Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm really not in a bitchy mood, this post just sounds like I am

Tonight was the monthly school board meeting. If we talk in depth about personnel I always leave the meeting irritated. There seems to be a trend towards casting anyone who complains as a villain. If teachers, who in our area are usually also taxpayers and parents, complain then they are not being team players. It is okay to then label them as trouble makers and roll our eyes. Sometimes the phrase 'team player' is used to bully people into doing what they are told, instead of letting them raise reasonable objections. Ironically we adopted a bullying policy during the same meeting.

I also heard one of my other pet peeves today at work. It has been cold here for the last few days;tonight we are under a winter storm advisory. So of course I was expecting it to happen sooner or later. I was working quietly, minding my own business, when I heard my boss say, "where are those global warming people at today?". Now I could have pointed out that at lunch time I only wore a sweater, not a coat, and that the ice was melting and falling from the trees. I could also have pointed out that global climate change does not mean that everywhere on the planet will be hot every day. It, to greatly over simplify it, means that as ocean temperatures rise our climates will become more erratic and extreme. I did not say any of these things though, because she is in charge of the schedule, and I was minutes away from asking for a day off next week. Instead I gave a forced chuckle;thank god my back was turned. I then grasped around wildly for a new subject. So yes, my principles will go undefended if I want a day off. Really they go undefended all the time because I find that arguing with these people seldom works. So unless I find myself talking to someone who actually wants to discuss it instead of just quoting the last guy they heard on talk radio I just keep quiet.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Not much to say

Well I did not reach the goal of 50,000 words. I came close with 48,000 words, about 40,000 of them I am happy with. Not bad, at first I was mad at myself for failing, but I wrote more than I would have if I would never have tried.

Pookie is in the hospital so I stopped in after work and watched him while Fria Chica had a shower. He is so stinkin' adorable. He is a chubby ball of sunshine. He has had bronchitis and wasn't getting enough oxygen so he has to sleep in a tent. He sounds a lot better today.

Not a lot to say really. I'm not even angry about anything! I am tired though, so I am off to bake a cake for the cake raffle, then to bed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It is late, and I am rambling

I am wasting time instead of writing. My brain needs to recharge before I move on. Somebody please go in and make me another cup of tea.
We went to Jason's fall sports banquet earlier this evening. I am sure there are more boring places to be, but I really can't think of any right now. For the last five years I have had a child playing sports both in the Fall and the Spring, the two times of year they have these things. That means I really should have attended ten of them. So far this is my second.
Lee hates them as much as I do, so he never went to his own banquets, and I sure wasn't going to go if he wasn't. Jason doesn't like them either, so I thought I was going to get out of it again tonight. Dh loves these things, that surely has to be a sign that something is odd, so this year we went to please him. I am glad we don't have to do that again for a few months.
Some days I hate to walk into the school because I know someone will corner me and say 'your on the school board' and then they will go on to complain about something. It isn't that I don't care about the school, or want to hear their opinions, I do. It is just that some days I want to just be a mom, and forget I'm a school board member.

Oh, I forgot to mention that Fria Chica and I found a solution to one of the world's problems on our long drive home the other night. I'm sure it only makes sense late at night, in the state we were in when we thought of in. Here it is: There should be one rule every government in the world has to follow. All religion is personal and can not be encouraged by any government. Churches should be local and not national entities. The U.N. should give up all of its other duties and have an army to enforce this rule. Not peace keeping troops, an army. Before you dissect this, I know it is too vague, and that it gives the U.N. to much power, but in my late night version of the world it would work.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thanksgiving has came and went. It left a huge mess in its wake. My dishes may never get done. Everyday I wash enough to feel like I am ahead, then by the end of the day I am behind again. You can see we aren't one of those families that run in and clean up right after the meal. That would be wasting precious game playing time.
My first trip to Wichita was great. My brother and I talked the whole way there and back. We didn't turn the radio on once. We only spent an hour in Wichita since I wanted to get home to start baking, and he can't sleep in other peoples houses very well anyway. I am glad he went with me, because he kept me from stewing all the way there. Really I can't remember what we talked about, but by the time we reached Drama Queen's apartment I wasn't bitter at all, and my weepiness was gone. Thank goodness, I had already had an embarrassing moment in the library when I teared up for no reason at all.
Saturday Fria chica and I drove the girls back to Wichita. We stayed the night so that we could get up the next day and get ice cream. The book store is across from the ice cream shop so of course we went there next. Surprisingly, I was very good and didn't buy any books for myself. I picked one up for my brother and a few for the kids and that was it. At Chelmsford Teas I picked up a carton of chai seasoning and some orange green tea for my brother. Then I was overwhelmed and couldn't resist trying something new so I bought two oz. of Windsor Castle for myself. Those books are the only Christmas shopping I have done yet.
As I was leaving Wichita the second time it hit me again that somehow Drama Queen brings out the best and the worst in me. When I am around her I want to gather up all of the pieces of her life, fix them, and hand them back to her in a neat package. There is no end to the amount of help I want to give her. I want so much for her to be happy and fulfilled. At the same time I never find myself being so judgmental as I do when I am around her. Really one of the things I try to do is not to judge people, but to accept them as whole people whatever their flaws instead of labeling them good or bad. Yet I walk in and count the empty beer bottles and add them to her list of errors. When she talks about her life I smile and listen but inside my head I snort and wonder how long it will be until she fucks it up. I am not proud of myself for this and someday hope to change this terrible trait.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Plans are changed

An odd turn of events has given me tomorrow off as well. Now what? I felt like here was God daring me. I said I was just upset because I couldn't see the girls, that I wasn't twelve and wouldn't act like it by being hateful to my sister, but how would I act. It was very hard to swallow my pride, call my sister and ask if I could come and get the girls tonight. I did it though, and she was very nice. She always is when she is getting her own way. It grinds on me that she is getting everything just how she wanted it after throwing a fit. However, I can't wait to see those girls and I will give in for them. I am still crying, and trying like anything to stop before the boys get out of school.
My brother called and sounded like he was in a very good mood. This was a little surprising because this morning my mother had told me he wasn't planning on coming over for Thanksgiving dinner. This is odd, since, like me, he loves the holidays. I have a feeling he was reacting to her just the way I was reacting to Drama Queen, all of our faults are genetic from one source or the other. It turns out Fria Chica talked to him before I did and had smoothed things out a little. This could be a very emotional Thanksgiving. As I was typing that I had a nice thought, so I took a break. I called my brother back and he is going to run to Wichita with me. The only problem is that right before that I was thinking of buying his Christmas present while we were there.

I can't quit crying

I am dangerously far behind on my nano novel. Last night I stayed up late and wrote five thousand words. So if this post seems extra wordy I apologize. Once you get used to making every sentence as long as possible it is hard to stop.
When I did go to bed I couldn't sleep. Not many nights in my adult life have been spent staying up and worrying. I am a champion sleeper. All of the nights that have been have spent awake have been attributed to Drama Queen. Last night was no exception.
For over a week the plan has been for me to drive to Wichita Monday night and bring the girls home Tuesday. They were going to spend Thanksgiving with us and then I would take them home on Saturday. I didn't realize the depth of my missing those girls until the day kept getting closer to seeing them again. I was like a school child in May. I couldn't sit still and smiled at the thought of seeing them again. Some days I could feel their arms around my neck.
More than one person had asked if they were out of school on Tuesday, or if they were just skipping it. As far as I knew they were just skipping it. Looking at our schedules Drama Queen and I had picked out a day that I didn't work and that coincided with her work schedule so she wouldn't have to pay a babysitter this week. She is having babysitter trouble again, and they are always hard to find on holidays. Since she didn't raise any objections to the missed school day I didn't bring it up. The benefits outweighed the missed day as far as I was concerned, and it was the only day I could make the drive.
I had to work Monday. After work I drove quickly to the school to catch the last half of Lee's scholar's bowl meet. When it was over I ran home make a pot of tea and eat a quick waffle for supper. The waffles were left over from Sunday's breakfast. I covered it with strawberry syrup, whipped cream, and mixed berries. You can never go wrong with a Belgian waffle. While I was eating I called Fria Chica to see if she was still going with me. She was. I called Drama Queen to tell her what time I was leaving, and that I would be arriving around midnight.
She seemed surprised. Somehow she had completely forgot our last conversation and thought I was coming Tuesday. I told her there was no way I was going to drive four hours Tuesday morning, then turn around and drive home the same day. Especially with Fria Chica and the baby. Fria Chica had said she wanted to go because Drama Queen has never got to see the baby, but that she didn't want to keep him in a car seat for eight hours in one day. She was only going if we spent the night.
I have made the trip by myself many times. I kind of enjoy the time to think, so if Fria Chica decided not to go it wasn't a big deal to me, but she really wanted to go. Tuesday is my only day off this week, except for Thanksgiving day, so I told Drama Queen it had to be Monday night like we decided. She called me selfish and rude. Whenever I tried to talk she just yelled more insults over my voice. When I did get a chance to talk I probably said the wrong things. Anyway the whole mess ended with her hanging up on me and sending me hateful text messages. I think she likes conversations like that better, because she likes them to be one sided.
Right now the phone is ringing and I am ignoring it. My mother is calling again. She can't stand going to work when there might be some drama going on, so she is at home trying to meddle. She wants to see the girls, but only if I drive up and get them. She mentioned several times last night that she would go today, except she has to work. I have already talked to her this morning, once was enough. She made sure to point out that she wanted to see them at Christmastime, and that Drama Queen said I could come up and get them the day after Christmas. It was really a one sided conversation, because I have nothing more to say on the matter. Last night she wanted to trash Drama Queen and call her a drunk. Today she has talked to D.Q. and wants to discuss the whole situation with me, explain D.Q.'s side of it to me. I've heard, I've read it, I'm done with it. I just don't have the energy. Last night I was upset, but I didn't want to sit around and trash D.Q. It wouldn't make me feel better. Today I just don't have the energy to do anything more than cry and sleep. I am forcing myself to get a few things done, but it is very hard.
Depression is a family trait, but I have been afflicted very little in comparison with most of siblings. My depression is usually started by an event like this. Once I get down it is so hard to get back up again, but I usually bounce back in a few days.
I say usually, because once it did take me six months to pull out of the funk. I slept ten hours a night and took at least one nap during the day. When I fell asleep while stretched out on the floor, reading a book to Lane, I told myself this is enough. It still took me several months to get back to normal, but I did get back. I credit reading to pulling me out.
It was a point when my children were still young, but I had a bit more free time. If you are not careful at this point you will assess your life, and you may find a lack. I did, but I couldn't quite figure out what was missing. I wanted to run away from home. There was a need to be myself. My brother gave me a gift. It was Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes.
After Lee was born my life became about him. Then Jason came, two years later Lane was born. Until that year, when Lane was four, my life was full of them. I'm not complaining I loved it. Then suddenly there was a little space and I couldn't remember how to fill myself up. It had been too long since I had done it. I didn't even know who I was. The lost feeling overwhelmed me.
As I read first this book, and then more books, I started to remember who I was. I also began to grow again as a person. My children are still the most important aspect of my life, but they are who they are, and I am myself.
Right now I am a woman who misses her nieces so much. I am a woman who is wondering if she is doing the right think by not jumping in her car and driving to get them right now. All morning I have questioned my resolve to not be bullied. It has taken me many years to learn not give in to pressure when I know I am right, but part of me wants to chuck all of that and call, apologize, and drive to get them. Even if I have to give up things important to me, and go to work tomorrow with no sleep.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I am a stay at home feminist

I thought I was done here, that I had nothing to say other than to list activities that I am planning to do, but will very likely not finish. So instead of making a boring post I searched Dobson and lies together. What I found myself caught up in was an argument about stay at home moms. This is a charged subject for women of the childbearing age. Both sides that I read today had it wrong.
When I had children I wanted to stay home with them, not for the benefits it would give them, but for what it would give me. Children are only yours, truly yours, for a short time. If you don't think eighteen years is a short period of time, have a child. In that first year so much happens and it doesn't slow down until that child is grown and out of your house. I didn't want to miss any of this time. When my children were little I took them almost everywhere with me. I ran a daycare out of my home so I could contribute to the household income without leaving them. I loved everyday that we spent together. Now I am back to work. The boys are older.
Strange things are happening, I went over twenty-four hours without talking to Jason this week. I dropped him off at school Monday morning. He left school that day on a bus for a basketball game. I was at a school board meeting when he got home. He was asleep when I got home. I peeked in and watched him sleep before I went to work Tuesday. He had a home game that night. I sat in the stands and watched. We didn't talk at all until after the game which was around eight that night. I am so glad I had the years I did with him.
One day a friend, who also stayed home with her son until he started school, commented on my decision to stay home and watch both of my sisters kids while they went back to school. Someone else mentioned that it was nice that my sisters could work and go back to school because I helped them with free child care. Both of my sisters now have degrees and are doing well in their careers, and I am so proud of them. My friend said, 'Yeah, but she (meaning me) is still at the same spot.' Monetarily I was at the same spot, but I have a better relationship with my nieces and nephews than most people do. I don't just love them because they are my sisters kids, I love them because they a people I have spent huge amounts of time with. My sisters know that there is someone else in the world who loves their children a great deal. Knowing this is peace of mind for a parent. I too have that same peace of mind because of the close family ties this arrangement has made. When Lee left on his trip to Europe last summer Miss Universe cried as much as I did. If the goal, and mine is, is to love life and be surrounded by people I love, I am so much further ahead than most people I know.
This whole subject has not been brought up so I can convince others to stay at home with their children, or to say people who made the choice to go back to work are wrong. It is to say that every person, regardless of their sex, should be able to make the decision that is best for them and be supported. I am a feminist. Women should have equal rights under the law, in the workplace, and at home as a man.
When my brother decided to stay at home with his children he didn't have to face the accusation of derailing a whole movement. It was said of him, and men like him, that it was great that we lived in an enlightened society that didn't see raising children as only women's work. I agree with this statement, but why should men, even at home, have the advantage? He didn't have to defend his decision. Women should not have to defend their decision to stay at home either.
As for the statement that suggested that mothers choosing to stay at home could lead to an all male supreme court or congress, well that is a bit far fetched. Every mom is not going to choose to stay at home. Not every woman is going to choose to have children, and mothers who do choose to stay at home will most likely re-enter the workforce after their children go to school. All of these women should be supported and applauded for making choices that work best for them instead of just accepting whatever rules society lays out for them.
As for the other side, that instead of using well thought out arguments tries insulting their opponent, well they aren't even worth listening to. They aren't trying to help stay-at-home moms they are just trying to use them as a weapon to tear down all that the women's movement has fought for. They said the woman speaker could have come straight out of the 60's or 70's and used the term 'old time bra burning feminist' as an insult. As a woman I applaud those feminist from the 60's and 70's. It took strength to burn your bra when women were supposed to be standing behind their man. If not for those 'old time' feminists we would not be where we are today and I won't let their legacy become an insult. Hooray to all women from the ones who burned their bras to the ones who stay at home and raise children because they choose to.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Jason running in his underwear

Last night was the birthday party. The coat we had ordered as a present wasn't here yet. So I wrapped up the jumper I had bought her baby and gave it to Fria Chica as a gift. We also gave her the order receipt we had printed off so she knows what is coming soon. At one point late in the party Jason came in from the kitchen and starting taking his clothes off. When asked to explain this strange behavior he told us he had lost a bet.
Rolando had bet both Jason and Raul, Rolando's little brother (about 25), that he could take the cork out of and empty wine bottle. It was a cork he had shoved all the way in for the bet. He told them he could do this using nothing but a plastic grocery sack.
Rolando got the cork out by slipping the sack inside the bottle and blowing it up. Jason payed up when he lost by running in his underwear to the post office and back. The post office is two blocks from Miss Universe's and Rolando's house. He is lucky that we are having such a mild winter;it is still around forty degrees out last night.
Raul never did run, or strip for that matter. He insisted that Rolando had failed to pay up on similar bet. Godiva, Raul's wife, insisted that they both should make the run to even it out. That never happened. Many times through the rest of the night Lee and Godiva pointed out that the only man in the room was Jason, a thirteen year old boy. Rolando and Raul both willingly admitted that they weren't men and were okay with the shame.
It was a good night. We had too much pasta and bread, just the right amount of wine, and lots of laughs. I had never mad pesto before and was really pleased with the results. Although it may have been easier in a food processor than a blender. I added a food processor to my Christmas list.
Speaking of Christmas. There are few people around here that are really against the Eid stamp. I'm sure this comes from the stupid e-mail that is going around or an even more stupid radio station. A radio station that is supposed to be about Christianity, but instead uses that as its cover to bind people together through hate and prejudice. Anyway I mentioned the other day that I was going to use them on my Christmas cards and got, not just one, but two lectures on the subject of why it is wrong for the postal service to make these stamps.
What is funny is that I was only suggesting this as a way to help out our Postmaster. She gets Eid stamps every year, but since we have a very low Muslim population they are hard to sell and she has a lot left after the holidays. I am not a huge fan of the knitted sweater stamps, but love the blue and gold of the Eid stamp. It seemed like a good solution. I am now thinking about specifically sending cards with this stamp to the two people who lectured me, and everybody else I know that believes whatever propaganda crap they hear on the radio or read on their e-mail. Come on Christian Americans think for yourself, act Christ like, read your bible instead of believing everything Dobson and his gang say. They are trying to steal freedom not give it.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

penis vs vagina they are only words

Yesterday was Fria Chica's birthday. We are celebrating Saturday with a dinner. Miss Universe and I have went through several possible menu ideas before settling on a pasta night. I am making brioche, spinach pesto, pasta puttanesca, spaghetti cabonara, and linquine w/red clam sauce. Miss Universe is making linguine w/chicken alfredo sauce, and spaghetti w/meatballs. Can you tell we love pasta?

My brother stopped by last night and ate supper with us. I whined about my nano novel to him and he was very sympathetic. He used to live with me. When he moved out he still lived in the area for years. Now he lives in Guymon and it seems like I never see him. Stupid jobs. I have his name for Christmas and instead of having trouble thinking of something to give I am having trouble narrowing down the list I have. I am already in the holiday spirit this year.

At work the other day I heard what has to be, to me, the most despicable phrase in human language. "I would do it but my husband would kill me." She was talking about dying her hair. WTF! As an adult it is my firm belief that my hair is my hair. When will women quit letting their husbands act like their fathers. I wont go on for long about this but I have to say that they won't stop treating us like children until we insist that they do. Women dye your hair, cut it, shave it, let it grow whatever you want. If you honestly believe your spouse will kill you it may be time to rethink the whole spouse idea. Equality means we all get to think of ourselves as adults not just those of us with penises.

Along those same lines I have been thinking for years about the word vagina. I know the monologues and other feminist attempts have made the word a little more mainstream but in the household it is still treated like an unspeakable word. With my children I used the anatomically correct word instead of pee pee I taught them to say penis. I often wondered if I would have had the strength to do the same if I would have had daughter. None of the women I know who have daughters do. A few years ago I was driving on an empty highway with a lot of time to think. I started wondering about this. The word penis is thrown around pretty carelessly. Penis head and penis breath are common insults. At that time I had never heard anyone call out vagina head as an insult. That surely has to be a sign of the different status of the two words. This was a few years ago and I haven't given the subject much thought since then. Just the other day I overheard Lee calling somebody a vagina face. I was a bit irritated at first. Why should a part of the female anatomy be used in an insult. Before I said anything out loud I remembered that lonely highway and thinking that this kind of an insult would be a good sign. Since then I have heard him use the phrase again and again. Maybe this is a sign. Could the word finally be becoming just another word that describes a body part? Have we moved out of the unspeakable stage? I hope so.
I remember the first time I really gave thought to how mothers react to the vagina. It was in the middle of an interesting conversation. I was talking to a mother of three girls. I of course had three boys. She was saying how she hated cowboy hats. She couldn't understand why a man would want to put something that looked like a female body part on his head. "A female body part?" I asked. "Yeah, you have boys but believe me," Here she lowered her voice. "When you change a girl and you see 'her' it is really ugly." We still have a long way to go.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

I am still in shock over what has happened to my novel today. I was way behind this morning when I started. After writing 3,000 words today I was still behind but a lot closer to being caught up. Somehow today, and I'm still not sure how, I deleted the whole thing. I can't find it anywhere.
My sister Fria Chica was here when it happened. She was actually the one on the computer when it happened. I sent her over to read what I had wrote. She tried to open it but a warning came up saying it was already open. Since I had just closed it right before she arrived I rashly told her to click yes and open it anyway. Now it is gone. I actually felt tears coming to my eyes, but I banished them out of fear of making her feel guilty. It wasn't her fault at all, but I was afraid if acted too concerned it would make her feel bad. I forced the whole thing out of my head. We went for a five mile walk. Pooky, her baby was bundled and slept the whole way in his stroller. The wind was cold and Fria Chica lost her breath. Neither of us had thought to bring an inhaler. I was pretty worried about her; She was having trouble taking any deep breaths. My asthma hasn't been giving me problems for the last few years. Listening to her I could remember how tiring it was to fight for every breath. How hopeless it felt to be away from home and have to keep walking, every thought focused on getting to an inhaler. It made my problem seem very small. When we got back here I dusted off my inhaler for her to use. Then I rushed to my computer to search for the missing file. It is gone. Now that she has went home to rest and I know I have to start over I feel like giving up.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Worst Hard Time

1,667 words a day will be a 50,000 word novel in 30 days. Not a good novel, by any stretch of the imagination, but a novel. Last year I didn't succeed. There were two reasons, one, the one I openly blame it on, is that Drama Queen ran in to a bit of trouble last November and I spent too much time on the road trying to help her out so I didn't have time to finish. The other is that I tried writing a story that was just too much for my small amount of skill. The year before I finished a few days early and had a story I really liked. This year I am going with a nice simple story and have full expectations of finishing. I have wrote 1,982 words so far. I may try to find a way to keep a word count on this blog.

I finished reading The Worst Hard Time yesterday. Every few minutes my mind strays back to the book. I may need to read it again or something else on the same subject. It is a non-fiction account of the dust bowl days; something I should know more about. Most of the books I read take place far away from here. When I picked up this book it didn't occur to me I would be reading about my own area, I just liked the cover and title. At first while I read I romanticized the setting of the story and found myself walking outside to really notice and enjoy the wide open space we have here.
As a child I romanticized the plains when I read Little House On The Prairie. I romanticized the locations of almost every book I read, I still do. Whenever I read a book I wanted to go there. I want to walk around and feel the air, smell the smells, experience the hard times as well as feel the sun shine on my face. This was how it was when I read Heidi, Anne of Green Gables, Jacob Have I Loved, and really any book.

As the book progressed and the depression worsened I grew amazingly scared. I heard it said once that if it went long enough without raining it could happen again and on some distant level I believed that. I also knew on that same distant level that we had caused the dust to fly. Reading about it in such detail I realized that our greed and lack of foresight was the main cause, not ignorance. There were voices of warning before and during the great plow-up. People chasing money never listen to words of caution. It is very scary.

Another thing that I didn't realize is that the grasslands are still in the rebuilding stage, and that it could take hundreds more years to for them to completely heal. I am simple in some ways. I thought we had just ran in planted some grass and trees and problem solved. Beyond that I never gave it much thought. Which is sad since I have been caught out driving in dust storms. Once, years ago, I was driving on the highway north of town when suddenly all I could see was dust and the occasional piece of corn stalk that scraped my window as it flew by. We don't really have shoulders on much of the roads out here so I was afraid to pull over. I was afraid to slow down too much for fear of being hit from behind. I couldn't drive very fast though because I could only barely make out the white line for a few feet in front of me. My kids were sleeping in the back seat and this was about the most tense half hour in my life. You would have to magnify this experience by 100 to get anything near what the people endured here during the thirties, but it does show that our dirt does still blow some days.

The scariest part is that we are now using our water supply just as flagrantly as they used the soil back then. There are voices of warning and we give lip service to water conservation, but nothing is really being done. Without our ground water we would be back at the mercy of the sky for our water and we have seen how fickle the sky can be.

Read this book it is informative, entertaining, and a word of caution to us all.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween is here.

This is a busy day, Halloween today, Nanowrimo tonight. Every year the firemen in our community spend Halloween night at the fire station handing out candy and serving food to anyone who stops by and wants to eat. As the wife of a fireman I am making chicken and noodles and a large pot of chili for them to serve. My kitchen is usually fairly well stocked so I didn't bother to check and see if I needed anything from the store. Last night around 11:30 I realized I was out of beans, a basic ingredient for chili. The worst part is that I had just came back from Guymon. I'm sure I have mentioned this before, but I live in a town without a grocery store, so wheneverI find myself in a larger town I pick up a few things we need. Last night I honestly didn't think we needed anything except toilet paper and shaving cream, necessities for the holiday, so I didn't buy anything else. This morning we ran to the quick stop and I was surprised to find beans there. Now I can move on to other projects.

The Science fair is also today, of course Jason waited until this morning to mention he needed to rebuild the bridges he had used for his project. After that was done and I had ironed shirts for Lane and Jason to wear today I dropped them off at school. Back at home I started looking for a costume for Miss Universe, Fria Chica and myself to wear to the spook parade. This is the first year I haven't spent the whole month getting children's costumes ready. You would think I would have spent the extra time starting on my costume, but only if you didn't know me. Of course I put it off until the last minute. We have decided to go as the Blue man group, but have no bald caps. What will we do? I'm not sure yet. I'll figure that out in between going to the office to do a bit of work, making pooky a burrito costume, and peeling potatoes.

Potatoes. Before I moved to this area chicken and noodles was a soup you added crackers to and ate it like a soup. Here in this part of the country, and I am sure this can't be the only place, they are ladled over mashed potatoes and ate like a gravy. It sounded strange at first, but now I admit this is the best way to eat chicken noodles.

Last night Jason, Lane, and I went to the Goodwell haunted dorm. It wasn't as good this year as it always has been before. We decided to drive back through Guymon and go to their haunted house. It was very good, better than last year. We stopped for a milkshake and fries on the way home and arrived home two hours past their bedtime. It was worth it. Haunted houses are a tradition for the three of us. Lee never goes. He doesn't like to be scared. Dh goes with us occasionally depending on his mood. the three of us go every year. While in Guymon we stopped at the store for supplies. We ran into Lee's math teacher which doesn't surprise me at all. We always run into someone else from our town no matter where we are. She looked at the toilet paper, laughed and said that better not show up on her house. I assured her this was for friendly fire aimed at a friend. Now I am off to get things done. If you haven't signed up at Nanowrimo yet go do it now. You'll have fun, just do it.


Monday, October 08, 2007

Sunday breakfast leads to late night movie

When my children were babies I had this idyllic picture of them sitting at the table doing homework;I helped them while I cooked. Many times over the years this dream has came true. Some days, like yesterday, there was almost too much of a good thing. A large Sunday breakfast is becoming a weekly staple for my family. My mom, sisters, and their families come over and we eat way to much. Then we play cards and eat more breakfast food in the afternoon.
Last night Lee was doing a book report and writing a movie. The movie is for his multi-media class, and is a real neat project. The book report was on The Slaughter House Five, which I haven't read but have had it on my to be read list. Jason was trying to find a project for the science fair. He decided on testing the strength of different bridge styles. We had to run to Guymon for supplies then come home and put them together. All in all it was a good day.
One of the supplies he needed was fishing line. Dh gave him a reel of it and we decided to take it off the reel and wind it on a dowel. In between these two stages we ended up with a large tangle of fishing line. It was already past Jason's bedtime so I sent him off and finished it myself. I popped Notting Hill into the vcr to watch while I worked. It was almost two in the morning before I finished. This morning Jason asked me if I could just bring up his materials around twelve thirty. I guess that long night could have been cut short. It was good I didn't put it off though. I am cooking for the rec. board today. The bread is rising, the chicken is boiling, and the pie crust is resting. Untangling fishing line is job for night time.
Notting Hill movie is one of my favorites. I couldn't even tell you how many times I have watched it. Some of the movies I watch over and over again have a certain part that makes the whole thing worth seeing again. This isn't one of those movies. I can't pick out the best part. Everything from this being one of the last movies Hugh Grant wore the floppy hair style in, to the witty banter endear it to me. I'm not sure I will get this next quote right, so forgive me. One of my favorite lines is "James Bond never has to put up with this sort of shit." This line isn't uttered by either of the leads, which makes it even better to me. It is said by Max. He and Bella have the best love story to me. The main story line is great, but the love between Max and Bella puts me in tears every time.
Enough about movies. I could go on all day, but that is surely getting tedious. I have a confession to make. I do judge books by their covers. I also judge wines by their name. It sounds like a dicey way to choose a new wine, but I have had just as much luck that way as I have had by doing research. I was with Fria Chica the other day and I said across the store, "hey I found one named after you, Sweet Bitch."
She replied "The one next to it is you." I looked and it was named Royal Bitch. I bought her namesake and we tried it that night. Since neither her nor my mom are drink much wine I still had half a bottle left this morning. I poured most of it into the chicken I am boiling for chicken and noodles, and am drinking the last glass right now. It is early for anyone but the serious drunks to be drinking, but it felt right to have one glass before I go in to have a nap.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Shop locally?

I went to the lumber yard today to see how hard it would be to buy a piece of butcher block to cover an island. Impossible, obviously, to buy anything pre-made except cutting boards. Their advice was to make my own, which I have no intention of doing no matter how easy it is. As they gave their instructions on how to make butcher block they finished with "season it with vegetable oil". Then they again offered me the option of butcher block formica, they added that I would not be able to actually cut on it. They offered this even though I had made it clear my intent was to use this table as a cutting board.
I hope this is one of the few lumber yards in the country where a person as clueless as myself can exit feeling like they could rule the place. People do buy butcher block occasionally, I am certain of it. Just now I found the perfect piece online. I will not finish it with vegetable oil though because it can go rancid quite easily.

This is the second time this week I have been shocked by a local business. By local I mean in my county, the only store we have in town is a convenience store, a really good one.
My sons needed minutes added to their phones. I went into the phone company my children get their phones from. A girl I went to school with was behind the counter looking at the computer, another girl was standing next to her watching. I hadn't realized my old school friend was working there so we had a friendly conversation on how long she had been doing that. She looked back at the computer and pushed a few buttons.
It was obvious they were working on a problem and were worried about making me wait. To put them at ease I offered that I was in no hurry and to go ahead and finish. I addressed these remarks to my friend in an offhand manner and waited. When they were finished she coldly told the girl it was fixed and she could wait on me now. The look she shot me as she turned and walked, more of a sashay really, into one of the back offices clearly explained to me that she did not run a register, she was much more important than that. How is that for a compensating attitude?

The tomatoes and onions I bought from a local farm today are delicious. Not only that but the owner is always very knowledgeable about his produce. I offer up this up only to say that we have some very good local businesses here, but the other ones can really shove you to the Internet.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Wow, it is already October

I'm listening to an electro mix of Smells Like Teen Spirit. Sitting here, it makes me want to listen to the original. However, I think if I were dancing it would be great. Who am I fooling, I haven't been out dancing in ages.
Last month, at the End Of Summer Bash, we had a dance on the outdoor basketball court. It was a beautiful night and we girls drank and danced all night. We completely embarrassed our children, and if we were to ponder on it too long maybe ourselves, that is why we are against examining the night in a completely sober temperament. Most of the music played that night was hip hop, new country, or rock. Lee and his friend kept requesting techno music and the d.j. kept putting them off and getting annoyed with them. This is more of a country and hip hop area so I doubt they had much else with them. They weren't the only two unsatisfied with the music.
A bus of senior citizens had come up for the dance. One older man, he looked about eighty-five, walked up to one of the rec. board members and said "Your music sucks". They were expecting a more classic style of country music. The board member noticed that they were all folding up their chairs, so he went to the d.j. and asked them to play five country songs in a row. The bus was loaded and they were gone by the third song.
One of the best parts about nights like this is that I can have fun with my sisters and friends while my boys hang out and have fun. Even if we don't say more than five words to each other the whole night we still drive home together. I look around and check on them periodically. What were they doing? Lane was dancing with his friends. Lee was sitting on playground equipment talking with his friends, and occasionally dancing. Jason was sitting on the steps of a small slide making out with a girl he had just met.
Sidenote: Having a teenage driver is great. He is the official d.d. on nights like this.
To mention something more current. My lack of exercise has really been showing up in the mirror lately. I used to walk five miles a day, but when the girls came to stay with us I suddenly couldn't find the time. They have been gone for several months now, but I just started back up two nights ago. I only walked two miles, not quite up to five yet. Last night I didn't walk. I played tennis with Fria chica. Before her baby was born we were playing almost every night. We haven't really started playing regularly yet and he is three months old. Today my muscle are sore. That is okay though, because I am all alone. I wonder if being alone will always be so great, or if it only is now because it is a novelty. I won't find out anytime soon. Miss Universe is bringing Huggy Bear over in a few minutes. M.U. has to take Ed to the dentist, so I am babysitting.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blogger play and work

Blogger play is addicting. I almost didn't post because I have wasted too much time watching it. It is a distilled version of what I like about reading blogs. If books and movies are a journey into the lives of others, blogs are a snapshot. Blogger play is then just a quick glance into what other people are doing, seeing, and eating. One person was growing cilantro and another was growing pot. Some people are living lives that look very much like mine, others are so exotic. When I am on a road trip I sometimes notice all of the other people in cars around me. I wonder where they are going, if they are coming from somewhere happy or sad. Blogger play is like that, just one moment in someone else's life on display for me.

I have been going through a bit of a funk lately. Statistically my life looks to be on track. finally I have grown up and got a real job, with health benefits and a saving plan. Way inside my head though, not voiced to anyone else is the real thought. The fear that now I have chosen a path that is not mine. My job is great, fun even. I love the people I work with, they remembered my birthday and baked me a cake, it is that kind of a place to work. I think the problem my brain is having is that I have a retirement plan, and it is assumed I will still be there in thirty years. Is this what I want to do when I grow up? Finally, to appease myself, I gave myself permission to quit. Not today, just someday if I really find something I would rather be doing. This current job is my back up plan, in case I never find a band of gypsies to join up with.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Everywhere you look in my house you will see bugs. They are all at different levels of being captured, killed, and pinned to a board. At our high school sophomore is the bug collection year, so Lee has been collecting them for the past few months. It is really gross. I open my freezer and see bugs, on my table they are in jars and under upturned glasses, there is a shoe box of dried bugs in my living room, I can't wait for this project to be over.
I am not really an animal person so it was a shock to everyone, even me, when I decided we needed to get two puppies. A friend was giving some away and I, for some unexplainable reason, really wanted one. When we went to pick him up he was playing with his siblings and I felt really guilty taking him to my back yard were he would have to spend some days all alone. Lane and picked out another one and we brought them both home.
Some days I think about bringing them in and letting them spend time with us in the house, but I quickly shake that feeling off. A lady once said to me that she always let her pets in the house because she wanted them to be part of the family. My spoken reason for keeping them as outdoor pets is that my allergies just can't take indoor pets, which is true. Deep down I know that even without allergies I wouldn't want to have them indoors. Personally, I like to think of our pets more as close neighbors than as family members.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

It has been over a month

You may notice that by now it has been two months. I started this post August and never came back to it.

My life seems to be settling into a routine. The two weeks of training that came with my new are over. The first week was in Wichita. They would have paid for me to stay in a hotel for a week, but instead I took Lee and Lane with me and we stayed with Drama Queen. Jason stayed home for weightlifting and football practice, at thirteen he is all about sports.
Drama queen arranged to work almost every night we were there. She is saving up for a car and a few nights to work without having to pay a babysitter were a help. We had an enjoyable week. I was afraid the small, two bedroom apartment would start to feel crowded after a couple of days, but it really didn't. The six of us seemed to all be able to find enough space. On one of the last nights we were there Drama Queen didn't work. She sat outside on the balcony, drank a few beers, smoked plenty of cigs, and listened to music. At one point she came in to replenish her supplies and started laughing at us. Lane, Lee, and I all had a book light hooked onto our books and were laying around reading. I heard her boyfriend show up as I was drifting off to sleep. They either kept the noise level down or I was extremely tired, because I slept soundly all night. I wasn't annoyed at all until I went to get my yogurt out of the fridge for breakfast only to find it had been set out to make room for beer. The most annoying part was that they could have just shoved it onto another shelf, there was room. Or maybe they were just trying to help me overcome my yogurt addiction. I had to pause in the typing of that sentence to go grab a peach yogurt.
Two evenings Lane and the girls talked me into taking them to the apartment swimming pool. I love to swim so the first night they didn't have to talk very hard, but the second night I could remember how bad the pool water tasted and smelled. It really tasted like ass. Lane's eyes burned for a couple of hours after swimming the night before, but I took them anyway. After that second night I found other things to do. The day after we were back home that same murky pool was in the news. A five year old boy had drowned, and the poor water quality was being blamed. The little boy was at the bottom of the deep end and because of lack of visibility it took them five minutes to find his body.
My next week of training was in Liberal. Again they offered to put me up in a hotel, but it is just a forty-five minute drive. I picked up Islands in the Stream on cd for the driving time. While I enjoyed my training, I am glad it is over so my life can start to develop some sort of rythym.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Reading Harry Potter

Lane and I have finished the the new Harry Potter book. I read the first one aloud to my boys when they were quite a bit younger. For the first three books I read them a chapter or two then would send them to bed and pick up whatever book I was reading at the time. The series hooked me on the fourth book. With it after I sent them to bed I continued reading and ran two bookmarks. We never worried about reading them right when they came out, we waited and bought them in paperback. When the sixth one came out I didn't wait for the paperback, but I waited until I could get it used at Bookmans. This last time though Lane and I drove to Hastings, fifty-five miles one way, to get it as midnight. They were having a release party so we went a couple of hours early to see what all was going on. For the most part it was pretty lame. I have seen pictures of other release parties that have looked like fun, but most of them were at privately owned book stores. It's not that a chain couldn't have a fun party. It is just that there is not the same incentive for a manager who is getting paid no matter how the party goes as there is for a small business owner who relies on local customers for his income. Whatever the reason though, this one was lame because the workers looked bored. A basic rule for a party is if the hosts are having fun everyone else will have fun. If the hosts are looking at their watch trying to kill time until midnight the guests will do the same. Lane and I ended up reading comic books until the line formed. I had to be to work by seven the next morning, so we grabbed spots in the front of the line. As soon as we had our hands on two copies, one for Fria Chica, we were out the door. Of course we stopped and grabbed a few groceries on the way out of town. We don't have a grocery store in our small town so we never head home without at least milk and bread. Lane put a half a gallon of chocolate milk in the cart to drink on the way home. He read to me on the drive home and wanted to stay up and continue, but I had to get some sleep.
The next day he waited for me to get home, luckily I only worked half a day.
We spent the rest of that day and most of Sunday laying around reading to each other. It was odd that it was only the two of us this time. Lee would have joined us but he is still in Europe. Jason is thirteen and really has better ways to spend his time than reading with his family. The fun thing about just the two of us reading was that we could stop and talk about the book whenever we wanted, Lee never puts up with this kind of behavior. I would be reading and feel him jerk next to me and knew something had made him think. We would stop and talk about something that had happened earlier that this had cleared up, or what we thought this meant for the future. When Sunday night rolled around we still had 150 pages left. I told him that I wouldn't mind if he read on without me and that I would catch up. He waited for me though and we finished together on Monday night. At one point he interrupted the reading to mention that that all of the Harry Potter geeks that were dressed up Friday night were probably crying right now. We laughed at them then continued. A few pages later I had to hand him the book and let him read to me while I cried. He ducked his head in shame and said I can't believe my own mother is a Harry Potter geek. We finished that night and all I will say is 759 pages is a hell of a lot to read out loud.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Our government sucks

I don't watch a ton of news just because the media pisses me off. Even with the limited amount of news I take in I have managed to come up with an amazing amount anger aimed at our government. If I watched more news I would probably be a walking fireball of hatred. I don't write on politics often because I am not versed enough to speak well on the subject, and other bloggers Wil Wheaton's blog and scroll down to Please don't be afraid if you want to know how I feel about our nifty color coded terror alerts. There is a link in the places I visit column if you need it. It was posted on July 11th so you may need to scroll awhile. On your way down you will see a post about playing chess on roller coasters. I have been planning to do this and am a bit sad that so many people have already beat me to it.

What I have been doing

Six a.m. Saturday morning I watched Lee board his airplane. For weeks people had been asking me if I was nervous or scared and I really wasn't feeling either of those emotions. I was excited and jealous. At fifteen he is accomplishing one of my goals and living one of my dreams. To get to travel internationally, to see Europe and all of the places that have been a background to many of the books and movies we both love, I am very jealous. It helps that I am not a worrier so I haven't sat around and thought about everything that could go wrong. Dh has done enough of that for both of us. Whenever he brings up a possibility I counter with 'or we could drive to the store next week and have a car accident that kills us all.' I was really beginning to think I was a cold, cold, woman. Something I have often been accused of over the years. One day a dh pulled a beer out of a cooler and felt it to see if it was cold enough. It wasn't. He tossed it to me and asked me to hug it to my chest for a minute.
On the eight hour drive to the airport I was either reading, laughing, or talking, but not worrying. We arrived at the airport three hours early like they recommend for security, but the security workers hadn't got the memo. We sat there with two older ladies, who were heading to Cancun, for over two hours before the people who worked at the airport arrived. During this time we labeled his bag, talked over the problems he was expecting with changing planes in Detroit, and double checked his bag. You might notice we weren't flying to New York with him as originally planned, so he would be alone from the time he left us until he met up with his group in N.Y. The ticket counter finally opened and he was able to get his boarding passes. I suggested breakfast before he went into the gate. My scone wasn't the best I ever had, but it was edible. Lee had went with a yogurt parfait that looked much better, but he said the fruit didn't have much flavor. When he did start through gate security it hit me. He looked so young to be going out in the world alone. He put his shoes and belt into a tub. At this point we were separated. I started to cry, not a few graceful tears, outright bawling. I stood at the glass wall that separated us and watched him sit in a seat and put on his headphones. I walked away so he wouldn't look up and see me loosing it. I was wiping my eyes and trying to control myself when I heard them announce first class boarding. He had his headphones on, he probably couldn't hear. I ran back to the glass, which is frosted for the first five feet, peered over the frosted line and saw him there with his headphones lowered listening to the announcement. I was sending my baby out alone in the world, but he was ready. I continued to cry until the plane took off. Then I had a nap. I wonder if I would have cried so much if I hadn't went twenty-four hours without sleep.
I woke up an hour later when it was my turn to drive and felt much better. We stopped at Wichita and spent a couple of days with Drama Queen and the girls. She was working nights that weekend so we took the girls to the dog races. That is one of the many places I would never have went on my own but have experienced because I married a redneck. We ordered supper, which I have to say was one of the best meals I've ate out in a while. After we ate Dh let the girls pick dogs and place bets while I ordered a bottle of wine. I will go anywhere and sit through anything if I have a good book with me. Kite Runner is an excellent book and intriguing enough to keep my attention no matter what is going on around me. Seriously, if you haven't read it yet go read it. Back at the apartment I put the girls to bed and stayed up way to late finishing it. We woke up early the next morning so we could get to the zoo before it got way too hot. It is baby season at the zoo so our trip was great. I loved the baby rhinoceros, but Curly Top couldn't tear herself away from the baby giraffe long enough to look at it. At one point after we had been staring at the giraffe for fifteen minutes I drug her over to the rhino. We looked at it for a few minutes until she looked up at me and said 'I have to get back to that giraffe.' So we walked over and watched it stand on wobbly legs for several more minutes until I coaxed her away with the promise of a sno-cone.
After the zoo we took them to Chuck E. Cheese to eat and play, then home for a nap. They had been staying at our house for the two weeks before our trip. We had dropped them off with their mother on our way to the airport. In that one weekend our household size dropped from seven to four. It is very quiet here now. Lane stays the night at Miss Universe's house a lot during the summer. Two of her kids are close in age to him. Mon is only seven months older and Ed is just a year younger that Lane. The three of them have grown up together and are quite the threesome. That leaves only Jason and I here for a good part of the day and he sleeps until noon. Last night Jason and I stayed up and watched Man on Fire. This is one of those movies I have been meaning to watch, but never have. It was very good. It was over at two and I went in to brush my teeth. Jason came in as I was finishing and begged me to stay up and watch another movie with him. 'Absolutely not' I told him, but asked which movie he was going to watch, just in case. His answer? In the Army Now. Now that made me laugh. How can you follow Man on Fire with that? I asked.
I am going to jump out of chronological order a bit here and talked about the eleventh. Of course we went to the midnight showing of The Order Of The Phoenix. We had a big group, so to ensure that we could all sit together we arrived an hour early. Our group consisted of myself, Fria Chica, My brother, two of his friends, Tams, Lee, Jason, Lane, and Ed. Before when we have went to midnight showings at this same theater they have opened the doors, let people buy tickets and wait in line in the theater. At the last LOTR we took a monopoly game and sat on the carpet and played. This time they kept the doors locked and made us wait in two lines, one of people who already had tickets, and one filled with those odd creatures who were trusting enough to wait. The theater is in the back of the mall, which was closed, so hundreds of people were packed into the mall corridor with the air conditioner off. Not pleasant at all.
I didn't know what to expect from this movie. Of all of the H.P. books so far this was my least favorite. I understand that she had to pack a lot of info into the book to transition the series from the school adventure feel the first books had to the full scale war feel the next few books would have. All of that info made for a thick book that moved slowly in spots. That is not what I disliked about the book, but I could see where that could make for tricky movie making. What I disliked about the book was how whiny Harry was.
I'll try to do this without any spoilers. Watching the movie I understood Harry's moods better and the reason for the moodiness. They certainly didn't make a slow moving movie. The school year seemed to zip past at an amazing speed. That is unfortunate if you are a Sirius fan because I just didn't get to spend enough time with him in this movie. It had been a few years since I read the book, so I expected to be able to watch the movie without those annoying thoughts in my head about all of the changes. They cut out so much of the story, anything that wasn't fast enough to fit the adventure pace, that it was impossible to not start thinking about what was missing. The next day Tam's stopped by while I was cooking a meal for the Rec. board. She has only read the first three books, but has seen all of the movies. I asked her a few questions like 'Did you understand why the Centaurs were so angry with Umbridge, or why it was important for Hagrid to try and talk to the Giants, or why Umbridge measured Flitwick.' Of course her answer was no and that most Harry Potter fans would sit through a longer movie to find out. I really understand that to make a good movie some things have to be changed, but the whole feel of the book shouldn't have been altered. What they made was a good children's adventure movie that would be fine standing alone, but as part of a building series it fell far short.
Oh and by the way, I interviewed on Tuesday for the job. Yesterday I got the call saying the job was mine. So there I go, after almost five years I am considered a career employee and will get a benefits, and a seventeen mile commute. I thought I would feel some sort of emotion at this point, but I really don't. The raise, which more than doubles what I am making now, is going to be nice though.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Denied Nirvana

I think baseball season is over. Not that I haven't enjoyed it, but it can really eat up time. Two games a night, two nights a week, during season play leaves little time for much else. Then all stars came up and practices were five nights a week and seventeen hours away. That meant I had to drive Lane to practice and sit and wait. Okay that part wasn't so bad, because it was the only reading time I had. Here I am complaining and this is the first time in six years we haven't had two kids playing ball. Yesterday was the district tournament. We arrived in Liberal an hour early as required. Most of the parents were watching the game that had to play before ours could start. I took my water and apple and sat in the stands to watch the game. Two minutes of that was enough for me. Across the parking lot there was a quiet park full of trees. Suddenly I was filled with an urge to sit in the dappled shade and read my book. I jumped down and headed towards my minivan to grab a book. I was almost there when I heard a 'Hey, hey.' I looked over and there was another ball mother sitting in her car. We started talking and before I knew it I was being told to have a seat. I never know how to get out of those situations gracefully, so I sat. My back was to the park so at least I didn't have to stare at my denied nirvana.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

A baby and a party

Fria Chica had her baby on the third of July, which happens to be Miss Universe's birthday. He weighed eight lbs. two oz. At one day old he is already being spoiled. On his father's side he is the first grandchild so his paternal grandmother bought him gifts every time she left the hospital. On our side he is number eleven. There is not one of the ten before him that has not been spoiled rotten, so there really is no hope for him either.
While we were in the hospital we were adding up how old Lee would be when this new little guy graduated from high school. Lee will be thirty-three, the same age as I am now. When my age was mentioned my mom was noticeably shocked. She never thinks of us as that old. To her we will always be kids. The shock goes both ways, when I realized she was about to be fifty-five I went into denial. My mom never seems old. In our minds we have as a family frozen at a certain age and will probably always stay there.
We had our annual block party on the third also. I don't know if we ever intended it to be an annual party, but we had one two years in a row so this year people in town kept asking what day we were having our party. We call it a block party because we close the street on both sides of the block and have a party that fills the whole block which starts at my yard and finishes at Anna's yard, but Anna and I are the only two on the block that actively participate in planning the party. We really don't have many families on our street, which is why we get away with the noise until three in the morning every year. Evelyn, an older lady who lived next door to me, passed away last month, so her house is empty. She never came out into the street, but she sat on the porch and watched all night. The older couple who live in a travel trailer across the street surprised us by coming out and joining the fun for the first two years, but this year they left right before we blocked the streets and came home as we were cleaning up. For years my children called the man Grouchy ass, not undeservedly, which is why we were surprised whenever he showed up with homemade ice cream. His wife is in advancing stages of Alzheimer's, so that may be why they stayed away this year. Next door to him is a trailer that changes occupants frequently. We usually invite who ever is living there but this year nobody was home. Across from Anna lives Miss Universe's mother-in-law. For the last two years they have been out of town in July. This year I have no idea why they didn't come out. Three out of four of their son's were the last people to leave. I have taken too many words to explain that while we call it a block party very few of the people who come every year are actually from our block. It is more of a community party. Every year, and this one was no exception, we end up with quite a few people from out of town here. Last year we had a group of men from South Africa show up, this year it was just a group from Elkhart. Our philosophy is the more the merrier so we always make enough food for over a hundred. With the drunks making a second pass at the table around midnight we end up with very little left overs.
My little brother is driving up from Tuscon this weekend. He is bringing his two boys, but leaving his wife at home to work. They come up so rarely it becomes quite an event when they do. Out of the six kids in our family he is the only one who lives more than four hours away. Three of us live in this same small town. I know he feels better knowing he got away, but I think life is too short to live so far from the people we love.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

A couple of unrelated thoughts

This time last year I was talked into trying for a job in the Elk. office if an opening came up. I was lukewarm on the idea at the time, but after a year of fermenting the idea has started to sound really good. Thursday I found out that I will be interviewed, eventually. I swear, they expect me to complete my work in double time and they take months to do anything. The problem is the lady doing the hiring, who I really like and would enjoy working with, is choosing between me, one of her good friends, and the daughter of another one of her good friends. My chances aren't looking too good are they?

Tuesday night Miss Universe and I went to Wichita to pick up Princess and Curly top. I have been working so much I haven't really spent much time with them. Even so I am glad they are here for the few hours a day we do get to spend together. Drama Queen has put me through a roller coaster of emotions over the last two years. From what I saw of her this week I'm afraid she is starting up for another ride. I don't know if I have the strength. My emotions have went from worry, to fear, to anger, to empathy, to hope, to pride, to joy. I am back at worry and wondering how to jump the tracks.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Not bad for a Monday

Mondays used to be my favorite day of the week. I worked Friday-Sunday. When I dropped the kids off at school Monday morning it was my chance to have some time to myself. Of course now it is summer, which means very little time to myself. On top of that I have been and will be working every Monday for an indefinite amount of time. To make my day a little more tiring my body decided yesterday would be a perfect day to start trolling for vampires.
After work I jumped into my van, which has a broke air conditioner, and went to get a chocolate shake. If I have to drive seventeen miles in 98 degree weather I want ice cream. The burger place I usually stop at was out of ice cream for the next hour. The convenience store didn't even sell ice cream bars. I grabbed a flavored water and drove home. When I made it home I realized it was going to be one of those rare evenings when everybody but me had something to do. Once I closed the door behind the last of my family I opened a bag of kisses with almonds and sat down to watch t.v. all alone.
My plans for the evening were to veg out for a minute while eating too much chocolate, wander over here and post on this neglected blog, go get my ass kicked in tennis, read a bit, and go to bed. Instead I answered the phone when it rang. Huggy bear's grandparents called, as they usually do when they are babysitting and I am home, and hinted that they would like me to come and get her. I pouted as I walked the block to their house. The minute I saw her smiling face, which really did light up when I walked in, I quit pouting and picked her up. We went home and ate the whole bag of kisses together. She handed me the almonds after sucking all of the chocolate off of them. I looked around for a napkin or plate to set them on, since nothing like that was within reach I just ate them.
The phone never stopped ringing so I ended up taking some lighter fluid down to Anna's house. We sat in her yard and drank a couple glasses of white wine while H.b. chattered on to the dog and cat. After dropping Huggy bear off with her dad I went to the school with Tams to check the renovations they are making in her room. We sat in the middle of the mess and talked about the idiots surrounding us. We often say the world would be a much better place if everybody would just do things our way.
Fria Chica and I went to play tennis. For once I won. We played two matches and I won them both. I cheered and did a Rocky impersonation. I like to think I didn't rub it in too much, but I probably did. Some might say I won because we have been playing almost every day for a few months and my skills have improved. It could be that my backhand is getting stronger, and I am gaining more control of the ball. Or it could be that the baby has dropped really low into the birth canal, she is effacing, and the nurse just that same day said the baby could come any minute now.
It does say something about my skills when a nine month pregnant lady has been beating me all month, and I still had to fight really hard to win this time. I am so glad she didn't have the baby last night. At least she can't say, 'yeah, but I was in labor.'

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

I have been on hold with an airline for the last one hour and fifteen minutes. What do you do in this situation? Do you hang up and call back later, or consider the time already invested and stick it out? During this time I have found aspartame in my yogurt. I blame the Reagan administration for this. I should not have to carefully screen every ingredient in my purchases to protect myself from brain cancer.

summer time

What am I doing with my summer vacation? Not enough of what I would like to be doing. I am working more than usual this summer. I watch four baseball games a week. Fortunately this is the last week of that. When the girls went home to live with their mother I felt an empty spot in my life so I started working on the hot tub I had been planning in my head. I haven't had much time to mess with it either though. The empty spot in my life was something I expected and planned for. What I didn't expect was actual physical pain. For the first two weeks after I took them home I hurt. It is hard to explain a pain that doesn't radiate from any single part of the body. It just settled in and made itself at home.
Princess and Curly top weren't always easy and they took more time than all three boys did put together, but after a year we were at a point where we were used to the extra work and didn't notice it. What we noticed were the extra smiles in our house, and the extra good night kisses. Sometimes when I'm out working in the yard I still look up and try to find them riding their bikes. The pain has lessoned now. I don't spontaneously burst into tears any more, but I still miss them. One day not long after they left I went to the pool to take Lane some money. As I walked out I noticed a bike exactly like Princess's. It was thrown carelessly on the cement. Princess was very particular about her bike, she would have put the kickstand down and made sure it was stable before she ran into the pool. This one thought set off my tears. My house is a quieter place now, less fighting, crying, and whining, but also less giggles, hugs, and people to tickle.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

No good excuse for the absence

I am behind in nearly every portion of my life right now. Why would this blog be any different? My two jobs seem to be the only parts of my life that I am keeping current at. Well, I have also read three books this week. Can I count them as therapy? A while back I noticed I wasn't reading much. That disturbed me. Part of that was not having as much free time. There were five kids running through my house demanding silly things from me. At the end of the school year more kids means more field trips, more programs, more treats to be made for parties. One Friday I rode on a bus full of first and second graders to the zoo, the next I met the fourth and fifth graders at a fishing pond. The high point of the zoo trip was watching the kids standing way to close to the Rhino's fence then trying to dodge the urine he shot at them. Since I was thinking ahead to the ride home I was rooting for the kids, otherwise seeing them get shot with urine would have made my day. Part of me was thinking that the fishing trip was a lame field trip. The pond was only ten miles out of town. Not much of a trip. I was wrong it was actually a lovely day. Before lunch I read a little and watched the kids play. I didn't think about there being a naked Barbie on the cover of my book until dh pointed it out. Would somebody find this an offensive thing to bring to a grade school activity? Did I care if they did? I gave it some thought and decided that the people who found it offensive would probably be the same ones who would be offended by reading a book an openly gay man wrote about his life. So I shrugged and didn't worry about it. The kids fished, I spread out a blanket in the shade. At noon Curly top, Huggy bear, dh, and I ate a picnic lunch. Lane was too busy having a water fight to eat. After lunch I hauled the kids around in the paddle boat. Then with my legs feeling like jello I drove home.
So yes I have been busy, but lack of time wasn't the only reason I wasn't reading. There just seemed to be a lack of concentration within me. For most of my life I have been in the middle of a book. When you are in the middle of a book there seems to be another layer to life. Throughout the day, when you are going about your life, their are characters in the back of your head. They hang out in your thoughts giving you something to think about. Sometimes, and this may just be me being odd, I see my world through their eyes. I don't understand people who don't like to read. Their life seems limited to their own experiences. I was becoming one of them. None of the books I picked up engaged me.
Last summer Lee and I made a deal that involved me reading one Steve Alten book and him reading one Terry Pratchett book. Neither of us fulfilled our part. Lee brought it up during this slump and handed me Domain. The next day I sat down to read and after a few paragraphs noticed Curly top was watching a Sponge bob I had never seen. Before I knew it the book was resting in my lap while I watched cartoons. I picked it up again and read a little further then I realized I wasn't reading any longer, but staring at the ceiling thinking about the universe. Now that is an acceptable time out. That is one of the things books are for, to give you a thought and let you mind run with it for awhile. That evening I did settle down and read. It was just what I needed. I read it in two long gulps. My dry spell was over.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Lee and Huggy bear

Here is a picture of Lee and Huggy bear. She went to Tuscon with her parents for a week and I missed her terribly. The second best thing about having sisters is that they keep having kids for me. More kids, no new stretch marks.

The Cloud Room

For an hour I have been online with the intentions of posting. Why haven't I? It sounds silly, but my head is too full of posts to start. Mentally I have wrote so many over the past week that I have not typed up. For some reason it is times like this when I find it hardest to start. Instead I have been looking at silly things while I listen to Los Campesinos and The Cloud Room. I started listening to The Cloud Room in 2005 when Sabrina at put the video to Hey Now Now on her website. It has been fun to watch their Internet presence grow over the last two years. I used to check music sharing sites for their songs and not be able to find any. Then one day Lee yelled "Hey I found your stupid song." That was a happy day. Today I was checking their tour schedule and squealed when I read they were going to be in Denver. Denver is a six hour drive, but really is the closest I can hope for. I can't really expect them to show up in Dodge City can I? Then I remembered that I can't really afford to take another trip right now, especially with gas at $3.30 a gallon. We are planning a family trip to New York this summer. On top of that I promised Jason I would take him to a concert this summer and he wants to go to Rockfest in Kansas City. I can't complain, but sometimes I still do.

Here is one of the silly things I have been doing today. I have also found out that Jessica Simpson is my celebrity breast twin, although unlike mine, her breasts are probably still closer to her chin than her belly button.

You are The Lovers

Motive, power, and action, arising from Inspiration and Impulse.

The Lovers represents intuition and inspiration. Very often a choice needs to be made.

Originally, this card was called just LOVE. And that's actually more apt than "Lovers." Love follows in this sequence of growth and maturity. And, coming after the Emperor, who is about control, it is a radical change in perspective. LOVE is a force that makes you choose and decide for reasons you often can't understand; it makes you surrender control to a higher power. And that is what this card is all about. Finding something or someone who is so much a part of yourself, so perfectly attuned to you and you to them, that you cannot, dare not resist. This card indicates that the you have or will come across a person, career, challenge or thing that you will fall in love with. You will know instinctively that you must have this, even if it means diverging from your chosen path. No matter the difficulties, without it you will never be complete.

What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Odd meeting

On April 23rd dh, Curly top, and I went to watch Lee's golf meet. The night before Lee had sat us down and explained the strict rules we were to follow. He made it very clear that if we messed up, and he was disqualified, he would be pissed. The rules were straightforward. We had to be quiet, couldn't carry his bag or touch any of his equipment, and no comments could be made that might be considered coaching. He went into detail on this, we could say 'nice shot', but could not say anything like, 'turn left next time', or 'softly'. We took him seriously. I even went as far as to teach Curly Top to make an 'e' and a 'd' in sign language in case she needed to ask for something to eat or drink while they were teeing off.
Another boy had his family watching him too. The mom and sister were in an extremely loud golf cart, which they were constantly starting up to pull ahead two feet. The dad and brother walked with the golfer, stopping now and again to take his club from him and show him how to hit the next ball. The brother even hit a few balls now and again, causing some confusion as to which ball was his and which was his brothers. Once the little girl ran out onto the fairway and picked up the golfers ball and was waving it around. Needless to say dh and I were entertaining ourselves by making fun of them. We were calling them the poster family for rednecks and trying to guess which brand of tobacco the wife chewed at home and if the kids were being started out on menthol first.
About the seventh hole Curly Top was starting to get tired of walking. She wasn't whining yet, but she was dragging her feet. The loud cart stopped next to us and offered her a ride. I felt like an ass every time I heard her laughing. She was having fun with them, and they were treating her very well. It was too late to take back my rude jokes and I can't even say I didn't make any more after that, I most likely did. Well, I never claimed to be a nice person.
My jokes did slow down though, because I had something else to occupy my mind. Where did I know this lady from? Out of the corner of my eye, I kept studying her. I definitely knew her from somewhere. The problem was I didn't know which town they were from. Golf teams had come from all over southwest Kansas. Then as I was walking by the cart Curly Top asked me something. I looked back and for the first time had a good view of the little girl's face. Now that was a face I recognized right away. She looked just like her father, who I had been married to for eighteen months.
I had recognized her mother because we had met once at a soccer game in Hugoton. This was right after she had divorced my ex husband. We don't have any contact with him even though we live within twenty miles of each other. Dh adopted Lee years ago, so there is now reason to. As far as I know there are no ill feelings on either side. Our divorce was caused mainly because of differences of opinion about parenting. I believed much less drugs should be involved in the lifestyle. He agreed, but would have no part of that kind of thing. We haven't kept any secrets from Lee, but I haven't went around pointing out any half siblings either; it would be a full time job.
That night I asked Lee if he wanted me to point out any of his biological's children if he we ran into them. He shrugged and said he didn't care either way. Of course he knew I had a reason for this question, so he asked. "Who was it?" I told him it was the little girl. He laughed and took a few steps toward the kitchen, then he stopped in his tracks. I knew right away what his next question was. I pictured the loud, redneck father with his missing teeth and beer gut that had been at the golf meet.
I laughed "Don't worry that wasn't him, whole different gene pool."
"Thank God, I was about to go shoot myself." He replied.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Not shrimp

I was a bit puzzled yesterday when Dh called the dinner we were going to a shrimp fest. About twice a year one of the companies he delivers oil to have a huge crawdad feed. Why had they switched to shrimp? I was hoping he was right; I would much rather peel a shrimp. I never did figure out why he said that. We arrived and it was crawdads they were serving. Lane, Princess, and Curly top were the only children that had went with us. The girls had never even seen a crawdad before so I knew they were about to be grossed out. We were a little late so there was not much of a line. Piled at the start of the table were a bunch of cardboard trays. The were actually those shallow boxes that cans are shipped in. From the large pile I handed one to each of the children and kept one for myself. After I watched the large man who was serving the crawdads dump a large scoop into the person's tray in front of me I reached over and put Curly top's tray back up. Princess shook her head no at the man and passed him by. The next server put a boiled red potato into my box, Curly top didn't want one of those either. She did want an ear of corn so I asked for two of those. Princess was happily accepting everything she was offered now that she was past the crustaceans. A bowl of white rice was covered with spice beans and sausages and handed to me. Curly top said no to rice, but she would take some beans. We both passed on buttered white bread, but I made two for Princess. She would eat hers quickly since this is her favorite food. Most of the people were just taking them to butter their corn with. On our way to sit down I see another table serving hot dogs and hamburgers. Our hands were full so we passed by the ice chests full of pop and headed further into the crowded shop to find a seat. As I was walking I tipped my box to one side and juice from the crawdads spilled out of a hole in one corner and ran down my jeans and splashed on my shoe. Great, now I was going to stink.
After we were seated I took the kids back up and to grab a drink. Princess filled another plate with hot dogs and chips. Curly top took a pop and a bag of chips and this was all she would eat that night. The corn I had for her was sitting too close to the crawdads so she refused to eat it. The same with the bowl of beans. The only things she would eat were packaged and sealed when she received them. Kind of odd for a five year old, but she has always been a bit odd about her food. One day last year she wanted a second bowl of oatmeal. As I was carrying it back to her I lifted a spoonful to my lips to feel how hot it was. I didn't actually touch any of it, I was just feeling how much heat was coming off of it. She would not eat it. She said she couldn't eat it now because it smelled like me.
Now that the kids were all busy eating I settled down to the dirty job of peeling these things. There are not many things uglier than a crawdad. I am always happy to pull off the tail and toss the rest of the creature to the side. Unlike a serious eater I do not suck the brains out of the head. Honestly, I'm not putting the head anywhere near my face. I pull the meat out of the first tail and dip it into the sauce. Woah, something is extremely salty. I dipped my potato into the sauce and taste it. No it isn't the sauce somebody must have went a little crazy when salting the water. After a few more pieces of meat I become used to the salt. I like the flavor of the meat, but after a while I move on to my rice and beans. I eat mine and most of Curly top's bowl and I was stuffed. People are going back to have their boxes refilled. My problem is that I never like my food to be so much work. That is why I don't eat many crab legs or sunflower seeds either. I used about ten complimentary baby wipes to wash the itchy juice off of my hands. The itchiness is gone, but they probably still stink even though I washed them twice once I was home. I take the girls to see the pots the are cooking the crawdads in. They always remind me of large Bunsen burners. We then look into the buckets of water that are holding the live ones. There are always a group of boys hanging around these buckets picking them up and playing with them. I'm sure the crustaceans are thrilled, first they are a petting zoo, then the are boiled alive. I won't be surprised if I turned the girls into vegetarians yesterday.
While we were eating Curly top pulled my sleeve and said 'Hey look it's that girl I was playing with the other day, at the golf place.' I looked up and there they were. I'll have to explain this odd coincidence in my next post.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Before I get started I need send out a quick thought to one particular driver.

Hey, guy in the over-sized, blue pick-up. That's right you, the one with his name painted on the back window. I don't know what your hurry was last night, but did you really save more than a second or two by passing me right before you slowed down to turn? Or was your turning such an important event that it deserved two vehicles slowing down for it rather than just the one? I hope, for your sake, that you are more considerate to people than that when you are not driving, because if not you are a real asshole.

What does that say about me when merely having to slow down when I didn't need to caused so much ire?

Dh just called me and asked what I was doing. After my answer that I was cooking supper for tonight he very cautiously said that he had forgot to tell me that we had been invited to a shrimp fest tonight. You would think that after fourteen years he would know that I am basically a lazy person. Instead of getting angry, I was thrilled. Not only do we get to eat a meal tonight that I don't have to cook, but I now also have supper ready for tomorrow night. Luckily I was making stuffed shells, which in my opinion is better after it sits a day.
Usually I don't start cooking supper at 9:00 a.m. unless I am making something that needs to cook all day. Most days I start looking through the cabinets to figure out what I'm going to cook thirty minutes before I need to have it done. Since I'm already starving by this point I grab a handful of Manzanilla olives to eat while I look. Today I was making an exception because I am working all week. On Friday an office called to see if I would fill in Monday and Tuesday afternoon and all day Wednesday. I was already scheduled to work in an office here in town Thursday and Friday. Now I need to go call my sisters and collect on some free babysitting I've surely earned.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Which finger?

You Are a Pinky

You are fiercely independent, and possibly downright weird.
A great communicator, you can get along with almost anyone.
You are kind and sympathetic. You support all your friends - and love them for who they are.

You get along well with: The Ring Finger

Stay away from: The Thumb

I'm not sure how accurate this quiz was. For almost every question it was really hard to choose between two answers. O.k. the down right weird part may be accurate.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

If your not a criminal shouldn't you be free?

Magic Bellybutton: I want to be free

Please go read this story. That we are letting children be treated like this in our country is shameful. If you feel as strongly as I do, which is very strong, that these are the type of stories our media should be covering and leaving the celebrity gossip to the tabloids then link to her post or write about it in your blog. This story is about something we can and should change in our country.

While we are at let's all write to our national news providers and tell them how we feel about the quality of our news. I apologize to any international readers for aiming this story specifically at local readers, but really civil rights shouldn't have national boundaries, so express your outrage from wherever you are. Sheesh, I'm in Texas on a monthly basis and only heard about this because of a delightful blogger in Australia

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Bithday party and prom

We survived the sleepover, and most of the chips have been vacuumed up. Most years we have warm, sunny weather for Lane's party. We go outside and play kickball or soccer. Not this year. Friday it started out misty and cold. By ten it was hailing. At eleven-thirty they canceled school because of snow. For the first two hours of the party he had invited his whole class. That meant I was going to need to entertain over twenty kids indoors. Since he loves Law and Order I had decorated his cake like a crime scene, complete with chalk outlines and a bloody knife. to entertain them I wrote up a mystery for them to solve and gave them all pencils and little notebooks to write the clues on. They got to keep these in the place of goody bags. Dh was very vocal about this not working and that they would hate it, but since he didn't have a better idea we went with it. I didn't hold back from rubbing it in when they seemed to be having fun with it.

The next night was prom. In a small school, our senior class has about 18 students, several underclassmen get invited as dates. They also invite the school board members, all of their current teachers, and all of their previous teachers to the banquet. Lee is a freshman this year and a senior girl asked him to go to prom with her. Every year the sophomore class serves the meal, their reward is getting to go to the dance. I guess I can count on having to rent a tux for the next three years too. One of the memorable moments of the night for me, as an adult the prom pretty much means a free meal and slipping on heels, was how damn handsome Lee looked in his tux. His kindergarten teacher is retired and lives out of town, so he hadn't seen her in while. When he walked up to say hello she stopped looked him over and said she almost wished he were her date. He talked to her a bit about his upcoming trip to Europe and she put into words the reason I have been working so hard to make this happen for him. She and her husband have done quite a bit of traveling themselves. She took him by the arm and said, "Wait until you get over there and see we don't have a corner on the world. You'll see the things they are doing with art, historical buildings, and recycling and be amazed." I really believe that if more of our young people traveled, less of them would grow up thinking that being an American means being right all of the time. I don't mean to slam my country here. I am very proud to be an American and proud of some of the great things we have accomplished. However, I have listened to our government tell us that to be true Americans we have to think as they do, when to me the best thing about being an American is being allowed to think for one's self.
I'm not sure how I got off on that tangent. Back on topic, another thing that I was reminded of on prom night is how mean high school girls can be. After prom I popped back up to drop of some plain clothes for Lee. He wanted them to wear to the after party. I asked one of the senior boys how prom had went and he said it sucked. Lee explained to me that this boy's date, a freshman girl, refused to dance with him most of the night. The poor boy had not realized beforehand that she only agreed to go with him because she wanted to go to prom, not because she wanted to go with him.

The thing about being a parent is that one day I can be gushing about how great my son is and the next day I want to kill him, literally. Sunday I told him to put his tux back on the hanger so I could return it. There is a late fee so I had to return it that day even though I really didn't feel like making a trip. Since I was going anyway I made a list of a few things I needed at the store. It was a beautiful day so I put the trip off for awhile and took a walk in the country with my mom, the girls, and Jason. We walked a couple of miles out. We took a stroller so Curly top wouldn't have to walk on the way home, so we could go that far. There were still patches of snow on the ground from Friday, so I got hit by several snowballs. Jason packed one so tight I was sure I was going to have a bruise.
As I was getting ready to leave I reminded Lee to put his tux on the hanger. He was leaving to go to my mom's house so he ran to his room before he left. I went back to get the tux and it was on the hanger all right. He had tossed the hanger on his bed then tossed the clothes on top of it. I went through my repertoire of curse words as I hung it up myself. When I got to the store I realized the pants were missing. The store closed in thirty minutes and there was no way to avoid the late fee. Worse than the fee was knowing I had to make the trip again in the morning. He was very lucky that I had time to cool down on the drive home. He was also lucky that Jason had went with me and suggested stopping for a milkshake. We had such a good time together that my mood had improved considerably by the time we made it home.
I had an appointment in Guymon the next morning to pick up the cheese Lee had sold as a fund raiser, so I buckled Huggy bear into her car seat and drove in a ninety-five mile circle that morning. We had to be home by eleven to pick Curly top up from preschool.
The crazy part of the trip was that I was dying to buy something. I never run out of town for just one little thing. If I am going I have a list of things to do since I try to only go every couple of weeks. As I left the clothing shop I kept trying to think of something I might need even though I kept telling myself I didn't need anything. I looked back at Huggy bear and wondered if she needed anything. She was content with her crackers and a bottle, so I thought about stopping for ice cream. I didn't really want ice cream, I just had a silly need to do something. Logic won out though and I just drove on home. I also overcame the urge to kill my firstborn.