Friday, January 31, 2014

Ten Things Of Thankful Plus A Bonus One

January is over already? Seriously? That should really count as number one on my list of Ten Things of Thankful, because it makes us that much closer to Spring, but that's too easy. Here's my real list:

1. Dry, colder than a well digger's ass weather makes it much easier to straighten my hair.

2. One of the only really troublesome side effects I have from taking Arimidex daily is bone pain. I have a lot of trouble with my hands hurting, as well as the tops of my feet and my hips. The pain in my hips often keeps me awake at night, and even Aleve doesn't give me much relief. Some time in mid-December, I realized my hips weren't hurting anymore, and my hands only minimally. The Pain Fairy came back this week, which sucks, but I'm thankful for the month and a half that it was gone!

3. I make no bones about the fact that I am not a fan of preschool parties. This week, we had two. The first party we had was less party than it was a themed day. We had a "Snow Day" (not the good kind where you get to stay home and bake bread and cookies and stuff), and it wasn't as bad as I anticipated. We had a presentation by a volunteer from the Audubon Center about animals in winter, and my kids were an excellent audience. We had a pretend snowball fight with snow forts made from cardboard boxes wrapped in white paper and soft, fabric snowballs, which was a HUGE hit with the kids, and the bonus was that they didn't get too wound up and crazy from it. 

4. The second party of the week was a 50's themed party, celebrating our 50th day of preschool. The kids are invited to wear 50's clothing, and we wear it as well. (Yes, I wore a poodle skirt, or a Scottie skirt, to be honest - I even have a crinoline petticoat that I wear underneath it, although I skipped it this year, because it scratches the backs of my legs terribly.) We play a scavenger hunt game for 50 items, we eat ice cream sundaes, we hula hoop, we dance,and we try to blow bubbles with bubblegum.  The kids and parents enjoy it, but I can truly say I am thankful it is over for another year.

5. Ruby has always had a fascination with the toilet. She particularly likes to stand on her hind feet, front paws on the seat, and watch the water go down after flushing. Today, while standing at the bathroom counter picking dead skin off my poor chapped lips packing up my makeup for our trip to a volleyball tournament, I heard Ruby jump up on the toilet, where SOMEONE (not me, for the record) had left the lid up. I turned around to see her balancing on the seat, head down, lap, lap, lapping the toilet water (note to self: in the future, be very certain Ruby hasn't had her face in your drinking glass before taking a drink). Just as I was saying, "Really, Ruby?" she lost her footing and one front leg went in the toilet bowl. As she was trying to recover from this, her hind legs went in, and, with a panic-stricken face and much splashing of toilet water, pulled herself back up onto the seat, jumped down, and scampered across the room, at which time she gave herself a thorough washing. Curiosity may not have killed the cat this time, but it sure made her pretty wet and, hopefully, scared her enough that she won't want to use it as a water bowl again. 

That USED to be my glass of Diet Coke....

6. I ate an entire bag of Cinnamon Lips that I found in the Valentine section of Hobby Lobby. Glad I got that out of my system (figuratively only, and that's all I'm going to say about THAT) and won't be tempted to buy them again. Well, this year, anyway.

7. My daughter got cast to be in the chorus of the school musical. Not a lot of freshmen in the cast, and she is very excited to be one of them. The play is "Pajama Game," and the only thing I know about it is that is where the song "Steam Heat" came from. I'm sure I will become very familiar with it in the weeks to come.

8. I am thankful for the Comment Moderation feature on Blogger that allows me to see the "English as a Second Language" comments that sometimes come with the spam hits on my blog (and which screw with my stats, but that's another story). The last time I wrote about this, the comment from my close friend Anonymous called me a whiner and an attention speaker. THIS time, dear Anonymous is dissing the eloquent comments by my lovely blog friends. ARE YOUSE PEOPLES GOING TO TAKE THIS LYING DOWN?!

9. We're expecting more winter weather next week, specifically, on Tuesday, which also happens to be my daughter's 15th birthday. She is not happy about the prospect of a snow day (the real kind, not the party kind) on her birthday, because if she's not at school, then she won't have birthday accolades tossed her way all day. But I digress. I not only took note of the upcoming weather conditions, I actually got all of my birthday shopping for her done almost a week early. FOR REAL! And I did GOOOOOOD! She's going to love her gifts!

10. Volleyball this weekend! I love volleyball tournaments (when I'm not getting whacked in the back of the head by the ball rebounding against a wall, that is). Got my chair. Got my snacks. Balls up!*

Link up your Ten Things of Thankful right here, right now.

*For those of you whose minds might be in the gutter - ahem Clark and Kristi and Beth - that phrase simply means the server has tossed the ball and it's in play.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Like Mother, Like Daughter

I stole this from her
Twitter account - shhhh!
This past Saturday night was Snowball, the winter formal dance at our high school. It is a girl ask boy dance, and my daughter opted out of going because (a) she doesn't have a boyfriend (and that's fine with me); (b) most of the kids who go to this dance are couples rather than just friends; and (c) she didn't want to ask someone to be her date "just so he could try to grind against me all night." I cannot complain about her decision process on that one. 

Since she didn't go to the dance, thereby (according to her) saving us money on a dress, shoes, etc., she thought we should go out to eat dinner. She had spent the day in a semi-vegetative state, lying on the couch watching Netflix, in the same clothes she slept in the night before, so our restaurant choice could not include one in which she might run into classmates who were eating out before going to the dance. We decided to go to a very casual little Mexican restaurant in an adjacent town. 

I, too, had spent much of the day in a semi-vegetative state, sitting in my big comfy chair with a kitten in my lap, in the same clothes I had slept in the night before. (Unlike my daughter) I took a quick shower before we went out and put on sweat pants and a gray Joplin Eagles hoodie (very, VERY casual restaurant). I walked into the kitchen, where my daughter, the college boy, and my husband were waiting, and looked at my daughter. 

She was wearing a gray Joplin Eagles hoodie.

"MooooOOOOOOM! Go change!" said she to me. 

"YOU go change," I replied. "I've had mine on longer."

"Do you ever LOOK at me? I wore this to bed last night and I'm STILL wearing it. I've had MINE on longer."

"All the more reason you should change," I told her. But, good sport that I am, I went ahead and went up to my room, changing into a maroon Missouri State Alumni sweatshirt.

I walked back down the stairs, where my husband and the college boy were waiting by the front door, ready to walk out the door. My daughter joined us.

Wearing a maroon Missouri State sweatshirt.

"YOU change!" we both said at the same time.


And so we went out to eat for what was the first (and hopefully last) time we ever wore matchy matchy mother/daughter outfits.

Unless anyone thinks I can get her to wear this little ensemble....

Friday, January 24, 2014

Short Week and Long Thankfuls

Oh, four day work week, why did you seem so looooong? Maybe because last weekend's much needed R&R time at my parents' lake house went by too fast? The good news is the faster the weekend, the sooner the next edition of Ten Things of Thankful. My thankful week:

1. My daughter had her first show choir competition last Saturday, and her choir, comprised of 9th and 10th grade boys and girls, got first place in their division. I didn't get any pictures, because I was using my iPhone as a videorecorder. From the back of the auditorium. With bad stage lighting. But the audio isn't too bad. Considering it's taken from my iPhone. From the back of the auditorium. It's a long clip, and I don't expect anyone to watch the whole thing, but if you're so inclined, listen to a minute or two. (Caveat: the first soloist was a last minute pinch hitter when the regular soloist fell and broke his elbow a couple of hours before the performance and had to go to the hospital.)

2. Sunday morning, I was reading the TToT entry by Joy @ I Can Say Mama, and she listed as #4 the custard filled doughnut called a Berliner that she was enjoying at that very moment. Well, I couldn't think of anything else after that, so I finally gave in to the craving and went to Krispy Kreme and bought doughnuts for everyone, and two, TWO chocolate iced, custard filled doughnuts for just moi. Ahhhh! I needed that, Joy!

No make-up, hair thrown into ponytail.
This is the face of doughnut desperation.

3. As thankful as I was for those doughnuts, I'm EXTREMELY thankful there is no Krispy Kreme where I live. That would be baaaaad.

4. On my way home from Krispy Kreme, I passed what at first glance, I thought was supposed to be Sponge Bob Squarepants, but upon closer inspection, turned out to be a giant walking doughnut advertising another doughnut shop. I was so amused, I drove around the block and passed it again, just so I could get a picture.

5. My mother's choice of lunch on Sunday was worthy of a giggle. Or two.

Cheese spread, crackers, and
a ginormous marshmallow

6. Ruby had a delightful time at the lake house, and although she was more than a little rotten, my parents, especially my mom, enjoyed having her there. And that's even with Ruby drinking out my mom and dad's water glasses every chance she got, strolling across the kitchen table several times (that we know of), mooching food, climbing in the refrigerator, knocking my dad's little stash of cough drops off the end table, one by one, and scattering them all over the living room, falling off said end table, taking everything on it with her as she went down, and getting stuck in a glue board that was under the love seat.

Licking the ice cubes in my
mom's glass of Pepsi

My dad defending his glass of
water and his sandwich.

It's completely exhausting to
get in so much trouble.

7. On Monday, my daughter and I went to American Eagle to exchange a pair of jeans. She found several tops on the clearance rack she wanted to try on as well. The salesclerk (is that what you call them?) let her into a dressing room, and I sat on a chair, feeling very much like a mom, when my daughter came out to model for me and...let the dressing room door shut behind her. The look of panic on her face was priceless, but she wouldn't let me go get the saleclerk to let her back in, opting instead to crawl under the door. I'm grateful for the good laugh it gave me and only wish she hadn't outsmarted me (and my camera) by backing into the room instead of crawling back in head first.

How to re-gain ingress to a dressing room
one has locked herself out of.

8. So thankful to have the lake house to go to. Over the past 25 years that my parents have owned it, I have gone there to lick my wounds a number of times. It's also a place to spend time with family, relax, and recover from whatever ails you, mental or physical. 

Ruby watching geese in the yard.

9. Oncology appointment this week,and so far, so good. I love this door in the lab area of the office and finally thought to take a picture of it. Anybody else see saggy boobies?

If you don't see boobs here, we have
nothing left to talk about.

10. I baked the best damn loaf of bread I've ever made on Wednesday. We ate half of that bad boy that night, hot from the oven and slathered with butter, along with some pretty amazing lentil soup, if I do say so myself. Comfort food for a cold night! 

Tasted even better than it looked.

The Polar Vortex is rearing its ugly head again and howling around my house. Yours, too? Stay in and stay warm and link up with us at TToT.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Two Stories, Two Debacles, Two Different Endings

A Story That Starts Bad And Ends Up Good

Saturday was cold. Not just temperature-wise, but there was also a biting, blustery, north wind that cut through you like a serrated knife. I was on my way to a town 40 miles away to watch my daughter sing with her show choir at a competition, and DAMMIT, the car needed gas.

It was at this point that I came to the conclusion that there should be a law that women do not have to pump their own gas. When they pull up to the gas pump, uniformed men should run out to the car to fill it with gas, wash the windows, check the oil, empty the trash, and bring a fountain Diet Coke, like in the old Texaco commercials. (Don't argue that they didn't empty the trash NOR bring soft drinks to the car; you have your fantasies, I'll have mine.)

So, I'm bundled up against the cold and wind, my eyes watering, filling the tank. As I remove the nozzle from the tank, however, between the gale force winds and me POSSIBLY bumping it with the nozzle because I was shivering so, the gas cap fell and rolled under the car. Under. The. Car.

You might expect that I panicked about then, but I did not. Because the hamster in the little wheel that is my brain ran a little harder, and I had a brainstorm: I calmly walked over to where the squeegee was sitting in its brackish water bath, removed it, reached under the car to where the gas cap lay, taunting me, and pulled that sucker out from under the car like a craps dealer raking in the dice.

I felt like a rock star.

A Story That Starts Good And Ends Up Bad

This week, the preschool will be celebrating Pastries with Pops, a time when dad (or grandpa or uncle) can come to preschool with his kiddo, have a doughnut and some coffee or juice, and check out the classroom, since, commonly, dads aren't in our room very often, as they are usually at work at that time. We make a gift for our dads to take with them; the primary class made paperweights by gluing a picture of each child to a river rock and then painting the whole thing with sparkly varnish and the pre-k class made golf towels with a handprint in one corner and the child's name and date written with acrylic paint along the bottom. 

With our extra week of Christmas vacation, we've been a little pressed for time, but we got the projects done in both classes. The paperweights were pretty easy to do, but the hand towels are a bit more labor-intensive. I have a system of checks and balances so I know which child belongs to which handprint: as I make each child's handprint on the golf towel, I write the child's name on a sticky note and stick it to the towel, then lay them out to dry. This, I did last Wednesday. On Friday, after the kids left at noon, I spent over an hour taking each towel, removing the sticky note and setting it next to me (step 2 in the checks and balances), then writing the child's name and date on the towel with the acrylic paint (not to brag or anything, but I can write names with pencils, pens, sharpies, crayons, markers, glue, acrylic pain, and glitter). I left them to dry over the weekend (which was a three-day one, due to the Martin Luther King birthday holiday on Monday), then after the primary class left on Tuesday, I went to the pre-k room to put the towels in gift bags and attach the cards the kids made to each bag. My last set of checks and balances is to match all the cards with the towels by setting the card on top of the corresponding towel. Towel in bag, card stapled to bag, BOOM, done.

Today, I matched up all the cards to towels until I got down to one card and one towel. That didn't match each other. WHAT HAPPENED TO MY CHECKS AND BALANCES?!
I went through all the towels and cards again to see if I had mixed them up, and what I found was two towels with Leah written on them. As I only have ONE Leah, this was not a good sign. And, as there was NO towel for Lexi, that was not a good sign, either.  So, in spite of, or in defiance to, my checks and balances, bottom line is I MESSED IT UP AND IT CAN'T BE FIXED.

The event with the dads is first thing in the morning. 

One dad will be getting an IOU.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Little Things Mean A Lot

Ten Things of Thankful time, and this week, it's going to be all about the little things. Here goes:

Little get-aways.  We drove to St. Joseph, Missouri, for our first club volleyball tournament last weekend. We were only gone from home from Friday afternoon to Saturday night (laaaate), but it was nice to be somewhere that wasn't home. 

Little wins. Our team was undefeated all day and won 1st place in the tournament - a great start to the season! And in spite of the COMPLETE FAILURE of both my husband and my friend's husband Derik to protect me from errant volleyballs during warm-ups in which not one, but TWO volleyballs whizzed past my head with mere inches to spare, slammed into the wall three feet behind me and HIT ME IN THE BACK OF THE HEAD, I did not show signs of concussion, BUT I COULD HAVE.

Joplin Dunamis 15-1 Team

Little distinctions. This week, the girls are ranked #1 in the team rankings for the Heart of America volleyball region in their age group. Can't say at this point whether it will ever happen again, but THIS WEEK, they are #1. Proof:

Little hands. Precious little preschool hands made into mittens for the bulletin board. 

Little giggles. We had show and tell this week for my pre-k class. Each child got to bring one new toy ("N" week, you know) that they received for Christmas. One of the boys brought Buddy the Tyrannosaurus from "Dinosaur Train." I had him (the boy, not Buddy) in a fit of giggles when I said the sound Buddy makes when you stick your finger in his mouth is most certainly NOT a chomping sound, but a burp, and I kept sticking my finger in Buddy's mouth to prove it. He giggled even harder when I pointed out that Buddy's on/off button was located in Buddy's stinky armpit. Love it when kids develop their senses of humor!

Little candor. During the same show and tell, one of the girls was showing her new Lalaloopsy doll. I asked her what the doll's name was, but she hadn't named it yet. I suggested "Dyanne" as a good name for her doll, and she shifted her weight on her feet, bobbed her head from side to side, then, as politely as she could, gently said to me, "'Dyanne' is kind of an OLD name." Ouch.

Little hope. Got a smidge of good-ish news this week, helping to ever-so-slightly redeem what has been a crappy start to 2014.

Little talks. Enjoyed sitting with my friend Traci at Cupcakes by Liz (yum) for an hour and a half, just visiting. And eating cupcakes.

Little breaks. Through an elaborate set of arrangements caused by my daughter attending a show choir competition today and mucking up what might have been a nice, long weekend at the lake house, my husband, son and Ruby are now at the lake house with my parents, and Pete thinks life is worth living again.

Relaxed and Ruby-free

Little kitties. Ruby is living the good life right now, visiting a new house and getting lots of good nap time in while she waits for her mama to get there tonight.

Looking more than a little comfortable

Big or little, get your Ten Things of Thankful posts written and link them up here.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 1.15

First win of the club volleyball season.

Joplin Dunamis 15 and Under
1st Place Western Winter Showdown
St. Joseph, MO

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Anybody else out there remember Simon and Peabody and the Wayback Machine? Set the Wayback Machine, Sherman, I want to go back in time. While I'm waiting, here are my Ten Things of Thankful for the week:

1. The Polar Vortex, because it is a once-in-20-years kind of event, sounds like a ride at Epcot Center, and because it led to...

2. Snow Day #1

3. Snow Day #2

4. Snow Day #3

5. Finally was able to bust outta here in the afternoon of Snow Day #3 and took Ruby to her final kitten baby check-up. She weighed in at a big 3.1 lbs., got three shots, and still purred so loudly that the vet couldn't hear her heartbeat. (The vet said she heard one thump-thump, so she couldn't tell whether or not she had a heart murmur. I told her not to worry about it, as my husband has always said there wouldn't be any kitty dialysis, or the equivalent thereof, so we didn't even need to know if she had a heart murmur or not.) As soon as Ruby gains another pound or so, she will go in to get her kitty maker removed, along with her front claws. That'll be fun for all. Curiously, the vet also discovered that Miss Ruby is missing hair from a place about the size of a dime on her back at the base of her tail. Our only explanation is that Fletcher finally had it UP TO HERE and took out a mouthful of fur. Hopefully, it will grow back.

6. School finally re-opened on Thursday. Not only did classes resume, but three brand new schools opened, one middle school and two elementary schools that were built after the May 22, 2011, tornado destroyed the original ones. One more step closer to normal. We are still anxiously awaiting the completion of the new high school, which is scheduled for completion in time for school to start this August. (Fingers crossed!)

7. Thursday was supposed to be our first day back at preschool as well; however, at 8:00 a.m., right as the staff started arriving, poof! - the power went out. We learned a car accident on the other side of town was the cause, leaving some 8,000 customers without power. When it wasn't back on by arrival time at 8:45, our director decided we would have to cancel classes, as the building was already getting pretty chilly without the furnace running. After contacting all of our students to let them know school was canceled, we worked (in the dark) on taking down the last of the Christmasy things in our rooms and hallways. I learned that the emergency flashlight that has been in a cabinet in my room since I started working there in 2001 and that I had never once touched other than to move it out of the way to get to something else had a dead battery. Imagine that.

8. Ruby was helpful, as always, this week, lending a hand with both laundry and with blogging.

9. I found out that the money folded up in my coat pocket that I thought was only $2.00 was actually $16.00. Whoop!

10. Finally had preschool today for the first time since December 20. The kids were really wound up, so we just had a Fun Day Friday and didn't even pretend we were going to do any real work. I did come up with a project for us to do that I found on Pinterest. I wrote the letters in each child's name on paper snowballs, which each child then had to put in order to spell out their name. They then glued them in the proper order on strips of paper.  And because there wasn't enough room at our tables to do this, we went out in the hallway to glue, which was a fun diversion. The finished project turned out pretty well, if I do say so myself (and I do).

The best link up in the blogiverse starts here:

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Monday, January 6, 2014

Deep Thinking From Someone Whose Christmas Vacation Keeps Getting Extended And If She Doesn't Get Back To Work Soon, She Will Be Too Fat To Get Out The Door

Deep Thoughts:

It is very poor planning to run out of milk the day a major winter storm is expected to hit (actually, mere HOURS from when it is to hit), forcing a trip to Walmart with all the other crazies out buying their snow groceries.

The only saving grace to the trip to Walmart on the day a major winter storm is expected to hit is seeing one of the local tv weathermen exiting the store (in sunglasses, no less, and it was gloomy as a tomb outside) with a grocery cart heaped with milk, bread, and other essentials, leading me to believe that HE DOESN'T LISTEN TO HIS OWN FORECASTS.

Ruby watching the snow fall.

When I see recipes for paleo diets, it just makes me laugh. Paleo muffins? How about paleo apple cider donuts? Paleo peach coconut smoothie? Because, and correct me if I'm wrong, wouldn't Paleolithic man have eaten some plants and small animals (raw, of course, guts, feathers, and all) and insects? I'm pretty sure there were no muffins being cooked there in the cave.

You ever see those banana hangers in the store? It's supposed to keep your bananas fresher longer if you hang them rather than let them lie on the counter or in a bowl (which means bruises are actually the bedsores of the banana). Let me save you the trouble - don't get one. Your husband will take one look at it and laugh at you, and they don't make the bananas last a bit longer.

Banana hanger, not to be confused
with a banana hammock

When the car is making a funny noise, just turn up the radio and - voila! - noise gone. But when the heater doesn't work in your car, you can turn the radio up as loudly as you want, and you're still just going to be cold. 

If you listened very carefully, you could actually hear the temperature dropping outside yesterday.

The jar of ground ginger and the one of cumin look very similar, but I don't recommend getting them confused.

I found a grocery list on my phone that only had Laffy Taffy, root beer and kitten food on it. I was unaware that I smoked crack and made grocery lists, but this proves otherwise.

You know those pony tail holders that aren't supposed to leave a crease in your hair? Lies.

I've gotta bust outta this joint soon....

Friday, January 3, 2014

Grasping At Straws

Hello, 2014. So far, you suck.

Here's the deal: when life is a bowl of cherries, writing a Ten Things of Thankful post is easy as, uh, pie (which is a stupid saying, because making pie is HARD - rolling out crust, making sure it's flaky, making the filling, which can involve much peeling and slicing of fruit, etc.). Then there's the kind of post you write when you're grasping at straws, looking for something, anything, for which to be thankful. Like this one.

1. Friends I can telephone at an outrageous hour when I need some help.

2. Family. Enough said.

3. The awesome electric teakettle we (okay, my husband) got for Christmas and Good Earth English Breakfast Tea.

4. Warm, fuzzy socks.

5. My new Nook. It's a cross between a really big smart phone that doesn't make phone calls and a really small laptop that doesn't have a real keyboard, but I like it and actually plan to use it to read books, too....

6. Electric pencil sharpeners.

7. Reading tweets from Honest Toddler. They make me smile, no matter how crappy I feel.

8. Kittens. Goofy, bouncy, scampering, snuggly kittens. Thinking of one in particular....

9. My bread machine (a new one, since the one I had for about ten years finally laid down and died). I love to bake bread, but sometimes most of the time, I am so very lazy that I let the bread machine do the hard part; that is, I use my own recipe, throw all the ingredients in the machine, and set it to make dough. Mixed and kneaded for me, I just have to shape the dough, give it a final rise, and bake it. Boom! 

10. Wallflowers from Bath & Body Works. Spicy scents for fall and winter, fruity scents for spring and summer. 

How about you? How's 2014 treating you so far? Link up, below.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts