Monday, April 30, 2007

Vote Please on Splarskis

Your vote is requested for which story is funnier:

a) We were playing Cranium with Chris and he either had to draw or sculpt "waterskis." So he did that and we kept guessing waterskis and he'd get frustrated so we'd guess some other things related to waterskiing and then he get frustrated and point to the actual skis and we'd say waterskis and he'd shake his head. Finally the time was up and we said, "What was the word?" "Waterskis!!! I can't believe you couldn't get that." We said, "That's what we guessed about 10 times. Waterskis." And he said, "Oh, I thought you were saying Splarskis." "Why would we say that--it's not even a word." Chris: "That's why I was getting so frustrated." It just cracks me up every time I think about it--Splarskis. Huh? I still can't fathom how he kept hearing splarskis over and over instead of waterskis and why he didn't eventually shout, "What the hell are splarskis?"

b) Hmm. Sorry Betsy but you have completely reinvented that story. What really happened was: Dad was the one pantomiming and I was the guesser. I guessed just about every water sport except water skis. Finally the time ran out and I asked, OK what was it? Dad said waterskis and I said "What's that?" (I heard splarskis.) Dad shrugged and said "skis?". Then I said, "well I've never heard of splarskis." Dad: "I didn't say SPLARSKIS, I said WATERSKIS." At this point mom started cracking up uncontrollably saying splarskis over and over. Soon we were all cracking up mostly because mom thought it was so hilarious.

Opening Day

Opening Day of Little League is always a special day. It is the great American past time.
We have the pre-game gathering in the lower picture, as the team played the second game of the evening. The upper photo is Boy12 pitching. I tried to take a video clip, and I'm wondering if I could post it here??
Anyway, our team won 2-1 in a pitching duel. Boy12 gave up only one run and struck out 17 batters. He was on his 82nd pictch, and would have had to stop, when the game dramatically ended. The other picther had a no-hitter and lost the game. Thing was, he hit two batters and walked some.

Game On

Today was a great day. I had a good day at work, rewarding and yet relaxing. I felt I connected with my classroom of 7th graders on the topic of (not) smoking. I feel I did pretty well on my stats test. Then Boy14's Scholastic Bowl team got second in the sectional meet today. They are now out of competition, so that season is finished. It conflicted a lot with track, but the boy feels he contributes more to this than track. This is everyone chilling after the last match.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

A Day at the Ballpark

Here's some of the gang at the single A ballgame today. It was our hometown's day, reward for the high school team selling X number of tickets. It was a gorgeous day, but too long in the sun could have been dangerous. Luckily, there were open seats everywhere so we could go in and out of the shade at our leisure.

Got my walk on about 7:30 pm tonight. At 8:00 it was 79 degrees. Got the brownies made and packaged for the Scho Bowl bake sale tomorrow. All studied up for my test tomorrow. Laundry folded. And blogging, too. I've concluded blogging makes one more productive, not less.

A Taste of Scrapbooking

Mad has posted new scrapbook pictures, so I thought I'd throw up a couple pages I completed recently. Try clicking on the picture to enlarge and see the details. You can really see the texture of the purple paper when you do that. They're a little crookedy, but I'm working on the photography aspect.
The top photo is from Nephew8's Oliver! debut. The second is Bourbon Street in New Orleans in March.

Saturday, April 28, 2007


I liked this quote from my parent's friend, Woody Robinson, I thought I would add it here:

"Whenever I feel the urge to exercise, I lie down until it goes away."

That's actually the opposite of me, but I think it's funny and illustrates my mom's outlook on the matter of exercise.

Road Rally

Here is part of the team before today's Road Relay Scavenger Hunt. It's a fund raiser to benefit the new low income dental clinic that is coming to our town. Here are some difficult items of the 100 that we found in less than two hours: a pair of men's boxer shorts with red hearts on them (thanks, John, we'll never you look at you the same way), a mounted fish *real*, a souvenir from Wisconsin, a wooden Louisville Slugger bat.

Thought we could find but didn't: a metal or wooden milk crate, casino or slot machine token, Millenium Falcon plastic model.

Impossible: Ernie Banks or Lou Brock baseball card, pennant from Baltimore Colts or Chicago Cardinals, John Denver audio tape.

I'm entertaining myself by watching "Jackass: the Movie". How does someone not killed??

Name that College Girl

She's the one on the right. She can turn on the world on with her smile. She can take a nothing day and suddenly make it all seem worthwhile. Yeah, it's you girl and you should know it, with each glance and every little move let you show it...
She is Liz M. and she used to live in our house when she went to university, along with a brothel, I mean bevy of other cute girls. There was a housing shortage back in the sixties, so boarding houses were more common. Liz was cool, probably mom and dad's all-time favorite, like a daughter/friend. Today she proved herself cool as ever, text messaging and when I mentioned a scavenger hunt I was going on today, asked if it Geocaching, which I had never heard of. No, geocaching has not come to our small town yet, just an old fashioned scavenger hunt for a good cause.

21st Century

Now that I have my family's attention with the declaration: check the blog for BIG news. I now realized I can't reveal all the news on this blog.

So the big news is: I have a cell. I have no home phone any longer. I got too PO'd at Verizon for a variety of reasons eg. I got sucked into some wonderful unlimited plan that cost me $20 more per month than I was paying, every time it rains my phone goes out, they have a perturbing auto response phone system, and they were going to take a week to come out and fix it. Well, I fixed them.

I couldn't go to Verizon wireless for obvious reasons, or Nextel (bad experience with Boy18's phone), so I tried US Cellular. Great choice. I explained I didn't want a camera, an MP3, texting, etc., oh and I want it free. He showed me one for $3, looked good, but it had everything I didn't want, and was called a SLVR. "I'll take it!!" two seconds later. And for Pat, the do-nothing plain flip phone.

Now I'm having a faint memory of niece Lauren last Thanksgiving explaining the different phones to Grandma Nell, and the sliver was one she thought was cool. So, now I'm cool, I'm so cool.

We can't operate either phone, but the kids set up the contact lists, and so far I can kind of answer it, and make a phone call.

PS. I have the same phone as Jamarcus Russell.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Major League

What is up with this new annoying practice of employees in stores yelling out "HELLO" when someone walks in the door, even if you can't see them and they can't see you. How is one supposed to know who they are talking to? How is this increasing sales in any way?

I'm curious is this a local or national trend? Has anyone else experienced this?

Eli's Scholastic Bowl team has advanced to Sectional on Monday. Cal is making his pitching debut on the same day.

The weather has moved back down to the 50's. The Office was not funny. The cat's paws are filthy from playing locked in the attic all day (voluntarily). I have to go exercise cause I can't focus. Why is a young Charlie Sheen on a commercial pitching?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Hello, Chris?

I was just wondering if Chris has been reading the blog since returning home from the hospital. Maybe with this recovery time, he could start a blog, or at least become a blog commentator. I bet he would have some interesting things to say about, oh the Boston Red Sox, Nurse Ratchett, what the kids are doing.

I attended a mental health Recovery conference yesterday and enjoyed it. The keynote address used a quote from Carl Sandburg, "Nothing happens unless first we dream." I think that's pretty close. She talked about Sandburg's six volume biography of Abraham Lincoln who battled severe depression, and I believe his wife's mental illness. Recovery from mental illness is a "new" concept in the last 5-6 years that I've been aware of. That's great, but the idea that blew my mind the first time I heard it, was that we will find a cure for mental illnesses. That is a big dream, but why not? Mental illnesses are physical illnesses, of the brain, but are put in such a different category, stigmatized, and those who have them, blamed and villified. That's just wrong. Things are beginning to change and it's good to be a part of.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Nice Dinner

We had a nice dinner tonight at the folks's. Dad cooked two chickens on the grill (charcoal) with his special whole wheat dressing. Mom added baked potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, fruit salad, vegetable tray. For dessert we had make-your-own sundaes, or have Boy12 make- you-a-banana split.

Jeter hit his first homerun tonight. Little Red is happy for that. Cubs lost in the 10th inning. Well, the bottom of the ninth was good anyway. We hate-dislike when the Cardinals win. Their fans are so annoying at school.

Everyone is preparing for school/work tomorrow. I got my car cleaned inside and out. Lots of laundry is clean with love. My neck is barely holding up my head at this point, so I will say Good night.

Leisure Day

Sundays are sweet. My kids sleep late, Pat plays golf and all is quiet and peaceful in the house. I'm having my coffee, of course, studying, and blogging. I technically finished my homework last night, but I am doing extra problems just to make sure I really get it. I love the chapter we are doing now. It is called Application of the Normal Distribution, and deals with how you can use the bell curve to figure out probabilities based on the average score/salary/size and the standard distribution. Anyway, the formulas and the math are easy and fun, and it all makes sense which is nice. I want to earn my A and not get it based a curve.
The top photo is some violets I saw in the yard yesterday. They remained even after the lawn was mowed. I had gotten the camera to take a picture of a squirrel who was posed so funnily in a tree. He/she was lying on a branch lengthwise, with his front arms hanging down, and his tail slung over another branch. He was so relaxed and cute as trimmed butter.
Okay, I stole that last simile from the play last night "The Real Inspector Hound." At least I thought I heard one of the characters say, "trimmed butter." Sometimes I get my best ideas from hearing something wrong.
Anyway, here is my two cent review: Shortest play I've ever been to (90 minutes including 15 minute intermission), that's a plus. 3 actors were high school classmates, which is always interesting. John M. directed and filled in for one of the main characters who was absent. It was kind of a wry twist, as he played a theater critic who was standing in for another theater critic, so there was a battery of jokes that had dual meaning. Sean G. was the other theater critic who became wrapped up in the onstage play within a play, and his real life partner, Karen P., was a jilted tennis engenue. We are all getting up in years for some of these parts, but what the heck.
I had Boy14 and two of his friends with me, as Sean is their junior high math teacher. They seemed to really delight in him bellowing, "Reckless bastard" when a guy in a wheelchair knocked him over, and also embracing a fellow classmate's mother. The performances were pretty solid, though we've seen several of them in nearly every play the last five years. Actors playing bad actors can be tricky to pull off, but it worked.
The photo below the violets is a mock DUI scenario at the university on Friday. I went as part of my job (substance abuse prevention) even though these type of events have not been found to be effective deterrents as they are intended. They may have a short term effect, but people then go right back to their usual behavior. I thought the picture turned out pretty good, though. I used the action setting on my camera.
It's time to get on with the day now. Have a good one, y'all.

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I am sitting here pathetically engrossed in "Sidewalks of New York." Edward Burns attempting Woody Allen. And who believes Stanley Tucci is 39 years old?? I hate the editing- it cuts in the middle of every conversation multiple times, for no good reason but to be different?

I kind of like Heather Graham.

I almost got a suntan today. It was 81 degrees, just perfect.

I'll be going to another play tonight "The Real Inspector Hound," and I feel another possible review coming on...
Is this movie ever going to end? It was on before dinner and goes on and on now.

Ciao for now.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Excellent Prognosis

Chris is being labeled, "the star patient." I guess "youth" makes a difference in these kind of things. He was out of ICU in less than a day, and walking around today, and asking for more exercise. He's probably watching the Yankee-Red Sox game right now and jumping out of bed when Coco Crisp hit a two run triple in the bottom of the 8th.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


No, not the one around the city. My big brother is having triple by-pass surgery tomorrow. He's only 48 and a big guy, but not obese. He had a spell or two last summer but stress test and echo were normal. This past week he was having chest pain while walking (mild exertion) and they took it more seriously, performing a cardiac catheterization today. They were not able to insert a stent in the most blocked artery and recommended he proceed with by-pass to fix that and two other blockages.

Now, my dad had a heart attack at 60 and several stents since then, but this is just crazy. Anyway, I think he will come through fine. There was no damage to the heart, his body had re-routed the blockage somewhat adequately.

He was in good spirits tonight, and I just wish him the best!!
Since I only got my digital camera in November, I only have two pictures of Chris, taken in Boston on my friend's camera. The other one, I posted awhile ago, so this is kind of goofy, but Chris is on the left, walking towards Paul Revere's statue, across from the Old North Church.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Life in the Fast Lane, ha

This weekend I was working on a mini-scrapbook for a dear friend that I visited last fall in New Hampshire. I was simultaneously helping my friend Terri create a scrapbook for her daughter's high school graduation, and she did a great job on her first few pages ever. She is pictured above. She is also the person who went on the trip to New England with me, so we reminisced about the trip. I had to write to my friend because we couldn't remember some of the names of places I wanted to blog, I mean, Journal about. I got back a nice, long email from her about all her retirement activities. She is amazing, a former English professor who is very politically active so New Hampshire is great place for her to be. She is on board with Barack Obama, so we have that in common. Must be the Illinois connection, though many others seem to be connecting with him just as easily.

I love cheese and crackers. Just thought I'd say that.

Tomorrow is another hellish day: meeting after meeting, followed by class and another meeting. I don't know how I am going to fit my exercise in this week, and I was just noticing some progress on the cellulite situation! I am finding time to write this between meetings, and waiting for the chicken bake meal to cook in the oven. Prepared food is better than fast food, right? My kids consider it homecooked when it comes from a box. BTW- I ate lunch at the junior high today and it was so good, corn dog and lukewarm fries. They had a beautiful salad bar, but corn dog was just so school lunch-like. For sides they had fresh fruit (3 choices) canned peaches, fresh cauliflower, carrots and celery, ranch dip, tortilla chips, salsa and Milk. I think the kids just get the greasy stuff and ignore the rest, which is all you can eat, and makes the $1.75 pretty good.

I must have charged the batteries the wrong way on Sunday, for the camera only took two pictures before pooping out, and I had just been bragging about how long it holds a charge. It should be done soon, and I will download or upload the photo.

My college freshman was sitting at the computer when I got up this morning, apparently having pulled an all-nighter. He was delirious, and said he had just eaten a spoonful of coffee grounds and would be fine till class is over at 3:00 p.m. this afternoon. He was spending an inordinate amount of time of each multiple choice of his take home sociology exam because he couldn't focus, and a quick glance at the paper he was writing on Tupac (god knows what class this was for) had three errors in the first two sentences.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday Morning Already

My laptop is running r e a l l y s l o w and I'm about to blow a gasket. It must be the kids' music, games, etc. My email is not coming through either. I did get my camera and Ipod recharged, though. How many hours must we spend messing around with technology on a daily basis, instead of actually DOING something? ARGHH. Now I am going to have to defragment, run spybot and adaware and who knows what else to get this back up to speed. I've also been picking molecules of skin and dust out of the keyboard with a toothpick because I can never find the Dust-off in the store.

Ok, there's the mess on the table that sat there overnight and was probably shed upon by the cats. I hope everyone has a great day. I've already done my optional homework, and am understanding it, thankfully. I'm hungry for my second breakfast and it's only 9:30 a.m. Well, I am certainly grumbly this morning. That reminds me a joke: Did you wake up grouchy this morning? No, I let him sleep in.

Sunday Morning Already

My laptop is running r e a l l y s l o w and I'm about to blow a gasket. It must be the kids' music, games, etc. My email is not coming through either. I did get my camera and Ipod recharged, though. How many hours must we spend messing around with technology on a daily basis, instead of actually DOING something? ARGHH. Now I am going to have to defragment, run spybot and adaware and who knows what else to get this back up to speed. I've also been picking molecules of skin and dust out of the keyboard with a toothpick because I can never find the Dust-off in the store.

Ok, there's the mess on the table that sat there overnight and was probably shed upon by the cats. I hope everyone has a great day. I've already done my optional homework, and am understanding it, thankfully. I'm hungry for my second breakfast and it's only 9:30 a.m. Well, I am certainly grumbly this morning.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

You Little Devil

Has anyone else been craving Deviled Eggs? These did not turn out too good, my improvised recipe seems to be missing something. The ones I got at the grocery store a couple of weeks ago tasted sweet, which was a little weird, but better than these. I would appreciate any ideas.
My mom has been staying by herself out on a farm in North Dakota while taking care of my great uncle's affairs, while he is recuperating in a nursing home. Just found out there was a double murder on a nearby (20 miles?) farm. Very scary, very Truman Capotesque. No details were available but she checked herself into a motel, wisely. I'm going to look it up on-line if I am not too tired after writing this.
My dining room table is filled with scrapbooking materials, but I have accomplished nothing all evening, except a little project for the school PTO. I'll see if I can take a quick photo. **quick break: took picture, but won't download due to low batteries. I have never actually had this happen. I always heard digital cameras used batteries very rapidly, but that did not seem to be the case with ours. We have rechargables, anyway, and it only takes 15 minutes, but Boy12 is waiting to use the laptop. Still having music download problems and needs two computers to complete his task. Don't ask. Come to think of it, my Ipod died today while I was walking the track at the Y. I had it plugged into the computer overnight and it has never died before so that was weird. Maybe I have some kind of negative electrical charge.
Uh oh, several 8th grade boys just walked in after the Jr. High party at the Y across the street. The last time they got together a wooden billiards rack (triangle) got broken over one kids' back. Apparently the highlight tonight was three boys singing "My Humps" and dancing. Good thing they don't let the parents chaperone, well, my kids don't let their parents.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Night Lights

Ahhh...I'm back to the blog, it's been a really busy week. What with stats class, American Idol, The Bachelor, Scholastic Bowl matches, track meets and baseball practice, we are on the go. I feasted on a little too much sugar this week, but otherwise, a good week. I was too exhausted Friday night to finish this and am back this morning. Unfortunately, it's raining today which is a bummer for the baseball kids who are anxious to practice.

Here is a picture of Boy12 counting his money. He is quite a miser and is building a nice bank account. He is having a hard time setting up his Ipod library on the new computer.

Betsy, do you remember that drawer in the big dresser when we were kids, that had an old carpet remnant in it? Well, it was a new remnant at the time. That was our Barbie house, with various size boxes as furniture and scarves as tablecloths. We made Barbie clothes out of fabric scraps with only a pair of scissors. Oh, those were the days...

I am not able to get my email all the time, so it is hard to respond to that.

Monday, April 09, 2007


I picked up Boy12 this morning at 8:00 from a church Lock-In he attended with friends. He immediately began talking about the events of the past 12 hours, which had me none too happy. Ok, it was a church, so I should have known better, but it didn't seem that fundamentalist. Here's the scoop. They showed 12 year olds The Passion of the Christ without parental permission. I would have given it, most likely, if asked, but at least I could have explained or warned him prior, let him decide whether to go or not. I know when I thought about showing it to my youth group, I called all their parents and asked, and they were in high school!

I think he was more upset that it lasted 3 1/2 hours, it was spoken in "Hebrew" with subtitles, and they kept stopping to explain everything, than the actual content. He agreed it was really violent, the whipping part, and that he did learn something about Jesus. However, one girl was apparently in tears. Then they were lectured about HELL and how they would be going there unless they did three things: pray, accept Jesus as their savior and something else. She asked if they knew what hell looked like and described it, that the world is going to blow up, how the Bible says so, and Boy12 told the lady outright, "I don't feel like believing this." I was so proud. One of his friends was really upset and worried, and kept asking, what he had to do, etc. I asked my boy if he was worried, and he's like "nope". I reassured him, just in case, that she doesn't know anymore than Mitch Albom, me or him about heaven and hell.

Okay, that is the last church event he's going to. It really angers me that people are out there scaring little kids with their negative freakish beliefs and predictions.

P.S. After The Passion movie they watched the Pistol Pete Maravich story, which seemed really odd, but he loves sports, so that was cool. Then hubby told me Pistol Pete was a born again.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Happy Belated Valentine's Day

I meant to post this much earlier in the winter as an entry in the Valentine's corny saying contest. Anyway, better late than never, eh?

Easter Memories and Traditions

Some of the Mother Lode

I don't have a lot of memories, good or bad, of Easter. My firmest memories are of my mother-in-law, known as Nellie. When we were living in Western New York Nellie always had nice Easter get togethers, regardless of the weather, which was iffy at best. Pansy usually sent a nice spiral ham, and many of the ten siblings would be present with kids in tow. They are probably getting together today, we just aren't close enough to visit.

One tradition Pat started here in Western Illinois, was the golf ball hunt. Spread all over the yard, there were prizes for most golf balls, any golf balls, and the coveted, money golf ball. Prizes included candy, sports equipment, and other small gifts. Boy12 hopefully asked if there would be a golf ball hunt this year, and was told he was too old now.

This morning I set off for last minute Easter shopping at Walgreen's and Pat followed. I had $10 in my pocket (one chocolate bunny each), but Pat has more of an Easter fetish. He ended up spending $43, mostly on candy. Yikes.

I have always thought dyeing Easter eggs was a big hassle, something like carving pumpkins. I guess I am a holiday party pooper. I have a box of Easter decorations somewhere. I am just too lazy to get it out. I know it has some beautiful blown eggs with fancy quill designs that Betsy made and other fancy stuff. That would probably have made a nice picture, but the thought occurred too late.
I believe we are products of the way we were brought up, and holidays were just not commercialized, materialized or emphasized in my home. Yes, we did get hard boiled eggs, and a chocolate bunny for Easter, but not new clothes or gifts, god forbid. I try to keep it simple now, too.
All in all, it was a blessed Easter!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

This One's For You, Bets

Good morning, Lou. Per your request I am updating the boring old blog. First, I had to learn to download some songs from ITunes and pay my fair share (99 cents each). It was a little confusing at first, but then super easy. It loaded to my library in about 5 seconds, I plugged in the pod, and it synced automatically. Then I worried how I would find if the new songs were loaded, on the shuffle. Luckily, up came one of my new songs as soon as I turned it on.

I made a late decision, last evening, to invite Dad over for Easter dinner and actually prepare some decent food. Mom is up in North Dakota assisting Uncle Cal in the nursing home, where I hear he is doing really well. Hopefully, she will be able to help him find an apartment with other seniors, rather than returning to the lonely farm. Anywaysss, he agreed to join us for dinner at noon.

Headphones on, another 'new' song came on, Unchained Melody. Very memory-laden song. And not just Demi Moore in Ghost.

I tried on a fake pony tail at a Merle Norman store today. It was so thick and matched my hair color perfectly. The elderly lady said, "Oodles of people are wearing them now." Very tempting, but $42 is too much for a whim that would probably sit in a drawer collecting dust or on my dresser scaring young children. Dad will have to remind me of the German words for "dangerous thing" which Nephew7 called Grandma's wig (sitting atop her dresser on a Styrofoam head form) several years ago (in German). We have a family song that contains that phrase. Most three year olds don't go around calling wigs "dangerous" in German nonetheless. His vocabulary has always been very advanced.
Sports News: Nephew7 scored 3 goals in soccer today, his first three also! Too cold for soccer here...Macomb Little League has reshuffled and new teams picked. Cal is now with MidAmerica National Bank with Pat as coach.
Mystery of the disappearing photo: After posting the photo of Grace and Toru I got an email from Grace asking me not to post her picture, as the Internet is not a safe place. Tell me about it! Don't know what kind of perverts are weird enough to be reading and looking at this blog.
More news of little consequence: Our new Dell desktop arrived yesterday. Boy14 had it set up in 10 minutes or less. I just gleefully figured out how to connect my old printer (by digging up the cord someone had disconnected when we cleaned up all the cords from the old one that bit the dust four months ago). My laptop is now mine again.
Five things to be happy about:
1. finding my Y key
2. game of Gray Wolf happening in my yard
3. the dashing way Tiger Woods dresses
4. hot tea
5. successfully printing on the new computer
Photos above include: New York skyline from some bridge north of the city, September 2006, where the toll takers wear rubber gloves (smart :). Alfonso Soriano the hope of the Cubs season.
Good Day everyone. I'll be off to a talk on Aethism on Easter morning. If I go anywhere, which is unlikely.

Monday, April 02, 2007

NCAA Fever

Since everyone around here is watching "the game" I will just blog a little. I got my last test back in Stats tonight. I was not understanding probabilities to the degree I expect of myself, just couldn't 'get it' and was not prepared for the test. He announced before handing them out there's a percent and a letter grade. My percent was 78, but the grade was an A, so apparently, I wasn't the only one who bombed it. I am really trying to keep up on this next chapter, but unfortunately, it contains probabilities, albeit, simpler ones.

Boy14 had his first track meet tonight. I wasn't able to be there because of my class but he got a 2nd in 100 meters, and 4th in 200 meters. Not too bad.

I'm thinking about going back to my Arm Meat blog, but it is more personal reflections of family (like this is not!).