Thursday, July 30, 2009

Over extended

ummm, I'm over-extended. I spend all day at work doing nothing, wanting something to do. I have book club tomorrow night and the house is less than clean, the yard is mid-picked up and I'm not finished with the book. I was relying on family to get it all done including mopping and vacuuming and picking up and all that. I thought it could get all done since they're all on vacation and I am not but I guess they're on vacation.

I've been wearing my elbow brace since I last weed-whacked (bad, bad idea) and I'm thinking about going to the ortho to see if he can figure out why the back upper part of my elbow hurts. (oh and in case you're wondering, the left elbow that I fell on a few days ago is almost fine feeling. It's just bruised). But my right (that I had surgery on) has something going on with it. In any case I can't lift anything heavy or it tweaks. And I am DEATHLY afraid of tearing something in there. I DO NOT want to deal with more pain.

Ok, so back to being over-extended. My friend Katherine is going to grad school in Chicago. I'm attempting to make her a scarf (So Cal vs Chicago weather!) and it's taking me much more time than I anticipated. So I'm doing that and then reading the book. Both need to be finished and it's a race against time. I am also planning on making her a collaged necklace but I just can't decide on how to finish it.

I'm tired, over-extended and just need to buckle down and get it done.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Can I get some kind of assignment here?

I've been at work since 8:30. The phone (for the entire office) has rung twice. No, wait, only once. My phone has rung once. So I've answered the phone twice today.


I have 1 thank you email because I sent my bosses availability to someone.
I have 1 email confirming a meeting
I have 1 email from a co-worker sharing a "OMG, can you believe this email train of crap".

All other emails I'm cc'd on but do not require any action.

I have 4 and a half hours to go. zzzzzzzzzzzzz

I keep checking my facebook. Usually someone is posting something. Nope,crickets there too. zzzzzzzzz

My facebook scrabble pals are either on vacation or only expect me to play at nighttime when I usually play so no games. zzzzzzzzzzz

There is no shopping around here, besides I have no money to shop with so it's moot. zzzzzzz

This post has taken me 5 mins to do and I'm bored with it. zzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Furlough is a verb

I got an email from my friend Terri. Her husband is having to take 40 furlough days for the next year. Now her part-time job has "furloughed" her. Not just a few days off but she's being "furloughed" so her job can be given to the bosses son who lost his job. And to add insult to in jury she is supposed to train him for the next 2 weeks.

How ballsy, how rude to actually tell an employee they're being let go to hire a family member. She's a contract employee so there isn't anything she can do about it. No unemployment, no smart remarks. She basically has to just take it and be nice about it so if the son finds a different job her boss will rehire her (he says).

I guess "furloughed" is the new, improved way of saying laid off or fired without cause.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I can't seem to win

I swear I can't seem to win. Since it's gotten so hot I'm getting the nausea that plagued me all summer. After 5 mins in the heat I'm sick.

Today I'd go out for 45 mins at a time. I had to work in the full sun, no shade until after 4:30.

I planted some plants that I've been watering every day (because potted plants do not retain water) and I HATE potted plants that look all beautiful and green and then get all spindly and die from too much heat and not enough water.

Then I went in, cooled off (and the nausea goes away). Then back out again. I dragged a half cut up tree out of the path of the laundry room door (thats the way I take the dogs out so the I had to step in the tree remains every time.

Back into the house.

I moved some of the MIL's furniture that is sitting in the my parking spot. I couldn't drag it into the barn. Too heavy and I cannot get into the barn, too much stuff. Besides it was too hot and I felt too badly to even try and move things in the barn.

I went to get gas and some ribbon at Joannes. Stopped at the gas station and as I was getting out of my car my feet (both of them) slipped out from under me and I jammed my elbow into the door. As my weight was flying backwards ALL of my weight was on that elbow when it hit. OMG. The pain was intense, I think I compressed a nerve because it hurt all the way down to the knuckles of the ring and middle fingers. Then I got really nauseous and thought I was gonna pass out. Sat there for 10 mins trying to compose myself and feel like I could even handle the gas pump hose.

Mind you this isn't my right elbow, the one I had surgery on...this is my LEFT elbow, the good one.

I drove home (husband must have been in the computer room because I didn't see him and he didn't call out to see who'd come home. I got a cold soda and kept it on my elbow so I could go get my ribbon. Took some Advil. Left the house.

I'm sure I looked funny with that cold soda in my lap and my left elbow crossed over so I could set it on the cold surface.

I came home, raked up dog shit and came inside to rant and rave on my blog. I need to ice it. Raking and shoveling already stresses my right surgery elbow, now my left is all F'd up (at least for today, I pray it's not going to cause me trouble).

It's been about 2 hours and it still hurts.

It just seems like I can't win. Last summer I got tested for MS because of all the health problems I had. Heat intolerance, double vision, blurry vision, neausea, the coordination problems (I've always been very, very coordinated). And the hotter it gets the more those things are showing up again. I seem to have wacky tendon problems, and if I push them I'm gonna end up being crippled. The cooler weather stopped all weird activity, but now it's back and now I can see I have some kind of reaction to heat. I wish the docs could tell me why and what it is so I can count on feeling ok instead of feeling terrible the whole summer.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Art inside

Given my last post ranting about "temperamental" artists I thought I'd write a little about a book I bought this last weekend. Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayles, Ted Orland

I read about it on Susan Hinckley's blog Small Works In Wool. btw, Susan has quite a few good book recommendations in her blog.

It's not a How To book and it's not a workbook/guidance book like
The Artist's Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity by Julia Cameron

It's more about the process of art and the development (or lack thereof) of making art: all art, all fields of art. Chapters include: Fear about yourself, fear about others, the outside world, the conceptual world amongst others.

One of my favorite quotes: ”To all viewers but yourself, what matters is the product: the finished artwork. To you, and you alone, what matters is the process.” Art and Fear, page 5.

For me, it is the process. Given the number of things I do and the number of things I discard it's ALL the process.

I was in the midst of the book when I had the exchange about "temperamental" artists and when I picked the book up afterwards I had my friend and her view of artists (and I admit her implied "what are artist is not" (the feeling that she considers only getting paid as a mark of an artist) as a factor in what I read and how I disseminated the information.

The chapter: Conceptual Worlds was my favorite of all the chapters. Maybe because of the exchange, maybe because for me that is the part that I struggle with, to give voice a way that is meaningful to me. To allow that to come thru.

"'s apparent all art is autobiographical." page 107

"Making art depends upon noticing things -- things about yourself, you methods, your subject matter. Sooner or later, for instance, every visual artist notices the relationship of the line to the pictures' edge. Before that moment the relationship does not exist; afterwards it's impossible to imagine it not existing. And from that moment on every new line talks back and forth with the picture's edge. People who have not yet made this small leap do not see the same picture as those who have -- in fact, conceptually speaking, they do not even live in the same world." page 109

I can see that autobiographical aspect in my own work, I can see where strict made up rules (in my own mind) restrains me and I see dissatisfaction. I can see where I let loose and I feel satisfaction in the finished piece. I can also see why someone might think an artist is being "temperamental" because what is "right" to the artist because of it's autobiographical nature but is **wrong** to someone who doesn't understand the nature of the piece can be viewed as difficult. (hahaha, editorial comment: It still doesn't make them an temperamental jerk because someone else can't see what is clearly there for the artist). The guy in the previous post can be a jerk because he's just plain rude most of the time, not because of his art.

I highly recommend this book. It's a slim volume but it's packed full of wisdom and realizations on paper.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Necessary qualifier

I have to admit, for the most part (that qualifier is necessary) I detest blanket statements.

I have a friend who has been very irritated with another friend's husband for making a blanket statement about "Mexicans". He complained about "them" and my friend took issue. Because her husband is Mexican. Her children are half Mexican. I've listened to her rail against this couple because of his errant comment. I tell her she should tell her friend that she doesn't appreciate the comments because while they may not think of her husband as "Mexican" (he looks hispanic but he has no accent) he is and that is the culture he grew up in and it's a part of him and his kids. But she won't.

So this morning we're discussing this guy in the office. He can be a jerk. And he just happens to be a graphic artist in our dept. Mostly he cleans up images, he does not do any original art for us. He DOES draw comics in his spare time (as well as during work hours but we won't talk about that.) It's sort of enough to know he's constantly complaining and raises his voice. One time he screamed at me not to ever tell him to be quiet, he's be as loud as he wanted to and nobody could tell him differently. This because everyones' screaming and yelling was unprofessional and I asked the entire room to calm down.

Ok, so the scene is set. My friend says to me..."Well, that's just how artists are, they're temperamental."

No, I don't agree. I don't think you can apply a blanket statement like that. She disagrees and says I have worked with a lot of artists (and she has worked with some) and they are all temperamental, they're always difficult to work with.

I tell her I consider myself an artist and I'm not temperamental. She agrees I'm not temperamental but everyone she's worked with AS an artist is temperamental. She's never worked with me AS an artist so I don't fit her statement but she cannot understand that if she has caveats then her blanket statement cannot be true. She states everyone she is talking about is MAKING A LIVING being an artist so they think their shit doesn't stink so that's why they're such assholes.

I told her I know lots of artists and they aren't temperamental. She countered with "thats because you don't work with them! And she told me, "That's why they say artists are temperamental!"

What I got out of the exchange was:
1. She doesn't think I'm an artist (or that only working artists are truly artists)
2. Some groups of people deserve labels because her experience is always true for all people.
3. She has no idea what the hell she is talking about.

I can't believe she couldn't see my point, I gave up and stopped talking because if I didn't I was going to get mad. Ok, madder.


Inertia: Inertia is the name for the tendency of an object in motion to remain in motion, or an object at rest to remain at rest, unless acted upon by a force.

That defines my household.

That said here is my list of things that need to be done (and I'd best get started):

Pick up every thing in the yard that isn't planted and toss it. Sweep up every bit of junk and get rid of it. There is a spilled bag of redwood chips that has been there for I don't know how long. Mow the weeds down to dirt.

Get bins to pack away all my craft stuff. Pack away craft stuff.

Toss all my books.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Beach choo choo

It's been blazing hot here. 104, 105 somewhere in there. So hot that the air conditioner can't really keep the house cool. It's also humid which is odd for this area. We're desert and usually it's pretty dry.

So when the beach train offered a special 29.00 for 4 people we (our pals plus kids) decided we'd all go. It turns out there were 27 of us all told. Our kids all brought pals with them. It used to be that we'd be 3 families and about 13 or 14 of us. But with all of their pals, it's grown huge. My son came with 3 of his friends. My daughter brough 3 and they brought their little 10 year old sister.

It's a long day. We left the house at 7:10, got our tickets (wild trying to get all the tickets coordinated) and then got on the train at 7:50. Got to the beach by 10 and left at 4:30.

There are many stops, we didn't get back to town til 7 p.m. Tired, dirty and hungry. We brought food but our group wanted something else.

I didn't want to go, I wasn't really hungry and I have to work in the morning...I really need a shower. So we ran, got burritos and came home.

All in all a very relaxing day sitting in my chair with a big umbrella, feet hidden under a towel reading my book. I wanted to nap but didn't. Some of the kids didn't bring food so I gave my son some money and they went and bought some. Silly kids.

The beach was nice and empty when we got there but soon it was packed to the gills. I'm glad I'm home. A shower will be good. See ya later.

Friday, July 17, 2009

SNAFU rant

Defination of Snafu: Situation Normal, all fucked up.

Let me put this in perspective.

I make 40k less than directors in my office. 40 thousand. The director (who I will talk about) has 5 direct reports. I am not one of them. This director reports directly to a Vice Chancellor (yes, I work in academia).

I work in this office as an admin. I am the lowest level employee in our dept.

I used to be in management at a Fortune 500 company. I had 33 direct reports. I reported directly to a Vice President. Despite my current job title I have a lot of management experience. It can be a humbling experience to be in a low level position, it can also be very frustrating to make small money yet be expected to do some level of work that I'm not paid to do when there are people who should be making decisions and/or doing higher level work but don't. That said, I have the most amount of management experience over the 3 directors. I only have less than the Vice Chancellor the director reports to.

Today was a perfect example.

10 of us got an email from an admin in another dept telling us a meeting that was scheduled for next Wed needed to be canceled and rescheduled. No reason was given. As a participant but not a leader at this meeting I noted the cancellation but that was it. I am not required to do anything other than let them know my availability when it's rescheduled.

The director (who, once again I will remind you makes 40 thousand more dollars a year than I do) calls me on the phone. She says:

Director: So did you see that email canceling that meeting on Wed?
Me: Yes, I saw it.
Director: Well, do you think it's appropriate if I respond to that email asking why it's being canceled?
Me (thinking to myself) Why the F would she be asking me to tell her what she should be doing? This is not my job to tell her whether she should respond to an ADMIN or not. I verbally replied with: Yes, I think it's appropriate.

Now really, why does the university pay someone 40 thousand dollars more than me who cannot decide whether it's appropriate to ask why a meeting was canceled? Why have I been told I will not be interviewed for a low level job (but higher than my current job) if I can give direction to a DIRECTOR? What is wrong with her than she could not make this simple decision? If she worked for me and she did the things I've seen I'd be laying her off in a minute. She is dead weight.

I am spitting mad.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Just a few photos from Friday

It's about a hundred degrees here today. Good thing the husband bought a new air filter for the air conditioner. It was working it's tail off and nary a lick of cool air. Now it gets downright chilly in here.

My knee has been bothering me since the night we returned from the aquarium. A lot of walking and I even wore my knee brace. Here we are, the girls - waiting for our stragglers. The husband actually took this pic.

This is the daughter feeding a lorakeet. The aquarium had some birds; a cockatiel and a lorakeet enclosure.

A close up of a lorakeet.

As you can see I'm not a very good indoor or in the dark photographer. I need to learn how to speed up the shutter speed.

These were some huge crab.

A sea lion.

Some kind of sea anemone

The daughter riding a motorcycle. Daring isn't she?

The BIL slowing the bike down.

Hard to tell here but the daughter and the BIL were dancing moments before I snapped the photo.

As you can tell I don't have a lot of good photos. I'm an inattentive photog at best. I know I got a couple of good photos of the other BIL and a lorakeet but those are on a different camera and the daughter needs to upload them.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Long Beach Aquarium with the family

We ended up at the Long Beach Aquarium. There were about a million kids outside in little groups, each sporting different color tee shirts. It was some kind of day camp activity.

Good thing we got there mid-morning and then had to wait for the other car to arrive.

I don't know how this worked but we left about 30 - 35 mins after the other car. But we arrived 15 mins earlier than they did. I know they stopped for coffee and I think gas, but we also stopped for coffee. We were in phone contact and I knew when they got off the freeway. But they didn't arrive.

They finally figured out they were at the Long Beach Convention Center, it's 1.4 miles away from where we were. They had to pee, they walked into the convention center and there was a spanish speaking only Jehovah's Witnesses convention inside. They were not allowed to use the restrooms.

They sweet-talked their way out of the 10.00 per car parking lot and finally made it to the right parking lot and location. They were hot and sweaty as they tried to find the aquarium by walking first.

I really liked the aquarium, it's better than Scripps. The husband didn't like the aquarium, I'm not sure why. LB has far more exhibits (even tho you see the same fish, but you really can't expect to see different fish) and there are quite a few hands on exhibits. Large ones. The shark/sting ray pool is quite large. There is also a little place for small children to get wet with a water playground.

After the aquarium we walked around the marina to Shoreline Village.

It was a beautiful afternoon. We ate inside at the Yard House. I think we'd had enough of being outside in the sun. The food was great, we got 1/2 price appetizers (at least the girls did) and that helped keep costs down. The appetizers were huge too. Way enough for a second meal. I brought 1/2 of my Thai Pizza home and that was after giving my BIL a slice too.

Then we drove home. Traffic wasn't that bad, athough we did have a report it was (and probably was at the time she was driving the freeway).

We met again at the coffee place and sat and chatted til it was time for us to go home. We traded hugs and I love you's to the SIL and BIL. It was so good to have them here. I want them to find a church out here and come home to live. The BIL can minister here, I'd tell him we need it more here than PA needs it if it would get them back home.

All in all a very good week with them. I wish the MIL could have enjoyed it with us, but she did if you think about her kids handing down her legacy.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Balancing money, family and fun

The PA family leaves tomorrow, so today we're going to go do something. Not sure what yet as everyone has different ideas about what is fun or worthwhile.

I want to do something different and my initial thought was the Huntington Gardens, but as I warned - the kids would probably hate that. And sure enough the daughter (likely the only one of the kids who'll be there) told me she was going to stay home if we went there. *sigh* so now I have to make sure I represent her as she probably won't speak up to the others, she'll just not go.

I looked up free or nearly free things to do in 3 counties. Not a lot do do during the day and I won't want to spend a lot of money. We have 3, maybe 4 going so we'd be spending a whole lot more than everyone else. I wouldn't worry so much but my pay is going to be cut starting next month so I have to worry about what money we're spending.

My ideas were: Farmers Market, Olvera St, Chinatown, MOMA, the Grammy Museum, the gardens. Prices range from free to 15.00 per person.

Not sure what we'll end up doing so I'll report later the end result.

As the husband pointed out, the decision should be the PA folks, we can go anytime but they're not able to do that. So whatever they decide I'll go with that.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The family gathers and laughs

I don't generally use peoples names in my blog but I'll post photos. Here are the 5 cousins. Mine are the 2nd boy and the last girl. The other 3 belong to my SIL from PA. They are Mike (19), Leems (20), Lola (19), Em (21) and Zozo (17). Click each photo to see detail!

This one is of my son's girlfriend and my son over on the right. They are both 20.

This is the whole clan. You'll notice I look like I'm missing a finger but no I am not. My son wouldn't smile so I poked my finger into his armpit and he smiled. hahaha, mothers have their ways.

These last three of of the three girl cousins, mine is on the left. She's 17, then there is Lola who is 20 and Em who is 21. Goofy girls.

Tues night we met for ice cream at a local shopping hotspot. We are a crowd when we go out. We laughed (there are way more pics and pretty much everyone is laughing and cutting up) alot. I don't know why we didn't all try and get a pic of all of us in our finery the say of the memorial but whatever, we got a casual photo in front of the movie theater. bwhahahaha.

The interment

On Tuesday the adults; me, the husband, his brother, sister and her husband did the interment at the cemetery. None of the kids were there.

It was a hot sunny day. Just 3 cars following the limo containing her ashes, it was pretty casual. Just like our family; casual. It was a nice comparison to the hustle and bustle of the previous day when there were so many people at her memorial. It was a good choice that the family made not to have the whole kit and caboodle (where does that term come from anyway? Click here) drive all the way out there just to drive back to the fellowship hall for the reception (is reception the right word?).

The MIL is right next to her husband Chuck. The siblings lowered the green bag containing her ashes into the ground and threw dirt on top.

The kind of scarecrowy grave digger shoveled in the rest of the dirt and put the divot of grass back on top and then smooshed it down with a heavy smoosher/packer thing. It's kind of funny how I cut off the head of the scarecrowy man in that photo.

And then we sat in the shade of a tree and talked.

We decided to visit my parents grave site. We drove around the lake, parked and went searching. Dave found it first. My parents are in 2 separate plots as they were buried rather than cremated. You've got a nice view of the lake standing there at their site.

Ducks came over to visit while we were there.

We left the cemetery and drove to get some lunch. We sat and talked and talked and yep, talked some more. It was nice, it was fun, it was easy. We stayed for about 3 hours I think. The staff at the restaurant just let us hang out there (we were the only people there practically) but still they had no idea what our previous days were like or what we'd just done, they were just nice enough to let us camp there for hours.

I left with a huge sense of family, of fellowship, of love. It's so amazing to me how well we get along. I couldn't have asked for a nicer family that is for sure.

xo Jean, thank you.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Yesterday was the memorial. It was a happy memorial for the most part. The kidlets were great, 4 of the 5 grandchildren did eulogies. My eldest used his radio voice and spoke clearly, Lola was emotional and poignant in her remembrances, my youngest started off with a shaky voice but left them laughing at the end of hers, Em cried at the beginning and strengthened at the end. I cried tears for their bravery and sorrow as they read. The 5th grandchild sat next to me during the eulogies and while he didn't speak we know how he feels. He's a quiet sort unless he is in his element. Memorials aren't necessarily in either of our comfort zones as far as speaking.

The entire family got up and sang "I Shall Be Released". I've never been to a funeral where the family gets up and sings but it was totally right for us to do it. We were like the Von Trapp family...only fatter and grayer and not quite as cute. But we were loud. :-) The husband played uke, the son played guitar. We're a musical theater/music family. Oh we don't all sing professionally but we've all been onstage singing in our lives. It comes from the MIL I think.

The MIL had a VOICE. Not just a good singing voice but a fantastic singing voice. I'd always heard she did but until you hear her, you have no idea. Luckily the family has a 78 that she recorded when she was about 17 or 18. She sings the irish song: "Loch Lomond " and a Puccini aria. It was played at the beginning and end of the service.

Pastor Dave (my BIL who is married to my husbands sister) sang The Lords Prayer a cappella. Beautiful. He also spoke about the MIL, my only wish is that I'd thought of asking him to include some words from me. But the truth is everything that everyone said up there could have come from any of our mouths. So I am content.

We got a lot of comments about the music. For some reason some people had no idea that most of the family sings. My son got a lot of comments because most everyone there had never heard him sing or speak publically. My daughter too for her eulogy. The other kids probably got comments but they were probably told to their mother.

The church was pretty full, almost to the rafters. While we were singing we got to see everyone who was there that was pretty cool.

Afterwards the fellowship hall was filled and it took a long time for people to get inside out of the blazing sun. A lot of relatives, a lot of friends, both hers and ours.

I was really proud that our friends and family got to see how it is with our family. We are danged close which I think is a rarity these days. It's really a testimony about my MIL and FIL, the importance they put on family. I hope my kids realize what they have, parents, aunts, uncles and cousins that are exactly in the same groove as we are. We are blessed.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The 4th evening in July '09

We did go to K & J's, ate well. Small, just 3 families. 4 if you count K's bro coming by.

At 8:30 the hub, the daughter and Olivia walked the 5 blocks or so to the church and watched the fireworks there. I stayed at the party and we all walked to the corner and watched from there.

I was not in the mood to deal with the traffic getting out of the church parking lot. It's very close to the fireworks so traffic can be a bear.

Soon the hub, daughter and Olivia came back and said the PA family was coming by. They soon stopped by with Donita (who was nice enough to cart them to and fro...she's got a van AND she's been one of the best friends to the family for the last few years.

Our clan filled the room and with all the different families and the 5 dogs it was chaotically fun. They ended up leaving not too long afterwards and we went home.

It was a good holiday, I got to spend it with most of the family. I didn't see Nuffy today but he was busy getting the MIL's aria (she recorded it on a 78 years and years ago) put on tape so we can have it at the memorial. Normally we don't see Nuffy on the 4th, we're always at K and J's or at Susan's depending on the year.

So that was our 4th. Firecracker red nails, friends and a bit of family. Now if only our PA family were out here for good, I'd be very, very happy.

The ever changing plans

Today me, the daughter, the SIL and the cousins (only the girls) went and got a pedicure. Fun and definately needed since it's been years since I've had a pedicure. I generally do this myself but I pay more attention to my hands than my feet and after a winter in shoes my toes look terrible.

But now they are all purty with RED polish. Tomorrow I'll do my fingernails the matching red.

Tonight the families will be all over town. The BIL is going to the church to hang out there. We're going to some friends house (where we always go) and the PA family is staying home. The party at our friends house is always easy, just hanging out talking. Usually there are a lot of kids about.

The plan has been very fluid. Yesterday the BIL gave us a ticket to the church thing but we'd already planned for our friends house since there were no plans. I don't really care about seeing the fireworks so I warned the BIL we might not attend the church function. Or maybe we'd leave the party and go for just fireworks.

The PA family is staying home and maybe going to the church for fireworks only.

Like I said, we're always fluid. Maybe we'll all meet for ice cream afterwards. Or LOL, maybe not. We are not the best coordinators.

Well, I'd better get my butt going to the party, red toes and all.

A few photos

I napped and read today. Which is why I am up at the moment. Since I've spent the last hour up I'm thinking I'll stay up and then go back to bed when I am tired.

Meanwhile...some photos. Grammy with the grandkids back when they were younger. Mine are the girl with the light blue top and the boy with the dark blue shirt.

My daughter with Grammy. My daughters hair is dyed dark, normally it's an ashy light brown.

The MIL looking pensive after dinner

Well, for some reason blogger doesn't want to upload the photo from 1991 so I'll leave this at that.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Ant invasion

Oh yes, I was up at 5:30 and it was lovely outside. Cool and sunny. The house warmed as the sun rose.

I found ants all over the kitchen table. Ant's going into the water well of my espresso machine. Ants on the sink, marching across the counter.


At 5:45 a.m. I could see a line of ants marching from the cutting board area.

I pulled out the evil death spray and after removing some drawers (setting one on the trash can) and the cutting board I protected the dishes pots and pans with newspaper.

And I struck. I sprayed the death spray.

After that I was hot and sleepy. I decided (since nobody was up and I was sort of dragging) to read a little and maybe nap.

so I did. I napped for an hour. I woke because I heard a CRASH.

It was the drawer I'd set on the trashcan. The trashcan top is slightly slanted to accomodate a swinging lid that we never use.

So I got up and picked it up.

I hope the wayward ants either figure a way out of the house or they will meet the evil death spray.

Here is a video that shows the ants moving around.

Dinner nightmare

Separate bills that's what you have to do when you go out for dinner. It's too hard to figure out everyones food, drink, taxes, tip. And if the waiters made a mistake it compounds the math.

And none of us are math people. I know, I know, it's simple addition and subtraction but you can either guestimate or you can do it to the penny and it still means working your math brain (and if you don't have a math brain, well there's the rub, eh?)

Last night one of the waiters told the table that the salad/soup combo was 7.95. It was not. It was 11.25. The waiters agreed to take off the extra money. But then the *manager* came over and said that she'd take the extra money off "this time" but next time.....she would not.

Which would have been fine but the waiter TOLD them the price was 7.95. Nobody at our table tried to steal a meal for less money. The choose their meals based on what the waiter told them.

The second issue was that the hub and his brother both ordered a glass of wine. They chose their wine after getting a "free" taste of some kind of italian wine that they chose NOT to order. After the boys were about 1/2 way done with their glass of wine the waiters asked if they wanted another glass. After a moment of hesitation they said "Ok." The waiter poured the italian wine into their glasses. Which meant they just mixed the non-italian wine with the italian wine.

Both men told the waiters that they just mixed the wines together. The BIL got a new glass of wine AND they left the mixed wine with him. The husband drank the mixed wine and I think got a glass of the right wine and when we got the bill we got charged for 2 wines and the BIL got charged for one. At 10.00 per glass we were cheated.

Confused? OMG, we were. They brought us a new bill. But they didn't take off the salad difference so the bill was exactly the same. The other BIL went over and complained about the issue and how the manager treated him, that condesending tone and the comment about how she'd do it for us THIS TIME.

The "real" manager came by the table and offered up an apology for the salad pricing issue. We didn't know about the wine charging at the time so it wasn't brought up.

We are STILL trying to figure out the bill. The bill shows each guest like this:
Guest 1: Soup and Salad, soda, entree.

Great except that Guest 1 only had soup and salad. Guest 2 had the entree. The entire bill was like that. So it was harder than hell to figure out who had dinner, who had many drinks (like wine and soda), and not to mention there was an 18% tip added on.


Separate bills for now on. I am tired of trying to figure out what we ate and what others ate. What percentage tip this group has vs that group.

And I didn't even have wine.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

You hungry?

The MIL, her photo for the memorial. I had to modify the photo because it had a plate of food in the foreground. The plate of food does have a place in this post even tho I took it out of the picture.

I have eaten thousands of meals with my family. Many of them shared with my in-laws. Food always had a place in our togetherness.

It was one way the MIL showed her love. She relished food, loved a full plate of home cooking, fast food, sweets and beverages filled to the brim with ice. Every Sunday we'd eat together. First my FIL did all the cooking, then she took over after he passed away. We took over after she found she could not do the Sunday dinners anymore.

We always watched tv and chatted as we ate. We ate in the den and she ALWAYS apologized for doing that instead of sitting at a set table. We only sat at a table for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Every other holiday, every other meal was not at the table. Casual dining, that was (is) our style.

My MIL always tried to get me to eat more even tho I rarely went back for more. Every meal she'd say: "Have some more." She always tried to tempt me with whatever she thought was good.

Yesterday the SIL, BIL and kids came in from Pennslyvania. After work I joined them for dinner. We sat at 2 different tables (which I didn't like) but the place was packed so we dealt with it. I didn't get to talk to the boys much but I have time, they're here a couple of days and I'm off work for a few days. We'll have more meals to have fun and remember the MIL.

I will miss the MIL at those meals. But hey, now she can hear everything we say and maybe I'll be tempted to eat a dessert or something in her honor.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009