Wednesday, December 23

Fun stuff before Christmas

Two days until Christmas! Are you ready? We got everything wrapped over the weekend, so are ready sooner than I thought we'd be. Thank you to my in-laws for taking the kids this past weekend so that I *could* get it all done!
So, last night Poseidon sent me an email with a link to a web comic. In the last few years, he has become the unofficial family IT guy, so this particular comic was hilariously very true:

Why it's better to pretend you don't know anything about computers, by The Oatmeal.

After reading that one, I started looking around at the guy's other comics. Do you remember a few weeks ago, when I was nearly hit in the crosswalk? Today, I found this:

Could you pass a driving test?

Created by Auto

You can click that image to take the test for yourself, and the answers are given after you've been graded. I only missed three, none of which were about pedestrians' rights! :D

Anyway, I like some of the other comics from this guy. Here's the homepage for your reading pleasure. I'll warn you, most of them have some salty language, but if you can handle that they're worth reading. My favorites so far (besides the above) are:
Twilight (haven't read it, not interested, I prefer my vampires gentlemanly - see True Blood on HBO)
17 Things Worth Knowing About Your Cat
How to Use an Apostrophe (this brings out my inner spelling nazi)
How Different Age Groups Celebrate Halloween
The 5 Phases of Caffeine Intake

I'm only on page 2 so far. There's another page of this stuff!

The update portion of this post:
Next week the kids and I will be at Mom's. I'm hoping we can visit a few friends, some of my aunts/uncles/cousins, and I know we're going to drop in on Mama A. at some point. I'll have the computer with me and if it isn't too cold, I'll sit out back so I can get a signal to use the internet. If any of you want to see me and I'm not already planning it, call Mom's house and we'll try to work something out! I'll have pictures and a new post again by the second week of January.

(Image 1 credit)
(Image 2 credit)

Be well ~
Poseidon, Amphitrite, Mister Twister, and Miss Hurricane

Sunday, December 6

Holi-daze has begun!

So, it's December already. We've had two report cards come home. Miss Hurricane, being in first grade, didn't exactly get a report card. It's still a sort of report like Kindergarten. She's doing really well and has no "areas of concern" marked down. This is the first year for her to take what's called an Accelerated Reader quiz - the kids read a book (from a list with point values) and take a test about it, earning points that really only mean they can comprehend what they've read. Well, this child of mine is a bit stubborn and will *not* be told what to do in some cases. This AR test is one of those cases. So, she and I have been going back into the school after the end of the day, once a week, to take a test. All the first graders this year have to take one test per week and are allowed to choose any book they feel they can comprehend. Miss Hurricane has chosen Dr. Seuss books so far, and passed two tests with 100%. I hope I only have to physically encourage her a few more times before she'll take them on her own before school. (I had been taking her to school about 15 minutes early each day, for the last two weeks, to let her take a test before the day starts. This way she doesn't have to think about it during the day. She's been doing her "early work" before the school news show instead, so I've taken her back in to the library *after* school, helping her log in, and *then* she would take the test. Not an easy feat when we share one vehicle around here, and Poseidon's already going into work late so I can pick her up when it's raining/snowing/cold out.) I don't know if it's a test anxiety or just stubbornness for her, but each time it has seemed as though it's stubbornness. She knows she can do it - even the logon and password - but she doesn't want to. Luckily it isn't and will not have an effect on future progress reports or grades.

Now for Mister Twister... he seems to be taking after me in the grades department. His report card was all A's and B's - except math, in which he has a 63. His next lowest grade is an 85, in Science. His previous midterm report looked a lot worse though, so this is really good and we've told him so.
Core Classes:
Reading, T1 {81} T2 {94}
Language Arts, T1 {77} T2 {91}
Integrated Math, T1 {61} T2 {63}
Integrated Science, T1 {73} T2 {85}
Social Studies/History, T1 {74} T2 {88}

His other two classes are electives, and they've changed from last term to this one. This term, one of his electives (given he didn't actually get to choose!) is health. Yes, he's learning about the birds and the bees. *sigh* Well, at least it will be easier for me if he has any questions outside of school. I knew this was coming as early as least year, when his 5th grade teacher told us at a parent meeting that this is taught starting in 6th. This is fine with me, and it actually made it easier on me one day this past week.

[celebrity gossip crap starts]
Did you see, on the Today Show, when Meredith Baxter outed herself? She's a lesbian. Big whoop, whatever. I was mildly worried/interested in her 'secret' because I thought something horrible had happened to her years ago or something. Relief that it didn't, followed by "oh, okay." As long as people are happy and safe, I don't care what they do or who they like/love. That ain't my business, ya know? Meh.
[ /end celeb gossip crap]

Anyway, this segment aired right before it was time for me to take Mister Twister to the bus stop. And it was cold, so I drove him (I hate being cold, folks. HATE it.). While we were sitting in the car, I asked him if he knew what 'lesbian' meant. He told me what he'd heard, from his friends obviously, so I explained what it really means - lesbian, homosexual, everything I could fit into the two minutes we had left until the bus was due. I was also able to tell him how I feel about it (see above, it's "whatever"). I was pretty proud of myself in that I didn't feel embarrassed saying any of it, and he didn't seem embarrassed to be talking about that kind of thing with me. So it was cool, and thank you Ms. Baxter. :D

Back to the regularly scheduled updating here:
So, the boy knows he needs to work on math. It's the only class he's failing as of now, yet back in the Spring he (all 5th graders, statewide) took a test on the core content. Check this out -
Reading ~ proficient, 555
Social Studies ~ proficient, 555
On Demand Writing ~ apprentice, 539 (his penmanship is awful)
Mathematics ~ distinguished, 572


Huh? Looks like he should be doing better in math this year. He isn't learning anything entirely new - right now they're mainly working on the addition/subtraction of mixed fractions, and dividing with decimals. I don't know what was on the state test, or how the scoring worked (scoring scale is 500-580), but somehow he was only 8 points shy of perfect on the math section... and is failing right now? It looks very odd to me, and I think it's probably more a problem with not doing work than him not knowing or understanding the work.

Bringing me back around to Christmas... I think this may be the last year he believes in Santa! Telling him that 'Santa is watching' hasn't helped pull up his grades, they came up because he saw his first term grades and the looks on our faces. He's also getting to the age where toys aren't something he really plays with and it's probably better to just give him gift cards for video games. LOL

Coming soon will be pictures from Christmas Day, and then we'll go up to spend some time with Mom, Baby Brother, and our nieces. Until then, I've got some sewing to do!!

Peace and blessings to you ~

Wednesday, November 11

Veteran's Day

My original thought for today's post was going to be a Wordless Wednesday, but once it dawned on me that it's also a holiday I changed my mind. My family is full of veterans and currently enlisted soldiers. I only have a few pictures, but not on my computer. I do have a link to a slideshow so I'll list him first.

Our family, by blood or by marriage:
Carl Powers (Poseidon's maternal step-grandfather)served in the US Navy during WWII and the Korean conflict. He passed away almost 3 years ago, and we inherited many of his things from his time in the service.

Slideshow Link

My paternal grandfather, still living, served during Korea in the USAF. I posted this picture of Grandma and Grandpa a few years ago; they were stationed at Elmendorf AFB in Alaska at the time. The photo wasn't labeled but based on marriage and birth dates, I'm guessing it was taken between 1953 and 1955:

The man who "adopted" my mom after she married Dad, Harold Applegate. He always was and will be my Papaw! He served in the USAF during Korea as well; I know he was stationed in Texas at some point and I believe that's where he met Mamaw. Papaw passed in January of 2005; this picture is from September 1998:

Mom's biological father was also enlisted during Korea. I don't have any information other than he served during Korea, I want to say he was also USAF but it could have been Army. I currently have no pictures of him.

Next generation: Again, no pictures currently, but I do have names. All still living.
Uncle "Apple", USAF, stationed in Texas during the Vietnam War era.
Uncle Gene, US Army, did a tour in Vietnam.
Uncle Kevin, US Army Firefighter, stationed in Alaska at the end of the 1970's.

My generation: No pictures of these folks on my computer, all still living and many still enlisted.
Jeff H., US Army, served in Operation Desert Storm
David B., Kentucky National Guard since 1990
Jeremy H., USAF
Mike W., USAF
Clay W., Washington National Guard, due to deploy by the end of this month for his second tour in Iraq ~ {keep him in thought and prayer, he'll be gone 18 months and is a dad to 5 kids!}
Tiffany W.(Clay's wife), US Army, just returned from a tour in Kuwait.
Scott W., US Navy
Byron S. (cousin Jennifer's husband), US Navy

And I'm sure there are some I've probably forgotten. Those are just the ones that immediately come to mind! I have friends from high school - Katie and Robb O. are Marines, Chris H. is in the Army, Danny C. was USAF, Tim G. was KY National Guard, and there may be others - and know still more women through my parenting forum who are military wives, all branches. If I dug out my folders I could even list my and Poseidon's ancestors going back to the Civil War.

All of the above, just to say:
Thanks, all of you. Thank you so much. For your bravery, for your fighting in my stead, for all you have done and will do - 'thank you' isn't even enough, but it's what I've got!

Monday, November 2

Halloween Happenings

Happy Halloween! This year, Poseidon and I walked around with The Dead Pirate Wisecracker:
(note the smirk)

and Princess Peach:

I went as the Dirty Hippie. (What, you expected something else?)

Poseidon didn't dress up - he usually doesn't - but he was off work and so got to walk with us. These kids got enough candy to last a month easily!

That's all for today. It's NaNoWriMo and I've got the kids using this to work on their handwriting. If they finish by the end of November, I'll type them up and post them here for you all to read!

Christmas is only 53 days from today....

Tuesday, October 27

A salty rant

Disclaimer first: I don't feel like watching my mouth for this one. If salty language offends you, insert your own words or just skip reading this one.

I usually walk to the elementary school to pick up Miss Hurricane after school. (Mister Twister rides the bus and walks home from his bus stop with no problems.) I take the same route, half a mile each way, every school day that I don't have the car or don't feel like driving. Most people know when kids are in school - Monday through Friday, August through May around here. Breaks are advertised on the news, and most people know when those breaks are anyway - major holidays and such. This is common knowledge for people once they've been driving for more than a year of their life. Right?
Apparently someone didn't get that memo. Another thing most, if not all, drivers are taught *before* the acquisition of an operator's license, is that pedestrians have the right-of-way. Especially when said pedestrian is already *in* the crosswalk, and whether a crossing guard is present or not. (Note: the crosswalk this happened in today usually does have a guard before and after school, but he wasn't there yet.)

You can probably see where this is going. If you want to skip the language, I wasn't hurt in any way, but I am super annoyed. So much so that I made a point to get the license plate number of the offending vehicle as I stared at him/her while s/he (probably a damn woman, though) drove on his/her merry way.

It's raining a bit today. I was walking normally, even slowed down a bit to allow one car to go ahead before I came to the crosswalk. I do try to do this more often than not, even though I don't *have* to do this. When the first car had made her turn (I did see her, I know it was a woman - lol) I stepped into the crosswalk even before she was completely through it. I knew I'd make it across with nearly no wait time for the next car. Instead, this bitch/douchebag decided to tear through the intersection, and as my foot hit the sidewalk on the other side of the street - where I was going and wouldn't have been holding anyone up - this dipshit honked at me and seemingly made a point to ensure I knew that I'd angered him/her. Why? Who knows. There are enough pretentious fuckheads around here that it could be anything.
So, since this fuckhead honked at me, I turned to see the driver. Couldn't though, since the car was driving away quickly. Since I was using my own umbrella and had another in my other hand, I couldn't properly salute this idiot with my favorite finger. But I did see most of the license plate, and will be talking to the crossing guard tomorrow on my way to the school. He's a retired policeman and can 'have a word' should he see this car again. Nothing like a friendly reminder!

To the driver: fuck you, get over yourself. Take a trafic class, you obivously need a reminder on the rules of driving. Running late? Leave earlier. Having an emergency? Get thee inside an ambulance instead of driving yourself. Ready to get home at the end of a long day? Aren't we all! Unbunch your panties. Trying to get a visit from me to tell you these things to your face? Honk again, douchebag.

/salty rant

To everyone else: remember that pedestrians have the right-of-way in a crosswalk. In some cities a pedestrian has the right-of-way everywhere. You are no more important than me, and I am no more important than you. Don't be an asshole; what you give is what you get.

Happy Tuesday. May the rest of the week be better than this!


Tuesday, October 20


I'm early on an update, for a nice change of pace. The kids and I spent a few days at Mom's house last week, and I have some pictures and video to share with you folks.
First off, the kids were on their Fall Break - just a four day weekend - so Mom came and picked us up on Thursday. We met up with my youngest cousin (a brand-new college student!) to have a late lunch and got to Mom's around 6 that evening. I didn't take the camera in with me so I don't have any pics from lunch with Cousin P Euchre.
Long story behind her nickname, but she's had that nickname since her infancy. That will henceforth be her pseudonym here. :D

Friday we had planned to go to the apple orchard... but we never did get around to anything in reality. I wish we had though, as I found out that they sold out of the very apples I wanted on Saturday morning! :( All I really did Friday was take some pictures of Mom's new gazebo... it just needs some insulation and four walls to be a really nice doghouse! LOL

Here are some pics of the gazebo:

You can click any of those to see a larger version.

I forgot to mention it last time, but I also inherited some old family photos of Dad's family. I want to scan those in this week or next and I'll be posting them on my genealogy forum. I'll slip a few of the (in my opinion) cooler ones here too as soon as I can. For now, I do have a picture of all the pictures before I carefully sliced all the tape holding them together:

<--- Tasty Krispy Apples!
Saturday we got up early enough to start some chili for dinner, and headed out to get apples. As I said, they were out of the Krispys I wanted by the time we got there, but we did get a gallon of cider and some dried soup mixes. Mom said I could have some of her apples that they'd bought earlier in the week. She knows how my kids go through apples!

Dad wasn't able to go to the orchard with us but he did take us out to dinner. He and Mom tried the Fuji Steak House (in Eastgate) a few weeks ago; they know that Miss Hurricane is learning Japanese at school, so thought it would be fun to treat us there too. This place is one of those open hibachi grill joints, where a chef comes out and cooks your meal right in front of you. We'd never experienced this but Dad promised it would be fun. He was right ~

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

That's our boy there who caught a flying piece of broccoli! Out of 7 people at our table, Mister Twister is the only one who caught any broccoli the chef tossed out! Apparently, all the chefs do this to relax the diners or something, but it was so fun to try and to watch others try too.

Since we went out on Saturday, we saved the chili for Sunday lunch. Chili's always better the next day anyway, right? Oh wait. We were going to save the chili for Sunday... sorry Mom, I have to tell on you here. It's too funny.
Saturday evening, on the way back from Fuji, I stopped by Goodwill to try to find new clothes for the fast-growing children here, so we got back to the house around 8:30. Mom changed into her pj's and I called Poseidon to chat. While I was upstairs giving Miss Hurricane a bath, Mom wanted to take the chili to the basement where she has an overflow fridge. I was later told that she dropped the *huge* pot of chili right in front of the fridge, and you know, maybe let a few words fly. LOL

<--- The chili, just hours earlier

Well, Mister Twister happened to hear her from another room, and he looked at Dad with raised eyebrows and big eyes and said "I've never heard Nana talk like that before . . .". Honestly, I snorted upon hearing this story from Dad! It was all fine in the end; the floor down there is concrete and she got it cleaned up, but she did have to start a new pot on Sunday. The chili was good, as hers always has been, so nothing to worry about!

No pics of the chili incident. Sorry. Sunday, Dad (and Angie, a.k.a. BatDog) brought us home by 4:30 and I've been doing laundry ever since. It was a good visit but we won't have a chance to get back up there until the Christmas Break. That does, however, give me some sewing time. :-)

Have a great week ~ another post will appear right after Halloween, as previously promised.

EDIT: I forgot to give you a link to the whole set of pictures... that's what I get for rushing myself! Here they are:
Fall Break 2009
Sorry! ~A

Saturday, October 10

October, already?!

Hey, one year from today, the date will be 10/10/10! Cool! ADD comes in handy sometimes....
I was reading my only post from April of this year. I've got music on tonight and heard a song that reminded of Timmy. I totally forgot to put a slideshow in that post, so here it is: Timmy pics - and here's a link back to that post: He Was A Friend of Mine. Sometimes I just miss him, but it's easier now than a few months ago.

So, it was August the last time I posted anything... school life kind of got in the way, as happens just about every year around this time. So what's up with us, you wonder? Let's see:
~ Late in August, a cousin I haven't seen in many years welcomed her firstborn to the world! I'll just give you a link to her blog: Stocks Family. Miss Isabella is absolutely adorable!! Of course, I've already added all her information to my genealogy notebook. Big happy congratulations to Jennifer and Byron!! :D
~ August 29 I went to my cousin's house to celebrate his birthday with his family and some friends. The kids were with me of course, which ended up bringing the total kid count that night to something like 12 (there were visiting neighbor children every so often too). We had a good time, it was nice to catch up with people I hadn't seen since April, and all the kids enjoyed staying up late and camping outside. I remember having one gigantic Pina Colada once all the kids were asleep, and then there was talking around the fire out back. It was fun. I wish I'd taken the camera! I got Dave one small gift (right here) and he said he loved it.
~ September was pretty empty... school all but two weekdays - Labor Day, then the 28th the kids were off but teachers had to be at school. We had to get some new clothes for the kids who are slowly but surely outgrowing the clothes they've had since last winter. I did get the winter wardrobes out of the attic, and got everyone's clothing swapped out and got rid of what no longer fits and all. Since we put the boxes back in the attic, I've found a few more pair of shorts that need to be put up there now... that happens every year too!
~ It's October now. Poseidon turned 36 a week ago; we've got field trips at school; fundraisers are coming to a close and new ones are beginning; we're getting ready for Halloween. The kids are off school on the 15th and 16th for their Fall break and the three of us are planning to go to Mom's. We haven't seen her since Dave's birthday, and have only talked to her a few times, so we miss her and Dad!

So now what? Well, coming up we have the first field trip for Miss Hurricane this year. Her class and the other 3 first grade classes are going to an orchard. I volunteered to go along this year (because schedules worked out for the first time, finally!) and will try to get a picture or two. Her school does have a policy about posting pictures of children online, so if I don't forget the camera, all you'll see on here will be her alone unless otherwise noted.
Tuesday I might be at Mister Twister's school, but that meeting hasn't been planned out yet. I'll know on Monday if we even need it. The first quarter is coming to a close and somebody has developed the awful habit of "forgetting" to turn in homework... yeah. He hasn't even been doing the homework, and no amount of taking things or grounding him seems to have any affect whatsoever. It's maddening! I have been in weekly contact with one of his teachers and I'll know more on Monday.
We're already figuring out what costumes everyone is wearing for Halloween. Miss Hurricane wants to be Princess Peach, and I think Mister Twister is going to dress up as either Mario or Luigi. I'm thinking I'm just gonna do the dirty hippie this year. LOL Last year I went out dressed as Lily Munster, but I can't find the shoes I wore then, and no other shoes I have will work with it. I do have my 'Jesus shoes' and some other accessories so I'm taking the easy way this year! Poseidon usually doesn't dress up, if he even goes out with us. In past years he's had to work, this year he'll be home in time to go if he feels up to it. We'll see. I'll get pictures that night too!

November is usually 'boring' too with only Thanksgiving break keeping the kids home. We only have two family birthdays (adults) and one anniversary in November, so I have some cards to browse and maybe an anniversary gift to buy. We will finish up our Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving too since this year will be a light year all around. I'm only sewing gifts for our kids this year since I ran myself out of time to plan for anyone else :(
On the bright side, we are still on track for moving in June!

See you next time,

Look what I found!

I need to write another update, I know. But I was looking for an old girl friend today and FINALLY found her!! When I did, though, I remembered something we have in common.

A photo slideshow. I'd forgotten all about this one! I think I made it in 2006 for MySpace (when I had a page there... no longer) and it's just been floating around the internet since then. I did a little editing of names but it's back to something I'm happy to share!

Only 10 pictures, but going back to when Mister Twister was just a toddler and up through Miss Hurricane's 2nd Halloween!

My friend I found? She's the girl in the second picture with me. We worked together in our early 20's (LOL, like I'm so old!). We took a mini-vacation with Poseidon and another friend from work to San Diego in April of 2000. That picture is from inside the Zoo somewhere, and I couldn't tell you what's in my cup... I do believe it contained alcohol though... but I wasn't the driver during the entire trip, so it's okay. :D

I have missed her so much over the last few years! We lost touch when I moved down here; I tried to send Christmas cards to her parent's house but never got any response and thought she probably had moved. I've googled her name I don't even know how many times, too! And today, when I struck gold and knew (by her slideshow) that it was really her, I actually let out a squeal! "OMG I found her! Yay!!" Startled the kids, but they'll be alright. I hope I hear from her sometime (so, girl, if you find this - email me or look on Facebook!!!).

Seeing her totally made my day :D

I'll have an actual update soon, around or shortly after Halloween.

Friday, August 21

Back to School News, et al

So, here we are at the start of another school year. As of today, these two have been in school just over a week ~ Miss Hurricane is in first grade, Mister Twister is in 6th at the middle school. So far, both are doing well. He has a locker and changes classes this year, but all his classes are within about 20 feet of each other so it's pretty easy... better than it was for me anyway, my middle school was 3 different floors plus the gym in the basement, and I was all over that school on any given day! Anyway, he gets on the bus with three other kids - one boy has already become a 'best friend' I think - and the bus picks them up around 8:20. His school day starts at 9:05, lets out at 3:55... the elementary school starts at 7:45 and I pick her up around 2:30, so there's a huge difference in when they're gone for school! I'm getting used to it already. The added bonus is that Mister Twister's bus stop is only a 10 minute walk away, and since Miss Hurricane is already at school, I can walk to the bus stop with him. I've been walking with him every morning, then I take a longer route back to the house. So I can finally get in some daily exercise, something I've been slacking on over the summer! And depending on Poseidon's schedule I walk to see the boy off the bus some afternoons. So finally I have both kids home by 4:30 and I now know that dinner needs to be made and on the table by 6 so that no one's constantly in and out of the kitchen for a snack. It feels good to have a schedule for a change, and this one is working very well so far!

Around Mother's Day, Miss Hurricane's teacher let all the kids plant flowers for their moms and had a Mother's Day party at school. I got a plastic cup of daisies. They finally died on me a few days ago, but here's a picture of them at the end of July:

She said they were "Mother's Daisies". :D

Before the start of the school year, both kids and I had our yearly physicals. I'll go first:
July 14 I went to the public health clinic (I still have no insurance on myself) to have my thyroid level checked, and for a general checkup since I hadn't had one in over 6 years. The doctor's final verdict - I'm overall healthy, but overweight. I knew that. *lol* She didn't get to hear any heart palpitations, it didn't act up the entire time I was there. I did give permission for my records from my hometown doctor to be released to her so she'll see everything Dr. V. did in regard to my heart problem. This doctor also checked my cholesterol level and some other stuff I didn't write down at the time, but my main concern was a possible thyroid issue. I can rule that out - she never called back, but told me in office that she has a 'no news is good news' policy. I still have no idea why I lose so much hair in a day and consistently have frozen toes and fingers, but at least I know it's not that! She also gave me a daily multivitamin to take even though she was happy to hear about my diet being a pretty good one. The clinic bases the amount a patient pays for a visit on the household income... so I only had to pay $24 for everything! Nice :-)
Now for the kids:
I took them in one appointment on July 28. Mister Twister had the possibility of one vaccine, but Miss Hurricane was caught up and doesn't need any until next August. I decided to wait on his vax to give myself time to read more about it (just a TDaP booster, but I found out that he needed it before the first day of middle school. I did take him back for that on August 11 and he was [and is] fine - barely a flinch.). So they each were weighed and measured first... Mister Twister, who turned 11 on August 9, is 57.5" tall and weighs 88.8 pounds. For reference, I am only 65" tall, and I'm finished growing in height! This child will likely be a 6-foot-tall freshman!! Definitely takes after my dad's side of the family there; Dad and all 6 of his siblings are over 68" tall. This man-child of mine also still has 20/20 vision in both eyes. And our first sign of puberty has appeared.... for his 11th birthday, he got his first pimple. :( Where did my little boy go? Who replaced him with this man-child?? At least he does still accept a goodnight kiss from me! But his eating has finally slowed down - for the last two years or so, this kid has been constantly hungry and totally able to eat an adult-sized dinner plate full of food and still need more. These days he can eat just the one plate and be full, so I guess he's done growing for a little while.
Now Miss Hurricane, who turned 6 back in May, is 47" tall and weighs 64 pounds. Since her brother's growth spurt appears to be over, she is the one constantly eating something, always hungry. Even after a huge dinner, an hour later she swears she'll just waste away to nothing if she doesn't get something else to eat! On the upside, this year she's finally willing to eat breakfast - much like her father, she's never been interested in food before about 10 a.m., but will now eat a piece of toast or half a bagel before school. (The boy and I are the kind of people who have to eat pretty much upon waking - even before the first cuppa.) Miss Hurricane also has 20/20 vision in both eyes. She doesn't need any boosters or vaccines until she's 10, although once we move there may be some that will be necessary in a new school district. We won't know about that until they're registered out there.

And speaking of moving, I can now officially tell everyone that we will be moving to the other coast next June! Poseidon and I didn't want to wait, but in the end we decided that we were rushing ourselves and thought it better to give ourselves a year. We can save more money up for the actual move, get rid of things around here that we won't need out there, fix up this place a bit (even though we rent, it's still a house, and we've had kids living here for 6 years. There's stuff to do.) and finalize everything we can. We still haven't told the landlady, but really don't need to until we pay May's rent. She just lost her husband of 54 years a couple months ago, I don't want to toss anything else on her right now. We still have plenty to do before we move, and the time in which to get it all done. I have to make a heart-wrenching decision about whether I can/should keep my sewing machine and all that goes with it... in the meantime I'm trying to get as many projects finished as I possibly can. I really don't want to part with it - sewing is therapeutic to me, and I can sit and sew for hours without getting bored or needing more than a bathroom break - but once we move I will probably not have any time for sewing if anything else. My days as a SAHM are coming to an end! I won't make a decision on that until April or May though, and things could change, and I may not have to get rid of it at all. We'll see.

Now, on the creative front ~ a few weeks ago I thought I'd try to make some produce bags. I've read that those plastic bags at the store (in which you collect your cucumbers, tomatoes, plums, etc. - the bulk veggies and fruits) can "leak" unhealthy gas into and through the skin of the fruit/veg. I learned how to crochet about 15 years ago. Without an actual pattern for it, but based on a bag I made a few years ago, I came up with a drawstring bag for tomatoes and cucumbers (or whatever, you know) which only weighs a couple of ounces by itself. So it doesn't throw off the weight of the food, and it's reusable! If need be I can wash it with my kitchen towels. I made three before I was finally satisfied with the size and shape of everything, and wrote out a pattern for the way I made it. We've been using them and they work just fine! I'm going to make a couple more for us, and whenever I have time I may make some to give as gifts for family and friends who would use them. I always have to be making something to be happy! *lol*
Other creations in the works are:
curtains for the dining room - to keep some of the afternoon heat at bay, so they're brown curtains and will have a piece of black in the middle.
curtains for the other kitchen window - again, to keep the heat out.
a blanket for Miss Hurricane - she picked the fabrics for a four-patch throw, possibly quilted. It's very pink:

a throw - some random 3" squares I had came together very nicely and I'll only need to get some fabric for sashing this 9-patch (the black and white you see are squares which won't be used, I'm going to cut strips instead).

two shirts for me - I've had these waiting in the wings since Spring. It's a long sleeve pattern though, so I still have time.
Those should all be finished by October, and then I'll start with the holiday sewing. I love finding free patterns online!!

One more picture... last week I was out, and when I came home I saw this praying mantis in the hedge. I'm weird so I had to take a picture! Bugs are cool :-)

You're all caught up now... we were gone part of the summer, and summer for the kids only lasted about 8 weeks anyway. The kids are off school today (teacher workday), then again for Labor Day. There's a 4-day weekend in October and the three of us will be at Mom's then. We've just been truckin' around here :-)


Wednesday, August 12

Coming soon....

I know I haven't written anything since we got back from Oregon. It's been summer break for the kids, and we've been here and there for the most part. Today was the first day of the 2009-2010 school year! I'll have some time to myself during the weekdays, and have two blog posts at the ready, waiting to be edited and completed. I'll get those up as soon as I can, likely this weekend, but I haven't forgotten about you good folks reading this. I promise :D
It is already time to pick Miss Hurricane up though (she started first grade today) and Mister Twister is riding a bus this year to MIDDLE SCHOOL. 6th grade for him, and I can see signs of prepubescence already. Lord help us. :p
So, I'm back in full June Cleaver mode, since their schools' end-of-day differ by about an hour and a half ~ today I have brownies for after school while she works on homework; once he gets home he can have a brownie while doing his homework, and there will still be plenty for their lunches tomorrow. Next week I'm thinking cookies but that will be based on grocery sales this weekend. It actually feels good to get back in the swing of the school thing.
Check back in a few days!!

Thursday, June 18

We visited Portland, Oregon. Wanna see and hear about it all?

First, a warning: there are *many* links to pictures, places, and things throughout this quite lengthy post. Get your clicking fingers ready. Here we go!

Monday, June 8
We left our house at 3:30 a.m. Eastern time. It was cheaper to fly out of Cincinnati so we knew we had a bit of driving to do, but we made great time (there's NO ONE on the road at that hour!) to the airport. I'd like to thank Uncle Boogie for the parking pass :D We walked to our terminal, got through security without a hitch, and our flight left just after 6 a.m. From Cincinnati to Chicago-O'Hare was only about 50 minutes, and we didn't run into much in the way of turbulence. We did see some awesome storm clouds in-flight! I'm guessing we were somewhere over southern Indiana, I only had my cell phone on me, but here are the clouds we saw:
storm clouds
I thought it looked like a couple of dragons prepared to fight! *lol*

Chicago-O'Hare isn't really as scary (read: confusing) as we initially thought. We were lucky, though, in that our first flight parked at the same terminal from that which our next flight would leave to Portland. We had almost 1 1/2 hours, so we went to Zoot! for breakfast. This cafeteria has a jazz theme, and I found a pic of Ella Fitzgerald (among others)... I snapped this one for Miss Hurricane, who is a fan of the lovely songstress:
Ella Fitzgerald (Poor quality on my phone, this is the actual picture they have framed)
Finished eating, it was time to board our next flight and take a nap!

After almost 4 hours of flying, Poseidon looked out the window and looked back at me with eyes the size of half-dollars.... he said "OMG wait til you see this!!" I tried to look over him but the angle was wrong (and I'd slept funny Saturday, so my neck was hurting). A few minutes later he poked me again and said "look." We were flying *right next to* Mount Hood. Again, cell phone pics:
Mount Hood

See how big this mountain is?! I've obviously only ever seen foothills in comparison! Compare here: The Appalachains, near us, VS. The Cascades, which contains Mt. Hood. Freaking amazing. We landed, found our way to the rental car, and managed to find the hotel. It was only 10:30 a.m. Pacific, but my body was thinking it was late for lunch. My first order of business was to unload the bags and find some food! Thanks to an online friend - LatteLover - we found a Burgerville. Poseidon said it was the best burger he'd ever had; I went with a grilled-cheese, asparagus and tomato sandwich. That was *really* good too! (i.e. I'm going to be making that at home, it seemed pretty easy.) We just came back to the hotel after lunch, and it was still only 3 p.m.... so we took a two-hour nap.

Woke up around 5, made a pot of hotel coffee (hey, it worked) and tried to decide what to do that evening. After some time online to orientate ourselves, we thought 'we'll just drive down this road toward downtown and see what we find'. It turned out to be a great idea, and what we found was this.... The Pittock Mansion. Here are 56 of our pictures.
Pittock Mansion Set
(Notice: There is a slideshow option for every photo link I'm giving you, or you can view the photos individually and read the descriptions I gave them. For this set, slideshow is best.)

Did you see it? We had walked around the back of the mansion and saw the view - it was just awesome. Then, we both happened to look at the same spot at the same time - we saw Mt. Hood! I'm kinda pointing toward Mt. Hood, if you can see the wee pinkish triangle through the clouds.
I asked Poseidon *nicely* to crop me out of that picture. :grumble: Thanks, honey. Anyway, I was trying to point at Mt. Hood... didn't quite achieve the effect I was hoping for but you get the idea.

Tuesday, June 9
We decided the night before to get up relatively early (7:00) and head out to Astoria. Poseidon's friend Lee suggested we go visit, and wow it was a great suggestion! We got on the road around 8:30. Now, it's a long drive from Portland to Astoria - about 2 hours - but we were in no rush at all and didn't mind the drive. We left Portland and headed north on I-5 into Washington. Oh man, this bridge that we crossed was longer than any either of us had ever crossed to date. And talk about awesome scenery! The Columbia River is huge and has islands scattered along the length of it. Reference point for anyone who knows the area - our hotel was right next to this bridge, and to Government Island.
So, Washington state is pretty beautiful. And, a sign from back home, there was a little construction on the I-5 so we got to see some orange barrels. *lol* They look the same out here, but really, they are just about the only thing out here that look the same as "what we have back home"! After a while we took an exit which led to a bridge and back into Oregon, still heading west. Most of this drive was basically through en evergreen forest... it was nice and shady and cool most of the way, and was still only about 10 a.m. Along the way, ODOT has specific viewpoints - you can exit the highway to a pulloff and park to look around and get some pictures of the scenery. We did that a couple of times; here's a link:
Portland to Astoria Set
Those pictures were taken when we were just about halfway to Astoria.

More highway driving and we finally reached Astoria, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. We weren't too sure where exactly we were going, but I had seen a sign that mentioned a maritime museum. That sounded fun to both of us, and we followed the signs to the Columbia River Maritime Museum. Here are those pictures:
Astoria Set - best viewed individually for the descriptions and info signs.

Oh, before we left home, Lee had given us a sealed envelope that said "open when you get to Astoria". He also told us about a place called Josephson's and said we had to go there to eat. Once we discovered that Josephson's is only a deli - and we were already hungry enough to want more than just a sandwich - we decided to go around back to a place called The Ship Inn. This was about the time I remembered that Lee gave us an envelope to open here! (You ladies know how it is - stick something in your purse and who knows when you may see it again! *lol* )
In the envelope was a bit of money with a note that read, "Lunch is on me. Enjoy! -Lee". So thank you, Lee, for our wonderful lunch at The Ship Inn!
After eating we walked around the town for a little bit. They still use a trolley that runs along the riverside - $1 rides or $2 all day ticket! We thought the kids would love that, so we'll remember it for our next trip out here.

Another online friend - Korwynne - suggested that we visit the Lewis & Clark National Park and see Fort Clatsop. I'd told her that he's a history buff, and she hit that nail on the head... he loved it there! (I did too) Now, since Mister Twister had learned about L&C at the end of this school year, I made sure to take a lot of pictures for him too. Any boy, or tomboy even, would love a little fort or treehouse like this place - it was really cool. They also had a boardwalk out to where they put-in on the river. Most of these pics are self-explanatory :-)
Lewis & Clark National Park set - slideshow is fine with this set.

We continued to drive down the coast a bit to find Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach. I'd never heard of this huge rock, so P told me a little about it. I'll just link you to what he basically said about Haystack Rock... and show you our pictures of Cannon Beach. Bonus: there are two videos in this set!
Cannon Beach set - you may want to view them individually so you can watch the videos too. Each video is about 30 seconds long.

This was a long day of driving. The scenery is absolutely beautiful; I've never seen anything like it. Since it had been a long day, we went back to the hotel. Intended to take an hour-long nap and we both slept for *three* hours. Oops... figured the kids were already in bed so we didn't call them, but we did go out for a late dinner and tried to make loose plans for the next day.

Wednesday, June 10
We had intended to get up kind of early, shooting for around 8 a.m. I don't think either of us got up before 10. LOL Tuesday was a seriously long day! We decided to just stick around Portland proper today. I was told about Pioneer Square and we'd already seen that Portland is very much a walkable city. So, after some coffee, we walked next door to Elmer's for lunch just before noon. It was a nice enough meal and atmosphere, kind of reminded me of a Perkins or Denny's restaurant. Our hotel was situated right across the street from a thrift shop so we went in and walked around. Didn't really see anything worth bringing back home, I guess thrifts are pretty much the same all over the country! We grabbed our map and headed downtown.
Once we found a parking garage, we walked around a bit to orientate ourselves. Walked past a fiddler on the street (he sounded good, too), had a few broke college kids ask for money, figured out where the actual Square was, and decided to go on a self-guided tour of the courthouse. It's a pretty neat building; after going through the metal detector (which my forgotten cell phone set off; I got to walk through it twice! *lol* ), the US Marshal at the door gave us a quick speech about the history of the building, where we were allowed to go inside, and what we could and couldn't photograph. Here is a link for the courthouse, it's the largest Appeals Court in the US; and here are the pictures I took inside. Side note to Mom ~ it's pronounced [KYOO - puh - luh]. :D Learn something new every day!
More walking outside until we found Pioneer Place Mall. Oh, as soon as we can get back to Portland, we have to take Miss Hurricane to the Sanrio store inside. That is where we picked up a gift from our trip for her! I'll get a pic soon. She's already filling it and it's probably living under the bed by now. *lol*
After leaving the mall we needed some coffee. Seattle is known for coffee everywhere, but I'd bet that Portland comes in 2nd place. We found a Starbucks on the way to the car and sat outside with our cups. We'd hoped to find Powell's Books but never did. That's on the to-do list for our next trip!

Now the exciting part.... in trying to get back to our hotel from the garage, and with many one-way streets in front of me, we got lost. Whoever said that 'most married couples fight about money' didn't think about us! LOL We had a wee spat about where we were and how to get where we wanted to go - luckily for me, Dad taught me a trick to driving through large and confusing cities *years* ago... and eventually, we did find a road that would take us back to our hotel. Thank you, Dad. :D We brought Burgerville back to eat and went to bed.

Thursday, June 11
We went to bed early so we could get up and ready early today. Lee told us we had to drive the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway, so we had the hotel breakfast and were on the road by 8:30 a.m. There isn't really much to say about the drive, just look at the pictures.... Columbia River Gorge Scenic Highway set
Just gorgeous. Mind-blowingly awesome. I also have video clips of the waterfalls we stopped to see; they're all labeled at the end of the Waterfalls set.

At the Locks, we actually ran into a Native American teenager (he may have been about 20 at the most) who (we guess) was checking out his fishing platform. Native Americans are the only people still allowed to fish for salmon with nets, as they've been doing for thousands of years. From a Cascade Locks website: "Native Americans fish from platforms and skillfully land the fish while balancing on the end of the plank." Poseidon knew what I was taking a picture of before I did, but that's pretty much what he said it was too. We all nodded to each other, P told him 'it's beautiful out here', and he walked on back up to his home I guess. We didn't want to bother him (or anyone else there) by chatting it up.

There is something there they call "The Bridge of the Gods". Here's the modern bridge story (click here). Read that entire link, it won't take long. Oh, there's a video clip too. The wind was blowing at *easily* 30 MPH sustained. SUSTAINED wind, not gusts. My hair hit me in the eye quite a few times! Watch this 30-second clip and listen to the wind... it's all you'll hear, but you can get a sense of just how crazy the wind is there. Keep an eye on the eddies out in the river too.
Cascade Locks video

It was late by this time, so back to the hotel for us. We started packing everything up, as we had to check out the next day. We went ahead and made a plan for when we'd leave, where we'd go, and what we'd do Friday....

Friday, June 12
I woke up at 6:30, P was up around 7 a.m. We showered and dressed, and packed up everything. Downstairs to have the complimentary breakfast and back upstairs (4th floor room, did I mention that?) to make triple-sure that we had *everything* ready to go. Check-out time was noon, but we wanted to go to McMinnville and see the "Spruce Goose". We turned in our room key and were on the road by 9 a.m., headed for McMinnville. We got hungry again on the way and stopped at Burgerville.... have I told you, this place has great food for fast food?!? I like the Tillamook Cheeseburger.... mmm....
Oh, sorry... in McMinnville is the Evergreen Aviation Museum. Having grown up near Wright Patterson AFB, I've been to the USAF Museum there a few times in my life. So I enjoy airplanes and stuff. I also told Dad that I'd be seeing the Spruce Goose and promised many photos just for him and Mister Twister. How lucky that I married a man who *also* enjoys aviation history! This wooden airplane is H-U-G-E. You really do have to see it to believe the enormity of it. There's a bit of it in almost every picture I took, but I do not have a camera that will take one picture of the whole plane. It's amazing. We kept looking at the plane, then each other, then the plane, slack-jawed at its size! I did get a couple of info sheets which list its dimensions... but it's wider than a 747 from wingtip to wingtip. It has 8 engines. Look for pieces of it in the pictures as you scroll through, I've labeled the pictures that only contain this aircraft.
Evergreen Aviation Museum set
After a good 2 hours at Evergreen, we headed back to Portland. It was only around 1:30 p.m., and our flight home was the redeye... we had some time on our hands. So we hauled out the trusty map and said 'let's go here, we haven't driven in this area yet'. Great idea, actually... we found the Hoyt Arboretum. We decided that we'd see the gardens and the zoo on our next visit, which will include the kids and be more fun with them anyway. We walked around the Vietnam Veterans Memorial which is shaped kind of like a labyrinth, and took pictures of plants and trees we've never seen. Up the hill is Pittock Mansion, so we stopped for more pictures and the hope of a better view of Mt. Hood. No luck with respect to the mountain, but I did get close-ups of some flowers I thought you all would like to see. Click to see the Portland Scenery set
This drive eventually took us west out of the city. We saw a bridge that we hadn't seen before, and tried to find it. I only passed it by about 2 miles so we turned around and went over this bridge, St. John's Bridge. Oh. My. Goodness. This bridge was so high. Probably not that bad in comparison to the other bridges over the Willamette, but it was big compared to those around here. (Make sure you scroll down to the bottom of that link, there is a great picture you should see!) Now across the river, we were in an area we didn't know, and which was hiding under the legend on our map.... we stopped in a post office parking lot (it was already sometime after 6) and tried to guess whereabouts we were. We decided to continue down this avenue until we saw some other street name, and eventually did find ourselves on the map. From there it was easy. :D We had dinner, drove around the more familiar areas again, and just tried to waste time before going to the airport.

Our flight home was due to takeoff after midnight, and the car was due back the next afternoon, but we just didn't know where else to go at that hour! We got to the airport between 8:30 and 9, checked our one bag, and walked around the food court for more coffee. Then we sat by the main entrance, close to the smoking area, so we could put off security until it was *time to go*.

Did you ever watch Mystery Science Theater 3000? The main terminal at PDX allowed us to pretend *we* were the MST3K cast for a couple hours. It was really entertaining, watching all the people coming and going, and making up our own commentary for everyone.... then we started getting sleepy. Coffee People in the food court was open until 11 so we grabbed another cup, went through security to our gate, and waited. Our flight was delayed inbound so we didn't actually takeoff until almost 1:30 a.m., but that did not cause us to miss our connection and we got back home - to our house - just after noon on Saturday. We called Poseidon's mom (who kept the kids all week) and asked if we could sleep and pick them up Sunday. She was cool with that, and we were able to sleep off some jet lag.


I hope you enjoyed our vacation through pictures and video as much as we did! We will definitely be visiting Oregon again!!

Monday, May 18

Busy times are here!

May is always a busy time all around our families.... 6 May birthdays, 3 June birthdays, one anniversary, and Mother's Day all within a few weeks' time! So, I've been away. I know I haven't posted any updates since Timmy died... I took about a week to fully absorb that fact, then spent another week going through the rest of the grieving process. With everything else happening and more to come, this is the first chance I've taken to actually write *something*, even if it's a short one.
Here are the plans for the coming weeks:
~ I've had conferences w/ both kids' teachers, and will be scanning those papers and writing a post just for them. Last day of school is June 4th, I should have it done by then.
~ Poseidon & I are taking a trip out to Seattle during the first full week of June. Just the two of us, we figure if we don't do it now we may not have another chance for a very long time! We will have the camera and my MacBook so we can stay connected and post pics when we're not sight-seeing.
~ Miss Hurricane turns 6 years old tomorrow!! I'm taking cupcakes in for her class in the afternoon, and making whatever she wants (within reason!) for dinner. We all went out to IHOP on Saturday (her choice) to celebrate her birthday with strawberry waffles and scrambled eggs.
~Yesterday MIL had a birthday party for 4 of the current birthdays, and I have pics to upload from that. This weekend, barring rain, Mom is having a party for me and Miss Hurricane of which I will also have pictures. I may put all these birthday pics in one post, and soon I promise!

After June 21st, we're pretty much done for the summer. Mister Twister's birthday is in August, so the entire month of July is pretty open and I never have any idea what'll go on that month! I'll do better at keeping you all updated then too :D

Have a great week!


Tuesday, April 7

He Was A Friend Of Mine

My readers who are fans of the Grateful Dead can probably already tell where this post is going. Today's title is a song by the Dead, and you can find the lyrics here if you don't know the song. When I heard the news, it was the first song I 'heard' in my head.

On March 31, 2009, this world lost a wonderful man. Tim Guttridge, a friend to countless people, died at home in his sleep. One friend called him a "Gentle Giant", another called him "Timmy Bear"; both are perfectly fitting of Tim. Let me tell you how I knew him.

I really can't remember the first time I met Tim... he went to school with my cousin Dave, who is 5 years older than me. Dave was around our house a lot while I was growing up, and Tim (along with the two Chris's!) were just... always there, extensions of Dave, and just as dear to me as Dave still is. The first time I can remember pretty well would have been about 15 years ago. Dave and Tim were roommates sharing a house in Dayton. Dave helped me get a job at a pet store with him, and since they lived closer than I did, I was welcome and visited them on weekends when I didn't want to go home. I started working there during my senior year of high school, and graduated about a week after I turned 18, so it was that summer that I visited more, being a grownup and all. :-)
Tim and I hung out one day just talking, listening to music, drinking and smoking. I believe I slept on their couch that night but really can't remember much else. I remember listening to "So Far" at least once. Tim was the kind of guy that you could just hang with, not do anything, and still it was all cool, you know? Everyone should know someone like that! Anyway I remember it being dark when I left so it was either really late or really early the next morning.
June 5, 1996, Tim and I went to see Crosby, Stills and Nash with Chicago when they came through town. I had seats in the back of the pavilion. I have had my ticket stub in a scrapbook for many years (click to enlarge):


Dave was the one who actually introduced me to CSN, and they remain my favorite act to this day. I knew Tim liked both acts, so I invited him to go with me. Who would turn down a chance to see that double headliner! :D Chicago played first and the concert ran through to almost midnight. We had a great time dancing by our seats, and I think that was the night he drove me home in his Chevy LUV with the broken clutch. LOL I didn't even know that was possible, but Timmy got me home with zero problems!
There was a Christmas party at Dave's house in SG (along the river), 1996 probably. Lots of people there! I know Big Jim was there... Tim, Molly, probably both Chris's, about 5 other people whose names escape me, and myself were all in a bedroom. Jim and I sang a song together, and I know it was the first time I had an Amaretto Sour (thanks, Dave!). I also remember singing "Mercedes Benz" by myself - hard for someone who had low self-esteem at the time - without any trouble. Tim told me that I sounded great. I still remember the feeling of singing in front of all these people and freaking out in my head but I pushed myself through it. I was having fun, and really, I knew everyone there for the most part, so I had nothing to be embarrassed about. Just self-doubt and all. But Tim was the guy who meant what he said and said what he meant, always. He would always tell a pretty girl that she was pretty, or someone playing an instrument how well they were doing, that kind of thing. Besides my dad, Tim was the first person to tell me that I was pretty, and I knew he meant it. All the boyfriends I had before that may have said the words, but I never believed it until Tim said it. Never a rude or angry word from his mouth that I ever heard.
Dave's first child was born in 1997, and Tim was there at the baby shower at my aunt's house. I have a picture of Dave and Tim from that shower, and a couple of just Tim. I'm still looking for the pictures, they're likely up in the attic with the rest of the stuff we don't have room for down here.
I might be going out-of-order here, but I remember when Dave lived on top of LeDance Studio. They had a porch that ran the whole width of the building, and there was always a porch hockey game going on. Fun to watch! Anyway there was a party one night (yes, always a party, right?), porch hockey was played for a few hours it seemed, and probably 20 people in the apartment. This was the night I met Longhair (hey, even his grandmother called him that!), another good soul who is waiting on the Other Side. Oh, I got so sick that night.... but I do remember it! I mainly remember the porch spinning like a merry-go-round, and then sleeping in a chair on that porch after telling Dave to wake me up in time to go to work the next day.
There was a night when the band got together, and I got to hear them play "Uncle John's Band" with Tim on drums. There were also many concert nights on the beach across from Riverbend.... many, many nights. :-) Many, many good times.
My parents and Baby Bro went to FL for a week in early 1999. I was working at the airport and had Mister Twister already, so since I couldn't go with them I was in charge of house-sitting the week they were gone. Oh boy. I was 21 years old ~ and I had two people I trusted completely with the boy, soooooo one night Dave called and asked what I was doing. Yeah, you see where this is going too, don't you?! I had my one friend - who had already raised three boys to adulthood - watch Mister Twister for me, and Dave came over to Mom's house with Tim and a few other friends of his. I can't remember which ones, but I think a Chris was there too. Maybe both of them? We had a blast that night, playing Euchre, drinking and all, yet still respecting Mom's house rule of Go Outside To Smoke. We cleaned up the next day - Mom would never have known. Except, Tim's parents were on my parents' same return flight.... none of us knew that part! But Tim was to pick up his parents, and Dad was driving my family home. Tim caught sight of Baby Bro and walked up grinning and talking all about the Party That Wasn't Supposed to Happen! He walked up to Bro and said "Oh, hey man!! You missed a great party at your house! Dave, was there, and your sister, and [some other people], we had a ball playing cards, and drinking...". All the while Bro was making that face that says "dude SHUT UP Mom's right behind me!!" *ROFL* But Mom had already heard plenty and she told Tim to "keep on talking"! :D Ah, she never would have known because we cleaned up so well, but when they got home I heard about how they ran into Tim at the airport.... I can still feel the color drain from my face at that memory! (I didn't get into trouble, but I was told not to do that again - and I didn't.) Never was mad at him for telling, but that is one memory that just makes me laugh and laugh when I think about it.

It's unfortunate but I'm pretty sure that was the last time I saw Tim in person. In October of 1999 I met my husband; soon after we met and got engaged we moved down here, and I've pretty much lost touch with everyone other than family. It was back in August that I talked to Tim again finally. Dave's wife called him when I went to visit her for a Girl's Weekend of tie-dye, henna, and Mary Kay. :-) She talked to him a lot though, but he had to work that weekend and wasn't able to drop by for a visit. I tried to call him back a little later and ended up leaving a voice message but never heard back. Tim recently started teaching their kids how to play drums, something he loved and was good at ~ both playing and teaching.
I joined Facebook in January, and once I ran myself out of family, school friends, and online acquaintances {LOL}, I thought "Hm, I wonder if any of Dave's friends are on here?". Sure enough, I found the 'Three Brothers' - Tim, Chris C., and Chris N., all on Facebook. So in that, I consider myself lucky enough to have been in touch with Tim again. I was hoping to visit him at his guitar shop on the way to Mom's during Spring Break, because Mister Twister has for *years* wanted to play guitar. Ardeo and I know *nothing* about guitar, but I'd been telling him that "I have this friend who works at a guitar shop and we could talk to him, get his opinion and help", etc. We thought he's old enough now, as is Miss Hurricane, that a good guitar wouldn't get destroyed if he still wanted to try it. Anyway I'd already planned to get to Mom's by dinnertime on Friday.

Tuesday morning around 10, we were waiting for the kids to come home from camping with the grandparents. I was only halfway through my first cup of tea when I got around to logging into Facebook for the day. I saw that CN had posted about Tim's passing, and my heart sank right into the pit of my stomach. I couldn't believe it, didn't want to believe it, it didn't make any sense - Tim was so young! He'd have been 37 this June. And he was such a blessing to everyone he knew. After about 5 minutes of letting the news sink in, I went out in the back yard and called Mom. I told her she had to call Dave. She asked why, and I told her; she had the same reaction I did. I talked to her about it for 10 minutes or so, she gave me Dave's number but I asked her to call him. I was already having a hard time speaking.
I pushed myself to do everything that needed to be done that day - laundry, dishes, general cleaning and whatnot, just to try and keep my mind occupied so that I wouldn't cry. Bro called me late that evening after talking to Dave. We talked for a few minutes and I told him that I'd be coming up a day early depending on arrangements and all. He didn't spend as much time with Tim as I had, but he still knew and respected him. It was after 11 when I talked to Bro, so I went to bed and finally cried for a bit. I didn't expect this to affect me as deeply as it did and does, but I believe that it does because my husband is their age... too young.
Friday night was the visitation, and the second time I'd ever seen Tim's parents. Mom and I went early, Bro showed up a while later, and I sent Mom home so Bro and I could talk while he brought me back to her house. I think I was there for 3 hours, and the number of people coming to say one last goodbye was just awesome. I think I heard someone say that their entire graduating class had shown up - nearly 200 people! Add to that family, teachers, coworkers, acquaintances.... there was a long line which was an hour's wait at one point. This night was the time it became real to me. Still unbelievable, but real, I knew it really happened. Before I took my turn to say goodbye, I hugged his mama Susan. My heart broke into a million pieces for her - Tim was her baby. I can feel and understand that, so I hugged her tighter. I still imagine myself hugging her at least once a day now and hope she feels it.
Once I got back to Mom's, I sat outside on the porch alone and listened to some CSN for a while. I cried some more that night before I fell asleep. Saturday I sat between my Bro and Dave's wife, and the three of us cried together during the service. The funeral procession was a mile and a half long, and Tim was laid to rest in the cemetery he loved to visit. I'll get a picture as soon as I can, but it's surrounded by some amazing beauty. Not a cloud in the sky that day; with the sun shining it was warm and lovely outside. I know I'm not the only one who felt that Tim had a hand in that!

To celebrate Tim's life, there was a drum circle in his honor Saturday night. Again, Tim must have been there, because the smoke from the bonfire went straight up all night - no wind! - and it was relatively warm for April. Finally, Sunday there was a benefit concert at a local bar. All in all, it was a good ending to a rattled week. I have some pictures and video from the drum circle:
Drum Circle photos (with a slideshow option)

There was a lot of talking and laughter throughout the night, and all the videos I have. Here are the best ones:
30 seconds of guitar and drums
Lana's friend put on a fire show! Drumming, guitar, flute, and singing in this video.
Another fire and drum performance. (This one is sideways - I couldn't figure out how to rotate it!)
Continued fire performance after I'd taken some pictures of her in action.
Jeff singing and Jim Jr. drumming, but they're not quite in tune or time with each other.
Drums, a didgeridoo, and some laughing! If you tilt your head just right, you can see Big Jim on the didgeridoo. :-)

Tim Guttridge was an honest, caring, giving man who had a heart the size of Alaska. No one could ask for a better friend, and his friends are numerous. Funny and charming. Would give you the shirt off his back. Sweet and gentle. Beautiful soul.

A friend of mine.

I'll see you in another life, Brother.

Saturday, March 28

Preparing for Spring Break

It's here! Time for a week off from school, work, and the alarm clock. The kids have already left to go camping out west with Nana and PawPaw, and will be back on Wednesday. Until then, Poseidon and I are trying to decide what *we* are going to do. He took the week off (yay!!) and would like to go camping in the other half of our state. It looks like it will be cold, or at the very least rainy, so I'm hoping that's out. We will have one good day, so we may go out there and hike anyway. There are hotels and inns out there so we could surely find a (warm and dry!) place to stay if we decide to do so. Thursday we'll all be here for a day so everyone can catch up on video gaming, then Friday the kids & I go to Mom's for the rest of the break.
So tonight, I'm finishing laundry and a sewing project since I'm home alone. I have basketball on the TV and keeping one eye on the games... have to root for U of L since my team didn't even make the tournament and even fired their coach yesterday (if you click that link, a video automatically starts. Might want to mute it or something if not interested.). Go Cards :D
I'm also taking an hour out tonight to live by candlelight! I won't miss too much basketball though, so it's okay. Anyway it's called Earth Hour, and I'm getting ready to start. That should be a good time for me to fix the chain in the toilet tank... I hear it running every now and then. Fun stuff right there.
Also, since I'm here alone and just waiting for laundry to finish, I've been trying to 'pretty up' the blog here. I found something awesome in regard to our blog name! I'm going to read about it more later tonight, and make a post with all the links and pictures as soon as I'm satisfied with my findings. It will probably take a bit of explaining, since only some of you know my husband through this blog. I thought it was really cool though, and is just another cosmic reminder to me that all is well and right in my little world. :-)
Time to turn everything off ~ you'll have to come back in a few days to see what I'm talking about! Have a great week :D


Friday, March 13

Happy Friday the 13th!

Yes, it's Friday the 13th again. There's another one later this year too, in November. I heard on the news this morning that this only happens once every 11 years. Thirteen is my favorite/lucky number, hopefully this will be a good year for me! So the last time there were three Friday the 13ths (is that grammatically correct? Looks funny...) in one year was 1998, which was a good year for me; it was also when I either decided or realized that 13 is a good number for me. The reasons are very personal, but it works for me!

On the home front ~ the person known as "Boy" now has a new nickname, both online and at home. I have photographic evidence too... allow me to introduce Mister Twister:

Yes, it's blurry. I took it mid-jump. He's a funny kid though, I have about 10 pictures that look a lot like this one!

Monday we had a very warm day here ~ it was 75 degrees! So after school, the kids and I were outside until sundown. Miss Hurricane was 'gardening' (video here, just pardon the noisy wind) in some dirt at the edge of the driveway, and Mister Twister was running around kicking a ball. I'm glad we live on a pretty quiet and calm street, because he kept kicking it across the road and they would both chase it down! They had a blast outside and both went to bed early. Good news for Mama! :D
These are from March 2nd. Mom sent St. Patrick's Day cards for us and the kids, and they all play music. Miss Hurricane kept opening them and dancing to the music inside. I told Mister Twister to go and google "Irish dancing", and they found a couple videos on YouTube of girls doing the Irish dancing. I think somebody wants an outfit like those girls wear for their performances! Here she is, twirling around the big room:

On a personal note ~ I am still shrinking, but more quickly now. I finally figured something out about my exercise routine, and have stuck with it every morning this week! You can read all about it here. Here's the short story though - I'm down to 201 and already feeling much better! And my favorite jeans are getting loose on me. I had to wear a belt the other day! :D And it's a smaller belt than I wore last year!!

On the creative front ~ I have been dying to get some sewing done. Or even crocheting. I'm going to take this weekend to make something. No idea what, but something. I'll dig through my patterns tonight and see what happens. Luckily I can put a movie on for the kids and make them some popcorn, so I'll have about 2 hours to work with. I can come up with something! Sewing is my therapy, and I need some Creative Therapy after last weekend (don't ask, but all is normal again). Actually, I think I know who will be the recipient of this session... but we'll see. And you'll all see when it's finished.

Last thing here ~ next Saturday is Poseidon's and my 7th anniversary :-) His parents are going to keep the kids all weekend while we take a day trip. Neither of us are bringing a computer, only my phone just in case MIL needs to get a hold of us regarding the kids. For some entertaining reading, here again is The Story of Us, which leads up to our wedding. I forgot all about using pseudonyms for our friends mentioned in the story! I need to track them down soon. I miss them. Anyway, this is my favorite picture from our wedding day:

Oh, to be back on the island.... Well, that's everything remotely interesting this week. Have a great weekend! Remember to wear green on Tuesday... I know of a Leprechaun who will be bringing goodies to Mister Twister and Miss Hurricane that day :) Shhhh....

Happy Friday the 13th! Have fun on St. Patrick's Day!

Tuesday, March 3

We've been busy!

Poseidon and I have been trying to get everything scanned around here... last night we were finally able to start on the photos! We have (on his computer, so I can't post any yet) all the pictures from Miss Hurricane's tea party at church in October 2007 scanned so far ~ which leaves two full photo boxes and a small shoebox with all the other random pics in it, plus one photo album. Since our anniversary is 18 days from today (yay!!!) I want to get our wedding/honeymoon pictures done next. Then everything else whenever we can get to it.
We are almost finished planning out our anniversary trip. Not going far - only a day's driving time all together - but I wanted to get him out of the house and out of town for at least one night. I think it's been at least a year since he got out of this town for a bit ~ long overdue! And it's just going to be over the weekend but that's enough this year.
The following week is Spring Break for our kids, and for my MIL. So, they're going camping out west of here for a few days, and the two of us might take a separate trip at the same time. Still up in the air but we'd like to go somewhere if we can!
Not much else new here... as it stands the kids will be in school until June 4th due to making up snow days. (Hey Mom, let's plan my birthday party for after that, okay? We'll talk about it.) It's still cold here daily. I'm SO ready for Spring! To keep my mood up I listen to my "Island Playlist" most days ~ lots of steel drum music, Jimmy Buffett, and the soundtrack from Lilo & Stitch. If I can picture warmer weather, I'm happier :-)

In the words of Jimmy, "I wanna go where it's warm..." like where we were married...

Dreaming of the Islands ~

Saturday, January 31

Happy Caturday!!

I love :D
Also, I love Caturday, thanks to Fark. And my BIL, B.

First, there's this article that brought on the cat pictures today. That guy? He's awesome. Wish I could do something as cool!

So on to today's favorites, most of which made me snort! Today I'll start with what I'd imagine Mom's Yorkie thinks every time Bro and I show up with all the kids in tow...


Seriously, you'll think of that picture every time we all show up now. :D

This one reminds me of Bro, but really, haven't we all had a moment like this?:


Now pay attention to the faces as well as the captions...



This last one just made me laugh until I cried. I haven't even shown the kids yet, because I don't know that I could read it to Miss Hurricane without laughing.

You remember "George of the Jungle"?

Start singing the theme song...














OMG look at the cat's face!! ROFL

I hope you've all enjoyed this edition of Caturday. Have a great week. And when you need a laugh, just think of 'George' above. :D