About Me

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I am blessed

Earlier I was feeling overwhelmed, but I am reminded that I am blessed.  It is cold and snowy and I realized for a moment how beautiful it is.  My honey is sleeping in my bed and I am watching Buffy and so unbelievably happy and in love.  Who'd a thunk it? :-)


A light dusting on my bushes, the light snowfall, and the steam from the dryer vent.  Pretty.

Waitress

I usually really like my job.  I am well-suited to it and it usually pays my bills.  I am in a slump, though. :-(  As it turns out, people don't always tip as they should and it doesn't help when the kitchen takes, oh, three times as long as they should to get food to the table.  Not my fault, but it still affects my livelihood, my ability to pay my bills and feed my family.  Argh.  Not a happy girl today. If anyone knows of any bartending or high paying serving jobs available, let me know...

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is every Muslim a terrorist?

If you listen to most Americans, the answer is of course, yes.  It makes me so sad.  Can we please try to at least pretend we consider everyone equal?

A short, but spot-on blog post about what we should be thinking instead: Ft. Hood: Will we salute Muslim soldiers? by Leonard Pitts.  Here is an excerpt:
If you study the list of recent American casualties, you find names redolent of every other place on Earth, names that smell of Scottish highlands and Korean marketplaces, Yemeni ports and Nigerian mosques, Russian steppes and Mexican farms.

All of them choosing to make their lives here in the land of burger joints, rap music and amber waves of grain ... a land where, it is boasted, a man is not his past, a man is not his culture, a man is not his tribe. A man is a man.

It is an ideal never fully realized and yet, an ideal soldiers with names from every other place on Earth sign up every day to defend. That ought to tell you something. It ought to make you proud.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Milk Blog

I found a great blog all about cows milk.  It is quite informative in a not-psycho way which is different than a lot of other anti-milk sites.  My favorite post is about why cows milk is a major factor in osteoporosis - drinking too much, not too little as the dairy industry would like you to believe.  I highly recommend it:

The Milk Blog

Friday, November 6, 2009

Restaurant tips

Alright, a couple of things.

Twenty percent is the minimum acceptable tip for a server who has provided for your needs adequately and with a cheerful demeanor.  Servers are paid about $3.50 per hour which is usually just about enough to pay the taxes on their tips.  They are also usually required to pay between two and six percent of the total of your bill (sometimes higher if there is a lot of alcohol) regardless of the tip amount to the bartender, host, food expediter in the kitchen, and table bussers.  If you feel the service was lacking, talk to the manager and tip appropriately, keeping in mind that if you came to the restaurant hungry and left full, the server should not have to pay part of your bill in the form of the above mentioned tip-outs unless there was some extremely egregious behavior (e.g. sleeping with your husband, calling your kid ugly, throwing a pie in your face). 

Also, here are some unacceptable behaviors:

 * bringing and using silly string in a restaurant (this happened tonight at my place of business!)
 * talking on your cell phone while the server tries to wait on you and then being mad that the he or she didn't take your order quickly enough (happens all the time)
 * ordering water with extra, extra lemon and then using all the sugar on the table to make lemonade in an effort to save the two bucks to pay for lemonade (yup, I've seen it many times)
 * telling the server you are ready to order and then making him or her stand at your table while you read the menu (for pete's sake, are you the only person in the stinkin' restaurant who might need the server's attention?!)
 * talking to your server as if he or she is an incompetent moron because of the line of work he or she has chosen

***** end of rant*****


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Halloween

The kids went out with the Schollmeyer family for Halloween.  I left the responsibility of photography to Paige and the following are the only pictures I got.  Yes, that's my disappointed voice.  Levi is an executioner and Paige and Chicago are witches.





 

Monday, October 12, 2009

Newsflash: Midwives are a smart, safe choice

From a press release from The Big Push for Midwives (a grassroots lobbying group for the legalization of midwives):

In the second segment of PBS’ The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer series on health care reform that aired on Wednesday, senior correspondent Ray Suarez reports that “for the Dutch, a huge cost saver starts the day you’re born.” He goes on to note that the majority of Dutch babies are born at home in a nation where the infant mortality rate is 25% lower than in the United States. Suarez’s report is consistent with a recent study of more than 500,000 births in the Netherlands, which found that planned home birth with trained midwives is as safe as hospital birth.

Read the whole press release here:
http://tiny.cc/cdQu2

Friday, October 9, 2009

Sometimes you've just gotta laugh

I frequently feel as if my life has more small tribulations than most others.  Today was a doozie.

I'm refinancing my house.  Should be a simple process, right?  I'm buying a house I already own, for heaven's sake!  So, about two months ago I filled out all the paperwork, got a preliminary approval pending the supporting documents actually supporting the application.  No problem.  I got the house appraised and it appraised for $3000 more than I expected, so no problem there.  All we need now is copies of my last two year's W-2's because apparently servers are considered "self-employed" and so require more proof of income than the two months of paystubs (because it took so long, I actually ended up giving them July, August, and part of September) and last two year's tax returns I already gave the bank.  Makes no sense, true self-employed people wouldn't even have paystubs, but whatever.  So, the bank orders the W-2's from the IRS electronically which should take a day or two.  This was two months ago and they just got them yesterday.  Fine, the banker looks everything over and says that now they will just need thirty days worth of paystubs from my new employer (the one they have is from my summer job which just ended this week).  Well, I don't have that, I haven't worked for them for thirty days and if the loan had gone through when it was supposed to then the paystubs they have would have been my current employer!  Argh!  I think it will be worked out, but it is so frustrating! 

Well, while I'm on the phone with the the banker, the kids are doing dishes and Paige points to a growing puddle on the kitchen floor.  There is water running out from under the kitchen sink onto the floor.  Doug is here and gets to work diagnosing the problem, which thankfully is just a loose connection on the faucet handle.  Crisis averted.

As he's doing that he asks if I happen to have spare washers to replace the one he's tightening.  I do somewhere, I think on the shelves in the basement.  Down the stairs I go, to the basement, where I have to traverse small rivers of water crisscrossing the floor.  It's been storming for a couple of days and the dehumidifier would need to be related to the shop-vac to keep up with this.  It's not a real problem because I know the basement leaks sometimes so I have everything on shelves just off the floor - except for the two suitcases of papers and other miscellaneous items that I was looking through the other day to try to find my old W-2's and left laying on the floor.  Everything *should* dry out soon.

On a non-house related note, I order my maintenance medication (for the bipolar) from a mail order pharmacy.  I didn't realize until too late that I was out of refills, so I stopped by the doctor's office and they mailed the prescription and other paperwork to the pharmacy which has a two day maximum turn around time and gave me a prescription for seven days to pick up at the local pharmacy.  No problem.  Except that they mailed it on September 28 and today was the last day of pills I have and I still haven't gotten the mail-order prescription.  I called and they say they haven't received it from the doctor.  So, the doctor called in another seven days.  I didn't know this until I started on this medication, but it is waaay more expensive to get just a few pills at a time than to get a whole month's worth.  But, surely the mail from Missouri to Arizona can't take much longer.  Right?

Everyone knows how much I love working at the Pirate and I am so sad that this is my last weekend there for the season.  This weekend is the Harbor Hop which is a big tourist, end of the year, party thing.  I've been expecting it to make up for some of the crappy money nights at Chili's and perhaps have done some premature chicken counting with my spending the last few days because I knew I would make enough to cover it!  Anyone remember why the basement is flooded?  Ah, yes, it's been storming. And cold.  The Pirate is an outdoor, lake-front restaurant.  Joe (head Pirate) always calls if the weather is bad and asks if I want to work or not.  He didn't call and no matter what, I need to work.  I was hoping that I would get there tonight and the girls scheduled doubles would like to go home and maybe some of the night people would choose not to come in so I could handle a larger portion of the guests (even if there were fewer of them due to the weather).  So, I leave my house at 2:45 to get the kids to their dad's and get gas and to work by 4:00.  At 3:57 I pull in and notice that I am the only one parked in the employee lot, but thought that maybe everyone else parked down in the customer lot.  I walk down the stairs to the restaurant and notice there are no cars there, either.  As I'm piecing together this information I hear Joe yell from his porch above the restaurant, "you're going to kill me, Kolbi."  Yup, that's right, they didn't open the restaurant today because of the weather and he called all the day people but didn't think to call me and one other girl who was also scheduled night shift.  She was smart enough to call and ask before she drove in, but that was moments before I walked down the stairs (she was scheduled at 5:00).  I'll try again tomorrow.

I called Chili's on my way home to see if maybe they needed a shift covered or if anyone wanted to go home, but that was a no-go, too.  So, here I sit.

Oh, and for some reason, everytime I turn on my left blinker, my cruise control shuts off.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Jon, my love

I am in love with Jon Stewart.  It's a fact.  I would leave Doug in a heartbeat (don't worry, he knows this and accepts it).  So, imagine how mad I am at Gina Loudon!  (Not following? check this out: The Daily Show zeroes in on 'buycotts' and Gina Loudon)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

TD resigns

I am apparently very bad at distinguishing good politicians from bad ones. Sen. Jeff Smith and Rep. TD El Amin were two of my favorites in the building because they seemed so genuine and kind and, yes, trustworthy.  TD was always so nice to me and the kids, we even all went to lunch one afternoon and he let the kids hang out in his office when they were bored of lobbying with me.  I will miss him in the Capitol quite a lot.  And all for a $2,100 bribe.  This article makes a great point:

Bribery loot: Bad. Campaign loot: Good 


And the corresponding cartoon:


 

Chilihead

 Yup, they call us Chiliheads.  Just as bad as an Applebuddy, I guess.  Why do chains have to be so corny?  Sheesh, can't I just work there for heaven's sake!  I am on Day 4 of my training at Chili's.  I've only been a server for twenty years, of course, I need FIVE days of training!  Argh! 

So far, it's fine, I guess.  It's no Pirate, that's for darn sure.  I miss the Pirate already.  :-(  I think I can make enough to survive there, but it's going to mean some belt-tightening which I'm NOT looking forward to.  I love going out to eat and I love being able to buy little things that aren't just necessities and I love going to fun activities and little mini-vacations to St. Louis or even just Columbia.  I'll muddle through and the kids will too, but it's just not as much fun and it's not as easy as when the Pirate is picking up the tab. 

So, that's what I've been up to.  Not terribly exciting, I know.


And an unrelated quote, but I like it:

Conventionality is not morality.
Charlotte Bronte (1816-1855)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More Florida

Okay, one more post on Florida and I'll stop bragging. :-) It was so amazing! The drive even went really well. Doug spent 30 hours in a car with us and didn't kill anyone and even still wants to hang out with us, that's really something! Becky and Tim are as fantastic as ever, Mike and Chris look great and are as hospitable as ever. Jennifer took Doyle and Preston to Virginia so we didn't get to see them, but we got to go to dinner with Gileah, Clara, and Mercy. They are sooo adorable! As is tradition, we stopped at the giant Superman statue in Metropolis, IL and got some pictures. I'm so happy to be including Doug in our traditions and to see how well he fits into the family. Everyone loves him!

Without further ado, here is the last batch of pictures:



Sunday, September 20, 2009

Destin

No time for captions, I think you can figure out what we've been up to.  Now we're off to the Emerald Coast Science Center!



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BEACH!!!

We are in Destin, Florida staying at my dad's second home this week. What a life! I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:


Saturday, September 12, 2009

Must read books

I am rereading (is that a word, btw?) Raising Cain by Dan Kindlon, Ph.D. and Michael Thompson, Ph.D. and it's amazing how different and more frightening it is now that Levi is at the most "dangerous" age.

For those unfamiliar with the book, it is written by two child psychologists who specialize in boys. They are quite convincing in their argument that boys' (in our society) lack of ability to express emotions causes anger and violence.

I read it the first time when he was a toddler (which happened to be in the midst of a school shooting marathon - he was born in July, 1996 and this is what was on the news all the time: Wiki School Shooting) and it really helped me understand how important it is for him to learn how to express himself emotionally but there is a whole world of difference between him doing that at playgroup and him doing it at football practice. All parents of boys need to read this book at least once, but preferably every few years.

Other must reads - Reviving Ophelia by Mary Pipher, Ph.D. (about the emotional life of girls) which I plan to reread when I finish this one and Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker (about the things you should actually worry about in protecting kids).

This is a VERY short list, I could write volumes on books all parents should read, but these are the three on my mind right now.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Common Sense

Have I mentioned how much I love Margaret and Helen? So smart! I tried to find my favorite quote from the latest post but just can't pick only one. Here are a couple highlights, but you really need to read the whole post (Michelle Bachmann's Burning Bush)

"No one wants to kill your grandmother. Like it or not, she can live as long as you like and squander your inheritance to boot. And don’t come crying to me when you realize how much work there is in taking care of a person who decides to live longer than their body decides to function properly. "

"President Obama graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Law School. For all my Republican friends out there, magna cum laude is a Latin term meaning “with great praise”. Please turn to your Stepford wives and tell them it’s not something you can order on the all-you-can-eat menu at The Olive Garden. And the last time I checked he was the duly elected President of the United States of America and not some pervert registered on a Megan’s Law web page. You should be honored to have him speaking to your children about staying in school and studying hard."

"But even with all this proof that the Republican Party has become a Confederacy of Dunces, somehow the Democrats in Washington can’t get their shit together long enough to pass a meaningful healthcare reform bill. Mr. President, I ask you this: If they don’t even believe you are an American citizen, why the hell do you care if they think you are going to kill their grandmother? Rush Limbaugh was not elected to any office. Pass healthcare reform with a public option and move on. Rush will get over it. Trust me. He has a pill for that."

Epic fail

So, I'm kinda a nerd, I admit it. I've never worried about a test in my life, as a matter of fact, even when I should have worried because I didn't study, I was completely confident in my test-taking ability. I don't recall ever failing a test in my life. What does this have to do with my current life, you may wonder?

Wednesday, I went to Chili's to apply for a job. I have waited on the GM, Chris, many times (at my Applebees bar) and he likes me and knows I am a good employee. He was having a manager's meeting when I got there and told me to get an application and then talk to him and he would get me an interview. He looked at my availability and said it looked good and to come in Thursday (yesterday) to do, basically a formality, interview and silly personality test.

Ahh, you say, a test. But there's no way the personality test was a problem, right? It would be impossible for a person who loves and is good at the job being tested for to fail the test to determine employment eligibility, right? WRONG! I FAILED A PERSONALITY TEST! The worst thing is that they can't even tell me why, or even what part was the problem.

Chris wasn't there yesterday, so I called him this morning and asked if there was anything he could do. I mean, surely, the GM of a restaurant can override a silly test. Apparently not. He said he would look into it, see if maybe there was just a problem with the scoring, or I filled in the circles wrong, or aliens attacked, something!

So, how's the job hunting going? Super. At least ten restaurants I want to work at are fully staffed, the hiring manager at one I really want quit so they have to wait until her position is filled before they can hire servers, I get fast-tracked at Chili's only to blow it by not being able to properly answer questions about how happy I am in life and how trustworthy other people find me. :-/

{update}

Chris (CJ) said (paraphrasing), "Screw it, I want to hire you, I'll just deal with my boss if he questions it!"  So, I'm off to be a happy little Chili's girl.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Football!



Levi had his first ballgame today! He didn't play a whole lot, but made a really good block at the end of the game. Here's a couple of pictures, just trust me, one of those kids is him (need a better camera for football LOL).

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Quote time!

If we didn't live venturously, plucking the wild goat by the beard, and trembling over precipices, we should never be depressed, I've no doubt; but already should be faded, fatalistic and aged.

Virginia Woolf (1882-1941)

Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy person has no time to form.
Andre Maurois

When marrying, ask yourself this question: Do you believe that you will be able to converse well with this person into your old age? Everything else in marriage is transitory.
Friedrich Nietzsche

All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt.
Charles M. Schulz

Absence diminishes mediocre passions and increases great ones, as the wind extinguishes candles and fans fires.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld

Don't confuse fame with success. Madonna is one; Helen Keller is the other.
Erma Bombeck

Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.
Thomas Jefferson

Just because it is a good time for them [to call you], doesn't mean it has to be a good time for you [to talk].
Mary Cooper

Salus populi suprema lex esto - The welfare of the people shall be the supreme law.
Missouri state motto

Friday, August 28, 2009

Productive day

I had a very full day yesterday and I loved it! Here's the list:

*Did plenty of school with the kids (yes, I know I shouldn't be surprised by this, but it doesn't always happen)
*Washed Levi's shoes and hat
*Went grocery shopping (my favorite type of shopping!)
*Made lunch with enough for leftovers for today (taco salad, yum)
*Got dressed and ready for work on time (but didn't actually get to go)
*Took the kids to the park
*Took Levi to football practice (and got to watch it)
*Had a fantastic dinner at Sapphires with Doug where we had my friend, Susan, as our waitress (lamb chops with Creole mustard, horseradish, apple, mint sauce)
*Went to Susan's (and Jesse's) house and talked and drank and were just generally merry
*Fell soundly and happily to sleep curled up next to my fantastic boyfriend (my favorite way to sleep)

I would have liked to have made some money, but it was rainy and ick so didn't get to work. But, on the bright side, it allowed time for a wonderful, long, relaxed date. Also, I am not super (read: very bad) at maintaining friendships but I like Susan quite a lot so I was very happy to see her when we walked in.

Breasts in Mourning

I have been intensely interested in lactation for thirteen years and there are very few areas that I have had no contact with. This article by Jesse Bering in Scientific American magazine looks at the involuntary psychological impact of artificial feeding on the mother. It all makes perfect sense; if a baby is born but doesn't nurse, your body would naturally assume it died. Fascinating read.

Breasts in Mourning

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Holy Cannoli

The Turner Report: Court documents: Ex-wife claims criminal connected to prominent Missouri Democrats threatened to kill her

Read the link to the investigation details. Corruption, deceit, even bombing. Shady. I'm having a bad politics day. :-(

Disappointed

I am terribly upset about this. Jeff Smith was one of only a very small handful of legislators who I really felt I could trust. I'm afraid this will further diminish my opinion of people who have chosen politics as a career. I truly feel that he went into the field to help his neighbors and was able to accomplish so much while not appearing to bow to the lobbyists. I'm saddened that now I have doubts about the high opinion I had of him. I tell the kids all the time how important it is to keep your word and to be known as someone trustworthy. It is true that once someone has told you a lie, everything else they say or have said comes into question.

From The Turner Report blog:

The Turner Report: FBI wiretap leads to Sen. Jeff Smith's guilty plea
The Turner Report: Jeff Smith: Let's blame it on the dead guy

From his email newsletter:

Dear Friend,


Today, with great sadness and regret, I am resigning from the Missouri Senate.

During my 2004 Congressional race, I became aware of an independent effort to produce two mailers to benefit my campaign. Federal campaign finance law prohibits specific coordination between a campaign and anyone preparing an independent expenditure.

When the independent operator requested funding, I authorized a close friend to raise money for the effort, and my press secretary provided public information about my opponent’s voting record. I withheld my knowledge of these facts during the Federal Election Commission’s 2004 investigation, misleading investigators and filing a false affidavit.
The FEC cleared our campaign of wrongdoing. But in 2009, the government received new information and reopened its investigation. When questioned, I stood by our 2004 account and encouraged my close friend to do so, misleading the authorities. Today I am taking full responsibility for my mistakes, and have pled guilty to obstructing justice.
This event has humbled me. I have done some significant introspection and that has been the hardest part: coming to terms with my own poor judgments and mistakes.
I apologize to my constituents, my staff, my Senate colleagues, my supporters, and to Congressman Carnahan. I am sorry to be leaving an institution I dearly love and the chance to represent a City with so much potential. Most importantly, I apologize to my family for not living up to what you expect of me, or what I expect of myself.
But I’m proud of my work in the Senate. With the help of my legislative staff, colleagues, and issue advocates, I believe I positively impacted several policy areas. I worked to create the Missouri Teaching Fellows Program to bring top-notch teachers to struggling school districts, expanded early childhood education for impoverished City children, and helped add $5M in bonuses to the salaries of City teachers whose students make exceptional academic progress.
My office spent many hours working with advocates for eco-friendly policies. I led the drive to pass a Green Sales Tax Holiday for energy-efficient appliances, a tax deduction for home energy audits, and a mandate that Missouri increase its energy efficiency standard for state buildings.
Working with the Fathers Support Center of St. Louis, I sponsored and passed two bills that will transform our child-support system. One will help fathers struggling to pay child support avoid felony convictions and jail time by creating “fathering courts” to help non-violent offenders find jobs and resume support payments, saving the state millions in incarceration costs. The second will reduce erroneous paternity judgments and ensure that men with DNA tests showing non-paternity will no longer have to pay for children who are not theirs.
Finally, I helped successfully defend Missouri’s Historic Preservation Tax Credit, which has done more than any other program to revitalize formerly dilapidated urban neighborhoods, creating jobs and putting abandoned buildings back onto the tax rolls.
I hope that my Senate tenure, albeit brief, is remembered as productive and beneficial to those I served. I thank my colleagues with whom I worked on the above as well as my trusted and loyal aides: Stacy Morse, Christine Brauner, Johnny Little, and Kailey Burger.
I am saddened by the thought that some may give up on politics because I let them down. I was blessed to have so many amazing volunteers who worked to support me with no political experience and developed a passion for activism through their work. Today I fear that some of them – some of you – may feel as if your efforts were in vain. But they were not.
If you helped in my election to office, my 3-on-3 basketball tournament and community fair, my MLK Jr. Blvd. cleanup, or other programs I promoted, please don’t let my mistakes sour you on active civic involvement. There are no perfect people and no perfect candidates, but I hope you’ll find a candidate or a cause in which you believe and fight for it with the same zeal you fought for me. Because the real tragedy of my lapses would be if they discouraged people like you from civic engagement.
Mary Pickford once said that failure is not falling down but staying down. I won’t run for office again, but I’ll stay active in the causes that animate me – from urban education to preserving historic neighborhoods to providing health care for all – to try and help the City I love continue its return to the glory of its past.
Thank you for being a part of my life the last few years. I deeply regret the mistakes that have forced my resignation, but I hope you will balance them against the totality of my service, and that we can work together again in the future.
Best,
Jeff

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Undesirable effects

I pride myself on a few things, some important, like my parenting. I think I've done a swell job here. I actually enjoy spending time with the kidlets and others do as well. Also, I have a pretty darn good work ethic. I am active in politics and research my positions before blindly following a candidate or issue.

The silliest of my prideful talents, though is my athletic ability. I'm not a super athlete, but I have areas of natural skill. I can throw and catch reasonably well, particularly a football. Imagine my shock and disappointment when this weekend I tried to do the one thing I am good at without having to put out a lot of effort and failed. For some reason, I was so weak, I could barely complete a 30ish yard pass when normally, I can do much better.

After some thought, I think I've figured it out. It makes sense, but I've just never put it together until now. Women are weakest when menstruating. I love the female cycle and the complexities and strength it brings. I've always been aware of the pain tolerance variances at different points during the cycle. When ovulating, women have a much higher pain tolerance than at any other time during the month. Tattooing, piercing, and waxing, for instance are much easier at this time and much harder during menstruation. The inner strength and sense of wonder and appreciation associated with menstruating always empower me and make me feel a connectedness that I don't feel at other times of the month. Imagine my chagrin when I realized there is a negative consequence to menstruating - I can't throw a ball as far.

Not earth-shattering or even enough to make me change my love for the system, but still. Sheesh, I don't like being physically weak even if internally I feel stronger.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Meet the Parents

So, I met the parents yesterday. Not only that, but because I'm an overachiever, oh, yes, I am, I met the whole stinkin' family! It was Doug's mom's 50th birthday extravaganza and we (yup, made the first impression with the kidlets) went and had a great time.

I spent thirteen years in a family that hated me, so I was a titch nervous at first, but it was in a park with lots of room and activities so I was in my element. I didn't have to worry about the kids not being quiet or me not being demure; we were supposed to frolic and, as you may know, that's our specialty.

His family is pretty average, spanning the range of society from Tracy's family to my dad and his yuppy friends. They are, for the most part, very friendly and accepting. No one even mentioned (at least to me) the age difference or pointed out that I have a teenager.

There were only a couple of times that I had to bite my tongue or avert my gaze and they were much more minor than I was expecting. I have some, uh, lets call them unorthodox, beliefs, especially pertaining to parenting that I understand are outside of the norm and his family lives very much in the norm so there will certainly be areas of disagreement. Luckily, on first impression day, none of those surfaced. Because we have been friends for so long, I know quite a lot about his family, but since we've only been dating for a month or so it would be odd for me to know everything I do, so I had to feign ignorance on some things. That only became a real issue for me once when a person (actually only on the fringe of the family) was making a very good first impression of his own and I wanted to throw a big nuh-uh into the conversation, but had to keep my mouth shut. It's not my battle anyway, but still, I wanted to be an absent person's advocate and couldn't. :-(

I was worried the kids would be bored or not engage the other kids, but they really had a great time! I am so proud to be their mom and it's nice when other people get to see how great they are. Levi played football, whiffle ball, washers, and climbed on the play structure. He only asked to get his book once and that was when we were first getting out of the car! Paige immediately ran off with Taylor (Doug's little sister) and her friends and played in the sand volleyball pit, in the water sprinkler/fountain thingy, climbed the play structure, ate cake off a plate like a dog, and, basically, just got to be herself.


Photo Credit: Kathryn Fishman-Weaver

I didn't bring my camera or even phone, but Kat (Doug's long-time friend) took this one of her son, James, Paige, and two girls from Taylor's softball team. Paiger was the youngest one there, but held her own just fine.

So, overall, I think it went swimmingly. Doug reports that I passed initial inspection. Whew!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Eek, I might be old

Alright, so I don't feel or act old most of the time, which is good. Today, I feel about 85. This weekend was Tracy's weekend with the kids so I worked two doubles. In my defense, they were kick-your-a$$ doubles (32 hours in two days in an outdoor restaurant), but still, I'm beat after them. I used to be able to do that no problem, but every part of my body hurts. I don't like it, not one little bit.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Update

I'm sorry it's been so long since I've updated. I'm sure all my imaginary loyal readers are terribly disappointed. :-)

I've been busy (read: lazy) and haven't even been keeping up reading, much less writing blogs. I've also seemed terribly boring as of late. I know that a boring life is a good one, no major turmoil and all, but it doesn't do much to engage my creative side.

That being said, I am also happier than I've ever been. I hesitate to say anything because it always seems like asking for trouble from Murphy to brag about how happy I am, but - I'm seeing someone :::big, giddy grin::: and it's going incredibly well in this newborn phase. To be completely honest, it wasn't that big of a leap. I started dating my best friend, Doug, about a month or so ago. He was married up until January so I didn't even put him in the "datable" category, but when he wasn't married anymore I started to see him in a different way. It is nice to be so comfortable with someone that everything seems so easy with. Plus, he's awfully cute, I hadn't really noticed before we started dating, but he's cute on his own and we are really stinkin' adorable together (if I do say so myself). Another plus to dating your best friend is that my kids already adore him so there wasn't any awkward introduction. Sure, it was a little weird for them to see us be affectionate, but they were used to us being happy together.



Doug, kidlets, and Missy

So, what else is new? I've been working at the Pirate and just love, love, love it. There are some of the same little gripes that there are at other restaurants, but they are so much easier to handle when it is a job I truly want to go to every day. They are so accommodating with my schedule, I've been able to see the kids ball games and practices every week, he lets me work single shifts on kid weekends and doubles on kidless ones. I know it's a pain to keep track of my odd schedule on top of everyone else's, but he does it happily.

We have rats, as you know. We started with Snowball and Skunk, but then Skunk bit my Paigey and off he went to be snake food. We traded him in on Ice Cream who is just adorable and sweet. The pet store only sells male rats, so imagine my surprise when we ended up with babies. Ice Cream, apparently, is female. So, we traded the six babies to the pet store for a water bottle holder to put in a separate cage to make sure Snowball wouldn't eat them. Because this batch (yes, she's pregnant again) will be his, I *think* they will be okay in the same cage, but we'll see. There is plenty of food and water and space, so he shouldn't feel threatened enough to eat them, I guess we'll find out. They should be born today or tommorow if I've calculated correctly.


My dad and Pam and Kara, Tuesday, and Kane all came in to town for Fourth of July and that was really fun. I wish we lived closer, it's awful seeing the kids and barely recognizing them because they've grown so much since last time they were here. And, they all got to see Ice Cream's babies (because, you know, my dad thinks it isn't weird at all that we have pet rats, having pet rats with babies is just dandy). It was a great visit. I got to see Kara's new engagement ring. She seems very happy and she deserves it! They all like Doug, even my dad, whew!


I am officially the mom of a teenager. Levi turned thirteen last month and I have to say that if I have to have a teenager, he's an okay one to get. :-) He really is a great kid. For his birthday, *I* wanted to go to The City Museum in St. Louis on Monday and then stay the night and go to Six Flags on Tuesday. As it turns out, it wasn't *my* birthday so we went to Levi's last ballgame on Monday and then to Six Flags. I guess it's good that he didn't want to miss a ballgame, but :::whine::: The City Museum is so fun! LOL My favorite ride is the Superman (below), I love that free-falling, flying feeling. I forgot my camera (and I probably would have ended up losing it anyway), so that's the only pic I took with my phone, but trust me that a good time was had by all. Levi's favorite was the Tony Hawk. Both kids went on two other coasters, too. I was so proud of them for trying!




Other things we've done since I last posted:


The kids and I went on the coolest slip and slide ever at a homeschool play day. Super fun!



Paige went to Anna's 8th birthday party. It was a "glamour" party where they had a fashion show, did hair and makeup and nails, the whole nine yards. I thought my tomboy would be bored, but she had a lot of fun.



We went swimming lots.



We had lots of ball games.



I think that about wraps it up. Pretty good life, eh?

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Why at home?

I used to subscribe to Mothering Magazine but haven't read it for quite some time. This article (Candles not required) was passed on to me through the Friends of Missouri Midwives email list and it is really well written and addresses a lot of preconceptions about who chooses to homebirth and why. An excerpt:

...after exploring my options, I decided I wanted to give my baby and I the best natural childbirth experience I could. That was paramount for me. What I wanted could not be found where I was looking and I chose to look elsewhere.

So think of me as you may. Be it martyr, fruitcake, anti-establishment chick, or hippie-wanna-be. I prefer to consider myself a woman who found what she was looking for in the last place she looked: right at home.

Consequently, I also found out that while having a homebirth, chanting is optional, new age music is your choice, and candles are not required.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The return to the Pirate

My Sapphires career is finally, blissfully, not a moment too soon OVER! It is the most miserable place I have ever worked (and I'm including my first job at Tonanzio's). If it were not for my fellow servers, I would have never made it through. And so that ushers in the new season at Jolly Roger's!

Because I'm a paranoid, silly girl, I was a little nervous on the drive down, but as soon as I walked in, I felt at home. It is the greatest, most laid-back place. I knew Joe and Christy (the owners) were terrific bosses, but now with the stark contrast to John, Miquel and Vic, they seem angelic. They do crazy things like ask you to perform tasks instead of barking (sometimes nonsensical) orders. They say, "please" and, "thank you" and ask your opinion and actually listen to your response. They can write a coherent schedule. They run food and bus tables to be helpful, not to try to make you seem incompetent. When they give an instruction, it remains true, never changing moments later.

And, the money is great, too. The money at Sapphires was good when there were guests, but it wasn't reliable. We are weather dependent so there will be days that are really bad, but for the most part I can budget a predictable amount. I might finally get caught up from the first several months at Sapphires when I made virtually no money and had to rely on my credit to get by. Also, I can trust my paycheck to actually be right. What a refreshing change! In fairness, we get our tips every night so there are fewer opportunities for error, but I would trust Christy to get it right even if she had to calculate tips. Any complaints I have are nearly insignificant considering the tremendous weight given to simply liking my job. Sigh... I love it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Argh! Common sense, anyone?

It is sad when people die. Really, I'm not saying that we shouldn't care, but stop obsessing over every stinkin' illness with a fancy name.

People seem to forget that Mexico has 109 MILLION people and 108,999,000 of those are NOT sick, 108,999,900 have managed to stay alive. The US has 306 MILLION people, 305,999,960 of whom have managed to barely escape this deadly, frightening, terrifying pandemic and 306,000,000 million who have been able to hang on to their lives.

You know what kills 100,000 - 200,000 people every year? The regular ol' flu. Know what kills millions of people every year? Mosquitos. 630,000 people die from falls every year for heaven's sake.

Also, you know what crazy, nearly impossible to perform tricks we are being forced to subject ourselves to in order to avoid this terrifying menace? We are instructed to wash our hands, not sneeze or cough on other people, and stay home from work or school if we're sick. I mean, how the heck are we supposed to do ALL of those things?? We're not magicians!

So stop trying to scare us! Stop sensationlizing diseases! Just because you have 24 hours to fill on your news stations doesn't mean you have to make up stories!


Here are a few facts:

The 1968 Hong Kong flu pandemic killed 33,800 people. While no pandemics have surfaced since 1968, other pandemic "threats" have occurred in the 20th century, including the 1976 "killer flu" (later named "swine flu") threat in the United States which killed one person and led to a mass vaccinations, which killed approximately 25 people by giving them Guillain-Barré syndrome.

The most recent pandemic threats occurred in 1997 and 1999. Hundreds of people became infected with the avian flu virus, or bird flu, which killed six people. This virus was different as it moved from chickens to people, rather than moving through pigs first. Around 1.5 million poultry were slaughtered in Hong Kong to contain the threat.

This newest threat has hit Mexico: 86 deaths had been deemed "likely linked" to a deadly new strain of the flu virus by health authorities there. Viral testing has confirmed 20 cases, said Dr. Jose A. Cordova Villalobos, Mexico's health secretary, and Mexican authorities are investigating at least 1,000 cases of illness.


CDC overreaction (but in their defense, that's their job): CDC-swineflu


And now for the ridiculous reporting:

Mexico swine flu deaths spur global epidemic fears

Sunday, April 19, 2009

My tattoos

Most people are surprised to find out that I have a tattoo. They are blown away by the fact that I have four! I like that my personality and interests are varied, it makes me able to relate to a lot of different groups which, incidentally, makes me well-suited to my job. I also enjoy breaking stereotypes. So, what are the tats?

On each ankle I have a kidlet's name. These were my first ones. I had wanted a tattoo for years and my (now ex-) husband would never let me get one. Basically, he thought/thinks they are trashy stemming from the fact that his ex-girlfriend left him for a tattoo artist (and frankly, was a bit trashy). Finally, when Paige was six weeks old (2001) he relented when I said I wanted the kids' names. So off I went, becoming the first person to nurse while Frank tattooed. :-) They are actually the same size and intensity, I'm just a lousy photographer.





The next one has a long, somewhat more personal story than I need to put here, but the final product (2004) is a reminder that even when things seem to be going poorly, I always make it through. God obviously designed me to be resilient and I need to be reminded to give thanks sometimes. The Roman numerals for 2003 signify a pretty bad year when looked at from the outside; my car was broken into, my house burned down, my grandma got really sick, I was hospitalized, etc. You name it, I think it happened but every one of those things had some sort of silver lining and I not only made it through, but I am a better person for it. The ocean motif signifies where I belong and where I will be when Paige graduates high school.




The newest addition (2008) is incredibly, um, unique. LOL It's a giraffe and treehouse. Sometimes in life I start to get bogged down and fantasize about a perfect, easy life of leisure where I just lounge about and maybe live in a beautiful, serene treehouse where wood nymphs bring me things and unicorns take me places and maybe I have a pet giraffe... Then I remember that in order to truly appreciate the easy times I need to work for them. If everything was handed to me then what would I have to look forward to but more of the same. This perfect life would become mundane, not having any troubles would become boring. And remember, life is exactly that ridiculous, don't take it so seriously! The giraffe is also an inside joke with a very good friend. It has come to be a reminder that there is at least one person who thinks I'm fantastic and worth all the trouble it takes to be my friend and that I shouldn't settle for someone who I can't be myself around. I came across this unattributed quote that sums up lot of what this tat is supposed to remind me of: "Until you decide you are worthy of more, you will be content with less."



So that's the breakdown of my body art. I love all of them and will probably get more (they are so addictive!) someday. I like that they signify important periods of my life and all have real meaning, I didn't just get them because everyone else has one. I mean, not that a dolphin or butterfly wouldn't be pretty, it's just not my style to fit in. The placement also follows that same thought, the two big ones are on my legs where I can see easily them and the names are on my ankles where it's not a lot of effort to see them. I don't want to have to contort my body or use a system of mirrors to see them, they are for me, not the person sitting behind me!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Warning: Hippy Video

Great (although a bit long for our news bite society) video and website about where our "stuff" comes from and where it goes.

The Story of Stuff

The part that got me was about how it's impossible to pay $4.99 for something (in this case, a radio) and think that you possibly paid enough to have supported all the work along the way.

At one point I was much, much better about being a responsible care taker of our earth and its gifts. I am starting again.

Now.

Just because my community doesn't embrace recycling doesn't mean that I can't go the extra few miles to get my stuff to the recycling center. And just because shopping makes me feel good doesn't mean that it's worth it in the long run. And just because I like eating out doesn't mean that we should do it all the stinkin' time.

I got lazy because I am better than the average American about being wasteful but, for heaven's sake, the average American sucks at it! I can do A LOT better!

Thought for the day

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Friday, April 17, 2009

Friends, etc.

There is something about me that makes people want to talk to me, to tell me things that they don't tell most people. Seriously, for no apparent reason, people tell me their secrets and inner thoughts. I'm honored that they feel comfortable enough with me to do it. I suspect it is that I just ooze mom-ness. Babies are drawn to me, too. I always say that they can smell the mom on me. :-)

Examples:

  • A girl who was several years younger than me in highschool and the baby sister of someone in my class told me when I ran into her at Target one day that she was gay and had a girlfriend/wife and all about their life and how happy they were but not to mention it to anyone else because she hadn't told any family yet.
  • I have known about at least a half-dozen breakups before they happened because the person ran it by me first.
  • Many bar guests have told me things about their relationships and jobs that I have been told to keep to myself.
  • I have known about several pregnancies (of acquaintances and strangers), most of them unexpected, before anyone else.

I love being that person. I love that people can trust me with their secrets and know that I will offer good advice and not judge them harshly if they change their mind. I love that people sense that I can offer balanced, thoughtful, wise advice. It makes me feel like the job I'm doing on this little planet of ours is important even if I have no "respected" credentials. I am, though confused by it sometimes and I don't know how or why people know that about me before they really know much else about me. This was brought to mind tonight when I ran to the gas station for beer after work and had an incredibly long conversation with the attendant about DWIs and breathalyzers and how she got a DWI after a funeral and on and on and on.

I am not great (actually really bad) about maintaining long-term friendships. There are several people who have come into my life whom I would like to count as really good friends. I just let them fade away for no other reason than laziness. I'm afraid that it is because I am very good at cultivating many short-term intense friendships that I don't value highly enough the ones on which I should be focusing.

If I want to go out tonight, there are many people in my phone whom I could call and they would love to hang out. They don't call me and I don't call them, but I could if I wanted to. I don't. Maybe I should every once in a while and make an effort to be a good friend. It is so easy to just be alone, though or just to have one good friend at a time.

I think that it says good things about me that I can help aquaintances and strangers with advice without being friends. It reminds me that God is, in fact, looking out for me; I am important.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Educating is fun, but should be work!

I had a wake-up moment today. How I educate today might impact how parents in the future are allowed to educate their kids. I spend too much time just having fun with the kidlets and too little time being the teacher.

On my homeschool group email list there has been some discussion about logging hours. I have to admit that I am really lacking in several areas surrounding this issue.

The first is that I suck at documenting. No way around it, I just plain don't keep written records as diligently I should.

The second is that I am a pushover and pretty darn lazy (wait, that's two, isn't it?) when it comes to school.

The third is that I have a tendency to start great projects and then let them fizzle out (wait, that's laziness, maybe it goes with the second point).

I wasn't paying very close of attention to the discussion until a mom whom I respect a great deal, Stephanie Herrick, posted a reminder for us all. I want to share a quote from her eloquent and thought-provoking email. "To the degree we fail to police ourselves, we open the door to be policed by others. "

Just because we, personally, are not at great risk of being accused of educational neglect should not mean that I can be lax about holding our family to the highest level of accountability. Everyone I communicate with about what our homeschool looks like will forge an opinion about what ALL homeschools are like. Do I want the image they get from me to be the image they pass on to others? The law in Missouri is fantastic and allows for a great variation in teaching styles and emphases and keeping it that way is of paramount importance.

So, just because Levi can race through his handwriting lesson doesn't mean that I should let him do it every day. And next time Paige wants to count her paper craft making as art I should remind her that a hobby doesn't get to count everyday, somethings are for fun, not school.

So, is my homeschool above reproach? I need to make sure I like the answer to that question.

Friday, April 10, 2009

To Do List

Tomorrow (Saturday) is a big day. Here is the list: (updated at 3:00) (updated at 5:30) (updated Sunday)

  1. Wake up (sometimes a big deal to get around to). (check)
  2. Put washed stones in oven to make cool crayon covered polished paperweights. (check)
  3. Go pick up kidlets. (check)
  4. Feed kidlets (and me). (check)
  5. Use crayons to color warm stones. (check)
  6. Bake chicken for lunch and to make soup for dinner. (check)
  7. Feed kidlets (and me). (check)
  8. Boil eggs. (check)
  9. Shower all of us. (check)
  10. Color eggs using rubber cement to make swirly designs. (rubber cement drying as we speak)
  11. Set up incubator for incubation and embryology lab Monday (chick hatching). (check)
  12. Clean bathrooms. (check)
  13. Sweep and mop. (swept living room and school room) (check)
  14. Wash hundreds of water bottles and refill (perhaps minor hyperbole). (check)
  15. Vacuum dog hair from, well, everywhere, but especially couch where friend will be sleeping. (check)
  16. Laundry. (half way done) (3/4 done) (close enough)
  17. Dust. (check)
  18. Play with rats (pets, not free roaming). (check)
  19. Play stuffed animals with Paige (good mommy, but, honestly a bit tortuous, duty). (watched Wii and played Rescue Heroes instead)
  20. Groceries -raisins for hot cross buns, carrots and celery for soup, beer (I deserve it, darn it). (forgot I needed soy milk, dang.)
  21. Rent movie. (decided against it)
  22. Polish stone paper weights. (check)
  23. Entertain friend spending the night (probably Fluxx card game and movie). (check)
  24. Feed kidlets (and me and friend). (check)
  25. Make hot cross bun dough to bake Easter morning before work (yes, I "get" to work on Easter, yea). (forgot I needed soy milk, we'll make them tonight for tomorrow morning, Jesus won't mind a little Easter Monday celebrating, I'm sure)
  26. Relax, I have a night off work! (check, check, check)
Overall, Saturday was a fantastic day! It's amazing how much better my day is and how much more productive I am when I don't have to be worrying about getting to work and when I get the kids all day and night.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Dog Cake!

Of course Paige wants a dog cake, what on earth else would she want?! So, a dog cake she gets. This is my first attempt at such a thing, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out.

The body is strawberry and the rest is chocolate. It is covered with the easiest chocolate icing ever. It's just Cool-Whip and semi-sweet bakers chocolate. Melt it and it's a glaze, then whip it and it's an icing. I love it when things are simple!








Ta Da! Dog cake!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Best mom ever!

This is a story that really defines my sweet baby girl.

When I took her to pick out her birthday presents she told me it was the best present she had ever gotten and better than she could have hoped for! I'm super, right! Wanna know what amazing gift I let her pick out? Think it's the newest toy or doll or game? Nope, the best present my Paigey could get was...

TWO BABY RATS!

LOL That's my girl!


Skunk


Snowball



addendum: The two rats lasted a whole day and a half before Skunk escaped, oops. Why, oh, why didn't we get bigger ones??

Sunday, March 15, 2009

FLYlady

My housekeeping skills are...lacking (read: nearly non-existent). Several years ago (probably pre-Paige) I started the FLYlady system but, as with all my bright ideas, I didn't stick with it. I'm ready to try again, though. If you aren't familiar with her, she is a pretty common sense, although a bit too organized for me, housekeeper.

http://www.flylady.net/

I am not going full-on though, I've picked the things that make the most difference and actually bug me. So, here's my abbreviated FLY:

Spend 5 minutes a day, with the kidlets, on these things:

shine sinks (her personal number one)
sweep
straighten coffee table
straighten top of microwave
empty trash cans if needed
empty dishwasher if needed
dust
make to-do list
file or trash mail
fold clean laundry
make bed (read: throw duvet on straight)


Do one of these things each day so they get done at least weekly:

mop
change sheets
scrub tub
clean glass


That's it. Surely I can keep that up, right?? If that becomes a habit I might try to add in some of the other stuff she does, but even if I don't the house will be so much better!

Monday, March 2, 2009

TV

I have a new tv. No, I'm not happy about it, but it is really nice and I guess it's growing on me.

(note to ec: There, I posted about it, are you happy now?)

Monday, February 23, 2009

Flowers!

Sarah is so sweet! I am letting her stay here when she is working at the Capitol. It is the least I can do, I'm thrilled that she is willing to do it! So this afternoon, I walked into the living room to find this beautiful bouquet. Really, I should be buying her flowers for disrupting her life and school to keep our midwives legal.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Mommy goes shopping



I have a confession (anyone who has met me even once probably has figured it out) - I'm not great at "girl stuff." I don't know a lot about hair and makeup, I don't keep up with fashion, I don't remember important anniversaries, I don't follow celebrity antics, etc. As I've gotten older I've learned how to make myself look presentable, but that's about the extent of it.

BUT - yesterday, I spent the whole day with my best friend (who is male and infinitely more knowledgeable about fashion than I am) shopping, and not just the sales racks, either. Yup, store to store, matching things, putting together an outfit, even trying things on. I let salespeople bringing me recommendations and everything! Kara would be so proud. I have to tell you that it was actually a little fun - exhausting for sure, but fun. It might not be a bad idea to do this every once in a while (I mean like once a year, lets not get crazy or anything).

The people at Express were amazing. There were two girls who helped and both were so nice, made great suggestions, didn't laugh at me for being such a dork. The store was really comfortable to shop in, not all cramped but full of things, most of which didn't look ridiculous (there were a couple things that I just can't imagine someone actually wearing, but I guess they do...) I was happy to give my money to them. Maurice's was also really friendly and fairly inexpensive, New York & Company seemed a lot like I was interfering with their day by asking them do heinous tasks like open a dressing room door and take our money.

I did spend a lot. Like, maybe the total of all my other clothes put together, actually, maybe more...

So, here's the breakdown:

White jacket - very cute and warm and soft - Maurice's $50
Purple shirt - also soft, knit, long enough to hide the squishy tummy - Express $20
Bra - to look smooth and perky under the knit top and I really did need a new one - Express $28
Gray pants - dressy enough for the Capitol, but not stiff and uptight - Express $60 (holy cow, $60!)
White heels - pointy toes, crazy high heels, really sexy - Deb $20
White shirt - looks really cute on, hugs all the right places, hides the squishy ones - New York & Company $20 (the only thing on sale!)

I did let said friend buy the shoes and white shirt since it was his idea to go shopping in the first place (just because I only had two options for what to wear out) but, thank you tax refund and Dad's birthday money, the mall excursion didn't break me. All the things, with the exception of the shoes, are really me, too. I mean, a fancy, dolled-up version of me, but me nonetheless. Simple, comfortable, relatively practical.

Oh yeah, the reason I needed an outfit was that I had a birthday this week (yea, 34) and he was taking me out to dinner at the Forge and Vine in CoMo. I had a great time and the food was fantastic! The staff was great, even complimented my jacket when I got there, which was a super bonus. The server was so accommodating with my non-dairy-ness. He made suggestions, checked labels, talked to the kitchen. A chef-ish person came from the kitchen and even offered to make a cheese-less batch of pesto for me so I could have the Mediterranean chicken I wanted and I'm so glad he did it was unbelievable! And cheap, maybe I'm just used to the prices at my place, but a beautiful, heaping plate of food (12 oz chicken breast, artichoke hearts, kalamata olives, pesto) was only $13. Friend had a giant KC strip and lobster tail with potatoes and a cream sauce for $38! Even with salads and two drinks a piece, the bill was just under $100. Not that I paid, but it's nice to not feel like I was taking advantage of his generosity.

So, that's the story of my big day. :-)