Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Secrets...

Doesn't SNL have a sketch where some voice over announcer will whisper dramatically "Seeecrets" and then someone famous will confess to outrageously contrived lies? Well, this voice-over is what's playing in my head for the latest Round Robin Photo Challenge (the topic is SECRETS, of course).


I love my bedroom furniture. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it at Huffman Koos. It's a California style wallbed in pickled oak (has a nice pinky-purple hue to it). The sales lady showed us the matching dresser with triple mirror and dramatically whispered to me "it has a secret..." as she pulled open one of the side mirrors to reveal a pegged storage space for hanging ties, belts, scarves or jewelry...whatever. Neat! The idea of having a secret compartment in my bedroom appealed to my inner 9 year old who loved reading stories about treasure maps and other precious things hidden in secret places and hidden compartments.


But it wasn't until the furniture was delivered and set up that the rest of my furniture's secrets were revealed. The delivery guy demonstrated how to adjust the hinges on my armoire and night-table cabinets and how to remove the drawers and, almost as an after-thought, he said, "Oh, and do you know about all the hidden compartments?" I mentioned the mirrors and he said, "Oh, there's lots more!"


I was enchanted as he showed all the hidden nooks and crannies (pictured is one of them hidden under the molding at the top of one of the upper side cabinets on the bed). I used to hide my best jewelry in there when we went on vacation. I've grown a little lazy since our home alarm system was installed. Neat, eh?!


Other participants in this week's challenge:


Patrick - http://astopatwilloughby.blogspot.com/


Lahoma - http://journals.aol.com/mzgoochi/LahomasLaments/


Promise - http://journals.aol.com/promiseluv372/PromiseMe/


Dorn - http://journals.aol.com/dornbrau/ThroughtheEyesoftheBeholder


Karen - http://journals.aol.com/mavarin/MusingsfromMavarin/


Betty - http://journals.aol.com/rap4143/MyDayMyInterests/


Carly - http://journals.aol.com/ondinemonet/Ellipsis/


Mary - http://journals.aol.com/alphawoman1/Alphawomansblog


Sara - http://journals.aol.com/shedrawsanime/PhotographicMemories/


Debbie - http://journals.aol.com/psychfun/MeThinksTooMuch/


Renee - http://journals.aol.com/acyrlicstains/publish/


Phinney - http://journals.aol.com/geminiwilder/Paragon


Marie - http://journals.aol.com/mariebm56/PhotographsMemories

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Apples



We're back! What a great day for a field trip. Crisp, cool and sunny...nice! The only problem we ran into was it took so long to load and unload the kids from the bus that we only had like 15 minutes for the kids to apple pick! Even then, I think the school had to pay the driver some overtime charges. Ah well. Next time it will be smoother. This is a new school and this was the first outing.


I was in charge of 2 kids. My own and a little boy named Carson. What a sweetie he is! His legs are a lot shorter than Tyler's so as the boys were walking hand in hand, Ty was practically dragging Carson off his feet. He couldn't keep up! Heh. Carson also kept asking me to help him pick just one more apple...one more apple...one more apple. His bag was so stuffed I was afraid it was going to tear! On the ride back, Carson was laying his head on my hip to rest. So sweet!


I got some cute photos of both kids and printed out some copies for Carson's Mom. I'll leave them for her in Carson's mail folder at school tomorrow. He's one of the "all day" kids, so his Mom probably works full time.

I did ok with the walking today, but the bus was really hot so I was a tad overheated by the time we got back to school. Looks like I'm going to be the "hot" mom. No, not the prettiest one. The one that always looks beet red and sweaty on outings and at sporting events. LOL Oh well. There's always at least one in every crowd.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Help

*whimper*

I volunteered as chaperone on the preschool field trip to an apple orchard tomorrow. Lord help me! What was I thinking?!

Pictures to follow...

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Costume

This is selection number two. He loves them both! At this rate, maybe we'll dress him up twice and I can take him out first and John can take him out again later. Ha!



Tyler is Buzz Lightyear!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Sweetie

It's a joy watching Tyler try new things. Lately Tyler has been paying close attention to TV commercials. He figured out long ago that the products advertised actually exist in real life, but now he also realizes that if he asks for something he sees on TV, he just might get it. So he asks for EVERYTHING in the hopes we will say yes.


The latest thing my husband gave in to was a request for Lucky Charms cereal. Personally, I am much happier when Ty eats Cheerios or Kix (less sugar, more fiber) but it is fun watching the sheer joy on his face when he sees all those colorful marshmallow bits. What my darling husband often doesn't see is the aftermath.


Did you know that 3 bowls full of Lucky Charms will produce a pull-up full of NEON GREEN poo? That color just doesn't exist in nature. (And yes, we've made some progress on the pooping in the potty front but he will often put on his pull-up training pants himself and go hide to poop. So much for letting him run around here, commando style.)


And in other news... We have two costumes in the running for Halloween night. Exhibit A is shown here. Hopefully Exhibit B will come in the mail today so I can post it tomorrow. Then y'all can vote for your favorite.


Today I decided to hang out a while longer at preschool to really watch Tyler in action. He is a little stinker! He was clowning around and distracting the other kids during circle time. I was cringing a bit at how often his teacher had to correct his behavior. Nothing really awful, he just wasn't listening well and he was whispering and fooling around with the other kids. I'll have to have a talk with him later.


On the plus side, when circle time broke up Ty went to his cubby to retrieve a little something to show me. As I admired his work he announced that he had made it for me. I was so pleased! I asked him if he was sure he wanted to give his treasure to me and he said, "Yes! Because I love you!" Aww! Melty sappy mommy moment...


See my present! I'm going to wear it all day.


Monday, September 19, 2005

Shenanigans

A little tale from school...


How to stop the music: There were these two obnoxious guys who lived next door to John and his room mate. They used to play their stereo REALLY LOUD at all hours of the day and night. Not uncommon, it was college, after all...but the song they chose to play over and over and over? Blondie's Call Me. Good song, but not after the 50th play in a row. No one on their floor could sleep or study or think.


John got this brilliant idea. They shared a common wall with outlets on either side. If he could short out his outlet it would probably blow the one on the other side of the wall too. No more stereo. But how to do it...hmm.


John took an old broken radio and removed the power cord. He striped the wires on the cord and twisted them together but left the plug on the other end intact. The power would have no where to go and the result should have been to take out the outlet and possibly the circuit breaker too.


But who would be brave (or stupid) enough to plug this contraption into the wall? Not John! Judy was. (John suspected Judy liked him, but he was too chicken to do anything about it.) After some hesitation and debate, Judy snatched the plug out of John's hands and rammed it home into the outlet. The results were, indeed, explosive. Loud bangs and sparks shot out from the wall...and after what seemed an eternity, darkness. They had blown the circuit breaker for half their floor!


Alas...starting in the next room, the obnoxious boys were on a different breaker and the music played on. Call me! On the line! You can call me, call me anytime...


I wish I could have seen the look on the dorm monitor's face when John confessed to the crime.


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Awww!

And now for your gratuitous "aww" photo of the day:



Everyone say it with me now.... AWWWW! He's so cute!


Heh heh...


And guess what WE did for dinner?



Mmm! Yes, Tyler refused to remove his raincoat. He loves it.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Funny

John just related a funny conversation he had with Tyler. We are going out to eat with some friends of ours tomorrow night and one of them is expecting a baby. John mentioned our plans and told Tyler, "Pretty soon you can play with Uncle Norman's new baby!"

Tyler says, "I don't want to play with his baby. I want to play with my baby sister!"

So John explains it's going to be a while before we go get Ty's baby sister and that it will be a long trip. We're going to have to take a plane!

Ty says, "Oh no. A plane? Is there any other way to get there? Can we drive?"

John says no, there is an ocean in the way...no driving. We could take a boat, but it would take a really, really long time to get there that way.

Ty says, "Yeah! Let's take a boat. A SLOW boat!"

John watches my face for a moment to see if I catch the funny...then he says, "A slow boat to China!!?"

Then I laughed. I'm a bit slow tonight.



Totally off the topic, one of the links in my previous link experiment post I promptly emailed to my Dad. I knew he would find it interesting. He was excited and emailed me back with the following link:

Boeing RB-47H - National Museum of the US Air Force

This is the plane my Dad flew as a navigator with the 55th during the Cold War. He was at both the air bases they mention in this blurb. Pretty cool to know my Dad was such an interesting part of such a significant time in American history.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Politics

It takes a lot to get me riled up. I'm not upset about the increase in gas prices (I know the cause and I actually hope it will make people drive less). I don't particularly like all the decisions our current President has made, but I know this too will change. Like the weather, all you have to do is wait it out.

Taxes? A necessary evil. Everyone should pay their fair share. But THIS is where I get riled. Everyone is NOT paying their fair share around here. I won't even get into my thoughts on Social Security and Income taxes...what I want to rant about are our local real estate taxes. We currently pay about $8,000 a year on a house that the assessed value is $160,000. Am I crazy or is that insanely high? That's what I thought.

Now ordinarily around here your real estate tax only goes up when you buy a home. The town tax assessor takes advantage of that occasion to assess your tax burden based on the sale price of your home. Fine. I think it's fair to pay based on the current value of your home. But I think EVERYONE should pay based on the current value of their home. I think ALL the homes in town should be assessed on a regular basis and the tax burden allocated appropriately.

There are folks in town who bought their home decades ago, or inherited it from a family member and they are paying only a few hundred dollars in tax. The ones being screwed are the folks who recently purchased a home. Or, in our case, the ones the town decided to PICK on.

They recently decided to randomly reassess the value of homes in the area because they need more money to pay town debts. Who is being reassessed in this "random" deal? Only the homes that were built in the last 10 years. There aren't many of those around here. Just OUR development. We already pay an unfair percentage of the tax burden around here!

To add insult to injury? The assessor decided the sound barrier wall we installed in our basement to muffle the LOUD furnace down there has created a "partially finished basement" and added a 10 x 12 "room" to our home. How the hell is a room with exposed insulation and a huge furnace that takesup three-fourths of the space considered usable space?!?! So you know what this means?? We will be paying EVEN MORE since this increases the square footage of our home!!!

OK...homes in our development have been selling from around $350K to $420K. That's great...but the folks who buy them are SCREWED. Houses used to sell really fast here...now they sit for months and months. No one wants to buy if they are going to be paying these outrageous tax amounts. I don't blame them! I want to move away to somewhere with lower taxes because of this nonsense.

Homes in the older section around the corner have also sold for $300K. That means all the other homes are worth close to that much too. HELLO! The ENTIRE TOWN needs to be reassessed and some folks taxes should be lowered and some raised significantly. It's only fair. If EVERYONE was reassessed then I bet the increase wouldn't be that much, if the burden was shared equally based on real home valuation. Know what I mean?

I hope we can move soon. The folks in these older homes will fight just as hard to keep their taxes low. And there are WAY more of them than there are of us. They are probably loving the fact that us new construction folks are paying for their kid's education, snow removal, road repairs, etc.

Anyone know a nice place with good schools, nice weather (not too hot and humid), good high tech jobs, low taxes? Let me know.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Yawn

Well...day 2 of preschool got off on the wrong foot. Didn't sleep well last night, got up at 5am finally to rub on some sportscreme for my sore knee, forgot it has aspirin in it (warning...gross bit coming!), woke again at 6:30 to a familiar but ugly sensation and raced for the bathroom as I was hemorrhaging down my legs. *sigh*


My poor light taupe carpet. Thinking I should replace it with burgundy or deep purple. My usual visit from Aunt Flo turns into a scene from Texas Chainsaw Massacre...just add some sort of analgesic with blood thinning properties like aspirin and away we go. Ugh. Some days being a woman just sucks. (Try cleaning up a blood trail leading from your bed all the way to the bathroom, via flashlight, in the wee hours of pre-dawn.)


Needless to say, I was very groggy when I finally dragged myself out of bed at 8:45. Uh oh. Morning preschool starts at 9am. Will we make it? No way in hell. Got there at 9:45. I'm going to have to work my way into this early morning gig slowly, I think.


I also spent the morning listening to Tyler say "No school today...ok Mommy? I want to stay home with you." Oh boy. Here we go again. It took some artful persuasion, but I talked him into going. I had to agree to hang out at school for 36,052 minutes. Good thing Tyler has NO IDEA how long a minute really is.


There was this one little boy (Ethan) who broke my heart. The teacher was directing him in an art project and tears were just running down his face. He said, "But I want to draw a picture for my Mommy... Where did my Mommy go? Why did Grandma leave me here?" Ouch. He looked so lost and sad and the tears kept falling. I just wanted to scoop him up into my arms and hug him. This is the haunting image I drove home with...not the vision of Tyler having a ball with this giant magnet toy.


He's fine, Becky. He's just fine. He barely notices you are gone. And like yesterday, he won't even see you for like 10 minutes when you come back to get him...too busy having fun.


*sigh* Going to check and see if I got my password for the classroom internet camera system yet so I can peek in on my boy...

Monday, September 12, 2005

School

Today is turning into a big news day...


Tyler's first day of preschool! He was so excited! But it didn't go off without a hitch. He didn't want to eat lunch...that was expected. Right after lunch is a 2 hour nap! Ugh. That did NOT go over well. He hasn't napped in the afternoon in quite some time.


The assistant director finally suggested he go play with the kindergarten class through nap time and then rejoin his new classmates when they wake up. That's fine for today...but what about tomorrow? I finally had to bite the bullet and switch him to mornings. UGH! I have to get up, get dressed, get him dressed, fed and out the door 5 days a week?! YUCK!


I know, I know...some of you moms do this every day with your school aged kids. I just wasn't expecting to have to do it so soon. LOL bleh


Here is our little school boy:


Sigh. He looks so grown up, doesn't he?


In other news...Sparty ate solid food! YEEHA!!! I was starting to think the little pisser was never going to wean. He's as feisty as ever. Ankle biter, toe attacker, hand chewer...such pain. Then he'll crawl onto my chest, curl up under my chin and go to sleep (awww!) It's moments like this that give me hope. Check out his second favorite nap spot. My laptop puts out some serious heat, so I can see the appeal.



And finally, my SIL gave birth last night. Here is my new niece (welcome to the world, Emma):


*sigh*

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Chatham

Photo Album

We're back! Actually, we've been back since Tuesday, but I've been too burnt out (and burnt) to post. In addition to a nasty sunburn, I have other souvenirs from this weekend that I didn't want.


I wrote a four day blow by blow account of our weekend, but it's sitting on the husband's laptop still. I've asked him twice to email it to me, but he keeps forgetting. So I'll just do a fast recap. I don't think anyone really wants to read all the painful details anyway.


It took us 8.5 hours to drive there (multiple traffic nightmares). I was dressed in my best schlubby travel clothes (magic marker stained tee-shirt and stretch pants) and my hair looked like I was playing in a wind storm. Looking around, the rest of the hotel guests milling about the property looked like a photo spread from Town & Country magazine. I felt VERY out of place and under dressed. To add injury to insult? I tripped over the front step and fell sprawling into the lobby with a resounding thud.


I landed HARD on my left knee, hip and elbow. I was able to get back to my feet and I think I convinced all the people who came running to my aid that I was uninjured. Of course, that was a baldfaced lie. I was in agony! I could feel the blood seeping from my knee through my pants. Luckily they were black. I got us checked in and tried to ignore the waves of pain radiating up my leg and from my elbow.


(Check out the steps leading up to the hotel in my photo album above. I had to make my way back DOWN those steps. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.)


The pain from this weekend didn't abate. My parents who were so eager to spend time with their grandson? We barely saw them. They weren't interested in doing any of the activities that Tyler likes to do (pool, beach, park) so we basically only saw them for dinner each night. Our room? Not worth the money.


I probably should have gone to see a doctor. My knee and elbow swelled up and once I added sunburn on my right side on our first day out...I was unable to sleep. At all. I was also unable to walk well. Naturally our cottage was just close enough to the main hotel to make driving sorta ridiculous but just far enough to kill me.


On the plus side? I loved the pool...it was just the right temp for me. John thought it was too cold. The food was also fantastic. I happily ordered what ever I wanted (remember my Mother's bargain to pay for all our dinners? I held her to it.) Mmm! Seafood!


I'm putting up all the photos I took (both serious and silly) because I think some of you will appreciate the strange things I take pictures of. I didn't send most of these to the grands. They don't get me. The verdict? We won't be going back to the Chatham Bars Inn. It's not our cup of tea.


As for other news...John had his annual cardiac stress test today (he has mitral valve prolapse, a.k.a. MVP). Doc says his test results actually improved over last year. Yay! John needing valve replacement surgery or surgery to repair an aortic dissection (the thing that killed John Ritter) is one of those fears always eating me beneath the surface.


Ty starts preschool on Monday!! Eeeeek!


Um...oh yes. Sparty had his second checkup at the vet today. He got dewormed, one shot and has another appointment 3 weeks from now for more tests. Vet says he is doing well, gained lots of weight and seems healthy. Sparty was REALLY happy to see us when we got back from our trip. My pet sitter says he didn't like her. He hissed at her! LOL Feisty. And finally, today Sparty fell asleep on my chest. He has not been a real cuddly kitten (not since the first day I brought him home) so that was a nice change of pace. He may just win me over if he'll just start eating solid food too!


Lastly...I promised Jennifer that I would match any funds contributed in her little J-Land comment fund raiser. Details here: okay, so here's the deal...


OK, so I went a little overboard. The Red Cross got $250 from us. Are you a regular Amazon.com customer? They have one-click contributions to The Red Cross available at their site, to make it easy on you. I haven't posted anything about Katrina in my blog before now because I've been at a complete loss for words. I guess I'll just let my money do the talking.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Ouchie


Don't let that cute fuzzy face fool ya. He's an attack cat! I've got the bites and scratches to prove it. Since he is acting so feisty, I'm thinking he is ok. But he hasn't been eating as much and has had at least one bout of, as my Dad used to call it, "the trots". Poor kitty. I think his Stage 2 weaning formula may be a tad rich. So I am watering it down a bit more with extra KMR.



Pictured: Rosemary center cut pork loin chops sauteed in olive oil...behind my frypan are two trays of Stouffer's Cheddar Potato Bake (sin in a box; this stuff tastes like heaven but is illegal on every know diet on the planet no doubt!) and not in the frame, creamed spinach. Mmm mmm!


As for my rosemary pork chop recipe...it's so easy. Throw some olive oil in a frying pan, grab about 3 pinches of rosemary and rub it between you palms into the oil (that releases the rosemary oils and makes for better flavor), add some fresh ground black pepper to taste and a sprinkle of salt. Once the oil is hot, toss in your chops. Brown em a tad on one side, reduce the heat a smidge, flip the chops and put on a lid. Cook until the pork is no longer pink inside. Total...about 9 minutes depending on the thickness of your chops. It's fast and tasty.