Thursday, February 28, 2008

Childhood Memory With A Twist

I was kind of a weird kid, growing up. I guess we (my siblings and I) were all kind of weird, in that we weren't allowed to watch much TV, and were whizzes at coming up with themes for role playing. My sister usually came up with the best group themes; Undersea Mermaids (this would be priceless to see on film; 5 or 6 kids pretending to swim across the yard!), Pioneers (the poor dog had to be our cow, and we planted sprays of pine needles as carrots), or Train (a great deal of dressing up and packing of suitcases), all involved some pretty complex storylines, which she was only too happy to give. But occasionally I would play my own story-game.

One of my favorite internal games was about a little girl named Alice, who went for a walk in the woods with her family and disappeared. Even though her family searched for her exhaustively, they never found her. Alice died, alone, in the woods, and her ghost haunted the forest ever after.

I TOLD you- I was a weird kid.

I'm sure the neighbors thought I was odd, wearing an old, white choir robe with a red woolen vest tightly buttoned over it. Sort of the folk costume of Czechoslovakia. I would flit around the neighborhood in this get-up, talking to myself under my breath, as I went through the story.

What strikes me as odd about this story is the name of the little girl I was being. Alice. Sure Alice is a common enough name; especially when your older sister is obsessed with singing along to the old Jane Powell record of Alice in Wonderland. So maybe its just coincidence. But this past fall I posted a story about my great grand-aunt, Alice Snyder, entitled "The Ghost Who Haunts Me". I didn't know about her as a child - my grandmother never really knew anything about her father's family. When I was given a family bible full of tintypes and cartes de visites, her picture was the only one that had any name marked on it, and it was simply "A S" scratched roughly into the back of the tintype, but there was no information in that bible that told me anything more about her. It wasn't until I was trawling the Venango County Genealogical Society's library, in Oil City that I came across an obituary about her and her tragic end. At first I didn't even think it was someone relevant, so I didn't copy it, but after getting back home I realized she did fit in and in due course I slapped my head, a la V-8 style.

Jennifer, over at Thursday Drive, wrote a post today about ghosts and was asking if anyone believed in them, or had had experiences with them. Talk about your synchronicity - I've been feeling like Alice is hanging over my shoulder since the summer before last, trying to show me what happened to her/where she is now. Realizing that her name was the same name as the imaginary girl I role-played as a child kind of seemed more than coincidental to me now.

The other night, after I had gone to bed, and was lying there, drifting into sleep, I heard someone speaking to me - telling me their name and other things, which were garbled and didn't make sense to me. Random thoughts fluttering through? Maybe. But it was so strange and quite unusual. Things in the room moved and made noise during this as well. The floor creaked though everyone was in bed. some stuff fell off of my dresser, though no cats were about. Do i think it was a ghost? I don't know. I only know what I heard and felt wasn't the usual energy in that room. Take it as a manifestation or just as a ghost story, but I have been successfully led too many times in my family research by a hunch or a feeling to completely disbelieve in ghosts.

Do you have any ghost stories? Let's creep each other out!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


It's very frustrating to have not only an artist's block, but writer's block as well. See, I started a blog to MAKE me write more; maybe as an impetus to stoking up the embers of creativity all around. But I sit at the desk and wonder what I can write about that isn't too personal, for me and those I love.

I could write volumes about the horrid things my parents did to us when we were kids, but that isn't just my story to tell, and I've confronted my parents with the worst things they did to me, and made my peace, so what would be the point of digging it up, other than to do a sorry impersonation of FOX News? So no, the lurid stories of burning stuffed animals and scrubbing bathroom floors in the middle of the night are just not going to happen here, though I couldn't resist teasing you a tiny bit, oh lovers of trainwrecks! (I know- that was shameless!)

The Burden of Motherhood

I could write about the daily struggle it is to be married and have two kids - yeah, that's original! Actually the worst part of that scene is past - Screaming babies and toddlers DID make me want to bash my head against a wall, and the toilet training years seemed to crawl by, with very little personal growth or satisfaction (I think I may have lost vocabulary words during that period, that I won't ever see again). Mercifully, those years are past and the kids are in school now, so there is time every day to answer to no one but me, which does make Mommy a MUCH nicer person (albeit carpool makes me swear like a cab driver and there is NO way around that, because all the doofwads who have been doing this for 5 years and STILL don't get it, are still going to queue up like they're the only ass-wipe in the world - see what I mean? Hang on, let me go wipe the foam off my mouth...).

The Young Princes

Peek a Boo Preschoolers

(weren't we cute, before kids?)

Marriage is...well, I don't know what YOU thought marriage was going to be, but I knew, based on the charmingly divisive and apathetic tactics of my parents' marriage, that it wasn't going to be Happily Ever After, that's for sure (and again; there's another series of trainwreck stories I just can't divulge - it isn't MY marriage, after all). I did try to NOT marry a too-close version of my dad, and unlike my mother, I am the boss of this house. So does that mean I'm a tyrannical despot? (Yeah, because that works out so well too, right?) No, we approach marriage as a partnership, and a work in progress. There are good periods and bad periods. The End. It's what you do with those phases; how conscious you are of what's going on, and the part you both play, that can extend a good period, or drag out a bad one. I'd say we're doing pretty good right now. I do think it's about time for Mommy and Daddy to have a No-Kids vacation, even if it's just for a weekend, though the logistics of planning that are a little complicated right now, since we can't really leave the kids with either set of grandparents (and there's 2 MORE trainwreck stories that you just don't get to hear, though I have alluded to the reasons in past posts!).

(Ah, the Innocence!)

Do you see my dilemma? The things that would just roll off of my tongue, the easy to write trainwrecks are just too verboten to really write about, so here I am, posting recipes and pictures of cats and children, singing the praises of the Good Life. Life IS good, really, if you stop to consider what you have. I'm always telling the kids that focusing on the negative in life only produces negative things in your life, and the reverse is true as well. I just wish it read better and didn't seem so saccharine, because in real life? I am NOT that sweet. I swear a blue streak, most every day, my house is in dire need of a giant vacumn cleaner to remove ALL of the crap we can't bring ourselves to throw away, and I need to get my ever-widening ass off of this chair and exercise because I am currently up at my "fighting weight", as Ms. Q would say.

Oh, and there are now three - 3 frigging paintings staring accusingly at me from the easel.

But at least dinner is already made (stuffed peppers!) and there are no children prattling in my ear today, ALL DAY LONG! I even committed a neatness in the living room, and did three loads of laundry. I may not be headed for fame, as either an obsessed artist, or as a hilarious/wrenchingly heartbreaking blogger/writer, but Life Is Good, and I'm going to go with that!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Bea's Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

Bea over at Trapped Under Something Heavy has been trying to eat healthier, and this is a recipe she came up with the idea for, based on her rice and beans dish. We kicked variations back and forth and this is what we came up with. It's really easy to make ahead of time, refrigerate, and pop in the oven 30-45 minutes before serving. You could serve a salad with it, though it has all the food groups represented in it, as is. I'm just saying...
Start with:
1 onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, diced
2-3 jalapenos, de-seeded and chopped

Saute the onion, garlic, and jalapeno in a large sauce pan with some olive oil and a bit of butter, until looking a little transparent.

Then add:

1 cup of rice (we like basmati or jasmine, but whatever floats your boat)
chili powder, to taste (we like about 2-3 teaspoons, maybe more - I go by smell)

While the rice, spice, and oniony-type stuff is sauteeing, open up a can of petite diced tomatoes and drain the liquid into a measuring cup. Add enough water to make 2 cups. Save the diced tomatoes.

When the rice, et al is looking a bit toasty and smelling a bit nutty, add the tomato-water, and the diced tomatoes. Stir and cover. Let come to a boil, then turn down to low heat for 10 minutes.

While the rice is cooking, grate about 1-2 cups of cheddar cheese (this is a preference thing, so add as much or as little as you like. I used Cabot Black Wax cheddar, because it's white and creamy, so it's presence wouldn't be as easily detected by my cheese-hating son - Muhahaha!)

Open a can of black beans; drain and rinse them.

If you're like me, and need a little meat in the mix, chop up a breast or two of chicken. I had some left over from another meal, where I had sauteed the chicken in olive oil with garlic and a bit of pepper.

Wash 6-8 medium peppers (maybe 4-6, if they're large) and cut off the tops. clean out the guts and set aside.

By this time the rice ought to be done, so take it off the heat and stir it. Add in the black beans, the cheese, and the chopped up chicken. mix well.

Fill each pepper and mound up slightly. These can be placed in a casserole dish and refrigerated for up to a couple of days in advance. When you're ready to bake, place them in an open casserole dish, with more grated cheddar on top. Drizzle a bit of olive oil around the peppers to help them roast and expand their flavor. Bake at the magic number (350 degrees) for about 30-45 minutes, depending on how done you like your peppers. Top with sour cream (we used the Breakstone's light) and serve.

They should look like this: Bon Appetit Ya'll!

Monday, February 25, 2008

I Love Mondays in the Springtime

I'm a very bad excuse
for a siamese cat.
I'm not really cross-eyed,
but I'm silly, that's a fact.
My feet seem very tiny,
but Mom made them look like that!


The Bohemian has been home sick with the creeping crud ("and that's all I'm got to say about that." - Forrest Gump), so we've been hanging out together. He started his first painting yesterday and is very cheesed with his work in progress. I'm thinking I might need to find another damn easel soon, because he's hogging mine! We took a walk down to the pond today in search of the ever-elusive Great Blue Heron who lives there during the winter. He's very shy and hard to photograph without a buttload of zoom capability, so most of my attempts to catch him have come out pretty badly. Today we hunkered down by the edge of the pond and waited for him to get used to us, then we crept slowly closer until I was able to get this shot, which is still pretty damn blurry, but better than what I've done so far. He's watching me as well!It was also a very welcome sight to see the first daffodils coming up alongside of a little creek we passed over on the way home from the pond. When I was a kid, the first daffodils of spring would strike such lust into my heart. Regardless of where they were, or whose they were, I was compelled to pick them. As you might imagine, I also spent a lot of time having to apologize to little old lady neighbors. Good times...!
They are almost like a visual dose of vitamin C, aren't they? I swear, roses mean nothing to me, (unless they're picked illicitly by the light of the moon,from a certain rose garden, but that's another story!) compared to the vibrant joy of daffodils, blooming in the chill of late February. Is that a snowdrop in the foreground? It only had single bells, so I know it wasn't lily of the valley, though it did prompt me to start singing:
Whit coral bells
upon a slender stalk,
lilies of the valley
by my garden walk!

Oh don't you wish
that you could hear them ring?
That will happen only
when the fairies sing! It was a beautiful spring day - the air was crisp and chilly but the sun was so warm it was hard not to get down with Miss Jezebel and roll on the scratchy cement.
Got Spring?

Friday, February 22, 2008

Just a quick addendum:

This is the link to the picture I was comparing yesterday's photo to, which is called The Goose Girl at The Well. Thanks Cin, for finding that!
I wish I had seen the red sparkly moon you saw, as well. I only caught the Eleanor Abbott version, so I'm just the tiniest bit jealous right now.

Oh man! They had a copy of the picture from my FAVORITE story in that copy of Grimm's - The House in The Woods, a cautionary tale for pet owners.

And the picture from The King's Two Children, which has the coolest dress ever. I SO wanted my wedding dress to look like this, but alas! Amal the Tentmaker had other plans. At least we kept the damn bows off of the hips (urp - I just barfed a little in my mouth, thinking of it).

Wow, I know where I'm going to go surf, while I drink that last cup of java - leave it to Cin to find the coolest site.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

Did you guys see the lunar eclipse last night? It was supposed to be the last one until 2010, according to Carl Sagan's illegitimate daughter, aka Bea. We went outside about 8 o'clock and saw a beautiful full moon, but it was fast being obscured by clouds. Because I am the proud owner of a new camera I HAD to go out and attempt to take pictures; without a tripod, AND without a clue. But I got a couple of decent shots, in spite of myself. It wasn't until later on, about 11 o'clock, that Bea and I saw the end of the eclipse, and of course, my camera had already gone to bed, because that's how professional I am, baby.
I know there is at least one other person in this world who will look at this picture (below) and think of a 1920s edition Grimm's Fairy Tales illustrated by Eleanor Abbott. Come on Cin, you know the one. The picture of the girl with the mask, running against the weirdly lit night sky. Doesn't this remind you of it? What the hell was the name of that story? It was the one where the stupid old king, kind of King Lear-esque, asks his daughters how much they love him, and the youngest and most honest daughter tells him, "I love you like salt, because without salt, life has no flavor", and then he kicks her out, yadda, yadda, running around the country-side, etc. (I just realized that maybe I like that story for more than its groovy picture - the girl is a Salt-Creature, like from Star Trek. And I'm a Salt-Creature, so like, we could be twins, right?Though I would SO give my old man a raft of shite for asking such a stupid and patently divisive question - goddamn troublemaker...!)
(Okay use your best german accent now, for this part) Yah, I vas tryink to mack the mun lokk like it vas hangink from ze tree, like it is ze froot of ze tree, yah? It iss zo expreszioniztic, yah?

Jesus, it's too hard to write like that, and my accent sucks, like you didn't notice. (But thank you for being polite enough not to point it out.)
Yes, I know, the depth here is just wayyyy the hell over everyone's head these days, ne c'est pas? And you know what? Jimmy Crack Corn, man! Three snaps in a circle, and kiss my grits. My mom's not here, and neither are you; I can do what I want!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

North Meets South at a Barbeque

The Master of Barbeque, aka my brother, held a pig pickin this past weekend, and as usual, it was awesome! We all brought different side dishes, desserts, appetizers, and beverages, a la Stone Soup and it made for a great party that no one had to handle the whole burden of.

Here is our lovely hostess, my sister-in-love, expounding with a bit of Double Gloucester and Stilton in hand (It is quite an inspirational cheese!).
The Big Gorilla has just been told of his appointment to the high honor of Designated Driver. You can see how excited he is, can't you?
The Pork-Master gives informal introductions as we stuff ourselves with the last bits of the carcass. The majority of the lean meat was pulled and taken inside to make sandwiches, but who can resist pickin just a little of that good stuff off with your fingers and getting all greased?
My younger brother is such a helpful model, isn't he? It wouldn't look as good without him gesticulating towards the pig, with the omni-present Newcastle in hand? It occurs to me that this isn't exactly a true southern pig pickin - there are many elements like Newcastle you wouldn't see at a proper down-east pickin, but that's what happens when dug-in Yankees show their grit (there were very good collards in the kitchen, btw, but I forgot to photograph them. Once Bea and I started in with the Captain Morgan and Cranberry juice drinks, the documentary material suffered.)
Mmmmm! Even Mom can't resist getting her hands dirty for a little pull of pig.
Our newest addition, my brother's delightful girlfriend, graciously models the plated version of what's for dinner.(Many of us just ate over the hog, sans plate. What? Its how its done, so shut up.)
Notice that the sides are not traditional barbeque fare. There was coleslaw and collards, but the hush puppies and biscuits/cornbread were replaced with macaroni and cheese and a nice pasta w/ pesto. The rolls were homemade by my mom and she also made a killer chocolate cake with layers of coffee cream interspersed. The veggie sticks were also a healthy alternative that the kids would be sure to snack on (we hid the cheese and crackers from them!), as well as some Pennysticks brand pretzels (only the saltiest pretzel in the free world, since Mr. Salty threw in the towel.) which are amazing with cheese, in place of crackers.
The generations meet and try to out bullshit each other in the kitchen, but beware! The old one is so FULL of shite, there are few who can match him.
All in all, it was a magic night. The weather was beautiful, the moon was shining and a good time was had by all.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Blog Interrupted

Its been a little over four months since I began this blog, in the hopes it would spark some creativity and help me hone my writing. I have to say, that for the most part, it has been more stifling to my creativity than nurturing. I find myself not saying what I want to say, because I might not get the all-important traffic, and that bothers me. I also find it keeps me from getting to the easel as often, and that is a really bad thing, in my opinion, as I don't need any extra reasons to procrastinate.

I look around the blogosphere and see a vast range of quality in the blogs I have come across. It isn't for me to criticize what makes someone else happy or fufilled, but I wonder sometimes at the wisdom of offering up one's life to such an inconsistent yardstick for measurement. According to the blog-ruler, I don't measure up at all, which actually is somewhat comforting, but the question remains: To blog or not to blog. To get caught up in the artificial popularity contest that appears to be the impetus to having a sucessful blog, or to simply step away from it and get back to real life.

I've read blog after blog wherein the writers confess to us that they cannot control their children, cannot relate to their husband, cannot feel in synch with their life, and it occurs to me that there is a giant elephant in the blogosphere no one wants to address, and that is the addictive potential of computers and the internet. Of course no one in blogland is going to go unplugged, and their kids are going to be plugged in as well (I believe that's called enablement), and if anyone dares to raise the questions of "how soon should a child be plugged in", or "how much is too much" they're going to receive a raft of ugly verbage. It does seem to me that a disproportionate number of bloggers have kids with ADHD or autistic-related issues, and rarely do I read about these parents considering the benefit of making lifestyle changes, like unplugging those kids from TV and computers, or giving up junk food, or setting a bedtime and sticking with it; all of which could reap just as much benefit as slapping them on a drug, just so Mom can get back to her virtual world.

Ugly words? Only if you're in denial. What is ugly about wanting parents to grow up and take on the job they said they wanted? Parenting is a full-time job, so if you're only doing it part-time, who's picking up the slack for you? If what you're doing isn't working, shouldn't you WANT to try something new? Does anyone really appreciate a martyr who isn't ever pro-active about making change/making things happen?

These are some of the questions that come to my mind, as I surf the blogosphere, and ask myself, "why am I here?" If I am here to speak my mind, and not pander to some sorority for acceptance, then I have to say what I think; not what I think you might want to hear.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Works in Progress

I spent a big chunk of my Monday getting back to the easel. It felt good to be there. I need to be more selfish and make time for painting; schedule it, if need be. I'm ashamed at how little progress I've made on the two pictures I started back in November. Of course, I started out with planned paintings, because I wasn't feeling that confident about my skills, so instead of just jumping in and going with the flow, I've stymied myself with caution and planning and control. Not that those things aren't quite handy tools, in life as well as in art, but its been so long since I've been in the painting groove I'm not sure I can even claim the skill. Ever my own worst enemy, eh?

So these are what I'm working on right now. I know, I've added another one to work on. Mermaids are always fun to do and going from one painting to the next, while the paint dries, helps me keep my impetus. If I wander off to get a cup of coffee while the background dries, I may never come back.
This is going to be the hardest one of the bunch, because, ...shhh...I hate drawing hands, and this picture has several hands holding cigarettes in that intricate 1940s kind of way - because I LOVE to start pictures that I never finish. I like the grain on the buffet, though it still needs its drawers delineated. I'm still mulling over the faces right now. Its a delicate thing, because I will probably deviate from the photograph it's based on, but because it's my grandmother and great grandmother in this picture, I want to address the tension that's in the photograph. In the words of the Wicked Witch of the West (also referred to as Elphaba in Maguire's Wicked), "These things must be done del-i-cately!"

I know...don't say it...I know.

I've done so many mermaids in my life, I can paint them in my sleep. They're also good for warming up and getting going, for that very reason, and I'm sure there is someone who would gladly winkle this out of me, if I could finish in time for their birthday (did I say that outloud?) I really like the face of the girl in the front, and it's always fun to do the tails and then submerge them in the water, so the tails gleam up.

Monday, February 11, 2008

And the Award Goes to...

I almost forgot! Last week, Julie Pippert gave me this lovely button, and I wanted to pass it on to some of my dear readers. I can't give it back to you, Julie, but I can throw you a big smooch!
Chanda at Trapped Under Something Heavy, because she is always there for me, even offline.

Flutter at, well, Flutter, for being not only a loyal reader and commenter, but such an inspiration to me. If I'm hitting the wall, I go read her first!

Cynthia at The Fairies Nest, because she is always there for me and very supportive, and considering that we were hard-wired to be super-critical, that's pretty damn awesome.Thanks Cin!

Jodi at Slow Panic, for inspiring a really great post about getting your kids to read.

Maggie at Okay, Fine Dammit, for leaving me one of the best comments ever! I was compelled to sing like Snow White for the rest of the day, and the animals still didn't do the damn housework!

Liv at Madness! Madness I Say, for being such a sympathetic and loyal commenter. Now if there was just a button for a good night's sleep.

Hele at Truth Cycles, for being a kindred spirit in her love of the natural world, and her incredible pictures that take me away like Calgon never could.

Professor J at Who Says I Want to Fit In, because she always makes me think, and anyone who is a fan of David Sedaris is practically like family!

I love and appreciate all my readers, and would give the smooch of approval to everyone, but I think Julie might have beat me to it with some of you!

Thanks so much to all of you who read and comment here; it makes me feel like I might even be "getting the hang of this shit", as they say in Thelma and Louise.

Hairclub For Girls

Note to self* never write and publish a post at 3:30 AM without proofreading it first! I left out #2 of the most important people/things category in the meme I posted on Saturday - skipped right on to #3...Zzzzzzzz...that's where my head was at!

Good morning...I'll tone down the peppy, so as to not jar any of you who are still dozing...shhhh....

This past Friday, when I posted the Carkeys Incident, I put up pictures of mysels looking vexed. After looking at those, I realized that not only do I refuse to say "cheese", even for me, but that I have two different colors on hair on my head.

This is not good - it isn't really a look that works for anybody; outside of Halloween, or a nursing home, maybe,...if you really had a lot of attitude.

So here is what I looked like on Friday, in the throes of key-lessness:
Yikes! I am just not ready to be wholly gray - I really don't have the skin tone for it (and speaking of skintone, those red cheeks are strictly dry and flakey red, not animal-tested, chemical red.)

now here is a natural beauty and also the elusive #2 from the Saturday meme of most important people/things. She may be a very silly girl, but I love my Jezebel Maya Jungle Cat!
Okay, back to the Before and After shots. This was taken this morning. I'm still not going to smile - its serious business trying to minimize that chin thing going on! I also did the unheard of, and put on makeup to make the contrast greater between today and last Friday. I put on lipstick, thinking of Flutter and her signature red lips, but I had to dab some of it back off, because it really isn't my signature - the grumpy puss is!

But the color looks good on my hair, and my hubman did the haircut for me - its your basic bob - no layering - and its laying down from all the conditioning right now, but its still a vast improvement from just a few days before. (And yes, I really am that white - I don't tan, just burn, so I gave up trying to be brown)
And that, my dears, is what I did over the weekend.

Well, Okay, there was kind of a debauched Saturday thing going on. Bea and I made Red Drinks (like a Bloody Mary, but lighter) and basked in the sun, eating potato chips and dip. It was fabulous. We didn't get a Damn thing done, but we felt so relaxed and zen-like afterwards, and that's somethng.

Of course, the housework is waiting, looking impatiently over my shoulder as I type. Yeah, Yeah! I'm going, I'm going!

Sigh...I hate housework, and its starting to show!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

"1,2,3,4,5...Meme Time"

I was tagged by Autumn at Confessions Of A (Not So) Domestic Diva for this meme:

Name one thing you do everyday:

1. Rescue cats who are perpetually on the wrong side of the door (This is really an all day long kind of thing, and kind of annoying, but it keeps my butt from atrophying, so I let them live.)

Name 2 things you wish you could learn:

1. To play piano (I really want to make a Sam Kinnison joke right now, about Jesus using his hand as a whistle, but I'll refrain.)

2. Oh! To travel through time (this a favorite wish of my oldest child, and it could be a really handy tool in researching genealogy, though I might end up not born, or some other Back to The Future kind of thing.)

Name 3 things that remind you of your childhood:

1. Peanut butter and raspberry jam on rye bread. It never tastes right on any other kind of bread for me. Add a brown paper bag and I'm back in elementary school, standing in a coatroom (yeah, back in the early mesozoaic era they still attached coatroom areas to classrooms - so I'm a dinosaur - What. Ever.)

2. Penny Brite (again was a popular toy in the mesozoaic, back before toys had to have batteries to be fun - I think you know where I'm going with this.)

3. Playing dolls with my sister - wait a minute - we were just doing that last week - some things never change, I guess! (And check out her latest doll, The Queen of Tarts, here) 4 things you love to eat but rarely do

1. Caramel Apples - around here all they ever make are those gnarly red candy ones, so I pass.

2. Steamed clams - I love them but I can only eat aqua-culture, because I'm like the canary in the coal mine, when it comes to water-borne bacteria, and its so not worth it to spend the evening waiting to yack.

3. Ice cream - I don't know why I don't eat it - I love ice cream, but I'm never really in the mood for it, unless its summertime and we're going to Dairy Queen - Butterfinger Blizzards defy all laws of restraint.

4. Leg of lamb - I used to like it a lot, but I can't bring myself to eat it anymore. Ever. (sorry Mom)

Name 5 things/people that make you feel good

1. My husband, when he's not hiding my keys, though he DID confess, once he was cornered.

3. My oldest son, because he loves history as much as I do, and he's still a sweetie, when he isn't being cool. 4. My youngest son, because he's an incredible artist and such a sweetie- he's always giving me little cards that say, "I love you".

5. Being far enough away from civilization that I can hear only the sounds of the mountains, woods, or ocean around me.
These are my Tag-ees; no pressure though - fear not the anguish it will cause me if you must decline- I'll shamble along, somehow:

Bea at Trapped Under Something Heavy

Liv at Madness, Madness, I Say

Maggie at Okay, Fine, Dammit

Jodi at Slow Panic

Friday, February 8, 2008

Aloha from Mom Hell

Okay, so its past time to leave for school - I haven't brushed my hair, or put on shoes, and I start looking around for my carkeys. As usual, they've been relocated in the night (not by me) and aren't really turning up. I'm getting cranky with the kids, because they figure this is a great excuse to go back to what they were doing before it was time to go to school.

Running out of places to look, and tired of circling the house, I call the husband-guy, to see if he can elucidate my search. I know, this is a long shot, but I'm desperate at this point. If we're any later, I'm going to have to put on real shoes, a bra, and brush my hair, so I look half-way respectable when I sign them in as tardy.

My darling spouse says he has no idea where I might have put my keys, and by the way? Good luck with that. This is how I look when I'm on the phone with him:

Yes, I DO know that my roots are showing - did I ASK you to point out the freaking obvious? No? Well sit down then!

Okay, so Pookie has been a complete lack of help in locating the errant keys, and I start circling the house again, in a last ditch effort, before I have to resign myself to getting dressed and having to take my kids to the office, which, I feel, puts me at a disadvantage in dealing with the staff for the rest of our tenure at this school. Crazy lady shit? Maybe...but again, did I ask? Is this helping me to find the GD keys?

Finally, I look in my old purse, which is hanging on the back of the kitchen door. I haven't used this purse in almost a year, so I know I would never put my keys in it, but I live with 3 men - rank thoughtlessness is a daily occurrence around here.

Guess what is in my old purse?
That's right! My freaking keys are in my old purse! That means that Mr. Helpful, aka, my husband, must have put them there, but because it wasn't involving a sporting event, (Yes, dammit, I AM bitter!) he couldn't remember that he had done it. This is how I looked after I found them:
So I got the kids off to school, without having to brush my hair, put on a bra, or take off my nummy fleece slippers, for which I am very grateful, but you better believe, mud will be flung tonight!

That, and I think it might be time for a little hair dye, eh wot? (don't answer that, I'm still cranky about the muffin keys.....!)

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

School Daze

Today is my first day back with the first and second graders, after taking the month of January off. I woke up feeling kind of reluctant; I'd just gotten into the groove of having my days to myself, but I know once I get in there, my fellow cohorts (the kids!!) will make it worthwhile.

I have to admit, it kind of feels like being a rock star, to be the guest mom for the day. All the kids wave at me and yell, "Hey! It's Mrs. Toy!" Look at this bunch of hamasauri posing for the camera! I've worked with this teacher for 3 and a half years because I really like the way she does things and we've developed our stride working together (I think that translates into we have a lot of fun!).
Sorry for the lack of substance today, but as I only have 45 minutes to compose this before dashing off, I'm sure you'll understand.

OH! OMFG Update-on the creek-kill situation of last week: I thought it might be the public utilities who had contaminated the water and it would appear I'm right. They've been working on replacing the water lines around here for several weeks now.

I was packing lunches yesterday, after school, and went to fill the water dish for the cats. I noticed the water was very bubbly and shortly after that, I was overwhelmed by the extreme chlorine smell of the tapwater. I ran a little in a glass and sipped it cautiously (FYI - NOT SMART). Oh My God - it burned my mouth! There was more chlorine in that glass than you would even find in a swimming pool, I kid you not. I spit it out and rinsed my mouth out with bottled water. Then I called the utilities to let them know something was up with our water. Of course, it being my lucky day, I got some lady with a snotty attitude who told me that "we don't know if there IS a problem yet", when I asked what might be going on to cause this. Nice, huh?

They did send a guy out, pronto, thank god, and when he checked the water he got very concerned and had to check in with his boss, to figure out what to do. Then his boss showed up, looking very grim, and tried to downplay the situation while he tried to figure out how to get this crap out of here. They ended up having to flush the lines of several houses and of course, they opened the hydrants and let it flush into the creek (Damn It), so if there was anything that had survived before, it got the boot this time. And these are the guys we trust to deliver us clean drinking water?

I still have a gallon of the tainted water. I was going to send it down the boy's toilet (what better place for extreme bleach?), but thought it might behoove me to hang on to it, in case I needed to get it tested as evidence. I'm not looking to harass the utilities company, but it does seem that they haven't been particularly careful, and maybe some whistle-blowing is in order.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

This past weekend here was so sunny and warm that everyone got out and soaked up some rays. Sunday found us having breakfast on the patio, and dozing in the sun with that last cup of coffee. It felt so good I was hard pressed to go indoors and do housework - stupid stuff - housework - it's not like its going to STAY clean, and on a sunny day, it just seems so trivial, doesn't it?

The boys found this little lizard under the bushes. At first we thought he might have been a casualty of the cats' hunting, but when the Bohemian picked him up by his tail, he was still quite alive! We put him up in the bush and he hung out for awhile, soaking up the sun as well. He changed from this color to a paler gray, after hanging out in the bush. Isn't he cute?

The cats were very happy to be out in the sun as well. Jezebel did a bit of rolling and flipping, to get those hard to reach itchy spots before settling down for a sunny snooze. She's practically smiling in this picture, she's just that happy.
Scrawny Joe McAllister (Remember him? The one who jumped off the Talliscratchy Bridge?) was having his own itch-fest up in the fort, rubbing between the boards. The silly thing almost fell off twice, he got so carried away. He thinks he's very pretty, but we know that he's also extremely silly.
It's raining today, which made it very hard to get up and go this morning, but get up and go I did. I have things on the easel calling to me to come and play, and I've been devoting far too much time on blogging, which, as fun as it is to do, doesn't really leave me much to show for my time. So if I'm not around, you'll know where I am! I'd like to get further along on the two pictures I started; maybe even finish them. If I like how they turn out, I'll throw them up here later on.

This is also the week I'm back on the volunteering gig at school. I take January off, because, after Christmas, I need the break, but now that its February, and the groundhog has come and gone, its time for me to get back into the swing of things.

Now if I could just wake up!