Monday, June 23, 2008

At Home With Faith

come visit my new site...

I've imported these older posts, so if you are now just finding me, you can see it all over there!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A trip down memory lane

The house I grew up in was the house my father grew up in. It was the house his mother grew up in (and so on, and so on - just like that shampoo commercial!). The house is now over two hundred years old and has always been in our family.

My parents took in foster kids. Some of them were fairly temporary (the shortest stay was 3 days); some were medium stays (up to a year or so) and then there were a few that were supposed to be forever. I say supposed to be because there were some circumstances that changed plans, either on the birth parents side or on the child's.

One of the longer term foster kids was Liz. Liz was an interesting case, for lots of reasons. She was a few years older then me. I think I was in second or third grade when she came to live with us.

She was quite the convincer. She could have me believing just about anything. And apparently one of her favorite things to convince me of was that the house was haunted.

She "noticed" that the corners of the rooms were always much colder than the rest of the rooms. This, of course, was just one of the sure signs a house was haunted. She would take me room by room to make me feel the difference between the corners of that particular room versus the center of the room.

Now, since this house is over 200 years old, it has some, shall we say, less than weather tight windows and doors. It has a forced air heating system - with the blowers in the interior walls. So of course the corners were colder - the heat hardly ever got over to them, and whatever heat may have tried to get there was sucked out the windows and doors.

But she had me convinced, because everyone knew that cold corners meant a haunted house.

The house also made noises. It creaked; it moaned; it must be the spirits roaming the rooms! It couldn't possibly be the hardwood floors needed to be nailed down a bit after a hundred years or so, could it? Or that after years of use, the floors were worn down and squeaked when you walked on them? Definitely haunted!

There was also a fireplace in the house. It was used as the main source of heat in the early days, and was even equipped with a bread baking oven next to it. Over the fireplace mantel was a small cabinet. It was too high for me to reach, so I never really knew what was in there.

But Liz did.

It was a HAND. Yup, a hand skeleton. In a jar. Apparently my parents were hiding it up there so I wouldn't know about it. (Why else would it be so high up that I couldn't find it?)

I did eventually get wise to Liz and her fabulous tales. But every once in awhile, I'd be in the house alone... and start to think... could it be haunted?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Cats and Dogs

I have a favorite website (actually, it's two of them) - and

Submitters send in pictures of either their cats or dogs with "stuff" on them. The first site created was the cat one. My understanding is that you were literally supposed to put "stuff" on you cat - "stacks" in the correct lingo. You can find pictures of cats with remotes, toy soldiers, pez dispensers, coins, bottle tops, you name it, all "stacked" on them. They are a bit lax and will take pictures with other critters or in costumes. They are generally submitted with captions, and the cat's (or cats') names.
After success with the cat site, they introduced the mutt site, using the same principals for pictures.

I have been itching to get either our cat or our dogs onto the site, but whenever they are doing something that is maybe "postable" - my camera is either two rooms away or if I moved, they would stop doing whatever they were doing and follow me.

I should just get the camera out and try to "force" them to sit still for pictures, but I don't see that being very productive. If you have ever visited, she has her "Daily Chuck" photo where she makes her puppy Chuck (and now the new dog Coco) wait for a "scooby snack" while she snaps a picture of some cute setup. I can't tell if I just don't have that much patience or if I think my puppies don't!

I try to look at the site once every couple of weeks. That gives me a ton of pictures to look at and go "I could do that!". Of course, I still haven't!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Summer Schedule

Ok, summer schedule is definitely here.

You all know how it goes... during the school year, you have your "regular" schedule. You get the kids off to school, go to work, go to the store, etc., etc. - pretty much the same thing all the time. Every once in awhile something pops up - hey, let's go to Jo's for dinner! - but really, you live your schedule.

Then, out of nowhere - well, actually, out of May - it starts. There are half days of school. End of school trips and parties. And before you know it, summer has hit you. Now you've got the little kiddie(s) with you ALL THE TIME.

Gone is the ... hmmm, I feel like having a nice light, small lunch at 1:30. I am running my errands whenever I feel like it (anytime before 3 anyway!) It's ok if my stop at my parents takes 45 minutes instead of 5 minutes.

Nope... it's: hey, mom, I'm gonna play video games while you are working. And when is lunch? And how come it's so late? And I don't like what you're having. And when will you be back? And when are you going?

Now, don't get me wrong. The Boy is great, he really is. I think we have raised him to be pretty self sufficient. He doesn't pester. He has learned to clue me into his plans early so I am not surprised by them and if I am not happy about them, we have time to discuss them.

But, the "carefree" days are gone. Summer Schedule has hit.

But there is an upside. We get to talk about stuff more. He isn't rushed with school work so he's got plenty of time to be social with me during the day. He really hasn't come down with that teenager attitude of "no way am I talking to my parents". Of course, since he doesn't have siblings, who else is there to talk to at home?

Monday, June 16, 2008


So today was my first kickboxing class. Well, technically, it wasn't my first, but it was the first in what I am planning to be a long string of classes.

At our karate school, they started the kickboxing classes about a year or so ago. Hubby joined - he wanted some cardio to go with his regular karate classes. He pestered me to go, but i really wasn't that interested. He finally wore me down and I agreed to go to a class. I liked it - but not enough that I said, hey let's go every day!

Classes are every weekday except Friday - either at 5:30 or 6:15 pm and then there is a 8:30 am class on Saturday.

At the beginning of the year, I made a "non-New Year's resolution" to join the kickboxing class. By that I mean, I told several of the staff that I was going to start coming. I must have told Hubby before that since he got me some workout clothes for Christmas. Anyway, it just never seemed to happen.

Weekdays were difficult. The Boy gets dropped off anywhere between 4:30 and 5:00 on a regular day; and for the last month he was at play practice anywhere from 7 pm to 9 pm. So getting to either a 5:30 or 6:15 class seemed to really put the stress on - so I didn't try. Saturday mornings are typically the one morning I don't have an alarm clock wake me up, so I was not anxious to start.

But I made this promise to myself that I would go to class. So I have been waiting and planning and thinking about how I was going to make it happen. I decided that today would be my "first" class since The Boy is now in exam prep/exam schedule at his high school and does not have the theater school now. So I had him picked up by 11:45 this morning - certainly enough time to get ready for a 5:30 kickboxing class.

I was planning to surprise Hubby with my decision during the day when we talked. We usually talk a few times during the day, but today I don't think I talked to him on the phone at all until 4:30, so that kind of blew that idea. He came home at 5 and I was dressed for class. He looked at me a bit strange, and then a bit stranger when I told him I planned to go to class. He decided to come with me instead of going to his karate class tonight.

So we had a good time. I did sweat - so I guess that is good. I had to put gloves on about half way through the bag work - I really should have bought them before class, but oh well! My skin will recover - nothing too bad like broken skin or anything - just sore knuckles.

I am thinking that I will go to Kickboxing on Mondays, Wednesdays and possibly Saturdays (although I am still not convinced about the getting up part). I will still do my Tai Chi on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I will be getting the cardio I need and the training on breathing/strengthening/de-stressing I want.

And today is our 18th wedding anniversary. Still happily married after all this time (although some people would say it isn't that long of a time!).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day to all the dads out there.

We aren't doing much today. We went out to dinner last night to celebrate Hubby's birthday (10th), Father's Day (today) and our anniversary (on the 16th - married 18 years).

I went to church this morning and we had our hymn sing. Once every two or three months we start the church service ten minutes earlier and get to shout out our favorite hymns to sing. My parents and I go to the same church, so I called out for hymn #144, This is My Father's World. It is my father's favorite hymn, and was very appropriate for Father's Day.

Came home from church, made a light lunch and have just basically putzing about since then. I did however, accomplish one goal: I got the sides of my tomato planter up. I bought this "miracle tomato" grower thingie. Ok, not a very technical term there - but this is a special planter designed to grow your tomatoes on a deck or patio with a minimum of fuss and square footage. We always like fresh tomatoes, so I am hoping that I can grow a decent amount and always have fresh on hand.

So I got some tomato plants from my uncle, and planted them. He also generously gave me 8 heads of lettuce and 4 pepper plants. I wasn't really expecting anything else besides the tomato plants, so I had to do some scurrying around to find pots for them. I'm not that big into peppers and I don't know if I gave them enough room to grow effectively - so that is another experiment in process. I put the lettuce in some hanger baskets and they seem to be doing well.

Anyway, back to the tomato planter: I got the plants in and have been watering it at least every other day. It seems to have been raining at least once a day or every other day, so it hasn't been hard to keep the soil moist. They have grown pretty quickly so far. But I didn't have time and energy to put up the "cage" for them to grow on. So, I got that all put together and now my tomatoes have something to grow on.

I will let you know how it goes!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

A rainbow

"Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth." Genesis 9:16

Friday, June 6, 2008

Our Trees

We built our house in the lot behind my parents' lot (actually there is a lot in between their backyard and our property). From the time my brothers and I were kids our parents told us we could have a lot of land to build a house on when we got married. My oldest brother almost got to that point; but his first marriage ended in divorce and the house never got built. My other brother moved to MA and now lives there with his wife and three sons, so the odds of them building a house here are slim. So, of the three of us, only I and my husband have been able to take them up on their generous offer.

So, since Dad was getting those trees cut in his backyard, I asked if he would ask the guys to look at our big trees and see how much it would be to cut them down. Now, these are HUGE trees. Unfortunately, they are also very OLD trees. So Hubby and I have worried (on and off) about the safety of the trees. They aren't particularly close to the house, so we didn't think they would knock our house down or anything. But the thought of a heavy limb falling on a car or someone walking down the driveway crossed our minds now and again.

After some deliberations, we went ahead with the tree removal at our house.

One of the trees was very "crumbly" at the base. It was like balsa wood that you could just pull off the tree.

Above - the view looking down the driveway towards the house. You can kind of see the first tree where they just cut some large branches but not the whole tree (in the sunlit area).

The tree trunk was so large, they used a chain saw to cut it - they would go around and around the tree trunk cutting their way in. The pieces were so heavy they used the bucket to knock off the "slices".

So, now we have less trees up at the edge of our driveway, but there is still enough shade from the other trees. We are still in our own little world in our back lot, which is just the way we like it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008


My sister in law laughs when the family gets together. We generally have two topics that we can spend hours talking about: how did someone get to the place we are (routes, traffic, new back roads found, etc.) and trees.
I don't know why we find it so interesting, but we can go on and on about either subject (just ask anyone who has married into the family - they probably can't figure it out either!)

So, at my parents house, there is a huge silver maple tree. It is in the back yard, but it hangs over the house, near the kitchen (downstairs) and my parent's room (upstairs). Several years ago( ok - probably 15 years ago) my dad had my brother climb up the tree and cut down some of the branches. But, the tree continued to grow ( as trees tend to do), so it became more and more of an issue. Should any hurricane come by (it's been a good 20 or 25 years or so since we got hit with one, so we are overdue) chances are good that there would be tree parts flying, and my parents were not particularly happy about the thought of a tree in their house. (Parents are funny that way, aren't they?)

So, my dad had some tree work done at a cemetery where he is now caretaker (he's retired now, so obviously he needs something to do!). He talked to the tree guys and they agreed to take care of the silver maple for him after they finished at the cemetery. So here are some pictures of the great big silver maple tree at my parents house going down.

This is the first day. In this picture (above) they had already cut some branches off.

In the above picture, my dad (grey sweatshirt) is taking a look at some the debris from the cutting. They had a chipper right there to take care of the branches and leaves - they were pretty good about cleanup.

Above - a piece goes swinging. It looks like it could hit the house in this picture, but it really wasn't anywhere near it.

Here is what is left of the tree. Dad even had the guys do some more work in his backyard when they were done with the silver maple. I haven't taken any pictures yet, but it has totally opened up the view into his backyard. You can now clearly see the outhouse from the road (time to get that door back on there!) and even see to the lot in back of the yard.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Dang Computers!

I am getting very frustrated. My "surprise" from a few posts ago was that I purchased a domain and am planning to move my blog to it.

Unfortunately, that involves a computer and a brain, and apparently I am lacking one of those. I have installed, uninstalled, and generally mucked around with the dang thing and don't seem to be getting anywhere. I bought Word Press for Dummies and have started to go through that.

I heard a saying sometime ago - I/you know just enough to be dangerous. And that is where I am now... I know enough to get me into more trouble. Of course, it may get me out of the trouble I was in, but now it will get worse.

Anyway, Hubby pointed out that it had been awhile since my last post, so I thought I could vent a bit here while trying to get the dang thing to work.

Hope you are all having a pleasant weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2008

T shirts

The Boy ordered some shirts a week or so ago. Here are two of his new shirts:

Got to love the Star Trek reference. I, of course, do not think he is expendable, but I love his willingness to wear make fun of the Ensign Ricky syndrome.

I am not sure if he got this because of the Star Trek: The New Generation introduction of the Borg ("Resistance is Futile") or if he gets that it is an electrical thing with the "if less than 1 ohm", or if he gets that it combines the two geeky parts for a super-geeky whole.

So this is how the Next Generation spends its' money - tshirts with silly sayings on them. (Like I wouldn't do the same!)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A busy week

Well, it has been a busy week.

Hubby and I went to Boston on Sunday and stayed through Tuesday afternoon. He had a seminar to attend and I decided to tag along. The Boy stayed at home (with grandma & grandpa next door) - although he has been so busy that he was hardly home either.

It was a nice trip. I worked in the hotel room while he was at the seminar. I did take a walk around abit - found a computer store and looked at laptops for The Boy. I walked next to the Charles River. I forgot how windy and cold it gets around the river. I couldn't imagine being these ladies:

Our hotel was very nice...except we got the Steven King room:
Yes, we were in Room 1408. I have to say, it was much nicer than the one John Cusack was in - if for no other reason than it wasn't haunted or drive us insane.

When we got back on Tuesday night, we picked up The Boy at his play rehearsal. Wednesday and Thursday were pretty typical - except i was getting ready for our church's Trivia Night. I had to buy the soda and candy and get organized. I had to call my help to make sure they were still available and double check on those who had signed up. I was thinking we would have about a dozen groups playing; we ended up with seven.

I have mixed feelings about it - it is a lot of fun and really not that much work - but it doesn't seem to make alot. We only made about $220 for the Mission Fund at church. We do get a few groups from outside the church that come - so it's not just regular church members. Everyone has a good time, so i guess i should be happy with that and not worry about how much it did or did not make.

I have a few things exciting coming up for next week (I hope!).. so stay tuned!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Gone, Baby, Gone

Step 1:

Step 2:
Step 3:

Step 4:

Step 5:

16 boxes, gone in 10 minutes.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Cow Alert!

Folks, we are operating under a Cow Alert today. Please check your surroundings for any wayward cows that might be about. Do not, I repeat, DO NOT allow your cattle dogs to roam free for long periods of time.

Seriously, this is the weirdest thing. Ok, maybe not the most weirdest, there might be other things that are weirder, but this was REALLY weird.

We came home last night about 9:30. It was dark (that is not the weird part - we expected that!). We drive down the driveway, and right about where we get to our lawn there is something in the middle of the driveway. Now, we have seen neighbor's dogs around, we have seen the occasional fox, and of course we have seen deer leap through the air and perform all sorts miracles while we desperately brake in order to not hit these hard hitting, window smashing, strong legged animals and end up either with a dead deer on our hood or a deer (dead or alive) through the windshield and in our lap.
But we have never, and I mean NEVER, seen a cow in our driveway, just standing there like it was supposed to be there. It was weird - it was freaky - it was bizarre.

Hubby went out to "catch" it. It had it's headgear on (I forget - is it a bridle? or a halter?) and I could see a piece of rope hanging off of it. I honestly can't remember if the cow ran or walked away - but suddenly it was not there. We pulled down to the end of the driveway - I now had The Boy's cell phone (I had turned mine off due to low battery) and was calling my mommy.

Now, that may sound sad and pathetic - girl sees cow in driveway, first instinct is to call her mommy. Let's put this in perspective. We live in a rural area. My family has ALWAYS lived in this town - for the past 200 YEARS. They helped build and shape this town. They owned lots of land (how do think I'm lucky enough to live behind my parents?) They were FARMERS. My parents were in the 4H. They actually ran a 4H club when my brothers were about 5 or 6 (I was about 1 or 2). So, in my mind, I am calling an EXPERT who just happens to be my mommy.

Plus, she lives behind me and we think the cow is headed her way. If I was her, I might want to know there was a WILD COW headed my way. But hey, that's just me.

So she starts asking me questions - what kind of cow? "A calf, really, not a full grown cow." What kind of cow - beef or dairy? "I didn't get to ask." What color was it? "White and red? Maybe white and brown." What - "hey, why do you think I'm calling you - I'm not a cowgirl! You're supposed to know what to do. The cow is headed into YOUR backyard."

So we hang up, go find a flashlight, ignore the barking dogs, and go into the field between our house and mom's house. We hear the cow as she meanders through the field. We see mom's flashlight for a bit and then she goes back into the house. When we get back in, The Boy says "Grandma called. She said to leave the cow alone and don't let the dogs run loose tonight."

So, we are on high cow alert in case she comes back. No Chewie the Australian Cattle dog is allowed to roam freely to herd up the scared cow. Today, anyway.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Yes, I know it has been a while since I last posted. It seems to have been a very busy stretch of time. I also haven't felt much like writing - and I've noticed I haven't been cruising around the web so much lately.

So, anyway...
we had a karate graduation at the end of April.
So here is The Hubby and The Boy (it's nice when they graduate together!). Hubby is now going to be wearing the blue uniform; The Boy will be getting geared up for his brown belt test. Everything went well during graduation - although it was awfully quick! I didn't get my camera ready in time to tape them doing their kata, so I got to watch and enjoy it.

Then later that day....
The Boy had to go to a friend's house to work on a school project. This is how well that went:
Yes, that is a sprained ankle, propped up on a pillow. He was playing football (he was forced to, you understand) and got tackled and pulled and stretched and twisted. We made him suffer through on Saturday, and then when it wasn't feeling at all better on Sunday I made the family go to the emergency room and get xrays to make sure it wasn't broken.

Now, I have broken my ankle (so badly that I needed pins inserted!) so I know that if it is broken he is going to be crying and be absolutely miserable until it is cast. I was pretty sure it wasn't broken, but I wanted to make sure that there were no hairline fractures. Plus, if he was going to be on crutches, I wanted him to have a doctor's note to make life easier at school.

So I ended up having to take him from his high school to his arts high school on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. That wasn't too bad. It was the picking him up on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday that really threw me for a loop. That sucked up so much time out of my day! And I hate driving in the city - I have no patience for it. So I was a bit cranky about it. But I knew that he would be more miserable on the crowded bus - and possibly hurt his ankle again if he got jostled around. It was only three days - so I could live with that.

his arts school had their prom on Thursday night. So, on the day I didn't have to drive him to school, I had to drive him to his prom at the school. At pick him up. At 10 o'clock at night. In the city.

And then...
Friday rolls around and he is convinced I have run away with his black binder that has his school play in it. I, of course, have not. He can't find it anywhere. I make him call his high school to see if it is in the lost and found there. It isn't. The arts school is closed on Fridays and I know for a fact that no one is there that day. I can see him try to figure out how to convince me to go up there so he can look around. He offers that it may be in the building across the street where he takes his yoga class. I have him call; no answer. I have no pity (he must think, anyway). But I tell him to call again, this time after lunch hour, and he gets a receptionist. They do have a key to the room, so guess what? Yup, for the FIFTH day in a row, a drive to the city. He does find his binder (black binder on a black box - no one saw it there for 2 days!) and is happy as a clam (how happy are clams, anyway?).

So... I just have not felt like writing much, even though there is plenty to write about. And that's just part of my exciting week or two off from posting.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tai Chi Toes

After posting a pic of Hubby's feet, I thought it would only be fair to put up a picture of my feet. I painted my toenails (very girly of me - very unlike me!) a pretty purple fuchsia color. Hubby inquired if I was starting a foot fetish site, and why did I paint my nails anyway? (Like I said - it's a girly thing to do, and I am not very girly that way!).

Truth is, summer is coming. I don't hide my feet in socks at Tai Chi after March - I get too hot with socks on while doing tai chi. So, I like to catch the occasional glimpse of pretty toes while I practice my forms.

Oddly enough, when I have my fingernails painted, it is almost too much to watch them - I get distracted if the color is too loud. But apparently the color further away from my face is fine... not too distracting from practicing.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Hello again

Boy, it's been awhile since my last post. I apologize to my dedicated audience (all 2 of you!).

The first week I didn't post was one where hubby was away on a trip. You would think that would give me more time to post, but I got sucked up in the world of Lost again.

The next week I didn't post was school's spring break week. This is a week where my schedule is thrown off by the fact that there is still someone sleeping at 8:30 am - and it's me!! I do love school vacation time since I don't have to get up to get The Boy up and off to school. Last time he had vacation, I honestly could not remember what time I had to get up for the next school day (6:30 is the drop dead wake up time).

I also was waylaid by a monster headache. I developed it on Tuesday night, had it most of Wednesday, parts of Thursday, and it has tried to come back every day since. The thing that seemed to help the most was Wednesday night Hubby & I took a bath together. We soaked for about 20 or 30 minutes in a bath with salts for relaxation/stress release and muscle relaxation. Hubby rubbed my feet and give me unprofessional reflexology. Now, I say unprofessional as in he does not do this for a living, and is not learning how to do it. It did have the awesome effect of getting rid of my headache for the night and for the most of the next day. It was simply amazing to be soaking in the warm tub, having my feet not just rubbed, but worked on to relieve all the stress in my body that my headache had been causing.

So anyway, I am looking to get back in the habit of posting - so keeping checking in!

Monday, April 7, 2008

You know what they say...

Anna Scott: You know what they say about men with big feet.
William: No, I don't, actually. What's that?
Anna Scott: Big feet... large shoes.

Notting Hill - one of the best movies ever!

Hubby's feet - best Hubby's feet ever!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Scanning My Life Away

I am a hoarder. I come from a long line of hoarders. Well, maybe hoarder is a strong word for it. We're Yankees, thrifty, savers, re-users, recyclers, frugal, cheap, packrats. Yup, I am a packrat. Although I am a semi-reformed pack rat. I CAN get rid of things - give them away, have a tag sale, donate them, etc. This is totally the influence of the Hubby.

But one area I have difficultly letting go in is PAPER. I have tax returns from 1990. I have paystubs from when we lived in CA (1990 - 1992). I have paperwork from Hubby's job in 1993 (anyone need a memo on the new guy?). I have grocery store receipts from 10 years ago. I have invoices from Hubby's salesman job in 1993- 2001. I have boxes and boxes of PAPER.

Part of my issue is fear. I am afraid I will need this information sometime, so I keep it. But I also need SPACE in my basement. So I have found the perfect solution. I convinced my bosses I needed the ScanSnap550.

This thing is awesome!! It scans to pdf - in color, double or single sided, and has an option for OCR (so I can search it for keywords later - so when I want to find the receipts for Walmart, I just type in "walmart" as the search word and viola! there it is!).

So, I have gone through the 14 boxes of old paperwork, culling out the crap, recovering the binder clips and rediscovering how stupid we used to be. It was amazing to look at what we paid for things, the interest rates we paid, and how long it took to pay things off. I found the appraisal for the heart pendent and earrings Hubby bought for me for our 6th Wedding Anniversary. I found the paperwork for when we bought our dog Chewie ($600 cost - financed for $900). I have pulled out the important stuff to scan and have about 15 boxes of pure crap that needs to be shredded.

I found a company that will come to the house, shred all the boxes in front of me (15 to 25 minutes to complete the job) and then be on it's way. I have easily met the minimum amount of boxes.

So now, i need to scan all the "important" stuff that I normally would feel like I need to hold onto. Then they can go into the shred pile. So I tackled the bank statements the other night.

I scanned 3 INCHES of bank statements in 45 minutes (black - not color; double sided; not using the OCR option). All that - years of information - now digitally stored and searchable (after I change the files to OCR'd files). AWESOME!!

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Ever have a day...

That isn't horrible, not necessarily bad, but things just don't go the way you want them to?

Yesterday was a day like that. I think most of my problems stemmed from the fact that at lunchtime I went to the grocery store and when I came home, I wasn't hungry, so I didn't eat lunch. Everything was mostly ok - no big issues or problems - until I had to go to the city to pick up The Boy from school. Normally he goes home on the bus, but he had a play to watch and wasn't done until 5 pm, so no bus for him.
I hate driving in the city.
I hate driving in the city at 5 pm rush hour.
I hate driving in the city at 5 pm rush hour and then not be able to find parking near the school.
I hate driving in the city at 5 pm rush hour and then not be able to find parking near the school and then when I do find parking, it is next to impossible to get OUT of the parking space to get The Boy when he calls to say he is ready.
And I'm hungry.

Let me tell you a story about me being hungry. This is when Hubby and I were first together - not yet married. He got a promotion and had to move from CT to CA. This was a temporary job for 3 months, until the company and he were both sure he was a right fit for the job. They put him up in a hotel, paid his expenses, all was grand. They were even generous enough to pay for my ticket to visit him for 2 weeks. So, I went out to visit him. I had absolutely NOTHING to do every day for two weeks during the day. I went for walks, looked around the local area (I didn't have a car, I think), watched tv, played cards, etc. Hubby was busy all day working hard to turn around the plant into a well run machine (as opposed to the hell hole it was) and was tired when he got "home" to the hotel room. We would usually go somewhere close and quick for dinner.
One night, either he was late or I hadn't eaten much, but he got home and just wanted to chill out and relax - he was in no hurry to go dinner. Well, I was hungry and bored and cranky... I practically was in tears (and probably did cry) waiting for him to get ready to go for dinner. Poor guy - he had no idea how bad and horrible I felt inside until I pretty much exploded into tears and sobbing. He was so good to me, said he was sorry, said I should have told him that I really needed to go eat, etc., etc. (He is a very good Hubby that way).

So now we have a family joke that if I say "I'm hungry" in a certain tone of voice, we drop everything to go get something to eat.

Well, I should have paid attention and gotten something to eat before I left to pick up The Boy. Driving was a nightmare, parking was a nightmare and it was all worse since I was hungry.

The Boy and I stopped at a Dunkin' Donuts - one of the worst selections and service I've had in a while, but it was something to eat.

I got home, Hubby was already home, and we just relaxed in the bedroom. We needed to get dinner going, so I listed off the choices. One of the choices was sloppy joes. It turns out I did not have seasoning packet for it, so I jumped on the trusty web and looked for a recipe. I found one that looked good, that I had the ingredient for, and had gotten positive reviews.

Let's just say it didn't go over well. Cereal came out as the backup dinner.

So much for the trusty internet!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

A camera, a camera!

I have been wanting a digital camera for awhile now. It was in the back of my mind, one of those things you want, but never seem to get around to getting. Since starting this blog, I thought it would be cool to have some photos, but the only digital camera I could use for it was the big camcorder we have. Hubby has a digital, but it is with him most of the time for business. Plus, since I don't use it much, my photo taking skills with it are very lacking (one might say I take bad pictures no matter what, so I guess I can't blame it entirely on the lack of exposure to Hubby's camera!).

Anyway, I have had my eye on some cameras lately. I went Target and checked out their selection. They had some stuff on clearance (clearance is my best friend!) so I went home and checked the models online. I narrowed it down to a Sony DSCW80 and an Olympus model. They were about the same price on clearance and were pretty comparable in most features (7.2 pixels, sureshot/steady hand feature, etc.).

So The Family went to Target yesterday to buy The Boy some shoes. We were not successful in our quest for shoes, but he got the first season of Flight of the Conchords on DVD. While we were in the electronic section of the store, Ihalf-jokingly said to Hubby - maybe I should get a camera. He said I guess we could look. So we looked at the models I had researched. I was leaning towards the Sony since I thought the memory disk it took was the same as the one we had for the camcorder at home. So we waited for a sales person to finish up with another customer who was trying to buy a camcorder. Once we got someone's attention, she looked for the model in the locked drawers.

No luck.


they offered the floor model at a 30% discount off of the clearance price. So a camera that originally sold for 199.99 was purchased for .... $118.99.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Time Flies

It's been a week exactly since my last post - and it doesn't feel like it! Time is funny stuff, as Hap says in Always.
Hubby was away for a week - not just a work week but 7 days in a row, including weekend time. He did a bit of business in TX and then drove with his dad from TX to Reno, NV. So "real" time was suspended while he was away... and because it was such a long time, it feels difficult to get back into "real" time. I feel like sleeping in every morning - but there is a boy to get off to school, groceries to buy, dogs to walk, laundry to do, tai chi to practice and work to get paid for. But I would be just as happy to dream about it as to do it.
I have also been lost in Lost. I have about 2/3 of the first season complete. I like the character focused writing - although there is action, you get to see the story behind the behavior. It's one of the things I like about soap operas too - you get to see the whole person, not just the front they put on for the people that pass in and out of their lives. Everyone has more inside them than what is shown on the inside.
I remember as a kid wondering what it would be like to be this person or that person - what they did when they were my age and how different or similar it might have been. Empathic, I guess you could call it. As an adult, sometimes (most times) I forget to think about how another person might be perceiving a situation, based on their past experiences. But when I do, I find myself more open, more forgiving, more patient.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


I have never watched Lost. It always looked interesting, but when it first came on, we were already committed to enough tv that we didn't add it to our regular tv habit. I've picked up on things here and there - read some stuff on entertainment websites, but that's about it.

So, when I was putzing around today, I went to the ABC webpage, and wouldn't you know - you can watch ALL seasons of Lost in HD Streaming online. I started to watch the pilot episode, but only got through about the first 20 minutes before I had to leave the house. I have to say, J.J. Abrams may have got me hooked again. I loved Alias - I hated to see it go. I can't wait to see what he is going to do with Star Trek (The Early Years a.k.a. figuring out why Kirk loved his green ladies so much!) And now, Lost. It really grabs your attention.

So I went back to the website tonight to finish the episode and maybe watch some more. But, being 8:30 every kid in the east coast is online I think, so the video is choppy, I can hear dialogue but see not matching video, etc. Damn kids!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Tai Chi Or Chai Tea?

I have been going to Tai Chi classes for quite some time now. I think this summer it will be two full years.

I can honestly say I have no idea how stressed, cranky and unhappy I would be without it.

I generally go twice a week - Tuesday and Thursday mornings - for about an hour or so. We stretch and do some breathing exercises. Then we walk, and then we start our first section. All of that may not make any sense, so here is the breakdown:

Stretch - well, everyone should know what this is. It's not that hard to do - we warm up our bodies, moving side to side, rotating our arms and shoulders and toes, taking care to remember our poor knees and our spine. I (and most of my family) have always been able to "crack" our necks - this is just one place I get to do it and no one looks alarmed (actually they might look a little jealous if they are not cracking!). Part of the way we stretch will focus on the breathing while we stretch. Reach up, breathe in. Reach down, breathe out. All controlled, at a steady pace - not a race to finish but a steady in and out to relax the body and clear the mind. One of my favorite stretches is for the toes. Place your weight on one foot, and lift the other so the toes only are on the ground. (Note: we do this barefoot or with socks on for best results). Then, rotate the toes 9 times in one direction and then 9 times in the opposite direction. Next, press down on your toes. Next, press down on your toes, but this time, you bend the toes backwards (crack!crack!crack!). Last, to stretch the ankle a bit, put the foot behind the one with the weight on it, and press with the toes backward. Then you switch and do the other foot. IT...IS...SIMPLY...AMAZING! You have now just given all of your internal organs a quickie massage (and you didn't know you doing anything but cracking your toes, huh?)

Next is the walk. Have you ever thought about how you walk? Remember being taught how to walk? I have no idea how I learned how to walk - and I do it everyday! (In fact, I have to do it now to walk Whiny Puppies - be right back!)


The tai chi walk is really no different than a 'regular' walk, but because you are now thinking about it, it suddenly becomes a challenge. The basic things to remember are to have your heel hit the floor first, to rock to your toes - not to land flat footed on the ground. It is not a march - STOMP, STOMP, STOMP, but rather a gliding. So, let's pretend. Start out putting your right leg out, heel touching the ground, rocking/gliding forward so your toes touch the ground. Shift your weight onto the right leg. Next, shift back and put your full weight on the left leg and lift your right foot up on the heel so you can pivot it 45 degrees to the right. Roll your foot forward so the toes (and heel) are now on the floor. Next, bring your right foot up to your left foot, with the toes touching the ground (not your heel or full foot). Next, step out and to the left a bit with your left foot, again having the heel touch down first and gliding forward to have the toes touch the ground. Shift your weight onto left leg and then shift the weight back to the right leg, lifting your left foot on the heel and pivot 45 degrees to the left.

I think it took me a month to get that down. Then my teacher added MOVING MY ARMS!! This is like the proverbial 'chewing gum and walking at the same time' thing. When I had felt confident about my walk, I suddenly couldn't go more than one step without falling into confusion.

I have a real admiration for the natural instinct that we as humans have to learn these multi-level steps to complete "simple" tasks such as walking, using our fingers/thumbs, how the body all works together. I have even more admiration for those going through physical therapy to re-learn those "simple" tasks after surgeries or health issues. It is not an easy thing to do.

Now I have several kinds of walks under my belt - basic, brush knee, monkey back (what fun that one is!), toe kick and heel kick. Some of them are better than others (my kicks still need work) - but it is a process and no one expects me to know them all and do them perfectly.

The next part of class is when we do "section one". In the type of tai chi I am learning, there are three sections, made up of over a dozen movements. I really like section one, for several reasons. One - it is the one I have done the most and am most comfortable with. Two - There are no kicks. Three - I have done it so often that I can concentrate on other aspects (breathing, flowing chi) and still complete the movements (in the correct order, too!). Four - there are no kicks (did I say that already? It bears repeating.)

I have completed Section Two at this point, although there are still rough patches and some stop and go times. I still think too much during section two - it is not memorized in my muscle yet. Of course, there are overlapping moves in section one and two, so sometimes when I am in section two I will inadvertently go into a section one move instead of the section two move I should do. I have heard it gets worse in Section Three - just slight changes from Section Two, plus some more kicks.

I have started Section Three over the past few weeks. The starting moves are straight from Section Two, so that has moved along well. I am learning the next set of new moves, which I know fairly well. I have been shown the next moves, and they are "repeats" out of section one or two (I can't remember), but I haven't done them enough to even say I know what they are for sure.

The time spent on Tai Chi has allowed me to get away from my busy thoughts - to concentrate on the basics of breathing - to have a mini vacation twice a week. I will practice my breathing if I start to feel anxious about something or if someone is aggravating me. I am known to be a big crier - everything from TV Commercials to books to music to church sermons. I have visualized the tai chi walk in those moments, and have found that I can control my emotions from overwhelming me.

But... as to the title of this post... Tai Chi or Chai Tea... it gets so mixed up in my head that I often ask Hubby to make me a cup of Tai Chi after dinner. Hey - you try saying them both and not have them sound awfully similar!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Back Some Other Day

Rain, Rain, Go Away, Come Back Some Other Day
It's Raining Men
It's raining cats and dogs
I'm Singing In the Rain, Just Singing in the Rain, What a glorious feeling, I'm Happy Again
Don't Rain On my Parade
I've Seen Fire and I've Seen Rain, I've Seen Sunny Days I thought Would Never End
I Hear Laughter in the Rain, walking hand and hand with the one I love
Oh, It's Raining Again, my Love's at an end
I only wanted to see you laughing in the purple rain
Listen to the rhythm of the falling rain, telling me what a fool I been
But I never liked the rain until I walked through it with you
She's my kind of rain, like love from a drunken sky
Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Sittin on the Porch Swing, Listening to the light rain, Beatin on the tin roof, Baby just me and you, rocking with the rhythm of the rain
Come on let it rain, let it rain down on me
Still I wonder, who'll stop the rain?
Kentucky rain keeps pouring down
Rain on the scarecrow, blood on the plow
It's Raining, It's Pouring, the Old Man is Snoring
I sure can smell the rain
Itzy Bitzy Spider, crawled up the water spout, down came the rain and washed the spider out

It has rained all day. It rained all last night. It will rain again tonight. It might even rain tomorrow.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Full Night's Sleep

I've finally had a full night's sleep. After 3 or 4 weeks of getting up anywhere between 3:30 and 4:30, I finally had a night where I was able to sleep through the night uninterrupted.

The usual source of my sleep disruption is my dog. We have two of them - Chewie and Pansy. Chewie is really Hubby's dog; Pansy is mine. Chewie is about 8 years old now - an Australian Cattle Dog. He's very protective and fierce and scary looking to anyone who hasn't seen a silver haired dog! He's not particularly big like a lab, but he has muscle and will run like anything, especially after squirrels and rabbits.

Pansy is a dog we (I) adopted two summers ago. I have no idea what got into me - I am not really a dog person. My theory is you are either a dog person or a cat person - and I was totally convinced I was a cat person. That summer I had some overpowering need to have a dog. I really did not want to spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on some dog at a store, so I started going to all the pounds around me. Hubby said I was in charge of the search - he didn't want to go to shelters and see all the dogs waiting for new homes or death, which ever came first. So I went online to and looked and looked and looked. There were several that I called about, but had "just missed". I saw Pansy listed in a shelter that rescued dogs from the south - where they routinely put dogs down after a few weeks.

The Boy had been interested in getting a dog and put his two cents in for a beagle. Now, all I had heard about beagles was the braying they were famous (or infamous) for. I was not too keen on more noise in the house, so I wasn't too sure about that. Pansy fit the bill - she was part beagle and part pointer. So we went to see her - me and The Boy. She warmed right up to The Boy and basically ignored me.

As part of the adoption process, everyone in the family had to meet Pansy and get along - that included Chewie. So I had to bring Hubby and Chewie to meet Pansy.

That was an interesting experience. Since we have Chewie trained pretty much as a guard dog, he is very protective and loud. The trainer at the shelter took Chewie by the leach and walked around him, going behind him. The growl that came out of him when she brushed his tail was low and guttural, but he stood still and let her complete her walk around. She said something to the effect of she was impressed that he didn't bite at her and that we had not put up a fuss about her actions. I was pretty much figuring if she was stupid enough to walk up behind a strange dog, she deserved whatever she got! Anyway, we got the two dogs together in a "neutral" area - somewhere Pansy had not been on the property and obviously Chewie had never been there either. So neither of them "owned" that space. They sniffed each other, with Chewie especially interested in her butt (no surprise there!). Then they went on their separate ways... no biting, no growling, no tension. So all went well and we ended up bringing Pansy home the next day.

As a shelter dog, house training was not her strong suit. The first week was horrible - the whining from the crate, the constant battle to get her out before her bodily fluids got out, and the constant peril our belongings suffered from the threat of being chewed up. We got her settled into a routine, but every now and then she would get in the basement and use the concrete floor as her spot to pee or poop. We had to start closing the door to the basement, and that seemed to clear up.

We kept her in a crate at night until just recently. She never complains about being in the crate... she likes to snuggle up in it. But the crate takes up this huge amount of space - there is just no good place for it. We finally ended up putting it in front of our front door. It is a double door, so we put it in front of the door that does not open. Unfortunately that also puts it in front of our closet door, which we actually do use. So, it was a big inconvenience and a pain in the butt. I finally decided to get her out of the crate at night. The big problem is ... she is convinced that she is a lap dog. She jumps on the bed and snuggles with me. I generally don't have a problem that, but I do enjoy being able to move in my own bed when I am sleeping. So, I took a small leash and attached it to my bedframe. I put her bedding from the crate on the floor and now that is her bed. It works great - no more crate and she still can't jump on the bed with me.

Unfortunately, I am a very light sleeper. Everytime she gets up I wake up. Then she lets out a little soft whine, just enough for me to hear (and not Hubby). I get up, take her out, and I have to give her credit, she almost always pees and/or poops. Then, back in we go... her to her bed and me to mine. But, alas, I am now awake.... and sleep eludes me. For an hour ... for two... until it is just about 6 am - time to get up.

But last night, I heard no whine. For the first time in a very long time, I got 6.5 hours of sleep IN A ROW.

My body was so unaccustomed to it, I think this morning's headache is a direct result of its' confusion.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

USA Today Article - Babies Can Cause "Momnesia"

There I was, innocently reading my morning papers, when I came across this headline from USA Today: Babies Can Cause "Momnesia". That was too good to pass up (I usually just read the Life Section).

Now, my son is 14 years old (15 this summer, actually!) so it's not like I am pregnant or have a newborn. Yet, I still feel like I am suffering from Momnesia. The article talks about how the experience and pain of childbirth seems to fade and the knowledge you learn to deal with your baby at particular stages of life "takes over" your brain and other things start to slide... like that milk belongs in a refrigerator, not a cupboard.

I personally have not done that, but I often find myself getting to the car, turning it on, going down the driveway, and then saying to myself - where am I going? I check to see if I have The Boy with me...if I don't, I am probably on my way to pick him up. If I do, I am probably on my way to take him somewhere. If I am in my pj's, I am on my way to take him to school. If I have "real" clothes on, I am on my way to karate (or possibly a friend's house).

I will also walk into a room with a purpose... just not one I remember. I will stand there... looking around, flailing about for a purpose... do I sit on the toilet now? or am I there to take a shower?

Of course, you could just put this down to getting older and more forgetful. Either way I.DO.NOT.LIKE.IT!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

One More For...

The Boy was at his Karate class Friday night. He actually had two - one was the class where he student teaches and then he has his own teen class. I dropped him off and decided to grab dinner with Hubby before picking up The Boy. Hubby & I went together to pick him up. We went into the "little room" - which is where the karate school expanded and took over a Curves that shut down. There were about 8 or so kids there that night - about average.

We watched as they practiced their katas. I love watching katas... you have to remember certain moves in certain sequence... it looks like a dance, but very quick and with the intention to defend or attack. We watched for a bit and then Hubby decided to go next door to the main building to chit chat with the staff. The class was wrapping up and the instructor was getting ready to have them do the ending exercises. They generally do sit-ups, push ups, crunches, and things of that nature. Depending on what belt they are, they will have to complete more or less of each thing. That night the instructor had them do the same amount of everything...they did 15 crunches, 15 sit-ups and 15 push ups. The push ups were last. When everyone had counted off and completed the 15 in unison, the instructor asked them: "can you do one more for your mom?" and the kids replied: "Yes, sir!" and they went down to start the push up. As he was going down, The Boy said in a loud voice: "This one is for you mom - I love you!" and then completed his push up. The other parents and siblings laughed and I admit I laughed too. It was such a complete spontaneous moment - I knew he meant it and he didn't care if all the other kids and parents knew it too. I really wanted my husband to be there to have heard it - it was one of those things that in the storytelling loses its meaning - you need to be there to remember it the way it should be remembered.

Next the instructor said: "Now do one for your dad" and they did. Since Hubby wasn't there, there was no love for him. The instructor gave The Boy a bit of a hard time - "don't you love your dad too?", knowing that he does and that dad had just walked away.

Next the instructor said: "Now do one for your grandparents.". The Boy did four - one for each grandparent he has.

Then the instructor started to have the kids say who they should do "one more" for - brothers, sisters, friends, pets, school vacation, the instructor, Christmas....

Finally the instructor let them stop. He asked if the kids knew how many push ups they had actually done. The kids were laughing and really hadn't been keeping count... so no one had a real answer. The instructor told them they did at least 15 more push ups using the "one more for" method. He talked about how they got motivated by using that "one more for" as a way to keep going and focus one the goal, not the activity of getting to the goal.

I guess we all need to remember that sometimes... we can do just one more.. to get to our goals.

Let me know what you think.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

DVD?CD update

Well, I think we have most of it done... I know there are probably a few CD's that snuck by us. Total count ... 196 CD's.

Take a look at the screen shot to see what it looks like.

Friday, February 29, 2008

Music & DVD's

Wow, we have a lot of CD's and DVD's. Well, maybe... maybe not... I guess it depends on your view of "a lot".

I have this catalog program - AVCataloger - that manages my DVD/Movie, CD, Book, Software titles. It also has a spot for Loaned Out materials and a Wish List.

So, I entered all of our DVD's over the Christmas break into it - including what I could get my hands on from The Boy's room, we have .... wait for it.... drum roll.... 118 DVD's. They really don't take that much room in the living room - just 3 somewhat overstuffed shelves, so I would never think of them as 118 individual DVDs living in my house.

As any self respecting geek would, we are going through our cd collection to add to our i-Tunes. I pretty much had this done when I got my iPod (long, long ago)... but Hubby did not get around to it. It has been on his TO DO list for a while (aka since Christmas '06). In all fairness, he did start it... but got distracted/bored/busy with school/busy with work/busy with travel, etc. So, he is finally getting around to going through all of them now. So I add each CD to the Cataloger after he has scanned it for his iPod pleasure. Right now, we are at 165 CD's. He is almost done... maybe another 40 or 50 CD's to go. This number does NOT include most of The Boy's CD's. I think he doesn't want me to get my hands on whatever CD's he has, plus, now with iTunes, he mostly buys stuff online.

I originally bought this software because I was going to make a list of everything in my house for insurance purposes. When we moved into our log home, it amazed me how much STUFF we actually had. I had read somewhere that you should take a video of each room in your house, describing what was in it, how old/new it was, what it was worth, whether it was a family heirloom, and so on. I thought to myself that a quick glance of DVD's and CD's wouldn't cut it with an insurance company, so I looked for some software that was able to inventory stuff easily and quickly. I admit I could have just whipped out my trusty Excel and made a list. But, here is one of the cool things about this software... it actually LOOKS UP information for you. For instance, I just pop in the CD and hit the "CDDB Lookup" icon and it searches the Internet database for the CD and fills in the album notes (titles, artists, dates, track titles). In SECONDS... meaning I don't have to do it!! And there is even an icon for the EJECT CD... I don't have to hit the button on the side of my laptop... it just pops open when I hit the icon. Talk about a slacker's dream! For books, you enter in the ISBN number, or the author or the title.... and up pops the info. For movies, it's a bit trickier. It searches IMDB, which is a great resource, but sometimes it has multiple choices for the title you type in... and you have to hit the enter key and hope that it is really the King Kong you actually have, not the 1938 or whatever year the original came out. But, definitely a big improvement over entering every blessed detail yourself.

If you are interested in something like this, you can purchase AVCataloger at

First Post

Well, this is my first post in my brand new Blog. I hope to have lots to say, I hope to write it well, I hope to have interesting conversations, and I hope you enjoy your time here.

I have just started lurking around some other great blogs and I have to say I have been very inspired by all I have seen out there.