"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. " -Helen Keller

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: Gustatory Delights and More

This weekend, I decided I was tired of cooking the same stuff all the time. I decided it was time to expand our palates. I've always wanted to try making a chutney, specifically a mango chutney. Of course, I didn't have mangoes but I did have canned papaya and guava (2 cans of each) so I figured I'd give it a shot.

Once I chopped up the papaya and guava into small slivers, I decided I didn't have quite enough fruit and I threw in a pan of peaches, sliced even smaller. I combined two mango chutney recipes from Cooks.com and this is the recipe I came up with...

Papaya/Guava/Peach Chutney

2 cans papaya (sliced small)
2 cans guava (sliced small)
1 can peaches (sliced small)
1 cup cider vinegar
2 cups white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp minced garlic
3 tbsp ground ginger
2 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tbsp crushed red peppers

Bring all ingredients to boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low
and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent
sticking. Remove from heat and cool completely before serving.

I served this with beef tips that had been marinading in a citrus marinade for 24 hours. I mixed them together and served it over rice. It turned out to be a wonderful combination of spicy and sweet. The chutney had a spicy bite but it never got your mouth too hot. The kids have requested that it be added to our regular menu.


I want to petition all of you to support Lady Nunn over at Preemie Presents. She is the mom of a preemie and knows how tough the holidays can be when you have a baby stuck in the NICU/PICU. Last year, she started Preemie Presents to put together gift bags for the families of preemies who are in the hospital over the holidays. If you are crafty, you can make blankets, hats, booties, and gloves for the babies. If you aren't crafty, she is accepting monetary donations and purchases from the charity's Amazon wish list. Not only does she put together gifts for the babies, but the gift bags contain treats for the parents too. Head on over to Preemie Presents and join in the fun.

BTW, if you click on that nifty picture right above, it will take you to the Google Docs page that will let you add that image as a smaller button on your blog (look left on my blog).
To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

As Gabe opines on potty training

Gabe's opinion on potty training

Seriously, what really happened was Gabe hurt himself. He was eating lunch and suddenly started saying he was hurt. I finally got him to calm down enough that I could ask him where he was hurt and the above picture was what I saw. Turns out, he accidentally bit his finger when he
eating his sandwich. After the potty training no go we had this morning, I needed the laugh so I took the picture.

However, while this may or may not be what Gabe thinks about potty training, it is what I want to do to the plumbing gods. Our dishwasher started leaking when we ran it, so we called a plumber. We were hoping the drainage hose had either partially come loose or had a hole in it. That would have been simple to fix. Unfortunately, the plumbers quickly ascertained that the pump was leaking when it drained the dishwasher. So, we are currently without a dishwasher. That's right no dishwasher in a house where I feed a pack of rabid boys on a daily basis. This sucks. But, since it only took a small fraction of the hour you have to pay the plumbers for, I also had them fix the valve on the water line to our ice maker. The valve was ancient and would not regulate the pressure causing the incoming line to separate from the fridge, thereby spewing water around the kitchen. The valve was easily replaced but, when they hooked up the line to the fridge, the frige would leak water. Obviously, the water and plumbing gods had it out for me yesterday. Grrrrrrrrr

Nothing else, I mean NOTHING, is allowed to go wrong with an appliance in this house. I forbid it.

Operation Underwear commences

Wish us luck. When Gabe and I went shoe shopping, I also bought him underwear because he had agreed to wear it. Of course, as soon as we got home he promptly refused to put it on. Last night, he decided it was time to wear his Cars underwear...and he actually agreed to put it on this morning. We've talked all about having to tell me when he needs to go potty. God, I hope this works.

*Sigh...strike one = one very clean spot on the floor.
**Double Sigh...strike two was less than 5 minutes after sitting on the potty and doing nothing. It was followed by sobbing and begging for a diaper. I know we won't get anywhere while he is in that mind set. Operation Underwear is on hold until tomorrow.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Contest Whore returns and other Random Shit...

I want to publicly thank all of you whose giveaways I have won this summer. I think (I really hope) I remembered to thank each of you via email and, if I forgot, I profusely apologize. Here are the awesome giveaways I've won this summer...
  1. The Good Dog Bakery Giveaway at My So-Called Life - my dogs loved these natural, wholesome treats. Go by Good Dog Bakery and order some for your pooches. Thanks to the people and pooches at Good Dog Bakery and Ellen for hosting the contest.
  2. A TNT Premiere Season Giveaway Pack at Days Like These - this was such a fun giveaway and it gave me the chance to review a few cool shows. Thanks to Tanyetta and the folks at TNT.
  3. The UPrinting Sticker Giveaway at MomFiles - I am so excited about these cool stickers. Huge thanks to UPrinting and Sheliza.
  4. The Weight of Silence Giveaway at All Thumbs Reviews - Many thanks to the wonderful Lori, the fabulous chicklet, and the folks at MomTalk for the book. I can't wait to read it.
  5. The UPrinting Wall Graphic Giveaway at MomFiles - Again, huge thanks to the wondermous folks at UPrinting and Sheliza for this giveaway. I am trying to decide what to get on this 24 in x 24 in wall graphic.
  6. The Pogo Giveaway at In Due Time - Thanks a million hon.
A Kirby vacuum cleaner salesman came by my house on Saturday. I was strong and didn't buy a vacuum. Instead, I got a clean floor and a free car vacuum (plugs into the car). I know some other people have had issues with rude sales people or sales people refusing to take a hint but the people that came by our house were extremely polite and professional.
My wonderful, fantabulous parents came up to see us this weekend. While my mom was at a conference on Saturday, my dad came over and finished most of the work on the treehouse (on stilts) he is building for the boys. Check out this amazing play area the boys now have...

Gabe is a total monkey boy. He thought decided this was the perfect position to wash his hands from...

I found him there when I went to check on him because the hand washing was taking too long.
Go give Sheliza at MomFiles some bloggy love. She's an awesome mom, a good friend, Vent day Wednesday is funny as hell, and she constantly has great giveaways (here's the latest giveaway).

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Stitching Post Saturday 9/26 & other Random Shit

Hey y'all. Happy Saturday. Sorry there isn't much coherence to my post today but I've got family coming over and I've got to get some cleaning done.

I finished the crocheted pig I showed you last week. I am thrilled with how he turned out and the little boy he was made for love it too.

Gabe desperately needed new shoes so I took him out to get some yesterday. We found some shoes for Gabe and then he spotted the Halloween socks. Gabe begged and pleaded and ended up with a set of ghost sock. It's pretty funny because they are adult socks which means the heel hits the top of his ankle and they can be pulled up past his knees but he LOVES them. I also found a pair of sneakers that I had to have. How can you possibly pass up purple shoes (and, yes, those socks are a pair and they don't match...they are sold that way)?

Last weekend, I helped Joey build a boat for the Raingutter Regatta. The cool thing is this is the only one of the races (Pinewood Derby, Space Derby, and Raingutter Regatta) that you do not have to build your vehicle from the scout kit. The boats are judge for speed, beauty and how unique they are. If you place in the top three in any of the categories, you get a ribbon to wear on your uniform. Joey and his ship, the *SS Candy, won 3 rd place for most unique. We constructed the ship from a 20 oz soda bottle and the sail is from the saide of a 3 liter bottle of soda. The ship and sail were decorated with Reese's Peanut Butter Cup wrappers and lollipop wrappers.


Any advice on how to find a good and trustworthy Jeweler? I can't wear my engagement ring right now because one of the prongs holding the diamond in is bent. I miss my bling.

*I voted for the Good Ship Lollipop but my suggestion got shot down.

Friday, September 25, 2009

37 Things Women Should Teach Their Daughters About Men

Gabe and I went shopping for new shoes (more on that later) and, when we got home, The View was on. Whoopi and the girls were talking about this list that went up on Frisky.com about37 things women should teach their daughters about men. They didn't read the whole list. They were just hitting some of the high (and low) points of the list. It got me curious so I went looking for it. Now, there are some really good points on the list but there are ones that make me want to go screaming into the night. I've put my changes in bold type next to the original.
    What Our Daughters Should Know About Men
  1. If you’re paranoid he’s cheating, then you don’t trust him and the relationship should be over.
  2. Going down isn’t shameful. There is nothing shameful about any sexual expression of love between two consenting, loving, committed adults.
  3. Learn how to satisfy yourself sexually.
  4. Men are powerless in the face of female sexuality. While men can be bowled over by female sexuality, a real man is in full control of his actions and never uses this as an excuse.
  5. Be honest and upfront about your feelings, and demand the same from men.
  6. Don’t try to change a man.
  7. If he’s annoying when you’re dating, then he’ll be annoying when you’re married.
  8. The first time he hits you is the last time he hits you, because you leave.
  9. “Perfect couples” have troubles too, so don’t compare your relationship to other relationships too much.
  10. If he’s not willing to work on the relationship, then he’s not invested in it.
  11. Flirting with other women in your presence is disrespectful and shouldn’t be tolerated.
  12. It’s OK to sleep with multiple men at the same time, as long as you’re honest with them and safe about it. Sexuality is about more than pleasure. It should be reserved for a loving, committed relationship. Multiple partners can wreak havoc with your emotions and your health.
  13. The STD talk really isn’t that difficult to have.
  14. Keeping your man sexually satisfied will do wonders for your relationship...and he should do the same for you.
  15. You both should be able to say “I’m sorry.”
  16. If he can’t laugh at himself, he’s too uptight.
  17. A man who cooks you breakfast in bed, gives you foot rubs, goes shopping with you or accompanies you to a *rom-com is worth his weight in gold.
  18. Mama’s boys are unlikely to prioritize your wants and needs above their mom’s wants and needs.
  19. Always trust your gut.
  20. Expressing strong emotions doesn’t make you crazy.
  21. Don’t bother overanalyzing him. His reasoning is likely very simple.
  22. Be able to take it as much as you dish it.
  23. Find a man that truly “cares” for you. When love and passion fade, “caring” takes over until they return again.
  24. Never waste your time with a man that makes you feel bad about yourself.
  25. You don’t owe him a thing, even if he buys you the most expensive dinner in town.
  26. Tease him. And just went he thinks he’s going to get it, tease him again. Never be a tease. It isn't nice. It isn't sexy. And, it can get you in a bad situation.
  27. There are seven excuses for getting out of anal sex. If he wants something sexually that you aren't comfortable with, just say no. You don't need an excuse. If he cares about you then he will respect your decision.
  28. You can’t own anyone and they can’t own you.
  29. It’s OK to just listen to him breathe sometimes.
  30. Men need to be cuddled and hugged, too.
  31. Find someone to share your life with, not fill in the gaping hole (not a vagina reference) in your life.
  32. Only you can make yourself happy.
  33. Love doesn’t hurt.
  34. Shoe shopping is great breakup therapy.
  35. Never settle.
  36. Date potential, instead of vainly searching for Mr. Perfect.
  37. Be a lesbian. It's ok if you are a lesbian. The important thing is that you search for a partner you respect and love.
What would you change? Which ones horrify you? Which ones make you think OMG, I can't imagine talking about that with my child?

*rom-com = romantic comedy = chick flick

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Mea Culpa

I had to call my dad the other day to apologize and, in the process, gave him a laugh and a moment every parent dreams of. When he picked up the phone, I said, "I'm sorry I was such a pain in the ass all those times you helped me with math homework." Why would I call him now, more than a quarter of a century later, to apologize for behavior back then? Because I got a taste of just how fucking impossible I must have been. Marty was trying to do his pre-algebra homework (multi-step equations with unknown variables and both negative and positive integers) and just wasn't quite getting it right. He ended up getting so agitated and so convinced that he couldn't do it that explanations that would normally make sense to him were causing him to scream at me in frustration. Instead of listening to the explanations, he would jump 3 or 4 steps ahead and, of course, not understand because an assumption he made was wrong. He was driving me INSANE.

See, I can remember behaving EXACTLY like that when my dad would try to help me with my pre-algebra and algebra homework. I remember just how crazy I let it drive me and how I would yell and stomp and loudly state that it MADE NO SENSE!...because obviously it was the principals of mathematics that made no sense. It couldn't be me that was the problem. Fast forward from 1982ish to today in 2009 and put me in the roll of the parent and Marty in my part and that was exactly what I went through the other night.

However, despite the crazy making potential of the situation, I stuck with it, just like my dad stuck with it with me. In the end, Marty finally understood how to simplify those equations and I didn't have to wait over 25 years for my apology. The next day, Marty came to me and said thank you for helping him and told me he was sorry he had been such a pain. He then told me I had helped him understand it well enough that he was able to help a friend learn it.

Huge kudos to Marty for admitting his behavior and having the cojones to admit he had been wrong. I know i didn't do that at his age.

And, Dad, I'm sorry it took me over 25 years to truly understand what a pain in the ass I was all those times we worked on Math together.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: Our Camping Trip Treasures

Last week, I told you about the fabulous cub scout camping trip Joey and I went on. I also promised you I would show you everything we found this week. The highlight of the camping trip was our excursion to the Aurora Fossil Museum. Joey was so excited about getting to see everything in the museum and he was fantasizing about finding a really old shark tooth when we combed through the dirt/fossil/shark teeth pile from the phosphate mine. He especially wanted to find a Megalodon tooth. I told him that while it was a great dream, the likelihood of finding one was slim to none. After all, a Megalodon tooth would be between 2 and 16 million years old. We found a ton of cool sharks teeth, some great pieces of coral, a few small fossils, and one Megalodon tooth! I guess I was wrong about us finding one. The amazing part is that it was right on top of the pile of stuff. I honestly didn't think it was a tooth until I picked it up and felt the serrated edges. Here are pics of all our goodies...

Joey's stuff(from top left, clockwise):
coral, some fossils, in lower left corner -
whole sharks teeth, partial sharks' teeth,

my goodies: partial sharks teeth at top
bottom left - Megalodon tooth,
bottom right - whole sharks' teeth

close up of the Megalodon tooth -
if the top wasn't broken off, the tooth
would probably be 4+ inches tall

a pic of a Megalodon jaw (adult male
and Great White shark jaw are
behind it for comparison)
Evidently, Megalodon teeth range from about 2 1/2 inches to 7+ inches tall. That means ours would be about midsized if it was intact. Joey has decided he would like it made into a necklace.
To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Wordless Wednesday: Ode to Joy

Just because the Muppets make me happy...found thanks to Smith @ Family of Two:The Adoption Chronicles

Check out more Wordless Wednesday posts HERE and HERE.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Precious Gift

How do you regard your journey through infertility? I guess a lot of how you regard it depends on where you are in your journey. Honestly, although I wouldn't wish infertility on anyone, I would not trade my journey through infertility for anything. I have received too many blessings in my life because of my infertility...people I've met, things I've done, even the child I eventually had. I wouldn't have had any of those without my journey through the land of IF.

JJ over at Reproductive Jeans wrote a brilliant post, "Heavy Hearts Weigh The Same", talking about this very thing. You all need to go read it. In fact, it is so brilliant that I kirtsy'd it. What's kirsty you ask? Well, it is a way to publicize posts that you think are important to read. Posts that get a lot of votes on kirtsy appear on the main page where EVERYONE who goes there will see it. Help me get this post on the main page. Click here and, when the kirtsy page opens, click on the post title. That gives the post a vote and lets you read a brilliant post. Make sure you take a moment to tell JJ what you think of her post.

I wouldn't want this super power.

A Fort Smith, Arkansas mom appears to have the power of superfetation. Superfetation is defined as "successive fertilization of two or more ova of different ovulations resulting in the presence of embryos of unlike ages in the same uterus". *Todd and Julia Grovenburg are expecting two babies that appear to have been conceived approximately 2.5 weeks apart. Julia's OB went so far as to issue an official statement...
18 September 2009

To Whom It May Concern:

Mrs. Julia Grovenburg is pregnant with twins and there appears to be a discordant growth pattern, possibly due to superfetation. This is an unusual and rare condition, but the possibility is real. It can only be confirmed after delivery by chromosomal and metabolic studies on the babies. She was evaluated at UAMS in Little Rock for this condition and they confirmed the suspicion of superfetation.

Sincerely, M. Maylaert, M.D
Interestingly, this isn't the first time superfetation has been confirmed. Ame and Lia Herrity were born in 2007 and are a confirmed case of superfetation. But, the case that fascinates me the most is the birth of Harriet and Thomas Mullineux. Their case is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt due to extremely early ultrasounds because she thought she was miscarrying. The initial scan showed a sac with one healthy fetus and what appeared to be this fetus's twin which was being reabsorbed by the body. In addition, there was another small blob that looked like a sac being reabsorbed. When she went back two weeks later, both the existing fetus and the second sac had grown at appropriate rates for 2 weeks time and the second sac had a developing baby in it. In addition to these rare, million-to-one cases, there is a well documented superfetation hoax perpetrated by an Italian couple back in 2001.

Just when I thought I knew most things there are to know about our girly parts, I find out that - Yes, Virginia, women can ovulate more than once per cycle and a few rare women can get pregnant when they are already pregnant.

*The article/video provide additional details and is well worth reading.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Woohooo, I'm rich! or, an open letter to internet scammers...

Dear Friend,

Greetings to you and your family in the name of (God).

In my search for a reliable and (God) fearing person and having gotten your contact through prayers and painstaking efforts I have decided to seek your help in carrying out my last wishes.

My name is Mrs.Linda Camarah, I'm a 67 years old woman, a christan origin from UK and residing in Senegal, west Africa, I and my husband was an engineers and used to work with shell under contract and also a merchant and owned two businesses in Dubai, I was also married with two children..My husband and two children died in a car accident six years ago.

Before this happened, my business and concern for making money was all I live for.
I never really cared about other values in life. But since the loss of my family, I have found a new desire to assist helpless families.

I have been helping orphans in orphanage/motherless homes. I have also donated some money for humanitarian needs in Sudan, South Africa, Cameroon, Brazil, Guinea Bissua, Austria,Liberia and some Asian countries.
Only recently I saw on television the colossal loss of properties and livelihood people in Canberra, Australia through fire.

I was moving with great pity and compassion that I decided to make this contribution on assisting people over there, I kept Fifteen Million United States Dollars{US$15Million} in a long-term deposit account in a Bank here in Senegal .

Presently, I'm in a Chinesse hospital here in Senegal where I have been undergoing treatment for oesophagi cancer at Shanghai Medical Center Senegal have since lost my ability to talk and my doctors have told me that I have only few months to live.

It is my last wish to see this money distributed to victims of the fire outbreak in Australia and other charity organization.

I have enclosed for you the Current Photogragh I took below Because relatives and friends have plundered so much of my wealth since my illness, I cannot live with the agony entrusting this huge responsibility to any of them.Please i need your information so that i will send it to the Bank to contact you, I beg you in the name of (God) to help me collect the deposit and distributes it accordingly. Use your judgment to distribute the money and keep 20% of it to yourself.

Feel free to reimburse yourself when you have the money for any cost you incur during the process of collecting and distributing the money.

If you are willing to help, please reply as soon as possible. May the good lord bless you.

Because of my cancer illness i was advised not to use phone, i will give you my Lawyer number so that you will always contact him through phone for any advise and message you want to pass to me and my Lawyer will also be calling you if there is any emergency. Regards,

Mrs.Linda Camarah.

Some of these scam letters amuse me more than others. This one had me laughing out loud.

Mrs. Linda Camarah,

Work on your grammar. Surely you scam artists can find one person who speaks English to proof read your letters. And, if you are going to feed your mark a story, please make sure to follow through on the elements. For instance, if you promise a picture, give me one...even if you have to steal it from someone else's site. Nothing sells a sob story like a sad picture. And, please, if there is a detail that jumps out and grabs the attention, make it a good one. Nothing screams fraud quite like telling me the Shanghai Medical Center is in Senegal.

Thanks for the entertainment but your work ethic and follow through suck!

Sincerely, Kristin

BTW, I did email this back to them.

Welcome to the once monthly week of insanity...

otherwise know as Kristin is participating in ICLW. See, I am really laid back about most things in my life. Very few things inspire obsessive behavior of any type in me. The weird thing is, I can't always predict what appeals to my insane side. For example, I am obsessively neat when I put my cross stitch floss on bobbins. I hate bobbins that balloon out in the middle. Mine are nice, neat, and flat. They look like they are wound by a machine.
I also am obsessive about ICLW. I get all bent out of shape if I miss commenting on any blogs during ICLW. I try to resist but it never seems to help. Hmmm, I wonder if I could redirect some of that obsession into something useful, like housework maybe. So, what if anything do you obsess about?
BTW, for anyone who is new to my site, here are some links to help you get to know me better...
Finally, I found out that one of my all time favorite books, The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein, has been optioned to become a movie starring none other than Patrick Dempsey aka Dr. McDreamy, in the lead. I can't wait!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

OMFG, I found the holy grail of the blogosphere...

I was reading a post over at Monnie's about plagiarizing bloggers and that made me think of one of my all time favorite bloggers, getupgrrl. See, there were a few people who were wholesale plagiarizing getupgrrl and she took down her archives to prevent that from continuing. Sadly, we haven't heard from getupgrrl since 2005 but I still keep hoping she will show up again. So, I did today what I've done many times and I googled her. And, no, getupgrrl isn't blogging again but I found a cache of a good percentage of her archives. I am so excited, I can read things from my all time favorite blogger, getupgrrl from Chez Miscarriage, again.

Out of respect for her, I will not publish any of her posts here. However, if I know you and trust you, I can give you the link (or a copy of the posts) so you can read her again too.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Stitching Post Saturday 9/19 + TUSAL

This week, I have an absolutely adorable project to share with y'all and I am finally remembering to do a Totally Useless Stitchalong (TUSAL) update. The whole purpose of the TUSAL is to collect all the orts (small pieces of floss, thread, yarn, or other fibers) that you trim off your stitching projects over the year. You can collect them in the see through container of your choice and, by the end of the year, you have a colorful and possibly artistic representation of your year's activity. I still think that when we get closer to the end of the year, I will buy some clear glass ornaments to put the orts in. My container is getting quite full...
All those lovely yellow and black pieces of yarn at the top are from my latest crochet project. I've been modifying a pattern I found online to create a pig. Except for legs, he is done. I crocheted around wire so the tail could be curly.

Friday, September 18, 2009

To sleep, perchance to dream

That's all I'm hoping for tonight. Marty is finally feeling better but poor Gabeycakes has it. The past two nights, he has woken up twice, exactly 4 hours apart, when his cough medicine wears off. It is kicking my ass. Last night was particularly bad because he woke me up at 4:20 am and was up for half an hour and I had to be up again at 5:45 so I could take my friend into the hospital for minor surgery. I was dragging sooooooo badly this afternoon.

Regarding my friend, we had an interesting experience when we were at the hospital. I think that the guy that came in to wheel her back to surgery thought we were a couple. Right before he wheeled her away, he stepped outside the curtain and made a comment about having a minute to give her a kiss or a hug or whatever. For whatever reason, it amused us so as soon as he pulled the curtain, we looked at each other and made kissy noises. Jennifer and I have joked and called her my stand in husband (when Vic is at work) and we joke and call her my hubby's girlfriend but this is the first time someone else assumed we were an item. Oh well, hehehe, I could do a hell of a lot worse.

I'm out of here for now. I'll try to catch up with the blogs over the weekend. Smooches!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: Camping with Joey

Hey y'all, please, please head over to my friend Jenn's blog, Patience is a Virtue, she needs some serious prayers right now
Last weekend, Joey and I went on the first cub scout camping trip of the year. All pics are clickable for bigger views.
Pack 200 went camping and Camp Bonner which is right near the Pamlico Sound.
Friday evening, Joey and a few of his scout friends explored Camp Bonner. They checked out the lake, found deer tracks, played with the camp directors dogs, and played a complicated version of flashlight tag.
After breakfast on Saturday, the scouts and their families headed into the little community of Aurora. In Aurora, there is a fabulous little fossil museum and, near the museum, they have two large piles of dirt/gravel/etc from an old phosphate mine. These piles are rife with fossils, cool shells, and sharks teeth. Visitors are free to search as long as they want and keep whatever they find. Come back next week to see the extremely cool things we found.
Joey and I had a wonderful time (even if he did refuse to smile for a picture). After lunch and another hour or two of fossil and shark teeth hunting, we headed back to camp. While I struck camp, packed our gear, and read a little bit, Joey was off to explore with his friends. Most people were staying Saturday night too but we wanted to head home to try and go to the NC Literary Festival on Sunday. Sadly, we missed the Literary Festival because Joey woke up with a harsh, hacking unproductive cough on Sunday morning.
However, before we got home and Joey got sick, our wonderful camping trip was capped with these gorgeous views of the sunset.

To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Welcome to the Germ Factory - updated

Vic is sick and has been since last week. Marty is sick. His cooties hit over the weekend and he still isn't better. Joey got sick on Sunday and finally is back at school today. According to the doc, it isn't the piggie disease but, he also said that if Vic didn't start feeling better in a few days to come back in. So far, Gabe and I are ok and I'm keeping my fingers crossed it stays that way.

You haven't had real fun until you have a whole frakkin' house full of sick, cranky males. Wanna come have fun with me?

Update - Marty and Vic officially has the flu (just the plain variety, no swine flu here) and the doc gave him a pass for the rest of the week. God I hope the rest of us avoid it.

Update 2 - Gabe just woke up coughing, hacking, and crying...happy happy joy joy

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Patrick Swayze Is Gone

I'm sure by now y'all know that Patrick Swayze lost his battle against pancreatic cancer yesterday. I remember being totally swept away by the cheesy romance in Dirty Dancing (yeah, I'm a sap) and I remember sobbing at the end of Ghost when he said good-bye for the final time. And, earlier today I couldn't help the tears when I was watching the final dance from Dirty Dancing on youTube. Patrick Swayze could always make me weak in the knees and I loved that you could unashamedly adore him because he lived his life with class and style. He and his wife had a real life fairytale romance - 34 years of love and marriage and 38 years of friendship. I had so hoped he would be a miracle survivor but, sadly, that wasn't to be. I think I'll put on one of his movies tonight and sniffle through a good-bye.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Chronic Lyricosis - do you have it?

You may not know the name but, I can guarantee you know the disease. You all know a person who sings along with the radio at the top of their lungs and lyrics be damned...something is coming out of their mouth. I first heard the term chronic lyricosis while listening to The Big Show with John Boy and Billy and thought it was the best and funniest term to describe the continual mangling of lyrics. I've had a particularly bad case of it lately. The local oldies station, 100.7 The River, has been playing Blinded By The Light by Manfred Mann's Earth Band a LOT lately. I know the lyrics, really I do. But every single time I hear it, instead of hearing "Blinded by the light, revved up like a deuce, another runner in the night", I hear "Blinded by the light, revved up like a douche, another runner in the night" . Now, I have no idea why my brain insists on processing those lyrics that way. As far as I know, douches can't be revved up unless they've invented a motorized douche (oh please God no...but, I guess that would be a way to insure that clean, fresh feeling) and I am certain douches have nothing to do with runners in the night.

This disease is rampant. We've all heard the stories of people singing "Jose, can you see" instead of "Oh, say can you see". Well, according to The Archive of Misheard Lyrics, people have mistakenly sung "Oh Canada, we stand on cars and freeze" instead of "Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee". We even see chronic lyricosis in movies and tv shows. I totally lost it when we were watching Malcolm in the Middle today and Reese, one of Malcolm's brothers was trying to sing Amazing Grace. Instead of singing "Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, That saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, Was blind, but now I see", Reese sang "Amazing race, how sweet the taste, that saved a wrench for me. I once was in the lost and found, was blind but found my keys". But (heh heh, she said butt), my all time favorite case of chronic lyricosis resulted in REM's lyrics "That's me in the corner, That's me in the spotlight" being heard as "Let's pee in the corner, Let's pee in the spotlight".

Come on, time to fess up. What's your all time funniest chronic lyricosis incident? It can be self committed or overheard.

Even my accidents are abnormal

I'm weird. I like being weird. I frequently tell my kids that life is a lot more fun when you let weirdness into your life. But, why, oh why do even my accidents have to be weird?

My crafting has been at a halt since mid-day on Sunday. I was sitting at the computer minding my own business and here is what happened...

Joey: Mom, there is a knife stuck in the drawer.
Me: What do you mean there is a knife stuck in the drawer?
Joey: sounding slightly frustrated There is just a knife stuck in the drawer. I don't know how to explain it. Just come look.

So I got up and took the very short trip into the kitchen. I looked in the drawer and thought, "Damn, the kid's right. That knife is definitely stuck. Picture an open and empty drawer. Now, do you see the seam down the back...the spot where the back of the drawer and the bottom of the drawer meet up...the spot that is too narrow to even slip a dollar bill through? Well, somehow (be damned if I know how) the tip of a sharp knife was stuck in that seam.

Me: Don't worry Joey. I'll get it.

Surely it can't be too hard to get out of there. So I reached in, grabbed the handle, and gave it a tug. Bwahahahahaha, if only it had been that simple. The knife didn't budge. Did I take a a step back and reevaluate? Did I clear all the other knives, the silverware tray, or the sharpening stick out of the way? Did I stop to think what would happen if I pulled harder and the knife didn't come out? Did I stop to think what would happen if I pulled harder and the knife did come out? The answer to all those questions is a resounding "HELL NO!" I just pulled harder.

The knife came out of the crevice it was stuck in and another knife went in...into my hand that is. When the knife came loose, my hand rebounded right into the very sharp point (have I mentioned I like sharp knives) of a knife. The point of the knife went in about1/4 to 1/2 inch in the area marked on the picture below.

not my palm
Luckily, it went straight in and I pulled it straight out so I didn't have to go get stitches or have it glues shut. It hurt like hell and the hand is still very, very tender. I was able to censor myself and keep the worst part of what I wanted to say inside. The only thing that saved me from spewing lots of bad words was the fact that my kids were so worried about me already.

See, even my household accidents are weird.

Friday, September 11, 2009

For The Fallen Heroes of 9/11

Remember those who gave all,
those who ran in so some may live
while everyone else was running out

Number of firefighters and paramedics killed: 343
Number of NYPD officers: 23
Number of Port Authority police officers: 37

Brother when you weep for me
Remember that it was meant to be
Lay me down and when you leave
Remember I'll be at your sleeve
In every dark and choking hall
I'll be there as you slowly crawl
On every roof in driving snow
I'll hold your coat and you will know
In cellars hot with searing heat
At windows where a gate you meet
In closets where young children hide
You know I'll be there at your side
The house from which I now respond
Is overstaffed with heroes gone
Men who answered one last bell
Did the job and did it well
As firemen we understand
That death's a card dealt in our hand
A card we hope we never play
But one we hold there anyway
That card is something we ignore
As we crawl across a weakened floor
For we know that we're the only prayer
For anyone that might be there
So remember as you wipe your tears
The joy I knew throughout the years
As I did the job I loved to do
I pray that thought will see you through
~Author Unknown

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Knitting Circle

I just read the most amazing book. I actually had to force myself to put it down last night so I could get a little sleep.

The Knitting Circle is a semi-autobiographical novel by Ann Hood. She starts the book with a prologue that applies both to her own life and to a character in the book. She says...
Daughter, I have a story to tell you. I have wanted to tell it to you for a very long time. But unlike Babar or Eloise or any of the other stories you loved to hear, this one is not funny. This one is not clever. It is simply true. It is my story, yet I do not have the words to tell it. Instead, I pick up my needles and I knit. Each letter is a stitch. A row spells out "I love you." I knit "I love you" into everything I make. Like a prayer, or a wish, I send it out to you, hoping you can hear me. Hoping, daughter, that the story I am knitting reaches you somehow. Hoping, that my love reaches you somehow.
I'm not going to lie to you. This isn't a fun book. But, it is an amazing book. You will cry and feel the characters' anguish. In the end, you will also come out with a deeper understanding of grief and the way it affects us. Ms. Hood handles the subject of loss and the surprising things that pull you through it with a frankness and sensitivity that comes from having made the journey herself. For some of you, Cara, my dear friend Chris, and many others, this book may hit almost too close to home, to close to the pain you felt and lived through. Despite the pain and raw grief Ms. Hood depicts, the unexpected friendships that sustain the protagonist and ultimately bring her to the point of living again, loving again, and having the strength to help others on their own journey back to life keeps this book from being depressing or dark.

Hilma Wolitzer (The Doctor's Daughter) says,
"The Knitting Circle is that rare thing: a wrenching story about loss that also manages to be consoling. It's a testament to women's friend ship and to ann Hood's talent."
And, Caroline Leavitt (Girls in Trouble and Coming Back to Me) says,
"The Knitting Circle kept me up all night reading. It is brilliant and brave and extraordinary. It does what the very best novels do - it takes a tragedy and finds the heart of the pain and turns it into shimmering art."
Do yourself a favor and give this fabulous book a chance.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: Labor Day 2009

If you want to read about the cataclysmic beginning to the day, check this out. After that disaster, the boys and I met my parents and nieces for a fabulous day including lunch at IHOP, a trip to the NC Museum of Natural Science to see Chocolate: The Exhibition and all the other wonderful displays, and an hour or two running, screaming, and burning off energy at the park. The NC Museum of Natural Science is one of the treasures of our state capitol. Not only do they have a incredible collection of skeletons (dinos, sea animals, etc) and fossils, a cool hands on room, a small butterfly habitat, and much, much more, but they regularly bring in exhibits like the Chocolate Exhibition and the Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit. BTW, each pic is clickable so you can see a larger version.

We all had such a good time at the museum. Everyone posed for pics being "eaten" by the T-Rex skull...
After that, we all went to see the life size model of Apatosaurus and the only real Acrocanthosaurus skeleton on display in the world.

Holy sh*t, that's a big dino!

The kids weren't content seeing the dinos from ground level. They had to go up a floor and see them from above.

When we were finally done at the museum...well, not done but done for this visit...we headed for world's coolest park (a subject for another show and tell) and the kids blew off steam for a while. Most of the time, they were moving too fast to get good pictures. However, once we headed out to walk to the pedestrian bridge that connected the park we were at to one on the other side of the highway, they slowed down and I got a few fabulous shots.

The memories made on Labor Day will be treasured forever.

To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.

Finally, vote for me (#25) in the Aunt Becky World Tour

Weekend Fun

This weekend is going to be a blast. On Friday, Joey and I are heading to the coast for his cub scout pack's Fall Camping Trip. That's right, just me and Joey. Vic is off this weekend and he is staying home with Gabe and Marty. Pack 200 will be camping at Camp Bonner which is right on the Pamlico Sound. On Saturday, the whole pack will head over to the Aurora Fossil Museum. While the museum will be fun, the uber cool part will be digging for fossils and sharks teeth in a pile of dirt at the phosphate mine next to the museum. In the late afternoon, we will all cool off by swimming.

Joey and I were originally planning on spending Saturday night too. However, we found out this is also the weekend of the North Carolina Literary Festival held each year at UNC-CH. So, we will be driving home Saturday night so we can go to the NC Literary Festival on Sunday. The festival is 100% free and they have an incredible area for kids. Unfortunately, the really cool authors that we would like to hear speak are scheduled for Saturday but there will still be a lot of great activities on Sunday. I can't wait

Do y'all have any fun plans for the upcoming weekend?

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Aunt Becky Came To Visit (no, not you my sister)*

What?!?!? What do you mean a pieced together pic of her business card doesn't prove it?

Wait, I know how I can prove it. I'll share the secret I learned. I learned that while
That's right...Aunt Becky of vodka fame will also drink tequila tekeeeela. Huh, that still doesn't prove it to you? Damn y'all are demanding. You say you want details of our visit? Well, I am so sorry, but I just can't provide details. The only thing I do know is that Aunt Becks (SHUT UP she does so like to be called Becks) is my new BFF. See, the reason I can't provide details of the visit is shown here in this picture...
See how we are embracing the wonderful goodness of premixed margaritas (premixed = less time away from the children and we must THINK ABOUT THE CHILDREN). If I remember correctly (and that is questionable), the bottle was 2/3 of the way empty when we finally took this picture. When you zoom in...
You can totally tell it's me there with Aunt Becky (see the curly red hair) and you can see how sloshed we are. The only thing holding us up is the bottle. You can also totally see that Aunt Becks is my BFF cause she's holding my hand. Besides, if she wasn't mt BFF, why would she sign the note she wrote me like this...
See, she totally LURVES me!

Check out the rest of Aunt Becks' travels here.

*I had to include the clarifier in the title because my youngest sis is Becky so my kids really have their very own Aunt Becky.

Monday, September 07, 2009

The Fun Never Ends

I hope y'all had a fabulous Labor Day (those of you in the US that is) and, for the rest of y'all, I hope you had a fabulous day. My mom and dad brought my nieces up and we met them for a fabulous day including lunch at IHOP, a trip to the NC Museum of Natural Science to see Chocolate: The Exhibition and all the other wonderful displays, and an hour or two running, screaming, and burning off energy at the park. I'll tell y'all more about all that on Wednesday because that is the topic of my Show&Tell this week. What I do want to tell you about is the latest entry in the ongoing saga of Kristin and her boys the Hellions. Just as we were walking out the door, the phone rang and it was my mom saying they were running about 15 minutes behind schedule. Now, 15 minutes waiting at your destination may not seem like a lot, but, when you are trying to corral Gabriel, it is. So, I put all our stuff in the van and told the boys to go back inside for 15 minutes. Marty rushed inside anticipating 15 minutes of video game time and before I even clear the door a hear a loud noise and the distinctive, sort of silvery sound of glass breaking. At first, I didn't even realize the noise came from inside the house. However, walking through the door to Marty saying I'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorryI'msorry sort of gave it away. Wanna know what happens when someone kicks off their size 13 gunboats?

Marty's shoe next to my foot for comparison
Well, when you kick them off with the vigor and enthusiasm of a certain (almost) 13 yr old boy, they fly in a high, beautiful arch that, unfortunately does not reach its nadir before intercepting a window almost 5' 4" off the ground...
Right now, I am just eternally grateful that we also have storm windows so we don't have to budget to have the window replaced immediately. I did rant and rave a bit and Marty was begging the whole time "Please don't be mad mom." I told him he wasn't getting punished because I knew he didn't do it on purpose. However, I also told him I was a bit pissed off because we had asked him multiple times not to kick off his shoes like that. I also told him if it ever happened again, all his rights, all his privileges, were gone until I felt like giving them back. After I cleaned up the glass I could get up quickly (what you see in the pic is stuck in the frame and needs to be broken out), we were 10 minutes late instead of having to wait on everyone else.

Vic's only response when I called him this evening at work to tell him about it was to laugh a bit (I swear I could hear him shaking his head in bemusement over the phone line) and ask "Which knucklehead did it?"

See, I never have to worry about running out of things to write. All I have to do is wait a day or two and my children create a story for me. Good thing I love them to bits...LOL.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Even I Don't Believe It

I was feeling so industrious when I got up Thursday morning. It was an unexpectedly cool day for this time of year and I was going to take advantage of it by mowing both the front and the back lawn. By noon, I was irritated, the front lawn hadn't been touched, and the backyard was only halfway done.

To understand this tale of woe, I have to give you a little background. About a week and a half ago, I mowed the front yard. Vic's knee was hurting and was in no shape to manage the hill of the front yard. When I was done, I was hot (temp that day was over 93) and tired. So, I asked Vic to go out later and clean off the lawnmower. I had taken the gas can out front too (but never ended up needing to refill the mower). I also asked him to take the mower and the gas can into the backyard when he was done. Well, the mower was never cleaned and the gas can was never moved. I don't want you to look on this as a "Vic is lazy" moment because he isn't. He does far more around here than most men would. However, I wasn't in the mood to play remind the grownup about tasks that need doing so, the lawn mower sat at the top of the driveway for a week and a half.

Coming back to last Thursday...by 10 am, I had wheeled the mower into the back yard and was happily listening to my mp3 player while I mowed the lawn. I knew the gas tank wasn't full enough to do the whole yard but I figured I'd just fill it up when it ran out. When the mower sputtered to a stop, I bent down to unscrew the cap of the gas tank and this is what I saw...

What? You mean you can't quite see into the open gas tank. Here, let me provide a closer view...
What the fuck are ROCKS doing in the gas tank? I was ready kill a certain little boy. That's right, at some point before I had mowed the lawn last, sweet little angelic (bwahahahahahaha) Gabriel fed fucking ROCKS to my lawn mower. I suppose I should be glad it was rocks and not dirt because dirt would have mixed with the gas and fouled the motor. Now, I had to figure out how in the hell I was going to get those rocks out. I couldn't reach in with my fingers because the combination of a couple of fingers and a rock was too big to fit through that opening. My tools of choice for the Rockectomy ended up being a long handled teaspoon (known in the south as an ice tea spoon), a fondue skewer, and a pair of tweezers. After a little cursing and a lot of muttering, the rockectomy was a success.
I then went searching for the gas can. I looked everywhere and couldn't find it. So, being a bit pissed off and irritated, I decided to wake Vic up and ask him where he put it. See, Vic has been working nights (2pm til 2 am) so I generally avoid waking him up during the day but I was ticked off so Vic got woken up. I thought maybe he had put the gas can somewhere only a male brain would think of...but, noooooo, he thought the gas can was still at the top of the driveway. Well, fuck me, that means the gas can had been stolen. So, looking like death warmed over (because I was waiting to shower until the lawn was done), Gabe and I went off to Lowes to buy a gas can. The guys at Lowes got a good laugh when they heard me explaining to Gabe that "No, we do not fill the gas tank of mommy's lawn mower with rocks." So, once we got back, I tried again. I had been mowing for all of about ten minutes when I felt something catch on the blade and the mower stopped. We have a heavy duty rope loop with a tennis ball on it for playing tug of war with the dogs. Said toy was halfway in a hole so I didn't see it when I checked the lawn. Instead of the blade cutting through the rope, the frakking loop got caught around the blade. Now, it was the sheer force of theblades that forced a rope that side through an itty bitty space. I can't match the force of the blade. So, I had to turn the lawn mower on its side and yank and pull and tug until the area of the rope that had been cut into lined up right so I could get the rope loop at the blade. Of course, by now, the motor is flooded and it won't start until it dries out. And, that is how I got to noon and didn't even have the back lawn finished. The front yard never did get mowed that day.

Friday, September 04, 2009

What a way to start a day...

I'm out in the living room and, from down the hall, I hear a little voice call out.

Mom, I want you!

and I answer, "I want you!"

Mom, I love you!

It makes everything I went through...every loss, every shot, every worry...worth it.

Thursday, September 03, 2009


I tried to comment on your show and tell post (and on the previous one) but, no matter what I tried, I couldn't get the comment box to open. Is it possible that you accidentally set it to not allow comments?

I just wanted to say that I am so sorry for your losses. I know the heartache and pain that come along with miscarriages. I hope the future brings you answers and the much desired baby.

If anyone knows how to get in touch with RELH from Our Journey, but not our plan..., can you please make sure she sees this. I don't want her to think we are ignoring her.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

SHOW AND TELL: the Greek in me

I had no idea what I was going to Show and Tell tonight so I went searching. When I was looking for something for Show and Tell tonight, I hit a gold mine of pictures. I picked these two pictures from my college days for tonight's Show and Tell. You'll get to see the rest of the pics some other day.

me (age 20) and a few fellow pledges
my APO big bro, Dave Kaelber, and me
this wonderful guy bought me a life
membership to celebrate my
becoming a *brother

When I was in college, I was in a fraternity. Yes, you read that right...a fraternity, not a sorority. I was a member of the Duke University Chapter of Alpha Phi Omega. APO is a co-ed service fraternity with an affiliation to the Boy Scouts of America. The Lambda Nu Chapter at Duke was founded in 1955 and, with the exception of 2 years at the end of the 70s, has been an active and thriving part of the community. What I love about my chapter is they actually began accepting women about 2 years before the National organization went co-ed. Lambda Nu circumvented the exclusion of women by submitting membership rosters with first initials and last names only. Unfortunately for me, I didn't discover APO until my senior year so I only had a short stint with them but I loved every minute of it...the service, the projects, and especially the fun and brotherhood.

BTW, I made the dress I am wearing in those pictures.

*all members are called brothers whether they are male or female.

To see what everyone else in class is bringing to SHOW AND TELL, take a trip to visit the Miss Mel, Goddess of the Infertility Blogosphere.