Thursday, September 28, 2006

Not your typical tan

Playing chest

This morning at work, because everything is running so slow (computer systems), I decided to have some of what I brought in for lunch for breakfast. So today I joined the Smelly Breakfast Club.

I heated up some of my famous scrambled eggs with croutons and cheese. Famous because it's something I cook that no one else in my family likes. Why should that get more attention than chicken & rice or baked salmon or the other dishes they love? Don't know. But yesterday evening Sam & Kev weren't home (they were in Detroit watching the Tigers lose... dammit), and Joyce had already had dinner... so that's a perfect opportunity to make what I like for dinner. Just for me. I mix the eggs & milk and add Caesar seasoned croutons, let them get a touch soggy & then cook them and add cheese. Mmmm.... Pretty smelly when heated up here at work in the mic, though.

My ultra-intelligent pooch, Reilly, had taken to peeing in the yard instead of going out to the woods. He'll do that when the ferns start growing. So when I let him out the front door, I always look at him very seriously, and while pointing to the woods I say in a very firm voice, "You go all the way out, Reilly, all the way out." He'll start to go, stop and look back at me, so I will say it again. So he'll go a little further, stop again, so I say it once more. And so on. This morning though, he took me straight to the front door and when I let him out and told him to go all the way out, he just trotted quickly out there. Guess his business was urgent this morning. On the way back into the house, I told him, "so, yeah, you know to go all the way out, you just like to play with me with that stopping crap, so cut it out in the future, I'm on to you, pal." I swear he understood me. He had a smartass look on his face.

When I was 10 or 11 years old, my oldest sister, Janet, had a super cute boyfriend, Bob. (And he's been my brother-in-law for over 30 years now.) I don't remember all the details perfectly, but I think we had company over. I remember that Janet and Bob wanted to leave, and I suppose so that they wouldn't interrupt so much, they wrote a note to my mom to get her okay for them to take off. They wrote something like, "is it ok for us to leave & go to Bob's to play chest?" Of course, they meant chess... File that one under Freudian slip. I still think that's a funny story.

Kev & Sammy didn't get home from the Tigers game last night until close to 1:00am, so the boy was pretty tired this morning. I had to resort to tickling him out of the bed. Put a couple of wiggling fingers near that boy's butt and he moves. Kev was still in bed, and when I came out of the bathroom after getting dressed, there was Sammy laying in bed with his dad. Kev said, with his arms wrapped around Sammy, "I'm not letting him go." I love moments like that.

Sam is so into the Warrior cats books by Erin Hunter. He zipped through the first series, and now he's into the second series, "The New Prophecy." Sam told me yesterday morning that it's The Best Series Ever. Kicks Potter's butt Big Time. I love it that I'm the one that found those books for him. His favorite books ever, and he owes it all to me. Best Mom award coming up. So if you have an eleven-year-old in your midst, introduce them to these books. They'll be forever in your debt.

Shades of white

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

More about September fungi

I did say I had plenty of photos of fungi. I've sorted through them and am amazed at the variety. Some are typical, common; others are strange things I've not seen the likes of...

They're growing everywhere and anywhere... some places I think are interesting. Like this little set growing out of the trench of the bark on a fallen tree.

This one may be a little difficult to make out, but it's an old, mossy stack of logs that were long ago cut for firewood and forgotten... rotting away and this year hosting a little puff shroom festival.

At least they look like those puff shrooms.

This one was growing about 10 feet up in an old limb hole of a live tree.

Another limb hole dweller, this one deciding to see what's on the ground below it.

This growth is like lava coming out of an old, mossy crotch of a cottonwood tree.

Once you start noticing all the fungi, you see more and more of them. Everywhere fungi!

More fungi photos to come. Oh, goodie, something to look forward to...

More on the "special" fungus...

Couple of things. It's actually quite difficult to identify fungi. The variety is daunting. And, the thing I was 99% sure about... I was totally wrong. I found some growing near my herb garden. They grow like this:

In my herb garden, I have a pretty patch of Lady's Bedstraw, which I thought was a location befitting this one:

Our new baby

If you're in the market for a new ATV, now's the time... coz they're dealing... Kev got a tremendously great deal on our new Yamaha 4-wheeler. Ain't she a beaut?! We traded in our new/old Kawasaki, which turned out to be a bad purchase... the thing wouldn't go through mud hardly at all, and the dealer gave us a good price on it as a trade-in. Surprisingly good.

Our new baby is so sweet... automatic, 2- or 4-wheel-drive with the push of a button, a winch (or a nice wench as Kev likes to say). Still waiting for the windshield to come in, and the manual. But she rides great. Camouflage, too. Excellent.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Life is very good

This is my sweetheart delivering a triple white rabbit from Espresso Milano to me this morning at work... Kev's standing in the shadow of The Fence.

Ahhh... I love that man!

And the white rabbit is pretty darn good, too. They make the best cappuccino in town... not too sweet, the white rabbit has just a hint of vanilla, but the nice, strong bitter coffee flavor is appropriately prevalent.

On the walk back to the building from the gate entrance (where I had to meet Kev since he cannot drive onto the grounds proper now due to The Fence), a guy walking into the same building told me he was jealous & that Espresso Milano has The Best Coffee. When I told him it was hand-delivered to me just then, he said, "even better."

Yes, yes it is.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bumping on the edge

There's been a decided lack of interesting bumper stickers during my routine travels lately. The best I've seen lately are: a) If You Don't Like Country Music You Can Kiss My Ass, and b) You Call Me a BITCH Like It's a Bad Thing.

I like that TV commercial where someone sees someone else doing something nice for a stranger, so then they do something nice, then so on and so on... Great commercial... ummm... just can't remember what it's selling.

But anyway, very nice concept. Completely lost on a couple of people in my department at work. One woman has a sign posted outside of her cubicle that reads, "Go Away" in large text. Another has a sign that reads, "Your lack of planning does not make an emergency for me."

Did I mention this department is a service organization? Hmmm...

Friday, September 22, 2006

I love this time of year...

I love these cool evenings and cold mornings. The smell of the ferns turning brown, seeing the leaves start to turn. Digging out the jackets and sweaters. Hot coffee on the drive into work in the mornings is just that much more enjoyable.

On the road we travel to town, on some of these cold mornings, you can tell along the way where there are ponds because there is where the mist gathers. You'll be driving along, all is clear, but ahead you can see the wafting mist... and then you drive through it, watching it roll in waves over the car's windshield. Or you can see it out in the hay field along the road, hanging low near the groud, but not really touching. Beautiful.

In the evenings, the mist starts rolling in... I was at my folks when dusk fell. Mom & Dad live right near a river. Heading home, driving up their long, straight dirt driveway, the field alongside was gathering mist...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

September is fungi month

This month has been mostly wet and warm, and as usual, the fungi are lovin' it. This year, a type of fungus that I've not ever seen (or smelled) before has appeared in several different places. Noticeably, in the mulch near my little inukshuk right in front of our garage area.

It starts out as a ball-like thing. This one had 3 balls clumped together. I noticed it one day and thought to myself, "I wonder what the heck that is... I should get a photo." The next afternoon when I went out to take a photo, one had "erupted." Here's a photo of the clump, with the remaining 2 balls intact. Yes... yes, it does... it kind of looks like a scrotum.

The thing that came out of the ball looks like this:

The shaft is smooth textured, & not solid, stiff but flimsy. This is a photo looking down into what I would have called the head of the growth.

The head is an odd color of green, and it is sticky. Not wet sticky or slimey sticky, just soft sticky. With something like black veining all over, and with an interesting tip.

If you're thinking to yourself "penis"... ok, I agree. Similarities exist.

One of the remaining 2 balls erupted, and though it was difficult to tell, I'm 99% sure the shaft comes out and the "head" actually is at the bottom... inside the ball until it falls out.

It is the strongest smelling fungi I've ever had the misfortune to sniff. I told my sister, Kathy, who also had some of these growths at her place, that it smelled like a mushroom ate a really nasty mushroom and then puked. I'm talking strong and unpleasant.

However, a further observation was made (and not by me) that it smells like, well... semen. And now that I have heard that comparison... yes, it does. Sorta. More like I would imagine a filthy, dirty skanky rent-by-the-hour hotel room bedsheet might smell, after the end of a long night.

And that's the story of what my family has dubbed the penis fungus. (And those 2 words probably should never be put together, I'm sure. Oh, well.) I have plenty of photos of all different kinds of fungi and mushrooms, some that are strange and colorful and pretty, in a fungi way. Look forward to those photos, but none with such an interesting description as this. Thank goodness.

Cloudy sunrise over the plant

Monday, September 18, 2006


On Saturday, Joyce & I went to CMU for the "CMU & You Day" where we took 30 seconds to turn in her college application, transcript & ACT scores and $35 check. Such a step should have taken longer... but it didn't. Joyce received a telephone call yesterday afternoon to inform her that she's been accepted... YAY! I'm so proud of her.

Last night, she said something along the lines of how it seemed so easy, that it wasn't much of an accomplishment... ummmm.... NO! It's a big accomplishment. Huge accomplishment! But I know what she meant. It seemed so simple & easy. Quick. Well, yeah, it was... It was so easy because of all her hard work, to achieve a good ACT score and to have such an outstanding high school transcript.

It's a nice feeling to have that settled. Now for all the paperwork, phone calls, etc.

And so it begins...

Thursday, September 14, 2006


or... Why The Seat Must Remain Down

This morning, Sammy & I were ready to leave the house, and I realized I needed to go back into my bedroom to grab Joycie's Nintendo DS. I'll need it to keep me occupied (playing Sudoku, which I am totally hooked on) while waiting for Sammy at the middle school this afternoon. I'm picking him up after the first school dance of the year. (For which he is totally excited & hardly nervous at all... that boy is amazing.) So I head to the bedroom, quietly because Kev's sleeping, to get the DS, and Sam goes out & gets in the car to wait for me.

Reilly must have thought we both had left. I quietly came out of the bedroom and when I approached the half bath on the way out through the kitchen toward the garage, I hear the lapping of water via a dog's tongue. But echoey, clearly not out of his water dish in the kitchen... the TOILET! Gross.

When I reached the half bath, Reilly just about jumped out of his skin. I couldn't yell at him (Kev sleeping), so I was whisper-hiss-yelling at him and had to chase him all the way to the back door to give him a whack for good measure. He so knew he was caught. Guilty as hell.

When I went back into the half bath, still cussing him out, to put the lid down, Reilly took that opportunity to sneak by me. I called him over to his water dish, pointing at it. He wouldn't approach me. Stood there, head down, looking from me to the water dish. He knew. He knew just what I meant.

Couldn't believe it. I thought my Reilly was far too intelligent & refined to stoop to toilet water.

I told Sammy all about it on the way to drop him off at school, and he laughed and laughed... When I said, "yeah, right, and doesn't Reilly lick your face and ears and neck and arms and all over you each morning when he wakes you up in bed???" Wiped that smile off his face. Very soberly, Sam said, "We're gonna have to keep the seat down from now on."


Monday, September 11, 2006

Yet more lunchtime blogging

I had kinda, sorta planned to run some errands around noon, and to pick up some lunch while out and about. But it's a rainy, crappy day out there, so I decided not to leave my comfortable cubicle. As hunger ensued, I dug into my stash of lunch provisions I keep on hand. Today I had Thai Kitchen Roasted Garlic Rice Noodle Bowl. It's really good... and then I read the nutrition facts.

Holy Sodium, Batman. This stuff has 756 mg of sodium. And... then I notice "servings per container"... about 2. So that's 1,512 mg of sodium. One thousand five hundred and twelve milligrams of sodium! More or less.

According to experts (ok, a quick 'net search), one teaspoon of typical table salt contains 2,400 mg of sodium. So this rice noodle bowl (which, by the way is like a bowl of soup, and not a large bowl, so it's not too much for one person), would be like dumping about 2/3 of a teaspoon of table salt into it. Ugh.

I've been cutting down on my salt intake lately. That's probably why, when I started to eat my lunch, it seemed very salty to me. I'm sure the 6 peanut-butter-covered saltine crackers I ate with it helped.

I can feel my fingers swelling as I type this...

What's up with y'all?....

Lately, I've noticed, more frequently than ever in the past, an overuse of "y'all" in conversations. For example, just now, a fellow pod-mate was on the phone explaining something, some series of events (work-related), and this young man, very intelligent, very Northern (born and raised in Michigan, with very little travel outside of it), used "y'all" at least 9 times in his conversation. As in, "in response to your request, y'all will receive Form blah-blah-blah," and "upon completion, we will blah blah blah, and if you will kindly give me your fax number, y'all will receive blah blah blah." It was positively freaky. All about his conversation, his tone, his vocabulary... the very essence of his diction... reaked Northern geek... except for those y'alls peppering the entire one-sided dialog that I couldn't help but hear.

And the other day, I caught a bit of the Ellen show, and she used "y'all" several times. The clerk at K-Mart said to me, "y'all find everything you need?" Everywhere I turn, it's y'all.

I like the phrase y'all, and I use it. Freely. But then, my mom's folks are from West Virginia, so I feel my hillbilly blood warrants my use of the word... indeed, it may not only justify using y'all, but demand it. As a tribute to my roots, or some of them, anyway, and as an explanation of my bare feet. The beer I drink because we have good strong Germanic blood on my dad's side, and Dutch... And we all know what partying people they are.

But here in Michigan, one should not expect to encounter use of y'all so frequently... it gnaws at my hillbilly sensibilities, I tells ya.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

O, ye of little faith

I have a nice, long (and way, way overly optimistic) "to do" list for today. One thing that is not on it: purchasing a new Maytag dryer.

Over a fresh cup of coffee, Kev just explained to me... in detail... how he has fixed our dryer, including how he obtained the schematic of our model on the 'net, how he took it apart, what parts were defective, what needed lubing and why, what he found (a big ball of lint), replacement of the vent hose and why, and how to check it for lint build-up in the future.

I was shocked! Shocked, I tell ya!... Kev obtained the schematic on the INTERNET. Holy cow. The Internet. Next, he'll be programming the DVR to record an event. Then he'll be telling me he retrieved his voice mail message on his cell phone. (The shock of that one could very well be my undoing!)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Rainy football Saturday

Today was the first game of the 6th grade football team that Sammy's on... and it rained during the entire game. Lightly, so it wasn't that bad, but steady. And it was a bit windy, too... so it was wet & cold. And FUN. The boys played so well, including our big defensive backer. They won 32-6. Sammy made some great tackles.

Kev wanted a photo of him to put in his locker at work, so we made him get in full gear before we left for the game.

Of course, Sammy felt like I was taking too many photos. So this is what I got.

He sure is a cute weisenheimer...

Joycie left yesterday evening with her friend, Allison, & Allison's mom, Sue, to go to the Wheatland Music Festival for the weekend. Gary, Allison's dad, went up early to secure a good campsite. They're in tents, so they can be closer to the action. And it rained Big Time last night. I talked with Joycie this morning, though, and they stayed dry. She's having a blast.

Kev is now downstairs doing one last attempt to fix our dying dryer. It screams when it's turned on and will only dry clothes in gentle mode... which can take a few hours if it's towels or jeans. And since it no longer will turn itself off... no problem. We've had this set of Maytag washer & dryer for over 20 years. Got our money's worth out of 'em, that's for sure. I'm pretty sure we'll be buying a Maytag dryer tomorrow.

I finally found some johnny-jump-ups (violas) for my rock garden, and I actually got them planted last night, along with some perennials I've been procrastinating on... Kev & Sammy went to the football game, Joyce had left for Wheatland, and I was home alone. I have been sick with some kind of stomach flu or something for most of the past week... and haven't felt like doing anything. I left work early Friday, came home and laid in the hammock on the porch with Reilly for company (and warmth, the breeze was persistently cool). After a couple hours, I felt better. That evening, I grabbed a pillow and asked Reilly if he felt like another nap... It was a gorgeous evening. We had just settled in the hammock when Barney gave a little whine, and then another. Reilly perked right up and whined back to him. Oh, alright! I got up and let Barney and Betty out of their run, so the 3 could play. They were so dang happy. So... I started puttering around with the plants, and next thing I know, I'm planting with a mission. Got almost everything in the ground; just a few more small things, plants I got from my sister, Kathy. And I felt so much better! I think I sweated all that creeping-crud-flu stuff right out. This morning, I could tell I was better. Ahhh.... finally.

And it was great timing... coz it's been raining ever since I got those plants in the ground.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

First day of school

Boy, oh boy, oh boy.

Today is the first day of 6th grade for Sammy. I zapped his pic as he was getting out of the car at the school this morning...

Today is Joycie's first day of her senior year of high school. Feels so strange to me. She is working with a teacher at our elementary school, the 4th grade teacher that Sammy had... so awesome. The teacher's 1st name is Jess, and she is an outstanding teacher. Joycie will have such a good experience working with Jess.

Joyce will do that the 1st 3 hours of her school day, and then she has just a few classes, such as Child Development and something else. No technical classes this semester. And her last hour is Publications because she's co-editor of the yearbook this year. She is also on Student Council this year, so she's busy with that. And the book club.

I have to say, it is really nice that she's not playing basketball this year, nor volleyball. It's amazing how much time that frees up for Kev & I, as well as Joyce. And, she was able to move her violin lessons to Wednesdays, right after school. Very handy.

Sammy was so excited this morning. I hope he has a great day... and I'm sure he will. He's such a social animal. Loves being around his friends and making new friends. Very confident kid. He was stylin' in his new shoes & clothes... what a doll. He seemed quite mature this morning, like a young adult.

I feel so strange this morning... I'm having trouble concentrating! Ugh. Anyway, now I must, must, must get my mind focused on work...

My babies are young adults. How in the heck did that happen so quickly...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

My feet are cold

Thomas' original English muffin toasting bread rocks. I like how they call it "the nooks & crannies" bread. Yum.

All that money I spent getting groceries yesterday, & I forgot to buy apple butter. I love apple butter in those nooks & crannies. *sigh*

We watched the movie, "Inside Man" last night. We loved the music. Bollywood style. I liked how Sammy and Brando got up and starting dancing to it. They couldn't help themselves. Butt-wigglin' music. Really good movie, too.

Every time I open my frige, I smell onions. Sweet, smelly onions. I would give that an Ego Emissions rating of at least

But then, I LOVE ONIONS.

And I notice onions did not even make the EE listing. They don't even have scallions or leeks.

Green onions got only 28EE. Harrumph.

My cell phone tone is the theme from "Northern Exposure." Sometimes I wait too long to answer it & it goes to voice mail... while I'm enjoying the music.

Sammy & Brando played basketball yesterday evening... briefly. Brandon got stung 3 times, just below his left eyebrow, on his forehead above the same eyebrow and on his right forearm. Those busy hornets have no appreciation for the fine sport of basketball.

I learned that 11-year-old boys do not cry when they get stung, but they do holler the pain away. Tough kid!

Ever since I mentioned Candy & Angel, the 2 horses I used to have, I've been thinking about them. They were great horses. So loving and friendly. Candy learned how to open the barn door to get to the oats, so we had to rig it so she couldn't. Candy was calm and Angel was skittish. They should have traded names.

Joycie & Sammy start school on Tuesday. They're looking forward to it, but I'm wondering where in the hell Summer went.

Today feels like a Saturday.

Up & atom, molecule

Sammy & his friend, Brando, had a late night last night & an early morning today... Sam had set his alarm for 6:15am, and I finally trudged up to his room about 6:30am to turn it off and wake the boys. Reilly helped.

Brandon was picked up early by his mom because they're heading Up North today. Kevin is working day-12s this weekend, and a day shift on Monday... he doesn't get the holiday off. Sammy took Reilly and went back to bed right after his friend left. I finished the pot of coffee that Kev made and now have made another. It's a cool, crisp morning, and I have the window open near where I'm sitting. The hot coffee and the cool air is a wonderful combination. I'm listening to a squirrel reading someone the riot act. It's probably a mother squirrel trying to get her kids up. Get up, get up, the acorns won't gather themselves, you know.

The birds are waking, and just a moment ago I heard yipping. It was either a coyote or a fox. Probably heading home and telling their kids to hurry it up. Get a move on, the sooner we're home, the sooner you can rest.

Must be a mom-thing this morning.

Today, Joyce & I and her friends, Allison & Kara, and Ali's mom, Sue, are heading to a big mall Down South to shop for homecoming dresses. I'm just not ready for this... hardly seems the time for it. Anyway, even if it were the time, I would likely not be ready. Don't enjoy shopping all that much. And yesterday, the kids & I finally went grocery shopping, and I dropped almost $400 at the Super Wal-Mart. Ugh. Hadn't been in a good, long while. Out of so much... I even had to buy flour and salt. Cha-ching. And more cha-ching in my future today.

Joyce & I are going to take Sam over to spend the day with his Gramma & Grampa. I haven't seen my Mom since she had surgery on her knee on Wednesday. I can't remember what it's called, but they scraped all the junk out to try and fix it up. Mom says she's doing well... she's pretty darn tough.

My sister, JoAnne, came over last night and had some dinner with us. She said she liked my garden statue... called it "very creative". She probably just wanted my venison sloppy joes. No need to butter me up, Joie.

The garden statue is still kinda sorta not growing on me... ah, well... have to wait & see. I think it will be a pretty thing during the snowy winter days.