Phoenix Day 1

Friday, August 5, 2011
Time to hop back on the blog wagon!  Sorry to anyone out there reading along.  I got sidetracked by this trip to Arizona.  The next few posts will be mainly about our trip there.

We got off to a good start.  I stayed up all night and woke the kids up at 4 am.  I expected whining and crying but they both hopped right out of bed and got dressed to go!  Wow didn't expect that.

We checked in and grabbed a muffin and coffee and waited for our plane, which was right on time!  The boys got not one...not two...but THREE bags of snacks from the flight attendant.  They were very happy and we were well on our way to fulfilling the kid's meal plan of 8 meals a day. (Like Hobbits)

The boys and I were lucky enough to all find a seat in one row.  I had the mistaken notion that they would leave me alone to sleep on the flight.  You would think I'd know better.  

The Greek sat in the window seat across the aisle and managed to sleep the entire flight, a fact he made sure to rub in later.

We retrieved our bags. which were among the first 5 to come off the plane!  I know!  How awesome is that? Then we picked up the rental car.  A Chevy Impala.  It rode well and had a ton of trunk space but the cabin was cramped,  Barely any room for my purse and my feet on the passenger side and no cup holders in the back!

First order of business...LUNCH!  We all wanted Chinese so stopped in at Phoenix Palace for dim sum.  If there are semi empty dishes, it's because we all dug in before I thought to take pictures.

After lunch we met with our awesome RE Agent, Gina, to look at a few houses.  Some didn't fit our needs.  In one of them, the layout was awesome but it was trashed.  Furniture, clothes and trash left behind in every room.  Carpets were stained, walls marred.  There was even cat poo sitting in the middle of the hallway.  There was a pool in the backyard but it was drained and full of debris.  It was just too much to have to deal with, so we passed.

As we were in the car going to the last house, Horse says, "Mom, I think I might have accidently touched the poop with my hands."

"WHAT?  Did you or didn't you?"

" I don't know, I might have."

"It wasn't on the wall!  It was on the floor so you had to have bent over to touch it!  Even if you didn't know what it was and you picked it up, you KNOW that you touched it.  So did you touch it or not?"

"I don't know...maybe"

"Well don't touch anything!  Especially NOT your brother.  Or your face.  Or mouth, or......"


We didn't find anything we really liked so headed out to check in at the hotel.

The "hotel" was hidden away behind a tech park.  It wasn't really a hotel but a vacation time share or condo I guess.  We had a 2 bedroom, 2 bath. living room, dining room, full kitchen and even a laundry room and garage.  It was 1100 sq ft, almost as big as this house!  All for about $76 a night!  Only downside was no daily maid service and no internet.

Dining Room

Full Kitchen

Master Bedroom

2nd Bedroom

Entrance to Master Bath and WALK IN  closet!

Living room
We were very happy with it, except for the internet part.  Will continue next post!

Leaving And Saying Goodbye

Saturday, July 23, 2011
This may be the last post for a few days.  The Greek, the boys and I are going to be on a plane in 5 hours to go house hunting.  We have to get up at 4 am, so I'm just not sleeping tonight.  I can sleep in any moving vehicle so I'll just nap on the plane.

I got some more bad news tonight though.  Another very close friend was a victim of this heat wave hitting the eastern part of North America.  You hear about such things and you feel bad but when it hits close to home it is a different story.

Jay was not only a close friend but one of my biggest fans.  I often did shows for his venue but had to cancel the last one when I had surgery.  We didn't get a chance to reschedule.

He was the kind of guy who took care of everyone else but not very good care of himself.  He has always watched out for me and steered me away from some bad people.  He pushed and encouraged me when I had just started singing.  He often Skyped me just to chat.

Goodbye my friend.  Thank you for having my back.  I love you.

Stop today and tell those you love that you love them.  Be Safe.  I'll post when I get back, if not before.

Thumbs Up!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Airline tickets are booked.  Hotel is reserved and rental car is paid for.  We leave for Arizona and house hunting this weekend and will make it back for all my shows the last weekend of the month.

The Greek and our RE agent are in touch daily.  So hopefully we'll have a few really good houses to see.  It will be a short trip but so much to pack.  I need a list.  I'll try and keep everyone updated from my Kindle to FB and Twitter.

On a more recent note, I took the boys to see the new Harry Potter movie today.  I'm no great reviewer, I just know what I like and we liked this one.  I, of course, fell asleep during a couple of parts.  Par for the course for me.  I think I might even have been snoring this time since Rabbit shook me awake at one point.  No dirty looks from anyone so it must not have been that loud

Missed this part

And this part
I saw this part!  The boys covered their eyes I think!
We OD'd on popcorn, 2 large.  I guess that was our lunch since when we came home the buyers started their inspection shortly after and we couldn't make lunch.  Dinner was Spaghetti Carbonara (bacon, eggs, Parmesan cheese and spaghetti).  Too many carbs for me and I fell asleep for a couple of hours.  Carbs do that to me now days.  They say carbs give you energy.  They LIE!  Sucks getting old.

I'm off to make a packing list.  I remember all the electronics, it's the power/charging cords I always forget.  So those are first on the list.  After all the kids can wear their underwear inside out right?

I Need Space!

Saturday, July 16, 2011
I moved in with The Greek almost 2 years ago.  I had never moved into anyone’s home before.  In all my relationships, we either moved in a new place together or he moved in with me.

The Greek and his sons have been living in this house for over 10 years.  They set it up and they are used to things being where they have always been.

It’s been hard to integrate my things into the household.  I have no closet space.  By that I don’t mean it’s so small, I mean none at all.  It took more than 6 months before I got a dresser and could stop living out of plastic bins. 

My necessary kitchen stuff are in a nightstand drawer in the dining area.  Can you believe these men didn’t even own a decent knife?  They chopped onions and garlic with a little steak knife.  My chopsticks have made it to the silverware drawer, thank heaven.  I have two coffee cups in the glass cabinet and four glasses.  They only use Tupperware cups.  The Greek even drinks his coffee out of a plaster commuter mug.  I CANNOT stand drinking out of plastic cups.  The disposable ones you get at picnics are ok but not the kind you reuse.  They pick up the smell and taste of everything.  If I wanted my water to taste like orange juice or Kool-aid, I wouldn’t be drinking water!  Not only that, water and ice look so much prettier in a glass than a plastic cup.

I have half of a 10 x 10 room for my 3 computers, files and musical instruments.  I spend 90% of my waking hours here at my desk.   The other half of this room is The Greek’s office.  Sometimes it’s nice being able to just talk to him while we’re sitting at our computers.  Most of the time, it’s just annoying.  When he’s around, I have to watch what I write on my blogs, or even when I’m talking to friends or my daughter.  If I’m on the phone, he is always listening and wants to join in the conversation too.  If I try and ignore him he gets more insistent.

His son likes to watch military programs and things like gang wars.  I don’t want my kids watching that stuff.  He cranks the volume way up.  I have sensitive ears and am constantly telling my kids to turn the TV down and they listen at only half the level he does.  Plus he doesn’t bathe often enough and the couch where he sits smells like him.  Ewww.

It’s tough to live like this.  Especially when predivorce, I was living in a 3000 sq ft house and I got to decide where everything would go.   So essentially it was all my space.

I wish!

So for our new home, I’ve made some stipulations.

1)      I need an office to myself.  Room to put up shelves and filing cabinets.  It has to be away from his son’s room so that I can do late night shows.  Where I can work in peace and not feel bad because I have to tell him to turn the volume down on his music.

2)      There has to be at least 3 full baths, 3.5 would be even better.  One for The Greek and I, one for his son and one for my kids.  I don’t want to have to be yelling at his son to keep the bathroom clean so my kids can use it and I shouldn’t have to clean up after him.  I’m not his mother.

3)      I have to have a dedicated chill out space.  A place the kids and I can watch TV or play video games or just sit and read that will always be available for our use (meaning it is off limits to his son)

4)      I get at least half of the master closet space

5)      It has to have ample storage space in the kitchen for BOTH our kitchen wares

6)      It has to be in a really good school district.  I don’t want my two geniuses boys to get bored and get into trouble.

7)      It absolutely has to have a good stable reliable internet connection.  It has to be able to hold my “radio” stream for my shows.  Cable is ok…DSL is ok… but not satellite internet.  Believe me, we’ve been having a hard time finding a house that meets our criteria and has a good ISP.

Then there are things I would like but aren’t a deal breaker.

1)      A swimming pool would be awesome.  It’s the only kind of exercise I really enjoy since I hate to sweat.  It would keep the kids busy too

2)      Enough bedrooms so the boys could each have their own room.  So it would have to be 5 bedrooms minimum.

3)      Less than 30 minutes to a good oriental grocery store, Whole Foods, Costco, and Trader Joes.  I can’t drive further than 30 min away.  I fall asleep at the wheel.  I’m talking absolutely cannot keep your eyes open kind of sleepy.  The Greek will drive me but then when we get there he says, “OK,  what do you need so we can get out of here?”  I’m more of a  “cruise up and down every aisle to see what is there” kind of shopper.  Then as Rabbit says…I would have to berate him.

He and our RE Agent have found a few interesting ones.  We will go down next week to take a look at them.  Keeping my fingers crossed. I’ll let you all know how it goes.

Winds of Change: A Future and A Good bye

Thursday, July 14, 2011
Thank you St. Joe!    Guess he liked the new spot The Greek planted him in.  We got an offer on the house, countered it and they signed the contract yesterday!  If all goes well, we will close just before school starts here!

No more snow for us!  Next week we’ll go house hunting in Arizona!  The Greek has been looking online for months.  I started out helping him but as time dragged by without even a nibble, I stopped.  It just got too depressing.  He’s going full force now and between him and our real estate agent down there, I’m sure we’ll have a ton of houses to look at.

Our list of needs and wants are very specific and will drive G (our agent) crazy.  I’ll talk about them in tomorrow’s post.

So we’ll hop on the plane and check ourselves into a nice hotel for a few days.  I LOVE traveling.  I love staying in hotels.  I mean, how can you not like leaving your room and coming back hours later and the beds are made and the bathroom is clean?  The best part?  I didn’t have to do it or yell at the kids to do it!

You want to know the thing that I’m most excited about?  Being able to eat some good Asian food!  I’ve been craving Chinese food, but here is not a single really good Oriental restaurant in this town.  Sadly, all our favorite places to eat any kind of cuisine here are national chains. All the mom and pop places are mediocre at best.  I cook all kinds of foods, especially Asian but I can’t find the ingredients for most of our favorite dishes.

We’ve already decided that we will hit the Chinese restaurant we found last trip.  We will hunt out a good Vietnamese place too and of course have to make a visit to the Hawaiian BBQ joint near the University.  The Greek has been craving the dark chocolate raspberry habanero ice cream we found at a local ice cream shop on our previous visit.

We’re off on a new adventure!  It seems like our lives have been put on hold until now.  Can’t wait to see where it leads.

Before I posted this, I found out that a dear friend had passed away in his sleep last night.  He had waited over a year to get a visa to go visit his fiance in Germany and finally got there last month.  He was a true bluesman...the real deal ... and a true gentleman and friend.  I'll miss you Kevin.

Out of the Mouths of Babes II

Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Kids say the most awesome things.  Sometimes it's just funny.  Other times we wish we had the courage to say what was on our minds.  Occasionally they call us out on something too.  Here's some recent and not so recent words out of the mouths of my babes.

Telling The Whole Truth And Nothing But...

When my daughter was young she was a little on the chunky side.  One day at preschool a little boy asked her why she was so chubby.  Her answer.

 “If YOUR mommy cooked as good as MY mommy then you wouldn’t be so skinny!”  

Go Di!

McD's Light

Everytime we go to McDonald’s Horse says he wants dessert.  Our last trip he firmly told me that he had decided to have a Rolo McFluffie!  Rabbit laughed his head off and made a recording on his phone so he would remember McFluffies.  I don’t know, I think maybe McFluffies wouldn’t have as many calories as McFlurries.

Girl Power!

Another time at preschool my daughter and her friends had been talking about their parent's jobs.  I asked my daughter what she told them I did.  She smiled and proudly stated, “I said you were a Doctor!” 

I said, but I’m not a doctor (I was a medical assistant), Dr. Oh is the doctor.” 

Her eyes opened wide then she whispered, “He can’t be a doctor.  He’s a boy!”

Helping The Greek

One day we were eating lunch and The Greek had loaded all the stray silverware into the dishwasher before we were done eating.  He does this on a regular basis and it drives me batty.   I had to take out new ones for the mayo and mustard so the boys could make their second sandwiches.  

Rabbit was calmly spreading mayo on his bread when he asked me, “Mama, are you going to berate The Greek again?”  

That stopped me in my tracks.  “Berate?  Do I ever berate him?  And how do you even know that word?”  

Rabbit giggled and said, “Yup, you do!  And Mama!  I read!”.  

I thought a moment, chewed my sandwich.  Then I told him.  I don’t berate The Greek, I just let him know how he can make me happy!”  

Rabbit laughed and declared that a good answer.  He still asks me all the time if I need to berate The Greek for this offense or that.  I don’t think he has anything against my partner, he just likes to hear himself say that word…berate.

If you don't want to be BERATED, follow the list!

What has come out of your child's mouth that made you laugh or think?

Permission To Hit Your Brother...Granted

Monday, July 11, 2011
In my post yesterday, I talked about going to the Ren Faire.  Besides eating and shopping, this is what my kids like best about the faire.

 There is that non-aggressive thing going on again.  I told them that next time I would make sure they were good and mad at each other before they got in the ring.

But hey!  Where else do I get to yell at them to "Whack your brother on the head!  Harder!"

A Trip for the Lords and Lady

Sunday, July 10, 2011
I've been stressing about getting a post up every day.  I've not been totally successful either.  Now that the boys are back here and likely to stay, I've got to come up with some kind of method to the madness.  My time particularly gets tight Thursday - Sunday when I have shows too, especially the days I do multiple ones.

I've decided, for now, to let what happens happen.  I'll try and post most days but won't stress if it doesn't get done.  Maybe by the fall, I'll have this figured out.  Don't hold your breath though okay?

Anyway, yesterday was the opening of the Ren Faire here in Wisconsin.  I really didn't want to go on opening day.  I knew it was going to be crowded and just miserable, but kids are free this weekend and we had coupons for $5 off adult admission for opening weekend only.  I have two shows today so that was out of the question.  So we sucked it up and went.

Boy I was wrong.  It WAS more crowded than last year but no overly so.  Only time you really noticed was standing in line for certain food items and even that didn't take a lot of time.  Weather was nice.  A little humid and a little on the warm side but absolutely bearable.

Being opening weekend, all the workers were in good spirits and the costumes people wore were amazing.  Made me want to go buy something until I saw the prices!  I could almost buy a whole summer wardrobe for the cost of one dress!  It wasn't that fancy either.  Ok I'll stick to my shorts.

I did splurge on another one of these though.  I bought a black and silver one last year and wanted a little color.  We chose red this time around.  The kids LOVE to play with them.  They change shape.  I'll show you one day.

Ok kick me.  I just realized that I don't have any pictures of people in costume.  I pretty much take pics of my kids and the food.  One track mind I know.

So here is mostly what we had for lunch yesterday.

Giant Turkey Legs!  Very Good.  Not as good as Disney's though.

Beef Ribs (There were 2 but Horse had already grabbed one and wouldn't let it go)
Onion Stryngs and an Artichoke (my lunch).  Kids loved the onion and Rabbit learned he likes artichokes!

Horse participated in the 300 man this year.  It's basically a mock fight.  All spectators (300 men) get a chance to charge a group of "Barbarians".  When you are touched by one of their foam paddles you are out and go to the back of the pack.

That's my baby, at the back in the red shorts.  But he lived!
I learned that my kids are too polite.  They are not aggressive enough when they need to be.  Horse hung out near the back of the crowd.  I was afraid he'd complain that he didn't get to hit any one.  I didn't have to worry.  His claim to fame..."I didn't die even once the whole time!"  Well I guess there is that, maybe being non-aggressive is not such a bad thing after all.

Tomorrow, I'll share some video that shows my kids' favorite activity there.  Well, besides eating and shopping.


Thursday, July 7, 2011
It's a relatively peaceful day but suddenly you hear something that lets you know that things aren't going to be peaceful much longer.  You'll probably have a child to soothe, a mess to clean up or it means having to spend more money.

We've had a few these last few days.

"Don't worry, I'm OK!" - My reply to this is usually, 'Why would you NOT be OK?"  I never learn, I know.  The answer is typically something like this..."I was just doing a triple spinning roundhouse kick in the living room and 'somehow' Horse's face hit my foot.  But I'M okay!"

"I didn't do ANYTHING!" - Which really says, "I did something stupid but I honestly didn't think it would...break... hurt...result in mass destruction."  Today's statement applied to Horse's glasses.  Which were on his face at the grocery store.  Darn, now I need to get him a new pair.  $$!

"It wasn't MY fault!" -  "How would I know that closing the drawer on my brother's finger because he wanted to use MY chapstick would make him scream like a banshee for an hour?"

"Uhhh, Momma?" - This one can catch you off guard.  Especially if you are busy actually doing some work.  The aftermath goes like this..."You know the thing you TOLD me to do, that I said I did, but I guess I didn't do?  Well now it....(take your pick)"  I have to stop working to take care of the mess and then I forget what I was doing and only figure it out hours later when I find it still undone.

*Crash, crunch!* - This one doesn't even require words.  It rarely means anything good like "That ugly vase that Auntie gave you finally died."  Nooooo, the latest incident resulted in  this...

That is the corner of Rabbit's laptop, where the power button is/was located. More $$!

It's not limited to the kids.  The Ex used to tell me "It's ok I jury-rigged it!"  Which translated to I couldn't fix it (or I messed it up), so I had to add extra parts and lots of duct tape and it will most likely fail us when we need it most, but I got it working...kinda.

What words or sounds make you want to hide under a pillow and not come out the rest of the day?

Music Feeds The Soul

Wednesday, July 6, 2011
I love music! Music is the language of the world.  Singing is good for the soul.  I tell my fans, even if you think you can't sing, do it anyway!

I listen to all different kinds of music and many different artists.  The CD's in my car include The Eagles, Celine Dion, John Denver, Faith Hill, and quite a few American Idols from the first couple of seasons.  I also have Disney, sound tracks and other compilations.  In my mp3 player you'll find Gary Moore, Clannad, Telling Stories Band, Kevin Navy Blues, Tony Spinner, Lonnie Mack, just to name a few.

While I am predominantly a blues and jazz singer, I have a varied song list.  I can do a show that's all rock, pop, disco, 60's, country or Hawaiian.  I also do a few Celtic songs. Jazz is what I started out doing and is the easiest for me to sing.  Right now, blues is my preferred genre.

I don't listen to the radio and don't watch much TV, beyond the Disney channel.

 *Cut to a rant*
 BTW, I HATE auto tuned stuff!  It's an insult to those with true talent.  I'm not talking about correcting a note here and there in a recording, but those who use it all the time!
 *Ok back to my regular blog.*

 I don't know who the current artists are and what they do.  My friends and fans suggest music to me from time to time and that's when I go to check them out on YouTube.

Youtube is a lifesaver!  I'm really really bad with song titles and the artists that do them.  People will ask me if I know "insert song title here" and I tell them no but I'll look it up after my show.  I pull it up on YouTube and I'm all like, "Oh!  I know that one!  Duh!"  

I am currently working on an all Etta James set.  The next song I want to learn is called "Sugar on the Floor".  I pulled it up on Youtube so I could learn it.  It's an amazing song.  Written by Kiki Dee and also done by Elton John.  I got curious to hear other versions and I found one by Adele.

Now, I'm signed up to be an Amazon Associate.  When I'm writing my blogs there is a little widget window to the right of my writing space to find stuff on Amazon.  If you're not actively looking for something then they list their best sellers there.  For a long time, there has been this

I really never paid much attention to it.  It's like tuning out the kids.  You hear something long enough and you just block that "frequency" out, until they start screaming.

So I see that Adele also has a version of this song.  I had never heard OF Adele or heard her sing.  Yeah shoot me.  So I go to listen.  Her voice isn't bad but it sounded flat a few times (a pet peeve of mine).  I didn't like it much and turned it off.

Now you Adele fans, just keep reading and don't go hating me yet.

A couple days later I was visiting online with a friend in Australia and he asked me if I had ever heard her.  I said, yeah one song but I wasn't impressed.  He laughed and sent me a link to her doing "Make You Feel My Love".  That was much better.  It was something that I would listen to at least and she was in key for all of it.

So yesterday, I'm looking for new songs to do and run across this...

OMG!  I LOVE it.  Love her voice in this!  It just has that "edge" it that causes goosebumps.  I'm a fan now.  *I also love that she's gorgeous but not a size 6, but that's another topic*

It just goes to show that every singer, no matter how good or versatile they are, has songs that they shouldn't do or at least don't do as well.  I knew this!  I'm very careful to try and pick songs that compliment my voice.  I also know that sometimes we just have to try them on until someone tells us,  "that song's not good for you"

Do you know any artists that do a song you love but also one you hate?  Not the song itself but the way they do it?  Let me know!

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, July 4, 2011
Just a quick, late post to wish you all a Happy Independence Day in the U.S.!   It's been a busy and trying day here but wanted to put up something.

Here my new patriotic song for this year.  Enjoy and I'll be back tomorrow, I hope.

Back In Time for A Dragon Dinner

Sunday, July 3, 2011
If you've been reading my blog for awhile, I think I mentioned that The Ex had sent the boys 10 days early for summer vacation.  This was 9 days BEFORE school got out for the year.

In that last week before they were scheduled to come, they were supposed to go to Disneyland and Medieval Times with my sister.  Rabbit was also "graduating" from elementary school as he'll be a 6th grader next year.  He had to miss his graduation ceremony.

Disney I can't do anything about but I did promise him that we'd do something special for his graduation.  I found out last week that there is a Medieval Times about an hour from here in northern Chicago!  They were also having a special for this weekend.  Tickets for every one were $29.95 each.  For the four of us, this saved me $72!

In case you've never heard of Medieval Times, they hold dinner shows complete with knights and fighting and horses and jousting.  Everything that my kids love.  They are both fantasy buffs and fancy themselves great warriors.

I had an early show yesterday but as soon as it was done we ran for the car.  Google maps said it was an hour and 19 min drive.  We had an hour and 30 min before show time!  By pushing the speed limit just a bit, The Greek made it in just over an hour.  We arrived in time to use the bathroom and get in line to be seated.

This turned out to be a good thing.  When you arrive, you are given cards with your assigned color and table number.  The color tells you what knight you will be rooting for during the show.  They place paper crowns on your head that match your assigned color and set you loose in the lobby.  Doors to the castle open 90 min before show time and they encourage you to arrive at least an hour early.

The lobby is filled with shops.  You can purchase weapons, banners, glow in the dark wands, swords and flowers, costumes and various trinkets.  There is also a bar where you can start your partying.   As we paced I had a glance at the menu.  They wanted $14 each for a slushie and $11 for a soda!  This was for the kids, it didn't even contain any alcohol!  Granted, it came in a cool glass but not nearly worth all that.  If we had arrived earlier I would have felt bad and probably bought a couple of them to keep the kids busy.  Yay for being late!  Sometimes the early bird pays out the nose for that worm!

They tell you to arrive early to get the best seating but we got table one in the yellow section.  This was the first table next to the arena floor, but there are really no bad seats.  The seating is like old movie theater seats with counter like tables in front of them.  

When everyone is seated, they start serving dinner.  First course was Dragon Tail Soup (tomato bisque).  It was served in a handled bowl because guess what?  You get NO utensils!  No spoons, no forks, no knives! The kids loved that!

Rabbit's Flat Stanley checking out the Dragon Tail soup  and garlic bread

Horse's Flat Stanley with our crowns.  Yeah I know we're party poopers and took them off.

This was followed by garlic bread and a half a baked potato.  The main course was a rib and baby dragon (half a baked chicken).  The food was actually quite good and there was a lot of it.

Yeah pretty fuzzy picture.  There wasn't enough room for me to back far enough away to focus properly.
While we were eating, the show started.  The place is dark and every one is moving so most of my pictures are a little blurry.  Here are a couple of the best ones.

Getting ready for the jousting!  HUZZAH!

Our Yellow Knight!  He won!  Until the Evil  Green Night Cheated!  Booooo!!!!!

Near the end of the show, dessert was served.  For our visit, it was an apple turnover and coffee, for those that wanted it.  It was also very good.  Horse said that was the favorite part of his meal.

We all had a great time!  Even The Greek enjoyed himself and he loved the baby dragon!  We had to dash home after for me to make my second show.  Momma needed to make some money to cover that outing!  It was well worth it and Horse was happy.  In the end, that's what counts!

The Short And The Long Of It

Saturday, July 2, 2011
*This is the post I WAS going to post on Thursday before our power and internet outage*

My boys have thick black hair.  No matter how long it is it stands on end so we keep it really short. I love the comic strip, "A Rose is a Rose".  Pasquale's hair looks just like my kids.  He could be their baby brother.  Doesn't hurt that Jimbo likes his women on the fluffy side.  I'm just saying, you know.

Anyway, my kids have been looking like dandelions the last couple of days so I knew it was time to pull out the clippers.  I was surprised I only had half the complaining this time.  Rabbit was anxious for a haircut, go figure.

(As an aside, while I'm writing this, the boys are blogging about their haircuts too.  They keep interrupting me to ask questions.  I then forget what I was going to say and have to start all over again.  It has taken me 15 min to write what I have so far.)

First some "before" pictures.

Horse Before

Rabbit Before
The kids strip down to underwear and I put them in the tub.  It helps to keep all the hair in one place, making it easier to clean up.

When they were young they would ask me to give them Pokemon ears.  Sometimes I still do and threaten to leave them like that.  I don't know what I'd do if one of them said yes.  Rabbit never would, Horse just might take me up on my offer one day.

When I'm done, they look neater and their hair feels like velvet.  Everyone loves to rub their heads.  Friends, teachers, family, even complete strangers have asked if they can touch their hair.  I give them noogies all the time but really it's just an excuse to rub their heads myself.

Horse After

Rabbit After

They run into the shower and get all the loose hair off.  Meanwhile, I gather up the hair in the tub and dump it into the trash. A quick vacuuming finishes the cleaning.  This method works any time of the year and the kids don't track it all over the house.

I, on the other hand, have let my hair grow out the last 4 years.  It was shoulder length back in June 2007.  I trimmed off about 4 inches last summer and haven't touched it since then.  This is the longest it's been in about 25 years.

It touches the chair seat when I'm sitting

It is easier and cheaper to upkeep this way.  Now I can spend my money on a pedi instead.

We Interrupt You To Bring You...

Friday, July 1, 2011
I had a post for yesterday all written.  I wrote it on my other computer so just had to get to this one and add the pictures.

I had just started a show (think, internet radio) when POOF!  All the lights went out.  The Greek looked out the window and noticed that the weather had changed for the worse.

This is AFTER the storm had calmed down a bit.
The wind was so strong that our "For Sale" sign was nearly parallel to the ground.  There were even pieces of trees flying by the window.

That's NOT a bush!  It's a part of a tree, but not their tree!

The boys were a little freaked.  I mentioned before that they are scared of everything.  It was about 8:15 pm and  still quite light outside but they each pulled their flashlights out of their "purses".  If you don't like the dark, I guess you need to be prepared.

The Greek and his son went outside to check and talk with the neighbors.  My boys didn't want me to go outside, thinking I'd be hit by debris or worse, swept away by the wind.  As if!  One look at me and you know that's never going to happen.  Well, at least by nothing short of a tornado.

My kids didn't want to sit in a room with windows.  You know, flying debris and all.  They usually make plans to go down to the basement when the weather gets bad but at this time of night, it was too dark down there.  So they got their books and sat in the stairway leading down to the basement.

Silly Boys!

I called the electric company and found out that this storm had left a trail of blackouts in its wake.  At least 5 areas had reported blackouts 20 minutes before ours.  I figured we were in for a long night.

When the wind died down a little, I ventured outside.  The boys grudgingly followed me as they weren't about to let me out of their sight, but they huddled near the front door for a bit.

Things were calmer but we'd still get occasional strong gusts.  There was still way more light outside than in the house so we sat on the front steps and waited.

All of a sudden Rabbit says, "Fireflies!"  I've never seen a firefly in my life.  I thought they stayed lit for a long time.  I guess I was wrong, these were like a blinking light.  There was one on our lawn and we could see a couple across the street too!  I guess I had noticed them but thought they were just the occasional light flashes I get in my eyes.  Getting old totally sucks.

Our original plans were for me to make dinner after my show but now we couldn't cook nor open the fridge.  So we made The Greek drive us to a Taco Bell about 5 miles away that had electricity.  The kids loved the unexpected treat.

When we got home it was dark.  The boys were carrying their flashlights but whiny and clingy.  Rabbit has a portable DVD player that I had been using while they were gone.  We brought it out and tried to turn it on but I guess the battery is too old to hold a charge any more.

By now we were all complaining and I was dreading having to find something to entertain the boys the rest of the night.  All the board games had been packed away and put in storage because I stupidly optimistically thought we'd be down in Arizona by now.  Then my brain kicked back in gear, it must have thought it ran on electricity too.  We have four laptops in the house!  All capable of playing DVD's!  Duh.

We spent the rest of the night watching "Lilo and Stitch:  Stitch Has A Glitch"  When it was done, I declared it bedtime.  The boys were just starting to plead their case on why I should sleep with them that night, when SNAP...the lights came back on!  Saved!

All in all the electricity was out for about 4 hours.  Internet, however, was down for almost 12 so that is why there was no post yesterday.

Sunny With A Chance Of...No...Just Sunny

Wednesday, June 29, 2011
It is a gorgeous day outside!  Sunny, just a slight breeze, low humidity and temp is in the low 70's.  The Greek says it is still too cold for him.  I want to tell him, "Shush your mouth!"  It's just right for me.

His grandson came over today so we had a BBQ for lunch.  We just grilled some fresh maple brats, buffalo wing brats and hamburgers on the grill.  First time The Greek has dragged it out since last fall!

He bought some salads from the deli and we had some chips and pretzels.  We even ate outside in the backyard.  The adults loved it.  The kids loved the food but complained about the sun being too bright.  Darn couch potatoes!  My boys have those transition lenses that darken in the sun so I told them too bad.

Horse is always the last one eating

Notice how food tastes so much better outside?  I had a burger with all the fixings, rare in the middle.  Yeah I know it's bad for you.  I won't let my kids eat it that way but I'll take the risk for myself.  (I love carpaccio and steak tartare too)

I'm nursing just a bit of a headache now.  Maybe the sun was too bright.  Don't tell the kids I said that and besides...I...didn't have sunglasses on!

Men of Few Words

Tuesday, June 28, 2011
We went to see Kung Fu Panda 2 today.  I've never seen the first one but enjoyed this one anyway.  Some of the characters are so cute.  The Pandas look like my boys.  We filled up on popcorn and I got lazy, so it's a short post today.

I want my boys to be able to put pen to paper and write about things.  When they were here for spring break, they each started a blog.  While they are not public, I do like to post excerpts of what they write here.

So Rabbit and Horse are my guest bloggers today!

From Rabbit...

My family started playing Spiral Knights!!!!!!!!!!!  It's so fun!! It's also simple and easy! In fact,it's one of my favorite games now!!!!!!!!!!!!!(Another is wizard101!!!!!!)  SO YOU SHOULD TRY PLAYING!!!!!!!!!!!!!  If you're my family and you're going to play we could play together!!!!! 

Now i'm talking about Stanley. He went with us to the movies,Walgreens,and the park. He dove into popcorn and at the park we sunk and he nearly got eaten by a fish!!!!!  But we saved him and ate the fish for dinner!!!!!!!!!!!! (he also fell into a pit)

The font color is all his choice, although I did darken it a shade to make it easier on the eyes.

I guess Horse had a tougher day today...

In the shower my brother splashed soap all over me.  Also he drained the water.  He made me feel sick.   Usually I have fun.  I had 100% torture.

 I am playing a new game called Spiral Knight   .I play it with my brother & my mom.  I bought a sword called Hot edge.  I got it from the auction house.  Spiral knights is so cool.

Horse's Flat Stanley at the Movies

The House Saga Continues

Monday, June 27, 2011
I've mentioned before that The Greek is trying to sell the house here so we can move to Arizona.  It's become more imperative to do so soon as it looks like the kids are with us to stay.  I'd like to be in our new house before the start of the school year.

His brother has been calling to check up on us.  A couple of weeks ago, he gave us a suggestion.  He said to bury a statue of St. Joseph in our garden.  He should be head down and facing away from the house.  I guess it's supposed to make your house sell faster.

We figured that it can't hurt.  So The Greek goes to the local catholic gift shop and tells them that he needs a statue of St. Joseph.  Right away they asked if he was selling his house.  I guess it's not a secret thing.  They even have a kit with the statue and prayer card that tells you exactly what to do.

The Greek buried him head down outside the back door this past week.  He also lowered his asking price.

We've had five different parties come through this week.  That's good!  Usually we're lucky to have one.  Three have expressed interest in the house, so now we're just waiting for an offer ... or two...or three.

So the funny thing is...  I previously wrote about an agent who would leave comments that the house looked cluttered and that *gasp* our furniture and stuff was still in the house.  The only changes we made since the last two times she was here was replacing our bedroom furniture (adding 2 more pieces to the room) and our dining table and chairs ( way bigger table and 2 more chairs).  Her comment this time was that she loved the house and that it showed very well.  Her clients are one of the ones thinking about making an offer.  Funny what the prospect of a commission will do.

We're on pins and needles because we want to move, like yesterday!  I'll keep you posted and hopefully have some good news soon!

Sun, Park and 2 Boys =

Sunday, June 26, 2011
It was a beautiful day yesterday so I forced the kids, and myself, away from all the screens in our lives.  I made The Greek take us down near the lake.  They have a great park there and a walking path and a fountain the kids can play in.

So we hit the park and the boys get busy taking Flat Stanley pictures.

Rabbit's Flat Stanley being eaten by a wooden fish.
Horse's pictures weren't in the camera.  We think he didn't press the shutter button down enough.

Then I take a few non-Flat Boys pictures.

Rabbit being eaten by said wooden fish.  Horse is always the one doing the eating!

Must go down with the ship!

Finally I release them to the playground.  They are free to run and climb and yell.  What do they do?  

Stand there.

They complain there are too many other kids.

I MAKE them go play.

They wander over then come back.

No no!  They've been whining for days about wanting to go to the park!  You WILL play!

Did I ever tell you that whining is one of my pet peeves?  Maybe the biggest one.  Nothing will put me in a bad mood faster.  Part of it is the pitch of the person's voice.  Like nails on a blackboard to me!  *Shudders*

The other part is the attitude it conveys.  It doesn't have to be verbal whining.  Sulking to me is the same as whining.  The Greek's youngest son, who is in his mid 20's, will wander around all day sighing.  He makes sure it's loud enough for everyone to hear.  I HATE it.  If you don't like how your life is going...get off your butt and change it!

Anyway, I had this wonderful short outing planned in my head.  Sunny day, moderate weather, kids playing and working off steam on the playground, me reading my Kindle, then we go for a walk before heading out for a little ... ice cream, maybe.  But NO-oooooo!

"I want to play on the playground but Rabbit won't come with me!"

I look at Rabbit

"But Mama, there are too many kids!"

"Just go by yourself Horse.  I'm right here"

*Sulking*  "I want Rabbit to go with me"

"Rabbit, just go with your brother for a little while"

"I don't want to, I'm just going to spin in place right here!"

"We could have done that at home!  Go Play!"

"Fine, I'm just going to sit there and bang my head on a pipe!  Horse, you go first!'

"No I don't want to go first, you go!"

"Both of you!  Go out there and play.  And have fun!  Go do 5 things each! treats!"  Bad, yeah I know.

They grudgingly go.  Sit on the playground equipment and bang their heads on a metal bar for awhile.  Well that's ONE thing.  

It lasted 5 minutes.  

"Did you do your 5 things?"

"Nooooo, Rabbit does things I can't do!"

"Then do the things YOU want to do."

"I want Rabbit to do them with me too!"

I was ready to toss them both in the lake.  I made them pick up their purses and we went for a short walk.  Horse sulked the whole way.  Grrrrrrr!

My Flat Stanley with the boys' "Purses".   Pouches! (says Rabbit)

I came home with a huge headache.  The worst one in weeks.  To top that off we didn't get ice cream.  I was too mad to take them anywhere else.

My instructions to them when we got home.

"Go play, not with each other.  I don't want you to talk or touch each other!"

Then last night, I walk past their bedroom and see this...

Same boys?

Both of them in Horse's bed.  Did I tell you how much I love these guys?

Guilty Pleasures: Bargain Shopping

Friday, June 24, 2011
Oops almost missed posting again today.

Today I'm going to start an ongoing series that I'm going to title "Guilty Pleasures".  I have so many of those that I've made a list and it keeps growing, so I will occasionally reveal one of them to you.

I LOVE to bargain shop!  It doesn't sound like bargains should be a guilty pleasure but the way my sister and I do it, it is!

When I was married, I had literally hundreds of plastic 18 gallon bins filled with things I had bought bargain hunting.

 The nieces and nephews used to love coming to our house.  It was like Toys R Us, except they could actually play with all the toys.  My boys had THREE toy rooms as well as toy boxes in the other rooms of the house.  I always had something for their friend's birthdays and for Christmas.  I gave away some of the best goodie bags for the birthday parties we threw.

 I hate spending a lot of money on clothes for the boys, except for special occasions.  Horse can still stain a brand new shirt within five minutes of putting it on.  So, when I'd find...say... pants, on sale for a ridiculous price, I buy every size in every color.  The oldest was 4 years old and I already had pants up to size 18 in my bins for them!  It was great seeing them for $15 each at the beginning of the school year and knowing I got almost the same ones last spring for $3 each.  Unfortunately, I'd sometimes forget about them and would only find things AFTER both kids had outgrown them.  Ok more than sometimes.  Yeah yeah, you got me... a lot!  Ok happy?

 I don't know what it is about me and office supplies.  I stock up and hoard them, like some people stock up on toilet paper.  Spiral notebooks for 10 cents a 10 pack!  Can't pass those up right?  Buy a couple, they will be good for next year.  Well if 2 packs is good, then 20 is better right?  Scotch tape, crayons, mechanical pencils, index cards...  I could supply a small school for at least a year.  BTW I write everything on index cards...colored ones!  I have 20+ floating around my desk at any given time.   Don't forget desk accessories!  Containers and organizational stuff.  I mean, just having the stuff makes you organized.  Not!  They do look really cute though.  I have two whole bins of matching...purple..."things" for my desk.  They are in my storage unit in California, but one day...!

I have four good kitchen knives I bought for $5 each on an Amazon Friday Sale. Two of them are still unopened 8 years later.  Once we found some microwave ovens at Target.  Regular price was $80 and they were marked down to $17.99 each.  Now I had a good GE Advantium and my sister also had a built-in microwave in her kitchen.  We still bought all 5 that were on the shelf!  But we saved $312!

 Recently, I found this on Amazon.

I was envying it when I noticed they had one that was in an open box.  It was $10 with free shipping!  THAT,  I couldn't pass up!  It now sits proudly in my cupboard waiting for me to make tea in it!

Wow, now I understand my mom!  About 20 years ago we cleaned out her closet and she had 2 dozen brand new ashtrays.  She doesn't smoke and neither do her friends.  When we asked her why she had them, her reply was, "They were only 5 cents each!"  We made fun of her then. Look at us now!  The Japanese call it "bachi".  Kind of what goes around, comes around.

This is my latest purchase...

Kind of retro.  I think my Mom's kitchen was this color!

I picture the kids and I packing a bento lunch in it and going down to the park by the lake for a picnic!  If you don't know what a bento is go visit Bloggybento!  She does some really cute stuff AND I won a giveaway there for a new Greentainer!  Yay!

OR  I could use it to put my makeup in instead of these..

The bowls were clearance 4 for 98 cents!

My makeup cup...Ignore the drugs, booze and Mio.

OR to hold my drawing supplies instead of this...

I think this originally held packages of chicken burgers.

Is bargain shopping one of your guilty pleasures?  Have you purchased things that are still sitting there, unused?

*OMG, I just had to run to the grocery store for milk.  Between sales and the coupons I downloaded from the Kellogg's site, I got 6 boxes of cereal (rice krispies, cocoa krispies, 2 - corn flakes, and 2- frosted flakes) for a buck each!