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Friday, September 30, 2011

Third Grade Field Trip...Fractions, Bones, and um, Squirrels

I went to Asheville today for a third grade field trip to a science center.  I ate lunch with another boy kid since my own boy kid decided that sitting up on the rock wall was way better than down low where I was sitting in the courtyard.

The boy kid I ate beside showed me every single item he took out of his lunchbox including a nice note from his mother telling him she hoped he had a good time.  And y'all?  He was really proud of that note.  Somehow, I get the feeling that my putting a mushy note in one of my boys' lunches would not be as well received.  Dracen would possibly blow it off but Devin would view that as embarrassing torment in the third degree and would still be bringing it up years later.  

Just like that time I tried to catch up with him in the hallway after a field trip and he practically ran from me and pretended he had severe hearing loss.  He wanted nothing more than for me to disappear. Or for the ground to open up and swallow him whole. 

When I arrived at the science center, which is in downtown Asheville, the buses were already unloading in front of the building and I had no inkling whatsoever as to where I was supposed to park.  So I rode around and around and around the block three times, hitting every single stoplight on red in the process before finally finding a parking deck.  

By the time I got in the place I must have looked like Dorothy arriving in the land of Oz because I had three different people ask if they could help me. With some direction, I finally found Dracen's class in the third floor classroom talking about (of all things) fractions.  Fractions and I do not have a very civil relationship and this goes way back to my own school days.  

The man was teaching them about odds...the odds of guessing right by flipping a coin, rolling a die, rolling two dice and yada, yada, yada... Did y'all know that your best odds of guessing correctly when two dice are rolled is with the number seven?  Well, it is.  I suppose that's maybe how the number seven earned the "Lucky Number 7" title, huh?  Should I have known this?  I feel like I should have known this. Did you know?  Don't answer that.  

Unless the answer is no.  

Anyway, moving on.  Next up was bones.  The girl...okay, woman ( I have a bad habit of calling anyone more than five years younger than me "girl") was clearly not about to take any crap off of any 8 year olds up in her bones class.  She was on a tight time schedule and therefore did not want to hear about anybody's broken bone stories and sure as heck didn't want any squirrely behavior. Yes, she called them squirrels about five different times and I thought she was going to strangle the boy who kept saying, "I'm not a squirrel!  I'm a human being!  I'm not a squirrel!  I'm a human being!" 

Hey, I was on her side.  

Charlie once described Dracen like a little squirrel in the middle of the road.  Have you ever come up on a squirrel in the road and slowed down (please tell me you slow down for critters in the road or I don't want to know you) and the crazy spastic, little thing can't figure out if he wants to go to the left or the right so he goes back and forth and back and forth until he finally dashes up a tree?  Well, if you've witnessed that, then you have an idea what my Dracen is like the majority of the time.  
But I digress.  

Back to the bones class... Clearly, these kids had been studying their bone facts because I was impressed with what they knew about bones.  They were naming different types of joints...gliding joints, hinged joints, ball and socket joints... The little brains threw out many bone terms and Ms. Squirrel Teacher seemed quite happy with their knowledge.  

"So", she said, "Is there anything else you can think of that goes along with bones?"  And I just about fell off my chair when one of the boys that had been trying his best to tell his personal stories throughout the presentation shouted out, "Meat!".  And even she had to laugh at that one.  It was, after all, time for lunch...

Where I sat and conversed with the boy kid who didn't belong to me while eating my meat turkey sandwich and yelling across the courtyard at my own boy kid who was busy demonstrating his climbing and balancing skills on the edge of a rock wall.

You have to keep your eye on those unpredictable squirrels. You never know when they might fall and, I don't know...break a bone.   

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Language of Flowers...

The last job I had before I became a stay home mom was as a co-owner of a flower shop with one of my longtime friends. While we did have many odd requests from people who had very strong opinions as to what particular colors of roses and carnations they wanted in the arrangement they were sending, it was only because they simply knew no names or meanings of all the countless other types of flowers.  

And to be honest with you we really didn't know the meanings either.  

I mean we could tell you that a red rose traditionally stood for love and a yellow rose for friendship but who didn't know that?  It never really occurred to me that each specific flower I placed in an arrangement had its own special meaning.  I simply put what I thought looked pretty together in there and it all worked out. 

Unless of course I had Billy Bob the aspiring florist show up and insist on exactly 5 roses, 3 carnations and a lily and half, in all different colors of the rainbow and some that simply did not exist in nature but that he just knew I would be happy to create for him with spray paint and watercolors.  Or Sharpies.  Or whatever it took...  

The customer is always right.  Even when he's way wrong.

But that's a story for another day.  Today I am going to talk about the flowers that would go into an arrangement that would best describe me.  

It's a writing prompt from Mama Kat this week and when I first read  it I simply thought I would describe the type of flowers I love the most but then I discovered a website (well more than one actually and some of the definitions vary) with the meanings of various flowers...

There would be Begonias for deep thoughts...

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Camellias for graciousness...
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A little Heather for solitude...
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Some Hyacinth for sincerity...
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A whole lot of Lisianthus for calming...
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Of course a bit of Sweetpea for shyness...
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And most importantly, 
and also one of my very favorites,
Magnolia for dignity.
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What would your flowers say about you?  

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Good News and Bad News...

A few weeks ago I was draining the bath tub when I heard what sounded like the toilet bubbling.  I blew it off until it happened again about a week later.  Charlie snaked out that toilet (gag) and put some Rid-X in all the toilets in the house and for several days there were no bubbling toilets to be heard.  

Until last Friday when I was sitting here in the living room feeding my addiction  blogging when I heard bulurp...bulurp...bulurp coming from the hall bathroom. And since I was the only person here the hairs kinda stood up on the back of my neck...!  I popped my head in there and sure enough, that toilet was bubbling again and then it hit me...the washer is running.  Okay, wait. I'm no plumber but that washer is nowhere near that toilet. So this? Cannot be good.  I wasted no time calling Houston to inform them we have a problem emailing Charlie at work with the subject line "toilet" and what I had to tell him got his full on attention.  

We've been living in this house, that was built in 1997, for almost 18 months now and had no idea when, if ever, the septic tank had been pumped.  I know, just the thought of it makes your stomach turn doesn't it?  Well, the thought of having it back up into my house was almost enough to make me want to run screaming for the hills.  

So Saturday morning Charlie suited and gloved up and went to open up the cleanout drain (or whatever) outside.  He concluded that while there was no visible poop in the pipe, Houston did indeed have a problem because water was seriously backing up after running the sink for several minutes.    

We are only the second owners of this fine establishment and the nice lady we bought it from and her husband (who had passed away about a year and a half before) actually built the house...or had it built.  I thought it a bit odd when we were told the septic tank was in the front yard but okay, whatever.

The septic tank guy shows up at the house Monday morning. And thank God Charlie stayed here to meet him because they could not locate the septic tank ANYWHERE.  "How does this even happen?" I wanted to know, and "Is this a common thing?  To not be able to find the flippin' septic tank?!"  The answer Charlie was given from Mr. Septic Tank was that it does happen and he has seen people do some crazy sheit, like pour sidewalks or build decks over them.  

Then he left (probably because he didn't really feel up to pumping out a stinkin' septic tank today anyway) and Charlie set out on a quest to locate our missing septic tank. When I returned from pilates he had requested and received the original permit from the county which told us it was under the freakin' sticker bushes.  Super.  

He also informed me that he had poked around there with his long  rod until he hit something hard. And no, I could not keep a straight face and neither could he after he realized what had just come out of his mouth.  

So...yesterday afternoon the friendly septic tank guy showed back up and I left Charlie to handle the situation because I don't deal well with anything involving poop  I had to pick up kids from school and get groceries.  When I returned he was gone, along with our light pole and a giant shrub which was not actually gone because it was lying in the front yard.  And there stood Charlie watering down the sidewalk and pointing to the huge red dirt spot where the light pole and the shrub used to be.

Turns out the tank was not put exactly where the permit said it was and that hard thing Charlie hit with his rod was only the pipe because the septic tank that had never been pumped before?  Was directly underneath the light pole which is now lying on the front porch...

But at least the toilet's not bubbling.  

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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What Not To Do On A First Date....Courtesy of the Millionaire Matchmaker

I've been watching The Millionaire Matchmaker on Bravo a lot lately. Don't judge me.  You know you watch trashy reality t.v. too! Why does a millionaire need a matchmaker to help him/her find love? That was my first thought.  I mean, there are plenty of gold diggers out there who would jump at the chance to date a person simply because they have oodles of money. And if a person has the intelligence and skill to go out and make millions of dollars surely they must possess a certain amount of charisma, right?  


The majority of these characters who hire this spitfire of a woman (Patti Stanger) to find them a mate are absolutely clueless when it comes to love and dating.  Clue.less!   

In just the few episodes I've watched, I have witnessed some stuff that has made me want to write a book advising people what NOT to do on a first date.

Here are just a few...

~Don't ask your date at what age she lost her virginity.  

~Don't give your blind date a pole dance immediately after introducing yourself.  

~Don't schedule a mani/pedi/facial for your date and then tell her that you will be giving them to her yourself and then proceed to role play with her (while giving her the pedicure) by pretending that she is your wife who is carrying your baby girl twins. 

~Don't lead with, " I used to have kids but after we divorced and she married someone else, he adopted them and became their father."  

~Don't schedule a game of polo (WTH plays polo?!) for your very first date, especially when you've never even played the game yourself. 

~Don't show up at your date's door at 7:00 in the morning, unannounced, and tell her you are there to pick her up for your date. 

~Don't guzzle your wine with a straw and then tell your date that you will help him start his business, buy him a Maserati and that you really want to have sex with him before proceeding to rub his ...ahem...leg under the dinner table.  

~Don't ask your date what she has to offer a man. Hello?  

~Don't ask your date how he would feel about living in an all pink apartment and how he feels about Botox for dogs because you have been thinking of getting it for your 8 year old dog because that's like, 56 in dog years!  

I could not possibly make this stuff up.  It was all done/said by the millionaires who went on the show to supposedly look for love.  

Maybe my next advice column will be about how not to parent, courtesy of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills....

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Monday, September 26, 2011

What I Love About You Monday...Old Books Edition

As far back as I can remember, I have always had a thing for books. Library day in elementary school was something I looked forward to with much anticipation.  Not only did I love books and reading but in the library everyone was expected to be quiet which was a huge relief to the extremely shy and introverted kid that I was. 

And the book fair?  Was heaven on earth. 

The book fair came to Dracen's school last week and he, as he always is, was very enthusiastic about buying himself some new books.  He knows there will never be a negotiation (which he may actually find disappointing since he is a born negotiator) when asking me for book fair money. It simply makes my heart smile to see him get excited about books even if they are filled with gross Ripley's Believe It Or Not stuff or pull-out posters of great white sharks.  I just love having books around me even if they aren't ones I'm particularly interested in myself.  

There is a thrift/consignment/antique place that I love to visit and the last time I was in there I got carried away when I found a booth full of books for a dollar a piece...even the hardcovers. I was in book heaven. No doubt I would have come out with more if I could have carried them. I've found that I love old books even more than I do new ones which is what this edition of What I Love About You Monday is all about...

What I Love About Old Books...

~The smell.  And I don't even know how to describe it but if you've ever stepped foot in a library(and who hasn't?) then you know it.

~Handwritten inscriptions in the front.  I love imagining who these people were and what relationship they shared.  Found this in one of the books I recently bought for a dollar...

~You never know what little treasures you may stumble upon while reading one...little notes scribbled in the margin, an old newspaper ad, a postage paid comment card from the publisher, dated 1948.

~The way they take me back in time and give me a little glimpse as to what if may have been like to live a hundred years ago.  I bought this book (copyright 1900)at an antiques mall when we were in Maine in August...

~Feeling that I am most likely the only person in the world currently reading the book since it was published over one hundred years ago and is now out of print.

~Their mere presence in a room brings a feeling of coziness, comfort and warmth to the space. 

~They are magical.  Or at least they feel that way to me.  There is just something about holding a book in your hands and reading the words of someone long gone yet truly feeling a deep connection to them because you understand their words so much that you could have written them yourself.

What's your favorite old book?      

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Fancy Friday...Happy First Day of Fall!

Well, it is officially the first day of fall and it has been raining to beat the band here at my house but it's still Friday so I am not complaining. This week has been a doozy, what with the head cold that has now produced a fever blister under my nose and is either trying to come back on me this morning or this rain is seriously disturbing some ragweed, the seventh grade math homework that has succeeded at making me feel like an imbecile, and the two nights I managed to spill our dinner all over the kitchen floor...

Wednesday night I was feeling pretty sorry for myself with a cold and a headache so I popped a pepperoni pizza in the oven for supper only to have it slide off the baking stone into the dog's water and all over the bottom of the kitchen island and the floor when I went to take it out.  And let's just say the words that spewed out of my mouth in the seconds following are not ones I'd like to be remembered for having said...ahem...Charlie promptly gathered his things and headed out the door.  To Papa's Pizza to Go.  

Last night after opening a box of spaghetti that shot out all over the kitchen floor I was able to reel the angry words in (because Devin was at the table getting help from Charlie for his evil math homework) but I did proclaim loudly and in an overly dramatic fashion that I was going to quit cooking.  "I'm going to QUIT cooking!  I just can't do it anymore!  I'm such a klutz!" Charlie used his soft voice and said, "Uh oh...I better learn to cook then."  But all was right with the world again when I opened up the cabinet to find another whole box of spaghetti smiling back at me.  

But I've gone and gotten further away from the point I was originally trying to arrive at, which is that it is the first day of fall and it is Friday so let's talk about some fancy things...

First off I'd like to talk about stripes and floral together.  I honestly don't think I would have ever thought to go and put these two things together but as I was happily pinning away on pinterest the other day I came across this photo of a stripe tee with a floral scarf and I really, really liked it.  A lot.

The problem I sometimes have with pinterest though (as much as I love it!) is that often times the pin doesn't link you to the original source.  So I set out to find a similar shirt and scarf and while I didn't find a navy and white stripe shirt, I did find this one at Anthropologie...

Classic Stripe Tee 

And a very similar floral scarf at h&m...

Another cute little thing I've been seeing a lot lately is the long sweater socks peeking out from under the boots.  I'm not entirely sure if this is something a forty year old should be wearing but I don't feel anywhere near forty so that must count for something, right?  These socks are not, however, to be mistaken for the legwarmers that have recently reappeared in the fashion world.  Look, I've been there done the legwarmer thing back in the 80's and I'm not going back. You can't make me. 

But these socks?  I think I may have to try...

vintage tall sweater sock 

And of course, you need a cute little pair of boots to go with your so "not legwarmer" socks.  I love the simplicity of this Lucky pair.  They also come in black...

Maidie by Lucky Brand

I'm also loving the wrap watches I've been seeing around.  I mean like, really LOVING. Definitely on my top 10 list for Fall...

simple wrap watch by La Mer

multi leaf charm watch by La Mer

Seriously, what is NOT to love about those watches?  And to make it even better, they're made right here in the good ol' US of A.  Can't say that about many things anymore, unfortunately.  

Cabled Cocoon Poncho
Piperlime is calling this a poncho but I think it's more of a "poncho sweater".  I have a blue one in a similar style that I found at TJMaxx but I am loving the color of this one.  So fallish! And yes, spell checker, I know fallish is not a word but it's staying so get over yourself.

Flutter Sleeve Blouse
Simply because I just can't get enough of anything with "flutter" in the description.  Heavenly...

Center of the Earth Bracelet
I spotted this little treasure at Francesca's.  Pure perfection...

Toecap Ballerina Flats 
I found these little lovelies at Anthropologie and while they are way more than I'm willing to pay for a pair of flats, I am head over heels in love with them.  You're killing me, Anthro, you're killing me!

Old Navy Zip-front Cardigan
This is the type of thing I would wear all.the.time. A must-have for sure...

wexford bloom earrings by Violet Bella
If you were a pair of earrings what kind would you be?  LOVE!

And that's it.  Happy Friday and Happy Fall!  

Click on over to GirlymamaAll Things Chic or Musings of a Housewife for more fashion posts!

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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where I'm From...

One of the writing prompts Mama Kat presented this week was a bit different than anything I've tried my hand at before.  She challenged us to write a Where I'm From poem using a template (I've included it at the bottom of the post)...

Where I'm From

I am from a little blue suitcase, 
from Nestle's Quik
 and a quilted pallet on the floor of the den
I am from the happy yellow bike 
holding the shaggy white poodle with a fancy French name
 in the basket on the front
I am from the tall pine trees in the big green yard, 
 the sweet honeysuckle vines and dogwoods,
and the kudzu climbing the trees across the street
 and the tall end of the long brick ranch with the peeling gutters 
I am from new pajamas every year on Christmas Eve
 and big blue eyes with subtle grey specks

from Paul and Becky and Ollie Mae  
I am from the tenacious brokenhearted
and the try, try agains
From the By cracky!
and the Wake up! Wake up, you sleepy head! 
 Wake up! Wake up, get outta bed!   
I am from Just as I am, without one plea
and soul-saving Sundays at the Calvary Baptist Church

I’m from a cotton mill
 with a silver creek running through it,
 a river with a levee,
fresh fried okra and tomatoes from the garden
and sweet iced tea with the pintos and cornbread

from the stroke that left my great-grandmother 
(a small woman we ironically called Big Mama)
 unable to speak the words of love she so desperately
wanted to say each time she saw me and shoved 
 the green bills into my tiny hands
and the cancer that took her daughter (my grandmother)
at the age of fifty five...

In my garage is a grey plastic tote
packed to the brim with Kodak snapshots,
 Polaroids, portraits from Olan Mills Studios
and years of public school

I am from that tote,
that grey tote filled with the memories
of an introverted girl with big blue eyes and pigtails
with four yellow walls and a white canopy bed,
and a love for all things four-legged and furry...

and I am honored to be her future.

Below is the template. I encourage everyone to give this a try even if you don't have a blog...

I am from _______ (specific ordinary item), from _______ (product name) and _______.

I am from the _______ (home description… adjective, adjective, sensory detail).
I am from the _______ (plant, flower, natural item), the _______ (plant, flower, natural detail)
I am from _______ (family tradition) and _______ (family trait), from _______ (name of family member) and _______ (another family name) and _______ (family name).
I am from the _______ (description of family tendency) and _______ (another one).
From _______ (something you were told as a child) and _______ (another).
I am from (representation of religion, or lack of it). Further description.
I’m from _______ (place of birth and family ancestry), _______ (two food items representing your family).
From the _______ (specific family story about a specific person and detail), the _______ (another detail, and the _______ (another detail about another family member).
I am from _______ (location of family pictures, mementos, archives and several more lines indicating their worth).

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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...What IS this thing?

I found this in the basement of the old house before we moved.  Darin loved old, unique, interesting things.  And I do too... I just wish I knew what exactly this particular thing is!  I have asked a few different people but nobody seems to know what this thing is or what it was once used for.  I even tried googling it but that proved to be a little difficult seeing as how I don't know what it is!  

I think I used the search words, old tin bottle with lid, old tin milk jug, old tin water can and several others I thought fit but found nothing similar which tells me I must be way off the mark.

I've tried rubbing it thinking maybe a genie would rise up and grant me my three wishes...No luck with that yet but I'm not giving up, unless one of you bursts my bubble by informing me that you know it's something else.  

So do you?  If so please enlighten me, oh wise one!  

parenting BY dummies
StacyBusy Working Mama
Live and Love...Out Loud

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