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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!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

When You Get Confused at The Kroger

When you are at The Kroger at the end of a day in which you had to fill in for your boss which means sitting at a desk for 8 hours, answering phone calls, emails, texts, visits to your office door and then trying to figure out how to put out 16 fires with 8 buckets of water (metaphor, no real fires)...you might be tired.  You might get confused.  You might forget that you do NOT have one of these:

and that you are supposed to enter your phone number (the old number of the landline that no longer exists but still gives you access to the fabulous Kroger Plus discounts) and instead you open your wallet and swipe the card for this alternative grocery store (out of habit since this is where you normally shop)

....if you do that do you know what happens? 

I was afraid that alarms would sound, a big net would fall down on me, and the manager of the store would holler Shame On You!  at me.

But instead what happens is...Kroger accepts your card from The Other Grocery and gives you the discounts anyway. 

You gotta love that!  I nominate Kroger for President!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Salamanders on the Moon

If Newt (which according to the big red dictionary is "any of several small, semiaquatic salamanders of the genus Triturus and related genera) becomes president, he promises to establish a moon colony by 2020.  That bit of NewtNews was a big hit in the state of Florida where many people are employed or unemployed in the space business.

If the planet becomes uninhabitable because of frickin' frackin', then his plan could be important for the survival of the 1% who are wealthy enough to travel to the moon.  Maybe Newt would be President of the Moon.  I would vote for that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No Frickin' Frackin'!

I watched the State of the Union address last night.  For the most part I was pleased, inspired, and agreed with our President.  But when he started talking about gas (not his, or The Player's, but the "natural" kind) I got my britches in a bundle.  He didn't say "fracking" or "hydrofracking" but he did refer to it obliquely.  (New "safe" technologies...ouch.)

I first became aware of the process of hydro-fracking when reading Sandra Steingraber's blog, which if you visit today contains a 12-page letter to Governor Cuomo about the dangers of fracking.  Never fear if you do not want to read the whole thing, there is an excerpt as well. 

Sandra is one smart chicky-doodle with a PhD in Environmental Science.  She's from Pekin, Illinois.  She is a cancer survivor.  Read her blog. Read her books.  Worry along with her.

You could do something constructive about your worry, if you are so inclined.

 Hydrofracking is a health risk for folks who live around the areas that get fracked, and there is some reasonable concern about fracking creating unstable geological conditions leading to the increase of earthquakes in areas where there have been few before, like Oklahoma.

Say it with me...OK, No Frickin Frackin.

I sure hope I invented that phrase.  

Monday, January 23, 2012

Swamp Gas

The Player and I headed up north on Saturday for a very short get-away.  We hiked at Matthieson again under blue skies.  We met a few cross country skiiers, one of whom was afraid of falling into the canyon.  She said, "I was so scared I peed my pants a little bit back there."
You gotta love that kind of honesty.  Only a confident older woman would say that as if it were a completely normal kind of thing.  Of course it is a pretty normal thing to do if you are scared and over 40.  She didn't say she almost peed or that she wanted to pee her pants...no she matter-o-factly stated that she indeed had peed, albeit a little. 

Saturday night we stayed at a bed and breakfast in the area.  The Brightwood Inn has nice rooms with jacuzzi bathtubs for two, gas fireplaces, and nice views.  (Collagemama, there was also an iron and ironing board in the closet!!)  We decided to dine at a local place we'd heard about called The Cajun Connection. 

TCC is one of those out-in-the-middle-o-nowhere restaurants that looks like it's made of cardboard, decorated in early American tacky, and has a line to get in the door even in winter.  The owner/chef is Cajun Ron and he will wander around the restaurant and say goodbye to people who are leaving by coming up to your table and saying loudly "If you aren't eating or paying your bill then Get Out of Here!"  as he shakes your hand and points at the front of the waiting line and claims the people there made him say that.

The food was good.  We had gumbo, jambalaya, blackened catfish and shrimp, and The Player decided to go for broke and tried the blackened alligator.

The blackened alligator can bite even after being killed, tenderized, spiced, cooked and eaten.   A serious case of swamp gas ensued, mostly in the form of killer burps.  About 428 of them.  Whew.  Fortunately I had only a tiny taste of reptile meat, so only burped about 3 times. 

The Player has sworn off alligator meat for life, I reckon.  Now we know, though, why the owner wanted us out of there so quickly!  Haha..ha..erp.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

It's the NBA...

Welcome to Normal Basketball!!  Parks and Rec grade school basketball season began this week with practices on Thursday for my little peeps, and first games today.  They are ready with their too-cool shoes:

their matching numbers:

and their winning if somewhat out-of-focus smiles:

We are on our way!  Game highlights to follow soon.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Questions? Comments? Complaints?

Sometimes I say that in my work life...to my patients if I think they have any.  To my trainees, coworkers, to my computer or the universe at large.  Most responses are "not right now but I may think of some later."

You can call me, I say.  Here is the phone number.  For my patients that's a number that leads to a phone answering system that may get them to 1. a scheduler, 2. a secretary, 3. a phone triage nurse, or 4. someone who will connect them to my phone or send me a message to contact them. 

Most of my patients do not call because if they have a question about their exercises then they see "not calling but waiting until someone shows up on their doorstep" as a legitimate reason not to do their exercises. 

I agree.  Which makes me a mediocre therapist but an empathetic one.

I don't much like exercising either.  Unless it's a walk in the woods, as you, Gentle Readers, well know.

OK - that covers questions.

Comments - I can't comment on Kathleen's blog.

Complaints - I can't comment OR read other people's comments on Kathleen's blog.

Dag nab it!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Followed by First Cold Snowy Days

After Wednesday's 50+ temperature miracle (for January in Central Illinois that is) winter arrived in full bloom.  Saturday morning this was the scene in my backyard:

That's Sisi wearing my cross country skis and J-dude playing around with the snow shovel.  I am happy to report that this week my drive and sidewalk were cleared of snow and I did not have to raise a finger to help.  Thank you to The Player and J-dude!!!

Later in the day The Player and I returned to Matthiesen State Park and here is what it looks like under a blanket of white.

Love is still in the air at the park, though, see for yourself (just imagine this upside down, too.)

We walked until dusk then drove off happily into the sunset. 

Today the plan is to skip church (gasp!) and go sledding over at Ewing Park, then watch football all afternoon.  Happy Sunny Sunday!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Warm Day in Winter

On Wednesday The Player and I drove up north about an hour, and hiked at Matthieson State Park in 50+ temps, enjoying sights such as these:

and looking at each other lovingly, like this:

I looked up at the sky from under an overhang, and this is what I saw:

Sometimes when you are crazy in love your world looks upside down!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Little Peeps are Back!

My little peeps arrived home safely and not just on time, but 9 minutes early from their last flight of their very long travel day.  I felt calm until I saw them get off the plane (at our small airport where they actually debark via a portable stairway, not unlike the President.)

Sisi saw me waving and started running toward the terminal.  She didn't stop until she got through to the waiting area inside.  I was not crying, but I don't know how that is possible with the bubbling vat of emotion inside me.  J-dude was a little more reserved but did give me a big ole hug in public.  Cherishing that moment as I expect it to be a while before the next one! 

Once home Sisi did complain slightly about the rearrangement of her room and not being able to find the exact toy she wanted in less than 3.2 seconds.  I believe she forgot that it used to be impossible to find anything in her room.  She was good natured about it and happy to be home.  She finished reading "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda" on her trip and was delighted to find I had ordered "The Revenge of Darth Paper" for her to read as she fell asleep in her own bed last night.

J-dude was also happy to be home.  He said the best thing was "being able to drink water out of the tap again!"  He was surprised and delighted that he got a new nice mattress on his bed while he was gone, and promptly fell asleep on it where he remains 12 hours later. 

I can't stop smiling!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

One Room Two Rooms, Red Room Blue Room

The kids have been in Ecuador with their dad for the past 10 days.  They will be back home Friday evening.  I have missed them acutely but have tried to stay busy in the meantime.  Job one:  declutter the house.  This job was started one room at a time:  kitchen, living room, grown-up bedroom, guest room.  Finally only little people's rooms were left.  The blue room and the red room.  Once decluttered, cleaned, and somewhat organized, the results were astonishing!  Those rooms actually have floors in them!  Here is the photographic evidence.  I may print these out, frame them, and hang them in the kids' rooms as reminders of what is possible.  (Not just becoming President or travelling to Mars or playing in the NBA, but rather having some part of your floor in your room visible!!!)

Sometimes when you are cleaning your kids rooms you find things you wonder about.  Glasses with sticky residue in the bottom, hmmm!?  Notebooks with these words on the cover:

Once again with the spelling!  I can't believe he does not know how to spell "Diary of girls (Hot)".  Must get after him once he gets home. 

What?  Did you ask me if I opened that notebook?  Really?  What kind of Mom do you think I am?  Of course I opened it. 

The other way I have kept busy is more hiking.  The weather has been cooperative.  Another day out at Lake Evergreen was cold and windy out in the open, but hiking along the lake in a wooded oak grove was sheltered and quiet.  Yesterday we hiked in the Sugar Grove Nature center, in the trees and in the prarie grasses.  The sky grew very heavy and blue at the end of our walk.

Tonight is the last night before the kids come home.  We are headed to the Normal Theater to see Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez (or Esterez as it is up on the marquee) in The Way. 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Evergreen Turns Brown

The Player and I took at walk out at Lake Evergreen on New Years' Eve afternoon.  The prarie grasses and seed pods were dried,various shades brown, and beautiful with the promise of next spring's green.  I wandered with my camera trying to catch the nuances of color.  Some of the photos succeeded in my mission.  Others fell short, the colors somewhat flatter than I saw them in the slanted afternoon light. 

We rested in a pine grove where the fallen needles made an orange bed.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy 2012!