Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Wishes

Hi again !

Well, it's New Year's eve day. I'm praying that I don't hear any of the traditional phrases like "out with the old, in with the new !" at my age, it's starting to feel like a personal threat.

As I checked all my friend's blogs this morning, and I started wondering how many new blogs and lists of resolutions will be started today and tomorrow, and how few of them will remain past the end of the month. This is my first year as a blogger . (I started in January of this year. First on My Space, then Clear blogs, and finally here, on blogger) It really wasn't a resolution. I had no agenda - no plan, no goal. It just so happens that last Christmas brought our first computer into our home. What started as a lark, has become more of an addiction. An addiction that has brought many wonderful people into my life. Who would have thunk it? Not me, that's for sure.
Last night, I found myself browsing through old posts and comments, trying to get a snapshot of the past year's triumphs and tragedies. In the process, I found alot of smiles, giggles, and beautiful memories from some very special people. People that I've never met, who have become a cherished part of my life. I can't think of any past resolutions, no matter how well intentioned or determined, that have ever succeeded in bringing such happiness and change to my life.
Could it be, that stepping out into the great BIG world, armed with merely faith, love, and hope, could have more impact, and bring about more positive changes, than a life time of careful planning and good intentions?!? Seems to me, that's what I've read, and what I thought I believed. But I've discovered (over this past year) that truth, and what we say that we believe in, is only a beautiful concept until you live it.

Okay, that's my light bulb moment for the year. I wouldn't hold my breath for another one. So! In all my wisdom (cough, cough, choke) I have determined that it's better to make resolutions for Christmas, and Wish Lists for New Years. What a surprise, I've been doing everything ass backwards !

So, here is my *Wish list for 2008.
(*please note: the statements contained herein are subject to change without notice, and not valid in states where prohibited by law, or in North Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming.)

I wish. . .

1. To laugh. . . As often as possible.
2. To make Love with my husband whenever possible. (which is sometimes actually better, when I think "It's not possible.")
3. To spend more time with people who make me feel happy.
4. To spend more time with people who make me feel sad.
5. To give away kisses, hugs, and tears like they were candy.
6. To forgive. . . everyone, including myself.
7. To convince myself that sugar and fried foods are evil. (yeah, right !)
8. To call my husband at work and talk dirty to him. . . at least once a week.
9. To do more things that I don't have to do, or don't want to do.
10. To make sure that all the people in my life know how much I love them and appreciate them.
11. To go to bed earlier so I can enjoy the sunrise instead of cursing it.
12. To always be thankful.

That seems like enough for now, but I'm always open to suggestions. After all, they're wishes, not resolutions.

I should probably get up and out of this computer chair and get busy with a few of these. Hmmm. . . Maybe I'll start with #8.)

Have a safe and Happy New Year.
Love,
Susan

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Last weekend of the 2007

Hey,

I've created a monster ! A couple of weeks ago, I started playing Scrabble with Roy, on Face book. I started playing with Mel. (she kicked my butt on the last game.) I asked the kids if they would want to play with me, but noooooo. . . They're way too busy to play with mom. So I talked Roy into playing. He would play his turn in the morning, before work, and I would play sometime during the day. But when we're home together, like on the weekends. . . he turns into some kind of Scrabble Nazi !

"Honey, I played my word. Play your word, Okay ?"
I tell him, " Okay, I'll do it when I check my mail"
Ten minutes later, "Honey did you play your word yet ? I need you to play your word."
So I drop everything, and play my word.
Ten minutes later, "Honey, I played my word. Play your word now, Okay ?"

This goes on all day and into the night. Roy and I now have two games going at the same time. And somehow, he managed to get Jake and Heather to play too. (sure. . .they'll play with Dad, but not ME.) I'm not complaining, it's fun. At least I can finally put my Face book account to good use. I'm just used to having more time to think out my moves. Maybe, he's trying to rush me so he can win ?

Anyway, It's been a pretty good weekend around here. Roy took the kids sledding on Saturday. Then, Heather and I went to Borders (bookstore) so she could spend some of her Christmas money. Heather has never been very fond of reading. But since she has gotten interested in Anime, and she discovered that Borders has a huge manga section, she's suddenly spending every penny on books. In fact, a Borders book card was #1 on her Christmas list. She could gobble up 2 or 3 books a day - if she could afford it. Of course, they are all written in a comic book type of format, but reading is reading. Besides, Roy has very little interest in reading, and I could spend days wandering around in a bookstore, so hanging out at Borders has sort of become a mother/daughter activity.

I got to go to church this morning !! wooohoooo! Since I wasn't able to get to see Nick on Wednesday night, we went to services and lunch at the Salvation Army so we could spend a little time with him this morning. Of course, the kids weren't thrilled about it. Church at the Downtown Salvation Army isn't exactly the kind of "Church" that they're used to. The ARC has about 140 men, and on Sunday morning, they serve lunch to the homeless people who come to church services. Aside from getting to see Nick, I sort of thought that it might be good for Jake and Heather to see what kind of ministry their brother is doing for others. (and Nick really loves doing that kind of work) My kids moan and groan about how "miserable" their lives are - they have no idea what it's like to not have a home, or to have to carry all your worldly belongings around in a paper sack. On the way home, we passed a group of men that were living under a highway overpass bridge who were warming themselves over a sewer steam vent. But they were so busy with their Ipod and cell phone, I don't think it made much of an impression.
This evening, Jacob went to a New Year's eve - eve party with his regular church youth group. They are doing a lock in at Bump city. Bump City is like a McDonalds play land for teenagers. They have rock wall climbing, big screen T.V.s with Xbox and Wii hooked up to them, in-ground trampolines, ziplines, dodgeball, movies, music, mazes, rope swings, pizza - the works. You would think that such an obvious contrast between the two worlds would have some kind of impact on him. But I don't think he really gets it. It maybe just a bit much for a teen to get their minds around.

I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do about Church in 2008. We have only been to church a few times since VBS in June. I'd really like to go back, but it just seems like every time I do, I get so overwhelmed with "stuff," that the whole point gets lost. I really want to be involved, and use whatever talents I might have to serve. . . But I end up spending EVERY Sunday teaching the little ones, doing ALL the crafts, decorations, props, and scenery for EVERY event, plus clean team once a month, plus all the murals for all the classrooms and offices. And the thing is, they know how much I do, so their solution is to pressure me to go to all the women's Bible studies, and prayer meetings, and retreats so that "my tank doesn't run low - spiritually." Uh. . . . there aren't enough hours in the day ! As much as I love the people - it's too much. And here is the really stupid part. Every time we have gone to a new church, I sit there in service thinking about all the areas where I could be useful ! So it's possible that it just might be ME. Ya think ?

Well, it's getting late and I have to go have lab work done tomorrow morning. I'm not supposed to eat anything after midnight, and if I stay up, I'll eventually end up eating - just because that's what I do. So I better get myself to bed.

Hope you all have a safe and happy new year !!!!
love ya,
Susan

Friday, December 28, 2007

* My husband, my hero





Hey there,



This lovely gift, is what we woke up to this morning. All month long, we have had snow, warm weather, snow, etc. This is the first time that we have been able to accumulate more than a few inches at one time. We had two inches from Wednesday, and last night, we got another four inches. Unfortunately, everyone woke up today feeling yucky with sniffles, and headaches, and coughs. So there will be no snow play today. Instead, I think that we'll all snuggle down inside and enjoy the view. Feels like a good day to snuggle.


After the past few days, I think we could all use a nice quiet day. Yesterday was absolute insanity. In addition the the usual kids from the hood, two of my grand kids, Christian and Ana, called and asked if they could come and play (which means sleepover) on Wednesday. I woke up yesterday morning and was barely able to recognise my own house. In addition the the wreckage that results from having a house full of teens/preteens during the Christmas week, Peter had managed to search out and destroy several Christmas gift boxes - all over my living room. (Of course, they were very dangerous looking boxes.) So I decided that pills, or no pills, the house needed to be cleaned. I started upstairs and worked my way down. By the time I reached the second level, (living room/kitchen) I concluded that Princess had fallen off the chair and into the Christmas tree one too many times, so I set about the task of dis-assembling the very sad looking tree.


As I ventured into the basement to bring up the boxes, I found that our main sewer drain, which also serves the other half of our duplex, had backed up all over the basement floor. Since backed up floor drains are NOT in my contract, Roy spent the next 8 hours conducting an activity that seemed to me, to be very much like a military training exercise. Phone calls were made, high level, executive decisions were made, weapons were gathered, and Roy rallied his troop of teenage boys to enter into combat. He began barking orders and plans were laid for the assault.

"Jake, take another man with you, and make your way out to the truck. I need my tool box, my leather gloves, a flashlight, and the hand held 20 foot snake. Be careful men, don't let yourselves be seen, and get back here right away!"

"Khris, you move those animal carriers and boxes, Take cover in that spot under the steps, and prepare for incoming! Damn it, man ! wear your night goggles ! We don't know what this drain will throw at us !"

After a few hours of deafening noises, cursing, and general chaos; the situation was upgraded to def con 4. More phone calls were made, additional troops were called in, and they broke out the heavy artillery. Scott's truck had just pulled into the drive, and several of our boys were frantically unloading ominous equipment. Moments later, Christian appeared at the top of the stairs, and civilian instructions were given.

"Call Khris' parents, next door! Alert them to the situation, tell them to stock up on bottled water, and to shut down all water routes both in and out of their home. This is NOT a drill !!"

I did my best to remain calm. As I nervously plucked shiny ornaments off the tree, the sky began to darken, and floor beneath my feet began to shake. The roar of heavy equipment filled the air, and the smell was slowly beginning to find it's way to the upper levels of the house. The dogs were becoming frantic, and the girls were complaining about the smell. In the midst of cleaning, repacking Christmas decorations, and answering the phone, I was instructed to relocate the children and canines to the upper levels of the house for safety.

Finally, around 10:30 pm, I had accomplished my mission for the day. I had the the tree down, the furniture rearranged, the room cleaned, and vacuumed, and all the Christmas decorations packed into boxes and waiting in the kitchen to be moved down stairs. Half an hour later, there was a silence followed by a shout of triumph. Roy and his men made their way up the stairs with a section of tree roots triumphantly held over their head. My poor husband was soiled, weary and only slightly injured. I would have hugged him for his bravery and courage, but he smelled like a sewer.

While the boys showered and scavenged the kitchen for food, I began hauling boxes to the basement. When I got to the bottom of the steps, I set down the boxes and looked around. My nice orderly, organised basement which serves as my art room, laundry room, and storage area, looked as if a war really had taken place ! There was was not a single item that hadn't been moved, and in some cases, toppled over and emptied. Black, wet, soiled gloves, tools and equipment were strewn everywhere. The only item that hadn't been touched was the broom. If I could have found a little red button to blow the whole house to hell, I would have pushed it. Instead, I spent the next several hours cleaning the basement and then the kitchen.

Finally, at 4:30 am, I put on a pot of coffee for my hubby, and headed upstairs to bed. Jasmin picked up Christian and Ana last night around 9 pm, so it's just the kids and me today. We all slept until Noon, and we will continue doing nothing for the rest of the day. I'm not even going to cook. I think we have earned our day off. If I knew where to find a purple heart, I'd pin one on his chest when he gets home tonight.

I hope that everyone else a has a day as lazy, and blissfully uneventful as mine !

Love to all,

Susan

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

* What to do....

Hey !

So. . . I have to be completely honest right now. I ran out of Cymbalta today and I'm feeling just a little . . . what the hell do you call it? Uhhhh. . . . manic . . . No, bi-polar, I think. Whatever. Maybe I'm dyslexic or I've just lost my mind. Anyway, I feel like crap. But don't worry, my dealer, I mean doctor, has got some waiting for me at his office, and if I can ever get five minutes without someone wanting something, I can go pick them up. (provided that happens between the hours of 9am and 5 pm.)

But in the mean time, I have to amuse myself with tossing peanut butter cookies at the dogs while I am stuck eating a salad with not enough Ranch dressing on it. It's not as bad as it seems because the dogs are really funny. Pete and Angel know how to catch things in mid-air. Because I teach all my dogs how to do cool stuff like that - thank you very much. But I've got these two puppies that have yet to become educated in such silliness. I've been busy lately, okay ? So in between bites of rabbit food, I'm trying to teach them a thing or two about becoming "cool dogs". I've got a big tin of peanut butter cookies that have already caused me a great deal of. . . internal grief and because I am no longer pleased with these cookies, they must go. Anyway, Phoenix, my brown pup - the one withOUT brain damage- is at least trying. However, Midnight, the sweet black pup - with obvious issues - just looks at me expectantly, then seems puzzled when he is hit with a flying cookie which slides down his nose and onto the floor. After a few moment of cautious inspection, he eats it. (If he can get to it before my 20 pound miniature pincher does.) As much as it pains me, I'm afraid that Midnight might never become a cool dog - not enough oxygen to the brain at birth, I'm afraid. It's very sad, but at least it brings me a few late night chuckles. ( And he has a heart as big as the world, so I can forgive him anything.)

Okay, here's a thought that has occurred to me recently. One of the contributing reasons for moving my blog to this site, was to obtain more freedom to blog. Well, actually, I didn't want my mother, or my mother in law, or every single member of my husband's family to be privy to every random thought that I had. That doesn't mean that I'm not still a sweet, wholesome, sensitive girl from Kansas. But there are some people, who might be shocked to learn that I throw stale peanut-butter cookies at a retarded dog's nose late at night, just for a good laugh. I'm not proud of myself, I'm just saying that it's funny. Anyhow, I've finally got some space to blog without the judgement of in-laws and family members, and I have done nothing with my freedom. So I ask myself, why this is ? (when I talk to myself, I don't worry about using proper grammar.) The answer, of course, completely escapes me. Which is why I have changed the title and look of my blog. (Do you like it?) I love wolves, and I feel happy when I pull this page up. Therefore, I've decided that my New Year's resolution will be to claim my blog. I am going to write what I want , when I want, the way that I want. Of course, I'll still use spell check - I don't want to make a complete ass of myself. In fact, I am feeling so rebellious, that I am starting today, instead of waiting until New Year's! I know, it's a daring move. . . I'm going from The Yellow Brick Road, to Howling at the Moon, in one giant leap. Gosh, I hope y'all can keep up.

Okay, Here's an example. of real life. My husband, the big ol' bear, just wandered out of his sleeping den to go pee. (that's right, I'm talking about bears urinating.) I'm really pissed off at him, and I don't know what to do. Here is the situation. My husband is a hypochondriac. I'm fairly certain that he spends every moment mentally examining himself for any possible pain or symptom that might exist. Since the day I met him, he's been whinging about his back. This is NOT a result of all his hard work on a daily basis, although, he does work hard. This pain is the result of years of wild living, and hard drinking that he did as a teen and a young adult before he met me. Depending on his mood, it's either the result of falling off a horse, or it could be from the time that he wrecked his motorcycle, or possibly from a soft ball pitching injury - all of which probably occurred during a drunken stupor - hence the lack of clarity regarding the issue. In any case, he has been to many, many doctors to have it fixed. They either tell him that they can't find anything wrong, or they want to do surgery to find the problem. Neither answer is a solution to his problem.

Let me tell you what the problem is. The problem is that my husband refuses to discuss, or deal with, issues that upset him, or cause him stress. The result of stuffing all that anxiety down inside, comes out in the form of back pain. One of the reasons that I fell in love with him was because he is such a calm, gentle soul. However, I have discovered that the flip side to that is that he is painfully non-confrontational. Which is a problem when you are raising children. Children require rules, and boundaries, and sometimes, discipline. He would rather tell them "yes" out of fear, than "no" out of love. I am absolutely certain that yes, his pain is real. However, since medical doctors have been no help to him, for 30 years, he chose to medicate the problem with alcohol, which has resulted in him becoming an alcoholic. After much heartache, and almost 12 months in jail, he gave up alcohol. That was almost 7 years ago.

Since he quit drinking, he's been doing what seems to be the right thing, which is go back to the doctor. Unfortunately, since surgery isn't really an option, and years of physical therapy hasn't helped, all they can really do is give him pain pills when it gets bad. Being married to a person who is on pain pills, for long periods, is alot like being single. There is a warm body in my bed most of the time, it just doesn't do much. Even when he's awake - he's a zombie. And when the doctor finally decides that he can't continue prescribing pain meds any longer, it's too late - everyone has to endure the withdrawls.

So, I've been feeling very frustrated and cranky lately. He always seems to have some level of back pain - usually, it's manageable with over the counter pain meds, but even that is having an effect on his stomach. It's becoming more and more obvious to me, that his most of his major back pain flare ups occur when life gets stressful for him.

I've talked to his doctor and had him cut off, but he just goes to another doctor. I could bitch and scream at him, but that's not going to relieve any one's stress. Being sweet and understanding doesn't fix addiction. I'm not a psychiatrist, I can't get him to talk about things that he has been avoiding for the past 47 years. And since it really is painful for him, Roy has a hard time believing that his pain can be anything OTHER than physical - what a surprise ! I don't know how to deal with this. It's frustrating, but I'm not the kind of person who gives up. People in my life are NOT disposable. I just need to figure out the appropriate tact to take. I'm thinking maybe something sneaky and underhanded might do the trick. I just hate to resort to that. I have to think about it some more. Am I the only person who believes that stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions can result in real physical pain and illness?

Okay, I'm done howling for tonight. I need to get some sleep. But I'll be back later.

Love to all,
Susan

* I Surrender !

Hi there,



Well, I give up. All my ridiculously absurd plans for the domestic rehabilitation of my private asylum, that is sometimes referred to as 'our home', hit a huge snag this morning. A huge snag called : Life. Imagine that ?! I tried my best. I really did. There's just no point. I've spent the past 6 hours making phone calls, transporting children hither and yon, and rushing around trying to pay a few bills that I put off until after Christmas - just in case. Therefore, my house currently is, and will probably remain, a state of of chaos until the end of the week -maybe longer - who knows? Not me, that's for sure.

So. . . I have parked my frustrated butt in the computer chair, and I am doing my best to ignore the insanity of my children. By the way, Did you know that, according to my children, Santa is no longer allowed to merrily chuckle "Ho-Ho-Ho!", due to the political incorrectness of implied referral to women of questionable conduct? Whoever is in charge of these things, has decided that it's just not wholesome for Santa to be exclaiming such things in malls, at parties, and from the roof tops. Therefore, Santa is now required to substitute the phrase "Ha-Ha-Ha!" How retarded is that ?! Is the word "ho" really going to become a permanent part of our language? If Oprah can outlaw the N-word, can't she do something to help out Santa ?

You know what else ? It's snowing !! Again. I know, after a couple of weeks, it starts to loose it's magical effect. But it's still makin' me happy :) And of course, the dogs never grow tired of it. My only complaint, is that when they go out to frolic and play, and they come in looking like snow puppies, they still smell like wet dog when the snowflakes on their fur start to melt :( That's okay. I still love them. Roy can smell pretty bad when he comes home from work sometimes too. I should have bought stock in Febreeze.

I'm not going to make it up to see Nick tonight:( I've got a house full of kids and Roy is still at work. He started out thinking that he was going to have a slow day, but the calls have been coming in and he's stayed busy. That's a good thing.

Oh crap! Roy just pulled into the drive. I've been caught slacking on the job. I better get off my butt and go rattle some pots and pans.

Later. . .
Love,
Susan

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

* Christmas Day 2007

Hey there,


Well, Christmas will soon be over and a new year is on it's way. This has been a Christmas of revelations, but all in all, it's been good.

The kids seemed pleased with their gifts, and have been absorbed with them all day long. Both Jake and Heather invited the kids next door over to check out their new stuff, and that has turned into another over night stay. The four of them are downstairs playing games now. They've already started mapping out the rest of their Christmas break with trips to the mall, and movies that they absolutely must see. (Grand ma's Christmas money is burning a hole in their pockets.) By the end of the week, they'll know how I feel - Broke !

We took a break in the afternoon and headed over to my mom's house for the usual family gathering and Christmas dinner. That's where I got my second revelation for the holiday. As my kids are growing up and becoming more independent, my mother is growing old and I think, becoming more dependent. As I mentioned earlier this month, my mom came down with her usual winter bout of pneumonia, which is complicated by emphysema. She managed to squirm out of a hospital stay in exchange for several strong prescriptions. For the past few weeks, she has convinced me, and I think everyone else, that she is better - which has turned out to be a BIG FAT CROCK OF SHIT ! When I got to my mom's house, I was shocked to find that cooking a meal had drained her completely. She wasn't any better at all. She was moving around her own kitchen like a fragile old woman, struggling to breathe. It's just becoming obvious that I need to make time to check in on her alot more often. (since she can't be trusted to tell the truth about what's going on.) For the past year, I've been struggling to come to terms with the idea that my mom just might NOT be as indestructible as she claims. You'd probably have to know my mom, to know how difficult that is. And what I discovered today, was that in certain areas, like her home and her kitchen, she is a little more receptive to accepting my help, than my brothers. Which means that I need to be there more often. So I think that 2008 is going to require more changes than I thought.

Last night, Christmas eve, I was feeling a little down about spending another Christmas with out my oldest son. My imagination was running wild worrying about how he might feel, spending his Christmas at a Salvation Army Drug Rehab. To make things worse, I hadn't heard from him as I expected. So I finally decided to give myself a Christmas present. I picked up the phone and called Australia, to wish my friend, Mel, a Merry Christmas ! It was so wonderful to finally chat with her for a while. She's probably still giggling about my ridiculous Kansas accent. That's Okay, it cheered me up. I've never called Australia before, but it was easier than I thought. We'll have to do it more often !

About 30 minutes after I hung up with Mel, Nick finally called. He's doing okay. He ended up with a dry socket from the tooth he had removed, (ouch!) but he's feeling better now. The folks at the Salvation Army know how difficult Christmas can be for these guys, and turns out, they do a pretty good job with stuff like that. (DUH !) So, he is hanging in there pretty well. His hardest issue is the fact that he has to start the whole program over. He's been in so many rehabs and treatment programs, that it's hard. He really does work the programs, and he tries so hard, he's just starting to wonder when the little light bulb is going to come on, and he figures out what he's missing. But I have faith - he's smart enough, and he wants it bad enough - it'll happen when it's time.

Even though he isn't eligible for a pass until the end of next month, he told me that I can come up for Sunday morning, and Wednesday night services to see him. It isn't really the same as a visit, but I can spend some time with him. Besides, I'm really missing my time with God since we stopped going to church. I need to get re-focused. So, I'm going to try to get out there tomorrow evening.

Anyway, I need to get some sleep tonight. The rest of this week is filling up quickly.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all, a good night !

Love,
Susan

* Silent Night

Hi,

This has actually been a very pleasant Christmas Eve for a change ! No running to stores, circling parking lots filled with frantic, distracted drivers, no pushing through crowds to find sold out items and empty shelves, no standing in long check out lines, and no late night wrapping sessions. Today, I haven't left the house. (And I haven't had a house full of neighborhood kids either.) Things have been quiet and peaceful - which is VERY unusual.

Jake and Heather have been calm and well behaved; NOT crazed with excitement. I didn't have to force anyone into bed with threats, and I'm starting to suspect that they might wait until the sun comes up to wake me. This year, Jake and Heather's wish lists really weren't that long. Nothing on their lists were what I would consider "toys". I think they have out grown all that. This year, almost everything on their lists were electronics. As a result, the number of gifts have decreased as they've matured. This is the first year that I didn't have to cross the threshold of Toy's R Us ! As I sit here looking at all the larger, more expensive gifts under the tree, It's slowly starting to sink in . . . my babies are not babies anymore ! In alot of very practical ways, it's a good thing. Still, I can't help but feel a little bit sad. There are no sleds, no stuffed animals, no race cars, or dolls, and nothing that they will need me or Roy to figure out how to set up. The only real "toys" that we purchased were for (2 of our 3) grand kids ! Oh. my. God. I think I might cry.
No, I won't. I love my kids just the way they are, at this age, at this moment. They are wonderful, and I am proud of them, and their achievements. This is how it's supposed to be, and it's a good thing. Right ? Somebody. . . please, tell me that I'm right ! I have to stop this train of thought, I'm starting to do mental math. Figuring equations like : I'm 45 years old, my oldest child is almost 30 which means. . . I've been a mom for 66% of my life. . . which is 2/3. . . my youngest child will be graduate in 7 years. . . Thoughts like that aren't good - they never end well.

I know it's crazy, but at least I'm willing to admit it. Roy has spent his whole day being restless and depressed, and he hasn't a clue as to why. I think that he has run to the store at least 6 times, he's been watching sappy Disney Christmas movies all day long, and he's not his usual jolly self. Poor baby, he didn't even eat his peanut-butter cookies and milk before he went to bed. Oh well, maybe I 'll go to bed and see if I can cheer Santa up a bit. . . Ho, ho, ho !

Have a very merry Christmas everyone !

Love,
Susan

Sunday, December 23, 2007

MEL'S MEME

Okay, Mel,



I'll give this a shot.



If I were a beginning, I would be . . .Once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away. . .


If I were a month, I would be . . .October


If I were a time of day, I would be . . . Midnight, a magical time of beginings.


If I were a planet, I would be . . . Saturn


If I were a season, I would be . . . Autumn


If I were a sea animal, I would be . . . a dolphin ?


If I were a direction, I would be . . . East ?


If I were a piece of furniture, I would be . . . a rocking chair


If I were a sin, I would be . . . gluttony as well.


If I were a liquid, I would be . . . honey


If I were a scare, I would be . . . a haunted house


If I were a gem, I would be . . . an opal


If I were a flower/plant, I would be . . . Lily of the Valley


If I were a kind of weather, I would be . . . Fog


If I were a musical instrument, I would be . . . an oboe


If I were an animal, I would be . . . a wolf


If I were an emotion, I would be . . . contentment


If I were a vegetable, I would be . . . a pumpkin


If I were a sound, I would be . . . the sound of leaves blowing in the wind.


If I were an element, I would be . . . Earth


If I were a car, I would be . . . up on blocks in the front yard.


If I were a song, I would be . . . Inagodadivida by Iron Butterfly


If I were a food, I would be . . . Muligan Stew


If I were a place, I would be . . . a primevil forrest


If I were a material, I would be . . . denim


If I were a taste, I would be . . . creamy chocolate


If I were a scent, I would be . . . sandlewood


If I were a religion, I would be . . . wiccan


If I were a sentence, I would be . . . Je t'aime.

If I were a facial expression, I would be . . . lips puckered, eyes closed.

If I were a subject in school, I would be . . . Art class

If I were a color, I would be . . . green

If I were a thing, I would be . . . An Autumn tree in full color.

If I were a book, I would be . . . one that you couldn't put down.

If I were an artist, I would be . . . a painter of nature and landscapes.

If I were a collection of poems, I would be . . . Psalms

If I were a landmass, I would be . . . not alot larger than I am now.

If I were a watch, I would be . . . 45 minutes behind

If I were God, I would be . . . In WAY over my head.

If I were a vowel, I would be . . . "o"

If I were a consonant, I would be . . . "Q"

If I were a theory, I would be. . . magical

If I were a famous person, I would be . . . miserable

If I were an item of electronic equipment, I would be . . . an IPOD

If I were a sport, I would be . . . one without rules.

If I were a movie, I would be . . . What Dreams May Come.

If I were a cartoon, I would be . . . Betty Boop

If I were an explorer, I would be . . . Happy

If I were a scientist, I would be . . . a mad scientist in a gothic castle on a high hill.

If I were a relation, I would be . . . I love being Mom/Nana.

If I were a river, I would be . . . winding through the mountains to a sunny lake.

If I were intoxication, I would be . . . Illegal

If I were alone, I would be . . . drawing or creating something.

If I were a question, I would be. . . "are we there yet ?"

If I were a habit, I would be. . . hard to break.

If I were in an atom, I would be . . . I would make like a banana, and split.

If I were you, I would be . . . concerned about my mental health.

Ok, I am now passing it onto you guys to do...

* Pre-Christmas Craziness

Hey there !



I have a feeling that it's going to be one of "those" winters. We are in the midst of another weekend snow storm. I love the snow, the kids love the snow, they're just not crazy about the timing. As everyone knows, snow should only fall in large amounts, Monday through Friday, NOT on the weekends ! I think that we have had significant snowfalls every weekend this month. Of course, it's always nice to have snow for Christmas, but kids know that we are only allowed so many snowfalls per year, so it's important to make the most of each one. Snow on the weekend, and during Christmas break, is just a waste, in their opinion. And I have to admit, that it's a pain in the ass for Christmas shopping.


I finally got out on Friday, and got a few things accomplished while the kids did a bit of their own shopping at the mall. Roy and I had planned to do the bulk of our shopping today. And we did get most of it done, but then, the roads got so yucky that we had to head home. We're hoping that the road crews will have a chance to get the roads cleared by tomorrow, so that we can finish up. The last thing that I want to do, is to be out in all the insanity on Monday. I'd much rather be home with my family on Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, it's starting to look like Roy has a few service calls scheduled for Monday. It's going to be chaos. I suspect that with all the snow that we have had, alot of people are behind on their shopping.

I haven't heard from Jasmin the last few days. I'm guessing that she's pulling her hair out by now. I remember what it's like having little ones at Christmas time. Even kids that are normally "nice", become "naughty" the few days before Christmas - Christmas Eve is the worst. It's just more excitement and anticipation than any kid can handle. It's a little easier for me, now that Jake and Heather are older. So far, my biggest concern has been getting them over their flu. (yup, they caught my virus after all.)
Jake came down with it on Thursday, and was in and out of bed all night long. Heather got it the next day, and the "bathroom relay" was repeated last night. She wasn't able to eat much of anything until this evening at dinner - and she went to bed early. Heather, my little worrier, spent most of today fretting over "what if I'm not better by Sunday ?!" (As if the world just might reschedule Christmas for her. ) I finally got her to take a nap and she woke up feeling better - and a little less anxious. They should both be back to normal by tomorrow, so things could still get interesting before Christmas.

Since Roy and the kids have gone to bed early tonight, the pups are doing their best to take up the slack and keep me busy. They feel that it's their duty to periodically interrupt my quiet time with their needs, so that my butt doesn't grow roots on this computer chair. I'm being a push over because I was too busy to get them out for their walks today; also, the winds are just a little too chilly for me. Roy got them riled up after dinner with an insane game of ball - INSIDE the house !! Roy is actually worse than a kid because....well, mostly because he's too big for me to kick his ass, or to be intimidated by my threats. Playing fetch with the dogs (inside) has been one of his annoying hobbies for along time now.

This is a game that started before we had this particular pack of dogs; back when we just had Guttenburg, Honey Bear, and Angel, was just a pup. Guttenburg, my German Shepard, and Honey Bear, my Golden Retriever, were pros at playing ball. They always caught the ball and brought it back. They were quick and agile, and rarely knocked things over. (also, our house was alot bigger.) I also think that they were alot smarter. I worked with them during the day and taught them all kinds of tricks with the tennis ball. Even so, about four years ago, I managed to end up with a back eye from one of Roy's inside Tennis ball games with the dogs. In those days, I had no concerns about laying on the floor, as Gute was flying through the air to snatch the ball. The collision occurred when I raised my head to tell Roy to "Please, don't play ball with the dogs in the house," at the same time that Gute was leaping over me to catch it. At that moment, Guttenburg's back leg smashed into my head. It's true, when you get whacked in the head. . . you see stars. It hurt so much, I almost forgot to breathe, but Guttenburg caught the ball !

With this goofy group of canines, Angel, is the only one who really understands the "magic" of the tennis ball. The other four, just run amok, and do their best to knock over as many people and things as possible. Still, Roy continues to play the game, trying to recapture the past. The truth is, they aren't ever going to get it. When I can get Angel alone, without the other four lunatics, I play ball with her because she truly loves it. I think it reminds her of her old friends. At least it reminds ME of my old friends, Honey Bear and Guttenburg.

Anyway, the pups are still trying to use up their excess energy by playing in the new snow. The problem is that the cold, isn't as much fun, as the snow. They play for a while, come inside to warm up, and want back out 5 minutes later. This little routine has been going on since I sat down to type. I think I'm done. Almost an hour of getting up, opening the door, sitting back down, only to repeat the process every 10 minutes, has finally relieved me of all my guilt. I'm going to turn out the lights, and go to bed.

Hope that you all have a wonderful day.
Love ya,
Susan

Thursday, December 20, 2007

* Christmas Crunch Time


Hi there,

I can't believe that it's December 20th already !!! To make things worse, I lost a day ! Yesterday, I woke up feeling like I had been run over by a truck. I took some Tylenol and the dogs followed me back to bed. I truly believed that in 30 minutes all would be well , and I could start my day. Wrong.
Peter became concerned about me, and woke me with wet doggie kisses and his infamous whimpering. I sat up and realised that I had slept until 1:00 in the afternoon ! I got dressed, and headed out to get my rocks and a few things from the store.
I was in such a panic that half the day had escaped me, that it took me a while to realise that being up and about wasn't making me feel any better. In fact, as I pushed my shopping cart through the store, I was thankful that I hadn't taken time to eat anything, or there would have been a "clean up on isle 12" On the drive back home, I had to revert to my Lamaze breathing because my head was pounding, and my stomach was sending all kinds of rude suggestions to my brain.
I got home, asked the kids to unload the car, and I went back to bed. Normally, at 3:00 pm, the dogs start to get anxious, because they know that it's time for their walks. Not yesterday. They followed me to the bedroom, settled into their usual spots, and laid with me while I slept until Roy woke me up at 7:30 pm. Good dogs !! Of course, I have no idea what Jake and Heather did all day. Needless to say, they weren't nearly as concerned. Actually, they're pretty good too. They didn't jump in and clean the house for me...but, they didn't destroy it either, so I can't complain.
When I got up, I finally had to admit that my day was lost. I managed to force down a bowl of chicken soup so that I could take some pain meds; I fed the dogs, cleaned up the dishes, and went back to bed and slept for another 8 hours !


Thank God I feel better today. (I had to catch up on three days of housework !) I'm just hoping that the Roy and the kids stay healthy. I realise that it's probably too late, but I've been running around here like the Tasmanian Devil, wiping everything down with disinfectant. I'd hate for some stupid virus to spoil their Christmas - that would suck. When Jasmin was in first grade, she came down with the flu on Christmas eve, and was sick all day Christmas day. She STILL bitches about that - like it was MY fault !?! Sheeeesh ! Moms get blamed for everything !

Anyway, December 20th is the official beginning of Christmas crunch time around here. I've got about a bizillion things to do. (plus, whatever the kids can think of to throw at me.) Roy has a furnace installation in Sedalia, Missouri tomorrow, so he's leaving early (5am) and won't be home till late. So I'm on my own tomorrow, but he promised to go shopping with me this weekend. Just once, I'd like to have my ducks in a row by Dec. 20th, and just be able to sit back and enjoy the holiday. I guess it wouldn't be Christmas without the insanity.

Good night all.
Love,
Susan

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

* Crazy Rock Lady

Hey,


Well, we did it - Sort of. Heather got most of her school work done. All she has left is a couple chapters of reading, she can do that over her break as home work when she gets bored. She likes the book, so it won't be too much of a hassle getting her to do it.

Jasmin and Caleb showed up at 1:00 this afternoon. She was in a panic because she needed some craft stuff cut and prepared for Ana's school Christmas party. (Jasmin is the room mother this year.) I had to chuckle to myself, there are only 20 kids in Ana's class; last year, I cut 200 of the same type of crafts for the church Christmas party. I told her that if I had known that she was planning on doing this, I could have gotten the left overs from church. She told me to 'shut up and keep cutting.' We managed to knock them out pretty quickly. When she gathered up Caleb and dashed off to pick up Ana at the bus stop, I looked around my house and realised that we weren't quick enough for Caleb. That little man is like a whirlwind of chaos ! It took me an hour to get things put back, before I could take the dogs out for their walks. I never did get my housework done, or even started, for that matter. So I've got double duty tomorrow.

The temps have been rising all week long, and most of the snow is gone now. In fact, I only had to wear a light jacket this afternoon. However, they're talking about more snow, possibly ice, for this weekend. That's the way things are here in Kansas - you never know from one day to another, what the weather will be like.

I'm hoping that it will remain mild for at least one more day. I have to get down to the landscaper's and find the river rocks that I need for painting. I started doing the whole painted rock thing because I was filled with all kinds of romantic ideas, of walking along the river's edge with my dogs, looking for the perfect stones. Turns out, that's alot harder than it seems in Kansas. It's about 30 miles to the nearest river, and it's surrounded by highways, land fills, and bussiness parks. If I hadn't discovered a landscape rock dealer, less than 2 miles from the house, I would have given up on the whole thing. These guys are used to selling their rocks by the ton. I wander into their yard, and start rumaging through mountains of rock like a deranged homeless woman. After an hour or so, of inspecting and rejecting stones, I walk into the office and set my little plastic bucket on the counter. They look at me, they look at my pile of rocks, they look back at me, they roll their eyes, shrug, and say,
"uhhh. . . .I don't know. . . . .$.75 . . . $1.00 ?" If I don't have exact change, they wave their hands and say,
"Hey, don't even wory about it." I'm sure they think I'm nuts.
One of these days, I should bring them back one of their rocks - painted. Of course, they might stop being so generous - maybe it's better to let them think what they want.

Well, it's getting late, and I'm feeling sleepy. I need to run these kids off to bed.

Love,
Susan

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas Quiz

Okay,



I'm running around here like a chicken with it's head cut off ( that's a nice, festive mental image for ya !) trying to get Heather finished with her school work before Christmas break begins at 3pm. We only have a few things scheduled for today, but she is really dragging her feet !!!



Anyway, I have a Christmas Quiz for you all to answer, because I KNOW that you love to do these things.





CHRISTMAS QUIZ





1. Have you been Naughty or Nice this year ?



Uhhh. . . sounds like a trick question to me. . .



2. What is the most expensive thing on your Christmas list this year ?



Actually, I don't have a "list". The only thing that I want is for my family to be happy - which should be pretty expensive.



3. Do you still believe in Santa Claus ?

Of course.



4. Which is your favorite reindeer ?

Prancer



5. Big tree, or small tree ?

Medium



6. What do you leave for santa on Christmas Eve ?

Cookies and Milk ( homemade Peanut Butter Crackles are his favorite.)



7. What is yor favorite Christmas movie ?

Dicken's "A Chritmas Carol" the black and white version.



8. What is your favorite Christmas song ?

Silent Night



9. Red, green, or white Christmas lights ?

White, they are so beautiful and pristine.



10. What is your Christmas Wish ?

That every heart be filled with Chistmas love and wonder.



11. Do you still wake up early on Christmas morning ?

I don't usually have a choice about that.



12. What are you hoping to find in your Christmas stocking ?

Anything, as long as it ISN'T a puppy !





13. You are standing under the mistletoe with a complete stranger, do you get your kiss ?

Maybe, depends on who is watching.



14. Who will you be having Christmas dinner with ?

My Family. would be nice if everyone could make it.



15. Your favorite Christmas drink ?

Diet Coke.



16. Is your house decorated for Christmas yet ?

Yup, except for presents under the tree.





17. What is your favorite Christmas memory ?

Any Christmas with all my kids.





18. Do you get dressed up for Christmas day ?

Not really. Comfortable, but nice. (Jeans and a nice sweater.)





19. How many Christmas parties have you been to this year ?

So far, just one.





20. How do you take your hot cocoa ?

With french vanilla whipped creme and a candy cane - But only if I am very, very good





21. Any Christmas traditions ?

Making snowflakes and gingerbread houses as a family.





22. Ever had your heart broken on Christmas ?

Yup.





23. Have you ever been Christmas Caroling ?

Once when I was about 6 years old, with my church.





24. When did you discover the "truth" about Santa Claus ?

When I was about 7 or 8 years old, I stayed up to see Santa and saw my mom taking gifts out of the attic and putting them under the tree.





25. What's the longest you have ever left your Christmas tree up ?

I'm usually ready to take it down the next day, but I think the longest was January 3rd ?

Monday, December 17, 2007

* Gingerbread creativity

Hi !




Well. Saturday night was fun. Jasmin and the kids came over for dinner. (beef burritos) Just as I was cleaning up and getting ready to set out the goodies to make gingerbread houses, Roy's cell phone rang. Unfortunately, Roy had to go and fix some one's hot water heater. I tried to hold the kids off as long as I could but it was obvious that they couldn't wait.



As much as I hate to disappoint Christopher, when you are working with little people and teenagers (with very short attention spans) using real gingerbread just isn't very feasible. It's easier to substitute graham crackers and let them be as creative as they want. Anyway, they had a blast. It always gets crazy having Jasmin and the kids over. The photos just don't show all the details. My camera seems to take crap pictures inside, especially at night. (living in a duplex, there is never enough natural light in my house.) You should be able to click on the

photos for a larger view. This is Jasmin's gingerbread house. I think that she did a lovely job. This one is mine. Front view...and back view. This one is Roy's snow fort gingerbread house layered with mini marshmallows and Teddy graham sentries. Roy got home just as everyone was finishing up. This is Heather's gingerbread house. I love a house with a front porch - and of course, a giant marshmallow creme filled Santa !This is Jacobs. Kind of an industrial look with hard candy ribbons. Christian is just too cool for gingerbread houses, so he made a winter skate park with licorice rails.

Ana and Caleb made gingerbread houses too. I thought that I got a photo of Ana's house, and after she left, I realised that the memory card had already been removed from the camera. Trust me, It was nice. Caleb made a very tasty house as well. However, the problem with edible construction materials, is that you need a builder with a little self control. Caleb is still working on that particular virtue; Hence, no photo.

So, yeah, it was a good weekend. Building gingerbread houses and laughing with my kids as the snow fell. It would have been perfect if Roy didn't have to leave, and if my oldest son could have been there. Maybe next year.

Tomorrow, (Tuesday) is the last day of school for the kids. They are out for Christmas break and don't have to go back until January 7th. Later this week, I am having the kids over to bake cookies and make edible ornaments to hang on our Wild Life Christmas tree in the back yard. That way, the birds, squirrels, and bunny rabbits don't feel forgotten at Christmas.

Okay, Gotta go and get some things done around here. Busy, busy, busy !!!

Love to all,
Susan

Saturday, December 15, 2007

* Snowy Saturday





Hey there,










The sunshine from yesterday and Thursday melted most of the ice; so, of course, last night (Friday night)we had a snow storm move into the area. It's Saturday afternoon, and the snow is still coming down in buckets. The kids have been driving me nuts all morning, waiting for Roy to come home and take them sledding. We are expecting 3-7 inches by Sunday morning. Fortunately, the city crews have been dumping salt and plowing non-stop since Tuesday, so the roads aren't so bad.


They just left and the house is blissfully silent. I've learned along time ago that it's not wise for me to go sledding with them - they make me a nervous wreck. (mostly because Roy is the biggest, craziest kid of them all.) I am very content to stay in the nice warm house, and have hot chocolate ready for them when they return. Hopefully, I won't need the first aid kit.



Of course, the dogs are loving the snow. Especially Pete and the boys. Being an all white dog, he thinks that he is camouflaged well enough to be virtually invisible to everyone. While the puppies are out there bouncing around, Pete is creeping around like a bandit, looking for the perfect moment to pounce them. The girls, Angel and Princess, would rather stay inside and snuggle in a blanket on the couch - neither of them are good at suffering fools. When the pups get cold and tired, they come inside and Pete grudgingly follows. Until he can interest them in another round of snow play, he spends his day doing this :Sadly gazing out the front window, watching the snow fall, and pouting. Poor baby.


I just got a call from Roy. They're out in Parkville, Mo. (about 30 miles away) they just picked up Christian and they have found the perfect hill. I told them to call when they were headed home. I'm hoping that we will get the sunshine that they are forecasting for tomorrow. Roy has found a house in Parkville that he wants to take me to look at. We used to live in Parkville, about 15 years ago. (That's where Jasmin met Shawn, Christian's dad.) I wouldn't mind living there again. The company that Roy works for is based out of Parkville, and it would be very convenient for him. It's not unusual for him to do 200 miles worth of driving a day, 60 of those miles are just driving to and from work. We would still be about 15 miles from my mom and from Jasmin, just in the other direction. Surprisingly, the kids aren't opposed to the idea of moving. I think that they like the idea of being close to Christian, the three of them pretty much grew up together, but they have never lived in the same town. Also, I think that they have been disappointed with the number of kids their age in this neighborhood - I think that they are getting a little bored with the kids next door being their only friends. Personally, I'd love to have a house, instead of a duplex - It just has to be big enough.

Well, I need to get busy. We are making gingerbread houses tonight and I have about a dozen people expected, and lots of preparations still to do. I need to get busy.

Have a great weekend!

Love,

Susan

Thursday, December 13, 2007

* Same shit, different day.

Hi,

Wow, I can't believe that it's Thursday, soon to be Friday ! Yesterday seems like a big blur. I woke up feeling like I was comming down with the flu, in fact, I felt it coming on Tuesday night. But I woke up this morning, and maybe, knock on wood, I've managed to shake it off. I don't know, it could have been just cabin fever. Today, the sun came out, and the temperatures rose to well above freezing, and all the crystal ice came clinking to the ground like wind chimes.

Heather and I are still trying to catch up on her school work, but like every other kid in the world, she's beyond distraction. The only thing she's interested in focusing on is Christmas. I got tired of fighting it, so at lunch time, we loaded up and went to buy supplies for Saturday night, when we build our ginger bread houses. We also stopped by the crafts store and got stuff to make and decorate Christmas stockings - our next project.

What I really need to be doing is tracking down a rock. My sister in law asked me to paint a portrait of my brother's treasured Labrador Retriever onto a rock to give to him for Christmas. After 14 years together, he passed away just a few months ago. ( the dog - not my brother) I'm honored to do the painting, I'm just concerned that it's too soon - he might not be ready for something like that. But, it's not for me to say, I'm just doing it for my sister in law to give to him , she would know better than I, how he will handle it.

All I know is that I lost my Golden Retriever, Honey Bear, three and a half years ago; and to honor her memory, I wanted to do a colored pencil drawing of her. It took me two years before I could even start to do the lay out work, another 3 months to start the drawing, and today, it sits in my drawing table drawer - only 1/6th started, because it's just so hard for me to work on it. (that's where it's been for over a year now) Which is sort of a problem. I would really like to do some drawing, but I'm the kind of person that has a hard time starting a new project until I finish the last one. Which means, I haven't done any serious drawing for almost a year. So I really need to decide what to do about the situation. I've had some good ideas that I'd like to try, but if I start a new project, it's......I don't know, It doesn't seem right. Obviously, I get all tangled up over some pretty silly things - Sorry. Anyway, I can't do anything until after the New Year. There is just too much going on right now.

Today was my day to clean the bathrooms. (whoo-hooo, there's some exciting news, huh?) Anyway, as I was scrubbing away, it occurred to me what a freaking repetitive job being a mom is. I cleaning the same things, week, after week, saying the same things to the kids, over, and over, folding the same clothes, again and again....UGH!! I realise that consistency and repetition is an important part of learning, but you would think, that at some point, they would FIGURE IT OUT !! Maybe I need some variety - some excitement. I'm starting to feel so.........so jaded. Pfffft...Who am I kidding?


Oh, I got a call from Nick the other day. He managed to sneak off to a pay phone while he was at the dentist's office. He wanted to let me know that he is on a 14 day phone restriction, instead of the usual 7 days. So I probably won't hear from him again until right before Christmas. Also, he's on level one restriction so I won't get to see him until the first of February. I know that calling me, to tell me that he can't call me, is against the rules, but I'm glad that he did. I would have spent the entire week before Christmas being worried about him, and wonder why he hadn't called.

Alright, this post is so dull, it's boring the crap out of ME ! Besides, I have tons of boring, repetitive things to do. Never a shortage of that.

Have a great Friday, and a great weekend.

Love ya,
Susan

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

* I'm Bored !






Hi there






I awoke this morning to a world coated in crystal. Absolutely breathtaking. I only had a moment to enjoy the sight, before I realised that my husband was missing. I came down the stairs, looked out the front window, and noticed that Roy's work truck was gone. I also noticed that the streets in front of our house were eerily empty of moving cars. Since school had been cancelled the night before, I intentionally slept in, and the kids were already up. I asked them where their dad had gone, and they calmly informed me that he went to work. I started feeling a little panicky. Not just because I was a trapped, alone, in a house full of teenagers, But I couldn't imagine Roy driving all over the greater Kansas City area on icy streets, in a vehicle that I secretly refer to as the "death trap." (even on a good day, I refuse to drive his truck) I went to the phone to call his cell, fully expecting to have it answered by a paramedic or police officer. When he answered himself, I immediately started talking with a voice that was higher in pitch than my normal tone.



"What the HELL are you doing driving around in this kind of weather !!! You said that you'd stay home today if it was icy !!! Blah, blah, blah !!!"



Roy started laughing and informed me that although the streets looked slick, it was actually 3 degrees above freezing outside, and with all the salt and chemicals that had been laid on the pavement, the streets were only wet - not slippery at all. I couldn't believe it untill I turned on the news. They said that with the possible exception of a few bridges and overpasses, the streets were fine. The biggest danger would be ice coated tree branches that might break off and fall. The rain that was falling, was remaining rain on the roads; however, the trees and power lines were freezing because the air (above ground level ) was slightly colder. So we really lucked out. We got the beauty of the ice storm, without the really hazardous road conditions. And as far as I know, there have been very few power outages.


By 2:30, Jake was actually wishing that school hadn't been cancelled after all. That's probably an indication that he is having way too much fun at school. Eventually, He and Khris took their skateboards to the basement, where it was dry, to skate. So far, school is on for
tomorrow - thankfully.
I got Heather off the computer long enough to have her take a few photos. The photo at the top of the page, is of the tree in our back yard that is now drooping over our deck. The photo above, is of our back yard that has now become an ice rink. I don't know how, but the dogs managed to locate their toys and pry them loose. The furry guy trying to climb the four foot fence is phoenix - one of the puppies. He has made it over a few times too. Fortunately, the only time that he seems inclined to preform such a feat is when I am walking the other dogs on the path behind the house. If you click on the picture of the frozen tree, and look closely, you'll see a low, tan, brick wall in the back ground - that, is the walking path. A couple of months ago, I was walking Pete and Midnight. We were walking towards the backyard, and I spied a big brown dog running around loose (acting like a total SPAZ) up ahead of us. I stood there and cursed the irresponsible pet owner who had let their stupid dog run around unsupervised. About that time, he turned and charged towards us, and I finally realised that it was MY "stupid dog !" As soon as Phoenix realised that we weren't dangerous, he got in line with the other dogs and trotted right to the gate in the back yard. I think that's when I realised that my "babies" aren't puppies anymore. ( I HONESTLY couldn't figure out who that big, goofy dog belonged to.) I still think of them as my babies, but they are more like teenagers now. They are constantly testing their limits, and trying to see what I will let them get away with. (which isn't much)
They were born in January, and they were too little to play outside last winter, so this is their fist encounter with snow and ice. They have spent most of today running in and out of the back door, gathering icicles that are hanging off the deck and the tables. They love to crunch ice. During the summer, that was their treat after they got home from their walks.
Okay, I'm just rambling on now, because to be honest, the last few days have been pretty dull and boring. ( yes, the kids are right) I'm just hoping that the sun comes out and the wet, cold weather clears a bit. I need to get out and do some shopping for this weekend. Saturday night, Jasmin is bringing the kids over for an evening of gingerbread house creating. For the past eight years, it's been a family tradition, and Ana has been asking about it all week. It's very sticky and messy, but the kids love it. Even Roy makes one. In fact, his house is usually the most outrageous one of all !
Anyway, since tomorrow is looking like a school day, I need to get myself to bed.
Goodnight.
Love,
Susan

* The Ice Queen Arrives.

Hey,

Well, this could turn into a long night. The ice storm that had everyone so worried over the weekend, has arrived this evening. It started raining around 6:30 pm and things are icing up already. Thankfully, everyone was home, safe and sound, before things got bad. The kids were thrilled to discover that school has already been cancelled for tomorrow. So they're doing the happy dance, and chattering away to friends on the phone. I have a feeling that my house will be full of kids tomorrow, and chaos will rule the day. So I just baked a triple batch of chocolate chip cookies. If I have to, I can throw the cookies in one direction, while I run like hell in the other.
They have no idea that the worst is still to come. I was watching on the news that this is the same storm system that went through Oklahoma a few days ago. Oklahoma has 600,000 homes without power right now. So, if y'all don't hear from me for a while, I'm probably shivering in the dark with a bunch of kids, hopped up on sugar, who will be whinging that "they're bored!" I guess if the kids start to really drive me crazy, I can always take my cookies, lock my self in the mini van, crank up the heater and the stereo, and just ignore them. After a couple dozen cookies, I'll be hibernating like a grizzly bear, and I won't have to deal with anything until spring. That's MY "winter storm emergency plan".

The last four or five days have been difficult for Nick. On Thursday night, he took Peter for a walk and ended up at the liquor store. I knew what he had done as soon as he got home. Then, on Sunday, he started complaining that he was bored, and chose to do the same thing. Before he went to bed Sunday night, he called the Captain at the Salvation Army ARC, and worked out a way to be re-admitted. So, Roy took him in this morning. It's so hard. I feel like I have missed so much of his life, and I love having him at home, but after he has been here a while, he starts feeling comfortable, and goes back to his old ways. Of course, that eventually seems to happen regardless of where he is. It just happens sooner, at home. It sucks. Now that he's 22 years old, all I can do is pray.

Well, I spent almost all day on the computer yesterday, working on Heathers lesson plans and getting a head start on 2nd quarter grades. So, I'm a little burnt out on the key board. I think that I'm ready put myself to bed. Tomorrow promises to be "interesting" if nothing else.
Have a great Tuesday/Wednesday.
Love,
Susan

Sunday, December 9, 2007

* Icy Memories












These are some photos that I found on the web of the last ice storm here in Kansas.



Hi there,

Oh my, it's just after midnight here. Things are pretty quiet. I have bodies of kids and dogs splayed out every which way on couches, and all over the floor, of my living room. No blood, and I'm relatively sure that they are all still breathing - just sleeping like rocks. Nick is on the couch, and I've had to wake him a couple of times to have him re-adjust himself; his head keeps tilting over at an odd angle that looks so painful. It reminds me of when they were babies. For years, I couldn't sleep without checking each bed, or crib, before I turned off the lights, and some of their sleeping positions would induce either laughter or panic, depending on the night.
With 90% of the furniture space filled with kids, the poor dogs have been reduced to sleeping on the floor. Getting from one end of the living room to the other, is much like a game of twister. I can always tell if Peter is really sleeping, or just napping. When he is really asleep, his tongue sticks out of his mouth about an inch or two. When he wakes up, the end of his tongue is dried out and stuck in that position. He usually walks around for several minutes, completely oblivious of how ridiculous he looks. When we giggle at him, he perks up his ears, wrinkles up his forehead, and quizzically tilts his head at us, which is absolutely hysterical. Eventually, he saunters off to dip his tongue in the water dish and get "unstuck".

The freezing rain and sleet has been falling since around noon, but it's such a light, misty kind of rain that the streets were fine, as long as people were out and about. But now that the traffic has all but disappeared, I've been watching the big city salt trucks cruise up and down the streets with their lights flashing. It's funny how things like that become such a mental trigger for all kinds of memories. As a child, laying in bed at night, seeing the truck's yellow bubble lights shine through the bed room window and reflect onto the walls around my bedroom. And wishing and praying that they would run out of salt so that they would cancel school the next day. Or watching the trucks pass by the window as a wife and mother, waiting for the return home of my husband, or a child that is new to winter driving. But the low rumble of the engines, and the slow flashing yellow lights always mean winter and home for me.

However, this is NOT the "ice storm" that everyone has been fearing. I'm a little disappointed. Once every four or five years we get a good one that shuts the city down. (and the last one was about 6 years ago.) And in their own way, the ice storms are beautiful. Everything sparkles as though it's coated in crystal. The trees are especially beautiful. Unfortunately, it usually only lasts a few days. Eventually, the sun melts the ice, or the weight becomes too much, and there comes a day when all you can hear is snap, crackle, crash. The last ice storm took a full year to recover from. There were designated debris sites all over the city, where people brought their branches. Those sites literally became small mountains of sticks. ( 4-5 stories high) It took all summer, and most of the fall, for the city to haul it all away and chip them into mulch.

Well, my husband, Mr. Excitement, toddled off to bed right after dinner, around 8:30 pm. I'm thinking that I need to go join him soon. I'm just rambling anyway. I think I'll leave all these sleepy heads right where they are. They're too big to carry, and their old enough to get themselves off to bed when their tired. Regardless, I'll be waking up to a living room that looks like a motel room in need of maid service.

I hope everyone has/had a great weekend.
Love,
Susan

Saturday, December 8, 2007

* Holiday Thoughts and Reasonings.

Hey there !

I have some thing that I'd like to share with you. The other day, I recieved a news letter from the pastor of the youth group that Jake is part of. We don't attend this church, but I like this pastor, and I'm trying to talk Roy into giving it a try. Anyway, this particular piece wasn't written by him either. It's from a "60 Minutes" broadcast a few years back. It's an excerpt of what Harry Reasoner had to say about the Holiday season and Christmas time. It's one of those things that just seemed so true and honest, that I sat and had to read it three or four times.


This is what he said :

"Eleven years ago, I did a little Christmas piece and it seemed like a good idea to repeat it. The basis for this tremendous burst of buying things, and gift giving, and parties, and near hysteria, is a quiet event that Christians believe actually happened a long time ago.

You can say that in all societies there has always been a midwinter festival, and that many of the trappings of our Christmas are almost violently pagan. But, you come back to the central fact of the day and the quietness of Christmas morning, the birth of God on earth. It leaves you only three ways of accepting Christmas.

One, is cynically, as a time to make money and endorse the making of it.
One, is graciously, that's the appropriate attitude for non-Christians who wish their fellow citizens all the joys to which their beliefs entitle them.
And the third, of course, is reverently. If this is the anniversary of the appearance of the Lord of the universe in the form of a helpless babe, it is a very important day. It is a startling idea, of course.

The whole story that a virgin was selected by God to bear his son as a way of showing His love and concern for man. It's my guess that inspite of all the lip service given to it, it's not an idea that has been popular with theologians. It's somewhat an illogical idea, and theologians like logic almost as much as they like God. It's so revolutionary a thought, that it probably could only come from God, that is beyond logic and beyond theology. It has magnificent appeal. Almost nobody has seen God, and almost nobody has any real idea what He is like. And the truth that is among men, the idea of seeing God, suddenly and in a very bright light, is not necessarily a completely comforting or appealing idea. But everyone has seen babies, and almost everyone likes them.

If God wanted to be loved as well as feared, He moved correctly, for a baby growing up learns all about people. And if God wanted to be intimately a part of man, He moved correctly, for the experience of birth and family-hood is the most intimate and precious experience that any of us will ever have.

So it comes beyond logic. It is either a falsehood, or it is the truest thing in the world. It is the story of the great innonce of God the baby. God, in the power of man, has such a dramatic shock toward the heart that if it is not true to Christians, then nothing is true. So if a person is touched only once a year, the touching is still worth it. And maybe, on some given Christmas, some final quiet morning, that touch will take. The touch of God, coming into this world as a vunerable baby."


Have a great Holiday Season, and a beautiful Christmas time.
Love,
Susan

Friday, December 7, 2007

* Snowy expectations

Hey there,

Yesterday was a day of ups and downs. That's not exactly true. I was up, and stayed up for the better part of the day; then, I crashed. I awoke to beautiful, white snowflakes drifting down from the heavens. I instantly felt that wintertime nesting warmth fill my spirit. I woke Heather, knowing how much she loves the snow. She sat up, looked out the window, and was filled with wonder. As soon as I got things squared away with Heather, I decided that I needed a few things at the store before the snow got too heavy. When I got home, I set about my days chores and in record time, my house was clean, and filled with the warmth of glowing candles, and filled with the smells of chili, cornbread, and home made cookies baking. I was pleased to see that the snow had managed to lure Heather outside for some playtime with her friends. The dogs, were thrilled with the snow. I've always found that a good snowfall can bring out the puppy in even the oldest dog, and cause puppies to literally tremble with joy. And to be honest, I was fairly overflowing with contentment. So much, that I had envisioned this lovely evening of my husband and oldest son coming home from work to a hot meal and "together time" as a family.

That didn't happen. Roy had taken Nick to a 4:30 pm court appointment, and because of the snow, the judge didn't arrive until 6:00pm. During their wait, they gorged themselves on fast food. By the time that they got home, not only were they uninterested in food, but they had their own agenda. Roy's only interest was an hour of mind numbing television, and an early bed time. He had come down with a stomach virus on Monday, and with Roy, there is no such thing as a 24 hour virus. Every illness is a 7 day, poor - me - pity - party. Nick had decided to spend his evening chatting with his girlfriend on the phone. So much for my warm, family night. Oh well. I do that sometimes. I get so full of my own ideas that when it doesn't work out, I feel disappointed and frustrated. I think it's a woman thing that men just can't seem to comprehend. So, after Jake and Heather's exhausting day of snow play, they went to bed early. Roy and Nick were unconscious by 9 pm, and I was left all alone with my disappointment for the rest of the evening. *SIGH* That's the way it goes. So ...I ended up spending the evening snuggled with my dogs on the couch, watching "Eight Below", which always makes me cry. How pathetic and sappy is that ?

So Anyway, today was good. No fresh snowfall or anything, but good. I got alot accomplished. I've spent most of the evening at the grocery store preparing for the up coming ice storm that they are forecasting for the weekend. And No, I'm not getting my hopes up for some grand family adventure. I suspect that if we actually get the predicted ice storm, my house will be filled with the kids from next door, and my husband will be engrossed in various football games. Maybe I'll just find a good book and spend the weekend relaxing.

Okay, It's bed time for me.
Good night All.
Love ,
Susan

Thursday, December 6, 2007

* Triumphs and tradgedies

Hey,



Know what I just discovered ? Apparently, it's official, the world really has gone to hell in a hand basket ! I had no idea. I've just been puttering along, doing my own thing, dealing with my trivial little personal crisis' on occasion, completely oblivious to the state of the planet and all the other inhabitants. Who would've thought that the state of the earth had reached such a crescendo of horror?

It's like every freakin' looney bin in the world gave all the patients a day pass at one time !!
People running around shooting and stabbing each other willy-nilly, people plowing into each other in cars, and then, driving around town with bodies stuck in their windshields? God's wrath being poured out on humanity in a dozen different places at once, and Keifer Southerlin is going to jail ? What the HELL are people thinking? Don't they know that it's Christmas time?

And if that's not crazy enough, in the midst of all this insanity, there are actually people who WANT to be the president of this country!?! Have they never seen the before and after photos of people who have had that job in the past ?

Note to Self: Never read the internet news headlines !

Especially, not before I blog. Suddenly, anything that I have to say seems completely insignificant. Oh my God, I think, that my brain is going to explode. I guess, every once in a while, I need to remind myself why I chose to live my life "out of the loop." I can't even imagine what it must be like to be a news person somewhere like CNN. There wouldn't be enough anti-depressants in the WORLD !!

Okay, I need to breathe deeply, and regroup.



Alright. As I mentioned before, my life has been pretty much puttering right along. Over this past week, things have fallen into a manageable rhythm. School work, house work, walk the dogs, do the dinner time thing, catch up on what ever still needs done. I know that it all seems pretty mundane, but the fact that it all contributes to the happiness and security of the people that I love, gives me happiness and satisfaction. I know that sounds corny, but it's true - my little world may have its moments of crisis and chaos, but it's all pretty simple and straight -forward. I think that's a good thing.



It looks like my oldest son will be staying here at home for a while longer. He went to return to ARC and discovered that his case manager hasn't even been notified of his dismissal, so he can't be re-admitted until they speak to her. He called her today, and if they were unable make contact with her before 5pm, then she will be out of town for the next week. ( I'm not holding my breath that they will suddenly see this as a priority) I'm sort of secretly wondering if they can stay tangled up in their red tape until after Christmas ? It would be nice to have him home, but I still worry if that would be best for HIM. I think I'll leave that for God to figure out, and do my best not to be disappointed either way.



Here on the prairie, the weather has been cool and crisp with occasional cold, blustery days. Today was one of those days when we dropped down to freezing, and the wind chill was close to 19 degrees. (-7.2C) I love all the seasons, but I tend to dislike being out and about in temperatures that are either above 90 (32C) or below freezing. (I know, I'm such a spoiled little princess) However, I've decided to challenge myself on this, and I make it a point to TRY to get the dogs out for at least one mile, every day. (unless it is dangerously cold or hot) So I bundled up, and off we went.

I really am so proud of the way my dogs are learning to behave themselves. They used to be all over the place, pulling and tugging, and spazzing out over every little thing. (especially strangers and other dogs.) But lately, when I see a kid on a skateboard, a jogger, or another dog walker, I try to see it as an opportunity for them to improve, and learn to deal with the world, without freaking out. Of course, with 5 dogs - all of them with very different personalities -it takes alot of patience and consistency, but they are ALL improving.
Today, as I was walking Peter and Midnight along the path, we encountered several people and situations that they handled fairly well. Just as my confidence was starting to build, we came to a section of the path that is always a challenge. Part of the walking trail is right behind a veterinarian's office. And my dogs noses always want to lead me every which way, as they go sniffing after all the other dogs smells that have been left around that area when the dogs are exercised. Well, this afternoon, we arrived during exercise time ! As we came around the corner, I spied a vet tech walking a large German Shepard. Naturally, I prefer challenges to be on a smaller scale. But, instead of turning back, we kept walking, and I started praying. Just as Pete and Midnight noticed the other dog, the vet tech took it inside the office. I let out a big sigh and relaxed. We traveled on, and just as we were passing the door to the vet's office, the door opens again; and out steps the vet tech with a male Rottweiler, almost twice as big as the German Sheppard !! I didn't even have time to react, and it took me almost 3 full minutes to actually realise that my boys had behaved like perfect gentlemen !!! I KNOW that they saw the other dog, but they just kept walking !!! YAY !!! Either my dogs are smarter than they look, or they are finally starting to learn something.

On the other hand, I'm starting to get concerned about Phoenix, the other puppy, who at 10 months old, is turning into more of a rebellious, boundary-pushing teenager. If he were human, he'd be in juvenile detention. I adore him, but I have always suspected that he was one that needed to be watched. From day one, I could sense a dominate streak in him. He has always been gentle here at home, but either he is starting to display dominance issues with other dogs, or he has a very warped sense of humor. Whenever we are out, and come across another dog, he starts barking, his fur goes up, and he tries to rip my arm off to get at them. But since he doesn't seem to have the confidence needed to to kick some serious doggie butt, he immediately dashes behind ME for protection !!! It's like he's saying "Okay Mom. I got things stirred up, now you take it from here." This is not a situation that I'd like to be in if he decides to pick on a dog bigger than him - or bigger than me ! Usually, I ask myself, "Hmmm... what would cesar do?" I'm not even sure that I want to know what Cesar would do in this situation.

Well, it's getting late, and I think that I've settled down enough that the "news" won't give me nightmares, so I need to get my self to bed.

Have a great Thursday / Friday !

Love,
Susan

Monday, December 3, 2007

* Monday *

Hi there,

I survived another Monday - Yay for me ! After being so lethargic yesterday, I had no idea what to expect from today. I was more than a little worried that it would turn into a mess since I gave no thought or planning to it whatsoever. To my surprise, it went well.

Roy got Jake off to school without incident. Heather and I picked up on her home school where we left off, before last week's chaos. And Nick went to work with Roy.

When I woke up, my biggest concern was finding Nick a dentist who could see him right away, because I knew that he was almost out of pain pills. For I think, the first time ever, our Dentist had an opening within 24 hours !!! I snatched it up, and called to tell Nick. That's when he told me that he had decided to return to ARC tomorrow (it's been five days already) and they would get him in to see their dentist at no charge, I wouldn't even have to worry about transporting him. So that figures, the one time that I don't have to wait a week for an appointment, and I have to call and cancel it. Oh well.

It's been nice to have Nick home, unfortunately, he's obviously not ready to be home yet. He has behaved himself while he was here, and I realise that what he truly wants is to have his own life - to not be in anyone else's care. He just hasn't reached that point yet, he is still battling temptations on a minute by minute basis. The worst part of him returning to ARC, is that he will be on a 45 day restriction, like he was when he first started. Which means, he won't be eligible for a pass until mid January. That means ANOTHER Christmas without him - I hate that.

I finally got a hold of my mom. (that stubborn woman went to work today !!) After seeing the doctor, he reported that her oxygen level was up high enough that the doctor decided to let her stay out of the hospital. (which was a lucky thing for the doctor.)

Other than that, everything else in my day was smooth as silk. Knocked out my housework, took the dogs out for a walk, cooked, and cleaned up dinner, got the kids to do their homework, and off to bed on time ! Is that weird, or what ? After last week, I think I must have been overdue for a "good" day. I'm actually thinking of waking up my husband with a few snuggles when I go to bed - You know, see where it leads... Do I dare push my luck that far ? Maybe I'll say an extra prayer before I go to bed - he looked pretty worn out when he stumbled up the stairs.

I'm doing my best to enjoy the holiday season without thinking about the inevitable, dreaded shopping that's yet to come. I always wait until the last minute. Usually, due to finances. ( and the fact that my kids cannot be trusted with gifts hidden in the house.) I wish that they were still little; every year, the stuff that they want gets more expensive. And then, of course, there's the Christmas crowds, and parking lot insanity. Before I married Roy, I used to manage an optical shop in one of Kansas City's busiest malls. The optical industry gets very slow during the holidays, so you have alot of time to watch people as they bustle about, spreading holiday.... "cheer?" There were daily fist fights in the parking lots, as people fought for the best parking places, and who had been waiting for it the longest. Security inside the mall was usually tripled. And EVERYONE is rude and cranky; from the shoppers, to the store clerks, to the maintenance men, right down to Santa's elves. Watching all that for 13 Christmases straight will suck the Christmas spirit right out of a person. Even though I haven't worked at the mall for almost 18 years, I think that I still have post-traumatic stress from the whole experience. Poor me.

Alright, I really need to pry my butt out of the computer chair and do something constructive before it gets too late.

Have a wonderful Tuesday/Wednesday, depending on where you are.

Love to all,
Susan