Thursday, December 18, 2008

Hog Head Anyone

Yesterday at breakfast I was doing what I usually do - drinking a cup of coffee, eating my oatmeal, and reading the newspaper while listening to the boys play nicely and calmly. (Morning, after breakfast, is about the only time those words can be applied to my boys' play.) I was glancing through the grocery store sale ad when I almost lost my oatmeal.

I realize it may be somewhat culturally insensitive, and really, if you are going to kill animals for food, then doesn't it make sense to use as much of the animal as possible? But at the same time, couldn't they have hidden the WHOLE HOG HEAD (only $ .49 a pound!) on the back of the ad, you know, right next to the "quartered pork feet (previously frozen, $ .99/pound) or the Fresh Beef Tongue ($2.69/pound)? And further, does anyone know, exactly, precisely, what you are supposed to do with a whole hog head? Other than scare the crap out of your children and cause weaklings like me to nearly lose their oatmeal and immediately feed whatever pork products might be in the house (does this picture make YOU want salami?) to the cat?

Monday, December 15, 2008

I haven't disappeared

I've just been a very bad, bad blogger lately.

Why? Oh, largely due to my newfound Facebook addiction. I waited to sign up, but finally got around to it, and I'm not sure that's a good thing. Because I didn't already have enough ways to waste time around the internet. (Hello, LOLcats and all things related.)

So I thought (after being reminded by a few people that when you come over here, you are still greeted by pics from Halloween) that I could at least put up a few new pictures, give a little update.

We are headed to Missouri in about a week. YEA!!! It's been a year and a half since our last visit, so I am very excited. I'm not sure how we're going to do with the weather though. We had to turn our a/c back on today (really, it was HOT when we woke up), and I'm seeing that in MO it's a whole 8 degrees!!! We are going to freeze. Poor little Turner has never really even seen weather under freezing. We are hoping for snow, though, and maybe to build a snowman. Turner is totally in love with Frosty right now.

Eric was in Paris a week ago. The translation of his book came out, and he was brought over for a festival. Apparently, they LOVE him in France. And I was mentioned in a French newspaper, when they did an interview with him. Ah, how sweet.

The boys are growing like crazy. Turner, who hardly talked at all even a few months ago, has exploded with language lately. He says the funniest things and cracks me up. Guthrie has been going through some crazy growth spurt and outgrowing shoes faster than we can buy them. And Samantha turned 13. How that happened, I don't know, and it must stop, NOW, because that means in just 3 years she can drive. And in 5 she can vote. And then ... I can't even think about it.
Here are the boys with some of their handiwork. They had so much fun decorating this Christmas train, and then eating it. And yes, Turner is a mess, but that's what happens when you let kids play with icing and candy.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween!

Hope everyone had a great holiday and is full of treats and not too many tricks.

Turner the UPS man:

Guthrie the scary skeleton (who wiped off all his face paint before we left and wore the mask instead):

The scary sight that greeted the few trick-or-treaters we had:

Even basement cat says Happy Halloween!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Gas under $2.00

I didn't believe it would happen. Here's the proof, from 4 different stations. Sorry for the picture quality - I took some of them stopped at red lights. And the first one is hard to see - it's $1.95!

Recommendations for your reading pleasure

And, yes, a couple of shameless plugs for friends and loved ones.

First, a new wonderful children's book everyone will love. The Best Mariachi in the World, or for the Spanish language version, El major Mariachi del mundo tells the story of little Gustavo, who comes from a family of Mariachis. But poor Gustavo cannot play an instrument. His family won't even let him touch their violins, trumpets, or guitars. He is sad and left out, until he goes out early in the mornings to sing the songs he knows, all alone, to the stars. Soon, the people of the village hear Gustavo's beautiful singing, his cousins carry him into the house for a special breakfast just for him, and he IS a Mariachi, singing with his family, and feels he is the Best Mariachi in the World.

The book comes in a Spanish language edition or a bilingual edition for those of us who are still learning our Spanish, and trying to expose our children to as much as we can. There is a glossary in the back with the English and Spanish equivalents, so if there is a word you can't figure out, just turn to the end. There is also a short explanation of the Mariachi, for those of us who were clueless there too.

The illustrations are beautiful and you can't help but fall in love with little Gustavo. It's a great story, and a great way of exposing your little ones (and yourself!) to some more of the Spanish language and some of this beautiful culture. I know what all my friends with little ones will be getting for Christmas this year, and it's NOT just because the author is a dear friend. : )

And since we've now covered English and Spanish, if anyone reads French, I've got a rec for you, too.

Noir Beton was released in France this week. And since I don't speak or read much French, and you must be wondering why I care, well, I'm just in LOVE with the author in any language. (Um, yeah, he's my husband.) And as difficult as he was to put up with while he was ... "editing" this book, it was all worth it when I saw this:

Not to mention the fact that the book has footnotes, explaining things like the 49er's, and various names of cheap booze, which makes me smile. And my absolute favorite part of the book (in French): The book is about rough-and-tumble concrete workers who drink too much, smoke too much, and curse too much, and who I just can't imagine speaking French. At one point, Rex shouts out to the main character, "Broadstreet!" and Broadstreet's response is, "Oui!" And I can't read it without cracking up.

And in case you are like me and can't read French, the book is also available in a plain old English edition as Two-Up, and is definitely a good read, even if I am a bit biased.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Cheap at half the price

I think it's possible we have the cheapest gas in the country right here in the Valley. We're approaching dropping below $2.00/gallon here. I've searched all over Gas Buddy, and the next cheapest I can find is $2.16. The lowest I've actually seen here was $2.05 a couple hours ago, and I paid $2.15 or so on Saturday when I filled the tank. (Filled the tank for under $50! Miracles happen!)

I can't tell you why our gas here is so cheap, but I'm not complaining. We're still not driving much, and that seems to be the case all over. We've managed to never pay $4.00 for gas, at least not yet - it never topped that here in McAllen, although we did see prices over that when we were traveling to other parts of the state. Always managed to have enough gas and never needed to fill up then. The most we ever paid was $3.95. But here soon, if we keep dropping, we'll be paying half the price that we were just 3 months ago. If ony the prices of everything else would drop that fast!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

If Sarah Palin was my mother ...

I would be doomed. Okay, actually, since I was pregnant at the same age as her daughter, maybe things wouldn't be that different. (Joking Mom!)

But, my name would be ...

Hose Hotrod Palin!

And how do I know this? Because someone set up the Sarah Palin Baby Name Generator so we could all find out.

And I am married to Sack Panther.

Our children (in order from oldest to youngest) are:

Axe Diesel (Samantha, I think, is happy with her name right now)
Clip Dragon (Oooh, Rosalind, Dragon is kind of cool)
Crop Schooner (sorry Guthrie)
Staff Wrench (yep, Turner is a better name)

Go ahead, click on over and have a laugh. But I must admit, I think Piper is a pretty cool name. Oh, yeah, and I've eaten both Moose and Elk, and they are yummy. But Sarah Palin still scares me.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Hey - I won something!!!!

Check it out! I won something! I can't remember the last time I won something, and since I've been having a less-than-stellar last couple of weeks, YEAH!!!!!!!

It's a great breastfeeding blog, so you should go check it out!

W Magazine cover - I LOVE it!

Yes, yes, I've been a very bad blogger lately. I just haven't had anything interesting to say, and/or the time or energy to say it. I'm still here, still reading everyone else's blogs.

If you haven't seen it yet, you must click here: http:// to check out the new cover of W Magazine with Angelina Jolie on the cover, breastfeeding.

The picture is beautiful. (Have you ever seen a picture of her that is NOT beautiful? Yes, I have a girl crush on Angelina, and have for years.) But even more than that, if anyone can normalize breastfeeding, normalize breastfeeding in public (on a cover of a magazine for the whole world to see counts as public for me), then it must be her. As a long-term breastfeeder - I've been nursing without a break since March 2004, and both of my sons have nursed for 2 1/2 years, at least - and someone who hopes to help normalize breastfeeding, and make breastfeeding in public more normal and acceptable, seeing someone so public putting it right there for the whole world to see - I'm thrilled. Thank you, Angelina Jolie, thank you Brad Pitt, thank you W Magazine.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

The Hudson Hornet's Engine couldn't last forever

If you haven't already heard, Paul Newman passed away yesterday at the age of 83.

He certainly left his mark on the world, with his great movie roles, his charitable work, his amazingly long Hollywood marriage, and of course his yummy Newman's Own.

Around here, as in many homes with kids, he holds a special place in our hearts as Doc Hudson, the Hudson Hornet. Radiator Springs just won't be the same without him.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

His name was Guthrie, he was a Jedi

Guthrie totally looks like

a Jedi.

(Because I can never get it to work when I try to embed video:

We DON"T like Ike

I've been watching the path of Hurricane Ike closely since it first started to develop over a week ago. Over the weekend I watched even more closely, as it looked like it might head this direction. We had been considering a short trip to Corpus Christi this weekend, but we decided that was probably going to be out of the question, so instead we spent Sunday at South Padre Island. This area is in some ways still recovering from Hurricane Dolly, and the Island especially seems to still be trying to get back on its feet.

And so I keep loading and reloading the Weather Channel's hurricane articles and maps. Even yesterday morning it looked like Ike was going to hit far away, but now I'm thinking what we need to do to prepare. I can't imagine it will be another direct hit like Dolly was, but it's certainly going to make an impact here, if in no other way than to gives us back the mosquites that had finally started to die off.

I'll be happy if Ike doesn't restrengthen, or just misses us altogether, but once again, we're on the lookout.

And lest anyone think the hurricanes are making me dislike where I live, I must remind people of my passionate hatred and fear of tornadoes. Tornadoes give you, if you're lucky, a matter of minutes notice to head to your basement. We've already had over a week to be thinking about this hurricane, and we have a few more days before it will hit. I'll take the week's notice over a few minutes, thankyouverymuch!

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Can someone explain the bottled water thing to me?

If there's anyone here, in the Rio Grande Valley, who can explain to me, in detail, with specific examples, why exactly I should not drink the tap water, I would appreciate it. Greatly.

And anyone else who just wants to make an argument in defense of bottled water, that would be great too.

We've lived here 2 years. We drink the tap water. I believe we have yet to meet anyone else who drinks the tap water, yet no one has been able to explain to me why, exactly, the tap water is dangerous.

I've heard lots of vague "it's very polluted here," "there are lots of dangerous toxins in the water," "it's not safe," "it causes birth defects," but NOT ONE legitimate, specific REASON for avoiding the water. So we continue to drink it, and continue to remain as healthy (if not moreso) than a lot of the people who only drink bottled.

I'm not knocking those who drink bottled water. (Well, kind of, if there's not a good reason for it, why spend so much money and contribute to the destruction of the environment with all those bottles, even if they are being recycled?) Really, if you want to spend so much more money on bottled water, fine, that's your choice. There is a part of me that thinks if everyone else is so scared of it, maybe I should be, too, and so I would like to know WHY the local water is so dangerous.

I do find it funny (in both a genuinely humorous and a sort of ironic sort of way) that a lot of the time the people who think we are risking our lives because we drink the tap water are the same ones who think we've lost our minds because we don't eat dead cows, because we believe it is too dangerous. Or we are way too strict because we won't let our sons drink soda or go to McDonald's - because surely those things are much safer than tap water.

Also, something I wonder - if the water from the tap is really so dangerous and full of toxins that you can't drink it at all, wouldn't it be unsafe for use for anything? Whatever toxins that might be in it, wouldn't those be absorbed into your food when you cook in it (boiling pasta, for example)? Isn't there a chance that those "toxins" would remain behind on your dishes when you wash them? Those toxins - might they be absorbed into your skin in the shower, into your children's bodies in the bath, into all of your skin in the pool? Into the foods in your gardens?

Further, do you have any idea what is or isn't in the bottled water you (general you) drink? I received a copy of my local tap water report in the mail, but I cannot find a way to get one for the Watermill Express or many of the bottled water companies. The government standards for bottled water and tap water are very different, and the standards for your tap water are much more strict.

I've been Googling this, trying to come up with ONE legitimate reason to drink bottled water. Aside from certain areas where the water is known to be a problem, I can't find anything. At all. In fact, everything I'm finding is showing why tap water is likely as safe or safer than bottled.

I'm not meaning to attack you bottled water drinkers. I just want a reason, an explanation, something in the form of EVIDENCE to show me you're right. We don't eat beef, because we believe conventionally raised beef is dangerous to our bodies and the environment. Aside from the environmental impact of it all, I don't care if you (general you again) want to eat dead cows, that's fine, and I'm not going to tell you otherwise. If you ask me why I don't eat beef, and why I believe it to be unsafe, give me an hour and I'll give you dozens of links to websites, news stories and video explaining my decision, and then you can make your choice for yourself.

That's all I'm asking for with this whole bottled water issue. WHY do you believe the local tap water to be unsafe? What proof can you offer me, especially if you are actively trying to convince me that it is dangerous to my (and my children's) health? Anyone? At all?

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Allergic to the air I think

Inspired by the mushroom incident of a few weeks ago, I finally went in today for allergy testing. I've been wanting to for about 10 years, since I first suspected I was allergic to dogs, but never had health insurance that made it reasonable and affordable until we moved here. Then, I just didn't make the appointment, until recently.

I didn't find out for sure whether I'm allergic to mushrooms. Apparently it's pretty uncommon, so I would have to have a blood test for that one, and I just figured if I can't eat them, I can't eat them, whether it's an allergy or not.

But I am allergic to ... everything else. Okay, not quite everything, but I think there were more positives than negatives. Cats was a big old itchy bumpy positive, as was dog, feathers, most weeds (Ragweed, I hate you), some grasses, a few trees, multiple molds, dust mites. Totally explains why I can't sleep under a down comforter - allergic to feathers and dust mites.

The one that upset me, because I just didn't know? Peanuts. It was mild, but definitely noticeable, and I have a mild allergy to peanuts. Funny, because I ate peanut butter before I went in to my appointment. I've never had any allergy symptoms from it. I LOVE peanut butter, and eat it every day, usually. Makes me wonder if I'm one of those who just has such mild allergy symptoms all the time that I think it is my norm.

I feel much better knowing what my allergies are, for sure. It gives me an excuse to get out of vacuuming (which Eric normally does anyway). Debating now if I should plant the fall garden or not, which I need to decide pretty fast.

We talked about the option of allergy shots. If anyone has any experience with those, give me your opinion. I need to learn more before I consider, and find out if the insurance would cover it.

I was given samples of an inhaler, which I sometimes do need - cats, specifically, can trigger severe wheezing and an inability to breathe - scary stuff. Also samples of Nasonex. I thought I'd give it a shot for the 2 weeks until the follow-up. I'm sorry I tried it, and I've only taken one dose. I'm sure there are people who experience relief with this drug, but for me, NO WAY! I started having mood swings almost immediately - severe sadness with no real cause. My heart is racing and all over the place. I have a terrible headache and nausea. I was terribly bloated earlier, with no other apparent cause. I'm dreading trying to go to bed. I'm jerky and jittery to the point where I'm having real difficulty typing this, because I keep hitting the wrong keys or in the wrong order.

Anyone else taken Nasonex? Was it good, bad, or ugly for you? If this is what it's like, for me, on the first day, I'm not going to try again. My day-to-day allergy symptoms are not bad enough (I rarely actually have symptoms unless exposed to a known trigger - cats are the big one, usually) to deal with side effects. I feel fine without the drug, but like crap with it? I'll take the default norm, thankyouverymuch.

And I have to say, as pleased as I was with the rest of the experience (the doctor and nurses were really great and friendly and helpful), I really wasn't given any information on the drug and possible side effects AT ALL. Not that I can say I ever really have been, but shouldn't that be an important part of the job? It's so frustrating, and moreso to think of how many people take a drug, don't know of the side effects, then take another drug to counter the side effects, which then might have side effects of its own ... and the cycle goes on and on. Not so much a complaint about this doctor, specifically (really, I liked her a lot), but a problem with the whole system. And I'm sure those drug commercials don't really help.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I don't even know what to say

Why is it that when something from down here in the Valley makes national news, it's always for something like this:

Defense: Woman too obese to kill nephew

EDINBURG, Texas (AP) -- A nearly half-ton Texas woman charged in the death of her toddler nephew couldn't have beaten the boy to death because of her limited movement from weight problems, her attorney said Tuesday.

What kind of mother leaves her children with a 1,000-pound woman who can't even get out of bed? And then, why is it such a concern about how they will take care of her medical issues if she's in prison? I mean, okay, maybe you figure out a way to treat her until she is convicted. But once someone is convicted of such a horrible crime, why in the world to we continue to provide them medical care? We don't have medical care guaranteed for the good, hard-working, law-abiding citizens who haven't done horrible things like, oh, say, kill their nephews. My own father bled to death in his living room, even though there were treatments that could have helped him, because my family could not afford those treatments. You know, maybe I should have just encouraged him to do some horrible crime and go to jail. What a thought - if my father had been a criminal, he might still be alive today!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

%@:**$#% Mosquitoes

Ah, yes, it's that time of year again. It does seem to be a recurring theme around here. This is our third year in the Valley, and each year so far we have experienced the wrath of the little blood-sucking biters.

The mosquitoes are back.

They got bad after Hurricane Dolly and the rains before then. A few weeks ago, we were scared in the early evening by the sounds of planes flying very low overhead to spray to kill the little buggers.

Since then, we've had more rain. Lots. There was flooding in places, there is more rain in the forecast (every day in the extended forecast there's a chance), and Gustav, which looks like it's going to be dumping on Haiti very soon, has me worried. There are large pools of standing water everywhere you look. We're trying to be sure to make sure there is none in our yard, but we live next to a slow-moving canal with a runoff ditch next to it, and there's nothing to be done there.

As I started to type this, sitting at my computer in my house with all the doors and windows closed, I swatted a HUGE mosquito who was having a feast on the blood near my left elbow. I looked up to see blood had splattered onto my computer screen, nearly 2 feet away.

In Target yesterday, pulling out my wallet to pay, I had one land on my shoulder and try to take a bite.

I killed at least 3 in our van, and there may be more.

Guthrie has a dozen bites on him, and the only time we've spent outside the last 2 days was walking in and out of the library, and then in and out of Target. I opened the door yesterday when UPS arrived, and there were dozens visible right outside the door.

Eric said he got bitten inside his classroom while he was teaching yesterday, and was attacked walking to his car at dusk. A report in the newspaper said we shouldn't expect much relief until Thanksgiving, but spraying is being attempted. The problem is the forecast for more rain and maybe wind is making spraying difficult or impossible.

It could be worse, I know. They could be carrying much worse diseases than the ones we fear, but West Nile is certainly a consideration, as well as other illnesses that sometimes make an appearance in this part of the world. We had no flooding in or near our house, we live in a sturdy house with no leaks - the only way they get in (and they do) is when we open the doors to go in or out. There are people who are not so fortunate - they've had standing water in their houses, and many live in houses where there is little proection from what could come in from outside.

Still, I'm at a loss for what to do, again. Later, we will go to Chick-Fil-A (I should mention that I'm totally in love with Chick-Fil-A now), and let them run around in the playground. I can't, at least not yet, bring myself to slather us all in bug repellent so that we can go outside. I'm trying to keep the living room/playroom clean enough that the boys can run around in it some, because I just don't know what other options we have for them to get any exercise and burn off energy without being a mosquito feast.

And with guilt I admit we'll probably watch more Bob the Builder and Thomas for the next few days than I would normally like, but a little movie time seems like the lesser of evils when West Nile Virus is the possible other option.

*sigh* Really, there are things I love about living here. Come January, when I'm hearing about other places having snow and ice storms, while we're wearing tank tops and going for long walks and bike rides, I'll feel differently than I do right now. But at the time, the outside world is a very scary blood-sucking place, and I think we'll stay inside today. ANY suggestions at all would be appreciated. Or at least a little reassurance that if we eat at Chick-Fil-A every day this week and watch a different movie every day, the boys really will survive.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Is this what aging is like?

I turned 30 about 2 months ago. Yes, 30, and yes, it is painful to type that. I was a little, um, terrified of that number, but it's come, it's gone, and there's no stopping it now. And I figured, really, I was in some of the best shape of my life, healthy, fit, happy, strong, great family, stable. So, what's 30, really?

But I turned 30 while we were having visits from our daughters (who each live with the other parent) and Eric's niece. We baked more than usual. We ate out more than usual. We took some shortish and weekend road trips, and drank sodas and ate Sun Chips and cheese dips and hotel breakfasts. Did I mention we baked a lot?

And the net result of that was about 7 pounds extra (7 pounds in 6 weeks) of which 4-5 are stubborn and trying to become permanent. No big deal, I just need to get back on the elliptical/bike/step machine/walks with the family.

Last week, I'm not sure how (but I know it wasn't interesting or exciting), but I hurt my neck and shoulder. The pain comes in waves, but for about a week now, the left side of my neck has been really sore. It might have been from moving up the next size in weights too soon. Or laying in a weird position in bed to write in my journal. No matter how I got it, it HURTS, and I've been relatively inactive - no weights for right now - to try to help it heal. I'd visit a doctor, but I'm not sure there's much they could do.

Motrin helps some. Icy Hot does too, but then I smell like an old person. The perfume I put on to cover it made me smell like an old person wearing Peony perfume.

Tonight, my dear husband suggested out of nowhere - and my husband never suggests this out of nowhere - that we go out for some dinner. Guthrie's been wanting IHOP, so okay, we went to IHOP. I had the Chicken Florentine Crepe, which was YUM (but I'm sure had 6,000 calories), and a couple bites of Guthrie's pancake. Thoroughly enjoyed the dinner, then stopped by a pet store, where both boys fell in love with a Pomeranian puppy, which we cannot get because I'm allergic.

And then the dinner confirmed a suspicion I've had for some time: I'm apparently allergic (or intolerant, whatever difference it makes) to mushrooms. I used to HATE mushrooms - just looking at them made me gag - but now I really, really enjoy them. The last few times I ate them, I had stomach pain. Tonight, I figured I'd try the food to see how it was, but also do a little test to check on the mushrooms. Sure enough, it's all I can do not to curl up in the fetal position clutching my belly. I'm making an appointment for allergy testing tomorrow.

So, I turn 30, gain 5 pounds, injure my neck, smell like an old lady, and end up doubled over in agony from mushrooms.

I think 30 sucks!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Not cars, not trucks, not other things with wheels"

(Don't panic. This is a wonderful train museum in Temple, Texas. The tracks are part of the museum, as is the train. It doesn't run. It's not nearly as scary as it looks.)

Guthrie likes trains. The above quote is how he described his love to his Grandma Mac (Eric's mom) before her visit last fall. "I like trains. Not cars, not trucks, not other things with wheels - trains."
He has had this love of trains all of his short life, since he was first able to communicate his interests to us. His first real Halloween costume was a train.

During our brief trip to the Chicago area for a friend's wedding when he was 18 months, we ended up at a hotel in Aurora with a train theme, right next to Walter Payton's Roundhouse, and the train station. We rode a train to Chicago, and this was the highlight of the trip for him.

For Christmas that year we got him a train set. Eric, of course, couldn't wait until Christmas for him to have it, so he ended up with it early. It started out pretty small, and on a table.

When we moved into our new house, Guthrie was 2. We still had boxes everywhere, the beds weren't set up yet, but we unpacked the trains.

Slowly the train table got less and less use, and every time we found ourselves in a toy store a few trains and a few more tracks, or track sets, found their way into our cart. The trains started to take over the house.

He got himself a costume so he could pretend to be a train conductor any time he wanted.

For his third birthday, we rode on a train from Warrensburg to Kansas City and back, and he got to meet a REAL condcutor.

Then when we were back in Missouri last summer, we happened to be in the same town that was celebrating its annual "Railroad Days" and got to ride a miniature train, before going to ride on the real Thomas the Tank Engine and meeting Sir Topham Hatt. Poor thing was getting sick, but we didn't know it until he started to develop a fever while we were on the train ride.

We went back to see Thomas in Austin in October, and followed that up with a night in Corpus Christi, where we stayed in another train-themed hotel, and rode on the Great Ocean Drive Scenic (GODS) Railway.

A few months ago, Eric got the idea to spray paint some of Guthrie's tracks. Guthrie then insisted they do them all, and carefully they worked on this together, taping off places that should not be painted, unscrewing roundhouses to pain inside them, using brushes on pieces that wouldn't come apart. Now Guthrie has beautiful, colorful tracks, and we spend many of our days (like today) building elaborate layouts that do take over much of the house.

We've read books on trains. Fiction - the entire collected original Thomas the Tank Engine stories cover to cover (all 405 pages) at least 4 times. We've read many other Thomas books, those we own and many from the library. We've read "The Subway Mouse," "A Cricket in Times Square" (because they live in a subway station), "Pano the Train," "The Little Engine that Could" with 2 different sets of illustrations, "Choo Choo" by Virginia Lee Burton, and so many other fiction books I've lost count. For non-fiction, we've read children's books that tell how train works, and we've also read much of an encyclopedia of trains in which the second half of the book describes hundreds of the great rail lines of the world. I learned many places I want to visit and ride the trains.

I do wonder just how long this love will last. It is fun, and he learns so much, but oh, I've looked at the hobby stores. I've seen the electric model trains. I know how much they cost and how much room they require. And we have a friend who works with the railroad, and we know there is a term for people like Guthrie. Yes, that's right, he's a Foamer.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Made me laugh

Turner is 27 months old. Still nursing - a lot. More than I'd like for him to be, but I'm not really ready to forcefully wean, and I'm lazy, so we're still going. He's still two months younger than Guthrie was when I weaned him. And I'd like to try child-led weaning, although I'm not sure what my limit is. I guess we'll see.

He just climbed up on my lap to nurse, and who knows why, but he pulled off, looked at the nursies, and said, "Icky. Sick." I told him the nursies were yummy and good and wouldn't make him sick, and then he looked at me, pointed to the nursie, and said, "Compost."

I totally cracked up, and now he keeps saying it.

Apparently, I need to compost the icky nursies. *sigh*

For all those people who think babies *MUST* be weaned by one year, or whatever other abritrary age, and are definitely too old to nurse when they are old enough to ask for it, they just don't know the fun they are missing with a baby who is able to tel you how much he loves his nursies, or, even, that they should go in the compost.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Crash! Bang! Boom!

That's what the back of Guthrie's head looks like right now. He has 4 staples in his scalp. Yes, they were put there intentionally. Oh, yes, we paid good money to have a doctor put staples in our son's head.

Yesterday started off normally enough. The house is total chaos, and really has been for weeks, with the girls visits and then the hurricane, so we decided our mission was to get things under control. And to start with the kitchen. And so, we spent hours cleaning the kitchen, and if you looked at it right now, you couldn't tell.

Okay, back up: Late Saturday night I got a call from my almost 17-year-old niece asking me if she should go to the Emergency Room for her injured wrist. Not quite sure how she injured it, but something about a ledge and her cat. She didn't have her insurance card, couldn't get ahold of her grandparents, and so she called me, thousand miles away that I am. And I didn't know what to tell her, so I spent the night worried sick about my poor injured niece.

Ah, yes, the kitchen. And the boys acting insane because we were ignoring them so we could give them a clean house, a hot meal, a nice home. Fighting, tantrums, the normal for 2- and 4-yo boys.

I napped with Turner. Things felt hectic but okay. I was scrubbing fingerprints off wallpaper when I realized it was about 5 o'clock, time to call Samantha.

She answers, says she's home alone, and that it's stormy. I was at the computer anyway, so I pulled up the weather channel for where she is, and - TORNADO WARNING!!! Anyone who knows me knows I HATE tornadoes, and Samantha freaked out (just a little bit) too. Home alone, going to the basement, sirens going off.

While I'm on the phone, Eric's making dinner, and I hear Turner cry. Eric says Turner broke his piggy bank. (This bank - it's a bear holding a honey pot, and I think actually belongs to Rosalind - has become Turner's "lovey" lately. He calls it "Puppy." It's hard and not cuddly, big and unweildy, but Turner insists on sleeping with him.) Fortunately, it was a pretty clean break and fixable, but Turner was pretty upset. He kept kissing it, holding both pieces, and saying, "I sorry," over and over again.

I'm still talking Samantha through the tornado warning. Asking her when her dad will get home, trying to find local (for her) news stations to see what they are saying. And then -


Guthrie was playing on the exercise tower I got for my birthday. He was hanging by his legs off the bottom bar, swung backwards, and BOOM! cracked his head on ... something. I'm not sure if it was the bottom bar of the tower or a wooden block on the floor. He screamed and cried, but, you know, little boys bang their heads all the time, so I was still on the phone with Samantha, Eric was still trying to make dinner and comfort Turner with the broken "Puppy." Guthrie climbed into my lap, and then we found the blood.

Oh, the blood.

I've never before seen that much blood come from one of my children, and I hope to never see it again.

I told Samantha I had to go, slipped on my shoes, and we took off for the ER. Eric was in a panic. There was SO. MUCH. BLOOD. We had a wet towel on Guthrie's head, but by the time we got to the ER I had blood all over me (and my purse and my cell phone), and Guthrie's hair was pink. He was crying, more in fear than pain. Eric's crazy driving there and his sense of panic probably didn't help much.

And then, 5 hours later, we left the ER, Guthrie with 4 staples in his head. Yes, staples. The doctor (she was really, really awesome, and really helped keep Guthrie calm through it all) said staples are better than stitches because they are much faster. Guthrie thought it was all awful, and I'm not sure how much the topical painkiller did to ease the pain of his head BEING STAPLED. And the thought of taking those staples out of my son's head? Not looking forward to Friday when he gets them removed.

Today, things are more normal. We didn't get much sleep. Eric fixed "Puppy," and Turner was distraught he couldn't sleep with him, but Puppy sat right next to Turner on the bed, and that's how he fell asleep. Samantha survived the tornado warning without any problems. Stacia, my niece, has some kind of fracture in her wrist and can't work for a week.

It was after 10 p.m. when we got home from the hospital last night, so too late for any treat. But today, to make up for the horrible owies Guthrie had to endure, the decapitated piggy-bear-puppy bank, and the general chaos of the day, I did what needed to be done: We went to Cold Stone. YUM!

And how was your Sunday?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Goodbye Dolly

Dolly has come and gone, and we survived mostly unscathed. We lost a lot of our garden - one okra plant is still standing, and the melons seem to be okay. We're going to have to cut down most of the banana plant, trim up the pretty pink flowering tree in the front yard, and just do some general cleaning up, but we didn't suffer any real damage.

We fared better than much of the Valley. We were without power for about 12 hours, without any real problems, never lost our water supply. Others are still without water or electricity, and there are areas with pretty serious flooding and damage. So far I've only heard of one loss of life, from Matamoros, across the border from Brownsville, where a man was electrocuted. It could certainly have been much, much worse.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hanging in There

The first casualty of the storm seems to be my okra. About half of it has been knocked over on its side.

Otherwise, all is well so far. Dolly still hasn't made landfall, but is very close. Rain, some wind, fussy little boys.

We've got water, food, a full gas tank, coffee on to brew and a thermos full already. Now we just wait and see.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Getting ready

We made a quick run to Lowe's and Target for last minute supplies. I'm following the lead of others in our neighborhood as to what precautions we should take - the only windows I'm seeing being boarded up are those with the huge single panes of glass, and all of our windows have many small panes, I'm guessing designed for this very reason.

Eric laughed at Target when, along with disposable diapers (can't wash diapers if the power goes out, and just don't want to have to deal with it right now), I insisted we get wine and chocolate. If I'm going through a hurricane, I'm darn well going to have wine and good chocolate, gosh darn it!

All of Guthrie's play today has centered around the hurricane. Thomas took shelter in the roundhouse for protection from the impending hurricane. His toy taxi drove very quickly out to South Padre to pick up people stuck on the beach before the hurricane hits. Turner is oblivious.

The clouds are moving in, it's getting dark outside, it's hot and sticky with an occasional wind.

At Lowe's, I thought Eric might be a little crazy when his idea was to buy bags of dirt instead of sand bags - they would work the same purpose, but then we could use the dirt in the garden afterwards. There was one other person in the Lawn and Garden section, a woman buying dirt, and it turned out it was for the same purpose. She said she'd done it before and it worked perfectly, unlike sand which just eventually gets thrown out or makes a mess!

Hello Dolly!

I grew up in a land-locked state - Missouri - and, except for spending most of one year in Alaska, lived there my whole life until June 2006, when we moved to South Texas. I've experienced my fair share of natural disasters - in Missouri, an ice storm that left some people without power for weeks, a couple tornadoes that left me shaking in fear in a basement (yes, I have an irrational fear of tornadoes), and in Alaska, a very minor earthquake while eating mediocre Italian food.

As it appears right now, I'm about to experience my first hurricane. Last year, there was one storm (Dean?) that originally looked like it was going to get us, but ended up just giving us a little rain. This time, Dolly looks like she's headed straight for Brownsville, just 60 miles down the road from where I sit right now.

As I type this, the sun is shining, there is no wind, and a few clouds are just starting to appear from the east. I feel totally unprepared with no idea what to expect. We have batteries, we're filling up all of our water jugs we can find with water from the tap (NO we don't drink bottled water), we just went to the grocery store on Sunday and have lots of food to get us through (I think). The gas tank in the van is full. When Eric gets off work, we're going to the store to check for any last-minute provisions.

The prediction is that it will hit as a Category 1, and there are no calls for evacuations, at least not yet. Eric lived in Houston for years, and so he's been through these before, and I'm trusting him on this. Wish us luck!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

The Mystery Melon

Still never figured out exactly what it was. I swear the seeds I bought and planted were for a plain old cantaloupe.

This is what it looked like on the inside. It tasted, mostly, like cantaloupe. The kids really liked it. I, on the other hand, absolutely cannot stand cantaloupe (I adore watermelon, love honeydew, but can't stomach even a few bites of cantaloupe), and we waited until Samantha got here to try it, only to discover that she is apparently still allergic to melons (and bananas, for that matter, becuase she had a reaction to the bananas we cut off our tree too).
We have a few other melons growing - the watermelons just don't seem to want to do anything at all though. We caught another mouse (the livetrap rocks!) who was eating our tomatoes. We've gotten a TON of okra (more than we've been able to eat), blackeye peas, and we have a bunch of sunflowers, including one that is about 12 feet tall. Now I'm looking at what we can plant in the fall and thinking about getting ready for that.
With all the rain that we (finally) got, our front lawn looks like a jungle, and we have weeds in our backyard as tall as the boys. We're not the only ones, though, as until today there wasn't enough of a break in the rain to get out and cut it, so everyone's lawns look pretty bad. We needed the rain desperately, but I was starting to get worried that we weren't going to go to the beach or do any of the fun stuff we had planned with Samantha here. No worries - it's sunny right now, and the weekend should be nice and warm and sunny - we're off to the beach this weekend! Yeah!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Name That Melon!

Our game show for today is Name That Melon!

What I thought I had planted in the spot where this grew was cantaloupes. We do have cantaloupes growing - ate 2 of them yesterday, as a matter of fact, and you can see one in the picture behind this melon. This, however, does NOT seem to be a cantaloupe. It was dark green until a couple days ago, then turned yellow. It smells kind of like a cantaloupe, and we're going to cut it (and another one just like it) open later. It's about 4-5 pounds, 20 inches around. Anyone? Any clue? I'm calling it the mystery melon.

(Birthday pictures later.)

Monday, June 16, 2008

You might be a mother to a toddler if ...

You hear yourself saying, "Do NOT put a bean up your nose!"

Yep, we got beans from our garden. And yep, Turner put one up his nose earlier. Thankfully, it popped right out, since I didn't put 2 and 2 together right away. (He was walking around laughing and saying "Bean. Bean. Bean." while putting his finger up his nose, and I finally asked, "did you put a bean up your nose?" to which he responded by laughing hysterically, causing the bean to fall out of his nose.)

That wasn't, quite, the point of the garden.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

I'd erase all of Turner's toys

We've been reading Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends, and Guthrie loved the poem about the child who uses his magic eraser to erase someone.

Just now, he came up to us in the kitchen, and said, "If my pencil that I bought had a magic eraser, I would use it to erase all of Turner's toys. Then he wouldn't have ANY toys to play with, and he would leave me alone."

I think the logic is faulty, but the sentiment is right.

Thank goodness there is no magic eraser, or brothers everywhere would instead erase each other.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bad Mommy! Bad!

We'd bought a bunch of limes since they were cheap, planned on making limeade and some other things. We finally realized they needed to be used, so Eric and Guthrie started squeezing. I asked him to keep some back so we would have lime juice to use in cooking, but the only bottle we had handy was an empty water bottle. Eric filled that up with lime juice, used the rest for yummy limeade.

Well, Turner's gotten creative and independent lately, and opened the fridge to get himself a drink. He saw the bottle, and I guess he thought it was water. I couldn't resist the opportunity and grabbed the camera, just as he took a big swig of straight lime juice.

I know, I know, it's cruel. Don't worry, I rewarded him with a little piece of dark chocolate after, and he seems to have forgiven me.

Friday, June 06, 2008

I act 30. And I'm almost 30. Scary.

I got this from my daughter on MySpace. When I looked at my number, and realized it's age 30 - and I'm about to turn 30 (3 weeks from today), I laughed. And then I wanted to cry.

For the record, the one detention I got was in Advanced Chemistry class. One of my best friends, Tonya, and I wouldn't shut up during class - don't know why. I think we had the highest grades in the class, but we just couldn't stop talking, and the teacher got sick of it and gave us a detention. We had a blast!

[[x] You know how to make a pot of coffee
[x] You keep track of dates using a calendar
[x] You own a credit card
[ ] You know how to change the oil in a car
[x] You've done your own laundry
[ ] You vote in every election
[x] You can cook for yourself
[x] You think politics are exciting

[ ] You show up for school late sometimes
[x]You always carry a pen in your bag/purse
[ ]You've never gotten a detention
[ ] You have forgotten your own birthday at least once
[x]You like to take walks by yourself
[x]You know what credibility means, without looking it up
[x] You drink caffeine at least once a week

[x] You know how to do the dishes
[x] You can count to 10 in another language
[x] When you say you're going to do something you do it
[x] You can mow the lawn
[x] You remember to water the plants
[x] You study when you have to
[x] You remember to feed your pets

[x] You can spell experience, without looking it up
[x] You clean up your own mess
[ ] The people at Starbucks know you by name
[ ] Your favorite kind of food is take out
[x] The first thing you do when you wake up is get caffeine
[x]You can go to the store without getting something you don't need
[x] You understand political jokes the first time they are said
[x] You can type pretty quick

[x] You have realized that the weather forecast changes every hour
[ ] Your only friends are from your place of employment
[x] You have been to a Tupperware party
[x] You have realized that no one will take you seriously unless you are over the age of 25 and have a job
[ ] You have more bills than you can pay
[x] You have been to the beach
[x] You use the internet every day you have the chance
[x] You have been outside of the united states
[x] You can read a book and actually finish it...

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Stay out of THIS courtroom

There are downsides to where we live. Check out this headline:

Lawsuit: Los Fresno JP ordered spankings

It doesn't give much detail about what the 14-year-old girl in question actually did, only that she would be fined and found guilty of truancy if her father did not give her repeated spankings in open court. With a large heavy wooden paddle!

Apparently, the father did it. He felt he had no choice. I have no idea what I would have done in a similar situtaion - I imagine being too dumbfounded to do anything.

In some places, even a slight swat on the butt might get you charged with child abuse and your kids taken away. Apparently, here, it's abuse NOT to, and I suppose you could be held in contempt of court if you didn't spank your child - in open court.

This is insanity. This was Brownsville, and not McAllen, but sometimes I hear stories like this, and think, "Where am I again?"

Ah, Texas. There's nothing like it.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

C-sections mean no insurance?

Navelgazing Midwife has much more to say about this, but this article talks about women who have had previous c-sections being denied insurance coverage, or having to pay additional expenses for their charges (unless they have been sterilized), because of the past c-section.

C-sections, of course, cost much more than a typical vaginal birth, cause many more complications, and are much more dangerous than a normal vaginal birth.

Now, before anybody goes throwing a fit saying, "But I had one because (the baby/I/both) would have died if we didn't!" well, I do know that there are times when a vaginal birth is impossible and a c-section is absolutely warranted. I am thankful they are there for the women and babies who truly need them.

BUT - the current c-section rate is the US is somewhere around 30% - in some places it's higher, and I've even heard of places where the rate is closer to 50%.

VBAC's (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) are not "allowed" in many hospitals, and many doctors refuse to atted them. So, the general line of thinking (whether right or wrong) is "once a caesarean, always a caesarean," and even if a woman wants to have a VBAC, she is likely to be unable to find anyone to attend her birth or a place in which to deliver.

Now, many of those women who had unnecessary c-sections (and there is no way possible that 1/3 of babies NEED to be born by c-section, or the human race would not have survived this long) are being denied health insurance, being denied coverage for a repeat c-section (which, given the unavailability of VBAC's, is basically refusal to cover a subsequent pregnancy and birth), or being charged higher rates or separate riders for a future c-section, arguing that they can exclude them on the basis of a c-section being a pre-existing condition.

The implications of this are pretty scary. Many women go into birth not fully prepared or educated, and trust their doctors completely, so if they are told they "need" a c-section, "need" to be induced, "need" to have their labor augmented, or "need" any one of the long list of potentially unnecessary and harmful interventions (many of which eventually lead to that c-section), they trust their doctors. They never consider that many doctors never see a normal, natural, intervention-free birth, that doctors are trained to use all their equipment, that they are practicing in a way to protect themselves from a potential malpractice suit (and if a doctor has performed a c-section and there is a negative outcome, the doctor is generally assumed to have done everything in his power, whereas if he has performed an unnecessary c-section, he faces no repurcussions). And so they go along with it, end up with a c-section, and never have any option for anything else in the future.

And now, they may find themselves unable to have children in the future, unless they can figure out how to pay for a c-seciton out of pocket. And I don't know about you, but I can't really pull out my checkbook and cover that one right now.

First, how about universal health coverage, so this isn't an issue? Figure out a way to cover everyone, so we don't have to worry about whether a previous c-section, a birth defect, an inherited health problem, or our genetic makeup will exclude us from coverage. Radical idea, I know, but it seems to work for all those other industrialized nations.

But second, how about letting pregnancy and labor take its own course unless there's a darn good reason to do otherwise? Like not scheduling 38 week c-sections because a baby is "too big" (and then turns out to be 7 1/2 pounds). How about allowing truly elective c-sections only if the mother is willing to pay the full cost out of pocket, and understands all the potential implications?

Yes, I get riled up about this issue. I think women, and babies, deserve better, and sell themselves short when they don't trust their bodies to do what their bodies are designed to do - carry a baby and give birth. Plus, if I'd gone with a convential OB/GYN for Guthrie's birth, I'm pretty certain I would have been scared into having a c-section because he was "too big" for a vaginal birth. Oh, he was a big baby - over 9 pounds and 21 inches - and he was my longest and hardest labor of my 3, but he certainly wasn't "too big" - born after 7 1/2 hours of labor without a complication, without a tear, without an IV, epidural, or any other intervention.

The only good I can see coming from this development is that if enough women find out about it, and know what it could mean, maybe they will think things through and question whether that c-section is truly necessary.

(And because this comes with bad timing, as one of my friends just had a baby by c-section, if she reads this - as if she has time with a new baby - it's not directed at anyone in particular at all. Just my frustration with "the system" as it is.)

Friday, May 30, 2008

"Retrospective Courage"

Eric was quoted today in the Baltimore Sun, speaking about Scott McClellan's new book. (They still have him listed as teaching at CMSU, which isn't even CMSU anymore, but whatever. Should be the University of Texas, Pan-American.) My new favorite Eric quote is where he says Scott McClellan will be "remembered as having, let's say, retrospective courage."

Well said, my dear.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Homemade Yum!

Along with the gardening, we're trying to do other things as we can to cut down on our environmental impact, along with saving money and in many cases being healthier. The kids are picking up on this message of "let's do it ourselves." So when Guthrie asked us at Lowe's the other day if we could get the ice cream maker "and then we will never have to go to the ice cream shop to get ice cream again," well, we couldn't say no.

Today he told us he wanted ice cream sandwiches. Okay, easy enough - we'd made ice cream already and had some in the deep freeze, and then made chocolate peanut butter chip cookies. Slap some vanilla ice cream between two cookies, and there you go - ice cream sandwiches.
And then there's Turner, who wouldn't eat it like a sandwich. He had to have a spoon, and once he was done with the ice cream, he ate his cookies with the spoon too.

Okay, so not exactly a "green" food choice, and not really healthy, but we did it ourselves, and was it YUM!!!

Monday, April 07, 2008

Gardening hazards

I needed to break off a branch of the aloe vera plant to rub on the all the cuts I got pulling the weeds around the ... aloe vera plant. It injures and then heals!

There are at least two lizards living in the aloe vera. They eat bugs. This is not a hazard, but a good thing as far as I can tell. They don't mind me, I don't mind them, we co-exist peacefully.

Sunscreen is a good thing. Shoulders are pink, arms are brown, ears red. I have a tan line on my wrists from wearing gardening gloves. Must purchase big floppy sun hat.

My new strength training regimen consists of a shovel. That's the only equipment needed. Well, and some dirt. I never knew what a workout you can get digging - arms, shoulders, legs, butt, I can even feel it in my abs.

When you hear rustling nearby when you turn on the garden hose, step away and watch. Yes, we had a snake in the yard (under the banana tree, where no one goes anyway, and we have frequently seen frogs toads and other things yummy to snakes). As best I can tell, I don't think it's poisonous or otherwise dangerous. It disappeared and hasn't been seen again. Also as far as I can tell, blonde woman with shovel beats snake in most battles.

Not a gardening hazard exactly, but: If you don't want your mom (who is coming for a visit in 11 days, and is terrified of both flying, which she is about to do, and snakes) to know there was a snake in the yard, then don't tell your son as he is dialing her number, "Whatever you do, DON'T tell Grandma there was a snake in the yard!!!" Because the surest way to get a child to do something is to tell them not to, and of course then the first thing he said when she answered the phone was, "Grandma we saw a snake in the yard!!!!" (Which he in fact did not see.)

And finally, who wants to take bets on how many things will actually grow when as soon as I had some seeds planted and done, Turner immediately went over and sat in the garden patch to play in the dirt?

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Why does my garden grow

There were lots of things that prompted me to consider a garden. I just read Michael Pollan's latest book, In Defense of Food, (which I highly recommend, btw) and one of his tips is to grow a garden - the ultimate in local, seasonal, organic eating.

The increasing food prices have made me think about it too - it's not hurting our budget too much yet, as we don't eat a lot of the foods showing the biggest increases - little meat, we've cut back on dairy already - but it is enough that if we grow our own produce, or what we can, then we don't have to be as bothered by the increases in other things.

I've also thought this would be good for the boys. Our kids (and adults) are often so separated form nature, and our food supply, that they don't get it at all. We don't know where our food is coming from, what it looks like growing, what it tastes like fresh.

And so I decided what the heck, let's give it a shot.

Only I've never been successful as growing any non-human living things before (I've had a few pets, but I've not been the best pet owner and they've mostly been other people's responsibilities, and I've become allergic to cats and dogs), and I've never really witnessed gardening in action, and I'm basically clueless as to what I'm doing. My dad grew a garden a few years when I was little, but I didn't pay much attention to what he actually DID, just helped pick, prepare and eat things when they were ready. Last year we tried a couple strawberry plants, but the birds always got to the berries before we did, and I gave up on it pretty fast.

I've gotten some books from the library, found some good websites, and gotten reassurance from the guy working at Lowe's that it's just not that hard, and we can really grow just about anything here. I got a few tomato plants yesterday, put the cherry tomatoes in barrels and put the tomatoes in the ground. Guthrie and I planted some flowers, and put some cilantro and basil in some other little containers. Containers are not nearly as intimidating as digging up the lawn and putting things in.

I find the whole thing frightening and intimidating, but a little exciting, and I feel good already having started.

Just now, we went out in the back and I started digging, trying to get the grass pulled up out of the ground. (Turner does not seem to be scared of the shovel today.) I can tell the garden is going to be good for me in more ways than one - healthy fresh veggies for fuel, and the workout that is digging, shoveling, hoeing, and planting. I'm hoping the boys will be more eager to eat more veggies if they have helped grow them too.

It's an adventure for me, and we'll see how it goes. If the only thing we get out of it is some tomatoes and playing in the dirt, it will be time well spent.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Because there is something to be said for feeling like a 12-year-old girl again


So, we don't have a TV or cable, so I'm checking to see if I can watch this live online. And if not, I've gotta figure out where I can go to see it live, even that early in the morning. (Denny's?)

Oh, yes, I am a total dork. But, see, it gets worse. My bedroom, when I was 12 or so, actually looked like this:

Okay, stop laughing. I'll wait. Done?

Obsessive is probably the right word to use. But anyway ...

Who knew Joey would be the hottest one 20 years later? Or that time would be the least kind on Jordan (whose poster I had hanging on my ceiling - it's not in the pictures - so I could look at it as I fell asleep at night)? And you know, Danny wasn't all that hot back then, but time HAS been kind to him! Whoo!
The big question has become, when they finally announce their reunion tour dates, who am I going to go to the concert with? And where? Goodness knows they're probably not coming to the RGV - Austin? Do I go back to KC?
So ... who's in for a little old-fashioned NKOTB party? I'm still "Hangin' Tough" as long as they've got "The Right Stuff." Just taking this all "Step by Step."
(Oh goodness I've gone over the edge now. Someone stop me. But I'm practically giddy right now thinking about it. I do feel almost 12 again.)

How does my garden grow

So the totally insane and brilliant idea I had to try to grow a garden might be going much better if Turner was not frightened to death of the shovel. Yes, the shovel. What was I doing with it? Trying to dig a hole to plant some tomatoes. Pretty scary stuff.

Yes, the kid has some weird fears. At Wal-Mart (don't ask - we try to avoid it, but sometimes we just have to - plus it's the only place we've found that carries the kind of cheese we eat) in the Garden section they have these enormous fans on the ceiling. Those are so scary he had to cling to me - while still sitting in the cart - whenever they were in view. The vacuum he thinks might eat him. Same with the leafblower that was being used at the park. The street cleaner? Might as well be a monster from Mars. Lizards are not at all scary, but flies cause screaming hysterics. The mop - the MOP - at the restaurant last week had him jumping out of his seat.

Otherwise, Guthrie and I planted some flowers while Turner took his nap. Eric dug up the nasty rose bush (that didn't bloom, and housed an enormous black bumble bee) and the tiny oleander in the front yard. I planted two cherry tomato plants in barrels, and as soon as Eric can dig the hole (because I'm not going to try again) I'll put the other tomatoes in the ground.

We have a TON of seed packets, because the boys (and I) went a little nuts at the store, buying everything that seemed interesting. I have to figure out how much space I'm actually going to have and prioritize what I want to try. I've always had black thumbs, but I figure it's worth a shot. Wish me luck. And hope Turner gets over his irrational fears.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Our lazy Sunday afternoon

We walked out this afternoon and looked at the outside of the bedroom window to see this:

As I have two young sons, they were of course fascinated by the lizard on the window. Which proceeded to be terribly frightened by the two tow-headed two-legged creatures which so desperately wanted to touch it that it jumped right onto Guthrie's head and now his back, only to hide under a table, where it was much easier to get to.

We spent the next 45 minutes or so watching it,

squealing with joy at it,

curious as to what exactly it was

whether it was going to get us,

and why it didn't understand our repeated explanations that we were, in fact, people, and not a predator going to get it, and why wouldn't it just let us give it a kiss or hold it for a minute,

before it finally got away.

And such is life with Guthrie, Turner, and our various and sundry lizards and other wildlife here in the Rio Grande Valley.