December 30, 2004

I am so super annoyed right now

Two days before Christmas I found this train table online at sams. Only available online at Sams. Lil' J wants a train, it was not in their stupid auction listing at this point, it was $129 for the table and train set, can't beat that. But I didn't have the money at the time, and wasn't sure what we wanted so I go back the night before last to buy it and it's totally gone? Huh? So I look around and happen to notice they have auctions.

Since when is Sams going all eBay on us? But anyways, pushing aside the oddness at hand in pursuit of my lil' man's train set, I looked and sure enough there's the train set. So ok whatever, I'll bid, and buy it this way. One auction is at $137 which is more then it was originally, not a biggy though, still cheaper then most train tables without the train. So I bid and guess what shipping is? $128!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Beep!!! Oops, have to keep working on my propensity to swear when something totally injust or insane happens. Are they out of their freaking minds? What the heck is that? For $128 they better be walking their butts across this country, carrying that table up on their shoulders, waddling step by step, no bathroom breaks!!! I mean, $1 cheaper then the actual item was in store online? Who the heck is their 'common carrier' to charge that much to ship a train table? It doesn't list the weight, but I don't care anyways, it can't possibly be a 1000lbs+ which is the only way I'd consider paying that much in shipping.

R has shipped weightlifting equipment cheaper then that. I mean, if you buy a treadmill or leg machine at like $500 a shipping cost of $60 to $100 bites but it's logical. But $128 in shipping for a $129 train table? It's insanity. Jake has $170 in Christmas money, yes my 4 y/o has $170 of fun money to burn.

But at this rate, he might never see a train table set cause anyone that asks me to pay $128 has to be out of their mind.

Ugh, how nuts is that? Samsclub online needs to stop smoking crack and find a new shipping carrier. Hmmpf. Now, will someone help me find a train table and train set for under $170 shipped. Puhllllllleaeeeeeeeeeeeeese? Or is it a lost cause? Should I take wood shop again and start sanding?

Ok, I feel better now.

December 25, 2004

Merry Christmas

Peace and Good Will Towards All Man. Christmas is many different things to all of us. At this time, I remember it's from the cradle to the cross for you. (and me)

I talked to my mom today, I broke down crying again. My grandpa answered the phone, and he's having a very hard time. He's losing his love and best friend of over 50 years. Should I have went out there on Dec 10th? I don't know. This Christmas has been hard for all of them. I hugged my babies more, listened more, and told them I loved them more.

Hey everyone, Merry Christmas, cherish yesterday & all its memories, eagerly embrace tomorrow, living life to the fullest, don't waste a day, don't put off a phone call, a card, a picture, a day spent with a friend or loved one.

December 24, 2004

Welcome, Christmas Eve

It's hard to believe the Christmas season is almost over. The last two days have been insane, it seems like we've been spending a lot of money considering we're going for a more modest Christmas. Actually, I think we have spent under $100 for each kid. Maybe a bit more for J and a lot less for Squish so it evens out.

Stay tuned for pictures of the loot.

If it hasn't been crazy enough with Christmas shopping I had to pay $130 for Mooch's passport. We had to pay for rush shippping since her school has to have her passport number in ASAP for the committee that takes care of the group. I didn't want to risk it not being here in time since the $600 we have put into it so far is non-refundable. I still can not believe my child will actually be going to Provence in the spring. I've never even been to Europe!

I said I wouldn't be out on Christmas eve but of course, but I lied. I needed more groceries for Chrismas dinner and stuff for our get together at our friend's house tonight.

I also had to get some last minute things today lik chapstick, a small spa bag for Snoo, stocking treats, and other crapola. I was pleasantly surprised to see how uncrowded Target was. When I had to return some stuff at the service desk all my former coworkers were either bored (they had five girls working there and another on the way), or just silly out of their minds. Working retail at Christmas time will do that to you. Every time I shop there they all want to know when I'm coming back.


Our grocery store parking lot was INSANE, so we went to the other one and ran in and ran out. We thought we scored because there were no lines. That might have something to do with the fact that Superman unloaded a cart full of food in the express lane.

I felt bad for the poor kid that was cashiering. He was very gracious. All in all, I've been so relieved that the stores haven't been crowded the last two days and I've been able to find what I need.

Target is already clearancing toys that people just paid full price for a week or two ago and the clothing is already going on clearance with some spring stuff sneaking in. It's just plain cruel to put out swimsuits and sandles when it's not even Janurary. It only serves to remind those of us who aren't going to a tropical vacation in Feburary that we still have about three months of cold and dark ahead of us. Jerks.

It's good business for savvy shoppers though. Anyone that has worked retail like I have knows the best time to stock up on electronics, toys and clothing is Janurary and Feburary. Knowing this the kids will be using their Christmas money from everyone to buy the clothes they want which saves me from buying expensive adorable clothes from TCP, Gymboree, Gap Kids, Limited Too and Old Navy only to see them sit in the closet because they're "itchy".

After our adventure out in the frigid weather I came back and made more mexican wedding cakes, stuffed eggs, and potatoes Au Gratin. We're just about ready to go. I'm bringing the potatoes to our friend's tonight along with veggies and dip and a chocolate cake that looks like a giant Hostess Ding Dong. Good Lord, I'm in love.

H is making the ham and rolls and other yummies.

We're actually quite close with this couple. Superman is the godfather of their two girls. In my family there were no godparents and I certainly don't think Adventists had godparents. I'm sure never in a million years Superman would have thought he'd be asked to be a godfather. B is Catholic and H is Lutheran. Neither of them really go to church. If it wasn't shock enough that the hospital actually let us leave with our child four separate times, now my husband is a godfather to two little adorable girls? How did we get so lucky?

He was totally honored and a bit floored when B asked him to be the godfather of their oldest daughter whose three months younger than Squishy. He worked with B when we first moved here and when B was laid off from their company years ago they were already pretty good friends by that point and we've been hanging out ever since. I consider his wife a very close friend now and since most of our family seem afraid of the cold we rarely get visitors around the Holidays. They've become not only great friends but a surrogate family and we're really looking forward to spending Christmas eve with them.

Four years ago we had no idea what one gives a god child at Christmas. And since we all know that women are usually the one's that handle Christmas I started giving the girls a keepsake ornament, a Christmas collectible and a small toy or outfit. The girls have more toys than Donald Trump has money so I thought it more special to get them things that will last and be apart of their lives for years to come.

I was informed just yesterday that the oldest has shot up substantionally and a size five won't fit even though she's only four. She's in a size six already. So the adorable pink three piece sketchers outfit I bought won't fit her and Sam's club doesn't have it in her size. That's the problem with shopping for gifts at Sam's club. It's not like they let nonmembers in to exchange things given to them as gifts. What was I thinking? I know, it was both adorable and extremely affordable.

My bad. I have no time or desire to go look for anything else at this point. Then the outfit we got for the baby has dirt marks on it that we didn't see when we bought it. Can I not catch a break here?

For Christmas morning, per tradition I'll make Monkey-nut bread for breakfast and my famous orange-cranberry muffins. To keep the kiddos from fainting while they smell the roast beast roasting I'll have stuffed eggs, shrimp cocktail, garlic-dill cheese curds, a veggie tray with chips and dip, Kangaroo flat bread w/spinach artichoke dip, and clementines.

Here's the dinner menu:

Pot roast with gravy
Mashed potatoes
Sweet potatoes
Green bean casserole
Peas and corn w/herbed butter sauce
Brussel sprouts
Jellied cranberry sauce


Traditional Fruit Salad (made with whipped cream, mini marshmallows and walnuts)
Andes mint pie
And the birthday cake for Jesus with peppermint ice cream

Did I mention there's only going to be six of us. Yep. I'm going to break my back in the kitchen half of the day just for our little family. But I do it because we love Christmas and the children love all the traditional foods that come with a Christmas "feast". Like all families, everyone has a favorite and Christmas is just not Christmas without it. I only wish all of our family was here to join us.

I'm almost done and ready to get moving. We've already got the sparkling cider flowing.

Yeah, we're party animals.

December 22, 2004

Ways To Confuse Santa

* Instead of milk and cookies, leave him a salad, and a note explaining that you think he could stand to lose a few pounds.

* While he's in the house, go find his sleigh and write him a speeding ticket.

* Leave him a note, explaining that you've gone away for the holidays. Ask if he would mind watering your plants.

* While he's in the house, replace all his reindeer with exact replicas. Then wait and see what happens when he tries to get them to fly.

* Keep an angry bull in your living room. If you think a bull goes crazy when he sees a little red cape, wait until he sees that big, red Santa suit!

* Leave a note by the telephone, telling Santa that Mrs. Claus called and wanted to remind him to pick up some milk and a loaf of bread on his way home.

* Throw a surprise party for Santa when he comes down the chimney. Refuse to let him leave until the strippers arrive.

* While he's in the house, find the sleigh and sit in it. As soon as he comes back and sees you, tell him that he shouldn't have missed that last payment, and take off.

* Take everything out of your house as if it's just been robbed. When Santa arrives, show up dressed like a policeman and say, "Well, well. They always return to the scene of the crime."

* Leave out a copy of your Christmas list with last-minute changes and corrections.

* While he's in the house, cover the top of the chimney with barbed wire.

* Leave Santa a note, explaining that you've moved. Include a map with unclear and hard-to-read directions to your new house.

* Set a bear trap at the bottom of the chimney. Wait for Santa to get caught in it, and then explain that you're sorry, but from a distance, he looked like a bear.

* Paint "hoof-prints" all over your face and clothes. While he's in the house, go out on the roof. When he comes back up, act like you've been "trampled." Threaten to sue.

Sandy Shares her Tamale Recipe

Richard has been eating christmas crockpot meats all week. We are going to our friends house for Christmas eve, where we'll dine on crockpot turkey gravy. Mmm, crockpot turkey, again.

So, I'm thinking we need something new for Christmas. We love mexican food, we like tamales, and we know a lot of people have them at Christmas. What are we waiting for? So I ask my friend Sandy what's the secret to making good tamales. She is very helpful and agreed to share her knowledge with me. Because I'm a swell kind of girl, and in the spirit of Christmas, I'm passing it on to you. Here goes, make sure you have a paper and pen. Oh, I think you might even need the yellow pages as well. Why you ask?

Her secret to making good tamales....

1. Pick up the phone
2. Call the local mexican store/market
3. Place your order
4. Pick up day before you need them (or same day if they are open)

Weeeeeeeeeeeeeee, there you go. Tamales for Christmas. ;o)

Here is a link if you really want to make them yourself. If you like to know the history of your food, there's even a link to the tamale queen.

Concerts, Cookies, Cold Weather

It is SO cold here. I know I keep saying this, and who cares about weather but now I understand the concept of 'shrinkage'. I just wish it would snow and be done with it already. At least the temperature goes up a bit. I already have cabin fever and Christmas isn't even here yet. (only 2 more shopping days til Christmas) *smirk*

I think I'm gonna sign up for tanning this winter, might help with S.A.D. I got lil J's Hulk toys wrapped up, this house is starting to feel like the marvel headquarters. Richard is even scoping out his superman tattoo. Whoo hoo. The tree is looking purty, I took pics of my new butterfly ornament.

We went to lil' J's Christmas show last night, finally we are done. Phew. He was super nervous. He had this shy little smile, he was biting his lip, and looking for us in the audience. When he spotted us, he was shyly waving. He was the cutest one up there of course.

They sang Silent Night. If I could get my stupid computer to upload my pics, I'd show you some. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr. Right now, I can only get them to upload with Richard's, which doesn't have hello installed. I think I have to get new batteries too, cause it never has the amount of charge it should. Digital is awesome, but can be a pain. With digital, the battery is the film. J (14) hung out with his friends the whole time. He left that school in October. I think they envied the fact he could grow his hair out longer and shaggier then they could. He's Mr. Popular as usual, only this time he was shooting the breeze with some graduated teens. When he pointed out I was his mom, their expressions were kinda puzzled. I'm only 31, and look younger, he's 14. They don't believe him sometimes. :o)

Remember, this is a conservative Christian school. J went there from 4th grade to 8th. (repeating 7th once) Lil' J is in K4 and started there cause brother was going there. We'll see what we do with lil' J next year, he loves his new buddies, but I have issues with that school. Mah girls know what they are!! It's in God's hands though, no worries.

Ok, let me rant one second. I made all these yummy chocolate chip cookies with holiday shapes in them. I have one bag of 6 left, and another of 3. Now, what am I going to do with a bag of 3 cookies?

I know what Betsy wants, a bag of 3 cookies. Mmm, how thoughtful.

I guess I have to bake when no one is gonna be around, or hide them, and send them off before they get devoured. Or maybe I need to just bake more often so they don't think they have to stock up for next year. Ok ok, so I admit, I ate four myself, but they were extra you know. I made my speciality last night and will make more today. Mexican wedding cakes, with roasted walnuts. You might call them snowballs, pecan fingers, or rumballs if you're a holiday lush. If you want the recipe, leave a comment and I'll post it.

Oh, I watched King Arthur last night. I didn't get to see it in the theater. I love netflix!! It was ok, very graphic and violent of course, squeamy's need not watch. Great special effects though, and an interesting interpretation of the legend of Arthur. Here's a review from Christian Answers. Lancelot doesn't get the girl though. Hmmmmm. They showed a clip for The Village, I can't wait for it to come out in Feburary. It's a buyer for me, no burning!! Ahem, not that I know what burning a DVD is.

Not much for now, just trying to stay consistent, even if I don't have much to say.

December 20, 2004

I'm Not Doing Much Today

No more depressing novels. I tried to post last night but my computer just rebooted all on its own. Since when do they think for themselves? Or was it pc poltergiest?

I'm Betty Crocker-homemaker today.I'm baking cookies, making up gift bags, and filing all these papers. All I need is some surreal music, and gentle snow fall outside.

What else do I have to do today?

Christmas cards
Tackle Mt. Washmore
Decorate Cookies
Wrap Presents
Make Phone calls

And that's it. Don't ask anymore of me. Well, you can ask, but I can't hear you. La-la- la- la, I can't hear you.

Oh, and the painter came a few mins ago to patch an area on the ceiling. I truly feel bad for the man. It's frigid outside. It's so cold here I may never leave the house again. Just give me a tanning light for Christmas and I'll hide out in my room til Spring.

Sorry to mah girls, that I haven't posted decorating pics yet, having some technical difficulties.


December 17, 2004

My heart dropped to my stomach

My Grandma on my mom's side is dying of cancer. I don't talk about it much, its a drag. She was raised by her mom, a french canadian from Quebec. Great grandma had my Grandma when she was like in her 40's which was unusual for the 1930's. Grandma Bonnie never knew who her father was. Her mom had many lovers throughout her life, and it was unknown, unspoken, and not to talk about. Both of these women were artists. I have a painting from my great grandma and many of my grandmother's. They were self taught. Grandma was very pretty and obviously much younger then her grown sisters. They were jealous and one in particular was always very mean to her. She used to lock her in the closet. The other grew kinder and as they both got older, they were fairly close. Dorothy died of breast cancer, after a long long battle. Aunt Rose, died quite a few years ago, sweet, but a pain in the ass as she always was.

My Grandma modeled a bit as a child, and then later married and became a mom at 15. She divorced him, he was a drunk and he got custody of their daughter and she lived with him at his parents house. Nancy came to visit for weekends and holidays. Grandma later remarried my Grandfather and had my mom. She is the oldest of their kids together, seven of them total, five of them girls. She wasn't the best mom, couldn't work with 7 rowdy kids, and he was a bus driver in the St. Paul area. They were poor, never had enough food or clothes and lived in small houses. She had a bit of a problem with drinking, but got over it. She was mostly just a nervous wreck and wasn't emotionally available and likely dealing childhood demons I am sure. She was often mean to my mom since she was the oldest of his kids, and he gave her extra attention. Years later grandma admitted she had feelings of hate for my mom and was jealous. My mom was emotionally abused and forced to help care for her 6 younger siblings, always hungry, bored, and whiny.

All growing up of course, my mom was emotionally abusive to me, not available, depressed, and immature. She never grew up, never was the grown up, and always reminded me of how I had my dad's green, intense eyes that made her think about him, and how I had his piercing look. It made her mad. He was murdered when I was two, and from her recollections was just an evil, angry man that didn't know how to love. Many of my aunts and uncles disagree, all of his family disagrees. So, in a way, I wasn't able to know my father as well, not talk about him, it was unspoken. Too bad for me that I looked more like him then I did my mom. But just like I had great times with my mom and memories, so did my mom with my Grandma as well.

However, it was always strained and wierd being around them. My mom was not right with me and my Grandma was never right with my mom. It was always just plain odd. I'd listen to my mom and aunts bitch about grandma, and then I'd try my best to pretend I hadn't heard things when at her house. Grandma was a little neurotic at times. Like during holidays, she'd make cookies and trays of food, set them out and yell at you if you tried to eat any of it. She could never handle having any of her two grandkids that lived nearby around for long. Not once would she offer us snacks, drinks, or grandma treats. One year for Christmas when I was about two she bought me a rocking horse on springs which was kept at her house, and then she later returned it. I always wondered what happend to the horse... Very odd.

I was always closer to my dad's mom, as I'm the only thing left of my dad. He was an only child, same as I. I was sent to live with her when I was about nine and stayed for almost two years. Even before then, after my dad died my mom moved from San Diego to Detroit for their help in raising me. Grandma Bonnie wasn't really the type to help her kids in these situations.

I wish we were closer, and I do have lots of fond memories. My grandpa was an absolute teddy bear, as funny as could be and extremely kind. He made it even more fun to be at their house. Everyone in the family was Pooh. Melissa Pooh or Debbie Pooh. When I was pregnant with my first child at 16, she sent me a letter one time, telling me how she knew what it was like, to be a teenager and pregnant and how scary it could be. She told me I could do it, and she still loved me and didn't judge me. I will never forget that. Because, to me, she seemed removed. She became a born again Christian later in her life and I thought surely she was always like that, never would I have guessed she was a mom at 15 or pregnant with my mom when she married my Grandpa.

We are both at fault in a few things. She never seemed too overly interested in great grandparenting. I think when my oldest was 5 he got two books out of a 5 book set, and 3 pairs of socks??? Rarely were there cards or phone calls. She moved back to MN around the same time I was pg with JD. Every other Christmas we might get an advent calender for the kids. She sent cards here or there with stickers. But we were never extended an invite to stay and visit with them when we moved one state next to her. When we did come out the first year we were here, for Christmas she ignored my husband most of the time. She didn't offer us anything to eat or drink. He stayed at my Aunt's house, when we all went on a family lunch one day. (the kids stayed too, they wanted just me to come)

When I was pregnant with our youngest about 5 yrs ago, my mom was moving back to CA after having lived with us for 16 months. She was driving and hadn't gotten her last check from her job she had here. She wanted to go out there though, to visit with them one last time and wanted me to come so she and I could have a weekend alone. She'd drive me back to get her last check and hit the road. I was uneasy about it, because my mom says and often doesn't do. My husband warned me I'd be stuck and she wouldn't follow through and he couldn't leave work to get me. My grandma is strange about how many people she can handle around her, so I was going to stay some time at my Aunt's and some at my grandma's where my mom would be. By the way, my grandma has a huge finished basement with a bedroom, livingroon, and bathroom. My mom chose not to tell my grandma I was coming. She surprised her with the news as we were on the road, calling her by my cell phone. She seemed ok, a little strange, but she always is. My aunt was also visiting from CA, the youngest child and grandma's favorite. I thought the visit was fairly decent til on Saturday night my mom started hinting how she was thinking about just driving straight to CA from my grandma's house and they all thought it would be easier that way as well. She asked me, "Do you think your husband could come get you?" I reminded her that NO, he had to work and you said you'd take me back home or I wouldn't have come. So then, they ask me, what about a greyhound? My grandparents have even offered to pay for the fare, they tell me. I called my husband and he flipped out. There was no way in hell that his pregnant wife (3 1/2 months & queasy) was going to take a greyhound bus home, taking twice as long as it should, with total strangers since she said she'd drive me home. He cussed, said some four letter words about my mom (they have some bad history) and said he was taking monday off and keeping the kids home from school and coming to get me.

When I told my mom, she talked to my grandma and then my grandma comes flying out of the bedroom screaming at me "why can't you just take a bus home? What is wrong with that? We offered to pay. Your making this more difficult on you mom, and now your making her feel bad, she's in there crying right now because your selfish! Look what your doing to her! Why are you being so selfish, this isn't about you. This whole weekend was supposed to be about Christina coming to visit, and Debbie coming to say good-bye and now your here when no one asked you to come, messing everything up. Your not welcome, why are you even here?"

Yep, she said a few more things and the whole time, she's building more and more veins in her neck, just letting me have it. I was in so much shock, I couldn't BELIEVE my grandma was saying this to me. I screamed at her, "don't you talk to me like that you crazy bitch" and I ran out the door, so freaked out that I forgot my cell phone. It's October, cold and I'm mules, and a thin coat. I actually get freakin lost in this crazy neighborhood of hers where there's two of every street, and its very dark making it worse to make sense out of what I'm seeing. I finally find a pay phone miles away, only to get the modem when I try to make a collect call. Eventually after hours of crying and walking around lost, my mom and my aunt find me, at about 1am. I come in the door, after hearing my aunt say she can't believe what she heard and grandma is in tears about what she did and doesn't even know where it came from. I walk in, and tell her not to talk to me at all and go downstairs where I wish I can close my eyes and be home. In the morning she comes down and tries to hug me and say she's so sorry etc. They leave for chinese lunch on Monday and I stay behind. My husband shows up by like noon which means he flew the whole way from Milwaukee to the burbs of St. Paul. I just leave, no note, nothing and didn't talk to my mom or grandma for months.

I did eventually forgive her but my husband still to this day wouldn't go out there. Where I am at now is just sadness. I feel so sad that for all these years we could never be close, that I couldn't feel for her like I did for my other Grandma. That it was always so strained between my aunts & uncles and her. It's like, trying to set aside all those bad memories of bitterness you have with your mom in a tiny amount of time and say good bye as well. I had went out there in August with my two youngest so she could get to know them and see me. I barely saw her and when I did it wasn't one on one or personal. She really didn't talk to the kids or hug them. When we were at her house, she actually sat with that look she gets as my youngest played with a plastic snake on her cheap coffee table. "Is he going to scratch the table with that?" I left glad I went since I had such a great time with my cousin and her baby but wondering, why I bother?

My mom was living with me again til my aunt offered to let her stay there to find a job. She said my grandma was in great spirits, pain medication was helping and they were finding a new one for her. She talked about how excited she was for Christmas this year and hoping to see me and the kids. (for years she's avoiding these things since it's too much for her nerves) She washed all her quilts to give to my kids. She had my mom help her pick out a gift for me, something my husband could appreciate too. She got a little something for each child as well and wants to give them some money. I was supposed to go out there December 10th through the 12th. But my other aunts and cousins from CA decided to come, leaving us with no room to stay. Honestly, with all the kids parties and field trips they were going to miss that weekend, and the money we didn't have to spend on that trip, I just didn't it was right to go. Even when it's just me around, you don't feel like she's focusing in on you. So, how will it be any better when all of her 8 kids are there? The sad part is, she's going down hill so fast. She has a very rare from of stomach cancer. She's not eating well, can't focus on her TV shows, stopped going to church, is falling down, and slurring her words. I have to admit that I really should go there, I need to go, but I'm too upset to. Even after all the BS, I love her, and I'm so sad to see it end this way, and so upset that I never sent her more pictures, kept in better touch, let her into my life. I did send a card a few weeks back telling her I love her, and included pics of the kids. I feel, that what I have to say, is said. I just pray she holds on til I can come soon. I've been putting it out of my mind and then I get a Christmas card today. It's addressed by my mom, and partially filled out by her as well. My grandma loved to write cards and put stickers in them, underline the sentiments, and include a hard written note.

The card she sends is not typical for her taste. It's Santa and frosty and says "Celebrating with friends ....makes Christmas special. Merry Christmas Happy New Year

My mom signs "Love in our Savior" My grandma always used to sign her cards "In Jesus". After my mom's message grandma writes "and love in Jack (that's my grandpa's nickname) and and and and aunt shirley ((?? huh? that's my mom's cousin)) I the the the Lord's Lord I Jesus' Us Guys

So this is where it hits me, she's leaving. Her brain is almost gone. I don't really know her and she doesn't realy know me.

December 16, 2004

Christmas Traditions

Those of us that celebrate Christmas have our favorite traditions, but as the years go by and our kids grow older it can get harder to keep up with them. I’m an extremely sentimental person and I tend to relish in things old fashion whereas my husband and J like newer, more modern things. I want to string popcorn and cranberry garlands while they want to hang Star Wars ornaments on the tree alongside The Flash and G.I Joe. Superman’s idea of a Christmas Eve dinner used to be spicy chicken sandwiches from Jack n the Box. I’m sure mother-in-law and Superman’s paternal grandparents provided all kinds of fun Christmassy fun and traditions, but my husband has the memory of an amnesia patient. My mom is one of eight kids and if I wasn’t living in Michigan we always spent Christmas with her parents and siblings. It was a huge affair and just right up my alley. I miss the crowds and craziness of a big family Christmas. Even though my husband seems to have no recollection of Christmas’ past, I know that most people do and the thing I loved the most about Christmas was not the presents, but all the fanfare that came with it. My kids are still very excited about Christmas and carrying on family traditions. They’re still excited and still full of magical wonder and they will most likely carrying our traditions with their children.

The closest family to us are in the Twin Cities (and sadly, I’m not as close to them as I’d like to be) and my grandparents in Leota, Michigan. So when the kids and I moved to Milwaukee on August 14, 1997 we were totally alone and it was a huge culture shock. Superman stayed behind until just before Christmas. He was stuck in the middle of a bad software release. He came out once in September to help us acquire a vehicle, once in October to celebrate the girls birthdays, and for Thanksgiving. Milwaukeeans have their own unique traditions that I had never heard of like Saint Nicks. My kids were coming home all sad and miffed about why St. Nick didn’t bring THEM anything. How was I supposed to know that Santa comes on the 5th to fill stockings in Milwaukee as apposed to coming on Christmas Eve? Uh, news flash, to this mother, apparently St. Nick and Santa ARE not the same people. I was even more confused than the kids were. In San Diego stockings were filled on Christmas morning courtesy of Santa or parents and we kids had never heard of anyone named St. Nick. Or fish fry’s.

Now we were in a new place and by the time Christmas was rolling around without Superman I was getting depressed and doubtful and secretly wondering if he was trying to get rid of us. I figured this was a mighty expensive way of doing it.

I was also becoming even more convinced that we were crazy to leave fair weathered San Diego for Brew city. I didn’t know anyone here, I hated the school system, and it was cold, dark and did I mention, cold? It didn’t help that my children were seven, five, and four and I felt entirely alone in the world. We weren’t involved in a church at that point because he had been raised as Seventh Day Adventist and even if he didn’t practice anything they believed he still showed the typical guilt grip of anyone raised in an “exclusive “religious group or Christian cult. He’d rather we go no where at all than to some ‘Sunday-keeping” church. I had wanted to return to my spiritual roots and live my life for Christ again and I thought in an attempt to avoid raisings little spawns it might be nice to get our kids into a good church. But for Adventists, going to church on a Sunday is as good as taking the mark of the beast. Sleeping with your friend’s wife, not so good, but going to church on Sunday? Abominable.

So, here I was all by myself with three young children. I wish I could say that I got out there into the greater area of Milwaukee and participated in events and joined groups, but I didn’t. I now know I had S.A.D which was later joined an extreme bout of depression.

I was living on the northwest side of Milwaukee and since the school system there is totally worthless I drove J back and forth every day to one of the better choices of lousy schools. I was very bored and stressed and when I’m stressed I bake. I baked a lot of cookies those first few months and the weeks leading up to Christmas. I was baking batch after batch until my kitchen looked like a commercial baker. There were only four of us. And since my doctor told me I needed to drink more milk, which I don’t like, I convinced myself that eating a few freshly baked chocolate cookies was the best way to get them down. My logic was flawed as I discovered later when suddenly I grew a third butt cheek.

It has been hard to keep up with family traditions living in a city without any family. My brother-in-law came out here for years but when a girlfriend came along that was the end of that. In San Diego we always went to see Christmas lights at Candy Cane Lane, but since we went out to St. Paul to spend Christmas with my maternal grandparents and other relatives we missed that first year. With each year I tried to get The Husband to take us to the Candy Cane Lane in Milwaukee, but something always got in the way. I even tried to guilt him into it by reminding him that donations go to the MACC Fund which helps kids with cancer. We’ve never been there as of yet.

My husband is the kind of guy that has to be pushed into a lot of family outings. Not because he doesn’t like spending time with us, but because he’s allergic to crowds, socializing, and he gets cranky at anything that feels remotely like a hassle, which is almost everything when you have children and you’re married to me.

I have carried on some of my childhood traditions though and we’ve made some new ones.

Candy Canes- we always hung candy canes on the tree as ornaments. I think my maternal grandma started this and even though my mom was never very into Christmas she did this as well. Now there are all kinds of fancy flavors and different colored candy canes and Superman tries to come home with chocolate mint candy canes and fruity striped ones, but as a kid we always had traditional peppermint candy canes with red and white stripes and that’s what I have to have on the tree. A new tradition I’ve added is reading the kids the Legend of the Candy Cane and if I’m feeling really ambitious we’ll make Candy Cane Cookies.

Popcorn- We strung popcorn on the tree with cranberries and I try to do this with the kids as well, but the darn cats keep eating up my garland. You must use stale popcorn, which I learned the hard way. These are things you never see as a kid and one year I tried popping the popcorn with the kids and all I created was a mess. Plus Snoo kept eating it all up before we could get them onto the string. She’s good for that.

Caroling- I loved caroling as a kid. Christmas music is some of my favorite music of all times and some of my best Christmas memories as a kid is when I went caroling. Some of my Christmases were spent in Michigan and we’d bundle up and make the rounds with church groups or girl scouts and the evening always ended with hot cocoa, apple cider, and cookies. This was nearly extinct because we didn’t start going to church regularly until around 1999 and my husband seems allergic to anything remote social or communal.

Looking at lights- See above. Now my kids are lucky if they get drive around the surrounding houses.

Christmas Movies-

December 13, 2004

Why women are sometimes crabby

We started to "bud" in our blouses at 9 or 10 years old only to find that anything that came in contact with those tender, blooming buds hurt so bad it brought us to tears. So some guy came up with the ridiculously uncomfortable training bra contraption that the boys in school would snap until we had calluses on our backs.

Next, we get our periods in our early to mid-teens (or sooner). Along with those budding boobs, we bloated, we cramped, we got the hormone crankies, had to wear little mattresses between our legs or insert tubular, packed cotton rods in places we didn't even know we had. For more than 30% of us, the pain is so intolerable we live on pain killers or chocolate for 5 straight days.

Our next little rite of passage (premarital or not) was having sex for the first time which was about as much fun as having a ramrod push your uterus through your nostrils (if he did it right and didn't end up with his little cart before his horse), leaving us to wonder what all the fuss was about.

Then it was off to motherhood where we learned to live on Arrowroot biscuits and weak tea for a few months so we didn't spend the entire day driving the porcelain bus. Of course, amazing creatures that we are (and we are), we learned to live with the growing little angels inside us steadily kicking our innards night and day making us wonder if we were preparing to have Rosemary's Baby.

Our once flat bellies looked like we swallowed a watermelon whole and we peed our pants every time we sneezed. When the big moment arrived, the dam in our blessed lower regions invariably burst right in the middle of the Woolworths and we had to waddle, with our big cartoon feet, moaning in pain all the way to the hospital.

Then it was huff and puff and beg to die while the OB says, "Please stop screaming, Mrs. Jones. Calm down and push. Just one more good push (more like 10)," warranting a strong, well-deserved impulse to punch the sod (and hubby) square in the nose for making us cram a wiggling, mushroom-headed 10lb bowling ball through a keyhole.

After that, it was time to raise those angels only to find that when all that "cute" wears off, the beautiful little darlings morphed into walking,
jabbering, wet, gooey, snot-blowing, life-sucking little poop machines.

Then come their teen years. Need I say more?

When the kids are almost grown, we women hit our voracious sexual prime in our early 40's - while hubby had his somewhere around his 18th birthday.

So we progress into the grand finale: "The Menopause," the Grandmother of all womanhood problems. It's a choice of either take the hormone replacement therapy and chance cancer in those now seasoned "buds" or the aforementionedlower regions, or, sweat like a pig at Christmas, wash your sheets and pillowcases daily and bite the head off anything that moves.

Now, you ask why women seem to be more spiteful than men when men get off so easy including the icing on life's cake: Being able to pee in the woods without soaking their socks...

So, while I love being a woman, "Womanhood" would make the Great Gandhi a tad crabby. Women are the "weaker sex"? Yeah right.

December 12, 2004

Only 12 more days

of shopping until Christmas, and last I checked I haven't even started. Hmm, let me check again.....

Um, no, still haven't started. Yeah yeah, I can hear you snickering. And just where should I find the time with four kids, 3 cats, pinworms, and mice?

The painters came by on Friday. Yay, finally somebody other then myself is doing some work.

The painter brought 3 other guys with him. The staring & corny jokes were starting to get creepy so I retreated to my basement. I needed a good a excuse to play some yahoo pool in the middle of the day. After what seemed like hours in the dungeoun basement, where I thought it would be a good hiding from the fumes, I emerged upstairs a little high off paint fumes to see my livingroom & diningroom looking brand spanking new. I was giddy with glee at the sight. Or was that the paint fumes?

Never mind, I have clean, freshly painted walls! (For now)

What color is it you ask? White. Just plain white. Boring, I know. Sorry no pictures, you'll just have to make like Barney and "use your imaaaginaaaations".

So now, I get to spend some of my hard working husbands money to add some color. It's a hard job, but somebody has to do it.

I'm also gonna dig through all my photographs to start framing this winter.

It will be my I'm- going- flippin' nuts-cause-I haven't- seen-the sun-for-like-5- days-and-it's-so-cold-outside-that-you-can-even-feel-your-fillings-and-you-barely-leave-the-house-at-all-so-you-begin-to-think-your-being-buried-alive-in-your-own-livingroom project.

That should give me something to do when cabin fever kicks in. I will post Christmas pictures later I promise. Just be patient girls (you know who you are)

December 06, 2004

Bad Hair Day

And I thought I was having a bad hair day. Nevermind the brush, where's the clippers? Don't you think he'd look groovy with a mohawk?

Wisconsin State Fair, 2004.

Edit: I got an email informing me that this little beast with a face that only a mother could love, is an Alpaca. I had no idea what an Alpaca was. What do I do when I want to learn about Alpacas? Why google it of course. I found out there's many websites for Alpaca breeders in Wisconsin.

Who would have thought that you'd find a Alpaca farm in Wisconsin. I truly do learn something new everyday. I still don't understand why people would want to spend their lives breeding these beasts, but that's because I'm not cut out for animal farming. I once milked a goat twice a day at sunrise and sunset, that was enough for me to know that I'm truly a city girl. The only farm I want to have is a Christmas tree farm.

All I know is he/she must have refused to let mom comb its hair. I wonder what that's like.

December 02, 2004

Too much time on the PC?

What Do You Cry Out During Sex?
by twinkerbelle
What You Cry Out:"Type faster! Faster!"
Quiz created with MemeGen!

Merry Mouse-mas to me

I have been reminded, along with other friends, that I'm being a blog slacker. Ok, it's true. I have been thinking about it. I need to blog, I should blog, but I have a little secret. Some of you already know it. I have become an addict. It came out of blue, I had no idea I could be so easily lured.

What am I addicted to? Not crack, thanks. It's not soap operas. Thank God. At this point, it's not perscription painkillers. What is it then?

YAHOO POOL!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, yes, I know. How silly. I'm so addicted that I've joined the league in Sweet Melissa. Apparently I'm a bad influence cause I got my friend bethie into it, and now I'm working on Kristen. Maybe we should start a new league, the bitchclick. ;o)

For those of you, that know I spend way too much time online already, you will be happy to know I actually cleaned yesterday. In fact, I even bleached the tile floor in my bathroom, it's so white you'd think it's your grandpa's legs next to black socks. I'm working on the clutter today as well. I think I deserve a new car. Come on do gooders, I'll take the crossfire.

And why was I bleaching like crazy yesterday? Well, after I got back from Leota for Thanksgiving week, my oldest daughter informed me that she has pinworms again. Uh, ew. *scratches self* Why must this child get every nasty, virus, parasite, & green-finger-pus-infection known to man kind?

It sent me scrurring about into a cleaning frenzy involving bleach madness, hot water laundry lysol, excessive hand washing of the OCD kind, and more bleach. Then if that weren't gross enough, (did I mention the pharmacy was out of stock with some of the meds, apparently there's a pinworm epidemic in my town?) the next morning I come downstairs to find one of my cats has a furry little friend in its mouth.

At first I thought, how cool. These cats play lost and found. We lose the toy mice, they find them. Then I noticed the other cat, circuling about, like a greedy hungry lion too lazy to get off its arse to hunt, leaving the lioness to do the work instead.

Garfield (formally known as Chatty Kathy before we noticed it had a sac) was warning us all with a low demon-like growl that it doesn't share.

"Oh my gosh, oh gosh. Richard!!!!!!!!!!!! Richard, help me, help me. There's a mouse, a real mouse..ohhhhhhhhhhh gross, oh gross."

"Not its not. Lemme see. Oh, right on boy. Look at that, you caught a mouse. Isn't that great, Melissa?"

"Great is a word I would hardly use right now. Try nauseating. Just do something. Do something. Get rid of it!

Hey, that's ok. Keep your No hard feelings here, you can't have all the mice you want, so long as you kill them before they start crapping in my pie pans.

Kathy D says it's not that bad, they are actually pretty cute. I'm not convinced, a matter of fact, I was ran jumping and squealing like a total crazy woman as the cat lunged towards me showing of its new toy.

"Get that thing away form me!! Richard stop him. Don't let him touch me!!"

"Oh shut up, Melissa. Get a hold of yourself. "

I stood on top of the couch-- whimpering-- as I watched Garfield continue to run around in circles with his prey hanging from his mouth. Scrawny little feet with little razor claws dangling just above its nasty little tail. God only knows what cest pools its been in recently. Oh, the horror. The cat is never licking me again!!

Every few minutes he'd drop the dirty thing, and bat it about to watch its legs to move. Yes, the disgusting, plague-ridden beast, uh mouse was still half alive and moving.

"Would you stop crying like a baby and get down here to help me?"

"Uh uh. Nooo way. He might come near me. He's not giving up that mouse any time soon. And, that's ok. He can keep it. Just as long he kills them before they start crapping in my pie pans."

Something had to be done though as my cat must have a sadist side. He wasn't about to finish him off. Today, I learned half dead mice are the best toys. Funny, the pet store never mentioned that while they pimped out the neon pink, jingly mice knock offs made in china. Why waste money, when your cats can have the real thing I say.

If they won't hunt & kill inconspiciously, (must I know that I have mice?) dispose of the vermin properly (leave them on the neighbors porch), then what good are these tabbies anyways? It's just disgusting! I shudder just thinking about it. It's beady little eyes, with its wannabe cute little nose don't fool me.

I feel no mercy for those disease carriers. In the case of Jerry's cousins I say, TAKE NO PRISONERS!! I have cleaned up after enough poop in my lifetime. (not withstanding my own) Finding crap in my silverware drawer invokes murderous anger in this otherwise sweet docile girly girl. Yes, its sad I know. To want to kill such a tiny, innocent creature. Uh uh, innocent by butt.

I'm convinced that mice and rats might be tools of the devil. Think I'm sounding mentally unstable do ya? Well does the black plaque ring a bell? Hmm? How about hanta virus?

I'm guessing it hitched a ride with the christmas boxes from the garage. Come to think of it, I have been hearing scratching & scuttling in the walls for a bit now. I even told Richard. He thought I was making things up to sleep with the light on. (Don't make fun, I know I'm not the only one)

Ewww, all this time the beast have been sleeping right above me. *scratches self*

It's all good now though. Richard rescued me from having to finish off the botched murder my cat attempted. I wasn't in any condition that's for sure.

Not whenI shook & shivered with girlish vulnerability, knees knocking together--standing on top of the couch screaming--"Sweet mother of God. What is happening here? Oh-dear- God, nooooooooooo. Wuhhhhhyyyyyyy Lord? Why meeeeeeeeeee? What's this madness!!? First worms come out of Snoo's arse. Now I have mice? How much skankiness can I be expected to indure in one week?"

Yes, that is true. Yes, it's very pathetic I know. Every woman should have a hero husband as sweet as mine. Yup. His chivalry was evident as he laughed uncontrollably at my expense when carrying the filthy thing to the trash. wrapped, in its papertowel coffin.

Never a dull day I tell yeah.