Friday, June 29, 2007

Signing in after all

Yesterday was an insanely challenging day and I need to do a mind purge! I had high hopes for today but it seems like it is heading in a similar direction. Grace woke up in some kind of a mood and she has been niggling at her brother all morning. She is already in extended time-out, sitting on her bed screaming through the door at me. Love her spirit but sometimes...

So part of the bad thing about my profession is that I can't really vent when there is a bad day. I mean, I can vent to my dad (and he certainly returns the favor) but otherwise, it's got to be pretty generic. So I had a generically bad day yesterday. The craziness lasted well into the night. And I have to go back in to work today to deal with it some more.

We started CASA training last night too. Happily, it went well and that was not part of the crazy day. I hope this class graduates with a passion for the mission of CASA.

And to top it all off, we are going camping for the weekend and have done no preparation whatsoever. Well, we bought the food. So in between dealing with Gracie, parenting both kids, going to work, taming the chaos of the house, and getting Harry to the kennel (oh yeah, need to make kennel reservations, duh!) I have to dig out all the camping stuff and get it organized to go.

(Very small voice... do you think I can just hide in my room today and scrapbook instead?)

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


(This layout is not done btw, just testing the new scanner!) I still think I see a little shadow in the middle but it seems to be much better than the other one. Back in business!

The appliance repairmen finally came

and it looks like we need a new dryer. Any suggestions?

What were the lyrics to that John Lennon song I like so much?


So anyway... lots of blog silence from me lately. We've just been having a number of absolutely pleasant but un-noteworthy days. You probably don't want to hear about how long we waited for the appliance repairman this morning (hint: we're still waiting) so that does limit my topics.

Got my new scanner today so at least I should have some layouts to share soon!

And we're going camping all weekend. So I probably won't update again until next week. I'll try to think of something interesting to say before then.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Reason # 754 to love summer

(because I don't always. You remember, the humidity and sweat thing?)

But today was a perfect summer day. We started off by surprising Justin with a complete set of flyfishing gear. I suggested it awhile ago, he was hesitant at the expense of a new hobby until he was invited to go to his boss' flyfishing camp last month and had to pass it up because he'd never done it before. We packed him up and sent him off to the stream for the day. I also bought all of his favorite stuff for dinner just in case he doesn't catch anything.

Then the kids and I headed to the park across the street to do a little bit of hiking and some letterboxing. It was supposed to be a 1 1/2 mile hike - a little bit long for Gracie - but it's a gorgeous day. Unfortunately, I took a wrong turn and it turned into a 3 mile hike. But those kids were such troopers! Gracie complained exactly once and otherwise, they just trudged along, admiring the scenery.

And then (the best part of the day?) we came home and Gracie was fussy so I put her down for a nap. And Charlie curled up on the couch and fell asleep. I scrapped until I made a horrible stamping gaffe and came here to clear my head before I try to figure out how to salvage the layout. Still, I'm filled with this sense of peace and contentment. Great day.

Friday, June 22, 2007

I'm still around

just nothing blog-worthy to say.

Do you see the shadows on that LO? It's a big problem with this new printer/scanner I got a couple months ago. So I finally called Hewlett Packard and they had me plug and unplug it a couple times to see if it got better. It didn't. So they are sending me a new one! I was skeptical but they just called to confirm it's being shipped today.

And then - I ordered a few things from an online store called Scrapgal a couple days ago. I don't normally order on-line (I'm a see it and touch it kind of girl) but I just haven't had time to shop recently and I really wanted some Love Elsie stuff. It arrived today and they even threw in a little extra! So this was a great customer service week - three cheers for good customer service!

We are going to the carnival tonight and then celebrating Father's Day for Justin tomorrow (since we were traveling last Sunday.) He does not think he is getting anything - his deep sea fishing excursion was supposed to be his gift - but I have a little something up my sleeve. Not literally of course.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

It must be genetic

(and no, I'm not talking about my family's crazy genes which inherently, are, in fact, genetic.)

On vacation, Charlie started noticing where things are made. Invariably, things are made in China. For some reason, known only to himself, this bothered my little man. He grew quite frustrated trying to find something that was not made in China.

Unfortunately, this morning I was listening to the radio and there was a detailed story about all of the recent troubles with things made in China - the drugs killing people in Africa and Haiti, Thomas the Tank toys, the toothpaste. And then came the nice little factoid that 80% of all toys made in the US are made in China and that all of the recalled toys thus far this year have been from China. That did it. From the backseat came the pronouncement "I don't want any more stuff from China." I gently reminded him that almost all toys come from China. "Then I don't want anyone to buy me any more toys." I asked what he would do if he discovers his gameboy is made in China. Silence for a few seconds. "I guess it's a good thing we lost the charger." The kid's mind is made up.

I have very fond memories of my first boycott - Nestle (still holding firm on that one, mostly, as much as I can track it anymore.) The day I discovered the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. I should have had a clue that Charlie would lean toward those sensibilities. I once explained to him why we don't buy gas at Exxon unless we truly don't have another choice and he actually yelled at me the one time I didn't think I had any other choice because we were running on fumes. Told me I should have thought ahead. He was right of course.

On the one hand, I am proud that we have succeeded in raising a child who is already leaning towards social consciousness, that the idea that you have to think about other people and the environment is as much a part of him as the air he breathes. On the other hand, I already see the telltale signs of anxiety and worry that I struggle with every minute of every day. Its a good thing, then, that we haven't yet tried to explain to him the ideas about living wages and working conditions and child labor because for sure, I think it might push him over the edge.

On a very similar note, this whole thing with China and the drugs and wheat has really got me thinking. We can't track this stuff effectively anymore. We don't truly have any idea where our food or drugs or sundries are coming from or what we're actually buying. We put an enormous amount of trust in the major corporations because for sure, there is no regulatory system watching out for us anymore. I can't believe how much I've taken it for granted; I try to buy healthy and I think of myself as a conscious consumer but as I look at information on my snack crackers, I realize it doesn't say a thing about where they came from. More and more (and more and more) I am realizing that the responsible thing to do is to go completely organic like my parents despite the outrageous costs and inconvenience. I laughed at my mom last week about her organic shampoo and conditioner. Seems laughable until you think about it. If there is poison in the toothpaste and in the dogfood, why wouldn't there be poison in the shampoo?

I think we're capable of a lot of self-delusion. Or at least a lot of just not really thinking about things that we don't want to think about. Of saying things are ridiculous when we really just mean that they are inconvenient. The fact is that I think I've been lazy. Or careless at least. My kids and our health are worth more than the attention I've been paying.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

My Hatteras slideshow

Because I couldn't resist!

We love it so much, we actually stayed an extra day this time. We really, really didn't want to come home. Although Charlie was very homesick for his bed.

Funny thing... we got home, he got out of the car and played in the yard for two hours. Then he came in to look at his bed for 30 seconds and has been outside playing ever since. It could be because the house smells... well, it always smells, like an old man. (Something to do with the basement that we've never figured out how to remedy.) But add in that it's been closed up for 10 days, Justin turned off the water while we were gone leading to some really funky smell coming out of the dishwasher (?!!?), etc. So it stinks in here. I don't think that's why the kids are outside but it IS why I'd rather be outside. Justin unloaded the car and rushed off to his double-header soccer game(s) leaving me to deal with the smell. I have failed. Instead, I am playing with vacation pictures and wishing we were still there.

Why didn't we

think to rent out our house for the US Open? We weren't here anyway. I hope Tiger pulls it out. And for the record, I think it is a travesty that they cut down those 5000 trees; the course looks naked. (And for whichever family members are reading this, I know there are a passle of you at this point :) that is absolutely no reflection on the stellar job being done by the grounds crew. I think we should all make Ryan teach us how to mow our grass in those very cool stripes.)

How's that for a hello and random US open thoughts? We listened to it on the radio the whole way home. There are people who think watching golf on tv is boring; can't imagine what they think about listening to it on the radio! But come on, it's a major, Tiger is in contention and it's being held in our backyard.

I feel like I should do a whole post about the vacation but that's probably the internet equivalent of a vacation slideshow. Plus, some of it's just un-bloggable. Certainly with you reading this blog now Nathan. Yes, I'm talking to you. The more some things change, the more other things don't.

So I'll limit it to the unsurprising thought that it was hard to come home. Not home as to "our home" but home as in western Pennsylvania. We had this moment, driving through the National Seashore, coming around some bend when the sound opens up at New River inlet when my heart just started to pound in my chest and the thought "we're home" started running through my head. And for sure, the very next time I have a half million dollars to play with, I will make it so.

Oh, and my husband lugged home 60 pounds of mahi mahi he hopes to consume over the next year. You are all invited over for dinner anytime.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The Class of 2019

I don't have a picture to share because I couldn't get a good shot in the gymnasium. But my little guy graduated from kindergarten today. I only cried a little bit; he was just so darn cute and happy up there. He's not so happy about leaving kindergarten behind so we are trying our hardest to put the best spin on it. We're taking him out for macaroni tonight and as far as he's concerned, that's just about the best thing in the whole world.

Otherwise, I'm pooped. The car is being packed for vacation tomorrow night and I work tomorrow so that means that I have to actually pack today. Which would mean doing laundry, organizing stuff, etc. Except my mom and I went grocery shopping. All afternoon. I don't know how that happened. The other problem with this scenario. Normally no big deal, stay up late and do the laundry, right? Except our dryer has now developed a high pitched squeak which can be heard across the entire neighborhood. Annoying in mid-afternoon. Unspeakable at night. Seriously considering packing dirty clothes and doing laundry when we get there.

And one little funny for the road. Grace and I were having a battle of wills the other night. It eventually came to a point where I asked her if she was going to apologize or start listening better. She replied "never I will." The girl gets to the point.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

At the end of the week

So very many unrelated tangents running through my mind tonight.
Yesterday could have been a bad day. Lots of stuff to do that I don't really enjoy - Charlie's belt testing (it goes on and on and on), soccer in blistering heat and humidity. But we put a good face on it and ended the day by going to the pool, eating dinner in the yard and going for ice cream. It's all about how you frame it.

And today was the day we celebrated my birthday. I wanted to go to the baseball game and Justin requested tickets from his boss. We thought we'd get the ones along the first base line; instead they gave us the Home Plate Club. Now please understand, I am always grateful for the incredible perks of his job and the wonderful things his company allows us to enjoy. This was no exception but it did give us pause, more than once.

Justin grew up poor. As poor as it gets. And I grew up as a child of someone who owns their own business. Some good times. Lots of tough times. Both of our experiences at the ballpark are largely framed by "buck" night (aka Pittsburgh Pirates aka the Buccaneers aka everything's a "buck"). The tickets were $1, the hotdogs were $1 and the coke was $1. Our kids have not had this experience, thanks to Justin's company. It's very important to Justin that they never have the kinds of worries he did; on the other hand, we are both adamant we will not raise spoiled brats who expect things handed to them on a silver platter.

Eh, this whole entry feels so awkward for me. But still, it's what's in my head and it will be there until I let it out. We worried alot about this today before the game. Is this what they will expect? What will they think the next time we go to a game and they don't get to eat whatever they want? When we sit on the bleachers? Their last few times at the ballpark have not been typical. We need not have worried. They mostly care about who wins the pierogie race. And which song gets picked to be played in the 5th inning. Charlie's mind is always on the food, no matter who is paying. They are our kids. Raised with our values. Even if sometimes they get a glimpse of a different world.

More unrelated thoughts. I have night terrors. I've had them for about 7 years, usually a couple times a week. Who knows why. Pretty regular pattern; I scream, sit up and Justin calms me down. But last night, for some reason, I vaulted out of bed and was running out of the room until Justin stopped me. I hope I'm not about to become a sleep walker.

And we also stopped by the Three Rivers Arts Festival after the game. This is just an incredible event. Overwhelming for me in a way. As always, I appreciate many mediums but drift toward the photographers. And today I discovered a new one - based out of Georgia but focusing on China for the last 8 years. I have never, never seen anything like it. I'm not even that interested in China but these photos spoke to my soul. This part of my entry is kind of worthless without photos, eh? So I couldn't swing it today but I will. By the end of the summer. I'm finally going to get some art up on these walls.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Peonies and thunderstorms

It was just a strange birthday. Which seems appropriate for 34. We think Grace might have chicken pox (she doesn't have enough spots in the right places though?) so she went to my mom's. They picked me a bouquet of peonies from my great-grandmother's garden (transported in its entirety to my parents' home when her house was sold.) They are beautiful and are filling the house with fragrance.

And Justin cooked an incredible dinner. His kitchen stadium fantasies are growing exponentially. One of these days he just might challenge Bobby Flay to a throwdown.

But otherwise, strange. And I can't quite convey what about the day was strange other than everything just seemed a little bit off kilter. I loved being 33 so it might just be the idea that 34 is not 33. Huge thunderstorms rolled through right around dinner time and shook the house. The dog had an accident. Just strange.

We've made no plans for today. Charlie still has school for another 5 days so Grace and I can't plan anything too exciting lest he be left out. We'll probably take a walk and do some gardening and otherwise hide from the humidity inside.