Tuesday, July 31, 2007

It's Harry Potter's Birthday

And also film director Mario Bava. My friend's son turns 14 today. And, the Evil Twin is 48. Having a mid-week birthday is kind of a bummer, though, I think.

He went out to lunch with co-workers and didn't really want anything special tonight. Perhaps we'll do dinner someplace decent on Friday evening. We have a load of weekend things lined up so we probably won't be able to get out of that (basically it involves peeling wall paper and painting... we are now on the downstairs phase of the remodeling).

Buddy had an eye appointment this afternoon (his vision is improving!). Then, we went to put gas in the van, head to Hallmark and then Walmart for general lunch and dinner items. It was humid as all get out and the baby was cranky. I did get her a really cute pair of pink "Croc-offs" - The Dogz brand at Hallmark, which really weren't that less expensive than the Crocs. But, I had a gift card from my birthday left over, and those were covered. In case you wanted to know a fun fact about me - I am a dyed in the wool Hallmark addict. I belong to the National Club and the local club and I own enough Christmas ornaments to full dress three or four trees, but the Evil Twin keeps me sane and we only do one. The ornies get rotation - favorites are out every year.

So, back to the birthday shenanigans. The Evil Twin didn't really want anything special and try as I might, I couldn't come up with any fantastic thing to get him that would be a big surprise. Besides, traditionally, we don't buy for holidays or anniversaries for each other. I buy what I like during the year, and he does the same. Large purchases are put off for holidays and considered "our gift to each other". I tried that with the big ass TV.

You'll recall that I gave him that for Father's Day. Then, I pointed at it yesterday and said, "Happy Birthday!". He asked, "How many holidays will I be getting that as a gift? The next 5 Christmases?" and I said, "Well, none of my gifts ever costed that much!" LOL.

Evil Twin - I love you, honey. I hope you had a great day (and night! ;-))

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Ten PM

And I am finished with the 7th of the Harry Potter books. I have read furiously for the last two days and even I can't believe that I finished so soon. We had company last night, which held up my reading schedule. Otherwise, I'd have finished last night, I'm sure.

I'm a fast reader, always have been. Buddy got the Bookworm Award from school one month last year, but I swear, he hasn't been seen holding a book (other than a magazine) all summer. Buddy needs to learn that there is more to life than video games and TV.

I suppose it is only through our (mine and the ET's ) faults that we allowed our son to have so much access to such things, but it's kind of like that "thing that all the kids are doing" these days and unless we want him to be a complete outcast, we allow it.

It sucks and I have more pressing parental problems than just that, but that needs to be a whole different post. I'm just too sapped out by my marathon book reading to get into much more.

Perhaps tomorrow evening? We'll see.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


The recipe listed 1/4 of green onions... that should read 1/4 cup, although I have made it plenty of times without the green onions and it's still good. I'm not big on chicken and even I like that recipe, so it IS good. And easy. I got it from a Campbell's Soup book.

You may or may not be hearing from me for a few days. The Evil Twin wanted to go to Books A Million on his lunch hour (or more accurately, lunch half hour) and see if they had some magazines he likes.

I asked him if he saw the new Harry Potter book, could he pick it up for me? And, he said they had gazillions. So, I am on chapter eight and reading furiously...

In a way, I want to see how it ends, but I also don't want it to end. Oh well, I guess I can go back to the beginning and start reading again or I can watch the movies back to back.

That's what Buddy suggested - that we have a Harry Potter movie day and watch all of them. Sounds like fun to me!

Have a great weekend! Try the chicken! :-)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Paprika Chicken

My recipe does sound like the King's. I will post the original recipe first with my own tweaks at the end. I always modify things to make it more palatable to my crew.

Paprika Chicken with Sour Cream Gravy
½ cup all purpose flour
2 tsp. paprika
1 tsp. each salt, ground pepper, garlic powder, cayenne powder
4 boneless chicken breast halves
¼ cup butter or margarine
1 can (10 ¾ oz.) Cream of Chicken or 98% Fat Free Cream of Chicken soup
¼ sliced green onions
1 carton (8oz.) sour cream

Mix flour and seasonings. Coat chicken.
Melt butter in skillet. Add chicken and cook until browned.
Add soup and onions. Cover and cook on low heat 10 min. or until done. Stir in sour cream. Serves 4.

My modifications: I use chicken tenderloins. I put all the flour and seasonings in a big Ziploc bag, add chicken and shake. I use Cream of Mushroom soup (instead of cream of chicken) and I do that in a separate saucepan (we like our stuff on the dry side), and I serve the soup/sour cream on the side as dipping sauce.

I'll be back later when I have more time (and have had a shower!).

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


I don't have much for today, but I feel a need for an update. The last two days I have spent at home, doing my usual daily chores and minding the children. It's actually been a mini vacation for me, since I rarely have a day without something to do or some errand to run.

Since the Evil Twin has started his new schedule, he gets home much earlier than before, which makes family dinners much easier. We had dinner (my Paprika Chicken, which everyone loves) and then I took Buddy to Vacation Bible School. When I got back, the Evil Twin took Sissy out side for some play time and I was able to clean the kitchen and unload and reload the dishwasher.

Then, I joined them out side for a bit. I love playing on the swing set! Sometimes when I'm in our back yard, I feel like I'm on vacation - like I don't really live here, with such a beautiful back yard. Then, I realize, Yes! I pay the mortgage on this fantastic place! It's ours (or the banks mostly, I guess).

We saw a little rabbit while we were outside. After he had hopped a few feet away, I came back inside to get some baby carrots for him. I scattered them under the apple tree. They'll be gone by tomorrow morning, I'm sure.

I hope the next few days bring a little more excitement (not too much!!!) and perhaps I'll have some interesting news next time around.

Monday, July 23, 2007

One More Month

School is back in session in just one month! I've collected most of Buddy's school supplies. I need to get him to try on his uniforms from last year to see if anything still fits. If not, I need to place an order. We have to order from one specific company and they haven't been noted for the speediness of their delivery in the past.

He has plenty of socks, ties (yes, he owns three navy blue ones - due to misplacing one and then I buy another and we find the original), his belt still fits and I believe his shoes will fit. He might need a new pair of dress shoes (they have to wear black or brown dress shoes and bring tennies for gym days which would be Tuesdays and Thursdays).

As much as school gets on my nerves and homework is the bane of my existance, I am looking forward to getting the ball rolling at school this year - as I always am at this time of the summer. LOL. It always reminds me of that Staples commercial from a few years back where the dad is sailing thru the aisles with glee and the kids are looking sad as he buys back to school supplies.

Of course, I'll still have Sissy during the day, but she'll take at least one semi-decent nap for me and I can actually savor the peace and quiet for any where from 45 minutes to 2 hours.

Don't get me wrong - I love my children. But I NEED a moment of peace in my day. When I worked - before Buddy was born - I loved that my job allowed me to work alone for many hours a day, if not all day. I could get my work done and spend my lunch hour flipping through a magazine or just staring out the window while I enjoyed my lunch - all.by.myself.

I have actually been able to read a number of books here lately since Sissy is getting a little more independent, a little more trustworthy (notice I said "a little"... she's not beyond pulling the toilet paper off the roll into the hall if the bathroom door is open.) And having that time to read has been amazing. It's the little things that make my day. :-)

Saturday, July 21, 2007


The Evil Twin smoked for over 16 years until he quit about 2 and a half years ago. Quit cold turkey and still has not caved in. I'm so proud of him! However, I used to smoke with him, socially - like in the evenings with a glass of wine or a Zima or two (or three). It was our time to catch up on our day and discuss different matters. In the house we're in now, we have a workshop room (attached to the house, but has a door between it and the main house), so that was our smoking lounge. We never smoked in the house or around Buddy.

When the Evil Twin quit smoking, so did I - although I did have two cigs at my 20 year High School reunion last summer - bummed from a friend of mine who also smokes menthols.

I don't miss smoking nearly as much as ET, I'm sure. But, tonight is such a beautiful night. The weather is perfect and I can smell the fireflies in the air. I'd love to be out on our porch with a tasty cig and my glass of wine (P.S. to a reader who said her "friend" was Box Wine, mine is too, but I call it "Box o' Wine" and it's still Char Donnay! LOL).

The thing is, I know I could have a cigarette or two and not think about it for days or months or years from now. If the Evil Twin had even one cig, he'd be hooked again in about 5 seconds flat. Number 1, they're terrible for your health and Number 2, they're awfully expensive these days. Plus, we get a life and health insurance discount for being "non-smokers", so it pays off that way too.

I guess it's just certain memories trigger certain behaviors. My mom smoked until our Buddy was a year old. The docs put her on Wellbutrin and she did quit, but she'd been smoking over 50 years at that point. I grew up with that. I can recall perfect summer evenings smelling her cigarette smoke as we children played in the back yard and chased fire flies. It makes it soooo irresistable to me to NOT run down to the corner shopping mart and grab a pack of Marlboros. But, I can't! I can't because that's not fair to the Evil Twin. I'm soooo proud of him. The willpower he has shown since he quit is amazing. I want to be him when I grow up.

Friday, July 20, 2007


Things at the Evil Twin's office have been kinda messed up lately and the "rules" have been changing, too. For many years now, he has worked a flex schedule of 4 ten hour days (off on Friday).

As of Monday, that changes. He is going to go back to 5 day, 8 hour days. Which means we don't have our Fridays "off" together anymore. Waaah. But, trying to look on the bright side, he will be home earlier, so we can all have dinner together, not in shifts.

For our last Friday, we pretty much stuck to the usual routine of lunch at Mayberry's and a few errands. The weather was really mild today with plenty of refreshing breezes, so we all played in the backyard for a while and the kids got all tired out. The baby went to sleep almost immediately after her bath and bottle.

The Evil Twin and Buddy are doing their Friday Night Freakshow and I am covering a few errant greys in my otherwise black hair. Whew! I hope I don't have too much fun!

I do have my good friend Char Donnay over and we always have a great time together. I spoke to my biological mom on the phone last night for quite a while. I'm really having a blast finding out all these little bits of information that make me, well, me. And, I'm still just blown away that I finally have a chance to get to know this other "family". I was starting to lose hope.

Well, I need to get the bird back in his cage before he lands on my hair full of black dye!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Experiment Part 2

Okay, remember my blog from the beginning of March when I started my "conditioner experiment"? No? Well, let me refresh your memory. I bought a 14.5 oz bottle of cheapy (Suave) hair conditioner and wanted to see how long that bottle could last if I only used a dime sized amount every day. I only treated the hair that grew below my ears (which is what is recommended, anyway).

Well, I finally ran out. I had to buy a new bottle of conditioner on Monday, July 16th. I started using it on July 17th. So, my conditioner lasted about 4 and a half months! Not too shabby for a product I purchased for $1.92 - I bought the "fancier" Suave Professionals series. If my calculations are correct, that's 0.01 cent per day!

I plan on squeezing my new bottle until it screams "Uncle!" too. Plus, with my new purchase, I got a free sample of body wash and I got some Suave frizz control cream and had a $1.00 off two Suave products coupon, so this new bottle was even cheaper than $1.92!

One of my new favorite websites is this one:http://walmart.triaddigital.com/Free-Samples.aspx

Really awesome freebies! Yay!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Customer Service Part 2

Yesterday, I had a pleasant customer service encounter. As you all may know, we've been doing quite a bit of remodeling in our house, so I've ordered lots of stuff online. Especially items that are hard to find, if not impossible to find, in my area.

One order I placed was for a recessed soap dish and a recessed toilet paper holder. The previous owners of the home had designed the small half bath with those features, but the ones in place were all rusty and corroded looking. I found a place on line that had the sizes and color I needed and ordered them.

Weeks went by and I hadn't received either item. So, I called the customer service number. They told me it was a 2 to 4 week lead time on items being shipped, so I waited. About a week later, I received the recessed soap holder, but no TP holder. I waited another week and finally I called again today.

After being placed on hold several times, the representative came back on the phone to tell me the item in question had been discontinued. I said that I had bought them both at the same place, so they would match. She asked if I wanted to return the soap dish. I told her it had already been installed! We got it two weeks ago!

So, she said she would put in for a refund on the price of the TP holder. No apology, nothing. I could have been sitting around here for months waiting on that thing. They had my email address, so contacting me would have been relatively painless. Whatever!

I found another recessed TP holder (even cheaper than the other one) and it will fit and the color is close enough (polished stainless steel, as opposed to polished chrome... I mean, really, it will be hidden behind butt wipe, so who really cares????).

That stupid TP holder is the LAST item I need before I can call that bathroom "finished". I tell ya, it just makes you wonder how some places stay in business! Humph!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Customer Service

I know this is one of BKs favorite subjects - and BTW, thanks for the compliment on the rug... I bought a 9x12 and an 8x10 - they're hand knotted Sand Wool and even I had to get really drunk before I could place the order. We all know how cheap I am... But, I digress.

Sissy has been using the same dresser that we bought for Buddy when he was born. Now, you'll recall that my kids are 8 years apart and Buddy really got a lot of wear from that dresser. It was a cheapy and it was just limping along by the time we moved to our current house (3 years ago). It sustained more damage from the move and was really sad, but we figured we could let Sissy use it until she got a big girl bed and real room furniture.

No such luck. The bottom of two of the three drawers was falling in and despite several attempts by the Evil Twin to repair it, it just wasn't meant to be. So, I thought we would get her a cheapy dresser that will do the job in the interim. I'm a fierce online shopper and bargain hunter. I found the dresser I liked for a decent price PLUS free shipping.

The dresser I bought had beadboard sides and metal pulls. It arrived in the mail and when the Evil Twin started the assembly production, it was noted that both sides were plain (flat), not bead board and AND - get this... there were no fashionable metal pulls, instead they had included chintzy ivory plastic pulls. TF?

The Evil Twin drove to Lowe's and found suitable replacements (in metal) and voila! The dresser was complete. In the meantime, I had called the company I ordered from. I had to leave a message and they didn't get back to me until today. I explained our dilemma, but said the dresser was already assembled and in use. However, I had not received the item as stated and with all the various perks listed with the product in question.

I was asked to take pictures of the sides and the plastic pulls and email them back to a semi-friendly customer service rep. She viewed the photos and called me back a short time later. She offered me a $50 refund and I took it. It wasn't an expensive piece to begin with and I DID get free shipping.

I do like it and it looks super cute in her room. It's just the right size - not too big and not too small. I think it'll do the job for a few more years. :-)

Sunday, July 15, 2007


I know I've been gone for a while. It's been a busy, busy weekend and I haven't had anything that was really fun!

There was a time in my life when I was nervous about entertaining. Now, I realize, it doesn't have new or interesting to report. We had friends over for dinner and drinks on Saturday evening and to be anything big and fancy to be fun and nice. And, most people don't care if the meal isn't perfect... it's a free meal, right? And, they get waited on too! We've done several grilling out dinner parties this Spring and Summer, maybe we'll be invited to a few in return? I hope so!

Anyway, I really don't have anything of note to report. We did have a neat early evening shower and thunderstorm. I don't know why, but it made me feel so peaceful. Knowing we were safe in our house and hearing the rain pat on the roof. Our new den is such a great place to relax.

I have a new front door coming and a new screen door (the kind with the retractable screen inside the frame). The front door will be painted red and we have a new lock hand set for it.

At this point, it just needs to be picked up and installed. I'll try to get a picture of that later. I'm not sure when it will be complete.

See the loveseat to your left? That's my laptop on its own cushion. That's where I blog every night or every so often when I get to it these days. Aren't you happy to know that? I always have my glass of Chardonnay nearby so I can feel like Hemingway or something. (just kidding - I don't think he drank wine, did he?)

See the black bean bag chair in front of the Big Ass TV? The kids like to fight over it, even though Buddy insists that it is ONLY HIS. The funniest thing is that it can be unoccupied for hours, but once someone sits their tush on it, the other kid wants it too.

I'm also feeling content today because I was able to start a book I bought not too long ago. It's "Little Earthquakes" by Jennifer Weiner (I know it's GOT to be pronounced whiner). At least I hope it is. I've read several of her other books and she's a fun writer. Chick lit, but hey, at least I'm reading again. It's just so hard to find the time with a small baby, ya know?

I hope you all had awesome weekends like mine! Same blog time, same blog channel.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I Planned on having a Boring Day

But, it actually turned out to be a really great day and full of activity and I didn't even have to leave my house! First, my aunt from Alabama called. She's not really my aunt, she's my mom's best friend. They met in the 60s when they worked together and were friends ever after. My mom's (and my dad's) deaths have been very hard for her to deal with. She is in her later 80s and is in really terrible health -she's confined to bed, etc. Today, she wasn't always making sense, but I love hearing from her because then at least I know she's doing well enough to make a phone call to me.

We talked for quite a while and I told her my news about finding (or them finding me) my biological family. She was so happy for me and said she had always wanted me to do this, so she was relieved. I think she hates to think of me as this "orphan".

Later, my biological mom called and we talked for a long while. About midway through our conversation, the door bell rang and it was a delivery of flowers for me. I couldn't imagine who would have sent them. They were beautiful. They were from my aunt (aforementioned) who just loves to send flowers! They were accompanied by a note reminding me that she loves me. So sweet.

Then, if all that weren't enough, FedEx came by with a new dresser I had ordered for Sissy (free shipping!). She has the dresser that Buddy had as a baby and that thing is falling apart. Now, this new one is nothing fancy. It wasn't expensive and I'm well aware that it's particle board parts, etc. But, I really just wanted something halfway decent (i.e. the second drawer bottom isn't falling out) until we get her bedroom furniture for a big girl room, which will be another 2 years or so from now. We kept Buddy in the crib 'til he was 3.

Alas, it is laundry and injection time. Notice how those two things dominate my evening schedule? Sad, no? Ah, well, at least it gets finished!

Same blog time, same blog channel, friends.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I'm Back!

And you hardly noticed my absence, right? LOL. I've been soooo busy the last few days - catching up with my biological mom and my new sister. I always wanted a sister and turns out, she also always wanted a sister, so we've been burning up the phone lines getting to know each other.

I know it seems odd... we just introduced ourselves on Sunday, but we get along SO well! She's funny, nice, insightful and friendly. I almost can't wait to talk to her every day. It's just so overwhelming and exciting and amazing, all at once!

My regular readers know I don't divulge the names of my loved ones, so I'll call my sister Jellybean, which is the nickname her husband gave her (and that's a story for another day, my friends).

The Evil Twin has had a really bad cough for a while now and I'm not really sure what's going on with that. I may sleep on our new couch tonight just to not have to hear coughing. Depends on if I can find suitable covers for my self out here. I really enjoy my own bedding, though... My super soft 400 thread count sheets.

I'm burned out from this week's activities. But, I figured I'd pop by for an (non) update. And to let you know I'm still around, just pre-occupied with other thoughts.

That's it for now. I'll see you at the same blog time, same blog channel tomorrow!

Monday, July 9, 2007


This is my 100th post. Pretty exciting, huh? Only not as exciting as my day yesterday. Where do I start???

My phone rang at about 4 pm. I didn't recognize the number on the caller ID, but decided to answer it anyway. A female voice asked for me and I said "This is she." Just like always. She seemed hesitant at first, but then asked if I had entered information on Adoption.com and I said I did. I started to catch on at this point that this person with whom I was speaking KNEW me or knew something about my biological mother.

Oh, she knew plenty about my biological mother. 'Cause she's my sister! She's 32 and I also have a brother who is 28. It turns out that we are whole siblings as my biological mother and biological father got married about 5 years after I was born (and given up for adoption) and had two more children.

My bio mom had told my sister about me when she was about 13 and the family had attempted to locate me over the years, but didn't have much to go on. They kind of gave up because they reasoned that maybe I didn't want to be found or that I'd be angry or feel invaded.

The weirdest thing is that I had started an earnest search for my bio mom about a year ago and located her and was resonably sure that was her address, but was too chicken to send a letter in case it wasn't the correct address. So, I did nothing.

My sister had had a conversation with a friend of the family and mentioned me. She told him all the info she had and within a half hour, he had found me!

She was nervous, but talked to other family members who advised her that if I didn't want to be contacted, I wouldn't have put my information out there on the internet. I was so thrilled to hear from her. She sent pics of herself and we could be twins!

Later in the evening, my bio mom called and we spent about 2 hours on the phone. It was like putting the missing pieces on a puzzle. She had the first half of the info and I had the rest. She is very nice and we hope to meet each other in the near future. My bio dad and her divorced years ago, but he also knows I've been "found", so I hope to meet him as well.

So, I went from having only my immediate family to having a bio mom, bio dad, brother and sister in one afternoon. I also have aunts and cousins who are anxious to make me part of the family! I'm really excited to be entering this chapter of my life.

I can rest easy knowing that my children will know their medical histories (on my side) and their background heritage. As I suspected, I am largely Irish. Now, I can walk around saying "Beggorah" and "Top o' the mornin' to ye" and not be a poseur. LOL.

Saturday, July 7, 2007


For some reason, I can't get to the title bar (my cursor won't show up in it). So, the title of this is "Clarification".

I visited Rosemary's Attic earlier today and left a comment. I was in a hurry and trying to think while noise distracted me and I was working on dinner, too. Anyway, after I had left the comment, I felt like it reflected badly on me. See, the subject was on her leaving a job after burn out and not having regrets. I mentioned that I too had "downsized" jobs due to stress and that now "I was a full time mom with lots of stress and no pay LOL". Later I got to thinking that perhaps that statement would make me seem ungrateful or unhappy about my decision or role in our family and nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is I love raising my kids. Sure, I want to pull my hair out some days and I don't make any money, but I get loads of kisses - have you had a sloppy kiss from a 17 month old lately?? - and hugs and laughs galore. My kids are funny and cute. Buddy has a warped sense of humor like his parents. Sissy is already acting as though she will fit right in with our nuthouse.

I just wanted to get that out....

We took the kids to the Greyhound Dog Track today. Way back, when I was in college, I was a cocktail waitress there. My dad never told my grandmother (his mom) what I was doing then, because not only was I serving alcohol, I was serving it in a gambling establishment (they were Southern Baptist, but my dad never let those things get to him). So, it's changed a whole lot over the years. They have slot machines and the capability to let people bet on other races across the US/World? I happen to have a weakness for the quarter slots, but only a $10 weakness.

I had been a few years back with my dad and cousins and he gave me $10. I played $4.00 worth and hit a $40.00 jackpot. I took my quarters and quit. Today, I played $10 again. Even though I won small amounts a few times, I had decided unless I hit for more than $10, I would keep playing. It was fun, but I had to go in that section all by myself since no one under 18 is allowed. The Evil Twin stayed in the grand stand area with the kids.

Buddy had never seen the dogs racing and we figured it would be a fun day out. It was nice, but we didn't realize strollers weren't allowed inside. Sissy was all over the place! We ended up sitting at a table outside in front and that was good... she could roam a little and we could keep an eye on her. We had hot dogs and fries, The Evil Twin got chicken nuggets for Sissy, but she didn't really care for them, so she ate french fries and Cheese Nips I had put in my purse.

We're $10 poorer. LOL. That's okay because I did have fun with it. The slot machines are NOT the old one armed bandits of yesterday. These things are fancy! I almost couldn't figure it out and you don't even have to pull the lever. Just press the button and the wheels spin inside.

I can definitely see how people find it so appealing, but I'm too cheap to actually get addicted.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Our Funny Bird

Buddy was all beside himself earlier today when Apple, our parakeet, flew out of his cage and landed on Buddy's shoulder. Apple started nipping at Buddy's hair (which is always cut very, very short, as per the Evil Twin's specifications).

Apple flew out of his cage a second time and Buddy started running from him. He ran into the kitchen, back thru the dining room and back into the den and the bird was flying after him the whole time. Sissy, Buddy and I were all dying laughing. When Buddy finally ducked and Apple realized he wouldn't be able to land on him, he landed on me. He hung out for a bit and then flew back to his cage.

Anyway, Buddy was saying, "Mommy, you need to blog this right now!" LOL. I like to have relative quiet when I'm writing, so I wait until Sissy is in bed - at the VERY least.

I'm thinking, well, it probably won't be interesting to any one but our little family, but it was the first time Apple has really interacted with us like that at all and of course, he picked Buddy. I'm the one who has been trying to tame the thing and I'm the one who gives him fresh food and water every day and keeps his little environment clean. Oh well, that's okay. I've read that they like children best because of the tone of their voices (higher).

We went to the pet shop this afternoon to get the bird a little play gym (a wooden platform thing they can hang out on when outside their cages - they like perching areas), and while we were there, we looked at all the other parakeets. I think I half convinced the Evil Twin into getting another one. We'll see....

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

July 4th 2007

Our fourth has been really fantastic. The Evil Twin grilled out and we had a friend over. It was good food and good conversation. The rest of the day has been pretty laid back - except now.

It is nearly 9 pm and I put Sissy in bed shortly after 7. She didn't have an afternoon nap and I knew she was tired. She was just whining and rubbing her eyes. So, I got her in the bath and gave her the evening bottle. Sung the night night song and laid her in the crib. Well, she's still back there "talking" to herself. It's driving me crazy, so I turned the monitor down a bit. She really needs to go to sleep! I can't imagine how tired she must be!

We're trying to watch a documentary on TV and of course, Buddy is still up. The Evil Twin never forces him to go to bed at a reasonable hour during the summer.

I don't mean to sound selfish, but I need time alone for at least a little while each day. An hour would be nice. I guess when the kids are grown, I'll have plenty of time on my hands. Of course, I'll be too old to enjoy myself. LOL.

Well, we're getting a major storm right now. I'm glad it waited until after our cook out! We could really use the rain. Alrighty, hope your day was fun and sunny and full of good eats!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

In The Tiny Tube

I had to get an MRI this evening. This is probably my 7th one, if I recall correctly. At this point, I only have to have one done every two years, so it's hard to remember all the past ones. Luckily, my condition has remained unchanged since I was first diagnosed in 2000. (that's a good thing). I'm hoping for the same news again in a few weeks.

I was off my Copaxone for more than a year, but it's said that pregnancy acts to "halt" MS symptoms just like the therapy drugs do. It's not recommended during pregnancy or nursing, so while it would have been nice to have a needle break, I really didn't get one.

Because of my blood clotting disorder, I had to have two shots of blood thinner a day for my entire pregnancy and then one shot a day for 6 weeks post-partum. THEN, I got a needle break until July. So, three months of no shots!

I'm so used to doing it, though, that I don't really mind it. I put a bag of frozen peas on the unlucky site o' the day. Let that sit for 5 mins or so, then I'm numb enough I don't really feel it.

About a month ago, I hit a vein in my thigh and had a HUGE bruise for weeks afterwards. That sucked, but that happens sometimes.

My MRI today was just my brain, so it only took about 20 minutes - with contrast. The MRI section at the hospital had a full house when I went in. Usually, it's just me sitting there bored to tears. I got to meet a bunch of really nice people.

Nothing like sharing your ailments with complete strangers. LOL. The conversation really turns lively when we start to discuss health insurance. Believe me, I feel extremely lucky to have the coverage we do have (thru the Evil Twin's work), but even as much as we pay for coverage, it seems more and more these days, we have more co-pays, higher co-pays.

I can't imagine NOT having any insurance. That would truly suck. But, that's another post for another day, and frankly a subject I don't really feel like getting on. My brain can barely function to only have diarrhea of the mouth (or of the fingers, I suppose). LOL.

Monday, July 2, 2007

The Parthenon

No, no, not the monument in Greece... The student newspaper at Marshall University. I know I mentioned my involvement in this endeavor briefly yesterday while discussing snacks from the snack machine, but I thought I'd elaborate a little more.

I worked on the layout of the paper, which was done after 4 pm, after the writer's had turned in their stories for the day. We were generally there from 4 'til about 10 pm or sometimes later the first few days of a new term. The new reporters would inevitably miss deadlines, which would hold us up as well. As long as we had it pasted and ready to go by midnight, we were good.

The Huntington Police would take it to Wayne County, where a press out there would run it all night long and have the finished papers delivered back to the school by 6 am or so. So, if we had it complete by midnight, the cops would take it out, if we were later than that, someone else had to drive it out to the Wayne County press. I recall our manager doing just that on a few occasions. Yuck.

Anyway, this is back in the late 80s and we did it all by hand, still. The stories were sent from old VDT monitor computers to the phototypositor and then printed out on shiny paper in long form. In other words, whatever part of the paper you were working on was "dummied", or sketched out for whatever story went where. You had to find the story and the headline, cut them out and then send them thru the waxer. After waxing, you laid the headline in place and went to work on the article. If it was a three column layout, you'd divide your lines by three, try not to leave a widow (a line dangling all by itself, like the beginning of a line), and fit it in to the space provided for that article.

Then you'd go to your next article. Sometimes, the dummies called for outlines, or M tape. M tape comes in various thicknesses. I worked with M5 a lot. If your story had a box, you had to construct that box with M tape, mitre the corners and hand make that box. I became very handy with an exacto and M tape.

One night, I left work and went out somewhere. I had on a thick wool sweater. Someone said, "You have something stuck to your sweater", I turned to look back where they were pointing and on the end hem of my sweater, there was an entire roll of M tape dangling there. I stuck in it my purse and returned it to the office the next day.

The small crew who did layouts had a great time. We'd all be hunched over our own light tables, doing our dummies. Once you stuck the piece of waxy paper down, you had a roller thing that you'd press it down real hard. Couldn't risk having a column or headline falling off, because if that happened, the press wouldn't have it and that space would run empty. We also utilized weeby wipes. Weebies were soft cloths that were used to wipe down the page and make sure there was no extra wax on top of the articles or photos or headlines.

We'd crack jokes and talk about all kinds of inappropriate things. More than once, a jokester made fake headlines or captions on the phototypositor and would actually paste it on the dummy. The key was to remember to remove the offending item and replace it with the real one. Once, that didn't happen and a very terrible racist headline made the paper. For real. Worse yet, the joke was on an athlete and that didn't fly with most of the population at Marshall.

For the record, I never did stuff like that - I couldn't operate the phototypositor, and besides, I wouldn't have done it anyway, even if I could.

Believe it or not, I've caught up to the world of computer design - in fact, I did almost as soon as I graduated in 1991. Things had advanced so much between 1986 and 1991, I had to hit the ground running on my first real graphic design job. I still miss the old school ways a little bit.

But I don't miss that M tape. LOL.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The Great Cheese Debate

While grocery shopping last week, I picked up a box of Cheese Nips. I happen to like the Nips and figured that it would be an interesting departure from Goldfish for Sissy. She seems happy with them as well.

Then, I got to thinking about Cheez-Its and why I never buy them. Well, for one, they're kinda.... oily. They seem greasy and almost semi-stale even though the box may be brand new and nowhere near it's expiration date. Cheese Nips are dry and baked. Cheez-Its seem like they've ben dipped in Krispy Kreme frying oil and then delivered straight to the wax bag.

I've been a fan of Cheese Nips for many years. The vending machine at Marshall University in Smith Hall, 3rd floor (where I spent most of my time) had individual serving bags of Cheese Nips and I'd often get those for a snack while I worked late evenings on the school newspaper. I seem to remember them as being slightly hexagonal, but a squashed hexagon.

These ones I just bought are squares. Did they, at some point, re-tool their shape so they would resemble Cheez-Its more? Or were they always square and I lost too many brain cells in college to truly remember them as they were? Help me out, I'm starting to get a complex.

I think Cheez-Its are probably the front runner on cheese flavored cracker snacks and I can't for the life of me figure that out. If you have a notion, share your thoughts, please.

P.S. I think this is post 94! Woot. Getting close to that 3 figured number. Of course, on MySpace, I have nearly 300 blog posts. I sure am a blabber mouth over there!