Friday, January 30, 2009

Kids, kids, and more kids.

Well, It's finally Friday. It's been a long week of late nights, and as a reward, I get the weekend? Jake is having two of his friends spend the night tonight. Heather invited a couple of girl friends to go with her to Youth group, who will also be spending the night, since they won't be back until midnight, or later.

So, it's just been me, Roy, and the guys all evening. Since I went grocery shopping this evening, it's worked out pretty well to have three healthy teenage boys to help me carry bags into the house. Of course, they feel that means that they get first crack at all the new food. So they ate their fill, played a few video games, and crashed out on the couch while watching Dawn of the Dead.

No sooner had the boys gathered themselves up and gone to Jake's room to sleep, than the girls came home with a chorus of giggles. It only took the girls about 5 minutes to settle down and zonk out as well. So, six teenagers, five dogs, one husband, and all is quiet. Not what I was expecting, but I'll take it.

I've got a bunch of errands to run tomorrow, but first, the dogs and I are getting out for a walk. They have forecast 65 degree weather tomorrow, and I promised them that we would take advantage of it.

Sometime this weekend, Roy and I need to sit down with Jake and have a talk. He is really starting to struggle lately. All through elementary school Jake was sort of a quiet kid, but well liked by his class mates. When Jacob started middle school, he knew that he would be surrounded by a lot of new kids from four other elementary schools. I suspect that he saw it as his chance to re-invent himself. Over the summer he lost weight, grew out his hair and had it high lighted, got contacts, grew about 6 inches, and gained tons of new confidence. He has now become very popular with the kids, (especially with the girls) and not so popular with the teachers, because all his popularity has come at a cost to his grades. Over the past few weeks, he's discovering that once the kids and teachers see you in a certain light, it's hard to make a change. This morning, he actually admitted that he's feeling very depressed and frustrated with the situation. I think that he needs a little help in finding a happy medium. He has always been a smart kid, but he has never had very good organizational skills, and managing his time and setting priorities - not exactly his strengths. Up until recently, he kept insisting that he could figure things out himself. I think he's finally ready to listen and accept some help. We need to help him set up a plan for balancing his social life with his studies. And I need to get him straightened out before Heather starts middle school in the fall. Just thinking about enrollment has turned her into a bundle of nerves and she's going to need some encouragement. (and an older brother who is a better role model wouldn't hurt either)

Well, I'm feeling exhausted and I need to get some sleep. Hope everyone has a great weekend. Good night.


Thursday, January 29, 2009

I been a bad, bad girl

It's late. I'm all alone. Everyone is in bed. I had made a chocolate cake earlier this evening, and it was cooling in the fridge. Since I was bored, I iced it with a lovely, fluffy blanket of cream cheese frosting. I swirled the spoon around and made beautiful little sugar peaks on top, just like they do in the Betty Crocker commercials. Damn, it looked good. Sooooo, I ate a piece. Then, I ate another one. And since no one was there to see, I ate a third piece. (by accident - oops.) For this, I am very sorry. My tummy is filled with chocolate cake, my heart is filled with regret, and it's quite possible that my arteries are filled with thick clumps of sugary lard. When my family wakes in the morning, they will open the refrigerator and find the cake. Their little hearts will leap for joy. Until . . . they slide the cake pan off the shelf and see that there are three pieces missing. Their eyes will slowly roll towards me in an accusatory way. Then, they will sadly shake their heads at me and make little "tsk, tsk, tsk" sounds. I will look at my feet and feel like the baddest mom in the world. It's amazing how your family can go from seeing you as a hero, to a zero, in a matter of seconds. Oh well, they'll get over it.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Exploding Toilets.

I slept in late this morning, really late. Actually, I woke at 10AM, went down stairs and popped the top on a can of Diet Coke, I looked out the kitchen window to see that it was snowing, and decided that it was just too damn cold to stand around the kitchen in my jammies, so ran back up the stairs and crawled back under the covers. The next thing I knew, it was 1:30 in the afternoon and the phone was ringing. I have no idea who it was, I didn't answer it. I've been known to sleep in, but rarely that late! I suspect that the past two days of chills and body aches may have been my body fighting off some virus, all I know, is that when I woke up, I felt 100% better. So I guess my body won that battle. I'm feeling very proud - that doesn't happen too often.

Damn it! I just went to get a bag of Cheetos out of the cupboard, and one of my precious little darlings have already been into them, and put it back into the cupboard without a clippy thing on the bag! Why is that so hard?! It's not like they couldn't find a clip, there are 6 of them clipped to the front of a box right next to the chips!!! Do you know how many bags of chips I have to throw away every week because they've turned stale and rubbery? UGH! I know, it's just a stupid little thing, but you never know which stupid little thing might push me over the edge one day . . .

Anyway, Today has been a long day. My hubby has been working a lot of hours lately. His boss made the decision to let the other service tech go, so he has been picking up the slack. He's been up early and home late all week long. The extra money will come in handy, but I miss my hubby.

I felt really bad about it, but this evening, after Roy got home from work, I had to ask him to fix a leaky pipe in the basement. He had to shut the water off for a few minutes to solder a new cap on the end of it. Afterwards, he ran the faucets to bleed the air out of the pipes. A few minutes ago, I used the bathroom upstairs, and as I flushed the toilet, there was a terrible belching sound and I turned just in time to see a huge air bubble came to the surface of the bowl and splatter all over! Normally, I would have gone downstairs and slapped him around, but when I got down to the living room, he was splayed out on the couch, snoring away. Poor baby. He looks so cute when he's sleeping. When I woke him up to send him to bed (before he started drooling all over my new couch cushions) I didn't even mention the exploding toilet incident. See, I can be a nice wifey.

Well, there really isn't much else happening around here today. I don't know if I can sleep, after sleeping in this morning. (uh, afternoon) But I'm going to go give it a try, I have to get up and get the kids off to school tomorrow. I may have to drive them, it's only supposed to be 6 degrees by morning. Brrrr !

Good night all.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New drawing

Okay, this is it. I'm really not very happy with it. As usual, you can click on it to enlarge and see detail, but I don't think it will help. I think that at some point, I may re-do it. I don't know. For now, I think I'll just move on to some thing new.

Cold chills and peanut butter withdraw.

I know that I said I would finish, and post, my drawing today, but I have spent almost the whole day wrapped in a blanket on the couch. I don't think that I'm sick, I just can't seem to get warm. For the last 24 hours, I have been chilled to the bone, to the point where I feel achy all over, but I'm not running a fever, and other than a slight headache and a general loss of appetite, I'm just freakin' COLD. Granted, the mercury outside hasn't risen above 18F over the last few days, but everyone else is quite comfortable with the inside temps in our house. Gawd, knowing my ass-backward body, I'm probably having cold flashes, instead of hot flashes. It's always the simple things in life that manage to confuse me the most.

I had just about convinced myself that the world would be just fine if I spent the day on the couch with my blankey . . . until Jake and Heather came home. Heather reminded me that tonight was parent's night at the junior high school. She's very excited (and nervous) about starting Jr. high next year, and she is determined not to miss out on one tiny shred of information. I did my best to squirm out of it, but she wasn't going to accept no for an answer. So, I braved the cold and spent an hour and a half wondering if it's healthy for a 46 year old woman to have such an emotional attachment to a fuzzy blanket,.

My dogs are really upset. I got an e-mail today stating that the recent salmonella tainted peanut butter contamination is not limited to people food only, but has been extended to peanut butter flavored dog treats! My dogs are totally addicted to peanut butter. They LOVE that squeeze peanut butter in a can that I use to fill their Kong toys with. I can't believe that President Obama has done NOTHING to solve this crisis! Millions of American kids and dogs have become dependant on their daily peanut butter fix, and the man we entrusted with the welfare of our nation, has a total disregard for the people (and pets) suffering from peanut butter withdraw. We the people, (and now, canines) have NO peanut butter, and he has a total "Let them eat cheese" attitude about the whole thing! Mark my words, all this is going to end badly. I know things in my house could get really ugly.

Oh Gosh, my fingers are too cold to type. I'm going to shut things down and jump into bed. Good nigh y'all, stay warm.

Love ya,


Monday, January 26, 2009

Chugging right along

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm feeling the Valentine's magic, so this is my new layout. Cool, huh?

Oh my gosh, I just got back from a midnight Diet coke mission. Brrrrrr! It's freakin' cold out there ! I used to believe that after a certain point, cold was just cold, but this! The winds are absolutely icy ! Of course, since the only place open at this time of night is the local convenience store (Quick Trip, about a mile away) the heater in my car never had time to even start to warm up. As I was paying for my addiction at the counter, I thought, I must be insane to brave this cold in the middle of the night just for a can of caffeine and saccharine. Of course the whole insanity concept wanders into my mind about 3 or 4 times a day. I seriously doubt that it's necessary to take a vote regarding my mental status.

This has been a busy, and fairly productive, Sunday. Roy and Nick went to do some work for our landlord at one of his other properties early this morning. (Cha-ching, money towards our rent) Before I knew of their plans to work, I had invited Nick and Jen over for dinner today; so when I woke up, Jennifer was on the couch, just hanging out with my dogs. Not a big deal, I also had five other kids, besides my own, wandering around my house, entertaining themselves in various ways. This is just the way my life is some days.

Jennifer and I sat in the living room catching up for a couple of hours before I actually got up and busy. I got some household chores knocked out while most of the kids got picked up by their respective mothers. (Finally, Thank God!) In the meantime, Jen had curled up on the couch and fallen asleep so, I got some work done on my drawing.

My drawing is now, about 98% complete. I just have a little work left to do on the borders. Tomorrow, I'll try to finish it up, and figure out if it will fit into the scanner, or if I'll have to scan a photo of it. Hopefully, I'll get it posted tomorrow evening. It's not quite what I had envisioned. You all can give me your critiques, just be kind, I haven't drawn in quite a while. I'm not sure what I'll do next, I should probably start thinking about getting some work done for next year's Halloween haunt. During October, Jennifer worked at Party America, and after Halloween, they threw out a bunch of styrofoam wig heads that she saved for me. I'm thinking of creeping them out and placing them on wooden spikes in our Graveyard next year. Pretty gross, huh?! I am so demented.

Anyway, since I did promise Nick a home cooked meal, I made an old fashioned, artery clogging, down home, comfort meal of ; chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas, creamed corn, and biscuits & jelly. Nick had specifically requested that I make my mom's banana salad. It's one of those country recipes that sound really weird when it's described, and you either like it, or you don't. Anyway, it was a specialty when I was growing up, Nick developed a taste for it, and he was adamant that Jennifer should try it. Since they are engaged now, I think he is testing her to see if she will freak out when confronted with our family's oddities. I guess she passed. She ate half of it and she didn't barf - even after I told her the ingredients. She did have seconds on Mashed potatoes, biscuits and gravy. (a starch-loving girl after my own heart!)

After I got the dishes done, I baked a double batch of Chocolate chip cookies so they could take some home with them. Poor kids, Jennifer's mom is a nurse and they are always complaining about the bland, "healthy" food that she tries to cram into their bellies. I do my best to send them home with something that will tick Jennifer's mom off. I shouldn't be that way, but she has always acted like my son isn't good enough for her daughter. People can say whatever they like about me, but you had better not disrespect my kids! I have always considered my kids' friends/girl or boy friends/ spouses as my own. I take issue with people who reject, or are judgemental, of others because of their status, life style, or even their imperfections. Granted, Nick is a drug addict/alcoholic, but he didn't ask to be one, and he really is an awesome person. ( by the way, he has been sober for an unusually long time - Yay !) Most people don't realize that it's a condition that can afflict anyone, and any family. "But for the grace of God, there go I . . ." (or anyone else, for that matter)

Anyway, it may not seem like I accomplished much today, but it was just one of those days when everything fell into place and went, fairly, smoothly. I've really missed Nick and Jennifer. (I never thought I'd say that) Besides, it just makes my heart happy to have my kids (and grand kids) at home - especially if I get to feed them. I know, that sounds like such a corny "mom" thing, but I really DO adore my kids, they're great people.

Well, I need to go get myself off to bed. My little piggies are frozen, I'm guessing Roy is nice and warm . . . hehehe. You know that someone really loves you when you climb into bed and they don't roll over and yell at you when you stick your ice cold feet up against them.

Good night everyone.

Love ya,

Friday, January 23, 2009

Middle aged romance and teenage rebellion

Hey there,

I know that I haven't posted in a while, things are fine. For the most part, I've been feeling . . . content, I guess. Isn't that what you call it when your needs are being met? To be honest, I really haven't got a lot of needs that go un-met on a regular basis. In fact, lately, life has given me a few extra gifts to keep me busy. Things like a couple of days of spring-like weather in the middle of January. Yesterday, It was 65 degrees! (I think that's 33C) So, I was out, and doing my best to enjoy it while it lasted. Today, we are headed back to more typical, cold weather for this time of year and I'm doing my best not to complain.

I was over at Jasmin's blog today, and she 's all decked out for Valentines day. I used to wonder why they placed Valentine's day in the dead of winter on the Calendar. I always thought that it would be better placed in the spring. This year, I'm feeling like it's starting to make a little more sense. I've spent the last couple of months stuck in the house, looking at my husband, who by the way, is driving me crazy with his lethargy and SAD behavior. To tell the truth, I was on the verge of lashing out at him, and giving some thought to slapping him around a bit. (just to cheer myself up) Well, actually, I had already set in motion a bit of verbal abuse, when it suddenly occurred to me that it really wasn't getting me what I wanted. Maybe, it was the sudden dose of warm air and sunshine that cleared my thinking? At any rate, I had to stop and consider what it was that I did want. I want a lot of things, so it's hard to decide. In the end, I chose sweetness over bitterness, and the rewards are . . . nice! So now, I'm feeling a bit more Valentine-zy. I'm craving hearts and flowers and chocolate. Actually, not so much chocolate, 'cause I'm feeling well loved right now, and that's a good thing.

In fact, I am having fantasies of booking a room at the Great Wolf Lodge (here in K.C. ) and spending a weekend snuggled in front of a roaring fireplace (without children) while the snow falls in feet rather than increments of an inch or less. But see, there I am again, wanting snow. I just want one really good snowfall and then I can say, "Okay, I'm done. We've had an acceptable winter and we can move on now."

Anyway, such romantic thoughts are fine and dandy for old married folks such as myself. Well, unless you are reading this and happen to be my mom, or one of my sophisticated and too cool offspring. In which case, you're probably thinking, "Ewwww! Please, could you go back to bitching, now?!"

And so . . . since I have plenty of children, and way too many dogs for any sane person, I have an ever abundant source of strange and bizarre things to whinge and mindlessly ramble on about. So, if you were some weird and freaky perve who stumbled upon my site in search of cheap thrills, you can move on now..

For the past two mornings, I have been awakened by some odd phone calls. Phone calls that I guess, are to be expected when one has a teenager in Junior high school. *Sigh* I'm just too old (or jaded?) to be dealing with this foolishness.

MY son, my sweet child, whose first words and steps once made my heart leap for joy . . . UGH. Let's see here, Wednesday morning, well, it was afternoon because, well, it's a long story, but I was sleeping. Anyway, Jake's principal called to inform me that my son, who was on speaker phone, yet strangely had nothing to say, was in her office because he had been "referred to her". That's what they call it when your kid is in trouble now. They make it sound like there's some kind of HMO involved ( or maybe should be involved?) as opposed to your kid just acting like a normal obnoxious, rebellious, twit in class. Anyway, the reason for said referral was, because he was listening to his MP3 player during instruction time. GASP ! My son, blowing off academic instruction?! It can't be! Unfortunately, he was caught in the act, with witnesses and everything. The principal informed me that this was the second time that this had happened and according to school policy, if it happened again, he would have his MP3 taken away and I would have to come pick it up from the office. I'm still trying to figure out if the goal was to punish Jake, or merely inconvenience me? Oh well, I told her that I understood, and that was that. Everything except for the heart to heart chat that I had to have with my son that evening. Total waste of time, might as well have been talking to myself.

The next morning as I lay sleeping, the phone rang again and this time, it was the Vice Principal. Apparently, the referral system at school is a bit jammed up, because the VP was just getting around to a referral about Jake that was written on Tuesday. (another MP3 violation) When he went to retrieve my son from class, guess what he found him doing? He was sitting in class, with his feet casually propped on the desk and his MP3 ear buds corked in his ears. Damn it. He wanted to inform me that Jake's MP3 was being confiscated and would be awaiting my pick up in his office after school. Double damn. He then went on to say that in addition to the MP3 issue, Jake seemed to be having a problem with getting himself to class on time. Over the past 10 days of the new quarter, Jake had managed to accumulate 7 tardies. My sweet quiet child has become such a social butterfly, that the temptation to chat in the halls during passing period seems to be too great. As a result, Jake had been given a couple of ASD's (after school detentions,) that he had also managed to blow off. To rectify that situation, he was being placed in ISS (in school suspension) for the day, AND for the next 10 days he would be given private passing periods. Which means that while everyone else is changing classes, Jake will wait, and then be given an extra 2 minutes to pass while the halls are empty. So he still gets to socialize for the five minutes during passing period, he just has and extra two minutes to get to class. How is that a bad thing?

I'm absolutely amazed at all the politically correct changes that have occurred since I was in school. Not only has being sent to the office turned into " a referral", but punishments are now "consequences." Which sounds as if it's something that inevitably "just happens", like lunch or acne, certainly not anything that they should be ashamed of, or feel responsible for. What we used to call 8th hours, are now after school detentions. That sounds like something a nerd would sign up for because they didn't have anything better to do. Even the worst "consequences" like ISS and OSS (out of school suspension) sound like accomplishments, something that they should be congratulated for. Are kids supposed to shake in their boots when a principal says,
"Well, Mister, you've just earned yourself an ISS?"
I would be thinking, "Cool, it'll look great on my transcript with all my referrals and ASD's !"

And the only one who is even inconvenienced, is the parents! As I was waiting in the school office this afternoon, to pick up Jake's MP3, I was looking over the parent info on the office bulletin board. One of the flyers was the school's solution for, "children, aged 12 -18 who have made poor choices or bad judgements that have resulted in earning OSS (out of school suspension ) status." Apparently, some working parents are concerned that their little darlings are left home alone with nothing to do with themselves! The schools recommended response to this issue is a service that allows parents to drop their Jr. high and high school children off at school, and they will receive assistance in completing missed home work, or they can sign up for special classes. And best of all, it will ONLY cost the parents $40.00 per OSS school day ! Ummm . . . first of all, if they are on OSS, and you send them back to school to do school work, then it ISN'T an OSS, it's an ISS, so what's the point?! Secondly, when I was in school, an out of school suspension meant that not only were you not allowed on school grounds, but you LOST the chance to make up school work. You had to take a big, fat Zero for those missed assignments. But I guess all that got changed when President Bush passed "No delinquent left behind."

Maybe I really am getting old, but I just don't see the point in any of this. When Jake came home from school on Thursday, the most effective thing that I could say to him was,
"Okay Jake, this is your last warning. Either you pull your head out of your ass at school, or I am going to take you out and home school you."
His eyes got huge, his mouth dropped open, and all he could do was utter the words, "NO !"
That's right, he'd actually have to DO school work during school time. And if he jacked around with me, there wouldn't be "consequences", there would be punishments, and I KNOW how to make his life a living hell. On the other hand, he'd go back to all B grades, and he might actually learn something. (Other than the words to all the songs on the Hollywood Undead CD. )Hmmmm . . . that sounds like it might not be such a bad idea. Unfortunately, I'd really like to have a life someday.

Uh-oh. I have to go. Roy was playing ball with Angel in the house -again - and the tennis ball landed on the stove and caught fire. I have to do something about the smell in here.

By the way, it's snowing !

Love ya all,

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

TA - DA!

This is my new couch. As you can see, Pete likes it a lot, He says it's very warm and comfy.

This is the matching love seat.

And these are the coffee table, end tables, and lamps. I had to do some last minute re-arranging. My living area is so small that even these few scaled down pieces were too big for them to fit the way I had planned, but I kind of like this. I get to show off the checkered lattice on the end tables, and I really love their deep cherry color. Of course, once it warms up and I move my plants back out to the deck, I'll have more space. Right now, I have them all over the place. I have my T.V. on my arts and crafts type table at the opposite end of the room.

And yes, it's surrounded by plants as well. The other rooms are all just as green.

One of these days, I'll move into a "real" house, with rooms designed to accommodate normal people, as opposed to elves.

In the meantime, I guess the next thing on the agenda is re-painting the bedrooms. I really hadn't planned on doing that, but that's sort of the reason that setting up a family room became a priority. Jake used to entertain his friends in his bed room, which is actually quite large, but without supervision, the little vandals have pretty much destroyed everything AND added a touch of ghetto graffiti art to the walls as well. Obviously, they still need supervision. Roy is supposed to gather the little hoodlums together, have them return to the scene of the crime, and put them to work painting. I figured I'd take advantage of the situation and paint our room and Heather's room as well. (I'm sort of waiting for the weather to warm up a bit before we do, so we can open a few windows if we need to.) I know that the landlord didn't paint anything before we moved in, (there was still wall paper border from the last tenants in four of the rooms - that I had to remove) so I'm hoping that we can deduct the paint and labor from our rent.

Well, it's been a long day, and Roy has to be up and out early, so I have to get the kids off to school in the morning. I better get some sleep. Good night all.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Crazy dogs and stubborn kids

Well, my living room hasn't been this bare since the day that we moved in here, almost four years ago. I've found a home for the old furniture downstairs, and places for all the lamps and other miscellaneous items. The only things left are my (many) plants, the T.V., and the computer desk and chair. Tomorrow, they're delivering the new stuff. I'm so excited. The couch, love seat and chair that we moved downstairs is my mom's old furniture that she bought when I was pregnant with Jasmin ! I've been looking at the same stuff, in one house or another, for the past 30 years. I can't believe that it's held up so long! Of course, it's huge, and extremely heavy! We officially inherited the set when my mom moved into her new house, five years ago. It just so happened that the very night before she moved, our house caught fire and all our living room and family room furniture was either smoke or water damaged.

The dogs can't really figure out what's going on, at least not yet. For now, they think the living room is the greatest play area ever ! Pete gets his boys into the middle of the empty floor, and they put on canine wrestling matches, which usually turn into comedy routines. I figure they might as well enjoy the space while it lasts. The girls, Angel and Princess, are pretty excited about the changes as well. When we moved all the furniture, they found several long lost balls and chew toys that had been MIA for so long, that they think they're new.

After Roy made Jake and Quentin help move furniture on Saturday, Jake did his best to make himself scarce for the rest of the weekend. He spent both Saturday and Sunday night at friends homes. When I woke up this morning, I found him sitting in the middle of the living room floor (where the couch used to be) watching MTV videos. When I reminded him that we DO still have furniture, as well as another T.V. downstairs, he just shrugged. When I came home from walking the dogs this afternoon, three of Jake's friends had showed up; and instead of enjoying their new space in the family room, they were all sitting on the floor in the living room! When I went to feed the dogs, they all migrated into the kitchen and huddled around the table. When I ran out of room to move, I shooed them all down to the family room. I don't know if it's a matter of old habits dying hard, or if he's just trying to be difficult.

Well, I've spent most of my evening scrubbing down walls and cleaning carpets, and I'm exhausted. I'm going to get myself off to bed. Good night.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Just Checking In

I'm still around. I've just been busy, busy, busy ! I spent all day Friday running errands and buying groceries. Thank God, the temps decided to warm up a bit. Today, my hubby and I picked out some new living room furniture ! I've wanted (and needed) some for SO long ! It's supposed to be delivered Tuesday, but I wanted to do some thorough cleaning before they deliver it. So, this afternoon, I got the old couch and love seat moved down to the family room so I could get Jake and Heather's friends out of my living room. The cold weather has really turned my house into a gathering place for their friends. (I'm one of the few moms who are home when the kids get out of school) They really need a space of their own, but a place where I can still keep an eye on them.

Anyway, I've been moving furniture all over the place trying to make room for the new stuff, and store the old stuff until the city does their spring cleaning trash pick up. (There's a lot of stuff that just needs to disappear.) Nick and Jennifer are going to come over tomorrow, after church. I'm going to see if there is any of it they might want, for when they get their own place. ( Of course, I'll probably still have to find a place to store it for them)

Okay, I need to get myself off to bed. I'm exhausted and I still have a lot of stuff to get done before Tuesday. Good night.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I appologize for my attitude in advance.

Is it only Wednesday? I'm beginning to think that this Arctic blast has frozen everything, including time. It's just unbelievably cold here, in the middle of the country, surrounded by concrete, and miles and miles of prairie. In Kansas, there isn't much to break the icy winds blowing through either; no hills, no valleys, and not nearly enough trees.

When I was in elementary school, it seemed like every year, we did a unit on The Great State of Kansas. They made us learn every useless scrap of information about this wretched place, as if there was no other world beyond it's borders. During one of those boring filmstrips (yes, back then, they actually used film projectors and rolls of film) I remember hearing a piece of information that, even then, shocked me. They said that 90% of the trees west of Topeka, KS. have been planted. (since the state was settled) I grew up, and still live, in the part of Kansas that is about 30 minutes east of Topeka. Shortly after Roy and I got married, we traveled by car across Kansas, to Colorado. That's when the gravity of that piece of information really hit home with me. First of all, NO ONE lives in western Kansas. Furthermore, anyone who has ever lived there, was probably blown away. Why? Because there is nothing to prevent it from happening. I think I saw a total of about . . . 20 trees, between Topeka and the Colorado state line. (so basically, some idiot planted 16 trees in western Kansas - woo hoo! - fat lot of good that did!) Bottom line, Kansas is a desolate place. Unless, you live between Topeka and Missouri, which is where 90% of the population lives, myself included. Okay, that's my geography lesson/bitch session for the day.

There hasn't been much going on here lately; and if anything did happen, I probably missed it. I've been busy working on my drawing for the past three days. The plumber that was supposed to show up yesterday, around noon ? He called this morning at 9AM, to say that he was on his way. It's a good thing that Roy was here to deal with him - I would have let the dogs eat him.

Now that the drain is fixed, I really can't be bothered with house work - I'm busy creating. I'm hoping to be done with this drawing by Friday. I have things to do this weekend. Also, the kids (and all the government employees) have a three day weekend, to celebrate Martin Luther King Jr.'s Birthday, on Monday. Whose birthday is actually tomorrow, but who wants to take a day off in the middle of the week? It's one thing to honor the memory of a great person like MLK, but God forbid we should be inconvenienced by it! Let's turn it into a three day weekend, so that we can forget the whole ugly event of his tragic murder. Sorry. Between the cold weather and my hormones, I'm feeling a bit sarcastic today. It's a good thing that I've had something to stay focused on, otherwise, I'm sure that my whole family would be in tears by now.

I talked to Nick yesterday. He has a new job working for a moving company. That should be good, physical work for him. Between his ADHD and his anxiety, he needs to stay physically active to burn off all his excess energy. (so he doesn't explode) He's very excited about this new job. Right now, he's doing an overnight move, here in Kansas, but they mostly do cross country moves, so sometimes he'll be gone for a week or so. That works out good for him because the tension at Jennifer's house hasn't eased up much, (Jennifer's family hasn't been exactly thrilled that they are engaged) but also, because he gets to travel and see the country. (which is something that he has always wanted to do.) Also, he says the pay is good. I just hope that he stays sober, and doesn't get himself into trouble while he is away. Will I ever quit worrying about him?

I think that what I need to do is to go relax in a nice hot tub, and crawl into bed. Maybe I can be snuggled under the blankets before the temperature drops into the negative digits. That would be nice. Good night.

Love ya,

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Staying content.

It's Monday, Or it was Monday, I guess technically, it's Tuesday now. Anyway, The last few days have been lovely. Saturday was rough. I just felt stressed and at loose ends, but Sunday, I said to hell with everything and got to work on my drawing. I laid out the basic sketch on Friday night and Saturday morning, and Sunday, I transfered it onto a sheet of good drawing paper and started to work. I was a little worried that I might have forgotten how to do this, but it's all coming back. I spent most of my day Sunday working on it, in between dealing with the kids, my regular grocery store runs, and dealing with the dogs. Today, it was just too cold to get out and go anywhere. (although my dogs begged to differ) The temps have steadily dropped all day and the wind is blowing everything around outside - not a day fit for such a delicate flower as myself to be out. So when I got up this morning, I threw a load of laundry in the wash, and started back to work. I LOVE having my drawing table in the kitchen, it's so warm and convenient, but mostly warm - I like that.

When I went to go check the wash, I discovered that our basement drain was, once again, not doing the job that a drain is intended to do. Tsk, Tsk. I called my hubby, who told me that the plumber guy (that's what we call him now) couldn't make it out until Tuesday afternoon. Isn't that a shame? Since I couldn't finish the laundry until sometime Tuesday afternoon, I was left with no other option, but to spend my day working on my drawing - oh well. (actually, I decided to blow off all my other chores) Anyway, in spite of Pete's constant whinging and whimpering that it was time for his walk, I managed to have a really good time today.

When the kids came home things got a little crazy. At one point, I had Jake, Quentin, Chrissy, Summer, and Tyler all in the living room; and Heather, Hailey, Alexis, and Bub in the family room, and of course, five dogs running amok trying to figure out who was willing to give them the maximum attention. This is the normal 3 to 6PM crew. However, from my drawing table, I can easily hear, and mostly see, both rooms, so I just kept right on working. It's been so long since I've done any drawing, I had almost forgotten how much I enjoy working with colored pencils. Unfortunately, I have to deal with the "plumber guy" tomorrow, and I really should get some house work done . . . so I won't have as much time to play.

Heather brought home her mid year report card today. I'm very pleased. She is doing really well in school this year. They have already sent home enrollment forms for next year. I think that she's a little concerned about going to junior high school next year, but Jake will still be there as a ninth grader and he's pretty popular. He won't let anyone give his little sister any grief. It's amazing how well the two of them get along. Besides, she has met and befriended a lot of Jake's friends this year. 7th graders who have 9th grade friends are generally considered too cool to ridicule.
Now Jake, on the other hand, seems to be having a hard time locating his report card - again. I went to the parent access site on the computer and looked up his grades - I can understand why. Of course, I've been checking up on his daily assignments for the past month, so I was already prepared for the final grades. He and I had a nice long chat before Christmas break, and so far this semester, he is holding up his end of the bargain. But he knows the consequences if he starts to slack off. Next year's grades will start to count towards his graduation credits, so he can't afford to screw up anymore.

Well, I hate to disappoint everyone, but there just isn't much else happening around here. As Roy likes to say, "We're too poor to pay attention." So instead of complaining, I am staying content with my art, and doing my best to keep the "animals" fed and their cages clean and tidy here at "The Zoo." I know that I need to get myself off to bed. It's late. and I need to be up in the morning. (as in, before noon!) Good night everyone.

Love ya,

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Long, Cold Saturday.

Okay, my little plan has not worked out quite as I had hoped. My visitor free weekend is a shambles. Jacob and Christian made plans for Christian to come over Friday night. Jake's justification was that Christian is family, and not really "company." Roy fell for that line of reasoning and told Jake okay. When I questioned Roy about it, he pointed out that we had never turned Christian away before, which is true. Christian is family, and by himself, he's never been any bother. Of course, when the two of them get together, it always leads to a houseful of teenagers, the way it did this afternoon. And since Heather is the grand score keeper, her reasoning was, "If Jake gets to have a friend over, then why can't I?" And since her sore throat has become magically healed, why not two over night guests? *SIGH*
I guess it doesn't matter much anyway, Roy and I were too broke to do anything this weekend.
I was just hoping for a bit of peace and quiet, you know, for a change? Oh well. But I'm telling you, next weekend WILL be different. What? You believe me, Right?

I guess this weekend has got me feeling a bit stressed, and it doesn't have anything to do with a houseful of teenagers. Have you ever been entrusted with what feels like a very heavy piece of information? Information that you really didn't want to know? And then been asked not to tell anyone? So all you can do is turn it over and over in your head, and worry yourself? Of course, there really isn't much I can do about it, except wish that I had more control. Ha-ha, As if the world would be a safer and better place if I were in charge! My life is a mess. I just need . . . a magic wand. Yeah, yeah, that's the ticket. A magic wand would be nice. I wonder if I can find one on Ebay, or Craig's list?

Roy has a couple of service calls early tomorrow morning. (for our local Wendy's restaurants) God forbid the good people of Olathe be without their Frosty Malts, Wendy's Big Classic Burgers, Chili, or Baked Potatoes. So it doesn't sound like we'll be going to church in the morning. Christian's step mom wants to pick him up at 9;30 AM, so it don't think I'll get to sleep in. I haven't heard from Nick today, but they have been showing up on Sunday afternoons
and hanging around for dinner. Hopefully, Heather's girlfriends will find their way home before it gets too late in the day. So . . . tomorrow will be a busy day. I should probably get myself off to bed. Goodnight all.


Friday, January 9, 2009

Afternoon update

The last couple of days have been lovely. Warm weather, kids at school, like they are supposed to be, and I've spent my days doing my usual routines and even had time to get out and walk the dogs. Best of all, the evenings have been sane enough for me to do some drawing.

Over the last several weeks, I've been reading, and blogging about, 'Women Who Run With the Wolves" with Mel and Cat. (Although, I think we've kind of taken a break over the holidays.) Anyway, I love this book and the sketches that I've done are kind of inspired by it. Maybe I'll do a whole series of drawings, that would look good hanging in some Westport or Plaza gallery, wouldn't it? Ha, ha - my drawings will never be that good! Anyway, it makes me happy, and I think it's good therapy.

I'm still planning on getting into some art classes at the local community college this summer. I was hoping to do it sooner, but finances have been really crappy lately. Hopefully, I'll have some $ set a side by spring. Right now, I'm just concerned about getting through next week. Roy's boss has decided that as of the first of the year, they are going from weekly pay checks, to bi-weekly pay checks. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't decide to do it right after Christmas ! It's just crappy timing - it's going to take a while to re-adjust to the change and get back on track.

Heather has been complaining of a sore throat the last few days. She hasn't had a cough, but her voice is all scratchy and croaky. She's not running a fever, but she's spent every spare minute sleeping. Does that sound like Mono? I should probably look up the symptoms on the web. If she's not better by Monday, I'm going to take her to the doctor and have her checked - even strep throat would suck, the whole house will end up with it.

Well, I need to get busy, Jake should be home from school soon. . .

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Baby steps towards a new start

YES ! What bliss. I woke this morning to a silent house. Well, except for the two T.V.s the kids left running. I had planned, and requested, that my husband wake me at 7AM, but my hubby let me sleep in and got the kids off to school himself. I appreciate his morning thoughtfulness, but I really need to be up to get the most from my day. Also, Heather says that she prefers that I be up before she leaves for school, because I chit-chat with her and it helps her to wake up before school. She says that Dad may be up, but he's really not awake. She says he's boring.

Anyway, by the time I got my housework caught up, it was too late to get the dogs out for a walk, and it was a reasonably warm day to do it. Oh well, now that I'm caught up, and Roy has promised to wake me on time tomorrow, I can spend a little extra time out with them tomorrow. In the meantime, I'll just have to put up with their pouting and fidgeting. I guess I've survived worse.

Yesterday, I spent part of my day doing some furniture moving. I hauled my drawing table up from the basement and into the kitchen. I've been wanting to do some drawing, but it's just too chilly and damp in the basement this time of year. Now that I'm caught up on my house work, I'm hoping that tomorrow, I can get some sketches laid out. Also, now that my drawing stuff is in a more centrally located place, I can keep an eye on the kids while I work. Sometimes, it seems that leaving teenagers unattended is almost more dangerous than leaving a couple of toddlers home alone.

Last night at dinner, Roy and I had a little chat with Jake and Heather. We told them that they really need to cut back on the overnight guests. Not only am I starting to feel like I am running a boarding house for teenagers, but Roy and I would like to have some evenings available to go out once in a while. Now all I have to do is figure out how to pry Roy's butt off the couch once in a while, because if we don't actually get up and go, the kids will go right back to their old ways.

Well, I need to get myself off to bed before it gets too late. I was sort of hoping to soak in a nice hot tub tonight. Nick and Jennifer got me a wonderful bath set for Christmas that I haven't had a chance to use yet. Maybe tomorrow . . .


Love ya,


Monday, January 5, 2009

One more day

I just have to get through tomorrow, the kids will go back to school, and I'll be home free. Well mostly. The school has a total of 12 days off scheduled during the months of January, February, and March. (that doesn't include snow days, if we get any) I love having my kids at home, but they tend to make it difficult to accomplish anything around the house, especially when the cold weather keeps them, and all their friends, inside.

Over the past few months I've come to the conclusion that I need to make some changes, both in my life, and in our home. I'm tired of everyone expecting me to deal with every little thing. I need to make some changes and do some re-structuring around here so that my life doesn't revolve around taking care of my family's every need and desire. I need to make it possible for them to take on more responsibilities, and for me to figure out what I need to do for me. Although, I'm not completely sure what that involves. (it's hard to even think straight with a houseful of teenagers and music blaring all the time) Some of the things that I'm considering are, going back to work on a part-time basis, or maybe going back to school, maybe a little of both. I know that I need to get out of the house more, I'm starting to feel very isolated and my thinking is becoming very warped and distorted.

Another one of our goals for 2009 is to find a family church that works for us. Yesterday, we met Nick and Jennifer for the 11:00AM service at Life Church. (that's the church where we used to go, and where I taught preschool.) We haven't been there for almost two and a half years, and there's been a lot of changes; lots of new people, and they've done a lot of construction, but I'm just not sure how I feel about it. The kids are kind of divided on it. Heather wants us to try the church where she and her friend go for Wednesday night youth group, and Jake wants us to try the church where his girlfriend, Chrissy, goes. I have a feeling that we are going to be doing some "church shopping." I'm not looking forward to that, but I guess it has to be done. It's something that I think we all need. Roy and I really need a place where we can meet people and focus on spiritual growth; and I really want Jake and Heather to meet kids, other than their school friends, who are all so caught up in their gossip and cliques. They really need options, and other ways of looking at themselves, their lives, their community, and the world. My biggest objection to public school has always been the mentality that it creates.

Anyway, I know that none of this is going to happen over night, but my brain wants to plan, organize, and act while the thoughts are fresh; but with the kids at home, I have to really struggle to stay focused on anything - there's just too many distractions. I guess that's my ADHD showing.

Well, the kids have finally gone to bed, or at least to their rooms. I need to get myself off to bed too. I can handle just one more day of this - I think. Good night.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Four days and counting.

Hey there,

I'm still counting the days until the kids go back to school - four days to go. I'm not completely convinced that I'll make it that long. I don't know why this Christmas holiday has been so hard on me. I'm sure that part of it has to do with finances, but it seems too easy to blame it all on the evils of money. I've just been feeling overwhelmed, over stressed, and frustrated. I just don't feel like this holiday thing will be finally over and done with until the kids get back to school, and my life regains some semblance of normalcy. I've had enough of teenagers and their chaos. I just need some quiet time. I long for the day that I can wake up to a house that is silent and free from stray children standing in my kitchen with their head stuck in my refrigerator looking for something to eat. I would so like to prepare a meal for just my family, or tell someone to go do their home work. I've had enough of kids who don't have specified bedtimes and sleep until noon, who think that they shouldn't be expected to do anything because they are on "vacation." I've just had enough.

Roy and I were supposed to go shopping for new living room furniture today, but we are still trying to recover from Christmas, so we just can't afford it right now. Instead, I spent my day trying to catch up on some house work (which seems like a wasted effort with 5-7 kids running amok.) Just as well, Roy was on call and had a couple of service calls to run today.

Since it was warm, I did manage to get my dogs out for a walk this afternoon. They get restless and agitated being stuck in the house with so many people. You would think, that on a 54 degree day, in January, the kids would want to be outside too. But no, they want to stay inside, destroy my house, and eat all my food.

Okay, it sounds like Jake, Patrick, and Quentin are getting out of hand with Jake's new "air-soft" b.b. gun. There is far too much rowdy behavior coming from the upstairs bed room. I think it's time to go upstairs and kick some ass - not that it will do any good - in twenty minutes, they'll be back at it again.