Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas And Crafts

This is going to be a very picture heavy post.  I realized it's been almost a week and I haven't posted the Christmas pattern and thank's to Flauta Mom's comment on Wednesday's post, I realize that I haven't shared pictures of my crafted goodies for quite a while.  So, please bear with me while I show off a bit.

I'll start off with the Christmas pictures first and then we'll move on to the crafty ones.  Some of the crafted goodies were gifts, some were just because and some were purely for me.

Anyhow, this top picture is of our tree at 6:00 in the morning Christmas day, after Momma, Daddy and Santa had left all the goodies under the tree.  You can see the three stuffed stockings to the left there among all the all other goodies.  Yes, there were lots and lots of goodies under the tree, and Boo's train from last year is there circling the tree and presents.  (Boo loves the train, loves playing with the train, but doesn't like to run it... odd little boy that he is!)

Here's Boo opening his stocking.  He had plenty of goodies hiding in there.  I love these stockings; they look huge, but really don't hold all that much.  That's both a good and bad thing for the stocking-stuffer.

 One of the few things that Boo actually asked for this year was "a new Trey".  So, Santa obliged and brought Trey a new friend.  After several days, Boo finally decided that yes, Rocky is a good name for the new dinosaur.  (He wanted to name him Trey, but we told him that would be too confusing as we already have a Trey...)  Anyhow, this is Trey and Rocky meeting for the first time and they really hit it off.  No jealousy here from Trey.

 Here is Boo trying to open the present from Uncle Jon and Aunt Becca.  They got him this really awesome play mat from Ikea that has roads, some construction and even a race track and a helipad on it.  The thing is almost as tall as he is when it's rolled up!  He did manage to get it open and it's now on the floor in front of his bed.  We've had several fun adventures playing on it.

 After downing his breakfast, Boo settled in on the sofa with the new puppy from his stocking, Rocky, Trey, Snake (I made that one for him...) Baby Trey and Kelly and his new Mobigo game.  He looks way more than three in this picture!  Where is my baby?

Here is two of the gifts that Gak and I got Boo.  In the background you can see the kitchen stuff and he's playing with the toolbox.  (Only after Christmas did Boo and I go to Ikea and I found that they have some really awesome aluminum cookware and utensils that I could have gotten for what I payed for the plastic stuff... oh well, live and learn.)  He really has fun with both, but I think the real hit is the tape measure.

Here is Boo opening his gift at Amma's house.  He got a brand new Kermit the Frog.  I had one almost just like it when I was little and loved it to pieces.  Now Boo has one.  He really loved The Muppets when we went to see them last month.  Kermit has been a favorite of his, but he also really likes Walter, the newest Muppet added to the crew.

Now on to the crafty pictures.  I'll try and limit how many pictures of each project I give.  There are a few that I'll have more than one picture of, just because I kinda need to for the details.  These aren't in any chronological order, not really in any order but *shrug* it'll do.

Above you could somewhat see an "S" that I had made Boo that I turned into a snake.  Here is the "B" Bear, "Z" Zebra and "R" Raccoon I made for Billy, Zoe and Rachel for Christmas.  This all started when I made the M-bunny for Mary this fall.  No, I didn't get a picture of it, but it's an "M" made out of the same pink as Rachel's "R" and looks like a bunny.  I think my bear looks a little more like a cat than a bear and the raccoon... well, I wasn't going to try again.

I got a new jacket this winter (and there's a bit of an adventure behind it, which I won't go into... let's just say I made an "oops" and leave it at that...).  So, since I had a new jacket, I needed a new hat.  I'd been eyeing up a pattern on the Lion Brand website for a month or two and I found some luscious cotton yarn in the perfect color at Juniper Place Yarns, my local yarn store and did this up in just a few hours.  The hardest part was the little pom-pom on the top.  I love the hat, even if I'm less than in love with the jacket (at least the jacket only cost me $30...)

These two pictures are of the blanket that I made for Jon and Becca.  It's a combination birthdays, wedding, winter holidays and housewarming.  This is a very unique blanket in many ways, including the fact that the base chain is 78 * 2 (they were both born in 1978) and that the row repeats are 10, 1, 4, 19, 12, 9 and then 10 and 1 again.  This would be Jon's birthday and Becca's birthday bracketed by their wedding day.  So, like I said, this is a very unique blanket.  I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed making it.  This was a year long project and labor of love, as I kept changing things up along the way, even as late as the second round of the edging.

These three pictures are the ones that Flauta Mom asked for the other day.  This is my new little nook touch in the sleeve I made.  As you can see, the pink button on the front is totally not needed thanks to velcro, but it really put the finishing touch on the project.  This was a bit of leftover denim from a project I never did get around to doing and lined with a piece of gray flannel left over from my cloak I made many, many years ago now.  There is a bit of fusible interfacing in the back to add a little stability and the reason you see the selvage on the back is because it's actually a pocket.  I really love this little case.  It's cute, unique and totally me.  And the fact that I totally winged it and it turned out great on the first try is even better!  (And that I only put an additional $4.95 into the project for the button, the rest was all "leftovers" that had been paid for years ago.)
 This peach colored blankie (the color is much nicer in person, trust me) is the one that I made for my friend Cynthia at work.  She's due any day now with a beautiful baby girl.  Cynthia really loved it and was so happy to get it.  Ellen also made her a blankie, which was very different.  Cynthia was so amazed to receive both of them.  I'm glad when I can make gifts for people who enjoy them.  I know they'll get much use out of both of those blankets.

***UPDATE: I just got an email from Cynthia that Summer Aurora was born 12/29!! ***

This is a fashion scarf I made for me with some yummy lightweight cotton yarn I got at Juniper Place Yarns.  The pattern is called Clapochet and can be found on Ravelry (or at  It's actually quite warm and I can wear it so many ways.  I love wearing it with just a plain white, cream or gray T-shirt and it really looks great when I pair it with my denim or bright red corduroy jacket.  I wish I'd had it done before Jon and Becca's wedding, but it was really too warm for it.  No, I don't have a picture of me wearing it, the rocking horse will have to do.  I have received many compliments on it.

These last two pictures are of the socks that I just finished today.  Yep, I finally made a pair of crocheted socks.  I love them!  I'm totally hooked on hooking socks now.  I have enough yarn in other colors to make two more pair, I just have to decide which two patterns I want to try.  You see, I've collected several sock patterns over the last few years because I've just been dying to try it.  I mean, knitters shouldn't get all the fun of making socks.  These are a little heavier than a pair of trouser socks you'd get in the store, but not quite as heavy as some of the athletic socks I've got in my drawers.  Almost like a thin hiking sock.  The yarn is part wool, part bamboo and part acrylic I think.  (I'm too lazy to go get the wrappers on the other side of the room.)  It didn't take all 100 grams of the two balls, I have about 35 grams left.  This was a top down pattern where the cuff is crocheted up and down in rows before the rest is done in rounds around the one edge.  I really like it, but I think I want to try a toe up pattern next, just to see the differences.  Yes, this is the project I've rambled on the most about, but it's the one I literally just finished and the one I've been dying to get to for years.

Anyhow, I've got yarn for a scarf to go with my hat, two more pair of socks, another Clapochet as a gift, a scarf for Trey and I really should make new hats for the boys now that winter is really here.  I just hope I can fit it all in and still manage to pay attention to work.  It's weeks like this that really make me wish that I could work two or three days a week and be Momma and Crafty Momma the other days.  Oh well, I don't have that luxury, so I'll try and squeeze in the crafty time when and were I can and hope that I don't let it interfere with work too much.

Anyhow, this "short" picture post has taken me almost 45 minutes to write.  I'll get the rest of the pictures uploaded to flickr tomorrow I hope.  Gak has another 3-day weekend and hopefully we're getting together with Michelle at least tomorrow and hopefully until some time on the 1st as well.  (Her travel schedule got changed yet again, but that is the way it goes with her job...)

Peace to all and may your creative juices flow and your holidays be merry and bright.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Momma Day

Today was a Momma Day.  Technically work is shut down this week, even though my department can't really shut down.  That just means we go down to a skeleton crew and take turns being the sucker, er person, on call.  Tomorrow is my turn, at least in the morning.
Today, I sent my boy-o to daycare even though I had off from work.  You see, I needed a day to me.
Don't get me wrong, I love my boys.  I love spending time with them.  Both together and one-on-one.  But, even more importantly some days, I need some me time.  I need some time to do whatever I want and not run seventy errands and clean thirty different things and in general run around like a chicken with my head cut off.  That's what I almost always do whenever I have a day off work and Boo still goes to day care, at least half a day even.  So, today I made sure to do only what I wanted to do.

Which included going for my morning swim after dropping off the boys.  I actually had time and energy to get my full mile in.  I wasn't running late or have to be somewhere, so I could actually swim for the full 50 minutes I like to swim.  (Lately I've been getting out the door a little late which cuts into the actual amount of time I get in the pool.)
I then came home, had a nice breakfast and decided to play with yarn for a while.
Over the course of the day I've almost finished my first crochet sock!
Around 11:00 or so, I got the urge to see what material I had on hand that could be turned into a nifty little cover/case/carrier for my new nook.  As it turns out, I had some adorable denim and still more left over flannel from my cloak.  Well, a little over an hour later, and I have a new cover.  (It cost me $4.95 for the button on the front, but it is for looks only.)  I even managed to clean up the corner with the fabric and patterns a bit (all because I couldn't find the velcro I knew I had, and eventually found).
I then played online a little bit and enjoyed a delicious lunch.
After that I decided I had enough time for a movie and a little more stitching before going to pick up Boo from school.  I managed to get all but the toe done on the sock while enjoying "Much Ado About Nothing".  (Gak doesn't like it, he had a bad experience with the play... so I don't watch it when he's around...)
When I picked up Boo, he'd taken a good nap for the ladies so I took him bowling like I promised him yesterday.  (See, I was going to take him yesterday, but he refused to nap, which was a condition for going, and promised him we'd go if I picked him up in time and he actually took a nap at school today.)  We had a great time.
Then it was home while Boo watched a "Blue's Clues" and I sewed on a button.  A couple of rounds of High Ho Cherry-o and a book later and it was time to pick up Gak from work.  A quick stop at the bank, DQ for dinner and then home and bed for a boy.

I should be beat.  But I'm not.  I'm actually about to go pick up my hook and yarn and see if I can't finish that sock.  I'd love to get both done by the end of the week, but I doubt that'll happen.  (Heck, I'm just glad I'm finally this far, I've only wanted to try a sock pattern for about 3 years now...)

So, despite the busy day, I feel great.  Not looking forward to going in to work tomorrow, but at least it'll be quiet and I should be able to get some work type stuff done.  I only have to stay until about noon, then Monty will be in.  I'm not sure if I'll be leaving then and taking a little more time for me (I don''t get it very often so I won't feel guilty about it) or if I'll be staying most of the day and just leaving a little early to get Boo so we can run some errands before coming home.  I guess I'll make up my mind tomorrow around noon.

Well, I'm off.
Peace to all and may you get some time for YOU that even it is busy is relaxing.

p.s. The one thing I didn't do today that I thought about doing was going through all the pictures on Boo's camera as well as mine from this month.  I guess that'll have to happen at some other near date.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Today is a day of two holidays for me.  Not only os today Christmas, but it is also the sixth night of Hanukkah. It has been a good day, and a bitter sweet day as well.  I expected as much.

Last night we had a small gathering of family at Kat's house. Mom came up and we had dinner at my place first. It was quite yummy, even if a boy child was not being helpful.  We had an enjoyable evening with family and headed home around 10 so that I could finish wrapping and still get to bed.

Today was strange in that Gak and I both woke before Boo.  And it turns out that it was a good thing too.  I was lying there trying to ignore the world whenbI suddenly realized I forgot to wrap.three of Boo's gifts!
I managed to get everything wrapped and a little yarn time in as well before Boo woke up.  We had a good time opening presents.  And despite Boo spilling the beans Wednesday about what we got Gak, I still managed to surprise my hubby wih one of his gifts.  And he really surprised me with mine! A nook touch.  I love it.

We spen most of the morning playing around he house and then we went back over to Kat's for a few hours.  Zoe and Boo had quite a fun time together playing.

Then we headed down to Amma and PopPop's house for a few more Christmas presents and to light the Hanukkah candles.
This is where the bitter-sweet comes in.  Dad decided earlier in the day that he just couldn't follow the prayers in the book. So I got to read the prayers tonight for the first time.  That is the botter.  The sweet is that I got to help Boo light the candles for the first time too.
We had a yummy dinner and are heading back to Aunt Kat's to see Billy and Rachel.
I am off for most of this week.  Tomorow Boo and I will be joining Amma at the Y Gak can have a real day off.  (And play the video game I got him...)

So I bid you peace and joy on this holiday night.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Tonight is the longest night of the year.  This is a time of reflection and of hope.  Starting tomorrow the days will begin to get a bit longer with each passing day.  While the weather will actually get colder and more miserable, the daylight will be returning.
Tonight we reflect on all that has left us this year and all that has happened.
I'm thankful that I've lost no one in my close family.  Yes, Joan lost her mom this year, but I've covered that before, and I'm not going to go into that now.  I'm thankful that while some of my family members may have health issues, we're all relatively healthy and whole.

I'm thankful for the love of my family, especially those near and dear to me that have left this world.  I'm thankful for the love of my Gram.  I'm thankful for the time I got with Gak's father.  I'm thankful for all they've taught me and all I've learned from them as well.

I had more thoughts, but they seem to be dribbling out my ear as Gak watches last year's Doctor Who Christmas special.

So, I'm going to sign off from here and try and reflect on the turning of the wheel and be thankful for the return of the daylight that will come with the dawn.

Peace to all and may the sun shine on you all.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Ebeneezer vs. Bob

Today I was fiddling around looking at a few things and someone posted about how depriving herself of something makes her want it even more to the point that when she does "give in" she goes totally overboard.  This could be with food, specific shopping things or even going online to play games.  It all can lead to the same thing, a huge binge.  She vowed to treat herself to a few holiday treats and not feel guilty about it in the slightest.

Somehow I made the jump to Ebeneezer Scrooge and Bob Cratchet.  Ebeneezer can have anything and everything his heart desires and more (other than love, but that's a result, not a cause...).  Yet, he denies himself all the pleasures in this life so that he can have "more".  More what, I don't know, but more is better right?  What does he get out of this?  Nothing but misery.  He looses the love of his life, the respect and love of his family and even his business partner.  He lives a cold and miserable life because he was "good".  He worked hard and didn't spend a cent more than he had to on anything, especially his employees!

Then there's Bob Cratchet.  He has a heart of gold and even tries to see the best in his miserable boss.  He doesn't have much but what he does have he tries to enjoy to his fullest.  He may not be able to afford many nice things, but what he can afford, he treasures and truly enjoys and appreciates.  It may be something as simple as a new piece of clothing or something as truly special as a better, tastier meal for his family.
And his son, Tiny Tim, the one who really has the odds stacked against him, he truly thinks of others first.  He loves with all his heart, only the way a child can.  He loves because he can, not because he "has to" or "should" or has been told to.  No, he truly sees the positive in everything, even being sick and gets as much good out of everything as he can.

So, when we approach not only this season, but our lives we have a choice at either end of the spectrum.  Either we can be puritanical and deny ourselves the pleasures of this life in the name of "being good" and having "more".  Or, we can be as big hearted and generous and appreciate what we have, no matter how small and enjoy it.

I choose to be more like Bob than Ebeneezer.  I may not have much (in a monetary way).  I may not be able to have much when it comes to some things (sweets for example).  But, I promise you this, what I do have, I will try and enjoy every little morsel of it.  I will enjoy every last bite of the few cookies or treats I decide that are worth eating this holiday season.  I will make yummy and delicious treats for my boys because I can and they appreciate it.  I will spoil my boys and my friends and family a bit (but not too much) as my budget allows, not because I have to, but because I want to.  I want to share what I have with those that I love.  I want to see their smiles.  I want them to be happy and to show that it may not always seem that way, but I do think about them.

I had this written much more eloquently and made a much better point earlier, but my computer puked and it went away.  (I wasn't typing it in Blogger, so there was no autosave...)

So, I bid you peace and much happiness and enjoyment this holiday season and throughout the year to come.

Friday, December 16, 2011


I had my annual review Wednesday at work.  Overall, my boss seemed more positive this year than last year, so that's a good thing.  Overall, my "rating" still stinks, at least in my eyes.  I've tried so hard this year to be the star employee that I know I can be, that I was at various points in time.  I really feel like such a failure right now.  I feel like the harder I try and be a good little employee and focus on my work and get things done the worse I do.

There's one line in my review that has been haunting me the last three days: "This indicates a lack of focus and productivity as she is unable to complete eight hour days of productive work on a regular basis."  There are other such beauties peppered throughout the review paperwork.  All of them indicating a lack of focus, and as my boss sees it, drive.  All of them indicating that I'm not a good cog in the corporate world.

Maybe I'm just a "free spirit" that is finally getting fed up being in the cage of Corporate America.  Maybe I've just been at this job too long and the spark that drives people to do their best at their job has faded and finally gone out.  Maybe I'm just truly lazy and hate working.  Maybe this or maybe that or maybe something else entirely.

Maybe I'm just broken.

Maybe there really is something "wrong" with me.
At least as far as "normal" people see it.
You see, I would have to argue that while I may be a "free spirit" and dance to the beat of my own drum, I really do like my job.  I like working with all the different people I get to work with, all over the country.  I like the challenging puzzles that I get presented with.  Sure, I don't love my job, but most days I like it.  I'm not sure if I've ever loved any of my jobs, other than when I was working at the Nature Center or at camp.  (But love, and a $500/month stipend does not pay the bills or put food on the table or cover health insurance...)

I know I've mentioned it before over the years, but seriously, my lack of ability to focus is really getting out of hand.  Or, when I can focus on something, it is totally unrelated to work (like this blog...).

I've always had issues with homework (busywork), whenever I had more than 3 or 4 assignments due at school in the same time frame, I could barely keep from freaking out, procrastinating and getting none of them done.  Even 3 or 4 if they were big was enough to put me into a tailspin.  So, imagine what I feel like right now, looking at a list of 18 assigned items all of which have to get done in the next two weeks (or less) and some of them are huge.  And everyone is clamoring "Me first! Me first!!"  And that's just the official assignments, let alone the other ones generated by my "goals" for the year and my contractual obligations to specific customers that must be met every week.  (And despite the fact that those responsibilities truly do qualify as busy work, I gladly retreat to those tasks instead of tackling my assigned work.)

Why do I have these problems?  Why, oh why, can't I seem to focus on the job at hand like a "normal" person?  Why do I suddenly feel like I'm not in the "normal" category any more, or that maybe I never have been.  Normally I'd say why would I want to be normal, but right about now... a little normal might be nice.  Why can't I get organized enough to even be able to prioritize my work load and then stick to it.  Sure, emergencies come up and things change, but right now, I'll go running to whoever is even whimpering at me and drop whatever I was trying to focus on. (Note, trying to focus, I doubt I've given any task my undivided attention in weeks.)
My work day usually starts out fairly good and I can usually look at my list of assignments and make a stab at a priority list, but 9 times out of 10, by 10:00 I haven't touched it and been off in 15 other directions, and almost none of them work related.  And often times from there, I'm in an unrecoverable tail spin and the next thing I know it's time to go home, I have to fill in my time sheet and have no idea what I've done all day.  Other than sit in my chair.  Or maybe wander around the building for a few minutes.  Or go get my lunch... or a snack... or yet more water or tea...

I seriously hate feeling like my focus is totally out of control.  I hate feeling like even though I'm a pretty smart person, I look and seem dumb because I just can't get things done like the rest of my coworkers.  (Well, most of them.  There are a few that have problems, but not the same, or to the same extent, as I do.)  Why, these days, do I always feel perilously close to just giving up and truly becoming the bad employee in more ways than one that some people in this organization seem to see me as.  (Other than the fact that it wouldn't do anyone any good that is.  It wouldn't help me or my family in the slightest for me to get in serious trouble at work, and it wouldn't help my customers or my friends at work who would have to deal even more with my slack... and I can't do that.)

I know some people will say that it's the time of the year.  That just like when in school, the holidays and the excitement mess with our heads and everyone looses focus.  Well, I'd like to debate that a bit.  None of my friends here at work seem to be more affected than usual by it.  And really, I'm not feeling a whole lot of holiday excitement or stress this year.  Everything seems to be well in hand for the most part and as much as I'm looking forward to the week off, the troubles at work are far overshadowing any joyful thoughts of time off.

No, I don't have a conclusion.  I'm not even sure that the flow of this post makes a whole lot of sense.  I just needed a place to rant and rave and maybe cry a little about how frustrated and tires and flat out hurt I am by all of this lack of focus.  I just don't know what I can do about it. *sigh*

So, I'm going to wrap this up.  I've spent way too much time on this today instead of working on what I'm supposed to be already.

Peace to all and may you be able to get things done.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Holly Jolly Weekend!

Well, maybe not 100% "holly jolly" but it was a holiday spirit filled weekend.
Even if a boy-o didn't want to/didn't actually nap at all.

Saturday while the boy bounced off the walls in his room instead of napping I managed to get the living room "cleaned".  (I found ever horizontal surface again except for the computer desks, put lots of things away/threw stuff out, dusted, washed the sliding glass door and even vacuumed!)  Boo's room also got picked up and put back down.  Not without much grumbling on my part because he hadn't napped and was very much into "silly tired boy" mode.  We also managed to get all the holiday decorating stuff up from the basement.  Including the long-awaited return of Boo's train that we put under the tree last year.  The tree, however, did not get put up Saturday because the boy-o did not nap, did not even pretend to nap and there was no way I was going to deal with tired bouncing boy while I was trying to "fluff" the tree.

Sunday was another no-nap day for the boy.  And I feel like I spent almost the entire day in the kitchen.  I'm not really complaining about that though.  I slept in a little and got the tree set up and was just finishing "fluffing" it when the boy-o woke up.  He didn't wake up until about 8:00.  I think that's a record for him in recent months!
Anyhow, he had fun helping me hang ornaments on the tree.  There is one corner of the tree that's very heavily ornamented.  That's Boo's corner where he wanted to stick every single thing.  I realized that for being on this planet 36 years now, I really don't have that many "special" ornaments any more.  I know of several I used to have that got broken.  Or I left with Mom.  Most of the ones I do have are yearly ones Mom creates with a photo of Boo.  Yeah, I think we'll have to start fixing that.  (Although, the one ornament that I was extra happy to put on the tree this year is the one Michelle got me from the US Embassy in Ottawa.)  I tell you, I really do have a kitty-cat boy though.  He kept batting at the ornaments he put on the tree just like you'd expect a kitty to do.  It was so darn cute.

Then, after some minor drama (and pancakes!), we all head out to the grocery store to pick up a few essentials and a few extra ingredients for cookies.  By the time we got home, it was after 11 already!  I get the groceries away and then the boy-o and I mix up a batch of sugar cookies to put in the fridge to get stiff enough to roll.  Then I make "star soup" for lunch.  (2 cans chicken broth, 1 diced carrot, some pepper, Italian seasoning and garlic powder and a box of pasta stars.  I also added a few ounces of grilled chicken breast strips for me and Gak.)  Boo willingly eats chicken and star soup for the ladies at daycare.  He even willingly started to eat mine (I made sure he had plenty of broth and no chicken or carrots...).  Gak and I top ours with a little shredded mozzarella and seeing that, Boo decided he wants some too.  But then the cheese melts.  And the melt-down begins.  After a little more drama, I summarily toss him into his bed.  Nope, no nap yesterday either.  At least he was mostly quiet and calm yesterday.

While the boy was "napping" I made some triple ginger ginger snaps.  Wow were they good.  Trader Joe's, you'd better watch out.  These were as good or better than yours.  I hid away about half to bring in to the cookie exchange at work (that's a whole other load of drama...) and the other half are hidden so Gak and I don't inhale them in no time flat.  I'm glad I only made a half batch though, I managed to get 85 cookies out of it!

After I finally let Boo up from his non-nap, we finish the sugar cookies.  An adventure as always, but they're yummy.  Then it was time to clean up the kitchen yet again and get ready to make dinner.

So, yes, I spent a lot of time in the kitchen yesterday and only have two batches of cookies to show for it.  Oh well.  They're yummy!

I also spent some good quality time with yarn over the weekend and only have the finishing touches to put on a big project I've been working on for quite some time now.

Peace to all and may your weekends be merry and yummy and filled with holiday goodness.

Friday, December 09, 2011


I have an update, of sorts, on Joan.  It's a one line message Kat got from Joan's sister Jill yesterday.  "Joan woke up."  That's it.  That's all Kat or I know.  We don't know if it just means she's conscious, but not off the vent.  Is she breathing on her own?  Eating and drinking?  Moving about?  We don't know if she's leaving ICU or if she's still there or anything.

I'm trying very hard not to turn this into an airing of family drama, but it's been eating at me all day.

I'll try and explain why Kat and I have no information as best I can without totally being mean, rotten, or nasty.  But I warn you, I'm kinda tired.  Worked my tail off all day getting almost nowhere with work.  And to top it off, I started off the day thinking it was Saturday and had that illusion rudely taken away at 6:00 this morning when I realized it was, indeed, Friday.

The first thing you have to understand is that "drama queen" isn't quite the right word for every person in Joan's family, but it's a start.  They're all liars to one extent or another.  They all change alliances between themselves faster than some people change underwear.  And you never, ever, ever know who's going to stab who in the back next over something real or imaginary.  I can't tell you the number of times Joan has told me/us about Jill's "lies" and "actions" and how she's never going to talk to her ever again and then suddenly the very next breath practically Jill is the "best sisser in teh world!"

(As an aside, am I the only one that is driven nuts when adults, with children even!, post on facebook things that I would expect, and seriously question, a teenager to post?  I mean, my spelling is bad, my grammar sometimes takes a bit of a vacation, but at least most of the time I use a real sentence!  It is not cute or funny or "hip" to post like your teenage daughter, it's sad, downright sad.  Sorry, I just had to get that out of my system as well...)

And the sad part isn't that all three girls are this way.  Their mother was the exact same way.  She started it, manipulated it and created the "rules" of the "game" in many ways.  (I know I shouldn't speak ill of the dead, but, I've always had a hard time finding something positive about that woman...)  No, what is sad is the fact that the next generation is turning out to be the same way.  I hate to say it, but over the last two years I've slowly stopped knowing Mel.  She's becoming more and more like her mother and grandmother all the time.  I now have no idea if/when she's lying to me.  (I do know she's been in the neighborhood more than once in recent months and has never mentioned it/asked to see me/us.)  Ant and his cousins are totally out of hand more often than not.  Especially if you don't give him his way.  I've seen him throw more impressive temper tantrums than I've ever seen out of Boo!

So, last Thursday when we (Kat, Steph, Jill and I) were all at the hospital talking, Jill was saying how she wanted the kids down here.  That she would keep us informed as to what was going on.  Thought we had everyone's best interest at heart.  She was also saying how she'd pulled away and had distanced herself from the bull that is Joan's life and that she didn't want to but she'd have to go and play "the game" to make sure everything worked out OK for the kids.  Well, turns out she was blowing smoke up our butts.



So, like I told Kat last night, I'm not sure what makes me more sad, that we've been lied to and cut out yet again or that we were gullible enough to believe something one of those girls told us again.

In short, the hospital can't tell us anything because we're not family.  And the family won't tell us anything because they're too dysfunctional.
Kat and I have been yanked around yet again.

I really didn't want to write such a negative post.  Yes, I can delete it and never let it see the light of day.  I may do that later, I don't know.  But, for now, since I've had people asking if I have an update, this is how I want to write about it, so deal.  I have not hurt anyone who has not hurt me (multiple times) already.  I have not used last names (or even real names for all you know) or towns or hospital names or anything that could identify these people to the masses unless you already know me, or them, in real life.  And, if you know these people, or me, in real life then more than likely I haven't told you anything new.  So, for now I'm going to let this stand.  If someone gets mad at me for it, so be it.  You asked my opinion, and I gave it.

Peace to all and may your updates be positive and your friends be positive as well.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Brain Fluff

I don't have anything profound to say tonight.  I just thought I should sit down and write something.  This has been a pretty busy and hectic week in the normal kinds of ways.

First off, no, I don't have any more info on Joan.

Work's been quite busy for the end of the year.  I seem to be getting further behind no matter how hard I work.  The last few weeks of mental fluff between the ears has caught up to me and I'm paying the price.  I just hope I can wrap up a few more important (and hopefully more simple than what I've been working on) projects tomorrow before the weekend.

I think I have a "tea problem".  I counted today, and I have 9 different teas in my desk drawer.  Two are herbals, one is a chai, one is a black tea and the other 5 are greens.  Yeah.  I got two different sets of green tea samplers for my birthday and I'm exploring.
I am quite glad that I've had so many to choose from this week though, I've been fighting off a bit of a head cold.  Nothing major, just enough snot to make me not happy.  Boo has been fighting it off as well, I think I got it from him.

Bill is evil and it's a good thing he only makes his mini shoofly pies once a year.  Enough said on that subject.
Oh, my company is evil, they give everyone a 2+ lb box of chocolates and nuts every year for Christmas.  I'd managed to forget about it until it got dropped off on my desk today.  The stupid thing called my name all afternoon even though I wasn't hungry.  I managed to ignore it, until after dinner... yeah.  Enough said about holiday treats.

Apparently Boo does not hate baths again, it was a power struggle thing.  (I'm not sure if I mentioned here or not our recent issues with bath time...)  Anyhow, he got some new jammies that he really loves and got to choose all by himself.  I told him the other night that if he fussed and made a scene during bath time, he would have to wear the jammies that I choose, which are his skeleton ones.  (I think they're adorable, Boo doesn't agree.)  But, if he didn't fuss or scream or cause trouble for his entire bath, he could choose his jammies.  Well, it's worked the last few baths.  Thanks Barb for reminding me that it could just be a power issue, not a real fear.
Now to solve the power struggle issues of eating and potty.  Good news on both fronts though, he's actually eating more of what school provides at school and he actually peed in the potty at school on Wednesday.  (Nana Laura puts him on the potty ever afternoon when she changes everyone else and makes him sit there and try.  Amazingly enough, he went for her on Wednesday.  We're trying to be more consistent about putting him on the potty frequently, hoping to catch him when he actually needs to go.  We'll see.  I just don't want this to devolve into a total power struggle.  That could get bad on many levels.

So, that's the random brain fluff update of the week.  I'm really glad tomorrow is Friday.  Hopefully I'll have one more productive day this week and then enjoy the weekend.  I should be putting the tree up this weekend, if I can actually manage to get the living room straightened up and vacuumed.  Yeah, this is me we're talking about.

Well, I'm off to play with yarn for a little bit and crash.

Peace to all and may your weeks be good.

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Gender Specific Toys?

‘Tis the season to be shopping....

Yes, yes, I know, that wasn’t a very good try.  Anyhow, being bombarded with all the consumerism of the season and having recently completed the small amount of shopping we wanted to do for our son, I’ve had this thought bouncing around in my head.  Something I’m sure I’ve touched on before, even if only in passing with friends.

That dreaded topic of “gender specific” toys.

What initially got me thinking about this is the strange dichotomy that seems to exist when it comes to the kitchen.  You see all these great kitchen play sets done up in pinks and purples and all pretty and flowery to appeal to the young girl. *rolls eyes* But, when I watch things like “Top Chef” or talk to Abi about her time at Johnson & Whales, the predominant attitude is that you have to be a man to be a good chef, a top chef in the industry.  Why is it OK for a girl to play house and spend all her time in the kitchen cooking, but not for a little boy?  Why can’t a girl excel at the highly skilled and demanding job of being an executive chef?*   Or at least that’s what the advertising people seem to want us to think.
So, why is it that 99% of the kitchen toys out there are geared towards little girls?  I admit, I’ve seen a few pictures for kitchen play sets that show a little boy (all dressed in a sweater vest and tie! /another eye roll/ )  My son loves playing in the kitchen.  He frequently asks to help me cook.  I even let him some times, depending on what we’re making.  (He likes to help unless it’s going to be messy… and I don’t quite like him to help with the hot things yet, he has a habit of putting his hands out and leaning on whatever is in front of him, not a good idea with the stove!)  So, yes, this year we got him a little box of toy kitchen implements.**  He has his on drawer in the kitchen, which currently only has some plastic lids in it and the microwave bacon tray.  These will be his to play with in the kitchen.  He will love them.  And you know what; I really could care less that they’re all pink and purple.  I just wish I could have found a set that look more like my real tools without costing as much as my real tools.

And then, while looking through an article from the New York Times book section about the top kids’ books of the year, I come across this statement “This lullaby in rhyming couplets will also be loved by girls, with its images of vehicles clasping stars and cradling teddy bears.”
And my response immediately was “why wouldn’t a girl like a story about construction trucks?”  Why would you think that just because it has trucks in it and is “dirty” that a girl wouldn’t be interested at all?  I mean, Zoe has her own toolbox full of real tools and loves to help.  Kat is the first person I ask about what’s wrong with the car and then go to Andy if she’s stumped.  I can wield a hammer, pliers a saw or a drill as well or better than my husband.  (Don’t worry; he freely admits he’s not a tool kind of person…)  Mom and I spent many hours fixing things around the house when I was growing up, and building things for Gram.

Personally, assigning a gender to who should play with which toy is absurd.  Just like assigning colors to genders seems a little silly.  Sure, I don’t always practice what I preach and I will sometimes try and steer my son away from the bright pink shirt or backpack.  But then I remember that my brother’s favorite color for a few years there was pink, just because it was mine.  And if Boo ever really put up a fight for having to have the pink one, even after seeing his other options, I’d get it for him, because it would make him happy.  (Trust me, my son is definitely a “boy” and it has nothing to do with the colors he wears but in the way he thinks and approaches the world.)

But in this world with enough mixed messages, shouldn’t we be giving our kids the toys they want to play with, not just the ones we think they should play with?  Boo has loved playing in the kitchen and “cooking” since he was big enough to crawl.  He also loves tape measures and anything with buttons and cars and trucks and trains.  He loves his stuffed animals and takes care of them, including when they’re sick. (Kelly seems to always have a cold these days, poor girl.)  He even corrected me when I said that Kelly was a boy, Kelly is most definitely a girl bear.  When you ask him who his friends are he’s just as likely to say “Alexis” as “Dominic” or “Joey”.  (Actually, usually you just get “I don’t like Kevin” and then only after assuring him that’s OK, will he give you his friends’ names.)

Have I come to any conclusions other than the fact that I think that advertising people are playing it “safe” and continuing cultural norms that have been in place since the dark ages?  Not really.  I continue to be happy with our decision to buy Boo both a set of kitchen toys and a tool box and a tape measure for Christmas.  He will love all three toys very much.  The tools for both kitchen and workshop will allow him to continue to be creative and explore all kinds of things in his imagination.  And that, above all else, is the important thing; encouraging our kiddos imaginations.  Letting them figure out solutions to problems and who they want to be.

Peace to all and may you have plenty of toys that make you happy, no matter who is “supposed” to play with them.

*There have been some awesome women on some of the Top Chef seasons, but most of the women on the show just don’t have the edge or talent or skill that the men do.  Maybe they just aren’t as competitive, but I know that women can be extremely competitive when they want to, just spend a day in a high school…

**If anyone is looking for ideas for a boy-child, some play food would not go amis…

*** No, that's not the play set I bought Boo, I can't find it online.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

Three and a Half!

Can you believe that Boo is three and a half years old!  Yes, yes, it was three days ago, but it's been a little busy.  (No, I don't have any more updates on Joan...)

Looking at the pictures I took a few days ago the biggest thing I'm struck by is "when did he get so big?!  When did he turn into a boy?  Where did my baby go??"   Yes, I go through this every few months when I take these pictures.  But it seems that the difference between three and three and a half is huge!  I mean, almost as huge as between birth and six months.  Maybe he hasn't physically grown much taller or put on much more weight, but boy the changes he's gone through.

Let's see, I'm not quite sure the last time I did one of these "developmental" updates.  So, we'll just take his accomplishments over the last six months from the top.  These are in the order I come up with them, not always in chronological order.

He can ride his tricycle.  I mean fully pedal the trike.  He's been pushing around with his feet on the ground for quite some time, but it wasn't until September or so that he actually started using the pedals.  He can actually pedal all the way to the end of the block and back.  Not very fast and he wanders a bit, but that's more his personality than anything.

He knows all his letters and will actually identify them when you ask if he's in the mood.  He has a couple of letter games on my phone and his Mobi-Go the he likes.  I do believe the only reason he's not actually reading is because he just hasn't quite realized what he's doing.  That and he doesn't like to answer questions so I never am quite sure what he knows or not.  Yes, he is my son....

He still likes his numbers and will gladly count to twenty.  Except about 99 times out of 100 he'll skip "16".  I asked him about this and his answer was "because 16 is always sick."  Go figure.

Speaking of games, we can actually play several together.  He loves Memory, Candyland and our version of dominoes.  We've tried Chutes and Ladders once, but it didn't go over so well.  He'll get it in time.  He now can and does get absorbed in his Mobi-Go and a few games on my DS and my phone.  He's really adept at the whole technology thing.  Of course, he's been exposed to it from almost the beginning.  He still loves, loves, loves his books though.

His imagination is a wonderful place to be.  I get lost there frequently and often.  The things he comes up with are amazing.  The stories he concocts with his stuffed friends and the things he turns his toys into are amazing.  They usually have me laughing at some point.

He carries himself differently.  It's hard to describe, but I guess there's a little more confidence or something there. There is a definite difference. He now carries himself like a little boy.  I can't quite tell you what the difference is, but anyone who has been around or worked with kids knows what I'm talking about.

There are so many other little changes.  He's expressing his opinion more, and more often with words along with tears.  Of course, you ask him why he won't do/eat something and you'll usually end up with the answer "I don't".

Anyhow, there's probably much more.  I'm just being distracted, so I'll wrap it up here.

Peace to all and may you constantly be amazed by your loved ones.

Friday, December 02, 2011


This word conjures up so many different images.

Something has been rattling around in my head off and on since last night.  At one point  yesterday evening when we were all visiting Joan and discussing the situation and  I said something about a conversation I’d had with Joan via text just over a year ago now.  Joan asked the loaded question of if I thought she was a bad mother.  So, I said I told her that I thought she was doing the best she could with what she had and that she made decisions that I probably wouldn’t make myself and that I’m sure I make decisions she wouldn’t.  I also said that I thought from my point of view that there wasn’t a lot of stability or structure to the kids’ lives.  (Of course, she refuted this and I reminded her I was watching from the outside…)

That’s when Steph piped up with “Wow, it must have been bad for you to say that!  I haven’t been around all that long but even I know that you’re the peacemaker.”  (To which I responded I may be the peacemaker, but if you ask me a direct question for my opinion, you’ll get it.  I may say it in the most non-confrontational way possible, but you’ll get my honest opinion.  I won’t blow smoke up someone’s butt to make them feel better about themselves…)

So, the whole thought of me being the peacemaker has been rattling around in my head.  I’m not sure if I ever really thought about it before last night, but when I stop and look, I see that I really am the peacemaker.  And , really, I have been since almost day one that I’ve known Kat.  (Did I ever tell you the story of me having to all but physically restrain her in her seat at Academy near the end of the week because some bitch of a girl from another team was trying to cause trouble… yeah… fun times!)

I also look back at various other times and groups in my life, even when I look back as far as elementary school in Kansas.  Even then I remember distinct events where I would be the one trying to get or keep everyone getting along.  Maybe it’s because I try and see both sides of the story.  Maybe it’s because I just don’t like conflict or loud voices.  Maybe it’s because I honestly try and see the good in everyone (tree-hugging hippie that I am…).  Maybe, just maybe, it’s because I have parents who taught me these things through their own actions.

But, even though I may be the peacemaker, I do realize that there are times for actions.  There comes a point when no matter what you try, say or do, the parties involved just will not come to an agreement.  There are times when force, or at least a show of force, is necessary.  I may not like to use force, but I will use it.  I may not be good at it, but I’ve found that when the “quiet one” or the peacemaker finally breaks down and gives in to the urge to throttle someone, the use of force doesn’t have to be all that accurate, or even actually take place some times.  Just the realization that you’ve pushed the person who never looses their cool far enough that they explode can sometimes stop people in their tracks.

I’m not really sure where I’m going with this.  Maybe it’s to say that I find my role as peacekeeper truly challenged by Joan (and the kids) these days.  I’m having a hard time seeing her side and validating her way of doing things as anything short of greedy and self-centered, which as everyone should realize by now that I just can’t stand.  (Of course, I probably have that view because I am the peacekeeper and peacekeepers can’t be self-centered really.  Or at least not if they want to be effective.)
Maybe it is the fact that I want this all to resolve peacefully but I know that there will be a fight involved, I just don’t know when, with who or how bad it’ll get before it can be resolved.
Maybe it is just the fact that I’ve truly come to see this about myself and that it can go a long way in explaining so many things about my childhood and how I live my life as an adult.  When we moved I was thrust into a society of kids where being the peacekeeper wasn’t really a role that was valued.  Or maybe it is, but since my life and experiences were so far outside of what the kids I was suddenly “forced” to be with that I couldn’t be the peacemaker effectively and it just led to getting hurt.  It helps explain why I work the job I do and the reason that I have the trust of so many of our customers, especially some that people warned me about as being hard to work with.  (Yes Joe, I’m talking about you… you had quite a reputation when I started here.  I’m glad you and I were able to work together and get things sorted out and keep your system running well for so long.  You’re not that hard to work with after all, just don’t try and feed you a line of BS and you’re good!)

Over all, I’d have to say I’m pretty happy with my lot in life as being the peacekeeper.  Especially since I have friends and family who are both willing to listen when I do speak up and try and keep the peace and back me up with actions if needed.  Kat may be the “pack leader” (even if she denies is), but I’m the glue that tries to hold us together and keep us moving in the same general direction.  The role may not be as glamorous but it is just as important.  I like being able to fade into the background and let everyone else shine.  I will always look to Kat for direction, but I’ll be damned if anyone in my family will tear my family apart.

So, with these swirling thoughts and a glimpse into my soul I will wrap this up.

Peace to all and may you find the role in life that suits you best.

(See!  As if you needed more evidence, just the mere fact that I close every post with a wish for peace should tell you something!)

Thursday, December 01, 2011


Well... Tonight I thought I would be uploading some of the cute 3.5 year dragon pictures I got of Boo this evening.  Instead I am sitting in the loby of a hospital waiting for Kat, writing this on my phone.
I don't have a lot of details at the moment.  Joan finally had her gastric bypass surgery on Monday.  The las I heard from Mel on Monday evening, via facebook only but that is a different story, was that Joan had come through the surgery well.
Kat just got here...

Ok.  That first part was actually written at about 7:30 or so....

It's now 10:15 or so and I'm home.

Here's the details as I've got them.  Joan was having respiratory distress up in her room.  Apparently she'd gotten into some serious trouble, vomited and ended up aspirating some.  Her temp was elevated some.  Her chest x-ray looked well, like crap.  So, she's on a vent that's doing most of the breathing for her.  They've weaned her off the meds that were keeping her paralyzed and from fighting the vent.  She's still drugged out of her gord and on major narcotics for pain.  She's fighting the vent a bit.

Kat, Steph and I were there to see her, as well as her sister Jill and her best friend, who's name escapes me for the moment.  Anyhow, there was a lot of discussion about what to do about the kids.  None of us who were there were happy with the situation with the kids at the moment.  They're kinda staying at their house, kinda staying with the neighbor Mandy who helped cause a lot of the drama the last time Joan was in the hospital.  Anyhow, the long and the short of it is, there are some emails that Joan wrote before going into the hospital that say one thing, but there is still the power of attorney stuff that was signed several years ago that is probably still legally binding.  So, if push came to shove, and Jill backs us up on this, we could try and enforce it and it would go to a judge and it would get very messy.  Oh, yeah, and as much as the kids say they love us... they are refusing to come spend the weekend with any of us.  That is a whole other rant that I'm not going into right now, but it does have some bearing on the current situation.

So, yes, despite what I said back in July about being done and not running to her side every time... well, you just don't throw away 20 years because someone's become even more of a crackpot than she was.  You don't stop worrying and caring despite how hurt you and your friends have been in the past.  Now, mind you I'm of half a mind to kill her when she does come off the vent.  But hey, that's something else entirely.

I'll try and post more here as I know more.  I do know that she will be in the hospital several weeks at this point with how much the vent is actually breathing for her.  Hopefully after they do some fun bag suctioning tonight her numbers will improve greatly by morning.  I'm not holding my breath, but I know that it will truly help.  I just hope she's got the will to fight this and to come back and heal.  If not, I really will kill her.

So, peace to you all. I'm going to go crash in my bed and hopefully get some sleep so I can function at work tomorrow.  Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to post those adorable pictures of Boo and rant and rave a little bit about how vacation has not helped my will to get work done at work.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Well, here it is, the 30th of November.  I've managed to post something, even if it was pretty horrible, every single day this month.  It was both very easy and very difficult at the same time.
It was easy because I'd set up a theme for me to talk to.  I mean, more than my usual "life, the universe, and everything" generic topic.  So, maybe I need to focus my "theme" for this blog.  But, I don't think I want to do that.  I like having a place where I can post whatever crosses my mind that I want to share with people.  Sure, this started out as somewhat of a "travel blog" keeping friends and family in the loop of where I was and what I was up to.  But, it has evolved beyond that.  It's a Mommyblog (I hate that term....).  It's a world view blog.  It's my place to rant and rave about things.  It's where I can talk about the things I do, the places I go and the adventures I have.  It's my life, all in one place.
It was also easier because I allowed myself to post whatever I wrote, even if I would normally have consigned it to the trash bin, never to be looked at ever again.  I will freely admit there are a few days I'd love to have deleted, but I promised myself that I would post whatever I wrote, no matter how bad it was.

It was also harder because I "pigeonholed" myself into one theme that I had to make work every single day.  It was hard just because I had to come up with something unique every day.  It was hard simply because I had to write something every day, good bad or indifferent.

So, what have I learned?  I've learned that I can do this.  I've proven that I can carve just a few minutes out of my day to write something, anything.  Does it have to be great every time?  No.  Should it be better than some of the drivel I posted this month.  Oh my yes!

So, on that note, I think I've rededicated myself to this space.  Sure, Facebook and Google+ are easy ways to post a thought or two in a moment, but I can do so much more here.  I need to start taking some of those links I post on those sites and actually exploring them more here and tying things together and well, thinking more.
Hopefully, I'll be able to do that a bit more.  Hopefully, I've actually rededicated myself to this space and actually make some good use of it.  This just isn't a space for me to tell you about what's going on with Boo or the family, but a place that I can explore other thoughts as well.

So, even though I didn't actually post specifically anything I'm thankful for today, I'm still thankful.  I'm thankful for this experience and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to take some things away from this and actually digest the experience and learn from it.

I bid you peace and may you excel at your challenges and get more from them than you bargained.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I've been staring at this screen for a full 15 minutes trying to figure out what to write.  I've got nothing.  Well, maybe not nothing.

Anyhow, the last two days haven't been the most productive days at work.  I've muddled through and tried to get stuff done.  I'm not sure how well I've succeeded.  (Kinda like not being able to write this post....)

I went into tonight's Girl Scout meeting with only a vague plan and a hope and I pulled off something.  I'm not 100% sure what, but we had fun and talked about some stuff and made a few plans.  I've got a lot of work to get done in the next week, but that's par for the course.  Just because it's a lot of fun, doesn't mean there won't be a lot of work involved.  At least it's fun work for the most part.

I've been frustrated lately by Boo seeming to revert back to the no bath, crying and screaming thing.  I have no idea what started this or why.  The one night, it was because the stopper thing hadn't been flipped all the way and it was leaking a little and the noise scared him.  The next time, I'm wondering if I had the water just a smidge too warm and he lost it when I grumbled at him a little too loudly to sit down.  Last night, I have no idea what set him off.  He didn't want to sit, but I asked him to.  He then started crying, I mean sobbing and distraught.  I tried to get him to tell me what was wrong, but I have no idea what he meant by "crinkles" or whatever he was sobbing.  Gak couldn't get a straight answer from him either.

So, I'm really not sure where I'm heading with this.  I'm not sure what I can pull from my day to be thankful form.  Maybe for being able to pull things out of thin air when needed.  I have no idea.  I'm not sure how any of this all ties together.

So, now that it's 9:15 and my brain is mush, I'm going to hit publish.  (Normally I'd let this drivel be deleted, but I'm not going to skip a day with only two to go in the month...)

Peace to all and may your days make a little more sense than this post.

Monday, November 28, 2011


Tonight I realized I haven't given thanks for one very, very important person in my life.  I haven't yet in this challenge really given thanks for my dear, wonderful husband.
And I do need to thank him.  He puts up with so much from me.  Sure, there are times I want to strangle him or beat him upside the head with a frying pan, but I know darn right well I'm worse at times.  I know I'm not the easiest person to live with, but through it all he seems to just roll with it for the most part and rarely looses patience with me.  (And trust me, when he does, I truly do deserve it...)

So, other than putting up with my bull and my grumpiness and general bad attitude at times, why am I so thankful to have this man in my life?

Hmm.... let's see here.  Obviously I'm thankful he's in my life because he helped create our wonderful son Boo. That and he really is a great dad to our son.  I know there are times I want to bean him for some things, but really, he's done a great job being a dad.  Boo is happy and healthy (far healthier than some of my friends' and coworkers' kids seem to be...).  He's on a "normal" development track, whatever that means.  Sure, he knows who Gibs is from NCIS and can identify at least two if not the most recent three Doctors.  But, every kid has their quarks handed down to them from their parents.  I'm not only thankful for the father that he is, but that he's willing to be such a good dad and play such a big role staying home with our boy most mornings.  That takes a lot of patience and care, no matter who you are or what your gender.

I'm thankful that he reads as much as he does.  I may not always read the same things he does or find the same things fascinating, but the fact that he's as much, or more, of a bookworm than I am means that it's OK when I spend too much time with my nose in a book.  It means we have something to talk about.  It means he's willing to explore other points of view and other experiences.  It gives me hope that our son will be a bookworm too.  (I mean, more than he is.  He loves books, but he hasn't quite gotten into actually reading the words yet... that'll come.)

I'm thankful that he tolerates my crazy and actually encourages it more often than not.  I love that I can crack him up most days, even when he has no clue how I got from A to 5 in the leap of a single thought.  (Half the time I don't know either if that's any comfort...)  I'm thankful that we can have fun together and also that when times call for us to be serious, we can be serious.  We can talk, about just about anything.  Usually if there is something I can't talk to him about, it's because I'm just not ready to face it myself, not that I think he'll get mad, or not understand, or argue meanly with me about it.  He may not always agree with my point of view, but he's always willing to listen.  He also knows that there are times that no matter what he says, I'll still do it my way (even if it turns out he was right in the first place...).

So, yes, I'm thankful that I never totally lost contact with my Bear.  I'm glad that he never fully gave up on me.  I'm thankful that I was smart enough to invite him up to visit just over 7 years ago and that he moved up here that December.  I'm so thankful that he puts up with me and even enjoys my crazy life.

So, yes Bear, as embarrassing as this post is, every word is one that I believe with all my heart.  This is only a small part of why I'm so thankful for you.  I just can't find the right words to express what I really feel.  In many ways you are my better half, as I hope that I can be your better half as well.

Peace to all and may you find someone to share your life with who is as tolerant, patient and loving as my own Bear.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Today I'm thankful for Muppets.
What originally started these thoughts was the fact that we went and saw Muppets today.  (As an aside, you have got to go see this movie.  More than once even.)
So, on the surface, I'm thankful for the Muppets because we had a very enjoyable time as a family at this movie.  I'm thankful for all the hours of entertainment that the Muppet cast and crew have given me over the years.

(You'll have to excuse the disjointed nature of this post.  I started this around 5:00 and it's now 7:30.... I keep getting interrupted and distracted... thanks boys!)

Anyhow, the first song that Kermit sings has a line about maybe something is broken that can't be fixed.  All I could think about was that we lost Jim Henson way too soon.  And how far ahead of his time he was, and in many ways still is.  He did so very much in entertainment and in children's television.  Just think about how many generations of children have been brought up with his Sesame Street cast of characters.  I still think it's one of the best shows out there, even if I'm not fond of the new format.  It doesn't talk down to kids.  It talks to and with them.  It talks about big things and little things and all kinds of things that are important in their lives.  So, yes, I'm even thankful for Elmo even if he gets on my nerves from time to time and has replaced Kermit in the lives of many children.  (Actually, having seen and read things by and about the man who plays Elmo, I actually like Elmo a good bit more than I did before... I really want to see the documentary about Being Elmo...)

I can understand Kermit taking a back seat these days, even though he's the original face of the Muppets.  He really is Jim Henson's alter ego.  Kermit and Ernie.  They're still two of my favorites.  I thank them for being the dreamers that they are.  The dreamers and the livers in imagination and big hearted friends that they are.  They taught us all how to care, to stick up for who you are and that it may not be easy being green, but if you're green than be the best green you can be.

I'm thankful for all the education I received at the kind hands of the Sesame Street gang, humans and Muppets alike.  I'm thankful that Jim Henson didn't let the way things are and the machine that is television and movie production grind his dreams into dust.  I'm thankful that there are still creative people in the world who love Jim's world and respect is enough to treat it with the care that they have.  Sure, the Muppets have faded to the background of this over stimulated world, but they still hold a large place in the hearts of many of us and many of us choose to give them to our children as well.

So, thank you Jim Henson for following your dream and for believing in the children of the world and daring to be a dreamer and a lover.

Peace to all and may you find the Rainbow Connection.  (Which Boo lovingly refers to as "the froggy song".)

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Today I must be thankful for patience.  Patience that keeps me from throttling a boy-child when he's being stubborn.  Patience to know that even though I want things now that, often, if I wait, something even better comes along.  Patience to accept that even though I've lost so much weight (and feel awesome for it) that just because I would really like to loose another 10-20 lb that despite how slowly things seem to be going, it will come.

Maybe this is more of a post of I will be patient, damnit!  Than being thankful for the patience I already have.  I know, I know, there are several of you out there that think I'm already a very patient soul and that I really should be thankful for the patience I have.  Well, if you could only hear the internal monologue that is actually going on in my head in those situations, you'd see that I'm anything but patient.  More like holding still through sheer force of willpower alone.

Tonight, for example, my patience has been sorely tested by my boy.  And I know that in reality, it's small potatoes and that I should just let it go and eventually all will be right.  You see, tonight was almost an epic battle over the whole eating thing.  I know from my own personal experience as a very, very picky eater as a child that he will eventually outgrow most of it by the time he graduates high school, or at least begin to start eating like a real human by then.  I did.  My brother did.  Gak did too.  But, even with that knowledge, there are days that I just want to strangle him and it takes all my willpower and internal "talking down" to keep from just forcing things one way or another.  Tonight was a leftovers night.  We've got plenty from all the cooking I've been doing all week because I've been home.  Gak and I had Thanksgiving dinner take two (without eating nearly so much as on Thanksgiving itself... now why can't I have that kind of control then?).  I asked Boo what he wanted, offered him mac'n'cheese since we had some in the fridge since Tuesday and he said OK.  So, I warm some up for him. (Note: he didn't touch it Tuesday night even though it's made with elbows and orange cheese, two key things for him to even consider eating the dish *double sigh*.)  I also dish him up some applesauce, since I know that's almost always a hit.  Well, the long and the short of it is, he didn't eat the mac'n'cheese.  Both Gak and I nearly lost our tempers and Boo isn't getting anything else to eat tonight and only water if he wants something to drink at bedtime.  (He's decided in recent months that he does not like water, even though he used to drink it willingly all the time...)  I know part of this is a power struggle between him and us, not just being a picky eater.  I do believe that both conditions are real.

The other place I need patience with my boy-o is the whole potty-training thing.  Again, I know he'll get there and I'm doing everything I can short of putting him on the potty every 20 minutes and letting him scream at me for it.  Part of me knows that he just doesn't care.  This has also become a power struggle, just like with eating.  And I don't want this to become a power struggle that descends into the two of us screaming and crying at each other (like the bath was, and sometimes still is....).  Unfortunately, unless he shows some real progress in the next few months, it will become just that.  I mean, for crying out loud, both Trey and Kelly are potty trained and they're just two stuffed animals!  (I do and don't count this as progress on Boo's part...)

He's just soooo stubborn and so am I.  All these situations do is raise my blood pressure and make me feel like a crappy Momma... both from the "you can't get your son to do what you want" and the "all you do is yell at your son" side of things at the same time.  Yeah, I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I'm the only one in my own head.  And yes, Boo listens to me about 80% of the time and I spend more time laughing and playing with my boy-o than yelling at him, but days like this it feels like all I do is yell, nag, scold and grumble.

So, I'm thankful for the patience I do have but please, grant me a whole bunch more and the wisdom to know when and how to throw patience out the window to get things done.

I'll wrap it up here and wish you peace and patience in all your life's endeavors.

Friday, November 25, 2011


Today I'm thankful for leftovers.  And I'm not just talking about that yummy stuffing sitting in my fridge or the apple pie I've been trying very hard not to scarf down all in one sitting.  (I can't quite say the same for Gak's willpower with the pecan pie...)

While yummy Thanksgiving leftovers means that I don't have to worry about lunches for the next few days, they're only part of the story.  Leftovers from meals in general make awesome lunches with less thinking in the morning, and for that I'm thankful.  I'm also thankful for the fact that leftovers are cheaper than eating out (not to mention much healthier 95% of the time).

But leftovers don't just apply to food.  I'm thankful for leftover bits and ends of skeins of yarn from crochet projects.  I can't begin to tell you how many other projects or test patterns I've been able to do because I had a partial skein left over from another project.  And then there are the left over pieces of fabric from other projects that turn into projects all on their own.  I recently made an entire bag out of left over pieces from other projects.  I always love going through my stash of fabrics and yarns to see what I can come up with next.  Not to mention all the money I can save by using the odds and ends and creating something totally unique and personalized without having to spend a dime on something new.  (Trust me, I love a good bargain.)

So, yes, today I'm thankful for leftovers, both of the food and of all other sorts.  I'm sorry this is less than a stellar post, but I can't seem to keep focused as there are too many things vying for my attention at the moment.

So, I bid you peace and may you find something "left over" in your house that you can put to a good, new, use.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Tonight I am thankful for traditions.  Both the "official" and unofficial ones.  The ones I uphold every year and the ones I purposefully bend and break.

Today is Thanksgiving.  This is a day full of traditions.  Some of which I enjoy, some of them, I just don't understand.  Anyhow, I just wanted to write a little about today.  (Boy, this really isn't making much sense or going anywhere is it?  Oh well, I'll just plow forward and see where it takes me.  I'm just not getting my thoughts out well, could be the two glasses of wine maybe?)

This morning started with the normal "weekend type morning" things.  Then we got the whole "Thanksgiving" part of the day going.  We watched the start of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Boo got to watch the Sesame Street float so he was happy).  We even got a call from Gak's mom.  I started cooking, more like prep-work for the rest of the day around 9 when I realized a few things would take longer than I thought.

We managed to get a family walk in and enjoyed it.

My mom came up for dinner.  Dad wasn't feeling well, so he stayed home, but told mom she had to come.  We had the traditional turkey, but we had my spin on the stuffing, some very sweetly glazed sweet potatoes (less sweet potatoes than I thought I had and more glaze....), some yummy orange ginger carrots (although I'm still not a huge carrot fan...), some herb roasted baby potatoes, some rolls, some home made apple and cranberry sauces.  Over all, it was quite yummy filled with some traditional recipes from mom and some that I've taken and made my own.  Mom brought a pecan pie and half an apple pie she made (she left the other half home for Dad).

So, even though the gathering was a little smaller than usual, I'm still thankful for the tradition of doing Thanksgiving at my house and then Christmas and/or Hanukkah at Mom and Dad's.  I just don't know how much longer Dad will be part of the tradition and that scares me and makes me sad.  I will cherish every moment and every tradition we have together while we can, but knowing that the time is drawing to a close tints things with a little bit of sad, but makes me love them all the more.

Traditions are what bind us together, make us into families, neighborhoods, communities, counties, states and countries.  There are things we do that make us unique, but things that we do that tie us to others, some near and some far.  I love both the things that make me uniquely me, and my family uniquely mine, but I love the fact that there are people all over this state and country that are doing similar things on this day that are tying their own families together.  That is the real power of tradition.  Both the keeping of them and of the bending them to make them our own.

So, I'm off to Kat's house for a bit of socializing (and hopefully not too much more desert, although a small bite of pumpkin pie wouldn't go amiss....)

I bid you peace and may your traditions be yours and yet tie you to something bigger.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


I think today I will be thankful for cookies.  Not the ones you can buy in a package in the store.  While there are some good ones out there, those are just mass produced morsels.  I'm talking about labor-of-love, hand made bites of yumminess.

Of course, sometimes they aren't all that great.  Maybe it was the recipe.  Maybe it was the quality of ingredients.  Or the oven temperature was off (or you turned the oven off and wondered why things weren't cooking....).  Or you forgot half the flour.  Or the leavening.  Or you had to make some changes due to what you had on hand.  (Yes, I've had all those crop up at one point in time or another...)

Anyhow, today is my birthday.  And while there were some good things about today, I think I'm most thankful for the time I spent with Boo baking cookies.  We made two different kinds today.  (Actually, I made the first batch while he was supposedly napping, he helped with the second.)  The first batch I made were cranberry pumpkin ones that turned out very cake-like and very delicious.  (As soon as I write this I'm making another cup of tea and enjoying a few cookies...)  The second batch didn't turn out all that great.

Earlier in the week Boo asked if we were going to make cookies.  Of course I said sure!  I was figuring we'd make sugar cookies of some kind so he could do the sprinkles (which is his favorite part of cookie making).  But, this morning he asked to make chocolate cookies.  Oh, darn, twist my arm.  Unfortunately, the recipe for crinkles that I love requires you to refrigerate the dough for an hour or more to make it manageable.  We just didn't have that kind of time or attention span.  So, I tried a different one.  One that I thought should have worked, since it was in the Betty Crocker cookbook after all.  You know, the red notebook one?  The one with all the basic staples in it?  Yeah, well, this one didn't work out so well.  I'm not sure if it was me or the recipe.  Boo had a lot of fun helping me measure the flour and the sugar and loved that I let him lick the spoon I used with the melted chocolate.  (They definitely could have used more than 2 oz of chocolate, maybe double, but I'm a chocoholic....).  The biggest challenge was to keep him from licking the various measuring cups and then putting them back in said flour or sugar.... yeah.  Oh well.  Everything was going into the oven to cook...  The first dozen spread out way, way, way more than I expected and weren't done and then were suddenly burnt.  So, I added another half cup of flour and a touch more baking soda to the remaining batter and the rest didn't spread so much, were more cake like and cooked without burning.  They just aren't the stellar chocolate cookies I was in the mood for.

Oh well.  I really can't complain.  The time spent with Boo more than makes up for adequate at best cookies.  So, I guess I'm not really thankful for the cookies themselves, but for the time it takes to make cookies (or other things) from scratch and the time that is spent with loved ones in the process.

So, on that note, I'll wrap this up.  I wish I had a picture of the cookies to put at the top, but I haven't taken one and I'm just too lazy to get up and do that, come back, download it, upload it and post.  So, you'll just have to use your imagination.

Peace to all and may you have some quality (cookie) time with loved ones.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Tonight I am thankful for change.  I had a better picture that shows what I'm talking about, but this will have to do.  This picture is from Halloween.  I'm pretty proud of this picture.  I hadn't worn that garb in over 4 years, probably more like 6.  I may or may not be able to wear it next fall.

Anyhow, you may be wondering what this picture has to do with change.  Well, today Gak and I went to the DMV to get my license renewed.  More specifically, get my new photo license.  When I looked at my old photo and compared it to the new one, I really was quite shocked.    I mean, I know I've lost over 70 lb, but sometimes I just don't know I've lose 70 lb.  The difference in the two photos really brought it home.

So, I'm thankful for this change.  I'm thankful for all the changes that have come with it.  I'm thankful for all the energy I have, all the things I can do without thinking about it now and all the adventures I can go on and look forward to going on now.  It really is quite amazing.  There is a lot more buzzing around in my head, but it's 9:30 and I'm exhausted and just rambling.

Anyhow, here's a picture from about 4 months before my last license picture taken.  And this wasn't even at my heaviest, but probably about 15 lb or so lighter.  (I had a picture of the two licenses together, but the new one isn't very clear and doesn't do it justice.

So, I bid you peace and may you find good changes in your life.