Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Gah!!!! It's Freaking Cold!!!!

So, the temperature has dropped. Monday night when I left work, the temp was -36. Yesterday morning the temp was -46. Today it's forcast to get down to -49 or -50 for tonight's low. The forcasters are calling for some -60 temps a bit further north of us in the Yukon river valley. And they're calling for at least another week of these temps before they break for a bit. YUCK!

Of course, all this cold weather means ice fog on the drive to work. That means what LITTLE moisture is in the air, freezes. It hangs in the air as pea-soup type fog. But, instead of feeling moist and muffling sound, it clarifies sound and feels bitter cold. It burns, almost. Pity the soul who needs to go out in this without being properly dressed. Of course, those properly dressed are known to do things that seem normal to them, but idiotic to others. One of my coworkers walked several miles (she doesn't own a car) from her apartment to Walmart yesterday, and back. Even _I_ find that stupid. But I know she knows what she's doing, and she bundles well even just to walk the couple of blocks to work, or to leave the building to empty the book drops. And this time of year, I know she tries to get everything done during the earlier part of the day, to avoid being out at night as the temps are dropping even further. So, I guess it's not TOO stupid.

That, I guess, is why I think it's going to be nearly impossible for Alaskans to TRULY go no-vehical. Really, how many moms are going to drag their kids the minimum of a mile (usually more) to the grocery store on the back of a bike or a sled at -40 or -50??? And our public transportation around here sucks, so that doesn't exactly help matters. Ahhhh, anyway.

Ok, I've gotta get to work early this morning. Just wanted to give y'all some idea what our weather looks like these last couple of days. You can also go view the Arctic Cam here: Arctic Cam (This is a few blocks from where I work. Right by the Human Resources Dept. for the borough.)

Here's somebody's "Squirrel Cam" from here in North Pole, it looks like: Squirrel Cam

This one is "up the hill" at the University: Climate Research Cam

Here are some cameras (you have to click on the various place-names on the left hand side) from the air in various places around Alaska: FAA Weather Cams

Ok. Off to get ready for work.

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Christmas at Our House!

I hope everybody had a fantastic Christmas and a Blessed Yule, if you celebrate. I wanted to take some pictures to share our home during Christmas.

These first two are, of course, of the front of our house. One, slightly further away than the other. Oh, and in this first pic, you can see some of the snow that was falling thickly on Christmas Eve. Not as much a White Christmas as my Dad and Sis Kori had in Spokane, but still.



I love the icicle lights we've got hanging from the eves, but not so much with the lights around the window. That's ok. I'm not going to tell hubby that, as he did that just for me because he knows I like Christmas lights (however, most people have gone completely tacky these days it seems). And he wanted to do something nice for me this year, knowing I might have a harder time with NO family in the area this year, for the first year in my life.

This next, shows the silly Snoopy & Woodstock Christmas sign Scott hung on the front of the house. Again with the goofy as hell, but in a sweet way. (Also our welcome signs that we hung up this autumn, in the two days when the first snows had melted completely away.)



Next come some pictures of our Christmas tree. This one is taken without a flash, so you get to see the lights in all their glory. I REALLY prefer colored lights on the tree, but this tree came pre-lit, so it's much easier to assemble and doesn't take up much room in our little house. These pictures of the house and the tree were all taken Christmas Eve.



Next, a pic of the tree WITH flash, so you can maybe get some idea of my ornaments. I think I've hardly got two ornaments exactly alike on the tree. Oh wait! I've got two on there that are apples (plastic, of course, as real wouldn't last year to year). And I've got 2 that are lighthouse ornaments (Santa in front of a holiday lighthouse) that Dad gave me for Christmas a couple of years back. Beyond that, it's a total mish-mash of ornaments. I've got a couple of store-bought ornaments for Tay (Scooby in his dog-house, decked out for Christmas; a Tigger suspended from a couple of springs so he "boings!"). I've got a LOT of hand-made ornaments from friends. I've got a LOT of handmade ornaments from Tay. I've even got a couple of new ornaments she and I made together this year at the Correspondence Program's Christmas Party. And no topper for the tree. I'm not very big on angels, and we can't find a star that doesn't either completely over power the tree or require a secondary extension cord running the length of the tree. So, no topper. Which is fine. That light at the top does a perfect job of lighting it up even so. With the lights off, it almost looks star-like.

And here we get into Christmas morning, opening presents. Don't mind the messy hair. Neither Tay nor myself had taken the time to brush our hair yet.


The one here of me is the ONLY pic Scott took of me. *chuckle* He'd labeled this tin of Almond Roca from Jenny. (Our Samoyed mix dog.)



Here's Tay opening up the lined Crocs her daddy got her. Scott got us both a pair of those lovely lined crocs. I've taken to wearing slippers when it's too cold to go barefoot, and I can tell you that it definitely helps keep a body warmer. Well, we've had a hard time finding slippers that Tay will wear. Hopefully she'll wear these. Tay's are black with black liner, mine are brown with cream liner.

Here we get into Scott and Tay opening their gifts from Mom.






She sent them each a Green Bay Packers (American football team, Tori and Toasty!) jacket. Scott also got a nice long-sleeved shirt that looks like something a coach would wear on the sidelines, when it's not cold enough for a jacket.





Tay, holding up her jacket from Mom.



And now we get to see them try their jackets on for size!!! They were both pretty thrilled to open these gifts.





Can you see the living room of my house in the background of these pictures??? *grin* Don't mind the clutter of course, please. It seems I've scarcely got time to tidy things up, these days.



Oh, and Mom got Scott a pair of boxers as well, with the Packer's logo all over them. This prompted some pretty comical conversations. Scott's first response was "Does your mom REALLY think I'm that fat???" Apparently the boxers are in a size larger than he normally wears. I reminded him that Mom doesn't exactly have either the desire or the wherewithall to check what size undershorts Scott wears, so she picked the size that was also the size shirt she got him. They are a bit loose on him, but they'll probably shrink up a bit with a wash, and he's wearing them for pyjamas, so loose isn't totally bad.


Here we get into pictures taken over at the inlaws on Christmas Day.



The first, a pic of Tay holding her cousin, baby Brooklynn. This is my sister-in-law's youngest. The boys were out in Paxon with their Dad for the day and wouldn't be back till later in the evening. In fact, we've still got their presents under OUR tree, as they weren't around to open them.
It astonishes me how little personality Brooklynn has yet, even at 7 months old. Tay was personality from the day she was born, inquisitive and strong-willed. Always had to be checking things out. Tay also took her first steps at 8 months old. Brooklynn is just starting to crawl and cannot yet sit up on her own. I know that it's not like Brooklynn is actually late in achieving those feats (Tay was excessively early, actually). But it's somewhat strange all the same. That's the MIL standing in the background by the tree.





Here are a couple pictures of me holding the younger of my nieces. *grin* She is a sweety, when she's not fussy. I hope she grows up better natured than either of her two brothers.

Oh, and here we get a bit of a response when I start talking to her. She always seems suprised when I talk to her. Like she wonders at the oddity of a big person carrying on a conversation with her.




I wonder that maybe nobody else really talks to her. I know that a lot more yelling is done around her than is talking. Not at Brooky herself, but at her brothers, and between her parents. But it seems (and it seemed when Tay was a baby as well) that the few words invested in talking to the baby are done in unintelligable baby-talk (gobbledy-gook). Other than that, it's seemingly determined by MIL and SIL that since baby's cannot talk back, they're not worth talking TO. Fortunately I've seen Dan, Brooky's Dad, talking to her in a few quiet moments. And Tay and I talk to her. Not scientific conversations, or politics obviously. But real words spoken in real tones (if softer and somewhat sillier tones than I would use for her older brothers).



A couple more pics of Tay with the baby. Yep, that's Tay wearing a Packer's stocking cap that Mom got her for Christmas as well. She spent half the day with it on.



I tried to turn this one right side up. And I was able to do that in the modifying software, but it didn't turn up that way when I loaded it in here. *sigh* Sorry bout that. You'll just have to turn your heads to the right to see properly. *grin* (Tori, this one is Tay laying on her side on the floor with the baby.)



Just because I could, a pic of Brooky's Dad, as he was trying to figure out how to get a picture of Tay with Brooky with SIL's camera. Evidently the batteries were dead, which is why it wouldn't turn on. That's MIL and SIL in the background by the table.



And last but not least, here's a pic of Tay, MIL, FIL, and Scott around the table after SIL and Dan have left for Dan's Mom's house. Scott, Tay and MIL had been playing Monopoly (the newer, credit-card World Edition, another gift from my Mom). They spent at least 3 hours playing that game. Which is pretty precisely the reason I HATE that game. That, and I've never been big on board games. Not really. I'll play them once in a while, but I don't find them all that fun.

It was kinda comical as well, Tay tipping up from that big bottle. It's actually non-alcoholic sparkling apple cider. Last year, Tay had one that Scott caught her drinking from, and the look on her face and the way she was holding it really DID make her look like she was drinking champaigne or something. Not the case. Tay hates even the smell of alcohol and has never tried to steal our drinks. I hope that she continues in that mind-frame. But the MIL was peeved this year that Tay was drinking out of the bottle. There was only a little bit left, the FIL didn't want to put the bottle back in the fridge with that little left, and there was no sense in Tay's mind (or mine or Scott's or FIL's for that matter) in Tay dirtying up another glass when she could just tip up the bottle. It's not like she was back-washing when others might want some cider.

Anyway, so that was Christmas at our house. All in all it went pretty dang well. Tay minded her manners, no temper tantrums. Same could be said for SIL. She only got snotty with Dan a couple of times and kept it pretty mild at that. The baby fussed a bit, but it was kinda funny as well. She only fussed when she wanted to nurse, and you'd hear her going from fussy to actually out-right laughing when she caught sight of the milk-producing mammary-glands of her mama. *wink*

I felt bad for the FIL. He's struggling with the onset of diabetis, and yet he's adamant that it's not going to change his life at all. That's causing him to have problems already. One of which was that he somehow fell off of the stool in the kitchen on Christmas morning as he was working on prepping some of the goodies. MIL says he passed out (he hadn't yet been drinking more than a shot of Irish Cream in his coffee, either!) and fell off the stool. FIL says MIL pushed him off. *rolling my eyes* Either way, he had his foot hooked around one of the legs of the stool, and when he went over he wrenched his ankle. So he was walking with a hobble all day long.

I wish for his sake, and for the sake of his son (Scott), FIL would start taking better care of himself. Even if FIL isn't thrilled about prolonging his life with his nag of a wife (MIL is a HORRIBLE nag!), at least I wish he'd consider how devistated Scott's going to be when FIL passes away. Scott regards his dad as his own best friend. It really freaks Scott out that his Dad may not be long for this earth. It's bad enough that Scott's grandma's almost 90 and probably will not make it another year. The thought that his Dad might pass away in the next couple of years is so incomprehensable that Scott refuses to even consider it. Which means that if/when it does happen, Scott's going to be completely blown away by it.

Anyway..... I've gotta get the dogs outside for their morning potty-break. They've been locked in their kennels watching me write all this. But, I wanted to get it posted! And Tay wants me to cut her some sourdough bread for breakfast. So.....

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Some Pictures to Share.....

I know it's been ages since I've posted. I'm terribly sorry. Even when I've had time to get online lately, I've tried to get to your blogs and do some reading, but I've had little time for commenting even. I'm sorry for that.

We've been doing a LOT of hockey lately. Not during the week, ironically, but on the weekends. Here are some pictures of Tay and a couple of her teammates taken about a month or so ago. It's amazing for Scott and myself to see her next to that goal net, knowing that just last year her head barely reached the top bar. This year, she's several inches taller. It's incredible.





Tay's doing VERY well in hockey, though the same cannot be said for her team as a whole, unfortunately. We've lost all 8 of our games, so far. By BIG margins. Yesterday's game was 5 to 1, our loss. But, the play was the BEST I've seen our girls do yet. One of the girls had at least 2 shots on net, another one of the girls had at least 2 shots on net and made the ONE goal for our team. We only had 10 shots on the other team's net, though. That's been our biggest problem, persuading the girls that they cannot stand back and wait for the puck to be passed to them by the opposite team, or skate leasurely as if they're at a rec. skate session. These boys they're playing against (or, the girls on the co-ed teams) aren't gonna just hand them the puck and a chance at the opposing net. In hockey, you've got to FIGHT for that puck, and you've got to FIGHT to keep control of that puck, and you've got to FIGHT to get anywhere near the other team's net WITH the puck. And when you've got the puck down by the other team's net, you don't wait for the goalie to get out of your way, you TAKE THE SHOT! *wry smile* In 8 games, our girls have maybe taken 50 shots on the other teams nets.
In 8 games, Tay has taken over 400 shots on her net. Her save percentage is about 91%, though. Yesterday's save percentage alone was 87.5%. That's danged good! Some of her saves are pro-quality. She knows she's got a lot to learn, and a LOT of practice to be done, especially in areas that require speed, but all her coaches say that if she practices and keeps her head on straight as she grows up, she really COULD go all the way with her hockey career! Scott and I also remind her though, that if she wants to play college hockey, she's GOT to get decent enough grades to allow her to play for some college, though. And even High School hockey requires at LEAST a "C" in every class. That means buckling down and working hard for those grades, in her case, but it's possible. She just needs to keep in mind that while the hockey comes naturally and fairly easily to her, there are other aspects of life she's got to work harder for, that aren't going to come so naturally or easily. That's ok. That's how life is for ALL of us: some things are easy and natural, other things aren't. We all have to work for those other things, if we want them to succeed. But in the end, it's well worth it. Scott and I keep hoping Tay will see that.
*****

School has been, well..... It's been progressing. Now that we're past the first quarter, it seems to be going SLIGHTLY better. But Tay and I are still having our days where we get into rip-roaring fights over stupid, silly things. Thursday it was over history. Friday it was over science. Try as I might to break things down and explain them, she just doesn't seem to "get it" so often. I'm trying the tips the Correspondence program's Special Ed. teacher gave me to try, the diagraming and careful reading and breaking things into bits & pieces, and rephrasing them..... Sometimes just when I think Tay's got it, she'll give me this blank (and often-times obstinate) look and say "I don't get it!" Sometimes I can see she really DOESN'T "get it", but there are definitely other times I think it's more that she just doesn't want to bother and wants to continue fighting till I give her the answer and do the work for her myself. I don't know why she doesn't seem to "get" yet that I'm NOT going to just up and give her the answers. It's bad enough (in MY opinion) that I'm doing most of her note-taking for her. She's got to give me her answers and rephrase historical and scientific things a bit so I know that she's "got it" and not just quoting what was written in the text-books, but I'm doing the actual writing. The special ed. teacher says that as long as I'm not doing all the work for her, that this is ok. If Tay is dictating to me what the answers are, then my note-taking is perfectly fine. I AM making Tay do the Chapter reviews by herself though. I take the notes for the individual units, but at the end of each Chapter, covering anywhere from 2 to 6 units, SHE does that part thoroughly on her own. The special ed. teacher said that this is a good compromise for getting the work done AND making sure Tay's doing at least part of it herself.
We have yet to get Tay in for an eye appointment or a hearing test, though. I really need to get on the ball and set that up. The school program's special ed. teacher needs proof that Tay's hearing and eye-sight are just fine, before we progress any further. The theory being, of course, that simple matters such as being unable to hear the directions or read the page could be flubbing up her learning in a way that looks like a learning disability. Of course, there's nothing wrong with Tay's vision or hearing that a little self discipline wouldn't cure. *wry smile* She hears JUST fine when she wants to, and she's got an Eagle's eyes for seeing.
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On to a different subject. I know that I mentioned my pepper plant in my kitchen window. Well, here is MOST of it. *chuckle* Off to the lower left side, resting on a decorative tea-cup (candle-holder) is one pepper that came from a branch that broke early. I was allowing that one to sit while the other two continued ripening on the plant. This plant was grown from a single seed (the ONLY one that germinated!) from a package I got last year from SSE. It was the Hungarian sweet red pepper (versus the Ukrainian medium heat black pepper that didn't germinate at all). The flavor, raw and fresh, is rather like a sweet red bell pepper. Identical, in fact, to mine and Scott's taste buds. We tried a bit of one of the peppers, then I took the seeds from all 3 peppers, seperated them and dried them a bit in my dehydrator, along with the other 2 peppers. The dried out peppers themselves are now waiting for me to grind them. I'm hoping to find out that they are in fact paprika, once ground. And I've got a load of tiny little pepper seeds to plant and to pass on next spring. Seeds that were grown organically, open pollinated (though, pollinated by hand with a tiny paint-brush from only the flowers on THIS plant, as there weren't any other plants to pollinate with), and grown in an Alaskan environment (though, indoors most of the growing season). I'm hoping, hoping, hoping that the seeds from this plant will be a little hardier and grow a little better in our environment next summer. That a few more seeds will germinate (though I'm not going to plant ALL of them at one time!), that I will have at least 3 pepper plants to harvest peppers AND seeds from NEXT Autumn/Winter. And that some of my neighbours can have seeds and pepper plants as well, if they'd like.
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Other than all that, I've been busy baking, the last couple of days. Friday I made 2 loaves of banana bread (not a "Christmas treat" but I had a LOT of bananas that needed to be used up), a batch of "rocky road candy", a batch of "fudgy buttons" and a batch of "peppermint patties" before we went over to Great Grandma's house and made 2 batches (22) popcorn balls for the family. Every year we go over to Great Grandma's house to make popcorn balls for all her kids and grandkids and great-grandkids. This year we really only needed 16 popcorn balls, as most of the grandkids and great grandkids are no longer in state. But, in the past we've made as many as 50 popcorn balls.
I've been doing this with Scott since we first started going out, our first Christmas together. He started going it with his grandparents when he and his cousins were all little kids. Over the years, a couple of his cousins have come over once or twice, but we're the ONLY ones that have come over EVERY year and done this EVERY year for the past 12. And this will most likely be Grandma's last Christmas. She's in very poor shape lately, and even the other night, couldn't helps us make the popcorn balls. We ordered and picked up our traditional pizza for supper, brought it along (rather than Grandma ordering and having it delivered as she usually has). Then we decorated Grandma's house for her, as nobody else had bothered to help her decorate and she's in such poor condition that she couldn't do it herself this year. THEN we made popcorn balls. The entire time, Grandma sat on the couch, out of breath and dizzy, even while sitting still. She cannot stand up, now, without somebody holding on to her to keep her from falling. She's out of breath, just talking to us. Anybody looking at her could tell you that she may not make it into this next summer, and it's HIGHLY unlikely that she'll make it past that. Scott and his Mom were both hurting to sit there, watching their Mom/Grandma in such condition. I'm glad Tay's had a chance to get to know her Great-Grandma, but I wish she appreciated it more. She's at the stage where she was very resistant to going over. I think it was in part that she is also pained by seeing Grandma so poorly, but doesn't know how to express it as an adult might, so she fights against even having to see Grandma. But she behaved herself, for the most part, while we were there.
Anyway, yesterday in between hockey and Scott's company's Christmas Party, I got a batch of Peanut Butter Fudge and 36 cream-cheese drop cookies made. I've got enough dough for at LEAST another 48 cookies. Then I want to make some Swedish Almond crisp cookies and some Shortbread. I'd also like to make some sort of Gingersnap, but I may not get to that. AND I think I may need to whip up another batch of Rocky Road candy, as Scott's whole company is clammoring for him to bring some in to work tomorrow. *wry smile* Good thing I picked up more supplies for that yesterday at the grocery store.
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Last but not least, I MEANT to get a picture of the front of the house yesterday, just before sunset (which is at approximately 4 pm, give or take 5 minutes), but found my camera dead when I got out there to do so. I wanted to catch the Christmas lights all lit up, just as the sun was starting to set on Solstice Eve (well, the day before Solstice, technically), but I didn't succeed. If I can talk him into it, maybe Scott will take a picture for me today that I can post later. So, yeah. The sun came up this morning at about 9:30, and will set right at about 4 pm today. That actually comes out to about 6 and a half hours of sunlight, but that's not counting the fact that we actually see twilight till about 10 am, and then starting again about 3:15 or so pm.
Ok. I've gotta get off-line and get heading to work.
Hope EVERYBODY has a Blessed Yule, a Merry Christmas, a Happy Hannukah (sp?) and a Great New Year.
Blessings. --Kati

Sunday, December 07, 2008

A Quick Hello!

I'm sorry. I'm a terrible, terrible blogger these days.

We finished the First Quarter of school work, and got it turned in Monday. Then I set up an appointment to meet with the "School's" Special Ed. teacher to talk to her about Tay. Turns out that she's got NO problem me holding Tay back at the end of the school year if that's what I feel needs to be done; she and the "speach therapy" teacher are both available to work with Tay at the School's offices, rather than me having to put Tay back in regular public school; the special ed teacher expressed her frustration with how the schools teach almost ALL their subjects (inventive spelling, for example!) and how hard that makes teaching our children in a way that REALLY works. We cannot afford several hundred dollars for sending Tay to a child psycologist, so we're going to have to go ahead and go through the school system first. But, that also buys us a month's time till Scott's insurance through his company kicks in on Jan. 1st.

We've not had insurance through his company because the last company he was with had crappy insurance, and mine was much better. However, mine has been degraded year after year and is pretty crappy now itself (we don't have a lot in deductables, but our coverage really sucks). And the company that Scott's with now has pretty dang good coverage with deductables that are comparable (or even slightly better than) the deductables for MY insurance. We're going to keep my insurance as well, though. Anyway, that kicks in Jan. 1st, 2009. Keeping Tay from seeing a psycologist NOW for an ADD assessement means that when she DOES finally get to go, even if we have to pay for out it of pocket, insurance won't regard be able to regard any issues she's got as "pre-existing" and deny coverage.

**********

Have had some personal frustrations BEYOND Tay's issues.

First a bit of background. When Scott and I got together, he had a girl friend; not a girlfriend/sweety, a friend who happened to be femail, but whom he regarded as something of a "younger sis" type friend. She's a year younger than me, and he always told me that even though DeeDee is cute, she's too young for him and he almost felt like a cradle-robber with ME, and going for somebody even younger was out of the question. Of course that was when I was only 17 and he was 23. Now, he's 34 and I'm nearly 30 and 4 or 5 years difference just doesn't make as much difference.

Anyway, DeeDee tried at least once to coerce Scott into sleeping with her even AFTER she knew his girlfriend (ME!) was pregnant with his baby. And even after I had Tay, DeeDee made it clear to me (both through actual words AND demeanor) that she'd like to entice Scott to cheat on me and leave me for herself. Then she left town, apparently. Joined the military or somesuch, and for 11 years she's not been a part of our lives, and I've been good with that. I've had NO heart-burn about NOT hearing from her.

Then a couple weeks back she came in to the library where I work. I recognised her. Apparently she doesn't recognise me, or at least she didn't acknowledge me. (Again, not terribly heart-burned about that.) She's got 2 kids now who both have HER maiden name as their last names. IE: no fathers in the picture for either kid. Well, I didn't tell Scott that I saw her because quite honeslty, I don't want her in our lives. In any way.

Fast forward to this past Monday, Scott went in to one of the local gas stations while he was filling up his truck, to pick up a hotdog for lunch, and there was DeeDee working at the counter. They chit-chatted for a bit before Scott had to head back to work. Evidently, after Scott said that we've only got the 1 kiddo and that she's as much as he and I can handle, and that we're homeschooling, DeeDee proceeded to tell Scott that she's got 2 that she absolutely adores; they're so respectful they say "yes maam, no maam" and what have you when responding to her questions or directions; she homeschools them both and they're both straight A students; she's holding down 3 jobs; she's coached their t-ball teams; she's got a degree in child psycology; etc, etc, etc. (Must I also point out that physically she's petite and pretty and slim?)

ARGH! Well, guess whom Scott spent the first half of the week talking all about?!?! He hasn't said a word about her though, since I replied back to one of his statements about the perfect Ms. DeeDee with 'Well, Ain't She Just MISS PERFECT, then!?!?!" His stupid response to that was "she's done SO MUCH with HER life!" *snort* Maybe if I hadn't met and married him, I would have done a lot more with mine, too. Who knows!!!! *sigh*

Anyway....... That's left me all week feeling like I've now got to be competing with this vision of perfection for my hubby's affections, which is TOTAL bull-shit. He's married to me, I shouldn't have to compete with ANYbody else for his affections.

To top it off, last Saturday was our 11th Anniversary. We went out to Ivory Jack's (a great Alaskan approximation of a family-friendly pub) for nachos. They've got the world's best homemade nachos there. (Man, they deep-fry the tortillas, then layer them with meat, and beans, and cheese and fresh diced tomatoes, and fresh diced onion, and sliced black olives, and sliced jalapenos -which I peel off and give to Scott, or Tay if she's with us-, then top with a second deep fried tortilla and more layers of all the goodies, then broil it till the cheese melts, then slice it up pizza style, and serve it with sour cream and guacamole and salsa. YUM!)

Anyway, so personally I've been feeling somewhat frustrated with Scott all week, but he never heard DeeDee's declarations of intent regarding herself and Scott, so he doesn't really get WHY I don't care for her. (And, even though she acted much more affectionate toward him than a platonic friend has any right to be, he's a very bad one for being able to read body language, so he didn't pick up on THOSE clues back in the day, either.)

Then Friday night, Scott and Tay went to an Ice Dogs game, and Tay came home and showed me the $20 bill she found in the ladies bathroom. When I asked if she'd tried to find an owner before claiming it, she and Scott BOTH responded with something along the lines of "Well, WHY???" and "Finder's Keepers" type comments. *sigh* I told Scott that he KNOWS how hard it can be to be without much money, and that losing $20 can be a very big deal, and so Tay should have first taken it to one of the Security Guards (the main Security Guard happens to be Scott's cousin Jack) or the snack counter to ask if anybody had reported losing $20. If no reports were made, then Tay's free to keep it. Otherwise the person who reported deserves to receive their money back. Both Scott and Tay responded to my assertations of what's right with claims that since Tay found it, it's hers no matter WHO dropped it. And then they got all pissy with ME for pointing out that SOMEBODY may be facing a lot harder week because they didn't do the honest thing by checking to see if somebody may have dropped it. *shaking head* I'm just so very disappointed in the two of them, but ESPECIALLY Scott. He's doing a great job on teaching our child to be an opportunistic person who views money as more important than people. *sigh*

Anyway......

*****

Work has been slogging along. The usual hypocracy and idiocy from all corners. I've gone from LOVING my job, to almost dreading it. I don't hate it as much as I hated working at the bookstore, but I certainly don't love it any more.

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We got at LEAST 4 inches of snow yesterday. It started snowing very lightly in the morning as we were leaving for Tay's hockey game and by the time we went to bed it was almost blizzard conditions, coming down quick and thick. This morning there are several untouched inches out there. I say at least 4 inches, in reality it's more along the lines of 6 inches. It's just hard to tell without having measured before the snowfall. *wry smile*

**********

Tay's team hasn't won a game yet. In fact, in only 4 games, we've only had 2 goals. The girls on our team average 6 shots on the opposing goalie during a game (the low being 4 shots, the high being 8 shots). Tay's averages, though, are MUCH better. She's now taken 343 shots on goal, and only let 29 of those shots through. That's a 91% save ratio! That's right up there with good NHL goalies. And MAN!!!! Some of the saves she makes are INCREDIBLE! She took a couple to the face and neck yesterday. *wink* Hardly phased her though. She cought several in her glove, almost grabbing them right out of the air. One of them hit her face guard and she caught it on top of her blocker (that big pad-topped glove that goalies wear on the hand NOT holding the stick). At least once, the other kid shot the puck, Tay blocked it and was standing right on top of it, and the kid tried to come in to take the rebound shot, but Tay dropped down right on top of the puck as he was gearing up. The ref blew the whistle and you could SEE the frustration on the kid's face. *grin* It was awesome.

**********

Ok. I've really gotta get heading out for work. The roads are guaranteed to be a mess this morning and I want to take my time on the drive in.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The 100 Things List.....

So, both Meadowlark and Wendy at Home Is... have posted this on their blogs, and I'd like to participate. Here's my accounting, with a few additons at the end, per Wendy's and Meadowlark's suggestions.

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland (World, once)
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis (no, but I talked to one, recently, that found its way up from Seattle in a cargo trailer by train, and was rescued by the hubby of one of my coworkers.)
10. Sang a solo (a couple)
11. Bungee jumped (no, I enjoy my life too much to throw myself from high places held by only a rubber band.)
12. Visited Paris (yes, and I would again if I had half a chance)
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning (I'm sure, though fortunately I cannot pick out a single particular instance.)
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France (yes, but the Venus da Milo and the sculpture of Cupid and Psyche were my two favorite distinct and recognizable works of art at the Louvre.)
20. Slept on an overnight train (between Paris and Madrid)
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb (no, but plenty of newborn puppies and kittens)
26. Gone skinny dipping (no, not in Alaska)
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run (*snort* NOPE! Not a chance of me ever succeeding at that.)
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors (some of them, in Germany and France)
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language (Does it count that I took 2 years each of French and German, voluntarily, in HS, but none of it really stuck?)
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance (would rather not have had this experience)
47. Had your portrait painted
48. Gone deep sea fishing (I don't know, does a halibut charter count? though I spent the entire time in the cubby under the wheel, trying not to puke)
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris (Yep, but unfortunately I got up there to find out the batteries in my camera were dead.)
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain (I've danced in the rain, by myself. Does that count for something?)
53. Played in the mud (Yep, my sisters and I, and my best friend and her little brothers used to make matchbox-car towns in hills of dirt, as kids.)
54. Gone to a drive-in theater (Yep, did this once or twice as a kid, while in South Dakota.)
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business (not really, but I have sold some of my crocheted goodies)
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma (NOT A CHANCE IN HELL!)
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (another one I wish I didn't have to highlight)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar (no, but I LOVE Escargot!)
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone (yep, my right wrist, in 9th grade, in Tae Kwon Do.)
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person (only from the air, a few thousand feet up)
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car (bought the hubby a new truck, anyway. It was a piece of junk.)
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper (probably, but as I cannot remember for sure, I won't highlight it.)
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox (yes, in theory, seeing as I have the blood titers, but I don't recall having it, and neither does my mom recall myself or my sisters having the CP.)
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury (grand jury, as a matter of fact, almost 2 years ago. Very instructional, an experience I recommend for EVERYBODY, but not one I want to do a SECOND time.)
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby (yep, and one is enough!)
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee (not really, but twice by horseflies!)
100. Read an entire book in one day (so many times it's not even a question of HAVE I, but HOW MANY.)

101: Baked bread from scratch
102: Picked apples (a couple of large-ish crab-apples at a wild tree near my Uncle Keith's place, strawberries at a U-Pick; also wild blueberries from a lot several houses down from where I grew up, and cranberries from near the hubby's moose hunting spot. Cranberries have been made into cranberry bread, and blueberries into various baked goods and quick jams/sauces/syrups.)
103: Made Jam or Jellie from picked fruit (crabapple jelly from thumb-nail-sized crabapples picked from Dad's front yard, little over a year ago.)
104: Made a FULL Thanksgiving Dinner (Mostly, usually somebody else would bring dessert, and I've NEVER made gravy from scratch.)
105: Walked in an unharvested wheat/corn/barley field
106: Dabbled your toes in the lake from a dock
107: Had fish for dinner that you caught that same day from a lake or pond not more than 100 miles from your home
108: Got a tattoo that carries more meaning to your life than simply "it's cool."
109: Dance/d in an ethnic/folk dance troupe (German folk dance! Thanks MOM! *wink* Included one or two Octoberfest celebrations.)

Ok, I think I'll call that good. (So, a couple of those were MY additions, as well as additions that Wendy and Meadowlark made.)

If you post this, see if you can add any MORE to the list. Preferably REAL experiences that don't require traveling hundreds of miles from home.

Have a Blessed Day!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

August Rush!


If you haven't seen this movie yet, SEE IT!!!!




I just finished watching it finally. I've wanted to see it for months, simply because Jonathan Rhys Meyers is incredibly awesome. And Keri Russell is a fabulous actress...... But WOW. This movie totally supercedes EITHER of them as actors.


I have NEVER, EVER seen a movie that made me cry, the entire way through..... And not for sadness, but for the beauty that is expressed. The child who portrays Evan Taylor/August Rush is completely beautiful. The story is of love and loss and finding it all again and KNOWING what you've found.
RENT IT, BORROW IT. WATCH IT!!!!! I cannot stress how beautiful this movie was. WATCH IT!

Friday, November 21, 2008

What a Load of BS!!!

OMG, so check out this article on Yahoo news: Bush's Last Rule-making Hurrah! He's bound and determined to screw over our country before he leaves office, evidently. Here's more information on the rules and regs that GW Bush is pushing through in his final days in office: ProPublica Midnight Regulations.

And, probably the worst aspect of this is that the next president has a nearly impossible time repealing any regulations that the out-going president pushes through as a Midnight Rule. *shaking head* So, even when Obama takes office, he won't be able to repeal some of the monumentally F***ED UP regulations that Bush is putting forth (or, repealing, in some cases).

Gods..... May I just say that I am SOOOOOO happy that Bush is finally being thrown out of office, and that McCain didn't get INto office in his place.

As it is, I'm having a very hard time not wishing ill on Bush. I know that he'll get his Karmic @$$-kicking at some point, or a throw-down before the throne of God, if that's how you choose to view it, but man..... Part of me is hoping that some idiot decides to make Bush's last days in office THAT much shorter; keep him from pushing forth any MORE regulations than he already has.

(I know, I know, I know..... "An It Harm None" and "Do Unto Others" and all those other words of wisdom, but please, don't tell me you don't occasionally have similar thoughts about people you can't stand.)

GAH! This just pisses me off so bad I wanna play darts with a pin-up of his head! (And, I'm not a darts type of girl, seeing how badly my aim sucks. I'm likely to put pin-holes everywhere BUT where I'm aiming.)

Anyway, just had to share.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

What a Crazy World!!!!

We had a very scary example of what a desperate person can do, when he/she feels pressured by economic realities. Here's the news report from today's online paper.

At about 2 pm yesterday, a bomb threat was called into the middle school. The person on the phone said a bomb would go off in 2 minutes (according to the report). At the same time, the Federal Credit Union we use for our banking was robbed at the grocery store in the North Pole Plaza Mall. The whole mall was shut down.

AND, across town, in Fairbanks, a suspicious package was found at one of the post offices (the one down by the old Woolworth's, Mom) that resulted in the bomb squad from Eielson AFB being brought in. (It was a package of business mail that wasn't properly marked.)

The North Pole cops pretty quickly figured out that the bomb threat against NP Middle was most likely a diversion for the thief to hit the "bank". No idea how much money he got away with, but guessing it wasn't more than in the $500 to $800 range, seeing as it's an FCU and they don't keep much money on hand.

Tay called me at about 4 pm, when her two best friends arrived home and found no older siblings there to meet them. Meg. was freaking out. (Wouldn't know that her dad is an EMT and fire-fighter, with her inability to handle stress!) Trevor was worried, as the door to his house was locked and he couldn't get in, but he wasn't freaking. Both of them have older sisters who attend the middle school. Trev's sis should have been home and unlocked the door, but as she wasn't, Trev came over here to hang out till somebody got home to let him in. Tay was ALSO freaking. Anyway, I did what I could (from work) to calm the 3 of them down, before getting back to business.

Last night, however, Tay wound up in our room, sleeping on the floor. Kiddo was THAT FREAKED that this guy would try to break into our house and rob us too. *wry smile* As if we've got anything of value, right?!?! *snort* Ah well, so we locked the front & back doors and she camped out on the floor by her Dad all night. I think we all 3 slept pretty soundly, but didn't get nearly as many hours as I would have liked.

Anyway, the news this morning is basically that they're looking for the guy. It'll be interesting to see if the thief is anybody we know. It's a small town, and a small borough (80,000 people, give or take 5 thousand), it's hard to NOT know somebody.

One of the commenters on the news report was kinda wondering as to how much of this sort of thing went on in the early days of the LAST Depression. I'm guessing it may be a lot more common THIS time, than it was the last time. This time we're lacking the common decency and respect for others that was more ingrained in the population last time. It's unlikely that this thief stopped to think of the money he might be taking from somebody else's proverbial pocket or paycheck.

All the more reason to be investing one's money in tangible goods (food, clothing or fabric, useful camping goods) than in money or gold & silver. (Not that it probably wouldn't be helpful to have a limited amount of both gold & silver -more limited on the gold, than the silver- but why invest in something that's shiny & metal and appealing to many other people?!?!?!)

Anyway, must get back to schooling, if we hope to get ANYTHING done this morning.

Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, November 07, 2008

It's Been a While.....

Ok, so what have we been up to???? A whole lot of the usual, basically.

Schooling is, well..... It's going. Some moments are better than others. (Yes, I mean MOMENTS, seeing as it can go well one moment, and the next, we're fighting.) We're on lesson 25 now, with 15 more to go in Nov. The rest must be done, and the quarter test finished and graded, by the end of Nov.

We had our first appointment with our new "therapist" on Wednesday. It was an "intake" as my mom would term it. Basically, Ligia spent 45 minutes having Scott and I fill out paperwork and asking us for more detail about our concerns with Tay. Then she called in Tay and went over 3 goals she'd set for our family (and Tay in particular) for the coming couple of weeks.

1) Reduce "Dangerous Behaviors": cut down on the fighting, slamming doors, throwing temper-tantrums, and take a voluntary time out as needed. (This goes as much for Scott and I, as for Tay.)

2) Express feelings and emotions APPROPRIATELY (again with the stop fighting). Talk things out, instead of yelling and fighting. (Also again, for Scott and I as much as Tay.)

3) Personal hygene: brushing teeth and showering without arguements, and keeping room tidied. (This goal is solely for Tay, really.)

Ligia (the therapist's name) said she'd contact the guy who FCSA works with to set up an appointment to have an educational assessement done for Tay. She said he or his office would call us to set up this appointment, hopefully within the next week. Once we get that assessement done, we'll set up regular appointments set up for Tay to go in and talk to Ligia (pronounced "Leesia") and work on her behavioral issues. Potentially this will include getting her into the "Yess" school next semester, if her educational and behavioral issues merit it. That's a possibility, but not a certainty yet.

*****

I've done well, the past 2 days, keeping in mind that I must keep my temper in check. Yesterday, Tay spent the first hour and a half of the morning being a right little pill. But, I kept my temper, and calmly told her to go to her room till she could come out and treat me respectfully. At one point I did almost lose it when I got upset over her calling me retarded.

(I put in Christmas music, of all things, to chill out to while she was in her room raging. To give me something lighthearted to focus my mind on instead of getting worked up by Tay's screaming and yelling at me from her room. She came out, saying that she was going to act responsibly and respectfully, and proceeded to start ranting about the Christmas tunes and how anybody who listens to Christmas music this early in the year is retarded.) Suffice it to say, I sent her BACK to her room, and when she came back out, I started telling her how badly she'd hurt my feelings by calling me retarded for listening to Christmas songs. I also told her that as she was determined to be so darned disrespectful of me, she was going to eat cold cereal for breakfast, instead of the coffee cake I'd been making. I wasn't going to allow her to have that special treat, if she was going to be disrespectful of the person making it: ME.

After more ranting and raving on her part, she was sitting there at the table, grumbling about how I kept repeating myself over the schoolwork (if she'd let me finish a thought, I wouldn't have to repeat myself over and over and over -ad nauseum- again, as I told her). And, right about 9:30, evidently it got to be too much for her, how I wasn't arguing back, or letting her rile me, and she suddenly just crumbled. A weeping, blubbering mass of tears. Me too, for that matter, considering she started apologizing profusely (and sincerely!) for being so mean and rude and disrespectful to me all morning.

I wish today had gone better, but it didn't, really. Less arguing from her, less disrespect in the form of rude names and such, but the fact of the matter is that she refuses to try, and then gets all pissy when I insist that she's going to find the answer for herself, and I'm going to keep drilling her and grilling her till I'm sure she understands the concept. She'll sit there, having read something out of her history or science book not 5 seconds before, and insist that she doesn't know the answer to a very specific question regarding what she's just read. I won't accept that. And even while it may be hard for her, some of this stuff, I'm not going to let her get away with playing stupid. I get that it takes more effort, and I may have to break things down even further than the science or history books do, but that doesn't mean I'm going to simply give her the answer and not expect some honest work from her as well. Sooner or later she'll get that, but for now she's still fighting me every step of the way. *sigh*

**********

As for that coffee cake, I made a Gooey Butter Cake using a Pecan Spice cake mix, but the vanilla filling. YUM!!! Not QUITE as good, though, as almond flavored filling with a yellow cake mix crust, or pumpkin filling with spice cake crust.

Here's the recipe for those who haven't seen it before:

Gooey Butter Cake

1/2 c butter, melted
1 box cake mix (yellow cake, for the basic)
1 egg

Mix those ingredients together and press them into the bottom of a lightly greased 13x9x2 inch baking pan.

1 (8 oz) box of cream cheese, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 c powdered (confectioners) sugar
2 eggs

Beat these ingredients together till smooth, then pour over crust. Bake at 350 deg. F. for 35 to 40 minutes or till puffed up and lightly golden-brown. Don't burn it. It will NOT test done as normal cakes do, and should in fact still be rather gooey in the center. Allow to cool completely (if you can stand it!) before cutting. Smallish pieces are best, as this cake is VERY rich. Good for a decadent breakfast treat, or dessert any time of day. *wink* (Serve with a glass of milk, for washing down that richness!)

To change it up for Thanksgiving, substitute spice cake mix for the yellow cake mix and add a 15 oz can of pumpking pie filling and an extra egg to the filling mixture. Baking may take just a BIT longer with this addition. Top each slice with a pecan half, before serving, and a dollop (or squirt) of whipped topping if you'd like.

Paula Deen has a bunch of suggestions out there in the WWW somewhere, on how to change up this lovely cake a bit, including this pumpkin version.

**********

I've been needing to cook out of my stored food, the past two weeks. We wound up with a check that didn't get cashed when we thought it had, the check-book got a bit messed up because of it, then the check was cashed later and it really fouled things up, so we had a bit of a SNAFU with our checking account. Well anyway, that messed up our finances a bit, and it meant that last week's grocery shopping couldn't total more than $25 for the week. Fortunately I HAVE been stocking up for a while now, and I had food stashed away that could be cooked up to provide extras, and some leftovers frozen for quick suppers. Tomorrow's shopping is going to be SOMEWHAT slimmer than I like to do, but I'll be able to get a bit more than last week. Which is fortunate because we DO need things like fresh fruits & veggies, and we're now out of ground beef & chicken breasts. But, 2 weeks on stocked food certainly isn't too bad! We've still got plenty of food we could be eatting, if only I could persuade the hubby and kiddo that soups and vegetarian meals are more acceptable. They're not to that point yet, though. *sigh*

But, it was nice knowing that I could get through a couple of slim weeks with what we had in the pantry and freezers, and only need a loaf of bread, a couple of onions and cabbage and a bunch of apples for the fresh stuff. If I could find the time to bake some bread, I wouldn't even have to shell out for THAT. (It's the rising time that's getting me lately, I know I could get it all started with no problem, but hockey and such other responsibilities are meaning that I wouldn't be home at the time it needs to be punched down and seperated into loaves before the second rising. The last time I tried, I lost track of time and by the time I got home to my dough, it had collapsed after rising TOO much the second rising, and I couldn't salvage it.) As for baking bread on Fridays, it'd take up too much table room, and I can't kick Tay out of the kitchen long enough to do the bread mixing and kneading. The couple of times I've needed bread products, this past week, we've made do with cornbread muffins. Which are good, but don't go well with all different types of things. (And simply can't be made into sandwiches.) I'm REALLY in the mood to bake Cranberry bread, though. *drool* Maybe next Tuesday, when I've got Veteran's Day off.

**********

Speaking of Veterans, Dad had to have surgery this past Monday. He had 2 hernias (matching, on opposite sides of his groin) that needed fixing. It was, fortunately, an out-patient matter and he was back at my Aunt & Uncle's place by the end of the day. He's back in Spokane now and staying with Mom's oldest Brother and Sister-in-Law. Fortunately he gets along well with my Uncle and Aunt, and he helps out around their little "homestead" while he's there. He'd planned on being there long enough to get his storage trailer unloaded and the belongings rearranged into his home-trailer, but now it looks like he's going to be spending the winter there in Spokane.

My Aunt Norma Sue also had to have surgery on Monday. Apparently she's got Glaucoma related to her diabetis. She had surgery on one eye last year to relieve the pressure from the Glaucoma, but was having problems with SOMETHING leaking, so the Dr schedualed her for another surgery to repair the problem, and to graft in some skin from her thigh to cover the spot that was having problems. I'm hoping to call her back tomorrow to find out how she's recovering. Last Sunday was her 72nd birthday, so she's not young by any means. (She's the wife of my Dad's now-deceased older brother. She lives in the Dallas TX area in the home she occupied with my uncle, and her older son -my oldest cousin on that side- now lives there with her.)

So, prayers for the continued recoveries of both Dad and Aunt Norma Sue, if y'all would.

**********

Last but not least, the election: While I've got a couple of qualms about our new President-Elect, I'm pretty reasonably happy to see that he won the election. And I'm happy that the whole process is over for a few more years. This one dragged on for FAR too long! My prayers are that President-Elect Obama is emotionally and morally prepared to lead our country into and through the coming depression and the ecological hardships our country and our world now faces.

The hubby was considerably less than thrilled that Obama won the election. Scott, unfortunately, listened avidly to all the fear-mongering that's gone on toward Obama. While I admit to lingering concerns about Obama's stance on gun ownership, I think that he all-in-all will be able to lead our country much better than McCain could have. And while there are obviously still folks in our country who aren't quite ready yet for a president of African-American heritage, I think Obama's got a much better chance of surviving the next 4 years than McCain has. And between the lack of honor that Palin showed in her attitude at rallies, and in her speaches to the press, and McCain's age, I'm pretty sure we would have had the unfortunate reality of Sarah Palin winding up running our country with not nearly enough experience, and a tendency to incite hot-headed feelings in her followers toward those who don't believe the exact same way. So, all in all I think we're in for a hard time, but not nearly so hard with Barack Obama as it would have been with McCain and Palin. (And now, having seen Sarah Palin's behavior as Vice-President Candidate, I'm highly unlikely to vote for her as Governor, if she comes up for Re-election in that stance. But there's also some evidence that a great many other Alaskans were just as disenchanted with her behavior while she was the VP Candidate. We'll see if it's enough to keep her from getting reelected.)

Anyway, I've had to hear a couple of snippy comments about how Obama's going to beggar us with taxes now that he's going to be President. To that, I reminded Scott that Obama's wanting to raise taxes on big business and folks who actually qualify as wealthy in this country. Those folks, and those companies, have gotten away with reduced taxes for a LONG time now and the "trickle down effect" that was supposed to help our country has been shown to be a load of balogna. Instead of taxing us "little guys" (because Scott and I will NEVER qualify as rich in OUR country), Obama wants to tax the "big guys" and reduce some of the strain on the rest of the country through that. Hey. Good! About damned time the CEO's raking millions (billions?) per year are taxed on that money, and about damned time Walmart was taxed, and Exxon, and BP, and Conoco Phillips..... I'm glad that there's somebody gearing up for the Presidential office who doesn't seem determined to give his cronies platnum parachutes and tax the poor and lower class of this country to do it. We'll never qualify as wealthy. Hell, neither of our dad's would ever qualify as "wealthy" by the standards of our country. So why Scott's worried about the rich getting taxed while the poor finally see a break...... *shrug*

I've also had to listen to some really freaking stupid comments on the fact that Obama's African-American, the balogna-supposition that he was actually born outside of the country, and the equally bogus supposition that he's Muslim based on the fact that he attended a Islamic school in Indonesia (where it's required by law, from what I understand?). I'll be so happy when the guy can actually get into office and flex his political muscle and show folks like my hubby how much bull that all is. And, as Sharon's said, I hope Obama takes on the mantle of greatness and proves that he's got the mettle to pull our country through the messes the current president has heaped upon us.

Oh, and FWIW, over at Gina's Blog it was mentioned the importance of writing to Obama and congratulating him on his win of the election, and giving him some advice, as his constituents and supporters through it all.

(EDITED TO ADD) I just sent this letter to Barack Obama:

Congratulations Mr. Obama, on your win in the election. I wish you all the best in your first term as president. I would like to tell you what I hope you will put some energy toward as President for our Country.

1) I greatly hope that you will endeavor to see that ALL Americans, rich, poor and the rare middle, are provided equal and EXEMPLARY medical care. I hope that this will include birth control and annual gynecologecal check-ups for women, and compassionate counceling for rape and incest victims, including abortions should they chose that route.

2) I hope that you will guide our Nascar-addled culture away from the desire to own a car, each and every individual one of us. I hope that you will encourage a rebuilding of our rail system, both trans-continental and light rail (trolleys or metros?).

3) I hope that you will encourage a major restructuring of our educational system. As the Mom to an 11 year old girl who was being passed from one year to another in an attempt to make her somebody else's problem, even though she should have been held back (and I advocated STRONGLY for that), the public school system is a shambles and our children are only falling further and further behind the rest of the world. Too many are graduating without even knowing how to spell the basics, because we've gotten away from TEACHING the basics. And our teachers should be encouaged to be the best they can be, and to be strong in purposefully HOLDING back those who might otherwise fall behind. (To be passed on to the next year does NOT mean a child is succeeding, it often means a blind eye has been turned in their direction.) I homeschool now, by the way.

4) I hope that you will push VERY strongly for rebuilding our nation's bridges, levees and dams, public buildings and public works. My workplace is a library, we're seeing SUCH an increase in the number of people who utilize our services as the economy worsens, I hope you will continue to support funding for such services as vital to our country's recovery.

5) I hope you will push for a build-out of energy producing "industries" such as wind, solar, hydro-electric, and geo-thermal. I know that nuclear is something you're enthusiastic about, but there is no SAFE way to EVER TRULY dispose of nuclear waste that won't endanger our children and our grand-children for a million years to come. Hydro-electric, Geo-thermal, Wind and Solar don't bear that same burden of disposal.

6) I hope you will encourage a return of support (on the local level, not the governmental funding level) for small farmers. I hope you will include the Victory Garden movement in this, even to the point of planting a vegetable garden on White House property and even rolling up your sleeves and working in it yourself, now and again. And meeting a portion of your family's grocery budget from that same gaden. A White House clothes-line would be a great factor as well, to encourage the rest of the country to put up a clothes line for home usage. But, esp. our family run farms. We need to move away from the mono-culture that farming has become, that is pressed upon us by such big businesses as MonSanto. We cannot be forced by big business to give up our right to grow our own food and save our own seed from year to year. Farmers need to be encouraged, not subsidized and condescended to. And the monopoly on food processing should be broken, to allow the farmers to get a TRULY fair price for their products!!!!

7) I hope you will consider that our founding fathers wrote the Second Amendment to protect the average man's right to own and operate fire-arms with the eye toward a dictatorship that may first try to remove those arms from our homes, then try to remove other rights, once we no longer have the ability to defend ourselves from dictators.

To now, we have not had a revolution to oust a dictator or tyranical official, but you've shown that a massive grass-roots movement IS possible, though your movement was peaceful. I hope that you will respect that we have the right by GOD to defend ourselves from a tyrany and will not impede that right by attempting to enforce a removal of gun-rights from the average (civilian) person. I'm afraid that if you did so, many people in this country would revolt against YOU, when my hope is that YOU will be the person that reunites this country after 10 years of divisive behavior by elected officials.

President-Elect Obama, my thoughts and prayers are with you as you begin to worry about the hardships facing our nation.

Thank you for listening to my hopes.

Blessings to you and your family, and my condolances for the loss of your grandmother.

I sent this letter through Change.gov.

**********

Anyway, I think that pretty well covers it for now.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Ahhhhh, Justice!

Ted Stevens Convicted!

Now, though, it appears he's going to appeal the judgement and won't be pulling out of the race, at least yet. *shaking head* So, not only is he now a convicted felon, but he's going to waste MORE tax dollars by appealing the judgement. (Yes, I know that's his legal RIGHT, but that doesn't MAKE it right that he's choosing to do so.)

And, rather than gracefully backing out of the race BEFORE the conviction came about, and throwing his support behind another candidate (who wasn't being tried on bribery & fraud counts) and wishing them the best, and giving somebody else an honest chance at becoming Senator for our state, he's done the opposite. He's NOT backed out, driven all other candidates out of the running, and says that even though he's now a convicted felon, he's going to continue to run and "serve" as Senator for our state.

What an Ass!

God, I hope Mark Begich wins this one. Even Scott, though he's pissed that he can't vote republican on this one, said he's not going to vote for Steven's now, but will probably vote indepenedent instead. *shrug* Fine by me. There are probably a lot of other republican voters who will be voting independent this time around BECAUSE of this, and as a result, that makes Mark Begich's chances of getting the senatorial seat even better.

I hope the sentancing winds up with him receiving the fullest sentance in the harshest conditions a judge can give the man.

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, October 27, 2008

An Update....

Well, we've been busy as usual. Let's see if I can give a run-down and an overview for the coming week (though, this coming week doesn't look QUITE so crazy-busy).

Last week we did only review and testing. The fact that we spent the WHOLE week on review and testing..... Well, I wish we'd only had to do that for half the week, not the whole week. But we're also not quite as far behind as I thought we were.

UNFORTUNATELY, the test book that we were using for the testing these past few days turns out to be the WRONG test book, so now Tay is redoing her tests in the correct book. Although both books have some answers different, I'm giving her the go-ahead to use the FIRST test book as help for the SECOND test book, since she should only have had to do ONE test, NOT two. If Scott and I had figured that out in time, that is. *sigh*

We've had our share of head-aches this past week. A couple of fights. But not QUITE as many as the previous couple of weeks. Primarily due to the fact that she was doing MAINLY review of her lessons and testing.

I DID finally get the application for Family Centered Services of Alaska dropped off on Friday. The woman who needs to review the app. was out that day, though. She'll be back in today and I'm expecting a phone call from her, hopefully this morning. So that puts us at a couple of days behind for getting her an appointment for assessement.

So, besides schooling, we had a normally-busy work-week, but then a lot of extra stuff on the weekend.

We had hockey pictures last Tuesday.

*****

I had to chuckle during a conversation with Mom the other day. We were talking about Dad and his plans for the next few weeks. (Keep him in your prayers, would ya? It appears he may have a hernia that might lay him up for a few weeks in Spokane.) Evidently Dad is finally talking to my middle sister again, after their "spat" over whether or not Dad was going to stay at Shelli's place in AZ. (The problem was not Dad staying at Shelli's place, but that he never LEFT. For anything except grocery shopping, from what Shelli said. And when she finally spoke up and expressed her need for some alone-time and that maybe he could go visit friends in a different part of the state for a few days, Dad got all upset over being "kicked out" and took off in a huff the next day. Well, finally they're "talking" again, according to Mom.

Then Mom made some comment about how everybody in the family is Passive-Aggressive EXCEPT me. *snort & chuckle* I told Mom that I am VERY passive-agressive, but I've made it a point to try NOT to be, just like I've made it a point to TRY to be more outgoing than I am naturally. (I'm naturally very shy and something of a hermit. I have to force myself out of it. But when I do force those boundaries I feel much better.) It's all in the attempt to change some of the negatives about myself that I see. (Not the physical negatives so much as the emotional negatives.) It's no different than somebody working on their anger issues (which, I should also be addressing, apparently) or their self-steem issues. For me, it's addressing my shyness and passive-aggressiveness. I'm still intensely shy, and passive-aggressive, but I force myself to be outgoing, and I force myself to speak my mind, at least some of the time.

*****

Friday I had off work, of course, for my weekend. BUT, I had to go to town to take that Application in. I also did my grocery shopping while I was in town. Spent a good bit more money than the hubby was hoping. *sigh* Oh well, along with the usual FOOD groceries, I also bought more expensive stuff such as dish-washer detergent, and toilet paper, and extra strength tylenol. AND I got some storage orginizer type stuff: a couple of wire racks for the master bath cabinets, and one for Tay's bathroom; and 2 plastic food storage cannisters to make storing food in the cabinet so much easier. To this point, most of our pastas, beans, and goodies such as chocolate chips and marshmallows have simply been thrown in a cabinet with NO attention paid to how well this stuff stacks. Getting two more allowed me to put all the christmas-cooking type goodies in them and freed up some room in my cabinets under my microwave. I need to get more for pastas and beans, though. I've got one canister holding our split-peas (taken out of the bags) and one holding bags of 15-bean-soup-mix, but I need to get more for pastas. I've reused spaghetti-sauce jars and pickle jars for some of this stuff, but those jars just don't stack neatly. Rubber-maid may be made of plastic, but at least it stacks nicely leaving room for other things to be stacked on top of it.

Anyway, after I got home Friday and got groceries put away, and Scott got off work, we cleaned house. Well, not the computer room or our bedroom & bathroom, but the rest of the house. Vacuumed the living room, computer room, and Tay's bedroom, as well as around the edges of the kitchen to get the dust bunnies. Then I scrubbed the kitchen floor; cleaned up my stove-top; we decluttered the living room and kitchen; made Tay give her room a tidying and clean up her bathroom.

I also made beef Borscht for dinner. Scott and Tay were both rather nervous about trying soup made with beets, but having had it once before myself, I was pretty sure they'd like it. And, they did. Though Scott really didn't want to admit it right off. *grin* It was a little more brothy than I would have prefered, but flavor wise, tasted very good.

*****

Saturday, did more cleaning in the morning, then had hockey till almost 4 pm (the practice started at 2:15, but we had a parent meeting afterward).

One of the other dad's kinda ticked me off at the parent meeting, as well. This guy, John, tends to be a busy body. He started running the meeting, even though he's not team manager (not even one of the coaches) before the team manager even arrived in the room. Then he started telling everybody how they'd better show up to the Frisbee-sales thing at the Nanooks (University hockey team) that night. When I told him (and the team manager, who'd finally arrived) that we wouldn't be making it that night because we had dinner plans that'd been made for a week and a half (and had only found out about the frisbee-sales thing on Friday), John had the audacity to lay into me about our responsibilities to the hockey team. Supposedly we're supposed to drop any other plans if we get last minute notice of hockey stuff. He made some dumb-ass comments about how our hockey team is our family and our responsibility to the hockey team comes first, anything else can wait. That whatever team-building activities are planned come before anything else, and if that's not possible then maybe we shouldn't be playing hockey. *snort* What an ass! I told him that hockey is PART of my life, but not ALL our life, and we've got OTHER family that came BEFORE we got on this hockey team. He didn't care for that much. *wry smile*

Finally got home and got started on making dinner.

The inlaws came over for supper, bringing the YOUNGER nephew (Grant) with them. (The one that broke the brand-new Wii set-up his mom got, on the day she got it.) He was, as predicted, a little PITA. I wish the inlaw's had had the older nephew (Aaron) this past weekend. That kiddo's old enough to have learned some manners at school (because his Mom sure doesn't "DO" manners) and he gets on well with Tay. AND he's starting to show some maturity in the handling of possessions, so letting him loose in the house wouldn't have been so nerve-racking for me as it was with Grant.

Anyway, Mom sent us a box of cheese from Wisconsin when she was there a couple of weeks back and told us to be sure and share with the inlaws, as the FIL was born & raised in Wisconsin. Scott was born in Wisconsin himself, but was only 3 when they left, so he remembers WI about as I well as I remember Germany. (Which is to say, not at all.)

I also made a container of Yogurt-cheese called Labahne (sp?). I drained most of a carton of plain, organic yogurt (cheesecloth or coffee filters inside a strainer, over a bowl, to get most of the moisture out of the yogurt), and added crushed garlic, italian seasoning, and some black pepper. It was a very yummy soft cheese.

Then we grilled bratwursts and put them into a beer-pot upon taking them off the grill: Lambeau Field style. *grin*

The cheeses were all very good, though the inlaws refused to try my yogurt-cheese. Wish we had more of a chance to visit with the inlaws, though. They had to leave very shortly after dinner because Grant was getting too far out of hand and starting to be very disrespectful of my home.

As soon as the inlaws left, Scott took Tay to spend the night at a friend's house. One of her former soccer-mates had invited her over. Tay's been trying to get ahold of this girl for a while for a sleep-over (though, we origionally invited Kelsey to sleep over here), but they've been as busy as we have, it seems. Anyway, so Scott and I got some couple time Saturday night. That was nice.

*****

Then, back to work yesterday. I came home and proceeded to get on with the business of cooking dinner. Tay asked for shrimp, so I bought some at the store on Friday. I made "Dirty Shrimp in Butter Beer Sauce" over minute rice, and a beet-green salad (done just like I do our Swiss Chard in the summer) using the greens left from the beets that I put in our borscht. It was very yummy. In fact, it was hard to say last night which tasted better: the shrimp, or the salad. *grin*

**********

Beet-Green or Swiss Chard Salad

a large bunch or two (depends on how much you want to make) of greens, stems cut off (some of them chopped up and set aside) and greens cut or torn into bite size pieces

1/2 pound bacon, fried to crisp, keep 3 to 4 Tbsp of the bacon grease in the pan you cooked the bacon in, save the rest of the grease for something else, or discard

1 small (or 1/2 large) white onion, diced

1/2 c vinegar (I use 1/4 c each apple cider vinegar and white vinegar)

1/4 c sugar

1/2 tsp pepper

1 tsp salt

3 or 4 hard boiled eggs, shelled and chopped to bits

Sautee the onion and pieces of beet/chard stems in the bacon grease till soft & tender, add vinegar, sugar, salt & pepper and simmer for a couple of minutes till reduced just a bit. Turn sauce to HIGH just for a moment before pouring sauce over greens in seperate bowl. Toss greens well and quickly with sauce, and cover with foil. The greens need to wilt just a bit before serving. Just before serving, crumble in bacon and chopped egg, and toss to mix.

*****

Dirty Shrimp in Butter-Beer Sauce

2 pounds shrimp, peeled & uncooked
4 Tbsp butter (or mix of butter and olive oil)
3 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 to 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (we used the 1/4 tsp for each of these two)
2 tsp minced garlic (or 2 or 3 cloves pressed garlic)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 c beer

Add all herbs & spices to oil in pot and sautee quickly for a minute. Add shrimp to pot and sautee till the shrimp is almost completely cooked. Add in beer and simmer for just one more minute. Serve over rice, or angel-hair pasta, and with plenty of crusty french bread to sop up the sauce.

**********

So, this coming week is more of the same. More schooling, more work. Friday night I'll be going to a ritual with a couple of work buddies up outside of town in the hills. It's the first ritual I've ever been to. I'm looking forward to it. Spiritually I've been stagnating lately, and I miss feeling that connection between the divine and my spiritual self.

Saturday, Tay's got practice at 8 am in town, then a game at 2 pm up at the U. Because the practice is so early, she's going to have to be in early from Trick or Treating. She's not terribly happy about that little fact. Most of her friends will get to stay out till 10 or 11 pm, she's got to be in by 9 and getting ready for bed because of that early morning practice.

So, that's the run-down. That's what we've been up to, what we're looking forward to. I'm sorry I've been so horrible about getting to everybody's blogs. I've actually been to visit a couple of times a week, but I rarely have the time to post anything. Esp. as I'm blog-hopping in between fights with Tay. *sigh* (And, quite honestly, my mood has been so sour due to those fights that I'm reluctant to comment on blogs afraid that my sourness is going to carry over into whatever I would have to say in my comments.)

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Just the Usual....

In other words: fighting, arguing, and a whole lot of crappy attitudes. Mine included, I'm afraid.

Schooling Tay has been damn near suicide-inducing. She simply refuses to do ANYTHING without a huge freaking fight. I'm not joking either. It's not confined only to schooling. It's showering and brushing her teeth. Taking her clean clothes out of the drier so the hubby and I can put our clothes in. Taking the dogs outside. Cleaning her dishes off. AND schooling. Instead of a half hour for some of the minor subjects like Critical Thinking and Spelling, it's an HOUR to do those subjects, and an hour and a half to 2 hours for the more major subjects like Science and History/Geography. Spanish seems to have fallen by the way-side. Which I feel absolutely horrible about. Everything else is dragging along. We're getting it done, but just barely.

And in the process we all fight. Constantly it seems. It's come to the point where I feel that if things don't change, if Tay's attitude doesn't change, I can't keep living here. Scott alternates between being completely unwilling to push Taylor into doing anything she doesn't want to do (including talking to a therapist) and wanting to put his fist through a wall due to her constant arguing over the simplest of things. He's continually trying to persuade me, lately, to give up on Home schooling and put her back in Public School.

I remind him that PS wasn't REALLY any better than homeschooling has been, and if anything it was encouraging WORSE behavior because she saw a public school principal and several teachers over several years tell ME (HER MOTHER) that THEY knew her needs better than I, and chewing ME out for not doing more to tutor her in the evenings. (There are only so many hours in a day, I don't know where they seemed to think I could obtain extra hours from, esp. working and taking her to sports. Though I know at least one of them advocated taking Tay OUT of hockey because of her poor school skills. Ironic that this same teacher insisted that Tay WASN'T falling far enough behind to be held back. Just far enough behind to keep her from doing the only activity she looks forward to.)

I told him that if he withdraws Tay from the Homeschool Program and puts her back in Public School, then I WILL leave. I cannot sit back and watch the public school system screw up my daughter's future even more and refusing to acknowledge and test for learning disabilities, while criticizing what a crappy Mom I apparently am because my child has learning disabilities. If he puts her back into Public School, I feel my only option is to leave. Leave Tay with him and go. And I've made that clear to him.

But at the same time, I don't feel like we can keep muddling through without outside help. Mom has served on the local Mental Health Board in the past, and so she made a call this weekend to a fellow former-board member who happens to head up the Family Centered Services program for the Borough. He said he'd have somebody call me to set up an appointment for this next week to get Tay in and have her assessed. We're going to figure out what is going on in that head, both mentally and emotionally.

One of the other Dad's at hockey this morning was telling me tales of his family's struggle with their daughter's learning "disability". They thought she was dyslexic (she showed a LOT of the same "signs" that Tay does) but turns out she is mildly ADD. Not the hyperactive sort, just the sort of thing where what she was seeing was getting mixed up in the wiring in her brain, and it was confusing her as to what she was trying to do. And she'd lose focus in class situations with more than 4 or 5 kids. They wound up putting her on the minimal dosage of Stratera, and she's gotten straight A's in school ever since. He said they take her off for about 3 weeks, every 6 month interval, to see if she's outgrown the condition (as a lot of children are wont to do, according to her Dr's). So far she hasn't, but she's only just 14 years old yet. (She plays on an older team than Tay does.) Anyway, this other dad was strongly encouraging to get Tay in to get assessed and hopefully get her at least learning (and learning with) some coping skills, possibly on mild meds, possibly including some therapy to help her cope with a poor self image and extremely negative outlook on the world. I found his experience very encouraging. We may be a bit later along with getting Tay help than he was for his daughter (she was in 2nd grade when she started on meds), but better now than later, and better late than never.

Anyway, so I'm looking forward to (or not, really) another busy week.

Monday morning I've got to go sit over at the DMV and get Dad's travel trailer registered as an Alaskan vehical.

Hopefully I'll get to talk to somebody at FCSA on Monday and set up an appointment for Tay for some time later in the week. I'd like to have her assessed by the end of the week.

I told Scott that before he puts Tay back in public school, we're GOING to give this assessement a try. I'm hopeful that having her assessed and finding out just what her issues ARE, and getting some definite treatment for those issues will help with the constant fighting she feels the need to indulge in currently. That's the only hope I've got at this point. Any other thoughts leave me wanting to just walk away. Just walk out. And not come back.

Mom mentioned the possibility of putting Tay in the school that FCSA runs for children who cannot cope with regular school environments. Unfortunately we found out today (rather by accident) that the elementary school is on the other side of town from where Scott and I work. (Over on College Road, Mom. On the stretch between the Fairgrounds and Gulliver's Books.) I'm trying to figure how we'd manage to get her there every morning, and picked up every afternoon.

I'm really banking on therapy and meds, at this point. REALLY. I don't know how we'll swing any other options. I don't know that it's really feasible to consider any other possibilities.

But, we'll see. Hopefully by the end of this coming week I'll be able to say more. Hopefully.

Anyway, must get off line and head to bed. It's 12:4o am and I've got to work tomorrow.

*****

Oh, for what it's worth. Yeah, we've got snow. It's sticking. It doesn't look like it's going to melt before April. And it's cold. The temps have been "warming up" to the mid to high 20's during the day, but dropping to between 0 and -5 at night. If it's cloudy, it's snowing. If it's clear, it's cold. And it's colder this year than it's been in the last 10 years. That's a good thing, I guess. Sucky for fuel usage, good for the fact that it shows a (temporary, at least) return to "normal" climate conditions in our area.

Have a Blessed Day!