Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Lights of Christmas

Last night, we went with my mother-in-law to a huge holiday light display. Took us about an hour to walk through it. My pictures won't do it justice, but I thought I would share anyway!

This is the entryway:

The boys in front of a blue-lit tree.                     

Golden Koi and its reflection

Pretty tree

Close-up of boys in front of blue tree

Chandeliers hanging in the trees:



Saturday, December 27, 2008

Good holiday memories

We had a great Christmas. Things began a little rocky when my husband began to feel ill on Christmas Eve, just when we were finishing up the last wrappings and getting the boys off to bed so Santa could visit. He was seriously ill, vomiting and diarrhea. My husband is pretty stoic usually, won't take an aspirin for a headache most times. He was having a rough time of it this time. I felt so bad for him. He ended up falling asleep in the recliner around 9:30 p.m. I just left him there when I went to bed around 1 a.m.

However, before he fell asleep, Gilbert had managed to hook up the big Santa gift, a Wii, to the TV in the playroom. It's a small TV, but it is perfect for the boys to play games on and not take up my living room all the time! Anyway, Gilbert got the Wii ready for action, and then wrapped each of the three remotes separately (in wrapping paper not used for any other presents) and stuck them under the tree without tags. Then he fell asleep and I finished up wrapping his presents, did the stockings, and went to bed.

Gilbert came to our bed around 5 a.m., followed by Jacob at 5:30, who wanted to know if he could get up. I told him to go back to bed and wait until at least 6:30. What do you know, he did! I could hear him and his brothers talking, but they stayed in their beds until 6:30. Then did they hit the ground running!

So, let the festivities begin! The boys began passing out presents, opening then, and having a good old time. They finally happened upon the three wrapped Wii remotes, and couldn't figure out whose presents they were because "they aren't tagged!" I suggested that since there were three identical presents, maybe - just maybe - they were intended for them! Aha! That made some sense, so they proceeded to unwrap them. Jacob got his open before his brothers and was excited at first, then confused. "A Wii remote? Why would Santa get us Wii remotes? We don't have a Wii!" I was biting my tongue to keep from laughing. They kept going on and on about how it would be a great gift, if they had a Wii. Finally, I think it sank in that this couldn't be all there was to it. Then they started looking around. One of them opened the door to the playroom, followed by his brothers close on his heels, and there it was, in all its glory. They yelled, hollered, jumped for joy, danced a jig and even hugged each other! Such wild excitement! And , of course, they set to playing immediately...and pretty much haven't stopped. It is fun to watch, and fun to play, too. Had to test it out, doncha know?!

I got a new digital camera, which I wanted but didn't expect. Gilbert didn't get my gifts wrapped because he was sick (and because he waits until the last minute - see previous entry!). He felt badly about it, but id didn't bother me. It is just nice to get the presents! Haha!

We had a great, relaxing day, playing on the Wii and just bumming around. Later that evening we went to my in-laws' for Christmas dinner, where we had good fellowship and conversation, the boys racked up on Barnes and Noble gift cards and movie passes, and where we ate some wonderful food. It is always good to be with family.

Gilbert started feeling poorly again after we got home. Part of it was exhaustion, I think. We were all tired. The boys went straight to bed when we got home, and we followed soon after. I think everyone was sleeping by 10:00! A great ending to a great day, even though Gilbert was still puny. 

Some pictures of our day:

Jacob, Matthew, Andrew

handmade glass snowflake, created by Matthew

My guys, Christmas morning

Realizing Santa brought them a Wii!!!

Monday, December 22, 2008

The Adrenalin Junkie

That is the only explanation. My husband must be an adrenalin junkie! Why else would he wait until 3 days before Christmas to BEGIN his shopping? Especially this year, when he has had more consecutive free time at home in the last three months than in the last three years? He left this morning to be out the whole day, shopping. Oh, and did I mention he is a big Scrooge when it comes to crowds, so he will most likely be in a dandy mood when he gets home! Well, I guess he is a grown man. He did this to himself (but he did it to me, too! lol) He just better not make me suffer for it when he gets home.

That said, I love the bum.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

So proud!

All of my boys are taking piano lessons, and tonight was the Christmas party/recital. It was at the piano teacher's house, fairly informal, lots of party, a little bit of recital. This was the first time for Andrew and Jacob to play in front of anyone but their teacher or our family. They did so well! Didn't seem the least bit nervous! Andrew played Silent Night, and Jacob played We Wish You A Merry Christmas. Jacob was last, and the teacher had everyone sing the second time he played it. 

Matthew played also. This wasn't his first recital, but he hasn't done one in about a year, maybe more, so he was nervous. At least that is what he said. You couldn't tell it by looking at him! He had to play first, and his  piece was It Came Upon the Midnight Clear. He played beautifully!

I sang, also. It was a family affair! All we needed was Gilbert performing, and it would have been the entire family. I sang a lovely piece by Leo Sowerby titled Little Jesus, Sweetly Sleep. It is one of my favorites. I have performed it for the past two or three years at this party. The piano teacher loves it, too. She also asked me to sing a song called Old Toy Trains. I accompanied myself on the autoharp, and sang it mostly for the boys. Roger Miller wrote it, and it is a sweet, sweet song. You should look it up on google or youtube sometime and give it a listen! I hope to make a Christmas cd next year, and maybe I will put it on there. Gotta figure out copyright stuff first.

Anyway, the party was lovely, the food was great, the boys were fabulous, and we all had a wonderful time.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Saved in the nick of time

Last night, I thought dinner was doomed for sure. Spiraling down into the abyss of grumpiness that was Matthew. He had an issue that he just would not let go - thought he was being treated unfairly. Short story, his brother did something he wasn't supposed to do, then Matthew thought he should be allowed to do it. Ummm, no. We didn't allow Jacob to do it, he just did it. And got scolded for it, by the way. So, hell-to-the-no, you cannot do it too!! UGH!

But, lo and behold, all was saved in the nick of time! Andrew, with a mouth full of food, mumbled something that came out pretty much gobbledy-gook. Now, normally, he would have gotten the speech about talking with food in his mouth. But the mood was so dark already. Then Big Daddy, aka husband, chuckled. And repeated it back. Which made GrumpyPants, aka Matthew, giggle. I felt the mood lightening! So, of course, I have to go in for the kill, which meant telling stories of more incoherent speech, usually made by the boys at night while sleepwalking. They, having no memory of such things, thought this was hilarious. Oh, there was also the story of Husband and me waking up to find Matthew in our doorway, pretty much asleep, getting ready to pee. Thought he was in the bathroom, I guess! Anyway, riotous laughter and giggles was our dinner music for pretty much the rest of the meal. Hallelujah!

At one point, things had quieted down a bit (everyone was tired from laughing), when I hear Andrew going on about something. Went sorta like this:

"We ain't had nothing but maggoty bread for t'ree stinkin' days! Why can't we have some meat?!" 

Yes, Lord of the Rings rules at my house. For the next 15 minutes or so, Andrew, Jacob and Big Daddy recite every line in the scene from Two Towers where the Uruk-hai have kidnapped Pippin and Merry, and have stopped to rest. Some of the nasty guys want to eat the hobbits because

"We ain't had nothing but maggoty bread for t'ree stinkin' days! Why can't we have some meat?!" What about them, they're fresh!" "They are not for eating!"....all the way to "Looks like meat's back on the menu, boys!" (complete with accents)

It was rather impressive, I must say. And entertaining. Did I mention there were accents? 

So yes, Virginia, dinner was saved. In the nick of time. And we made some really fun memories in the process!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Get ready to make your brain ache!!

This is a brain-teaser that Matthew was given as math homework. It is hard! I am curious to have you try it, and see how you do! Please leave your answers in a comment when you have them. This should be fun!

Assign a value to each letter of the alphabet. Example: A=1, B=2, C=3, D=4, E=5, F=6, etc. See if you can come up with words whose letter values equal the given sum. Example: Write a three-letter word with a sum of 24. CAT (3+1+20)

1. Three-letter word with a sum of 15.
2. Four-letter word with a sum of 18.
3. Five-letter word with a sum of 24.
4. Three-letter word with a sum of 11.
5. Six-letter word with a sum of 32.
6. Six-letter word with a sum of 60.
7. Four-letter word with a sum of 22.
8. Three-letter word with a sum of 35.
9. Five-letter word with a sum of 77.
10. Any length word with a sum of 50.
11. Any length word with a sum of 100.
12. Any length word with a sum of 130.
13. Three-word sentence with a sum of 100.
14. Four-word sentence with a sum of 200.
15. Five-word sentence with a sum of 300.

Matthew is convinced that all of the single-word answers are supposed to rhyme. I am not so sure. I think that would make it virtually impossible. It is hard enough already!

On your mark, get set, go!! Don't forget to share your answers.

Friday, December 12, 2008


I happened to stumble upon this while doing some random blog surfing. Sorry, don't even know from whence it came...apologies to said blogger. I would acknowledge you, could I only find you again! I went to cut and paste these, and somehow lost you. Mea culpa, mea culpa.

That said, and given my previous post regarding Jacob's familiarity with email acronyms, I just had to post these! Gotta love it!

TBBGIIMC - This Better Be Good - I'm Ignoring My Children
ISSBFMFTC - I Smell Smoke But First Must Finish This Comment
BE - Banner Envy
PWCEBB - Proceed With Caution: Extremely Bitter Blogger
JHTMF - Just Here To Mooch Followers
SICS - Seizure-Inducing Color Scheme
ECIZ - Extreme Crafts Intimidation Zone
UMO - Unwarranted Music Onslaught
CPA - Comment Performance Anxiety
INTGTTBFFH - I've Needed To Go To The Bathroom For Four Hours

Thursday, December 11, 2008

And I was like, OMG!

We were sitting at dinner tonight, having a pretty decent time of it, when Jacob (7) began to tell what happened at school today. To give a little background, Jacob and his brothers have all been taking piano. They seem to love it, if the constant battle over the piano is any indicator, and have readily learned to play each other's songs. Andrew and Jacob especially enjoy playing the other's Christmas piece. At high speed, usually, and with one or more deliberate bastardizations...that, however, is another blog entry.

Apparently, at some point in time, Jacob mentioned to his teacher that he plays piano. She, in turn, mentioned that he should play for the class some day. No more thought was given to it by Jacob...until this morning. His teacher suggested he play for his class while they were in the gym today (the piano is in a room off of the gym). He thought she was kidding, until she reassured him she meant it. And, in his very own words: "I was like, O M G!! She didn't mean that, did she?!?!" 

Now, here is the thing. Jacob is 7. And doesn't do email. Well, except to his grandmother, who has no idea, I am pretty certain, what OMG means. So I have no idea how on earth he has even heard of OMG, much less knows what it means. (I asked. He does. Oh My Gosh. At least it was the less offensive version.) I so wanted to LOL, and pretty much just ROFL. I restrained myself, FWIW. But it was sooo hard. 


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Better late than never!

Last night, the twins and I finally got around to making our traditional Christmas chain. You know, the one made of construction paper that lets you count down the days to Christmas by tearing off a loop each day? Yes, I know we were late getting it done, but I figured it still makes good memories, even if they only have 18 loops to tear off versus 25. We had a great time, and they were so excited, so I felt good about getting it done.

Matthew wasn't interested in helping with the chain, but he did ask if there was any homemade ornament I could think of that we could do together, just the two of us. Talk about being put on the spot! We don't have anything Christmas unpacked yet, so no ornaments were readily available to embellish. What to do, what to do?!?! I have some books on Christmas decorating - I know, ever the optimist! Anyway, I found a picture of a ribbon ornament, made to resemble ribbon candy, so that is what we did. If I can ever figure out how to add pictures to this blog, I will post one. But for a last-minute, throw-together project, it turned out really well. Navy blue, gold-edged wired ribbon - again, something I bought because it was lovely, and I had great aspirations of elaborate packages with gilded bows...yeah, right. Never used, and I bought it three or four years ago. Glad I did, now! More evidence of my misguided intentions - a multitude of beads intended for crafting and jewelry making - became the perfect embellishment to the ornament. (Yes, I have made jewelry and used the beads for other projects, but it has been a while!) 

At any rate, how ever it came about, I had a great time doing Christmas crafts with each of my children last night. Matthew, especially, seemed to really enjoy the one-on-one time, and later allowed that he really felt like he was getting into the Christmas spirit now.

I love my boys!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez! Day 4 - final day

Day 4 - November 16, 2008

Our last day in the Big Easy! We had already decided that we would do breakfast out, but we had to get up, pack our things, and get checked out first.  Got our bags loaded into our vehicle, then we were off! We strolled through the French Market again, looking at more souvenirs, even though we had decided to wait until we were on the way back to purchase anything. On our carriage tour, we had passed a restaurant called the Old Coffeepot, which our guide had given rave reviews, so we were planning to try that for breakfast/brunch. Made our way to it, but found that it was a long wait, with no place inside to get in from the cold. I am sure the food was great, but the dining area was very small, and the patio was not being used – again, too cold – and we were on a time schedule. Had a long drive ahead of us! So, we split up in search of more timely options. M and C went off to look while I waited for a while with D and S. After a bit, I went off in search of M and C, and met C heading back our way. We had passed a café on our way to the Old Coffeepot, and they were open and available to seat immediately, so that was where we decided to go – Café Pontalbo. M and C had already gotten us a table, so we were able to order before too long, and soon (at least sooner than if we had stayed at the Old Coffeepot) we were partaking of a great breakfast! Good thing, too, because I think we were all starving at this point!

After eating our fill, we headed back to the French Market to purchase some souvenirs. I don’t know what everyone got, but I bought some crazy jester hats and a small alligator skull for the boys. S got a mondo-sized alligator head for her house! It was so big it was kinda scary….ha ha! I think M got some bracelets for her girls. Someone else bought T-shirts, I think. Anyway, we each got our respective souvenirs, and headed back for a last look and picture of our wonderful Hotel de la Monnaie (thanks again to M’s parents!). I highly recommend it if you are looking for a place in New Orleans that is removed from the chaos, but still close to the heart of the French Quarter. Perfectly lovely! 

Back to the vehicle, and away we go! It was close to 1:00 which was, truthfully, earlier than I thought we would leave. But we still had a long day of driving ahead of us, so I was sort of glad to get underway. S took the wheel, and we said goodbye to New Orleans. A lovely ending to a lovely trip! Or so you might think…but the story isn’t over! 

A few hours of uneventful driving – we were noticeably more quiet on this return trip than at the beginning of our weekend. D was in the far back seat, working on a paper she had due. C and I were in the middle, and M was up front with S, helping navigate. We had the GPS on, and that might have been a mistake. Not sure. I just know we ended up on what seemed like a lot of minor roads. There has to be major interstate between New Orleans and Little Rock, but it didn’t seem that we ended up on much of it! I guess that isn’t entirely accurate, we did drive on interstate…I guess. Ha ha! All I know is that when we decided we needed to find somewhere to eat dinner, it seemed we were in the middle of nothing but little towns, with hardly any restaurant options, at least none that kept us close to our chosen route. We were trying to avoid getting too far away from the highway we needed. Finally found a little Mexican restaurant that was actually really good. Reminded me of Las Palmas in North Little Rock, but I digress. Finished eating, and got underway again. I think, at that point, M took over the wheel for a little while. 

We needed to stop for gas in short order, which we did, and everyone took a bathroom break. M wasn’t feeling well, so I took over the wheel at this point. M had been driving a little slowly for our tastes (sorry, M!!) so I sped things up a little. I still didn’t drive as fast I normally would have, but it wasn’t my vehicle, and I wasn’t familiar with the area. Didn’t want to chance a speeding ticket! And, it was starting to get dark, and I wasn’t familiar with the roads. Speaking of which…at one point we ended up on a road that I was sure was leading us to nowhere, and that was going to become a dirt road at any second! Have you seen the movie “Vacancy?” I felt like we were in some dead zone, caught between “Deliverance” and “Vacancy.” Nothing around for what seemed like miles, nothing but our paltry excuse for a road and the night. No way in h*ll I was going to stop that vehicle for anything! It was a little scary. As it turned out, I guess the GPS was taking us on some sort of cut-across to a major interstate, but I didn’t care for it! 

Whew, back on a major thoroughfare, finally! All was fine then, until we got close to our destination. I think I was on autopilot by that time and just took the direction I would normally take to go home…which, of course, wasn’t the way we needed to go! I realized it immediately and got back on going the right way. No problem. Got to the church parking lot around 10:00 that night, I think. But wait, the story doesn’t end there! We all got out and got our luggage into our respective vehicles, and M was off like a shot. Guess she was tired of us! I hung around for a bit to say goodbye, then C and I both got into our vehicles. I was just about to leave when I saw C get back out and say something to S and D. I got out to see what was wrong…her battery was dead! Thank goodness I had jumper cables, because no one else did! S pulled up in front of C’s truck, and we prepared to hook up the cables. S’s battery was weird-looking to me, and we were uncertain where to connect the leads. We were discussing it, when a young man pulled up and got out to help. We could have managed, but I was happy to let him do it! We got everything taken care of, thanked the nice young man, and each headed home. 

I had a great time, as I think did everyone else. Things didn’t go perfectly, but who wants that?? It makes the story much better to tell if there is some excitement along the way! Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

not sure I have the drive

So, for those who don't already know, I used to sing professionally. In my B.C. years, otherwise known as Before Children. Opera. Yep, opera. It was never the most important thing in my life, but it was something I loved and I was pretty good. Very young, so I had room to improve. 

Then, you know, life happened. We didn't plan to have children, but I am so grateful that we did. I started back to singing on the operatic stage when Matthew was about three. Then, found out I was pregnant again...with twins. That put singing right back to the bottom of the list!

Fast forward to now. I have been fortunate to find local outlets for my desire to sing and perform, and even get paid to do it. That said, I live in a small city, where there isn't that much call for opera. So, I don't really get to "do that thing I do" very often. However, in the last year I have really decided to focus on doing it again, and I have been working on getting back into 'classical' vocal shape. Hard work, but mostly satisfying. My plan is to make an audition CD, send around to symphonies and such and see about getting concert work. Opera requires too much travel, and my boys are still young, and still need me at home. And, frankly, I need to be at home with them.

But there are days when I really wonder if it is that important to me. Do I have the drive that I will need to do this? Have I gotten too complacent and accustomed to not doing it? I did a performance recently in PA that I really loved doing, but now that is over, I am not pining for another performance. 

And then there is the flip side to that. I do really love singing, and getting to do something that is so special. And when it is good, it can be amazing! And glorious, and uplifting, and invigorating, and energizing, and an incredible way to connect with others. 

But do I want it badly enough? I think, for me, that is the question. And maybe the answer. Yes, I could have the drive, and I have the gift - sorry, don't mean that to sound snooty, but it is true. I have been given a gift and I do want to use it, but not sure how. I have been told that, with a voice like mine, I have a responsibility to sing. But I can do that on the street corner, or in a church, or the local dinner theater, or community theater, for that matter. But to do what I have been trained to do means singing somewhere else, or coming into a lot of money so I can rent a hall and hold concerts! 

Where, oh, where is my Magic 8 Ball when I need it??! Or maybe a crystal ball would be better...should have stopped by that fortune teller's booth in New Orleans, after all.

Ah well, just needed to vent a bit. Thanks for tagging along.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez! Day 3

November 15
Everyone got up, ate breakfast and was dressed and ready to go pretty early. After some discussion of what to do for the day, we decided to drive ourselves to the garden district and do a tour of the beautiful homes that line the streets. C wanted to see the home of author Anne Rice, so we made that a priority. We found it pretty easily. Anne Rice no longer lives in New Orleans, so the house is up for sale. Still, C was excited to see the house, and we got some pictures. There were lots of other great houses to see, and we got out a few times to read placards and look at things. The tree roots that line the sidewalks are enormous, and I was very intrigued by them.

While driving, we came upon one of the many cemeteries in New Orleans, and decided to get out and walk through it. I love looking at old headstones, reading the dates and trying to figure out the connections between people. The cemeteries in New Orleans are different from most I have seen, in that people are mostly buried in above-ground tombs. I vaguely knew the reason, but I did a little research to be sure. This practice is the remnant of a necessary solution to the problem of burying wooden caskets, filled with air, in an area where water could be found less than two feet below the surface. In the early days of New Orleans, it was often necessary to bore holes in the caskets, and load them with rocks and sand bags so they would stay put. Even so, a good New Orleans rain would cause some of them to pop right out of the ground. So, the practice of above-ground tombs was put into use, following the Spanish custom of using vaults, and stacking coffins one on top of the other. New Orleans burial plots quickly became known as "Cities of the Dead." But how can you bury more than one family member in each vault? How can a tomb hold all of those coffins? According to a local ordinance, as long as the previously deceased family member has been dead for at least two years, the remains of that person is moved to a specially made burial bag and put to the side or back of the vault. That coffin is then destroyed and the vault is now ready for the newly deceased family member. What happens if a family member dies within that two year time restriction? Generally, local cemeteries are equipped with temporary holding vaults and the newly deceased family member is moved into their final resting place when the time restriction is met. Pretty interesting! We saw inscriptions of dates that spanned over 100 years sometimes. Some were easy to decipher, obviously the burial place for a husband, wife, their children and their spouses, and in some cases, grandchildren. One crypt was for an orphaned boys’ home. It was sobering and sad to see so many graves of children. I said quiet thanks that I have three healthy, robust children.

After the cemetery, we drove around some more, deciding what to do. D and M wanted to drive to the outlet mall, about an hour or so away, and get a start on Christmas shopping. S, C and I weren’t really interested in shopping, so they dropped us off back at the French Quarter, and headed off to Outlet Mall Mecca. Ha ha! S, C, and I had already talked about where to eat lunch, so we headed off to find Antoine’s. According to the web site, Antoine’s was founded in 1840, is the oldest restaurant in New Orleans, and holds the distinction of also being the oldest restaurant under single-family ownership in America. An institution! The menu seemed a little pricey, but since it was lunch, we hoped it wouldn’t be too expensive.

We found Antoine’s and, though we worried about how we were dressed (very casually!), we went in. They seated us, no problem. There were only a couple of other tables occupied, and we weren’t the only ones in jeans, so we didn’t worry anymore. We decided to do another prix fixe menu, and placed our orders. I noticed that the November special included 25 cent lemondrop martinis. Of course, we had to try those! Oh. My. Heavens. Probably the most wonderful thing I consumed the entire trip!! But I cannot let the yummy drink get me sidetracked! The food was also pretty darn good. I chose a trio of soups that included Alligator soup, a bisque and a gumbo, I think. The bisque was really yummy, and the Alligator soup was very good, too. Very interesting. The alligator was ground, and had a very interesting flavor and texture. Reminded me a little bit of a mild chili. I would definitely eat it again. The gumbo was fine, but no better than gumbo I had eaten at home. Frankly, I am not clear on what else I ate. It was another trio from the prix fixe menu, and I want to say it was a crawfish cake (like a crab cake), a trout dish, and something with shrimp. I do know that it was really good. But the martinis were by far the highlight of the meal (and probably why I cannot remember what I ate)! They were sinfully delicious, and so good that it was my dessert. Or should I say, three desserts! Yes, one is normally my limit, but these were so amazing I had three!

We had read about the snooty service at Antoine’s, and we did see some of that. Our water server was rather snotty, but our regular waiter was nice, if a little slow. He seemed like someone who had probably worked there for the last 40 years, and was probably ready for retirement. He forgot a few things, but he saw to it when we gently reminded him. We did see some drama, though! A woman at the table next to us – a regular, it seemed, as she called our waiter by name – had a little altercation with one of the managers. We didn’t notice anything until a young female manager went over to the table next to us and asked what the problem was. From what we could glean, when our waiter took the lady’s credit card to run, he forgot to bring her the slip to sign. The young manager couldn’t find the slip, so she back into the kitchen and immediately begins berating our sweet little waiter in the open doorway, in front of all the customers. He seemed flustered by the whole thing, and tried to find the slip, but it was not to be found. So manager-girl goes back to the desk/register area, which is in the middle of the restaurant, and proceeds to yell across the restaurant that she needs the last four digits of the lady’s card so she can just reprint the slip. The lady then tells her that she still has her credit card, and manager-girl then argues with her about it, again from across the room. Finally she realizes that she does, indeed, still have the lady’s card, so she walks over, tosses it on to the table in from of the lady, and walks away. Not very quietly, the lady sarcastically says, “You’re welcome.” Manager-girl then says to the older manager beside her that she doesn’t know what the problem is or why the lady said that - which, of course, we all heard, including the lady at the next table. She them explains to manager-girl that it was because she was so rude in throwing her credit card on the table. Manager-girl then gets all upset and leaves the room, going in the back and complaining so loudly that we can all hear her in the front. The older manager takes a book of Antoine’s to the lady and tries to smooth things over, apologizing for the young girl. Not sure if it worked, but he at least tried to make things better. Manager-girl has a lot to learn about running a restaurant, and customer service!

We were still drinking our scrumptious martinis so, of course, we were there for the whole thing. After the lady left, manager-girl came out with a simpered smile and apologized to us along the way. She should have apologized to the lady who already left, but whatever.

We finished up our drinks and left, determined to walk off some of the food and martinis. It was quite a bit cooler on this day than previous days, and I was glad to have my leather jacket! We did some window shopping, and went into a couple of shops to make some small purchases. I bought a couple of souvenirs – chickory coffee for my husband, and an ornament for me. Whenever I travel, I try to buy an ornament for the Christmas tree as a souvenir. S bought an ornament, too, I think. There were a number of funny, off-color - waaaaaaaay off-color items that made me laugh, but nothing was appropriate for having around three boys who want to know what EVERYTHING means! So, coffee and an ornament. Good, solid, unquestionable souvenirs.

Just like Bourbon Street is a must on a trip to New Orleans, Pat O’Brien’s and a hurricane is something that must be done! We couldn’t find it at first, having gotten turned around while wandering around the streets. Finally S noticed a woman in a bright green blazer, and asked her where it was. Lo and behold, we were just a couple of doors away from it so, in we went! We entered through a carriageway with crossed muskets overhead. Not sure what they represent, but they looked cool! I meant to point them out to S and C, but I don’t think I did. It was rather cool and windy, but we sat on the patio and had our hurricanes. Just had to do it! We enjoyed our drinks and the atmosphere – lots of noisy people having a good time. In the middle of the patio is something you don’t see very often, a large water fountain with fire emerging from the top! We didn’t really notice it until we went inside and upstairs to the ladies’ room. From a window that overlooks the patio, the Flaming Fountain is hard to miss!

More walking around – all of us wearing more sensible shoes this time, of course! At some point we passed a restaurant with the most incredible aroma wafting out of it! We immediately stopped, checked out the menu and the name of the place – which I now cannot remember – and made mental note to try there for dinner. More window-shopping, people-watching, and cold. So, what else to do but find Jean LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop?? We first heard of LaFitte’s from our carriage tour guide, and it sounded interesting. Perfect for a cold day, so off we went in search of one of the all-time favorite tourist attractions of the New Orleans French Quarter, located on the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Phillip Street. It was built sometime before 1772, and is one of the few remaining original "French architecture" structures in the French Quarter. According to tradition, the Lafitte brothers operated this blacksmith shop as a legitimate appearing business, serving as a front for their privateer enterprises. One of the brothers was the infamous Jean Lafitte, Privateer, and co-hero of the Battle of New Orleans. Apparently, he came to the aid of one “Angie” Jackson, received a presidential pardon of his privateering, and disappeared into the mist forever. Today, LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop is a bar and grill that retains all of its Old World charm and character. Inside is dark and small, with a massive stone fireplace taking up much of the front floor. Perfect place to have an Irish coffee! Nice, and warm, just what the doctor ordered. (Oh, and just to be clear, LaFitte’s Blacksmith Shop is not to be confused with Café LaFitte in Exile, voted best gay bar by Zagat. A fine establishment, I am sure, but not the one we visited!)

Back to the streets for more walking, heading back in the direction of the condo. The afternoon was wearing away and we needed to slowly make our way back and get in touch with D and M. We had to figure out the plan for dinner which was, after all, the next important event of our day! We ended up walking back up toward Jackson Square, where there were quite a few more artists, fortuneteller and vendors out than the day before. Up to the street where the carriages wait, and looked at more of the artwork lining the sidewalk. I thought about purchasing a piece or two, but restrained myself. We noticed a large group of people gathered across the road, at a sort of pseudo-ampitheater just below what is called the Moonwalk. There were four or five men, doing some street dancing and joking with the audience. We sat down to watch and laugh at their jokes. I have to say, they were probably laughing at all of us too. We were a crowd of mostly white people, laughing at their jokes on how our contributions were going to keep them out of two places: “the poor house, and your house!” Also, the jokes about one of them not being gay – “not today!” You get the idea. But they were funny, and very talented! All kinds of hip-hop dance going on, head-spinning, jumping, etc. Toward the end, they were looking for volunteers to come down and join them. C was pointing at S, but they came and got C instead! They lined up all these people, and then went around in a dance line, and then made them get down on all fours – you can imagine the jokes then! After a couple of false starts, one of the performers took a running leap over their backs! A good finish to a fun show, and off to the condo! On the way back, we went by a restaurant called Montrel’s that had some good-looking items outside on a table. Filed it away for a potential dinner spot.

It was good to get back to the room, take off our shoes, and rest a bit. Made contact with the mall shoppers, who weren’t far away. So we settled in to wait for them, and discussed our dinner options. We got online to look up the first place, still cannot remember the name, and right on their website it said, “the tantalizing smell of the fresh garlic bread will draw you in,” or something to that effect. Had to laugh, because that is exactly what happened with us! Remember, though, it was Saturday night, and getting later. Probably hard to get in. We called anyway, to find that they only took reservations for 20% of the restaurant, and those were taken for the night. The walk-in tables were all taken, and the lady on the phone said probably a two-hour wait. Ummm, no thanks. The aroma was good, but not that good! We were getting to be some hungry women! We also looked online at Montrel’s, which got high marks for food, but not so high marks for service. We decided to chance it. D and M arrive, everyone gets dressed for dinner, and we head out the door to the streetcar. It was so convenient having it stop almost right outside the condo! Also convenient, Montrel’s was located near Jax Brewery, just outside another streetcar stop, so not a lot of walking involved to get to dinner. That was a good thing! It was cold, and we were hungry. Did I mention we were hungry? Oh, and that it was cold? Just checking.

Get to Montrel’s, the patio is empty, of course. Go through the door, the restaurant is empty, too! Looks like they are closing up shop. We went back and forth on what to do, which gave the hostess time to come over and say they would love to serve us, and please sit anywhere. D was especially reluctant, given the fact that it seemed as if all the staff had gone home and there was probably no food left, but the hostess assured us the chefs were still there and would love to serve us. So, we stayed, against D’s better judgment. Our poor waitress, it seems, had been hiding in the back, and came out to greet us with her coat on! Maybe she had already left, I don’t know. Poor thing. But we were nice to her. And the dinner turned out to be fabulous, with great service! I don’t know how much it had to do with us being the only customers there, but I had no complaints about anything. The food was great, the staff was nice and friendly, high marks from me all around. I think even D was pleasantly surprised!

Our last streetcar ride, back to the condo. We sat around chatting for a while, and again, I have to admit to dozing off. Sorry, ladies. Eleven years of sleep deprivation. What can I say? Nothing but, off to bed!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I don't know how many read this blog, if anyone does, but I want to wish you all a happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a wonderful day, full of happiness and togetherness, love and laughter. Make some good memories!

A lot of people do "I'm grateful for..." lists, and I am no exception! My list this year includes the following:

1. My family. I have a wonderful, loving, respectful husband and three smart, happy, healthy boys.

2. The relationship between my husband and my sons. Gilbert is a great role model for the boys. He teaches them to be a 'real' man - loving, kind, compassionate, respectful, decent and kindhearted. He also does the 'guy' things with them - wrestling, roughhousing, building stuff, etc. I love to watch them all interact together.

3. My husband's sobriety. I am so proud of how he has risen to this challenge. It was a difficult road getting here, and there are challenges ahead, but he is very committed to doing this.

4. My house. It is always cluttered, and I feel like I can never get ahead, but it is home. We have a great yard for the boys to play in, and plenty of room for our numerous (!) dogs. I don't plan to ever move, until time to be wheeled away on a gurney.

5. My children's filthy socks. (think about it!)

That is just part of my list. It also includes my extended family, my in-laws, my wonderful friends, music, art, coffee, and lots of other things. I am blessed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez! Day 2 November 14, 2008

I got up around 6:30. M finally seemed to be sleeping, although still rather fitfully. She had taken something for the nausea, so the vomiting at least had stopped. C and I were the only ones up for a while, then we were joined by S and D an hour or so later. M got up around 8:30, groggy, looking a bit worse for the wear, but feeling a little better. We sat around talking, ate some cereal, poured some mimosas - none for M, though. Finally around 10:00, we started getting ready to venture out. It wasn't our intention to begin the day so late, but that's what happened! It seems that while we were chatting, it started raining. During the course of getting ready, it began to rain really hard! So we waited for a bit to see if it would abate, and then decided to leave. We had discussed doing some tours, but decided the swamp tour was out, as were the walking tours. We tossed around the idea of doing a carriage tour, but didn't make any set plans before we left. We all ended up with our own umbrella, which was nice because we were able to stay pretty dry. Did get splashed a couple of times by rude car drivers, but nothing terrible.

We walked across the street, past the Federal Mint Museum that was across from the condo, aptly named Hotel de la Monnaie, and window-shopped our way through the French Market (read: flea market-style setup with booths), got ideas for souvenirs to take back to our families, and then spent some time wandering down the streets, looking into the myriad shop windows, checking out restaurant menus along the way. As it was late morning, we decided to eat first. Go figure! Hard to make a choice, but we finally settled on a little corner place - Cafe Beignet. This was a little cafe, where you place your order at the counter, seat yourselves, and they bring your order out. Nothing fancy, to say the least. But still good fare. I had a ham and cheese croissant with a cafe au lait. The food was very good- but the service. OY! The attitude that came rolling off the woman who took our orders...I have grounded my children for far less attitude than she was dishing out, no pun intended!

C and I had already placed our orders and went to wait for our food. C had put two tables together to accommodate the five of us, and immediately the woman is sassing her about putting them back when we were finished. Had we not already paid, I would have suggested leaving right then.

S, M and D placed their orders, and D went down the street for a different flavor of chips. S sat down and said she heard the woman complaining that "all those b*tches, not a one left a tip!" Now, there was a tip jar on the counter, but I was planning to leave a tip on the table. Not happening after that!

Anyway, we all enjoyed our food, except for the perpetual attitude - although the man who actually brought us our food was very nice - put our tables back where they went, and left. I did not tip, but I think M had actually placed her tip in the tip jar, so Attitude Wench was wrong. Ha! We were going to get some beignets there at Cafe Beignet, now dubbed Cafe Attitude, but obviously we weren't giving them any more of our money, so away we went.

Because it had been raining, and was supposed to continue, we decided to take a carriage tour. Just outside Jackson Square we found a line of carriages, all wanting to give any one who walked by a tour. We checked the price on one, compared it to the next one and found them to be about the same. So we decided to hop on the second carriage - covered, thankfully, as it began to rain again during our tour. I cannot remember our tour guide's name, but the mule was named Dixie, and she was an old pro! Our tour guide was pretty good, entertaining and informative. (We ended up eating at a couple of places she recommended later on our trip, and tried to eat at least on other, but it was too crowded.) One thing about our guide - she had an annoying way of saying "Andrew Jackson" so that it came out sounding like "Angie Jackson." We joked about that the rest of the trip. One funny story she told us - Tennessee Williams had a place in New Orleans, and every year there is a "Stella!" yelling contest. Last year, one guy actually yelled, rather than "Stella" - "FEMA!!" Everyone thought it was so funny, he won! A good story....

Our tour ended back at Jackson Square, so we paid, and headed into the square. The first thing you see is the grand statue of Andrew Jackson on horseback, tipping his hat. Beyond that is the grand St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest active cathedral in the US. I had been there before, but it had been years, so I was eager to see it again. The interior was even more beautiful and serene than I remembered! What a gorgeous building. The original marble floor down the center of the sanctuary, the dramatic murals, the glorious stained glass windows, the beautiful wooden pews and confessionals, the amazing organ, the marble, Latin-inscribed tombs of early prominent parishioners, the candles...I could go on and on! I bet it would be amazing to sing there...but, I digress!

Jackson Square is flanked by rows of shops, and after we left the cathedral, we wandered past the shops on one side. Because of the rain, there weren't as many vendors in the square as I have seen in the past, but there were a few fortune-tellers, and a few vendors selling portraits and other things. It had mostly stopped raining by now, but things were still pretty wet, so there weren't that many artists out.

We meandered out of the square and back onto the sidewalk lined with carraiages. Everyone was ready for a snack by then, so we ran across the street to Cafe du Monde for some cafe au lait and beignets. Cannot go to New Orleans and not have beignets! For those who might not know, beignets are a light square doughnut, served hot and with powdered sugar on top. Messy to eat, but yum! When eating beignets, be careful not to breathe out, or inhale, for that matter, as you take a bite. Powdered sugar everywhere! Cafe au lait is half coffee with chickory and half hot milk. A perfect accompaniment to the warm beignets, especially on a rainy day! (Come to think of it, I pretty much drink my coffee at home the same way, minus the chickory....)

There is always some sort of street music happening in New Orleans, much as in the New York City subways. At Cafe du Monde we heard a small band playing for the patrons, with one of the players doing some singing, too. Sometimes the patrons sang along. Throughout the weekend we heard guitar players, at least one violin players, other small bands, drums, and of course, more singing. All pretty good, too! Something else we saw on practically every street corner - mimes. They were covered in either gold or silver body paint, with matching gold or silver clothes. I guess you would call them mimes. They would freeze in some pretty tough-looking positions, and you had to watch for quite a while sometimes to see one of them move. Hard way to make a living....

After our treat, we walked around some more; window-shopping, people-watching, just enjoying ourselves. Because you have to experience it at least once each time you go to New Orleans, and because one of our group had never seen it, we ended up on the chaos that is Bourbon Street. Whew! I had forgotten just how wacky it is. It is amazing how different the French Quarter is depending on where you are. Alternate realities existing at the same time! Bourbon Street means loud bars, street performers, hand grenade stands, drunks, topless/bottomless spots, pictures of nude women in compromising positions, and it wasn't even dusk yet. (Night time on Bourbon Street is a whole other world, and I am not going there....) Walking down the street, we passed a 'performer' standing outside an all-nude place, wearing a yellow bikini and some funky shoes I didn't really see, just heard about from D. From across the street runs some guy, drunk, I am sure, waving five bucks and yelling, "Titties, titties!" So for his five bucks, the 'lady' pulled down her top and gave him a look. Quick, easy five bucks! Thanks, but no thanks.

Not two streets over is another world altogether. Quiet, charming balconies with window boxes, and then if you go too far you are in the ghetto. Talk about a melting pot.

We did some more walking, and then decided to go back to the condo, rest, pick a place for dinner, and get changed. It was nice to be on our schedule, and not our kids' schedules! After some rest and research, we decided on The Court of Two Sisters. I know the jazz brunch is a big favorite of tourists, but we opted to experience Two Sisters at dinnertime. Everyone cleaned up and changed, and away we went! We took the street car, which had a stop just outside the condo, so we didn't have to walk that much in heels.

I had eaten at Two Sisters years before, but I didn't remember that much about it, except the jazz and the food were great. This night the food lived up to my memory, and then some! We were able to sit outside, thanks to the rain stopping. We were covered by a gorgeous canopy of vines, and were graced with a falling leaf every once in a while! It just added to our salads. There was also a nice fountain, but no jazz playing that night, at least none that I heard.

We had a great waiter, very friendly and helpful. I think we all decided on the prix fixe menu, which was a good amount of food for a pretty reasonable price, I thought. I had a salad, turtle soup, duck confit, and pecan pie. The food was delicious, especially the turtle soup and duck. M ordered the veal, and she and I shared our entrees. The veal was also delicious! The pecan pie was good, but not really any better than I can make at home. But that was okay, I love pecan pie, good or bad. S and C each had the Bananas Foster and Cherries Jubilee, so we got to watch the show, and then got to sample!

We had a lovely, leisurely meal, although there was some confusion at the end of the meal regarding our tab. According to our waiter, it was worked out, so I guess everything was okay. I still think we ended up not paying the tax on our meal, but I tried to bring it to his attention. Oh, well....

After such a great meal, we had to walk it off, so we ended up strolling up and down the streets, looking into shops, going into a couple to look at the (overpriced) jewelry. S got at least one proposition - an older gentleman wanted to know if she was married. He took her affirmative answer very graciously and left her alone. Later, another guy yelled at her, "Amazon!" We ended up in the Gay District, where a drag queen wanted to know if we knew what HBIC meant. We were wracking our brains when S blurted out, "Head Bitch In Charge!" Who knew she was so hip?!! Now, I want a shirt that just says HBIC.

Long walk back to the condo, with me cursing my shoes the whole way. I think a couple of the other ladies weren't happy with their footwear by this point, either. Sucks getting old, sometimes!

We got back to the condo around 11:00, I think, and spent the next couple of hours chatting. I am chagrined to admit that I did doze off periodically during the chatting, but I don't believe I was the only one. I have never been much of a night owl. I tried, but just couldn't stay awake! Off to bed....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez! Day 1

On November 13, 2008, I went with four other moms from my Mothers of Multiples group to New Orleans. (Since we all have different initials, I am going to refer to the other moms as S, M, C, and D.) We had a great time! We left Thursday morning and spent the day driving. We took our time, stopping for a bathroom break, stopping to eat, stopping for a bathroom break, stopping for a bathroom break...let me just say, we were all mothers who had delivered twins plus a singleton. You moms out there know what just one delivery can do to a bladder!!

It was dark by the time we got close to New Orleans, and I was driving. We decided to stop at a grocery store for a few things like cereal, milk for coffee, a couple of bottles of wine, OJ and some champagne for mimosas. We had also brought along some snack items, so we were pretty set for what little time we would be spending in the room.

We had a GPS helping us, but it kind of turned us around a little bit once we got close to our destination. Not badly; we found it pretty quickly. But we did start calling her "Special K" due to her somewhat backwards directions, at least they seemed that way to some in the group. Sorry, "Special K" isn't very PC, is it?

M's parents have a condo in New Orleans, and they were generous enough to let us use it. That really helped on the budget! We had a living room area with a queen sleeper-sofa, two bedrooms with queen-sized beds, a bathroom, and a small kitchen area with a mini-fridge, microwave and stove. We only used the fridge and coffee pot. We weren't there to cook! Ha!

After getting our bags in and settling in a bit, we ordered in some food and decided to stay in the condo that evening. It was, after all, getting late, and we were tired from driving all day. The food that night was okay, but nothing any better than what we could get here at home. Not very promising at the time, but turned out not to be an issue!

We spent the evening eating, talking and laughing. We also watched the movie, "About Polly," which I had never seen before, but first we had technical difficulties. The remote wouldn't work the DVD player, so we called down to the front desk. The very nice desk guy came up and worked on it with us. First he pointed out we were using the wrong remote, but that didn't fix the problem. He and C finally determined the DVD player wasn't hooked up correctly, and unhooked it and hooked it back up properly. 

The movie was very funny, but funnier still was watching S laugh herself to tears. We finally all went to bed around 1:30, I think. C decided to sleep on the sofa bed, since she felt like she would be the earliest riser. She was right, incidentally, but I usually wasn't far behind, even though I didn't always get up right away. S and D shared a room, and M and I shared the other room. I woke around 4 am, probably due to some noise. I always have trouble going back to sleep, so I was still awake at 4:30 when M started stirring, saying she didn't feel well. Poor thing spent the next hour and a half throwing up and not feeling well, and sleeping very fitfully on and off. I felt bad for her, and wished I could make it better! Come to think of it, the last time I was in New Orleans, my roommate spent the night throwing up, but for different reasons. Must be the city!

So, that is the first day of our retreat, mostly spent in travel but, still, a lot of fun with good friends. Lots of laughter and talk, and getting to know each other better. I will get to day 2 soon, hopefully!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Goofy twins

My friend, Liz, just posted about her son Samuel being silly. That reminded me of a couple of goofy things my twin boys have said recently.

I have to preface this with a touch of background. Andrew wanted to learn how to make coffee a few months ago, so Gilbert showed him a few times. One night while I was away singing in PA, so a couple of weeks ago, Andrew just got up, marched into the kitchen, and made the coffee. Gilbert noticed, was able to stop him before he started the pot brewing, and showed him how to set the timer for the next morning. It was a good pot of coffee, Gilbert said. Now both Andrew and Jacob want to get the coffee ready each night before they go to bed. Sweet! I love it when they take it upon themselves to do things.

Jacob, however, has not taken the initiative as often as Andrew, so he is a little behind in the coffee-making technique. One night he insisted it was his turn, so, off he went. Andrew was beside me on the sofa, and he leaned over to me and said, "He's a rookie." Well, as luck would have it, Jacob had a little trouble and needed Gilbert to help him. Andrew turned to me with a very wry look on his face and said one word. "Rookie." I had to bite my lip to keep from laughing out loud!

The next goofy incident involves Jacob. Of course, they are always saying silly, funny things, but these two episodes stick out for me, at least this month! We were all just sitting around in the living room one night, just before the boys had to get ready for bed. Out of the blue, Jacob says, "I think I need to lose a few pounds, so I am going to lay off the chocolate milk at school." Then he got up and went to bed. (Keep in mind that you can see his ribs when he shirt is off, so I don't know why he thinks he needs to lose weight!)

They crack me up!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Good Times

So, I am getting things out of the barn to decorate for Halloween. Last year, I barely put anything out, but this year, the Mothers of Multiples Halloween Carnival is at our house (another post altogether!), so I am putting out all the decorations, and getting a few new things. One of the things I decided to purchase was a Halloween cd. Found two that I really liked on Amazon, but they wouldn't get here in time unless I paid $20 in shipping. Ummm, no. So I went to Best Buy and Barnes and Noble. Found a couple, one of which was the Kidz Bop Halloween cd. Normally, I despise the Kidz Bop cds, but this one is actually not too bad, and has some adult singers on it, not just the kids. So, I got it. I am glad I did, because it has led to some really great times already! Driving home in the van last night, I popped it in. The whole family had such fun singing along with old favorites of Mom and Dad, and new favorites of the boys. Songs like Monster Mash, Purple People Eater, and best of all, Witch Doctor. It was so funny watching Andrew and Jacob trying to master the chorus!

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang...

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang

Ooo eee, ooo ah ah ting tang

Walla walla, bing bang

It was comical to watch them trying to keep up, especially since the chorus gets faster and faster at the end. Add to that the fact that Andrew is still missing his two front teeth, and the end result is lots of giggling and laughing! We had a blast all the way home.

The downside? That stupid chorus ran through my head all night long!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pissed OFF

This evening we had some excitement around here. I had a friend over who had just dropped by for a few minutes, and we were chatting in the driveway. Andrew was in the back yard with the dogs who were, of course, going crazy because there was a stranger in the driveway. In trying to come through the gate (ignoring my telling him not to do so), Andrew accidentally let the dogs out. Keep in mind, these are five fairly big dogs, and not very well-mannered (our fault, I know). They take off like a shot, straight out in the street. I yell at them, they veer back into our yard and head off toward our neighbor's house. Gilbert comes outside to gather them back up, and sees two of the dogs in the back yard just past our closest neighbor's house. Does that make sense? Two yards away, basically. So he goes to get them, with Jacob close behind.

Now, the man who lives in this house is in his back yard. Gilbert goes to get the dogs - again, Jacob not 3 steps behind him - when this asshole pulls out a GUN and points it at our dogs, demanding, "Which one? Which one do you want, you choose!" Gilbert just ignored him, tried to get the dogs, who of course ran further away, then turned around and walked Jacob back home. Yes, this idiot pulled a gun with my child standing right there. Never mind how scared Jacob was, what if the gun had gone off? I know the dogs can be intimidating, but it isn't like they run wildly through the neighborhood all the time. Yes, they do get out occasionally, but they usually come right back within five or ten minutes. What kind of moron is so out-of-control that he cannot rein his anger in without resorting to pulling a gun and brandishing it near my son?? I am so angry and resentful toward him right now. I want to know if it makes him feel like a big man, knowing he now can tell all his friends how he scared a 7-year-old boy with his big handgun. And what a great story to tell his daughter when she gets older!!

Perhaps we should have called the police, but didn't. Kind of don't want to cause more trouble with a neighbor who cannot be trusted to keep his gun in his pants, so to speak. And frankly, he would probably twist the truth and claim he felt threatened. Oh, by the way, his wife came running out, screaming at him to stop. Hope she knows what an asshole she married. I want to go and tell her how sorry I am that she had such poor judgement.

So, for now, that is all. If he calls the police about the dogs getting out, then we will certainly file a complaint. Oh, and the boys have been admonished to get back in the house the instant they see him in his yard, at least for a few days. ASSHOLE!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Well, here it is. My first blog. I have been thinking of doing this for a while, but wasn't sure I had anything worthwhile to say. Finally, I decided to just begin, and see where it takes me! These past few months have seen a lot of new beginnings and new ventures for my family and me. Matthew began his middle school career this fall, and is really adjusting and settling in. His teachers all have great things to say about him as a student and person. I kind of like him, just a little, so I tend to agree! No bias here, no sir, no way!

A new beginning for Andrew and Jacob was the beginning of piano lessons. They are both enjoying it, and are constantly on the piano, vying for "practice" time. Matthew takes piano, too, so it is quite a competition for the piano. But it is exciting to "hide and watch" as they sit at the piano, straight-backed, concentrating on playing a scale, or trying to play a piece in their books. Jacob also pulls out some of my music once in a while, marvels at all the notes on the page, and promptly puts it away. Too funny.

Let's see, my new beginning this year was the day I turned 40! Beginning a new decade...I thought it might bother me a little, but it really hasn't. The hardest part has been remembering that I am 40 now, not 39. I can no longer say I am in my 30s. Now I sometimes have to check a new age-range when filling out paperwork! For the most part, I feel comfortable in my 40-year-old skin. I even think it doesn't look too bad most days! Ha ha...something I need to begin would be an exercise program. Definitely lacking in that area.

A daunting new beginning for my husband is beginning his journey of sobriety. Gilbert finally admitted to himself and others that he was an alcoholic, and is seeking help. He has 2 months of sobriety under his belt, and is doing very well. Some days are harder than others, but nothing seems overwhelming, at least not so far. He did say he thought wistfully of having a beer when he ordered a Polish sausage at the state fair, but that was as far as it went.

Also on the horizon for Gilbert - perhaps a new career. Long story short, Gilbert lost his medical certificate. Overall he is healthy and able to work, but he lost his certificate due to a couple of things. Pending getting his certificate back, he may be able to go back to his job at Frontier, provided A) he wants to do so, and B) Frontier is still in business. For now, Gilbert is on long-term disability, so at least we will have some income from that. There are other options we are considering, as well. We will manage.

I had been thinking of trying to return to singing as a career, and this may be the perfect time. Since Gilbert will be home more, I won't have to worry about juggling sitters, trying to figure out if I can go to do an audition or a performance, etc. Gilbert himself even said that this was the right time for me to seriously pursue it, so, that is my plan. Now I just have to get off my lazy butt and get busy!

Hmm. Guess I had more to say than I thought, at least for now.