Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Today at work

Today was an interesting day at work.  Production worked mostly a skeleton crew, to keep things moving that just HAD to move.  Because of the reduced production staff, and the fact that many studios were closed today, we decided to have all of the hourly customer service reps take the day off.  That includes both receptionists.

Because I used to be a receptionist for this company, guess who had the job for the day?  Yup, I was the only one answering the phones, and had only 4 people to pass the calls to, instead of our usual 12.  Interesting.

Most of the day was pretty slow, and we got a lot of extra tasks accomplished.  When a rush of calls would come in, though, it was funny to watch us scurrying around, trying to get everyone through to a live voice.  I have to answer without saying my name, or most customers would know that I'm a CSR, and would start asking me for help, blocking other incoming calls, so it's all a juggling act.  It made the day fun, though, because it was so different.

At 3:00, the calls had all but died, so they turned them off.  I, however, was stuck until 4.  A couple of people made some uninformed decisions, which caused a mini-catastrophe, and guess who got to clean it up.  Thankfully, my BWF Michelle was nice enough to stay and help me.  I hate cleaning up messes that I didn't cause.  Especially mind-numbing tasks such as reversing 98 transactions.  One.At.A.Time.

OK, back to the party.  I've taken some pictures, so I'll have an entry for tomorrow.  It could be a LOUD entry, if the video uploads correctly.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

No More OK's

I have vowed to never start another entry with "OK."  OK?  LOL

Anywho, I am just checking in to check in.  Tomorrow night, we'll host a girlie NYE party with 6 girls between 11 and 13.  *sigh*  Lots of food, soda, and fun.  Fun, right?  Yeah, fun.  Just kidding.  It will be fun.  They are so excited about this sleepover.

A week from Saturday, I'll be leaving for Phoenix.  I'm excited, even though it's "nationals" and will be super busy.  It's still fun to see a different part of the country.  I will have my camera, so beware of braille room number images.  LOL

Oh, and tomorrow will be exciting.  I'll explain why tomorrow, but my job will have a new twist for a day.  Just one day, but different and weird.


Monday, December 29, 2008

A Year End Meme

I got this from Mom, although I've done it in the past.  Here's Mom's version.  You post the first line (unedited) from each month's first post.  I have added comments in parenthesis.  I can't just do a copy/paste post without commenting, ok?

Now, for my blogging year in review:

January: I need to lose weight. (Big surprise, huh?)

February: The dryer is still broken. (problem was solved rather quickly.)

March: What a waste of a beautiful day. (I was sick.)

April: I deleted yesterday's entry. (Probably a good choice.)

May: Well, it happened. (Natalie got sick.)

June: OK, tonight, it loaded pictures fine. (Obviously having problems with AOL.)

July: OK, I got up in time to post yesterday's pictures.  (Gone on another business trip.)

August: OK, here's the deal. (This is when I FLEW THE PLANE!)

September: So, I have had time to enjoy 4 days off, and I have one day to go. (Hmm, sounds like last weekend.)

October:   I hope this link works. (or)  OK, time to take this blog seriously.   (This is where we switched from AOL to Blogger, so I posted the first October post from both.

November: Here is Monica, the undead homecoming queen. (Halloween happenings.)

December: It's so crazy at work, I can't stop to think.  (Oh yeah, busy season had hit by then.)

What have I learned?  I start too many posts with "OK" and "So."  I tend to gripe too much at the beginning of each month.  Or in general.  Anyway, too many downers.  I'll try to do better in '09.  

My first business trip is a week from Saturday, so maybe that will offer some excitement.  Or not.  It's Phoenix, and I've never been to Arizona, so new sights for me!

Have a great night.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Weird.

I've always been weird, but I'm getting more so by the day.  Here are a few things that make people look at me like I've lost my mind.

1. The window shades need to be the same height.  Halfway open, even with the top of the bottom sash, or all the way closed.  Don't leave one open and the others closed, don't leave one 3" from the bottom.  It looks stupid to me.

2. If a piece of food falls off my plate, it's trash.  I cannot eat something that has touched the table, at home or out.  No telling what may contaminate it.

3. I don't hi-five.  It annoys me.  My kids want to hi-five ALL the time, and I can't.  Thanks to the sitcom "Scrubs", though, we have "sterile hi-five" and "mental hi-five", both of which are acceptable.

4. I will spend a lot of time fixing my hair, and that's fine.  If ONE hair comes loose, however, it's as foul as described by Jerry Seinfeld.  Gross and evil.  Mine, yours, my kid's, it's all foul.  Even minutes after washing.

5. Other than going to the bathroom, brushing my teeth is the first thing that I do in the morning.  Not after breakfast, not after my shower, not after getting dressed.  I can't stand morning mouth.

OK, that's enough.  You all might start thinking that I'm weird.  We can't have that, now can we?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Twas the night after Christmas

Twas the night after Christmas and all through the place
The girls money had vanished, without a trace.

They both had new goodies, some makeup and such
music and movies, it's all just too much.

The Xbox is humming, the laughter is grand
and each kid is happy in post-Christmas land.

Brett came to visit, we ate dinner out
This is the best evening, without a doubt.

No work today or for 2 more long days
Naps will be taken, time spent in a haze.

We're short on money, all the year long
but Christmas-time bonus fills our hearts with song.

Our position is still no better or worse
But we have a week before January's curse.
 
Yes things will be rough for one month or two
But March will feel better, as it tends to do.

We're thankful for family, neighbors and friends
and you can be thankful this poems at it's end.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

What an awesome day!  The girls and I played with the Xbox a lot this morning, while the roast cooked slowly in the crock pot.  Around 10:30, we loaded up and headed to Mom's.  The roast was all I did, but she put together an awesome dinner of mashed potatoes, noodles, rolls, glazed carrots and sweet potato pie.  It was a great meal.

After visiting for a bit, we headed back home.  The girls got right back on the Xbox, and I took a nap that lasted close to 3 hours!  Wow.  Naps are SO underrated!  When I woke up, I went right back to playing games with the girls.  I've since watched lots of TV, harassed some friends on facebook, and called some long-lost buddies to say "Merry Christmas."

I hope you all had a great day.  I couldn't have asked for a better one.  My family all seems pleased with the gifts, and the pressure is off.  Now, we look forward to a teen party on NYE, and hope for the best in 2009.

Good night, friends.  Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas Eve!

I found my holiday spirit.  Yeah, I was worried that it wasn't going to show up, but I found it today.  Everyone was in a light-hearted mood at work, goodies were passed around, everyone smiled and chatted about holiday plans, and we got to turn off the phones and head home at 12:30!

We were going to go shopping for a family Christmas gift on Friday, when my check hit the bank.  We were thinking "Wii" but knew it would be impossible to find.  This morning, I found out that our checks were deposited today!  WoooHooo!  Not only that, but I got my bonus gift card that we get each year.

I started hitting stores, knowing that I was crazy for doing it, on the way home.  We were right about not finding a Wii.  There were none to be found.  For the same money, though, I could get an Xbox 360, three additional controllers, and a 3-pack of games!  Heck Yeah!  Kevin and I talked about it, and decided to give it to the girls tonight.

We're all home for a long weekend, and I wanted them to have a chance to play it tonight.  They are thrilled.  I even played a bit!  We had a take-and-bake pizza, and some chips and dip, and just enjoyed the down time.  

I'm so glad I found my holiday spirit.

Tomorrow, we're going to Mom's for an odd sort of Christmas dinner.  We're pooling our resources to create a dinner including requests and favorites of different family members.  Noodles?  Check.  Sweet Potato Pie?  Check.  Roast?  Umm, ok.  LOL  It'll be great.

I'm thinking about sneaking a dip in the hot tub into my day.  What would Christmas be without a dip in the hot tub?  Or a roast?  Or glazed carrots?  Did I mention the glazed carrots?  Yummy.

Merry Christmas Eve!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Answers

Only two folks asked, so you made it easy on me.  Neither question bothers me in the least.

My last meal would NOT be potato soup, although that may surprise Mom.  I love that stuff, but if I had it every day, I'd probably get burned out.  Maybe.  Probably not.  Anyway, the one thing that I would want for a last meal is Papa John's Pizza, with extra garlic butter dippin' sauce.  Yum.  I could take a bath in the garlic butter dippin' sauce.  Papa John is my hero.

As for how old I was when I had my boys, you must know that I didn't give birth to Jonathan.  If I had, I would have been barely 16 when he was born.  I started early, but not THAT early.  Jonathan is my step-son, technically, but my son in my heart. 

I married my first husband when I was 18, and had Brett a bit over a year later, when I was 19.  I appreciate it when folks tell me there is NO way I could have a 20 year old, but I do.  I will be 40 in March.  

To break it down, Kevin and I each had a son when we got married, and then had the girls together.  Yours, Mine, and Ours to be sure.  The girls are all that we have at home now, so we almost have a normal sized family.  When Jonathan lived with us for a short time, we had 6 in the house.

In fact, that's where my screen name came from.  Someone (I think it was Mom, but she can correct me if I'm wrong) saw the 6 of us climbing from the little blue car and said, "There's the Fierro 6!"  Now, if you want to find me on AIM, Yahoo, or any other application, search for fierro6.

I'm just sayin'.  

::added later for Celeste's question::

Kevin's shoulder will never be the same.  He still works really hard, but he hurts all of the time, and he likely won't get much better.  The workman's comp. case is still with the attorney, who said it would be over "soon" in August.  *sigh*  He needs a less physical job, but can't make what he's making anywhere else.  The surgeon said that he'd just keep ripping the shoulder apart, unless he finds a new vocation.  He has more knowledge and experience at this job than most folks can claim at their job. Catch 22.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Ask Rachel

OK, I have nothing to post tonight.  Because of this, I am opening up again for anything you want to ask.  I'm pretty much an open book, so whatever it is, no problem.  If I decide that you've crossed the line of what I want to answer here, I'll message or email you.  If the answer to your question requires a picture, no problem.  I'll do it.

What do you want to know?  What do you want to see?  What do you want to hear?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A good, although cold, weekend.

I didn't sleep for 80 hours, but I made it for 11, before deciding to get up on Saturday morning.  It was wonderful.  After getting showered and ready, I went to Mom's.  Kevin and the girls joined me later, followed by K's mom and nephew.

We all had a great cold-weather treat, and my favorite meal, potato soup and cornbread.  It was fabulous.  Back at home, we relaxed with Grammy and Steven.  She brought some Christmas presents with her, too!  Kevin got an awesome chair massager, which we've all taken turns at, and I got some beautiful wind chimes and a picture that matches a set in my dining room.

Today, we played some cards (I lost, big surprise) and ate Grammy's homemade stew while the wind howled outside.  It's hovering around 0 out there, and the wind is vicious.  Still, after Grammy and Steven left, K and I headed out to do a bit of shopping.

We weren't looking for actual gifts.  That will happen on the 26th, but we were getting stocking stuffers for the girls, and some treats for me to take to work on Wednesday.  It was miserable out there, with a wind chill of -14, but the truck was warm.

Now I get two 3-day weeks in a row.  WoooHooo!  Life is good, my friends.

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's over

After a lot of long days, and a lot of stressing out, it's over.  All out-of-town orders, due for Christmas, had to ship today.  They did.  It was crazy, and I was lacking sleep, and people were cranky with me (I got yelled at 3 times, but didn't take it personally,) but we did it.

Tonight, I plan to sleep for about 80 hours.  That'll be tough, since Mom offered my favorite meal EVER.  Maybe I'll sleep for 10 hours, eat some potato soup, then sleep for another 70 hours.  I'll figure it out.  LOL

Christmas is going to be weird this year, due to financial issues, but we've worked out a plan with the girls, and a week from tonight, everyone will be quite happy.  Yeah, we're being VERY non-traditional this year.  Gotta keep the utilities on, right?  LOL

I'm gonna play some mindless games on Facebook and watch TV now.  Good night.

*sigh*

Thursday, December 18, 2008

One more day...

One more day of insanity.  I worked 11 hours today, but tomorrow promises 12, at least.  Then, it's done.  Everything hinges on tomorrow.  Customers are calling, freaking out, wondering if they'll get their order by Christmas.  I am so exhausted, I am spacey.  It's crazy, but it makes me feel good that I am secure in my job.

When I tell a customer something will happen, it happens.  When I tell them I'll try, I really try.

I've gotten several packages of goodies from thankful customers this week.  That's what I need:  sweets.  LOL  It's nice to share with coworkers, and then come home and share with my husband and kids.

OK, I have nothing of importance to say.  I'm just checking to to announce that I'm alive.  Back to mindless drivel real soon.  Sorry 'bout that in advance.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas cards. Bah Humbug!

I've been planning to create my Christmas cards for the past 3 weeks.  It's busy season at work and I'm putting in crazy hours and I went to a concert and I napped on the weekends.  All of these are true, although only a couple are good excuses.

I've decided not to do Christmas cards this year.  It's just too much pressure to get them out in a timely manner.

We're going to do New Year's cards!  They arrive a week later, but they're not late.  Win Win!

If I don't have your address, and you'd like a one-of-a-kind, Fierro New Year's card, email your mailing address to me.  It'll be fun to design this weekend, without the pressures of busy season.  I can already picture what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Oh yeah, and the conventions

I got the schedule for the 2009 conventions that I'll be attending in 2009.  If any of my buddies are close, let me know.  I won't show dates, because I don't know fly in-fly out details, or convention hours.  Anyway, here's where I'll be:

Phoenix, somewhere in the early teens of January.
Kentucky, somewhere in the middle 20s of January.
Myrtle Beach, somewhere in the first week or so of February.
Pasadena, in the early 20s of March.

If you are near any of these areas, and want specifics, let me know.  I'd love to meet for dinner or drinks.

Catching up, and random stuff

So, I went to bed on Sunday night, and all was good.  I woke up on Monday morning, and had a horrible head cold.  I didn't really feel "sick" but I was sneezing, had a runny nose, and was congested.  I talked funny, too.  Well, funnier than usual.

I worked all day, the beginning of hell week, and got worse as the day progressed.  I knew that the girls had their Christmas Extravaganza that night.  OK, that's not what they call it, but it was "go listen to other people's kids sing off key" night.  I didn't feel well, but I planned to go, with Kevin.  The girls went to Grandma's after school, due to weather, and then Kevin called me to tell me that he had to work late.  

There was NO way that I could leave at 5, drive an hour, pick up the girls, take them home to eat and change clothes, and get them to the school by 6:05.  *sigh*  When I found out that Kevin had NO way out of it, I asked to leave early.  That is unheard of, this time of year, but knowing that I came in 2 hours early, they agreed.  PHEW!

I picked up the girls, they cleaned themselves up, and we went to the cafegymatorium at the school.  I was getting sicker by the minute, but settled in to watch other people's untalented kids.  3rd and 4th grade went first, and sang for 30 minutes.  5th and 6th (Natalie's group) went next.  Two.Songs.  Yup, only two songs, and they were done.

Fine, deal with it, right?  I'm still getting sicker, and I can tell that a fever was settling in.  Frankly, I am NOT a good mom at these things.  Let my kids perform, then let me go home.  I don't care about other people's kids.  Honestly.  Mother-of-the-year I am not.  Anyway, Jr. High band gets going (Monica's group) and played two songs.  Yup, just two.

OK, home free, right?  Nope.  Now, it's time for Jr and Sr high school bands to play together.  This was a big deal for Monica, so I was OK with it.  She's far better than most 7th grade band members, and she's the only Jr. High trumpet player.  She was stoked to play with the High School band, and she kept up with them, note for note.

Cool, now we can go home, right?  NOPE!  The band instructor guides them to go sit on the side, on the bleachers, while the high school plays.  They played for about 7 hours (or 4 songs.)  Then, he announces that it was time for jazz band to get ready.  I made eye contact with Monica in the stands and pointed at the door.  She got the message.

We got home at 8:30, and their bedtime is at 9.  I had left home at 5:00 in the morning, and just got home for the night at 8:30.  Yes, I was sick as a dog.  I got the necessary evening chores done, with Kevin's help, and went to bed, freezing.  I was wearing sweats to bed, and was freezing cold.

I woke up, sweaty as all get-out, thinking "The fever broke!"  I was right.  I am still snotty, but I feel so much better than I did yesterday.  My crops rotted in the field on myFarm, my YoVille character didn't get to work for 3 shifts, and my email went unanswered.  However, I'm back now.  Look out, Facebook!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Stupidly Cold

OK, so we lost 50 degrees today.  OK, so it's sleeting.  OK, so we live in Missouri.  Get over it.   That's my mantra.  Get.Over.It.  However...

I remembered tonight that I didn't have my good ice scraper on Tuesday, when it snowed.  Thankfully, it was a cold and dry snow, so I swiped the windows with my sleeve, and all was good.  Tonight, however, it started with sleet.  That means there will be ice on the windshield in the morning.

Since I have to be in early (due to the busy season) and I have to take the pajama-clad girls to Mom's in the morning, I knew that I needed my ice scraper.  It was in the shed, last I knew, near the front, on the left.  No problem.  I'll go get it, and bring it inside.

On a commercial break from Survivor, I slipped into Kevin's boots (clomp clomp clomp) and put on my coat.  No working flashlight to be found (what happens if we lose power?) so I grabbed a lighter.  That's enough light to find an ice scraper, right?

I went outside and realized that I couldn't see the combination lock well enough to dial in the code.  I tried and tried for about 5 minutes, before I realized that it was already unlocked.  DUH!  Fine, I'm in.  I'm in, out of the wind.  I struck the lighter to life and turned to the left, and bent down.  I was hovering over 4 gas cans.

Great move, Einstein.   

Realizing that this was NOT the best plan, I headed back into the house.  Ahhh, warmth.  I watched another segment of Survivor, then headed out with a candle.  This would let me have the flame pointing up, but light shining all around.  Yeah, still stupid, but not open flame over gas cans.

I finally found the elusive ice scraper (it's a good one, too) and brought it inside.  As a final step, I had to take the lock back out, and lock the shed.  The wind is so evil, it was taunting me.  Once, I heard it say, "Rachel?  Go ahead and light off the gas cans.  Maybe you'll get warm!"  I ran inside like a coward.  That wind is so mean tonight.

The girls showered tonight, packed clothes for tomorrow, as well as toothbrushes and hairbrushes, and are ready to climb into the car at 5 something tomorrow.  I hate it when they have to get up that early.  They can go back to sleep at Mom's, though.  Their lunches are packed, and I'll send something for breakfast, too.

How long until summer gets here?  There are already school closings on the bottom of the TV screen, and there is a layer of ice under the snow that's now falling.  Maybe I should move to California and hang with Pam or Lisa.  Maybe I should move to Texas and hang with Amy.  Maybe I should move to Georgia and hang with Jim or Celeste.

Nah.  I'd miss my folks too much.  Dad helped Kevin so much with my car today, and I feel a certain comfort, knowing how close they are.  I'll slip and slide to work tomorrow, knowing that spring will be SO pretty.

Right?  It'll be pretty, right?  TELL ME THAT IT'LL BE PRETTY!

Baby it's cold outside.

Sure, it's only a bit under 30 degrees, but the wind is unbelievable.  It's straight out of the North at 15-25 mph, and it sounds so cold and lonely.  Wind always sounds lonely to me.  Anyway, it's 30 degrees colder than it was when we woke up this morning.  I moved the patio furniture off the deck for winter, and I did so in a T-shirt.  Now, even a coat isn't enough.

We went to Mom's so that Kevin could fix my car, yet again.  The floor board rusted out enough that the bolts that hold my seat down in the front broke loose.  I had a rocking chair for a seat for 3 days.  Today, with Dad's help and a little angle iron, my seat is secure again.  Thanks, Dad and Kevin.

Monica spent the night with a friend, and another friend showed up later.  Somehow, Monica got locked out when she stepped outside to cool off.  Somehow, they didn't hear her knocking.  She walked home at 3:30 this morning.  She was so upset at them.  Their side of the story is a bit different, and there's no telling exactly what happened.

All I know is that she woke me up, knocking on the door, after walking 4 blocks home at 3:30 in the morning.  She'll not be going back to that particular friend's house for a LONG time, if ever.  I tell my girls to surround themselves only with people who make them feel good about who they are.  You can't feel good about yourself when you're the odd-man-out.

I'll spend the rest of the afternoon and evening catching up on laundry, and then catch the finale of Survivor.  Thank goodness my other shows are reruns tonight.  Maybe we'll make some taco fixin's for dinner.  That'll warm a person up, right?

Tomorrow morning, the girls want to go to Mom's and catch the bus.  With a wind chill of -9 predicted by daybreak, I think that's a good idea.  The problem is that this is the final push at work.  This is the week that determines it all.  I would need to drop them off by 5:30 or 5:45.  That's pretty dang early.  I guess, if they shower tonight, I could have them pack clothes and stuff for school this evening, climb into a warmed-up car in the morning, and go back to bed when they get there.

Yeah, that may work.  *sigh*  I hate waking them up every day, but 1 1/2 hours early really sucks.  Head's up, Mom.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Whiskey Wango Tango Jingle Bell Birthday Bash

After work yesterday, I met Kevin over in Blue Springs, where we stashed my car.  He had taken the girls to Mom's for the night, so we were all set for a night out.  I had won several pairs of tickets to this concert, and I was excited.

Let's be honest:  Although Joey and Rory, Carters Chord and Chuck Wicks promised to be good, we were here to see Pat Green.  The doors were to open at 5:45, and I think they finally opened at 6:50.  It was cold to be standing outside for an hour, but it could have been so much worse.  So many people were pissing and moaning that it was aggravating.   You didn't pay for the tickets (you have to win them for this concert) and you are welcome to leave.  Sheesh.

We met a real nice couple from Lees Summit, while standing in line:

Janet and Keith provided some nice conversation, and diversion from numb toes and a sloppy, muddy parking lot.  When we got inside, there was no place left to sit (I had expected as much) so we were wandering around, looking for a place to land.  Janet comes over and said that they found a table, and did we want to join them.  That was so sweet.

She even took this picture of me and Kevin for my journal.  Don't you like how fancy I dress for a night on the town?  HA!  A hoodie.  I was warm, though.  Because we were sitting in the back of a HUGE bar, I often had some interesting views.  It seems that the country is getting fatter and fatter (myself included) and many still haven't figured it out:  Just because they make your size...


Doesn't mean you have to wear it.  Seriously, I saw scenes like this all night.  The bar is so huge that they have a TON of security everywhere.  There was one guy sneaking a bottle out of his jacket to pour into his drink.  When security approached, he reached into his jacket and pulled out brass knuckles.  Classy.  He was out the back door before anyone could tell what was going on.  Heck, they even had security on top of one of the bars:


Except for that one incident, it was a laid-back crowd.  We listened to the local band, and the three listed above, and they were all pretty good.  Right before Pat was set to go on, I grabbed Kevin and asked if he wanted to get up close.  I learned from my BWF Michelle how to get up close, even when the floor is packed with people.

We wove our way through the edge of the crowd on the dance floor, moving up and over with every opportunity.  We were finally only about 4 people away from the stage, and right in front of the speakers.  Sure, I couldn't hear anything on the way home, but it was SO worth it.


Kevin and I have both always liked Pat Green.  He's so cool, and his songs are awesome.  It was such a great night.

We finally left around midnight, knowing that I had to work in the morning.  Kevin had free Diet Coke all night, for being a designated driver.  They put a non-drinker wrist band on him, and saved us a fortune on over-priced soda.  Since I had him to drive me home, I had some beers.

On the way home, we stopped at QuikTrip.  There is NO way to drive home in the wee hours of the morning, without stopping at QT.  Kevin needed a cappuccino, and I hadn't eaten since lunch, so I wanted a couple of egg rolls.  I heart QT egg rolls. At 12:30 in the morning.

It was a fabulous night, and when we got home, I knew that I would awaken this morning in rough shape.  I am NOT young enough to attend concerts and drink beer and stay up late.  Kevin woke me up and told me I needed to go to work, and I wanted to shoot him.  My eyes were all red and swollen, and a lot of coworkers got a laugh out of my misfortune.

Heck, I can't complain.  It was self-induced.  I'm just glad that I didn't get knee-walking drunk.  I can't imagine going to work with a full blown hangover.  Yuck.  And poor Kevin had to take me to Blue Springs to get my car, so even HE couldn't sleep in.

After work, I took a nap (3 hours) and now I'm feeling much better.  We grabbed a couple of redbox DVDs earlier, so later tonight, Kevin and I will laugh at some Jr. High humor while watching Step Brothers.  Natalie has already watched Kung Fu Panda 2 times, while I napped.

Sorry for the long post, but it was just so fun to finally get out on the town with Kevin.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The elusive moon

The moon was full and beautiful tonight.  A crappy day ended by driving toward a big, beautiful moon.  I was soothed by the sight.

I know that you can't get a good picture of the moon, but it was so PRETTY!  There were some light clouds dancing around it, and I couldn't wait to get the shot.  I was more than 2/3 of the way home before it was safe to pull over.  I did, and it was too late.

The clouds were taking over.  I wish you could have seen it.  I took the shot anyway, but it's so disappointing.


I'll try again another night.  Or another morning.  I drive to work in the dark, and I drive home in the dark.  It's not tough to see the moon.

One. More. Week.

God help me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Ready for bed

OK, I'm ready for bed.  I left early, sure that school would be cancelled.  At 5:15, it wasn't, so I put the phone beside Monica's bed and told her that, if school was in session, I'd call to wake them.  The streets in town were a sheet of ice, so I was SURE that there would be no school.

I slid down the road to the highway, and went to work.  The interstate was clear, so I was at work by 6:30.  School still hadn't been cancelled, so I kept working, and watching online for this little town to do the right thing.  They never did.

At 6:40, I called to wake the girls, and told them that school was in session.  They were less than pleased, but they got up and got ready.  They had to walk in COLD temps, on ICY roads, to go to school.  It wasn't uphill both ways, but almost! LOL

I'm not a fan of useless school closings, but EVERY bus route in this town is rural, and nothing was cleared.  I guess, from what the girls said, a lot of  bus riders were late today, and some had stories of scary stuff.

I logged 10 hours at work, and had about 2 hours of work left to do when I headed out at 5.  My BWF Michelle sent some hand warmer things home with me, for the girls' walk to school.  She's awesome.  I'll go in a couple of hours early again tomorrow, and try to keep up with my work.

I am NOT complaining about being busy.  I was worried that the busy season wouldn't happen, and my job would be in jeopardy, but all is good.   I am as busy as a one-armed paper hanger!  My job shall remain viable for a while.

OK, goodnight.

Blog ya later!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Slip Slidin' away....

Jeez, Louise!  You get an inch or two of snow, and everyone turns into a moron.  Leaving work, I have to climb a pretty steep hill.  For those of you in the KC area (or Traci) it is just south of the stadium complex on Blue Ridge Cutoff.  My car can do this.  No. Problem.  However, many people have NO idea what their car can do.

They just head right on up a hill that their POS cannot deal with.  Therefore, I was stuck for 15 minutes behind cars spinning, sliding, and turning.  At one point, a car going the other direction, slid past me sideways, his front bumper coming within inches of the driver's side of my car.  I just flinched to the side, closed my eyes, and prayed, "Dear Lord, if he hits me, make it a good one.  I'm buckled, not moving, and I need a new car."

He missed me.  Barely.  *sigh*  And then we move on.  Finally, I had the opportunity to weave into the oncoming lanes to go around Dr. Spins-a-lot, and rocked and rolled right on to the interstate.

I-70 wasn't much better.  It wasn't slick, but it wasn't moving.  I got really excited when I saw this?

That was the fastest I'd gone in over 30 minutes.  *sigh*  So THIS is how it's gonna be, huh?  At about 6:00, when I should have been home, I was halfway there.  I had to pee so badly that I was pretty sure I'd die.  I exited the interstate and hit a QT.  I love QT.  I totally HEART QT.  Then, back on the road.

I got home, safe and sound, but a bit late.  Here is my radio when I got to my driveway:



Yup, a full hour later than usual.  Oh well.  I never slid, slipped, or had any issues, all the way home.  My little car, no matter what gripes I have about it, did an awesome job as usual.  Now, I'm gonna sit in my warm home and relax.  I have to leave early to make it in on time.  

If school is in session, I need to get the girls to Mom's by 6:00.  (a little warning, Mom.  Sorry.)  If there is no school, I'm leaving at 5.  This is busy season, and I have FAR too much work to do.  I can't just arrive at the normal time, and now we have ice issues.  

*sigh*

I still love Missouri, and I stand by my winter mantra:  "If it's going to be cold, it may as well be pretty!"

Several co-workers wanted to punch me for that one today. 

"Sleigh bells ring, are ya listenin'?  In the lane, snow is glistenin'!  A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight, walking in a freaking absurdly freezing land!"




Monday, December 8, 2008

Hawkeye is a wussy

Nala is the most timid animal in the house.  She would rather live alone, if someone would provide food, water, and a clean litter box.  However, she's stuck with 4 loud humans, an aquarium full of sharks, a big hairy dog, and her brother.  She used to avoid all of us like the plague, especially Hawkeye.  After all, he's a DOG.

Being to lazy to go downstairs for a drink, though, she's taken to drinking out of the dog dish.  Oh sure, it's usually when he's outside, or sleeping in another room.  Tonight, she got brave.  She walked slowly toward his dishes, where he was having his dinner.  She stared at him.


She apparently decided that she was too thirsty to care, or that he was too busy eating to give a darn about her.  She actually drank his water within inches of his huge, canine teeth.  What was she thinking?


She's realizing that he's a wimp.  The most he EVER does is growl in a low tone if the other cat actually touches him.  Surely he won't do anything about a bit of water.

Poor dog has lost his edge.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

The spoils of a day among the Christmas shoppers.

I did it.  I shopped.  I didn't die, but I wanted to kill a few strangers before we were done.  Overall, though, it was fun.  We even ate lunch out!  Natalie and Monica-blue-tongue show off their new coats:


Monica's new boots (Natalie is still gonna look for some.  She didn't find any that fit AND suited her needs):


Here are my new kicks:



Monica's Chuck Taylor (in black) shoes that she's wanted for so long:




Natalie's skate shoes:


I am so thankful that we were able to do this.  I spent a ridiculous amount of money today, but $200 was an unexpected surprise, and we all needed the items that we got.  Well, except for that lunch at 54th Street.  *burp*


Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm poor, OK?

OK, so we're poor.  I've come to grips with it, and so has my family.  I'm talking about money, here.  I'm quite rich in many things, but when it comes to money, we're one paycheck away from losing everything, all the time.  There, I said it.

This type of living causes certain things that folks with money wouldn't understand.  An income tax refund is something that we work toward.  Folks with money try to make it work out to where nothing is owed to the government and nothing is due back.  Not us!  That refund is "white trash Christmas" to us.

Another example of this is "sick check" week.  We get 5 days of sick time at work.  Whatever isn't used is paid to you at year's end.  If you have perfect attendance, there's a little something extra in it for you.  This is my second year of perfect attendance, and today was "sick check" day.

I knew it was coming, and most of it is spent for bills, etc.  HOWEVER, it is white-trash Christmas, isn't it?  Because of this, I stopped on the way home for a few things that we usually don't indulge in.  We had Taco Bell for dinner, I got GOOD beer, and I bought a couple of scratch-off lottery tickets for me and Kevin.

I told the girls that we'd go shopping when I got my sick check.  We are all three wearing horribly crappy tennis shoes.  I mean ugly and old.  Bad. Shoes.  We need shoes, and I told them that we'd get name brand tennis shoes (we usually buy WalMart shoes) when I got my sick check.  Kevin and I discussed it, and decided we wanted to do a bit more.

Last night, I told the girls that we would get tennis shoes, and they could choose between a second pair of shoes (Natalie wants some boots or something) or a new winter coat.  They have coats around here, but they're kind of sad looking.  They've been thinking about their decision, and I've been thinking about the best places to shop for good  bargains.

OK, back to tonight.  Kevin and I scratched our lottery tickets, and.  Ummm.  I saw something weird on mine.  I won $200!!!!!  That means, I can pay those bills that had to be paid, but I can also get the girls 2 pairs of shoes AND new coats!  WoooHooo!  The girls almost cried when I told them!

They don't expect a lot of "stuff" and they always have what's needed to get by.  It's just a wonderful feeling to know that they get to have something that isn't exactly needed.   Natalie can have her cowboy boots with pink stitching if she wants to.  Monica can have her pink Chuck Taylors.
  
Life is good, my friends.  Life is great during White Trash Christmas.  I'll get back to you during tax season, while my rich friends are worrying about owing the government.

BWAAHAAAHAAAHAAA!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Nonsense

I am so crazy busy at work that I can't stop to think.  Instead of thinking, I thought I'd share a video from a few nights ago.  Hell, Remo started it!


I didn't realize how loud the motor would sound when I zoomed, or that the lighting would suck when I zoomed, so I'm sorry.  To sum up what you missed during those times:   The biggest shark is insane, and Kevin's socks are on the floor.  Also, I should clean the house.  Also, the house is messy.  Natalie doesn't like her baby pictures, and I need a cleaning lady.  The end.

Goodbye.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Enjoying my company

Kevin's mom (Grammy) and his sister (Susan) and our nephew (Steven) came up to see us last night.  Linda made some awesome potato soup, and we played cards for hours.  Rummy was fun, and a pretty good game.  Spades, however, was where I was spanked horribly.  Kevin and Grammy finished with 521 (you need 500 to win) and Susan and I climbed out of the points basement to finish with 20.  LOL  We lost by 501 points.

It rained a lot of yesterday, and eventually turned to snow flurries.  There wasn't much, but you could grab a handful off the deck rail, so I'll call it the first snow of the season.  I awoke this morning and hurried to the window to see if we got any more:


Yup!  The ground is almost completely covered.  Pretty, huh?  OK, it sounds like my company is waking up in there.  We were up until the middle of the night playing cards, so everyone is sleeping in.  I better go get some coffee going!

Have a great Sunday.

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Wii would be nice

So, my niece brought her Wii over to Mom's yesterday.  I had a ball playing it with the girls.  Now I want one.

So, anywho, I'm perusing craigslist.com to see what's out there.  One guy mentioned that he wanted to trade music equipment for different things, and Brett wanted to see what he had to offer.  Well, let's just say that you never know what you'll find on craigslist.

Here is a sample of what he wanted:

I would be interested in tube guitar amps, nice set of drums, gibson guitar, fender guitars, acoustic/electric guitars, street bike, atv, small car, older ford truck, gun's, AT&T/Cingular phones(blackjacks, blackberry, or other smartphones, Nintendo DS, Wii, Xbox 360, or tell me what you have the worst I can say is no.

I have emphasized what I found humorous.  Guns?  Drums, an old truck, or guns???

Wow.  What's the address?  I'll be right over.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

What an incredible day

Kevin made sweet potato casserole for our offering at Mom's.  Aunt Rena made green rice and baked the ham.  Mom made the turkey, rolls, potatoes, noodles, and 400 desserts!  It was an awesome dinner.  I ate only one plate of food and I was miserable.   Sure, the plate was piled 3-layers deep, but it was ONE plate!

Several of us took a walk back toward the cabin, with 4 dogs in tow.  Pat and Charlene came back to mom's (from Pat's folks' place) and Kevin and Monica  came back after their nap at home.  We watched some mindless TV and told lies, err, I mean STORIES.  It may have been the best day ever.  It was close, anyway.

I have to work tomorrow, but I'll be right back after work, to hang out with my favorite people again.  I have a whole weekend with them.  I'm excited.  Well, as excited as a fat, bloated chick can get.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving.  Some folks choose to be alone, some surround themselves with family.  We even got the web cam going to see my Georgia brother's family.  We got to see folks that couldn't join us in person.  That's a good thing, for sure.  Whatever you chose to do today, I hope it was a great day.

Mine was.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Topics to avoid while drunk during Thanksgiving dinner



Tryptophan. Yes, it's called tryptophan.  We all know.  We all still know.

Uncle Joe looks a lot like Aunt JoAnn.  What ever happened to Aunt JoAnn?  She disappeared about the same time that we connected with Uncle Joe.  Wait!  What?

Why do I have to bring my own wine?  You have a whole box!

It's not so much that I'm allergic to your cats, it's just that the cat hair in the potatoes grosses me out a bit.

You said that we could all bring our husband or boyfriend.  I couldn't choose, so I brought both.  Is this a problem?

Can I have a drumstick?  Can I have a drumstick?  Can I have a drumstick?  I don't like dark meat.

Grandma's looking H.O.T.

Shut up, the dog is fine.  She bit me first!

You kid is streaking through the living room again.

What does a girl have to do to get some rum around here?

Smell my breath!  What does that belch smell like to you?

Now, which wife is this?  Number 4 or 6?  I get all of them confused.

Tryptophan.  It's called tryptophan.  Still.

Traci was here!

Traci was here!




Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tomorrow IS another day

OK, so I was worried about my job.  The busy season used to start right after labor day.  For the last year or two, we didn't get busy until early-mid October.  This year, it was early November, and we still weren't as busy as I think we should have been.

Let's just say that this week, it hit.  I am so busy that I can't even catch up to myself.  The phones are ringing off the hook, and the orders are flooding in, needing phone calls to be made.  I am in panic mode, and don't know how I'll keep up, but I'm SO happy that the season finally hit.  My job may be safe, afer all.

Tomorrow, I get to meet Traci!  I've met many online friends, but only a few through journals and blogs.  I am so excited!  I only get a bit less than an hour with her, and I know that they need to be on their way, but I'm excited to meet Traci and her family.

OK, time for bed.  I've got to be ready for tomorrow.  I have to do many things, that I hope to take pics of, and I have to meet Traci!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Signs, Signs, Everywhere signs...

Remember that song?  Anywho, I've mentioned my commute many times.  Let's talk about some signs.

Kansas City has "scout" signs.  I don't know if they're called the same thing in every city, but they show traffic, and if there's an Amber alert, that's the first place that it shows.  The other day, there was an accident on the right shoulder of I-70, past Blue Ridge Cutoff.  The sign, abbreviating, said, "Accident past Blue Ridge Cut Right Shoulder."  I thought, "Wow, now they're even giving a medic report on the injured!"  

Once I get off the interstate, on the way home, I pass three or four signs that say "No Center Stripe."  The problem is, there is a center stripe after all of them.  Maybe time to remove the signs?

There is a semi-portable sign before my exit.  The message on this one changes, but there are just a few that I seem to see over and over.  It has read, "Motorcycle awareness begins with you", "You drink, you drive, you lose", "Click it or ticket", " and speed limit enforced."  Duh!

Tonight, it said, "Trucks rock.  They also roll.  Buckle Up!"  OK, who is trying to interject the humor?  That doesn't seem to be the idea behind the sign.  Maybe that IS the idea, but everyone before now has failed.  Maybe the new guy, down at the highway department, showed them that humor was the way to go.

I'd try to get to the bottom of the messages on the signs.  However, they break up the monotony.  I'll take that over commuter boredom any day.

Oh yeah, one more "sign."  About 2-3 days per week, I follow a delivery truck for Lance snacks.  The truck bears a picture of a guy's jeans, with a package of crackers extending out of his back pocket.  The words say, "I've got Lance in my Pants."  

LOL  Good times.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday nonsense

It's been a typical Saturday at the old homestead.  Kevin had to work for a few hours, so he was gone when I got up.  Around 10, I took Natalie's friend home, and Natalie and I headed to Blue Springs.  We went to Aldi, and Kevin met us there when we were almost done.

When we got home, Monica was here, getting clothes for another day.  She stays at her friends house for an entire weekend pretty often, if we let her.  Today, friend's family was having their Thanksgiving dinner, and they wanted Monica to join them.  Tomorrow, she's going with them to see Twilight.  She read the book in just two days, so she's excited to see the movie.

Tonight, I fixed Kevin up with a rice sock:


His knee was bothering him, and I happened to remember this cheap heating pad solution.  It's great to warm up with in the winter, put on a sore body part, or whatever.  It is just rice, in a sock, microwaved.  Viola!  Kevin thought it was pretty awesome.  I just wish I'd remembered it years ago.  

Hawkeye went out to Mom and Dad's with us this afternoon.  Our visit got cut pretty short by a call from Monica, needing something from home, but we were there for a bit.  Long enough for the dog to wear himself out:

He loves it out there.  Natalie does, too.  She didn't come home with us.  She's still there now, planning on spending the night.  We're going over there tomorrow, anyway, for a fish fry.  Yum. 

I took a LONG nap this afternoon, and it felt great.  When I woke up, Brett was here.  He brought out a belated birthday present for Monica.  If he'd called first, I would have told him that she wasn't here.  Oh well.  I made a big pot of chili and a pan of cornbread, and now we're all just chillin' out.


Brett is parked at one computer watching comedians on YouTube, Kevin is nodding off with a sock full of rice on his knee, and I'm watching TV and surfing online.  L.A.Z.Y.  I love lazy Saturdays.

Friday, November 21, 2008

A cold Friday night Poem

Here we all sit on a cold Friday night,
The warmth of my house though, it just feels so right.

Monica went to a friends house to stay,
And Natalie has a friend over to play.

Kevin is watching TV in our bed,
I have declared all my friends journals "read."

I know I should scrub until my home is clean,
But there's always tomorrow, do you know what I mean?

I love when the weekend is finally here,
I watch TV, chill out, and sip on a beer.

Next week is a short one, I'm happy 'bout that,
I'll sit 'round on facebook and enjoy friend's chat.

I'm thankful for having a good life and home,
And having a husband, not tempted to roam.

We probably seem boring to those looking in,
But by golly, we're happy, enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The planning of a pre-teen (or two)

Both girls must clean their rooms by 9 (30 minutes from now) if they want to have ANY social life this weekend.  One is running up and down the stairs, trying to plan for tomorrow.  The other is playing a flute (she plays trumpet.  Where did the flute come from?) and shouting at a cat from time to time.

I don't care what they choose.  Honestly.  If the rooms are messy at 9 (bed time,) there are no sleep overs, no movie trips, no fun.  If the rooms are clean, let the fun begin.

Let's see what happens.

Oh, and why is Izzy sleeping with a ghost?  That's just creepy.

** Added at bedtime (9:00)
Both rooms are cleaner than they've been in a while, although not perfect.  They ran the vacuum, though, so all of the figurative crap is off the floors.  If they wake up with their alarms in the morning, and I don't get a boat-load of crap about getting ready, the weekend plans are on.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

America's Best

I've mentioned here before that we get our eyewear from America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses.  Sure, they're always very busy, and sometimes seem to be unorganized, but they are so CHEAP!  Other than Natalie, the whole family is blind.  Kevin, Me, Jonathan, Brett and Monica; we all need corrective eyewear.  I can afford it at America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses.

The last time I was there, I was trying to buy contacts for Kevin.  They had a discrepancy in when his prescription was due, so they couldn't sell them to me.  Now, I know he's good until April of 2009, and they saw that in one place, but on his chart, he was due for an exam.  I stood there long enough, with them trying to figure it out, that they took pity on me and gave him a free trial pair to wear until he could go in to straighten it out.

Today, I needed contacts, and his trial pair was done, too.  The issue hadn't been resolved.  I have a great relationship with them, because I give them a lot of money.  That tends to make people like you.  Really!  Try it!  Throw a lot of money at someone, and they will like you.

Anywho, I got there and told them that I wanted contacts for me and for Kevin, and asked if his issue had been resolved.  To make a long-story not QUITE so long, they kept me there for almost 30 minutes, trying to figure it out.  They finally did.  As she rang me up, I asked if I could have a "kit," since we were out of contact solution at home.  A kit is a travel size bottle of solution, and a new contact case.

She said, "For your patience and trouble, I'll do better than that."  I walked out of there with contacts for me, and contacts for Kevin, at full price.  I also left with a free pair of contacts for each of us, and TWO "kits."  Rock on.  I would have stood there even longer for that!  At least 2 more minutes, anyway.

Seriously, if you are on a limited budget, try America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses.  The prescription is the same as I get at any other eye doctor, and the optometrists there are certified like they are anywhere else.  The end product is just much less expensive.

OK, I've pimped them enough.  I'm just trying to get America's Best Contacts and Eyeglasses, as a google search, to show my blog.  Try it tomorrow.  Maybe I'll get lucky.

Now, I'm off to listen to my pandora station and check out what my friends are doing online.

Monday, November 17, 2008

But it's COLD

I had a Monday.  Anyone else?  Yeah, I know.  It's epidemic.  Seems to happen about every 7 days.  Hmmm.  Someone should look into this.

The girls both got up with their alarms this morning.  That never happens, but it did today.  It made for an awesome morning, as Mondays go.  I got to work early to prepare for a web class that I taught today, and things were fairly smooth.

Tonight, Monica made layered taco surprise, and we all enjoyed it.  Some people around here had seconds (not me this time) and it was gone when I went in to do the dishes.  That's the sign of a good dinner.

Tomorrow, I think I'll surprise the girls with a yummy breakfast.  *If* I can get up with *my* alarm!  LOL  I will try not to hit "snooze" too many times.  That's my big weakness.  I hit "snooze" too many times.  I'm a big fan of snooze.  Extra sleep, 9 minutes  at a time.

OK, I'm off.  I'm still enjoying my meez.  She was at work all day while I was.  She's a tough little worker.  I hope she gets a good night's sleep.  

G'Night, friends!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Meez

I forgot about Meez!  I reconnected with my darling meez today, and added it to this journal.  See me over there?

<-----------------

It's a lot of fun to play with.  Earlier, when I went to the store, my Meez was at a store, too.  When I go to work, the Meez goes to work.  Now, guess what I'm doing?  LOL, that's right!

I know that when you go to a page with a Meez on it, it blinks a few times as it loads.  Is that so annoying that I should have it on here?  It is sort of annoying to me, but not too bad.

Let me know, please.  I'll ditch it from this page if it's an annoyance.

Lazy Sunday morning

Here we are on a lazy Sunday morning.  I'm wondering if I'm going to get out of bed at all today. Yeah, I know.  I will.  Right now, though, it feels pretty good to lie here, sip coffee, and read blogs.  

I was checking out my sitemeter this morning.  I had a visitor from Canada.  I wonder if it was the person who Googled "fun stuff to do on Saturday  nights at home."  If so, I'm sorry.  Seriously, if a bored Canadian stumbled upon this blog, looking for fun stuff to do?  Sheesh.  I probably pushed them over the edge.

It would be fun to bait the site with stuff to get google searchers here.  Like, if I typed, "work from home."  Then, those people who want to get rich quick with very little effort will see this and scratch their heads.  "Gee, Mildred, this lazy slob talks about NASCAR too much.  I can't make money like this."

All right.  I have to get my house cleaned up and get to the store today.  It sure is hard to get out of bed when it's so cold outside.  I'd like to stay right here until time to get up tomorrow.  Wishful thinking.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just the two of us

Natalie had an absolute BALL at activity night.  She kept saying how awesome it was.  Phew!  Then, after she had been home for a bit, she asked me if it would be OK if she stayed home with me this weekend.  I said, "sure" but she wasn't sure how to tell her Dad.  She is always in fear of hurting someone's feelings.

Of course he was fine with it.  I wanted it to be her decision, and there will be times in a few months that I will be gone to conventions, so she can hang with me all she wants for now.  I heard a rumor that my Uncle Don is coming up to Dad's, so we'll probably venture over there to visit some.  Natalie and I are both fans of Uncle Don.  

Besides that, if he's here, that means maybe Aunt Rena will stay home.  She's gone most every weekend, and we'd like to see her, too.  Finally, I want to see Mom and Dad.  The weekend is the only time I can see anyone, since we all keep such different hours and it's dark by 3:00.  OK, maybe not that early, but I get home in the dark, so I want to stay in.

Anywho, it's just the two of us.  No telling what kind of mischief we'll get into.  I'll try to take pictures.  LOL

Friday, November 14, 2008

Random crap

This is the last weekend that I can wear this shirt, and have it truly represent Carl Edwards.  Next year, Aflac is his new sponsor.  I just bought this shirt in April when we visited our awesome Texas friends to attend my first-ever Nascar race.  Carl won that day.  *sigh*  He is currently in second place in the points standings, and has a tiny chance at the championship.  He would have to lead the most laps, win the race, and Jimmy Johnson would have to finish worse than 36th.  Yeah, I know.  He's still my hometown Missouri boy, though. Go #99!



Monica took a pic of the front of the shirt too, but it blurred.  Oh well.  

Tonight is Natalie's first "dance."  It's called "activity night" since they are just in 5th and 6th grade, but there is a DJ and a place to dance.  I don't think anyone will dance, but that's OK.  There are other rooms.  There is food and games and other activities.  Monica's first activity night was a nightmare for her, so we're hoping that Natalie's goes better.

Monica got a digital camera for her birthday.  That's what she wanted more than anything, and there was NO way we could afford it.  We checked two large Wal-Mart super centers, and found nothing we could get.  Kevin made a last-ditch stop at a nearby, tiny supercenter, and found the mother-load!  All of last-year's cameras were on sale!  

She got a Nikon, and is more than thrilled with it.  Her first words, after I woke her up this morning, were "Thanks again for the camera, Mom."  Yeah, we did good, without breaking the bank.  Kevin even bought a 1 gig card for her, and got some new rechargeable batteries for the household, since there is a second digital camera here.  Still, he got out of there for a VERY reasonable price.

Tomorrow, Kevin and the girls will head to Carthage for the big birthday weekend.  Grammy had her birthday, and the dinner is tomorrow night.  My car is too crappy for all of us to go together, so the truck is the only option.  That means, 3 at a time is the limit.  It's also GG's birthday tomorrow.  GG is Kevin's grandma, and GG means "great grandma" to the grandkids.  She was born on November 15, just like Monica, but 75 years earlier.

Oh yeah, did I mention?  Monica is 13 tomorrow!  Yup, the big 1-3.  A teen.  It's the big one.  She is looking more grown up every day, and that makes me a bit sad.  This is my second chance at "my oldest."  Brett is my oldest, Jonathan is Kevin's oldest, but Monica is OUR oldest.  The boys have moved on in their lives, so now we have to survive the girls.  Trust me, boys are easier.

However, she is an amazing young woman, and is such a joy.  I remember when I found out I was pregnant with her.  I had no symptoms, so to speak, and by the time I realized something was up, I was told that I was WAY further along than I thought.  In this situation, to judge the age of the unborn, they measure a few things.  They measure the length of the femur and the size of the head.

Have you SEEN the heads on this family?  We have some BIG ol' beans.  Because of this, I think they induced me about 2 weeks early.  I think this is probably the reason that she had asthma as a baby.  Many trips to the ER and many illnesses.  She has since outgrown this, and is doing fine, thankyouverymuch.  She is a shining star around here.  I love you, Sissy Doll!  

OK, the final bit of randomness:  The Wizard of Oz is on tonight.  When I was a kid, my whole family hated this movie.  It was on once per year, and I REALLY wanted to watch, but the family did NOT care to join me.  My mom would let me take the little TV to my room so I could watch on my own.  That was the one time a year that I had a TV in my room.  It was the most wonderful thing EVER!  Sometimes, she'd even make some carmel corn or some other treat for me to enjoy during the show.

Have I mentioned lately how much my childhood rocked?  No?  Well, it did.  When I had sleep-overs, my friends would put in snack requests ahead of time, and Mom tried her best to accommodate. 

Wow, that was an additional bit of randomness, after I said I was done. Sorry.  Have a wonderful weekend!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CMAs

I found out tonight that Cheesy Enchilada Hamburger Helper (our favorite variety) CAN be eaten in moderation.  It may have even tasted better that way.

Monica got stuck with a 2-person project when her partner refused to help, so she worked for hours last night to complete it on her own.  Kevin took her to work to make sure that the teacher knew that she did it alone.  When she got to the class?  She couldn't find it.  She got a detention AND had to do it again.  *sigh*

Natalie and I are ready to settle in and watch the CMA awards, so I'm out!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Cold rain

I don't mind driving in the rain.  I don't mind driving in the dark.  I HATE driving in the rain in the dark.  Glaring headlights and stupid drivers.  Also, my car is old enough that it doesn't have intermittent wipers.  With as light as it was raining, I had to hit the button every 3-5 seconds...for the entire 1-hour drive.

OK, I'm over it.  I'm home now; inside out of the cold.  Kevin had stir fry done when I walked through the door, and the girls took care of laundry and dishes.  It is MORE than enough to make up for the crappy commute.

I am having too much fun on Facebook.  I am hooked on YoVille, myFarm, Kidnap, and others.  At times, there are three computers around here, all doing various activities on Facebook.  Sheesh.  At least the homework and chores are done first, right?  LOL

Oh yeah, sometimes I run into my MOTHER in YoVille!  ACK!  Add to that 3-4 coworkers, and it makes for some funny stuff.  I guess it's better than spending money we don't have to go to movies or anywhere else for entertainment.

Now, back to Facebook!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Back on track

Over half of the customer service reps at work have decided to go on a weight loss challenge.  I sort of started the idea, after coworker M started dieting.  I was amazed at how many folks jumped at the idea!  My plan was to start tomorrow.

After sitting around all morning, though, I realized that I was letting a nice, sunny day go by outside my window.  I asked Natalie if she wanted to go for a walk.  She did, and Kevin joined us (Monica is at a friend's house.)  We walked 2 miles, making Hawkeye one happy dog.

I came home and fired up my old Spark People account, and started logging calories and setting goals.  I even did the strength training that they suggested.  It's cool, because you tell it what equipment you have available, and it will make a routine around that, instead of telling you to go buy something.  All I have are some dumbbells (no comments about my family here, ok?) so it gave me crunches, squats, arm curls, etc.  Natalie and I both completed what was suggested.

I've done this so many times.  Then, one day, I always sabotage myself and never get back to it.  I am really determined, and it helps that we are challenging each other at work.  Each week, we report lbs lost, and put $1 in the pot.  On January 1, the person with the most lbs lost gets the pot.  Money is a great motivator.  So is not being fat, for that matter.

I'd like to be able to wear some cute clothes to conventions next year.  I'll not be blogging much about my efforts, because that would be boring.  Heck, by the time I get done logging everything on Spark People, I'm sick of thinking about it.

Now, to be disciplined enough to walk in the dark.  Whether I walk morning or night, it's going to be dark.  And cold.  Hawkeye will like it, though.  He's passed out in the floor right now from our walk today.  He's out of shape, too!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Pandora and a cold Saturday

So, it's a blustery and cold Saturday here in middle America.  I went to work early and taught a web class, using new software that we haven't tested enough, so there were a few issues.  We worked through them, though, and the overall result was quite positive.  I'd rather not drive 1 hour each way on a Saturday, but with the response being this positive, how can I not?  LOL

After work, I heard a rumor that there may or MAY NOT be hamburger stew at my Mom's house, so guess where I stopped on the way home?  It was awesome, as usual, and my family met me there.  Not long after eating, I headed home.  I need to be home on Saturday, I need to be home when it's cold, and I need to be home after working.  Yup, that's 3 good reasons to be HOME.

For over an hour, I've been listening too, and fine tuning, my pandora station.  If you haven't set up a pandora station yet, you're missing out.  Of course, some folks don't physically need music as much as I do.  I've ridden in cars with people who don't turn on the radio, and it's like an alien concept to me.  TURN ON THE MUSIC!  www.pandora.com

Through facebook, I've caught up with some long-lost friends.  Even a couple of adults that I babysat for when they were kids.  I miss them and it's great to catch up.  Facebook is a cool thing.  Forget my addiction to YoVille, there are good things happening there.  I like it way better than myspace.  Sorry, myspace.

OK, I'm out for now.  I hope you all have a warm and wonderful weekend (what's left of it.)  I wish you all the comforts that can be offered by hamburger stew.  Haven't had it?  Head on over to Mom's place and ask for the recipe, OK?  LOL, sorry Mom.  I hope you don't get trampled by the millions (or the three) readers of this drivel.




Friday, November 7, 2008

Oh yeah...about that day off...

When I posted that I needed a day off, and that Saturday was coming, I had a temporary memory lapse.  I have to work tomorrow.  *sigh*  I'll be done around noon, though, so it won't be too bad.  Coworker B and I have to teach a couple of web classes.  They usually fly by pretty quickly.

Now there is some mind-numbing nonsense that I need to attend to.  I hope you have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

I need a day off

I guess Saturday is coming.  There's always Saturday, right?

I don't have a lot to say, and I'm not feeling very peppy or fun, so just let me quote my friend Amy:

Meh.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ah HA!

I am SURE that I found the errant setting, now!  I had a setting from long ago that would send an email notification to me when I got a comment.  Unfortunately, I set up the blog long ago, in another home, in another town, with another ISP, with another email address.  This has been fixed now, and if someone (Mom? Traci? Bentley?) would leave a comment, we could verify that I've fixed it.

There is nothing more annoying than a " bounce back" email.  I'm sorry that it's been happening.

Mom? Traci?

I'm trying to find a setting that would cause that "failed email" problem, and I think I may have found it.  Can you gals comment and let me know?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My final political post

Yeah, I'm not known for political posts, and I'll not debate on this blog.  I'll not even mention who I voted for.  It's just to much of a hotbed.  Here are a few random thoughts from today, though:

America has come a long way.

McCain handled the defeat with SO much class and integrity.

Movie/TV/Music stars need to SHUT UP.

I like free Starbucks.

People today held their heads higher than usual, proud that they voted.  THAT is a good side of Americans.

Fuel prices will likely rise again, now that the election is over.

Who's gonna clean up after the new puppy at the white house?

Would that person do my dishes?

How soon do we start seeing/hearing political ads again?  Two years?  Give me three, please.

People get REAL mad and fired up when talking about politics at work.

I'd rather talk about puppy poo in the white house.

Finally, strangers are very friendly in line at a polling place.  Probably vicious in traffic, though.

I'm just sayin'.

Can we just watch Viagra commercials now?

I voted. I collected my free Starbucks coffee.  I skipped the Krispie Creme (donuts make me sick) and didn't even get the Chik-Fil-A sandwich tonight.  I was wiped out, and just wanted to come home.  Oh well, free coffee is better than a poke in the eye with a stick.

Now, can the political ads just stop?  Just like that, right?  They're gone?  Over?

Thank. God. In. Heaven. Above.

I'm SO done with the mud slinging.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vote!

Vote your heart, vote your conscience.  

Just vote.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Pondering the free stuff

OK, I know that you used to be able to get all sorts of free stuff on your birthday.  In my early twenties, I would get a free car wash, visit 3 different bars that offered a free drink, and even get a 1/2 priced pizza!  It's not as easy to find such things anymore.  You can get embarrassed in a restaurant if you like, but that's about it.

Now, though, I'm tuning in to the fact that we can get some free stuff for voting!  Don't get me wrong, I planned to vote anyway, but free stuff?  Starbucks is offering a free tall coffee, and Ben and Jerry's Scoop Shops are offering a free cone (I don't think we have one of those around here, but I'm gonna check!)

Now, since my body woke up at 5:30 on a Sunday, I'm off to google this a bit and see what else I can find.  If you hear of something good, let me know.  Maybe I'll just skip work and run around getting free loot!

Added later from what I found on Bargain list:

A few restaurant chains are doing their patriotic duty by giving away free food on Election Day this November 4th. Start the day with a free star shaped doughnut with patriotic sprinkles fromKrispy Kreme. Each customer that shows up with an "I Voted" sticker will receive one. Then head over to Shane's Rib Shack where they'll be giving away a free "Vote America Meal" that consists of three hand-breaded chicken tenders, fries and a 20 oz. drink. Here again you must show your "I Voted Today" sticker. Chick-fil-a is also fulfilling their patriot duty with a free Chicken Sandwich for all voters. Finish up the day at your localBen & Jerry's between the hours of 5-8pm, and you'll get a free scoop of ice cream. All offers valid on 11/04/2008 only

Saturday, November 1, 2008

The candy hangover

Here is Monica, the undead homecoming queen:


And here is Natalie, my cowgirl:


Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

So, Brett came over for the weekend.  He agreed to take the girls out trick-or-treating.  Awesome!  I was off the hook, and could be home to pass out sugary treats to neighborhood kids.  Double Awesome!  I saw some cute little kids.  I love little kids in costume.  Heck, I love little kids in street clothes, too.

I am dog-sitting this weekend.  Mom and Dad ran off to Branson for the weekend, and poor Sadie was left all alone.  She is having a sleep-over with Hawkeye this weekend.  Hawkeye loves it...for about a minute.  Then, she just annoys him.  It's so funny.  Right now, he's lying in the far corner of the room, glaring at her.  She's lying under Brett, hoping that he drops candy.

OK, I have a ton to say, but I'm tired and lazy, so I'll post more tomorrow.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A better day

Well, first let me say "sorry" about yesterday's post.  I don't get like that very often, but when I do, it's nasty.  I should delete the entry, but it's an honest place that I was in.  I'm leaving it.  Maybe it will help me not go back there.

I woke up this morning, deciding that I was going to have a better day.  It's all about attitude, and if I roll with the punches, not getting worked up, I can deal.  That's what I did.  Only small road blocks popped up, and I dealt with them just fine.

Now, I'm enjoying Survivor, with Grey's Anatomy and ER to follow.  It's a good, typical Thursday, and life is good.  Oh yeah, and I purchased cookie dough from my BWF Michelle's son a while back, and it was delivered today.  Hot chocolate chunk cookies.  Mmmmmm.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Mentally drained

Today I just feel like I've had it.  From the time I leave home, until the time the girls get to school, I call and get called at least 10 times.  I call 2-3 times to make sure they're on track to be ready on time.  They call because they've lost a sock, or forgot an assignment, or aren't sure how many muffins I said they could have or because one used the other's deodorant.

I'm blessed that they are old enough to get themselves together and walk to school.  I no longer pay a ton of $$$ to day care.  I'm a mother, and I'm mothering.  I get that.

Work is getting more and more mentally draining.  It's getting busy and I'm dealing with some coworkers who won't pull their weight.  I'm fixing problems that others have caused, and multi-tasking on things that need my undivided attention.

It's my job.  I answer phones and emails, fix technical errors, check orders, and deal with customer's problems.  It's in the job description, and I get that.

From the time I get off work, until the time that I'm home, I call or get called at least 6 times a day.  I call to let them know that I'm on the way.  They call because someone has the music too loud, there are no pencils (yes there are, in the drawer,) the cat almost got out,  is it OK to have a snack cake instead of the predetermined snack, there's a muffin left and they both want it, etc.  

I'm blessed that they are old enough to come home after school and do their homework with no help most of the time.  I'm not paying after-school care.  I'm a mother, and I'm mothering.  I get that.

I'm staying up late to make sure that laundry stays caught up.  I get the coffee pot prepped for morning, figure out breakfast plans, and tidy up a bit for the next day.  I'm getting 6-7 hours of sleep, and my lazy body wants 8-9 hours.

I'm blessed to have a warm home to wake up in, a washer and dryer to do laundry in, and food to feed my family.  I'm a mother and  I'm mothering.  I get that.

I know that I'm being over-sensitive tonight.  I know that I'm just tired, and it's making me whiney.  I don't want to complain, because 100,000 other mothers out there are doing the same things, with fewer resources.  There are latchkey kids at home at the age of 8, instead of 13.  I am quite blessed, and I won't give up.

It's just a pity-party kind of night, and I'm tired.  

A more uplifting post tomorrow, I promise.  No matter what.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Crying alone in my bedroom

So, I was over at Mom's blog, and saw this post.  As I sit here alone in my bedroom, I bawled like a baby.  I love animals.  I truly love them.  Cats are NOT my animal of choice, but I laugh daily at the antics of our feline family members.  I've grown fond of even them.

Hawkeye is the best dog I've ever owned.  He's loyal, loving, and well behaved.  Add in silly and personable, and you've got a great friend.  I thought I ran over him a couple of weeks ago (turns out I barely clipped the end of his foot, and he never even limped,) and when I heard that yelping that only a hurt dog can do, my heart stopped.  If anything happened to him, I don't know what we'd do.

Even my silly sharks bring me a lot of pleasure.  Watching them and the hierarchy in the aquarium (plus, that plecostomus is one ugly dude) is peaceful and fun.  A visit to Mom's wouldn't be complete without throwing the frisbee for Sadie, or saying hello to Blue while touching his velvety nose.

Yes, animals are an awesome blessing.  I don't know WHAT we'd do without them.  If you don't have a pet, I'm sorry.  If you're allergic, I'm sorry.  If you've never hung out with animals, no other humans around, I'm sorry.  They have a way of sensing what's going on, and knowing who the good guys are.  When Kevin and the girls are gone, Hawkeye lies close to me, and watches over my every move, making sure that I'm safe.

I gotta go hug my dog, now.

Monday, October 27, 2008

To destroy a camera

Kevin found a digital camera (an old one) at a garage sale last year.  The lady selling it said that things were out of focus, but for a couple of bucks, it was worth finding out if it was user error.  It was not.  This is a POS camera.  It has since developed (get it?  Developed?) new problems.  Tonight, Natalie asked if she could destroy it.  Why not?

After a smack or two from a hammer, we had this:





Ever wondered what it looked like behind that back cover?  Now you know.  Of course, Natalie wasn't satisfied, and now Monica was interested.  What would happen if each took another couple of swings:


This is the other side (front) of said camera.  It was a tough little bugger, but it finally came apart in a wild splendor of pieces, just as Natalie had planned.



Oh yeah!  We have FUN around here!  I would try to explain how things work, or how this is a one-time thing, or how electronics are delicate items...but...But I thought this was WAY more fun.  Yeah, I'm warped like that.

Now, since you lived through that nonsense, let me share with you tonight's view of Mom's hill.



Beautiful, no?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Unplanned visit to Grammy's house

A while back, I got a very affordable computer from Walmart.  It didn't have a monitor, but I can get monitors at work for a song, if I don't mind the old CRTs.  Kevin got her all hooked up and things were fine for a few days.  Then, it bit the big one.

No telling what happened.  It had ridden down there in the back of the pickup, plus it was pretty old and slow to begin with.  I think it was just tired.  She was sure she had done something wrong, because she has no experience, but she couldn't have caused what was happening.

A bit after 5 last night, I told Kevin, "I can't fix it from here.  I think I'll just go down there."  He agreed that, despite the fuel involved, it was the best solution.  Monica was at a friends house, so Natalie and I jumped in the truck and headed South.  She and I are great travel buddies, and we laughed and sang and acted silly for three hours before arriving in Carthage.

I tried everything in my limited repertoire to get the poor thing running.  Diagnostics tests found most things OK, but the display adapter wasn't happy.  That wouldn't explain everything that it was doing, but it would explain some.  I gave up and went to bed, then woke up this morning and started messing with it again.

I finally cried "Uncle" and told Linda that I didn't think I could fix it.  She decided it would be best to buy an eMachine like my new one, so off we went to WalMart.   We went back to her house and set it up.  After several updates and the long setup process, we got her online once again.  I feel better about her chances with a new machine.

Now, we just need to set her up with a digital camera!  LOL  When we left, she had some things added to favorites, knew how to get to her email, and was playing a very competitive game of Hearts.  (Please don't tell her that those other three players aren't real people.)

Now, I'm home in my comfy living room, while the 20-25 mph wind howls outside (gusts are close to 50 mph.)  It got warm today, but it's blowing so hard, I fear we'll be transported to Oz if we step out there!  "Auntie Em! Auntie Em!"