Monday, December 26, 2011

The Bag, part 2

Remember this blog entry?

Well, how loud did I yell when I looked down into the gift bag at my feet and saw this:


What a merry Christmas!  I am so easily amused.

And I don't think that's a bad thing . . .

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas from my crazy family to yours!

S'on Jeremy, Preschooler D, CAAB Rachel

Favorite S'daughter Shelby
 (who has a hard time smiling and keeping her eyes open.  We took 20 pictures to get this one.)

Colin

Big Daddy and me, your crazy hostess

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas is a Time for Miracles

The tile guy was here!  The tile guy was here!

I had to choose the color of my grout.  This decision sealed my choice to never ever build my own home.  I cannot handle it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday


I have two words for blog-reader friend Sue: Decapitated Reindeer.  If you were a small child in the Alexandria, Minn, area during the 1970s, you might know what I am talking about.  Alexandria has some city decorations that look like decapitated reindeer.  Sue insists it's just me.  If I get a chance to go past the street where these decorations are currently hanging, I will photograph them for you and you can decide.  Until then, you will just have to use your imagination.  I find them frightening.

In cheerier holiday news, here's a poem by the Wind in the Willows guy:

Christmas Carol
Kenneth Grahame


Villagers all, this frosty tide,
Let your doors swing open wide,
Though wind may follow, and snow beside,
Yet draw us in by your fire to bide;
    Joy shall be yours in the morning!

Here we stand in the cold and the sleet,
Blowing fingers and stamping feet,
Come from far away you to greet —
You by the fire and we in the street —
    Bidding you joy in the morning!

For ere one half of the night was gone,
Sudden a star has led us on,
Raining bliss and benison —
Bliss tomorrow and more anon,
    Joy for every morning!

Good man Joseph toiled through the snow —
Saw the star o'er a stable low;
Mary she might not further go —
Welcome thatch, and litter below!
    Joy was hers in the morning!

And then they heard the angels tell,
"Who were the first to cry Nowell?
Animals all, as it befell,
In the stable where they did dwell!
    Joy shall be theirs in the morning!
"

Monday, December 19, 2011

School Concerts

Blog reader-friend Mary thought that I should blog today about singing in the alumni choir at Colin's concert yesterday, but there's not much to say.  I thought I didn't need the music.  I did.

It's been such a fun season of holiday school concerts with the sons.

Director son . . .


Middle school son . . .


Preschool son . . .


There are great disadvantages to having kids 21 years apart from oldest to youngest, but one of the advantages is there is very little fighting.  One of the most fun parts of these concerts for me was watching the brothers cheer one another on at each concert.  Oldest couldn't be at youngest one's school concert, but after Colin's concert he took time to hang out with just D which warmed the cockles of this mother's heart -- especially since he played a Wii game of which I have grown particularly weary.

Then Jeremy got in his new car and drove home to his own home where his wife was waiting.  That probably doesn't happen when your preschooler is done playing with his brother. HA!

FOUR! FOUR days to solstice!


Friday, December 16, 2011

Tree Topper

Maybe you know the story of how, when Cyberspace Sarah got married, she most looked forward to topping her tree with her own tree topper.  She could not have her own tree topper, though, because of the cute thing her husband had done as a small child.  One year while Brennan's family was decorating the tree, Brennan ever so innocently asked, "Why do we put a star on top of the tree?  Baby Jesus should go on the top of the tree.  Christmas is about Jesus." (or something like that.)  Cute right?  Thereafter his family's tree was topped by Baby Jesus and when Cyberspace got married, she married the Baby Jesus Tree Topper.

What was she supposed to say?  "There will be no Baby Jesus on my tree!"

No.  No.  No.

As her sister, I always found the story hilarious.  I take my tree toppers very seriously.  In fact, the reason Cyberspace looked forward to having her own tree was because my angel went on top of our tree at home.

So flash forward to this year when Preschooler D decorated the tree in our kitchen.  I went to the basement to dig out the hand blown glass topper I had gently and carefully hand carried home from Germany.  It's a thing of beauty.  Multi-colored. Shiny.  If you put it on the tree just right and the tree lights shine through it . . . brings tears to a gal's eye every time.

"Okay!"  said D.  "Now we need a Baby Jesus Christmas Star."

Um . . . but, son.  Look at Mother's beautiful hand blown glass topper.  Shiny.

"D," said I.  " We don't have a star.  We have this."

He looked at me.  "We could make one."

And so we did. And, you know what?  It's beautiful.  Multi-colored.  Shiny.  If you put it on the tree and the lights hit it just right . . . brings a tear to a mother's eye every time.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday on Thursday

Okay, you know I don't go for overly-cute.  Puppies and kittens and chain letters threatening angel attack and all that are not for me.  I saw this at my mom's this afternoon, though.  Maybe it's the dark.  Maybe it's because I have some boys.  I don't know . . . I liked it.

Mary,
When Jesus was a boy did he
Swing on the gates of Galilee,
Bring home foundling pups
   And kittens,
Scuff his sandals, lose his mittens,
Weight his pocket with treasure
Adult eyes can never measure,
Scratch his hands and stub his toes
On rocky hills where cactus grows,
Set stones and quills and bits of thread
On the windowsill beside his bed
So that on waking he could see
All yesterday's bright prophecy?
Did he play tag with the boys
   Next door,
Tease for sweets in the grocery store,
Whittle and smooth a spinning top
In his father's carpenter shop,
Run like wind to sail his kites,
Smile and sigh in his sleep at night,
Laugh with you in long-lost springs
About a thousand small, endearing
   Things?
Is he the one who said that you
Should always dye your dresses blue?
With eyes bright as cinnamon silk,
Red lips ringed with a mist of milk
Did he . . . lifting his earthen cup
Say, "Just wait until I grow up?"


Mary O'Neill

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Where's the snow?


Just to compare, here we are walking to the living nativity last Christmas.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Ready for Tile Guy

While I took to my bed yesterday to take in a few Christmas movies on Ion (because I no longer get the Hallmark channel for whatever reason), Preschooler D and Dad finished painting the bathroom.


He was very serious about it.  Hopefully -- someday -- there will be tile there, but I'm not going to tell him.  It kept him busy while I waited to see if Santa's daughter would find true love on the Ion channel.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Writer's Block Friday

Blah, blah, blah . . .

* Pumpkin Pie Pop-Tarts.  Nothing wrong with that.

*Made clerk at Gymboree laugh pee-in-your-pants style when I mentioned I was worried I was turning into Grandma because I thought Justin B. should pull up his pants.  She and her grandma had been watching him on Michael Buble and Grandma did not see the point either.

* My mother brought an advent calendar back from Germany for me this year and it's hard.  By this I mean the numbers are tiny and hard to find.  Maybe if I put my readers on.  See above.

* Bathroom Update:  Nothing to report.  Still waiting for flooring guy and tile guy.

* Looking forward to Christmas concerts starting tonight with director s'on Jeremy's high school concert, followed by Colin's junior concert, followed by the preschool program for Preschooler D.




Wednesday, December 7, 2011

And now a word from Grandma . . .

Okay, not really Grandma, but can anyone explain to me why Justin Bieber needs to belt his pants below his butt? Go Google it.  I'm not putting a picture of his butt on my blog.

Look, I am a teen of the 80s.  I understand that pop celebrities need to express themselves through fashion.  I know Michael Jackson's glove or Madonna's underwear or Prince's purple platforms.  It was all odd, but they were pop stars so it was odd/cool, but Justin's pants are simply impractical.  I watched him perform on the Today show.  He spent the whole time while he sang pulling up his pants and pulling down his sweater in the back.  I watched him on a Michael Buble special last night and he had to -- literally -- waddle on to the stage.

I don't get it.

Oh . . . what goes around comes around.  When I was in sixth grade, my uncle wrote a column on how strange he found Michael Jackson.  I got all fired up and wrote to the paper, "How can you print this?  I've heard JT sing!!"

They printed my letter.  In his next column, my uncle referred to me as a "whipper snapper."

Great.  Now I'm going to start calling kids "whipper snappers."  Where's this guy when I need him?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

Brrrrrrrr . . .

When Icicle Hang by the Wall
William Shakespeare


When icicles hang by the wall,
   And Dick the shepherd blows his nail,
And Tom bears logs into the hall,
   And milk comes frozen home in pail,
When blood is nipped and ways be foul,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
   "Tu-whit, tu-whoo!" A merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.


When all aloud the wind doth blow,
   And coughing drowns the parson's saw,
And birds sit brooding in the snow,
   And Marian's nose looks red and raw;
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,
Then nightly sings the staring owl,
   "Tu-whit, tu-whoo!" A merry note,
While greasy Joan doth keel the pot.

I just looked up poor Joan.  She is working in the kitchen, adding cold water to the soup or whatever to keep the pot from boiling over.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Dark December

The sun rose in Central Minnesota at 7:46 this morning and will set at 4:38 today. We will have about eight hours of daylight today -- except it's overcast.  To compare, our reader friends in Arizona had the sun rise at 7:18 and set at 5:20.  They will get about two extra hours of daylight today -- except I read it might freeze down there.  (Bless your hearts, Arizona sisters!  Put on your sweaters!)

You know that secretly in my heart of hearts I love my home state, right?  I really wonder if I would feel right living in another state.  That is the gosh honest truth.  It's green and lovely here in the summer.  The snow can be beautiful.  The cold puts hair on your chest . . . or something.

But -- truth be told -- these dark days are not easy for some of us.  Some people handle it just fine.  Others struggle to maintain good mental health.  Yesterday I started crying in church and I could not stop.  Would not have been a big problem except I was standing up front playing bass guitar and then I had to sing a special song for some departing missionaries.

Problem.

Just before we started, the pastor turned and said, "Let's sing the shortened version."

No.  No, we can't do that.  I can't do that right now.

I cried all the way through it.  What a mess -- an honest mess -- but a mess.

AND my girl Anne Burrell got eliminated off the Next Iron Chef last night.  Why did I even get out of bed?

Because . . . we press on through the dark and the tears.  Right? At least we know and all that.

Start the countdown with me.  Solstice starts December 22 -- just in time for Christmas.  We are S-17!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Decorating Tyrant Retires

My sister Cyberspace Sarah will testify that I used to really have a thing about having Christmas decorations be "just so."  There was great ceremony to the order and routine of holiday display.

I let Preschooler D do most of the decorating of a tree we put up in the kitchen this year.  I don't know.  I like it.

It says, "Put things where you can reach."


It says, "Too much is never enough at holiday time."


It says, "No one looks at that side anyway.  Why get shook up about even distribution."


Cyberspace is probably scarred because I would rearrange her decorations after she'd gone to bed, but I think the Christmas tyrant in me has retired.  I'm leaving this tree as is.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Bathroom Waiting Game

Shout out to adooma who sent us this link to the NYC saw festival!  It will give you a taste of our Thanksgiving Eve.  Our saw guy plays most like the first man shown in the video.

Okay.

So.

We're this far and now we wait:

Actually we are a little farther.  I took this just before Snooky the Taper came. Apparently there is an art to taping and very little actual tape.  Now we wait for it to dry and then Snooky will come back 2-5 more times.  Then we paint because the floor guy doesn't like the painting done after he installs the floor because the ladder can dent the flooring . . . or something.  Then we wait for the tile guy who has two houses to do and the owners want them done before Christmas.  (Do I not want my bathroom before Christmas?)  Then we wait for the electrician again.  Then . . . I get a little foggy.  There's more.

So, to be honest, Brent and I were getting a little whiny this morning.  We want our bathroom nooooooowwwww.  We didn't know we would have this long to waaaaaaaaaait.

But then we remembered this video from Sunday:
And we remembered that when our bathroom is finished clean, drinkable water will flow out of those brand new faucets -- all we want.

Maybe everything else is bonus.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

I'm going to sneak this little one in just under the wire.

November Night
Adelaide Crapsey


Listen . . .
With faint dry sound,
Like the steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp'd, break from the trees
And fall.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Post Thanksgiving Blues


I've said it before and I'll say it again, you must get some adult children.  They are just so handy.

What a great weekend.  Oh, I won't lie to you.  I got tired. That was an awful lot of excitement from my average day to day existence, but how fun.  Our Thanksgiving Eve started out with church service at our old church which features a guy who can play the saw and then we ate pie.  What's wrong with that evening, I ask you? Nothing.

Thursday all of Big Daddy's children ate cinnamon rolls and watched the Macy's parade.  Then they helped me clean up and cook for our big party that evening.  I got so busy eating side dishes covered in cheese and my own tasty stuffing that by the time I got around to the turkey, I didn't even eat it.  Too bad too.  I make a tasty Alton Brown turkey.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving Camp Out

All of Big Daddy's children were safely under one roof last night.  This is in our spare room, and that was a problem:


No, not a problem.  We can work around that.

Since D's room has the most floor space, I thought we'd put s'on Jeremy and Rachel in his room.  When D saw the camp out in his room he decided he wanted to join. Can you see him over there?  The dog chose this room as well.


It made me think of this song.*  Jeremy and Rachel get my vote for best Thanksgiving Eve sports.

Colin got a sleeping bag and moved onto our floor.  (You will recognize the carpet, of course.) He's under there.  Trust me.


This left favorite s'daughter Shelby alone in Colin's room -- which is sort of funny as she is the most social one of us all.


What a good day to count our blessings whatever they are -- indoor plumbing, children, a good sense of humor.

Happy Thanksgiving, my blessed reader friend.

* Only the Holly Arlo Ronnie Pete way.  You either know what I mean or you don't. I hope you do because it's worth it.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Brothers and Bathrooms


When Preschooler D was born, Colin took one look at him in the hospital and said, "I don't want this any more."

Too bad, kid.  He stays.

Jeremy was staying with us at the time to help out, and I understand he and Colin had some sincere discussions about the benefits of being a big brother.  I'm not sure Colin was convinced.

Now, Preschooler D, like any busy kid, does not like to take the time to stop and go to the bathroom.  He's had a few accidents lately, and it irritates his mother. Oh . . . I mean me, I guess.

Yesterday he had another accident and in a firm and authoritative voice I told him to march upstairs and find clean pants. He marched -- wailing all the way.

Colin came into the kitchen where I was and asked, "Are you mad?"

No, I answered him.  I just want D to understand that he needs to stop and use the bathroom.

A few minutes later I went upstairs prepared to finish the battle with my small son.  I found Colin in the room helping his brother with his pants.  "This happened to me when I was little too."

D looked up at him and said, "It did?!"

"Yeah, it happens to a lot of people."

Oh, friends and loved ones, when I am tiny little old lady in the nursing home, I will remember this moment of brotherly comfort passed from oldest brother to middle brother to youngest in a way ol' mom never ever could.

I still need D to stop and use the bathroom, though . . .

Monday, November 21, 2011

This is it! . . . maybe.

Ernie,  the plumber AND the electrician are here.  Fortunately, I have a coffee date with my good friend Bess, so I am leaving.  I'll probably buy some extra gravy in a jar while I'm out. Shhhhhh . . . don't tell my mother-in-law.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Silence of the Bath

Our neighbor is having his roof redone. Last night when we went to bed the contractor's trailers were there.  This morning they are gone and the roof is only half done.  I'm not sure what that means, but it doesn't seem good.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Afterbath (HA! HA! Get it?)


That Ernie Birt doesn't mess around.  Check out the hole upstairs that used to be the bathroom.  Can you see on the wall that there was a second outlet behind the mirror.  Can you say plug in the electric toothbrushes AND the nightlight?! Why would you cover up an outlet?  I suppose the great-grandma who owned this house for 50 years before us didn't need it.  She probably wash and set her hair.  No need for dryer or curling iron.

Also there you can get a little peek at the vintage flooring that's underneath the vintage flooring.  It's very cool, but it's about to be covered up, so enjoy it now.


The pink/orange of that cupboard never really bothered me, but -- wow! -- look at it now.  That may require some paint.  Of course, I'm not sure how much of it will be left when the shower goes in.

The plaster on the walls was done against a steel chicken-wire like mesh which fascinated and tormented Ernie.  He'd never seen anything like it, so certainly I had not.  It's gone now.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Demo Day 1

When we moved into this house 11 years ago, I found the 60's decor in the main bathroom "fun."  Maybe even "quirky" -- in a good way, of course.


But can you see what's missing in this photo?


That's right.  There IS a groovy tinted glass two way cabinet where Brent and I enjoyed acting out this commercial for several weeks when we first moved here.  There IS NOT a shower.

So today my contractor Mr. Ernie Birt (no, really) is coming to make my bathroom less Mad Men and more . . . well . . . shower-ish. We shower in the basement now.  It's not a huge deal, but as we have discussed my basement is not the tidiest, and it will be nice to not have to send guests on the carefully marked trail through the basement to the shower.

It really humbles a gal to have to do that, you know.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Leaving in the dark

Before I fell asleep last night I was thinking about traveling to visit my great aunt.  She lived in Karlstad, a little town on the Canadian boarder.  I was sort of named after her.  She was Lisa D.  I was Lisa S. I wonder if my memories of trip to see her are what really happened or if my age at the time and time itself have confused things.

I don't know how many trips I might have made, but it all seems like one to me. I'm pretty sure it wasn't just one trip -- but that they were similar.  We would leave while it was dark.  I would be carried from my bed in my jammies and laid out in the backseat of the car -- Mom and Grandma and maybe an aunt.  Where did the aunt sit?  I suppose I didn't take up the entire backseat.

I suspect I started thinking about this because I saw a big steel thermos while shopping yesterday and I immediately thought of Mom and Grandma having a thermos of coffee in the front seat with them.  I remember stopping to eat breakfast and changing into my clothes -- but I also remember taking food along.  Was that lunch?  Once you leave the town that had breakfast, there isn't much chance to purchase lunch before you get to Canada, so maybe we did.

I read one time that the problem with childhood memories is that they planted in our heads from the perspective of the age we were when they happened.  What a four or five year old noticed on these trips are what is stuck in my head and the pieces that would make them make sense to a 42 year old are not -- like why on earth did we leave so early?

But there I was walking through the store, and I spotted the thermos and I thought of heading for Karlstad in the dark.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

There's no significance to today's poem.  It just made me laugh.

Daddy Fell Into the Pond
Alfred Noyes


Everyone grumbled. The sky was grey.
We had nothing to do and nothing to say.
We were nearing the end of a dismal day,
And there seemed to be nothing beyond,
                      THEN
          Daddy fell into the pond!


And everyone's face grew merry and bright,
And Timothy danced for sheer delight.
"Give me the camera, quick, oh quick!
He's crawling out of the duckweed." Click!


Then the gardener suddenly slapped his knee, 
And doubled up, shaking silently,
And the ducks all quacked as if they were daft
And it sounded as if the old drake laughed.


O, there wasn't a thing that didn't respond
                        WHEN
           Daddy fell into the pond!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Gifts for the Teen

Having children spread so far apart means that for the past 10 years or so I have run into the same gift giving problem . . .

What to buy the teenager in my life?

This is an especial problem here in the early teen years when they want games and toys -- but not really -- but maybe they do -- but they don't want to be seen "playing" with anything -- but they'll be disappointed if all they get are clothes and practical gadgets.

I asked Colin this morning what was on his Christmas list.

I dunno.  (This is a standard answer for nearly every question.  What would you like for supper?  How was school today?  Would you like a swift kick in the butt?)

Well, maybe a racing game. (Okay! Now we're getting somewhere!)

For a PlayStation 3. (No.  We don't have a PlayStation.  We have a Wii.  A PlayStation 3 is outside of the Christmas budget, especially for a family who just returned from "Central Florida.")

Colin looks at me and smiles and dashes upstairs.

I am back at square one.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Writer's Block Friday

Blah, blah, blah . . .


  • I want to make it perfectly clear, I was not driving my car while trying to balance a wine glass on the center console. I was sitting in the driveway.  I have reckless moments, but that is no longer one of them.
  • I just realized I have not eaten a fruit or vegetable since last Friday in the bus on the way to the airport when I ate a bag of grapes one of the boys rejected.  This is bad parenting by example.  This is bad for my general health.  I'm not even sure how I managed it.  I am usually better than this.  I am going to eat a piece of cake while I drink my second cup of coffee and think about this.
  • It was leaf pickup here yesterday afternoon.  My lawn looks clean and tidy and ready for a heavy blanket of snow. Hooray.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What's that smell?

So last night the fancy schmancy radio in my car needed a little tweak which required me to sit in the car for a few minutes while a satellite zapped some information to my radio.  Brent and I were having a little wine with our pasta, so here's what I thought to myself, "I shall take the rest of this glass of wine out to the car with me while I sit and wait for the zapping of my radio."

I got into the car and realized there was no good place to set my wine glass.  Well, there shouldn't be, should there?  There should NOT be a wine glass holder on the driver's side of the car or, really, anywhere in the car.

Now, this is the moment I should have said to myself, "This is not a good idea, dear.  Take this glass back into the house."  But -- no -- I did not do that.  I placed it on the center console . . . and immediately knocked it off all over myself and the front seat and the front floor mat and all those handy little cubbies they put in the front of cars for you to stash your coins or maps or whatever.

You saw that coming, didn't you?  Why didn't I?

I cleaned up the best that I could, but I just really, really, really don't want to get pulled over in the next few weeks.  What am I going to say?  "Well, officer, I had this bag of grapes and they slid under the seat and we didn't notice until they fermented . . . um . . . into wine."

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The day I put the shorts away

Well . . . I've got the laundry done and I put the shorts into storage right out of the dryer.  In some ways, this was easier than most years.   Minnesota has sort of fickle weather in the fall.  On the occasional odd year you can trick or treat in shorts.  Other years you need snow boots.  It can be difficult to know when the moment has arrived that it's time to actually switch to long sleeves and pants.

This year there was no question.  I needed to leave our shorts out until our trip.  It was time to put them away when we got home.  Easy peasy.  Wouldn't it be nice if there were more situations like that?

Take little Kim Kardashian, for example. Apparently there was a lot of gray area in deciding to get married 72 days ago.  The question, "Shall I marry a man on national television who wants me to give up my semi-celebrity lifestyle and have children and move to Minnesota" was a more complicated decision that it might appear on the surface to me. Now I believe Minnesota to be a more hip happenin' place than the rest of the country might think, and I believe we would have welcomed Mrs. Humphries with open arms.  I think first, though, we as Minnesotans would have asked her, "Kim, dear, are you sure?  Are you sure you're sure?  Are you ready to spend six months of the year covering your . . . um . . . assets?  Because that's the bottom line to living here.  Also our sense of celebrity is a little skewed.  We elected a pro wrestler governor.  We open our doors to find Prince doing his Jehovah Witness work and we just politely say no and offer him a decaf pop (soda) before he goes on his way.  We honor Sinclair Lewis as a hometown boy even though his writing mocked everything for which we stand.  The rest of the world understood that.  Us not so much."

No, little Kimberly wouldn't have been able to cut it here.  Sometimes we put our shorts away in September and sometimes November.  I imagine she doesn't put hers away at all.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Back from the Mysterious Unknown


We are back from our trip to an undisclosed location in central Florida and may I say we had THE BEST time ever.  We have been there (ahem) a few times over recent years and so we were able to relax and just enjoy ourselves without feeling pressure to get it all in before we left.

This was Colin's first air trip in nine years. He has stubbornly refused to get on a plane since he was four years old.   I think I wrote to you that we were all feeling a little nervous about it.  He did a great job coping.  I'm guessing he prefer not to fly, but I think he'd do it again.  He even survived well enough to humor his mother with this photo at the undisclosed location.


Now THAT'S a good sport for a junior high boy, and I salute him.

The friendliest people we encountered the entire trip -- and I have never lied to you -- were the TSA crew at the Minneapolis airport.  Do you remember how I was trying to get D to practice?  Not a  problem with these likable folks ready to high five a guy when he walked through on his own.  I would not brag about TSA in Orlando, but Minneapolis -- yes!  Shout out to them!

So now we're home and we're trying to adjust to having to make our own beds and eat snacks not in the shape of a mouse head.

D would like to know how many days until our next trip.  I wish I knew.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Movie Monday

I thought you would be able to hear the "MOMMY, I NEED YOU RIGHT NOW!!!!" in the background towards the end, but you can't . . .


Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm serious

There are houses where you take your shoes off and houses where you leave your shoes on.  I tend to encourage people to leave their shoes on in my home because I steer away from things like mopping and such, but every now and again I am reminded of another reason to encourage my guests to leave their shoes on.

I am married to machinist.  Sometimes I find things like this on the floor:


Thankfully, no one has ever found this sort of thing wedged in a toe.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

And . . . no.

Science test yesterday did not go well.  Did not go well at all. *heavy sigh*  What are you going to do.  We pick up the ol' 10 pound science text and start again on the new chapter.  Fortunately, his grade is split half homework, half tests so he's balancing out to a very respectable B-.

I am starting to pack for Central Florida.  It's been a long time (well, nine years) since I have flown with children.  I found myself stocking up on magazines and games and snacks and movies only to realize I was buying supplies for a three day car trip, not a three hour plane ride.  I packed most of it away for emergency use over the long, boring winter.

Preschooler D and I have been talking about how to get through security.  We watched the videos from the tsa website.*  Brent and I set up a mock security station in the kitchen.  I had a good time playing obedient passenger walking through security, but D wasn't interested.

Can't you carry me?


No, we have to walk one at a time.  That's the rule.


We could walk together.


No, we have to walk one at a time.  That's the rule.


What if the bell goes off?


The bell only goes off when there's metal.  You won't have any.  It won't go off. I give you my word.


What about that? (Pointing to small ring I am wearing.)


I will put that in my backpack until we are done.


HOORAY!!!

Please, oh, please, don't let the alarm sound!!!

HA!

* My favorite line on this page has to do with not leaving your infant in the carrier as it goes through the x-ray machine.  Who would think that was a smart idea?  Someone would/did and that is why they have to say that.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Helplessly Hoping

I am running behind today because I woke up at 5 am worrying about a science test Colin has today.  As though there were anything I could do about it.  I can't.

We spent several hours studying last night, but as we have discussed before, some days it is easier for Colin to retrieve things from his memory. Yesterday was not one of those days.

Testing is never something Colin does very well, and it is just heartbreaking because he puts in the work, but when push comes to shove at test time -- nothing.

I know he's not the only kid who has ever struggled with test paralysis.  Kids without autism sometimes have it too.  How normal of Colin.

Still . . . this is one part I hate.  The sitting around worrying before and during.

As though worrying would change anything . . .

Monday, October 17, 2011

Two bowls, Two crackers

A small lesson on cold sores and a good idea from my cute and smart husband . . .


Friday, October 14, 2011

True Confession Friday

Sometimes when a family member throws a perfectly clean sweater or a pair of jeans only worn for a couple of hours down the laundry chute, I just fold it up and carry it back upstairs in the laundry basket.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Pay What You Owe

When my dad owned the newspapers, I worked nearly every job there was at the place.  My least favorite was bookkeeper.  I would send out the bills and then people would send in random amounts of money.  Some more, some less -- some none at all.  My motto became "Pay what you owe.  No more, no less."

I start with this because we are going on vacation.  No, wait.  It will make sense.  We are going to a resort which required payment in full on our package before we arrive.  I made the down payment and then assumed that when the rest was due it would be placed on my card automatically.

It wasn't, and I didn't notice until I received a phone call today.  I saw by the caller ID it was my resort . . .

Oh, let's quit pretending.  We're going to "Central Florida."  Why do I even try to fool you?

So I saw on the caller ID that it was Central Florida and I got all excited.  Surely it was someone calling to say that they were glad we were coming.  Heck, they probably were calling to offer a magnificent free upgrade.

"Hello, Mary?"  (Mmmm . . . no one calls me Mary.  This wasn't good.)  "This is Storm from (Central Florida) Accounting."

Okay, I got stuck for a minute.  Really? Her name was Storm? I tuned back in just in time to hear her say, "Are you still planning your trip because you have not paid the balance of (your amount) due on (many, many weeks ago).  We will be cancelling your reservation at 5pm tomorrow if not paid in full."

WHAT????  WhatWhatWhatWhat????  NO!!  It was automatic!  Wasn't it automatic?  I thought it was automatic!!!  I've got a 13-year-old who is getting on an airplane for the first time in nine years because his father and I have talked fast and encouragingly and gotten him some pills from the doctor which we are swearing up and down will eliminate any fear he has at the airport which is sort of a bold-face lie, but we are running with it anyway!!!! We are working on "make up work"  which has to be done in advance as we speak from those text books that weigh 10 pounds each!!!!  No! No! No!

sigh.

I hung up with Storm and called the Central Florida and took care of it.  All was well.  But what a heart attack.

Let's remember to pay what we owe.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

This poem is in honor of Colin's pre-algebra textbook which is the same size as my college accounting book.


Arithmetic

Carl Sandburg

Arithmetic is where numbers fly like pigeons in and out of your
    head.
Arithmetic tell you how many you lose or win if you know how
    many you had before you lost or won.
Arithmetic is seven eleven all good children go to heaven -- or five
    six bundle of sticks.
Arithmetic is numbers you squeeze from your head to your hand
    to your pencil to your paper till you get the answer.
Arithmetic is where the answer is right and everything is nice and
    you can look out of the window and see the blue sky -- or the
    answer is wrong and you have to start all over and try again
    and see how it comes out this time.
If you take a number and double it and double it again and then
    double it a few more times, the number gets bigger and bigger
    and goes higher and higher and only arithmetic can tell you
    what the number is when you decide to quit doubling.
Arithmetic is where you have to multiply -- and you carry the
    multiplication table in your head and hope you won't lose it.
If you have two animal crackers, one good and one bad, and you
    eat one and a striped zebra with streaks all over him eats the
    other, how many animal crackers will you have if somebody
    offers you five six seven and you say No no no and you say
    Nay nay nay and you say Nix nix nix?
If you ask your mother for one fried egg for breakfast and she
    gives you two fried eggs and you eat both of them, who is
    better in arithmetic, you or your mother?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Pumpkin Day

It was Pumpkin Patch Day at the preschool.  Imagine yourself on a school bus with 60 some preschoolers excited to see tractors, squirrels, emergency exit signs, houses, farms, trees . . .  We got off the bus and I turned to mommy-friend Emily and said, "Only 13 more years of field trips to go."  She threw her head back and sighed wearily.

They were so stinky cute, though.  It was hard to stay jaded about the trip.


It was interesting to see what pumpkin qualities appealed to the kids.  Some wanted gigantic pumpkins they could not carry.  (I may have sore arms tomorrow.)  Some wanted tiny pumpkins and had to be convinced that carving them would be difficult.

D. was attracted to nice medium sized pumpkins, but he wanted a clean one.  I think that tells us a something as well . . . but I'm not sure what exactly.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

If you're an RSS reader, you may have gotten a test blog entry today.  Ignore it.  I was checking a different way to produce entries, but in the end I didn't like it.

I'm in a bit of a mood today.  I've just heard gossip about myself that I suspect someone is using to his or her advantage . . . as a ploy to mend a broken relationship . . . in church.  This, I am telling you, is why Christians have a bad reputation.  We talk about each other.  (See Friday's entry from hair salon.)  I am not claiming that I am always innocent.

While I go pull out my freshly dyed hair, you read a poem about a grizzly bear.

Grizzly Bear
Mary Austin


If you ever, ever, ever meet a grizzly bear,
You must never, never, never ask him where
He is going,
Or what he is doing;
For if you ever, ever dare
To stop a grizzly bear,
You will never meet another grizzly bear.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Next time, ear plugs

"You cannot disregard the truth,"  said the man in the chair next to me at the hairdresser today.  He was talking about infant baptism and he was loud.

(Now, look, my point here isn't going to be about baptism.  I've had both my boys baptized as babies, but on those Sundays there was a full-page disclaimer about infant baptism in the bulletin.  It wasn't a big deal to me to have them baptized as infants but it was a big, big, big deal to my in-laws, so why sweat it?)

My chair neighbor got louder.  He was part of a new church which had left their old church because they disagreed with a point of doctrine their denomination established recently.  Perhaps you know what I am talking about.

I tried very hard to focus on my book.  I read the same page over and over.

His hair stylist said, "Well, I never talk about religion or politics.  It just upsets people.  Say! You know (that big church in town)?  Well, they had some big falling out and people got mad and left and their offices are in that building downtown that used to be the library."

Well, first of all, it used to be the post office.

"Hmmmm," said her customer.  "All I know is they aren't (MY denomination)"

Friends and loved ones, there was more to this conversation that got my blood a-boiling, but the bottom line is they were talking about my new little church with the name that continues to make me chuckle to myself.  Now, lookie here.  I can laugh and criticize my new church all I like but how dare, how DARE, HOW DARE they even speak of darling Cataclysm Catalyst without knowing what they are talking about?

Up I sprang from my chair hair dye flying everywhere.  "ExCUSE me, but everyone got along at that church perfectly well.  It was a large church, and we decided to plant a new one." And I turned on my little heel and marched over to the shampoo bowls where I sat with self-righteous indignation and read that same page over and over and over until it was time for my rinse.

Oh, there were so many things I could have said.  I could have quoted scripture.  I could have pointed out that they were gossiping. I could have gone the sweeter route and invited them to see what we are doing or to my home for small group.  (I don't think they would have been interested.)

I could have just sat there and pretended like I couldn't hear and read my page over and over.  How often do I kick myself because there is a time and a place to keep your mouth shut and I don't always know it?

It's too late to go back now, so let's think what we've learned from this:   Leave dear CatStevens Catalyst alone and bring head phones to the salon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Direct from my kitchen! Live!


I've had my new computer two weeks and just discovered it's got a camera.  I don't know if you can see the little video or not.  I can see it when I am in edit mode but not after I have published.  If you can't that's okay, I should have taken a minute for lip gloss . . .

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

It's not really a poem today.  It's a Christopher Robin to Winnie the Pooh quote.  Ms. Amber, D's preschool teacher, had it on her weekly note home last week, and I thought we could all do to remember this.

"Promise me you'll always remember:  You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Too Close to Home

Sheri is a truly beloved college friend of mine.  Here she is back in the day walking to class at good ol' Mankato State.  Go Mavs!!


I liked her immediately because Sheri just loved life and rolled with the punches.  I was am not as good at that, and I just loved that she could.  You could not be with Sheri for long and not hear her singing or see her dancing.  That was the way I wanted to live and still do . . .

After college Sheri met and married Shannon.  Brent and I drove across South Dakota on a very, very cold November day to Sheri and Shannon's wedding.

I hadn't met Shannon yet, but what a pair!  If ever there was a man for Sheri -- here he was.  Kind. Loud. Singing away to his own song.  They moved to Virginia and had Ashton, who right around his second or third birthday, developed an aggressive form of childhood leukemia.  Sheri and Shannon had to make hard choices to save their son and today he is 15 years old.  The whole family continued to work very hard to raise money for childhood cancer and last weekend while training for a fundraising bike ride, Shannon collapsed and did not wake up.  His funeral was Friday.

I don't get it, and, frankly, this hits a little too close to home.  Who becomes a widow at age 42? (My grandmother Gigi, for one.)  I don't like it.

Now if you think that as a Christian, I am just sitting here saying things like -- "Well, it must have been his time.  The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away" -- you're just stinkin' wrong.  That's not what I'm doing at all.  This is where I hold my little fist up to God and say, "What the heck?! Why would you allow such a thing?!  Hasn't this family been through enough?!"

I don't know for sure, but His answer is probably yes and no.  We don't get to pick who has been through enough.  Life on earth isn't always fair. In fact, it hardly ever is.

But if I still know Sheri a little bit, after she is done shaking her fist at God, she will thank Him for her wonderful husband.  She will be grateful that she was married to him for nearly 18 years.  She will continue to love her son and parent him the best way she can.

Here's where character counts.  Here's where faith begins.

She will continue to sing and dance.

Friday, September 23, 2011

True Confession Friday

Sometimes I "mop" by wiping a Clorox wipe over an especially sticky part of the floor and call it good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

School Sales

There was an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune on Sunday about how much people hate schools selling stuff.  Me too -- and yet I have put a magazine link here because our little music department needs the money and not every parent has enough to just fork over cash.  I prefer that idea.  I think that those who can should just write a check and be done with it.  Otherwise we are just buying things we don't really need or want. That's not really fair, though, because then those who can't afford to write a check or buy the stuff themselves still have to hit the streets peddling magazines.

Of all the sales we've had to do for school, magazines are the least painful.  You just collect and that's the end of it.  The magazines get sent directly to the buyer's home.  I understand there's a Papa Murphy's pizza sale for the preschool later in the year.  I love Papa Murphy's pizza as much as the next gal, but those pizzas are fresh and have to be picked up and delivered in a timely manner.  There's no keeping them in the trunk until you run into the person you sold them to.

I used to buy a Christmas wreath from a highly organized Boy Scout.  The year he grew up and moved away, I put a plea on Facebook for a scout seller and got a phone call from a scout father who seemed angry I wanted to buy one.  He practically threw it on my doorstep.  I think it had been in his trunk for several days because it was near death when I got it.  The next year I bought one at a store.  Didn't feel nearly as good, but I didn't have to deal with a parent who felt like he was doing me a favor.

Another sale I don't enjoy is wrapping paper.  I'm sure you have a room devoted to the creative wrapping of gifts, but I don't.  I usually buy a gift bag at the same time I buy the gift, or I go to the basement and find one of the many hundreds of gift bags I got when Colin was born.  True they are mostly blue and have a baby or Noah's ark on them, but if you put a lot of colorful tissue paper in it sort of masks the bag and the recipient gets all excited to dig in and see what the gift is.

Beware, though, this year your gift might be a fresh pizza.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

I don't think this poem needs much of an introduction . . .

End-Of-Summer Poem
Rowena Bastin Bennett


The little songs of summer are all gone today.
The little insect instruments are all packed away:
The bumblebee's snare drum, the grasshopper's guitar,
The katydid's castanets -- I wonder where they are.
The bullfrog's banjo, the cricket's violin,
The dragonfly's cello have ceased their merry din.
Oh, where is the orchestra? From harpist down to drummer
They've all disappeared with the passing of summer.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Too Quiet

I am having trouble adjusting to the quiet on preschool days.  It doesn't make me sad.  It's just different.  I could turn on the TV or the radio, but I kind of like it.  I don't know exactly what to do with it though.  Is that confusing?  It's just so doggone different.

I thought I would be getting ahead on blog posts or cleaning the oven or giving myself spectacular manicures . . . but I find myself just sitting quietly in the quiet.

I don't think it will last.  Do you?  I think in another week or two, I am going to be a whirling dervish of activity -- radio blaring, daytime TV droning.

D loves, loves, loves preschool by the way.  He is excited to go every day.  I am very glad about this because when Colin was a preschooler, he went one week and then decided he'd "climbed that hill" and didn't need to go again.  Been there.  Done that.

He still feels that way.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

7th Grade


At some point this week, I realized I would be experiencing seventh grade science and social studies again through Colin.  I also realized how little I recall from seventh grade science and social studies.  Up until now when Colin looked to me for homework assistance, I would nod sagely and point him in the right direction.  Homework last week and this week has gone more like this --

Colin: Do you think this is right?


Me:  I have no idea.  Can you look it up?

Now I know that this is the way a parent should help her child with homework.  She should be encouraging him to figure out the answer on his own, and I think I've done a pretty good job with that.  Now, though, it's because I don't know the answer either, and I am finding that way more humbling.

Colin's social studies class, World Geography, is going to be especially challenging because when I took world geography in sixth grade, it was a whole different ballgame.  A large part of Europe/Asia was taken up with the USSR.  Now it's all those little countries that end in "thia" or "stan."  Are you like me?  Do you listen to the news sometimes and hear one of those little countries -- like Tajikistan -- and say, "That's not really a country! Is that really a country?!"

So this is good.  In future I will watch the news and say, "Kyrgyzstan!  Of course!"

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday on Wednesday

Here's a poem for my little niece who turns one today and is not named Pippa although perhaps she should have been.

Pippa's Song
Robert Browning


The year's at the spring,
And the day's at the morn;
Morning's at seven;
The hillside's dew-pearled;


The lark's on the wing;
The snail's on the thorn:
God's in His Heaven --
All's right with the world!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Preschooler D Goes to Preschool

We knew this day would come.  I did not have to take to my bed.  It was very, very, very quiet here this morning, though.

All went well.  He was happy to be dropped off and happy to be picked up. Fellow Preschooler Mommy Emily said of her twins, "They didn't cry.  Why should I?"  Very good advice indeed.

But we can be a little melancholy, can't we?  Just today?


Friday, September 9, 2011

Crayons at Last

Remember how I was wondering why D didn't need crayons for preschool?  Well, he and I went to preschool open house yesterday and discovered we had been given the wrong supply list.  Argh.  The first five things on the preschool open house scavenger hunt had to do with putting away items we didn't have. So after getting our flu shots at the local clinic (argh again), we got back in the car to head to our local Target.

I don't know if you've noticed, but the school supplies are GONE.  No, not gone if you need to buy a plastic ruler or some double sided sticky tape or a folder in a basic color or a small Spanish dictionary, but if you want a pencil box or a fun wide lined notebook . . . GONE.

Also crayons are back to their normal price.  You know how at the height of school supply time they are 59 cents or something?  Not any more.  And here's another thing.  Our list said 12 crayons.  Crayons don't come in 12, do they?  They come in multiples of 8.  I bought the 24 pack because it's a multiple of 12.  It seemed logical at the time.

Do you think I got frustrated because I am a little nervous about sending my little buddy off into the big, bad preschool world?

I am open to that idea.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Day After the First Day of School

He came in yesterday with a heavy sigh.

*sigh* "That was the longest day ever."

And so began Colin's seventh grade year.

"How many days left?" he asked on his way out the door today.

His encouraging father who seems to have forgotten Colossians 3:21 answered, "Thousands."

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Poem for Tuesday

Here's a nice number by good ol' Emily D in honor of the Great State of Minnesota taking our children back today.

Autumn
Emily Dickinson


The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.


The maple wears a grayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

Monday, September 5, 2011

School Eve

Last week was spent filling out school forms and double checking the supply list.  My sister, Cyberspace Sarah, had "48 sharpened pencils" on one of her lists.  Really?  That's 5.3 sharpened pencils a month for third grade.  We didn't have anything that exciting on either one of our lists.  Colin must be going to a loose leaf system.  His list didn't come out until last week.  I'd already bought a pile of wide lined notebooks and then panicked because I thought he'd need college rule.  I bought another pile.  He doesn't need any of them.  He needed loose leaf.  I used to prefer loose leaf myself, but now I have a huge pile of notebooks.  We'll need them eventually.

Preschooler D (who is going to become an actual preschooler next week!) needed two jumbo glue sticks and a bottle of glue.  Apparently there is a lot of gluing in preschool . . . but no coloring.  He didn't need crayons. Go figure.

Brent has just been giving a pep talk to Colin.  "Seventh grade is going to be great!  You're going to be doing all kinds of new things!"

"Like what?"  asked Colin.

"Well . . . ah . . . um.  All kinds of new things!!"

No, Colin.  We fear that seventh grade is just going to be sixth grade with harder books, shorter recess and no study hall.  Of course, that's no way to send your child into a new school year. "Whoo-hoo!! Who's ready for seventh grade?!"

These conversations are just hard.  The other night Brent asked D what he was most looking forward to at school.  His answer was, "Learning math."

Oh, son. There's no math at preschool.  Just gluing.

For a little perspective on first day trauma, head over here to Rachel's blog on buying school supplies.  Rachel has lived in Africa many years.  This is the first year her kids will be going to American school.  She also has a great entry yesterday about going to open house.

Monday, August 29, 2011

The Flaming Grocery Bag

I think at this point we have established that ofttimes I find myself in situations other people just don't encounter . . . and so it was Saturday.

I found myself alone at the grocery store.  I have sort of mixed feelings about this.  When we go as a family it takes a long time.  If I go alone, I risk hearing, "What did you get that is good?"  Well, this Saturday I was enjoying my time in the grocery store.  I was texting friends and studying olives.  It was quiet and lovely.

I got home and set my reuseable shopping bag on top of my flat top stove.  Do we see where this is going?  I went back to my texting conversation until I smelled something hot.  I looked up and saw that my groceries were on fire because someone had knocked the burner on.

Now . . . instead of calmly grabbing the fire extinguisher, I grabbed the hot bag intending to throw it in the sink.  Alas, the bottom had burned through the bag sending melted groceries and bits of flaming hot bag to the floor.  I ran to open the doors and windows and when I came back into the kitchen I stepped on a piece of melting reusable shopping bag.

Now. . . instead of calmly calling my husband  and explaining how my foot was on fire, I did this, "BRENT! BRENT! BRENT! BRENT!" And I sort of held up my foot.

Now . . . my husband is a thinker.  It's one of the many things I love about him.  He doesn't leap into things which provides the stability our relationship needs when I want to jump in head first.  Alas, it took him a moment to assess the situation and analyze the options.  I felt it took too long.  I want him to grab my foot and stick it under the kitchen tap . . . but . . . well . . . that was the eventual choice he made.

This all took seconds, mind you.

At any rate, all turned out all right.  Everything cleaned up just fine.  I have a blister shaped like Delaware on the bottom of my foot and I fear by the time it heals flip flop season will be over BUT -- really -- this all could have been so much worse.  I (or the house) could have gotten really burned AND Chuck Taylors go with everything.  Who needs flip flops?


Friday, August 26, 2011

Into Every Trip, a Little Rain

Now normally, where ever we go, that's where the party is, but on the third day of our four day weekend, we had a bad day.  I don't mean "oops" they were out of cinnamon rolls at the continental breakfast, I mean nothing went right for any of us from the moment we got up.

The first thing I did was spill orange juice down the front of myself and had to change completely.  Not Preschooler D -- me.  Then we hit the road for Deadwood.  Now besides being a summer retreat for Kevin Costner, Deadwood is home to site of the shooting of Wild Bill Hickok.  I remember visiting there as a child and oohing and ahhing the story of Wild Bill buying the farm while he played cards.  The boys were going to love this, thought I.

Wrong.  Couldn't have been wronger.  They didn't even want to get out of the car much less trudge straight uphill to visit a grave in a cemetery.  They were promised lunch and away we went whining all the way.


After paying our respects we set off to find lunch.

Deadwood, as you may or may not know, has legalized gambling.  A lovely thing, perhaps, if you and your spouse are driving through Deadwood in your convertible on a summer retirement tour of the Western states.  It is a miserable thing if you are trying to feed a teenager and a preschooler because Deadwood is full of gambling, bars, shooting reenactments and Kevin Costner movie memorabilia, but not much else.  After wandering around for a while we finally found a place to sit outdoors and eat a hamburger.

Brent's had mushrooms.

Now normally, this wouldn't be a problem but somewhere along the four hour drive in the middle of nowhere to our next stop those mushrooms turned on my poor husband.  Somewhere out in the middle of nowhere.  It was probably the longest 30 minutes of my life as I tried to decide if I should pull over and let the ambulance find us or keep driving until I reached the hospital.

Fortunately I didn't have to do either one.  He recovered admirably and was even able to come along to our last stop of the trip, the Medora Musical.  I like the Medora Musical.  It's fun.  There's singing.  There's dancing. There's steak on a pitchfork.  It's good, clean fun.  It's outside.  You park on a grassy hill.  A grassy hill where they have used sharp, pointy rocks to outline the parking area.  And you back in.  Back in to the sharp, pointy rocks.  With your BRAND NEW AUTOMOBILE.

I was so mad, I could not speak.  Poor Brent, still recovering from his mushrooms, dragged me and the boys down to the amphitheatre while he whispered encouraging things about insurance.  I could not speak.  I could not cry.  I just marched along.

Then my husband of 17+ years, my husband who knows me so well, spotted a pink cowboy hat for sale with a shiny crown attached.  He knew, no matter how long that day had been, I could not resist a shiny pink cowboy hat.

And, indeed, I could not.  Sitting there for the second half of the musical, hat on my head, boys at my side I thought, "How lucky can a girl get?"

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

An Old Tortoise and Dead Presidents

Well, now I can tell you, we went to see these guys.


Now, you just go ahead and be as cynical and jaded as you like, but some guy took the time to figure out how to carve the likeness of presidents into the side of the mountain.  Here D and I are getting a closer look.


They're just big.  Some guys hung themselves from the side of this cliff and carved out the presidents.

Another highlight of the trip for me was visiting the tortoises at Reptile Gardens.  When I was D's age, you could ride them.  They don't allow that today. Why must the fun be stripped out of every animal event?  (See our trip to the circus.)


You know I'm kidding, right?  Although, D immediately saw how a guy could ride it if he wanted.  He was getting ready to saddle up when Brent and I peeled him off before the tortoise guard noticed.

I think the tortoise remembered me.