Monday, December 31, 2007

Appropriate Reflections and Visions

As I start this post, there are 39 minutes left in 2007 (according to my computer, at least). My children are fast asleep, as they always have been this time of night, this time of year. They don't even try to wait up yet, and are happy enough with "When you wake up tomorrow, it will be 2008!". Big Boss Man has travelled to Tennessee, where he will stay the night with his brother, then travel to Florida early tomorrow morning. BBM's dad is having surgery tomorrow, and although it's considered pretty routine (double bypass is considered routine these days, isn't it?), prayers would still be appreciated.

The year comes to an end. Some positives, some negatives, but no regrets. Hopes for the future, near and distant, linger in my mind like rose petals atop a swirling river. 2008 promises to be a year of growth and discovery...and my faithful followers will be here to share it with me (all 4 of you!!! {ahem} {cough cough}). I feel there may be great change in some areas of my life. Some of them I've touched on here before, some I've kept private. I will share with you the happenings as I explore this great expanse that is life, and as ideas and plans of action come to fruition (or at least as my efforts yield more noticeable results).

To all of you, I wish nothing but the best in the year ahead. Cliché as it may be, may all your dreams come true. If dreams don't come true, may you have the initiative to keep dreaming, the courage to take risks, and the strength to keep on keepin' on.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Hootie HOOOO!!!

Well, after much playing, fighting, cheering, tearing, winning, and losing...

The Skins have made the PLAYOFFS!!!!!


So we will be waiting with baited breath for next Saturday, when the Skins will play the Seapukes. I can only imagine what that day will be like. Let me just say this: there is a chance that Big Boss Man's Skins will play Peyton Manning and my Colts in the Superbowl on February 3rd. Let me also say this: we are hosting this year's SB party on that fated day. I can already see one of us sleeping on the couch that night. (And yes, I'm cheering for the Skins right now because BBM adores them, and because the Colts have already secured not only their playoff spot, but also a bye in the first week.)

In other news, I've been doing laundry all day long. For some reason, I put off washing extra blankets, usually for lack of gumption (the dirty clothing takes it all out of me, let alone blankets we only use for making forts or covering up out on the couch). Sometime tonight, however, my dad arrives for a visit from Minnesota, and he'll be racking out on our couch. This means he'll actually need bedclothes. This means I actually have to wash bedclothes. Thus, my 9th load of the day is in the washer. Thankfully, I also took the day off work tomorrow, as dad's in town, and as I have to work New Year's Day.

And an update: the rocket is still in the tree out back. It spent most of its day taunting me; spinning this way and that, appearing to loosen it's death grip on the tiny branch that held it's place, but deciding at the last minute that its newfound home was just that...home (at least for now).

And last but not least, I've been working on a menu. I'm hoping to start the upcoming year with at least some semblance of order and organized chaos in this house. Plus, with recipes like Scrumptous---and I do mean scrumptous apple pie, The best lasagna. Ever, Cinnamon rolls, and Marlboro Man's favorite sandwich at my fingertips over in Ree's kitchen, I have absolutely NO excuse.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Saturday happenings at the Lodge.

Yes folks, this is what happens when you have 2401 things to do over the weekend. You decide to launch the last of two Christmas rockets. We won't talk about the first one, other than to say it was a really really windy day when it was launched, and we now only have one rocket remaining.

Now I will tell you this, the video just doesn't do this justice. The end displays a similarity to Apollo 13, when they're waiting at the very end of the movie...waiting to see if the heat shields survived the explosion...waiting to see if Lovell, Swigert, and Haise were able to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere in the Command Module. Except in our experience, there was no life in danger, unless you count any birds flying overheard during the mission (there were none at the time of launch).

Oh...if anyone has any {cough cough} bright ideas on how to recover, uhm, pieces of rocket and {cough cough} parachute from a nearby tree, contact me at

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Christmas Miracles do happen!

Everyone knows how much we love Dexter here at Whirlwind. Even when he's crabby, we still love him. Right after we got Dexter, he "escaped" from our loving home, and I am almost embarrassed as to how I bawled when we couldn't find him.


He's as much a part of this family as Big Boss Man, Monster, Bean Pole, Little Linebacker, or I. He knows this, and he eats up the attention he gets.

That being said, here's a story that gives me hope for all future escapes. Cats are amazing animals, and I wouldn't trade ours for anything.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Well well well.

Ever since I posted this post, I've been getting lots of s.i.n.g.l.e.s. ads on my google ad dealies. I don't actually want to type the word out, because they'll just recognize it and show more. I'm sure there is some way to control this, and I'm going to explore adsense a little bit later on tonight, but in the meantime, it's really annoying. You'd think they would make it simple: choose what rating you want your ads: G, PG, PG-13, or R.



And yet, it's not that way, because I've looked a tad on the site, and can't find anything, short of either blocking websites one by one as I see them, or adding which websites I'll allow. I don't mind the latter, but I need a list...I don't want to have to think of sites to allow, I want to choose from a list. I'm picky like that.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Partial ritual, but early.

I went to the library early this week, last night as a matter of fact, for one reason: I went online to order some books that I'd found on (order them from the library I mean. Duh...why would I spend money on them if I haven't read them first?!?). So I sign into my library account, and BAM!! I get hit in the face with 11 books (10 books and 1 dvd) overdue. Wha?? I know I turned all my books in. Oh wait.

Am I married? Is that my husband that's always wandering around the house? Whose socks I unfold when I wash them?

Yup, that's him. Big Boss Man.


So I head to the library, stopping at Walgreens first to get some soda and get cash back to pay off this enormous fine (or at least pay it down to where I can actually check out books again), then head to the library.

First I can't find the one book BBM requested I check out for him. I had to ask for help in the library for the first time since 3rd grade. But lo and behold, they have it! Then, off to the computer to refind the books I was trying to request earlier in the evening. I have a list of 13 books. I'm sure they won't have all of them at this location, so I'll get what they have and request a location change for the remainder.

They have one. Count it: ONE book (mwua ah ah).

{sigh again}

It's not like they have the books at different locations and I have to have my patience tested (of which I have little when it comes to things like this)...they don't have any of them even in the library system. The very lovely woman at the counter tells me I can request that the library acquire them though, online when I get home.

Then I go to pay my fine. $41.15. Who owes $41 to the library??? Well I did. And I don't anymore. I brought it down to a reasonable $10 and some change, which made the librarian very happy, and made my cheeks turn less reddened than they were when she told me the total.

So I get the book. It's hysterical so far. It's called Mommy Tracked by Whitney Gaskell. Great read. Go. Check it out. I'll be here when you get back.

Friday, December 14, 2007


I've led a sheltered life. Big Boss Man will attest to this, and reminds me of it when I read an upsetting story about kids smoking pot or 12 year old girls having sex and getting pregnant. I'm naive in the worst sense of the word; the slightest things shock me.

That being said.

We went to a mall tonight and walked around. It was my birthday today, but my "party" (gambling and mayhem at the casino) isn't until tomorrow night, so we went just to get out tonight. We got The Boys new shoes (can you say "stinky" and "holey"? Those are the only two words that can describe their old shoes). Then we just walked around, and not people watching is impossible when you're in a mall on a Friday night.

What I saw put a fear in my heart that I've never experienced before.

I didn't fear for my life in a physical sense. I didn't feel the need to have my hand hidden in my purse, resting on the grip of a Kahr PM9. I did fear for the futures of my children. As we were sitting down to save a table at the food court, two girls (couldn't have been older than 13, maybe) jogged just past our table to a few older guys. They were dressed as I've never seen girls that young dressed before, and one of them spoke up with a "Hey!" shouted to the guys. "Do you want my friend's number?"


Did I miss something?

"YEAH!" the guys said back, and the girl went on to ask if they had cell phones. Of course, they did, because children of all ages have cell phones in contemporary times {insert eye rolley thing here}. She rattled off the number like water off a duck, and then her and her friend sauntered away, butts twitching like they'd been paid to shake what their mama gave 13!! I think my heart may have actually stopped right then and there.

So BBM came back to the table. He proceeded to give me CPR to jumpstart my ticker. I told him what I'd witnessed, and he acted surprised...not surprised that it had happened, but surprised that I seemed so shocked by it all. Obviously I haven't been to the mall in...well, years.

So we continue to eat (and people watch), and we see so many things. So many things that I can't even write them all down here, as I really don't want to relive the experience. But I do have a couple questions:

1. What, exactly, are young people expressing when they choose to wear dark eyeshadow and black eyeliner that, quite honestly, makes them look like football players who don't quite know how to put glare paint on their cheeks? I don't get it. And I'm not just talking girls here...some of the young men we saw could give drag queens lessons on application. I get that they're individuals, and they're exercising their right to be an individual, and they're expressing "who they are", but who does that? Who are they? If their expressions are shining through, I ain't gettin' it.

2. If children are so insistent on being individuals, why did we see groups (and I'm not talking one or two kids, I'm talking groups of five, six, seven kids) ALL. WITH. THE. SAME. HAIRCUTS??? Isn't that a little hypocrisy, or am I just old? It was something I'd never seen before...all of them the same with maybe a difference in hair know, some pitch black, some bleached white. Because that's individual.

3. Who on God's green Earth is sitting at home with these kids, telling them they look "great" or "nice" or "cute" or "hip" or whatever the word of the year is, packing them in the car, and dropping them off at a busy mall for the evening??? Is having a night alone without the blaring music of your pre-teen, tween, or teenager really so important that you'd risk ditching them at a haven for sex-hungry predators? Because from what I saw tonight, sex-hungry predators are not just dirty old men watching little girls from they're kids that are the same age as our children, going to the same school. My soul shivers at the very thought of it.

What can parents do? I am a member of a couple mothers' groups, and I can honestly say that NOT ONE of the women in these groups would let their kids hang out in an environment like this. So why are there so many children still at the mall?? Why is it so hard to stop this 'epidemic of individualism' from taking over? I want to take my children out of school. I'll home school them until they are old enough to get their certificate, at which time they'll be shipped off to the military, where they'll learn respect and discipline for 4 years. Either that, or I'm going to start a town for people who don't want their children to succumb to the temptations of this day and age. You have to fill out an application to get within city limits, and I'll have a One Strike and You're Out policy. No bad apples to spoil the barrel. Since neither of these options are viable, I'd like to end with a thought (or another one, since this post has been nothing but my thoughts): I'm all for expressing yourself. Go get a pencil and some drawing paper. Get a paint brush and a giant canvas. Not artistic? Grab a guitar, or maybe a piano or an accordion, if that turns your spokes. Music not your forte?


You can express yourself all you want.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Where have I been all my life?

Okay, well, at least for the last 5 days?!? Time is flying by, as it does during this time of year, every year. Once Thanksgiving comes along, the days just buzz along whether I'm at work or at home.

So after dealing with some personal stuff that is not to be discussed here yet, I'm back, and raring to go! I've started this weekend with laundry and paint.

Yeah, that's right. Laundry. Typical. I think you've heard this story before. I will get it done. I will get it done. Oddly enough, it's not getting done, because I'm multitasking...and when I multitask, I end up doing way too many things at one time and not really doing any of them. But I still do it. I still try.

And I finally bit the bullet and went to our friendly neighborhood hardware store to buy the fixings to paint. I still haven't picked out colors yet, which tends to be the hardest part for me, but I've at least got the beginning supplies. Since I live with a coupla budding artists, I have to prime. I have to prime everything before I can put a coat or two of paint up. Crayon, permanent marker, these colorful little gel pens that's all gone (okay, so it's all gone on one wall...I can only do one at a time so I don't have to lock the cat in a bedroom for too long at once). But my goodness, does it look about a bajillion times better already, and it's just plain ol' white!

I'd post before and afters, but really. It's that embarassing.

I'd also like to share that we have critters...really large-sounding ones, in our attic again. We've had our share of squirrels, who we've watched as their little squirrel heads peek out of the holes they gnawed just below our overhang. But if these are squirrels, they're some ginormous squirrels! And of course, Big Boss Man is out of town. I refuse to even stick my head up in our attic access, for fear of some psychotic, gigantic rat with a bushy tail taking me out and then running rampant through my home. So it will have to wait until BBM gets home. I wouldn't really even mind them being up there. After all, squirrels need somewhere warm to live in the snow, right? But they're nocturnal! I don't know if all squirrels are nocturnal, but these certainly are. And they live right above the bed in our bedroom. I feel like I'm back to my apartment-living days (except, uhm, there's no sqeaky mattress sounds). So BBM will have to evict these tenants right quick after his return arrival.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Did someone say "Contest"?

Alas, I did not win Patriot's BEKA Giveaway, but a really cool chic, Park Wife, won, and that makes the world a better place.

This week, he's giving away a Tazza Transparent Rainbow Glass's stunning, truly stunning, even in the photo. So...yes...Go. Enter. Read. Now. Return.

Patriot's Tazza Glass Ornament Giveaway.

Are you back? Good then. Now I have another one for you. Pioneer Woman, as I've said in practically every post in some shape or form, is another cool chic. She's having a Surprise Give That Photo A Name contest today. It's supposed to be a surprise, but she spilled the beans a few days ago. Now she's teasing us, because as of 8:40am, it's still not posted. Ugh! Except that I just went to double check that, and it is posted. So Go. Now. Enter. Read. Don't-be-as-clever-as-me. Return.

P-Dub's Give That Photo A Name Contest.

Are you back again? Excellent. And now? The news. I just want to say that homes are not all they're cracked up to be when you view them online. I spent a good while in the past few days searching for homes for sale in certain areas of southern Illinois, and found a few that were actually in our price range and that looked "nice" in the pictures.


Apparently, realtors are realtors because they are actually magicians, but there are no magician positions open with their company. Did you know that they work magic with a camera? I'd swear to it. And they know when to take pictures of homes when the grass is cut...and when the windows are all intact. I actually read a description the other day that said something along the lines of "All window coverings present". I imagined a classroom full of windows:

Teacher: Front family room?

FFR: Here!

Teacher: Side kitchen?

SK: Here!

And so on, and so forth. Then I actually may have teared up, because this home was so bad, or in such a bad neighborhood maybe, that they felt the need to report that all the windows still had their least the last time they'd been there.

So I grabbed my mom, tied her hands, gagged her, and forced her to come with me into what would become one of the most terrifying experiences of my adult life (the basement of my current home still has it beat, but not by much). She actually volunteered to go, but I don't think she had any clue what I was getting her into.

I came out of the experience with a higher understanding of homes and the pricing of them, a greater knowledge of the backroads of a certain couple of towns across the river, and a newfound thankfulness for my life. And one, count it, ONE home left on my list to actually call on.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Jingle All The Way

The ABC Family Channel is having the 25 days of Christmas, which means they're showing nothing but Christmas movies from now until, well, Christmas.

So someone PLEASE tell me why Jingle All The Way (yeah, the one with Arnold Schwarze himself) just made me cry?




There's something SO not right about me.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Frustration and Fear

Well it's Friday, which means that although I have two days off, they really won't be days off at all...just days that I don't go to Walgreens to work.

I come home today to log into my blog and reflect on the day's joys and agonies, only to find that my blog is all messed to heck! Now, I'm an amateur blogger (yeah, it's necessary for me to say that, for those of you who can't tell). When I first created this blog, I couldn't tell a header from a footer or a 3 column blog from a 2 column blog. Then I did some reading, saved a couple "blogging for dummies" pages to my favorites, and actually changed around the look of my blog and got it to a place that I liked...I really liked. In fact, I loved it. And I was confortable with the idea that if I ever logged in one day and didn't love it, I could fairly easily tweak it enough that I'd come to love it again.

Well. Most of those ideas have been completely shot to hell.

Example uno: What the heck happened to my picture??? For awhile, I was borrowing a really cool storm shot from Mike at Extreme Instability. It had a kickin' farm house with one heckuva storm forming around it. It's an awesome picture, which you can see at his website. But I was feeling selfish, and I wanted this blog to be all about me, about my family, for my friends (or future friends), made by me. I'm selfish like that. So I switched the picture to one that I took on our vacation this past summer to New Mexico. I love the picture, and I have it hanging up in our living room. But I really liked seeing it every time I viewed my blog. In fact, I loved it.


Well. Now.

You can see what's there. Or rather, what's not there. About 3 inches of my picture is missing. Granted, the clouds look fairly cool, but for all anyone knows, they could be some grey paint I threw up onto a canvas.

Example dos: My marquee. My beautiful marquee. I spent time trying to figure that marquee out. And I liked it. Even though I had to experiment with color codes, since the ones listed didn't give me the colors they said they would, it was beautiful. It was my beautiful marquee. I liked it. In fact, I loved it.


Well. Now.

It's even more beautiful than ever, and I didn't even do it! I'll admit to not even playing around with the font for the scrolling message of my life...I was only concerned with getting the colors and size right. But then someone...something...somewhere...gets into my account and changes it to something more beautiful than I'd created. So now I feel a twinge of guilt...I have this this selfish, all-about-me blog I'd birthed and finally become happy with...and I liked this hacked-by-someone-I-don't-even-know marquee better. In fact, I loved it.

So after searching long and hard through post after post about formatting issues (uhm, or whatever they're called) in blogger help, I found nothing. Nothing about blogs being hacked into (except some nice Indonesian woman complaining that her wordpad had been shut down for violation of some kind of wordpad code of conduct....ahhh, good times). So I've written to Them. I don't know who They are, but I hope They help me fix my blog. They must be the Blog Gods, and I've done something to royally piss them off. So, I'll make a oath even, to Them:

Blog Gods: I hereby swear that if my picture is returned to my blog without harm, and (since I can't figure out which font I had before The Beautiful Font came my way) if the font type comes to me in a dream tonight, I will change my marquee back to the old, beautiful-but-not-as-beautiful-as-the-Fantasy-font marquee.

And I'll love it.


Oh. 12/1/07 P.S. The Gods didn't really answer my prayer yet. But I discovered that if I take the words out from the picture, it posts the whole thing. With the words, only the top inch. What-evah.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Contest alert!

Alright folks, it's that time again. Time for me to inform you of a cool giveaway on some other blog. Now I'm resting assured that you'll either A} Right click on this link and open in a new page, or B} click on this link, but promise to return to my page later. As much as I hate leading you away from my ramblings and carrying on, I do love a good giveaway! So go. Now. Read. Enter. Then return. Now.

Patriot's BEKA, Inc. Giveaway!

And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming. Did you know that our cat, Dexter, is hysterical? I think maybe all cats are, but he's hysterical and really cool all rolled into a furry little tabby. He's becoming whiney lately, which Big Boss Man blames on me, and I blame on him. BBM, for the first time in his life, has started sleeping with our bedroom door cracked, all because of Dexter. The cat would come in to sleep with us (or more accurately, sleep in between my knees), but then at around 4am, would decide that he wanted out. To pee? To eat? To chase his tail or a random piece of paper The Boys balled up for him the night before? Dunno. But out, all the same. So one of us would be forced to get out of our nice warm cozy bed to open the door and let him out. Then, just as we were starting to doze back off, he'd decide that being out of the bedroom wasn't all it was cracked up to be inside his wee little Tabby Cat brain, and by God, he wanted back in.


As I'm sitting here enjoying the last few minutes of the day, Dexter is sitting on the floor to the left of my chair. He's not laying there, like cats do. He's not even sitting down, with his front paws curled under him, dozing. He's standing there...almost at attention, looking at me.

At least I think he's looking at me.

No wait. He's not looking at me at all. He's eyeing the phone that's next to me on the desk. You'd think that a cat would have higher standards when it comes to playthings, but not our Dexter. He reaches up, standing on his hind legs, pawing at the phone. He wants the phone. He needs the phone. I'm thinking he may have found a girlfriend on one of his escapades outdoors, and is expecting her to call at any minute.

Now I'm wondering if his little wee-hours-of-the-morning trips were for more than just food or water. If I ever see him show the ability to unlock and open our backdoor, I'll know the truth. We'll have to rename him Dexter Bigolo, Male Gigolo.

Prayers going up.

As I've mentioned before, we are a total football family. Big Boss Man's favorite team has always been, and will always be, the Washington Redskins. It with great sadness that we heard the news of Sean Taylor's death after being shot in his home early Monday.

I don't have the words to describe my feelings now. But I'm praying for his family and team as they go through the unimaginable.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

The N-Word

God help Big Boss Man, he may actually faint if he reads this post. And he will read this post. So honey, don't freak. Please.

That being forewarned, I'm not sure I ever went through the Nesting stage when I was pregnant. If I did, I don't remember it being this overwhelming need to clean, organize, and generally make ready the house for a new being.

But recently, I've been feeling this need...well, all except for the new being part. What's nesting called when it's not accompanied by an expanding belly, leg cramps, little heartbeats, insatiable sex drive, ultrasounds, lactation, and prenatal appointments? OCD? Life? Have I been missing out all these years?

I can't seem to get this place clean enough. I've talked before about 'Cluttered homes equal cluttered minds'. It's more than that though. If I weren't so danged embarrassed at how bad I've let our home become, I would've posted before and after pictures. But sadly, it was that bad. And it's funny...I say that as though I've gone through the house like a tornado, cleaning and disinfecting...nope, not really.

I just cleaned the bathroom.

You know, the bathroom that's taken the brunt of going from a two bathroom home to a one bathroom home. It's been a rough transition.

Now I've also done the laundry today, and last night, while Big Boss Man was having puppies because his sort of alma mater was kicking bootay in the Big 12 semi-finals, I vacuumed a room that hasn't been vacuumed, I believe, for years. Okay, so that's a complete exaggeration, but you get my drift. It was horrible. It is horrible. But I'm finally getting it done.

So, to reward myself for all my hard work today, I'm sitting in front of the computer catching up on some of my favorite blogs (see "Other Cool Blahgs" located to the left). I'm thinking of making myself some cocoa. I just asked Big Boss Man to go get me some chili from Steak n' Shake...but no...that's just a little too far for him to travel on his day off. And I respect that. I'll just have to go get some for myself. (Does that constitute a craving??) (I love you honey!) (Runs and hides.)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Did I shave my legs for this?

HA! Okay, just kidding. I've just finished my Thanksgiving Day feast (albeit two days late) at mom's house. Do I get to gloat now? Turkey, rolls, potatoes, pie...pretty much everything I felt like I'd eaten two days ago, I've now eaten. It was, of course, the Madhouse it normally is when the whole fam gets together, but it was wonderful just the same. Now I sit in front of my computer, halfway staring at the monitor, halfway staring at the beautiful full moon that rises outside The Bunker window. I'm content, at least for the time being.

I've been surfing the web (do people still really say that?), and I came across a pretty neat website for all you mom's out there. I can think of a few dad's that will just roll their eyes, and that's okay, since the title of the website is Mommy Track'd instead of Daddy Track'd or Parent Track'd. It sounds and looks as though it's specifically made for Mama Bears like me. As I've said before, and I'm sure I'll say again, Go. Read. Now. Go.

I'm planning on waking up early tomorrow, in anticipation of the announcement of the winner of Ree's most recent Give That Photo a Name contest. Even though I actually won Upstate's wee digital camera and Domino magazine subscription. I know, I all are saying "Ax Lady, there's no way you'll win two contests by two really cool women in just one week's time." And who knows - you may be right. I may be crazy. HEY! But it just may be a lunatic you're lookin' for!


Sorry about that, I got carried away for a second. may be right...I may have no chance. But I'm typically a glass half full kinda gal, and you can't just stop that all of a sudden, can ya now?

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How could this be possible?

We don't have turkey on Thanksgiving. In fact, we don't eat poultry of any kind on this day. We had pizza. Jack's pizza, to be more specific. We're not Thanksgiving humbugs or anything; however, the many members of our family (and sometimes even us) usually have to work on Turkey Day every year. So instead of rushing around like heads with our turkeys cut off, fighting traffic and closed stores and last minute "I forgot to get butter!!" emergencies, we hold our Trypto-phan Club meeting on the Saturday following Thanksgiving.

So why then so I feel like I've ingested about 23.8 pounds of turkey, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn, breads, cranberries, pies, ciders, and anything else we decide to bring to our thankful table?!?! How did this happen? Is it psychological? Am I having sympathy sleepies for everyone else who's celebrating today? Does tryptophan actually travel through the air and I'm inhaling the tiring scents from all my neighbors' homes?

I'm drinking gallons of water in the hopes that it will flush the "tryptophan" from my system. Meanwhile, my mind is rushing about with thoughts of cookie-making. Yes, I'm talking about the annual cookie exchange at work. Many companies have them. This is the first year for mine, however, and impressions need to be made. Hearts need to be won. Mouths need to drop open in awe of my goodies. I thought of making my infamous fudge, albeit not an actual "cookie"; it does, however, get awfully gooey when not refrigerated, and that's not cool at work. And I don't want to do typical Christmas cut-outs decorated with sprinkles and beads and red hots and icings. So what do I do? I wait until the last minute to decide, and now I'm faced with the idea of baking dozens of cookies...tonight. I have a recipe in mind though, and the butter's heading towards room temperature as I type.

It actually flurried a bit today. None of it stuck at all, but that's okay with me at this point in the year. Last year at about this time, we had an ice storm to beat all ice storms in the St. Louis area, literally shutting entire cities down, causing loss of electricity (and heat and appliances and food stored in the fridges and freezers of almost everyone I know) for days on end. That being said, it sure was one of the most beautiful things to see...the trees covered in crystal shawls, icicles longer than my children are tall hanging off the front porch. If it hadn't caused so much destruction, it would have been wonderful. Now I'm not saying I wish it to happen again; snow flurries are great compared to that. end the day, I'd like to share a really cute idea that I got from a magazine this month. For those of you with rug rats crawling around and empty baby food jars out the wazoo, why not turn them into cute little gifts? Take a clean baby food jar, fill it with peppermint or spearmint candies, then hot glue a red or green cupcake liner to the lid and another mint to the top! What a cute idea!

Alright everyone. If you're not napping, take one now. If you've been napping, get up and make yourself a leftover turkey and stuffing sandwich. If you're just sitting down to turkey day dinner, enjoy it thoroughly, and have some white meat and pumpkin pie for me, to tide me over until my holiday celebration two days from now. And in return, I'll eat some white meat and pumpkin pie for you then!

Gobble gobble! Happy Turkey Day folks! Give thanks for all you have!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Wanna contest?

Okay, so I'm not cool enough (yet) to hold my own contest. But I'll certainly link you to other ones I know about!! How about a cutsie wittle keychain digital camera?? C'mon now, you know you want it!! So go. Now. Enter. Read. Now.

Okay, addition: She's also added a subscription to Domino magazine! Because she's nutty like that! (Thanks Upstate!)

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I'm telling you, her blog is cool. And since you all know and love me, you'll trust me when I say this. And if you don't know or love me, you'll at least be curious enough to click the above link and check it out. You'll click just so you can prove me wrong, but then you'll realize that I'm not wrong and you'll be forced to come back and visit me again. So go ahead. Click. I dare ya.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Would you like to see something wonderful?

Yet something that's hysterical at the same time? Well here ya go.

What's one of the few things that can get a man (at least my man) to completely forget that he's a grown adult with stresses and responsibilities and deadlines and bills to pay? It's called a Playstation.

Yes, I know. We're behind the times. We're not keeping up with the Joneses. But gosh darn if that game doesn't bring out the youngin' in Big Boss Man. The time that he gets to sit down and play it are few and far between, but I can feel his blood pressure go down when he does.

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Unless, of course, he's playing against Bean Pole in a heated game of NCAA Football 2008. Then, things get ugly.

There's lots of laughing.

There's lots of hollering.

There's lots of stomping.

And there's boobery...much boobery.

Big Boss Man sort of forgets that he's playing against a human being who's thirty-something years younger than he is, and goes all out. Go easy on the boy?? No way, baby. If he's got the git up an' go to challenge, then he better be able to take the fall.

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And of course, I'm talking about Big Boss Man taking the fall. But Bean Pole had more time to practice against Little Linebacker! Yeah, that's it! He knows how to use the controllers better - what buttons do what in this particular game...yeah, that's the ticket!

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I love when he does this...this is quality time, whether it involves a piece of electronics or not. The eyes of all three of them just sparkle when they are done. Plus it keeps The Boys up later, which is only allowed on the weekends.

So, instead of laundry being put away and dishes taken to the sink, they're all stuck in front of the tv like a tongue on a frozen flag pole. The only time they move is when they're jumping up off the couch in protest to the other's play. One sits and gloats, while the other accuses him of cheating. Then, promises of clock-cleanings get handed back and forth. Oathes are spoken..."I'm going to run the score up on you next time!"

Finally, dejected faces appear when Mama Bear comes to take them to bed. Weeping takes place - there are many tears. The sound of defeated footsteps echoes down the hall to the bedroom, as their plan to stay up all night whooping some NCAA bottom is foiled.

Too bad they've all made a pact to arise early to play again before Big Boss Man goes to work.

Friday, November 16, 2007


Yeah, I know, I'm a walking cliché, but c'mon...of all weeks to say it, this would be it. I still haven't recovered from last weekend's escapades as the road-tripping mama. Laundry still waits to be done, the house is still fairly messy, and we're all still exhausted from the trip. Work has been...well, it's been work, of course, but as soon as the weather changes, it becomes even harder work than before.

So we tried to sit down tonight, the 4 of us, and watch a movie...Sahara...and damned if it didn't start skipping halfway through and "Unable to read disc". Blah. So now, I'm threatening to go to bed early and let Big Boss Man deal with the boys. Little Linebacker has come into The Bunker three times now, asking to watch NBA basketball. We hate basketball. And we don't want to give him another sport about which he can have meltdowns. Bean Pole is pouting because he wants to go to Walgreens "to get milk", which really means to get him something to drink, oh and get milk while we're there, so it seems like we're really going for a good reason.

The good news is, I've finished reading my book, Fifty Acres and a Poodle, by Jeanne Marie Laskas. Mercy, did that book make me laugh. And cry. And laugh again. It's a really good book, one that was suggested on one of the other blogs I read, and I'm so glad I got it. Now I'm deciding between either It Takes A Village Idiot, by Jim Mullen, or The Egg and I, by Betty MacDonald. I'm leaning towards the former, as it's been sitting on my desk for the last week, taunting me. I love public libraries.

So...this weekend will be a weekend to catch up. Laundry to do (I will get it done today! But why does that sound familiar, as though I've said it before??) I may actually even do some yard work, as it's been neglected for a long while. And I've put the junk in the basement on notice, as I'm in the mood for cleaning, plus I'm sure there is stuff down there to either toss, donate, or sell. Catch up...a weekend to catch up.

And now I'm off to catch up on my sleep.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

First trip North in ages

Tomorrow morning, the boys and I are leaving on our first trip to Minnesota. Yet what am I doing?? Sitting on this darned computer! I have yet to pack. Although I'm pretty proud of the fact that I remembered to buy cheese sticks and juice bags for snacks on the way there. I figure the fewer stops, the better, although I know that bathroom breaks will be plentiful.

So...the site will be post-free for a few days. Granted, we'll only be gone the weekend, but still. I figured I'd let you all know so no one sends a search party or anything.

We've taken some long trips before, but never with me being the only adult (cough cough). I'll be padding the boys down with pillows, blankets, and all the dvd's we own so they can just veg out for most of the trip.

I think I've fixed my SLR. I'm taking it and the digital with us so I can capture the true essence of this maiden voyage on film. Should be interesting, to say the least. I can't wait to get there though, and have a look around. I'm hoping for snow, but it sounds like there've been mostly flurries so far. That would work for me!

So! Everyone say a prayer for a safe journey for us, and say an additional prayer for Big Boss Man, who will be left here to fend for himself. The poor guy will be working all weekend, but still...I'll miss him tremendously.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Sometimes you feel like a nut...

Yeah. I love Earworms. I actually hate that word: Earworm, but it seems sufficient for this post, so I'll use it. I blame Big Boss Man. I never got Earworms before I married him. Or if I did, they weren't associated with the word "Earworm" so they never lasted near as long as they do now.

Imagine this: being awakened in the wee morning hours by your youngest child...your baby...telling you that he's had an accident and his clothing, bed, and blankets are now wet. No biggie, right? It's a mom thing, right? So why then do I get up to help him out, and the theme song to the Mounds and Almond Joy commercials pops into my head??? Have you ever tried to go back to sleep while the words Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don't are running around like toddlers in your mind? It's enough to medicate yourself.

So. I feign sleep for a few hours, then wake up at sunrise to get ready for the day. Yes, the song is still rummaging around my pea brain, as though it's lost its car keys and is searching frantically for them. I'm used to it by now. At least it's not something really annoying, like, uhm, well okay. It is really annoying. But I'm used to it.

I find it necessary to call a company we do business with to ask a couple questions, and while on hold waiting for the helpful customer service respresentative to answer, I hear it. No, not the Mounds and Almond Joy theme song, but another one...another Earworm. It's Stand by Me. Except it wasn't the cool version of the song. It was some unGodly elevator muzak version. It was horrid. And I have to tell you...having the cool version of a song stuck as an Earworm is bad enough...let alone the unGodly elevator muzak version of it.

Now I don't know what to do. I could open media player and try to replace the unGodly elevator muzak Earworm with something I at least enjoy. I could try to ignore it for a little while, as I have to get ready for work anyway, and it will just be replaced by something else equally as Earwormish once I get there (did I ever tell you, we call the Walgreens stuff Wal-zak? I actually like most of the songs played on a good day...but man...the bad days are really bad). I think I'll opt for the latter. Maybe if I take a shower and let the hot steamy water run down over my little pea brain, it will wash away the remnants of any remaining Earworms. Yeah, that's what I'll do.

And then I'll go to work and buy an Almond Joy. And a Mounds. Because sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don't.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ramblings of a pharmacy technician.

Did you know that when you go to the pharmacy to pick up your medication, that sometimes the people behind the counter are actually trying to help you? I am one of those people. I understand that not everyone is like this. Not everyone bends over backwards to make sure you understand everything that's going on, whether it is concerning your medication, your insurance, or a note from your doctor about an appointment. In fact, I've heard horror stories from people about their dealings with the behind-the-counters at other places.

I understand that chances are good, especially if you're waiting to get zithromax for a child that hasn't stopped fussing since you came in the door, or darvocet for a grandmother who can't leave her house because she's in so much pain, or even if you're getting your monthly maintenance meds, that you're in a hurry to get in, get helped, and get out; plus I bet you'd like to keep your wallet attached to your person while you're at it! Lucky for you, I'm here.

I've taken class after class (after class) to learn my job. I've been fingerprinted, background checked, drug tested, certified and licensed, all so I can give you the easiest, most professional and knowledgeable pharmacy experience ever. If you have a question about your medication, ask away. If I don't know the answer, I'll find someone who does, and I'll do it quickly. Need help finding something in other parts of the store? Ask away. If I can't leave the pharmacy to help you find it, I'll call a manager to get you the help you need. I've got coloring books to help ease the hurt of a sick child, and I've got doggie treats if you come through my drive up with your doggies.

I work my butt off day in and day out to make sure you get what you need. Working as a Senior Certified Pharmacy Technicican has taught me a lot--a lot about how an attitude can make or break someone's day. Now I'm not saying I don't have bad days: everyone has them. I'm going through some emotional turmoil right now (that needn't be discussed here), but I'll be damned if I'll let that affect my service to you. YOU are the reason I have a job. YOU are the reason I go to work every day. It's not for the doctors or the insurance's all about you, baby!

Romance novels and computer screens.

Odd combination, wouldn't you think? Me too. I'll admit it: I love me a good, trashy Harlequin. I am also a computer addict. But who would ever think that these two things could be combined?

Well friends, I've got news for you: I've got a website that lends romanctic real-life tales, but also, fantastic photographs, cute l'il anecdotes, tales of a family farm, and calf nuts. Yes, I said calf nuts.

I'm not one to linger over something. Okay, yes I am. I'm a harper. I'm a nag (no really, go ask Big Boss Man). I annoy. I harrass. I henpeck and carp about many a thing. This is no different. I've become addicted. Addicted to a story, first and foremost - a love story. A love story surrounded by cattle.

Now before you all run away screaming things about crazies and white jackets, let me explain. I came across this website. I don't even remember how at this point, but I did. And I'm glad I did. It's written by a woman with a fantastic view on life. She's got a humor that captures everything good about farm, family, food, love, and again, cattle. And she's a excellent cook. She makes some cinnamon rolls that most would kill for. And she has kickin' contests with even kickin'er prizes!

Alright. Are you ready to go look at her blog?

Not yet. That's right folks, I have to go on a little more about it. She's writing a story...a story of true love (and not in a "Wove...twue wove" kind of way). It's entitled "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels: A Love Story", and the latest installment tops her homepage. Now I'm going to warn you: go back into her history and read, from Chapter I all the way to where she writes will NOT be disappointed. I don't care if you're not the romantic type. I don't care if you don't have time, or the spaghetti water is boiling over, or your washing machine has become unbalanced and pulled itself away from the wall, or that your leaves need raked. I don't care. Go. Read. Now.

Oh wait, I still haven't given you the website.

The Pioneer Woman

Now that you've seen it, I know you're all saying "But Ax Lady, this link is over in your Blahgs section...why bring even more attention to it?" Well kids, it's because her cinnamon rolls and love stories are good...they're that good.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I'm completely irrational.

I'm ready to come clean and bare myself to all of you. I'm ready for the embarrassment. I'm ready for the ridiculing and laughter. I'm ready to come to terms with my irrational fears and face them head-on. But you'll hold my hand, right? RIGHT?!?

I'm afraid of our basement. It huge and dark, even with the lights on. Shadows fall where they will, and it freaks me out. This, my friends, is why there are mountains and mountains of laundry waiting for me to do something with them: because I'm skeered of the dark, dingy basement. There's That Room in the back corner that the previous owners started to build...they got as far as lining the beams with plastic, which makes things even worse for me.

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Who wouldn't be afraid of this???

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I realize it's hard to see what this is...but it's a view under my basement stairs. God knows what could be lurking under those stairs!! God knows what could reach between those stairs when l'il ol' unsuspecting me walks up, completely helpless, with my arms holding an overflowing basket of laundry.

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The Stairs with a flash. Doesn't help much, does it?

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This is where I have to walk to in order to do laundry. Wouldn't you be skeered too?? All the way over there!

Notice the plastic in the background. That's That Room. That Room. How am I supposed to know there's not some zombie creature hiding in That Room? I lock the doors, yes, but those zombies: they're sneaky like that.

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A sort of view back into That Room. I couldn't make myself go all the way to the door.

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A view of That Room with a flash. Doesn't help much, does it?

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My view as I walk back up the stairs. Oh who am I kidding?? I'm jogging quickly by the middle of the staircase, and running, 2 steps at a time, by the top.

*Sigh* I feel better having faced my irrational fears with you all. I will still avoid That Room like the Plague. And I'll always wonder what's lurking under the stairs, ready to grab me by the ankles when I'm rendered defenseless by my laundry basket. But I'll think of you all when the zombies get me.

Fallin' back, baby!!

Aahhhh. I love fall. Have I mentioned that in previous posts? If not, I love fall. But I especially love the fact that I can stay up late one night, reading a book called High Spirits by Peter Funk (an excellent read), and then wake up the next morning, having completely forgotten to fall back. What a wondrous feeling, that although your clock is trying really hard to convince you it's one time, it's really a whole hour earlier than that.

I feel like I could swim an entire ocean...or ride a bull named Hell Breaketh Loose for a full 8 seconds...or move a mountain. Unfortunately, the third and final choice is the one that will be happening today. Plural, actually. How could we have mountains and mountains of laundry, just sitting there, waiting for me to do something with it? I'd take pictures of it to share, but I just can't. It's that embarrassing. And although I say this every week, I'll say it again now: I will get it done today. It's my own little mantra, like the Little Engine That Could. I will get it done today.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Saturday morning ritual

Many Saturdays, I wake up to do the same thing. I go to the library to turn in books and check out ones that I've requested. Then I spend the remainder of the morning at the local pet store, which has an adoption day most Saturdays where a no-kill shelter brings in puppies to find homes. I want a dog so badly I can taste it. Now granted, we are broke as a joke...don't have a pot to pee in...can't even pay attention. So I would never go out and purposely buy a dog we truly couldn't afford. However, if a stray just happened upon our property, there's a fairly good chance that I would take it in (any strays out there reading this post? Here's your chance).

Today I was greeted by two dogs. One, a lab/pit mix named Charlie, and the other, some sort of beagle mix, named Dixie. Oh. My. God. Big Boss Man is a lucky son of a gun that I didn't walk into our home with one of those two pups. Adorable, sweet, playful puppies that needed a home because their shelter is closing. Sigh.

Now, I have an old-fashioned dream...I want to move back to the country. I "grew up" on a farm of sorts. An out in the middle of nowhere, fruit tree orchard, chicken coop-having, 4 acre farm. We had no cattle or horses, but we had chickens, about ten million cats and one alaskan husky. We had a workshop, built by my dad and grandfather, on the back of the garage. We had a barn (well, two actually, but one of them got torn down...the memory of pulling that thing down is still fresh-like-yesterday in my mind). We had a treehouse...a two-level treehouse in our backyard. I fell off that treehouse, backwards, when I was young. The memory of that, unfortunately, is also still fresh-like-yesterday to me. I almost get the wind knocked out of me just thinking about it.

Seeing others tell stories of the day-to-day workings of a real life ranch, such as
Ree, the Pioneer Woman, makes me long for this life even more. It's so simple. It's refreshing. It's damn hard work. But what a life. So someday...we'll pack our family up and move to Montana or one of the Dakotas or Wyoming. And we'll have our little ranch. And having a dog is just part of making that dream become a reality...after all...every good ranch has to have at least one dog.

Friday, November 02, 2007

I am all SMILES

Yes, I know...I've gone on already about how much I love the upcoming time of year. I don't care. I'm going to do it again. And you're going to deal with it, because you love me and want me to be happy.

I walked into work this morning, expecting the same ol', same ol when it comes to Fridays...long day, but okee dokee because, well, it's Friday. But today was going to be different...oh so different.

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I was suddenly all smiles. Overnight, literally, my store had become a Christmas wonderland! We're talking permanent smileage here folks. I couldn't get over it. I actually took my camera out and grabbed a few shots of a few of the many wonderful things available for purchase to make our home all Christmasy.

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Heaven in a box.

I'm fairly certain I could live on coffee and Almond Rocha. I might not be able to fit through any doors, or sit still for any period of time, but I'd be livin', baby!

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Disregard the was on a top shelf. These are just the cutest oversized Christmas bulbs ever...they are for the yard.

Finally...bulbs for Big Boss Man...he believes that ALL Christmas lights should be those old colored bulbs...the huge ones. Well, here ya go hon!

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And these...giant ornaments...I don't know where I'd put them, but I'd find a spot to watch them sparkle.

The camera doesn't near do these justice. They were simply sparkling.

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Gorgeous for year-round use, but lovely in a Christmasy way too.

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Hard to tell, but they glow...they actually change color. Nothing like a color-changing snowman. Cheesy? Maybe. But I like 'em anyway.

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Ahhh...more cheese.

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Lots of happy snowmen, snowwomen, and snowchildren.

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Jingling snowmen, snowwomen, and snowchildren.

As you can see, I'm totally psyched about Christmas. I had people staring at me like I was a true freak (and not just the one I play on TV). I'm the first to admit: I don't do decorating. I don't really have a style (well, unless you consider "clutter" a style). But Christmas decorations are just neat. How can you not smile when walking into a room filled with deep greens, bright reds, sparkling silvers and crisp whites? It speaks of winter and Christmas. It exudes comfort and family. It almost pukes warmth and happiness. And I'm all for it!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Hallowe'en!!!

Ahhhh...'tis that time of year. Children running around, carrying on like the tiny freaks that they usually are...dressed as miniature Luke Skywalkers, Lightening McQueens, or Hannah Montanas. Leaves are just terrifical; all the colors starting to form, changing from bright summer green to even brighter fall oranges, yellows, reds, browns, and purples. Weather? Perfect! Cool (heck, downright chilly) at night, and sunny, breezy, and cool during the day. Excellent jeans and a sweatshirt weather. It's FALL, people!! Wake up and smell the leaf fires!

Soon, it will be Turkey second favorite time of year (clearly, I love to could that not be one of my favorite holidays???). My first favorite, winter, is right around the corner. Granted, we've had Christmas stuff up in my store for a good 1½ months already, but still...we're early risers! Hopefully, snow will soon be falling, trees glistening with ice, trucks driving down the streets with Christmas trees in tow. I've already made my first batch of "Let It Snocoa" for the year (yummy white hot chocolate). I really love winter and Christmas, but this year, for some reason, it's especially exciting for me. I don't know why.

This brings me to my next point. 2 easy words....Gingerbread House. Do you make them? It's a tradition in my family, and one of the few things that all three kids and their families get together for anymore. My mom bakes the gingerbread the night before, so it's cooled and cut into the forms before we arrive at her house. She's had the same paper patterns for the house for as long as I can remember, and they fit perfectly into one of her cookie sheets, with just enough gingerbread leftover to form the makeshift fence around the house. Candy galore, and the kids have an absolute blast. Some of my most vivid memories are of cookie house night. We have a special silver platter for it, and it stays at mom's house. We all pick little sneaks of candy off it every time we're there, until the candy is too hard to eat anymore. I don't even know how it gets tossed every year. It's probably something my mom does without our knowledge, so we don't have to see it go.

We're going to mom's house tonight to trick or treat for awhile, then off to a parade near her house with friends. The kids will be candy-stuffed and wiped out, but it will be a great night. A great fall night.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Children never cease to amaze me.

I didn't post about it, but a few days ago Bean Pole got hit in the face with an arrow. That's right, an from a bow and arrow. Now what on Earth made this kid think it would be okay to let someone aim an arrow at him is beyond me, but he did it.

Let me take that back...I don't know the details, as they were playing with friends in the park one field over. Maybe the other kids were playing bows and arrows and Bean Pole just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I know my son...chances are good that's not the way it happened.

So...Bean Pole and a couple neighbor kids walk up to our backdoor and a neighbor kid knocks on the door. I swing the door open, and there stands Bean Pole, with a bloodied bunch of paper towels holding his face. My first thought? His eye had been poked out (or poked in, as I used to say to my mother when she pulled the ol' It's-all-fun-and-games-til-someone-gets-their-eye-poked-out trick). I was outwardly a cool as a cucumber mom, but inside, I was almost hysterical. Keep in mind, I just had a friend almost lose sight in his eye by accidentally sling-shotting a chunk of tree stump back into his face with a Bobcat. Visions of this friend's swollen-shut eye and bloodied, bruised face were running through my head as I stared at my son, halfway listening to the older neighbor talk. He was studying to be a nurse, and although he wasn't there when the "attack" happened, he'd looked at the injury, and thought Bean Pole might need a trip to the ER.

ER? We don't need no stinking ER!

I thank them, bring Bean Pole inside, and peel away the paper towel that's now stuck to his face with blood. He's got a good puncture wound, just to the side of his nose, about an inch below his right eye. There is a flap of skin almost imbedded in the wound, which I had to almost dig out with a Q-tip. Lovely. I'm sure it was wonderful for him as well.

So a few band aids and applications of triple antibiotic ointment later, it's on it's way to healing, but I bet he'll get a mother of a scar. I told him it'll be that kind of scar that his girlfriend will ask him about someday...and he can tell her that he was in some kind of battle with the enemy or something heroic like that. He just looked at me like I was from Venus, then looked away. At this point, people keep asking him what happened, and he won't tell them..says he wants me to tell them. Embarrassed much?

That's probably a good thing...maybe it'll be awhile before he takes on another arrow. These boys will be the death of me.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fall Cleaning?

Is there such a thing? Why on Earth put a seasonal label on something as mundane as cleaning?!? Everyone does some kind of spring cleaning, whether they like to admit it or not. The opening of windows, deep cleaning carpets, pulling everything out of closets and basements, going through the old junk...only to close the windows when it gets too muggy and hot, stomp around on the carpet with muddy boots from the spring rains, pile the closets with summer playthings, and shove "new" junk into the basement. It's a cycle, when really all we need to do is get rid of stuff and stop getting new stuff.

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I've had an epiphany recently (like, in the past 24-48 hours). This house is much as the bank likes to think they own it (ahem), it's not their's our home. We're the ones living in it every single day, and I truly believe "Cluttered home, cluttered mind". I see evidence of it every single day. I simply cannot think or function normally when there is no order around me. True, some of this would be considered "organized chaos" by true obsessive-compulsive people, and although I'm anal about some things, others I'm fairly lenient on.

How much easier would life be if I stayed up an extra 15 minutes every evening to do the dishes? FlyLady preaches this practice...shine your sink every evening, because mornings are so much brighter with s shiny sink facing you than one full of dishes and stink.

How much easier would life be if Big Boss Man went through the mail while standing over the trash can? Does he realize how much junk mail we get in a single week? It's enough to pile up and overflow from our kitchen table, that's for damn sure! If he went through it over that big blue plastic thing in our kitchen (yes honey, that is the trash can), throwing junk mail out as he went, we'd get maybe 2 pieces of mail a day that need attention.

How much easier would life be if laundry were done on a daily basis? At least one load a day. I used to think saving it all for the weekend would make things easier...just do laundry while I'm cleaning house or in between running errands. But that is time that would be much better spent going exploring with Bean Pole and Little Linebacker. Or better spent driving to the nearby lake to feed the ducks or go fishing. If I picture a scale with cleaning on one side and family time on the other, I know which one would be weighed down to the ground. But I know which one I'd rather weighed more.

Seasonal cleaning makes sense. Change of weather/time/colors/foods makes even the most pre-occupied mind notice something different. It's a time for cleansing...a time for change...a time for renewal. But I also want a time to play in the leaves. Time to have movie night with my kids without getting up halfway through to switch laundry from washer to dryer. This time will only come from saving time in other areas of life...simplifying other areas of life. De-junking other areas of life. I see this revelation as an opportunity not only to re-learn how to manage things, but to teach my children that things go so much smoother when you keep what you need and toss what you don't.

It's takes time to learn the difference between what we need and what we don't. But it is time that's well spent, and will save us from ourselves in the long run. I mat restart this learning process every seasonal change when I get the gumption, but each season it will last a little longer than before, and one spring/summer/fall/winter, it'll stick. It'll keep hangin' on without me thinking about it every day, or having to put effort into it.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Are you ready for some football?

I readily admit it...we are a fanatic football family. Big Boss Man, a die hard Redskins fan; our older son, Bean Pole, a Chicago Bears fan; me, an Indianapolis Colts fan, and our other son, Little Linebacker...a completely undeniable fair-weather, all-team fan. Picture this:

It was a cool Sunday in October. Big Boss Man had gone to bed early for once because he wasn't feeling well. My sons and I were sitting in the living room watching the Cowboys play the Pats. For once in his life, Little Linebacker had actually decided on a team and stuck with it for much of the game; I was hoping his fickle football "fantics" were over. Further into the game, however, I was proven very wrong.

4th quarter, 3:59 left to play. 1st and 10 at the Dallas 19. Romo tosses a short pass up the middle, and Seau intercepts it at the 25 and runs it to the 20. My Little Linebacker...the completely undeniable fair-weather, all-team fan, bursts into tears! I looked over in astonishment at the sudden emotion explosion he exhibited, and see alligator tears streaming already. Big Boss Man came out of the bedroom, thinking Bean Pole had punched Little Linebacker (or some other kind of brotherly physical assault had taken place).

Forget Brady's 16 incomplete passes before this point. Forget his fumble which Dallas recovered. Forget 3 sacks. Forget that halfway through the 2nd quarter, the score was only 21-17 Pats. Forget also that in the 3rd quarter, the Boys were actually winning 24-21 for a time, and that at the beginning of the 4th, the score was a mere 38-27 Pats...Billy himself said in his press conference following the game, "Look, we've all seen games, I mean [like] the Tampa Bay-Indianapolis game a couple of years ago - 21 points in about four minutes, or whatever it was. So don't tell me about leads in this league. Until the final gun goes off, it's not a win." What it all came down to for my little 6 year old's then pure-Cowboy heart was that interception.

He spent the remainder of his time in the living room bawling like a youngin' with every Cowboy incomplete pass or point scored by the Patriots. I finally realized he was just crying out of exhaustion and couldn't even make the tears come anymore, so I took him to bed. His head hit the pillow and he was out like a light. He made no mention of that game, or the NFL in general until the beginning of this weekend, when he commented, "I can't wait for Sunday and Monday night football!".

He couldn't even tell me which teams were playing which game.

Tonight's game started with a Little Linebacker desire to see the Broncos win. After asking Big Boss Man which team he wanted to win, and Boss Man replying with the Steelers, our flesh and blood flat out changed his mind! "Okay, Steelers!" he said, with a pouty face and even poutier body language. And that only lasted until the 2nd quarter when Roethlisberger was stripped of the ball and Crowder ran it back for a Broncos TD. All hell breaketh loose.

Our children are now in bed, same as last Sunday night. One of these weeks, they may actually get to stay up for a whole game. But only if The Little Linebacker can pick a team and stick with it.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Crazy Chicken!!

A wise young chicken once said not to be left out in the cold. And this is what Crunchy Chicken suggests:

Take the challenge, people. Keep the thermostats lowered starting November 1st, 2007, and see how much energy (not to mention money in your pockets) you can save! to find a sweater for Dexter (I must be looking in all the wrong spots, because all I find are dog sweaters...cats need warm apparel too!)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Anyone who knows me knows that I am an avid supporter of breast cancer awareness, research, treatment, and survival. This affliction has touched many people dear to me...many of the women on my mother's side of my family have been diagnosed and are survivors, and it took my mother-in-law (God rest her soul) before I got a chance to meet her...before she got to see the sweet smiles of her grandsons. But to bring more attention to this disease and the need to wipe it and it's devestation completely from our lives, I'm going to post a few links to organizations dedicated to the eradication of this deadly malady. Some are huge, well-known organizations, others are small groups localized to certain areas. Anyone, anyone donating money or time to fight this disease is worthy of many thanks. (thank you E!)

After visiting these sights, if you feel the desire to contribute in some way, join a walk in your area. Visit the cancer wing of a local hospital, and share the joy that cancer patients carry with them, even in the midst of the toughest fight they'll ever face. Getting your hair cut in the near future? Wait a little longer to make it to that 10 inch mark, then donate it to Locks Of Love. It's simple, and many companies offer free or discounted haircuts if you give your hair to them to send in (I know for a fact that Great Clips gives a free haircut if you let them send in your hair). As one site above suggests, get pledges for $1 an inch, and donate along with the hair.

If you do nothing else, at least the link on the right side of this blog to help fund mammograms for people who can't afford to get them on their own (many insurance companies put up a tremendous fight before they'll cover this preventative measure, and there are millions of people who have no medical insurance). Anything you can do will help.

Monday, October 15, 2007

I'm feeling very...disheartened.

There is a song in the aforementioned L'il Abner called Progress is the Root of All Evil. I'm going to use my poetic license to change that title to Money is the Root of All Evil. Truly. I know for fact that there are people in the world who have riches beyond counting and are desperately unhappy. I also know some very poor people whose cup runneth over. I, myself, just don't get it...I haven't reached that spot in my life.

I don't want to be rich. Far from it, in fact. I don't want a big house, because that's just more for me to clean. I don't want a nicer car (I really love my van...although I would like an ol' beater truck, but that's more for convenience, and would be in addition to the van). I don't want the newest cell phone that's the size of the 'enter' key on my keyboard and as thin as a playing card. I'm happy with my Samsung SGH-X497. No boats, no vacation home in Tuscany, no private jet.

I am, however, a worry wart by nature. I don't know which parent I inherited that gene from (thankyouverymuch Mom & Dad), but I've definitely got it. They'd probably claim that it skips a generation, and that they're not at fault (probably a valid point). I worry from day to day about making ends meet. I don't remember being poor as a kid, so I guess my parents were pretty good about hiding money troubles. I, on the other hand, am not so good at that task. I make sure that my children know that we can't go to the movies (or McDonalds, or the go cart track) every single night because we don't have the money to spend frivilously like that. I also make sure to teach them that finishing school (meaning high school and college) is detrimental to making anything above minimum wage, and even that's no guarantee.

There are thing we have that we don't need. We don't need cable tv. We don't need our cell phones (although that is becoming more and more a valid arguement these days, for safety reasons). We do need internet, but that's for school purposes only (blogging and surfing are just perks). We don't need two vehicles, but it makes two adults with differing schedules a whole lot easier to bear. If we got rid of these things, making ends meet would be easier. We're probably be a closer family too, I suppose, as we'd be forced by necessity to do more things together. We are not to that point. We are close, but no quite there. All I want is to live without worry...without the worry of making those ends meet...those ends that sometimes seem on opposite sides of the Earth.

I guess I'm writing because it seems so hopeless. It seems an impossible mountain to unrelenting battle not of sword and shield, but dollars and cents. It's demoralizing, watching your coworkers order lunch every day, yet you have to refrain because you have a certain amount of money to last until Friday, and lunch out just ain't in the budget. It's horrifying when your children want holiday decorations on your house, but goodness if the prices don't go up, up, up every year! It's a string of lights and a ghost, for crying out loud!

I know there are lessons to be learned here. And I'm writing more to rant, rave, and vent than any other reason. We've made our beds, and now we're learning to get comfortable in them. Hopefully, someone will read this who is full of dispair, and they'll realize that they're not the only one. Someone else acted foolishly and is now paying the price, trying desperately to dig out of the hole they'd quite easily dug for themselves, all the while keeping the standard of living that they've grown accustomed to.

Rejoice, my friends, for you are not alone.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

I'm passionate! I'm a passionate woman.

You know, I'm passionate about my children and family...they're #1 to me, and I'd die before I let anything happen to them. But I can't think of anything else that I'm truly passionate about.

I have many things in my life that I really like. I really like my job...working in the pharmacy is fulfilling; it has it's trying days when patients are upset over something or other, but for every one patient who yells at me, there are literally a hundred that don't. I like fitness, although I'm tormented every single day by the chips in the cupboard, or the ice cream in the freezer; most of the time, unfortunately, the goodies win over my iron will (or my lack thereof). I like fact, I'd almost stretch to say I'm passionate about food. Except that I'm passionate about eating, not food. I'm not a foodie, I'm an "eatie" (HA!). And as aforementioned, I tend to be passionate about eating the "wrong" things instead of the "right" things.

Having such a passionate indecision leads one through a quagmire of "where-is-my-life-going-itis". I'm now 29 years old (almost [gasp] 30), and I've got no clue where my life is headed. When I was little, I was always the one that would grow to drive a station wagon, groceries in the trunk, a dog and 16 kids hanging out the windows (let's leave the lack of a plan for carseats out of this, please...I was 8 fortheloveofPete!). That has not, and will not, happened. In high school, I was a music freak...choir, band, head drum major, musical theatre, if it held a tune, I was involved. But I was never good at music, if that makes sense. I loved the performance part of it, but the technical stuff got to me...I didn't read music well; it was always a stuggle. I used to get my hands on tapes of the piece I was learning, and play it by ear. Right? Nope. Did it get me A's in my class? Absolutely. I was also sure that I would become an English teacher. I had always done well in English, and it seemed fitting since my father was (and still is) a teacher. I don't know what made me stray from that idea, but I did.

Since then, life has truly been a whirlwind. Children, marriage, and a couple jobs later, I've got very little direction. When I started working in the pharmacy, I thought I'd found it. I love what I do, and I think I do it well (and my boss agrees). That is my tentative plan right now, to go to pharmacy school and become a pharmacist. I do remember, however, that I was never good at science. Biology sort of interested me, but chemistry? Nada. I'd like to think it was all the teacher's fault (and none of it mine, of course), but I doubt that's the case. If I were to go to pharmacy school, it would be a would be a definite struggle. So is it worth it? I know what pharmacists make (at least a roundabout figure). I also know how long they go to school for and how hard it is when you're a fast learner, let alone a slower one like me. And would it be fair to my patients if I was doing something I didn't feel passionate about? Or would I find that passion during or after going through school?

My mind has been wandering back to English. What would happen if I went back to college and majored in English? What would that get me? I could teach, but that is truly God's work, with all the horrifying things going on in schools these days. I could be an editor or a writer, but are those really constant, secure, money-making jobs? I have a family to worry about helping support. And again, is it fair (to students, readers, or myself) to do something for the rest of my life that I hold no passion for? No intense fire burning deep inside me that says "This is what I was meant to do!"? Or does that come with time for most people, and the ones who feel it from their first memories are the exception, not the rule?

So how does one decide? I've spent 10 years trying things on now, and nothing seems to fit quite right. I always thought life is like a good either fits, or it doesn't fit. But maybe, just maybe, it's truly like a great pair of shoes or takes time to work your way into them and to get that "made just for me" fit.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Just your typical Ax Lady day.

Today started as any normal day would. Kids up way too early; first quiet, then running around, screaming and laughing like hyenas over some video game they were playing. My first thought? Coffee, and lots of it. Come to think of it, I didn't even get a cup. I remember making it, but I do not remember opening my new bottle of creamer. I decided to go to Home Depot as soon as my husband woke up. We had a drawer in the kitchen mysteriously break on us a few weeks ago, and it's just not gotten fixed. It's been laying on the kitchen floor next to the wall. It was still laying there last night when Big Boss Man slammed his little toe into the corner of it (that's actually when the Home Depot trip was planned). So I bought the sliders I needed and returned home, delighted that something else in the house would be fixed. I had installed the sliders on the drawer itself when Big Boss Man called me from the basement (not a good sign recently). I joined him downstairs where he wanted me to take a whack at getting a broken light bulb out of the socket. No biggie, I thought, as a potato had always worked for me. This time, however, there were no glass shards coming from the socket...only the metal light bulb base. Great.

So we grabbed a pair of needle-nose pliers and start twisting and turning (yes, they had rubber grips). Nothing. Well, not nothing...we bent both the bulb base and the socket quite well, if I do say so myself. Since we were in the basement, and no one really spends time down there at all, we agreed to switch out this fixture with one exactly like it about 8 feet away that never got used. Easy solution. All was going well...we'd switched fixtures and all that was left was to tighten the "new" fixture back into place and flip the breakers (by this time we had actually turned them off).

Did you know that a power screwdriver has enough torque to not only turn a screw, but to turn it so hard that it will crack a ceramic light fixture? I knew that. I truly think Big Boss Man knew that too, but it certainly didn't dawn on him as he tightened the last screw. I thought I might pee my pants, I was laughing so hard ("I'm not laughing at you honey, I'm laughing with you!"). However, as I stated before, no one really hangs out in the basement, so who gives a flying leap about the fixture being broken? We don't, so we flipped the circuit breakers back on, and voilà!! Let there be light! Catastrophe numero uno, averted.

I climbed the stairs to continue with my kitchen drawer, but I started hearing this horrible knocking, clicking sound, and it grew louder with each stair. Apparently, turning the circuit breakers off is enough to kill a fish tank filter (that was probably on it's last legs anyway). The noise was incredible, so I dialed my aquarium (who I believe know me by name now, as I call or come in with so many questions...but hey, I buy lots of fish from them too!). My friendly neighborhood aquarium man advises me, but says if this doesn't work, then I need a new filter. Clearly, it didn't work. This is me we're talking about, and that would've been too easy. So I ran out to buy the new filter; $40 and about ½ hour later, catastrophe numero dos, averted.

Back I go, again, to fix my kitchen drawer...I WILL fix this drawer. I started removing the old cabinet slider parts, and I realized that they were completely Mickey Moused. Well since I have them taken apart already, I'll show them who's boss in this house, and I'll fix that too! I finished one side, then finished the other, slide the drawer in, and it falls. Completely fell out of one side of sliders. Huh? The drawer did work before it broke, and I bought the same exact sliders, installed in the same exact holes. So I put the drawer back in, thinking that magically it would work the second time...obviously I should've had my morning coffee. Slam! Yeah, fell again. It's time to take a break.

When I finally got the nerve to really go show this drawer who's boss (I guess I was just kidding the first time), I realized why it had been Mickey Moused in the first place. So I stood there, staring at the drawer (laying in the cabinet below where it was really supposed to be), and I put the Mickey Mouse fix right back where it was. Drawer works perfectly...good as new. Catastrophe numero tres, toast.

I figure if you can't beat 'em, join 'em!

A milestone has been reached.

Everyone knows that a pregnancy is nine months long, right? Or in my case, 4 days longer and 9 days longer than the "normal" nine months (my children started out late, and have been continuing that throughout life). Well. I'd smoked since I was 15 years old. The only times I was able to quit for any length of time was when I was pregnant. Both times, cold turkey, as soon as I found out. Then, obviously, I would give birth, go back to work, stress would completely take over my mental state (the physical cravings were long gone by that time), and I would light up like nothing had changed. I tried to quit here and there a couple of times, and it would last a good month, then I'd cave.

I am quite happy to report that as of today, I have been completely smoke-free for ONE YEAR. No social smoking, no "just this one" on a break, nada. This is a huge accomplishment for me, and I felt it deserved it's place in writing.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Happy Anniversay, Honey

I would rather spend one lifetime with you than face all the Ages of this world alone. - Arwen, LOTR

4 years ago today at 4pm, the best thing happened to me. It was a beautiful fall day, made especially so by the fact that it had rained for about 2 weeks straight before that day. The setting? An old German restaurant in the historic part of St. Charles. Cool and breezy (but not too much so, just enough to be comfortable outside, a blessing here in St. Louis), sun shining, just the picture of a perfect day. There were people everywhere, mostly family, but friends as well, some of which had travelled from as far as Alaska to be a part of the day. Big Boss Man and his crew were dressed in tuxedos, all standing around with sunglasses on, looking like secret service agents (minus the earpieces, of course). I was dressing in a room off the main restaurant with my mother, sister,and best friend at my side.

When the time arrived, I walked outside to meet my father, and we waited and watched as my best friend, sister, then my two sons walked up the stairs to the gazebo sitting atop a hill. I grabbed my father's arm and started off. Stopping halfway up to laugh and hike my gown up with my hand (I kept tripping as we trodded up the stairs) gave peek into the humor and "such is life" attitude we've kept throughout our entire relationship. As I reached the gazebo, Big Boss Man looked at me and said "Honey, you look beautiful", and I knew I was right where I was supposed to be. Any butterflies I'd had were lost in his eyes. My father walked back down the steps and rangled the children, who were at the age where sitting is much better than standing at a scene like this. We gave ourselves to each other, in front of God, our family and closest friends.

After vows were vowed, kisses were kissed, and we became husband and wife, the celebration began. We ate some really delicious food, drank sparkling juice, champagne, and wine, and we shared time with the people who'd travelled so far to share their time with us. The party has obviously ended, but the fun and love we have still runs as deep as the cold Alaska rivers my husband introduced me to.

We've taken trips, changed shifts at work, watched our babies "grow up" into the delightful little people they are now. Everything has changed, yet things are comfortably still the same. We are the embodiment of "opposites attract", which means we fit together like a good jigsaw puzzle, each complimenting the other. He gives me wings; I keep him grounded. He holds my heart; he supports me like no other can; he lifts me up when I fall, more than he'll ever know, and more than I could ever find words to explain.

I love you. Happy anniversary.