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.