Thursday, February 28, 2008

Can a Four Year Old Get a Tattoo?

Tonight, I'm coloring my gray. (Shhhhhhhh! It's a secret.) Isabel's on her little step-stool watching me and asks "Can I color my hair?" I say no, that it's for women and not little girls. She nods.

She then reaches for the bottom hem of my yucky hair-coloring shirt, pulls it up, and sees my butterfly tattoo on my hip. "Mommy's butterfly is on her tummy." She then pulls up her shirt, looks down and says "I don't have a butterfly. Hmm, I wonder where it is. Let's go FIND IT!" and off she runs.

I have a friend who was a step-dad to two boys. The boy's mom took them on vacation to Mexico one Spring Break...and got them tattoos. Tattoos. They were 14 and 17 at the time. Fourteen & 17?? And you let them get a tattoo? When I heard this I said "What?!?! What the hell? He's 14! Like he even KNOWS what he wants on his body say, 20 years from now!! What is wrong with her?" My guy friend is in his 40's and he never got a tattoo because he could never decide on anything. My friend did not go on this vacation. He was working to help pay for this vacation. (They have since divorced). He did not approve at all, but when it came to her sons, he had no say. (that in itself is a whole other issue). My son is 14. NO, you are NOT getting a tattoo, Jake!

Isabel and I ran about the house, ransacking things, with her saying "Nope, not heeeere!" and eventually settled on taking down one of her silk butterflies stuck on her wall. She pulls up her shirt, puts it to her stomach and says "Nope, too big."

I think tomorrow I'm going to Target on my lunch break. I saw some cute temporary tattoos there. *grin*

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Heyyyyy, Must Be The Moneyyyyy

Lunch break. I'm at the grocery store to stock on snacks for the office. Good snacks like bananas, apples and granola bars. I have 4 items and head towards the '15 items or less' lane. And I see....Miss Pants-Too-Tight with about 50 items. I'm on my lunch break and Miss PTT can't be bothered to, you

So I'm standing there, a little perturbed when over comes her boy friend, who by the conversation, was the one who chose the lane. He's maybe 5'7", very wide across the belly, with a thick gold necklace around his neck. I think to myself "Huh?" Cause .. Miss PTT is quite attractive. I know I am wrong for saying so, but you know I am right. Miss PTT is thin, with a rather ample (fake?) bosom, long black hair, blue eyes, dressed to the nines. And here's Mr. Man looking...plain. Maybe it's LOVE. Maybe I'm cynical. It could be love.

As I walk to my car, I see him loading his 12 bags of groceries from the '15 items or less' lane into his Hummer, and I laugh.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Dante's Purgatory and Paradise

I am DONE with these works of Dante. UGH. It was long and painful. Purgatory was boring, boring, boring. I am sorry, Dante. I guess reading a book written in the 1300's and translated in the early 1900's is a bit much for even my modern mind. Paradise was a little better, a little. I can't even give it a review, my brain is numb.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Welcome to High School...Now Declare Your Major!

I had a 7:30 a.m. meeting at Jake's new high school this morning. The high school has a dedicated gifted counselor. She called me to set up an appointment to go over Jake's curriculum. I was actually a bit relieved. We went to the open house a month or so ago, for 8th graders going in to 9th and it was overwhelming. Too much info to take in and I thought, "How the hell are we going to know what to sign him up for?"

They have a set curriculum for gifted students, set to get them into college, even helping them get the credits they need to get a couple of Florida scholarships. AP classes, Pre-IB classes, etc. etc., two books he has to read this summer (Of Mice and Men and Fahrenheit 451 - I read 'Of Mice & Men' last year and 'Fahrenheit's' on my list to read, so I told him we'd read it together this summer and talk it over) AND he has to declare a "major." LOL I said "Seriously?" He said he was interested in Music, and they have a Music major, broken into something like Choral and instrumental.

The woman was really nice and assuaged some fears I had with regards to the school. She said she knew that the school had been in the news last year (gang-related), but that was NOT the norm. She told him that she knows his middle school does not give a lot of homework (they don't!) and to be ready for tons. Joy.

High School sure has changed since my day...when we walked barefoot, uphill (if we had hills in Florida) in the snow (you know, if we had snow.)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Make an Appointment

Today, we went to JCPenney to have the kids pictures taken, for Isabel's birthday. She turns FOUR next week!! Holy cow.

The mall opened at noon. We got there early and their doors were locked, so we had to wait until a little after 12:00 for them to open the door. Our appointment was at 12:00 so I don't know why they don't do it for 12:05 p.m. The photo studio lady related a story of a woman who just ran to the photo studio and demanded she be seen without an appointment because no one was there yet. We got there at 12:05. She must have sprinted. This lady was rude to the photographer and told her she was going to write to JCPenney corporate to complain.

That's o.k. I got an on-line survey on my receipt and wrote how terrific this JCP photographer was. So there!

Friday, February 22, 2008

The Wheel of Fortune

The Wheel of Fortune, she does-a-turn, does she not? If you're thinking Pat & Vannah, you've got the wrong wheel.

The Wednesday before we flew to Chattanooga, David's car broke down. He called at 11 p.m. and I had to leave Jake in charge while I went to get him (about an hour or more round-trip). Remember, we had to get up around 5:30 a.m. to make the airport.

We did the whole mini-vacation and came back. Since Monday was President's Day, Jacob was off school. He stayed with Iz while David drove me to work, and then proceeded to spend the next 8 hours attempting to fix the car.

Yes. David.

The guys at my work offered to help, but we were so busy, they could not take longer lunches to go help.

David, covered in dirt and grease from head to toe, took out the alternator and went to an auto parts store where they told him it was fine. He put it back in the car, took the battery out to the same store to get charged. (The battery's less than a year old - something was draining it). He put the charged battery back in the car, drove it to the same auto parts store, where they tested the entire car and said.....the alterator's messed up. *banging head*

My main mechanic agreed to help....only he had to leave out of the country on company business and won't be back until Monday.

We've been using one vehicle since Monday, my Jeep which now smells like onions & pepperoni. Not happy.

Hopefully, my main mechanic at work can work some miracles during his lunch break and we can get the car, which is parked at my work, going again.

BTW, Jake had IZ ALL day. Fed her breakfast & lunch, took her potty several times and kept her occupied. He's so awesome.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Happy Birthday Mom!

SaturDAY was spent letter boxing with Isabel, which was not so much of the fun as I was perpetually worried she would fall of the side of a cliff. Here we are, near Craven's House, part of the Battle at Lookout Mountain.

Isabel and Daddy are SO STRONG!

We celebrated David's Mom's sixtieth fortieth birthday party, as well as Justin's birthday party on Saturday night.

The birthday gal, taking a picture of the birthday guy.

A Yummy mint chocolate cake made by David's sister.

We flew home Sunday morning and were at home before noon.

Monday, February 18, 2008

A-Hunting We Will Go

Friday the 15th, we went with David's dad out to letterbox. David's mom stayed in with Isabel. We chose a letterbox that was a good hike. That's the down side of Florida letterboxing; our trails a rather boring compared to everywhere else.

The hike was probably about 2 miles round-trip. It was a beautiful, perfect day for a hike. Jake kept commenting how terrific it all was.

We eventually found the box (yay!) and logged in. The hike wore us out, so we went back home for a break and lunch. We them opted for some more urban-style letterboxing, so Isabel and Tricia could come along.

Isabel and David check out the Chattanooga Choo Choo.

Check out the WICKED scary glass bridge we walked on!

Tricia TOTALLY got in to the letterboxing, but we could not find what we were looking for. For the day, we were 3 for 4.

That night we all ( 9 adults, & 6 kids) did Pizza and Rock Band. Kevin RAWK'D the Metallica! Who knew?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Off to Lookout Mountain.....

I love going to Lookout Mountain. It is so beautiful up there. We headed up for David's mom's sixtieth fortieth birthday celebration. We flew on Valentine's Day - so romantic, and arrived in the a.m. David's Mom picked us up and brought us back home.

We took Isabel to go take a gymnastics class with her cousins. David's sister runs a Gymnastics school and she loaned us a unitard for the "little ones" class.

Here they are, Isabel with her aunt holding her, Isabel's youngest cousin on the beam and one of her older cousins on the ground. Another student is in the background.

Happy Birthday Justin - 02/13/08

Yea Yea, we're late. Sorry, but we were busy, what with the flying and all. :) Don't look at me like that now!

Discount Flying is Terrifi....Wait, What?

David's mom was turning sixty forty so we thought we we head on up using Allegiant Airlines. $29 one way. TWENTY NINE. Can't beat that with a stick. We figured by the time you add the tons of taxes & fees we'd still be at $40 one-way, or $80 round-trip per person. Sweet!


Allegiant charged us a $39 convenience fee, for conveniently being able to use on-line rather than go to the airport, I suppose.

Then....the web site asks me to choose seats. Every time I clicked a added $11. Per Seat. Each Way. I could not get around it. Every time I tried to click through, it told me I had not completed the page. Another $88 added. Then there were bag fees. I had to check in Isabel's car seat - $10.00. and I checked a large bag for us - another $10.00. We could have done carry-on only, but I was really not in the mood to drag four small carry-on's, plus my purse and Jake's backpack and Isabel's backpack. WAY too much to keep track of.

By the time it was all said & done, we spent around $140 each round trip instead of $80.00 each. It's still cheap, and much better than driving 9 hours up there! But seriously, nickel & dime much?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And Also....

I am NOT TOO NICE. I am so sick of hearing that I am too nice, at work, by my family. The people who say I am too nice need to get over it. Suck it up and GO, people. Move on. Deal. I am too old to be holding stupid grudges against stupid people for stupid things that happened 20 years ago. Give. It. A. Rest. I am not too nice. I am an Adult. Life is too short to act all offended.

The fact that I choose to have civil social interactions does not mean "I am too nice." It means I don't care to squabble over stuff that I've already forgiven. It means I am compassionate, it's not a weakness, it's humanity & civility. It means I don't want to be 60, 70, 80 years old and be all alone because I was too stubborn and held grudges with everyone. Alone. Lonely. You want that?

This message brought to you by PMS. PMS: Don't Leave Home Without It!

Bad Cop

I am TIRED of playing the Bad Cop!!

Why do *I* get to be the one who makes her brush her teeth at EIGHT O'CLOCK AT NIGHT?? You had ALL DAY WITH HER. You couldn't stop and help her brush her teeth??

Why do I have to be the one to give her a bath?? Nine out of ten times, it's me!

Why am *I* the one making her to use the potty when she has to go # 2, and I make her cry, while you get to be the hero and hand her a Pull-Up?? She's almost 4!!!

WHY has that outfit been sitting on the couch for two days? Do you think it will move by magic??

I am NOT filling out the family reunion forms that sat for OVER A WEEK on the coffee table. I moved them. If you find them, YOU fill them out. If you don't, I guess we're not going.


This message brought to you by PMS. PMS: The Fabric of Our Lives.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where the Red Fern Grows

Because I'm stuck literally in Purgatory, I took a break and read "Where the Red Fern Grows" by Wilson Rawls.

red fern grows

Written in 1961, and set even earlier, this sweet tale is about a young boy and his hunting hounds, Old Dan and Little Ann. It shows country life at a time when it was a wonder and a dream. Billy saves for two years, an incredible feat for a boy, to save $50, to buy two hunting dogs. The story told from Billy's eyes, is a coming-of-age tale. It is bittersweet, and although I did not cry, my eyes teared up at the end, with Little Ann's actions. It was sad that his parents never truly understood the depth of his love for those dogs. A book more for children, I read it just because I never had as a child.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Dear Bald Guy....

Magic Eraser

I heart You. You RAWK.

Seriously. First time I've ever gotten one. I was showing Jake how cool this thing is, and he took off with it, cleaning random stuff. The railing going up the stairs, the fridge handle, the wall going up the stairs, the door sections around the door knobs and locks. He was a cleaning fool.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Come on Over!

LOL - Ryan finally made it out of Ocala National Forest, or got to somewhere where there's a phone, and uploaded his Central Florida stories......and hinted that my house would be great for a letterboxing carving party. LOL

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Abandon All Hope (Dante's Inferno)

All hope abandon, ye who enter here! - Dante Alighieri, The Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri

It's not a comedy. The word used back then meant something that starts off bad and eventually ends well. Not "Comedy - ha ha."

I'm reading La Commedia de Dante. All of it: Inferno, Purgatorio & Paradiso. Written in the years 1308-1321.

Again, I say: All hope abandon, ye who enter here!

Unfortunately it is slow going. I must have complete quiet when I read this. Hence, the slow going. How often do I get complete quiet? Exactly. I am currently in Purgatory, and I mean that in both the literal & figurative sense of the word.

Inferno, or Hell, was a very interesting book. Many of you know what's in it, you just don't know you know. I didn't but as I read I remember things and say "Oh yea!"

You got your 9 levels of Hell.
Dante\'s Inferno

Dante, the author, is also the main character. Trying to get away from a mountain lion, he's led away by the spirit of the poet Virgil.....through hell. couldn't go up a hill or something?

Virgil's a good soul, just not baptized, so he's at the upper-most level of hell. He can't even make purgatory becaue he was never baptized. Bummer.

The story tells of the descent into the 9 levels of hell and all the people down there. They have to walk through it to get to the other side. Too long to explain, my dears. Wiki that if you want more.

My main interest is that this Italian man had some serious nerve for the 1300's. Here he is, putting to blast all of the political, rich, religious people of his time. He's calling out POPE'S for Pete's sake, and putting them in hell! Back then, that was not a joke. Imagine putting your political enemy down in level 3 or 8?

There are people swimming in ordure (feces - I had to look that one up), people stuck in walls, head-first, while feet get fire set to them. Men who prostitued their women (wives, sisters) get beaten with whips by demons. Pretty crazy stuff.

There is even an instance of a man's spirit being in hell, but Dante knows full well that the man is alive and well up on Earth. Why?

"Methinks thou mockest me" says Dante. "For Bianca Doria never hath died, but doth all natural functions of a man, eats, drinks, and sleeps and putteth on rainment"

"Know that the soul, the moment she betrays, as I did, yields her body to a fiend who after, moves and governs it at will," says Doria

Does this remind anyone of some lore we know? Little hint:
angel and spike

Finished Inferno a week or so ago and I am now ever-so-slowly making it through Purgatory.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Turtle in Our Home

After lunch, Jake & I drove Ryan back to our house, where I showed him into the furnished guest room (not to be confused with the one that has just a mattress on the floor, tons of books and toys) so he could drop his pack and take off his shoes and relax.

We went back downstairs where David and Ryan talked about the Florida Trail. David hiked a lot of it in 2002-2003, so he brought out his maps to compare to Ryan's maps.

I also asked what strawberry leather was, as he mentioned it a few times in his blog. He went up to his room to bring down some for us to share. Yum! It's like a THICK fruit rollup.

They talked shop, while I finished icing the carrot cake I made before I left for lunch. Isabel woke from her nap, came down stairs and stopped dead in the foyer when she noticed a new person in the room. She stood firmly planted there until David went over and picked her up.

Ryan got on the computer a bit, then came back down to watch Jake play Guitar Hero while we discussed his trips to South America, speaking Spanish, differences in cultures, etc. etc. ....and he showed me his feet. LOL

David was starved by then because he hadn't eaten lunch, so I helped him prepare dinner, although I was still kind-of full from that great lunch. We made chicken & steak fajita meat on the grill, then cooked up some onions, peppers and fajita sauce to put the meat into. Spanish rice, refried beans, avocados, sour cream, lettuce, salsa, tortillas and cheese were all laid out and we created ginormous burritos that I could barely eat.

Ryan went back upstairs and finished some work on a new feature he'd been developing for Atlas Quest. He showed us some behind-the-scenes stuff, and had Jake enthralled with his portable hard drive. Ryan installed something to Jake's portable drive which thrilled Jake to no ends and he continues to play with it.

Meanwhile, Isabel went to bed while David sat behind Ryan playing Call of Duty 4 and being very loud over his head set. *groan* That's my geek.
(Ryan, I completely forgot to offer you our phone! Free nights and weekend and I never even thought to ask if you needed to use it!. I bet you were just too polite to ask. Gahh! My bad.)

We exchanged signature stamps and a cool traveler he had for this journey.

He looked up in this picture beause he didn't want the flash to hurt his eyes. (you can click on the pictures to make them bigger. Notice the books on the hutch? All HP books, Buffy Guides, Angel Case Files and Firefly Companions - Yea! and a picture of Vicky's Chihuahua Diva).
We do a retake...and David takes so long, I fought to not blink. Here's what THAT picture looks like.

Yea, nice one.
Since I had to get up the following morning, Monday, VERY early for work, Ryan opted to sleep in and have David and Isabel drive him back to Lake Mary later in the day. I put a towel and soap in his room, gave him a hug and went to bed. That's the last I saw of the Green Tortuga.
The next morning, after a shower and breakfast, David and Isabel dropped him off in Lake Mary between 10 and 11:00 a.m. and off he went. He signed our guest book in the foyer and even stamped it.
So, that's our story. A nice (boring) stay at home with us.

Monday, February 4, 2008

A Turtle Comes To Visit

Some of you know that we letterbox. Others may not. We've been doing it since 2002, but didn't even know there were message boards, etc. until about 2005, when we accidentally stumbled onto Atlas Quest off of someone's clues (that'd be Desi & Darren's) that linked back to Atlas Quest, or AQ.

AQ people, bear with me. I have to"ejoocate" my other friends.

AQ's the brain-child of a computer programmer/hiker/letterboxer named Ryan. He had some time of leisure and decided to flex his programming MUSKLES by working on a letterboxing website.

Years later and this is one huge community with over 16,000 member and almost 40k traditional boxes planted (love me that AQ stats page).

Ryan enjoys hiking...a lot. He already did the Appalachian Trail, all 2,173 (or 2175 according to the website) miles of it, from Georgia to Maine, by himself, in about 6-7 months in 2003.

Now in 2008, he has decided to hike the Florida Trail. What? Never heard of it? Yes, there's an actual Florida Trial. Here's the map. He actually started in the Keys and is working his way up North.

His comments are here. And also here.

A few Florida Letterboxers have been helping out along the way, giving him rides to starting spots, picking him up along the way for lunches and hot showers and comfy beds at their places.

Ryan made it up to Chuluota (Central Florida) on Saturday night and spent time with some letterboxing ladies. There are pictures...involving feet. :P They dropped him off at the same place Sunday morning, so he could do some more hiking before our planned lunch. Jake & I went while Isabel napped at home with David.

Ryan ended up on the other side of I-4 from the restaurant, so I left and picked up the crazy hobo-looking guy by the pay phones at the 7-Eleven.

Photo by ThreeHearts (Kim)

We had a fun time at lunch...

Photo by ThreeHearts (Kim)

Photo by Jacob.

Photo by Kaaren

Sits-N-Knits decides Ryan needs a shave..with a butter knife.
Photo by Kaaren

More pictures and the rest of the story when Ryan comes home with us, for another post.

Saturday, February 2, 2008



Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire

What a terrific book. I thoroughly enjoyed this one. I was trepidatious at first, having been told it was a little raunchy, overly sexual.

Mr. Maguire takes us to Oz, but in a totaly different way than Lyman Frank Baum did. We're seeing life through the eyes of the Witch, Elphaba. It's not all cheery and pretty. Munchins aren't teeny, they're just shorter than most people. There are two separate classes of animals: animals and Animals. The ones with the capital letters are sentient beings. They teach schools, they hold jobs, they have purpose (explains the Lion). There are cities, and countries. There's religion, politics, magic. There's a society run by a Regent called Ozma. Then, a man lands in a balloon. This man, a self-proclaimed Wizard overthrows the kingdom and names himself Ruler of OZ. Slowly, life changes. Animals lose their rights little by little. The government and the Wizard take over. It's not your mother's Oz, that's for sure.

We meet a preacher out in the back woods swap land, with a bored and promiscuous wife. Oh, and she's pregnant. Out comes....a green baby. Is she half elf or dwarf? Or is she, as her father states, a punishment from the Unnamed God? Punishment for not stopping his city from viewing a raunchy puppet show that almost told the future, that caused the villagers to go a little wild?

We meet Elphaba as an infant and toddler; she spurned and shunned by everyone, even her mother. We fast forward and meet her again as she attends college in Shiz, a city next to Emerald City. Her political and social views are forever moulded here. Her roommate is Galinda, a snooty rich girl. She befriends and Munchinklander named Boq. They work together to help Professor Dillamond, a Goat, fight against the Animal oppression being instilled by the Wizard's government. We see friendships bloom as a small group of friends join together. We meet Elphaba's younger sister, a beautiful girl named Nessarose...born with no arms. We see Professor Dillamond get killed, Galinda gaining knowledge and strength though his death and changing her name to Glinda, and Elphaba losing hope and running away from school.

We fast forward again to later years, in her mid to late 20's when she is accidentaly found by an old college chum, Fiyero, a man from the land of the vinkus, who is dark skinned with blue diamond shaped tattoos. She wants not to be found, she's been doing dangerous works with an underground rebellion, but she clings to this college friend. And they begin a love affair that ends in tragedy.

We meet her in her 30's. She's saddled with a child named Liir, with whom she has zero connection to. Is it her son? He's not green like her or dark like Fiyero. Who is he?

We see her sister Nessarose, who became a powerful ruler in Munchkinland, get crushed by a house. We see her questing for the shoes that her father crafted for her sister and that Glinda gave to Dorothy either out of pity or to get them out of Munchkinland (they were seen as an evil item, because the Munchkinlanders did not approve of Nessarose ruling through religion). We meet Dorothy, we experience the Witch's demise.

The story deals with the idea of good and evil. Is there an entity: Evil? Is evil just the absence of good? Can someone be evil or just their actions? It's a book that makes you go hmmm.

I enjoyed the intrigue, the throught-provoking characters. I liked that I'm thinking of Mr. Baum's work as I am reading this one, and I'm smiling as I compare and contrast the two.

Is Elphaba evil? Is she really the Wicked Witch of the West? You decide.

"One Semester of Spanish" Spanish Love Song

One Semester of Spanish - Love Song

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