Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If I still worked in an office...

I would have blown our sticky-note budget on this...

I love those eepybird guys.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Pirate Faire

Avast, Mateys! We set sail today for the Pirate Faire. Alas, the camera battery died after 2 pictures. Throw the scurvy device overboard! So I must improvise.

This is me and Ernest last year. (Excuse the person's finger over the top of the lens.)
Ernest wore the same thing this year, but I dressed for greater comfort (pants and sneakers). Instead, I wore a whole lot more jewelry:From the center out: 1) A coin medallion from England (1964 half penny), 2)a strange curved bar of stone that belonged to my mother, 3) beautiful glass beads I've had for 10 years, 4) gold coin neckace from Coldwater Creek, 5) heart bangle necklace which I've also had for 10 years, 5) jingly long thing which is really a belly chain, and 6) is my belt, a relic from my belly dancing days. And in between 5 and 6 are my hoop earrings from high school, and a genuine poison ring and nautch girl bracelet from India. You never know when jewelry is going to come in handy.

Here's the one good shot I got of Ernest.

But thanks to YouTube, I can replicate our adventure.

Out of Kontrol:

Adam, the Bawdy Juggler:

We also saw a sword swallower, which was disturbing to us all.

Lord Rusty does not have a website. He should. Juggling, fire-swallowing, and other tricks, all from a bad-tempered redhead from New Zealand.

Bagpipers (forgot their name.) We were in the front row. Bagpipes are LOUD. Afterwards, our ears rang like at a rock concert. Since I can't find the actual bagpipe group, here is Amazing Grace from the end of the movie Amazing Grace.

Oh, now I can digress with a picture of Ioan Gruffud who played William Wilberforce in that movie. Add him to the SB list.

Ernest and a friend did some knife and tomahawk throwing. Ernest got a bullseye and I couldn't take a picture of it.

We had fun. When I came home I found this little tidbit. So what's your pirate name??

My Pirate Name Is...

Pegleg Janie Jalibird

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Real Men

Newman was 11 years older than Redford. Who could tell? He looks younger here. Goodbye to a real man, who loved his wife for 50 years and made a difference in the world.

Photo from Yahoo news.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Last night we saw the Raconteurs. A woman climbing up to her seat stopped to take a cell phone call. "I'm at the Bowl. I'm seeing the...um...Racketeers?" Ma'am? Here's your pronunciation guide: rac·on·teur [rak-uhn-tur; Fr. ra-kawn-tɶr] –noun, plural -teurs; a person who is skilled in relating stories and anecdotes interestingly.

It took a bit of logistical planning to get us all to the same place. In the morning Frank dropped the HH at work, then went on to school. In the afternoon I picked up Frank's friend Kyle (of stage band fame, often known as my middle child) at the high school, Ernest at the middle school, and then Jeff at work. We were supposed to meet Frank in front of a Borders in the downtown big town. But Frank took a wrong turn somewhere and parked 3 blocks away. We eventually located him, had dinner, and sent him and Kyle on their way, hoping that they could navigate on their own to the venue and find a parking place.

As we settled in our seats, we were surrounded by a swarm of moths. Two of them got intimate on the bench next to me. Later I saw them on the shirt collar of the man in front of Ernest. Still intimate, they ended up looking like one moth with a head at either end, like a pushme-pullyu.

[Whoa, did I get sidetracked.] We saw Frank and Kyle walk into the general admission area and they got standing room right next to the stage. It was fun to spy on Frank from a distance until it got too crowded! I think I spotted him once when the lights were on the audience...everyone was dancing around and one person was standing still. That would be Frank.

The show was great. If you're not familiar with the Raconteurs, you might recognize the name Jack White (from the White Stripes). We were supposed to see the White Stripes a year ago, but the concert was cancelled because Meg White (is she his sister or his ex-wife?) had anxiety. (The Raconteurs have a better drummer.)

Here's a nice close-up of Jack:

The guy in front of me was a big fan (not the man with the moths). With lots of head bopping and air guitar, I'm glad he didn't spill his two beers! It was a great show...the opener was The Kills who we (old fogies) had never heard of but they were pretty good.

The only downer was when we got back to the car, we found the driver's side mirror smashed off. $550 for a replacement. Ouch. That made the evening a little pricier than I anticipated.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

300 300 300 300 300 300

I WISH! No, it wasn't the movie. My 300th post crept up on me. I didn't even have that usual niggling feeling that I had forgotten something.

The truth is I have nothing momentous to blog about, so here are some smalltown mom tidbits. I thought about doing a regular post called Tuesday Tidbits, but you know me...I wouldn't get around to it on Tuesdays. (I've also seen Wordless Wednesdays and Saturday Skinfest.) I almost titled this blog Procrastination, and in fact that was the name of my first post.

The HH and I had a lovely anniversary dinner at a new restaurant. I ordered a bacon-wrapped filet because I am a total carnivore. I can't help it. I cannot cook steak decently at home so I order it every chance I get out. I am grateful.

(Memo to self: Self, please remember to put sunscreen on before lunch duty. Yikes. Must. Remember. Sunscreen. And thank the Hair Goddess for the newly blonde hair.)

Frank was stressed over a paper and asked me for advice, which he didn't like and I didn't want to give, so I went into another room and ignored him until we left for dinner. When we came back, he had solved his issues and written half the paper. I am grateful.

Ernest is learning something from Star Wars for piano. A nice addition to the repertoire. The assignment was something from a movie or TV show. Someone else had already signed up for Pink Panther. His teacher told him to pick something else, because he would [searching for the right word, embarass, surpass?] the other child. So he is challenged to learn something new. I am grateful.

The cat is not sleeping on my feet. I am grateful.

Estroven PM has totally stopped my perimenopausal night sweats. I am very grateful.
My husband and I still love each other. I am eternally and ever so grateful that I can't even express it.
So long, farewell, Auf wiedersehen, good night,
I hate to go and leave this pretty sight.

Happy Anniversary

Today the Handy Husband and I have been married 25 years, but we go back a long ways.

Here's the earliest known photo of us together, taken at science camp in 6th grade. I am about to kill the girl sitting next to me because she told a friend across the campfire to take this picture. Look at the cute patches on the HH's knees. Notice how crinkled the picture is? That's because I carried it around forever.

Dreams do come true. Senior Prom in 1978, with the theme of "Stairway to Heaven."

Our wedding, September 24, 1983.

Christmas, 1993

Relatively recently.

Happy anniversary, sweetie. I love you with all my heart and can't imagine life without you.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No Leftovers

I cook dinner almost every night, usually from "scratch" which I think means "not from a commercial preparation."

My handy husband loves everything I cook. That's one of the reasons we've been together so long. I do nag him a little when he eats two gigantic servings for dinner. OK, so that establishes that I do cook edible food. Portion control is his issue, nagging is my job.

Here's my rant: Our sons can be finicky. Frank will not eat zucchini. He umnfortunately ate one small piece of zucchini 6 years ago which made him [or forced himself to] vomit, and he will not eat it since. Ernest is a little more reasonable... he will eat one piece of zucchini. But neither will touch asparagus, even though I serve it all the time (when it is on sale). And I could go on and on about the vegetables that I have served and they have refused to eat. It's not my fault. I've tried and tried with the veggies and I have given up. The HH and I eat chard and beets and squash and asparagus and.... they eat peas. I don't want to fight about it. We do all eat salad.

But I get tired of thinking of menus, so I put out a call last week and the two younger ones asked for "Jambalaya." Which in our house is a mishmash of:

Thaw some cooked shrimp.
Cook some sausage (this was a pork/apple/honey blend I found at the local family-owned store). Take it out of the pan and slice it.
Saute diced onions and garlic in the drippings. (I'm going all Pioneer Woman here.)
Add a handful each of sliced celery and red and green bell pepper (add olive oil if necessary) and stir around a while.
Put the sliced sausage back in the pan plus one cup of white rice. Add some seasonings (pepper, salt, parsley, sage??? whatever you like)
Stir some more.
When the things in the pan have browned a bit, add 2 cups of liquid (chicken broth + water).
Bring up to a boil, then turn the heat down low.
About 20 minutes later, put the cooked shrimp in and stir.
Check in 5 minutes when the shrimp are hot.
Serve, eat, enjoy.

And hey, did they notice they were eating 2 kinds of bell pepper and celery?

THEY DEVOURED IT!!!!! There were NO leftovers!

There is HOPE.

We had a party after all!

Thanks to a visit from my magical sister-in-law, Frank had a little birthday party after all. She brought her grandboys, McQueen and Mr. Thomas, and Frank finally got around to having his cake.

Mr. Thomas put 18 candles on the cake. That was a piece of cake [go ahead, groan at the cliche] for him as he can count up to 70.

Ernest lit the candles.

Be careful, McQueen!

Frank blew out his candles.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

He asked for it...

...subtitled the evil mom strikes again.

Frank's 18th birthday was pretty low key. He got his homework done, then we went out for a nice steak dinner at a local restaurant that became famous in a movie. We gave him a check, because he couldn't think of anything he wanted.

I made a cake for him to have with his friends on Saturday. I asked him how he wanted the cake decorated, and he said, "Surprise me." I really wish he wouldn't do that.

But he and his friends left for most of the day and never had the cake. Around dinner time I finally thought of how to surprise him with the cake. He asked for it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fabulous Frank (Episodes 13-18)

Episodes 13-18 photos have been harder to find as he progressively gets more camera-shy. Ages approximate...sometimes the photo is a few months before the birthday age.

Age 13: He's suddenly looking very grown up and handsome. He wore contacts for a year or so, but I they were too much work and he went back to glasses. This is taken on the actual birthday. He learned to play bass this year, which opened up a whole new world for him.

Age almost 14: He came back from a school trip to Mexico looking like this... (The school's former Spanish teacher used to arrange a really great trip for his 8th grade students. Too bad he's not there any more.) ...we were surprised he'd be so adventurous, but then he had already sprayed his hair blue for a school rock band show..

...but he cleaned up nicely in time for 8th grade graduation. I think he's channeling either Bogart or Bond here. Shaken or stirred? I was a little stirred and shaken over this graduation.
Age 15: This was taken the day the braces came off. Nice smile, and the hair is growing. That's a Robert Plant concert t-shirt he's wearing. We took him to a lot of concerts that we wanted to hear.

Age almost 16: Holding a wombat in Australia. (I beg your pardon, I promised no more nudity and there I go with a naked wombat picture.) This was his first trip with People to People. Besides having a fabulous adventure, he made new friends and came home with new life skills. Such as how to give a cow a pregnancy test and crack a bull whip (they had a farm stay). I don't think he's still friends with the cow. I'm not sure about the wombat. Don't ask, don't tell.

Age 17: This is looking very much like the Frank we know and love today, wearing a Korn shirt. His dad drove him to Bakersfield for a Korn concert.

The senior picture. He had some taken in a black shirt and white tie, but this Nirvana shirt picture seemed to capture the essence of Frank. (Can't ever see Nirvana in concert, but we did see Kurt Cobain's guitar at the Experience Music Project in Seattle.) His senior project was an essay on how music affected his life, plus he wrote 2 songs and made a music video. The video is humorously twisted...maybe someday he will put it online.
He's been a great kid. I wouldn't trade any of it, except for a couple months in 5th grade and the high school English issues. No drugs, no trauma, no tickets, no "I hate you mom." Mostly it was love, fun, travel, and "thanks, Mom." Thank you, Frank. It's been a fabulous 18 years.

And Episode 18? Is yet to be written.


Here's a little something while I am trying to get the birthday post problem figured out.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Blast you Blogger!

I edited the third of my Frank posts and it was perfect and I saved it....yet when I went back to it later all the edits were gone! Blast you Blogger!

UPDATE. It's doing it again today.

Finding Frank (Episodes 7-12)

Episodes 0-6 were all about cuteness and adorability. In looking through Episodes 7-12, I see several trends developing, things that he still likes to do today. He is finding himself and his personality is coming through.

Age 7: Oh, isn't he a handsome little darling? We won't see him this dressed up again until episode 14.Age 8: The obsession with video games begins, starting with the N64. Which we still have. How many other systems have we been through? We even have a Super NES which Frank begged me to get on eBay. Now he wants to build his own computer for gaming, and he's saving up his paychecks to buy the parts.

Age 9: He chose to geta lot of buzz cuts, probably because it was less work in the morning! I preferred his hair a little longer (guess I ultimately got my wish). This is a partially grown-out buzz. He got glasses (like mom and dad) this year but he's still smiling. Age 10: His first concert was Weird Al Yankovic. This is the first of many concert t-shirts.
Age 11: He began playing the tenor saxophone, opening up a whole new world for him. Band gave him a place to belong.

Age 12: This is one of my favorite Frank photos of all time. I love the lorikeet grooming his hair.

Stay tuned for Episodes 13-18.

And we will move to digital photos so I don't have to tear apart any more albums! Yippee!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Frankly, My Dear (Episodes 0-6)

I can't believe this is happening to me. (Yes, to me. It's my blog so it's all about me. He can do his own thing on MySpace.) My older baby is turning 18 on Friday. Yes, my dearest Frank! And it's gone by in an instant, or like Bossy says, "blink." But I have so many memories that I'm going to break this up into installments. Please indulge me. I'll indulge you, too.

First of all, I need to get this off my chest. For many years, I swore I would never have children. I never babysat as a teenager. I never had any interest in cute little babies. Perhaps because I was surrounded by many older people who thought it was great fun when I pretended to be a "junior senior citizen?" My mother-in-law will attest to this: when her third grandchild was born, I said, "Great, I'm off the hook." But then my friends started having babies. And I realized it wasn't a bad thing. And then we sort of thought about maybe having a baby someday. And then I was almost thirty. And then it happened to me. And it was the greatest thing ever.

So here we go into the Way-Back machine. Far, far back...to 1990.

Babyhood: Yes, we took the classic nakey "Baby on the Bearskin Rug" photo. I run a clean blog here so I promise -- no more nudity today. BTW, that is my babyhood bearskin rug. (I don't think I had a nudie shot.) Is the rug a family heirloom now or do I need to wait for a grandbaby to pose on it? Age 1: He loved our new kitten Sox. She's still with us 17 years later, having survived many years of being carried around by small children. I just want to nom nom nom on Frank's baby legs. Age 1.5: ACTION SHOT! One time, his auntie wanted to take pictures of him on his slide. I think I told him to slide down so we could get an action shot. So, forever after that, every single time he got to the top of the slide, he would pose and announce "action shot!" in his gruff little voice.
Age 2-3: The BATMAN Shirt. Yes, he was obsessed. For over a year he only wore Batman shirts. And often added boots and a cape. The picture on the right was on my refrigerator for years. I think we were making the cake for his 3rd birthday.
Age 4: He had widened his sartorial horizions. I think that's Spiderman under the cowboy gear. I adore that sly smile.
Age 5: First day of kindergarten. Be still my heart, is that a polo shirt? But wait, there are Gargoyles on the lunch box. Phew, he was growing up too fast for a moment there.

Age 6: He loves his new baby brother. He held and carried Ernest so carefully.

Stay tuned for Episodes 7-12.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

5 Ways

I was going to consider myself tagged from Louise. This was the meme:

"Write about 5 specific ways blogging has affected you, either positively or negatively.
Link back to the person who tagged you.
Link back to the parent post, so she can track the meme.
Tag a few friends or five, or none at all.
Post these rules– or just have fun breaking them."

I backtracked and read many profound PARAGRAPHS from people. I can only come up with sentences. I don't blog because I aspire to be a writer. I just want to share my feelings with friends and family.

These are my 5 positive ways--there hasn't been a negative.

1. Absolutely #1!!! I have made many wonderful new friends in the bloggyverse.

2. I communicate more ( I am an extreme introvert, so this is a biggie for me).

AAArrrggghhh.. Now it's getting difficult.

3. I look at events in my life, and relate them to other people.

4. I share my amazing children.

5. As a somewhat "older" mother of a college student and a middle schooler, I can offer a perspective to mothers of younger children that "Yes, you can survive their childhood." And I've survived most of the teen years of one of them... He turns 18 on Friday.

Well, that's the best I can do. Now it's up to you.

Monday, September 08, 2008

When Pigs Fly

I never thought I'd see this happening:
College student Frank has asked 7th grader Ernest for help with his homework...
A pause while we scan the skies for flying pigs.

OK, here's the catch. It's for Music Theory.
Frank has asked Ernest to play various scales on the piano.
Ernest plays the piano, Frank does not.
(I had another picture here, but then I remembered where I stored my flying pigs mug.)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

The Game Of Life

Ernest and I played "Life" this afternoon. As we totalled up after the game, I looked at the scraps of paper I found in the box. Many game tallies showed that time after time, Ernest won.

Today, I said "You won again, and you didn't even cheat." Two beats. Then we said in unison, "ANY MORE." Both of us remembering that when he was younger he always had to be the Policeman. And earn $100,000. Always.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Brave Little Volunteers

My brave little flower had a second blossom today! But I didn't have my camera.

Which reminds me of my volunteer tomato plant. I've been meaning to pay tribute to it.

One day in May, I noticed a teeny tiny plant in a neglected planter on the patio. Squinting closely at it, I realized it was a tomato plant. How did it get there? I vowed to water it faithfully and see what would happen.

This is in July. Wow!

Fried Green Tomatoes, anyone?

Look at these lovelies.

The first ones picked about 2 weeks ago (mid-August).

We've had tomato-based deliciousness for several weeks. Caprese. BLTs. Salad after salad. No, I haven't made salsa. Maybe this weekend. Mmmmmm. There are still over 20 left on the vine, but I'm not taking a picture because the leaves are drying out and it won't be pretty.

I'm just thrilled I didn't kill it because I am not a great (ha, not even good) gardener. So it's a VERY brave volunteer to show up in my yard!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


That's some secret code, right?

It's my brain-like-a-sieve reminder to "Pick Up Ernest At 3:00!" I leave little notes to myself all over. I write notes on the calendar. Sometimes, in desperation, I write notes on my hand. It usually helps.

He and I have an agreement. I am allowed to "forget" to pick him up once a year without him getting mad. Usually it happens on a Thursday, when school lets out an hour early. But I am in luck this year, he plans to ride his bike on Tuesdays and Thursdays when he doesn't have band.

Today's other cryptic message was P/UpresRA (pick up the HH's prescriptions at Rite-Aid). And then there's still the BILLS post-it on the computer. That's self-explanatory.

What do you do to help you remember?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Here is Where I Get Political

I don't like controversy. Not at all. But I'm very disturbed by the Republican vice-presidential candidate. So I am stepping out of my safety zone here. Don't send me hate mail.

Here's an excerpt from that article:
Stein says that as mayor, Palin continued to inject religious beliefs into her policy at times. "She asked the library how she could go about banning books," he says, because some voters thought they had inappropriate language in them. "The librarian was aghast." That woman, Mary Ellen Baker, couldn't be reached for comment, but news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor.

Banning books? How dare she? Are we in the Dark Ages, or the Inquisition? If you don't want to read them, don't check them out!

I won't even go into some of the other things I've read.

I'm just fuming here. I'm pro-CHOICE, in all areas of life, not just the one that causes controversy. I choose what I read. I choose how I school my children. I choose how to live my life. (Pretty darn carefully.) I choose who I will vote for.

I choose OBAMA.

Rant over.

Antibacktoschooletc. Part 2.

I didn't know TERMITES went back to school!

I mean, the school has termites, but they are there year round.

What's the craziest back to school ad YOU'VE seen?

Monday, September 01, 2008

And the winner is...

We had a cutthroat game of Monopoly today. "The best game ever invented," said the Handy Husband. The results:

Smalltown Mom: bankrupt after an hour and a half.
Frank: bankrupt after two hours.
Ernest: Bankrupt after two and a half hours.
Handy Husband: the winner, with hotels on all his properties! (Any wonder he thinks it's the best game?)

When it's just Ernest and me playing, he always wins. I must admit, I relished seeing him lose to his dad. Payback time for all the times he's beaten me!