Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dark Day

I had a few things I was going to post about, but this day has been... well, weird. It's blizzarding here, which is always unnerving. And I've got migraines and other monthly yuckiness, but whatever. I was still recovering from getting almost no sleep last night, and waking up to find the boys had trashed the house with not just one but two science kits before 8 a.m., somehow.

But then I discovered that there's a hole in the world today. And it's anybody's guess what's going to fill it, besides violence and death. I mourn for the passing of a heroic and admirable woman. I hope you can rest in peace, Benazir. I weep for your country...

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

OK, You've Been Good...

...And I promised I'd give you the answer, so here you go. (Drumroll:) That picture is now about 6 weeks old. It's amazing what you can do with crop and B/W. The cat-eye glasses I wear gave me the idea. I feel like an escapee from the 60's.

As for the guesses-- hee hee. Thanks, guys. Just for comparison, let me say, that photo in my sidebar is me about 15 years ago. This photo was taken on a family trip 20 years ago:


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(That's me in the middle; yeah, dig the crazy blue 80's eyeshadow. For Renee: my youngest sister is the one hiding her eyes. The other one is about 3 years older. Twenty years ago, our mom would have been the right age for the mystery photo.)

And finally, this is the original of the picture you've been wondering about:


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The Scone clan in all our glory. Hope you all had a marvelous Christmas.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Speaking of Age...


How old do you think this photo is? C'mon, just guess...

Feel free to guess who it is, too. (This offer void for anyone who's seen it before.)

I'll post the right answer later.
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Does This Site Make Me Look Old?

A couple nights ago, there was a headline on MSN.com about older women getting breast enhancement surgery. OK, this is not interesting in itself, and I wouldn't even have seen it if I didn't have Hotmail to sign out of. But what leapt out at me was the headline and tagline they used for this article. To wit:

"Bigger Breasts for Boomers?
Women over 40 going in for enhancement..."

Um, excuse me? Let's have a quick history and pop culture lesson, shall we? A) "Boomer" = Baby boomer generation; i.e., the large number of children born to soldiers returning home from World War II (not, I repeat, NOT from Vietnam). B) WWII ran from 1939 (or 41 if you're American) to 1945-ish. So the boomers started being born around 1946. C) "Over 40" these days is someone who was born in 1966 or before. And D) in case anyone still hasn't figured out what the problem is:
1966
- 1946
-------
20 years (that is, a generation)
My *mom* is a Baby Boomer. And while, yes, she is "over 40," she's also over 60 (or will be in a couple weeks).

So what does that make me and other 40-ish types? Check it out on Wikipedia if you don't believe me. There are also other sources out there. Point is, I'm not hallucinating when I remember being in that generation that people still insist is in its 20s. Especially people at MSN. (A search on their site reveals that this article isn't an aberration; the mistake is chronic. I think I'll send them my resume; they seriously need an intelligent editor.)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Punkin Presents

We got two boxes of Christmas presents today. Hooray! It's almost more than Punkin Boy can bear. I've lost count of the times I've heard, "When can we open the presents, Mama?" but it's a lot. Just today. Does anybody here remember the first picture of Pirate Boy I posted, where he was wearing this sweatsuit? My babies are growing up...

And yes, that is a large orange pumpkin there in the background. Our neighbors have a small pumpkin patch, and we've been cooking with the orange stuff a lot lately. I found a good cookie recipe on the 'net the other day, and I think I've finally got the hang of making the bread. Anybody else got a favorite pumpkin recipe?

I mentioned the pumpkin thing to my folks the other day, so in the package we received from them today were all sorts of non-pumpkin baking supplies. Double and triple hooray! I have the best parents ever.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

What's Up

Sick again. Don't know whether this has anything to do with the additional foot of snow we got this week, but maybe... Missed writer's group again because of it. They're gonna think I don't love them anymore.

#1 Son is at his first jujitsu exhibition tonight. He's already an orange belt, or is it brown? He's gotten both, I just can't remember which is which. All this as part of the wonderful school we send the kids to. I totally love it.

As I mentioned a while ago, we got a photo taken of our family, enough to send to all our friends and relatives. The photo cost $10; now we can't afford postage. I feel pretty silly. Well, eventually TM will get a job and we'll have some money again. Really. I have to believe it.

Speaking of my dear husband, he interviewed a couple weeks ago for a job that would be absolutely perfect for him-- and would pay twice what he could get around here. (Yeah, it's quite far away, and I don't know how we'd arrange the transportation, but we would. They'd let him telecommute most of the time "once he's settled in" so it would totally be worth it.)

We did take a test drive of a really spiffy new-model SUV recently; the dealership was offering restaurant gift cards. The sales guy was new, so he didn't remember to ask whether we could actually finance a new car before our test drive. Nope, sorry, no income means no sale. Sorry. This is one time when "no" is not the start of the sale.

Don't know what else. I've had a lot on my mind and have mentally composed several posts recently, but I can't remember what about. Maybe it'll come back later. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Life as We Know It

Yes, I'm still here. And yes, we're still surviving. I suspect my subconscious of hiding things from me; I always have the nagging feeling that I should be worried or upset about something. But we're moving on with our lives, trying our best to keep the love uppermost in our actions and trying not to let our physical and financial circumstances get us down. Mostly we win. So it's all good.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Today's Weather


Y'know, usually our snow season is *ending* right about now.
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Huzzah!


The Scone household performs synchronized spoon surgery on the season's last squashes. Shortly to become pumpkin pies, cookies, breads, and possibly a nice set of earmuffs.
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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Getting Better

Well, I'm mostly over the cold. Which is good, because The Man and the little pirates have it now, and I'm on call.

I'm not getting very far with my NaNo thing, but that's OK. It's Year 3, which is always the most miserable year anyway. And I'm not completely losing, just oh, about halfway to where I should be by now. The important thing is that I'm making a start on the script to the new musical.

And, um... Pirate Boy won a "Nobel Prize" the other day for a machine he built for 2nd grade science fair. Cool huh? He dismantled it before I could get a picture, though, darn him.

Speaking of pictures, we got a family photo taken last Saturday for the first time since Pirate Boy was a baby. Well, we got about 30 of them taken. One of them wasn't entirely horrible. So we bought it.

What else? It's cold here. Nasty cold. Can it seriously be late November already?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sick This Week

Too sick to blog. Too sick to write my NaNo novel (which anyway sucks way worse than last year's). Too sick to do much of anything but lie in bed, though I occasionally crawl to the computer to check email. The Man promises he won't get sick until after I'm healthy again. I'm trying, really I am.

Otherwise, things are still going well. So I totally come out ahead here.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Chica Chica Boom Boom

Overheard at my house:

#1 Son: I want to make a present for my girlfriend.
[The Man and I exchange smirks. This will be his first.]
Pirate Boy: [startled] Girlfriend?! ... [thinks for a moment] I've got lots of those already.
TM: [singing] I'm the daddy of the Mack... Daddy...

And Punkin Boy? Quoth he: "Without us, the chicas got no boom!"

BWA HAHAHA HAHAHA!

I love our kids.

Monday, November 05, 2007

More Smiles


I'm sorry for the overkill. I just can't get enough of the happiness going on here. Wow. (And yeah, that's totally The Man with Punkin. I lost count of how many weird looks I got from people at the party: "Who is that guy with her? And why are they holding hands?" The things I do for love.)
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Happy Family



I can't even begin to express how wonderfully things have changed for our family lately. The love just between The Man and the kids is awesome to see.



And the smiles! I love the smiles! So happy. I'm so happy.

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Punkins at the Park

So, we took our boys to play at the park the other day.

They'd been feeling cooped up and were glad to get out. They climbed...

...investigated the use of seesaws to demonstrate a lever and fulcrum setup (Pirate Boy is working on simple machines in school)...


...and then they took a ride on the tire swing (Daddy-powered).

Wheee! They had fun!
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But boy, then they started winding down...



Didn't even bother to get off the swing. Totally tuckered punkins.
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Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Fun

Punkin Boy dressed up as a cowpoke for the church "Fall Social and Trunk or Treat" (OK, so it was a Halloween party). Looking very cute and grown-up here.


What happens when you teach a Pirate Boy martial arts... Devilishly handsome, isn't he? (My sword is a little bit big for him still, I think.)
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#1 Son opted to sleep instead of go to the party... he regretted it later. So no pictures of him today.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Drugs Are Good

That was the pronouncement from a friend of a friend who finally got onto antidepressants. And it's been frequently heard around this area since The Man got onto Prozac last week.

I've been a big fan of Prozac since spring of '91, when it turned me from a bad-tempered, suicidal slug (only a slight exaggeration) into someone I'd never been before: someone who smiled and laughed and got things done and had so much to look forward to. And it happened instantly, for which I've always been grateful.

The Man has been an anti-fan of all kinds of medications for as long as I've known him, so it was hard for him to face taking pills long-term. The doctors all say it may take 3 to 5 weeks for the meds to reach full effect, and I was seriously worried that it really would in this case. I couldn't be sure he'd actually keep taking them if he didn't notice a difference soon.

But my fears were unfounded. He went from Mr. Hyde back to Dr. Jekyll in about 60 seconds. And there he has stayed. Still an off-the-wall brainiac, with no signs of the wild beast he'd been and no inclination to do evil apparent. My husband is back! The drugs are good.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

On a Lighter Note

There's nothing quite as cute as Punkin Boy tippy-tapping on the laptop while he sings "White and Nerdy." Dude!
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Boot to the Head

First, I just want to say that I was justified in never wanting to experience the life of a single mom. It is HARD. Fortunately, I was practically living that life already, so it's not been too shocking a transition. ;-)

Second, I want everyone to know that I feel better now than I've felt in months. It's such a relief not to be living with that rabid animal that was pretending to be my husband.

Third, and most important, I'm cautiously optimistic that the judicious application of a boot to the head and keister of my dearly beloved husband was just the wake-up call he needed to get rid of the rabies. Yes, it's abominable that it took something so severe, but no other method was working. This one seems to have. Take a look at his blog and see what you think. I'm hopeful that things can get back to good again.

The boot stands at the ready, though. And I'm not giving him a key to my house anytime soon. Must make it safe first.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Done, Done, Done

Well, I had to do it without the combat boots, and I couldn't stop myself from slapping his lying, cheating face, but he's gone. And I'm getting the locks changed tonight. And sleeping with one eye open and my fingers on the phone. The Man I know would never hurt me or the kids, he certainly wouldn't cheat on his wife or endanger his family, but The Man I know isn't here anymore. I wonder if he even exists still.

Hell Hath No Fury

Well, I found more answers. With pictures, even. I really wish I hadn't.

That's not true. I just wish the answers weren't what they are.

Note to Incrediboy: "Who I am" is a former spy. Never forget that.

Bang! Gotcha...

Oh I so want to swear. But I won't. I must be nice. I must absolutely not go to this house and get some answers about where my husband's been lately. But if any of you guys do, be sure to give the woman who lives there Elastigirl's regards. (And don't say a thing about tactical nukes; you'll ruin the surprise.)

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Gimme an "E"!

I've been having kind of a rough time lately, as you can probably tell. Crying a lot, very confused about what to do next. But slowly, I'm recovering. For example, I've managed to get my eyelids to a more normal shape and color recently. What it took was a little help. When I needed to confront the problems in my first marriage, I had Tank Girl. This time, I saw the light one day when Punkin was watching this:

Helen: [sobbing] Now I'm losing him! What'll I do? What'll I do?
Edna: What are you talking about?
Helen: [stops crying] Huh?
Edna: [shouts] You are Elastigirl! My God...
[swatting Helen with a newspaper]
Edna: Pull-yourself-together! "What will you do?" Is this a question? You will show him that you remember that he is Mr. Incredible, and you will remind him who *you* are. Well, you know where he is. Go, confront the problem. Fight! Win!
[normal voice]
Edna: And call me when you get back, darling. I enjoy our visits.
~~~~~

I love E. She's so cool. I have managed to mostly snap out of it, though I still do have these crying jags. But all day, these words go through my head: "Remind him who you are!" Too bad that who he is is apparently kind of a jerk these days.

Monday, September 24, 2007

I Just Want to Know...

What happened to the man who wrote this? And this?

I just don't understand.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Ummm....

I don't know what to say. Honestly, I don't even know what to do. I do know that I probably won't post here again for a while and that I'll really miss doing so. I want to tell you all the insignificant little things going on in my life, but a big significant thing has come up and I don't know how it's going to turn out. I'm sorry. The last thing I need is to be alone right now, but I think that's what's going to happen. I'll write again later if I survive.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Oh Happy Day

Yes, the oldest boy is back, and yes, the younger boys are delirious with joy. Pirate Boy is doubly happy because he has started second grade and loves his teacher, his class, his curriculum AND the fact that he's been placed in third-grade math. So proud of himself! (OK, I'm proud of him, too.) I'm a little surprised that he's not in third-grade something else, but they do have a lot of really smart kids to deal with. Punkin is feeling ambivalent; he's glad #1 Son is back, he's sad that his brothers go off to school without him now, and he feels pretty OK about having Mama all to himself during the day. (Let me tell you, he'd much rather be in kindergarten!)

I'll tell you the best thing about this week, though. Within a half hour of his arrival home, #1 Son had finished telling us all about his exciting trip to China and his new sister and their trip to Nebraska and the Weird Al concert and everything. Now he was somehow surrounded by his younger brothers laughing and talking and clamoring for his attention. Dinner was on the table, everybody was busy. Suddenly, I heard our boy give such a laugh of delight it warmed my heart. "I'm SO GLAD to be home!" he crowed. We're so glad to have him.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Heart's Blood

Tonight I'm feeling bloody. Not just as in "bloody awful" or even "did I bloody well need that?" No, I feel battered and torn and in need of medical attention. It's only mostly a hallucination. (OK, this is where all the Pollyannas get to leave the room, shaking their heads and muttering, "Geez, another self-pity party...") I don't mean it that way; I just need to talk about it. Get the bile out. Keeping it in will kill me.

I may be wrong there. Thinking about it gives me the nearest thing to a heart attack, and I surely don't need that at this time on a Saturday night. I fought one off last night that would have had me in the ER if we'd had any health insurance or any money or any hope of either. Just color me impoverished and depressed and waiting to die. Yay.

I haven't posted for the past few days because I turned my right hand into a chunk of well-done meat while fixing dinner one night and I just can't type left-handed. It still hurts to do a lot of things, and even the heat of this laptop is getting to me. But I tell you what, if I ever get an overdone steak again, I'm pulling out my big ol' bottle of Coppertone Aloe AfterSun to use as sauce. It has saved my life this week and kept this second-degree burn from needing a doctor. (I'm not looking forward to having all these blisters pop, though. That's gonna be UGLY.)

TM is back in school (I may have mentioned that), and the kids start back on Tuesday. Well, presumably, both of them do. You know how Miss Thing picked up #1 Son early, right? Here's me innocently thinking that she just wants to take him to Harry Potter, and at least she'll bring him back in time for us to take him school shopping and get his hair cut and adjust his brain to not being on the "All Fun, All the Time" channel. Well, I was naive.

TM emailed her a week or so ago to invite her to bring #1 Son to junior-high orientation on Thursday. It's kind of important for him; the students will be getting their schedules, their lockers, and several other useful items they'll need for the school year. I need not mention the value of getting acquainted with teachers and classmates, or just the freaking-out potential of starting junior high. But of course, she didn't want to let him go. And because of that, he didn't care to go either.

Well, it turns out that she was taking him to a Weird Al concert Friday evening, so I could understand. And since it was on the way, she could just... what? She could take him to Nebraska for the weekend? Because why? (I still don't have an answer on that one.) And on her way back Monday, she'll ever so kindly drop him off at our place. If he's lucky, he'll get a good night's sleep as his entire preparation for 7th grade. Lucky guy.

It makes me sick to even think of the consequences of this one. He was having a hard enough time in 6th grade. How on earth is he going to deal with walking in totally clueless on the first day of 7th? Badly, that's how. But "Mommy time" is more important than anything else he could possibly have or do in his entire life. Although I understand how painful it is to have to let go of this person you love as if your heart is walking around outside your body, I do not understand how she can mistreat that other person like she does. If you love him, let him have a life.

But she doesn't. I worry about her new "daughter" (I'm sorry, I can't think of this as a real family situation, the way things are) so much. TM finally got #1 Son to talk about his new "sister"; it turns out that they did bring her back from China after all. And she is just as deaf as we thought (but Miss Thing wouldn't admit). And she "tells on" him all the time, although I don't know how, since she speaks neither English nor ASL (not that Miss Thing would know ASL either). Oh, such a happy, normal family.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I Meant to Say...

Drug-induced brain fry continues to march along. Every day, with practically everything I do, I realize I've forgotten something. And boy, is that irritating. TM reminded me this evening of something I'd meant to mention last time in my rant about #1 Son's current jerky stepfather. Well, a couple of things. First, we still don't know whether those heinous excuses for adoptive parents actually got to bring back their new "daughter" with them from China.

Second, would you believe that those jerks (I don't know which one it was; I'm guessing it was "Mommy Dearest") not only took a photo of #1 Son sitting on the toilet, but actually posted it on the Web album, at the top of the page, where it would be the first thing to show up? Another reason I could happily slice them both up, pour acid on the pieces, and dance on the remains... I almost pitied her when I realize what a jerk she's married to, but I suspect she shares his ideas of humor.

And of course, she's not even considering bringing him here for junior-high orientation on the 30th, 'cause that might deprive her of something, like the ability to keep him away from us. (She'll say it's about her time with him, but she doesn't spend it with him; she goes to work and lets him watch TV all day or roam about the neighborhood. Yay, mom.) Must wait until the 1st, even though she picked him up a couple days early. His time with his dad? Oh who cares-- motherhood is everything.

My GYN asked me the other day (after checking my blood pressure) whether I have a lot of stress in my life. I almost said, "No, why?" Heh. I think what I said was something like, "Well, there is that whole being out of work for almost 2 years and having no money thing. That's a bit stressful." She looked at me weird. "Are you still married?" she asked sharply. "Well, yes, of course..." and then I realized the implications of her question, the unspoken addendum: "And what is your husband doing all this time?" Going to school, I swear (though I try not to). Two more years. Always two more years.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Birth of a Mother

For those who were wondering, I had a laid-back, relaxed birthday. I slacked off totally on work and instead played Pirates! with my kids. We baked a chocolate cake and gave it rum-flavored, sea-green frosting. Yum! The Man ended up having to work most of the day and night, but he was home long enough to have dinner with us, so that was nice. (Dinner was Domino's pizza, courtesy of my baby sis. I totally refused to cook that day.)

Friday was little Cat's birthday; before we went to bed that night, Little Sis and her man had sent us photos from the party. What a cutie! I got to see pictures of her birth-mom and -grandma, who were there. The Man had to work from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., so I was on my own basically forever. I took it a little easy, but had to make up the work I missed and oh, my house!

Saturday TM and I finally got to spend some quality time together. He had bought me a movie (The Corpse Bride) but we just sat and talked. It had been a while, and as much as I like Johnny Depp, I love my husband more. My folks had sent a gift card for Cold Stone Creamery (yum!), so I sent him out after the kids were in bed, and he returned with a couple cartons of sheer heaven. (Bing cherries were made to go in chocolate, that's all there is to it.)

Sunday, though... Actually, it was OK except I wasn't feeling well and had to lie down a lot of the day. Hmm, come to think of it, that's not really too bad at all. In the evening, I was up and about when TM opened an email from The Evil One's (third) husband. It had a link to the photos he took on their China trip, and I was anxious to see them. As I peered over TM's shoulder and waited for the photos to load (slowest photo site EVER), I noticed the title Satan's spouse had placed on this particular album: "My doofy stepson traipsing around China."

I went from peaceful to livid in 0.2 seconds. My hands actually clenched and I leaned slightly toward the monitor with a desperate desire to crush that man's throat and dance on his chest in spike heels. How DARE he??? was the tattoo of my heartbeat. How dare he call my stepson "doofy," and in a public forum, at that? Where exactly did he get off insulting his wife's child, in any case, and how on earth could he justify that, considering what nasty words (including "convicted, confessed child molester") could legitimately be applied to her stepson, his vile spawn?! The utter and unmitigated gall of the man!

Realizing how high my blood pressure was rising, I took a deep breath and a couple steps back. I tried to relax, but couldn't quite calm myself down. The outrage was unbelievable. As I closed my eyes and drew more deep breaths, I realized that my reaction wasn't altogether typical for a stepmother. That fanatical, violent surge of adrenaline belonged more to a protective mama bear, willing to stand up to anything for her children. And so I am. And he is mine. I hope he comes back soon.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Happy Anniversary to Me

Nine years, can you believe it? Nine years ago this afternoon (Hawaii time), TM and I were trailing behind a white-robed, hippy-ish island preacher across the grounds of the new "Fantasy Island" TV show, trying to get the workmen to get out of the way so we could go ahead with our wedding ceremony. Some highlights of the event (in case I haven't mentioned them too many times for you to forget), in no particular order:
  • a large dog that knocked #1 Son (age 3) down and licked him all during the ceremony
  • a manky but colorful parrot that sat on people's heads
  • a long mournful blast on a conch shell to signify a long happy life together
  • bridesmaids (and bride) in tropical print dresses
  • a groom in a Hawaiian shirt and leafy lei
  • the loud but gleeful statement, "I'm not wearing any underwear!"
  • a preacherly monologue featuring the words "intimate relationships with animals"
  • ocean breezes rustling the palm trees and tall grasses
  • a massive mosquito attack on the legs of bride and bridesmaids
  • wonderful family and friends, most of whom had made a long trip just for our special day (the chance to have a Hawaiian vacation wasn't a draw at all, I'm sure)

After cake, cookies, and socializing in the park, TM and I drove off into the be-rainbowed sunset for a relaxing wedding night at the Turtle Bay Hilton, with guava cake for breakfast. Not a bad start, really. Here's to the next nine years.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Getting Old

A lot of things seem to be getting old this week, not the least of which is me. That's right, kids, I'm less than a week from my dreaded 40th birthday. No, I haven't really been dreading it. I've been avoiding thinking about it. And when I do think of my age, I feel like I'm already 40 and looking pretty good considering. Well, I can dream, can't I? Fortunately, several of my friends have already turned 40; one of them called me this week and mentioned that the son of our other friend had graduated high school on her (Friend 1's) birthday this year. Ew, how old I feel.

And then I look around at my life and my little ones. Oh sure, at the family reunion last week, I saw my cousin who's 3 years older than me, and realized that she could be a grandma within the year. But I can't! As good as my little guys are about taking care of their "babies," they're nowhere near the age of having any of their own. Thank goodness!

#1 Son is another story. He called Friday to say he'd just gotten back from China, and I talked to him for a while. He was full of news about the trans-Pacific flight, traffic in China, their luggage getting lost, and people photographing him because he's a blonde. With some prompting, he told me about climbing the Great Wall, visiting Tiananmen Square, and seeing the terra cotta soldiers. Eventually, he mentioned the orphanage (that's what this whole trip was about, right? the adoption?) but only to tell how greedy and grabby the little kids were when he started handing out candy.

Then he said something I found really interesting. "For 2 weeks, I was an adult," he told me proudly. "In China, 12 is the age of adulthood." Really. I may not have mentioned it in this forum (although I'm vocal enough about it elsewhere), but the "sister" his Mommy is buying him (I have no doubt this is the way she thinks of it) is 12 years old, same as him. (Well, of course; he needs a playmate his own age. Duh.) Which makes me wonder about the Chinese as much as about the psycho woman. They know.

I've been wondering all this time who would allow this adoption to go forward, considering the circumstances. Besides the molester (who doesn't actually live with them and has had his record erased now that he's an adult in this country), there's still a boy who's entering his teens. And there's this girl his age, who's considered an adult in her country. And they're arranging for them to live in the same house (at least part of the time). And of course, Miss Thing can just leave either or both of them at the house anytime, 'cause they're old enough...

When he heard about it, TM's brother summed up the situation succinctly, "I can predict the future, and what I see is... a pregnant Asian chick." Tacky but likely. Damn that woman. Her insanity is decidedly getting old.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Miner 49-er

My dad passed along this article today; being from that area, his family is passing around a lot of articles related to the mining situation this week. Apparently my cousin contacted a reporter and got some stuff into the paper. Kinda cool, but still sad.

Monday, August 06, 2007

I Can't Believe It

I just cannot believe it. Actually, this could have begun the post I was tempted to write last night, which would have been a long whiny rant about how if I hadn't been so darned responsible as to double-check at the last minute, I wouldn't have even known that I was supposed to report for jury duty this morning. And how I'd forgotten when I postponed it originally (it was supposed to be during my family reunion last week) that today was my deadline as well as smack-dab in the middle of Migraine Week. And how I was going to lose out on about $100, which my family could ill afford at this time. And don't get me started about "What am I supposed to do with my kids all day?" That was a good whine.

But guess what? I went to jury duty, the kids went to work with dad, they had a great time, I got dismissed right away, we got home for lunch and a nap, I finished my articles in plenty of time (for the first time ever) and have actually been working on other people's! Punkin Boy fell asleep early, so bedtime was very quiet, and Pirate Boy promises to sleep till noon tomorrow. (Don't you believe it; but it's very nice of him.)

Whew! I am not staying up past midnight tonight. Must get rid of the puffy eyes from crying my self-pitying loser self to sleep last night. And I'll probably have no work at all to do tomorrow. Can you believe how sweet life is?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Quick! Look Over There!


Yo ho ho, my youngest niece Cat steals all the treasure while Punkin Boy and Darla (a.k.a. the crew) are distracted. She tells her mama (via sign language) that she plans to eat it. Well, that's a safe hiding place... sort of.
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Thursday, July 26, 2007

By the Way

It's on my mind, although I haven't mentioned it: #1 Son is on his trip to China, or at least I presume so. (Miss Thing doesn't bother sending an email saying, "OK, we're leaving tomorrow" or anything. The only information we've got is what he told me after talking to her on the phone a couple weeks back. How any parent can be expected to live this way is beyond me.)

Now tell me, you parents out there (and even you non-parents with a bit of imagination): With the information that's been in the news lately, combined with the widespread pet sickness, would you feel comfortable about your kid traveling (and specifically eating) in China these days? Me neither.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Times Are a-Changin'

This weekend, my little Punkin Boy gave a talk in church for the first time. Yes, he is 4 years old, and yes, that's probably weird in any culture other than the one I belong to. It's just what we do. With most people, I think it helps them become better public speakers over the years, so generally, it's a good thing.

TM and I went to watch him. For those who are unaware, during the second hour of our Sunday meetings, the kids ages 3 to 7 gather for "Sharing Time" and for another hour in individual classes. (The older kids do classes first.) Talks happen during "Sharing Time."

I was really nervous for him. I still remember my first talk when I was 4. I had prepared a really good talk (I thought) on the story of Jonah. I wrote it all out and was ready (though a little scared) to give it when the time came. But I guess I was a little too timid. My voice apparently didn't carry to the back of the room, and some kids commented on it. The nice lady who was in charge thought my talk was so good (so the story goes) that she felt everyone should hear it. But since my voice was too quiet, she took my notes out of my hand and read them again.

I was so humiliated I wanted to die-- not just then, but every time anyone has ever asked me to give a talk in church since then. I have had to rudely run away or hang up on people once or twice without explaining because I felt that I must throw up right now. How embarrassing. You'd think I'd get over it, especially after all these years and all those speech classes. But no.

I sat there at the back of the room, clutching my husband's hand and trying to smile instead of panic on behalf of my baby. I realized that nowadays there are microphones at the podium so that nobody has to go through what I did. (Of course it was all about me.) And Punkin Boy stepped right up to the microphone and started to read out his talk (on Ephesians Ch. 6) just as bold as you please.

But then it hit me: someone had turned off the microphone earlier and hadn't turned it back on! I panicked. I trembled in my seat. I wanted to cry or yell at someone, "Don't do this to my baby!" I was terrified and could just about see the whole scenario repeating itself. Then one of the "nice ladies in charge" got up-- my life flashed before my eyes-- and turned the microphone back on.

Whew! Punkin Boy had another couple sentences to go and hadn't noticed a thing. He finished reading, nodded to the audience, and went back to his seat smiling proudly. I could hardly keep back the tears. "Good job, baby," I whispered, and he ran to me and climbed on my lap for a hug. Crisis averted. Happy times.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Psycho Babble

Just had to share: I got an email from a long-lost high-school friend who says she's been reading my blog (but not commenting, you'll notice-- the punk!). She adds that she ran into another, even longer-lost friend, who was my best buddy in grade school, and gave me a little news about her, too. I'm so psyched! Maybe Classmates.com is worth something, after all.

I want this job at my favorite chocolate factory, but I can't have it because of my back. Do you think I can persuade TM to take a crack at it? (Did someone say "crack addict"? Yep, I'm hooked on chocolate.)

Meanwhile, I'm avoiding doing my work. I'm getting editor (I almost typed "idiot" rather Freudianly) burnout already. Need to be independently wealthy so that I can focus on my writing instead. Overdrawn and behind on the bills just isn't cutting it.

Still, my children have a roof over their heads despite nearly 2 years without me bringing home the bacon. And they're showing signs of becoming such overachieving super-geniuses as the world hasn't seen since the passing of Isaac Asimov (oops, sorry, Brother Card). So it's not all bad.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fed Up

I've had just about enough of everything tonight, especially work. But I haven't killed anyone yet. Good on me.

By the bye, did you know that cocoa-oatmeal Raisinette cookies, when frozen and then warmed in the microwave, smell just like toasted marshmallows? I wonder why...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Get It Now

There surely was something suspicious about the sudden decision on The Evil One's part to whisk #1 Son away from us early even though she was supposed to work, and now I know what the motivation was. Harry Potter. Or rather, the persistent desire to have #1 Son think she's just the best, most fun person in the world. Still. I've been slammed for calling her a Disneyland mom, but what do you call it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

I've been down with migraine all day long. Well, actually, since 3 p.m. last Thursday. But today, I couldn't even get up out of bed until it was time to make dinner, and even then I had to really concentrate to boil some spaghetti.

#1 Son was out most of the day with a church group, waterskiing and having a good time. I was really glad of it, though his little brothers were lonely. I struggled through the bedtime routine, having told #1 Son I'd be glad to hear more about his day once the other kids were taken care of.

But while I was in the other room singing lullabyes, who should call up but the Evil One. "Well, it looks like we'll be going to China on the 25th; I think I'll come pick you up tomorrow," she tells him. My first thought was, "You're not going to see your dad again until September..." Actually, I had a moment of "She's not supposed to come until Sunday-- Saturday at earliest!" But that was part of the whole train of thought: The Man's working till 11 tonight, he'll be leaving again early in the morning, and he's working late again tomorrow. He'll be devastated not to see his boy even to say goodbye...

I was good, though. I didn't yell or scream or even make a sarcastic remark. I did mention TM's work thing, as an "Isn't it a shame?" aside. I didn't mention how his brothers will cry when he up and leaves with hardly any warning. That's for me to deal with.

Some days I feel like quoting from Hook:

"I hate... I hate... I hate Peter Pan!" Only it's not Peter Pan, it's that nasty, nasty, selfish woman who gave birth to #1 Son. And I really hate feeling this way.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Nose to the Grindstone, Sorta

Lucky me, deadline falls right smack in the middle of Migraine Week. I did edited 40 articles one deadline day last month, though, so I'm sure I can do it again. Yeah, I'm sure I can. I don't even have to bake a cake this time.

What I'm working on recently: "How to Deal with Premenstrual Irritability" (also "How to Breed Peafowl" and "How to Grow a Beard"-- all from one author!); I learn so much with this job.

The little guys have been very very good today, which I totally need. #1 Son has been weird and mopey. (Teen years approaching, did I say?) A little more initiative and independence would serve him well.

The Man IM's me to say he's thinking of coming home early because of the heat, again. Can someone please tell me why anybody would stick their IT department in a building with no air conditioning? TM works on the second floor, and it's hovering around 100 degrees, again. Yack. Well, that'll be some help with the kids, maybe.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Me, at Midnight, Again

I named my blog ages ago when I was working more than full-time trying to support my family, and the only time I had to myself when I could write was after I lost lucidity, sometime in the wee hours of the night. I felt kind of silly after I lost my job and could blog just about anytime I wanted to. I could just hear people wondering "What's up with the 'midnight' thing? She only posts at lunchtime..."

Well, I'm back to the witching hour, when I have any time at all, that is. And it is because I'm working again, though for only a fraction of the pay and no benefits at all. Mostly, I don't mind. At least I'm working again and can feel like I'm contributing something to our family's upkeep. (Yes, it was bothering me.) But I'm tired and cranky and I occasionally wonder whether it'll kill me, and whether anyone would miss me if I did.

And then I have these moments of rapturous appreciation from my kids, especially Pirate Boy, who (by virtue of having finally cleaned his room) now has his own email and blog! He thinks he is the coolest thing in the world, and that I'm the coolest mama for having made it possible. Those snuggly hugs are totally worth staying alive for.

P.S. Let me know if you want to visit or write to the little guy, and I'll email you the details. He loves getting mail!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Blah

No word yet on when The Man will get paid. (What? I didn't tell you the story about how the state is stealing our interest-- I mean, keeping its employees' money for an extra few weeks?) I unfortunately know how far off my payday is (at least another month). Sigh. I guess we won't get to buy this.

Friday, June 22, 2007

When in Pain

This article really made my day. I'm still in pain, but at least someone out there understands. Now if I only could afford all those lovely treatments and preventions. No? OK, pass me the drugs. And some for the kids, too.

Friday, June 15, 2007

I Could So Home School

Yesterday The Man (TM) worked late again, and I felt exhausted. I had just started to chide myself for being such a wimp, when something inside me rebelled and started listing all the things I'd done since I woke up that morning. These are the ones I can remember:
  • Made breakfast, lunch, and dinner for me and the kids
  • Did laundry and dishes
  • Edited half a dozen articles
  • Did a ton of research on the Internet
  • Wrote one article
  • Emailed each of my authors at least once
  • Wiped a stinky butt more times than I care to count
  • Graded an essay
  • Broke up a couple dozen fights
  • Supervised art and writing lessons
  • Downloaded several photos to my hard drive
  • Recovered from 3 fatal computer errors
  • Read a dozen books with children
  • Got #1 Son to mow the lawn
  • Arranged for our food to be delivered

And did all of this with cramps and a migraine, on 5 hours' sleep. All right, I'm not trash-talking to myself anymore. In fact, I'm thinking I could be a teacher with credentials like that.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Little Rascals


More adorable kid stuff from this past month. On Sunday, this adorable niece of mine (just call her Darla) sweet-talked my boys into doing a (puppet) show with her. So here, live from Piano-Bench Theater, I bring you The Tale of the King, the Queen, and Three Wooden Spoons.
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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Pow!


And here is the handsome and talented Pirate Boy (did I mention he's 7 years old now?) getting his kicks on some grass that's way healthier than ours. (Yes, it is way too hot to wear that shirt outside. Luckily his pants are well air-conditioned.)
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Pop!


Here we have Punkin Boy doing his impression of a baby dragon hatching out of its egg. I'm telling you, people, the amusement never ends.
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Monday, June 11, 2007

Ahoy!

It's Pirate Boy's birthday, and the little rogue is now seven! Boy, that's going to take some getting used to. I have a ton to do today, as those of you with kids can imagine.

Plus! I have to do my entire month's edits before morning--huzzah! The project boss emailed me this morning to see what was up; she had this kind of worried tone. Well, yeah, I know I've got a lot of articles to edit before 7 a.m. tomorrow (like, 40). Now that I've written my 40 articles I can devote all my time to the editing. Be done by one. Ciao!

Well, it was something like that. By lunchtime, I had 16 done, and I've done another 6 since. (I took a break to bake a cake and run the kids around the...neighborhood. No lakes.) I will be done tonight. And I have some words for some of those writers...

Anyway, just thought I'd let you know I'm still alive. Love you all!

Friday, June 01, 2007

Easy Come, Easy Go

Yesterday, I was disappointed (to say the least) to learn that the contract for my second job fell through, so I won't be working that one after all. At least this time. They'll try again later. Sigh. I figured it must have been for the best, since I'm struggling just to get my minimum articles done now that the kids are home from school. "I guess I couldn't handle another job," I told myself.

Then this afternoon, the writing project boss called me up and asked, "Are you an editor? Would you like to be an editor for us?" Sweet! Yes and yes, I said. Apparently, the editing is easier and way faster than the writing (go figure), so the editors make pretty decent money. Awwriiighht!

Meanwhile, The Man (TM) is still working 2 jobs, one of which has him for, what, 14 hours just today. That makes my full-time job as a mom a lot more tiring. (Still could be worse--I'm not really a single parent, I keep reminding myself!)

I'm just about recovered from last weekend, with the visit of 8 of my wonderful relatives (including 2 of the cutest nieces anyone's ever had). And it turns out TM's parents will be arriving for a visit either tonight or tomorrow, depending on how fast Dad decides to drive. Whee!

Anybody got a spare nap on them?

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

WooHOO!

I got a job offer today! It would pay a lot more than I'm making now and be part time work from home. I told them heck yeah, I'm interested. Bring it on!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Getting Close

Look at that ticker. Four days left. Yikes! Actually, it's not that bad, now that I've gotten rid of the bleeding and most of the migraine hangover. I've gotten a sitter for my two cute little nieces for most of the day Saturday (and that's huge). Now I just need to find someone to watch my 3 sons between 9:30 and noon, and someone to bring them to the temple at 2:00. The Man (TM) and I have to be inside from 11:30 on, and yes, it does take a couple hours to get there.

The logistics are driving me crazy, but I think I've nearly got it figured out. My folks are flying in that day and meeting us there, my sisters are coming an hour after the rest of us, various guests may or may not attend (although that part is OK). I expect to be worried sick until everyone actually shows up, but I'm going to try to relax and trust in the Lord. He wants us there, so it will all work out, I'm sure.

The thing that bothers me most is #1 Son. Because he's got a different mother and because he hasn't been baptized, he doesn't get to be in the temple with us. His cousins who were going to spend that time with him aren't going to make it now, so he'll just be sitting by himself for a while, and it breaks my heart to think of how lonely that will feel. Maybe he'll just bring a book and shrug it off. I sort of hope so. But if not... how can we help him know he's a loved and wanted part of our family?

Too Tired

CNN reports: Work is wearing people out lately more than ever before. Who knew? (I did.)

Monday, May 14, 2007

You've Really Gotta Hear This

"Geeks in Love" is the new totally favorite song of The Man (TM) and me. Anybody else identify with this video? Makes me wanna dance. Lyrics provided below for your amusement and edification. #:)

Geeks In Love

Nobody's cool as we, nor quite as esoterically far out.
We're so far out it's creepy.
I don't think they'll ever get the groovy standards that we set for love,
but they're not smart like we be.

They have no roses.
Subconsciously they envy us a lot.
They look down their noses and see a couple of dorks with more love than they have got.

When they see us holding hands, they wish that they were geeks in love.
And when they hear our favorite bands, they wish that they were geeks in love.
We rattle off our in-jokes while they wish that they were geeks in love.
And while we make each other smile, they wish that they were geeks in...

La la la,
la la la,
la-lubbidy-da-diddy-love.
La la la,
la la la,
ka-boominy-woah-nelly-love. [Edit: As much as I love this one, it's really "walnutty"]
La la la,
la la la,
ga-shibbidy-waffles-and-love.
La la la,
la la la la love.

As far as I can tell, while other lovers go through hell,
we'll know we're too cool for damnation.
We may not be cutting edge, but we won't take the mainstream pledge,
for we don't need your admiration.

They may not show it.
It doesn't fit their made-up little roles.
They don't even know it, but jealousy abounds within their souls.

When they see us on the street, they wish that they were geeks in love.
And when they hear us trick or treat, they wish that they were geeks in love.
As we lock arms and skip away, they wish that they were geeks in love.
And you can almost hear them say they wish that they were geeks in...

La la la,
la la la,
la-lubbidy-do-diddy-love.
La la la,
la la la,
fa-doobidy-ding-dong-love.
La la la,
la la la,
za-muppety-puppety-love.
La la la,
la la la,
sha-peppity-bismol-love.
La la la,
la la la,
a-bubbly-lava-lamp-love.
La la la,
la la la,
ma-spockity-nimoy-love.
La la la,
la la la,
da-ponkity-ponkity-love.
La la la,
la la la,
geekity-geekity-geeks in love.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Materi i Deti

(For those of you who don't know, that's a pun on a famous Russian story; it's probably too obscure for everyone except Kory, but I needed to do it.)

Tomorrow (oh wait, it's today) is Punkin Boy's birthday. I love that it falls close to Mother's Day; I did that on purpose. This weekend we've got big plans for our big 4-year-old. The Man (TM) has to work in the evening and #1 Son had to go to Hell of course, but we're going to make it fun anyway.

I've already exchanged greetings from some of my friends and relations, including this little item from a former coworker who was like a mother to me:
...
This is for every mother whose head turns automatically when a little voice calls "Mom?" in a crowd, even though they know their own offspring are at home -- or even away at college. This is for mothers whose children have gone astray, who can't find the words to reach them. This is for all the step-mothers who raised another woman's child or children, and gave their time, attention, and love-- sometimes totally unappreciated! ((Sometimes??))
...
For all the mothers of the victims of recent school shootings, and the mothers of those who did the shooting. For the mothers of the survivors, and the mothers who sat in front of their TVs in horror, hugging their child who just came home from school, safely. This is for all the mothers who taught their children to be peaceful, and now pray they come home safely from a war.

What makes a good Mother anyway? Is it patience? Compassion? Broad hips? The ability to nurse a baby, cook dinner, and sew a button on a shirt, all at the same time? Or is it in her heart? Is it the ache you feel when you watch your son or daughter disappear down the street, walking to school alone for the very first time? The jolt that takes you from sleep to dread, from bed to crib at 2 A.M. To put your hand on the back of a sleeping baby?

The panic, years later, that comes again at 2 A.M. When you just want to hear their key in the door and know they are safe again in your home? Or the need to flee from wherever you are and hug your child when you hear news of a fire, a car accident, a child dying?
And then there was this, which I happened across just as I was about to log off tonight. A little girl who was born on the same day as Punkin Boy is NOT having a good birthday. And as for her parents... my heart aches for all of them. Keep them in your prayers, OK? Thanks.

Friday, May 11, 2007

I Just Want to Say

I love the smell of lilacs in the morning! (And every other time of day.)

Not too fond of having migraines every day, or of having multiple periods a month.

I guess I take the good with the bad.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

More Goodness

Just wanted to share some more loveliness that has come our way. First, The Man (TM) got that other job at school (Web development) and was offered another one at the library. How nice to feel able to turn stuff down!

Also, that haircutting school called the other day to ask if anyone at our house wanted a free haircut this week. *waves arm in air, shouting "I do! I do!"* Totally. So today, Pirate Boy and I spent an hour getting our locks lopped. Yes, an entire hour. We have kind of a lot of hair, as every stylist who's worked on us has to remark. Oh, what a relief not to have 80 pounds of hair dragging down my back anymore!

The most wonderful thing so far this week is (fanfare, please): my lilac bushes are blooming for the first time since I planted them! Yes, they are older than Punkin Boy. Yes, they were blooming when I planted them. No, I don't know what their problem was. But they're beautiful now, and I am so going out there and cutting some tomorrow.

Oh, yes, and my kids didn't make my breakfast today. What? Yes, that is a good thing. See, they usually pour the milk and then forget to wake me up... (It must be good, I wolf it down so fast, right?) I love those little monkeys.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Little By Little, We're Getting There

I haven't been around much lately because The Man (TM) has been gone a lot. The good news is that he's been working. Yes, as in at a job. He can't believe his luck to be chosen as a professional A/V geek for his school. OK, it doesn't pay hugely and it's not full-time, but it's a long-term income, and that's a major thing we've been lacking for, oh, the last 19 months or so. Yay, money!

With the kids home from school the past several days, I've had my hands full, and with TM gone so much, it's been kind of a challenge to survive each day. But I'm managing, which is only attributable to the power of prayer; I couldn't do it alone. Now TM is interviewing for a Web programmer job (also for the school), which also won't pay much but will give him experience, and with graduation only a year away (we HOPE), that will be key.

OK, now here's the news I've been brimming over with: I got a contract as a freelance writer, starting immediately! They're even going to pay me for my "audition" piece. Sweet! (Such a relief-- I was beginning to think I'd never work again, after several months without a contract.)

And best news of all, we got our date: May 26 at 3 in the afternoon, we become an eternal family. Go us!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mysterious Ways

I just want to share with you the latest evidence I have that God knows everything and loves each of us. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that, especially that last part. The problem is that I don't know everything, at least not ahead of time. Well, today I learned something. Let me tell you a story.

The Man (TM) and I have been trying for several months to get things together for a special, important event that we were hoping would happen this weekend. The kids have a long weekend, it's between semesters for my brothers-in-law and before finals for TM... and it's late enough in the season that the weather should have been perfect for driving through the mountains. It was just the right time to have our--well, our second wedding. For all we knew, it was.

But things kept getting in the way. People who should have been helping us kept... forgetting or something. Nobody could do this or that, and pretty soon it was just too late. We'd have to wait a few weeks. Well, it was disappointing. I cried and I fumed. It wasn't supposed to be like this. See how mature I am. Pooh.

But this morning at 6:15 when the radio alarm went off and the weather announcer said the words "avalanche danger in the mountains," I suddenly understood. And I'm so grateful that my will isn't always the one done. Oh, I have so far to go.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Hold That Thought

The weather here lately has reminded me of the line Jim Carrey (as The Riddler) delivers in Batman Forever to Two-Face (Tommy Lee Jones):

"Not many people are both a summer and a winter, but you pull it off nicely."

(Just as a little aside, did you recognize Drew Barrymore in that scene? Neither did I.)

Starting to lose consciousness again... No, wait, take a look at this.

Well, At Least We're Not Broke...

Forgive me while I giggle like a drunk with nothing left to lose. I'm about tapped out on patience and endurance at the moment. This weekend I cried so much that my eyelids looked like Easter eggs and felt like they were being boiled from the inside out. And that was just the first day. The second day I got worse. Then things got bad. Hee. (hic)

Can it be Migraine Week again already? I think so. The Man (TM) has a huge project due at school in less than 24 hours, so he didn't come home last night until after 11, and it's going to happen again tonight. The kids were pretty good; I shouldn't complain. I just get tired. Tomorrow night we've got stuff going on, and Thursday night we have conflicting stuff and Friday #1 Son goes off to Hell again-- no family time this week. You might think that was the least of my worries.

On the bright side, poopy underwear doesn't seem all that bad set against that background. And my husband still loves me after all.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Spring Concert


My little Pirate Boy is growing up so handsome and talented. Wow. (It worked!)
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My World (If I Recall Correctly)

Hmm... I know I'm still alive, and even more, that I've had ideas about what to blog lately. (I even had a great idea for changing the tag for the comments, but heck if I can remember it now.) So I guess what we can say about this week is that my memory is still fading. But let's see what else I can remember.

I remember all too well that Pirate Boy had a concert last night and I missed it. I started feeling sick before dinner, and The Man (TM) asked if I thought I'd be going to the concert. "I'm going if it kills me," I replied. But then Punkin Boy fell asleep and late afternoon naps make him wake up screaming. In a nutshell, when it was nearly time to leave, he and I were both curled up on my bed in no condition to go anywhere. Heck, Pirate Boy was barely ready to go. Curses. But I got TM to take the digital camera and get some pictures for me, so that was a happy thing. They even turned out well. Now if Picasa would only work for me...

Let's see, what else? Oh yes, I remember that I was sick Wednesday morning, too. I know because it was the morning of my writers group, and I didn't go to that, either. I find myself not even caring anymore about it, which makes me feel kind of sad. I remember that TM was gone until after midnight a couple of nights this week, which makes me feel very tired. Easter turned out well for the kids, thanks to some kind presents and cards from other people, including my wonderful parents. This makes me feel grateful.

And on a lighter note, Punkin Boy is continuing his studies of animals in the insect kingdom. We recently found a website called "Pestworld for Kids," which has some really fun learning games and animations. The younger kids love it. So Punkin Boy has been playing "pest detective" and "pest ranger" a lot this week. One thing I want to remember happened yesterday. He came running up to me, panting with excitement and said, "Mama! Happy news! I get to see the spiders again!" Oh the thrill of it all. Oh to be 3 again.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Oh Yeah

Forgot to mention: Easter weekend, second week of April, right? And it's snowing. Again.

It did this the first year we were in this state, too, but not since then, I think. Can it really have been 8 whole years? Yep, almost to the day. I've never lived anywhere else for 8 consecutive years. I'm not sure we intended to be here that long, but here we still are, and here we'll stay until the Evil One's grip is loosed from us. (Maybe another 6 years.)

Sigh. Hey, maybe I'll luck out and die first. Whew!

Things You Don't Want to Hear...

...your hairstylist say:

"Woohoo! My third haircut!"

Actually, it wasn't too bad. And it wasn't my hair; it was Punkin Boy's. He hadn't had a hair cut since Labor Day and looked like a pretty little red-haired girl. We took him this week to get it cut at a local haircutting school. (Free haircuts are hard to turn down in our circumstances.) Fortunately, the schoolmarm came around to check the guy's work and trimmed the rough edges up. And Punkin is very pleased to be able to see now.

"I needed to do a long-hair style!"

This was from the stylist who worked on The Man's hair. He hadn't had a trim for just as long and was very shaggy. We were hoping to get him looking a little more clean-cut, but that was not to be. (Apparently, beggars can in fact not be choosers in this situation.) His first comment when we walked out of the salon (actually, the kids and I were kicked out earlier for being distracting; beggars can also be abused at will) had to do with Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, so you can figure for yourself how long it still is. Sigh. Still, I'm thankful for free haircuts. And I hope someday to have a different kind.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

I Just Want to Say

I love my family. I especially want to say how much I love and appreciate and admire my parents. They not only raised us 4 kids under somewhat trying conditions and over 30 years, they've not only been through some serious hell because of what certain of their children did, but they keep at it. They keep parenting, and not just grandparenting.

Don't get me wrong, I love their grandparenting-- I wish they got to do more of it close up, but retirement's right around the corner. Punkin Boy got to talk to my mom this week; it was so great to watch and listen to. She went from "OK, I've got to get back to work now" (don't think she goofs off at the office; this was her lunch hour!) to "Ooh, I get to talk to my grandbaby!" in 0.6 seconds. Totally cute.

/aside
Anyway, I've been really appreciating my folks lately. They don't push or interfere, but they do kind, considerate things in gentle, loving ways. My dad sends me news articles he thinks I'll find interesting and asks my opinion on international issues; with The Man (TM), he discusses computer tech and new gadgets; with Little Sis's husband, it's all about fishing and the outdoors. Among other things, my mom sends ideas for family nights and makes sure we have the church resources we need. (And the financial resources; thanks so much, Mother.)

One recent email of hers was addressed: "To my daughters." I was touched to see on it the email addresses of not only me and my little sisters (her daughters by blood) or even us and my brother's current wife (a daughter by marriage), but also the address of my brother's former wife, whom I love more than life itself, or at least more than Rocky Road ice cream. This little reminder brought tears to my eyes as I thought of what most people would do once their former in-law remarries and moves on in life.

I also reflect on how differently many of those in-laws would treat the former spouse's family. But that sister of mine has taken a page (actually, several chapters) out of the book of Ruth. In her interactions with our family, her obvious and deep respect for my parents echo with the words: "Intreat me not to leave thee... the Lord do so to me, and more also, if ought but death part thee and me." May she be just as blessed as that lady was. I know I am blessed to have her in my life.

News Flash

Due to the current diaper shortage (at our house), Punkin Boy has attained the glorious status of... (fanfare, please):

POTTY TRAINED BOY!

(I'll still call him Punkin, though.) Now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oy Vey

If anyone's still out there, you've certainly noticed that my posts have slowed down quite a bit. That usually happens during migraine week, which was worse than usual this month, plus I had a cold. But a lot of it is just me being totally and utterly exhausted.

The pain is still there, still exhausting, but that's not why I keep finding myself face-down, half-conscious, with nightmarish visions flitting through my head of myself committing outrageous crimes. Not entirely, I think.

See, I'm caught in this bizarre situation in which a crazy person (also known as the forces of hell) keeps attacking me and my family and now our religious beliefs. Which is not that unusual, you might think, but it's quite a dilemma trying to figure out how to deal appropriately with someone who insists, beyond all reason or evidence, that you, your family, and your whole church are not in fact Christian, as you claim to be.

I mean, what's the Christian response to that? I'll tell you what my instinctive response is, though I've never used it: "Don't be stupid." Seriously, who would know better whether I worship and revere Jesus Christ as the savior of the world and more particularly of me, too? Who knows more about my church, someone who's once heard a lecture by someone who opposes my church, or me, a 6th-generation member of it? Where can you find the best evidence? This answer sounds scornful, and I feel that way. I wonder how anyone can be so insane.

But that's not what I say. I wish I didn't have to say anything; I wouldn't if it was just some jerk talking to me. I'd try to politely correct the misconception, but I'd just have to let it drop, because people who say these things don't want to be corrected. And this is what The Man did the other night when he was talking to Satan Herself about the possibility of #1 Son being baptized. Despite her ravings, he was very controlled and polite as he tried to present evidence that our church does in fact believe in Jesus as the son of God and Savior of the world. We know she won't take my word for it that it's raining when she can feel the drops, but she might have accepted something he said. But no. Her response was that her information was true, but it wasn't known to anyone so "low down" in the church. Only those "high up" were in on the secret.

Here, the rude part of me wanted to roll its eyes and say "Oh. What. Ever." But that would be taken as agreement. Anyway, it's like that. She insists that #1 Son will go straight to hell if he should ever take such a drastic step as to be baptized, and she tells him so in no uncertain terms. (I won't even bother describing the desire to roll eyes and be sarcastic here. It will have occurred to you already.) And after 4 years of this, it's no wonder the boy won't admit to even the desire anymore. (See also TM's blog entry.) It's depressing. But my husband is so full of faith, he's not giving up, so I am trying to hang on to the hope, too.

But I'm so tired...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Hanging Out, Hanging On

Hmmm, I thought I'd posted more recently than last week. Ah, must have been the post for my writers group. Nevermind.

It's been spring break for my gang, so I've been alternately busy and relaxing (read: unconscious). Plus, it's been Migraine Week for me, so I've stayed away from the computer more than usual. (Though I had a good chat with Wendy Darling this week; hi, Wendy!)

Anyway, it's been a pretty good week for the family overall. Our VA money came through and we were able to put our bank account right and pay our car payment for the month. (Whew! Another miracle comes through at the last second!) The weather's been wonderful--mostly warm and sunny, with patches of cool rain that felt so refreshing. The Man (TM) took the kids to the library twice this week, and we rented and watched a total of 9 Shakespeare plays. (Punkin Boy especially likes "The Taming of the Shrew"-- I think because it was done by puppets; what're you going to do?)

And that's about it. Our break is over; the boys go back to school Monday, and we'll be getting their grades soon. So stay tuned; I feel sure the drama will return.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Need a Break

Locked in battle with the forces of evil. Still. Expecting a court summons any day. Our pediatrician has recommended medication that might help #1 Son concentrate better and do better in school. The Evil One of course is having fits about it. The Man (TM) must be lying; the doctor must be insane; we're just doing this to cause trouble for her (I don't know how); she is opposed to all medication for the boy; an acquaintance of hers says of course #1 Son doesn't have ADD or ADHD and so doesn't need medication; we need to let him come live with her because we can't take care of him, etc., etc., ditto ditto... She says we just need to change his diet to a low-carb/high protein thing. (Oh, like the one we had him on last year in hopes of fixing this very problem-- the one you insisted he didn't need to be on as soon as he went to your house for his summer break? That diet? Sure, yeah. As soon as it's your idea, you like it.)

Have no money still, but may have fixed the problem with the overdraft. Well, as soon as the check arrives on the east coast. Will need enough money to pay for our car in less than a week, but unless the IRS is really fast, that's not happening. The VA is 2 months behind on its G.I. Bill payments, and who cares? Well, besides us. They don't seem to. It would surely help if they got caught up.

Well, our house is still mostly clean, anyway, despite the best efforts of our two youngest kids. (Did you really, truly have to use the bathroom trash can as a toilet? Did you? No, I thought not.) And we've embarked upon spring break, so maybe there'll be some rest for the weary along the way. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Opposition in All Things

Whew, I feel wrung out. Those who are a bit familiar with the ongoing dramas in our life might think that every now and again I'd look at what we've been through recently and think Wow, how did we get through that? It'd only make sense. Except what I really do is look back on the past month or so and think, Ha! I thought that challenge was hard!

I was having that thought just a few days ago and remarked to someone that whenever I read my journal, I have to laugh at what I thought was a rough patch, 'cause this, now this that I'm going through is tough. Ha! Fortunately, the blessings are compensatory.

Let me tell you about my week. Sunday morning I got up to get breakfast for the kids and noticed that there was water leaking from our freezer. OK, not a good sign. I pulled open the fridge and discovered that someone (probably under 5 feet tall) had turned the controls all the way to zero-- that is, turned our fridge and freezer off. I investigated further and realized that it had probably been done the night before. And there we were, a week's worth of groceries, gone just like that: POOF. Remember last year when I was bummed about having the milk go bad a couple days before we could get more? Ha! And last year, we could afford to replace a gallon of milk.

But in opposition to this trial, our lovely church leaders got together and bought us all new food, even more than we'd had before. But wait, there's more!

This morning, Punkin Boy was complaining of a pain in his leg and cried when he tried to walk. The Man (TM) had woken up late and had 15 minutes to get everyone out the door to school. After he left, I was worrying about how I would get Punkin Boy to the doctor if his leg got any worse, when a sweet sister from church called up and asked if it would be OK if she and a couple of others came over and cleaned my house for me. I asked if she'd be able to drive us to the doctor-- of course, she said. My house is now cleaner than it's been in 2 years. I feel so good about that, and Punkin Boy was up running around by lunchtime. Whew.

Now we've got this other thing. In today's mail, we got an overdraft notice; TM's credit card payment came from an account that couldn't afford it. The bank is in another state, so even if we had any money, we couldn't get it there quickly. Once again, I'm having to look for a miracle. But I think I've figured out the lesson I'm supposed to be learning from this particular phase of my mortal experience: Don't put my trust in the arm of flesh. Just when you think you know it all...

Friday, March 02, 2007

Read It and Eat It

I was interested to see this article on CNN.com today. My dear sister has had some problems with this program in the past, and her objections (as I recall) were similar to the ones stated at the end of the article. I don't have a problem just picking up one free take-out pizza (although they hate when you do that) but I'd like to be able to afford to make it a family outing. And there you go; the company succeeds in its aims.

I notice, rather sadly, that there were no statistics quoted in the article for how many coupons were actually redeemed from this program. I bet they could even give details about how much money each coupon transaction brought in. That data would surely be enlightening. Let's see, 22 million x 700 calories per pizza...

So, come on and weigh in: Where do you stand on the issue of bribing kids with fatty foods so they'll read? (Did I just give my position away? Nuts!)

[Edited: I checked Pizza Hut's nutritional info and was interested to see that I wasn't exaggerating much with my estimate. A plain pepperoni personal pizza has 640 calories and 29 grams of cheesy fat. Don't get me started about the 1530 mg of sodium; I think I'm gonna throw up. It's tasty all right, but... gack.]

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Don't Call Us

Our desktop computer is on the fritz tonight, so I'm just popping onto the laptop for a moment to give an update about the disability situation, which various people have been asking about. The facts are these:

About a month ago, I received a letter--dated a month previously-- saying that they had received the packet of information I sent to them a month before that (i.e., before Thanksgiving). They say they'll schedule a hearing and be in touch. Yeah.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Drama King

I don't even remember how I was going to tell you about what's been going on with us, but it seemed pretty important that I should about 2 hours ago. At that time, I was still feeling pretty hurt and angry about what #1 Son had done a little earlier in the evening. Let me see if I can get my head sorted out.

Well first, he got his, what is it-- sixth discipline referral at school yesterday. This time, at least, it wasn't for blowing off his homework (though he's still about a month behind). It was for using an emergency exit to get to the playground faster than usual. He swears he didn't know (or notice) that it wasn't a regular door, though he'd noticed that nobody else ever went through it. I suppose he thinks he's a real adventurer or something, doing what nobody else does. Much as I appreciate that sentiment, I wish he'd march to his "different drummer" some other time or place.

The overdue homework/classwork is still piling up, and he still doesn't seem to care, though he could do it if he wanted to. This is the part that about half a dozen people are ready to smack him for. I suppose it's just his way of getting attention, but my gosh. Failing 6th grade for that? Running the risk of expulsion, for crying out loud? Can't you get attention in a better way? Doing good or, say, favorably impressive things, for instance? We'd be so happy if he'd, well, do his homework first and then, oh, get involved in music or drama or something. Something.

Instead, he tries to get out of being yelled at by his mother by telling her that I wouldn't let him do his homework on the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that even she didn't believe this kind of lie. She talked to The Man (TM) for a while, then had him put the call on speaker phone so she could talk to all of us at once. #1 Son repeated his story that I had prevented him from doing his homework. That, I have to say, took a lot of gall. The fact was that I'd tried to get him to do his homework on Saturday so he wouldn't have to do it on Sunday.

Maybe he was confused. Maybe. But probably he was mad that I'd taken away the fantasy book that he'd been reading instead of doing his homework. And given past experience, he had a good chance of pulling this one off. But even his mommy dearest has given up believing his stories, after hearing them one or two too many times. She yelled at him even more because of it. And I wasn't feeling too much like helping him with his essay this evening as I'd planned to do. I couldn't stifle my anger for long enough, I hate to admit. What an unfair and unwise thing to do! was all I could think.

I'd like to say that this would open a new chapter in the relations between the parental units, but no. Instead, she angles to have #1 Son live with her "for a year" (uh huh, like we'd ever see him again) because our brand of parenting is obviously failing him. Never mind that hers has been a "drop-in" kind of parenting for the last 10 or so years. His troubles have become just another lever in her campaign to pry him away from our family. Sigh.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Highway to Where?

This travel article is pretty good, but the headline is just wrong. I'm not saying anything against the town of Hana, because it's a lovely place. But the road that takes you up there... I would never ever call it a "Highway to Heaven." Quite the contrary. The result of a recent poll of people in this room (i.e., me and The Man) clearly shows the correct term would be something like "hellish." Granted, we experienced this road together, so we had the same trip to the Underworld, but think about this: other people who'd been there told us that driving a rental car up the road to Hana would void our rental agreement. That's not a good sign, in my book.

We didn't even intend to go to Hana on that trip, but I got mixed up and turned east when I should have gone west. By the time I realized what I'd done, there was no place to turn the car around. We drove that whole 52 miles up the winding narrow cliff road as the sun went down and rude mainlanders whizzed back at us (in many cases, cursing loudly and shaking their fists). I'd say it was the most nerve-wracking couple of hours I'd ever had, but the trip up was nothing compared to the trip down.

I wished we'd had the time (or resources) to stay the night, but our stuff was waiting for us across the island at the Royal Lahaina. Night had fallen and boy, we city folk know nothing about how dark night can be until we experience it in someplace as remote as this. I was terrified to try to drive that same road in the dark; at least on the way up, you're on the inside lane. One wrong move on the trip down, and you won't be returning that rental car-- ever. So we decided to try the road that led out the opposite side of Hana town. The map didn't say exactly what kind of road it was or what exactly it passed through, but we could tell it wasn't on a cliff.

No, it wasn't on a cliff. It went right out through the middle of a never-ending sugar cane field. In the absolute pitch black. In a Dodge Neon. Now, lest you think that's not too bad, and maybe even a little romantic, let me describe sugar-cane roads for you. If I just mention that they're rutted dirt roads that pass right through the middle of vast fields of cane, nothing but tall stalks for miles and miles, you just won't get it. I asked The Man (TM) for his opinion on them, and he shuddered. "Don't drive on them!" was all he could muster. They don't look as evil as they really are, jolting (as it seems) your entire vehicle to pieces no matter how slow you go, and never ever ending...

That was bad enough. But then this enormous beast came roaring at us out of nowhere. After the first second of terror, I realized that it wasn't a gigantic dragon with glowing eyes. In fact, it probably had a name like "Chevrolet" printed somewhere on it, but compared to our tiny rental, this monster truck was enormous. And it was going fast. Our headlights were on, so I'm sure it could see us; nothing else was lit for miles around. The road was narrow, so I pulled the little Neon as close to the side as I could and slowed almost to a stop before the beast attacked-- it did! It lunged at our little car, scraping the paint and taking our side mirror with it as it fled into the night.

I was still shaking as I pulled our little car into a restaurant parking lot in Lahaina. I had never been so glad to see asphalt and artificial illumination. Of course, the restaurant by this time was about to close, along with all other eateries on Maui, so we crawled back to our hotel, battered and traumatized, and went to sleep hungry. Remind me sometime, and I'll write about the rest of our miserable trip. 'Cause it didn't get any better from there. No, I don't remember Maui with fondness at all, and The Man-- he hates it. Highway to heaven indeed.