Friday, December 08, 2006

Date night!

When Bob got home from work tonight, he said he'd take us to dinner at the Mexican restaurant and then we could come home and decorate the tree/house.

Wow, very unlike Bob to 1) Offer to spend money on eating out and 2) Get in that Christmas spirit.
I'm running with it! I did suggest we go to the new Chineese restaurant in town. It's the old Chineese restaurant that was sold, then turned into a buffet, then just recently sold back to the original owners. I know the woman who owns it, she's very nice, and so I wanted to go say hi and be supportive.

I cannot believe it is the 8th of December and my decorating is not done. I did put the tree up yesterday. I did do clings in the windows. I don't like clings but use them to afford us some privacy from our nasty neighbors directly across the street! Now if only I could do something about that barking poodle next door.

Thomas and I had a wonderful school week. Lots of learning went on. That was just what we needed, to get back into a routine and feel better. And we do. We still don't have that Christmas spirit, but I think tonight after decorating the tree, we'll feel it a bit more.

Next week is a killer week schedule wise. Doctor appointments, mamogram appointment, dentist appointments, three cub scouts we'll be doing light school: math and reading. I've been printing like crazy this week and snapping up all the holiday books at my library. We're doing a holiday season study. Ho ho ho. What homeschooler isn't? lol

Well, I need to get ready for date night. Date night in this family always includes Thomas! =)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Twice in one day

Wow, believe it or not, I got tagged twice in one day. Wisteria tagged me for Six Weird Things About Myself. I love the fact that I am weird, but my answers may scare people off.

1. I can see cancer. Well, not always, but sometimes. I see a dirty cloud or aura around people. I can see it in real life and on television. I do not see it on everyone who has cancer, but many, many, many times in my life I have had a mere glimpse of someone and blurted out: he/she has cancer. I have never been wrong. I did not see it with my father-in-law. I'd say I see it about 25% of the time.

2. I can water-witch. Years ago my husband took me to his parents' land, cut a willow Y-shaped branch and handed it to me. I did, and I walked around and all of a sudden the bark peeled off in my hands and the stick pointed straight down. It was one of the weirdest experiences I've ever had. We usually do it for fun when we're out there, although I've yet to have Thomas do it. Bob can do it, too. By the way, the spot where the bark peeled in my hands is where they dug their well.

3. My left foot is one size larger than my right foot. Makes shoe-buying/comfort a nightmare. I have another part of my anatomy that is one size larger than the other, I'm not saying what, although I'm told no one can notice. That kind of bugs me. My right cheek is higher than my left cheek due to a childhood monkey bar accident. I have a hard time keeping my eyeglasses level due to it.

4. When my mom was alive, I had a connection with her that was unreal. I knew when she was sick, I knew her ring as she called the house, I knew a lot of things that I couldn't have possibly known. For example, when I was a teen and in Europe, I suddenly went crazy telling everyone my mother was gravely ill. The teachers/sponsors were almost mad at me and telling me I was nuts. I knew something was wrong. I
felt it. Three days later that feeling went away as abruptly as it came. When I got home, 30 days later, I had found mom had had a cardiac episode and was in the hospital -- right when I knew she was ill. The day I felt better was the day she was released. She didn't tell me because she didn't want to ruin my trip.

5. I have gone to psychics and psychic fairs, and I believe in all that stuff. Well, some of it. I'm also a skeptic, but I believe in some of it.

6. My husband says I have funky religious beliefs, or a home-brewed religion. Yes, I call myself a Christian, but I also believe in what I call spiritualist or new age beliefs. I'm talking mild stuff, I'm not expecting visitors from another galaxy any time soon nor do I line my walls with foil. I am also a contrarian.
My husband says that if someone tells me to do something, I say no just because they told me to do it. I'd lump into this category that I'm a nonconforming nonconformist. I go way beyond being a nonconformist. My cousin pegged me with that term. So--don't ever tell me what to do. lol Okay, so with this confession on a semi-secular blog, there go the bloglines subscriptions, the blog hits, etc. lol

It's a good thing I am usually a very private person about such things, eh? At least I'm nonjudgmental and support everyone's rights to what they believe. Well, almost everyone. ;-)

Live and let live.

Tag 6 people:

1. Sam
2. Ms. L
3. Mama B
4. Kixque
5. Carole
6. Mother Crone


Mama B has tagged me!

1. Explain what ended your last relationship?
Me. I moved 6 hours away from my boyfriend to start my new job. My husband of 17 years was my next door neighbor. My old boyfriend didn't stand a chance, poor guy.

2. When was the last time you shaved?
NO COMMENT -- Actually last week, and I was-a-gonna today, but I wanted to shower fast and hit the library. Tomorrow, before I start tripping.

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?
Sleeping. Actually waking up. I got up at 8:15.

4. What were you doing 15 minutes ago?
Just finished reading half of a book to Thomas, then started surfing.

5. Are you any good at math?
Well, yes and no. Basic operations, yes. Concepts beyond high school trig, no. All through high school I always asked the same question: Why are you teaching me this and how does it apply to real life. No one ever answered me, just told me to memorize those formulas.

6. Your prom night?
Ew, evil question. I was never asked to the prom. I would always get together with my girlfriends who also were not asked and do something fun. Senior year we went to see Annie, the play.

7. Have you had to take a loan out for school?
No. I had a full-tuition scholarship, believe it or not.

8. Do you know the words to the song on your myspace profile?
I don't do myspace. I haven't quite figured it out -- and I don't know that I want to. (No offense, Sam.)

9. Last thing received in the mail
Credit card bill.

10. How many different beverages have you had today?
Coffee, and lots of it, chocolate milk, two diet pepsi's, and a hot chocolate while reading to Thomas. Oh, a glass of water, too. Five. I still need to drink my V8.

11. Do you ever leave messages on people’s answering machine?
I detest answering machines. I don't own one. Drives people nuts, but makes me happy. How can I avoid people if they can leave messages? lol That said, yes, I leave messages. I'm always taken off guard and leave corny messages, though.

12. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?
Andy Gibb. My poor sister had to take me.

13. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
No, never thought to! I play, make castles and moats and dig, but no names. I'll do it this summer just for grins, though.

14. What was the most painful dental procedure you have had?
When I was 17, the removed gum from the roof of my mouth and transplanted it to my lower front teeth. It was horrid. Run away if the dentist tells you that you have receeding gums and wants to do that. I've had several root canals and will take those any day!

15. What is out your back door?
big back yard, flower pot. uhm dare I admit this, but my ash tray, big red barn -- a garage kind not a real one, flower garden, corn field, trees. We have a pretty back yard. OH -- and always in view is the neighbor's barking poodle. Yap, yap, yap.

16. Any plans for Friday night?
I'm still working on tonight. No, no plans.

17. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?
Well, honestly, I don't know that it really does anything to my hair. Maybe the wind whips it around, but I live in high humidity, so I'm used to weird hair.

18. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?
There's one sitting on my kitchen counter right now. A cub scout can that cost $30. That white gourmet cheese corn is awful!

19. Have you ever been to a planetarium?
Yes! Wish we lived close to one.

20. Do you re-use towels after you shower?
On a good week, I use them every other day. On a bad week, a couple days. (All depends if I'm current on the laundry or not.)

21. Some things you are excited about?
Hmm, nothing much right now. I was excited for Thomas joining his club last night. But I'm in a valley right now and, well, nothing is very exciting.

22. What is your favorite flavor of JELLO?

23. Describe your keychain(s)?
Thomas made it a few years ago at a public school fair. It's a beadie thing with a plastic hand on it. Wonderful because Thomas made it, but not my pick. I like Koosh keychains.

24. Where do you keep your change?
Everywhere. We just cleaned up all the change and found it in the ugly hiking boot bank by the washer, my wallet, the bottom of my purse, my coat pocket, and my jewelry box. I gave all but $10 in quarters to Thomas and he made $32.

25. What kind of winter coat do you own?
I'm in Minnesota -- it's WARM, covers my butt, has a hood, repels water. It's thinsulate. I can't remember the brand name, though.

26. What was the weather like on your graduation day?
Beautiful all three times.

27. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?
open. the critters come in and out all night. Plus, I want to see the boogie man approaching. The light in the hall is on as well.

I tag anyone else who wants to play.

The House without a Christmas Tree

A few years ago at Thanksgiving, I remembered watching a movie on TV as a child that I absolutely loved. I remember the somewhat feisty young girl character stuffing mashed potatoes into a cousin's pocket at their dinner. There was also a Christmas movie about the same girl that was great. I really wanted to find both movies, but I never did. I just couldn't remember.

Fast forward to today. Thomas and I went to the library so I could get the book A Door in the Wall by Marguerite De Angeli and a bunch of books for a Christmas unit I'm going to do next week. Somehow, as I was looking for a specific book, I happened to see a book entitled The House without a Christmas Tree. The lightbulb went on over my head. I pulled the book and almost cried -- a childhood favorite found again.

We came home, finished school, ate dinner and finally I had a moment. I grabbed the book, read it, and bawled like a baby. Not only was it a wonderful story, but it took me back to my childhood. I remember watching those movies. I remember hoping they'd come on TV year after year. It just warmed my heart.

As I was crying, Thomas came up to me and said, "I don't want to read it now because you're crying. Who died?" I was shocked and reminded him that people cry happy tears sometimes. Then it hit me. The book took me away from what has been on my mind, our Thanksgiving loss. No wonder Thomas thought someone died. Sigh.

If you've never seen the movie or read the book, I highly recommend The House without a Christmas Tree by Gail Rock. I will be heading back to the library to get The Thanksgiving Treasure as well. I am anxious to relive that mashed potato scene!

I wish they would play these movies on TV again. I would love Thomas to see them.

I was going to have Thomas read the book, but I decided that this is so fun, and such a happy memory for me, that I'll read it aloud to him.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Oh, Happy Day!

School's been going well. Our moods have been elevating. Things are, knock on wood, going much better.

Today was a very happy day for a cute 11 year old. Bob came home for lunch and announced to Thomas that yes, he would indeed take Thomas to the model railroad club meeting tonight and join up. Oh my gosh -- that kid was nearly bouncing off the walls he was so excited!

Surprisingly, Thomas had a wonderful afternoon of school. He worked hard, paid attention and did good work. I thought I was in for with that news, but Thomas is maturing.

Tonight the two boys were off. I had the house to myself for three hours. THREE hours. Good grief, I cannot remember having so much quiet during waking hours -- in the comfort of my own home, that is. I ended up reading catalogs and watching a TV show on 9-11. I was just so stunned and almost frozen, I didn't know what to do with myself. I will be making grand plans for next week!

I must admit I started looking out the window for approaching headlights about twenty minutes before my boys re-appeared. It actually got a little too quiet.

Anyway, that quiet was short-lived because when they returned home, Thomas burst in the door and talked 300 words per minute. Oh, mom, it was great -- they let me run the trains. I saw the Big Boy, they let me run the trains, I saw a Challenger, they let me run the trains, they took some scenery apart so I could see it, they let me run the trains, they were really nice to me, they let me run the trains, they ran Gordon from the Thomas set for me, they let me run the trains. Mom, they showed me the electrical wiring and there was so much wire and it was soooo cool. And mom, they let me run the trains.

Did I mention, they let Thomas run the trains?

Bob's version was great, too. First thing he mentioned was that they went to the restaurant right next door to have their business meeting. Bob was impressed that Thomas got to see first-hand how a meeting is run. Roberts Rules of Order. So Bob wants to teach Thomas all about "da
rules. "

Bob then reported that these guys were fantastic to Thomas. He said it's mostly a bunch of grandpas and they all showed a great interest in Thomas. Thomas's enthusiasm was equal to theirs as they all love trains. He said he just stepped back and watched. He enjoyed seeing his child so happy.

Bob was actually dreading doing this, but decided to because he knew how much it would mean to Thomas. I think he was a little surprised that he actually had a good time as well.

Bob and I have been debating what to get Thomas for Christmas. Santa always brings him a nice gift. Bob mentioned to Thomas that perhaps he should wait on a train set until we figure out what's good, what they want, etc. Thomas agreed. Thomas later whispered to me how disappointed he was.

Well, Santa had better get busy and get something. We've decided to buy an Atlas True_Track layout. I don't know which one we're going to get yet. I do know we can't afford nor do we have room for anything larger than a 4x8 layout. Of course we'll also have to get him an engine and a few cars. We haven't even started looking at the engines yet, it's hard enough to decide on the track! All I know for sure is that our engine will most definitely be a Union Pacific. Out of love for my dad, who worked for Union Pacific for over 40 years, how could we choose anything but? Even though Bob worked for Burlington Northern for 14 years, Union Pacific wins out.

It really was a happy day. I think I'm most happy because -- pardon to my secular friends -- my prayers were answered in regard to what were we going to do for a social outlet when scouts was over. This is an excellent beginning. For a child whose grandpa lives a two-day drive away, for a child who just lost his other grandpa, what a wonderful place for him to be. And there were even other kids at the meeting tonight, too.

Oh happy day indeed.

All aboard!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Dirty Dancing

Did I just post that I don't watch much TV? Well, I guess I lied. Tonight I watched one of my all-time favorites: Dirty Dancing.

Dirty Dancing was made in 1987, the same year Bob and I met and fell in love. Dirty Dancing is a coming of age movie, and 1987 I came of age. There was little dancing involved in my case, as my husband always told me dancing with me is like pushing a rope. That has always been meant as a joke and it never offended me because frankly, I hate to dance.

December 31, 1986 I moved away from home from Denver to South Dakota. I started my career in January of 1987. I moved into a four-plex and soon met all my neighbors. Downstairs was an Air Force couple, who I became instant friends with. An older lady (in her 50s at the time--not so old to me now!) lived in the basement, and Bob and his sister lived next door. I met his sister first, and we got along great. I spied Bob a few times out the window and thought he was quite a hunk.

The first time I met Bob I thought he was the biggest jerk on the planet. His sister and I were talking in the hall and she kept calling him to come out and meet me. Finally, after ten minutes and several requests, he slammed the footrest down on his Lazyboy recliner and stomped into the hall like a spoiled baby who was "majorly" inconvenienced. He shook my hand, said a gruff hi, then stormed back.

My next encounter was one early summer evening I decided to go sit at the picnic bench in the back yard with a book. The Air Force couple was soon outdoors. And surprise, the big oaf joined us. Pretty soon someone brought out a 12-pack of Coors Light. We were drinking, laughing, and having the time of our lives.

I remember looking at Bob, who was wearing a tank top. He had a red-neck tan, but he had the most gorgeous, muscular arms I had ever seen. When he told me he worked for the railroad, I was in love before I knew what hit me. My daddy worked for the railroad for over 40 years, and that impressed me.


We were drunk the entire summer. We were responsible drunks, though, as we never drove drunk. We'd shoot coffee cup shots of peach schnapps chased by a Coors Light. That summer Dirty Dancing came out and Bob was my real-life Patrick Swayzee.

For the record, neither Bob nor I drink now. Just had to throw that in.

The next summer we moved in together and were married the following year.

Will I ever tell this story to Thomas???

Anyway, I was feeling extremely low tonight and watching Dirty Dancing made me feel better. It brought a smile to my heart and reminded me of my coming of age, my falling in love, my going out on my own.

It also made me think about seasons of life. I guess there really are seasons. I'm so different today than I was then. Then I was unafraid, adventurous, willing to try anything. Today I love air bags, drive the speed limit, and am overly cautious.

My youth is in the past. I've had a hard time with that. Turning 40 was hard. All the gray hair I sport is hard. But that is life.

In 1987, my dad was still working. The cowboy, my FIL, was still working. That was only 20 years ago. The cowboy is gone, my dad is aging rapidly. He's 80 and has many health issues.

So when December hit, so did my Christmas blues. I get them every year. My very first blog entry is about Christmas blues. This year is worse, after losing the cowboy. No, he wasn't my father. No, I wasn't that close to him. But it hurts and hurts bad nonetheless. Watching my husband walk around in a fog is difficult. It is very painful.

So we fake it. We fake being our normal selves for Thomas's sake. We fake cheerfulness and excitement. We go on living, as we should, although it feels like we're walking knee-deep through mud.

By this time of year my decorations are always up. I asked Bob to get them out of the shed today. He did not. I'm going to have to fake that cheer and get them myself tomorrow.

And all of this actually does relate to homeschooling. Really. As I was watching Dirty Dancing, I was thinking I really need a break. I would love to take a week off and do nothing but have some fun. Yes, we just had two weeks off, but they certainly weren't vacation days, except for our Mt. Rushmore visit. I would like to stay up late and sleep til noon. I would like to make the outside world go away and cocoon myself. But I can't. Looking at Thomas inspires me. What does he need most right now? Routine, stability, normalcy. He needs fun, laughter, and yes, school.

So the best thing I can do for him and for me is to get up tomorrow morning, do my chores, wake him up and hit the books. We'll have three full weeks then we'll get a break. I think Thomas needs that much more than I need to cocoon myself. I think Thomas needs to see that we can be sad but still get done what needs to be done. It's okay for him to see his dad down. It's okay for him to see me down. But it is necessary for him to see us getting on with life.

My season right now is to be a parent. I'm a middle-aged, 41-year-old mom. And while December is always a hard month for me, it is my job to make happy memories for Thomas, to love and nurture him, to show all emotions and to educate him.

So, tomorrow morning I'll fake it. I'll fake it until I make it.

And life goes on.