Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Wow, it's cold!

It's a good thing I bought that coat a couple of months ago, the one that keeps me warm in -20 degree weather because I need it. It keeps me warm!I worked for the third time last night. Three clients in three hours. I made good tips and overall it was a great evening. It rained so hard while I was there that I thought the awnings were going to blow off the building. Of course, then the cold front came through and BRRRRRRRR!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Where do I start?

First, the good. Way to go, Kathleen Sebelius! She is the 2nd female governor of my previous home state, Kansas. She gave the rebuttal speech to the State of the Union Address (No, I did not watch it. I doubt anyone who knows me would have expected me to watch that!) and I think it was easy to see why she was elected, by Democrats AND Republicans, to be the head of a predominantly Republican state. An interesting tidbit about her, she was born and raised in Cincinnati, OH and graduated from Summit Country Day School, where Motorcycle Guy and I currently have a friend who teaches. Her father is a former governor of Ohio, John Gilligan.

Second, the funny. There is a steer, as in bovine, cow, farm animal, running loose. Apparently, this big guy, weighing 1,000 lbs., was on his way to the slaughterhouse yesterday when he decided to make his big get away. He ran across a city street, which is a pretty busy road, into a cemetary, through a subdivision and then into a heavily wooded area. According to the news this morning, he was seen last night near a golf course in that area.

Third, the hypocritical. No surprise this segment will be about the Archbiship of Cincinnati, Daniel Pilarczyk. His response to the "Bodies...The Exhibition" at the Cincinnati Museum Center is that "The public exhibition of plasticized bodies, unclaimed, unreverenced, and unidentified, is a different matter entirely. It is unseemly and inappropriate." This quote comes from a man who pleaded "no contest" for failure to report sex abuse cases by priests in the Cincinnati Archdiocese. It seems he is confused about what is "unseemly and inappropriate." MORON!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Happy Birthday, Motorcycle Guy!

Well, obviously, I can't share Motorcycle Guy's birth since I wasn't there. After all, he is my husband and he is FIVE YEARS OLDER than me! What I can tell you is that he turns 45 today. Being born into a Polish family, I think he should thank God everyday his parents decided he looked like a "Motorcycle Guy" instead of the nice Polish name they had picked out if he was a boy - Bronislaus. They were going to call him Ben.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Juno

Motorcycle Guy and I went to see JUNO this afternoon. Assuming I average the same as last year for the number of movies I see in a theater, which was TWO for 2007, I am so glad we chose to pay for this one as one of the two. This movie is truly one of the most touching, sweet, tender movies I have ever seen. It's funny and heartwarming and a little sad, too. I hope that if/when any of my children make a mistake of this magnitude, whatever that mistake may be, that they handle it as maturely and spiritedly as the character, Juno. I hope if/when that happens, Motorcycle Guy and I handle it as maturely and spiritedly as the parents in Juno. It was a reminder that being a supportive, loving parent, even in difficult times, helps to raise a child who can not only confide their problems, but also think through possible solutions to their problems.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Are you "laminator trained?"

I have been asked a lot of things in my life, but never "are you laminator trained?" When I woke up this morning, the answer, sadly, was "NO" but now that the day is winding down, I can proudly say, "YES, I am laminator trained." And while working that laminator during the time I was volunteering for Sous Chef's classroom, I learned something in the front office. Actually, I was just reminded, I already knew it. Parents will complain about ANYTHING to the school staff.

As I mentioned in my post earlier today, the school district issues a phone call with a recording telling you if school is delayed or canceled. Ours came at about 5:40AM, as did everyone else's to tell us there was a delay. Apparently, this particular parent, did not get his call, or so he says. So out to the bus stop at his usual pick up time, which is around 8:45AM depending on what his bus schedule is. Well, needless to say the bus didn't come. So what would you do? Think something was up and check into it with a phone call to the school or neighbor or just don't send your kid to school that day? He opted for the latter, he didn't send his kid to school. No calling the school or a neighbor/school friend, no checking the internet, TV or radio, he just decided there must not be school and therefore his child was home. The school office was calling to see where this particular child was. The dad got mad and asked the office "Why are you just now calling to tell me there is no school?" The attendance rep. said, "I'm not calling to tell you there is no school. There is school. I'm calling to find out where Joey (not his real name!) is today." Well, it went downhill from there. She was getting very frustrated trying to explain she does not "personally make the 5:30AM phone call, that it's an automated system and she's sorry he didn't get the call but yes, we do have your correct number on file and that is what is in our automated system." She continued trying to explain this to him and she finally said, "Do you have a TV? It was also issued to the news stations, radio stations and it is posted on the school district website." He claimed to have none of those. Huh? He also didn't feel it was necessary to call the school because they should have called him to let him know there was a two hour delay. She finally got off the phone with him and decided he really just expected her to personally drive to his home at 5:30AM to let him know the weather report and how that impacts the school district schedule.

Beet juice? Really?

Yes, really. Our city is now using a road de-icer that contains beet juice. It is on the roads today, as a matter of fact. Supposedly, it works best when it's too cold for salt alone, like today. We will only be in the teens with wind chills below zero and there was some snow/ice last night.

Speaking of snow and ice. Today the kids had a two hour school delay. I LOVE that as do my kids! I got to sleep until 8:00am. The school district calls around 5:30am to let you know when there is a change in schedule. Cool, because then I get to go back to sleep and stay there for some extra time. This is only our second delay this year and no snow days, much to the annoyment of my children. Several school districts around us close or delay easily. Our district doesn't appear to be too intimidated and usually remain open and on schedule. My kids hate that!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Saturday Night Date Night

Last night Motorcycle Guy and I went to dinner and to a party. The party was in our old part of town, pre kids, so we decided to go to dinner there, which is our old stomping grounds. We had trouble choosing between Baba India in or India Hyde Park. We chose Baba India because they also own Akash India and Ambar India, Ambar India being our favorite. Though it appears the menus are the same, I like Ambar better than Baba because Ambar is in Clifton, where Motorcycle Guy and I both lived during college and the decor/environment is nicer. I have not been to Akash, which is downtown. I always choose between two dishes. I really need to try something else! I had Shrimp Bhuna and Motorcycle Guy had Chicken Vindaloo. My other choice would have been shrimp vindaloo, which when comparing Motorcycle Guy's sauce to mine, I think I like the vindaloo better.

We then went to a housewarming party of one of Motorcycle Guy's co-workers. He is a recent college graduate and bought an old house just off of the square. It was funny being with "kids," which were Pete's roomates from college who had all come to town for the party. It's also funny to hear Motorcycle Guy being introduced as "this is my boss." Hey, I'M used to being the boss! (Just kidding!) There were some co-workers, neighbors and other friends of Pete's there, so I met quite a few people, most were all young enough to be my ... nieces and nephews. At one point, Motorcycle Guy was talking to a woman who went to Pitt. She was asking him a couple of things and he said "I don't really know, I left Pittsburgh 25 years ago." The room kind of got quiet and there were some odd looks, representing the thoughts of "man, you are OLD!". Most of these people were just being born or were not even born when Motorcycle Guy left Pittsburgh! (and let it be known, when Motorcycle Guy left Pittsburgh, I was still in junior high!)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

In 3's

They say bad things happen in threes. I think I believe that! Yesterday, when Big E got home, he couldn't get in the front door. I unlocked it and couldn't open it from the inside. Normally, this would not panick me as we have several doors to choose from to go in and out. However, I had about ten friends coming over that I really didn't want to have to use the mudroom door, which would require them to climb over my dirty laundry piles; the garage door to the house, the back door, or worse, maybe an open window! Thankfully, Motorcycle Guy was able to get it taken care of as soon as he got home. In preparation for my gathering, I made the worst lemon meringue pie EVER! I am a pro at this and I still am not totally sure what happened. The crust sides, while baking, fell to the bottom of the dish in some places, leaving it to look more like a pizza crust than a pie crust. I went ahead with the filling and it wouldn't set properly. First it seemed like it wouldn't set at all and I was afraid I would have to serve the pieces in a bowl with spoons instead of a plate with a fork. It finally set, but was kind of lumpy. YUCK! Then, because of the pie crust, I wasn't sure how it was going to be when I cut it. I went ahead and put on the meringue and cooked it. I still have not sliced it. I didn't even serve it last night for fear of scaring off my friends with my pie. As if those two things weren't enough, about 20 minutes before the first guest arrived, I was rinsing my kitchen sink and the faucet handle broke and I couldn't turn off the water. During all of this, my kids are whining about being hungry and Motorcycle Guy is trying to get them out the door to Skyline Chili (YUM!). I just had him turn off the water source and on they went. I used water from the water dispenser in the fridge to finish up and told everyone the faucet was "out of service" for the evening. It's fixed as of this morning and better than ever, considering it used to drip if you didn't get it in just the right place. It was a finicky, pain in the ass faucet, but now it's as good as new!

Friday, January 18, 2008

I got nuthin'!

That's what I have to write about today. A whole lot of nuthin'. We are just going through the daily activities that are typical for any family - work (in and out of the house), getting kids out the door to school, homework, hygiene for everyone and sleep. Luckily, we are a family of sleepers! All of us. I could write about that. CJ and I nap a few times a week. Some days I nap and he doesn't. The adults in our house, that would be Motorcycle Guy and I, typically take a nap on Saturday and/or Sunday. Occasionally, Sous Chef naps. Big E never naps, but he goes right to bed and usually right to sleep. We all love to sleep in. Over Christmas break, I typically slept until 10:00 or so and the kids would sleep until 9:00 or so. Motorcycle Guy does not really sleep in - he is usually up by 8:00 (I do realize, though, many people WOULD consider that sleeping in!). Of course, over break, the kids weren't going to bed until almost 11:00. We were having too much fun playing that damn Wii that has my shoulder all out of wack! I guess maybe I should take advantage of that perk I have at my new employer - one free massage a month!

Tonight I am hosting game night for my moms group. This is the first "chapter" event I have hosted since moving here. It should be fun.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

"That woman is an angel on earth..."

This is my new line, what I am hoping my clients say as they leave their massage session with me. I give my massage clients everything I have, and if they leave with this thought, or any similar thoughts, I know they feel a lot better than they did before they got there! My second night of work went very well. I had a 60 minute appt. and a 90 minute appt. I sometimes think "Oh my gosh, how can I make this massage last 90 minutes?" Well, it's like everything else in my life. I think "I have plenty of time, I'll get it done/I'll be ready/we'll be ready" and then I find myself running behind. I do the same thing with 90 minute massages. Oh, who am I kidding? I do it with all massages, actually. I did the same thing with a client of a friend. I filled in for my friend regularly and the client got two hour massages twice a month, in her home. Life was good ... for her! At the beginning of the appointment, two hours seemed like forever. By the end, I was thinking "Where did the time go? I still need to massage X!" I have a hard time finishing my massages on time and I defintely need to work on that. I don't want to be one of those people who run late with the first appointment and then all subsequent appointments start later and later. That would not make my clients happy and then they won't think "That woman is an angel on earth!"

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Flags

I was at Sous Chef's school early this morning and noticed the flag flying half-staff. It took me only a second to realize this was in honor of the family who was recently killed. It made me teary eyed. I then read in the paper later this morning that the city called for flags to fly half-staff for five days - one day for each death of the four children and their mom.

On a lighter note, Sous Chef is reading the first Harry Potter book. Anyone who knows me, knows how much I LOVE these books. I thought Big E would be the first to read them since he is the oldest, but I guess I should have known it would be Sous Chef. Big E prefers sports/athlete's biographies and Sous Chef prefers the fiction/mystery type books. We watched the movie the other night and he just couldn't wait to start reading. He started Sunday and he is already more than half way through. He read from the moment he got home from school yesterday until he was in bed for his last 1/2 hour of reading before lights out. We did manage to pull him away from the book to eat dinner, but barely. He is also watching the second movie, which I taped on Sunday evening.

Tonight is my second night of work. Hopefully I will have more than one client tonight, as that certainly increases my income some and it helps time to pass quicker. I get paid for non-massage time, but it's not as high as what I get paid for actually doing a massage! I am not in a rush to finish a book before book club, so I would prefer to do massages tonight instead of read.

Monday, January 14, 2008

In the News

I can see the tragic story of the man who murdered his wife and four children is going to be in the news for a while, at least locally. I still have not seen the national news, so I don't know if it's there. This story is just so unbelievable to me. No one may ever really know what happened, what was going through this man's head, were there other circumstances? The police seem sure, at least according to the little information that is being released, that the husband is the attacker and the arsonist, there are no third parties or break-ins involved, etc. The one thing that I can't stop thinking about, beyond the obvious of four children being dead along with their mother, is my friends who have lost children to illness and other medical issues and my friends who have children fighting for their lives on a daily basis due to disease. These mothers and fathers would give ANYTHING to have their children back and/or to have their children be healthy. This man who allegedly committed these crimes made a choice to end the lives of his family. What kind of parent would choose to end their family's life? My friends want to bring their kids back, want them to be healthy, want them to not have to fight so hard to stay healthy and alive. They are not able to do those things. It's hard for me to wrap my brain around the idea that a parent would want the opposite of that and then take action on it.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why?

Our city is all over the news. Certainly locally, and even nationally. Today I received an e-mail from a friend in OP with a link from MSNBC talking about the father here who murdered his wife and children via stabbing his wife and setting the house on fire, resulting in the death of his four children. This story was breaking on the news when I arrived home Friday evening after a dinner out with some neighbor women. They were indicating at that time, only an hour after the fire started, that this was not an accident. The schools announced today they will have grief counselors available. The 8 yr. old girl is a third grader at one of the two elementary schools. We looked at houses in this same subdivsion and even had an offer ready for one there when we found out it had sold that day. It's scary to think you could be that close to someone so messed up. I can only assume this man was not in his right mind when he did this. That does not excuse his awful and devastating actions, but provides me with some comfort. I firmly believe that NO ONE who is thinking clearly would do something so awful to others, NO ONE is this evil and I do believe that people are inherently good. I know many would tell me I am naive or have a false sense of security by believing this, but it gets me through the day.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Hair

You know there is nothing going on at my house when I resort to writing about my hair. In the past I have written about growing it out and I also have written about my eyebrows. Today, I write about washing my hair. Since I am in the process of growing it out and it is much longer than I have had it in, oh, the last 15 or more years, it takes a lot more effort than my past wash-n-go short hair. I have wavy, frizzy hair at this length with not many layers. The "individual hairs" are majorly thick and I have tons of hair. My hairstylist in KC said she had never had a client with as much hair as I have. The results of longer, thick, wavy and frizzy hair which is in high abundance: 10 minutes with a hair dryer and then about 15 minutes for the flat iron. I decided to take my hairstylist's advice and not wash it every day. I promise, though, I do shower. I wrap up my head in a towel to keep my hair dry. She said I could go three days without washing it. For me, two seemed the max. However, over Christmas break, when there were days I showered and just put my PJs back on because I refused to go anywhere, I finally made it to day three. And guess what, it looked better than on day one and two. I decided this was a fluke, so I have been trying this out, and it's true. Day three seems to be my best day! I have to plan accordingly, though. Like today, I was on day two. However, I need to be somewhere tomorrow at 9:30 in the morning, so I decided to wash and fix today. In the morning I can just shower, do make up, comb my hair and do any minor touch ups and be out the door in a flash. My hair seems much happier, too, as I notice less buildup in the drain when I wash it now.

Self portrait of hair and glasses.
Oh, and my new bifocals came in. My old eyes got worse for distance and reading, so my bifocal prescription was strengthened. It's really hard to find cool glasses that can house bifocal lenses. The lense needs to be big enough so that the bifocal part is not up in the part you need for distance, resulting in being a candidate for David Letterman's "Old Guys with Big Classes" segment . Very frustrating with the current style of glasses today. I managed to find a pair and had to have a somewhat special lense made where they compress the bifocal part. Not cheap, but I like them, which is a necessity considering my eyes depend more and more on the glasses, increasing the frequency of wearing them.
One exciting thing today, I got my first paycheck as a re-employed Licensed Massage Therapist! Not bad after being out of the work force for over three years!
Ok, maybe I did have more than hair to talk about today!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Excuse me!

Yesterday, I took Sous Chef to his swimming lesson, which involves changing clothes in the locker room. Once he was settled near the water and CJ and I were settled at our table, I realized I left my drink in the locker room. I went to get it and walked into the room with an older woman, whose English was good, but quite heavily accented with Japanese. When you walk into the large room, which by the way is a FAMILY locker room, meaning both genders may be in there and also children, there are three individual rooms on the right that include a private changing area and a private toilet and shower. She clearly wanted one of these rooms. She did not stop at the first one, though I am not sure why. She stopped at the second one and tried to walk right in by opening a closed door (hello? that usually means someone is in there). It was locked so she knocked and seemed surprised when the person(s) inside responded with "Someone's in here." In the meantime, I am almost into the third room to get my abandoned drink. Unexpectedly, she comes running up behind me and CJ, PUSHES me, yes, physically PUSHES me out of the way and says, "I go there!" I really had to struggle to contain myself and did quite well. I responded with my hand out in front of her to stop her and said "Excuuuse me. But I WAS here FIRST. And you can just relax, all I am doing is getting the drink that I forgot. RELAX!" and I walked out. She slammed the door behind me. All I could think was "Lady, you look like you are about 70 and you are smaller than I am. DON'T MESS WITH ME!" Hhhmmm, maybe I'll see her again next week.

My first night as a newly re-employed Licensed Massage Therapist went well. I reported at 6:00, but did not have a client scheduled until 8:00. So I read my book, EAT, PRAY, LOVE, which I just started on Monday and need to have finished tonight for book club. Not bad, being paid to read without any child/husband interruption! I think I will like it there. It's very well designed, very professional and peaceful, and low key. All I have to do is show up, sign my room out (I get to keep the same room for my entire shift) and get it ready and then give my massages. No scheduling, no laundry, no worrying about if I have enough of or the correct oils, lotions, gels; no paperwork to file, just review the medical forms and give them back to the receptionist, no marketing, no NOTHING but doing what I do, give massages! Life is good.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Yep!

As expected, everyone was dragging on Monday morning. Big E woke up fine, got dressed, brushed teeth and then came downstairs and fell asleep on the floor! He skipped breakfast because he was "too tired to eat." Thankfully, his school lunch is at 10:45! Sous Chef did better, but he was obviously tired, too. CH and I on the other hand, couldn't make it through the day after such an early morning (he got up around 8:30) so we took a THREE HOUR nap. It was wonderful.

Today everyone is doing better, except maybe me, but a three hour nap today is out of the question. Tuesdays are my busiest day, plus I officially start my new job this evening doing massages. After one year of accelerated study, several thousand dollars and one medical board test later (oh, yeah, and seven years!), I am officially employed as a Licensed Massage Therapist! I'll get a real paycheck, pay real taxes and even have direct deposit! I love it, plus I have total control of my hours, which I love even more. Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Nice try!

Well, the Steelers pulled ahead there towards the end of the game, but just couldn't hold on to the win. While I am not too emotionally invested in football, it would have been nice to have an excuse to have another get together! We'll have to see what happens for a Superbowl Party. We had a good turnout and the hot Italian sausages were delicious. Thankfully, we have about three left with lots of sauce, so today we will be making spaghetti with hot Italian sausage tomato sauce! YUM!

Big E had two friends stay all night. Jack, our neighbor, was here with his parents and they know we always let the kids stay up late. However, Big E's other friend we do not know as well. Everyone was up until 1:30am and maybe a little later. When I went to bed at 1:30, they were still watching TV in their campout in the basement, so I don't really know what time they went to sleep. Brian's mom called at 10:30 this morning and CJ and I were just getting out of bed and Brian was just surfacing from the basement. Jack and Big E were still asleep. Sous Chef was already awake. I told her we were up late and that he had just woken up. She sounded a little surprised. I wonder if he will be permitted to come stay all night again! We were trying to avoid these leisurely sleeping schedules the last few days since they are back to their regular bed/wake schedule for school tonight and tomorrow. However, it just didn't happen and I am sure at 9:00 tonight, no one will be ready for bed. I am doubly sure that tomorrow at 7:15am NO ONE will be ready to get out of bed. Yuck! I really enjoyed this Christmas break and now I am looking forward to summer.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Go Steelers!

We are having a party today for the football playoffs. It is tradition for us to have a gathering of friends and provide hot italian sausages and other yummy foods anytime the Pittsburgh Steelers are in the playoffs. Look out if they make it to the Superbowl, but from what I hear, that is not likely! One friend from my moms group asked if I would be decked out in black and gold, wearing Steelers earrings and more. The answer is "absolutely not!" While I hope they do well and win, I don't plan to lose what fashion sense I have in order to support the Steelers.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy 2008!

Welcome to 2008! I am looking forward to an exciting year - even though I have no exciting plans. My resolution remains the same as 2007 since I am still working on it. That resolution is to keep more of my unsolicited opinions to myself. I am not 100% successful and don't expect to ever be, but I am better, in general. There are times, though, when I just can't help it, so in those moments, I at least try to buffer what I say while still getting my point across. Sometimes I give up completely and revert back to my previous ways, which may or may not end up with an apology being delivered at a later moment in time.

We spent New Year's Eve with friends and extended friends. It was fun, though it was a little bittersweet as this was an event we would have normally attended at Sara's mom and her mom's husband's house. We stayed all night and the kids had a blast. Motorcycle Guy, Sara, Gerard and I stayed up until about 3:00 or 4:00 to watch the movie Borat, which Sara and Motorcycle Guy had not seen. It was as funny as the first time I saw it. I don't typically find that type of humor funny, but that movie cracks me up. Our kids were also up until about 3:00, minus Lucy, who fell asleep on the couch earlier in the night/morning. Sara and Gerard have three children about the same ages as ours and there were three other boys their ages also at the party.

I officially start my new job this evening. Training today and tomorrow and I start seeing clients on Tuesday. I am excited and a little anxious. I have not had to adhere to a set work schedule for some time now. I like doing my own thing and this schedule is very light, but it is still a small adjustment for me. I have already had to ask for a day off, which is pretty pathetic since I only work one evening a week! I am thankful to have been able to find something that let me determine when I would work. I really think I will like it and I am sure I will enjoy the extra pocket money!