October 30, 2010

Mistah Pott-ah

Yesterday was the school costume parade.  Since my weekend is crazy-making, I figured this should hold you over until I can get back here to actually write something.

October 29, 2010

Busy weekend ahead

  • I sent C-man off to school in his Harry Potter costume this morning.  Because I had to spray his hair dark, I'm now in the process of trying to get the black off my fingernails.  I'll worry about what ended up on his shirt later.  But he was pretty stinking cute, trooping off to the bus in his robe and tie.
  • I have no idea how we're going to get all that hair darkening spray out of his head.  And then we're doing it all over again on Sunday. Oy.
  • This weekend is crap merchandise drop-off for the school rummage sale.  I keep reminding myself that this thing pulls in close to $20,000 profit for the school, and it'll all be over in 8 more days.  Just 8 more days of crazy-making to go.
  • In the meantime, I've been in some crazy basements, rustling up things like 8' toboggans, Ball jars from the early 1900s and dusty lamp shades for old ladies who need help.  Although I do have to admit, going into some of these North Shore houses is pretty interesting.
  • Speaking of that, if you have crap awesome items to drop off, please do at 7600 N Port Washington Rd in Fox Point. 
  • I'm putting most of C-man's old clothes in the rummage sale. I just don't know enough people to give these things too, and I've totally run out of space.  To the rummage sale they go.
  • I've got someone coming for our old tricycle this weekend.  That's $10 more for the Thailand trip fund.
  • C-man is supposed to have swimming lessons this weekend, but I haven't heard from his instructor.  Guess I should call that kid.  He seems to have forgotten about us.
  • How is Haliburton at the heart of every horrible investigation?
  • I got more juice yesterday with an upped doseage. I can hardly move today. This is getting old.
  • You know what else is getting old?  I think I'm getting the foggy chemo brain.  Not like cancer patients, because the doseage I get of this crap is NOTHING compared to what they endure.  But names and facts that are always so simple and at the forefront of my brain, I now have to search for in the deep recesses of my mind. And focusing on anything for longer than 30 minutes is a long-lost dream. Now I know how the ADD kids feel.  And boy, is this really helping out my work performance!
  • At some point, I think we're going to buy our Easter break plane tickets this weekend.  That's very exciting stuff. I need something new and fun to look forward to that doesn't involve old, dusty stuff or doctors appointments.

October 28, 2010

Thursday Thirteen: Things I'm loving right now

I know I've posted other pictures of dragonflies, but I can't help myself. They're too cool to not post.
  1. The color blue
  2. This guy's photography.
  3. Delicious, local, unadulterated with fructose or Chinese honey, honey on Fage yogurt.
  4. The OPI Swiss Collection (From A to Z-urich, Just a Little Rosti at This, and Color so Hot it Berns)
  5. The book, Going Bovine.  It's a young adult book, but got such great reviews, I couldn't resist.  And I'm so glad I got it. It's sassy and fun.  Plus, it has a cow carrying a garden gnome on the front. How could I resist?
  6. My LG front loading washing machine. I know, totally lame. But you know that commercial with the lady who watches it spin? On hectic days, I've actually pulled up a chair to watch the clothes launder. I wish I were lying, but it's the truth.
  7. The game Penguin Catapult. Any time you can have penguins dive down and kill angry polar bears, you've got a winner in my opinion. (Yes, I know penguins and polar bears don't live together. It's a game. It's funny.)
  8. My Blowfish shoes.  They're so comfy and I get lots of compliments on them too.
  9. The last season of the Tudors, since it just came out on DVD.
  10. My free coffee card at my favorite coffee shop.  (Okay, I had to buy it, but trust me - I'll make that up in no time at all.)  It makes me feel special to get free coffee.
  11. That we're already planning our Easter break. I do love me some vacation. (Easter is incredibly late next year, by the way!)
  12. Playing chess with C-man. The child is 5 and has been schooling me on fianchetto and tarrasch defenses.
  13. That Beerman is on his way home after several days away.

October 26, 2010

Confusion

The seasons are truly changing. The leaves have turned colors and fallen off their branches.  And yet, a tornado just touched down nearby.  I think Mother Nature is as confused as I am lately.


October 25, 2010

Blur


I haven't had much to say lately.  No deep thoughts.  No real ponderings.  Mostly, because I've been in the pit of hell, pain-wise.  Which makes it all a bit of a blur.  And here I sit with a million to-dos in my personal life, professional life, and this school rummage sale that can't get over with fast enough.

I'm going to stop complaining now, but wanted to explain the randomness of the posts lately.  Here's to the rain leaving us quickly!
****************
Funny quote of the weekend - We went to get C-man's hair cut.  At one point, I looked up from my book and noticed she was cutting it pretty darned short.  As we left, I told C-man his hair looked nice, to which he replied, "I had to say "OW!" to get her to stop, because if she kept cutting it, I was going to be bald!"

October 24, 2010

Recap

"Country club casual" is going out to dinner at a nice restaurant on a Saturday night. No ties, but with coats. Women are usually short skirts, but not always. They all had giant heels though.

One night of beer tasting and standing on 4" heels makes me incredibly indisposed.

While out last night, my kid ended up at a 500 person costumed Halloween party in which he got to roll in candy. How does my 5 year old have a better social life than me?

Harry has taken to singing the whole way to the dogpark. It's not a howl, not a cry, but somewhere in between. It's very funny. Spoiled puppy.

October 22, 2010

Finally Friday

  • I'm reading The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson.  It's quite mystical, which I sometimes find hokey, but I'm really loving it.  As in, staying-up-yawning-with-my-eyes-barely-open-but-continuing-to-read-anyhow loving it.
  • Today, Beerman is celebrating his 15 year anniversary with his company.  I'm pretty sure I've never done anything for 15 years straight.  (The actual anniversary was in August, but this is the first time his boss has been back in the country long enough to do something.)
  • C-man is heading to a friend's house tonight, so Beerman and I are going out.  But we can't go to my favorite hangout, because that's where Beerman's going for his anniversary lunch.  And we go out so rarely, I don't want to waste it on a trendy new place that might be crap.  Where to go?  Where to go?
  • Saturday we're going to some swanky country club dinner thing.  And it's not a golf country club, but a tennis one.  Does it get more pretentious than that?  Yes, it does.  The dress is "Country Club Casual".  Can someone please explain what that means?
  • I caught my child flexing and sucking his stomach in while shirtless in front of the mirror this morning.  When I asked what he was doing, he told me he was making himself look "like a strong man".  I'm hiding the protein powder and electric razors now, just in case.
  • I'm one of the chairs for our upcoming school rummage sale.  We had a meeting last night that went 2 hours. I about died.  Then they wanted to chit-chat after. It gave me flashbacks to working for the Boy Scouts and the volunteers "kicking stones" outside the meetings for hours after. I politely said goodbye and bolted.  They're really, really great co-chairs, who are working their butts off, so I'm not complaining at all there. But there are very few things I can stand doing for 2 hours straight, and meeting about a rummage sale is not one of them... ugh.
  • Speaking of that, St. Eugene's School in Fox Point is holding its annual rummage sale on November 6th from 8 - 2.  You know, in case you're a rummager. Or you want to help my son's school.
  • November 7th is the annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk.  I'm really hoping after being on my feet all day and shlepping stuff around at the rummage sale, I'll be able to actually walk on the 7th.
  • I'm supposed to get more "juice" next Thursday.  Hopefully it'll actually help this time.  After almost 7 months, I'm kind of losing hope.

October 21, 2010

Moments in time

I take a lot of pictures.  In fact I'm taking pictures every day, whether I feel like it or not because I am doing this 365 project.  And some days just the thought of picking up my camera when I finally remember at 9 pm is exhausting.  But one thing I like about it is it has made me take notice of things around me a little closer.  And specifically, it's made me look at how quickly things change around me that I would normally let pass.

Like this picture.  I was out and about a week ago taking fall photos.  Yesterday I went to take more, because I had been thinking how I could improve on the shots I'd taken- only to find the vast majority of the leaves weren't on the trees anymore.  And the bridge over the ravine I'd been photographing- closed until someone can come up with the $1 million necessary for its repairs.  So those untaken shots will have to wait until next fall.

Sunrises, pink clouds, superman flights, a falling leaf - all things precious in the moment that will never be regained. All things I ignore too often, but am now taking notice of with my camera. And they are all things my child gets tired of me pointing out as we drive home from school.  ("Yes, Mom, the clouds are pink.  Can we talk about my Bakugan now?")  But maybe someday my attention to it will mean he'll better understand how precious each moment is too.

October 19, 2010

An *Uncle Bob poem about apples

 After Apple Picking
Robert Frost
My long two-pointed ladder's sticking through a tree
Toward heaven still.
And there's a barrel that I didn't fill
Beside it, and there may be two or three
Apples I didn't pick upon some bough.
But I am done with apple-picking now.
Essence of winter sleep is on the night,
The scent of apples; I am drowsing off.
I cannot shake the shimmer from my sight
I got from looking through a pane of glass
I skimmed this morning from the water-trough,
And held against the world of hoary grass.
It melted, and I let it fall and break.
But I was well
Upon my way to sleep before it fell,
And I could tell
What form my dreaming was about to take.
Magnified apples appear and reappear,
Stem end and blossom end,
And every fleck of russet showing clear.
My instep arch not only keeps the ache,
It keeps the pressure of a ladder-round.
And I keep hearing from the cellar-bin
That rumbling sound
Of load on load of apples coming in.
For I have had too much
Of apple-picking; I am overtired
Of the great harvest I myself desired.
There were ten thousand thousand fruit to touch,
Cherish in hand, lift down, and not let fall,
For all
That struck the earth,
No matter if not bruised, or spiked with stubble,
Went surely to the cider-apple heap
As of no worth.
One can see what will trouble
This sleep of mine, whatever sleep it is.
Were he not gone,
The woodchuck could say whether it's like his
Long sleep, as I describe its coming on,
Or just some human sleep. 
* We've often joked about Robert Frost being our Uncle Bob, since Frost is my mother's maiden name.

October 18, 2010

It's *yawn* Monday

It's Monday, and I totally feel hungover.  (I had a beer and a half all weekend, so it's not THAT)  What a busy weekend!  Saturday's party took so much out of me, I don't know if there's enough coffee in the world to make things right. I really resent my physical limitations, but resent them or not, they're a reality.  (All these months of toxic chemicals pouring into my body, and I feel crappier than I did a year ago. Go figure.) I've also learned, once again, that I just cannot drink alcohol. I pay for such a minimal amount so dearly, it's just not worth it.  Bummer.

So, we spent Sunday eating leftovers (mac and cheese for breakfast is quite tasty), taking down and packing up the tent and heaters, going to swimming lessons and seeing the First Stage's production of Peter Pan and Wendy.  It was the first time I'd taken C-man to see a play, although he'd seen a couple at school.  He absolutely loved it. Personally, I was a little weirded out by the high school kid playing Peter Pan, because he was wearing a fishing net shirt.  (Seriously? He couldn't have covered his nipples or scrawny arms?)  It was no Broadway production, but cute, nonetheless.  And now C-man's totally revved up for the next one in November, My Son Pinocchio.  Which is great, because I bought us season tickets, so it would have really sucked if he hadn't liked it... I think the Oreos and juice box snack during intermission that he refused to share with me certainly helped.

So now, let the ultra-crazy week begin!

October 16, 2010

Fall Fest 2010

About a month ago, we decided to have a C-man Fall Fest.  C-man's birthday is in March, which stinks weatherwise, so never gets a proper party, and How to Train Your Dragon was releasing on the 15th.

September was so cold, that we got a bit worried.  But as the weeks got closer, we were blessed with beautiful weather.  So we got to work to make the first annual fall fest a success.

After the food was prepped, Beerman brought home a 20x20 tent.  Since the instructions for assembly included a mere 4 bullet points that weren't really that descriptive, we channelled our inner-carnie and started on our merry way.  Seriously, how hard could this be if they only gave us a scant 4 bullet points?
A couple of hours and a few invented swear words later, after I pretended to be an elephant pulling up the tent, and the tent was still mostly on the ground or swaying precariously in the air, we felt pretty stupid.  But eventually, we got it right.
The guests arrived right on time. The kids feverishly went to work decorating their paper shields I had ready for them. (They were so enthralled with the shields, they never got to see my dragon puppet craft, which while a lot of work to prepare, was okay, because it sort of looked like a cross between a dragon and a bat).  They donned their viking helmets and fought a few epic battles with the spare viking helmet horns in the back yard, only returning for more staples when their shields got damaged or to replaces a sticker, picture or other adornment that fell off in the heat of it all.  (Somehow, they'd invented a game of  beating the crap out of one another with plastic horns and their paper shields. I guess my decision to not buy swords was a solid one!)

Then the little vikings put their weapons down to come in and eat too much.  We had fruit and veggies and chips and cheese.  We had a giant pan of homemade mac and cheese, delicious beef barley soup, smoked ham for sandwiches and beef hot dogs of varying degrees of burned pallor.  We had chocolate chocolate-chip cookies and jigglers and pumpkin bars.  Even after pushing food at everyone over and over, there was still an obscene amount of food left over to feed a small village.  (Pretty sure we're not cooking for a few days, but living off the leftovers!)

And then we wisked the tables aside and watched How to Train Your Dragon with tasty popcorn under the propane heaters.
The movie was over promptly at 8:30 as promised.  And instead of anyone leaving, the kids resumed racing around the backyard and beating the hell out of one another in the dark with their shields and horns for another half-hour.  (Those kids have to be bruised, but there were few complaints!)

I think it's safe to say, all the hard work was worthwhile as the party was completely over-the-top good.  Every kid, regardless of age, was grinning ear to ear and thanking us (un-prompted by the parents) for such a great time.  Full bellies, crafts, racing around through the backyard playing viking with individualized shields, and a fun movie... but whew, I'm exhausted.


Filing this in the 'Why did I agree to this?"

While trying to set up a tent in the dark last night for tonight's outdoor movie party, 2 things became clear: The carnies' use of elephants is really smart and I am no elephant. Here's hoping the thing doesn't blow over in the middle of the movie tonight!

October 15, 2010

The wrong idea

You know how sometimes people get the wrong idea about something you like or don't like and you have no idea how? Yeah, these are a few of those for me:
  • I hate Chardonnay. Always have. Always will.  The smell alone makes me gag.
  • Cheesecake and pumpkin pie leave a film on my teeth. Yuk. Putting fruit on top of the cheesecake does not make it delectable. It makes it grosser.
  • I do like pea soup. Okay, I think I can explain this one. It just might be because I screamed, "And I hate your pea soup too!" during an argument with my husband once because I didn't know what else to say but was still mad.
  •  I don't like margarine or Cool Whip. (Seriously - we're in the dairy state!)  Whipped cream? Totally different story...
  • I don't hug up your little kid, not because I don't like your kid. I don't do it because I remember strangers or relatives I didn't see that often hugging me when I was a kid, and absolutely hating it.
  • Talking about bodily functions makes me cringe. Just because I don't flinch when you do it doesn't mean I want to know what type of sanitary products you prefer, how bloated you are, or what happened that one day.  Keep it to yourself, please.
  • Ice cream and warm pie are gross. If I wanted melted ice cream, I'd put it in the microwave. But I don't. I keep it in the freezer. So it stays cold.
  • I don't want Parmesan cheese on my pasta dish. It's stinky and doesn't taste good. No matter how many times you ask if I want any, I'm always going to say no.
  • I am not all that fond of the color purple. It's okay as far as colors go. I certainly don't hate it.  But it's definitely not even in my top 5.
  • I really do like Beerman's family recipe for meat pie.  It's meat and pie crust. What can be bad about that?
  • I don't hate all people. Just stupid ones.
  • I do hate most seafood. That's pretty well-known by those around me.  But most think it's because I'm allergic. I'm not. I just think it tastes like dirt.
  • I don't hate cats. I truly am allergic to them.  (Although they are a bit evil)

October 14, 2010

Dear Younger Self:

A few blogs I've been reading recently have been talking about what you would say to your younger self.  And I've realized, that's quite a question!  But it's a great question.  One that I've been thinking a lot about.  And one that I decided if I thought about long enough, still made sense for the rest of my days.

After some thought, this is what I came up with:
  1. Don't give up on good friends. If they are truly good friends, they are also human, and will screw up royally.  They may even do "unforgivable" things. In the end, somehow, anyhow, make sure they're still your friends afterward, because you'll need them.
  2. Judge less and forgive more than you should. Even if someone doesn't deserve it. It just hurts too much and takes up too much space within you to hold onto the angst of the past most others don't even remember anyhow.
  3. Weddings, babies and funerals are the most important times in peoples lives. Do not miss one no matter what it takes to get there for those who matter most in your life. They may not remember the effort, but they will remember of lack of it if you're not there.
  4. Everything in life can be a "should of" and "could of", but the greatest stories come from the "been theres" and the "done thats".  So take a deep breath and just do it.  Follow your craziest dream. Ignore the voices of sensibility in your life, and get on that plane and jump off the cliff (literally and figuratively).
  5. Your parents, friends and family are smart.  Smarter than you will most often give them credit for.  But in the end, your life is your own, and if you think what they're saying isn't a right fit for you, see point 4.
  6. Health is precious.  While you have it, don't squander it.
  7. Don't go into debt on stupid stuff.
  8. Spend on experiences, not things. Fashion goes out of style quickly, and food is gone after you eat it, but memories and education are forever.
  9. Judge less. Love more. Share more of yourself. And always overdress.
  10. Don't let anyone treat you as less than you are.  That includes being underpaid. Always get exactly what you're worth.
  11. You're going to find your true love. So just take a deep breath and relax, already.
  12. Find a passion, and make it work for you. Make it your life. Don't be stuck in a crappy job you resent just because of the money. It'll make everyone around you miserable too. And in the end, you'll get more money by doing something you're good at.
  13. On the days when you feel your lowest, continue to build on the lot you've been given. Because no one will do it for you.  Just make sure you've got people that matter close by for support.

October 12, 2010

Finding serenity in #17

November is nanowrimo. That's National Novel Writing Month.  It's only mid-October, but I've decided once and for all, I'm going to try it.  One hour a day, every single day of November.  Because I have always found such joy in writing, true writing, not just letters and memos and emails and crap that junk up my day.  I have no idea what the story is, although I've had a couple of thoughts along the way.  It might be crap.  In fact, it has a pretty good possibility of being total crap.  And I'm certain it won't be done by December 1st.  But I think if I can commit to 30 days, I'll be 30 hours into crossing off #17.  The sweater will just have to wait.

Going Blue


Today is World Arthritis Day. (Kind of a dumb name, as if the whole world wants arthritis?  But they didn't ask me)   So I'm going blue.  Blue for the days I'm exhausted, and sore, and can barely move.  Blue for the countless hours I'll be sitting with an IV dripping into me.  Blue, well, because it's World Arthritis Day.  The only question is, are you?

October 11, 2010

My mind is a dangerous place to be

My mind works in random circles and figure 8s.  For example, I was reading about the Grand Avenue Mall being put up for auction in downtown Milwaukee.  And seeing that, I started to think about when I was a kid, my mom was going on a bus shopping trip to the new downtown Milwaukee shopping mall.  It was a Saturday morning, and I had gymnastics. I told my mom I wasn't feeling well.  Apparently nobody believed me, because I got sent to gymnastics anyway. I didn't do much while there, because I was sick, but it was fundraiser candy pickup day, so I did get my candy.  On the way home, in the car with 6 kids (How was THAT ever safe? Especially when you remember not a one of us was wearing a seat belt, and the driver was usually somebody's "older" 16 year old sibling whose concept of safe driving meant tapping the car ceiling for good luck as we sped through a yellow light and lifting our feet over railroad tracks.), the 5 of us who weren't sick started to open up the M&Ms and chow down. Minutes later, I lost my chow. All over the car.  Good times.  At least it got me let off first.

But that got me thinking about why nobody believed I was sick. Especially since years later, while in 8th grade, I wasn't sick at all, but told everyone I was to avoid going to school where I was being bullied, I was believed. And I missed LOADS of school days.  And dropped out of everything I'd been involved in. Until the doctor finally figured out I wasn't sick (after a gazillion head x-rays - how soon before I get brain cancer from that?), and I was sent back to school.  With no resolution of the real problem by any authority figure, I'd like to add. But there weren't any bullying programs, or looking into things that might be wrong. If you barfed, you stayed home. If you didn't barf, you went to school. End of story.

Which makes me wonder if the bullying program I'm supposed to attend on my kid's behalf this semester is worthwhile? Or does experience being bullied and being the bully qualify you enough to see the signs in others? And in the end, does it even matter?  Some kids are just going to be mean to one another.  Will a parent seeing the signs make any difference? Kids are going to find a way to terrorize others some way or another, it'll just get more covert.  You don't pick on the obvious things, or do it in the obvious ways.

Which makes me wonder how chess club got to be cool at my kid's school. When I was in school, that, like glee club, was for dorks. Well, maybe it still is, (I still contend glee club is dorky) but a huge group seems to be involved in his school, so at least it's an acceptable level of dorkiness.  Or maybe it's like band. It's okay to be in when you're younger, but once you get old enough to have to wear stinky, unwashed marching band uniforms, it's just for dorks.  Regardless, C-man was all excited about chess club starting today. He had his trash talk comments all prepared, shouting "Desperado!" as he got on the bus. I wonder how far into his routine he'll get before he realizes chess is about playing the game, not trash talking like he and his dad play? I do know they'll have snacks.

I wonder if there will be M&Ms.

October 8, 2010

The unexpected

Sometimes, you go for a walk in the woods, and find something unexpected waiting, begging to be photographed. I love when this happens.

October 7, 2010

Paths

No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.  -Buddha

October 5, 2010

Imperfections

I've been reading a whole lot about imperfections lately. Not necessarily on purpose, either. You know how you buy a new car and suddenly see it everywhere?  That's how the concept of imperfection has been for me lately; absolutely everywhere.  In some places they talk bout how to overcome them.  In others, about what people have done to cover them up.  But more often than not, it's they talk about embracing them; about seeing the true beauty in them.

We met this butterfly over the weekend while walking through the Horicon Marsh.  I stopped to take pictures because it was so beautiful.  But also, I soon came to realize, totally imperfect. Imperfect in a way that means it won't migrate to Mexico as its siblings and cousins have already done.  And while that made the situation sad, it also made it just a bit more beautiful.

October 4, 2010

Crossing the bridge


It is not good to cross the bridge before you get to it. - Judi Dench
I worry too much. It's a sport of sorts for me.  And a bonus of all this medicine, I've learned through experience and then had confirmed when I read the pharmaceutical website, is anxiety and depression. (As if I needed any more of that). So for today, I am going to try to take a deep breath, and not cross any bridges until they're in front of me.

October 3, 2010

Boardwalk

“There is always music amongst the trees in the garden, but our hearts must be very quiet to hear it.” - Minnie Aumonier

October 2, 2010

Our Saturday or How Wisconsin can we get?

We started the morning at one of the last farmers' markets of the season.
Then, of course, Harry had to visit his favorite place in the whole world.
After a that, we drove a bit north for lunch. We found a local diner and ate at the counter.
Then we drove through Horicon to head to the marsh, and we noticed this... There are just so many Wisconsin things in this, I don't know where to start.
We finally got to the Horicon Marsh visitor's center where we did some crafts and found a Badger.
We took a walk around the marsh. It was a bit cold and drizzly, so we didn't walk far, and decided to go check out some other parts of the marsh.
On the way around, we spotted a great barn. and we all know how much I love a great Wisconsin barn.  Beerman didn't even question it when I shouted, "BARN!"  He just pulled over while I took my shots.
We continued on, stopping at various views. At one spot, we stopped and took advantage of the lookouts provided over the marsh.  C-man loved these.
We saw some great things and had a lovely time identifying birds.
Like this egret.
And the intriguing half-duck.
One spot had a gorgeous floating boardwalk for us to walk out over the water and see everything close up.

After we'd had enough of the birds, we decided to go into Mayville.
We were lucky to be there during their annual Audubon days.  We arrived just in time to watch the floating rubber duck race down the river.
And learn that they were selling beautiful, tasty cream puffs.
Filled to the brim with one of C-man's favorite things... whipped cream.
It was truly a perfectly gorgeous Wisconsin Saturday.