Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ten things on Tuesday

1.  The Princess can't stop smiling since she got her braces off yesterday.  She also appears to be incapable of walking past a mirror without checking out her new, sparkly smile.
2.  She gets her retainer on Friday.  It is, she tells me, pink with neon polka dots.

3.  I don't even know what to say about the pink with neon polka dots retainer, but I will be sure to post a photo of it!

4.  Jack, our humongous black kitty, is only 10 months old and this is his first Christmas.  He is fascinated with the tree and the ornaments, and I consider it a miracle that he hasn't knocked it all down yet.  The Boy is having fun with the super-soaker, trying to discourage Jack from attacking the tree.  So far, it is not working.  Jack is absolutely enchanted with the tree and thinks we put it up as a special toy just for him!

5.  Actually, both cats are enthralled with every aspect of Christmas.  They are especially enamored of the little Christmas doormats, which they consider their very own special napping spots.

6.  Christmas is coming early to the VK house, thanks to my mom.  She is getting a new refrigerator and is giving us her old one, which is only a few years old.  This is fantastic, because our refrigerator is 18 years old and decrepit and ornery and has rust spots all over the front of it.  We really, really need a new one, so I am thrilled!  

7.  I spent most of the morning yesterday calling around trying to get someone to pick it up and deliver it.  I also worked on The Princess's application for next year's school (high school) which I have been sadly neglecting.  

8.  In addition to the phone calls and the application, I spent yesterday sweeping and mopping the house, doing laundry, looking at new pointe shoes with the Princess, grocery shopping, book shopping, driving The Princess to dance, nagging The Boy about homework, and making arrangements for the Salvation Army to pick up the old, rusty refrigerator.

9.  In other words, yesterday was just a typical day!

10.  And finally, a big thank you to the Schaefer clan for taking care of the house and critters for us last week.  They welcomed Lucy into their home and coddled and pampered her, plus they took care of the mail, the newspaper, and all of the other critters for us.  THANK YOU!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Fa la la la la.....and don't call me Shirley. (Updated)

Yesterday was decorating day.

I admit that I wasn't the jolliest ol' elf yesterday about putting the tree and all of the decorations up.  I kept thinking that I would just be packing everything back up in another month.  And while I can sometimes get the kids to help me decorate before Christmas (FYI: bribery works - more about that later), no one is EVER available to help with packing it all away after Christmas.  That is definitely a "mommy job."

I did convince the eldest child to put up the tree for me yesterday while his sister was at Nutcracker rehearsal...and he even decorated most of it for me too! Apparently, he was so overcome by the Christmas spirit that he decided to do a little "decorating" of his own...

I'm not certain how enamored Lucy is with the Santa hat, but she is a good sport!

To get the boy to do this, however, I had to promise to make this...

When Mr. Wonderful and The Princess arrived home from Nutcracker rehearsal, they found the house all decorated (with a few ornaments set aside for The Princess)...

We had a lovely dinner of "Mom's ultimate hamburgers" and lemon-cream cheese-cake for dessert.  Afterwards, in my own humble way, I informed my satiated children of just how lucky they were to have me for a mother.

My son made a sarcastic retort about how possibly Martha Stewart might have been a better mother (because apparently his deluded teenage brain thinks it is possible that she is a better cook than moi.  Ha!)

And then...

Then my daughter, my sweet little angel...the light of my life....THREW ME TO THE WOLVES!

She said, "I don't know...doesn't she keep her house all clean and tidy all the time?"


I told her to open her mouth as wide as possible and gently remove her foot.

And then I pouted.

OK, not really...I laughed.

It was either laugh or cry.
I will be back later today posting pictures....because the PRINCESS gets her braces off today!

This post is dedicated to actor Leslie Nielson, who passed away yesterday at age 84.  Thanks for the laughs, Mr. Nielson!

Update #1:

The Princess got her braces off this morning.

She says that her teeth feel "slimy" now.

She also can't stop smiling!

Update # 2:

Mr. Wonderful walked into a door last night.

No, really - he walked into a door!

Poor Mr. Wonderful.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

'Tis the season....

Yesterday the kids and I put up Christmas decorations - no tree yet, but almost everything else is up.  I also ordered our Christmas cards and pulled all of the Christmas CDs out...It's starting to look (and sound) a lot like Christmas...

But I'm not ready!

This week I am going to try to get organized.  The Princess gets her braces off in the morning (and trust me, she is counting the hours until 10 AM!)  Next weekend also begins the Nutcracker takeover of our lives.  She will begin rehearsals both weekend days until the performances the weekend of December 17, 18 and 19th.

(For ticket information, click here)

Added to her regular ballet classes, this means we will be driving P downtown 6 days per week...45 minutes each way.


Anyway, the point is that I'm am getting a little bit flustered thinking about everything that I still have to do before Christmas!  

Shopping, cleaning, decorating, baking, mailing....plus the usual crazy-making activities!  

It's enough to make a mom crazy.

I'm going to go put Josh Grobin on the CD player, light my Christmas candle and hope for some inspiration.....

Friday, November 26, 2010

There's no place like home!

I'm back!

We went to Michigan to visit Mr. Wonderful's family for Thanksgiving.  I'm exhausted, so I'll just give a brief synopsis of the past few days:

*All of my fretting over what to do if we were singled out for a body scan was for naught.  We took off our shoes, deposited our liquids in the little bins, and scooted right through security without any hassles at all.  

* We also didn't have any problems getting on the flight out of here.  When we arrived in Chicago we ran from one terminal to the other and managed to get on the early flight into Michigan just as they were announcing the final boarding call.  It was rainy and windy in Chicago and the flight over the lake was bumpy.  Really, really bumpy.  But we arrived safely and relatively hassle-free by 10:00 am...
YAY!! We're always happy when we get on a plane...especially when we get to sit in First Class...

C was engrossed in his book...
The weather in Chicago was yucky...

* After taking a nap (we DID wake up at 3:00 Am after all!), we went to the grocery store with Gramma to stock up on food.  Because teenage boys like to eat.  A lot.   As we walked out of the store, The Princess and I looked at each other and made a face at the rainy, gloomy weather and said how yucky it was. Immediately afterwards, we heard Gramma saying, "Isn't this just wonderful weather for this time of year?"  We giggled.  

*The next morning when we woke up to frigid, ridiculous, freezing temperatures, we weren't giggling anymore.  The day we arrived the high temperature was around 60 degrees (albeit rainy and gloomy).  The next day the high was in the upper 30's.

* Mr. Wonderful, his brother (Uncle Wonderful) and the kids went to see the "Bodies Revealed" exhibit at the Grand Rapids Public Museum where they saw stuff like this...

*  Their tickets to the exhibit also allowed them to ride the carousel...

Even Mr. W and Uncle W...who looked like they were having as much fun as the kids!

* I stayed home with Gramma (where it was warm and cozy) and made homemade chicken noodle soup and read my book.

*  We visited with Mr. Wonderful's family and ate a lot.  Really, a lot.  Pizza, and honey-baked ham, and apple pie and lemon meringue pie and cookies.  And then for Thanksgiving we ate even more.  
The cousins, T & C

*  The Boy drove Gramma's car and acted silly...
Looking good, boys.

* The kids were very disappointed that in spite of the ridiculously frigid temperatures and gray skies, it didn't snow.  Finally, this morning there were a few flurries just as we were about to leave for the airport.  The Princess ran outside to try to catch some snowflakes on her tongue...
*  The kids loved being able to spend time with Gramma this week...

*  But...all good things must come to an end.  Once again, we had no trouble getting on our flights - getting through security was fine, and we even sat in First Class all the way home.  
The boys relaxing as we taxi out...

The Princess reading her book...

Aren't the clouds pretty?

Over Lake Michigan...


* Although we had a wonderful visit with family, and pleasant, on-time flights with wonderful crews, and the airports were empty (was everyone at the mall?)...we're very happy to be home.  I can't wait to sleep in my own bed, with my own pillow!

* Also, while it was nice to have a little break from the internet, I'm very, very thankful to be back in the land of wi-fi, and facebook, and blogs.  I've missed you, World Wide Web.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The one where I talk about a dilemma and beg for feedback. Please!

We might be hopping on a plane this week to visit family for the holiday.  I say that we "might be" hopping on a plane because, for those who do not know this, we are an airline family and we fly space available.  Hence, we never really know for sure if we are getting on a plane or not.  I check the loads and the weather, and then we go to the airport and keep our fingers crossed.  It usually works.

That's not my dilemma though.

(By the way, I always thought dilemma was spelled dilemna but the spellcheck thing informed me it wasn't. And now every time I look at dilemma it bugs me because it doesn't look right to me.  Just in case you were wondering.)

But back to my dilemma.  I'm sure you've all been following the news about the new full body scanners in use in airports.  There has been a lot of controversy about these scanners because of the radiation that you are exposed to when going through them.  Mr. Wonderful is, supposedly, exempt from them because as a pilot he is already exposed to so much radiation while flying.  

But the kids and I are not exempt.  Personally, I'm not that concerned about the radiation aspect.  I am troubled by the images.  Oh, not for myself!  Frankly, if some dude sitting in a booth somewhere wants to look at images of my saggy, flabby 47 year old self - more power to him.  But you see, I have a 14 year old daughter.

I absolutely, unequivocally do not like the idea of some anonymous person somewhere looking at images of my 14 year old daughter's body.
And while they say that the images are discarded...well, I'm not convinced.  Particularly after images from the Orlando Federal Courthouse's scanner, which were also supposed to have been discarded, began popping up this week.  I really, really do not like the idea of images of my daughter's body floating around somewhere.

But what is my alternative?

If we refuse the body scan, she will be subjected to a pat down.  An "enhanced" pat down.
I'm not really enamored of the thought of someone touching my 14 year old daughter's body either.

And so, my dear bloggy friends, I'm asking you...what should we do?  The body scan, which produces graphic images?  Or the pat down, which involves a TSA agent touching my daughter's body in ways she will definitely NOT be comfortable with?

A graphic, virtually naked image of my little girl or a stranger touching my little girl's body?

Have you experienced either the body scan or the pat down?  What should I do?

What would YOU do?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Sunup to sundown and some in-between too.

My day started with this...

And it ended with this...

In between was a lot of...

driving, running (errands), gathering, sorting, cleaning, folding, packing, vacuuming, mopping, shampooing (carpets and a dog), scrubbing, shopping, asking (The Boy to clean his room), charging (batteries), yelling (at The Boy to clean his room), dusting, wiping, and planning.

I also managed to sneak in a bit of wondering, talking, reading, hugging, and listening.

How was YOUR day?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Remembering a friend...

Here's the thing about a blog; sometimes no matter how hard I try, I can't come up with anything to say.  On the other hand, sometimes I have so many ideas floating around in my head that I can't organize my thoughts enough to get them out in a coherent manner.  When my head gets stuffed full of thoughts and ideas like that, sometimes I dream that I am blogging.  In my dream I will compose an entire post, inserting photos and typing and everything!

Is that weird?

Anyway, the thing about those dream posts, is that they are awesome!  They are always witty and wonderful.  Unfortunately, I can rarely remember them the next morning.  Maybe it is just my brain's way of emptying out the excess material.

For the past week or so though I have dreamed that I was blogging about an old friend.  

And I remember this dream.

Of course, I can't remember all of the witty and wonderful things from my dream...but I do remember the content of these amazing and insightful posts. 

The dream posts were always about this guy...
This is my friend, Ken.  I met him when I was at FSU in the mid 1980's.  We both worked at the Cinema-n-Drafthouse and Ken became like a surrogate older brother to me.

He was the one I could talk to about boys.  He thought the guy I was dating at the time was a jerk and wasn't good enough for me (he was right!) and he always told me that I should never settle.  Unfortunately, it took me a few more years of dating immature, selfish jerks before I finally believed him.

He taught me how to replace the headlight on my aging Toyota.  When the battery died, he came and got me and showed me how the clean the connections with coca cola, and then he taught me how to replace the battery.  

When I was sleeping on a friend's living room sofa for a couple of months while waiting for an apartment, he invited me to stay in HIS apartment, which had an empty bedroom.  He wouldn't let me pay rent - instead I bought food, cleaned, and cooked (the only things I knew how to cook - Chicken Tetrazzini and cookies!) for Ken and his roommate.  Luckily for me, college boys aren't too particular about what they eat!

After Ken graduated, he moved back home to Coral Gables for a bit before getting a job as a pilot for Pan Am Express.  We stayed in touch for years.  I stayed at his parent's home in Coral Gables for week after he graduated and we talked almost every week until around 1988.  I sent him care packages of (what else?) cookies, and I still called him to ask his advice about (again, what else?) boys.  He encouraged me to apply for my first airline job.

We lost touch when he started a new job and moved at the same time that I was starting a new job and moving.  I was never worried - I always had a sense that I would run into him in an airport or on an airplane some day.  I took it for granted that we would see each other again...after all, we were young and healthy and had our entire lives in front of us.  We both worked in the airline industry - of course we'd be in touch again!

Many years later, after fruitlessly searching for my friend online for several weeks, I found his obituary.  My buddy, my surrogate big brother, was killed in a car accident in November of 1996.  He left behind a wife and two young sons.

So this post, this post that I dreamed about, is dedicated to my friend.  He's gone now, but I want the world to know what an amazing person he was.  He was funny, and generous, supportive and kind.  

I want the world to know what an impact he had on my life.  He taught me to value myself, and encouraged me to go after my dreams. He believed in me.

I loved my buddy, my big brother.
I miss him.

And I will never forget him.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Undeniable proof of the absurd and preposterous

I was perusing photos on my memory card, and I realized that I had ironclad proof of the insanity of my children.   

The photos start out relatively normal...
The kids taking the dogs for a run...

But then....
C made a pilates mat burrito out of Jack...

...and Gus.


I don't know.

Anyway, then the pictures revert back to (relatively) normal...

The boy helping The Princess with French homework....

Why isn't he wearing a shirt?

I don't know.

What can I tell you?  We've adopted a strict policy of "pick your battles" and a version of "don't ask, don't tell" when it comes to our kids.

The girl keeps telling us she could be a model.

She isn't even 5 feet tall.

Miss Hollywood.

I saved the best for last though.

Irrefutable proof.

Indisputable evidence.


I have absolutely nothing to say about this.

Except that he gets it from his father.


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