Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The latest editions.

I woke up to these guys this morning. There are five kittens. Two grey, three black like their momma. They seem to all be doing well. So is their momma, Lollipop, despite how pissed she looks in that picture.

BTW, I promised She that I'd teach her how to become a coupon queen. And I will, but probably not until next week. The kids are on spring break this week, plus I want a chance to write it down and read it over before I publish it. I know how confusing it all was to me when I started so I want to be sure that I make it as simple and clear as possible. But I'm thinking I'll post it within the week. I should have a chance to write it Monday and review it and post it Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Step 1.

So I've been reading up on how people make money from blogging. Not doing all out research, but kinda reading up. And it seems to me that you make money by being a popular blog with a lot of followers. So step 1 should be to become popular. And how does a blog become popular? Well, it varies. But the general consensus is that popular blogs provide followers with something they want to read. That seems simple enough. I could do that. So here are some things you may want to read:

Wow! You look so young and thin! Have you lost weight? Those pants make your ass look hot! Have I mentioned that I'm hiring? I am! I need someone to taste-test chocolate. Because this is such an important job, I'm paying in the six-figure range. Upper six-figure. If you have previous experience in tasting chocolate I could probably manage to bump it up to seven figures. Plus there are perks. We provide insurance, free babysitting and housecleaning services, and a company car. But your husband will not be allowed to drive the car. Sorry, we just can't allow it. He'll have to drive your old minivan. And sorry to say, the company car is not big enough for kids. Sportscars are so small. You will have to be able to travel. We'll need you to attend chocolate shows in Paris and Hawaii, plus travel to resorts all over the world to promote our chocolate. Of course we'll cover all your travel expenses. Are you interested?

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Year two may now commence.

I just realized that I've been blogging for a year. A year! I really should update those pictures.

I can't say for certain what I've accomplished with this blog. I haven't made any money at it, but then again I haven't really tried. I haven't saved the world with it. But we all know that the proper way to save the world is to start by saving the cheerleader. And I haven't done that either. Potentially I could do those things. But I haven't tried. We have no idea what would happen if I tried.

What I have tried to do is to enjoy myself and keep a loose record of all the crazyness of my life. And I think I've done that. I like blogging, and the more I do it, the more I like it. Plus I'm starting to get better about updating this thing. I'm also starting to think more seriously about making a bit of money with it. No, I'm not looking to get rich. I think if I did this "professionally" I'd lose a lot of the enjoyment that I have with it. But I like the idea that something I do for fun could manage to earn me dinner and a movie every now and again. So I think for year two, I'm going to make that my goal. If I do it right, I'll pay for my birthdayversary celebration next year with my earnings.

Year three will be concentrated on finding and saving that pesky cheerleader.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

The other Addams child

Zoe has a friendly fascination with death. Earlier in the week Caly was singing Bohemian Rhapsody. "Mama, oooooh, I don't want to die!" To which Zoe happily replied. "Don't worry, Caly. You'll die one day!"

You think this was perhaps a mistake or a misunderstanding. No. She likes death. She couldn't wait to shovel dirt on Caly's kitten that died last year. And her favorite thing about our goldfish is their high mortality rate. She gets so excited to see one floating. She begs to be the one to scoop it out and flush it. In fact, she's now deeply depressed that almost all the fish we bought last week are dead. All the goldfish died so there aren't any more to flush. And the algae eater is still alive and seems healthy. That rat bastard. He won't give up the ghost, even to make a four year old happy.

She also likes shots. Not to get, mind you. She's crazy but not that crazy. She just likes watching the rest of us get shots. She goes with us when Zaven and I get allergy shots and she's enthralled with the whole process. Caly thinks she'll work as a CSI or a coroner when she grows up so that she can combine her love of the dead with her desire to poke people with needles. As long as she doesn't try it before she leaves home I'll be happy.

Photo Tag

My new friend Azaera just photo tagged me. I'm supposed to open the sixth folder in my pictures, post the sixth picture in that folder, and tell a little about what it is and why I took it. Then I'm supposed to tag 4 other bloggers. So when I opened the sixth file, I found subfiles as well as pictures. The sixth picture not in a subfile was this one.
Scott took this picture when we were visiting his sister in Virginia Beach. She and her husband are both retired Navy and when we saw this thing approaching they and Scott got very excited. Apparently there was some kind of hovercraft that can carry 100 tons on land or water and it can go 70 mph on land (I have no idea how fast on water). Anyhow this is the ship that deployed it and we saw it zoom out of the ship and next thing you know it's up on the sand down the beach and making for the road. It was really impressive, even though this picture is not.

Now since I had all those subfolders, I decided to look in the first one (since those pictures were taken before the trip to Virginia) and see what the sixth picture in that file was. I found this picture:
This is from Caly's birthday party. Every year she has a "Messy Party" and the favorite part for everyone is that all guests get a can of shaving cream to decorate their friends with. They give each others mohawks and beards and scream and laugh and have a great time. It's super cheap but a real blast.
Now let's see. Who shoud I tag? I think Chelle, Tara, Erin, and Pearly.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

For warm summer nights.

So it's been a while since I talked about astronomy here. I've been thinking about it, just not writing about it. But the nights are getting warmer and it's the right time of the year to be outside. So I think I'll just pick up where I left off. And that would be with M-17.

M-17 is a stellar nursery. You can tell by the lovely colors it's painted, and also by the dust. We mothers rarely have time to dust the nursery.
All kidding aside, M-17 is a nebula. It has a bunch of names including the Omega Nebula, the Swan Nebula, the Horseshoe Nebula, or the Lobster Nebula. I think it's interesting that it's called the Omega Nebula because Omega is the last letter in the greek alphabet and often used to mean the end or even death. But this nebula is actually a place of birth. It's one of the places stars are born, a.k.a. a stellar nursery. All that fluffy, billowy stuff that you see? It's dust. And in some areas the dust is thick enough that gravity is starting to pull it together into clumps. If the clump has enough mass to keep pulling in more dust and matter, then as it grows larger and more dense it will start to produce heat. If it can pull in enough gas and dust, the heat from all that matter being compressed will eventually ignite the gases and it will become a star.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

OK. Let's start over.

I think I want to rewind. Today and yesterday were sorry-assed days. They should have been good. Today is Scott's birthday and yesterday was our anniversary. But they were sorry, sorry days. Most of it was just the regular stuff that goes wrong. The kitchen faucet is in pieces because Scott had finally gotten around to trying to replace it. The old faucet was very messed up. It had a perpetual drip in the hot water that finally ended with us just taking the knob off that side so no one could use the hot water. It was not a good thing, but it stopped the drip. So for my birthday Scott had bought a new faucet. Only when we opened the box, pieces were missing. We discovered this after he'd removed the old faucet. So I went from only cold water to no water at all. The replacement part was sent for, and it finally came, but Scott's in the middle of a major (or rather THE major) evaluation for his teaching job. So he hasn't got time to work on the faucet and won't for a week or two.

Yesterday I went with Scott to his school in the evening. He had some paperwork to get done before the big eval but I didn't want to not spend any time with him on our anniversary. So I grabbed a magazine and went with him. It should have taken an hour. It took 5. All the copiers in the building quit working. We could get out one or two copies then it would have to be restarted. The restart takes 4 minutes. He needed 115 copies so that each student could have one. It wouldn't have been so bad except he HAD to have them. And the stress of the machines picking that moment to fail was freaking him out.

Then today I got in a fight with Zoe. I'd rented her some movies this week. I even bought her two. I rarely rent movies, even with the free redbox codes, because we forget to take them back. I only rent if I'm sure we can watch it that night. And I haven't outright bought a new movie in months. I maybe buy 3 a year. So buying two in the same night and renting another two days later should have been a major treat. I even let her watch a lot more TV than I should because she was having such a good time. So today when we went to return the rental she threw a major fit. I usually deal well with fits. But I didn't deal well. I got madder as she got louder. It ended in a spanking and her going to bed early. She needed the bedtime. She fell asleep immediately and I know that her being sleepy is a big factor in how well behaved she is. I just hate that today has been high stress.

And I have a huge cold sore this week. I can't even give my beloved a birthday kiss. Not that he wants one tonight. *** skip ahead a paragraph if you're squeamish*** Because earlier in the evening I pulled out a bag of chips that I'd opened the other day. I wanted to have a few more before they got stale. I unrolled the open end and started munching. Then about 5 minutes later I looked down and noticed that there was a hole in one side of the bag. A rough edged hole. A hole chewed by a mouse. EWWW! I'd been eating chips from a bag a mouse had been in. I can't write more because thinking of it is making me sick. And I can't puke. I'm not someone who can gag herself or even who pukes much when she's sick. I would if I could tonight, though.

So that was the last two days. I'm thinking that in a few weeks, once the evaluation is over and things are a bit calmer, I will try to take Scott out to make up for the past two days. He should have a nice birthday. And maybe by then I won't feel like puking.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Happy Birthday to us.

Today was my birthday. I went to a movie and then came home and took a nap. Very, very pleasant day to nap. It was just the right temperature and the house had that quiet hum where there are people in it, but they're all doing their own thing. Zaven babysat for Scott and I while we went out and while I napped. (Thank you, Zaven.) And we ordered a pizza for dinner and had cake. The cake was a lot of fun because Quinn knew immediately what it was and tried to raid it. First he found the box it was in and (realizing that the "lid" was on the bottom) turned it over to try to open it. We took it away and after we'd all had some pizza we served the cake. Caly put a few candles on it and everyone sang. And while they sang, Quinn stood on tiptoes trying to snag some frosting. Finally we cut and served the cake. Quinn ignored the small piece we'd cut for him and instead took his fork and started eating directly from the cake tray. I let him. He was so cute and also very calm and relaxed and mannerly. He used silverware. He never uses silverware. But he used his fork the whole time. And he took tiny little bites and ate quite slowly and leisurely.

We had a very good weekend. Yesterday I took Caly, Zoe, and Quinn to Lexington for the day. Zaven had an Upward Bound reunion and a concert so he was busy for the whole day. Scott had a ton of work, so I wanted to keep the babies out of his hair. We went to Toys R Us for the free Thomas the Tank Engine toys they were giving away. I had a few rewards cards from them so I got to spend about $30 and got about $115 worth of stuff. Then we got ice cream cones and went to the park. Caly watched Zoe and played with her while I tried to keep up with Quinn. The climbing structures have all these narrow passageways that are great fun for a kid and a little awkward for an adult. But the whole thing is made so that you can look through it from the outside and see what your kid is up to. So I just had to navigate the dozens of kids and duck under and around the bridges and ladders and slides to keep up with Quinn. It wasn't exactly easy, but it wasn't so bad. The weather was gorgeous and the kids were so happy.

Quinn rode on a regular swing all by himself and did a great job. He was a natural. And right before we left the girls wanted to try the zip line. They both tried it and had fun and Quinn went nuts trying to climb up my leg for his turn. I lifted him up figuring he wouldn't know to hold on, or if he did he wouldn't be able to hold on. Nope. I was dead wrong. We had to pry his fingers off to get him to let go when his turn was done. I'll have to take him back soon. Our local park doesn't have one and he loved it SO much.

I took a ton of pics on my cell phone but I can't figure out how to get them off, LOL. I'm not even going to really try yet anyway since I'm getting ready to build a new computer. I was going to start on that project today, but the nap was too comfy. I suppose I'll do it tomorrow.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

How to spend money.

I've been spending a lot of my time thinking about money. Specifically, how to save it. I read articles in magazines, blogs, and even entire books about how I can save money. It's good information and very helpful. I've saved bunches and bunches of money by following some good advice. But I noticed that for all that helpful information about how to save money, no one is giving helpful information about how to spend money. Well, maybe they think they are because they do tell me how to spend it buying 47 tubes of toothpaste for $3. But I don't really think that counts as spending money well. It has no zest to it. And then there are the sites that tell me to spend $4,329 on a sweater. But not only is $4,329 is too much to spend on a sweater, it's a boring way to waste your money. So just to fill in the gaps in your budget and to meet a need not currently being met on the internet, here is a list of some interesting ways to spend your money.

1. Buy 1,347 plastic flamingos and redecorate your yard.

2. Fly to India to ask the Dish Network customer service guy if he wants to take it outside.

3. Take your 4 year old daughter to Toys R Us and tell her she can only buy the pink toys.

4. Go to the pet store and buy all the animals, then take them to your subdivision and release them into the wild.

5. Buy Seth Green's dream stereo from The Italian Job (with speakers so loud they blow women's clothes off). It should work on men too, right?

6. Hire a contractor to work on your house and pay him at his standard hourly rate until the job is done right. (Oh wait, that isn't fun. It's just expensive.)

7. Pay someone to paint the outside of your house to look like a giant alligator is coiled around it.

8. Buy all the condoms and lube at your local Wal-mart and while you're in line turn to the person behind you and say, "It's gonna be a long night."

OK, that's all I can think of for now, but I hope it inspires you to enjoy your money a bit more than normal in the future. I consider it my gift to the world.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


Zoe just tripped and fell. It wasn't a bad fall. She wasn't hurt and didn't even cry. She just shouted, "Princess down! Princess down! Somebody save me!"

Monday, March 16, 2009

The rest of the story.

Ok. So I think I'm ready to tell the rest of the story about Zaven's eye that I started in my last post. About why we didn't notice he was blind in one eye for so long, and about the screw-ups after the surgery.

The first part is actually pretty simple. We didn't notice he was blind in one eye because he didn't have symptoms. Not really. His only symptom was that he didn't like really bright sunny days. I don't either. I'm pretty sure that bright lights are used as a torture device. So who knew it was a symptom of cataracts. And who suspects cataracts in a five year old? The other symptoms (a cloudy white spot in the pupil, a wandering eye, failure to focus in one or both eyes, moving closer to see things, clumsiness, walking into things, needing strong lights to look at books)-- those symptoms just weren't there.

And remember how I said he'd failed some vision screenings but passed others. Well, after we realized he had a cataract I talked with him, trying to figure out how he'd passed those screenings. It took a while to get it across to him that he hadn't done something wrong by "failing" his eye test. And when he finally did understand, he was shocked to realize he was supposed to see out of both eyes. I mean he had NO idea that he was supposed to see out of his right eye. No idea that anyone sees out of their right eye. He kept holding his hand over my eye and testing me to make sure I wasn't lying about seeing out of both of my eyes. (With me almost crying the whole time.) Anyhow, it turns out that he thought vision screenings were memory tests. The nice nurse stands behind you and (being right-handed) she covers your right eye. Then you look at a chart and read it to her. No big deal. Then she covers your left eye. You can't see the chart, but she asks you to tell her what it says. So you repeat back everything you just memorized. If you do well, you get a sticker. This is what a vision screening is like for a half-blind five year old. No one ever thought to explain what the test was for. And 90% of nurses are going to cover the right eye first because they're right handed. It was only when we went to an eye doctor who projected the letters on the wall and switched screens around that we found that he had 20/200 vision in that eye. That means he could see the big E at the top of the chart. He had trouble making it out, though, and couldn't always do it.

So that is how we missed it.

And this is what we did wrong.

At first, we did everything right. We went to the best pediatric eye surgeon in the state and had cataract surgery. Basically, they took out the defective lens in his eye and replaced it with a plastic one. And because he was a kid, they put the lens in a position where he wouldn't naturally be able to focus. It sounds mean, but it makes sense. As he grows, his eye grows. But the plastic lens doesn't. So they put it in the wrong place, the eye grows and shifts around the lens and by the time he's an adult the lens is in the right place. In the mean time he wears glasses. And since plastic doesn't flex the same way a natural lens does, he wears bifocals. He will always have to have bifocals, but the part on top will have only a slight prescription once he's done growing if all goes well.

And after the surgery we also did everything right. We gave him three different types of prescription eye drops at various intervals and didn't even get the bottles and the times mixed up. We woke him up in the middle of the night to put the drops in even though they stung and he cried. And we kept the bandages on and the eye clean. And he healed. And his black eye went away and he looked fine. And we went back to the doctor and they tested his vision and he was some better. He could just make out the next line down on the chart. Sometimes. Not consistantly, though. So they told us to cover his good eye with a patch all day, every day, except when he's in school. The idea is that if his good eye is covered, he would have to use his bad eye and this would stimulate neural pathways and make his brain start to accept signals from the eye.

And this is where things started to go wrong. You see there are a lot of problems with what they told us to do. First off, there's the simple fact that if you cover his good eye he's still basically blind. So all day, every day, he's doing good to see the second line on an eye chart. He's supposed to play and read and walk around blind all day. And there's the fact that he HATED it. Not just the being blind all day, and the going out in public with people staring at you, but the way the patch itched, and the way that it peeled off his skin when it came off each night. Because even when you shift it around a bit and try not to put it on the exact same spot each day, it's still a band-aid being stuck on and then pulled off the same skin over and over. He would bleed from it. And the other problem, the bigger problem, is that this is NOT what you're supposed to do. It was the advice of the day, advice they'd given for decades. Advice they STILL give. But it turns out that it's bad advice. It doesn't help much. It helps some. But not much. So for six months we tortured our kid for basically no improvement. Because the next time we went back he was still only sometimes seeing the next to the top line on the chart. And at that point the doctors told us to quit patching because his eyesight was as good as it was going to get. His vision was estimated at 20/160 with the best he'd ever seen being 20/100.

Thankfully the story doesn't end here. My wonderful mother-in-law came to his rescue. She's a teacher. Retired now, but she taught college at the time. But she was, is, a damned inquisitive person. She likes to know stuff. She listens and puts little bits of (quite often useless) information in her brain. And she pulls them out almost at random. She's scatterbrained and disorganized. But she has a talent for tweaking on tidbits of knowledge and focusing an insane amount of energy on finding out everything there is to know about the detail that's got her attention. This is hell when you're trying to explain to her over the phone how to program a remote control, but it's amazingly useful at odd moments and this was one of those moments. She, like Scott and I, felt horribly guilty about not noticing that Zaven had a problem. She taught Early Childhood Education classes and helped her students learn how to recognize kids with problems like Zaven's. And she was also a State Hearing Officer for Kentucky. One of only 16 in the state at the time. For those of you who have no idea what that means, she was essentially a judge for education cases. And if you appealed her ruling, you appealed it to the Kentucky Supreme Court. She never had a ruling overturned. So here she was deciding how schools should handle handicapped kids, never noticing that her grandson was blind in one eye. But in doing all that work, she heard about alternative therapies for kids with vision problems. And she tracked down the information and talked us into trying it. We didn't want to. I don't know how to describe why we didn't want to. I think we were just tired of having hope. We'd put our kid through hell for months because we had hope, but nothing came of that. And when we had to face the fact that nothing came of it, it was hard to then turn around and say, "Let's try this next!" It was easier to just say, OK. He's not gonna see out of that eye.

But my mother in law is persistant, and feels free to use guilt as a means to an end. So we took him to see another specialist, this one a specialist in a field that our opthalmologist (the best pediatric opthalmologist in the state) had told us was equivalent to hocus pocus designed to scam desperate parents out of their money. And the new specialist told us to only patch him an hour or two a day, and not at all if his skin was tender because patching really didn't have much value if used more often than that and wasn't that important in the grand scheme of things. Not important enough to make him bleed. And he told us to patch him when he was playing video games with lots of action. He encouraged us to buy Zaven lots of video games. Video games are good for your kids eyes??? Yes, apparently they are. And we had to drive him in to their office (50 miles away) once a week for therapy. Therapy that involved playing even more specialized video games. And if he worked hard to play these games he could have his choice of full sized candy bar. Did I mention that Zaven liked this specialist much more than his other specialists?

And so we went back every week and after a year and a half they told us he was done. We should stop the therapy and stop the patching because his vision had improved as much as it ever would. He was seeing 20/40. That's what I see! Of course I can wear glasses to make mine 20/20, and his is 20/40 with glasses. But he'll be legal to drive. And even if he were to go blind in the other eye (not likely, but it could happen) he'd still see well enough to get around and lead a normal life. He was actually really bummed to have to stop therapy. He said their video games were way much better than what we have at home, and I never gave him candy bars for playing. That was a decade ago and his vision has remained at about that level ever since. He has a harder time seeing when he's tired, but on an average day you'd never notice. Did I mention how wonderful my mother-in-law is? I totally forgive her for all those times she tried to have me explain how to program a remote control over the phone.

And just so you know, he still doesn't like bright sunny days. Apparently you don't have to have a cataract to like it better in the shade.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I am so lucky. I've been putting off housecleaning today. Well, not putting it off so much as taking too many breaks. It just gets to a point where it's overwhelming and I can't think about it too much all at once. And in my defense, if I don't take frequent breaks when it's this bad my allergies go nuts and I get to where I physically can't continue. But anyhow, during my breaks I've been surfing the net and visiting blogs at random.

Today I found this post by a woman who just realized that her baby is blind. He's been diagnosed with a congenital medical condition and when she was reading up on his illness she found out that his condition is usually associated with some other conditions. And when she read up on those, she saw that he had almost all the symptoms. On the list of symptoms was blindness and she suddenly realized that his lack of focusing on faces and objects, his responses to sounds more than sights... all the things she'd noticed and not put together... could be explained by his being blind.

This hit me so hard. Years ago I experienced a small fraction of what she's going through. Zaven was in kindergarten and he failed his vision screening. He'd failed others, but he'd passed some too. The doctors and nurses who'd administered them chalked it up to being uncooperative after having been poked and prodded and given vaccinations during the well-child visit that preceded the vision screening. But this time, I just decided that it was too many screenings to be a coincidence. Scott and his sister have awful eyesight, like 20/400 without glasses. So I decided to take him to an eye doctor and see what was going on. I envisioned getting glasses. What we got was 20/20 vision in one eye and near total blindness in the other. Possibly irreversible blindness.

He had a huge cataract in that eye. But you can fix cataracts, right. Well you can fix them in adults with no problems. And you can fix them in babies and toddlers with no problems. The problem comes in when your child has had one since they were born and no one noticed. In that case, in Zaven's case, you can remove the cataract but that may not make any difference at all. Because while you can fix the eye, you can't fix the fact that his brain may no longer pay attention to any info coming from that eye. It's kind of like a radio station. How often do you check to see if something is coming in on 91.1 FM? How often would you keep checking if every time you checked you only got static? Would you keep going back day after day to see if the static changed to music? No. Not really. Not if it had been static for 5 years. So even if we fixed Zaven's eye and suddenly the static changed to music, there was a strong chance that his brain wouldn't tune in no matter what. And it can't be fixed by glasses if your brain won't accept input from the eye at all.

Now that story is a long story, and I'm not ready to go into it tonight. It has things that we did right, things that we did wrong, and things that we were told were the only right way to go that later turned out to be heartbreakingly wrong. And I feel guilty thinking about all that I should have done, would have done, if I'd only known. But in the end it turned out OK. Not perfect. But OK. Zaven can see some from that eye. And even though he has sucky depth perception and hates to have anything thrown at him or have a lot of erratic movement around him, he does OK with it. Most people would never know.

But I remember the day that I realized that I should have known. I should have realized that my son couldn't see anything out of one eye for five years. And I think how this mother must feel to realize that the things she's noticed meant something that she hadn't put together. And I wanted to cry for her.

Because it's only by luck that my kids are healthy and other kids aren't.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Caly broke the baby gate. He can get Anywhere in the house now. Anywhere.

Do you understand? Anywhere.

Really, it was on it's last legs. Something in it made a loud pop last week. So it's not her fault. And it was time. Really it was. No one should be held captive in the living room forever.

But he can go Anywhere now.

This does not bode well for us, my friends. This most certainly does not.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Indigo Bunting

This little beauty is an Indigo Bunting. Right now, you couldn't find a one of his kind on my farm, but soon he and his friends will be traveling my way. Want to know the really cool part? He'll travel at night. Because Indigo Buntings use the stars to navigate during their migrations. And they aren't born with this skill hard-wired in. They learn it. If they've lived in captivity and couldn't see the night sky during the fall and spring, they aren't able to navigate. But if once they learn how to do it, they can find the way back to their favorite places from anywhere they wind up. How cool is that?

I also think it's neat that they aren't actually blue, or even indigo. The females are a dull brown and the males, like this one here, are black. Yup, black. Their feathers are black. But their feathers diffract light, kind of like a CD. If you hold a CD and look at it from the side, you can see that it's clear plastic. But the coating on it makes it diffract light so that it has that nifty rainbow look. The feathers on an indigo bunting are black. But the shape of the feathers causes light to diffract, making them look bright, vibrant blue. And the older the bird, the bluer his feathers look. Don't believe me? Check out the details here and here.


Monday, March 9, 2009


We just got a puppy. I promise to get pics soon, but I'm not even going to try tonight.

I wasn't planning on getting one today. But Caly's been asking for months. Really, almost a year. And Quinn and Zoe are just the right age to really bond with a puppy. So as we were driving out of the Wal-mart parking lot we passed a pickup truck full of puppies that were being given away and I stopped.

We're thinking of calling her Cupcake, because she's sweet.

Staggering forward

Springing forward is just too much. I'm staggering instead. I have never liked Daylight Saving Time. It always throws me off for weeks, and not just by an hour. I reset my internal clock, but only by the copious use of caffiene that then keeps me up even later than normal and makes me sleepy all day. Ah well. Ben Franklin is entitled to a few mistakes, having had so many marvelous ideas. We'll just say that springing forward was his worst and leave it at that.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Mr. Magnanimous

I have pets. One dog and something on the order of 18 cats. I can't ever be sure because I only intended to have 4 or 5 cats but they had babies and grandbabies. I give kittens away right and left but I can never catch them all before they're too big to give away and I can never afford to get them all fixed and (blushing here) I feed any stray that shows up. But out of all those cats, 4 or 5 are tame, loving, and very affectionate. Those ones are our pets. The rest are just in it for the food. Being as I also have allergies, all the cats and the dog live outside.

This morning I was loading up the dishwasher when a cat streaked through the kitchen. Then another one went by. I know that Zoe and Quinn will occasionally let in one of the pet cats to love on, so I assumed that's what was going on. But since my allergies don't care how nice the cat is, I decided I'd better put a stop to the fun and tell the kids that the cats had to go back out. So I headed to the living room.

When I got there, the room was covered in cats (at least 6) and even the dog was inside. Quinn meanwhile was hanging onto the screendoor handle, leaning out the open doorway at a 45 degree angle, calling loudly, "Come in! Come in! Come on in!"

Sunday, March 1, 2009


It doesn't feel like weeks since I posted. I suppose that's because I didn't have much to say. February was kind of crazy. First there was the strange weather (sleet, snow, hail as big around as a nickel or larger, rain, incredibly high winds that were pushing cars off the road, sunny warm weather, and bright sunny days WHILE it rained cats and dogs). Then there was just the usual chaos of having 4 kids.

Zaven and Caly just finished their swim season with the high school team, and yesterday I went and signed them up for the next session with the local community team, the Dolphins. So they only got about a week or two off. Practice starts tomorrow. But this is a good thing. For one, it doesn't involve any extra driving on my part since they can walk there after school and Scott will be able to pick them up most days. Second, they'll take their showers there which makes evenings and mornings a bit less hectic.

Zaven will be going to Upward Bound this summer and Caly's opting not to do the summer session with the Dolphins this year. I've got mixed feelings on this. On the plus side, it will free up a lot of time. I mean a LOT. Unlike the session that's about to start, the summer swim session is high-stress. They swim every weekday from 8-10 AM, so there's no sleeping in. Plus, there are meets two or three times a week. Meets take forever. Hours and hours and hours. 6 hour is the norm, but I've known them to last longer. Parents HAVE to attend and HAVE to work at least half the meet. They need judges and lane timers and people to put the results in the computers. None of this is hard, but it keeps you busy. So you don't even really get to pay attention to how well your kid is swimming. Plus, I can't bring Zoe and Quinn to the meets because who's going to watch them and keep them away from all that water while I'm busy working. And with practice every day and a couple of meets a week, it's hard to schedule all the other things you might want to do during the summer. Between family vacations and summer camps, you can easily end up missing a lot of meets, which really isn't fair to the rest of the team. Plus, the swim team is expensive. So there are some definite positives to Caly not swimming the summer session.

The negative to it is that she needs the exercise. Don't get me wrong, she's fit as a fiddle. But she's fit because she's on one swim team or another year round. She stays active because we know that when our kids are NOT signed up for something that keeps them active, they tend to settle down in front of the TV with a soda and some snacks and just sit. So I have to find some way to make sure that she's not just gonna veg all summer. Well, at least the parts where she's not in camp.