Out of the Mouths of Babes

Saturday, April 30, 2011
I've got enough for two posts on my food blog and nothing really for here today.  It's 4 am and I don't want to put this off until when I wake up because it is the boys' last day here with us.  I guess it's time to pull out the funny kid sayings.  

Horse was looking for The Greek's van in the parking lot earlier this week.  He happily announced that he had spotted the Dooj.  The Greek's DODGE Caravan will forever been known as the Dooj.  We were even talking about getting a new license plate with that name on it.

The boys and I all use the Kindle for PC.  I buy them books and have it sent to their computers and I can read them too so I know what they are reading.  It's been great and the boys love knowing that a call  to me means they can have a new book in just a few minutes.  Last week was my birthday and I was trying to decide what to buy with the presents my family had sent me.  I've been picturing myself sitting by my pool (Can you tell how much I want a pool?)  and reading my books.  I finally said, "I think I'm going to buy a Kindle!"  

Horse pipes up, "Why a Kindle?  Why don't you get something fun?" 

I told him that I thought a Kindle would be fun but what other suggestions did he have?  


"Why would I want toys?"  

"So you can play and share them with us!"

I NEVER!  I Swear!

When I shop, even at the grocery store, I like to go up and down every single aisle.  Jogs my memory about what I need and we get to see what new products are on the shelves.  My daughter and I were doing that one day.  She was about 3 years old and was sitting in the shopping cart.  We turned down an aisle that had all the pet food on one side of it.  In a really loud voice I hear her say, "Mommy!  You aren't going to feed me dog food AGAIN are you?"  I whipped around and she had the devil's grin on.

One final story...Sometimes when I'm busy working, I'll ask the kids to do small jobs for me.  One day when he was about 7,  I asked Rabbit to get me some water. He did and went back to playing. A little while later I asked him to refill my glass and he said "Ok Momma!  And this time I'll get you fresh water from the fridge!" ????   I didn't even want to ask!

Well Heeled

Friday, April 29, 2011
They are like old friends.  Worn down but comfortable.  They were so cute when I bought them nearly five years ago and looked good, especially with the painted flowers on my toenails.  They were made by Skecher and I would almost kill to have another pair.  I've looked and looked for a couple of years with no luck.  They go by many names...sandals, slippers, zoris, flipflops.  They were my go-to footwear of choice in the warmer months.  Easy on, easy off and so comfortable to wear and walk in. I can't believe the little bows and fake gems are still on them today.

One of the great things I've found about some of these blogs is they tell me about freebies and great deals.  I don't have to go looking for them myself.  Today the Divvy Up Diva posted a link to a coupon for Famous Footwear (click on her link to get to it.  It's good through May 1st both in stores and online) for 30% off your ENTIRE purchase.  I've been thinking about getting a new pair of sandals for a couple of weeks.  So I printed mine out and had The Greek drive me over to Famous Footwear.

Nearly everything in the store was on sale and then I had the coupon on top of that.  There were so many cute styles and I found five or six to try on.  Rabbit and Horse were great.  First they just sat next to me and raided the candy I had in my purse. With their sweet tooth satisfied, I was able to send them out to return boxes and get other sizes when I needed them.  They helped to critique them and so we decided on three pairs.

My sons' favorites.  They like me being a girly girl.  They love when I wear floral shirts and dresses and bathe in floral scented bath gel.  The black blossoms on these were right up their alley.

These were a comfortable take on the classic fisherman sandal.

My boys live in crocs.  They go through 2 or 3 pairs a year.  They were excited when I found a pair I liked.  I loved them.  They were very comfortable and like all crocs they are made of that plastic material.  These also have those special bottoms that are supposed to make your legs more toned.  I could picture myself walking around the pool area in our new house in AZ, in these shoes.  Ok so we haven't found a new house...yet.  We don't know if we'll have a pool or not...yet.  One can dream ...and hope.

I should be set now for the next couple of years.  So I guess I can retire the old blue striped ones...Maybe.

Eaten by the _____ monster!

Thursday, April 28, 2011
The way kids lose things never ceases to amaze me.  Sometimes it happens in a matter of minutes.

"Rabbit, please put this grocery list on my desk."  He takes it and leaves.  Two minutes later I call him back, "Bring that list back I forgot to add a few things."

"What list?"

"The one I told you to put on my desk two minutes ago."

"You did?"

"Yes! Go get it.  I need to add a couple more items."

He goes and comes back.  "It's not there."

WTH?  Sometimes I'm lucky and find it later on the bathroom sink, or my nightstand.  Other times the list monster must have eaten it.

Tonight we decided dessert was going to be Peep S'mores.  If you have never had a Peep S'more you need to try one.  Put a square of chocolate and a Peep (you know the marshmallow things you can get on the holidays) on a graham cracker square and microwave for about 15 seconds.  Watch them, they blow up like a Macy's Thanksgiving Parade Balloon.  Take them out and top with another graham cracker.  Be careful for a few minutes they are hot, but eat them warm. If you don't they can get a little hard.

Anyway I told the boys to bring out the Peeps that were in their eggs from Easter.  After about 15 minutes, they come out and tell me they can't find them.  Fourteen of the 26 eggs are missing.  I tell them to clean up their room and maybe they will find them.  After another 15 min, still no luck.

The boys leave their shoes near the front door.  When they are here, I drag out the box with their game systems in it and put it in the living room to reattach to the TV.  Everything else they have goes in their room.  It's about 10x10.  So how does something just disappear out of there?

I go sit on the bed and help direct them.  They clean out under the beds.  Nothing.   We open the closet and go through every single bin in there (I thought we'd have sold the house by now and be in AZ so I had packed all their stuff up in 18 gallon bins.) Not a single egg.  We checked inside every backpack and suitcase.  Nada.  Cleaned off and straightened up all the beds.  Absolutely no luck,

I'm baffled.  Rabbit said maybe the Easter bunny came and took them back.  I was almost inclined to agree with him.  I get up to go pull out the Peeps that were unopened.  I stop and turn around to give further instructions.  Then I see it...a white plastic grocery bag on the floor at the end of the far bed.

"What's in that bag?'  Rabbit pulls it out and before he can even open it I can hear the sound of plastic hitting plastic.  I guess the Easter bunny didn't want them after all.

Upside to this was that the boys have a clean room again.  For all of...15 minutes...maybe.  Oh!  We did get our S'mores too!

I Bow To All You Mommy Bloggers!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011
In the last 4 days, I've gained a new respect for mommy bloggers.  Especially those with young children.  I am amazed by those that post every day.  I am trying to do that and with my boys here, it's been a challenge.  Yes, I have more things to write about since we're actually doing things, but who can remember them this late at night?  

When they are not here with me, I cook a good dinner maybe 3 times a week.  The rest of the time we pretty much forage for ourselves.  Other than that my time is my own to do what I want with.  

It might be because they are not with me all the time.  I have to make sure I cook all their favorite meals in the short time they are here.  I also try to spend as much time as I can with them, so I don't sit at my desk and write bits and pieces of my blog all day.

I had a light bulb go off in my head today.  What if I make blogging a family affair?  It was an idea I had been tossing around anyway, but maybe this would give me a chance everyday to put some work into mine while creating a little family "moment".  Moment was the right word I guess.

My boys are avid readers but don't like to write.  I think it's mostly because neither one is good at penmanship.  I want them to learn to express themselves well.  For years, I never put anything creative on paper.  Everything was done on the computer and so I thought I'd urge my kids to start writing that way.

They each started a blog today.  The blogs are not open to the public.  We are hoping that some of the other relatives start following along.  I will post excerpts here when I see something worth sharing.  

I was hoping this would give me time to write in at least one of my blogs.  Fat chance.  Horse's first attempt was about 8 words long.  So I set a minimum of 5 sentences, for now.

This is Rabbit's first blog post...

My new diet has 40 points a day.  We can't snack.  It's sad.

Also mama couldn't load LOTRO. 

I also ate crepes at easter brunch.  They were filled with peaches.

(In my defense, they get 2-3 snacks a day, if they choose wisely.  This was in response to me making him decide on S'mores OR mousse OR a serving of baked chips for that snack time)

Horse got into the spirit after I told him to write more...

On Easter I went to a Easter brunch and I did a Easter egg hunt.  Horse  and I both got 4 special Easter eggs. In the special eggs there was money.

For Easter brunch I went to Bakers street. My favorite thing was the ribs. They were really tasty.Most of the meat fell off the bones .

Not too bad for first posts.  I can't wait to see how much better they get at doing this.  Do any of your younger kids blog?  I'd like to know how you encourage them and if they are enjoying it.

Boys Will Be Boys

Tuesday, April 26, 2011
My boys have been here for 3 days.  I get them on school vacations so haven't seen them since the day after New Years. I tend to forget just what having boys means sometimes.
Most of the time, my boys have two volume levels...loud and louder.  I asked once...well ok... yelled..."Why are you yelling across the house to your brother?"  They weren't.  I found them sitting within 3 feet of each other.  Other times, they can be so quiet you forget they are there.

Boys are sweaty, even when they aren't moving much. There is a regular symphony of bodily noises going on around them.  They know better than to do it in public, but when it's just us at home they shamelessly let em rip.  I think they do it just to get on each others nerves. 

Wouldn't you know I'm sensitive to loud noises and smells.
Whenever I ask them to help me decide on something, they both pick different things.  One wants chocolate, the other vanilla.  One wants to play a game, the other one wants us to watch a movie.  Once I thought they had finally agreed on something.  They both wanted chicken for dinner.  Then...I want Shoyu chicken...No, I want Cream chicken!  Sometimes I think they are testing me to see if I like one of them more than the other.

The Greek just takes it all in stride, I think.  Maybe it's because he's raised 2 boys of his own.  He doesn't even say much when he's had to unclog the toilet for the third time that day.  The other night he had just finished fixing it and was returning his snake and plunger to the garage when Horse came tearing around the corner and ran right into him and the wet plunger.  Fifteen minutes to bedtime and Horse was in the shower for the second time that night!

Today the house was silent for a little while and The Greek asked me if they had fallen asleep.  When I checked on them, they were on their computers.  The Greek simply said, "I like the quiet."   
On the flipside...that is what this blog is about after all. They can be so sweet. Bringing me homemade birthday cards from not only them but their cousin Pony too. (She was born in the year of the horse also, 7 weeks before Horse was). I wake up in the morning and usually they are already awake. They throw themselves at me and yell "Cling!" and give me the biggest hugs!

Tonight before I kissed them goodnight, I was lying next to them in bed.  Rabbit asked if I could sleep with them one night.  I said that The Greek would be lonely and sad.  Horse said that he should sleep with HIS sons (ages 23 and 28). 

How can you not love that?  

Let The Kids Help And They May Surprise You

Monday, April 25, 2011
I've been feeling old lately and was thinking about coloring my hair to get rid of the gray.  The Greek is no help.  His hair is long and getting grayer all the time.  My ex used to say that the gray made me look distinguished.  I'd tell him that I don't want to look distinguished, I want to look 23!
So I asked the boys.  They unanimously agreed that I should get rid of the gray.  So we went to the store and they helped me pick out a color.  We decided on what I thought was a black red.

I followed the instructions to a "T".  The boys watched and helped me keep it off the floor and walls and anything else that got in the way.  After leaving the solution in for 30 min it said to add a little water and lather it up.  The next part said rinse until water runs clear.  I rinsed and rinsed and rinsed.  For more than 30 minutes and the water, although lighter was still an orange color.  Finally my arms wouldn't take anymore so I stopped at nearly clear.  I looked in the mirror and what was formerly gray is now RED!
After!  At least it's not blue I guess.
Most of my gray hair was around the front of my hairline and my hair is really long.  It touches the seat of the chair when I'm sitting on one.  So you can't really see much of it until I pull my hair back, but it is definitely red.  The boys think it's super cool although Horse said he'd much rather it be blue.

I guess the gray is gone.  I look at least a few months younger.  My boys like it.  I suppose I can live with it for a couple months.

Where Are Your Eggs Hiding?

Sunday, April 24, 2011
My boys are here and I am so happy!  Let's just say that the ex was lucky that it was so late last night that I was too tired to rant much.  It was my birthday yesterday and it was great having the boys here for it.

Today is Easter!  Happy Easter to everyone out there!  Thank you everyone who is following me either here or on Facebook or Twitter.  Makes me excited to see that someone might be interested in what we're doing.

Every Easter previous to this one, we color eggs.  About 4 dozen of them.  We have a great time.  The kid's fingers are more colorful than the eggs.  Big problem is...what to do with all those eggs.  My ex would eat them but The Greek hates hardboiled eggs.  My boys LOVE them, especially deviled eggs.  If I make a dozen they will eat a dozen.  That's not a good thing.

This year I told them that we weren't going to color eggs this year.  They weren't upset about the not coloring but about the no deviled eggs.  I made a deal with them that I would make half a dozen deviled eggs but we would paint some ceramic eggs instead so we could keep them for future decorations.  They agreed

So today, we spread newspapers on the kitchen table and painted eggs.  The boys each did 2 and I did one and took pictures.

Rabbit was very methodical painting his and I think they turned out great.  Horse  started out with a brush then moved to more of a flood your plate and dunk method.  Needless to say, his are very well covered but priceless keepsakes.  You'll be able to tell mine.  It's the only "girlie" one.

Rabbit is steady and knows what design he wants.

Horse thinks the mess is half the fun!

Rabbit's are near the top.  Horse's on the bottom.

It was a lot of fun and I'd like to make it a regular tradition.

Dumb and Dumber

Saturday, April 23, 2011
Have you ever wondered how some people make it through the order of natural selection to adulthood?  I'm sitting here waiting for my kids to arrive and cannot believe how utterly stupid some people can be.

Do you know someone like that?  I'll post in more detail tomorrow!

I Suck at Networking!

Friday, April 22, 2011
This is a quickie post.  I've been busy networking.  It's really hard work trying to figure things out.  Today was spent hopping blogs and trying to figure out how to follow them on Facebook.  Not sure if I succeeded guess I'll have to watch and see.  Also tried to set up Tweetdesk.  It doesn't like me.  I signed up for an account and now it won't let me access any of their webpages but the support page.  I keep getting a 500 error.  I can access them on my other computer so I don't know what the problem is.

This is how it SHOULD work

So let's try this.  I'm joining a Facebook hop and will see what happens when people join me too.  Of course I already messed that up too.  Hit "enter" before I had a chance to put in the url for this blog.  Sigh.  I have my food blog there too, so maybe I'll get to see some traffic through that...maybe.

I'm not technology-challenged.  Or I never thought so before anyway.  Maybe just tired.

Here's the link to the Friday Facebook Hop.  See you on Facebook!

Week 4 of Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop

Thursday, April 21, 2011
The weekend is here and it's Blog hop time again.  These are the rules as listed on the hosts page:

1.  Please follow your hostesses My Grocery Game and The Advetures of J-Man and MillerBug.  Leave us a comment and we will follow you back! (If you already follow us on GFC, we'd LOVE it if you would follow us on Facebook.)
2.  Please follow our guest co-host who this week is One Blondes Ramblings.
3.  You don't have to post our button but we sure would like it if you did.  Not only does it help our hop grow so we can all get new followers, but each week we will choose a guest co-host and to be considered you must have our button somewhere on your site!
4.  You can link up blogs, facebook and twitter accounts - just be sure to specify what each link is.
5.  Hop around and find blogs that you enjoy.  Be sure to tell them you are following them from Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop so they can follow you back!
6.  Have fun!


It's my daughter's first year anniversary coming up and she wants to do something special for her husband.  He has been talking about wanting to try using the old fashioned soap with a brush to produce shaving lather in a mug and an old fashioned razor.

I remember my grandfather had a thick leather strap attached to the towel bar in their bathroom.  I'm sure he used it for more than sharpening his straight razor.  That was the first time I ever saw a razor of that type, the next time, it was the star in some horror movie.  Guess which one left a bigger impression?

Remember Her?
So I'm thinking about this straight razor, my son-in-law and that horror movie.  I also think about the other people she lives with.  I start imagining the worst.  I'm a worrier by nature and always drive myself nuts doing exactly that, thinking of the worst case scenario.  My stomach clenches as I calmly ask my daughter, "Are you sure his hands are steady enough to use that?"

Luckily she was one step ahead of me.  "What is a safety razor?"  I show her a picture of razor blades and she gets the idea fast.  I told you my daughter is a smart cookie.  I think she was a bit relieved to find an alternate solution from a straight razor.

She starts doing some research online.  These setups aren't cheap and there are so many choices.  She Skypes me that she is so confused and everything looks like a bra size.  I'm thinking wth?  I open my browser and start looking at things with her.  I soon see that she's right. She's looking at a Merkus 34C but wonders if a 38C with a longer handle would be better.  I jokingly suggest that she find a forum and see what they say.

To my surprise, she found one.  It's like this whole cult thing.  People talking the best razors, soaps, creams, aftershaves.  They get really serious sometimes.

I don't understand it all but it's probably because I rarely have to shave.  I have like 2 hairs on each leg and it takes me literally one second each side every couple of months to keep it under control.  My daughter hates me for it I know.  She was not blessed with my genes in that department and gets 5 o'clock shadow the next day.

By now she's really confused at all the choices.  Brand of razor, model number, length of handle, brand of blades, what kind of soap or cream, aftershave, preshave....

I tell her to ask on that forum.  There is one thing I've learned being online, people love sharing their knowledge with you.  I said send a post that says this...

I'm trying to buy a set up for my husband for our anniversary.  He's a first timer and I have a budget of XX to spend.  There are so many choices that I'm lost.

The razor models all look like bra sizes and everyone knows 80% of women wear the wrong size.  Help?

So Many Choices

...she LOL'd me on Skype.  I told her I wasn't kidding.  I think she decided on something on her own.  She knows her mom isn't sane and I don't pretend to be.  I would have sooo made that post.

The Cast of Characters

Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I jumped into this blog with both feet and now looking back, I think I've done things a little bass-ackwards, as they say.  I guess I should introduce myself a bit and my list of leading characters.

I'm a mother of 3, divorced but currently in a relationship.  I've lived in Alabama, Colorado, California and Hawaii.  I live in Wisconsin now but consider Hawaii "home".  We're looking to move to Arizona, when we can get this house sold.

I frequently mention my alter ego.  Three years ago, a dream came true for me.  I started a side career as a singer.  It's a long story but I do my singing online live to a real audience.  I have fans literally all over the world.  I enjoy it, it makes people happy and I make some nice pocket change.  I'm not ready yet for that side of me to be connected with this side of me, but it's only a matter of time.

I moved here from California to be with The Greek.  I never know how to refer to him.   My boyfriend, my partner...he's all those things but the tags don't sound right, so for these blogs he's just The Greek.  He's a single father of two adult sons both of whom are currently living with us.  He's a poet and an avid vegetable gardener.  I put in my order in the spring and he plants, tends and picks.  He's lived here all his life and so I've been opening his eyes to real Asian cuisine.  He's used to living alone with just his sons.  I think I amuse him.  I tease him that he'd live a boring life if he didn't have me.

My daughter, Di, is approaching 30.  She lives in Canada with her husband and his family.  They will celebrate their first anniversary next month.  I love my daughter!  She's patient and compassionate.  Smart as a whip and very resourceful.  She's imaginative and loves doing crafts.  She used to decorate cakes and when we move and I get the stuff from my storage unit in California, I'll post pictures of them.  Her brothers love her to death.  She also grows her own veggies and bakes her own bread many days.  She is the other half of the team on my other blog, Flipside: Umami.  I miss her and can't wait until she can be back in the states near me.

Di at 3 mos old

Rabbit is my 11 year old son.  Yes, there is a large age span, nearly 17 years between my two oldest.  No, it definitely wasn't an accident.  He is an amazing kid.  He's shy until he gets to know you but once you get to know him, you can't help but love him.  He's got the best laugh in the world.  We thought he'd never learn to read then all of a sudden it clicked and six months later he was reading past Jr High School level.  Now he reads well above that.  He's already read the whole Harry Potters series and the Lord of the Ring Trilogy, among other books.  His 3rd and 4th grade teacher could not keep enough books around for him.  He'll let others push him around sometimes but won't let them touch his brother or his cousin.  He takes awesome care of his brother and I couldn't be prouder of him.

Horse and Rabbit Easter 2003

Horse is the baby of the family.  He's 8 years old now.  Time passes so quickly.  He is an easy going child with a quick smile.  He can be overly silly at times and very serious at other times.  He's a big time cuddler, actually both my boys are.  He reads extremely well but isn't as into it as Rabbit.  While Rabbit will read anything he can get his hands on, Horse will only read stuff he really likes, like Percy Jackson.  He is a math wiz though and still surprises me on how fast his mind can work, when HE wants it to.  I think his motto is. "It ain't no big thing".  After he started a new school, I asked him, "Do you have any friends yet?"  He says, "yeah a-watts" (a lot).  "Do you know their names?"  "No"  I know he was thinking...their my friends, they play with me...who needs names.  That's how he lives life, carefree.

I call them Rabbit and Horse because those are their Chinese zodiac signs.  During the school year, they live in California with their father.  I get them for school breaks.  They will be here this weekend and I cannot wait!  It's Easter and we get to do easter-y things.  I'm sure you'll get to hear about them too.

So that's the list of the major characters.  Only other one would be The Ex, meaning my ex-husband, the kid's father.  Enough said.

Oh No! Your Mom Is On Facebook!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I've been waffling about getting a Facebook and Twitter account for these blogs.  My alter ego uses them but only to advertise.  She does almost no socializing on them.  I've been debating whether it was really necessary.

I've been following Single Dad Laughing and his other blog Will Work 4 Followers and his post today was about  "Why a Facebook Page for Your Blog is So Important".  So guess what I spent the day doing?

Like I said, I've used FB and Twitter for a couple of years now but this whole blogging networking thingie is new to me. I was looking for tools and gadgets that I had never thought to use before.  Every once in a while I had to walk away from all the information and take a break.  I have some great bottles of tawny port here and as of today, a really good bottle of tequila and I was tempted to have a drink.  I had to delete a bunch of things as I was trying to put it all together but I ...think...it's working now.  We shall see.  (I'll tell you about the port and tequila another time)

So if you want to join me at either Facebook or Twitter there is a link on my sidebar to take you there.  As always,  any thoughts, suggestions, pointers are greatly appreciated as I wade through all this.

My Sister

Monday, April 18, 2011
April 17th.  The year was 2007.  It changed my life.

It actually started a couple of months before.  I remember talking to my mother near the end of January and she mentioned that my sister was going to visit her in Hawaii the beginning of April.  My sister loved Ren Faires and there was one she was attending with some of her friends in the islands.  About mid-February, she started complaining of abdominal pain.  Her doctors said it was her fibroids but they were too big to operate and gave her some medicine to shrink them.  After a week, she was in so much pain she couldn't sit at her desk at work.  My sister loved working so that in itself meant something.  One night she was so miserable, her husband took her to the ER.  They admitted her and ran tests.

My father and stepmother got a call from her husband.  It was the big "C".  My stepmother was a nurse so she got on the phone with the doctor.  At one point they asked if they should go to see her (she was 8 hours away) or wait for more tests.  The doctor said, "If this was my daughter, I'd be here today."  We all made arrangements to be gone and left the next morning.  My father and his wife.  My youngest sister and her daughter.  My family, husband, daughter and the 2 boys.  My mom and other sister made plans to fly from Hawaii to San Diego that night. It was March 17th, St. Patrick's Day and my father's anniversary.

It was cancer of the uterine wall.  It was very aggressive.  The doctors said they had never seen one that grew so fast.  There wasn't much that they could do.  Chemo wouldn't cure it just maybe prolong her life a little more.  They didn't know if she had months, or weeks, or days.  We brought her home.

My mother, youngest son and I spent the next few weeks down in San Diego.  I got to reconnect with my sister.  We talked about old times and discovered a side of her we never knew.  We laughed and cried.  I had the privilege of telling her what I believe to be true about what happens to us when our lives here are done.  It wasn't long though before she spent most of her time sleeping but when she was awake her mind was sharp as ever.

One day she told me about a dream she'd had the night before about a train.  On this train were people she remembered.  Friends and our grandparents...people who had already passed through our lives here on earth.    Then she looked at me and said "I need to take that train."  A couple of days later, she was gone.  Peacefully and in her bedroom at home just like she wanted.  It was one month from the day we arrived, from the day they told her.

Who was she?  A daughter, a sister, an aunt.  A wife and mother to her two furry children (a dog and a cat) and a friend to so many.  As I said she loved Ren Faires and had a closet full of dresses and accessories for those occasions.  She loved the Lord of the Rings before it became fashionable to love them.  She belonged to the fan club, her name is on the extended version of the Fellowship dvd.  My son, who is also a LOTR fanatic, was in awe at all the collector's items she had in her house.  "That's Frodo's sword and that one is Gandalf's!" He was only 7 and thought his Aunt was super cool.

She was a picky eater when she was growing up and practically lived on spaghetti and hamburger helper.  Imagine my surprise years later when she was the one who took me to my first real Thai restaurant!  One of our discoveries about her was that every year she put together an alcoholic concoction they call dragons brew.  A mix of wines and fermented fruit juices.  My brother in law had bottles that were over 10 years old to ones that she had made the previous year.  It is what we toasted her with that last night.

She was amazing with her hands.  She loved handiwork like crocheting and knitting.  She was meticulous and fast at needlework.  Many of her nieces and nephews have handmade Christmas stockings from her.

She loved reading and games.  She was the first person I knew to own a personal computer.  My boys have inherited her Playstation 2 and they make good use of it.

She was kind and considerate.  She was always busy.  She may not have kept in touch very often but she never forgot the kids during the holidays.  She participated in the walk for breast cancer every year.

Mostly, and this is the part I envy her for, she lived life as SHE wanted to.  Without feeling the need to live up to the expectations or approval of family.  She didn't pretend to be something she wasn't and it allowed her to be everything she was.  She touched a lot of people.

I did a show tonight for a Remembrance Day event.  This song was part of that show.

This is my sister, Karen.  The pictures are of her, the memories and voice are mine.

Thinking Global

Sunday, April 17, 2011
I've said before that I''m not new to blogging.  I think I should clarify a bit.  I'm not new to owning a blog and to posting entries.  The whole blog networking thing is new to me though.  I always just wrote for myself.  I was actually afraid of strangers reading my other blogs.  What would they think of me?  I've been online longer now and socialize way more online too and so I'm no longer afraid of the same things.  Well not TOO afraid anyway.

I love meeting people from all over the world and reading their different blogs.  I also love feedback.  I am looking forward to generating more traffic for this blog and the other one that I share with my daughter.

That said, I now have my first few followers!  All from a place called Mommy Bloggers.  One of them is running a blog hop over there.  I love the sound of that it's so Easter bunny-ey.  So I'll be checking out the blogs on the list and hope you do too!

Holding It

Saturday, April 16, 2011
It's been a busy day here but in an attempt to post something everyday, I'm just going to prattle a bit about my day.

I'm a night owl, always have been.  Which also means I'm a late riser.  I hate mornings and love late nights.  The phone doesn't ring, normally, and I can work and not be disturbed.  So when I don't have the kids, I wake up around what would be lunch time for most people.

Today I had two early afternoon appointments at the hospital for an ultrasound and a mammogram.  I've been putting off the mammogram for a year.  At my age more often than not I go in for one thing and they find 5 more things wrong that I never knew was a problem.  Since both tests were in the same department, I bit the bullet and scheduled them both at the same time. 

I was told to drink 32 oz of water an hour before my appointment so that I'd have a full bladder for the ultrasound.  I don't eat until 2 or 3 hours after I get up because the thought of it makes me ill.  I'd forgotten about that until after I woke up, so 30 min after I got out of bed, I had to down all that liquid.  I usually drink a lot of water during the day but this much this early made me nauseous.  I got ready to go but now I've got the chills from not feeling well and all this water sloshing around in my stomach.  I step outside to go to the car and it's COLD!  My bladder then reminded me how full it was getting.  I squeeze my legs together glad that the hospital is only about 10 minutes from home. 

 We park and get out into the cold again and walk across the street and into the building.  Radiology is on the first floor but the door we went in leads to a dead end.  There are 2 different elevators there and a door that leads out to the ambulance bay.  Ok I really have to go now but can't until after the ultrasound.  We finally figure out we need to catch the elevator up to the 2nd floor, take a series of walkways and hallways over to another part of the building and then go back down to the first floor.

We finally get to radiology.  They try and send me to the mammogram first.  I'm not standing in front of a machine with my boobs on a cold table maybe being handled by colder hands when I have to go this bad!  They agree to wait and the rest goes off without a hitch.  We do the ultrasound and I finally get to empty my full bladder.  The mammogram tech is ready and waiting, so after about an hour I'm free to go after another stop in the bathroom.  

When I get out to the waiting room, BF tells me he got a call and someone is coming to see the house in a couple of hours.  We have had the house for sale since just after Thanksgiving.  Once it's sold, we are moving to Arizona to get out of the cold and we can't wait!  So we rush home to clean.  You know...get the toothpaste out of the bathroom sinks, put away all the things on the kitchen counter we use day to day, vacuum, dust.  By the time all that was done and the house tour was over, it was nearly 6 pm and I still hadn't eaten.  I wanted something good and fast so I came up with a new dish!  Portobella tacos!  You can view it here at my food blog, Flipside: Umami.

The rest of my day was pretty uneventful.  I did get asked to do a remembrance concert this Sunday.  I agreed then  later realized it's the 4th anniversary of my sister's passing the same day.  So it's very appropriate.  On Sunday, I'll tell you about it and her.

Color of Purple

Friday, April 15, 2011
For years, I never thought I had a favorite color.  I love deep bright jewel tone colors.  Emerald green, ruby red, sapphire blue.  I also like most fluorescent colors too especially hot pink.  I love white although I can't wear it.  Dirty seems to suck right on to me when I put on white.  My sister had two very young boys and could wear white all day and it still looked...well...white.  I used to envy her for that.

Of course there is plenty of black in my wardrobe.  They say black makes you look thinner right?  Sometimes I think, wouldn't you notice a huge black spot on something before you noticed a huge white spot?  Still we all bow to convention in some way or another.

I was surprised one day when an acquaintance came up to me and said, "Your favorite color is purple isn't it?"  I looked around me and then mentally went through my clothes and you know what?  She was right!  I don't exclude most colors.  Heck, I even wear orange.  I tend to gravitate to red too but I think it's because red is a common color and easier to find.

 When I want something special, I tend to turn to purple if it is available.  Deep dark purple is elegant and luxurious.  The mid range purples are classic and chic.  The lighter side of the scale is playful and girlie.  Purple fits all my moods.

Even in music, purple can evoke many emotions.  Purple Rain is beautiful and poignant.  Purple People Eater is fun and nonsensical.  And those of us who grew up in the States can't forget "for purple mountains majesty" (America the Beautiful).  What a picture those words paint!

So naturally when I decided to change my blog template, purple was the first thing I looked for.  I think it's a good place to be.  I hope you think so too.

Baby Steps

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I'm not really new to blogging.  I actually have a few sites that I have started.  Each has fallen by the wayside for various reasons, some of them were actually very good reasons.  I want this one to stick.  It has been suggested...recommended...that I try to post something every day.  At first I thought, how can I post something entertaining every day?  Then the more I thought about it, the more sense it made to do it.  I don't have any followers yet so maybe it is a good time to just jump in with both feet while no one is looking.  Time to prime the pump...get into the habit...find my rhythm.

There is another blog I have been following.  The writer posts nearly every day, mostly about what her day has been like and the things she did.  I find it somehow comforting to read.  There is not always something exciting going on but the familiarity in the common day to day existence makes for a connection.  It's like my night bowl of oatmeal.  It's not always exciting but I enjoy it and actually look forward to it.

So I will try my best to post something, anything most days.  Weekends are harder and busier for my alter ego but I will do my best to put something in, no matter how small.  One step at a time I guess.

Just When You Thought It Was Darkest

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

...today for the first time in my life, I'm feeling old and useless...

That was part of a posting that I started to write last night.  Today it seems so petty.  Funny how life can slap you upside the head sometimes.

I got a phone call early this morning.  It was my ex-husband on the phone.  He was rambling and the phone was cutting in and out since he was driving and both of us were on our cells.  I caught something about him going in for a check up like he did in 2008.  I was still half asleep and couldn't think of 2008.  "To the proctologist?"  Then  I remembered all that was pre-2008.  He said, "no...the psycho-therapy"

That woke me up.

 It was actually the fall of 2007.  We were recently separated and on our son's 8th birthday, my then estranged husband tried to commit suicide.

So he's on his way to the therapist.  He's running late and just calling me now to ask me what to do if they commit him.

 Send the kids here where they belong anyway!!!

We were on the phone for about 20 min and I swear he got lost at least 5 times during that time.  At one point he was saying, "Where the heck am I?"  I finally told him to get to his appointment and call me later so he could concentrate on the road.

I called my sister after I talked to him and she said he told her last week that he had been having suicidal thoughts and didn't want the kids to be the ones to find him.

Then send them back to me!

It's a long story about why he has them in the first place and I may go there in the future but for now it basically came down to money (him) vs no money (me).

I don't hate the man.  Now that the lawyer is gone, I feel sorry for him.  I don't want things to end like this, especially not for my kids.  So I hold my breath and wait.

Then, lucky me, I had an OB-GYN appointment scheduled.  Evidently the ablation I had done 10 months ago didn't take fully.  So we are doing another workup and then we'll decide what to do but since I may not have medical insurance much longer, I'm thinking of just biting the bullet and going for the hysterectomy and getting it over and done.

So yesterday's rain was nothing compared to today's thunderstorm.  Yet sooner or later, I'm sure I'll see another rainbow.

Warning! Being Healthy Could Kill You

Thursday, April 7, 2011
Do you ever have times when you think "why do I even bother?"  Today is one of those days for me.

I guess I should let you all know that I am a fluffy person, meaning that I am considerably outside the "official" weight range for my height.  I will probably never be not fluffy but I have been attempting to be less so.  Mostly I'm just trying to eat healthier.

We all know what that means.  More fruits and veggies, more fish and seafood, more nutritious snack choices.  My daughter and I have been pretty successful the past couple of months.  I've gone from nearly no fruits to an average of two servings a day.  We eat lean meats, including fish and shellfish more often.  We also started having a carb snack a couple hours before bedtime since my daughter had read that having carbs make you sleep better.  I'm not a good sleeper but that's a topic for another posting.

My carb snack of choice is a bowl of steel cut oatmeal with fruit, a few sliced almonds and a bit of brown sugar. It seems to be working.  I sleep better at night and the scale was moving down again after being stuck for almost 4 weeks.  It's come to the point that I look forward to my nightly bowl.  My favorite is fresh mango with almonds, a tiny bit of coconut, cinnamon and brown sugar.  Yum!  Even now, I want a bowl so badly.

I ran across an article recently about leg pain.  When I exercise or walk a lot, I was getting pains in my calf along the outside of my leg.  I read that ginkgo biloba might help that and I knew it was good for your brain too.  Hey at this age we need all the help we can get.  So I started taking ginkgo tablets.  

I also saw a bottle of grapeseed extract I had purchased some months ago and figured I might as well take them too.  I was doing this for a couple of weeks and all was going well.  My legs were hurting much less and I was feeling pretty good.

About a week ago, I noticed a slight sore throat.  My voice was a little rough when I was singing but overall I felt great.  Then I noticed a fine rash along my jawline and on my chin.  I thought "Oh oh seasonal allergies".  I also figured that it was what was wrong with my throat too.  So I diligently started taking my Zyrtec in the morning.

On Tuesday, we made a run down to the nearest Mitsuwa Japanese market, which is an hour away and also to Costco, since it lies midway between our home and Mitsuwa.  It was a great shopping trip.  I got to stock up on essentials and sushi at the Japanese store.  Since we were at Costco I figured I'd save some money and get the big bottles of the supplements I was taking.  So I got ginkgo biloba, resveratrol and figured that I'd add fish oil in too.  Gotta get those omega's you know.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I woke up and realized my face felt all puffy.  I looked in the mirror and saw the rash had spread across my cheeks and around my eyes.  This time it itches!  I immediately thought that maybe it was the supplements.  So I didn't take any yesterday.  I had chicken and a baked potato for lunch, a bit of saba (mackerel) left over from my shopping trip the day before. and then my oatmeal last night.  I thought maybe the mango had something to do with it, so I had canned peaches instead.  By bedtime, I was feeling slight better.  Even the headache I had all day had gone away.

This morning I woke up and was sitting on the edge of the bed, still groggy.  When I realized I was scratching at my chest and it was itchy.  I look in the mirror and now the rash is going down my neck to my upper chest. Ok time to call the Dr.

I get in to see the Dr.  He looks at the rash and says it definitely looks like an allergic reaction to something.  He writes me a prescription for prednisone, tells me to take Benadryl or another antihistamine.  Then he says, "No nuts, fruit or fish until the rash is gone."  Then I need to add each in slowly by itself to see what happens.

So right now I'm thinking "Why bother?"  Eating healthy is killing me.  Ok maybe a little dramatic but you know what I mean.  Thing is though, aside from the rash and itching, I do feel better.  So I guess for now I find something else to put in my oatmeal, stop snacking on nori (seaweed sheets they use for sushi) and fruit.

I'm praying it's not the nuts or fish.  Maybe it's just mangoes.  I LOVE mangoes but would rather give them up than the other two.  Until then does anyone have any ideas on what to put in my oatmeal to give it some crunch? Quick before I remember where I hid the chips!

You Are Never Too Old To Be A Rock Star!

Saturday, April 2, 2011
An early drawing
I'm a dabbler.  I always have been.  I love doing different things but very few things keep my interest for very long.  I draw, paint, sew, and write.  I have one book nearly done.  It's a bit of erotica that has been waiting on the last chapter for 3.5 years now.  (I did finally write most of it last week)  I also recently started a new one.  A love story this time.  I've done various crafts and enjoyed them long enough to make 4 or 5 pieces each.  I dabble in Photoshop.  I also play a bit of guitar and a smaller bit of piano and I sing.

For decades, I would tell myself.  "Self!  Somewhere you have a talent.  One day you'll find something you are very good at."  I'd get to feeling the itch and take out watercolors or pastels, fabric and my sewing machine, or various craft supplies.  Some things turned out pretty well.  Some, not even my mother would want to hang on her fridge.
One of my better ones

Just right after I turned 49, I discovered it.  The one thing in life I do well, or at least better than all the other things.  I should actually say RE-discovered it.  It still took many months for me to believe it was true.  Through the magic of the internet and multimedia, I am a rock star!  OK rock star is a bit of an exaggeration.  I do sing a few rock songs as well as other genres but my niche is most jazz and blues.  I have about 1000 fans all over the world.  Not a large number in the worldly scheme of things but about 995 more than I had before.  It still amazes me that people will not only come to hear me sing but they will pay me to do it.  It is a great feeling though to know you've touched someone through music.  Shows you to never give up your dreams.  Think big and know things may come from unexpected places.

One day, I may give more detailed information.  Not yet though, mostly because I'm not quite ready for that side to meet this side of me. They are both a part of who I am, so I don't think it will be much longer.  I just need to ...get a face lift...lose some weight...find my abs...shave my legs...