Thursday, July 31, 2008
So I did it.
I began my "toothbrush patrol", and pulled the stove out as far as I could get it (badly laid flooring). I scrubbed the sides of the stove, I scrubbed the cabinets surrounding it. I took the stove top apart and scrubbed that too (and I chose NOT to photograph the years of disgusting -- you're welcome).
As I slid my newly cleaned appliance back towards the wall, I could see some dog hair trapped underneath.
You should know that when we moved into this house, I spent over 12 hours trying to get it "clean enough" to feel comfortable moving my stuff into it. Most of the time was spent in the kitchen. Some of it was spent vacuuming dog hair out of the radiators.
I didn't have time to get the house cleaned to what I prefer to live in, but I figured I'd do that after we got settled.
It's been two months.
And apparently, the vacuum hadn't pulled all of the dog hair out from under the stove. Even having my Husband remove the glass from the stove door to pull dog hair out from between the two panes of glass, hadn't taken away the hair.
So with the stove back in place, I wrapped my gloved fingers around that hair peeking out from under the stove and pulled. and pulled. and pulled.
This is what I got.
The can of beans wasn't under my stove. It was added just to give perspective. I just hope it's potty trained.
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
My dear little gift from God,
There may be something you're wondering about. You have probably heard stories about how Mummy and Daddy went a little nutters when it came to buying clothing for you. You've probably heard how he purchased adorable hot-weather things in expensive shops in the UAE for you to wear-- the year England forgot to have summer.
You probably heard stories of how Mummy tried to break her blogging habit, only to replace it with ebay -- wildly pursuing pieces to complete your wardrobe. With shoes to match.
And yet, throughout your scrapbooks, there are hundreds of photos with you wearing a total of three outfits.
You were not neglected. You were not mistreated. You were not overlooked.
You were just a beast.
Take this outfit.
I put this on today and took a picture of you immediately. Because if you are true to past performances, you will soil it within the hour. At which point I will retire it. An outfit can only face the bleach pen so many times.
There was the first wearing where you made the monster poo within 20 minutes of getting dressed. The poo that ruined your car seat.
Mum, aka, "The Stain-er-nator" saved it.
There was the second wearing...
we thought that first poo was a mess.
The third wearing made it to lunch. To the point of you pulling your bib and protective lap covering off. I do believe Dad was supervising that meal....
Most recently you wore it (and your leather Nike trainers) for 10 minutes (after swimming in the pool all afternoon), and then climbed into the bath (shoes and all) with your brothers. No, it didn't get dirty going into the bathtub, but those beautiful little red poppies and ribbon accents are tired of going through our abusive washing machine.
So yes, you did have some cute outfits.
You did have a nice selection to choose from in your wardrobe.
You're just harder on some than others.
That is why I'm letting you fund your own Wedding Gown.
I'm sure you'll understand as the first smear of lipstick, the first glop of mashed potatoes, first splash of Sparkling cider hits that delicate fabric and lace.
Don't let it ruin your day and remember to look over at me once in a while.
I will be the woman in the clean, pressed, puke-free dress wearing a large smile.
Blog readers: While I uploaded the photos for this post? She insisted on climbing me and rubbed MY lipstick along the sleeve. Within two hours there was purple ink on the shirt.
Monday, July 28, 2008
I know that Trolls are ugly little things that live under the bridge, only striking when they think they won't be seen, and chances are when they lash out, this is the first time they've ever even seen you. But it makes you cautious to cross bridges just the same.
Thank you for coming by to give me a "hand up".
And now, some eye candy for all of you faithful folks who keep coming back.
The Royal Household Clavary
Men in jodhpurs, military uniforms and shining armor... would you like a hankie to wipe that bit of drool off of your face?
Saturday, July 26, 2008
and you look at everyone differently and wonder: "Is it her?" (by the way, hurting someone out of kindess is not kind at all)
We had an experience in our church once. I was in a youth leadership position with several really lovely ladies. Women who sacrificed time and energy to help direct the path of the young women in our area. Women who put those girls ahead of their own needs.
And one day, there was a letter. Signed by Anonymous (wow, that person really gets around).
It told some pretty hideous tales of one of those women.
We were stunned.
And no matter how hard we tried not to let it affect us, our opinion of that woman was forever altered.
Even so, we all rallied around her. We gave talks and bore testimonies about being kind and forgiving.
Another letter arrived.
The matter became suspicious glances in the hallway. Accusations of who would be so ugly. Several people came to my mind. People whose lives weren't going smoothly and would feel the need to stomp anyone down like that. I looked at certain church members with thoughts of the things they had done in their past, and wondered if they were the ones throwing stones.
After months of distrust, the sick mind that penned those letters was discovered. Some of us had to repent of the thoughts we had had about people who were innocent. The damage was done. The poisoned pen had forever changed the dynamics of that group of women and rippled out through an entire ward.
Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery" had nothing on us.
When the towers were attacked, Americans were told to go on with life as normal. We were told that if we lived in fear, the terrorist won. I wish I could say I was able to put my fears aside, but I didn't.
Very soon after, a person who really never took notice of skin color or nationality before was now highly suspicious of several clusters of men waiting to board the plane my husband was scheduled to take.
I looked at them with distrust. They looked at me.
It's hard to describe a non-verbal interchange, but I knew that these men knew, I was wondering if they could be planning something sinister. They had probably seen my look in a hundred other faces already.
I suddenly felt ashamed.
I smiled, but it was too late. The damage was done.
I will not let anonymous comments damage my trust.
You see, this blog isn't meant for the NY Times, or CNN. It's meant for me. It's my way of getting through each day with all of the good, bad and ugly I may be made up with. This blogging stuff actually saved me from a very dark time, and the fact that so many of you keep coming back always amazes me.
The friendships I've discovered along the way makes the one or two personal attacks worth it. I won't live in fear of a faceless attacker.
So throw stones, Anonymous. Sharpen your quill and write away -- on your own blog. I know who I am and whether or not I'm deserving of your terrorist-like tactics and you will not win.
I don't fear you.
Friday, July 25, 2008
The great milestone in a parent's life, having one's photo taken with the first-born at his High School graduation.
but wait, there isn't a photo?!
J1 would be receiving his diploma in Ely Cathedral, one of the most beautiful buildings you could ever imagine. Construction for this spectacular historical site began in 1083. It became a cathedral in 1109. It's nearly as old as the clothes hanging in my wardrobe.
The Hubby was deployed. I was trying to get things settled with J's move back to the U.S. that would take place only days after graduation. I had two kids in British schools and one in Play School (you do that here-- kids begin Play School as early as 2, and are in [the equivalent of] kindergarten by 4). Miss Ky was 8 months and still nursing. Stress was rampant. Precise choreography would be required for the day and absolutely no delays could be tolerated.
My graduating Senior had to be at his school by 7am... one hour away from where we lived. I had four other children to take care of and 3 to get to their schools.
So I did what any church-going mom would do.
I let him sleep over at his girlfriend, Kristine's house.
My other boys (who will NEVER be allowed to sleep over at a girlfriend's home) would get off the school bus at 3:30, we would then drive the 2 hours to Ely, and arrive with 30 minutes to spare for parking and finding our seats. Not, so bad, right?
Of course the bus was late.
I raced home with the kids, directed them to their nice clothes lined up on the sofa (shirts to socks and shoes, just needed the bodies) and bellowed, "Dress fast!"
I grabbed Miss Ky's survival kit and three changes of clothing for her.
I yelled, "Get in the car!"
I loaded the snacks and diapers into the car.
A2 began insisting he had no trousers. I ran back into the house and ... no trousers. What the heck? I must be losing my mind, I was sending my three-year old to a church trouser-less. I ran and got him another pair.
Two mini-people were now in the car. I buckled in
One hour and 15 minutes into the trip, boys have to water the side of the road.
We then fall into...
the queue of every other parent driving to Ely Cathedral (also hoping to have 30 minutes to spare).
Unbelievably, we find parking only a few blocks away. I had to dress Miss Ky. As I did so, I was yelling (yes, again... actually, you can't have an "again" if it never stopped) instructions.
"As soon as Ky's dressed, we RUN for it, got it?" and that's when I saw...
Holy cow. Now I know why A2 had no trousers. A1, who is 3 years older and much taller, is wearing them. My 6-year old is wearing 3T trousers. They look like capris.
All I can do is laugh and wonder why we never show up looking polished and pressed.
I follow the crowds towards the building and see the longest line ever. Ky needs to nurse. Boys need to wee again. I began to get very overwhelmed and felt immensely discouraged...
...and then there appears, a face I recognize... Kristine's mother (insert angelic chorale music here). She has her husband take the boys into the bathrooms in another building, and then leads me past this huge line of people (I don't look at them), into the building, up to the front row of the cathedral where there are placards reserving our seats...
The school reserved seats for families of deployed members. Thank goodness the Hubby was in the hot, hot desert or I would have been watching from the nosebleed section.
Um, thanks Hubby.
Another remarkably cool thing the school did: they arranged a video conferencing so that Deployed parents could "be there". I was texting the Hubby, "Can you see me?" and J2 kept walking back and forth in front of the cameras waving.
My phone rings. It's J1 from somewhere in the deep recesses of this glorious building on this momentous occasion, "Can we just skip this, can we go home?"
J1 is the poster child for why young people need sleep. Apparently there were fun times and Wii games for all in the girlfriends' house throughout the night. He was tired. And irrational.
My answer to my tearful, moody teen reaching out to his loving Mom?
"This isn't about you, pal. This is MY moment. You will walk with your class and you will smile for your photos. "
AND drama aside, within a few moments the ceremony begins. AND Miss Ky picks THAT exact moment to poo, which causes her to fuss, so I latch her on like a trained puppy. Makes for some complicated photography.
THIS is the back of J's girlfriend, Kristine.
Isn't she lovely? Isn't she the sweetest looking
little thing? Isn't he messing everything up by moving on to the girlfriend with scary parents?
Oh, wait! There's Son #1!! Waaaaaay over there, out of my camera's flash range...
But he's perfectly situated
for a proud Dad sitting somewhere
in the desert.
There are no "after" photos of our family, of our proud moment with J. No photos of him holding his diploma or throwing his cap in front of this amazing edifice.
He couldn't quit crying.
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
It's been fun. They've walked coastal paths...
Enjoyed poo-free beaches...
tried a little seaweed...
Seen some great sights....
Played "Where's Waldo?" Fred and Bessie style...
I think they're going to miss England with it's sweet, green grass and wild poppies splashing color throughout the fields.
But they're off.
After a stop by Stonehenge (I couldn't go with the kids out of school-- there's not enough seats in the car-- so there won't be photos, sorry), they'll catch a flight out of London's Gatwick Airport. I think they may be looking forward to some sunshine-- a day without rain...
And they'll get it where they're going (along with some really great cooking and a good time).
Brought to you by the wonderful Blogger Scheduler (I'm out of the office buried in children taking a holiday)
We just re-homed Jake, formerly known as Jake, Phenni and Sir Pup.
I just couldn't take another toddler in our cramped living space and small garden anymore. I couldn't take the garden getting ruined bit by bit.
Being in the military, we move a lot. When we're renting, we have to leave things how we find them, and Jake has already altered some "established" landscape.
We knew he would. He's a puppy after all. And puppies need to chew, need lots of attention, and need to chew.
The boys are busy with football. The Hubby is working the strangest most erratic hours he's ever worked and has been assured it's for the entire summer -- at least. Miss Ky will drive me insane within the year. I couldn't be what Jake needed -- and it was left up to me.
He was growing into the most gorgeous dog. People would stop to comment on how beautiful he was.
He was also the most loving dog I have ever come across. His preference was to be where ever we were, touching us somehow. Which usually meant he laid on my feet when I cooked in my tiny kitchen. Miss Ky loved him. It was her job to feed him lunch (which she always did a little of the "one for you, two for me" with his kibble).
My quiet, sensitive A1 watched him drive away. I asked him if he was ok. His eyes told me "no" even though his mouth said "yes". "Are you sad?" He nodded and held back tears.
So tonight, the all of kids are in bed. The hubby is at work. The house is quiet and I'm really feeling it that he's not here.
I miss my dog in New Mexico even more now than I already did. I miss being able to put my arms around his neck, bury my face in his fur and have a good cry.
Tonight I'd be crying to him about how I hate the direction my life has gone that I can't enjoy a puppy.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Quite honestly, I'd be thrilled to be any of them since I prefer to live in that world anyway.
Things were going along smoothly until I got to... oh, question two. When I had to describe my beauty.
For some reason, people are very uncomfortable when you can admit you're fat. Or that your looks are the opposite of Cameron Diaz's. I don't exactly have a face that conjures up a bubbling cauldron and eye of newt, but I won't ever be mistaken for Juliette Binoche either. I'm ok with that. My sparkling personality makes up for it. (ha)
So, calling from my computer room, "Hubby, how would you describe my beauty?"
"Dark and slightly exotic.
Mature - you were considered pretty when you were younger.
Characterized by bright eyes and good teeth.
not immediately noticed.
Healthy and elegant - your height and size are quite pretty, and your complexion radiant. Loveliness itself.
Youthful and earnest - almost pretty."
I repeat the list.
Now something else you should know about me. I do NOT set myself up for things like this. I don't ask, "Do these trousers make me look fat?" Because let's face it, the trousers aren't responsible for the Ben and Jerry's ice cream consumed at 11 pm and I'm not going to put him in an awkward situation.
I will say, "What do you think of these?" and then he is free to answer, "I don't like them. I like the jeans you wore to the picnic better."
No hurt feelings. No Hubby sleeping outside.
But this test was different. It's just in fun and I am asking the man who loves me above all else in this world. Whose eyes may not be unbiased.
I help him out a little... "I was thinking 'not immediately noticed'".
"What were the choices again?"
Post brought to you by the remarkable invention of Blogger scheduler.
Saturday, July 19, 2008
The last day of school will be calm. I will lovingly plant a kiss on top of their clean little heads and send them into the classrooms with their sun cream applied, teacher's gifts in hands and looking like magazine children should look.
The reality: We begin the day with an argument. J2 is insisting on wearing his torn Nike trousers with his football (soccer)jersey. I insist on nice jeans. "You are NOT going to school on a non-uniform day looking like someone that just crawled out of Salvation Army's dumpster!". He spites me by putting on his school trousers and football jersey. Lovely. I will not be photographing that child today.
Then, as we gather the teacher's gifts, I look into J2's teacher's bag filled with tissue paper and realize... I never found a gift for her.
Well, I had, but decided against it.
This woman is reeeally hard to like and I know she has health issues that rule out my stand-by gift choice (chocolate, body pampering stuff, or anything scented). Perfect.
We end up late (which gets us laughed at since we live RIGHT NEXT DOOR to the school).
The best part? It WASN'T a non-uniform day.
Go ahead, start nominating me for my Mother of the Year award.
I pack the little Missy into the car and we run to town for a quick gift.
Yeah. I drive around for 30 minutes looking for a place to park. I joke you not. It's not like I wanted a close parking space, or a convenient parking space. I just wanted A parking space.
Fridays the town brilliantly closes down it's largest car park to hold a market. Only you don't know that until you have your car squeezed in to an impossible place to back out of.
I finally give up and go to the supermarket. Holding a wriggling beast that is nearly ready for a nap now, I dig through my wallet for a pound coin so that I can "rent" a trolley (that's shopping cart, Yank). I have two 50p coins.
I carry the beasty into the store to shop. As I'm in the biscuit (cookie and sweets) aisle, she is entertaining all with her skills of pulling bags of crisps off the shelf with lightening fast agility.
She picks out candies, she stomps colorful bows that won't adorn anyone's wrapped gifts now, and proceeds to pull the bottom Kinder Eggs out of the stacked display.
I am holding a couple of potted plants, an herb garden (for the Head Teacher who I also forgot), and more boxed sweets than I had planned on buying (try to catch me without a present again, will you?) and trying to keep her in my proximity so that I can pay and get out of the store.
Miss Ky is darting back and forth between me and the photo booth, so I am watching her (watching her nearly disable old folks with canes and walkers), not the checker, who is watching me with disdain (hey helpful one, you try to shop with her and I'll check your items through the machine while judging you).
I carry Miss Monsterchild and my newly acquired debt out to the car where I will sit the next ten minutes until traffic behind me opens up enough for me to back up.
These are the good times, aren't they?
It's lunch. Miss Ky is late for her nap. She sleeps, I prettily bag our treats... oh, I don't have cards.
I print photos I have of the recipients with my children and apply them to the front of a card.
Whew. Thank goodness I take a lot of photos.
It's time to collect the children. Wake up, micro-napper!
Children will run out of the building with smiling faces and throw their happy little bodies into my arms.
A2 makes it out to me all right, but his classmates are all a weepy mess (Year 6 had a "Leaver's Assembly", a little like our High School graduation, and the younger ones are very sad to see them go).
A1 comes out to tell me his teacher is crying.
J2's teacher is still yelling at them in the classroom, "You must not want to go very badly, I still hear talking!" (well, duh! It's the last day of school lady, they're excited). Eventually they come out... but no J2.
Hmmmm. He has gone out another door and is heading home. I love you too, son.
The dream: We will have a snack and then happily go through everyone's school work and they will tell me all about each piece, showing courtesy and respect to each other and waiting for their turn to speak.
The Reality: Do I even have to type it?
The dream: We will wake up, this first day of summer holiday, later than normal and be glad to be home with one another.
The reality. I think they were fighting over stupidity by 9am. I was shouting by 11.
Our plans are to see English Heritage sites, swim on our Summer Swim Passport, complete our summer reading goals (I may have gotten a little excited with my list... there's enough to read for the next two years), football practice, and BEACH time. in the rain. The rain we've had every day since... maybe I should start ordering Gopher wood online.
Hopefully our reality will not be a psychotic mom giving up after doing the crazy juggling act to just get them out of the house. and cleaning. Hopefully they won't turn my hair grey -- oh, too late.
I will be posting less (LESS, not stopping). I bow submissively to those of you that have been on summer break and are still posting. I don't know how you've done it.
You are my lifeline these days. You are my human contact in this chaotic reality I'm living, so you can bet I'll still be visiting and reading (wait, can that count towards my summer reading goal as well?).
The dream: You'll still be here when I get back...
Friday, July 18, 2008
Or Horse Chestnut, but you're going to sound real silly challenging someone to a game of "Horse Chestnuts". (The tree -- meant for sitting under with a good Jane Austen book -- I posted for WW is a Horse Chestnut)
When we first moved here, we were lucky enough to gain as friends, a young married couple who had a good American friend that had lived here for a while (the husband served a mission in the U.S for two years as well), so they knew what to clue us in on.
One of the important things to know is how to play conkers.
What they didn't tell us was the techniques and how serious some people are about this game.
There are different variations and there are tricks to harden your conker to make it nearly indestructible. We gathered a few and had fun swinging our nuts at each other until someone's string broke. All good fun.
So, just in case you're thinking about coming over for a visit, you may want to do a little reading up on how to play this clever little game. I am serious about games. Any game.
I am not an angry player. I do not mind losing (I just enjoy playing, regardless who wins), but if I'm going to play, you can bet I am going to play my best. I am ugly in Risk.
See this board? It's me slaughtering the family in the annual, "Let Mom run everyone out of the game and then leave the last guy to die a slow death in Monopoly, Risk, whatever" gathering. Usually held during the Christmas holidays. Nobody says Christmas cheer like Mom.
Anyhoo, Conkers. You have a chance. My only attempts to play were before I learned how to make my conker a lethal weapon.
Wikipedia explains the game:
- A hole is drilled in a large, hard conker using a nail, gimlet, or small screwdriver. A piece of string is threaded through it about 25 cm (10 inches) long (often a shoelace is used). A large knot at one or both ends of the string secures the conker.
- The game is played between two people, each with a conker.
- They take turns hitting each other's conker using their own. One player lets the conker dangle on the full length of the string while the other player swings their conker and hits.
- The conker eventually breaking the other's conker gains a point. This may be either the attacking conker or (more often) the defending one.
- A new conker is a none-er meaning that it has conquered none yet.
- If a none-er breaks another none-er then it becomes a one-er, if it was a one-er then it becomes a two-er etc. In some areas of Scotland, conker victories are counted using the terms bully-one, bully-two, etc.
- The winning conker assimilates the previous score of the losing conker, as well gaining the score from that particular game. For example, if a two-er plays a three-er, the surviving conker will become a six-er.
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Bees do it.
Everybody's doing it.
Everyone is shining up their awards and passing them on to other bloggers-- but not me. I am such a brain cell black hole, that I sometimes forget I even got an award, never mind that I didn't pass it on.
So, here today, I'd like to thank some really kind (and maybe overly generous people) for thinking of me when they handed out awards and memes.
Thank you, kind people. (wink)With this award, (passed to me by the lovely Snooty Primadona) I'd like to recognize my Tax Time buddy (thank you so much AFF for leading me to her blog) The Rocking Pony, whose blog can go any direction from one day to the next, but always a joy to visit. O.K., that MAY have not really sounded like a compliment, but it was meant as one. Her blog is a daily read if the kids will let me.
And speaking of going any way (not in THAT way), you NEVER know what's going to show up on the screen for this blog. It could be pictures of trees with eyes; a great recipe (strawberries and basil with a tangy cream all over ciabatta bread) or a feisty post -- all accompanied by some gorgeous photography, Noble Pig is "just plain fun to read".
What a huge compliment from Kathryn (who I've admired and mentioned more in my posts than I've mentioned my children). I'd like to pass this to some new reads (who may or may not even read me and therefore may leave this sitting on my desktop to gather dust).
Just Because, Wisteria and Roses, and A Little White Space (I found her by participating in PhotoStory Fridays)
And some older reads: Lunatic Fringe (I'm linking you to a specific post that I liked SO much, but she has plenty more where that came from). Woman in A Window, Mental Pause Chronicles, Taking What is Left (I stayed for the banana bag experiment, but discovered a clever woman giving us glimpses of her life).
I'd also like to thank Tara for the adorable little TuTu for Miss Ky (I "won" it during her Blog Carnival) and if things ever slow down, I'll get a photo with her in it (oooh, the anticipation for all of you).
Since I have been working on this for FOUR days, I am going to be brave and just hit the publish button. I know there are others I would like on the list. There are some of you who know you deserve to be on these lists-- well, stick with me. I have a new award coming out soon. Real soon. But not before tomorrow soon.
And for the record. Thank you for all of your sweet comments about the blog roll. I was just being silly and I am seriously NOT offended when I'm not on one. I read several blogs regularly that I've never put on my side bar for various reasons (ie: some are family blogs-- someone else's family-- and I didn't feel they'd be thrilled with me advertising them).
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
You light up when you see her name in your inbox.
You're eager to hear what she has to say, and when she's absent for a few days, you actually worry about her.
You were never actually delusional enough to think you were "BFF", but you thought that
she was excited to hear about you as well.
And then you open up her blog...
and no matter how many times you scroll through the blog list,
It's just wrong.
The injustice in the world.
This was actually tongue-in-cheek, but I have to confess, I began to giggle as I thought of the people who might rush to their side bars to see if I was writing about them....
A2 (5 years going on 30): I took one yesterday, see (holding up grimy arms), I'm not dirty.
Mum: You are dirty and you need to take a bath so you won't be stinky.
A2: I don't need a bath, I can just put on some arm pit stuff.
Any representatives for Sure, Dove, Secret, Ban, or Axe looking for a spokesperson out there?
Monday, July 14, 2008
Fred and Bessie were excited to take their first British train ride, and we waited patiently, content to watch the huge white clouds roll across the azure blue sky. The kids chattered and Hubby checked through the tickets one last time, and I took an inventory of the camera bag. Imagine how startled we were to hear the soft quiet, "Um, help please", coming from the train tracks.
Bessie had stepped a little closer than she should have to the tracks and her hoof was caught. It was kind of amusing at first. I think Fred maybe even grumbled at her a little bit -- until we heard it. The train was coming! I was running across the car park, Hubby was trying to grab Miss Ky, but we both knew there was no way we'd reach Bessie in time. Thousands of thoughts rushed through my mind and I felt like I was living one of those nightmares when you're trying so desperate to run but your legs are filled with lead.
That's when he did it.
The most heroic thing I have ever witnessed.
Fred THREW his body into Bessie's, knocking her clear of the tracks, and the train swooshed past.
We were all so relieved that Bessie was safe, that it took a few moments to realize that Fred wasn't getting back up. He lay motionless on the pavement.
As you can imagine, it was a very emotional moment and I learned something very interesting about how I will react in a crises. I did not shoot any pictures. I have nothing to show of the level crossing, I don't have photos of the train. I am not even totally sure that I didn't throw my camera down as I was running for those cows.
I did however, catch the tender moment when Bessie leaned down in relief to kiss Fred when he told her she was standing in his view of the ice cream shop. After a 9-hour surgery, Fred's horn is going to be good as new. In fact, he's feeling so good, we went sightseeing today.
Fred's had his bandages changed recently...
Silly cows making faces like the gargoyles
Castle Acre Priory, in the village of Castle Acre, Norfolk, England, is thought to have been founded in 1089 by William de Warenne the son the 1st.Earl of Surrey who had founded England's first Cluniac priory at Lewes in 1077. The order originated from Burgundy. Originally the priory was sited within the walls of Castle Acre Castle, but this proved too small and inconvenient for the monks, hence the priory was relocated to the present site in the castle grounds about one year later.
The church itself was consecrated sometime between 1146 and 1148. While the Warenne family may have been the main benefactors of the priory, others also gave generously to it, for example Scolland, steward of Alan Earl of Richmond, who was in fact buried there. The
nave of the church is one of the oldest parts of the ruin, however subsequent additions continued to be added up until the priory was dissolved in 1537 under Henry VIII, and when the King gave the dissolved priory to the Duke of Norfolk complete with its estates, the remaining monks were turned out. The estates eventually passed to Sir Edward Coke, whose descendant, the Earl of Leicester now owns the ruins and Castle Acre Castle.
Friday, July 11, 2008
But while I am moving on to actually accomplish something for once, I'm giving you some links for fantastic weekend reads.
A post to ponder: As Obvious as the Nose...
A post to learn by: Corn
A Saturday giggle with The Lehners in France-- you could start anywhere, but I'm giving you an older post about.... poo.
For a cleansing cry: RIP Punk Rock Mommy, A Day to Remember (read on for a renewed strength to face your day, My Last Blog).
BREAKING NEWS: There's been an accident involving traveling bovines and a train crossing. When Fred returns from the hospital, I will be sure to post all about it.
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek
You may think this week's Photo Story is about the small pleasures in life...
but it's not.You may think this is a story about brothers, how they're friends for life...
but it's not.
I could tell you this photo was taken on a hike in New Mexico just a few days after we picked up our German exchange student...
but that's not what I posted the photo for.
This is A1's chili pepper shirt. The one he lived in whenever I couldn't hide it well enough.
It's the one that continued to fade -- wash after wash -- while hanging to dry in the bleaching New Mexico sunshine.
HE LOVED THIS SHIRT.
One day, I sneaked it into the trash.
I removed the trash from the house.
He looked for it.
Stop "tsk tsk tsk-ing" me and putting me back on the Bad Mommy list (assuming I ever stepped off of it). Holy jalapenos people, I lived in the southwest-- how hard would it be to find a new chili pepper shirt?!
Famous last words.
Are you aware that there was only one of these shirts ever made in the entire history of textiles? Notice the words "Juan in a Million"? How apropos is that?
And do you remember that my son, although he's never been officially diagnosed, ticks all of the boxes on the Asperger's chart?
So, three years later, he still brings up this shirt. He strokes the memory of it as fondly as a elderly woman reminiscing about her first love. And I still continue to search. In England.
I figure my one in a million chance to find it has just gone south.
Thursday, July 10, 2008
What does summer mean to you?
As a child, summer meant long hot days at the beach with Hawaiian Tropic glistening off my skinny little arms creating mini-rainbow-like oil slicks as I slid into the cold water of Lake Powell. *
Or splashing down a slip 'n' slide (and leaving the plastic behind resulting in burning Dad's lawn).
It meant corn dogs served up through a greasy trailer window at the traveling carnival held in Babbitt's Trading Center parking lot (where little girls in shorts could convince a leering carni to let them ride for free on the tilt-a-whirl).
It meant lazy afternoons laying in sweet green grass, picking out shapes in the puffy white clouds overhead,
or a red wagon-load of freshly picked library books.
On the rare day of monsoonal rain, it meant splashing in puddles or chasing paper boats as they sped down the gutter towards the drains.
No alarms, or schedules. Black, leather-like feet (from running barefoot all day), may or may not find their way into a sudsy bath before 10.00 pm. Hair may or not be combed before leaving the house and what to wear was simple -- a swimsuit fit every activity.
Maybe it's because I'm older that I don't look forward to summer like I used to. Summer for me now means more hands recreating the chaos I tamed just hours earlier, more muddy footprints on a newly mopped floor and more "I'm hungry"s falling remarkably close to one another.
It means the tower of books that appealed to me enough to add them to my list of "greats to read", will sway in the breeze in my bedroom. No WAY will I be reading with Miss Ky in constant "destructor" mode.
For my husband, it means (as always in the summer) his job is undermanned for the additional summer hours, so no time off to spend with the family and stranger hours than before -- and more frequent scheduling changes.
But I don't think it's just me.
My children, who DO NOT fall into the current trend of over-scheduling, still don't have time to lay in the grass. Summer for them doesn't even start until the 22nd, and then it's only a few short weeks. During that time, 2 will play football (soccer) and three of them will attend an activity day once a week with the local church. But for some reason, we will still be running.
There will be no leather-like feet or bronzed skin. Our library books won't smell of coconut oil, and my children will not know the joy of slipping under the surface of a cool, clear lake.
Summer to me is Lake Powell and it's 2200 miles of shoreline. I miss my lake. I miss my simple childhood.
*photo is by email@example.com. Living overseas, my photos of Lake Powell are stored.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Saturday, July 5, 2008
1) 9 months pregnant, walking several miles in the Missouri heat, because the Hubby and Son #1 forgot to come get me from my Doctor's appointment.
2) Anxiously anticipating baby two, after nearly losing him in the early months.
3) moving house. Of course. In the heat. And painting a Nursery in Pooh colors of purples and greens.
4) Just finished being a leader at a Young Women's camp. First time ever. Came home with ticks on my back that I could't reach because of my HUGE belly.
5) Watched Michael Crawford in concert-- a concert my Hubby can no longer remember.
6) Loving a Hubby, a 10 year-old, a dog and two ferrets.
What are 6 things on my to-do list for today:
1) Going to see a movie on base with the kids. Wall-E .
2) pick up two bday gifts for friends and think about teacher gifts... yikes.
3) finish preparing my Sunday School lesson. YIKES
4) Convince the kids to eat something to go so that I can work on that lesson more
5) Laundry. yipee
6) Celebrate J2 getting chosen for the "Train with the Stars" program-- with Norwich City Football Club. Who Hoo!
Snacks I enjoy?
3) chocolate yogurt would be ideal
5) berries. Apples if they're cut already.
6) bowl of cold cereal and milk.
Things I would do if I were a billionaire?
1) Since there really is no threat of this happening in my lifetime, do I have to answer this?
2) Drown family members in it
3) Give it to the church and trust their distribution to charities.
4) invest some
5) Buy a house and pre-pay the maid I'll want in it for about 20 years or so.
6) travel, and take whoever wanted to go with me.
Places I have lived?
Great Britain oops, that's 7.
How did you name your blog?
I did a search to discover what was causing my two boys to have toilet issues (my body's way of dealing with the stress of the Hubby's deployment was to shed eyebrows-- the boys began having "other" issues). I then did a search about being a military wife and came across a blog that I really enjoyed. She was a member of NaBloPoMo, so I checked it out and started a blog. Having absolutely no idea what I was doing or why. I used the name, In the Gutter because of the Oscar Wilde poem. I really was feeling more like the person that would lay in the Gutter and cry until the street sweeper found me, but I thought the poem was a little more optimistic.
So, here I am. Still blogging and still don't know why.
You know there's a lot of you I'd like to know more about, but I also know several of you who hate memes. So, please feel free to bare your soul and leave me a comment so that I can come over and learn about you. Please.
Dear Son #2,
This is a writing instrument. It can be very useful
when your mind is full and your paper is blank.
You can capture forever the thoughts that were torturing
your sleep or teasing your humour.
You can also use this to draw things. Beautiful landscapes,
cherished faces, super heros and award-winning cartoons.
This can also be very handy when you're plugging through
your facts in math, or when you'll need notes to jog your memory of a fast-talking teacher expounding on important
information you may someday hope to remember.
It is sometimes a toy.
When placed over the middle finger and under
the two fingers on either side, you can snap it to impress your friends.
Never, ever at any time should you ever use it to remove an eyelash from your beautiful chocolate eyes!
Friday, July 4, 2008
2005. My son's band entered a Battle of the Bands contest, without ever having played in public before.
Our whole family sat outside (in the New Mexico sun) through performances from band after band.
Some we really enjoyed, some not so much so. One heavy metal band was SO loud, I had to put a bouncy castle between the bandstand and myself and still hold my ears. It was terrible. That statement may make me sound old, but believe me, I like a good head banging tune as much as anybody else-- just not so loud that my teeth start cracking.
As the sun began sinking deep into the clear afternoon sky, my son got more and more nervous. At one point he was desperate to find a place to throw up. I considered joining him. I was nervous too.
I liked their band. I'm the weirdo parent that would encourage the band to play in our house and would allow all of my furniture to be moved out to make room for the amps. I liked the songs they wrote and often sang along (picture a 40-year old woman toting a baby on her hip and singing Blink182 loudly as she dusts), but I was nervous because they entered a contest to compete with people who were making their livings performing.
I was so proud of them for entering and equally anxious for them.
Their turn finally came. They performed. J1 was on drums and vocals.
On the song he sang lead vocals, his headset went a little nutty on him halfway through the song. He kept drumming. He kept singing.
When they were finished, relief was palpable. J1 was reduced to just a smile sitting on a sweaty teenage body..
Three more bands played.
The sun set.
We had been tapping our feet and bobbing our heads for over 7 hours. Now we had to just sit and wait.
The results were in:
1st place: a local band, well-loved with quite a following.
I was holding a sleeping toddler, so I handed the camera over to my husband and asked him to get in front of the boys. I told him to be ready. I don't know for what.
2nd place: another local band, but this one plays cover tunes in lounges.
And finally, The People's Choice-- determined by the crowd (who had to pay to vote)...
That first photo is the boys hearing that they won. They won the cash prize. The cash paid to say, "I think these guys rock!". They won a few hundred dollars and only $20.00 of it was from us.
I won a new respect for the fearlessness of three teenage boys who suddenly saw opportunities they hadn't imagined before. And a great shot despite the red eye.
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek