Saturday, December 27, 2014

Christmas 2014

The week started out a bit rough.  K came down with a nasty cold the day after her birthday.  We were to go to church on Sunday, but before Hubs left for work, he came to tell me that K was feeling a bit funky.

I looked at the child and knew.

We stayed home and by the time we would have been getting out of church, she started running a fever.  Glad we skipped sharing that with the masses.

She was in bed for 2 1/2 days, drinking unlimited amounts of 7-Up, since no food sounded good and at least something was going in.  Hubs stayed with her as I went to work.  Thank goodness for remaining vacation days.

We were going to go Monday to celebrate Happy Home Day, but K was still far too ill.  We moved it to Tuesday.  Santa gave me a little jingle to tell me that Buddy, our Elf on the Shelf, could make the car trip.  We've never gone on a field trip with Buddy, but he was so concerned about K and her illness that Santa decided that a trip would be fine.  Hubs strapped him in with the elfin' car seat that K made.  I mean, how fun is it to see lights and not be able to see them?  She didn't touch Buddy, but he did get a box and boxes to keep him right where he needed to be.

We drove past a house with 2 million lights.  Y'all, that was more lights than I've ever seen.  Ever.  You'd think it would be tacky, but they were all standard lights, not varying sizes, no blow-ups or anything like that.  Everything was of a similar light theme and their displays were concentrated together in theme with ground lights (Christmas lights creating defined areas) bringing it all together. If ever you are out that way, it was in Salem, Ohio on Quaker Lane.  11 acres.  2 million lights.  A must-see.

I only worked until 3 PM on Christmas Eve, so I ran out to the pharmacy real quick on my way home.  Forgot to do it sooner and I was so thankful that they were still opened.  K had to get her science fair project started, so our plan was to bust that out before we left for the evening.  (She's growing green bean seeds in different growing mediums/lights to see what does better.)  Science Fair is January 24 and we would have had this started earlier, but her teacher didn't give them the information until right before break and K's cold/flu/virus held our plans off for a few days.  We got it handled, cole slaw made and we were all out the door by 5:45 PM to get to my parent's house for Christmas Eve dinner.

I lost the Chia pet in the White Elephant.  Drat it all.  It got snitched a few times.  We did get the gloves and earrings for K, along with a bag of holiday wearables.  The Chia pet was Uncle Si and since I've never watched DD, I could care less.  I've secretly dreamed of growing a Chia pet since I was a kid.  Perhaps I should just bite the bullet and Chia in the garden window . . .

Hubs didn't sleep Christmas Eve.  I woke up at 6 with him walking up and down the hall.  He decided to move Leia's stocking off the hook and with he rest of them, but didn't realize that there was an ornament on her hook and it came crashing down.  I got up.  "What did you just break?"  It was a metal elf ornament, so all was well.  He told me later that he was "being very quiet."  Um, no.  He had his slippers on and they were so loud.  We have the 7 AM rule on Christmas and Easter and somehow Hubs didn't wake her up with all of the racket, but he decided to come lay down at 6:45 AM with just 15 minutes to rest.  Nice.
My tree is not leaning.  I think I may have been leaning when I took the photo.
K enjoyed her things.  As a reminder, we subscribe to the 3 gifts from Santa rule.  Santa brought her a reading lamp (he told me he paid $15 for it), a set of Dork Diary books (he went to the Scholastic Book Fair and put in some sweat equity hours in trade) and the Our Generation RV.  I bought K a soft and smooshy gray leopard robe and some lovely raccoon slippers.  Hubs bought K a remote control truck.  The cat loves it.

Hubs gave me an Ice-T list of things he wanted.  I was able to tackle most of the list.  He told me to go through and Amazon.  He said that he didn't care if it was new or used.  (Neither one of us care, actually.)  I only ran into one shipping problem with, but I contacted the individual after 2 previous attempts.  I had to threaten negative feedback and filing a claim.  Surprisingly, she got back to me within the 24 hour period I gave, she gave a refund, sent the item out priority mail and apologized profusely.  Since that happened, I had more money I could spend, so I was able to buy him another item on his list.  He loved his stack o' loot and was thrilled that I bought him something that he didn't know even existed.

As for me, my people spoiled me.  K bought me a beautiful purple scarf and the Mother Love Bone Record Store Day vinyl release of Hold Your Head Up.

Hubs bought me Into the Wild and the soundtrack, along with Water on the Road.  The second package I opened, because we all do the three item rule, I opened the Ten vinyl reissue box set. (It was a resale item, but had absolutely all of the extras in the box.)  It was at that point that I figured that package number three had to be A TURNTABLE! (It was an open box score.  Turns out that the people couldn't get it to turn and all they needed to do was to read the instructions and attach the belt. Hubs got it for half off because of it and that is GREAT!)

Hubs even built a shelf for it yesterday.  We don't have an entertainment center and I'm not a big fan of getting one anyhow.  Our TV is old and 180 pounds, so what we have it sitting on is about all that will hold it.

We had a nice holiday.  Yesterday was spent at home, hanging out together.  Because my brother's dog ate his Christmas cookies, I did run the extras to him and some thumbprints to my mom (missed an entire pan of cookies when I was putting them together.)  We sat together and watched Into the Wild together.

Hubs is back to work today and I have the smell of brownies filling the house, as I've prepared to go visit with a friend this afternoon.

I hope that this holiday season finds you well and able to spend some time together with family and friends.

Friday, December 26, 2014

We don't know why . . .

K fell asleep with her head inside of the Our Generation RV that Santa brought her.  We do know that she is enjoying it. 

The cat wasn't bothered by it. 

She decided that K looked like a comfortable place to stop and take a rest.  After all, isn't that what cats labeled as "wild/feral" do?  :S

Perhaps I'll just be like my human and take a nap. Christmas is exhausting, you know.  :)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Merry Christmas to all of you!

Since I work holiday retail, I always sit on Christmas Eve as a pile of tired.  This year, there is a family thing going on and it seems to have sucked the life out of all of us.  Compound the new family funk added on top of existing family strife.  That has made this holiday even tougher.

It's sad.  I'm a peace loving middle child, after all.

Despite all of that, we have celebrated K's 11th birthday Friday and Saturday.  (One day wasn't enough!)  She had a great time on Friday with her cousins and a couple of friends, we went to the planetarium show on Sunday (her request) and were able to spend a nice day together.  Sunday morning was to be a church day, but K woke up feeling a might funky.  She had one of THE virus' running around and it laid her flat in bed for 2 1/2 days.  She got better in time for Christmas Eve!  So, her illness probably hasn't helped my slump this evening.

Buddy the Elf has gone back to the North Pole this evening.  When we left for family Christmas Eve, he left K a letter and a snow globe, then away he went.  She's left cookies and tea for Santa and a carrot for the reindeer.

Christmas Eve brought my cousin giving me a copy of the cook book that she created from recipes from her mom.  Her mama was my Godmother.  My Aunt Carol died 5 years ago from brain cancer and I was very close to her.  When the recipe book came up in the White Elephant and they were reading from it, I sat there in tears.  Oh, how I miss Aunt Carol.

This year we don't have my sister's Happy Birthday Jesus cake, though.  That makes my heart sad.  :(

My kiddo is on the mend.

My gifts are wrapped and some of those have been delivered by either USPS or by hand.

Cookies have been distributed.

We have a home and family and heat, water and essentials that so many others don't.

We have so many things to be thankful for.  Though my holidays seem to be awash of bad decisions made by people who know better and are bumming me out, I have so many other wonderful things to be thankful for.  I don't want the bad choices of a few to override the joy of many.

We celebrate Christ's birthday.  That is far more important than any peripheral garbage going on in my life.

We might not have a Jesus' birthday cake, but we have Jesus and that is far more important than a piece of cake any day.

Merry Christmas to all.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's like Willy Wonka's teacher is the one teaching K.

I swear, this year has been a pain in ALL of our sides.  For the record, I'm being nice right now.  Boy, it has just not been pleasant.

Remember the teacher from Willy Wonka?  He was talking to the kids about test schedules changing and about how now the test would be on Monday on the material before they learned it?  :hand raised high:  We are in the School of Willy Wonka Learning.

There are no fun chocolates or Umpa Loompas to craft the chocolate.

K had a math test today.  She was told about it YESTERDAY.  Her teacher had originally planned for Thursday, but since he'd be out he decided he'd do it today.

They hadn't covered all of the chapter and it was dividing major numbers into decimals and estimating hundredths and whatnot.

Plainly and politely, the chapter sucked without this challenge.

Needless to say, K didn't do super swell on it.  She was bummed, but we explained to her that regardless to the fact that her grade was not stellar, she did as we asked.  She did the very best she could do.  She said that she used 5 pieces of scrap paper to work the problems out.  (It's on computer.)

Since we know that not all of the material had been covered and that apparently that was a bit of a verbal altercation between him and another one of the 5th grade teachers about it, I will be asking for a copy of this computer test.  He hasn't been able to generate one for me in the past, but I'm certain that someone on the school grounds will be able to.  We need to see if she was tested on the materials that were not covered.

When we met with him last Thursday for the parent-teacher conference we were kind, polite and understanding.  After all, that's what Christians do.  He went over the MAP test scores and told us that K moved up an entire grade in reading just from the September to December test.  "However," he said, "she did move down a point in math."  "Mr. H, it is no secret that my child sucks in math.  I consider it a great feat that she only lost one point."  Math has ALWAYS been a challenge for her.  That's okay.  I'm not so hot at it myself.  He mentioned something about how he is dyslexic and can't spell.

That explains more than I can possibly tell you.

If he doesn't understand something, he still assigns it as homework but they don't get any instruction with it.  :tipped head:  He has NEVER taught anything at all with Health.  He just hands them a new set of worksheets to have done for the next Thursday.

"Work in groups" is the theme of the 5th grade.  I hate that, too.  They'll hand stuff out and tell the kids to work in groups.  They won't explain it. They'll just hand it out.

We're already flailing as it is.  Two of the three 5th grade teachers are retiring in early spring.  If the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing WITH full time teachers on staff, will super subs be able to pick up the slack where the others were only punching the clock?  If Mr. H is meant to lead the sub team, all is going to hell in a hand basket.

The city wide science and math celebration is coming up as a Science Fair in January.  He asked his students about a month or more ago if anyone was interested.  K was and so were a few others.  He dropped it and never mentioned it again.  I asked at open house.  "Well, I asked again and no one seemed interested, so I dropped it."  "Well, K and at least I know of C who did want to do it."  He scrounged for the paperwork & sent a copy home with K.  It is about an inch thick and made for 5th-12th graders to use.  :rolling eyes at the public school for their lack on that one:  She called me, "Mom, I have to have my science fair project picked out by tomorrow."  "Tomorrow?"  Yes, it was "tomorrow" because he found that the deadline was 12/16 for the children to participate.  He registered them online, which was kind of him.  Since we didn't have any parameters with which to work, we weren't able to craft an idea that was beyond K experimenting with beans, growing medium and manipulating light.  She would have loved to research, but she wasn't given the opportunity.

The science fair kids are to stay behind on Tuesdays and Thursdays after school for a half hour to work on their projects.  K called her grandmother to tell her to get her a half hour late.  I decided to double check with him yesterday morning just to be sure.  "No.  We aren't meeting.  I have a staff meeting that I forgot about."  "Um, I'm glad I asked.  I didn't have transportation arrangements for K until 3.  You may want to tell the other kids."  He tipped his head in confusion.

5 more months.

It's not going to kill us, is it?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

A day fit for wrapping and folding.

I decided that after all of the continual running I've been doing, we deserved a day at home to wrap up some details of Christmas.

Last Saturday, we had Santa Shop.  Now, I ended up helping with Santa Shop purchasing/set-up until about 11:15 PM last Friday night.  K and I had to be back up to the school on Saturday morning to start the coffee, get the hot dogs cooking (yes, we sell hot dogs right from the start) and to get the 5th grade concessions all set.  We were there until 2:15 PM.

This is where I should add a photo of my child's Lego contest submission, but I failed to get one.  I will tell you that it had Santa's sleigh with a motorized propeller with a "push here" button, Lego peeps all dressed up in Hershey Kiss wrapper dresses and some lovely Christmas trees.  Baby girl won!  Hooray!  Mama should have taken a photo.

We had the family house cleaning session that evening.  Yes, our house is cleaned and picked up, but when you are having 12 people over to your house, you make sure the corners are free of cobwebs and that you've wiped all of the hand prints off of the light switches, walls, doors and woodwork that you normally don't see.  We worked together and got things all set.

I might add that at this point I was beat and Hubs even asked why I over schedule myself.

The tea was lovely and the desserts were delicious.  (I ask my guests to bring a dessert to share since I'm cooking everything else.)  The variety was wonderful!

I had enough soup leftover to give Julia some for her birthday on Monday and Matt enjoyed it for lunch for his birthday on Tuesday.  (Coworkers.)  I had it Sun-Tues.  It was delightful, but I could not finish the rest.  Too much soup.

What kind of soup was it? It was Butter Bean, Bacon and Button Mushroom soup.  (My coworker made it for us to have for dinner on a late decorating night.)  It was broth based with Worcester sauce and brown sugar in the broth and that was it.  For the crowd I had, the soup recipe I made was:

Toni's Butter Bean, Bacon and Button Mushroom Soup

3 x 6 oz packages of little button mushrooms
7 cans butter beans WITH the bean water
1 pound sliced, cooked & cooled bacon (I drained it twice and blotted it twice.)
About 10 shakes of Worcester Sauce
About 1/2 cup brown sugar

Clean your mushrooms.  Cook up your bacon.  Put those into a crock-pot along with all beans WITH bean water. Throw in some Worcester Sauce (to taste) and brown sugar.  Cook on low until done.  My coworker said NOT to add more water, but I did a little.  I also added some shredded carrots for color.


K played in her first harp "recital" the other day.  She was upset that she missed a few notes.  She told me that the camera flashes distracted her.  I told her that it was her first experience ever in doing such a thing and that I thought she did a fantastic job.  I might add that I didn't even notice the missing few notes.

The harp students then joined the rest of the 5th grade for a recorder concert.  It sounds pretty cheesy, but the kiddos did a good job!  They are working hard to learn songs to play with the symphony at a local theater here in the spring.

So it brings me to today.  This past week was busy, as usual and I needed to stop and take care of some Christmas things.  We've been wrapping and taking inventory.  I had to make sure I had everything for everyone.  I have one giant bag packed for my mom's house.  (Christmas for 4 families and Christmas Eve.)  I also have make-up birthday gifts in there for any birthdays that may not have been celebrated in mass this year.


I also picked up a few extra names for the Christmas Eve exchange at my mom's house.  Thankfully, the shelf extras I had filled those in nicely.

I  have clothes.  They are clean.  They are on deck for folding after the extravaganza of wrapping is complete.  My folding this week kind of flew out the door.  My people have been hunter-gatherer in clean laundry baskets for the last two days.  I really must fix that.

I suppose that I should probably figure out what will be for dinner.  A nice slow roasted chicken might be in order.  I can tell you, though-- I'm not leaving the house.  We'll work with what we have here.  The one of two times of year I wear sweat pants happens to be today along with a holiday fleece sweatshirt.  I'm toasty, but I look like I fell off of the back of a pumpkin truck.  My hair is wound up into a ball on the back of my head and I have no make-up on.  I'm not going forth to share this look with anyone.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

What would 5th grade be without another story?

K called me on my cell the other day.  I was at work and she typically doesn't phone.  I stepped outside to see what was up.

"Mom, Mr. H moved a few seats around today."

"Let me guess.  You are sitting next to Z."

"Yes.  He only moved about 5 kids around and he was put in front of me."

"I'll write a note tomorrow to Mr. H to ask that you be moved."

"Oh, thank you!"

You know, I am to the point where I encourage K advocating for herself.  I always have, but I really have tried to take the training wheels off.  It has been up to K to talk to her teacher about different issues she has had.

This one was a bit bigger issue than what she could handle on her own.

You see, Z is the MOST distracting child in the ENTIRE 5th grade.  I'm not exaggerating.  Truly, I'm being honest.  Imagine Pig-Pen.  Add that Pig-Pen whirling dervish of garbage, underpit smell and ADHD.  Now, I am an ADD/ADHD chick myself.  I've got it and understand that you tend to be obnoxious and don't really mean to.  However, he is uber obnoxious and he thinks it is cute.
Graphic from Peanuts Wiki.
Not cool.

I emailed her teacher to ask that she please be moved.  I said that from previous experience, we know how this will play out.  I said that Z is "distracting in a multitude of ways" and to please, please help.

He keeps poking K.  K finally got sick of it yesterday and kept getting out of her seat to step away from it.  (I told her that she needs to not do that.)  The teacher did see it and told Z that he WILL be moved.  Any day would be most excellent.  Mr. H is definitely not the most motivated teacher that K has ever had.  None of the 5th grade staff are.

Z never comes to school prepared, so the children around him are forced to share their learning materials with him because he has forgotten his book . . .  The children around him are expected to tutor him in whatever subject that he doesn't understand.  He is so busy trying to be football player/wrestler cool all combined with the ADHD that he doesn't understand most of what is given.  (I hesitate to say "taught" since teaching isn't so much what appears to be done there.)

I told Mr. H that K is having a difficult enough time in 5th grade and that this is not going to help.

Rrr.  I'm hoping that wherever 6th grade is, that it will be better than 5th.  5th is just sucking the life out of us this year.  It has been one thing after another and it is just exhausting.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

A lesson from my daughter to me.

The 5th grade has been a rough year.  The teaching staff is lackluster.  (That's putting it kindly.)  The grading has been inconsistent.  K's teacher has "student graders."  With such and even with his grading, it has left M and I to re-grade K's papers whenever that blessed day arrives maybe once or twice a month.

It is at this point that I should note that one of the 5th grade teachers sent home a construction paper "file" so that we could keep the papers and if there were grading issues, then we could check them.  I understand needing to keep an eye and it is probably admirable that the teacher is recognizing that she has grading deficits.  It, however, is not my job to have to re-grade every single paper that comes home because they are so poor at handling their organization of it all.  I shouldn't have to check each paper point by point to be certain that it was logged into the system properly.  It frustrates both M and I to no end.

We have found many grading errors.  One was a 25 point difference in the letter grade on the paper.  A little bit here and a little bit there with math has made a difference of a point here and a point there. Mr. H has told K, "It didn't make a difference in your grade."  But it has.  A point here and a point there in regard to letter grade for a report card made a final difference between one grade to the next.

K called and left a message on my voice mail yesterday. "Mom, the grade I got on my reading test wasn't what you told me."  I talked to her later and said we'd figure it out when I got home.  She checked it and sadly, she's right.  He graded out a test and logged it as 33 points higher than she scored.

"Mom, I have to take this back," she said without hesitation.  "I didn't earn this grade and I cannot take this.  It isn't fair to the kids who earned that grade."

:twinge of guilt:

There was a little part of me that wanted to keep it.  The faltering reading grades for all of our 5th graders is just insane.  When you have 73 out of 76 kids pass the first reading test and you KEEP IT, there is something horribly wrong.

I told K how proud I was of her.  I did tell her the percentage ramifications of such a choice.  "Mom, that just means that I need to work harder."

Bless her heart.

She doesn't want a grade not due her, just as we don't want her not to get the grade that she deserves.  She said that she'd speak to him about it and get it straightened around today.

My heart smiles because she's doing the right thing.  She's doing the right thing by choice.  I didn't have to talk her into it or to defend it.  That is the best of all.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

My husband kind of hates my Christmas list.

We do Christmas lists in my house.  Actually, M and I do them but K often skips.  She tells me that whatever Santa brings she's good with.  Raised right, that kiddo.  Well, at least in that respect.

So M handed me his list.  It will be a very Ice T Christmas.  It was a simple list to work from and his suggestion was that I work from Amazon and  I only had one order refunded due to lack of inventory and I was able to go through AmazonSmile to benefit the Vitalogy Foundation, so it's a win-win!  I was able to order the refunded CD from someone else, I ordered something NOT on his list (shutter at the thought) and his shopping was done from the convenience of home and this here silly silver box in about an hour.

Now then, M said that he had to resort to hopping off the "list" for me because, well, I put some things on there that don't actually exist.  I told him that I was looking towards the future!

Amy’s wish list – Many pinned on Pinterest board “Music that takes me where I need to go.”  (Just for your reference.) Used is great and somewhat preferred on all.

Pearl Jam
·      Water on the Road- Eddie Vedder DVD of his 2008 solo tour.
·      Knowlden- I can pretty much tell you that you won’t find it.  It was released by PJ as a limited run back in the spring, maybe.  I’m not even certain if it is vinyl only.  Obviously, we don’t spin the black circle.
·      Into the Wild soundtrack and movie.  I’ve seen the movie for $5 at the Exchange. I’ve never bothered to look for the CD.
·      Imports.  Singles are all a fuzzy area. You know the rules.
·      PJ Christmas singles.  They will be vinyl, but they are limited so that is my only reason for asking.  You can buy some new online for $10.  Only buy if you can get a really good deal.
·      รจ Please do not buy any UNAUTHORIZED books or videos.  There are some crappy people who wrote books about them (Kim Neeley being one) and I don’t want to own any of that. They put out enough for us to buy on the resale market or directly from them.
·      No Code and Yield re-issue box set.  No, it doesn’t exist yet, but since they did both albums live & in full this fall, we know that it is just a matter of time.

·      Echo of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across the Path (Coming out 11/24)  A B-sides recording.  Hold and find it used.
·      Superunknown was released as a box set back in June.  Hold on for a while.  USED! 
·      Chris Cornell- Songbook (CD)

Mother Love Bone
·      Apple
·      Shine (EP)
·      Mother Love Bone (A compliation)
·      Mother Love Bone:  A Love Bone Earth Affair – now this one is tricky and probably fairly unattainable. It was released in 1993 and not officially released onto DVD.  VHS only. 
·      There is supposed to be a release coming.  I know that it is a previously unreleased single. 

Misfits- Glen Danzig ONLY.  No other recordings, please.  Just these.  J
·      Static Age
·      Walk Among Us

·      Doolittle
·      Wave of Mutilation

The Talking Heads
·      Talking Heads: 77
·      More Songs About Buildings and Food
·      I don’t own any of them at all and would like them, so it is a free-for-all. 
Gee, I just don't see what he's talking about!  ;)  In all seriousness, he knows that I just don't require a list.  He's the picky one.  Other than the Kindle that he bought me that wasn't quite the right one (he bought the Paper White when what I wanted was the new Kindle Fire.  Oops.  He didn't take the obvious hints that well.)

So, do you exchange with your spouse/significant other?  Is it a list required thing?  When we got married, M specified that we were to give impractical items only for Christmas.  That is why you won't see clothes, socks or underwear on any of our lists.  Those things are illegal for gifting here at the House of Bailey's Leaf-- by royal decree of Hubs.  And yes, we do have a double digit limit for each person that includes items for the stocking and for under the tree.  

Friday, November 7, 2014

I had to pull the Mom Censorship Card while waiting for my pizza at Little Caesars.

From Monday - Wednesday, I worked 12-13 hour days getting ready for our holiday open house this weekend. Thursday, I worked our Scholastic Book Fair from 7:30 AM - 6:30 PM.  Today, I worked the Book Fair from 7:50 AM - 4:30 PM.  Exhaustion set in.  K and I went to LC's for our dinner.

We bought the pretzel crust cheese pizza.  Yes, we also bought the crazy bread.  We were wild and crazy girls.  We had evening plans that involved pizza, crazy bread and some TV.

Since we ordered the cheese pretzel crust pizza without pepperoni, we had to wait.  I'm used to it.  "Hot and Ready" has never been "Hot and Ready" cheese. Since we had to wait 6 minutes, we opted to just sit in their tiny waiting area.  There were three chairs.  There were 2 chairs to the left of the door and one near the cooler, to the right.  K took the right.  There was a construction guy off to the left.  She left me to sit near him.  It's all good.  He was tired and quiet.  So were we.

They were busy humming along and making pizza.  They were chatting it up.  I was texting a few friends and so tired that thinking and typing were difficult to be done together.  The talking got louder.  Several words seemed repeated.  My ears perked up.

Are they really talking about that?


They can't be.

I can't be hearing right.

Oh, I am.

The girl at the drive thru window was discussing periods, pregnancy tests and doctors appointments.  These things were not being discussed in hushed tones.  She kept mentioning "period."  She kept mentioning pregnancy tests.  Finally I heard enough and like sudden onset Tourette's, I couldn't take it anymore.

I leaned up a bit, the cashier had looked over at me and I said, "We don't need to know about her peeing on sticks."

"Well, she's not talking about herself," she said with a snarky, sarcastic tone.  Obviously she couldn't see a problem with it.

I looked over at the construction worker.  He looked as if he wanted to crawl under the chair.  The ongoing banter behind the counter was embarrassing him.

"This is stuff we don't need to hear and besides that, I have a 10 year old in here."

"Oh."  She was nonplussed by my Mama Bear Censorship Card being pulled.

The guy looked at me and said, "That is so inappropriate anyway, let alone wanting to look to see who the crowd is and to have a 10 year old sitting there."  "Good, then it wasn't just me."  "Um, no."

When we got back into the car, I talked with K about  it.  We've had discussion about menstruation and whatnot, but nothing like what they were talking about.  "Mom, did you hear that they were talking about killing or dead babies?"

"No!  Were they really?"

"Yes.  I heard everything, Mom."

"K, I'm sorry.  It was something that should have never been discussed out in public."  We talk about things with K.  If she asks something, we're honest.

So, have you ever had to pull the Parental Censorship Card?  I hated to do it, but I felt like it was necessary.  I can only imagine what the drive thru window patrons must have heard.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Why do people vote against safety levies?

We had a safety levy on the ballot.  It would have increased our sales tax by .25%.  It failed.
Our sheriff was quoted as saying, "This was a true need. This was not a want. ... "
A local resident had this to say:
"I’m against any more taxes.  They’re taking every damn dime out of our pockets.” 
My guess is that when that resident experiences an emergency such as a fire, rowdy neighbors, a car accident or a heart attack, they'll be calling Ghost Busters?  Uh, no.  They'll call 911.  They'll expect service.

There are many safety service levies in this area that passed.  There are many that didn't.  People vote against the levies, then complain that service is slow when they call for them in their time of need.  STEP UP, PEOPLE!  Things cost money.  Cost of living has increased for you.  Don't you think that there is a cost of operations increase for others?


Monday, October 27, 2014

"Life Changing"

I just read a Pinterest pin about crock-pot mashed potatoes.  She said that they were "literally life changing."  :tipping the head:  Am I misunderstanding something?  I mean, I love a good mashed potato.  I've just never found them or the variety of other foodstuffs on Pinterest to be life changing or "a life changer."

What would life changing be for me?  Allow me to give a list of my personal life changing things:

1.  Meeting and later marrying my husband.
2.  Bailey.
3.  Meeting and later adopting our daughter, K.
4.  Being adopted by my then stepfather (now father) at the age of 15 and having a legal name change.
5.  The deaths of many people in my life.
6.  The births of many people in my life.
7.  The purchase of our home.
8.  To learn just this past week that the health hiccup that my mom had was just a hiccup and that she was fine.  Life changing?  Yup.  Mama is okay and I asked that she never smoke again.  She promised she wouldn't.  My life is changing because my mama decided to change hers in a positive way.

There are a lot of other "life changing" moments in my life.  Some squished up root veggies aren't life changing for me.  They are tasty though.

What is "life changing" to you?  Feel free to belt out a list in the comments or if you choose to do your own list of "life changers," leave the link in the comments so that we can come visit!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Tale of Two Kitties

Smudge was our first cat.  She was our Maine Coone trial child.  She was 14 1/2 when she died.

She was a chewer.  She chewed through brand new head phones (not even a day old.)  She chewed through an answering machine cord (only about a week old.)  She chewed on the "twinkies" on Hubs' weight equipment.  She ate a diamond earring.  (No, we were never able to recover that one.)

She was not snuggly.  Every now and then, she'd lay on the couch with me and hip scoot just so that her kittyness would be touching my humanness.  Never one to climb into your lap though.

She was a biter.

She could be nasty.

She was a peeper.  (As in the sound.)

She was afraid of people.  She would hide around things and attack Mike when he came to take care of her when we were on vacation.

She hated K.

She was a park dump and adopted by Hubs when volunteers reported that they saw her scooped up by a hawk and dropped back down.

Leia is our second cat.  We learned a lot from our first cat.

She is a climber.

She will squirrel away in tiny places.

Curiosity will, in fact, get the best of her. We blame her polydactalness. ;)  Those THUMBS!  She uses them for good and for bad.  (Not evil, of course.)

She knows no, but will not always put it into practice.  (She's only 1 1/2 after all.)

She is snuggly.

She loves scratches.

She's a lover.

She's a talker.

She thinks that K is better than sliced bread and would follow her off the edge of a cliff.

She will hide from people.  Mike never saw her once when he was taking care of her when we were gone camping.  We found her hiding in the joists of the basement ceiling.

So a chewer or a climber?  We loved Smudge because she was ours, but we often said that if other people owned her, they probably would have put her to sleep.  Yes, she could be that nasty.

Leia is a different kitty altogether.  A rescue up for adoption, she was labeled as "wild/feral" at the pet store. No wonder why she was kitty-in-a-box for 4 1/2 months before we came along.  The food that they were giving her gave her a bellyache and awful digestive result.  A quick switch of food and months and months of trust building allowed us to have a kitty who is happy to live with her humans.

She is a vacuum cleaner, though.  We swear that she is a dog in a cat body.  Boy, after dinner she is under the table hoovering anything she can find.  (Hubs and K can sometimes lose control of their crumbs and whatnot.)  Sadly, Leia has moved to wanting to hoover the counter and after kitty drunkenness over the mama's cereal milk, I've been put my foot down.  She never was counter kitty until now.  I will not have a cat on my counters.  I will not have a cat on my table.  She hasn't tried the fridge yet, but I'll tell you that I won't have that, either.  She will have to abide by those rules.  A few kitty rules, but those are not flexible ones.

So, kitty owners, have you had cats so completely different?  If you've had counter kitties and chosen to resolve that issue, how did you do it?

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Silly kitties can't be having the milk.

The other day, I placed my cereal bowl on the counter and walked away to do something for a quick minute.  K brought Leia in and said, "I found this kitty on the counter, drinking up your cereal milk."

Rule #1-  No kitties on the counter or table.  That's gross.

Rule #2-  Kitties can't be drinking the milk.  Kitties are lactose intolerant.

I had K immediately take her downstairs.  I knew what would come from a kitty who got milky drunk on mama's sugary cereal milk.  (For the record, I eat frosted mini wheats and I don't drink milk.)

We'll just say that kitty-kitty had a belly ache.  Kitty-kitty was confined to the basement so that she could deal with that.  By the evening, bounce had returned to her step and she was running and playing once again.

I have started calling her "Milky" tough.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Confessions of a Germophobe: Ebola was in my airspace.

I live in Ohio.  I live in Northeast Ohio.  While I won't divulge my exact locale, I will tell you that my region is under the Ebola Scare due to the second nurse's visit to our corner of the state.

At this point I should tell you, I did not visit with her.  I do not know her.  I wish her well and pray that she heals and that her family and this ENTIRE community is kept safe from the scourge that is Ebola.

It is now that I start on my rant.  I'm probably saying nothing new.  First, my parents live less than a mile from her family home.  My father had a fit.  That isn't going to transmit Ebola to my parents, but it is a bit unsettling to think that it was that close.

The amount of information, conflicting and readjusted information is getting to the point where I almost can't stand to know anymore.  Let me start with today's revelation.  She felt tired and "funny" on her visit to Ohio?  Really?  So you are feeling a little punky and while that wouldn't normally be reason for concern other than figuring that you are coming down with something, she just cared for (heroically, I might add) a gentleman who arrived in our country, came to the hospital for care and passed away as a result of the heinous disease that he contracted before his time here in America.  Hmmm.  He had a horrible disease that he brought from a 3rd world nation.  That disease is killing 70% of the people who get it.  Could it be Ebola?  :insert sarcastic face:

I would never wish Ebola on anyone.  I feel horribly that the healthcare workers who did their best to provide care for this gentleman contracted it.  However (and this is a big however) if I had been caring for someone in his state and under such stringent biohazard needs, I would probably have-- let me state this as clearly as possible-- stayed home to monitor my health and well-being rather than go on a commercial airliner, TWICE!

Yes, I realize that she had permission.  Those people who gave her permission were clearly smoking crack.

We're talking common sense here.

This story is not really at all relatable, but it is the only relatable tale I have.  Let's keep it that way, yes?  When my people have something such as the stomach virus or even when Hubs had rotavirus, we treated the house as if a hazmat tent had dropped overtop and no one was permitted in.  No one was permitted out.  When Hubs had rotavirus, K and I steered clear of the bathroom, utilized the camping loo that we have, took sponge baths and all because until he was done, the bathroom was off limits.  (We're a one bathroom house and we made do with what we had.)  I then suited up, covering my face, and bleached the entire bathroom down.  It took an hour and a half and you know what?  Though K had it and was over it by the time we got back home from Chicago (oh yes, fun filled weekend it was) I didn't get it.  Still, we hung out until it seemed all was clear.  We returned to normal lives, but we had waited.

My point is not to say that the nurses weren't careful because I'm sure that they were and they worked with what they had.  My problem is that the nurse didn't have the common sense kick in to say that since she was still in the time of self-monitoring, she should have stayed home.  We have someone floating on a cruise ship with God knows how many passengers.  They are self-quarantined.  I think that is great that they are doing that, but WHY are they on the boat to begin with?

I understand that the CDC hasn't been all on top of it.  The WHO has also claimed responsibility in not tending to things as they should.  President Obama today appointed an Ebola Czar.  I'm not starting a political debate because that is not where I want to go and I have turned comments off to avoid backlash over the post in general, but why would you appoint a lawyer as a czar over a deadly disease situation in your country?  I'm sure that we have more than enough and willing medical professionals who could have filled that position.  I am democrat and proud to say that I am blue through and through.  :shakes of the head:  I just don't get that one.

We have a well-known bridal store in our area-- a mom and pop-- that is closed for right now.  Having worked in the bridal industry for years of my life, I know that October is like June.  Busy with brides getting married and homecoming.  You also have brides for other weddings, but it is a big, busy month.  How exactly are they going to be compensated for their loss of business?  Will people trust their business?

You have many workers that are off of their jobs-- with pay-- from companies such as the Cleveland Clinic, Metro Health, Aultman Hospital, teachers and at three schools, folks from an area utility  along with all of her bridesmaids, a few of their children and a husband.  Her stepfather can't leave the house.  Police are posted outside of their house.  Who is going to pay for the loss of money?  I know that a lot of the people are being paid their salary, but are they all being compensated?

Planes were decontaminated, but they are on a daily basis.  However, Cleveland Hopkins Airport was decontaminated.  3 schools were decontaminated.  I don't know what they'll do with the bridal store and the hundreds of thousands in merchandise that may be damaged in decontamination.  (They didn't say that would happen, but knowing the nature of the fabric and industry, I have to guess that is a concern.)

You have 7 flights of people that need to be tracked down.

In the industrialized world, disease knows no borders.  We can move too quickly.  Disease can, too.

We've had an all call from the school.  We've had e-mails from the superintendent.  We've gotten a letter with an Ebola need-to-know information sheet attached.

God bless, Dr. Kent Brantley.  He has donated blood to Ebola victims, but he only has so much blood.  When you have a virus, it knocks your immune system down for a bit, doesn't it?  How wonderful of him to be so selfless, but we can't drain him dry.  I'm certain that after this health crisis is over in their lives, the nurses would probably do the same if they could.

In sum and to clarify, I appreciate all of the work that these nurses did for Mr. Duncan.  They did everything that they knew to do.  I can say with certainty that they did everything that they could to protect themselves from Ebola.  My issue is with permissions to travel and the consideration to even travel given the gravity of what they had been dealing with and that self-monitoring hadn't been lifted.

I don't know what the answers are.  I wished we would have had the horses quite a bit of a distance ahead before this came to American soil.  We didn't and that is very sad given our nation's capabilities.  Could this be worse?  Absolutely.  Let's hope that it doesn't get to that.  In NE Ohio, I'm hoping that we all get to Election Day (and beyond) Ebola free.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Pearl Jam 10/1/14: Tales of rail and wine.

My man and I went to see my favorite band.  I've never had the opportunity to see the boys live.  I was so excited.

This adventure started a while ago.  A long while ago, Hubs and I kind of discontinued going out on dates because, well, we did the kiddo thing.  I know, I know.  We didn't need to stop living life.  We didn't, but we were ignoring being able to go out and have a fun time together as a two-piece instead of a three-piece.

Lightning Bolt came out last fall and the tour ran right when my busy season at work does.  There would be no way.

Christmas came and it was a very PJ Christmas.  Hubs bought me some merch from the band website and set me up with a bunch of stuff that I didn't have.  (Lightning Bolt-- I was waiting because I knew I'd get it as a gift.  PJ20 DVD and CDs among other things.)

Rumors were afoot about PJ doing another tour.  I signed on to the fan club. I should have done it a long time prior, but life happens.  The tour was announced.  A pre sale lottery would be held at the end of May for any of the Ten Club members.  Plunk in the venue you wish for, the type of seating that you'd want (1st & 2nd choice) and you sit to wait for the lottery magic to happen.  Magic happened!

Thank you, Discover Cash Back, for helping to offset the cost of our date.

Hooray!  I won!  What did I win?  GA tickets.  For those not in the know, GA = General Admission, AKA the pit.  :insert anxiety attack:  "Holy crap!  We just won PIT!"  Hubs wanted pit.  He said that the reserved seats on the floor would be bad for me.  We couldn't see.  :deep breath:  I came to a conclusion, I'm going in.

Over the next few months, I prepared.  I read.  I asked questions.  I wanted know what to do when the day arrived.

We dropped our kiddo off to school and made arrangements for her to be picked up and cared for that evening.  We arrived in Cincinnati at noon.  We made a beeline for the General Admission (GA/pit) line.  I hung out for a few with Hubs and headed on upstairs to stand in line for merch.  They were supposed to have a merch trailer on the street in front of our line and a tent upstairs.  We didn't get the trailer, but the tent was a 20x10 Easy Up.  The line was long.  It took an hour and a half, but we were standing in lines anyhow.  Hubs and I texted each other back and forth.

I got my merch (a poster/tube, a shirt, 2 buttons and three stickers) cruised back down and showed it to Hubs.  (Thanks to my in-law's for the birthday money.)  About 15 minutes later, I got a text from a PJ forum friend that the will call lines were starting and that they were getting long.  I dashed back up there to hang out in will call.  That took about another 1/2 hour.  I texted Hubs that I got the tickets and wrist bands, but was on the hunt for the loo.  I handled all that, then sent him for a scenic tour.  He needed to get out of line and stretch his legs a bit.  He did that twice and on the second time-- all hail the last bathroom stop, the line starts moving.  "RUN!"  I had no idea.  Crap.  What would we do if I end up getting sucked inside before him.  I could stand out of line, but that trashes standing in line all day.  Turns out that people collapsed their chairs, took their coolers to their cars and that's why the line moved in.  Hubs got back in time. :whew:

We had to go through a security check point.  The band requested that everyone be wanded and patted down before going in.  Eddie made a few people mad earlier this summer with comments he made about the fighting around Israel.  A few of us think that may be why they had heightened security.  It didn't take long.  We had to show our wristbands several times, but then voila!  We were in.

I had done a lot of reading.  I knew what I wanted, where I wanted and how this was going to play out.  (At least in my mind.)  People were clotted on Mike, Jeff & Ed's part of the stage.  Poor Stone.  He is the last place to fill up.  There was a hunk of rail (the barrier between the people and the band) open and WE GOT RAIL!  For someone short, this is far more important than most people would know.  We were near the end.  There was a stairway that led up and out.  We weren't corralled into a giant play yard like I thought!  Claustrophobia subsided.  It would be good!

Our rail spot before the show.  The security guards behind us?  The coolest security guards ever!  (And for whatever it is worth, my husband was crouched down a little when they took the picture.  I guess he didn't want me to look that short.)

My man told me to turn around.  He wanted to get a picture with the boys and me.  :)  You can't see Boom, but you can see everyone else!  Since we were in front of the speaker stack, we did wear ear plugs.  Hubs wore two.  He said that wearing one had him off balance.  I wore just on in the right-- the ear that was 7' from the speakers.  My left was fine.

During the concert, Eddie went to the side stage and started pouring wine out into people's cups.  Security went running with a sleeve of cups.  One security guard came around the corner and was standing in front of me with 4 cups of wine.  I reached my hand out.  He looked at me for a minute and said, "But you have to pass it."  I shook my head in agreement, glad that I had the cup before 100 lips were on it, then he said again, "But you have to pass it."  I took a big gulp to prove I wasn't hoarding it (dribbled some down my chin, too) and passed it to Hubs.  He had no idea what was going on, so he passed it on.  It was tasty.  A red wine and I have no idea what I was drinking.  I was the first one at it and it came from Eddie, so it was all good.

The big guy beside me?  That would be Sean.  He and his girl, Elizabeth, were getting married that weekend.  Sean had been a security guard at US Bank Arena.  I was, at that point, the shortest one in a line of much taller people.  He sandwiched Elizabeth between him and Jay, her rail mate.  He sandwiched me between him and Hubs.  He told me that they would keep us girls safe.  They did!

Hubs watched out for me the whole time.  That's the kind of man he is.   :)  The next day, he asked, "Did you realize that the woman behind you was playing with your hair the whole time?"  Weird.  She was doodling with my backpack, too.  It was a stiff string backpack, so if she tried to get into it, I would have felt it.  Her friend weedled her way in next to Hubs and was smooshed up next to him the whole time.  Welcome to the GA pit! 

The concert was 14 ways of magical.  Truly.  The best. concert. ever.  (Trumps Pink Floyd at Cleveland Browns Stadium in 1994.)  The set list as posted by Sea, our fearless PJ Forum Moderator:

Pearl Jam
US Bank Arena
Cincinnati, OH
Set List
October 01, 2014

01. Pendulum
02. Nothingman
03. Of The Girl
04. Mind Your Manners
05. Lightning Bolt
(Notes how long since they last played Cincinnati and is glad to be back)
06. Corduroy
07. Spin The Black Circle
(“that goes out to the fine folks at WKRP”)
08. Got Some
09. Even Flow
10. Sirens
11. Love Boat Captain/Jumpin’ Jack Flash-(Jagger/Richards) {with new intro-similar to outro jam}.  Jumpin’ Jack Flash was one verse during the outro jam section
12. Present Tense
13. Daughter/Keep It In Motion-(Pollard)/Another Brick In The Wall Part 2-(Waters)
(Ed discusses the band rooming situation in the early days and playing at a local club called “Bogart’s” where the guy Ed was sharing a joint with “bogarted” it.)
14. State Of Love And Trust
(a story about Keith Richards’ knife)
15. Waiting On A Friend-(Jagger/Richards)
16. Jeremy
17. Comatose
(Ed introduces the next song and talks about the great band Guided By Voices)
18. Setting Forth
19. Porch (Ed stands on the barricade and sings)

Encore Break 1

20. Sleeping By Myself
(Ed talks about certain truth’s that the band are in agreement on like Climate Change and some sort of gun control.  There are many injustices in the world and while not as important as some, not having Pete Rose in the hall of fame is an injustice.  The next song is for Pete’s son as well as Pete)
21. Man Of The Hour
22. Parachutes
23. All Those Yesterdays
24. Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town-(played to the people behind the stage)
Ed asks for the lights to brought up so he can find and thank Gerry.  She is a nurse that works with patients suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). 
25. Given To Fly
26. Unthought Known
27. Do The Evolution
(Ed dedicates the next song to his friend Sean (sp) and his wife Mandy.  “It doesn’t apply but I wanted to dedicate a song to them.”)
28. Better Man/Save It For Later-(Charley, Cox, Morton, Steele, Wakeling)
(Ed smashes his white Gibson SG at the end of the song)

Encore Break 2

29. Black
Dedicated to The Who and the families that had to live on with the terrible tragedy that happened in this building 35 years ago. Ed acknowledges that they have some experience with a tragedy like that and the guys from The Who reached out Pearl Jam after Roskilde.  Ed comments that is great to see so much positive energy here tonight.  “This is the last song they played that night.”
30. The Real Me-(Townshend)
32. Alive (Mike goes into the audience during the solo)
33. Rockin’ In The Free World-(Young)
34. Yellow Ledbetter/Star Spangled Banner
For 3 hours and 15 minutes, I danced, sang, bounced and jumped.  I left knowing that I gave PJ everything I had to give.  I was exhausted.

Again.  We'll go again.  We had a great time.  We keep talking about it.  Hubs, good with PJ but definitely not the intense PJ fan I am, seems to have turned a corner.  He is becoming a bit more and more PJ interested.  :)  Not a bad thing.  And yes, we will be purchasing the Cincy bootleg the day that PJ releases it.  I have a bootleg credit with my fan club membership & that will come in handy!

ETA:  The Cincinnati bootleg will be available 10/28!