Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Kids I like, parents maybe not so much

I was able to sub yesterday in a fun classroom. I usually enjoy my working days. Although the classroom was fun, it was very noisy, there are lots of kids in it, so I felt like "shhh..." and "listen up" were my most used words. The kids were great though, so I won't complain.

The things I will complain about though are dorky parents and the lack of heat. My classroom never got above 60 degrees all day! Seriously! Since I wore a blazer, I decided I didn't need a jacket. Boy was I wrong. I let the students put on their outdoor sweatshirts and jackets, and how I wished I had one too. My fingertips were so cold all day and my nose was freezing too. I'm such a baby, unless it's 80+ degrees I wear long sleeves, so this temp did me in.

Another complaint: Parents! I'm a parent too, so don't think I've gone to the other side. This specific problem is with one parent. Her son is notoriously behind in class because he will not stop talking, ever! So he often has a lot of homework. Which should be expected since every teacher and sub since kindergarten has told her that her son talks A LOT! Anyway, yesterday she called the school and had my classroom paged while I was in the middle of a lesson. She needed to "ask" me a favor: Would I please keep her son in from his afternoon recess and make him do his homework. He was going to be busy all day after school and into the evening and she didn't feel like keeping him up late doing home work. Excuse me? I don't mind if a students has to stay in from recess. It gives me some one on one time with them and they get the extra help they need. BUT, I don't like that a parent would ask it of me just to prevent homework that day. Teachers do deserve a break for the bathroom now and then. This recess would have been my second one of the day~ at 1:45 p.m. and at that point using the bathroom was a necessity not a luxury.
My oath for the day: I will remember never to ask a teacher to keep my child in from recess just to prevent homework. Teachers need a break but even more than the teacher, students need a break.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Falling off the wagon

Well, falling off the wagon into fall? I'm at a loss for a title today, and a topic I guess, so here are random bits of nonsense that are in our lives right now:

1. Cross Country meets will fill our time again tomorrow, but then we don't have a meet for another 9 days, and Hubby may be the only one able to watch Mr 17 run at that one. (5 hours away!)

2. Miss 14 leaves at 6 a.m. on Friday for a swim meet that is 6 hours away. I know, it sounds crazy to me too.

3. Miss 9's year at school is improving, but her teacher is still making rookie mistakes that are driving me crazy. Last week they had an election at school. Instead of doing it by secret ballot, Teacher has the election so that everyone knows how many votes each candidate got. Miss 9 ran for Class Representative, as did every single girl in the room. The students had to vote for 1 boy and 1 girl. Most girls got only 1 vote... and they know they got only 1 vote because Teacher let them see the results. So now most girls in the class are convinced that " no one likes me!" Sigh... secret ballots and no one's feelings are hurt. Make sense? I think so.

4. I am tired of having a headache and being ache-y, all the time, it's getting hard to just keep doing what I need to do.

5. Our lives today specifically are crazy. Here is just the short list:
2 sports practices lasting 2 hours + for 2 kids
1 CCD Banquet lasting 1.5 hours for 1 kid, 2 parents and 1 sibling who has no where else to go.
1 CC pasta feed for 1 kid
1 training session for Altar servers at the church for 1 kids
Driving from here to there, to here and to there for many parents/kids
As many hours of set up for a rummage sale at the private school as any parent available and possibly a child or two can fit in.
Errands including but not limited to: post office and several stores
Driving.. just driving, which is driving me crazy!
1 dessert to make for the CCD Banquet
1 couch to be loaded and taken to rummage sale set up
1 parent doing his full time job all day, leaving only one parent for all the driving, cooking, errands and set up

6. Then there is me just missing the time when I can sit and talk with my kids, about nothing. Between practices, homework, meal prep, eating and clean up, other extra curricular things the kids do, and my volunteer work I feel like we visit in only the 3 minute drives we take from here to there. Since Mr 17 has his license, I don't even have those 3 minutes with him anymore.

7. I'm tired of being a whiner. Note to self: STOP IT! Appreciate what you have and don't whine about what you don't!!

8. I ordered a new couch! Hoorah! I get to paint too, can't wait for the finished product.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Run Run As Fast As You Can

I'm a bit tense. Could it be the two cups of coffee I just downed? Probably, but still, it could be the schedule the family has been keeping this week as well. Miss 14 and I are both a bit over-taxed at the moment.

Between swim, cross country, youth group and homework we spend a lot of time running or at the table studying. There isn't a lot of time for just sitting. Miss 14 had 3 days of 2-a-day practices this week for swim. She also actually does her homework (unlike Mr 17) so she has that to do as well. It has been a few late nights trying to finish it all, and when practice is at 5:45 a.m. that gets to be a lot. Today the team travels for a meet 2 hours away and tomorrow a meet 3.5 hours away. I hope she relaxes on the bus.

Mr 17 and Miss 9 both have Cross Country this weekend. Hubby and I will be going to watch them run. Today Miss 9 runs at home, but tomorrow both Mr 17 and Miss 9 have a meet 2 hours away, and wonder of wonders, it's actually in the same place! The only downer being their races are over 2 hours apart. So we'll sit, and wait, which actually (if the weather is decent) won't be so bad... sitting I mean.

But, by far, the best part of tomorrow for me (I am so selfish!) is that I get a haircut and color. I haven't had a haircut in 3 months... and a color in over 4. I'm so excited it's just plain silly. Then I really do get to just sit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Mr 17 has taken to mostly not speaking to us the last few weeks. Yes, he still eats dinner with us regularly, he speaks and answers questions if spoken to. Although usually it's in a grunt or such a state of voice that I can't understand him and must ask him to repeat himself, which he hates. But he rarely initiates a conversation. Granted last week was swamped with homecoming activities and doctor's appointments and homework that was just a little too far behind, but I feel left out of his life. I know that very soon he will be leaving, and that the grumpiness and the negativity are God's way of preparing me for him not to be here, but still, it's not a lot of fun. I'm hoping it is more of a stage than anything. But, Mr 17 has never been much of a talker, so I am doubting that.

Miss 14 on the other hand lets me have hope in the future. She loves to tell me the latest gossip from school, although it is often embellished, because as I may have previously mentioned Miss 14 is also known here as Miss Exaggeration. Sometimes it is hard to know exactly how sick she is, or how fast her heart was racing, or how awful her teacher really was, or how hard swim practice was because everything for her is multiplied by 1,000 for effect. Still, I love that she talks to me, and even love when she harasses me just because she hasn't had enough physical contact recently. Last night she was completely into messing with my hair every time we were in the same room, and I'm convinced it was because what she really wanted was me to grab her hand and wrestle with her. I happily obliged for a bit.

So, phase or not, I have 2 extremes for my oldest 2. Mr 17 says I am boring and have nothing to talk about anyway, so what do we need to visit for? And at times I can't get Miss 14 to stop talking or asking questions. Maybe I'm the one with a split personality?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Teacher Troubles

I'll preface this by saying I am a teacher, so I do know the challenges of the days of teaching. That being said, I am very disappointed with Miss 9's new teacher. (literally new, it's her first year) Miss 9 is in 4th grade, it's a tough year by any standards, and I remember this from when Mr 17 and Miss 14 went through it. Because of Miss 9's learning and anxiety problems we do a lot of homework every night, usually for nearly 2+ hours. However, I think it is completely wrong when my daughter is now scared to ask her teacher for help due to the responses she gets from her teacher. My daughter has commented on eye rolls, heavy sighs and being told "that one is easy, go back to your desk." The teacher knows about the learning disabilities and still does nothing to accomodate them. The same problems are being had by other students in the classroom. This morning we had a meeting with the Principal. There are 5 sets of parents with major concerns already with the teacher and there hasn't even been a month of school yet. I am completely frustrated. On the plus side, I am able to help Miss 9 with all her homework since I taught in this same grade last year and I know the curriculum. But I do feel bad for other students who don't have this advantage at home.

Friday, September 14, 2007


I am so excited! I am going away, sort of alone with my hubby, for 36 hours! I can't remember what that is like! We are traveling 2 hours this evening to watch Miss 14 swim, then after the meet we travel 1.5 hours so that we can get up in the morning and watch Mr 17 run. My parents are very generously staying here to keep an eye on Miss 9 and Mr 17. Mr 17 gets on the busy early tomorrow morning, so they have to make sure he gets up and out the door. He is notorious for sleeping through a blaring alarm clock. So we get to be sort of alone, with bits of time here and there with Miss 14 and Mr 17 at their events. I can't wait!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Cross Country

If any of you have distance runners in your family, these are some hilarious quotes. Mr 17 routinely runs at least 5 to 13 miles a day. I can't imagine. Now Miss 9 has also started running. I can't say I understand it one bit.



Some people will call me crazy, and that's ok. I know I'm weird. This weekend Hubby had an unexpected day off. Harvest was stalled due to some not quite ready durum. We decided to fit in some exercise and some fun. So we drove south of town to go for a long walk with Miss 9. Miss 9 wasn't too thrilled, as we really forced her into going instead of letting her sit in front of the television rotting her brain, but we knew she would survive. The weather was gorgeous aside from some wind gusts that blew sand at us. That's something you get used to here.
Miss 9 is totally into posing for the camera so I got some great shots of her, and took some candid ones as well.
Miss 9 has always loved her shadow. When she runs cross country she doesn't watch where she is going, she watches her shadow. When we go outside on a sunny day, she dances, and watches her shadow. If we go for a bike ride, she watches.. you got it, her shadow. She spent most of our walk watching her shadow this weekend. So I got some great photos of her doing that, plus the backdrop was wonderful.
Now to the part where you'll call me nuts. I don't watch my shadow, but I do watch the ground. I am a "rock person" as Hubby calls me. I'm forever stopping when we walk gravel roads to check out some unusual rock I found. South of town where we walk, there is a ton of agates. As we walk I keep my head down and actually bring a bag along to collect them. I bring them home, wash them up and scatter them around the house in pottery bowls to check out. I love the feel of them and how they look when the light hits them. I also put them in our outdoor fountain, because when they are wet they glow. So there's the part where most people just don't get me... I'm weird... and I love rocks.

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Perfect Score

We spent yesterday afternoon outside in the 92 degree sun waiting for 6 different cross country races. For August it was quite toasty. I felt awful for the runners. That temp is much to warm to be running races in.

On a positive note I was very proud of our high school cross country team, who my son runs for, as they had a perfect score at this meet. That's pretty rare. What it means is that they had all 5 of the first runners. In CC you want a low score, and you get 1 point per place that you finish. So the team scored a 15, the best you can do! Go Team!

Miss 14 had a terrible time at practice yesterday with her heart. She has episodes of supra ventricular tachycardia. She has had surgery for it, but it didn't cure it. It did reduce the rate of heartbeat when she does have an episode, she doesn't have to be medicated any longer and she has many fewer episodes. When she does have one, it completely wears her out though. I felt bad for her, as she still had to go back for another practice in the evening. She was exhausted.

I spent last night helping with homework. Here are the subjects that between 3 kids I got to help with: Algebra, Honor's English, 12th Grade English, Science, Spelling and reading. I think my IQ rose many levels after all that studying!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

So much to do, so little time

Oh my gosh, so I completely forgot to post anything here in ages. Not because I don't love spilling my guts to the non-existents who don't seem to be reading it, but because life just caught me up and started whirling me around and now I'm all dizzy and just couldn't remember! What an excuse... try it with your teachers little ones.

Things have changed here in smalltownuppermidwestusa. After Hubby's relatives all left to head home, two a day practices kept us swamped for Miss 14 and Mr. 17. Then just when those stopped, school started. Sheesh, I can't catch a break. Miss 14 started her freshman year of high school and Mr 17 started his senior year. Mr 17 even shocked us to the core and offered to give his sister a ride to school every day. I keep expecting him to drop her off a mile away and make her run the rest of the way or something.

Miss 9 started grade 4. It's going to be a tough year for both of us I'm afraid. She's has several learning disabilities along with ADHD-Anxiety. So... that means a lot of homework and extra's, etc. In a private school, the services offered are sometimes less than stellar; so I end up with a lot of extra things to do here with her. Which is fine, for the most part I like to do them with her.

Hubby is a stressed out weight losing mess at the moment. Harvest was going well, then we had rain, then the contracts we have signed for the durum really messed with his head. So, overall he's been pretty much a non entity here at the house. Although yesterday he was home, and it was great to have him around, but even better that HE MOWED THE YARD and I didn't have to do it! Hooray!!!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Whine, Moan, #itch

So on with the whining! Yawn! And the yawning. I'd like to blame the weather for my tiredness, but I really think it's just the fact that Hubby doesn't manage to come home early enough to be in bed before midnight or so, and then I'm not getting my 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep, and no, I can't function without that for too long, and today it's too long!

Miss 9 has already left for the farm with Hubby. Mr 17 just returned from morning practice (cross country) and has already commenced with more #itching about what the girls have done or what I haven't done. Sigh.... Miss 14 just got out of bed but has been laying in bed finishing Harry Potter, so now I finally have someone to discuss it with! Hooray!

I did get the lawn mowed last night, fortunately it was still 96 degrees outside while I was doing it, so I was able to sweat off a pound or so. But then my sinuses filled up over night and my eyes got swollen and itchy, so HOORAY I was able to get that pound back. I was so worried!

This afternoon I will take Miss 14 with me to the farm for supper and a chance to see Hubby. Mr. 17 will leave after his afternoon practice session. He was able to get a few hours of combining time in yesterday as well, but not without much complaining.

Hubby's family is here from out of state to help with harvest and visit with Grandma. It makes for a stressful week of cooking, cleaning and hoping for interesting topics to visit about. So far teen age boys and their whining seems to be a topic we can bond over, as their teenage boy is 16. Whatever works.

Monday, August 6, 2007


Hubby and Mr 17 have really been putting in some long hours as harvest has started. They typically leave around or before 9 a.m. (Have you ever tried getting a teen out the door? Don't judge until you have a teen up, running about 5 miles for Cross Country and then try to get them showered and fed and out the door, it is really not an easy task!) and they return sometime after 10:30 p.m. Things were going fairly well with only minor breakdowns in the combines, things that could be fixed in hours or a few moments. That all changed on Friday. Mr 17 had moved on to the old machine and was combining a lentil field while Hubby worked feverishly in the heat and humidity to clean out all the barley from the new machine. (Never worked with barley dust/chafe/filth? It's incredibly ITCHY!) Hubby kicked in all the systems to check over the working parts and a huge banging greeted him. I won't go into details, but so far the bill for parts without labor costs incurred by having a mechanic come out to help (it's really a two or three person job to fix this breakdown) is over $3,000. So the new combine is sitting still waiting for the remaining parts so it can get up and running.
Saturday evening Mr 17 is running the older combine. (thank goodness for this machine; nothing fancy, and really old, but she keeps plugging away) Mr 17 is on his last pass on this field so Hubby leaves the two way radio out of his earshot briefly while he moves something around. As Mr 17 tries to turn a corner with the combine THE FRONT TIRE FALLS OFF! Seriously! Can you imagine. Without the two way radio on Mr 17 can't reach Hubby, so he has to run a mile back to the home farm to get Hubby's help! Good thing Mr 17 is a runner and a mile was a piece of cake for him, oh wait, he was in untied work boots, jeans and running through lentil stubble in 95 degree heat and humidity you normally see only in Florida. Maybe I exaggerate when I say a piece of cake.
So, now the old combine is down as well. It is in need of serious repairs as well. So on a beautiful harvest weather day, Hubby and Mr 17 are stuck at home because no one works here on Sundays, so no parts can be had to fix the machines. An unexpected and very frustrating day off for them. Me, I feel a bit selfish, I was glad to have them here to help with the daily mundane. I feel bad that the machines are broken, and that Hubby is so frustrated he throws his hat around, but still, glad to have him here for a day.
(PS What was with all the parenthesis in this post? Heh!)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


I'm not sure what started it today, but I'm feeling really crabby today. No, it's not PMS, so I can't even use that as an excuse. Pretty much everything set me off- a bug flying at my face while I watered plants outside this afternoon pulled a good old fashioned cuss word right out of my mouth. Miss 9 sitting around "being bored" was enough for a rant about cleaning your room and doing some reading instead of staring at the floor. She did do some cleaning and some reading, so I guess the rant was worth it in the end. Overall though I can't put my finger on the reason for the grumps. Perhaps just going to bed will solve the problem. Maybe tomorrow morning I will wake up as Miss Mary Sunshine. HA! Like that would ever happen!

Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I know the time comes every year right around now. And I know that without it, we would have no money to live on throughout the year. But in spite of all that knowledge, I still hate harvest.
I'm selfish I guess, and I feel like Hubby has to work much too hard, and I rarely get to see him. I know, some of you are thinking, "well get your lazy butt out there and help him." I would, but on top of awful allergies this time of year, I have 3 kids who are involved in a ton of different things. I don't want to deprive them of those things. If we were at the farm 35 miles away, they wouldn't get to do as much. I missed out on those things when I was a kid, and I don't want the kids to miss out as well.
Still I am here whining about it. I feel like a single parent for at least 6 weeks this time of year. When school starts (in a mere 3 weeks here) it gets pretty crazy as well. I should feel lucky, I get to stay home while the kids are in school and get caught up. Sometimes I work (substitute teacher) but usually I don't get too busy until cold and flu season kicks in. Hubby goes to work in the a.m. and if we are lucky he is home by 10:30 p.m. That's an early night for him during harvest, usually I'm in bed and he doesn't get home until 11:30 or so. It doesn't make for much of any husband/wife time.
So for a while I am going to sit here and feel sorry for myself and selfish, and wish that he had a 9 to 5 job, even though it would make him miserable. But I'll also hope for all the good weather and few breakdowns that he will need to finish. And I will pray for a good harvest this year, we'll have to start paying for college in less than a year for Mr 17. Yikes!

Monday, July 30, 2007

Teenage Boys are Slobs

Am I right about this, or is it just my teenage boy? Here are a few questions, redundant and perhaps not needing actual answers but... whatever...

1. Is it really impossible for teenage boys to shut their dresser drawers? Out of 6 drawers why must 5 of them be left open with clothing hanging out of them at all times?

2. Why are keys constantly lost? Why, every day, do I hear, "Has anyone seen my keys?"

3. Are wet towels on a bedroom floor a fashion statement for teenage boys?

4. How many times can a teenage boy step over a pair of their own dirty socks without picking them up?

5. Must a teenage boy's bedroom have dirty laundry, garbage and an unmade bed as decorative objects in them?

6. When a teenage boy says, "Can you pick me up a _________?" does the item always have to be expensive? As though I can run out to the store and just come home with a $200 item and not think twice about it.

7. Does leaving open cereal boxes out, cracker bags strewn on the counters, dirty plates, utensils, and glasses make teenage boys feel more manly?

8. If I post more of this will I bore you? Because this list could go on, and on and on...

What in the world have I done wrong with this spawn of mine? Miss 14 picks up after herself. Miss 9 knows she should pick up after herself, and she does, 80% of the time. What the h*$% is up with Mr 17 and his inability to see the mess that apparently just flies out of his rear as he walks through a room?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Check that off the list

I finished! Although Mr 17 beat me by a day, I was able to finish the newest Harry Potter in less than a week, not my usual time to finish a book, but life was busy this week.
Who's ready to discuss it? I can't discuss with Miss 14, she hasn't read it yet, she is reading The Tale of Two Cities for her honors English class. Mr 17 doesn't discuss much outside of Nascar and Hubby hasn't read it yet.
Who's ready to discuss it with me?

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Thank you God for AC

Thank goodness there is AC and God bless whoever invented it! Here in Smalltown, UpperMidwest, USA we managed to hit triple digit heat. Add to that the fact that the dewpoint was 75 and if felt like you walked outside into a sauna. If you wanted a sauna it was good, if you had yardwork to do... not so good. We managed to survive the heat and today gave us a brief respite before we head back into the 90's again. It's nothing new for our area. I don't mind it like Hubby does. But he does have to work outside, and for the most part I get to choose when I go outside. Yesterday we had the pool up in the backyard for Miss 9 and her friends. If I sat really still, in the shade, wearing no shoes and lightweight clothes, I didn't feel too bad. I was the lifeguard for the afternoon. Although since Miss 9 and her friends are all on the local swim club, and have been swimming on the club team since they were all 4, I wasn't needed all that much. So I got to read. Yay! My favorite pastime. The only bad news~ Mr 17 managed to finish the new Harry Potter book before I did, that has never happened! I'm feeling a bit irritated by that fact. But in my defense, he spent 5 hours on Monday and ALL DAY yesterday reading. I had the regular Mom chores to fit in between chapters. Please excuse me now while I wave my wand and the dishes magically clean themselves.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Mom, Mom.... I love you!

Seems I am the luckiest woman in the world. When Miss 9 was younger, those words frequented her vocabulary. She would wander over to look for me, and just blurt them out, or I would walk through a room, she'd peek over and *pop* there were those wonderful words again.
This week Miss 9 started doing that again. It is the sweetest thing. For a while I was moaning to Hubby that she never did that anymore and I really missed it. Yay, she has started again!
A bonus to our vacation was the loads of people in Cali creating a little anxiety in Miss 9. She didn't go anywhere without being more than willing to hold my hand. I missed that too, and I know it is a brief phase again, but I still loved it.
On the less sappy note Mr. 17 is mad at his mother, yes again, because I won't let him and a friend (is that proper English) drive a separate vehicle this weekend as we take a 2 hour trip to visit some family. We are bringing the friend with us, isn't that enough? Why in the world does he need to drive separately? His reason: so we can go rollerblade somewhere downtown. Since adding more fuel usage and pollution to the environment doesn't suit me, I said no. I'm in the doghouse again.
Miss 14 hasn't pushed too many buttons this week, so I won't complain and jinx it. It's a touchy age.
The weather has decided hot and humid is the way to go for a while, so we have had up the pool. We emptied it last night so as not to kill the grass, but I think we'll set it up again in a new spot next week. Miss 9 loves it! My back doesn't love emptying it though. Who knew 38 would feel so old? Every little extra bit of work seems to lay waste to my back. What a wimp, huh?

Monday, July 16, 2007


We made it home! After a wonderful trip we finally have arrived back home and I have surfaced from underneath an ocean full of dirty laundry. We had an amazing time in Southern California. The picture is view from our hotel room, which wasn't really a room at all, but we were upgraded to a suite: 2 bedrooms, 3 full baths, living room, dining room and kitchen. Who can complain? After our first few nights in 1 room with a fridge and only a pull out chair for Mr 17 to sleep on, we felt like we had gone to heaven. We managed to do Disneyland, Universal Studios, the beach, the San Diego Zoo and Sea World. We put many, many miles on our shoes. Mr. 17 even managed to run for Cross Country while we were gone, although I wasn't comfortable with him running alone in Anaheim. In San Diego he had a beautiful sidewalk that ran along the beach to run on. Miss 9 was the best behaved of the kids. That was a shock, we expected her to be so worn out that she would really be a pill, but she waited until we came home to be a pill instead.
Short version of our vacation:
Sea World
The Beach
some of the restaurants: MiMi's, RedBrick Pizza
my first Trader Joe's visit (is it wrong to love a grocery store?)
Garmin's in rental vehicles
seeing the kids faces when we entered Disney
seeing Mr. 17's face when he skated at Vans Skate park and took surf lessons
the backpack we carried everyday full of waters for all of us and granola bars, it must have saved us nearly $200! Seriously!

the horrible traffic from Universal Studios to our hotel (how do people live there?)
arguing about directions with Hubby and Mr 17
Miss 14 getting incredibly upset because she was "starving" and we weren't making supper fast enough
flying... just flying, all of it, I hate it
the lines for everything after 1 p.m. pacific time at any theme park or zoo

We have many happy memories from the trip. I'm glad we spent the money to take the kids. Now it's just to agree on a trip for next year. Yikes!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Family Vacation

If I don't write for a time in the near future it's because we are FINALLY taking a real vacation! We are taking the kids to Southern California for the typical tourist things. None of them are into rides, so Disneyland isn't going to fly too well, but we felt that Mr. 17 should at least get to go there before he graduates from High School. We figure a day at Disney will be enough for all of us. Then we'll move on to other things. We have about 2 days unscheduled, with hopes of hitting the beach. We do have to drive 3.5 hours to get on a plane to leave, but that's not too bad. The worst part being our plane leaves at 6 a.m. so we have to be up really early, and if you haven't tried that experiment with teens you are in for a treat.
Miss 9 will enjoy the trip the most. Everything will be new and exciting for her. The teens will pretend not to be enchanted with everything, but I have a feeling that won't be able to hide all of their excitement. Mr. 17 is hoping to try surfing and Miss 14 is just excited to see the ocean.
Hubby and I have both been to CA twice, and we had hopes of going somewhere new, but it will be fun to take the kids there. My biggest hope is for decent hotel rooms, nothing ruins a trip for me faster than having to stay in a dive. I researched the hotels online, and from there things look promising. We'll see though. Happy Summer all!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Stop the World!

It's crazy how fast time flies by. I wished away the young days of the kids thinking that I would have more time to do things with them when they got a little older. How I wish I could go back in time now. Time literally flies by once you have children. They grow and they grow and they grow, and pretty soon you have a senior in high school, and you are really, really old! Mr. 17 just got his ACT scores back and was pleased with them. Phew! I was a little worried about that, he's not exactly a stellar test taker. Tests are his downfall in every class: straight A's in labs and daily work (mostly), discussions and project, but tests... not so much. So the above average ACT score was pleasing to all of us.
Monday Miss 13 became Miss 14. That is also so hard to take. She's taller than I am by several inches now, and I'm not short! When I take her out in public BOYS LOOK AT HER! I hope her father never notices that! She's a substitute swim coach with the local swim club and a volunteer at the hospital. She's comfortable talking to adults and uses multi syllable words. When did she grow up?
On a plus side, Miss 9 is at the moment, despite all the physical development, still my little girl. She still likes to go for bike rides with me, sit on my lap, have me read to her, play games together and just generally know right where I am all the time.
"Mom, MOM? mo-o-o-o-o-m? M-O-O-O-O-O-O-M-M-M-M??"
"Oh, just wondered where you were."
Never far sweetie, never far.

Friday, June 22, 2007

18 Years

When I was in college I had an image in my head of what my life was going to be like in the future. At the time it didn't include a husband or children. In fact, I wasn't really sure I ever wanted to get married. My life changed on a fateful day while I worked at a toy store. I wasn't thrilled with my job, but it payed my bills and I was at the mall which was a bonus. One afternoon a young man walked by in tight jeans and cowboy boots, a mullet and a scruffy face. I actually walked out of the store to watch him walk away. Several weeks later while walking to my car after classes the same guy was walking in front of me and climbed into a seriously hot car: IROC Z-28, black, t-tops, personalized plates, you get the picture. I followed him. (Oh the shame, this wasn't really my personality!) Unfortunately he turned to a dead end street, and that would have been a give away had I kept going. I was nothing if not subtle. I few more weeks passed and I saw this young man occasionally. Later at a party at a friends house, after perhaps a few too many JD Coke's, I mentioned what a great rear view this guy I had seen had. The party was at a pair of my male friends house and much to my surprise they knew him! What luck, huh? The sad part was that the next time I saw the young gentleman in the hall, I was with one of these male friends, who oh so annoyingly stopped him to tell him I thought he had a cute butt! What class, huh? I kept going, I wasn't about to stick around for that humiliation.
Did I mention I was dating someone else at this point in my life? Oh, sorry, guess it wasn't worth writing about. But later, when I was at work one evening, my friends brought this young gentleman to the toy store. They introduced us, and that was it. From the moment he said, "Hi" and smiled, I've been hooked. The thoughts of marriage, and children and life alone flew right out of my head along with thoughts of the current boyfriend. When people tell you that you just know when someone is perfect for you, that it just hits you, they are right. It does happen, just like that. Hubby was a gentleman though and waited a few weeks for me to lose the loser I was dating and then asked me out.
Hubby and I will celebrate our 18th anniversary this weekend. When we got married I was pregnant, and I'm sure no one gave us a shot at 2 years, let alone 18. Our lives aren't perfect, we fight, we annoy each other and we disagree. Sometimes I disagree with him just to argue about something. But in the end, we are happy and we love each other. Although we'd die for a few nights alone together, anyone want to babysit?
Hubby is the best. He's a wonderful father and husband. He would stand up for anyone of us for any reason. He works his ass off to feed, clothe and entertain us. Hubby doesn't take any time or anything for himself. He helps with laundry, cleaning, cooking, childcare, yardwork. In fact there are days when I wish he would just not work so hard and he would sit down so that I could sit down. I don't tell him as often as I should, but when it comes to feeling loved, secure and taken care of, I am the luckiest woman in the world.
Sappy, isn't it? But true. We are lucky in many, many ways. Happy Anniversary Hubby!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Back home with picnics and migraines

Back home after a wonderful trip with Miss 13. We didn't argue, not once, hard to believe I know. We had a great time and ate at some fun new restaurants. We shopped and shopped until we were worn out. Miss 13 tried on so many swimsuits that I couldn't tell the difference between all of them by the end. She finally found one that suits her. Notice I said suits her, it doesn't suit me. I never wanted my little girl in a bikini, but with her long body, and the limited sizes left, that's what we ended up with. Sigh, they grow up too fast!
The day after we got home, which was Father's Day, I frantically cleaned house and yard because in my stupidity I had somehow agreed to host a family picnic on Monday afternoon. My sister and her husband were passing through from Minneapolis on their way to Canada. They are "on tour" at the moment, so we don't see them much. My parents, his parents, my brother, sister in law and nephew were all here as well. The weather was crap, so we had to stay inside my smallish house. 40 mph wind gusts don't do much for picnic weather. We had a nice visit, although it was way too fast and it really feels like they weren't even here. On a happy note my sister is pregnant, and I am finally allowed to tell people! I've known for a while now. Sis even has a little bump already, so cute!
Miss 9 had an art class this morning, and came home with a migraine. She's never had one before, but it was all the classic symptoms. I gave her some Motrin, a cold compress, a dark room and quiet. She felt sick for a while, so didn't really eat anything, but has since moved out to the living room and asked for an apple and a potato. I think she is recovering, plus she is playing the kazoo as a "signal" for me to come and see if she needs anything. That's usually a good sign.

Not in Kansas

A picture of what Hubby caught on film just before Miss 13 and I left on our Girl's Only Trip. He's never seen one, but always wanted to. Most of us who live where we do have seen a tornado several times in our lives, but where hubby grew up, only 120 miles from where I did, he never saw one. He was so thrilled by the sight of this one that he called me practically screaming about it. He assured me it was moving in the opposite direction of where he was and I assured him that I would still feel better if he hopped back in his vehicle and just drove home. Still, it's a pretty cool picture, don't you think?

Monday, June 11, 2007


Miss 13 and I are going to take a trip. For her 8th grade "graduation" she gets to take a trip with just Mom. Mr 17 and his dad got to head to Kansas City for a Nascar race for his trip. They loved it. Miss 13's wishes weren't quite as lofty. She only wished to head off about 300 miles to the hometown of her best friend from elementary school to see him and do some shopping. I think, other than a few times to Grandma and Grandpa's house before Miss 9 was born, this will be the first trip we have taken alone together. Strangely enough, in spite of all her recent emotional, irrational and annoyingly scathing outbursts, I am looking forward to spending some time with just her. Secretly I am hoping to forge a bit more of a bond. We are actually quite close, especially if no one else is around. When others are around she tends to behave as though I'm a bit of a dolt. Hopefully we'll relax and have fun. Mostly we are nasty, awful people and we get a kick out of poking fun at the way we see some people behave, so if nothing else, people watching will be on our list. I know she is hoping for some serious clothes shopping as well. There's where our biggest bond lies: she LOVES to shop for clothes and I LOVE to shop for shoes. Luckily, we wear the same size shoe, so she gets to share. Unfortunately, I am no longer a size 1 or a size small, so we don't get to share the clothes. We leave Wednesday. I can't wait!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

We have beautiful flowers outside right now. They are just getting to the point where they make the yard shine. I braved the beasts out in the yard to go pick this bouquet. Normally I would leave the peonies on the bush, so I could enjoy them outside, but this year, I don't get to be outside. We have "the beasts" already here. What you ask are the beasts~ mosquitoes! They are horrible! We have done everything possible in our yard: no standing water, a mosquito magnet, hubby sprays (don't comment about how awful that is for the environment, we know already, but without it, there is no chance at all for us to be outside) We live in mosquito heaven here. It is a place where Lewis and Clark even wrote in their journals about the horrific nature of the mosquitoes. There are about 3 weeks out of the year, where we can't be outside past 5:00 in the evening or outside during the day if the sun isn't shining and the wind isn't blowing. If we are lucky, they get better after that time frame. But for the time being we suffer: scratch, itch, swat, bite. It's actually quite funny to watch people walk to their vehicle or try to spend time outside. It's like a dance almost with flailing arms and slapping hands. Personally my favorite part is when one lands on Hubby, and I get to smack him, hard, with the excuse that he had a mosquito on him! Heh!

Friday, June 8, 2007

Teen Attitude

I love my kids, I swear I do, but sometimes teens are the most trying thing ever. They have the wonderful ability to make you feel like a worthless parent, when really, you are the good parent and their friends parents, who set no curfews or limits are the worthless parents. Make sense?
Do you set limits for your teens? Mr 17 has a friend whose parents regularly leave him home alone for the weekend, in charge of his 10 year old brother. To me this doesn't make much sense.
Hubby and I argued with Miss 13 about her attitude last night. Her response was, "It's not my fault! It's my bodies fault!" OK, guess I can somewhat relate to that, PMS and all that fun stuff. But really, is it my fault there isn't cut up fruit in the refrigerator? Because she seems to think it is.
This morning Mr. 17 informed me that after his big ACT test on Saturday morning he is going fishing, all day, then to the late night drive-in double feature. Um, No! He works early Sunday morning, and is thinking it will be perfectly fine to be out until 2 a.m. then get up early for work. Plus I know for a fact that his friends parents are out of town for the weekend, so I'm pretty sure the plans for the boys aren't exactly what they say they are. Think late night or all day parties. That makes me the most worthless parent ever for saying no to that plan.
In my current mood let me say this, the Terrible Two's really are trying, but The Terrible Teens are the biggest challenge! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Sometimes I forget

Warning Warning Warning~ Sappy stuff ahead!

Sometimes I forget how really lucky I am. At the moment Miss 9 and a friend are downstairs playing. They have drug out all the old "baby" toys and found a Fisher Price tape player/microphone. It belonged to Mr. 17, so you know it has seen better days. Amazingly the thing still works and so do the batteries. They are sharing the microphone and singing songs that they learned in Music class this year in school. It has to be the sweetest sound and the best music I have heard in ages. Totally adorable. Neither of them is being self conscious of their voice or how they sound, they are simply singing, loud and beautiful and off key. They are putting a big grin on my face.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Hooray for Sun

It's been so long since the sun was out here. Actually it's been kind of depressing. Yesterday the sun finally came out, it felt like heaven. I tried to be outside quite a bit, but duty calls and I had lots of other things to do that required me to be indoors.
One of the things we did was plan and book our vacation. We are taking the kids to southern California to do the typical tourist things for a week. They are sort of excited. They have never really been on a real vacation. We have spent the last family vacations at a lakeside resort. We have gone for the last 12 out of 14 years. It was wonderful! The kids always looked forward to it, and so did I. We got to hang with each other and sometimes with Hubby's sister and family. It was incredibly relaxing. This year however we have decided since Mr. 17 isn't to be with us much longer, we would do a real vacation. All the kids have an aversion to Disney for some reason though. We finally convinced them to let us take them there for 1 day. Yup, one day only. I am sure they will enjoy it in spite of their protests.
Do you have any great tourist ideas for us while we are in southern Cali? Places to go, see, eat, visit? Comment and let me know!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Memorial Day = Work Day

Since we have moved here, and taken over the "family farm", we haven't really done much for Memorial Day. For us, Memorial Day is a work day. Hubby and Mr. 17 are both already at work early this morning. Hubby stayed out at the farm last night and Mr. 17 was up early, well early for his standards, so that he could drive out and get to work, too. So in our world Memorial Day and Labor Day aren't long weekends to go BBQ with friends and family, they are days to work, as is the rest of the summer.
I sent Mr. 17 out the door with a cooler of food: sandwiches, drinks and goodies to tide him over for the day. It did however take all my prodding to get him to eat something besides a Pop Tart before he left for work.
How do the rest of you get your teens to eat breakfast that isn't junk in the summertime? During the school year it is really easy, we just set out the choices on the table and they eat it without complaining. During the summer it's another story. Mostly I feel lucky if they eat breakfast at all; also I feel lucky if they are up before 11 a.m.! If they aren't I wake them. How about the rest of you? Do you let your teens sleep late?
Miss 13 starts a summer school class tomorrow, so she has to be out the door very early. It's summer school by choice, actually a PE class, 4.5 hours a day for 13 days. They get to do a lot more than the usual school year PE. It's not the typical gym games, instead it's hiking, biking, baseball, swimming, canoeing, La Cross, track and field, etc. As a bonus it frees up a class during the school year to add those extras that normally there aren't time for. This way I know she will head to bed early for those 13 days at least.
Miss 9 has signed up for some art classes for the summer along with some sport camps. Since academics are such a struggle for her we try to steer her in other directions where she has more opportunities for success when we can.
Speaking of Miss 9 she has already managed to catch herself a fun summer cold. Not that an illness usually slows her down, but it does mean there are more germs in the house that I could catch. I am a little germaphobic, so this means lots more hand washing for me. (Read more as: scrub your hands 50 times a day until your skin peels off!)
Oh, excuse me, Miss 9 played Zoombinis on the computer yesterday, I better go wash my hands now!

Saturday, May 26, 2007

First Day of Summer Vacation!

Do you remember that first day of summer vacation? Today is that day for Miss 9 and Miss 13. Mr. 17 had his first day of vacation earlier in the week.
I remember how exciting that day was with all the promise of warm weather, fun with your friends, staying up late. Even now, certain songs can send me back to those days of summer fun.

Yesterday was a gloomy mess here. Not that I am complaining about getting some rain, but it was really cold too. By the time we were grilling supper you could see your breath outside~ seriously! It's May 25, you should no longer be able to see your breath outside! I'll take the rain, but I despise the cold!

Miss 9 had her birthday party with her friends yesterday. I had planned some fun crafts, a scavenger hunt and some fashion/dress-up games with prizes. They enjoyed it, and I loved being part of their upbeat, excitable energy. They made the most adorable flip flops, you can see some of them on the picture above. Miss 9 enjoyed her day.

When I tucked her in bed last night, she said, "It really doesn't feel like summer vacation, does it Mommy?" So my goal for today, despite a high temperature of less than 60 degrees, is to make it feel like summer vacation. A good goal for a long weekend, don't you think?

Sunday, May 20, 2007


I live in Small-town USA. I have some pretty good grocery stores, I have a major chain store for the necessities. (Although shopping there, and I have no other choice, frustrates the begeeberz out of me!) What I don't have is anywhere to shop for clothing, for myself or the kids. I can drive a few hours and find some things there, but really I am not finding a lot of time to do that anymore. The kids are busy with friends and involved in other activities, so driving to shop isn't always easy. I've been looking for somewhere online, with decent prices, and not the usual blah selections. I am not having a lot of luck and it's frustrating. Without being able to try things on I end up sending a lot of things back. Maybe I need to learn to sew my own clothes. That would be quite an undertaking. Can't you just see us running around in prairie skirts? Sounds like a recipe for the kids to get made fun of at school. Especially Mr. 17. Heh!
We've tried Kohls, AnnTaylor Loft, Talbots, Old Navy, Gap, Lands End, Eddie Bauer, LL Bean. Guess we are destined to live in Major Chain Store fashions. And don't we look lovely?

Friday, May 18, 2007


After a wonderful week for my kids, full of great achievements I should have known the other shoe would drop. Just 2 days ago Miss 13 won the Student of the Month Award at the Middle School. After school last night she came to me in tears. Her name has apparently been on a list of students that a group of boys want to "knife." We have done all the appropriate things: called the principal, the counselor, etc. We just wanted to be able to send her off to school this morning with a secure feeling. The adults are aware of the situation. They have done all they can. I don't think she felt any worse about the situation, but I am not sure she felt any better either.
Mr. 17 came to me last night as well. He has always been moody, always been a little emotional. Apparently he has been talking to the counselor at school this week. She brought in someone from the Human Services department. They think he is suffering from some depression and needs to see a psychaitrist. I spent the morning getting referrals for him, and setting up an appointment. The soonest he can get in is 3 weeks away. Why didn't I see this? Why did I think this was normal teen angst and not something more serious?
Protection... a parent's job. At the moment I don't feel like I am very good at it.

Friday, May 11, 2007


FINALLY! Spring has finally come to our corner of the world. Not that we haven't had warm days, but it finally feels like spring. The grass is green and the grass-stains are even greener! Although this time I can't complain too much because the grass stains aren't on the kids pants, they are my own. I've been kneeling and planting, and I have to say that I sure can make a big mess!

On another note it is Miss 8's Birthday today! So from now on I guess she shall be known as Miss 9. I just can't believe that it has been 9 years since this bundle of energy has entered the world. She came into the world with an attitude of defiance and she still has it! Hubby and I are fond of saying that if Miss 9 had been our first born she would be an only child. What a whirlwind she has turned out to be. But a fun whirlwind most of the time. It's nice to have Miss 9 because she still says, "I LOVE LOVE you!" and kisses our cheeks and hugs us, even with people around. She is much more capable of multi-syllable words unlike Mr. 17 who speaks in mono-syllabic grunts and semi decipherable words. Miss 13 has the eyeroll down pat, so we can usually decipher what she needs just by looking at her.

The weekend ahead looks to be a busy one. Mr. 17 has a track meet today and hopes to be home by midnight. Miss 13 marches in a parade with the middle school band tomorrow morning. Miss 9 and Mr. 17 will also be running a road race tomorrow morning. Hubby and Mr. 17 both have been working to get one of the show cars ready to enter in a Car Show this weekend as well. Plus I naturally expect to be spoiled completely rotten on Mother's Day! We are also waiting on word to see if my parents will come up so Grandma can be spoiled right along with me on Mother's Day. Aaah... the one day a year when I don't have to cook.

How do the rest of you get spoiled on Mother's Day? Or do the spoiling on Mother's Day? Leave me a comment and let me know!

Monday, May 7, 2007

Negativity Pays Off

All weekend the forecast was for rain, as was the forecast for part of last week. We desperately need it, it's so dry here, and since our livelihood depends on it, we pray for it often. As of Sunday morning, we had not much of anything. I was doing my usual negative whining, "It's not going to rain, look at that radar, it's all going east of us." etc. Finally though after lunch the skies got dark and we heard the first rumbles of thunder, they proceeded to get louder and louder. I was at a greenhouse picking out plants for the 50 or so pots that I do every year. I was in fact a little afraid of all the lightning and noise going on around me while I sat in a plastic and metal structure, so I picked plants quickly and left. The sky opened up and it rained! What a relief! See, negativity does pay off; Mother Nature heard me and thought, "I'll show you rain!" We got just over an inch which probably isn't much to most people, but here, that's a pretty good rain.

Friday, May 4, 2007

Locks of Love

Locks Of Love!

Miss 8 had her haircut over the last weekend to donate to Locks of Love. She has been begging to do this for a long time, but I haven't had the heart. She has had long hair practically her entire life. I have enjoyed the many styles we have created together for her to wear. I will miss her long, gorgeous, easy to comb hair. The short style makes me sad in a way because it makes her look so much older and it makes me realize how very fast she is growing up. Either way though, I still think she looks adorable!

I'm Back!

I've been out of touch recently because I had the fun of having my sister here to visit for a few days. She lives a long way from me, and since I don't fly well I don't see her much except when she comes home.
The kids love having her here, especially 8 and 13. She makes them feel special, grown up and important. Plus they love to brag up their accomplishments when she is around because she's so good at boosting their egos.
I enjoy having her around because I finally get to have a friend to visit with about the annoyances of life. She gets where I'm coming from and doesn't judge me for it. We have the same sense of humor and coming from the same set of parents we have similar mannerisms. It makes us laugh to see each other behave and do the same things even though we haven't been living in the same house now for over 18 years. We whine about our spouses but both realize how lucky we really are to have them. I whine about my kids and when she stays with us she realizes that I am right about them, and sometimes they really do deserve to be complained about.
She went back to stay with my parents yesterday. I probably won't see her for a long while because she is going "out on tour" with her hubby for several months. It makes me sad. My kids and hubby would say it makes me grumpy too. I hope all goes well for her while she is on the road, but I wish she would just stay here instead.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Gotta love those babies

I definitely am in love: with the newest addition to our family, my adorable nephew, son of my 10 years younger brother. I am so glad they moved to the same town I live in, that way I get to see baby G whenever I want to BUT when he's being fussy, I get to give him back to Mom and Dad. Love that part, that must be why we look forward to being Grandparents as well.

Baby G is just over 3 weeks old. My brother and his wife don't know how lucky they are right now. G sleeps at night! Can you imagine how that must be? My kids never slept well at night. Baby G has usually been up only twice a night since he came home from the hospital. Granted he was over 9 pounds when he was born, so that makes a difference, but I am still terribly jealous. My middle daughter, 13 at the moment, holds the record for the most times up per night~ 13! Geez, we wore out a vacuum putting that child to sleep at night, she just loved the sound. Now I see that on Amazon you can order a CD with the sounds of a vacuum running. Who's clever idea was that? I should order it for my daughter as a joke gift.

Yesterday was an interesting day. Both my older two kids had track meets. The oldest was out of town and they got home at midnight! On a school night yet. This was also their 3rd track meet in 6 days. In my opinion, that is just too much for kids in the spring. Their classes are loaded with assignments as teachers have fallen behind throughout the year, and they miss two days of school in one week, getting home late both of those days. 17 is exhausted at the moment, and barely speaking. I guess that's not all that unusual though, he's 17, he barely speaks full sentences right now anyway.

13's track meet was on a day with lots of wind, some rain, and clouds. It wasn't fun sitting and watching and waiting for her one race. I don't enjoy all the chaos or the unorganized mess that is a track meet. I also don't understand why it can't be more organized. But I won't get on my soap box over that one. Suffice it to say that I don't look forward to track season. I love that the kids participate, but I don't like sitting and waiting and waiting and waiting to watch them run.

I am headed on a weekend trip with my girls to see my sister and my parents. We are all looking forward to hanging out and doing some shopping. Where I live isn't an exciting place to find those essentials for kids, like shoes, and clothes, so we head a little farther away to a town with more shopping to offer. We don't go nearly as often as 13 would like, but if we shopped for clothes as often as she wanted to, we'd all be bankrupt.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Try Try Again

Here we go again! My second day of "blogging." Who would have ever thought that would become an actual word?

I am trying to think of some generic names to refer to my children and hubby without using their actual names and getting in trouble with them. I'm tempted to use Mr. Forgetful for my 17 year old son, but should he ever read this blog, I think he may be offended. I'm not sure if it's his age or hormones or just the fact that he's a teenage boy, but the kid manages to forget everything if he doesn't have his mother reminding him 15 times. I packed his cooler for him last night, he has a track meet today and needs those essentials like Gatorade, granola bars, sandwiches and still more carbs of some sort. This morning it was sitting on the table. Presumably so it wouldn't be forgotten. He ate his breakfast at said table, but still managed to leave for school without the cooler. This isn't the first time. Tuesday, track meet, forgot the same cooler! Some would say, let him go without it and teach him to remember things on his own. But the mother in me says that going to a track meet in the sun, and running several miles without water, Gatorade and carbs, really wouldn't be too good for his body. He's a distance runner, so healthwise he really does need to have most of those items.

So I sent hubby off with the cooler when he dropped off our 8 year old daughter at school. He put the cooler in 17's car at the High School. Hopefully he found it there and took it with him. I'm sure he hadn't even realized it was forgotten yet.

Do you think our children will ever realize how much we actually do just for them in a day? How much of our life is devoted to their well-being and happiness? How our thoughts throughout the day revolve around how they are doing, what they are doing, and sometimes what we hope they are not doing?

My brother and his wife are fortunate enough to have just had a baby boy. I watch them all together and think how much their lives are about to change, and how at that time you don't even realize it. You just flow with it and do what has to be done. But looking back, since my son was born over 17 years ago... what a change in my life. What a difference in where I thought my life would be. Children change everything. (mostly for the better, but there are those moments....)

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The First Time

Bear with me, as I attempt to get this blogging thing underway. I decided to start writing a blog since I enjoy reading other peoples so much. It's fascinating to see how the rest of the world lives, and what they do with their lives. My life at the moment revolves around my husband and our three children. But that wasn't always the case. I am a substitute teacher and also wear hats of many other jobs: chef, taxi driver, cheerleader, assistant, bookkeeper, etc. I haven't chosen exactly what I will write about here, but I'm sure it will prove to be a lot of rambling, complaining, bragging and kvetching about life in general.