Category Archives: just plain WEIRD

The Birds

This is the water tower that we see from our elementary school parking lot: (taken on a beautiful June day)

And this was the scene worthy of Alfred Hitchcock at that same water tower a few months ago…  I dare you to click on the picture to enlarge it!

The turkey vultures have returned

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Friday 5: A penny for your thoughts

It’s high time for a Friday Five, so those pennies will add up to a nickel today.

1. My BFF flew in for a visit last night. I’m excited to be able to share a few of my favorite things with her this weekend!

2. I very much want her to make future visits, so I personally cleaned the hall bathroom (a.k.a., the boys’ bathroom) instead of just sending the boys to do it.

3. Boys don’t notice dirt and mess, nor do they seem to appreciate clean.  What’s up with that? (I’m talking about grime, not just clutter.)

4. Decluttering is such a hard thing for me to do. Once I let the clutter in, it mixes with important things and I have trouble sorting it all out, especially when it comes to papers and paperwork.  But even beyond things easily recycled, I have to keep reminding myself:  Just because it is useful or pretty doesn’t mean I should keep it.

5. My mom had cancer surgery on Tuesday. I’ll be flying out there next week to be her caregiver until the end of the month.

And the Winner is…

On Wednesday I posted this cropped picture and asked you

“What is it?”

And here is the photo from which it was cropped:

KCINNOTX was the first to guess correctly: “Makes me think of all the wires they hook up to your head for a sleep study.”

This was me several weeks ago. Four of those wires were attached to my legs and the rest were taped or glued to my head and neck.  Once I was completely wired, they added the sleep apnea mask. I’m pretty sure I looked like a Star Wars character.

I’m off to play this weekend — no wires or box to plug them into, but I will have my breathing machine to provide “white noise” for my roomies.

Hide and Go Seek

Do you have a place where you go to hide from others in your household?
One of my favorite places to hide is the bathroom. It wasn’t always such a great place, but then I had children… and sometimes it was the only place I could be alone. (True,  sometimes even that didn’t work, but they outgrew that stage pretty quickly.)  By the time I had 4 little boys crawling and walking about the house, I had firmly established the bathroom (preferably my own bathroom) as a place of refuge.  I would excuse myself from the noisy, messy kitchen table on the pretense of needing to use the toilet, but what I really needed was a Rest Room. Perhaps I would bring along a book or a catalog, but mostly I wanted the peace and quiet. If I was really lucky, my husband would bathe all of the children and get them into pajamas before finding me.  🙂      Not that I was fooling him; he knew what I needed by 7 o’clock in the evening — a break!

Now that the kids are older and no one needs hands-on help with evening routine, I still take the time to hide to rest.  (My husband does this, too, but his rest room is down in the basement with a video game controller in hand.) I find a quiet room where I can read and not be bothered by requests, a place where I can ignore the dirty dishes in the sink and the burnt-on spills on the stove top.  I’m pretty sure that the kitchen fairies are not paying a visit in my absence, but for some reason I really need the time away from the mess for just a little while.

I try to keep a stash of reading material handy for a quick getaway. Sometimes I grab the latest book I am reading for book club, sometimes I take an interesting catalog that arrived in the daily mail. Recently I have been picking up a magazine that miraculously appeared in our house, with no tell-tale signs of its origins. It’s called AFAR: where travel can take you and it has been called America’s best travel magazine.  I am now dreaming of spending a week in the Lower Engadine region of Switzerland and visiting the Matakana Coast of New Zealand. I haven’t yet read the section on Tiawan, but I suspect it will be added to my wish list of places to visit and experience.

Where do you go to hide from others in your household? (Or if you don’t do that now, where did you go to hide from them… because I suspect that you’ve done it, too!)

What reading material do you keep on hand for your escape?

Friday 5: Communication

There are some things that we only share amongst a few understanding friends, like the following text messages saved on my phone:

1. “There are some things we never tell our children … Like about the stinkbug that just fell onto the hot griddle next to their blueberry pancakes”    [28 January 2011]

2. “At elementary school sing-along and the dreidl song had a country western beat. Oy vey!”   [22 December 2010]

3. “Calm winds here … Except the ones created by black bean soup.”   [01 February 2011]

And some things that are too sweet to not share:

4. “______’s brother Johnny was just elected Homecoming King. Gotta love a school that elects a kid with Downs Syndrome.”  [09 October 2010]

And then there are things that need to be shared:

5. I encourage you to go read Leah’s account of leaving Egypt over at The Goat’s Lunch Pail.  (Leah is the cousin of The Bag Lady and Reb)
**Please note that I love Canada and my Canadian friends. It’s the lack of governmental response and obvious lack of concern for its citizens that we are criticizing. **

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health: Healthy blog! The Blog-Health-o-Meter™

reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 35,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 4 days for that many people to see it. In 2010, there were 235 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 633 posts. There were 620 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 464mb. That’s about 2 pictures per day.

I’m a bit embarrassed that the photo those stat monkeys chose was a Google image that I used and not one of my own original photographs… I even have one of the USS Intrepid here.

The busiest day of the year was November 11th with 402 views. The most popular post that day was Remembering. Actually, the “Remembering” post was from 11 November 2008. The title of the post on 11 November 2010 is more fully titled “Remembering once again, for always“.  I don’t know why the older post got more hits than the current post that day.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were Google Reader, suburbancorrespondent.blogspot.com, sibupegasuspower.blogspot.com, google.se, and google.com.py.
I think this means that special thanks are in order to our friend Google in both the USA and its foreign self in Sweden and Paraguay. Way to go, Google!  😉 And obviously, I owe special thanks to Suburban Correspondent at The More, The Messier, and Reb at Sibu Pegasus Power. (Although maybe they just haven’t bothered to put me in a feed reader and really they are just reading me off their own blogs? Hard to tell…) Some visitors came searching, mostly for poppies, lincoln memorial, slogans, maxine cartoons, and horseshoe pit. Which I find rather funny, because whenever I bother to look at my stats, they are looking for a picture of a 4-month fetus (yes, I do have one here) or summer haircuts for boys (although in general, I don’t advise copying these).

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Remembering November 2008 12 comments

2

Cartoons that crack me up January 2008

3

100 More Bits December 2008 9 comments

4

WWC#34: (1,2,) Three….Fire! May 2008 9 comments

5

Gimme a “P”… Gimme an “A” April 2009 9 comments

Mostly, I want to say to each of you who bother coming here to read what I post:
Thank You. You enrich my life and make blogging worthwhile. A few of you I have met in person — what a wonderful treat!  Many of you I have not yet met but hope to have the opportunity to do so one day. Thank you for making the internet such a fun place to hang out. I value your friendship. ~KC

New Year’s Eve

After I got home from the bluegrass concert/CD release party, SuperDad heated up a pan of brandy, dropped in some raisins and almonds, and lit it on fire. Voilà!

The name of this victorian-era game is SNAPDRAGON. Technically, one should use raisins for the beginners and currants for a greater challenge.

I think I just blew the “normal family” status.

Coping during the holidays

In actuality, I’ve got a lot going on and a few things worrying me.
In reality, I’m praying.  Chocolate may be involved.
But I needed something light-hearted today, so I’m taking you with me on a little shopping spree — free of charge!

Today’s shopping tips come from CatalogFavorites.com and a little idea called “better living through chemicals”. Come on in and enjoy some fun shopping.  It might just make you feel better.  🙂

Benjamin Franklin -- what a guy!

A pillow upon which to rest your weary head (or to hide behind)

Since I already have a black t-shirt with the Ben Franklin quote, I’m wondering if buying this one would be overkill?

Lest you think I’m a cynical alcoholic – drug addict (I promise that I am not any of those things), I’ll leave you with a few others to make you smile.

the friendly doormat

Suddenly, nothing… and fifteen

The entire month of November, I managed to post something every. single. day. And truthfully, there were only 2 days that were really challenging. I was in the groove of posting every day. I enjoyed it. I almost didn’t want NaBloPoMo to end!

But now? I find myself floundering.  My camera has sat untouched for an entire week. Prose and poetry escape me.

I gave myself the first few days of December “off” to pay attention to family needs and household responsibilities. It was good and important, but in the process I seem to have lost my writing mojo.

Oh, I’ve got plenty of little vignettes I could be writing about — how I had to lie to my 19yo on the phone this evening so that he wouldn’t know he would be opening a surprise gift from us within the hour; or how cold and blustery the wind has been here, with snow flurries seeming to come from miles away; or even what it is like to have my dad back in assisted living care and trying to joke with him and cheer him up while hearing him gasp for breath.

Fifteen years ago today, I held a newborn son in my arms; today that same son wouldn’t let me post his baby picture on facebook.
To my credit, I asked permission and honored his feelings… of course, it’s been in my archive album on my profile page for the past year [not tagged], and you could find it here one year ago today… but we won’t mention that to him!
Fifteen is the magic year when boys stop talking to their parents. At least that has been my experience with his older brothers. I am dreading the silence from this happy child and I fear it will come at the same time as a cross-country move.  How will I know what is normal sullen teenage boy behavior and what is sadness over loss of friends and familiar activities?

So while I wallow in responsibilities and the thoughts spinning ’round my head, I will probably be posting rather infrequently.
I’ll still be doing my best to read your blogs and hopefully even be a semi-faithful commenter.

Prizeless

We are probably the only people in the country to actually be kicked out of a travel sales presentation.

I mentioned yesterday that we were going to some kind of sales presentation last night. SuperDad read up on these sorts of things in advance and learned about the various sales techniques, plus he read up on complaints filed with the BBB about such ventures.   Thinking that we were going to be pressured to purchase a time share, our main defense was the fact that we actually enjoy tent camping (even when things go wrong). One of my dh’s dreams is to visit every single one of the 392 National Parks in the United States.

At 6pm, we arrived at the meeting place and signed in, but they weren’t ready to begin because no other prospective clients showed. (FAIL #1)
At 6:15pm, they decided to go ahead with just us. Our first sales person was a friendly young woman from Russia. She was pleasant, but the music in the background made it difficult to hear her. (Apparently the loud music is a sales technique designed to disorient us, but it merely served to annoy me and make me less likely to interact. FAIL #2)
At around 6:30pm, the friendly young woman introduces us to the sales pitch guy. He’s clearly used to (or at least prefers) a room full of prospective clients. He wants interaction while making his presentation but we are beginning to show ourselves as duds. He’s not selling a timeshare; he wants to get us to buy into a travel club. Perhaps there is a small glimmer of hope since we’ve been to NYC, but he quickly learns that we prefer camping and National Parks. What the heck is he going to do with us? (FAIL#3)
By 6:43pm, my dh has pointed out that their company concept of the deal going straight from the industry to the consumer is what we already do. SPG claimed they get a bigger discount because they buy in bulk, and we do not argue his point so he moves on.  Since we are the only other people in the room, the sales pitch guy notices* when I pull a few folded papers from my purse and hand them to SuperDad.  Suspicious, SPG asks what they are and my dh tells them they are for taking notes (true!), but SPG points out that they have already provided a tablet of paper and pen for note-taking. Clearly, the sales pitch guy is on the defensive. At this, SuperDad –who had already alluded to doing some research into sales presentations like this– confesses to SPG that he has a list of known sales techniques and is going to check them off as presented. SuperDad tried to say this in such a way that SPG might find it quirky but perhaps funny. Instead, the sales presentation guy is greatly annoyed and he calls my husband “a smart aleck.” (FAIL#4)

Now, I don’t deny that he was being a bit of a smart aleck. Heaven knows, I live with the man! But we had been actively listening to his presentation up to this point, following his logic and asking appropriate questions. I’m pretty sure that it is bad form for a sales person to call the prospective client a derogatory name.

SuperDad turned to me somewhat incredulously and said, “Did he just call me a smart aleck?”
SPG heard this and said, “If you don’t want to be here, you can leave.”
SD to SPG: “Did you just ask me to leave?”

And that is how we ended up getting kicked out of a travel sales presentation.

*Had there been a few more people in the room, this might have never come up because it wouldn’t have been noticed, but we were the only ones there. From what I could tell, there was only one person at the presentation immediately prior to ours. Yesterday was not a successful day for the company.

All was not lost, though. While we didn’t end up with any airline tickets, free weekends at a resort, or $600 rebate vouchers, we found a busy street to take a pleasant walk and people-watch.  For about $10 –the cost of gas and 2 coffees from Starbucks– I had a 5-hour date with my smart-aleck husband. _____________________________________

Today is Small Business Saturday. It’s a great way to support your local small business owners and keep dollars in your local economy. I’m heading into town (population 6,000) to do a little shopping in the stores there after stopping at the farmer’s market.