Friday, December 30, 2005

Presenting... Inky!

Chris finally came home from Indiana this evening. It is so good to have him home! It was a very relaxing Christmas week though ;)

He got a "mousey" cage from us for Christmas last week. This evening, we went out to buy his "mousey". He wound up choosing the cutest baby gerbil ever.

Her name is Inky :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Whoa! I'm getting Married!

I've been looking at Memphis and Tennessee in general on the internet while we are so slow at work this week. I think we've got the beginnings of a honeymoon planned, and I think we may have the date of April 28th picked out for our wedding. I'm really excited about it now. I don't know what made me turn the corner, exactly, but it was powerful to imagine myself and Dennis in the places I was seeing on the screen on our honeymoon :-D Yea!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Mmmm, long weekend!


I could stay home with Dennis forever. *sigh* I love being in love :-D

Sunday, December 25, 2005

I'm Dreaming of a Slushy Christmas

Well, it is partly white, anyway.

Merry Slushmas, everyone!

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas #3

We had a nice Christmas morning this morning before work. I think Santa did well this year!

Dennis and Chris met me at work for lunch. We went out to the good Subway on Page. It was very nice to see them. Chris left with his Dad for Christmas. We won't see him again for a week. I sure will miss him :(

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sixteen Candles and Playing Santa

Today is my little sister's 16th birthday. We went to Litchfield to eat dinner with the family. The Ruby Tuesday up there is pretty good. Beth got her driver's license today, and she drove by herself for the first time. We just got back home, and now we've got to go play Santa. Our wacky schedule this year has us doing Christmas morning tomorrow before I leave for work.

I also found out today that my boss will not let me work off my three hours of vacation, and I am probably not going to get paid for the twenty minutes of overtime I put in yesterday. She said that I would have needed to arrange for that before hand. I shot back a slightly unprofessional reply that there was no way I could have, since I did not know I would be using my vacation time until the following Monday, and that I WOULD be paid for my extra time. If this job gets in the way of my ability to be a good fiance and mother, it is doing me no good at all. I am sacrificing a lot to work this kind of job instead of chasing my real career all over the place. I'm really upset with the whole thing. I'm positive that the only way to "win" is to lie. That makes me really angry. I guess it was all by the book, and I guess I should have known when I took a job that required me to punch a time clock. I'll probably be angry all over again when I get this check on January 6 and see that I am not being paid either. What burns me the most is how they preached on and on about their flexibility during my job interview. Yeah, right.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Christmas #2

We had Christmas with Dennis's family today. We have to spread everything out on the years that Chris is with his Dad for Christmas. We had a great time!

They also got a new Christmas puppy. He does not have a name yet, but he sure is cute:

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Another Party

We've been partying down at work this week. We had a bridal shower for one of the women who just got married over the weekend. I made my meatballs again, by request! I also threw in a pan of home fries. I'm glad I did, because the two vegetarians at work didn't have much else to eat.

Looking at her beautiful wedding pictures got me a little bit excited about my wedding. I spent some time looking at possible honeymoon destinations online when it was slow.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Some Vacation!

I found out this morning at work that my company is forcing me to use three of my vacation hours for my daycare debauchle on Thursday. Had I known that I would not be able to use my last 2 1/2 hours of sick time, I would have sent Dennis instead. Wonderful! I sure do wish she would have told me this up front. Now I know that if any other emergencies come up, someone will always, always be sick... This is going to put me just a few hours short of a full week for my honeymoon in April.

We had a baby shower for one of the women at work today. My department went in together for a bogger gift, and it was really a hit! I'm glad it worked out, since I was the one who first suggested it. *whew* I also cooked my meatballs. Dennis was not sure that they would go over, but everyone gobbled them up. There were only six left, and I gave them away for someone to take home. *whew*

In other news, Chris started his new afterschool routine today! We did indeed switch daycare providers. I don't know that they believed we would. It was "fine with them" anyway. I hope the new place works out, they seem very nice - at least so far...

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Mastodons, Giant Sloths and Cub Scouts, OH MY!

The Cub Scout Den went to Mastodon State Park this afternoon.

Look out!!!

Friday, December 09, 2005

The Spelling Gene

My son has a spelling gene.

He was the last boy standing at his school's spelling bee today. He got "fourth place" although they don't really award anything for being the last one not in the top three.

I'm so proud!

I do not know where he got the spelling gene. I'm thinking we must have switched babies in the maternity ward...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Can I get a do over?

It was not a good day.

It snowed.

Work was very slow.

Chris's daycare called at 12:30 to let me know that they were not going to run their van today, so they could not pick him up from school.

What exactly is that that I am paying them quite a bit of money to do?

Instead of being frustrated, I just simply said, "Well, I'm glad we've paid you for this service" and hung up. Another of the daycare workers (Miss Mary from Just 4 Us on Highway 94 if you are keeping score) called me back at work to tell me some more reasons why they just couldn't possibly run the van today, and just basically bawl me out. I told her we'd had quite enough of Just 4 Us, thank you, and to please never pick my son up again. To which she said, "That's fine with us."

Apparently I was paying them not only to not pick up my son, but also for their incredible tact and inspiring customer service skills.

After leaving work three hours early, I arrived at Chris's school to find every other daycare fan in the area patiently waiting in line to pick up their charges at the end of the day.

I have had lingering anger all evening, to the point I think I understand what makes people go "postal" a bit too much. I need some tea and a sleeping pill. Or just a cigarette. Fifteen months is not enough time to kill that craving.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

As Promised...

My First Fake Tree:

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Ray Family Christmas Party (Christmas #1)

The annual Ray Family Christmas Party was held today in Bukner Hill.

Chris had a blast running around with his cousins. Dad and Dennis mostly sat around talking about guns. Beth was trying to be cool. I ate too much :)

Best of all, Santa came, and brought us all a little something.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...

You know ;)

I finally bit the bullet and bought a FAKE Christmas tree. It is just OK. I don't *love* it, but it isn't horribly disgusting and trashy either. I miss the smell of a real tree so much! I do not miss stepping on pine needles. I also bought Bing Crosby and Elvis Christmas CDs, so now I have something to listen to while I tell my family to stand back and quit helping trim the tree!

Today Dennis is out on his own, running around in the cold woods with guns and Koby. That means I am online Christmas shopping till my credit card runs out, at least. I'm shocked and amazed at the overcharging for shipping! Now I know how everyone makes up their great "online price breaks." *cough*

The tree is not quite finished, but pictures will follow shortly.

I'm also going to ride the wayback machine to October and backBlog like crazy trying to get back to the Future. Ah, Saturday home alone!

Friday, December 02, 2005

It's been going around...

10 Random things about me you may not know:
1. I am a perfectionist.
2. I like to plan ahead.
3. I listen to rap and booty dance when I am home alone.
4. ONLY when I am home alone!
5. I do not like to sing in front of Dennis.
6. I haven’t shaved my legs this week.
7. I am putting on weight.
8. Work is the only place I ever wear makeup.
9. I did not want to have children.
10. Dennis and I are not going to have any.

9 Places I've visited:
1. House on the Rock, Wisconsin.
2. West Virginia.
3. Disney World.
4. A Reanissance Fair.
5. A club called “The Other World” that used to be on Delmar.
6. New Orleans.
7. Ames, Iowa.
8. Daniel Boone’s home.
9. The top of the Sear’s Tower.

8 Ways to win my heart:
1. Be genuine.
2. Be caring.
3. Show compassion.
4. A devistating kiss.
5. Cracked sense of humor.
6. Try hard.
7. Be honest, even if it hurts.
8. Cuddling.

7 Things I must do before I die:
1. Give my son my very best effort at motherhood.
2. Travel – everywhere.
3. Marry Dennis.
4. Figure out my relationship with my Dad.
5. Make a friend.
6. Move to the country.
7. See Chris as a happy, well-adjusted adult.

6 Things I'm afraid of:
1. Losing someone I love.
2. Alienating someone I love.
3. Getting angry and doing something dumb.
4. Getting old without grace.
5. The dark.
6. Little ankle-biter dogs.

5 Things I don't like:
1. Gassy foods.
2. Snot.
3. Dog breath.
4. Human breath on the back of my neck.
5. Snobby people.

4 Ways to turn me off:
1. Holier-than-thou attitude.
2. Judging me without knowing me.
3. Pretention.
4. Treating me like a child.

3 things I do every day:
1. Hug Dennis and Chris.
2. Brush my teeth at least three times.
3. Drink two cups of coffee.

2 things that make me happy:
1. Spending time with Dennis.
2. Being outside.

1 Thing that is on my mind right now:
I have a headache that I really want to get rid of quickly.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I Want to Be a Dentist

Not really, but I was very excited to GO TO the dentist today. I have never had a cavity, and I'm very careful with my teeth. I could not WAIT to get them cleaned. Good news - STILL no cavaties. My teeth feel so good! I can't stop running my tongue all over them.

Chris is not doing quite that well. He has an old filling that is giving him trouble, the tooth next to it has a cavity, and he's got his first cavity in an adult tooth. Darn it! He's going to have the worst tooth pulled. It is next in line to come out anyway, so hopefully this won't be too much trouble for him.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Gobble Gobble Goo and Gobble Gobble Gickel

We had second Thanksgiving yesterday at my parents' house. (We had planned to go Thrusday, but mom wound up working afternoons, thanks Mom's boss...) This time there were mashed potatoes and gravy, hurrah! We had smoked and regular turkey. Yum!

My Dad showed off pictures from his trip to Colorado this summer. Then he invited Dennis to go elk hunting next year. This is a very big deal. I don't know if Dennis even realizes how big of a deal it is. He didn't invite me either...

I did not get to take pictures this year, because we left the camera at DJ & Cathy's on Thursday. Boo :(

Thursday, November 24, 2005

You can get anything you want... Alice's Restaurant, of course!

At 12:00, we were in the car on the way to Dennis's parents' house, and I remembered to check KSHE! Dennis did not think that he had heard it before, and Chris did not remember hearing it before, so we turned it up and kept right on listening even after we'd gotten to the house. We had to sit in the driveway for about seven minutes.

Mmmm, dinner was good, no mashed potatoes and gravy, but still quite tasty.

DJ & Cathy still have a stupid hummingbird that just didn't migrate. They left the feeder out for it, but I can't imagine it is going to make it through the winter here. Maybe it is the Sid the Sloth of the hummingbird world, and the family intentionally left it behind?

Gotta go now... turkey coma... zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

I'm feeling Self-Made

For the first time since my divorce, I have real, honest-to-goodness, actual healthcare and dental insurance. Hooray! I can go to the dentist! I can go to the doctor! I can get shots! I can have uncomfortable "procedures"! I can fall down and break various parts! Whoooooo-hooooo!

I've been paying for Chris to be covered, and I am going to continue to do so. It seems that my "group coverage" is actually MORE EXPENSIVE than what I was able to get on my own through Blue Cross. Filed in "things that make you go hmm."

Monday, October 31, 2005


Halloween is my favorite holiday. It isn't much when Chris is gone though.

I had thought about running off to get married over the weekend. NIN is playing in Nashville tonight. How cool would it have been to end a short honeymoon with another concert? But it didn't happen, and that's ok.

Chris is trick-or-treating with his Dad this year. They should be back soon though. He is "Lord Voldemort" this year. We don't know exactly what he should look like, and the new Harry Potter movie doesn't come out for a few weeks, so we're improvising! (It looks a lot better when he is wearing pants).

Friday, October 28, 2005

Jack (Sparrow) O'Lantern

We had to carve our pumpkins before Chris left for the weekend. Chris is very good at doing this all by himself. He's very creative, and amazingly, he doesn't get too frustrated with the whole process. Of course he loves sticking his hand in pumpkin goo. Who doesn't?

Dennis made a very cool pirate for this year's jack o'lantern. *sigh* If it really was Jack Sparrow... *sigh*

Here's the whole family:

(Mine is the scaredy-cat on the left, and Chris's is the robot on the right.)

Thursday, October 27, 2005

I've had the same job for...

Ninety days!

Monday, October 24, 2005

Frost on the Pumpkins

We went to Eckert's Farm in Grafton yesterday to pick our own pumpkins. It was still damn cold, and running around the pumpkin patch was slightly uncomfortable when the sun peeked behind a cloud.

We also bought apples so that I can bake a pie. Yum!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Cub Scout Camp

We spent Friday night freezing at Cub Scout Family Camp. It was held at Beaumont Scout Reservation. Chris had a good time, played with the kids, hiked, learned to identify several local trees, struck a match and helped start a fire (in a fire pit, with supervision!) and other scouty things.

He got to participate in the Flag Ceremony Saturday afternoon:

We stayed until after the campfire and skits Saturday night, then headed home to sleep in our very own warm beds! (Yeah, yeah, we're total pussies, but at least we didn't have to sleep in the rain.)

I have uploaded a Photobucket Album of the whole trip.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


I read something!

I haven't taken anything from the reading list lately, but did pick up Jeff Shaara's Of God's and Generals and The Last Full Measure. I just finshed the latter. I do not think they were as good as his father's book, The Killer Angels, but I did enjoy them.

Saturday, October 15, 2005



I haven't been to a big concert in a while. Dennis and I went to see Nine Inch Nails last night. Strangely enough, it was almost 10 years to the day since the last time I saw them live. (October 11, 1995) It was so good. I had a really great time. Dennis is "not a concert person," but he seemed to enjoy himself.

I have a friend from work who was on the list, and decided not to go at the last minute. Of course I think my friend from work is officially mental. I get weak in the knees thinking of going backstage, and she is able to casually blow it off like it just isn't a big deal. She has the luxury of having been socially snubbed by Trent Reznor quite a few years ago, and she is irritated that the lineup of the Queens of the Stone Age has changed, and no longer includes a close personal friend of hers. It is probably a good thing that she did not go and did not invite me, because I would not have been able to play it cool in front of, like, real famous people. I'm sure I would have been Queen Retard.

The grapes are sour, I'm telling you. S-O-U-R.

Not that it ruined my concert experience. I felt 18 again, and that is not a bad thing.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Highland Games

We (Chris included) went to the St. Louis Highland Games today to watch my sister dance.

It was a good time! The weather could not have been any better. I did get a sunburn though :)

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Fish are Friends, not Food

Well, that's backwards. People at work are not friends. Not even the friendly ones.

I have been feverish on and off all week. I was miserable at work yesterday, either freezing to death or sweating through my shirt. I was miserable last night. My glands are swollen out to my jawbone. In short, I'm sick. If I somehow manage to hold on to this God-forsaken job for that long, I will have full health insurance and a few hours worth of sick time in less than three weeks. I am doing my level best to deal with this on my own, and to keep my paycheck out of the red along the way. I muddled through yesterday, but I just couldn't make it today. I got dressed, took some extra medicine, and made my way in like a trooper, but I just couldn't do it today. I worked for an hour, and then I came home. This is all coming straight out of my pocket, mind you, and wiping out any overtime I may have had built up as well.

The bitches in my department wouldn't even acknowledge me as I made my apologies and made my way out the door today. I'm feeling like a bit of a loose cannon because of my fever, so I came straight home and sent this email:


I was just wondering if you were not speaking to me because I came TO work sick this morning, or because I came home FROM work sick.

I certainly didn't plan this either way, and I am most definitely not enjoying it.


Perhaps they feel that I planned to miss work today because they had a big drama-filled meeting scheduled for 10:00 A.M. and I lit out at 9:55. Yeah, because that is how I roll. In truth, I was looking forward to the ridiculousness of the entire situation, and I was hoping for some Blog-worthy bullshit from the whole thing. I'm sad to be missing it.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

I have to do more work because you're stupid.

Isn't that the way it goes when we cater to the lowest common denominator?

I got in trouble at work today for knowing too much geography. If I can look at the UPS map and see that our transit time is going to be three days, I won't go to the time and trouble of running the transit time on and printing it out. I wasn't running transit times on shipments that other people could not tell by looking would make it, because they "don't know the map that well."

Of course I am not to be trusted! So I am running transit times on every single thing now. Forget it. I am not even going to try to convince them that I know anything. I'll just dumb it down.

Dumb it down.

And that's what makes America so damn great!

Saturday, September 24, 2005


I have my engagement ring! I am wearing it right now. After all of the daydreaming and showing internet pictures of the other set, I wound up with a plainly set solitare on a white gold band.

As soon as she set the loose stone in the ring at the store, I knew that I had it right. In truth, I could have opted for a larger stone, because I came in under budget, but I am extremely pleased with this one. It felt right, and I was not about to fight that. We have our wedding rings as well. I have a 2mm white gold band to set next to mine, and Dennis has a 4mm white gold band.

I've also sorted out my feelings about marrying again, and I am not nervous anymore. I'm just plain old in love now :-D

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Every Day is Exacty the Same

Nothing ever happens during the week. Every day is the same routine, and there is very little spare time to do anything. This is a big change from a few months ago when I had unlimited free time.

Chris had his first Cub Scout Pack meeting last night. He looks so cute in his uniform, but he refuses to let me take his picture in it.

I do not have fuzzy feelings about my new job, and I am putting my resume out there in a very real way now. I like the people I work with directly, but that is about as far as it goes. I do not know how to work with backstabbing, double talking, busy body women. I am not like that, and I do not relate to it. One of the women who has been there for about eight years has decided that she does not like me. I don't figure I'll be sticking around for too long, even if I wanted to. I believe it's time for me to fly.

I am ignoring the fact that Dennis and I are engaged for right now. I think it needs to simmer. I'm not pregnant (I know you were thinking it) and we're not in any kind of hurry, so I'm not going to stress over it. We always do our best when we let things take their course. So I'm just going to sit and wait for a while. Nothing is going to change, and we can save up for that ring I want ;) *giggle*

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ring Shopping

I am still very bug-eyed about the engagement. I am very glad that there is no date set. I did not feel this agitated when the discussion was hypothetical. Now that it is real, all kinds of memories, anxieties, and fears are being dredged up. I didn't know that I would feel so uneasy about it. I know that I love Dennis, and I know that he is the guy I am supposed to wind up with, and I am not afraid of our relationship getting ruined. I am scared of that M word though. I don't think that I believe in marrying for love anymore. I don't know what a second marriage means for me. I don't know what marriage means to Dennis. We're talking about it. We're playing around with the idea. We'll get it sorted out, I know, but right now I am a little uncomfortable.

So we went ring shopping today.

I walked straight out of The Shane Co. Too crowded, too stuffy, and it was freezing cold in there too. Nevermind. It felt just like a crypt.

I looked at rings in Sears while Dennis tried on work pants.

I took Dennis to Kay Jewelers and let him take the full heat of the high-pressure sales people while I acted disinterested. Then I told the salesman who would not leave me alone that the last ring I got there broke, but I didn't bring it back because the marriage failed anyway. He still tried to sell around that. I got up and walked right out of the store. Dennis wasn't far behind, but he did get talked into taking a card and a Kay's special bridal magazine. He won't have to go through a lot of the traditional wedding experiences, but I thought that he should at least get a taste. I was amused.

We wound up at Jared at the Mills. I liked it there. I like a ring they have there. I know that I want this style. We looked at it with a center stone we can't afford, but I know that this is the general idea that I'm after.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Uh, yeah, I guess so...

Dennis asked me to marry him!

Last night we discussed the general idea of marriage, and I got on a tangent about expectations, and tax breaks enticing people to "do the right thing" and had myself in quite a negative frame of mind about the entire idea of marriage, when he said, "So, will you marry me?"


"Are you being serious?"




"THIS is what I get? Well, since you are half-assing me, here's my answer, 'uh, yeah, I guess so'."

Followed immediately by a huge case of cold feet and self-doubt, and eventually I said, "This isn't fair! You can't get me all negative about a subject like this and then expect an overwhelmingly positive answer. I can't even see your face it's so dark in here! Are you serious?"

Then this afternoon, he asked me again. This time, he was getting ready to put on his socks, gave me a hug with a sock in each hand beind my back, and said, "Will you marry me?"

"Are you serious?"


Again, a little pause, and finally, "Yeah, I will."

Yeah, I know, it is the most romantic story ever.


So apparently I am engaged. It isn't real yet. I don't have any thoughts yet. I am freaked out. I feel very bug-eyed.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


It's been a year since I quit smoking.

My last cigarette was before bed on September 12, 2004. The first cigarette I didn't smoke was first thing in the morning on Monday, September 13, 2004.


That's something like 7300 cigarettes that I haven't smoked, and something like $1300 I didn't spend on the damn things.

Nobody remembered or said anything to me, but that's ok. I know. :-D

Thursday, September 08, 2005


We went for a hike across the Missouri River Bridge on the Page Avenue Extension / Route 364 the other evening. Now, of course, I am curious about the bridge.

According to MoDot,
The bridge over the Missouri River connecting St. Louis and St. Charles counties and is actually two separate bridges. The structure itself is called a "tied arch" bridge because each arch is tied together with many steel cables. Each tied arch bridge was erected on bridge piers near the banks of the Missouri River. Four barges then floated each structure to their permanent position over the Missouri River. Each bridge will carry five lanes of traffic across the Missouri River, and the westbound bridge has a separate bike trail.

*Each tied arch structure is 616 feet long, 125 feet high and 90 feet wide
*90,000 cubic yards of concrete were used for the driving surface and bridge piers
*The structures contain 16 ½ million pounds of reinforcing steel
*78,000 feet of piling (beams drilled into the ground to support the bridge)
*3,000 feet of drilled shafts (the actual holes drilled into the ground)
*The steel girders and the two arches are comprised of 33 million pounds of structural steel
*The tied arches are held together by 444,000 bolts
*If the cables of the two tied arches were all connected, they would stretch 3 ½ miles
*It is 3,244 feet from the abutment on the St. Louis side to the abutment on the St. Charles side

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Here it comes, that funny feeling again...

I can have selective amnesia when it comes to learning from my past. I am hearing sirens and seeing flashing lights at my job. I do not want to go through another fiasco on the scale of Miller Certified Air, ever again. Here I go again, my resume on is updated, and I'm actively looking for work.


I do not want to be treated like a statistic. I do not want to feel my imminent replacablilty every single day. I do not want to live in fear of someone with some seniority who has decided that she will not like me. I do not want to have to fight tooth and nail for every penny of overtime that I am due. I do not want to have the fact that I know someone who got fired on her 82nd day hanging over my head. I don't want an unapproachable, two faced boss. (Another unapproachable, two faced boss...)

I know, that is a lot to ask, but for Christ's sake, I have a very expensive degree from and highly regarded University. So I'm going to take my happy little entitled ass elsewhere as soon as the opportunity presents itself.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Birthday Bash

Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you. You look like a monkey, and you act like one too...

We held Chris's birthday party yesterday in DuSable Park, along the Katy Trail, just north of Historic Main Street in St. Charles.

Paul's Family, my Ex-In-Laws, came out for the weekend. It was nice to see them, and yet somehow every strange at the same time. It is also always strange to hang out with Chris's Dad all day. Especially lately, since we haven't seen him for weeks. Pictures have been edited and uploaded to a Photobucket Album.

After the party, we all went for a browse around Historic Main Street. Paul Sr. bought us all a round of ice cream, we walked down to the river, and just hung out. All in all, it was a pretty good day.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Times-Picayune

The New Orleans daily has been running an incredible web based version of itself since they lost the ability to print actual newspapers. has traditionally been a site that I've turned to for Mardi Gras webcams, New Orleans weather, and good hotel deals. Now it has become something entirely different. It is one of the few sources for very local coverage - right down to individual Parish reports. I've been reading it over my lunch hour at work every day this week.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005


I want to wear a t-shirt that says I heart New Orleans. I do not want that place to be going through what it is going through right now. I was glad yesterday when it hadn't filled up with water. I am in shock now. I've been bitten by the New Orleans bug in a big way, the city deeply affected and enchanted me. I am at a loss for words right now.

Every year meteorologists cock their eyebrows at at least one storm in the Gulf. I don't know if the general population does this or not. Every year we say the what ifs and we say the thank goodnesses. Every year we think, "What if Camille wasn't the big one?" I don't have any inside track on knowing that a city near the sea that is below sea level is living on borrowed time.

My heart is breaking for the city, and for the people in the city. And for the people in the lower parishes. And for the people in Biloxi and Gulfport and everyone who is affected. I've spent a lot of time looking at storm damage, and I'm amazed by the level of the destruction.

I do have a sweatshirt that says "New Orleans" on it. I just need to cut out a heart and pin it on...

(Scanned copy of an actual photograph printed on real photographic paper, taken five years ago. Apologies for the quality. It is old school.)

Happy Birthday

Today is my baby's 9th birthday.

Cute, but goofy. I am hanging on to that picture for his first Prom date.

He is taking the bowl of cookies with him to school. My parents and sister came down last night and took us all out to Joe's Crab Shack for dinner. He enjoyed it a lot, and he got a groovy shirt too.

Sunday, August 28, 2005


We finally caught a break today and got out of town for a while.

We drove out 94 past the wineries, along the Katy trail, over the river and through the woods, to Cowan's in Washington. We made a quick stop at the Daniel Boone home, but we did not feel up to the tour today. We ate a nice homey meal and enjoyed HUGE slices of pie for dessert.

On the way home, we stopped by Dennis's new find, Reifsnider State Forest. Reifsnider is located off of Schuetzenground road. We all enjoyed saying that ten times fast. I took my car across a rock bottom low water bridge*. I proceeded to get it extremely dirty on the gravel/dirt road. Hooray!

It was really nice to unwind for a few hours. I've been on overdrive since we decided to move.

*otherwise known as driving across a creek

Thursday, August 25, 2005


Since I've joined the Squishy Place, I've driven past the Alberici windmill (at I-170 and Page Avenue) on a regular basis. I always watch it while I'm driving. On days when it is in motion, I like to eat lunch at one of the places nearby that affords a view of it. I really enjoy the way it rotates with an approaching thunderstorm. I've also noticed a microclimate where two nearby flags always flap at about a 30 degree angle to the windmill itself. I believe the flags are catching wind coming down from the interstate embankment, while the windmill is indicating the true wind direction.

Monday, August 22, 2005

I don't know where I'm going!

Someone has taken the girl out of South County! I've got that good old fashioned lost all the time feeling again. I have to think hard before I go anywhere around here and plan my routes. I am not very familiar with the St. Charles area, and I am making "discoveries" every day. I am still considering just about every outing an experiment, and I'm slowly learning which roads connect to each other so that one day I hope to really know my way around.

One thing that I know is that there is a whole lot of driving involved in everything. Things are very spread out. Stores that I am used to visiting in one trip are across town from each other. Out here, that's a lot of miles on the car. Out here, there is a whole lot of waiting at stop lights.

I have noticed that there are enough dining establishments of one sort or another to fill several weeks of eating out with very few repeats. I would guess that means that people cook less out here, but the grocery store concentration is also very high. There seem to be more than the average number of Walgreens as well.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

First Day of Fourth Grade

Today was Chris's first day of Fourth grade. He did not want his picture taken this morning. :)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

State Fair Time

It is State Fair time again! We went to the Illinois State Fair yesterday. Yes, I know, I live in Missouri, but I always go to the Illinois Fair. Crazy!

The Butter Cow's webcam is still up and running. The 4-H kid showing the Butter Cow creeped us out a little bit.

There was only one litter of piglets in the furrowing center this year, but we actually got to pet the runt. *cute* I just love piglets!

We met my parents at the Ethnic Village to watch Beth dance, but we got interrupted by a sudden downpour.

Although the dancing was brought to a halt, the pipers stayed on stage and continued to pipe right through the weather.

We all ran for cover and huddled under the plastic covers.

Unfortunately, the stage got too wet, so that was the end of the dancing for the evening. Everyone knows Scots can't dance in the rain...

We split off from my family and went to watch a few classes of the Society Horse Show. There was a mechanical bull outside the Coliseum, and Chris just had to try it out. He did really well! It was so cute and funny to see him up there making funny faces and holding on so tight with his little legs :-D

Friday, August 12, 2005

The Squishy Stuff Hit the Fan

Today at the Squishy Place, a formal announcement came down that in a few months' time, smoking will no longer be allowed on company property. Not outside, not in your car in the parking lot; N.O.W.H.E.R.E. It hasn't yet been a full year since I quit smoking, so I am very much on the fence in this debate. I understand where the company owners are coming from, and I really don't dispute their right to chose to ban tobacco products from their property. Noone disputes the fact that alcohol is a legal product that has no place in the work environment, and the management feels that tobacco falls into the same category. Despite what every smoker thinks, nicotine actually does impair concentration, and I can tell you without any question that it is a mood altering drug. The company is very freely offering financial support to those smokers who wish to quit. I don't necessarily feel that they are in the wrong to clearly state what they will and will not allow on their property.

However, I remember very clearly what the physical dependence on the nicotine is like. I don't envy the smokers one bit. They are of legal age, and using a completely legal product. I don't think we're going to see much indoor smoking anymore anywhere, but I don't really have a problem with designated smoking areas outside. As long as it doesn't start cutting into the work day, taking a smoke break or two really shouldn't be an issue. Non-smokers take restroom breaks. We all have to make occasional personal calls during business hours. In this case, there is an hour's paid lunch each day that we can use as we see fit. I think that they are going to simply clock out for five minutes at a time and cross the street for their smoke breaks. It would be more accomidating if the company provided a covered area with trash cans, but I know the smokers will find a way to work around the ban. If all else fails, they can find a place to work where they won't have to put up with being discriminated against for their chosen legal activity. This seems like a calculated risk on the company's part, because there are some people who are very good at what they do who are up in arms over this issue and they may wind up losing some valuable people in the long run.

I am too new to chime in much on the subject, other than to tell the smokers that I don't envy them, and to tell the non-smokers that this is yet another reason that I'm glad to have quit.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Things are coming together around here

At least it is starting to look a little bit like an occupied building ;)

My flowers look nice out on the patio. They aren't grouped as tightly together here, so I think I am going to rearrange my planting scheme for next year. It is too late in the year to do anything about it for this year. I may put some mums out by the front door in about six weeks or so.

This is the new dining room table my parents bought for us as a house-warming gift.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Oh, I'm still alive

And you're singing a Pearl Jam song now, aren't you?

I am so exhausted! Everything fit into one truckload on Saturday, we got it all physically into the new apartment by 4:00, and we've been working fairly constantly ever since.

It feels very nice to sit down for a few minutes, even though I really am doing actual work in other windows as I type this. I hope the other windows hurry with their work, because what I really need tonight is actual sleep.

When there are a few fewer boxes sitting out, I'll upload some pictures of the new place. It is bigger. There are two bathrooms. There are two walk-in closets!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Busy, Busy, Busy

Between my new job and packing, I've had very little time to play with this big white box. So far the job is going well. There is a lot to absorb, but I think I'm getting it. It isn't that bad. Hopefully things will keep going like they have been.

We've got Chris's room all packed up, most of the living room, and nothing from the kitchen, our bedroom, or the bathroom. Eek! I feel like I've been filling up boxes for eons, and I still have soooo much to do.

The computer is going to be boxed up soon - probably tomorrow night. I haven't arranged for new internet service yet either - eek! More work to do! I guess this means that I may be offline for a while.

Sunday, July 31, 2005


What do you do with eighteen cups of blackberries? Make pie, of course!

Here's my not quite as beautiful as I'd like, but delicious nonetheless blackberry pie:

(No store bought crusts for me, that's why they're not perfectly pretty.)

Farm Living Is the Life for Me

Or at least farm visiting. I didn't realize that I had not yet taken Dennis on a grand tour of my Aunt & Uncle's farm near Prairietown, Illinois. I had been telling him about picking blackberries though, and we wanted to meet up with my Mom and Chris before they left for Indiana for a few days, so we decided to kill a few birds with one stone by heading over there for the evening.

First we stood around petting Commanche and Star for a while. Dennis is a little shy around horses, but he likes them. 'Manche is too sick to ride, so we just talked to them and smashed a few horse flies. Then we headed out to the cow pasture to get blackberries. I did not realize that Dennis has never ridden a four wheeler before, so I had to teach him and remember to not run off without him.

We picked about 300 yards of brambles along the back pasture fence. There were berries everywhere. These are the serious kind, with deadly thorns that reach out and grab your arms and legs, and sometimes swing around behind you and smack you across the back. I always thought that a little bit of blood makes the berries taste sweeter. We wound up with about eighteen cups (a gallon plus a little) worth of them. (I didn't measure how many they ate before they could get into the buckets.)

The next stop was the cow herd. They've taught the cows to come when they are called by feeding them day-old bread. We hollered the secret code word ("Dolly, Dolly, Dolly") and the whole herd came rambling over, headed by the new red Limousine bull. We were hand feeding them hamburger buns for about half an hour. You can even reach out and pet the bull on the nose after he scoops the bread out of your hand with his tongue. There were two babies that were just a few days old, and as cute as can be. We got on the same side of the fence as the herd, and walked among them. It was really cool. This is a new trick, the bull they had when I was in High School would have killed you if you tried this. He ran me up onto more than one hay bale in his time. I definately like the new bull a whole lot better.

We ended the night by eating at the Village Drive In in Bunker Hill. It is right next door to the apartment my Greatgrandma used to live in with her canaries, and right down the street from the Catholic church where we used to have all of our family reunionis. The food is very good, and very cheap. *yum*

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

C'mon little Squishy...

Today was my first day on the job at the Squishy Place. I am fairly certain that I can do my job. It is just going to be a matter of getting the jargon, pricing structure, and details into my brain. (And getting them to stay there!) I know exactly what the difficult part is going to be, and I know that the only thing that can get me through it is time and experience. I'm allowing myself mistakes. I know they are going to happen.

I don't know if I will ever be a superstar at this. I also don't really want the job that this position ultimately grows into. Maybe I can leap-frog it ;)

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Home Sweet? Home

My ten year High School Reunion was last night. I did not go. I didn't feel like paying $34 to see people I just don't really care about. Sorry.

I did go to Litchfield though. I took Dennis to Party in the Park. We rode carnival rides, ate pork patties, and had the best lemon shake-ups in the whole wide world.

Friday, July 22, 2005


I've just finished Emile Zola's Nana. It is not really shocking now, but I certainly understand how shocking it would have been in 1880. The first thought I had was that Paris must have terrified respectable ladies everywhere in the 19th century. I immediately thought of Henry James's The Ambassadors and his depiction of Parisian excess. I believe that Henry James hated Emile Zola's naturalistic style. The pairing would have made for an excellent term paper, if I were an energetic English major.

Then I thought of Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Her drive to excess and social ruin was paralleled nicely by Nana's. Two ruined women, and the incessant, moralizing social commentary of two "stodgy old men." Hrmph. Of course this made me think of Virginia Woolf's Orlando. Cross-dressing and lesbianism. Juicy! Orlando in counterpoint to the other novels. Fodder for another paper!

I was amused by the accidental placement of Moll Flanders and Nana in order on my reading list. Nana is an utterly disagreeable character in the end, devoid of any real human emotion. In stark contrast to my favorable impression of Moll Flanders. Both novels carry the question of proto-feminism with them. Is resorting to prostitution the only way for women to exhibit any power at all in a patricharcial society? Is the power of women only vested in their youth and good looks? Is it wrong for a woman to use her sexuality when it is the only card she has to play? Are the male authors wrong for refusing to give women any other power at all? Are they justified in highlighting the folly of men (society) in this way? What does it say about women? In my mind, these two are better off than the silly heroines of the Romantic period that fell squarely between the two works.

I was impressed with Zola's writing. I'm sure the novel is exceedingly beautiful in French, if I could read just it. I am interested in details like the inner workings of a Paris theater. I was enthralled by the description of the horse races. I like this style of writing because I am not distracted by the details. I think I prefer it to Henry James. I do like that it is more complex than Defoe. Of course I believe we've come around to another period of "naturalism" with our reality TV driven world.

Mom is the hardest job of all.

What children take from us, they give…We become people who feel more deeply, question more deeply, hurt more deeply, and love more deeply. -Sonia Taitz

Chris and I went to Six Flags to play at Hurricane Harbor for a while yesterday afternoon. It was our 'last day of summer' as he is gone today with his Dad (he left early this weekend for his Aunt Mary's wedding), we have plans to spend the day Monday shopping for school clothes and supplies, and I start my new job Tuesday. He's going to spend two weeks with my parents, then we are moving, then he's got a week of YMCA camp in St. Charles, then he's off to school. Already. Yesterday was the last real day of our summer off together.

Children might or might not be a blessing, but to create them and then fail them was surely damnation. -Lois McMaster Bujold

I was up so late last night in tears. Really sobbing. It was miserable. Frankly, I'm not in much better shape right now. I feel like I used to when Chris was a tiny baby, and I'd sit up with him in the middle of the night holding him and trying hard to cry silently as he nursed himself back to sleep. I knew those nights were precious and would be a distant memory all too soon. I'm immersed in a deep sense of loss. I don't just feel that yesterday was our last day of this summer. I feel the weight of the things we should have done, the weight of the days we didn't interact at all, the weight of the days we didn't set foot outside of the apartment. I don't know that I'll ever have another entire summer off to spend with my son. I don't know that he would appreciate it if I did. I hate to think that I've squandered the age of eight. I am not sure when boys make the turn into nasty adolescents, but I know it happened to me at twelve. God, what I wouldn't do to have another day, another week, a time warp - something! I wish our whole summer could have been spent in the same sense of discovery and family that we had during our camping trip.

The central struggle of parenthood is to let our hopes for our children outweigh our fears. -Ellen Goodman

This really is tough. I'm the mother of an only child, so he gets to bear all of my hopes and fears, all of my anxiety and joy, and of course, all of my maternal love.

My mother had a great deal of trouble with me, but I think she enjoyed it. -Mark Twain

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I took Chris to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory this afternoon. I honestly did not expect anything other than a good movie from Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. I enjoyed seeing another of Burton's frequent flyers, Helena Bonham Carter, as Mrs. Bucket. She carried a hint of Marla Singer with her, which just added to the general oddness of the movie. (Unlike in Big Fish, where she was completely transformed.) In the end, it is a movie based on a children's book.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

It Pours. (When it Rains)

I got a callback for a second interview at the place that I was certain hated me. I am not supposed to hear back from them until Tuesday of next week, the day I am scheduled to start at the Squishy place. I am torn. I hope they call, but I also hope they don't call.

I think that the not-bombed interview place would ultimately be a better employer. I think that the Squishy place will not value and respect me nearly as much. But I also think that the not-bombed place may push just a little harder than I am really ready for. If they do call, I may duck out on the Squishy place. Especially if they call sooner than Tuesday. If I've already started and signed paperwork, I don't know if I will leave or not. The day-to-day details of the two jobs are relatively similar, but I will be processing payroll at the second place as well, which is absolutely a transferable skill that I am looking to put on my resume. The second place will most likely offer the dollar I talked myself out of asking for at the Squishy place. I do not have details of their benefits package yet, so I can't compare them. It is out of my hands right now anyway. I think it is a decision I will make on the spur of the moment based on what feels right. If they call, that is.

Friday, July 15, 2005

And I shall call him Squishy

Apparently the strife of the last few days over job-hunting, and my general employability, were the birthing pains of a new career. Yesterday, I was offered a job in an entirely different department that the one I had interviewed for. It sounded like a lot more work, and more difficult work at that, for about the same amount of money.

I felt low-balled. I felt uneasy. I think a lot of it is residual burn from my last situation. I slept on it.

I told Dennis I would not take it for less than X per hour. I had revised my figure down one whole dollar by this morning, and called them with my decision.

They fudged over the number. Still. After I'd come down a whole dollar.

I think $2000 per year means a lot more to the employee than it does to the employer.

Then they offered it to me for the price I was asking. I took it.

In actuality, I do need the money - yesterday. This is a whole dollar more than I made the last time I was working full time. With benefits. And there is a company match on the 401K. And I think I was hired into the department I would have been moving up into.

What is up with the title? My new employer shall be known as "The Squishy Place." Suffice it to say the main product is something specifically designed to be squished. It is a squishy business. I hope that the nature of the product will lend itself to an enjoyable environment. I think I may already have a friend in the receptionist.

Oh Snap!

Tommy Lee and Nikki Sixx of Motley Crue were just on Fox 2 News at Noon, which is actually on at 11:00.

Tommy Lee just called John Pertzborn an asshole live on air!

John: "One last question: who rocked harder in the 80s, Motley Crue or Poison?"

Nikki: "Who?!?!??"

Akward silence, John starts a crappy segway, is in the middle of thanking them...

Tommy: "What an asshole!"

Someone has to have a clip of this...

(This post has been hit all day today. Please leave a comment to let me know where you've found the link in. I usually don't do this much traffic on a single page in one day.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Am I unemployable?

Here's my latest bathroom mirror flash effect picture, taken while preparing for my interview today.

And here's my pity-party rant of the day:
I'm beginning to think that I am absolutely unable to secure meaningful employment for myself. I had a better go of it before I finished my degree. I had another interview that I think I bombed. The place that I was fairly confident would call hasn't. GAH! I, like an idiot, quit combing the want ads when I had a flurry of interviews. I have never had an experience where absolutely nothing panned out. It is starting to get to me. I am terrified that I am beyond the point of good judgement. I am ready to jump all over the first offer I get.



At this point, I think I am giving up on finding anything meaningful or career-oriented. I am down to the last minute, I must have some source of income soon, the move is approacing so quickly. I think I am going to explore retail and resturant opportunities in the greater St. Charles area tomorrow afternoon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Slightly Touched

There is a thin line between touching and touched. I think Dennis may be ever so slightly over that line sometimes. He asked Chris and I to accompany him while he buried his beloved pet Shelby. We made our way out into the Jefferson County woods in the middle of an all-day rain from the remnants of Hurricane Dennis. We carried with us two umbrellas, a shovel, and a small, makeshift coffin. It was, quite literally, a tropical rain forest on this particular evening. There was a gentle green haze hanging near the earth as we picked our way down to a flat-rock creek bed about half a mile into the wilderness. After navigating several healthy stands of poison ivy, we crossed the creek, and clambered up the sandstone bluff and bank on the opposite side. This was the spot Dennis had selected. This soil doesn't really facilitate actual digging per se, it is more accurate to call it "rock chopping" or "shovel destroying" - that is, of course, if you choose to classify it as soil at all. As we neared eight in the evening, the hole was finally large enough, and Shelby was laid to rest, finally. I couldn't help but wonder if the love of my life was completely freaking nuts while I stood deep in the woods in a the middle of a tropical depression watching him chip away at the hard ground completely uncovered with rainwater dripping down his face.

Monday, July 11, 2005

Moll Flanders

I've been working on the current entry on my reading list for the past five weeks. It has been slow because finding time to sit and read undisturbed has been almost impossible. I've been picking my way through my "summer reading list" for over a year now...

Moll Flanders, or "The Fortunes & Misfortunes of the famous Moll Flanders &c. Who was Born in Newgate, and during a Life of continu'd Variety for Threescore Years, besides her Childhood, was Twelve Year a Whore, five times a Wife (whereof once to her own Brother), Twelve Year a Thief, Eight Year a Transport Felon in Virginia, at last grew Rich, liv'd Honest, and died a Penitent. Written from her own Memorandums..." by Daniel Defoe, was a good, simple early novel. Depsite the absolutely reprehensible life she lived, you can't help but like the title character.

There was nothing difficult about the reading that held me up. It flows easily, and once you adjust to the verbose (almost spoken-word) style, it runs right along. It is the story of an entire lifetime, so there are pleanty of details along the way, but it is nothing overwhelming. It was a very good summer read, because no matter how many times I had to put it down, I was always able to keep up with the story along the way.

Hurricane Dennis

It is always fun when a storm shares a name with a loved one. We've been cracking "Dennis" jokes all weekend.

Current visible satellite image:

Hurricane Dennis is currently downgraded to Tropical Depression Dennis. We are just moments away from getting the first rain band here in South County. I think the drought conditions here, and severe drought conditions to our south are going to contribute to flooding. Hard, dry ground doesn't sponge up water any better than saturated ground does, so this heavy rain is likely to cause washouts and erosion. It will be like dumping a five-gallon bucket of water on your tomato plants once in the middle of summer. It may help for a few days, if the force of it doesn't kill your plants, but it isn't going to help in the long run without some regular moisture afterwards. I'm still grateful for the rain. I think the St. Louis area is going to get the fringes, which will hopefully give us enough rain, but spare us from the five-gallon bucket effect.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Goodbye to a Dear Friend

We had to put our baby rat, Shelby, to sleep this evening. She never fully recovered from her surgery and bronchitis in May. She had been stuck on her left side, unable to eat or drink, since Thursday evening. We kept thinking that “it can’t be much longer now,” but she kept hanging on, and on, and on, and on. Dennis finally asked me this afternoon to see what we could do to ease her suffering. I did some research, and found that we could do it at home with Carbon Dioxide. She went peacefully in less than eight minutes from beginning to end. All three of us are teary-eyed and quiet tonight. We are going to give her a “proper burial” tomorrow evening.

Shelby was one of nine babies my rat Belle had on December 5, 2003. We hand-raised them from day one:

We could only keep one of the babies, and Dennis chose this spunky brown-hoodie with a tiny white stripe on top of her head. Here she is at about 25 days old:

Shelby was always a silly, active, cute, and sweet pet. She also had great taste in cars:

She grew into a beautiful, sleek, friendly adult:

Rest in peace, Shelby Jane Doza - 12/5/03 – 7/10/05.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

I had to twist my brain

Lifted from the-only-person-from-High-School-that-I-still-speak-to’s journal:

List ten fictional characters you would have sex with, and then tag five friends.

(No particular order.)

1. Wade “Crybaby” Walker (Johnny Depp), Crybaby
2. Batman/Bruce Wayne
3. Andrew Largeman (Zach Braff), Garden State
4. The Man With No Name / Joe (Clint Eastwood), A Fistful of Dollars/A Few Dollars More/The Good, The Bad & The Ugly
5. Lorelei Lee (Marilyn Monroe) & Dorothy Shaw (Jane Russell), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
6. Doug Heffernan (Kevin James), The King of Queens
7. Beatrix Kiddo/The Bride/ Black Mamba (Uma Thurman), Kill Bill Vols. 1 & 2
8. Aidan Shaw (John Corbett), Sex in the City
9. Bo Darville/”The Bandit” (Burt Reynolds), Smokey and the Bandit
10. Jack Skellington, The Nightmare Before Christmas

Tuesday, July 05, 2005


I've been trying to figure out how to decorate and arrange the furniture at the new apartment. I got tired of trial and error on paper, so I got out the Sims and tried that.

It isn't exact, but it is faster to just point and click than it is to erase and redraw. It isn't 3D Home Architect, but it is a whole lot cheaper. And you can play with the people after you're done arranging too.

The thing by the white couch is a computer armoire. I haven't found it yet, but I'm going to get one anyway. I have found a round glass-top table for the dining room. I'm not going for the blue formica, despite how good it looks in the Sim version.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Brisket and Fireworks

Mmmm, DJ barbecued a brisket yesterday. It was super yummy. Paul had Chris last night, so Dennis and I shot fireworks by ourselves. We still have leftovers. I can't believe how much we wound up with! (Brisket and fireworks...) We always seem to have a good time together on the 4th of July :-D

Last night the downstairs neighbors were shooting really large fireworks right over my car. They finally set off two car alarms in the parking lot, then packed everything away and snuck off. One of the alarms went off for about two hours straight until the owners got home from the downtown fireworks. Not everything about moving out of this apartment complex is bad...

We just lazed around for most of the day. It rained finally! (We actually had a fairly fierce severe storm blow through. There was an awesome wind shift in the middle of the storm. Very cool.) It has been cloudy and cooler since that blew through. I wanted to shop for new apartment things, but a lot of stores closed early for the Fourth. (Some of the same stores that were open on Thanksgiving???)

Sunday, July 03, 2005

Can I get that in writing?


Finally, after all of that strife, he just sort of bent over and crumbled this morning and signed the Ammendment to the Joint Parenting Agreement, so Chris is officially, on paper, for real going to live with us this school year in our new apartment.

We had Chris with us last night, and went down to DJ & Cathy's to shoot fireworks. It was fun and tiring. I am worried about how dry everything is, so we've cut back on the rockets a whole bunch.

Saturday, July 02, 2005

We're Moving

Dennis put down a $300.00 deposit on the apartment in St. Charles today. We are supposed to move in on August 5th. We are going to have to pay double rent for all but four days of August. Hooray, this is going to be cheap...

Friday, July 01, 2005

There's no Cheese in our Pool

The sky is blue for once! It had been browinsh-white hazy gross for a long time. It is also tolerable outside. Yea!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Better than expected is good.

Wow, I had a job interview today for a Customer Serivce / Inside Sales job that I had serious reservations about beforehand. I wound up liking the place and the opportunity a whole lot more than I had expected. I am scared to death of having terrible judgement again. My last "exciting job offer" wound up being such a nightmare in the long run.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Birthday Dinner #3

Today is my actual birthday. Dennis got home late, and I didn't feel like cooking. We're having pizza! There's nothing wrong with birthday pizza.

I got flowers from Dennis and my parents.

I saw the Birthday Ponies today too. Chris and I went up to the farm to feed the horses and give Commanche his medication. We stood in the hot barn for about an hour while they finished their hay. I brushed both of them, but Chris chickened out on taking a bareback ride around the barnlot. I didn't feel like taking them all the way down to the other house to saddle them, so I have officially managed to avoid actually riding the Birthday Pony!!!

I just realized that my birthday this year was nowhere near the quality of last year's. I guess we're both distracted with everything we've got going on right now. I am feeling very up in the air about the entire St. Charles situation. The apartment complex is trying to railroad us, and I just found out this morning that Paul isn't ready to sign the custody paperwork. I tried not to let it ruin my birthday, but I'm just generally uneasy right now. At least I didn't get a sappy birthday card to type out this year. *shrug*

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Plain Ol' Hot

[I wanted a witty song title for this post, but nothing hit the nail on the head quite as well as what first came from my fingers.]

We went to the Sears Craftsman Nationals today. The new management at Gateway has gotten rid of shuttles from the back parking lots. Hooray! They've also hired a bunch of bleacher Nazis to keep us cheap seat folks out of the EMPTY expensive seats. Gateway is rapidly becoming much less fun. It was miserably hot - the sign at the entrance to the track read 99 degrees as we walked by.

Someone had the bright idea to water the track with one of the local fire department's pumper trucks right before the first round of Top Fuel. The first two sets of racers could barely peddle their cars before they lit up the tires. We saw four track-length burnouts. Hey, let's spray some more water on it, I don't think it is slick enough yet! Funny car definately outran Top Fuel that round. I think the track had time to warm back up by the time they got out there :)

Unfortunately, I got sick from the heat. I haven't had this problem for a few years - at least not since I met Dennis. He's never seen me like that. I think it was a combination of the heat and drinking too much water. I just couldn't get myself right, no matter what I tried. I wound up needing to go home by about 6:30. We only saw the first round. When we were almost to the truck stop, we heard the Top Fuels firing up again. I was not happy to have to leave. I really like the event. Nothing in the world compares to watching two Top Fuel dragsters make a full-throttle side-by-side four-second pass. The noise and heat and vibration and speed is just plain wicked cool. Seeing the final rounds at night is the only possible way it could be any cooler. I got overheated and missed out.

Before the racing got underway, they had a tribute film for Darrell Russell. I still can't believe he died at last year's event.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Birthday Dinner #2

Dennis took me out to Tequila Mexican Resturant this evening. The margarita wasn't nearly as good as last time, it was only "pretty good" instead of "perfect." Must have been a different bartender.

I've escaped the Birthday Pony yet again! The manager specifically requested not having to sing, and I enjoyed a free sopapilla with ice cream.

Apartment Hunting

Dennis and I spent the greater part of the day looking around St. Charles for an apartment. It isn't that I don't like St. Charles, it's just that I REALLY DON'T LIKE ST. CHARLES! Unfortunately, to get Chris in a supportive environment, and to avoid making him change school districts TWICE more, we have to settle for the area my ex-husband chose. (Not just the school district, but the specific elementary school as well.) I have to admit that his school is awesome!

St. Charles isn't really a place to live in an apartment with a child. The apartments are all too expensive, too nit-picky, or too damn crappy. There just aren't small, friendly complexes like we are in now. The "nice" places are all huge and full of single twenty-somethings. (I guess we are technically single twenty-somethings ourselves, but not in the O.C. kind of way I mean.)

We know for a fact that this is going to motivate us to bust ass for a home of our own. We know what we're looking at for the next two years. But we're trying to keep our chins up, because two years isn't a lifetime.

I continue to be amazed at how much Dennis is willing to give up for Chris and me. I don't think that there is a more amazing man on the face of the earth.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

It is nothing at all like riding a bicycle.

Interviewing takes practice. You don't remember it all when you jump back on after a few years. I had to take a Word test and an Excel test. I did fine with the Word test (which consisted of typing a letter to the President of the company, I used the Wizard, it was all good.) The Excel test threw me for a loop. I'd forgotten that I haven't used Excel in a good long while. I know I did alright, I got all of the figures in the right place and got the formulas right, but I didn't have time to get labels on all of my data. Blah.

Then I met two women who have strong family ties to my hometown. They recalled the family name, and I know someone who went to school with someone, etc. That's the way it always goes in small towns. Hopefully that is a strong plus in my favor.

Today was just a short interview, they're hoping to cut down their stack quite a bit with the Word and Excel tests. They're doing more in depth second interviews next week. I did not hear one word about benefits or compensation. I didn't say one word either.

If I get called back, I am going to have to really brush up and cover up some of my goofiness from today. My nervous personality is incredibly silly.

Pleased to meet you, I'm sweaty.

So I've landed a job interview! I've been peppering the universe with copies of my resume. Some of the opportunities are questionable, but you never know what they're about until you get your foot in the door. This is one I've actually had my fingers crossed about. I am excited and nervous - and I'm hoping they're not going to tell me that there are no benefits or they are only willing to pay $7.00 per hour. It is only about three minutes from Dennis's job, so that would be cool.

I am set up to interview in the winter. All of my best clothes are black. Gah! I'm going to have to make up something on short notice. I always find "cool" clothes feel too "cutesy" for interviewing. I think I can get away with my black pants and a lighter colored jacket - I think?


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Birthday Dinner #1

My parents and sister came down to see us and took me out to Smokey Bones BBQ for a birthday dinner.

Nobody made me ride the Birthday Pony, there was no singing, and I got free chocolate cake on top of the doughnuts we'd already ordered.

I am SO full!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Just Eat It!

For the last few days, my son and I have been going round and round about eating lunch. He wants to play video games and crab about having to eat. He says, "I'm not hungry," until right before dinner. I am sticking to my policy of "Nothing fun until after lunch." This means I spend most of the day sitting around waiting for him to eat. He'd be more than happy to have a Fruit Roll-Up and call it a day. I am just asking for a sandwich. He's got a turkey sandwich with gouda (he loves it) on white bread (just for him, we don't eat it.) He sat at the table with me while I ate my lunch (same sandwich on whole wheat and a salad) with his head in his hands making the most pitiful face you can imagine. He chose to lose his Playstation privelages and sit in his room over eating. As soon as he has something resembling a lunch, we are free to head out to the pool. He just won't eat.

Yesterday, he refused the bagel mini-pizzas that he got out of the freezer case and put into our cart with his own hands. He finally asked for a sandwich at 4:50. I don't know how he stands to go so long with nothing in his stomach. I am going to break him though. He has to get over the idea that he can eat whatever he wants whenever he wants that he's picked up from his Dad's house. Someday I am going to write a humerous memoir called "Food and the Willful Child" and become quasi-famous.

Wierd Al Yankovich must have known my son in a past life.

"Eat It"

How come you're always such a fussy young man
Don't want no Captain Crunch, don't want no Raisin Bran
Well, don't you know that other kids are starving in Japan
So eat it, just eat it

Don't want to argue, I don't want to debate
Don't want to hear about what kind of food you hate
You won't get no dessert 'till you clean off your plate
So eat it

Don't you tell me you're full
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it
Get yourself an egg and beat it
Have some more chicken, have some more pie
It doesn't matter if it's boiled or fried
Just eat it, eat it, just eat it, eat it
Just eat it, eat it, just eat it, eat it, ooh

Your table manners are some cryin' shame
You're playin' with your food, this ain't some kind of game
Now, if you starve to death, you'll just have yourself to blame
So eat it, just eat it

You better listen, better do what you're told
You haven't even touched your tuna casserole
You better chow down or it's gonna get cold
So eat it

I don't care if you're full
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it
Open up your mouth and feed it
Have some more yogurt, have some more spam
It doesn't matter it it's fresh or canned
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it
Don't you make me repeat it
Have a banana, have a whole bunch
It doesn't matter what you had for lunch
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it
Eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it

Eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it
If it's gettin' cold, reheat it
Have a big dinner, have a light snack
If you don't like it, you can't send it back
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it
Get yourself an egg and beat it (oh lord)
Have some more chicken, have some more pie
It doesn't matter if it's boiled or fried
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it
Don't you make me repeat it (oh no)
Have a banana, have a whole bunch
It doesn't matter what you had for lunch
Just eat it, eat it, eat it, eat it

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Chipper / Shredder

We spent most of the afternoon with Dennis's parents. His dad had been trimming trees in the back yard. He trimmed a couple of them all the way down to the ground. As we were pulling up, he was heading out to The Home Depot to rent a chipper / shredder. We all pulled piles of branches over to the machine and watched DJ stuff it full and clog it up a few times. LOL! What is it about Dads and power tools?

We bought DJ a mixed six for Father's Day. It was a lot of pressure on me, since he specifically said, "I don't really like that ale stuff." I got a bunch of Pilsners - Shiner Blonde, Blue Moon et. al. and one Abita Amber. I can't imagine anyone disliking that. Both DJ and Cathy seemed to like Labatt Blue that they opened first.

They have a family of Indigo Buntings coming to their backyard feeders. I am officially envious.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Six Flags

Chris and I have Six Flags season passes, thanks to Grandma Myrna!

We went out for a little while this afternoon. I rode the Tom's Twister - something I've always been terrified of doing. Geez, it was all a bunch of little kids. I don't really like spinning, but if you close your eyes and lay your head back, it feels exactly like being in a cozy bed.

Chris rode The Boss! It is arguably the biggest, baddest coaster at Six Flags St. Louis. (Mr. Freeze is a bad dude too, but the steel coaster/overhead harness experinece is entirely different than the wooden coaster/open car one, and while the magnetic launch is neat, nothing beats good old gravity!) I was so proud of Chris, and so exhilarated from the ride, that I had to wipe tears out of my eyes as we pulled back into the station at the end. He's tall enough to ride Batman too. That is my favorite rollercoaster of all time, ever. I can't wait until he gets himself psyched up for it!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

I'm Burnin', I'm Burnin', I'm Burnin' for YOU

I'm sick with a fever again. Last time I had this, in April, I was down for the count for two weeks. So far it has been up to 101.3 - which is a cool radio station somewhere in the world, I'm sure. Perhaps they're a classic rock station, just finishing up BOC's song as I type this. Fevers are trippy :)

Home in the valley
Home in the city
Home isn't pretty
Ain't no home for me

Home in the darkness
Home on the highway
Home isn't my way
Home I'll never be

Burn out the day
Burn out the night
I can't see no reason to put up a fight
I'm living for givin' the devil his due
And I'm burnin', I'm burnin', I'm burnin' for you
I'm burnin', I'm burnin', I'm burnin' for you

Time is the essence
Time is the season
Time ain't no reason
Got no time to slow

Time everlasting
Time to play B-sides
Time ain't on my side
Time I'll never know

Burn out the day
Burn out the night
I'm not the one to tell you what's wrong and what's right
I've seen suns that were freezing and lives that were through
And I'm burnin', I'm burnin', I'm burnin' for you
I'm burnin', I'm burnin', I'm burnin' for you

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Beer and Cookies

Dennis and I just dug into our Lemp Beer score from our expedition the other night. It is relatively unremarkable; more deeply colored than the usual local product, hoppy for a lager, I poured a good head in my glass with it. The best thing about it is that it pairs with the oatmeal raisin cookies I just made almost as well as chocolate chip and milk. Who knew?

Without cookies, it is a 6/10 (Dennis really didn't care for it at all) with cookies, it is a 7.5/10 - that's how good the pairing was.

(Of course the Local history is the biggest draw with Lemp Beer. I don't usually go for the lagers so much.)

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

A Very Merry UN-Anniversary to Us

June 7, 2002, is the day Dennis and I first admitted to each other that we were feeling more than just friendly feelings toward each other.

The entire text is uploaded to The Summer of 2002 Blog.

I started it with this paragraph:
"My crush on you is wearing off. Uh, a *friend crush* instead of the other kind - for a while it was like 'gotta email Dennis, gotta email Dennis' all the time. So now we've proven that we're similar and we can get along and what not. And it's like - uhhhhh - now what? Good thing it was a friend crush instead of the other kind - cause this is when the lust wears off and we'd break up :) So I'm trying to figure out where you fit - you're different because you're a digital friend, but I'll probably see you in real life at least once a month (Dennis = Aunt Flo???) So it's different - in real life you are just different somehow - more 3 dimensional maybe that's it? And I'm thinking "do I say this or not?" a little now - cause it may come back someday to make me blush - since I'm very bold with a keyboard, but very shy in the real world. :o Although I do type :o a lot :o Guh - and why does this bother me? Because I've been sitting at home with not much to do for a few days - thinking about stupid stuff that probably doesn't matter at all. You can make anything into a big deal if you concentrate on it long enough :) Well, anyway, just hit me over the head when you're ready I'm working Saturday and Sunday (w00ty w00ty woot)"

The truth is that I already loved him. I just had no idea how to deal with it, and I assumed I must have been insane to feel as passionately as I did after such a short time, not to mention the fact that I was married to someone else. Crazy!

I still love him too, at least as much as I did then.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Power Tour 05

Dennis and I went to the Hot Rod Power Tour yesterday at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. It was incredibly huge!

I have a picture album uploaded with 76 thumbnailed pictures.

Saturday, June 04, 2005


We went out to Lukas Liquor Superstore this evening.

Dennis got some of this:

Then I got some of this:

Build your own six pack is awesome!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Oprah is my Arch-Nemesis!

I can't believe it! Oprah has chosen books that overlap my reading list yet again! Now she is reading three Faulkner novels, As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and Light in August. I have already read two of them, and my Blog entry for As I Lay Dying is getting a lot of traffic since the book club announcement. I was not as impressed with Light in August, but I wonder if I'll start drawing hits on that page when they get closer. I hope Oprah's Book Club Website can help me gain some much needed understanding and appreciation when it comes to that book. I wanted to like it more than I did.

Speaking of reading, I've gone on an off-list adventure, and I am currently working on Salt and Saffron by Kamila Shamsie. So far it is an interesting read.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Mix Tape Radio?

I'm experimenting with the new radio station in town.

Yesterday they played Charlie Daniels' "Devil Went Down to Georgia" followed by Tone Loc's "Funky Cold Medina." I was amused. It seems slightly better than the 15 song play list stations. It reminds me of making mix tapes, but it also makes me feel old.

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

I need a vacation from my vacation!

Whew, I've finally finished uploading all of our vacation pictures to a Photobucket album, emailing the links to everyone, uploading another set of the pictures to our regular host, and Blogging back in time over the whole weekend. Now I need to rest up for a few days!

Oh, I also drove to Effingham with Chris today so he could go spend a couple of weeks with his Indiana family. I went out on I-70 and came back on US 40. I've always wanted to try traveling the National Road, so I did. There are a few benefits of not working, I guess.

I miss Chris. We had such a great time over the weekend, and we really fell into a great comfortable family feeling. I was really sorry to see him go today. I can't wait for him to get back!

Monday, May 30, 2005

Camping: Day Three

We all slept much better last night, despite having our heads downhill. Or maybe because of it. I got up when the birds started singing, and dragged everyone else out of the tent with me. We had breakfast, cleaned up, and broke camp. Chris was sad to see it all come down, and sad to take our reservation card off of the marker post. He was a little out of sorts with us for a while because he realized that we were nearing the end of our trip.

We took a “W” shaped route to get home.

Our first stop was Pomona Natural Bridge. There was no facility, so I had to hike off to pee in the woods. We hiked the short trail, then ate lunch in the parking lot. Yes, I washed my hands with an antibacterial Wet One first.

Then we drove to Bald Knob Cross.

The view from up there is great! You can see all the way into Missouri from here!

We stopped in Alto Pass for some ice cream. We wanted to go to the Root Beer Saloon, but it was closed, so we wound up right next door.

Our last stop was Devil’s Backbone Park in Grand Tower. Grand Tower has a very interesting folk history. We did not feel like making the hike across the ridge, so we settled for playing in the park and looking at the Mississippi River.