Friday, September 28, 2007

Check your paystubs!

Being a former Human Resources Manager, in which payroll fell under my department, I have always told people to always check your pay stub, especially if you get direct deposit and don't have to physically take a check to the bank. Why? you might ask. Because payroll departments make mistakes! I have drilled this into my husband's head and does he listen? Nnnnnnooooooo....

The deposit to our account today was off from what it should have been. Since we moved, his paycheck from month to month has been different due to a variety of reimbursements, salary increase and a bonus. However, I had a calculated amount budgeted and his paycheck was not what I had in my budget. I insisted he look at his stub, which of course is done online as they do not distribute paper, and sure enough, they have incorrectly withheld city taxes that we are not required to pay for two pay cycles. So, now he has the hassle of trying to get this corrected so we don't pay those taxes anymore AND get our money back.

Sssssoooo...check your pay stubs, and/or your spouse's, EVERY month.

Tomorrow is our "Welcome to our new home/Happy 40th" party. I am pretty excited. There are people coming that I have only seen once or twice in the last three years!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm so excited!

In 2006, I attended my 20th high school reunion. It was fun, though at the Friday night event, I drank WAY TOO MUCH and don't have a clear recollection of the entire evening. Well, this November, a group of us gals from HS are getting together at my house. We have been waiting for our friend, Lora, who lives in LA, to finalize her flights before we could move forward with the final planning. Well, it's been set for Nov. 10. Right now, it looks like there will be about ten of us, but I still have some more people to contact. LA will be the farthest distance traveled. Others are coming from Detroit, MI; Columbus, OH and some of the more locals are in Dayton and Cincinnati. I am also hoping a good friend can come from Chicago. We will be going out to dinner and then having a slumber party at my house. One friend I have known since kindergarten, or maybe even before - I don't really remember my life not knowing her. Most I have known since sometime during grade school and a few others who may be coming I have known since we started high school together. Two of the friends are twin sisters and I was roommates with them in college. We are going to have a great time. Maybe I can stay sober enough to actually remember the entire evening, though I wouldn't bet on that! Ok, I hope to remember the whole evening, but I doubt I will be 100% sober.

Another fun event I am looking forward to is my trip to the Ladies Lounge the first week in November. The Ladies Lounge is made up of about 12-15 friends from Kansas City. We make a trip three times a year to a friend's lake house in Stockton, MO - the population almost doubles when we arrive! : ) That town is never the same when we leave and we have been known to take small tokens out of yards to take home with us for upcoming parties. I can't wait to see these friends as I haven't seen them since we moved from Kansas. Posted

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I knew the day would come...

When CJ went to a KDO program last year, I was afraid he would be kicked out for being too rough and assertive. He is used to playing with his older brothers and their friends and therefore plays like a ten year old and not someone his own age. It didn't happen last year, though they did move him up to a class that was for kids a year older because he liked the organized activities better than the organized play time in the younger class. He did great there. Well, I guess my concerns last year were 12 months premature. Today the teacher pulled me aside and said "Does CJ like to squeeze people?" and I said, "Yes, he gives me hugs all the time." Unfortunately, she didn't mean squeezing as in hugs, but in squeezing people's arms and legs. She said everyone he sat with today he would grab their arm or leg and squeeze them and add in a little twist. Too bad that stinker, Emily, was not at school today so he could do it to her! Anyway, the teacher was not overly concerned, but wanted to let me know that he was doing it and they had talked to him about it. We'll see what happens on Thursday.

I got my haircut today. She did a good job, but it was not what I was expecting. My previous hairstylist was thinning my hair from underneath and not cutting it to shorten it. I met someone here who told me her hairstylist does this. So I was expecting her to do that to me, but she didn't. She shaped up the back - basically I have an inverted bob - and added a few very light, long layers along the bottom to prevent the thickness and length from weighing it all down. It's cute. I made another appointment for mid-December. I think I have only had four haircuts in the last ten months. It is getting long!

That's all I have. Motorcycle Guy will be home in the wee hours of the morning.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Energy Drains

My MIL sent me an article from Oprah magazine, which I had also read, on how to solve the emotional energy crisis. I am going to post a few of the ideas here, as I think everyone can use some tips on this, especially me! For today, I am going to list my top three of the eight that were outlined in the article and include their suggestions on how to fix it.
  1. ENERGY DRAIN Loss of Self - As kids, we had to play by the rules; our unique energy got caged.
    ENERGY FIX Personalize your life. Ask yourself, if it were up to me, what would I ... hang on my wall? Wear to work? Do for fun? Find the pockets of freedom where you can be more yourself.
  2. ENERGY DRAIN Overcommitment - You're always saying yes - to your mother, kids, friends, employer; to requests, favors, meetings.
    ENERGY FIX Tell someone else "no" every once in a while, just to feel your own power. You'll gain a whole new sense of your ability to take care of yourself.
  3. ENERGY DRAIN Other people's expectations - Are you living someone else's dream for you? You're putting out energy but starving emotionally. The other person gets all the satisfaction.
    ENERGY FIX You bought in; you can set yourself free. No confrontation needed, just "I don't have to expect that of myself." Worst-case scenario: Someone who's not you will be disappointed. You will feel wonderful. Posted by

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Growing up

As in all families, everyone here is growing up! CJ will be turning four on October 2. He started preschool this year and will graduate from his car seat to a booster seat as soon as I decide which one I want to buy. Sous Chef will be turning eight in a couple of months and Big E will be ten in the spring and is no longer of "elementary" school age. Motorcycle Guy will be 45 in January and I will be hitting the 40 year mark on October 1. I am actually looking forward to it and will be getting a head start on it this upcoming weekend with a party.

I often wish we had had four children. We would have had four, or more, children if either we had started younger or there hadn't been an interruption of "childbearing years" with my medical drama in 2001. We weren't really sure we would even have a third child after that, so I am happy and thankful it worked out for us. On the other hand, when I see my friends with little ones hanging on them or crying for them and the moms changing their diapers, hand feeding them and more, I am kind of glad to be to this stage. I can go without baby gear or diaper bag, I don't need a special bed for overnight trips, no jars of food or special bottles or cups. I was never one to rush home or stay home because of nap time or bed time, but I am doubly thankful when I see my friends leaving a party or fun event, or in some cases not even going, because they want to get their little ones home for their scheduled sleep time. I can stay and keep on having a good time. My kids did well with being flexible on the occasions their sleep schedules were shaken up, but now I don't even have to consider that! They are either home with the sitter or they just keep on going along with the rest of us. Really, who has more energy than a child?

We were out late last night. We went to my brother and SIL's house for dinner with my parents. We got home about midnight. When I pulled in the driveway, there was something very odd about my house. There was a string tied from our outdoor garbage can, to the garage door handle, around our basketball hoop and into the back yard. I kept thinking it was a booby trap of some kind and that if I pulled the string a ghost would come flying out of nowhere, Brady Bunch style, or that a popper would go off. I was afraid to go into the backyard where there were no lights on. Thankfully, I noticed my neighbor's lights on and I went over there. Duane came over and untied it all for me. Earlier that evening, the string had been tied to his teenage son's car and wrapped around some stuff and then all the way over to our deck. He undid it earlier and obviously they came back. I guess these are the "tricks" of Halloween. At least we don't have a lot of toilet paper to clean up today!

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Fun Times

Yesterday was a fun day. Once I got the older two off to school, CJ and I ran a couple of errands and then went to playgroup in our old neighborhood. Kara, the host, is from the "old days" of when we were there. She made a yummy lunch and was excited because I brought iced tea!

From there, we went to Big E's school for a math carnival for his team. They have been doing probability and statistics. Each small group of 2-3 children had to put together a game of some kind that involved them being able to study the probability of numbers. There were lots of dice games, spinning a spinner games, selecting hidden items games, etc. It was fun and I got to meet a new mom. The one mom from his class that I have met was there and her son rode home with us and stayed for the evening. Big E had gone to their house the day before. After Spencer left, Sous Chef had baseball practice and we squeezed in dinner before our new babysitter arrived. It sounds like they had a good time with her.

I went to game night with the local M&M chapter. It was fun and I met a couple more people. I was told I have pretty much met all of the regulars now with the variety of events I have been to. It appears there are members who only attend certain activities, and if you don't ever attend those activities, you may not get to meet them. I hope to change that as co-leader and get people a little more involved in more of the fun activities this chapter does. I am still thinking about the Area Manager job, but from what I have heard, it is actually a little easier than being an RM.

After volunteering at Sous Chef's school, being at Big E's and having to read a lot, going to Bunko and game night, I have come to realize that I REALLY need to be wearing my glasses all of the time. I am not in the habit of doing that, but instead grabbing them when I need them. However, most of the time when I need them, they are at home on my kitchen counter. I think after my eye exam this year, I will get contacts in addition to a new pair of glasses. It feels already like my eyes have changed some since my exam last December. I dont' think I mentioned in my test for my driver's license that while I was afraid of failing the written test, I could barely see to pass the vision test and I did not have my glasses with me Plus, I didn't want the glasses restriction on my license. I was afraid I was going to fail and that they would take my license and Motorcycle Man would have to come to get me! I had to guess between two numbers/letters on many occasions, but apparently my brain was able to decipher it enough to tell me what to guess.

Tonight we are heading to my brother's house for dinner. They have a new puppy that we haven't seen yet and I know my boys will love seeing it, CJ especially.

Have a good weekend.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Volunteering

Today I went to Sous Chef's school to have lunch with him and to help his teacher. His school has two cafeteria's so it's fairly quiet since they are split up between 2nd graders and 3rd graders. It went very smoothly and one little girl told me all about how Jersey Mike's, which is what I brought for my lunch, was her favorite place and what her favorite sandwich and toppings are. Sous Chef told me he broke up with all three girlfriends today, for no apparent reason. He then informed me "we are still regular friends, though." After lunch, I did some cut outs for Miss Davis and then practiced sight words with five or six kids. I was also contacted today to be an Area Manager for the national mothers organization I belong to - Mothers & More. I am currently a Regional Manager and work with four chapters and am about to take over a co-leader position in my chapter. If I take the AM position, I would work directly with 4-6 Regional Managers and indirectly with co-leaders from approximately 25 chapters. I am not sure I am going to do the AM position. I have asked a lot of questions and for more information. The answers will help me to decide.

I played Bunko on Tuesday with my old neighborhood friends and tomorrow night I am going to M&M game night. Motorcycle Guy is in Canada, so I am trying out a new babysitter. Our neighbor sitter, who my kids adore, left for college last weekend, so we had to find someone new. Hopefully this girl will be a keeper! We also have some boy babysitters to test, but they were not available for tomorrow.

That's all I have for today.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

BOYS!

I always knew having boys would keep me busy. I also knew there would be lots of tricks and pranks. Up until now, they have been pretty minor - the usual stuff, like making farting noises with their armpits, burping as loud as they can. The usual boy stuff.

Well, yesterday evening, Big E asked me if I wanted to play "squishy." Once he told me it involved the toilet, I decided I didn't want to play. Of course, this conversation should have triggered something in my brain that would have alerted me to the impending doom. The next thing I know, he and Sous Chef come running. Both of them are laughing so hard they are crying and can hardly catch their breath. I honestly have not ever seen either of them laugh this hard. They led me to the bathroom...to a room covered in ketchup! Big E had stuck packets of ketchup in between the toilet and the toilet seat, under the foot pads of the toilet seat. Sous Chef sat on the toilet and the ketchup packets exploded. After a few seconds of standing there with my mouth hanging open taking in the splattered mess, I had to "flip out" while trying to hold back my laughter. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "How can making a mess like this be funny?"
Me: "I work hard to keep our house clean and nice and you go and do this?"
Me: "Where did you come up wtih this idea?"
Me: "Do you think it's funny to do something that creates a lot of extra work for me?"

I must have sounded fierce, because I don't ever think I have seen their eyes get that big and they both immediately said: "We'll clean it up."

Me: "You most definitely will. There better not be one speck of ketchup in here when I come back. You have both lost all video game privileges for the rest of the day."

As I walked out, I had to cover my mouth to hide my smile. The entire time they were cleaning up, I could hear them stifling their giggles to prevent any additional discipline. They did clean it up and did a good job at it. Big E told me he read about this idea from Dave Pilkey, the author of the Captain Underpants comic books. I reminded Big E anything suggested in those books was not a good idea for real life.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Weekend

Boy, I am tired today. We had a very busy and fun weekend. On Thursday, we left for Pittsburgh. Breakfast with my friend, Jan, was great. Of course, she is doing all of her usual exciting things, including spending almost a month in India back in December. Here is a picture below of us.

The church in the background is St. Stanislaus, a church Motorcycle Guy attended while growing up in Pittsburgh. The church, built in 1892, is well over 100 years old!

We came back on Saturday night and then yesterday we were at Kings Island all day. We stayed until just a few minutes before closing. Motorcycle Guy's employer buys out the park for the weekend and gives tickets to the employees. We went on Sunday because it is less crowded. It was great! There were hardly any lines and towards the end of the day into the evening, the kids (Big E and Sous Chef) were riding the roller coasters repeatedly without even having to get off and get back in line. They would just stay in there seat and keep on riding. No one road the new rollercoaster which you lay down on and hang - supposedly giving you the feeling of flying. Big E doesn't like the rollercoasters that have loops in them, Sous Chef was not tall enough and Motorcycle Guy just never made it back there. If I were able, we definitely would have ridden it.
This was CJ's first time to Kings Island and he loved it. Being a Paramount Park, the kids area is Nickelodeon themed. He loved riding the Phantom Flyers, which you lay down on to ride/fly. I liked it, too. He also liked the roller coaster and of course, anything that resembled a train. Big E , CJ and I had fun riding Scooy-Doo's Haunted Castle. While riding, you have a laser gun to shoot the targets and try to get the high score.
Kings Island is bittersweet for me to go to. While I am thankful to feel great after two brain surgeries, anything high impact is out for me for the remainder of my amusement park days. I am not disappointed that I cannot train to run a marathon or do aerobics, etc. but it just kills me to go here and not be able to ride most of the rides. I remember how much fun I had as a kid riding the roller coasters with my parents, hearing my mom scream and yell and then doing it all over again. I wish I could do that with my kiddos, but it's out of the question. It's a small price to pay to feel good, but it makes me sad. I was probably the only person at Kings Island yesterday who kept getting teary eyed when my kids and husband rode off on a rollercoaster without me. Oh well. It certainly could be worse. I could feel like I did ten years ago and then I wouldn't be doing anything with them! I am happy to see how much fun they have and hear all the details every time they get off a ride.I did manage to ride one ride that I know I shouldn't have. Even though it was in the kids area, it was really fun. I was with CJ in the kids area and Motorcycle Guy was with Big E and Sous Chef when I decided I would ride it. Then I discovered CJ was not tall enough. So once I hooked back up with the gang, Sous Chef and I rode Avatar: The Last Airbender! Sounds exciting, huh? It runs on a track and goes back and forth in a swing like motion, but instead of just one swoop, it has a hill in the middle. While it's doing that, the whole car, which holds 36 people at one time, is going in a circle. The description the park gives it is: Ride along on Avatar’s lead character, Aang’s giant skateboard to soar, spin and fly on this jumbo skating adventure! It was fun, it was more than I should have done but I survived and remain feeling good today. Keep your fingers crossed. The other exciting part was that my hair is SO LONG, it actually blew all around and even got stuck in my lips and I had to keep pulling it off. I had to laugh that I noticed this, but when you have spent most of your adult life with really short hair, you notice odd things about long hair.

I am attaching a picture of CJ. We didn't get any really good ones of Sous Chef and Big E.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Pittsburgh again

We arrived in Pittsburgh last night. I really hate driving to get here in the dark. The highways are so hilly that the semi-trucks barely make it up the hills and go really slow. Sometimes you come around a curve in the highway on a hill and there will be line of trucks crawling up the hill at 20 MPH when the speed limit is 70.

Today my father-in-law, sister-in-law, Motorcycle Guy and kids went to the Carnegie Museum for a behind the scenes, private tour of the Carnegie Museum. The tour was lead by the paleontologist at the museum. They even got to tour the unfinished wing of the museum that will house the permanent dinosaur exhibit, which doesn't open until November. It sounded like everyone had a great time.

Me, CJ and my mother-in-law took the T downtown. Since CJ absolutely LOVES trains, he had a blast. More than once he said, "Mom, I love trains. I definitely love trains." We went to the Heinz gift shop, which is on the 9th floor of the Heinz building, we went to the main T train station and then we took the Incline up to Mt. Washington, where my MIL, grew up. CJ really liked the "train that went up the big hill." We then took the T back to Brookline and had a rest. CJ certainly enjoyed his day of train hopping and so did I!

Tomorrow I am having breakfast with a roommate from college. Jan and I lived in a house with a total of six girls during college. It was a madhouse and party central, but Jan was studious and committed to her six year major. She has been in Pitt several years now and is attending graduate school in addition to her full time work. She is an architect. We had a lot of fun together and I love to see her. We once caught up with each other in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and it was a blast (what I remember, anyway!). I also visited her when she was living in Atlanta. The last time I saw her she had just bought a house here in Pittsburgh. I have not seen her in three years and I am really looking forward to it.

That's all I have for now. It's quiet here. Everyone is in bed. My in-laws have a three story house, so the folks sleeping on the third floor could be having a party and I probably wouldn't hear it down here on the first floor. On the other hand, I could have a party down here and the third floor folks wouldn't hear it...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Mean Girls

I don't really consider myself a mean girl, but I do admit to in the past judging people immediately upon meeting them and making a decision right then and there as to whether or not I would even want to pursue a friendship. Most of the time, the answer was no, as I don't immediately like people (but when I do, I like you a lot and remain loyal under even the toughest of times!). I continue to struggle with this, but remind myself of my "old ways" every time I meet a new person, which in the last few years had been on a regular basis with our recent moves. I have made lots of friends that I would have dismissed in the past and I like my new found acceptance of others.

With all of that said, there are times, when no matter how hard I try, I just don't like someone. Sometimes I have a very good reason - I think they are morally corrupt, mistreat others, have no positive impact on society, are bigots/racist/prejudice. Other times, like today, I have no really good reason other than I think they are a pain the ass, overindulged, self-important fixture in society.You have probably read in my previous posts about Emily and her rudeness to CJ, but worse than that, her mother's tolerance of it and even excusing it with "she's such a stinker" comment. As if that makes Emily's bad behavior cute. NOT! Well, today, I noticed something that explained a lot. Emily's mom has license plates that say "Ems Mom." I had to roll my eyes and think "this woman clearly has no identity and this poor girl is put so high upon a pedestal that she can do no wrong." "Ems Mom" is clearly going to be, or already is, one of those parents whose children never do anything wrong, it'll always be someone else's fault, the teachers and administrators will hate her (the mom) because she will be the one at the school or calling every single time Emily doesn't get her way, gets disciplined for something, whether it be major or minor, or another child accuses her of something. I can already hear it, "Well, Emily would never do that," or "Someone else must have started it" or "Not my child" or "Stevie looked at Emily in a mean way" and I could go on and on. I have already met parents like this and I DON'T LIKE THEM! There is certainly nothing wrong with supporting and defending your child at the appropriate times and I would expect all parents to do that. However, sometimes that support comes in the form of recognizing that no one is perfect, not even your darling daughter, and allowing them to understand the consequences of bad behavior and even learning the difficult lesson of "life is not fair!" I am guessing that Emily and kids like her with parents like hers, will never have the opportunity to learn these important life skills.

hhhhhmmmmm....

I don't even know what to title today.

It's been a little boring around here, which is unusual for us! CJ has his second day of preschool today, Big E starts an after school extracurricular activity today, dodgeball!, and then we are all heading to Pittsburgh until Saturday. Motorcycle Guy's dad was able to schedule a private tour for Friday of the Carnegie Museum for himself, Big E and Sous Chef and their cousins, Max and Leo. I will be hanging with CJ and my MIL. I think we are taking him to the Science Center and maybe to the zoo. We are also hoping to squeeze in a ride on the city train for CJ. Motorcycle Guy's sister will also be there. I think maybe she's going on the museum tour with the little boys and the adult boys. I am also meeting up with a college roommate for breakfast. I am always happy to see Jan. She has moved all over during college for co-oping jobs and overseas studies and since graduation she has moved around quite a bit for her job as an architect. Now she is in Pittsburgh working and getting her master's degree so I get to see her on a somewhat regular occasion. I haven't seen her however, since 2003 because we moved in 2004 and we didn't get to Pittsburgh but one time for a very short trip while we were living in KS.

Yesterday, I had a speech evaluation conducted for Sous Chef. From 2 to 3 yrs. of age, he received speech therapy. He has not needed it again until now and he will start going again on a weekly basis. He tested significantly above normal on the language part of the evaluation, but he does have some issues that reflected on the speech evaluation. I am also taking him to the doctor this morning. The good 'ole local environment has kicked in for him and his allergies are flaring. I have a feeling we will be back on his allergy medicines and possibly breathing treatments again. Once there is a good freeze, he should clear up again. I guess Big E will be next. Maybe he will be lucky enough to escape it this year and I keep my fingers crossed for CJ, too!

I went to M&M book club last night. We discussed the Memory Keeper's Daughter, which I read last summer, so I couldn't remember some of the details of the book. It was a good time and I met two more people. We also had a lively discussion about the woman who left her daughter in the car. Enough said about that. I am almost finished reading "Remind Me Again Why I Need a Man" at the recommendation of a friend. It is very funny and I have enjoyed reading it. After that, I have "The Glass Castle" waiting and I have ordered "Something Blue" from the library, which is part two of "Something Borrowed" which I read last week. I didn't realize at the time that it was a two parter.

Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

First Day of School

Today was CJ's first day. He did great. He immediately went for the trains/tracks and when I asked for a kiss and a hug he kissed my knee so as not to interrupt his plan. I did convince him to give me a proper kiss and hug before I left. On the way in, each of the kids got a stuffed animal donated by Kohls. CJ's is an orange and yellow lizard that he named Eyer because "he has eyes." Below are a couple of photos of his first day.




Emily, the bratty girl from our orientation day, was laying in the driveway of the church after preschool, refusing to budge. Lucky for her, her mom and dad were BOTH there and they had a camera and a DVD recorder to catch their precious darling being, well, "precious." She's such a "stinker" to quote her mother. Too bad I didn't have my camera so I could post her lovely photo here.

9/11

As with any tragedy, anyone reading this entry remembers exactly where they were when they heard about the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings, the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania. Our nation watched in shock and horror as the unthinkable unfolded right before our eyes. Here is my story and as challenging as it was, it in no way compares to what 1,000's of others experienced that day:

I had only been awake for a couple of hours after having brain surgery for a Chiari Malfomration about 20 hours prior to the attacks. I was in the ICU at Good Samaritan Hospital and watching the Today Show. I was alone. I watched what so many of you watched as the Today Show broke away to the news emergency that a plane had crashed into the first building. As they were interviewing a witness, the second plane made it's attack. Even with all of the drugs in my system, it was very clear to me that this was no accident. Being in a room with a glass wall, I could see the nurses going about their work without a clue what was going on. Shortly after the second plane hit, my OT and PT came into the room and I gave them a quick rundown of what had happened. They were shocked at the "coincidence of two planes crashing into the buildings." Through my drug induced fog, I told them there was no way it was an accident. I don't know how long we watched, but then the news was talking about the plane at the Pentagon. My husband arrived about then. The last he had heard on the radio was of the initial two planes and he was not aware of the Pentagon. Then in comes my Healing Touch nurse at which point I started puking everywhere and crying and I asked for the TV to be turned off. Once I had settled down and everyone cleared out, Motorcycle Guy and I continued to watch the news and heard about the plane in Pennsylvania By now the ICU nurses had a TV set up at their station. As the towers collapsed, all my husband said was, "I knew that would happen, I just didn't want to tell you. Airplane fuel burns at x degrees and steel melts at x degrees, there's no way those buildings could have remained standing." Leave it to my brilliant (and I mean that literally) husband to know the temperatures of these things. I still can't remember to this day what the actual numbers were! I don't know how long I was in ICU exactly and I don't really remember moving to my own room, but I seem to remember the intial shock of this event as clear as anyone else, despite my fogginess and pain.

Our area was effected by the deaths of eight victims. One woman was a resident of our new hometown and was in NYC for business. Her husband and children still live here. The other local victim was from here but was living in NYC and his parents still reside here. They were both killed while working inside the World Trade Centers. Our school district has a fundraiser this week called "Pennies for Heaven" to collect money for each of the foundations set up by these families. I will certainly be sending in my donations this week.

I hope everyone says a prayer today for peace and healing for the victims and their loved ones, for the physically, mentally and emotionally injured survivors and for our world, that we may learn to live together, to respect and learn from our differences, to realize our commonalities and to do no harm to one another.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Back to school

CJ has appropriately been singing "it's the end, the end, the end of summer. the end, the end, the end what a bummer..." If you have seen "Last Day of Summer" you, too, have probably heard this song. It aired on the Disney Channel in August and is an adolescent's version of "Groundhog Day."

CJ starts his first year of preschool tomorrow! He met his teachers and classmates last week. With the exception of one bratty little girl tearing down everything he worked on and her incompetent, lazy ass mother, who had no action behind her words, saying things like "Emily, don't do that. Emily, I said stop" "Emily, CJ built that" and looking at me saying "Emily is such a stinker," everything went great. Maybe I should warn Emily and her mom that CJ is the youngest of three very active and physical boys and if he gets pissed enough, he would not hesitate to deck her! I don't expect any issues with his first day. At his KDO program last year, while the majority of the kids and their moms were crying, he looked at me and said "You can go now." He seems a little more hesitant this year, but once he found out they had a train set, he warmed up quite a bit. We'll see.

CJ also started swimming lessons this morning. He loved it. He loves the water. I will be keeping him in lessons this year until he is able to swim on his own, so we may be there until the pools open in the spring! We disovered that in the class after ours is a little boy from our M&M playgroup. Yeah, I saw someone I know while out and about. Sous Chef is interested in taking more advanced swimming lessons and possibly joining a swimming team. I won't be worrying about that until after fall baseball is over for him.

We headed to Costco after swimming lessons. I saw another M&M mom there! Two people in one day! I am getting settled in. Barb, the woman I saw, used to live in Overland Park! Anyway, the man in front of me bought a five pound container of Metamucil. All I could think is that he must be really full of shit if he needed that much Metamucil to keep his intestines cleaned out! I kept having to hide my snickering. Honestly, I was like a teenage girl trying not to giggle over buying tampons or my first bra. It was too funny.

Take care everyone!

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Rain, rain, go away?

Absolutely NOT! It is finally raining here. We have lived here since July 1 and I believe it has rained three times for a total of about five minutes. I am NOT kidding. Our water bill last month was over $200. After that bill came, I decided to let our grass go, so it looks like straw now and it is uncomfortable to walk on barefoot. We are over 12 inches below normal for rainfall during the year. Yesterday it rained and today it is raining off and on. Everyone is so excited. We didn't even care that our outing to the local church festival was canceled due to rain. They are predicting about an inch of rain before it stops. The ground is so dry, however, that the baseball games are not even rained out. The fields must just be soaking it right up!


Friday night I went out with friends. I use that term loosely - I should probably say I went out with strangers who happened to be women. I knew only one person there. Mairi has been so good to me since we moved here. She has taken me "under her wing" and planned playdates with her son and my kids, we've had dinner together, she keeps me informed of M&M events, carpools with me and more! One other woman there I had talked with on the phone one time and have e-mailed on a couple of occasions. She had to tell me what she would be wearing so I could find her. Luckily, we then found out Mairi would be there so I wouldn't be on the "mystery woman" hunt. By the time I left, I felt like I had made six new friends. Four of the seven of us moms closed down the place and had to move our conversations to the parking lot!


Believe it or not, this weekend I painted an entire room! It started on Friday when I painted a short wall that ends at our landing at the stairs. I thought I would try it out to make sure I liked it. I had planned to let Motorcycle Guy finish the rest. Apparently, though, a fire was lit under my ass and on Saturday I finished the job. Motorcycle Guy set up our scaffolding for me so I didn't have to delicately balance myself on the ladder since that is a difficult task for my "unbalanceable" brain to do. The room looks awesome and we both love the color. He thought it was going to be too dark and didn't really want to do it, but since I have decorating rights, he was politely overruled and I chose the darker color. As is usual, he admitted I made the right decision and he is surprised by how much he likes it. Now we just have the stair wall to the basement to do on the first floor. I will not be tackling that as a ladder on the stairs is definitely not something I am willing or he wants me to attempt, especially since I would be doing it during the day when only CJ would be here to help me if I fell. Of course, we have all of the upstairs to do? Here's a picture.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Enough already!

Of course, the news continues about the Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby, the mother who forgot her child in an overheated car, resulting in her death. I have mentioned before, I don't watch the news on a regular basis. Well, yesterday, I had the TV on a local channel watching a soap opera (yes, it's true, I was indulging in some mindless television!). I walked out to the bus stop to get Sous Chef and left the TV on. That local channel has news that comes on at 4:00, which is during the time I am at the bus stop. While I was out there, Big E came out and said, "Mom, I just heard on the news about a woman who left her daughter in the car and she died! They were showing her talking about it." I explained quickly what happened and told him to go change the channel. I rarely watch the news and I don't allow my children to watch it at all. Oops, I failed that today. The result of that was that I watched the 5:00 news so I could see what he saw. The pathetic, do anything for a $$ news - all local stations - are airing the video tape of the mother being questioned shortly after they found the little girl. What the hell is this society coming to that we need to see that awful, horrible, devastating interview. I don't care if this is a middle-class white, educated woman or a poor, uneducated minority woman (and yes, there have been claims that she was let go because of who she was and if the mother had been of a different socio-economic class and race, her ass would be in jail!), I DON'T WANT TO SEE THIS! I don't need to see it and more importantly, this woman and her family don't need me to see it. It benefits NO ONE. I am tempted to write a letter if I could put my thoughts together enough to get my point across coherently and without rambling like I do here.

The letters to the editor continue. Thankfully, yesterday, there was a guest columnist who wrote a column titled: "Child's death should prompt empathy, learning, not blame." This woman has first hand knowledge of this case as she was on the Crisis Response Team that has counseled the staff at the school. Read her column at: http://news.enquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070906/EDIT01/709060325/-1/all She says what I have been saying all along, only with more eloquence and clarity.

Thankfully, I have other things to write about today. I went out last night with the neighborhood ladies. It was one of those times where I get anxious. It doesn't happen very often, but anytime I have to walk into a room alone with a group of people I don't know but am interested in knowing, I get a little nervous. We went to dinner at Bravo and there were about 15 women. It was so much fun and great to get out. There was one woman who kept me laughing the whole time. She had funny stories, funny comments, and didn't hesitate to speak up. It was a diverse group: employed and SAHMs, young women (late 20's) all the way up to a woman who looked to be in her late 60's-mid 70's. It was hard to tell - she was very spunky and fun, which I think made her seem younger than she actually may be. There were new moms and seasoned moms. There were women who have lived here a while and those of us who were newbies. I look forward to our next outing, which is a game night here in the neighborhood. I also found out there is a book club and a Bunko group, which is in need of a sub this month...

I also think I may have found a hair stylist. Another action that causes anxiety for me! A woman in my M&M playgroup has a haircut similar to mine, has even curlier hair than I do and has a lot of thick hair like I do. I was telling her how my hairstylist in OP would just thin out my hair from underneath and not cut any length or do anything to the "outside" of my hair. Basically, I don't need a cut or layers added, I just need bulk removed. This is exactly how her stylist cuts Kelli's hair. What a relief! I am not getting it cut anytime soon, but it's nice to know I have someone to go to when the time comes.

That's all I have for today. Motorcycle Guy comes home later this afternoon and will be home all next week and 1/2 of the week after that. He then leaves for several days for a trip to Canada with his friend John to shut down their cabin and island, which is in the Georgian Bay, for the winter. I am meeting up with an M&M member and her friends for some drinks at a local pub this evening. Should be fun, but another night with people I have never met. Liz and I have talked online on many occasions, sometimes for M&M stuff because she also holds a national level position and I have needed her help and also on a personal e-mail level when I moved here. I am looking forward to meeting her.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

No intent, no crime

As I mentioned yesterday, Brenda Nesselroad-Slaby was not charged with the the death of her daughter after leaving her in an overheated car for approximately eight hours. The action was deemed an accident and does not fall under any definition of a criminal act. The one piece of information that was newly released was a video from the school parking lot showing the mother pulling up to the school loading/unloading area, getting her doughnuts. She makes four trips in and out of the back of the SUV from 6:54am-6:58am and then parks her car. At 6:59am, she is videotaped walking into the school. It is hard to imagine not noticing your sleeping child in the back seat, but the news did show what the SUV's view is from the hatchback area where she was getting her doughnuts from. You can see the tip of the car seats, but not a child in them. The community continues to attack this woman including a suggestion that the mother and the prosecutor who decided not to press charges should both experience the same death as the little girl. I would guess Mrs. Slaby would trade places with her daughter if she could. Other parents are saying they will not be sending their kids to the schools in the district where she is an assistant principal if she is permitted to return. I wonder if they are willing to put their money where there mouth is and fork over the cash for private schools, because that may be their only option. As of now, the school is expecting her to return.

And speaking of schools. I think I could have benefited from a training course on how to help Big E and Sous Chef not only do their homework, but a lesson on all of the things I need to do prior to them turning it in. They get so many sheets that need to be signed, initialed, reviewed, scored and more by me or Motorcycle Guy that I have a hard time keeping all of the rules/guidelines straight! I finally created one folder and one binder. The binder is for me with all of the instructional information I get from the teachers that apply to the parents. The folder is for Big E and Sous Chef. It is for their homework that comes home but is not due for a week or longer, which is in addition to their nightly homework. Basically, they get review sheets for each subject that they have a week to complete. Then they have their regular nightly homework and so far, one project each, that of course, requires some major assistance from Motorcycle Guy and/or I. I am embarassed (only a little though) that big E is working on some math stuff that even I struggle with. I don't know if math terms have changed or my math education did not advance past current fifth grade standards, but I suck! Motorcycle Guy has been traveling a lot, so that leaves me. Too bad for Big E. There's only so much on the internet that can help me and only so much I can explain to Motorcycle Guy on the phone to try to find out the answers. One time last year, I had to call my b-friend's husband thinking he would know the answer since he is a pilot and had just finished his master's degree. Even he wasn't sure what the answer was or how to figure it out, and that was FOURTH grade. Luckily, the project that was the more difficult math project, Motorcycle Guy was here for to help get Big E started. I can handle Sous Chef's project, which is a timeline of his life and has to contain at least six important events in his life along with pictures, explanations and any other pertinent information. I think I can handle that - birth, baptism, moving to KS, starting elementary school, First Communion, and moving back to OH. I could also add things like his first airplane ride, first train ride, first time to the Grand Canyon and more if we need to add more information.

Spiders 11 and 12 - one right after the other. They were in a carrying case for a toy and when I opened it they both came tumbling out. Lots of squealing and killing them with the closest item, which was a plastic spoon that CJ has been playing with.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

No charges filed

The woman who left her daughter in a car for over eight hours on the day of a heat emergency will not be charged. I am happy to hear this for the sake of this mother and her family. I am sure the people who have been calling for her execution will have a field day.
“The only underlying charge appropriate in cases such as this, and the charge
suggested by the Union Township Police Department, is child endangering,” said a
statement released by Clermont County Prosecutor Don White. “The actions of
Cecilia’s mother … were the result of an accident. … It is my opinion that the
law dictates that no charges be filed at this time.”
I am glad for this family that they no longer have the worry of whether or not criminal charges will be filed. They have a lifetime of healing before them and it certainly could not happen, especially for the husband and their other children, from a jail cell.

Onto other items.

I HATE to run errands. I hate getting in and out of my car, usually getting one or more kids in and out of the car, running into places just to wait in line, get my thing and go, and I hate having to deal with the people are generally "in my way" in the places I run errands. I also always end up with the employees who move at the pace of a sloth. Places like the post office, dry cleaners, library, copy store, hardware store, bank and more. When we lived in OP, the post office and the library both had drive through windows! I love that and always try to go to places that have drive through windows. I went to the library today to get my library card - NO DRIVE THRU! Now my books will always be late. Our post office also does not have a drive thru and it only has two counter workers. What's up with that? A city with the population of 25,000+ and one post office and they can't build enough counter spaces to have 3-5 employees working? Our OP post office had about six or eight counter workers and always at least half, if not all, were staffed. This post office sucks!

I took Big E and Sous Chef to the doctor today to formally reestablish their care with our previous pediatrician. We love Dr. E. Big E remembers him, but Sous Chef and obviously CJ, do not. He is incredible! Though we really liked our doc in OP, I always compared him to Dr. E and in reality, there just is no comparison. My kids are healthy at the moment, but I need to have Sous Chef's speech evaluated because I am pretty sure he needs some speech therapy. The speech therapy dept. at Children's needed a referral for him to be evaluated, which is why I took Sous Chef to see Dr. E. The office suggested I also have an appt. for Big E since he won't be seen until May for his physical, but may need to be seen before then for illness (which has already happened, with one of the partners at the office). Anyway, Dr. E asked why I had an appt. for Big E in addition to Sous Chef and I explained the office said I needed it to reestablish his file. He scoffed and walked us to the front and asked them to give us our co-payment back. Go Dr. E! He even remembered that I am a massage therapist and asked me what my plans were with that. In case you are wondering, at this point, I really don't have any definitive plans, but will get my shit together in six months or so.

I had to laugh while watching CJ eat a snack. I am trying to improve the quality of our food through organics and more natural foods. He was sitting at the table eating pop tarts and drinking a glass of Coke that I did not finish. So basically, my attempt for eating healthier was shot to hell. Ok by me, though, I don't want to be come a total food Nazi and always only have the healthy stuff. Everything in moderation continues to be my motto!

Spider #10.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day Weekend

We had a good weekend. Motorcycle Guy got home on Saturday mid-afternoon and very quickly decided to take the three kiddos to his friend John's for a campout in his backyard. John also has three kids - two boys, each a year older than mine and a little girl who is in kindergarten. They live in a subdivision, but John's house is on the end of a culdesac that backs up to woods. The woods lead to a llama farm! They love going there and when everyone got home the next afternoon, they were covered from head to toe in dried up dirt. Showers for everyone!

While they were gone and I was enjoying the quiet time, I got Thai takeout at a yummy restaurant close to my house. I also watched THE GODFATHER! I LOVE this movie and can't see it enough. I always learn or catch on to something that I missed the previous gzillion times I have seen it. Being that it lasts between three and four hours, I could not stay up to watch THE GODFATHER II, which is just as good and just as long. I'll have to save it for another night. Unfortunately, the final GODFATHER movie does not really appeal to me and I am not sure I have ever made it all the way through the entire movie.

Last night my parents came for dinner - my mom cooked. We then watched the WEBN Fireworks on TV. These are some of the biggest fireworks in the country and are very well known. Hundreds of thousands of people descend onto the Ohio River banks to watch them. They are not nearly as beautiful on TV and I am thinking next year we may brave the crowds and heat and take the kids and go. The last time we went I was pregnant with Sous Chef and we had a friend who had a house on the Ohio River banks, so we didn't have to deal with the crowds, the parking, the finding a spot to sit, etc. and we enjoyed the fireworks, riverfront view, from the comfort of his back yard. Unfortunately, he now lives in the burbs with us! That was also the night my best friend was reintroduced to a friend of Motorcycle Guy's. GA and LQ are now married and have two boys!

Today we went to our city pool. It was great. They have lots of fun things like a slide, a climbing wall that when you fall off of you go into the water, zero entry in the shallow end, diving boards, a baby pool and a sand area that has a lot of playground equipment and a coupe of sprinklers. The sprinklers were actually ment to hose off with, but the kids appeared to be making canals in the sand and filling them with water.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Ladies Man

Sous Chef just told me he has three girlfriends - Anna (she has a birthmark on her neck), Rebecca (she has long blondish brown hair) and Charlotte (she wears glasses). Too funny! When we lived in OP, he had the same "girlfriend" in kindergarten and first grade - Rachel. I guess he has moved on and is not interested in a long distance relationship. : )

Front Page News - Serious and Lighthearted

The lawyer of the woman who left her child in a car in the extremely high temperatures has finally spoken. He states, "She's still in shock. It's beyond anything that she could have ever contemplated in her entire life. She's not equipped to deal with this - no one is. She is distraught." I think that is probably an understatement and there are no words to describe what this woman, along with her husband and children and countless others who love her and the little girl, are going through. The lawyer explained what happened - the father usually took the little girl to daycare but had an appointment that morning. The mom took the little girl, but she left too early that morning to drop the little girl off first. She stopped for doughnuts, which was enough to distract her routine, and then headed for work. The little girl was asleep. I am so glad that I am not in a legal career that would require me to decide how to handle this case. It appears the charge they are considering is "reckless endangering of a child" which as I stated earlier in a post would require "a culpable mental state of recklessness" ie: it would require that this action was done intentionally. If that is the definition, I hope this woman goes free because I find it hard to believe this woman did this on purpose. As the lawyer said, "Every member of the public that's screaming for blood here would be begging for mercy if it happened to them or a loved one."

If you have seen the national news lately, you probably have heard about the bomb threats at businesses across the country. Well, our city fell victim to this yesterday, TWICE. Once at the Bigg's grocery store that I shop at on a regular basis and the other was at the US Bank in our previous suburb, which was down the street from my old house and the location where I did all of my banking. Nothing was found, but it is kind of eerie to think about.

General news about what is up with my family. Motorcycle Guy is coming home today. He was supposed to be out of town until tomorrow, but they had a good week on their project and he is planning to leave today. He goes back on Tuesday for the week. I am quite used to being a "single parent" after having him living in here for six months while we remained in OP until we moved here. Thank goodness for non-stop flights between our airports during that time!

Sous Chef had to fill out a "getting to know you" questionnaire for his teacher. One of the questions was "what is your favorite song?" He had trouble choosing, but finally settled on "When September Ends." I wonder how many other children chose Green Day songs? His other choice was "Soul Meets Body" by Death Cab for Cutie. I doubt anyone else chose that song, either. Sous Chef also loves the Violent Femmes and always knows when a song by them comes on the radio. CJ has some favorites, too. He loves "Steady as She Goes" by the Raconteurs and "Crazy" by Gnarls Barkley. He always says "turn it up" when they come on. All of these are last year's songs. They haven't really picked up any favorites lately, but they do like the whistling in "Young Folks" by Peter Bjorn and John.

I got a flier yesterday for our neighborhood "Ladies Night Out." They go out once a month, alternating between restaurants and parties/game night in the homes. So I will be heading out this Thursday to a restaurant (you know I love that!) with a bunch of strangers. My neighbor can't go and I think there is one person going who I met once while I was out waiting for the bus with Sous Chef and she was walking with her newborn. One other woman going I have spoken with on the phone one time. Hopefully it will be a good time. It's nice to get along with your neighbors!I did finish my painting yesterday without any falls. A few shaky moments here and there, but I managed to remain on the ladder with my head above my body!

Spider #9 this morning. It was much bigger, darker, faster and harrier than the others. I used a broom to smash it so I didn't have to get close by using a shoe!