Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Ready for the (Long!!!) Weekend

Week’s almost over. I usually hate four day weeks, but I’m really looking forward to having Good Friday off with the kids this week. I’m hoping (!!!) that they’ll sleep in a little bit and let me not get up at the butt crack of dawn.

This has been kind of a short week, anyway, for me. I took my classes to the Longview Museum of Fine Arts for the Student Art Show on Monday and Tuesday. The Sisters Mary G. and S. both had loads of kids with ribbons and, while awfully proud of them, I was feeling a little low. However, upon getting there with my third group of kids (I took four, and the Marys took an additional group) that one of my girls had gotten third place in the Sculpture category. Considering I only submitted three student works, I’m pretty pleased. :)

If you get a chance, go see the show. At the same time, see the exhibit of the contest juror, Michael Bane’s pieces. He’s a tromp l’oel artist and is freakin’ amazing!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Ran with the boy this afternoon, even though I had a meeting in little more than an hour from when we started. I’m really proud of myself for that because in the past, I would have just let it go and said I’d do it later. Which, of course, I wouldn’t do. And then I’d just fall deeper and deeper down the spiral until I wasn’t working out at all.

I’m only a week in, but I feel like this running business is doing me well. Harrison and I are planning on running the Red Nose Run in Dallas. You get, on top of the thrill of running a 5k race, a free t-shirt, a goodie bag from sponsors, a red nose (it is the Red Nose Run, after all!) and free circus tickets!!! I’m stoked; I can’t imagine how excited the boy will be when he finds out we get to go to see the clowns perform. :)

Going to bed now. Time to rejuvenate!

Monday, March 29, 2010

24 Body Count

Episode 14: 5 am to 6 am

  • Big ol’ pile of dead Secret Service Agents protecting Middle Eastern President and his family and the Special Ops fellas who were trying to abduct M.E.P. for the good of the country. I counted six agents (of the seven who were protecting) and seven soldiers, three of whom were taken out by Jack and one of whom was shot by M.E.P., himself.

Totals: this episode, eleven. Season total: sixty, including Jack’s twelve.

Aside from the nasty skirmish over the M.E.P., there were several plots of intrigue. Girl Who Was Formerly Hair Over Her Shoulder continued her dialogue with Angry Middle Eastern Guy Who Wants To Assassinate M.E.P. in the name of solving problems in his country.

President Palmer Taylor’s (there really aren’t any real President's after Palmer—merely folks wearing a title) Man Friday, whom I think of affectionately as Sweetknuckle, has a heart attack after walking in on two of her government fellas (one was military—why is one always military?) in the act of seditious activity (see Special Ops soldiers above for how well that went!). He’s not dead…yet.

It goes without saying, obviously, that the shots Jack took last week hit his vest and he suffered maybe a bruised or cracked rib. He, of course, refused an x-ray—there’s terrorists afoot and he’s got a job to do!

Prediction #1: I think that G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S. is a double agent. That’s right. I think she’s actually a good guy baiting the bad guys with intel hoping to catch them at their game. Jack did it way back in Season 3 with the Mexican terrorists. Tony did it last season with the American Government!

Prediction #2: Speaking of Tony, don’t be surprised if he shows back up. I mean, they brought him back from the dead last season. In fact, I think he’s probably involved with G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S. and her sting operation.

Prediction #3: M.E.P.’s former body guard is set to detonate the nuclear weapon; he’s going to see that M.E.P.’s daughter is still alive (and not dead, like he thought) and have second thoughts.  Does Hallmark make a ‘Sorry I set you up to die so that I could nuke this country and further my radical ideologies and sorry I tried to kill your dad’ card? I bet they do.

I’m kind of curious as to how Scooby is going to react to G.W.W.F.H.O.H.S.’s betrayal. Especially if she’s a double agent and is actually a good guy but he thinks she’s a bad guy and so he goes all Shakespeare and kills her, only realizing at the last moment that she really was good. Looking forward to seeing that, too.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Holding a sick baby in my arms. Didn't we go through all this mess two weeks ago? Thought it ws just teething--has had a low grade fever for a few hours now but no other symptoms. Alas, the vomit when she drank some water after taking her motrin clued us in to more serious problems.
I'm so sick of being the vomit recepticle.
I'm so sick of my babies being sick.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Winding Down

Got the stuff done for the World of Wind. Spent the better part of the morning cutting string and kite templates and typing up a word document that gave history, safety tips and instructions so that people could go more or less at their own pace. Got to the park, we got set up and the race was on.

Ours was a boistrous group, but they were fun and very excited to participate in our different sessions. Harrison came home with a tornado in a bottle, a pinwheel, a wind sock, a newspaper kite, a wind glider and paper airplanes. He skipped the wind mill, but I’m going to get the supplies and instructions for that from Amy and let him do that at home.

The most challenging part of the day was how windy it actually was. Ironically, when trying to make crafts to learn about the wind, a big dose of gustiness is counterintuitive.

About to go crash in bed. Honestly could have done it a few hours ago, but I spent a little bit of ‘me time’ playing some Super Paper Mario and watching some TV with my honey. Got to get some rest, though, because, since he let me sleep in this morning, I’m probably going to be on duty when Harrison wakes up at the butt crack of dawn tomorrow.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Getting Winded

I’m avoiding working on my kite kits for tomorrow World of Wind workshop with Longview WOW. I’ve been working on posters all evening and they look awesome, if I do say so, but I’m just drained. I had a few students help me today with the rods for the kites, but I’m just not done with the eighty (!!!) that I’m supposed to be rolling. Sigh. Should have been getting a few done every day instead of trying to get them all done today. Double sigh.

Guess I’ll get up early and finish rolling them before I head to the park. I don’t have to be there until noon, so that’s enough time to pull it together, right?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

In the middle of cutting out letters and images with mom's Cricut. I'm making signs for the Longview WOW World of Wind workshop. This cutter thing is super-cool. I'm going to have to get one someday! ;)
Ran with the boy again today. Loving that!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Changed Boy

I didn’t mention it last night because I was intent on getting the 24 synopsis up, but I need to mention that I’m so proud of my son. I’m probably jinxing him, but he’s had a complete 180 degree turnaround at school—he’s not getting in trouble nearly as much. He’s excited about going and is excited to come in and tell me about his day in the afternoons. I’m not sure what changed. I don’t know if he just found a well of maturity that was hidden in him or if it all just clicked or what, but he’s a changed boy. Mind you, he was always sweet before, but for whatever reason he would get into…situations…in the classroom. Too much talking, back talking, goofing off, whatever. His notes would say that he had had a great morning but that he had a rough afternoon or vice versa. Sometimes, he’d just have a stinker of a day through and through. Whatever the explanation, though, I’m really proud of him and I can tell he’s proud of himself as well.

I’m also proud of him because he ran with me for about half a mile yesterday after school. I’ve been wanting to get back to working out since Laura came, but I’ve just not had the energy, the time or the ability. I decided enough was enough, though, and set up a playlist on my iPod. I’ve got an app on my phone that is part of the Couch to 5K program, which is an interval training program that helps build up your endurance to do distance running. This app basically alerts you when you need to speed up or slow down. Harrison and I went to the high school track yesterday and I used my app to play music and keep track of our time. He wanted to run as fast as he could at first, but I showed him that he needed to pace himself so that he would be able to last. And last he did. Through eight run/walk intervals, he stayed right with me, pausing here and there for a few seconds, but never getting more than 1/8th of a track length behind me and always catching right back up. At the end, counting up our revolutions, I figured that we probably did a mile total, running half and walking the other half.

This is the kind of thing that I would have liked to do as a child but neither of my parents were at all interested in “exercising,” per se. I mean, they did stuff like take us swimming at the lake or we had bikes and stuff, but we just never got into the habit of doing active stuff regularly. I hope that Harrison and I can keep doing this. There’s a fun run in Dallas in May, which is about the time that we’ll be finishing the C25K program and I’m thinking about signing us up for it. It’s sponsored by Ringling Brothers so it will have some pretty cool stuff involved. We’ll see. Either way, I’m enjoying my time with him and really enjoying having someone to run with.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

24 Body Count


Episode 13: 4 am to 5 am

Holy crap! The Girl Formerly Known As Hair Over Her Shoulder, a turncoat?

But I’m getting ahead of myself…

Electrical is out at CTU. Jack gets his NSA buddy to see about helping the beleaguered agency out and then says he’s off to chase terrorists. He’s got a hunch that he knows where they’re going—with all bridges and tunnels closed down (thanks NSA!), there’s only one place the bad guys can get onto Manhattan. So off to the East River he and his merry band of CTU agents go. Shhhhhh….we’re hunting tewowists! Jack tells his buddy that he’ll call back when he knows something.

And then all hell breaks lose.

  • Middle Eastern President’s Former Head Of Security and Head Terrorist Guy see Jack and Co. heading into their vicinity and head off in a boat after leaving strict instructions that the snipers left in place are to take out the CTU fellas. They fire on the SUV, the agents take cover and begin firing back. Long story short, their guys got two of our guys, but our guys got five of theirs. Jack took out two of them, one after being shot by one of them. Scooby got one and, in what can only be the beginning of the end for her, Renee got two, one as he had a bead on Jack and was about to finish him.
  • Meanwhile, back at the ranch CTU, Sexual Harassment Guy tells Bubba that there were three fatalities in the EMP detonation, presumably one of which was the guard who attempted to drive the car out of the tunnel. A mess load of other general injuries. General status report stuff.
  • Oh, yeah, The Girl Formerly Known As Hair Over Her Shoulder? She’s in cahoots with the terrorists. I have to admit that I didn’t see that one coming. I’ve been watching this show for years, and I’ve called the twists a bajillion times before. I knew that F.H.o.S. had to be bad since he seemed to be good. But for some reason, this one totally crept by me. And how do we know that The Girl Formerly Known As Hair Over Her Shoulder is evil? Well, first of all, she killed the crazy eyed parole officer who was looking for Ex-Boyfriend. That could have been excused as her having a Batshit Crazy Day—we all have them, don’t we (minus the garroting of people who just won’t leave us alone, of course)?—but she called Head Terrorist Guy immediately after.

Totals: This episode, ten. Season as a whole, forty-nine, including Jack’s nine.

In un-death related news, Chloe pulled a gun on the NSA prick guy who was supposed to be helping get CTU back on line. She made a plea for her reputation and asked to be trusted just this once. Bubba, in a fit of common sense, trusts her and lets her do her thing. She, of course, gets electricity back on and a few computers back up and running. I’m kind of predicting that her work around to the very dangerous situation that NSA guy was trying to avoid is going to come back and bite her, but I don’t know.  I’m kind of shaken after the whole Hair Over Shoulder thing.

Oh, and Middle Eastern President’s Daughter now knows that she was played by her boyfriend. Man, she’s got to feel like a chump.

So, looking forward to seeing what they’re going to do with Now Evil Hair Over Shoulder.

It’s getting pretty good.

Monday, March 22, 2010

No Count Tonight. Surprised?

Since it’s after 11 pm and we’ve not yet started watching our DVRed 24 for the night, I think it’s safe to say that I won’t be updating tonight. I’ll get to it tomorrow, though.

Went back to work today for about 10 minutes and then headed out for a Region 7 workshop. Class was neat—watercolor techniques—but I would have liked to be in class today. Crazy, right? Hopefully, I won’t have to miss class anymore for a while.

K, so I’m off to get my Bauer fix.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

24 Body Count

So, I totally just realized that I never synopsized (is that even a word?!?) the 24 from two weeks ago, never mind the one that we finally just watched last night. While this is travesty fodder for me—what? I had to come up with two days of actual content as opposed to summarizing someone else’s work! That’s ok, I’ll just post from my phone about how tired/sick I am!—I’m sure the world at large didn’t care.

So if you’ve been waiting for me to get offa my ass and write it up, I’m sorry. I was vomiting, and then I was Spring Breaking. (Which, in the past, led to vomiting, ironically. Funny how parenting changes you.)

If you couldn’t care less that I’m falling down on the (made up) job, well, that’s ok, too. I cater to all kinds.

So, without further ado, my updates on the bloodbath that is 24.

Episode 11: 2 am to 3 am

  • Well, I was right. Jack brought Whiny Teenager’s mom in. Damn. That’s pretty low. But it worked…eventually. Not so much in the ‘wait ‘till you get home!’ kind of way, but more in the ‘If you detonate this bomb and don’t help us, I’m going to make your mom suffer in a terrible, terrible way at great risk to myself just because that’s how I roll’ kind of way. Alas, it was all to no effect, because just as he was convinced that going straight and narrow was the thing to do, the terrorists who were watching him over the hospital cameras re-started his bomb jacket, this time in failsafe mode. His last contribution was to tell that, hey, the Middle Eastern President’s former head of security was the one who was going to make the nuclear destruction in NYC happen. You know, the one who is holed up in a hotel room with the Middle Eastern President’s daughter, doin’ the nasty? Guess that confirms my suspicions.

Meanwhile, The Girl Formerly Known as Hair Over Her Shoulder and Scooby head back to CTU to get back to work. Nope, no dead guy blood on my hands here! Just clickin’ my mouse and not making eye contact. Yup. Totally innocent. Oh, hey, but there’s this guy who wants to talk to her. Says he’s Ex-Boyfriend’s (the one she just helped kill) parole officer. Says Ex-Boyfriend called her phone. Says he wants to help keep Ex-Boyfriend out of trouble. D’oh. That’s got to be awkward.

Episode 12: 3 am to 4 am

  • Former Head of Security takes out three NYPD officers who were too stupid to listen to Jack when he told them to stand down and wait for the CTU officers who were en route. Yeah, he realized that M.E.P.’s daughter knew that he was actually a bad guy and smuggled her out. That’s not really going to help him win over the in-laws, I don’t think.
  • F.H.o.S. also shoots two more officers as he and M.E.P.’s daughter are getting into the cab being driven by one of the guys in on the nuclear plan. (Incidentally, racial profiling much? I mean really? An evil Middle Eastern guy driving the cab?)
  • F.H.o.S. dies trying to help M.E.P.’s daughter escape. All blocked out because, of course, he didn’t die. It was a setup. He ‘let her loose,’ telling her to get herself to CTU ASAP because they were the only ones who could help her. Only, he forgot to tell her that there was a bomb in her car. Not a ‘boom, the city block blows up’ kind of bomb, but an EMP, which pretty much knocks out all the electricity within, say, an entire government agency. It only kills one person—the CTU agent who was trying to drive her car away once they had seen that it was in there—but it knocks plenty of people heels over head. Oh, yeah. It also pretty much shuts down all electrical…well, anything…at CTU. Double d’oh!

All the while, The Girl Formerly Known as Hair Over Her Shoulder is trying to shake Ex-Boyfriend’s parole officer who has managed to make his way into the CTU office during a national crisis. He’s just about got her ready to ‘fess up—she’s pretty much Lady Macbeth at this point—when the EMP goes off. Whew! Didn’t know how she was going to get out of that pickle! She’d better be grateful to the deus in that machina!

Total body count: Thirty-nine confirmed. Jack’s count for the entire season is seven. And he’s not had any kills in four episodes. Robert commented on the fact that in Episode 11, he was just standing around, waiting for results.


I mean, who knows? I’ve never done a count like this before. Maybe I should go back and rewatch all the old seasons and do a comparison. Maybe he had whole blocks of time where he was watching and waiting and not killing.

Maybe he’s not the violent one in the show.

Maybe we’ve all just been trained to think that since he’s such a badass in so many other ways.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alright, already. We're watching 24 in a desperate attempt to get caught up. Maybe this week we won't have sick kids or go on a trip or something.
I'll post a synopsis tomorrow.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Cool No More

So we don’t watch a lot of TV. As a corollary to that, we definitely don’t watch a lot of commercials. I mean, yeah, we watch the Super Bowl for the ads, but in general we try to miss them as much as possible. We were early adopters of Tivo; being able to watch TV when we wanted to instead of when the networks said we had to watch it was pretty amazing. Not having to watch commercials was just the cherry on the top.

All of this is to say that I am not up on the newest ads. I couldn’t tell you about the cute kids that are hawking peanut butter or Doritos or anything else. I have no idea who is the most recent Revlon girl. Don’t really care, for that matter. I did enjoy the Snickers commercial with Betty White back at Super Bowl time, and I’ve seen it once or twice since then, but for the most part I just don’t have any use for someone trying to make me buy something.

Which is why I’m so surprised at how hard I laughed at the Sienna commercials.

I’m already a minivan mom. I have been for years. Granted, I’ve got the one that has the seats that fold down into the floor; I wouldn’t want the other kind where, if you want extra space you have to physically remove the benches. (Where are you supposed to put them? What if you’re on the road and you buy some stuff and you need space for them? Do you just not have seats anymore? It just doesn’t make sense to me.)

I don’t need this new minivan. I am completely happy with what I’ve got. But lemme tell ya, this thing’s got some features that I love. If one appeared in my garage, I wouldn’t complain.

But better than the van, the commercials crack me up. The self-absorbed parents who are convinced that their minivan is the epitome of cool (as are they, themselves) makes me realize that, yeah, I’m a parent and yeah, I’m uncool, but it’s ok. I’m not supposed to be cool. Nor is my van.

And I’m cool with that.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Leaving Cowtown

This vacation business is wearing me out. I’m going to need some recuperation to get over the ‘rest’ I’ve been getting. :)

I complain, but I have to say, we really had a wonderful time visiting Tonia and her family up in Ft. Worth. After all the Stockyard stuff yesterday, and the concert last night, we took it a bit easier today. We met up with some friends at the Kimble Art Museum and hung out there a bit before going for some lunch.

We had considered going to the Museum of Science and History as it’s got lots of cool stuff for kids but Harrison was getting whiny, which was our indication of an imminent meltdown. We decided instead to head over to the Ft. Worth Water Gardens. Considering that he fell asleep in the ten minute drive to the garden, I think we made the right choice. We stayed at the garden long enough for me and Harrison to climb down while Robert and Laura watched and took pictures and then we headed home. Much as I figured he would do, Harrison was asleep before we left the city limits (but then again, so was I, so who am I to talk…?).

Home again now, we’re all just exhausted but I can’t say how glad we are that we had this mini-vacation. We got to spend time with some of our favorite friends, we got to see some really cool stuff and Robert and I got to go to what we’ve decided is one of the best concerts we have ever seen.

Now. About that sleep…

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My heart is full. We've had such an awesome day in Ft. Worth with Tonia and her family. After a delicious breakfast, we all loaded up and went to the stockyards where Robert and the kids went through the giant maze. We ambled around town, petting various farm animals and watched the cowboys lead the longhorns through town. Robert and I just left the Muse concert (our original impetus for coming to town) and are heading to the Waffle House. Wonderful day, wonderful life.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Dispatching from the road. Staying at my bestie, tonia's, house and hanging out. Loving spring break! Will tell all about out Cowtown doings later!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Beds Being Made

We finally got around to watching last week’s 24 last night and I’m about to sit down with my honey and watch tonight’s. Starting too late to give a synopsis tonight, but I’ll sit down while the kids are Sesame Street-ing in the morning and get it written up. Suffice it to say that I was unsurprised with last night’s/last week’s episode.

Harrison and I worked out in the yard today, which was pretty awesome. I’m making some headway on the back garden; I’ll post pictures, probably tomorrow. I also had an idea of what to do with the wooden pallets dad had brought over from his work. I had originally intended on trying to use them some way to make the edgings for my lasagna beds (not sure what my plan was…), but I’ve decided that I’m going to use them as makeshift trellises in the backyard. I’ve got them against the fence in several places back there and I’m going to ring them all with some brick to keep the soil off the fences and then plant them up. I’m doing gourds one one, but I’m open to ideas on the others. Whatever goes on them, I want it to be a vining, climbing something or other. I’ll mull it over for the next week or so and see what comes to me.

So, off to watch 24 and then get some sleep. Still more to do in the yard and there’s no rest for the weary. :)

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday in East Texas

Neighbor Lady thinks I’m crazy, I’m sure, but I went ahead and planted the bluebonnet seeds. We’ll see if they sprout. Even if they just sprout, green up and don’t flower out, they will should reseed the area, meaning that next year, they’ll just pop up because they’ve percolated for a year in the right conditions. We’ll see. As I keep telling Neighbor Lady, I’m just kind of making this up as I go along anyway, seeing what happens when I do different things, so as long as I’m out getting my hands dirty and playing with the plants in the fresh air, I’m happy.

In other news, we also went to the East Texas Oil Museum today. I’ve lived in the greater East Texas area for twenty years now. Eight of those years I lived in Kilgore, but had never been to the Oil Museum until today. I was really impressed with what we saw. They have some really interesting historical artifacts and the ‘downtown’ area was really cool. You can go into all the 1930s stores and see what they were like back in the day. The docents were really friendly—really, for someone who sports a ‘Misanthrope’ bracelet daily, they were a little too friendly, but they were very informative and obviously had a great love for what they do. The elevator ride to the ‘center of the earth’ was kind of funny in a low (waaaaaay low) tech kind of way. The puppet who had lost a hand somewhere over the years and so had his sleeve tucked into his pocket (thus making him look like he was playing with himself through the entire presentation) was kind of funny. :)

In all, it was a good way to spend an hour or two on a Sunday afternoon. Harrison had fun, we all learned some stuff and I can finally say that I’ve been to one of the East Texas landmarks I’ve somehow missed for all this time.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Garden Day (or, Coming Up With A Pithy Title Every Night Wears Me Out!)

Ok, so the secondary bed is finished, at least as far as placement of rocks and soil and things. I got the trellis made using the bamboo sticks and planted the morning glory seedlings at its base, so that’s good. I want to plant some more viney things—maybe some more morning glories, definitely some moon flowers (or evening glories, as I saw them referred to today, which made me smile), perhaps some four o’clocks. Debating on what to fill the actual bed with. Had thought to put in bluebonnet seeds, but my Master Gardener neighbor-lady (we won’t touch that with a ten foot pole…) says that they won’t bloom this spring if I do so. Well, she is a master, so what do I know? Of course, she’s all the time talking about how gardening is so easy if you just follow the rules, whereas my philosophy seems to run the direction of ‘Rules, schmules.’ So who knows? Maybe I’ll put the seed in and just call it good. If nothing happens in a decentish amount of time—a month, say—I’ll just get some pansies and fill the bed since they make me happy, as well. Who knows?

Heading to bed now. Everyone else in the family got a nap today while I was out working in the flowerbed. We drove out to Mrs. Lee’s Daffodil Garden when everyone got up, but we got there about ten minutes before it closed, so while we got to drive through it (oh! but Wordsworth was right—my heart does fill with pleasure when it dances with the daffodils!), we did not get to stop at the cabin by the lake and play. In retrospect, it was probably for the best because pushing Laura’s stroller through all the hills and bumps would have been a total pain, but it stung a little to not get to stop. Maybe some other time…

Off to sleep for real now, to dream of flowers nodding in the breeze.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Spring Break?


So much in my brain to get done!

In a way, I hate holidays because I always have a list longer than my arm of things I want to get done. Inevitably, the list gets nowhere near completed and I always end up feeling like a failure.

To that end, I’m trying to keep my expectations low for the next week. Add to the lack of time to get all the myriad things done that I want to do done a remarkable shortage of money as well and, well, you can imagine what I’ll get to do.

So. Free and quick projects. Yay!

Seriously, though, I’ve got some pretty cool stuff that I want to get done:

  • I’m going to finish up my front bed—need to add one more layer of potting soil, rig up my lattice and get the morning glory, moon flower and bluebonnet seeds in the ground
  • I need to weed out the bed from last year, maybe add another layer of compost to freshen things up, and then plant the seeds for Harrison’s sunflower house
  • While I’m working in last year’s bed/this year’s sunflower house, I want to extend the bed area down the fence line, adding brick borders using the paving bricks I had my student pull up the other day. I’m not so much worried about getting the bed planted; I just want to get it ready so I can plop seeds and/or seedlings in it when it warms up a little more
  • I’ve got a shirt half cut out for Harrison. As it’s a simple t-shirt, I don’t think it would take more than a few hours to get finished cutting it out and sewn up. Now that I’ve got a few hours ahead of me, maybe I can do it?
  • I have some of the chicken wire I used to make my compost bin left over from last year. I think I’m going to make a second bin to accommodate the clippings from the yard this year. When I run out of room in both of them—and it will probably happen this year—I’m just going to have them bag up the extra and leave it in the back yard. It will get used eventually. The stuff I cooked all winter is so coarse and grainy, you could plant anything in it and it would grow perfectly. I want more of that.

In addition to all this, we’re going to see Muse again this week (with much better seating than last time!). Going to go see some friends and let our kids play. Robert’s taking the boy to build stuff at Lowe’s tomorrow and we’re going to an art opening at the local gallery tomorrow night. Daffodils on Sunday, along with some kite flying.

There’s more. I’ll never get it all done. I’m coming to terms with this.

I guess it’s best to at least have a plan so you have something you can let go of if need be. If you don’t have that much, all you do is sit around, waiting for something to do. I can’t think of many things more miserable than that.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sick Leave

Ok, I’m reneging. I’m too tired to watch TV. I’ve been up since 6:50, chasing a toddler and I’m worn out. It’s amazing, but being in a classroom with teenagers all day never wears me out anywhere near as much as being around my own kids all day does. I don’t know if I just engage more and thus am more mentally tired, or if my two livewires are just more to handle than teenagers. Something interesting to ponder while I’m on Spring Break next week.

Baby is still runny. I’m about ready to just stuff her full of oatmeal and call it good. You know that would have to absorb something. I don’t know. I’m just tired of sick kids.

Harrison and I got the nasturtiums planted in the main front bed this evening. Only had four seedlings, but they all transplanted pretty well, I think. We’ll see how well they adapt to being in the ‘real’ dirt as opposed to my newspaper cups. I’m hoping to get some more potting soil on the other bed so I can get my bluebonnets and morning glories planted this weekend. Those seedlings are starting to get a little leggy and I don’t want them petering out before I can get some dirt on them.

Went to Harrison’s last night of yellow belt practice tonight. He tests next week for his orange belt and, while I don’t want to be premature, I think he’s going to do fine on the test. Especially when I see the sloppy technique of some of the older kids at higher ranking belts. Harrison really seems to be taking the class seriously, which is more than I can say for some of the kids up there. I’m glad he’s enjoying it, because he really does seem to do well at it. Maybe the two are connected…? :)

Hitting the hay. Have to go back to work tomorrow. Honestly, as long as it doesn’t involve crappy diapers, I’m ok with that. I kind of miss my teenagers, nut-jobs though they are.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Random Thoughts of the Day

So, bits and bobs of what’s going on in the Brown House:

  • Still haven’t watched 24. Will probably try to get to it tomorrow so if you’re waiting with bated breath to see what has happened, I’m guessing Jack kicked some ass, Renee whined and was weepy and Bubba Gump wanted someone to figure out this damned nuke problem. I’ll have specifics tomorrow.
  • As to why we haven’t watched 24, Harrison and I finally went back to our schools today. Robert and Laura, alas, did not go back to their respective day jobs. Laura is still not, shall we say, solid. I mean, she’s coming along, but she’s still kind of…fluid. So we haven’t much had time for TV. When we do have an extra hour or two, mostly we just want to crash in bed and recoup our energy.
  • I forgot to mention that yesterday, when we were all four home, I did get about thirty minutes to work out in my secondary flowerbed. The girl was napping and the boys were playing video games, so I took the chance to go lay a second layer of newspaper, wet it and then start the layering process in that bed. I’ve got compost and manure and I’m thinking a good solid layer of potting soil will do me there. I’m thinking of taking the leftover bamboo poles I have left from my tomatoes last year—I’ve got probably a dozen or so—and building a simple lattice with them. I would then grow some blue morning glories and some white moon flowers. In the bed, proper, I want to put the bluebonnet seeds I got the other day. I’ve always loved those flowers and think a blue and white bed would be pretty awesome. Now to figure out what to put in the front bed…
  • Back to the sick thing, I’m staying home with Laura again tomorrow (the poop thing…), so I got out of administering the benchmark test at work. So, in reference to the question I asked recently regarding what I would rather do than administer a standardized test? It seems that changing poopy diapers is on the list.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


All I can say is that those folks who make themselves throw up so they can be skinny are C-R-A-Z-Y.

This has officially been the worst seventy-two hours of my life, and I include both pregnancies in that configuration. (Women who go on about how wonderful they felt when they were pregnant make me sick, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…) From watching both of my children and my husband all being as sick as one can be and not be in a hospital, to being that sick myself, it has been a terrible ordeal. It seemed that once one person got done being sick, another one would pick up the torch and continue in the Vomit Relay.

I, for one, am ready for someone else to be crowned Vomitous Maximus.

The boy and I are going back to our respective schools tomorrow and I think we’re both ready for it. Laura is probably going to have to stay home another day—she’s had a heaping helping of diarrhea to go with her vomiting (blowin’ and goin’ at both ends, you might say…). Robert will be staying with her tomorrow and if she doesn’t clear up, I’ll be with her on Thursday. I’ve pretty much eaten through all of my sick leave and will most likely have to pay for these days right-out, but there’s not a lot to be done about it.

So, off to bed to rest up for work. We’re benchmarking at work, so that should be fun. (See my previous posts regarding TAKS/standardized testing…)

Monday, March 8, 2010

No 24 update tonight. Spent the better part of the day and all of last night vomiting. Damned stomach virus. I hate being sick.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Vomity McWalker

So the bad news is that Laura has a stomach virus. She spent the better part of the day with diarrhea and throwing up everything she ate. I think she must have caught it from my dad—we went out to see him Friday night so that Robert could get a little telescope time in at an un-light-polluted area. Apparently, dad was in the gestational period of being sick, or he would have not had us out.

As it happens, Laura threw up on me last night while we were at a friend’s house when we were about to start packing up to leave. I figured she was just not agreeing with all the cheese she had eaten. (Little rat, my girl is.)

Turns out, she didn’t keep the cheese, the milk or the subsequent Pedialyte down. Most of it went on me—I took four showers over the course of two days.

The good news in all of this is that when I was trying to get her undressed this morning after she had spewed on me yet again, I stood her up a few feet away from me so I could pull her arms out of the sleeves. She looked at me, grinned and took three steps right back into my lap.

Yes, my child vomited all over me and then when I pushed her away, she walked right back to me.

I told her that if all she had needed for encouragement to walk was to vomit all over me, I would have let her do that a month ago.

She just grinned at me.

Silly girl.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Bedded, Part 2

Worked in my secondary flowerbed today. Got the edges of it weeded—didn’t worry about the middle, except for the big, horking dandelion plants—I just uprooted them completely. I figured the stuff in the middle is going to be smothered by four or five layers of newspaper, so if it does bother to show it’s ugly face, I’ll be able to handle it pretty easily.

After weeding the edges, I laid two layers of newspaper down and went around the edges with the big sandstone bricks that I had one of the neighbor kids pull out of all the beds for me the other day. I hosed this down to make it conform a little better and now it’s ready for me to fill up. I’m going to do a few more layers of newspaper—probably four or five sheets, total—and then I’m going to start layering on the soil amendments. I’ve got compost ready to fill, as well as a bag of manure. I think I need one more small bag of regular potting soil, but that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. I’ve spent so much money at Lowe’s lately, I’m sure they’re wondering where I was today. When I rewarded Harrison on Friday with some gardening tools (he had been good at school every day that week—didn’t get on yellow or red at all! Woo-hoo!), he offered to drive me there since he knew where it was.

Maybe I’ve spent too much time at the gardening center lately… :)

Still deciding what to put in this particular bed. I got some bluebonnets that I’m thinking might look nice there, with some kind of vining thing in the background. Any ideas?




Friday, March 5, 2010

Longest. Week. Ever.

Birthday party for Laura.

Karate tournament for Harrison.

Getting ready for a sub in my classroom. (The getting ready for and recuperating from being out of class is always worse than having been in class.)

Laura’s birthday—the one day of resting and hanging out that I’ve had in ages. A veritable oasis of calm in a world of crap to do.

Karate practice.

Karate practice again.

Visiting the doctor for Harrison because, oh yeah, he’s deaf in one ear. (Or very near. Sorry, got a little hyperbolic there.) He’s apparently got so much fluid in his ears that this eardrums don’t move at all in his left ear. He’s now on an antihistamine with the hopes of getting the ear cavities drained. Dr. says that this problem—don’t remember exactly what she called it—is pretty common and usually doesn’t end up in surgery with tubes being put in. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

Interspersed throughout, working in the flowerbed out front, getting layers laid down, puttering with my seedlings, just enjoying the fresh air.

I’m exhausted from running, but for the first time in I don’t even know how long, I don’t have to get up and go do anything in the morning. I’ve got a WOW meeting in the afternoon, but that’s well into the day and I can sleep, putter around and just enjoy my family.

Soooooo ready for Spring Break. One more week! I’ve got plans to get the kids’ sunflower house going and I’m thinking of some other things. Every time I go to Lowe’s I come home with two more packets of seeds. I’m worse than a crack fiend, really.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gettin’ My Hands Dirty

So, flower bed is ready to plant in. I have spent about thirty minutes to an hour or so several days this past week getting it finished up. I got the second layer of concrete bags in place last weekend and started layering the “lasagna.” For this bed, I started with several layers of newsprint to kill weeds. Next, I heaped on a layer of compost that has been ‘cooking’ in my pile in the backyard all winter (man, this stuff is beautiful!) and then I topped this off with a bag of leaves that the yard guys had bagged up back in the fall. Next were two bags of general potting soil, spread to about two inches or so. Then, I went with compost again, a couple of bags of aged manure (old cow poop, as Harrison calls it!) and another layer of potting soil.

I’m planning on putting the blueberries in tomorrow, and perhaps some of the seedlings I’ve been nurturing in the garage. I might hold off on those, though, and let them harden off a little bit before moving them. I also got Harrison some bush bean seeds today, so I’ll probably line the front of the bed with those, too, at some point.

I am debating putting any kind of decorative mulch on the top of the bed. The nature of the lasagna garden is that it kind of smooshes down a bit over the course of the season and I will probably be adding more layers as necessary. To this end, I think that I might just leave the soil and top with leaves in a month—I’ve got eight more bags, so I think I’m ok for now. At the very least, I need to mulch around the berries with some pine straw—they like the acidity of the pine and it helps keep in moisture.


The paper will be removed from the bags in about a month or so. The neighbors all think I’m a crazy lady right now, but I know this is going to be awesome, so I don’t really care.

Also, disregard the butt-ugly bed up against the house. I’m intending on lasagna-ing that one up pretty soon, too, but with far fewer layers. I’m going to paper around the bushes and the pot tree (not shown), mulch on top of that, maybe a layer of cow poop and a top layer of soil and call it good. I think it will plant pretty well. I’m hoping so, anyway. Harrison talked me into getting him some cactus seeds the other day, so I figure those will go into the pot tree, since it doesn’t matter if I forget to water them occasionally. I seem to do really well with beds, but forget to water the containers. D’oh!

More updates to follow…

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Testing My Patience

What would I rather do than watch twenty-four teenagers take a standardized test? (One of them—and I am not making this up—had this subconscious nervous tic [please, please tell me it was subconscious!] where he picked zits on his arms and neck while thinking about his English/Language Arts questions.)

What would I rather do?

Pretty much anything.

I want those four hours of my life back.

Damn you, TAKS test! (See you in April.)

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Little Miss Perfect

Ok, I don’t watch a whole lot of TV. I have my obvious obsession with 24 and I’m also into The Office and The Big Bang Theory, but really, I just don’t have time for too much TV. The time that I do have, I’m just not interested in staring at mediocre “entertainment.” I particularly avoid reality TV because the people on these shows nauseate me. The attitudes, the ‘totally real/totally fake’ situations that they get put in to ‘win,’ and just the smarminess of it all are really repugnant to me.

And so, tonight, I surprised myself while flipping channels. I was sitting for a few minutes, scanning the stations to see if anything good was on, just killing time. To Kill A Mockingbird was showing, so I flipped to that. Unfortunately, a commercial break happened. Commercials are death to me watching anything, even one of my favorite movies. I just can’t stand watching the parade of stupidity that I’m forced to accept. Big time car dealers hawking their wares, banks telling you how dependable they are and Wal-Mart trying desperately to get me to come back. (Side note—I haven’t been to Wal-Mart since November 2008. I’m pretty proud of that. That’s a story for another day, though.)

So, like an idiot, instead of just muting the TV and waiting for what I knew to be good to come back on or, heavens forbid, turning the danged thing off and picking up a book or something, I stopped at WE and got sucked into watching Little Miss Perfect.

I cannot say how repulsive I found this show and yet, how hypnotic I found it. The little girls competing to be “Little Miss Perfect” were…I just don’t have the words. The moms, on the other hand, well, let’s just say that the words I have for them are not terribly family friendly.

Immediately in each episode I watched (yes, I watched two episodes…*hangs head in shame*), you see that these women are obviously living out some sort of sick, twisted parasitic life with these girls. Not a one of the moms they featured was even remotely in any level of healthy physical fitness, which is just a nice way of saying they were all really fat. Really fat.

I don’t have any room here to be throwing any fat stones, believe you me, but then I’m also not on a TV show trying to make my daughter perform like a trained monkey in a ball gown. I’m not seeing my child’s accomplishments as a reflection on me.

Anyway, suffice it to say that the moms were obviously pushing the girls to compete, even past the point that the little girls were uncomfortable.

I’m not sure, though, that my highest contempt goes to the moms here. For the most part, they’re just living some sort of delusional fantasy in which they think their five year old (!!!) winning some sort of made up title while wearing a big hair wig and more lip gloss than is available in all Sephora stores nationwide combined is a laudable accomplishment.

It’s the pageant officials who really turn my stomach. The host of this particular pageant, which is apparently a traveling show that goes from state to state, crowning one “Little Miss Perfect” everywhere it stops, is such a cliché I could barely watch him. He apparently got his persona from Jack McFarland, from hairstyle to jazz hands. He sashayed across the stage, wearing as much makeup as the girls and then in the private sit-down discussions, he’d dish about how much he hated the way pageants tore little friendships apart, but isn’t that the beauty of pageants in that they teach you to win and lose gracefully? He even had the audacity to complain about how the little girls seemed to be running things, implying that the parents had no control over their little monsters. I had to laugh, because who did this pompous ass think was responsible for the girls’ behavior? Yes, the parents are the final arbiters there, but without the ‘encouragement’ of the pageants to look, act and be these sassy little things, they’d probably be back at home, doing their vocabulary homework and reading a story for the night.

I want to clarify here that I do not dislike the pageant guy because he is gay. I don’t even dislike him because he’s obviously gay. My best friend in college was gay and I have not a single qualm about that lifestyle. My problem with Jazz Hand Boy is that he has made it into such a caricature that it becomes this grotesque, put upon thing that distracts you from anything he says. The things I did actually hear him say were so totally insincere that I wanted to keep a barf bag handy just for when he was on the screen.

I could go on and on (and on and on….) about all the things that bothered me about this show.

So why did I give almost two hours of my very precious time to it tonight?

I’m not entirely sure. Partly, it was because one of the moms looked and sounded so much like this woman I know that it was scary. (I won’t name names here because, while I’m fairly certain that this woman doesn’t read my blog—I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read much—I’d hate for there to be awkwardness should I have to see her again after some accidental ‘Hey, I Googled myself and I found this crap!’ episode. You understand. If you really want to know [and you know me IRL], ask and I’ll fill you in.)

Partly, it was the train wreck effect. I knew it was terrible, but I just couldn’t tear myself away, any more than I can avoid eating the ‘Pirate Special’ (chicken fingers, mashed potatoes and a hot roll) in the lunch room on Fridays. I know it’s bad for me, I know it’s not particularly tasty, comparatively, but for some reason it’s just comforting to eat. Maybe that’s what this is—maybe I’m just comforted by the fact that, no matter how low I go, I am pretty sure I will never make my precious little girl do anything as asinine as what these moms were doing. It’s almost like it makes me a better parent (and nothing makes me happier than feeling superior to someone… :) ).


What about my own Little Miss Perfect?

My little girl turned one today and I couldn’t have asked for a better day with her. I stayed home with her and we spent all day playing games, reading books and watching Elmo and Abby on Sesame Street. She climbed all over me like the little mountain goat that she is. She chattered on and on, repeating things I said and garbling other things into her own very animated language. She laughed big, deep belly laughs at the faces I made with her and the tickles I poured onto her chubby little tummy. At naptime and with her evening bottle, she curled up in my arms and snuggled her little head into the curve of my neck so that I could smell the baby shampoo Robert washed her with at bath time.

I kind of get the stay at home mom thing, now. I kind of understand how playing with the baby all day could be kind of fun.

I still think I’d be bonkers by the end of the week, though, so I’m pretty sure I won’t be quitting my job to stay at home with the kids and grind up my own baby food or anything.

But it was a good day great day. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Happy birthday, my little LaLa girl! I’m so excited to see where you will be going; I can’t wait to walk your path and share the world with you!




Monday, March 1, 2010

24 Body Count

Episode 10: 1 am to 2 am

Slow night tonight, body-count-wise. Only had one:

  • Middle Eastern President’s Brother finally bought it. I figured he’d die, as much noise as he was making. Besides, we’re only ten hours in—we can’t have a clear path to the bad guys yet! What would we do for the next fourteen hours? “Phew! Glad we got that case solved! Now what’cha wanna do?” “I dunno. What do you wanna do?” “We can do whatever you want…” And so on, until 24 becomes my teenage date nights all over again. Yeah, I think it’s better that it went this way, lest Jack and Renee end up at the food court at the mall, Jack looking annoyed that Renee wants to go check out the posters and lewd greeting cards at Spencer's again…

Totals: Thirty-two confirmed. I think I need to go back to that early episode and re-watch the scene when the cars are being ambushed because that’s when the one ambiguous kill showed up. Maybe sometime this week.

So. Scooby and The Girl Formerly Known as Hair Over Her Shoulder spent the hour disposing of Ex-Boyfriend and Greasy Friend. That can’t possibly come back to haunt either of them. Right?

A new terrorist is introduced in the little band of suicidal brothers. This one is half American, Mare Winningham being his mother. I, of course, being the ass that I am, am unable to see past her St. Elmo’s Fire character. So, Elmo’s son reminds me of some of my students. You know the type—angry with the world. Ready to do something that actually means crap to the rest of society but that they have built up into this great, important thing. Upper lip protruding and speech somewhat lisped because of the retainer keeping Mom and Dad’s $5,000 investment properly aligned. Even before we saw the previews for next week, I knew that they’d be bringing Mama in on this one. I mean, really. In season two, Jack cut off a guy’s head to get someone to talk (obviously not that guy…). You think he won’t resort to telling on you to your mom? Please.

I’m still trying to decide if Middle Eastern President’s Daughter’s boyfriend (M.E.P.’s former head of security, natch) is a bad guy. All the signs point to ‘no,’ which tells me that, of course he must be evil. I swear, sometimes I feel like Vizzini from The Princess Bride when watching this show! “Wait ‘til I get going!”

Um, what else? … Bubba stood up to the President’s Man, refusing to blame Renee for the day’s earlier screw up. (You know, when she stabbed that guy in the eye. And his gut. A lot.) … Chloe disarmed a suicide bomber’s trigger via the interwebs …

And that’s pretty much all.