Friday, December 31, 2010

Portrait of a Lady Lion...

Y'all wanna see the Impertinent Daughter in her soccer uniform?

Wanna, wanna, wanna??

OKAY!!! You twisted my arm!

Portrait of a Lady Lion

Yep, there she is, a high school soccer player. *wince* Yeah, I'm still trying to get used to saying it. She's in high school.

Moar Juggling...

This is their cold weather practice gear, because their season opens in a week and it's... cold. And yes, there's a white uniform as well...

The White Uniform

She's excited. And I know she can't wait for the season to start. The Tall Blonde and I have been working hard, trying to make sure both the Impertinent One and Super Goalie have the right cold weather gear for games, though the Tall Blonde said rather wryly, "You know, really, the girls will be all right. I mean, they'll be running around on the field, so they'll be plenty warm. It's us that'll be freezing to death, sitting up in the stands!"

She's got a point.

Maybe I should stop looking for running tights for the Impertinent One, and start thinking heavy thermal underwear for me. I mean, I already suffer from Personal Winter, can y'all imagine actual winter on top of it?? Yes, I'll be the shivering lump of coats, scarves, hats, and three blankets, and all you'll be able to see of me is two gleaming eyes and two small wizened hands, desperately clutching a thermal mug full of hot tea!!

At least San Angelo isn't on the schedule this year! A friend with a senior daughter told us that when they played San Angelo two years ago, it was -2 F, and it was snowing. This isn't a big deal anywhere else, but... we're talking about Texas, where snow is a sometimes/not very often thing. I think the girls had fun playing soccer in the snow, but the parents were frozen solid by the end of the game!

Here's to an interesting soccer season, and staying warm!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fun fun fun PLAY!!!

I'm trying not to be bummed. The Husbandly One was only supposed to go in for half a day of work today, but after he got there, he discovered he had to work a full day after all.


OH well.

Let's see... Christmas... didn't post about that, did I? Well, Christmas Eve, my best friend and her family came over for dinner, and we had a great time reconnecting, and I was able to reassure myself that her oldest son was indeed whole, hearty, and did not suffer unduly during his time in Iraq... yes, yes, I know, but I was there when he was born, so he's like one of my kids, and it's not entirely logical, it's a mom-anxiety thing.

Anyhow, we had a good time, talking, laughing, eating, and reconnecting, and after they were gone, the Husbandly One talked me into letting the kids open one present.

Normally, we don't do this. And I have to admit, we have been unduly nice to the kids where presents are concerned, because we don't torture them by wrapping them up ahead of time and setting them under the tree where they are visible, and mysterious, and totally unknown for two weeks!! No, we've always kept them hidden until Christmas morning.

Of course, mostly, this was because we had a Labrador Retriever who couldn't stand seeing wrapped presents for his kids under the tree, and he would most thoughtfully unwrap them, and then start barking happily until the kids came running (and toddling) to see why...

Don't even get me started on what the Triplicats did.

So... no wrapped presents under the tree. My parents, of course, were the type who would wrap presents even before we had the tree, and start setting them out where the tree would eventually be.... just to torture us!! Then there's the Husbandly One, who wrapped my engagement ring in a small box and made it into an ornament on my parent's tree, just to torture me for two weeks, until he proposed to me in front of my entire family on Christmas Eve.

So, anyway, we put our presents under the tree Christmas Eve morning, and you'd think we had done it just to torture the Impossible Son specifically!! Heh. Anyhow, I had stood firm against opening before Christmas, but then THO said, "Look, the gifts I got you and the Impertinent One are the kind that... you should open tonight, and that's all I will say about that."

So...we each opened one present on Christmas Eve. And the Impertinent One and I both got... iPod Touches.


Okay, so the reason he wanted us to open them early was so we could get them set up for the trip into Houston on Christmas. Logical.

Now, the thing I have to say here is that setting up the Impertinent One's iPod was far too easy, and that should have told me something. It took 34 minutes to download the update for the thing, which should have also set my alarm bells ringing, but it only took five minutes to download music and a couple of videos into it, and she was done, off to her room to explore it and squee over it.

It took less than a minute to download the update for mine. But... it took fifteen hours for me to set my iPod up.

No, I'm serious. Techno-geek that I am, the thing frustrated the crap out of me, and I had THO hovering around behind me, determined that it was busted, broken, didn't work, etc. and I just needed to give up on the damn thing and let him return it.

I knew that whatever the problem was, it was ME, not the iPod, and I just needed to keep playing with it to figure it out. And when I did, it was one of those, "D'oh!" kind of things, where you can't believe you were so stupid, but then again, why was loading this thing so much more complicated than loading a Shuffle??

Anyhow, finally got the thing working, and I was a very happy camper.

And no, we didn't go to Houston. Mainly because Mr. Impossible woke up with a very nasty, very juicy cough, and knowing that he usually has a nasty, very juicy cough when we're leaving Houston, we decided not to push things toward, oh, I dunno... pneumonia, perhaps?

So, we stayed home.

And, let's see, on Tuesday night, the Impertinent One was working on a drawing at the kitchen table while listening to her new iPod, gets up to go get an eraser from her room, comes right back, and her iPod is off. Fine, she thinks it's in sleep mode, so she presses the menu button and... nothing. She presses the power button, and... nothing. It still had half a charge left, so she brought it to me, I plugged it into the computer and... nothing. She plugged it into her charger, and ... nothing. It was deader than a doornail.

Turns out some of the functions it had hadn't been working so well, either. Oooookay, well, THO had it insured through Best Buy, so we took it in yesterday to have it looked at... and ended up exchanging it for a new one because... it was deader than a doornail.

So, when we get home, she goes to the Mac to set it up, the update takes less than a minute, and I leave her to set it up, only to have to come back running when I hear her wail, "NO, WAIT, WHY ARE YOU DOWNLOADING MUSIC??? I HAVEN'T MADE A PLAYLIST YET!!!"

Wow, did that sound familiar!

Since I had already figured this out, it only took a couple of tries to get things working properly, and now she has a fully functional iPod that everything works on just fine. Heh.

Let's see... what else... oh, yeah, we went and saw "Voyage of the Dawn Treader" at our local theater, using the movie passes we'd won last month. And it was better than I expected. What really made it fun, though, was how excited the Impossible Son was, because he'd just finished reading the book recently. I was glad they'd stuck a little closer to the book this time, if only for his sake, because he didn't get scared or upset when things got scary (YES, my son, knowledge IS power!!), and when it did deviate from the book, he looked at me and said, "I totally get it now, Mom."

"Totally get what?" I asked, distracted.

"Why you get so upset when a movie isn't like the book. Why sometimes, the book is so much better." He nodded. "I get it now."

I nodded. "Yep. So, what do you do now?"

"Let go of the book," he said with a grin.

That's my boy!!

I'm sure there's vastly more stuff, but really, how much of the minutia of my life do you want here?

I'm going to pull out my DVD of The Quiet Man, make some popcorn, and settle in to warp my kids some more. Heh.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A glimpse into our relationship...

The Husbandly One walked into the bedroom and started taking off his shirt, which immediately got my attention, and he said, "I'm going to pop into a quick shower, and after I get dressed," he gives me a conspiratorial wink, "you and me are gonna get some wrapping done."

I snort, because he was torturing the kids with this yesterday, and on a whim, I say, "Okay, but I have to tell you, I'm not very good at making up rhymes on the fly." (Auntie, deliberately misunderstanding THO in order to make a very bad pun.)

"You are pretty fly, though," he said with a grin and disappeared into the bathroom, tossing his shorts out the door behind him just to torture me.

Heh, heh, heh... we're awful!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Of Midnight Movies and Geeky Mom/Daughter Bonding...

So... the Impertinent Daughter and I went and saw "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt 1" last night at our tiny local cinema.

It was hard to talk the Husbandly One into letting us go without him, but I pointed out that the Impossible Son now gets very freaked out at scary things, whether it's on TV, in the movies, or in a book, so it made sense to scout out the movie first and get a feel for whether we thought he could handle it or not.

I missed most of the ending of "Half Blood Prince," because the Impossible Son and I hadn't gotten to Dumbledore's death yet (we were still reading the book), so he was completely unprepared for it when it happened in the movie. I can't believe I was so stupid about it, but I didn't want to spoil the book for him, and had one of those, "Duh, Stupid," moments of thinking waaaay too hard and not clicking that, duh, he'll see the movie and know how the book ends!! *head-desk* I spent most of the time after Dumbledore's death holding him while he cried quietly with his face buried in my shirt and his hands cutting off the circulation in my arms. Not one of my more brilliant mom moments, no.

He very much wants to see this movie, so... I wanted to be sure and see how many "Impossible Freak-Outs" there would be, and... there's a lot. So... I'll have to balance how much he wants to see it against how many nights I want to spend several hours guiding him through pushing the bad dreams that will inevitably result away.

Anyhow, the Impertinent One and I were determined to go, so after receiving THO's blessings (and possible forgiveness for seeing it before he does), I went early to buy tickets... just in case. Small town, small movie cinema... it just pays be be prepared. I asked if they had sold a lot of tickets yet (it was almost 7 p.m.) and the cashier smiled and said, "So far, we've sold about 60, but we're anticipating selling out. There's been a lot of phone calls over the last week, and there's probably going to be a lot of people buying tickets just before we start the movie."

That sounded about right, so I paid for the tickets and hurried home, because it was getting COLD!! A front moved in last night, so the temperature was dropping, which... sort of added to the mood, you know?

Anyhow, Miss Priss and I had to repress our excitement and do our usual evening things. Eating dinner. Doing homework. Pretending to read the paper or watch TV while really watching the clock. Heh.

When it was finally time and we got to the cinema, we found that so many people had come to watch the movie that they had to open a second theater! And that one was filling up!! It was awesome!!

I had no idea there were so many Harry Potter geeks in our town!!

They had a trivia game for free movie passes, and I was polite and only answered one of the questions, and we got two free movie passes!! SQUEE!! So when (and if) the four of us go to see it a second time, two of us will go free! SWEET!!

And we had a lot of fun, too! At 14, the Impertinent One is old enough to whisper back and forth with me as we make jokes, or complain about things they changed from the book, or notice Things (Or People) That Should Not Be There, like the hapless member of the film crew who got caught in a shot during one of the forest scenes, and had to creep away through the trees in the background. That was worth a bit muffled laughter on our parts!

I do want to make one querulous complaint.

Okay, so... we see Bellatrix Lestrange in "Order of the Phoenix" in prison. She's dirty, has matted hair, torn clothes, but... her teeth are clean and quite nice. And they look even better when she shows up in the Ministry. Then we see her again in "Half-Blood Prince," and again, nice, clean teeth.

So... where the hell did the mossy, snaggly, possibly-borrowed-from-a-dental-hygiene-challenged-troll teeth come from??? I'm just sayin'...

Anyhow, we sat there for a moment after it was over, going, "WHOA!!" and just ... trying to process it all. OMG... it was... like riding a roller coaster on a cold day with a sharp wind, and you forgot your hat and your eyes are constantly watering, but you don't want to stop or close your eyes, and... WHOA!!!

And Steve Kloves? Thanks for giving Hedwig a total BAMF moment. I think I fell in love with you a little bit for that!

WHOA!!! Just... WHOA!!!


OMG.... OMG.... OMG....

The Impertinent One and I just got back from seeing the midnight showing of Harry Potter, and... oh, holy Mackinoly, y'all....

It's gonna knock your socks off!! Prepare to be blown away!!

How on earth am I gonna get to sleep now????

Friday, November 12, 2010

The Quest for Water, a Feline Adventure...

Our cats are always on the search for the Freshest Water Available.

This has led to some interesting conflicts with their humans, as you can imagine. When the Triplicats were kittens, the water dish was more than sufficient for their needs. I refilled it every morning and every evening, and all was well in their world.

However, as they got older, somehow... this did not satisfy any longer.

They started knocking the water dish around, as if they had to, I don't know, rough it up a bit before they could drink it. Nothing like freshly jostled water, you know? Only problem was, it tended to make the floor wet, and thus we were always getting our socks wet when we stepped in it, or the ballistic missile that is the Impossible Son would hit it and slip during one of his circuits of the house, resulting in howls of pain and indignation.

So, I started cleaning and refilling their water dish more frequently. I started with three times a day. Then four. Then five. Then I got to where I was pretty much refilling the water dish every time I walked by it.

It wasn't enough.

Then the cats started noticing that we drink water, too. In containers. Containers that we often set on tables and counters. Containers that the younger two tended to forget and leave sitting on tables, counters, and occasionally, the floor.

That's when we started holding our glasses in our hands almost constantly, because the moment you set the thing down, a cat would be there like a shot, either trying to shove their whole head into the glass to lap at the water, or dipping a paw in to drink daintily from their toes.

Until Yuki got too frustrated to do it that way and started knocking the glasses over so she could lap it straight from the table, or the floor.

And if the glass didn't have water in it, they'd knock it over just to be spiteful.

Damn cats.

Then Yuki started hanging around my feet when I washed dishes. She could hear me turning the water on. It... tantalized her. It sounded so... splashy, so liquid, so... fresh... And one day, she finally jumped up on the counter, and saw the water pouring from the faucet and unable to resist, she jumped into the dry side of the sink and tried to lap from the stream of water pouring down.


She didn't try that again for a while, though she would sit on the counter and watch me wash dishes with a disgruntled look on her face. And pretty soon, Calcifer and Muta joined her. It made me kind of paranoid, to tell you the truth, having three cats in various places on the counter, all eyes fixed resentfully on me while I played (in their view) with water too hot for them to drink! Even washing their water dish out while they were watching and refilling it and putting it back in its spot didn't help.

It didn't take Yuki long to discover that we use cold water when we brush our teeth.

Next thing we know, we're jockeying for space to spit the toothpaste out with a cat determined to get to the faucet and drink. I swear they were all but laying in the sink with their mouths open like a college kid on a bar, waiting for an open mouth tequila shot.

You'd think we never gave the damn cats any water!

You couldn't even wash your hands without three cats suddenly leaping up to the counter and crowding you out for a shot at the faucet! There was a time when they all had toothpaste spots on their heads from them slipping into the sink just as we were spitting out!

I drew the line when Muta started jumping into the shower with me. He won't let me bathe him, but he would jump in the shower to sit between my feet and bat at the water drops. He's a huge cat, with impressive claws. I do not relish the thought of trying to explain to an emergency room doctor how and why my legs got sliced up by my cat. "Well, you see, Doc, it was like this..."

No thanks.

So... we bought a cat water fountain and that solved our problem for about... two and a half years. They loved the cat water fountain. It circulated the water through a pump that took it through a charcoal filter, and then spilled it back out into a bowl where it went right back through the cycle. The cats drank very happily from the spill, and all was peaceful in Burrow-land.

Until Calcifer started the pawing thing.


First, he simply pawed at the floor. He would make scratching motions for a minute, then circle the fountain until he'd gotten it and himself at juuuuuust the right angle... and then he'd drink.

It was weird, but mostly harmless.

Until he started putting his paw in the fountain's bowl.

He didn't paw the water... yet. He simply put his paw in and then licked it, then put his paw in, then licked it, until he was satisfied and then... he'd circle the fountain until he'd gotten it and himself at juuuuuust the right angle... and then he'd drink.

This meant cleaning the bowl almost every day because... everything on his paw got into the water and thus would clog up the filter. But okay, fine, I did that.

Until Cal started pawing the water and the bowl, which resulted in water sloshing everywhere, and then the fountain wouldn't have enough water in it and the motor would start growling and grinding and I'd have to clean it and refill it and mop up the water that was all over the floor. The wood floor.

And then Yuki started doing it, too. And since she pawed even more energetically than Cal, this meant that water was spread even further around the floor, and there was the added bonus of the fountain sometimes becoming unplugged. Which would lead to them pawing the water even more enthusiastically, because now it wasn't being refreshed like it had been before, and... AAAAAAUUUGGGHHHH!!!!!

So... I resurrected Max's old water bowl. Max was the Labrador Retriever who is responsible for our having cats in the first place. The Husbandly One and I got him right after we got married, and had him for eleven wonderful, crazy years before we lost him to skin cancer. His water bowl was huge, because he was a big dog living in a hot climate and he drank insane amounts of water which he shared with his cats very lovingly. Yes, you read that right. They were his cats.

Anyway, I got out his old water bowl and filled it ... and put it in the bathtub. Why? Because I was tired of mopping up water. If the water bowl is in the bathtub, the cats can paw and slosh to their heart's content, and it won't hurt anything but their dignity. If they start acting like they're dying for water, I pour it out, and simply turn on the faucet and refill it. If someone wants to take a bath, they take the water bowl out of the tub and set it on the tile floor, which is easily mopped up. When they're done, the bowl goes back in the tub, or they face the Wrath of Mama.

I'm fine with it. At last, I can brush my teeth without fighting a cat for the faucet!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Oy, what a long day...

What I really want to do right now is fall face first into my bed and pass out for the next... oh, 72 hours, maybe?

It's been a long, long day, because I spent most of it with the Impertinent Daughter in the emergency room of South Austin Hospital. She woke up with stomach pain this morning, then started throwing up, and got very dehydrated. I took her in to see our family doctor, who was worried about appendicitis, so... he sent us to the emergency room in South Austin.

Since she had no fever, and her labs looked good, only showing dehydration from the vomiting, they gave her anti-nausea medication, pain meds, and put her on an I.V. We came home around 5 p.m., and she's now in bed with her Calcifer curled up against her neck, a paw placed proprietarily on her head so he can keep an eye on her. She's basically on "watch and wait" status at the moment, no school tomorrow, plenty of rest, plenty of fluids, that sort of thing.

Are we having fun yet?

*looks longingly at the bed*

Y'all have any idea how uncomfortable the chairs in E.R. bays tend to be? And you can only knit for so long before you start going buggy. I'll just keep my fingers crossed tonight that she's over whatever this was, and we don't have to go back to the E. R. or the doctor any time soon. And now, I'm going to go face-plant on the bed. Good night, everybody!

ETA: I should add that I knew she was doing better when she sat up and said, "I feel like drawing." When we'd left to go to the doctor, she forgot her sketchbook (which she never, ever does. Ever.) and when I stopped at the house to pick up a few necessary items before rushing on to the E.R., she sort of listlessly picked up her DS bag out of habit... but not her sketchbook. It was profoundly disturbing!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Let Me Set You Straight...

Dear Principals, Teachers, and other concerned adults,

You wanna prevent bullying in schools? Really? Want me to tell you how? Okay, stop with all the "Oh, let's build up self-esteem and tell the bulliessocially awkward and overly enthusiastic children that bullying is wrong and hurts people!!" crap, because y'all have been doing that for about, what, ten years now? Is it working?

NO. It's NOT.

Let me elucidate for you. The BULLIES already know that bullying is wrong. They already know it hurts people. That's why they do it.

They don't do it because they have low self esteem.

They don't do it because they're unaware of their own strength.

They have a sense of entitlement, and they know their own strength and have no trouble at all using it.


Well, maybe they're being abused at home, and they're acting out. Maybe one or the other of their parents is a bully at work, and has given their child the impression that the best way to get what they want, to get things done, is to bully people. Because if you think bullying stops when the bullies graduate, you are living in a dream world.

But the main reason bullies do it? Because... they can get away with it. They know that you, the principals, teachers, administrators, counselors, etc, will only do so much when one of their victims is brave enough, or desperate enough, to report them to you. They know you will take them into your office, sit them down in chair, and talk gravely to them about bullying. You'll ask them if they understand what they've done, and they'll say and do whatever they need to in order to get you to leave them alone. They know you will nod, and frown, and speak firmly to them, that you'll say something about calling their parents, and then let them go back to class. You'll send them to the counselor for a few weeks, who will also talk gravely to them, maybe make them watch a video or two full of those "happy, happy, cheerful, cheerful, don't be a naughty bully!" crap that does nothing at all whatsoever, maybe have them draw a few pictures, and then release them back into the population of the school. A few weeks will pass where the bully will do nothing. Then, when everyone's breathed a sigh of relief that the bully has been magically cured...

... it will start all over again

You might go a little farther if the victim's parents throw a hissy fit and mention the words, "lawyer," "lawsuit," and "police involvement" when they call you or storm into your nice, quiet, clean offices. You might give the bully an "in-school suspension."

Or you might send the bully home for a few days with a mild suggestion to his/her parents to see a therapist, or even to just "communicate effectively to your child that bullying is wrong!"

All you've done is give that kid a three day vacation from school work.

Wanna know how to stop it? Really, really stop it?

For one thing, tell your teachers when they're on playground duty to stop gathering in little clumps and getting so involved in conversations with each other that they only notice bullying when it's reached the point that someone is either bleeding or has a broken bone. If they're on playground duty, they need to separate and walk around the playground. They need to pay attention when they see a group of girls around one single girl, and need to notice the expression on her face. If she's crying, looks angry, or terrified, she's being bullied, you nitwits, not playing a game!! If a boy is being pushed down to the ground and two other boys are kicking him, it's bullying!!

Shit, people, this isn't rocket science!!!

And so help me, if you come back at me with, "What, you mean I'm supposed to actually watch the kids like they're in jail??" I am going to kick you so hard, your grandchildren will feel it! Yes. You are supposed to watch the children. You are supposed to walk around, keeping your ears and your eyes open. You're supposed to intervene before fists fly, before words that are worse than sticks and stones hit, before that one kid who stutters, who is smaller than the others, who wears weird, hand-me-down clothes, who has unusually colored hair, who wears glasses, who has braces, or whatever other fucking stupid reason bullies use to justify why they torment their victims is hurt again. That's your job.

That means at junior high level, you not only patrol the halls, you walk into the restrooms. What, you don't want to intimidate the kids? Why the hell not??? Isn't that your job, too?? What the hell else do you think is going to work?? Don't you remember junior high? Where did most of the worst bullying happen? IN THE RESTROOM!!!

And high school, same thing. PAY ATTENTION!! It isn't that hard. You did it every time you took your own kids out to play at a park, or at a family gathering, or any place where there were other kids, some of them older and bigger. You watched your kids like a hawk, and swooped in like a fury when they were threatened, and gods, if you didn't, I feel so sorry for your kids.

Well, you know what? For eight hours a day, my kids are your kids. And you better damn sure watch them like a hawk, because if you aren't, then you shouldn't be teaching. Or a principal. Or a counselor. Or anything to do with kids.

Seriously, people. You want bullying to stop, you don't try to make them feel good about themselves. You don't show them flowery, happy videos, and you don't treat them like victims who are mislabeled, or misunderstood. You stop them. You make them know, in a way they cannot ignore, that they are being watched. You get in their faces and confront them. You tell them it won't be tolerated, and then you don't tolerate it. You call the police and file charges on the behalf of the school and the victim. You fine the parents. You do whatever you have to do to make it damn hard for them to get away with it. You give the damn bullies consequences. Remember those? You stopped teaching about those a few years back, right about when you stopped teaching logic and critical thinking.

Until you do this, it won't stop. It will keep going. You can't wish it away. You can't close your eyes and pretend.

You're just as responsible as they are for what they do, what they get away with, and the damage they leave behind.

Well? I'm waiting...

Thursday, October 21, 2010

When Ketchup Meets Impertinent Force

Dear Bill Nye the Science Guy,

Thank you so much for teaching my children, especially the Impertinent Daughter, all about physics. You made learning science so much fun, and you also made it easy to apply what they learned.

In fact, my daughter learned a whole new way to apply the physics of centrifugal force! She learned that if you're running low on ketchup and want to get all that ketchup at the bottom of the jar to the top quickly, you can apply centrifugal force and this is what happens!!

Ketchup Meets Impertinent Centrifugal Force 1

Oh, and this, too!

Ketchup Meets Impertinent Centrifugal Force 2

As you can see, it made quite a splatter pattern. What you can't see is the ketchup that was on the floor, up the utility room door (and window), and, as I discovered later, across Calcifer's back! It was very impressive!!

She thought she had pushed the lid closed. As you can see, it wasn't.

I am sure that sometime, when the Husbandly One and I are about sixty, and ready for the kitchen remodel, we'll finally get rid of the ketchup on the ceiling. Why not now?

That stipple on the ceiling? It's called a "Popcorn" ceiling. And let me tell you something. That stuff is a BITCH to clean! You can't even vacuum spider webs off a popcorn ceiling without knocking the little white "popcorns" off, and if you're not careful, you'll end up with a big blank hole.

I hate the damn popcorn ceilings in this house.

Well, anyway, Mr. Nye, thanks for teaching my daughter all about centrifugal force. I can't wait until she remembers your lessons on particle physics!!



Because I like them fun-sized...

Somewhere around the beginning of September, I read a letter in Dear Abby written by a woman in Hawaii who was concerned about her vertically challenged male friend. He was handsome, outgoing, fit, lights up the room when he walks in, wonderful person, friends everywhere... but not married. This bothered her, as she wondered if it was because he was 5' 7", rather than say... 6 feet or more.

She wondered if it mattered, if height was really that important to women.

You know I had to answer, don't you?


So, though I am not in the habit of writing to Dear Abby, though I enjoy reading her column... I wrote a letter, and promptly forgot about it. It's not surprising, really, considering everything that's been happening around here, and how busy things have been.

This morning, I got myself a bowl of cereal and sat down to my morning perusal of the internet, and read Dear Abby as is my habit. And... that first letter seemed oddly familiar. I read it a couple of times before it occurred to me.

"A Very, Very Happy Wife In Texas"... is me.

The Husbandly One is 5' 6" and I am 5' 3". And that makes him just right. No crick in the neck trying to look up at him. No cramping feet and calves from standing on tip-toe just for a kiss, though he can tuck my head under his chin when he holds me. No reaching up to hold his hand and feeling like a five year old walking with her dad. We're not exactly eye to eye, but pretty darn close! And that's just all superficial stuff, because really, even if he'd been taller than me, I still would have fallen head over heels in love with him. Or if he'd been shorter than me. Are you kidding? I struck gold when I met the Husbandly One; I knew it then, and I know it now!

We fit perfectly together, and that, my friends, is all that really matters.

Monday, October 18, 2010

When Nieces Get Married...

It was a lovely wedding.

My niece looked radiantly beautiful, and her groom looked stunned and joyful, and though there were some bobbles here and there, mostly... it went well.

The Impossible Son looked very handsome in his tuxedo...

The name's Bond... James Bond...

The Impertinent Daughter looked very pretty in her dress and the two of them did not fight...

Playing nice for the camera...

My mother looked absolutely gorgeous in her dress, and had her hair done, and was happy to have all her kids together again...

Still Got It...

And when I saw the way my niece and her new husband looked at each other on the dance floor during their first dance, I stopped worrying...

Animated and happy...

And as an extra special treat, here is the cutest couple on the dance floor. See you again in twenty years when it's their turn to get married!

Wee Bop...

That's all I have time for at the moment, since the Impossible Son has caught something and is now coughing and running a fever. The full report will have to wait. So for now, enjoy!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Catching you up...

You should all be very, very proud of me. I started walking again a couple of weeks ago, and I managed to walk a mile today!! YAY!! Once I work myself back up to five miles, I'll start running again.

I'm kinda tired of being "pleasantly plump."

We've had all kinds of adventures over the last week around here. Friday night, we had friends over, so I spent most of the week tidying things up, and Friday morning, while I was picking up shoes, socks, books, and other detritus that the kids tend to leave all over the floor, tables, couches, etc, I discovered the desiccated remains of... the gods only know what. Might have been a mouse, might have been an unfortunate member of the spiny lizard tribe... who knows. So, after about ten minutes of squeamishness and, "oh, ugh... blech... why am I always the one finding this stuff," among other complaints, I picked it up carefully and disposed of it. Found a few more, got rid of them, and thought that was it.

However, once our guests arrived, I noticed R kept wrinkling her nose, though she was trying to be subtle about it, and I thought, "Oh, great, there's probably more of whatever it was that I didn't find, and now it smells... wonderful."

We never smelled it, even after going outside and coming back in.

Then Saturday morning, I got up and shuffled into the kitchen for caffeine to wake my brain up... and beat a hasty retreat back to the bedroom, gagging and wheezing.

Seriously, guys, you shouldn't have to think, "Dear gods, what the hell crawled into my house and died," before you've even had enough caffeine to be even semi human.

A frantic search of the house narrowed it down to the kitchen/living room/utility room. But practically tearing those rooms up revealed nothing, and we had soccer to deal with, both with the Impossible Son having a game, and the Impertinent Daughter refereeing a U6 game. *sudden LOL at the thought of the "Impertinent Referee"*

Except... I started itching like crazy while we were out there, EVEN THE INSIDE OF MY MOUTH!!! WTF????

We came home, where Auntie ingested mass quantities of Benadryl and passed out for the afternoon, thus enabling the Husbandly One to take the kids shopping at WalMart and stopping by a local resale shop to buy a 10 speed bike for himself (for $20).

This is relevant, trust me.

I woke up and was hustled outside so he could show off his acquisition. Not quite with it, I nodded, and watched him ride it around, and tried to be properly impressed. However, being in a Benadryl haze, I probably didn't succeed too well at this wifely duty. THO decided this bike, being a Bianchi (???), should go in the garage. So... he opened it up...

... and we all promptly staggered back, coughing, gagging, eyes watering, and flailing as we struggled to find the edge of the Funk Zone for some badly needed oxygen.

OMG... whatever it was... it was in... the ... garage.

The garage. Filled with boxes. And boxes. And boxes of... unpacked stuff from our last move.

Pity the Husbandly One. We all abandoned him to the thankless job of shifting the boxes to find ... The Corpse.

Of course, there was a corpse. There had to be a corpse. With a funk that strong? Honey!!

And... it was. It was the corpse of... a possum.

We knew a family of possums had taken up residence either under our deck or in the bamboo of the backyard. Evidently, this particular possum found his way into the garage... but couldn't find his way out.

The Husbandly One removed le dead opossum and disposed of him/her/it properly, then sprinkled cat litter over the spot to dry it up and deodorize.


Sunday, we needed to run into Austin to a Men's Wearhouse to get the Impossible Son fitted for a tuxedo. He is going to be an usher in my second oldest niece's wedding. And he is going to look unbelievably cute! And hell, yes, I'm going to take pictures!!

It was at the moment that we were walking out of the store that I suddenly realized...

1.) This was going to be a formal wedding.

2.) One cannot wear the very casual clothing I have to a formal wedding.

3.) I have to go shopping, for myself, and for the Impertinent One for clothes for a formal wedding.

4.) I have no idea what the hell to get.

Y'all already know, right, that I am absolutely hopeless at shopping for myself? That I should not be allowed to buy clothes for myself, because I am pathetic at it?

You see the problem?

I was not mentally prepared to shop for clothes. It did not go well. One should not bring a 9 year old boy along to shop for clothes when one is trying to get used to the idea of shopping for clothes again.

It did not end well.

I also realized that I have completely lost my "shopping at department stores" skills. The Husbandly One is dreadfully spoiled, y'all. I don't shop for clothes all the time, and when I do, it tends to be jeans and such, and sneakers. Because I don't shop for shoes like I used to, either. And I don't shop for makeup. Which... I need to, now. Ugh.

And I have until the 16th.


Needless to say, I'm doing my research now. And plan to hit either San Marcos or Austin's Barton Creek Mall this weekend for clothes. Hopefully, the Impertinent Daughter will keep me from making a frump of myself.

And, the Impossible Son had a project due this week. They're reading A Paradise Called Texas by Janice Jordan Shefelman in his class, and the students were required to build a model ship based on the Margaretha, the ship in the book that took German immigrants to Texas. It's both a test grade and a reading grade for the class.

Fortunately, I knew about this several weeks ago, so I'd been gathering materials beforehand to get ready. We built it out of two 12-pack soda can boxes, one for the body of the ship, one, cut into two pieces, for the poop deck and forecastle, and two cardboard tubes that came from boxes of parchment paper for the masts. A pencil was used for the mast that juts out from the bow of the ship, and I drew the figurehead that hung below it. We worked on it for three days, and it turned out to be absolutely awesome! Plus, made from recycled materials, YAY!! Unfortunately, I did not get a photo of it before it was taken to school. Blame fatigue and not enough caffeine!

And now, I must get ready to get my hair cut. It is time. Since my hair is growing back, thanks to the new meds, it is getting very thick. While the curl hasn't come back, it still has a mind of its own, so the best way to deal with it is to cut it into submission. It's already getting long enough to bother me, and I know my stylist is going to fuss at me again for not coming in every six weeks. Well... sometimes I can, and... sometimes I can't. That's the life of a busy mom for you!

See you later!

*goes off merrily on her way*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Just thought you should know...

The Impertinent Daughter has informed me that the Impossible Son is NOT, I repeat, NOT her Knight in Shiny Armor.


He is her Knight of Ni.

You have all been informed.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Late to the party again...

I am such a ditz sometimes.

I SWEAR I'm not blonde.

Okay, how long have I had this iMac? Two years? What did I only figure out today?

There's this little button that I've noticed for quite some time that appears in the address bar when I'm reading fic or news stories, etc. It says, "Reader."

Today was the first time I've been curious enough to click it. And what happened?

This new page popped up with the font now a very comfortable size for reading, no more distracting items in the sidebars, and... it was totally WICKED!!

*is so damn easy to please, it's pitiful*

I'm actually clicking pages just so I can click the "Reader" button and read them!!!

Yes, yes, I'm a ditz, I know it. Bite me.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Let Your Fingers Do the... Talking...

Been a while since I've done one of these...

Yes, hand-dancing, to add a little surreal to your day!!


OMG, I am a geek and a nerd because... I want THIS...

The Camera Lens Mug at the Photojojo Store!

I have a Tumblr account, LunchNotes from Mom that I'm working on, just putting up the lunch notes I put in the kids' and THO's lunches (it still needs a LOT of work), and I was noodling around when I saw that mug and found myself with a serious case of nerdy want.


It's ridiculously expensive, but so realistic looking!! How awesome would it be to bring this to, say, a soccer game filled with hot chocolate or tea and blow people's minds when, instead of mounting it on my camera, I take a sip from it!!

Gosh, I'm such a nerd!!

And don't you know I would always be half in horror when it needed washing that I was putting my real zoom lens in the sink?? Instead of the mug??

Want!! Want!!

Yes, I am a sad, sad, materialistic little greedy thing...

want, want, want, want...

Friday, September 17, 2010

Impertinent Homecoming

As promised, the Impertinent Daughter wearing her mums...

Here she is, bright, shiny, with that million megawatt smile nearly blinding you... and wearing her homecoming mums...

Megawatt Smile

Here's a detail of the mum her brother gave her (with her name edited out, of course)...

Homecoming Mum 2

Note the soccer balls, because she's a SOCCER player. And the lion is the school mascot.

And here's a detail of the mum from her parents...

Homecoming Mum #1

It's her first year getting mums, and you can tell she's delighted! I can't get over how quickly my girl has grown!

Because "snarky" runs in the family...

There are many challenges to being a parent, not the least of which are those moments when your child does or says something that somewhere in the back of your mind, there's a niggle telling you that you really should reprimand him or her, but the rest of you is so caught up in either hilarity or admiration that you... just... can't quite manage it. Not without giving yourself away.

Or you don't know whether to scold... or applaud.

Tomorrow is the Impertinent Daughter's high school's homecoming game. For the uninitiated among you, Homecoming (and yes, it's usually capitalized like that) is usually held during football season for one specific game, and is ostensibly the game where the school's alumni is welcomed back. There is often a dance afterwards at the school gym, and a Homecoming Queen and King are elected by the students, along with their court, and theoretically at least, a good time is had by all.

There are also mums. HERE are some examples. Originally, they were these huge, ginormous, sometimes bigger than your head chrysanthemums, with ribbons that had your name, your date's name, the year, your school name, etc. written on them. Plus, there would be ribbons with charms on them, like miniature cowbells meant to jingle sweetly as you walk, little miniature football helmets, footballs, miniature school mascots, and so on. Nowadays, the mums are artificial, mostly silk, and you only get real ones if you're willing to spend megabucks on them.

With me so far?

Okay, so... the boy responsible for THIS got a mutual friend to ask Her Royal Impertinence to Homecoming. This friend, the Wombat (yes, that's his nickname, it's totally my fault, and I'm just lucky he likes it), asked her and was surprised when she said, "Oh, hell, no! no way!"

"Why not?" asked the Wombat, surprised.

She said she laughed and said, "Well, if he'd asked me face to face, instead of getting you to ask me for him, I would have respected him a bit more while I beat him up."

I completely lost it at that point. I was laughing so hard, I nearly wrecked the car!!

Of course, the Responsible Adult inside my brain was saying something ridiculous like, "That was very rude of her, and she should never be encouraged to beat someone up! She probably hurt that poor boy's feelings!!"


Fortunately, the rest of me quickly stifled the quasi-Responsible Adult, and not only died laughing again, but celebrated my daughter's independence and strength of character. She's got several friends who have "dated" boys (they were only in junior high, so "dating" mainly meant they hung around together, held hands, and tried not to look too embarrassed about it), simply because the boy asked them, not because they liked them or anything. Because some of their friends told them that having the boy ask them at all obligated them to say yes.

Excuse me??

No, you don't have to go out with a boy just because he asked you, or because you don't want to hurt his feelings, or because you're "obligated" by his asking. You have as much right to say "No" as you do "Yes." If you don't want to go out with him, say so. If you don't like him... don't go out with him.

*rolls eyes*

Of course, once I calmed down from my laughter, I did offer some motherly advice:

"If you're going to beat him up, dear, please don't do it on the school grounds. It might get you suspended and your father would be inappropriately proud wouldn't be too happy about that."

The Husbandly One and I ordered mums this year. One is from us, and the other is from the Impossible Son. He gave it to her after they got home from school today. When I handed it to him, I said, "Son, you get the honor of being the first boy to give your sister a mum."

He frowned. "Is that important?"

"Yes," I said very solemnly. "It is. And it's very special, because you're her brother. You're her Knight in Shiny Armor, Protector of all Sisterly Honor, and Official Tormentor of all who come to court her. Are you ready to take up your duties, Sir Impossible?"

"I am," he said very solemnly, and then he giggled.

"Go for it," I said, and watched him give her the mum.

She was grumpy when we first got home, so I was honestly worried that she'd snarl at him when he gave it to her, but... she rose to the occasion magnificently. In fact, her whole face lit up, and she got that million megawatt smile going. She looked at it, squeed at the little soccer balls on it, then snagged him for a fierce hug and kiss on top of his fuzzy little head.

It was awesome!

Later, she cornered me in the kitchen and asked, "Mum, what do I tell my friends when they ask me who gave it to me?"

"You tell them your Little Bother gave it to you," I said with a grin, and the concern in her face just melted away.

"Yeah," she said happily. "I'll say, 'my Little Bother gave it to me, stop asking questions!' and walk away."

I laughed. "Just tell them your Little Bother gave it to you because he's cool like that."

Later, my friend, Erin, came by with the mum her papa and I are giving her (Erin was returning a favor) and she was thrilled at the idea of having two mums to wear for Homecoming!! I'll have to take pictures in the morning!

All of it just made me think about what a challenge it is to make sure the little monsterskids we raise today turn out to be adults capable of making decisions and standing up for themselves while not destroying the world around them. It's a tough job. How to you balance teaching them to be polite and considerate of the feelings of others with keeping themselves safe and not letting other people treat them like door mats? How do you teach them the difference between not making a snap judgement about someone and listening to their own intuition? How do you teach them how to be constructively rude?

It's all a work in progress, really, and I'm making it up as I go along. Fortunately, neither the Impertinent Daughter nor the Impossible Son seem to be the worse for wear. At the moment, I'm just happy my girl didn't cave to the pressure of going out with someone she can't stand, just because he asked her.

It gives me hope that maybe, just maybe, I'm doing something right.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Boy on Fire!!

So yesterday, I picked the Impossible Son up from school as usual and when he climbed in the car, he said this week was "Stop-The-Bullying" week at his school, and in celebration of this, the kids in his class got to watch a film.

Prepare yourselves.

Now, the thing you have to understand is that when the Impossible Son is excited, or confused, or upset, his narrative tends to get somewhat... garbled. It's even worse when he's trying to work through his memory to tell you the story.

So, he started telling me about the film, and I could tell it bothered him, because his eyes were big, and his voice got high, and he was speaking very fast, as if he just wanted to get it over with as quickly as possible. The basic gist of what he told me is this; Kid A starts bullying Kid B. Kid B tells, and Kid A is suspended from school. His parents ground him for a month and take away all his privileges, so all he can basically do is just lay on his bed in his room and do nothing. This makes Kid A feel bad, and finally... he sets himself on fire.

Yes, you read that right. Go ahead and read it again, I'll just sit here and file my nails while I wait.


Okay, to reiterate, Kid A feels so bad he SETS HIMSELF ON FIRE.

This is bad.

He goes to the hospital and when he comes back, he has a lot of scars. The Impossible Son doesn't specify where the scars are, but I get a pretty good idea after Kid A goes back to school, because all his bullying buddies turn on him and call him "Pizza Face."

However, Kid B, his former victim, stands up for him and everyone stops. Kid A still has to transfer to another school, where he meets Kid C, who becomes his best friend and supporter, and when Kid A's teacher finds out what happened to him, he throws Kid A a party. The end.


So... the message is... don't bully or you might set yourself on fire, and then your new teacher will give you a party???

Once Mr. Impossible told me about it, we talked about it and I asked him what he thought about it, and he said it was kinda freaky, because OMG, THE BOY WAS ON FIRE!! And I said, "Wait, did they show him on fire? I mean, did the film show him setting himself on fire and burning?"

"It was pretty weird, Mom," he said, which didn't really answer my question.

I backed off for a bit, then asked him about it again when we got home and he said, "It was just a movie," and I asked him if he thought what the boy had done was the right thing to do. He said, "It was pretty stupid to set himself on fire. It just made everything worse. All he had to do was just read some books to get through the boredom, and the month would be over and he could go back to playing and stuff. I didn't like that, it was stupid."

I thought, okay, no worries on that front. He understood that much.

I forgot about my son's overactive imagination.

The Husbandly One put him to bed last night while I made lunches early, because I felt like crap and just wanted to go to bed. And it looked like I was actually going to get to bed before 11 p.m., it really did! Until I sat down at the computer only to find a shivering child next to me with tears streaming down his face.

"What on earth?" I asked and he threw himself into my arms.

"I can't stop thinking about the boy being on fire!" he wailed.

. . .

It took putting him in our bed with THO on one side of him and me on the other, and a LOT of talking to settle him down. And none of the usual, "Think about cookies, think about Grandma holding you while she sings, think about Muta purring as he curls up next to you," worked to distract him. Finally, I had to give him a lot of water imagery to focus on, until he decided to imagine Katara from Avatar using her waterbending healing skills to put the fire out, and then he finally relaxed. I ended up having to sit at the computer so the light from the screen would light the room up enough to let him go to sleep. It was after midnight when THO was able to finally carry him to his bed and tuck him in.

Needless to say, I have emailed his teacher to get an idea of what actually happened yesterday. I called the school, but after the trouble it took for the secretary to understand me (I have a nasty case of laryngitis right now), email seemed to be a better idea.


Can we please just have one week without some sort of excitement going on around here? Just one???

Friday, September 10, 2010

Surprise Butt Grab!! And Other Stories of Jo's Not-So-Good Day...

Okay, I've had some time to decompress a bit, though I am still wired, to the point that I almost cannot sit still.

I had to go to San Marcos today to get a bridal shower gift for my second oldest niece, M. She's getting married in October, and I kind of wasn't looking forward to this trip, not because I'm not excited for her, but because, well... soccer season for the youth league starts tomorrow, there's all sorts of SNAFU's already, the kind that make you want to tear your hair out and yell, "This isn't rocket science, people!!"

I'd already dealt with a couple of phone calls that made me want to find somebody to chop into little bits so I could stomp all over them, so I was already feeling testy and twitchy and just generally very Bear-like.

Definitely should have had a "Beware of Bear" shirt on.

I should probably mention here that she's registered at Target.

So, looking at M's gift registry, I see she wants a pizza pan, and a bunch of other little things that are necessary to the working of the well-stocked kitchen. Our budget is somewhat limited right now, since I over-did it a bit on grocery-shopping, plus, I'm making her earrings, so... "shrugs* I had a kid's gift to get first, then thought I'd start with the pizza pan and work my way through the other things on her registry, already plotting a gift basket to decorate and how to set it up. The pizza pan she wants is on a lower shelf, so I bend my knees and bend over to grab it and make sure I have the right SKU number when... a large pair of hands suddenly grabs my ass and squeezes. TWICE.

Did I mention that my dad was in the Marine Corps, and didn't want his girls to be helpless in a man's world?

It was totally instinctive. I gripped the pizza pan, dropped into a crouch, stepped back and swung up with it as hard as I could, yelling, "HYYAAAAAA!!!" and brained him.

It rang with a solid CLAAAANG!! and knocked him back into the shelves across the aisle. Of course, I was full of adrenaline and totally pissed off, and I shouted, "What the hell do you think you're doing??"

He scrambled to his feet, waving his hands in front of his face with a rapidly swelling lump on his forehead, gave me this totally shit eating grin and said, "Oh, sorry, wrong butt!"

"Yes, it was!" I snarled, raising the pizza pan again. "And if you take one step closer to me, I'll show you just how wrong you were!!"

His eyes got wide and he RAN!! Of course, that might have been because a stocker the size of Montana came running up with a rolling pin in his hands (well, we were in Housewares!) and said, "I saw the whole thing and Security is on the way. Are you all right, Ma'am?"

"No, I'm not, I'm ANGRY!!" I shouted, raising the pan again, though I didn't really notice until he flinched.

When I looked at it, it had a huge dent in it, about the size and shape of my attacker's head. A burly security guy arrived at that point and asked me if I could describe him and I said, "Yes, he's about this tall, and he has a huge lump on his forehead!!" which made them both laugh, and that oddly enough calmed me down. I was shaking at that point, but not because I was scared. Because I was furious! Seriously, did he think I wouldn't react?? Or that I would just squeal and huff indignantly??

Fortunately, I didn't have to pay for the pan. My big, line-backer sized stocker took it away from me and handed me an undamaged one while Mr. Security rattled a description of Mr. Grabby-Hands off on his radio. And another stocker brought me something cool and theoretically soothing to drink without me asking. I say "theoretically" because I suspect it was massively caffeinated. It was sort of brown and frothy with a chocolaty sort of taste, and a little nutmeg, I think, and I was suddenly wired liek whoa!! Seriously, I think I was moving at warp two bazillion sixty after about two sips, and here it is, nearly twelve hours later and I'm still going!!

At least it was free.

They didn't find him, of course. They took my name and number and filed a incident report for their system and asked if they could report it to the local police, just in case, and I said, "Hell yes!!" and I had an escort for the rest of my shopping trip, plus an escort out to my car when I finally said, "I... just can't do this, I want to go home now," just in case Mr. Grabby-Hands was lurking in the parking lot.

I think my dad would have been vastly entertained. Well, pissed, too, because somebody touched his girl, but entertained, because I knocked the snot out of that guy.

Wish I could have kept that pizza pan. It would have made a nice trophy!!

*shakes head*

The rest of the day just went downhill after that.

I SOOOOO need to go to bed. A nice session with the Husbandly One would probably work wonders on my nerves.

I also need to find out what the hell was in that drink!! I'm definitely not allowed to have it again!!

Friday, September 3, 2010

That's My Mom!!

My mom is soooo much cooler than your mom. Totally.


Because this is the photo she's using on her Facebook profile...

Heh... my mom, flashing signs... *dies of the snickers*

Actually, this was part of a larger photo that was taken at my niece Amanda's 22nd birthday party...

That's Mom, Amanda, and my sister, Carol. And the crossed hands with two fingers are for "22." *rolls eyes at how dorky her family is sometimes* My mom, though, is teh awesome.

You have all been informed.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


So, I'm in the middle of Jasper Fforde's Lost in a Good Book, and I come across this:
I bought a ticket, hurried to the check-in and spent ten minutes listening to a litany of pointless antiterrorist questions.

"I don't have a bag," I explained. She looked at me oddly, so I added, "Well, I
did, but you lost it the last time I traveled. In fact, I don't think I've ever had a bag returned to me after tubing."

She thought about this for a moment and then said, "
If you had a bag, and if you had packed it yourself, and if you had not left it unattended, might it contain any of the following?"

She showed me a list of prohibited items and I shook my head.

"Would you like an in-drop meal?"

"What are my choices?"

"Yes or no."


She looked at the next question on her sheet.

"Who would you prefer to sit next to?"

"Nun or a knitting granny, if that's possible."

"Hmmmm," mused the check-in girl, studying the passenger manifest carefully. "All the nuns, grannies, and intelligent non-amorous males are taken. It's technobore, lawyer, self-pitying drunk, or copiously vomiting baby, I'm afraid."

"Technobore and lawyer, then."

--------- Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde

Char is probably laughing herself silly at me right now, but I am getting seriously hooked. I mean... I actually had to stop reading this book for a short time, because... I got so stressed out when the main character's husband disappeared, and I couldn't help but take it personally!

And I am seriously in love with Pickwick the Dodo, and her "Plock, plock, plock." I want a dodo. I want a herd of dodo's wandering around in the backyard, nibbling on the vegetation and making "plock, plock" noises. Doesn't matter that they're extinct. I want one.

*brief discussion follows with the Husbandly One about the short story, "The Ugly Chickens"*

This is a relief, actually, because I've been in a bit of a reading bind, lately. I had picked up a newish Anne McCaffrey at the library, Catalyst, but... I just couldn't get into it. And the Husbandly One, who is a Vine Voice for Amazon and somewhere in their top 5000 for his reviews, sometimes gets freebies from Amazon if he's willing to review them. So, he gets books, and if he isn't interested, he gets Miss Priss or myself to read them and tell him what we think. Mind, the books we get are galley proofs that still need a lot of editing, and I try to keep that in mind, too, but... this last book THO got me... I couldn't read. It was a Mercedes Lackey book, Much Fall of Blood and I have to say, I had to give up halfway in because, seriously, the last time I was that confused, I was reading a somewhat incoherent fan-fiction. I'm hoping the copy I got was seriously preliminary because the story would leap perspective literally mid-paragraph. One second, I would be reading it from Character A's perspective, and the next, it would skip Characters B, C, D, and J, and leap all the way to Character Q. In the same sentence.


It seriously screwed with my poor brain. And... I was never sure if we were Viking Werewolves, or Mongol vampires, or Viking Mongol Undead, or WHAT... because... well... like I said, let's hope this was just the extremely un-edited version, because O.O if it wasn't!!!

So, it was a very nice relief to get back in to a Thursday Next book.

And by the way, I recently finished My Life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme, and it was awesome I absolutely loved that book. It makes me wish very much that the movie "Julie & Julia" had been "Julia Child: My Life in France," instead. It would have been a much better movie, seriously.

And in case you're wondering at my sudden volubility, I have lost my voice (probably thanks to the stress of the last few days), and the Husbandly One has made me a very, very strong hot toddy, so Jo is pleasantly squiffed. Plus, I am very, very tired after a rough day of shopping for school supplies... on the tax-free weekend.

Prolly should have had the hot toddy before going school supply shopping, because seriously... ugh.

Next year, I'll start buying in July, when the supply lists come out, and save myself the hassle. I don't get the grabby, pushy, shove someone out of the way so you can snatch the one out of the 250 other boxesof the same thing that someone else already has their hand on. I don't do touchy-feely; I do ouchy-bleedy.

Oh, yeah, one man in particular learned a very harsh lesson. Do not grab Jo's bodacious booty and try to explain that it happened because you were making a grab for the glue-sticks, especially if the glue-sticks in question are at eye-level (and Jo's bodacious booty isn't). Most especially, don't do this in front of your wife.

I am sure he'll regain hearing in that ear... someday.

And now, my dear ones, I am going to pour myself into bed. Goodnight!

Friday, August 20, 2010


The Impossible Son is such a little trooper, he really, really is!!

He handled it just fine, the doctor came back much sooner than we expected with photos of pink, healthy tissue inside his tummy. No redness, no ulcers, everything looks good.

*is so relieved*

So, we will go for a follow-up soon, and talk about the results of the biopsies, and most likely some dietary changes.

Just to show you what a dithered state of mind I've been in since we got home, I was making two pitchers of ice tea, and only after I had added the cold water to start stirring did I realize I had put all the teabags in one pitcher!!

It made a most... interesting mix of tea!! I'll probably be teased about this for the rest of my life!! Oh, well, I don't mind, because right now, I'm too happy and relieved to care!!

She'll be knitting for dear life...

I'm sorry I haven't replied to the comments on my last post. I've been too distracted to focus on coherent comments, really. Your support is much appreciated. We'll be leaving in a couple of hours for the Pediatric Center, and I am sure the Impossible Son will breeze right through this.

The Husbandly One has taken today off from work, so we'll both be sitting in the waiting room, pretending to read or watch TV, while I knit like crazy, until it's over.

I'll let y'all know when we get back!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Round and round she goes...

I am trying my hand at knitting on circular needles. It took me three or four tries, but I think I'm getting the hang of it. First, I was doing it backwards (because the illustration in the book I was using for reference was... well... fershmeckled), then it ended up with odd ridges in it. Considering I'm doing stockinette stitch, that should not have happened. So it was rip, rip, rip and start over. Now it's going along nicely, and I'm kind of amazed, to tell you the truth.

It's funny that I find knitting more soothing than crochet. I've often said that crochet is my tranquilizer. Any time that I've felt stressed or nervous, I would crochet to calm down. Now knitting is taking that place. I think it's because I can knit and read at the same time, whereas I can't do that with crochet unless I'm, say, making an afghan where I'm using the same stitch over and over, and even then, I have to look to make sure I'm hooking into the right loop.

Right now, I'm working on a scarf in the Impertinent Daughter's school colors. My friend, the Tall Blonde, has more or less commissioned me (actually, it's more of a dare, but she used the word "commission" so I'll run with that) to make scarves for her daughters, son, and herself, plus my daughter and son, in time for the high school soccer season in November. Don't know if I'll have that many made in time, but I'll give it a good try. Her idea is that the other kids will see those scarves, or their parents will, and they'll want some, too. Then they'll ask her where she got them, and she'll either point at me (if I'm sitting there, which let's face it, I probably will. Miss my daughter's soccer games? Not willingly!) or tell them it was me, and I will find myself with orders to make scarves, which I can hopefully charge them for, and make some extra money on the side.


I love her to pieces, but I don't know if my skills match up to her ambitions, at least not yet! But I will give it a good ol'' college try! When she enthused that I could make them with soccer balls worked into the design on the ends, I said, "Wait, whoa, I'm still working on learning how to do stripes, let's not have me doing designs yet!!"

I'm using the school colors pattern from Charmed Knits, which is going along well. And thank goodness I learned how to pick up dropped stitches with a crochet needle, or I'd be in tears now!!

In other news, the Husbandly One and I are gearing up for school to start next week, and worrying over the Impossible Son. I know I've mentioned his tummy troubles before, his complaints of stomach aches, and constant throat clearing, and all that stuff. We've worried that he has appendicitis, or an ulcer, and he's been to the doctor numerous times about it. He's complained of sore throats a lot, too, with no fever or other symptoms. He coughs and gags a lot, like my dad did all his life, throws up when he gets really upset, and we've been at our wit's end at times, trying to figure it out.

Well, our doctor sent us to a pediatric gastroenterologist back in May, and she put him on Prevacid, which did a huge amount of good for him. That and we kept a "tummy log" which we found very revealing. Sometimes, Mr. Manzie would go through these... non-stop eating binges, especially after dinner, where he would ask for grapes, then for cheese, then for toast, then for frozen peas, etc., etc. And we'd say, "But... you just had dinner!!" And he'd say, "I'm still hungry!!"

I was beginning to think he had a hollow leg or something, because the child does not have an extra ounce of fat on him! He's 4 feet 2 inches tall, and weighs 58 pounds, fer gossakes! But, as we kept the tummy log, and he would complain of his tummy hurting before he started asking for all the food, I finally had a light bulb go off in my head. "Are you asking for this because your tummy hurts?" I asked one night.

"Yes," he said, eyes wide.

"Are you hoping if you put enough food in your tummy, it'll stop hurting?"

"Yes," he said uncomfortably.

"Does it work?" I asked, getting down on my knees so we could see eye to eye. And I waited for the answer as he stared at me sadly.

"No," he finally said. "Not always. Sometimes it does, but... most of the time, no."

That was a huge revelation, and one I passed on to the doctor when we saw her again last week. He spent 6 weeks on the Prevacid, and 6 weeks off, and if we hadn't already known there was a problem before, the 6 weeks off would have confirmed it. Because it was as if those tummy troubles came back with a vengeance. With the added bonus of some of the most atrocious breath ever. *grimaces*

End result? He's going to have an upper endoscopy to take a look at his esophagus, stomach, and small intestine. This Friday.

Thanks to everything my dad went through for his cancer, I know what an endoscopy is, and what Mr. Impossible will be going through. However, there is a small, shaking part of me that is curled up in a terrified little ball, because this is my baby. The rational adult knows that this is necessary, because we really need to know what's going on inside his tummy, especially given that he's been having so much trouble for the last three years, and he is the spitting image of his Grand-Daddy.

Just knowing that keeps me from freaking out too much. I listened to my dad do everything my son is doing for years. Coughing and gagging when he was upset. Constantly clearing his throat. Eating the kinds of things that would fill his stomach (and probably make it stop hurting) before he went to bed, like bread and milk. And my dad got esophageal cancer when he was 78.

His mother died of what they thought at the time was "tuberculosis of the throat" at the age of 25, back in 1928, when he was five years old. We're now pretty sure she had the same cancer as my dad.

You bet I want to know what's going on in Mr. Impossible's tummy!!

They'll take biopsies while they're in there, too.

Does it tell you how upset I am that just writing this, I want to faint? Both the kids are sound asleep right now. I want to have my complete freak-out and meltdown over and done with before they wake up. I've put it off for six days now and finally have a moment to myself with no witnesses (except for you guys) to get it over with, so I can be brave, and cheerful, and upbeat for my son for the next five days.

Yay me.

I feel just like I did when the Impertinent Daughter was seven days old, and we were at the doctor's for her first shots. They had taken her from me and laid her on the treatment bed and given her her shots, and she, of course, being an infant, had started screaming. And I remember feeling utterly panic-stricken, wanting to both faint, and snatch her up to run away with her at the same time. The Blonde Sister, who worked for that doctor, stood next to me and patted my arm. She knew what I was going through, and told me the first time was always the hardest.

I feel like that right now. And I am sure that on Friday, I will be sitting in the parents' waiting room at the hospital, knitting for dear life and wanting to both faint, and run in to snatch up my son and run away with him. I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is knowing you have to trust utter strangers to take care of your child in what they reassuringly tell you is safe and controlled, but you know in your heart is utterly and terrifyingly dangerous, but it has to be done anyway. All of this, while you're sitting ten feet away in another room. Knowing that until he's sedated and out of it, that he's scared and wants you there... and you can't be. This is one of the really big, low dips in the rollercoaster of parenthood. I hate it. I just have to keep reminding myself that the rollercoaster will be going back up soon, and truly, that is all that gets me through these moments.

I hate fear. I'll get through it, but oh, man, oh, man, I hate the fear.

He's such a brave little man. In some ways, much braver than his sister. My heart of hearts knows he'll be fine. I just wish I could get the paranoid part of me to believe that, too.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Life with the Impossible Son

So, we're walking out of the San Marcos Library, and the Impossible Son says, "You know what I hate about super models?"

Okay, I thought, That's a bit of a non-sequiter! I'm used to those, though, thanks to the Impertinent One. "No, what do you hate about super-models?" I said, curious.

"They complain too much!" He skipped along next to me and frowned up at me. "Always complaining!"

"Oh," I said, nodding thoughtfully. "Spend a lot of time around super-models, do you?"

He grinned and started running for the van. "None of your beeswax!" he shouted over his shoulder.

"Hey!" I said, catching up. "I'm your mother! I have a right to know if you're hanging out with super models!"

The Husbandly One and the Impertinent Daughter stared at us with puzzled frowns. "What's going on, Mum?" Miss Priss asked.

"Mr. Impossible complained about super models, and I asked if he made a habit of hanging around them without telling us and he told me it's none of my beeswax!" I said indignantly as I got in the car.

"Wow," said the Husbandly One. "That's disrespectful."

"Hey," said the Impossible Son with a casual shrug. "I have a whole secret life none of you know about! That's just the way it is. Deal."

Then later, as we headed for home, the Impossible Son piped up, "Hey, Mom, are you going to bake cookies today?"

"I'll see what I can do," I said with a sigh. "Why?"

"I want to take a few samples so I can go down to my secret lab and do more work on my formula."

"Formula?" said the Husbandly One. "What formula?"

"I'm working on a formula for mind control," said the Impossible Son, leaning back in his seat with his DSLite. "If I get it right and add it to Mom's cookies, it will help her plan for World Domination Through Cookies move forward! I'm like... her assistant. Like... a mad scientist, but... none of you are allowed in my secret lab, so don't ask!"

"Okay," said the Husbandly One dubiously. "Just don't blow anything up. I'm not sure our homeowner's insurance would cover explosions and damage from an underground secret lab."

Yes, the Impossible Son has a rich, imaginative life. I wonder if conversations like this are the reason behind some of the very strange looks we get in public? Heh, heh, heh...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

*stifled laughter*

My son just went running through the house in a wig and a skirt, shouting, "WOOOOOO!! I'm a FREE MAN!!!"

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Home again, home again, jiggity jog...

We got back from Rockport on Saturday afternoon, with no sunburns, broken bones, one jellyfish sting, and many shells, none with a passenger, unlike last year, when we realized we had brought home an unintended passenger, and had to make a special trip to Galveston the following weekend to set him free.

It was awfully close, though. As we were packing up to leave, one of the kids found a lone moon shell hiding in a corner of the hotel room, and when I took it and poured warm water into it, out came a wild scrabbling of small jointed limbs. So, we finished packing up, and stopped by the beach so I could set him free. At first, I set him down just in the shallow water, so he could recover a bit, but when I straightened up, I noticed a little girl edging toward me, her eyes on the shell and realized my efforts were doomed to failure if I just left him there. So, with a sigh, I went back, picked him back up, and tossed him into a nice thick patch of sea grass in water that was about knee deep. Well... knee deep for me, that is!

It was a good vacation, and I wish it could have lasted a little longer. We enjoyed ourselves thoroughly, being somewhat more adventurous this time and exploring more of Rockport than we did last time. We had adventures, and did silly stuff, like this...

Slow Dip...

I will refrain from comment...

We shopped, and I have to tell you, it wasn't as hot as it had been last year, when we were suffering through the Triple Digit Summer From Hell, but it was much, much more humid, and that knocked the heat index up into the triple digits. This made walking much steamier than last year. Ugh! Thankfully, the Husbandly One and the Impossible Son volunteered to walk our purchases back to the van, letting the Impertinent One and I stay in the shade (and mugginess) before tramping off to the next shop.

"Dey see us strollin', dey hatin'..."

They were always disgustingly cheerful when they walked back.

We had fun looking at all the shops, bought a few things here and there. I would have liked to have bought some art, maybe some furniture, but how to transport it back? However, I did spot a shop called "Jack and the Bead Stock" that was having a huge sale on beads, etc, so, you know I had to go there and check things out! And walked out with a big bag of charms with plans for earrings and bracelets. But only after the Husbandly One twisted my arm a little and encouraged me to stock up. Still, I was very gleeful when we left, and can't wait to make some stuff!! Unfortunately, I was too engrossed in droolling shopping to take pictures, so...

We had lunch, went back to the hotel, rested, and then got ready to hit the beach. And I have to say something about BullFrog's SPF 50 SuperBlock Lotion Sunblock with Titanium Dioxide. It's probably the best sunblock they've made so far, and we've been using BullFrog since Miss Priss was in diapers! But this one, it works, it really, really works. It makes you look funky, because it's white, and it makes you look like something that's been locked in a dark basement all winter, and you've only just come out into the sun. But... you won't get burned.

I burn. Not as easily as the Blonde Sister. It takes me longer, but I burn. But... not with this stuff! It is awesome!!! Seriously, this year, nobody got sunburn. Period.

Anyhow, I digress. We went to the beach, and the kids decided, after trying to find sea shells to take home, and finding way too many occupied ones, to think outside the box and instead, collect as many hermit crabs as they could!


As you can see, they set to it with great gusto...

Collecting Hermit Crabs...

... and collected quite a lot!!

All taken...

And the majority of the shells were very much occupied!

Mr. Big... relatively...

and not all were happy about being captured, as you can see!

Sea Snail...

A tiny sea snail must have ridden in one of the shells, because we found it trying to get out of the bowl. The Husbandly One obligingly set it in his hand so I could get a shot of it.

The Impossible Son loves our trips to the beach, and it's always a chore to get him to come out of the water when it's time to go...

I can't hear youuuuu...

"No, I don't hear anybody calling me, nope, not me, not at all. No, Mom's not trying to call me, and my sister's not threatening me with death, so... I'll just look for more hermit crabs... yeaaaaah, that's what I'll do!!"

Of course, his sister was making death threats, because she was hot, uncomfortable, and somewhat grumpy, because her moon cycle hit just before we left home, and she wasn't comfortable with the idea of swimming in the ocean while pretty much bleeding. I understand that. I did offer her tampons, but she's not worked up the nerve to try them yet, and I'm not forcing her. In her own time, you know? So, we kicked around in the shallows, made a sand castle, drew in the sand, played soccer, walked up and down the beach, talked to people, and kept ourselves occupied. However, when it was time to go back to the hotel, she wanted to go back and not wait around for a Little Bother who didn't want to get out of the water before he absolutely had to.

All in all, it was a good trip. We played in the water, went shopping, ate great food, and had interesting adventures.

There was a new Chinese restaurant just down the road from our hotel, called the Panda Bay, which turned out to be really, really good. We went for dinner on Friday night, and got a waiter who pretty much leapt to attention if I so much as twitched. And considering that I talk with my hands (everyone who either knows me or has met me in Real Life is laughing heartily right here, because they know), you just know the poor man was run off his legs!!

He seemed really, really taken with the Impossible Son and kept encouraging him to eat without pressuring him. They didn't have a menu aimed at kids, but they would do what they could to accommodate their quirks (food not touching, sauces served separately, so the kids control how much goes on their food, etc). We'd ordered a combo plate for Mr. Impossible with sweet and sour chicken, and sweet and sour pork, sans the sauce (because neither Miss Priss, Mr. Impossible, nor I can have it), and he dug into it with gusto, only pausing long enough to ask for ketchup, which the waiter obligingly provided.

Our tea never got more than two inches below the top of the glass, and I got to where I practically sat on my hands, so the poor man would pay attention to his other customers!! The Husbandly One seemed to be inexplicably entertained by all of this and asked me if I'd packed my red v-neck shirt. I asked why, and he said, "If we come back for lunch tomorrow, you should wear it. Maybe we'll get free appetizers!"


Anyhow, we enjoyed ourselves, and have decided that we definitely need to come back, and we also need to try staying in either a beach house, or a condo or something, just for variety's sake. We also want to come during the winter for beach combing and just for something different. And visit the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge, something we weren't able to do this time.

And now to bed, and now to bed...

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Picture Spam!!!

Greetings from the wilds of Rockport!!!

And yes, I have photos to post!!

Here we go...

With the wind in her hair...

The Impertinent Daughter, not long after we'd arrived...


The Impossible Son has sea-green eyes...

Get That Ball!!!

Miss Impertinent gets in a little time with the soccer ball...

World's Tiniest Hermit Crab

We found the world's tiniest hermit crab...

Father  and Son

The Husbandly One and the Impossible Son share a chuckle...

A sizeable hermit crab

The Impertinent Daughter took this photo of a hermit crab in my hand...

I'm too tired to write much tonight, so I hope you enjoyed the photos!!



Friday, July 9, 2010

Salvia no Tsubomi ga...

It's no secret, I guess, that we listen to a lot of Japanese rock music, and pop music at our house. We're as likely to listen to L'Arc-En-Ciel and Home Made Kazoku as we are to Imogen Heap and the Dave Matthews Band.

It all started because of anime. Because we liked watching Japanese anime, like Princess Mononoke and Spirited Away, and TV series like Naruto and Ouran High School Host Club... and... we liked the music.

I have a writing journal on Livejournal, and the friends I made there introduced me to music outside of anime, sending me music that they thought I'd like, and the next thing I knew, the Impoertinent Daughter was interested, and wanted to listen, and it just sort of... exploded from there!

Still, the impact of this didn't hit me until the other day. The Impossible Son was playing with his DS, and he was singing softly to himself as he played, a song completely different from the music playing in the game, and it took a few minutes for me to realize why I couldn't understand what he was saying. Usually, it's because he doesn't know the words to some of the songs he likes, so he just sort of... makes up nonsense words to take the place of the ones he doesn't know yet. But... suddenly, I stopped and really listened and realized... I couldn't understand him because HE WAS SINGING IN JAPANESE!!!

Now, you have to realize, the Impertinent Daughter sings in Japanese all the time. She has actually gone online to look for lyrics to the songs she likes so she can sing along, and learns how to pronounce the words and what they mean, so... she's in a fair way of learning Japanese.

However, the Impossible Son hasn't done any of this, hasn't even thought of looking up lyrics. He just... hears it, and repeats it. And he doesn't have to hear the song to sing it in Japanese. He just... starts singing.

It's awesome!!

I shouldn't be surprised. He's listening to a song being sung in Japanese. When we watch our favorite anime movies, we tend to turn off the English track and put on the original Japanese track with English subtitles, and personally, I don't always need the subtitles to understand what they're saying any more. So, I shouldn't be surprised that the Impossible Son, without the incentive to want to learn Japanese, the way my daughter wants to learn it, is learning it without thinking about it. It's awesome. It's surprising. And it is just... mind-boggling!

To say that I'm proud would be an understatement!

And now, to explain the title of this post, it's the title of a Home Made Kazoku song.