Monday, October 31, 2005

Sam's Joke

Sam doesn't often tell jokes, but he heard a good one and was telling it tonight.

This guy walks into a bar.
Guy, to bartender: Got any grape juice?
Bartender: No, we don't got grape juice here.

The next night, guy goes to same bar.
Guy: Got any grape juice?
Bartender: No, I told ya we don't got any grape juice.

The next night, guy goes back to same bar again.
Guy: Got any grape juice?
Bartender, getting fed up: No, dude, I told ya already, no grape juice.

The next night...
Guy: Got any grape juice?
Bartender: No, man, no grape juice, now get outta here and don't come back.

The next night...
Guy: Got any grape juice?
Bartender, angry: No grape juice, now get outta here and if you come back again I'm gonna nail you to the street.

The next night...
Guy: Got any nails?
Bartender, puzzled: No...
Guy: Got any grape juice?

Happy Halloween!

Our scary, spooky jack-o-lanterns!

Sam wanted to go trick or treating, and even though I didn't feel much like it... I took him tonight. It was a beautiful evening. Kevin went out bow hunting, which he hasn't got to do very much lately, and I drove Sam into town. We stopped on the way and picked up his friend, Jacob.

Sam dressed up as Ben Wallace again, his favorite basketball player, and Jacob did a basketball player motif as well, wearing his favorite player jersey, Iverson. They looked so adorable.

We first went to his grandparents' and a little bit around their neighborhood. Years ago, that neighborhood did Halloween up right. Big Time. Now, it was nearly all dark houses with no lights on. Times change...

So then we went to our friends' house in another part of town, and that neighborhood had it going on! We walked around with them, and I got to visit with John & Canice, and the boys walked together. Lots of kids out, lots of lights and decorations. Very cool pumpkin carvings. And lots and lots of candy. One house was serving cider and grilling hot dogs for everyone, along with chips & dip and veggies & dip. And they gave out candy, too. Sam and Jacob were thrilled, and it was the perfect ending to an excellent evening of trick or treating.

I wanted to go to a couple more friends' houses, but it was getting too late. So we dropped Jake back off at his house and headed on home, out to the ol' countryside. It started raining on our way home. Nearly perfect timing. Stopped by my folks, then the 3 aunts' homes. Aunt JoAnne emptied all the rest of her Reeses peanut butter cups into Sam's sack, and boy, was he happy about that. Uncle Bob got his picture taken with our great big basketball player.

Sam won't want me to take him trick or treating much in the years ahead... I can't believe I didn't want to go! What the hell was I thinking?!!! It was so fun with Sam tonight. Both boys had a blast!

Sunday, October 30, 2005


Have you ever bought something, but had no idea what you were going to do with it? I do that, not real often, but definitely on a regular basis. Sometimes, it's something I just really like and don't want to pass up. Other times, it's just such a great deal, how could I not buy 2, 3, or 4...? And then sometimes it's both reasons. One of my sisters doesn't do that, ever. At least I'm sure she doesn't. She is very sensible with her money. I tend to blow money. My kids know this about me, and on occasion use it to their advantage. My daughter knows that if I have a wad of cash in my wallet, she can usually end up with some of it. Sam knows if I've had a couple of beers with a real nice dinner out, that's always a good time to ask me to buy him something. Ah... oh well. I'd rather be known, by my kiddos, as a soft touch than a penny pinching cheapster. Sometimes, though, I wish I were a little more sensible with my cash, like Kathy, my sister.

Recently, I found these little blue glass bottles with cork tops at Pier 1. They had 3 different styles. The blue is a cobalt blue, real pretty. Pretty, pretty blue bottles. They're about 2 inches high, and just so adorable. And on clearance for around 50 cents each. What a deal. I bought 6. Then I stopped by again and bought more. I don't know just how many trips I made in there, but so far I have 32 of these pretty, little blue bottles.

I still have no idea what I'm going to do with them. I think I like them because they remind me of something I saw in a movie. The movie was 'Chrystal' and in the yard of their mountain house was a bush or a shrub with blue bottles stuck on the branches. Of course, these pretty little blue bottles I bought are too small for that... they wouldn't stay on the branches. I liked the movie, though it was a bit odd/disturbing. All of Bill's movies are a bit strange, I think. But what I like most was the blue bottle shrub and the tricycle at the top. (You'll have to watch the movie.)

And I know I have to go out to that end of town tomorrow, so I think I'll stop by Pier 1 and see if they still have any little blue bottles left...

Seasonal Magnets

Across the road from our driveway is another driveway. There is 1 acre of private property there, and it is surrounded by state-owned property. The only access to that bit of state property is via this private acre or other private property to the south. The northern boundary is a creek. This "creek" was man-made years ago, but overgrown now to the point where it looks natural. Beaver activity created a pond and swampy area a little ways to the west of this 1 acre. Further west of the beaver pond, the creek looks more like what it truly is... a very large, wide & deep drainage ditch.

This 1 little acre is a beautiful spot, with big oak trees on it. Around it, the state property is growing up thick because it was clear cut about 15 years ago. At the time it was clear cut, the 1 acre looked incongruously like the wooded version of an oasis in a desert. On the 1 acre is an old, abandoned brine well or booster station... basically a cement structure. This structure is hard to describe... it's like 2 sawhorses, only solid with square tops and set in with cement footings. There's no roof or top to it. It's large enough that you could park a small car in it, though you can't because it'd ruin the car going over the footings.

Carl & Arlene, a retired couple, own this 1 acre. They park their camper trailer on it and come up to go hunting. We almost always see them in the fall, but only once in a while in the summer. Sometimes they come up around 4th of July. Then they are usually here during mid-November for rifle season. They are the nicest people. Carl does more hunting, I think, than Arlene. She usually brings up craft projects. I think she does a lot of church craft bazaars and the like.

We let them use our outside faucets to get water, and Arlene has used our mailbox to send cards and letters out to her family & friends. We keep them stocked up with wood for their fire, since we have so much cut and split all the time. They have a great fire pit on their acre, surrounded by rocks they've brought up through the years. Arlene often cooks their dinners over a fire. We've also shared venison with them, because they usually don't get a deer. I don't think their primary focus is hunting, but more just getting out in the woods and enjoying the peace and quiet. They've had their acre longer than we've owned our property, and I think it was a relief to them that we aren't noisy and we get along with them. We enjoy knowing them.

Through the years, Arlene has left us little bags of craft goodies in our mail box, usually with a Halloween or Christmas theme. She's given us a few Halloween magnets, which we get out each year and put on our fridge, and then pack back away when we de-decorate. When we get the magnets out, we always talk about Arlene & Carl, wondering when they'll be up next, remembering when this or that about them, wondering how Arlene is doing after her back surgery... It's cool that she's given us so many magnets, because she probably doesn't know how much we like home-made refrigerator magnets.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Yay for Cabelas

Friday morning while the kids slept in, Kev and I got up very early and headed south to Cabelas. It's over a 2-hour drive, but I guess because we went at the right time, because it was nice, with little traffic. By the time we got close to Ann Arbor, the morning rush hour had passed. Perfect timing. Cabelas, which is HUGE, has been crowded the few times we've been there, but Friday morning we had plenty of elbow room.

Kev got a replacement muzzle loader, scope, etc. The first rifle he looked at was perfect. We took the list of everything that the thief stole from Kev's hunting room, and got a replacement item for each thing. Some of the things we couldn't get an identical item, so we got as close as we could. We've never had to deal with this before, and so we don't know what to expect with our insurance claim. Some of the things we got were more expensive, such as the binoculars. Cabelas doesn't sell Bruntons, so we got a comparable Leupold. The Leupold was about $100 more than what I paid for the Bruntons, but then I bought the Bruntons about 5 years ago... maybe more. But then other replacements were less expensive. Hopefully it'll all be acceptable. We were able to get everything on the list. Cabelas rocks!

The sheriff deputy hasn't called us back yet, so we haven't been able to add the other items to the police report yet. Which is a good thing, because when Kev was getting his new muzzle loader, I asked him about a case for it. And sure enough, his original rifle was in a soft case when the thief took it, and Kev hadn't even thought about that.

It was a long shopping trip. In a way, it was enjoyable, but it was definitely tinged with sadness. Kev kept looking at me and shaking his head... he just hates this. Three times he said, "I want my own stuff back." At one point, I thought he was just going to leave or something. He just needed a minute, I guess. It's very stressful. The binoculars were the high point, I think. The Bruntons were nice, but they were big and heavy. Now, there are about a zillion to choose from, and the ones he got are super nice, and not as big or heavy. The smaller pair are pretty much identical to the ones stolen. Kev said he really didn't need the smaller pair now with the new Leupold pair, but I insisted he get a smaller pair, too. We paid for them originally, and that's why we have replacement coverage insurance. If he doesn't use them, Joyce can, or I will.

We did have a nice day together, in spite of the reason we were there. And Cabelas is a beautiful place, like a natural history museum.

Our drive home was nice, too. It was sunny and the highway was mostly clear. Which we appreciated even more since the south-bound lane, due to 3 accidents as far as we could tell, was backed up for about 20 miles. Hundreds of cars parked and folks out and about, walking their dogs, talking with each other. I bet they were still sorting that mess out while we were driving up to our house.

The kids couldn't wait to see all of Dad's new stuff. To them, new stuff is great & a reason to get excited. I think their excitement made Kev feel a little better, at least I hope it did.

A Good Time Was Had By All

Whew! It was a great lot of work (and money), but Sam's Halloween party was a smash hit.

I got the haunted house bit completely finished only about 2 hours before the party started Thursday evening... I was getting nervous about getting it done in time. There were about 30 kids here; we had a couple of last minute cancellations due to illness. I think they got a major kick out of the haunted house, and there was plenty of food and music. Joyce and her friend, Allison, helped keep the kids in semi-order in the basement while Kev and I and several parents partied upstairs.

It was a totally enjoyable evening. It's a great group of folks. I have to say that everyone was truly super, and since we all seemed to be in a good, partying mood, the evening was great. Not all of the adults knew each other, but everyone was just one big group and there was a lot of laughter going on.

Sam had a blast. I think he enjoyed the party even more than he expected to; he loved every minute. After all the kids had went through the haunted house (and some of the parents, too), we gathered all the kids in the living room upstairs, and I explained the one and only organized event... the costume contest. I made up voting cards, and each kid wrote in the name of who they thought had the: 1) scariest costume, 2) funniest costume, 3) most original costume, 4) best boy costume & 5) best girl costume. I went to a local trophy shop and had small trophies made up and got Halloween toppers for them at the dollar store. They turned out pretty cool.

So all the kids went downstairs and ate, checking each other out and finding out names... because not all the kids knew each other, either. We decorated the basement with a lot of Halloween lights and other stuff, and the food table was really cool. Joycie collected all the voting cards, and we brought all the kids back upstairs for announcing the 5 winners. When the kids saw the trophies, they were pretty excited. Each winner got a trophy and a $10 WalMart gift card (those went over very well!). We had made goodie bags for each kid filled with candy; nice sized bags with lots of candy. So even the kids who didn't win in the costume contest were happy & got to take something home.

I was happy that Sam won "most original" category with nearly all the votes. He was Ben Wallace from the Pistons, awesome No. 3:

With the Mt. Dew flowing, the kids were in high spirits. They were loud, very loud. Dancing, running, jumping, football, a diving contest onto the bean bag chair.

I think the haunted house was the big hit of the evening, though. My nephew, Michael, being the pièce de résistance... at the very end, he stood there in all black with a skeleton mask on that he could pump "blood" down the skull. He looked creepy as he was, but then he'd roar and grab at them, scaring the piss out of them!

Sam's Halloween party was all the talk at the football game the next night, and Sam was happy. Very happy.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Never the Same Again

This has been an awful morning.

Yesterday, after Kev woke up around 4:30 pm, he went back out to his "hunting room" in our pole barn, and he noticed something else that was stolen. He's tired from working midnights, and he's so sick, and now this. He is so down. We were going to go to Joycie's basketball game, but since he & Sam are sick, I talked him into going to Urgent Care. They both got the Z-pack.

After that, they went to Wal-Mart, and Kev bought a baby monitor. He tried to set it up out in his hunting room, but we think the steel of the pole barn interferes with reception. So now he's talking about getting some other kind of monitoring system. He was so bummed the baby monitor didn't work. Then it was time for him to leave for work.

I'm acting like the monitor is a good idea, but it isn't. It's more likely the thief came while we were gone. And if he comes back, we'll probably not be home to be listening to the monitor. But I won't say that to Kev. He needs to do something constructive, as he sees it, to be more protective of his property now.

When he got home this morning, he went right out to the pole barn. I know he spent all last night thinking of it. And sure enough, he has realized there are more things stolen. Kev had a super nice backpack with stuff in it that the thief took, including a nice saw, the small binoculars, and some other stuff. The thief even went through another nice backpack Kev has (he's got a few of them), and took one thing out of that. This whole thing makes me think the thief was taking stuff he wanted for his own use, not to sell.

Kevin is so disturbed by this. I am, too, but hunting is Kevin's passion. It's truly the primary reason we're living here in the woods. It's what makes him whole after a bad day at work... going out into the woods. And I love it that my husband is a hunter. And now his hunting room has been violated. Kev keeps saying that he just can't believe it. I reply that what's unbelievable is simply that it hasn't happened before now. He's mad at himself for leaving the windows cracked open an inch in the pole barn (to air it out... we do this every year), giving the thief easy access. I reply we just saved ourselves a broken window was all. He says what if it's someone that I know, that knows me, or knows who I am. I reply that it could very well be a neighbor you see all the time. It's driving him crazy. And he is so depressed by it all, which is made worse by how sick he's feeling. Last night he was looking at catalogs and ads, deciding to purchase a cheaper muzzle loader to replace the one stolen, but I threw a fit. I want the exact same rifle and scope for him. Piss on that thief. I don't care that we have to go into debt for it all. Kevin works so hard, and he's bought his hunting gear carefully through the years, and he takes such good care of everything... I told him this morning that at least you will have all new stuff, new binoculars, new flashlight... He just looked at me and said, "I want my own stuff back." On that respect, Kevin and I are the same. Even though everything that was stolen from him is replaceable, most of it with an identical item, he has an emotional attachment to the missing things. Like the Brunton binoculars I gave to him for Christmas a couple of years ago... they were such a surprise, and he never would have bought himself such an expensive pair of binoculars, he was so happy that Christmas morning, and Joycie and Sam were thrilled to give Dad something that he obviously was blown away with. Like his new muzzle loader... Kev and Sam went down to Cabelas together and made a day of it, and they had a great day. Each time he picked up the muzzle loader, the good feelings of that day spent with his son were part of his enjoyment. Kev said, shortly after getting it, that one day it will go to Sam, and Sam will remember when he and his dad bought it. Now that's gone. Forever.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Sick of Sickness

When Joyce was in the 5th grade (6 years ago), we had a Halloween party for her & her friends. We turned part of the basement into a haunted house (more like a haunted closet), and we did lots of Halloween party games and had a good ol' time. Nothing super fancy, and there were probably 12 or 15 kids altogether. Sam was about 4 years old at the time, and he remembers the party.

About 2 years ago, Sam asked if he was going to get to have a Halloween party in the 5th grade like Joycie. Well, of course! So that boy has been planning his party ever since. I've only started planning about 6 weeks ago. What a great lot of work a party is! Actually, I guess I have been planning it longer than that because after last year's Halloween, I bought a bunch of stuff on clearance in anticipation of having this party.

And of course, Sam has a whole lot more friends to invite because he is inviting not only his friends from his 5th grade class at his school, but also his friends from baseball and football that are in the 5th grade class of our other elementary school in our district. I made him limit invitations to 20 kids, but I think we settled on 22 or so. And since half of them have to drive so far to our house (because they live on the other side of our school district, which is an unusually long district, geographically), I invited all parents to stay for the duration of the party and the siblings are invited to the party itself. So now we're at about 40 kids and 34 parents.

The party is Thursday evening (no school for the kids on Friday). And I have so much to do by then! I've already got a lot done, and spent a bundle of money, but I'm only about half way there. Before this party is over, I figure I'll have well over $500 into it. The hours of work, I don't even want to total 'em up.

And... Sam is sick with a bad cold, upper respiratory infection like what I had. Kev is sick, too. Grrr...

I feel bad for them both, and I hope their sickness doesn't turn into pneumonia or pleurisy like mine did. But I hope that Sam isn't so sick Thursday evening that he can't even enjoy his own party. That would really, really bite.

Kev is on midnights until tomorrow night, and he got home from work this morning with the plan to clean his new muzzle loader. He just got it recently, and he spent last Thursday afternoon sighting it in. To sight a gun in requires shooting it over and over, adjusting, shooting, adjusting, shooting. We're pretty certain someone heard his shooting and decided to check it out. He broke into our pole barn, where Kev's hunting room is, and he took Kev's new muzzle loader (Thompson Center with a Leopold scope, about $900). Kev had 5 hunting knives on his table out there, and he took 4 of them (the 5th one is trash, the 4 he took, very nice), about $200 or $300. He also took Kev's Brunton binoculars that I gave to him for Christmas a couple of years ago, about $400. And that's it. There was so much more in that room he could have taken, it's crazy. There are thousands of dollars worth of hunting clothing alone, and several pairs of boots, all expensive. Compound bows and arrows, ammo. Sitting on the bench right next to the Bruntons was a nice range finder. I guess we're lucky. Whoever it was left his hand print and shoe print on our window ledge. We figure he parked out on the road and walked through the brush & woods, coming up to our place from the back. Where he entered the pole barn is quite dark at night because our yard light doesn't reach there, shadowed by the building itself.

The whole thing just creeps me out. Kev had set his muzzle loader in the corner of the room behind this big piece of tree that he uses for a hat rack (it's a piece of a cedar tree that was washed smooth on a Canadian lake that my brother hauled home for us to use as a hat rack because it had so many knobs on it from branches, it's actually pretty cool). Whoever entered the room had to look for that gun, because it wasn't visible at all. So we think he spent a bit of time out there picking out what to take. May he rot in hell for eternity.

I can't imagine how I'd feel if someone broke into our house, because I'm extremely disturbed by just the pole barn!

But what really creeps me out is that Joycie parks out there in the garage end of the pole barn. I keep thinking what if that sick, degenerate motherfucking thief was out there when she was parking her vehicle...

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Worrywart -or- Why I Love Cell Phones

I remember clearly the days before cell phones were so common... actually before there were cell phones. When I was a young adult, the only other commonly used means of communication, that is, other than the telephone (aka land line in today's world), was a C.B. radio. (Citizens Band, as opposed to those channels reserved for government agencies such as police, or for rescue.) 10-4 Good Buddy, Smokey comin' your way.

And that's pretty much the extent of my C.B. lingo, because I never had one. Watched 'Smokey & the Bandit' though. Back when Burt was a dreamy hunk (and a good guy).

When Kev & I bought our 80 acres, we didn't have enough money to build a house right away, so we built a big pole barn and finished off half of it into living quarters. Quickly, because our house in town sold the week we put it up for sale... and we had planned on it taking at least 6 months. The new owners met our price, no haggling, but their one condition was they wanted to take possession pretty much immediately. So we hurriedly pack up, rented a crappy little house for the summer and worked on our land and pole barn.

When we moved into our pole barn, it was a cold day in early October. Living conditions were still rough because it wasn't entirely finished. Bare 2x4s and cement floor. No electricity yet, so we had a generator. Only heat was by our wood stove (well, that remains the case to this day). And no telephone.

Kevin was working a 7 & 2 swing shift at the time - worked 7 days in a row and then 2 days off, so the days off came at any time during the week. Swing meant 7 midnights, 2 days off, 7 afternoons, 2 days off, 7 days, etc. And his building was busy, so mostly he was working 12-hour or 16-hour shifts, and no days off. For weeks & weeks. Truly, he worked about 3 or 4 months with no days off (but that's another story). So I rarely got to see him, and he had no time to work on the pole barn, and I had no telephone. I did try to use a C.B. radio (borrowed from my sister), but we could never get it to work, probably because we were in the middle of the woods and couldn't get a signal.

What I remember most about those days was that I missed Kevin dreadfully, and I worried about him CONSTANTLY. If he was 10 minutes late, I imagined all the worst things that could have happened. And no telephone.

We finally did get a phone line the following April, but only because I took a different job with my employer, and with it, I needed to have a computer at home. My employer paid for the line ($1,500 which was a king's ransom to us then; we were flat out broke) and more importantly, got the telephone company to actually move us up in their schedule. Clout counts with the phone company. Basically, the phone line allowed me to sleep, because I could call Kev at work at any time. It also allowed me to work pretty much 24-7 because the West Coast guys were constantly calling me late at night to run ad hoc reports for them left & right. I still think it was worth it.

So now nearly everyone has a cell phone. In our family of 4, 3 of us have cell phones, and my 10-almost-11-year-old wants one for his birthday (he will be disappointed). Most of my family members have one, too. I love it. I love being able to reach my family at almost any time.

Kev is cell-phone-challenged, though. He kept his first one for over 4 years, and I finally insisted he get a new phone. He has no idea how to retrieve his voice mail, and he never updates the phone. Often, he will forget his phone or he'll take it, but forget to turn it on.

Drives me batty. The good news is, though, that I'm simply irritated, not worried.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Procrastination is My Middle Name

I have a room in our basement that's all mine. It's my "craft room" and where I do rubber stamping, make cards, do other crafts & wrap presents, and store STUFF, lots and lots of stuff. It's become the room to put stuff into when you don't know where else to put it. Earlier this year, on February 2nd to be exact, I took "before" photos so that when I got it all organized again, the photos would serve as a reminder to not let it get out of control again.

I have not yet, not since early February, been able to take my "after" photo! And my room looks much worse now than those before photos. I can hardly walk into it, and there sure isn't any room for Reilly in there now. Where the hell does the time go?

I went downstairs earlier this evening with the intent to do laundry and work on organizing my room. I ended up sorting through 3 laundry baskets of Joycie's clothes that she had designated as no longer wanting for a variety of reasons. I did manage to salvage several pieces, like a half dozen pair of nearly new bluejeans that do kinda sorta fit her. And once that big event was over, all my energy for organizing my room had evaporated.

I always have a good reason!

Refrigerator Wisdom

I've mentioned that we have things on our fridge that have been on our fridge for years and years, transferred from the 1st fridge to the next to the most recent one. This post is about one of those items.

Early in our marriage, so that would be a bit more than 20 years ago, I clipped a newspaper article and glued it to a piece of paper and stuck it on the fridge. It was from an Ann Landers column, and I still think it is one of the most sensible things I've ever read in a newspaper. And I've been reading our local newspaper, including the Ann Landers column, since I was a kid. My picture was on the front page when I was in 3rd grade or so, for some school thing, and thus began my early fondness for the newspaper.

And I'm very fond of this piece of it:

I'm Getting So Old...

Alternate Title: My Daughter Considers Herself Old Enough to Cuss Up a Bluestreak

Oh boy! Boy, oh boy! Background:

Joyce & Kev have gotten into watching a TV show called, "Over There." It's set in Iraq, and it is, as one may expect, at times very violent. That's not my thing at all. I can stand some violence, but watching a show each week that you know will have lots and lots of it just isn't my idea of entertainment. I've watched it only a couple of times, and all through it, I just can't help thinking about all the real people in Iraq and their families here at home and wondering what they are feeling about this show... It's a drag.

So, this past Wednesday, we all watched "Lost" together (which, by the way, is getting a little tiresome... resolve some of those mysteries, for pity's sake!). After "Lost" we quick switched to "Over There" and started taping (no, we don't have a TiVo or DVR yet). Joycie usually stays up to watch it, but she was tired. Since I've been sick, I went to bed, too. That left only Kev up and watching TV. With our current set-up, you must watch the channel you're taping. Kev should have went to bed, too...


Joyce just spent about 35 minutes watching the tape of "Over There"... during commercials, Kev kept switching over to ESPN to catch the ballgame score, apparently. A couple of times, he didn't switch back in time and missed a minute or so of the show. That started to tick the girl off. Then, in typical Kevin fashion, he fell asleep in front of the TV. Unfortunately, the TV was still on ESPN, so Joyce missed about the last 10 or 15 minutes of the show. To say she was irritated is a grave understatement. She was pissed off in high teenage girl glory. And she cussed her dad out something awful. Fortunately, he and Sam had already left to go to the football game.

Toward the end of her ranting, it got kinda weird... she sounded just like me.


Monday, October 17, 2005

Funny Weird, Not Funny Ha Ha

The mind is a funny thing. Yesterday morning, getting ready to go into Urgent Care, I couldn't bend down to put my own socks on because my back hurt so damn much. Joycie did it for me, which was an extra nice thing to do because we all know she hates feet.

But now that I know the back pain is lung-related, not muscular or skeletal, I can put my own socks on! I can bend over and reach for things! Still hurts, but knowing I'm not going to make it worse (or better) by moving, I can somehow stand it.

Or maybe it's the nice little pills I got yesterday.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie

Reilly has been sound asleep for the past few hours. He was outside playing with Barney & Betty most of today, and he's plumb worn out!

Usually after a hard day's play, Reilly moves pretty slow in the evening. I don't think I've ever seen him so zonked out, though. I took about 6 pictures of him and walked up real close to him before he even moved. And then all he moved was an eyelid. He looked at me from that one open eye, sighed and closed it again. Sleep on, baby... I know the feeling!

Lungs & Friends

I went home last Tuesday afternoon from work sick, and didn't go back last week at all. I swung by quickly on Friday to grab my mail and few more things to do, but didn't spend any time in the office. I thought I had a bad cold, which I thought was getting better. But Thursday morning I woke up with back pain, and I rarely have back pain, like nearly never. By yesterday afternoon, it was constant pain and severe spasms. Holy crapola, it hurt! Yesterday early evening, the 4 of us were on our way into town to visit our friends that just recently moved back from Hong Kong, and I wasn't sure I was going to make it... but the bottle of wine I split with Canice sure helped! Anyway, it was still bad today, and Joycie's eye was worse again because she wore contacts yesterday (her eye turned red and was hurting earlier this week, but was looking better), so she & I spent most of this afternoon at the urgent care facility. Joyce has an eye infection related to overwearing of contacts, and I have pneumonia, possibly pleurisy. The doc is going to have my chest xrays reviewed and he'll call me. We both got drugs. Joyce is off contacts for a week. And I need to call my boss, because I'm home for a few more days yet. Ugh.

Seeing our friends, John & Canice, and their 4 beautiful kids last night was wonderful. They lived in our town ages ago, then moved to their home state, from there to Hong Kong, and now back in town. We have missed them, and it was great getting together again. They bought a big, gorgeous house in town with a beautiful backyard that is actually quite large (for town living). They've spent the past 5 years in a big highrise with no backyard, so it's perfect for them all. Canice said it's like her 2 youngest kids, both boys, don't know what to do when she tells them to "go play outside"!

I loved seeing all their stuff in their new home. They brought back with them lots of furniture and interesting items, & artwork. Some really striking paintings. From HK, China, Taiwan, Australia, Viet Nam, Thailand, all over. It's very interesting. Beautiful pieces. Some really old things, too. They have a wooden church pew from an old church where they attended some kind of programs or something (I can't remember what Canice called it, they're Catholic, we're not, & I think it was a Catholic term I'm unfamiliar with). Anyway, this church was taking out the old pews from one chapel and renovating it, like for classes or something, I think (this was after all the wine, by the way), and for a "donation" you could obtain a pew. John said during WWII, the Japanese had taken over the church and used it as a communications center for their Pacific activities (or something like that). So now there is this ancient church pew, that so many different people have sat on through the years, come half-way around the world to sit in John & Canice's new home. Cool.

I'm really glad they're living here again now.

More Interesting B.S.

On a really old beat up Chevy Blazer parked at the Home Depot:

Driver Carries No Cash

And today, on a new shiny silver Buick Rondevous:

Isn't a smoking area in a
restaurant like a peeing
area in a pool?

I think that one is my favorite bumper sticker thus far. (I say that to all the bumper stickers.)

Thursday, October 13, 2005

And Speaking of Stupidity...

After Kev got back to the house this morning from hunting, around 10 am or so, he promptly got on his tractor and I didn't see him again until about 1:30 pm. At that time, he opened the front door and hollered for me to get dressed and come outside. You see, I had to drive the truck that was chained to the tractor, while he was on the tractor trying to steer it out of the stinky, thick muddy edge of the pond. Kev was raking around it and got a little too close and it sucked him in. The right front tire was hardly visible, it was so far into the mud. He got his tractor STUCK IN THE MUD! Big Time!

I was amazed at how quickly the truck tugged him out, though it wasn't just the truck, the tractor's back wheels weren't in the mud. But it's been fun having Kev thank me for rescuing him today.

Difficult, But Necessary

Biting my tongue, that is. I love it that both my kids are into sports. But sometimes I abhor the politics of school sports and especially the egotistical coaches. I would love to tell one coach in particular, in great detail, exactly what I think about him, his ethics and his coaching skills. No can do. All the fallout would land on my kids. And since that coach is also a teacher, it would flow over into grades, as well, I'm sure. I can't even have the luxury of casting dirty looks his way. I composed a very well written e-mail this evening... but thank God I called my sister, Kathy, before I sent it. Felt good writing it. Knew I couldn't send it, though... thus the call to Kathy. She's been there, and knows for certain the futility and stupidity of sending such an e-mail out. Ugh. Grrrr..... Would. Like. To. Choke. The. Shit. Out. Of. Him.

Sick Days & Another Magnetic Memory

I haven't been at the office the past couple of days because I've been sick with a cold or whatever... something horrid. I don't really even remember yesterday. Just one big clogged up headache. One of those illnesses that make you hurt from head to toe. Stayed in bed and finally late this morning started to feel a little bit human again. Could stand upright without wanting to barf, but though I could feel the sweat trickle down my back, I was freezing cold. That has passed, and I'll be back at work tomorrow. Though there is no good time to be away from work, this is a bad week since I'm finalizing 3rd quarter and tomorrow is my big deadline. I brought work home with me, but haven't touched it hardly at all. I logged in and waded through most of the e-mails, but I'm sure my in box is overflowing... Oh, joy.

I'm hungry today but still nothing seems good to eat. So I keep going to the fridge and opening it, hoping for some inspiration. In one of the top corners, near the little man magnet, is a small, yellow paper star with gold glitter on it that Joycie made at school when she was in 1st grade. When she brought it home from school, we glued a magnet to the back of it and there it's been ever since. It's helped to hold up a lot of different things through the years, but for the past several, it's been holding a page from one of those page-a-day calendars. Both have an important message.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

What He Don't Know Won't Hurt Him

Things I do when Kevin isn't home, all concerning Reilly:

1. Let Reilly lick my plate or bowl clean
- because he just loves it and because our dishwasher is set to something like two hundred bazillion degrees F. (so there are no germs transferred from Reilly's tongue that will survive through it, guaranteed)...
I once let one of our dogs lick a Tupperware bowl in front of Kev, and he threw the bowl away! It's one of the things that utterly grosses Kev out. But... that was Tupperware! Cha-ching.

2. Let Reilly up on the sofa or chair with me
- because I love it, and because Reilly understands it's safe since The Man isn't around...
Kev hates dog hair, particularly when unnecessarily applied to furniture.

3. Let Reilly up on the bed with me, and sometimes with me & Sam when Sam sleeps with me on the weekends Kev is on midnight-12's
- because we all love it, and because when Sam sleeps with me, we have so much fun, we talk too much and laugh too much (and those times won't last much longer! soon he'll be way too old to snuggle with ol' Mom), and Reilly is used to sleeping with Sammy...
Kev HATES dog hair in his bed, and if I thought there was ever a chance he would read my blog, I'd never had made this entry! Kev is not the blogging or blog-reading type. Whew.

4. Let Reilly keep me company In The Kitchen in the mornings when I'm packing lunches
- because I always toss Reilly a piece of bread, which he catches so very gracefully, carries gently over to the carpeting near the kitchen floor, where he then lies down and enjoys it while occasionally glancing my way, as if to say, "thanks, lovey"...
Kev hates dog hair, even while still attached to the dog, anywhere near the kitchen.

I suppose it's a good thing Kev is mostly home when I am, otherwise it'd be totally dog hair chaos. Chaos, I tells ya! Hairy chaos!

More on Fridge Magnets

While Kev and I go to work, my Mom and Dad have taken care of our kids since the time they were infants and I had to return to work from my maternity leaves. Once when Sam was 4 years old or so (before he started Kindergarten), his Grampa did a craft with him. At that time, and continuing for several years, Sam was passionate about doing crafts. His passion waned to a keen interest, and is now still something he likes to do (but nearly as much as football, basketball & baseball).

This craft that Grampa did with Sammy was memorable to me because I don't recall my Dad ever doing a craft before. His grandchildren changed him in so many ways...! Grampa and Sam made a refrigerator magnet together. It's made out of scrap cloth and paper. It's a little man to stick on our fridge. Every time I look at it I smile.

B.S. v2.2

Another bumper sticker I liked, this time on a Yukon:

Don't Believe Everything You Think

And I saw this one the other day on a not-very-new-but-not-old sedan:

Humans Are Animals Too

Saturday, October 08, 2005


Yesterday evening was our homecoming football game. The weather earlier this week was in the 80's and way too hot, but it got cold for this weekend. Colder weather is right for football games, but last night is was super cold and windy. Brrrr... The stands were packed. We love our Varsity football team around here.

The marching band did a show before the game started, which was awesome. My nephew, Michael, plays tenor sax. He's easy to spot in the band because he's so tall. Half-time show included presenting the class representatives and crowning the king and queen. It was really nice. One of our senior boys became ill with cancer last year, and though he's been fighting it, I heard it's winning. He's always been a well-liked kid, and when he was announced as one of the reps, everyone cheered and clapped. More so than for any other kid. Best part, he was crowned king. It was very fitting, and a great moment. He looked so happy.

Some folks must have saved quite a few illegal fireworks from the 4th, the great big ones that shoot up high and burst out big. They were so beautiful in the night sky over the stadium lights! A very cool thing to do. They were being set off from about 5 different locations, including over the corn field next to the stadium. Then a huge cloud of smoke from the fireworks was pushed over the stadium and blew right past us like some gigantic ghost going at warp speed. That was cool! From the stands, we did a collective "ohhhhh!"

We played a team from a much smaller school, and as expected, we won... 82 to 22. Which was neat in a way because the boys that usually don't get to play at all got a lot of playing time last night.

Sam had a football game this morning, and it was their first lost. Such a bummer. Joycie and I have to leave before it was over to go to the salon for her updo:

The homecoming dance is tonight, and Joycie is going with a bunch of girlfriends. I don't know whose idea it was, but there's about a dozen of them that decided to go to dinner together, rent a party bus for a couple of hours, then get dropped off at the high school for the dance. They're all excited. I heard a couple of the girls ditched their dates to join the girl party. Too fun! Good group of girls. I'm glad Joycie has that group of friends.

After we got home from Joycie getting her hair in an updo this afternoon, and when she got all dressed and ready, she looked stunning. She looked so, so beautiful. Her grandpa and gramma, Aunt Joie, Aunt Kathy, cousins Michael and Michelle, and 2 of Michelle's friends up with her from college for the weekend, Jordan and Steven, all came over to see her off to the dance. It was fun, and I think my baby girl felt very special. All the girls were going to meet for a photo at a local formal gardens, but it's too cold and windy. So they are meeting at the high school, leaving their cars there, and a couple of parents are driving them all to the restaurant. The party bus is picking them all up at the restaurant. I hope she has an excellent evening. I can't wait to talk with her when she gets home. Or maybe tomorrow morning. She's going to an "after party" with some of the girls, and I don't think I can stay awake that long tonight. I'm happy for my beautiful daughter.

Sam and Kevin are out bowhunting right now. Sam sits, since he's too young to hunt. They packed up a passle of food, hot chocolate and reading material. Reilly is very upset to be left behind, and he's been whining for the past hour. I finally got him to lay down beside me, where he's at right now, but he is still shivering, and with each outward breath, he's making like a small groaning whine. What a dog!

Our house is just a bit too cold right now, but we haven't turned on the furnace yet. I always hesitate to do that first furnace time of the fall. Anyway, Kev said he'd build a fire in the woodstove when they get back in, and Reilly is keeping my feet warm right now. I hope my girl is staying warm right now... it's pretty cold for such a skimpy, though beautiful, dress.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Our William Perry

Most people I know, especially those who have kids (or grandkids), have stuff on their refrigerators, kept there with magnets. Photos, artwork and notes and reminders. But I don't know anyone who has as much stuff on their fridge as we do on ours. We also collect magnets for it. Whenever we take a trip, we buy magnets. We also get magnets as gifts, and we make magnets. It's our thing. Sometimes our fridge looks so overloaded on the outside that it seems like it should fall over or something. I know that would bother some people, but we like it. "A" papers, report cards and artwork can sometimes be layered on it, just because we're not yet ready to take the previous stuff down. This is our third fridge in 22 years of marriage. We have things posted on this fridge that have been transferred from the first one to the next, to this one.

This is one of my favorite magnets. My niece, Michelle, made it for me. My whole family knows I like to cook, and they generally like my cookin'. But I also like to make some dishes spicy. My sister, Kathy, and her family, including my niece, Michelle, don't really like spicy. Barely spicy for me is too spicy for them on some dishes. After one supper, I think it may have been white chili, Michelle made this magnet for me. I love it.

This magnet is helping to hold up a piece of paper that started out on fridge No. 2. It's a sign that Joycie made when she was about 7 years old. She liked to play "restaurant." She'd have a little pad of paper and come and take our orders, then deliver our food to us, whereupon we would have to "eat" it and then "pay" for it. This sign was for posting in her "restaurant":

Silent dogs are ok.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The Search for the Perfect Coffee Cup

It's over. I've finally found it. The perfect coffee cup. I have bought so many coffee cups through the years, searching for that one cup that's just right. Not too heavy, large enough to hold a good cup full, feels good in the hand. I have had a few cups that came very close. One in particular that I bought at a local dollar store, but it's so big that it takes 1/3 of the pot of coffee to fill it and then it's really heavy... and it doesn't fit well into my cup holder in the Buick. Anyway, it's cracked now so it's just a matter of time before it goes into the trash. So finding the perfect coffee cup now is, well... it's perfect timing.

The other day at Pier 1, while shopping with my daughter, I saw it. And as soon as I saw that cup, I knew. It is perfect. I bought only 2. So, ok, I wasn't 100% sure. I didn't know, but I had a good feeling. They were $3 each. But now that I know it's the perfect coffee cup, I'm going to stock up and get a lifetime supply. And I like it that the cup is just plain white.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mom! Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad!

Today is my Mom's 69th birthday and my Mom & Dad's 53rd wedding anniversary. They were married on my Mom's 16th birthday on October 4, 1952. Dad was 22 years old. My Dad was in the Army at that time, during the Korean war, and he was shipped out for Korea right after they were married. Dad was married in his Army uniform, and Mom wore a new dress of turquoise taffeta with a white collar and tiny pearl buttons all down the front. They were married in my Mom's mother's home, in the dining room. No photographs were taken at their wedding, but this photo was taken a few days later out at my Dad's parents' home, not too far from where we all live now.

The first night of their marriage, Dad & Mom stayed in a small hotel in a town nearby. They spent part of their honeymoon partridge hunting; Mom said because Dad wanted to. They didn't have any money for a grand wedding or honeymoon. Times were different back then in these parts.

While Dad was in Korea, Mom stayed with family, mostly her sister, Zula. Dad wasn't overseas very long; the cease fire was July 1953.

My oldest sister, Janet, was born the end of March, 1954. Followed by another daughter in April of 1956, a son in June of 1957, another daughter in December of 1958 and then me, the baby, in April of 1960. My Dad was 30 years old when I was born, and Mom was 23.

Happy Birthday, Mom! Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad! I love you! You have both set such a good example for us all to follow.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Destiny & a Freudian Slip

This morning my husband's pickup truck helped a neighbor's dog meet his destiny.

The family that lives across the road from my sister's, Joie, has had this huge, long-haired black dog since they moved in about 4 years ago. This dog's passion was chasing anything on the road. Cars, trucks, vans, motorcycles, people walking or people riding bicycles, anything or anyone going down the road. He was a sneaky bugger, hiding in the tall weeds on the side then darting out at you. He scared the crap outta me on more than one occasion. He was most definitely the talk of the neighborhood. I think everyone has, at one time or another, told his owners something about their dog. His owners are pretty nice folks, and we've known them for longer than the 4 years they've lived in their new house across from my sister's. They just were pretty stupid about their dog.

We have all of us wondered why in the heck they didn't fence the dog or put him on a line or something. I hated worrying about that damn dog causing my daughter, or my niece or other family member, or me, to crash their car.

I had never met the dog up close & personal, and maybe that's why it's easy for me to say that I am so relieved he's dead. And I'm glad it was Kev's truck that did it, because it caused no damage to the truck. If it had been Joycie's little Rodeo or my Buick, it probably would have dented us or caused us to go into the ditch (which is a very deep ditch on one side). I'm only sad that Sam had to witness it this morning. He was upset. I'm also sad that the family's daughter (a 10th grader) saw it happen. She was real upset.

When Kev stopped, the dad was just arriving home from work. His name is John. He was nice about it, even apologized to Kevin. He said they knew it was bound to happen. The son told Kev that they had tried to get the dog to stop chasing cars, but the dog just wouldn't stop. We've seen them out there waiting for the bus or whatever, and it has never looked to me like they were trying to get the dog to stop. Mostly they'd just watch him. Didn't holler at him to come back.

I think John should have also thanked Kevin. I think Kev could have just possibly saved them from a big ol' lawsuit.

I was telling my other sister, Kathy, about the dead dog while on my drive to work this morning. I knew she would be very interested. Kathy lives next to Joie, and has a greater loathing than I of that dog. Of course, Kathy has had to deal with him much, much more than I ever did. I'm not saying she was happy about it... but rather relieved, like me, only to a greater extent. She told me that she heard the dog get hit the other evening, a screech of tires and a bout of yelping. Maybe that slowed him down enough that he was off his timing with Kev's truck this morning.

Kathy and her family have a nice little dog, a sweetheart named Lady. Kathy is not one to have a dog in the house, though, so Lady has a very nice abode (in the shade and also heated in winter) and she's on a line that is attached to a long line, so Lady's line moves along and she can cover a lot of territory. Lady isn't on the line all the time, she's loose whenever they're outside, and is walked every day, in all weather. Kathy said that she never understood why John and Jamie (John's wife) didn't put their damn dog on a line like Michelle's line.

Michelle is, of course, not their dog, Lady; Michelle is their 18-year-old daughter who is away now at her first year of college. Oh, boy! We laughed so hard we nearly pissed ourselves. (And we were both driving at the time, so that would have been real fun.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Political Bumper Sticker

Yesterday I saw my favorite political bumper sticker thus far. It read:

Diapers and Politicians Have to be Changed...
Often for the Same Reason

(and, of course, it was on the bumper of a minivan)