November 30, 2008

How a 3 year old decorates the tree

This year, our look is "clumping" and for about 1/3 up the tree.
But at least he's been hell-bent on regularly "fixing" it with his stash of tools.

November 29, 2008

Holiday spirit is starting to creep in

I've been a total grinch this year. Some have called me Scrooge. (But that's totally wrong. If I were Scrooge, I'd actually have some money left. So Grinch it is.) I always have a hard time this time of year. Add in the constant low pressure on my body, Beerman's constant travel/stress, and the whole Riley sadness, and considering I don't start from the height of optimism anyway, I haven't been in the best of spirits. I told Beerman it was his job to start decorating the house while I worked. It wasn't until we started to examine what we had to put up that I realized all over again just how much we'd lost in the June floods. Even the angel for the top. So, off I went to Steins to stock up on ornaments and a new tree topper - a star, according to C-man's instructions. And in that hour of shopping and way too much spending and singing along with the bad Christmas music piped in overhead, I started to feel a little happier about the holidays.

November 28, 2008

Black Friday

For those of you who don't work in retail, happy day-off-after-Thanksgiving. For those of us who do, here's to those who are out shopping. Here's a recap from yesterday:

And because in my family, this one rings true:

November 27, 2008


It's taken me a while to come up with a list of things I'm thankful for this year. Yeah, I know, that says a lot about this year. So this is my humble list:
  • Happy, healthy, beautiful, sassy son, otherwise known around here as C-man
  • A husband who has been by my side for almost 9 years now (7 1/2 of them married)
  • 2 loveable, huggable, naughty dogs
  • 2 solid jobs that compensate in above-average ways in an economic time that doesn't typically do that
  • Riley's radiation treatments have given him some real pain relief
  • While him having cancer is a bummer, knowing how precious our time is with the little furface makes every hug that much more special
  • C-man goes to a school he really likes and is learning a lot while he's there
  • Costco. God bless them for building a store by my house
  • A freezer full of beef
  • A new roof on the house
  • That 2008 is almost done. Bring on 2009!

November 26, 2008


Ah, the day before Thanksgiving, and it's a half-day. I'm, of course, working Black Friday. (retail close on Black Friday? Are you crazy?) Anyhow, I have a chiropractic appointment and need to make the cranberries for tomorrow. Beerman's on his way home. In other words, I'm free until 4 p.m. Mwah-ha-ha-ha! I'm feeling a Quantum of Solace coming on... ************** Speaking of movies, here is the Jen's rating system for this weekend's viewing on a 5-point scale:
  • Bolt: 4 stars - please remember that I'm rating this from the perspective of a 3 1/2 year old
  • Twilight: 4 stars - the only reason it doesn't get 5 is because I kept waiting for Cedric Diggory to win the tri-wizard cup. Totally wrong choice for Edward.
  • Get Smart: 3 stars - entertaining, but drawn out
  • Handy Manny: 5 stars - I mean, come on, talking tools!

November 25, 2008

To Santa or Not To Santa

This is our make or break it year. Do we play into the Santa game with C-man, or do we roll with our lives, continuing to be truthful to him? I remember vividly finding out about Santa Claus and being angry. It was never a fun game to me. A strange man climbing into my house, looking over me all the time, people constantly pestering me about what he was going to bring me, and then finding out I'd been lied to about it all. I remember knowing he wasn't real, but having to play along because it would somehow hurt the feelings of those around me. And it's happening already with C-man. We can't talk to someone without him/her saying, "What's Santa bringing you?" It's so frustrating! Why does everyone assume we're playing along with this charade? And if we don't play along, we have a whole host of other issues. Like, how do we teach a 3 1/2 year old what the rules are? Most parents lie to their kids about this strange fat man but we've chosen to not do that to you? I know I'm in the minority in the no-Santa thing, but it just doesn't sit right with me. And I know I'm going to have to decide soon. But until then, I wish people would just shut it about the whole Santa thing because I don't think it's their decision to make for us.

November 24, 2008

I win the "I have the naughtiest kid in the class" award

C-man had his Thanksgiving celebration at school today. He's been loving this song and singing it nonstop around the house:

And who doesn't love the fat turkey song:

And THIS is when he starts to get squirrley... Ironic, since they're singing about obedience.

Ramping up

At least he isn't the kid jumping up and down, but the teacher does have to physically put him where he needs to be:

Nothing says Thanksgiving like a song about pizza:

This is where he's mad at me because I'm leaving and not taking him with me. This is also the turkey he made on which his teacher commented, "I didn't have to look at the name on the back to know THOSE were C-man's."

I'm apalled, and it's not even 9 a.m.

This post will make use of the poignancy of my child, and one of his favorite phrases: Are you kidding me?! 1) A $20 billion bailout for Citigroup, and we're still talking about the auto execs and their private jets and waffling on whether it would be a good idea to float a $25 billion loan to the Big 3? Citigroup - the bank that just raised its banking fees AGAIN another 10% to consumers. Citigroup - the bank that is laying off 50,000 workers. Citigroup - a friggin' bank! If they can't make money, then maybe THEY should be eliminated by the free market. 2) And today, I woke up to this: Ugh... C-man has his Thanksgiving celebration at school today, so I'm hoping the day turns up from here.

November 23, 2008

Christmas Wishes

C-man: "I know what I want for Christmas, Mom!" Me: "Really? What?" C-man: "A kitty!" Yeah, um, no.

November 21, 2008

Fridays with Riley

Go already, so I can get my breakfast!
Riding in the car.
Looking out the window, wishing he was outside instead of in here.
Waiting not so (groan) patiently... And still waiting...
Sleeping it off at home.
Awake but irritated.

November 20, 2008

Blasts from the Past

Maybe it's that the holiday season nearing. Maybe it's the fact that I have a blog and a website and leave my real name on anything I sign online and therefore am incredibly easy to find if someone is at all curious. Or maybe I'm just that unforgettable. (I'm voting for that one, by the way.) But in the past week, four, yes FOUR blasts from the past have appeared out of nowhere from different points in my life. And I love it. I think it's great hearing where people are now... the marriages, babies, moves, jobs, vacations. I love thinking about where I was back then when they were in my life. And I love thinking about where I am now as a result of it all. Sure, it'd be fun to dive back in time for a day or twelve. Who doesn't want to be young and careless, even for the briefest of moments, again? But to go back and actually live in those days... Those anxious days of not knowing what was ahead... Will I finally fall in love? Will I ever have money? Will I find a job I like instead of dread? Will I ever find that happy, satisfied place in my life everyone looks for? Will I find a perfect pair of jeans that make my ass look cute? I'm thankful for the goods and the bads and wouldn't change any most of them. In the meantime, I'll embrace and hold on to those in my past who show up again to remind me of just where I'm still heading. And after all, it's a whole lot of fun reminiscing about crazy days of yore with those who were there alongside me.

November 19, 2008


Last night I took a trip to Kewaskum Frozen Meats:
To pick up Bessie. 156 pounds of Mmmmmmmm....

Top 10 reasons why I think we need to bail out the Big 3

  1. 1 in 10 jobs in America is affected by the Big 3.
  2. It’s serves to effectively punish American manufacturing workers for the horseshit healthcare system in this country. Why are they getting $70 an hour? Healthcare costs!
  3. A huge reason our economy didn’t go into a flat-out depression after 9/11 was due to GM’s 0% financing deal. If something happens again, do you think Honda and Toyota are going to bolster our economy?
  4. 2.5 million jobs would be lost in the first year. And these aren’t jobs that can just up and transfer to another industry. Let’s look at how much our government spends retraining and relocating these people!
  5. We suspended campaigns and raced back to Washington to hand out $700 billion to the banks who gave predatory loans to low income households but not willing to give $25 billion to save what’s left of our manufacturing base? Really?!?
  6. In 1980 we guaranteed $1.5 billion of private loans to Chrysler, which was much smaller than GM is today. The government made $400 million on the deal. Why would we think today would be any different?
  7. No country in the world would let its manufacturing industry fail like we have ours.
  8. National security. Where do you think things get built for our military?
  9. Unlike others we’ve bailed out already, most of the Big 3 employees haven't seen raises for years. Yes, I know, some executives are getting bonuses and riding in their private jets. So fire them and put new people in place. Or demand they stop doing that, like we did with AIG. But don't fault the assembly worker for their assinine behavior.
  10. Do you like buying things? Go against the bailout and watch the dollar drop so low you won’t be able to see it in the depths of the abyss into which it’ll fall.

November 18, 2008

Head in the Ass Syndrome

There have been a lot of bugs going around already this season, causing sniffles and sneezes and other disgusting effects. But I need to warn you about one that I've seen pop up a lot this week... I'm calling it "Head in the Ass Syndrome". If you encounter someone with this ailment, don't just walk, but run away. From what I can tell, it must be highly contagious, because I'm seeing its symptoms EVERYWHERE!!! ARRGH!

November 17, 2008

A little bit overwhelmed

I'm pretty good in the midst of a crisis or chaotic event. But after? Forget it, I'm a total mess. I think my natural reaction is to go in and then stay in a complete state of denial until I don't need it anymore, and then all hell breaks loose. And I think all hell is on the verge of breaking loose. The roof is on. Riley's radiation appointments are set and my vacation days are taken for them. The laundry and dishes are clean (well, mostly). The fridge is full. And here come the holidays... And the request for gift ideas. And the endless stream of bills to pay for the last couple of weeks and upcoming months. And work projects to get done in record time. And appointments to be made and somehow kept when my vacation is going toward doggie radiation. And white day and pajama day and crazy hair day and spirit day and snack day and chapel money day to remember. And... I could go on and on and on but it stresses me out even more. The last couple of nights I've woken up with such heartburn I couldn't sleep. And since I'm usually not a heartburn kind of girl, I think my body has been telling me what my mind has been refusing to figure out - I'm getting pretty wigged out. Deep breaths...

November 16, 2008

Stinky feet balls

This morning I made pão de queijo. It never fails that whenever I make them, Beerman sniffs the air and proclaims, "Ahhh, stinky feet balls again." (Really, they're Brazilian mini cheese breads made with yucca flour and some aged cheese. Totally edible and delicious if you've got a taste for them). Apparently it's a taste he hasn't quite acquired yet. ********************** And because Harry's been jealous of all the attention we've been giving to Riley, here's a glamour shot of him shortly after stealing a stinky feet ball pão de queijo.

November 15, 2008

November 14, 2008

Riley goes to radiation

Come back soon, Riley!
C'mon, let's go, people!
Laying on the pillow in the car.Let me out of here!Okay, if you're not letting me out, then I'll lay down right here.
A really swollen joint
Jennifer killing time at Dunkin Donuts
And at Hobby Lobby, and the outlet mall, and Target... you get the picture without needing all the pictures...
Let's go home!
All marked up

November 13, 2008

Sometimes he's so sweet, I cry

Last night while getting ready for bed, C-man says, "I wanted to say a prayer for Riley today, but my teacher wouldn't say it. And I had it all thinked up." "Was it Mrs. D?" (Mrs. D knows about Riley) "No, she was getting our hot lunch, it was Mrs. B." "Oh, do you want to say it now?" "Yes." "Dear God. Please take care of Riley and make him feel all better. He really needs that. Amen." I don't think I've ever heard a better prayer in my life...

November 12, 2008

Dog Tired

Everyone has been working, well, like dogs around our house lately. Well, except for Harry who actually is a dog. He just gets his daily dogwalk while poor Riley has to wait behind because he still isn't walking so great. As soon as Rusty sits down Harry pounces on him like he is his own personal dog massager. But 9 p.m. seems to be as late as anyone can handle these days.

But the good news is that the roof work is progressing nicely. (Sorry, cellphone photo and it was dark when I left this morning). Hopefully the rain stays away long enough to get this project done.


In Riley news, his bisphosphonate treatment last week seemed to help a bit, but not to the success we wanted. So, I'm taking Friday off to truck him to Aurora, Illinois for a radiation treatment. (I live in a city of 1.5 million and there is no friggin' radiation facility here. So frustrating!) His oncologist said that we'd know after the first treatment what effect it would have, if at all. I figured with that response verification, I'd try it out before going ahead with an amputation. I'm really not optimistic about the radiation. The cancer just seems to be moving so quickly. But, I'll try it and see.

November 11, 2008

Tuesday Favorites

1. David Tate Denver boots I just got these from Zappos, and am pretty much in love with them. They're soft, comfy, and cheap.
2. Laura Mercier stick foundation in bare
I got this the other day when I got my facial with cousin R. (She goes by her full name instead of her shortened nickname at work). I'm in love with not having to goop any liquid on or throw powder on after. 3. Voltaren Gel
My hands have been pretty useless the last couple of days. While normally an 80 wpm typer, I think I'm about 30 wpm today. This is what keeps me from shouting in pain while doing it.
4. The Borowitz Report
It never disappoints with articles like this and this.
5. Certainteed shingles in Burnt Sienna
Nothing says "Oh my God, I think they're on the downside of this damn project that's causing me to hemorrhage money" like seeing those sweet, sweet brown shingles up on my roof.

November 10, 2008


Why is it that even after the workers are happily snoring away, that pounding is all I can hear in my head? I'm so thankful for those who have come to help us, namely because it's saving us tens of thousands of dollars but man, I am going to be glad when this project is done.

November 9, 2008

Still Roofing

The back of the house is officially "sheeted". WAY too many punch-drunk jokes about that, by the way. Working hard on the front:
It looks like a roof, and the neighbors can't believe their eyes:
Trying to finish the garage before dark
Bill, Rusty and Eric on the garage:
Beerman and Dad cutting the sheets:

Walking Away Arthritis