Monday, September 25, 2006


I ignored my long list of things to accomplish today and laid in bed reading for the whole three hours Curly Top was in school. I started Bright Sword of Ireland Saturday night. This was another book I judged by the cover. The instant I picked it up I knew it would feed my craving of for Celtic legends. Finn Mac Cool by Morgan Llywelyn is one of my favorite books, so a chance to read more about mythical Ireland was the main reason I bought this one. Like most of the books I buy I found it on the bargain book table and picked it up for a couple of dollars. I then tossed it on the stack beside my bed to pick up when I was in between books.
The writing in Bright Sword of Ireland does not encourage that type of intimacy that makes you fall into a story and struggle to keep your mind on anything else during the day. I don't go rushing for it anytime I have a few spare minutes. Instead I read it in long stretches kept at a slight distance from the characters and their story. When I am reading the land and the magic draw me close. I don't want to put it down and leave the land, but when I do I am free, back in my own life, not constantly thinking about the story I need to get back to.
Since I love history I like my books full of historical details as long as they don't distract me from the story. When I'm reading and stop to think 'wow, this author has done a lot of research' I'm always a little irritated that I was yanked out of the story like that. At least once I wondered if the that was the intent. (Plains of Passage, I'm looking at you.)The glossary and pronunciation guide in the front have been very helpful. I consult it at least every other page, because who would have thought Conchobar would be pronounced Conor.
I mentioned the The Historian the other day and that was a book I had trouble putting down. For the whole three days I was reading it the book was always in the back of my mind, and close at hand so I could pick it up often. Bright Sword of Ireland is one I'll keep beside my bed for when I have long stretches of time to read. Looking over some reviews of The Historian one of the complaints people had was the pacing. My copy of Finn Mac Cool I loaned to a friend who dogeared every page, because she never could read more than one page before she got bored. I read Space by James Michener twice as a teenager and loved it, my brother who reads everything found it too boring to finish. The slow journey to the monastery in The Name of the Rose was a great start for that book. It seems that in a world moving faster every year I am still wandering slowly. I'm so glad there are still writers who write at such a pleasing place.
I have been rambling on about books and haven't mentioned Lee's broken bone. He just called though and needs me to bring him a pain pill.

Where can I read?

There is no room in my house for me. I turned off my computer thinking that I would post in the morning when I am more coherent. I sat down my cup of tea, snuck into the bedroom to grab my book without disturbing the girls, picked my tea back up and wandered around in the dark. Since Lee has to sleep with his arm elevated, (I'll explain that in the next post) I can't sit on my new couch and read. The girls are asleep in my room, which has resembled a bird's nest every since we put two extra beds in it. Jason is sleeping in Lee's room since it is vacant. Lane is in the room he normally shares with Jason. I'm not even putting the bathrooms into the equation, even though as a child I used to get up in the middle of the night and read in the bathroom regularly. While parents will condemn waking up on a school night to read, very few will complain about a child waking up with a stomach ache and spending an hour in the bathroom. That leaves the kitchen and dining room. There has been a furnishing oversight though, and neither of these two rooms has a comfy chair and a lamp. This is one of those open space homes, which I normally love, where the family room, kitchen, and dining room are all really the same space. So the overhead lighting would disturb the couch sleeper, even if I had only the comfy chair. Oh well, I could enjoy my tea while just sitting in the dark thinking. That is, I could if I would have folded the three loads of laundry I washed tonight instead of throwing them in the chair to wait for morning. I guess I should have paid attention to that warning about procrastination. Those grasshoppers and ants know more than I gave them credit for. My cup is empty, that is my signal to climb into bed. Tomorrow is a school day, that means I'll get a few hours to myself in the morning.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wrecks, Mexican food, and music

On Saturday we invited a family over to eat supper with us. It was to windy to cook the steaks out on the grill so I stuck them in the broiler. I love my broiler and use it a lot, but damn I hate cleaning it. After we ate we were sitting around playing trivial pursuit. The phone rang, Jason wanted a ride home. Without a second thought I asked Lee if he would go get him. Right after he left dh looked out the window. "What is Lee doing, just sitting out on the road?" He explained that he can see headlights out there and they aren't moving. "I hope the cop hasn't got him pulled over."
"Sometimes the cop just parks over there." I wasn't worried. Our friend goes outside to have a look. He comes back in laughing.
"It looks like a high school kid got stuck out there." We were all thinking the same thing. 'it's not wet out.' Dh goes out to have look. He comes in looking a bit frantic. "Where is a phone? He ran straight under the neighbors dump truck."
My heart suddenly felt like a bowling ball, the weight of it made it drop to my feet. "Lee?" I asked as I jumped up. I'm sure I was completely white. In that few seconds my whole world felt like it may fall apart. It was that universal feeling any parent gets when one of there children are in danger. Luckily for me it only lasted until dh answered.
"No, some guy that lives in the trailer park." Dh said while looking puzzled. Relief swept over me. What had happened was a guy had been at the bar and had a few too many beers. When he turned onto the gravel road leading to his house he turned about forty feet to early. His little car hit the back of the truck and pushed it over three feet. The car wedged underneath it and he was trying to get it out. Once we found out no one was hurt it was okay to laugh, and we did.

I started this post this morning, but quit before I was finished to play tennis. After playing tennis with Drama Queen I was hungry but to lazy to cook. Normally I would just grab a bowl of oatmeal, but I wanted real food. I decided to go to the office and work instead. On my way home I met my neighbor walking to the store. She told me to go in and eat. She looked slightly embarrassed when she told me it was just beans and Chili. My brother-in-law (her son) was inside eating so I stopped and ate with him and Huggy Bear. Compared to some of the things she cooks this was a simple meal, but simple should never be confused with inadequate. This was delicious. I filled my bowl with beans then covered the beans with a spicy sauce made up of chilies, potatoes, and meat. I heated up a couple of homemade tortillas and ate until I was stuffed. I love Mexican food and her kitchen is my favorite place to eat it. I have not found a restaurant that can match her yet. People who have only ate American-Mexican food may have to adjust because there is a difference. The biggest one being the covering everything in an overpowering sauce and cheese. She does not cook like that. Every flavor comes through and melds together nicely. I wish I new what kind of wine to pair with it. That would be perfect. She calls me every once in a while and in her quick Spanish asks me if I want to eat [insert Spanish word here I usually can't understand because it is spoken too quickly for my sub par Spanish]. I always say 'Yes, I love that.' and hurry over. I have never been disappointed.

Now for a quick side note on music. I have had Your body is a Wonderland by John Mayer stuck in my head for a few days. This morning one of my other favorite songs played on the radio. It took over as the song my mind will now play over and over through the next few days. Hey Now Now by the Cloud Room is an excellent song. I can listen to it several times a day. If I lived near a decent music store I would by the CD.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Tallulah at started me thinking about schools yesterday. I was feeling really lucky to live in a town with a great school. The class sizes are small, they encourage parent involvement, and try to help every child get the best education possible. Now I'm not naive enough to think our school is perfect, we have our drawbacks like everyone else, but I am extremely grateful for our school. Last night I went to the monthly school board meeting, so it was a good day to already have education on the brain. Some months these meetings can feel miles away from the students. When we are making decisions on which bus to buy, which bid to go with on the cement work, and how to stay within the budget, it is easy to forget why we are really there. Last night's meeting was one of my favorite ones so far. Our new school counselor came in a gave talk on last years assessment tests and what they mean in context with NCLB and meeting our ayp scores. This is her first year as our counselor and I realized last night I have fallen in love with her. I have liked her as a person and respected her as a teacher for years, but last night listening to her talk about pulling the whole staff together to examine what we have been doing right and how we can improve other areas I was totally smitten. She talked about education with such enthusiasm, her love of teaching and learning shined through. I was excited about our school and secretly wished I could play a bigger role. In fact I'm blaming her and this lingering excitement for my volunteering to help redraw the district lines.
That is going to be a pain. We have to redraw the lines so that the population of registered voters in the districts do not vary more than five percent. What was I thinking?

Then this morning I read about the kabob parties. Do we do this? I can't remember anything like this. We did go to five day kindergarten a few years ago, and I was glad my kids were passed that stage and I had only had to part with my babies for three days a week. Then I remembered the library. For the last two years the librarians have made little vehicles, one with each child's name on it. These little things traveled the path through the hallway powered by accelerated reader points. I remember finding my kids names, and being glad they weren't left behind. I remember having to fight to keep myself from pushing my kids to catch up with the few who were way ahead. I remembered the concerns that this could hurt the confidence of slower readers. I had to go to the library today because it was the first day of story hour. I was so pleased to see that this year the vehicles were trains and instead of hundreds there were just fourteen. One for each class collectively. Now they can get the encouragement and drive that competition can give without the feelings of superiority or shame that can sometimes be a by product of forced competition. Thank you parents for voicing your concerns, mistakes are usually made with good intentions.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Fall to do list

I am a list writer. To help myself get organized I have decided to post my fall list. December 21st is going to come way too quickly.

Fill my fish tank. I have a 150 gallon tank that has been sitting empty for over a year. A tank needs fish and water. When my sons oscar, Curly, died we decided to get several smaller fish. I never dreamed it would take me this long to get around to it.

Hang curtains. We moved into this house six years ago, and still no curtains in the family room. I am really pathetic. In protest my family has hung blankets to keep the sun off of the t.v.. I have had curtains for my bedroom for over a year now, but just bought rods on Saturday. No, that doesn't mean I have hung them.

Clean my closets out. I can't describe the jumbled mess they have become. While I'm at it my kitchen cabinets could use some organizing.

Read War and Peace. I bought this last year at the library book sale and still have not started it.
Make jelly. I have peaches and sand hill plums in my freezer that need to have something done with them.

Make an outdoor bathtub. I have the plans drawn out. The actual work just needs to be started. While I'm out there I need to put a roof over my oven. Check out cob hot tubs here

Rewrite my last year Nanowrimo novel before November. I promised a couple of friends they could read it once I had touched it up a bit.

Paint Jason and Lane's room. It really needs it, especially since Curly Top has decided to grace their walls with her art work. She must be good, her first show has ran for over six months.

I had better get busy.

Friday, September 08, 2006


Huggy Bear and I seem to be getting into a morning routine. When she hears me typing she climbs on my lap and kicks the keyboard away from my fingers a few times then turns around and cuddles up for a nap. Curly Top is home sick today. Her little tonsils are swollen and yellow, poor girl.
I have spent countless hours in the last few days going through our tub of pictures and putting some of them in frames and albums. I look at my boys and know they have grown but seeing them so little made me laugh and cry. Those little smiles missing front teeth;the chubby stages;chicken pox covered faces;first days of school;all of these days caught on film, but I worry about all that I missed. Will my memory be enough?
Our picture taking is very odd. Looking at the pictures I realized how ridiculous I am. Hundreds all taken on the same day. Sometimes only a hand has moved from one set to the next. Then I always get double prints. Lee was looking through the albums and said "All of our pictures are of the same thing."
Another thing I noticed was that pictures without people in them rarely make it into the album. Looking out over the Grand Canyon I think it would make a beautiful picture. Years later when I find that picture it gets tossed aside for yet another picture of my boys sitting on a rock.

What do people do with all of the trading size pictures of kids they went to school with? I think it would be different if we wouldn't have moved so often when I was a child. I see these pictures and remember the kids and their names, but I haven't seen them since grade school and the chances of meeting up with them again are slim. I don't have tons of memories with them either since I only knew most of them for one year. Still I can't bring myself to throw them away. These people gave them to me as gifts, I would feel terrible tossing them.

If you haven't checked out you really should. This guy is funny. Tunnel of Love is my favorite so far, but I haven't got through them all.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Vampire books

Yesterday turned into one of those days where either nothing was going right or every little thing was bothering me I'm still not sure which. Honestly I almost came back here with two more rants. Just an update on the one I did post. Seven hours!! Can you drop off your kid for a 'little while' and show up seven hours later, drunk? If you can I wish I had known that a few years ago, raising my children would have been much more fun. She actually didn't even show up she called and asked if I would bring Huggy Bear to her house. Argghh sisters!

Ok enough of that. I don't usually read vampire novels. I can't really think of one that I have. I started Interview With a Vampire once but only made it two chapters. Nothing against them, I just have no desire to read about vampires. For some reason though I bought The Historian the other day. At first I picked it up because of its size and because I really liked the cover. It was in the bargain book section so I got it for $4.99. It is perfect for this time of year;so easy to sink into. I'm not even worried about the whole vampire thing. It feels like reading Possession or The Name of The Rose. I have always planned to read Braum Stroker's Dracula, I've just never got around to it. I may do that this October. I read Mary Shelley's Frankenstien a couple of years ago on Halloween and liked it. Have I missed out on any really good books out there because of my indifference to vampires?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Warning: this is a rant

"Hey can I drop my kid off with you for a little while?" is a request I hear quite often, and not usually one that starts a rant, but I had plans for today. Not the kind of plans that I could say 'No, I have to do so and so.' with, but they were still plans.
I only get three mornings a week to myself, two this week because of the holiday on Monday. I only get these if my sister, Miss Universe, doesn't have to work and none of my kids are sick, or playing sick. My plans for this morning were to only get drinks for myself, entertain only myself, read, surf the internet, do anything I wanted without the sounds of cartoons invading my head.
Now most people think I am I nice person, but I will confess, I'm really a bitch. As evidence I will tell you what I was thinking this morning when Miss Universe called.
What I said. "Sure bring her over." What I was thinking. 'Watch your own damn kid.'
She told me one of her freinds had just told her sister she was going to kill herself.
'yeah right' I thought. 'It is much more likely she said that for attention.'
Since she was closer she was going to drive over and dump out the pills.
I said "Ten prosac can't kill a person can they?" I thought. 'Why cant you take Huggy Bear with you to do that?'
"No, of course not. She's such a drama queen." she said
'damn you.' I thought.
I spent the ten minutes inbetween the time we hung up and the minute she arrived trying to take the bitchy edge out of my voice. It wasn't easy with thoughts like 'I'm not the one who decided to have another kid, why am I the one who always has to change my plans?' going through my head and occasionally out of my mouth. I know I could have said no, explained why I didn't want to. This would have worked, caused some hard feelings, but worked. I couldn't do this though for two reasons. First of all family dynamics, I'm the one who gets the calls, who makes decisions, who plans the holidays. Me not saying no unless I absolutely have to is how our family works. The other reason is it is just my personality to say yes. I have trouble saying no to anyone. I have been working on that and am getting better, but I could have worse faults.
When they arrived I greeted them warmly and took H.B. in my arms. M.U. looked around and Said, "Your alone that's great!" She smiled and waved goodbye.
'Bitch' I thought. Once again I could have said something, but don't feel I should have had too. Every mother knows how priceless a few hours alone are. After long weekends where a few minutes of piece are few and far between they can be absolutely mind saving. For her to assume I didn't need these next few hours as much as she did seemed very selfish to me. I set H.B down and started making tea. A few minutes later she did that adorable thing most babies do at her age. She carried over two wooden blocks, one in each hand. She handed me one and then the other, then lifted her arms so I could pick her up. I carried her to a chair, hugged her and had a thirty second pity party. I thought selfish thoughts about how taken for granted I was, let my eyes fill with tears. Then I thought of the party Miss Universe through for me on my birthday, and all the times she has been there when I needed her. Then I set Huggy Bear in her walker. She can already walk but it is the closest thing I have to a high chair. I went in the kitchen and made some toast. Her beautiful dark eyes followed me the whole time. When I smiled at her she smiled back. I turned on some music she had toast and a cup of water. I has toast and tea. She bobbed her head to the music, I laughed. Somewhere in the middle of this rant the phone rang. I talked to a freind about the drama in one of the offices I sub in while I rocked Huggy Bear to sleep. After my pity party I am really having a lovely morning. That is why I don't say no. Things usually work out for the best anyway.

I have been having trouble thinking of fake blog names for my sisters. Today while I was still pouting I came up with them.
Huggy Bear,s mom is Miss Universe, because she really does think the universe revolves around her.
Princess and Curly Top's mom is Drama Queen. The name says it all
My youngest sister who has no children is Shrew. Of all my sisters she is the most like me, and from my post above you can see I can be a bitch.
All of these names may sound mean but they make me smile. We have good relationships and joke about our quirks all the time. None of these are names I wouldn't call them to their faces.



Curly Top would not fall asleep last night so I went in to lay with her for a few minutes. I fell asleep without brushing my teeth, washing my face,taking off my bra, or putting the clothes in the dryer. I felt pretty skanky when I woke up this morning.
One thing I did do last night was pull up my nanowrimo novel and start reading it for the first time since November 30th. It wasn't as bad as I expected it to be, still crap, but better than I remembered. If you have never heard of go there and read about it. I had so much fun last year I really can't wait to start again this year. I know that writing 50,000 words of crap in 30 days doesn't sound like fun, but it is. I actually read about it and kept up on some of the participants progress for a few years before I tried it. I don't recommend that approach though; jump in with both feet this year, it doesn't hurt, much.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Game night

A day of sitting around with the family playing games is great fun. Especially with my family, who all happen to be crazy. I knew that is what my mom would like for her birthday because as our children grow older and our jobs more demanding we really don't take time out to play anymore. My mom has lived alone now for a year since my sister went to college and I think she likes it for the most part, but after raising six kids an empty house must feel a little too quiet at times. Of course she has temporary custody of a cat. The woman who has no patience for animals and can't stand the thought of one in the house now has a house cat. The rules of irony state that she must now fall in love with this cat and enjoy it as company. I half expected this to happen. She doesn't seem to have read these rules and is counting off the days until my sister comes to claim it.
My kids made two cakes and both of them were eaten by 8:00 last night. The brisket was gone within minutes of setting it on the table, and the pepper poppers didn't even make it that long. We really resemble a bunch of sharks in a feeding frenzy when we all get together.

Monday, September 04, 2006

My bread sucks

We are having a birthday dinner for my mom today. I made the brisket yesterday so today all that is left is to do a bit of cleaning and make a couple of cakes. It is a good day for baking, foggy and cool. The boys cleaned their rooms yesterday though, so I now have a pile of dirty laundry clogging up the laundry room.
My attempt at sourdough was a disaster. I couldn't find my cooking spray and somewhere in the process of looking for it got distracted and didn't grease my pans at all. The bread stuck. Nobody in my family liked it and will end it's life in the compost pit. I will try again next week.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Jason's first jr. high football game was last night. They played well, and won, which was nice because bonfire followed the game. This morning he was tired and tried so hard to stay home sick. It turns out he didn't have his homework done. Kids. My nephew is home sick, well not really home, he is here. He is huggy bears brother so they are both here for the day.
I am making my first loaves of sourdough bread today. I made my starter three weeks ago and have been giving it time to develop a good flavor. I am firing up my cob oven and baking outside since it is still in the nineties here. The weather is still not being governed by the school year.
The weather may be the last thing holding out though. Try to find sandals, shorts, or swimming trunks this time of year and you may be in trouble. The aisles are filling with coats and Halloween supplies. Of course there are only 115 days until Christmas. On the first day of school I walked outside and two yellow leaves fluttered down to my feet. "Not you too." I shook my fist up at the tree. It was just messing with me though, all the rest of the leaves have stayed green and firmly in their place.
It felt so good to sleep in this morning. After dropping the kids of at school. Huggy Bear and I snuggled up in bed and slept until 10:15. I stayed up late last night talking to a friend who is separated. He just can't figure out how she just up and left him after seventeen years. He is the only one who hasn't seen how miserable she has been for the last five. Since I am friends with both of them I tried to keep the conversation focused on him and not let it go to talking about here. That was hard. After we were finished I started my bread dough, it is still not finished rising. The recipe said it would take 12 hours and it has only been eleven. I am just too used to rapid rise yeast.
When I finally did get to bed Jason and Curly Top were in my bed. Dh is off on his annual hunting/camping trip they do the first day of dove season every year. Today many innocent doves will be killed. Curly Top's turning and kicking finally drove Jason into her bed. I kept waking with a foot against my head.