Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

I'm a little over stimulated and pretty exhausted it was a fun and relaxed Christmas, despite that fact that yesterday I was still trying to get my Christmas Cards together and mailed, and I hadn't wrapped a single gift. The cards are in the mail - most of them anyway. I even had some help from my Brainiac. He put the address labels on - I finally figured out how to do that this year. Turns out my labels outnumbered my cards, so I had to make some strategic cuts from my address list to include everyone that I REALLY wanted to.

The gifts were haphazardly wrapped last night, as I watched Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. No bows. No ribbons. Sometimes a gift tag. No one seemed to care this morning.

I still have some gifts left to wrap for my families Christmas down in the Ville. But we won't head there until Friday.

B and I are headed for a trip to Cuba on January 10th. I just can't seem to wrap my arms around it all until the Holidays are over. We do have our immunizations and passports in order. It's more about leaving the DH and the WC behind and taken care of.

Christmas and the Tooth Fairy

The WC twisted his front tooth from his mouth yesterday, leaving a gaping hole in it's wake. Now it seems as if the other front tooth has been inspired, and is just hours from pulling up its roots too. So, Santa and the Tooth Fairy made visits to our house last night.

Both of my boys have taken to leaving notes to the TF, asking her to leave the tooth - but of course they expect money. Fortunately, the tooth fairy is an agreeable girl and has granted them their requests.

Last night, my WC left the typical note asking the TF to leave the tooth behind. She complied, but also wrote something in return. Apparently, she ran into Santa as she came to our house AND it was the first time she had met him. I suppose not many kids lose their tooth on Christmas Eve. I can't recall ever hearing any of my friends talking about it growing up.

Cool, dude. Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Random Happenings in the Restless World

On Friday night, some girlfriends and I spent some time sipping yummy wine offerings from Sante in the Grove Arcade in town. One of the owners is my Yoga instructor at One Center Yoga on Coxe Street. Very cool place. It is a retail wine store and bar, so you can chose any bottle and just pay a small corkage fee to pop it open there. A lot cheaper than any other bar or restaurant in town, where the mark up is far more.

Saturday found the DH and I at the Stoney Knob in Weaverville for dinner and then at a play, My Name Is Rachel Corie, at Mars Hill College. The play was intense and provocative- about a young woman who lived in the Gaza strip, working with a non-violent student movement. Tragically, she lost her life when a bulldozer presumably headed for Palestinian houses, ran her down as she tried to intervene. This play was a part of Mars Hill College's Difficult Dialog series. Very cool stuff from Mars Hill. They had a panel discussion with the audience after the play but we couldn't stay as we had to get the sitter home. Darn!

Sunday was lazy as it should be. I slept until 9:30 - quite unusual for me. We all went to church at 5:00 pm - first Sunday in advent - and good stuff. I jetted down to some friends' party in Hendersonville for a few hours, then made a quick stop at Target and Ingles.

Today, I hosted the Western NC AIDS Project Fundraising Committee at my house. We always meet at WNCAP but this was our after event wrap-up meeting, so I thought it would be fun to have them here for a light supper. And yes, it was fun but this afternoon, when I was preparing soup and salad for three hours, I kept musing, what was I thinking? Really, though, these are some of the best people I have EVER worked with. They totally rock and are so committed to this organization. And they were kind enough to compliment my Butternut Squash Soup and my Asparagus Soup. I have some leftover to eat the rest of the week. Fat chance my family will indulge in something so healthy.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cap'n Crunch

Patch, the smelly hound dog, has a new friend of late. A stray dog I named Rascal. Rascal has been coming round for at least a year now. He appears for a couple of days, then we don't see him for weeks or months. He and Patch love to play together but he won't let humans anywhere near him. Poor fella.

Last month, I began feeding him. And guess what? He kept coming back around. He even started to let me get close to him and I actually touched him once, though he immediately recoiled and backed away. But I kept feeding him, hoping eventually he would begin to trust. A week or so into his 'stay' at our abode, we ran out of dog food. I asked DH to pick up some and he came home with Kibbles and Bits instead of Iams. I chided him for getting Cap'n Crunch instead of Corn Flakes, but Rascal and Patch didn't seem to mind. Patch and Rascal blazed through the Cap'n at top speed, however we re-filled the dog food bin with Iams.

That's when Rascal disappeard again. He came back briefly, checking if the Cap'n had returned. Disatisfied, he took off again and has only made one appearance since. And that was only a trot down our street, never even looking once in our direction, taunting us for our bad taste in food.

Guess he must be "gettin' some" somewhere else. Isn't that a typical male?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pelvic Thrust for Thankgsiving

Sans the early childhood years,Thanksgiving has always been my favorite Holiday and as the years wax on, the others continue to pale in comparison. Maybe i relish it more every year, as Christmas madness and consumerism has consumed all of December and has eaten around the Thanksgiving Holiday to consume most of November.

For the third year running, we stayed in town for T Day, entertaining friends and neighbors. Being a vegetarian, I always assign the dead bird job to someone else. Everyone brought a few dishes, making it easier on all. We had sixteen at our house on Thursday, including 4 teenagers.

After we ate a marvelous meal, we settled down for a game of Cranium. We split up the elderly couple in their mid eighties, putting them on different teams. We did the same with the teenagers, one for each team. My team consisted of my elderly neighbor, who isn't quite all there, the teenage girl from across the street and my ten year old (who was watching TV in the other room). Mid way through the game, we drew a "play all" where a person from every team acts out a specific word and tries to get their teammates to guess it first. Two of the teenagers were the actors, including my team-mate. When "go" was shouted, my team-mate, this sweet, shy, 14- year old girl started thrusting her hips forwards and backwards. In addition, her hands were at her hips, fists gripped tightly, as if she were helping her hips along. In other words, a Pelvic Thrust.

Embarrassed and confused, I looked back at the other team and saw their teenage player taking off his shirt. Finally, I was put out of my misery, as the third team guessed the word - reproduce. I can't even begin to describe here the charade their player used to convey the word. I hadn't seen that gesture since high school. Thank goodness my boys were watching grown men violently slam each other to the ground - on TV. A lot more appropriate than our game.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Weekend and More

I survived the WC's sleepover. My friend, Erin, dropped by to bring WC a gift and then graciously stayed, cooked us dinner while the kids noshed on Dominoes, grapes and carrots. Turns out grapes are good for "FOOD FIGHT"; I nipped that one in the bud pretty quickly, but not before I video taped it.

When it was time to bunk down, several boys decided they were homesick and their Moms came to get them. I was tempted to take more "orders" for homesickness. Anyone else homesick, miss your mom or just want to sleep in your own bed? Anyone? Anyone? It sure would make things easier in the am. But it worked out fine. They were asleep by 10pm and slept through until 6:30am. Not bad.

On Sunday, the boys and I met some friends in Gerton for a picnic and some tennis. We tried the WC's new Aerobie in a big field there. The boys played tennis against one another. The WC came back from 2-5 down to 6-5 up, when the Brainiac threw his racquet, upset that he couldn't "finish him off." YIKES! Uncharacteristic behavior for the B, although several weeks ago, he did rage about the house when he received his first ever "B" on his report card. I asked him to sit off to the side, to which he spat, "Shut-up". Double YIKES! Then he said it two more times for good measure, just in case my friends on the court didn't hear it. Oh, boy. I couldn't help but think- Get ready for the teenage years, and more of the same. Of course, he lost his game boy for the first three days of Thanksgiving Break; one day for each Shut-Up. Fair, I think.

When we returned home, I asked the WC to get his chores done, or he would have to pay me $10 to do so. "OK," he said, "I'll pay you." Not really the desired effect, but now I didn't have to pay him his allowance for the last two weeks (I was behind by a month, though) AND I sterilized the boy's bathroom, which needed to happen anyway, since we are having guests for T Day. It was horribly nasty, even though they "clean it" every week.

Monday brought a phone call from the Vice Principal at WC's school. In his classroom, during reading, he had showed his manhood (under the table) to a girl across from him. Apparently, she asked so he showed. Triple YIKES! We had a conference after school yesterday, but he is home with me today, suspended. At the beginning of the school year, I blogged that it was just a matter of time before he was suspended again. However, I recently started to believe that he would make it through the year without a suspension, which was the WC's goal. I never would have imagined it would have been for anything other than getting angry and loosing control. He's matured a lot a year. He is sleeping better, as his apnea has been resolved. He is handling his emotions much better with the help of therapy, regular exercise and the many carrots that I dangle in front of him. His remarkable teacher has gone above and beyond to help.

The silver lining here is that the WC was terribly embarrassed and shortly after his exposure occurred, he told his teacher he had "made a bad choice." His flash episode happened in the morning and he remained at school the rest of the day without incident - a big deal for him. And he cried and cried yesterday afternoon when he realized he had been suspended. He didn't make his goal. Bummer.

Well the WC and I have to hit the madness at the Grocery Store. No Yoga class for me today. Perhaps tomorrow.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

WC Took These Today



Death of a Cupcake

The WC's birthday is tomorrow. Eight big ones. He has invited 8 boys over for football, pizza, cake and Shrek the Third. And how could I forget - a sleepover. We did it last year with no problems. The lights were out at 9:00 and most were asleep by 9:30. But I'm doing it solo this year. The DH has to work.

In addition to agreeing to the boy fest at my abode, I signed on to bring cupcakes to his class, tomorrow. The WC didn't ask. I just got a wild hair or something. Cupcakes are easy, right? I have never been one for presentation, but these don't even look edible.


I effed them up - BAD! I think I was supposed to let them cool before I moved them but because I filled them too full they spilled over their tops and bled into one another so they looked like a sheet cake when I took them out. I thought I'd never get them apart if I let them cool. Well, they are apart, by God. Now, I just have to mount the icing to hide the mess. The kids won't care. Right?

I had a similar cooking debacle last year when I tried to make a Gingerbread house with the WC's class. I spent at least two hours preparing the night before. Cutting the dough using templates that I gleaned off the Internet for the "easiest" Gingerbread house ever. That should have tipped me off. When I got to school with my carefully baked pieces, none of them fit together. I spent the better part of an hour and a half scrapping the pieces, desperately tyring to get the damn walls to meet, while the restless kids watched (and played under the table) in the student kitchen. Finally, I got the four walls to meet enough and "glued" them together with Royal Icing. Great lesson, I thought. Perseverance prevails. Then my house of shame met an inadvertent elbow from a hyper kid and the walls they crumbled down. I wanted to cry. Really. But instead we slathered the pieces of the house with the (can I tell you how nasty this stuff tasted? But it is what everyone uses to "glue" their gingerbread houses) icing, Skittles and M&M's and the kids happily ate my house. Sugar is sugar, right?

I hope that sentiment is prevalent tomorrow. Luckily, the boy's REAL birthday cake is coming from the local Sister's McMullen bakery.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Out of Gas

Last Thursday evening, on the way to a tennis tournament in Winston-Salem , I spotted a parked mini-van on the shoulder of I-40 East. Just as I was passing, I caught sight of a woman standing in front, wildly waving her arms. In the seconds it took to process and then decide I wanted to help her, I was too far down the interstate. I took the next exit and looped back around. I should have asked my friend and tennis mate, Sara, if it was OK, but she was along for the ride now.

Sara reported the stranded vehicle to Highway Patrol on her mobile. It took us about ten minutes to get back to stranded vehicle. We pulled up beside the driver's side and a young woman rolled her window down and started thanking us effusively. She had run out of gas. Sara told her we had called the Highway Patrol, which produced a strong wailed objection from her drunk passenger. UH, OH. They didn't want the cops involved. Then the driver, swore she was "straight", as in sober. Their boyfriends were already walking toward the next exit, but I told her I wouldn't pick them up. So we made room in the back seat and drove her to the next exit for gas. She didn't smell like she had been drinking, but her hyper behavior, including talking almost non-stop the entire time she was in my van, led me to believe she wasn't "straight" at all. But maybe she was just nervous getting in a mini-van with two strangers.

Starla,(that was her name) seemed harmless, though. We heard about her divorce and her two kids. She told us about a trip to Fayetteville AK where the supermarkets have "buggies where you put a quarter in to get it, then when you are done you put your buggy back and you get your quarter back! Isn't that the neatest thing you ever heard of? If ever I move from Wilkesboro, that is where I am going." Sara and I tried to hold it together. It was an amusing story but also a bit sad. I told her they had carts like those at airports. "Really?" she exclaimed.

She told us she and her friends were on their way to Gastonia. I asked if she meant Greensboro, because she was going the wrong way to Gastonia. Maybe when we get back to my van, you can look at a map and show us how to get there, she said. Oh boy, I thought. Luckily, the State Trooper was already on the scene, the drunk passenger in his front seat. Starla hopped out of our van to greet the young trooper. Leaning into the trooper's car, she chirped, "How ya doin' my name is Starla and I'm straight, I promise I'm straight." The poor trooper looked like he didn't know what had hit him. Starla never even turned around to close the door. We drove away, van reeking with gas fumes, thankful that Starla was someone else's problem.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Wedding Grace

Last month, the boys and I attended a family wedding in North Georgia. My boys had never been to a wedding, so they didn't know any better to object. It was an absolutely gorgeous day for a wedding; the drive down was pleasant until I had a sinking feeling that I had left the wild child's dress pants and shoes behind. My boys had packed their own suitcases but I didn't double check if the dress clothes made it in. The Wild Child's didn't. Not to worry, our motel was on the Mall of Georgia exit. Running a little short on time, I skidded into the Comfort Suites, dropped the boys and scooted up to Marshals. 20 minutes and $25 later, I returned with a pair of pants and shoes. The shoes didn't fit - no wides at Marshalls - so we were stuck with this gnarly pair of Nike sandals. Did I mention that he packed himself? Seven shirts, no socks, no underwear, no dress clothes or shoes and seven Webkinz. He did remember his toothbrush.

Really, though, no big deal, as the wedding was outdoors on the Rockin' H Ranch. Turns out he was more appropriately dressed than most. We trudged through grassy fields to the wedding site - clearly not a place for dress shoes or heels.

The wedding was very sweet- the bride gorgeous and gushing; the groom handsome and nervous. It was a big cousin fest for my boys. Some of their first cousins had come from NC. I was surprised at how excited they were to meet their second and third cousins, especially my WC. During the ceremony, WC kept asking, "Which ones are my cousins?" In addition, he ripped a loud fart during the prayer. I opened my eyes, turned my head to find him still cocked up on one butt cheek. He glanced at me and said in a voice loud enough to reach the Minister's ears, "What?" I heard muffled giggling. Behind me, my adolescent nieces were trying to hold it together, their hands cupped over their mouths, bellies shaking softly.

After the ceremony, the reception commenced under a tent with a dance floor. The WC disappeared with his 1st cousins to the horse ring where he played all night in the dirt and hay. He appeared at the reception long enough to catch the garter then we headed off to dark pasture to find our van. The Brainiac had just finished saying, "If I ever get married, I want a wedding like this one", when he stepped in a load of manure. That sentiment was short lived.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Me and The Mad Scientist


My baseball player had already jetted with some friends who came round a bit earlier.

Friday, October 05, 2007

My Life, Lately

I haven't felt much like writing lately. I desire to be funny but my humor seems to be buried under more prominent emotions, mostly resentment and anger. My dear friends (thank the Maker for girlfriends) have been excessively patient, listening to my garrulous monologues about the latest antics of my Mother-in-Law. She's an alcoholic, but not self professed or recovering. Until recently, she was a functional alcoholic AND until recently, my DH, his sister and I have all reasoned and rationalized her alcoholic behaviors, just like good co-dependents do.
But in the last year, she spiraled into a dark hole, precipitated by the death of her best friend, really her only friend. We tried to let her ride that wave of depression to the shore, but she remained at sea, clinging to her bottle and cigarettes, drowning in sorrow and loneliness. After months of trying to convince my MIL to get help or move to a home, my sister-in-law, who is dealing with her own substance abuse demons, rescued my MIL and had her admitted to the hospital. My MIL then spent a sober 10 days with us until we could get her into an assisted living close to us, only agreeing to do it because the doctors insisted.
We breathed a collective sigh of relief. She was in a safe place, where her kitty was welcome and she got three balanced meals a day. Unfortunately, they can't stop her from buying or drinking alcohol, and the home takes the residents for a weekly shopping trip to Ingles. She has been twice. And twice, hours after returning to the home, she has been falling down drunk. Literally. We received calls both times. The second time, they reported she had fallen and broken her hip. She's been at the hospital since Tuesday night and I haven't been to see her. I've called her once. I have no sympathy for her, and I feel terrible but its the truth and I can't pretend otherwise. Her marriage to alcohol has affected our family for a long time, but it is deeper than I realized. We have been kidding ourselves.
My boys are asking provocative, appropriate questions about alcohol. We've had some healthy -I hope - conversations. After explaining to my WC that Grandam broke her hip because she had too much to drink, lost her balance and fell, he asked, "Mom has that ever happened to you?" Oh, dear, I thought this conversation was years away, my WC is only 7. But I'm glad he's not afraid to ask the uncomfortable questions. So I told him the truth; yes, I had but it was long ago, and obviously not a good idea. Both of my boys are sensitive about how much I drink, especially if we are out without DH (he doesn't drink). WC is afraid for me to drive after one beer with dinner. Now I'm sensitive to it. Maybe I shouldn't have a drink in front of them anymore but then doesn't that make it taboo? Or maybe I should just give it up altogether for the health of our family.
I'm confused, angry and resentful. Surely my DH, who has lived with this much longer, is ten times worse. I'm going to my first Al-Anon meeting today. Luckily, I have a dear friend who is already going, so I'm not alone. I'm desperately looking for some insight and wisdom. I hope I find some.

Heinie Hygiene

At my house, we run through toilet like OJ running from the law. Our collective colons are pumping just find. A couple of weeks ago, I found myself, compromised on my toilet, realizing too late that the tissue roll was empty. I dug the other empty rolls out of the trash, carefully plying the wispy remains of paper off the rolls. It would have to do, I thought, until I could buy some more.
First, I had a doctor's appointment. Just the dermatologist. Surely, my bum would not come into play; the doctor was checking out a suspicious spot on my face. The visit was moving along nicely, the spot nothing to be concerned about, when to my horror, the Physician's Assistant asked if she could look at my bum. More precisely, in between my butt cheeks. "Not today," was what I should have said, but instead, I stupidly gave her permission. She took a peek, but thankfully didn't comment on my heinie hygiene.
I left there, my tail between my legs, and sped to Target for two mega packs of TP. Never again.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Procrastinating...


The list is long but I have been sidetracked, which unfortunately is quite easy. This pic was taken by my friend's Dad, Henk. The WC doesn't miss a day playing baseball, even at the beach.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More VERY Cool Summer Pics




I didn't take them, though.

Humor

I received this over email this morning. Good for a chuckle. And mostly true.
The Husband Store:

A store that sells new husbands has just opened in New York City , where a woman may go to choose a husband.
Among the instructions at the entrance is a description of how the store operates:

1. You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are six floors and the value of the product increases as the shopper ascends the flights.

2. The shopper may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you cannot go back down except to exit the building!

So, a woman goes to the Husband Store to find a husband. On the first floor the sign on the door reads:
Floor 1 -
These men Have Jobs.

The second floor sign reads:
Floor 2 –
These men Have Jobs and Love Kids.

The third floor sign reads:
Floor 3 –
These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, and are Extremely Good Looking.

"Wow," she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the fourth floor and the sign reads:
Floor 4 –
These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework
"Oh, mercy me!" she exclaims, "I can hardly stand it. Still, she goes to the fifth floor and the sign reads:
Floor 5 –
These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, Help with Housework, and have a Strong Romantic Streak .

She is so tempted to stay, but she goes on to the sixth floor and the sign reads:
Floor 6 –

You are visitor 31,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that women are impossible to please. Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store. To avoid gender bias charges, the store's owner also opened a New Wives store just across the street.

The first floor has wives that love sex.

The second floor has wives that love sex and have money.

The third through sixth floors have never been visited.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Not A Moment Too Soon

School started today and I was ready for the break. My boys and I had an amazing start to summer with a month long trip out West. But back home with all the summer funds having been siphoned out West, things got a little, shall we say, restless. In addition, my Sister-In-Law came for an unexpected five week stay at the same time our former exhange student came to visit for two weeks. Couple that with trying to help my deeply depressed Mother-In-Law, and my business, Get Your Move On, taking off - well its been a little chaotic. Oh, and I forgot about my gig as a volunteer chair for WNCAP's annual fall fundraiser, Raise Your Hand. I'm glad for a little solace, even if I spent it all working today. It feels good. Until the wild child gets suspended from school for losing control. Its bound to happen, its just a matter of time.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

And another

Me: How many women with PMS does it to take to screw in a light bulb?

You: How many?

Me: 6

You: Why?

Me in my most irritated voice: It just does, OK?

Another Joke

Why do they call it PMS?



Because Mad Cow was already taken.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Golf Jokes

My Dad loves to tell jokes - anytime, anywhere, but especially on the golf course. Here is one that i really liked. I hope I don't mess it up.

A man is walking along a not-so-deserted Island when he comes across a Genie bottle and pops off the top. Out pops a Genie in a plum of smoke but instead of being grateful, the Genie barks, "Oh for goodness sake, you are the 11th person this month to come across me. I'm tired of granting wishes, so I'm only going to grant you one wish, so make it good."

The man thinks for a moment then says, "I would like a bridge built from the west coast of California all the way to Hawaii".

The Genie responded, "Man, do you realize how long that will take, how many resources that will require? Not to mention how difficult it would be to build the underwater infrastructure to support such a bridge? That's asking WAY too much. You need to come up with another wish, something less difficult."

So the man thought for a while and then he said, "I have been divorced twice and am currently single. I'd really like to understand women and be able to provide what they need."

Without hesitation the Genie said, "Do you want that bridge with two lanes or four?"

My Golfing Days

I spent last weekend visiting my parents in Fayetteville NC. My boys always enjoy catching up with their cousins, especially my wild child. Last year I committed to playing in a "Father-Son" Golf Tourney with my Dad. As I have said in the past, I really stink at golf but since I committed so early, I knew I would have plenty of opportunities to practice. That was the plan anyway. In the end, all I could manage was hitting the driving range twice last week. And I practiced putting once. Not nearly enough to be competitive, although I did hit a few good shots in the beginning of the tourney and one of the other players asked me if I had played for the local high school team. Ha! I begged his patience, and my game went south a couple of holes later. At one point, I reminded my clearly, frustrated father, "Remember this is for fun." "I am having fun, he huffed, not even trying to feign happiness. Together we shot a 99 in an alternate shot format. Not so great, but there were others in our flight who shot higher. Granted one of the players may have been a 5 year old, but still we weren't last. My Dad drove the golf cart at one speed - floored. Now, golf carts don't go that fast but, sweet Jesus, I had to hold on for dear life, as he hit every bump imaginable. It was definitely an adventure. We laughed about all our bad shots - but that wasn't until the next day.

I think my Dad wants me to play with him again next year, not because I'm any good, but because my 3 brothers are all playing with their sons now. Guess I'll have a year to get some practice in. Hmm, wonder if that will happen?

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Ho Hum

Our former exchange student, Juan, has left the building. He spent two weeks lounging with us - I'm afraid we didn't do anything terribly exciting. It was fun catching up with him. We did manage to take hime to the beach one weekend and out to Skinny Dip Falls (on the Blue Ridge Parkway) one day. Other than that, he was just like another family member, fending for himself. He has an international driver's license, so he says, but I had no plans to let him drive - after all he is twenty two and his frontal lobe isn't done yet. My husband thought differently, and while I was gone last weekend he let him drive the mini van to the grocery store to buy some Cheetos for his friends back in Bogota. His reson for driving should have been enough to just say no, but DH gave Juan the keys. Turns out he made it there and back safely. But when he tried to pull the van in our very tight garage, he made intimate contact with the side of the garage. Judging from the 6 foot scrape down the side of my van, he was going at top speed. My husband said that Juan felt "really bad". Yeah, but what about you, honey, for giving him the keys? Oh well, the new scrape goes with the old ones on the front bumper where I have hit the garage on a few occasions.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Exchange Student

Our exchange student from 5 years ago, Juan, is visiting for two weeks. The DH was working on Saturday, so the boys and I went to greet him. He arrived safely, even a little early. A lot different than 5 years ago. This was three weeks before 9/11 so we waited as the passengers filed off the plane and into the terminal. I was ther with out DH again. The boys were acting like 4 and 1 year old, because they were and I was ready to get them back into a controlled environment - the car. But as the last passengers rolled past us, it became clear that Juan wasn't on this flight. After a few calls at a pay phone (this was pre-cell phone for me), while my boys played on the luggage roller, we headed back home. Later that night, I returned to bring Juan home. In his broken English he explained he had missed his flight in Atlanta. I felt for him, being in a foreign country, trying to navigate the flight schedules and the sprawling, frenetic Atlanta airport. It's unnerving enough for a native, at least the first time you encounter it. Many months later, we learned the truth. He was in Atlanta with time to spare to catch his connecting flight, but spent too much time browsing the duty free store, arriving at his gate too late.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

We're Back

We arrived late Sunday night, after an 11 hour drive from Columbia, MO, dropping DH at the Lincoln, NE airport the previous day (where he was delayed for two hours and late for his connecting flight). We intended to spend one more night on the road but I bribed the boys with a promise of seeing Ratatouille this week; we hardly ever go to the movies.
The vacation was fantastic but nothing spectacular to report. Yellowstone was fun for us all, although we did the mainstream stuff with the rest of the travelers. I had visions of hikes to less popular places, but we trudged along with the masses to see Old Faithful, waterfalls, geysers and hot springs. Seeing the wildlife was a treat too. We had plans to spend a couple of days in the Grand Teton National Park, but ended up spending time in and around Driggs, Idaho. It was a break we all needed from the crowds of Yellowstone. Two of our evenings in Driggs were spent at a local baseball field playing baseball with the boys, at WC's insistence. Of course, the wrangling with the field mouse provided entertainment (we caught another before we left). We drove all day Friday through WY, which was a treat in itself, the landscape was beautiful to behold.
Our first day back, the WC asked, "Mom, what are we going to do today?" "Nothing," I replied. The entertainment portion of your summer is over. Of course I have things to "do" (including watching Wimbledon) and I am determined to make them "do" a chore every day. I started on Tuesday but missed yesterday. Oh, well, it was a holiday yesterday. We'll start again today.
More from the river later but Nadal is making his comeback.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

San Juan River Pictures

The put in point, Mexican Hat, UT. Our campsite after the second night. It was too hot to sleep in tents or away from the river. View from the top after hiking up a canyon.

Unfortunatley, these are the best of my pictures. The camera quit two days in. It objected to the sand in its orafices.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Night Visitor and the Wooden Spoons

I've been trying to catch up on our road travels in chronological order, but I'm skipping ahead. We are currently in Driggs,ID staying in a 2 Bedroom cabin on six private acres in the middle of freakin' nowhere. It is about an hour from Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons and the closest we could get without selling an organ to pay for it. We arrived last night in Driggs, population 1,100 and hit this fantastic supermarket, which is no doubt supported by the tourists coming in to ski, canoe, kayak, bike and hike. We found our new digs quaint and well equipped. The kitchen is new, with nice appliances, always something that impresses me. We fed the boys dinner, played some cards,watched the sunset across the valley, sent the boys to bed and we followed suit shortly there after - to our own private bedroom! We haven't had private sleeping quarters since Santa Fe so we spent a few minutes "putting out" before we happily passed out.
Hours later, I was rudely awakened by a blinding white light and some mumbled mutterings from my DH as he rounded the bed toward the living room/kitchen. Did you say field mouse?, I asked. Yeah, he said. There is one stuck in a trap and the other is rumbling around in the Rice Krispies. Still too asleep to be concerned, I propped up on one elbow and peered out of the bedroom door where DH was standing just beyond it, naked, with two wooden salad spoons in his hands, ready to wrangle the wild west field mice. He finally discerned that there was only one mouse, and it was making a snap, krackle, pop sound trying to free himself from his sticky trap. So, DH bravely scooted, with the help of the wooden spoons and a few nervous twitches, the tarred varmint to the door and shoved him out into the brisk night air to meet his fate. (Me? I'm still in bed. After all, it only takes one person to wrangle a trapped mouse.)In the morning the poor guy was still alive, so deeming it a humane trap, DH wrestled him free, with much effort and the help of the same wooden salad spoons and released him back into the field. Only he was so damned sticky, he stuck to himself. I called the owner of the cabin and that's when I learned the trap wasn't humane at all. It was a one-time-use trap. It's the only time we will use the wooden salad spoons, too.

Monday, June 25, 2007

River Trip

This year's river trip, included something we didn't get much of last year - sleep! We had sleeping mats. Though they were cheap ones, they were better than last year's - we forgot to bring them! We had a fantastic time on the San Juan River, putting in at Mexican Hat, UT and taking out (not "putting out" as I kept repeating until my friend, Matt, corrected me with chuckle. Putting out is not a river term; it belongs in another arena) at Clay Hills Crossing, UT. The weather was hot but agreeable - we didn't have to endure a sudden rain storm. We all were better prepared for the sun and heat this year, with lots of sunscreen (we ran out last year) and ridiculously expensive SPF long sleeve sun shirts. Man, they were well worth it. I wore mine the entire time the sun was beating on us.
The rapids were milder, class I and II with just one class III that the DH and I did together in a Duckie, an inflatable two person kayak. About half way through the rapid he clocked my head (thank God for helmets) with his paddle. I was through the rapid before I realized he wasn't in the boat anymore. Turns out, he was being tossed from the boat as he pummeled my nogin.
I spent a lot of time paddling a Duckie this trip. I also got to successfully guide one of the big rafts through a small rapid. In addition, I guided the same raft, and my friend, Beth, who was riding in front, into a bed of Tamarisks on the bank.
The boys had a blast. Their biggest issue was using the Groover to eliminate their waste. We all peed in the river, which was a hell of a lot easier for the males, but we grooved on an ammunition box, adorned with a toilet lid. I must admit, I didn't readily hop on the Groover myself, with out being moved beyond will. Since hitting land, we have all spent time happily grooving on a modern toilet, without the company of a pack of flies or groovy stench.
We had two amazing hikes on our last two days; both at our campsites. One was at Slickhorn. We hike up the canyon about a mile to a pool of water in cased in small canyon of it's on. The kids (and adults)jumped off a cliff into a pool of water below. I missed most of the fun as WC was having a "moment" because he forgot his life jacket back at camp and didn't want to borrow someone Else's. I took a time-out, hiked back down to camp and took a break in the shade of our camp table.
The other hike was in a canyon - I'll have to find the name - on Navajo land. It was absolutely stunning to walk through this canyon. I can't describe how amazing this place was but i hope to have some pictures to post soon. My camera took on some sand and stopped working but other's took pictures. More later....

Last Day in Santa Fe



Our last day in Santa Fe was a week ago, Saturday. We had Internet problems at our adobe and then of course we spent a week on a river (more later) but I'm trying to catch up. I'm having trouble uploading the pictures so words will have to do.
I was enjoying my coffee on the great front porch when a presumed neighbor (we ran into him later - he was just passing through to the market) stuck his head in and told me about the farmer's market just up the street from our digs. We had fun strolling around and talking to the local farmers. We bought some local honey and shared a fresh baked sweet roll. We then walked back into town had some Pizza (for the third time this week, UGH!) at Rooftop Pizza. With calories to burn we cruised the many vendors at an arts festival on the Plaza. The boys had fun with some balloon creations and I bought a few gifts, including ones for a fall wedding and Christmas. I convinced the boys to go into the Fine Arts Museum, since I already had a pass and it didn't cost us anything more. We blazed through at top speed, maybe 13 minutes in all, my WC stopping to touch a few things that he shouldn't have. We then took a bus across town for another museum. The boys were toast by then, but were good sports. We skated through the Museum of Indian Arts and Culture, caught the bus back home and spent the rest of the afternoon taking it easy, but of course I had to throw the baseball with the WC.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Day Trip


We took a day trip today with the intention of making a loop and stopping in 5 or 6 different places but made it only to two of them. We stopped first at San Ildefonso Pueblo, a village known for it's fine pottery. It was founded in the 1300's and was quite small. We spoke with a local potter who was eager to share her story with us. The pottery is made without using a wheel or firing in a kiln AND was terribly expensive. The potter we spoke with said that the rest of her family was in Santa Fe trying to sell at "the street market" on the Plaza. Apparently, there are only about 25 spots where you can sell your crafts and each day 800 or so artists draw numbers to determine who sells that day. If you draw a blank, then you come home.

We then moved on to Bandalier National Monument for a look at ancestral pueblo ruins. The boys and I had fun crawling in the cliff dwellings there.

We met several people who had friends/family in Asheville. We also met one couple who had been on the road for over three weeks and were making their way back home to Charlottesville,VA. We all enjoyed meeting/speaking with other folks. There is something about these kind of public environments where folks are relaxed and moving slower, that lends itself to striking conversations with strangers. In one of the cliff dwellings, we met a family of four from Cincinatti with two older boys, all headed to a scout camp close by. In our five minute conversation, the mom urged me twice to get the boys in scouts. The boys have never expressed an interest but I didn't feel comfortable sharing with this stranger that I don't encourage scouts as they are exclusive, in that they don't allow gay members.
We then tried to hit a Science Museum in Los Alamos but gave up rather easily when we couldn't find it. It was creepy there. A very sterile, secure town, where World War II's secret Manhattan Project created the first atomic bombs. The boys were ready to go home so we headed back. They passed out for a nap and when we arrived home my Wildchild was ready to throw the baseball as we did yesterday. First, I tried, in vain, to take a little snooze, but the WC kept checking on me to throw. Oh well. Sleep will be good tonight.
We finished off our day with a walk into town for some ice-cream but had to hurry back so the WC could watch the Tarheels play in the college baseball series.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Slow Day


We rose early but didn't get out until 10 this morning. We can walk to the Plaza from our digs. It's about 1/2 mile. We hit the Visitors Bureau where I learned I can get a pass for 5 museums for $15 (the boys get in free)- what a deal. So we first visited the Governors Palace History Museum, but we had to pass through the Plaza where there was a very surreal Flag Day celebration going on, complete with a two bit band playing all the patriotic 'favorites' and a woman dressed as Betsy Ross handing out programs. It seemed like a scene out of a movie. When they started singing the national anthem, the Wildchild said, "Let's go!" Then we walked on to the Post Office (we had to mail Pop his Father's Day card), the t-shirt shop where the proprietor had 5 children, ranging in age from 1 - 11, running around (the boys spent their money here, Brainiac on a t-shirt for his Dad for FD and Wildchild, one for himself), the Five and Dime for a looksie, and then to a wood-fired Pizza Joint (where I got a local micro brew). By this the boys were "tired of walking" - UGH!. So we headed home for a delicious nap. I slept 2 hours, the boys a little less. Now, we are lazing around, the boys happily playing gameboys - I hate them but they sure are quiet:). Their dinner, which they are excited about, is double noodle canned soup and applesauce. Go figure.
I feel guilty not busting my bum to "go", since we hoofed it out here to "see" this beautiful country but the slow day sure has been nice. I'm still holding out hope for a little car ride for a spectacular sunset. However, hanging out on this very cool partially enclosed, private porch, reading a book or doing a little Yoga (I brought my mat) sounds enchanting.
Well, the soup's on. See you later.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Santa Fe, Finally


Today proved more pleasant. The water park was the call and the Brainiac and I saved the best ride for last (the wild child backed out at the last minute). I looked like a big toilet bowl and we dropped -in a two person inter tube -from one side of a U shaped bowl to the other side. When i say dropped, I'm not exaggerating too much. I wasn't prepared for my stomach to be left at the top of the bowl while the rest of me sped down and to the other side. It took several hours for my stomach to recover.

Our digs here in Santa Fe are nice. Got it at VRBO.com and it is an adobe apartment of sorts. It's not far from the Plaza, so we can walk to town tomorrow. So far our travels have been about driving and sleeping accommodations. Though today, it was a treat to drive across New Mexico and view the cloud formations as well as the storms off to the North. Can't wait to explore tomorrow and Friday with my boys.

Notes from the Road

We embarked upon our trip "out west" on Monday, leaving later than planned (no shock), with plans to be in Santa Fe by Wednesday night. We spent Monday night in Memphis in a dive we got for a "deal" at Priceline.com. The pool was filthy - my boys were in for a few minutes before they discovered the cigarette butt and trash at the deep end, the very slow Internet was an extra charge and they didn't have extra pillows. What kind of motel doesn't have extra pillows? Still, my boys rolled with the punches. We'll get a better place for tomorrow, I said.....

Well, it was worse. I used Hotwire.com for the first time. Days Inn in Okey City. When we arrived, the curt attendant said we have reserved a smoking queen room. A queen won't do I said - never mind the smoking, which I knew was a risk as you can't request it at Hotwire. She gave us the keys to a double smoking room, no non-smoking available. The smoke billowed out when we opened the door. It smells like Grandma's house, the Wild Child said. Yeah, and we don't stay at her house either. So we left, the boys salivating as we passed the TWO pools, and went down the street the Sleep Inn. Non-smoking available but the pool was under renovation. Bless my boys, they said it was OK. They had a hard time going to sleep though - their second full day of sitting in a car without exercise. But this morning they were excited to find fresh waffles at the breakfast bar.

So we have 530 miles to Santa Fe, most of it interstate but will be stopping in Amarillo to hit a water park. They need it and frankly, so do I!

Some other random thoughts from our trip:

Driving through Nashville, I heard a new (to me as i don't listen to it much) country song where the guy's pick up line was, "I want to check you for ticks" and something about you never know where those ticks might hide. Pretty hilarious but, no doubt, some lame drunk in a bar somewhere has used it already. I wonder how long his face stung, after he uttered it?

Will my boys EVER learn to chew with their mouths shut? My DH hasn't, so I'm a little concerned.

I'm listening to Freakonomics on CD, when i can. Interesting stuff. i also got to listen to All Things Considered for two days in a row, as we have been on the road during that time.

I must get the boys packed so we can hit the water park in 4 hours. Now if I can just find something to use as a towel....

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Sweet Escpae

The Wild Child, age 7, has decide he really digs Gwen Sefani's, The Sweet Escape. Yesterday, he was on deck warming up for his turn at bat during his baseball game, taking mean swings at the imaginary pitch while he sang "If I could be sweet, I know I've been a real bad girl"...

Meanwhile the Brainiac, age 10, went to swim team practice - something new for him - and was demoted to the younger age group, so now he's with the 8 year olds. The tears welled up and over his eyes last night as he told me of his humiliation. Poor guy. Maybe he'll smoke his Piano Performance in the Talent Show at his school tonight and that will be some consolation. He's head and shoulders above other kid's his age. You can't be good at everything, I told him. I couldn't come up with anything better.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Summer Vaca

For the past 4 months I have been planning our vacation "Out West". Where to stay, what to do, etc. We leave on June 11Th and return sometime in early July. The boys and I are traveling out I-40 West to Albuquerque, only 1500 miles from here. I can't wait to show them the Santa Fe, Taos and surrounding areas. Then we head up to UT to get on the San Juan River for 6 days. After that, we are off to Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons for a week. When we return, we will receive a two week visit from our Colombian exchange student, who left 5 years ago. The summer is already packed!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Skid Marks

Last week before my Mother-in-Law came for a brief visit, I cleaned the nasty basement, something that goes weeks without being touched. She slept on a bed in the basement, along with the dog kennel, the fooze ball table, and two couches. BTW, we did offer her one of the boys' bedrooms but being the martyr that she is, she refused and then complained the whole weekend about not sleeping well. But I digress.
In cleaning the bathroom, I emptied the trash to find a pair of boy's underwear, clearly not my sons', smeared with skid marks from holding off the inevitable too long. As I threw them out for good, I pondered whose they might be. Ah, ha! My braniac had a soccer team, pizza party here a few weeks back. Apparently, some boy thought it better to dispose of the evidence rather than explain it to his parent. Clever!
Had I been as clever I would have taken them to soccer practice yesterday, held them high above my head (pre-washed of course) and shouted, "Does anyone recognize these?" I'm sure the kid wouldn't claim them, put perhaps his embarrased Mother would have.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Peace for Mother's Day

I've been a Mom for 10 years now, but I didn't know the origin of the day until now. I feel like an idiot for being so ignorant, that it's not just another trumped up day created by greeting card companies or retailers (although it has been hijacked by them). At the same time, I feel a sense of pride to be a sister in Motherhood with women from history who took a stand in the name a peace.


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Live

I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my sparks should burn out in a blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than asleep and permanent as a planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them. I shall use my time.

Jack London

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Dining Out For Life

If you live in Asheville and can swing it, eat out tonight at one of the 90 participating restaurants who have generously agreed to give 20% of their proceeds to the Western North Carolina AIDS Project (WNCAP), an organization that supports folks living with HIV and AIDS, and educates the public on prevention of this terrible disease. I am ambassador at The Jerusalem Garden, which means I'll be hanging there all night welcoming and thanking those who come out to support this cause. To find particpating restaurants, go to wncap.org and follow the links.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hunting Island, SC

Here are some pictures from our Spring Break in Hunting Island State Park, SC. What a glorious, pristine place. We biked on trails through the woods on the island, caught crabs, built drip castles, explored the lighthouse, made fish print t-shirts, listened to an alligator talk and saw lots of wildlife, including deer and beavers.




Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ball, Meet Windshield


Baseball season is here and my wild child has been out practicing his "pop ups". On Saturday, one made a hard left turn and smashed the windshield of a book club friend's car. YIKES! I thought this baseball gig would be an inexpensive sport. Wrong!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Right On, Mr. Iacocca


Am I the only guy in this country who's fed up with what's happening? Where the hell is our outrage? We should be screaming bloody murder. We've got a gang of clueless bozos steering our ship of state right over a cliff, we've got corporate gangsters stealing us blind, and we can't even clean up after a hurricane much less build a hybrid car. But instead of getting mad, everyone sits around and nods their heads when the politicians say, "Stay the course."
Stay the course? You've got to be kidding. This is America, not the damned Titanic. I'll give you a sound bite: Throw the bums out!
You might think I'm getting senile, that I've gone off my rocker, and maybe I have. But someone has to speak up. I hardly recognize this country anymore. The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don't need it). The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we're fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions. That's not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I've had enough. How about you? I'll go a step further. You can't call yourself a patriot if you're not outraged. This is a fight I'm ready and willing to have. - Lee Iacocca, Where Have All The Leaders Gone?

Monday, April 02, 2007

Slice of Heaven

Saturday morning, after the Brainianc's soccer match, I trekked half way across the state to meet some old friends in Chapel Hill, stomping the old grounds where we spent 4 years playing and studying. The five of us had dinner at Elaine's on West Franklin - fantastic place. Then we kicked it on over to one of our favorite past haunts, He's Not Here, a bar with "blue cups" of draught and an outdoor courtyard.

The kid who checked our IDs looked like Ashton Kutcher. OK, he didn't really check our IDs. He took one look at our purses and he just knew we were over 30. That's what we discerned anyway. It couldn't have been the wrinkles and pot bellies, swollen from months and years of incubating our offspring. After a round of free drinks (yes, I imbibed this weekend, falling off the Lenten Wagon) from a married dude who was without his wife and his wedding ring (when we toasted to his wife, it killed any notions he had), we parked it at a picnic table in the courtyard, chatting it up with Ashton, in between his ID gig. I swear the place was exactly the same, except for a new bright "He's Not Here" sign in the courtyard. Same nasty carpet inside. Same ratty picnic benches outside.

We swaggered "home" to the Carolina Inn around midnight and crawled in bed, just four of us now, as one went back home to Durham. All night, the drinks and food combusted in my gut, asking for a way out. If only I had been home in my own bed, I could have let the gases flow with no worries, but in consideration of my bed mate and friend of 30 years, I abstained.

But last night, home in my own bed, I let go of my inhibitions.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Sock Monkey

Seen above the record shop on Lexington.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Eating Low


I have been a non-meat eater for 13 years now. I haven't had pork or beef in 20 years. I have difficulty defining it as vegetarian because I occasionally, 3 or 4 times a year, eat fish. I have had several meat eaters point out that I'm "not really a vegetarian" since I eat fish. You have to love meat eaters, educating the public on the finer points of being a vegetarian!

My diet choice is born from a summer I spent as a counselor at Camp Rockfish in Eastern NC, after my Freshman year in college. The Director of the camp, was passionate but not pushy about eating "low on the food chain" to preserve the environment. Pigs and Cows are "high" on the food chain, requiring a disproportionate amount of natural resources for the small amount of food it produces. Turkey and Chicken are lower on the chain, requiring less resources.

In late 2006, The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization reported that Livestock production is responsible for more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world. In total, it is responsible for 18 percent of human induced greenhouse gas emissions. It is also a major source of land and water degradation.

In addition, PETA reports that growing all the crops to feed farmed animals requires massive amounts of water and land—in fact, nearly half of the water and 80 percent of the agricultural land in the United States are used to raise animals for food. Our taste for meat is also taking a toll on our supply of fuel and other nonrenewable resources—about one-third of the used in America each year is consumed by the farmed animal industry.

Stopping meat consumption seems like one of the most affordable ways folks can impact and slow global warming. I wonder why more folks don't do it?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Light Days


New uses for panty liners. I wonder how this kid felt after his Mom peeled them off. I bet this is his last close encounter with femine products.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Enjoy the Ride

Here are my boys just before heading off to school for Wacky Hair Day. Things are pretty steady at my parenting gig, so I'm just enjoying the ride, as I know there will eventually be a bump in the road ahead. I just don't know when and where, so I try to live in the moment. Trite, I know, but it's a good place to be.

I recently realized I have stopped expecting the school to call and ask me to come and get my wild child. It's evident he's getting more sleep- he's cooperative instead of combative, he's grown since his surgery, the growth hormone must have kicked in, and he's really accelerated his reading. Big Exhale!

Now if I could only get the dopey dog to cooperate.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

HOW BOUT THEM HEELS?


ACC Champs

You have to love NC State and Sidney Lowe. Wow, I really thought they would be out of gas today. They showed some real spirit. Costner is a great player - just a freshman. I think Lowe did an excellent job coaching them. My DH thinks that the way the team plays is a result of the previous coach's, Sendek recruiting. Certainly, that's how it was with Matt Doherty, the previous Tarheel coach. Time will tell.

Friday, March 09, 2007

ACC Hoops

I am little bleary eyed today. I stayed up until 1:30 this morning watching ACC hoops. (And no, I didn't have any sauce, though it sure goes good with basketball). I was able to catch a part of each of the four games yesterday. In each one, the underdog won. Love it - as long as it isn't my Heels getting showed up. The last game was unbelievable, won in double overtime. I haven't read the stats on the gig but both teams (Wake Forest and GA Tech) were shooting the lights out. It was really fun to watch. My husband and our friend Blake nodded off in the second overtime and i had to remain composed every time someone threw down another three. I didn't want to wake them, after all they had to work (for pay)today.

Even though that last game was thrilling, the Duke loss to NC State earlier in the evening was a guilty pleasure to embrace. During the game, the camera kept panning to Duke's Henderson, sitting in the stands because of his suspension for clocking UNC's Hansbrough with his elbow during their match on Sunday. Can't say I felt bad for him - he got what he deserved. Now I don't think he meant to break Hansbrough nose, but I think he intentionally lost control and this was the result. But Henderson's a kid and kids make stupid decisions, after all his frontal lobe isn't done cooking yet. I'm sure he'll learn from it.

I hear a lot of folks talking about Coach K's "class" (uh, how he has so much of it) so I just don't understand his comment after it was all said and done. Instead of blaming Henderson for a stupid decision, he implied that it was Coach Williams' fault for leaving Hansbrough in the game with a 12 point lead and 14 seconds left (Hello, coach Kommercial, you can't come out of the game when you're on the foul line. And where were your starters, sans the ones who hadn't fouled out? Yeah, that's what I thought. When it's Duke V UNC, nobody stops playing until the buzzer sounds, not even you). Yeah, real class, Coach K. See you in the commercials.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Lent and Things

I gave up the sauce again for Lent this year. Hands down winner among the things I could stand to do without. Last year I tried to give up TV (and junk food?) along with the nightly wine. Bad decision. I can do without TV but not during March Madness. I made it most of the way through Lent before I gave in to watching my Tarheels play hoops. I think God understands. There's only so much Woody Durham, the radio "Voice of the Tarheels", a girl can endure in a six week period.

Patch, the adolescent Basset Hound, a.k.a. Houdini for his late breaking ability to jump his fence and case the neighborhood, had the runs yesterday and today. It was like having a baby in the house. Three times I washed his kennel bedding, twice I cleaned the poo out of his kennel, once bathed his nasty coat - in our bathtub, which required of course more cleaning. Makes me grateful that my two human children are old enough to have the good sense to make it to the toilet and wipe their own bums.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Back Home

I spent the weekend with my man in not-so-sunny St Petersburg FL, but no worries, as we were alone and my boys were having a blast with my parents in Fayetteville; a girl couldn't ask for much more. Since I had to run my boys the 4&1/2 hours to "the ville", I flew out of their tiny airport to Atlanta and then on to Tampa. Fayetteville being a military town, my flight to Atlanta was full of fresh face military youngsters, some donning fatigues, on their way to family and friends. From talking to my aisle mate, I gathered that most were on a short leave before they return to the battle grounds in Iraq.

My aisle mate was on his way to see his "wifey", in KC. I wanted so much to engage this articulate young man in a conversation regarding this absurd war but skirted it, not wanting him to feel uncomfortable - or was it me who didn't want to feel that? We did have a superficial conversation and I wished him well as he hoofed it off the plane in futile hopes of catching his connecting flight. I thought about him a lot over the weekend. I thought i should have done something, said something to show my appreciation for what i presume to be dedication and loyalty to his job, although, in truth, i don't know that. Didn't matter. I still should have said something. My insecurity paralyzed me.

On both of my return flights, as well as in the Atlanta terminal, the Delta folks recognized the military personnel, announcing their presence and thanking them for their commitment to our country. It always ended in a resounding applause from the rest of us. Certainly, it was a nice sentiment but it rang hollow. I wonder if it did to any of them. Surely at least one of them wanted us to get off our collective bums and do more than politely applause them for risking their effing lives for this ridiculous war, contact our representatives to let them know, ENOUGH already. Not one more death. Bring our boys, girls, men, and women home.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

20 Years

He showed up at my third floor Avery dorm room (UNC-CH) dressed in a coat and tie. It was Valentine's Day, 1987. I immediately thought, I'm under dressed, no doubt, in stirrup leggings and an over sized sweater. I need to change, I said. No you don't, he said, you're dressed fine. We had only be dating 4 months so I had believed him when he told me he was taking me to a restaurant where he knew the owner, the kind of tale I would learn to suspect as time wore on.

After he pulled my roommate aside to let her in on the "secret", they convinced me that I didn't need to change. Holding hands, we were down one flight of stairs when he abruptly stopped and said, I forgot my wallet, and headed towards his suite to retrieve it, me in tow. The door opened and I was greeted by a dank candlelit room, aromatic with Chinese take-out (or was it the funk of of he and his two roommates?). He had his parent's china, borrowed from his last trip home, laid out over a cloth covered trunk. We ate and then slow danced to tunes played on his cassette player, taped from the radio earlier in the week. His roommates were sweet to accommodate him. Of course, they were boys with raging hormones, so I'm sure they were expecting reciprocation when they were in the same position.

I don't have any vivid recollection of any Valentine's Day after the first, apart from the one where he showed an hour late, his just-bought greeting card in hand, and found his carefully planned dinner(and me)cold. But this is our 20th together, something to celebrate. We have never felt the need to submit to the commercialism of the Day but have always done some little thing. We have said that we will save the celebration for this weekend, when we will be somewhere sunny and warm, without our boys. Perhaps, though, I'll find some way to mark our 20th VD together. I'll have to think on it, but if all else fails, I'll take a shower and we'll have sex on a school night - that's outside the norm. Sad but true.

My Job

Someone sent this to me today...

POSITION :
Mother, Mom, Mama, Mommy, Momma, Ma


JOB DESCRIPTION:
Long term, team players needed, for challenging permanent work in an, often chaotic environment. Candidates must possess excellent communication and organizational skills and be willing to work variable hours, which will include evenings and weekends and frequent 24 hour shifts on call. Some overnight travel required, including trips to primitive camping sites on rainy weekends and endless sports tournaments in far away cities. Travel expenses not reimbursed. Extensive courier duties also required.

RESPONSIBILITIES:
The rest of your life. Must be willing to be hated, at least temporarily, until someone needs $5. Must be willing to bite tongue repeatedly. Also, must possess the physical stamina of a pack mule and be able to go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds flat in case, this time, the screams from the backyard are not someone just crying wolf. Must be willing to face stimulating technical challenges, such as small gadget repair, mysteriously sluggish toilets and stuck zippers. Must screen phone calls, maintain calendars and coordinate production of multiple homework projects. Must have ability to plan and organize social gatherings for clients of all ages and mental outlooks. Must be willing to be indispensable one minute, an embarrassment the next. Must handle assembly and product safety testing of a half million cheap, plastic toys, and battery operated devices. Must always hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. Must assume final, complete accountability for the quality of the end product. Responsibilities also include floor maintenance and janitorial work throughout the facility.

POSSIBILITY FOR ADVANCEMENT &PROMOTION:
Virtually none. Your job is to remain in the same position for years, without complaining, constantly retraining and updating your skills, so that those in your charge can ultimately surpass you


PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE :
None required unfortunately. On-the-job training offered on a continually exhausting basis.


WAGES AND COMPENSATION:
Get this! You pay them! Offering frequent raises and bonuses. A balloon payment is due when they turn 18 because of the assumption that college will help them become financially independent. When you die, you give them whatever is left. The oddest thing about this reverse-salary scheme is that you actually enjoy it and wish you could only do more.

BENEFITS :
While no health or dental insurance, no pension, no tuition reimbursement, no paid holidays and no stock options are offered; this job supplies limitless opportunities for personal growth and free hugs for life if you play your cards right.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Things I Learned Today

1. A Yoga mat can be washed in the washing machine with vinegar. You should throw in some towels with it.
2. A female Cardinal builds a nest, while the male gets food for her. (Sounds like humans).
3. Cardinals don't migrate south in the winter.
4. Cardinals are omnivores but they are partial to sunflower seeds and will seek them out of bird seed.
5. How to make Navratan Korma. Pretty good but not spicy enough for me.
5.5 Tomato Puree has onion, celery and bell peppers in it.
6. My youngest brother and his wife, who are in Guatemala, are one step closer to bringing their daughter home. Hopefully it will be within a week.
7. Patch's birthday is tomorrow- oops I thought it was the 15th. My youngest wants to know if we can invite two of his dog friends over, since it is his second birthday. Uh, no, because he's a dog.
8. It is $50-60 cab fare from the Tampa airport to our hotel in St Petersburg. YIKES!
9. The shuttle costs $22.
10. The folks at At Play With Sparky are nice but the dude who showed me around referred to dog owners as "parents". Uh, hello, these are dogs.
11. Dogs who board at Sparky's can play with other dogs for 12 hours.
11. Patch liked Sparky's and he will be staying there while we are away. He will be one worn out puppy when we return.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Time

Last year, my Dad asked me to play in a "Father Son" Golf Tournament with him. For thirty plus years he has been participating in these with my brothers, and more recently with my husband, but I have never played with him, never been asked to play with him until now. I suck at golf, therefore I'm not very fond of criss crossing the golf course for five hours in the blazing humidity of an August day, chasing a minuscule ball with a tiny metal rod. There many more desirable things that I could do with my precious leisure time; a couple of tennis matches or five yoga classes or plucking my mustache.

Take a close look at most golf professionals, they are not the picture of health, sans Tiger Woods. Most have protruding guts and some even have man boobs. Golf doesn't lend itself to being a healthy workout, even if you walk.

The expense of the game is a whole other ball of wax. Clubs, shoes, balls, greens fees, more balls(because since I suck, I lose many) food/drinks and (if you are a 'real' golfer) cash for betting.

So last year, I begged off of the tournament, buying some time to practice some for this year's event.

And things change in a year's time.

Wednesday I trekked down and back to Fayetteville for a memorial service. Although it was a long day for me, it wasn't near as long as it was for my childhood friend, whose Dad just unexpectedly died. There were a fair amount of folks there my age, most who had already lost one or both parents. Most likely, that's what brought them there - they know how it feels to lose a parent and what it means to have your friends show their support.

I can't empathize; both my parents are living. But my Dad had a mini stroke last summer, making us all mindful that he won't be here forever.

Time to dust off my clubs and buy some balls. This year I'm looking forward to spending the time on the links with my Dad. It's the time that matters. Time others don't have.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Superbowl Halftime with Prince

Watching Prince perform the halftime gig at the Susperbowl was nastolgic. Luckily for me, since my 9 year old was watching, he didnt't do anything erotic with the end of his guitar as he was famous for in his 80's concerts. I never saw him in concert but some of his songs are etched in my memory. Little Red Corvette, reminds me of my Junior Prom. And the whole Purple Rain soundtrack reminds me of my freshman year in college. As DH and I were trying to impress upon oldest boy how talented Price is, we googled songs written by Prince and came up with this list.

The legendary Prince has been known for several of his talents: funk-guitar playing, soulful falsetto singing, and micro-detailed song production. One talent that where he is often underrated and seldom-mentioned is his ability to write and produce songs for other artists. Prince has collaborated with a wide variety of yesterday and today’s artists to include Mavis Staples, No Doubt, Chuck D. of Public Enemy, Ani Di Franco, Kate Bush and Sheryl Crow. This top 10 list will reflect some of his more chart successful songs that he wrote, produced, or was heavily sampled upon.

10-Jungle Love- The Time /#20 Hot US 100. Drawing from the successful movie Purple Rain, This hit from longtime Prince associates The Time became a staple party song in the mid-80s. The time featured the self-obsessed Morris Day singing the lead while Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis, who went on to become mega producers throughout the next two decades, laid down a solid foundation of new-wave party funk instrumentals.

09-I Feel For You- Chaka Khan /#14 US Charts. This was originally a Prince-performed song off of the 1979 self-titled album. He allowed Chaka Kahn to remake it in 1984, a remake featuring legendary rapper Melle Mel and super legendary musician Stevie Wonder on harmonica.

08-Love…Thy Will Be Done- Martika /#10 US Charts. Martika was an early-90’s pop chanteuse who originally had a hit with “Toy Soldiers” from her first album. On her second, Martika’s Kitchen, “Love” became a hit as well in the UK, reaching #9 on the British pop charts. Martika was one of the first pop stars to come out of the Disney show Kids, Inc.

07-Sugar Walls- Sheena Easton/ #9 US Charts. Prince wrote this song under the pseudonym Alexander Nevermind for this single on Sheena’s album “A Private Heaven”. Sheena Easton was also featured in the hit duet “U Got the Look” from Prince’s most critically-acclaimed work, Sign O’ The Times.


06-Yo Mister- Patti Labelle/ #6 on US RnB Charts. Patti Labelle had been a big fan of Prince for many years before he finally produced and wrote songs for her. This track, released in 1989, was featured on her Be Yourself album. That album reached the top-100 charts of that same year.

05-Stand Back- Stevie Nicks /#5 US Charts. Stevie Nicks often retells the story of listening to Little Red Corvette and calling up Prince to see if he could lend a hand in this song. Supposedly, Prince came into the studio, layed down tracks on the synthesizer for 20 minutes, and left without talking to Stevie Nicks ever again. Whatever he did to the song apparently worked!

04-A Love Bizarre- Sheila E. /#3 US Charts. Another hit song of the Romance 1600 album, it also features Prince singing background! He also co-wrote "Glamorous Life" on the album, another track that made the top 10 in the US. Sheila, daughter of famed percussionist Pete Escovedo, went on to do more solo albums and several future collaborations with Prince.

03-Pray- MC Hammer/#2 US Charts. This song was one of the few that featured a Prince song being majorly sampled. The “When Doves Cry” background featured heavily in MC Hammer’s hit about needing faith to survive in the world. He also sampled Prince’s “Soft and Wet” on another track of the wildly successful album Please Hammer Don’t Hurt Him.

02- Manic Monday- The Bangles- / #2 US Charts. The rumor is that while Prince was trying to court lead-singer Susanna Hoffs, he offered the The Bangles this song for their 1986 album Different Light. It was originally intended to be a duet sang with Apollonia of Apollonia 6, but the track never made it to her album.

01-Nothing Compares 2 U- Sinead O’ Connor /#1 US Charts. Probably one of the most successful songs written by Prince (to include ones he performed on himself!), this track became a huge career boost for the often-controversial Sinead. It reached-and stayed- #1 on the US, British, and Australian pop singles charts in 1990.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Joy and Sorrow

My childhood friend's father died today. He'd been sick for a month, but none of us ever expected him to die. He's batttled various health issues for almost 30 years and always came out on top but not this time. When I spoke with my friend this afternoon, she said it was hard on her kids, their 'Popsie' gone. He lived in the same town with them and showered them with love and attention, making his passing even more significant and painful. I was reminded of this passage from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran.

Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow
And he answered:
Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was often times filled with your tears.
And how else can it be?
The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?
And is not the lute that soothes you spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous,
look deep into your heart and you shall find
it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
When you are sorrowful
look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth,
you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Some of you say, "Joy is greater than sorrow," and others say, "Nay sorrow is the greater."
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at you board, remember that the other is asleep upon you bed.
Verily you are suspended like scales between you sorrow and your joy.
Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced.
When the treasure-keeper lifts you to weight his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Tennis Saves Me

Just out of college I took up the game of tennis and have been playing it for close to twenty years. I began playing in the United States Tennis Association leagues about 12 years ago. I am a middle of the road player, with a 3.5 rating, who enjoys the competition, exercise as well as the social aspect of the game.

Tennis is responsible for many of my friendships, especially here in Asheville. The game brings together people from different walks of life who I otherwise would have never met. Granted, you do have to have a little dough to afford the game, but compared to other sports it can be a fairly inexpensive sport if you chose to use public courts.

My tennis buddies aren't in the same station in life as me, and I really dig that. Some have children who are in college, some have grandchildren and some have no children. Some are single, some are widowed, some are retired. They all have rich stories, experiences and perspectives I genuinely enjoy hearing over a pitcher of beer at Jack of the Wood's - after a couple hours on the Aston Park courts. Even though I cherish friendships I have with parents who have kids the same age as mine, this is different. Our friendships aren't about our kids - although the conversation sometimes goes there. But in my tennis world, I'm not defined by my offspring. I'm me first, not someone's mom. There is something intensely satisfying about that I just can't put into words. We have rich conversations about books, politics (we are mostly on the same page here so we can 'go there'), social issues (one of my buds is a sociology professor), relationships and of course, tennis.

Our gatherings are NEVER without unabashed laughter. We gathered last weekend at my house to bid farewell to one of our home girls, who is moving to NH to be closer to her grandchildren while they are still young enough to dig her. We had a crowd for a while, but as the night wore on,, we dwindled to the usual suspects. My friend Kelly, pulled up, Dick In a Box on YouTube, a SNL video spoof on Justin Timberlake. We died laughing, but what was even more hilarious was that Kelly had apparently watched it enough to sing along with it.

My tennis game is nothing to write home about. I'm far from the best on my team, but I do make my presence known on the court, mostly by singing at the end of the point that I just blew. Something I say to myself to remind me of what I should have done differently like, "Get down", continues with "on it" and I'm singing "Get down on it. You got a feel it. Get dow ow on it".

My home girls just laugh and move along. My friend, Susan, keeps hoping that Gladys Knight, part time resident and tennis player in Asheville, will show up across the court from me and we can have a singing duel. Hmm, wonder who would win that battle - grammy winner with amazing voice or part time tennis player and wannabe Jennifer Nettles (Sugarland)? I don't think I'd win the face off in that category with Ms. Knight, but I'd be willing to give it a try.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Asheville Freecycle

I can't believe the crap I have gotten rid of through www.freecycle.org. OMG, when I was trying to move close to two years ago, I posted all kinds of stuff and got rid of it ALL! I didn't throw any of it away. I got rid of:

REALLY ugly couch with ripped cushions
REALLY dirty overstuffed chair and ottoman
broken VCR
OLD stair master
bunch o old tennis balls
open box of pre-finished wood flooring
Box o crap - half used bottles of perfume, candles, cologne
oak TV cabinet that had seen better days
OLD Mac computer

Then after i moved it got rid off.

Cheap metal blinds
chunks of concrete exhumed from my yard
old metal porch railing exhumed from my yard
Old single pane windows removed for more efficient ones.
empty shoe boxes
old magazines

If ABCCM or Habitat Home Store won't take it, I post it to freecycle and someone will save it from the landfill. Total win-win.

Now you do have to deal with the occasional no-show but usually there is someone waiting in line behind them. Only once have I been unable to unload something.

Love, LOVE, LOVE IT!

Virtual March On Washington

I wish I had made the the trip to DC last weekend to march for Peace but I'm lame. I am, however, participating in a much easier avenue to voice my opinion about escalating this ridiculously tragic war. I called my senators today to let them know how I feel. The curt folks on the other end didn't give me the impression they were taking notes. They are not instilling confidence that my voice was heard. But i did it.

You can participate also. http://pol.moveon.org/virtualmarch/ (Sorry but i am also lame at making this links look nice like all my other blogging buddies. Damn it, i need a tutor.)

Here We Snow Again?

School was called for snow today or for what might be snow. At 6:30 this morning the ground was perfectly clear, the skies yielding not a drop of precipitation. Hmmm, maybe they (who are they, anyway?) just know that we will be hammered in a couple of hours. It's 9:15 and still nothing. My boys are content, each playing independently, so how can I complain? I can't really. I'm not missing anything important.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Snow Day

The kids were out of school today due to an inch of snow and THANK GOD that our fine superintendent of schools didn't ring with a robo call, before dawn to inform our happily sleeping household.

My youngest managed to sled for a few brief moments in the single digit temps, though we spent more time getting his cold weather gear on and off. My oldest never even considered getting out. They spent most of their day playing Lego's and pretend warriors together, which is an anomaly.

I spent most of my day reading my book club's latest pick, Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly. Very easy read, although I'll be surprised if more than one other person in the group actually gets through the whole thing. My book club peeps like the idea of a book club but can't actually follow through with the read. Now, they all have busy lives, some way busier than mine, but come on, you signed up for a book club, which implies that you would like to read and discuss a book. I just recently rejoined the club after a year and 1/2 hiatus. I am by no means a voracious reader so i really liked the idea of a deadline to keep me on task. However, after a while I became frustrated showing up excited but bleary eyed to discuss the novel I just finished reading at 2:30 that morning, to have one person (and sometimes no one) to discuss it with.

They swear to me that they are now reading the books. They have chosen less ambitious titles to help them accomplish this. Last month's was Blink. I doubt I would have ever read either of these on my own but I have enjoyed them both.

I'm reading The Other Boleyn Girl, on the side. I'm really digging it! In fact, my husband thinks it's a great book too, although he's never read a word. But he came home for lunch on Friday afternoon, and instead got afternoon delight. Later, he asked, "Where'd that come from?" "I was stirred by a hot love scene in my book," I confessed. "You should read more," he grinned.

Well, my boys need some calories before I chase them to their beds. No doubt, it won't be the finest nutrition, but they are easy to feed when my husband is working. Chicken noodle soup, cheese quesedillas and apples.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Wild Turkeys Meet Basset Hound

Patch had his first encounter with the North Asheville wild turkeys. He's sooo well behaved, huh? Didn't even try to take a bite. All that training time I have spent with him, has finally paid off. Now, if he would just be so kind to the human guests in our yard, things would be great. Rio and Edgy Mama know what I am talking about!

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Horray for Donald Trump

Last fall I had a dream that I was involved in amorous relations with The Donald. A little perplexing, as I would much rather be dreaming of dancing in the sheets with Matthew McConaughey or Patrick Dempsey. But I have read that dreaming of sex with someone other than your mate doesn't mean what it does in the waking world; it means that your dream lover has an endearing or desirable quality that you want to possess. It is abundantly clear that I don't want to possess Donald's sense of style; I can't get past his train wreck comb over. I reluctantly concluded that I must have some deep seeded, unconcious love of his money or power. But alas, yesterday I discovered a different affinity for Trump.

You'd have to have been under a rock for the last few weeks not to have heard of Trump and Rosie O'Donnell's feud. It's quite hilarious to hear them go back and forth at each other, although in truth, you can't believe grown adults behave this way; Trump called Rosie a "fat pig" and a "slob". OUCH!

Yesterday, I saw some video footage at msn.com of an interview with Trump about the feud. It was during that interview that I realized what I like so much about him, what I want to possess, perhaps - his unapologeitc candor. Not about Rosie, but about our King, President Bush. He chuckled with indignation, that Bush had read 60 books last year. I missed this one, but apparently back in August, the Whitehouse in an attempt to shore up Bush's dismal approval ratings, released this info in a, no doubt, futile effort to make Bush appear intellectual. HA! And that's what Trump said. In addition, Trump thinks the Iraq war is ridiculous and believes it is perhaps the biggest mistake in American history.

You go, Donald! Maybe I'll see you in my dreams tonight!