Monday, December 31, 2007


This is what I have been working on tirelessly (?) for two days. That's me taking a well-earned nap on the bed, ha. I've been fascinated with dollhouses since visiting the Museum of Science and Industry's dollhouse display when I was less than ten years old. It seems like there are two there (but perhaps they are different museums). One is a huge Victorian traditional dollhouse with details so exquisite it could make you cry. You walk around it and must stayed behind the velvet ropes. I think it is decorated for Christmas during the season. The other, and this may be at the Art Institute of Chicago, is small windows behind glass with separate dollhouse rooms. There are little steps in front of each display for children to see in better. They are both amazing.
My house is, well, mine. A gift from my husband a couple of birthdays ago.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Christmas 06 and 07

Oh what a difference a year makes. My brother in law Chuck, my dad, Boy13 and I last year above and this year below.

Goodbye Toys, Goodbye Games

I should have done this a long time ago, but it's hard for me to get rid of things. Just a habit formed in childhood, when everything unneeded was shipped to the attic. That makes for a really full attic.
I have offered these items on Free Cycle, a nifty on-line community where you can give or receive things for free. I think it is available anywhere in the country where there's a moderator willing to monitor it. I got a nice computer desk a couple of days ago, and have picked up items for clients, too. This is my first offer (see I don't like to get rid of stuff).
It took a long time to go through that toy box. I had to ask the boys to identify which figures were Pokemon, Digemon and Yu-gi-oh so I could sort them properly. And yes, I kept some of their toys. What for, I don't know? Sentimentality? Because I know they will bring memories for the kids in the future? Grandchildren? Yikes I can't believe I said that.

Friday, December 28, 2007

More B-ball

Here is Boy13 leading the team onto the court (I think they start with the shortest). His team is winning a holiday tournament and will play the championship game tomorrow at 5:00. It's a 30 minute drive from home, not too bad. I may not go tomorrow night, as in a competitive game he won't play. I like the other kids, but I've spent the last 3 days watching them play.

I hear the thumping of a bass drum in the back room. Supposedly Boy14 and his friends are jamming here everyday, but I don't hear anything that sounds like music. They have taken over several rooms in the house, and so tomorrow it's time for them move onto someone else's house.

I feel like I am already getting behind on my vacation 'chores'. I still have to vacuum Boy19's room while he's away, do something with my dollhouse (I'll show the results if I get anything done), get some pictures printed and maybe scrapbook them, clean out the toy closet so I can turn it into something more functional like 'music closet', finish reading "Reading Lolita...", etc etc.

I've had some bizarre dreams lately involving Eva Longeria (that's how she spelled it in my dream), Katie Holmes, Bridget Moynihan and Tom Brady. It's either the Valerian root tea, or perhaps too many bad gossip magazines.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Embracing My Age

I've been enjoying my reading glasses around my house until my mom commented I looked liked Aunt Myrtle. Aunt Myrtle was my very eccentric childless great aunt on my mom's side. My mother was the only child among her mother and her three sibs, so she was kinda special. It's hard to describe Aunt Myrtle but maybe this vignette will help: whenever we visited her farm in Minnesota or later the house in town, she sat down at the piano, lifted up her reading glasses from her ample bosom where they rested and launched into a mediocre but enthusiastic rendition of "How Much Is That Doggie In The Window" and insisted we sing. Once while taking the required photographs at the end of our visit, she approached with a large powder puff of make-up which she slatered all over my sister and me, like a 1920's Hollywood director. I'm not sure this is the image I want to evoke with my reading glasses.

I've been kicking around the last two days, organizing the house between ball games. I'm easily distracted so it takes a long to get a task done. For example, while working on the living room I had to go to the dry cleaners, eat pumpkin pie, look through photo albums, re-arrange my scrapbooking supplies, send several emails, print off my annual holiday memories. I also found it's been so long since I vacuumed, I forgot how to turn the sweeper on.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Here is my contribution to the ornament photographs. This is Boy13's favorite team, the Louisville Cardinals. My sis is so hoping he does go to college at L'ville so she can see and feed him every week. A simple fantasy. She indulges him with everything Lousville, pillows, sweatshirts, t-shirts, pj pants, blankies,...

The next photo is somewhat of a tradition of using different monikers on the packages. My brother started it years ago with his hysterical football inspired quips.

The three boys debuted their latest homemade video last night, entitled The Ups and Downs of Kenny Chesney. It was inspired by a goofy cowboy hat Pat got for Boy14
($2) as a joke. His new guitar was featured as well as a laser light and funny dental scene (using those awful fake teeth they found in their stocking). It was pretty hilarious.

Poshlust redux

Okay, I missed the boat on Poshlust. It is more or less false attractiveness, maybe garish posing as beautiful. It could also be false importance, false cleverness or someone who is a fraud. My first thought was pink flamingoes, but better yet, those giant blow-up turkeys people put on their lawns, robbing our last sacred holiday, Thanksgiving, of its quiet simplicity. I really could almost handle the cardboard cherubic pilgrims posted on schoolroom doors, but a blow-up turkey, come on. Poshlust!


I'm going to put another Nabokov term into my own words. It is kind of a juxtaposition of two discordant things; in Nabokov a picture of a happy baby picture next to a person about to get beheaded. We've been watching old Seinfeld episodes, courtesy Boy14 Christmas present, and were discussing the family stress around the holidays and George's father screaming out, "Serenity Now." That's poshlust, to me.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Christmas must entail at least one new book and with it, a renewed enthusiasm for reading. My book is from my sister and is called Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi. I think I had vaguely heard about it sometime in the past year, and it is capturing my imagination and broadening my understanding of the world so far. I had the mistaken idea that somehow putting women in veils and robes would strip them of all individuality and personality, but luckily this is not the case. I am meeting some extraordinary women through the pages of this novel.

Upsilamba is a word from Vladimir Nabokov's Invitation to a Beheading. Possibly an invented word, the girls in the novel each have their own meaning for it. It became part of their secret language, these Iranian women who are covertly studying Western literature in secrecy. I'm sorry to say I am terribly underread, and haven't even read Lolita.

On another note, has anyone ever listened to Josh Groban? The name evokes images of John Mayer or even Michael Bolton, but that he is not. I believe he sings in Italian and English, another language anyway. A client of mine introduced me to him and burned a CD for me. I was in a Josh Groban mood today, I guess you could say.

Merry Christmas

This is my special family Christmas tradition: Strawberries. We have been making them for 43 years, according to my mother. This year the boys shaped the strawberries all by themselvs. It was a quite an accomplishment, as there is a certain apprenticeship one has to endure before becoming a true strawberry maker. I submitted a story to one of those newspaper insert magazines about the process, but it never got published. Guess it will have to be another self-published tome on the blog (later). The plate is one of the exclusive patterns of the Lomonosov pottery in St. Petersburg where we had a tour and spent too much money in 2001.

Right now I am smelling the sweet scent of butterscotch pecan pie that I just removed from the oven. Kind of my own creation, or at least variation. This is a first time recipe so I will have to let you know later how it is.

Everyone is going to the new National Treasure movie at 2:00 today except me. I will be cooking and setting the table, etc. and perhaps enjoying a little peace and Christmas music. My goals are to clear off my dresser to make way for some new trinkets I got last night, and to go through the CD box and match all the CD's up with their cases. That and prepare the ham, twice baked potatoes and whatever else I can scrounge up. I won't accomplish everything.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Crabby Pattie

I've been in quite the mood today. Perhaps it was too much caffeine, or just the added stress of the holidays.
Boy19 has made it safely across Iowa and to Nebraska to spend the holiday with his grandparents and father. I think it was his first hazardous driving experience. There was ice on the trees and snow on the ground at 3 am and I was a little worried about what the day would hold for him. He was sleeping on the couch when we came downstairs this morning and he took off about 10:30 a.m. in my car and with my cell and the warning, "Don't f--- with my cell phone." Meaning, don't lose, break or othewise abuse it. He called promptly upon his arrival at 6:10 p.m. at the same moment I was thinking of calling him.

That said, I have decided to take my parents lead and put money in a jar everytime I swear in an effort to reduce this bad behavior I have. Since I would go broke in a day putting in $1 a word, I will do 25 cents per violation. I'll let you know when I can afford a nice meal out (probably by the end of January).

Merry One

I'm sorry I waited a week to update the old blog. It was a busy week, in spite of having no classes to worry about. I worked until Friday and it was a wild week. My fellow case manager was off to Jamaica for a belated honeymoon, lucky girl, so I had to cover her caseload for her (she has mine this week!).

There were two basketball games this week. One was a nail biter in which only 8 of the 15 boys got to play. Thursday night was a domination by our team, so everyone got to play. I have to say I understand the flip side of "running up the score." I used to think there was no reason for it, and it was simply bad sportsmanship. However, when your kid rarely gets to play, he gets in and wants to play. He also wants to prove himself and perhaps increase his chances to play next time. So Boy13 made a nice steal and breakaway layup. He was also fouled while shooting and made the first of two freethrows. Finally with two seconds on the clock he shot and made a nice jumper, falling on the floor in the process and evoking a big cheer from the crowd and dogpile from his teammates. It reminded me of when Boy19 won his first wrestling match in two years of varsity wrestling.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

cookie dough

Those are Mexican Wedding Cakes aka Russian Tea Cookies aka Danish something or others in the grocery store, so who knows the real name or origin? We used finely chopped pecans and they were delish. Along with Alice's best ever sugar cookies and Bark, it was quite a day. Luckily, they are all devoured now.

Friday, December 14, 2007


My day...

I shouldn't have gone to work, but I always go when I'm sick. I reserve my sick days for mental health. First, I cancelled a home visit where a newborn lives, so as not to hack all over her and infect her. The next visit there was smoking (not good for my lungs at all). About 20 minutes in I had a coughing fit I couldn't control. I was hacking so bad I was gagging and throwing up in my mouth. They generously offered me a bottle of water (boil order still in effect).

Later in the copy room it happened again. The whole office was I'm sure irritated with me spreading my germs all over. At this point, I called the doctor and got in at 2:15. The nurse practioner gave me a couple scripts for cough syrup with codeine, I'm feeling it, and Zithromax because, "your throat looks red". Okay, I know we're not supposed to be taking antibiotics willy nilly, so I considered blowing that off, but after coming home and lying down I felt worse and decided to take it anyway.

Did I mention I won Spider Solitaire yesterday (at work)? haha. My scrapbooking friend and I were busting a gut about some study stating the average American spends two or three hours a day messing around on the Internet or playing games at work. What did we do before computers to waste time at work? And what about all the pressure and downsizing and squeezing the life out of employees? Somehow it doesn't quite add up. Actually I was told I shouldn't be exceeding productivity standards regularly so I've been trying to kick back. I think today would qualify since about all I did was cough.

I think the codeine is kicking in. Pat and I are going to relax and watch the Bourne Ultimatum (2nd time)tonight. I love the opening sequence in that movie. Thank you Secret Santa.

Thursday, December 13, 2007


I've been sidetracked by life. No bloggee for 10 days. I did have a nice long paragraph written last weekend but when I navigated away from the page I lost my text. It was just too aggravating to start over. I did catch up on reading a few blogs last night. I'm sure my handful readers have given up on me.

The news is: classes and finals are over. I have one month without school which is a big relief. I am now wearing reading glasses, which my 25 year old co-worker gave me a chain for, so I can look like real old lady. I am coming down with something and losing 1/2 my voice. The water in our entire town is under a boil order for going on 3 days.

My young sports enthusiast, Boy13, who has been honing his writing skills this year (Writer of the Week X3) won a school wide essay contest on Jane Addams. This makes me especially proud because she was my childhood idol and reason I am involved with social work to this day. Illinois has named December 10th the first commemorative day for a woman in the U.S. (can that really be true?).

I have been playing Spider Solitaire (won only twice on level 2) and Free Rice vocabulary game regularly. Try free rice at Learn new words and donate to a good cause at the same time.

Work is going great. I am helping people connect with jobs, winter coats, apartments, food and anything else they need to live more healthy and productive lives.

Madz, you are so insanely crafty. We don't even have a tree up yet and you are making button trees.

Ginnie, you are the most fantastic photographer and collector of unusual things.

Ragged, your button tree is antique-esque and very nicely done.

Now, I must tell a story that Ragged's cookie cutter mobile reminded me of. Here goes: Boy14 does get credit for starting his final geometry project a couple days ahead by mentioning something about making a gingerbread house. The assignment was to make a Christmas ornament (what if you are Muslim/Jewish/Jehovah Witness?)using 10 geometric concepts no larger than 5" by 5". It could be a mobile, which is what reminded me. So I was nice enough to pick up some graham crackers and frosting for the project. One evening, Monday I believe, I look in the refrigerator and see the ugliest, most un-geometric graham cracker house I've ever seen (I've seen 4 year olds make better ones). I take it out, call him over and start a beat down on him, tearing the mismatched walls off and cursing the lack of effort. Boy19 who is sitting nearby says, "Bro, I'll tell something I learned in 6th grade: never ever ask Mom or Pat for help with a school project."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Madz' Meme

I have not been keeping up with reading everyone's blogs, but I think (?) Madz asked me to fill out this meme. I think it is secretly some kind of memory test to see if you have Alzheimer's. Though unless I just admit I can't remember anything and it doesn't sound too nutsy, you would never know if I made it up or truly remembered it.
If the answer is in bold print, that's what Madz said.

1. Name one person who made you laugh last night? that guy on The Soup.

2. What were you doing at 0800? sleeping, unusually late...

3. What were you doing 30 minutes ago? picking up Boy14 at a friend's house. It feels like -15 degrees out there, time for this boy to get his driver's license.

4. What happened to you in 2006? Uh, I had a rectal exam?

5. What was the last thing you said out loud? “I think you have a game tomorrow night.”

6. How many beverages did you have today? who cares

7. What color is your hairbrush? same as above

8. What was the last thing you paid for? a coffee from the Old Dairy

9. Where were you last night? at home, there was a supposed ice storm outside

10. What color is your front door? brown wood, with a large plate of glass so you can look right in (or out).

11. Where do you keep your change? bottom of my purse and spread all over my dresser just like a man.

12. What’s the weather like today? cold as a witch's tit

13. What’s the best ice-cream flavor? Breyer's Vanilla Bean

14. What excites you? conversation

15. Do you want to cut your hair? yes, my bangs are so in the way.

16. Are you over the age of 25? obviously.

17. Do you talk a lot? only when no one is around

18. Do you watch the O.C.? is that still on??

19. Do you know anyone named Steven? An old client in NY.

20. Do you make up your own words? yes, I just can't think of any good examples...

21. Are you a jealous person? Nope. Well, maybe a little.

22. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘A’. Angie: Me too!

23. Name a friend whose name starts with the letter ‘K’. I don't have that many friends.

24. Who’s the first person on your received call list? what the hell is a received call list? Wait, I think it might be my mom. Do you mean the last person that called me?

25. What does the last text message you received say? I've never had one, nor do I know how to get one if I did.

26. Do you chew on your straw? not particularly, I like to pull and push that accordion kind of straw together a bunch of times.

27. Do you have curly hair? doesn’t get much straighter than this, DITTO

28. Where’s the next place you’re going to? I hope to work in the morning, and not to the hospital in the middle of the night.

29. Who’s the rudest person in your life? a certain member of a certain group I belong to.

30. What was the last thing you ate? manicotti

31. Will you get married in the future? Huh?

32. What’s the best movie you’ve seen in the past 2 weeks? I was starting watching a sappy TV movie called "The Ron Clark Story" or something like that about a teacher in NYC and thought it was interesting. Mr. Magorium was okay. I did watch Slingblade again and that is terrific.

33. Is there anyone you like right now? Well sure, my husband, my kids, fellow bloggers, for starters.

34. When was the last time you did the dishes? While cooking dinner this evening.

35. Are you currently depressed? Nope.

36. Did you cry today? I got a little teared up when I heard "Little Drummer Boy."

37. Why did you answer and post this? Shameless self promotion.

38. Tag 5 people who would do this survey. I don't think there are five people reading this, but if you are please post your answers!

So Nice

It was so nice to be able to walk at the YMCA with my Ipod playing. Boy13 had selected a pretty good playlist for me when I used his, called "Rock" which avoided all his rap and hip hop stuff (some is okay). It was good to have had a break from listening to my tunes, as they were getting stale and now it's all good again.

I'm baking some Manicotti which we haven't had in ages. Doesn't that sound good with Garlic breadsticks and salad? Well, I don't really have any salad. How about carrots?

I've been trying to find and request some materials from the U of I library and they make it so darn complicated. I already had 3 different ID and passwords, now I have another 14 digit library card number and a myriad of instructions on how to request materials that aren't available on-line. And they won't process your request unless you use the proper on-line form, which doesn't seem to work for me and my g.d. name and number.

I will be glad to go back to work tomorrow. It's been a really long weekend.

Here is a picture of Nephew8 playing piano for the family over Thanksgiving. In one year of lessons, his repetoire is very good. He is also wearing an old sweater of mine, which he used to play an "old lady" in the movie the boys made. He also wore a pair of my boots and carried a purse. It was pretty funny

Friday, November 30, 2007

Take Ipod Shuffle off my Christmas List

You will never believe this. Remember a few months back when I washed and dried my Ipod

Here's the deal. I was going to tell the great news, that I picked up the Ipod which I never had disposed of, plugged in Boy13's earphones, and voila, it was working. I then switched to another pair of earphones, and nothing happened. When I switched back to the other earphones, still nothing. So I was all disapponted and didn't feel like reporting all that.

Then I decided to charge up the Ipod, since maybe it just only had enough juice to play 1 1/3 songs. Today it is magically working again. I am so happy. I also have time to write since I finished my research paper today, and played about 100 games of Spider Solitaire. That's my new stress buster. I have only one the two suit game once! I often lose the easy game, which I heard is impossible (except for imbeciles like me).

So, for school I am down to two last classes, including going out to dinner on Monday after one hour of class, one final exam, and a 5-6 page paper I've started a little on and it will all be over December 12th. I'd forgotten what a great feeling the end of the semester is. I will have nothing hanging over my head. I did always remember that feeling of always having something to do, but truthfully, I am handling it a lot better than I did in college the first time around. I have never been really concerned about not completing assignments or doing well so far. I have felt overwhelmed and bewildered about how I would complete everything, if that makes sense. Once I write out a little plan for myself, it becomes do-able.

Okay, that's the only picture I could find on the desktop computer to post (amongst all the Jeter/A-rod,Grateful Dead/Wolfmother pictures the boys have collected). I have all my photos on the laptop. That's Boy13 over a year ago in an all-star game.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Saturday Night

We finished up our family weekend with dinner at my mom's house followed by games. Whoonu again. This is where the person who is it, gets a card from every other player with different words on it, and has to choose his favorite things in priority order. For example, Nephew8 might choose cotton candy, bubble gum, miniature golf, chocolate cake and ketchup in that order. The person who gave the card with the top honors, get the token with the most points and so on down the line. Cards move to the right, and the next person in line is it to choose their favorite. Anyway, it's very quick, easy and playable for all ages.

After a round of that won by Boy14, we switched to Apples to Apples and Boy14 won that, too. Then my sister showed me how (tried to) to play Sherlock on the computer. She called it a logic game, but I called it insanity. I came home to relax with a few games of Spider Solitaire (easy version, and no I don't win everytime, so that makes me either a real dummy or just impatient).

Madz, thanks again. Once I accomplished posting the YouTube video, I thought I'd try a different picture placement in html, and it worked! That picture is actually from Thanksgiving Night, but close enough to our game tonight.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Are You Magic?

Try finding a movie to please ages 8 to 46. I have to recommend a movie called "Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" even though over half our party tonight didn't like it (all the teenage males plus Pat). Betsy, Nephew8 and I all liked it. Perhaps I liked it best. The theme was to believe in yourself and anything can happen. Also, to enjoy the little moments in life. Like looking down the row in the movie theater and seeing all my boys lined up. At dinner Boy13 asked Boy19 how long it had been since he went anywhere with us. He replied, "Seven years." I'm sorry to say it's quite possibly true. Well, we had tonight. It was magical.

The above is a picture on Thanksgiving evening of my Great Uncle Cal, sister Betsy, me and my mom. We were watching a hilarious movie the boys spent all day making about a European rock star named Ricky Merrciaeux who disses a young boy for an autograph and has to pay later on.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

This is a Thanksgiving Game

Here's how it goes:

You have to guess the five differences in the two pictures above. There's also a bonus, that I don't think anyone will find.

I have to admit when I was looking at the table it was easier to see the differences. Sorry I'm not a better photographer, but I thought it would be fun. The chair in front is not part of the game, I just didn't set the camera up in the same spot.

My first idea was to photograph the table in gradual stages of preparation, but I got distracted with this find it game, and then the turkey button popped prematurely, and I had to make the gravy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

My first time

Madz, you are so fantastic, even I can follow your instructions to post a You Tube video clip! Now I'm going to have to find more amazing video clips to put up. Wow. I am so jacked up.

So, the story goes, Boy13 was invited by a friend to the White Sox game September 16th. The boy's father had bought a special package with great parking, tickets, and food at one of those charitable auctions. The night before, the boys decided to prepare the sign just in case Thome hit his 500th homerun. They knew they'd be sitting down close behind homeplate. They met Thome's father (with his pregnant wife who is crying in the clip), went up and introduced themselves.

The score is tied in the bottom of the ninth with one man on, and Thome hits a walk-off. I don't think it could have got more exciting. Unless, of course, Thome played for the Cubs.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Time to blog, but what to blog about. I got my flu shot last week and my arm finally stopped aching. I usually get one every year, since work pays for it, though I'm not sure that is a good reason, after reading Ragged's blog comments. I don't think I've had the flu since Boy19 was two years old. I'm not sure what the flu is exactly, especially the one I was vaccinated for, but that spring in March I got sick, missing work at the bakery I was temporarily working at, which is unusual for me. I felt like I didn't recovery for 2-3 weeks. It was scary, not knowing when or if I would ever be back to normal. I have missed the shot from time to time when supplies were limited to the elderly, infirm, etc.

Speaking of flu, I want to see that movie Something something in the Time of Cholera. I don't know what it's about exactly, but it looks good, one of those period pieces I imagine like Pride and Prejudice. Never mind that I didn't see that one and it was probably exceedingly boring.

Note to self: add Ocean's 13 to my Christmas list. I don't think I saw it, but I think I know the plot. That brings me to People Magazine's Sexiest Man Alive. Finally, they got the right guy. Did anyone notice, though, they have completely airbrushed his face for the cover? All of his perfectly human imperfections have been removed. So sad. In responding to the honor, he reveals more about his personal life than ever, in trying to defend how he's not going to talk about his personal life. Interesting. I'll forgive him that. One thing I like is his commitment to privacy.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone

I thought I would try this new recipe my aunt sent me this year.

You Tube

I don't know how to post a You Tube video (and am not in the mood to learn) but we finally got Boy13 posted on You Tube when he was on TV for Jim Thome's 500th homerun back in September. It takes a while to get to the end, but you will see him in a yellow LSU shirt jumping up and down if you are patient.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Darkening the House for Green Week

Pat and I finally got around to hanging the new drapes for the living room that came from JC Penney Oct. 16. There are very ahh, comprehensive. The idea was to get thermal coverage and warm up the house for the winter. Figured out one piece of the valance for the big window was the missing component. I had received a letter saying one part was not shipped. So I took the shaped valances back to the local store for shipping, and re-ordered scalloped valances for all the windows. They should be easy to put up, now that all the rods are in place. There was a minimum of swearing and frantic looking for the drill bits, etc. He has also put plastic up on several of the draftier West windows which should help.

Regarding the make-up. I told Boy13 I was going to put my make-up on today (since I bought $40 worth) and he gave such a petrified look, I know he thinks I look like Tammy Faye Baker, even though he doesn't actually know who she is.

My nephew8 told his mom that he had eaten Chocolate Lucky Charms at my house and thrown up one time. Is there such a thing as Chocolate Lucky's? I don't think this happened, Bets.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Cold November

The cooler weather has set in, and I'm none too happy about it. The wind has died done so it is not so bad.

Last night I gorged on a free dinner provided by the School of Social Work which was billed as a 'social' and getting to know the new students joining our cohort in January. It failed on the social account, because there were no formal introductions, and people sat wherever and only mingled with the small group at their table, if that. But the food was fantastic- pasta dish must've had MSG in it because I couldn't stop eating it. Key Lime pie for dessert, very sweet. I had a stomach ache all night.

Today I got nervey and stopped at the Clinique counter for a makeover. Wow, now I know why they call it "putting on my face" in the morning. It looked like someone else had taken over my head. Boy13 hid his eyes and said, "You're scaring me." Well, it was a drastic change. I do think it is time to start wearing some degree of make-up, however. It helps with the dark circles, age spots and other inconsistencies of old age.

It's time to get some work done on my next paper due December 3rd. Substance abuse in adolescents.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

A Little More Mack

Since I don't have much else going on right now I will share a couple more pics from beautiful Michigan and Mackinac Island.
From the top we have a golf course belonging to the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. Below that Terri and me in front the hotel. I believe it cost $12 to go in and look around the hotel which obviously we didn't do. After 6pm Gents must wear coat and tie, and Ladies, no slacks. With rooms starting at $367 this was not our kind of place.
The large abode is Brenda and Roger's place in Ithaca. The white chairs are set up for the wedding ceremony. Below that, the lovely trees and pond that the house overlooks to the West. A really nice spot. I see why she left this area. The Canadian folks were saying that people are either Mountain, Ocean or Flatlanders. I guess that makes me a flatlander, though it doesn't sound real flattering.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Last of Soccer

Pictures won't upload. grrr

One week later, the boys are getting ready to form a wall, to block the penalty kick. #3 Orange kicked it over the goal anyway.

Above that, Boy13 gets some action.

Final games of the year: Tie 2-2, Won 1-0 on October 29, 2007. Boy13 and I had a nice time riding up to the games together and eating at Perkins on the way home.
Final Record: 6-5-1
Okay, they are playing with the big boys, not bad.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

That's a Pastie

That picture below is the world famous Pastie. It's a little meat pie with chopped meat, potato, rutabaga and ?? Terri and I split this for a snack after having had a very filling lunch on Mackinac Island. It was quite perfect actually. The crust was delicious. Reminds me of the Nebraska sensation, the Runza, though the Runza is a little meat pie, stronger on onion. Boy19 really likes those. They are sold at a Runza chain, whereas pasties are sold at small roadside stands and gas stations, uncommercialized. One worker where we didn't buy a pastie said she didn't know how they came to be named, but they were brought over by the Cornish or Fins depending on who you talk to. Let me look that up and I'll be right back.

Wikipedia states the pastie is from Northern Ireland, but the information is a stub (look that one up!). Isn't Northern Ireland called Wales, which is the same as Cornish. Oh please correct me someone.

I thought this was really cute. The Uppers (Yoopers) called those from the Lower Peninsula Trolls (because they live under the bridge) and the tourists are called Fudgies because they are always in the fudge shops.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Taste Sensations

1. Name that Michigan taste treat pictured above for 25 Cents.
2. Beef/Elk/Venison Jerky - very big in Michigan, more of a moist variety, rated A-
3. Kettle Corn- sweet popcorn like we get at home, but lighter and crisper, rated A
4. Honey Crisp apples- juicy, sweet, crispy and priced better in Michigan, therefore rated A+
5. Pickled bologna- never heard of this one, but I tried it while cutting it up for the wedding and I liked it, though I don't meet too many foods I don't like, rated B

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Mackinac Island

Ok, this is going to be out of order because I will tell you about the wedding day later. I am right now in what I thought was extinct, an Internet Cafe with computers, in Mackinac Island. I guess everyone else thinks a laptop is too heavy to carry around. Anyways...

We took the ferry over this morning and rented bikes almost immediately. We took a breathtaking 8 mile ride around the island. On the right was the crystal clear Lake ?? (Michigan or Huron). On the left was cliffs of forest and lots of hiking trails. We thought 8 miles riding was enough exercise, but next time I'm here, I'll save energy because there are tons of hiking trails out here. Only 7 bucks for the two hours. Not only was the water pristine, the air is so clean and crisp. The temperature is perfect, I'm guessing around 65 degrees. This is an awesome time to be in this resort area. Very little tourism and they're trying to get rid of all the merchandise cheap before winter.

I'm sorry I don't have pictures yet, because I can't download onto this computer, although I could probably find some on the Internet, but it's already costing $2.50 per 15 minutes.

We found out Saturday afternoon we weren't going to make it onto the Island last night. The last ferry left at 7:30 p.m. That would mean leaving the wedding at 4:30. The ceremony was at 2:00 but the official reception started at 5:00. Kind of rude for the Maid of Honor (Terri) to run out before the reception, besides the food was smelling really good, roasters full of pork, baked beans, salads, corn, green beans. It was yummy.

So, we ended up leaving Ithaca around 6:00 and it was 3 hours to Mackinaw City. Don't ask me why one is Mackinac and one is Mackinaw. We got a really nice Holiday Inn Express for $79 (off season). Their pillows are the bomb!

Got up at 7:30 in time to eat, cross the Mackinac Bridge (celebrating 50 years incidentally), and get on the ferry in St. Ignace at 9:00. It was too cold to ride up top. Everything has been perfect. I've almost got my souvenir shopping done. I had wanted a Michigan t-shirt for Boy13, but I missed out. Up here everything says Mackinac Island, very touristy. We had to stuff our buys into a locker because it was getting too heavy to carry. M.I. reportedly has the best fudge. I got two half pounds and I better not get my paws into it, because it's for my parents and Pat. Terri bought 5 half pounds. We chose some place that starts with M where the guys make the fudge in the window. What's with all the flipping it around that seems to be required?

Oh yea, you probably know there are no vehicles on the Island. Well, the horses are crapping all over the street. One guy is expected to walk around scooping it up, and he can't possibly keep up. We have not seen the Grand Hotel yet, except from the ferry on the way in. That will have to happen after lunch. Our return is 3:00. Then we are off across the Upper Peninsula (UP). You know they call them Uppers- I say uppers like the pills, but apparently you are laughed at for saying that because it's really You-ppers. I love the little language/pronunciation variations even within our country. Pasties.

I couldn't get my laptop connected at the hotel last night, and the desk clerks seemed to think I was an imbecile, because they just saw some little kid using his in the lobby. Thus, no pictures and wedding story, yet.

I just had to get a fix when I saw the Internet Cafe sign and actually saw computers set up inside. I'm the only one in here, BTW. And I thought those college girls were bad. Hmm. This is a real addiction. I hope I've said everything I wanted to, because I am not coming back in here. We are eating lunch in about a half hour, though I probably have enough sustenance to hold me for 3 days.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Last Evening

These are some friends of Roger from Canada. Keith has been all over the world on oil rigs (Turkey, Iran, Norway, Nova Scotia, Williston, ND). He and Roger told old stories around the fire last night about their adventures drillling for oil in North Dakota. The winter of 1980 was the coldest ever: -40 degrees and -123 windchill. Yow. I put that part in for my parents who are natives of ND, but were long gone by 1980. Anyway, Keith is a funny guy, ends most sentences with eh? We had a long discussion about Tim Horton's donuts (something I haven't seen since Buffalo, but there's one about 20 miles from here in Mt. Pleasant). The girls googled West Edmonton Mall which beats our Mall of America, in size anyway.
I'm looking out over a gorgeous field to the west this morning with trees in the background. The house has wonderful views and great big windows to see them from (more photos later). Last night was really comfortable. We all sat around watching The Family Guy, chosen by the under 25 crowd. Roger has two teenage boys as well. We all got a chuckle out of different things. I heard one of the girls comment, "This is a really nice evening." Brenda and Roger are very good hosts. Roger summed up most men's feelings about Chelsea Handler when we were watching her stand up routine, "She's nasty. My mother wouldn't like her."
There are going to be about 15 showers here this morning so I better get moving. I should be in Mackinac Island tonight. Ta-ta for now.
Brenda got a kick out of our quest for pasties (we pronounced it paste-ee). She corrected us before we embarrassed ourselves, it's pronounced past-ee. Pasties are like pot pies, not things you use to cover your breasts.

Friday, October 19, 2007

First Pic

Brenda showed us around her house and this is what we found in the closet??

Brenda's girls (college age) are arguing about which is better: Survivor Man or Man vs. Wild, and something about when one of them (Bear or S.M.) got naked and the blur spot was too small or too big.


I am now blogging my way to Michigan (Ginnie's stomping ground). My companion is my friend Terri who went on the East Coast trip with me last year. She is driving and that means it is daytime and not a metropolitan area. We only started about an hour late (9:30 am).

As we got near Galesburg, the trees started be those beautiful fall colors, so Michigan should be absolutely fabulous. My one mission which should be easy is to find a nice refrigerator magnet to bring back for someone.

Now at 8:41 Eastern time I am wireless in Terri's friend Brenda's home in Ithaca, MI. Brenda is from Illinois but recently moved here and is marrying Roger (Tom Selleck) tomorrow at 2:00 p.m. More on the great home (photos) later, when there's sunlight!

Oh, gotta run. There's a bonfire and marshmallows calling me...

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Embarrassing Moment #2

First, I wanted to share this cute cartoon I saw in a college newspaper this week. Apparently, word has gotten around about our raccoon breaking in, and this is how he did it. We couldn't figure out how he got into that particular window, but now the mystery is solved.

My second embarrassing moment of the week (after having a chair pulled out from under me at school and falling to the floor) was when I stopped into McDonalds on Friday for an early lunch. I saw the old principal of our high school and was saying hello on my way to the restroom to wash my hands. I just pushed right into the bathroom and then as I was standing at the sink, I realized I hadn't really looked at the sign on the door, and sure enough when I looked to my right, there were urinals there. Luckily, no one was standing there. When I came out Mr. Sartore was politely ignoring me, but another gentleman that I know was smiling and had seen what I did. I thought it was pretty funny also.

Monday, October 08, 2007


Here is Toke and Boy14 on their last evening together. I am up now (5:49 am) to get him off to the train for Chicago Monday morning. At 2:30 am I was sleeping lightly due to being on call for work, and I got up to change beds and there is Boy19, 14 and Toke making pancakes along with a large mess in the kitchen. My kids don't have school today, but Toke had to get up at 5:00. He's going to be killed!
Sunday seemed like kind of a down day for the boys. They were working on a movie, which has yet to debut. There was homemade skateboard jumps in the parking lot next door. They skipped another "party" that one of the Danish hosts was having. Toke seemed happy to hang out here most of the time. I heard Boy13 tell Toke he would possibly be over to Denmark in a couple of years. This cultural exchange has really worked out wonderfully. I couldn't have dreamed of a better experience for us all.
I'm thinking maybe I will take the video footage they made and edit it into something nice for them. I'll need to get access to the lab at the University that has Final Cut Pro in order to do it, but it is fun work.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

More Farm

Here is Toke and me waiting for the others to show up at the farm. Yes, he wrote a bad word on his arm. Below shows that while one or two were riding the combine the others had to entertain themselves in a dry bean field. They found a mouse, played baseball and a little soccer.

Danes on the Farm

We had a visit to a farm today, where the Danes rode on a combine that was harvesting soybeans. I was surprised to hear Toke's teacher describe him as "distant" because we think he's anything but that. He's more intuitive and connected than any 15 year old I know. Top photo is Toke and Caspar disembarking from the combine. The lower is four Danish and one American on the left.
Boy19 got into the act today, and bought a new skateboard. He spent a few hours skateboarding with Toke. It was cool that they connected as well.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Go Cubs

I have not been following the Cubs like I should, but we are in Game 1 of the playoffs (?) at Arizona. I've heard DeRosa and Soriano have been sick* remember 'wicked' late in the season. No score yet in the bottom of the fourth.
The guitars are going in the back, but no drums after 10:00 pm. BTW, that's Boy13 joining in on drums in another picture from last night. Pretty funny, since he has no rhythm. Boy14 was at marching band practice from 5-9:15 tonight. They want to bring home the hardware this weekend and next at the bigger contests.
Make that one for Arizona. Homerun by Drew.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Band

A couple shots of the 3.5 hour jam session tonight. Toke is in the stripes, and shirtless. Danny, an American friend plays drums and guitar, also. Boy14 has a green t-shirt on. This is just what I imagined, hope for, when we first heard about this kid. I think we need to buy some standard earplugs. The boys have toilet paper stuffed in their ears. Toke bought a $60 skateboard today at The Bike Shop, to take home. His mom mailed him some underwear. I guess he forgot his???
Tomorrow we will try to get Boy14's passport applied for. Seems you have to have both parents and the kid there at the same time, before 3:30 at the courthouse, so this is a real pain. Hopefully, it works.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Cracking up

Toke is cracking everyone up. Pat was talking in Pat-code, and Toke had to ask for explanations. Well, Pat does this 'redneck' speak, and Toke says, "That's like a farmer, a retarded farmer?" Well, yeah, kind of. No offense, please. I have one friend and many relatives who are very smart farmers. I can hear him in the kitchen now practicing "Where'd y'all go to school at? skoo, schoo."

As he was getting ready to go out, Pat told Toke he didn't need a scarf, and he goes, "Ain't I?" We all laughed and he said doesn't everyone say that? "Gangsta rappers say 'ain't'. "

I finally had the brilliant idea to borrow my dad's camera, so this is Toke eating an omelet for breakfast yesterday. I used the video camera on the boys' jam session and a little skateboarding in front of the house. So when I figure out how to youtube, you can see that, too. Haha.

My main paper is done, and my short paper is done for tonight. My reading is not done, but that I can fake. Hooray! Ginnie, send me your email and I will forward "Transgender Issues in Boys Don't Cry."

Sunday, September 30, 2007

That boy is sick

In Denmark, "sick" is like "wicked" or "awesome." I can't stop smiling. I can't work on my paper. He's rocking our drum set like never before. Boy14 is jamming on bass like I've never heard. It took them 4 days, but they finally got together on the music.

Yesterday as I was leaving town to see Boy14 perform in a marching band contest, I noticed some of Boy13's friends at the skateboard park. I called back to tell Boy13 so he could take Toke, our Danish guest over. Later I called and asked how it went. He was all excited, "It was sick. He owns the skateboard park with a capital 'O'." The kid is talented, philosophical (more on that later), nice, outgoing, honest, everything you could hope for in a cultural exchange.

The other night Pat announced, "I'm going to bed. I'm killed." That's Danish for beat. This is so fun.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Once more with feeling

We are going for a three-peat tonight on raccoons.

Our Danish boy, Toke (pronounced Toga, okay that has animal house connotations), is a sponge of learning. He wants to know everything and talk all the time. He can't even eat a meal, he is so verbose. If he doesn't know a word eg. lame,dorky he asks what it means immediately. He wants to know everything about the US. He says we can't imagine what they think about America. They see all the movies so they have a lot of preconceived notions. He's very easy going and easy to get along with. He eats anything, is up for anything, just joins right in.

There is a running joke now about the Danes and Mountain Dew. Apparently there was a kid here last year from Denmark who was hoarding Mountain Dew cause he couldn't get it in Denmark. So, we stock up on a 24 pack, and Toke doesn't even know what it is, but we initiate him quickly. Then today I see a group of four Danes walking near the grocery store, and they are carrying a 12 pack of Mountain Dew.

Dang, I just heard the 'coon trap shut. We got another one! Where does it end?

Oh yeah, our boy came bearing gifts. For Boy14, two Danish music CD's. For Boy19 and 13, real licorice. For Pat, a cookbook, Cooking with the Danes. For me, beautiful, artistic salt 'n pepper shakers, pictured above. True Danish, Toke said. They are very cool to me. Very sweet kid.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

24 hours

Our Danish guy is here. He's been up for twenty four hours, and only slept an hour the night before that. He was shivering (we are having a cool spell) and exhausted. But he seems really cool so far. I can tell.

I just have to get a camera for this.

Oh yeah, we caught another 'coon. The big guy this time. Gotta get him outta here before the other one comes back.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


My "10 page paper" is over half done, and our coon was sent out to the country. Well, he was dropped off near a subdivision called Meadowbrook, only about a mile and half from home. I'm pretty sure he will find his way back, but I didn't want to dump the darn thing, so I guess I can't complain. A raccoon friend tried to dig his friend out, and also chewed through the leash that was holding the cage to the porch. Boy13 brought his friends over after school to view the caged animal. They fed it some more bread...

Monday, September 24, 2007

Rocky Raccoon

Rocky Raccoon stepped into a cage, only to find a peanut butter sandwich.

Well, my friend Glenn (will you believe his last name is Coons) loaned me a live cage this evening to trap our friend and agreed to take him out of town. So, an hour and a half later, I hear scratching out there. That thing came down from the tree or wherever at 8:30 sniffing out the peanut butter. We got him already. I can't believe it's that easy.

I'm going to see if I can get two or three of the little buggers just in case. There could be literally no end to this procedure.

So, I'm doing the happy dance, or the walking man dance Boy13 showed me.

Junior the cat is fascinated and guarding the nearby window.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Just Because

Just because I got up at 6:10 a.m. on a Saturday doesn't mean I should be tired at 9:11 p.m. I did take over an hour's nap and was really off in la-la land. I dreamt Boy13 and his friends were tasting a beer in my house and I caught them. I've been trying to write my film critique of Boys Don't Cry and it is much more difficult than I imagined. I am trying to put down anything, no matter if it is disjointed and non-sensical at this point. Perhaps I can arrange it into something better later. I am considering weaving Transamerica (Felicity Huffman plays a male to female transgender person) into the paper to beef it up a little.

I should follow suit of Ragged Around the Edges and spend tomorrow at the University library.

Monday, September 17, 2007


When Boy13 got home from the game around 9 pm. last night he was very disappointed we had missed taping the walk off 500th homer. He said the Jumbotron was showing him and his sign clearly after the hit. He attended with an actual White Sox fan who came in to view the DVR and he was aware enough to know the game is always replayed the next day. Sure enough it was schedule to air at 1:30 am and Pat again set the DVR. This morning we viewed it and sure enough there is Boy13 clear as day, holding up his 500 sign, jumping up and down for quite a long while.

If I had my blasted camera, I at least could have snapped a picture of the TV screen for you to see, but that will be for another day. Right now, I need to get back to work!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Doggone Unbelievable

Boy13 was invited to the White Sox/Angels game today in Chicago and had seats with his buddy directly behind the catcher (reportedly). He's actually a Cubs fan, but he's not going to turn down any MLB game, especially one where Thome has a chance to hit his 500th Homer.

Well, Pat set the DVR and went off to play golf. I watched periodically, not particularly interested in the White Sox either. The boy would call on a cell and ask if we could see him, in his bright yellow LSU shirt, and he was just visible in the upper right hand corner, holding a HI MOM sign and one for THOME. Anyways, I 'm going about my deviled egg business and he calls, "Did you see it? Did you? Thome hit a walk off, his 500th and I was all over TV with my sign!!" I asked when did the game end? 20 minutes ago. Okay, I review the entire 3 hour DVR footage. You'd think 3 hours would be enough for a game, right? No, the Angels are batting in the top of the ninth when the screen silently fades and up comes the message:

Delete recording
Don't delete recording

We missed it, Pat did not set the DVR for long enough. Boy13 is gonna cry (figuratively) next time he calls on the four hour drive home and I tell him we didn't get it. Grrr.

Poetry by Betsy 1978

Our mothers tell us to do this and that,
Their forever telling us to wear a hat.
They worry, they scurry, they yell and scream
But later on they'll be peaches and cream.
They help us through times of trouble and need,
When we do something wrong, they make us heed.
And yet in my mind and in my heart,
I'll love her forever like I loved her from the start.

A little trip down memory lane. Another Mother's Day Card from Chris was store bought and contained all the current soap operas in the message. He thought that was clever because my mom watches so many soap operas. At the end it said "Love, All Your Children." He signed it with the CBS logo and put Chris, Betsy, Susan beneath it.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Saturday's Summary

I need to get something up here for Betsy (and anyone else who cares) who is working again on Sunday. I had planned to spend tomorrow preparing for my first paper which is due Oct. 1. The topic is a critical analysis of a film or book with emphasis on the developmental issues facing the individual or family in relation to the societal context as well as personal reaction and emotional response, new awareness, as well as the film's relationship to social work values, mission and ethics. That's part of the assignment anyway. 10 pages or less.

I stopped by our one video store in town to pick up Boys Don't Cry starring Hillary Swank. I really had my heart set on that film since I've wanted to see it for a long time and I think it would fit perfectly into the theme of the paper. I'm also interested in further researching transgender issues and learning more about that. I did very well in film classes my first time through college, so I'm eager to get going on this project. Can you believe they didn't have it? I called the grocery store that has a limited supply of movies and the 16 year old that answered the phone didn't even really check before telling me they didn't have it either. That leaves the small town 20 miles away that has a video store, wait, this town doesn't even allow African Americans to live there, unlikely they will have this film.

So I resorted to ordering it off I love that website. Have gotten several textbooks there cheap. I just wish I had it tomorrow...
Oh good, I didn't throw away that folder of transgender resources my friend gave me when I was writing a paper last summer.

I guess I will instead get out the big box of Stampin' Up crap I brought home from my mother's house today and make some cards.

Last summer, that sounds weird. I have to admit it is fall. Tonight I sat through a college football game where our Division 1 AA (something like that) team blanked a Divsion 3 school 69-0. That was friend Angie invited me as her husband is a graduate assistant/coach and she gets four free tickets per game. Pat went and left after one quarter. I thought the band was really good.

I helped the cleaning lady clean my house today. That's the problem if they come on a weekend. You have to pitch in. We actually got a lot done that way. I did anyway. She was a little more thorough than I.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


We are having classic fall weather. In the morning, you put on a sweater and are still freezing, blast the heat in your car, but when you get back in for lunch it's hot as a microwaved potato. In the evening, you are again scrounging for your jacket and resisting the temptation to turn the heat on. I have noticed more spiders, one scampered down my leg the other day, another was clinging to the sideview mirror for dear life this morning. Several people are having fits with the fleas this year. I have ankle bites from I'm not sure what.

Speaking of heat. The gas and electric company in Illinois was pressured to provide rate relief and rebates to us lowly customers after a five year rate freeze expired in January and electricity costs skyrocketed. I have gas heat; for once I was thankful. But they say everyone will at least get a $100 check in the mail very soon. I saw a 7 pixel digital camera with 3x zoom at Aldi's for $99.99. Don't know the brand, probably generic. I'm thinking of using my rebate for that. Even if the other digital is found, it wouldn't be bad to have a back up. Pat encouraged me, saying I need this for my hobby, just like he needs new golf clubs for his hobby.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


I am a little concerned that computers are taking over way too much of my life. This morning when I got to work, our computers were down. You wouldn't think this would be a big component of social work. But, this completely threw me off, as I had a progress note to write from yesterday, and god forbid I do any work late. Next problem was, I had no schedule to look at, no email, no internet access. The schedule wouldn't be such a problem if I sat in the office all day waiting for clients to show up, but I could be expected at a home visit or an appointment in the community and not know it. I vaguely remembered some of my schedule, but felt totally insecure to not see it in front of me. I knew there were issues that happened yesterday after I left work that were answered in emails I couldn't see, and I had emails to write just to function. I had to actually pick up the phone! How last century ago. I couldn't schedule people for future appointments, look up their phone numbers from my desk, oh, I was just a mess. By 1:00 we were back in business and I was able to complete all my notes, print tomorrow's schedule in case the damn thing is broke again, and generally feel somewhat back in control.

Yesterday, when I got home from work my internet connection wasn't working on either the laptop or desktop which necessitated a call to the provider since I couldn't access my on-line class, update my blog, check on my friend's baby in the intensive care nursery or see what my family was up to. It seems I can't go one day without the computer.

All of this time and energy invested in technology has made me appreciate the low tech aspects of graduate school, like books made out of paper and cardboard, in person class discussion, seeing the faces and hearing the voices of my classmates and teachers (even the most annoying ones), writing a rough draft the old fashioned way with a pencil scraping across lined paper. I could never earn a degree completely on-line. A class here and there allows me to spend more time at home, but adds immeasurably to my stress level when things don't go right.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Personality Cluster

I am:
Multilayered and complex
Inspired and driven to achieve my goals
A visionary with a complete life plan
Intuitive enough to understand difficult problems, ideas, and people.

Apparently, I am also a guy. I liked the description but the picture has to go. You can find your personality cluster at the link below. I found this quiz on Poppy Field's blog.