Sunday, February 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Emily!!!

22 years ago my wonderful little girl was born!

An 8 lb 8 oz bundle of love.

2 hours old:

4 mos old:

1 year old:

3 years old:

5 years old:

7 years old:

10 years old:

13th Birthday:

The teenage years filled with  lovin' Elvis and funky hats:

You've done so many fun things.
Starting with nude modeling when you were one:

Moving up the ranks in Karate:

Making fashion statements:

Performing in plays:

And you've been all over the world...
The glaciers in Alaska:

Hiking in Hawaii:

Dancing at Disney World:

Visiting Elvis in Vegas:

The Hermitage in Russia:

but I hope you know that home is where you are loved the best and missed the most!!

Happy Birthday my beautiful girl!!!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Reading.... the new contact sport

The entire house.

Thats how much room the two of them have to find a place to read.

There's the living room, the breakfast table, the top bunk, the bottom bunk, my bed, on the floor. The list goes on. So many different choices to settle in and get that book report reading done.

Yet they are drawn together like moths to flame. With the same end result.

I'm working on the computer and drifting down the hall comes the happy sounds of the afternoon.

"Stop kicking me."

"Well then get your foot out from under my butt"

"Why don't you move your butt, there's no room for my feet"

"If your feet weren't so big that wouldn't be a problem"

"If your butt weren't so big there'd be room for my feet"

I reluctantly head down the hall to find the two of them on the short side of the sofa, their heads at each end and their feet entwined together.

"What are you two doing?"

"Reading". This is accompanied by a look of "What did you think we were doing?"

"Why are you both on the small end of the sofa?"

They look around as if it has just occurred to them that there are other places they could be.

"You" pointing at Jeffrey "Lay over here" I direct him to the other couch.

"You" pointing at Katherine "Go lay on your bed".

They both look completely shocked but get up and shuffle off to other locales.

Back to my work and hopefully a little peace and quiet.

The universe finds my optimism amusing.

15 minutes later and the happy sounds of children's voices once again come floating down the hall.

"Get your knee out of my side"

"Well move over, you don't have squish me."

"I'm not squishing you, you're just taking up too much room."

"I am not, I was here first so I can take up as much as I want to."

"Thats selfish... MOM Katherine is being selfish"

They're kidding right?

Once again I head down the hall and they are laying on the living room floor, practically on top of each other, both with rather cross looks on their faces.

"NOW what are the two of you doing?"

"I came out here to read and then Jeffrey got off the sofa and started taking up the whole floor so there was no room for me."

No room at all except the entire other part of the floor on the other side of the room.

"NO! Thats not how it happened. I was just laying here already on the floor when she came in and laid down right on top of me.

"I did NOT"

"You did TOO!"

This is the time I wish I could do one of those really loud whistles that make everyone stop whatever they are doing and give you their undivided attention.

Since I can't do that I was left with raising my voice to be heard above the ruckus.


That worked.

"Why are you both not where I told you to be? If you both stayed in your assigned places I wouldn't have to keep coming out here to referee this absurdity. Can't you two stay apart for more than 5 minutes?"

"But it's lonely being apart."

"And we like being together."

"Yeah it's no fun being in different rooms."

See and here I thought the whole point was to avoid arguing and instead I come to find out that arguing is actually fun.

You learn something new every day.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Let them eat zucchini...

The other day I took the dynamic duo to the supermarket after Karate to pick up veggies for the soup I was going to make.

For me it was a simple errand, for them it turned into a smorgasbord of desire.

Katherine discovering a huge bar of Hersey's chocolate: "WOW, look at this! MOM can we get this to eat on the way home"

"You're kidding right?"

Jeffrey as we walk down the cereal aisle: "LOOK MOM LOOK! Trix (Lucky Charms, Froot Loops, Coco Pebbles.... fill in any sugar sweetened cereal here) Can we get this for breakfast??"


"Well then how about:

Fruit Roll ups
Pudding cups
Sour Cream and Onion potato chips
Frozen corn dogs
Hostess Twinkies
Hostess Cupcakes
Hostess apple pies
Cracker Jacks

MOM PLEASE!! All the kids get this stuff for lunch... why can't we have it????"

(Because I'm the wicked witch of health and I care about what goes into your body.)

Holy Moly... what is with these food companies? No wonder kids are fat.

I compromised and let them get a bag of Veggie Straws to munch on while we drove home. It had the added advantage that as long as their mouths were chewing they couldn't be talking. (Well that's the idea anyway).

So I finally got around to making the soup last night. As Jeffrey was eating it he sorted through each piece to make sure I wasn't trying to poison him with something he was unfamiliar with.

He looked up from his bowl. "Mom, you know I don't like zucchini right?"


"There's zucchini in here. Two different kinds no less."

"No less."

"MOM.... I really do not like it."

Katherine: "I LOVE zucchini!"

Jeffrey: "Katherine! Hush!"

"Think of it as a character building experience."


"Jeffrey, this is not Burger King where you get it your way. I'm sorry you don't like it, but sometimes you gotta do things that you may not like but will benefit you in the end."

He sat there stabbing at zucchini pieces that he had singled out and shoved to one side of his bowl. His nose wrinkled up to his forehead.

"If I eat them do I get extra dessert because of what I had to endure?"

"Let's put it this way, if you keep complaining you will get no dessert because of what I had to endure."

There was a moment of silence followed by "EW EW EW" and the glugging of an entire glass of milk.

He appeared in the kitchen with an empty bowl, an empty glass and a sour look on his face.

"You lived! See that wasn't so bad!"

"It wouldn't have been bad at all if it weren't for the zucchini."

"Thank you for finishing it."

"Thank you for making it. But next time when you give me some, maybe you can try not to put 100 pieces in my bowl."


So another meal down and at least vegetables past his lips and made it into his stomach. Next time I may try a different kind of soup but there's no guarantee it will get the Jeffrey seal of approval.

But life doesn't come with guarantees now does it?

New Trip Report... Disney World 2009!

I finally got my last trip report put together.
It took me over a year to compile the pictures because I was sorting through so many.
Both kids had their own cameras and each took a couple hundred shots.
Add in my excessive picture taking and it turned into a huge project!

Check it out:

Walt Disney Trip report 2009

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Isn't it someone else's turn to drive?

Alex has been sick and has stayed home from school this week. So I've been driving the partners in crime by myself.

I bring my music so they can listen to that instead of goading each other into an argument. Good in theory, not so good in practice.

I turned the music on shuffle so I can't be accused of giving someone's music choice preferential treatment.

First song up, "Soul Sister" by Train. Jeffrey starts belting out the lyrics turning towards Katherine while singing.

"MOM! Jeffrey is calling me a soul sister."


"Isn't that rude?"

"Not the last time I checked".

She crossed her arms and stared out the window unconvinced.

Up next Mony Mony by Billy Idol.

Jeffery once again begins singing away.

"Here she comes now sayin' Mony Mony
Shoot 'em down, turn around you look like a pony"

"MOM! Jeffrey said I look like a horse."

"No I didn't. I said you look like a pony."


"Jeffrey if you're going to sing please stick to the ACTUAL words of the songs instead of making up your own."


Song #3 and we have Thriller.

"It's close to midnight and something evil's lurking in the dark (Katherine get out of there)
Under the moonlight, you see a sight that almost stops your heart (he grabs his chest and pretends to faint)
You try to scream but terror takes the sound before you make it (he grabs his throat and makes choking noises)
You start to freeze as horror looks you right between the eyes (Katherine stop looking at me)"



"What? I wasn't changing the lyrics."

"Could you possibly not make every song you sing about your sister?"

"I can't help it. I have a very good imagination."

I see self esteem is not lacking in this one.

"Well then can you be a more thoughtful when using your imagination?"

"I thought I WAS using a lot of thought "

Somehow I don't think I'm going to win this one.

"Jeffrey you know what I am talking about... so KNOCK IT OFF!"

"OK.  Sorry Katherine"

Silence from behind me.



"Your brother apologized.. can you please say something."

I checked the rear view mirror and saw her deciding if it would be the right time to say "Something".

 Deciding I probably wasn't in the mood for poorly timed humor she accepted his apology.

I will have a relaxing uneventful morning drive one day, but I have a feeling it won't be anytime soon.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Way Back Wednesday ~~ 1977

In honor of Valentine's Day this week I found a picture of a Valentine's Day party I had back in 1977.

This was on a small patio off the library. It was a really neat place and very much reflected the time that the house was built back in the 1920's. You got out here by climbing a set of cement stairs so you ended up raised above the library and you could look down into the house through big plate glass windows.

You got to the rest of the yard by walking up a small flight of rickety wooden stairs back to the left (that later my mom had redone in cement) and if you stood next to the wall behind us it would come to your mid thigh.

It was always nice and cool in here so we ate out here a lot in the summer. My mom kept all her low light plants here and one summer I made a small guppy pond in a cement depression that was near the window.

I really miss this house.

From left to right in the back row we've got Jackie, Katie, Sasha and Michael.
Sitting in the front row there's Dina, me, Sally and Grace.

We had those wrought iron tables for ever and every time they started to get rusty my mom would simply paint them.

She always gave me the best parties and this was no exception. I'm sure we had a really nice cake that she made from scratch and served all kinds of tasty treats.

I hope you all had a fun Valentine's Day and I will talk to you soon!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

So this cat walks into a bar.....

"And THEN Garfield said "Odie do you want cookie" and Odie comes running over while Garfield is holding this rope attached to a safe and..."



"Can you possibly NOT read me every Garfield comic in the book?"

"I thought you liked Garfield."

"Yes but it's a lot funnier when I can see the pictures."
(and haven't heard them 25 times a piece)

"Well turn around and look at them."



"I'm driving."


"And I need to watch the road."

"Well how about when you stop at the next light?"

"I'm not an owl. Or Linda Blair".

"Whats that mean?"

"My head does not turn 180°. Even if I wanted it to." (which I don't)
"I cant see because you are directly behind me."

"What if I sit up front?"

"You aren't old enough. And you only weigh 52 pounds." I've only explained this to him 150 (thousand) times.

"I can sit on the other side of the car so your head wont have to turn so far around."

Katherine helpfully pointed out that she was already sitting there.

Jeffrey helpfully pointed out that she could move.

"Where am I supposed to go?"

"To the back seat."

"I don't want to sit there."

"But mom wants to see Garfield."

(I do?)

"I'm not climbing over the seat while we're driving."

"Well then mom won't get to see the pictures and it will be all your fault."

Enter the famous Katherine glare complete with folded arms and pouting lip.

"That is NOT nice Jeffrey!"

"Well I'm jus sayin'."

Seriously? Where does he hear this stuff? I better put a stop to it before it gets ugly.

"Guys.... No one is climbing around while the car is moving. Jeffrey, you can read me some cartoons when we get home but until then, save them for when I can see them OK?"

"Well OK, but I was just trying to be nice and entertain you while you have nothing else to do."

(Except drive?)

"Well thank you for thinking about me."

"You're welcome."

His heart's in the right place. Even if it isn't well received in practice.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sing it with me now!

Anything you can do I can do better.
I can do anything better than you.
No you can't!
Yes I can!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
Yes I can!

Anything you can be I can be greater.
Sooner or later I'm greater than you.
No you can't!
Yes I can!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
Yes I can!

Anything you can sing I can sing louder.
I can sing anything louder than you.
No you can't!
Yes I can!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
No you can't!
Yes I can!
Yes I can!
Yes I can!
Yes I caaaaaaaaan!

Just thought I'd post Jeffrey and Katherine's latest theme song.


Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Way Back Wednesday ~~ 1935

I figured in an effort to get back to my weekly picture posts, I thought I would start with something not too complicated!

I found this great picture of my dad and his sister Anita from the mid 1930's.
Looks like it is probably summer time and they are outside near the garden.

My dad is wearing a shirt with a zipper and I don't know what strikes me as odd about that.. I know they had zippers back then.

Anita is sitting on a really fantastic old hobby horse. There's something I would really love to have!

She is holding a little dog that looks to me like a King Charles Spaniel. My dad isn't around to tell me the little guys name but I'm sure it must have been a family pet.

Basically this is just a great picture of a typical day in the Oklahoma sunshine.

I think most people around the country are looking forward to some sunshine and warmth. Hope this winter doesn't last too much longer for all of you. Being out here in So Cal I cant complain as it's going to be close to 80° by this weekend. Please refrain from throwing rocks or sarcastic comments. 

Stay warm if you're cold and don't gloat if you're not!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Monday Morning Madness

 You ever had one of those moments that you realized you've made a mistake about 2 seconds too late and there's no way out?

Welcome to my morning.

Everything started out pretty good actually. I woke up not too tired and feeling OK. Jeff seemed to have had a restless night so I snuck out of bed and out of the room quietly so he could sleep.

I got the kids together in the allotted 20 minutes we have to get out the door and even managed to get myself a nice big cup of warm coffee to take with me to help in the waking up procedure.

I got Alex to school on time and even got Katherine to her morning class within 2 minutes of start time. That left Jeffrey and me to sit in the car until the yard duty arrived to open the big gate. He and I hung out, listening to my IPOD and singing some of his favorite songs.

Finally the gate was opened and he was on his way. I headed down the hill to go home. While making my way along the main road to the freeway I noticed there was exceptionally heavy traffic going the other way. I glanced in my rear view mirror wondering if I missed a stalled car or an accident but I didn't see anything. (Warning number 1).

I approached the freeway and checked the overhead bridge for slow traffic which there was but it didn't seem much slower than usual.  (I later looked back and figured I was hallucinating when I thought saw the cars moving). I knew I could get on, jump over a few lanes, skirt around the 2 merging on ramps and by the time I got to the 101 it would have shaken loose. I did not however notice that there was absolutely no traffic going the other way on the freeway. (Warning number 2).

I crossed under the freeway, turned right onto the looping on ramp, drove about 50 feet and came to a dead stand still. The traffic was stopped half way up the ramp and realized there wasn't a single car moving even a little bit in any of the 4 lanes of freeway traffic.

I desperately looked behind me to see if I could do something terribly illegal like back down the on-ramp but suddenly there were 15 cars behind me and the line was growing fast.

I knew something was really wrong and I was stuck. I crept forward until I was almost to the bridge and I could see the road below. People were continuing to pull into the line waiting to get onto the freeway. Across the street was the other on ramp for people going the opposite way on the street and those people were now trying to merge into my lane about 50 yards ahead of me. Only none of us were going anywhere.

I simply could not believe people were voluntarily getting in line. If I had seen there was even the smallest line backed up onto the ramp there was no way I would have gotten on. I would have taken surface streets home. But these people were forming a line that was now backed up under the bridge and out of sight.

I reluctantly flipped off my music and flipped on newsradio (traffic on the 5's) to see if maybe there was any mention of this.

When the traffic report came on the first thing they talked about was a sigalert on the 101 approaching the Hollywood freeway with several lane closures. OK.. if my freeway was backed up for 20 miles then I might as well get out and walk from here.

"And now to that problem in Thousand Oaks..."

oh please oh please oh please let it be nothing huge....

"Seems there is a chemical spill on the northbound 23 freeway and both sides of the freeway have been shut down until the hazmat team can be called in to clean it up. Looks like there is a cloud of vapors rising off the pavement just after the Janns Road offramp and everyone is being diverted off the freeway as far back as the 118. If you are anywhere in the area I would advise staying as far away from the freeway as possible and taking side streets as an alternate. Its a real mess out there and it looks like no one is going anywhere fast."

Thank you Captain Obvious.

Ever have one of those feelings like someone just slid the jail door closed and you were on the wrong side? I was one mile from the next exit which just happened to be Janns Rd. I couldn't go back. I certainly couldn't go forward and Oh Yeah.. I had that huge cup of coffee almost an hour ago. In about 30 minutes I was going to be in so much trouble I wasn't going to be able to see straight.. or think straight.. or even drive straight. Not that much driving was likely to be going on.

I did the only thing I could think of which was to call Sally. I figured if a cop came by and tried to give me a ticket for being on the phone I would simply stuff it up his nose.

I spent the next half hour creeping forward (MAYBE went 50 yards), catching up with Sally, and moaning to Jeff about my predicament since he called to see what the hell was taking me so long.

They eventually closed the freeway on-ramps. I could see that because I hadn't moved off the bridge in the entire time I was talking on the phone.

I also noticed that the other side of the freeway had been opened (lucky them) and there was now almost nobody in the lanes to my left as the traffic behind us had been shunted over to get off at the street I had just gotten on from.

Suddenly there was a small parade of traffic driving the wrong way down my side of the freeway. I briefly thought of making a run for it and joining them but thought the better of it because there was a cop car every 100 yards. I was really glad I didn't because someone a few cars in front of me tried that and the police caught them and made them go back.

Shortly a policeman got out of his car and walked over to the car in front of me, talked to the driver who then made a u-turn and headed backwards to the ramp behind us. The cop headed over to me and I rolled down my window and asked where everyone was going.

Please oh please oh please let me go too.......

He said if I wanted I could follow the other car and head back to where I just got on.

You don't have to tell me twice.

I was to the off ramp behind me and off the freeway in less than  minute.


My joy was short lived as I realized everybody and their brother was getting off the freeway and trying to find alternate routes home or to work or to the 101. Twice I tried shortcuts only to find myself exactly back to where I started because the damn roads around here double back on themselves to prevent exactly what I was trying to do.. cut through and save time.

I eventually made it home an hour and half after I first turned onto the freeway and two and half hours after I left the house in the first place.

I was a blur as I burst into the house and headed straight to the bathroom. Relief has rarly been sweeter.

All I want to know is.... what idiot was carrying around a bucket of muriatic acid (used in pool cleaning) in such a way for it to fall off their truck and break open in the middle of the freeway??

This is not the Einstein I want cleaning my pool.