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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!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Look Out!

The boy and his grandma went to the football game on Saturday night.  They got home very late, and the boy woke me up to tell me what a great time he had even though his Bears lost, by one point, to his grandma's Titans. 

He will remember that game forever, I'm sure.

On the ride home, Sisi created one of her most frightening inventions yet.  Here is a picture of...a skunk with wings.  And a bomber jacket.

Look out overhead...here comes the dive-bombing skunk!  Yech.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Titans and Dogs and Bears, Oh My!

I told my boss I wanted more hours at work once school started.  Once again, the Universe says, Be Careful What You Ask For.

The kids are off to a good start to the school year.  They are enjoying the newness of it all.  Homework is getting done either 1.  at the afterschool program, or 2.  quickly upon arriving home in the evening.  Spelling words are already 99% known before studying starts because it's review from last year.   Old friends are found, new friends are made.  The weather has been superb, warm sunny days great for playground play, and cool evenings great for sleeping.

This weekend we are off to Tennessee.  Jdude is going to the Titans-Bears football game with his grandma and cousin Bdude.  Sisi and her grandad and I are going to hang out together. If the game is on TV we will probably watch it, too.   Jdude's grandma is one brave woman taking the 2 little guys alone to the game.  I hope he appreciates that.

It's National Dog Day!  Happy dog days of summer!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Garbage in, Garbage out

This week the town of Normal announced that they would be requiring all households to use the new sturdy 96 gallon garbage cans that will allow the garbage trucks to dump our trash without a human being to do anything except drive the truck, operate the magic wand that squeezes, lifts and dumps the trash, then drive away to the next house.  Good for the guys that used to have to jump out of the truck, back in, handle smelly dirty and often dangerous trash.  But...96 gallons! 

Here is my old (and as you can see well squeezed) garbage can next to the new gargantuan size can.

In a normal week in Normal, my little squished can would be about half-full of trash on pickup day.   So with my new and improved big can I expect I will barely be able to fill the bottom of it with a week's supply of garbage.  I can pick up a new smaller can in October but until then I will be using the King Kong of Trash Cans just like everyone else in town. 

The day the city delivered our new cans they brought them in a Ryder Truck.  About 10 guys were popping those things out of the back and putting them at the end of people's driveways.  I heard the sound of...well it sounded like a truck going down the street hitting cars and mailboxes every few feet.  I ran to the door to see what was happening.  A photographer was documenting the event on my very street.  Did that make the paper?  Inquiring minds want to know.  But not enough to actually buy the local paper to find out.

Meanwhile on the other side of the house...the morning glories keep flirting with me.  One beautiful bloom this morning.  More blossoms to come, promise these little buds on self-reinforcing vines!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Stop Whining and Look Under the Leaves

I had just complained to Kathy on Saturday evening that my morning glories were still not blooming.  It's mid-August, I whined.  Patience, she counseled.

Sunday evening Sisi came into the house and took me outside to the deck.  She parted some of the leaves of the morning glory plant, which has the thickest tangle of green I have ever seen, and there...Ah!  2 beautiful blue blossoms. 

When will I learn?

Sunday, August 21, 2011


On August 19th, 1988 then-President Ronald Reagan proclaimed August 21st to be Senior Citizen's Day.  He (or someone who worked for him) wrote:

"For all they have achieved throughout life and for all they continue to accomplish, we owe older citizens our thanks and a heartfelt salute. We can best demonstrate our gratitude and esteem by making sure that our communities are good places in which to mature and grow older."

While this is certainly true, he was 77 at the time he proclaimed this, yet seems to have not noticed that he, too, was ... over 65.

Well, more power to those of us (all my Gentle Readers I am sure) who feel younger than our years.  And thank you Mom and Dad.   Love ya!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back to School

School started this week.  The school district has started a "move in" night before classes start.  Very smart idea so the first day isn't spent in chaotic putting away of markers and rulers.  This year J-Dude needs a compass and protractor.  He has 3 different teachers for math, science, and social studies.  Transition to Junior High is on the way.  Band is available and this morning he and I will be spending time at Normal Community High School learning more about that and the instruments he thinks he might like to try.

Sisi has a nice teacher who looks like she is about 14 but this is at least her third year of teaching, so I guess Mrs. W. must be at least 17.  How is it that as my kids get older the teachers get younger?  Oh, that's right...I am getting older, too. 

Off to learn about saxophones and trombones...

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Stormy Saturday and Sayanora Sunday

The beautiful weather held out until about 2 pm Saturday, after which Mama Nature rained, stormed and flirted with flooding.  The kids refused to leave the hotel room after we had returned from another delightful day at the beach.  I called in an order then drove  to Applebees in nearby Chesterton and took advantage of the Curbside Service in the rain.  Nice for me.  Cruddy for Jennifer working the curb in the storm.

While I went gathering food, The Player stayed behind with J-dude and Sisi for more trial by fire as kids will do and do well.  He's raised 3 already so there were no difficulties there and no worries, mate.  Negotiations were not delayed by this display of sibling rivalry.  I think everyone was happy with the result, as in
1. the food was good.
2.  the kids got to act out,
3.  I got away for 15 minutes of solitude, and
4.  The Player was not packed to leave upon my return.

Sunday morning more rain but not storms, so I asked the kids if they wanted to go to the Dunes and climb and run and frolic, but not swim.  No. No. No. 

Reasons were:
1.  Tired of the smell of lake water.
2.  What?
3.  Mom!  I said, tired of the smell of lake water.
4.  Mom! Let's go roller skating instead.
5.  On Sunday morning?  I doubt it.
6.  Et cetera.

So we hung out, someone sat in the hot tub in the pool area (hint:  not me or the kids) and then we went out to lunch.  Ok, the kids did not actually eat lunch at The Red Cup Deli and Cafe but they sat at a table with high spinning chairs and played a game which involved spinning a stool around and then depending on where the torn part of the stool seat landed one of them got to answer an embarrassing question the other one posed.  Loudly enough for me to get the gist of the conversation but not loud enough for me to score any details.  Which is actually just fine.

The Player and I sat nearby and ate an egg salad sandwich and soup (The Player) OR a hummus and veggie sandwich (Yours Truly, Of Course!!!).  The kids said this was the best place we ever took them.  Spinning barstools are the Grand Prize Winners of Sayanora Sunday.


Later I drove through McDonalds and actually fed them.

We said Adios, oops I mean Sayanora,  to The Player and headed back to Normal...

And here we are,  happily home (except we miss The Player) and reunited with Wolf.  

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fantastic Friday

The first highlight of Friday was that my kids, who had never previously been to a laundromat, were fascinated with the idea of watching our clothes wash in the front loader.  They sat in chairs in front of the machine and said things like Look!  There's my underwear!  Fortunately the laundromat was mostly empty except for us at the time.

After that we headed out of Holland and toward the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  We went to the beach in the state park here.  The water was completely calm and very warm.  It was like swimming in a giant bathtub and we stayed in the lake almost all afternoon.  I tried not to think about the water temperatures and the nearby power plants and steel mills that must use the lake as their private cooling tanks.

We had Cici's pizza for dinner which Sisi said was "perfect." 

The Player arrived late last night to spend the rest of the weekend with us here.  Rain is expected later this afternoon so we will probably hit the beach early.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wicked Wednesday and Thankfully Calmer Thursday

Referring here to the swimming conditions at Holland State Park beach.  Wednesday was Red Flag Day.  Rough waves.  Helicopters flying over the beach looking for 2 missing swimmers from the previous week's Wicked Wednesday in which swimmers were apparently dashed into the rocks of the pier here.

This Wednesday was not as bad and the kids went in, but up to knees only with Mom hovering close at hand.

Thursday's water was calmer but cold, cold, too cold to swim comfortably.  Late in the afternoon Sisi took the plunge anyway and J-dude and I played football in ankle-deep, then knee-deep water.  J-dude eventually fell in the shallower water over, over, and over intentionally.

Later on both days, before dinner but after showers to warm up and de-sand-ify ourselves, the kids talked me into taking them to Crazy Bounce.  This is a great place for kids, a warehouse full of bounce houses and slides.  The kids ran like crazy for an hour, wearing themselves out further than 5 hours of sun and sand and waves had managed. 

Look out for the giant alligators and sharks! 


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

Yesterday, travel day and hotel check-in day and late lunch at my kids favorite restaurant Buffalo Wild Wings day, was a wonderful day.  My kids, who are usually trying to achieve the highest possible standard of sibling-rivalry behavior, were on vacation from quarreling as well.  Sweet relief! 

We did a little touristy shopping at the Dutch Village near our hotel:

We drove to the beach at Tunnel Park last night to 'walk on the sand and watch the sun go down' which meant that we didn't take swimsuits with us and so the kids, of course, had to swim in their clothes.  They jumped and swam and played and dove into the waves with complete and total joy for quite a while. 

 J-dude signaled time to get out of the cool lake water when I heard him tell Sisi "I'm so cold I can't feel my feet!"   Somehow he managed to climb up and down the dunes a couple times in spite of that.

Today the high temp is supposed to be 76 degrees.  That means it is too cool to swim this morning!  Somehow, after the summer we've had, that doesn't bother me one bit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Holland or Bust

I think it will be a little cooler in Michigan than it's been here.

Ok, not that cool, I hope.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Octopi Parts

Overhearing my little ones playing a rough-housing kind of game the other day, one of them said "Ow!  I got hit in the tentacles!"

I asked, knowing full well what the answer was going to be, "What?  Your tentacles?  Where are those?"

He answered by pointing.

I corrected his vocabulary.  I probably should not have done that because

1.  Now he uses the correct word at every possible opportunity.
2.  Sisi got freaked about about the idea of octopi and squids. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

When Sisi Runs the B&B

Here were the sleeping accomodations last night.

 We started out with the rain fly over the tent.  But it was too durned hot and not even raining a bit, just cloudy, so I took it off.    Hoping that by doing so I would tempt fate enough and we would get some rain.  We did not get any rain.  Just cooler breezes in the tent, which were very very welcome indeed.

The kids wanted to dash in and out of the house, procuring food, drinks, trouble of various kinds.  I put an end to that after the 3rd trip between tent and kitchen.  Whew!  They finally fell asleep after it got good and dark, and then the Wolfster started his trips in and out of the tent, to the yard, to the kitchen for a drink of water, to the yard, into the tent.  By morning when the kids woke up he was not in the tent but I could not remember where he'd gone last.  Turns out he was happily asleep in the grass. 

The unhappiest camper of all turned out to be a neighborhood squirrel who did not like waking up to find a tent, 3 people, and a dog out in the yard at 5:30 a.m.  He made his feelings known until we finally got up and came in the house for breakfast at 6:00. 

Here is one of the breakfast plates that Sisi will serve when she runs a B&B.  I call it Fruit Plate with Scary Pickles on the Side:

Don't order this unless you like dill pickle juice sprinkled on your raspberries.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Work Before Play

Today is Work Like a Dog day.  Wow, I guess I have to sit, lie down, eat treats, nap, and pee all around the neighborhood.  Or maybe this is one I just won't celebrate.

I am planning to sleep out in the back yard with the kids tonight in our tent.  It's been too hot most of the summer, but it has been cooler at night this week so we are going to try.  It might rain, but we have a rainfly for the tent, and also we could use a little rain so if our camping trip gets soggy, we will just come back in the house and be grateful for the water.

Right now Wolf is working on perfecting his curled up sleeping position and his snore. 

This is my last day of work before vacation next week.  I will not be working at all, then ...not like a dog, not in a tree, not with a mouse, not in a house, not in the rain, not on  a train.  I will not be eating eggs of any funny colors (unless they are served at the hotel breakfast) or seeing patients or answering phone calls from coworkers or running from SamIAm.  I will be busy perfecting the art of reading at the beach and getting brown as a berry. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Nothing But Trouble

I mentioned this phrase to one of my pastors last night, after our steering committee meeting, in reference to another Protestant denomination.  Who shall remain nameless.  Because we want something from them and we are going to get it OR if we don't then I don't want my uncouth behavior and mouthiness to be the reason.

Perhaps I am what is nothing but trouble, after all.

I love a good hard-boiled detective story, don't you?

I meet weekly, usually, with 2 of my coworkers.  One of them is "the boss" and the other one and I are her minions.  We are her hatchet-women, her go-to gals, her gal Fridays.  Today the boss was in a meeting, but we minions met with a new employee and I watched my coworker, who is normally pretty laid back, turn into "bad cop" while letting me be "good cop."  It was kind of funny.  Poor new employee probably thinks we are nothing but trouble.  He just needs to buckle down and get his work done right. the. first. time.  She made that pretty durned clear. 

Later she said she was happy how he answered her questions.  I guess she means "he didn't wet his pants."

I can be trouble too.  You can ask several people including but not limited to:

my parents
my siblings
my friends
the player
jesus - but he forgives me.  Thank God.

Ok Gentle Readers, that's enough confession for one day.  Hasta la vista!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Please, Mom?

These were the words I heard from Sisi this morning.  She was asking if she could have something she found in my closet.  On the shelf where I keep little treasures I find at garage sales and thrift stores for the kids.  I keep them there and then pull them out on the proverbial "rainy day" whether that day is rainy due to weather, boredom, or sadness. 

I guess she was bored enough to be snooping around in the high shelf of my closet.  She claimed, however, that she saw it "by accident while I was looking out the window."  And I, the mom, left the closet door open, after all, so in a way it was my fault

As usual.

So I gave her the little wooden sled that was meant to be a door-decoration (it says Welcome! on it) and now she has a sled for her stuffed skunks.

So here is what I have learned today:
1.  I should remember to close the closet door, or
2.  get a bag to put the treasures inside, or
3.  move the treasure trove to a new location.
4. Sisi is getting taller.
5.  Things are still mostly my fault.
6.  I really enjoyed the look on her face when she got the sled.

I can live with #5 as long as there is a #6 afterward!