Friday, August 31, 2007

Kitty Say What...

We are totally into these kitties... John doesn't know it yet but we are walking around the house randomly saying, "kitty say what". And we use it in all conversation as well. For example: I might ask Samantha if she wants to come outside with me and she responds, "kitty say what".

This morning was the 3rd grade parent meeting at school. It was from 8:45am until 10:30am, oh my god that's a long time.
Samantha was so cute telling us that it had been moved from the gym to the cafeteria. And, how to get there, "you go in the doors on the left and then by the stairs you turn right and go down the hall. When you see the ramp go left. Down the ramp and you will be in the cafeteria." She is very concerned with knowing exactly where to go and what to expect.
John was planning on going but he worked overtime until 3am so we thought it best that he stay home and sleep. That was a good plan too because the first part of the meeting was quite boring. All about the achievement testing and no child left behind. I don't remember much of it. I sat with Paul (Ann's dad), Michelle (Austin's mom) and Krista (Seth's mom).
After the boring bit we went to our child's classroom and met with their teachers. I love both of her teachers. When I walked in to the class room her homeroom teacher said: "am I doing something wrong? Every day Samantha is the first one in the class room and she always looks like she is going to burst into tears." I reassured her that Samantha thinks she great and that Samantha is just a little strange. Crying is just her thing. Samantha says she could care less if anyone acknowledges that she is crying, or about to cry. She says she does it because she misses me and because she is tired that early in the morning and her coffee hasn't kicked in yet. That's my kid!
I think Samantha is going to have a great year learning. I am excited about everything but the math. At work I looked over some of the thing they will cover this year and the math section literally made my chest hurt. I had to stop. (Remember I chose what colleges to apply to based on whether math was required or not.)
They had had coffee down in the cafeteria and I had poured myself a cup only to realize that there was no real sugar. Kitty say what! I refuse to use the fake stuff and was mumbling to myself how I felt wasteful just throwing it away. Another dad had heard me and on the way out of the class room he said I was wanted in the principals office for wasting coffee. And Michelle said, "oh and not for running over the orange parking cones!" So of course the dad wanted to know about that so we re-told my incident where I ran over the parking cone, in front of everyone and it got stuck under my car. Ahh, the good ole days.

I was worried that my boss would be mad that the meeting took so long but she wasn't. It was a pretty laid back day too. Jeff was in the office and funny he didn't mention calling me yesterday or what he wanted. See, when he has time on his hands he starts getting all grumpy about things. He did get to see, up close and personal, how quickly things can change regarding his travel. I asked him his preference on a flight to Detroit from Salt Lake City. Twenty minutes later he asked me what I had booked and I said, "oh, you're not going to Detroit anymore." I felt like standing on a chair (he's 6'9") and saying: "see, I don't make this stuff up!" But I didn't.

Ellen and I were talking about something interesting today. She asked if I got paid since the office is closed on Labor Day. I told her no and she asked about how that all worked. I don't get paid for any time I take off, holiday's, sick days, vacation days. Originally I only worked two days a week for a couple of hours. Then it went to three days, then four and now I still work part time but I work 5 days a week. I am beginning to ponder asking for sick days, vacation and holidays.... hhhmmm....

After school, while we were unpacking Samantha's book bag, she said she wished we had ice cream. Then she said we should make some. Kitty say what! Well, she had found a recipe in her National Geographic Kids magazine for 5 minute ice cream. Oh my god, it was really good. Here is the recipe:

You will need:
Ice Cubes
1/2 cup kosher salt
1 cup half & half or low fat milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 resealable sandwich bag
1 gallon size resealable freezer bag
A dish towel
What to do:
1. Fill the gallon size bag half full with ice and kosher salt.
2. In the sandwich bag, mix half & half or milk, sugar, and vanilla. Seal tightly.
3. Place the small bag inside the large bag. Seal tightly so they won't leak.
4. To protect your hands from the cold, wrap the dish towel around the outside of the large bag. Shake for 5 minutes or until the mixture turns into ice cream.

Kitty said what? - Morphing Kittens

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I have a cold... a stupid summer cold... and it's at the very worst time too because we have a lot planned this week. Ellen was supposed to come over tonight and we were going to have dinner at The Shade and then look at condos for her. But that didn't happen because I'm not up for it and neither is Ellen. She said her stomach was upset all day and this morning Teresa came in and started telling her all about how she drank too much last night and then threw up this morning in the bathroom at work. She went on and on about how gross the bathroom at work was. Finally Ellen told her she had to stop. Teresa was surprised that if you drank too much the night before that you could still be sick the next day... duh... I would assume that this is no where near the first time she had drunk too much... oh, I just have to say duh again... Anyway, tomorrow Samantha and I are going to the ballet. On Saturday we are planning on going to Mansfield to pick blueberries. On Sunday we will go to the Labor Day festival in town and then on Monday the parade. I don't want to miss any of it because of a stupid cold.

Sue and I walk at work. We take a short stroll thru the parking lot, over a grassy area avoiding the dog poop and down the road. It's a nice mid-morning break. We pick up pennies and change we find along the way and plan on splitting a coke when we have .55. We are almost there. Today we found a dime so only .07 to go. It's kind of sad that we are almost there and then our game will be over. But then Sue said she drinks diet. Yuck, I drink regular. So I guess it's .62 more to go until we have enough for two cokes.

Kelly called this morning. She didn't feel well as a result of doing too much yesterday and Tara was upset. She wanted to stay home with her mom. So, Samantha and I went by and picked her up for school. Then after school since we weren't doing dinner with Ellen we picked Tara up from the bus and went over to keep Kelly company for a while. The girls haven't played since school started. Kelly went to the doctor yesterday and he said 3 to 5 more weeks and she should start being able to put weight on her foot. Yeah! She took her boot thing off and showed me her foot. It was really strange because there are identical bruises on either side of her foot. Danny had stayed home from school sick as well and he kept asking if he could go out and play with his friend in the neighborhood. Kelly reminded him that the rule is if you do not go to school then you do not play outside or play with friend. He was funny because he must have asked 100 times if he could play and he kept on trying and Kelly kept on telling him no. It was hard not to laugh when he asked if he could call his dad and ask him.

I am getting back into my routine of leaving work and sitting in the parking lot at school and having time alone to read. I'm currently reading "Freedomland", the book that the movie was based on. It is really good and I have been getting in a good hour each day to read. Today Jeff called. I didn't answer and he left a voice mail saying he had a question about next week's trip. He sounded pissed off too. I didn't call him back because he will be in the office tomorrow and can ask me whatever then. The thing is I usually do not finish his trip for the next week until the last possible second, literally, on Friday. So, he gets it Friday evening for the following week. This week I finished it yesterday, Wednesday, and emailed it to everyone in the office, including Jeff, like I do every week. This extra time gave Jeff time to think about and pick apart next weeks trip. He usually calls me in the beginning of the week and asks what things look like for the following week. I try to tell him things that I am only 100% positive about because he doesn't do well with changes or additions. I told him on Tuesday what I thought was for sure but then several hours later Ron got 2 more appointments so I'm sure that's what he is upset about. I think he thinks I keep things from him on purpose. Then there is the whole Ray thing. Next week a new guy from the plant is going to be tagging along with Jeff so that he can get training to be able to go out an do what Jeff does on his own. Hello, Jeff, don't you think this is a sign that you need to be a little bit more agreeable and quit complaining since there is someone else around to do your job... I am actually quite curious about what he has to say because I know he is going to hit the roof when he finds out he has to do a power point presentation at his last appointment. His last appointment is really tight and he is already upset about it. Sometimes I find his rantings somewhat amusing. We'll see...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

We survived the first day of 3rd grade. It was great. On Sunday John had the day off and we all went to Easton to get a back to school outfit for Samantha. At Justice she got a pair of black leggings and a long tunic top with black and white flowers like all the kids are wearing this year. She also got a new pair of sneakers. They are silver and look more like shoes than sneakers. I almost had a heart attack, they were $44! But because they look like shoes she will be able to wear them a lot.

After shopping we had lunch at Red Robin. We were going to go to Johnny Rockets but it was gone! Red Robin had this amazing whiskey chicken wrap. John and I split it and boy was it good. Samantha and John split a mountain high ice cream pie for dessert. The thing was as big as Samantha's head but they ate it all.

So, Sunday night Samantha went to bed all showered and clean with her outfit all laid out for in the morning. After her shower she sat on the big bed while John brushed her hair and I painted her nails. After she fell asleep I thought about how fast the summer went by. I'M NOT READY FOR SCHOOL TO START!

Monday morning we set out for the first day of school. John got up and said good bye to Samantha before she left. When we got to school Samantha saw Ann and we walked in with her. I told Samantha I would walk her to her classroom today. She started to cry and her teacher came over. As I left her teacher was giving her a hug and saying, "I love hugs and hope you do too." Her teacher is going to be a good fit for her this year.

After shcool John and I went to pick Samantha up. While we waited the pre-school kids came out and it was sweet, several of them said they didn't want to go home when their parents came to pick them up. Then Samantha came out! She had a great day!

I've been DVR-ing a show on Bravo called "Flipping Out" about this guy named Jeff who buys these high end properties, fixes them up and sells them. He is something else. The one episode was about his assistant answering the phone improperly and his cat going for acupuncture. I like it because I get to see someone elses boss who is crazier than mine.

Speaking of TV shows... the other night was the season finale of "Army Wives". I hope they bring that show back next season, it is quite good. And when is next season anyway, I can't wait too long to start watching it again.

The other night John was at work. It was after 9pm and the door bell rang 3 times. It was the white trash neighbor who lives with her boyfriend and alcoholic ex-husband's 10 year old daughter, 2 other girls about the same age and a boy about 5. When I opened the door the boy held out a stuffed animal and said, "do you want to buy this elephant?" I said no and they all turned and walked away. Oh my god, that was weird. Oh, and I noticed that the girl (the white trash neighbor who lives with her boyfriend and alcoholic ex-husband's 10 year old daughter) had a cast on her arm. I wonder what unsupervised thing she was doing when that happened.

Today was the second day of school and it went well. Samantha seems to like her teacher and her class. I am so thankful for that. I want nothing more than for her to be happy.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Build A Bear

It is not as hot out today. Samantha went to Tara's birthday party. Since Kelly is stuck with her foot she asked me if I would go with her mother to help with the party. Of course I said yes. I like Kelly's mom, Noreen we had a great time. We took Tara, Samantha, Ann, Ashlie and Kayile to Build A Bear. The girl who did the party was really great. I can't wait to download the pictures I took. The girls were all so serious following the girls instructions: march in line, put your bears heart on your head and 10 seconds to wash you bear. They barely cracked a smile. But they had the best time. Samantha made the fall bear. He's orange with a fall leaf on it's nose and foot. Samantha named it Pumpkin. Tim and Kelly met us and we all went to lunch at Max and Ermas. I got to push Kelly in the rented mall wheel chair. It was hysterical, I am not a good driver. Kelly commented that I treated her like she was not all there. She said her foot was broken, not her mind.

After Build A Bear and lunch we went back to Kelly's house. Sally came by and the boys were back from putt putt and Tara opened her presents. Then I took the girls back to our house to play. Tim came and picked them up when the tornado sirens started going off. There was a touch down nearby but we didn't get even a drop of rain.

Friday, August 24, 2007


Ugh, I felt so sick today. Here is what happened: I ate a yogurt. Then I went for a walk in the 99 degree heat with Sue. It was the heat and not Sue that made me feel just awful. I headed right for the couch when I got home. Samantha brought me Happy. Happy is a pink hippo we cuddle with when one of us doesn't fell well.
Several schools were closed today because of the intense heat. The schools when John is a police officer were closed. John said that if it was too hot for the little darlings to go to school then it was also too hot for them to be out committing crimes. He said that if any of them were dumb enough to get caught they were going to jail, no calling their mothers to pick them up this time.
This evening we stayed in. I stayed on the couch and Samantha came out to spend time with me. She brought out her Play Doh and played Iron Chef. It was great. She competed against her imaginary friend Shally. She would create a main dish, a drink and a dessert and then I would judge whether she or Shally had the better dish. It was so much fun. I love how creative she is. When I was younger Mom didn't allow TV because she said it would thwart my creativity and rot my brain. But I am so happy to see Samantha "learn" from TV and use it to further her creativity. Once we were done Iron Chef-ing it we watched a scary/stupid movie called "Bats". It was about this guy who created a human killing breed of bats. It was pretty bad but it had Lou Diamond Phillips in it and he's hot. We had a lovely evening together, me and Samantha that is. Lou and I had a lovely evening too after my Benadryl kicked in and I fell asleep before the movie was over.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

On Golden Pond

I hate being embarrassed. You know that feeling where you are sitting there and you can feel your face burning and you want to run away and hide. Well, that happened to me today. I made a $242.60 mistake and I had to tell my boss about it. I was going to wait until next week but she already knew and asked me what happened so I had to tell her.
Ellen has pneumonia but Carla made her come in to work today. She really didn't feel well. Poor Ellen. And, while I'm on the subject of work, Susan quit today. She is moving to the lake house. They have been remodeling their lake house and it's almost done.
Me: "I wish my black shorts were clean."
Samantha: "They are."
Me: "No, they aren't."
Samantha: "Yes, they are."
Me: "No, they are in the dirty laundry from vacation that I haven't done yet."
Samantha: "I did the laundry this morning, Daddy told me how."
I love my girl, she's the greatest!
We went to Target to get Tara's birthday present. Samantha has a Bratz doll with a dog named Cloe and she wanted to get Tara the same one but named Yazmine. We got the last one! Watching Samantha pick out a card was sweet. She looked over every card and had me reach a few on the top row for her. She spent time reading each one and then decided on a knock knock one with a monkey on it.
Today was "Meet Your Teacher Day" at school. This year Samantha is in a new school but it is laid out exactly like her old school. We took Samantha's school supplies in and she got them all organized in her desk. Her teacher (in the picture above) seems so nice. I think she and Samantha will be a good fit. Samantha knows a few kids in her class this year. There are 2 girls she knows, Hayley and Olivia. As we walked around checking out where everything was Samantha saw a bunch of kids she knows. I love watching her socialize and interact with her classmates, I am just so proud of the great person she is becoming. There was a back to school party out in back of the school with games and inflatables that you can jump on and slide down but it was close to 100 degrees and majorly humid so we did not stay.
It took us 17 minutes to get out of the parking lot of the school! They had 2 sheriff deputies directing traffic. I love how when there is something at school everyone goes. That is great. Where John is a police officer I bet half the parents don't even know where the school is.
We went by Kelly's to see how she is holding up. Poor Kelly, she is so mad about not being able to get around. Tim and her mom are really helping her out so that is good. And, our friend Sally has been coming by with all sorts of advice. Sally is a physical therapist.
Tonight Samantha and I watched one of the greatest movies of all time: "On Golden Pond". I love that movie so much. Listening to Katherine Hepburn call to the loons reminds me of Mom and listening to Henry Fonda gripe about everything reminds me of Dad.
This eve

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I woke up this morning to giggling. Giggling coming from the big bed. Baby giggling. John and Samantha were awake and well, giggling. It was a nice sound to wake up to.

Samantha spent the afternoon playing with play doh. She came in and said: "I just made the best thing I've ever made out of play doh and I named him Tweeters."

Kelly said she does not remember telling me that she loves me. She went to have her foot set today and the doctor said if she stays off of it she can avoid surgery. And, that she can be walking by Halloween. Oh my god, that is such a long time. I hope everything works out and that she learns to use her walker. The crutches were too awkward and the walker is safer.

This evening Samantha and I went out in the back yard even though is was oppressively hot. We threw a ball around and watched the storm roll in. It smelled like rain. The wind began to pickup and we could hear the thunder getting closer and closer. We stayed out until the lightening arrived. We went inside and watched "High School Musical 2". When it was time for bed we washed our faces together. I watched Samantha put emu oil on her face and rub it in just the way I do. I love her so very very much.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Going back home

Ba Ba came in this morning to say good bye before he went to work. Samantha and I left for home about 10:30am. Mom gave Samantha the rest of the cinnamon rolls for breakfast. Then we used the wheelbarrow to load the car. I gave Samantha a ride back over like Dad used to do with me. Mom and Samantha threw the rest of the acorns in the creek. And the dogs walked across the bridge to the car with us. I always cry when we leave my parents house and Samantha did this time too.
We went right to school to check out the class list. Samantha has a good class it looks like. We have been so fortunate that she has had excellent teachers each year. Although, I really don't think any of them are bad.
Kelly called when we got home. This morning she fell down the stairs and broke her foot. She said she is not blaming the dog but Corky was there. Poor Kelly. This really sucks because her sister and her family are in town this week and school starts on Monday. She was so funny, the pain medication made her a little loopy and she said the funniest thing. First I have to preface this story. One evening Kelly and I were out with the kids when Ellen called on my cell phone. When I we were done talking I said, "I love you too." Kelly asked if we always said we love each other and I said yes. She asked why I didn't say that to her. I asked if that would make her feel uncomfortable if I said I love you. She said yes. Well, that's why I don't say it. So, back to the present and Kelly sounding all loopy. She said she needed to go because she was tired. I was getting ready to say good bye and Kelly said, "I love you Kate." It was too funny. I wonder if she will remember that she said it tomorrow?
John worked day shift today and then a little overtime so he was home in the evening. While Samantha and I waited for him we watched a show she'd DVR'd called "Animal Miracles". Even though we spent every waking moment together on vacation I never get tired of spending time with her.
When John got home we all went to Bob Evans for dinner. We missed John / Daddy!

Monday, August 20, 2007

It rained today so we went to see "Hairspray". It was so good. Samantha liked it too.

We met Dad after work at Tina's for dinner. I had the usual, a cheese calzone. Mom had her usual, an epi roll and Dad had his usual, linguine in clam sauce. In Western New York they have this soft drink called Loganberry. I love Loganberry. Samantha wouldn't try it even though I insisted she would like it. Yeah, that's probably why she wouldn't try it.
When we got home we made smores in the house with the table top smores maker. It was still raining, hence the inside thing. The dogs sat at our feet and drooled.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Ribs and Poop

This morning we all went to church. On the way there Dad didn't want to wear his seat belt so the car ding-dinged all the way there. It was strange to be back there after so many years. Everything is exactly the same, even the shut-ins they pray for each week. Exactly the same. I saw Ellen's father, he looks exactly the same as well. He said Ellen is in NYC and Susan is in Idaho. Samantha was so sweet saying the prayers right along with everyone else. And, she shook every one's hand just like an adult. I went with her to Sunday school where they made cards for shut-ins. Samantha showed all the girls how to make a pop-up card. I was so proud of her for being "social".

After church we went to breakfast at the organic deli. We were greeted by the friendliest vegan I have ever met in my life. It was funny to watch Dad when she told him his selection was "FANTASTIC!" She was really nice and it was refreshing to find someone who enjoys their job. Mom said they guy who owns the place used to be some computer IT guy who quit and opened up the place. I so want to do that one day. Anyway, they had a chalkboard in the corner for the kids. Samantha went over, aah, how cute. "Oh my god, erase that Samantha!" She wrote POOP really big across the board. The whole place laughed. Luckily their laughter didn't upset her.

Later on we all went Geocaching again. This site was in a park, in the woods. Dad bitched the whole way there wanting to know why we were wasting our time doing this. When we got in the woods Dad walked around in a circle, said "IT'S NOT HERE" and went back to the car. I'd locked the car so he had to sit on the bleachers by the baseball diamonds. It was amusing that is was irritated. Mom found the cache. She was so thrilled and is hooked.

For dinner Dad made BBQ ribs on the grill. Yummy! I always get a sample of ribs at the Jazz & Rib festival in town every year but I have never actually sat down and eaten a plate of ribs. Oh, they were so finger licking good.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Going Batty

I always sleep really well at my parents house. I think it's a combination of being home and being in the country. But, last night I didn't sleep well at all. I had a bad dream and then I kept reaching out for Samantha because I thought she was going to roll out of the bed. (She did that on one visit and thunked on the floor, it was kind of funny.) I also think I didn't sleep well because mom had the radio on all night. She listens to NPR in the wee hours and last night it was about dogs tracking aliens through the woods. And, no, that is really what it was about and not my bad dream. Although it may have contributed to my bad dream.

This morning Dad and I went to the Farmer's Market. The market was beautiful, much larger than ours at home. I got too see most of it but some of it is a blur because Dad was walking so darned fast. I kept asking him to slow down but I don't know if he eared me or not. On the way home we stopped at a garage sale. I went, Dad complained. I got: (everything for Samantha) a pair of clogs, a hamster ball and a Cheetah Girls CD.
We all went to the Scottish Highland Festival and Games. It was so much fun, well, except for the part where I got lost. Right when we got there Samantha and Mom went off somewhere. I had to go to the bathroom and Dad said he would wait for me. Well, he didn't. I came out of the bathroom and they were all gone. It was a big festival too. I walked around and around. I even called John to keep from crying. Finally about 30 minutes later I found them in the silent auction area. Who knew. There were awesome bagpipes and Scottie dogs. There were men in kilts throwing big iron balls and men in masks fencing. We had a wonderful time. When it was time to go Dad was lost this time. He got mad that he got lost too. He blamed us but we told him that we weren't lost, we were all together.
After the festival we went to lunch on the lake. As we were leaving I sort of forgot Dad's rule: when you get to the car you get in. Right away. I wasn't in the car, I was standing next to it leaning in and Dad started to drive away. I yelled and then he yelled and then Mom yelled. Samantha laughed.
Since Dad was mad we left him at home and Mom, Samantha and I went back out. We took Mom Geocaching. We went to locations but only found 2. Mom was hooked after her first find. The one location was in a wooded area surrounded by poison ivy. Mom and Samantha waited out in the clearing while I went in for the find. Mom was funny, she said, "don't come out until you find it!" The last one we searched for was a riddle and it drove us crazy that we couldn't figure it out.
We went to a used book store in town. Samantha got the very first in the series of "The Baby Sitter's Club" and the first in the "Goosebumps" series. Then on the way home we went to several more garage sales. Samantha got a stuffed animal whom she named Elly. I got a purse. And Mom got a picture of a dog exactly like Dandy and a Jade plant.
Before dinner we went to the creek. Samantha played with her stuffed dog, Spot. She played "animal rescue." Spot even fell in the creek. Poor Spot. The water was only up to Samantha's knees which is quite low. I sat on the bank and watched her play. I thought about how the creek has changed over the years. It is one of the most beautiful places and it took my moving away to really appreciate it's beauty. Now I try to remember to always note the beauty in things I see every day.
Dad made BBQ chicken on the grill. It was a Greek marinade that was really good. He used his 35 year old charcoal grill which sits right next to the $1,200.00 gas grill Mom bought last summer which Dad refuses to use. Those 2 crack me up. I had a beer with dinner, the only alcohol they had, in hopes that it will help me sleep better tonight. For dessert we had the orange cranberry scone type cookies Mom got at the festival. They were so very yummy. All during dinner we watched a plethora of wood peckers fly from the trees to the bird feeder. It was amazing how many there were and the variety. We saw Downy's, Red Headed and Hairy's. The dogs sat with us and the evening was so beautiful. We reminisced about such things as, Disney World when I was 4, going to see the Byrds, when I set fire in a tree and drinking creek water from old whiskey bottles.
When my parents took me to Disney we saw a show about birds. I remember Mom being upset because they were not real birds. And, they say a song that sticks in our heads to this day. It went like this: "let's all sing like the birdies sing, tweet tweet tweet tweet tweet."
Mom told about this family they are friends with named the Byrds. She told me once that we were going to see them and how disappointed I was when we got there and I discovered that they were just people and not birds.
Samantha thought the fire in the tree was a good one. My friend Beth and I had found a tree by the creek that had a hollowed out area at it's base. We thought it looked like a fire place. We were playing house and thought a fire in the fire place would be a lovely idea. Dad did not think it was.
Mom and Dad did not know about the whiskey bottles. When my good friend Kate came over and we played in the creek we would pretend we were drunk. We would find old whiskey and beer bottles that littered the creek, fill them with creek water and then drink it. Gross!
Once it became dusk we all headed for the bridge to watch the bats come out again. We were slightly late and missed them coming out of the bat house but we did get to watch them flying around catching insects. Mom and Samantha threw acorns into the creek from a bag of them Mom had collected for Samantha's visit. We could hear Zonie the African Grey yelling: "BOB" all the way on the bridge. He cracks me up how he calls Dad. It's hard to distinguish between his voice and Mom's. As we sat on the bench on the bridge and Mom said to Samantha, "I'm glad you're here." We are too.

Friday, August 17, 2007

The Garden of Eden

I worked for a couple of hours this morning. Then John, Samantha and I had lunch at O'Charley's before Samantha and I left to visit my parents in Eden. The whole way there the sky was amazingly blue with giant white puffy clouds. Samantha and I listened to CD's: the Madagascar soundtrack and Jack Johnson and then Samantha fell asleep.

Oh yeah, when I got home from work and went in to get the stuff to load up the car John was standing next to the huge suitcase with all our clothes and he had a sad face: "Are you coming back?" he said.

We got there about 6pm. Mom was waiting for us. Her face was completely swollen! She had gotten stung by a yellow jacket that morning.

We had spaghetti for dinner with spinach bread. The dogs, Pepper and Dandy, sat under the table waiting for one of us to drop something yummy. I remember how much I loved my mom's meatballs growing up. They were homemade meat balls. So, I said I wanted two. Oh my god, they were from a package, yuck. I miss her meatballs.

After dinner Samantha, Dad (or BaBa as Samantha calls him) went for a hike in the woods behind their house. We looked at trees and identified leaves. Then we went down to the creek and went for another hike and hunted for rocks and skipped them too.
Once it started to get dark we went out onto the bridge to watch the bats fly out of the bat house. It is amazing to watch them fly and it is so peaceful out there on the bridge.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Hot Air Balloons

There was a big storm last night that woke me up. I listened to the lightening crash and the thunder boom. It was so loud and then it slowly moved out of town. It was neat.

Then the air was tense at work after the big Stacey and Beth blow up.

John worked until 2am last night but he still got up and went to pick Tara up for a play date. She goes to the pre school where Kelly works but she hates it and John feels really bad for her so he goes an picks her up whenever she and Samantha want him too.

Kelly came by about 4pm to pick Tara up. We decided it was way too hot an muggy to make dinner so we took the kids to Waffle House.

Most evenings this summer we can look out the window and see a hot air balloon or two floating over the neighborhood. They are so beautiful and serene. I totally want to go for a ride in one.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dead Dogs

I talked to Dad this afternoon about our upcoming visit:
Me: Samantha is looking forward to helping take care of the dogs.
Dad: Barney will like that.
Me: Barney's been dead for 30 years Dad.

This evening Samantha and I met the McA's at Skyline for kid's night. Afterward Samantha and I went to the grocery store to get snacks to take on vacation with us. While we were there we saw Mrs. White, Samantha's teacher in pre-school.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So so tired today...and I don't know why. I took about a 3 hour long nap when I got home from work. When I got up I helped Samantha set up her doll house. Her doll house was mine when I was her age. My dad made it for me for Christmas one year. I still have some of the furniture and then John's sister gave her some furniture that had been hers when she was young.

Samantha and I went over to Tammy's house and waited for her to finish up working. I love Tammy's house. I like the way she decorates. It looks like it is right out of a magazine and very Pier One style. When she was ready we went for a walk at Chestnut Ridge. We also looked up the geocache that was there and Tammy, who had signed up the day before, got her first find. She thought it was pretty cool.

On the way home we went by Dairy Queen. I decided I was in the mood for some ice cream which is quite rare. I am not really an ice cream person. But, tonight I got a chocolate sundae with marshmallow topping. When we got back in the car I realized that I had not had this concoction since the night I gave birth to Samantha! Tammy asked if I was pregnant. Um... no...

When we got back home we went across the street to talk to Skip and Joy who were out. Skip had Hank out and oh my god, he is getting huge. Skip said he caught the Shim stalking around in his back yard and watched him take a bunch of his vegetables. How strange.

Samantha and I had DVR'd the new show on ABC Family called "Slacker Cats" and just as we were sitting down to watch it when Ryan came over to return John's tools. He said he had wanted to watch "Slacker Cats" but hadn't been able to because he'd been trying to fix his car last night when it had been on so we invited him to stay and watch it with us. It was good, a stupid kind of good. After it was over we watched another show that I had DVR'd called "Aqua Teen Hunger Force". This guy at work who I chat with sometimes said it was funny so I thought I'd give it a try. Ryan said he watches it and likes it. Oh my god, it was the dumbest thing I have ever seen. There was a fat man, a meatball, a cup and a container of fries. The fat man had taken out a home equity loan to buy a hooptie mobile with "hypno rims" that spin and hypnotize females into falling for the owner. But then these square things came down from outer space and stole the fat mans rims turning the rims against him to make him do things for them. Who thinks these things up. I mean, a cup and a meatball, hypno rims... there must have been weed involved in the creation of that one.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Pawn in Bishop Park

Monday started with work. I left a bit before 1pm and went to get my hair cut. Dobri cut it a bit short this time but we were talking so he probably didn't realize. John took Samantha to get her hair cut today also. She wanted a little trim. Then they went to play putt putt golf. After my haircut I went by Sonic for a cherry limeade.

Then I had to go back by Bishop park to find the cache we couldn't find over the weekend. It was one of those things where I could not stop thinking about finding it. I spent about 45 minutes walking around the woods looking high and low. I had all but given up and was making my way out of the woods when I literally tripped over the cache. Oh sweet victory!

When I got home I picked up John and Samantha and we went back out to find another cache. We didn't find this one but we did discover a new hiking trail and had a really nice hike along a creek.

Back at home I started making a pasta salad for Ryan who came over for dinner. He also came over to fix my lap top that was all messed up and not connecting to our wireless network. Yeah, he fixed it. John and Ryan went down to the Man Cave and they discovered that John's palm pilot has a GPS on it which is going to make geocaching so much better. Ryan asked what geocaching was and said it sounded kind of dumb. Of course we had to prove him wrong so we took him to find a cache. He no longer thinks it's dumb. He said he was going to sign up so that he could sign the log book next time. I knew it would be right up his ally.

On the way home we went to Dairy Queen. We were all out in the front when Tammy came over. We were talking about geocaching and Tammy wanted to know about it so we told her how to sign up and all. She thought it sounded cool.

At 9pm we broke up the party and went in to watch "The Closer". It was really good this week. About half way through the doorbell rang. Poor guy, his drive shaft fell off and onto the road on his way home and he needed some tools to fix it enough to get him home. Back to "The Closer", while we were watching it I was doing something in my day planner and almost missed the climactic moment. Someone shot at Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson! They had to put her cool black bag that I lust after into evidence forcing her to carry around this ugly white one with red flowers. Thankfully she got it back.

About 10:30pm Tammy called. The squad was down the street and they took Co-Cheese away. I can't believe that man isn't dead yet, he looks awful and can barely make it around. I guess they are having to foreclose on their house. The Shim had been a nurse at Children's but he got fired and that was quite a while ago. I hope they take all their feral cats with them.
I am so proud of Samantha. She read an entire chapter book in one afternoon. She started reading at Grandma's house, read in the car on the way home and sat right down on the couch to finish. I am so thankful that she enjoys reading.

After kids night at Skyline last week Samantha and I went over to Kelly's house. Kelly and I sat on the front porch and talked while the kids played in the sprinkler. Kelly gave me some green beans. Purple green beans. They are about the color of eggplant but taste exactly the same.

On Wednesday John worked his regular shift (3pm to 11pm) only he worked over just a bit and didn't get home until after 12am. He had just fallen asleep at 1:30am when the phone rang. He had to go back in to work to investigate a crash. He was there until 6:30am. He came home, took a shower and had to go right back in to work Thursday 8am to 4pm. Poor John.

On Thursday I went to the thrift store and found a bunch of great books for Samantha. They had all the paperbacks 8 for $1.00. Then I met Cindy at The Mad Greek for dinner. It was good to see her because I hadn't realized but I hadn't seen her since Lindsey's wedding. It had been really hot all day, in the upper 90's. But when we came out of The Mad Greek it had cooled down significantly and then a while later we had a big storm.

On Friday the internet at work was acting up in an awful way so I was forced to find somewhere else to work. I opted for the coffee house in town. Boy was I glad for this week to be over. Work had totally stressed me out to the point where I actually cried in my boss' office. It was one of those where you feel the tears coming but you can't do anything about it. And, it wasn't one particular thing but more the result of frustration from a bunch of things. I know people love Fridays and hate Mondays but for me it really is the opposite. The end of the week is so stressful for me. But, last week is over and it's a lovely stress free Monday.

On Friday Samantha went bowling with Kelly and the kids. She got 2 strikes and broke 100 as well as coming home with information to join a league. She was also excited because she has discovered the correct bowling shoe size that doesn't give her blisters. After bowling our family and the McA's met at Bob Evans for dinner. We had 2 booths, one for the kids and one for the adults. Then after dinner we all went Geocaching. By the time we got to the site it was dark but we tried anyway. We found the exact spot on the GPS but we were in the woods and couldn't see real well. The kids had flashlights but we couldn't get them to hold them still long enough for us to see anything.

At 8am on Saturday morning John jumped on the big bed where Samantha and I were sleeping and said he wanted to go back and try to find the cache we missed last night. We spent the entire day geocaching. First we went back to the park but we still couldn't find it. Then we went all over the city finding caches. In all we found 7 and couldn't find 2. Along the way we discovered several new areas of town, a new park and re-visited areas we had forgotten about. When we got back home we all were tired and took a nap. Around 7pm, after the cat poop incident which I will tell later, we went back out to see if we could find the cache at the covered bridge that we had not been able to locate when Samantha and I went with Kelly and the kids. John's set of fresh eyes didn't help, we still couldn't find it. We stopped by the McA's house and visited with Bob and Noreen, Kelly's parents. The McA's were out bike riding and geocaching at the park. Noreen mentioned that she saw a WebKinz panda bear. The funny thing is that Samantha has mentioned that she has too many WebKinz. John told Rose. He hated doing it because he didn't want to hurt her feelings. And, it's not that we don't like her buying presents for Samantha it's just that she has so many WebKinz already.

So, the cat poop. On Saturday john mowed the lawn. In the front there were 3 piles of cat poop. (Note: we do not own a cat.) I thought I could get out there and clean them up before he mowed over them but I was too late. Right as I got out there he had stepped in one and was cursing. He had mowed over the other two as well and the whole yard smelled awful. Oh, it was so bad. We have got to do something about these stupid stray cats. There are 3 or 4 of them and they are down right nasty. When I was rolling up the hose after washing the poop away I got a big whiff of cat pee from behind my hydrangea bush. Ugh!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Oh my god. As I sit here this afternoon it is 99 degrees out! Wow, I knew it sure felt stupid hot out. At work Sue and I braved it and went for our mid-morning walk. It was so humid it felt like your body was cutting through the air like butter. I sure do feel for all the poor souls who do not have anywhere to go to get cool

My favorite comic strip, Get Fuzzy, is on a particularly funny streak lately. Bucky Katt thinks that Satchel Pooch is being possessed by democrats because he has "the confused look... the do-nothingness. The drool." And he called the demon-crats earlier this week. Oh, that cat sure does crack me up.

Samantha has made a sled dog team that practices in the living room. She is using 3 Build-A-Bear dogs: the husky, the black lab and the golden retriever. They are in training to pull a Barbie car. She has them strung together with a leash and then the one closest to the Barbie car is scotch taped to the car. I must take a picture because it is just the funniest contraption I have ever seen.

I booked a flight at work that departs Columbus at 6:30am and arrives in Chicago at 6:30am. It made me think back 8 years ago to when I first started this job and my little blond head took the longest time to realize that it wasn't an error but rather a time change. Yes, sometimes I can be quite blond. I have learned to disguise it well though. When I don't quite fully comprehend something I don't' say anything right away in case it is just me. Thus I have gotten really good at figuring things out on my own. I remember when I trained for my first job out of college. (Note: I chose my college because math was not a requirement.) I was in training and all this math was being shown to us. Everyone seemed to think it was all so easy. I wrote everything down and then spent several nights up late in my hotel room trying to figure it all out. There was no way I was going to admit to anyone that I didn't get it. So, I kept at it and eventually I could do it. Naturally it takes longer sometimes but it is so worth it to have that satisfaction of having figured it out all on your own.

Ferrari the long haired Dachshund is gone. Not dead but moved back in with her owners. Yeah, no more demon dog. Now there was a dog that surely was possessed by demon-crats!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Susie volunteers at a half way house for ex-cons so every Monday she comes in with some pretty good stories from her weekend counseling sessions. This morning she told us about one guy who got up in the middle of the session, excused himself from the group and went into another room. It was across the hall from the room where Susie and the others were and it was completely dark. Susie kept glancing over to see what he was doing and well, she discovered that he was, um, jacking off. She was horrified and pretended she didn't notice he'd left. So, this afternoon when I came home from work I sat down to tell John all about Susie's friend. He sits down and I notice this huge smudge of something all over his shorts between his legs. Now I am horrified and bust out laughing. Turns out it was ice cream from Dairy Queen earlier but I couldn't stop laughing considering what story I was about to tell him.

Saved By The Belt

Every year at the Fair they have an exhibit of a crash where the driver was saved because he/she was wearing their seat belt. This year they used one of the car crashes that John investigated! Pretty cool.

Samantha at the State Fair

Me at the State Fair

Saturday, August 4, 2007

I'm sad... there is something wrong with my laptop. Every time I log on to the internet and get settled into a site it boots me off. John looked at it but concluded that we need Ryan, our computer geek nephew to fix it. So, if I want to blog I must do it from the man cave for a while, no more blogging from the deck, the front porch, the couch in front of the TV or my bed. {Big Sigh} I suppose I will call Ryan this weekend. Speaking of the deck, the other evening I was sitting outside admiring the pots of wildflowers that Samantha and I planted this spring. And, i noticed a funny looking white cocoon like thing on the screen next to one of the pots. Upon closer inspection I discovered that it was a spider's nest. How cool. The mother sat on top of the cocoon thing and there were about 25 babies coming out of the one side of the cocoon. The babies were so tiny. Samantha brought out her magnifying glass and we watched them up close. Now, several days later they have left the nest and I suppose are all grown up. And continuing on with the animal theme Samantha and I spent the morning watching Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom. They had a show about the Pygmy elephants of Borneo. It was really interesting.

Kelly and the kids have been doing this thing called Geocaching and they took us along with them to find a cache last Wednesday. ( It was pretty cool and I think we are going to try it. We'll try it for a while without a GPS and then if we like it maybe we will get one to find the harder stuff.

This week has been terribly hot an humid. I think we were spoiled by the 80 degree beautiful weather we had in June and July. I have had either a sinus or migraine headache this week and have done little more than sleep and lie on the couch and watch TV. I even called off work on Thursday. I normally wouldn't have been able to call off on a Thursday but this was a light week.

Samantha has done the most creative thing with 2 of her WebKinz. Scruffy and Snowball got married. There is no actual wedding in WebKinz world but she made one up. She had a minister and a flower girl and she invited Tara's WebKinz over for it. Now she has made them a "home" in her bedroom to play with when she is not logged on to the computer. She made food to put in their kitchen. She found doll clothes that fit them. They have a bed and a car. And, my favorite part is the TV she made them. She cut a frame out of paper and hung it on the wall. Then she made different shows that she drew out on paper and then inserts behind the screen. There is a cooking show, the news, the weather and baseball.

I am so thankful that Samantha and I have a close relationship. I am thankful that she is a nice, kind and wonderful kid. And I hope she is thankful to have parents that are involved in her life. Ok, I am going somewhere with this... while out on the deck the other evening I listened to some of the neighborhood children play. There are 3 families in our general vicinity who provide practically no supervision for their children. So, the other evening they were out hitting a baseball with a bat. We live in a neighborhood where the homes are pretty small and quite close together so you can imagine what might happen when kids hit a baseball with a bat... car or house... In this case it was house. The ball was continually bounced off the model home behind ours. I wonder what part of bouncing a baseball off of a house sounds like a good idea. It was a lovely evening and there were birds singing in the trees and then every so often a big loud thud as the baseball hit the model house. The group consists of 2 girls and 4 boys and one child whom Samantha and I can't figure out. Then I hear one of the boys say: "you are a fat ugly bitch." And, you know they went right on playing together like saying that was totally acceptable. How sad for those children that no one has taught them one, not to say something like that and two, that it's ok to continue right along as though the other child had just said something like, "hey, how's it going." So, I sat there thinking about how awful these children are and then realized that they are awful because their parents are awful as well.

And, speaking of awful... remember the shirtless hill billy. Well, we were talking to one of the neighbors the other evening and she said that Shirtless had backed out of his driveway into her husband's car. When they got out to see what was wrong Shirtless was completely trashed. Jess said he reeked of alcohol and begged her not to call the police. She said he would need to pay for the damages and he said fine. Then about that time Shirtless' ex-wife, Big Boob Hill Billy, came out and stated screaming at Jess. She went on about how the whole this was bull and how Jess was bull etc. etc. All the while Jess is thinking, it's your drunk ex-husband who hit me! And, he's drunk and he's driving... and you are yelling at me. So, Jess is telling us this story and all of a sudden we hear a crash... Big Boob Hill Billy backed into her mail box. It was absolutely priceless! I suppose every neighborhood has a few Hill Billies, I am just thankful that ours only has three. Three is not enough to make you want to move but it is enough to keep things interesting.