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2 kids. Memories of Wolf and Boo. Many dear friends. Three siblings. Two parents. Samarra the crazy dog. The Player and Pi the Cat. I love you all!

Friday, December 31, 2010

It's Gonna Be a Great Year!

This morning I have been lying in bed and listening to the thunder, the rain, the wind.  It is New Years Eve in Central Illinois and we are supposed to hit a high temp near 60 today.   Last weekend the big snow.  This weekend, who knows?    Anything might happen.  Of course that's true any day, any moment, not just when the weather pattern gets wacko on us.

Anything might happen so here are some predictions for 2011, and maybe a resolution or two thrown in for good measure.

1.  Sarah Palin will convert to Buddhism.
2.  The Cubs will win the World Series in 7 games, beating the Cleveland Indians in the bottom of the ninth with a walk-off grand slam by a player to be named later.
3.  The President of the United States will declare 2011 to be The Year of Hummus.
4.  Pesticide companies will stop using chemicals and switch to all-organic formulas because it is the right thing to do.
5.  Sierra will make a basket in one of her games.  It will be a three-point shot, "nuthin' but net."  Then she will smile and go back to her catch-dribble-pass the ball style of play.
6.  I will get more disciplined about my writing and even submit a story somewhere, somehow, this year.  (see I told y'all there'd a resolution in here somewhere.)
7.  One of my kids will ask me how babies get made.  When this happens we will be driving down the expressway at 70 mph and they won't take "i will tell you later for an answer."  So I will pull over into a McDonald's parking lot, get them some French Fries, and  later I will try to remember the look on their faces when they find out.
8. The company I work for will at least try to stop micro-managing the workers.

9. The Pope will admit he doesn't know any more about God than Joe-the-Plumber does.
10. A man will start appearing in some of my blog postings.    (It will not be the Pope or Joe the Plumber.)

Happy New Year to you all!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Baking Soda Day?

I'm beginning to feel a bit skeptical about this holiday website that lists all the bizarre and wacky holidays.  Today the only holiday listed is Bicarbonate of Soda Day.  Honestly we could just skip today to get right down to the party tomorrow, couldn't we?

I used baking soda recently to freshen up the sinks and I also used it when I baked a cake, From Scratch, a few weeks ago.  I made a cranberry, walnut, apple cake which called for baking soda.  But a whole day for it?  What about hummus?  Again, a day for baking soda, no days for hummus.  That Ain't Right!  Can I get an Amen?  Thank you!

I am anticipating the arrival of my parents today.  They will be visiting for some indeterminate period of time up to a month.  My Mom will be content to hang out here for a few weeks, so the length of time they will stay depends on

1.  keeping my dad busy with projects to do, and
2.  keeping my dad happy with rhubarb pies.

I have 2 packages of rhubarb in the freezer.  And a couple of home projects here for him to do.  So far so good.

3.  keeping my dad happy with challenging crossword puzzles to do,
4.  the weather.

Hmmm.  Number 4 could be a challenge.  I think rather than praying for no snow or ridiculously cold days, I will try to trick my parents into thinking that Winter is Fun.  Because all you have to do to believe that is watch Jeremiah shovelling the driveway for you, or watch Sierra slide down the little hill in the front yard on her sled.  While you sit inside drinking hot cocoa and remembering you are retired and don't have to go anywhere or do anything except the next home improvement project for your daughter and you have a stack of crossword puzzles, a good novel, rhubarb pie baking in the oven, and your daughter is so happy that you are here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Garbage Night Eludes Me

Last night I realized that I was operating on the incorrect assumption that it was Monday.  All day I had done my Tuesday tasks (taking kids to the right place for gymnastics camp, working my Tuesday schedule) but when we got home  I made tacos for the kids because we usually have tacos on "Mexican Mondays" and I got ready to take out the trash.  Just as I started to gather up all the little trash bags to go out to the garage, I stood up and said

Self, this ain't Monday!  So I stopped worrying about the trash and said

Kids!  It's not Mexican Monday!  It's Taco Tuesday.

They just looked at me over the tops of their tacos and made crunching sounds.  I think they looked at each other with a little eye rolling, too, but I couldn't be completely sure.

So I'm going out on a limb here and say that today is Wednesday.  If I'm wrong would one of you please call me? As soon as possible?  Whew, thanks!

Today I am going to have coffee with my boss.  We are meeting at Starbucks and probably we will talk for 2 minutes about work  before we just start chatting so we can call it a meeting and get paid for our time.  Or not.  We might just launch into the reasons we have both needed to, as she puts it, keep sharp objects away from our faces lately.  She is a gem.  (I can say all these nice things about her without it being "kissing up" because she doesn't read or even know about my blog.)  I am glad she is the person who has to deal with the cruddy stuff that falls from above in a big organization like ours.  I think of her as a very good umbrella.  I just stand around while she shields me from as much of the rain as possible.  And when the winds start blowing and try to turn her inside out, I will try to help her as much as I can.

I suppose I could make another New Years Resolution today.  As you may recall, yesterday I resolved that in 2011 I would make peace with my Disorganized Self.  Today I will add that I will try to get the garbage out on the right night.  Unless I'm busy honoring my disorganized nature on Monday evenings. 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Getting Organized, Or Not

Yesterday it was pointed out to me, from the backseat of the car, that there are only 363 (well, now 362) days until Christmas.   And later it was pointed out to me that there is a new Kidz Bop CD coming out soon. So I can put it on the list for next Christmas.  In case I was making a list at this point.  Which I suppose would be a good idea.  I could become one of those organized people who actually shops for Christmas gifts during the entire year.  The problem with that would be that I would never be organized enough come December to remember where I had hidden those perfect gifts.  Then I would be shopping on the internet at the last minute just like, well, this year...

I think I will not make any New Years Resolutions to become one of those organized people.  I think I will resolve to be more content with my somewhat disorganized self.  As long as I can eventually find the cord that connects the camera to the computer, and the camera, and even the computer, and as long as I don't lose anything valuable like one of the kids, I think my first resolution for 2011 will be to make peace with my disorganizational skills.   I suppose I ought to own up to the fact that about 26% of the grey matter in my brain is usually thinking "now where is that thing I need and what is it called?"

Okay, it's not that bad.  Yet.

I seem to be having a bit of diffculty just organizing my blog-thoughts today. Some of this is due to interruptions from the little people in my home.  They got up at 6 a.m.   Jeremiah is wide awake and requring frequent interactions with his mom.  Sierra is dozing on the other couch.  Wolf is doing the same at the other end of the couch.  They look like bookends, curled up like mirror images of each other.

The sun is coming up and the sky is a beautiful lavender gray color.  Jeremiah wants to go outside now and "shovel something" which sounds like a good early morning activity for a growing boy.  I think I should go and organize a shower and some breakfast now. 

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Boxing Day

It's Boxing Day.  Get out your boxing gloves?  Nope.  Get out the boxes from the Christmas gifts and put them in recycling?  Nope.  Let the servants have the day off and give food and clothes to the poor?  Yup.  Put the food and clothes in boxes for them.  Cook your own food and do your own dishes for a change. 

Yesterday, besides being Christmas, was National Pumpkin Pie Day.  I made a pumpkin pie and took it to Francisco's house for dinner.   The kids, Francisco, a friend from Ecuador (Myra) and I all ate pie.  We ate pie with Cool Whip.  Sierra ate some Cool Whip without pie afterward.   She also asked for a plate of rice and tuna while the rest of us were eating steak (she wanted T-Bone and it wasn't a T-Bone steak so she said she'd rather have rice and tuna.  She then proceeded to eat it, as Myra said, "With Gusto!")

Myra is my niece Rosita's sister-in-law.  She is married to a guy from Holland and they have 3 kids.  She owns a Spanish Language School in Ecuador and is a very sociable friendly woman.  She was amazed at my pumpkin pie.  She asked me how long it took to cook the pumpkin to get it ready.

When I confessed that the pumpkin was from a can, she rolled her eyes and said, Oh Of Course.  Other than that she was very very sweet.  But it's a matter of perspective.  I think making my own pie crust and mixing the canned/boxed/jarred ingredients together counts as cooking from scratch.  But in her world if you don't have to go cook down the ingredients from their original vegetable or animal state it's cheating somehow. 

On the other hand she ate a huge piece and practically licked the plate clean.  So.

I guess since the servants are off today I won't be making any big meals in the kitchen.  I do wish I'd brought home a piece of that pie, though...

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Packages Unwrapped and Smiling Kids

Christmas Eve we had a beautiful snow.  It might be the prettiest Christmas morning ever right now.  I love how the snow makes everything look new and clean and the world so quiet.

Getting to church was a little bit of a challenge but well worth the effort.  The service is familiar, and always manages to touch my heart deeply.  Beginning with Bob playing the guitar while Susan sings "Noel:  Christmas Eve, 1913" to the reading from John at the end, every moment reminded me of the miracle of love and compassion that we celebrate on Christmas. 

In him was life and the life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

My kids were thrilled with each and every gift they received.  They professed undying love to each other, their parents, their dog, and thanked us profusely.  They both said it is "The Best Christmas Ever."   

The surprse gifts, the little iPod shuffles were a big hit. 




Every gift was a big hit.  The boxes that the gifts came in were even a big hit for Sisi, who has already created a house for her stuffed kitty that came in one of the boxes.




The kids have gone over to Francisco's house now.  I'm going to take a little nap then head over later so we can all share a meal together. 

Merry Christmas one and all!

Friday, December 24, 2010

One Good Surprise for Christmas

Christmas Eve y'all!  My presents are all wrapped.  They look a little better than usual.  I watched a video about origami a few weeks ago and decided if some people can take a piece of paper and patiently fold it into fantastic works of art, surely, surely I could patiently crease the edges a little more neatly around a simple square box.  Not a big improvement, but I am content to feel that at least no one would say, "Aw that's so sweet, you let Wolf wrap the packages for the kids."  At least I hope not. 

This year I am daring, just to be a little wild, to put the gifts out under the tree today.  Usually I wait until the kids are asleep on Christmas Eve to put them out so that there isn't any peeking or guessing or whining about opening them early.  I am probably asking for trouble, but I wanted to see the packages under the tree for at least a day before they turn into shredded paper, piles of packing peanuts, and empty boxes that Sierra will inevitably play with longer than some of her gifts.

This year the kids know almost all the gifts they are getting. They have been very specific in their requests for themselves and their advice for what I should get the other one.   So no big surprises will be forthcoming, except for one special gift.  They have no idea whatsoever that they are each getting a...

to be continued tomorrow!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Genetics 101

Today is National Roots Day.  What the heck is National Roots Day?

Is it
1.  Time to have a date with Miss Clairol to be sure you don't look like Sammy the Skunk at the Christmas Eve Service?
2.  A gardening holiday somewhere in the Deep South where you go hunting for taro, wild onions, or dig up the end of the carrots?
3.  The day when dentists add up all the money they made off us poor folks during the year?
4.  A time to celebrate your heritage?

Answer - #4 of course, silly yet Gentle Readers!

My roots are this:
I am a human being.  Born in the US of some unknown combination of genetic heritage that includes known Irish Blood (have I mentioned this before?) and English Blood.  And a lot of unknown stuff since the Tingleys have been in the US since the 1680s and therefore mingling genetic material for 13 generations with people who may have come from other parts of the world, or possibly even living here BEFORE the White Man showed up. 

I'm pretty sure I don't have any Space Alien genes, but I could be wrong. 

I looked upward at my family tree once and saw that back 13 generations ago there was not just Palmer Tingley and his unnamed wife, but 1022 other individuals procreating to create the 12th generation that would eventually create the 11th and so on.  My first reaction to this was...I freaked out.  I called my friend Jodi and said "I'm not British and Irish and a little unknown!  I'm probably everything possible!"  To which she said "Welcome to the gene pool, Miss Tingley!"

I see that now as a beautiful example of the interrelatedness of all things, people of course, generations, cultures, places, histories, stories most of which I'll never know but are still a part of me.  

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mango Glory

At about 830 this morning my mom called and asked if I was okay.  Sure, I said, Why?  Well, you haven't blogged yet, she answered.

Oh, yeah.  I slept late.

So for those of you setting your clocks by my blog each morning, sorry.  And to Mom, thanks for checking in!

The kids seemed pretty darned healthy this morning when I dropped them off at Francisco's house.  He seems to have arrived just in time for a week of healthy winter break fun with the kids.  Then off again to Ecuador for a month.  I'd be really annoyed right now about that except

1.  I am resting on my happy fanny on the couch knowing I can sit here as long as I want.
2.  He brought me 6 "mangoes de chupar" from Ecuador.   Here they are...


...oh wait, there are only 5 because I ate one of them before I even got back to the car this morning...yummmm!  Best. Fruit. In. The World.

Oops now there are only 4...how did that happen?

These mangoes are only available during the months of November and December, and they only grow in certain areas of the South American coast, and no one in the US seems to import them.  I don't know why because they are so good.  There is no way to eat them without looking ridiculous and making a big juicy mess of your chin and hands.  The Elixir of the Messy Goddess (sister to the Chewed Up Goddess).  Anyway, I really really like them.  I could ask for them for my last meal if I ever get caught for...oops.  Nevermind.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

I Could Not See the Eclipse

I woke up at 3:14 this morning, aware that the eclipse must be winding down. But I could not see it because of the the thick cloud cover here.  If not for that cloud cover I'm sure I would have gotten my happy behind out of bed to go outside, even with snow and ice and very cold temperatures in order to catch a glimpse.  I would have gone outside even with Wolf looking at me quizzically and thinking:

Alpha Mom?  Are you Nuts?  It is the middle of the night.  It is the first day of winter!  It is...oh look, look LOOK!   Hooooowwwwwl!  Mom look at the Moooooon! 

Or something like that...

Instead I stayed in bed because after I peeked out the window and saw that no miracle of cloud-clearing had occurred I knew I'd just be going outside to see a bunch of clouds.  Yawn.  I stayed in bed and thought about the eclipse instead.  That was nice and much warmer and with less dog-howling involved.

This morning I'm sure I will get to see pictures of it on TV anyway.

Well, it is indeed the first day of winter.  The last day of school for the kids until January 5th.  The first day for me to go back to work in over 10 days.  I am relieved to be going back to work.  I missed my work.  I missed it a lot.  I love what I do and I know what a blessing that is.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Move Over Calvin and Hobbes

I have no idea whether both kids will make it back to school today, but there is at least a chance.  Jeremiah still slumbers at this moment.  Barring setbacks...well, let me not get ahead of myself here.  Let me not get ahead...

IF I can get out of the house today, I have many errands to run.  Thank goodness for online shopping, because I actually got almost all of the kids' shopping done last week and the gifts have already been delivered by Fed Ex and/or UPS.  I have wrapping paper already.  But curiously 2 rolls of tape got used for "art projects" yesterday.  So I will need tape and some ribbons.  Or someone to come and wrap the presents for me.  Even better.  Because I have inherited my mother's gift-wrapping-gene.  It causes my gifts to look like perhaps they were put through a wringer washer before I give them out.  I don't mind having this gene, but I think, in all fairness, that I should ALSO have been given her finding-four-leaf-clover gene, which I clearly have not.

So if I can shop today then I can also get some pictures of the kids printed out and picked up at Osco's to send to the patient friends far away who still faithfully send me a holiday card every year in spite of receiving one from me about every 2 years and often not until January. 

Speaking of photos...Sierra and Jeremiah started working on a comic strip together about a skunk who is a mime.  Sierra kept calling it a "mine" at first.  She built this 3D prototype.



The running joke in the comic strip, when they get around to drawing it will be that the mime will look one way then the other, and as he looks the second way a different animal will come out of nowhere to knock him down.  She laughed and laughed her little 8-year old head off about that.  That skunk is not Sammy.  Sammy was in the prototype, too:

He is wearing some kind of collar and tie, and carrying a paper-clip cane.  Fashionable, indeed.  She said, kind of like Yogi Bear.

When they get around to actually drawing the strip we will be publishing it here.  Until it gets syndicated, of course.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cooper and the Cooped Up

Jeremiah took this photo of Cooper yesterday.  Cooper is a little dog who lives in the yard behind us.  He likes to bark very fiercely at my kids when they play outside.  Then his owner comes outside, yells COOOOOPER!  GET IN HERE!  and Cooper goes inside.  Then his owner says SORRY!  And I laugh or roll my eyes or curse in Spanish under my breath depending on my mood.  Carajo Cooper! 

Unless Wolf is out, then Cooper plays nice.  And in the winter he wears these funny little foofoo sweaters.  (Jeremiah picked the word foofoo to describe them.)  So here is Cooper wearing what Jeremiah says has got to be a most uncool sweater in the dog world.  As if any dog sweater could be cool...


We wouldn't pick on Cooper if we hadn't spent 3 years listening to him act like he wants to rip our throats out if he could just get through the fence.  Jeremiah in particular likes to look at Cooper when he is wearing his sweater, shake his head and say "Man up, Coop!"


Wolf loves Cooper, though. Because he is just Wolf, full of love and compassion for all God's creatures.  Oh, except for rabbits.

Sierra was well enough to play outside for a short time yesterday:


It's so great to feel better when you've been sick!

Jeremiah moved the twin bed downstairs so he could shoot hoops while following the "stay in bed, please" rule:




Sierra and I cleaned her room yesterday.  It took over 2 hours, and when we finished there was one huge garbage bag full of paper scraps, popcorn seeds, markers without caps, and a few little plastic crappy toys I snuck into the bag when she was not looking.  All the stuffed animals are relegated to the dresser top.  Clothes were sorted and she actually allowed me to put some shirts in a "give away" box.  (First.  Time.  Ever.)  Art supplies were collected and placed in a small tub and I am not exaggerating when I say there were probably 300 markers/crayons/colored pencils in various places in the room.  Today she is sorting through that tub of art supplies which should either 1. allow us to get rid of some of them, or more likely 2.  create a new cleanup project in the guest room where she is working.

Jeremiah has watched all 6 Star Wars movies in the past week.  He and Sierra have been going around imitating Darth Vader, saying LUKE.  I.  (breath).  AM.  (breath.)  YOUR.  (breath).  FATHER...

Except they don't say father.  They look at me and say MOTHER and crack up.  Then they say BOOGER and crack up even more...it's getting to be a little wacky here on day 11 of the cooped up family experiment. Oh yea, time to man up and take some deep breaths...it's gonna be another interesting day!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Lab Rat Mom

Today, Saturday, is Day Nine of the "How Long Can Kim Stay Sane While Inside the House More or Less Continuously with One, Two, or Possibly Three Sick People and a Healthy Old Dog" experiment.

Yesterday I did venture out a bit.  I drove Sierra to school and later picked her up.  Total time out of the house:  10 minutes.

I walked Wolf three times around the block.  Total time out of the house: 15 minutes.

Jeremiah and I went to the drive-through at McDonalds for his lunch.  Total time out of the house: 10 minutes.  I offered to drive him around town some more but it turns out 10 minutes out of the house was his limit.

In the afternoon I talked on the phone to my friend Laura who was 4 boys under the age of 5.  She understands being stuck at home.  In fact, while I was talking to her she was driving somewhere with the youngest screaming his head off in the back seat.  It made me feel a little better about being in my quiet home at that moment.

I talked with the Cheese Puff Angel, and with the Health Food Angel.  I took pictures of the foods they brought me so you could see what we are eating:





There, you can see I have all the bases covered, nutritionally speaking.  The only thing I am about to run out of is, shudder, coffee.  I am already imagining a drive-through Starbucks run.  Sierra wears one of the hospital masks I have in my work bag when she gets in the car with Jeremiah.  She may yet get the flu but it will not be because we didn't try as hard as possible to keep her healthy!

Speaking of Sierra, she asked me the other day if she could shave.  I said, no, you are too young.  Then she tried a different tactic.  Ok, I guess you can shave that Pancho Villa mustache off, honey. 



I think it's time to vote, gentle Readers.  Yes - Kim has maintained her sanity.  No- Please call in the National Guard to deliver coffee and a massage therapist. 

Thank you for agreeing to participate in this experiment!

Friday, December 17, 2010

The Cheese Puff Angel

Yesterday was Susan's day to be my angel.  She went to the Jewel-Osco for me and bought the following items on my list. 

1.  Ice cream - 2 flavors! 
2.  Wine - 2 bottles!
3.  Potato chips
4.  Cheetos cheese puffs
5.  Kleenex - 2 boxes

We were going to try to have a cocktail hour on Skype, but when she called in the early evening, Jeremiah and I were watching Despicable Me, which is absolutely my new favorite kids movie.  I'm going to watch it again today.  I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.  It makes me laugh and smile just to think about it.

In case you are worrying about the junk food sitting in my kitchen, there is still chicken soup in the fridge that I made earlier in the week.  And another angel is going to Common Ground, the health food grocery store in downtown Bloomington today, to pick up my supply of organic groceries that come in every Friday.  Last time I did this, I got:

1.  Red raspberries
2.  Local salad greens - a huge bag!
3.  5 tangerines
4.  3 big juicy apples
5.  Fresh green beans - a big bag
6.  2 avocados
7.  a big bunch of carrots
8.  a bag of celery

and a partridge in a pear tree!

It's amazing to get such fresh and delicious produce this time of year.  So by tonight we will be having some healthier food.  Although the cheese puffs seem to have some magical healing powers for the kids.  Sierra went back to school today.  Jeremiah is feeling alternately better and cruddy again.  Right now he feels cruddy but he hasn't had his dose of cheese puffs yet, either. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Seven Angels

Yesterday morning I took Jeremiah to the doctor. The first angel of the day came and sat with Sierra while I took him.   Our regular pediatrician is out of town, so we saw the new young guy in the practice (Jeremiah called him a rookie, and then because we've been watching Star Wars movies, a Wookie.)  But a very good rookie he is.  Angel number two.  After hearing Jeremiah's symptoms he predicted, against all odds, that Jeremiah has the flu.  He examined Jeremiah and said, Yup, the flu.  I said Jeremiah had his flu shot.  He said, hmm, it is still the flu.  He did a nasal swab and tested it and it was...The Flu.  A full blown case, as if the flu shot had just dissipated it's protective powers into thin air.  Ah well...

I was told to expect him to be sick until at least Monday.  And reminded that it's an airborne virus.  And that it can turn into pneumonia in kids with asthma....so lots of rest, lots of his inhaler treatments, and...

keep him away from his sister if at all possible.  Thank goodness for two TVs on two different levels of the house with a Neutral Zone in the main level.    Here is what the kitchen looks like sometimes:


and that doesn't include the antibiotics in the fridge for Sisi's sinus infection!

Sick kids can be so sweet and just break your heart. My two angels (three and four) were no exception.  Jeremiah made me a couple cards yesterday, one had a picture of me on it:


Apparently I've torn some of my hair out and my eyes have been rolling back in my head but don't worry. 

Then Sierra made me a pipe-cleaner tree ornament:



It says I Love You in cursive except the letter I, for which she has not yet learned the cursive form.

So there were lots of worrisome and lots of tender moments, and a small meltdown I had last night after the kids were asleep which made me feel so much better.  Thanks to angel number 5 talking to me on the phone and listening to my tears.

Then there was Wolf.  He's an Angel in Wolf's Clothing.  Making himself comfortable for some silent healing meditation near each sick kid  and sad mother throughout the day:

Upstairs near Sisi, who claims she did not put those stuffed animals by his side. 


In the living room near me.  Later he slept in the bed downstairs with Jeremiah.  No pictures of that, letting those boys sleep without flashing lights in their eyes.

My  boss was also a complete angel, number 7 if you are counting, mostly worrying about my mental health.  I was instructed by her to
1. keep all sharp objects away from my eyes
2. text her as much as necessary to maintain adult human contact
3. let her know if I need anything!

If you would like to be on the Kim's Angels List, here are somethings I need:

1.  Adult human contact.  Please.  Keep in touch with me via phone, text, email, or if you are a brave soul you could visit.  And bring wine if it's after 5, because I have hummus in the fridge and pita chips and crackers.  Or we can have coffee.  Or some cough syrup!  I have masks so you could protect yourself against airborne germs.  We can both wear them and pretend to be Darth Vader. 

2.  Groceries would be nice in the next few days. 

3.  Could someone please arrange for a masseuse to move in for the next week?

4.  Kathleen, let Jean Luc know that our meeting will have to be postponed and suggest, again, New Years Eve.

5.  Keep us all in the light and that will probably do the trick.  Except for the groceries which you will probably need to do more than pray about to get on the list.





Wednesday, December 15, 2010

From Worst to Awesomest

I have Cabin Fever.  My temperature on the Cabin Fever Scale is about 212 degrees Fahrenheit...the boiling point.  I need to get out of the house and have some contact with grown ups who are not pediatricians or pharmacists.

Sierra has a sinus infection and is on antibiotics.  She can go to school today.  Jeremiah is working on a cough.  I'm pretending not to hear it. 

Sierra, in a moment of panic when she realized that she was going to be getting a flu shot yesterday, screamed at me, "You are the worst Mom ever!  You lied to your own kid."  She said that because I had told her earlier that the doctor would not give her a flu shot if she was already sick with something else.

Turns out I was Just Plain Wrong about that.

It took Sierra about fifteen minutes to calm down.  In that time I went from being the Worst Mom Ever to having a child that was doing deep breathing and holding my hand, looking away and sitting quietly while the nurse gave her the shot.  Sierra was so proud of herself for her transformation.  She should be, since last year she remained hysterical through the whole procedure and kicked the nurse in the stomach during the flu shot experience. 

After that, she started calling me A.M.  which stands for Awesome Mom.  Oh yeah, that's better.

So she is now A.G., Awesome Girl, and Jeremiah doesn't know it but we secretly refer to him as A.B., Awesome Boy.  We don't want him to get all smug so we will continue to keep that a little secret.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Things to Warm my Heart

Today is going to be Day Number Five of me staying home with either a sick kid, inclement weather, or both.  We made it to church on Sunday for a brief foray out into the world when the weather was slightly less inclement and Sierra was less, well, boogery.

Then last night Sierra got very, well, boogery, and began running a fever. 

I gave her some kids ibuprofen and tucked her into bed.  I got out the stethoscope and listened to her lungs, just to be sure.  As I has doing that, she looked at me with feverishly loving eyes and said, "I am so lucky to have you to take care of me." 

Then Jeremiah came in and got on the bed next to her and said, "You are the best sister a boy could ever have."  and he reached up and patted her heart.

After that I got the mop and wiped myself up off the floor.

I texted my boss, who I have to stop expressing undying affection for or she will think I'm trying to get a raise.  She texted back and said the wisest thing:  Do you think it's a sinus infection?

She didn't say "Oh for the love of Pete please don't tell me you need another day off work?"

She said,  "Could you call your patients for tomorrow and let them know we will be rescheduling them?"

I gladly did that!  Then I texted her back and told her they were all very understanding about the situation.

She texted again and said, "Our patients are usually more concerned about us than they are about themselves.  I love home care!"

Amen, sister!

Right now everyone is still asleep, except me.  Even Wolf, if you can believe it!    He is at my side, gently snoring, of course.  I usually blog in the living room, but it is too durned cold down there this morning.  I'm sitting on the sofa in the "guest room" which happens to be right over a vent in the floor.  The kids pointed out to me how warm it is and as I am sitting here warming my happy fanny, I see that they are exactly right!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Inclement Weather

I just got the call from Unit 5 Schools that there is no school today due to "inclement weather"!  There is not much snow on the ground here, so I'm guessing it has been drifting and icy out on the country roads.  The kids will be thrilled to get to hang out at home another day and goof off. 

Yesterday Sierra and I walked Wolf in the inclement weather.  It was durned cold and  snow was blowing horizontally in the wind.  She dressed appropriately:



Wolf didn't even need an extra coat but I noticed he didn't stop to sniff his marks as long as he usually does. 

Yesterday I wore a necklace that I love, my friend Jeannie gave it to me, and my sister Jill's dog tried to eat it about 15 years ago.  So when I wear it I think of both of them.  I call it The Chewed Up Goddess Necklace.


 It might be my favorite material possession in this world.  It makes me think of the Velveteen Rabbit, or of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.  Which I think would make a good snow-day read! 

\

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Houdini and his Dog

Jeremiah started training to be the next Harry Houdini yesterday.  Unfortunately he needed a lot of help from his sister and his mother to break out from the trap inside the sofa bed where he had decided to start his career as an escape artist.   Because he was literally trapped inside for a long minute or two, I took the opportunity to document this endeavor with a couple of photos:








I think he'll probably decide this isn't his true calling and go back to wanting to be a professional athlete-turned politician again today.

In other Saturday news, Wolf woke up long enough to take 2 walks with the Alpha Mom (that's me) and beg for a fish stick from Houdini...


Here is what Wolf looks like when he is awake, for those of you who are wondering:


Right now, though, he's snoring away peacefully at my side, in his usual content curled up and happy way.  Dreaming of rabbits to chase and steak in his food bowl. 


Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Modem Works but Mom is Somewhat Broken

Yesterday I managed to fix my internet connection problem by turning the computer and modem off, then praying over them, then turning them back on.  So later in the day I was able to use my email etc.  But this morning when I got up, the same thing happened as yesterday morning...no internet.  This time I turned everything off and swore over them, then turned everything back on, and got the same results.  So either the prayer part was not necessary OR God knows that when I swear it might be that I need help.
Here is the picture I wanted to post yesterday. 


And here is Wolf, who apparently has seen the first Star Wars movie several times and was bored.



On Friday morning the cold that Sierra has been enduring all week got the best of her, and she and I decided to stay home.   By noon Sierra was feeling better but I was feeling worse, my sore throat having evolved into the stuffy head, coughing, sneezing kind of cold that says "sleep, sleep, sleep..."  So I napped and Sierra watched some movies on Netflix.  I'm so glad that she more or less ignored my pleadings to go to school in spite of not feeling well, because the person who clearly needed to rest up was me.

Today I will rest some more, and if necessary I will unplug myself and pray and swear a little. 

Friday, December 10, 2010

Wookies and Tall Girls

I had a plan for this blog entry.  Like many plans, it has come unraveled.  I planned to post a couple photos of my kids watching the first Star Wars movie last night, together, huddled on the big blue double recliner, under a bunch of covers, munching popcorn.  This is the first time they have watched this film.  It first came out in 1977, and so the special effects which then seemed so amazing, look sort of quaint and cute.  But they did like watching it, seeing Chewbaca the Wookie and they had lots of questions about Darth Vader. 

But back to the plan.  My camera is working.  I even know where the cable to connect it to my computer is!  I took a couple of great photos of the kids.   So,  what's the problem?  Well, my connection to the internet has gone funky.  So I am now blogging on my work computer with an air card, and I cannot upload photos to this computer.  So...no pictures of the kids.

But here is a mental image for you.  Yesterday, December 8, 2010, Jeremiah and Sierra stood back to back and Sierra was taller for the first time. Even with her hair smashed down on top.  Holy moly mother of mercy!  He's in deep doo doo now. 

 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Celebrating Ourselves

Apparently my brain on echinacea and coffee together was found to be amusing and/or alarming by some of my friends.  Today, though, I want to tell you about someone I met yesterday who was either 1. on something more alarming than over the counter medications, OR 2. high on life.

Okay, warning time for small children and people who don't like swearing.  I'm not going to swear.  BUT the person I want to tell about did when I met her, so I will just use the first letter of the word and some exclamation points and ampersands and stuff like that to fill out the rest of the B-word.

But that reminds me of a time when Jeremiah was in Kindergarten.  One night when I was putting him to bed (that's when he asks his difficult questions, as opposed to Sierra who asks them as I'm roaring down the freeway at 70 miles per hour) and he asked me a question about "the f-word."  Actually he asked me what the hand sign for the F-word is.  I asked him "what f-word?" and breathed a sigh of relief that he didn't know.  I asked him who had told him there IS such a word.  He said the name of the boy in his class who, to be honest, didn't surprise me one bit to be the bearer of such arcane knowledge.

I told Jeremiah that there is indeed such a word and people would think he was not a nice boy if he went around saying it or making some kind of hand sign for it.  So, I went on, I'm not going to tell you that right now because I know you might have a hard time not saying it at school and I don't want to put you in that situation just yet.  He accepted that, then as he was about to drift off to sleep, he lifted his little head off the pillow and said, "Well, then will you tell me the E-word?"  

As it turns out, studying the alphabet being in the forefront of his sleepy brain, he thought there was one bad word for each letter. 

Well, back to the b-word that rhymes with witch.

I stopped for coffee yesterday at a gas station convenience store in a small town near Bloomington where I was working.  The woman behind the counter was singing along to the radio, loudly, and having a grand old time waiting on her customers while she belted out the lyrics to...Elton John's "The B*(&# is Back"  which is a good thing for those of us who were born a while back to recall while lamenting lyrics of today's rap...so when she got to the lines "I'm a B*#($, I'm a b*_($*" it was my turn to pay for my cup of coffee.  She looked at my coffee and said "is that all?" and I said "yes" and she said "that coffee is on the house!  Have a great day."

So I leaned across the counter and whispered to her, "I don't think you are a b()#*" and she said, as loudly as possible, "Oh, yes, I am!  When I was little they asked me 'what do you want to be good at when you are grown up?' and I picked B(#)*!"  Then she added "and it is SUCH a joy!"

Laughing all the way to my car, I thought, yeah, why not?  So let's all enjoy what we are best at, sing it out loud, celebrate even things about us that other people find annoying.  Especially those things.  I think I will sing in front of my kids and try to kiss them as I drop them off for school today.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Cartoon Voices

I am getting a cold.  A sore throat is the main symptom.  I have lots of things to help me with that...tea, honey, Ricola Natural Honey Lemon With Echinacea cough drops that are supposed to (and do) soothe sore throats.  I made an interesting discovery this morning:  those drops taste great, but when you have one just before a cup of coffee (non-negotiable unless I am on death's doorstep) the tastes don't exactly compliment each other.  Ick.

When I get a sore throat I usually lose my voice.  That makes my work life and my home life somewhat challenging.  Though the kids are often better behaved when I don't talk as much for a day or two.    But being quieter and listening more (oh, so danged difficult, so so...) become easier.  So I will be doing more of that, of necessity, of course, and it will be good.

Yes, even with a sore throat, the incorrigible optimist in me rises up and sounding something like Alvin, declares,  "Life is..squeak squeak...very very squeaky good!" 

Speaking of cartoon voices, my kids found a version of Elmer Fudd singing "I'm too sexy" on Playlist this week.  That Elmer says he is too sexy for the wabbit.  Indeed.

Hmm, my brain on echinacea seems to be wandering around a bit.  Let me have a little more coffee and try to refocus...

Mmm, I think my voice is coming back a bit.  Now I sound something like Darth Vader..come to the dark side, Luke...Oh, wait, no, I'm not Darth Vader, I'm Yoda.  How could I forget?   I took that Facebook quiz "which Star Wars Character are you?"  and was so relieved not to be Chewbaca.  Yes, yes, I am Yoda.  Do not go over to the dark side.  Stay here in the swamp with me.  Do or do not.  There is no Try.

Man, what is in those cough drops?  I'm feeling really silly...

Of course, my first cartoon personality was BooBoo...my Mom had to pretend to be Yogi Bear for me.  Over and over, apparently.  I bet she eventually pretended to have a sore throat just to get me to stop pestering her.  I can't really remember what we might have said, except that I wanted her to say "Let's go steal some pickanick baskets."  Mom?  Mom, stop laughing and help me out here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Last Winter Program

Jeremiah's first Winter Music Program at Oakdale was 5 years ago, and since then I've had at least one kid in kindergarten, first, or second grade each December.  So I've been to 5 Winter Music Programs.  But this year was the best one ever.  The program was just the right length (6 songs sung by all the classes together) with a secular Christmas theme to keep everyone happy.   One of the teachers read The Night Before Christmas and the songs were interspersed throughout the story. 


I guess you can't see Sierra in this picture.  Here she is, glorious in the back row:



Several of the kids have older siblings in the audience.  This year Jeremiah and his cronies were old enough to sit by themselves in the bleachers.  They looked so grown up it gave me a little shiver.


The concert lasted a half hour, just a little less then the time it took to get out of the parking lot afterward.

Next year I won't have a young one in the Winter Program and I will miss that.  It seems like the first of many "used to" events to come. 

Here is a sweet picture of my two, as Jeremiah said "Acting like we like each other."  Ha.  Acting, my foot!



Monday, December 6, 2010

Da Bears

Da Bears won again, barely scraping by the Lions again.  They are now 9-3.  How did that happen?  Three more games to go in the regular season.  It would make January a little warmer if they were in the playoffs, too, but as a superstitious sports fan, I'm not saying that outloud.

Everyone knows by now that Ron Santo died last week.  I think I was the last person to find out.  I'm pretty sure that I was, except for my kids who I told after preparing them that I had some sad news.  They really liked Ron Santo after learning about him in the documentary This Old Cub which his son made.  They were both sad, and of course wanted to know what happened to him.

He died of bladder cancer.  Which is remarkable because he'd had juvenile diabetes for 52 years and had lost both of his legs to complications of that.  But in the end, he lived long enough for something else to get him.  Which I, personally, find danged inspiring!!!

Now that reminds me of a something one of my patients, pushing 90, once told me. 

Ornery old guy:    I used to know how I wanted to die.

Silly me:  How was that?

OOG:  Shot by a jealous husband.

SM:  Rolling eyes. 

In the end the ornery old guy lived long enough to die of something else, too.  Probably old age or orneriness or some combination.  And to be fair, that man loved his wife dearly.  She was my patient, too, because he brought her to me, saying, "I think you can help her and you will really really like each other."  And although I didn't help her very much, since her stroke had happened years before,  we did really really like each other.  A lot.

I think I need more coffee to try to tie some of the loose threads of this posting together, if that is even possible. 
* * * * *

Nope, I'm back, I've had more coffee, and it's hopeless.  It will just have to stand as a series of lucky but unrelated events.  Kind of like the Bears season,

Sunday, December 5, 2010

I'm Going to Stop Cleaning

Last night one of the things I decided to do was to clean out a few drawers, closets, and bookshelves in the living room and kitchen.   I threw out lots of old school papers the kids had brought home that I normally just look at then stick away in a drawer.  I folded the kitchen towels that had become, um, sort of, wadded up in their drawer.  I organized art supplies for Sierra in 2 little drawers in the chest in the corner.  I went through the coat closet and now have a bag of too-small coats for Goodwill.  I even tackled the frightening drawer of cables, cords, chargers, and other wiry objects that are somehow necessary for my life in the 21st century.

But, again, could I find my cable that connects my camera to my computer this morning? 

No.  I absolutely could not.

The last time I lost that cable, which I'm sad to say was only a few days earlier, I found it on the kitchen table under my work bag.  It's not there today, because of course that was the second place I looked. 

Hey, maybe it's in that kitchen utensil drawer!  Just a sec while I go check....

Ok, I found it.  Not in the utensil drawer, though, no it was downstairs in the family-room-which-has-now-become-mom's room, on a table where I supposedly write and do various creative and organizational activities.  Creative organization is a nice way to put how I manage to stay just on this side of completely disorganized. 

So now I can share the photos from yesterday's new sport the kids invented. 


This is the first year that I haven't put the trampoline away before the first snow.  To be honest, I barely got the grill and the deck table in the shed before the first inch accumulated Friday night.  The hammock still swings bravely in the elm branches and the trampoline is available for Snow Jumping.  Sierra also is practicing some strange form of Curling in which she sweeps her brother instead of the ice.  I imagine she's planning to roll him over with a large polished piece of granite soon. 





When I look at these pictures my first thought is thank god there are two of them because I would not be able to keep up with either of these kids by myself.

Then I look out and see that Sierra has convinced Jeremiah to try the "through the safety net dismount."



Somehow everyone managed to get off the Snow Jumping Arena safely and inside for some post-game snuggling.  Now that is one activity where I can keep up with the kids.  In fact, I think I may be a contender for this year's middle-weight Kid-Snuggling title.  With all the time I'll save by not cleaning anymore, I can spend more time in training!

And as a post-script to yesterday's blog, I got a call from the Chief Elf yesterday who assured me the kids would not be getting coal in their stockings this year.  Who is the Chief Elf?  Well, Grandma, of course!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Naughty or Nice?

SNOW makes my kids giddy.  They got up at 630 and headed out the door, decked out in this year's winter boots and last years snow pants.  Jeremiah's are fine but Sierra's are too short, so that will be on the thrift store shopping list this week. 

According to the Bizarre and Wacky Holiday web site, today is Santa's List Day.  This is the day when Santa puts your name on the naughty list or the nice list.  Parents around the world who use the overhanging threat of coal in the Christmas stocking to try to keep their kids "nice" during the month of December are blissfully unaware of this holiday, or at least they are confident that the kids do not know that the list is cast into stone 3 weeks before Christmas actually arrives. 

Here are some factors that influence on which list my kids are going to be found.

1.  Yesterday morning I brushed my hair with my very own personal hairbrush only to find that a large blob of Kids Crest (blue gel version) was in my hair.  Sierra immediately took responsibility and said it was an accident, she tried to clean it out, then "forgot" to tell me. 

2.  Jeremiah and Sierra had a screaming match in the garage a little while ago over an accidental kick in the behind from one to the other followed by an intentional punch in the face from the other to the one.  They are now peacefully hanging out in separate but equal spaces. 

3.  Last night they were completely wonderful angelic kids and we all slept peacefully together in mattresses on the floor with Wolf nearby, after we ate "blue tray"* and popcorn for dinner, and had mint chocolate ice cream for our bedtime snacks.    At least four times they said "I love you, Mom" without any conscious solicitation on my part...except perhaps for letting them scoop their own humongous servings of ice cream. 

* blue tray:  pepperoni, cheese, olives, grape tomatoes, carrots in an hors d'oeuvre tray that is, of course, blue

 Right now I was just thinking that Santa's elves are probably on the fence about my two.  Then I looked over at Wolf and realized, oh for gosh sakes.  They have nothing to worry about.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Thursday's Angel

On Thursday I met a most interesting 86 year old woman.  She told me about growing up in the Bridgewater neighborhood of Chicago in the 30's.  She didn't call it Bridgewater, though, she called it "Mayor Daley's neighborhood."  And in the 30's, it was Al Capone's neighborhood.  She described witnessing one of the famous 1930's gangland driveby shootings like it was scene right out of a film, and how she and her mother slipped down the stairway to their apartment after they saw the shots and the man fall to the ground.  She told me that her mother was German-American and her father was Italian-American.  I asked if she speaks either language and she grinned and said, "I only know how to curse in both languages."  Oh, I said, I can curse in Spanish! 

So we bonded over that.

She is, of course, a White Sox fan, growing up in the shadow of Comiskey Park.  And I asked her what she thinks of Ozzie Guillen, the current White Sox manager.  Who, by the way, must be in his 40's or 50's.  Her response was, "Oh, all those guys look like they just got out of high school!"

Somewhere in the course of all this delightful conversation, I was actually working and she was walking and exercising and telling me about her knee pain.  When I got ready to leave, I told her how happy I was to have met her.  I got to the door of her room and she said, "Do you like angels?"

Now, who in their right mind doesn't like angels?  Yes, of course, I said. 

Well, pick out an angel from the shelf and take it with you, she said.

I looked to my right and there sat about a dozen angels, all different sizes, shapes and materials.  I picked this one.

Don't you want a bigger one?  She asked.  No, I answered, this one is perfect.

When I got home, I looked at the bottom of the angel and saw that it's a "Healing Angel" and Sierra saw it and said the angel is holding a sparrow. 

Angels everywhere. 

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Kids Surprise Everyone

Last night the kids and I went to NCC to help set up the Christmas tree.  We used to call this Decorating the Church but apparently there was some kind of basement flood disaster not too long ago and now we are down to a Christmas tree, lights, 2 strings of garland and a few ornaments that the younger kids Sunday School class made.  Not to worry, the tree takes about 5 people to set up  because it is the most luxurious artificial tree ever with lots and lots and lots of branches to attach.

The only kids there were my two and an older boy named Caleb.  Caleb is...I'm not sure?  13? Something like that.  Caleb is smart as a whip and an only child.  Jeremiah and Sierra love him.  They like to tease him and chase him and generally just bother him.  Last night they had their shining moment in the history of Caleb-bothering-ness.  Caleb's mom sent him to the scary dark dank church basement (not your typical church basement with kitchen, rec reoom, etc.) to put something away.  Jeremiah and Sierra followed him, of course.  Caleb came back up and told his mom there was some kind of electric eye on the light for the downstairs and it wasn't working.  She said there was not an electric eye, and please to go downstairs now and put whatever it was away for her.  Caleb came back again, same story.  Finally after a third try he realized the Alomoto brats were messing with the light switch every time he got to the same spot at the bottom of the stairs.  Caleb could have just tied them up with duct tape and left them in the basement, but he's a nice kid and instead he came up and told his mom what they had done.

I adore Caleb.

While we were setting up the tree in the chapel, the Jewish Student group was preparing the coffeehouse area for a Hannukah dinner.  Last night was the first night of the Festival of Lights, the miracle of the light that lasted 8 nights.  Someone was in the kitchen preparing the meal.  Caroline caught wind of cooking going on and couldn't resist a peek:



 But as it turns out, macaroni and cheese made with bacon is SO not kosher so she had to refrain from taking over the cooking of the meal.  

Ok, back to the surprises of the evening.  After decorating and heading home and being convinced to let the kids take pictures of some of the most lit-up homes in our neighborhood:



Jesus is the Reason for the Season it says.  Is Jesus the reason for that much electricity being used?  Whew.  Inquiring minds want to know.  Here is another house where I think they understand that wasting electricity is a truly secular matter:



I'm not sure how many Santas are in that yard, but I'm pretty sure it's more than 50.  (That's on Hovey and Grove if you think you must drive by and count them yourself.)


Where was I?  Oh yes, the surprises at home.  The kids wanted to go out in the back and mess around in the 1/20th inch of snow on the deck.  I said yes, but for 10 minutes only, then they needed to come in and get ready for bed.  After 8 minutes the back door opened and 2 children who claimed to be mine came inside practically swinging at each other and one of them was shrieking enough to give me a headache.  I sent them to their rooms.  They were both then mad at me instead.  But at least they were quiet long enough for me to get to the medicine cabinet for some excedrin.  (ok, poetic license, yes, I'm exaggerating). 

Later Sierra showed me a new phrase in sign language she had learned while in her room and looking the words up in her ASL dictionary.  It was "I am angry, sort of."  But when I made the "I love you"  sign back she smiled and made the "I love you" sign, too.  Isn't nice you can still love someone when you feel a little angry, too, I asked her.  She smiled and I tucked her into bed.

Jeremiah asked me to scratch his back while he drifted off to sleep.  Then he said he wanted to tell me something he'd thought about the day before.  He hesitated a bit, not sure if he wanted to talk about it or not.  Finally he said, "When Wolf dies, I hope it's because he has to go to the vet for one of those shots and not because he gets hit by a car."  I asked him why he felt that way.  He answered, because I want to be there with him when he dies.  I asked what he would do for Wolf while that was happening.  He didn't know, but when I suggested he could have Wolf's head in his lap and pet him, he thought that would be okay.  But then he said really what he wanted is for Wolf to live as long as he does.  And I think that in Jeremiah's heart Wolf will indeed live forever.



Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Winter of Our Content

Apologies to John for the misuse of his book title and to William for the misuse of the line from Richard III from which John lifted it, but it is starting to look like winter is here in Central Illinois and I, for one, do not like whining about weather.  Unless a tornado is bearing down upon my car while I am driving alone in a trailer park out in Wapella.  Or anywhere.  I like snow, my kids like snow, and even Wolf seems to like snow even though the cold weather clearly causes his hips to hurt more. 

Last night was the first snow here.  And the last Steering Committee Meeting at NCC for 2010.  Afterward a few of us stopped at the Medici for a drink and I took my camera in for a few snapshots of my friends.  And our waiter, whose name I did not catch but here is his photo.

He is looking with amusement at our table as we were deciding what to order.  Or perhaps he was looking at my beautiful friend Nikki with something other than amusement?  Sorry dude, she's taken.  (Eric, you are welcome.  I've got your back, man.)

This photo is the best one of Nikki and not the best one of me, but that's the kind of friend I am.  Plus you all know what I look like.  And Nikki is just kind of sparkling in this picture and I really like it a lot.  So ignore the wild look in my eyes that says "Hey, I've had too much coffee today!"  Instead, look at my shirt which says, "It's the last day of November, it's snowing outside, and ain't that grand?"

Last but certainly not least, here are my dear friends Susan and Bob, who will soon celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary.  Look at these beautiful lovebirds.

Oh, they are so in love.

Warning:  Do not let small children or anyone who uses the phrase "proper decorum" read the rest of this blog.

Here is what we had to drink:

Bob - a drink not on the menu called Chocolate Cake that our nameless waiter recommended when Bob said he wanted something sweet to drink.  Susan- a cosmo.  Not the Medici Cosmo, but a regular cosmo.  Nikki - a Bloody Mary easy on the spiciness factor.  Me- a glass of Rioja.

Here is what we wanted to order but didn't:  a drink called Safe Sex With Chuck.  It sounded like a sweet drink, too...pineapple juice, curacao, something blue, hmm, for some reason I couldn't focus reading the ingredients...our waiter said it was good, and that Chuck is indeed one of the bartenders.  At that point I just mentally put my hands over my ears and said to myself, "ignoring you...lalalalala."

Small children and etiquette experts may now resume reading.

Actually there isn't much more to say.  Here's just one more photo of Susan and Bob for your viewing pleasure.


The picture of contentment.