Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Great Halloween movies, Fringe & a little bit of Sanford & Son

Part of the reason I love this time of year is because there is an overload of scary movies. I LOVE scary movies.

When 30 Days of Night was released in theaters, I thought it would be cool to watch it on the big screen. But we didn't. We waited, as per our usual, to watch it on DVD. This Saturday, during Kyle's sleepover, it premiered on Starz. We watched it again (we being me & Kyle - none of the other kids had seen it. My niece & nephew love scary movies & apparently Kyle's friends do, too) - the kids who didn't want to watch had the option to go play downstairs.

The first time I sat through the movie, I wasn't all that impressed. Sometimes it takes a few viewings to make me realize how cool a movie is to me. I've watched it 2 more times since Saturday & I LOVE it.

For those of you who haven't seen it, I won't ruin any surprises for you. All I will say is that I enjoy the creepy way in which the creatures are featured. It's almost realistic in the way the story is told. It has an abundance of gore - true gore, so if you're not a fan of blood & uber nasty scenes of death, don't watch.

My niece & I call one of the creatures "Hey" because every time we see him in the movie he hisses that. We loved him for that.

The ending was AWESOME - though it does leave a few lingering questions. I love what had to be done & the fact that Josh Hartnett is in this film makes it that much more watchable for me. I know that critics may not have loved this film, but as I've mentioned several times, I am indiscriminate when it comes to movies. If I watch it & love it, I do - even if it's crap to other people.

Speaking of Halloween movies - what are some of your favorites? I love 13 Ghosts (the recent version). That is one of my all time favorite movies - ever! I love the ghosts - the special effects & cinematography are awesome. When I first saw previews of that, I thought it was going to be stupid & they made the mistake of promoting the fact that Shannon Elizabeth was in it, thus leading people to believe it was mostly about her. So untrue. If you love ghost movies with some humor mixed in and great special effects - see it! You shouldn't be disappointed. "Where's the lawyer?"..."I dunno, I guess he split.." Humor.

We recently rented Prom Night - thinking it might be a wicked remake of a fairly decent slasher film (at the time the original was made, it wasn't too terrible - just a little). No dice. It was one of the dumbest movies I've ever seen. There was no suspense & when I think of slasher film, I think blood & stuff. This didn't have that, not at all.


Fringe is the Xfiles of the new millenium. For me, anyhow. I watch House & usually I'd just stop watching tv after it. This new show has me watching it, instead of shutting down the tube. At times, it seems too mysterious & misleading, not to mention confusing (once in a while) and I really hope that this mystery eventually leads to a nice finish. I'm also a little worried that it will be too much. That things won't fall into place quickly enough to keep me interested & watching. It's got ideas pointing to aliens & the paranormal, plus wickedly different things happening in each episode. For now, it's pretty interesting television - to me.


Yesterday, I was taking the boys to school & my neighbors a few houses down had this wicker outdoor set with a sign that said "free" sitting on the sidewalk. Normally, I don't do this, but I don't have any furniture on my deck & Tony doesn't think it's a necessity, so we haven't yet bought any. On the way back, I grabbed it.

Why don't I do this more often, well, for one, I don't want to be known as "the garbage collector" (and that is what will happen in this house). I always feel weird if I take something that someone else is throwing out. I did that once with another neighbor, only they were close to us, so I called to ask first. Isn't that silly? The desk they were throwing out was in pristine shape, repainted & we still have it in Kyle's room. He helped me with that project & loves that he has a desk. We did this over 5 years ago.

This wicker set has 2 chairs, a table & a loveseat. I think the set has pretty much been weathered by the outdoors. Even so, the cushions are still in very good shape. I will probably replace those anyway. The table needs to have it's top redone. That will be something for next summer. Overall, the set isn't in too shabby shape. The paint is wearing off the wicker, so I can repaint it. It's dark brown right now & I'm trying to decide if I want a lighter color or if I want to stay dark. I'll do before & after shots once I've gotten it done.

In the meantime, everytime Dock man goes out & sees it, he calls me Fred Sanford. We're Sanford & Son now because I picked up someone's garbage. Plus, everytime I leave the kids toys in the yard, I am Fred then, too. Yeah, he's a dork. Really.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday, Kyle!

I know you had school & all, but we did have a buttload of fun on Saturday and we still have some ice cream left! I love you so much & hope you are having fun even though I made you go to school on your birthday! We all had to do it!

Two more years til he's driving...yikes!

And Kyle...

He happened upon us while we were planning the wedding. Yeah, happened because sex is always a surprise...heh. We got fairly lucky & he was born 3 weeks before our wedding. We couldn't change the date because the hall Dock man's mom chose gets booked up pretty early. Plans were set in place, so we ran with them.

I was pretty happy during my pregnancies, lucky that I never had morning sickness. Not once. During my pregnancy with Kyle I was jubilant through the whole thing. It was very odd to me, with hormones raging, nothing pissed me off - I could get there, but it was very difficult to do so. Happy during all my pregnancies and very long labors. Kyle's was the hardest labor I dealt with. I have this problem. My kids don't want to enter the world, they want to stay inside. Each one of them was induced. Kyle was induced the longest & finally Dr. just broke my water. I'm betting the world record (not really, but 3 10 hour days worth is much) amount of pitocin used in this induction had something to do with why it was the hardest labor. I called for an epidural! Regrettably, I just couldn't handle the intensity of it. I had both front & back labor with Kyle. Hard, hard labor.

Dock man & I had argued about his name, still hadn't agreed on which we were going with and he wanted his way - always does. I wanted Kyle Nicholas & he wanted Nicholas Kyle. "I think Nick is a more manly name..." his words. When he was finally delivered, the nurse asked Dock man what his name was and Dock man said "Kyle". Kyle's was the first & only labor & delivery Dock man could be an active part of. After he saw it all, he couldn't do it again. I feel for him & I understand. He almost fainted and I knew he didn't have the stomach for it even before we went in.

This beautiful boy entered our lives. He was a quiet baby and excellent baby (again, luck I had with all of them). He slept long hours early on. He was supremely alert. Because he was like my second first child, I revelled in being a new mommy & actually experiencing it first hand. I used to read to him all the time. In the pic above on the right, that will always be one of my favorite things he did as a baby. I used to call his name from all parts of the house & he would dash his head around to find where I was. Then he'd answer with that baby "uh?" kinda like he's saying "Yeah? You want something?". Then I'd make him grin.

As he got older, he got a little serious. He was very attached to me but he wasn't afraid of other people. From all the reading I did, at 18 months he could name all the letters of the alphabet on sight. That still amazes me - had I continued at that pace he prolly would've been reading at 3. I had to go back to work, though, among other things. Back to his seriousness. I've mentioned that Dock man is sarcastic. Dock man also like to mess with little kids. So does my older brother J. Kyle woudn't have that. He used to get angry. No joking with the boy. He had his share of fits. He liked to be a solitary child. If other kids came over, he would share everything with them but end up playing alone. It didn't bother him to play alone, I think he preferred it.

While we still lived in Illinois and even after we moved to Indiana, we used to head on out to Grandma's tavern at least once a month. I know from Kyle those were some great times for him. I'm not a drinker, so we'd have RC colas together at the bar when only a few old regulars were in there. Grandma always gave Kyle some chips to bring home & we'd get cases of RC to take with us, too. Kyle & I used to spend a lot of time hanging out with Grandma.

When he started school, that was really hard for me. I'd gotten so used to having him around all day, I knew I would miss him (when we moved to Indiana, I didn't have to work any more). He was happy to go, he'd looked forward to it. He did well until we moved from there. I think it was more to do with the age & transition rather than just the transition. We moved a lot when I was a kid, so I understand how hard it can be to start over. So, now he is an underachiever in school. I hope he gets that what I tell him is true - things for him now are supremely easy compared to what life truly is. It's work and it always will be. A good life is worth the long hours we put in, though. There are so many things I hope I can remember for a very long time, forever, even. Like the way he used to say "pertick" (perfect). When he was younger than 2, my mom had a voice mail (not anymore, sadly) that had him talking about getting sockem' boppers (member those? heh). Santa clAUs? was going to bring him sockEM BOPperS? The statements were questions then. And the stresses on the words, well, they were just adorable.

Kyle was in a play in 3rd grade & I am so glad we got a video tape of it. This drama program from one of the nearby universities went to different schools & would put on a play, training the students within the school system. They did this in one week. It was an amazing thing. I do have one regret about this, I went into labor with my daughter the weekend of the play. I had to miss his acting debut live. & the boy was incredible! He had the best time, too. It was a rewrite of the classic Rumplestiltskin. Kyle played the King, King Whatzat - the king was rather hard of hearing. Because of the individual attention they got, all of the kids were spot on in this, after only a week of learning lines & rehearsals. One week! It still baffles me how it was done & done so well. He's been a fan of drama since then. He was stage crew in another play, in choir & will probably be in more plays as time goes on. I look forward to the rest of his performances. In choir this year, he was one of the Jackson 5 for their Spring concert - if I can ever get the dang video uploaded, I will post it for you to enjoy!

The boy loves computer games & any gaming system in general. Sometimes I wish he loved to read (and I hope I instilled a love of books) as much as he loved to play. He still has toys & plays with them (not as often as he used to). He has gotten better at being responsible for himself. He's gotten better at doing things without being told. He has moments of utmost respect. I think we are lucky to have a 13 year old who is still really a kid, even if he thinks he's smarter than we are. I hope I helped him to remain one. When I mentioned I tried to instill a love of books, I used to read him kid novels before he could read them himself. We love the Harry Potter series & after we saw The Sorcerer's Stone, we got the next book. I read him those until the early middle of the Goblet of Fire, then he could read them himself. I've read him many short stories and we always enjoyed talking about the books we read. He still likes it when I read to him (them all, actually).

I always said he was going to be my good boy in highschool. I still believe that. He asked about college a few weeks back & I reminded him that he would have to help in the grades department. I hope that part catches on soon. He wants to chase storms when he's old enough, much to my horror. I can just imagine him getting sucked up by a twister - one of my big fears. He's talked about going on to meteorolgy, but who knows. Impressionable young minds change their options on the turn of a dime.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Trees in the Fall

I told my friend Amanda that I would post some pretty tree pictures for her today. She has a thing for trees and how nature brings her peace.

Last Fall (and it was late fall, November 13th - we didn't start seeing major color change til mid October! That's quite late for where I live) I took my baby girl for a walk & took some photos. I don't often go out & take pictures of trees, but for a while they had been calling me to do it. The colors of Fall have always been moving to me. I was lucky & did manage to take some lovely pictures. Now, I'm looking forward to this years changing of season. I miss the smell of Autumn.

I did enhance these a bit in PSP. It makes them even prettier. ;)


I'm normally not a movie or tv crier. I have to also confess that I missed the season ender of House back in May. You know, the 2 part with House's Head & Wilson's Heart? I watched those last night on the net and OMG! OMFG! That is some of the most moving tv writing EVER! I had to watch them because I started watching this season & although I know your best friend may hate you after you get his girlfriend killed (House really didn't, but the set of circumstances would have left me with much guilt, if it were me), I didn't understand all of it.

I meant to watch these 2 episodes at the end of the season, but to watch on Fox online, you have to wait 8 DAYS after they air! Stupid...so I forgot.

I'm watching these & I often laugh during the show & I did - during both episodes. Robert Sean Leonard did a sensational acting job with the death of his Amber - from the Wilson's Heart ep. I couldn't help but feel as crushed as he did when he was going through all of his stuff. The tears didn't come for me until they woke her up for him to say goodbye. Moving tv, I tell you, very moving.

The House's Head ep was a wonderful mystery, especially if you didn't know the answer. If you want to check them out you can here - House's Head and Wilson's Heart. Amazing tv writing! The acting isn't too bad, either.


I almost forgot (well, I did, but I'm back becauase I remembered). A very cool woman bestowed another award upon my blog! I actually recieved this from another cool lady a long time ago, Jaci, the raving mad housewife - but I forgot to post it then, too. Yes, I gave myself a V8 slap - twice.

Huge thanks to MamaHut & Jaci for thinking my blog was worthy!

To pay it forward - I give it to:

Billie my boo!

Amber - cause she rocks!

That O'Neal woman in charge, cause I found another fabulously funny & honest blog I love and just like with Amber people will probably cower away from her honesty! I love it and I'm a reader for life!

The recipients are free to do with the award what they wish (but please don't blog about that...). It'd be cool to see it payed forward, though to - to some of your favorite blogs!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I miss - Writing Workshop

Today I am participating in Mama Kat's Writing Workshop. Drop by & see if you'd like to participate, or just run around & see what others have written. This should be fun! Keep in mind, I didn't exactly follow the directions...I'm bad like that.

I miss my grandparents. Both of them were gone before any of my kids were born. They were the quintessential grandparents. Absolutely!

I know I have a much different view than my mom does because they were her parents.

We lived a few states away, but when we were young, we used to fly or drive out (with my parents & they'd drop us off) to Chicago to stay with them & my other grandma.

When we were too young to do this, everytime we'd visit Chicago, my grandpa would pull out a roll of 2 dollar bills from one of his overcoats in the closet. He'd give us each one & we'd run to the corner store to spend it on penny candy. We'd do this even though my grandma always had the cabinets stocked with miniature candy bars & tins of cookies. I remember how big his smile would be as he handed us the bills. His anticipation of the joy he knew he was bringing us with that simple, sweet gesture.

My grandma & grandpa lived in a two flat. My Aunt & my four boy cousins lived upstairs (yay for me! - not) and my grandparents lived downstairs. This house was the same one my mom & aunts spent most of their lives growing up in. It had the smell of a million home cooked meals permeated in the walls. The smell was heaven to me.

I used to love watching my grandma do her crossword puzzles & sit in the kitchen in the mornings to listen to my grandparents loving banter back & forth. They were a delightful & still very much in love couple.

Grandpa used to make us milky, sweet coffee in tupperware cups. I usually got the pink one. And every year, he'd show J the horses to run in the Kentucky Derby & they'd talk about odds then pick their horses.

He always talked to us about serious things. Those were lectures I could always tolerate & they were the only ones I honestly listened intently to. He seemed so wise and more than that - he was really the only man I have ever known with a truly pure heart. His kindness to others was endless. He gave everything he had to those he loved & more.

Two years before my grandma died and one after my grandpa did, we spent our last summer in Chicago. That was an incredible summer. It was also the summer my brother J and my cousin drove my grandma nuts - almost literally.

This particular summer (Grandpa had passed the January before), J and E decided dubbing was the thing to do on E's big boom box. The neighbor boys & the cousins & the cousins' friends would throw down the cardboard & break dance - seriously.

J & E also took to the sounds of grandma's frustrations & her barking, neurotic beagle. The dubbed her yelling at them & yelling at the dog. They dubbed themselves mocking her yelling at them & the dog. "M-ma-m-ma Mandy!!" (Mandy was the crazy dog)

This was also the summer of "Ed". J would find something he thought funny & use it/say it all the time. It happened to be "Ed" this summer. I can't remember why it was "Ed", but it was. Grandma would mock "Ed, Ed, Ed" in a semi masculine voice because she was tired of hearing it & they would dub it. I don't think I've ever seen her so pissed nor did I ever see them laugh so hard.

I did laugh some, because at 13 - that is funny stuff! At the same time I did feel bad for her & even mentioned to J that he should stop because it was making grandma so mad. The worst of this stuff really only lasted a day - but it would surface often during the rest summer. "Ed" lasted much longer & drove us all nuts.

Before we were to head home for school, my grandma made me one of her old recipes. One I didn't ever remember having. I didn't even remember it being mentioned. It consisted of ground beef browned with sauteed onions rolled into a crepe & served with a yummy sour cream sauce. I asked her what it was after my belly was full & my palette was tingling with the deliciousness. She told me it was her Lugan Ravioli.

When I recounted this story as an adult, in the presence of my Auntie Anne & my mom - I guess it stirred something up. I found out later from my mom that the last time my grandma served that meal was the night my cousin Dineen died. She was my aunt's second child and her only daughter (we'd find out after she had 3 more boys). She died as a result of SIDS. It had been more than 15 years since my grandma had made her Lugan Ravioli and she made it for me. Only me, too because no one else was there but the 2 of us. I cried when I really thought about that. I must have been something really special to her.


I miss my cousin Frank. I miss him because as many problems that he may have had, he had my grandpa's heart, almost.

He was fun to be around & great to talk to. He was the only one of my cousins (who lived nearby) that took the time to visit me & I would do the same with him.

I have stuff from old board games we'd play when we got together, our 2 families. Old notebook with his writing in them, score keeping or Boggle word lists. Paper cards from Balderdash with definitions written by him on them. When I see them, I miss him terribly. That's all I have besides the image of him in my mind constantly smiling.

Our kids liked to hang out together. His wife & I became good friends.

He died in a car accident May 30th 2000. He would have turned 35 on June 30th, 2000. His kids were so little when they lost their dad & I still remain close to the family. For a little while I got lost, but being around them reminds me of him. Especially his oldest - Frank the III. He has his dad's humor and fun loving side.

I miss his company. I miss his laugh. I miss his smile. Occasionally, he visits me in dreams. Usually, after it's been too long since I've spent time with his family. I wouldn't mind seeing him in my dream tonight.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Neighborhood happenings

First thing I want to mention - the start date of my giveaway will be October 6, 2008. I hope all of you who come by here will be excited about what I'm giving away. As I mentioned before, it's nothing huge, but it should be fun! Look to the right - see that pretty slideshow? ------------------------>
I made all of those. For real. You like?

Second thing - I think I need to re-title my Pos-T-Vac post. I'm getting a bazillion hits from that & I'm not sure if I want horny old guys dropping by & reading how humorous I find their issue.

So, our neighborhood is quiet, almost always. The kids around here are good kids and it is very rare to see cops for any other reason than their regular patrols. This is one of the things I love about where we live.

From my living room window I can see the backyards of at least 10 houses. Not that I'm always watching, but I can see if I want to - aside from the yards with the 6 foot wood fences.

On the east side, there are 5 houses & in the middle one resides a high school kid. For the last 3 years (almost, about) he and several of his friends have been playing football in those 2 middle yards - his back yard & his neighbor's. They don't play every week or even every month, but they play quite a few times a year. In that time, nothing eventful has happened, they play, have fun & go home.

Til Sunday afternoon. I did not see it happen, but I heard (& it's not as big a deal as the suspense might be telling you). Someone threw a pass and another kid went to catch it crashing hard into my closest neighbor's fence. The house on the corner with a 6 foot wooden fence. The fence broke. Not broke down, but it cracked along the lower brace (or whatever you call it) and across a couple of the slats.

The boys didn't go knock on the door or anything. They pretty much just all exclaimed a collective "whoooooa!" and went right on playing. If anything, I don't think they realized they busted it up a little. I didn't notice, but I wasn't paying all that much attention, I just went to see what the ruckus was.

After about a half hour, I'm at my computer (which sits in the corner with a clear view of all that's going on) and I see the neighbors with the broken fence talking to the kids. It seems harmless & they seem to be working something out. I hear one of the boys mention something about fixing the fence and calling his dad. I stop paying attention & a little while later, I see a cop come along.

After a few minutes of chatting with the boys & the cop, the lady across the street seems to be getting heated. I can only observe her movements, but she's more animated for sure - shaking her head no & throwing her hands in the air, that kind of thing. I actually hear one of the boys say "..you were just being nice about it over there...why all of a sudden..." and he points to where they chatted before the cop got there. (the boys were facing our house & the woman was facing the boys - it's easier to hear what's carried in the voices facing towards our house)

You know I'm nosy into this now & I can only hear little bits & pieces. At one point the lady exclaims "..but this is my backyard! Can't you go play somewhere else..." Huh? It wasn't her backyard they were playing in - it was her neighbor's & one of the high school boy's yards - & in 3 years, this is the first of any kind of incident.

I think one of their parents showed up, but I was kinda pissed at this point. At the neighbor, not the kids. I believe he agreed (this parent) to get the boys what they needed to fix the fence.

Needless to say, the boys spent the rest of the day working on that fence & worked well into dark. Like I said, these are good boys.

I know for a fact that I wouldn't have called the police. I would have gone over & talked to them to see their reaction first & from what I saw, these boys were willing to make amends before the cop got there. I think these people called the police before they even talked to the boys. If they called after, that makes them even dumber because I heard the one boy talk about fixing the fence & calling his dad.

These boys don't cause trouble, I've never seen anyone go out & yell at them or ask them not to play there, I've never heard anything more than them playing football & having a good, harmless time.

My question to you is - would you have called the police or would you have gone out to talk to them to see what they were willing to do? Keep in mind, our neighborhood is hella quiet. The most noise comes from kids playing & the steel mill behind our house. The kids around here are good & there have been no incidents that I'm aware of concerning any of them. I hear about stuff like that because I have an 8th grader in a very small town with a school that houses the elementary, the middle school & the high school in one building.

I guess this was the talk in the school on Monday because Kyle came home & told me all about it.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Okay - not yet.

I am so totally working out the details of this giveaway. Sometimes my spur of the moment is really too spurring.

It will be good for all! Later today I will announce a more precise date of the giveaway! Thanks for being patient with me.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

I have pictures!

There is no better birthday present than getting to talk to my oldest son on his birthday & still chatting as mine rolls in.

I also got pictures! It turns out, everytime we tried to call him, he was working. He isn't able to answer his calls while he's at work. Now that I know this, it will be a late night for me, at least once a month.

I got to talk to his lovely Bre (the mother of my grandchild to be) and they both sound happy and are very excited for the baby! I'm also chuffed that they have a computer. The next week will, they will be moving an hour south of where they are now & they look forward to the move. I wish them all the best & that they have a safe, uneventful move.

I also did get my hair cut! I found a local lady, Erin & she did a fabulouisns job! I haven't loved a haircut in a very long time ! I LOVE my haircut! I know I'll be going back to her. She's out of her home, so I know she can't leave the salon (okay - she could move, but it isn't likely).

I'm excited to show my pictures! Here is my young man & his young lady (I can't get over how mature he looks):

And here's my haircut -

A good birthday - yes!

In honor of our birthdays - I am going to be having a cool giveaway! Nothing all that special, but a giveaway none the less! Watch for details on Monday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I was tagged....

TWICE! I love when these things come back around. It's like jumping into the middle of an Airsoft war - only not nearly as painful.

So, my friend Angie tagged me yesterday & I told her I would get to it by the evening, I did not. This morning, The Woman In Charge tagged me, too! So pittooo, pishoo, pittoo - they are riccocheting everywhere - better watch it.

I will tag a couple fairly newbs on my blog list and one that's been there for a long while. Not sure if they will all want to join in, but I have fun doing these, so maybe they will, too.

The rules:

1. Link the person who tagged me.
2. Post the rules here.
3. Write 6 random things about myself.
4. Tag a few bloggers at the end of the post, then link to them.
5. Tell those people that I tagged them.
6. Let my tagger know that I did it.

Randomness -

1. I am a complete homebody - much to the chagrin of my kids. I'm thinking they will grow up to be homebodies, too - maybe, hopefully not. I never used to be. I just like the comfort that home brings. (I am blaming the hub - he's a homebody, too, but I'm worse than he is now. Thanks, Dockman!)

2. There is only one person I talk to on a regular basis that isn't living in my home. Other people suffer my lack of communication - including my siblings & parents. I'm so bad about getting in or staying in touch with people it isn't even funny. They are the same way, though - so I guess I learned it from somewhere.

3. I am getting my haircut this weekend. I always lose the haircut people I love to go to, then I neglect my hair for a very long time. I'll find someone awesome, then they shut down or move somewhere else, or leave that salon. I need a fun, short cut - one that will be easy, cute & fresh. First, I have to find someone to do it.

4. I have to go pick up celery in a few. I make a mean pork meatloaf with a recipe I got from Dockman's grandma. It's uber unhealthy, but oh so good.

5. My 2 youngest children talk to their toys endlessly. They use character voices for certain toys & it's fun to listen to sometimes. It can be disturbing, too - to hear the things the "moms" tell the "kids".

6. I am trying to finish inventory-ing my earring collection so I can showcase them for sale. Maybe someone will love them. ;) Inventory is boring as hell. Plus, tomorrow is my birthday. :D

I am tagging:

1. I have to tag Amanda! Cause she's a riot & her photography is worth a million views.

2. I am tagging That Girl - I can't get enough of her honesty. She has a way with words.

3. Also, Outnumbered - she is a fun read & I like her.

That be it. I will do 3 because 3 is plenty. By the time I get to 6, I'm running into many other tags.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My edumacation part 6

It's early & I'm not all that much of a rise & shine kind of person. More like a rise & fall.

My memory gets really cloudy from this time until I'm about 19. I don't know what to attribute it to - except I did do some drugs & drank some during this time. I didn't ever get addicted to anything (except nicotine - but that came earlier, anyhow), but I did my fair share - once in a while in excess.

I don't think I started my senior year at a traditional high school because it isn't working out that way in my head. I think I dropped out before the end of the previous school year, but this is neither here nor there - I dropped out & got on a list of students waiting to go to the alternative high school, Eastlake AHS. (I'm losing track of my time line in my head & trying to work out some of the exacting times of all of this...the year before was significant in that I struggled everyday, but insignificant in this story).

I was not getting along with my dad and was in & out of our house. I would go stay with friends and eventually, I moved out.

When I started attending this new school (I was still at home), I was thrilled & amazed by the atmosphere of it. We called all of our teachers by their first names. I can remember many of them because in one way or another, they truly impacted my life - Sandy, Mike, Donna, Matt (I can't remember my math teacher's name - Gene, maybe - but he really helped me to understand a subject I never seemed to truly grasp). Donna #1 really influenced me - she'd begun a peer counselling group & those of us students who got involved went away for a weekend retreat. That was an amazing weekend. I wish I could remember more of it. (More friends that made an impact on me - Dawn, Karen, Brett, Jason, Chris. If any of you happen to blog & stumble across me - I'd love to hear from you!) After that, the counselling wasn't as fruitful for other students or us - not nearly as much as we'd expected it to be. We felt like we could really make a difference, but not many of us were given that opportunity, as no one used these student services much.

When I moved out of my family home, I moved in with Carmen - my baby's daddy's mom. She has always been a giver in the truest sense. She never expected anything in return & she had done much more for me on an emotional level when it came to Steven & dealing with new motherhood. Carmen was a true gift in my life. And, yes, Steven's dad lived there, too, but we were long over any lust we had for one another - loooong over.

It was funny (odd, not "haha") - when I first moved in there, during the first week - I had a series of extremely disturbing nightmares. They were so disturbing, I remember 3 of them very vividly today. When I talked to Carmen about those, she did help me to realize the significance of them & what I was dealing with mentally. You see, my dad & I had a constant power struggle - even before Steven. Once Steven came, the battles did intensify & we fought much more often. He always knew the "right" thing to do with him and I thought I knew better. Because, look at the job they did with me - I was a real gem, I couldn't justify what I knew about their parenting skills & I thought I would do more. My dreams were significant in that dad was the demon/bad guy out to get my son. All of the dreams had me running for my life with Steven in tow because the bad guy/thing was desperately after Steven.

Back to school. It was an amazing school. I loved it, I was actually succeeding and getting good grades (a first for me, the consistency of good grades). In this school, a student is allowed 5 absences during any 9 week period. Sick or not sick, only 5 were allowed. It's one of those rules that cannot be broken, along with a few rules about grades. The waiting list was long & those who wished to take advantage of the program had to abide by them or suffer "recycling". I had taken 4 days off during the second quarter to tend to a sick child. I couldn't send him to day care sick, so of course I stayed home with him. The 5th day, I took for myself. I was feeling overwhelmed and needed a break. If I am in the right place of memory, I also had a part time job during this time.

Not too long after that 5th absence, and I can't remember the exact thing, but I had to take another day off for Steven. I believe he was sick again - he was my only child prone to ear infections & I believe that was the why. I called the school & talked to Donna #1. She told me that I had to take the day, because really, I had no choice. I explained to her that I did not want to be "recycled" because this meant I would lose all of my course credit for the 2nd quarter (the quarter was nearly over - winter break was only a few days away, I think) and have to sit out all of the 3rd quarter. She told me that she would talk to Donna #2 - the dean of students/administrator of the school.

When I went back the next day, I expected to be called in - but that didn't happen. The next day, I was called in & informed of my recycling. I pleaded my case - even explained that I did take one day for myself. I cried and begged for them not to recycle me & they reiterated that rules were rules & I had to abide by them like everyone else. This was Donna #2 I was talking to. Back then, a girl with a baby was not nearly as commonplace as it is today. I pleaded that part, too & that I was trying so hard to do things right & get my education. All of this to no avail.

I spent the next 2 weeks of vacation contemplating what to do & talking to Carmen & Karol about what we thought our options would be. Both of them fought for me over the next month. This turned into an education about how education politics worked. After break was over, we went to 3 schools to try to get me in & not lose credits so that I could graduate on time. The 2 schools within the district outright refused to let me attend until after the 3rd quarter was over, stating the rules. Donna #2 even showed up at my THS conference to plead her case about rules & waiting lists. The 3rd school, Ranum HS outside the district, had a very wise & comfortable man at the dean of students desk. He told me I could attend, but I would be required to pay their "out of district" fees.

He then proceeded to explain how it may be better for me, at 17 with a 2 year old child, to just consider getting my GED. He knew the "out of district" fees were exhorbitant & that I couldn't afford them, but he also knew he couldn't waive them. He gave me an outlet of a near by community college to call for the GED classes. He told me that in the short time we spoke, he realized I was an intelligent young woman & that I should get started on moving my life forward - for my benefit & that of my child. Karol went with me for this one & she could see how upset I was. We talked about the option mentioned by the dean & we thought it was extremely plausible.

I never did graduate from high school, but in December of the year I would have graduated, I did get my GED with a nearly perfect score.

Before this happened, over the course of the rest of the year, I struggled the most ever. Shortly after my "recycling", Carmen & I had our heart to heart about Steven. We talked about my fears of his resentment & not being able to do a good enough job because my examples were not good ones. I talked about how many huge mistakes I'd made already (cause there were a few huge ones) and how guilty they made me feel even though no one was worse for wear. We discussed how it would make me a stronger person to admit my inability to give my child all I could. We discussed how I was so young & it was all too much for me with family instability and an innate fear of the future for just me alone. It took me a while, but I decided that if Carmen was offering to give Steven a good home, I was willing to accept her gift. She always (for years) reassured me that Steven knew all about me & my love for him - and this turned out to be absolutely true.

Not a week after that, Eric (Steven's dad) & I had a good brawl. Well, I brawled - he held me down (actually, he lifted me off his girlfriend & dropped me on the couch). You all know I couldn't stay there after this. Right after the showdown, Carmen took the time to explain to me why I couldn't stay. I know she was pissed & hurt, but I think she knew where some of my aggression was coming from - but I was still really angry with her, too.

I juanted off to home with mom & dad, then nowhere land. My life after that was a series of awful mistakes & learning experiences. Including the fact that I had truly given my son up. Once I was out of her house, I think to protect herself and Steven, Carmen made it so that we (I & my parents) couldn't see Steven unsupervised for a while. Carmen didn't trust my parents and she was still unsure about my plans, too. None of this went over well with mom & dad. They didn't understand several things - first & foremost, why I took Steven away from them. Couple that with our own dysfunction & bam - we have a big ole dilemma with fighting amongst ourselves.

So, this was my education. This was how I spent my youth - learning adult lessons & not really gaining experience or knowledge from them until I was much older. If I had any regrets - I can boldy name 2 - giving Steven up (who knows how good or bad I'd have done with him - I think I would have tried harder, done better sooner if I had him. On the other hand, it could have all gone terribly wrong & I could have screwed him out of a good life with his g-ma.) and not furthering my education beyond a GED. I could have used the "No Child Left Behind" laws back then. As much as that boosted my confidence (because I did what I was told & did it well), getting my GED was also devastating in a way, as was having the out to give Steven up. Both taught me an easy way out. Those are not good lessons. I used the "easy way out" for a very long time after & didn't take responsibility for my actions until much later on. Some things I still struggle with today.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

My edumacation part 5

I know, I know. This is long over due. Now, I have a little bit more time. In a way it's cool & in a way, it makes me sad. Hopefully my extra time won't last very long.

I left you with the weekend I had to be away from Steven. I think keeping him was very selfish in the very way that troubled teens are selfish. Really, not much in the way of rational, experienced thought. I am very glad my parents stood behind me.

The next couple of years, I went through even more garbage. I had a secret from my family & it was something that needed to come out. When Steven was 7 months old, or so, I "ran away" to Indiana to stay with my birth father. I must have been disillusioned thinking he would do more for me than my family did (even though I'd never spent more than 30 minutes at a time with him and only a small handful of that) - I guess we just have to find out for ourselves the true nature of people. I also left Steven behind with my parents, trust me, this was an unselfish thing and he was at the forefront of my thoughts each day I was gone. I had no idea what to expect from my birth father.

The time I spent in Indiana, the summer before my 16th birthday, was actually a very good time. I can remember a few people (for many years I could remember them all) who really made an impact on me. The biggest problem with staying there was, we really had no place to call home. He shuffled me from friend to friend and when he worked (I'm still nto sure of his "job"), I was free to do whatever I wanted. I truly mean whatever - drink, drugs, sex, etc. and he didn't have a problem with any of it. One day, he & someone else carried me by my arms & legs into a bed, hog style, because I was passed out in a chair before it was even dark! I was acutely aware of what was going on, I just couldn't react. That was what I called my semi-conscious drunk.

Fast forward to late August 1987. Time for school. I begin attendance at a high school in the small town we were staying in. I hated it & felt quite oddly out of place. Very unusual for me, because I could fit in anywhere - until this. My birth father had me staying with probably his most stable couple friends. Cindy & Beaker were amazing people & they put up with shit from me that they never should have had to.

One night I awoke sobbing & it turned into hysterical crying. Cindy came in because my blubbering got really loud and she was asking me why I was crying, what was wrong & I kept telling her I didn't know. She was a calming comfort and a complete wall of support, but because at the moment of the hysterics, I honestly did not have a clue where it was coming from, I couldn't tell her why.

I don't know how other people's minds process strained or blocked thought. I know mine was not letting me understand where this breakdown was coming from - as much as I wanted to help Cindy to understand the why, I couldn't grasp it myself. I was thinking about Steven, my parents, my birth father & how he left me here & took off. I was thinking about how much I missed my baby and how he might be doing with my parents. I was thinking about how my flight had to have disrupted my parents lives inexorably, I thought they'd never forgive me. After a long while of feeling emotionally out of control, it really hit me. It hit me like a bullet train. It started when I was 10 & didn't truly end until I left home for this summer.

I don't think explaining here will be relieving experience. I don't think this is the arena I would choose to express that kind of ordeal. I don't think it would be theraputic, just uncomfortable & a little shameful. Because even after all these years, I do carry guilt. The circumstances were unusual & even though I know I was the child, I understand I was not the power, I understand I should carry no culpability - I still feel some responsibility.

I can tell you that it prompted a series of life changes. One of those changes had to do with my dad being my voice when I didn't have one.

Cindy called my mom in the morning & relayed all of what came out of me to my mom. I'm sure mom felt devastated & so did my dad. I caught a flight home the next day. I remember coming off the plane & seeing my baby walking towards me. I cried - a lot! He was mad at me. I knew he was. For 11 months old, he was really aware of what was going on. I walked to him with my arms open & he came to me, I picked him up & he hugged me hard. Then he pushed away & looked into my eyes with a furrowed brow. He knew I left him. I don't know that I can explain it - but I knew he knew. He loved me, missed me, but he was mad at me for leaving. Then all he wanted to do was walk. It was a new thing, you know. I was amazed.

The next year was a bit of a whirlwind. With the help of "the system" I went through therapy with a wonderful psychotherapist named Karol McBride. She helped me to change my life. She helped me to change my relationship with my parents, especially with my dad. If I had been able to stay with her longer than a year, I think my life could have improved even more. She was an amazing woman and an amazing therapist. Nothing came easy, she made me see & find out for myself what was going on in my head. That's what they are supposed to do. She got mad at my dad & made him talk when he didn't want to. She pressed me for my answers.

Also with the help of the system, the plea agreement was brutally wrong. He was given a very, very light sentence for something that took 5 years of my life, along with so much more. When I heard this, I stood up & choked out "I don't..." I couldn't speak, I couldn't believe how that worked, I didn't understand it. My dad explained everything (even his own ignorance of the abuse) to the judge with a choked voice & tear stained cheeks and I cried profusely in a public courtroom in the arms of my mom. I think the judge realized the folly of the prosecution because he was pissed. off. - really angry. He explained his reasoning & judgement with a fierce & booming voice. Knowing that the judge understood was a small victory for me and provided me with a sense of relief. Another thing that was relieving was that he was told to never contact our family again or he would spend the entire time of his probabtion (after serving 90 days in jail) in jail. I knew he wouldn't try to get in touch with me. Or so I thought.

Abuse of this nature is an epidemic. This happens to boys and girls & so much of it goes unreported. Because of the way the system works today, I hope that those it happens to are willing to come forward. I also want to say that I wish it didn't happen to anyone. Nowadays, this will mark the offender for life. This guy needed to be marked because I am certain it didn't stop with me. Absolutely certain, because it didn't begin with me - & before me, he had never been caught. This is what he does - period. ETA: I also want to mention that most commonly, this happens at the hands of people parents trust. People parents will willingly leave their kids alone with, thinking there is absolutely nothing to fear. Just be wary. These people will completely endear themselves to the family. All encompassing trust.

I will leave you with this & be back with more tomorrow. All of this is a part of my edumacation. And just maybe it will help someone else.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Tell me a story - a ghost story

My friend Amber hit me up today for a mission of sorts. Check out her blog here - Amber's House Full - and if you feel so inclined, share your own ghost story. Read hers first - it's creepy awesome!

I love a good ghost story, & like Amber, I'd rather hear something that will make me wonder as I'm falling asleep at night, maybe even keep me awake because it seems so possible.

I'll preface this with the fact that I know digital cameras can occasionally display some odd things if the photographer was moving at the time of the snapshot. I've seen these anomalies often, especially when the photographer is a spritely 7 year old. On to my story...

On Labor Day weekend, I spent the better part of 2 days at my inlaws (hub's parents) lake house. It was built in 1934 (or around there), but not by anyone in our family. It's a beautiful piece of property. Both of the younger families have lived there at different times.

My brother in law & sister in law lived there for a while in the early to mid 90s. My hub & I lived there from 1997 to 2004. It is a fabulous house & since we've moved, it's even better (and bigger - additions since we moved) because it's truly vacation property now.

My sister in law told me about some spooky occurrences there. All of them in the bedroom we call the "lake" bedroom. Obviously, this bedroom has a wonderful view of the lake and it's the only bedroom in the house that does. It's also an addition, not an original part of the original house. I can't remember her experiences, but I do know that they scared her so bad, my brother in law had to threaten the "ghost" to leave.

When we were living there, before I knew of her experiences, I would hear noises coming from that room. At first, no one slept in there (from the time we moved in, until the Kyle was 4 or 5), it was a guest room where the inlaws stayed when they dropped by. When Kyle moved into that room, for a while, there was nothing.

At the time, we had 2 cats. One outside & one inside. The inside cat was still quite young & prone to playful behavior & knocking things off the dressers, playing with little toys, smacking them with a paw so they sail across the floor & then chase after them. This was common, especially at night. The cats always slept in Kyle's room.

On a few occasions, I would hear things fall off the dresser. I would hear toys skitter across the floor. I would hear moving around. I would go to get the cat because that was what I typically did, afraid he would wake up Kyle with his noisy silliness. These particular occasions, the cat would be sleeping under the table or in the kitchen. These were the times I really had a hard time sleeping at night & of course my mind filtered in much more than what was really going on.

Fast forward to Labor Day weekend, 2008. My kids love to take pics with my camera. Especially Dew & he really does take some amazing pictures sometimes. I placed the camera around his neck & told him to go for it. He took pictures of the lake, of the dogs, of the cars in the driveway, of all the people at the barbecue, of the house across the street. He went into the bedrooms & took pictures in the nearly empty closets, of the things on the floors, of the area rugs & the bedroom furniture. He was having fun (even though I was getting a camera full of junk photos).

So, after I get my camera back, I'm perusing the pics. I come across this one:

I'm looking and wondering what it is, I show my father in law, he doesn't know what it is. The next day I showed my sister in law & she had mentioned before this weekend that she felt our grandfather in law has been "with" them since he died. He died last year in June. He was 88. My brother & sister in law have been going through some major hardships for quite some time, so maybe he is a guiding, protective spirit, I dunno.

Anyhow, I show her this & she gets real quiet. She whispers through a strained voice - "That is Dziadek (jya-dek - Polish word for Grandpa.)." Then her eyes well and she has to turn her head.

I get home & drop it on my computer so I can look at it full size (and now, of course I have the idea planted in my head that it's Dziadek - so that is what I see.). I am baffled & trying to think of what it could be, what kind of movement could do that with a digital camera & I don't know. I do know it's weird & I do know I can't explain it. I'm not going to point it out. You tell me what you see.

Edited to add - Yes, this is taken into a mirror. The hands on the camera belong to Dew. He is behind the camera on the right, angling the camera to left.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Props, pimps & preparation

It's not the kind of pimp you think. Or maybe it is, I'm not sure! Let me begin by saying I have been a very bad blogger! Awful & there have been occasions this week that I wanted to chime in some complaints and add soem humor moments from the kids. All of that is lost in my memory, now, I'm bad about getting it just right (thinking I should be recording such moments in a notebook or something).

The first prop & pimp is going to Jen! Fabulous, crafty, talented Jen! Her boys gave permission for her to create siblings just for us, not in their likeness, but similar. She then sent said siblings to me! They are the best, tightest knit & most adorable little soft friends I've ever seen! The kids gaga-ed ove rthem when they came in & now they sleep with them every night! I have been busy with a complicated makeover (I'll explain at the end), but when they got here - we took some pics! I present to you - Lenny & Minnie Moo (or mini-me, as my daughter calls her):

^ The cat had a complete fascination with Lenny - he wouldn't quit sniffin' him!^

On our way to the movies - the day the new kids got here!

I am amazed by the knit work - it's beautiful & the kids adore their new friends. Thank you so much, Jen, Guillermo & Bernardo over at Two Knit Monkeys!! The kids are so thrilled to have them. I think Lenny & Minnie love playing in their new castle, playground & houses the kids set up for them (I really need to take more pictures!).

The second prop & pimp is going to Christie over at Pretty Paper blog. When I offered blog makeovers to start my business for only $15 - she hit me up for one. When I looked at her blog, I had to ask for a trade - to see if it was plausible. It absolutely was! We worked out a deal - I made her blog over (I'm unfamiliar with Wordpress, but her hub knows it inside & out) creating the graphics only. She said she would have her husband upload it for her, as I don't know Wordpress - at all. I know she's been really busy lately, so you can't see what I've done for her, yet, but she created a FABULOUS little scrap book for my daughter! I've never seen something so pretty & it's such a personal thing, too. We got the scrapbook just yesterday and like I knew it would, handing it over to my daughter made me cry. Stupid sentimental stuff! Happens all the time with something that will be remembered & cherished for a lifetime (fortunately, I was barely able to keep my tears at bay with our new monkey & lamb friends, my boys would have been embarrassed!! It was tough, though). I know when I look to getting a book for my neice, this is where I'm heading ----> you see the button in my sidebar? Pretty Paper Store - amazing work, amazing talent. None of the images she has up do the scrapbooks justice - they are incredibly beautiful!

The following pictures were taken by Christie . Once I get some images in there, I will take some of my own.

Thank you both so much for the wonderful anticipation waiting for the mail, the wonderful things we got because you both are fantastic people with amazing hearts! It was a pleasure working with both of you on your blogs and I'm glad I could make you entirely happy with your makeovers! I know you've made us very happy here, too! You're awesome!

The third & final prop & pimp goes out to Monda over at There's Just No Telling. Not only is she an amazing writer - you have to go through her archives & look for some of her flash fiction, it's evocative work -she also has a very awesome book giveaway! I was a lucky winner 2 weeks ago and I got the 3 books I chose from her list. I enjoyed the contact I had with her because she is funny & just a hip woman! The card she sent with the books was handmade & pretty! Check out her other blogs, too - one she has because she is a collector & connoisseur of vintage typewriters Fresh Ribbon; and another she has for awesome writing prompts called Easy Street Prompts. Inspiration is only a mouse click away.

If you want to try your hand at getting some must have books for your bookshelf, then head on over to There's Just No Telling & look for the Ultimate Shelf Cleaning Book Giveaway. Thank you, Monda!

On another note - I have been working on a complicated makeover. Complicated only because I took it upon myself to learn how to illustrate using vectors (I can't draw on paper to save my life, I've never been that kind of artist). I wanted to learn & had an incredible fervor to do so. The result was a very personal makeover for a great couple (who are expecting their first child!! Congrats, congrats!). It reflects her family and there's nothing more personal than that when it comes to illustration. Check it out here - And Baby Will Make 4.

Couple this with the Labor Day weekend - we spent it at the inlaws (most of it) and I have pictures, but I'll save that for another post. The preparation part in the title was all about getting the kids ready for back to school. That's always a busy time. These are all the reasons for my lack of posting & incomplete reformatting info, not to mention my edumacation story. I am coming into some time here, very soon. My client list is waning, so in the immortal phrase of Ahnohld -"I'll be back!". I miss you all & I am sorry! I know I've missed much in the way of your posts - I am so missing my fixes of your humor, your hearts & your love!


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