Saturday, March 29, 2008

Stupid AR

When the kids decided to go to school and leave homeschooling in the dust (yes, I really did let them make this decision) I knew that I would have more problems adjusting than they did. I have a lot of difficulty with the way schools ruin nearly everything for kids. The establishment of governed education sucks the being right out of the students, my kids included. Because we live in a small town the choices for schools were nearly nil: the public school (over my dead, rotten, bird pecked body), the Zion school (where reportedly kids come out several grades behind) or the Catholic school (where we identify religiously, sort of). It was basically a no-brainer, the Catholic school or nothing.

For the past year and a half I have been half pleased and half frustrated by what my children have endured. The disappointment has not ever reached the point where I feel they need to be pulled from the school but sometimes my disgust has been difficult to hide. One program in particular is the Accelerated Reader by (Renaissance Learning). Before my kids were even enrolled in school I preached against this program after I saw the local public elementary school posting students total number of points along the hallway when you enter the school. It is a year-long contest to earn the most points by the end of the year at which point the winning child receives some type of prize (probably lunch from McDonald's) and the winning parent earns the right to put an ad in the local paper announcing their brilliant child as the high AR score for the year. It is enough to make me vomit, especially in a town where we don't keep score in soccer games but we keep score in reading.

Part of my leaning toward the Catholic school was the fact that no AR scores were posted anywhere and their reward system for passing AR's was raffle tickets that were then drawn for a monthly prize. There was no cumulation of points, no grand prize, no big-headed parents. Each child was required to read 5 AR books every 9 weeks and take the corresponding tests. I didn't love the system but I could live with it.

Well, low and behold, all half decent things must come to an end when the company decides to mix things up a bit and make the system even better, more accurate, less work for the teachers, lowered self-esteem for the kids, frustration for child and parent, and in the end probably more money for the company. In the old system, at least at the Catholic school, the kids could pretty much pick any book they wanted to read (as long as it wasn't too low of a level) and take a test. In the new system their reading level has been averaged based on previous levels of books read and a range has been established, you may only read books in your range and a certain number of points must be attained in 9 weeks to "pass" your AR goal. If you choose to read a book outside of your level (a.k.a. challenge yourself) you may not take an AR test on that particular book. In other words you may read that book "for fun" but that type of pleasure will not be encouraged. If it is found that you are passing your tests at 90% or higher and you are reading books at the top end of your level your level will be adjusted. This means that easier books you may also "enjoy" will not counted toward AR tests.

I want my children to love reading. I don't want AR to drain them of this desire or cause anxiety about earning enough points in the required amount of time. Thankfully, parent/teacher conferences were scheduled at the time these changes were being implemented (Coincidence? I think not). I did not hide my loathing of this program and the teacher (bless her) partially agrees me but as an employee she is required to include AR in her curriculum.

All I can do for now is assure my children that I don't care if they read the required books and let them know that I am willing to talk to their teachers and have them excused from AR altogether. Once again, it is their choice. Stupid AR.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Num, hair?

Updated 4/10:

Where did my hair go?

Ollie managed to unwrap and chew an entire pack of gum on Easter Monday that belonged to Gibby. He likes to chew "num" but apparently that wasn't enough the other day because by the time he came to me asking for a rag to wipe it off he had wrapped the gum around his head and smeared it on various portions of his shirt. I explained that the rag wasn't going to help, removed his shirt and told him tomorrow we would have to go visit Roy Bob's Barber Shop, which is really Bob Roy's Barber Shop but I'll save that for another day, to get it cut off. He thought that was a grand idea and with his newfound voice (why I worry about speech in these kids amazes me, now I wish he would shut-up and stop telling my secrets) went around telling all who would listen, "Num. Hair. Cut. Bob."

The next day we went off to Bob's to get his haircut but not by Bob. I don't usually let Bob cut my kids' hair, he has gotten a little shaky as he nears retirement and I prefer shaky handed people with scissors to stay clear from my family. Instead we tortured his son Jeff and together as a team we successfully scalped the screaming boy. He still proudly says, "Num. Hair. Cut. Bob." Like it was all some fun game.

Predictably, Diezel's first comment when he saw Ollie sitting at the kitchen table with his new haircut was "Who is that scary kid and why is he wearing my shirt?" (Because he was! He was wearing an old shirt of Diezel's and looked like a mini-him.) Karma, my boy, karma. This was not my first emergency haircut rodeo.

**I know, a photo of the scalped boy would be good but like every other electronic thing in our house you must know precisely how to jiggle the cord to get it to work, or in this case transfer, and Vinnie has perfected this intimate relationship with our camera, not me. Maybe later today if he isn't too busy polishing another step for me.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One Step At a Time

On April 1st Vinnie and I will "celebrate" the fact that we have now been in remodeling hell for five years. We had two kids when we started and the tally is now four. The two bedrooms we added to the one bedroom house are now to capacity and we are in desperate need of a second bathroom. (Rumor has it that the original owners raised 8 kids here with one real bedroom and one bathroom so who am I to complain?) However, Vinnie being Vinnie, does not prioritize in the same fashion that I do. He was just fine using Toilet ala Mother Nature for the six weeks we were without a bathroom. It is partly my fault, I should have guessed that our house would never be completely finished when I would go to family parties before we married and the women in family would be comparing who has been in remodeling hell the longest. From what I learned the usual stages of life in this family tend to go as follows: baby, marriage, remodeling starts, remodeling put on hold for farming, remodeling continues, remodeling put on hold to restore classic car, remodeling continues, divorce. We are just before remodeling put on hold to restore classic car while farming, so I figure I don't have to bide my time here too much longer.

Surprisingly, Vinnie did accomplish a few items on the to do list this weekend because my mother and step dad were coming for Easter dinner along with my brother and his family. Vinnie is never out to impress me but doesn't want my family to think he has not been putting in diligent time on our house (I don't know who he thinks he is fooling). So, with dinner on Sunday and plenty of things I needed to prepare for our feast, out comes the hammer on Friday night. This has become a typical pattern, want something done-plan a gathering. We cemented the barn that our wedding reception was to be held in two days before the wedding and the bathroom in the barn was hooked up the morning of the wedding. This wasn't stressful at all for a woman 4 weeks postpartum and breastfeeding (Remember: baby before marriage, always).

Well, Friday night was no exception as Vinnie the Builder decides to replace the bottom step in our staircase. Long overdue I must add. The new step has not been made and he isn't quite sure how he is going to get it to all work out but the best way to start is to pull off the old step and start. Off comes the step and we spend the next 2 hours sifting through 100 years of food storage for local squirrels and mice. It is obvious by the several skulls we found that the mice did not pack away enough food. Along with the rodent storage are 5 years of small toys that have falling in the "crack". It was dusty and nasty but that didn't keep 4 kids from claiming "Oh, I remember that!" or "That is mine!" It was a wonderful way to spend time as a family. In fact I highly recommend skipping those lame trips to kid friendly places and just pulling up an old step in your house to discover the treasure within.

Sifting for treasure

Ta da! Isn't it beautiful? He does do nice work, just not in a timely fashion.

If he does one step at a time we just might have them all done by the time this guy graduates from high school.

Friday, March 21, 2008

MeMe: Passion Quilt

I was tagged by the lovely Abby and even though the taxes are not done I will comply before I forget and she ends our friendship.

So, I was supposed to:

*Think about what you are passionate about teaching your students. (In this case my kids)
*Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
*Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
*Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce ( I don't have 5 folks that read my blog so it would be difficult to tag anyone.)

Love even the things that should go to the scrapyard.
(Don't be silly, I mean the truck, not the boys because of course I love them!)

Cake IS a food group.

Wear what is comfortable!

Learn how to feed yourself.

Believe in fairies.

If you come to a fork in the road, take it!

Happiness is a choice.

Currently reading :
By Ann Patchett
Release date: 25 September, 2007

I Am Woman

See me run.

I finally did it. I put "my girl" (in orange) on the back of the van. I purchased her back in October of 2007 but after my disasterous marathon and lupus diagnosis she has been patiently sitting in the pocket of my checkbook. The other day as I whipped out a quick payment to the mortgage company I decided that she has been waiting long enough. I quickly evaluated on which side of the rear window I wanted her and armed with paper towel and Windex I had her affixed in less than 30 seconds.

This means I am back.

I may not be as fast nor able to go as far as easily as I once did but hell if I am going to let Lucking Fupus get in my way.

I am woman with lupus and there are no excuses.

This runner girl is back and lupus can eat my dust.
Currently reading :
The Almost Moon: A Novel
By Alice Sebold
Release date: 16 October, 2007

My Beanies are Here, My Beanies are Here!

There is nothing better than placing a newly made floral beanie on my head and drinking a long overdue glass of wine. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

Too bad there are four kids in background (behaving for the moment but don't hold your breath) and a husband due home at some point. I think I should be allowed to be alone with my beanies for just one night. That way I can appreciate them like no one else can. We can play "Switch the Beanie", "Hide and Seek With Beanies", "See How Buchta Looks in Beanies" and other such fun. Instead I will have to resort to another glass wine and playing "Pick a Beanie or Vinnie Will Kill Me For Ordering Four More" (4 more! Isn't that great!) My head is in heaven with or without the wine and too bad for Lent or I could have some chocolate with my wine and beanies (that would be the perfect night).

Oh the places my beanies and I will go and what fun we will have!
Currently reading :
Bagels and Grits: A Jew on the Bayou
By Jennifer Moses
Release date: 20 July, 2007


I never was into popularity contests, in fact I didn't own a pair of jeans until the forth grade when I had this sudden discovery that worn out cords and sweatpants were not the "in thing". I've had lots of discoveries like that over the years, the most profound was when my oldest son was almost two and the infant mental health specialist that was working with him brought up the possibility of him having sensory processing disorder. What? I looked it up and was astounded to find out that I had SPD. I couldn't believe that all the years I have spent uncomfortable, questioning, and sometimes in misery actually had a name. You mean to tell me that not everyone HATES their clothes? I spent many years in awe of these people I would see wearing the most uncomfortable looking items of clothing and wondering how they held it together, how were they not squirming and trying to rearrange each seam. It wasn't that they were tolerant, their senses just didn't work as well as mine. It was an amazing breakthrough for me, but also one that made me realize my life has been formed by my aversions and confusion about trying to fit in when nothing quite "fit".

Currently reading :
Remember Me?
By Sophie Kinsella
Release date: 26 February, 2008

Why I Dream of Greener Pastures

Kid: "Mom?"

Kid: "Mommy?"

Kid: "Mom!"

Me: Yes?

Kid: "Blah, blah, NEED, blah, blah"

Me: Coming right up dear.

Kid: "Mama?"

Me: Yes?

Kid: "Blah, blah, blah, WANT, blah, blah"

Me: As soon as I get a chance. It'll be just a minute.

Kid: "Blah, blah, blah, HURRY!"

Me: I'm coming!

***Repeat 100 times


Husband: "Blah, blah, blah, dinner?"

Me: It'll be ready in 15 minutes.

Husband: "Newspaper?"

Me: Right here in front of your fucking face.

Then dinner is served:

Kid: "Blah, blah, blah, yuck."

Me: You just need to try one bite and then eat the other 3 things I put on your plate that I know you like.

Kid: "Do I have to?"

Me: Yes.

***Repeat 10 times

Husband: "Slurp, chew, crunch, swallow"

***Repeat 20 times

Me: (Finally sitting down)

Kid: "Blah, blah, NEED, blah."

Me: (getting up to get NEED)

Kid: "Blah, blah, WANT, blah"

Me: (getting up AGAIN for WANT)

Kid: "Blah, blah, MORE please, blah"

***Repeat 3 times

Me: This is the last time I'm getting up, does ANYBODY else NEED/WANT anything!?


Me: It is time for pajamas and teeth/bathroom.

Kid: "Blah, blah, blah, HAVE TO?"

Me: Yes.

Kid: "Blah, blah, blah, TEETH TOO?"

Me: Unless you want them to rot out of your head like Ollie. And don't forget to go to the bathroom!

Kid: "But I peed this morning."

***Repeat 4 times

And this is why I dream of greener pastures...

The Elvis

Oh, I'm not particulary fond of Elvis the Singer and there have been no sightings that I know of in "Little Closed Minded Town on the River", but this week I found out that I am fond of Elvis the Sandwich.

I came across what I thought would be an interesting documentary and pleaded with our extraordinary librarian to find it for me. Well, I didn't really have to plead, she would never make me do that (There are some advantages to being a member of the C Library Board). Unfortunately it was yet another obscure request that had to come from many states away, Missouri to be exact. But she came through for me like she always does!

Now, who else but PBS could take such a simple yet broad topic, call it Sandwiches You Will Like and have a hit on their hands? I would never have thought that a documentary about sandwiches could keep me captivated for over an hour and a half. Yeah, it made me hungry, and we had to take a break (I orginally mispelled it bread and not on purpose, ha!) midway so I could make the kids peanut butter and banana sandwiches (something they would never have tried before this movie). You must eat before watching or you will be wiping up a pile of drool as you watch, seriously, it is that good.

I don't want to spoil the content but imagine this: two pieces of bread with peanut butter spread on them, sliced banana on top of one side of peanut butter, four pieces of cooked bacon on the banana, then drizzle honey on the bacon, close the lid and the best part, GRILL IT! I haven't made it yet but once I get my hands on some bacon and it isn't Friday you know what I'll be cooking: The Elvis.

Currently reading :
The Almost Moon: A Novel
By Alice Sebold
Release date: 16 October, 2007

Spring Is In the Air

I don't need a ground hog to tell me when the sun is going to start to shine and the rain is going to start to fall. He seems to be wrong most times anyway (must be that y chromosome thing), 6 weeks, month and a half, neither one is ever right. Nope, all I gotta do is wait for my socks to give the first sign that spring is on the way.

I have sock issues, it is no secret, I detest them and have a very difficult wearing them. Most people probably don't notice but a pair of socks is really not a pair, but a set of rights with no left. They make two socks on the same machine with the seam in the same place no matter what foot you are wearing them on and if you are like me this can devastate the start of your day. Sometimes I put my socks on and actually have to take them both off and switch the feet that they are on.

So, every year around the beginning of sock wearing season (otherwise known as winter or sometimes late fall) I do some serious sock shopping. I have tried socks from cheap sources as well as higher end ones and do find that money talks when it comes to socks. I get a pair or two from different sources and then take them home and try to wear them, if I find a magic fit I go back to get more in that same style just a different color. This is usually a 2-3 week process so by the time I have my socks for winter I am really in need of them.

Most of this year's socks fit the bill, some of them pooped out on me after I washed them a few times (the material became too tight and the poof went away), but for the most part I was saved from wearing white running socks with my dark brown pants. I even had a pair that would match my orangish type clothing. It was a good sock winter and as I sit here typing with the wind howling and negative wind chills on the way tonight I am certain spring is in the air because the first of my coveted socks sprang a hole along the entire bottom of it yesterday. If my socks are on the way out then spring must be on the way in!

Putting Lupus to Bed

I have been ever so careful in the birth control department since child 4 was born, not that I don't love all my shorties, but 4 is enough! Unfortunately and unbeknownst to me my other personality has been busy signing adoption papers and I am now the proud parent of baby Lupus. Except I'm not all that proud. Honestly he is so unwanted that I refuse to send cute custom birth announcements to announce his arrival.
Furthermore, parenting Lupus has been very different for me. I have never been the type to plop my kids in a swing or bouncy seat and let them sleep until they have a deformed head, but this is what I have been trying to do with Lupus. And of course Lupus wants nothing to do with those baby gadgets. He wakes up at the most inconvenient times and tries to demand all my attention. I thought my other kids put a damper on my running but nothing compared to Lupus. He actually tries to stop me from running. He pulls out my hair and is the heaviest baby I've ever had to grocery shop with, my shoulders and back are sore for days afterward. He has even sucked the joy out of eating and I consider that to be criminal. I'm trying to learn to love him or at least accept that he is now a part of our family but it is difficult to love someone so mean-spirited.
Did I mention he comes with a no return policy? No matter how much he doesn't fit into our family dynamic I can't give him back. I can manage him, but I can't control him or his outbursts. No one has answered the ads I put in the newspaper for a babysitter. Early-on won't accept him because he doesn't fit in their criteria for services and my husband will divorce me if I don't take him everywhere I go.
Ironically and compared to my other children I don't want him to grow up. He is big enough and smart enough now. My plan is to try to drug him as effectively as I can and put him to bed. I won't even feel guilty for not co-sleeping with this one. In fact I put his crib (thank goodness someone is finally going to use the thing) in the attic so I won't hear him cry when he wakes up. Call me what you will: neglectful mother, bad mother, mean mother, unloving mother. I gotta do what I gotta do.

Sweet dreams Lupus.
Currently reading :
Ghost Boy
By Iain Lawrence
Release date: 12 March, 2002

3 Things I learned This Week

1. Don't eat prunes and then drink coffee, unless of course you are looking for a specific effect, I was not. (And yes, I like prunes, my grandma had me eating them when I was about five with my Apple Jack's when I would spend the night with her.)

2. If you wear a "real" jacket in the cold, winter isn't all that bad. (Thanks REI clearance!)

3. Don't believe your son when he claims he threw his socks in the toilet because he thought they were toilet paper. At first I thought I could understand how this could happen, unfortunately for him the socks were bright green and blue.

Currently reading :
Hit and Run
By Lurlene Mcdaniel
Release date: 12 June, 2007

8 Random Things #7

I'm not a political girl. Never have been and probably never will be. Oh sure, I am passionate about "issues" but I don't argue them publically nor do I restrict my voting to a single party because of the way they tend to swing. I do exercise my right to vote because that would be plain wrong to ignore that obligation, but to get all heated and actually listen to the debates and poll ratings is not my thing.

This notion about myself became painfully obvious today when my husband, as right wing as they get, started to speak (I don't say discuss because it was totally one-sided) about his alliances and the candidates in the 2008 election. I tried to listen with one ear and go about my business with the other ear but I feel like such a fake when I do that so I turned to give him my full attention and got a headful of political jargon combined with strategy for his party to get things done. Somewhere in the middle he thought it might be a smart move to vote for Barack Obama so that the Democrats would be forced to follow-through on decisions that the Republicans would approve of based on circumstances. I think Barack would make a fine President to look at (I know, not a REASON to vote for someone, but still...) so I was up with that. Then he kept on speaking and his support for Barack changed into his thinking that if the prophecies are to be fullfilled it is possible that Barack is the antichrist and two generations from now our grandchildren will be saying "What were they thinking?!" The whole thing bores me to death.

I think I need to consider moving out until the election is over. Either that or get an iPod and secretly keep it on all the time.
Currently reading :
Digging to America
By Anne Tyler
Release date: 02 May, 2006

Gear Me

The best thing I did for myself in 07' (or rather one of the best things, I can think of a few more) was to purchase some cross country skis. I have never been very fond of the snow or the apparel that must be negotiated to handle extreme temperatures so I figured if I had a fun reason to get out there I would do it. Oh, don't get me wrong, I'm still lacing up my running shoes every morning no matter what says, I just do that in a fog and by the time I realize I'm freezing my eyelashes together I am home again.

So, back to the skis. Once upon a time, long, long ago I used to ski with my parents, but then they had a bitter divorce and my skis and poles were held captive and then sold in a garage sale without my consent. I guess I should be thankful for this because the new shoes and bindings are splendid to work with, easy on/easy off. I even have a ski partner which is a nice change for me because I do all of my running solo. I thought buying the ski package (poles, skis, boots) would suffice and I would convert my resting running clothing into ski clothing. I should have known this was not to be when the ski salesman convinced me to buy a $15 pair of cross country ski socks. They are the dorkiest pair of socks ever, knee socks! Black knee socks! But they wick, they are warm, I love them and am ever so happy that I am required to wear long pants to hide them.

Anyone can handle one pair of ugly $15 socks and get on with life. Well, the first time my partner and I went skiing we didn't get to the desired trail until after what the county park system deemed to be dusk and were locked out of the parking area. No problem for two educated women not scared of a possible tow and impound. We found our way in and off we went in the dark. How grateful I was that C "borrowed" the headlamp helmets she got her boys at the Hoover Dam that year.

Needless to say I hit the internet in search of some gear for this skiing thing. I have on the way a Petzl e+LITE headlamp, a pair of sunglasses that will not fog unlike my Target diamond studded specials, a ski jacket that has vents on the side (Vents on the side!), another pair of those utimately cool socks because I like them for running now too. C already gifted me the dog bones to keep my skis together while traveling and the wax that my "no wax" skis certainly do need. All this wonderful stuff scheduled to arrive on 1/10/08, rain and temps in the 50's to arrive on 1/05/08. Bit in the ass again by Murphy's Law.

Currently reading :
Digging to America
By Anne Tyler
Release date: 02 May, 2006

Right Now

I've been a little down on the whole commercialization of Christmas for quite some time now but this year has brought my disgust to new heights. It started way back before Thanksgivings, gosh, before Halloween even. Cause now the retailers are shoving Christmas trimmings and gaily wrapped gift baskets down our merry seeking throats before the Halloween decorations are marked 50 percent off. I was actually shocked that major retailers did not try to open on Thanksgiving day, but give them a year or two more and we will toss the turkey aside for the best deals of the season and long lines.

Soon after I became accustomed to seeing Christmas splayed out in front of me at every turn I was ambushed while grocery shopping by a selection of gift cards so outrageous I was forced to stop to and look. Here I was at That Other Superstore and I could buy a gift card for practically any well-known retailer. I think gift cards are an impersonal, almost rude gift choice as it is, but to not even have to make the special effort of driving to the store you wish to buy a gift card at is ludicrous. Are we that lazy, too busy, or is the price of gas just too high? It is all about convenience for the customer and the all-mighty buck for the retailer. Back in 2006 it was determined that "More than 10 percent of the $58.3 billion in gift cards bought this year won't be used, according to Needham, Mass.-based consulting-firm TowerGroup." The retailers are winning at both ends and because of it they are pushing the gift card revolution harder than ever. The message isn't even subtle anymore, the commercials are telling us straight out that "You can't pick the right gift, don't even try." And I thought getting Lotto tickets back in the 1990's was tacky.

Then to top it off the worst gift giving faux pas was e-mailed to me yesterday from an online book store that told me I could send an instant gift certificate right now. RIGHT NOW. Um, really, what kind of message does that give to the recipient? Either, "Oops I totally forgot about you so here you go," or "Fuck, I was not planning to get you anything and you had to go and get me a gift, go buy your own RIGHT NOW."

No matter how you look at there is nothing right about any of it. Whatever happened to homemade scarves and dreams of Red Ryder BB Guns?

Missing Out

Yesterday I went to Uncle Frank's funeral where two of his six sons stood in front of the mourners and spoke of the love they had for their dad. Uncle Frank was a quiet man, one that if you didn't know him well you would dread being left alone with. He lived a simple, humble life on his farm with his wife, Aunt Betty, and seven children. Aunt Betty died last May and since that day all Uncle Frank wanted to do was join her. When his two sons spoke of his humility they also spoke of his love for his wife and of all the trials they suffered, together.

And that is what I will miss as an adult of divorced parents. I will never stand in front of anybody and eulogize my parents in the name of each other. The trials that they endured blew them apart and in turn took away my sense of belonging and family.

Aunt Betty and Uncle Frank lived a difficult life that was filled with great loss at almost every turn, yet they plodded along together, not always happy, but as a unit. She depended on him to financially support the family and he relied on her for, well, everything else. She was pregnant when they married and often joked that they lived in the chicken coop until he finished the house. Well, if you know anything about the genetic make-up of a Kuchar she likely would have died in that chicken coop if that were a true story. She would smile her quiet knowing smile when I would mention strife between my husband and I, and laugh out loud when I chided her for not warning me! She knew marriage wasn't ever easy. Even when times seemed good there was hail on the horizon just before wheat harvest.

This is not a pity party for a child of divorced parents. It is simply the realization that the stampede to get divorced in the 80's and 90's was done without consideration for the vast amount of ways everyone is affected. Not only is my dad's pension smaller than it should be, but at every holiday and major event I am forced to choose. I am required to publicly display my loyalty to one parent. And when one of my parents leaves this earth I will not stand at the front of the church and speak kind words of them enduring together. I won't even mention that those 20 years of their lives existed, that I was ever the product of their union. I will miss out on the rite of burying my parents side by side with a single headstone, bearing a single last name, their name together.


Did you know the reason myspace tells you not to hit the back button on your browser to edit your post before you commit it is because it will erase itself?

Well I had this really great post about coffee mugs and now it is gone forever because it just won't give me the same feeling in my heart if I retype it. (Sigh)

Currently reading :
A Spot of Bother
By Mark Haddon
Release date: 2006

Shoes and Me

I got a little tingle tonight when I checked my e-mail and saw that Payless was having an introduction of their vintage shoe line for the holidays. The reason for the tremor of excitement was because I thought they might have footwear that would accomadate my shoe wearing "issues". The last pair of shoes I bought besides my faithful running shoes was 2 years ago, this will be my third winter in them. One good thing about this is that it helps reduce the cost per year of housing my feet in harsh conditions. But this year, this year, I am fashion conscious (stop your laughing, you know who you are) and want to wear my really cool black monkey skirt in the cold but my only black shoes, purchased 6 years ago, are not suitable for my two least favorite words: Michigan and winter.

So, I read this e-mail and had visions of sugar plums in my head, or rather illusions of hip black Earth-type shoes at a fraction of the cost. I pictured myself in my well-fitting black skirt on Christmas Eve sans wet and cold feet. Then I clicked on the link, shook my head and returned to my inbox to delete the message. Juxtaposed, my "vintage" and their "vintage" are a little like a harlot-Laura Ingalls having coffee with a 70's hippie.
Currently reading :
An Egg on Three Sticks
By Jackie Fischer
Release date: 01 May, 2004

8 Random Things #6

Today, the day we "fall back" every year, is my absolute favorite day of the year. In fact, I would petition to declare it a holiday if I could keep the retailers out of it. I can only imagine the catchy t-shirts Target would come up with to sell us at bargin prices while they are clearing out their Halloween stock and stuffing Christmas in our face. I think I'll check CafePress for their selection. The last time I needed a recipe using ricotta cheese Google offered CafePress on the sidebar and you should see the selection of t's they have for those who love ricotta.

Currently reading :
Songs Without Words
By Ann Packer
Release date: 04 September, 2007

Goodbye Virginia-Hello Kentucky

Hello Kentucky!

Unless you are using the Berkeley Lab Excercise Log to keep track of your physical efforts in an attempt to make a virtual path across the United States you probably will not appreciate my elation at getting the hell out of Virginia. After forcing my body to move 582 miles I have escaped the daily grind of the letters VA. I thought I would never get to Kentucky and now that I have succeeded I'm anxious to get out of Kentucky too.

I'm like that, complete a goal, move on to the next. I rarely bask in the sunshine of my accomplishments before thinking I ought to do more or something different, taking a bonified break does not usually exist in my world. Lately though I've been a little stuck because I didn't complete a goal and that has never happened to me before (Not that I can remember anyway, I've been trained to succeed and never let them see me sweat).

My marathon is still like a bad birth experience, I think about it, talk about it to some people, but to put it into words is still a little too much. On the drive home from Ohio I thought about titles for a post for my experience but none of them quite captured my disappointment, anguish, or acceptance of my not-quite-failure.

I got myself to the starting line after months of tedious training. I was carbo loaded (cheesecake loaded too), hydrated and made enough trips to the Port-o-Potty. I was ready. I had tears in my eyes as the helicopters flew over. I was in motion when the horn sounded. I gave Abby a thumbs up as we separated to find our own paces. I found my pace guy carrying a big stick with 3:40 written on it and balloons thumping against the designated time. Then I didn't finish the race.

Unfortunately, somewhere early my legs didn't care about the months of preparation for this event, they were done or nearly so. I fought the urge to sit down and walked a bit instead. I did follow the marathoners on their route instead of splitting with the 1/2er's, convinced I would work it through. When we rejoined the 1/2er's I knew I would soon be forced into a very major decision. Major for me that is, to have to debate quitting a race has never happened to me, even after injury I have continued on to the finish line. It must have been something about four kids and a husband at home. I looked at that two different ways: disappoint them by not finishing or disappoint them by trying to finish and possibly not making it home to them. I finished with the 1/2er's in a very respectable time, but tears of agony and frustration were in my eyes. I knew I had to drop out of the full marathon when I realized that the only reason I would be attempting to finish it would be for other people, some of whom I shouldn't even care about.

I quit for me.

And since that day I have kept in my mind the words an older woman I walked with during the race said to me: "It must not be your day." She just saw this race as another day checked off the calender, something her and her husband do every year. She knew in the big scheme of things that this one day, this one moment, this one race, would not determine a lifetime, it would determine today. It was about doing what I could on that particular day, under those circumstances and then going from that day and accepting my limitations.

I have changed my view to see it as my glass being half full. I started that day with an empty glass and filled it with 14 (horrible) miles, but I did start to fill it. Nobody who started that race had a cup full of miles that they were emptying at every mile marker, they were collecting miles as they ran. And I must admit part of the whole weekend, the whole plan, was to spend time with my friend preparing, running and then resting from our event. So really, if I think of all the fun we had, all the great food we ate and the two bizarre movies we watched, my glass really was full as I headed home. It wasn't just about the race, it was about living life.

I'll fill my cup again next year, with either the 1/2 marathon or the full marathon but you can bet I'll be back Columbus! (Then maybe you can include me in your race results and I'll get official photos because I won't be ruining your statistics by not finishing...)

Currently reading :
Eye Contact
By Cammie McGovern
Release date: 13 March, 2007

Is It Possible to Ruin Guacamole?

Is it possible to ruin guacamole?

Yeah, I know the average guacamole making individual can ruin the stuff, but it doesn't it seem right that store-bought guacamole could be hideous, both in taste and visual appeal.

Back way too many months ago my favorite Mega-Buy Everything Here-Store started to remodel. At first it was tolerable, things were still where I expected them to be and they weren't handing out maps(!) at the door. By the time the Greeters appeared with maps it didn't matter anymore, everything was wrong, wrong, wrong. Weekly, I entered That Mega Store disguntled before I even began my shopping. The Greeter would try to disarm my attitude by giving me the crooked greeter smile and thrusting the damn map at me. I knew better! Sure, I could get a map, but I was aware that as I pushed my germ-laden cart through the disassembled aisles the items on the map were moving from one location to the next. I even helped move a few canisters of peanuts for the nut moving crew. But ha! The next time I was in the store the nuts had moved once again.

I finally had enough of the chaos and I'm sure my friends, family, and That Mega Store employees had enough of listening to my shopping woes every week.

Determined to show That Mega Store I didn't need their discombobulation in my life I decided to make a leap and shop at "Save Money. Buy Cheap Shit." Unfortunately for them I figured out their system in the produce department. They were not fooling me. Bananas, the staple of my life, were more expensive than That Mega Store, but because I was already there I was supposed to buy them anyway. They figured I would reason along the line of: "With all the money I would save throughout the store I was sure to be richer in the end". In fact, according to the advertising promotion put out by "Save Money. Buy Cheap Shit." if I shop there for a year I will save so much I will be able to go on vacation!

See, this is all Shopper's Psychology, I think it is now an actual major available at four-year universities. My purchases are tracked and banked with everyone else's, then the dirty work of looking for trends come into play and soon after the remodeling starts. Then the store raises the prices on the items people will NOT leave the store without because they have to have them, hence more expensive bananas and milk. Oh, "Save Money. Buy Cheap Shit.", had less expensive coffee IF you were purchasing the one that tastes like water after you let it percolate for half a day. I like my coffee robust-the kind that puts hair on my chest because my steroid injections don't seem to be doing the job. I need a big kick in the morning, it helps me get the shorties out the door in a timely manner.

My intent was to enter "Save Money. Buy Cheap Shit." with a positive outlook, with their new savvy motto how could I go wrong? I skipped on the over-priced bananas (they weren't even organic at that price!), loaded what should have been the whole cow in my cart (regular milk at that price?!) and went hunting for the guacamole. Surprise, surprise, they didn't have my regular brand. In fact, what I discovered in general as I perused the store was a mix of "normal" brands intersperesed with cheaper and yes, cheap, imitations. You could "Save Money" if you bought the "Cheap Shit" but who wants a Lofthouse Cookie that "really" isn't a Lofthouse Cookie for 11 less cents.

The guacamole cinched it. There would be no return to "Save Money. Buy Cheap Shit." for me! They had two brands of guacamole, one that only offered a non-spiced version and another that had a spiced and regular choice. And can you believe that I could get twice the amount of my regular brand for the same price? I was sucked in, I grabbed the spicy version, paid for my loot, got the hell out and went home to eat my guacamole.

I never knew you could add WATER to guacamole. It sure does make the avocado go a lot further. So much further, in fact, that you can sell me twice as much guacamole as the next guy. I'm glad I didn't "Save Money" by buying cheap coffee or I would have had water with my water and how swell would that have been? I guess it would be one way to hydrate for the marathon.

I crawled back to That Mega Store today where they over-charged me for the cat food.

Currently reading :
Peace Like a River
By Leif Enger
Release date: 20 August, 2002

Marathon Runners Are Not Stupid

I almost blogged on Sunday to tell the world it was a done deal, I was going full steam ahead with running the Columbus Marathon and short of a natural disaster or death I would be crawling across that finish line on October 21st. I'm glad I didn't because I don't like to tempt fate. Chad Schieber of Midland, Michigan died in his first marathon race in Chicago on Sunday. After hearing brief accounts on the news I Googled the story and got the details.

Unfortunately, I also came across plenty of on-line "discussion" regarding the stupidity of marathon runners and the rhetorical "Was it worth it?". No, marathon runners are not stupid. We are actually quite intelligent, planning our training months in advance, adjusting it as needed, carbo loading the three days prior to racing, and tapering so that we are begging to run 26.2 miles on race day. Most people do not register for a marathon on a whim. Sure, some people do is as a first-time "attempt" and may not train properly, but that doesn't kill a runner, it just makes him/her drop out of the race. This usually happens when you hit "the wall", when you feel as though you can't take another step and that the race is over for you. Hitting "the wall" feels like death is upon you and that if you stop running you will never get moving again. The only thing you can think about is stopping and crying. Yeah, crying. Marathons are very emotional events in which you experience a multitude of emotions with the intention of feeling elation and pride as you cross the finish line. Chad Schieber may have felt he was simply hitting "the wall" and was trying to run through it.

So, was it worth it to set a goal and work methodically towards it for months?

Was it worth planning your weekends around your long runs and passing up the cocktails so you could do the Sunday LSD with your water bottle and stopwatch sans dehydration and headache?

Was it worth the chaffing welts and torn mucles?

The blisters and damaged toenails?

The sheer volume of discarded running shoes missing their soles?

Was it worth finding your soul in the name of running?


Now I don't believe for a minute that if Chad Schieber knew he was going to die that he would have started that race. There is no denying the tradgey in this event, but bear in mind that he was living his life, he was reaching for the golden ring.

Consequently, people that know I'm planning to run Columbus in less than two weeks called with their concerns. One friend even offered to help Vinnie with the kids should I not return. The person that offered this did so because she knows I would rather crawl across the finish line than admit defeat. It is not that I am stupid and don't know my limitations (yeah, don't even waste your time commenting on this statement), it is that I have trained long, and hard, and relentlessly for this one day. Hopefully for less than four hours. It will cost ME financially $3.93 per mile to run this race (the entry fee divided by 26.2). Physically it will cost me a lot more. And yes, regardless of what happens it will be worth it. My kids have seen me tired, torn, exhausted, drenched in salt and sweat, all in the name of running. My passion, my friend, my foe. They know I have set a goal and to teach them about life is to strive for it, to talk the talk and walk the walk. To run the run, no matter what the outcome.
Currently reading :
Peace Like a River
By Leif Enger
Release date: 20 August, 2002

8 Random Things #5

When I was a kid I coudn't stand wearing jeans, something about the feel of them. I was pretty much adorned in worn out courdoroys passed down from my brother or sweatpants instead. Until the fourth grade that is. My friend, Michelle L., and I went roller skating (you know shoot the duck and couples skate) and I had on my comfy sweatpants. I don't remember which round it was on the skate floor but all of a sudden I realized that everyone else had jeans on and that I was uncool. No wonder I didn't have a partner for couples skate! I vividly remember this scene and probably always will. I'm sure when I'm gray with dementia that I will regress back to the time when I was a fashion nightmare.

Oh, please, don't get the impression that I am a fashion queen now. I'm not. But I have learned that jeans don't make the woman. They are good to clean the chicken coop or spread manure in the garden. Sometimes I persist and go shopping for jeans, find a pair that I think are cozy and actually pay money for them. They inevitably end up at the bottom of my pile of pants. I will even go so far as to put them on some days for about five minutes and then change into real pants. I go through this with bras too, but that is for another post, or probably I can leave that to the imagination...
Currently reading :
The Nature of Jade
By Deb Caletti
Release date: 27 February, 2007

8 Random Things #4

People that know me are aware that I like my life to be played in an arena that has order to it, chaos and I don't mix well. I am attempting to get a handle on my OCD but I just can't seem to let go of my fixation on the eggs in their carton. You would think it wouldn't matter where the eggs sit in the egg carton, they certainly don't mind, but I have a little problem if they are not placed in the carton properly. Properly Placed Eggs (PPEs) are arranged from the middle of the carton outward, there must be an even number on each side of the middle and if there is only one per side they must be placed opposite of each other on the diagonal. PPEs must be symmetrical! Don't tell Vinnie, but when I know he has used eggs to cook/bake (yes, it does happen and yours truly get to clean the mess) I will actually go in the refrigerator and make sure we have PPEs.

Currently reading :
Speak Softly, She Can Hear: A Novel
By Pam Lewis
Release date: 07 March, 2006

8 Random Things #3

When I was in college I decided that I would marry the first guy to bring me an eggplant. Really, seriously, this is true. I figured someone that brought me flowers did not know me very well or at all for that matter (they die, they dry up, they fall all over, you have to decide at what point to toss them-way too much for me), but an eggplant, well that says something about somebody. My sister knew this and once sent me a card that came with eggplant seeds in it, she figured she would be my back-up, but that would be illegal on two counts so I settled for the guy that brought me a pumpkin.

Seriously. This is for real. And really, I'm only one or two crackers short of a full box.

My Friend Marv

Since myspace is all about friends/networking I thought I should share my friend Marv because he can't have his own myspace account. I'm not sure of his age or sexual orientation but his occupation is trapping, disarming and consuming bugs. Yeah bugs, Marv is a spider. Every night he spins a web outside my kitchen sink window, catches his prey and then wraps things up very early in the morning. He actually either eats or just grabs his web quickly as the sky is getting lighter and disappers until dark. If I were a fancy writer I would provided a brillant description of the glowing sun exploding as it appears on the horizon just over yonder from the big red barn, but I'm not, so use your own imagination. Anyway, I've never seen such an orderly fellow (well, that's a lie, I can think of 3 men...) and if I weren't such an honest girl I might consider having an affair with him (if he would tidy my house that is). The spider, the affair with the spider! Not one of the 3 men (one is my dad and that would be unthinkable). He has all the qualities I would seek out in a mate: he is handsome (well, as handsome as a hairy grey spider can be, I'm sure the other spiders dig him), he starts and finishes a project, he is self-sufficient, he cleans up after himself, he disappears during the day, he has minimal debt (gosh, probably no debt, we aren't charging him to live under the siding by the window), he is physically fit, and as far as I can tell doesn't ask for much. That, is my friend Marv and I'm enthralled by him.

8 Random Things #2

here is no worse hell than balancing the checkbook when you are the wife of a farmer in the middle of a drought. If I never post again it is because I threw myself in front of the tractor so hubby could pay off the loans with the insurance money. It would be a noble way to die in these parts.

8 Random Things #1

The ring I wear on my right pinky finger was given to me by my sister when I graduated with my B.A. and has "Live your dreams" engraved on the inside.

Moving On Part II-The Loot

I'm aiming to live like the woman who built a house the size of a parking space (84 square feet!) and allows herself 300 items total at all times. Therefore if she brings something in, something else must leave. We have over 300 Little People alone but that doesn't mean I'm not always working my way in that direction. The only obstacle I face is that I don't have the support of the rest of my immediate family, especially my daughter. The last time I cleaned her room I came away with 3 garbage bags of "loot", none of which would have met her approval for disposal. She willingly flushes used toilet paper and tosses used Kleenex, besides that she has a level of personal attachment to items that I will never understand.
We have found her forging through the garbage can in search of items that I have deemed to be useless (tags from clothing, old art work, broken crayons, popped balloons, etc.). So now I must put the items in a bag and hide the bag until she is gone or asleep before I haul it to the outside garbage. Even then I sometimes blow my cover when a stupid talking toy starts expressing itself on the way to the road because I forgot to remove the batteries. Close your eyes and imagine Elmo chicken dancing his way to the dump-I can't tell you how many nights I have dreamed this very dream!
In my own little private way I have started to move on from the baby making business, a business that I have obviously been very adept at these past 8 years (I think I must have been brainwashed by some cult). I have come to the conclusion that it must end at some point and now is a good time to say good-bye to the sling, the breast pump, the bouncy seat and floor-gym-mat-thingy. All infant related items are making their way out the door, maybe slowly but surely. The blue patterned sling that held all 3 boys (child 1 was denied this opportunity as I was the clueless first time parent) for hours and hours, to the point where I harbored wretched feelings towards it, was at the top of the loot pile this past week. It wasn't singing on the way to the landfill like Elmo, but in a small way it was a coveted dream nonetheless.

About 8 Random Things

I have noticed on some of the blogs I read that the blog writers are being "tagged" to list 8 random things about themselves that I'm presuming others don't know (otherwise what is the point?). I have not been tagged but I find it intriguing that people attempt this task. When I try to think of 8 things that are personal enough that no one knows them, I wonder if I would want to share them, because they are, well, personal. Not weird-personal or dirty-personal, just mine to keep and have. A piece of me that no one has taken away, something for safe keeping. Then I wonder if the unveiling of our private selves is for our benefit or the gain of others. Do we want to share these things but have no other way to do it but in written form? Are we too scared to have a verbally intimate conversation with those that would "care" about our disclosures? Do others even really want to know what has been divulged?

After considering what 8 things I would list (I had difficulty coming up with 8) it occurred to me the people that really know me would either already be aware of these "quirks" or would not be dumfounded by them. For example, I eat a banana EVERY day in the morning after I brush my teeth. Really? Is that why 90% of the time someone catches me going to the supermarket I am on my way to buy bananas even though there are already a pile in my fruit bowl at home. I'm as paranoid of running out of bananas as I am of not having a worthy book waiting for me when I go to bed. Now see, I can't think of anyone that would care about my banana issues or my book issues (except the library, because I am a book hoarder or whore, I can't decide which one). Writing about them doesn't change me or certainly (I hope) the way people view me. So why on earth do we feel compelled to share such information? Most of the lists that I have perused (one example) expose such similar information.

Moving On Part I-The Cleaning of the Van

First off, the person that invented the car seat was a genius. I can't imagine driving with the cell phone at my ear, a latte in one hand, and beating the little ones off as they creep up from behind. Those wonderful seats keep them contained, just the way I imagined parenthood to be. However, I loathe the committee that approved the original model and did not press for a self-cleaning option. The presence of a well-seasoned mother was obviously missing from their dialogue.
For a few weeks now our van has been smelling less than fresh, oh I guess I'll just be really honest and say that it had that nasty rotten milk smell to it. I'm fastidious about my house but the kid-traveling vehicle is another story, I keep it clean enough that it is acceptable yet I don't go crazy every week with the vacuum and car cleaning stuff.
I was especially motivated to find the offensive smell as plans for an actual vacation for myself were in the works. Yes, a "vacation" which means taking no children or just those children that will be less of a burden, as opposed to a "trip" which involves traveling a long distance with children that will demand every ounce of energy I possess.
It didn't take long to find the "problem". Child 4 that does not like to eat due to some fairly substantial mouth trauma as a baby and his natural genetic disposition to sensory processing disorder has spent much of the past year drinking liquids instead. The soymilk was tolerable but I wasn't thrilled about the studies that suggest the phyto-estrogen in it can mimic estrogen in the body. Once I was sure he could handle cow milk we switched to that in the lactose free form. One big difference between soy and cow is that when soy spills it doesn't stink when it is dry while we all know what rotten milk smells like!
Anyway, although I hated to do it, I pulled the damn seat out and let the dog eat all the crumbs left on the real seat in the van. On a side note the dog loves van cleaning day, in fact I've gotten so smart about it that I let her in there first to clean up the initial large chunks of dog-edible goodness. After I pulled the seat out I proceeded to do the unmentionable and dismantled the car seat cover from the plastic seat. Any parent that has done this knows what a pain it is and why someone would drive around in a rotten smelling van before admitting that yes, it is the van that smells and not the dirty kids clammoring in and out of it. At first I wasn't convinced that the smell was coming from the seat itself but once the cover was removed there was no denying it. Child 4 was attemting to make cottage cheese on all those long drives to art and violin lessons. He would show us for dragging him around day after day to activites that had nothing to do with making him well-rounded and culturally sensitive!
We now have a "fresh" smelling van and Child 4 is only allowed water while traveling. In my frenzy I even cleaned the coffee stains in the carpet (don't even think that I am only allowed water while traveling, dried coffee has a delectable smell!). I even made it to the hidden rear compartment where I store extra clothes for each child and the sling for the "baby" that is now almost two...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Even Way Back When

If anyone had told me before marriage and kids that it would be this way I would never have believed it:

Women never have an half-hour in all their lives (except before and after anybody is up in the house) that they can call their own, without fear of offending or of hurting someone. Why do people sit up late, or, more rarely, get up so early? Not because the day is not long enough, but because they have "no time in the day to themselves."
-- Florence Nightingale, Pioneer of Modern Nursing, 1852

All of these women, all of these years, surviving and prevailing and shining even though we are so limited with our own time. Florence Nightingale has summed up in three sentences what it is like to be a woman. I think she may be my new hero

Dear Meijer Cashier Lady

I know you are busy, underpaid, overworked, and probably a little warm in this heat but would it have killed you to acknowledge my daughter today? She might be on the shorter side but not so short that you couldn't see her over the conveyor. The conveyor on which she placed the two Barbie items (apparently she didn't get enough Barbie for her birthday) that she wanted to purchase with the Meijer gift card she received for her birthday. She stood there patiently and politely with her pink Hello Kitty purse waiting for you to ring up her items, which you did without so much as glancing at her. After you processed her gift card you turned to me to tell me there was a balance left and tried to hand ME the receipt and card. I looked you in the eye and told you to tell my daughter, that it was her purchase. I would have liked to stuff you in the Barbie box and tossed you on the clearance rack with the rest of the rejects.

You see, she is only 8 and still learning lots about our world. I try to teach her to be polite and to acknowledge other people when she is interacting with them. What you did negated her presence and importance as a CUSTOMER. You couldn't even take a moment to pull her Barbie treasures from the damn spinning contraption that held her bag, you just spun it further along so that you could begin ringing up MY items. I've never been down your lane before (and believe me I would have remembered, there are some of you I avoid like relatives) and just so you know I'm one of those customers that spends plenty at this store, the same store that pays you to do your job, the same store that claims Higher Standards, Lower Prices. There were no high standards in your lane, only bad examples.

Is it really about the tool?

There is nothing wrong with going to bed with someone of your own sex. People should be very free with sex, they should draw the line at goats. ~Elton John

I don't understand the adults in my generation, you would think an issue like homosexulity would be a non-issue but for some reason these people are so hung up on which "tool" is being used and where. Who cares! What they don't get is that "being gay" is not all about what happens under the sheets. It is about feeling a strong emotional/sexual/social connection to another person of the same sex. I thought I was all over feeling frustrated by closed-minded individuals when I donated And Tango Makes Three (two penquins father a baby penquin, very cute and sweet) to our local library (due to some comments by some ignornant and scared people). Well, I knew I wasn't over it but geez did it have to crop up again so soon?

Fuck You Florida Uncle Ted is gone but now I have another Florida sibling to deal with, that would be Clueless Aunt Beck. I won't go into detail about her clueless behavior but believe that she generously deserves the title. She finally made it over to our place yesterday with her two boys, 6 and almost 9 (almost 9!). Somehow we got into a discussion about another sister that also has 2 boys, 11 and almost 13, and how the younger boy said something was "So gay". As in something was stupid. Clueless Aunt Beck didn't like him using this term around her boys because she didn't want to explain what "gay" (the real homosexual meaning) was. She explained this to the mom, Mean Aunt Melonie (very deserving also), who responded that her boys "Know all about that stuff".

Well Clueless Aunt Beck went on to tell me that her oldest (almost 9!) knows "That it takes a mommy cat and a daddy cat to get a kitty, but not much beyond that." This same kid was telling us about protons, neutrons, and electrons while we roasted marshmallows but doesn't know about sperm and egg?! Yes, I have a problem with that. He probably thinks his penis is a whoozit too. She in no way wanted to explain the "gay" mechanics of sex because she is one of those many people that equates homosexuality only with the mechanics of intercourse.

The very ironic thing is that neither of Clueless Aunt Beck's boys live with their father. Boy number one was conceived by a one night stand because a guy missed his airplane flight and boy number two was conceived by a guy she was dating but would never marry (no job, no life, no brains-you know the type). Now both boys live with dude number three that they call "dad" but is not their real "dad". So really it doesn't take a mommy cat and a daddy cat to make a baby, it takes a sperm and an egg. I guess her fear really revolves around having to tell her boys how they were conceived-the right tool, right hole, wrong dude.

Guess Tango needs to make another guest appearance...

Fuck You Florida Uncle Ted

I am so tired of having to explain to my kids in a nice way, without sounding bitter, why their relatives on their dad's side are such assholes. I don't really like to use the nasty language either but I am bitter because everytime they visit I give them the benefit of the doubt. Why? I guess because I'm an idiot. Really, why else would I believe that "this time" our family won't be used as a doormat or be an after-thought? And here we are once again with this being Florida Uncle Ted's last night at our house and the kids are heading to bed without seeing him for but 10 minutes this morning before he left to aimlessly wander the countryside with a beer tucked between his legs in the red farmin' truck (which we so generously provide for him to drive). He specifically told Vinnie he would be back by 5 or 6 to hang out, it is now 10:30. He won't be able to play with us tomorrow night because him and his sister are taking their dad (Um yeah, Vinnie's dad too, but they didn't invite ANY of us. Try explaining THAT to the 7 year old who wants to go to a Tiger game.) to a Tiger baseball game and that same dear sister (who is just as inconsiderate and undependable) will take him to the airport the next morning.

So, fuck you Florida Uncle Ted, I'm glad I won't wake up in the morning to find your hung-over body on my couch anymore. That I won't have to sort your socks from Vinnie's in the laudry one more time. That you won't look up with that blank expression on your face and say "huh" when I ask you something. That I won't have to clear the last beer bottle off the table in the morning or out of my garden in the afternoon. That I won't have to wonder which freakin' towel in the bathroom is mine and why there are so many of them hanging on the bathroom door! That I won't have to hear you stick up for your spoiled half-sister during any more conversations. That I won't have to hear about "grandpa" Bill and how much help he needs (grandpa fucking who?). Off to south Florida you go. Adios asshole

Daddy didn't drink no beers!

Gibby went to his first concert on Saturday. He went to see Hinder, Buck Cherry, and Papa Roach in the canoe with his dad and Florida Uncle Ted. He got home around midnight and flopped in the bed very tired even though he slept for a least an hour in the canoe. In the morning I asked him how his first concert was and he replied, "We didn't go to any concert." I tried to explain to him that when you go see bands sing it is called "being at a concert." He was having none of that because "We weren't on the stage mom!" *exasperated sigh* (from him not me!)

Instead I asked how he liked drinking beers in the canoe with dad and Florida Uncle Ted. Once again, exasperated by his mother's stupidity he said, "Daddy didn't drink no beers. He drinked orange juice. This many of them (holding up two fingers)." The ah-ha moment, no wonder the dear husband recently switched to vodka and OJ, the kids think he is being all good with his glass of Florida Sunshine. Cause when he sticks to his regular booze we can call him out on stuff too easily and the kids think he is "drunked".

My Drug of Choice

I guess I should have written this yesterday while I still had "the high". The high that you get from running an exhilarating yet scary 20 miles. Where you are dehydrated and have salt crystals up and down your arms and legs when you finally stop. The long slow distance (LSD) training of any runner is a jumbled mess of uncertainty, pride, worry and elation. The uncertainty that at any moment (or so it seems) something could go wrong and you won't finish. The pride of doing something you love while others look at you in awe and think you are crazy (they just need a taste of the endorphins!). The worry that you don't have enough liquid and caloric support along with you or spread on your route to support the whole distance. The elation that comes off and on during the run when you feel good and when you meet your goal (tired, sore, thirsty and hungry).

My route takes me back and forth through town and out into the country. I pass people that only know me as "that runner" and we have what I call a waving relationship. This weekend I got to see the aftermath of the sold-out Hinder, Buck Cherry (huh? is that right?) and Papa Roach concert down in the park. Maybe some of them had their own LSD going on? It seemed like all the guys were still sleeping while the women were walking around with little wads of toilet paper trying to find a suitable or available place. Part of my LSD is seeing what is going on, noticing the things that you don't have time for while driving 4 happy kids (see how it affects my mind!) around in a mini-van. Not to mention I usually run quite early on Sundays and most people aren't even up as I start my run. I see the fast-food bags tossed out next to the beverages of choice along the roadside, I have red-winged black birds attack me because they think I am a threat, I see the moon getting ready to disappear and the sun making a vibrant appearance. Nothing beats a little LSD

My friend Bifidus

It is very odd to me that on all the special little categories available on all these "spaces" there is nothing about food. We Americans LOVE food! 2/3's of us are overweight and the rest of us are trying not become overweight as we scarf down our cake after running a few miles. I'm so bad about the cake addiction that my husband frequently comes home from weddings with a whole layer in the trunk of his car (they GIVE it to him, he doesn't walk into random wedding celebrations and steal it, although if he were rewarded properly by me *wink-wink* he might start doing that). So why on earth is there not "space" for what we like to eat or what we don't like to eat for that matter. Hum, I wonder which category would be easier to fill.

For days now I have been denied my friend Bifidus because Meijer didn't deem him important enough to keep around in my non-flavor and brand. Meijer brand is fine for some things but over my dead body will I buy whole-milk plain yogurt from anybody but Stonyfield Farm! They have 6 live active cultures in that stuff for pete's sake. Not to mention you actually have to stir it to mix in all the creamy yum on top. Shhhhhh, but my special secret is to add Dora the Explorer cereal to my daily cup.

Bifidus and I have been reunited thanks to Kroger-the store that knows how to get you in the door with their wide selection of over-priced organic healthfood. They got me and I'll be back once I finish up these two cartons.

I had no idea!

I thought I was a good mom. I supply mammoth amounts of educational supplies for the kiddies and leave them out in the open so they can explore them as they want. We have an "art table" in the "play room" and I have even learned to ignore messes that are not in my direct working space. After having 4 kids I had it down pat. I was there for them, but not too much. I provided the tools, but didn't push them on the kids. Apparently I have been a little too hands off.

The big kids (6 and 7) have math and reading books to stimulate their brains this summer and my 4 year old decided excitedly that he wanted "homework" too. So I gave him a purple crayon and a "learning your alphabet" type of book. He was thrilled! I was thrilled! I showed him how to do "G", the first letter of his name, and off he went. The next day he was right back at it working on "P" and "I". He was sitting at the table working with a little metal lunch box next to him and says, "I put some of these in there," while pointing at his lunch box. I asked what it was that he put there and he says, "Some of these," pointing at his purple crayon. What are those called, I asked him. He says, "Oh, let me show you," and opens the box which is full of crayons. I asked if he knew what those were called and he said "No".

Huh? How can he be four, with two older siblings and not know what a crayon is called?!