Friday, December 31, 2010

Five Guys

I'm loving the 60+ degree weather here in Southern Indiana today. Way to ring out 2010. Betsy and I took about a 45 minute walk this morning and got 'too hot.' I wanted to go out for some more walk around 3:45 and took off on the "Heritage Trail," a paved bike/walking trail through Clarksville. C'ville is the kind of town where inflatable holiday decorations are ubiquitous, now deflated on the lawns, the per capita of dogs is high and/or dog owners who don't clean up after themselves and burned out stock cars rest in the yards of homeowners. This particular trail is quite ominous taking me down a tree strewn deserted path with J and J Pallet Company fences on either side, one side barbed wire, the other simple chain link. The smell of burning pallets was pungent in the air but no workers were to be seen (perhaps oompa loompas operate here). 3 young men walked ahead of me and luckily turned off and 20-something men with no teeth on kiddie bikes passed leisurely by. Somehow my cell phone was not making me feel very secure. I finally arrived at the hallowed 'soccer fields' Betsy recommended I walk to. I came back along Brown's Station Way and preferred the threat of death by a 60 mph speeding car to being dragged into the woods and raped and eventually killed. Anyway, as you can tell, I lived and am here to write about it.

In between these delightful walks, Betsy and I went to lunch and shopping in New Albany. What is all the hubbaloo about Five Guys Hamburgers anyway? First of all there weren't hardly any customers in there, and I'll tell you why. All they have is hamburgers, fries, and a hot dog, literally. No sweet potato fries, no cheese fries, no malts, shakes or ice cream, and no patience for two sisters arguing over whether to put onions on the hamburger they were about to share. The burgers are big, and greasy but much like I would make at home. The fries were good, natural cut, oh and they do have free peanuts while you wait. Well, I wanted to try it because it's Obama's favorite. I just don't know why.

Shopping. I have gone completely mad about shopping. I now have a printer/scanner, bath and body stockpile, scrapbooks, crafting supplies, a new duvet to go with my down comforter and sheets, and a dress and heels for a reunion I don't even know if I am going to. It's insane. I feel like a complete shopaholic, reality show, game show junkie. Good thing I drove my parents van so I can load up good.

I am simply stuffed from Simply Thai where we had our New Year's Eve dinner. Edamame appetizer, Spring Rolls (cold, ick), Pad Thai (of course), Loaded Fried Rice, and Red Curry. We ordered spice level 3 out of 5, which was plenty for me to keep the water and tea flowing to drown it out. We stopped at Pie Kitchen on the way home, there seems to be one on every corner now, and picked several decadent desserts for later.

We played two board games, Imaginiff and Pictureeka (Nephew11 and I each won one game), devoured gluttonous portion of 7 layer dessert, watched more Kendra, Chelsea Lately and The Soup to make it to midnight, which I am happy to say HAPPY NEW YEAR and goodnight.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Strawberry Pictorial

This was reportedly the 47th year of the Vicks making Strawberries. My first Christmas my mom was mentored in the fine art of strawberry making in Columbia, Missouri, and we have been doing it together ever since, bringing in the next generation, despite the fact that some of us have thrown up (coincidental) after eating too many. My dad always takes pictures of the endeavor, we have hoardes of them by now, so here goes 2010-

This process starts on the right where I am pictured rolling the balls. Betsy is stressfully shaping the balls while simultaneously rotating them in the red then green sugar. Nephew11 is inserting the green dyed almond sliver that is the stem. (This is sounding a little weird)

Now I have taken over the stem job. Rolling the balls only last so long because your hands gets covered in gook and you then get to lick them off. Boy17 has taken over stage 1, Nephew11 is the shaper, Boy16 is a bystander, still in coat.

Here I am holding up a shaped strawberry for a stem, flexing my muscle for the picture and asking, "How does my arm look?"

This is Betsy Laughing her ass off at my Arm Vanity. Stay tuned, I somehow missed a couple of other pics I needed to add here. So the story is not quite finished.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

What is this Wonkiness?

I am trying hard not use words like "crazy," "retarded," and "gay" where those are not literally intended and trying to think of clever ways to get my students and people around me not to use them. The only synonym I can think of for crazy seems to be wonky, and/or that something is driving me up a wall. For the latter two, I have substituted "ri-donk-ulous" not that I am one to use those anyway. Be that as it may, here are some goofy pictures from Christmas, the last being poor Uncle Cal photographed up the nose. The others are me trying to get a good picture of myself, hahaha and our game of "Last Words" after dinner.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Day 2 or 26, Depending on how you look at it

What is up with this new schedule? Today is day 2 of my 27 day winter break. I know, it's sick. But why am I waking at 4-4:30 a.m. when I usually get up at 5:30 for work? This creates a dire need for a nap before noon which doesn't always work out. I have so much to do! But I'm not complaining, no no no.

Monday, December 20, 2010

My Left Foot

Things I hate about aging:

When the bank teller asks how old you are not to assess if you are too young for ?? but to see if you qualify for a senior discount. At least I haven't been mistaken for being a grandmother...well, one of my students was wondering why I wasn't a grandma since I have 22 year old off-spring.

My left foot hurts, a new ache between the toes and ball of my foot leading me to believe I will be having foot surgery before I retire. If that ain't old...

When I'm tempted to put on a plastic rain bonnet to go outside. JUST KIDDING!!!!

Lack of memory and having to write all over my hands, and when there is no pen available repeat over and over the same thing so I remember it, and make up little devices to remember things like, I have to get 3 things at the store, they all start with S. And all of this seems so urgent and life or death.

Talking to myself is getting way out of control. Out loud. I am doing it now in public places like stores and privately in the shower and anytime I am frustrated or annoyed. I don't even care anymore. Maybe my years in mental health are impacting me here, too, where talking to oneself is considered a mild symptom.

Menopause. Need I say more? Yes, I have to tell one story. Last summer when Mom, Betsy and I were on our way back to Seattle after our excursion to Vancouver in a rental car after the Alaskan cruise, I was lamenting the fact that my doctor didn't agree that I needed a hysterectomy. And Betsy says, "My doctor said I could have a hysterectomy because of my five rights."
Me: "What five rights? What healthcare bill of rights do they have in Indiana saying you're entitled to one free hysterectomy?"
Betsy: "Five rights? I didn't say five rights, I said fibroids."
That exchange was then enough to wake Mom from her roaring slumber in the back seat to our hysterical, sisterly laughing and was good for two to three days of pants wetting delight. We were all getting a little punchy by then anyway. We then debated how long we could get off work for various surgeries and if a tonsillectomy was also one of our five rights, even if you don't need one and just want some time off.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Little Night Theater

Wow. Now I have seen my son smoke, drink and wear a dress on stage. Last night was the student directed One Act Plays at the high school. Boy17 was slated to direct a melodrama called "The Wild Flowering of Chastity." Friday we learned he was also acting in two of the plays including his own since they were short on actors. Pat and I picked up my parents for a "double date" since it is nice to get in a warm car and have door to door service when you are in your 70's. On the way in another parent said, "He looks nice in a dress" and we looked bewildered since we are always the last to know about our children. She quickly apologized for ruining the surprise.

Before the show my dad and I both agreed to nudge my mom if she fell asleep, make that, started snoring. You do not want that to start since her snoring is akin to a train rolling through town. Midway into the second play, I looked to my left and Pat was sitting with his hand over his face, eyes closed and his usual pained expression on his face (let's just call it his theater mask). To my right I could hear the heavy breathing of my mother which is the precursor to the big snore. On her right was my dad with his head tilted and since his dead eye is on the left it appeared he, too, was dozing. I suddenly started laughing to myself at the absurdity of it, which also helped pass the time. I let my mom go until a faint snore started and then elbowed her gently.

The last act before intermission was called "Two Jerks Buying a Christmas Tree" starring Boy17's best friend Danny and a girl we call Peppermint Patty. They walked onto stage dressed Housewives of New Jersey style talking to each other on cell phones in their best NY accent and mannerisms. Patricia had on a huge fur hat, tight jeans, chewing gum. Danny's standard line was "Whattaya want babe?" They proceeded to annoy the Christmas tree seller on the street with goofy requests such as a 50 foot tree. It was so funny I was busting out laughing with tears streaming down my face. This was originally a Saturday Night Live skit. Both Danny and Patricia are regular actors in the numerous home movies that Boy17 and his friends make. Patricia is one of the two girls, make that three after last weekend, to have set foot in my house. She is from a musical, theatrical family and rides a bicycle straight out of Wizard of Oz. She is unique.

After intermission there was "12 Angry Pigs" with twelve pig jurors sitting at a long table debating the fate of the Big Bad Wolf. Boy17 played Little Boy Blue skipping across the stage offering the jurors a pail of slop, a pizza, then after they jump up to get it, "Nah, it's empty." After finding the wolf not guilty, Boy17 walks onstage in a red riding hood cape dress and yells, "Officer, arrest that wolf," in a high voice.

Finally, the melodrama with Boy17 playing the sheriff with a large fake mustache held on with visible cellophane tape. Boy17 also directed with the aforementioned Danny and it was a fun little farce. Needless to say we were all able to stay awake through the last part in which our son/grandson was involved.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Old and Young

I probably shouldn't even be telling these stories, but here goes. Last night Pat (Husband2 ?) and I went over to my parents house spur of the moment, kind of, to socialize. Boy16 had mentioned that "someone is coming over tonight" and when I asked who and he said it was a girl we decided to clear out for awhile to give him some space. No girl has ever been here before except in a group with Boy17 who pals around with a couple of girls.

When we got to my parents, Mom was playing the piano and Dad was in basement. We called him to come upstairs and when he got there he collapsed in a chair completely gassed. I asked what was wrong as I had never seen him like this. This is the man who a year or two ago was riding his bicycle 4 miles up and down hills that I can't manage. His reply was something like, "Honey, I have heart failure, they don't call it Congestive anymore." For some reason, that struck me all at once like a death sentence and his mortality flashed before my eyes. I said, "No, no. That's fatal." Back at me came, "Life is fatal." Oh boy, this was just a conversation I was not ready for.

Now for the youth. While we were visiting at Cedar Drive, Boy16 called first to ask how to work the DVD so they could watch the movie, "Flight Plan." A bit later he called to say "something happened" and the plans fell through. If I ever thought in a million years any monkey business would be going on, I would never have left the house. He didn't ask us to, we thought we were just being nice. Later we come to find out, Boy16 and his friend picked up two sophomore girls at the movies who had to lie to their parents to spend time with the boys. Somehow, Boy16's date's parents must've got tipped off, and arrived at the door of our house to retrieve their daughter and give her and my son a beat down. He and his friends were laughing about it by the time we got home at 8:45 because the dad was a short bald guy who came in the house to deliver his tirade. Both our question was, "Is she Mormon?" Lesson learned for him and us. If that's the worst thing he does, we should be okay.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Don't read this if you think I might send you a Christmas Card

Greetings Family and Friends, December 2010
Forgive the self-indulgent Christmas letter; I will try not to brag too much while updating the Denecke-Tuttle status for those of you I have not socially networked with this year.
Adam is graduating from the University of Illinois at Springfield this December with a Bachelor’s in Psychology. He has been interning this semester at the National Alliance on Mental Illness office in Springfield. He seems to have found his niche in writing and has also assisted with the statewide conference in Peoria. His post graduation plans are a bit mysterious, but I think he is available for nationwide job opportunities. Graduate school is likely to be in his future.

Eli has applied to Illinois State University and University of Illinois for next fall and is awaiting acceptance and financial aid packages. He tinkers with any musical instrument he finds around the house and elsewhere (accordion, keyboards, concertina, drums, sax, harmonica, etc.). He recently made All-State honors in Orchestra. His garage band, Kasa del Phunk, plays locally and has recorded a 5 song EP. This will be good preparation for the career in music education he wishes to pursue. He was honored for four years in soccer when he actually only played two, but the coach teaches French, not math. Eli played the part of the drunken pharmacist in “It’s a Wonderful Life” whom George saves from making a fatal mistake.

Cal started varsity soccer at mid-field and played fall league baseball. He is now on to varsity basketball where he leads the team out for warm-ups and occasionally gets off the bench. This fall he hosted a Danish student and will be traveling to Copenhagen in March to spend spring break with Bjarke and his family (Eli previously hosted and visited his brother, Toke). Then he will move into baseball, his true love.

The three boys are in a height war (must be a guy thing) and fall in the 5’8” – 5’9” range, with Cal looking to take the lead and maybe improve his basketball playing time.
Pat continues in his 8th year with Spoon River College, advising students in classes and life. His office is a shrine to the Bills, which sparks some interesting conversations. He is approaching the big 5-0 and may go into hiding to avoid any attention that may bring.
I started a new job as a school social worker at a “micro urban” high school about an hour away. I work with kids labeled emotionally or behaviorally disordered. I do individual and group counseling, classroom observations, behavior goals and crisis intervention. In my spare time, I study cultural phenomena such as Facebook, the rise of Bristol Palin as teen activist and dance star, and the Michael Vick redemption.

Pearl will be 11 in March and trains for the title of Fattest Tail-less Cat in Macomb.

I am about out of space, so I will close with wishing you and yours a most blessed year in 2011 and do keep in touch.
Love, Susan, Pat, Adam, Eli and Cal