Friday, March 31, 2006

Room with a view

Since we have rearranged our bedroom, I now have a view out an east-facing window, overlooking the pond. This morning's sunrise was nothing to write home about... but still a great view. Today's weather is gray and rainy. We slept in until about 8am. Here's my new, improved view from my pillow.

Not bad.

I love days like this. Feels like Spring. And since it's raining, we can spend the morning getting some stuff done inside, with Kev not feeling like he should be outside with his Kubota. This afternoon, we 3 are going to a movie & then out to dinner. ***sniff*** missing my girl...

Joycie called me about 4 times yesterday. Once to say save the tape of Lost for her friend, Kara, and be sure to tape Survivor, CSI & Without a Trace. Then again to say they made it to London & where they were. Then again to say she was settled back in their room & they were watching Survivor, but be sure to tape the other shows, and that the mall there was huge. Oh, the 4th time we talked was when I called her. She and Allison had just got back from the pool and were getting cleaned up to go out to dinner. I wonder what kind of charges the Verizon bill will show... Canada is so close, I don't think of it as "international" calling... hmmm.....

Dog days

Yesterday was another beautiful, warm & sunny day. Kev & I, along with Reilly, Barney & Betty, took another walk. This time we went along our northern property line. Kev has a new trail started there, and it's still rough. Lots of water out there. Barney & Betty love it. Reilly doesn't seem to care to enter those brown, small pools of water, but the 2 labs can't seem to pass one up without jumping in and checking the taste of 'em.

Now the pond is a whole different matter for Reilly... he & Barney love it. Betty goes along the edges, but she's too old and fat to really enjoy a good flying jump into the pond.

Along the way of our walk, the dogs found an old green frisbee in the sand back where Kev has constructed a shooting range. Kev threw it for Reilly & Barney as we continued our walk back to the house... where we reached the pond. You could practically feel the 2 dogs' energy. And joy. They could hardly wait for Kev to throw it into the pond.

On land, Barney, who is all bulky muscle, cannot win a race with Reilly, who is all stringy, fast muscle. But swimming is what labs like Barney can do best... Reilly has no hope of out-swimming Barney. Most often, Barney would get to the frisbee in the pond first.

It's fun to watch the 2 of them. Those 2 dogs are so competitive with each other, though they adore each other's company. They took turns getting and guarding that frisbee for just about the rest of the afternoon.

And old Betty cared about this much...

Happy, happy birthdays

Yesterday my Daddy turned 76, and today my eldest sibling, No. 1 Daughter of the family, Janet, turns 52.

It's funny reading those numbers, because they used to be numbers about old age. I'm almost 46, and I'm the youngest of 5 children in our family. My Dad seems a bit old, yes, I mean he likes his afternoon nap, and his hips and a knee will bother him... joints hurting... but hell, me, too! I've met old men and women that are all bent over, wrinkled and walking with canes. Talk slow, hands shake. Fragile old people. My Dad sure ain't like that. He's strong, and super smart. If you met him, you would think he was in his early 60's maybe. Turning 76 makes him closer to 80 than 70, and I can't get my mind wrapped around that weird fact.

And Janet... no way would you think she's 52, or a grandmother. Janet is a very pretty woman. She's always had good fashion sense, and she always looks so nice. If you met her, you would think 42, definitely not 52. In fact, when Janet has met people I work with (we both work for the same company, though in different departments, so we have no interaction at work), a couple of them have thought she was my younger sister.

Happy birthday, Dad & Janet!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

& on the 5th day of spring break...

Yesterday was quite a day... we spent the morning getting the beast into the house... Kevin's new 600-lb. gun safe out of the back of his pickup, up the sidewalk, up the 4 front steps of the porch, up the 1 step through the front door and situated at its final resting place. Where it will remain forever.

That was an unforgettable experience. Kev used his tractor to pull it out of his pickup, then we manhandled it onto a hand-truck. When we got to the front steps, which are wooden, we discovered the wheels of the hand-truck were just the right size to fit under the step. Did I say fit? I meant get stuck. So Kev & Dad went over and put the front bucket on Dad's tractor, since that bucket is not as wide as Kev's, and we manhandled the beast onto the bucket and Dad lifted it up onto the porch. My heart was in my throat throughout this entire endeavor. If that thing fell and landed on you, it would kill you. Or at least smash a body part beyond recognition.

With Joycie, Dad and I pushing and Kev pulling, we got it up over the front door step, then Kev wheeled it into the bedroom. I didn't think I'd like a big black thing in our bedroom, but when I look at it now, I feel satisfied and happy.

And sore. Nothing like being scared shitless, tensed up as all git out and pushing & pulling with all your might to give the ol' back muscles a workout.

I took a ton of photos, but this one says it best.

Kev left for work shortly afterwards, and then Joycie, Sam & I went and picked up Michael and headed for town. We had a great afternoon. A wonderful afternoon. It was beautiful out, warm and sunny. We were all in shirtsleeves and all in good moods. We did some fun shopping, had dinner at a Chinese buffet, then went home and watched a good movie. It was an old HBO movie the kids checked out at the library, the Dog Men or something like that, about a lost Indian tribe, well, not lost really, more like hidden. It was good. Like Michael said, kinda cheesy, but good. Beautiful scenery.

I am enjoying this week so much. I think the kids would have preferred a vacation away, but this is The Best in my opinion. I'm glad Michael is around and could hang out with us. I miss my niece, Michelle. Our kids are growing up too fast for me. I want to grab them and hold them all just as they are... OK, not really. Of course. I love seeing how they change and grow. Joyce will be 18 this November. Everytime I say that to myself, I feel strange. Sad and proud and scared. Michael will be 16 this summer and driving by himself. I'm experiencing the same qualms I had when Michelle began driving and then with Joycie. Of course. My nephew is so smart and mature, he'll be an excellent driver. It's not him I'm worried about. Anyway, I can take worry to a whole new art form.

Speaking of which, Joycie left this morning with her friend, Allison, and Allison's mom, Sue. They're headed to London for a shopping spree. London, Canada, as Joycie liked to explain to the looks of surprise she was getting with that statement. Cracked me up. I explained that saying London, Canada, was like saying Detroit, USA. She didn't really appreciate my explanation.

Joycie will be back on Sunday. She's been gone a little over an hour now, and I'm already: a) worried, b) wanting to call her on her cell phone to make sure she didn't forget anything important, and c) missing her. I'm such a wimp.

p.s. and how could I almost forget to add that Lost wasn't a re-run?!!! Yeeha.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Tell me, do my arms look longer to you???

Been a real busy couple of days.

It was a beautiful day out yesterday. In the morning, Kev, Sam & I, along with Reilly, Barney & Betty, took a walk out back. Sammy took over my camera, and he got some great action shots of Reilly & Barney competing for the stick that Kev was throwing for them.

He also took this shot, which I (of course!) think is just darling.

Sammy does a lot of groaning about the PDA of Kev & I, but truthfully, kids love to see their parents be openly affectionate with each other. Anyway, there's no gettin' away from it... we are most definitely an openly affectionate family.

When we approached Kev's back field, about a dozen deer took off. We could see their white tails through the woods in the distance. With the 3 dogs, we're not likely to get anywhere near close to deer, or any other wildlife.

On the way back towards the house, I finally I got my camera back, so I took my own sentimental shot.

The sky was so blue and gorgeous. It was warm and sunny, but all the trees are still winter bare. Won't be long...

Then Kev and I tested out the log splitter. Oh yeah, baby! We should've bought one of those suckers years ago. It's amazing. It split chunks of oak trees that were huge. We had it set to verticle, so the wedge would go down into the wood... and it would just crack that piece of log right open. I could not get tired of watching it. Gnarly oak pieces, no problem... that wedge would just keep going through it. When a piece of log is gnarly with knots & twisty stuff, it's tight & tense, and very difficult to split by hand. Those pieces are so unpredictable. Once when Kev was splitting a chunk of oak like that, he bent down to pull out the splitting maul, and it popped right out of the log, smashing open his forehead. That was an interesting (and bloody) trip to the emergency room. But that log splitter just went through it like a hot knife through butter. Effortlessly. Amazing. We split wood for about an hour, and we had a huge stack when we were done. We had fun.

And today we worked on rearranging our bedroom to make room for Kev's new gun safe. We've had our bedroom furniture in the same spot since we built the house & moved in... almost 14 years ago. It was a helluva lot of work... I had stuff squirreled away in every corner. It took hours. Kev had to leave for work, and the kids and I finished up. Still haven't got to the walk-in closet yet... I think I may save that for next month... My arms are aching! Tomorrow we're going to haul that 600-lb. beast out of the back of the pickup and somehow up the porch steps, through the front door and into our bedroom. Did I mention my arms are aching???

Sunday, March 26, 2006

2nd day in....

Today is officially the 2nd day of our spring break vacation. I am so happy about just staying home... Sam is still bumming a bit coz most of his friends headed to Florida, and I'm sure beginning tomorrow that he will really well & truly wish he was with them.

And today has begun perfectly... well, almost... Kev has to work a day-12 today (but it is double-time, yeeha), so I miss him already. Sammy was up early, around 7:30am, and I was awake but laying in bed... Just before 8am, he made a pot of coffee for me & brought a cup to me while I was still in bed. Heaven. My boy's a gem. And he makes a great cup of coffee.

Yesterday was mostly a blow-off day. Kev & Sam took off early and went to Cabelas where Kev bought something he's been wanting for years and then over to pick up his new baby, the log splitter. They were gone all day. Kev was happy. The log splitter is very impressive, and a beautiful shade of blue.

The only thing I got done on my "Spring Break To Do List" was get our tax papers over to our tax guy. Then we went and picked up my nephew, rented some movies and got pizza for a nice, lazy evening. Matched my mostly-lazy day.

Joyce slept in until after noon, but she needed the catch-up sleep time. It was so nice out that I decided to take Reilly and my camera and go for a walk. Reilly was very happy, and his beautiful tail was up like a flag.

We walked around the pond, which is very full, as it always is this time of year.

We walked through the woods. There are a couple of places on our property where people back in the 1930's or 40's or so used to dump their trash. There was no official dump or city landfill. My folks' property has one site that's on a hillside, and as a kid, we used to dig through it for treasures all the time. Found a few neat things, too. I've been through our trash sites, and I found some old, entact bottles, like the brown Roman Cleanser or Coca-Cola bottles. I've got a few boxes of old, dirty bottles somewhere out in our pole barn.

Anyway, this time of year is a good time to check out what the thaw has wrought on the dump piles.

Two minutes of looking, and during that time Reilly managed to find something gross and stinky to rub and roll in. He knew I was pissed, and he wouldn't look at me.

Damn dog. So I made him stay in the garage until Joyce got ready to give him a bath. (Hey, there are some perks to being the mom.) She wrapped him up in his blankie while he dried. He was still feeling guilty... good!

But he did smell much better!

So today I've decided to not try & accomplish very much, maybe take another walk, get my closet in order, maybe start on sorting the books on the library shelves, plan a nice dinner... take it kinda easy... but tomorrow starts the Spring Cleaning. Big Time.

Friday, March 24, 2006


Joycie started violin lessons this past Tuesday. She is already playing songs. Songs I can recognize! I'm sure the past 9 years of playing guitar, plus the almost 5 years of band (saxophone) has helped. But my girl has a natural talent. Those could well be my words, and actually, I have said that, but those were the words her teacher used.

Joyce has become very interested in folk music, so truly, she's taking fiddle lessons.

My girl is awesome and amazing.


Sam gets on and off the bus at his grandparents' house, my Mom & Dad. After work today, I spent some time chit-chattin' with my folks and Sammy. I was trying to remember the name of a hotel in a town near us, and Sam piped up with the name. He's got a great memory.

My Mom said to him, "You're jus' such a smart feller!" And then she said, "or is it fart smeller...???" !!!

Merrily... more on pod dwelling

There's a woman that I work with, that is, we're on the same work team, and we're pod-mates. Neighbors. She has the greatest laugh. Actually, there are 2 women in our pod of 6 people that have really great laughs, and each of their laughter is very different from the other.

Sometimes when this woman laughs, no matter what I'm doing, I usually find myself smiling. It's pretty great. Sometimes when she gets going, she sounds kind of like a girlie Scooby-Doo. In a good way. A really fun way. She is part of the silver lining of this cloudy pod dwelling.

She's also pretty jumpy. Probably because she's usually concentrating, and she gets a lot of visitors (she's a go-to-gal, one of those people that everyone goes to for answers). Every once in a while, like just a little bit ago, when someone arrives at her cubicle and surprises her, she shrieks. Loudly. She usually follows up the shriek with a laugh. It is darn right hilarious. Gotta love it.

The Bottle Cap War

We live in the country & have our own water well. It's great water. A little, teensy bit on the hard side, but it tastes great. Being the lazy American consumers that we are, however, we buy bottled water. Cheap bottled water at Wal-Mart. It's just too darn handy to have it ready to go, grab a bottle and take it with you, grab one out of the 'fridge. Especially handy for sporting events. Nice to have outside when you're working so you can put the cap back on it & get no bugs in your water. Which is also a nice feature for drinking anywhere in the house (with kids). And it's handy to offer to visitors, too, especially those picky ones that don't care for well water (like my step-mother-in-law, who won't even use ice cubes at our house if they're made with our well water... she always asks, "are those cubes from your well water?"... with the words well water here accompanied by a facial expression including a wrinkled up nose, like well water = dog turds).

Kevin and Sammy have found a use for the white plastic water bottle caps. They throw them at each other, preferably while the other one is not expecting it. Rarely scoring a direct hit. (Try to throw one, you'll see what I mean... those bottle caps don't always go where you think you're throwing them.) Some of these battles get pretty feisty and loud. We've dubbed it the year of the bottle cap war.

The good news & the bad news

Sam has very few chores at home, and one of them is to feed the cats. Our cats live on our front porch, so it's not a real difficult chore to feed 'em. But Sam is constantly forgetting to do it. Late the other evening, when already dark out, after being reminded once again... Sammy opened the front door and stepped out onto the porch to feed the cats. There was this big, fat opossum sitting on the porch swing eating from the bowl of cat food. Sam didn't notice him right at first.

We knew a possum has been getting up on our porch, & we've had a live trap on the porch to try and catch it. We've been feeding N.C. and Frankie from a bowl on the porch swing because we thought the little bugger couldn't get up there.

Wrong on 2 counts. It got up there, and it wasn't that little. Sure as heck surprised Sam. He screamed. The possum took off.

Last night, about 8:30pm, I reminded Sammy to feed the cats. Sam's been a little gun-shy about going out on the porch at night now, so looking at that pitiful expression on his face, I got up and went out with him. Good thing, too, coz there was that big, fat thing again, sitting happy as you please on MY PORCH SWING. Ugly bugger.

So, the good news is that Kev got the shotgun and a flashlight and tracked it down and made sure that critter isn't going to be salivating all over my swing ever again. And the bad news is... well, heck, there ain't no bad news about that!

A blessing and a curse...

There's this guy that works in the building where I work who I see in the hallway a lot. He works in the area across the hall, and like most cell phones, his doesn't work where he sits. I see a lot of people in the hallway and near the entrance doors yakking on their cells because that's the only place to get reception, and I've been there a time or 2 myself.

Anyway, this guy is out there at least once daily, and often more so. I see him walking up and down the hall, talking loudly into his cell phone... nodding his head and gesturing dramatically with his free hand. He doesn't have to worry much about privacy, I suppose, because the chances of very many people (or any) understanding his conversation in Dutch is somewhat remote. I think he is here on an assignment from one of our Netherlands offices. I've tried to figure out what he may be discussing just by his tone of voice, but I can't.

I've mentioned my keen sniffer before... how my olfactory senses seem to be more highly developed than the average joe's. I'll say, "do you smell that?" and my neighbors will say, "smell what?". Sometimes it's poor me; sometimes it's poor them. If ya know what I mean.

But it does not take an above-average sniffer to know when the waving Dutchman has been in the corridor. What the hell is it with European men and their far-too-ample use of cologne. Ugh.

Because of my sniffer, though, when he's out there (or just left), I do think I suffer more than most people here. {key background music: "Poor Poor Pitiful Me", Linda Ronstadt version}

Thursday, March 23, 2006


I ran some errands at lunch time today, and always being on the lookout for interesting bumper stickers, I noticed this old, beat up red Ford SUV thing. Only I think it was manufactured prior to the widespread use of the modern term "SUV"... Covered in dirt, dust and rust, the bright white window sticker really stood out. It read:

...Chevy Emblem here in middle...

This clanged with me on so many levels.
1) Definitely not in the category of "bad ass" vehicle,
2) Ummm... the original saying is Bad Ass BOYS because it rhymes with TOYS,
3) Did they not notice the CHEVY emblem??..., and
4) There was some scruffy young man driving it.
(I got a good look, it was definitely a young man).


And then I thought, hey, that's pretty funny.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Big, comfy chair day!


A momentous metal occasion

Sammy braceface metal mouth.

A momentous ear-piercing

Joycie, back in January, having too much fun at the mall shopping for a prom dress & being (easily) talked into finally getting stuck in the ear lobes.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Lunch time posting

because when in the hell else am I gonna have time to do it? And I don't really have time now... but anyway...

How Well Do You Know Yourself?
Joycie gave Sammy one of those electronic toys, 20 Questions, for Christmas. I've had it for weeks and he hasn't even missed it. I've been trying to get to correctly guess that I'm thinking of it... that is, ITSELF -- the 20Q toy I'm holding in my hands. But I guess it doesn't know itself all that well... unless it thinks it's an MP3 player, a Game Boy or a Furby.

I Can't Believe I Didn't Write A Post About This
Joycie, now 17 years of age, finally got her ears pierced back in January when we were at some big mall shopping for a prom dress. Really, I thought she was never going to pierce her ears. Part of me liked that about her... a lot! Another part of me wanted to buy pretty earrings for her. Especially since she has long hair & she wears it in a pony tail often. After 2 months, I still look at her with my opal earrings in her ears and it seems strange to me. I have pictures that I took with my cell phone of the actual piercing... must include here sometime.

Another Great Bumper Sticker
There's room for all God's creatures...
on my plate right next to the potatoes.

It's Not Time To Freak Out Yet
Kev & I went to a meeting at the high school last night for parents of students graduating next year, in 2007. Holy shitmoly. Too. Much. Information.
And really, now that I've calmed down, it's not going to be all that bad. Yes, there's a lot of stuff to do next year, and thank goodness for Visa (ugh!), but all in good time. Anyway, Joycie has everything under control. She has never been one to wait until the last minute (thankfully, she didn't inherit my strong procrastination genes), and we've never had to harp on her to do her homework or anything. She's very self-driven, self-motivated. One thing we heard at the meeting was that she should be taking a math class in her senior year, and she's already set her schedule... with no math class. Kev was freaking out a little about that, but Joycie HATES math. She's had 3 years of it, and that's all she's going to give it in high school. I support her decision. She already knows what she wants (teaching degree) and where she wants to get it. We just have to cough up the cash. Now that's when Kevvie can really freak.

And Speaking Of Procrastination... and Visa...
I still haven't got all the paperwork together to give to our tax guy. Which wouldn't be a totally bad thing, except we are sure to get a nice refund this year. What in the hell am I waiting for???

Kev Is Expecting Soon
And he'll be the proud owner of a brand, spanking new log splitter. You would think he was given the key to the city, for pity's sake. He's very excited. Should be here in a few weeks.

Oh, Good! You're Finally Done Coz I Need Your Help
It's amazing how open we are as a family. With Kev working swing shifts, plus schedule changes due to overtime, he and I have learned to fit the cuddlin' in when we can. Even if it is at 5:00 pm. The kids know not to even touch the bedroom door. Even if they have a pressing question on how to handle something on their Excel spreadsheet they're working on...

Brace Face, Metal Mouth
Sammy got his Braces, Part 2. Upper and lower. Thank goodness for Visa. (Is there an echo in here???) He was very glad to not have to wear the retainer any longer, and he was actually pretty excited about getting the braces. I think he was looking forward to the attention. But all that's settled down now and mostly he wishes he could chew gum.

Big Comfy Chair Day
Another photo I'll have to post... Our Spring Break is the week after next, and we're not going anywhere for it! Yay! I'm taking the whole week off, though, and we're going to get so much done at home. My list of things to do is tremendously impressive. And I've already got one thing done. We bought Sammy a big, comfy chair and ottoman for his bedroom, along with a floor lamp. We stayed home at Spring Break a few years ago and bought Joycie a big, comfy recliner for her room, so now it was Sammy's turn. We had a heck of a time getting that sucker through the doorways into the house then his bedroom. But it's a beauty. And it is soooooo comfortable. Dark red soft leather. Sammy loves it. Just wait until he sees his part of the to do list. I'm already practicing... remember the chair, son?

I'm Sick of "Lost" Re-Runs
That's really all I have to say about that.

Monday, March 06, 2006

It's back...

About a month ago, I chipped the inside corner of one of my front teeth. Thankfully, it wasn't bad -- no nerve exposed or anything like that. I just looked like your typical Wal-Mart shopper. It happened on a Thursday evening, and since my dentist office is closed Fridays, I had to wait until Monday morning to see them. I was afraid that I was going to have to get a cap or some other expensive option, but instead it was like a bondo job. Some substance that adhered to my tooth and was expertly applied and shaped by my dentist. (Well, really, by my dentist's dad, who is also a dentist.) With about 15 minutes of work and ample warnings to be careful and don't eat anything with my front teeth ever again, like apples and corn-on-the-cob and tough steak, I was on my way.

What a pleasant surprise that was!

And whodathunk celery would be on the no-no list? Last Thursday evening, I bit into a stick of celery. The ribs on it were pretty tough, so I went to pull them off, of course keeping the stick in my mouth, and the instant I thought, "Oh no, I shouldn't do this with my front teeth now..." I felt it give. My hillbilly smile is back.

I told Kev & Joycie that I was thinking about keeping it. To their aghast expressions, I said, "Exactly!" Joycie told me I looked like a white trash trailer house dweller. To which I replied, "Yes, but then when I begin speaking, so eloquently and with such an outstanding range of vocabulary, I will appear even more intelligent than I am, and people will think I'm a genius!"

Kev said, "Yeah, that's a genius of an idea alright."

I've got a dental appointment tomorrow at 9:40am.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Happy Birthday, Kev!

Today my hubby turned 45 years old! We'll be the same age for a month, and then I'll be a year older. Which is, of course, a year better. Ha!

Kev is on afternoons this week, so all 4 of us got up early and celebrated his birthday together. Joycie, Sammy & I got him a mini-frige for the pole barn, and a DVD, Walk the Line. Kev was so surprised. Finally! Got him something he was really happy about and didn't expect. He's a hard guy to buy gifts for. Especially when you don't have tons of money. With tons of money, it'd be easy to choose him a gift. I suppose that's true for everyone...

Anyway, after his happy surprise, we then had birthday cake for breakfast. At Sam's suggestion, we made him a Better-Than-Sex cake. Yum. Especially Yum! with coffee.

Better-Than-Sex cake is a german chocolate cake mix, baked normally in a regular cake pan, then as soon as you take it out of the oven, poke a bunch of holes into it with the end of a wooden spoon, pour & spread 1 can of sweetened condensed milk on top, 1 jar of butterscotch (or caramel) ice cream topping, 1 container of whipped cream and then sprinkle generously on top with Heath bits & milk chocolate. It's best when refrigerated overnight. Yep, it's rich. Kinda makes my teeth hurt thinking about it sometimes. But it's goooooood!

Sam asked me yesterday where I got the recipe, and I told him that when I was way, way pregnant with him, our friend, Canice, brought it over for me. I told him it was kind of a joke because the cake was supposed to be better than sex, and since I was so very pregnant, I couldn't have sex, so the cake was a replacement.
Sam: Oh, MOM! Jeez.
Me: Yeah, see what I gave up to give birth to you? Sex.
Sam: Oh, MOM! Stop it. And before you even bring it up, I know that's how I got here.
Me: Well, anyway, I did get a good cake recipe out of it.
Sam: Yeah, you did.

Not the healthiest of breakfasts, but what are birthdays for anyway. Kinda funny how good it was at 6:50am. Joycie had to leave for school about 7:00am. Then Kev drove Sammy to school at 8:15am. I took the day off to spend with Kev. Sam asked what we were planning to do for the day. I told him we were going to put the cake theory to the test.


So, anyway, we're changing it to Not-Better-Than-Sex-But-Close-Enough cake.