Tuesday, December 29, 2009

It's been a LONG day . . .

and I've spent most of it in the kitchen - cleaning and cooking.  Tomorrow, I conquer the living room and the laundry  . . . maybe.  The dogs just came inside and they are covered with snow.  It's snowing?  Again?  Roy said that it's supposed to snow all night and all day tomorrow.  Since Jenn has plans for Wednesday, I get to hang out with Baby Brooklyn.  She's such a sweet, adorable, little distraction. Maybe I'll just spend the day cuddling with her and watching the snow fall tomorrow instead?  Hmmmm . . .
Right now, I think I'll go crawl into bed. 
Goodnight.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas 2009 in Kansas City




These are some photos of our Christmas snowstorm that were sent into the local Fox 4 news blog from people around the metro area.  It started snowing Christmas eve and continued until late evening on the 26th.  We've been known to have our share of snow here in the plains, but it isn't very often that we get snowfall that is so perfectly timed for the holidays.

Oh, and on the Country Club Plaza, the snow plows pushed snow into piles that were TWO STORIES high.  (which of course, means that every loon in the city feels a need to climb it and and have their photo

taken!)

I'm so confused !!!

Holidays, especially the Christmas/New Year's holiday week, throw me completely off balance. No matter what day the 25th and the 1st fall on, I spend the entire 7 days in between trying to figure out what day it is, and what I'm supposed to be doing. With the kids out of school, everyone taking long weekends, and this year, cancellations and rescheduling of events because of the weather . . . everything seems to be in a state of chaos and confusion for me. I wish I could just relax a bit and go with the flow like everyone else does. If I ask the kids what day it is they just look at me blankly, shrug, and say,
"I dunno, I'm on vacation. Who cares?"
The dogs don't care about cancellations and changed plans, all they know is that there is tons of cold, fluffy, white stuff everywhere to play in. The fact that everyone is at home to let them outside and back inside, probably qualifies as a vacation for them. And Roy? Well, he's no help at all.

So, when do I get a vacation? It would be so nice to spend a week (or two) not caring about what day it is, where I have to be, or what I have to do.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The nightmare AFTER Christmas.


OH. MY. GOD.   My house is a Christmas Nightmare! Since my kiddos are older, teens now, (old enough to not believe in Santa, but still young enough to be excited over new loot) we've started a new tradition of opening gifts on Christmas Eve.  Thus eliminating the need for Roy and I to be dragged out of bed at 5AM on Christmas morning to participate (if you can even call it that) in the usual Christmas morning chaos of gift opening.  Instead, we can sleep in.  Of course changes in long held family tradition are always a subject for careful consideration.  So, after great and serious debate (read: much whinging and manipuation by children, followed by the inevitable caving in to their every whim by my husband) the long standing custom was changed a couple of years back.
 
At first, even I had to admit that I enjoyed the luxury of sleeping in on Christmas morn, but I have since discovered a few minor flaws in that plan - most of which are the result of my control freak,  OCD about keeping my house sane and orderly. I'm honest enough to admit that theses are MY issues; In fact, since the other five and a half people living in my home have zero regard for the concept of order and organization, I really have no choice other than to own up to it.  For years now, I've been working on "letting go" of my anal retentive control issues regarding "my house."  And truthfully, I've come a long way towards relaxing and accepting that not everyone has the same standards about "their space" that I do - In other words, I've learned to adapt. 

However, there are times (like this morning) when living in my house seems like a hostile environment for my fragile sanity.  I know that it's not intentional, and it really can't be avoided with so many people (and dogs) living in such a small space.  Add to all that,  the excitement and chaos of a holiday that includes numerous new toys, PLUS an icy cold snow storm that keeps everyone trapped inside the house . . . I was doomed before I crawled out of bed. There was a time, when a day like today  would have had me believing that my family had maliciously plotted to destroy my sanity and insult my standards. Still, in spite of all the strikes against me, I think I did pretty well.  No emotional breakdowns, no tears, or screaming fits, and as the day draws to a close, everyone is sleeping peacefully in their beds - not a single death or serious injury  among them - we all survived!  Sometimes, I amaze myself.

Oh yeah, I'm pretty much as crazy as everyone else in this asylum.  My weirdness may run the other end of the spectrum, but I'm fairly certain that most "normal" people don't struggle with physical with draws from the vacuum.   Longing to hear that satisfing woosh and clatter that comes with sucking the grit off a floor.  Pacing the house, trying with all my might to resist the urge to gather the tiny scraps if scotch tape and tattered remains of Christmas wrap confetti from under the couch and coffe table. I doubt mentally stable people go into hysterics, when the Lysol bottle is empty; gathering their pennies and loose change just to buy a refil bottle from the corner store, like a chain smoker jonesing for a smoke.  It's sad really.

So, I waited.  I found distractions for myself.  Finally, after everyone had been fed and settled into bed for the night, I crept to the top of the stairs, grabbbed the vacuum and a bottle of windex from the closet.  I told myself, 'just a quick once over of the living room to get me through.'  45 minutes later, I felt I could relax enough to settle down and read one of my new books that I got for Christmas.  Tomorrow, Nick and Jenn are taking Heather to work with them, Roy may go to work as well, and Jake will find something to do to fill his time.  It'll just be Baby Brooklyn and me for most of the day.  The two of us can putter around setting our world back into place.  (Baby Brooklyn never tells Nana's secrets.)  By the time Monday rolls around my world will be spinning smoothly - I hope - even though the kids are home until January 7th.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas !

Okay.  I'm back on line and it's the night before Christmas - Christmas Eve!  And I'm feeling especially happy this year because we have finally been blessed with a WHITE CHRISTMAS !!!  We started out with sleet and rain this morning, then,  about 6 PM this evening it turned into snow, now it's more like a full blown bizzard, and I couldn't be happier - It's beautiful !!!  ( even my dogs are filled with the holiday spirit !)

I'll be honest, for a long time now, I've really struggled with the whole Christmas thing.  I LOVE the "idea" of Christmas; the traditions, the lights, the decorations, the celebration, all of that.  I've always said that it's the commercialism and the media perversion of it all that I dislike.  But you know,  I was thinking about it last night, and I think what bugs me the most is that it all happens too quickly for me.  Especially coming at the very end of the year!  It just seems like go, go, go, all year long, every month filled with birthdays, holidays, and a million special occassions;  then, at the very end of the year, almost as an after thought, they decide to throw in the biggest celebration of all . . . Christmas!  It would be SO much nicer if there was more time to prepare, plan for, and actually ENJOY it all.  After a whole year's worth of chaos and rushing around, wouldn't it be nice to take it all in, to just slow down and think about what it all means?  It just seems like it's one more thing that has to be rushed through.  But then, maybe it's just the inevitable result of the world we.ve created and the kind of lives we live ?  I've read . . . that way back, who knows when, that life used to be slower.  Holidays and celebrations had a real purpose and meaning for people.  They were important - not just another way of  ticking off the passing months in a year.  *sigh*  Maybe I was just born in the wrong time?

All I know is - I'm exhausted.  I'm going to toddle off to bed now and spend tomorrow with my family and watching the snow fall. 

Have a safe and Merry Christmas everyone !!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Excused Absence

Once again, I've been neglecting my blog.   *SIGH*   What can I say?  I've been distracted by all the usual insanity here at the asylum . . . again.  
Not only have I been busy tearing down and storing our yard haunt, but my youngest, my baby,  turned thirteen last week.  UGH, a teenager!  If things were crazy before, they are about to become completely out of control now.   I know this from experience.  Of course, this is the first time that I will be dealing with TWO teens at the same time.  In the past, due to the number of years between my children, I've always been fortunate enough to get one through the teen years before the next one reached the magic (or is it really a cursed number?) age of 13.  Silly me, my last two kids are only two years apart in age.  Of course, Jake and Heather are so close, they do everything together.  For the most part, that has been a blessing; I'll have to wait and see if I still feel the same way in the coming years.

Anyway, for Heather's thirteenth birthday she wanted to have a slumber party with 7 of her closest girlfriends.  Normally, that wouldn't be a huge problem;  except for the past several months, our little asylum has been running at full occupancy with Nick, Jenn, and the baby living with us.  Of course, I knew it would be total chaos ( as well as a probable violation of several city codes for maxium occupancy of a four bedroom duplex)  with that many teenage girls in the house.  But after all, it's just for one night . . .   The biggest issue was, where to bed down that many people.  Not that I expected them to do much sleeping, at least not until the wee hours of the morning.  It was finally decided that the only possible availible space was -  the garage.  The problem with that?  Heather's birthday is only 11 days after Halloween.  Not only was the garage still set up as a mad doctor's laboratory from Halloween, but on November 1st, everything from the front yard cemetery gets shoved into the garage until I can get it all packed away. (which normally happens over a span of months) So yeah, I've been extremely busy these past few days, tranforming our garage from a laboratory/storage space, to a party room for teens - all in less than a weeks time.
And because my husband has no idea what it takes to preform the sort of magic that I do on a daily basis, he scheduled Pete's neutering for the morning after the Slumber party !  Of course, we had Pheonix neutered the week before Halloween, and that made me a nervous wreck. Not only was I all strung out over the emotional guilt of abandoning my baby overnight at a strange place,  but I have to admit that dealing with a post-surgery animal was a bit more stressful than I had anticipated.  Not only are they unable to tell you if they're in pain, or if something isn't right, but they could care less about things like . . . surgical incision care, and infection.  They're just dogs, they aren't equiped with survival instincts that cover human situations like surgery.  I was actually amazed at how co-operative Pheonix turned out to be - the perfect patient.  In fact, as the days have passed, I am only sorry that we didn't have him neutered earlier.  I'm starting to think that most of his anxiety and bad behavior was testosterone induced.  He's just a happier, more relaxed, and contented dog.  He has actually become more playful and puppy like.



However, in comparison, Pete . . .   To put it as tactfully as possible, Pete is well, uh . . . psychotic as hell.  He has more issues than LIFE magazine.  Not only is he stubborn and willful, but he has separation anxiety, he's a fence climber with a wandering spirit, he's absolutely frantic when it comes to his fear of thunderstorms, and when it comes to licking and chewing . . . OCD doesn't even BEGIN to describe it !  He has done everything in his power to make his recovery time difficult for everyone; and as a result, it's taking longer for him to heal.  He refuses to leave his incision alone and he worries over it day and night.  We've had to put one of those goofy Elizabethian collars on him, keep him separated from the other dogs, and still, we have to watch him constantly. ALL he does is whinge and cry like a baby.  Once again, I've had to redecorate the garage, this time into a makeshift dog kennel.  Actually, it's more like a canine presidential suite!  And does he appreciate all that I've done for him?  Hell NO!  When I named our home haunt Howling Hollow Asylum, I had no idea that it would become so prophetic.  Pete's constant crying and howling is making everyone insane!!!  Every night when I go to bed, I pray that the hormones will work themselves out of his body quickly, and that the lack of testosterone will have the same effect on Pete as it's had on pheonix.  This really is our last hope.  If neutering him doesn't curb his dominance and his desire to fight with Pheonix, I have to find him another home.  It's going to break my heart, but I can't have that kind of violence and tension in my home.

In other news . . . I've decided to start looking for a job.  Roy has been laid off from his job (which really didn't supply him with enough hours or pay anyway)  and with the kids getting older, and the Holidays and the economy  being such a financial stress - well, I think it's just time for me to go back to work.  I've sent out a few resumes with my optical experience and I seem to be getting pretty good responses.  I know that over the past 20 years that I've been at home there have been a lot of changes (new equipment and products, computers, and worst bof all, insurance)  but the basics never really change much.  Besides, all the changes are really kind of unique specific to each office, so I would probably have to learn it anyway.  But I think I would much rather return to optics, than find work in my other area of training - teaching preschool. Not only is the pay and benefits better, but I think I've had enough of dealing with children. (or grown ups that BEHAVE like children)  Still, I'm really nervous and anxious about the whole thing - it just seems weird to imagine not being at home all the time, and I know that there will have to be new rules, and a lot of  restructuring at home  if I'm not here all day. ( my family doesn't exactly embrace change very well)   I know that in the long run, it will be a good thing, I just don't look forward to the short term stress.  So wish me luck, and keep my family in your prayers, please.
I'm still working on getting the Halloween photos uploaded to my other blog.  My stupid computer has been SO slow lately, I can only do a few each evening.  Hopefully, I'll have it done by the end of this weekend - I'll let you know.

Well, it's late and I need to sleep.  I'll try not to be so long between posts next time.
Good night  all.

*p.s. dog photo credits: my very talented daughter, Heather !

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween 2009

Well, it's November 3rd, and I'm still trying to come up with words that would aptly describe this year's Halloween at Howling Hollow Insane Asylum. Mostly because I'm still trying to get over the trauma and shock of it all. The words that keep coming to mind are: spooky and . . . chaotic? I'm sure it was a year that we'll always remember, but maybe not for the best reasons.

The weather was surprisingly good, although we didn't have as pre-dusk trick or treaters this year, so things got off to a slow start. In fact, things didn't really get rolling until about 6:30PM. That's about when all hell broke lose.

At 6:45 the sound of sirens filled the neighborhood and we were shocked to find that they were headed straight towards our little asylum. We all gathered in the drive as an Olathe med-act truck pulled up in front of the duplex next door. We have a passing acquaintance with the folks living there. I have spoken with Joyce, the wife, occasionally as I walked my dogs; and last summer, my oldest son, Nick, spent a few evenings at their house with a gentleman who lived with them for a few months. However since he moved out, things have been fairly quiet with Joyce caring for Jimmy, her bedridden husband. I knew that Joyce had a history of strokes and I was afraid that she might be having another. However, when the paramedic jumped out of the van, Joyce came frantically rushing into the front yard screaming at him to "Hurry!" Several fire trucks rolled onto the scene, followed by police cars. Nick and my husband went to see if they could be any help. Joyce was hysterical and crying incoherently about her husband needing help right away. As firemen rushed in and back out yelling for "Water! Now!", smoke started drifting out the door. Eventually, she was able to explain that her husband, who is dependant upon some sort of respiratory system, had been sitting on the couch smoking a cigarette when something went terribly wrong. She rushed down stairs to find him engulfed in flames! She tried, but was unable to do anything to help him. As everyone tried to comfort her, the flames were extinguished and her husband was brought out on a stretcher and rushed to the local burn unit with over 90% of his body burnt. A second med-act took Joyce to the same hospital and she was treated for smoke inhalation. For the next 45 minutes our street was blocked off with emergency vehicles and reporters. My son, who just happened to be dressed up as a Catholic Cardinal, was interviewed by a television crew who asked to shoot additional footage of our home haunt.

It was all very sad and almost surreal. By 8PM, as suddenly as they had arrived, all the fire trucks, ambulances, police, and reporters just seemed to have vanished, and our street was left looking as if a tragedy had never occurred. No one really knew what to say, or think. No one had time to even assess what we had just witnessed.
Within minutes, groups of trick or treaters, who had no idea that anything unusual had happened, began arriving again. By 10:30, when our visitors trickled down to nothing, we had almost 50 people through our haunt. The largest group of a dozen kids was brought by a woman who had seen my blog on line and emailed for directions.
Everyone was too exhausted to tear anything down Saturday night, so we just ate some cold pizza and went to bed.

We woke Sunday morning to discover that Jimmy had died from his burns shortly after Midnight. Before Noon, another reporter, from a different station was knocking at my door, trying to "follow up on the story." They were shooting film of the burnt up couch that was (and still is) sitting at the curb. At first, she was saying how tragic the situation was, and wanted to know if I knew Joyce and Jimmy very well. I told her "not really" then, she started saying things like, she "had heard that this wasn't the first time that something like this had happened." When she asked me if I'd be willing to be interviewed, I said, "No." My opinion of the media has never been very good, and this incident hasn't changed it. So instead of tearing down the haunt, like I usually do, I spent most of the day indoors. Maybe I was being paranoid, but it seemed to me that we had an unusual amount of slow moving traffic on our street that day and I just didn't really want to talk to anyone.

Sunday night, I was able to get a few more photos of the yard by moon light without distractions. I spent most of today packing up the props in the garage, and I'll probably get the yard stuff packed away tomorrow. And hopefully, I'll have time this weekend to sit down and sort through photos and get them posted on my blog.

Right now, I'm exhausted and I'm going to bed.
Good night all.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Rain, rain, go AWAY !

Picked up my little pumpkin head (Phoenix) from the vet this morning, and apparently, all is forgiven. All the dogs are happy to have him home, but I know that they are keeping an eye on me to make sure that they aren't the next one to take a ride and have a little sleep over at the vets. Muwhahaha . . . I can tell them the exact order that they are going; next Pete, then Midnight, and finally, little Spunkers. And somewhere along the line, I'm going to slip Angel in there for her shots. By the time all this is said and done, I'll be so broke that we just may have to become Jehovah's Witnesses for the Holiday season this year.

In other news, I've done nothing but run all over town today in the pouring rain. I think that this has been one of the wettest Octobers in a long, long time. (although, they say that Saturday, Halloween, will be dry) Between staying on top of all the mud that keeps getting tracked into my house, the kids and dogs, and my allergies kicking my butt, I'm not getting a lot done in the way of last minute preparations for Halloween. I've got a to-do list a mile long that HAS to be done TOMORROW. Maybe, I'm starting to feel a little stressed. It's been pointed out to me this evening that I have "a bit of an attitude." In fact, I've managed to piss off two out of three of my children tonight. Of course, in all fairness, one of them has a tendency to be an occasional drama queen, and the other, has a history of being an argumentative pain in the ass.

So . . . I think that it's probably in every one's best interest if I get my spooky little butt off to bed so that, maybe, I'll feel like getting things done in the morning. Who knows? Maybe, I'll make it through the day without anyone running to their room and slamming the door?

Good night all, and to those of you on the other side of the International Date Line, Have a Happy Halloween!

Bad Mommy .


It's been a trying day. This morning, I took Phoenix to the vet to be neutered. One down, three to go. These past 7 days have been awful. We have had to keep Phoenix and his father, Pete separated. While one is out with the other dogs, the other is kenneled in a room, alone, and whimpering. Phoenix has been picking little tussles with Pete and Midnight (the other two males) for so long, Pete just decided that enough was enough - and he's still holding a grudge. They can't be in the same room together without major injuries. Hopefully, getting them neutered will end some of this insanity.

It's not that I feel bad about having them fixed, that part was inevitable, and it's the best thing for him - and the others. I've been telling Roy that it HAS to be done for almost two years now. I just feel like crap because I had to be the one to take him in and drop him off. As I was driving home, I started thinking about what poor little Phoenix must be thinking and feeling after everything that's happened this past week. He doesn't understand why this is happening, he doesn't know why mom abandoned him with some stranger who wants to do strange things to him, he doesn't know that I'll be back to pick him up in the morning. He's never been left alone at the vets office, much less, spent an entire night there. From the day he was born, I've been with him every single day. I couldn't help feeling like the world's worst mom. Why do I always have to be the "bad guy?" Why couldn't Roy take him in, and let me be the "rescuer" who comes to pick him up? It's just not fair.

When I got home, I decided to keep myself busy by finishing up some of the little details on the Asylum. Normally, when I am busy working around the house, I have five curious dogs following me from room to room and everywhere I go. Not today. Today, all four dogs, even Pete, laid in the Living Room, all alone, pouting. When I came upstairs to make some lunch, I looked up to see Angel, Phoenix's mother, sitting in the kitchen doorway - glaring at me. Neither she, nor the other dogs, came to beg food, she just sat there; accusing me of kidnapping and abandoning her pup. I tried to tell her that it was for the best and that her baby would be home in the morning; but she stood up, turned her back on me, and with a swish of her tail, went back to the couch to mourn with her canine family.

Roy and Nick seem to think that it's funny. They think that I'm a fool for feeling the way I do; but they aren't the ones who spend all day with these dogs. They aren't the ones who feed them, bathe them, brush them, walk them, clean up after them, and discipline them. Truthfully, I probably spend more time talking with and caring for these dogs, than I do my husband. How pathetic is that? I gotta get a life.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

High Anxiety

Ugh ! Things around here have been SO crazy. Not just the normal kind of crazy that you would expect at my asylum, but uber crazy! It would be nice if I could report how much I've accomplished since the last time I posted, but I can't.

Last weekend, as well as this whole past week, has been nothing short of chaos. Last weekend just plain sucked. My husband had my car and left me stuck at home with a bunch of lunatic teenagers with no means of escape.
I spent most of Monday just trying to get my car back, because it's simply impossible for my husband to return anything that he uses to it's correct place, or in the same condition that he found it.
Tuesday and Wednesday was filled with nothing but appointments and errands for the kids and the house.
Wednesday night, Pete and Phoenix, two of my male dogs, got into a very ugly (and scary) fight. I think that Pete just got fed up with Phoenix pushing everyone around, and he tore into him with such rage that I don't think I can trust the two of them together anymore. Phoenix ended up with four stitches, and I'm afraid it would have been much worse, if Roy and Nick hadn't been here to pry them apart. It's looking like we are going to have to find a new home for Phoenix, because this house is just too small to keep them separated all the time.
Jake and Heather were home all day Thursday and Friday because of Parent - Teacher conferences. Between keeping track of the whereabouts of two teenagers, AND two dogs that suddenly want to kill each other, I'm totally stressed out.

So no, no new projects this week. In fact, I actually had to threaten my husband to get him to help me with the garage this weekend. This is the last weekend before Halloween so it HAS to be done. A couple of weeks ago, we spent an entire day cleaning out the garage in preparation for Halloween; unfortunately, my husband has been too wrapped up in himself to do anything, now all that cleaning has to be re done before we can even start setting up the asylum lab. Maybe it's just as well, the forecast for Halloween this year is cold and wet. It seems that this year may not amount to much any way. Very depressing.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Revelations and Choices

Oh my, what a day ! It's been one of those days when it's just go, go, go, and the list of things that need to be done just never ends. Yesterday, I spent the day totally rearranging my living room. ( I don't know why I do these things - I just lay in bed at night and these crazy little ideas dance around in my head.) So today, I had a ton of cleaning, carpet shampooing, and catch - up work that needed to be done - in between doing my regular Thursday laundry routine.

In addition, as I laid in bed last night trying to sleep, I vowed ( a vow is a solemn commitment that cannot be broken, you know?) that I would somehow, find a way to get my dogs out for a walk in spite of the cold, wet, and yucky weather that has descended on Kansas for the past week and a half. It's been SO dreary, for SO long, that I keep expecting everyone to start speaking with a Brittish accent! So . . . in between loads of laundry and dishes, I grabbed the leashes, bundled myself up, and strapped the back packs onto my "hounds of Hell" and off we went. Before we had even gotten past the first potty stop, I managed to twist my ankle! You see, the walking trail behind my house has several uneven spots where the black top has shifted and buckled. When Olathe parks and recs sponsored their annual September 11th "freedom run," they carefully marked all the rough spots with bright yellow spray paint so that all the joggers would be sure to see them. So obviously, I felt like a complete idiot; unfortunately, I still had three more miles worth of dog walking to do. ( a vow is a vow, you know?) So now, after hobbling around all evening, I'm sitting here with a swollen and painful ankle watching old 1940's horror movies. *sigh* At least my dogs are content.


Anyway, enough complaining. I had planned to post some more photos of our Halloween Yard haunt set up tonight.  (which I think,  was the last time we actually saw the sun shine around here) As I was sorting through them, I came across this photo . . .
While we were all setting up the cemetery fence, Jen got a shot of Nick with their new baby girl, Brooklyn.  When I look at this picture, all I can do is feel so proud of my son.  This little girl is his world, he absolutely adores her.  Both Nick and Jen are such good parents, but I always knew that having a child would have a profound effect on Nick, and it has truly changed his life - and in Nick's case, that's a very, very GOOD thing. 

Just felt I needed to share that.  Okay, Yard Haunt photos . . . hmmmm, here we go.

This is the grave yard (partially set up, we have since added more vines on the fence, the cemetery sign, and plenty of cobwebs and creepy cloth.)  Nick is hanging the Asylum sign, and of course, Jack and Mary, our crypt keepers are back this year.  (Heather and I are thinking that after three years together, maybe next year we'll plan a zombie Wedding?)




Of course, Haunter, Elizabeth, Crazy Daisy, and B.K. Crawler are back again, but this guy is new . . .

This is Bubba, our deranged, redneck, little midget that Daisy seems intent on slashing to pieces.  All the neighborhood kids are absolutely fascinated by him. I think, because they are just about the same height.  I made him out of paper mache and I'm really surprised that he's tolerating all the rain so well.

I'm really hoping that the rain lets up this weekend so that I can get some night shots with the lights on.  I'm just a little worried that the weather might not be very welcoming for our trick or treaters this year.  Actually, I've been worried about  a lot of little issues and deadlines concerning Halloween this year; I had a lot of big plans and projects that just aren't very likely to get done.  And I may have mentioned before, (once or twice?) Roy is really struggling to find time to work on the garage part of the asylum.  Sure, I could knock myself out working night and day on props, and I have no doubt that I could put the Asylum together on my own; but this is supposed to be a family FUN thing,  something we do together, as a family.  So, I have decided that I am just NOT going to stress and nag about this. Eventually, it will all come together, and if I don't get all my plans done this year, there is always next year.  I refuse to turn something that makes me happy into another chore that stresses me out.

Right now, I think I need to go ice down my ankle again, pop some more pop corn, and watch another movie.

Sleep tight everyone.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Listen UP !

I have moved.
My new blog home is . . . HERE.
Come on by and visit anytime!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

My New Blog Home

Here I am ! I know a lot of people were starting to wonder where I had disappeared to. I've been around, and every thing is fine; I've been keeping myself busy with my family, and my art work, and of course, Halloween. I think I just needed a break from blogging, I was wearing myself out trying to keep up with so many things at one time. So . . . I decided that a fresh start seemed in order. I know, I've gone back to my old blog title, but it just seems to fit so well, and it feels like home. I'm feeling a need to simplify my life, so from here on out, this will be my blog home. Of course, I'll still keep my Art site and my Halloween site updated with links to them on this blog, but all my daily posts will be done here. I'm going to be blogging about my life, all my little projects, and whatever I feel like rambling on about. (note to my kids: If you don't like what you read on my blog - too bad, this is MY blog - go back to looking up stupid crap on You Tube.)

Okay, it's late, and I need to get to bed. But first, I have to wish my friend, Mel, a happy birthday. (or at least today is your birthday here, in Kansas - I keep getting messed up on what day it is in Australia.)

Happy Birthday, Mel !!!

Love to all,
Good night

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Yard Haunt set up photos - Part 1



Okay, my computer seems to be a piece of crap lately. It's just taking forever to do anything and everything. I can't wait half a day to post multiple photos, and posting one at a time is taking a long time too. So . . . . I guess I will just post these photos in instalments over the next few days. It may be just as well since I've been so busy lately. Here are a few for today.
Jack and Mary are back again this year. No, they haven't been making little monsters together. Jen dressed Baby Brooklyn in her "Tiger" outfit so that she would fit in with all of our Halloween activities for the day. ( that child doesn't care WHO holds her, as long as she's being held, she's happy.) I doubt that most people will notice, but I spent several days giving Jack and Mary some up dates and repairs for the year. I hooked Jack up with a new tie and co-ordinating boots; and Mary got a new head of hair and seems to be very pleased with her new look. Also gave them both some new eyes and some structural work. The girls and I (Jen and Heather) were talking, and we think that after three years together, maybe it's time Jack and Mary got hitched? We're giving a lot of consideration to having a zombie wedding next year - who knows. ( Heather is totally psyched about being their wedding planner.)
I'm so excited about this. I've been wanting a cemetery fence for ages, but just didn't have the time or money to make one from PVC pipe. Several months back, Roy found these fencing pieces and brought them home. Last weekend, Roy and Nick put in some time cutting and welding for me and we found that we had enough to make an arbor entrance! Yay! Today, I finished painting a "cemetery" sign to hang from it and installed some amber lighting to shine over the entrance. The kids and I added some vines of autumn leaves and spider webbing to it to creep things up.

Okay, it's taken me almost half an hour to load and post these two photos, so I think I've had enough frustration for one night.
I'm off to bed.
Good night.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The First Weekend in October . . .

Was a busy weekend here at the Foley Home. I spent all of Saturday stocking up on food for the tribe; and then, on Sunday, we spent the day setting up the yard haunt. Well, it's not completely finished, I still have a few things to add, some cobwebs, creepy cloth and whatever else I discover needs to be done. But for the most part, we hauled everything out of the basement storage area and started setting up the yard. Now, this is JUST the yard - during evenings and weekends, Roy and I will begin work on the garage - the actual "asylum" part of the haunt. Hopefully, this is the last year that we will be doing this during the month of October. I am hoping that next year ALL of the work will be finished by October first and we can start weekend walk throughs to generate donations for our local animal rescues.



It was so nice to have everyone here at home to help with set up this year. (although, I'm pretty sure they will all disappear when it comes time to take things down and pack them away) Not only did it make things go quicker and easier, but it was so much more fun. We even had Quentin, our newly "adopted" son (actually, Jake's best buddy) to help set up. Jen had her hands full with baby Brooklyn and the camera. (she took some really great shots.) I think this is the first year that Jen has been here for the yard set up. Quentin was totally amazed at how people driving by the house started to slow down and gawk as things progressed. My most favorite part is the Monday afterwards, when the neighborhood kids are walking to school in the morning and they see the transformation; then again, when they walk home from school. It's almost as if they suddenly realise that Halloween is REALLY coming this year. The look on their faces is magical.


This evening I took baby Brooklyn outside to enjoy the cool weather a bit. As I've mentioned, we have a large population of Hispanic families in our neighborhood - which is kind of cool, because they are raised to have a really great attitude about Halloween. ( I don't mean to sound prejudice, but most of the "non-Hispanic" kids, are either SO jaded about Halloween, or they have been raised to think that people "like me" are either Satan worshipers, or just plain weird) I had noticed earlier, that we had more than our usual share of kids circling our house on their bikes; and as I stood in the drive way talking to Nick, a pair of older boys finally got the nerve to pedal up the drive and ask about the new props. They went on about how scary the house looked, while their younger siblings gathered on the side walk. They finally got off their bikes and asked if they could touch them. I said sure, and they cautiously walked up and laid just one finger on Bubba's hand, then retreated to their bikes and rode away. About an hour later, they pedaled up the drive with their dog, a little chihuahua, trailing behind them. They stopped in front of Bubba, and waited to see if their dog was as brave as they had been. When the pup backed away from Bubba, they drove off laughing. I'm sure that by dinner time they were the coolest, bravest kids on the block!


Okay, I need to get up early tomorrow and get some things done around the house, so I'm going to post a few pictures from Sunday. (Thanks to Jen and her computer genius)
Uh . . . scratch that. My blogger is being REALLY slow tonight and I'm tired. I promise to post photos tomorrow night.
Sweet dreams everyone.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Glorious OCTOBER has finally arrived!

Well, it's finally October 1st !! Glorious October! And of course, you know what that means . . . Halloween is only 30 days away!! Also, the yard haunt props should be going up this weekend. Maybe, I'll have some room in my basement to actually get some of the things done that I was hoping to do this year. (better late than never) It's bad enough trying to operate with five dogs sprawled out on the concrete floor under my feet, just in case I drop something, or God forbid, move more than ten steps away! But it's kind of creepy working down there at night, with all those props staring over my shoulder.

So here's the plan, Everyone seems to have something happening on Saturday, so I have decided that we will begin construction of the graveyard at noon on Sunday. I told the kids that they can invite a few friends to help, and we'll plan a backyard bar-be-que for dinner. I'm so excited. Roy and Nick finally finished building my cemetery arbor and cutting the fence pieces. I'm not exactly sure how we are going to stabilize it all, today we had some pretty high winds and the arbor, that is currently free standing in the back yard, went crashing over -three times! I keep praying for mild weather this October, but in Kansas, this is a month that's known for some unpredictable weather. (I guess like everything else, it's just a matter of trial and error, and hope that nothing gets too badly damaged)

Okay, I've got to go, I've still go about a million things on my list that need to be done. One of which, is to find that stupid camera cord so I can get some photos posted !!!!

Good night everyone.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

I need a hand . . . or two . . .

Well, I woke up this morning and I just couldn't take it anymore. The sun was shining, the air cool and crisp, and those big, brown eyes were looking into mine, begging for just a little walk, please mom? They really have been so good lately. Faithfully laying at my feet while I work in the basement. (actually, covering every square inch of floor space while I work - well, try to work) So as soon as I got myself together (which is no small task) the leashes came out and off we went. It was nice to get out and about for a while. Our neighborhood is always a little crazy on the weekend, especially this weekend.



Mahaffie Farm and Stage Coach Stop

We live just a block from Mahaffie Stage Coach Stop. It's an historical site here in Kansas - the only remaining actual stage coach stop along the original Santa Fe Trail. It's a lovely house on a large plot of land, surrounded on three sides by beautiful parks with walking trails. Over the past couple of years the city has really sunk a lot of money into restoring it to it's original condition. They have added a small farm, a pasture where they now keep horses, bulls, and livestock year round, and instead of the annual civil war battle reenactments, they now have all sorts of events there. (so we now get to listen to gunfire and cannon blasts on a more regular basis - Yipee.) Anyway, this weekend is Wild West Days and the parks were full to capacity with family pic-nickers, football games, old time army tents with character actors cooking over campfires, and horse trailers filled with horses and who knows what. Except for the occasional loud booms, my dogs just love the sights, and smells, and excitement of weekends like this.


It was almost 1:30PM by the time I got everyone walked, fed, and got Jake's glasses picked up from the eye doctors. So I finally got a chance to work on my props. Today, I spent the afternoon making hands. I have all these (sort of) lovely static props, (at least I've put in a lot of work to make them creepy) and I've always found that making realistic hands for them is so damn difficult. So I took a few days last week and did some experimenting. I decided that the best way to make them was from the bone structure up. I've been doing a lot of playing around with paper mache lately, so I thought that might be a good medium. I just needed to figure out how to make the bone structure. A week or so back, I spent an afternoon just wandering through the local Hobby Lobby store, and found these really cool things. They are sold as building blocks for little kids, but they look a lot like Styrofoam packing peanuts. ( you know, the stuff they fill the box full of to ship breakables?) Except these are different; first of all, they are dyed all the colors of the rainbow, secondly, they are totally biodegradable. When you are done building and playing with your castle, or whatever, you just place it in the sink, run warm water over it, and it melts like an ice cube. The way they connect, is by rubbing it onto a damp towel or sponge, and they just stick together. Of course, I've found that it's easier to just lick 'em and stick 'em. ( I probably shouldn't do that, seeing as it's one of those "green" products, it could be made from recycled kitty litter for all I know) Anyway, they are just about the same size as all the bones in a hand. You can even squeeze them and scrunch them to a smaller size. So after I build a skeleton hand, I wrap it in either foil, or put it inside a latex glove, pose it any way I want, and paper mache them. When it dries, I paint it, varnish it to keep it weather proof, and attach them. I built several today, and Heather helped with the paper mache, and when they are dry, tomorrow, I'll paint them, coat them, and stick them on - Ta-Da!!

I should be able to get 3 or 4 pairs done tomorrow. I could probably use a few more pair to replace the hands on the old props, but I've scheduled a break in my work day tomorrow. Jasmin and her family are coming out tomorrow for the Wild West Days, and they are going to sign little Caleb up to do mutton busting. (it's like bronco busting, except they use sheep for broncos, and little people for cowboys.) It's exactly the kind of thing that Caleb (the dare devil) loves to do. I can hardly wait. Hopefully, Jasmin will get photos that I can post. (got to find that memory card for my camera!!)

Oh, and by the way, Roy didn't build my shelves in my work room today. Actually . . . he found some already made that someone was getting rid of. They had to disassemble them to get them into my basement, but they are perfect! I can get so much more done when I am organized. Yay, Roy!

Okay, got to get to bed now - busy day tomorrow.

Good night all,
Susan

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Screams from the basement

Okay, it's quarter after four - in the AM ! I really should be in bed like all good little girls and boys, but I quit trying to impress Santa about a hundred years ago. No, I'm busy with my most favorite holiday, Halloween! Sorry Mom, I don't know where you went wrong, but I'm just not a Ho-Ho-Ho kind of kid. More like Hee-Hee and Bwahahaha . . . kind of girl. I'm sure it's not your fault, I blame my brothers. I'd just rather scare the crap out of teenagers than try to figure out what the hell they want that they don't already have.

My basement art room has turned into a mini Mad Scientist's lab. I've been whipping up all kinds of ghoulish creatures. (although, I should have started months ago.) Things (as usual) are just not progressing as quickly as I'd like. Or maybe, I just can't keep up with my imagination and all the creepy ideas in my head? Anyway, I have managed to crank out a creepy little midget that I've named Bubba, and a witch named Esmeralda. The witch wasn't part of the plan - she just happened, I really have no idea what to do with her. I guess I'll set her out on the back deck for Heather's Halloween party. Haven't you heard about Heather's party? Well, She has one planned for Halloween night. So now that I'll have a back yard full of teenagers, it really will be an asylum - what fun! All I know is that I'M not picking up all the dog poo.

I HAD so much stuff that I wanted to accomplish for this year, but it's all gone by the wayside due to the never ending Chaos that is my home. I had planned to build:

*A mausoleum with a flying crank ghost (a very cool effect, I even have all the plans drawn out for the mausoleum - not gonna happen this year.)
*A demon roof crawler with glowing eyes. (might still happen)
*A very scary scarecrow for the back yard (facing the walking trail) standing guard over a field of corn shocks along the fence line.
* A grave yard fence (that IS going to happen, I have the fencing!)
*I wanted to build a padded room to keep a few lunatics. (but I guess all my lunatics have other plans anyway - so what's the point?)
* I wanted to get Roy busy on rigging up a creature box using my old trunk, but at this rate, I'll be lucky if he gets his lab put together on time! (He is REALLY dragging his feet this year)
* There just is no money in the budget for fog machines, or any new sound tracks or lighting, so I'm trying to work with what I have *sigh*
* I also wanted to get Elizabeth a boy friend - I was thinking a nice, tall, Jack the Ripper kind of guy.

So, on top of trying to figure out what can happen, what might get done, and what is just completely out of the question and will have to have to wait until next year; Earlier this week, I started unpacking all of last year's stuff. I felt like a grave robber, unearthing a years worth of boxes and debris and finally finding the coffins that I had built for my Halloween friends. When I pulled back the coffin lids, I discovered that there is a lot that needs to either be repaired, or I want to do some re-designing to. It was a total mess with every thing strung out all over the place. My husband is supposed to build some shelves in my basement for me this weekend, so that I have room to work and can safely store every one in their own little crypt for next year. (I'll believe THAT when I see it.)

So . . . . that's why I haven't had much time to blog lately. I'm up to my eyeballs in zombies, witches, demons, creepy midgets, and all the usual lunatics.
Okay, I really have to sleep now, the sun is starting to come up. I'm starting to feel like a vampire!!

Oh, I will try to get some photos up - just as soon as I figure out what the kids did with my camera's memory card!!!! (Grrrrr . . . )

Friday, September 18, 2009

Still Here.

It's been so long since I've posted, I hope I remember how to do this. Actually, I'm trying to type this up, and get it out while I am waiting for my hair color to set. Don't worry, I set the kitchen timer. I have just been so busy with babies, and teenagers, and dogs, and birthdays, and all kinds of crazy stuff.

Not to mention . . . . Halloween, the most wonderful night of the year, is ONLY 42 days, and 23 hours away !!!!! And everything is SUPPOSED to be set up and ready by October 1st ! (only 11 days from now.) NOT GONNA HAPPEN. It's going to be just like last year, I'll be putting the finishing touches on things right up until the first (or second, or tenth) visitor arrives on Halloween night. No organization, none whatsoever. In spite of all my pre - planning, family meetings, and carefully drawn diagrams and charts; It's just total chaos around here. Roy is just now starting to feel more like himself from his surgery. ( and that's not saying much) I have to try to get as much done as possible during the days so that I don't wake Nick, Jenn, and the baby with all my late night prop building. And worst of all, the funds for all of this just isn't available like it has been in the past. Our family budget barely covers survival, so I've had to make a lot of changes, and put off the bigger projects until next year. But I swear, next year will be different. Stop laughing - it really is.

Okay, I've got to go hop in the shower and get myself to bed.
Good night all.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

TA - DA !!!!!

Brooklyn Rose Foley
Born September 2nd, 2009
8 pounds, 13 ounces
21 inches long








This is her, the beautiful little angel that has been making Jenn's life miserable, waiting for her to FINALLY arrive! Like I said, I wasn't able to be there, but my oldest daughter, Jasmin, was.
I have heard the most glowing stories of what a brave and wonderful job Jenn did, and how comforting and attentive my son was; And how everyone was so amazed with how alert Little Brooklyn Rose was, and how she just silently gazed at her Mommy and Daddy with her intense and curious blue grey eyes. I can't wait to see her and hold her. I am so proud of Nick and Jenn.
She is beautiful !!

Complications . . . .

As of this posting, at 7:20PM, Jenn is dilated to 7 cms. and I expect the baby will be arriving in a few hours. However, neither I, nor my family, have been to the hospital yet, and don't expect to due to complications. While Jenn was in the early stages of induction, I decided to take Heather, my youngest daughter, to see the doctor. She has been struggling with a low grade temp and a sore throat since Sunday night and I wanted to be sure it wasn't anything serious. Well, guess what? She has BOTH Swine Flu AND Strep Throat! The Hospital staff will not allow any one from our house at the hospital because we have all been exposed. BUMMER.

In fact, when the baby is born and they are released from the hospital, Nick, Jenn, and the baby, will be staying with my oldest daughter, Jasmin, until all this Swine Flu virus clears out.

I know that my son is a nervous wreck, and that he is at the hospital, surrounded by Jenn's family, who have treated him very badly in the past. I really wish that I could be there for them; to give support and share their joy.

Nick promises to email photos to us as soon as possible, and I keep telling myself, and everyone else, that "There will be plenty of time for snuggles and playtime when everyone is well." But still, I can't help feeling sad and a little depressed. Sometimes, it just seems like nothing in our life, can be simple and un-complicated.

Poor Heather, she is more upset than anyone. On top of feeling physically sick, she was REALLY looking forward to having a baby in the house, and she feels like all this is somehow her fault. So far, this swine flu hasn't seemed that much worse than the regular flu that the kids get every fall. Her fever hasn't been much over 101 degrees, and I would expect that much fever from the Strep Throat on it's own. As long as I keep Tylenol in her, her fever stays down, and she feels pretty good. And I guess I have to look on the bright side, once she gets through this, she will have life-time immunity to this virus, and she won't get it later.

Okay, gotta go cook dinner and disinfect something.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

FINALLY !!!

Tomorrow is going to be a FABULOUS day! You know why? Tomorrow morning, Jenn is going into the hospital to be induced! We are going to have a baby!!! Jenn is going to be a Mommy !My son, Nick, is going to be a daddy for the first time! I am going to be a Nanna, for the FOURTH time, Roy is going to be a pappa again, Heather, and Jasmin, and Jake, are going to be Aunts and an Uncle again. And most importantly, Jenn ISN'T going to be pregnant any more!!!
Everyone in my house is doing the happy dance.

You KNOW that I'll be posting photos, ASAP.

If you have a moment, say a prayer for Jenn that all goes smoothly for her, the baby, and Nick

Monday, August 31, 2009

1980's "classics"


Okay, I'm losing my mind. I've got both kids home from school today, they're supposed to be sick - well, okay, they are sick. They were both up last night puking and running a low grade temp, so technically, they can't go to school today. Anyway, they're just sick enough to take over my living room; both of them with their bedroom blankets, one on the love seat, the other on the couch, and of course, the dogs piled on top of them for comfort and companionship. Dad bought a ton of old VHS movies he bought at the thrift store for 49 cents each. Stuff my husband calls "classics," but really, just a bunch of 1980's movies that they are too young to have ever seen, but stuff that seem remarkably silly to me. Movies like "Sister Act" with Whoopie Goldberg, and old Tom Hanks and Kevin Klien movies like "Apollo 13", and "Dave". Right now, they are sprawled out all over the living room giggling at "Turner and Hooch" and I can't get anything done. My one and only "Monday chore" is to clean the living room, which is always a disaster after the weekend. It's driving me crazy. They keep insisting that I hold off on vacuuming and cleaning the carpet until the movie is over.


Pffft . . . . I don't really feel so great myself, maybe I'll just go take a nap for a while? But gosh, I just love a good "dog movie."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Where have all the forks gone?


Busy, busy day. Today was my day to do kitchen cleaning and I finally took the time to clear out some shelf and drawer space for Jenn to store the baby's stuff. Gots to make room for bottles, and brushes, and formula, and bibs, and burp cloths. . . (still waiting for baby though)


Since I had to make space for baby, I ended up re-arranging and organizing ALL the kitchen shelves and cupboards. It's absolutely amazing how much crap gets stuffed into drawers, and crammed into every available space! Most of it is just junk, that at the time, I didn't know what to do with, or thought I might need later. I was really hoping that I'd find something useful - like all my forks! It's funny how certain things in my house just magically . . . disappear . . . POOF! About six months ago, it was spoons. You couldn't find a spoon in my house if your life depended on it! I had everyone clean their rooms and cars, in hopes that they might find a few shoved under a bed or something, but not one turned up. I started wondering . . . was it a conspiracy? Some body's idea of a joke?
Was it elves, seeking out shiny objects for their collection? (why couldn't they just clean my house like good elves?)
Were aliens stealing them away with giant magnets attached to their spaceships, hovering over our kitchen while we slept?
I even entertained the idea that it might be poltergeist activity; I kept expecting to walk into a room and find them all arranged in some eerie configuration.
But no, apparently, they all just grew legs and ran away in the middle of the night. I finally gave up and bought a ton of spoons at Big Lots. For a while, all was bliss in my kitchen, and dinner time was no longer an ugly struggle for utensils. Then one day, about two weeks ago, I woke to find that all my forks, except for the five that were in the dishwasher, had just . . . Vanished ! Now, I'm really freaked out. I guess it's back to Big Lots for me.


Strange phenomenon aside, not much else is new. Heather and I went to the eye doctor's today. Heather still has perfect vision, which is nice, because she has the most beautiful green eyes.

I knew that I was going to need a new prescription, because I was back to reading better without my glasses - so I get a new pair - Yay! Jake goes for his contact lens exam in a week or so. (that's going to be the expensive trip)


The next chore is getting every one to the dentist. They usually come up with all kinds of excuses to avoid that one, but I know that they both need work done. (especially me!)


Roy is finally starting to get back to normal from his surgery. He goes for his follow up visit on Friday, but he decided to go back to work this week. ( still taking things easy)

I got my results back from my lab work, and mammogram. It looks like I'll survive for a while longer, and I get to keep all my parts. Oh, and whatever the doctor removed from my shoulder turned out to be just a "bumpy thing." (no cancer) So all is well.


Okay, not much else that's news. Now that everyone is in bed, I'm going to go pop a bag of pop corn, curl up on the couch with my pups, and watch "Passenger" with Anne Hathaway, before it has to go back tomorrow night.


Love to all,

Susan


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lazy Tuesday

I've been having a very lazy day today. I have no idea why. I guess the past few weeks have just finally caught up with me. The kids are back in school, Roy survived his back surgery and is recovering - slowly. All the court dates that I was feeling so anxious about have been put off until the first week of October. (Roy on the first, and Nick, on the fifth) Today was a light day for housework, so instead of getting some other things done, I spent my afternoon napping. In spite of the forecast for more rain, it's only been overcast today, and even slightly cool. It would have been a perfect day to get out with the dogs, especially since I've been dodging raindrops for the past three days to get them walked. But no, my body said sleep, so I did. I guess I must have needed it.


The only major event left is for Jen to have that baby, and as we all know, these things can't be rushed. I know that Jen wishes they could be. Poor baby, she's so sick of being pregnant, and I know just how she feels. Still, I'm glad that it's her, instead of me. LOL. I've put in my time of baby making, I've donated 36 months of my life (and body) to the gestation of small people; and, so far, 31 years, to getting them grown. I've still got a minimum of 6 more years to go. I just hope I can hang in there that long. I keep wondering what it will be like to have a baby in the house again. I'm sure it will have it's ups and downs, and it will take time for everyone to adapt, but I think for the most part, everyone is looking forward to it.


Last week, when I was at the Doctor's office, he removed a little "bumpy thing" from my left shoulder. I have no idea what it is except, I've had it forever. I never gave it a second thought until last year, when it started growing and getting sensitive to the touch. I get to go back tomorrow and have the stitches removed. (both of them) He said that he should have the biopsy results back by then, so maybe, I'll find out what it is. (or was)


Since I have spent the biggest part of today being a bum, I've resolved to actually get to work on some projects for our annual Halloween Yard Haunt. (check out the link for Howling Hollow Asylum to the right, to see photos of the past two years) I'm beginning to realise that with the way this year has worked out, I probably won't be able to accomplish as much as I had hoped for this year. In fact, with a new baby at home, I'll be lucky if I get just a few things added. I really wanted to build and paint a mausoleum with a flying crank ghost for this year, but it looks like it will have to wait until next year - again. Finances haven't worked in our favor this year, and I really don't want to feel rushed about getting it done, I really want it to be perfect. (perfectly creepy!) Every year, I tell myself that I am going to start planning and working as soon as spring arrives, but some how, I'm lucky if I get started before September, and usually, I'm still adding touches right up until Halloween. This year, my basement is so crammed full of extra stuff, that I've just been dreading the act of unpacking it all to get started. But I absolutely WILL get started this weekend - NO EXCUSES!

Okay, In spite of all the sleep I've had today, I'm actually yawning. I've been working really hard at getting up early and not wasting my day since the kids have gone back to school. So, I need to get myself off to bed.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

I'm not sharing, or caring, tonight.

He, he, he. It's a little after midnight, and I'm sitting here listening to the silence, and eating a snack of Chicken Fries and Three Cheese Ranch dip. Why is it that food tastes so much better late at night, after everyone else is in bed?
Oh yeah, because I can actually sit here and eat it, instead of guarding my food from passers by who feel obligated to pinch something off my plate everytime I cook something. And I don't have to hear people saying things like,
"Oooh, that looks good! Could you make some for me? Except I want barbeque sauce instead of ranch, and maybe a few french fries, and . . . ."
*SIGH*
I doubt that anyone appreciates the joys of solitude quite like a mom does.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Surgery Update

I really should be in bed right now - I'm exhausted. These past few days have just been an absolute whirlwind. Doctor's appointments for me, the kids, and my husband, and getting the kids together, and back to school. (they both start tomorrow) And just as I suspected, in the midst of all of this, my husband's back surgery was finally scheduled for today. I've spent the whole day at the hospital; sitting, waiting, and worrying. Days like that are more exhausting for me, than a full 16 hours worth of house work and physical labor. I have always preferred "doing," over "sitting and waiting." I'm just not good at it. I always manage to get myself tangled up in knots over all the things that I should, or could, be doing. And of course, doctors and hospitals never run on schedule, all the red tape, and forms to fill out, etc. And worst of all, the stress.

Anyway, all went well with Roy's surgery, and he should be back home tomorrow afternoon. Of course, his back is sore from the surgery, but the pain that he's been dealing with for years - is GONE. So . . . IF I can get him to behave, and follow the doctors instructions, long enough to heal up, he'll be better than new.

I have about a million things to catch up on tomorrow, but I'd really like to take a day off and relax a bit with my husband. (next week is shaping up to be even busier, and Jen is due to deliver that baby any day now.) We'll see how that plan works out - I'm not holding my breath.

Okay, I have to get up early tomorrow, so I need to get to bed. Just wanted to let everyone know that all is well with my hubby. I'll keep you posted.

Friday, August 7, 2009

The calm before . . . the storm?

Oh my. I woke up this morning feeling SO old. I don't know why, every now and then, I have days like that. I'm not really depressed, I've just felt tired and achey all over, and every little thing seems like such a monumental effort. I don't feel like I've accomplished much of anything today. I had good intentions, I did get a lot of things started, but I just lost momentum somewhere along the line. On the other hand, the fact that I managed to make it this far, without a nap, or just plain giving up, seems pretty amazing, all things considered. I think that at some point in my morning, I just looked around and thought, 'There are FAR too many people in my house, just lounging around.'

It's been that way for the past few days. Nick is struggling to find a new job since he was laid off, and it's just starting to feel like he's given up. I don't want that to sound wrong - he's had a lot to deal with this past week. When he got laid off work, he wrestled with justifying the cost and inconvenience of continuing his methadone treatment. He considered a new, alternate, drug to ease the with draw from the methadone, but ultimately decided to just white knuckle his way through it, and be done with it all as simply, and quickly, as possible. I know that what he is going through right now is difficult; it's really hard to with draw from methadone and focus on anything else at the same time. (least of all, looking for a job) It has all just changed the rhythm of my day at bit, and I'm struggling to regroup.

About the same time, things have slowed down for Roy at work, and he's been at home much more than I, or him, are used to. He's taking advantage of the slow time right now to schedule some surgery on his back. That's a good and positive thing, that I know will help him a lot. (and it's something that has been put on hold for far too long) But dealing with insurance companies and doctors, scheduling all the tests and pre approvals, can be complicated and frustrating, almost a full time task. I know that he's feeling anxious about the surgery, but also trying to remain hopeful about the final outcome. I think that when it's all said and done, he has just been feeling out of his element this past week.

In addition, this is the last week of summer vacation for the kids. I know that this summer hasn't been all that they had hoped for, in fact it's been pretty disappointing for everyone. They seem to be torn between wanting to get back to school and see their friends, and dreading the whole school work thing.

The last time that Jen went to the Doctor, they told her that according to the sonograms, the baby is developed enough that she could deliver anytime between now, and the first week of September. I know she has to feel uncomfortable, as well as nervous and anxious. I've noticed that she has been keeping Nick as close as possible lately.

Bottom line . . . Right now, everyone is in a transition phase. It's almost a tangible feeling in the air at our house. We're all poised and ready for some big and drastic changes that are just on the verge of happening. But they're the sort of changes that can't be rushed. (or avoided.) They will unfold in their own time and way. Until then, we just wait, try to prepare, and hope for the best. Hopefully, it won't be too much, all at one time, and we will be able to catch our second wind in between events. I know that's my biggest fear.

With my luck, Roy's surgery will end up being scheduled for the same day that the kids go back to school, and then, Jen will go into labor on the same day. Or, what if, God forbid, any or all of the above have complications? When you're part of this family, you learn that complications are an every day occurrence. I know that I shouldn't allow myself to think that way. But every day we spend waiting, it becomes a more likely possibility. I know that I don't really have any control over any of it. I just have to have faith that whatever happens, I can deal with it, without holding myself responsible for it all.

Okay, I need to sleep.

Love,
Susan

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

As If Mondays weren't bad enough already . . .

What a day! I feel like I've been running all over town and haven't had five minutes to stop and think.
I started out with my Doctor appointment for my regular Diabetes check. The doctor was running behind and I had to wait for an hour to be seen. Then, he tells me that he wants to biopsy this little knot on my shoulder that I've had forever. Whatever, why not? So I have to go back next week for that. What fun !
Finally, I headed to the grocery store around 12:30 PM. Not a good idea to go to the grocery store when you've been fasting for blood work at the Dr.s office right before. It's an even worse idea to take two teenagers along with you ! I ended up spending almost $400.00 and filling TWO shopping carts! It took forever just to get it all bagged and loaded into my mini van.
I only had and hour left to get it all home, put away, and to get Jake to his Dr.s appointment at 3PM. So, I go to start the car and guess what? The dang battery is dead !!!! It's 100 degrees outside, I have a car load of frozen food melting in the sun, I haven't eaten all day, and my blood sugar is dropping, as my blood pressure is rising. So I grab the cell phone and a chocolate bar and start screaming at my husband who is in Liberty, MO. (at least a 45 minute drive away)
Thankfully, Nick and Jen were just down the street at the Library and they showed up to give me a jump start before I had $400.00 worth of liquid groceries all over my van.
We got home, unloaded, and I had just enough time to get the cold stuff put away before Jake's appointment.
As an obsessive/compulsive neat freak, it took all the strength I could muster to walk out the door leaving all the dry goods, canned goods, and everything in between, laying all over my kitchen table and counters. Fortunately, Heather decided to stay behind to make sure that my dogs didn't eat all the unattended food.
I was supposed to drive Jake to Jasmin's house after his appointment, so that He could go to a concert with Christian tomorrow; but Roy finally showed up and drove him for me, so that I could finish up in my kitchen.
By the time I had everything put away, it was time to cook dinner. When everyone was fed, the dishes done, and the kitchen cleaned, (again) the sun had just started setting, and I had promised my dogs that I would walk them when the sun went down. I know it sounds crazy, but when I tell them that I will walk them later, they seem to understand and hold me to my promise, because they all started doing their pre-walk doggie dance as soon as I turned out the kitchen lights.
It was still 88 degrees outside, but at least the sun wasn't scorching the pavement anymore. Heather helped me walk them, but by the time we finished up, it was 10PM, and my clothes were soaked with perspiration.
I threw some food in their dog bowls, jumped in the shower, and here I am - FINALLY.
I am exhausted. Every part of me hurts.
Thank God Mondays only happen once a week.

Good night all.
Love,
Susan

Thursday, July 30, 2009

School, husbands, birthdays, and rolling in the grass


Hey, it's me.



I can honestly say that this has been a better week. I've been working hard to feel more productive; getting my chores done, and trying to cut back on the kids social calendars, and getting them (and myself) off to bed at a more reasonable hour, in preparation of them going back to school. These things have to tapered back slowly, so that they don't go into shock and withdraw, otherwise, I could end up with a full fledged revolt on my hands.


The past week has been filled with cooler days and I'm finding my husband home more often in the evenings. Now, all I have to do, is try to remember what I'm supposed to do with him. I know that husbands are supposed to be good for something, I'm sure it will come to me eventually. . .


Of course, as the summer winds down there are always things that try to stress me out. The kids are already wanting to know when we will be doing the annual shopping expedition for school clothes and supplies. As much as I look forward to having my days back, I really dread the whole shopping thing. There is always at least one item, that they simply must have, that turns the whole event into a scavenger hunt ! The school is sending out notices for their yearly "Meet and Greet" nights, which is their not-so-subtle way of wasting my time by trying to recruit me for fund raisers, committees, and general worthless programs. Nope, not gonna do it. I did my time at school, and I'm not going to play the same popularity/clique games with grown ups.


PLUS, Yesterday was the official start of the "Birthday Season" for our family. Yup, yesterday, my first born baby girl turned 31 years old. Don't ask me how that happened, I can't believe it myself. Jasmin has her birthday at the end of July; Nick will turn 24 (?!) seven days later, in August. Jacob will turn 15 in September, in addition to my grand daughter celebrating her 9th birthday, we are also expecting our 4th grand child to be born that month. Christian turns 16 in October. (Oh my God, how is that possible?!) Then, in November, Heather will turn thirteen years old - just in time for me to start stressing about Christmas in December !!!

These are the things that I try to keep my mind from dwelling on, so that I don't panic. My sane, rational, mind says, "We go through this every year, Susan. Somehow, someway, it all works out, so quit worrying." Easier said than done, I respond.

When my kids were younger, I used to be the kind of person who made a big deal out of birthdays with parties and plans. Now that my kids are older, my teens (my babies) would just as soon Roy and I just give them their stuff , so they can go hang out with their friends. I'm lucky if they show up for cake and ice cream. Now a days, my oldest daughter has taken over the role of party planner. (and she's good at it too.) Still, it's hard not to get my little brain all wound up with stress when this time of year rolls around.

Lately, I've been working on discovering, and experimenting with, ways to let go of all that tension and anxiety by finding time to do things that relax and please . . . me. Hard to believe that someone can live 47 years without ever knowing what makes them happy, but that's the boat I'm finding myself in recently. Like today, I found myself feeling all flustered and irritated over my car situation. (that situation is getting better, but it's just been one of those days.) I kept thinking to myself, "Okay, one thing at a time. First I'll do this, and get this done, then, I can hook the leashes up to my dogs, and disappear for two or three hours; when I get back, I'll feel much better about everything." And that's what I did. When I got home, I didn't yell at anyone and all was well in my spirit. Even if the weather isn't as beautiful as it was today, my dogs are truly happy just to be out and spending time with me. They aren't complex and complicated creatures, they don't argue and worry, they just enjoy life; and when I take them out, I am THE COOLEST person in the world to them. Their attitude just rubs off on me. I'm finding that it feels good to walk, breathe clean air, look at the clouds, and sometimes, roll in the grass.
*Remember the 1996 movie "Michael"? When the Arc angel Michael (John Travolta) watches Sparky, the dog, rolling around happily in a big field of grass, and he says, with a big smile,
"Ah . . . now that's my nature - I'm a grass roller!"
I know exactly how he feels.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

What's New?

Okay, I know. I haven't blogged in FOREVER. Sorry. Unfortunately, it isn't because much has changed. Well . . . at least nothing drastic, or even too exciting. I'm still bored, except now, I'm becoming lazy too. Oh, well, what are summers for? Let's see here . . . there have been a few things.



Hmmmm . . . Well first of all, my son, Nicko, has been off work this week. They finished the job they were working on and might not have anything new for him until Monday. (He's keeping his fingers crossed) So he's been home all week distracting me from my chores. Not really, I just haven't felt very motivated lately. Actually, he's managed to get a few things done around the house and take care of some Doctor appointments. Recently, he's found out that he has carpal Tunnel in his arms from the work that he does. (It's been really painful for him at night and in the mornings) Also, he got some much needed (and somewhat traumatic) dental work done. He just had a tooth pulled, but it was in the exact spot where his jaw was broke less than a year ago. It had both him, and the dentist, sweating for a while. They got it out, but afterwards, it was pretty painful.



Jen had her baby shower last Sunday, and got lots of lovely things for the baby. She had it at her mother's house and I was a little concerned how that might go, because her parents are just a bit . . . over protective? No . . . more like ANGRY with a touch of crazy thrown in for good measure. I was most worried about her mother making some kind of snide and offensive remarks to me, or someone in my family; but as it turned out, it was her husband that ended up ruining the day, and setting off an ugly exchange of words (via text messages and face book comments) that has lasted all week long. He waited until after everyone had left, and then berated Jen for having "abandoned her family." Just the sort of thing an 8 month pregnant girl needs to hear from her father at her baby shower! Since then, they have shown just how ugly and judgemental they really are. Basically, they have never approved of her relationship with Nick, and have always done everything in their power to break the two of them up. Now that they realise that they really have no control over the situation, they have become desperate enough to try anything - including verbal attacks on our entire family. They just don't seem to realise that they are only pushing Jen farther away. I can understand why they feel as they do (to an extent) but they have an all or nothing attitude about everything. Jen's mother is famous for cutting people (even family members) out of her life when she can't control their behavior. It's very sad.



Again this week, my husband has been so busy at work, I only get to see him about 10 minutes a day - at least while he's still awake. In fact, I had a few appointments this week that I had to have the car for, so rather than give Roy the time off so I could use the car, his boss has decided to loan me one of his cars to take care of my business until they can find a truck for Roy to work out of. So, I still don't have MY car, but I have A car, which is better than nothing.



Jake has spent most of this week helping dad to do some side work to earn some money. His girlfriend's birthday was today and he wanted to give her something nice. I'm starting to worry about this relationship. The two of them have been together almost 9 months now. For teenagers their age, that's an ETERNITY ! I have to watch the two of them all the time. It's a good thing that her parents have made a rule about her only being able to spend every other day with Jake. On their days apart, they have to hang out with other friends. (even though they text each other 24/7.) Still, she's enough of a regular around here, that Heather and I made her dinner and baked her a birthday cake Friday night to celebrate. She is a really sweet girl, I just worry about how Jake will take it if they ever break up.



Speaking of break ups, Heather's "boy friend" broke up with her last night. He's the first boy that she has ever really liked. Heather used to be a very emotional, drama queen, kind of girl. (especially when she was younger) So I was really worried how she would handle it. At first, she was upset, but she didn't go overboard as I was concerned about her doing; She was pretty much over all the drama by this evening. That seems to be a fairly age appropriate response, so I was actually a little surprised. I think it really helped her to know that her big brothers were there for her. They both love her very much and made a special point of telling her today. They even offered to beat up - or publicly humiliate - her ex-boyfriend for her. That made her smile and giggle a bit. I know that it still stings a bit, (she and I are pretty close and we've talked about it a couple of times today) but over all, I think she's okay with it. She has really matured so much over the past couple of years. I'm very proud of her. I think that the next big hurdle with her is going to be her weight. It's something that she has always been sensitive about and I just have to make sure she deals with it in a realistic and sensible way. She has a tendency to want quick fixes for everything - she has already started looking at diet pills and miracle drugs on the Internet. It's always something.



As far as the other, four legged, members of my family go . . . Well, I'm back down to just five, instead of six. Roy found a nice home for Princess over the fourth of July weekend. I think she'll do much better there. She'll get plenty of attention, all to herself, and (hopefully) lose weight and become healthier. However, over the past few weeks, we have been having some issues with Pete, the daddy of the pack. Lately, he's become very impatient waiting for his walks. If I don't get him out first thing in the morning, he jumps the fence and takes himself for a walk. He always comes home, but there are just too many things that could happen to him while he's gone. (and I have enough gray hairs without worrying about him) We tried several tricks to keep him in the yard. Finally, Nick thought the solution would be to buy an electric fence kit - against my strong warning NOT to. (I hate those things!) Well, the first zap confused him enough to stop him; the second time, he figured if he was going to get zapped anyway, he'd be on the other side of the fence when it was said and done. So no, it didn't work. Turns out, that sitting on Nick's lap, when Jen drives Nick to work in the early morning, seems to keep him contented enough to wait, until I can get him out for a walk in the afternoon or evening. I don't really understand the dog logic there, but . . . whatever works.



Well, like I said, nothing really exciting, just regular mom stuff, but I guess it has been a busier week than I realised. No wonder I'm so tired!



Good night all,

Love,

Susan

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

I'm a Fig Tree?


I'm not too sure what a Celtic Horoscope is, But I was goofing around on one of my favorite quiz sites (blogthings.com) so I thought I'd give it a try. I'm a fig Tree? Well . . . okay, I think I can live with that.


What's Your Celtic Horoscope?

You Are A Fig Tree.

You are very independent and strong minded.
A hard worker when you want to be, you play hard too.
You are honest and loyal.
You hate contradiction or arguments.
You love life, and you live for your friends, children, and animals.
A great sense of humor, artistic talent, and intelligence are all gifts you possess.

On the other hand . . .

What Frozen Treat Are You?

You Are a Popsicle.
You are colorful, creative, and expressive.
You are often in your own little world, having the time of your life.
People might be surprised to know that you're actually a bit of a perfectionist.
You like things to be neat and orderly.
You can deal with chaos, as long as it's controlled chaos.

I agree with the discription, but I hate popsicles.