Sunday, July 31, 2005

Dragonflies on the Lake


We got to camp Thursday night in time for my brother in law's father in law, Doug, to give us a beer while I checked out the BILLIONS of stars visible.


I saw an astonishing number of dragonflies, and if you know me, you know that this made me very happy. They were bright electric blue and about 2" long. Then there was a palm-sized one that landed on my knee. Yes, that one freaked me a little.

I spent plenty of time canoeing and making campfires which got progressively bigger(the one pictured is an early attempt and not even half the size of the last one). My last fire was so hot, I felt the need to swim in the lake at almost midnight. If you've never done this, you absolutely have to do it once in your life. Lie back and float, contemplate the stars, and you will thank me.

I managed to take each kid in the family out in the canoe with me at least once, and I have a feeling I will hardly be able to pick up a piece of paper tomorrow as a result. My son got the speedboat rides he has been waiting for since LAST summer, and they were great.

I had important conversations with the children on topics such as No, fish do not have rabies, and Yes, if you catch a fish you can keep it. (ha! they didn't) I also felt my soon-to-be niece or nephew do a slow roll in Mom's tummy. Awesome weekend. More stories to come if I ever catch up on my laundry.


Note to myself: before I turn 50, I will buy a canoe, and buy at least a share in a piece of property where I can use it every summer.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Hold the S'mores

Well, my dears, this may be my last post for a few days. Today I have a secret mission, (it's no big whoop, I'll tell y'all about it next week) and then we're going camping this weekend.

Now, important note here. Carly does not do "roughing it." Frankly, to me, the fact that I'm going to Mirror Lake Inn and not the Sagamore for my anniversary is roughing it. Kidding. Sort of.

We are going to stay at a little cabin on a quiet little lake. We've been there before (someone in our extended family owns it - I won't bother you with the chain of degrees)

Here's a little sample of what happened the LAST time I went:

We wanted to go down to see the beaver dam – we’d gotten close in the paddle boat the day before but not close enough. Sister in law, to be known as L from now on, went up to the house to get some stuff, yelled “want beers?” and I said yes. “Two?” “Nah”. She put her digital camera in a double ziplock bag (shhhh Mr. Foreshadow, quiet.…) and we hopped in the canoe. She was wearing her bathing suit, I had on my suit, a pair of water shorts, a zip up sweatshirt and a life jacket. At the last minute I set my cap down on a bench at our beach. I couldn’t find my sunglasses anywhere. So off we went.

I was really afraid that I would tip over the canoe, having never been in one (Johnny V is snickering right now). But the nice thing about going with L is that she’s been on the water for so many years that she could explain to me how to paddle the canoe, etc. It wasn’t anywhere NEAR as tippy as I thought it would be.

We got down past the last cabin – out in the middle of the wide open area past the cabins and all of a sudden L said “oh man… listen” -- she could hear the rain coming sideways in to the lake and the storm was coming FAST.

All of a sudden it was on us. DIG! DIG she was screaming – we were laughing hysterically. It was pelting us like needles and I had no hat to protect my face, no sunglasses, nothing. I would have sworn it was hailing – it was COLD.

I was squinting at this little blue spot on a beach up ahead. It was a big barrel. We were aiming for it and going as fast as we could but getting soaked. I was singing this crazy song that I made up about being out on the lake in the rain and it rhymed pretty well for me making it up on the spot. She was laughing at me. It took 5 or 10 minutes to get to shore, with her screaming DIG all the way. And, me laughing hysterically but damn I did row pretty fast because I was afraid it might lightning. We went up on the beach and grabbed our stuff (the beers, towels and camera) and ran for the trees. I had no shoes (ow, ow, ow…) but it was mostly pine needles.

We found a spot where the trees would keep us from getting too much more rain on us, and waited out the storm a while drinking beer and wishing we’d brought THAT SECOND BEER, and then we took a picture of ourselves because we were absolutely soaked and it was so funny. It was a good thing the camera was in TWO baggies because it would have gotten ruined otherwise.

L said that if there had been lightning, her brother would have come to get us in his little red speed boat right away, but since he knew she would know a few places where to “hide” the storm out they probably weren’t too worried (my son thought I was dead but L's husband knew she would manage the situation; he cracked a joke about “well if you hadn’t come back by 7 pm we would have sent the red boat…")

We went back to the boat when things had pretty much let up. No reason not to keep going! We headed toward the beaver dam and when we were almost there we saw a crane. (You know, tall bird…) We drifted in as close as we could and then got a couple of pictures as he flew off into the tree. The battery was dying on L’s digital so we were hoping we’d get a few more shots. We didn’t see the loons at all.

We made it to the beaver dam and took pictures of each other in front of it. Then we headed out to the other side of the peninsula where we’d hidden – over to where the inlet to the lake is. There’s a rock that looks like a sleeping elephant. We went way in past that to the mouth of the lake and got as close as we could. It was beautiful and I was proud of myself – I didn’t knock us out of the canoe, and I was doing pretty well steering, digging in, etc.

On our way back it looked like it was going to rain again – oh man!!! We pulled as hard as we could to get back to “our side” of the lake and then went along the shore.

So we got a few MORE beers (seeing a trend here? beers, plenty of ‘em) and waded a little. We saw a beautiful rainbow over the island where we had hung out.


So, that's the type of thing I'll be doing this weekend... have a good one everyone. I'll be thinking of you, and you, but especially you.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Sunday, July 24, 2005

They don't pay us enough

...said the nurse, at the ER today. She wasn't kidding.

(No, it was not me that had to go. Another adult in my family needed to be there, they are basically going to be just fine but had a problem that wouldn't wait until tomorrow.

That family member offered me a bribe in exchange for being driven to the ER and staying with them. After the first couple of items shown below, I started a list on my Palm pilot containing my demands. Every time something else weird or depressing happened I added to the list. It's up to about five really good bribes. )

Here are some of the people I saw today while I spend THREE HOURS waiting (playing solitaire on my Palm pilot and listening to Phil Vassar on same and playing golf with the cards I stole from John):

  • guy about 18 with nothing really visibly wrong with him, just hanging around and making me wonder what his deal was- he was in line to be seen, but just sat there casually chatting on his cell phone and eyeing my purse
  • guy with a kid (maybe 3yrs old) who clearly had pinkeye but got bored waiting around and left - real nice jerk, but someone outdid you later
  • the guy who walked in with his hand bandaged and bleeding all over - ughhh. For this, and because the word "pus" was uttered in my presence several times today, I am getting a new game for my palm pilot -- it was only obsessively playing solitaire that kept me from running away. I'm debating between Monopoly and Scrabble.
  • older woman all alone, wearing her bathrobe and white sneakers....don't know if she had stuff underneath the robe but we were sad because she was all alone
  • young kid about 10 years old who came in, proceeded to have really loud, long-lasting dry heaves into the garbage can five feet away from me, and then whimpered in pain because his back was hurting him so much.... his mother said a couple of things to the nurse that I couldn't help but overhear.... it made me mad and surprised that she didn't bring him in yesterday, until I realized she had no insurance (because the receptionist was apparently used to reapeating whatever was said to her VERY LOUDLY). The dry heaves part got me the use of a lovely new Coach purse for a week.
  • the guy with another kid who was bored, had a more or less minor problem that they wanted to deal with, and when kid complained too much the father actually said "I'm going to give you away to someone." He then turned, to point to ME and say "there, there's your new mother. hahahahahah." I looked at him in horror and then he said to the kid (I swear) "No, I'll just give you to Michael Jackson". Fabulous. For that one my bribe is a manicure.

At least the doctor turned out to be cute AND funny.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Heirlooms


My grandmother passed away eleven years ago, while I was expecting my first child.

She had many problems with her short term memory before she died... some days, all she thought about was the period of time when she was a young girl, newly arrived in America. Unable to speak English well, teased by boys who would dip her braids into the inkwells. We heard the same stories many times over. She couldn't live alone and stayed with my uncle and his wife.

We didn't see her often - sometimes she would recognize us, and others she wouldn't. One funny thing was, she always recognized my husband. I guess the tall, red headed Irish boy stands out in a flock of Germans with dark brown hair.

She had some awareness that I was pregnant. After she passed, my mother was helping to go through her things. My grandmother loved to knit and crochet. My mother found a baby outfit that Grandma had started, and guessed that perhaps it was for me. She was able to figure out which pattern she had been following, and secretly finished the outfit for me.

Yeah. Give a hormonally overloaded, completely sentimental woman a gift like that at her baby shower, and don't be surprised when she bawls.

I loved this picture of B so much, because she was laughing this little Nuhhhhh laugh that only a giddy baby can muster.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Johnny, Johnny

Phil Vassar is awesome and I am his newest stalker, er, fan. He looked a little nervous last night, didn't jump on the piano like he usually does.

The appendix seems to be quiet today.... no pain. (Perhaps it prefers ER at 3 am on saturday morning to my good looking doctor's office...hmpph....)

But this is probably going to be more interesting to you, Johnny:

People have felt the need to think up a sport that's even more extreme than regular skydiving. The result is called swooping.

....the website has helpful links on the side like "is swooping dangerous?" (f-yeah.... terms used within the community of people who enjoy swooping. One of these is the term, "to femur", which refers to the large number of broken legs which are incurred in the sport )

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Things I'm mulling over

I have sort of a scramble of things on my mind:

  • Phil Vassar is on Jay Leno tonight!!
  • oh no, summer's almost over.... yes, it's only halfway over but the second half always slips by so much more quickly... some of my southern friends are already talking about back to school time...we haven't gone to the water park even once yet
  • I think I may have the beginnings of appendicitis. I have this strange pain that has come and gone over the last week or two, right where I think my appendix is. (Yes John, By Monday, if it's not better, I'm going to call.)
  • I had a teenage girl babysit for me today because my regular's away. She's in 8th grade, dammit, and when I came home the house was trashed. The sink was literally FULL of dishes and she was sitting watching tv. The arts and crafts stuff was all over. I was pissed at myself, for not laying out what I expected. But mostly I was surprised, because I know her mother and I wouldn't think that, that kind of crap flies at home.
  • Phil Vassar is on Jay Leno tonight!! yeeehawwww
  • I didn't have to go to Antville Soccer Camp tonight. A certain young athlete almost didn't make it there because he went over to his friend's house, and didn't come home when he was supposed to, in order to be ready on time. Mr. C wasn't going to bring him but I caved at the last minute. Because, frankly, I got home after the time he was supposed to get home, and the aforementioned babysitter didn't go over to fetch him.
  • I've been making jewelry again, will scan some. I have a dragonfly bead to work with and one other project with a bunch of "ingredients" pulled together. Also I have your fish Carol, I didn't forget you!!!
  • Phil Vassar is on Jay Leno tonight!!
  • houses cost too much around here, dammit. I'll never have a finished basment. I really want a finished basement because part would be for my kids to watch tv and play, part would be a workout area, and part would be my art studio.
  • did I mention Phil?

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

It's like, a holiday to me

July 20 is a pretty damn good day in my book, for various reasons.

One major one is that one year ago today I had my heart surgery, and everything's been copacetic since then. (If you have insomnia, here is the backstory.)

After my surgery, the surgeon said I wouldn't need followup visits with him, but because I was skeptical I more or less set a one-year-without-episodes target for believing that he actually had FIXED the problem and it won't be back. Check!!

Full Moon

It's a perfect summer night. The temperature is about 75*, perfect to sit out on the deck and have a beer. The moon is a giant, brightly shining, perfect yellow circle. It's so low right now, you could almost just reach up and grab it. Stare at it and dream about the adventures and romances of summers when you were younger. Summer camp and bonfires on the beach.

But really, the bugs are driving me insane. Moths. More ants at soccer tonight. Mosquitoes at Country Drive-In chased us back to our car before we could even finish our ice cream. (But we saw a truly efffing awesome GMC c3500 diesel truck that was I swear to John at least 8 feet tall)

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

So....

despite what John says, he didn't even get to first base. You should also know that he cheats at cards, and so does Shamus. We all went a-drinkin' last night and Mr. Carly is less than thrilled.

I know this because TONIGHT, after I struggled valiantly to keep my face off my keyyyyyyyyboard all day at work, we went to my son's soccer practice and Mr. C put my folding chair right on top of a major ant hill, which he obviously located last night while I was out doing said drinking with Tania and the rest of John's beyatches from our department.

Freaky is defined as having an ant run sideways across one lens of your sunglasses when you're trying to read. (Love @ First Site, Jane Moore I think, a very fun book. All about one woman's mis-adventures in internet dating.)

Another book I just finished is Harlan Coben, "Just One Look". Funny, I haven't read many books the past few years but I seem to be doing the "it's summer, I have a little time to spare so let me read something" thing lately.

The plot in Just One Look is that the main character (Grace) picks up her photographs and finds an old picture mixed in. One woman in the photo is crossed out, and another person looks like her husband, Jack. She shows him the photo and he disappears that night. Grace had scanned the photo before showing him, so she tries to find him.... which of course is NOT a good idea, but it's a GOOD book. (None of that heaving bosom shit for me, thank you.)

My son just came up to me and said "Bond, Daniel Bond. Double - oh- seven and a half" (which would be, his AGE.... I guess you had to be there, but I cracked up.) Come to think of it, he should be in BED.

'Night!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

Quick hits

It's Stanley's birthday.... he's 74. I wished him a HBD and he rolled his eyes but then admitted that well, he still does everything he enjoys so life is good. I love him. For today's baptisms he set the organ to "music box notes" and played (very very slowly) "Pardon me boy, is that the Chattanooga choo choo...."

Dinner last night at Koto, a Japanese hibachi place. My kids loved it. (Ms Queen of Finicky actually used chopsticks AND scarfed down some chicken.) As for me, I had scallops that were delicious, and some very nice plum wine.

Parting thought: yikes!

Friday, July 15, 2005

My kids....

called me, laughing hysterically - basically they were in the bathroom and taking turns - one staring at the mirror, the other turning the light on and off.

"Look at our pupils! They get big, then little really fast"

it's a big hoot of a Friday night here, huh?

********


PS:
1. Sarah - email me, I don't have your address
2. MH - good luck with the Harry Potter crap

It's Friday....Sunday's coming

When I was in high school I used to go to Niagara Falls every spring for a Lutheran Youth Convention. It was awesome because:

  • no parents
  • plenty of teenage boys who also did not have THEIR parents around
  • we stayed on the Canadian side (right about where the casino is now) so we were "out of the country"

What I remember most (other than the boy kissing stuff which is really none of your business, but yes I did get my first real kiss in a beautiful garden park looking out at the falls, and if THAT's not one of the things that made me a five hankie romantic I don't know what did...)

...what I remember most is one speaker who gave a keynote speech of sorts at the beginning of the convention one year. He was talking to probably 500 teenagers or more in a huge ballroom in the hotel.

He started off talking about Good Friday and how dark and horrible that day was...but that Jesus knew Sunday was coming. Sunday all the bad would be erased.

All during his speech/ sermon/whatever you want to call it, he talked about all of the bad things we face in the world today, and how it's hard to keep hope and stay on the right track, but you have to.

He would say It's Friday, and...... (insert bad stuff here) ..... but Sunday's comin'.

He went on for at least half an hour, and got pretty worked up, more like a charismatic or a southern preacher than a staid Lutheran minister from up north.

At the end he screamed "IT'S FRIIIIIIIIIIIIIDAY!"

Every person in the place screamed back,

"SUNDAY'S COMIN' !!"



It was awesome.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

What happens in Vegas....

Sue and I went to Mohegan Sun to see Phil Vassar, and it's all good, except I lost $20 of my money in those evil slots.

And yes, Mohegan Sun is in Connecticut, NOT in Vegas, but Phil has a song called "what happens in Vegas" so don't give me any crap, OK?

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Country Mud Fest

So Sue and I went to Country Fest which is a huge concert up here every summer with multiple performers.

It's held on a racetrack so there is plenty of clay to turn to mud if there is any rain. And rain it did! It feckin' POURED on and off all day long. It was funny enough people watching BEFORE the rain but even better afterward. (Me, being smart, was under a t-shirt sale tent the first big storm) You can look for pretty people, scary people, stupid people, etc... You have to be careful, however, that when you check out a guy you CHECK HIS TEETH. I was looking at this cute guy (what? I'm not dead yet) and then he smiled at someone he knew and 3/4 of his front teeth were bad. A good portion were cracked off. I actually took a step backwards. Eeeesh.

Best shirt - "draft beer, not soldiers".

Note to all women, if your belly roll peeks out under the tank top, it's a Don't. If you are over an A cup, do not wear a tube top especially if you have a bikini halter top tan line. PS. Don't take your shoes off because it's muddy. You make me want to vomit when I see the clay mud squishing between your skanky toes.

Best performer by far, was Trace Adkins. We stood in the pouring rain and got soaked to the skin but he was excellent. We were right up near the stage so I may be able to post a photo when I get them from Sue's camera.

Off to a party, later people!

Friday, July 08, 2005

One of THOSE questions

Where will you be in five years?

I have no effing idea. I got on this funk because a woman I know is moving to Texas. From here, which is no-where-near-Texas-dammit. This woman runs the "crop", or scrapbooking workshop, I go to each month. So in other words I go sit there from 7-11 pm and work on my albums with no kids biting my ankles and chat with one of my longest -suffering friends, haha, all night.

Tonight was the last night I'll see her - she's moving in two weeks. She has a bunch of family there so it's good. She is very excited about this new chapter in her life.

But I look ahead even a year and I don't know where we'll be living, or whether my inlaws will be living with us. I'm torn between "do I redo the various rooms bit by bit?" and "should I be housecleaning and purging stuff because I'll pack and move soon?" Housing prices have gotten insane lately around here. We saw one house last week that looked promising and it was more than twice what I think we'd get for our house. And I'm starting to make friends my own age in the neighborhood. (The retireees are slowly selling off). Still, there are no kids my daughter's age and that sucks. Aaaagh!

Do you feel like you're set and settled, and you know where you're going? I mean, is it just me that doesn't have a damn five-year plan?

Madagascar

In a word, "don't". As in, don't waste your money on this movie. It's raining AGAIN today so I took my kids (plus a pal) and it sucked royally. I actually fell asleep. Even my daughter thought it was boring, and she's 10.

I'm it??

I've been tagged.

I think (wtf, John?) that the topic is 5 things I miss from my childhood.

Rules:
Remove the blog at #1 from the following list
Bump every one up one place
Add your blog's name in the #5 spot
Link to each of the other blogs for the desired cross pollination effect. (what does this mean... add them to my sidebar??? I haven't had any caffeine yet....)


1. Forward Motion
2. Okay Seriously
3. i probably hate you
4. Shop Dungarees
5. Going on 40


Next: select new friends to add to the pollen count. (No one is obligated to participate).

Ruben
ScrappyChick
Carol

My turn:

1. Going to youth conferences at Niagara Falls. I need to blog about that.

2. Sitting on the river bank in my backyard watching thunderstorms move in from the west - seeing the lightning flash over the city across the river.... then running to the house at the last possible moment (in the rain...I love the rain) .

3. Reading every new Laura Ingalls Wilder book as soon as it came out. Really, we had no cable, no nothing, so I used to read all the time, but that was my favorite series and my daughter loves it now too.

4. The Snowman (an ice cream stand)

5. My miniature collie -- Daisy -- who was so stupid, it was cute. She'd stand in the snow and just look at the back door and never think to bark. One time we forgot her during dinner and she had 1" of snow all over her back. Ooopsie.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London

I have a very important friend living in England currently. It was a relief to hear that he's OK, because I worried about him all day, but scary to read that he'd planned to be in London tomorrow. Some of the things he said in his note were all too familar - especially the need to turn off the TV when the news becomes just too much. I remember that on 9/11 when the mayor said "We're going to take care of all of the children whose parents won't be coming home tonight", I started sobbing and couldn't stop for quite a while.

Today's news reminded me of things that shouldn't be in anyone's memory bank - of 9/11, and Oklahoma city. Checking the news for updates, waiting to see if there will be more events when you're already so tired you just want to turn it all off and try to sleep. Checking on the people you know, waiting for the call or the email. Of being the person who has to send out the note saying "No, I'm ok, but thank you so much because I need these people reaching out to me right now." Coming home on 9/11 to find a message on my answering machine from a friend in OKC, sobbing because she thought she had my cell phone number and she couldn't reach me and didn't understand that I'm not really that close to NYC.

So Mark, I'm so glad you & Holly are ok, and I love you.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Stars and Stripes forever

So, this weekend Stanley dusted off John Phillip Sousa / Stars and Stripes and played it after mass.

I was up there with my son (we sang God Bless America during communion) and stayed to hear Stanley play S&S. I want to remember him doing songs like this, because I am afraid each time could be the last (the last 4th of July, the last Christmas eve, etc. He's been our organist for 50 years. I don't mean to push him in a wheelchair to the old folks home or anything but you just never know. Life is short.)

He finished up and Dan and I were clapping with Betty, who said 'That's my favorite song'. He snorted and replied "Oh, I hate that song. Put it away for another year."

I heart Stanley.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Sorry, but NO

OK, keeping in mind that I do know some people who homeschool, and grudgingly respect that this is a free country and it's their right to do so, even though I don't THINK they should,...

This just irritates me.

OK, you don't GO TO SCHOOL, so you make your own class ring that says "home schooled"? I'm sorry but that's just stupid.

I think children need to be in a REAL school setting so that they learn how to interact with all different types of people, and answer to authority figures who don't neccessarily like them or treat them fairly 100% of the time. They should be taught by individuals who have a degree in education. REAL teachers. To say that you are going to home-school your child is the pinnacle of self-absorption, to me. It's all about sheltering your precious baby from those other, evil children, and how only you can be the best teacher for them. Pffft.

The people who I see homeschooling invariably speak to me about how their child is in this group and that group and they're in a homeschooling co-op and they all teach one another's kids. Send your kids to school already.

I gotta stop reading the news before I have my cup of tea.

Alonzo's rocks

Click here for Fireworks!

shot by ME, last night - camera media card maxed out during the BEST shot, so this one is just not as good, but mercifully short -haha!

More about Alonzo is here. Enjoy the holiday weekend everyone - wish you were here!

Saturday, July 02, 2005

I have seen the face of evil

and it is this: Libby Lu

My daughter LOVES this freaking store. You can buy all sorts of little hair pieces to add to a girl's ponytail, purses, cheap jewelry, and all sorts of little tiaras and shit.

Then you take a bottle, fill it with a few squirts of this gunk, that goo, and some glitter, and nasty fragrance, and it's YOUR CREATION!!! Lotion! Body gel! wheee! About ten bucks a bottle.

I need a drink.

The really scary part is the birthday parties. To be even remotely cool you have to spend $25 a kid and the place doesn't even give you food. (Bowling alley, $11 a head and you get pizza and bowling. Boys are SO much easier to raise than girls.)

Be afraid, people. Very Afraid. Or buy stock in this chain of stores, because the one I was in yesterday was packed.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Noah's Wife is not named in the bible...

...at least not as far as I can determine.

Let's call her Carly. Because, tonight, on the way home I said "Holy crap I gotta start building the ark!"

At the time I was driving through a rather laaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrge puddle in front of my doctor's office, which is right near my house. He is a GOOD looking ...uh, where was I? Now, I know you're not supposed to drive through deep water, but when you can't see three feet ahead of your car, that's tricky. It was a torrential downpour at the time, and I was driving home with my son. He's not keen on storms, so perhaps me screaming "Oh! Shit! Shit! Shit!" going through the puddle wasn't very good. Oy.

We got some wicked storms today, wind, torrential downpours, the whole enchilada. Power is out all over. Nasty. Now, more storms are coming this way. Gooodie.

Weird news today... a truck carrying shredded paper lost part of its load all over freebie I-90. A bunch of it got snagged under one car, and caught fire. When my daughter and I went through on the way to the mall, she noticed the shreds all along the edges of the highway. (No, I didn't notice until she pointed it out, and no I wasn't on my cell phone). Big mess, and I'm sure it's lovely now that it's soaked.


PS: Godspeed Luther.... feel the power of love...