Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wednesday, December 31

I am so exhausted that I don't think I'll make it until midnight.

Yesterday and today are blurred. We worked in the basement again today. At one point I walked into my laundry room and gasped. I bet over half the "stuff" is gone. It didn't look like the same room.

Sorting, bagging, tossing, loading over and over ad nauseum.

Our celebration dinner tonight was Pizza Hut. We like it, we were all too tired to cook, and they were running a great deal. (Except I over-tipped the driver since it is a holiday.)

Before dinner I sat down at my computer to respond to some emails. The next thing I knew, Bob was calling my name repeatedly, asking me where the phone book was. Huh? I had fallen asleep sitting straight up at the computer.

A little food, and I was able to put a few more hours work in.

Why are we doing this? It sounds crazy. It was part of my Christmas present, a clean house, but it's more than that. When my siblings and I cleaned out my Dad's house, it affected me greatly. The stuff -- the stuff. I can't even put into words my feelings, but that I wanted to clean out my own home. The stuff -- the stuff.

And so we plow through it all. I feel better. Bob feels better. Thomas? I'm not sure how he's feeling, but he did a double take today when he walked into the laundry room and shouted, "WOW!"

The stuff -- the stuff.

Goodbye, 2008

It was a rough year. The hardest of my life.

Even though technically Jerry Lee passed on December 27, 2007, we mourned him well into 2008.




The Final Call

Dad belonged to the UTU, United Transportation Union. In their monthly publication, they have a section called The Final Call where they list those members who recently passed. Dad had his final call this last year.

Dad, I miss you so much.






But there were a few good things, too:

Apollo
(Who came to us November 2007 but we enjoyed his puppyhood in 2008)







He's grown to a handsome dog, and he is a love.



Tesla
Who arrived early January 2008, and had to spend his first night with us in a motel in Rochester, Minnesota because I was sick.





And of course there's these three, who make my life worth living:



And I cannot forget the only other girl in the house, who keeps my feet warm every night:



A very sincere and heartfelt thank you to all my friends who read my blog, who have supported me through the good and bad times. May 2009 be wonderful for everyone!

Tuesday, December 30

Tuesday I walked into the living room and realized there is very little to declutter. I just needed to go through the old videos which are in an antique "thing" for lack of a better word. The thing was behind a Christmas tree, so I had to scratch that idea.

Moved on to the kitchen, and after about five minutes' work, I was summoned to the basement, where I ended up staying the rest of the day.

Bob was amazing. He has thousands of books, and got rid of hundreds. The library is going to love us. I have two small book cases and one tall one in the basement, and I went through the two small and bagged up about 75% of my books for the library. The big case is behind the train table and I can't reach it -- yet.

I wish that we saved boxes and grocery bags. We don't. And we have run out of things to put the book donations in. There is a big bin for recycling grocery bags at one of our stores, and the next time I go I'll ask if I can have some to bag up the books. The library is closed due to the holiday, so we won't be able to get the donations there until next week.

The Epilepsy Foundation will not be coming to my town for donation pick up until March. MARCH. I am so bummed about this! It's not that there's anything wrong with the Salvation Army, because it's a lovely organization, but I would have preferred donating to EF since it touches our lives. sigh I'm not keeping the goods here until March, though. Will load the van next week to take donations to the Salvation Army. (Another big, amazing haul.)

Last night we loaded up an exercise pen, two dog crates and two large bags of dog food and delivered them to the animal shelter. Always lovely to make donations there, and that was an expensive haul (crates and ex-pen aren't cheap) and the dog food was Chicken Lover's, so expensive, too. (We tried switching our dogs' food due to local availability, but Tesla couldn't stomach the new food, even with a very gradual introduction. He has a sensitive tummy. Back to Canidae for us.)

The dumpster is being filled. When I look out my kitchen window, I can see trash in it now. Imagine bringing us a dumpster, in December, in Minnesota, with NO lid! Good grief.

I'm working on the laundry/craft/junk room today and making great headway. The more I work, the more tired I get, and the more I get motivated to get finished. The house is kind of a wreck. It's amazing how that happens. You make a mess while cleaning up, but it is soon to be remedied!

I need to find a box or something to put my chemicals into. I have some cleaners I won't use that need to be taken to the trash place. Paint, too.

I'm feeling excited, energized yet exhausted at the same time, and ready to be done. Life goes on, and we're making big changes here while at the same time hoping to get back to normal. I'm ready to get back to our normal school routine, in our nice clean school room. I am envisioning lovely school days, looking out the window at the birds taking delight at our bird feeder. I am also excited to finish up a huge photo project I've been working on. I have scanned a couple thousand photos that were in my Mom and Dad's albums. There were 8 albums and I've scanned 5 1/2 of them. It will be wonderful to finish that project up, distribute the originals, and be able to actually enjoy looking at the photos at my leisure.

I had to add some more tunes to my iPod. I figured it's my payment for all my hard work. A couple more Cat Stevens, Jim Croce, Joe Walsh and The Mamas and the Papas. It's amazing to me, the music I have selected, because I usually love harder music, more energetic. My selections are warm, though, and folksy. They make me feel good, which is the whole point.

Back to work!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Monday, December 29

Exhaustion. Pure exhaustion, that's what I'm feeling. Bob is sound asleep on the couch and has been for awhile.

After finishing the school room, I unloaded the scary hall closet. I had no where to put stuff, so I used that clean school room. Ouch, that hurt. It was only a landing spot, though, and it's back to spic and span now.

As I was unloading the closet, I called my sweet husband to help me. When he arrived, I told him I didn't need any actual help, but asked him if he could figure out how to make more storage out of this space.

I just have to say, I knew darned well how to make more storage--shelves. Sometimes when it's the man's idea, it just works better. He volunteered to install shelves. He measured and was out the door. An hour or two later, I had those old-fashioned adjustable shelves (works great for me!) installed. They're lovely.

Surprisingly, not much trash at all in the closet. It's one that's above the stairs, so the builders made graduated levels. With no shelving stuff was stacked on top of stuff. Now it has lovely shelving that was desperately needed and no stacking. I have tons of spare room, too. I'm thinking about putting some of my more seldom-used kitchen appliances in there to free up cupboard space.

The dumpster arrived at 3:30, and we waved goodbye to the couch and TV. The dumpster is crying out for our old, tired stuff. We're willing to feed it.

Emotionally, I'm feeling tons better today. That school room just about did me in.

Tomorrow on the agenda:

Living Room:
Decluttering will take an hour at the most. I need to go through our old videos, the front closet and my Great-Grandma's Hoosier cabinet. I doubt I'll even fill one box for donations. This area is kept really well. The Hoosier cabinet I'm just going to re-arrange.

I'm not going to do much cleaning other than dusting and vacuuming. Because I enjoy the Christmas decorations, and have no where to put the tubs yet, I'm going to leave Christmas up. I usually don't take it down until after New Year's Day anyway.

Kitchen:
This shouldn't take too long to declutter, as I worked on it not too long ago. I may do some re-organization, though, which will take time. I'll be getting rid of all my old and gross cookie sheets. I bought cookie sheets before Christmas at Sam's Club and they are better than sliced bread. They're the kind The Pioneer uses--well, maybe they're cheap knock-offs, but similar.

I think between the living room and kitchen, tomorrow, plus tweaking the hall closet and doing more laundry, that will be all that's on the agenda. I always find plenty to keep me busy.

Tonight I'm going to bed early, as opposed to 3 like last night. I need a good rest so I can get 'er done.

The next day we'll start the dungeon, I mean basement. It's dark and dreary down there, but it's not that bad junk wise. It just needs a couple of coats of bright white paint, which I'm not willing to do this week. The laundry room has some things I need to get rid of. It will probably take a couple days, though. Then we have the garage and then we're done! I see light at the end of the tunnel.

Monday, December 29 -- DONE

FINALLY, the school room is done.

It's ugly, but at least it's organized and clean.

The dumpster was supposed to arrive this morning, as well as the couch/TV pick up. Bob has been pacing back and forth, aggravated because of all the garbage that is stacked up. A watched pot never boils, so we'll just have to keep busy and try not to trip on our bags.

I need new blinds and some colorful toppers. We desperately need new flooring, but I don't see that happening any time soon. The room was originally a guest room, and because I love cottage style, I had a white bedspread. It was an all-white room aside from the ugly carpet. White walls in the school room aren't the warmest or most inviting, but I'm not moving the book shelves to paint.

I have a brand new office chair that Bob stole to use at his computer, and he's agreed that I may have it back. I promised Thomas a new office chair as well, so we'll have to go get one this week.






Sunday, December 28

I awoke to a barking dog. Tesla was going crazy because Bob and Thomas went out to breakfast. Without me. They brought me a fountain pop, so I was happy.

Saturday had been a very traumatic day for me. I was just so shocked at the amount of stuff (I call it another word in my head) that I had accumulated in the school room. It stressed me out big time, and I had to fight myself to keep from getting overwhelmed. It was also very difficult to get rid of the young stuff. My son is growing up, leaving that childhood behind. He's a teenager now. I get a little sad because I had wanted more children, but it wasn't meant to be. So getting rid of the younger stuff is tough.

Today I was feeling better, looking forward to being free from clutter, and forged on. Today was the day we needed to bring the heavy hide-a-bed couch upstairs to put out tomorrow morning and that 200-pound 27-inch TV that Bob purchased in 1986. (He paid $1,000 for that thing way back when. Then, that was a heck of a lot of money for a TV. He bought it before we met. I don't think I would have gone along with that had he wanted it when we were together. (Yeah, right, I have a 52-inch TV in my living room.)

The boys returned home while I was in the shower. I dressed and heard Bob call that he needed me to hold the door open. He was in the basement. I went to the back door that enters our garage and lo and behold, there was the hide-a-bed couch. Holy shish kabob, Batman, how on earth did he get that up the stairs without my help? He took the legs off and just pulled it up. Whew, I didn't have to lift a finger except to bring up the cushions. Bob then used that new dolly to bring the big TV up. Another easy task.

That was a big gift to me today, as I was dreading carrying that couch up the stairs.

So I started in on the school room again. Thomas helped quite a bit, which slows me down greatly. However, how else will he learn to declutter and organize. Plus, he had the opportunity to listen to me lecture myself about this hoarding. (I am not a hoarder, I'm a clutterer. Hoarder is easier to say, though.)

Filled more garbage bags, worked and worked. I took way too many computer breaks today, but I think that lifted my spirits some.

Here it is 2:23 in the morning, and I'm STILL NOT DONE. Dang. I should be able to finish up in an hour or so in the morning. The bookshelves are all organized, the closet is, too. There's very little left in the closet. The bookshelf in the hallway has had all the school stuff removed and put in the school room. There's a laundry basket full of binders, paper, spirals, etc. that needs to be dealt with, then the room needs a good, final cleaning.

On one of my breaks, I bought some more MP3s. I only had three song on the Shuffle so far, as I had $3 free from Amazon. Today I used Wal-Mart as I got a gift card from my MIL.

I love this iPod an I wonder why on earth I didn't get one sooner! Is it legal to upload my CDs to iTunes? I have read it is not, and I remember seeing a blurb at iTunes that says you can't upload copyrighted material. I own some of the songs I bought, but I wanted to be legal. Anyone know the answer to that?

Here's what kept me sane today: (I don't own any Cat Stevens CDs, but let me just say I am loving him today.)

Good Vibrations
Hotel California
Bohemian Rhapsody
Sweet Home Alabama
Song Sung Blue (This has great childhood memories for me. Jean, remember The Coffee Cup in Cheyenne? Mom and Dad used to let me play this song on the Juke Box when we ate there. I thought the song was Song So Blue lol)
I Go Crazy
My Sweet Lord
Wild World
Morning Has Broken
Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me
Born to be Wild
Down on the Corner
Sister Golden Hair
Rocket Man
Bad Moon Rising
Band on the Run
Goodbye Yellow Brick Road
Moonshadow
You Should Be Dancing

Bob has the whole week off work this week. Today while he watched the Vikings (Yeah, they won, they're in playoffs!) he decluttered the junk drawer and one kitchen cupboard where he keeps some books. Don't ask--space is limited in this house and we have gone round and round about his use of one of my cabinets. It is next to the ceiling, though, and not one I can reach with daily cooking. I wish we'd taken a before/after of that junk drawer. He did an amazing job. He also chipped the ice off the driveway, ran to the store, and did stuff for me. He worked hard! So did Thomas.

Tomorrow's Agenda:
Finish the &^%&* school room, once and for all.
Start and Finish (gulp) the dreaded hall closet. This is bad, very bad. It's our storage, where I keep the cleaning supplies, and where everything ends up. I'm dreading this almost as bad as the school room.
Watch the TV and couch disappear.
Start loading the dumpster (while hoping the neighbors aren't watching.)
Call Epilepsy Foundation to see when they will be in town to take donations.
Start loading books into the car for delivery to the library. (Why? Because my hallway is so full, we can barely walk.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Saturday, December 27

Happy half birthday to me! When I was a kid, I just couldn't understand why Mom wouldn't celebrate December 27th as my half birthday. ;-)

School Room Day

Way too much garbage to take a photo of.
Filled a few tubs with books/curricula to sell.
Filled a few tubs to donate to the library for its book sale.
Filled a few tubs for donations.

Cried. A lot.

This room had me wondering if I was indeed a hoarder. I had enough art supplies/projects/junk to supply the Duggar family for a year. I'm NOT kidding, either.

This room was supposed to take one day. (As of 3 p.m. on day two, I am at the point I can begin cleaning and organizing what remains.)

I believe over half the contents of this room is gone. Over half.

This is the smallest room in the house. This room had the most stuff in the house.

UGH.

Took a well-needed break, had lunch out, then went to Sears to buy a new vacuum cleaner. It is fantastic. As Thomas says, "It really sucks." Mine was almost 20 years old and falling apart. Also bought a furniture dolly. Bob did, that is Why? As he said, "We're not getting any younger." I tried convincing him that we could rent one instead, and then we wouldn't have to store the thing. Plus, we'd save money. His response was that he could really use it.

Very limited before photos of the dumping ground, I mean school room. We're taking this room back, and it will be ready when we start school again in January!


Friday, December 26 Declutter Spree

Had the argument.

Called the trash company, ordered dumpster and hide-a-bed pick up and TV pick up.

Bob halled a bunch of tree branches to the city tree dump.

Started laundry.

Decuttered master bedroom. Two tubs overflowing with donations. Several bags of garbage. I was ruthless: if I didn't wear it, if I hated it, it it had holes, stains, etc., it got tossed. If it was in wearable condition, it went into the donations tub.

Cleaned out entire closet. Cleaned out all the dressers. Cleared the few things under the bed.

Vacuumed, swept for cobwebs.

Changed sheets, threw comforter and dust ruffle in the laundry.

Dusted.

Decluttered Bathroom.
I had no idea I had so much garbage in here.
Cleaned and organized drawers.
Cleaned and organized cupboard.
Did a quick clean of the room.

The resulting trash.


Cheer Us on (Please?!?!?!!!)

I have debated posting about this since Friday. Do I want to air my dirty laundry on my blog? Yes, no, yes, no.

I decided to air the dirty laundry.

Before Christmas, Bob asked me what I wanted for Christmas. My answer? A clean house. Seriously. What did I get? An iPod Shuffle (which I'm wearing and loving.), and a few other small, nice goodies.

The day after Christmas, Bob and I had a spat. About what? Where we were going to store the brand-new Christmas tree. I wanted to store it in the basement, as mice got our old tree that was stored out in the shed. Bob proclaimed there was too much stuff down there. And then a 5-minute back and forth bickering session ensued.

However, the result of that bickering back and forth was fantastic. Bob got the phone book, I grabbed the phone and made a call. I called the trash company. I ordered, gasp, a dumpster. I also scheduled a pick up for a hide-a-bed and an old, heavy, broken TV. All this will transpire Monday morning.

Friday we started working. I want to state that if you were to visit my home, it's usually company ready. Sometimes it's messy, and sometimes I let the dishes stack up, but the bones are there: the upstairs is organized, most things have a home and it doesn't appear that I'm a hoarder. (Let's not talk about the messy basement, though.)

Ahem. Did I say hoarder? After starting the school room yesterday, was convinced I was a hoarder. I googled hoarder, then googled pictures of hoarders, hoarding. I found a website that stated, Hoarder.:
Someone who Hoards has psychiatric condition that affects less than 1 % of the population.
The person obsesses over his stuff and will most likely not find a solution unless professional help is sought.
The collected stuff will cause serious distress and discomfort and will limit the person's ability to make good use of his house or rooms. They will not take out trash and will often keep about anything.
Clutterer.:
Cluttering affects millions of people.
Someone that lives amongst clutter accumulates without much thought and would probably be able to make the changes themselves if motivated enough to do so.
Often this will never get to such an extreme point as to debilitate the persons freedom and comfort. They will be able to take out trash and throw things away if given enough reason.


Whew. I'm not a hoarder. I just have too damned much stuff. Bob and I are throwing things away and taking out the trash.

This is a very difficult task. Well, the school room has been. The other rooms have been relatively painless. I know the results will boost my spirits more than anything.

Where stuff is going:

Donations of books will be made to our local library. (Wow, are they getting a lot!)

Donations of clothing and household goods will be made to the Epilepsy Foundation. (They do curb-side pick up in our small town every couple of months, and we're about due. Will call Monday to see when they pick up. If it's too long, donations will go to the local Salvation Army.)

Dumpster: This isn't as bad as it sounds. We're not filling the landfill. Where we live, the garbage goes to the facility, and it's crushed to bits, then sits in piles for a very long time, heats up, is crushed again--it's a long process, but in the end they make mulch out of the garbage.

Toxics: Taken to our local garbage facility as they have an exchange program for usable product and proper disposal for non usable product.

So we're fairly green in the process. Bob didn't want to bother with Freecycle or Craig's list, and neither do I.

No garage sale this time.

We're working our tails off here, and would love to have some cheers, pats on the back, etc.

Peter Walsh, eat your heart out.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Happy Holidays

I am going to take a blog break for awhile. I want to wish everyone a happy holiday season, though.

We celebrate Christmas here. The one thing Thomas really, really wants for Christmas is a Wii. I happened to be out shopping one night before Thanksgiving and our local Walmart had one. I snatched it up. Good thing, too, because we haven't found one in any store we've been to since. Believe me, Thomas looks and asks the clerks, too.

Thomas eavesdrops on us, something I've known about for awhile. So Bob and I are taking full advantage of that. We whisper how devastated we are that we can't find a Wii. We have conversations about visiting websites every day looking for a Wii. If one of us runs to the store alone at night, upon our return we play the game: No, the rumors weren't true, there are no Wii's at X store.

Now Thomas is a smart kid and in the past when we thought we have pulled the wool over his eyes, we have not. I think this time we've done it, though. Even if we haven't, he's still going to enjoy his Wii.

With that, we're off to bake cookies, a gingerbread house, wrap gifts, finish last minute shopping, etc., etc., etc.

Happy Holidays.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Giggles

I woke up at 3:30, and unable to get back to sleep, I decided to have some quiet-time at Amazon. I don't do this often, because it makes me wish I were rich.

Anyway, as I've been drooling over books for the past hour, I have listened to Thomas giggling. He is not awake. He has been a nocturnal giggler ever since he was a tiny tot. Bob and I have often giggle along with him, because the giggles he has in his sleep are so cute, so child-like and innocent.

All frustrations I had this morning at my inability to get back to sleep have disappeared. Instead, I sit here with a huge grin on my face listening to the night-time giggles.

We have asked him about his dreams many times, to understand what he's laughing at, but he never remembers.

His giggles are contageous.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Butterfly Award

My very good friends Becky and Meg have awarded me the Buttefly Award.



Thank you! I am honored.

The rules for this award are to link to the person who gave it to you, post the (updated) graphic and pass it on to 10 other bloggers.

I must admit that while I love blog awards, I always hate being limited to choosing a set number. I read every blog on my bloglines because I like the blog very much. I read far more than 10 blogs. Sigh

Here are my 10 in no particular order. (Don't count, please. Ahem.)

Doc
Carole
Heather
MamaB
Kate
Hillary
Sabrina
Michelle
Summer Fae
Elisheva Hannah Levin
Audrey

Yes, I realize this is 11. In my defense, Meg awarded Audrey, so perhaps it's just an honorable mention?. Audey has been so good to me, so supportive and such a wonderful friend that I just could not leave her off my list. Really, she's great.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Mean Parents ~or~ Song Stuck in our Heads

Which cartoon was it that used to give alternative titles for each episode? Bullwinkle? Anyway, this post needs two titles.

Bob came home at lunch today and said he had a song stuck in his head. And then he sang it. Thomas went crazy, because he hates the song. Family Guy did an episode on this particular song. (Yes, I'm an awful mother and let my son watch Family Guy, which is clearly an adult cartoon.)

So Bob and I kept singing the song to the point Thomas was putting his hands over his ears shrieking "Noooooo." All in fun, of course. We wouldn't really torture the poor kid. He was laughing.

So I simply had to hit You Tube, so we could listen to the real version.

Now it will not only be stuck in Bob's head, but mine as well. And probably Thomas's as well.

I plan on turning off Abba, which Thomas does torture me with daily, and playing this song the rest of the afternoon.

Oh, I'm evil. ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha (my evil cackle) Payback for Abba.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

1856

For those studying westward travel, steamships or US rivers, I stumbled upon a cool website.

It seems in 1856, there was a Steamship Arabia which traveled the Missouri River. The steamship was built in 1853 and carried passengers on part of their journey west. It was 171 feet long and could carry 222 tons.



On August 30, 1856, she left St. Louis bound for Kansas City, Council Bluffs, Sioux City, and beyond. It snagged a tree a mile from shore, which was one of the biggest hazards of river travel in the time. It sank within minutes. Fortunately, though, the cabins remained above water and Arabia's single lifeboat brought all passengers to safety. Only one mule died.

Through the years, many attempts were made to find The Arabia. In 1987, a four-man team of Bob, David, and Greg Hawley along with Jerry Mackey set out to find The Arabia. Folklore was that it was buried on a farm owned by Norman Sortor.

They found it, the excavated it, and The Arabia is one of only two ships to ever be discovered with its full cargo intact.

They found a time capsule. Countless artifacts, brand new, were aboard the ship. It is a true way to look back in time, to 1856, and see what treasures people used then.

Although Thomas and I are not studying the westward journey at the moment, we have visited the website. We spent a little over an hour there, watching the video, reading the history and looking at the wonderful pictures.

If I lived in Kansas City, this museum would be a must-see for us.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Time Consuming, but Fun

I saw this somewhere, it wasn't a homeschool blog, but I thought it looked like fun. Tagging anyone who wants to play, but it does take a few minutes.

1) Answer the questions below.
2) Take each answer and type it into Photobucket.com
3) Take a picture from the first page of results and post (use the HTML code or else it won’t post).
4) You can't copy the person's answers who posted this before you!

1. The age you will be on your next birthday. 44
2. A place you would like to travel. Intercourse, Pennsylvania
3. Your Favorite Place (Somewhere you've been.) Home
4. Your Favorite Object. Laptop
5. Your Favorite Food. Ravioli
6. Your Favorite Animal. Border Collie
7. Your Favorite Color. Pink
8. Your dream job. None
9. Your dream car. pickup truck
10. The Name of your Pet. Apollo and Tesla
11. The first name of your current love. Bob
12. Your nickname. Frankie
13. A bad habit of yours. smoking
14. Your first Job. Wendy's
15. Your Grandmother's Name. Lyla and Blanche
16. Your Favorite Book. Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio
17. Your Favorite Band. Abba, cough, sputter
18. Your Favorite character. Lois on Family Guy
19. Your favorite thing to do. surf

1. The age you will be on your next birthday.
44. Pictures, Images and Photos

2. A place you would like to travel.
intercourse Pictures, Images and Photos

3. Your Favorite Place (Somewhere you've been.)
home Pictures, Images and Photos

4. Your Favorite Object.
(I wish mine were pink.)
laptop Pictures, Images and Photos

5. Your Favorite Food.
Ravioli Pictures, Images and Photos

6. Your Favorite Animal.
border collie dog Pictures, Images and Photos

7. Your Favorite Color.
pink Pictures, Images and Photos

8. Your dream job.
jobless Pictures, Images and Photos

9. Your dream car.
My 1998 Dodge Ram 3.9L V6 2WD half ton Pictures, Images and Photos

10. The Name of your Pet.
(Slim pickins for Apollo!)
Apollo Pictures, Images and Photos

Here's Tesla:
Tesla Coil Pictures, Images and Photos

11. The first name of your current love.
bob Pictures, Images and Photos

12. Your nickname.
frankie Pictures, Images and Photos

13. A bad habit of yours.
smoking Pictures, Images and Photos

14. Your first Job.
wendys Pictures, Images and Photos

15. Your Grandmother's Name.
(Lyla)
lyla and luther Pictures, Images and Photos
Blanche
Blanche Pictures, Images and Photos

16. Your Favorite Book.
The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio Pictures, Images and Photos

17. Your Favorite Band.
Okay, so it's not my favorite band, but I do listen to them. Daily. Whether I want to or not.
ABBA Pictures, Images and Photos

18. Your Favorite character.
kill lois Pictures, Images and Photos

19. Your favorite thing to do.
surf Pictures, Images and Photos

It's Been Awhile

Since I posted. I've got nothing. Nothing to say. Can't think of anything! Me, the one who is a chatterbox, quiet.

Actually, I guess I would have a lot of things to say, but I'm not in the most positive of moods. And this blog has seen enough negativity to last a lifetime.

Okay, so I'll add to it.

I don't like Thanksgiving. There, I said it. After cooking a big feast, Bob taking over in the kitchen and basically pushing me out, I realized that I actually do love to cook but that he does too, and he's 6'5 and bigger than me and he just takes over. Plus we don't like the same types of food. Back to Thanksgiving, though, I have just never enjoyed the holiday. It's always been one of those that were no big deal to me. How awful is that?

We got out the turkey Thomas made, ate our feast, and then we discussed the fact that none of us really like turkey, none of us really like stuffing, either. So next year we're going to do steak and potatoes.

And the whole thankfulness thing...I guess not a day goes by where I don't actually think about how thankful I am. I love my son more than anything, my husband is my rock, even though he takes over in the kitchen, and life is pretty good. Well, it always could be better -- or worse, but I think we've had our share of worse for awhile.

Speaking of worse, Bob had to go to California a couple weeks ago. He called me early one morning and I was met with this:

"Now don't panic, I'm okay, but..."


Oh, God, now what? My heart was pounding out of my chest because he was talking in an excited way, very atypical for him.

Well, to make a long story short, Bob was hit by a car in California, seriously damaging the car he was in and totaling the car that hit him. The person who hit him was walking around, so if she was hurt, it couldn't have been all that bad.

Thank God (no offense to my atheist friends) that Bob wasn't hurt.

So I freaked out the entire time he was gone, worrying about him. I didn't cry while he was gone, but when he walked in the door, I hugged him, sat down and let the dogs attack him, and Thomas hug him and I bawled. I just released and cried so hard.

He has yet to show me the pictures of the cars. I think he knows better.

Ever since I've been kind of down. I think the year I've had has finally hit me. The car accident was the icing on the cake.

Life goes on, and I put on my happy face and pretend. "Fake it 'til you make it." Today we decorated the house. While it wasn't exactly fun for me, I pretended and Thomas had a lot of fun. We got some new LED lights which I love to pieces, and they give off a cheery glow.

Monday we'll start school again, after taking a week off.

I must admit that I am just tired. I think that best describes my state as of late.

And that's about all I've got to say. For now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Epilepsy Petition

Would you please take a moment, in honor of Thomas, who was diagnosed with Juvenile Myoclonic Epilepsy this summer, to sign a petition by the Epilepsy Foundation?

The Epilepsy Foundation is leading the fight to increase funding for research and programs, stop discrimination and improve access to care.

In 2009, a new President, 535 members of Congress and nearly 10,000 state legislators will take office. By signing our petition, you can help us persuade them to support policies that improve the lives of the three million American families affected by epilepsy.

More than 3 million Americans have epilepsy (seizures) and 200,000 new cases are diagnosed yearly. For most, there is no cure and many with epilepsy face discrimination and difficulty accessing care.

I strongly urge policymakers to support efforts that end discrimination, improve access to care programs, and increase funding for epilepsy research and programs.


Epilepsy Foundation's Petition

Thank you.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Midnight Hour

A strange thing happened about five minutes ago. I couldn't sleep, so I got out of bed. As I did, I heard Bob stir (he falls asleep on the couch every once in awhile.) Thomas also made some noise. The three of us met in the hallway. Bob was startled, but Thomas and I were both wide awake.

How weird is that?

Both Thomas and I are not sleepy. So what should we do at midnight? Turn on Cartoon Network in the kitchen, grab tomorrow's math assignment, and have a snack.

All day today Thomas tried to get Thursday and Friday's work done. He had one math assignment and one grammar assignment left, but he got all the rest done. So he decided to work on that math. (I wonder how he'll do this late at night?)

Thomas and I are eating toast, drinking hot chocolate, and he's listening to Metalocalypse. (now that's one weird carton!!!) On second thought, it's one inappropriate cartoon and Thomas is now upset because I made him change the channel. I guess I'm a mean mom.

Cartoon aside, I love being different. I love being unconventional. I'm not a spontaneous person in that if someone calls and wants to do something right now, I just can't handle that. Yet in my own home, I love quirky spontaneity. These are the things that we remember. Like the time Thomas decided we needed to eat dinner in the hallway on a cart. We did, and he still remembers that spaghetti supper with a grin on his face.

I'm glad we don't have to get up at 6 to be ready for school tomorrow. We can sleep in just a little. I love to have some weird fun once in awhile.

I'll give Thomas another half hour and call it a night.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I have no ideas on what to blog about, so it's meme time

A meme from Meg.

What’s the last thing you ate? A dinner roll.

What’s your favorite cheese? Cheddar.

What’s your favorite fish? Tuna. (I'm not a fish fan.)

What’s your favorite fruit? Bananas.

When, if ever, did you start liking olives? yuck

When, if ever, did you start liking beer? yuck--I drank my share in my early 20s, but the smell of beer makes me want to gag.

When, if ever, did you start liking shellfish? never

What was the best thing your parent/s used to make? Mom made excellent lasagna. Dad's food would have been good but for the fact that he put a pound of pepper in everything.

What’s the native specialty of your home town? Town of birth: Laramie. Can't think of anything. Town I remember growing up in: Cheyenne. Native specialty there: Taco John's. It's the original home of Taco John's. (I prefer Taco Bell!)

What’s your comfort food? Lately? Nothing. Food doesn't taste good to me right now, hasn't for awhile. When it tastes good, I think mac and cheese or cookies.

What’s your favorite type of chocolate? Anything but dark.

How do you like your steak? rare - medium rare

How do you like your burger? well done, burnt to a crisp. Can't stand if it has any pink whatsoever--go figure, I like my steak mooing.

How do you like your eggs? over easy, omlets, scramled

How do you like your potatoes? love potatoes all way. Depends what I'm eating them with.

How do you take your coffee? With fat-free half and half

How do you take your tea? Can't stand tea, try as I might.

What’s your favorite mug? My tall latte mug that has pencils on it. It was on clearance after Christmas--a teacher's gift. It has the right feel to it, and I love it.

What’s your cookie of choice? M&M

What’s your ideal breakfast? Kellog's Complete, with sour dough toast.

What’s your ideal sandwich? Depends on my mood. I like roast beef sandwiches.

What’s your ideal pizza (topping and base)? Pizza Hut pan cheese.

What’s your ideal pie (sweet or savory)? Pie? Not a big pie eater. I like pumpkin, squash and chocolate pie.

What’s your ideal salad? Regular old salad.

What food do you always like to have in the fridge? Milk, cream cheese, Promise spread, eggs, cheese, pop.

What food do you always like to have in the freezer? Beef and chicken.

What food do you always like to have in the cupboard? Food. lol A well-stocked cupboard.

What spices can you not live without? CUMIN, love the stuff. Garlic, bay leaves, onion power/flakes...

What sauces can you not live without? anything tomato based.

Where do you buy most of your food? Hy-Vee

How often do you go food shopping? Once a week.

What’s the most you’ve spent on a single food item? I am clueless. Probably a cut of beef.

What’s the most expensive piece of kitchen equipment you own? Fridge.

What’s the last piece of equipment you bought for your kitchen? ?? I think of substance it would be my Cuisanart toaster oven, which I could not live without.

What piece of kitchen equipment could you not live without? Coffee pot, toaster oven.

How many times a week/month do you cook from raw ingredients? Most times I cook.

What’s the last thing you cooked from raw ingredients? I made a chicken casserole last night. (It did have cream of crap soup in it, though. lol)

What’s your favorite thing to make for yourself? No bakes.

What meats have you eaten besides cow, pig, chicken and turkey? Bear, venison, elk, ostridge, moose, rabbit, ...

What’s the last time you ate something that had fallen on the floor? If an M&M drops, I will eat it. Usually I throw away, though.

What’s the last time you ate something you’d picked in the wild? ?? Childhood?

Place the following cuisines in order of preference (greatest to least) - Italian, sushi, Chinese, French, Indian, Thai: Italian, Chinese. The rest I wouldn't eat.

Place the following boozes in order of preference (greatest to least) - Whiskey, tequila, vodka, brandy, gin, rum: I do not drink. (I have a drink probaly every 4-5 years. The last thing I drank was a wild cherry cooler. I'd rather have pop, thank you.)

Place the following flavors in order of preference (greatest to least) - Garlic, ginger, basil, aniseed, lime: Garlic, lime, ginger, basil, aniseed.

Place the following fruits in order of preference (greatest to least) - cherry, apple, orange, pineapple, watermelon: Apple, watermelon, orange, cherry, pineapple.

Bread and spread: Wheat bread, Promise spread.

What’s your fast food restaurant of choice, and what do you usually order? Taco Bell, bean burritos or cruncy tacos or soft-shell tacos, or one of each. A close second is Wendy's and that would be a single combo. (Our Wendy's just closed, darn it all!)

What are three of the best dining-out experiences you’ve had? A wonderful restaurant in Pringle, South Dakota--only locals know about it as it's in the boonies. Bob and I were just talking about it and neither can remember its name. Best meal I think I've ever had. Olive Garden is always a hit with me. Can't think of a third.

What’s your choice of tipple at the end of a long day? Well, I don't drink, so a nice cup of decaf.

Favorite cookbook/s? Internet.

Got any favorite food blogs? No.

What’s the next thing you’ll eat? Tuna casserole for supper tonight, yum. (Sans peas, though.)

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Wii

Today the library had its monthly teen Wii party.

Thomas was the only kid to show up. So he played. All by himself.

The librarian had her computer and worked while he played. He said toward the end, she played a game with him.

The library bought this and has teen parties and adult parties once a month. Thomas went in September, missed October, and then today. In September, there were three other kids.

The library is trying to give kids something to do, but no one takes them up on it. Meanwhile, upstairs in the computer room, kids are gathered around the computers playing Runescape. Go figure.

We thought of inviting some homeschooling friends to go with us next month, but they believe video games are evil. Thomas's best friend moved away. He has a few other friends, but they're hard to plan stuff with because they're busy.

So I wonder how long the library will continue having Wii parties!

And on a brighter note, I'm starting to feel better.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Hit by a flu bug today, I've been in bed most of the night, sleeping off and on. How delightful to wake up an hour ago, and watch CNN.

When CNN announced it, I literally had chills running up and down my body -- and it wasn't flu chills, it was excitement. I've been crying, too--tears of JOY. I literally sobbed tears of joy.

I have such great HOPE for our country now.

Now I pray (yes, I do that) that Obama picks a GOOD cabinet and gets this country straightened out.

What a HAPPY, HAPPY day.

YES!!!!!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

I'm Hot

And no, I don't mean Paris-Hilton hot.

Today, in our part of Minnesota, it is supposed to be a whopping 75 degrees. In November. In Minnesota. Huh?

Yesterday was a warm day, too, and the neighborhood kids were playing in their shorts! In Minnesota. In November.

Last night my house was so hot that I had to open windows! I slept with the window open all night long, never once got cold, and woke frequently because the air smelled and felt so good. It was a lovely way to wake up, with that crisp air hitting me -- in Minnesota. In November.

I'm lovin' it. I know it won't last long, it's supposed to be in the 40s later this week. I dread the below zero temps that we'll face in January and February, and like last year, into March. Hopefully we won't have that in March next year.

For now, though, pinch me, it's 75 degrees. In November. In Minnesota.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Happy Belated Halloween

I didn't take photos of Thomas this year. He dressed up as Scream, the same as last year. We only had a dozen trick-or-treaters this year.

I saw this meme at Our Life Adventures and thought I'd play. Yes, I know Halloween is over, but I neglected to do anything for the holiday on the blog. So, better late than never.



Here are the questions:

Are you scared of bats?
No.


When you were a kid, did you go out on Mischief Night?
I have no idea what mischief night is.


What is your favorite trick-or-treat candy?
Peanut M&Ms


Have you ever seen a ghost?
I have not seen a ghost. I have felt one, on several occasions, though. (There, that's enough to scare off many readers for good!)


The most memorable costume you ever wore?
My witch costume, when I was 6 or 7. Mom took me to some Halloween play in the high school auditorium while I was in costume, and they handed me a clothespin when I walked in. At the end of the play, the pulled the few kids with clothespins up on stage and I won best costume. I don't remember what I won, but I remember the event. I had a green face and mom pinned a plastic rat in my wig hair.

Do you carve a happy or a scary face on the pumpkin?
Whatever we feel like. This year we did a goofy pumpkin and yet another vomiting pumpkin. I fear Thomas will always insist on the sickly pumpkin. When kids comment, I always tell them the pumpkin go sick because he ate too much candy.


Do you dress up on Halloween?
I haven't for about three years now.


Any cooking or baking you do for Halloween?
Nope.


Have you ever been to The Haunted Mansion at Disneyland or Disneyworld?
Yup.

Any element of the season you don’t like?
Fall is my favorite season. Well, spring is my favorite season of the year when February hits us because I'm sick of the nasty, cold winters here, but honestly, fall is my favorite.


What is your favorite scary movie?
Silence of the Lambs


Do you cook the pumpkin seeds from your carved jack-o-lanterns?
No.


Are you intrigued with vampires?
No. Although, I loved Angel when it was on TV.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Night

Well, here I sit, Thomas is in bed, Bob is asleep on the couch, and it's just me and the dogs. I'm very blue tonight, but I know the reason.

I have finally figured out a pattern to my insanity. See, I was beginning to feel I was going insane. Last month I had a panic attack, out of the blue, and it ticked me off. I had been doing so well. Well, yesterday we drove to Mankato and I had a panic attack on the way home. I was driving, and Bob was with me, so I pulled over and let him drive home.

It sucks, dang it, it makes me so mad. BUT, I've been keeping a journal and have figured something out. All these panic attacks hit when I am having a period. From the big one in Denver that landed me in the hospital overnight, to yesterday's, 90% of them were period-related. I think about 10% of them were just stress from Dad's death.

So, I do have an upcoming doctor appointment, and I feel so relieved to know that these hormones are playing with my head. So he's going to get an earful. That, and how painful the cramps are, and how bad the PMS is.

So while I'm feeling blue, I'm relieved. Hopefully there's something that I can do to get this under control.

~~~~~~~~~

Friday a new curricula arrived at our house. I finally bit the bullet and bought Analytical Grammar. It was always on my wish list, but the cost held me back. I had some money in my curricula fund, so I went for it. I have looked through it, and I love it. Thomas was a little intimidated by all the diagramming, but I think he'll do fine.

We are just about to finish up a cute little book I bought Thomas called Exercises in English Grammar. It was a lovely little book, and I enjoyed it and Thomas liked that it was easy. Very old-fashioned, to the point, and quick. We easily did a couple lessons a day. I didn't like that there was no answer key, but I'm confident we did well.

So tomorrow we'll start Analytical Grammar. They suggest using it as a two- or three-year program. We'll probably do it in two years and then be done. I'm not doing any more grammar. Ever. This is it.

We're also about to finish up with the outlining workbook I bought. It was very easy, but making the transition from writing outlines to writing from outlines has been difficult for Thomas. I'm not quite sure what we'll do thereafter. I'd like for Thomas to practice some paragraphs and five-paragraph essays.

We're about to start anew with math. We were using Rod and Staff 7. We are in the chapter 5 already, and it's all been review. Thomas still hates math, but he actually said, "This is too easy" last week, which really surprised me.

We have Lial's Basic Math, which we had started a year or two ago, and it's good, but it's too cluttered for Thomas. He really dislikes the slick pages as well. I know you shouldn't base a math program on cluttered pages and slick pages, but we do what works for us, and that didn't work for Thomas.

So, this weekend, while we were in civilization, I bought CliffsStudySolver Basic Math and Pre-Algebra. It's not cluttered, black and white, and good explanations. I think we'll be able to cover it by the end of the year. It does not have worksheets, so I'll be using them from this site. Or making my own. Or finding some from the multitude of math sites out there.

While at the book store, I also bought Kiss my Math by Danica McKellar. The books is written for girls. However, as I was flipping through it, I liked the way she explained some things, so I bought it. I'll just use what we need to. Very impressive book, Winnie Cooper. =)

I really struggle with the whole math thing. Thomas hates math with a passion, and he has always done better when we go off on our own. So I think this will work for him. We can work at our own pace.

We have never touched on negative numbers. I was reading the chapter on integers, or "mint-igers" as Ms. McKellar calls them, and enjoying her simple explanation. I then started asking Thomas questions about negatives. For a kid who has not been exposed to negatives, he sure was able to pop off correct answers, ordering integers from least to greatest. He was able to add and subtract them, too. Bob and I were shocked.

We had Thomas tested by an educational psychologist years ago. We were told he is a conceptual learner. Actually, he's a disabled visual spatial learner. lol That, according to Dr. Silverman herself. She told me not to repeat stuff that he knows. If he's got it, he's got it. I really need hit with a brick sometimes, because I think that practice makes perfect. Well, that practice was making for a difficult math year--again.

I think the trick with Thomas is to have some practice daily coupled with new concepts. My gut tells me, and our past successes, that that's how he works best. So I'll be going back to this site I posted about awhile ago that has free middle school daily math practice.

So it may seem like we're curriculum hoppers, I wouldn't label us that way. I think we're find what works well homeschoolers.

Whew, that's a lot of gab for a Sunday evening. And I'm actually feeling a little less blue to boot. I'm looking forward to our day tomorrow.

As I Suspected

We are having terrible winds today. I just happened to look out the back window only to notice our neighbor's dead tree, the tree I've worried about for years coming down into our yard, did.

I highly doubt this neighbor will help pay for the cleanup. Luckily the tree missed our basketball hoop and our shed.

I went out and looked, but didn't stay long. There are big, dead branches in his other trees, and when the tree fell, it cracked some of his living branches. With the wind we're having, I wasn't going to chance staying out there.

Thomas has been admonished to not go out there now or even when there is no wind.

I wonder what this will cost? I told DH that he's going to have to go talk nice to the neighbor to get him to get those broken branches cut off. If he doesn't, they'll come down in our yard, too.

These neighbors are senior citizens on a fixed income. I doubt they'll have the money to do anything.

Well, on a positive note, at least the tree is finally down, and no one or no thing got hurt. And when it's cleaned up, and the damaged trees are cleaned up, I won't worry so much anymore.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Ron Howard's Call To Action

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Going out of my Abba mind

Every day, Thomas has to listen to Abba while doing school.

Every day. Every single stinking day.

No other CD will do. I have tried to introduce him to new music. I got out my CD folder labeled "mellow" and started putting CDs in. We've listened to John Denver, Willie Nelson's Stardust, Bread, America, BeeGees...yuck to all.

We used to listen to classical music, but Thomas hated that. We quit. I actually got a Mozart CD out and slipped it in instead of Abba. He didn't like that one bit.

Last week I snuck in a George Gershwin Rhapsody in Blue CD. He listened, and I told him it was one of my favorite songs because it told a story with no words. He looked at me as if I was crazy. When the song had played twice (I put it on repeat--if he can repeat Waterloo, by golly I can repeat Rhapsody in Blue) he got up, pulled the disk and put Abba in.

And played it.

For the millionth time.

Abba, Abba, Abba.

I know all the songs by heart. I dream about the songs. Heck, I have nightmares about the songs.

Why Abba?

For Pete's sake, I like Abba, but I think I've had enough to last me a lifetime.

When Bob comes home for lunch, the first thing out of his mouth after hello is, "Abba, again?"

Yeah, Abba. Again.

Thomas wants another Abba CD, one with the songs that he knows that aren't on this CD. Thanks, You Tube. Thanks a lot. I am not looking forward to Ring, Ring.

But being the mom I am, I don't complain in front of Thomas. Instead I let it fester inside. I might tease him a bit (I am a gentle teaser, I think teasing can quickly become mean, so I'm mindful.)

He has always hated music. He's been exposed to music his whole life. I find it so odd, because Bob and I have always loved music. I like about anything except country, but I'll even listen to some country. When I was a teenager, I had every Kenny Rogers record there was. What was I thinking? I had other stuff, though. I didn't listen to Kenny Rogers day after day after day.

Interruption of my blog post: Thomas just informed me, right this second, that he thinks we should get another Abba album, so he can hear things like Eagle and Ring Ring.

Mom bangs her head on the table.

When Thomas was a toddler, he hated music. We'd go to a little kid event, and all the kids would be dancing in the aisle to the silly music, but not Thomas. It was so beneath him.

The only good thing I have to say about Abba is that Thomas, for the first time in his life, will SING. He sings Abba songs on almost a daily basis. That is music to a mother's ears.

However, I am still sick of Abba.

I'm thinking of getting myself an iPod shuffle so I can listen to other stuff while he listens to Abba.

And speaking of iPods, that great stereo I bought (aside from playing Abba 90% of the time) has been wonderful. We have just about finished up our SOTW disks. And I discovered I didn't need to buy an iPod for the thing, because it has an iPod docking station. I went to Radio Shack and bought a plug-in for $5 and we can play our Creative Zen on the stereo. That was big for me because I didn't have to come up with money for a more expensive iPod. Whew. I can pick up a Shuffle for $49 at Wal-Mart. That just may save my sanity.

So here we sit, listening to Abba, doing school and now the neighbor starts up his leaf blower on the vacuum setting and he's vacuuming the street again. He does this every other day. Still.

I really need a Shuffle.

I think I've posted about Abba before. Ad nauseum. I probably will again. Sheesh.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Sold

Dad's house is officially sold.

About an hour and a half after getting the news, I broke out into uncontrollable sobs. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

I'm going to give myself a few days to mourn. It's almost like losing Dad all over again. Kind of. It's just weird.

My safe haven is no longer. My kitchen table chats are gone.

The house now will remain in my heart, mind and photos.

It's all so final--what I wanted, but it hurts nonetheless.

This too shall pass.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ouch

DH and I just filled out our new insurance forms. For almost the same coverage (slightly lower deductibles) we're going to be paying $50 more per paycheck. That will add up quick.

It was an uneventful weekend. Well,I got something done that I really needed to get done that was highly stressful for me. I putzed around the house. Thomas was hardly to be seen as he was out and about running the neighborhood with his friends.

Dad's house is scheduled to close tomorrow. I am praying it goes through. I'm sure it will.

Tomorrow is Bob's birthday. He's getting old. Will celebrate by taking him to his favorite (and only, besides Taco John's)Mexican restaurant in town. He prefers cheesecake to cake, so I'll pick up a cheesecake at the grocery store. I'll be darned if I'm going to buy 49 candles, though!

Next year should be fun when he turns 50.

The house is a disaster, so I'm actually looking forward to Monday, I'll have Thomas do the work he will do (meaning, that which he won't lose his attention) alone, and I'll catch up a bit. Then we'll settle in and do the rest.

I just haven't felt like blogging lately. Usually I have lots of fluff to talk about, but I've got very little right now. Walking around in a state of numbness, I guess. I sure wish I'd hit a funny streak, or an inspirational steak, or something. That's life, though.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Catching Up

Last week I was bone tired. I'm finally rested up and raring to go.

Last night I learned that my aunt passed away. She was my Dad's brother's wife. We shared the same name--well, nickname, I guess. She was a lovely lady, and even though I didn't know her well, I feel saddened.

I also learned last night that my other aunt, my Dad's sister, had a heart attack on Friday. She was taken to the hospital, they put two stents in, and she was back home by Sunday. I found that AWFUL. Well, she was having severe pain this morning, so was taken back to the hospital.

Please say prayers or send good vibes for these families.

My 77-year-old cousin, Dad's sister's son, passed away on the day before Thomas's birthday.

It's been a very rough year for Dad's family.

On a brighter note, Thomas had a blast with his birthday surprise.

We told him of the surprise 20 miles before we hit Sioux Falls, and he was bouncing. The motel room was nice (but smallish) the water park inside was great. Thomas MADE me go down the water slide.

I don't know where my zest for life went, but I got to the top of the stairs and I panicked. I sat down, then stood back up. I realized Thomas was watching me, and even though he is 13, I wasn't setting a good example. I am forever telling him to face his fears. So I had him go down first, then took my time. I sat, and my heart was beating so fast I thought it was going to pop right out of my chest.

Me, the girl who used to be so adventurous, who loved water slides, who had no fear...that was before I got old. And fat. And afraid of breaking bones.

I pushed off. I was going too fast for my comfort, so I dragged my hands along the sides so strongly that I squeaked the whole way down. Apparently, it was hilarious because everyone could hear it.

I did it, though.

Then Bob told me it was a shame I lost that child-like quality I once had.

So I climbed the stairs and went down again, this time without squeaking.

We swam all night, then feasted on pizza.

The next day, the official birthday, we went to The Cracker Barrel for breakfast. I knew they'd have biscuits and gravy for Thomas and Bob. They did, and they were awful. I felt bad for Thomas, but my breakfast was great. lol

We then went to the zoo. Sioux Falls has a smallish zoo, but it's very nice. They had a baby Siamang Gibbons primate, that was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. The mother kept pinning the poor thing to the ground and using it as a plate. She put her food on it, and then would pick up the food and eat. Several times she would actually bend down and eat straight off the belly. That little babe tried to escape every chance it got, but momma's long arms didn't let it get far. (I don't know if it was a girl or boy.)

We then ate lunch at Taco Bell, because we don't have one and love it, and went back to swim. Dinner was Fudrucker's, Thomas's choice. Then we hit Barnes and Noble and bought the four books to complete the series A Wrinkle in Time for Thomas.

The next morning we were up early and on the road.

It was a whirlwind.

It was fun.

It was tiring, only because I got hit with furnace people when we got home. That was just stressful for me.

Our pups were very well behaved the whole trip. I think it may have helped that they had to stay in motels when they were younger.

The funny part of Thomas's birthday is this: He asked me what motel we would go to next year for his birthday. Yup, I knew it, I was setting a precedent. lol We explained that this was a special welcome to teenager-dom thing, and not to get used to it.

School was back to normal today. It was good not having people in our home, and following our normal routine. We start between 9 and 9:30, and I get my alone, quiet time before Thomas gets up and after Bob leaves for work.

Thomas rated it an 8 out of 10. I think that's a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving

To all my Canadian friends, Thomas and I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Saturday Morning

I'm enjoying a slow morning, sipping my coffee, catching up on the internet.

All of a sudden I hear noise outside. It's my crazy next-door neighbor. The one with the poodle that doesn't stop barking.

What's he doing today? He's vacuuming the street. He's done our side and the other side. He's vacuuming the gutters free of leaves, so he can put them in his garden. At least that's what he tells people.

These are the neighbors that wash their house every month. On the outside. They wash out their garage on a weekly basis. They wash and wax their cars on a weekly basis. They wash and wax their 5th-wheeler on a weekly basis, but they only use it once a year.

These are the neighbors that hate disorder. They mow their lawn twice a week, three times if he feels the need. I'm not kidding, either. And it's usually three times a week.

These are the neighbors that are constantly spraying chemicals on their lawn.

These people have no children, and don't give a hoot about the environment. They use a leaf blower to blow all the grass clippings into the street, which is illegal here. We have five lakes in this town, and the grass clippings promote algae.

I used to get mad at them, because they're loud. They're always using some gas-powered appliance outside making noise, stinking up the air. Now I just see them as funny.

The leaves are just beginning to fall here. They'll be done the end of the month. These neighbors will be vacuuming the streets every day. And I'll laugh, because it looks so silly. I know them, I know that they use the excuse "it's for our garden" but in reality, they are bored, young retirees that have nothing better to do. These people cannot stand disorder. That's why he vacuums the leaves from the street.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A Soldier in my Home

One of the furnace guys and I got to chatting yesterday afternoon. When I first looked at him, I figured him to be in his 50s. I don't know how old he was, but he mentioned Iraq. I asked if he was in Desert Storm. Nope, he got back last summer and went with my town's National Guard unit.

He wanted to go. He wanted to go because he was higher up in rank, but he wanted to be with his fellow guardsmen. He volunteered.

He told me he arrived in spring, before it was too hot. That helped his unit acclimate to the conditions there.

He didn't talk about what he did, and I didn't pry. But I did say two words to him: Thank you. He smiled, and he knew my sentiments were heartfelt.

Ever since my Dad was at the VA in Colorado, where he passed away, I just developed a bigger respect for our men and women in the armed services. It's not that I didn't respect them before, but being there enabled me to see, to feel, to experience something on a different level. And there were no Iraq vets there. It was old timers: Viet Nam vets, Korean War vets, and a few WWII vets.

I was very proud that our government took such good care of these men and women. I told the furnace-guy that.

I then asked him a very personal question. I asked him which presidential candidate would be better for the troops, the war and for our vets. As I suspected, it was not McCain. That was no surprise to me. It is unusual for where I live, though-- there are McCain/Palin signs everywhere. I don't think I've even seen an Obama sign in any yard in my town.

While I do not support this war, I do support our troops. I also support our vets. My time spent in that VA where Dad passed taught me so much.

They did something very special for Dad when he died, and they do this for all the vets that pass there. After I visited him after his passing, I had to go do paperwork at the front desk of the hospital. It took awhile. On the way to the desk, I passed the special gurney rolling down the hall, and I knew what it was and where it was going. It wasn't an ordinary gurney.

As I was at the desk, I heard my oldest sister proclaim, "Well, I don't need to see that" in disgust and horror. I turned and watched. What for her was awful, was one of the proudest moments in my life.

There was that special gurney, and Dad's nurse was pushing it. I knew it was my deceased father. What made the moment proud, though, was he was covered in the American flag. If death can be beautiful, that was. I was proud of him, for his service to our country decades before. I was proud of my government for taking such good care of him. They gave him a death of dignity.

It was beautiful.

My other sister was gracious enough to give me that flag. I cherish it.

I felt honored to have a soldier in my home (even though having him here three days was a bit unsettling!) It did remind me, though, that he wasn't the first soldier to be in my home. Dad visited here, as did Bob's dad, who was an MP during WWII.

Thank you, to all the men and women, who are serving and have served for our country.

I'm Tired

Really, really tired.

Birthday was a success. I'll post more about it when I'm not so tired.

I've had workers in my house since Wednesday. We left South Dakota very early Wednesday morning, and I drove back while Bob, Thomas and the pups slept. The whole time I drove, I focused on two things: Chevy Chase, and that scene in Vacation where his whole family is asleep in the car and the camera pans to him and he is as well. I was that tired, and that scene kept me lauging (in one of those you-really-need-help kind of ways). The other thing I focused on was that I was going to take a nap the minute we got home. I said it out loud, over and over.

It's okay to talk to one's self when no one else is listening, right?

It didn't work out that way. We got home, unloaded the car, had a quick phone call, and Bob took off for work. I was about to have Thomas read a book, when the phone rang. The furnace people wanted to come right away to start the furnace.

UGH

And so they did. I did not get my nap. I have been dragging ever since. I don't like when people are in my home--the house is small and there's no where to go. It's just unsettling to me. I'm weird that way. So having them here made the week a little more stressful.

I don't like being up and showered and dressed by 8. Neither does Thomas. We like our s~l~o~w mornings. I like to putz in the morning.

The new furnace is installed, the air conditioner, too. We're just waiting for the city inspector to come back and inspect. And then I will have my house back. Then I can take a nap.

zzzzzzzzzz

Sunday, October 05, 2008

a little annoyed

I'm a little annoyed at Bob. Kinda sorta.

Thomas's birthday is Tuesday. We have everything planned and have managed, so far, to keep the secret. Bob and I sat down and discussed what we would give Thomas for his present. He wanted one Webkinz and a Sims pack. We felt -- rather, I felt that, plus the motel, was a super birthday.

Today Bob ran to Wal-mart. He came in and told me that he picked up a new bike for Thomas. He got it 50% off and couldn't resist. Plus, he used town money. He has this program where he works that gives them town money for safety points on the job. No one gets hurt, they get certificates to certain stores in our town. Bob saves them up and buys something big every now and again. So he used his town money for Thomas's bike.

Most of me is very proud that Bob did that. I asked him why he did, and he said, "Because I love my son." It makes me happy that he loves his son so much. BUT

but but but, there's always a big but in there...

To me, this crosses the line of spoiling a child. This is an expensive birthday. What will my child expect next year? How about when he's 16, will he expect us to buy him a car? Gulp, that's only three years away.

Bob gave him the bike today because all the neighborhood kids were out playing. They were riding bikes, so Bob knew that he would enjoy it this afternoon. And he did.

Thomas is thrilled beyond belief.

I just smiled and didn't let on I was annoyed. I saved that for the blog.

I won't say anything, ever. Bob rarely reads the blog anyway.

I'm just annoyed that we made a decision, jointly, as parents, and Bob deviated.

But, it is a cool bike.

sigh I'm usually the one to spoil. Go figure.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Drip, Drip, Drip

Today's excitement. Bob was relieved to find it's only a U-joint and easily fixed. He hates plumbing.

What a good excuse to clean out and reorganize under there. My pretty contact paper that I had there just lifted right off, so I'll have to find some new. I've got a fan running to dry it out.

If we have time, I am going to have Thomas Google how to repair a U-joint and make this into a school project. Bob will have him help with the project.





Our Dirty Little Secret

I have a secret, and I'm not telling -- Thomas.

Next week my BABY has a birthday and he will be a

TEENAGER!!!

How did that happen so darned fast? How can he be so old? It's making me feel old!!!

Bob and I had some alone time yesterday while Thomas was at art class. Earlier in the week, Thomas and I brainstormed what to do on his his birthday. How could we not, because he was/is obsessed! We used the white board and put all his ideas into categories. Hmm, perhaps I should have him do a writing assignment today based on this.

Anyway, Bob and I were toying with getting a motel room and having fun swimming. Then I remembered that there is a town a couple hours from here that has a motel with an indoor waterpark. Bob looked it up online and said, "Let's do it."

I had to convince Bob that we needed TWO nights there, because a couple hours getting there, going after work, leaving early the next morning just wasn't as much fun as spending an entire day poolside. He reluctantly agreed. He only has so much vacation left, but since this is a big birthday, he decided to go for it.

Reservations were made. I'm making a to-do list today. The only thing troubling me is how to get a birthday cake in the van, with two dogs -- Bob suggested we take Thomas to a store and let him pick out a cake. (Not as much fun for mom.)

We're not telling Thomas what we're up to. It's a big secret. I'm going to secretly pack, then take Thomas somewhere so Bob can load the van the day before we leave. The day we leave, Bob will take Thomas somewhere so I can put last-minute things in the car. Then we're going to tell him we're going out to dinner.

Ha, ha, ha, will he be surprised when we get on the interstate. We've decided to not say a word and keep him guessing until we get to the motel. Won't he be surprised when he sees a 130-foot water slide and indoor water park!

This is going to be fun!

The only bad part is we'll have to leave really early to get Bob to work on time. And then we'll have to start school when we get back to the house. I know I'll be needing a nap that day! Oh well, it will be worth it!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Cleaning

Saturday I made a date with Thomas. It was a cleaning date. We set aside the entire day, aside from some school assignments I had him do to catch up for Thursday. Bob had to go to work, so it was just the two of us.

We kicked it. The two of us scrubbed, dusted, vacuumed, changed sheets, pulled curtains off the rods to be washed, got on hands and knees and washed floors. We were both exhausted at the end of the day.

We only got the upstairs done. BUT, we also got our school room completely organized and picked up. We can actually do school in there now, if we so choose.


Bob put my new office chair together last night and put it in the school room, so I guess we may have to use the room a bit more.

I culled about 100 books off our shelf, boxed them up in Surf laundry boxes (I have a thing for saving those, don't ask) and stacked them in the closet. I need to start selling, I just don't have the energy right now.

Whew. This feels SO GOOD to be back to normal again.

Now today I'm faced with 10 more loads of laundry, a basement to clean, and I have zero energy. I woke up this morning due to cramps. Bad cramps. The kind I usually get the first and second day, not the fourth day. Grrrr.

Next week I'm expecting the furnace guy to call and come install our new furnace and AC. That will take two days and into the third, as he put it. It would be really nice of me to get rid of the cobwebs before he arrives. And not have baskets of dirty clothes taking up space.

I need an energy pill. I think I'll settle for a nap, and enlist Bob's help on getting the basement done. It won't take long with three of us.

One thing on Thomas's to-do list today is to fill the bird feeder. If we're going to be in the school room, we might as well be watching the birds again.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Socialization

In case you don't follow Heather's blog, My Supernatural World, pop on over and read her post on The S Word.

Excellent, Heather!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Apollo

My pup is 1 today. He was neutered Wednesday, and this is how he spent his day:



Poor thing. He's on "bed rest." It's difficult to keep a border collie on bed rest. It's even more difficult to keep TWO on bed rest.

Both are recovering well, but not too happy about their collars or their more-than-usual time spent in their crates. Makes me sad, too, but I'd rather they heal than get infected. Plus, it's vet's orders.

We didn't get Apollo until November when he was 9 weeks old. I'm sure we'll celebrate adoption day, too. Today's birthday treat was a nice, juicy bone for each boy.

Daily Math Review

I cannot remember how I found this site, but I really wanted to share it here.

Awhile ago, I posted that I wanted something for math practice, and I chose Calculadders. We don't do them on a daily basis, but the upper levels are a nice refresher/practice.

Somehow, I found this site: Daily Math Review. For 6th, 7th, and 8th grade, you can download the files and have a lovely math warm-up or as they call it daily math review. There are seven problems per day, and the cover grade-appropriate skills.

Best of all, it's free.

You can print out the worksheets and answer book.

Worth a look and a save if you have youngers and like daily review type stuff!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Panic Attack

This morning we had to drive an hour and 15 minutes to get Apollo and Tesla. I had to stop to buy dog food and a new office chair for my aching body. We were hurrying, and left the house. I had not eaten breakfast, but did have two cups of coffee. Typically my coffee is half caf. I make it that because I don't want a full caffeine hit.

Right as we get into the car, I feel woozy. I figure it was because I hadn't eaten. We had to drive to Bob's work because he took our van by mistake, and I had to swap cars. By the time we made it a mile and a half, I told Thomas I felt funny.

We drove through McDonald's. I got an Egg McMuffin so I could get the protein--greasy, high-fat, but protein nonetheless. I also got a Diet Coke.

So as I'm driving, I just felt uneasy. Five miles down the road, I started envisioning my Dad. Yes, the scene at his kitchen table. The scene where we were sitting, I looked up, and his head was bobbing, he was unconscious, and in the throes of a heart attack. That scene played over and over and over in my mind. I couldn't get it to stop.

Driving down the road further, I had to roll the window down. I needed fresh air. It was raining. I still had to have that fresh air hit my face. About 15 miles after I started, I pulled in to a gas station. I took 1/2 of a Xanax and called my husband.

When Bob answered the phone, I started bawling. I hadn't recognized it until the very moment that I spoke with the love of my life. It's amazing to me that I didn't recognize what it was: I just had the fear I was going to pass out like my Dad did.

Bob told me to walk around, get some oxygen in my system, and let the Xanax kick in. I did. I went in, used the restroom, and noticed I was shaking violently. I bought a pack of gum, because I always feel compelled to buy something when I use a restroom.

Thomas and I walked around outside for about 15 minutes. The Xanax started to kick in. My shaking subsided.

The symptoms were: woozy feeling, impending doom--I was just sure something was going to happen, and the shaking.

I finally felt safe to drive. (BTW, my doctor informs me the only concern with driving after taking a Xanax is falling asleep. It's not a case of driving under the influence. If I take a whole Xanax, I do fall asleep. That's why I cut several up and have half pills in my bottle.)

We made it to the big city, bought the dog food, got an office chair, which thankfully the nice cute young man (I'm officially old now, those twenty-somethings are young!) put it in the car for me.

We then drove 20 miles further to get Apollo and Tesla. Apollo had a raging ear infection! Poor thing, I had no clue. So we have medication for that. Both dogs came through their surgery just fine. Both dogs were fitted with Elizabethan collars because they were licking like crazy. Both dogs look absolutely miserable and pathetic in those collars!

Thomas sat in the back with the boys on the way home. The dogs went straight into their crates and slept. They were pretty tuckered out.

Thomas had a birthday party to attend, so by the time we had the dogs taken care of, and I had talked to my sister about Dad's estate, it was time to get back in the car and drop him off. By this time I was almost shaking again -- not from a panic attack, but from a physical draining in my body that made it feel as if I could barely walk.

I called Bob and asked if he would pick Thomas up at 5, so I could lie down. Bob said he was working until 5:30. I did something I normally don't do. Normally I am fully supportive of Bob and his work, because it is of utmost importance. This time I just started bawling when he told me he couldn't. I don't know where it came from.

I was an absolute wreck today.

Bob called back 15 minutes later and told me he'd go get Thomas and just go into work early tomorrow morning. With that great news, I wiped my tears and put on my jammies. Then I discovered that Aunt Flo had come to visit.

Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding. That big panic attack I had in Denver, where I ended up in the hospital overnight, had a couple similarities to today. One was lack of eating. I've read low blood sugar can bring a panic attack on. More importantly, I have learned that I am prone to panic attacks at the onset of my menstrual cycle.

I was really shocked by it, because I've been feeling a lot better. The recent contract on Dad's house had me a little emotional, but overall I've just been more myself lately. This panic attack this morning came from left field.

So, tomorrow I'll make an appointment with my doctor. It will be a good six weeks before I will be able to get in. I am going to keep a daily diary of my mood, physical symptoms, sleep cycles and period-related issues so I am fully prepared.

I hope that we can find some kind of relief. This was scary to me. I'm sure it scared Thomas a bit, but I tried not to let on other than I felt woozy.

We ended up not getting any school done today. However, Thomas has agreed to have a make-up day on Saturday, bless his heart. He did do biology with his Dad tonight, while I slept.

What a sucky day.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Ah, Nuts

My precious boys are getting neutered today. Apollo will be 1 year old on the 26th -- what a birthday present! Tesla is 11 months. Our contract with the breeder stated we had to wait until they were a year old before neutering. There's evidence it's healthier to wait. I emailed her and asked if it would be okay to get the boys done at the same time, because recovery would be easier if they were both recovering at the same time. She agreed.

Bob and Thomas got up at 5:30, left the house at 6:30 and had he boys to the vet by 7:45. The vets here, there are two, are worth the drive.

We pick them up tomorrow. I imagine I'll be calling a couple times this afternoon to see how they're doing.

It sure is quiet without our border collies here!

Thomas is taking a nap until 10:30 and then we'll get busy with school.