Tuesday, March 31, 2009

SPT Challenge March 31

Well, I barely squeaked it in before the end of the day ... but here it is, my self-portrait challenge for today. As per the challenge organizer, Lelly, the challenge for the month of March was to utilize self-portraits featuring the number eight.

Or perhaps not technically "featuring" ... but at least making sure there is an eight, however teeny tiny, showing up in the photo somewhere.

Lelly chose this particular challenge, for this particular month, because she had a son turn eight the beginning of March. All I can say is I hope he's an only-child, because if I have to feature "nine" or "four" or "any other number" later this year for an entire month, I might just boycott whatever month it is.

And that would be a shame, because who *doesn't* want to see weeks and weeks worth of obnoxious self-promotion from me on this site??? (OK, you can all put your hands down now. No, really, there's no need to form a line.)

For this, my final March-eight picture, I'm posing in front of my mom's house. That used to be MY house. Blaine and I bought it when we were stationed at Tinker from 1993-1996. When it was time for us to move to Los Angeles, thanks to the real-estate market at the time, it was newer, bigger, and financed at a much lower-percentage rate than my parent's house. So we sold it to them, and everyone was happy, the end.

Except it **was** really weird the first time we came "home" on vacation the next summer, and my mom had all HER furniture in the house, and had done some re-modeling, and we had to sleep in the guest bedroom in our house.

The brick mailbox was a gift from my brother-in-law, who built it for my parents when they moved in. (Never mind that WE didn't have a brick mailbox the entire three years we lived there, clearly he doesn't love us as much as he loves them, or perhaps he was sucking up under the delusion that there will be an inheritance available and he knew he wouldn't get jack from me and Blaine .....)

What I love the absolute most about this house now? That I only live a few miles away. After twenty-odd years of having to fly home for holidays, it sure is fantastic to be able to call my mom, invite her to dinner, and pick her up ten minutes later.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Brew-baker. Brew-tus. Brew-ster.

Yep, I knew it wouldn't take anyone long to guess ..... my friend Lisa from Georgia not only guessed, but got his name right as well, based on my post label from the "dog lumping" entry.

Introducing the newest member of our family (which is now closely starting to resemble a zoo around here, although I did put my foot down FIRMLY at Brayden's request for a pet rat yesterday ...)


Blaine and I had always said we would have two dogs .... we bought Barley and then, quite frankly, just got lazy. Too much food required, too much maintenance, too much brushing, too much vacuuming .... in all honesty, the primary deterrent, in my opinion, was that there would be TOO MUCH POOP in the back yard.

Barley seemed perfectly content being the only dog for our family. She got plenty of attention and love, but a funny thing happened .... after we brought Blackie the cat inside and made him a house-cat (which by the way, is still going swimmingly) we realized how ..... how .... how .... how pathetic and lonely Barley must really be!

She would try SO HARD to play with the cat, and the cat was all, "Hummph. I am superior to you. Go away." It was quite ridiculously sad, actually.

And we realized that although we love Barley dearly, she was spending a large number of hours each day, mainly while the kids are in school .... alone. Sad and lonely. So we decided a playmate was in order.

Wow. This was pretty much the best decision we ever made.

We went to the local no-kill shelter and explained we needed a dog that was good with kids, good with other dogs, AND good with cats. Kind of a tall order, but we were hopeful. We had taken Barley with us, and the first dog they brought out promptly growled at her, and was so (head)strong I could barely control him on a leash. Sorry, "Chester", you weren't the one for our family.

The next dog they brought out seemed nice enough, the kids liked him, there was no obvious dissension between he and Barley .... but I don't know. It just didn't feel like "the one" ..... so, keeping "Ronald" on our maybe-list, we asked for one more.

Then they brought out this guy, who they were calling "Walter". I doubt he's full-blood, but at least looked mainly like a chocolate lab .... calm, gentle, leash-trained, didn't lick, didn't jump, sat quietly and let all of us pet him .............. granted, he and Barley didn't have much to do with one another, but hey, by that point she had discovered the pond at the dog park next door and she wasn't having anything to do with ANYONE who wasn't throwing a stick in for her retrieve time and again. So we played with "Walter", watched him interact positively with the other dogs at the park, watched one dog lump a lot of other dogs, and decided we would give it a go.

And so we brought Walter home, re-named him Brew, and promptly fell in love.

Kellen asked, "What is his middle name?" And I replied, "Ski". Yeah. Because we're still classy like that.

Our vet says he's about two years old and in good health .... sadly, he had spent the last five months in the shelter, and they had no idea how long he had been in the pound before that.

With only a few accidents he appears mostly house-trained (hey, you can't be angry when they haven't figured out where the back door is yet) and the first few days he was extremely calm.

The shelter had a 7-day return policy, and at the end of the 7-days, I announced to the kids, "Well, I've decided to keep Brew because he's better behaved and return Barley-the-spaz!"

Now, almost two weeks later, he is definitely coming out of his shell. The tail is wagging all the time, he initiates petting, and is playing more with toys .... although he still completely cowers if anyone raises a voice, which makes me wonder about the life he had before the pound (and makes me cringe a little on the inside ....)

Best of all, he and Barley are fast buds. Wrestling, jumping, running, playing tug of war ....... it's been a great reminder to us that two dogs are better than one, everyone needs friends, and our only regret is that we didn't do this months ago.


We've noticed, as he's coming out of his shell, that it appears they didn't feed him much at the shelter. I mean, how else could you explain hunger like this:

A book:

A whole set of books!:

A boot:

And the age-less, time-less classic ...... the dog ate my homework:

(Yep, that's Kellen's "creative paper doll project" due this week .....)

Needless to say, yesterday afternoon saw us at Petsmart, buying some additional, more appropriate chew toys. And thinking perhaps we shouldn't leave them inside the house without direct supervision.

Sunday, March 29, 2009


A few weeks ago our church started promoting a six-week special Sunday school class for parents, educators, whoever-might-be-interested, called "Understand Youth: Connecting with Teens in a MySpace World".

Or something like that.

I called to get more information and was told that the class was geared for people who deal with pre-teens and teens, specifically, middle schoolers and high schoolers. So Blaine and I decided to sign up.

NOT because we really need it, of course, is what we told ourselves. We did that smug parenting thing about how OUR children are not problem children and of COURSE the lines of communication are open at our house and we are VERY vested in our children's lives and EXTREMELY aware of what goes on and perhaps even more importantly, we are still hip. We're not like some of those old fuddy-duddys who are so out of touch with today's youth.

Nope, not us. We are dope. Or rad. Or getting jiggy with it? I can't really remember.

Today, the speaker started the talk by saying many people fall into one of two camps; one that believes the kids of today have never had more advantages and have never been better off, and one that believes the kids of today are hurting like no other generation before.

The speaker said he personally falls into the second camp, based on the extremely high levels of negative, unfortunate behavior being chosen and exhibited by teens of today. He mentioned drugs, innapropriate sexual conduct, binge drinking ......

Then he said, "And cutting, for example, was no where near in the past the problem it is now. Recent studies indicate up to five percent of all male college freshman cut on a regular basis, and up to nine percent of all female college freshman also cut on a regular basis."

And Blaine leaned over and whispered in my ear, "What's the big deal? I used to cut class all the time and I turned out OK."

Clearly, *I* am hip. But I just realized that I am married to a fuddy-duddy.

Saturday, March 28, 2009


So, a few things we did last week during Spring Break:

1. Obligatory day at the park? Check

2. Obligatory day at the zoo? Check

3. Obligatory sleep over, pizza lunch, and matinee of Race to Witch Mountain? Check

We, however, did one additional Spring Break "thing" that was sort of fun and out of the ordinary for us.

Wanna guess?

Here are a few clues (I suspect it will take you about 1.7 seconds to figure it out):

"Just so you understand -- I have always been, am now, and will always BE, the Queen. And don't you forget it."

"Ummmmmmmmm, what the hell just happened here?"

Friday, March 27, 2009

I will never fly again

UPDATED AGAIN TO ADD: Denise, this *was* with a doctors note -- that's the only reason we got the credit! The flight was booked last May 12th, to take place in September. When we found out in August that his cancer had returned and he wouldn't be able to travel due to scheduled radiation, we filled out the medical form, and had Blaine's doctor fill out his part, and the oncologist fill out his part. I understand they need to avoid fraudulant claims, but I figure an application to attend Yale will be less complicated. At that time, we were granted a "credit" from the airline for the price of the fare. That is what I was trying to use and book today (bearing in mind that one year from date of travel is ACTUALLY one year from "date you bought the ticket", NOT "date you were supposed to fly". Which means he had to fly BEFORE May 12th, even though the actual tickets weren't for a flight until Sept. Seriously, could it be any more convuluted?) Although we weren't going to have to pay a difference, because the flight we were trying to book was less than the originial ticket, we were NOT going to receive a refund for the difference. And I was told today that there would be a $180 change fee. And a $25 fee for making the change via a live representative, instead of making the change myself online. Never mind that there is no way to USE a refund credit online, that I could find.

Of course, all that is moot considering Travelocity says United has the fare and United says it was transferred to Frontier and ***I*** said "take a big fat fucking hike" to all three of them.

Why? Is it because they now you charge you not only for the flight, but for your luggage, and for headphones, and for any kind of snack more substantial than lint, and because just as soon as they figure out how, the airlines will be charging us for the freaking AIR in the cabin?


It's because heaven forbid you make travel plans of any kind, that have to be changed or tweaked for any reason ... even perfectly valid reasons like, oh, I don't know .... CANCER IN A PERSONS HEAD ... you will pay change fees and online reservation fees and flight difference fees .... I am single-handedly boosting the economy with this one phone call.

And at the end of the day, even if you still have a smile on your face after paying all the fees, you will hold for sixteen minutes and nine seconds with Travelocity only to be told the specific change must take place directly with the airline. So you will be transferred to the airline, where you will hold for another eight minutes, entering every piece of information exactly as they requested, only to be told by the automated voice person that your request couldn't be processed and to please hang up and call again.

I have pressed buttons, followed prompts, spoken clearly and forcefully into the voice prompts, lost my shit and banged the fucking phone on the computer desk in frustration, and STILL have no idea how much this "new" flight is going to cost me.

As I type this, the wait time for this call is at twenty-two minutes and counting (and lets not forget the twenty-four minutes I had already held before this call -- clearly, I have no idea why I don't get anything done around this house) ..........

UPDATED TO ADD: Just as I was ready to hit "publish post" the United Airlines customer service agent came back to me. And said these tickets have already been re-issued. She couldn't tell me by whom, or when, just that they had been re-issued by Frontier Airlines.

Since Blaine hasn't flown anywhere since he had to cancel this flight last fall, and these tickets are NON-REFUNDABLE NON-TRANSFERABLE IN BIG FUCKING NEON LETTERS, I'm pretty sure that means he hasn't used them. When I asked for ticket information for Frontier so I could call them, the United agent said she didn't have that information to give me, but she would happy to transfer me.

At which point my damn head exploded all over my computer screen and I blew up, frustration and anger literally oozing from the holes in my body At which point I informed the agent "No, thank you. I appreciate your time, but my family will NEVER fly again, unless its an absolute emergency, we will drive EVERYWHERE from this point forward, for the rest of our damn lives, thank you for your time and have a nice day" and I slammed down the phone.

Well, ok, technically I didn't slam down the phone because it was a cell phone. But by golly, I pushed the "end" button really, really hard.

I will not fly. If we can't drive, we'll take a train. Or a bus. Or a boat. Or I'll put on scuba gear and walk my fat ass across the bottom of the ocean floor. I WILL see Australia some day WITHOUT YOUR HELP, YOU STUPID WORTHLESS STUPID BLOOD-SUCKING STUPID ANNOYING STUPID AIRLINE PEOPLE.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Let's blame Yahoo, shall we?

I was all set to update a fascinating, scintillating, high-energy masterpiece** tonight, complete with photos, as I am sure so many of you are waiting with baited breath to hear about the latest exciting escapades of our family. Or not.

But when I tried to upload my photos to my server, I got a notice that Geocities, the Yahoo server where I store my photos, is "down" for some site maintenance and won't be back up for several hours.

So I figure I have a few options:

1. Post the blog entry without the photos. Really, not a good idea because the entire post consists of two pictures and two sentences, so if you take away the pictures you only have the sentences which wouldn't even make any sense without the photos, because then people would just be wondering why did I have these two random sentences and what do they even mean and is Kristie going insane or just not making sense like she always/never does much like this explanation doesn't make sense either but don't blame me I ate too many Milk Duds tonight and am suffering from sugar poisoning.

2. Wait up a few hours, eating more Milk Duds all the while, for the site maintenance to finish, and then go ahead and start typi ......... zzzzzzz .zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzng. (snore)

3. Blather on in this nonsensical manner and hope it counts as a post. Or as a blog fart, to quote one of my newest favorite bloggers.

In the end, my fluffy pillow and comfy bed won out.

Good night!!

**You know I'm kidding right? Unless you count photos of my daughter's orthodontic headgear as fascinating, or stories about me puking green beer on St. Patricks day scintillating.

Wait. Is "scintillating" a dirty word???

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

My 11-yr old genius

OK, so even though Kellen won't technically be eleven until tomorrow, I thought I would share the following conversation with you as proof that he's wise beyond his years and certainly the early-admissions department at Harvard will be calling any day now ...

Kristie: "OK, so you've got to make a paper doll and dress it up *creatively*, and write a report, is that correct?"

Kellen: "yes"

Kristie: "And who is your historical figure?"

Kellen: "George Washington"

Kristie: "Ok, so it says here that your report is supposed to include a few interesting facts .... so, what do you know about George Washington?"

Kellen: "That he was President of the United States?"

Kristie: "Right, what else?"

Kellen: "That he was in charge of the Revolutionary War?"

Kristie: "Uh-huh ... what else?"

Kellen: "That he was worried about global warming?"

Kristie: "Right, ok .......... wait, what? No, not global warming, what are you talking about?"

Kellen: "Then I don't know anything else."

Kristie: "What about the story about the cherry tree he supposedly cut down?"

Kellen: "Did he cut it down because he was worried about global warming?"

Kristie: "NO! He didn't cut it down at all --- the whole story is false is my point. It has nothing to do with global warming. What about the fact they say he wore wooden teeth?"

Kellen: "And the wood came from the cherry tree he chopped down and THAT'S why he was worried about global warming?"

Kristie: "Oh for goodness sake --- WOULD YOU FORGET ABOUT THE GLOBAL WARMING ALREADY??!!!"

Kellen: "Um, I can't really think of anything else about George Washington."

See? See why I'm sharpening my pencils now, to fill out that Ivy League application????

SPT Challenge March 24

Self-Portrait Challenge for the entire month of March as per Lelly's Musings is to go all Crazy-Eights on ourselves. The only "rule" is that the number "8" must appear in the photo. And for the person who asked, yep, most of my "self-portraits" are being taken by my kids. Hmmmm. I guess they're not really SELF portraits then, are they?? Is a self-portrait one you must take yourself? Or is a self-portrait simply one where I intend for my own image to be in the picture? Because what if I used my timer? And a tripod? Truly, it's a complicated quandary.


Here is today's:

And in case you can't see the "8" close enough:

Happy One-Day-Early Birthday, Kellen!! Eleven years ago today I checked into the hospital, almost two weeks overdue. No dilation, no contractions. You showed no signs of leaving and my doctor said it was past-time to serve you your eviction notice. In fact, I like to joke that you would still be in there given the chance. Although, to be honest, that joke was a lot funnier when you were still little and now it's just sort of icky.

Anyway! Twenty-eight hours later, you still had no intention of leaving. The doctor said, "If you want, we can turn off the machines and let you get some rest, then start again tomorrow ...." I said, "I don't care if you pull this kid out my nose, I want it over with ...." and the doctor said, "Good, because I have tickets to a Lakers game."

8 pounds, 13 ounces. My, you were a fat little chunk.

What happened? You're like a Cambodian now.

Despite the fact you weren't too eager to make your entrance, you've been a delight ever since.

Most of the time.

I love you, honey --- Happy Birthday tomorrow!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Seriously urgently massively important

OK, so basically it's a computer question, but I had to get your attention somehow, didn't I?

I've got an e-mail in to Shawn, "my computer guy" (basically, I just like to say "my computer guy" a lot for my own sense of self-importance ....) but maybe one of you Peoples of the Internet can help me and then I can quit bugging him which Lord knows he will be happy about ....

My new computer came with Windows Vista. My old computer ran Windows XP. Everything is fine, I love how its running, yadda yadda .... but the Autoplay feature for importing photos in Vista is a disaster. With XP, you could select which pictures to import, then label them and put them in a specific folder ... then press the back prompt and do another set of pictures. This worked GREAT for when you've taken pictures of more than one event on the same card before importing. I label my photos with the date and event name -- for example, "March 2009 Amusement Park". Then, I always know where to find photos on my computer, and this information prints on the back of the pictures, which is helpful as well. Lets say you've got several events on one card, ie, pictures of a birthday party, then pictures of a soccer game, then pictures of an afternoon at the zoo --- all these different events could be saved and labeled separately. It was super-easy to get them all sorted out and saved appropriately, life was good, God save the Queen, whatever.

With Windows Vista, however, the import default is "Import ALL photos", regardless of what they are. There is no way to sort or view before saving. They all get lumped into one folder. So then after they are all imported to the same folder, you have to go in and cut and paste them all into different folders, AND you have to re-name every photo (if you are as anal as I am, anyway.)

Seriously, I despise this feature with the intensity of a thousand burning suns. I spent close to three hours online yesterday looking for a solution. I found PLENTY of other Vista users complaining in chat boards about the same thing, but no solutions. I entered a live chat with a customer service rep who kept calling me "Kritine" and repeatedly assuring me that this "new and improved" way was actually an improvement and that I would grow to love it. Um, no. I won't. It is a pain in my ass and I hate it as much as I hate people who can't spell my name .... I'm looking at you, mr. live chat ...

So!! Does anyone out there know what I'm talking about? Anyone else gone from XP to Vista and discovered how much this stinks? Or better yet, discovered a way around it? Is it even feasible to consider downgrading my new computer from Vista back to XP? (Heck, I don't even know if that's possible, but it is TOTALLY the kind of cut-my-nose-off-to-spite-my-face mentality that I have .....)

And please, no suggestions in the comments about how I should have bought a Mac. Considering I have a brand-new pc sitting on my desk, that's actually not a helpful suggestion.

Ps. Oh, by the way. Blaine starts radiation today. Is it wrong that I'm more upset about the photo feature than that???

Saturday, March 21, 2009

24 Hour Brigade

We took part (and by "we", I mean "Kellen", and also mean "while I sat in the stands and watched him like the lazy soul that I am") in a really great fundraiser effort today, held at a local high school.

David Swanson, a local high school graduate and current cadet at West Point, decided for his spring break that rather than go to Miami or Padre or wherever it is those crazy college kids go these days, that he wanted to make a difference. His goal for Spring Break was to raise funds for the Wounded Warrior Project, a non-profit organization that supports soldiers wounded in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Calling his project 24 Hour Brigade ultramarathoner Swanson invited area runners, walkers, mothers with strollers, virtually anyone, to join him in his effort.

I know, I know .... soliciting donations, or getting people to sponsor you for so much money for every mile or lap you run or walk. You've all heard of that, right? What's the big deal???

I'll tell you what the big deal is: This boy (and yes, despite the fact he attends West Point he is still a BOY to me) ran the ENTIRE TWENTY-FOUR HOUR PERIOD WITHOUT STOPPING, EXCEPT FOR BRIEF POTTY STOPS AND NUTRITION BREAKS.

Holy cow, can you even believe it??? Twenty-four solid hours of running, in the hopes he would reach his goal of raising $10,000 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

That, my friends, is freaking awesome.

Since Kellen is the only one in our family who enjoys running (shocker, I know .... you probably assumed I did, too, based on my ultramarathoner body ::cough::bullshit::cough::....) I figured making a donation would be easier than trying to solicit sponsors. Plus ...... um ....... to be honest ........ I sort of forgot about the run until the last minute.

Swanson started Friday evening at 5pm, and we showed up around noon today, right near his 19-hour point. I have no idea how many people joined in throughout the evening, or the morning today, but there was still an impressive group when we arrived. Including one man who appeared to be about my age who (rumor has it) had never met Swanson, but was also a West Point graduate. When he heard about this run he was inspired, but knew he could never run that long ... so he had walked the entire time himself. Running, walking, I can't think of ANYTHING I could do for twenty-four solid hours -- not even eat chocolate!

He had a group running with him, and I was told he had had someone running with him from the very beginning.

This was the really amazing part --- I actually saw the young man smile while running, and at this stage in the game he was closing in on the 100-mile mark. Are you hearing what I'm saying???? He had run almost 100 miles, basically without stopping, and was still smiling! I don't know whether to be shocked, or impressed, or freaked the hell out!!

Kellen checked in, made our family donation, and ran three miles without breaking a sweat. In fact, he probably would have gone farther but in a bizarre coincidence, we ran into friends there (who we didn't even realize, but they are friends with David's family, and we showed up to run at the same time, what are the odds of that --- Hi Stacey!) and it was sort of cold and windy and basically I wanted to go eat lunch. So we left after only three miles.

Clearly, self-sacrifice is NOT my thing.

But I'm so blown away by what this boy (OK, I guess I'll call him a man .... heaven knows with this kind of goodness in his heart he deserves it) has done. When we left the field, rumor had it he had reached double his goal.

As I type this, the run ended almost three hours ago. I hope Cadet Swanson is proud of himself ... I don't even know him and I'm proud of him.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Lens

Since several (several, SEVERAL) of you have asked, I thought I would share with you what kind of lens I bought to help with these basketball photos. I do feel compelled, however, to point out to you it wasn't just the lens. It was ME. My skill, my talent, my artistic ability, my ......... my ............ ok, yeah, it was the lens.

I'm really annoyed, though. You know why? I was going to point you back to my previous journal entries here and here to show you my first few attempts and how lousy they were.

But do you know what I realized? That when I uploaded the photos, the ones that sort of in a way maybe hopefully perhaps weren't totally suck-ish, from the final game of the season, I labled them with the exact same names as the crappy photos I used in the first journal entry. (Wow, I'm really good at this technology stuff, aren't I?) And although I would have suspected my photo host server would have given me some sort of, oh, I don't know, HEADS UP that they were about to over-write all my old pictures, they did not. So now none of my old pictures will show up.

And because I am oh-so-competent and organized, when I got my new hard-drive, I went in and deleted all the photos that (I THOUGHT) I would no longer use, so now I have no way to recall them. You know, I really need a recycle bin for my recycle bin's recycle bin.


All that to say, if you didn't see the first two sets of basketball pictures, you are simply going to have to take my word for it --- they were awful.

Indoor sports, for me, was a tricky balancing act. A quick enough shutter speed to keep things in focus, but then not enough light came in. The lighting in indoor gyms is terrible. A slow enough shutter speed to let in the light I needed, and the action was blurry. I tweaked, I fiddled, I maniupulated every setting on my camera --- I might have even cursed a bit.

After scouring the internet for suggestions, and accosting friend and strangers alike for information, I wound up purchasing an 85 mm fixed lens, 1.8 f/stop. I'm still not sure what the mechanics of that *specifically* even means, but I know the 1.8 f/stop let in enough light that I could get the pictures in focus. The difficult part for me was adjusting to a lens that did not have any kind of zoom. I had to waaaaaaaiiiiiiiiittttttttt for the action to come to my end of the court. And I couldn't really stand at the end of the court like I had previously because that made the action too close to me. So I stood either at an angle from the court, or I stood up in the stands, which I'm sure the people behind me appreciated. A LOT. And I still tweaked and fiddled, trying to decide which setting on my camera worked best, at which size aperature, and which ISO, and which shutter speed, etc ...... and the end of the day came home and STILL messed with them in Photoshop to get them even close to what I wanted.

The cost of the lens at my local camera store was $499. I bought it online from Adorama for $299 --- quite a savings. It's also much better for auditorium pictures, ie, kids giving choir concerts, plays, etc. I'm still on a learning curve there as well, as I try to figure out the best place in the audience to sit (again,the no-zoom thing is hard for me to get used to.)

I think my next purchase will be a Canon L-series lens ... which as I understand it, has the lower f/stop but also has a zoom feature. For now thought, it's out of my price range, and will have to wait. At least until this fall, when Kellen is playing football (like he says he wants to) on a huge football field and I can't get any photos of my precious baby getting his scrawny ass kicked enjoying the game and I TOTALLY will find a way to justify that lens.

At which point I will probably turn to the internet and beg someone to buy this one off me so I can afford to feed my family.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I almost forgot

.... to let you guys know (ie, use this as a vapid excuse to SHOW YOU) the final set of basketball pictures I took of my nephew's team. By the end of the season, I really felt like was starting to get the hang of my new lens. Had I not been such a tightwad and waited until there were only two games left, I could have bought the lens earlier, gotten more practice, and actually improved tons more. Make no mistake, Sports Illustrated is in no way beating down my door. But at least now, if the coach uses the photos in his end-of-season slide show, I won't be embarrassed to face the parents later.

Take your lumps

Comment uttered by my thirdborn at the dog park yesterday:

"Oh my goodness!" ::cue hysterical giggling:: "That dog won't quit lumping that other dog!!"

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Green memories

Twenty-three years ago yesterday, I was a hip, happening (in my own mind, anyway) nineteen year old with my own apartment, hosting a St. Patrick's Day party for a few of my closest friends. And co-workers. And anyone else who wanted to show up. I discovered there is no limit to the number of people who can take part in the world's most awesome game of quarters, and that if you pour half a container of green food coloring into a pitcher of beer, it will turn black, not green. I also learned that no amount of diluting in the world ... no matter how many cases of Pearl you go through ... will ever be enough to make the beer turn green.

Twenty-three years ago TODAY, I discovered it really is possible to expel GREEN from every orifice of your body at the same time. And the "new" boyfriend Blaine, who holds back your hair while you are sitting on the toilet, throwing up into the bathtub, is definitely a keeper.

Happy one-day-after St. Patricks Day, honey. Thanks for the memories --- love you!!

PS. Lest anyone think our relationship is not reciprocal, he decided *I* was a keeper a few months later at a friend's 21st birthday party when he threw up Glen Levitt and Cool Ranch Doritos all over my feet and I didn't complain, but instead put him to bed, face down, so he didn't drown.

Man, I miss the 80's.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SPT Challenge March 17

Self-Portrait Challenge for March as per Lelly's Musings is to follow a "Crazy Eight" theme --- the only rule is the self-portrait must have the number eight in it. Otherwise, no rules.

You'd be surprised how difficult this is. Thank goodness the month is three-fifths over, is all I'm saying.

My photo for today:

You'll notice that my new computer has "8" something-or-nother of memory. Or hard-drive space. (Is that the same thing???)

And the reason for the new computer?


Yep, I am the proud new owner of a full-blown version of Photoshop CS4. Which means this is TOTALLY turning into a photo blog, and I'm going to force you guys to look at tweaked and edited and manipulated photos of my children from now until eternity.

Well, I would, if I could figure out how to work the damn program. I *might* have a little too much horse-power under my belt, if you know what I mean. And I think you do.

See, its just like I was telling Shawn, my computer guy. (How fun is that? To be able to say you have a computer guy of your very own?) Thank goodness I moved here and made friends with someone whose husband is totally computer savvy and literate and allows himself to be hired out for computer work. Because I can barely find my computer CHAIR half the time, let alone figure out how to do all this other stuff like actually make things WORK as they should. Any repair beyond pushing the on/off button is pretty much beyond me.

So what was I telling Shawn? Oh, yeah. I was telling him that I think people my age got the short stick with regard to computers. We didn't learn anything about them in school because they weren't commonplace yet. For goodness sake, I didn't even take "keyboarding" ... let alone any kind of basic computer course. I took freaking TYPING, for heaven's sake, with white out and typewriter ribbons that had to be replaced and CARBON PAPER FOR THE LOVE OF GOD. Does anyone under the age of 35 even know what carbon paper IS?!?!?!?! I remember the one, single, solitary boy in my high school graduating class who enjoyed computers and drove around with an Apple bumper sticker on his car. he spoke in computer-ese and tried telling us computers were the wave of the future and how they would revolutionize our lives. We all totally made fun of him.

Who's laughing now???

So computers, or anything about them, wasn't taught when I was in school because I'm too old. But I'm still young enough that people assume I know how to do things on them. I mean my mom, yeah, she's in her 60's, so she gets a free pass when it comes to computers. She's allowed to call me and ask me to come over and help her set up her e-mail account or change her password or hook up a printer .... because I'm expected to know all that, and more. People my age are still expected to know the tricky stuff --- Like how to set up a new hard drive and transfer all my e-mail accounts and programs and favorites and documents over and download new drivers for the accessories and blahblahblah my ears are bleeding. Because I don't know how to do ANY of that.

In the first twelve hours after Shawn set up my new hard drive and connected my new keyboard (best money I ever spent, except maybe for Lasik, but I digress ...) the following happened:

1. The printer software took forever to load. Then there was a fatal error. Not a serious error. Not a grave error. A FATAL error. What the hell does that even mean??? I managed to fix it by starting over with the software that came with the printer.

2. The monitor wouldn't come on the next day. As in, it was working fine when I went to bed, and was a black screen of death the next morning. Blaine (prompted by a virulent stream of cursing from me .... so bad, in fact, that it even required an apology from me to my children) managed to fix it by using the highly-skilled technical maneuver of "jiggling the wires." He might not be as tech-savvy as Shawn, but at least he can jiggle the damn wires.

3. Half of my installed desktop short cuts didn't work, half the time. Shawn steered me towards the Google search that led me to do something, some kind of reset or something ..... I have no idea. Whatever it was, I did it and now they all work.

4. My screen saver no longer worked. I managed to google the answer to this myself, and discovered the screen saver in Windows Vista is not compatible with a wireless device (my mouse) unless you download and install an *optional* update from the Windows site. What-the-hell-ever, all I care about is that I did it and now it works.

5. I totally cannot figure out the new way Windows is importing my photos and have double folders showing up everywhere, so it's probably just as good I have 8 gig/bytes/ram/whatever of memory because at the rate I'm going, it will be full of photos in a few weeks anyway.


I was born in the wrong era. I should have been an adult in the 1950's. Because I could ROCK THE SHIT out of white out and carbon paper.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Even the kids are starting to catch on ...

Kellen and Kendrie both won "Sensational Citizen" awards at their school on Friday. Back in MY day, it was called "Citizens of the Month", and they did it .... well ... monthly. But now they only do it once every nine weeks, AND the kids totally get to leave campus and go out for a pizza lunch with the principal and what did WE ever get besides a measley mention of our name during morning announcements and maybe a certificate not that I would know because I don't think I was ever ONCE named Citizen of the Month the entire twelve years I went to school there what am I chopped liver not that I'm bitter or anything.


The teachers let all the parents whose kids were chosen (about three hundred and ninety-two of us) know that the awards would be passed out during the Friday morning assembly so we could go for picture-taking purposes.

After the names were called and the certificates passed out, I asked Kellen and Kendrie, and their cousin who was also named, to stick around for a few quick photos.

Kellen didn't look too happy and I asked him why. Not that this is the biggest honor in the history of mankind or anything, but I was still proud of him and thought he would have been more pleased.

"Of all the days," he hissed at me under his breath, "for me to get an award, it has to be today? Book Character Day? The day all the parents show up, and I'm up here in front of everyone, dressed as TOM SAWYER?!?"

And I thought to myself, "Honey, as many dress-up days as you have around here, odds are running about three-to-one that ANY day you won an award would be a dress-up day."

But you notice he refused to take his jacket off ..... oh well, at least he's in good company:

A cat.

His cousin, the squirrel. And his sister, who had the good sense to select Jigsaw Jones, Boy Detective, who dresses like a normal person.

And look, Laura Ingalls is in the house. And for the person who asked if the teachers dress up as well --- do you see Snow White? She is one of the kindergarten teachers. The other seven teachers were ...... (go ahead, you can guess ....) the dwarves.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Basic Math

New hard drive + trying to get everything set up just the way I like it + having to reinstall programs + did you really think, given my total and complete lack of technical prowess, that it would all go smoothly for me? = not a lot of time to blog this week.

Thanks for being patient.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Rock. And I don't mean Dwayne Johnson.

Neurosurgeon: It's not that it's "inoperable", exactly. Just that the cavernous sinus cavity (located in the skull, behind and slightly below the eye, but not technically in the brain, just like everyone said) has lots going on with it. The internal carotid artery runs through it, cranial nerves, and the opthalmic vein. So unless its life or death, or the patient is already blind ..... neither of which describe your situation .... I prefer not to operate. I am going to recommend more radiation.

Blaine: No surgery??

Kristie: *Only* radiation??

Blaine: Yeah!!

Kristie: Yippee!!

Blaine: No surgery, hurrah!!!!!!!

Sometimes, when you're between a rock and a hard place, the rock doesn't look so unappealing.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Book Review

A while back I was contacted by a nice lady named Lisa from TLC Book Tours and asked if I would like to take part in a virtual book tour review-type … thing-y. Well, about the only thing I like to do more than read is to boss people around with my opinion, so this seemed like a perfect thing for me!

The book I was given to review is Zig-Zagging; Loving Madly, Losing Badly … How Ziggy Saved My Life, by Tom Wilson Jr. Tom Wilson Sr. is the originator of Ziggy the cartoon character, and that character and franchise was ultimately (and lovingly) taken over by his son, the author of this book. In a nutshell, the book entails Tom Jr’s life-long relationship with the fictional, lovable Ziggy, and how that relationship perspective played into the difficulties he has encountered --- mainly, his father’s declining health and the death of his beloved wife, Susan.

One on hand, the book is a straight-forward chronological tale, beginning with the creation of Ziggy during the author’s youth, and moving through the author’s adult life when he took over responsibility for Ziggy when his father was no longer able to do so due to illness, through his wife’s illness, and then through the author’s own battle with depression following her death at age 44.

The metaphor (analogy? I always get them confused) for the book is the drive the author takes twice a month getting from work to home and back along Interstate 71, between Cleveland and Cincinnati, and how that drive is like the journey of his life, with unexpected detours and obstacles and surprise destinations.

Straight from the book jacket: “Our lives aren’t composed like a headstone with a straight line that marks the date of the first breath we take to the last; the journey we’re on is really a zigzagging series of unexpected detours. Every detour is a destination unto itself, and regardless of our plans, it’s what we don’t see coming that often affects us the most ….”

I felt like this book was actually two parts. One, the personal story of the author and the challenges he has faced. Two, his philosophical take on life, love, and loss, and how we all need to learn to appreciate the journey, no matter the route.

What I liked about this book:

My favorite part of the book was the half that comprised his personal memoir. Dealing with a spouse myself who has cancer, I was very interested in hearing about their situation and struggle. I appreciated the obvious love and respect the author has for his family (and even for Ziggy) and felt his love for his father, and then for his wife and two sons, spoke clearly from the pages. I enjoyed the author’s self-deprecating sense of humor, and his willingness to admit that he didn’t always handle things, or appreciate things, or deal with things, the way he should. He was able to poke fun at himself and highlight his own shortcomings without ever playing the sympathy card. Reading about his life, I enjoyed.

What I didn’t like about this book:

There wasn’t anything I officially “didn’t” like, it’s just that I liked certain parts better than others. I was more interested in hearing his first-person narrative of the story of his own life, than in hearing his first-person ponderings and philosophical musings (does that even make sense?) I found the highway-journey-of-life analogy valid, but it didn't hold my interest as much as more details about the author’s life would have. Maybe I'm ultimately nosy, but the part of the story I liked most was getting to "know" the author himself -- a likeable guy who it was easy to care about. Whenever the writing would veer off the "regular" journey, I found myself eager to get back to his personal story.

Would I recommend the book? Yes, I think anyone who enjoys inspirational messages would find something to like about this book. Anyone dealing with loss or grief or simply life's unexpected challenges would most likely find something helpful in what he has written and shared.

And in the meantime, my thanks to Tom Wilson Jr for being willing to open up parts of his life and story with the rest of us.

PS. I feel compelled to urge you to visit TLC Book Tours for more information about this book and author. There is a list of other Ziggy reviewers (who are all, hands down, WAAAAAYYY more intelligent and articulate than me) and a link to a free give-away of the book. But my desktop is out of pocket this evening and therefore I'm typing this on my laptop with no saved links or photos or e-mail addresses so quite frankly, its a damn miracle I even got the plain-vanilla review finished and put out here, let alone any of the special stuff. (Guess I just blew any chances of being asked to review for this site again right out of the water, didn't I?)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

SPT Challenge March 10

As per Lelly's Musings, the SPT Challenge for the entire month of March is to "take self-portraits including the number eight."

Since I still haven't lost those eight pounds, this will have to do instead .....

Remember I mentioned PTO Skate Night last week, and how I'm the person in charge, and this month I forgot to take the cash box with the change for the concession stand, the deposit slip, and the list of students? Well the good news is at least I remembered the actual CONCESSIONS ..... pizza, candy, soda, and bottled water. And remembered to ice down the drinks before hand like I do every month, buying fifty cent bags of ice, and happening to notice the weight of the bags, from the local convenience store down the road ... (the same convenience store I used to walk, or ride my bike to, as a child, whenever my mom would give me a quarter for candy and that twenty five cents would let you buy twelve bite-size squares of mini-laffy-taffys which was awesome but not the banana-flavored ones because they were disgusting .......... but I digress ...........)

So here we go ........ EIGHT POUND bags of ice for Skate Night!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Things Learned in the Water

Things learned by the members of our family during our Baptism Sunday:

Learned by Brayden during baptism:

The water in the baptismal is indeed warm, perhaps warmer than a bathtub, but getting out is stinking cold. And when wet, the baptismal robes weigh about fifty pounds apiece, so you just stand there shivering, too wet and heavy to really do anything about it, even with the nice fluffy towel they give you.

Learned by Kellen during baptism:

It doesn’t matter if you are indeed a 10-year old BOY, if you refuse to cut your hair, not one, not two, but THREE church workers will steer you towards the ladies’ changing room after your baptism. (Apparently the robes are fairly uni-sex.) Finally your dad will have to cut in and impersonate God, intoning, “Behold my SON, and let him accompany me to the men’s room, please!”

Learned by Kendrie during baptism:

Yes, the water in the baptismal is definitely deep enough to tread water, like your own personal swimming pool, much to your mother’s embarrassment, and no matter how many times she snaps her fingers at you, you will continue to giggle and tread because THAT’S what its all about.

Learned by Kristie during baptism:

The amount of time needed between the dunking, and the “looking like a raccoon with running eye makeup” phase ---- one blink.

Learned by Blaine during baptism:

That he has been saddled with a bunch of freaks for a family.

PS. As an aside, if anyone had told me twenty-seven years ago that the captain of my high school football team would one day be the senior pastor of my home church who would baptize me, my husband and my children, I would have said they were on crack. Actually, it was the early 80’s … so I probably would have said they were smoking a doobie. But still --- how small world is that? If you’re interested, here’s the quick video of the highlights of the FIRST 173 people baptized at our church, a few weeks ago. I’m really hoping my raccoon eyes don’t make an appearance in a second video.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

I can't even remember everything I've forgotten

You'd think, what with this being the fourth time and all, that getting a new cancer diagnosis for Blaine wouldn't be a big deal. Wouldn't throw me for a loop, rock my world, take the wind out of my sails, or any other corny phrase you prefer to put with it.

And really, for the most part, we're plodding along ok. No sense getting melodramatic or stressed out until we at least know what the plan is .... and hey, considering all he's been through prior to this point, it just seems indulgent to freak out this late in the game.

But for some bizarre reason, I haven't been able to get my head on straight since we got the news last week. You know those commercials for cold medicine, where you don't even realize how blurry the screen is until the actress peels off a "layer" of gauze from the picture and then suddenly WOW! Look how clear it all is, and who knew things were so fuzzy??? I feel .......... fuzzy. Like I can't quite get my shit together.

Need proof?

Here is a list of things I have forgotten to do in the ten days since we found out.

NOT "remembered but didn't have time for" .... but flat-dab FORGOTTEN.

1. Take Kendrie to her first soccer practice of the season.

2. Buy Kendrie new soccer cleats before her first practice of the season.

3. Buy Kendrie new soccer cleats before the SECOND practice of the season but thank goodness we went shopping last night and remedied that, although to hear her tell the story, she's probably crippled for life from having to go to a single practice in too-small cleats. Too bad I couldn't re-vamp the orthodontic headgear as shoewear and we would have both been happy.

4. Pay for my kids to take part in Hat Day at school today.

5. Pay for Kellen's end-of-the-year chorus t-shirt at school this week.

6. Give our PTO president a check I owe her that I've been carrying around in my wallet for a week.

7. Send Kellen's tri-corn hat to school this morning like the principal asked so he could wear it in the Pirate Skit (the principal, not Kellen) for assembly first thing. Good thing I live so close to the school. My sister called me and literally RAN to my house to pick it up. Of course, I had to call Blaine to find out where it was because I couldn't remember where I had put it. Then my sister RAN back to the school. Then she collapsed from an asthma attack. (Not really, but she said she had no idea she was that out of shape.)

8. Do any part of my bible study this entire week.

9. Pay for Kellen's upcoming soccer tournament in Arkansas. And I don't mean "pay for Kellen's share". I am the team treasurer, and I mean "Pay the entire team registration." Thank goodness the team mom reminded me and we had enough time left to still get our payment in, otherwise the entire team would have missed out because of me.

9 1/2. Call and reserve hotel rooms for the entire team for the Arkansas tournament.

10. I am the PTO officer in charge of our Skate Night Fundraiser, which we've done once a month this entire school year. This month alone, I forgot to take the cash box, the deposit slip, the change, the list of students, and forgot to put the sign out in front of the school to remind students what day it was taking place.

11. I forgot to buy strawberries for tomorrow night's Middle School spring banquet.

12. I forgot to buy hair clips for Brayden (see: tomorrow night's banquet.)

12 1/2. I forgot to buy Brayden new shoes to go with her new dress for the banquet.

12 3/4. I forgot to order a boutonnierre for Brayden's "date" for the banquet.

13. I forgot to call and schedule a follw up doctor's appointment.

14. I forgot to rsvp for a birthday party.

15. I went to the commissary for my monthly shopping trip. I not only forgot my coupons, and forgot my shopping list, I FORGOT TO MAKE A SHOPPING LIST. I wound up just walking up and down the aisles, throwing things into the cart willy-nilly. I spent $200 over budget and my family will still end up eating Corn Pops with mustard for dinner.

16. I have left the house at least three times this week without a cell phone because I forgot to put it in my purse.

17. I forgot to do anything with the hamburger meat I set out the other night. Blaine came home from work and asked what was for dinner. I replied mini-meatloaf muffins, then realized I FORGOT TO COOK THEM.

18. Our entire family is being baptized this upcoming Sunday. I DREAMED that we forgot to go, then showed up late, then forgot to take dry clothes.

I'm sure there are other things I've forgotten, I just can't remember what they are. It's a miracle I've remembered to pick the kids up from school each day.

On the Blaine front, he got a phone call today scheduling an appointment next week to discuss the MRI results and plan what's next. Considering the call came from the Neuro-Surgery department, I think we have a pretty good idea what they're going to say.

I just hope I can remember to show up for the appointment.

Wait. Blaine who?

Friday, March 06, 2009

If at first,

You cannot sleep,




You might remember that Kendrie got headgear from our local sadist orthodontist in the American ritualistic pursuit of straight teeth. In her case, maybe "straight" isn't even as important as teeth that do not include a cross-bite or an under-bite. (Yes! She has both! Yay for overachievers!)

To say she despised that headgear would be an understatement. The primary problem (besides the fact it was uncomfortable and ugly as hell) were the two metal pieces running down the sides of her face. She was supposed to wear the headgear all night, but she is a tummy/side sleeper, so you can about imagine how good that worked out. The orthodontist's reassurance that she could be "trained" to sleep on her back? In my opinion, that's a load, and unreasonable to expect. *I* am a tummy/side sleeper and if someone told me I had no choice but to sleep on my back for the next few years, night in and night out ..... well, I'd cut them, man. So no way was I going to ask my daughter to do something I wouldn't be willing to do myself.

We went back for a check up and when I explained the problem, he suggested a different headgear, with the metal piece running right down the middle of her face --- sleeping problem solved. Now, of course, the problem is that she'll need corrective eye surgery because the entire time she has it on she goes cross-eyed, looking at the metal, but oh well. At least her teeth will look good.

However, she still hates it. She complains that it pulls on her top teeth. When we explain to her that yeah, that's pretty much the point, she insists it hurts too much to wear. We insist that it cost too much NOT to wear.

It has been a battle since she got it, worsening each night. One which I am tired of fighting. Tonight, amidst the tears and frustration and anger, she hurled the following comments at me:

1. "This is worse than when I had cancer!!"

2. "Why do all the bad things happen to me and nobody else?"

3. "You are the meanest mother in the whole world for making me wear this!"

My replies:

1. "Oh dear Lord, you've got to be kidding me. Clearly, you are a drama queen and have amnesia."

2. "You are not the only person in the whole world that has bad things happen to them. Kellen has had surgery for tonsils and adenoids and he'll probably get a shot next week at the doctor .... that should make you feel better. No? It doesn't? You know what? On second thought, I know just how you feel lately."

3. "Yeah, well, get in line. Now put on the damn headgear."

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

I changed my mind

Well, apparently the doctor who said an MRI would be fine for Blaine was correct, as he had one yesterday morning, and no metal came out of his nose and his head didn't shoot up and stick to the magnet like I worried it would. So I guess all is well.

The doctor did say it was very important Blaine lay still so they could get a clear scan with no "movement flares" (I'm sure there is a more technical term for that, but right now I'm too lazy to look it up, plus the last time I tried to google a pretend medical condition {last night} I wound up getting three-shades of porn links on my computer and geesh, I'd really prefer to avoid doing that again, if at all possible .... anyway, I'm rambling.....)

So he prescribed Blaine a mild anti-anxiety drug (Ativan) to take before the procedure .... one pill an hour before, one pill a half hour before, and one pill right before if he still wasn't feeling completely calm. Call me silly, but hearing the words, "Hey, it appears you have a cancerous tumor in your brain" is not so much with the calm-inducing, so Blaine went ahead and took the third pill as well.

That was probably a wee bit of overkill.

The MRI was scheduled for 7:30 am yesterday morning, which means we had to leave our house around 6:45 (God bless Grandma Betty, who gamely came over waaaaaaaayyyy early to get the kids to school for us) which meant clearly, WAY more important than the MRI itself, was the fact we didn't have time for breakfast. So after the MRI was finished, we decided to stop and eat on the way home. A breakfast date, of sorts. With Blaine, the man I married, the man I love beyond measure ............ the man who was getting more and more stoned from that third Ativan by the minute.

By the time we arrived at the restaurant, he said to me, "I'm feeling a little wobbly. Will you hold my hand in the parking lot?" Uhhhhh, ok. I offered to take him home and cook breakfast but no, he said eating out would be fine.

We went inside, sat down, and ordered. And as the minutes passed, his eyes got droopier and droopier, and his movements became slower and slower. And naturally, such as the order of things in life, I started making fun of him because dude, you're totally stoned!! And you're having trouble making the fork work for you, and it's hysterical!!

Meanwhile, although he kept insisting he was FINE, there was proof that his brain was sluggish:

I mentioned to him that it had snowed in Byron (our old hometown in Georgia) yesterday, and he asked incredulously, "While I was gone??" And I laughed ... ha-ha-ha-ha .... isn't he funny when he's not thinking clearly?

Then he started grilling me (well, as much as you can grill someone when you are slurring your words) about some base contract construction and when was it going to be finished? And when I told him I had no idea what he was even talking about, he insisted I did, because (and I quote) "You are up at the base all the time, hanging out with those other military wives, and you do too know!" And I laughed ... ha-ha-ha-ha .... isn't he funny when he's so confused?

I said something about Kendrie hopefully feeling better because she stayed home sick from school on Monday, and he was startled, as if we had just found out that moment she was ill and we needed to go get her. He kept asking me, "But is she ok?" And I laughed ... ha-ha-ha-ha ... isn't he funny when he's lost complete track of time?

Then he leaned across the table and put his hands over mine. "You haven't changed a bit" he said, earnestly, his droopy, glazed-over eyes looking into mine.

"What do you mean?" I asked, thinking to myself, "Oh, this should be good, Mr. Fast Times at Ridgemont High."

"Well," he said, "sure, through the years your body has gotten bigger and then smaller, bigger and smaller, but your face has stayed the same." And he smiled at me (more of a drunken smirk, actually) with what he obviously thought was a compliment.

"Really?" I asked, still laughing at how drug-induced his thinking was. "Because I'm forty pounds heavier now than when we got married, so I'd be amazed if it hadn't changed."

Blaine sat back in the booth, appearing confused. "Forty pounds?" he asked. "Really? Then I guess its good I married you back then because I probably couldn't carry you across the threshold now."

And I laughed ... ha-ha- ah ........... ahhhhhhhhh, what???? Did he just call me ..... FAT??????????

Is it too late to take back my 100 Things I Love About You???? Because I just changed my mind.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

SPT Challenge March 3

Self-Portrait Tuesday ..... for March 3, as per Lelly's Musings:

"Take Self-Portraits through the entire month of March utilizing the number eight."



I think this is a clever idea, for a week. Not for a whole month. It might be different if I had an eight year old, or could lose eight pounds, or had thought to take a photo during Saturday morning's soccer game when the wind chill was FREAKING ONLY EIGHT DEGREES AND WE WERE OUTSIDE FREEZING OUR BUNS OFF ...... but I didn't.

So I'm left with this lame photo for today:

Me, preparing for my monthly Book Club get together which was held last night at 8pm. (See? I told you it was a lame interpretation of the number eight .....)

This is the same Book Club I attended last August and then didn't go back for three months due to scheduling conflicts, then felt too embarrassed to show up after being gone so long. One of the members encouraged me to re-attend this month and I'm glad I did. I met two ladies beforehand for dinner, then a larger group from my church to discuss this month's selection, The Secret Life of Bees, by Sue Monk Kidd.

I enjoyed myself. Hot chocolate from Starbucks, a good book, and good company. Really, what else does a girl need? I definitely plan to go again next month, when they're reading "Freakology" or "Freakorama" or "Freakonomics" or something like that. Clearly I was too hopped up on sugar from the hot chocolate when the Starbucks employee kicked us out at 9:30 to really pay attention to the title.

In the meantime, I've got seven days to think up something, *anything*, with the number eight in it for next week's photo .... suggestions, anyone?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Proof my son needs more culture

Kellen had a soccer tournament this weekend. The venue was a soccer club about forty minutes from our house, and his team had a game Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon ... then again Sunday morning (What the heck? Don't the people who schedule these games go to church? The tournament had games at 7:30 AM Sunday morning --- thank goodness it wasn't us, is all I'm saying) and Sunday afternoon.

There were two hours to kill each day between the morning and afternoon games. Not enough time to go home, but too much time to just sit at the fields and do nothing. So the entire team decided (both days) to go out and have lunch together. Nothing strikes fear in the heart of a Dennys employee like having a mob like us walk through the door, asking for a table for twenty-four people, twelve of whom are "children" .... "children" who are, in this scenario, ten and eleven year old boys; noisy, sweaty, stinky, rambunctious, loud. (And extremely sweet and precious, but probably the Dennys workers couldn't see past the soccer uniforms and cleats and hungry, hungry boys to realize that ..... whatever, that's not even the point to this post.)

Today Kellen asked where were we going for lunch, and I said "The other parents want to go to Poblanos."

He asked, "Poblanos? What's that?"

And I said, "It's Mexican."

His response? "Oh, good. I've been in the mood for egg rolls."

I totally repeated the story later, at the table, because Lord knows I'm not above exploiting my children if its good for a laugh.

What made it funnier, although proved to me that seriously, we need to get out more as a family, was when the Poblanos waitress came to the table and he ordered chicken strips.