Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Success!

We have succesfully killed the lawn. Here are some more pictures. The first two are prior to thatching. The next ones are after Motorcycle Guy thatched the lawn. Unfortunately, during his 2nd "pass" across the lawn, the thatcher broke. He will be finishing up that project this evening, assuming it doesn't rain anymore. He also trimmed all of the bushes and plants. It looks better, though a little "bare" where some of the smaller plants were trimmed back. I think I may go get some mums to add some color.

These first two pictures were taken on Sept. 28.


If you look VERY CLOSELY in this photo, you will see CJ and Motorcycle Guy looking out each of the windows on either side of the front door.
This picture was taken on September 30. The grass actually looks "healthier" than it is because it rained last night and darkened the "straw effect" it has when it's dry.


Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm confused

I received this in an e-mail today. I thought it was something to think about. I am seeing a lot of McCain/Palin signs in my community and it almost makes me hyperventilate. No, I am not kidding. I remind myself that I live in a pretty conservative community and that surely there are places where there are more Obama/Biden signs than McCain/Palin. Or maybe it's just the Obama/Biden supporters don't need to advertise as much. I do like the bumper sticker one of the pre-school moms has that says "Mama4Obama".
  • If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'
  • Grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, a quintessential American story.
  • If your name is Barack you are a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
  • Name your kids Willow, Trig and Track, you are a maverick.
  • Graduate from Harvard law School and you are unstable.
  • Attend 5 different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.
  • If you spend 3 years as a brilliant community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
  • If your total resume is: local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.
  • If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising two daughters, all within Protestant churches, you are not a real Christian.
  • If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your disfigured wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.
  • If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
  • If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.
  • If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
  • If you're husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, much clearer now.

Friday, September 26, 2008

hope.

Today, I wore a black t-shirt that is "bedazzled" with the word "hope." It is a shirt I purchased from St. Jude's Children's Hospital, in honor of our friend, Mary-Kate, who died of brain cancer at age ten. She did not go to St. Jude's for treatment, but I thought it was still appropriate since they do so much research and treatment of children's cancers.

Later today, when I dropped CJ off to school, I realized there may have been more to my choice of shirts. A little girl, four years old, died this morning of brain cancer. The same brain cancer that Mary-Kate had. What a sad day. I do not know this family since the little girl was in the other same aged class than CJ, but my heart aches for them. I have witnessed the heartbreak of losing a child. And though I have no idea what those parents are experiencing, I know what that pain looks like. I have seen it first hand and it is unimaginable. I HOPE (there's that word) they have some of the same experiences my friends had - beyond the pain they were thankful. Thankful for their family and friends and even strangers who stepped up to help, for their faith, for the grace bestowed upon them, for each other. They were thankful for having Mary-Kate for the short time they did. They are thankful for the healing that takes place, even if in small amounts at a time. I HOPE this family, during their grief and suffering, can find some peace. I HOPE there will one day be a cure for this awful disease.

It feels odd to me that yesterday I took a meal to a friend who had a baby. And on Monday, I will be taking food to church for the post funeral reception for a family who just said goodbye to theirs.

Let the dying begin


On Sunday, we put our first application of "killer" on our yard. We are killing off as much as we can, which is mostly weeds and viney kind of crap, and starting over. I applied a second application a few days later. Here is what it looked like prior to the dying process.

Yeah, I know, it already looks like we are trying to kill it. I promise you, however, this is what it looks like in its "natural" state and I think clearly shows why we are starting over.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Some days I want to crawl out of my skin

Yesterday was one of those days! I really didn't talk to anyone other than a child all day long. I was bored, didn't want to read anymore, my house was clean [enough] and I thought I was going to go nuts. Thank goodness for my neighbor. We like to sit out on the driveway and chat. I looked out the window and saw her husband cutting grass, so I went over to her house. She was just thinking about coming to get me to go get some ice cream. As it turned out, I had two gallons in my freezer and some cones, so we made ice cream cones for us and the kids and I stayed outside chatting with her and then her husband, too, until almost 9:30. I felt much better when I came back inside.

On a totally different note, we got word that our school district was recently ranked fourth in the state. Of the top 10 schools, our district educates the most students and spends an average of $1,900 less per student than the other top ten schools. Other schools in our area that ranked in the top 10 were Wyoming (3), Indian Hill (5), Sycamore (8), Oakwood (9) and Madeira (10).

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Bag lady

Really, I was without the official bags of a bag lady, but I went for a walk this morning with CJ. If I had had some bags, I probably would have been picked up by the police for loitering. I actually went for a walk through our neighborhood in my pajamas, slippers, uncombed hair, unbrushed teeth and a coffee mug with iced tea in it. CJ whizzed along on his scooter. Thankfully, the only people we saw were contractors doing work on some of the wind damaged homes.

Speaking of bag ladies, if the banking situation does not get worked out, I may become one. I am glad I did not increase our monthly contributions to our childrens' college funds recently, as I had planned. I am thinking I may just take the money from here on out and bury it in a deep hole in the back yard. That would probably be safer and the money would be less likely to lose its value.

Personally, I liked Whoopi Goldberg's idea. She suggested instead of bailing out the banks, and therefore creating even more debt for our government, ie: us taxpayers, that the government forgive 1/2 of everyone's home mortgage, thereby creating more spending money for Americans, thus, resulting in more money being spent into our economy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Breakfast of Champions

Some days, my eating is just out of whack. It is magnified when my husband is out of town because I like things that are different than my kids, but don't necessarily want to cook a big meal for one. So it's been fast food, pizza and snacking. Today, for example, it's almost 1:00 EST and I have had a coke, a glazed doughnut (CJ and I went grocery shopping!) and a Lexapro. Yum. Meanwhile, my hubby is eating yummy cajun foods and hooking up with our neighbor who will be at the same facility for work. They will be dining out and drinking it up and having a great time! They jokingly said they were going to stay out all night and catch the 6:00am flight home. I am not 100% sure they were joking.

PS - if you read this blog on a regular basis, can you leave me a comment - something to the tune of "I'm out here!"? You can leave it anonymously, if you want. You can even leave a nice compliment or CONSTRUCTIVE criticism (emphasis on constructive, please!), if you'd like. Thanks!

Monday, September 22, 2008

That felt so good

For the first time in as long as I can remember on school days, this year and last, I had nothing on my schedule today and all kids were gone. Everyone was at school. CJ and I had nowhere to be this morning and then he had school this afternoon. I had nowhere to be this afternoon - no school volunteering, no meetings, no lunches, no NOTHING! I could have found something, but I didn't. I dropped off CJ at school and came right back home. I got a glass of sparkling fresh ice water and plopped onto the couch with a blanket, the remote and a soap opera. And I promptly fell asleep. It was a light sleep and I woke up every now and then to see what was happening on TV and then out I went again. It was wondeful. I think I should try to do this once a month, but I know it won't happen. So instead, I will savor today and look forward to the next time it happens!

Over the weekend, we had a "going away" party for my best friend and her family. I mentioned previously here that they are moving to Guam from Delaware. We had a good time, it was good to see her and the fam. It was sad to say goodbye. Here are some photos from the party. Unfortunately, I didn't think to get the camera out until late into the evening and missed getting pictures of many of our guests!

Me and Lora (this is much better than our previous picture I posted!)

Angie, Zippy and GA (Lora's husband)


Mo, Kristen and Chris

Kyle, Jill, Chris and Lora

Lora and Dan


The two families the next morning. I am not sure where CJ is. Maybe I can photoshop him in somehow!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Catching up

With the power outage this week, I have had a lot of catching up to do. One thing being that I didn't even write about the FUN stuff we did last weekend.

On Saturday, we went to Kings Island for P&G Day. P&G buys out the park for the weekend for the employees to go. We bought passes at $20 off for next year, so that is an added bonus! We had a blast and I was the most adventurous as I've been since surgery seven years ago. It is very hard for me to go to an amusement park and not ride the rides. I LOVE roller coasters and fast, spinning things that go up and down, but they are on my "do not do" list. I did, however, ride three adult rides - White Water Canyon, twice, since it was SO hot and I was sweating like mad and I rode the Scrambler, twice. This should probably be on my "not to do" list, but it was fun and CJ was yelling to ride it again before our first time was even over. I couldn't say no. I also rode the log flume. I squeezed in a couple of kiddie rides with CJ. Big E, Sous Chef and I caught up with the neighbor's daughter and her college roommate, which was fun for Big E and Sous Chef. That's who we rode White Water Canyon with and then Big E and Sous Chef rode a few roller coasters with them and also Drop Tower. I would give almost anything to be able to ride this ride. Check out the pictures below. If I can figure out how to download my own video, I will do that, too.


Sous Chef on the left, Abby and Elise.


Drop Tower


This is what a tired mom looks like after having been soaked to the bones twice on a water ride.

The other event I had last weekend was the Race for the Cure. While this event doesn't even compare to the Breast Cancer 3 Day Walks I have participated in in the past, it was fun and meaningful. We had a team walking for a mom in my Mothers & More chapter who recently had a double mastectomy and has undergone chemotherapy. We have another member who is currently facing the same challenge.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Vise Peeper Palin

Vise Peeper Palin What would your name be if you were Sarah Palin's child? Click HERE to find out. And if you missed Saturday Night Live, here you go!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Hurricane Ike

I would have never guessed living in Ohio I would be talking about the hurricane that "hit" Ohio. I did experience a hurricane one other time. In Florida. Where you are supposed to experience hurricanes. Anyway, on Sunday, we had 75 mph winds as Ike made it's way across America. We have been informed by the news people 75 mph winds are a Category 1 hurricane when in hurricane territory. I sat outside on my neighbor's deck and we watched debris fly by. It was so cool. It would get really quiet. And then you could hear the rumble of the wind off in the distance and we could see the trees start blowing in the distance. And then it would hit us in the face and blow everything around us. We kept laughing. We also kept saying we hoped a pencil didn't come flying through the air and stab one of us in the heart. Then, the backyard neighbor's trampoline took launch, up and over a large redwood playset and flying at us. I am not sure how we got into the house we were laughing so hard, but we made it and decided sitting in the garage was probably safer. We watched the shingles fly off their house and another neighbor's house and our across the street neighbors lost two shutters. I have driven through our neighborhood and the suburb we live in only to see our direct neighbor's got off easy. And we got off really easy. No damage to our house.

Some of the more eery things that are happening around us are the long, long lines for gas. Many of the stations have no power and therefore cannot pump the gas. The result is that those stations that have gas have long lines. And they are running out of gas. Many of the gas stations have brown paper bags over their pump handles indicating they have no gas. We cannot get ice anywhere! I have stopped at so many places to buy ice, just to see a sign on the freezer or the front window saying "no ice." Motorcycle Guy finally got some last night on his way home from work. Then our electricity came on, but we are hanging onto the ice as long as possible in case the electricity goes off in the process of them trying to get everyone else hooked up again.

Oh yeah, and our electricity just came back on. FIFTY TWO hours without power and 100s of thousands still without power, probably through the weekend. Many of our energy workers are in Texas to help out there, so we are short of workers! The governor has declared a state of emergency, so we have been able to get volunteer workers from other states. They arrived this morning and I think things will move a little more quickly now.

We have been eating with two neighbor families trying to eat up what we could before we either threw it out or moved it to a friend or family members freezer. My parents, in Dayton, were also without power, but only for about 28 hours. Schools everywhere are closed due to no electricity or power lines and trees blocking roads. It's crazy.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Run, Forest, run!

Every morning when we are waiting for the bus, CJ stands in the street to see when it gets to the stop prior to ours. He then runs up onto the sidewalk halfway between our street and the block before ours. He waits for the bus to get to where he is and he starts running, hoping to get to our stop before the bus does. He does this every day. And thankfully, because the bus is in braking mode to stop at the stop sign and to pick up the kids, it's a dead heat every time.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Seven years

It's still unbelievable. Read here for my 9/11 experience.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

It snuck right up on me...

I just realized today is Sept. 10. Today I "celebrate" my seven year anniversary of brain surgery #1. Though it took me a long time to actually feel good, today is the day I mark the beginning of feeling so good.I DO feel good. I am SO thankful. Read here, item #3, for the details of that first surgery and the follow up surgery three years later.

Walk on Water

Last night when leaving work, the manager stopped me to say "All of your clients tonight think you walk on water! They couldn't say enough good things about you or their massages. They all have rescheduled with you for multiple appointments and the gentlemen is sending in his wife, too." Our sales associate was on the phone with a client. When he got off the phone, he then said, "Man, your clients couldn't rave enough about you and they're all coming back for appts. with you."That's what I like to hear. My only response was "I ROCK!"

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Success!

The main reason I volunteered to be on the PTO Boards (yes, plural. I didn't really think when I threw my name in the hat at each school that I would get BOTH positions!), was so I could get to know some of the administrators. In the event I would ever need to be in their offices to address any issues with my children, I did not want that to be the first time I met them. With our schools having the population like they do, it's hard to get to know, or even recognize, who the administrators are. Big E's shool has one principal, one associate principal and three assistant principals. Sous Chef's school has one principal and two assistant principals, which is a lot more "manageable".

Well, I was at Big E's school on Friday to volunteer. I passed the associate principal, actually recognized him and surprisingly enough, he recognized me. After all, we had just been in an hour and a half meeting together two days before. He stopped, said hi, chatted for a moment. In the past, I would not have known who he was and I would have gotten a courtesy "hello" from him. This is why I continue to volunteer as much as possible - in the schools, in my moms group, in community events. To get involved, to get to know people - for me and for the benefit of my kids/family; to be a good role model for my children.

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Day

Today was CJ's first day of his second year of preschool. He didn't seem overly excited. He wasn't NOT excited, but he wasn't shouting from the rooftops, either. I have been talking it up for a few days now and we have attended an ice cream social and then a classroom visit in the last week or so. Finally, on the way to school today, he says, "OK, NOW I am excited." Thank goodness! On the way home he asked when he was going back. I told him he goes on M-W-F and he wanted to know why he couldn't go every day and "when CAN I go everyday?" I explained next year he would go to kindergarten every day, but obviously that is too far from now for him because he says he's ready start every day NOW.


He's hamming it up so much in every picture I took that his eyes are closed in ALL of the pictures.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Got hope? again...

I ventured out in my "Got hope?" shirt again today. I only got one angry look. Of course, my response was to smile. Who knows, maybe it had nothing to do with my shirt and everything to do with her having a bad day. If that's the case, my smile may have cheered her up a bit.

Other t-shirts that were predominant in our grocery store? Lots of Bengals t-shirts, sometimes entire families dressed in them. A few Cleveland Browns shirts. I am not sure why ANYONE would wear a Bengals shirt or even support this team that is filled with God awful, ill-behaved, criminal, many of them convicted, players. And then to have your children support them. I do believe my Obama t-shirt is way less controversial than those stupid Bengals shirts.

Unfortunately, I can't find the internet photo from a few years ago that was a Bengals team photo, which showed the team looking all nice, IN A PRISON YARD. Yes, it was a photoshopped job to create a joke, but it definitely had a lot of truth to it, which made it funny!

Bengals Prison Jokes

Friday, September 5, 2008

Cleaning Machine

Ok, I may not be a total cleaning machine. My house still needs a lot of straightening up. However, after the floor and baseboard cleaning frenzy last week, this week I borrowed a rug shampooer and cleaned the upholstery on my nasty, dirty furniture. It looks so much better! The dirt is out and the stains have faded - I don't think there is any way to totally get rid of them, but wow, what an improvement.

Next project? Cleaning the remaining baseboards on the first floor and to the basement and cleaning the carpet in the family room and the office. One of these days I'll make it to the upstairs. I would like to get our bedrooms painted this winter. Oh yeah, and our other goal is to get a bathroom with a shower installed in our basement. By Christmas. We have guests coming this Christmas and could really use another bathroom/shower area. It will make for a nice "suite" in the basement to have this addition complete.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wow!

If there were any concerns about Gov. Sarah Palin, then those who watched her speak last night must be feeling pretty damn good today. She was awesome. I am not saying this in relation to her political views or what she said in her speech. However, as a speaker, she was wonderful. She supported her family, she was energetic, she was funny (sarcastic) and I think she made it clear what kind of woman and VP candidate she is. I take the speeches with a grain of salt, no matter who is giving them, because it is often a lot of "preaching to the choir" and telling the audience what they want to hear. However, as someone who enjoys public speaking and has a degree in Communication Arts, her presentation was just perfect. I have said before, at this point my mind is made up for the election. That doesn't mean if my candidate of choice screws up royally, I won't change my mind. And I have to say, IF I need to change my mind, it's good to know there will be someone capable of presenting a speech in a coherent manner, such as Gov. Sarah Palin, on the "other" ticket.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Governor Palin

Many, many people have asked me since the announcement Friday what I think of Gov. Sarah Palin's nomination. First, I can say it was a surprise, only in the sense that I have not ever heard of her. However, I have a friend who has been following a lot of John McCain information and he has seen her name pop up here and there. Second, I don't know much about her, like most people, it seems. I am excited to see a woman and a mother on the ticket. I am excited that no matter who is elected, history will be made. I will not be voting for her. I am staunchly pro-choice and would have a hard time voting for anyone who is not. I would like to see all the personal stuff dropped from the media. I am tired of the media saying stupid things like "if she were a man, do you think the family issue would be a topic?" Well, of course it wouldn't. Not just because women are still held to a different standard than men, but because the news idiots won't let these ridiculous conversations out of the headlines. Why is her personal life such a hot topic? Because the media machine won't stop talking about it and making a big deal about it. We've seen it before, over and over again - affairs, past chemical use, driving records. And what kills me, is the media sits around like "who, me?" and wonder aloud why it's news. Hello? And so, because the news machine won't talk about the important stuff, I still don't know much about this woman. I will be watching her speak tonight at the convention. I am interested to hear what she says, how she says it. I hope she does well this evening. And for those who choose to vote or not vote for her, I hope it is based on her policies and political standings, not because she's a woman or a mom.

As for my personal opinion about the daughter being pregnant. IT HAPPENS. You can teach your children everything you want them to know, you can give them your family values and morals, but when they walk out that door they are going to do things you wish they hadn't done. Not all the time, but it will happen. You hope they take those values and morals with them, but they are kids and they have a mind and opinions of their own. They are going to make mistakes and you hope when they do, they are small ones. Sometimes they aren't and there are life long consequences. At least when this woman says she's pro-life, she follows through with that. I would have been very disappointed if she touted this pro-life (or anti-choice, as I prefer to call it) platform, only to find out when she was in the trenches of difficult decisions, she threw her beliefs out the window and did the exact opposite of what she supports. So many people don't do that. She did, and for that, I commend her.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Mom's Night Out

Once a month, I go out to dinner with some of the women from my mom's group, Mothers & More. This past week, we went to Relish Modern Tapas. It was quite yummy, but we were the only people there that night and we fear it may not stay open. I hope it does. Being in the suburbs sometimes lends itself to being overrun by chain businesses and it's nice to see a local business be successful. I have heard they are quite busy during lunch and the weekends. We were there on a Thursday evening, so I hope that was the reason for the low attendance. If you go, I highly suggest the potato spheres. I won't even go into the conversations that took place that evening. It is probably a good thing there weren't many people there or they may have run screaming from the building or covered their children's ears.


Here we are enjoying the evening. That's me third from the front in the red, strappy dress.