Monday, December 27, 2010

My Favorite Week Of The Year

We had a very nice Christmas. When the children are small the holidays seem a lot more eventful. It takes some adjusting as they get older and things calm down a bit. One of the nice trade offs I have found with my daughters as they grow up is the subtle change from being more concerned with what they are giving than what they are receiving. I find this a delightful transition that makes it easier to leave behind the magical Santa and reindeer stage. I especially enjoy watching as they bicker with each other one day and busily set about looking for just the right gift for each other the next. We spent some time with family. My son-in-law DecentGuy has a difficult relationship with his mother. They had originally planned to travel to spend Christmas with them but the when the plans were canceled I tried not to be too gleeful that I got them. But I was. To make it up to him, this might seem strange but it was perfect, we asked if he would like to cook dinner one of the nights. He was thrilled and chose Christmas Eve. He prepared both a smoked and a roasted turkey for us as well as all the fixings and it was delicious. He did a wonderful job and had a great time doing it, which made me happy. You see he likes things made from scratch. I roast a mean turkey but I go by the meal in a box school of cuisine, so it was a treat for everyone present!

Now I will visit the ghost of Christmas Past. The Christmas of 1984. This just happens to be my favorite week of the year. Not only is it Christmas but 26 years ago I was given a gift that led to another gift.
One of the most Precious Gifts of My Life. The only comparable being my children.

Some of you who have been around for a long time may have read a post I wrote last year for New Years that touched on this subject. Part of it told the story of a gift my parents gave me for Christmas but at the time I hadn't started using pictures on my blog yet. This time around I have a special treat. Now my parents usually had great taste. Even as a teenager I could ask them to pick something out for me and they would come home with something terrific. I even put them in charge of a bathing suit one time and they came back with a great suit that I honestly couldn't believe they bought for me! This time around I'm not sure what happened.

As a quick recap: The night after Christmas one of my friends wanted me to go out and I didn't really want to go that bad but decided to go anyway. I was behind on laundry so my wardrobe choices were limited. I had some clean black pants. I had my really killer scrunched white ankle boots. Hmm, What to wear with them? My parents had given me a sweater for Christmas. I was 19. I was a pretty sharp dresser if I say so myself. Fashion was one of my hobbies. I Did Not do cutesy. I Did Not Do Pink. I did pegged legs, converse and checks for casual. I did stiletto heels, cowl necks and narrow skirts for going out. I was going to a dance club. It was already ten o'clock at night and the day after Christmas. How many people would actually be out, right? So. I put it on. And that night I saw a really cute guy beckoning to me from across the room.

And this year I give you proof of my magical gift!
Proof that miracles do happen!
Proof that if something is Meant To Be- Nothing can stand in it's way!
Proof that Love conquers ALL!
Proof that my future husband may have already been drunk when I showed up.
Because This, carefully archived in my cedar chest. In perfect museum quality condition.....because I never put it on again, IS :


 A similar pattern with sheep started this craze but when my parents saw this, apparently they knew it was for me. Because I like cats. And possibly was not aware at that time that I was the biggest dork on the planet.
But the dear man talked to me all evening. And danced with me. And offered to drive me home.
And has been by my side nearly every day of our lives since.

He says it wasn't the sweater, it was what was in it.
My parents were very pleased. I wore the sweater they bought me...and they could finally turn my room into a den.

I will never part with my magical sweater it will always stay in my box.
I will never part with that cute guy either..but him..I keep in plain sight!

© 2010 All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Texts From the Edge...Of Reason and the Season

There has been a lot going on the past week. So much that I have trouble keeping track and forming it in to a post. So I looked back at some of the texts we have been sending.

Mid and Big:

Mid: What do you want for Christmas?

Big: I want Adam Ant. But I want Adam Ant 20 years you will have to build a time machine first....

Me and Littlest: Lit was staying after school to help with set up on a performance and then staying until we pick her up at 9 P.M. We are not late night people.

Me: Are you Ok?

Lit: No...I'm dead..

Me: Does this mean we can return your gift?

Lit: No. Just bury me with it.

Later when Mid and I have come to pick her up:

Me: We are here. Come out or we are coming in to get you wearing our pajama's.

Lit: I would like to because this is awful but I can't get out, I'm sitting up high.

Mid: Walk out. Or I'm coming in wearing a blanket and a beanie!

Me and Big:

Me: If you don't tell me what the two of you want I am going to buy you matching Christmas sweaters.

Big: I don't  know !!!!

Me: and plaid suspenders.

And a Proverb from Mid while Christmas shopping

Mid: Bitch about the devil and it will corner you in Hot Topic.

Which was Karma for saying nasty things about people she used to like and now can't stand while on her way to the mall.

Of course Big called me this week. At 9 o'clock at night. On a diatribe about some people who abandoned a 5 foot boa constrictor in a cold house with no food. It was of course safe at her house now. Which is when I gave her a lecture about keeping it tightly contained or it would warm up and eat one of her cats or something. She told me she knew what she was doing. The snake was barely moving, it wasn't going anywhere.

Come to think of it....I haven't heard from her since then... ; )

I actually have completed my Christmas shopping! Sort of. It is a good thing because my car was recalled and I made an appointment over a week in advance for a day I could leave it at the dealership. Because I needed it back ASAP. Which would be yesterday. When they took it and then called 5 hours later and said they didn't have the correct part. Most of the cars have the part that they keep in stock but mine was "special." They would have to overnight it and work on it today. Then they said, while it was there they kindly took a look around it and noticed that several things, like some belts and my brakes and some filters and the fuel injection were in pretty bad shape and might be a safety issue. While they were waiting for the part they would be happy to replace all of this for a grand total of $749.52.
To which we said, No ThankYou. How about you just fix the safety issue that your company created. The one that involves bad soldering and the engine possibly stopping without warning. Then we called the place we usually get work done and gave them the list of things and they told us they could fix all that for $240.00.

Now this morning something miraculous happened. The dealership called at 7:30 A.M. and my car is already finished. Why, they must have had that part brought in on the wings of angels and elves must have worked on it all night to get it done so early. Since I needed it ASAP. The SeaMonkey had already left for a job. I'm trapped here now. Those poor elves worked so hard for my car to sit in the parking lot all day till I get a ride up there. Now I would have liked to finish up a few spare gifts because I decided that Biggest and DecentGuy need some socks. What are they going to do if I don't get them some socks for Christmas.
 It's a tragedy that's what it is?

I guess I will do some wrapping today. And maybe even vacuum....

Hey, I was looking for the moon night before last and I couldn't find it....
where'd it go.....?

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Moon Eclipse Music

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Now We Are Festive!: The Sequel.


I Guess Tuna really does taste better than acorns.
Does anyone know who this cat belongs to?
Yeah, looks that way.


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Monday, December 13, 2010

Are We Festive Yet?

Well. We are trying.

I have to admit that I dearly lovely my Christmas decorations. My husband doesn't get it but I just do my own thing. I am not a terribly picky person but I am, let's say....a pain in the ass about my Christmas tree. I don't go for huge, my house won't hold it and I don't go for "decorator" that's not my style. The one rule I follow is color coordination. I use green, red, white and silver. After that if I like it I cram it all on the tree. I have everything from Waterford crystal to the dollar store. Some lovely things that were my mothers and everything the kids ever made in preschool. Luckily my kids were brainwashed early. They knew the color code and didn't vary from it. Littlest tries to talk me into leaving them off every year but they are going on that tree, along with the 3 babies first Christmas ornaments.
 But the thing I am truly inflexible about is the tree.
We get a fresh one and every year I drive my husband out of his mind picking through every tree looking for one that is perfect. Literally. It had to be symmetrical. It has to be full. It can't have holes. The top has to have a sturdy perfectly straight tip to hold the heavy slip on star my parents gave us. We always start the weekend after Thanksgiving and this year my husband slipped out early and went to pick it out himself. I waited at home worrying about what he would return with. What if it was too skinny? What if the top wasn't right? Maybe I should have insisted on going.  Eventually he returned and cut the net and out spread....A Perfect Tree. It was gorgeous. The most perfect tree we have found in years. Everything about it was just right. I was beside myself with joy. Littlest and I decorated our hearts out and have been basking in the beauty of our handiwork. Why the star was even tilting which you may know is a look I've been going for lately. Until this weekend when something became apparent. An excess of needles littering the floor. I ran my hand along a branch. A veritable downpour. I had noticed this tree seemed to be slow on sucking up the water. We had the end cut properly and had checked it regularly but the level had only seemed to fall within the last week and when I checked it was still full at the level I had filled it to 2 days before. My decorating isn't the only reason this tree looks like a mess. The color was fading. The branches were twisting and drooping. Some were becoming bare.
 The Perfect, Beautiful,  Tree of all trees ......


I guess we could have limped it along but the fire extinguisher sitting alongside it, just in case,  may have ruined the overall theme. Despite it's being an appropriate bright seasonal red.

My husband grumbled and said he wasn't paying for another tree. He finally asked if I was willing to sacrifice my gift for another tree, to which the answer was yes. Because I have a lot of stuff but I only have Christmas a few weeks a year. So off we go on Sunday hoping for the best. Which was no longer available among the 20 or so trees left in the tent. Most of which were in about the same shape as the one at home. When the attendant asked if we needed help my husband said he didn't know as we were replacing one we bought there recently that was inferior.  Only he didn't use the word inferior, he used a different word that I thought wasn't very reflective of the holiday spirit,  that prompted the man to knock $20.00 off whatever we picked out.  There really wasn't much choice. Basically one tree was still fresh and green and healthy looking. It was small. It had a couple holes. It was not exactly symmetrical. It did have a sturdy straight top...that was devoid of needles. But it was alive and that was our priority. Especially after the look I got from my husband when I mumbled something about looking somewhere else. Now this truly was a blessing because when he went inside to pay, the manager approached and asked about the tree and told the cashier to take another 50% off so we got the tree for ten bucks. I'd say that's a deal. At least if you ignore the part where we paid  for the 1st tree so ultimately my lumpy little tree cost us more than a 6'+ perfect tree.
 But we will feel blessed to have a tree at all, won't we? Yes. Since I offered to skip getting a present this year in order to get another tree. So when we left my husband said," $10.00 isn't bad. Hey, I just got off real easy on your present this year. " MmmHmmm.....
Then he said,"what do you actually want?" And I said, "I don't know, maybe some boots." And then he said, "I don't like you in boots." (Note: I WAS WEARING BOOTS WHEN I MET HIM!) And then I said, "I like boots and they are making pants legs more narrow now and when I wear the shoes you like they are too clunky and it makes me look like I have Minnie Mouse feet and Stacy & Clinton say that woman in their forties shouldn't run around in white tennis shoes all the time." And then...he didn't say anything else.

Anyway...I took it home and took the other tree apart and proceeded to start over. Littlest took a look and said, "Mom, you know there is no way you are going to be able to fit all those ornaments on that little tree don't you?"

What? Ha! You just watch me.
Oh yeah. Every last one one.
And star is even tilting. I just left the extra long tip intact and the star reaches almost as high. Or looks like it if you're short like me anyway. It's perfect. It reminds me of a  little rocket about to take off.

Now I wasn't going to do a photo shoot of my Christmas decor because I don't like to show off my insane overdecorating fetish  my wondrous decorating skills but when I was working on this clutter little scene I like to create with  more crap I collect some of my Winter Silhouettes collection......

I had to stop because some people were annoying me wanted dinner and when I came back I found that some unexpected guests had joined the party.

Aragorn and Legolas always like to be a part of the holiday festivities.

Not to be outdone, Harry Potter apparently took part in a Christmas Pageant...
Because I'm sure he's not abducting the baby Jesus....right?

In other news.....

To add to our week our well pump has been breaking piece by piece for the last 4 days and whether we have water or not is always an adventure. We weren't expecting the expense of course at this time of year but if I get a $10.00 tree for Christmas I guess my husband gets a new well pump and switch.

It's a family gift really. Running water.

Over a week ago a strange cat showed up at my house. He was gorgeous. A huge neutered male Tabby who was in excellent condition. He was a 6 toed Hemingway that was obviously a lost house pet. He was starving and it was freezing and we took him in and began searching for owners. Nothing. He had no collar, we had him scanned and there is no chip. No signs, nothing in the paper. Animal control had no reports but they asked if we would hold him or if they should come get him. He was pretty cool and we said we would hold him. If he had been dumped we were willing to keep him. Within a week we realized some things. He is mean as hell. He bites and scratches. He doesn't like other cat's..or dogs..or people. He shreds furniture. As soon as he uses the cat box he starts screaming until you clean it. Gee, I wonder why no one was desperately searching for this cat?
But, we still thought he was cool and we figured we might keep him if he isn't claimed so we decided to let him stay rather than turn him into Animal Control because we did volunteer to keep an eye on him. Until yesterday when I left him on the second story deck to get some fresh air and apparently the threat of death was better than us and he took a dive off and made a run for it. What do you want to bet they realize they lost their cat tomorrow? Truly, it's unusually cold and I hope the poor thing gets back here or was just taking a vacation and went home. We shall see.

Other than that we have been having a treat for me which is record cold weather in my area. I have been extremely busy and haven't had much time for blog world but I honestly have been spending most of my free time, comfy on my couch, drinking hot tea and enjoying my Christmas decorations. It's just so cozy that I don't even want to go out. Which is why I still have not done my Christmas Shopping. Nothing. I don't shop online unless I'm desperate and my kids are way more blase' about their gifts than when they were little. They won't write a list. I don't know what they want. I was thinking of going this morning, until I reached down and pulled something that caused an excruciating nerve pain in my lower back and I pretty much haven't moved a lot since. I was planning on finishing this post this morning and the only reason I'm biting the bullet through it now is to keep myself alert till Mid gets off work because I have to pick her up. I'm rambling because I'm tired...anyway... I guess I'll shop eventually. For the time being I'm plenty festive just enjoying my Rocket Tree. And reminding myself. To remember that the tree isn't what it's about. The decorations aren't what it's about. The shopping and gifts aren't what it's all about.

We are blessed with things as simple as running water.
 We are blessed to have room to offer at our inn. Even if a perilous death defying plunge is more acceptable to some guests. We are blessed that the babe was born...for us and all our foolishness.
If Christmas is your thing this is what it's all about. Joy and Peace to You!
If not... I wish You Joy and Peace wherever you find it : )

© 2010 All Rights Reserved

Monday, December 6, 2010

Breaking My Own Parenting Rules

One Kid At A Time.

I've heard more than once that parents tend to get more lenient with successive children. Why is that and is it true? I have to say it was true of my parents. Then again I was the last of 5 and 9 years later. Not to mention I followed two boys. But was that the reason?

I tend to think my parents just got tired.

But I do believe that you have to take the individual child into consideration.

When we started out we were strict parents. Really Strict. Our oldest taught us that you can be strict all you want but that doesn't mean anyone is going to listen to or obey you. What did we do when it came to the next one? We relaxed. A Little Bit. Just a little. For instance giving them a little more personal freedom to get themselves around town at a younger age. Riding bikes to the library and nearby places the kids hang out.
This was at 13 for Mid.
Lit could go with her at 11. So when Lit hit 12 and Mid didn't want to go somewhere we heard a whole lot of complaining...from both of them. Sooo, we let Littlest go on her own.

 How did relaxing things work? Well. It didn't stop Mid from making stupid decisions. Once. Twice on a couple of things. But she straightened up -or shut up and flies under the radar really well. I have highly advanced "Mamadar" as I call it.  Middlest is not very ambitious. Having made a couple of stands I think she realized that partying and sneaking out takes a lot of effort. Now that she has realized the full extent of freedom you can reach as a minor in our home she doesn't do much. Her curfew has been eleven since she turned 17. Most of the time she turns up between 9:30 and 10.  I figured I would up it to 12 after the first of the year because she was heading to graduation and 18 next year. I'm not sure if it's even worth it because she rarely stays up that late.

Where my real laying down of my arms comes in is with Littlest. Not only is she the biggest pain in the butt when she wants something she also has the most common sense.  As younger siblings always do she points out that her sister having a privilege she does not is "not fair." The problem with that is that it is fair. To which she will point out that "I never cause any trouble. I never do anything wrong." Then she will list Everything her sisters have done as an example. She is right about that. The fact is I have let her do multiple things earlier than I allowed her sisters to. Littlest Rarely gets grounded. She is destroying my blog rep. (Note to Lit: That does not mean have at it.)

These were some of our basic rules:

No online social networking until 14
No riding in cars with teen drivers until 15
No car dating until 16
No dating out of you age range- we figured 1, possibly 2 years was fair.
Curfew was 10 P.M. at age 15
10:30P.M. at 16 and 11P.M. at 17.

Now Biggest of course doesn't even count. The basic rule in her teen years turned into "if you come in screwed up and start tearing up the house and threatening us we are calling the cops."

The social networking went out the window when Mid was 13 and Lit 11 because I caught them with My Space accounts that they were using at the library. I noticed they suddenly spent much longer there and did a search. Sure enough. They were in trouble but we discussed it and realized it was safer to have it under our control by being aware of what was going on.

Middlest made some bad decisions a couple of times her sophomore year. She fell in with a bad crowd and I was amazed that another of my kids was messing up though it wasn't even on the same planet compared to her sister. After Biggest anything they come up with seems like an anticlimax to say the least.
 The source of the trouble with mid? The boys she was dating. Now she was 15. She could have boyfriends her age but the environment had to be supervised. So what happened? Well the boys her age that she chose were the kind that think they are sneaky. The kind who have older people ( Moms, can you believe it) willing to drive and pick up young ladies that are sneaking out in the middle of the night. They didn't know they were dealing with an expert. So while Middlest spent most of sophomore year being grounded for grades and being stupid,  I think with her it got old quick. Living on the street or hiding in flop houses doesn't sound as fun to un-ambitious young people. Then when she was almost16 she met a new boy. He seemed pretty nice. A decent enough kid.
Who was getting ready to turn 19 freakin years old. But you know what? I was getting a little tired. We said, ok. On a trial basis.
If he is willing to put up with your tight rules we will see what happens. Fourteen months later he is still around, though I did joke with her when he turned 20 last summer a few weeks before she turned 17 that he was now too old for her and they had to break up until her birthday. The verdict? He is very respectful of her. She has not been in trouble once. She is always home on time or earlier and there have not been any signs of being impaired. Her grades? Well that should be obvious but this year I stop grounding her for them. She is nearly an adult. If she doesn't keep up it is only herself and her future she is hurting. She is old enough to understand that.

Now I did recently find she was committing what I guess would be a mid-line infraction. I'm getting a little tired. I wrote a note that said,
"you have been busted, quit being a dumbass". The End.
She is almost grown up and that is about how much power I have over some of her choices.

Now, where was I going with this? Oh yeah,


Littlest goes to a school that takes up her weekday from 7 am to 4:30 pm. It is 45 minutes away and the kids come from all over our city. The result is that she has very little social life both because of time and also because most of her friends live miles away. There are some parents who are willing and able to spend Every weekend driving around all day for their kids social engagements but we are not among them. Special occasions, of course. Driving and hour both ways to play video games? Um, No. This has resulted in yes, allowing her to ride in cars with teen drivers on a few occasions. Including an hour long ride to visit a Con which also resulted in a slight extension of curfew because the drive was so long. Which made Middlest really mad but whatever.

Then there is dating. Now Lit has liked someone for a very long time but that is going nowhere. She hasn't had a "boyfriend" since about 7th grade which is when she grew out of the like somebody new every week stage of her friends. The problem with Lit is that she is one of those girls whose age is hard to determine. She is conservative with make-up and dresses well. Though she can be a complete goofball, when she first meets people her demeanor tends to be rather serious and mature for her age. She is a cute girl but she isn't the flirtatious type. This tends to make her seem older than she is. While boys her age seem intimidated by her  she has had college age boys drawn towards her since she was around 13, simply because she does not act like she is trying to get their attention. There have been a few embarrassed young men who assumed she was closer to Middlest's age. Last summer, at a club she attends, Littlest met Spike.
Or a reasonable facsimile of.

Spike liked Littlest. And Littlest liked Spike.
What she didn't realize at first was that he was 18.

She was almost 15 but to me 18 or 800 it's all the same. That would be a NO.

But Littlest had already said she would go out with him. Um, what?  You are not allowed to date a boy that old. Knowing teenage girls like the back of my hand I considered the possibility of her sneaking to meet. But this was Littlest. She is a different breed. Now considering what happened with Mid and the fact that forbidden makes the heart grow fonder I told her he was welcome to come to our house and visit with her any time. And that was it. He came a couple times. Then the poor kid starting asking her to go do stuff. She just kept putting him off. I watched for signs of sneaky. I got nothing. The fact was she wasn't ready for a relationship with someone that much older than herself and being an unusually astute girl she realized this herself. She wormed her way out of the situation. She said she got caught up in someone liking her and quickly realized it was a mistake. She wasn't comfortable with a boy that old. She caught her own mistake.

Now report cards were not so beautiful last time around but not a disaster so I let it go.

We just had progress reports though and for the first time Ever Littlest grades are lower than her sisters.
I'm not sure why. Maybe it's because she made it through 9th grade without causing any trouble and decided to relax a little. Maybe she was hoping for a featured post on my blog. She says it's just hard and she's tired. Yet she refuses to go to Middlest's high school which take off substantial pressure.

All I said was "You need to get these grades up." And that's all I'm going to say.

Because I'm tired.

But I'm resting up for report cards.

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Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Since I Suck This Week

Spend some time on something that is Worth It.


The current obsession of all 3 of my daughters and myself.

Listen To This.

Or Maybe This One....

And This One...

And then the one I have on my main page below if you don't mind the "language"

And Then Go Buy It.

We did.

You may not have a choice, because the rest of the day ....
what is that song stuck in your head?

Hey Look,  I made little tiny videos!

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