November 30, 2012

Roaring Presentations

I was informed a couple weeks ago that senior management wants me to brief some even more senior management coming in from a State where it snows. A lot.

That would be HQ.

They want me to brief this enormous project I've been working since May. I told my boss, "No problem. I'll get some slides together, you review them, we're good."

He told me it was going to be a sit down, just a couple of us at a round table. So I put it together this week when I wasn't working on this massive project. I've been working split shift all week. I leave at 3 and go back in at 6 and work until 10.

This morning my boss said, 'I owe you an apology... I lied to you.'

Me: Umm... well, let's see. Remember how you said you got me an extension until 31 January to wrap up that project?

Boss: Yes.

Me: Did you lie?

Boss: No, that was true.

Me: So I'm still not under the gun until 31 December... I truly have until 31 Jan, right?

Boss: Right.

Me: Then nothing else matters.

Boss: So says you who does not know what I did... it appears I was in error. That closed door session with you briefing the big guys on your project? It's an open door presentation with everyone in the building invited.

Me:

Boss:

Me: You're kidding me. As in... 'stand in front of a wall with my slide show for God and Country to see'?

Boss: Yeah.

Me: Hunh. Bonus for me, my topic isn't interesting at all. Nobody is going to want to see it...

Voice from another Cube: Don't count on it...

There was complete silence in the cube farm after that until finally I said, 'Well... absolutely not one person in this company has any clue what I do or what's been going on, so they can ask me whatever they want and I can say whatever I want and not one person is going to know the difference.'

Another Voice from another Cube: Exactly. Dazzle them. We aren't worried.

So there you have it. That's next Friday's gig. I wonder what in the hell they're all going to think when they see me.

I am going to an event tomorrow and was asked to dress as a Roaring 20's Flapper. To get in the part, I had my hair cut circa 1920's. I brought a picture of a Flapper to my hairdresser today and so now my hair is short with short bangs. I have dark smokey black eye make up, cherry red lipstick and 3 foot long pearls to go with the dress.

And that is how my hair will be next week when I do my presentation. Maybe I'll wear the pearls too...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:44 PM | Comments (9)

November 29, 2012

Money Honey

I think it was my Dad that I was telling over Thanksgiving... if I had a lot of money, I'd randomly drop $100 bills in Salvation Army pots.

I'd go to stores and find people who'd put things away on lay away and I'd pay it off anonymously.

I'd have a private contract set up with a grocery store that for once a week for one entire year, a truck would show up at a homeless shelter and unload all the food that shelter needed for a week.

I'd go to angel trees and I'd take the angel people didn't want and I'd buy everything.

I don't play the powerball. There is an ongoing argument that goes between my family and me. I continually say, 'I wouldn't want to win the big one. I'd like to come in 2nd."

A $100,000 takes care of a lot of problems. I'd not be able to do the soup kitchen thing, but I could spread some of it around during the holidays and take care of things that are nice to haves... and still invest.

But when you're talking about millions, there is a great responsibility that comes with that. Everyone knows you have it. Everyone wants a piece of you. Who is your friend? Safety becomes a real worry... safety for your family... as your children go to school.

I'd never want to win the lottery. My boys feel certain that we will never win because I'm not into it. (It's an odd story. They truly believe if I wanted it... it would happen.)

There are people who dream of winning millions. They dream that their lives will be wonderful.

I don't dream that. I think winning millions would be a nightmare.

Fortunately... I'll never have to find out.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:58 PM | Comments (9)

November 27, 2012

Daddy Sang Bass

What is it that has attracted all three of my boys to the bass line?

Why is it that Ringo has only ever wanted to play the bass?

That T only wanted to play the trombone and when his arms weren't long enough when he as in 4th grade and he had to play the trumpet, he cried all year. In 5th grade he picked up the trombone, having grown, and never looked back.

That Bones has always said, 'More than anything in the world, I want to sing bass...' I kept telling him that everyone needs a tenor. He didn't care. He has only wanted to be a bass... since 5th grade waiting for his voice to change. He is a bass.

What is it that has drawn my boys only to the deep rich sounds? What is it that they have no desire to ever play a melody, content to supply the color and depth to all the music they make?

I find no fault with it. I love it, actually. But I find it interesting that not one of my boys wanted to do anything but play something deep.

There will be a new video of Bones soon singing his audition song... as it gets better and better. He has a cold... but he's starting to put emotion to it, trying to set himself apart.

15 January is his audition. Prayers and thoughts are appreciated. No need for the small animal sacrifices...

yet.

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

November 25, 2012

Post Thanksgiving Randomness

In Bones' world, chocolate chip pecan pie is a breakfast food. I realized this yesterday when I woke up to 1/8 of a pie left and by lunch it was gone.

As I took the foil pan to rinse it and put it in the recycle bin, I shouted to my kids, "Did someone eat pie for breakfast?"

There was not even a hestitation. No shame. Bone raised his hand, bobbed his head, and yelled back, "I did. It was great..."

So. There you have it.

-----------

Ringo is liking his job. He's working in the kids' department. I took my first stroll through the regular store, EVER, during Black Friday with my Mom and I won't go back. The music was so loud I was afraid my ear drums might beat out of my chest.

That's a health hazard, right? The guys who work in the test area (think aerospace) get their hearing tested, mandated by the government, every so often. I'm thinking these kids should too.

I sound old...

Bones said to walk through a store called Hollister, you need a gas mask, a flash light and a weed wacker. Mom and I walked through and he was right.

It is dark. It smells odd. And there are so many plants, you have to move them out of your way to make your way through the store.

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

I got a raise. And a bonus. It is not the kind of money we saw in the 90s, but I have a job. And I got a raise. And I got a bonus. And nice things were said. And I was rated at the top.

Crazy.

And just in time. Taxes are due on Friday...

I am thankful and blessed.

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

My Mom and Dad were in town for Thanksgiving and we had the best time. I miss them already.

My Mom looks great. I think it is kind of embarrassing when the Mom looks 1000 fold better than the daughter.

I need to get back to the gym.

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

My Mom and I went out Black Friday. I didn't think it was all that crowded at the Mall or at Bed Bath and Beyond. It'll be interesting to see how the market did.

My new tradition is to go to Cracker Barrel for stocking stuffers. I know. I have to admit this. I frickin' love Cracker Barrel...

There. It's out there. I feel better.

Anyway, so it wasn't bad. Just a couple highlights:

William & Sonoma Peppermint Bark- Stay away. They were handing out samples and I suspect it is highly addictive and not something I should have in my home. Should you choose to ignore this advice to stay away, don't say I didn't warn you.

Macy's is a mess on Black Friday. That store makes my skin crawl. I actually feel like I'm suffocating. I don't know if it's all the stuff crammed in that dang store and then all the people to boot, but it will be a cold day in Hell before I willingly go in that store on a weekend during the Christmas season again.

I like to walk through Pottery Barn Kids during Christmas and look at the fun things they have in there for the babies. During our wandering, Mom and I started to talk to a sales clerk about this Elf on the Shelf thing.

Let me tell you, I am so grateful they did not have Elf on the Shelf when I was a parent of small children. The pressure. To Be creative. Too much for me. I barely made it through the holidays without that. Holy crap.

Bringing me to... I DO NOT miss waiting in line with my children to see Santa. DO.NOT.

Longest line in the mall? Starbucks. It was, no joke, 25 people deep, out into the mall. What the heck? Really? The Godiva chocolate store sells Godive Chocolate frozen drinks... THAT would have been my drink of choice. (I didn't do it. But perhaps we are seeing why I don't look half as good as my very fit and trim mother. Dang, she looks great.)

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

T is having boys here tomorrow for a Spanish project. They are coming at Noon. Already I'd prepared in my head what I was preparing for lunch when T said, "Kyle's Dad is bringing him. He's bringing lunch for all of us..."

To which I replied, 'NO! He can't do that! This is what I do! I make lunch... the kids know about my sandwiches!"

Two seconds later came T's reply, "He said too bad. He's supplying lunch..."

I'm making brownies. I don't know this boy's Dad. Never laid eyes on him. But I laugh at the responsibility that some parents take. Kyle is an athlete at well over 6' tall. Football, basketball... the kid can play and he can put down the food. I think his Dad was afraid he'd eat me out of house and home...

I need to explain to him that it's not THAT uncommon for me to have six to 10 boys in my home... guests. It's what I do.

But still... it was nice.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:52 PM | Comments (9)

November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving 2012

We have much to be thankful for here at my home. We are in good health. We have jobs. Nobody is addicted. As every family, every human, we have our ups and down. But when you add them all up, we still end up on the positive.

And you can't beat that.

From my home to yours, Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving with little Turkeys.JPG

All the little turkeys are courtesy of my 3 year old niece, The Great Flambina. My sister sent this picture yesterday and we can't quit laughing...

Posted by Boudicca at 04:48 PM | Comments (4)

November 21, 2012

Pre - Thanksgiving Thoughts

So my eldest son now has a job. As I said he's working at a store that sounds like Mamverombi and Mitch. He is a sales clerk, but they call him a model. That in itself is making us laugh... but we are laughing most that he is folding clothes and putting them away.

We are wondering if it will rub off on his bedroom...

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

Bones' choral group sold cheesecakes this year as a fundraiser. Like other fundraisers, they could win stuff.

He is excited because he won a moustache kit. A big black full moustache... the stick on kind.

I was late picking him up from the bus stop, stuck in a telecon, and so he started to make the mile trek home. I caught him halfway... floppy reddish hair shining in the sun, beebopping down the street with his neon green backpack. He turned around and I nearly spit.

On his upper lip was a big black moustache 2 inches long on each side.

He said some woman was driving by and he looked at her as she looked at him and she slowed down and did a double take.

He laughed. 'Do you think she thought it was real?" In his fluffy bunny cotton candy cloud world, it looked real; he looked like a 40 year old Italian.

I replied, "No, baby. I assure you. She did not..." I stopped short of saying, "She nearly mistook you for the Village Idiot...", but I refrained.

stach picture.JPG

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

Do people still eat Twinkies?

Am I the only person in the world who has never eaten a Twinkie?

I appear to be the only person who cares not that Twinkies may not exist for the next generation or that there may not be fried Twinkies at our Fairs.

I think we may actually be blessed...
------------------

Well... Thanksgiving preparations have started. My pumpkin cheesecake is baked and in the fridge. And I don't know what happened between dinner and the cheesecake and the pecan pie I was supposed to bake, but suddenly my oven was smoking like a chimney.

I got the cheesecake out, but figured I'd just wait for whatever it was to burn off before I made the pecan pie.

Except it wouldn't burn off.

I put the pecan pie in the convection oven and we made the command decision to clean my oven.

My Mom looked in my oven and said, "Every time I look in this oven, I can't believe it's a self clean..." As in... it's always dirty.

I couldn't remember how to make it self clean. She got it to work.

Evidently, small fires are not supposed to break out in your oven when it's cleaning.

That's a bad thing... I hear.

So my oven will be very clean for tomorrow's turkey baking. If it still works. I think the little burny element thingy being in a fire probably reduced its life limit.

It just needs to get through tomorrow...

Everyone else's house smells like Thanksgiving. Mine smells like dirty burning oven.

Nice.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:15 PM | Comments (9)

November 20, 2012

The Flippin' Bird

I have not cooked that many Thanksgiving dinners over the years. If I've been married 20 years, I've spent 10 Thankgivings at my folks' home... leaving me with 10.

My mother in law was alive for the first eight years, so of the four I had here and not at my folks', they were at her home.

That leaves six Thanksgivings. There were two Thanksgivings we spent in NJ since we went to the Macy's Day Parade.

That leaves four. And I feel fairly certain that my sister in law in Fort Lauderdale has laid claim to a couple.

I only remember two that I've had here. By my calculations, that leaves me with 10% of the Thanksgivings here at the House of Bou. That makes me sound so... incapable. Such a slouch.

But rest assured, I remember those two days I had vividly. The first one was so very important to me. I don't remember how it came to be, but I was cooking for everyone. I think we had 20 to dinner that year, and stressing for it to be the perfect Thanksgiving doesn't even do it justice. For, you see, I've not blogged it here I don't believe, but my husband's older sister is married to a chef. He owns a restaurant on the Jersey Shore. A very well known restaurant that he has run for over 25 years.

The beautiful thing about my brother in law is that he is so appreciative when others cook, it is for sure the 'best meal' he has ever had in his life. It makes me laugh now, how he carries on, but still, there is that pressure that I don't want a truly substandard meal on his plate.

So I looked high and lo' and my cousin, who is a Food Network Freak, promised me he had the BEST turkey recipe ever in the history of turkey cooking, a turkey so good, that only HE was in charge of the cooking of the turkey when Thanksgiving was to be held at his home.

And so I quickly took his recipe, happy for the assist from someone who did this every year and swore to be The Turkey King. I was probably blogging at this time, so some of you may know this story.

But said turkey was to be rubbed down and then put in a big bucket of ice water, with kosher salt. This kosher salt thing was supposed to be important. It was as if the salt was to have been hacked to pieces by a Jewish Carpenter himself, it was that important.

And so I did as the recipe was instructed, the night before, soaking this big bird in this big bucket of homemade kosher brine.

Except it was then that I ran into a bit of an issue. I called my cousin and said, "Umm... where do you keep this big bucket overnight?"

To which he replied, "On the back porch..."

Now as sure as the day is long, you people in the Great White North have had your first snow by Thanksgiving and if you have not, it gets down into the 30s at night already, maybe even the 20s. Most definitely, refrigerator or freezer temps.

But here in S. Fl-or-ee-dah, it is in the 70s at night. I'm still wearing sandals to work. If I could, I'd wear shorts. Dropping down to a low of 70... and keeping your big bird on the back porch, I personally think that's a poultry problem of some sort of unhygienic, try to kill your family with some kind of horrific bacteria on Thanksgiving, infraction.

And surely not the impression I need to make on my chef brother in law, right? Forget worrying about a dry turkey. I'd moved full court press into trying not to poison my family and guests.

But here I had this 18 pound bird in a big dang bucket of brine and that bucket just was NOT going to fit in my fridge. On a good day. With no leftovers.

It wasn't happening.

And so with great anguish, I decided if I just kept the bucket covered (we live in Florida... we have bugs), but every hour kept adding ice, to ensure the bird stayed in some briney kosher ice bath for the night, somehow, it would be OK.

And it was.

But take note, that I'm not making the Kosher Bath Turkey this year. I think I was pressing my luck that year and besides, in the warm cockles of my heart and the dark recesses of my brain, I don't seem to remember thinking, "Holy crap. This is the best dang turkey I've ever eaten in my entire life..."

No.

Nor did any of my family or guests from that year say to me, "Do you remember the turkey of 2004? Now... THAT was the BEST turkey... Ever."

No. And of course my reply to anyone who did say that would be, "I only remember it as the turkey that I was afraid was going to kill you..."

I digress.

I don't remember it being fabulous, so I'll cook it like I cook a chicken... and it stays in the fridge until it gets pulled out to be put in the oven.

Then there were a couple years ago when I was on the organic vegetable kick when I bought all my vegetables from Komrad Maria, where we picked up our share.

That year they were selling Organic Turkeys and I thought, 'OH! Surely these turkeys will be the best because no steroids have penetrated their breasts and surely the meat will be tender and wonderful and perfect."

Right.

It was not great. Once again, nobody says to me, 'Oh! You remember that turkey of 2009? It was the BEST turkey EVER." I don't remember thinking, "This breast is so tender and moist!" Instead I remember thinking, "I wonder if steroids keep the breast from drying out..."

This year I'm going with a 10 pound Butterball, the kind that has that little plastic gizmo that pops out when the turkey is done. I'm going to follow the directions on the bag.

No special baths or meat without steroids. We're going standard all American Butterball.

We'll see how this goes...

Besides, Screw the Turkey. Bring on the pie. I'm making chocolate pecan pie and a pumpkin pie cheesecake.

It's about the Pie.

Posted by Boudicca at 12:28 AM | Comments (24)

November 18, 2012

Thanksgiving Week Freak Out

This thing with Israel and Hamas is very bad. There is so much behind the scenes chess playing we are not privy too. This is not going to end well... and I wondered as of late if it is the beginning of the unraveling of the loosely woven and picked over tapestry of that, that is the Middle East.

Perhaps... I am a pessimist.

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

My niece lives in town now, which thrills me to no end. She is in her 20s now and is bright, beautiful and funny. Her sense of humor is dry and I find her young mind sharp and entertaining.

She texted me today to see if she could bring a salad or anything for Thanksgiving. I gave the standard response, 'Nope! Got it covered! Thanks!'

Good thing she can't read minds... or that phones don't give off vibes. 'Cuz the following were the responses in my brain that were all jumbled into one big messed up heap:

"Sh!t! Thanksgiving is this week!"

"F***! I have to buy a turkey! Which means I have to COOK.IT!"

"OMG. How many people do I have coming for Thanksgiving? How big a turkey do I buy?"

My nerves were calmed by the thoughts of the desserts I will be making.

Screw the turkey. Bring on the pie...

That might be my new saying in life. Hmmm. I might like it better than my newest quote, from the boys' priest, "Every Saint has a Past. Every Sinner has a Future." That one gives me hope.

But the Turkey and Pie... it brings me solace.

Posted by Boudicca at 11:03 PM | Comments (12)

November 16, 2012

Amelia Badelia

Bonus for me... a radiator hose had a small leak. Bing Bing! I keep the car.

Seriously, this is the way I look at it... I'm still in the family way and the next car I buy... is not going to be a family car. It's going to be something much smaller, that is probably a 5 speed, and red. It's going to be crazy reliable, one I can drive to 250K if I want and it's going to get 40 mpg. Maybe a diesel.

But I can't do all that with kids. So I MUST get this one to last through the last two boys so I can forgo buying another family car.

Bonus as well... he says I can get this car to 300K with my eyes closed... but he said I may have to have transmission work to get it there. That's the issue.

Next week, he replaces the driver's side window, does some normal maintenance for me, and I get new rear brakes. I think I should be good for another 50K without issue.... just normal tire rotation and oil change.

He figured out pretty early on what profession I was probably in. I think the detailed list of what I needed, as well as the itemization of what I'd had done, the mileage and year it was done off the top of my head, kind of gave it away. I'm sure he could gage from there my interest level, so it was always a very detailed technical conversation.

Finding a new mechanic off the cuff that you trust is always a bonus. My regular mechanic was evidently too busy to see me. I got lucky.

Meanwhile... oddities, it is a strange sensation when you open the news and read something of relevance to our military and then think, "OK, he gets a bye for not calling me back..." Crazy stuff. Certain people aren't taking time off this weekend.

That would not be me. (Bonus of working a part already on fire... we're not a safety issue.)

I am actually not in town. It is my 21st Anniversary today. On a lark, I asked me husband if we could take the kids north to Amelia Island. I have a grave marking to attend for a Revolutionary War Patriot locally and thought it would be cool, a life experience, for the boys to attend. We've made a weekend of it, not sure how many more family weekends we have... weekends with just the five of us without intrusion.

So that's where we are.

And we took my husband's car. No need to put that extra 85,000 miles on faster than I have to...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:25 PM | Comments (11)

November 15, 2012

Wanting to Hang Up the Keys

This has been one of those weeks I shouldn't own a car. It actually started three weeks ago when I was in the pick up line at Bones' school. That's when I noticed that when at idle, my car a/c would shut off and I would get this intermittent hum. I immediately turned off the a/c thinking that it was a/c related. But as soon as my car was moving at a steady clip, the a/c popped on and the hum went away.

I only pick up Bones once a week. But I noticed two weeks ago that when driving Bones through a parking garage to take him to his vocal group practice that even at the 10 mph, steady, the same event would happen.

I made note that I had to take my car in and made sure I've not taken my car on any long trips. (Yes, I've had travel. I took my son's car.)

Yesterday when in pick up for Bones', my car actually started to get hot. The needle moved just short of red-line. As soon as we were moving, the car was fine, the hum went away, and the needle moved down to center.

I got home and my car smelled like something was burning. We checked the radiator fluid and... it was pretty much gone. My husband filled it.

I found a guy to take a look at it today and drove it down. I have dual fans in my motor, so there was thought that one of the fans may have been shutting down, pushing the other into a type of overdrive. But when the mechanic looked at it, knowing my type car very well, he said both fans were running fine and they'd have to take a look. They kept it overnight.

I have 212K on my car. I made a list of things for him to do... a honey do list if you will. I change my oil ever 3k-4K and it was overdo. Rotate the tires, check the hoses and belts, air filter, check the transmission fluid and on and on. It was time.

I'm starting to hear rumblings in the house that I need a new car and I'm just not on the same page they are. I don't think that if I have to spend $1000 a year above and beyond oil change and tires, that it's too much on a vehicle. A carpayment would be a helluva lot more than $1000 a year. I think I'm willing to spend 2K a year above and beyond normal wear and tear before I think it's time. That's alternators, water pumps, radiators, and brakes. When we move into transmission and engine issues... that's where I draw my line.

So far.

Am I wrong in this cost effectivity thinking? Or am I just living in the testosterone zone where cars are too cool?

Anyway, so my son dropped me off at my husband's office so I could pick up his car. My husband had an event he was going to with a buddy after work and his buddy was going to pick him up.

I got out of the parking lot and a yellow emergency light came on. Crap. Immediately I called him and he said he'd had a slow leak and I needed to fill up the tire and he was having it replaced on Friday (tomorrow).

I got to the gas station and I was practically on the rim. I was puzzled as he didn't sound concerned when I called, 'A slow leak' and I'm riding on the dang rim? (yes, I sent him a sarcastic text, why do you ask?)

Flash forward 2 hours and I am back in the car to take Bones somewhere. The yellow light came on... again. I'd originally filled it to 50 pounds (I know... it was high), but we were already down to 25.

Evidently there was more than a small leak. By the time I got to our destination, in 25 minutes, we'd lost 10 pounds.

Again I called my husband. He and his buddy came to where I was and changed the tire, which was great.

But I spent a better part of the day thinking I needed to move to a big city with community transportation. The whole car problem thing just gets to be too much...

Posted by Boudicca at 11:20 PM | Comments (6)

November 13, 2012

The Lottery

I got home tonight from a performance at Bones' Middle School and my husband had the news on.

Big as day, front and center were the nominations for Secretary of State and Secretary of Defense.

I busted out laughing. My husband was pissed, not at me, but at the situation. I couldn't quit laughing.

And suddenly I said to my family, "I know the Obama Administration's Theme Song".

Let's hear it again, shall we?

Clowns. We are being run by clowns.

OK, off that.

So Bones' school has a string group as well as vocal, band, theater, etc. Tonight was the first time I heard them. They blew me... away. I'll put a link at the bottom of this post, but listening to them, for some reason, had me think, "What would I do if I won the lottery?"

Chances are I'll be losing my job, so if I won the lottery, I'd not have to quit. That would work out, because if I didn't lose my job, I'd not be able to quit. I'm part of a team and I can't leave them in a lurch.

So the scenario is I have lost my job and I win the lottery... what would I do?

I'd take up the harp.

I'd buy a new car to carry my new harp.

I'd play the harp at the local Hospice center and for weddings and funerals.

I'd take up the cello.

I'd see if some community orchestra had room for a 16th chair cello.

I'd travel to NYC and see Broadway plays.

I'd travel to listen to the finest symphonies.

I'd go to the Opera.

I'd finish learning French. (I was halfway there... let's finish the trek.)

I'd get a personal trainer for 3X a week.

I'd hire someone to cook me healthy food. A food coach.

But I'd also never turn down a piece of chocolate mousse cake or flourless chocolate cake.

And I'd get a massage every week because I'd be working out so much.

That's it. What would you do if you won the lottery?

The String group I heard tonight...

Posted by Boudicca at 10:23 PM | Comments (17)

November 12, 2012

The Dark Twists and Turns

Thank you for the email and txts that comments are down. I hope they will be up tomorrow. Comments are working now!

This whole Patraeus thing is like a frickin' train wreck. Folks, I hate to admit this, but I can't quit reading about it. It just gets crazier and crazier. It falls into the category of 'you can't make this $hit up'. I read all sorts of spy/CIA/FBI books. From characters Mitch Rapp to Scott Horvath, authors John LeCarre, Tom Clancy. I can't get enough of the rough and tumbly spy world. And they have the FBI pitted against the CIA a lot.

And I've thought, 'Oh, I'm sure this little section is maybe a bit overblown...'

Well, if it was before, it's not anymore. Wow. I think it's not possible to have two agencies that probably hate each other any more than they do now... Good Luck with that one, President Obama.

And can you imagine being the FBI guy who is just casually looking into the potential cyberstalking to help out a friend and then... it gets deeper and deeper and takes some weird ugly holy crap turns?

There has to be some point in time when he or a group of them finally turned over that one rock and realized what they had. It was the big 'Oh F*ck' moment. The 'wait, this is wrong. Let's retrace our steps... we didn't do something right' moment.

I was privy to one of those moments once, a non-bloggable moment, not nearly to the degree as what we're seeing with the CIA, but still one of those things you don't forget. One of such dread and horror... and I was a spectator watching the train go out of control. It was not a 'pull up a chair and get popcorn' moment. It was a 'grab a garbage can so we can all throw up' moment.

The cold heat... the flush of the face, the cold sweat, the adrenaline flow of 'no... this cannot be...' Yet it was.

If you've had one of those life altering moments, even been witness up front and personal, when you witness something like this Patraeus thing... you start thinking of the background players, the guy that turned over that rock and thought, "oh... oh... oh... no... Please... no..."

Crazy stuff.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:50 PM | Comments (5)

What You Get When a Concrete Thinker and Voracious Reader Takes a Poet's Class

Ringo is taking AP English II. He breezed through AP English I, pulling A's and making a 4 on the AP exam. After receiving his score from the national testing center he said, "Hunh. You know, if I'd studied for this, I could have pulled a 5..."

Nice.

So this term he decided he'd pull an A in the class, but also study for the AP exam to see if he could get the brass ring, scoring a 5. But this term... this AP class is all about analysis and symbolism.

He struggles.

If there is one thing we've learned of Ringo as he's aged is he is an apple from his Mama's Tree. If he's not at the base of the tree, he didn't roll far from it. He's still in the root system.

I had a horrible time with this symbolism junk when I was in my college English classes so when Ringo told me this is where he's starting to struggle, I was sad for him, but not surprised.

I'd love to be able to read poetry and completely... get it. I can sometimes see the imagery, but these little nuances that right brained people pick up on are absolutely lost on me. I was hoping that maybe Ringo would see it. We already knew that T would never. He's so left brained the kid walks with a list to the left.

But what is amusing us is that Ringo is an truly gifted writer. What he writes flows. He transitions from paragraph to paragraph effortlessly. It is one of the reasons he scored a 750 on the writing section of the SAT, although I do tease him and tell him that invoking Ghandi in his SAT essay probably didn't hurt...

I picked up Ringo from his job orientation yesterday. It has been a long time since just the two of us were in a car together. That's when we used to have our best heart to hearts, the both of us laughing at the absurdities and planning for his future. It is then that the following came out.

"Mom, I'm really struggling in my AP English class. I got a 69 on my last paper. I just... don't get it."

I replied, "I never got it either, son. I've told you the stories of my professor and I going at it about how in my mind the poet was writing a sweet poem, but in the professor's mind, it was about this guy at the end of his life. I never did pick up on it. It was cold; the guy was walking through the woods. It was snowing. Evidently the guy was on death's door, complete with impotence as symbolized by some frozen lake, and I had no clue..."

He was contemplative, staring out the window, and he started to laugh. I glanced over and he said, "You know what Mr. K said to me when I talked to him about how badly I'd bombed that last paper? He said, "Ringo, I wanted to fail you. I really did. You are missing it. You aren't flushing out the ideas. You aren't getting what I'm trying to teach. But, you write so beautifully. I could tell you'd put so much time into your paper. It is such a pleasure to read your writing... it is so easy to read. I couldn't fail you. I just couldn't. So I gave you a 69.""

I started to laugh.

He continued, 'I'm passing his class because I write beautifully, not because I have any clue what's going on in there. How funny is that?"

It's become a bit of a joke now. He's working with his teacher. But Thank God he's a reader and has learned how to write accordingly. Otherwise, he'd not have a chance in hell...

Posted by Boudicca at 08:06 AM | Comments (2)

November 11, 2012

Florida Families

It's been a crazy week.

My niece moved back into town and she and her Mom have been visiting as they get her settled. She has an internship with a park ranger group (she's an environmental scientist and is about to go to grad school) in a tiny little park. She's living in a trailer on... the beach. You can't beat that. Her only concern is the palmetto bugs. I informed her that's a show stopper for me.

Palmetto bugs, for those of you not from the South, are these ginormous roaches that can be 3 inches long. And they fly. And hiss. I told her my fear of them is beyond normal and has moved into down right irrational. I can't even kill them. Just... the thought of the crunch is enough for me to start to wig out and hyperventilate. I told her that I'm more inclined to pelt it with shoes from 4 feet away and then a week later when I get the nerve to move the shoes, when the roach is gone, I can actually rationalize that magic happened and it *POOF!* disappeared into thin air like something out of Star Trek. It is mentally easier for me to go down that magic road.

As absurd as it sounds to even write.

However, she completely agreed with me, my 25 year old niece, a kindred soul when it comes to Palmetto bugs. I told her I think what bothers me is that it's never a case of just seeing one walk across the floor. They're always places they don't belong, like open a drawer and there it is, sitting in a spoon. (That always elicits a scream.) Or open a cabinet, this is the worst, and it comes FLYING AT YOU and hissing.

*shudder*

Ghastly. Absolutely ghastly.

She recently broke up with her boyfriend so she could move to Florida. I said to her, "Listen to me... this is why one gets married. Opening jars and killing bugs. They have their reasons. We have ours. And by the way, hairspray doesn't work. You need the real bug spray..."

Anyway, this is not what the post was going to be about. Monster Roaches. No.

So my husband and three sons have been at the Gator game. If you don't keep up with college ball, UF was playing a small college, and until the last 4 seconds of the game, were tied 20-20 and pulled it out by the Grace of God and Gator Luck.

He said it was too stressful. I was glad I wasn't there. Gator Homecoming has become my quiet weekend at home.

My eldest has his first job and orientation. He got a job at a place that sounds like "mamberzombie and hitch". During his interview they asked him what he thought about diversity.

He replied, 'Everyone brings something different to the table..." That is a quote I use often when kids at school get under my kids' skin.

Then he said, "Wouldn't the world be so boring if we were all the same..." That is a quote I use when Bones is irritating the stew out of Ringo and T.

So, if you think your teenage kids aren't listening. You're wrong. They're listening. And maybe they'll keep some little nugget to use in a job interview.

Hey, just wait 10 years. I suspect one of my three boys will have a book out with the title, 'Sh!t My Mom Says...'

Posted by Boudicca at 10:17 AM | Comments (3)

November 07, 2012

Life Goes On...

As somewhat anticipated.

A major Fortune 500 company had a lay off today, the day after elections. I happen to do work for said company. Interesting that they waited until the day AFTER elections for the lay off. Coincidence? I think not.

Meanwhile, last week I was told I was safe until mid 2014 and today, the day after the election, I was told we have a hiring freeze and I might not be.

I'm not sure I care anymore. Seriously. At some point you just realize... it can and will get worse and you just hang on and hope you can ride it out.

So. There you go. I'm sure there will be more to come.

Posted by Boudicca at 08:00 PM | Comments (9)

November 06, 2012

The Beginning of the End

It's one thing for me to predict something.

It's another to watch it unfold.

We're all in trouble.

I'd love to think that tomorrow I'd want to delete this, but it ain't happening.

I just need to find a better f*'ed up country.

On a positive note, I know a diehard 'never voted for a Republican before' Democrat (small business owner) and today for the first time ever, he did not vote party line. And he was PISSED. He was absolutely furious that he has hated the current administration so much he could not vote again for it... and he hates the Republican ticket, but felt he had no choice.

So angry doesn't even begin to describe his vote. I'll tell him tomorrow, "Cheer up, you did your part. Now you can tell all your friends who voted party line, as this Country goes to hell, that you did your part and they let it happen".

Yeah, I feel that strongly about it. That's my political post for the year. If people only truly understood what was happening to small businesses...

Good night.

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

November 04, 2012

When Playing 'Telephone' Is Intentional

On Saturday, my husband decided it was time to put up the Halloween decorations so he could go back into the attic and get Bones a Christmas hat for his Halloween Dance. (How odd is that?)

The Gators were playing at the time and he was telling the boys, "Get in here and help me!"

T was the last one to show. My husband in great aggravation yelled after him in the other room, "T! Come on! Just these couple boxes!" and T was stuck at the television because evidently the Gators were about to score.

He ran into the room, grabbed a box and said, "DAD! If the Gators score and nobody is there to watch, did they REALLY score?!"

To which my husband replied, "I assure you, if you go back in and it says 21 next to the Gators, they scored!"

It was just really funny. We've been quoting that...

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

The boys' high school had an open house today. They had to go play with the band and were up and out early. I had to meet with the Band treasurer, so I was leaving as well. My husband was out early at a car show.

As I left, Bones was just waking up, sitting on the couch veging. I said to him, "Text your older brother and tell him that on his way home, he should pick up hoagie rolls and lettuce so that you all can make sandwiches this afternoon. I have turkey and mayo..."

He nodded and I thought nothing of it.

A few hours later, the band had finished playing and were cleaning up when Ringo came up to me and said with one eyebrow raised, 'Mom... did you tell Bones to text me about going to Publix?"

Me: Yeah. I told him to have you stop by and pick up bread and lettuce so you could make sandwiches.

Ringo: *slowly* Mom... that's not what he texted me and I wanted to make sure because it sounded like he was trying to pull one over on you and I didn't want to get in trouble for spending money I wasn't supposed to spend...

Me: Wait. You can spend it. I told him to tell you to get bread and lettuce...

Ringo: Right. That's not what he said. What he texted me was, "Mom said to tell you to go to Publix and get us Publix sandwiches for lunch. I'd like a turkey, mayo, lettuce, tomato with light oil and vinegar. I don't need it toasted."

Me: I didn't tell him you could order sub sandwiches!

Ringo: I didn't think so...

Me: Dang him.

Ringo: So? Can we? His sandwich sounds really good...

The whole thing is funny by itself, but the fact that Ringo knows Bones so well that he didn't trust the text which is what I thought was funniest.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:24 PM | Comments (1)

November 03, 2012

Eat Papa Eat

Bones' Fall Festival dance from school was supposed to be last Friday, but was postponed due to TS Sandy. It was to be held tonight instead.

I've been asking him what costume he'd wear and he copped attitude. He's too cool now, donchaknow it. "Mom, I'm just going to wear a Santa hat and be done with it."

I was irritated. 'Everyone is going to be dressing. You have to do more than a Santa hat...'

His ghoul costume is actually too big for him, so that was out. He didn't want to go as an Angry Bird. That was so last year. The bottle of Mustard costume we have was not going to work either.

Talk of him going as Michael Phelps was bandied about. He didn't like any of his bathing suits... besides, the kind that Phelps really wears when he races was not school appropriate.

And on and on it went. I was in a Costume store today and I called him from my mobile and said, "You're going as young Santa. Grab your lime green tshirt from boys' ensemble next year, I'm getting you a belt, eyebrows and a goatee. You're going to be Santa with an edge..."

At first he was absolutely NOT going to wear these eyebrows and goatee to school. He was ONLY going to wear them for the photo op. But his eldest bro had some friends over, they were all out washing cars, and the older boys were saying, 'Dude, keep the eyebrows! That's frickin' AWESOME!' and suddenly Mom wasn't quite so dang stupid.

I took a picture for Mo and she said he looks like a cross between Santa and The Grinch. I wanted him to go with cookies, but he nixed that.

Bones Santa Face.jpg

Bones Full Size 2.jpg

Evidently it was a hit.

Anyone catch the reference to the title?

Posted by Boudicca at 09:39 PM | Comments (5)

November 02, 2012

Shame

So... I was just reading this article about this town in CT, where the Mayor accused the power company of pandering to the wealthy first, so as the linesmen were out trying to get power restored throughout the town... they were egged.

1) Who eggs someone trying to help you?

2) Who treats a linesman like that?

3) What kind of 'leader' stirs up trouble like that?

4) I'm left speechless... someone is trying to turn your power on and you egg them. Who does that?

5) Linesmen don't decide whose power gets turned on. Did people just really seriously take it out on the working class stiffs?

6) What kind of hell hole has to have Police guard utility workers?

Let me tell you how it goes IN THE SOUTH. A hurricane hits and you are out of power. It's hot. You're miserable. And... someone sees... a power truck in your neighborhood. Word spreads! People are telling everyone, house to house, "There is a power truck in the neighborhood!" and people run to the streets and they offer up drinks... the last of their ice... food... sandwiches... they offer the linesman a hero's welcome.

I swear to God that is what happens.

And if Police were involved in the South, it would be to lead the parade the city would be throwing for the utility workers. Not to frickin' GUARD them.

They are heroes. They are never pelted with eggs.

Good grief. I'm stunned.

A pox on those ungrateful b@stards and may they rot. In the dark.

Posted by Boudicca at 10:56 PM | Comments (12)

November 01, 2012

November Randomness

So... since when we get hit by hurricanes, we don't have power for days, weeks, months... tell me... does the National News go on and on about how we don't have gas? Because I was just overhearing the news and they were screaming that Obama wasn't doing anything about how they don't have gas in NJ and NY.

Um. Right. This happens. This is part of the 'misery' factor that comes. No gas. No clean water. No power. No sewage. Roads are impassable. Food becomes a problem. Bathing is a luxury. There is loss and depression. There is a spike in suicides after as well...coping is a real issue, a form of PTSD.

It's all in this swirly chaotic hell that the news seems to act like is something... new. It's not. It's horrible.

Look, those folks will get gas when the gas companies can safely get gas to them. Trust me. They want the money and they want to look like heroes. And the gas stations will open when it is deemed safe for them to open AND they have gas. And if the gas station doesn't have a generator to run the pumps and there is no electricity... it's irrelevant if there is gas. It doesn't pump itself.

I'm not a fan of Obama. Can't stand him as a President to be honest and still wonder how someone so inexperienced got elected, chalking it up to the fact we perpetually have sh*tty choices, but this no gas thing is not his fault.

Also, just a bit of an FYI for folks who may not know... and this may put a different spin on what you're seeing... a different more ugly spin.

There is hurricane insurance and there is flood insurance. Hurricane insurance is wind and storm damage. My deductible is 5% of the value of my home. It's essentially catastrophic insurance and it's about all I can afford. So... do the math... if it is a NAMED storm and you have damage due to a blown out window or a blown off roof... wind and storm damage... and your home is worth $200K, you have a 10K deductible. Got it?

IF, however, the ocean rises up and takes your home, that is NOT hurricane, named storm or not, that is deemed... flood. And the max covered for flood is $250,000, from what I understand. So... if you have a $300,000 home on the shore, fully furnished, when all is said and done, you get $250K. Period.

So all those homes you've seen destroyed on the Shore? 250K is what those folks are getting, regardless if it was a Mega Million Mansion fully furnished in gold or a spartan Love Shack, Baby.
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My husband's cousin lives inland, but in one of those neighborhoods that has canals in it. People own boats. Evidently the canal flooded into their homes, so they have three feet of canal water at the bottom of their split level homes, which is bad enough, except the water is full of gas and oil and so the fumes have permeated the house.

They dare not turn on the furnace for fear the house will go up in flames. Scary stuff.

All around.

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There are big economic ties from NJ, NY, and the east coast of Florida. Families live in both areas and families travel back and forth.

I strongly suspect we will see a huge economic impact here in S. FL due to the horrific storm and loss in the NE. It is as if the two areas are tied with an umbilical cord.

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It has not been a banner day. I get sick and tired of when my high school kids have to act like the adults because some teacher they have... seems incapable.

It doesn't happen often, but when it does, it irks me to no end.

Posted by Boudicca at 09:03 PM | Comments (5)