Wednesday, December 31, 2008

This One Really Snuck up on Me.

Yep it's New Years Eve. Didn't really think about that until yesterday when the Big Guy and I started talking about what we should do tonight. We wavered between movies at home, a scrumptious dinner or drinks with friends. Of course no decision was made and the day went on... and the next thing I know plans have been made and all I have to do is show up (with my famous salad, veggies and dessert). We will be dining (on Lobster) in Uptown, drinking with friends all while the kids watch a movie. It must be ESP...and luck that some other schmos didn't have plans either.

A toast from the Grouchy Dog: Dance as if no one is watching...Sing as if no one can hear you...Laugh with abandon...Hug with your heart...Kiss like it is the first time. 

"Act so as to elicit the best in others and thereby in thyself." Felix Adler

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

They Think I'm an Expert.

The point of this story is that they...the Wild Ones...actually think I'm an expert at something. No, it doesn't matter that they are not talking about calculus, physics or American literature. It just matters that they have admitted the expert thing. I guess you'd like to know what makes them look at me in awe...well, they say I am the best at making up nicknames. Yeah I know...some talent. I guess it gives away my goofiness at home or around friends...although the friends don't always get it and I have received some pretty interesting looks, but I guess it is in the Wild One's explanations to their friends that I have learned of my expertise. I hope I have not blocked out the part where they say "she thinks she's an". The Wild Ones are more commonly known as Migli, Boodle and Ju Ju Bee among many others. So it was only natural that after we named the kitties, that we would come up with some crazy alternate aliases for them. I have called the tiny one Darbilicious (I don't know just came out one day) and the giant one Japperdoo. So last weekend I was standing at the kitchen sink and the Big Guy came walking in with Darby in his arms and they both were looking rumpled and cute and when I opened my mouth I said, "Oh...Dickilicious." I think I was referring to the cat...perhaps I need to rethink my expertise. The look on the Big Guys face was priceless and we had one of those laughs that add years to your life...or so I like to believe!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Where to Start?

The relatives are gone, the tree is down (but still sitting on the front porch waiting to be hauled to the Grouchy Dog for a winter bon fire) and the toys are in the correct bedrooms...although slowly being hauled out and investigated. We are still eating cookies and apple pie for breakfast and ham with potatoes, ham in soup, ham on buns and ham cold out of the container for all other meals. The snow is hard packed (and sitting on an inch of ice), the sun is shining and wee friends are showing up on the doorstep. We are all in sweats (well maybe some of us are still in jammies) lounging with "nothing pressing to do". What a perfect way to spend a day of Winter Vacation.

Friday, December 26, 2008

A Little Under the Weather.

I don't know about you, but I am wiped out. Volunteering at school (and shelters and for the Big Guy), Thanksgiving (yeah, I know that was a month ago, but it hasn't stopped since then), traveling, know the drill. And through all of this I have not stopped to take care of myself (unless you count holiday cookies and a few extra cocktails...hey it's all the festivities) and now I am too pooped to take care of anyone else. Thank goodness the friendly little cold virus that had been knocking at my door did not find his way in until the last stragglers of Christmas dinner were on their way out the door. I plan to spend the day...perhaps the next week...snuggled in my new pink jammies and robe (perhaps the Big Guy and the Wild Ones saw this one coming) on the couch watching movies or reading one of my books (well I will try for at least an hour until I get antsy and need to take the tree down or shovel the patio or organize all the new toys). I hope all was merry for you and your families and that Santa found his way through the seven levels of the candy cane forest and across the sea of twirly whirly gumdrops.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Feeling Lucky.

As you know I was gone for a few days and that always causes a bit of anxiety for me (I'll get to what happened in Florida and what didn't happen at home another time). The Big Guy and I were laying in bed the morning that I was flying out and he turns to me and says (totally out of the blue), "We will be OK if something happens to you. We will miss you, but we'll be OK." WTF??! So that is what I had to think about for four days alone (while caring for my ailing grand parents)...nice! Well I made it to Florida (with an extra 7 hours of layovers due to lost crews and missing planes) and boarded my first of two flights home. As we were beginning our initial descent into the Memphis airport, I turned to my seat mate (a very nice older lady from Port St. Joe) and was about to comment (probably something trivial) when I see a plane coming right at us. took a second to register that THAT WAS NOT NORMAL! The woman must have seen my face turn white because she whipped her head to the window and turned a very non-flattering shade of green. I started hyperventilating and almost threw up. She spent her time comforting me as visions of my family "missing me, but doing just fine" went floating through my head (Thanks BG). This all happened in about 10 seconds (or maybe it was only 5...I'm not sure, you don't stop to check the time when you are sure that you are living your last seconds on earth...or should I say in this realm) and by the time the flight attendant saw what was happening, the other plane and turned and ended up behind us (it was heading toward the front of our plane when we first saw it). Her African American face began to turn from white back to it's natural "coffee with cream" color as she kept repeating, "It's OK, it's behind us now." I notice that she stood with us (if she was shaking even half as much as I was I'm sure she was afraid to move for fear of falling into someone's complimentary beverage) and checked about 12 times to make sure it was really gone. If these two had not been with me and saw what I saw, I am not sure I would believe that it had happened, it seems much more like a dream or a clip from a movie (although the feeling I get in my arms and the back of my neck even as I type this tells me that it was more real than anything I have ever experienced before). We landed about 10 minutes later and my next plane had already begun to board. The pilots sitting in that cockpit (maybe their legs were shaking and they couldn't stand either) should be grateful for my hasty departure as I would have had a few words to say to them if I had had "WTF! You dudes always fly like this...were those your buddies I waved to back there...are we on a movie you have any Valium?" I sped through the Memphis airport, looking like a drunk housewife (my stiletto boots didn't help) praying to make my connection and that the flight attendants would be speedy with their beverage service...near death experiences give a little credibility to the saying "I could really use a cocktail right now."

Monday, December 15, 2008

On my way...

Bathing suit...check. Camera...check. Flip flops...check. Books...check. Sunglasses...check. Sound emotional state of well being...working on that. My bags are packed, one Wild One is off to school with dozens of cookies for the teachers exchange (yes the families bake for the teachers and they "exchange"), the other two Wild Ones are starting to stir and will soon be off with their cookies too. Instead of sending the Big Guy off to the office, he will be sending me off in a plane. I am on my way to Panama City Beach to see my very special grandparents, "Grammer" and "Great." Yeah I know it's not the best time to leave (unless you consider I am trading -5 degrees for 75 degrees), but sometimes "you gotta do what you gotta do" and that time is right now. I hope to post pictures this week, but in case I become MIA you will know where I am (I dare you to come find me). Til then...revel in gratefulness and share a few extra hugs.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Speaking of Elves.

This crazy little guy has been in my family for...well let's just say...ever. He is a little worse for the wear, but his magic is still alive. You see he shows up when he wants to (sometime around the Christmas holidays) and where he wants to. He moves around when no one is looking and we never know where to expect him next. We haven't seen him in a few years, but again this year when we were decorating our Christmas tree we started to look for him. We couldn't find him and it was kind of sad, we figured maybe he had moved on (perhaps another family...or gasp...went to Elfie heaven). We hung our new star garland and went about the business of eating Christmas candy and watching Christmas movies and soon let our thoughts of The Elf become fond memories. The next day I was standing in the kitchen when I heard one of the Wild Ones screeching...I listened for a second to decipher the "type" of screech I had heard, determined it to be an excited sound and leaped for the living room. The Elf had appeared...lounging in the new garland as if he hadn't been gone for all those years. You think I am making this up? The Big Guy and I looked at each other "knowingly," each sure the other had something to do with it. We did just one had seen it, no one heard it, and no one knows how it happened. All I know is that he is back, raising the level of Christmas cheer each time we find him hiding in a new spot. This is where I found him this morning.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Family Tradition.

It is just not Christmas around this house until we have watched this least 3 times. Who am I kidding, we watch it all year long (and I don't re-watch movies...unless I have forgotten that I even watched it in the first place). I don't know if it is the tights, the pointy shoes or the resemblance to The Big Guy, but this giant elf makes me smile. The Wild Ones use lines from the movie to argue what they should be allowed to eat, "The four food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn and syrup." Perhaps the Wild Ones are enamored with Buddy because his personality reminds them of their parents...a little bad singing, a little goofy and a lot of heart. If you have not seen this movie (what rock have you been living under?) take your fingers off your key board, and run (don't walk) to the nearest Target (or Best Buy or grocery can probably even get it at your local gas station) and buy it...renting won't do, you won't want to return it and then you'll get charged late fees and then you will eventually own the movie for $75. Call in sick, get a big bowl of your favorite candy and enjoy some christmas cheer..."The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." And if you don't're a cotten-headed-ninny-muggins!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

What would it be like?

What would it be like to walk 2 miles round trip to get one bag of groceries...then turn around and do it two more 17 degree snowy weather? What would it be like to have two boys with winer jackets, but no snow boots? What would it be like to pay your rent, electricity and gas bills and have no money left over for food? What would it be like to lose your job due to recession and have to move in with a friend who is barely covering his bills? I honestly don't know. I have lived a privileged life...yes there have been times when my parents went with out so I could have new shoes for gym and times as an adult where I have had to eat Ramen instead of something fresh, but I have always been fortunate enough to make ends meet...and on the occasions when I couldn't I had family to back me up and help me out. I have worked 3 jobs at a time, I have lived with in-laws and I have sold everything I owned, but I have never been forced to understand true financial hardship (Now heart ache? That's my true story).

I was asked by a friend to volunteer with her at our local food shelf this week...and in the depths of my co-dependency I couldn't say no. I am glad I made that choice. I have volunteered all my life...animal shelters, kid's with autism, disabled children using horses for therapy, the Wild One's schools...preschool through 6th grade. I have donated money to causes close to my heart and causes in honor of others. I stock my wallet with one dollars bills to help pad the red kettles each christmas, I donate (and instigate) clothes drives and I single handedly filled the local Goodwill last month. NONE of that compares (don't get all cranky...everything I have done was very worthwhile, enjoyable and I will continue to do it all with enthusiasm) to working first hand with people who cannot provide themselves with basic human supplies. It was a very humbling experience (although I did have to flick the judgmental kitten off my shoulder a few times). 

I felt strange when people came in asking for toilet paper...when I need toilet paper I hop in my car and drive to Target and load up a big old 24 pack. I will never do that again with out thinking of that soft tissue as a privilege. If anyone is moved to donate to your (or my) local food shelf please learn something from my experience. The people that I met don't necessarily want or need the things that we have been lead to believe that they need. Items that were most often requested were toilet paper, feminine products and easy to prepare foods, but remember that if things like oil, butter, milk and eggs are needed to prepare...they probably do not have those things at home. We could not give away the canned veggies or fruit, but quickly ran out of coffee, milk and cookies. Check with your food shelf as the one I was at does have freezers (for things like hamburger) and refrigerators for perishables.

While it seemed like some people were working the system (everything is weighed and tracked...although no one is ever turned away), others turned down our offers of more...they only took what they absolutely needed. One boy left with a new pair of boots (and a mother who had the most beautiful smile) and an older gentleman left with this phrase, "Thank you for being here. Thank you for volunteering." Sign me up for next week.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Wait it gets better.

I stopped in to grab dog food today and the first thing I see is...the cute puppy from the car...OK it might not have been the same cute "dad," but the puppy was overly excited to see me...he went crazy. When I stopped to pet him (no way could I resist that) he knocked me down and climbed in my lap. His "dad" didn't think that was very good manners and told him to get off me. Guess what he called him? Go ahead, guess...Oliver. No wonder we were so attracted to each other...although after kissing him on the nose, I had to wander off before the "dad" saw the tears rolling down my cheeks. That is just what I needed to keep me going...Thank God for the wonders of the world!

For Your Ears Only.

File this under "Things that one should NEVER repeat to anyone," cuz really what happens when you are one else would ever have to know. Friday I dropped the Wild Ones off at school (did the double crazy loop) and was feeling pretty free, music cranked up and ready to face the day. I was sitting at the "I'm never going to get out of here" stop sign when I looked to my left and saw the most adorable dog staring right at me. I couldn't look away and being all lost in my freedom, I started making faces at the dog and saying things like "Oh cute little puppy, you want to come home with me...don't you?" I even made little puckering kisses at it. Just as I was about to check my status in line, I looked up and saw a very handsome man looking right over the head of the me...smiling. As I turned away in horror, I saw (from the corner of my eye) him...the handsome man...pucker his lips and wink. 

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Club I Don't Want You to Join.

As beautiful and wonderful as this statue is, I hope you never have to place a brick there. You see the angel is surrounded by bricks memorializing children that have died. We will be there tonight with hundreds of other people (including a dear friend and the first grade teacher of all of the Wild Ones who lost an adult brother many years ago on December 6th) lighting candles for our sons, daughter, siblings, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and friends. It will be bitter cold and we won't care. We will stand together in tears, holding hands and remembering. We will pray and take strength from those gathered with us. At 7 pm light a candle for Oliver and all the other children you may have know. We will recite a poem titled, "We Remember Them." Take a moment to count your blessings and give your kids an extra hug. We will feel the energy from all the love and hugs you are sending. There is strength in hope, love and friendship.

Friday, December 5, 2008

It's Beginning to Look a lot like Christmas.

I keep expecting a call from Visa to warn me that my Visa may have been stolen due to an unusually high rate of spending. I knew it was time to slow down yesterday when I stopped by the library to get a few books for the Wild One's school projects and instead of giving the librarian my library card...I handed her my Visa.

BTW...yesterdays cartoon that I obviously thought was so funny, but didn't care to make big enough to share with the rest of you reads: "I'm sorry dear, I haven't been listening. Could you repeat everything you've said since we got married?'

Thursday, December 4, 2008

I Apologize.

The littlest Wild One went running through the kitchen last night and wiped out...flat out, whole body splayed on the floor wipe out. Not too out of the ordinary...until it happened for the third time. Turns out the Big Guy had sprayed furniture polish on a magazine (long story...had to do with fixing the treadmill taking up space in the basement) and the overspray landed on the floor making it extremely slippery. Soon all the Wild Ones were running through the kitchen trying to wipe out. I was laughing hysterically, so much so that I could barely talk. You see, while I did find the wipe outs funny, that is not really what I was laughing about. I was remembering something that I had been meaning to get around to (for about 6 years)...apologize to the Big Guy. When we lived in our old house we had a two story entry with a stair case that wrapped around the hallway upstairs. On occasion I would actually clean all the woodwork around the stairway. The first time I attempted this I sprayed the wood (as opposed to spraying the cloth) and then wiped it down. It looked great, I went about my day and the Big Guy came home from work...nothing unusual. Until he went to put something in the office (passing under the aforementioned woodwork) and completely went down...cartoon style...feet up in the air and everything (I bet you are laughing now too). Well I never really admitted to knowing exactly why the floor was so slippery (I didn't do it on purpose...the first time). So now, formally I would like to apologize to the Big Guy for all the bruises I may have inadvertently caused way back when...and for all the uncontrollable giggles coming from around the corner.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Fake is for the birds...oh wait.

I received an email last night (you know the kind that asks you all sorts of personal questions, you fill it out, pass it on and wait to hear everyone else's responses? I do have to admit I love those things...must be the "Nosy Nellie" in me...Thanks Nicki) that asked the question, "Real tree or artificial?" It reminded me of when I was "married with no kids" and my mother and sister were into the fake trees. I had no kids to impress and being ahead of my time in the green movement, I thought I would give it a try. So the Big Guy and I put up the Christmas tree and he promptly left for a business trip. I was left to decorate the "tree" and it just wasn't working for smells, no pile of needles digging into my bare feet as I walked by and no bloody knuckles when I hung the lights. If that wasn't bad enough the dang tree would not stay upright in the stand. So being the industrious gal that I was (I was a terror on the bobcat and could whiz any power tool with the best of them) I decided to have a look around the garage, but all I could find was a dry bag of cement and a few rakes. So I did what anyone would do, I went inside and opened a bottle of wine. Rigged up with a little liquid gold I ventured back into the garage and mixed myself up a bucket of cement and plastered that dang tree right into the stand. So the answer to that email question, "Real of Fake?" Mine is so real I will be picking pine needles out of my feet (and the back of my hair) for weeks.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Not so cute at 2 am.

The kitties are doing well (as in they have not run away, they are using their litter box and they have not scratched the Rotten's eyes out). When we brought them home we were going to acclimate them to the house and the dog slowly, but getting an excited 9 year old to follow that train of thought is easier said than done. As we drove up the drive way I laid out explicit instructions as to how we would separate the kittens from the dog and  get them settled before the introduction. I think I was talking to myself (it happens). Rotten was in the driveway when we arrived and was jumping near the car when we stopped. The middlest Wild One immediately opened his car door (boy kitten in hands) ran over to Rotten and said, "Look Ruger, a new kit....ahh....oooowwwieeeeeeee!!!!!" Evidently the kitty didn't know the large, strange black creature was his new brother...which should have implied friendliness...and tried to hide in the back of the Wild One's neck. The kitten was thrown toward the car (in an attempt to trap it in the car...ha) and mayhem ensued. The other Wild Ones were trying to get the girl kitty inside, I was chasing the middle Wild One with one hand and trying to gather a soapy wash cloth, hydrogen peroxide and neosporin with the other. If the neighbor across the street had not had his music playing loud enough to shake the other neighbors windows someone may have come out thinking we were performing some satanic ritual. We can all laugh about it now (now that the wounds have cleared up and the cat was found hiding under the car), but I was not laughing at 2 am when Jasper was sharpening his claws on my ankle every time I moved (I think he was trying to save me from the evil creatures residing under my covers) and his sister Darby was breathing in my ear...but they are so furry I forgave them...for now.

Meet the New Abbotts

Monday, December 1, 2008

Santa came early.

Every year we do the same thing. We bundle up the Wild Ones (hope to remember gloves for ourselves) and head north to Jan's Christmas Tree Farm. It's great...they have a pile of hay bales, bonfires, people who reenact old stuff (think blacksmiths and rope makers), horse drawn carriage rides and Santa even flies in by helicopter. So this year we decide to go early and take advantage of the nice weather (I had to brainwash myself into believing it was OK to get our tree in November and that it will still be fresh by Christmas, but hey there is something to be said for avoiding frostbitten body parts). 

Santa flies in, we wait in line, we visit the "people" (the Big Guy ended up with a hand made rope and the tiny Wild One ended up with a musketball-both made right before their eyes) and just as I am suggesting a carriage ride or a roll in the hay the Wild Ones spot the kittens. Santa's "nice" helper announces that she is sure it would be ok to take one home with us. Have I ever mentioned the whining and begging that immediately starts spewing from the pores of the Wild Ones at the thought of having their very own kitten? I almost told the Wild Ones that it was too bad they had already seen Santa cuz they could have asked him to bring them a kitten (sometimes those things just slip out), but then something magical happened...The Big Guy actually said yes. None of us believed him (and I kind of felt bad for the Wild Ones standing there with a look of "almost delight" on their faces not quite sure how to react), but before he could say, "Ha, just kidding" the Wild Ones were off in search of the best kitten...fighting even before they got there about which one they would bring home. The Big Guy seemed serious so I followed the enthusiastic banter to the room full of cats and watched as our new family member was passed from kid to kid. With a purring kitten in arms, we went in search of the Big Guy to weedle into his soft spot. It took a while to find him and when he turned around he had "the perfect kitten" in his arms. I took one look at him, shook my head and laughed the words, "We're getting two kittens aren't we?" His answer? "This one came right to me." As if he had to talk us into it! So much for the hay bales and carriage rides...the Wild Ones wouldn't even get out of the car (and leave the kittens) to help pick-or cut- the perfect tree...oh well, they know by now that I always have the last say any way.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Night Before.

This is how we start Thanksgiving...Wednesday night with the Monsons (you'll notice the Wild Ones are missing...we won't see them for the next 48 hours). That is about the most traditional thing you will see when the turkeys get cooked at my house. Family, games and cocktails.

On the menu this year...two 15 pound turkeys, shallot and spicy sausage stuffing, garlic and asiago mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts sauteed with bacon, caramelized onions and gorgonzola cheese, swiss corn and roasted root and green veggies and multi-grain ciabatta buns all served with slices of pumpkin, apple, blueberry and lemon pie and one chocolate cheesecake. A little red and white wine to top it all off and all should be happy. Throw in a round of pool, some ping pong and some very verbal board games and you got what closely resembles a perfect day. 

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you and your families...gobble gobble.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Where's my book?


The setting: The day before Thanksgiving, 24 people coming for dinner. Chairs need recovering, strange man hanging sheet rock in the mudroom,  3 Wild Ones out of 5...and a house that needs a deep cleaning. One Disgruntled Princess wandering around the house (yep the dirty one) looking under cushions, behind dressers and in the corners of the closets.

The Big Guy: "Whatcha doin"?

Disgruntled Princess: "Looking for a book."

TBG: "What book?"

DP: "My book." Duh.

TBG: "Really?" Duh "What's the name of your book?"

DP: "It's just a book, not a big deal."

TBG: "Then why are you tearing the house apart if it's 'No big deal'?"

DP: "Just something I wanted to read today."

TBG: (Rolling his eyes) "What's the book about?"

DP: (Hiding my eyes)... "Procrastination."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Your Secret is Safe with Me.

Last week I was invited to "sub" for a Bunko game. I knew the host and the other "sub" who invited me so I assumed I would know some other ladies there and if they knew me they wouldn't care that I had never played before. Well I didn't recognize a single set of eyes in the joint and they still didn't care...that's when I first decided I liked this group of gals and would try my best not to run off with all their money/prizes. Turns out I didn't have to try very hard...after winning the first 7 rounds I pretty much marked my spot at the losers table (actually I signed my name in a big L I scribbled on the table cloth...yes it was paper-I do have a few manners...every time I lost another round). So there were cocktails, food, friends and fun...just what people say happens at Bunco and what they don't say stays at Bunko (wink, wink). Now that you know I am a good loser (and can keep a secret...kind of)..."subs" anyone?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Day 3 of 9.

Days one and two were filled with playdates, sleepovers, movies, dinners out and building stuff outside. Day three: conferences, grocery shopping and lots of fussing. I was thrilled to drop them off with the Big Guy for 60 minutes of peace (with my therapist). I almost skipped to the elevators with visions...and giggles... of what havoc they must be reeking in the Big Guy's office. I stood in front of the elevators (which are usually quite timely) waiting patiently (remember I was alone) when I discovered that I had been pushing my car remote to call the lift (hey I was aiming it at the doors). I did the quick look around, complete with low whistle and reached out for the real button hoping that the only cameras they have are inside the elevators. Then I promptly steered my sweet ride to the nearest liquor store and ordered myself a case of "mommy juice."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Rumor has it...

Leave it to a bored housewife and her crazy friend to stir things up a bit. Earlier in the week, I dropped my grocery getter off at the "shop" where they were to have a loaner waiting. I think the Big Guy had a misunderstanding with the owner of the fix it place because when I got there all they had waiting for me was a loser (and I really mean that in the nicest of ways). As in a friend of ours who was hanging out (and whom I think they were trying to get rid of) with time on his hands and an almost empty front seat.  

So "Elvis" offers to give me a ride home in his white suburban...all he has to do is move his "tools" and a few left over kid snacks (which I am sure were aimed at the back of his head by the tiny offspring that he carts to daycare each morning). We got about half way to our destination when we had a brilliant idea and abruptly changed our course. We decided we absolutely had to do a "loop" through town to see how many people we could  be seen by...yep that's right...we wanted people to see us together in the middle of the day...alone...did I mention together? We thought this was so hilarious (perhaps we should spruce up our resumes, we obviously have too much time on our hands) that I laughed so hard I almost wet my pants...I didn't worry, I figured I could blame it on one of the tiny ones I mentioned earlier. We made sure our route included a stop at his house (with plenty of time inside) to check out a few things (I know it just keeps getting better).

Before our journey left me at my own doorstep (an hour and a half later), we managed to pass, wave to and even talk to several people. Now we just sit back and see how long it takes the rumor mill to scatter it's first press release. Stay tuned...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm Doing It.

Arriving soon at your (actually my) neighborhood thrift store...all the stuff I have been collecting for years (and the Big Guy and his mother...I mean their stuff, not them...hmmm). I have been sorting and sifting and hauling through all my sh*#, and some lucky hoosier is going to be able to take it home and make it part of their collection of sh*#. Don't get me wrong, this is nice sh*#, I just don't own three homes any more and I want to trade my storage room for a craft room (I may give the Big Guy a corner for some tools, but I'm gonna paint the wall a pretty color and make him keep it organized) and my over stuffed closets for some clean air space. 

I spent the entire day yesterday going through closets and boxes (not even half way done) and when the Big Guy got home (carting some yummy take out) I asked him if he was dying to help. He got a big grin on his face (I'm pretty sure it was forced) and said that was exactly what he wanted to do. It was going well until he  started seeing things he hadn't seen in a while and was digging deep to come up for new uses for them. I had to get a little tough with him at this point, after all we were down there to purge not resurrect. By the end he was as brutal as I was and now today I am left with piles that reach the ceiling of sh*# to be hauled to the curb and to the thrift stores-I hope the Big Guy is not buried under neath it. So if you're looking for some good cheap sh*# to call your own head on down to the Goodwill or the Salvation're not just helping me out, you're contributing to society (and you never know, you just may find that thing you never knew you needed).

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I know you are probably tired of hearing me talk about living out in the boon docks (and frankly, so I am...sometimes), but this was so cool. I don't usually get so excited about deer...well maybe I do. We have a herd of about 12 that visit us regularly and I have been know to stand on dining room chairs and whisper yell for the kids to come running..."Oh, it's just Bunsie standing on the chair again freaking out about the deer we see every day," and off they run. Sometimes they humor me...if there is nothing better going on. But today was different...really. I rolled the long legged Wild One down to the bus (yes I drive her the 1/4 mile...I didn't want my hair to freeze...I've got a good, different excuse for every day) and I poked my head out the window to wave at Sandy (the bus driver, not the chipmunk...some of you will know who I am talking about) and holler goodbye to the bleary eyed middle schooler-still my job to try to embarrass her...until someone assigns me another role-and I see a deer standing in the street behind the bus. Now this was not an ordinary deer and it was not in the herd. It was watching me (perhaps taking notes on how to embarrass the young). Finally it winked (it's way of saying, "Thank you," I think) and sauntered off down the road...and right up my driveway. Well of course I had to follow it...I was going that way anyway. I stopped at the bend in the asphalt and there it was, in the brush on the edge of the corn field (no sky scrapers to block our view...said with a sigh of longing) about 10 feet away from me. Now that is what I call a hunters dream...and I wanted to shoot so badly I was salivating (stay with me here). It meandered off and I slowly coasted toward my front door. I ran inside and tripped over a 100 pound Lab. I was shaking and I could see the buck heading for my back yard, did I mention that it was a 12 point buck?! I saw each and every point myself...why do you think I was shaking and tripping over furry things? Well I grabbed my weapon and wrestled Rotten for use of the back door. By this time the stud was nearing the back 80 and almost out of my range. I did the best I could and now I have another item to add to my Christmas list...a stronger telephoto lens for my Nikon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What's the Warning?

Red sky at night, Sailor's delight...Red sky in the morning, Sailors take warning. This is what I saw this morning as I took the oldest Wild One to the bus (much more red and much more spectacular in person...I think I missed the height of it, it was that or miss the bus. I should have missed the bus as I have to drive to school to drop off her forgotten shoes anyway...might as well have taken her too). 

A similar verse was used by Shakespeare in "Venus and Adonis," "Like a red morn that ever yet betokened, Wreck to the seaman, tempest to the field, Sorrow to the shepherds, woe unto the birds, Gusts and fowl flaws to herdmen and to herds." And also in the Bible (Matthew XVI: 2-3,) Jesus said, "When in evening, ye say, it will be fair weather: For the sky is red. And in the morning, it will be foul weather today; for the sky is red and lowering." Bet you never thought you'd hear me quoting the Bible...or Shakespeare...just a little something I pulled off the top of my head.

The red sunrise is actually a reflection of the dust particles of a system that has already passed from the west, which means that a storm system is moving to the east. The deep red indicates a high water content in the atmosphere and likely hood that you will want to pack your umbrella even if the sky looks delectable. 

Whew...had to get at least one intellectual blog in before the end of the year...I think the quotes go be helpful and pass along this tasty morsel of trivia...and make it sound like you've know it all along...remember it's Shakespeare and the Bible.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Everyone's a Winner.

I'm sure I'd be saying that even if Orono had won (not really, but maybe). This is the first time in Orono's history that our football team has gone this far. A perfect season...until "The Dome" in front of thousands of people. No matter...we are proud of the team and the coach who got them there. The Wild Ones got to skip school, the Big Guy played hooky from work and we made a day of it. We started at the school gathering posters and spreading cheer...we waited at Caribou for the fire and police escort through town...we lunched at Maxwell's (an Orono family owned watering hole)...cheered wildly and loudly with the other red and blue crazies...and then shut down the Rooster with some old and new friends. Way to go Spartans!!! We're looking forward to next year!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back to a Simpler Life.

I just want to declutter. Give away the toys sitting on the shelves, the books gathering dust and the cute clothes that I am sure I will wear soon...but don't. The clothes we've outgrown and the equipment (skis, skates, lifejackets) that no longer fit. They seem to good to not sell, but there is hope that someone who needs them will be able to have them (versus someone who buys them for a steal and then sells them to the highest bidder on ebay). 

I scoff at people who fly to New York and buy a new wardrobe for each season and throw out the old. But, in reality I do the same thing...on a much smaller discount stores and on odd trips each week throughout the season...only it doesn't seem like I have a new wardrobe when I buy one piece at a I never get rid of the old stuff. Maybe I need to start tagging along on those New York shopping sprees.

Every room and every surface in every room of my house is filled with stuff. As I go through each room and try to get rid of things this voice in my head tells me something about each thing. "Those are the bandanas you are going to wear to the state tournament tomorrow and I am sure the kids will want to wear them to school after that, or you can tie them around your head when you clean the house and remember the Spartan's win," "That is the cookie jar the wee Wild One got for his birthday...and he colored it himself," (note to self: buy...I mean...make cookies for the cookie jar) "MIL gave me these dishes and they remind her of her grandmother in San Fransisco...isn't that cool," (for her!) "You really need a coat (and shoes!) in every color and every never know what you will get invited to," (and I'll have the perfect outfit to go with them...if I can just find it in the piles of clothes stuffed in all my closets).

If anyone knows where the switch is to turn off that voice or has some extra duct tape let me know...I am still fighting for that simple life.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Girls Have Fantasies Too.

When the weather is cold and grey and snowy and you really would rather be out on the boat...just think roaring fire, cold drinks and great friends (but not too many drinks).

It's About That Time of Year...Again.

OK it started before Halloween...the stores were scaling back on the creepy masks and sneaking out the artificial trees. I don't like to even think about those red and green decorations until after Thanksgiving (of course it would have been smart to put up the outside lights last week when it was still OK to be outside for more that three minutes with out icicles hanging off the end of you nose). So for those of you who deck the house the first day of November...what are you going to do after Thanksgiving? Of course then maybe you don't have to decorate for Thanksgiving, but you do have to look at the dancing Santa's (I assume if you are into decorating the day after Halloween that you DO have a dancing Santa...somewhere) and sparkly snowflakes while you eat your turkey. Do what you must, but if I receive your Christmas Card before the first of December (and PLEASE not before Thanksgiving!) I will have to toss it in a pile to be opened (and hopefully not lost) once the calendar strikes 12...unless I think there may be money in it and then...I will save it for the 25th.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Going to the Dentist.

Just a friendly little visit to the dentist...but the second time recently that I was rendered speechless. The wee Wild One was sitting in the chair waiting for the dentist to come back in when the hygienist started asking him questions. She wanted to know what his favorite food is. Well that's easy, everyone knows it's "green noodles," but he has to clarify for the hygienist who doesn't understand, "You know the Pesto Cavatappi from Green Noodles?" She continues to question whether he ever gets to eat that at home. He seems a little exasperated by her, but says that we sometimes eat it at home with tortellini or ravioli, but that at home we mostly just eat "alcohol sauce." Now, I know what he means and you may know what he means, but she looked horrified...and when I couldn't speak it looked even worse. I am not a blusher and when you read about people in books whose necks and faces grow bright red when they are embarrased it just doesn't make sense to me. Now it does. I felt the heat climb up my neck, then slowly up my face (I shouldn't have been so embarrassed, I should have been worried about a call from child services). About the time the heat hit my forehead, I started mumbling about the "Vodka Sauce" we eat on our pasta. I just kept talking really fast and she looked at me and said, "Yeah that sounds good, I'll have to look for that next time I go to the store." I'm sure she will...just before she makes that call to social services.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Work Hard, Play Hard...Fight Hard?

But not necessarily in that order. We packed up the kids and headed north this weekend...and took the cold weather with us. No matter, we just bundled up and made the best of it...along with a dozen forest fires. Friday night we started with a couple of cocktails (and some dinner) and then a couple more cocktails (thank God the Wild Ones can take care of themselves...we don't see much of them when the cousins are around) and instead of playing games like we usually do, we started talking. Now I have been around these people for the last 40 years and why we felt the need to "talk" is beyond me. There was screaming, swearing and another round of drinks. We all pretty much wanted to send the others out to the woods to find a log for the fire and secretly hope that Sasasquatch was out there waiting for them. We wrapped it up around 3am with kids and grandparents asleep in various odd places.  We woke to beautifully falling snow, put on our work gloves and worked out our aggressions. We started a few more fires (the old fashioned way...boy scout juice). Flamingo and Mango even came out to play. When the sun went down we went inside for a glass of "argument juice," but instead of talking...we played games.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Playing Hooky.

Yesterday I did something that I don't do often enough...I skipped out on all of my duties, headed north and spent the day with my cousin (the cute blond in the middle). It was a bit of a road trip as it is almost an hour...I'm still trying to figure out why we all choose to live in the boondocks.

So we were sitting at her kitchen table sipping our coffee (none of your business if we added anything to it) and covering all topics of girl talk when she got up to answer the phone. She was talking sweetly to whomever was on the other end when I saw (from the corner of my eye) her reach into a drawer and grab a hand gun...yep, silver and black about 8" long. Hmm...wasn't quite prepared for that. I tried not to stare as she walked to the front door, pulled it open (I couldn't see her at this point, but I'm pretty sure she cocked the gun-do you even do that with a hand gun?) and shot right out the front door. She came walking back around the corner (off the phone) with a sneaky little grin on her face. I tried to narrow my eyes back to a normal diameter, but I think she caught on to the fact that I was a little freaked out.  Turns out it was a BB gun and she was aiming at the squirrels raiding her bird feeders...good thing for the furry critters that her aim was a bit off. Now I know why we live in the Boondocks...and what I am going to put on my Christmas list.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Where Were You?

We all know where we were on 9.11 and some of you are old enough (and I don't mean that as a jab...really) to know where you were when Kennedy was shot. This is big...this is HUGE. Where were you when Obama...the first African American...was elected President of the United States of America? Most people I know were out to dinner, drinking at a bar with a million TVs or at a party with friends. Me? I was at home snuggled on the couched, draped in Wild Ones (all eyes glued to CNN) solving math problems and editing book reports...watching history unfold. Sometimes things just fall into place.   

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Just Do It!

I am not going to tell you who to vote for or try to sway you to my side, I just want to remind you to vote.  I am actually a registered republican who just can't take it any more. If Elizabeth Hasselbeck is not enough to push you over the edge then these two should...I mean...please look at all the issues and decide who best represents your ideals and your families future. And if you're hankerin' for a hot cup of Joe then head on over to your favorite (or second fav if you are a Caribou fan) coffee shop to trade a peek at your "I VOTED" sticker for a free cup of muddy water. Go ahead, make me proud...and if you just can't do it my way...hell, vote anyway, but just remember my vote may knock yours out of the water. Coffee anyone?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween Advice.

Advice for those of you that travel to neighborhoods or go far distances from home on foot. Remember this: use the bathroom before you leave and do not consume huge volumes of liquid while out trick-or-treating. We had made it about half way around our loop when I realized that the industrial sized drink that the Big Guy brought for me (and I had consumed the entire thing) had gone straight through me. Thank goodness we had hit a patch of homes at a dark intersection where no one was home...or perhaps they were just hiding inside with the lights off watching all the crazies go by. Regardless, I found a bush by a dark fence and dropped trou. Yes, it was that bad and I had to...really I did. I started to freak when a car was coming around the corner right at me, but the Big Guy assured me I was fine...he was looking the other way. I yanked my pants up and ran out into the street. The Wild Ones came running from across the street and the little one asked me what I was doing in the bushes. I tried to change the subject, but his voice just got louder. 

Devil: "Were you peeing in the bushes?" 

Old Lady:  "Me? Nooo. I thought someone dropped something in there." 

Devil:  "No you were peeing, I could see you."

Old Lady:  (Glaring at the Big Guy) "Hey is that a vampire behind that tree?"

The devil just rolled his eyes at me and ran off to investigate. So the next time you plan on trick-or-treating far away from home don't let anyone give you a cauldron of liquid to drink along the way and if you see anyone in the bushes just assume they dropped some candy and keep on walking.

Halloween 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

All Hallows Eve

You know you want to...put on a cape, a wig and paint your face some erie color. Stand by the fence and lurk behind the neighbor kids as they bounce from house to house. Run your long finger nails through the hair of the cute neighbor...ok, ok this is supposed to be spooky don't go that direction. It's not really about the candy for's about the scare factor. Come on this is the only day where you can really do stuff like that and (maybe) get away with it. Let's just hope you know your neighbor really well...and it wouldn't hurt to hand him a peppermint schnapps laced hot chocolate after you scare the crap out of him. And really there is a point to all of this. We are celebrating the end of the harvest, protecting the dissolution of the boundaries between the deceased and ourselves...oh and our harvests too. If we walk around looking half dead perhaps the spirits will confuse us with themselves and leave us alone...or perhaps they will want to party with us. Maybe I should whip up a princess costume instead...wait that's what I wear everyday.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Ahh...Fall Leaves.

This is what I am talking about. If you know me at all you know that I have a down fall for frosted sugar cookies (and my mother's plain melt-in-your-mouth sugar cookies and well...yes rice krispy treats too and sometimes a girl just has to have a piece of expensive chocolate). But it is hard to find a good sugar cookie...and even harder to make them-way to fussy and they never really look that good anyway. However, last weeked I happened to stumble upon a place that has huge frosted cookies...the best tasting, flaky yet soft, sweet but uber flavorful "melt in your mouth" cookies. I bought enough for the whole family, but I couldn't drive the car with a bag full of cookies sitting next to me so I ate mine on the way home. That left 4, but there were only three people at was out with friends. So I got to thinking, if I ate the extra before that person got home, maybe they would never even know we had cookies...I was hoping no one else would bring it up. I weighed my options and thought I would wait until later that night-give the crew a chance to talk or keep quiet. I left the bag in plain sight (stuffed in a corner of the kitchen) and thought I'd sneak a bite later. Well, later the cookie was gone, not a crumb to be found. I'm not sure who ate it cuz if I asked they'd know I was looking for it. Good thing I knew where to get more. Everyone must know about these cookies cuz I had to stand in line and wait for them to frost me up a batch...hey I wasn't leaving empty handed. This morning when I got up there were two cookies left...see I do have a little bit of self control. But the problem is that there are three Wild Ones and only two cookies. I did that math pretty quick and hid the box...and now that the Wild Ones have departed on the bus I am running on a sweet sugar high. So much for my self control.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fighting it Every Step of the Way.

I woke up this morning to find frost on the ground and covering my windshield (that voice in my head is sooo helpful...perhaps it could have told me last night to put my car in the garage). Let it be known that I do not like to travel to the bus stop when the temperature is below 40...thank you. Right now it is 26 degrees and I have already made one trip to the bus stop and getting ready for another...still not above 40. I will ignore the crunch of ice under my feet and concentrate on the few flowers in my gardens that seem to have forgotten (or choose to dismiss) the fact that winter is closing in. I will not complain forever. When the snow starts piling up and I can no longer see the heads of my flowers poking through I will bundle into my snow things, run through the yard and colapse into the form of a perfect angel (with visions of summer passing under my closed lids)...but until then I will hold out with the best of them.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Would You Like a Pillow With That?

I was finally sleeping last night when a strange noise right by my head kept waking me up. It was kind of like a knocking, but more like fingernails scratching. I was afraid to open my eyes...but also afraid not to. I turned over and peeked and all I could see was black...and then I realized I was looking at the Rotten Dog. Although I was no longer sleeping, he was sawing logs-chasing demons or a cute little Terrier through dreamland and hitting my door with his nails every time he moved. I was almost too tired to move, but I made myself get up and all I could do was throw a huge stuffed yellow dog between Rotten and the door. Yes, I know now in the daylight with caffein buzzing through my veins that I should have just made him move...but, I did not know that at 2 am. So I crawled back in bed, covered my head with my fuzzy blanket, then realized he was standing over me sniffing my head. You see Rotten follows me every where (more on why another day) and I guess he thought I might be headed...oh I don't know...perhaps to the kitchen to make him some prime 2 am! When he realized I wasn't  going anywhere (not even back to sleep with hot dog breath hitting my nose) he walked around and found a new place to sleep. Unfortunately he curled up on a plastic bag...which ruffled every time he breathed. By this time it was after 3 am and I was not only tired, but awake enough to be pissed. I got up and walked into the hallway (pretending I was on my way to the kitchen to see about that prime rib) and as soon as he trotted off I pushed the door so it was just open a crack (so I could still hear the Wild Ones if they needed any prime rib) and threw the stuffed dog behind it. Rotten was on to me by then and was back sniffing at the door...and whining to come in. I stopped breathing so that he wouldn't know I was in there (yes, if it had been daylight, caffein, etc I would have realized he could still smell me) and I thought it worked...I could hear him walking away. But just as I was snuggling back in I heard a pounding in the hallway...Rotten was running...toward me. He ran down the hallway and threw himself into the door and right into the room. Then stood over me looking all proud like he had just saved me from the boogie man...waiting for me to thank him. I pushed aside the stuff on the bed and invited him snuggle next to me...better than prime rib any day.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Yo, Mama.

It is really hard when your kids are sick. They don't have the energy to get off the couch or make a lot of noise. Remember these times when the illness starts to fade and the craziness begins to creep back in. I kept this Wild One home an extra day to make sure he was 100% before unleashing him back on Mr. A. I had a couple of errands that I had to run and he had to go with me. As the day passed, the squirrellness increased along with my impatience. We were in a craft store searching for a couple of items for a party this weekend and I asked him to help me pick out a few things that he thought "Miss Lisa" might like. He starts talking in a funny voice and tossing silly things at me. He hands me some cowboy stickers and when I roll my eyes at him this is the conversation we have (still in his goofy voice-that others in the store may construe as his own):

Me:   I don't think Miss Lisa will want cowboy stickers.

Boo:    You don't love me do you?

Me:    Yes, I love you, but Lisa likes sparkly things.

Boo:    So you really don't love me then.

Me:    Let's just get this done so we can leave.

Boo:    But you don't love me.

Me:  Yep, you're right, I don't.

Boo:    (Laughing and in his goofy voice) Oh...You...Mother.  (meaning I am his mother and he knows I love him, but sounding to others like something that could be followed by the F word).

At this point I look up to see two women looking at us from down the aisle with their eyebrows raised.  

Me:    (Grabbing his hand and pulling him toward the exit) Come here sweetie, let's go see if we can find your mommy. 

And this my friends is the real reason they invented schools.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Hell's Kitchen.

If Hell is hot, would you enter Hell's Kitchen? Hell ya! You can get me to go any where or do just about anything with the promise of great food (pack that tid bit away for later). If in Minneapolis, be sure to stop by for lunch and if you want dinner you'll have to hop on 35W and head north...way Duluth. But I gotta tell ya, it sure is worth it. The Wild Ones beg to go there any time we make it north of Rutledge. We were a little worried the first time when they placed us under this, but we just tried not to look up. The blood red walls are filled with black framed photos, art and cartoons...think The Far Side. The decor is half the fun, but the food is fabulous. They have many specialties including bison, Fred Flinstone ribs, sweet potato fries, breakfast all day and sauces that made me want to lick the ramekin (but I didn't). They even made special berry kabobs for the Wild Ones and friends. Beware of the PBJ, it comes toasted...which sounds delicious to me, but didn't go over so well with my young friend. We were given a private room. Maybe they remembered us from our last visit and wanted to give us special treatment...probably not, I am sure they cleared the "special room" when they heard that our kids out numbered the adults. We had a great night with great friends...until we got back to the hotel at 11 pm when all Hell really broke loose.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Do they make hair dye for that?

This is going to be another one of those "I can't believe I shared that" moment, but I have this bad habit of telling all, so... I have the Wild Ones at a hotel with a water park which requires the wearing of a bathing suit (duh), which also requires a little landscaping if you know what I mean. Too late, I was standing in the bathroom last night putting on my suit when I realized this. And as I was inspecting the damage (nope, no possibility of taking off my cover up with out scaring the small children and sending all handsome men running for cover) I was distracted by something shiny nestled in the middle of the unlandscaped shrub. OMG it was a grey hair...I don't even have any grey hair on my head (really, stylists always comment on that...what do they really think I look that old or what)!! So I am a little freaked out. I have never thought of that happening...does the whole thing eventually go grey? What do I do? Do they make hair dye for that? Oh what the hell, maybe I'll just start plucking!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Let them eat carrots.

The Great Fall...I mean...Carrot Harvest.

I have to take you back to May, say about Mother's Day. Someone has a great idea to have the Wild Ones plant a vegetable garden for "the mother". Well, I cannot just leave it at the veggies, so I design this whole garden/fence/sculpture thing. Yep, it was really cool and I couldn't wait to get started. Unfortunately the great ideas AND the lack of follow through runs in the family. We got as far as the planning and the planting and then the Wild Ones "forgot" all about the tiny growing things. I was left to water, weed and tend to these small green things...and I think we've been through that before. Finally we began to have miniature pumpkins, cantaloupes, watermelons and little white roots that we were sure would turn into bright orange carrots. Well, then sports started again and school was in full bloom and well I kind of forgot about all the winter sustenance out in the front yard. It's not like the pumpkins were big enough to see as I drove down the driveway...then, I may have paid attention. But today as I was walking the garbage to the street I thought about what may have survived the deer, bunny and pheasant infestation. The mini melons never made it past puberty and Linus would have cried at the sight of our lone pumpkin...that wouldn't have tipped the scale against one crab apple. But the sight of the carrot tops gave me hope that the orange veggies under the soil had not yet realized that they were being cared for by an incompetent (but big hearted) gardener. I always knew that I didn't have a green thumb, but I never thought about checking to see if it was orange.