Sunday, December 27, 2009

Games the Big Kids Can't Resist

When you were a kid, did you ever wonder whether Santa had some special deal with the board game companies? The three of us didn't get that many board games, but over the years I have noticed the "filler" present and stocking stuffer action accorded Yahtzee, Uno, Sorry, and the like. In fact, I myself can't resist throwing a few games into the cart when Christmas shopping. I know from experience that the thrill for any one of the games will be short-lived, but I can't tell you how many times I've grabbed a game as another present to add to the stack. You know, Yahtzee might not be the centerpiece present, but it makes a fun side present. Same thing goes for a themed version of Trivial Pursuit or a classic pack of Uno cards.
What did you play when you were a kid? We played Yahtzee so many times that we had the scorecard categories memorized and could use the back of a sheet once the front was filled. War and Go Fish were staples when we could find a complete deck of cards (okay, okay, we could have taken better care of our toys). Another well-used board game involved a piece of plywood and a bag of marbles. Pop drilled marble size slots in the plywood, and Mother and we three kiddos played many games of "Aggravation/Sorry" on it.
These days, kids are reminded to be good sports. There's nothing bad about that, but some people take it to the extreme and scold kids for bragging or celebrating their victories. Well, I am here to tell you that if you are that politically correct, then you are going to have a problem with the battle going on at Grandma's today, LOL. You see, Santa brought Katie a box of "Tumbling Towers," also known as "Jenga" when you buy the non-generic version. Uncle Bubby and I were trying the game out for Kate as she was leaving for town with Grandma, James, and Aunt Soupie. Grandma told Granddaddy that he would have the harder job of refereeing these two "kids." Guess our mother knows us pretty well. Pop didn't have to actually break up any squabbles yet. He did get plenty of entertainment listening to the "cheater, cheater" squawks and "no, you didn't" whines and "Ha!" exclamations, though.
And, he can expect to hear more. Bubby won four games to my three. There's going to be a grudge match later. Of course, Soupie will be home by then, so she'll have to join the battle. I suspect there will be some gloating and talking of the smack! Hope you are all having a fun weekend, too!
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THIS IS THE master WILLIAM LEE GREER <----- note the smack already being typed by my little brother when I wasn't at the keyboard!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Merry, Merry!

Merry, Merry!
Peace and Joy to All!
If it seems I've been remiss in posting lately, well, I have. Dial-up hates my Toshiba and refuses to recognize its modem, even after I bought a USB modem just in case the Toshiba really doesn't have one. Wireless aircard prices freak out my frugal husband (although he didn't seem to have a problem spending dough on a new t.v.). . .and despite my sore attitude about the tv trumping internet, I keep crossing my fingers and hoping somebody will provide DSL or something on our side of the railroad track because the aircards are kind of pricey. So, here I sit at the library, checking email and occasionally logging on to Facebook. Given the true heartaches and hardships that can happen, having my internet access in a place where my writing muse refuses to visit is not a situation worthy of complaint.
BUT...
Ha! You knew that "but" was coming, didn't you? "But" I miss my friends from all across the country and all around the world. "But" I could never make all the phone calls and keep up with all the things I see about my cousins and nieces and old classmates on Facebook. "But" I miss sharing glass talk with other people who know what a torch is and how I got that hole in the middle of the bead. "But" I like to glance at the news blurbs on Yahoo and check the weather forecast at a moment's notice. So. There. I'll pout if I want to pout.
ANYWAY...
Things always have a way of working out for the best, working out to be what you didn't know you needed at the time.
SO...
I'm waving at every single one of you who comes by to see what's up these days :)
I'm wishing each of you lots of happy family times during the holidays!
I'm thinking I might explode if the muse doesn't learn to write at the library-- too many good stories and, as always, a few raving rants are waiting to be splashed onto the page :)
TAKE GOOD CARE OF YOURSELVES!
KNOW THAT I MISS ALL YOUR BLOGS AND LOOK FORWARD TO CATCHING UP SOON!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Hooray for Diary of a Wimpy Kid!!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Ever heard of it? Ever had a kid who didn't really see the thrill of reading? Well, if your reluctant reader is anywhere close to seven, eight, or even nine years old, then you'd better run to the bookstore and grab the red one, the blue one, the green one, and the yellow one! Once it grabs your young reader's attention, at least two things will happen: 1. your child will read for longer periods of time than you ever imagined would happen without the threat of flying monkeys, and 2. you are going to be grinning bigger than the goofiest person you've ever seen.
No kidding.
James was immersed in the Wimpy Kid books when he read them last year. That's not that much of a surprise, since he likes to read and he's a boy who can easily identify with the Wimpy Kid. Ah, but Kate, Kate does not like to read very much. Almost every "book" she has freely chosen at a bookstore has been a journal with blank pages for drawing or a book used as packaging background for the necklace or pen or other trinket accompanying it. To be fair, her ability to read aloud has grown with leaps and bounds since this summer, but until this week she hadn't experienced being "glued to an interesting book." Diary of a Wimpy Kid reeled her in hard. . .she started reading the other night, read to page 38, and got up yesterday morning with the intention of finishing that book by the end of Turkey Day. That book has 217 pages, so this was a lofty goal. She made it to page 197 by last night, though, and she finished it today! Hooray for Kate! Hooray for reading (because the better you read, the better you write, and you know how that goes on from there)! Hooray for Wimpy Kid books!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful 4:

  • FAMILY (goes without saying!)
  • kitchen window view of the sunrise over the farmfield
  • fuzzy yellow striped cat waiting on the porch
  • snuggly 7 year old who doesn't really want to get up yet
  • still sorta snuggly but slightly grownup 8 year old who would like to read the sports section of the paper if i've been outside to get it
  • not-a-morning person spouse who manages a half smile instead of a frown at o'darkthirty
  • the feel of wet grass at the edges of my flip flops as i walk across the yard
  • toes that don't mind wet grass and flip flops in november
  • blue jays trying to hide acorns from the backyard under the tree in the front yard
  • any dark roasted, bold flavored coffee bean that finds its way into my grinder
  • favorite coffee cups, be they old or new, big or small
  • the luxury of having enough dishes to be able to choose favorites
  • the luxury of having the freedom to write about whatever i want
  • the luxury of having the freedom to say yes when others say no, to say no when others say yes, and to not have to say why i choose what i choose
  • the memory of standing in the Jefferson Memorial at night, craning my neck to take in the glorious quote around the ceiling
  • torches that melt glass
  • dark ivory glass and gravity
  • glass melting friends from around the world
  • books, all kinds
  • charlotte's web, reading it as a third grader and feeling as if you're sitting in the barn with wilbur and charlotte because the story is so real
  • ma and pop sitting on the porch with their coffee
  • a bubby who lets me dig through the scraps in his shop
  • a soupie who is just too damn funny!
  • nieces and nephews, near and far
  • milk chocolate
  • roasted red peppers and asparagus
  • catching a football pass from james while getting ready to return katie's soccer ball kick
  • knowing someone, somewhere in the world, will read these and think, "yep, that's something i love, too" and "wow, never thought about that" and "i am thankful for so many things, too"

May your Thanksgiving Day be a joy. . .life is good :)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Yet Another Difference Between Venus and Mars

Here's the scene: Saturday morning. One kiddo slept over at a friend's house last night. The other kiddo brought two of her friends to spend the night. All of said friends live in the old hometown, 25 miles away. Husband volunteers to pick up the boy later since he's driving that way anyway. Girls are going to stay here and play most of the day. Wife has cooked breakfast for everyone, brought glasses of ice water to their chairs, handed out extra napkins, handed out more eggs, cut the crust off more toast, and started cleaning up the crumbs. You know, all the stuff a mom does because she's the go-to person when someone needs help with something. Husband says, in all seriousness, "So, Bunny, what are you going to do today?"






So, he wondered why I had to give him a smartass remark to that question. In all fairness, while I'm standing here still half dressed in a crazy hybrid of pajamas and yesterday's jeans, I think to myself, "Well, maybe he was just trying to be nice and actually pay attention to me, and look at how I grouched at him in response." Hmmmmm. So, I help get a blanket for the sidewalk, a piece of cardboard for a painting surface, dig out pieces of craft wood shapes that each kiddo can paint, pick out paintbrushes, pour out paints and talk about the colors, watch the paintings being created, come inside for a few minutes to check my email, go back outside to discover the girls have progressed to splatter painting, explain who Jackson Pollack is, come inside to google Pollack so they can see some pictures, clean paint off hands, pick up paint before cat walks through it, and still I'm thinking about the difference between mom-ability and dad-ability. Another mom wouldn't have asked "What are you going to do today?" She would've asked something along the lines of "What are the girls going to do today?" or said something like "I'm sure they're going to have fun!" Another mom would know that it's fun having a house full of kids doing things, but the to-do lists don't really belong in the day's scenario.

Hmmm, I think again. And that is when I decide for sure. Mars, hell. . . this man has to be from another freaking galaxy. Either that, or some wicked smartass higher power plucked me from a galaxy far away, plopped me down on Venus, and gleefully sat back with the higher power equivalent of a big bowl of popcorn in anticipation of a really funny movie being played out when I got matched up with this being from Mars! Ha. Ha. Hee. Hee. Well, I gotta say I guess it is kinda funny when you think about it!


P.S. You should see some of the splatter paintings drying on the counter right now! They used jewel tone greens, blues, and purples, plus a dash of bright golden orange. . .it's a very pretty peacock feather palette of splatters!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Have Any Hide 'n Seek Memories?

The kiddos are playing hide 'n seek again this morning. Remember playing that? Is there really anything more fun than a good game of hide 'n seek, one with lots of sneaky players and lots of good hiding spots? Torie hid under the shirts in Uncle Ricky's closet last night, and James walked past and looked in at her at least twice without finding her. I couldn't resist peeking in the closet when I heard the slightest "ting" from hangers swinging against each other. James hid under the stairs in the basement, and Kate and Torie searched "The Dungeon" gingerly after I told Kate that the noises she heard might be a mouse under the stairs. Right now, Torie is giving James and Kate another challenge. Oops! Just heard the screech of recognition when Torie popped her head out from the hallway. Time for another game to begin!

You know what I remember about hide 'n seek? I remember playing it with Tracy and my brother and sister at the Isgrigg's house. Tracy was an Isgrigg grandchild, but the younger children weren't a whole lot older than us. . .just older enough to not want to play hide 'n seek, but not too old to not want to be bothered with the game. It's been a long time ago, and my memory is not always crystal clear, but it seems like some of the best scares came from the teenagers jumping out of a closet unexpectedly and from hearing the "this hallway is haunted" stories. The details are dim, but I can still close my eyes and "feel" like I am standing in that hallway wondering whether anyone was in the closet in front of me. What fun!

So, howzabout you? Got any good hide 'n seek memories or tricky tips for winning the game?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday!

Little bit of what's new with us. . .Howzabout with you?
********************
  • Emily Littlefield makes another Garren cousin! Actually, she's the daughter of James and Kate's cousin Amanda. That means Uncle Mike and Aunt Nancy are busy being grandparents (times four)!
  • Oh, and yet another Garren cousin is 16! Hope it was a great birthday, Tanner!
  • It was another short school week for James and Kate...next week, they have to go all five days! Whew, what a rough school schedule. Good thing Thanksgiving break is coming up :)
  • Kate is having fun thinking about what she wants to do at Grandma and Granddaddy's over Thanksgiving.
  • James is immersed in football. NFL rules! (Make that the Colts Rule!)
  • I have one, two, maybe three unfinished projects. Hmmm, this new house feels more like home every day, LOL.

*********************************

That's all 4 now! Have yourselves a wonderful weekend!

Monday, November 9, 2009

We Ate Like Kings!

"We ate like kings!" declared young James.
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Translation: Mom tried to fix a campfire ring with a grill circle inset at the edge. She didn't leave spaces between the "perfect edge" pavers she bought to make the ring. This didn't matter for the ring because it is only going to be two pavers high and a good six foot in diameter. Not leaving spaces in each layer did matter for the much smaller grill circle, though. It could have been that the pine needles Kate and I carried from the garbage can storage bin had gotten wet sometime in the last week, or it could have been that the fire couldn't get enough air, but whatever the cause, Mom's charcoal fire barely caught. Kate and I drank part of a Coke apiece while we waited for the fire to get hot enough to cook our hot dogs. We traipsed up the hill to the house to fetch the marshmallows, and then we trudged back up there to get the Doritos and the hot dogs and buns. We drug chairs from the patio to the campfire ring that wasn't quite a Ring of Fire. We swung on the swingset, watched the cats inspect Mom's progress, and tried to see Mom through all the smoke wafting from the pine needles. We watched Mom hack a few short twigs off a tree so we could use them to hold our marshmallows in the fire (when/if the fire finally got going). Mom said the charcoal was glowing in one teeny spot, so we poked our twigs and marshmallows close to the heat as possible while debating whether or not our marshmallows were browning or burning. Mom loaded the unopened hot dog package, the hot dog buns, her Diet Coke, the matches, the Doritos, and the marshmallows into our wagon and pulled it back up the hill. Katie had a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and I had a hot dog cooked on the stove. Oh, man, it was a fun evening! Those marshmallows were delicious! We ate like kings!
************
See, there was a reason I didn't attempt to mortar those pavers into permanent position. I knew there would be something I'd want to change! I knew how much I enjoy just messing around and creating on the fly instead of calculating and planning to the nth degree beforehand. I'll rearrange the grill circle pavers today so they have more open spaces between the layers.
I jokingly told Kate yesterday, "Why don't you go outside while I do the lunch dishes and finish that ring for me?" When I looked out the back window, she was busy working on something in the ring. When I got close enough, I could see that Miss Big Girl had carried nineteen pavers one at a time and placed them inside the ring I'd already laid! It looked great, so today I'll start digging the grass out and laying that row on the outside of the ring where it will show up.
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So, library internet time is about up for me for today. The kiddos are bound to remember that I said we could try the fire again tonight!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Infra-structure, Infra-inspiration


This huge culvert links our side of the ditch to the neighbor's side of the ditch. You can bet it holds a fascination for the kids, and Daddy has let them walk through it while he was standing there with them. They were enthralled with being able to stand up in a pipe and walk under the road. Of course, worrying-Mom had misgivings about letting them near it. Teach-'em-how-to-handle-situations-Dad made sure they kept their footing on dry spots, showed them how to tell how deep the water is with a stick, and explained how all the water running off the fields ends up in the neighbors' ditch and then flows through to our ditch. So, the Mom held her breath, let them learn, made extra noises about never coming to the ditch without a grownup, and then scurried down the rocks and into the tunnel. The giggles exploded at the sight of Mommy straddling the running water and scooting along to the opening to peer out at the water! Then, ohmygosh, Mom swung around the edge of the pipe and climbed up the rocks to our side of the ditch.

You know, I let my kids do lots of things, and I am proudest of them when they think independently. . .and yet, I'm always finding myself telling them to not do something because "it's too dangerous" or "look how you're going to get hurt if you fall from there." The culvert is a case in point. If I only had to worry about myself, then I would've been in that culvert in a flash (without the above mentioned hesitations), checking out the different textures of the worn metal, watching the pattern of the flow of water, dipping a hand over the edge, enjoying the sounds until a car passed over and startled me. I took this picture this morning, long after the swells of rainwater flooding the ditch over the past week have receded. The bricks and old hunks of concrete that have been jammed into a makeshift retaining wall around the pipe are full of intrigue. The colors are subtle rusts and grays, with a smidgeon of barely perceptible purples smattered here and there. The culvert itself begs me to get closer and take some closeups of the myriad textures as the sun lands on them. Is it any wonder that I want to clear out a small spot under the trees lining the ditch, a sitting spot with just enough room for a chair?

When even a lowly piece of infrastructure makes for inspiration, boredom can never be an option!

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Hoooooooowwwwwwwl-o-ween!

What happened to the spooky, rainy, dreary, Goth-inspired weather? We've had vampire weather for the last week. Today, the sun is shining brightly! Of course, the water still standing in the rows of the bean fields will simply be a swampy deterrent to zombies :) Can't you just see a rotting zombie body trying to walk across a field of boot-sucking mud? "Oops, there goes my left foot! Ouch, there goes my right!"

Seriously, I think I could write an entire post about mud, but I won't. I won't because my writing muse doesn't do well with this borrowed online time thing. I like to stew a bit, let the words simmer in my noggin. I write, backspace, then rewrite the same thing over again, only to decide on a better sentence hours later. That's a difference between words/paper and glass/flame. Torching is much more immediate, with some room for wiggle but only within a short time frame. Writing is always open for revision. Torching is always open for re-creating-- revising, not so much. Both are good for the soul :)

And there's my segue back into Halloween-- "soul." I do hope you do something good for your soul this Halloween/All Saints Day weekend. I'm sure there's another essay hiding in that dichotomy; I just know there's lots to explore there. Once again, I've been thinking about spirituality, organized religion, and how the two are, or are not, entwined. When I figure that out (and save the world at the same time, LOL), there's sure to be another lengthy, rambling essay from me. In the meantime, have a Happy Halloween! Find joy in life! Have fun!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

TopsyTurvyTown??

Seriously. Some days are headscratchers. That's all. Carry on with life as usual :)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Welcome to the Dungeon. . .aka Ang's Library 2 B


Books. . . I have them.
Books. . . I love them.
Books. . . I miss them when they aren't within reach.
Flipping through pages of a gardening book in search of a familiar plant with a name that's hovering at the tip of your tongue, browsing a glass technique volume and keeping track of the names you've met online, or hunting through books of symbols for the perfect outline sketch to use as the base of a new design, no matter what I'm looking to find in a book, I am rarely disappointed.
Books. . . I want mine out of their boxes.
Books. . . no one else in our house is concerned about bookshelves the way I am.
Books. . . I'm unpacking mine in the basement and turning one end of those sublimely empty shelves into Ang's Dungeon Library.
I've always been a bit of a hobbit, so my little library will be a cozy home within our home for me :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

AngHairium? AngHaireon?




I think it is about time the world took notice and gave me credit for the discovery of a new element on the periodic table. It's a gas, I'm certain of it. I'm just not sure what the name should be. How do they determine names of new elements, anyway? The base name has to be AngHair, but I'm uncertain about the appropriate suffix. Should it be "-ium" or "-eon" or just "-on"?


What I have no doubt about is that my hair never fails to behave like a gas-- IT EXPANDS TO FILL THE SPACE IN WHICH IT IS CONTAINED. No sh*&. You know how molecules of a gas will spread out to fill a container, no matter the size or shape of the container? My hair will expand to it's greatest possible volume, no matter the size or shape of the haircut.


This is me after having my hair cut and styled yesterday afternoon. This is the only picture of it you'll get to see. I have a fat face (to go with the rest of the fat me), but the angle of this picture almost makes me look like a slim Greer child. The other pictures were more true to life, but you'll just have to imagine the effects of completely flat and straight hair on a chubby face. As another aside, let me say that yesterday marked the first time I have ever been given a tour of a salon before actually having my hair cut. Uh, excuse me, but I can see that you have six cutting stations, and I figured you'd get around to trying to sell me products when you met me at the cash register. Seriously, that was a tad bit on the weird side, given that the young woman who gave me the "tour" seemed eerily like one of the heavily eye-lined mannequins displayed alongside all the special products. Other than that awkwardness, I enjoyed talking to the actual stylist and felt she more than earned her pay by cutting through my unruly mop and then meticulously drying and ironing it.


And the problem is what, you ask? The problem is that I do not style my hair. As a matter of fact, I've even gotten to the point where turning on the blow dryer is too much hassle. Morning shower or nighttime bath, doesn't matter which, I let my hair airdry. I own various and sundry hairstyling implements, all of which are currently collecting dust in one box or another. Hot rollers? Got 'em. If big hair is ever needed, all I have to do is break out those puppies. My ever-expanding hair loves them. . .for at least fifteen minutes. Since I hate hairspray, the big curl effects all too quickly deflate, and my hair reverts back to it's own not-curly-but-not-straight self. Flat iron? Got it. I gave in and attempted to use it this morning after taking the bushy haired picture at the top of this post. No need for another picture. . .as per usual, my attempts to iron flat my hair ended with me spewing curse words and my hair sticking out at unnatural angles from the back of my head.
Feh. (Whatever that means. I just know it sounds like what I feel about the whole hair issue.)

Now that we've discussed the sad failure of the science community to name an element after my unruly hair, here are a few random Ang thoughts:

  • Give someone you love a hug today, if at all possible. That's just all around good advice.
  • Send my kids "I do like school" vibes, please. They don't like school, doesn't matter whether it's their old school or their new school. I like school. They think I've lost my mind. I just want them to enjoy their days. I don't think they are right now. Kate is having trouble adjusting to a completely different math book-- and math used to be her "easy" subject. James seems to bounce back and forth from not paying attention to how he does his work to making A's on tests. .. . kind of unsettled still.
  • Look for a blog post titled "The Ladybugs Have Won the Battle". Those little orange versions (are they really ladybugs, too?) have swarmed our deck and keep finding all the crevices between the french doors and the door jambs. Ack! I've heard ladybugs are good luck, but really!
  • Still doing the MickeyD's wi-fi plan, so my hour is about to expire. Better go! Hugs and kisses and good thoughts to all of ya!



Monday, October 19, 2009

Basement Storage Password-- CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS

Reporting from Packrat Central, this is Angie Garren of TooMuchStuff2Mention, Inc. The pole building is still crammed with boxes that must have multiplied on the moving trailer, but the garage floor is increasingly visible in larger and larger spots as the Head Packrat puts away stuff, things, and junk. Her credo in the midst of finishing the moving tasks is NOTHING EXCEPT CHRISTMAS/SEASONAL DECORATIONS, TOUCH UP PAINT CANS, and THE KILN may be stored in the expanse of shelving in the basement. I'd like to show you a live shot of the basement, but it's really just a half-level of the house which contains the geothermal system, hot water heater, unused well pump, and a wall of floor to ceiling shelves.

I swear upon a stack of glass supply catalogs that I will not allow the basement to become another Packrat Central outpost. It shall remain uncluttered.

Oh, silly you, I *know* this is a tall order for this family! After all, I have in my stash such "essential" materials as two big boxes of outdated McCalls and Vogue patterns, a withered bouquet of dried flowers with no sentimental value, and long ago retired kids' potty. That's just the top of the pile.

Ahem... anyway. This basement is my one spot of spectacular spaciousness that isn't scheduled to be filled with furniture or random bags of yard sale goodies. Imakeepitdatway2.













Okay, so that's one 300 square foot area I plan to conquer. Sure makes me feel accomplished, as long as I don't think about the pole building looming at the edge of the yard, LOL.


Friday, October 16, 2009

Your Mission-- Tell Us All One Memory of Your Grade School

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to tell us all one story about your grade school years. Elementary, K-8, whatever it's called these days. . .you know, those years when you looked forward to your next birthday because it got you so much closer to being an actual teenager!
This is the elementary school I attended from the second half of second grade until the end of eighth grade. Mrs. Owsley and Mrs. South, you gave me a good start at Lynnevale, but good ol' Howevalley will always be my grade school. Miss Wimp, Miss Williams, Mr. Cantwell, Miss Mattingly, Ms. Howard, Coach Gardner, and finally ______________, thanks for all the shepherding and teaching and memorymaking. Good grief, I can't believe I just blanked on who was my eighth grade homeroom teacher. Was it Coach Gardner for seventh and eighth? Mr. Kral for homeroom and science and math? Mrs. Berenbroick? Mr. Roe (I think that was a new teacher's name from that last year?)?
GO, WILDCATS!
PURPLE AND GOLD 4-EVER!
My kids get tired of hearing Howevalley stories. They can read aloud just like a certain kid would do in fifth grade, syllable by excruciatingly monotone syllable in an effort to test the teacher's patience. They've driven by Howevalley and seen the way the playground is nowadays. They know Mom had to ride the bus to school. I think they know better than to tape their spelling word list to classroom window shades, and I think they know about my favorite teachers. They know about the slyly shaken up coke can that Miss Wimp kindly opened for a sneaky kid at lunch one day. They know we played lots of softball for P.E. and recess in fourth and fifth grades. They know dodgeball with the old fashioned red rubber balls was a real contact sport, LOL! I bore them to tears with all the reasons I loved school. . . so howzabout some of your stories?? Come on, you know you want to tell us!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Moving Is Not for the Feint of Heart!


Helloooooooo, all my long lost interwebs friends! Well, actually, I guess I'm the long lost one. We're moved, but lots of little things on the to-do list are not quite done.
One thing I've discovered is that I don't mind not having an online connection UNTIL it's morning and time to sip my coffee and check in with my www friends and with family on Facebook. Dialup is going to have to be our option right now, but I had trouble getting it set up... imagine that, Angie having trouble with something new that she has to do with a computer, LOL.
Anyway, the kids are settling into school, the cats have decided they can venture outside from the security of their pole building world, and the mommy and daddy have resigned themselves to the idea that the house loan will be repaid before we find everything we wish we could find in the boxes!
Hope everyone is doing well! Catch up with ya soon!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

KidzArt. . .Your Sunday Morning Peek

Bet ya can't guess which one of them put together the Star Wars tableau, huh? James does love his Star Wars Clone Wars stuff. He hides Clone Troopers everywhere in nooks and crannies. I've been known to disturb the Alliance by picking up rumpled quilts on the couch, intending to fold them, only to hear "Moooooo- om! I had those like that!". I find tiny assault weapons laying in the ridges of the lid of a big RubberMaid storage container or hidden behind cd's in my stereo cabinet. Of course, it does give me an excuse to not get around to the vacuuming. "Well, I couldn't. What if I sucked up some of James' Clone Wars battle gear?"
Kate, on the other hand, likes to make her tableaux out of "things." Doesn't matter what things, as long as there are many of the things. Pennies work, as do pipe cleaners and anything else she can dig out of Mom's craft stash. We'll call this one The Peace Penny Purring collection :)


Hope you have a terrific Sunday! It's feeling so much like fall here, and that is my favorite time of year. That means you Southern Hemisphere peeps are getting to enjoy spring, too, so I'd venture to say it's a beautiful time of year all around the world!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Morning Chef

This was James in the kitchen last Saturday morning. He started out swiping pieces of pepper and onion off the cutting board, and he ended up stirring the sauteed bits and pouring in the eggs for the frittata. Notice the nicely crooked arm and the high grip on the wooden spoon? Yeah, Mom was a little bit anxious about him being that close to a very hot skillet. . . can you tell he actually heeded her warnings? Turns out, the boy might be good cook. He's an adventurous eater, and if you ask me, that's a big chunk of a good cook's personality.
P.S. He may be an adventurous eater, but he thinks he knows that spinach is yucky. . . so don't tell him that green stuff Mom chopped and had him sprinkle into the mix was spinach. I was amazed that he didn't pick up the package and turn it over to read.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No, I'm Not Your Mother. . .

You're right. I am not your mother. I'm not your brother's keeper, and I'm not responsible for anyone except myself. . . but I'm going to tell you a few things anyway.
  1. Whether you consider yourself Republican or Democrat, you are a human being first and foremost. Human beings treat one another with respect. Even though we cannot force another human to treat us with respect, we should treat others with respect ourselves. This means that we don't retaliate with name calling or disrespect and then justify our actions by saying, "He did it, too!". What words of wisdom would your mother repeat to you? Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
  2. If you are perfect, then I have my doubts about whether you are human. This means that I realize we all make mistakes. We all have our lapses of judgment. We all have our "moments," if you will. Before you vehemently chastise or demean someone else, consider how you would feel if someone treated your mistakes in this same manner. In other words, remember Mama's admonition that "people in who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones."
  3. If after considering Mama's advice from #2 you still feel you must speak up, then carefully weigh the size of the stone you plan to hurl against the size of the perceived slight. You know, if you plan on running a steamroller over someone else's enthusiasm for a very small idea, then be prepared for them to ignore the words of wisdom in #1 and to slam even the smallest idea for which you harbor a modicum of enthusiasm. Once you've done that to someone enough times, you really can't be surprised when they attack (rightly or wrongly) every other word that comes out of your mouth, can you? Recollect another Mother's favorite: "If you're going to dish it out, then you'd better make sure you can take it."
  4. So, let's get up to speed here. If you have difficulty understanding why you should abide by #1 (do unto others as you would have them do unto you) , #2 (people who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones) rubs you the wrong way, and #3 (if you're going to dish it out, then you'd better make sure you can take it) doesn't scare you because you're itching for a fight, then I feel compelled to remind you that "you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar."

"How can we apply these words to our lives (whether real or virtual)? How can we use our opinions to further a serious discussion, instead of fueling animosity toward those with whom we disagree?" you ask. Hmm, let me see if I can think of a few examples for you.

Vinegar: You #$@#@!# liberal! You don't understand anything!

Vinegar: You @#$#$@# conservative! You don't understand anything!

Honey: Look, I know we don't see eye to eye on every aspect of this issue, but maybe we can take a minute to understand one another's perspective. In the end, we may still have vastly different opinions, but maybe we will have helped one another understand why we think the way we do.

P.S. "Retardicans" and "Dumbocrats"?? You know the answer. You don't really have to ask whether or not this is okay, do you? Well, just in case you're trying to justify the wrong answer, let me help you. . . VINEGAR.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Played Free Rice Lately?

Help end world hunger Hmmm. Free Rice? Didn't I play that vocabulary game and like it? Seems like I did, but I forgot to bookmark it. You know what that means? Of course, you know what that means. I forgot about it. Plus, even though the game part was fun for my brain, I had nagging questions about how playing a word game on the internet could possibly translate into feeding a hungry person somewhere in the world.

If I had remembered to bookmark it, then I might have gotten around to reading the FAQ's on this page. The gist of the matter is your presence on the site is valuable to advertisers on the site. Why spend time trying to fill that bowl with rice? I have a few reasons of my own, and they are bouncing around my 1/2 spiritual, 1/2 skeptical smartass mind. Let me tilt my head forward a little bit more-- maybe some of them will jump onto the screen ;-)

Here ya go. Some reasons to remember to play Free Rice:
  • Vocabulary isn't the only subject now! Since the last time I had played, they've added grammar, foreign language vocabulary, multiplication facts, basic math, famous painting identification, chemistry, and geography.
  • It's fun to challenge yourself! Even if you have your doubts about how this could possibly work to feed people, the other goal of the site is to educate people. Did you learn a new word? Did you get a wee bit faster at spitting out multiplication facts? Did your kids look over your shoulder and learn something, too? Voila! Goal number two being served!
  • Donating this way isn't likely to cut into donating on other fronts. You can do this while you're surfing the 'net (which you're probably going to do anyway sometime during the day if you have the opportunity, right?). If your bill for internet service is going to be paid anyway, then playing this game doesn't take away spare change which you could use to buy a few cans of food to donate locally.
  • Much as I dislike it when people throw Snopes reports up in other peoples faces, I did break down and search yahoo with this question, "Is Free Rice legitimate?". Snopes says it is. The first page of the search didn't bring up much more than that and a pretty entertaining squabble on this site. In the end, I have to agree with those people who argue that you get something out of playing, whether or not you think the donations are making a difference.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Happy Birthday to the Daddy!

Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to you!
Happy Birthday to the bestest Daddy!
Happy Birthday to you!
And the Mommy loves you lots, tooooooooooo!
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P.S. How confusing this can be if you aren't family! That 46 year old in the picture is my husband and their Daddy.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bouncy Bobby the Fictional FartMonster, or Mom Will Never Catch On to This One!

This is my daughter. She's the creative one and the wild one. She's the one who would explode from the goofiness which builds up inside her every day at school if she couldn't express her goofiness all evening long at home. (Lawd, help her mama, the nervewracked woman who is a quiet smartass!)
Yes, this is my daughter, the artist and blogaholic who rather innocently requested that I take this picture and post it in my blog. Let me give you some background. Unlike lots of people in this day and age, I cannot say the word FART unless I whisper it. All the times my dad let rip with noisy ones when I was a kid, he never said, "Oops, excuse me. I farted." My mother would've cut him the withering glance reserved for those who let curse words slip from their lips. When Pop perfumed the air, it was occasionally "cutting the cheese," rarely "pooting," and most often "letting one." Given all this, plus the educational tips gradeschoolers always share with one another about such things, I knew of the word "fart," but I sincerely thought it must be the dreaded "F-word."
Okay, okay, you laugh. I must remind you, though, that I grew up in the seventies and early eighties in a fairly sheltered rural area. Gradeschoolers didn't say the F-word back then. Well, maybe the really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaaallllly bad kids said it, but I knew doing what they did would get me in big trouble. My fingers are itching to tell you what constituted really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaallly bad behavior in that little world, but I've recently friended some people on Facebook who went to school with me. If I tell you "really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaaaallly bad" in second grade involved surrepticiously shaking up your soda can and then innocently asking your teacher to open it for you, then some of those people might see this and know who did the bad deed. If I tell you "really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaaaaaallly bad" in eighth grade (not my class, but one year older) involved aluminum foil wrapped cans masquerading as soda cans for lunch when they were really beer cans, then those same people would remember. . .and that was "really, really, reaaaaaaaaaaaaallllllllllllllllllly some serious bad" that most of us would never even have dreamed necessary to try, let alone actually doing it. Anyway, the point is that while those kids might have said fart without fearing for their lives, I didn't. While those kids probably knew the F-word, even if they didn't repeat it, I must have been in junior high before I realized the F-word was not FART.
My kids know all this. (They also know that repeating any Mommy curse words is a no-no...and, yes, I've spent my adult life making up for lost time by using the real F-word much too liberally.) They think it is hilarious to trick me into saying FART or to get away with saying FART in front of me or to watch my face watch for their reactions when someone else says FART. I can guarantee you that Kate knew I wouldn't ask her if she intended for this picture to look as if Bouncing Bobby is bouncing along on FART power. The crafty little booger knew I wouldn't want to have to say FART.
Fast forward to tonight, when I have time to honor her request and put her picture on my blog. I crop the picture, darken it a little bit because I always get washed out looking flash pictures inside the house, and load the image onto my blog. James walks by my desk, looks over my shoulder, and bursts out laughing as he says, "Look at Bouncing Bobby farting!!"
LOL, whaddya gonna do? I guess they could have worse phrases escaping their lips :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

ChickenFriedMush4Brains Attempts 2 Write U Another Blog Entry

It's true, the chickenfriedmush part is how my brain feels after a good day of substitute teaching. Stepping into big shoes and trying to keep them from falling off your feet is a challenge that I like. It's not so much that anyone expects you to actually walk anywhere in those shoes, it's that you try to keep the shoes from sinking into ignorancequicksand and hopefully keep the kids from going barefootbrained. Given this setup for success, how could I not enjoy playing teacher? I suspect the way I feel about subbing is akin to the way grandparents feel about keeping the grandkids once in a while, fun without all the intense responsibility.
Today was little less on the "fun as in haha laugh a minute" side because the teacher is the parent I mentioned in my last post. The classroom kids are sad for her, but they've all agreed that getting way behind in their schoolwork will only upset their teacher on another level. I am so proud of them. They worked so hard today, and they made her cards and letters when they had spare time after finishing assignments.
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(insert long nap here. i fell asleep with my own munchkins when they went to behind around nine o'clock)
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(insert nothing else here. apparently, writing muses don't awaken after a 3+ hour nap and start cranking out funny anecdotes and serious observations in any manner that i can translate into words for you)
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(oh, and by the way, insert a huge virtual hug to yourself from me right here. hope your wednesday is a spectacular one!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Fragility


I suppose not a single one of us knows which droplet of dew will be the one that breaks the strength of the web.
I suppose not a single one of us knows what to say to the spider who loses an exquisitely woven web, especially if it looked to us to be a young and carefree web.
There's no explaining the whims of nature and gravity, at least not to the spider. The situation simply is what it is.
And, yet, somehow, we long to explain. We long to comfort and to sooth. We yearn to say something that will reinforce the strength of the spider or its web, or even both.
I know of a parent who lost a teenage daughter today.
No one ever expects the droplets of life to pull down one so young.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Uh, Oh! Don't Tell Me They Are Playing Truth or Dare Again!


Mother and I were on the phone, catching up on the weekend's events. Pop had just gotten done describing the Hi and Lois Sunday cartoon that fit James and Katie to a T. Something about Dot liking the new school year very well. . .and Ditto responding that he didn't like it at all, in fact, he felt the way to describe it was to say something like, "my nightmare is just beginning." Boy, considering all the battles so far about whether or not the little boy needs to wear his glasses, all the reprimands about not having to like girl cooties but definitely having to show respect to the girls, and well, that's all I'm going to write about that.
In the middle of Mother's rundown of who did what last week, I hear noises from my own bathroom. Noises like the sound of shampoo bottles and such being removed from the back of the toilet tank, noises I don't usually expect to hear from my bathroom unless I'm in there cleaning. The noises got louder and had the distinct chalky clank of a toilet tank top being scooted.
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Me: What. Are. You. Doing??
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Them: nothing.
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Me: Uh, uh. What. Are. You. Doing??
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Them: we said nothing.
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Me: One more time. WHAT ARE YOU DOING??
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Them: playing truth or dare.
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Me: And what does that have to do with the toilet tank??
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Them: i dared her to take a drink of toilet water. yep, he dared me.
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When will I ever learn not to ask these questions?

10.9.8.7.6.5.4.3.2.1. . .Drink Up!


Oh, sure, you remember Tang, don't you? Of course, you do, especially if you were born any time before 1975 or 1980 or so.


Week before last, I stirred up a glass of Tang for my son, my fellow sugar fiend slash lover of intense flavor. He took one sip and proclaimed it deliciousness epitomized. Okay, he's not that smart yet. What he actually said was either AWESOME or WOW or YUM while simultaneously grinning ear to ear and jumping up and down excitedly. You get the idea, he liked it a whole lot!

A few minutes after slurping down the entire glass of Tang, he came up to me and said,

"Mom, if this stuff has been around since you were a kid, then how come I'm just finding out about it now??"
Ha! He's a boy after my own heart, er, taste buds. While his sister and father subscribe to the Boring Is Better theory of food, James and the mommy enjoy some flavor and intensity in their food. Who wants a plain peanut butter and jelly sandwich, when you could be having a peanut butter and jelly and potato chip sandwich? Who wants a cracker, when you could be having a handful of sea salt and ground pepper croutons? Who wants a plain cheeseburger, when you could be having a Whopper Jr? Yep, he's the boy who snitches the last of the roasted red bell peppers off the cookie sheet, the boy who will without hesitation taste a lemon flavored foreign soda and drink the last of it before I get my share. (Limonata, found at the World Market is one of our latest finds.)
Did you click on that first link up there, the one for Tang? I guess I was one of those kids who thought it was made especially for the astronauts. Turns out, it was already around when some astronauts needed a powdered mix to take with them into space and disguise the bad taste of the water run-off from a piece of equipment. I also didn't know you could use Tang to clean your dishwasher. Since I don't use the automatic dishwasher, I am the dishwasher, and *I* don't think Tang is going to make my list of favorite shower gels. Don't imagine I'll be making any Moon Beam cocktails (Tang + Jim Beam) any time soon, but that was an interesting tidbit, as well.
Ever wonder exactly what is Tang? Here's a page that discusses the ingredients. Ever wonder why astronauts eat certain foods? Here's a page that tells a bit about spacefoods. Ever wonder why Angie would throw Tang into the shopping cart in the first place? Don't have a page link for that one. If you know the answer, don't hesitate to let me in on the secret. In the meantime, if you'd like to reminisce about the favorite foods of past decades, check out this page.
Thirsty yet?

Friday, September 11, 2009

Speechless

This day always leaves me speechless.
I can distance myself somewhat from the extreme horror of the Towers and the sadness of the hit on the Pentagon.
But the field in Pennsylvania, and what happened on the Flight that ended there?
It always fills my eyes with involuntary tears.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

To the Woman Working at Highway 62 McDonald's

Thank You
You probably won't remember doing this, but I will remember your kind service! Pulling through a drive-thru for food or coffee is one of those things that hardly ever warrants much attention on the customer's part after the fact, but I think I need to make sure other customers know that you exist. All I ordered was an iced coffee with an extra shot of espresso (I needed my coffee hit, don'tcha know).
You brought my order to the window as you finished stirring it, and you said as you handed me a straw,
"Please taste this, and make sure I got it right before you leave."
Do you know how rare you are? Do you have any idea how many times I have wanted to walk behind the counter and ring up my own order because cashiers were too busy talking to wait on the customer? Oh, not at your particular McD's-- I'm talking in general terms. Do you know how nice it is to have someone thank you for being a customer, thank you with a smile and kind service?
I hope your boss knows how nice you are :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

How Many Years Ago??

Must've been about 38 years ago, since that's William Lee in Tommy's arms. William, aka Uncle Bubby, will be 39 this October, so that makes Soupie almost but not quite 3 and me 5 in this picture. We're the two in the light green dresses. Yep, this looks like it had to be spring, 1971.
What were you doing in 1971?



How did I get these to the side? Side, center, or side, these are from the Irvington Grade School Awards Night in Spring 2009 :)










Friday, September 4, 2009
















More Pics to Share



































































Just Saving Bits and Pieces of Life All Around the WWW




So, I have to admit it. . . I have no idea how to do all the backups I need to do. I put a CD-R into the disc player and saved a few pics. Then it didn't have room for the next big file, and I couldn't make the file go to a new CD-R. Kept getting a message that there was no CD in the drive. I swear, I am the techno-version of the people who can't wear wristwatches without making them die.
Now, while the laptop is actually coming on and not displaying some lovely rainbows of pixels, I'm trying to upload a bunch of photos to Photobucket. . . and that is slowly working for the first few files so far. Right before that, I attempted to use one of those USB drive thingamabobs to store my photos. You guessed it. I have no idea how to make the pics go to the thingamabob. I thought I was doing it, but I wasn't.
How silly is it to not just go find a class or a computer repair tech who'll walk me through some of these basics so I don't have these catastrophes?? Well, since I've got several sub jobs the next few weeks, I think the time has come to pay for a laptop tuneup and get some instruction, too. I give. You hear that, TechnoWizardGods? I give up with the bumbling and feeling guilty because I should be able to take care of maintaining and troubleshooting problems as they arise. I give up thinking I'm a failure because I can't figure it all out on my own.
*sigh* I am good with words. I am good with creating images. I am good with melting glass. I am good with choosing and wrapping thoughtful presents. I am good with cooking flavorful food (and am good at accepting that no one except James in my family will eat/try anything except plain-boring-don't-spice-it-up food). I am good at taking interesting photographs. I am NOT good at teaching myself even the basics of computer use and maintenance. Pffffbt.
Henceforth, when you see all the pics I'm getting ready to dump into my blog so they'll be saved one more place, you'll know why :)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Oh, Fiddlesticks! I'm Supposed to Be Packing, Anyway!

AngelinaBeadalina has left the building.
The virtual building, that is.
I'm still here in the real world :)
I just won't be as connected to faraway friends and family for the timebeing :(
Seems my laptop started shimmying, then streaking funky colors, and at last report, it was sporting a lovely rainbow of pixels but no images or words or anything else I could control.
Oh, well.
I'm supposed to be packing our stuff for the move, anyway.
Guess this is somebody/someone/somepower's way of making sure I stay focused on the task at hand, huh?
Take care of yourselves, and I'll be checking in occasionally to see ya!
Ang
aka the Queen and Empress of Procrastination and Disorganization

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Clotheslines Distill Sunshine :-)

This picture was taken in the summertime, twenty years ago. What my fingers feel when I look at it is strictly wintertime, though. One thing you never forget about hanging clothes is wet denim wrapping around your cold bare fingers while you fumble with another clothespin to secure the rest of a pair of jeans on the line. Jeans are the worst offenders in winter. Jeans are heavy. No matter how good the spin cycle on your "warshing" machine, a single pair of Levi's will have the perceived weight of an eight pound bottle of laundry detergent. No matter how sturdy the handles of the laundry basket, your chilled fingers will slide to the one chink or break in the handle that cuts into your almost frozen, but not quite numb enough, flesh. Yep, wintertime is what springs to mind when I think about hanging clothes on a line to dry.
Summertime has its own clothesline quandaries, to be sure. Take, for instance, the dreaded t-shirt tail stretch. T-shirts have a lovely, comfy, soft feel against your skin because they are so pliable, so happy to oblige this tug or that pull. That same obliging stretchiness turns your comfy t-shirt into a reminder of the Inquisition-- how else could a plain, simple square of fabric turn into an evil, distorted patch of strange sundried lumps and bumps, other than if it has been tied on the rack and tortured? Oh, wait, those aren't marks from some torture device, those are dips and stretches from gravity pulling the wet fabric toward the grass while the clothespins held on tightly. I remember all sorts of attempts to get rid of the t-shirt tail twist when I was a kid. You can try overlapping the edges of two t-shirts and securing these thicker areas with double clothespins, as opposed to hanging shirts singly and with single clothespins at the corners. You can try hanging the shirts from their shoulders and hoping the stretch isn't noticeable once it's filled out some by the slope of your own shoulder. You can try bringing almost-but-not-quite dry t-shirts inside to the dryer for a finishing fluff. The one thing I don't remember trying, but that has real possibility as a solution, is folding the top of the t-shirt down at armpit level and anchoring the clothespins inside the armpit part of the should seam. Then, the stretch might still be there but not be as easily seen?
What else? What other trials and tribulations shall I count? Oh, yes-- underwear and sock days. There never seem to be enough clothespins on the line to handle all of the socks and underwear in a big load of whites. You can scootch all of the free clothespins down the lines to the end where you are hanging the tube socks and anklets and panties and shorts and bras, but you'll still end up opening the last free clothespin as far as possible to open it without breaking the spring, all in a last ditch effort to hang the remaining five socks at the bottom of the basket.
Would you believe that I started writing this because I'll have a clothesline at the new house and can't wait to use it? Does it sound like I might have talked myself out of keeping the clothesline? Not a chance. While other people contemplate questions about actual cleanliness (see the labels to this entry) versus the savings in kilowatts per year, I will happily hang out towels and sheets and quilts. While the multitudes of electric dryer converts espouse convenience and fluffiness, I will happily nod agreement (and even join them for most loads of laundry) BUT I will also use that clothesline to distill sunshine into bedcovers and dishtowels and button-up shirts and yes, even jeans. Mmmmmm, can you close your eyes and smell the sunshine? Feel the warmth trapped in an armload of clothes as you quickly take them off the line on a slightly chilly spring afternoon?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Here's What I Have to Say Today, or Feel Free to Chime in and Make This Interesting :)


  • If you've got any good jokes or one-liners searching for a place to light for a minute, slap 'em down in the comments. I'm thinking we can all use all the giggles we can get :) On a related note, the only knock-knock joke I can ever remember is the banana/banana/orange one. How about you?

  • My children requested AC/DC songs for their wakeup music this morning. Is it just me, or is there really something funny about listening to Brian Johnson shriek that early in the morning? Seriously, I laughed. Couldn't help it, it was just kind of surreal.

  • White pizza for supper tonight. Stack it up like this, and then bake until golden: pizza crust (you know I'm gonna rely on the DoughBoy for that one, but homemade would be even better), garlic powder and black pepper, ricotta cheese in a thick but not too thick to bake quickly layer (anywhere from a thin smear to a quarter or half inch), more garlic and pepper, whatever white "pizza/Italian" cheese you have on hand (mozerella, shredded parmesan, one of those four cheese mixes, etc-- but I wouldn't add swiss or limburger, if I were you, LOL), and a few pepperoni or mushrooms if you're so inclined.

  • Nice people are good.

  • Mutts, aka Heinz 57 pound puppies, are my favorite "breed" of dog. One of my children wants a golden retriever, the other one wants a collie (or a huskey or a wiener dog or anything instantly recognizable as one particular breed), and my hubby is a cat person. Wonder what we'll end up with when we do add another pet? Oh, and my children say I am not allowed to name any new pets when we do get one "because you always get to pick out names." I've learned to nod my head and silently cross my fingers at that one because I like creative, imaginative pet names that suit the particular animal. . .Mom ain't budging in her stance against "I wanna name him Max because that's the number one popular name"!

  • Read. It's good for your brain and your heart :)

  • I don't want to wear socks ever again. If we can have winter without me having to put on socks, then I'm on board. If that can't be arranged, then you'll recognize me as the woman traipsing through the snow in Croc-flops and striped fuzzy socks.

  • That's all. . . for now. . . you know I never really shut up for long! Have a Happy Friday!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Focus, Focus, Who's Got the Focus? or Yet Another Fairly Unoriginal Post

Nevermind who's got the focus, somebody tell me how to find my own stash of it? Seems like this is a neverending topic of discussion with me lately. I'm starting to feel as if my glass melting personna has been turned upside down on her head and can't get rightside up again. . . and that whole expression reminds me of a family story about 4 or 5 year old me. It involves a very big black couch in my grandmother's living room, a very dark corner created where the couch arms were pushed up against a wall, and a tiny voice calling from her headfirst in the hole position, "Would soooooooooooomebody pleeeeeeeeeease help me?"
Hmm, I guess, in comparison, my situation today is not so dire :-)
Surely, there are bigger ideas giving pause to the world's thinkers, ya know? Like, exactly how are we going to link the washing machine and the dryer so they will each know what color sock the other one ate during the last load of laundry-- because we sure can't have them getting their act in sync and eating a pair of socks at a time, that would make things too easy. Maybe the higher powers of the world are sitting on their back deck, drinking an adult beverage (or an herbal tea, depending on which higher power), and scratching their heads while trying to figure out why they couldn't get the knack of successful dinner party seating down pat before they created a bunch of different cultures and threw them onto the earth palette like so many random splats of paint-- because we sure could've used some planning so the meat eaters wouldn't have to worry about the smoke from their fires wafting over to the vegetarians' backyards and creating an instant animosity between people who would otherwise have been quite happy to get together and play a game of croquet or Yahtzee or somesuch. Yeah, I imagine the thinkers of the world have their hands full with the big stuff.
So, that leaves me to contemplate the small stuff (aren't you a lucky reader?). The small stuff is this: I like to melt glass, but melting glass takes uninterrupted stretches of time, as well as space for glass melting stuff and space to actually store the stuff made when you were happily melting glass. I've been weaning myself off of the glass melting for months now, for a bunch of little reasons that keep adding up and tipping the scale towards the put-the-torch-away-for-now option. Slow sales of extras (and art is an "extra" when compared to food and housing and other essentials), kids out of school for the summer (and we all know about the Family Guy lip-reading episode earlier this summer), and the need to sort through almost 9 years of stuff (and happily, pack it because we are moving closer to St. Louis very soon-- as in the end of September soon, as in dangit-I-should-be-filling-boxes-right-this-minute soon) have all converged into the artistic version of a perfect storm.
And what does Ang do when faced with an artistic perfect storm? She piddles. No, I don't mean she pees on the floor. I mean she piddles around with this little craft or that little project. Instead of just blocking out two or three hours to torch (still a possibility because I haven't made it as far as the studio in my packing adventure), Ang will spend twenty minutes here, looking for a picture to inspire a sketch to inscribe on a piece of copper, then she'll spend fifteen minutes over there, wondering whether she should keep all those Thomas the Tank Engine videos even though James outgrew them years ago. She'll follow that with thirty minutes of looking for the perfect piece of junk to use for a base for a candle, forgetting which candle and why she was fixing it by the time she finds the piece of junk. Let's see, we're already up to 20 + 15 + 30 minutes that could've been 65 minutes of uninterrupted torching time now that the kids are in school again.
Why am I sitting here writing this, then? Because I'm waiting for a phone call to see if one of the kids can get in to see the doctor. Because I need to take this or that paperwork to the bank. Because I'm the Empress of Procrastination and Disorganization and would hate to spoil my reputation by actually seeming to "have it together." Because when I get up from this chair I have to go to the kitchen and decide exactly how many freaking coffee cups are needed in a household where two adults each drink one cup of coffee in the morning (plus another single cup for me in the late afternoon). Because after the coffee cup dilemma is resolved, then I'm going to have to explain to myself yet again why it's necessary to keep three dozen t-shirts that I "can't live without" when I know there are only seven days in the week.
Guess I'd better say ta-ta for now and get to filling boxes! Actually, I am very excited about the move. It's going to be great! I'm just wondering if there's a fairy godmother of moving who's going to show up and wave her wand and take care of all the details. . .

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Such a Pain Being a Know-It-All

**Alternate titles to this post might include the following**

What Goes Around, Comes Around... So I Must Have Truly Been a Pain Most of My Life
or
Paybacks, Ang, Paybacks
or
I Guess Now I Know What It Feels Like ;-)
Yes, dear interwebs friends, I am a pain-in-the-butt know-it-all. Have been, all my life, at least as far back as I can remember. If you say "T.G.I.F," then I'm just as likely to point out that it's already Saturday some places in the world as I am to say "Hooray!". Can't really help it, although I am getting better at not saying aloud every single rebuttal. I think it has something to do with the fact that my children tend to be know-it-alls themselves. If there's one thing that will drive a K.I.A. up a wall, it's another K.I.A. The only thing to do is learn to curb your own K.I.A. tendencies and hope that your newfound gowiththeflow attitude is appreciated and even mimicked.
*snicker, snicker, snort, snort* I can hear the laughs from my family and friends. Okay, everyone, I didn't say I'd perfected it, just that I'm trying!
Anyway, all this is just to point out that I realize I am one of the worst knowitall offenders on the planet, so you should take the gripeyslightlygrouchybitchymaybeevencatty paragraphs that follow with a great big grain of salt. After all, if there is one thing I do almost as well as play K.I.A., it's play the ham ;-)
Oh, and before we move on to today's real ranting, here's one more little example of why I try to not take myself so seriously:
Yep, that is a picture of corned beef hash from a can, scrambled eggs, and toast. This was my breakfast the other day. . .the same day when my mother told me on the phone that she was going to have a fried spam sandwich for lunch and I instantly thought YUCK and HOW BAD FOR YOU IS THAT and then promptly went to my kitchen after our phone call ended and cooked something that was probably even worse! See what I mean? Ya gotta not take yourself too seriously!
Okay, so now for the dadgummitthatdrivesmecrazy rant, um, observations about life. Yeah, that's it, I'll just have a list of observations and maybe that will anonymously release the pent-up aggravation that's keeping me from just lightly laughing at the ridiculousness of another K.I.A. Without further hemming and hawing and trying to not mention anyone in particular, here ya go with some observations about life:
  • As soon as you think you know the answer to a problem and act on that answer, a much more reasonable but now unavailable option will clunk you right in the forehead. From this point, you can either expend a whole lot of energy contorting everything in your world to make sure your answer was right or YOU CAN PULL UP YOUR BIG GIRL PANTIES AND SAY "I WAS WRONG. CAN YOU HELP ME FIX IT?" As I sit here trying to think of a humorous example, all I can tell you is that I'm sure this one must apply to me and all the times I've bumbled through a project of some sort instead of stopping and asking for help. As a matter of fact, as I type this, my brain is being bombarded with visions of my brother's triedtotellyou face. Heehee, thank you, Bubby, for all the times you've patiently tried to help me. Helllllllll, thank you to every single member of my family, I'm sure!
  • There are always exceptions to a rule but that does not mean you have to point them out every single time the rule is mentioned. Most people realize life is not a simple series of cut and dried decisions with only black or white options. . . most people understand there are shades of gray involved and don't need you to remind them of this. Oooooooooh, this is a tough one for me! I can't tolerate some one who can't tolerate shades of gray. Ooooooooooh, bite my K.I.A. tongue, bite my K.I.A. tongue. After all, not tolerating someone who can't tolerate someone else is doing the same as they are doing, right?
  • Here's one thing I have learned and try to remember to use to my advantage when it comes to telling my spouse something. You see, it turns out that we are each fairly stereotypically male/female in our areas of knowledge. When I want to suggest an answer to a typically "male" kind of problem, I now know to frame it as possible advice from another male, instead of musings of a woman who could care less about how an engine makes a car go. For example, the back door of my van once locked and would not open. Now, I know next to squat about vehicles, but I had the idea that something electrical was causing this problem-- probably because the problem showed up on the same day that plugging in my phone charger caused a great big spark. Um, but because I admittedly know next to nothing about cars, my husband pooh-poohed the idea. For a very long time, I waited for the accountant by day to have time to play grease monkey and fix the problem. Each time I asked about fuses/electrical stuff, he dismissed it as a possibility. Then, one day he fixed the van, and this is basically what he said (automotive terms may be wrong, remember I'm not a grease monkey), "Well, I fixed your van. Jim and I were looking at it, and we decided it must be a blown fuse." What the heck?? Didn't I suggest this very solution to him weeks ago?? So, here's the take home point-- now, when I want to suggest an answer to the K.I.A. grease monkey/accountant, I frame it like this, "You know, I'm sure Jim Bob would say blah, blah, blah."
  • If no one is going to be physically harmed by another K.I.A.'s mistaken postulations, then let it go. You have not been appointed by anyone to be the Great Deliverer of Corrections. For instance, if someone repeatedly says "physical" when they are talking about "fiscal," let it go unless by some strange chance that someone is the C.F.O. or C.E.O. of a huge corporation. And hey, if someone that far up the ladder has made it to where they are while saying "physical" instead of "fiscal," then do you really think you are going to change things by piping up with the correction? If a cop cuts across the "medium" to write you a ticket for speeding, are you going to be smart and not comment, or are you going to be a stupid K.I.A. and mention that he surprised you by whipping across the median so quickly? If it's not going to hurt someone, bite your tongue-- you don't need the extra drama or responsibility of being the corrector of all things wrong.
  • Snopes.com.--- JUST SAY NO TO SNOPES, or at least keep the link to yourself. Nobody really believes those stupid email stories are real. We know they were made up-- but there might be a good lesson or tip for living ensconced in that madeup story, so chill out and let people talk about it if they want to do so.

Bite my tongue, bite my tongue, bite my tongue. I am still sitting here shaking my head over the fact that the person who has irritated me always has to be right, no matter how trivial the information in question. . . I want to just let it slide right on by me, because it really is something trivial, because I'm not around this person enough for it to be worth my time (or theirs) to hash this out, because it's petty of me to care one way or the other. Smack my fingers, bite my tongue, don't let me write Would you please stop feeling the need to contradict almost everything I say to you, because let's face it, sometimes YOU ARE WRONG. Oops. Sorry, the know it all thing is really, really, really hard to change in my personality.

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