Monday, December 29, 2008

Winter traveling...

Ugh. Tomorrow, bright and early, we are taking off from Kalispell, heading to Spokane, the first leg in our trip home. I think for each year I get older, I get that much more anxious about traveling. Tomorrow should be a doozy. I don't even know how much snow Kalispell has, and Spokane has about the same, if not more. Eric practiced putting the chains on this morning, and I got the windshield fluid switched to the non-freezing kind. I'm expecting about a six-hour ride, the payoff being we get to go to the Tennessee/Gonzaga ladies basketball game, spend the night in a hotel, then do it all again the next day.

But I do remember fondly the days when I would hop in my little front-wheel drive tin can with a Diet Coke Big Swig and a king sized package of Twizzlers, maybe a bag or two of funsize Twix, around 5:00 in the afternoon and just drive until I was home.

Christmas was really nice. My biggest payoff was that I snuck and bought Alex the Samsung Gravity Lime phone she had sort of wanted back in November. We had decided not to get one, mainly because they were kind of expensive and that would have been pretty much the only thing she got for Christmas. Also, she wanted me to switch phone companies to Verizon, who apparently has cooler phones than T-Mobile. But when I checked into the current airtime plans, T-Mobile still has the best plans for us. (Also, I have a sentimental attachment to T-Mobile in that I was/am a big Jan Ulrich fan, who was a professional cyclist for the T-Mobile team - sue me, I can't help it, I miss him). Then I realized we got Eric's paycheck early, I still didn't have anything for Alex, and when I checked it out, T-Mobile did give me a discount.

She was SHOCKED. I had even been trying to prepare myself for the moment she opened her present from "Santa" and turned to me and said, "Oh, so I guess this means we don't get to switch to Verizon?" instead of looking all thrilled, which is what actually happened. It was totally cool. She spent the next four days texting her fool head off, which was okay because I was happy she was so happy. But I did have to mention to her that when I see a family in, say, Target and the daughter is walking along behind the rest texting, I always think to myself, "Ugh, nice family." So what I wanted from her is to please keep that in mind in the future when the new phone is not the coolest thing in the universe.

Anyway, we are heading home tomorrow, which will be nice to have a few days before things start up again. Usually we hang here until the last minute, but with the basketball game in Spokane, we've been planning on being home for New Year's when, I can assure you, I'll be in my bed by at least 10:00. A far cry from the days of my youth...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Angst

Today started out really nicely. My girls actually played Wii together and didn't fight. Then we headed to the mall for the Santa photo. Alex (my teenager) DID NOT want to get her picture taken. Samantha (my ultra-sensitive 7-year-old) DID NOT want to get her picture taken without Alex. Can you see where this is headed? Yes, well, we got a picture which may or may not include a scowling teenager barely peeking out from under her bangs.

Then came the real fun. The girls were supposed to go to the movie with their cousins, Carter and Max. Alex, I think, honestly didn't feel great (I think too much greasy pizza for lunch and too much teen attitude could do that to a person). I decided to give her a pass on the movie and let her go home and rest it out. See, Samantha's two cousins (albeit BOYS) were going to the movie also, and I still had two or three errands to run. Well, one thing led to another, and I ended up AT THE MOVIE with all four kids. I decided maybe two hours in a dark room might be just what I needed.

The movie improved my mood somewhat, but I was quickly reminded in the car on the way home of the lovely Christmas sentiments NOT floating around me all day, which threw me right back into a funk. I stewed about it for awhile as I wrapped presents, thinking to myself that, face it, I just am not a Christmas fan. Never really have been, and today certainly hadn't helped. Plus, I didn't get my errands done, so there were three potential presents out there that didn't make it home with me.

We went to church, which was okay. Both girls had seemed to be able to let it go and move on, so I decided to do the same. We came home, nothing special, two different kinds of leftovers for dinner. We had intended to hold a Wii bowling tournament, but never got around to it. We all just sort of ended up vegging out in the living room. The girls both opened a present, and they actually worked on Sam's present together.

I've never been the kind of person to have a grand scheme for how Christmas should go. Some years I decorate, some years not so much. I am reminded of a T.V. show called Roswell from a few years back, one of their Christmas episodes, where Isabel was nicknamed "The Christmas Nazi" and had a whole planner just for Christmas. She even had measurements and specifications on what the perfect tree should be. So this Christmas may not end up being the perfect, beautiful, be-all, end-all Christmas some people plan for. All I know is that even though I didn't get those other presents and even though parts of today definitely SUCKED, when it came right down to it and I just let it all melt away, we had a really nice evening. Knock on wood for tomorrow...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Clearing off my phone

From Jana:

There's not a snowball's chance in a cat scanner. (Big Bang Theory)

We have monkey. (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

We risk losing the medical officer our landing party needs. (BBT)


From Alex:

The Godzilla clause? No, that's only if she destroys Tokyo. (BBT)

So in your world, you guys are the cool ones? Recognize. (BBT)

This is banana bread. This is a doorknob. (BBT)

Queen Penelope AFK. (BBT)

Go ahead, eat it. I dare you. (BBT)

I will open my present, then excuse myself due to digestion problems, look up her present online and choose the basket closest to her gift's price. (BBT)

Yeah, Sheldon, just do what Leonard did and get Penny a new boyfriend. (BBT)

From Me:

Aren't you supposed to be at work? I don't work on Mondays. It's Thursday. (BBT)

Well played, Penny. (BBT)

Penny, with great power comes great responsibility. Understood. (BBT)

Would you like to join me in a spirited day of questing, followed by a flagon of ale at yon pub? (BBT)

So what brings you to my little slice of hell? (BBT)

I have three words for you, Wrath of Khan. (BBT)

Not many women can look as hot as you do with such greasy hair... (BBT)

Normally I'm not turned on by big teeth, but on you, they work. (BBT)

Boy, you'd think you could trust a horde of Hungarian barbarians. (BBT)

Colmanaprocil - may cause dizziness, sexual nightmares and sleep crime. (30 Rock)

Supernatural words of wisdom: Always take down your Christmas decorations after New Years or you might get fileted by a hooker from god.

It's just understood that he is hot. You actually don't even have to say it. You can just say, "David Beckham," and people think, "Ahh, yeah." It's almost that he's too hot to even say it anymore. He's transcended the word hot.



Alex and I have started this sort of game in the car lately. We'll text each other Big Bang Theory quotes back and forth. It's pretty cool, for those of you who might not think so! So I have gotten less picky about keeping quotes on my phone, since we'll probably be texting them again soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Weekend Update

So after three snow days in a row, we were able to finally leave early on Friday and made it to Spokane in one piece. We would have actually left earlier, but the slack-asses at Walmart made buying two new tires into a two-hour ordeal for me. I have never seen four grown men, two overweight, two extremely not intelligent looking, do so much aimless wandering around. I seriously doubt they were entirely confident in what they were doing. When I finally left, I was even less confident in my car, until I drove on ice and could feel the difference.

Anyway, we had a really nice time in Spokane hanging out with the relatives. Aside from some unfortunate football (Grizzlies losing by a ton), a great time was had by all in the record-setting snowfall. It's such a blessing to have relatives, almost exactly half-way from Buckley to Kalispell, who we love spending time with. It cuts the trip nicely and we get to catch up with more family.

We left the next morning around 11:00 for Kalispell and decided to skip the passes (4th of July and Lookout) and head up through Sandpoint, Bonner's Ferry, Troy and Libby. A usual four-hour trip took six. It sucked and the driving was stressful, but we did get to see quite a few bald eagles, which is always amazing. This time they weren't busy eating dead dear, just floating nicely above the river...

There's a ton of snow in Kalispell - should be some great sledding later this week when it warms up! Watch out Hill of Death. That actually brings up sort of an ironic story. In Buckley when it snows, the kids grab sleds and run over to the cemetery where there are some slight inclines to sled down. At my mom's house in Kalispell, there's a humongous hill, aka The Hill of Death, and my brother-in-law has a four-wheeler he uses for pulling the kids back up the hill. Alex was sort of whining about having to spend all her vacation in Kalispell away from her friends and how she would miss out on sledding in Buckley. I made fun of her for choosing an incline over THOD. Then I sort of chuckled and said, Actually, it could be said that you like sledding on the Slight Incline of Death in Buckley, which is also ironic, being that it's an actual hill of DEAD people. Our neighbor told us that yes, once in a while you may hit a tombstone, but they don't hurt that badly.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Today's Post is not about Celtic Thunder!!

Surprise! I actually have something to talk about besides the Celtic Thunder concert! My brother, (who, incidentally, is in Iraq and has just been awarded the Bronze Star, which, apparently, they pass out like party favors over there - NOT - he's just trying to make it seem like less of a big deal), has been getting updates from his wife about his daughter's basketball career. So I had to send him an update about both of my daughters and their careers. So I thought I'd rehash it here, since it's fresh in my mind.

Alex is a starter on her middle school varsity team. While her team is not very good (I think it's safe to say they are probably in the bottom four in the league - we'll see tonight - could be bottom three), they have been steadily improving. My sister in Montana discovered that there is going to be a basketball clinic in Kalispell the day after we get there, run by the people who run the NBC camps, which if you count among your successes a pair of sisters who now play for Gonzaga and Tennessee, who faithfully attended the NBC camps, I'd say your track record is pretty decent. I was so excited to let Alex know the good news - she could attend the clinic in Kalispell! Great news. Except, no. What she said was, (and I quote, which is easy for me, being that I am a VERBATIM court reporter) "You mean I have to play basketball during my break?" That got me to thinking.

You know, if there's one thing that should be easy to teach your kids, it's about regrets. I will always regret that I quit playing basketball (especially since I was actually really good, second high point next to Mary Ann Andrews, who, let's face it, nobody could touch) in the 8th grade to try out for - wait for it - THE DRILL TEAM. HELLO. Where were my parents? And I didn't even make the drill team, thankfully. I'm sure I'd be wanting to kill myself had I MADE it. My family sort of went the opposite way that a lot of families do, I think. I was the first child, and my parents didn't have a clue what I was up to most of the time. I'll never forget when I was a senior and I brought home my grades and my mom said, "You're taking Calculus?" See, back then, there were only probably two classes of 10 my senior year that took calculus. It was kind of a big deal. I was an adequate student and a fairly responsible kid, so it really wasn't a big deal that my parents didn't take a bigger interest in what I was up to. By the time my sister came along, my mom knew what homework was due when and when all the quizzes and tests were.

But I digress. I will always regret that I quit playing basketball, and I wish there were a way to stress how cool it would be to be really, really good at it.

Samantha's team, I'm afraid, is not going to be very good at all. While she is probably the second best player on the team, she's a sensitive little girl. This is a co-ed league. And while I appreciate that we get really good coaches who teach kids not to travel and to dribble, there is always a thug on the teams we are playing who learns he can just grab the ball and run. Then there is usually also one boy on the other team (ours included) who has some skills and can run fast, dribble and makes most of his shots. But watching Samantha during practice, they will have her bring the ball down the floor. She will get about ten feet from half court and pass the ball off to the other kid. It's like she doesn't want the ball when they get past half court where all the other kids are.

In a way, I think it will be easier for Samantha to end up being really good at most everything Alex does. Alex is pretty good at the sports she participates in, and Samantha gets dragged along to watch. So she sees that it is cool that Alex is good. I just wish Alex wanted to be better. But I guess that's something she'll have to teach her kids someday, which they probably won't listen to either.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Celtic Thunder hangover

Ever since the concert, I find I'm listening to some of the songs I used to sort of skip over to get to my favorites. Now that I've seen them performed live, it's piqued my interest. Needless to say, CT is the only thing playing in my car lately, aside from yesterday when Alex grabbed the ipod and played some sort of rap thing, which was okay, but not when all I want to listen to is CT. It's like the last song you listen to in the car TOTALLY stays in your head all day until you get in your car and listen to a different song. Then that one stays in your head until the next time. It's a vicious cycle, really.

Today driving Samantha to school, we were listening to one of Damien's songs, and she said, Oh, is this Damien? I said, Yes, you know your Celtic Thunder. After a minute or so, she says, Turn it off! I don't want to listen to music! I got a little mad and said, This is my car, and I do! She said, No, if I listen to this, it gets stuck in my head all day. I said, This kind of music will probably help you at school, it's that good. She said, No, yesterday I almost couldn't write because all I could hear was that song. The thing is I know what she's talking about, so I did turn it off for her. Oh, well.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Celtic Thunder


I've seen dozens of concerts in my lifetime, and I can count the times on one hand where I honestly wouldn't have cared if the performers decided to come out and sing for two extra hours. Most of the time you hear the main hits and a few extras and think, Man, I'm tired. You participate in the encore clapping thing so you don't look like a wuss for wanting to go home early.

For Christmas this year, Jana and I decided to take our parents to the Celtic Thunder concert in Spokane on December 8th. Celtic Thunder is the male take on the Celtic Women concert show that plays on PBS all the time. They do show Celtic Thunder, although not as often as Celtic Women. Anyway, Celtic Thunder is made up of five awesome Irish singers. They sing a huge range of stuff, some Eagles, a lot of Irish classics, some Moody Blues, some Foreigner, even some Donny Osmond. They totally rule. We had the best time. Think a couple of EXTREMELY hot guys who can TOTALLY sing, a couple more REALLY good-looking guys who can TOTALLY sing, and a 16-year-old who one day is going to be GORGEOUS who can also TOTALLY sing. Then imagine they have these wicked accents. Now you know why my sister and I screamed ourselves hoarse while my parents, I'm sure, were sufficiently horrified, although transfixed by the awesome Irish guys singing away not 15 feet from where we were sitting. Merry Christmas to me...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What to do, what to do...

If you couldn't tell by my lack of posting the last week or so, I have been working a lot lately. I'm actually getting jobs done BEFORE the due date, which is more or less unheard of, but it's happening. I am staying on top of stuff like never before, partly because it's so nice to have a steady stream of work, and partly because I don't want to have to take a bunch of work to Montana for Christmas.

Right now I'm taking a break from a transcript that is due tomorrow, one that I will have out today. I've worked in bankruptcy court for 16 years now, so I feel like a pretty good judge of most of my regular attorneys. I can think of only a handful that I really don't like. I mean, I even like the one who wrote a nasty 5-page letter to the judges saying he shouldn't have to pay the $700 bill to us because his client can't pay him and that we shouldn't be allowed to require COD from him on future orders and that he was going to do everything in his power to get us removed from the job the next time the contract came up for rebid. That was probably ten years ago, and for some strange reason, I still kind of like him. I don't want to, but I know what kind of attorney he is and I do respect him.

The attorney I'm working for now is one who I did a transcript for last year, a particularly tricky job involving a Hawaiian bankruptcy and a debtor who owned multiple properties there, which were all referenced over and over, which I took the time to log on to the Hawaiian bankruptcy site and look up how to spell all of the attorneys from Hawaii and the addresses. She actually emailed me and told me I had done a beautiful job and that she had never seen such a nice 341 hearing transcript. So needless to say, she is at the top of my list as far as wanting to do a GREAT job for her.

My problem is this. She says in one part of the transcript that some declarations were signed by the people involved saying "unexplicitively and unequivocably" that they didn't knowingly withhold any emails. Now, I think most people not even involved in proof-reading (maybe I'm wrong) would know or at least think that "unexplicitively" is not a word. Not even close. Although unexplicitly is closer to a real word, and technically I could probably get away with leaving it that way, it's clearly not what she was meaning. I totally do not want to make this attorney feel dumb or anything, but in this new age of CD's and parties being able to order CD's and, if they so choose, compare the audio CD to my transcript and, also, if they so choose, make a stink about it to someone if I leave something out, we have to really be careful. But how ridiculous is that to think that someone, either someone representing someone who is close to losing everything or someone who is losing everything, would honestly take the time to order a CD for $26 and sit and compare it to my transcript? And even if they did, nothing hinges on that word anyway. It doesn't change a thing in the case. But we are supposed to transcribe VERBATIM, so it's really hard to let it go.

But thank you for letting me talk it through. I am waiting for a call from my "Ms. Lillian's" expert, but I'm pretty sure I'm going to just leave that word out. I do beautiful transcripts, after all!

UPDATE: I just spell-checked unequivocably, and that's not a word either. I decided to leave out unexplicitively and change unequivocably to unequivocally. Case closed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Really Cute Pirate Chick


I actually had these pictures printed up on photo paper and everything, since I was also printing one of Eric in Macbeth. I was looking through them and I thought, Why, she's just the cutest little pirate chick, why haven't I posted that on my blog? She still has Halloween candy left, by the way, which she taunts her dad with mercilessly.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

This One's for Jana --

You THOUGHT you were the queen!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Text Messaging - Big Bang style

Now that the Big Bang Theory and 30 Rock are back with a vengeance, my phone is filling up with quotes every week.

FROM JANA:

There is mayonnaise on this grilled cheese - What?!? (30 Rock)

Live every day like it's Shark Week. (30 Rock)

I want to learn to text in my pocket. (After watching an especially impressive Burn Notice)

Michael Weston can do anything. So much cooler than MacGyver. (Same idea)

Shirtless adorable Brit alert! No pic. Sorry. (British soccer coaches who are housed with my sister, beware... this post, plus the one about stalking, should creep you out but good)

It's like the start of a joke: a Welshman, an Englishman and a Scotsman were playing poker... (which actually did happen at Jana's house last summer when she housed a Scottish soccer coach)

More cowbell!! (self-explanatory)

Kids suck. (This from a former kindergarten teacher, now a child's librarian.)

I just stalk people until they give in and become my friend. (Jana, explaining her friendship technique, which she actually is employing RIGHT THIS MINUTE to one lucky soccer mom in Kalispell, Montana -- not to scare anyone...)

What a newb. (Big Bang Theory)

We have monkey. (It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia)

FROM ALEX:

Tracy Jordan dress for success: Dress every day like you're going to be murdered in those clothes. (30 Rock)

Carter, you have to learn to do things yourself... Carter, you have to learn to do things yourself... Carter, you have to learn to do things yourself... (Max Warnell, before his auntie yelled at him that she felt Carter either got the point or wasn't listening anyway)

I'm going to need the energy if I'm going to start blowing crap up. It's what the Founding Fathers would have wanted. (Jim Gaffigan - Beyond the Pale)

Fashion show! Fashion show! Fashion show at lunch! (The Office)

I did not become a Lackawana County volunteer sheriff's deputy to make friends -- and I haven't. (The Office)

Haha. My favorite food at Thanksgiving is fun dip. (Again, a nugget of profoundness from Max Warnell.)

Haha. My charming smile is not creepy. It's warm and inviting. (Reba)

FROM ERIC:

Margaritas. (This pertains to the time last summer when Jana drank four margaritas in about a 45-minute time span and then puked on the lawn in front of her kids and my kids and our parents, all before, like 7:00 p.m.)

After reading over these texts, not many are from the Big Bang Theory. But I post older texts first, to clear off my phone. So my next texting post should be chock-full of BBT goodness.

Update

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted anything, I know. So let's get to it.

Eric, as you may have heard, has gone all thespian lately. He volunteered to star in MacBeth as Caithness, or as he'd be named in a more contemporary play, Soldier 3. He gets to yell, "Scotland, Scotland" and then die on stage in a sword fight. He absolutely loves it. I don't think this means he's going to be quitting his job to concentrate on his "craft", but he may volunteer again soon --

Alex made the varsity basketball team at her school. Her team is full of, basically, school-season basketball players, which doesn't bode well when you play, for instance, Enumclaw Middle School, which team has at least two players who play year-round with a team from Fircrest. (For those of you unfamiliar with this area, the high school in Fircrest is called Foss. For those of you unfamiliar with Foss, there is a large African-American population there. When Eric heard me telling someone these girls play year-round with a bunch of black girls, Eric called me a racist, but in terms of basketball, I think it totally makes a difference when you qualify it that way. Anyway, I'm from Montana and while I don't consider myself a racist, I am less politically correct than other people.) Although they didn't lose by 40 like Eric predicted, they did lose by 36. I don't think we have a lot to look forward to, i.e., the future of White River girls basketball. It's seems like every year around this time (her first basketball game) I start thinking to myself, "How in the hell did we end up playing year-round soccer?" Eric and I took Alex to EVERY SINGLE Federal Way Eagles girls basketball game from the time she was born. She was the ball girl for two or three years and took her job very seriously. I mean, neither of us had any interest in soccer before Alex. The whole reason she even started playing was because Eric approached this basketball coach in Federal Way and asked him if he wanted to help start up an AAU girls basketball team. Pete said that would be great, but right now they needed some more soccer players. And here we are.

Samantha is taking a jazz dance class on Wednesdays. They have two practices left. She loves it, but I would like to see a class with more dancing and maybe technique emphasis. This class is only eight weeks long and it's basically geared all towards the recital in December. Not that I have a lot of interest in having her become a dancer, but she still loves Dancing with the Stars, and when she sees those juniors dance, she always says she would love to ballroom dance, just not with boys.

As for me, I have actually had quite a bit of transcription work at home lately. Last week when I finished my last transcript, I started panicking and offering to work for people. I actually had a job set for Thursday, which I had to cancel because Thursday is Samantha's teacher conference. It's like the conferences happen once a year, and it just happens to be the time when I try to go take a job.

I always start November thinking that I'm going to finish up my Christmas shopping by the end of November. It never happens, and I don't think it's my fault. This November hasn't been a banner month for me for getting paid. I'm so broke right now it's ridiculous. Normally I'd be in a HUGE panic, but I have some really big invoices out right now and a lot of medium sized ones. I just need a few people to pay their bills and I should be fine. This is just something I've had to be used to my whole career, seeing as how I work mostly in bankruptcy court. There's a reason those people are there -- they have no money. Then there's always the gift card conundrum. I always start out with good intentions to get gifts and no gift cards this year. A gift as opposed to a card just feels more personal, even though who wouldn't like a gift card? But I'm sure by December 15th I'll be standing in line at Target with a fistful. Ugh, I'm not looking forward to Christmas, except for the going to Montana part!

This year the whole teenager thing has really started to rear its ugly head. Alex has complained quite a few times about not wanting to spend the whole vacation in Montana because "what if it snows here and I don't get to go sledding with my friends?" Um, excuse me. I know the main point of that statement is the friends part, but sledding here is basically a slight incline in the cemetery, whereas we have The Hill of Death at grandma's house, complete with Uncle's four-wheeler to haul your sorry asses back up the hill. Plus it usually snows here in January and February, not December. Anyway, the main point of this anecdote is the fact that our days of going to Montana for the whole break, I'm afraid, are numbered.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory

I think two of the coolest shows on T.V. right now are 30 Rock and The Big Bang Theory, in terms of the HILARIOUS quotes. The other day I happened to be watching 30 Rock on my computer, sitting right next to my stenograph machine, and not for the first time, I seriously considered typing it out while I watched it, just so I would have all the quotes already on my computer. I actually sent my sister maybe three texts and then realized that at the rate they were going, I hadn't even watched five total minutes from the show. It would take my forever to watch a 22 minute episode AND text all the hysterical quotes at the same time. Seriously, if you haven't seen them, now is the time to get caught up. And from the way 30 Rock has been going, this looks to be a stellar year. Now if they'd only bring back Dennis Duffy, since he's not been doing much on Terminator 2... I would include some youtube videos of either show, but they're not embeddable, of course, so you just have to be curious to go find them yourself or start watching!

Text Messages

From Jana:

Alcohol? This smells just like hill people milk. I've been drinking this since I was a baby! (30 Rock)

Of all my days of watching girls puke, Daisy may be the hottest. ~ Bret Michaels

Shirtless soccer player - yum. (In reference to the UK soccer coaches who visited Kalispell last summer.)

I am a bit concerned that I am running around smelling like cat pee. (In reference to the time they left the cat in for the weekend and she's an outdoor cat who is not used to a litter box, so she went on my sister's bed instead, ALL WEEKEND.)

Tell me if this is rock-bottom - shopping in the plus size section at WalMart.

BTW, Shirtless Silas - not bad. (In reference to Weeds.)

When I say Subway, you say Hero! (30 Rock)

What we need around here is an anti-whining ordinance. (News Radio)

Suck it, monkeys! I'm going corporate. (30 Rock)

I don't know if Michael meant to punish me by putting Ryan back here with Kelly, but if he did ... Genius. (The Office)

From Me:

Unless you're planning on running a marathon, choosing both stuffing and mashed potatoes is a starch-filled redundancy. (Big Bang Theory)

No sank yew. (To Alex -- she used to say this ALL the time when she was little)

Hmm, Elizabeth Hasselback lost her baby weight without even dieting. I'm so happy for her. That's really, really super great.

Cool story, Jeopardy Contestant.

God, I am glued to my T.V. If Dillon goes to rehab, I will be SHOCKED. (This when I was heavy into that Intervention show on A&E)

Wait, what is it? You're not thinking happy thoughts. I saw my grandmother's vagina. (Weeds)

The 7th grade band just played a warmup scale that made my ears bleed a little bit.

I hate the commercial where the woman eats a five dollar bill.

Live every day like it's Shark Week. (30 Rock)

Cool story, Horrible Bitch. (The Soup)

Next time you're in your car going 50, strip down to your underwear and jump out the door. That's what it's like to crash in professional cycling. (TdF commercial)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Birthday party hangover

Well, the slumber party is maybe two hours from being OVER! Yay Me! It actually went pretty well. One of the main differences from normal play dates, though, is that when she has any of these girls over to play, I usually don't know they're here. Five of them, however is a different story. You just want to beg them, Look, I know you have to scream, but could you do it in a lower register, PLEASE? PLEASE?!? But on the whole, there were almost no hurt feelings due to what-to-play disagreements. That was mostly what I had been worried about.

Around 7:00, two of Alex's friends showed up to hang out. One of them is this huge babysitter, and I think she does it because she LIKES it. She hung out on the floor with the birthday party goers and colored for, like, an hour. It was the quietest the house had been all week. I put the partyers to bed with a movie at 9:00. Choosing a movie, predictably, took about 20 minutes. I used to have a TiVo that I allowed me to burn things to dvd, so Samantha has every single Disney or Nickelodeon movie ever made from a year ago. Then there was also one lone holdout on the sleeping front, again, just as I predicted. However, I got the culprit wrong. After Samantha came to my office tearfully at 9:48 to complain that they all wanted to sleep but Jace wouldn't stop talking, I told her I'd be up to turn the T.V. off at 10:00. All in all, it was a successful party.

When the party started getting set up for bed, Alex and her friends went to her room and hung out watching T.V. Pretty soon there's a knock at the front door, the guy down the block. I let him in but told Alex they couldn't be hanging out in her bedroom anymore. So he came in and the four of them hung out in the family room downstairs, basically texting other people. I know they had fun, because they did get pretty loud once or twice. And just when I was starting to worry about kicking them out at 11:30 so we could GO TO BED, they all left around 11:00. Buckley is a pretty small town, which is allowing Alex a lot of freedom already in the 8th grade. The kids can walk across town to another kid's house, and they can stay up late and still walk down the block home. It's pretty cool. While I know it drives Eric crazy that we get a lot of kids hanging out here, I've had to have the "relax" talk already once, pointing out that if she weren't hanging out here, they'd be doing it somewhere else. At least here we know what they're up to. At one point I even heard her friend telling someone else on her phone that she were here with her friends and her friend's mom.

Anyway, we are now one hour closer to the end of the party! I can't believe I made it...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Birthday Party !!

There are these commercials on T.V. right now -- I think they're AT&T -- where someone comes on and talks about how, if his phone had any bars, he'd get the call that his friends want him to come to Paris, but since he doesn't, he has to stay in the hostel with the Techno Twins, these two other guys who are into alternative dancing -- or the one where the girl is a "Phelps Phan" and won't be getting the call that he's right down the street signing autographs, since she has no bars. The one that totally gets me is the one where the mom didn't get the call about how the big purple dinosaur she ordered for her daughter's birthday party won't be coming but they'll be sending the terrifying T-Rex instead. Then she goes "Yay Me!" in this really shaky voice.

Last Sunday, Samantha came running down the stairs, crying, to tell me that we "forgot" to have her birthday party this year! Yay Me! I'm not sure what would be worse, to have 11 or 12 6-year-old girls over for two hours and get it over with or to have 3 or 4 over to spend the night. We opted for the spend the night plan. We have, I think, 5 coming over right after school, with at least 2 spending the night. The plan WAS to have them jump on the trampoline, go to the grade school down the block and play on the playground, make our own pizza, and GO TO BED. Since the weather is TOTALLY not cooperating, we'll probably hang out indoors and fight over how no one can agree on what to play and so-and-so is being mean. I thought about taking them swimming, but one little girl broke her wrist and still has a cast on and wouldn't be able to go. Yay Me!

On a different topic, yesterday I remember leaving my sister a voice mail about how proud I was with myself because, even though we may be pretty broke this month, I've got our tax debt almost paid off. Then Eric's Check Engine light went on on his way home and the car SHUT OFF three times in about a two-mile distance. Yay Me!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Our @#$%& -ing land line

When we moved to Buckley two years ago, this may sound weird, but there was no voice mail option here for our phone. We did get a hand-me-down answering machine from my cousin, which, of course, either never worked right or was never checked -- I can't remember which. I was tempted to not even get a land line, but decided to go ahead and get one so that people locally could call us without long distance charges (which is pretty much moot anyway, since everyone has a cell phone). Plus, I needed the land line for TiVo, which I would rather not EVER AGAIN live without. Also, Samantha is 7 and won't be getting her own cell phone for a few more years. She does stay by herself now and then, an hour here or there when I run to the grocery store or when Alex and I want to watch the baseball game at her school and it's cold and Sam would rather stay home. So I even have the home phone listed on my cell phone caller ID as Samantha.

We have one working land line phone in the kitchen and one hands free phone in the bonus room which may or may not be charged on any given day. I don't have a phone in my office since I use my cell phone for everything. When we first moved here, the only people who EVER used the land line were my mom and my aunt. I've finally got them both out of this habit, but there is the occasional kid from Sam's school that will use it, also. The point is that when that phone rings, I know that it's NEVER going to be someone I want to talk to, so I RARELY jump up to answer it. But the thing can ring for as much as nine or ten rings, given that there isn't an answering machine or voice mail. The computer-generated calls don't know the difference and will LET IT RING. So ultimately I do end up answering.

My question is this. What makes companies, people, WHOEVER, think that I would be more likely to go ahead and get DirectTV or vote for Darcy Burner, or ANYONE for that matter, or finally get that credit card coverage for when I am disabled, if they CALL ME AT HOME VIA A COMPUTER-GENERATED CALL? I pick up the phone and there's always a pause, then it's "Hello, this is Lisa with DirectTV" -- CLICK. That's the most recent bane of my existence. That and the election stuff. Okay, at least Obama has live people right there, which is actually better than the computer call, I think. Except that I can hang right up on the computer call. I've actually considered waiting the DirectTV one out so that I can get a live person and tell them NEVER TO CALL ME EVER AGAIN.

The other night I got a live person, the Obama people again, this time asking for Eric, who happened to be sitting right there. Normally I run interference, but this time I asked him if he wanted to take the call. HE DID. MY HUSBAND VOLUNTARILY SPOKE ON THE PHONE, even knowing it wasn't one of his friends calling to whine about the Seahawks or invite him to a football game or a new fantasy league, whatever. The Obama people, by the way, are pretty good, not taking up too much time, just short and sweet, which I so appreciate. But watching Eric take that call made me think maybe I'm just being bitchy by hating the land line calls so much. But seeing as how I'm the only one that even usually answers the phone, maybe not.

The computer-generated calls remind me of those emails I used to get maybe two years ago that would say one thing in the subject line, and when you opened the email, it would change quickly to an ad for viagra. It used to actually drive me to the line of mental instability. Who was the genius who thought that if they could get me, SOMEHOW, to GLANCE at an ad for viagra, that I would magically all of a sudden realize I needed some? I mean, I even responded to more than one of those emails, knowing I probably wouldn't get an answer, but asking anyway if this "trickery" actually ever boosted sales.

I do have a TiVo and thus am able to fast-forward through most of the commercials. But I find that if I need something new, I'll figure it out eventually. I don't need to be tricked or CALLED over and over again. And FYI, if it's a live person that's calling me, I am much more likely to stay on the line and listen to their spiel instead of just hanging up, just to be polite.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Halloween watercolor














by Samantha Van Gogh

Friday, October 24, 2008

WAHOO!!! - via text messaging

This is Jana's view of events yesterday, when the Flathead Girls' soccer team (coached by my brother-in-law) beat the enemy from the north end of town for the THIRD time this season. Here is how I got it, via text message:

Jana: Starting to feel like vomiting.

Me: Go home.

Jana: I mean about the game.

Me: &*#$. I've been oblivious. Way to remind me. When does it start?

Jana: 16 minutes.

Me: I just watched the rise of the witnesses ep.

Me: Trying to distract you. Are they playing at home?

Jana: Yes, Flathead is hosting.

Me: Flathead rules.

Me: What's the score?

Jana: Hasn't started yet.

Jana: Half time, FHS 1 - GHS 0

Me: Yee-ha!

Jana: It is only half time.

Me: Sorry... But I have faith.

Jana: You are the best.

Me: I am the best.

Jana: Yes, you are.

Me: I know. That's what I said.

Me: Update?

Jana: Overtime.

Jana: Second overtime.

Jana: A bunch of the Braves football team is here. I want to ask Brock to go rip down the Wolfpack sign if we win.

Jana: F@#K!!!!!

(At this point, driving in my car with Alex, Samantha and Alex's friend Mackenzie, I gasped, causing Alex to ask, What? Did they score? To which I responded, I think so. To which she asked me, Well, what did she say? Not wanting to read it aloud in front of her friend, I handed her the phone. She read aloud, Overtime, Second overtime, F-word. Hm, it does sound like they scored.)

Me: What?

Jana: Shootout.

Me: We hate shootouts.

Me: So did no one score or both score in OT?

Jana: WE WON!!

I know maybe it's lame, especially since I haven't been to high school in more than 20 years, but when the new high school opened up across town, IN THE LAND OF GATED COMMUNITIES, WITH ITS AWARD-WINNING ARCHITECTURE AND ITS ORIGINAL, COMPOSED-ESPECIALLY-FOR-THEM SCHOOL SONG, we all barfed a little. There has been A LOT of drama associated with last year, the first year of dueling high schools, all of which I've heard of extensively first-hand from my sister. This win meant that Flathead goes to State, Glacier does not. So for one more year, Flathead may now be the ghetto inner-town school, but we are going to State and they're not. Ha ha.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Autumn portrait


My sister manages to get some really cute fall photos every year of her kids, so I decided I better give it a go here. Montana hardly gets any really red leaves, but we've got some amazing spots just locally that are vibrant red. And while Jana's kids are very adept at posing, I was lucky to get just the one good shot. Plus she isn't dealing with a teenager who has prior social engagements to get to!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Bones Paranoia

Along with catching up on Supernatural, I also decided to start at the beginning and catch up on the series Bones, which is about a forensic anthropologist and her team of "squints" (science geeks). This show was every bit as addicting as Supernatural, just not as scary. Brennan is the main scientist who looks at a set of bones from a crime scene and can tell you almost everything there is to know about the victim. She also has a team that works with her and one of them is this particulate guy, Hodgins. He will pick off the tiniest piece of lint and tell you exactly where this person was killed or exactly what this person did for a living and where, stuff like that. I'm sure if I knew more about this stuff, I may not think it's so amazing, but I know nothing, so to me it's almost magic.

This week I took two deps in a case I had worked on earlier here. It was all about the boxed lunches. This time I was the reporter in the big conference room, which aside from the fact that I didn't have a window to watch all the telephone workers from, turned out to be a huge bonus otherwise. This company that we were working at, which was the company being sued, brought in Starbucks coffee every morning and scones. Then they had their boxed lunches, which I got to eat both days, which were GREAT. I was taking the dep of the CEO of the company, who was totally cute. He and I were chatting the first day in the middle of the afternoon break. I was giving him a hard time because they didn't bring in afternoon snacks for us, when he told me they did have a masseuse on staff if I wanted a massage the next day during lunch. I sort of giggled. The next day before lunch, he asked me if I still wanted a massage, so I went ahead and got one. I mean, if this guy asked me if I wanted to work there, I'd probably be hard-pressed to find a reason not to. It was that impressive.

Anyway, the first day I was eating my boxed lunch, a pear and blue cheese salad. Seeing as how I still have my cold and my nose was, you guessed it, almost all the way plugged up, and seeing as how I was alone anyway, I was eating with my mouth wide open, simply oinking down my salad. I can't breath if my mouth is shut, and there was no one there to watch, so what the hell. Plus I had an errand to run, so I felt like I was in a huge hurry. I'm not really sure how it happened, but at one point I heard a snap and I looked down and saw that I had snipped the tip of my plastic fork. I felt around in my mouth, but couldn't find it. I'm not kidding you, the first thought in my mind was to ponder what the crew on Bones would say about that little plastic tip, should they be trying to figure out, from my remains, how I died. I'm sure they would ascribe a much greater significance to that plastic fork tip than that I was eating with my mouth open because of my cold and bit through the fork.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Supernatural Life Lessons

Last summer while I was in Montana, I made up my mind to use my T.V. "down time" to do something productive. Jana happens to own Seasons 1 and 2 of one of her favorite shows, Supernatural. I decided to start at the beginning and catch up in time to watch it in realtime this fall. While, granted, this picture aptly illustrates the main reason, I feel confident in saying, that most people watch the show, it is a truly creepy show. I am a few short hours away from being all caught up. But it has been a bumpy ride. The Season 2 dvds, for some reason, had little to no sound when played on my computer, so I basically had to watch the whole season while laying on my bed. Drag. But I feel I have gleaned some important life lessons, which I will share with you all here:

If you are ever alone in your car and your radio starts flickering in and out, either just pull over and cry or pull out the silver knife you have started carrying since watching Supernatural. You will be needing it.

If it's 1:00 in the morning and you are leaving the garage and your table power saw keeps turning on by itself, DO NOT GO INVESTIGATE. Leave that sucker running and get the hell out of there.

Every now and then I think it might have been cool to live alone, you know, get a good job and a cool apartment (before marriage and kids). Then I watch an episode of Supernatural where a woman jogs alone at night, sees a pirate ship, then is murdered in her shower. Living with my family in Buckley is not so bad. Except jogging, NO, especially at night by myself. And no more showers...

And just because it was so funny, I will forever dream of the day I can use the line Dean used while he was playing poker in prison (and winning some serious cigarettes), that it was "like picking low-hanging fruit." That Dean!

Supernatural seriously rules.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Me, minus the athletic part

You know how when you're watching a basketball game, there's always that guy at the end of the bench whose mouth is hanging open wide, catching flies? That's me, minus the athletic tank-top-wearing part. Just the mouth breathing because my nose is so plugged up part. Due to my unfortunate history of nose drops abuse (you all thought that episode of The King of Queens where Arthur is having a nose drop addiction problem was a joke - ha) I simply REFUSE to take them during the day. No sense adding more pain to the nose drop withdrawal I'm going to have to go through already when this cold is over, from using them just at night. Whenever I get a cold like this, I can't help myself, but one of my first worries is ALWAYS "What if I were to be kidnapped and the kidnappers tried to put tape over my mouth? I would DIE because I can't breath through my nose. Do they even think of these things? Why aren't they ever addressed in those procedural crime dramas on T.V.? It would be helpful and ease my mind a little if I had SOME clue as to what to do in that situation. Not that I get all my worldly "how to survive this situation" advice from T.V., mind you. Oh, and not that I'm seriously worried that I could be in any imminent kidnapping danger. You just never know.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Week of Snot

So this week STARTED out okay. Monday, nothing too big. Tuesday, I got up EXTRA early, as I had to drive to Port Orchard, which is about 50 miles away, only to discover that "that calendar had been canceled a while ago." Uh, thanks for updating ME. Then I had an afternoon in Tacoma at 2:00, so I moseyed around and basically wasted time until then.

Wednesday I went to my new dentist to have a filling redone. That went okay. As my cheek was becoming less and less numb, I realized I was definitely coming down with something. It was kind of hard to tell because I lost my voice three weeks ago and it hasn't been all the way back since then. But by maybe 6:00, I felt like crap. Luckily, my Thursday all-day job in Port Orchard canceled. I say luckily because of the sickness, because I could really use the money...

Thursday I discovered that one of my soccer players had broken her wrist and wouldn't be playing on Saturday. I have another player who I think isn't going to be there either. That means I'll be left with four little girls, one of which will run over to me on the sidelines to tell me she is cold or her finger hurts and can she come out, and one of which is my daughter who will simply burst into tears. Seeing as how, maybe 80 percent of the time, when she cries she will also VOMIT, this is extremely inconvenient. If it rains, consider me screwed ALL THE WAY AROUND. Suck balls. (There is a funny story about "Suck balls", but suffice it to say, I'd get in trouble if I posted it.)

So today I felt even sicker than yesterday. I'm trying to get the transcript that was due on Wednesday done when Alex texts me that one of her brackets on her braces is loose. I spent the next half hour researching what we should do, this being our first experience with all things braces, only to discover we should do nothing, suck it up, and call them next week.

I manage to make it back to my transcript, whereupon Samantha, who has today off, comes down to get new batteries in the remote for the big-screen T.V. Now, anyone who has a big-screen can probably sympathize with me here. There are three remotes, and if I want to do something besides watch basic television, I have to ask my daughter to help. When we first got it, I'm sure it was six months before I ever even tried to turn it on if I was home alone. We recently discovered that you can use the Comcast remote to do the jobs one of the other remotes was doing, which has only confused certain members of this household MORE, not less. I put Sam on the track that I thought would help and went back to work.

Soon she comes back down crying, The T.V. won't do anything now! I just get this sick feeling. That T.V. is less than three years old. I cannot fathom dragging it out of the house to a shop to get it repaired, or paying someone to come here to fix it. I drag my sorry sniveling ass upstairs and start to push random buttons and random remotes, which all do nothing. Finally I call Comcast. The lady, who was very nice, had me go right up to the cable box and press the power button. VOILA! I would have cried were it not for the donkey-sounding laughter I was busy with since my voice is still ragged and unable to emit my normally twinkling musical laughter. She assured me it was all right and that I wasn't the first to make that mistake. Thanks, but I think I'm going back to bed.

It's just ALL too much today. Now if only my new comforter would come in the mail, I'd stay there all weekend, except for the soccer games and the three birthday celebrations I have to attend to this weekend. HELP. I actually have to mention my new comforter. I'm so excited. It was a lighter color than I wanted, but we are in a king-sized bed using a queen-sized comforter, which barely stretches to the edges of the bed. Since I'm the cheap one who doesn't want to spend the money on a new comforter, I usually let him have most of the one we have. I've been on The Company Store website over and over and over all summer and fall, waiting for the best deal. Finally I found one on eBay, from TCS, only $114 less than I would have paid from TCS. It wasn't the right color, but I was laying up in bed one night debating when it hit me, I'd be paying $55 for a $169 comforter. Screw the color. I jumped out of bed and raced down to my computer and purchased said comforter. Think how great it would have been to have gotten it the first day I was sick. Oh, well.

Hopefully next week won't suck balls.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

7

Well, today my baby turned 7. She's been SO excited, for like a week now. It's got to be weird to be that excited for your birthday. I even pointed out that it's not like she gets to vote or see R-rated movies or drink. It's just 7. We don't have a party planned -- sort of like last year, I think we'll end up doing a Halloween party right before Halloween. She doesn't really like cake, so we made shortbread cookies that she took to school. I did make mini-cupcakes (yellow cake with chocolate buttercream frosting - the only kind either of my girls like) that I had planned that she would take to pick up Alex from soccer so she could give them to the soccer girls. But I thought soccer was over at 7:30, and Alex called me at 7:15 to find out where I was. Soccer was over at 7:00, so the team was already gone when I got there. Plus, after Samantha opened her Guitar Hero Aerosmith, she really didn't want to go pick up her sister from soccer. So we took the cupcakes over to the neighbors because the last thing this family needs is to be saddled with, like, 80 mini cupcakes...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Soccer update

On the bright side, Alex's team won yesterday. NO TIE. Excellent. But of course, I was at Samantha's game, so I missed it. The Firecats (Sam's team) played a team who practices twice a week and scrimmages boys' teams. WTF. I consider myself lucky if I can get 20 solid minutes of practice out of my girls. ALTHF. Why not just have your girls play up a year? Seriously? GU7 soccer, and you think it's essential that you have your team practice twice a week and scrimmage boys. Whatever. We lost, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it might be. They had a coach on our side of the field, as well as their side, yelling to the girls. One girl, I noticed, several times stopped playing to give him the stink eye. I was kind of surprised, but then not so much when I saw her leaving with the head coach and I think the assistant was her dad. She obviously loves all the extra time she is putting into her U7 soccer career.

My girls started out the game looking EXTREMELY clueless. Maybe they were just putting on an act for the other team, because while they LOOKED clueless, they were actually doing more of what they were supposed to be doing than in the past. So they are learning. It wasn't half bad. Maybe not worth missing Alex's win, but oh, well.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ten years ago...

I was reading some random blog, and they had posted a question about, "What were you doing ten years ago?" And I kind of chuckled because I remember, shortly after Alex was born, a good friend of mind from college, Jill, also had a baby, Drew. We met at the mall one day and were moseying down the mall with our newborns in their strollers. I can't totally remember the conversation, but the point that came out of it was that, very likely, ten years ago to that minute of mall-moseying with newborns, we were in college and most probably were drunk, exactly ten years earlier. And while I'm not totally proud, but only sort of, we did have a really good run there for awhile.

Now I can say that ten years ago today, I was probably busy playing some form of Chick Tickle (of which there were several: Reach Chick Tickle, Area Chick Tickle, etc.) because Alex and I did that A LOT. For those of you wondering, she was the chick, and I did the tickling -- Good Times! But no, all that Chick Tickle did not cause her to stutter or give her bladder problems or trust issues. So there!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bronchiectasis (Not Really)

Well, I lost my voice Saturday and it's Thursday and it still isn't back all the way yet. Which is totally not the norm. I usually lose my voice once every fall, and it's usually back in two days, tops. Plus, I just haven't felt great. When I lose my voice, my family runs around telling everyone I'm sick, when in reality, I feel FINE. So when I do try and talk, it's usually to tell them I'm not SICK. But Tuesday I finally gave up and went to bed for the day around 11:00, and I'm thinking that maybe ought to be what I should be doing right now. Plus, it doesn't help that the dep I was working on this week was about this woman and her chronic bronchitis and her bronchiectasis (which is a new word I just learned) and all her symptoms. Ugh.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Text Messages

From Jana:

What a positive influence you are.

Good thing you do not own any guns.

God bless ya, Ted, you're reading my blog! (How I Met Your Mother)

How about ICU81MI for my license plate? (30 Rock)

I like when a woman has ambition. It's like seeing a dog wearing clothes. (30 Rock)

Superhills me. (The Soup)

Suck on that, stupid tattletale parents!

How long have you known the plaintiff? I haven't actually seen it, but I have seen the Firm, and I plan on renting The Pelican Brief. (Michael Scott - The Office)

For once I am not going to be Jan Brady. I am going to be Marcia. Oh, my nose! See, it's starting already! (30 Rock)

A drinking contest? What am I, twelve and at my boyfriend's frat party? (30 Rock)

FROM ME:

I don't know how, but you're going to get me a sandwich or I'm going to cut your face so bad you'll have a chin. You'll all have chins. (30 Rock)

You love Monday T.V.

That commercial where the lady cleans the kitchen with a piece of raw chicken grosses me out.

HIMYM is hysterical.

I know that message, and I know that tone. Every one of my sisters got that message junior year in high school. You're pregnant! (Dennis Duffy - 30 Rock)

Prenatal vitamins. Yeah, I know what prenatal means. Pre, before, natal, ruined. (30 Rock)

Hmm. I have already used the phrase, "No fighting on Mother's Day". Not a good sign.

The Bret Michaels Band is not coming here this summer.

Run, Hannah! (Endurance)

Quit having fun without us.

Why do you suppose a man would be ashamed of having a loofah? You know, I myself prefer to have my excess epithelial cells slough off naturally, but I don't condone those who seek to accelerate the process. (Big Bang Theory)

My Weekend of Meaningful Glances

Well, not the entire weekend...

Friday night Eric and I worked the Cheap Trick/Heart/Journey concert. A good time was had by all, as usual, and Eric finally got to work and see that it really is a good time. Cheap Trick was first. They had a bunch of songs I had forgotten they played, so that was kind of cool. During most of the other shows I worked, I never cared much if I got to actually see the band or not, so I didn't bother walking through the amphitheater. Eric really wanted to see Heart, so he walked through a few times, and I did see Heart and Journey. They both sounded brilliant.

The next morning I woke up with maybe an eighth of my voice left. I could feel I was maybe losing it before the concert, but the varied secondhand smoke at the concert probably didn't help. So I told Alex she'd have to do most of the yelling at the Firecats during the soccer game. Well, no, I yelled myself pretty much the rest of the way hoarse. We actually played well. I'm guessing we lost maybe 8 - 4 or so, with one of those goals being scored by one of their girls going the wrong way, but oh, well.

Then we headed up to Everett for Alex's game. The traffic was TERRIBLE. Apparently, there were even signs that said to avoid 405, which is the freeway we took. The other people who went the I-5 way actually had it worse, though. Alex was in a panic when she realized she was going to be late (as usual), but thankfully she wasn't the only one. Once again, we ended up with a tie. UGH.

Then we went to dinner with Grandma Dorothy and Grandpa Bob. At this point, my entire voice was GONE, so I kind of had to whisper whenever I tried to talk. All night long I would think, Hey, I was going to call Cathy, or Hey, I should call my mom, only to pick up my phone and realize I couldn't talk. My family kept telling people I was sick, which simply wasn't the case. I lose my voice, but I feel fine. It's just after trying to squeeze out a few words every hour, you just get worn out. I had to make a few phone calls, so I had them on speakerphone and Alex had to do the talking. I got out of working the Maroon 5/Counting Crows concert, which I actually volunteered for because I wanted to see them. But they had enough people, so it was no big whoop.

So I didn't get any more My Coke Rewards caps tonight, but I figure I have enough to be entering caps until well into next year. I don't know if it will be worth it in the end, but who knows what I'll end up with? And apparently it must make me happy, because I keep doing it.

Hopefully my voice will simply come back and not a bunch of other cold/flu symptoms, although I do fancy I sound a lot like Stevie Nicks with my raspy voice...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Old Boyzone



Good times! My sister posted one of Boyzone's older videos, a song called No Matter What, which pretty much was the reason we both loved Boyzone. I had never actually seen the "official" video until she posted it recently. I actually was really disappointed. I think they should totally just have used the footage I've posted here, from Andrew Lloyd Weber's birthday celebration.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New Boyzone



I am totally hooked on this song. Oh, and I think the dancing is adorable. I know that a lot of the comments on youtube have been critical of the dancing, but Boyzone was never known for their dancing in the first place, like, say, N'Sync. Plus they've aged really well, especially Stephen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

T.V. So Far

Before this fall T.V. season started, I borrowed Supernatural seasons 1 and 2 from my sister to try to catch up on. I also started watching Bones on hulu.com, which is a great site to watch all kinds of T.V. series. I haven't even checked out the movies yet, but they seriously have TONS of series that you can watch, and they don't need to be downloaded. So I'm somewhere in the middle of season 2 of both Bones and Supernatural, both really good shows. I think this may be the reason I feel like the fall T.V. shows kind of snuck up on me. I just don't feel prepared! Under no circumstances, though, can I put down in print on this blog all the shows I plan to try out. It would make some people question my ability to parent and/or exist in this society, due to the fact that I must have NO time on my hands, what with all the T.V. I watch or am planning to watch. TiVo has helped immensely because now an hour-long show is only 45 minutes. It doesn't take long for a show to fall off the radar for me, and once it's gone, it's gone for good, usually, (except it is REALLY hard to give up shows that have turned to CRAP, i.e., Grey's Anatomy, when they keep hiring people I want to watch.)

TERMINATOR - SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES -- I still love this show. Of course, I can come up with one or two scenes in every episode that I think are lame, but overall, this is a great, usually action-packed series. Brian Austin Greene is the next Patrick Dempsey, I think. How fair is that, that a geek can grow up so good-looking and actually get better and better?

PRIVILEGED -- I really like this show, mostly because we are big Reba fans here, and the girl who played Cheyenne on Reba plays the main character Megan. Plus I think she's a pretty strong character and usually doesn't follow what I consider are the usual T.V. cliches. I am afraid, though, that it might not hold my interest enough to go, Oh, no, Privileged is on and I forgot to TiVo it, which usually does not bode well.

FRINGE -- I really liked the first episode - totally creepy. I think I've TiVo'd the second ep., I just haven't watched it yet. But I will, because J.J. Abrams is behind it and the first one was so good.

GREY'S ANATOMY -- I know this hasn't started yet, but right after I decided NOT to watch it this season, they hired Kevin McKidd, so I hate to say it, but I will be checking it out.

DANCING WITH THE STARS -- The main reason I am NOT planning on watching DWTS is because the premiere week is planning three nights of it. I don't have time, and it really makes me mad that they think that I do. Plus, we've hit the point where the professional dancers are the stars, instead of the "celebrities". The dancing last time wasn't good enough, either. Kristi Yamaguchi was technically good, but there was no WOW factor, I felt. So I think I'll leave that show to my daughter and I'll pick it up again somewhere around week 6.

CRUSOE -- Alex and I are totally excited about this show, but I'm probably the one that will end up watching it. She has a bit of a pirate obsession, and in one of the previews, someone said the word "pirate". But she's 13 and I still see her choosing dog shows on Animal Planet or cartoons before other stuff.

THE SITCOMS -- 30 Rock (hysterical and great quotes), Big Bang Theory (ditto), How I Met Your Mother, and The Office. I am going to give Kath & Kim a try because of the buzz, and Worst Week because it's a British import and British T.V. RULES.

That's all for now...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Samantha the Great

Oh, also, our soccer team, the Firecats, didn't win yesterday, but we did score five goals. Samantha scored two of them. Alex's team tied, which, of course, half-sucks. Then Samantha passed her first Medium Guitar Hero song, Barracuda.

The church we went to this morning is the one her teacher goes to. During the first 20-minute songfest deal, I thought, Absolutely no way will we be going to this church again. Then the pastor started to speak, and he was great, funny, full of pop culture references for all ages, lots of football metaphors. He would be worth coming for, I think. Then I picked up Samantha after Sunday school, and the first thing she said was, I LOVE church. So while I would like to try the Presbyterian church in town which is way more traditional, I like that she's so excited about Sunday school. We will probably keep going to this church for awhile and just suck up the mini Christian rock concert for the first half. At least there wasn't the old, stand-up, sit-down, stand-up, sit-down, stand-up again vibe going on. We stood for all the singing, sat for the sermon and were done. She loved Sunday school even though there were only two kids from her class there, both kindergartners. I think my main goal in finding a church right now is for her anyway. So I guess I should let her pick!

Dealing with the Teenager Issues

So Friday night Alex got invited to go to the football game with a group of kids. I could tell she didn't want to go, and as much as I wanted to MAKE her go, I guess I knew the feeling and told her that if she didn't go, she needed to make a real effort to go next time. She agreed. Fast forward to Saturday after her soccer game. She has tentative plans to spend the night with a friend when her friend is done babysitting around 9:00. While I don't think that's necessarily ideal, it's okay with me. I like her friend a lot and trust her family. While she's hanging around watching T.V., two of her soccer friends call and say they are riding their bikes to visit at our house. That's cool. Then Alex invites the neighbor down to hang out with them, also. Again, cool.

Then it's starting to get to dinnertime, and while I don't mind that she has friends over, I actually wasn't planning on feeding three extra teenagers. While I'm trying to decide how to handle this, our neighbor invites the girls to go swimming with him and his friends that night. Alex calls me while I'm at the grocery store, after having finally given in and deciding to buy pizza for everyone, and asks if I can "swing by" one of the girls' house and pick up her swim stuff. Um, no, I'm at the opposite side of town. Also, what are they going to do with their bikes? If her mom could bring her stuff and pick up her bikes, I will take them home after the swimming. Good plan. Her mom comes over and gets the bikes and everyone is ready to go swimming. I hand Alex $10 bucks and tell her to bring home change. Uh, well, the other two girls need money, also. FINE. I took back the ten and gave her a twenty, the whole time telling myself that I will take them home at 9:30.

9:20 and they are home. They run in the door past me arguing about who gets the first shower. Wait a minute, I'm taking the girls home. Oh, no, we called their moms and they're going to stay here. See, I guess because I am usually so cool about that stuff that I always let her, she almost feels like she doesn't need to ask. I didn't want to make a scene, but I made a mini one anyway. I told her I was kind of mad because she knew we were going to try a new church on Sunday.

Anyway, the kids spend the night. They hang out at the local grade school until 11:00, when I made them come home. Then they hung out on the trampoline until midnight when I made them come in. It's all fine. She's done it before. We've never had a neighbor complaint or anything. I do like being the "hanging-out" house, somewhat. I mean, I'd rather see what she's doing here than wonder (or not) what she's doing somewhere else. But I just felt totally railroaded with this incident.

This morning I told her I'd be taking the girls home after church. When I got home, I was told Alex had done her soccer homework and her other homework already and that the girls had called their moms and were going to stay longer. Part of me wants to pull her aside and tell her, No, this time I'm taking the kids home. Part of me is fine that they're here, because they're outside again, hanging out with the neighbor. If she was here alone, she'd be on the computer or watching T.V. on the couch. Plus I like that she's gotten to be friends with our neighbor, a really nice GUY. I know she's not nearly ready to date or talk boyfriends, but I do want her to know that she can be friends with guys. I'm sure if she were home alone, she wouldn't be hanging out with him by herself.

So we need to have a TALK. I'm not mad, I just don't want to be taken advantage of like that again, not that any of them thought they were doing that. I guess, after watching The Secret Life of the American Teenager, it could be worse.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday night

So the Firecats had a practice tonight. I swear they have an approximate 20-minute attention span. But it went okay. At least they had fun. I guess that's probably what I'll be telling myself all through this season, "At least they had fun". ALTHF. We can have that put on a shirt or something. But I don't think the team we play tomorrow is as good as either of the teams we lost to, so maybe that's a bonus. We'll see.

Alex's team, naturally, plays also at noon. So once again, she won't be there to help me, and I won't get to watch her, which I've actually been looking forward to more and more this year. Someone was explaining that her team last year was this good (raising his hand about a foot off the table), and her team this year started down here at this good (raising his hand about a quarter of that high). Therefore, her team this year can improve about 9 inches, while her team last year has to work equally as hard to only improve a couple of inches. Which totally makes sense, and it's way more impressive when you SEE what he was talking about. But I really feel like they have been improving, and I'm excited to see what happens for them this season.

I worked a deposition on Thursday in my kitchen over the phone. For some reason, I was WAY more nervous than actually getting dressed and driving to some attorney's office. In the end it went fine, but I did sit and worry about some neighbor ringing the doorbell or my husband and daughter coming home and yelling something. Then I realized I really wanted to turn on the air conditioner and so I had to sneak over and do it, trying not to make any noise.

We are going to try a new church on Sunday. This is the church Samantha's teacher goes to. My only issue is that I'd like to go to the 10:30 service, while Eric wants to go early to "get it out of the way", I'm assuming. But I guess since it's right there in Enumclaw and we can leave ten minutes before it starts, maybe 9:00 will be okay.

I've started going back to Curves again after taking most of the summer off. It feels good to get back at it. My shoulders still hurt from the awesome header I took off the raft on Bonecrusher Rapid this summer in Montana, so I am being careful there. Here I am, working out to feel better, and then there Eric is, working out and losing 12 pounds in about a week and a half. It's so not fair...

Monday, September 8, 2008

Weekend Update

Well, the Firecats (Samantha's soccer team that Alex and I coach) had their first two games this weekend in the soccer jamboree. We got creamed both times. Alex couldn't be there because she had a game in Redmond at noon, so it was just me. Not sure how much I'm going to like coaching, especially because I don't feel like I can help them much. It might have been a little different if Alex had been there. One of the other coaches was yelling stuff to his team, and I had NO idea what the hell he was talking about. Samantha might even be the star, except for the drama. She had to come out of the second game with a "CONCUSSION". Actually, she had stayed home from school with what seemed to be a horrible cold the day before. So I'm not surprised it caught up to her on the soccer field. However, I'm pretty sure she meant she was congested, not that she had a concussion. Anyway, we'll see how the season goes. I'm pretty sure this will be my last foray into the world of coaching.

Saturday night I worked at the Santana concert. Way different, older crowd, equally as nice as the nicest metal fans. One of the bonuses was that we didn't have to keep their caps. I guess the powers that be don't think of Santana fans as any sort of threat. You would think this might upset me, seeing as how I've been faithfully entering codes from the last concert I worked in my My Coke Rewards. I even actually purchased two $25 gift cards from eBags, one for me and one for my sister. Anyway, it was SO nice not to have to try and explain that stupid rule time and time again that I didn't even mind not getting any caps from that show. I actually came home with two bags of caps from the last show, so it was all good. And there are two more concerts!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

First Day of School '08

So it seems like everyone was in a dither all weekend worrying about the first day of school. Seeing as how Alex was the only one with an actual "bad" experience last school year, I don't know what Samantha's problem was. She woke up an hour early this morning and told me that at 4:30 this morning she almost threw up and then was awake all night. Uh, I don't think so. She doesn't even have a clock in her room. How would she know what time it is? But the thing is, I know how her twisted little mind works and what she is thinking. While she's eating breakfast, she tells me she might throw up. I told her to come have some milk of magnesia and hurry and puke, if she's going to, so she can get ready for school. I even told her that if she didn't go to school at Southwood this year, that I would march her across the street to Elk Ridge. So on the way to school, she seems fine. As we're approaching the drop-off, we see ALL these classmates AND THEIR PARENTS on their way to class. I kind of said, Oh, I wonder if I should go in with you. Uh, yeah. So I walked her in. She marched around the room doing all the things you are supposed to do when you first get there. Her teacher from last year is doing a kindergarten/first grade split, so she has the same room, same teacher. She must have kissed me good-bye four times before I finally left. Little turd.

Alex's morning went pretty smoothly. She was pretty nervous, but she was texting a friend of hers while getting ready, which seemed to help. I have to admit, though, I forgot to get a picture of her before school, which I'll have to do when she gets home. After I got home (I decided I should get the whole day off today and not do a lick of work, make a great lunch, and take an awesome nap) I remembered I had told her I'd call the school to see if she could get her P.E. teacher changed. While I didn't hold out ANY hope that it would happen, I tried. The lady I was talking to said she'd put Alex on the list. Then she asked who was the teacher she wanted instead of the one she got. When I told her, she said, Wait a minute, it looks like she was already moved into that class. So I don't know if Alex made it to the right class today, but she should be thrilled with the move.

The one thing I forgot about school is how early I have to get up. Pretty much the whole rest of the family, including the cats, goes to bed around 9:30. I go pretty much at 11:30. Then I have to get up at 6:30 with Alex. The last couple of weeks, I had been thinking how I never nap anymore and I must have finally kicked that habit. Then I realized that the last two weeks, the girls and I have been sleeping in until about 9:30 every day. Quite a difference.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Children of the Corn

This is the field right next to our house. Alex doesn't seem to appreciate it whenever we pull into the driveway and I say, "Heh-heh-heh, Children of the Corn" and laugh maniacally. I don't think I've ever actually even seen that movie.

On a sad note, we knew when we moved in that the plan was to develop this field into more houses. Friday an engineering firm spent the whole day surveying. Ugh.

Friday, August 29, 2008

What do you think?

YAY!! My sister is teaching a blogging class and, while she was really good at doing stuff to her blog before, she's now a PROFESSIONAL (no Olympics participation = ( for Jana). So she fixed my blog/Fall problem. I love it -- THANK YOU. Although I'm assuming due to my summer spent working the concerts at the White River Amphitheater, I sort of think the leaves in the first picture look like marijuana... But hey, marijuana leaves turn colors, too, right? Pretty, pretty. Now one day I'm either going to have to get her to show me how to do stuff or she's going to have to just do the changes all the time. It will be like I have my own personal (FREE) web designer!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Random

I'm not thrilled with the look of my blog. I want it to feel FALL, but I'm just not sure...

I went shopping for school clothes for Eric today. I decided, since I found him two pairs of pants at Penney's, that I didn't have to get him some more pants at Costco, so I could spent the $30 on what I wanted. I hadn't planned to spend more than $100. I spent $171. Watch Robyn stand there smiling, trying not to hyperventilate, and acting like she routinely spends $171 on stuff at Costco.

Eric and I have had several conversations on how we think Alex should behave towards people when school starts up, mainly the two girls that basically shunned her last year, her "friends". I told her that if they spoke to her, she could be polite and speak back, but if they tried to be friends again and act like nothing happened, I wanted her to say something. Eric thinks she should move on and not say anything, but he's also thinking they won't try and be friends again. I agree she doesn't want any friction, but I don't want these girls to think they can walk on her one year and she'll forget about it and let them be her friend again later. Anyway, it's highly doubtful anything will happen. I know she's already seen the one who decided not to speak to her anymore first, and they didn't speak. But she was better friends with the other one, so I wonder.

After about 45 minutes and TWO sales clerks at Famous Footwear finally figured out how to order Alex's Converse shoes and have them shipped to our house, they came today, IN THE WRONG SIZE. Luckily, we had a brand new store open up in Bonney Lake, so I won't have to go far to get them exchanged. Now my question is do I wait for Samantha's shoes to come first? Or do I go ahead and switch Alex's tomorrow? We'll see. I've got a ton of proofreading to do for Shari before she leaves on vacation. I may not even have a chance to leave the house tomorrow.

Monday, August 25, 2008

End of the Summer Update

Man, my posts have been few and far between here lately! It should get better once everyone is back in school and all is right with the world again...

Alex's soccer team did okay, for a team that plays at the P-4 level being put in a bracket of all P-1 teams. We actually beat the first team and held the other two to I think five goals between them. The two teams we lost to came in #1 and #2, so we had nothing to feel bad about! Her team from last year even lost to the eventual #2 team. But both Alex and Samantha had a blast.

I think this year, for Alex, may end up being even harder than last year. She had a really bad experience with her two "friends" turning against her the last few months of the last school year. She started hanging out with some new friends this summer and even told me that she was having more fun in the couple of weeks she hung out with them than she had in the year and a half with her other friends. But she's really emotional and always kind of on egg shells, thinking if she has one misstep, they may not like her, either. It's really hard to watch. When she's with her new friends, she's like a different person, and I know she has a lot of fun. But like tonight, she was supposed to spend the night with a few of the girls, kind of a slumber party, but she had soccer. The girls went to a movie, thinking they'd be home by 8:30. They ended up getting home around 9:45. She didn't feel great after soccer and truly just wanted to go to bed early, but felt like she needed to go so they'd still like her. I just hate seeing her feel that way. I finally made the executive decision that she should stay home. We were sitting in the car in the driveway talking about it and she started crying. It's like she can't even put her finger on why she thinks she feels miserable. I asked her if she wished we hadn't moved, and she said yes, which makes me feel bad all over again. Anyway, it's going to be some kind of journey, I'm afraid. All I can do is be there. At least she talks to me.

I worked two more concerts this past week, Radiohead and the Pain in the Grass, which was mainly Queensryche. I liked the fans from both concerts and got two more bags of bottle caps. Very different crowds, though. Radiohead fans were more hippie-ish, kind of stoner-ish, but equally as nice as the metal fans I've run into. But the marijuana smell from that concert I was afraid would still be there when I woke up the next day, even after showering with my smelliest Bath and Body Works shower gel.

We went to Olympia to celebrate my father-in-law's birthday yesterday. My mother-in-law bought him an iPod nano, which I'm sorry to say , is WAY too much iPod for him to handle. But I think I got him on the right track. I told him he should buy one song a day until his gift card is used up, so he would have to practice with it once a day. I also told him to call me any time he had questions. He actually called today after he bought a song, and I walked him through the next steps, so I think he's going to take my advice!

We are getting the grandkids together this Saturday for a portrait for my mother-in-law's birthday in November. What started out as a nice idea seemingly has evolved into this nightmare. First it was scheduled the Saturday of the Bigfoot tournament. My sister-in-law emailed me to see if we could just "swing by" for a half an hour for the photo shoot. Well, if by "swing by" you mean drive the two and a half hours down from Snohomish to take the pictures and then back two and a half hours for Alex's next game. So then it was rescheduled to this Saturday. All systems were go until my sister-in-law asked if Eric was coming. Um, no, this is a grandkids picture, why does he need to come? Plus, he had prior plans to go to a football game with a former coaching friend. Fine. Then tonight his brother calls and I don't know if he didn't know what he was supposed to guilt Eric into or what, but Eric told him he'd talk to me and call him back. Five minutes later, his brother had called back, so I grabbed the phone. I had just reread the email from my sister-in-law which said, "Dorothy would be beyond thrilled with a picture of her g-kids, so I really hope we can make this happen." Not a single word about us being in the picture anywhere. Turns out they decided it would be cool to get a picture of the three brothers as well, which it would, BUT he can't "swing by" for a 10:00 photo shoot when he is supposed to be leaving Enumclaw at 10:15 with his buddies. At one point my sister-in-law had suggested Thanksgiving weekend for the pictures, which I thought was a great idea. Then Eric's brother decided that weekend was too busy. It really seems like things can never just go smoothly. I finally just told her that we would have to concentrate this weekend on just getting the grandkids, as per the original plan, and if they wanted family photos to go along with it, our family would have to make it in another time.

So this weekend I was hoping Alex would get to hang out with her friend from Federal Way, but even if that happens, I'll have to steal her for a Saturday morning photo shoot!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

More August News

Well, we made it back from Montana in one piece. That was NOT a relaxing vacation. It was a ton of fun, don't get me wrong, but relaxing - NOT. So we've had a couple of semi-boring days and now we're off again.

We leave tomorrow for Alex's soccer tournament in Snohomish. Snohomish is like two hours away, short enough that we could just drive it every day. But we're staying in the hotel with the rest of the team. Spending money on another hotel room makes me sick thinking about it, but then with gas prices, it's probably kind of a wash.

Then I find out the other night that when we registered for the tourney, they asked us some random questions, and when the brackets came out, we got stuck in a bracket with all P-1 teams. That means Premier 1 league teams, one of them being the team Alex was on last year. We are a P-4 team. So the coaches pulled the parents together to let us know that they were working on trying to get to another bracket, but if not, it's up to us to keep the girls up and ready to play. I just want to, you guessed it, VOMIT. Everyone else is all, Oh, it would be great to play them; we can kick their butts. When I was growing up, I played tennis for years and years. My whole summer was organized around tennis tournaments all over the state (which was a BLAST, by the way). But I remember people always saying, You can beat anyone if you just believe you can. Well, I did then and I do now call bull*$#@. I remember thinking, So you people honestly believe that if I put my mind to it, I could beat Rainey Lamey (the #1 girl in the state from Billings, who had an indoor court and played year-round) or Berrit Burton (the girl who came up every summer from Nicaragua and kicked all our asses) or, for that matter, Chris Evert. So I've always been skeptical of that, Believe it and you can mentality. I don't think we'll actually end up playing them, but we will be playing at least one team that beat us last year 10-0.

Tonight is my Girls U7 soccer team's first practice. For the love of god, I'm not sure what I was thinking when I volunteered to coach. It's not that I don't think I can do it. I'm just not sure I want to or have the patience. Yesterday Eric kept asking me if I had a plan and what I was going to do. Well, yeah, at that point my plan was just to show up, hand out soccer balls and have the girls kick up and down the grass for a while. Finally, his constant bugging me got to me and I got out the drills my friend gave me to work on. Then I called Alex down and we actually planned out practice. She's even sort of excited. I think she'll be great. We already know four of the five girls. It might even be fun.

My sister gets to house a 21-year-old Scottish soccer coach for a week. I mean, unless he's a total dog, the accent alone is worth it. I told her that I'm sure any sort of sexual activity with any of the people housing them is probably seriously frowned upon. I don't know, some of those soccer bodies (i.e., David Beckham - how can you argue that), boom chicka wah wah.

Also, my sister, after seeing Samantha pass songs on Easy on Guitar Hero, finally got into it. I told her that if she ever gets up to Hard songs, she has to let me know so I can come out of retirement because I can't have my little sister beating me at GH. She posted this morning on her blog that she hit Raining Blood, which I'm not even sure should count as a song. I know a lot of the good people that make up heavy metal fans would argue with me, but I don't get it. And I think I'm fairly open-minded. But if there's no discernible beat anywhere, how is that a song? I've passed it, but I'm not a fan of Raining Blood!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Montana in August

Well, it's been awhile since I've posted, I know... We are actually in Montana again, second time this summer, which is pretty normal for us. It really is our vacation destination. We stopped in Spokane last Friday for my cousin Drew's wedding, which was an awesome time, and then headed here on Saturday. This trip has been a little different because we are staying down the road at my sister's because my sister-in-law and her two kids are here, also, and they are staying at mom's. So far it's working out fine, except for the usual sibling squabbles and Samantha "I'm SOOO FRAKKING SENSITIVE" Fiedler getting her feelings hurt. But she is the littlest cousin and takes everything VERY literally. I'm working with her...

Everyone went rafting on Sunday, with the exception of my parents who were picking up their new puppy, Tinker (Tink). Scott and Jana's friend Doug and his girlfriend Lynette came as well and brought their raft. I ended up on the "kid" raft with Scott. Except for the lack of sunshine, it was a great day of rafting -- oh, and also the falling out of the raft on the biggest rapids part, which I did exceptionally well, I'm told. I was also told by several people that the "lady" got a TON of pictures of my spectacular trip, which I can't wait to see. I'm sure it's going to remind me of the time in the Bridget Jones movie where she slides down the fire pole with her thong underwear and her big ass showing on national television when her skirt flies up. At least almost immediately after me, a whole raft flipped over. Possibly some people might find that more interesting than the girl who flipped out over the back of the raft in a back somersault. I was pretty proud that I managed to hold onto the rope, which was about the only thing I was thinking, that and how the river had just absolutely hydro-douched my nose. I think I still feel river water sloshing around up there.

My Alex was amazing during the trip. When we stopped at some little cliffs and Scott and Doug and Lynette all jumped off, Alex went ahead and joined them, which I thought was pretty cool. I think Carter and Zac also went off the cliff, which was also pretty cool. Then Alex did this:




She not only looked adorable, she was a STUD.