Friday, December 26, 2008
My friend took Boxing Day to a new level.
Let me back up a bit and tell you the Tale of Two Ovens. My oven hasn’t been working for a long time. Instead, I purchased a microwave/convention oven to do my baking. That was until earlier this month when it would no longer bake. I mentioned this to my friend who happens to have two ovens: one gas oven in her kitchen that came with the house she bought, and an electric oven hanging out in the garage, waiting to be installed into the kitchen. They were trying to use up the propane in the tank before they switched ovens.
She took pity on me and decided to give me her gas oven. Yipee! I can bake again! After the guys spent a good portion of Christmas Eve doing the oven switcheroo, I was baking with gas again.
I wish I could say the same for my friends. As my husband puts it, “No good deed goes unpunished.” On Christmas, they were going to bake a ham. But while their oven was pre-heating, it became apparent that mice had made a home somewhere inside and were now becoming crispy and—to say the least—smelly.
It wasn’t good timing for them. Grandma and Grandpa were flying into town to visit them. They had even invited us to come to dinner on Boxing Day. But would my friend give up because she didn’t have a working oven? No way! She took it as a personal challenge.
She made a box oven out of a cardboard box, foil, and wire hangers. She cooked biscuits in the box oven, heated with hot charcoal briquettes. She made other items on the stovetop. We had a wonderful dinner.
Now we feel bad that we took their working stove. I guess I’ll have to have them over for dinner!
Everyone else had that idea too.
The roads were a slippery, crowded mess. Some bridges, exit/entrance ramps, and overpasses were closed to allow salt trucks to do their jobs. Traffic was at a near standstill. We tried to take back roads, but they were backed up too.
Two hours later, we were still only a few miles away from our starting point, and we had a long way to go. After finally getting away from the traffic, we made our way outside of the city and slowly driving down a relatively lonely highway that follows the Ohio River. We took it easy and didn’t have any problems. I probably made some people mad because I refused to drive faster than 45 mph. It was still raining and the temp was at exactly freezing. I wasn’t going to take any chances, especially with the kids in the car.
After a brief hamburger pit stop, and stopping to get beer (an essential), we finally turned onto our road after driving for 5 ½ hours. I could just see me holding that beer in my nice warm living room at any time now. Forget about the party, they’ll understand why we just didn’t feel like going somewhere else.
I was slowly driving down our road, going “the back way” as we call it, since we normally don’t arrive from that direction. It’s a winding and twisting little road that goes pretty steep at places. I wasn’t too worried—I’d never had any problems before.
The last mile or so is probably the most steep. At some point, however, my car would not go up any further. In fact, after spinning my tires for a while, the car started going backward and sideways. Not good—there are steep drop offs.
We had to abandon our car and hoof it the final ½ mile climb to home. Fortunately, I was smart enough to stuff a small flashlight into my car and just happened to have an army duffel bag in my trunk. I also checked my emergency kit, but there wasn’t anything we needed. It wasn’t that cold, but we bundled up anyway. I was a little scared because I was wearing boots that are not practical for walking. So we packed some things into the duffel bag (including the beer!), locked up the car with a note on the windshield, and started up the steep road to our house.
It was slippery. We had to walk on the side of the road as much as we can. Some places we had to walk on the road because of the drop-off beside the road. I held my 3-year-old daughter’s hand and would not let go. We walked, in the dark. The kids were doing great. My husband gave commands, and I complained about my stupid boots.
Up ahead, we saw some lights. We were scared of encountering head-on traffic, so we found a spot where we could get safely off the road and wait for them to pass. But they didn’t move any more. So we walked some more. As we got closer to the stopped vehicle, we noticed it was the cinder truck. It was stuck, with one tire off the road and uncomfortably close to a drop-off. They were desperately trying to back the truck up, and it was not going anywhere except down into the mud. If it weren’t for a retaining pole, it would be doomed.
Good thing we didn’t try to drive my car up the road further—we would have had to stop anywhere—there was no getting around the stuck truck.
We made it home, safe, and tired. Thank goodness we got some Netflix in the mail.
I haven’t left the house since, and I got rid of the boots.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
1. Flip a coin. This may sound really easy, but you have to chose who gets heads and who gets tails. Have a friend help you. Click Here.
2. I-Ching - In Asia, the I Ching (Book of Change) has been a basis for divination. Click Here.
4. Ouija Board
6. Bibliomancy - Bibliomancy is the practice of seeking spiritual insight by selecting a random passage from a Holy Book. Click Here.
8. Ask a Child - You'll be surprised with how honest they are.
9. Cow Dump. Here in Creekistan, sometimes things get decided with the aid of a cow. Here's how: Divide up a small field in equal squares. Mark each square with a red or blue mark--one for McCain, one for Obama. Feed the cow, then let them onto the field. The winner is decided when the cow leaves a pile in one of those squares.
10. Go to VoteHelp - VoteHelp is a nonpartisan candidate calculator that compares your views to those of Barack Obama and John McCain.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
13 Things I remember from September 11, 2001
- I wasn't at work long and a co-worker got a call from her mother that a plane hit one of the towers in New York City. She thought her mother was crazy.
- I checked the internet and saw a one-sentance headline on my news site. It said something like "A passenger plane has flown into the World Trade Center.".
- As news came in, people were trying to find out more. I wasn't able to get a live TV feed from the main channels in the US, but I was able to get the BBC..
- People stood around my computer and watched, in horror, as the towers fell. Some people couldn't even watch. I was one of them. It just didn't seem real..
- A television was brought into the lunchroom so people could watch the coverage.I tried to keep busy that day. I think I had some kind of important deadline. It was important to someone else, but nothing seemed very important to me..
- My boss was on a business trip to LA. He was stuck there for a few days. I remember getting messages from him via his Blackberry..
- A salesman for the company was supposed to make a sales call to the Pentagon that day--for some reason, he did not..
- The president of the company contacted every company associate in New York and made sure everyone was okay. He then sent a message letting everyone else know..
- I remember wanting to do something for the victims--like give blood or donate blankets. But as news filtered in, we realized that it wasn't necessary..
- On my way to pick up my 1-year-old son, I was struck by the lack of airplanes in the sky. It was very strange. .
- The weather and the sky that day was very beautiful, a juxtaposition to what was happening in New York..
- We finally got into contact with our friends in New York to find out that they are okay. One, however, was in the mess in Manhattan, running away from the towers..
- We didn't feel like doing much and went out to eat. We were the only people in the restaurant. Streets were empty and the mood was very grim. .
Thursday, September 04, 2008
1. The chickens now have a permanent home. The wonderful Chicken Condo, built by my husband, is now occupied by 8 of the luckiest chickens in Creekistan. They don’t even know how good they’ve got it!
2. No, the rooster hasn’t crowed yet, and there are no eggs yet. But I’ve been giving the rooster crowing lessons and he seems to pay attention. But the egg laying . . . I’ll have to just let them learn that on their own.
3. We’ve been cleaning out the Bee House and making it a better place to store our stuff. Once we put sheets of plastic on the walls, pull out the carpet, and remove the drop-ceiling, it isn’t so bad! Except the fact that the whole house seems to lean to one side.
4. We officially own a truck now. Woo Hoo! Along with the chickens, the truck makes us official farmers!
5. My garden was a complete bust. Nothing has turned out except for a couple yellow squash and a couple cucumbers. Everything either got eaten by deer or just gave up. Oh, except for the turnips. They loved it there. But what exactly can I do with a bunch of turnips?
6. Some of my container gardens did okay—with herbs and some tomatoes. We think it’s because they get more sun than my big garden.
7. My living room hasn’t progressed for about a month. I need to work on it, but it’s too darn hot. I hope to have it done by Thanksgiving.
8. My 3 ½ year-old daughter has started preschool. She was excited and seems to really enjoy it.
9. My son started the 3rd grade. I’m always amazed by how much he has learned in 3-4 years of school. He’s already doing algebra, but he doesn’t know it!
10. I’ve started back to college. I’m taking a few classes—because I can! After putting my husband through until he got his Doctorate, I think I deserve some lernin’.
11. In the morning, we all hop into the car and drive to school. With both my kids in school, me in college, and my husband teaching, that means we are all in school.
12. For those of you curious, I’m taking Art History, a drawing class, an upper-level Ethics class, and Pilates. Oh, and I’m going to play in the Early Music Ensemble.
13. I’m loving every minute of it. Being away from home and learning (or re-learning) things has given me a wonderful opportunity a lot more “me” time.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
My youngest niece and her friend decided at the last minute to go on a summer road trip to Ohio. Of course, they wanted to visit us in Creekistan and stayed for a few days. It was as lot of fun, even though no one had money to do anything. Who needs money when you can stay home and chase chickens around the yard and have huge campfires?
But the summer is beginning to end. Our neighbor’s pool is now freezing cold and the frogs have moved on. My son will start school in a week, and everyone else will start school in two weeks.
I love the Fall and wish it would go on until Spring. I’m not such a fan of Winter.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
1. My daughter got accepted into preschool this week, the one on the campus of the university that my husband teaches for, as well as where I will be taking classes starting this fall.
2. Yes, you heard me right. I’m taking classes this fall. I’ll be a non-traditional student taking four classes this fall. I’m really excited about going back to school and getting out of the house during the day. So it’ll mean the whole family will be in school at the same time.
3. I got nominated and voted into the local Arts Council. I’m excited about helping make an impact in the arts community and helping children enjoy the arts. This council has been too focused on plays for children, and needs to expand to other forms of fine art and music. I hope to help with that.
4. The chicken house is nearly ready. It’s been taking my husband way too long, but he wants it to be nearly perfect and weatherproof. It’s practically blocking my front door, so I hope it can get moved soon.
5. The chickens are doing fine. The temporary pen hasn’t kept them in—they sneak out and become free range for half the day.
6. In the evening, they huddle together in a sideways Rubbermaid box under a plastic turtle shell-looking lid from an old sandbox. Works fine to keep them cool and protected from rain.
7. The chickens know that first thing in the morning, I make coffee and will be in the kitchen. So if they want attention, they find their way to the porch right off the kitchen and look for me.
8. So far it looks like we have 1 rooster and 8 hens. Not a bad ratio! We can’t have more than one rooster, so I’m happy that we won’t have to eliminate any chickens.
9. The other county fair is this week. This is the county where my son belongs to 4H. He’s still a Cloverbud, so he can’t bring an animal, but I had him do a bird feeder. He got a wonderful participation award.
10. We spent a few minutes at the fair talking to a rancher who has Alpacas. There are small, hairy camel-looking creatures. They actually are related to camels, and come from South America. They are beautiful! But I don’t think I’m ready for an alpaca yet.
11. Alpacas can spit up to 16 feet away.
12. My youngest niece from Omaha decided to go on a road trip with a friend and plans on visiting me this weekend. Looks like I’ll have to clean up!
13. My children were punished for not putting videos and DVDs away—they were banned from watching videos for 10 days. They didn’t really care. There’s too much else to do.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Just a little bit of fun for this last day of July.
13 Sawyer Nicknames (you know, Sawyer from the TV show LOST)
1. Amy the Black = Rinse ‘N’ Repeat
2. My son = Avalanche
3. My daughter = Picasso
4. My husband = Professor
5. Bandit, the Dog = Jethro
6. Gracie the Cat = Ferdinand
7. Sneaky Chicken = Blonde
8. My Mother-In-Law = Spacebar
9. My Father-In-Law = Wilbur
10. My friend, Julie = Rumplestilskin
11. My friend, Drew = Capt. Lou Albino
12. John McCain = Munchkin
13. Barack Obama = Betty
Try it yourself!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
13 More Thursday Rants
1. My living room painting is not yet done. I'm putting off the sanding because it will be horrible! So I'm finding anything else that needs to be done instead.
2. My neighbor's big party to celebrate my husband finishing his doctorate was fun. Not as many people were able to attend as we had hoped, but those that did show up had a great time.
3. I had been hoping to enter a lot more crafts to the county fair this year. But I wasn't able to. Just hours before I was to drop everything off, I was able to create a Halloween decoration and a flower arrangement. I already had a photograph ready to enter.
4. I always complain how no one enters enough crafts at the fair. There were some categories that had no entries at all. I wish there was more competition--saying you won first prize on something may only mean you were the ONLY entry.
5. With that in mind, I got first prize on my Halloween decoration. (I was the only entrant.) My flower arrangement was pathetic compared to the other entries--Good for them! And my photograph was able to get first place in spite of fierce competition!
6. We went to the fair on the day of the Pig Scramble. It's a lot of fun--they put soap on the pig and the contestant's hands and arms. Contestants are supposed to not only catch a pig, but also put the into a specific pen. I feel sorry for the pigs, but they seem to be okay.
7. My daughter loves inflatable rides. Sure enough, at the fair there was a giant inflatable slide. KIds are allowed to climb up it and slide down two times. My daughter didn't care about the rules. Get gets to the top and jumps around for a while, refusing to slide down. My son had to grab her legs and force her down the slide. She immediately went back up. Two more times! Eventually I had to grab her.
8. I cannot even look at the "go around in a circle" rides, let alone actually ride them.
9. A black stray has come our way. She seemed okay, and we actually considered keeping her, until The Chicken Incident.
10. The Chicken Incident: Because the chickens are getting too big for their boxes but we don't have a pen yet, I made a makeshift pen for them. It is pretty safe and allows them to get out and about and scratch on the ground. They love it.
11. Moxy, the name I gave to the black stray, waited until our backs were turned and got into the pen. She was very fast. I was only able to find 5 dead chickens. But we were down to 10 from the original 24. We buried the found victims.
12. We called the Dog Warden to come pick up Moxy. As usual, the Dog Warden seems to be ignoring us, even when he says he'll be right out. "I'll be there in two hours." Two days later, nothing.
13. My husband found three more of the chicks' bodies. Seems our cat took advantage of the Chicken Incident and found and carried three of the small chicks up to our second-floor porch. How she managed, I don't know.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
The chickens just arrived. A friend's father brought them down from Columbus. Twenty-four of them! They are chicks about 1 - 3 weeks old. They certainly are cute. I love the little chirp noises they make!
For now, they are on our back porch in cages. Eventually, we'll have to build a chicken house and run for them. We have the perfect spot. We just have to find the time to build what they need.
But there is nothing like fresh chicken or fresh eggs!
Thursday, July 10, 2008
Thursday Thirteen Rant
1. Okay, it's been a while. I've been really busy with vacations, parties, and finally fixing the walls in the living room.
2. The living room walls are a wreck. First, there was wallpaper, but no ordinary wallpaper--it seemed like it really was just paper. Secondly, in some spots, the wallpaper was applied directly to the wallboard. When trying to remove the wallpaper, I also seem to remove some wallboard.
3. Yes, I do have to remove the wallpaper. I tried to paint over it, but the primer made it bubble!
4. The county fair starts this Sunday, but I don't have any projects completed. The only thing I can enter right now is a photograph. I would love to complete a Halloween decoration, but my kitchen is torn up.
5. You heard me right, the kitchen is torn up. My husband is trying to apply a back splash. But as everything seems to be going lately, it's not as easy as it looks.
6. On top of everything, my husband has quit smoking. He's popping nicotine candy, but he's still really grumpy. Not very good when you're trying to do construction projects!
7. There is a party on Saturday to celebrate my husband getting his Doctorate. It's at our neighbors house (thank goodness!).
8. I've started new medications that usually have unpleasant side-effects. But so far, so good!
9. All the scraping of the wallpaper has made my right arm sore. I try to use my left, but it's never as good.
10. My garden is not doing so well. Rabbits and deer are eating some things. Other things just didn't want to grow. And my daughter pulled up the id markers, so I don't know what's growing!
11. Spiders are upset because we're kicking them out of the living room. I don't care--it's not like they don't have an entire forest to live in. They've gotten spoiled.
12. Yesterday, I got to flip off the "Straight Talk Express." Yep, McCain was within 30 miles of Creekistan!
13. I hope that by the end of the summer, I'll have the living room done--complete with wall- and floor-boards. And I'll be able to sit down and enjoy it.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
Monday, June 30, 2008
I was watching the weather updates and the road conditions before we left on our roadtrip to Omaha. Our drive takes us through Iowa, which has been hit hard by rains, tornadoes, and flooding. We mapped out two routes, just in case route "A" was still flooded. But route "B" was flooded, too. Fortunately, by the time we left, route "A" was okay.
Omaha and the surrounding areas has been pounded by Mother Nature during the past month. A tornado hit an Omaha community during the night of June 8th. On June 11th, a tornado hit a Boy Scout camp about 45 minutes from Omaha, killing 4 boys and injuring many more. Rain caused severe, post-Katrina-like flooding of several Iowa cities.
And, two days after we left Omaha, a wall of wind and rain, called "straight-line winds," blowing at 115 mph--hurricane levels--downed hundreds of trees, power lines, and caused severe damage, especially near where we were staying with my Mother. (By the way, my Mother and her home were undamaged.)
But between the storms, we had a good time. Only short bouts of rain appeared while we were there.
Our time in Omaha was so very brief, we could only visit a few of the most important places. First, we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at The French Cafe. I went shopping at the Mall of my Youth: Westroads. I enjoyed grocery shopping at Whole Foods. We took the kids to the best Zoo in the world: the Henry Doorly Zoo. I went with friends to Shakespeare in the Park to see Much Ado about Nothing. We visited the cemeteries where family are buried, especially my Father, placing flowers on every one. We even spent an hour or two, in the rain, looking for my Great-Grandparents' graves.
Most importantly, we visited with family. Some who have never met my daughter, since the last time I visited I was only two months pregnant with her.
We had fun during our whirlwind visit, and we didn't cause any damage.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Oh, and someone needs to take care of the tadpoles living in a bucket on the back porch.
And don't let the . . . . . . Oh, forget it! We need to get away for a while.
Thursday, June 05, 2008
13 Random Things in Creekistan
1. A brood of cicadas has emerged. These are the loud bugs that emerge every 17 years or so. This isn't the big brood like the one in 2004, but they're still very loud. It sounds like an aerosol can that won't stop spraying, or Star Trek phasers on stun.Info.
2. My neighbor has a pesky bird that pecks at their kitchen window. In order to discourage this, they have set up a cross-dressing Mr. Potatohead in the window. It really works!
3. I hurt my back doing yard work. The yard doesn't seem to care and has just kept growing. But when I'm on muscle relaxers, I don't care very much.
4. My Wii Fit arrived and is a lot of fun. But you can't take it personally. My Wii Fit tells me that I'm obese and unbalanced. I'm hoping it means mentally unbalanced.
5. The Memorial Day parade near Creekistan started at 9am. We weren't even out of bed at that time! Forget it. Who needs to have fire engines throwing candy at you anyway?
6. While we were cleaning off the front porch, Mr. Toad snuck into the house and scared the crap out of my daughter, who was sitting time out. Mr. Toad was promptly let back outside. By the way, Mr. Toad is a toad who lives on our porch and isn't afraid of the dog.
7. We're all done with school, so everyone is home for the summer. No driving to town twice a day. With current gas prices, that's about $8 a day in savings!
8. Speaking of gas, on the Thursday before Memorial Day, I made the decision to wait to fill up the tank. I was shocked that gas was $4 a gallon. Then, on Friday, when I needed to fill up, prices were $4.20 a gallon. It's a conspiracy!
9. I went to a high school graduation party for a nephew. We didn't see him and his friends for a while until we found him and his friends in the basement playing on an Xbox and large-screen flat panel TV that a friend snuck into the basement.
10. As a graduation gift, I took that nephew and two friends to see Rocky Horror Picture Show. They were unsuspecting virgins that had no idea what was about to happen to them. On the way to the midnight showing, they asked me, "So, is this a musical?" Yep! "Is it a movie or a play?" Yep!
11. My husband has gotten addicted to Ancestry.com and has tracked a lot of our relatives into the 1700's. Seems I have both and Lewis and a Clark in my history. And my stubbornness comes from my German and Irish relatives. That's also why I like beer so much.
12. I got my hair done again--the highlights are gone and now I'm all over deep red/brown. I miss the highlights.
13. Storms all day yesterday caused a lot of downed trees, flooding, and power outages in our area. But I noticed that since moving to Creekistan, hearing reports of something happening to an area of town isn't just an area of town, but a person that I know and get worried about.
Monday, May 26, 2008
My Wii Fit tells me that I'm obese and unbalanced. Well, it wasn't a surprise. Part of the reason I got a Wii Fit was to help me get more exercise. But the machine was a little harsh.
The Wii Fit is an ingenious game that uses a balance board as it's controller. The board can be used to control fun games and exercises. But before you start playing, you first need to get measured--your Body Mass Index (BMI). I entered in my hight, birthday, and stepped on the board. It measured my weight versus my hight and determined, with a loud and accusing voice that "You're obese."
I had heard about the 10 year old that got her feelings hurt when the machine told her she was fat. [Article here].
I was ready for the insult. The Reality Check. The truth that I knew deep down--that I was overweight and need to address this health issue. When the machine loudly announced in it's cute little computer voice "Your Obese" and, to bring insult to injury, it made my Mii fat, I was a little hurt.
But the game is a lot of fun, and I can see myself using this to exercise on a daily basis. Even if it tells me I'm unbalanced and my fat Mii hangs her head down and looks very sad. I know I'm obese and unbalanced. You don't have to keep reminding me!
I should take heart. According to the Wii Fit, I'm also a Yoga Expert when it comes to some of the yoga poses. Even though I'm not what you think of when you hear of someone doing yoga, I have done a lot and have good control of my balance.
So, right now, I'm an Obese, unbalanced Yoga Expert. I should be on Oprah. Thanks Wii Fit!
Saturday, May 24, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
13 Things That My Coma Clinic Can Do For You! (results may vary)
1. Our Coma Clinic can help you become more fit--We'll hook your muscles up to our state-of-the-art stimulator system that simulate extra-hard workouts. You'll wake from your coma with that fit muscular body you've always dreamed about.
2. Lose weight--You'll be in a coma so you won't have to worry about your food intake. In fact, you'll get exactly the right amount of calories through your feeding tube. No more. No less.
3. Help you train to run a marathon--Just like our muscle-stimulator program, this program will specifically get your body ready for that marathon you've always dreamed about running. You might even wake up with runner's high but not the foot pain usually associated with running.
4. Get the sleep you so desperately want. In fact, you'll get to sleep for weeks, awaking refreshed and ready to rebuild your life.
5. Help that anxious father-to-be survive the last couple months of his wife's pregnancy, and perhaps the birth of a baby. Enter a coma when the stress gets to be too much and awake a new Father! Or try our special Father-In-Law To Be wedding package. Awake a new Father-In-Law, once the wedding bills are paid.
6. Quit smoking the Coma way! Have your last smoke just minutes before you go to sleep. Awake, take a deep breath, and don't worry about the withdrawal symptoms. *Can also be used for other addictive substances.
7. Can't stand waiting those long months between TV seasons? Watch your favorite program's season finale, go into a coma over the summer, and awake in time to see the next season's premier. It'll be like you were never gone!
8. Want to look great for the summer? Why not try our ComaTan! Our special rotisserie will give you a nice, even tan while you sleep.
9. Need to learn a foreign language? We can subliminally teach you a language with our immersive language tapes and programs. (Warning: can't guarantee that you'll be able to speak or read the language, but you should be able to understand it when spoken to you.)
10. Need cosmetic surgery but don't like the pain and discomfort? Let us take care of everything while you're in a coma. Awake to a new you!
11. Hate winter and the snow and can't afford to travel a long distance just to get away from it all? Try a coma for the winter. You'll "thaw out" at the same time as much of the ice and snow.
12. Can't stand all those political ads? Go into a coma! Skip all those long months with boring debates and mudslinging commercials. Wake up just days before election, ready to vote.
13. Better yet, send in your absentee ballot early, go into a coma, and avoid the whole up-all-night-watching-the-news-as-more-results-come-in game. Awake two days after election day, when results are final, or by January 15th, whatever comes first.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Inspired by my husband's upcoming Doctoral Hooding (w00t!) I have created a CafePress T-Shirt called "Dad & Grad." I'm sure that there are Fathers out there that will be graduating this year. This is a perfect way to celebrate both those achievements.
If you are interested, my shirts are available at HolidayBizarre.
My other shirts are also available Here, and my Nebraska Cornhuskers shirts are available Here.
Monday, May 19, 2008
I finally got to see Iron Man this past weekend. It was very good, and I highly recommend it to anyone who likes either superhero movies or shoot-um-ups. It also had me and my husband wanting to know if most superheros prefer redheads? Perhaps I need to further lighten and redden my hair.
During the previews, I got to review some movies that are coming out this summer and later in the year, and I decided to look into all the movies coming out soon. Here is a list of movies I'm excited about:
- The Dark Knight (I love Batman. This looks like a very noir film, made even more dark by the death of Heath, the actor who played the Joker. Reminds me of Brandon Lee and the movie The Crow.)
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
- The Happening
- The X-Files: I Want to Believe (Perhaps it's time to introduce my son to The X-Files. He loves UFOs and investigations.)
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars (The cartoons were great-I'm sure the CG version will be great too!)
- Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (November 2008)
- Star Trek (coming out in a year, May 2009) - Perhaps I'll get to see a longer trailer this summer!
Also note that I don't like chick-flicks. I think that the best movies in the genre were filmed in the 40's and 50's, and they are becoming boring and predictable now.
Do you have any recommendations? Let me know in the comments. It does look like and exciting movie season!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
13 Creekistan Torture Techniques
Waterboarding is so old-school. We here in Creekistan have much more humane and simple methods of "getting information from people."
1. Fit them with work boots that, once they are on and all laced up, you don't want the hastle of taking them off. Make sure they have a small, annoying stone inside.
2. Fill their cells with the "no-see-ums"--the nearly invisible biting bugs that make you itch all over.
3. Also in the cell, light it with florescence lights that blink and hum.
4. Tie them down on a chair. Let the dog lick them.
5. Have their cells near the dirt road where the ATVs like to drive up and down at all hours of the night.
6. Fit them with contacts that have a small grain of sand embedded on them.
7. Make sure their bathing water has a strange odor.
8. Have a dog with big, sad eyes stare at them whenever they sit down to eat.
9. Attach a wasp nest to the outside wall of their cell so that they hear the annoying buzzing all the time.
10. Gladly provide them with the local newspaper--the only news is about NASCAR anyway.
11. Play, on a loop, the "witty banter" from the local morning radio show.
12. For Television, allow them to watch whatever they can pick up with an antennae--in other words, NOTHING. Or occasionally, PBS.
13. For a work detail, make them pick up trash and cans thrown out of cars. Don't allow them to sleep until the road is completely clean--they may not sleep for days, and locals may throw out new items even while they are trying to clean.
Thursday, May 08, 2008
13 Gross Things In Creekistan
1. People who throw bags of dirty diapers out of their car window. I can't figure it out! Camping? Or is it a creature that finds the bag in the trash and drags it away.
2. Speaking of trash, we drug up over 40 used tires that were rolled down into the creek. The slime and mosquito larvae that collected in the tires was very gross.
3. The Bee House used to contain a large hive of honeybees and now houses only honeybee carcasses. Years of dead bees were collected between panes of a window and are stacked about a foot high.
4. The black-headed vultures around here are known to attack newborn calfs, killing them by pecking their eyes out and attacking their anus.
5. Vultures also projectile vomit. Can you imagine the smell of vomited rotted roadkill?
6. Can't wait until the infestation of thousands of millipedes on my front porch, eventually sneaking under my door and into the house. You can't take a step without the gross crunching sound.
7. Last Spring, my dog ate a fawn.
8. During the Fall deer hunting season, hunters will field dress a killed deer by emptying out it's guts, cutting off it's head and legs, and skinning it. Those are the items that my dog brings home. Good morning! Deer guts, anyone?
9. Some people throw out pop bottles filled with used chewing tobacco.
10. I've noticed that bees, yellowjackets, wasps, etc. like dead animals too.
11. My cat loves to kill mice. But she only eats the good parts and leaves the head, tail, and guts on the floor for us to find. Or worse: step on.
12. We have some very large wolf spiders that live in the attic. They are the size of a hand. If I find one, I try to vacuum it up, but I had one that held on so tight, I couldn't. I just left the house for a while.
13. We see spiders all the time. What worries me, are the ones we don't see.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
13 Things I, Bandit the Dog, Like About Creekistan
1. My big cushion on the front porch. Yeah, it used to be an archery target, but I like to lay on it.
2. People bring me bones. I especially like hog bones.
3. Chasing cars. I love to chase the UPS guy.
4. Tricking my masters by barking at nothing and making them come outside to investigate.
5. Playing with the children. They can't catch me.
6. Getting deer parts from the forest. I love to bring deer legs home to sit on my cushion and nibble on them.
7. Barking at cars that park up the street. Why do they stop there?
8. Coming into the house to clean up food spills. Thanks, kids!
9. Drinking out of puddles.
10. Trying to chase and catch rabbits. I got one, once. Yummy!
11. Protecting my family from those guys that come and take our garbage every Thursday.
12. Did I mention that I like to bark at anything?
13. Getting let into the house on cold winter nights and sleeping on a pile of dirty laundry.
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I've never considered myself a stay-at-home person. I've always worked a full-time job since the day after I graduated with a two-year college. I was lucky enough to get a job that I enjoyed, that helped me learn many valuable skills, and, when I felt there was no more growth potential, left on my own terms for a better opportunity.
Three years ago we decided to move to Creekistan, much closer to my husband's job. Or more correctly, our move to Creekistan was decided for us. For one thing, a home near our dear friends became available for a shockingly low price. It was a "handyman special," and our dear friend was a handyman. Then on the day we closed on the house, I was offered the perfect job. Jobs near Creekistan are rare. It was as if fate was paving the road for us.
I really loved my new job. It was an oasis to me while my home in Creekistan was not finished. I was able to shower at work--a luxury I didn't have for a while at home. I had wonderful and like-minded co-workers. I had pets at work that helped take the stress away and make every day special. It was such a nice change from the sterile corporate environment I had been in for many years.
I was, as I refer to it, "quit" from that job. I wasn't fired and I didn't quit on my own. I was forced to pack up my desk and my desk trinkets because I wanted to preserve as much dignity as I could. I didn't want to go. I enjoyed my job and the workplace. But something made the boss stop trusting me and start criticizing everything I did. And I couldn't continue to work under those circumstances.
I was really hurt and scarred by losing my job. I still have nightmares about returning to work, humiliated and subservient. I still have anger toward the boss who forced me to leave. To this day I can't say the name of the company or the name of the boss. Instead I refer to them as "The Place I Used to Work," and "She Who Must Not Be Named" respectively. I cringed when my W2s arrived in January.
A year later, I've learned to become a Domestic Goddess. Some days I even manage to get my son off to school, make breakfast and lunch for my Husband to take to work, and I teach my 3-year-old the alphabet. I can now do laundry during the day instead of late at night. My garden is going to be bigger and better. My home is better run.
I feel like I didn't just lose a job, but I lost my identity. I'm still troubled by the fact that people use their employment as their identity. At parties, when people ask, "And what do you do?" I used to tell them all that I found interesting and fun about my job. Now I have to really think about my answer. I'm in transition, and making the best of it.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
13 Things I've Seen While Driving in Creekistan
1. A lot of deer. They're overpopulated, and now I'm not just seeing them at night, I've actually seen them running during the day. A couple years ago, a deer ran into my car (I was nearly stopped!) broke a light and ran off. But I can usually spot them.
2. A lot of litter. Some people around here seem to think that it's perfectly okay to throw their garbage right out their window. In fact, this morning I saw a complete bag of fast food garbage in the middle of the road. I have a neighbor that I suspect drives into town every morning for McDonalds, and on his way back, throws his garbage out near my house. The dog knows too, and looks forward to it.
3. Chickens eating on the side of the road. I guess they're smart enough not to cross. But if they did, I'd have to ask myself "Why?"
4. Roadkill. Most recently, I saw a dead fox. Broke my heart since they are such beautiful creatures.
5. ATVs. A favorite local past-time is to drive a loud four-wheeler on the road (illegally) with a cooler of beer strapped to the back. People of all ages participate. I once saw a 2-year-old with a hurt hand because she reached for something while on a 4-wheeler and got injured.
6. Vultures/Buzzards. With all the roadkill, who can blame them? But these are the kind of creatures that make you stop your car and wait until they fly off. They are large, nasty things. I've even heard that if you piss them off, they will projectile vomit at you.
7. Baptisms. There is a creek on my route that is perfect for this purpose. It's also good for fishing. We joke that we hope a fisherman doesn't snag a recently saved person. Baptisms upstream, fishing downstream, please.
8. Rusted appliances. Some people, instead of properly disposing of their old appliances, leave them outside. We've joked that Creekistan is where old appliances go to die. But I've noticed that during these hard economic times, more people are trying to get money by taking garbage to scrap yards.
9. Very large, old satellite dishes with vines growing over them. I love the site of nature taking over. Or is nature trying to get satellite TV?
10. Dogs that love to attack cars. I don't get it. What is a dog going to do with a captured car? They can't eat it! Bandit has been know to do this, but we're working hard to curb this habit. (Sorry about the pun!)
11. Chipmunks quickly running across the road with their tail straight in the air. The soundtrack in my mind plays the xylophone as I giggle at the site.
12. Box turtles getting a little sun. I've made it a habit that if I can safely do it, I'll stop and carry them off the road. They are too precious to be killed by careless or heartless people.
13. Beautiful scenery. Every day, no matter what time of year, there is something lovely to admire.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I just recently signed over the title to our cute VW Beetle. So this week I'm doing a retrospective of that car.
13 Things About Our VW Beetle
1. My husband, during his 2+ hour commute from the city to his job near Creekistan, passed by this cute blue 1999 VW Beetle. It was nearly love at first site.
2. We bought the Beetle from a boat dealership. All the paperwork said "boat," but was crossed out and replaced with the word "car."
3. Neither one of us could drive a shift, so we had a friend come down and test drive it for us.
4. Our friend had to drive it home. He kept it at his place until my husband could learn how to drive it.
5. I was in my last trimester of pregnancy at the time, so I didn't want to ride in the car while my husband learned to drive a clutch. I was afraid the jerking motion would put me into early labor!
6. After a few weekends of practice, my husband felt comfortable driving it and we brought it home.
7. Just a couple of months of having the car, my husband thought he was comfortable enough to drive it during a really terrible snow storm. He just wanted to go to the library. We all get in the car and we can't even get off our hilly street. Eventually he had to park it and we walked home. We couldn't get the car out of the deep snow for almost a week.
8. For Christmas that year I got him a matching steering wheel cover and a bouquet of flowers for the built-in vase.
9. It wasn't long and things started to go wrong with the car. The first thing was the driver's seat: it wouldn't go back down after you moved it up to get into the back seat.
10. Then the driver's-side door wouldn't close right. Then the driver's-side door wouldn't open right--you had to roll down the window and open the door with the outside handle.
11. Then the windows stopped working--they wouldn't go up without considerable help.
12. Finally, my husband realized that the heat gage wasn't malfunctioning and that the car was really overheating--eventually blowing the headgasket--the equilivant to a massive heart attack.
13. We managed to drive the car--steaming like an angry, blue dragon, to our mechanic. That's where it remains and that's who bought it for parts.
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Now the house is sinking into to ground and the daffodils have taken over. The house leans to one side, being held up by a couple of trees that have embedded themselves into the side of the building. Windows are now small doors. If you peek inside, you see the detritus of long-gone residents, teenage parties, and careless hunters who have left evidence that people used to feel safe going into the house.
The wallpaper hangs from the walls. The couch has exploded and springs are everywhere. But the best site is the vast field of daffodils that have spread all over the area. Nature is taking it back.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
13 Reasons I Haven't Done My Thursday 13 Lately
1. It's Spring! I've been enjoying the outdoors.
2. I've been busy starting seeds for my garden. I use those cute dirt pellets that magically expand when you soak them with water.
3. I've also been expanding my garden and turning the earth for another garden plot. A lot of digging! Where's that roto-tiller I was promised?
4. I finally took my son to his first 4-H meeting. He's officially a Cloverbud!
5. The mushrooms have started to appear. My family have found a few, but I've found none.
6. Because the mushrooms are so prized (and valuable), we've had to let Bandit scare people off our land. He just barks at them, but I think they get the hint.
7. We've been trying to clean up the glass mound across the street. The people who used to live in the house that used to be there just tossed their glass behind their outhouse. Now we've got years of beer bottles, coffee jars, medicine bottles, and the occasional Ponds jar to pick up.
8. I'm going to see if any of these old glass bottles are valuable. Perhaps I can clean some up and sell them on eBay?
9. I've made the hotel reservation for my husbands Doctoral Hooding ceremony (aka Graduation.) Next I need to look into limos! He's graduating on a Friday the 13th.
10. We've also finalized the dates of our vacation to Omaha. Boy is my Mother excited.
11. There is now flooring down in one of the extra bedrooms. All it needs now is some electric, a new celeling, some drywall work, and paint. Then the kids can move out of my bedroom.
12. I've applied for College. I'll probably start classes in the Fall. It's been 10 years since I've done any classes. I hope that some of the stuff I did a few years ago will transfer over.
13. I've really missed Thursday 13 and everyones comments. I'm glad I was able to write this today!
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
It's now the wonderful time of year in Creekistan when everyone gets a little mushroom crazy. The Morel mushrooms are coming up! In some places in Appalachia, they are called "Molly Moochers."
We have a great spot for these prized mushrooms on our property. So prized, in fact, that we have to scare away mushroom hunters all the time. People around here tend to stop their car and start roaming the forests for mushrooms. I don't think they care if they are on private property or not. But I care! We value these mushrooms and use them for ourselves.
The whole family goes mushroom hunting, except for the dog, Bandit. Aptly named, Bandit will eat the mushrooms if he finds any. So we have to keep him tied up and barking when we hunt for morels.
First, we put on long pants and boots. Some of our property used to be a glass dumping place for long-gone former residents. We try to stay away for that area, but protect our feet from broken glass anyway. Then we grab mesh bags that we've saved all winter--the kind that onions or some fruits come in. Mesh bags allow proper ventilation of our precious mushrooms. Last, but not least, we put on our mushroom eyes.
Mushroom eyes help you to focus and see the mushrooms that have the magical ability to hide in plain site. You can be looking right at a morel and not even see it! But once you've used your mushroom eyes and had seen a mushroom, then you can see even more. It's like they magically appear!
We're going out, right now to see if we can find some. Even if we don't return with mushrooms, it's still a good excuse to explore the forest and enjoy nature.
Wish us luck!
Monday, March 31, 2008
As readers of my blog may know, I occasionally have to deal with stray or dumped dogs appearing on my doorstep. I can't believe that some people--rather than deal with unwanted puppies, old dogs, or random strays--would drive to the middle of nowhere (aka Creekistan) and just leave these dogs. Cats too. I've dealt with several such homeless potential pets that I've become a little hardened to it. I would love to take all of these animals into our home and hearts, but we simply can't.
The most recent story is of Red, a young adult mutt that almost found a home here. It started out as this wild dog appearing in the distance to play with my dog. The two dogs seemed to get a long. Eventually, Red warmed up to me and allowed me to examine him. He seemed okay to me, and we even discussed keeping him. He was a mix of a lot of things, including German Sheppherd, Lab, and possibly Pit. The Pit gave me pause. But he seemed really nice and even knew how to sit and give me his paw. Yep, someone abandoned him.
But Red fought and injured Bandit, probably over food. Any funds that might have been used to neuter Red were utilized to hospitalize our beloved Bandit. That was it for Red. I tied him up and called the Dog Warden on Monday. I called the Dog Warden on Tuesday. I called the Dog Warden on Wednesday before I went to the vet to get Bandit out of the "hospital." I had to keep Bandit in the house 24/7 in order to keep him away from Red as well as nurse him back to health. Red, in the meantime, started to think that he was ours. He started to protect the house and bark whenever someone came to visit. But he was too intimidating.
I called every day, trying to sound frustrated, sad and pathetic about having to be stuck with this stupid dog and why isn't someone coming out to get this dog that attacked my dog?
Finally on Friday the Dog Warden came and got Red. I felt bad--the kids watched as Red, tail between his legs and fighting the entire time, was taken away and put into a truck to go to one of the worst dog pounds in the state. But I was mad, too, that it took five days. The dog warden apologized profusely, and I even gave him a can of Coke, but our interaction was brief.
Then, on Saturday, I saw the headline of the weekend paper:"Dog warden injured avoiding dog." Seems that the dog warden was driving down the road and had an accident trying to avoid a stray on the road. Well, that explains why he was late. Now I feel like a heel.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
March 20, 2008, which would have been Mr. Rogers' 80th birthday, is being promoted as "National Sweater Day" in his honor. As a tribute, everyone should wear their best sweater next Thursday. If you have a sweater or two that you don't want or need any more, be sure to donate it.
13 Beautiful Things about Fred McFeely Rogers:
1. Mr. Rogers studied music composition in college and wrote all the music on the show.
2. In 1963, Fred was ordained a Presbyterian minister.
3. In 1969, Mr. Rogers testified in front of the Senate to help save funding for Public Television. He said that shows like his are an alternative to less positive messages on network television and encourage children to be come happy and productive citizens. By 1971, PBS funding was increased from $9 million to $22 million.
4. Mr. Rogers also testified in front of Congress, defending the use of VCRs to videotape shows. He said that by by taping shows, working parents could watch the shows with their kids at a more convenient time.
5. Koko the Gorilla was a fan of Mr. Rogers. When she met him, she gave him a big hug, and helped him take off his shoes.
6. When his car was stolen, it made news all over town. Within two days, it was returned to the exact spot it was stolen with a note reading, “If we’d known it was yours, we never would have taken it.”
7. He was color blind--he couldn't see blue. So basically, he didn't know what he looked like with the blue sweater on.
8. All the sweaters on the show were hand-knit by his mother.
9. A red cardigan sweater belonging to Rogers hangs in the Smithsonian.
10. MISTER ROGERS' NEIGHBORHOOD is the longest- running program on public television. It started in 1967 and the last original episode aired in 2001.
11. In 1998, Mr. Rogers met the Dalai Lama. I can't think of two kinder men. Think of the karma in that room!
12. In 2002, President George W. Bush presented him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, recognizing his "contribution to the well-being of children and a career in public television that demonstrates the importance of kindness, compassion and learning."
13. Mr. Rogers died in his Pittsburgh home on Thursday, February 27, 2003 after a brief battle with stomach cancer. He was 74.
Thursday, March 06, 2008
Thursday Thirteen: Mayhem in Creekistan
1. The 3-year-old boy that I watch 3 days a week freaked out Monday morning and didn't want to be at my place. I had to hold him down for about 20 minutes so that he wouldn't run out the door and down the street. He was kicking and screaming the entire time, and even pissed himself. I kept my cool, because I knew that no matter how stubborn he is, I'm more stubborn. He was much better on Wednesday.
2. Monday was warm outside, so I started on the gardening stuff. At least I found the shovel and the hoe. But I noticed some annuals starting to get green.
3. The spring flowers are starting to come up.
4. I'm waiting for my new digital camera to arrive. Hopefully it can take much better pictures than my old one.
5. Speaking of spring, there is an old abandoned house deep in the woods that, every spring, is completely surrounded by beautiful daffodils. We call it the Daffodil House. I'll take pictures.
6. The spring peepers (frogs) are peeping. I love the sound and will stop my car, roll down all the windows, and listen for a while.
7. I got a call from a company that I interviewed with around November last year. They are finally interested in looking to hire me, but lost my resume and want me to send it again. Do they really think I would want to work for a company that disorganized? Besides, I think I like this stay-at-home thing. At least for now.
8. I did call that company back and found out that indeed, the executive had lost my resume and contact information. He made his assistant track me down. Eventually she spoke with someone at my son's elementary school and found me.
9. I felt sad that they went through all that trouble just to find me and then I didn't want to work for them! So I'm working out a freelance/consultative agreement with them instead. Work at home and bill them the hours.
10. I've also become very busy doing postcards and posters for local arts organizations. It's fun work, but they are the toughest customers!
11. Our dog Bandit keeps bringing home deer bones and leaves them on the porch or driveway. My 3-year-old daughter grabbed my hand one day and said that I had to see something. She pointed them out and said, "Look, dinosaur bones!"
12. One day in the car, my daughter started repeating a phrase over and over. I couldn't figure it out at first. I asked her what it was and she said "Austin Powers". I finally figured out was a phrase from Austin Power's Goldmember: "Twins, Basil!"
13. We may have a new dog. One that has just been hanging out but would run away as soon as he saw people. But yesterday I was able to pet him and feed him. Bandit likes him except when I give him attention. But I think the new dog is going to stick around. I'm afraid to name him.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Thanks to Cricket's Hearth for tagging me.