About Me

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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, December 10, 2013

Christmas-time Fun

I finally finished the table I have been mosaicking.  I started work on it, took some tiles off, reworked it, let it sit, worked on it some more, worked on some other mosaic panels for the church mosaic project, and finally finished it.

I texted a photo to my friend Susan and quoted a price, and like magic....the table is sold!


This is great fun!

Also great fun today:  Christmas shopping at the mall.  I know!  I usually dislike shopping at the mall, I mean, there's no book store for gosh sakes.  But I found some things I had been looking for, and then I found some impulse gifts, and well, I had a very pleasant and short trip around the place. 

I can't tell you about the impulse gifts for the little people, but I'll be sure to include a photo on Christmas.  

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Little Eye Spy

Goodness gracious, kids used to sneak around in the closets before Christmas trying to get a glimpse of what might eventually be under the tree for them.  Or pick up the boxes under the tree and give them a little shake, looking for clues.

Now kids get on their Mom's computers and cell phones looking for evidence.  Found in text messages between parentals and in History of Searches online. 

This mom has learned to delete the history and to erase her text messages.  I recommend mothers of other 12 year olds do the same.  It's a new Winter Survival Skill, up there with chop wood and haul water for our great grandmothers.

If you get desparate I suppose you could use your cell phone for fuel.  Is there an app for that?  I'll have to check.

Even now, as I try to type my blog behind a closed door, little eyes knock on the door, Can I Come In the little eyes squeak.  Yes, I say, then close the lid as if the screen will reveal all the secrets little eyes seek.

PERSONAL AD #1:  12 year old pair of eyeballs, seeks information that will lead to an XBOX purchase after all evidence to the contrary.  No reward offered.  Consequences include being banned from using mom's computer until December 26th.


Thursday, December 5, 2013

Winter Wanderland

Slay bells ring, are you listenin'? 

My girl has a dark side as it turns out.  Weird humor involving a psychopathic killer llama cartoon on youtube.  CARL  has become a frightening word in our house.  As in "Carl, there's a dead body in the house."  Carl replies "Oh.  I did not know that."

I saw a funny cross-stitch for sale at a thrift store this week entitled "Dolly Mama Cross Stitch."  The cross-stitch patterns involved somewhat irreverent activities and adult beverages.  The Dolly Mama is the kind of lama or llama that would relate to the Carl videos, I suppose.

Lately I hear a lot of "mom, mom, watch this it's so funny."  I remember this stage of life when I could not, for the life of me, figure out why my parents had no sense of humor.  Or rather, not my sense of humor.  And now that I'm a parent of preteenagers, well, I can see the light.  In fact, I think I might need my sunglasses at all times when kids are present. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Christmas Wishes

The girl wants a manual typewriter, and a DNA testing kit from 23andMe so she can find out her genetic heritage (but not the silly scary health stuff).  The boy wants an Xbox.  Guess who will NOT be getting what he wants.  Oh, wait, I ruined the surprise by using a gender-specific pronoun.  I hate it when that happens.

The kids' stepmom is having a baby.  She is due December 28th.  The girl wants it to be a girl.  The boy wants it to be a boy.  Unless there are surprise twins, someone won't get what they want in this case, either.  We just don't yet know who will be the lucky winner.

The Player doesn't know what he wants.  I don't know what I want either.  The Player is, however, glad I did not check out a mystery that I saw at the library titled "The Player to be Maimed Later."  I did look at it and chuckle, however. 

The Player and I are thinking of giving each other lottery tickets so if we get a winner, we could get a NEW car, or a TRIP TO HAWAII...does it sound like The Price is Right, yet? 

I think ultimately we don't want anything we don't already have.  And that is one fine place to be!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Annual Mammagramma

Which does not translate into mother-grandmother, exactly.

I went to the Gail Keeran Center for Women where I get my annual boob-squishing-x-raying done.  It's a lovely place with fireplaces in the nice waiting areas, though after several years of mammograms at the GKC I've yet to wait long.  Today, as last year, I was finished, dressed, and out the door before my actual appointment time.  Wowee wow wow!

When I disrobed from the waist up , I was given a warm top to snap in front.  It made me feel a little like Nicki Minaj appearing on the Ellen show.



It turns out that trying to look like Nicki Minaj appearing on the Ellen Show has already been done.   By Ellen, on her show, on Halloween:



Of course, I forgot to wear my black leather pants to complete the look.

The garment I wore was more like a very short cape than a jacket, so after I thought about it awhile I decided I might be a new breed of superhero.  Super Mammamama!!

As all you ladies over 40 know, when you get a mammogram, the technician always ask if you have had any problems with your breasts.  This year I decided to mention that The Girls have seemed a little more droopy lately.  She didn't seem to think that was a medical emergency.  I suppose she had last year's evidence to prove it was a pre-existing condition.




Saturday, November 30, 2013

For Which I am Grateful

There are many items that fit into that category.  Those that are foremost in my mind today are:

1.  Fleece-lined tights.  O my goodness they are so comfy and warm, and were not very expensive when I happened upon them shopping at Meier last week with my mom.

2.  My parents have moved back to Illinois and are only 2 hours away now!  They were at my home for Thanksgiving for the first time in.... maybe ever!

3.  I have a job that pays the bills and then some.  And most days I like it just fine.

4.  Strangers sometimes strike up fun and friendly conversations with me.  On Friday when I was headed out to work, I stopped for gas and met an older woman who wanted to chat about price-gouging at the pump.  So I obliged her and it was fun and friendly.

5.  Speaking of gas, The Player seems to think my toots are funny.  And I 'm pretty sure that means it is "True Love."

6.  My kids are healthy and beautiful and talented.  Of course!

7.  I have some good non-digital ideas for Christmas gifts for the healthy, beautiful and talented aforementioned kids.

8.  Christmas is coming, and if you don't know what to get your loved ones, see item #1 above!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Not Even a Shingle!

Sunday, as everyone knows, Central Illinois got hit by some seriously scary and dangerous weather.  The kids and I rushed out of church as quickly as we could, having been warned that bad weather was supposed to arrive about noon.  It was our Sunday to set up and therefore to also put things away after the service.  I asked for a little help to do that job and got a lot of help instead!  Hurrah for the helpers. 

The kids and I got home and it was not yet raining.  We had planned to put the deck items away for the winter on Sunday afternoon, so we grabbed as many things as we could before the rain started.  Actually we kept working until all the valuables and breakables could be safely stowed:  planters, the table, chairs, the grill, trellises, and such.  As soon as we finished that, J-dude grabbed Pi the Curious Cat so he would not be swept out to sea, and we all (Samarra the Salmon-Eating-Plate-Smashing Critter included) headed inside JUST as it started to hail.

I don't know much about history, don't know much trigonometry, don't know much about science books, don't know much about the French I took, but I DO know that Hail is a Bad Sign during a Tornado Watch.  Which, of course, was already a Tornado Warning but I didn't know that yet.

The Player was at a secure location in Ohio.  So the 5 of us headed to the lower level of the house.  We listened as the wind got louder and the rain got rainier.  Sisi confessed to feeling scared, though she acted very brave.  We hung out in the laundry closet, kind of waiting for something big to happen.  But it just blustered and blew and then it was over.

The sun came out, and we went outside to survey the damage.  A few branches down, nothing we couldn't haul to the curb ourselves.  We looked around a while and finally Sisi found a shingle in the yard.

I texted the roofer who had just replaced our roof earlier in the week.  He said he would come by and replace it.  Today one of his employees came by and climbed up on the roof.  Turns out we didn't lose even a shingle...it was just a piece left behind when they did the roof and the wind blew it out from wherever it had been hiding.

We are feeling blessed and lucky.  Very very lucky!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

When The Dog is in The Dog House

Thursday we had a treat for dinner...salmon!  It smelled so good, and looked so delicious.  There were 4 of us at the table, and a cat and dog lurking in the shadows.  As I served a nice big piece to Sisi...a huge part of it fell to the floor.  Before I could even utter a four letter word, Samarra had swooped in and gobbled it down in two bites.

That wasn't really unexpected, or even upsetting.  But within a few more seconds she had gone over by the patio door and regurgitated it.  Thank goodness The Player has a strong enough digestive system to clean it up and still eat his own dinner.  I was pretty unhappy that the No One of God's Creatures really got to enjoy that hunk of meat, though. 

After dinner The Player and I were loading the dishwasher.  Samarra was trying to help by pre-washing the silverware for us, when her Thunder Shirt (which we use to keep her calm and less barky) got caught on the bottom tray of plates.  Instead of keeping her calm, it understandably freaked her out when she backed away and brought the entire tray out with her and along the kitchen floor, bouncing and breaking dishes. 

The Player freed her from her bondage, and we cleaned up the broken dishware.  Looks like the Dog House Roof will have some mosaic work with violets on it!!

Monday, November 11, 2013

The Miracle of the Bed Time Snack

This is not one of Jesus' parables, but it should be.  A parable for worried mothers who think their sons will never eat anything willingly except bacon, donuts, hot dogs, French fries, and ice cream.  With the occasional candy bar thrown in for fiber, I guess.  Not that their sons will not eat anything else, but it requires a lengthy discussion of why one must have carrots with dinner or what will happen if one does not willingly eat anything but bacon for breakfast for their entire life (entire short life I might add.)

So imagine my sense of God's grace floating down from the heavens when last night J-dude discovered the bowl of green grapes on the kitchen table in the evening.  When he ate all of the remaining 1/2 pound of grapes on the table.  (Did I mention he is finally growing into his very large feet?)  When he asked for more for his bedtime snack and was sorely disappointed to find there was no secret stash in the fridge.  Imagine how I felt the presence of angels singing all around me when I asked what else might he like for a snack, and he answered, "Oh, some other fruit or vegetable.  Maybe some mixed vegetables or canned corn."

All I can say is Praise the Lord and Pass the Grapes!!!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Truck Drivin' Mama

My  mom visited this week.  She stopped in Monday evening for a rest on her trip home from Tennessee, and spent the night with us.  She had been driving Dad's big ole truck all the way from Tennessee.  Thus, I dedicate this You Tube video of a song from one of the kids favorite shows a few years ago, to her

Monday, November 4, 2013

Quinoa, Cho-chos, and Extreme Warheads

SUPERFOODS



We have been eating Red Quinoa lately, with stir-fried tofu and veggies, which is a SuperFood.  It pretends to be an ordinary plant growing in the highlands of the Andes, but the grains contain incredible amounts of amino acids, iron, vitamins, and is gluten-free.  It is one of the two reasons there is not much malnutrition in the poor communities of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia.  It cooks up like rice and tastes even better.  We can buy it for $5.99 a pound at Common Ground in downtown Bloomington .  It's YUMMY. 

I wish we could find some place local to buy cho-chos, which are the South American version of lupini beans, the beans from the Lupine Plant.  Poisonous unless you treat them with salted water for several days, then drain that water to get rid of the alkaline covering on the seeds.  Monty Python fans may remember Dennis Moore, robs from the rich and gives to the poor.  What he gave were lupines.  Robbing the rich saying "Your lupines or your life!"  and then giving them to the poor poor people who didn't want lupines but wanted food, medicine, clothing, etc.  However in real life it turns out that the seeds, the cho-chos, are another superfood.  Protein-filled little white beans that you can eat with lime juice, chopped red onions, and salt.  Sold in little plastic bags in the street in South America.  Not easy to find in Normal, Illinois.

Extreme Warheads are not a superfood.  However it is some Halloween candy that is so nasty it could turn a 12-year old boy away from Candy.  And that is just as good.


 

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Very Expensive Nap

On Sunday morning bright and early, The Player and I boarded the Amtrak train to Chicago.  We had packed the night before, except for a few odds and ends that we packed that morning.  For example toothbrushes, toothpaste, other items we needed to access that morning.   Before we boarded the train at 730.

(Why is she going on and on about THAT?  you might wonder.)

We arrived in The Windy City on time.  We had breakfast at Lou Mitchell's.  A delicious omelet, toast, hash browns, and coffee.  We chatted with the hostess/owner and with our waiter and our bus boys who are of course men  not boys.  And then we walked through downtown on a fine fall day, not too windy or cold, but brisk and sunny, until we arrived at The Chicago Cultural Center.  Where we saw a great exhibit called Paint Paste Sticker:  Chicago Street Art.

It was about street art, in case you were wondering.  Graffiti etc.  I took some pictures, most of them didn't do the exhibits justice but here is a chair made of used spray paint cans!
 
 
 
After that we headed north to shop for shoes at DSW (we both got new tennies!) and for books at Unabridged Bookstore where The Player got a couple books and I got a couple ideas for my next read.  Right now I am reading The History of Love which is very absorbing and lovely and entertaining and I can't bring myself to buy another book yet. 
 
Then we checked into our hotel which I had booked on Hotwire and took a nap, because we are not used to so much walking around a busy city.
 
At about 5, I woke up from the nap, and started looking for my eyedrops.  I couldn't find the little blue zippered container I had packed them in.  I remembered asking The Player to put them in his backpack in the morning because mine was kind of full. 
 
I looked through his backpack, all the drawers, in the closet, the bathroom.
 
Well, a few missed eyedrops isn't the end of the world, right?
 
But my lantus insulin was also in the bag.  So I woke The Player and asked him where he had put it.
 
He started looking.  And we looked some more.  And he went downstairs to see if it had fallen out of his bag in the room where we had checked our backpacks earlier in the day.
 
No.

By now I am on my iPhone googling Amtrak to see if there is another train home.  Because I don't want to die in Chicago, and then find out this:  (from the street art exhibit earlier mentioned)

 
So it's not the BEST piece of street art, but appropros for sure!
 
 
Yes, there is another train.  It leaves at 7 p.m.  We quickly repack up our stuff and check out of the hotel.  The dude at the desk asks if we used anything at the minibar.  Heck no, I say, we didn't have time.  All we did was take a $277 nap!!
 
Because with Hotwire there is no refund.
 
We hop the subway and head back downtown, walk quickly across town to Union Station.  Where we discover
 
The 7:00 train is sold out. 
 
We go see The Amtrak Supervisor, who is very nice.  She goes in the back room to talk to The Amtrak Manager, who never actually appears, (I suspect he is a robot) but who miraculously makes 3 new seats appear on the train and we rush back over to the ticket agents who then sell us 2 of the last 3 seats on the train!
 
Once we are on the train we start laughing.  Then I texted The Player even though he was sitting right next to me with this message:  "You won't believe what my boyfriend did today!!"  When he texted back "what?"  I texted "I forget."  Then we laughed some more.  And I read more of The History of Love.
 
We arrive home.  We still can't find the danged blue zippered bag for a while (though I have lots of spare insulin in the fridge of course, because I don't want to die in Normal and then find out if I am reborn my diabetes still remains, either) and then we finally do find it on the coffee table, where it was put during some minor rearrangement of packing that morning.
 
The Player feels so bad that he goes to The Jewel and buys me some wine.  I make us some dinner.  The dog and cat are ecstatic that we are home.  We fall into our very comfortable bed and sleep through the night for free!
 
It all evens out in the end.
 






 



Friday, October 11, 2013

Ms. October

My birthday was Wednesday and I turned an age I never imagined being when I was young.  My imagination stopped at when I would be 43 (in 2000) and then...well, I just thought I would be old.

When I was in my 20's I received a flyer from my employer about retirement plans.  In it, I saw the number 2023.  I said aloud, "what the heck is THAT?"  One of my coworkers looked over my shoulder and said, "Oh, that's the year you get to retire."  I said, "that's a DATE?"  I then started sobbing. 

But now I am older and less prone to sobbing.  I just turned 56 and on my birthday I had cataract surgery.  I did not much like the surgery.  You are somewhat awake with bright lights in your eye and a scalpel somewhere in the vicinity of your eye until the "light sedation" kicks in.  Then you are still sort of awake and the surgeon is talking to you saying look here look there loooooook  oooooverrrr to the.....

You can't see around you and your head is taped to the danged table. 

At my followup visit my surgeon promised me that for eye #2, in two weeks, they will start me on the good drugs the minute I walk in the door. 

Thank goodness!  Because I swear I thought he was going to start before I was in happy-mode.  Whew!

The surgery went okay, as it turns out, though I had a day of anxiety on post-op day 1, when I had some cyst with pigment in it break open and my vision went from clear as a bell to looking through brackish water.  Today I'm back to clear as a bell, and my surgeon promised me that should not come back.  If it does they will start me on the good drugs immediately so I don't start sobbing.

In the meantime I am off work for a few weeks, and I just found out my department is being restructured.  My boss doesn't know what jobs will be left by the end of the month, but hers appears to be on the way off the organizational chart.  Which is sad because I really like working for her.   If she really does leave I will definitely start sobbing.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Four Wheelin'

 
Saturday Sisi and I took a trip west to meet her Grandma and Grandad at the IPAVA parade celebrating Camp Ellis Days.  Later in the day we headed out to my cousin Kermit's house where he gave Sisi some four-wheeling lessons and then turned her loose in his very ample yard.
 
 
This vehicle is called the Mule...
 
 
 
 Here she is learning how to shift gears!!

 

and away she goes!!!
 
 
It was a great day for Miss Sisi!
 


Friday, September 6, 2013

Goose Me!

Working a crossword puzzle and got down to just 6 blanks.  Clue for the shorter of the 2 words, "flock of geese."  Blank blank blank I N -- my only idea "gaggle" would not do.

Looked it up on Wikipedia.  I did not know that a gaggle of geese is only a flock on the ground.

Skein - that's the word of my day!  It's a group of geese flying.  Which could also be called a team or a wedge of geese.   But not flying too close together because then those geese would be a plump.

Who gnu?

So now I was left with only one more set of 3 blanks, which were followed by the letters:

          BIDAVIDSMALL...the clue was Harry Kemelman sleuth.

I had no idea, but I sure thought the answer had to be BAMBI DAVID SMALL.  No other name I could think of ended with BI.

Of course I was dead wrong, the sleuth's name, er, title is RABBI.  So I learned something else today.
I learned that someone needs to write some mystery novels with someone named Bambi as the protagonist!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Baseball Players work on Labor Day

Also working this Monday:  the folks who work at the Chicago Transit Authority.  People who sell tickets at Wrigley Field.  The beer vendors and the ushers who throw out the 3 guys in the right field bleachers who drink too much and shout obscenities.  The guys who sell the $4.25 bottles of water.  The gals who sell $6.25 hot dogs.  The EMTs on stand-by in the stands.  The umpires and radio and TV announcers, police-people blocking traffic.  Fast food workers at Dairy Queen and McDonalds in Dwight and Channahon.

All these people working, and more, who made it possible for us to relax and enjoy this:

 
and this
 
 
while we were here
 
 
 

Friday, August 16, 2013

How did this happen?

I find myself happily at home on Friday night ... surprisingly all by myself for a couple hours!  This never happens.  Well, until now.

J-dude and The Player are out playing Frisbee golf.  This will take some time, as J-dude has coerced er, convinced The Player to play 18 holes.  Sisi is at a friend's house at a Friday night event called "dinner and a movie."  I think there is frozen pizza and a DVD, and 2 of her good school friends who just found out today that they are in the same class this year.  And they have J-dude's former 5th grade teacher.  Sisi has never had the same teacher as her brother until this year.  I think it will be just fine for her. 

This teacher is the one who had an unfortunate mispronunciation of 'Homo Sapiens' in J-dude's class...homo say penis.  According to J-dude after she read it aloud that way and the class started snickering, she simply put her head down on her desk and said nothing for quite some time.

O boy.

And how did THIS happen:

Alfonso Soriano played somewhat above average but not spectacular baseball for many years as a Cub.  A few weeks ago he got traded to The Yankees.  And now he has set a near record for RBIs in 2 games...he had 13 RBIs in 2 games, second most in major league baseball history. 

Why not with the Cubs?  Oh...people have to be on base ahead of you to get RBIs...yeah, that's right.

It's hard to watch a player go elsewhere and shine like that.  But that's part of being a Cubs fan.



Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Farmer Brown, Dorothy, and Terra Cotta Pots

Farmer Brown

I was all set to blog about how I met some friendly strangers today.  And I will definitely get to that topic later, but just as I sat down to blog I decided to turn on the telly and I happened upon the BBC World News Program where there was a short bit about Farmer Brown.

Farmer Brown lives in the US, in Virginia to be specific.  He has been a tobacco farmer.  But for a lot of good reasons, he sees that might not be the greatest future use of his land.  So he has turned to farming...(drumroll please!)  ...Chick Peas!!  He has been travelling around Virgina trying to get other farmers interested in growing them and giving out samples of hummus.  One farmer seen to stick his finger in the container, swirl it around, then taste it said, "Not really my kind of thing.  But I'll grow anything!"

So how 'bout them apples garbanzoes?

Dorothy:

I went shopping for bras today.  Some of my blogging buddies will remember our trip to Vicki's Secrets years ago...yeah, I'm still wearing some of those.  It's been too long since I got some new underwire.  So today I stopped off at Kohl's after work.  I found a couple bras I liked and headed to the check out line with Dorothy behind the register.  Dorothy has been working at Kohl's since about the turn of the century.  Yeah, THAT century.  She is a happy person who could probably have retired about the time I graduated high school.  But she seems to like working at Kohls.  She asked me, of course, if I would be paying with my Kohls Card.

No, I will be paying with my debit card, thank you.  I answered.

You can all imagine the next part of the conversation.  Do you have a Kohl's Card?  Do you want a Kohl's Card?  Do  you know you can save a lot of money  with a Kohl's Card? 

My answers got sillier and sillier and her questions got sillier and sillier. 

At one point I said, "Dorothy, I think we need to take this show on the road."

We decided that we would head to Las Vegas and perform our comedy routine.  The audience, those that stay for the entire show, will have the "opportunity" to sign up for a Kohl's card at the end of the show!

Terra Cotta Pots

If you want to meet some friendly people and you don't live near Dorothy, you should go to your local thrift store and look for terra cotta pots.

If you buy them, you will be accosted by other friendly shoppers who wish they had seen them first.  "Where did you find those?"  "What are you going to do with them?"  "Are there any more?"

Warning:  Long conversations about mosaics and birdbaths and plants may ensue!

Farmer Brown Redux

The news item AFTER Farmer Brown was about the new Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge...that's how important them chick peas are.  O yea!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Summertime and the Lasering is Easy

My new "Native American" name is Takes Many Naps.  I worked hard to earn that name this week, on vacation in Holland, Michigan.  Napping on the beach, napping on the sunporch, anywhere except behind the wheel of the car, of course.

But my Laser Tag name yesterday at Lost City Laser Tag Arena was "Renegade."  At first I thought it was "Renegade Idiot" but J-dude pointed out that it was Renegade with ID and some numbers below the name.  So I felt better.

And it was the first time I ever played Laser Tag and I won, beating both my kids!  Who (unbeknownst to me until later) had formed an alliance and thought they were beating me by a lot of points.  Which they were, except for the fact that when we were in the briefing room (where we were briefed on the rules of laser tag by a young woman wearing camoflauge pants) I actually listened.  And I learned you could get a heckuva lotta points if you could destroy one of the two bases.  Or twice a heckuva lot if you got both of them.  So while the kids were hitting my jacket front back and shoulders over and over I destroyed the red base.  And got the kids a couple times, too. 

When the game was over the young woman wearing camoflauge pants told us the winner was Renegade.  Me, that's me!  I said.  The kids were, for the first time ever, stunned into silence.  Ha!

I did break one of the rules of laser tag, however.  Rule number 6 was "no bad language" and I distinctly remember hearing myself mutter Damn! once.  But Madamoiselle Camoflauge did not kick me out of the arena. 

The kids Laser names were Vortex and Quazar.

In college one of the men's dorm floors chose "Quasars" as their floor nickname.  They chose that because a million years ago before flat screen TVs, Motorola had a TV with an ad campaign that said "Quasars.  Our works are in our drawers."



Next time I hope my Laser Tag name will be Raquel Welch!


Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pure Michigan 2013-style

This year we have rented a bigger house in Holland, walking distance to Lake Michigan.  The beach here is very nice, shallow for a long distance out.  We've swum, kayaked, played badminton, and gone for a bike ride.  We have watched movies at the house and also took advantage of one rainy afternoon to see Despicable Me 2.

We have read and read and read.  J-dude has watched lots of cable sports channels that I don't get at home. 

Something for everyone.

Today's highlight was a trip to pick blueberries.  We went to the Gold Barn Blueberry Farm, about a 5 minute drive away.  In about 20 minutes the kids and I had picked about 20 pints.  We froze some, ate some, saved a few to snack on today, and a pie is in the oven as I type this blog!!!  I have to say it was easier than shooting fish in a barrel.  Not that I would do that.  But I will definitely be going back to Gold Barn this week!!!

Tomorrow we will hit the Farmer's Market.  The rest depends on Mother Nature...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Chargers of the Light Brigade

My life has been overtaken.  It seems that I have more devices that need to be charged than my aging brain has memory slots for remembering the location of these items.

I have a charger for my cell phone.
I have a charger for my home laptop computer.
And for my work laptop computer of course.
Now I have a new item called a jetpack which I can fire up anywhere and get internet access for my work computer.  And it has a charger, too.

My Kindle has a charger.

My continuous glucose monitor has a charger.

Some of the chargers probably have chargers too but I can't recall.

On to the valley of confusion rode the six hundred.  Wikipedia tells us that the Charge of the Light Brigade refers to a battle called The Battle of the Balaclava....I like baklava!!!

I especially like baklava because it does not need a charger!

Cheers!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Tennis Balls, Anyone?

Samarra likes to chase her tennis ball across the yard.  This is a well-known fact to anyone who spends more then 3 minutes with Samarra outside.  She can catch it on the fly, on a bounce, or stalk it like prey if it's rolling on the ground.

She has recently chewed through her tennis ball and now we know what the inside of a tennis ball looks like.  Since getting Samarra we have learned what a demolished soccer ball, a chewed up baseball, a Frisbee with tooth marks, and other altered items look like.

There are many things you can do with a tennis ball, besides playing tennis or fetch.  If you google tennis ball images you will see that you can make a little house for a little mouse with one.  You can create a chair out of tennis balls.  One website listed several uses for tennis balls including using half of one to remove light bulbs from a lamp while the bulb is still hot. 

There are directions to "safely" cut a tennis ball in half using an exacto knife.  Really?  The only safe way I could do that would be to have someone else do it for me.

It's raining now so Fetch is off the list of Samarra's options for the moment.  Rain also prevented J-dude from playing baseball today, thought is was not raining at game time.  The field had turned to something like quicksand from earlier downpours today.

No tennis, no baseball, no fetch.   What did I do today?  I made brownies and cookies for a potluck tomorrow after church.  I helped J-dude put his room back together after it got painted a beautiful bright yellow-with-blue-trim this week.  I napped on the couch.  I procured groceries. 

And I blogged!  Just call me Frau Blogger. 
 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Baseball and a Movie

It was a fine weekend of activity with the little people who are not so little anymore.  Both of them are over the 5 foot height mark.  I can wear my son's hand-me-down green high tops.  Sisi and I have friendly arguments over who gets to wear the tie dye t-shirts that were once mine.  I know the days of wanting to go to a game or the movies with "mom" are coming to a close so I especially enjoyed this weekend.

Saturday night J-dude and I went to a Peoria Chiefs game in Peoria.  The A level team now affiliated with the St Louis Cardinals won the game in the bottom of the ninth inning 1 to 0, scoring the winning run on a wild pitch.  That's right, not a lot of hits in the game.  But a win, and with fireworks afterward.  And an appearance by Bob Gibson who was my favorite pitcher for the Cardinals in the 60's when I was a kid learning to appreciate the game.  I learned by listening to games broadcast by Harry Carey on the radio.  My favorite players besides the amazing Bob G were Lou Brock and Orlando Cepeda.   Those were some fine baseball days, and the Cardinals won the World Series a few times.  We used to get to watch the Series games on the new color TV in the grade school cafeteria.   Hard to believe.

Sunday both kids and I went to see the Star Trek movie "Into Darkness."  Star Trek movies have also changed, with more of the big weapon prolonged fight scenes that seem to be everywhere, as best I can tell from watching movie previews.   Still, it was a Star Trek movie and had Star Trek kinds of humor and bonding among ship-mates, and Sisi cried when Spock thought that Kirk was dead and...wait...spoiler alert...and Spock actually shed tears.

Of course he is only half Vulcan.

But I digress.

We got the largest tub of popcorn and sat in the back row together, and we all enjoyed seeing the Enterprise on the big screen.




Friday, May 24, 2013

What's Growing Here

The lilacs are gone until next year.  That makes me sad.  But here are some things that are blooming on and around the deck now:

verbena


hibiscus
 
 
 
spiderwort
 
 
and a bunch of other stuff like mint, thyme, lettuce, cilantro, basil, onions, and petunias:
 
 
Here's what's blooming up in the mosaic studio, a lotus flower soon to be a bird bath:
 
 
 
Just needs some grout, a base, some water, and of course some birds!
 


Saturday, May 18, 2013

Will Work for Porcelain

I am blessed.  I am not homeless, hungry, insane (hey now watch it!) OR  standing on a street corner with a cardboard sign that says what I would be willing to work for.   But if I were, today it would say "Will Work for Fabulous Porcelain Tiles from Italy"

I was recently at Tiny Pieces, the store inside The Chicago Mosaic School where the wonderful Andrea vends tesserae and tools for the mosaic makers of the greater Chicago area.  While I was there I bought some fab tiles from  Italy.  The colors are stupendous and they break cleanly. They are a joy to work with.

I know, I am dropping participles right, left, up, down, and all around!

I came home with 10 of these tiles:  2 yellow, 2 dark green, 2 burgundy, 2 light blue and 2 light green.  I already had some white porcelain at home.  I went to Goodwill last week and found a wonderful small wooden table that is also a wine rack, and I decided to use my precious tiles on it.

I worked on a design for a few days and settled on something I had sketched a while back.  I tiled and tiled and tiled.  Sometimes late at night when all the other humans in my household had gone to sleep.  Today I was near to finishing.  And I ran out of light blue and light green.  Which are essential.

So I ordered more online!!

Here's what I have to date:

 
 
Here is proof it's a wine rack:
 
 
 
Can you feel my pain?  Here's a close up:
 
 
Just a few missing pieces...argh!
 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

D. M., MD

I met my new primary care physician yesterday.  For privacy reasons he shall be known only by his initials, DM, MD.  He is a ...oh jeez, one of those things that reads the same forward and backward,...I am having a senior moment, and it's lasting a long long time.

Well, anyway, I haven't had a primary care doctor I liked for a few years.  Since my last favorite one got "promoted" to administration full time,  I switched to another doctor that I didn't care for as much.  Inertia kept me from seeking out a new one.  Then she left town.

Goodbye!!  Farewell!! Adieu!  Adios! 

It took a while to get in to see DMMD but I had a couple recommendations that I trusted, that he might be "the one."  He is! 

Here are things I like about my new doctor:

He knows his stuff.  And he figured out quickly that I know my stuff, too.

He is direct and does not mince words.  (He asked me what my natural hair color is, for example, when trying to figure out what my risk for skin cancer is.  When I said "gray" he didn't laugh.  He just said, "and before that?")

He has 2 degrees in Forestry and likes hiking.

He asked me nice questions about non-medical things like what I like to do in my spare time.

He told me a little about his family.

He has a blog!

He isn't going to make me come back for 6 months.  That I really like. 

He's a Palindrome!



Sunday, May 12, 2013

If it weren't for bad luck...

Ok, maybe it hasn't been that bad.  I will just tell my tale and you can decide for yourself. I'll start with today and work backward.

On Mother's Day...my cell phone has no service.  So I can't call and talk to my mom.  I am royally bummed.  I am sorry Mom.  I just emailed you instead.  But it wasn't the same.

I had some work done on my car a few weeks ago and I have had it back in the shop TWICE since then to replace "defective parts."  At least no charge for the 2nd and 3rd tries to get it right.

A nice old guy backed into my car in the parking lot at Menards last Monday.  His ginormous Sierra truck was unscratched.  I have a big-ass dent in the side of my trunk.  Because it was in a parking lot "There is No Ticket." said the nice policeman who came to make sure we were exchanging information in a pleasant and friendly way.  (We were.)  I want to remember that in case I ever feel the need to visit revenge upon someone, make sure it's in a parking lot.   The policeman tried to make me feel better since "You were both pulling out of parking spots" but I did a little eye roll and said "Yeah.  But I pulled out first.  And then honked like crazy when he was pulling out toward my car."

Still.  No.  Ticket.

On the other hand:

It's Mother's day and my little people helped me plant flowers and veggies and herbs in the garden. (No Herb is not the guy who hit my car at Menards.)

The sky is blue.  The Cubs just beat the Nationals for the second day in a row.  The grass is cut, the carpets are vacuumed, and The Player is out buying a steak to cook on the grill.

I guess there are all kinds of luck around here after all.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day 2013

Earth Day 2013, a beautiful sunny warm spring day here in Central Illinois.  I spent the morning on my deck, grouting small mosaics that some of the women at the NCC Women's retreat made this past weekend.

I love me some women's retreat weekend!

I spent the afternoon running a few errands, then enjoying a short visit to a used book store.  Where I found "The Facts on File Dictionary of CLICHES"  (second edition.)  It's delightful and full of useless information about the origin of clichés. 

Because it is Earth Day, I looked under E to see if there were any clichés involving the word Earth.  Indeed!!  There is a cliché originally from Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls, 1940, which is...

"But did thee feel the earth move?"

  Really, Ernest?!  That is over the top. 

On Earth Day here is a sad message on our state of affairs in 2013:

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Random Facts

Fact number one:
I worked so hard to get a pair of pantyhose on this morning that I broke into a sweat. 

Fact two:
I just got a new Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM to those in the know.)  I have a little sensor just under the skin of my ample tummy and a receiver that I wear like a pager.  It tells me my (approximate) blood sugar all the time.  I will change the sensor weekly.  It has an alarm if my blood sugar gets too high or too low.

Fact three:
On the CGM I can enter "events"  like eating carbs, taking insulin, or exercise.  Exercise is listed as light, moderate, or intensive.

Fact four:
I think the pantyhose episode counts as at least 5 minutes of intensive working out.

Fact five:
I saw a barn owl yesterday while hiking at Parklands.  No photos of the bird, but here are a couple photos of things I did see on my hike (60 minutes of moderate exercise).

Some kind of puffer-necked bird?
 
Not much greenery yet unless you get down on the ground and look very closely.
 
River nymphs must be sculpting.
 
 
Find the snail shell in this picture...squint...oh there it is!


Fact six:  I love Parklands. 

Fact seven:  Removing pantyhose counts only as 4 seconds of no exercise at all, unless that deep exhalation of relief can be included.  Then it's about 30 seconds of moderate joy.

Fact eight:  That's all folks!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Have Finkle Will Travel

I don't know what a Finkle is, but this semi driver definitely is dedicated to his, or is one, or is transporting one.  Saw this on I-70 in Ohio.

 
A couple other highlights of the trip included:
 
1.  Great views of the pandas at the zoo...just two days before the female went into estrus and the indoor part of the exhibit was closed for hanky-panky or artificial insemination.  Depending on the quality of the hanky-panky.  Those zoo biologists have such good jobs!
 
 
 
 
2.  Seeing one of Sisi's heroine's airplanes:
 
Now it's quiz time:
 
Which of these is from the Zoo?  Which of these is from the National Gallery?  And which of these was waiting for us when we got home?
 
A.
 

B. 
 
and finally C.
 
 
Good luck! 
 
We arrived home safe and sound.  I will probably not choose to drive 13 hours again straight through until at least one of the kids can share the driving.  Since they couldn't share the driving, they got a chance to share in the clean-up:
 
 
and there was some of the 9" of snow still left for us to see, though it was a bit of a let-down:
 
 
at least the kids didn't have to shovel when we got home!!!
 
 
 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The District of Washington

License plate from DC seen today with motto on the bottom edge "Taxation Without Representation."  True.  But is that the district motto, for real?  Inquiring minds want to know.

The kids think that DC should be called DW instead, not wanting any homage to Cristobal Colon, a.k.a. Christopher Columbus, to be present in our governmental monikers.  Washington, D.W. just doesn't sound right to old ears, though.  Just sayin'.

We have visited the Air and Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, the National Zoo, and the Natural History Museum in the past 3 days.  We are all somewhat overstimulated.  Today J-dude reached a new level of overwhelmed crankiness from which he is now recovering.  Sisi is still soaking stuff in like crazy.  I just have sore feet. 

Tomorrow, our last day of sightseeing, is still up for grabs a bit.  It looks like we will go back to the Zoo to see a few exhibits we missed.  And then...who knows.  Certainly we will watch some more of March Madness on our 7000 TV channels at the fancy schmancy hotel where we are staying.

Speaking of this hotel, it is a cut above my usual price-range and service level, and kind of a fun treat for me.  We have a little studio with kitchennette, king bed and sofa bed.  Free breakfast and 4 nights of free dinner as well!  Indoor pool, a kids room with ping-pong table, and very friendly staff.  I feel happily spoiled.

Friday we will head home to The Player, Three-Point, and Samarra.  And maybe some snow still on the ground!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Testing testing one two three-point-one-four

On Pi Day a scrawny hungry cat arrived at our kitchen door meowing for all his scrawny hungry self-worth.  He was invited in, fed, and decided to stay.  Once fed he seemed to immediately triple in size.  He summoned all kinds of energy to fend off our nosy and playful Samarra who barked and jumped and pestered him to chase her. 

So finally he did with hissing and claws and ears back.

She loved it. 

The humans haven't been quite as thrilled with the noise level of the play-territory-establishment-fights, but we decided to give it a chance.

We gave him a name (Pi, of course).  He got his bonbons removed (Sisi's term for neutering).  He got his rabies and distemper shots.  He is recuperating here in the lower level of our household while the playful and nosy canine is kept upstairs.  If they can eventually learn to get along then he may be a keeper.  If not, we have a very adorable cat with a great name who has all his shots to share with a lucky family.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Surface Area of a Family

It's been an interesting time here at the Hummus Household.  Cold viruses are living here among us.  The dog is having some kind of crazy shadow-and-light chasing phase that seems worse at dusk.  We miss our cat.  The kids have tolerated standardized testing beyond what would be allowed by the Geneva Convention. 

J-dude is trying to figure out the surface area of various bizarre shapes.

I think being one of the youngest kids in your class, getting put in a math class that essentially skips a year of math and throws you forward (based on previous years' torture test results), adjusting to junior high, adjusting to having laptop computers of your own for school, and having an old mom who is a math whiz....well, that just has to stink.

He's struggling in lots of ways.  I wish I had a magic wand.

By the way, it's Pi day...3-14, as in 3.14 the value of pi (rounded to 2 decimal places of course).

He's also sneezing, a sign that the cold virus is thinking of taking up a vacation rental property in his schnozz.

We are learning as we go.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Hard to Watch

This weekend we had a veritable film festival at our house, due to 2 of us being too sick to do anything except lie on the couch and stare at the TV screen.  We watched a favorite oldie (A League of their Own), a kid-appropriate homage to horror films (Frankenweenie), the latest popular kids film on DVD (Wreck-it Ralph).  And we watched a documentary called Bully. 

Bully is a film that everyone with kids in junior high or about to go to junior high should watch.  It is painful to watch.  And yet very important to watch and to discuss with your kids. 


The film follows the story of 5 families who have kids that are or were being bullied.  Two of the kids committed suicide.  One of the kids tried to committ suicide 3 times.   One of the kids fought back and ended up in jail because of it.  One of the kids and her family decide to move to a bigger town/city to avoid being bullied because she is gay.  One of the vice-principals interviewed is so clueless as to be dangerous.  The film-makers had to stop making the documentary and show footage to a kid's parents and school system to protect him.  Kids bullied one boy on the school bus even with the filmakers right there filming.


Here is the trailer:


Bullying seems to be accepted as normal behavior in some schools.  I am grateful that I live where that is not the case, at least not yet.

But I will definitely be keeping my eyes and ears more open from here forward.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Smashing Picard

 
I found this mug for 49 cents at The Mission Mart.  I thought it would be great to break it up for a mosaic.
 


What?  you say...smash this mug with Picard on it?  Perish the thought!

Oh wait ... it's okay...here is the other side:
 
Ok, damaged goods.  So I got out my trusty little hammer  (really a little hammer, not just a colloquial "little" hammer)
 
 
 
and I wrapped the damaged goods in a towel and here is what happened:
 
 
I boldly went where no mosaicist (?) has gone before...I smashed Jean Luc Picard! 
 
I will put him back together with Data and Beverly on a Mosaic Coming to Theaters er Blogs Soon!
 
 
 
 

Friday, March 8, 2013

Goodbye to Boo

Rest in peace sweet Boo Radley, a.k.a Boobah, The Health Inspector, The Booster, and just plain Boo.  I will miss your gentle pats on my head at 3 a.m., your independent outdoor nature, they way you grabbed our ankles when you wanted attention, and your ability to make The Player very happy.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Dog Gone Birds!!

My parents were here for a weekend visit.  While they were here we did a little bird watching out the kitchen window.  There was some debate about what a phoebe looks and sounds like.  And some confusion about whether the bird we saw at the feeder was a chickadee or phoebe.  I wasn't confused, actually.  I was completely clueless.  But my mom, my daughter, and The Player had an informed discussion about the topic.  I sat idly by until I remembered the web sites that have bird sounds...so I opened up my trusty laptop and started searching.  The dog and I had a great time listening to online bird sounds.  The dog listening to the bird sounds was even more entertaining than  the debate in the kitchen.  It looked something like this:
 
 
Actually it looked exactly like this:
 
 
There was bewildered searching for that sound...is it behind the computer?  Below? Inside? 
 
In the kitchen the decision was that the bird was a chickadee.  Out in the living room we never did figure out where that derned bird was hiding.
 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Bird in the Bush

This pretty little gal is trying to stay dry today right outside my window.  The lilac bush isn't offering much protection, but it must be better than nothing at all. 



Glad I added seed to the bird feeder yesterday for her.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

It's a Lazy Day in the Neighborhood

A beautiful thing, a lazy day!  I do not have to work.  Sisi does not have a basketball game or practice.  We have lots of groceries thanks to the threat of bad weather on Friday and my trip to Costco Thursday.  The house is kind of messy and I don't much care right now.  (Later it will get on my nerves and the kids and I will do some cleaning up...when we darned well feel like getting around to it.) 

We have some old movies I rented this week for us to watch...the kids think they are painfully boring and outdated.  We watched Raiders of the Lost Ark last night.  No big special effects or flying superheroes.  Just a college professor with a cool hat and a big whip. 


They did manage to suffer through to the end.  I can hardly wait to hear them complain about Driving Miss Daisy later today!  

I will probably have a date with Miss Clairol today.  And we will play some board games.  I might get to work on my latest mosaic project.  And...who knows.  Maybe a nap!


Monday, February 18, 2013

Get the Tahini Gun Ready!


 
Thanks to Collage Mama for sharing this fun web site.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

She Does It All!!!

Faster than a bouncing basketball...
 
 
 
 
More powerful than a coach's whistle...
 
 
 
Able to rebound without a single bounce...
 
 
 
It's #41 of the Normal Parks and Rec SKY team!  Go SKY!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Kim Akimbo and the Ghost...What?

\
The Player has noticed that I stand in the Arms Akimbo position when I am...in lots of different moods.   As you can see from the above photo taken when I was eight, this is not exactly NEWS. 

In a moment of insight, however, The Player has suggested that the reason it took over 2 days of labor for my momma to birth me is that I was probably in this position in the canal.   Forceps were used, likely needed to squeeze my elbows back in to my sides. 

What?  Too Much Information does not exist in our family.

And while we are on the subject of forceps in canals etc...I was at Family Video today with J-dude browsing the cinematic offerings and out of the corner of one eye I thought I saw a title "The Ghost Proctologist."

O, but when I turned to see if that could possibly be, I re-read the title and found it was...The Ghost Protocol.  Which may not be any more desirable a film to watch, but probably Yes.  Because any movie with the word proctologist in the title would make me put my hands on my hips and say....

Ewwwww!






Monday, February 4, 2013

Super Bowl Sunday and Mosaic Monday


Yesterday Sisi decided not to watch the SuperBowl but to keep a running record of the number and quality of commercials.  And she read War Horse while the game was being played.  I did not know that is a kid's book! I learned something new!


 I watched both the game and the commercials.  I'm a glutton.  My favorite commercial was the Audi commercial where the kid gets a black eye at prom.  I'm a contradiction.

I was not rooting for either team.  I was kind of rooting for both teams.  I wanted the game to go into triple overtime except that it was late and J-dude needed to get to bed. 


So I was happy that it was an exciting game, close at the very end.  And over by 10:00 p.m. 

Today I worked on a mosaic key-hanger plaque using Scrabble Tiles, broken cup handles and glass tiles.  It's about 1/3 done.  You'll see it here one of these days. 

I am currently finishing up a couple hanging orbs - the grout it setting as I type here.  I don't have photos of them yet, they are small, about the size of your average Christmas tree ornament.  One of them is mostly pink with pale blue and green accents.  The other one is orange and blue.  I must have been thinking of Caroline and Elizabeth when I made them!

I have photos of my first commissioned work (assuming there will be at least a second commissioned work, I guess.)  It's a larger orb with irridescent tiles.  Here are some pics:

side view
 
 
from the bottom

and the top:
 
I hope my mom's friend likes it.  (Maybe she will look at it here first, before I send it down south?)
 
Off to wipe off drying grout!