Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Good bye 2008


This has been one hell of a year. To be quite honest, I'm glad that it's finally over. It didn't start out well. This time last year, I felt like my life was falling apart. We were unsure about our living situation, and considering a move. After looking into several options, we finally decided to stay put. My husband had a change (for the better) in employment.


Otherwise, the greatest source of our ups and downs, once again, has been my oldest son. He had, on New Year's eve, given up on his sobriety and walked away from a rehab program and moved back home. Over the course of the past year, He moved into an apartment with a room mate, his drug and alcohol issues have resulted in; a fall from a second story balcony, a broken jaw, another move back home, a third DUI, which he has yet to deal with, jail time, a second attempt at rehab, which he also bailed out of, and moving in and out of our home three times, along with his new girlfriend, to who he is currently engaged. In spite of all the changes, he still hasn't dealt with his addiction issues, so we had to ask them to leave.


I think for 2009, my goal will be to focus more on my own life and family at home, and not allow the insanity of my son's addiction to turn things upside down and control our world. I feel like I have allowed the addictions of others to rule my life for too many years. While Nick is my son and I love him dearly, he's 23 years old, and I still have two more children that need my focus, a marriage that has virtually gone into hibernation as a result of all the stress and chaos, and most of all, I have my own spirit that has been negleted for far too long. I want to start moving forward, instead of just treading water in the purgatory of addiction. I'm still working on putting together some plans that might help to jump start the situation. Although I don't feel like I have every thing all mapped out, I have a good idea what direction I want to go, and I want to leave room for God and intuition to guide me. Also, I'm open to suggestions.


Well, it's just struck midnight and it's officially 2009 - wish me luck !!!


Happy new year everyone !!!!!

Love ya,

Susan


Monday, December 29, 2008

Preparing for Change

Okay, Here's the plan. Tomorrow, I wake up, knock out about a weeks worth of house work that's been piling up due to my crappy up again-down again holiday attitude. Take the dogs out for a proper walk; Nick and Jennifer dropped by this afternoon and took them out before they went home, but Nick's idea of dog walking is the equivalent of canine mass hysteria. Then, I have to cleverly figure out a way to . . . how do I put this tactfully? . . . uh . . . ditch the kids for a few hours. If I can scrape together a few dollars, I could send them to a movie, but with the post Christmas money situation, I might do better to invest in a bottle of Benadryl and spike their Kool-aid. One way or another, I need to have some alone time with my husband when he comes home from work tomorrow evening - we need to chat.

I feel like I am on the verge of doing something crazy and desperate, like . . . getting a life. Unfortunately, it's been so long since I've had one, I'd probably screw the whole thing up. Instead of resembling anything you might see on Desperate Housewives, it would probably look more like something you'd see on The Jerry Springer Show. I have to make some changes, I have to do something different. I'm not sure what yet, but I know that it has to happen, or at least, begin soon. There is a voice inside me that is saying,
"It's time to be reborn, to re create yourself - "THIS" is not working - it's just existing. I have to move forward."
There is no direction, no challenge, no plan, no future - it's just not enough. Not just in MY life, but in OUR life. I'm not entirely sure that Roy is feeling the same way, or if he even thinks in those terms. After all, he is a man, their brains don't work the same as ours. I'm not sure that he'll want to hear, or even understand, what I have to say.

There was a time when "this life" was a good thing, when it worked for us, but it's time to move forward - to grow. For me, it feels like every area of my life is in a big, muddy rut. It's hard to know where to begin, or what to do. I just know that someone has to get the ball rolling, to create forward momentum, to infuse some energy, or I am going to start sinking. I know that it all can't be sorted out in one evening, but it's a start.

I'm not sure if any of what I'm saying makes any sense. I'm pretty sure that it's going to confuse my husband, but he should be used to that by now.

Okay, it's late, and I need to get some sleep.
Goodnight.
Love,
Susan

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Disturbed

It's been a really rough day today. I don't know what it is. Maybe it's the post holiday exhaustion hitting really hard, maybe it's the weather, or maybe it's just PMS, who the hell knows. I'm just feeling like I'd really like to go into hibernation right now.

I woke this morning with my head pounding like a big bass drum and it just won't quit. I suspect that it's the weird Kansas weather. We go from 3 degrees to 60 degrees in the course of four days. When I heard that it was going to warm up, I thought,
"Sunshine, I can get my dogs out for a walk!"
Turned out to be rainy and muggy, so on top of a headache, I've just felt let down and disappointed today. As if that wasn't enough, my cycle is totally out of whack again, and I feel like I am just on the verge of screaming, or crying, or something.

For example, right now, Jake has Tyler over to spend the night, and he's downstairs strumming on Heather's electric guitar. He really is fairly good, but it's taking all I have not to go down there and bash him over the head with it.

My brain is just filled with too many fragmented thoughts and I can't seem to come up with any kind of plan. All I really want to do is go to bed, pull the blankets over my head, and stay there for about a week. The idea of having a house full of teenagers until January 7th just feels overwhelming. I'm sure it will all go away soon and I'll be fine, maybe tomorrow, or sometime soon, but right now . . . . uggghhhh, it's very unsettling, it's not me.

I'm going to go back to bed, and try this again tomorrow

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve, and all peaceful in my world


I don't know how it happened, but it looks like we pulled it all together for another Christmas. I really should have more faith, it's like this every year. We worry, and struggle, and fret, for months - all to no avail - then, at the last minute, it all comes together.


In fact, this year may include a special treat. The kids have always argued that they should be allowed to open their gifts on Christmas eve, after all, Jesus was born on Christmas eve, not Christmas morning. I don't know why, tradition I guess, Roy and I have always fought it. This year, I just got tired of fighting, so we let them open their gifts this evening. After all, it's not like we have to pretend that we have to wait for Santa anymore. So . . . For the first time in 30 years, I get to sleep in on Christmas morning !!!!! It's going to be weird, but I think that I could get used to it.


While the kids checked out their new "toys," I spent the rest of my Christmas eve baking cookies and putting together gift baskets for our family get together tomorrow afternoon at my mom's house. Nick is bringing Jennifer with him, ( he bought her a lovely engagement ring for Christmas!) My nephew is bringing his new wife, and my niece will have her new baby (who I haven't seen yet) with her. This little family get together just keeps getting bigger and bigger. The only one who won't be there is my youngest brother and his wife. They are currently living in St. Louis, MO. and he is still recovering from surgery, and I'm sure, the loss of time at work that all that entails.


So . . . now that I've survived this far, I can relax and look forward to just spending time with my family, and eating lots of food, on Christmas day. Whew! I feel like I huge burden has just been lifted. I'm going to go sit on the couch, put my feet up and just relax now.


I hope you ALL have a fabulous Christmas as well !!!!!!!

Love ya,

Susan

Monday, December 22, 2008

BRRRRRRR . . .

Okay, with Christmas right around the corner, I really hate to complain, but what the hell, it wouldn't be the first time that I was on the naughty list. People, it's just freakin' COLD here in Kansas !!!! I can't believe this crap ! It's THREE DEGREES here! (that's minus 16 degrees Celsius) Has anyone seen the movie, The Day After Tomorrow? Well that's what it's like here. We're all huddled together for warmth, and I must have the draftiest house in the universe. You can feel the icy air seeping through around all the doors and windows. The kids are both on the couch wrapped up in their big, heavy comforters from their beds, and underneath they're both wearing their hoodies, jeans, and fuzzy slippers. They are even arguing over who gets to snuggle up with Princess to stay warm. (neither one of them are fond of Princess, but she's like a furry little hot water bottle.) I have two space heaters running, and the oven is on with the door open, and we're still cold. I may have to break down and let my pyromaniac husband build a fire in the fire place, but in my opinion, it really doesn't put off much heat.

It's just not fair. Everyone around us is getting snow - but oh no, not us. I'm freezing my ass off and when I look out the window, all I see is grey skies, naked trees, and dead lawns. I should at least get something pretty to look at while I'm trapped in this ice box.

Besides, all this cold weather is crap for my delicate skin. A dainty flower such as myself should not be exposed to such extremes. I am dry and itchy all over. UGH !!!!!

Well, I just needed to vent - I'm done now.

Love y'all
Have a Merry Christmas.
Susan

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What do YOU want for Christmas?


For that matter, what do you want - just because? I've been thinking about these kinds of questions, lately. Christmas is a time for gift giving, right? (at least in theory anyway) We make our list of people who are near and dear to us, and we begin guessing what might make them happy. Our maybe, our goal is to fulfill some need that they might have. What do they need? What do they want? Sometimes, the hardest part is just figuring out what they don't already have. We assume that what they want, or need, is something that they don't yet have. Is this true, or is it just something that we tell ourselves? Will it make them happy?

I have to be honest, there are things that I want, and there are things that I need, but the things that make me happy, aren't things that can be bought, or wrapped, or placed under a tree. My friend, Kate, did a post and listed 6 things that make her happy. Not one of them could be purchased at Walmart. I suspect that if we were all to make a list of 6 things that make us happy, it would be much the same. It isn't "stuff" that brings us joy and happiness, it's the things that we give ourselves, or treasures that we find in the people around us. I've known Kate for two years now, she has needs, we all do, but most of the things that we "need", in fact, our most urgent needs, are intangible as well. And often times, we live our whole lives with those things right under our noses, or at least within our reach; and for some reason, we are just too busy, too afraid, or too ashamed, to acknowledge them, much less tell anyone else what those needs might be.

So, what's all this about? Where is all of this going? I'm not sure. I'm just starting to feel, yearning actually, that somehow Christmas could, and should be, more meaningful than just a lot of commercialized greed, or the random exchange of "stuff." I know that there really are people that sincerely need material things. Things that could possibly change the direction and circumstances of their lives. I know that there are people who are hurting so much more than my family is right now; Not just financially, but emotionally and spiritually. I'm feeling a need to give something that isn't just an empty and meaningless gesture. Not only for the people in my life, but for others. Have you ever given a Christmas gift that that really mattered to someone? I'm not sure that I have.


Tomorrow, my husband and I are going Christmas shopping, so I've been looking over my children's Christmas wish list. This has been a strange Christmas season so far, in that my kids didn't start making their Christmas lists until a few weeks ago. Stranger still, are the lists that they've given me. Heather's list only contains 5 items, none of them hugely expensive. Jacob only lists four very simple requests. Most of the things on their lists are things that, if they had told us that they really wanted them, they would have gotten them without the benefit of a holiday or special occasion. Maybe not all at once, but they just aren't major purchases, you know? Now my kids are well aware that our money situation is strained this year, but they have both made the comment,

"There really isn't much that I want, or need." and they both seemed believably sincere.

Maybe, it's just wishful thinking, but I am starting to wonder if my children are learning to be content without a lot of "stuff." For teenagers, that's kind of a mature concept, but they do seem to be learning that friends and family are more important than "things."

Maybe, it's time for me to do some re-evaluating and consider making some changes concerning how our family celebrates Christmas? Changes that make the holidays less stressful and more joy filled. That's what I want for Christmas.

Ornament Painting

Painting Ornaments: Ana, Roy, Chrissy, and Summer


Well, it's midnight and things are finally quieting down around here. I had all the kids over, plus four of Jake's friends, and two of Heather's friends, to paint Christmas ornaments. I'm a big after Christmas shopper, and for the past several years, I always go by the craft stores and buy up all the plaster craft white ware ornaments for next to nothing, so I always have them on hand for the next year. Since we had so many kids this year, I picked up about 40 of the wooden ornaments that can either be painted or colored with markers. They all painted three or four ornaments each, they they started painting random things on the paper plates.


I know that it seems silly, but kids LOVE to color and paint. (so do grown ups, if the truth be told) Even Jasmin's teenage friends loved to color on a huge doodle art poster that I kept on the kitchen table. They would sit and chat while they colored for hours.


Everyone showed up early so I ordered pizza and we made an evening of it. After we finished and I got things cleaned up, we had hot cocoa with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles.


Oh ! and the very best thing happened!!! Jasmin read on my blog that my vacuum bit the dust, so when she came by to drop off Ana, She brought me a . . . VACUUM !!!! She's so wonderful ! At least someone understands how a mom feels when she can't vacuum her house. I was so happy, after everyone had gone to do their own thing, I got my new vacuum out and finally got the high traffic carpet area in the kitchen swept up. I have a long, dark blue carpet that runs the length of my kitchen. It catches all the dirt and loose hairs from the dogs when they come inside, before they can drag it all into my living room. If I don't vacuum that carpet every day, it gets so covered with fur, that you can't even tell what color it is! That's the area that was really grossing me out.


Anyway, we all had a good time this evening, I got my carpet vacuumed, and I'm feeling very content with a tummy full of hot cocoa. I still wish it God would dump a bunch of snow on us, but I guess you can't have everything. For now, this is enough.


Nick and Jennifer, and all the extra kids have gone home. I have Ana spending the night with Heather, and Quentin and Tyler are spending the night with Jake. They have all gone to their rooms, and I think, they are asleep - they are being awfully quiet. So, I think I'm going to go soak in a nice hot tub and go to bed. I really need to get some Christmas shopping done tomorrow.


Good night everyone. Hope you all have an awesome weekend !!!!


Love,

Susan


Friday, December 19, 2008

One. more. week.

Hey there!

I'm feeling much better. Although, I really miss my vacuum. I was going to write an ode to my vacuum, but you know? Nothing rhymes with vacuum. I just do my best not to look at the floor, but it's really awful. Jennifer said that she had an extra vacuum that she would bring with her tomorrow evening. I hope she remembers, I'd better call her tomorrow and remind them.

Tomorrow night, we're having everyone over to paint Christmas ornaments. Nick called this evening and said that they will probably arrive early. They're looking for any excuse to get out of the house and away from Jennifer's family. They are NOT happy there. Even Jennifer was complaining about her family when they were over on Sunday. I wish I could let them come back, I really miss Nick, and sometimes, even Jennifer too. If I could trust him to stay clean and sober, I'd do it; but he gets home, starts feeling comfortable, and he's back to his old ways of dealing with life. I guess that's the trade off for having him sober - at least I hope he's staying sober. I know that Jen's folks wouldn't put up with him drinking and such, but in reality, they aren't the brightest bulbs in the box and they have no experience dealing with an addict. After all the time he's spent in Juvenile corrections, halfway houses, and rehabs, he knows how to pull the wool over almost any one's eyes. He has a million tricks - and I know them all. The thing is, It's not my job to be his probation officer, and it takes too much energy for me to try and stay one step ahead of him. It's not like I can stop him anyway, so maybe it's better if I don't know for sure. He has to be the one to make the hard choices and live with the consequences. I can't do it for him, and I can't protect him from himself.

Jake and Heather are in good spirits this evening. Today was their last day of school, and Christmas break has officially started. They don't have to go back until January 7th. (Lord, help me!) The boys mentioned that they are wanting to change the date of their party to this Saturday, instead of waiting until after Christmas. That really doesn't fit in well with my schedule, but it seems that I'm always the last one to know these things.

Well, I need to get myself to bed early tonight, I've got a lot of stuff to do tomorrow. I think that Ana and Caleb are wanting to spend the night tomorrow, I haven't heard much from Jasmin lately, so I assume that is still the plan. UGH! there is just too much going on this week! I really hope that I survive.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I tried, it's just not working today.

As of this afternoon, there's no good news yet. I woke this morning, took my meds, and had every intention of working through a list of things that I've been putting off for the past few days. Well, let's just say that so far, things have not worked out as planned. The list of things that have gone wrong is now officially longer than the modest list of things I had hoped to accomplish. Not good. Not good at all. Things could get ugly around here today.

Still, If I don't get this poison out of my system I could explode. So, I'm warning the faint of heart, and those who are easily upset, that this is going to be a very ugly post.

First of all, my plans for today were:

1.) Wake up and take my meds . . .Check.

2.) Organize recently downloaded computer photo files and delete duplicates. . . . check

3.) Download and sign up school parent access site. Check Jake's grades and status of homework and make up work that needs to be done. . . .

Okay, this is where things start to fall apart. Once I got onto the school site, I discover that my son is failing every class except Art. This is upsetting, to say the least. I home schooled this kid for two years, I know what he is cape able of. Jake is easily a "B" student, without even trying. If he applies himself, he could bring home all "A's." After some further investigation, I discover that once again, Jake is not doing and turning in homework. We had the same issue last year _ Jake simply is too involved with his friends and having a good time to do home work. The work he is completing in class is mostly "B" work. So he's doing the class work, even if he isn't doing his best. I find and Click on a tab that is new to the site this year, and discover that out of the 198 students in 8th grade at his school, Jake's grades rank him at 176 for his class. Which means that only 22 kids have grades lower than my son. And if I were to be realistic, half of those 22 children are probably retarded !! Okay, I have to have a chat with my son when he comes home from school today. We have to lay down some rules and restrictions until he can bring up his grades and learn to take his school work seriously. Okay, a couple of deep breaths and move on to item #4 on my to do list.

4.) Vacuum . . . seems easy enough. That is until I pug in the vacuum and give it a few pushes across the floor. I hear a strange sound and discover that the beater bar on my only vacuum is snapped in half. Not fixable. After 4 days of neglect, all my floors are beyond disgusting and I with the holidays, I am flat broke and can't even think about purchases like new vacuums. My brain inside my skull is now starting to throb.

5.) Replace the rickety computer table in Jacob's bedroom with a desk that I have in the Family room. . . . . I had both the kids clean their rooms last night in anticipation of this. Jacob's room is an attic bedroom and he's a teenage boy, so to be honest, I avoid going up there as much as possible. I knew that it had to be a wreck because in addition to over night guests on both Friday and Saturday of this past weekend, he has has entertained several of his friends up there recently. I wasn't really in the mood to move furniture today, but I want to accomplish something, so I walk up the steps and open the door. Words can't even describe what I found.
The room was reasonably picked up, however, the destruction was mind boggling. The walls and ceiling were covered with graffiti done in permanent marker. I found several holes in the walls and closet doors. Even the table tops were covered with graffiti using White Out correction fluid !!!! The two video chairs that I spent days searching for last Christmas were destroyed. The vinyl covers were slashed and torn, and the stuffing had been pulled out, even the wood frames were broken in several places. They are trash. In fact the whole room was trashed. It looks like a hotel room after a rock band has partied there. Now I am feeling nauseous. I can't believe that he would allow himself and his friends to get so out of control ! I am not at all happy.

My other plans of putting on my makeup and doing some price shopping for Christmas, no longer seem very important. I called Roy and He said that he would deal with Jake when he gets home. However, Jake will be home from school in about half an hour and feel like I am completely falling apart. I have no idea what I might say to him, but I'm pretty sure that it won't be nice.

I think that I need to go lay down for a while. I'm feeling torn between crying, and throwing up. I may do both.

Later.

Barely hanging on

Let me just say up front, I ran out of anti-depressants on Friday and my attitude has been steadily going down hill since then. It doesn't take long for me to feel the dark clouds creeping back in. I've been struggling since . . . Sunday? I don't know, the timing was bad for all this to happen. Things just haven't been good. Between finances, hormones, Christmas, the weather, and just life in general, I was just barely hanging on by the skin of my teeth. Three days without meds was asking for too much. I feel like shit physically, mentally, and emotionally. For the past two days, I feel like I've spent every ounce of available energy just holding myself together.

Thankfully, my refill was finally ready to be picked up this afternoon. I probably won't start feeling normal again until Thursday or Friday. Still, I have to make my self do some thing tomorrow, I can't take another day of this crap. Today has been the worst.

We had about an inch and a half of snow over night (actually, the majority of it fell during the early morning hours) and as a result, a lot of area schools got a snow day. Except for Olathe schools, they had classes as usual . Since Heather has been praying for a snow day since Sunday night, Roy decided to give her and Jake a snow day anyway. ( he probably didn't want to hear Heather rail about the unfairness and stupidity of it all) Anyway, he shut off my alarm and let everyone sleep in this morning.

It's not that having the kids at home is a problem, Jake and Heather get along unusually well for siblings. For the most part, they're good kids, and they rarely fight or argue, and they are quite cape able of fending for themselves at home. However, they are unusually good at reading my moods and they know when things aren't right with mom. There's nothing worse than being asked 20 times a day, "Is something wrong, Mom?" . . . "Do you feel okay ?" especially, when you don't have a simple, easy answer to give them.

Anyway, I'm going to get myself to bed and try this "life thing" again tomorrow.

Good night all.

Love,
Susan

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gingerbread houses 2008

Whew ! This thing just keeps getting bigger every year. That's a good thing, I think. We had 15 people show up this year, and a total of 11 houses built, collapsed, and partially eaten. The important thing is that everyone went home with a sugar high and a slight tummy ache from all the sweets. Of course, I have pictures !!! (as usual, you can click on each one to enlarge them.) The teens, or most of them and our ginger bread Villiage on th table. (left to right) Jake, his girl friend, Chrissy, she's just cute as a button. Patrick, Crazy Quentin, and topless Christian. This is Jake and Patrick fighting over Chrissy, the poor girl is between them somewhere.



This is a photo of all the goodies laid out on the table. We had a second, identical table downstairs in the family room for Heather and some of her friends as well. (Christian, Chrissy, and Caleb)




This is ginger bread house was a collaboration between Roy and Nick. I think that Nick built the basic graham cracker structure and Roy did the decoration. I love the Starlight mints and the front walk way!



This lovely work of art belongs to my grandson, Caleb. They were running late this afternoon, actually, Jasmin forgot, so I built the house structure for him before he arrived and Caleb spent almost three hours working on the decoration. Of course he took lots of breaks to beat the crap out of Tyler, climb on Jake, shoot people with guns that he hijacked from Jake's room, and feed the dogs. He was a very busy guy. I'm guessing that he crashed out and slept like a log when his mom got him home.


This is Jasmin's "plantation house" Gingerbread creation, complete with Rice Chex roof tiles, chocolate and licorice windows, Skittles Christmas lights, Mike N Ike lamp posts, a marshmallow snowman, and a festive Life Saver wreath for the front door. Landscaping was done with Andes mint pavers and a gummy bear family to play in the powdered sugar snow. Yep, she put in about three hours work on this. (without play breaks) We all unanimously agreed that she wins this year. But then, she had every intention of doing that. She warned me in an email on Friday, that it was her plan to kick everyoneelse's butt this year - and she did.



This is Chrissy's Ginger bread house. We all named it The Barbie Town house. Rather than focusing on the outside, Chrissy is more into interior design. This one includes a full bath (with Life Saver toilet seat and M&M bubble bath garden tub) One bedroom, with Starburst bed and coverlet, and a Living room with a Starburst Couch, floor rug, and a Mr. Good bar flat screen T.V. Very creative !



This is Tyler's Gingerbread house. I think he was inspired by the Wizard of Oz. Note the yellow brick road over pass and the Munchkin city below.


This is Quentin's final gingerbread product. It was a three story Castle with moat, but then, he exhaled. Now, it's the Gingerbread City Scrap Yard. Strangely, this what my house usually looks like when Quentin leaves at the end of the day.
This is Jakes House. I'm not sure that he even had time to figure out the final outcome. It collapsed during construction and he just moved on to socializing with all his friends and throwing candy at people. He's easily distracted by pretty colors and sweet foods.


This is Christian, my grandson's gingerbread house. I'm not sure what he calls this, as usual, Christian was too busy socializing, and displaying his manly chest to give it a name. It's a little conventional compared to his creation last year, a gingerbread skate park.


This is Jennifer, Nicks girlfriend, and Christian's cousin's gingerbread house. It's a cozy little bungalow, perfect for a gummy bear family of three, but it has a carport. Over dinner we concluded that she may be sending Nick a message.




This is Ana, my grand daughter's open, airy, gingerbread house with an actual gingerbread family. I think it looks very much like a gingerbread snow fort with all the marshmallow snow balls and a Tootsie Pop snow shovel out front.



This is Heather's Gingerbread house. She did a really good job, but my kids have had several years of practice at Gingerbread house building. Roy says it looks like a Church, but Caleb kept calling it Santa's workshop - he was very excited and impressed.


This gingerbread house was made by Alexis, Heather's friend and our next door neighbor. This is her first try at gingerbread house building and I think she did a great job. I like the colorful rooftop lights and all the yard decorations.



Another photo of the kids at work. Tyler, Christian, Chrissy and Caleb.


I think that everyone had a good time, I know that I did. It was actually the first time that I started to feel a bit of Christmas spirit this year. The next big event will be Friday night. We are going to be painting Christmas ornaments. It's something that we have usually done with just the four, or five, of our immediate family. I'm hoping that it will draw some of the kids back and that they will enjoy it as much as we always have. I'm thinking that I may have to come up with a few other craft projects to keep the kids entertained during the Christmas break. I haven't really got anything planned yet, so I'll have to see what I can come up with to keep them out of trouble. Then, on New year's Day, we are going to do a big Dinner with family and friends, and I need to figure out how many will be coming, no one seems to want to think ahead that far.


Just as everyone was leaving this evening, it started to snow and sleet. The temperatures dropped from almost 60 degrees this afternoon to 11 degree s in just a few hours !! I have finally heard from everyone so I know that they all got home safely. (the streets are really slippery) It's supposed to continue until 3:00AM tonight, and Jake and Heather are hoping and praying that they will get a snow day tomorrow. It's 2:30 AM now, and the ground is just barely white, but I haven't seen any street crews, so it just depends on how bad the roads are in the morning. Who knows? If the school bus companies decide that the roads are unsafe, they may cancel school. Anyway, I need to get up early to find out, so I better get myself off to bed. Good night all.


Love,

Susan















Sunday, December 14, 2008

Warning: Cranky mom ahead

Okay, As I mentioned in my last post, we've been without Internet since Wednesday afternoon. They finally got things figured out at the Internet provider this afternoon. They explained what the problem was to me, but they might as well have been speaking a foreign language. I am NOT a high tech person, I'm just glad that it's fixed.

Y'all didn't miss much. This whole Christmas season is just becoming more burdensome as the days go by. I really wish I could find a way to make it all good, but our financial situation just sucks, and it doesn't do much to make a parent feel especially jolly. But, such is life, and I know that a lot of people are feeling that way this year. There just doesn't seem to be enough "Christmas magic" to go around these days. Once again, I'll just be glad when it's finally over. Anyway, I'm trying to be in denial, so I don't want to write about this.

*Sigh* Unfortunately, Christmas crap is all that is on the menu lately. So . . . Roy and I went shopping this evening and bought all kinds of sugary crap to make Gingerbread houses tomorrow. Everyone is supposed to show up around noon, and this year, we are going to have a full house. I'm glad that this is a tradition that is catching on and everyone looks forward to. I've been working on a lot of creative projects lately, and since we are having so many kids this year, I'm just going to focus on helping the little ones and making sure that everyone has a good time.

Last night was Christmas cookie baking night. I baked four batches of cookies and Heather and her friends helped. Everyone got a box of cookies to take home. We still had two full cookie tins left over for here at the house.

I got busy house cleaning while Roy was at work this afternoon, and I just got too busy to take the time to feed myself "real" food; Instead, I ended up just snacking on the cookies that were left on the counter, and ended up eating enough to make me feel pukey. Which was stupid because, I had so much running to do when Roy got home with the car. It's been a major effort to make myself do what needed to be done; shopping, loading and unloading the car, putting way the groceries, and feeding the kids and dogs. (when you have five dogs to feed, it's major undertaking - a lot like cooking dinner twice a night.) My ass is dragging, and I still have a lot of work to do.

In fact, that's one of the things that Roy and I discussed this evening. I love my dogs, but they are NOT just MY dogs, and like everything else around here, they have become MY job. I think that other people in this family need to accept some responsibility for walking, feeding, bathing, and cleaning up after them as well. I know that I'm the mom, and moms take care of people, but my kids are not babies anymore, they're old enough to help care for other "members of the family" that need special care. They have never been very consistent about doing chores, I always have to be on them to do what needs to be done. Most of the time, it's just easier to to do it myself. So my husband, (rolls eyes) says,
"You're just going to have to tell them that they NEED to do these things."
Gosh, what would I do without this constant source of wisdom? My hero, the problem solver. Hmmm . . . How 'bout, HE actually did something? Something really hard like, maybe telling them these things himself, instead of expecting me to deal with EVERYTHING ?!?! I mean, he is supposed to be half of this parent team, right? URGH !!!

I know, I'm in a bitchy housewife mood, it's not a pretty sight. My husband is not at the top of my 'favorite people list' lately, so that doesn't help much. I'm sure that part of the problem is the stress and my attitude, but you know, he he really doesn't get it. Sometimes, I think he works pretty hard at being completely oblivious.

Okay, enough. You folks didn't do anything to deserve this crap. Unfortunately, it seems that this is the best I've got to offer these days. Alright, I've got to get moving and go push the vacuum and do the dishes. Or maybe, I'll just go to bed and deal with it in the morning - I'm tired. Good night.

Love,
Susan

Saturday, December 13, 2008

I'm back !

Hi,

My internet is doing some weird stuff. It may be the digging and stuff the utility companies are doing in the park behind my house. Anyway, it took the internet provider three days to figure it out. I was really freaking out because, it quit working right after I had dusted the computer desk - I thought for sure I had done some silly thing to disconnect something.

Anyway, it's fixed for now. I've got a bunch of stuff going for family Christmas activities this week, and I'm running around like a chicken with it's head cut off. Roy's work van is broke down and he's been using my car to do his work, so it's been alot of hurry up and wait. He's on his way home now, and I've got shopping to do for the Gingerbread house thing tomorrow. I'm trying to get caught up on everyone's blog in between. Hopefully, I'll be able to sit down and post this evening.

Love ya,
Susan

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

SNOW !


HEY ! I woke this morning, uh well, I suppose 11:00AM is still morning, and guess what ? It was SNOWING !!!! It was so beautiful. It snowed like crazy until 5:30 or 6:00PM, and we still didn't end up with much, maybe one and a half inches :( I was really hoping for more like 3-6 inches, but I guess it's a start. However, It was enough to get my dogs excited. As far as they're concerned, snow is even better than mud! They have spent the whole day running in and out of the back door. They run, roll and play in it until they get cold, then, they try to bring as much as they can of the white stuff inside, where it's warm. They can't seem to figure out why their plan isn't working. I just hope it all doesn't melt away tomorrow.


My other surprise this morning was my son, Jacob, laying on the couch watching MTV. Roy said he was running a temperature, but he didn't bother to take it to find out for sure. I felt his forehead, and yes, he felt warm, but laying on the couch under a nice toasty comforter will do that. It's all very frustrating. I guess that I need to get up early tomorrow to make sure that everyone gets where they need to be. Of course, it'll be just my luck that some idiot at the school board decides to call a snow day! I don't think the roads are that bad, but several of the local schools have already cancelled for tomorrow. I've yet to figure out what criteria they use for making these decisions, there doesn't seem to be any logic to it.


Well, things really are pretty damn boring around here and my brain is just too tired to even think, so I'm going to toddle off to bed now.

Good night.


Love ya,

Susan

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Kidnapping and conspiracy

At the risk of sounding paranoid, I have to say that I suspect my family is once again up to their shenanigans. I woke up this morning to find both my children at home. Jake was at the computer slurping down a bowl of Ramen noodles, and Heather was eating a bowl of ice cream in front of the T.V. This is NOT the sort of scene I expect to find on a Monday morning. I didn't even ask. After all of my husband's moaning and groaning on Sunday, It was obvious that my children were taking full advantage of the situation. I'm not saying that Roy didn't feel well yesterday, and to his credit, he did go to work this morning, even though he says he doesn't feel much improved. However, having two other people develop similar symptoms, certainly works out well for everyone - except me. The kids get a day off school, and Roy gets validation of his sickness, and I get to deal with a smugly ill husband when he comes home, as well as spending my day working around a couple of kids that aren't even marginally unhealthy. I can only conclude that they're out to get me.

You would think that they could at least have the decency to ACT sick. But no, I don't think they even bothered to determine what symptoms they were supposed to be faking. They knew that Dad would let them stay home, because Dad didn't feel well, and he wouldn't want to go through the hassle of checking for fever, or even seriously questioning them about their symptoms. He would just assume that they came down with whatever vague "virus" he had. They knew that he would make that assumption because, if the kids have his "virus," then it must be for real, and not a figment of his imagination, exhaustion, anxiety, or whatever. I'm really not a suspicious person, but NO one spends as much time feeling sick and miserable as my husband. It's frustrating.

So, . . . Being kidnapped this evening seemed to work out for the best. Jasmin had called earlier and asked if I wanted to do some shopping with her. I told her no, because I was in the middle of a project, also because, shopping without money tends to depress me. (especially this close to Christmas) Then, an hour or so later, she called again and said that she would be there in 10 minutes to kidnap me. I didn't have an option. She said I needed to get out of the house and spend some time with her. So what could I do ? I went. We had a good time and Jasmin got a few things accomplished, and best of all, when I got home, everyone was in bed. It gave me some peace and quiet time to finish the project that I left sitting on the kitchen table.

Now, I think I'm going to bed. I've had enough bullshit for one day. Hopefully, everyone will be done with their vacations and/or issues, and I can get some stuff done tomorrow.

Good night.
Love,
Susan

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Nothing much here . . .

Nahla, the bunny


This has been an odd sort of weekend. Something about the rhythm of things that has felt off. The skies have been grey and it's been bitterly cold and windy, but the heavens stubbornly refuse to open and allow the snowflakes to fall.


My grandson, Christian, spent the weekend here with Jake, and his friend, Quentin. Since Patrick has discovered the joy of having a girlfriend, Quentin, has replaced him as Jake's new buddy, and apparently, our newest adopted child. I knew that sooner or later, I'd get a red headed child. Unlike Patrick, whose parents are financially well off and has a more structured life, with strict rules about visiting friends and over night stays; Quentin is somewhat of a lost child. He lives with his mother (no siblings) and spends quite a bit of time on his own, since his mother has a very busy work, school, and social life. Well, that is, until our family adopted him. He checks in with his mother frequently via cell phone, but often when we take him home, he goes home to an empty apartment. He's a good kid, maybe a bit loud, and sometimes obnoxious, but that seems to go with the age. Roy had a hard time adjusting to him at first, since he is a quieter type of person, but Roy has a huge heart and he has learned to deal with him like all our other (adopted) children. At first, even Heather had a hard time accepting him, especially after Patrick had become a regular fixture around here. She'd never admit to it, but I suspect Heather had just the tiniest crush on Patrick. I didn't realise it until Patrick came over last week with his girlfriend.


Anyway, The three guys spent most of Saturday making plans for a big Christmas Vacation Party. They have been referring to it as "The Hardcore Christmas Party". What a hoot. They came to me with big plans of moving my antique tables and chairs out of the family room, and replacing them with sturdier lawn chairs, stringing Christmas lights from the ceiling beams, and hanging black lights and posters instead of my antique photo portraits. I told them that I didn't care, as long as they do the work, which includes, buying the drinks and snacks and clean up. They agreed to barter their time and labor in exchange for my help to provide the sodas. So . . . . it seems that I have a bit of non specified child labor owed to me. He, he, he. My little brain is just ticking away with ideas. I may save it for after Christmas clean up.


Heather has been keeping to herself most of the weekend. She goes through phases where she becomes highly focused on certain activities. Sometimes it involves her friends, sometimes not. (the older she gets, the more she reminds me of myself sometimes) This weekend she's been doing a lot of drawing and sharing it with her Internet group of friends that are into anime. She has always been very artistic and she wants to be an anime artist when she grows up. I'm looking through the drawings that she did this weekend and scanned into the computer. She really is very good. Her pencil strokes are becoming more confident and her shading and highlighting is improving. She has gone from copying cartoons to designing some very original works. I need to set aside some time to work with her. Her style is very different from mine, but I think she could really do well with it. I'd really like to get her a good computer, with a graphic art program. She enjoys working with color on Windows Paint and she can do things I had idea were possible. Maybe next Christmas - this year sucks.


I was up late Saturday night cooking chicken enchiladas for Sunday dinner. Nick and Jennifer have been looking for excuses to come and visit Nahla, the bunny. I told them that they didn't need an excuse to come and visit. (as long as Nick is sober - which he has been) So, I invited them over for Sunday dinner with Nicks favorite meal. I had only been asleep for three hours when they arrived this morning. (not exactly according to my plan) They spent the day hanging out with the kids and animals, while I dealt with a husband with a stomach issues. I guess I'll find out in a few days whether it's a bacterial, or a viral thing. Lord, I hope it's just a case of too many late night chocolate donuts, regurgitation is NOT by favorite thing. Unfortunately, a couple of Jake's friends, including his girlfriend, came down with the stomach flu today as well. Oh well, I there's always hope, right? I was finally able to get a little nap after dinner, when Nick and Jen went home. I figured lack of sleep made me too easy of a target for whatever viruses might be floating around. I was just going to sleep for 30 -45 minutes, but Roy fell asleep on the couch and didn't wake me until it was time for me to run the kids off to bed.


So . . . .here I sit, wide awake in a house that is FINALLY silent. It feels very strange. You know, I'm just thinking out loud and rambling on. I should really be doing something to prepare for the week ahead, or even catching up on my sleep, anything, other than parking my butt in this very comfy computer chair . . . . Things have been sort of quiet with my friends in the blog-o-sphere, I know that things are crazy this time of year. (I have a sister in law that keeps sending me emails with a Christmas count down - UGH! I wish she'd stop, I don't want to be reminded how far behind I am with my shopping! - and everything else) Anyway, I hope everyone enjoyed their weekends, and hope you all have a great week !


Love ya,

Susan

Friday, December 5, 2008

I'm still alive and all is well.

Hooray for me ! I did it and I survived. My dogs are fresh and clean , and they don't stink like . . . well, like dogs anymore! It only took about . . . 5 hours!

I started with Phoenix, who it turns out, actually LIKES his bath. Last time I bathed him, he was younger and he was kind of . . . meh! But now, maybe Phoenix is just in favor of anything that results in one - on - one attention? He kept wanting to get back in and do it all again.

Next was Midnight. Midnight is a scaredy cat. He fought me tooth and nail getting him into the tub, and once he was in, he just froze in total panic and sheer fright. Eventually, I got him done and all was well.

Pete was all excited about his turn and once he got in, he was actually relaxed enough to sit. But Pete has a touch of ADHD, and he started getting restless towards the end. In typical Peter dog style, that means he started to whimper and cry. He is such a baby !

Angel is the last of the "big dogs", but she only weighs 50 pounds. She is also the oldest, and she's been through this a time or two, so she knew what was coming. She is the only long hair dog we have and it just takes longer for her to be thoroughly washed and rinsed. She is actually the only one who tried to make an escape out of the tub. But I knew that she would, so I was ready.

When I got to Princess, my back was so sore from bending over the tub, that I just washed her in the sink. She truly objected not being allowed the privacy that the other dogs got, but she's small, very short haired, and it was over in a flash. Finally!!!

After I got all the wet towels to the laundry, and the floor wiped up, we all sat on a huge blanket on the floor in front of the space heater and got brushed out. This is the part that my dogs adore. They LOVE to be brushed. It really is just like Caesar says. Dogs live in the moment. Once they were out of the tub, they were back to their happy selves. They don't hold grudges. They think that being dried with a towel is a fun game, and we actually had a great time playing on the floor and getting brushed.

Once everyone was looking dapper, I went down stairs and brought up my coffee can full of used dryer sheets. I took a handful and wiped down each dog to remove all the static electricity from their squeaky clean fur, so that they wouldn't shock everyone when they got petted. During the winter time, when it's cold and dry, I keep my dryer sheets by the back door and rub them down when they come inside. It keeps them smelling fresh and clean and shock free. (It works on cats and people hair too.)

They are all so soft, and thankfully, exhausted ! In fact, so am I. I got them all done before the kids got home from school. It works better that way. Having the kids home just excites them too much. (both the kids and the dogs) I'm actually quite proud of my babies. They listened and behaved and I honestly think they feel SO much better.

I got the bathroom cleaned while they all napped, and then I took my own shower before Roy got home. He was so proud of me, he took me out to dinner. (Chinese) Unfortunately, the kids needed to be fed as well (all four of them) so we had to take them too. I got the waiter to seat the kids at a separate table, but it's still not the same. Oh well. Like I said, I'm exhausted, so I think I'll put myself to bed early tonight.

Good night all !
Love,
Susan

Bathroom Duty


Alright. Since I did a big fat nothing yesterday, I am announcing that today, I have plans. Today, the big chore is to clean both bathrooms. Of course, they aren't really dirty . . . yet, but that's part of the plan.


For almost a week now, I've been telling everyone around here that it's long past bath time for my dogs. When I say this to my husband, he just rolls his eyes and chuckles. Sometimes, he murmurs some unintelligible words about my sanity under his breath. Here's the thing, with FIVE dogs, It's not like I can just drop them at the groomers and spend the afternoon shopping. With that many dogs, not only would they lock the doors when they saw me coming, but I suspect it would cost me almost a weeks pay check. So I am on my own on this one.


Which now that I think about it, really isn't fair. I do everything for these dogs! I feed them, walk them, discipline them, clean up their messes, and all the while Heather tells everyone that Angel is her baby, Nick regularly argues that Pete has always been "his dog", Jake claims that he called dibs on Phoenix the day he was born, and lets face it, Princess spends more time sleeping with my husband than I do ! But if I just give Midnight a bath, he'll think that I'm picking on him, or that he did something bad. Poor little Midnight has enough mental issues as it is.


UGH!!! the reality is, they ARE ALL MY dogs. They don't listen to a word anyone else says. They spend their days following me around the house, they hang on my every word and gesture, I wake every morning surrounded by them, and they could care less if anyone else comes or goes around here. But when mom leaves the house, they sit at the window waiting for me to come home, and cry and howl like orphans until I return.


*SIGH* I know. I'm just trying to squirm out of doing this. The thing is, they are not puppies any more. In fact, my boys, the pups, are now the two biggest of the pack ! They easily weigh 75 to 80 pounds - EACH ! It's going to be the equivalent of scrubbing down a herd of cows - shivering, whimpering, cowering, cows ! Except for Princess, but even she is a cow of a Min-Pin. At 25 pounds, she is twice the normal size for her breed.


I keep reminding myself how nice they will smell, and how soft they will be to touch afterwards. They won't hate me. They love their mom and they will forgive me anything. I will start with the biggest and work my way down to Princess. I have lots of towels, dog shampoo, brushes, space heaters to warm them with, the only thing I don't have is courage. Even though all three of the boys are Lab mixes, they don't like the water. Well at least they don't like CLEAN water.


The worst part is that wide eyed look of terror that they always give me. As if they are saying,

"Why mom? What did I do to deserve this?!!! I'll be good, I promise !"

But they wont. I know. There is something about a freshly bathed dog that just can NOT resist trouble. As soon as they are clean, and the awful wet dog smell starts to fade, they will go in search of smelly things to roll in, and trash to dump, and mud puddles to dance in, the mischief will go on for days !


Okay, I have managed to put this off as long as I can. This is a whole lot of crap to go through, just to clean a bathroom. Wish me luck - Please ! . . . . Where did I put that life jaket? . . .
Love,
Susan




Do Nothing Thursday


HI !


In case anyone is keeping track, or is interested . . . Today, I've done NOTHING. Nada, zero, zip, zilch, Not a bloody thing all day. I thought about doing something, but then I decided that it was just too much work. The excuse that I am using is that I feel kind of crappy. Nothing specific, just a general lethargy and laziness kind of thing. If it develops into anything major, I'll let you know. (But don't hold your breath) Sorry. In the meantime, You can read my older posts, go to the kitchen and make yourself a sandwich, or just mingle among yourselves. I don't really care, I'm going to take another nap.


Love you all,

Susan

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Layers ( you know, like an onion?)

Okay, Basically, I have nothing to say for myself, but I am feeling like a smart ass so, I'm doing this Meme that I stole off of Kate and Fusion, who stole it from some one else, who probably stole it for someone else . . . . So I really don't feel bad about it stealing it. Know what I mean?

LAYER 1: Tell us . . .

*Name: Susan /Auburnhairedartist
*Birthday (month, day): June 19th
*Birthplace: Kansas City, KS.
*Current location: Olathe, KS. (in my living room)
*Eye color: Brown
*Hair color: I had my daughter, the hair stylist, do something dramatic for Halloween, so right now, it's a chocolate brown with auburn streaks, but normally, it's just auburn.
*Height: 5 foot, 2 inches (standing up)
*Righty or lefty: Right
*Zodiac sign: Gemini

LAYER 2: What's....

*Your heritage: Mostly Irish, some German, and a little bit of French. So yeah, I'm a white girl.
*Your weakness: Apparently, anything that's bad for me: chocolate, salty foods, smoking, etc. If I had to choose a #1 vice it would be home made cookies, and cake, and krispy kreme donuts, the chocolate iced ones with the creme filling, and Lindor truffles, and . . .
*Your fears: I truly despise snakes, but I'd fight off a million of 'em to keep my kids safe. So, I guess my biggest fear is that something bad might happen to my kiddos.
*Your perfect pizza: Okay, now we are talkin' about the important things in life! Deep dish crust, should be golden brown, buttery and crisp on the bottom, but still warm and soft on the inside. If possible, I like the crust filled with mozzarella cheese. Easy on the sauce, as far as toppings, I like everything except, anchovies . So that means; hamburger, sausage, both pork and Italian, Canadian bacon, peperoni, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, and black olives. Also, if it's not too much trouble, I'd like an extra layer of cheese on top and a side of ranch sauce for dipping. Oh, and I'll have a diet coke with that, please. Can I get that to go?
*Goals you’d like to achieve: I'd like to own my own house and, somehow, get all these kids grown and raised into adults.
*Your first waking thoughts: Five more minutes . . . PLEASE ?!!!
*Your best physical feature: Um . . . I think I have nice eyes and shapely, firm legs even it they are a bit short.
*Your most missed memory: Since my dad died when I was four, I would like to be able to remember things from that part of my life. I only have a few disjointed memories of him. I'd also like to be able to remember what happened to all my albums.

LAYER 3: Do you...

*Smoke: I'm a smokin' now. I would like to quit though, after 20 + years, all the glamour has worn off.
*Cuss: Okay, When I was younger, I used to cuss like a sailor, then I quit (completely) for about . . . 5 years? Now, I don't object to tossing one out there every now and then, for emphasis, But there are still a few curse words that I just don't like to say, or even hear. Obsessive cursing is just foul and distasteful.
*Sing: I sing a lot, but not in front of anyone. I am completely tone deaf. When I sing along to the radio, my kids say, "Uh, mom, could you please stop? You really suck."
*Do you think you've been in love: I AM in love.
*Did you go to college: I studied commercial art at Jr. College for a while. I'd like to go back this spring.
*Liked high school: I fought High School tooth and nail. Although I really enjoy education and learning. For the most part, I think High School is wasted on teenagers. (almost everything is)
*Want to get/stay married: Since I've kind of gotten used to being married, I don't see any reason to go changing things now.
*Believe in yourself: I know that I am capable of doing all kinds of things, but I'm realistic.
*Think you’re attractive: Somewhat. I don't spend a lot of time thinking or worrying about it. There are more important things to deal with.
*Think you’re a health freak: I may be a freak, but not a healthy one.
*Get along with your parent(s): Uh, yeah, I love my mommy. She's a wonderful woman.
*Like thunderstorms: I LOVE thunderstorms. I really do, but they are not much fun with a 65 pound lab clinging to your leg and crying like a baby. If I can get him to snuggle up with me and calm him by rubbing his ears, then I get to enjoy them.
*Play an instrument: Tone deaf people tend to NOT be very musically inclined. (see above)

LAYER 4: In the past month have you…

*Drank alcohol: Nope.
*Smoked: (see layer 3)
*Done a drug: Nope, just the ones that I am supposed to take.
*Made out: with my hubby, Duh.
*Gone on a date: A date? You mean two people enjoying each others company, outside of the house? Alone? Without Children? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha . . . uh . . .No.
*Gone to the mall: I despise the mall. I don't go unless I have to, but I did take Heather and her friends for her birthday in November.
*Eaten an entire box of Oreos: Unless I am in a diabetic coma and don't know it, the answer would be, no.
*Eaten sushi: The only raw seafood I ever eat are oysters and I haven't done that in ages.
*Been on stage: You mean like exotic dancing? No.
*Been dumped: I can't remember ever having been dumped.
*Gone skating: Not since I was young enough to handle falling on my butt - about 30 years ago.
*Gone skinny dipping: Um . . . In Kansas, December is NOT skinny dipping weather.
*Stolen Anything: Oh Gosh, not in the past month ! I guess I better get busy planning my next big caper, huh? I've only shoplifted once in my whole LIFE! I was about 18 or 19 years old, I went to pick up some medication at the pharmacy, and pay for them at the front check out. They were about twice the amount I had on me at the time, so I just slipped them in my purse and walked out. Never got caught, but I never did anything like that again.

LAYER 5: Have you ever…

*Played a game that required removal of clothing: Like strip poker? Once, but I think he cheated.
*Been trashed or extremely intoxicated: I have only been intoxicated once or twice, I've never been a big drinker. However, when I was much younger, I was known to smoke myself into oblivion on a regular basis.
*Been caught “doing something”: I'm sure that my kids have walked in on my husband and I, but they were probably so traumatised they've blocked it out. Oh wait a minute, What do you mean by "doing something?"
*Been called a tease: Yeah, but I think they were just teasing.
*Gotten beaten up: No, I tend to do enough damage all by myself, just walking across the room.
*Shoplifted: (See layer 4)

LAYER 6:

*Age you did get/hope to be married: I was 28 years old when I got married.
*Numbers and names of children (either you have or want): 4 kids, Jasmin, Nick, Jacob, Heather- and some days, I don't want any of them.
*Describe your dream mate: He would be just like the guy I'm married to.
*How do you want to die: I don't want to die! Why does all this have to turn so morbid and dark?!! *sigh* Okay, I'd like to be strapped to the nose of a rocket, and shot into outer space. Is that the sort of thing you're looking for? Sheesh, that's just sick !
*What did you want to be when you grow up: I always wanted to be a fashion designer or something involving art. So . . . I worked really hard, got knocked up, and here I am today.
*What country would you most like to visit: Either Ireland or Scotland. I am enamored with the whole gothic, romantic, beautiful, green and lush country side. I'd also love to visit the castles.

LAYER 7: Now tell...

*Name a drug you’ve taken illegally: I smoked pot when I was a teen, but then, some A-hole stole my Steve Miller album, and it was just pointless after that.
*Name a person you could trust with my life: With YOUR life? Hell, I don't care. With MY life? There are a few people that I trust, but I think, last time I checked, we have to be responsible for our own lives.
*Number of piercings: I have two piercings in each earlobe, but only one set is still open and useable for hanging small objects from.
*Number of tattoos: I don't have any, but some times, I have to draw little arrows on my body for my husband.
*Number of times my name has appeared in the newspaper: I think the only time was when I was issued my marriage license. ( my mom saved it.) So now, everyone knows about it.
*Name a past experience that you regret: I make it a policy not to sit around thinking about regrets. I just try to move forward.

Odd Tuesday

There are days when I am reminded how foolish it is to expect any kind of sane routine or rhythm to occur in my life. Today was one of those days.

I got up early to get the kids off to school, and found that Jacob was moping around. That's very unusual for him. Normally, Jake looks forward to going to school. However, last night, when he had his friends over, he became unusually quiet. In fact, while his friends socialized downstairs in the family room, he left them and came upstairs. Anti social behavior is just not part of Jake's personality, so I asked him if he and Chrissy had argued. He said, no, but he wasn't very convincing. Later that evening, he told me that Chrissy's mom said that they couldn't hang out after school for the rest of the week. He said that she didn't explain why, but he was convinced that Chrissy's mom didn't like him. Hmmm . . . I don't know if that's the whole story, but if it is, I'm pretty sure that I'll never know what Jake said, or did, to make her feel that way. Whatever the situation, it had Jake pretty upset because he didn't want to go to school this morning. Maybe, I'm a little too sympathetic to teenage drama, but I let him off the hook. Partly because he doesn't miss school very often, also because I was hoping that during his day at home, he might open up a little and talk to me about it. Eventually, he did talk to me, a little, in bits and pieces, but it all sounds kind of vague to me, and I'm not sure what to make of it. By the end of the day, he was acting more like his normal -abnormal - self. So for now, I'm just going to write it off to teenage weirdness. If it's more than that, it will all come out in the wash eventually.

When I went to wake Heather half an hour later, she was still struggling with cramps and a headache that began last night. At least that was something that I could understand. I probably should have given her a Tylenol and sent her to school, but I figured, what the hell, and let her stay home too.

Maybe it wasn't a very responsible "mom thing" to do, but letting them stay home just felt like the right thing to do, on both counts, so I'm not going to beat myself up over it.

I DO feel a little frustrated by the timing of it though. I had really been looking forward to having my days (sans children) to myself again, so I could get some things accomplished, but I guess it all worked out okay. Today was an unexpectedly nice day in terms of weather, so I took advantage of it. I spent three hours walking my dogs, with their little doggie back packs filled with cans of vegetables strapped to their backs, so they were nice and worn out when we were done. I spent the rest of the day saying the word "walk," out loud, and instead of going bonkers with excitement, they just laid on the floor and rolled their eyes at me.

When Jake and Heather's friends got out of school, I had to inform them that, sadly, they couldn't come over to hang out because, Jake and Heather didn't go to school today. Then, because I'm so evil, I said,
"It's really too bad that you can't go outside today, it probably won't be this nice again until April or May . . . of next year."
If I had been repressing any guilt for letting them fake sick, it was chased away when they wailed,
"UGH !!! NO FAIR !!!!" in unison. As a mom, there are moments when you just can't help but smile.

Oh well, after walking five miles with the dogs, I'm finally feeling worn out too. I think I'll go put myself to bed and hope that the world doesn't conspire against me tomorrow. (of course, I won't hold my breath)
Good night.

Love,
Susan

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Sleeping is no game, you know?


Gosh, what a day! or half day, or maybe night . . . I don't know, I'm so confused right now. I got busy last night and by the time I checked the clock, it was 5AM !! Heather had requested to be woke up this morning at 6AM. (by mom, NOT dad. Apparently, Heather has complaints about dad's boring and grumpy demeanor in the AM) I had to run to the bank right after Heather left for school, when I got home, Nick and Jennifer had arrived to drop off the bunny -AGAIN. It seems that even after Jennifer produced tears and manipulated her father into allowing her to keep the rabbit, there was dissension among the siblings as to the fairness of his decision, so the rabbit ended up back at my house. What a wuss !!! (I guess saying no to children is a male trait) Anyway, by the time that Nick and Jennifer got the rabbit settled in and themselves out the door, it was 10:30 AM Monday morning! So that's when I went to bed. I know it's crazy, but I was tired.


I set the alarm for 2:30 PM so I could get up and shower before Jake came home, and I snuggled under the blankets with my dogs camped out on the floor around my bed. As I drifted off, my brain started recollecting the strange little thoughts and games that I played as child when I couldn't sleep. Of course, there was the famous pillow flip to find the coolest side. (I still do that sometimes)


There was the rolling of the blankets under my toes so that the alligators at the foot of my bed, couldn't snack on my digits while I slept. Of course, back then, there was still a good 1-2 feet between where my toes ended, and the bottom of the mattress. It couldn't just be empty space - something had to live there! What?! Didn't you have something at the foot of your bed, waiting for you to drift off and nibble your little piggies during the night? I don't know which is more ridiculous, the fear of alligators in my bed, or the idea that wrapping my toes in blankets would provide any sort of protection ! But that's how a little kid's minds work - if there is an empty space, it has to be filled with imagination.


Until I was 6 or 7 years old, I firmly believed that an entire colony of fluffy little people, the size ants, lived full and rich lives inside my pillow. Their homes and workplaces were constructed out of tunnels that their ancestors carefully carved out of pillow fluff. (I had a very OLD pillow) If I laid very still at night and listened very carefully, I could hear them as they went about their lives. I had to be very careful not to sneeze or yawn too loudly, or they might think that all was not right in their world, some kind of natural disaster, and they would all stop what they were doing, get panicked looks on their faces, and run to "take cover," like we had to do at school during tornado drills. Any thoughtless little action on my part, could result in disaster for untold millions of innocent pillow people.


If that got dull, or I still couldn't sleep, I could roll over and watch the of head lights from cars passing on the street outside my bedroom window, shine across my bedroom walls. As my mind drifted, I developed a magic eight ball kind of system to calm my worries. Two cars in a row meant 'yes,' one car meant 'no,' a big rumbling truck meant 'maybe, ask again later.' Will tomorrow be sunny? Does my teacher like me? Does the dog know what I'm thinking? Will Santa bring me a Barbie town house? That's how little kids resolve the stressful issues in life. Everything is magical, there must be a meaning and purpose for everything in their lives. After all, the sun DOES rise and set just for them.


God, it's a wonder any of us ever grow up to become "normal adults." Of course, with stuff like that in our heads, why would we want to grow up at all ? Am I the only one who remembers bedtime games and thoughts like that ? Was I the only four year old insomniac? I can't believe that everyone else just went to bed, and went to sleep, like my boring little brother. Maybe, I'm the only 46 year old person who allows stuff like that to occupy space in my brain that would be better suited for grown up concerns ? (what ever those are . . .)


I don't know. All I know is that I only got 4 hours sleep this afternoon, and I'm feeling frazzled. I think I will go back to my bed, and this time, try to wake at a decent hour tomorrow.

Good night.


Love,

Susan


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thank goodness tomorrow is MONDAY !

Well, I just got done baking a batch of chocolate chip cookies and a batch of peanut butter crackle cookies. Lately, it seems like I've been baking cookies 2 or 3 times a week just to keep Jake's friends happy. Everyday, he comes home with Chrissy, his girl friend, and Summer, Chrissy's BFF, and various other kids. After being happily greeted by the dogs, they go straight to the kitchen screaming,
"Were home Mom! Got any cookies?!"
I'm not too worried about these girls getting fat, they're all almost anorexicly thin, blond, and gorgeous. Apparently, Hot chicks like hyperactive, silly guys like my son. Of course, he is terribly handsome and sensitive as well. He might be a little goofy, but I'm crazy about him too.

I've spent most of my day cleaning up from the weekend, and cooking. I didn't get my chili on to simmer soon enough , so I threw together some hamburgers at the last minute. After dinner, I put chili ingredients in the crock pot for a while and we'll have Chili tomorrow. It will be twice as yummy after the flavors have had overnight to blend in the fridge. While it was simmering this evening, Heather wandered into the kitchen and asked what that awesome smell was. I told her chili, and she begged for a taste. She concluded that it was, in fact, VERY delicious and she can't wait for dinner tomorrow night. I think I'll wait until after she's eaten her fill to tell her that it's venison. (he,he!)

I didn't think I'd ever get Jake and Heather off to bed. They've been staying up late and sleeping in for the past five days. They're going to be bears in the morning. It's been lightly snowing on and off all day, but it's not been heavy enough, or cold enough, to really stick and amount to anything. The kids are still holding out hope that things will change and they'll get a snow day tomorrow. NOT gonna happen. Thankfully! I'm about to loose my mind with all these kids. I need about eight hours of sanity and quiet tomorrow.

Well, like I said, My brain's been too frazzled to think of anything interesting to write about. I feel like a puppy chasing it's tail lately, and I'm just exhausted. I'm going to try and get to bed early tonight and catch up on some sleep.
Good night.

Love,
Susan

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Ho,ho, ho, hum


I woke this morning to find snow gently falling outside my window. It's been falling most of the day, but with the temps in the mid 30's, it just turns to wet when it hits the ground. Now that the sun has gone down, it's cooled off considerably. My backyard deck has turned to ice and it's supposed to start snowing again tonight, so maybe, there will be a blanket of white in the morning.


The snow fit into my plans for the day nicely. Today, we put up our Christmas tree and decorated the inside of the house. Ohhhhhh . . .Ahhhhhh . . . shiny, sparkly, glittery . . . crap.

Ugh ! I've been Dragging all the huge plastic tote boxes up and down the stairs all day, along with all the dust and cobwebs. Not to mention all the itsy, bitsy fake pine needle foo-foos that get dumped everywhere. I'm just NOT in a Christmasy mood this year. Unfortunately, there's really no way to stop it, so we might as well get this over with. To be honest, I don't mind the lights and decorations as much as the insanity, stress, and greed that they inevitably bring. For now, the house looks bright and pretty and I'm not going to think about the rest. I'm just going to focus on my accomplishments and be content with that.


Last night, Roy and I took Heather and Ana to go see Twilight, the movie. I was a little disappointed. It was a very picturesque, romantic movie, but I just don't think it's possible for an hour and a half film to convey a story as complex and emotionally detailed as this one. I think a person would have actually had to have read the book to fully appreciate the movie. I don't know if it's true, but someone told me that the movie was originally four hours long. I would be interested to see that, if it were released on a home DVD.


Other than that, things around here have been sort of . . . I don't know, blah? I don't know what's up, maybe the lack of sunlight and the abundance of cold grey skies, but I've just been feeling so tired and worn out. I haven't walked the dogs as much lately and I'm starting to pay the price. They're feeling anxious and very discontent. Maybe, if we get some snow accumulation in the morning, I'll feel like getting them out to play. They just love a walk in the snow. I don't mind, as long as it isn't bitterly cold and windy.


The other night, we were over at Jasmin's house and her husband gave us some ground venison. Tomorrow, I'm going to try to make a pot of Chili with it. I've only cooked with venison one other time before, when we spent a summer in the mountains of Colorado, ages ago. I hope it turns out okay. Heather is already having an issue with eating "Bambi."


Well, I need to finish putting up the last of the snowflakes on the windows, then get myself off to bed. Hope everyone is having a great weekend.


Love,

Susan

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

Whew! I feel like I should have been given a T-shirt that says: I Survived Thanksgiving 2008 !
For the past several years, it's become tradition for my family to meet at my older brother's house for the annual Thanksgiving gorging event, I mean, dinner. This year, the only one who didn't make it was my youngest brother. He's currently living in St. Louis and recovering from a hernia repair operation. I wouldn't think that driving several hours to pig out would be very beneficial to his recovery. God knows, it's not very beneficial to my waistline ! But, it's a sacrifice that I'm willing to make, you know, for the sake of family. (he,he) Actually, I was pretty good. It always helps when we eat fairly early, before my evening appetite has a chance to kick in. I did get an extra large helping of my favorite, my mom's oyster stuffing. I offered to take the leftovers off Mark and Lesta's hands, but Mark couldn't find them. (greedy little shit)

All four of my maniac children were there this year though, along with my very adorable, but slightly deranged grandchildren. And oh yeah, Nick and Jennifer brought the baby bunny that Heather has been dying to bunny sit. There were only a few times that I had to escape to the grown up table in the other room. (it gets just a little crazy with all my kids in one room)

We finally left about 4PM and Nick and Jennifer followed us home. Nick had plans to do some work on Jennifer's car, while Jen went over all the specifics with Heather on the bunny care. Thankfully, Jennifer got all teary eyed about leaving her baby at the last minute, and decided to call her dad and beg for a change of heart. The tears were more than he could take. So they took the bunny home with them. (Thank You, God!) Keeping the dogs away from that bunny would have been more stress than I needed.

Unfortunately, Heather now has it in her head that SHE wants her OWN bunny. She is determined to earn the money to get one. She went through the same thing with the hamster, which was crazy to start with. Heather has always had a phobia about mice, but she met a friend who had a cute, cuddly hamster, so she had to have one. She saved her money, we went to the pet store and bought it. She has had that hamster for almost 4 months and she is still afraid to pick it up and hold it. She does well to feed and water it. When she cleans the cage, I have to come and move the hamster for her. But you know, when Heather gets something in her head . . .

Well, I have to go deal with Jake and Patrick. They went downstairs to my art room and found a couple of 6 foot foam pool noodles and they are beating the crap out of each other with them. Peter is very worried about the whole thing. He knows that such rowdy behavior is not allowed, but he's too afraid of the giant noodles that go "thwack" to go down stairs and bark at them to behave. So instead, he's tattling on them. He's sitting here at my chair, whinging at me to do something. So I guess I better go do it. Wish me luck.

Love,
Susan

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm such a dork.

Oh. My. God. Somebody just shoot me and put me out of my misery ! I must be getting old and senile. Ooooh, big surprise, huh? I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. And I was having a good day. Well, actually, it's still a good day, I can't allow my stupidity to ruin everything. I learned to live with it a long time ago. Besides, it's Roy's biggest source of entertainment.

Okay, here's what I did. I let our water get shut off. (Not one word, Chris!) I got an extension on the bill because of Heather's birthday, and I forgot to write the new due date on my calendar. So . . .while I was out walking the dogs, they shut off my water. I came home, fed the dogs, went to the grocery store to get some supplies for dinner, blah, blah, by the time I figured out what happened, it was too late to make the payment because the office was closed. So guess who has to get up early and go pay the bill? The kids don't have to go to school tomorrow and I really wanted to sleep in. Damn, I'm such a dork.

So anyway, that's just the beginning of today's insanity. When Jake came home from school he brought a houseful of friends with him to celebrate Thanksgiving break. (Jake will use any excuse to have a party. ) In spite of having a houseful of loud, rowdy teenagers and no tap water, I managed to cook a lovely pot roast dinner for everyone. As I was cleaning up, the stupid electricity goes out! Everyone got silent and I yelled,
"This is NOT my fault!"
I immediately looked out the window to make sure that every one's electricity was out. Yup, the darkness that resulted from the lack of street lights matched the pitch black inside our house.

Now, as you may, or may not have noticed on my lunar phases chart, tonight the moon was only 1% lit. So having no lights gave a new meaning to the word DARK. I grabbed my lighter and started lighting candles. While everyone else walked around with their cell phones open to light their way. (Thank goodness I'm a candle freak.) Strangely, I noticed that the sudden darkness didn't result in any complaints from the family room, where Jake and his girlfriend were snuggled together on the couch. Since lighting candles didn't seem to improve the the status quo, I sent them upstairs to hang out with dad, who is usually quite gassy after a pot roast dinner.

That's another thing. Without electricity and the hum of the computer and refrigerator, and sounds of T.V.'s and radios from every room, the world becomes strangely quiet. Olathe is the county seat of Johnson County, and since the old west days, it's been a major thoroughfare for trains. (you can't swing a dead cat in Olathe without it landing on a street that has at least two railroad crossings.) So as we sat in the silent darkness, the sound of trains passing only a few blocks away (Which we don't, normally, even hear) sounded like a low flying helicopter directly over our house. For a minute, everyone stopped talking and looked at each other as if to say,
"Is this more than a simple power outage ? "
Without electricity there's no immediate communication from the outside world, for a moment, we realised, we had no way of knowing how many people were without power or why. I walked to the front door and opened it. When I said it was 'just a train,' everyone breathed an involuntary sigh of relief. Still, Roy suddenly announced that he was going to take a drive and see how many people were affected by the outage. Heather and her girl friend decided to go with him.

While I sat with Jake and Chrissy by candle light I started to chuckle. I said, "This is great, I'm toting water from the neighbor's well (actually their outside water hose) to make dinner, and now, we're spending the evening by candle light without T.V., computers, radios, or any of our modern conveniences. It feels like we've gone back in time 100 years."
They both said , "yeah" in unison. Then Chrissy said,
"Kinda boring . . . and Jake added,
"Sucks. . ."

Eventually, Jake discovered the many wonders of hot candle wax to entertain himself with while he and Chrissy discussed how many new babies would result from this power outage nine months from now. (I gotta watch those two!! ) Shortly after Roy and the girls got back, the lights came back on. As if in celebration, they tuned the T.V. to a music channel and cranked it up louder than normal. (at least it seemed louder than normal.)

Anyway, life is back to normal now - well, mostly. I better get myself to bed. Tomorrow is only Wednesday, but it's going to be a LONG weekend this week. In addition to paying the water bill, I have to gather supplies and get started on our annual tradition of snowflake making which begins tomorrow, plus I will have twice the dishes and laundry to do ! UGH! I just can't get a break. Goodnight, and if I don't see, or hear from you before then, have a happy Thanksgiving !

Love,
Susan

Monday, November 24, 2008

The Circle of Life


Well, I'm sitting here this Monday afternoon, sort of at a stand still. I have things I could be doing, such as laundry, grocery shopping, etc, but I'm out of supplies and my hubby left the house this morning with all my money. Because of his work schedule today, he won't make it back in the direction of home until 3PM. So I have a lull in my day, which will be followed by rushing around like a mad woman, trying to get everything done at once. Oh well, some days are like that.


I finally heard from Nick over the weekend. He's been busy working some temp jobs and helping to pack. Jennifer and her family have found another house (With the same space, in the same school district, that actually works much better, financially, for them) and they will be moving soon.


The only problem seems to be . . . last Friday, Nick bought a baby bunny for Jennifer, and there are absolutely no pets allowed at the new house. So he called Sunday to ask if I would Bunny sit until they are able to move into their own place. (it could be quite some time before Nick and Jen are able to afford their own apartment) Now when they first adopted the bunny, they stopped by my house to show her off and I set them up with Princess' old doggie crate as a temporary bunny home for her. As Jennifer held Nala, the bunny, I noticed that my dogs were of course very curious about this little bundle of fur. Midnight, my little "romeo" dog, adores little furry things, he calmly sat with his head in Jens lap and licked the bunny's paws. However, Angel, who is a working dog with a very strong prey drive, knew exactly what Nala, was. Angel has chased more than her share of rabbits. As she sniffed at her, her ears and tail came to attention, and her eyes dilated. NOT a good sign. Heather desperately wants to care for Nala and she has volunteered to keep her in her room, where she already has a hamster. I'm not so sure about all of this.


I think that I may have mentioned, we used to have several turtle doves. This was back when Heather was younger, and we only had two dogs; Honeybear, my very loving and gentle Golden Retriever, and Guttenburg, a formerly feral German Sheppard. Two of the doves, belonged to Heather. Because of Guttenburg's prey drive, I was always careful to keep the dove cages out of Gute's reach. Even though Honey bear was a bird dog, I never worried about her.because she never showed any interest in them. One day, Guttenburg was at the vets office having some x-rays done, and Heather had the bird cage sitting on the kitchen table. We had to make a quick run to the store, and when we returned . . . we found a trail of gray feathers and both birds, out of their cages and dead. Honeybear, was sitting in her usual spot, just like always, looking sweet and innocent. As I surveyed the scene of the crime (and Heather sobbed uncontrollably) there were signs of a chase, a struggle, and tooth marks in the bodies. It was obvious that Honeybear was guilty. Although I have no idea HOW she did it because, the bird cage door was still closed and locked. I tried to explain to Heather that Honeybear was just following her natural instincts, but she wouldn't speak to Honeybear for weeks.


I don't want a similar drama replayed. Especially since Nala isn't mine. But Nick is desperate to find a home for the bunny, and Heather is determined to keep her for them. I'm used to chaos and insanity, and even occasional dismemberment, but Angel is Heather's dog, and I don't know if I could handle it if anything happened to alter that relationship. In spite of all my warnings, it looks like the two of them are determined to do this. so it appears that the circle of life (and death) can not be stopped. Just in case, I have recorded my objections here. Mark my words . . .


In other news . . . Today is beginning of a week, that traditionally marks the start of many annual festivities and celebrations. (UGH!) This year, it's more like a gauntlet that has to be run. The kids have only two days of school this week before Thanksgiving break begins on Wednesday. After that . . . LET THE INSANITY BEGIN !!! Family feasting, decking the halls with snowflakes, Christmas trees, and boxes of other dust covered glittery items. And of course, Black Friday, which I REFUSE be part of. However, I did promise to take the kids to see Twighlight, the movie on Friday. That'll be crazy enough. I also have to plan for the month that follows. Gingerbread house creation, and a bunch of other merry family activities, blah, blah, blah.


Okay, I really do have some things I should be doing to prepare for this week. I need to get my butt out of this chair and moving. Wish me luck . . .


Love,

Susan