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!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Comfort and Joy

Every year we put our Christmas tree up on Friday evening after Thanksgiving.   This is a family tradition, including me having some degree of a nervous breakdown during the process. I cannot imagine what it is that sets me on edge.  The combination of electric lights, glass ornaments, pets, and sibling rivalry could be contributing factors.

Or I might just be a total wacko.

Fortunately we always work through the process and the tree goes up.  This year we bought a new tree, having decided that the Charlie Brown Artificial Tree could be retired.  This tree is taller, allowing for more sibling rivalry over who would place the angel at the top.  Somehow both kids have come to believe that it is their traditional job.  Oy ve!




In this photo you can barely see the new carpet and next time there is a living room photo we hope to have taken delivery of a new sofa and loveseat (Thank you Santa!)


After the tree was decorated I am pretty sure Sisi set off a tinsel garland bomb in the living room.  It's everywhere!

Today the weather brought great joy!!!  The last day of November in Central Illinois and this is what we got:

Trust me, 57 degrees this time of year isn't really Normal.

To celebrate Ironing Man and I went for a walk on Constitution Trail.  

More joy, in the comfort of warmer than normal temperatures.

And when we came home I finished a new mosaic project.  I'm learning to use smalti, which is conducive to smaller projects and doesn't require grouting, making it perfect for winter indoor projects in the little room where I work.

Here's the project, it's about 5 x 6 inches.  A simple design while I learn how to manage the smalti and the thinset which is the adhesive AND looks like grout.  I didn't color the thinset this time, so it's kind of a boring gray.

Joyful joyful I adore smalti!



Sunday, November 16, 2014

Maytag Repairman Meets Batman

On Monday of last week I had a visit from someone who is supposedly very lonely.  I came home from work at lunchtime, and $179 later he left.  I don't think I've ever had such an expensive lunch!  Thanks a LOT, Maytag Repair-Guy.

He did find $4.63 in change inside the dryer, which he returned to me.  And broken "gas coils" which Ironing Man said sound like something a gastro-enterologist should be fixing.  Especially at those rates.

In other weekly news...Sisi started swimming at the "silver" level on the Funky Fish Swim Club.  Promoted from Bronze.  Now she has longer practices and harder practices.  She was very nervous the first night.  I told the head coach, who apparently told her coach, who went up to her before practice and said, "Don't worry.  You're not going to die tonight."

J-dude will probably be moving up next month to that level, too.  He's working hard and improving all his times in his meets.  Except for the 100-yard backstroke today where he (1) smashed his left hand into the wall at the end of his first lap, which (2) hurt like the dickens, and then he (3) disqualified in the event.  Miscounting your backstrokes can be both painful and frustrating, but not fatal either.


This girl dropped 2 seconds off her best time on 50 yard fly.  And she wants to be called Batman from now on.  In this blog, and on her swim team.  Yes, her best buddy in swimming is Robin.

J-dude dropped 7 seconds in his 100 yard freestyle and 13 seconds in his 200 yard freestyle this weekend.  And Sisi, er...Batman-girl...thinks he should be called "The Flash."




Sunday, November 2, 2014

It's Amazing What You Can Find at the Hardware Store


I myself went to Ace is the Place Hardware today for some Power Grab, which sounds like something a superhero might need to fight crime, but really is just the glue I use for my mosaics.

While there a woman came in claiming that there was a red van in the parking lot that (a) had a dog inside, and (b) had smoke pouring out of the engine. The clerk asked everyone in line if it was their red van, no one stepped forward.  Then he went to the door, looked out, and came back to wait on the rest of us and ignored the (possibly insane) woman.

When I went outside there was indeed (1) a red van, with (2) a dog inside.  However the window to the van was so far open that if the dog needed to get out of the van there would have been no problem.

And there was NOT any (i) smoke pouring out of anything, nor (ii) any evidence of smoke ever pouring out of the van.

Like I said, possibly insane.

The good thing is that while I was in line waiting for the clerk to verify that an exploding van was not in the parking lot, I noticed something that is FOR SURE going to save me a LOT of time and money when I get ready to sell my house someday.  I expected I'd need a major house overhaul to get that done when the day arrived.

Handiest item in the hardware!





Monday, October 20, 2014

I Have Turned into My Parents

Yes, it has arrived.  That moment when, listening to my son's music, I heard myself say, "I can't understand anything they are saying."


Then I heard myself say, "I sound just like my parents used to."

I asked Ironing Man to take my picture, as this seemed like a "blog-worthy" moment.

Shoot.


Sunday, October 19, 2014

What Would Jesus Drive?

I have been thinking about Jesus lately. I wonder what he'd think of me, of my lifestyle, if he were around.  Why do I care?  Not sure except when you really admire someone, you want to think they'd approve of your choices, right?  Well, bad news.  I'm pretty sure he'd be disappointed in me.

 For starters he would say, "Listen, if you are going to go around the countryside trying to heal the sick and help the lame to walk, why are you doing it in a gas-powered vehicle that pollutes the environment and heats up the atmosphere.?"

I would mutter something in an embarrassed voice about how it gets an average of 34 miles per gallon.

He would not be impressed.

"Walking was good enough for me, why do you have to drive to do your work?"

I would remind him that my productivity standards require me to see a certain number of patients per 8 hour day.

He would just stare at me and roll his eyes.  He might mention I could ride on an ass.

I would probably go out on a limb and say that, in a way, I'm already doing that.  But after we both got over our case of the giggles, he'd say, "Ok, a horse.  a camel. a bicycle.  or how about an electric vehicle?"

Hmm...the EVs only go about 70 miles on one charge, and I often drive more than that.

BUT...just last week I got reassigned to a new territory and I usually will be driving much less than 70 miles in a day.  In fact last week I only drove 102 miles ALL WEEK for work.  So maybe an EV is a possibility.

And then with some solar panels, maybe I can stop contributing QUITE so much to the mess.





Sunday, October 12, 2014

Zencatangle

I made up that word!  I like it.  Is it a dance?  A kind of puzzle?   A children's toy?  A bird?  A plane?

No it's just a made up word combining the ideas of Zentangle (which is a form of meditative doodling I learned about a few weeks ago) and this crazy Pi cat as seen on the hood of The Player's car as I was heading off to work Friday morning.


I do love my cell phone's features:  Camera.  Compass.  Internet access.  Stopwatch.  Timer.  Clock.  Alarms.  Notepad.  Weather updates.  Maps!  Animation program. DId I forget anything?  Oh, yeah, you can CALL people and TALK to them, too!  Wowee wow wow!

Here are some of my zentangles:



Materials needed - little squares of nice watercolor paper, a 0.01 mm pen, and a little imagination.  There are standard zentangle patterns, easily found on the internet, and if you repeat them in your drawing while relaxing and thinking about your breathing, you are zentangling!
Plus you get a nice little piece of art when you are done!  What could be better?



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Blood Moons and Smelly Cats

Last night....a beautiful lunar eclipse at about 5 a.m.  J-dude got us all up in time to see it, to photograph it, and to send it via email to his science teacher for Extra Credit.

.


Not the greatest camera for hundreds-o-thousands-o-miles away, but still enough for...10 points?  We will see.


Also last night a very odiferous skunk sprayed some space outside our bedroom window.   Sadly, not only did the room stink but Pi the night-time wanderer must have wandered through the musk-mist.  He got a bath today, in vinegar, baking soda, dish soap, then followed with a rinse through some dog shampoo.  Oh, the humiliation!


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

La Mosaicista and the Captain

That's what my Smart Phone auto-corrected (is that a verb?  Well, it is now.)  the word "mosaicist" as when I texted it to my sister Connie Lou.  I actually typed Geeky Mosaicist  which then became geeky mosaicista...which I kind of like now.

So, now you are wondering what made me choose the adjective GEEKY?  Well, I hope you are wondering and not saying to yourself self, that is totally the perfect adjective for Kim.  Because even though it may be true, I still would like to pretend otherwise much of the time.  But here is the proof that I am, indeed, at least sometimes, GEEKY as in I-Love-Star-Trek-geeky:

I have a broken Star Trek mug and I'm not afraid to use it!!



Monday, September 1, 2014

Quite Possibly This is The Best News Ever

Usually when I watch or listen to the news, I just get sad or blue or bummed out or mad or frustrated or I feel hopeless or desparate or sad or blue or...you get the idea.

So imagine my absolute GLEE last evening when we watched Sixty Minutes and happened upon the news out of the University of California at Irvine:  a study of what differentiates people who live in to their nineties (and live well and healthily for the most part.)

Number 1....something that may surprise you to find out did not make any difference:  taking vitamins.  Any vitamins.  Not B, not C, not DEF or Z.   (I take a children's vitamin just because that's what I can remember to take, and I don't really mind taking them but still if money gets tight you can bet that I will cut that right off the shopping list.  Because if I do live into my nineties I will definitely not have enough money for everything so that will be the first thing off the grocery budget!)

Number 2...being overweight in your 70's turns out to be a predictor of living into your 90's! Wow!  I am way (weigh) ahead of the game being slightly overweight in my 50's.  Just call me over-achiever when it comes to this one!

Number 3...having slightly high blood pressure ALSO good in your nineties.  So I can cross THAT med off the shopping list when the time arrives (if it arrives) as well!!

Number 4...best news of all.  Moderate consumption of coffee and alcohol are BETTER than not drinking them at all.  And the alcohol does not have to be red wine, though that is my adult beverage of choice.  I can opt for something cheaper if... (see items 1 and 3 above.)

So eat drink and be merry!  For tomorrow you may be NINETY!!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Frigorific!!

We've started a "word of the day" at our house, to help with Sisi's spelling and everyone's vocabulary.  We take turns suggesting the words.  I prefer to look through the big blue or big red dictionaries and find new words...which is how we found Cacodemon and Frigorific.  You must admit those are way more interesting than Hypocrite or Non sequitur.

No frigorific doesn't have anything to do with "friggin'" to replace a derivative of the more famous f-word.  It has to do with frigid, an adjective meaning 'making cold.'    Brrrr...not a bad thought though in these hot-n-humid days of August.

Speaking of August, here are some interesting photos of our morning glories.  Before you look at these photos, know that I bought only one packet of morning glory seeds and planted all at the same time in the same flower bed along 2 trellises.  We seem to have something odd going on though, as there are 2 colors of flowers that have appeared this month:  purple and light blue.







We think there might be some non-verbal color-oriented communication between the red hummingbird feeders and the flowers on the closer trellis.  But we don't know.  We're just speck-you-lating.  I reckon.

In other news there was a birthday and a peach pie.  You may have seen it on Facebook but here is a new view:


The Player looks very young for his age.  Which is not 1 year old in spite of the candle.  But he looks young.  That's my story and I'm stickin' to it.


Here is somewhere I went for work this week.  I drive on gravel roads from time to time, but this one takes the cake!   (But not the pie.)


Monday, August 11, 2014

Anti-antioxidants anyone?

We ate so many blueberries on our Michigan vacation that I think we might need to take some Oxidants to balance it out.

We picked blueberries on Saturday right after we arrived, then again mid-week, and once again on our way home.  Last picking was for gifts for friends, parents, and neighbors.  And some for us, which are already eaten or frozen for future pies.

I made 2 pies, fitting a round pie into a square pan as that's all that was available at our rental house.  The first pie everyone cut into square pieces and put neatly on plates with ice cream to enjoy.  By the end of the week, the scene looked more like this:



Ironing man was not the only one using this more efficient method of exceeding his recommended daily dose of berries.

The lake was cold, frigid even, for August.  We heard that there was ice and snow on the beach where we stayed even in May, so no surprise.  The 3 little folks (J'dude, Sisi, and Sisi's friend Duck) swam anyway and Ironing Man was a good sport about playing in the water with them.  I was more of a...sissy.  But I did get in the lake for short periods of time, floating on an inner tube of walking in up to waist high water.  Brrrr...rr...rrrr!



Yes, there are 3 young folks out there in the waves.  It's the first year they could swim out as far as they cared to and I didn't have to worry.  The water was relatively calm (and did I mention cold?) and they are all fabulous swimmers.  And J'dude is very cautious about safety.  So no worries, Mom!


There were beautiful mornings drinking coffee on the beach, and also beautiful sunsets.  Here is my fave.



And there was Laser Tag. All summer I've been telling the kids that in the Kids vs. Adults challenge, "The Kids are going DOWN!" because I had Ironing Man a.k.a. The Sniper on my team.  Sadly it's been a few years since I.M. was in the Air Force and it took him about half the game to figure out how to properly hold his weapon.  So we didn't win.

But later on an Everyone For Herself competition I came in 3rd out of 7...so I felt pretty Wicked!

Upon returning home we had school schedules and school supplies on our minds.  And J'dude looked up the photos of his 8th grade teachers in his yearbook from last year. 

His Social Studies teacher looks uncannily like Jesus.  

So I said "Mr. Social Studies likes to wear flowing robes and go for long walks in the desert."

To which J'dude replied, "And on water."

We didn't see him on Lake Michigan, though.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Kleenex..um...Art?

A new trend at our home among the younger set- when one is angry or frustrated or maybe having really bad cramps....use Kleenex to make your feelings known.

After a bad baseball game, or really bad cramps....this is the scenery we find.  Sometimes the younger set asks permission to use Kleenex as a form of self-expression.  Other times it just appears.  In any event, the older set approves of this method of self-expression as opposed to ....well, other methods that might be more destructive or loud.  This is effective but quiet.

And now, the photo you've all been waiting for...


Thank goodness for the volume discounts on Kleenex at Costco!


Saturday, July 19, 2014

Summer Wind-Up Winds Down

This has been a wind-down week for our summer sports.  Sisi had her final swim meet of the summer, and her best one yet.  She completed all her events without any goggle malfunctions and improved her 50 yard backstroke time by 5 seconds!  Her relay team for the 200 free style came in only 1 second too slow to qualify for the regional meet.  She was smiling "very bigly" as we left the Shirk Center last Sunday.  And on Wednesday she got 2 fifth place ribbons for her backstroke and breast stroke races.  She was very proud.

And she said the secret to keeping your goggles on in a race is to make them so tight that you feel like it's making you nearsighted.



J'dude's baseball season ended Thursday night with a difficult loss, 3-2, in game 3 of the playoffs.  He pitched a perfect 6th inning, but the damage had been done in the inning before.  It was a hard loss for him.  I think it might have been easier if it had been a big blow-out.  Seemed to make it worse that they could have beat this team on another day.

There's always next year.  And he had a great year, both with excellent pitching and his hitting really improved this year too.  In a day or two the dust will settle and he'll remember that.  

We watched a fascinating documentary last night on Netflix...The Battered Bastards of Baseball.  Bing Russell, known for his role as the sheriff on Bonanza, and also as Kurt Russell's father, started an independent minor league baseball team in Portland in the 70's.  The team was unconventional in a number of ways, and in spite of not having any major-league affiliation, came close to winning the A-level championship a few years.  It's worth a watch!


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dinner for the Modern Family, a Play in Three Acts

First, J'dude and Ironing Man must leave for hair appointments with the fabulous Aubrey.  (We all go to Aubrey, except for Sisi who goes to...a pair of scissors in her room when the tangles get unmanageable.)

So, while they are with the Fab-Aub, I make Sisi some spaghetti and pesto, so she can carb-load before swim practice.

I drop her off at the pool, then head downtown Bloomington to pick up J'dude who is "starving" and so I make his spaghetti and he eats it with Ragu Extra Chunky Mushroom red sauce, cold, and about 3 cups of parmesan cheese per ounce of pasta.

He heads out to cut the grass since he is no longer starving.

Ironing Man swings by the pool to pick up Sisi after his fabulous hair appointment (I received text that he now looks Suave and Deboner) and she finishes practice.  I'm home, boiling more water, and making more spaghetti noodles, and cooking hamburger to put in our Bertolli red sauce with garlic/olive oil/basil.

...the end

Epilogue...speaking of fabulous hair - I'm trying to go through the process of growing out my color and going back to nature, which these days is so White You'd Think It was An Add for Clorox.  So here's my plan...I'm going as a skunk for Halloween.

If I can't stand it, I'll just have to go as a witch!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Swimmin' and Swingin' Through Summer

It seems like this summer is being spent behind the wheel of a car, behind the baseball diamond backstop, and up in the balcony of IWU's natatorium.  Sisi swims---teaching kids in the mornings at Fairview Pool, hanging out with friends at the same pool in the afternoons during summer camp, and twice a week at IWU where she practices with her swim team, The Funky Fish.  So named for their coach, Coach Fish.   J'dude practices or plays 2-3 times a week, and pitches at least an inning or 2 most games.  Last Friday he pitched 4 innings.  And I have to say that if he could have pitched all six innings of the game they would have beat that pesky team that they have lost to twice.  But at his tender age, 5 innings is the limit and his coach knows that 4 is better for him.   And so it goes.

Today, though, we had no swim practice or games in the evening.  I finished working this afternoon, came home and took a lovely nap.  So perhaps I should have titled this Swimmin', Swingin', and SNORIN' Through Summer.  And after my nap I ate dinner, prepared by Ironing Man.  Then J'dude and I did the dishes.  Now everyone is reading, or at least quietly pretending to do so.  I love these serene evenings at home, even as much as I love watching the little people do what they love.



Sunday, June 8, 2014

It Was Just One of Those Days

Swim meet in Springfield.  Event 1, 50 yard freestyle.  Sisi dives in off the block, all goes well, she does not swim her best time but she feels content about her swim.  Event 2, 100 yard breast stroke.  This is the stroke she has practiced most in the week before the meet.  We even got up early on Friday and went to the pool at 630 so she could work on it some more.  What we didn't anticipate was a goggle malfunction.

The goggles slipped off and down around her neck, essentially making her feel like she was choking.  There may have been some water-swallowing along the way.  She had to walk to the end of the lane and climb out, gasping a bit.  Coach Tommie did a great job of calming her down, reassuring her that her whole first year of swim meets might have snafus as she learns, and that stuff like that "happens to absolutely everyone."

Event 3 was at least an hour and a half later.  That's a long time to walk around and let worry build in your brain.  So that when she got in the water for her 100 yard backstroke, she was scared poop-less about choking again.  After the event (which she did finish) she was crying in the locker room because she was afraid she'd always have that feeling every time she got in a pool.

About halfway home from Springfield, after a short pep talk from her mom and 15 minutes of distracting video games, she announced in a cheerful voice "ok, that's over"  and then she asked her big brother for advice.

J'dude said when he messes up in a baseball game (which he would hardly admit EVER happens, well okay he strikes out a lot), he remembers there will be lots of other chances.  And, he added, it's just little league (not, for example, the 7th game of the World Series when the Cubs finally have a chance to win it all -- example provided by his mom, of course)

As it turns out, we drove straight from the meet to one of his games.  He pitched well, but struck out a lot.  And they lost.

Likewise for California Chrome, who I must say looked like he enjoyed running WITH the other horses instead of ahead of them.  

At the end of the day, all I can say is that we had a beautiful rain, then the stars came out last night brighter than I have seen them in years, and ....CUBS WIN, CUBS WIN!!





Thursday, May 8, 2014

'Scuse Me While I Kiss the Sky

Right, it's from Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze.  (I hope.)  Because I'm on a Color Roll now and the color of the day is purple.

But first a slight glance backward at the past 2 days of black and blue. (Don't worry, not that kind of black and blue.)

Tuesday evening we attended Sisi's 5th grade orchestra concert.  She's there in the front row wearing a black suit and a blue bandana.  And looking quite musically inclined, because she is!


Wednesday the little maestra turned 12.  She asked for a pound cake with no frosting, and she wanted it to be blue. Of course.  We compromised on a pound cake with blue swirls and part of it unfrosted.  The breaking of the cake into 3 pieces was my idea.  Ok, it was an accident for which I take full credit.



My other great idea was to invite 3 of her friends from school to walk home with her and have cake, but not to tell her they were going to do that.  Somehow she didn't not figure out that they were actually coming to the house with her until they all got here, and even then she was surprised.  Happy Birthday Sisi!


Today it's a purple haze in the backyard.  Lilacs


Hint of purple on the rhubarb stalks

Phlox!


This little guy isn't purple, but he looked so cute I added him to the mix.  (Not my creation, found on plant trellis at a garage sale!)


Now if we have some Purple Rain the garden will look great!  


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Parkland Bluebells

The Player and I went to Parklands for a short hike yesterday afternoon because it was a beautiful spring day, because it was my last Monday off work (going to a 5-day per week schedule next week) and because we heard that "the bluebells are out at Parklands."  We heard that information on good authority from a fellow at church who hikes there a lot.

So the first half mile or so on the hike we saw

trillium

violets

forget me nots


periwinkle

and finally just a few meager bluebells

but then, o then, o my, we headed down close to the Mackinaw and were transported into Bluebell Acres:


Carl Sagan would have said there were Billyuns and Billyuns of Bluebells!





Monday, May 5, 2014

Blue Monday

J-dude requested I make THIS today -



And indeed I shall make Berry Blue Jello.  But first I will annoy my son by singing all the songs I can remember with "BLUE" in the title.  And I will have help from Ironing Man.  We will start with Blue Velvet...harmonizining on the dum dum duuuum parts.  J-dude will ask how do we both know this song.  He will finally decided is it because you guys are OLD and we will have to agree with that assessment.  But wait!  We are not done.

I will start singing Blue Suede Shoes, which will earn me a slightly smaller eye roll from J-dude.  Then Ironing Man will remember Blue Hawaii.  Night and youuuuuuuu.... yes that earns a little more of the orbital rotation than my shoe song.  

Next I will break out Tommy James and the Shondells Crystal Blue Persuasion.  We are definitely on a roll now...yes, an eye roll roll.  

But then, an amazing thing will happen.  J-dude will look over at the OLD people bopping around the kitchen, and say "Devil in a Blue Dress."  I will first think he might be talking about me, but I will only wearing a blue t-shirt.  Well, I will have pants on too of course.  But they are red.  (Yes, of course unmatched PJs, I wouldn't wear red pants out of the house.)  So I think he will be playing the OLD people's game.  

I can't wait until he asks for Red Jello.  Because then we can get Grandad to play Red River Valley on his harmonica!!


Monday, April 28, 2014

Oh Where O Where Has My Little Kim Gone?

Here I am.   Well, that was a long and successful game of Hide and Seek on Blogger.

Here is what's been up in our realm.  Kids have been driven to 17 different activities including baseball practice, swim practice, birthday parties, the mall, and to a friends house for "Dinner and a Movie Night"  (every other Friday.)

I have been working.

I have been working on a mosaic table top for church.  It is almost done, but I had to order more beautiful Blue-Avio tiles  from Tiny Pieces in Chicago to finish up. The Tiles are In The Mail.

Ironing Man took a trip to Ohio to visit his kids and a friend.  We missed him here, especially the day I had to clean house and do laundry.  Everything was so ... wrinkly without him.  Sigh.

But he's back!  Hurrah!

Yay!

I am trying to stick to the Exercise (almost) Every Day Plan.. walking or bike-riding, and so far it's gone pretty well.

I've taken some fantastic naps.  In fact I took one today while I was planning to finish reading The God of Small Things, this month's book group book.  It was a fine, fine nap.  And the book is well written and...so very very sad I can hardly bear it.  It makes me need to sleep between chapters.   I read it years and ago and forgot how very-sad-I-can-hardly-bear-it it is.

Tonight the girl-child has Junior High Orientation.  Where O Where does the time go?



Saturday, April 5, 2014

Death to Pop-Ups

I can't get rid of them.  Since my boy used my computer to play some downloaded game that I did not know about, they are everywhere.  I'm sure it's a virus/malware/crazy kind of mess-up in my laptop.  I am tired of the frequent in-my-face "You Might Enjoy Reading..."  and "Click Here if You Don't Speak Spanish."

Pero si, hablo espanol!  Basta!

Speaking of viri (wouldn't that be a great plural for virus?), ok, viruses...we watched The Dallas Buyer's Club on DVD last night.  I was completely blown away by the transformation of both Matthew McConnaghy and Jared Leto.  They won their Oscars for good reason.  And I had no awareness of the existence of the antiviral drug "buyers clubs" that existed during the time of the drug trials for combatting HIV in the 80's.   Desperation is the mother of invention, too.

Thank goodness for better options now.  I just wish I could find the right dose of the right substance to get my computer virus under control.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Roll-over Reversal




Last Saturday we headed out to cousin Kermit's house where The Player rode along on 4-wheelers with the kids and I stood idly by taking photos.  You can see how happy he was about this arrangement!




The kids enjoyed themselves, and after it was all over The Player took a spin on one of the 4-wheelers by himself.  J-dude, ever cautious, watched him and said "Jeez, he's going so fast he's gonna flip that thing!"  Yes, J-dude is going to enjoy being the parent of a teenager someday, I can already see the high blood pressure in his future.


The only other critter that didn't ride along was Sam, who I believe is a distant cousin of our Samarra.
Good boy, Sam!



Monday, March 31, 2014

Whirlwindy Tour of the Windy City

Sisi and I headed to Chi-town on the train last weekend, for a couple days of Girl Time. 

First we fortified ourselves with a heart breakfast at Lou Mitchells.  "Best breakfast ever " said Sisi.

 
Then we headed to the Art Institute where Sisi took 157 photos of the miniatures in the Miniature Room.  You will not be required to look at all 157, so do not run away just yet.

 
We checked into our room on the 29th floor of the Swissotel (there is supposed to be a pointy hat-shaped accent mark over the O ) where from the end of the hall we could see Navy Pier.  No sailors, though.
 

 
We had the un-upgraded Hotwire Room Plan, so the view from our room was not quite so expensive.

 
After a rest and some dinner we headed to Orchestra Hall for a free event, Riccardo Muti rehearsing with the Civic Orchestra.  That was a fabulously inspiring music rehearsal of some of the best young musicians in Chicago for my little viola player.  They played several suites from Romeo and Juliet, by Prokofiev.   In case you are wondering, it was not all work and no play.   Muti is quite the comedian as well.  And he told a long touching story about Prokofiev who died on the same day as Stalin, which of course caused his own funeral to be delayed for days and more or less ignored in Russia.  But, as Muti said, "which one are we celebrating still today?  Not Stalin."
 


As Sisi says, Lets take a Selfie!

Monday we headed to the Natural History Museum for the Biomechanics exhibit, but first we stopped by the Culture Center to look at the beautiful architecture and to listen to some harp-and-flute music in the rotunda.


 
and while we were there...
 
 


After more music and the biomechanics exhibit, we had to get our bags and head back to the train.  While I was in Chicago I realized I might become famous, just because of my first name - lookie here!

 

 
 
Quick trip home with time for just one more...

 
 
We arrived home safe and sound.  J-dude and The Player were waiting for us at the train station.  J-dude missed his sister so much that he said, "Those were the two longest days of my life.  It felt like you were gone a month."
 
I guess it's tough not having anyone to bother for 48 hours when you're 12. 
 
p.s.  It's opening day and The Cubs are in First Place.  (yes, their game is not over yet.)
 
 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Who Wants to be a Billionaire?

I admit it, I entered the Warren Buffett NCAA March Madness challenge, subjecting myself to stupid emails from Quicken Loans, just to see if I could win a billion dollars.

To win, one must predict the winner of all 63 games in the tournament.  Nearly impossible.  I made my best guesses and submitted my Bracket.  Then I went to work. 

While I was working, I got a text from The Player.  I had picked the wrong team in the very first game.  HAhaHAHAha!

Dang, so now I have to keep going to work.

At least I haven't been struck by lightening, which I believe is more likely than winning the challenge.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Well, I'll be a Bunkle's Uncle

I got a postcard in the mail today.  It was an invitation to a family reunion.  For a family of which I do not believe I am a member.

HUAC:  Ms Tingley, Are you or have you ever been a member of the McCarty family?

Me:  Huh?

Here are the events planned for said reunion:
 
Pot luck in Kinmundy, bonfire at a Winery in Alma,  Breakfast at Denny's in Salem.   Hmm.  Where are those towns? 
 
And who is that horse in the photo?    She's ready for her close-up, Mr DeMille...
 
Is that Joe McCarty?  From the HUAC?  Oh, no sorry, mistaken identity.
 
 
You may be wondering how I received an invitation to this reunion.  I'm wondering, too.  Here is the address on the other side.  They had my first and last names correct, my zip code to 9 digits, and wait, that's not My middle name.
 
 
 
 

Will the REAL Kim Dunkle please stand up?


 
 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

I Hab a Code


My nose is running and my feet are smelling...wait, no, that's wrong.  My nose is runny and I'm sneezing a lot.  I have a small bottle of hand sanitizer that never leaves my side and I sent Ironing Man to the store for yet more Kleenex yesterday.  And some Tylenol.  And some Ricola cough drops because I also have a sore throat. 

Yes, I hab a code!

And I am in the process of buying a car.  Ironing Man's vehicle has something more serious than a cold...pneumonia?  TB?  Iron-poor blood?  We think it might be time for vehicle hospice.  Or for it to go to a teenager who is learning to drive and who has parents that appreciate a car that doesn't really want to go too fast or too far.  In any event, my car is getting up there in years and miles and with my work, I need reliable wheels for country roads.

So I test-drove a fancy slightly used car yesterday with lots of electronic bells and whistles.  It kind of freaked me out.  I opted for an up-to-date version of my basic Hyundai Elantra, this time in dark blue.  And....ta da...heated seats!!!  I really wanted heated seats after this winter.  And now that it is nearly spring I will get them!

So I pick up my new vehicle tomorrow after work.   I hope I don't sneeze all over it first thing.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

What do You Get the Super-hero Who Has Everything?

The Player likes to iron.  The kids like Super-Heroes.  They recently came up with a new moniker for him..."Ironing Man."  Costumes vary in degree of wrinkledness depending upon whether he is in action or in an undercover disguise.  There was also some debate about what body part the steam would shoot from.  The kids are pre-teens after all. 
 
Here, on his ironing board, is my Valentine's Day gift to him.
 
 
The lid slides out!  Pretty cool, huh!?  And it's not just a mosaic, it's...
 
 
Yes, ENERGY!  Something every parental figure needs in spades.  This energy isn't in spades, it's in rocks and tiles and trinkets from thrift stores and Hobby Lobby.