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Monday, August 27, 2012

Welcome To The Future

A couple of weeks ago I paused from reading my Kindle, looked up and saw Charlie watching an old episode of 24 on his Android tablet, Dracen playing a game on my laptop, the Olympic games taking place in London on the flat screen t.v. in front of me and thought of Devin playing video games upstairs in the bonus room and it hit me that we are living in a world I would have never been able to fathom when I was growing up in the 70s and 80s.  Not even in my wildest of dreams. 

So I knew I'd have no trouble at all with this week's listicle topic...

10 Clues That You Are Living In The Year 2012

1. You bought an old rotary phone at an antiques shop and had to give your kids a tutorial on how to use it because they had no idea what it was. 

2. You buy and read books with a single delicate tap of your fingertip.

3. Your teenager plays video games and chats with all his friends though not a one of those friends is physically present (thanks to XBox Live). 

4. Your teenager won't allow you to photograph him because he's terrified you'll post an unflattering view of him on facebook.

5. You can't buy a pair of jeans without being asked for your email address, your zip code, your preferred customer card (most likely attached to your key ring) and if you'd like to save 20% today by opening a store credit card. 

6. When you hear that someone 'went viral' you don't envision them hugging the porcelain throne.    

7. You often catch yourself saying things like, "Well, when I was your age we had to go to this place called the library to look things up...kinda like the media center at your school."

8. You surf the net daily yet you don't live at the ocean nor do you fish or own a surfboard.

9. Your nine year old tells you he's locked out and you know this simply means he's forgotten his iPod touch password...again!

10.  You know that if you don't tweet it, text it, email it, blog it, facebook it, Instagram it, pin it or post it to YouTube, then nobody is ever going to believe it really happened.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Friday Fragments...TGIF!

~I am now appreciating Fridays again since the boys are finishing up their third week back in school today. 
So far we've only had one teacher note between the two of them.  It was in Dracen's agenda last Friday, just letting me know that he'd been having a hard time staying on task and that he'd made a paper airplane in class that day. 

I knew something was up when he got in the car and said, "I'm going to start focusing better next week".  (He was prepping me for the note he was about to whip out of his book bag!)  He said he had actually made the plane the night before  at home and somehow it got put in his book bag and he pulled it out and said, "What's this doing in here?"  I believed him since he and Devin had made about twenty the night before and flew them all over the house and in the backyard.  


~After taking my car back to the dealership three times in the past two weeks, the bozos still did not fix the a/c issue.  They called back this time and said, "Well, that part didn't fix it either.  Looks like it needs a new compressor (NOT cheap!)".  Charlie pretty much told them he'd lost all faith in them, that he wanted our money back and that we'd be a takin' our business elsewhere.  

The go-between guy we'd been dealing with went in the boss's office and Charlie decided to follow him on in there.  I quick-like got on my iPhone and tried to look all busy because I had a feeling things were about to get ugly.  The guy was very defensive, unapologetic and actually made the statement, "I am world class."  Oh, no he di'int!  Charlie held it together better than I would have by saying, "Well in all due respect, sir, you weren't the one working on it...I'm done with this conversation and I want my money back."  We got our money back.  And made an appointment with someone else.


~I cleaned up Dracen's room while he was at school yesterday. No.small.feat! I think next time I'll call up Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs and say, "Boy, have I got a good one for you!"  Because seriously, I was so tempted to roll over and wave my white flag about halfway through. 

The most perplexing thing I found was hundreds of pieces of what used to be a small bar of soap (like the ones in hotel bathrooms) all over behind and under his bed, buried underneath a pile of construction paper, stuffed animals, and various other items. I'm not sure I would have known what it even was had the wrapper not still been there.  

But that didn't come close to the ziploc bag of molded jerky I uncovered.  That was straight up nasty. 

It was really good to find the floor again though and not have to get that dreaded itchy feeling as if I'm about to walk onto an episode of Hoarders every time I go in there! 


~While I was in there, I found his scrapbook/photo album one of his preschool teachers made him when he was three and couldn't help but to pause and flip through it before putting it away.  I'm not going to lie, I teared up.  

When did my little boy get so big?!

They grow up so dang fast, don't they?  Last weekend we drove to Chapel Hill to see and help Shana (my stepdaughter) get settled into her dorm for her freshman year.  I reminded myself and Charlie that Shana was the same age Devin is now when we met and now here she is going away to college already.  Time flies.  Don't blink!


~Did y'all know that there is an app for keeping mosquitoes away?  My blood has always been a delicacy for skeeters so I thought it couldn't hurt to try.  I sat out on the deck reading the other afternoon, opened that little buzzing app up and do you know, I did not get one bite?  Not one!  A-mazing.  

I've also got a bird chirping app, a duck calling app and a dog sounds app that drives Lucky and the Wieners crazy. Yesterday I found one called "my robot voice" where you hit 'record', talk into it and then play it back in different robotic voices. I laughed until I cried. I'm such a dork.  

Got a cool app I should know about?  Do tell.  


You can see more Friday Fragments or link up your own at Half- Past Kissin' Time!
Half-Past Kissin' Time

Happy Friday, Y'all! 

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Thursday, August 23, 2012


Aside from your kids, pets, your husband, your coffee and your wine…what makes you smile?

When I saw the above writing prompt from Mama Kat this week, I decided to take on the challenge because I would have been tempted to put all those things on my smile list.

I've never been one to walk around with a big ol' smile plastered on my face all the time.  Not that I don't admire those who do, mind you.  I have just never been one who can pull that off.  If you see me smiling, you know it's for real.  I simply cannot pull off a fake smile.  

So here are some things (in no particular order) that never fail to turn my frown upside down...

1. Dachshunds/Wiener Dogs/Dachsies/Doxies/Little Long Dogs/Badger Dogs.  

Via One Kings Lane
Yes, I realize that I was not supposed to say pets but she did say "your pets" and while yes, my two little Longhaired Wieners make me smile on a daily basis, so do ALL the little Dachsies of the world...Seeing one being walked down the street, a photo or video of one online or in a magazine, hanging out of a car window, on t.v....wherever and in whatever form, there ain't no way, no how I can see one without smiling from ear to ear and probably saying, "Aww...Look, a Dachsie!" I even have an entire board on Pinterest devoted to all things Dachshund. There is simply no shame in my wiener dog game. 

2. Shoes.
I realize it's shallow of me but I have always LOVED me some stylish footwear. Somehow Charlie and I were talking about some story the other day about a man he once knew who found out his wife had been embezzling money from his company and using it to buy drugs.  Devin, being the obnoxious age of 13, piped up with, "What if mom is embezzling money from your company?!" Charlie laughed and jokingly said, "Well, if your mom was stealing from me I don't think she'd be using the money to buy drugs. Nope.  She'd buy shoes!"  
Via Boden USA

3. Birds.
There has just always been something about a singing bird perched outside my window that makes me smile but Red Cardinals and Hummingbirds are downright magical for me.  The Cardinals that I simply refer to as redbirds have held very special meaning for me since those early days of grief when they showed up in droves in my front yard. And Hummingbirds?  Well, can anybody watch a Hummingbird at a feeder without smiling?  

4. A baby with a pacifier, especially if the baby is smiling underneath.
I know it's because it reminds me of Devin's baby days (back when he was still sweet!).  He loved him some Bink.  Oops!  I wasn't supposed to talk about my kids, was I?

5. Jumping on a trampoline.
I did this a couple of months back one evening when Charlie was pressure washing the deck and I couldn't get in the back door so I just decided to get a little cardio in on the trampoline.  While it was a whole lot harder than I remembered it being, I could not help but smile like a fool and wave at Charlie in the process.   

6. Dr. Seuss books/quotes/merchandise.
I've never deprived my boys of books (although they don't seem to share my deep love of them) and we have a very healthy collection of Dr. Seuss ones.  Dracen went through a period where Dr. Seuss was the only thing he wanted to read or have read to him. It has to be impossible to read Dr. Seuss without smiling.  He really did make reading fun.  And I get downright giddy inside if I see that a new movie inspired by a Dr. Seuss book is Coming Soon.

7. Those funny ecards clever people make and put on Pinterest.  I have an endless supply of them pinned to my "Now That's Funny" board. Here's a little sample:
Diane via Jessica
Diane via Vicky S.
Diane via Candy

Seriously, I never tire of those things.  

8. Flowers blooming in my yard.
I'm always amazed when I look out the window to see that something I myself planted has actually bloomed!  

9. The way it feels to slip on my comfy sweats or pajama pants. Especially after wearing something all day that felt a little too constricting.  

10. Comments on my blog. Works every time.  

What makes you smile?

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Saturn with a Sunroof

For today's Monday Listicles Stasha asked us to make a list of ten things about our cars.  I have only ever owned four cars total in the twenty three years I've been driving.  My first car, that I got at the age of 18 in 1989, was a 1984 light blue four door Mazda 626 that I had serviced about once every 15 months, if it was lucky. It didn't appreciate the lack of maintenance and began leaving me stranded in places like the side of I-77 and on the top of the parking deck at school my senior year of college in 1994.  It did not live to see me graduate.  

I finished out the last few weeks before graduation in my mom's big red Thunderbird before landing my first job and buying a brand new shiny red '94 Mustang.  Oh how I loved that car! But we parted ways when I became pregnant with Devin in 1998.  I traded her in for a '99 Mitsubishi Galant, complete with the sunroof and leather seats I'd always wanted and the four doors I'd need for my soon-to- be life as a new mommy.

We didn't part ways until 2007 when I bought my current ride, an '07 Saturn Vue. (I really wanted a Honda Pilot but I was a single mom at the time and it was a little out of my price range.  Also, I don't like to finagle and Saturn had a reputation as being an anti-finagling establishment)...

10 Things About My Saturn

1. There's a Longhaired Dachshund decal on the back.  I know you're shocked.

2. It could use a bath. 

3. It's been having an A/C issue since the spring.  We finally took it to the shop last week.  You know, once the hundred and five degree temps had already passed.  It doesn't cool on idle which is no fun at all when you live in the south and find yourself sitting at a stoplight, in road construction, or in the school pickup line.  

The GM (since Saturn is no more) dealership we took it to tried to tell us it needed a whatchamacallit part because it was leaking refrigerant.  Charlie's business is commercial heating and air so he knows a bit about this stuff although cars are a little different.  He argued with the guy and tried to tell him that he really didn't think that could possibly be it.  He assured him he was wrong.  

But he wasn't. He was right. Because that was indeed NOT it since the new one did not fix the problem so they've ordered another part and we will take it back next week to give them one last shot to redeem their reputations.  I'm not holding my breath.  

4. There are almost always smudges from doggies' noses on the windows.  Dachshunds like to ride.  
I need this decal from Etsy.
5. It has leather seats. Ketchup doesn't sink into leather.

6. There's probably a french fry or two in the backseat.  

7. It has a sunroof.  

8. The stereo works just fine and can usually be found on XM Channel 8, the 80s station, with the volume wide open. Unless someone else is in the car and then I try to reel it in.  

9. During the months of March, April, May and part of June the back is always loaded down with all things baseball...bat bags, helmets, cleats, hats, gloves...and our folding chairs we sit it at the games and practices.  Bleachers hurt my butt.    

10. It has OnStar.  Comes in handy when you lock your keys inside it. Not that I would know much about that or anything...

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Friday, August 17, 2012

How My iPhone Camera Rolls...

I'm still loving my iPhone though Siri and I have had a bit of a falling out.  Remember me raving about her a few weeks ago, right after I crossed over from the stone age Blackberry world I was living in?  About how she impressed me greatly by spelling Dracen's name right when no person ever spells his name right the first time? Yeah, well that was incredibly impressive and I still don't know how she did that but since then Siri hasn't done jack for me.  

We just don't get each other. My stepson, Chris, loves him some Siri and says it's probably my southern accent (he doesn't have one since he's from Michigan).  Maybe he's right and she just doesn't comprehend my twang, or maybe I just don't word things in a way that she can understand or maybe it's just simply a case of personality clash. Whatever the reason, we are barely even on speaking terms anymore.  I haven't given up on her completely but I had to take a break before I said something that would burn that bridge all the way to the ground.  

The camera is most definitely getting its fair share of usage, however, with my favorite app award going to Instagram. I try to resist the urge to post every pic I take since I have come down with a bad case of the I've got a camera in my pocket and I'm not afraid to use it disease.  Seriously, I can't eat a vanilla ice cream cone without feeling like the world is going to miss out on the simplistic greatness of that moment if I don't snap a pic of it first, even if I don't share it.  It's there, you know, just in case the need to use it should ever arise.  
(And you thought I was exaggerating, didn't you?) 

Because I just know that the world is just dying to get a little peek into my camera roll because my life is so filled with exciting adventures and glamour one of the symptoms of the I've got a camera in my pocket and I'm not afraid to use it disease is the belief that everybody and her brother is interested in seeing pics of my lunch before I take a bite out of it, my freshly painted toenails and every single cuter than life movement each of my three super cute dogs make.  
Well, you have to admit, this one is pretty cool, right?
 We were front porch swing sittin' one Sunday afternoon 
and Brisco Darling is not allowed out front because he's an
 untrustworthy bolter and I don't like to run.
 His pleading eyes through the window tell all. 
Bless his little bolting wiener heart. 

But the one who gives me the most Instagram-worthy shots is the one and only, Dracenator.  If only I'd had this thing when he was a toddler... I could have gone viral daily.  

I snapped this shot of him as he shimmied up the doorway  between the kitchen and the living room one night...
I should really look into getting him signed up for a gymnastics class. 

A couple of nights ago, just before his bedtime, I walked down the hallway to find this at the end...
Hmm...Let's see..We have a machine gun, some rope, some giant magnets
 and a clown wig he wore for Halloween the year he turned four.  
Should I be worried?  

Then yesterday I jumped back about six feet when I spotted what I at first thought to be a drowned rat in my kitchen sink...
Turns out it's one of those guinea pigs from the movie, G-Force, 
with a parachute attached to his back.  He was soaking wet.  
When I asked Dracen about it later, he told me it had been in the freezer
and he was just "thawing it out."  I was afraid to ask what it was
doing in the freezer but he did once put a wet, stuffed lion in there
in order to "get his mane to stand up right." 

I'm thinking of starting a new weekly series inspired by my iPhone camera roll called The Sh*t Dracen Does or The Three Begging Foodies...

I called this one, "Begging for Salmon".

So what's in your Camera Roll?

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Eight Reasons

As I have stated once before (okay more like a hundred and ten times before but who's counting?) summer was cut three weeks short in our county this year since our kids had to go back to school last week instead of on the 27th like the entire rest of the state. I think I was more upset about this little stunt being pulled over on us than the kids but I tend to have a hard time getting over things that force me to get up at the butt crack of dawn before I'm due.  

Lack of sleep makes me mean and my body was just not wired to go to bed before 11pm nor was it wired to smile and make pancakes before the sun has made an appearance or the roosters have even cracked open an eyelid.  Do roosters even have eyelids?  I don't know.  Whatever.  That's beside the point.   I didn't really mean to drag the roosters into this again.  

What I meant to do was answer Mama Kat's prompt... List 8 things you’re looking forward to OR list 8 things you’re dreading about sending the kids back to school.

But, obviously, my kids are already back in school so I'll list 8 reasons why I was NOT looking forward to it starting back 3 weeks early...

1. The (duh!) early mornings.  If I had my way about things, I would not ever do ridiculously early mornings.  Dracen's elementary school tardy bell rings at 7:35 a.m.  The TARDY bell. How insane is that?  Very...Very, very, irritatingly insane! 

2. The battles I must fight daily to get the homework done. Because I have two of the most "strong-willed" children the good Lord ever placed on the planet.  

3. Fundraisers.  Dracen already brought one home, last week, the very first week of school.  Really?! 

4. Sock issues.  Allow me to explain... Socks have a way of splitting up at our house, especially the boys' black Nike socks which just so happen to be the only kind they will wear anymore. Seriously, they seem to disappear at record speed.  So then we have mornings like today's when somebody can't find a matching pair and well... everything just goes downhill from there.  I've heard it said that one must endure a lot of drama when raising girls.  HA! Drama is alive and kicking in this house of boys. 

5. The forgetfulness. "I forgot what my homework is",  "I think I left my book at school/in my locker", "I forgot to bring my lunchbox home", "I forgot that it was picture day"... 

6. The math.  Because math homework has a way of making me feel like an idiot.  Times ten.  Thank God for Google.

7. Early morning bathroom fights, breakfast table fights, after school fights... Okay, so they fought all summer but at least the fights didn't start before they rolled out of bed at noon.  

8. Phone calls, notes, emails from teachers telling me that my kid acted like an arse today. None yet this year and Devin actually said the words, "All my teachers are so nice this year."  Oh but the year is young, the

Mama’s Losin’ It

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

School Days...Luck and Bribery

Today marks one week since the boys went back to school and I went back to cursing the alarm clock and bumping into things in the mornings.

Dracen told me yesterday that he's been having a bit of bad luck.  "Like how do you mean?", I asked him.  He replied with, "Ah,  you know...just bad luck."  After some frustration and coaxing on my part, he finally confessed that he kept getting in trouble with the teacher.  But none of it, of course, was his fault.  

Like brother like brother.  

Seriously, how naive do they think I am?  

According to him, he got called down once (or maybe twice) for talking when all he was doing was telling someone else to stop talking to him.  Another time she accused him of not doing his work when (his words) he's really just a slow worker.  First I've ever heard of him being a "slow worker".  And yet another time someone "snitched" on him for talking in the bathroom.  And oh, he's already been moved to a new table.  

But none of this, mind you, was his fault.  None whatsoever.  It's just that bad luck thing working against him.  Maybe I should put a horseshoe in his book bag,  a four leaf clover in his agenda and start packing him Lucky Charms for snack to help combat this stroke of bad luck he's run up on.  

I just hope this is not an indication of how this year's going to go because I'm just not sure I'm up for the challenge after the way his brother's first year of middle school went last year.  I'm saying my prayers, holding my breath, and crossing my fingers that eighth grade is going to be a little more smooth sailing than seventh and that maybe, just maybe, he's going to find his 'on' switch this year.  And that when he does, Dracen isn't going to simultaneously find his 'off' switch. 

One night last week at the supper table Charlie asked Devin to think of something big he really wanted and that he may just possibly get if he makes straight A's all year. His first words were (and I kid you not), "No way that's going to happen." 

He then played along and named some kind of fancy headphones that he said costs about 300 dollars.  Knowing Devin's motivational level the way that I do, I suggested he aim a little higher for straight A's and told him those headphones would maybe make a good AB prize.  

We finally came up with a four wheeler, the one thing they've been begging me for for years although they have one they can ride at their popaw's house, and it would just be one more thing I'd have to worry myself over.  Not to mention one more helmet rule I'd have to enforce.  

But if it will motivate him to bring his A game, I'm all for it.


Lucky charms...

Whatever works.   

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Canoeing The New River...

Last Saturday we took the boys canoeing.  Have y'all seen the movie Grumpy Old Men?  Because seriously, the sight and sound of those two starting off down the river together in a canoe as they bickered to beat the band was just like watching Jack Lemmon's and Walter Matthou's characters in that movie, minus the age.  I think I'm going to see if I can get them their own reality show called Grumpy Young Bros.

Dracen's anxiety level had already peaked before we ever got off the bank when the guy said anyone under 13 had to wear a life jacket (it's the law).  He was not going to have any of it, therefore an early morning attitude adjustment was deemed necessary. 
We had two canoes and a one man kayak for the five of us... three adults, and the two grumpy young bros.  Dracen wanted needed desperately to start off in the kayak but since he was in the middle of getting his attitude adjustment for the I ain't wearin' no stinkin' life jacket fit he pitched, Uncle Dave hopped in the waiting kayak which put him in a canoe with Devin and Charlie and I in the other canoe.
This lasted for all of sixty seconds before we were all pulling over on the bank so Dave could switch places with Dracen, giving him control of the kayak...
Being the captain of his own ship went a long way in reducing the level of little brother anxiety he was experiencing but Devin refused to let up, harassing him each time he got close enough.  We could not paddle fast enough. 
I didn't realize how far sound can travel on a river, which was really more like a very wide creek.  We had to get out of the canoe and push several times because the water was so shallow in some places we kept getting stuck. 
After lunch Dracen allowed the kayak to head back down the river without him or anyone else in it, another time he allowed his paddle to go off down the river solo, leaving him to paddle with his hands and the rest of us to chase it down the river in our canoes that continued to get stuck (it felt like we were in The Amazing Race at one point), and yet another time he managed to get stuck on a big rock, allowing his kayak to go off without him.  

Charlie and I heard, "Guys!  Hey, guys!"  and looked back to see Dracen standing on that giant rock as his kayak headed down the river, forcing us to paddle upstream in order to rescue him as Devin and Dave went off to rescue the kayak.
I know this one is a little out of focus but I was laughing hysterically while trying to dock my canoe on the side of a rock.  
That's when I waded across the river and took my own turn in the kayak since Dracen was clearly wanting back in a canoe but really didn't want Devin getting another turn in the kayak either.

That's when they both ended up in the canoe with Dave, bless his heart. Lucky for him though, our ten miles was nearing completion at that point.  

All in all, it was a successful trip although Dracen, to hear him tell it, narrowly escaped a snake attack once.  I have to admit, I would have been terrified myself had I been in his shoes boat.  Charlie and I were a little ways ahead of him when we heard a blood curdling scream and turned to see him standing up in the kayak yelling out, "SNAKE!!!  IT'S COMING AFTER ME! IT'S ATTACKING ME!" 

I spotted it swimming toward his kayak (it looked like a non-poisonous black snake from where I was sitting) and then saw it going under his kayak and popping up on the other side.  Once we got him to see that it was already on the other side of his kayak and swimming for the bank, he sat back down but swore it was a cobra aiming to kill him before it had a change of heart at the last second. 

At the end of our ten miles, the Zaloo's Canoes bus, van and crew were waiting to carry us all back to the shop.  We were the first ones back so got first pick of the seats, choosing the van over the big blue bus.  
Both boys caught some Zzz's on the two hour drive home... I was smart enough to sit between them in the backseat so we were able to avoid any additional squabbles.  

It was, in the end, a fun trip and I'd do it again.  Only next time I'll get two kayaks and pack something stronger than Diet Dr. Pepper in that big red cooler.  I'm just sayin'...


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