Wednesday, April 30, 2008

#200, A Tribute to my Birthday Boy

To celebrate both my 200th post and Ernest's recent 12th birthday, here are a few old photos of my "Angel Baby." Let's embarass the heck out of him. And I apologize for being too lazy to take apart the scrapbooks and scan the pictures properly. Besides, my scanner doesn't always work. So I just photographed the pages.

The Ernest Fan Club* may recognize a few of these.

He was usually a really good baby. Even when he was bad he was adorable.

He had a cute belly. (He liked to hold his belly button.)

And a cute butt.

He was a good helper for his dad.

He was very active and sometimes got scabby.
On a camping trip he discovered "dirty" dirt.
He loved his monkey and chocolate.

This is the only time I was an evil mother. He got stuck and I ran to get the camera and left him crying until I got a few pictures. I don't think I permanently damaged his feelings. He still seems to love me.

He even had his "15 minutes of fame." His picture was in the newspaper! *The fan club? Besides family and friends, there are a lot of people in our small town who knew Ernest as a small child. Our beloved niece took him on walks all over town, where he met many nice people like Pam and "Mrs. Pam" (his name for Pam's mother). They would say hello to him all the time, and I wouldn't know who they were. Membership is free, and is growing all the time.

Press Release! Publicity Stunt!

The company my husband works for makes microscopes. Atomic Force Microscopes. CSI: Miami is using one as a prop. So watch this show on May 5th and then DON'T ask me about it because I can't explain it.
And may I confess, I've never watched any of the CSI shows. (I wish this was the one with Gary Sinese, another secret boyfriend, as I'm so not into David Caruso.) And I don't have TIVO. However, I do have a DVD recorder so we'll record it on that, not the old obsolete VCR.
Type of release: Corporate News
Keywords: Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Scanning Probe Microscopy (SPM)
Asylum Research Atomic Force Microscope Featured in CSI: Miami Episode
May 1, 2008 (Santa Barbara, CA)
Aside from performing cutting edge research in nanotechnology, the Asylum Research MFP-3D AFM will be in the spotlight on the CBS hit television show CSI: Miami. The AFM will be featured in the episode 619 “Rock and a Hard Place” scheduled to air May 5, 2008.

“I was really surprised when CSI: Miami producers called me to use our MFP-3D AFM,” said Terry Mehr, Director of Marketing. “Only days earlier, I had received an email from our VP of Asia Pacific telling me about a customer that was interested in doing forensics on our AFM and how great it would be to have our AFM on CSI. Then lo and behold, I get a call from the producers asking to use the equipment. It’s exciting to have our AFM featured in the episode.”
While details of the CSI: Miami episode cannot be revealed, the MFP-3D AFM will be used as the forensic instrument of choice to procure information about a sample.

Asylum Research manufactures advanced AFMs for nanoscale science and technology. For additional information, please contact Terry Mehr, Director of Marketing, Asylum Research, 6310 Hollister Avenue, Santa Barbara, CA 93117, 805-696-6466,,

So thank you HH for alerting us to this major media event. And for giving me an actual press release, which in my smalltown life doesn't happen too often. And most importantly, for giving me my 199th blog post. So now I can post #200 which has been waiting in the wings a few days! I am so full of ulterior motives.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Lost Hamsters

My Handy Husband had a bunch of hamsters before we met. I remember the stories of only two of them. (M-I-L may have more stories.)
  • The One (Elizabeth?) who chewed on the refrigerator cord and electocuted herself...
  • The One (Nathan?) who was squashed by his hip...
...And in my time there was a beautiful hamster abode with a loft and picture windows, handcrafted by the HH ...when he was the HB aka handy boyfriend, and its tenants were:
  • The One (Sigmund) who crawled under the heater between the floors of an I.V. apartment and never came out, and...
  • The One (Blossom) who paralyzed her back legs somersaulting off the hamster bedroom loft, and...
  • The One (Max) who we though was dead but the HB massaged him back to life. For a while...
We got hamsters early in Frank's life...a mistake. There was
  • The One (Fred) his friend squashed...
  • The One (Jack) who lost 3 teeth and the last tooth grew so long he couldn't eat...
Then we saw THE ONE, the most beautiful hamster in all the universe.


Featured on Cute Overload and Flickr.

This started the hamster longing all over again. Ernest thinks we need to get the HH a hamster. for Father's Day. I'm just not sure. I feel we would be setting ourselves up for yet another tragic ending. But on the other hand, Ernest would love and adore a little pet.

Finish Before You Begin

I'm notorious in my home for wanting to know how things end. Before I finish them.

Books? I love to read the ending ahead of time. So I know where I'm going to. This drives Ernest crazy. He made me promise not to skip ahead to the ending of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Because I love him, I kept my word. It was a struggle but I read it really fast so I only had to suffer for a little while. And I'm not posting any links to the ending because HE STILL HASN'T FINISHED THE BOOK. AND HE WAS THE FIRST ONE TO GET IT IN OUR TOWN! Can you tell that irritates me just a little bit?

Movies? Ditto. Here's where the Movie Spoiler website comes in handy.

The Point? My Handy Husband is a drag racing fan. Today's race is in Atlanta. It's tape-delayed. So during a commercial break, he checks out the NHRA website to find out that Ashley Force beat John Force in the funny car finals. So now he can kick back and relax. (Hope I haven't spoiled it for anyone else but I sense my regular readers are probably not watching drag racing right now. And by tomorrow it will be old news.)

I'm not alone! I'm so happy. I feel justified!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

When Dreams Come Alive

I have issues with being woken up at night. Usually it is by snoring, cat purring, cat sitting on my feet, raccoon invasions, windchimes, rocket launches etc.

Sunday night I was dreaming that I was working in some nebulous office space (I believe you have my stapler!) and there was an alarm going off. I gradually realized I had woken up but was still hearing the noise. At 5:30 in the morning! I don't know what it was. Car horn? Alarm? Siren? I checked outside and it seemed to be coming from the north end of the street. The HH and I burrowed our heads under the covers but could still hear it. Finally, after the longest 15-20 minutes, it stopped.

I am happy to say there was no school Monday so I was able to sleep late to compensate.

Kids Say The Darndest Things

I have a cold sore. It's ugly. I know it. What can I do? (Remedies are hereby solicited.)

So at lunch today this adorable kindergartener (A boy of course. I adore little boys. In a totally acceptable mom-like way.) asked me what was wrong with my lip and I explained.

And then he asked me, "Did you get it from blowing your whistle so much?" I laughed so hard, and then I had to tell the other aides. It's true, I do blow the whistle a lot because the kids are so loud and don't listen and my voice isn't very loud. Although, I can now belt out the word "WALK" at a pretty good volume.

6 ingredients

Yahoo had an article on natural cleaners. Which you can read here. But when I read it, my mind went elsewhere: Borax? I've only used it for one reason and it wasn't cleaning. (See #2). So here are my smalltown mom tips about these ingredients:

1. Baking soda: (see #5)

2. Borax: You can make a really great slime by mixing it with gel school glue.

3. Lemon: I don't have any kids' projects so here's something for the grownups. Oh, wait. Here's a lemon battery so they can shock themselves. Just kidding!

4. Salt: play-doh

5. White vinegar: mix with #1 and red food coloring to make volcanic lava! We've gone through so many gallons of vinegar with my boys! Or rockets. Alka-Seltzer rockets are fun too. Ernest has done an experiment on Alka-Seltzer rocket variations.

6. Olive Oil: I don't have anything for this, but it would probably get stuck stickers off of things. Are your kids sticker crazy? Peanut butter works great for that too, because it is thick and stays on long enough for the oil to permeate the sticker and release the adhesive. The drawback is it leaves a pungent aroma and then you are craving jelly for days.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Slash's Real Name

Frank is playing Guitar Hero III: "Welcome to the Jungle." He asked me, "Mom, what is Slash's real name?" He just thought I'd know. I had recently read Slash's I remembered his first name was Saul. I think I rock, for even remembering that much. Saul Hudson. Thank you very much.

My approximately 10 word (I say"rock n roll" is one word) review of Slash by Slash is on my book blog. Hey, that could be my book blog gimmick. 10 Word Reviews! I'm going to think about that. Usually I am too lazy to say anything.

Apparently I Don't Exist
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.
How many have your name?

Or does this just mean there is no one ELSE with my name?

I love my married name. People say, "Oh, that's so cute. Is it your real name?" I feel like saying, "No, it's my stripper name."

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Why is Google Green?

So I was looking at Google (P.S. OOOPS, it was really Yahoo) a few minutes ago and the logo started turning green and there was this leafy thing and I, child of the 60s and 70s, said, "Is that a marijuana leaf or is it Earth day?"

Ernest said, "No, Earth day is the 22nd."

Frank said, "Today is the biggest pot smoking day of the year, Hitler's birthday, anniversary of the Columbine massacre, and the day Bob Marley died."

Oh....ok... ... May I also add some other things that also occurred on April 20th?
  • Louis Pasteur completes pasteurization tests in 1862,
  • Painter Joan Miro born in 1893,
  • The Curies refine radium in 1902,
  • Bram Stoker (Dracula) dies in 1912,
  • George Takei (Sulu) is born in 1937,
  • Andy Serkis (Gollum) is born in 1964,
  • Apollo 16 landed on the moon in 1972,
  • Michael Jordan sets a game record in 1986, and
  • Senor Wences (the guy that did the puppet with his hand on Ed Sullivan) died in 1999.

(All my trivia from WikiPedia. My kids' trivia from their memories)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

...Winding Down

It's 4:20 so technically the party's over, but 2 guests are still here. One's sleeping over and the other one is Ern, so it's cool.

It all went quite smoothly. 9 tweenish boys plus 3 big ones (Frank and friends). The big boys were the most trouble! They decided to play along with Rock Band on their own instruments: bass and banjo. This irritated the birthday boy. Especially because the big ones weren't playing the same song! The tweens ordered them to stop and eventually they left.

The menu was: video games (Rock Band with 4 players, Halo with 8), pizza, soda, chips and cake. I'm not nearly as stressed as I thought I'd be. Sometimes you get high maintenance kids, or whiners, or sore losers, or mortal enemies who glare at each other across the room. This group was evenly matched, because I reviewed the guest list with Ernest and told him if they don't like each other don't invite either of them.

Since they were low-maintenance, I retreated to the den with the laptop, emerging only to provide food and do laundry. Yay, retreat. Boo, laundry.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gearing Up...

...for an all-tween-uber-videogame-extravaganza TOMORROW MORNING!!!

Frank and MiddleChild (aka his stagebandfriend Kyle, but he's here so often he is our honorary middle child) are here tonight.

(Not such a crazy name: I knew someone in high school in 1978 who went by MiddleEarth. Yes, he was Tolkien-obsessed.)

Right now Ernest is reading out cheats for MiddleChild to enter into Guitar Hero III. E+MC (not squared yet) (ok, bad joke) + Frank have agreed to set up the TVs in the morning for....

Ernest's birthday LAN party. Saturday, 11-4. Why did I agree to a 5 hour party? There must be some happy parents out there because I am crazy. One boy is coming early, another boy is spending the night. Another boy is coming back on Monday (because there is no school).

And my right eye has been twitching... for days... from the potential stress? Ya think? Maybe I need to learn to say no. Ernest rocks, but I might be rolling...over...into...a long-but-not-long-enough-massage after I survive the party.

Oh, now I remember the funny anecdote from school today . They got a grant for P.E. equipment. I spied a memo, asking what the teachers wanted: suggestions were basket balls, bouncy balls, jumpropes, a male masseuse? Yeah, the administration was kidding but has a great sense of humor!

Me needs some magic fingers!!!

What, Who, Where

This came from Bunny's blog.

  1. Where is your cell phone? In the front pocket of my purse.
  2. Your significant other? At work.
  3. Your hair? Hanging straight.
  4. Your mother? Resting in peace.
  5. Your father? In Washington.
  6. Your favorite thing? I have too many!
  7. Your dream last night? I don't remember, but a couple nights ago I dreamed I was locked in a room with a mountain lion. Kind of scary.
  8. Your favorite drink? Red wine. Non-alcoholic would be sparking water and pomegranate juice.
  9. Your dream/goal? To travel the world.
  10. The room you’re in? My living room.
  11. Your ex? I don't have one!
  12. Your fear? Losing my children.
  13. Where do you want to be in 6 years? At my younger son's 18th birthday.
  14. Where were you last night? Celebrating his 12th birthday.
  15. What you’re not? A skinny extrovert.
  16. Muffins? Orange Cranberry.
  17. One of your wish list items? TIVO. And a new toilet in the hall bathroom. Seriously, those are really truly on my birthday list taped to the fridge.
  18. Where you grew up? The same town I live in now.
  19. The last thing you did? Lunch duty at school.
  20. What are you wearing? Jeans and a Coldwater Creek T-shirt.
  21. Your TV? Off.
  22. Your pets? A 16 year-old cat named Sox.
  23. Your computer? HP on the desk, Dell laptop.
  24. Your life? Normal!
  25. Your mood? Indecisive.
  26. Missing someone? Not really.
  27. Your car? Lexus.
  28. Something you’re not wearing? Make-up.
  29. Favorite store? Coldwater Creek online.
  30. Your summer? Hot.
  31. Like someone? My family.
  32. Your favorite color? Purple.
  33. When is the last time you laughed? This morning.
  34. Last time you cried? The last time I had PMS.
  35. Who will repost this? Dunno.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Delayed on account of.....

The Birthday dinner has been delayed due to Guitar Hero. Yes, you've all heard about Rock Band in our house. Well, be prepared for GH anecdotes.

In the meantime, I'd just like to say: GO POPE! Love the RUBY slippers!

(Pause for a dinner break) We will not be baking cookies because no one is interested.

(Pause for another Guitar Hero interlude) "Soo much star power. Soo easy!" And soo Guitar Hero goes on and on. My first impression is that I like the Rock Band music better but we'll see...

Birthday Brownie Brouhaha

brou·ha·ha –noun
1. an episode involving excitement, confusion, turmoil, etc., esp. a broil over a minor or ridiculous cause
2. a confused disturbance far greater than its cause merits

Today is Ernest's 12th birthday (yay!). That's not the problem. The problem was the brownies for Ernest's class. I have trouble with brownies. The trouble started yesterday when I forgot I was supposed to make them. Following a whirlwind trip to the store at 5:15 (the excitement), I mixed up one box and poured it in the pan. The pan was so large I was afraid they would be thin as crackers. (the turmoil) So I mixed up the other box and topped it off. That looked better. But one panful wasn't enough for 30 kids, so back to the store for more brownie mix. First batch looks OK and even comes out of the pan without sticking. Second batch looks like the first batch and I am saying silent thank yous. Then dinner interrupts. Yes, I had to cook dinner at the same time I was dealing with the blasted brownies. After dinner, I tried to get the second batch out of the pan. While the edges were done just like the first batch, the center was like molten lava. Ugh. So there's my confused disturbance. The first batch was in a metal pan, the second in glass. I'm just not a baker. Alton Brown, I need you.

What do do? Ernest agreed I could bring cupcakes from Albertsons, but when I told him I'd have them there around 1:30, he said, no, that's math time. Apparently there can be no interruptions in math. So we plan to bring something Friday morning instead. I have vetoed cupcakes, since we have a) one pan of edible brownies to work through and b) a chocolate cake ordered for Saturdays LAN party. So I think we're going to try to make chocolate chip cookes tonight. Usually I don't mess those up.

And again, I have a dinner to cook. So why do I sit here blogging? Sigh.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Back in Black

Did I mention that Frank wears black?

A lot of black.

The exception? The day he got a hair cut he wore a white t-shirt, blue jeans, and a blue flannel shirt, to be "different." People noticed.

He lives in 2 pairs of black jeans and 1 pair of black shorts. He has one white Korn t-shirt. The rest of his mostly black t-shirts come from concerts. Or the "What On Earth" catalog. I haven't done "back to school" shopping for him since he's been in high school because he never wants anything.

(I'm not a totally neglectful mother. I have purchased required clothing for the People to People trips: plain shirts and khaki pants. I make sure he has socks and underwear.)

Today, he finally decided he needed a new pair of black jeans. Because the wallet pocket has ripped out. Trying to foster some independence, I suggested he look at a local western-type store (the only menswear available in the 5 small towns in my area) or at the Mervyn's 20 miles (at least $6 in gas) away. Uh... no. He politely asked if I would please order him some pants on the internet.

What size? He wanted them a little longer than the last pair. You'll have to measure your inseam, I said. Stick the tape measure up into your crotch (because I'm not going to!) and hold it there. I'll stretch it down to your ankle.

OK, he's sized. And I searched. Cheap black jeans, you'd think they'd be all over the net but they weren't. Then I found a $20 pair on Amazon (my love) with free shipping (my even greater love). Bingo. Arriving Thursday. Did I mention I love Amazon?

A little more info...

Yep, that's right. That's what it's like getting details from a teenage boy.

I got another more piece of information about the band trip from one of Frank's friends, while Frank was in the bathroom. (They come home every day, Frank immediately uses the bathroom because he won't use the ones at school, they grab food and drink, then Frank takes Kyle home.) So, I asked Kyle, "What's the most interesting thing that happened to you on the trip, like Frank's fingernails?" They threw the band teacher in the pool.

P.S. Frank politely asked me to help him remove his nail polish yesterday.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


If you don't know me or haven't already guessed, I'm an introvert. An ISFJ, to be specific.

I just don't get it. This Twitter thing? You apparently can blog little bits all the time? From your phone? Or whatever? My kids are not big cell phone or text message users so even they can't explain it to me! I'm not capable of that much constant communication.

On Friday, I ran into a co-worker whose son "Stan" (of the stage band group) was also on the band trip with Frank. She asked if I'd heard from Frank. I laughed. "I'm not going to hear from him until they're 30 minutes from home." (WRONG. I didn't hear from him until they were in the school parking lot!) I didn't hear from him for 3 weeks when he was in Australia because the cell phone didn't work there. I missed him, but was I worried? No. I could see his charges on the VisaBuxx card so I knew he was OK! On his last trip he called us twice, probably because everyone else was calling. Most importantly, I trust him.

I think our family talks about what is important. But there are times when we don't need to talk and it's OK. I love these lines from Best in Show: "We have so much in common, we both love soup and snow peas, we love the outdoors, and talking and not talking. We could not talk or talk forever and still find things to not talk about."

Sometimes silence is golden. I came home from work Friday, after 50 minutes of lunch duty. The scene: two groups of 60+ children each, all hyped up because their dads were volunteering that day and the other group was playing with a giant soccer ball and it was also Pizza Friday. So I made myself the most delicious BLT and just sat there with the newspaper and no noise. No computer, no TV, no radio. A small slice of heaven.

I think I alternate between blogstipation (having nothing to say) and bloggorhea (multiple posts in one day). So today was the latter. Thanks for listening.

What happens in Vegas on the band trip...

What happens in Vegas on the band trip stays in Vegas on your hands. Frank returned from his band trip to San Francisco with a little souvenir:

No, he didn't make an alternative life style choice while in San Francisco. The truth is some cute girls at a pool party decided to paint his nails. And he is a good sport. And they were cute. (And I'm sure highly chaperoned, thanks to the band teacher.)

He says he had a good time, even though the band only got a bronze. Besides performing, they went to Pier 39, the Hard Rock Cafe, and Great America.

This wasn't nearly as surprising as when he returned from Mexico in 8th grade (2004) with his hair like this:

What's Your Pizza Personality?

Everything Pizza

Diverse and adaptable

You enjoy the full buffet of life

It's hard to you play favorites with friends... or flavors

There's very little that you dislike!

The quote fits me but to tell the truth, I HATE everything pizzas. Too many things. Too much salty meat which gives me heartburn. Usually I get Hawaiian (the canadian bacon is not so salty) or veggie with artichoke hearts. Mmmmm.

Last night, on our way home from the zoo, we got take & bake from a local market. Two for the price of one, whoo-hoo! I dug my Pampered Chef pizza stone out of the pantry and the handy husband said, "I didn't know we had that." (My pantry is a goldmine of seldom used paraphernalia.) 5 minutes at 500 and they were done.

Art and Animals Field Trip

Our family's latest "field trip" was to the art museum and the zoo. At the museum, we saw "Over Rainbows and Down Rabbit Holes: The Art of Children's books." Beautiful art from Peter Rabbit, Ernest Shepherd's Pooh, Narnia, Wizard of Oz, Madeline, Babar, Eric Carle, Chris Van Allsburg, etc. I couldn't take a picture of the exhibit, but here is the foyer of the museum. At this moment, my camera ran out of memory. (No surprise, all my pictures since July 2007 were still on the memory stick.)

After deleting a few photos, we went to the zoo. Ernest knew his cousins were going there with their grandfolks. He wanted to invite himself along, but I didn't want to inflict another child on them! Even though he's a good child. So we all went. We enjoyed the penguin feeding and the train ride. Mr. Thomas said, "Thank you, Thomas!" to the train as he got off.

Not knowing how their mom feels about having their faces on the internet, I have blocked the cousins out with hearts.

Ernest still fits in the egg in the play yard:

This is how he and Frank fit into them in 7 years ago.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Chocolate Bacon

"Chocolate is the greatest food on earth. Except for bacon." A quote from Ernest. Then I told him about the bacon flavored-chocolate I'd discovered on the internet. (He calls it interweb, is that something new I should know about?)

I would order some, except the shipping cost is outrageous. For a $40 order, $21 shipping. For a $15 order, $17 shipping. They say they must upgrade me to 2nd day air because of where I live. That sucks. I'm not in the desert! I should be proactive and call to complain but I'm not that kind of person. I'm feeling very Charlie Brownish: Good grief!

What Flower are You?

I found this on Barbra's blog.

"You stand up for what you believe in, even if it gets in the way of what other people think.

You are proud of yourself and your accomplishments and you enjoy letting people know that."

Uh, this isn't the flower I would have picked for myself...I guess the comment is reasonably accurate.

What is my favorite flower? I don't know. I love roses, freesia, wisteria, lilac, cosmos, pansies, snapdragons. I should get off my butt and spruce up my garden this weekend!

So what's your favorite flower?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Modern Michelangelo

The classic:
(from Google Images)

The modern version:

(Ernest is passing the wireless mouse to Frank.)

Kitchen Safety

Very few of the knives in my kitchen are sharp. This one was. I dropped it. This is what happened:

Thank goodness I jumped back in time! I swear this is not staged or retouched! Please excuse the filthy floor. (Although some of the other marks are also knife scars, not dirt.) I guess it's time for some spring cleaning. I did scrub out the kitchen trash can today.

We made deviled eggs Sunday night so it was an opportunity to practice close-up photography. Eight pictures of an egg! I'm obsessed. They were soooo tasty!

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Escape from Alcatraz...I Mean Cooking

Due to some divine scheduling, I haven't had to cook* dinner for four lovely evenings.

*This means seriously cook. I still had to plan, shop, make salads and microwave.

Thursday, we had to eat early to be on time for Frank's band concert. We had a precooked chicken and potato salad from the deli section, and a bag of Broccoli Wokly. Normally I cut up my own veggies but I was lazy. These broccoli florets cooked in 4 minutes, were very tender, but had the faintest tang of plastic.

Friday, a "buffet" night consisting of many entrees I cooked last week: spaghetti, red enchilada casserole, quiche with ham (yet another leftover), boeuf bourguignon. Yes, I made a salad.

Saturday, I was watching (not babysitting because Mr. Thomas is NOT a baby) the nephews until dinnertime, so the handy husband cooked pork chops. He has a talent for making stuff stick to a non-stick pan. I know, I washed the pan. Served with homemade mashed potatoes and peas.

Sunday, the handy husband barbecued his tasty tri-tip. Served with canned chili beans and another salad. The classic Santa Maria Style Barbecue.

Tomorrow I am back on the hook for another week of meals. I get in a rut sometimes. Any suggestions for easy recipes?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

April Fool's [Not]

Those first graders thought they were so clever. The most popular April Fool's joke today was to tell me there was a bee behind me. One boy told me that more than 3 times. (He likes to repeat himself.) Two girls were more clever. They said there was a kitty in the trash.

But I was wise to them!

Will my own children try to trick me? I just saw Frank for 5 minutes. He came in to grab a Monster, then left again. No time for trickery. Now Ernest is telling me he has no homework. April Fool's? No, it's true. He got it done at school. OK, I can let my guard down now.