't figure out what it is. And I do think part of it is that he's getting his learner's permit to drive in the next few weeks, meaning I will have two drivers in the family soon.

In the last two years, I went from the 2nd tallest person in the house to the 2nd shortest and Bones is catching up quickly.

I was teasing T today in the kitchen. I was pretending to cry, "Ohhh... booo hooo hooo, you are 15... boo hooo... what is happening to me..." and as a joke, I flung myself at him and my head rested on his shoulder and I thought, "Crap. He really is taller than me now."

This has been an odd year for T and not necessarily in a good way. And odder still... I didn't see it coming.

Age 12 was a particularly brutal year for Ringo. We ended up in therapy. It wasn't until recently that I confessed to him that we ended up in therapy because I was afraid I was going to punch him in the face. He was in private Catholic school and the kids he went to school with were nasty. It was uncool to be smart. They were mean spirited and to say it toughened him up is an understatement.

I never knew who was getting into my car, Dr. Jekyl or Mr. Hyde. I was always stressed. High School was a complete relief for him.

But T? He was very popular in middle school and the kids in his class were really fun and great. It's not to say there weren't problems, but it was a small cadre. The vast majority were smart and good and they were a close knit group of kids. As a matter of fact, T still hangs out with them in high school whereas Ringo is only friends with ONE kid at his high school that he went to middle school with and even he is no longer a close friend.

It's not that T went from the king of the hill to the bottom of the heap. Quite the contrary. He completely fits in high school, hangs with great kids, and is learning a lot.

He just... does not love it. I'd not say he's depressed, but he's not happy either. He spends a lot of time wondering if he should be somewhere else, feeling trapped that he is where he is, wondering about his future.

I can tell he has insecurities about his looks. He was always my beautiful Celtic son, but he confessed to me the other day that he wished he looked like his Dad and his older brother. "Italians just look... cool, Mom." He wishes he had the dark skin and dark eyes of his half Italian heritage. He wishes his shoulders were broader and that he was just... not him.

And we ALL go through that. We all do. Growing up is learning to accept and to love what we bring to the table. One day, some little girl will tell him how much she loves his bright blue eyes and quirky smile, and he'll realize, that what he has is just as beautiful.

What we realized this year is... Mr. T doesn't handle change. It's not that he's in a bad place, at a bad school, or anything, but that it is just NOT what he had before. He doesn't like nor receive change well and having gone to the same school from K-8, it's not something we realized until now. It gives us a heads up about college. I realize now he'll have huge transition issues we need to prepare for in advance, that Ringo will not have. Ringo goes with the flow. He's laid back.

T is the opposite. He's uptight and likes continuity.

And I think we're realizing, he is going to be a small college kind of kid. He'll apply where he applies, but I suspect, in the end, he will thrive in a smaller school than one of the large ones...

... which is sad since he is such a HUGE Florida Fan. He loves Gator football, yet even he knows, it would not be a good fit.

How much of a fan is he?

I was in Joann fabrics with Bones and Bones said to me (pay attention to the wording...) "Mom! Mom! MOM! I know what WE should get Mr T for his birthday! WE could use this Gator fabric and WE could make him a quilt!"

Notice that we? That is used... a lot?

Later I got, "MOM! WE could use a Broncos fabric for the back. WE could order it online and WE could make him a quilt with Gators on the front and Broncos on the back."

I love that. WE.

But... I did it. (It was a simple venture. Notice I didn't have to piece together the top. It was laid out for me to just sew over.)

Here is T with the Broncos side.
Back with Broncos.jpg

Here he is with the Gators side.
Gator Side.jpg

He is happy. I'm still sewing the binding. I hand bind my quilts. And can you tell he loves Tim Tebow? The running joke now is that if Tim gets traded, I have to change the back of the quilt. Right.

In the end, T will be fine. He'll find his way. He's just in the bumpy part of his journey and there will be many bumpy parts. It's all about how you handle the bumps. Do you grow or do you allow it to paralyze you?

He's a good kid with a good heart and a knack for numbers.

And to my second son, Mr. T, on his 15th birthday I say, "Happy Birthday my 2nd son. Should all the children be so blessed to be as loved as you are… for if they were, I suspect the problems of this world would be so very different… We love you so..."

Mr T age 14.jpg
Mr. T with The Great Flambina (who is turning 3 next week, by the way)


Posted by Boudicca at 08:46 PM | Comments (9)

January 19, 2012

Funky Mary

So, Latch Hook Rug Jesus is staying. The WTF is an old coffee roaster and the family wants to keep it. I am asking them to ask Joe about it. I'm taking pix of some things to send to DDP and...

... I think there is one last story.

I was standing in the parking lot to Joe's condo, talking to his niece. We were loading the religious paraphenalia into my car when she said, "And then there is this..."

It was something that had been 'domed'. A round piece of wood was in her hand with a small statue attached to it, off to one side. The glass dome was in her other hand.

'I'll take the glass dome and recycle it,' I replied. "What... IS that?"

Her husband took the bottom of the round base and she said, "Well, there was a St. Gerard, but he came off. There is only this little Mary now..." and she took hold of this funky little Mary, like she was going to pull a carrot from the ground, and she moved it to see if she could see how it was attached and... *SNAP* it popped off into her hand.

She stood there looking at the funky little Mary and her husband was looking at her with raised eyebrows.

"What?! What do I do with her now?" she exclaimed.

Her husband shook his head.

I replied, "Well, if you give her to me, I'm throwing her in the trash, 'cuz I'm not Catholic..."

Her husband took funky little Mary and I suspect... that's where she went. But I'm not sure.

Meanwhile, I was not sure where the St. Gerard went; why was it still not on the base?

I went through the items in my car today and there he was... I think he must've snapped off as well at some point.

And... I am realizing now why little Mary seemed funky.

THEY FRICKIN' GLOW! I took St. Gerard into a dark room and he glowed green. Holy crap. We have glowing religious plastic statues.

So I'm trying to figure out, who buys a glow in the dark 8 inch plastic St. Gerard and a smaller glow in the dark plastic Mary positioned on a small wooden platform, to be covered with a big glass dome, obviously for display, that can be seen night AND day?

Who?

I'm keeping glow in the dark St. Gerard. I can't give him up. Seriously, I'm filing him under "you can't make this stuff up". I'm just pissed that glow in the dark Mary is now glowing in a garbage can somewhere.

We broke up a set.

Dammit.

He GLOWS!
Glowing Gerard.jpg

For the record... my husband isn't finding humor in any of this. Meanwhile, I'm LMAO.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:33 PM | Comments (13)

January 18, 2012

Crazy Finds in an Old Home

Joe is in NJ forever now. He has on and off dementia and his body is just old. He is wheelchair bound and unable to dress himself. Some days he knows where he is and is depressed and other days he is waiting for someone to pick him up to bring him back down to FL.

It is sad. It makes us all sad.

His place has been sold to pay for his care. The closing is Friday and so this week his niece and her husband came down to go through his things and give things to Goodwill...

... which means... BLOG FODDER!

Hooooly cats. We didn't know what to do. My mini-van is FULL of religious stuff I'm taking to the local Catholic church that is having a HUGE rummage sale next month. Surely they can find someone to take the assortment of framed pictures of... The Last Supper, Christ, Christ as a child holding a lamb, The Blessed Mother holding Christ, Cosmas and Damian, and assorted other pictures. Mostly, Cosmas and Damian as he had a picture of the sainted twins of healing in every room.

So this is a post on strange things found and... well... in one instance kept.

What happens when a girl engineer who likes to bake finds an old mixer from the 50s or 60s? Well, she thinks to herself, "How cool is that?" and she proceeds to figure out if it still works and how it works, and then puts it back in the box.

Then said girl engineer might go to work and say to ANOTHER girl engineer, "You wouldn't believe what I frickin' found in Joe's house! I found a mixer from like... the 60s... where the base turns and not the mixer parts... with original thick ceramic bowls..." and then the other girl engineer might say something like, "*GASP!* You aren't letting Goodwill take that are you?!" and then Girl #1 engineer realizes, 'GASP! I can't let Goodwill take that!" and she rescues it where... it will go... maybe in her garage. Or not. Maybe in her kitchen.

I'm thinking a testing is in order.

Said Mixer:
hamilton beach 1950.jpg

Meanwhile, I'll pack this up and ship it to you if you want it, if you can tell me what it is... I call this a "WTF".

Here is the WTF next to my shoe so you can get it by size. It's not big.

wtf in perspective.jpg

Here it is without the cannister, those are paint chips or something on the bottom, it's not burned through:

empty wtf.jpg

This is the cannister. I've not been able to get it open yet, but I think it's jammed. I'm taking it in to work tomorrow to have my tech lead figure it out:

WTF with cannister.jpg

The cannister turns on top of that. It comes off, obviously, and it appears that coal or something goes in that bottom piece. There is a door. I'm taking the whole dang thing to work and seeing if one of the guys knows what it is. My Dad thought it might be a charcoal starter. I thought maybe the cannister was heated and then went into a bed.

I have no idea... Anyone? Anyone?

Lastly... geez o weez, folks, you cannot make this up.

So we are going through the house, old appliances from the 60's are all over, lots of things trimmed in gold as it's a home that had elderly Italians living in it, and we open the closet and find...

drop kick me jesus.jpg

Latch Hook Rug Jesus. The Northern European Version, complete with blue eyes.

I'm giving it to the Church. I mean... what do you do with it?

I even texted the local priest. (Yes, I have an Italian priest on my cell phone and I text him with questions such as these... "Tell me Father, what do I do with all this religous art?" To which he txted that he was not sure, but to call St. Vincent's. What I should have said was, "Tell me Father, what do I do with a Latch Hook Rug Jesus?" but his coming right off the boat, but 5 years ago, probably has no clue what a Latch Hook Rug is... let alone one depicting Christ.)

So we'll see. I'm putting it all in a box and giving it to the ladies of that one Church. I'm hoping they don't sift through it with me there, forcing me to take some of it back.

Good Grief. I have no room for Latch Hook Rug Jesus in my home...

Posted by Boudicca at 09:59 PM | Comments (17)

January 17, 2012

In Bones' Land of Almost Perfect

Setting: Dinner tonight

Background: Assume Bones' name is Aiden. My sister changed the Dreidel song, about 12 years ago, when he was a toddler, to "Aiden Aiden Aiden, we made you out of clay..." It's just something we've always sung ever since.

Tonight's Conversation:

Me to the older boys: During the winter concert, the girls choir sang the Dreidel song. Afterwards I said to Bones, "Hey, they sang your song." And Bones looked puzzled so I said, "You know the song that Aunt Mo sings, "Aiden, Aiden Aiden, we made you out of clay..." That song... and Bones said to me, "OH! THAT'S where she got it?!!!"

Ringo: Bwahahaha. After all these years Bones didn't know Aunt Mo used the Dreidel song?

Mr. T: Sheesh. *laughing*

Ringo to Bones: You're so uncultured...

Bones: Hey. I'm cultured. I know that Martin Luther King was killed by James Earl Jones.

Collective *blink* from the four of us.

My husband: Bones. That was NOT James Earl Jones. I'm sure he'd be surprised to learn he was responsible for Martin Luther King's Death.

Ringo, in a Darth Vader Voice: Luuuuke... I killed Martin Luther King...

Holy crap. You can't make this stuff up.

Posted by Boudicca at 07:55 PM | Comments (5)

January 15, 2012

Processing

I saw the Patriots coming in for the big slam against the Broncos; they're just a better team. It doesn't mean I didn't want the Broncos to create some crazy upset, but I didn't even bother to watch the game. I knew the ending before it happened... we've seen that game... twice this season.

It was a good fun run this football season. I actually watched Pro ball for the first time in a long time. Kinda sad that there is so much wicked in Pro sports that the goodness of a kid like Tim Tebow is an anomoly and makes people want to watch.

Take God OUT of the equation with Tim. The fact remains, he is a sincerely good person with a good heart, very humble. If the world were filled with more people like him, with God or without, this world would be a better place.

In a place such as pro sports, where role models supposedly abound, why do more not aspire to be good like he is? With the gangs, the rapes, the drunk driving, the wife/girlfriend beating, it is to weep. A group of men being paid so much money and yet they are so morally flawed it is repulsive.

And someone like Tim comes in and we tune in because he stands out; he is a rarity.

I'll miss watching him. I probably won't even watch the Superbowl. We always have the fall.

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

There have been some very stressful things going on here that are not bloggable, things I have no control over, yet I'm tasked to work with to try to fix. I can influence and roll up the sleeves and work, yet I know that in the end, it ends because of what others have not done, not because of what I have.

I have volleyed multiple phone calls this week telling me that the reason these things DID end on a positive note is because of what I did do to take it to the finish line. A passionate speech given on a Saturday morning to 75 women, challenging them to reach deep and find it within themselves to join me for the better of what we do. Hours spent on a spreadsheet sifting through money, calling parents, deriving multiple scenarios to figure out how to make 'things' happen.

In the end, both had happy endings, but not without the Mother of all Migraines on my part and at one point taking to a dark room to try to sleep it off, telling the boys, "Give me just a couple hours and I'll be Mom again. I need to decompress."

Is it worth it? I dunno. But it worked and I know that none of this will be my problem next year and I'm going to spend the next six months improving processes, growing depth and leadership in certain organizations, and accountability in others. I'd rather be remembered for the process improvement than for fixing the problems.

I think that somehow what happened this past week has something to do with the incredibly crazy dream I had last night.

My home is my haven.

I was in my bathroom at my vanity, and at my feet was sitting a baby that looked just like Ringo when he was a little guy. Roly Poly, light brown skin, big smile, dark whisps of hair, my Italian looking baby.

But it wasn't Ringo because Ringo had just come in from trimming the hedges with an electric trimmer saying to me, "I'm NOT going to do yardwork in the rain..."

So I put the baby on my hip, walked out to the living room, looked out the our backyard (we live on an acre) and in the distance I saw a big black cloud coming with a thunderstorm and rain. Big rain.

Mr. T was on the tractor, oblivious to the storm, and he was heading straight for the house, right towards me.

I looked over him and the storm was racing towards us, like I'd never seen, and then I noticed the fire. There was fire.... everywhere this storm drenched, there came water and fire... and I flung open the sliding glass door and screamed at Mr. T, "RUN! GEt in here! It's coming!"

He looked at over his shoulder and saw the fire thunderstorm coming and with an absolute look of terror, he gunned the riding lawn mower. I had been expecting him to leap off and run. T is known for his speed. His nickname was 'The Jack Rabbit" in baseball.

But instead of leaping off and running, he gunned the lawn mower, came right at me, I opened the door wider and he just rode that John Deere, right into the house... and I laughed and shut the door.

And we were safe. And the storm passed, my yard was charred and my home had NOTHING wrong with it. The fire burned out. All the grass was completely scorched in long lines.

And there is so much completely weird about this dream. Why were we safe from a fire storm in our home? Why did it only touch the outside yard and not our home?

And in the middle of the most terrifying part, I laughed. I laughed at my son and his reaction and his facial expressions and how we handled it together.

Just odd. I think it all has to do with my brain trying to process this week. Just not sure how it fits... except my kids do make me laugh, even in the face of the worst.

Posted by Boudicca at 12:38 PM | Comments (4)

January 13, 2012

Today is Brought to you by the Magic "E"

When Mr. T was in first grade and learning how to read and spell, the silent E was introduced. In school they called it... The Magic E.

We still laugh, 10 years later, that when my husband would take them to school, he'd go over their spelling words in the car and inevitably, T would add the Magic E to ALL his spelling words.

Husband: Spell... Cat

T: C-... A-... T

Husband: Right!

T: E!

Husband: ARGH!

Every time... he'd get the word right and then after a long pause, say, "E!" We still joke about it.

Bones is in a precarious position in public school. He is not so focused and brilliant that he should be in the 'Gifted' programs, but he's definitely pushing the top of the ceiling of the 'regular' classes. It is a good place to be... at the top of the class.

The one class that kind of bothers his teachers that he's in is... language arts. Bones is a very good reader and he can spell. It's one of the things that really makes him stand out, in particular as in the regular classes there are a ton of kids who can do neither.

So last week they had the Spelling Bee in his English class. They all stood up and spelled and spelled... and spelled... and the next thing Bones knew, it was just him and this little girl and something in his fluffly little brain started ringing warning bells and he realized, "Holy crap! I'm going to win this thing!"

And he didn't want to... win, so he decided to throw the Spelling Bee.

How many people do you know that intentially throw a Spelling Bee?

Who does that?!

The word was... JOYFUL.

And Bones stood up there, big as day and said, "J- O- Y- F-U-L" and then with a pregnant pause added, "E!"

He frickin' added the magic E to throw a Spelling Bee.

Evidently the teacher stared incredulously, sat back in her chair and then said to the class, "I think... we can all pretty much agree that Bones actually KNOWS how to spell that word. I say we take a vote and make him stay in this round."

And the class voted and Bones was voted to stay IN the Spelling Bee, by his classmates.

This is the teacher that Bones swears hates him because she's said things to him like, "You don't belong in here. You're problem is that you don't try hard enough. You're lazy." I've not emailed her yet to tell her, he's not lazy, he's just crazy ADHD. He's everything BUT lazy... he's just such a dang scattershot we don't get a lot done at once.

She's told him to his face, "YOU... are very smart". There aren't many teachers who've ever told him that.

He said after he won, his classmates cheered (he had to spell 'desperately' after she misspelled it and he was tempted to throw it, but didn't want to cause a scene) and then the teacher broke out lollipops and they all sat around and talked or as Bones put it, "We had a party. Mom, it was so weird. I've never seen her like that..."

In all honesty, I feel bad for the little girl who should have won because Bones decided to throw it. But deep inside, I am thankful for a teacher who sees in Bones something he doesn't see in himself and it's her mission to make him see it.

His school Spelling Bee is on the 25th. I told him I'm not going. But... I'll be there in the back.

And I'm laughing to myself that Bones tried to throw the Spelling Bee... using the Magic "E".

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

Update, via CalTechGirl... I so completely forgot about this! She put it in the comments and it's so funny, as this has run through my mind every time we've done the Magic E with the kids. For the life of me, I just could not remember where I got the song from.

Love Electric Company!

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

January 11, 2012

Cultural Exchange...

What I thought was a very funny conversation that occurred today... maybe you just have to be Jewish or be good friends with Jewish people to think it's funny.

GF: Hey! I have a question for you. I have a bat mitzvah to go to. Do you know anything about those?

Me: Sure, I've been to a ton of them. The ceremony itself is very cool and even though I never understand anything, I find it moving. It can be long, it's in Hebrew, if your kids aren't mature enough for the life experience, they may want to skip that part, in particular if they're an Orthodox family.

GF: I'm not sure my kids can sit through something too long...

Me: A bat mitzvah makes a Mass look like a hit and run...

GF: Long?

Me: Very. Bones gets fidgety. Last time he dropped his yarmulke on the floor so many times, people started to stare. He just couldn't keep from moving and it kept sliding off. Or maybe he was trying to figure out how much he could move to MAKE is slide off. You'll find going to Temple to be much more family friendly than going to Mass.

GF: What do I give?

Me: I'd give money. She's a teenager. That'll make her happy. Where are they having the party?

GF: At their house! I'm so excited. They LOVE New England. They're doing this whole New England theme.

Me: OH! FUN!

GF: Oh yeah, they're going all out... I think they're serving lobster...

Me:

GF:

Me: Yeah... about that lobster...

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

January 08, 2012

Laughing at the Face of Death... from a Distance

Some of my closest women friends are over the age of 80. That's not a big deal, except that it does mean that we truly are at the sunset of our friendships. The probability of my being the one that goes first is pretty remote. The probability of their waking up dead in the next five years is pretty high, in particular as one of them is 85 and slowing down.

My one friend, probably one of my closest friends just turned 81. It's just a number in my opinion and she knows I feel this way. Often she's been heard to say, "You know Bou, my kids are all older than you..." to which I often reply with a crinkled up face, "Yeah, I know. I just forget we aren't the same age..."

She always signs her emails to me, "Your twin..." It is a joke that we are sisters, but a generation and a half apart. We are very similar in personality and in sense of humor. Politically, she is far more Conservative, but I'd never tell her that. (I realized yesterday she is a huge Rick Santorum fan. My husband knows if Rick Santorum takes the Republican nomination, I'm staying home on election day. I'm an Independent.)

I got an email from her last evening that she and her husband picked out their caskets last month. Her husband has Parkinson's and they know... one of them will go in the next five years. As slowly progressing as his is, to have it at 85 is not a good thing. He has many other physical ailments that just come from 85 years of living, let alone with Parkinson's on top. So they're planning, thinking, trying to make sure that their kids aren't left in an 'Oh Sh!t!' situation.

As many times as I've posted on here about my planning my funeral, as bat crap crazy as it makes my oldest son, it is far different to say, "Hey, I want the Super Vault 2000 Casket, complete with gold handles and purple silk lining and a motion detector that sets off "Be Not Afraid" upon it's being lowered into the ground or pushed into a vault" than it is to pick out our spouse's casket when you know you're looking at just a few years when it'll actually... you know... be utilized.

And of course my friend and her husband didn't handle it stoically as I would not have. We're twins. We have a friend that works at the funeral home we're all going to use and when our funeral home girlfriend said to them, "I can take you up into the show room to show you the caskets or you can look at them in a book..." which I thought was a very good way of handling it as it's not exactly like picking out your a couch, my girlfriend replied, "Oh, we'll see them in the showroom, if he can try out the mattresses..."

I laughed hysterically.

Have you read Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy?

There is a scene where Tom goes with his grandma so she can go look at caskets. Grandma goes to the funeral home, complete with camera so they can take a picture of her in each of the caskets so she can decide which one she likes best with her body in it.

That whole scene is what made it one of my favorite books and Pat Conroy one of my favorite authors. Of course, how could Pat top that scene? You can't. I think every author has one scene in him that is the best ever and he can be a fantastic author, but there will be forever that one scene he'll never be able to top. (For John Irving it is in a Prayer for Owen Meany with Owen playing the baby in the Christmas Pageant. Although Mr. Irving is one of my favorite authors, some of his later stuff is troubling as he seems to be working through 'some issues' from his childhood that I find disturbing.)

And I think part of what made me laugh so hard about the grandma and the casket scene, moreso now, is I realize, the older I get, the quirkier I am becoming. I can so see myself taking off my shoes, gingerly getting into the casket handing my kids a camera saying, "I want to see which one I look best in..."

I find the whole thing rather fitting that I'm the State Historian for a National women's organization and under my umbrella comes... burial markers.

Death in inevitable, more so than taxes. Most of us can cheat on our taxes, but you can't really cheat death. It's going to come. Am I embracing it? No. I'm 46 and I'm hoping for another high quality 40 years, but neither am I not willing to talk about it because... it's not as if we can say, 'NO! Dammit! It's NOT going to happen to me and if I just IGNORE IT... it will be so!" Duddn't work that way...

So when I got this job, for some reason it kind of made me laugh when I realized all questions about markers, how to place them, what to do... come to me, the younger woman in the group who is up front and in your face, "This is how it is..."

I started out by putting out a global memo to all members explaining how to mark one's grave, explaining that a template could be ordered from our national organization and then the mason could carve it in, however they do it. There was another option of a bronze marker that can be glued onto the stone, but as we've found with my grandmother's grave, the glue doesn't stick well and we're finding that people are popping them off and stealing them for recycling.

How sick is that?

So I found out there was this engraving option and thought I'd put it out there for everyone.

Flash forward a couple weeks and I got a call from an elderly woman who was told to call me with her problem. It seems that she ordered the template, had it shipped to Ohio and her mason said it was too big.

I've seen it... the dang thing is as big as a dinner plate. She was calling me to talk to National about making them smaller.

So I made the call, got someone at HQ who said to me, "Mrs. L, that's all done by computer now. The mason should be able to scan it in and make it the size they want, which is typically 3 1/2 inches."

And... I could not resist.

I said, "Phew. Cuz, really, I was thinking, 'What do you do if you're sharing a headstone with a spouse?' I wondered if I was supposed to have my name and dates, and next to me this HUGE emblem from our organization and then in 6 point font underneath it... it would read, "and also buried here...""

She and I laughed long and hard and I thought, "Yeah, I'm the right person for this job..."

Posted by Boudicca at 12:31 PM | Comments (5)

January 06, 2012

Chainsaw Massacre

Kinda busy... but please file this under, "This is just wrong..."

This came from my bro. My boys reaction? T and Bones were laughing really hard. Ringo said, "That is just gross... " and walked away.

Me? I laughed really hard.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:20 PM | Comments (10)

January 05, 2012

Speechless and Laughing

I was telling my Tech Lead today about the fire ball singed hair thing from yesterday; he was suitably horrified. And then the following conversation ensued, to the best of my recollection (this makes us laugh because I have a tough time finding words sometimes):

TL: I guess you know how Michael Jackson felt...

Me: Or... that black comedian... what was his name. mmmmm... Richard Pryor! And... and... that thing he did with a spoon!

TL:

Me: *raised eyebrows trying to see if he got what I meant*

TL: you mean... freebasing?

Me: YES! YES! Freebasing!

TL: That thing he did with a spoon... Great.

I can remember every part of the nozzle, even some part numbers, but... other words just allude me. Go figure.

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

Tonight, my husband and I did something spontaneous, which we can do now that our kids are older and not so dependent.

I opened the paper today and saw that Dennis Miller was performing in town. I called his office and said, "Let's GO!" and we did.

Dennis Miller is probably one of my all time favorite comedians. Tonight, he did not disappoint. I laughed so hard that I cried. I told my husband, "I cannot remember the last time... I laughed that damn hard."

So many one liners... he hit so many topics. It took a few minutes for him to warm up, but by 20 minutes into it, he was warm an on full on rants. What a riot.

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

I'm seeing a PT about my left leg again. The marathon and subsequent halves have really caused some issues. The Post Tibial Tendonitis is a REAL problem.

My PT specializes in gaits and the legs. It's not ever a good thing when your PT is examining you, someone with a Phd and 25 years of good hard experience, and they say, "Well I'll be... I've never seen that before..."

Evidently my post tibial tendon and my achilles tendon appear to be... kind of one. They appear to be kind of knitted together, if you will, so I have more problems with my left foot as everything tries to overcompensate.

It was interesting. She said, "YOU are not allowed to go barefoot."

Right.

I live to be barefoot. The probability of my wearing shoes all the time is exactly... 0. So we'll have to figure out what I need to do to compensate for the fact, I'm just not ever going to be a shoe person.

We'll see...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:02 PM | Comments (6)

January 04, 2012

He Might Stick with the George Foreman

The Ying and the Yang. The Black and the White. The Good and the Bad. My Boys are cooking AND cleaning up after themselves and one of them almost killed me.

There is a lesson in all of this. It will be at the bottom. I suspect it will be obvious. There may be even... two lessons.

First, yesterday I made my first big pot of chili and it really was fantastic. Ringo hated it, but only because I just realized after 16 years, he hates ground meat unless it's smushed into a circle and flattened, otherwise known as ... a hamburger.

I came home from the grocery store only to find Ringo and Mr. T in the throes of cooking. They had a recipe downloaded from the internet for... BBQ sauce and they were furiously adding a dash of this, a dash of that, stirring, boiling and pouring their concoction into an on old olive oil bottle they had washed and prepped.

It seems that Ringo got home, was hungry, didn't want a sandwich, didn't find any frozen burgers, saw chicken, hated the BBQ sauce I had, so decided to make his own and grill the frozen chicken breast he had found.

Many points awarded here, in particular when they cleaned up their mess,... and they also doctored the sauce a bit. They think it is more of a Rib sauce, but said I could try it on chicken tonight.

Which brings me to my second and last part of the story, the part where I used up one of my nine lives.

My boys started grilling when they reached around age 11. Ringo has been grilling, easily for four years. If I have something in the freezer that can be grilled, chances are it has been, by him, as a snack or for our dinner. Hamburgers are the favorite still, as much as that annoys me, but I'm hopeful that chicken has replaced it for the top spot.

They have always hung out outside while their Dad grilled and more times than not, one of us yells out to the Family room on grilling night, "Hey, someone go turn on the grill!"

I had never thought about the fact that someone may not have actually explained it all to them.

Ringo and Mr T? Yup, they got the info. Bones? Not so much.

And so today he bounded outside for me to turn on the grill while I prepped the chicken.

After about five minutes, I walked outside to the grill and it registered... 0 degrees and I could smell the gas. I opened it and gas came out... but I coudn't see that it had been lit. I put my hand over it, wondering if it was too cold for anything to be registering. I shut it off and I waited a bit for the smell to die down and then relit.

And when I relit it... KA... FLOOM! A big ball of fire came out, I heard a "SSST!" and realized "Holy crap! My hair is probably on fire!" and I quickly stamped out my hair or where I thought there might be fire...

Nobody had ever told Bones that when you light the grill, you light it with it OPEN, and wait for the flame. He just went outside, clicked all four to ON, and the came back in the house.

My hair is singed. I have ... burny patches. I remember as a little girl, washing Barbie's hair and then putting it too close to a hairdryer and watching it crinkle up.

My hair is crinkled.

Right after the ball of fire, it started to rain little black pieces. I was still in shock and figured I'd been sprayed with something from the grill. No. It was pieces of hair. Little pieces of singed hair were all over me... all over.

We have now gone over grill safety with Bones and as of now, he's banned from operating it. Holy crap.

Lesson 1: teach your kids about how to light a grill and don't assume your spouse did.
Lesson 2: Sheesh, you need to wait a little longer than I did when you decide to relight. I think next time I'll wait a full 5 minutes. Good grief.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:53 PM | Comments (14)

January 03, 2012

Don't Fight with the Air Boss

So.

We've had our FIRST cold front come through. I am wearing my muppet slippers and happy for it.

I think it was 45 degrees when I got up this morning. That was the outside temp. I got a txt from VW saying, 'Oh... the weather outside is frightful..." It is a cold blustery day.

I am happy.

However, this is where the fighting over control of the thermostat begins. I don't like to turn on the heat. I'm of the 'suck it up, put on more dang clothes' mentality.

Allow me to reiterate, Florida homes are built to expel the heat. They're made to keep cool. So when there is a cold snap, our cool homes get colder.

Ringo had to go to work this morning and Bones convinced me I should take him and Mr. T out for breakfast. While we were eating, I said to them, "You know, I should open the windows and let some fresh air in the house..."

The boys went stoically silent. Both stopped eating. Finally Bones said, "Mom... please... it is in the 40s outside! You can't open the windows!"

I replied cheerfully, "Oh, you'll be fine..."

To which Mr. T added, "Mom, seriously, no. Wait until it gets into the 60s..."

I figured they were just being cold weather chickens. I was all set to open the windows when I realized I was a bit chilly. I looked at the thermostat and it's 65 in the house.

My husband is going to have a FIT when he comes home. I can hear it now. It's supposed to get down to 35 tonight and HE is going to want to turn on the HEAT!

Which means... he'll turn it on before he goes to bed, and sometime in the middle of the night, I'll creep over to the thermostat and turn it off.

Sheesh.

Clothes. It does a body good...

Posted by Boudicca at 12:53 PM | Comments (20)

January 02, 2012

Happy New Year 2012

I've had to give some thought to this Post. Looking for the funny, but feeling more reflective and hopeful.

I was ready for this year to be over, but I have great trepidation for this new year. It wasn't a bad year, but one I thought was thoroughly stressful at times.

This was a year of great emotional growth for Ringo. He got his Driver's License and exhibited enough maturity for us to get an additional car, one which should help me out considerably. His sophomore year ended with a bust, our constantly fighting motivational issues, a slight depression, and an abusive teacher. He had two terrible teachers, which was enough to contribute to our bad year, my realizing he has a tough time digging deep and finding it within to overcome.

Not a hugely motivated kid to begin with, his psyche took a big hit, as we had started that school year off with a broken wrist, one that will eventually have to be rebuilt with cadaver tendons and what not, something we're putting off as long as possible.

This summer gave him some devastating news, something that is permanent and he cannot control, that gave us all a 'hide the knives moment'. None of this made my blog in detail. It threw me into a tailspin too; I cried for 24 hours straight, unable to control it. I heard myself utter the words, in complete desperation, "I would die for you if I could... but it will not help."

My mother put it the best, "He was handed something he does not want, he has to figure out how to handle it." And he has. It is the last half of this year, where we've seen him step up to the plate, pulling his grades up to where they should be, feeling more confident in himself in what he is capable of.

He's stumbled a couple times, but I was heartened when he found himself at a party recently when he realized there was underage drinking, and he looked at his buddy and said, "I'm outta here..." where they promptly came to our home. The booze was being offered up by parents. (These are people I don't know. WTF? Who does that, offer underage kids alcohol?)

I don't know what this future holds for him. There are times I walk on egg shells with him, as he's the moody teenager, quiet and sullen. I look at his FB sometimes and am more full of hope. I read in one of his comments that he is full of hope for his future... so I am too.

He asked me to sign him up for an SAT prep class. I am happy to spend money on something he realizes may be worthwhile. Two years ago, he'd not have cared how he scored. He'll be applying to many state universities and informed me his Hail Mary pass is Dartmouth. No way in hell will he get in, but when he said to me, "Let THEM tell me no..." made me realize, he may be OK in the end.

I think I like the man he is becoming. And I really like his friends. And I still laugh that in all the seriousness of his career testing, it coming out he should be a doctor or a financial analyst, his little boy video gaming self came out too. "Baby, what did you put that it said you should enlist?" and came the response with the sheepish grin, "I put I wanted to be a sniper..." (You all may remember that.)

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

Mr. T has struggled this last half of the year, as he's realized that you have to be a lot more than just smart to make the grades. It takes time with the books. And to be the tippy top of the class, you need A's... B+ aren't going to cut it.

We are realizing his weaknesses, which is standardized testing. I'll be hiring someone this summer to help him learn how to take the English section. Scoring in the top 95% for math and science on a pre-ACT test, he bombed the English section, although he does well in his English class.

I had to fight for him to be in Honors English he tested so average on the entrance exam, but he proved me right, doing very well in the class. His English teacher told me, 'If I didn't know the story of your fight to get him in my class, I'd have never known. He fits right in with the rest of them.'

I do wonder if we're seeing some residual from a neurological apraxia we think we were able to work through when he was younger.

He has friends, but doesn't love high school. His current high school does NOT offer dual enrollment, but I'm looking into it anyway. I actually think that other than his friends, high school is a waste of time for him. This is something he'll have to work through though, and I'm hoping that with time he'll make peace.

His grades were fine, but he wants to pull the A's. It was heartening to hear him say, "The kids who made better grades than me, aren't smarter. They just studied more." I'm glad he broke that code. He's on the cusp of the top 10% of his small graduating class.

I know he'll be fine... but it would be nice to see him content. He's a good kid.

I like even more that during this Christmas holiday, he takes his little brother out for a bike ride two or three times a day, and they've been spending a lot of time in the backyard playing football. The critical comments are near gone... as he's just enjoying Bones for who he is, scattered energy and a happy heart.

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

Bones has had another fantastic year. Academically he'll never be at the top, but that's... not his gift. He has the gift of communicating and being funny being him.

He has the gift of living on a planet of cotton candy clouds and gum drop dew.

We had a cancer scare this summer with him, something I did not post. I was absolutely blown away by the maturity he exhibited as we went from doctor to doctor. Never once did he flinch or seem horrified by what was going on around him, instead he bantered with technicians and doctors, seeming so very comfortable in his skin.

As I stood at the side, helplessly watching all that was going on around, I was amazed at how grown up he was... and how my other two would not have handled it quite the same way.

His body is doing funny things as it hits puberty. His voice has dropped nearly an octave (normal stuff), evidently, as when we went to the Pediatrician today (had to make sure the latest puberty freak out was not lymphoma) our Doc said in a fake deep voice, "Hello, Bones..." which made us all laugh.

Bones just gets swollen tissue and cysts as his body makes its way through this transition. The doctor told him today (he has swollen breast tissue), "Bones, the biggest issue in all of this... is that you told your brothers. You are going to be teased relentlessly now..." and Bones laughed with him and the two joked around about all the things his older brothers could possibly say. (The funniest thing was not guessed. Mr. T said to him when we walked in, after hearing it was all fine, "So, did he tell you that you're going to grow up to be a Mom instead?" Heh.)

Sometimes, I think that Bones will be my most successful in life. Success is so largely based on attitude.

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

By the end of this coming year, Ringo should be an Eagle Scout, Mr. T will be on the cusp of getting his Driver's License, and Bones will be auditioning for the High School for the Arts.

I'll have two kids driving, one kid singing... and hopefully I'll still be sane.

The verdict remains out on the sanity thing. Not sure I ever was ever... totally sane.

May all of you have a Happy New Year. I'm nervous about this year, kind of strange scary feelings, and I'm not sure why. I think perhaps it is the Mother of Teenagers thing. You just never know what curve ball is going to be thrown at you next.

I remain... the Prayer Warrior.

Peace.
May all your Dreams come true.jpg

Posted by Boudicca at 02:12 PM | Comments (10)