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!

Summer School, Mama Style!

Thursday, June 23, 2011
It's summertime!  If you are a Mom, you don't have to be told that.  Chances are your kids are out too and already sitting under your feet saying, "I'm BORED"!

My father's typical response to that is, "Well poke your eye with a stick then!"  I guess we're lucky all the grandkids are too smart to listen to him.

One of my cousins and my daughter are nearly the same age and when they spent the weekends together, if they told my Aunt that they were bored, she made them go take a nap.

I've been known, on occasion to tell the boys, "Go play with your brother.  That's why I had two of you!"

Btw, have you ever noticed they are never bored when it comes time to help clean the house?

In order to expand the boys' world, and get them away from their TV and books, I've decided to teach them a few things over the summer.  So on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays, we have class after lunch.  I never got to be the teacher I played school as a kid, this is finally my chance!

Mondays, we have drawing class. Neither one has great penmanship.  That is the only area in school that they do not excel.  I'm not too worried because everything is done on computers now days BUT I know they need to be able to write fairly legibly on a few occasions.  I figured drawing would help with that and besides, I think most of us wish we could draw something besides smiley faces.

I love Mark Kistler.

I used to watch him on PBS and learned some of the basics of drawing by following along.

  I have a couple of his books but they are packed up and in the storage unit, so I borrowed this one from the library.

They are great for teaching kids how to draw in 3D

This was Rabbit's and Horse's first drawing lesson.  They are still a little heavy handed but at least they are recognizable.  They actually did better than I expected and it will be great to see how they progress from here.

Rabbit's on this side | Horse's on this side

Wednesday is music appreciation day.  I'm sure The Greek would appreciate our music much better if we took it out of the house.

I recently purchased these...

I'm teaching the boys (and learning along with them) how to play the ukulele!  My extended family are all taking lessons and it's becoming popular worldwide.  It's an easy instrument to play.  They teach it in elementary schools in Hawaii, or used to before budget cuts.  If we ever get to the point that we can play together without causing your ears to bleed, I may post a YouTube.  Until then, reading about it is safer than listening.

My boys are great readers but hate to write.  I think the penmanship thing has something to do with it.  I made them start blogs when they were here for spring break and so Fridays will be blogging day.  They have all week to take pictures and find something to blog about.  Their first attempts were one sentence each.  After a little prodding we got up to 4, I think.  Fridays should be interesting days around here.

If they say anything especially profound...or really stupid...I'll post excerpts.

Of course, we can't neglect physical activities.  That's why we have Nerf guns!  That's a whole 'nother ball of wax.


Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Do you ever have restless days?  Days when you can't concentrate and nothing seems "right"?  Days you wonder where you are...who you are...why you are.

(Well that sucks.  Blogger isn't letting me post pictures today)

You put up a front.  Play with the kids.  Running on autopilot, things get done  but you don't really remember doing most of them.  No one really realizes there is anything different than usual.

Are you where you are supposed to be?  Is there something more?  A rock left unturned, a door yet to be opened.  Or maybe one that needs to be closed.   Afraid to move forward but equally afraid not to.

It's not depression.  It's more a...longing.  Not sure for what but something more...something else...something new...something better, maybe.

It's like it's right there.  Just out of sight and out of reach.  You fervently look around you, hoping you will find a glimpse of it somewhere amid the pile of things on your desk.   If you could just lay a finger on it, you would understand and all this would stop.

Yeah.  It's one of those days.

Maybe She Can Use Them As Doorstops

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
If I think really really hard, I can remember the days before we had internet.  Heck, I can remember the days before personal computers!  I don't even want to be without either any more.  Sometimes the good old days weren't quite as good as the good "now" days.

Not my stuff but close
I love technology.  I love gadgets.  Sitting here I am surrounded by three computers, all mine.  There are times when I'm using all three.  Within reach I have my cell phone, Kindle, external HD, digital camera,  mixing board (sound equipment) and four mp3 players, again all mine.

I'm not a computer expert by any stretch of the imagination.  It is scary that in this house, I'm pretty much the techie one.  Believe me that's not saying much about me but means most of the time we all fly by the seats of our pants.  Still, I can't imagine doing without any of my toys.

Then there is my Mom.  She is a great woman.  Very smart but about as technologically challenged as they come.  She has a laptop but the only thing she uses it for is to charge her iPod.  My niece, who was 7 years old at the time, taught her how to set up and check her email while my Mom was visiting them in California.  Once she got back to Hawaii, she couldn't figure out how to do it any more.  So her lappy has pretty much become a big power adapter.

My Mom has always wanted to write her memoirs.  She has attempted this on and off the last 20 years.  I remember a few years ago, she was trying to do this on her desktop computer.  One day we were talking on the phone and she mentioned how much trouble it was to use a computer to write.  I knew she was a great typist so couldn't figure out why it would be hard for her.  I soon had my answer. 

 "Sometimes after typing a whole page, I find a mistake.  Then I have to backspace all the way back to fix it.  Yesterday, I had to erase almost everything I wrote." . 

I blinked.  Oh heavens!  Really Mom?

She claims that her laptop jumbles all the words up every time she tries to go work on it.  I also found out that she was hitting "return" (enter) at the end of every line.  We decided that she should just stick to writing it on paper and I would type it all up for her in Word.

It's not just computers.  My Mom loves to shop.  I think it's genetic thing.  My mom, her sister, me and my sisters all have the same gene.  We can't help it!  We were born this way!   Mom found a really good sale on one of those flip video cameras.  After getting it home, she couldn't figure out how to get it to work.  She never even managed to turn it on.  A few months later, she showed it to my nephew and when he said it was cool, she gave it to him.

My mom is a prolific reader.  Somehow she got her hands on an E-reader.  She doesn't know how to put the books on it and since you have to do it from a computer, which she can't use, she can't even get online to buy them.  It is still sitting in its box, collecting dust.

She does own one gadget she can use... an iPod shuffle... and ...she knows how to turn it on and off.  My Mom uses it when she walks.  She loves it so much that she bought another for a friend and two other generic mp3 players for some other friends.  Of course , she can't for the life of her, figure out how to put music on them (my nephew loaded hers).  So a couple of weeks ago, she mailed them all to me, along with her favorite CD's.  After ripping the CD's to my computer, it took me all of 15 min to load all 3 players.  I'll drop them in the mail and send them back to her later this week.

I'm not complaining.  Along with the players, she sent a couple of boxes of chocolate macadamia nuts for The Greek, Hawaiian juice mix and snacks for the boys, and a small fortune worth of Bare Escentuals makeup.  She may not be able to shop online but she sure can place those orders at QVC by phone.  So I guess that makes two gadgets she can use.  Go Mom!

Oh...that E-reader?  I'm betting it will show up in my next box.

Idolize Me!

Monday, June 20, 2011
When I started this blog, I did it so I could satisfy my urge to put "pen to paper" so to speak and to be able to vent about whatever I wanted.  I didn't know about the whole blogging community thing.  I've been learning slowly and although I know I've just uncovered the tip of the iceberg, it's kept me going.

Sometimes the best part lies below the surface!

There are blogs I go too for a good laugh and some that make my heart hurt.  Others just share their lives with us and show us there is humor and beauty even in what we think is mundane.

I am always shocked when someone emails or leaves a comment that they are enjoying what I write.  Imagine my surprise tonight when twitter notified me that I was mentioned in a post.  It was from someone encouraging me to audition for Blogger Idol.

I didn't even know what it was.  I hate to let people down, especially those that believe in what I'm doing.  They are sometimes few and far between.  I went to the site to take a look.  Guess what?

Deadline is tomorrow night.  You still have time to get in on it.  Visit the site here.

I'm not totally sure what I'm getting myself into but I'll do my best.  Push myself a little.  Learn something new, maybe about myself, along the way.  Meet more people who are taking this journey with us, at least those I don't scare off.

Yes, I'm not sane, I'll admit it but you know what?  Neither are most of you!  I've met so called sane people and they were boring and nuttier than all the rest of us.

So thank you NonStopMom!  (Visit her, she inspires me almost every day)  The ripples may stop soon but at least I've jumped in with both feet!

Stay tuned!

Happy Father's Day ...Mostly

Sunday, June 19, 2011
It’s Father’s Day.  Happy Father’s Day to all you Dad’s who are following me.  I hope you get beer and sex to spend a wonderful day with your children.  (The other stuff too, but isn't that what led to being a father to begin with?

There is not much reason to celebrate here.  The Greek is a single father to two boys, both grown.  They don’t celebrate holidays.  Not even Christmas!  *Collective gasp!*  Not because they don't believe.  I think it's just a bachelor thing.  I wanted to make him a special meal for Father's Day but he kept saying no. 

The boys’ father is in California.  He called them today, probably meaning that they shouldn’t call him tomorrow.  He’s probably going to spend the day with his girlfriend, who I heard doesn’t really like kids.  I’ve never met her, so I’ve got nothing to say either way.  She is probably a nice person who is just not comfortable around children.  So, no celebrating there.

My father and I aren’t really on speaking terms.  We are civil to each other when our paths cross but we don’t go out of our way to make that happen.

My father believes in right and wrong, but he thinks only his way of doing things is right.  He said I was stupid for being a SAHM and not having a career.  He also said I was stupid for not staying in my sham of a marriage because “he makes good money”. 

I found out that it was my father that told my then husband to close all of our joint bank accounts, leaving me and the kids without any money what so ever.  He said that this would make me come to my senses.  It actually sealed the deal on our divorce.  I mean, how could I ever trust either man again?

I’ve lived my whole life knowing I wasn't good enough.   Straight A’s weren’t enough.   The awards I got singing weren’t enough.   I’m not sure what he wants except for me to fit his cookie cutter mold.  He may love us but showing his love has always come with strings attached.   In the end, he’s abandoned two of his children.  Family first, yeah right.

Maybe there is a reason to celebrate.  I have my boys and I get to teach them that family comes first.  No matter what.   When they need you, there may be circumstances but there should never be strings.

Introducing Our New Friend!

Saturday, June 18, 2011
I've been trying to think of things to do while the kids are here. Especially free or low cost things. They would be happy to play their video games all day but I'd occasionally like to pull them away from their screens.

It being summer, there are quite a few things going on. Unfortunately the majority of them happen in the weekend, and that's when most of my singing gigs are.

The library has a few great events now and then. It helps that it is less than a block away from our house. This past week we went and saw a magician. He was really good and all the kids oooo'd and ahhhh'd over him. My sons were the biggest kids there but I don't think they mind too much.

The library is having a photo contest. They have challenged kids to take pictures of Flat Stanley and send them in. At the end of the summer they will do a lunch and show the pictures and see if anyone can guess where they were taken.

Tonight, I printed off Flat Stanley and had the boys color him.

I cut him out and sealed him between clear contact paper and then trimmed that too.

Rabbit's on the left, Horse's on the right

Now Flat Stanley is ready to hit the road with us. My boys have all kinds of "stuff" they like to carry around with them.  Gift cards, flashlights, note pads and pencils, lifesavers, cough drops, kleenex and wallets which are connected to their messenger bags by a big heavy silver chain.

When we get ready to leave the house I tell them, "Dont' forget your purses!

Rabbit says, "Our satchel!"

Horse yells, "My Pouch!"

Flat Stanley will reside in those...boy purses. They can take pictures with either their phones or my old digital camera. I've challenged them to come up with something creative. So stay tuned for our Flat Stanley Adventures!

Week 12 - Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop

Friday, June 17, 2011
It's that time of the week again!  Join us for the FNF weekend blog hop

This is hosted by Shelly from My Saving Game and Jeannette from The Adventures of J-Man and MillerBug!

Please follow your hosts and co-host (first 3 blogs).  Then visit some of the others.  Follow them if you like what you see.  Don't forget to add your name to the list.  See the full details here.

What Friends Never See That You Haven't Dusted In 6 Months?

I have something to confess.  I have no friends.  At least not in the "normal" sense of the word.

In the 90's, The Ex and I lived in Colorado.  I worked.  He worked.  We had friends that we'd spend holidays with...celebrate birthdays with...have dinner with.  In the late 90's, I became a stay at home mom but we still had our old friends nearby.  Then Rabbit was born and we decided to move to California to be closer to family.

I continued to be a SAHM so didn't have any co-workers.  The next logical place to turn would be to other moms.  It wasn't as easy as it looked.

The current trend is for women to have their babies later in life.  I guess for most people this means older than 30.  I was 40 when I had my older son and 43 when I gave birth to my youngest.

Standing outside my son's preschool class, all the other mothers would get together and chat about their weekend.  Mostly this consisted of what club they went to and and what they wore and  how much they drank while they were there.

Club?  I don't think I had been clubbing in almost 15 years.  I certainly couldn't keep up a conversation on mascara, mini skirts or Uggs.  BTW, am I the only ones who think that they are...well...Ugg?  Also, with very young children, who has the time or energy to stay up late enough to make it to a club?

The kids were literally 100% of my life.  I seldom left home without them and when I did, I always felt it necessary to rush home as soon as possible to avert disaster.

When The Ex was on a high, he would work long hours and go to martial arts practice many nights.  When he was on a low, he'd come home and grab a handful of dry cereal and go to bed.  This would go on for months sometimes.  There was no time for me.  The only friends I had were my sister and her family.  There was never any time for myself.

Today, I do have friends, just none who live in the same place that I do.  No one to grab a quick cup of coffee with.  All my friends are online.  Well, except The Greek, but he started out as one of my online friends too.  I've spoken briefly about the 3 other men who make up my closest circle.  There are many many others who I am very fond of.  Some, I've only ever chatted with online.  Others I've exchanged emails, Skyped and even talked on the phone with.  They are located all over the world.  No matter what time of the day or night it is, I can usually find someone to talk to if I need to bend someone's ear.

I know a few people here in Wisconsin.  Most are members of the music community and they let me sing a song or two with them when we go out to hear them play.  While they are good people, they are not people I feel comfortable about sharing my problems with.  I guess they are more acquaintances than friends.

To tell you the truth, I don't really miss not having friends close by.  In some ways it's convenient.  I don't have to be social if I don't want to.  I don't have to put makeup on or even get dressed when I do want to talk to people.  There is no scrambling to dust or clean toilets when one of my friends needs to talk.   It will be easier to pick up and move when the time comes.  My regular friends will be no further away than before and a handful will actually be physically closer.

Sometimes it's harder for us much older moms to connect.  I feel much older than than the mother's of my son's friends.  One the other hand, most women my age don't have children this young.  Most of them are empty nesters and/or grandparents now, with different problems.

On the upside, with young children, you can't sit around very long feeling sorry for yourself.  My boys do keep me young.  Who else could I convince that I'm only 21, especially when my daughter is 28?

I check out parenting sites as well as senior sites.  Recently I found a site that lists all the discounts you can get if you are a senior citizen.  I noticed that I get a discount at Maggie Moo's (an ice cream place) because I'm over 50.  I told Rabbit, "When we move to Arizona, we get a discount at Maggie Moo's because I'm old!"

I thought he'd be happy.  It means he MIGHT get to eat there more often.  I didn't expect his response.

"No-o-o-o-o!!!!  You're not old!  I don't want you to be old!"

"Don't I look old?"

"No!  You aren't old!"

And with that...he walked out of the room.  End of Discussion.   Did I tell you I love my kids?

Where's My Popcorn?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011
We went to see Pirates of the Caribbean yesterday.  It was a good movie, of course it had Johnny Depp so it couldn't be that bad.  I prefer the first one because Orlando Bloom was in it too.

Rabbit says, "It was Epic!"

Horse's review is, "It was scary.  All of it, especially the skeletons."  He did like it.

I fell asleep, as usual.  I fall asleep during every single movie.  I was actually patting myself on the back about 30 min before the end for NOT falling asleep then I passed out and missed the whole big final whoop-de-doo.  It's ok I really only go for the popcorn.

Why is it that nothings tastes as good as theater popcorn?  I've tried everything, even that fake orange pseudo butter thing.  Maybe I need to pay an arm and a leg for it to taste like that.

We go to matinees.  We go on Tuesdays.  We even get up to be there before 10 am on kids days.  Why?  Because tickets are cheap-er!  The kids shows are only $1-$2.  If we go to the first matinee showing on Tuesdays, then it is only $5 each.  I would cry to have to pay $8-$10 for me to take a nap!

Then there is the snack bar.  Don't think you can take my kids to the movies without snacks.  Their father doesn't give them anything and he is the subject of whispered conversations between the boys.  The Ex always wonders why they prefer me to take them.  One can easily blow twice the amount of admission on theater snacks.

To make these excursions more affordable, I've come up with "The Theater Bag".

Start with a LARGE bag.  The one on the left is my current regular purse.  The blue one is my special purpose bag.  It has no sections and no pockets.  It sucks as a regular purse because it becomes the black hole.  Everything goes in and nothing ever comes out.  It is perfect for a theater bag!  BTW, that's Rabbit holding it up.  He's hiding because heaven forbid someone should see him holding a purse!

Fill it with
1)  Candy bought from the grocery or dollar store.  Mine is the Raisinets.  I figure raisins are fruit right?  Dark chocolate is good for you, right?  So Dark Chocolate Raisinets are like super candy!  Taste good and good for you too!  (I ate about 8 and the boys ate the rest.  The boys who claim they HATE raisins.)

2)  Water bottles, sippy cups or juice boxes.  They don't spill and you decide what the kids drink.  These have Mio enhanced water in them.

3)  Something to put the kids popcorn in.  Ziploc or brown paper lunch sacks work.  These were at the dollar store and the kids begged me for them.  I buy the biggest tub of popcorn and fill their containers from it.  I can say, truthfully, that I didn't eat the whole tub by myself.

I paid less than $7.  Usually my tab runs about $25.  Sure the theater didn't make as much off of me this time, but this means we can go back in 2 weeks and see Cars 2 or Kung Fu Panda 2.  Between the cost of tickets and our $7 popcorn, they still come out ahead.

What's Showing

Tuesday, June 14, 2011
I got waylaid by another massive headache last night.  It was the first really bad one in a week, so it's getting better.

I managed to barely get through a movie, "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen".  I love that movie and it was the first time the boys had seen it.  Horse just enjoyed it for the action flick it was.  Rabbit, who reads A LOT, caught most of the references to other literary characters like Tom Sawyer, Moriarty, and Capt. Nemo.  He doesn't read horror stories so I had to explain Dr. Jekyll, Jonathan Harker and Dorian Grey.

I was worried that those characters would scare them a little but they seemed fine with it.  Did I tell you that my boys are scared of everything?  Heights is a big one.  They didn't like a lot of playground equipment for a long time.  You don't know how many times I've had to rescue them from bridges and slides.  I've had to crawl into those structures at McDonald's and Chuck E. Cheese.  I'm not skinny and then to have to drag a 5 year old hanging on for dear life is not an easy or pleasant task.

They love learning about bugs, reptiles and other animals.  Don't let any of those get near them though.  Zoos and museums are great.  All of them are behind cages or moats or glass walls.  If a spider runs across the bedroom, then it's Mama to the rescue again!

They still have a night light because they don't like the dark.  Weather phenomena absolutely terrifies them.  Lightning, thunder, blizzards, tornadoes (in another state even), even heavy rain and flooding is all a cause for concern and numerous questions.

I have used this to my advantage.  I know if I tell my older son some scary tidbit, then I can prevent him from doing things.  "Don't ever use the microwave without my permission.  Things can explode or catch fire."  "Don't touch my really cool looking razor blade holder.  It can cut your finger off."  It works, it really does!  He doesn't touch it and he makes sure his brother doesn't either.  Does that make me evil? Bwaaahaahaaa!

Today, we're off to see the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie.  Even The Greek is going with us and he NEVER does.  I guess my whining asking worked.  I'll let you know how we liked it and show you my "theater purse."  Maybe I'll even pick up a pointer or two from Capt. Jack Sparrow.

Blogging Parents...I Kiss Your Feet!

Sunday, June 12, 2011
I am in awe of you!  Yes! You!  All you ladies, and men too (we can't forget the single and SAH fathers out there), who have children at home and still manage to blog regularly.

Since the boys got hereI don't know where the time goes, or the days for that matter.  I think I missed posting a day but don't know when that happened.

Something like Day of the Week panties might help.  If I could remember to wear the right ones on the right days.  Nah, ain't gonna happen.

I get up in the morning and as soon as the boys hear my bedroom door open, they literally throw themselves at me.  Horse yells, "Cling!" as he holds on for dear life.  They fool me every morning into thinking they are so sweet and innocent.  They massage my neck and legs for a few minutes before grabbing something for breakfast.

The rest of the day is a blur.  There is a lot of food involved.  I keep telling them, "I fed you yesterday.  Are you sure I'm supposed to feed you again today?"  They think they are Hobbits.  That's a lot of cooking, cleaning and shopping to be done.  Not even fun type shopping!

Whenever I get a great idea for a post, I sit at my computer and start writing.  Invariably I hear...

"Mama!  The toilet's clogged again!  It wasn't me!"

"Mama!  We're out of underwear!"

"Mama!  Rabbit won't let me hibernate in the closet with him!"

"Mama!  There's a our room!"

I jump up to fix things and promptly forget my great idea.  Even if I remember the topic, I've forgotten all the witty things I was going to say.  Bah, humbug!

I'm hoping that I'm just out of practice and things will soon get back in the groove.  Wait, do I even have a groove? *Adds that to To-Do list*

Where was I?

Oh yeah.  So I applaud you busy bloggers who still find time to get it done.  Especially those with younger children.

I'm open to suggestions.

I may even figure this out before I lose my mind.  Probably not.  If you see it, send it home please!

What A Big....Head...You Have

Saturday, June 11, 2011
I am no prude by any means.  I write naughty stories.  My alter ego is known for her "Naughty Song".  The Greek is on staff at a site that has some of the best erotic 3D art on the web.

I would, however, like to think that my boys will be innocent until after they graduate from college.  Fat chance, I know.

At what age do our minds end up in the toilet?  When do we start seeing the bad in what is pure and good?

Yesterday, Rabbit (11) came into my office, chuckling to himself.  He said "Horse (8) has a big head Mama!"

I was only half listening, until he said, "I'm not talking about the one on top of his neck."

That got my attention.  He couldn't mean what I was thinking.  How do I ask him yet not have to tell him what I'm thinking?

"You're talking about another head...?"

"Yeah Mama!  You know what I mean!"  He now has a glint in his eye.

Do I know what he means?  Maybe.  Yes.  NO!!!   I watch him, trying to decide what to say if he refers to THAT "head".

Horse walks in on us.  "Who's got a big head?"

Oh no!  Now the baby is going to learn about all this!  He's too young!

Rabbit confidently tells his brother, "We're talking about what a big head you have but not this one."  He rubs his brother's head.

Horse looks puzzled.  "What?"

"I'm talking about...your EGO!  Right Mama?"

Thank you!  My boys get to keep their innocence for a bit longer!  "Yes Rabbit, egos can be big things."

"Now let's go watch Disney!"

Keeping Busy

Thursday, June 9, 2011
Yesterday was the boys' first full day here.  The weather was HOT!  We had a record high of 93 degrees (right now, it's only 53 degrees. It's COLD).

I dragged them out in the heat.  After all they need to get used to the heat, 93 degrees in Arizona in the summer is really nice weather!

First we stopped by the car wash.   I don't like the automated ones.  They never seem to get the car really clean.  I prefer the DIY high pressure wash places.  Plus, if I angle the spray just right, I can soak the kids and make it look like an accident.  Oops!  We also cleaned the inside, dumped trash and vacuumed and sprayed the inside with "New Car" scent.

We did a quick run to Walmart for leather cleaner, car wax and rubbing compound.  The boys bought toys, of course.  They cannot pass up a toy section as long as they have money burning a hole in their wallets.

Such hard work deserved a treat.  They wanted a COLD treat.  I wonder why?  We made a stop at Coldstone!  Rabbit chose mint ice cream with white chocolate chips and Horse had cheesecake ice cream with Heath bar.  Both got a chocolate dipped sprinkled waffle bowl.

As if that wasn't enough, The Greek's grandson came over and so he decided to run out to Big Star Diner for dinner.  I guess this place has been around for decades and is supposed to have really great burgers.

I thought the food was pretty mediocre but the kids and other adults enjoyed it, so they were all happy.

Until the storm hit!  Weather sirens going off!  Wind gusts at 100 mph.  Lightening and thunder!  It was truly spectacular.  How come kids pay attention to everything that they aren't supposed to.  Mine kept telling me.  "They said go to a place with no windows, can we go down to the basement now?"

They never say, "They said we should help around the house and keep our rooms clean!  So can we Mama?"
I guess I should be happy the storm died down before bed.

Big Changes

Wednesday, June 8, 2011
Sorry for not posting yesterday.  Things have been really hectic here.  My boys were supposed to come in next week Friday, the day after school let out.

I got a call late Monday.  Actually it was after 12:39 am Tuesday.  It was The Ex asking if he could send the kids before then.  Yes, yes! Send them!  If he's asking, it's usually for a scary reason.

This was one of those times.  He suffers from depression and has ADD.   He may also be bipolar.   He's suicidal.  He tried almost 4 years ago on Rabbit's 8th birthday.  He's been having those kinds of thoughts again.

 I've told him many times, if things are bad, just send the boys to me.  So he did.  I thank him for doing that.  At least I know they are safe here with me.  This may be the last time that they make that trip.

He missed their flight yesterday, but was lucky enough to get them on another flight with the different airlines later in the day.  He did the same thing last year, twice.  He's not functioning very well and hasn't been since the first suicide attempt.

So if I skip a post or two, it is because things are busy here and I'm trying to find the groove we are comfortable being in.  I'm here, around, somewhere.

Baby Roadkill

Monday, June 6, 2011
My sons, Rabbit and Horse, are 11 and 8. Kids around this age are confusing. I know what my boys like but other kids the same age can be into completely different things.

The Greek's grandson is only a year older than my oldest son. He likes hunting and BB guns. The video games he plays are the sports and racing ones. I've seen him play with nerf guns and matchbox cars.

My kids love animals. They won't touch them but love to learn about them. I think they'd be scarred for life if they ever shot one. They prefer the fantasy type video games. The things that still surprises most people is that that they love babies.

I''m not talking human babies, but stuffed animal babies. When The Ex and I had a family bed, there were more than 25 of them sleeping with us every night.

Whenever we go to somewhere memorable, like an aquarium or Disneyland, we almost always come home with a couple more to add to the collection.

These are their favorites.

Spud and Kutesy

I've been given instructions to not pack them in a box for the move.  Heaven forbid that they should travel that way.  They might suffocate or be squished.  They have to travel to our new MY purse!  At least they are small and cute.

Some babies are not so small...or cute. The Ex took the kids to a rummage sale at their church and bought a whole bag of babies for them. This from the man who complained about them being in our bed and told the kids 5 years ago, "No More Babies!"  (We all just laughed at him btw.)

Last Christmas, Horse brought a new baby with him. It's a beaver, I think. He calls it "Scarf" because he likes to wear it around his neck. I call it "Roadkill".

I must be an awesome photographer because believe me, Roadkill doesn't look that cute in person. Sitting on the bed, he looks like something you find lying on the side of the highway on a long road trip.

Just before heading back to his father, Horse tells me, "Mama, I'm leaving Scarf here with you!"

"Nooooooo, not Roadkill! Ewwwwww!"

"Yes Mama, he likes you and wants to stay here with you!" He hangs him around my neck.

So, I am in charge of Roadkill. He's become a part of the family now and he's kind of starting to grow on me.

BUT...I am NOT carrying him in my purse to Arizona!

Alexa Blog Hop - Week 4

Here's a chance to boost your Alexa stats!  Join the Alexa Blog Hop with us.

Go to your host, A Helicopter Mom for the list and full instructions!  After you install the Alexa tool, come back and visit me again too!  Let me know by comment or email and I'll make sure to come visit you too and help boost your ratings!

Have a great week all!

If I Fall In...!

Sunday, June 5, 2011
I can be talking with The Greek or my daughter and laughing about some video or picture we found on the internet.  The urge strikes and I tell them I'll be right back.  I walk out of my office, into the bathroom to find this

Not my toilet but a fair representation

I don't know what it is about leaving the toilet seat up but it's like a slap in the face to me.  It's like someone flipping me off.  Who wants to look IN the toilet bowl.  Even if you clean it all the time, it still gets gross between cleanings.

"Someone" still can't get it all in the bowl.  They can write their names in the snow, but can't aim it to make sure it doesn't hit the rim and outside of the bowl.  So it's only polite to put the seat down and cover some of it up.

I grew up in a house of girls.  I have three sisters and no brothers.  My father NEVER left the toilet seat up.  The Ex was good about it too.  The one time he forgot, guess who blindly went in to pee in the middle of the night?  I screamed so loud that he never did it again.

My boys have a phobia about touching the toilet seat (thanks to their father),  One even uses his toes to manipulate the seat and to flush.  They don't leave the toilet seat up either, they know better.  I've taught them that's it's as important as opening the door for someone, maybe more so.

The Greek's never done it.  I know because he only uses the master bathroom never the main one.  He's more inclined to lower the seat AND the cover.

So who is the culprit?  His son.  Only one of them and I know which one.  I've been watching and it frequently happens when the one is at work.

I have other issues with this one anyway but I'll reserve them for now.  Maybe it will be another post someday.

I've been thinking of putting a sign up above the toilet

"Put the toilet seat down.  It's the polite thing to do."

"If you can't put the seat down then don't use this toilet"

"Don't be rude or a jerk.  Put the seat down when you're done"

Or maybe just this one with the caption "You Could Be Next!"

Does this bother anyone else as much as it does me?  What is the norm in your house?

As Time Goes By

Saturday, June 4, 2011
Just goes to show, I shouldn't pat myself on the back to soon. Or maybe never.

A month ago, I was in a sort of "zone". I was posting daily. One BOTH blogs! Then surgery got in the way. For some reason, I've been having a harder time. It's been tough trying to come up with topics and to get the daily post done before the day is over.

That's so me!

The closer it gets to midnight, I get what The Ex used to call "brain to hand interlock".  My mind goes blank and the few ideas that do occupy it, don't get sent to my keyboard very well.

The boys will be here in two weeks and I need to figure this all out before they get here because I'll have less time to myself.  I will have more topics and stories though. My kids are ha-wear-ee-us (hilarious, as Horse used to pronounce it).

I am NOT a morning person. I never have been. I can go to bed at 8 pm and still not be able to function until at least noon. I am at my most creative and alert between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. The Greek will vouch for me. Usually by that time, he's winding down for bed.  I'm all, "You wanna play? YA?"

The afternoon flies by and then if I have any shows, I'm busy with them all night. Soon I look at the clock and it's almost midnight and I haven't posted yet.

I'm up for suggestions. Do you write a post every day? Do you pre-write posts for later publication? What works for you? Do you have a time of day that you prefer to publish your posts?

Maybe I should just write late at night and then set it to publish later in the day. Like at 8 am! Fool everyone into thinking I'm a morning person, while I'm really still in bed dreaming of... Wait! That's a topic for my other "other" blog, but you get the idea.

Week 10 of Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop

Friday, June 3, 2011
It's that time of the week again!  Come join us at Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop!  Last week they had over 200 participants!

1.  Please follow your hostesses My Saving Game and The Advetures of J-Man and MillerBug, they are the first two blogs listed.  Leave them a comment and they will follow you back! (If you already follow them on GFC, they'd LOVE it if you would follow on Facebook or Twitter.)
2. Please follow our guest co-host (BLOG #3) who this week is Cat from Yippie Momma.
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!  If you post our button and want to be considered for guest co-host, please email me to express your interest.
4. You can link up blogs, facebook, twitter accounts, whatever - 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!

On My Mind Or At Least My Head

It starts out to be a good day.  Weather is nice.  I have great plans for getting things done.  Then it happens.

A slight pressure between the bridge of my nose and my right eye.

I know what's coming.  I try to head it off and pop a single Excedrin Migraine and drink a glass of water.

Throbbing in my right temple.

Time for coffee.  I usually drink decaf so my heart doesn't race from the caffeine.  This time I make half a cup of mine and half a cup of The Greek's regular.  Hoping the extra caffeine kick works.

The back of my neck stiff and sore but only on the right side.  The right side of my head is tender to touch.

The Greek massages my neck and shoulder.  It feels so good but only lessens the pain for a few minutes.

My head is pounding.  My brain feels foggy and thick. 

My concentration is zip.  Even online shopping hurts, so you KNOW it's bad.  Time for that ice pack.

My Favorite Ice Pack

Light hurts my eyes.

It's a beautiful day outside but I have to close all the blinds...tight.  Then lie curled up on the bed with all the fans blowing on me.

Most sounds make my head pound.

Gentle piano is the only music I can listen to.  No strings, no percussion, no singing and especially no bass.  Only TV I can stand is a cooking show with a single host.  Mostly even keeled, no yelling.  Ina Garten or Giada is good.  Volume set to like 8.  (I usually listen at 10-12, The Greek's kids turn it to about 18)

Some smells make me nauseous.

Coffee, vanilla and chocolate are warm and soothing.  Taco seasoning and Manwich sauce are not.  Unfortunately for me, this is what The Greek's son eats most days.

This is how it's been almost every day since my surgery.  It's been going on more than 6 hours today and only starting to subside now.  I even had to cancel my show tonight.

The Dr. started me on a low dose hormone patch but it could take 2 weeks or more for all this to go away.  I'm hoping for sooner rather than later.

What in the Hexies?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011
I'm always looking for new things to do and new things for my daughter to do.  She's going nuts.  Stuck in Canada waiting for her immigration papers too go through.  She can't legally work there yet so needs things to fill her days.

I ran across a post at Simply Crunchy, one of the blogs I follow, on hexies.  I did a little more checking and thought it was perfect for my daughter.

Di  loves doing things with her hands.  When she was young she'd come and tell me, "I want to do something creative, crafty and fun!"  She hasn't changed much at all since those days.   This project will allow her to take her work outside on beautiful sunny days and not drag it through the dirt and grass.

I was going to leave this one up to her as I probably wouldn't keep my interest long enough to make a whole quilt.  Then I saw the cutest table runner made out of hexies, so I guess I'm going to try my hand at it.

My tastes run to the oriental or the tropical.  I couldn't find any Hawaiian prints when I went to the fabric store yesterday but did find a few oriental ones.  So this is what I got.

There are only 3 pieces of fabric there but the one to the left has so many different patterns I wanted to show more of them.

I'll give it a try and keep you posted.