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!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Well, THAT Weekend Went Quickly!

Thanks for the "love" the other day.

So, I got a lot, and yet not much, done this weekend. Friday, we did schooling and then I went grocery shopping, came home and made Summer Sausage Rueben Sandwiches (a Rachel Ray recipe). Then spent the evening down-loading music from our CDs onto ITunes, while Scott and Tay were at an Ice Dogs game. Oh, and when we woke up on Friday (maybe I mentioned this the other day, I don't remember) the weather was windy as heck and warm enough that the snow we had melted. YEAH!

Yesterday morning started out with me waking up and making some bacon and loading yet more songs onto Itunes from our CDs.

After Tay and Scott got home from hockey practice (third practice of the season), we all went outside and did some yard work. The weather was sunny and warm and autumnal again, all the sudden. I got the leaves raked up in my front yard, and piled over my strawberry plants. Hopefully that blanket of leaves underneath the blanket of snow will keep my strawberry plants safe for the winter. I'm hoping that they survive and thrive next spring.

I also tried to get my compost bin raked out so that I could add the finished compost to my planter bed. No such luck. All the rain and water this autumn had water-logged the "stuff" in the bin, and the cold weather had frozen it solid. I had to have Scott help me crack all the frozen mass of composting "stuff" into more managable pieces, which I then tore up even more with my gloves on my hands. I decided to NOT dry to mix any of the clumps (of still partially frozen, sodden newspaper and leaves and grass and decaying veggies) into my planter bed, but to mix them back with some of the other stuff I'd piled to the side, and some of the left-over leaves from the front yard, and leave it for the winter. I'd hoped to get BACK out today and "thoughtfully" rake our neighbour's yard as well, and add their leaves to my bin.

No such luck!!! We woke up to lots and lots of snow this morning. We've probably got 3 inches, already. And it's coming down thick and furious. So, the bit of turning over and mixing I did yesterday is going to have to suffice.

Anyway, as it started getting on toward 6 pm last night, I quit with the outside chores (planning on getting out and doing more this morning, which has NOT come to pass) and came inside. Again, Scott and Tay went to an Ice Dogs game, while I stayed home downloading more tunes for my Ipod.

I must've scanned over 60 different CDs and loaded over 600 songs onto my Ipod. I've got capacity for 2000 songs, and I've got a list of CDs to find from work as well. And I bought 10 new songs from the ITunes store, that I didn't have a way to get otherwise. I'm loving my mix, though. I've got everything from Enya and Clannad, to Santana and Cirque du Soleil, some Garth Brooks and Martina McBride, to Matchbox 20 and a couple of Backstreet Boys (snagged from Tay's mix). I've got lots of celtic, a good bit of country, a nice bit of pop, some jazz, a lot of techno-dance, a couple of hard-rock (no metal yet, though, but plans for some!)..... I love having such a diverse mix at my fingertips. Much nicer than a radio station which plays the same songs over and over and over, ad nauseum.

I think my mix is going to be mainly pop and celtic, but I hope to have a good bit of classical and some oldies (think, Frank Sinatra) as well as the rest, when all is said and done. Now to figure out how to make playlists. *grin*


Ok. I think that pretty well covers it for today. I've gotta visit a few of y'all, and say HI, and then get heading to work. Need to give myself plenty of time for the driving with all that snow this morning.

Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wow.... And The Weekend is ALREADY Almost Half Over...

Yeah, so schooling, schooling and MORE schooling, that's what I've been up to. We've had one day of non-fighting school-time, for every 4 days we have WITH fighting over the assigned lessons. *sigh* Scott's seriously ready to put Tay back in public school for the next semester, but I'm not willing to give up. I know that it'd just make matters worse in the long run, and I'm hoping that by the time we've got one semester under our belts, Tay's grasped that I'm going to fight with her EVERY DAY if I have to in order to get to make sure she actually learns something.


We woke up this morning to melting snow and lots of warm winds. REALLY windy. The kind of windy that caused problems for the last year with our old vehical sheds. No problems with them, this time. The winds though have melted all the snow we got over the last 2 weeks. YEAH!!! It's supposed to be like this tomorrow as well. Possibly with some rain as well, though, which makes me a bit nervous. Now if I can only find the time tomorrow to get out into my compost bin and take care of the final adding and turning over that I DIDN'T get done before the first snows fell. And I need to rake those leaves in my front yard and pile them on my strawberries, now that I've got a bit of a reprieve.


My boss is back to being a bitch. Early on this week she told me to stop sending cracking DVD's for reinforcement, that it doesn't help anyway. Ok. Fair enough. Last I'd been told was to go ahead and give them to one of the Karen's for this sticker on the back that would reinforce the disk where it was starting to crack. (They crack badly around the hole in the center, eventually it causes cracks across the face of the disk. We were putting these circular stickers on the disk, to reinforce over the cracks but still leaving that hole open in the center to place in DVD cases.) Anyway, Boss Lady wasn't in any way rude about it then, just informative that it'd been decided that this sticker didn't help anyway. *shrug* Ok, whatever. (What chaps me about THAT is that, when I asked if we were going to be doing anything ELSE to attempt to keep the disks from cracking, she said that she didn't think it was possible so *shrug* "oh well". These DVDs cost the library quite a bit of money, and therefore cost us taxpayers quite a bit of money. When a DVD cracks, it becomes unusable. Wouldn't it be in EVERYBODY'S best interest to attempt to find a way to reinforce them so that they stay usable longer?!?! Her attitude was such that it doesn't really matter, why should she care.)

Well anyway, yesterday (Thursday) I came across a DVD that was cracking badly across the face, and as Boss Lady was standing right there, I asked her if I should check it in and give it to Karen, or should I NOT check it in so that the patron might be charged for it. (Sometimes it's obvious mishandling, and in the past that has resulted in the patron being charged the cost of the disk. I don't make the final decision, but by NOT checking it in until Karen's ready, that allows HER to make the final decision, which is HER job.)

Boss Lady asked if I check every DVD for cracks. (I've gotten my ass chewed in the past, on one DVD I missed catching that was cracked, early on in my employment here, so I'm very careful to check each disk over.) I responded that I look at it IN the case, and if it appears it may be cracked, I take it OUT of the case to see how badly it's cracked, but yeah..... I check every DVD because that's the ONLY way to catch cracked DVDs. She got snippy and said that I shouldn't be doing that (SINCE WHEN?!?!) and it's a waste of time, and not to bother any more. Boss Lady feels that if a patron finds a DVD that's so badly cracked it's unusable, they'll notify us, and that I shouldn't be bothering with checking them over as they get turned in.

WTF?!?! So we're NO LONGER supposed to check our materials over to make sure that they're in satisfactory condition before shelving?!?!?! What kinda library runs that way?!?!?! Flipping rediculous!

Then she proceeded to get all snippy and uptight about making sure that EVERYBODY knows how to properly sticker a new case for DVD's. I just cannot figure that woman out. She doesn't seem to give a rat's ass about how we do our job in SO many aspects. Liz hasn't shelved a cart of books in WEEKS, for example. Keiko is so flipping blind that she takes 10 minutes to check out 5 books to a patron. Ellen is so lazy that she doesn't bother to do ANY of her job, even though Boss Lady has taken all but Ellen's shelving duties away. And yet, we get lectured about the PROPER way to place stickers in DVD cases?!?!

Anyway, I'm at the point right now that if it wasn't for the fact that I would NEVER get the Lib. Assistant position out HERE if I quit my job in town, I'd go ahead and quit. But, like I said, I'd NEVER get the North Pole position I want if I quit at the town library. Besides, I'd be giving up insurance as well. And I don't want to work anyplace BUT a library...... *sigh* Damned rock & a hard place situation. CM and I kinda keep each others spirits up (or at least, share the morbid humor in the situation) at work, as she's facing very similar feelings toward our boss and the hypocracy going on at work. (As I said last week "the hypocracy is astounding" has become a mantra of sorts. With the new addition of "Kati, go to your happy place!!!" or "CM, go to your happy place" when things start getting frustrating to the point the other of us can see the steam emerging from ears. *wry smile* I'm glad at least that I've got one coworker who "gets it".)


Another book to mention, I'm currently reading _How to Cook a Wolf" by MFK Fisher. It's a cookbook, but more than that, it's a fabulously written treatise on frugal cooking and caring for the art of eatting during financially stressed (WW2, when it was written) times. Might be of interest to others. The author's sense of humor is wonderfully dry. I have yet to try any of her recipes, so I can't comment. But the recipes are sprinkled in among her discussion of how to make the best of a food situation in which one feels as if "the wolf is breathing heavily outside the door."


Last but not least, I got my Ipod the other day. *grin* I'm now spending quite a bit of time uploading tunes onto it. I got a 4th gen, Ipod nano with 2000 song capacity. It's a lovely green. *grin*

Ok. I've gotta get off-line and watch some recorded TV shows and destress for a bit.

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, October 05, 2008

A Book Review

I just finished reading J.H. Kunstler's _World Made By Hand_ on Friday. I figured it'd be a good book to review here.

I have mixed feelings about this book. It "read" quickly for me, didn't take me more than 2 or 3 days to get through. It certainly brought up some very valid points about the likely realities of Peak Oil. In this, it wasn't a BAD book.

My problems with it have to do with the sentiment toward women, as other critics have mentioned.

It did NOT appear to me that JHK views women as simply sex objects, but he also doesn't seem to have a very high view of a woman's imporance in the world outside the home.

First though, some character summaries:

Robert Earl (Ehrlich): former white collar businessman turned town carpenter. Widower, wife & daughter died in an illness, son left town in search of better. Best friend and fishing buddy of the town preacher; sleeping with the preacher's wife, with the preacher's knowledge. Somewhat reticent about starting a town laundry with friend Loren.

Loren: town's preacher. Somewhat passive agressive about the affair his wife is having with Robert. Seems to blame the wife more than he blames Robert. Preaching is mostly good-will based, some biblical thrown in for good measure; not a fire & brimstone type preacher. Wants to start a town laundry with Robert's help.

Jane Anne: Loren's wife. Only attends town functionsto show show a united front with her husband. Sleeps willingly with Robert (after Robert's wife died) both for her own sexual satisfaction, and as a sympathetic move for Robert's needs. Does not appear to be sexually active with her own husband. Makes great wine. Very weepy after her own son left town with Robert's son, in search of better circumstances.

Brother Jobe (pronounced Job as in the bible): New arrival to town. Fire & Brimstone type preacher. Runs a cult-like sect that contains mainly younger (formerly military) men & women. Dresses rather austerely in black, with clean shaven face. Very nosy & pushy in a new environment. For all that he's a fire & brimstone type "christian" preacher, he encourages some sexual promiscuity in the women of his group to draw in male followers from the town.

Britney Watling: young widow with young girl child who's hubby dies in a unplanned murder very early on in the book. Makes willow basket as a contribution to the town's floundering economic system. After hubby's murder, moves in with Robert first as housekeeper, then as his new wife. Tells Robert that her hubby hadn't slept with her in a few years due to his desire for another neighbour.

Wayne Karp: former local drug lord, "gear head", red-neck, operates town "general supply" which happens to be the store-house for the materials salvaged from the town dump and abandoned tract houses in the area. The leader of the gang of "gear heads" that lives out in the revamped trailer park known as "Wayne's Town". Rather violently inclined, with a wierd sense of honor. A non-descript looking person with a strong personality.

Stephen Bullocks: Land owner who set himself up rather successfully as a plantation owner in the area. Owns a large-ish amount of property, some previously owned by his own family and some previously run (poorly) by other small dairy farmers. Somewhat benign, though it's noted that he COULD be a dangerous man. Provides his indentured servants with small cottage-like homes with electric and running water from his own hydro-electric, in exchange for their servitude. Seems intent on holding onto a bit of the past, esp. likes a burger or "hotdog" made from meat grown on premesis served with wheat buns from wheat grown on premesis.

Those seem to be the major characters. The setting is in upstate New York in various parts of a given "town". Stephen Bullock's farm is a setting unto itself, as is Wayne's Town and the town in which Robert and Loren live with their neighbours. We also see Robert and some of Brother Jobe's followers make a week-long trip to Albany to rescue some of Bullock's servants, thereby buying the gratitude and future help of Bullock himself in town matters.

At the beginning of the book, we're told that Robert's wife and daughter are dead and his son left town a couple of years before in search of a better life elsewhere. Robert has sexual relations once a week with Loren's wife Jane Anne. Right off the bat, we also see Robert and Loren confronted by the new owner of the town's former High School: Brother Jobe. Jobe comes across the other two as they're returning home from a successful fishing jaunt, each carrying several large fish. Jobe pressures Loren into selling his fish to Jobe for Jobe's congregation. Robert proceeds to give Loren a couple of HIS fish to take home for dinner and tells Loren to thank Jane Anne for the wine that they enjoyed while fishing.

Upon Robert's return home, we find Jane Anne there with some baked goods, at which point we learn about some of the food hard-ships facing the town, not the least of which is that they're unable to grow wheat due to some rust, and live mainly on cornmeal products. Jane Anne is there for her once-weekly sex-session with Robert, on the "wrong night".

The following day, Robert sets off to the "General store" and meets up with Sean Watling (Britney's hubby), and ends up being IN the store when Sean W. is killed by the store's guard OUTSIDE. Robert must pull Sean's body back to town to the Dr's and is part of the contingent of 3 that informes Britney of her new status as widow. (Within a couple of days, her house burns down as well, leaving her and the child homeless.) With Brother Jobe's help (interference!), Robert and Jobe pay a visit to Bullocks about the possibility of Bullocks acting as Magistrate for the town in the prosecution of Sean's murderer. Bullocks initially refuses but kinda hedges on that by implying that if Jobe and the town will help find his missing servants (who'd floated the river down to Albany for supplies but didn't return), he'd maybe be willing to help them out with the murder case.

Immediately following the visit to Bullock's plantation, Robert calls a town meeting, as one of the town's 12 council-members. He comments that NO women are on the council, as society standards have returned somewhat to older traditions. Jane Anne shows up (as the only woman, I believe) in support for her husband and to provide the "benign Mother Figure" to Loren's "Father Figure" in the manner of Town Preacher. But it's made clear that women not only don't serve on the council, they're also not "voting" members of society. We also find out that servants from the couple of outlying farms (of which Sean was), even when they live in town, do not merit a vote in town matters. Kunstler refers to it as an end to egalitarianism that was never really possible anyway. He seems to feel (through his character) that if you don't have a (pre-collapse) college education and a job independent of other's whims, then you're not on equal standing with others such as preachers, professional carpenters, doctors, and lawyers. In the course of things, the current Mayor and Constable are deposed of their standings and Robert is elected Mayor, while Loren is appointed Constable.

At the same time, Britney approaches Robert about moving into his house with her daughter as his housekeeper. He agrees reluctantly, seeing it as a conflict of interest seeing as he was the last person to see her husband alive before his murder. He indicates that it would be rather unseemly, seeing as he's a suspect (or, would be if civic affairs were running normally) in that murder. She reminds him that her house has burned and nobody else in town has the wherewithall to put herself and her daughter up indefinitely except Robert himself. Also indicates that Robert needs somebody to keep his house for him, as it's looking pretty ratty without a woman's touch.

Jobe sends 5 young men of his congregation along with Robert (who knows the 3 missing servants from days prior to the collapse of society) down to Albany to find out what happened to the servents. Basically JHK uses this trip to give us some insight into the personalities and military abilities of Jobe's people. This also allows a chance for Robert to act with some violence as he's involved in a fire-fight and kills a man (albeit in self-defense as he was fired upon first).

The return to town with the 3 missing servants results in Bullock's good will being showered upon the town and Jobe's congregation, which are all invited to a "levee" at Bullock's farm. At this party, we see Jobe encouraging the young women of his congregation to seduce male members of the town in an effort to bring them into Jobe's congregation. Bullock also agrees to act (temporarily anyway) as Magistrate and issue some warrants for apprehension of Wayne Karp and the guard who killed Sean Watling. (The same night as the levee, upon return to town most of the town finds that they're homes have been invaded and they've been divested of some valuables. Britney, who did not attend the party, indicates that it was Wayne Karp who'd done so along with a couple of his gang-members.)

Robert and Loren, in their standings as Mayor and Constable, proceed to visit Wayne's Town to serve the warrents, arrest Wayne and the murderer, and make a search of the town for the stolen valuables. What they find at Wayne's Town is that the trailers have been remodeled, renovated, and replaced in a manner very unpredictable but very creative. It is implied that the gang-members living in this "town" are trash and worthless as humans, but that they show some creativity (also in their love of music) but that this creativity is very base and not worthy of a REAL town. Robert and Loren are brutalized by town-members for their troubles. Loren nearly dies from this brutalization, Robert is allowed to leave with minimal physical pain in order to convey Karp's feelings toward the town's authority BACK to the town.

Immediately following the failed attempt to bring Wayne and his gang-members to justice, Jobe sends some of his militarily inclined congregants to Wayne's Town and proceeds to lose his own son in the fire-fight. Karp is brought to town under arrest and placed in jail. The next morning Karp is found dead of a wound identical to the wound he inflicted on Jobe's son. These last couple of chapters, we see some evidence of paranormal activity that really doesn't fit well with the tone of the rest of the book. It is implied in THIS case that it's God's judgement of "an eye for an eye", in retribution for the killing of Brother Jobe's son.

The book ends with accounts of how things have changed, including the renewal of interest in life that Brother Jobe brought into the town along with his congregation.

So now, specifically my feelings on this book:

Women seem to have a position in town much like a favored pet. The author feels that if a woman knows her place, then she's to be loved & treated like a favored, semi-intelligent pet. That a woman's place is to take care of the home, support her husband, do the family's gardening and provide him with sex. Women are "allowed to have" productive hobbies such as Jane Anne's wine-making, and Britney's basketry, also the dentist's wife's assistance as his nurse & dental assistant. We DO see that a couple of the women (one with previous nursing assistance, one who's the town midwife) are welcomed into the Dr's office when needed in a nursing capacity. Women are NOT capable of carrying on a particularly valued place in town life, and when a woman's husband passes away, she is essentially pliable clay, able to be molded into whatever capacity would best serve her new husband's purpose in life. It irks me, even the thought that women might willingly, easily decline to such a position in society. This view of women is further encouraged in a scene in which a man (a former "gear-head") dies in the dentist's chair and it's supposed that his wife will return to her life with Wayne Karp's crowd. That it was only this man's stabilizing ability and aspirations beyond that of a "gear-head" that removed them from the primitive tribal life of Wayne's Town. That given her own ability to move, the widow would not have any direction but to move back to that level of primitiveness until taken on by another man.

I know that this is fiction, but I'd like to think that I wouldn't give into the pressure so easily to fade away to being only a help-meet to my husband. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, persay, if a woman feels that this is her calling. But I feel that my calling in life is library work. And I think that I'd have that calling whether or not my hubby is inclined to work in a library. I also think that it's ridiculous to believe that just because my hubby may end up a general laborer (and therefore, a "serf" in JHK's view of our future), that I'm restricted to the same sort of life because I'm married to him. Why would I give up my love for library work just because my hubby doesn't have aspirations that lead him to more than general laborer status?!?! Why is it impossible for a woman to be the force that draws a MAN out of primitiveness??? Why cannot the woman be a stabilizing force in the marriage??? This has actually been the assumption throught a lot of history, that without a woman's civilizing force, a man is often little better than a savage. Even at one point this is suggested by Kunstler himself when Britney moves in with Robert and cleans up his house, removing it from "resembling the home of a trapper" to actually being clean & homelike. And yet, at the same time he's asserting that a woman cannot be a civilizing force unless her husband WANTS her to be a civilizing force. Very contradictory.

My next problem with the book is based on JHK's inconsistency regarding the spiritual leanings of Jobe's crew. They're made out to be almost Shaker-ish in their religiosity, and Jobe is very much a "Fire & Brimstone" type preacher, and yet the women are encouraged to be rather promiscuous in order to bring new men into the congregation. That just doesn't "jibe". If you're going to imply that a religious sect is very upright, keep it consistent at least.

Secondly, JHK throws in some paranormal BS late in the book that has NOT been refered to in the earlier part of the book. One part in particular in which we find Robert being asked to outfit the innermost sanctum of a "hive-like" warren of rooms to be a comfortable "jewelbox" for the congregation's "queen bee", a morbidly obese woman who lounges all day surrounded by other women being fed post-collapse delicacies (cakes and such) and fanned, while undergoing violent seizures that supposedly carry meta-physical messages for Jobe. Jobe implies that prior to the collapse, many mental and paranormal abilities were hidden due to the belief that they were mental illnesses and the "sufferer" was drugged to suppress these abilities. This scene has NO grounding in any of the previous scenes, and is not refered to again later in the book. It's a stand-alone scene that seems to serve ONLY to bring in a meta-physical/paranormal touch. Did JHK think he couldn't write a decent "post-apocalyptic" book without including something like this???

The other paranormal bit that seems to come out of nowhere is the "eye for an eye" scene that I mentioned earlier in which Jobe's son is shot and killed by a bullet through the eye, delivered by Karp. The next morning Karp is found dead in his cell, locked up. The Doctor/undertaker finds that though there is no evidence of a weapon or a bullet in Karp's head, he has suffered a killing wound identical to that of Jobe's son. "God's will" and "eye for an eye" type talk is actually bantered around by Jobe when Robert talks to him after Karp is found dead.

All in all, this book has it's good points in that it does bring up some valid concerns in the light of Peak Oil. It does bring up the fact that this could leave our world pretty demoralized and that it may take some pretty strong personalities (even those without the best of intentions for society as a whole) to move us in a direction that could return some sense of civilization to our lives. The book does broach the possibility that when the time comes, we may need to just keep on slogging through the emotional hardships we could face in order to see anything done. Whether or not we believe it to be effective, to just keep moving and going on will probably be what saves our lives in the end. Without forward motion, things will probably fall into decline. "Objects in motion stay in motion" if you will. To stop moving forward, even if it's done somewhat mindlessly, is to give up. We cannot do that if we hope to live.

So, yeah..... The book has some good, very valid points to make. But it's also got some rather poorly thought-out parts, and the over-all view of women as an important part of society is rather poor. I would recommend reading it for the assertions of the way life may be post Peak Oil, but keep in mind that it's up to US to make it better than JHK views it. It's up to us WOMEN to make a point of staying a strong, valued part of society so we're not reduced to JHK's view of women (at best) or worse. It is going to be up to each of us to do our best to get through Peak Oil with any sense of ourselves as people.

*shrug* So there you have it, my take on this much talked about book. (Or, at least it appears to be much talked about by Peak Oil believers.)

Gotta get heading out for work.

Have a Blessed Day!

Friday, October 03, 2008

Some Pictures for Mom.

So, Mom emailed this morning and asked that I post a pic of the snow we received overnight. It's still actually snowing, but very lightly.

Not really sure that we got even the 3 inches that were the MINIMUM predicted snow-fall for the night and today. But today isn't over, either.

(BTW MOM, Tay thinks you're nuts for asking for pics of the snow AFTER you moved to GET AWAY from the snow. *grin* She says she LOVES YOU too!)

The first pic, up there, is the back yard currently cluttered with paraphanelia that came out of the sheds when we took down the old and put up the new.

Next is a pic of my snow-covered little veggie bed. I need to get out there (WITH shoes on next time, instead of just my slippers) and get that trowel out.

Here we've got a view at a ninety-degree turn from the veggie bed, toward the new sheds. My dead tomato plants in the pots there at the edge of the metal shed.

And lastly, the front of the house. Oh!!! That's right, this is the first pic I've taken with the new door on! So you can see the sweet little fan-window in the door!!! It's amazing how much more light comes into the living room with just that small window in the door.

Not sure if the picture enlarges enough when clicked that you can see the detail of the window, but it's a leaded-glass type window that looks very pretty. Unfortunately I also didn't get the leaves raked up from the birch there in front, and from the willow just to the left (out of sight in this pic) and piled over my strawberries as I'd hoped. Kinda wondering how effective it'd be to go out and do that today, and pile it all on top of the strawberries. I wonder if that'd protect them???


For what it's worth, I'm not telling Tay how painful her singing is. Yes, Mom, I realize that if she was growing up singing hymns in church and practicing for a church choir, she'd probably sing better than she does. That doesn't mean she's easy to listen to NOW. However, knowing that she's enjoying it, I'm not going to tell her that I find her singing painful. I just wish I knew how to coach her toward better results. *wry smile* But, she DOES enjoy the game and ultimately that's more important than ruining her self-esteeme by telling her that her singing hurts my ears.


Beyond that..... Not a heck of a whole lot going on around here these days. Homeschooling is trudging on ahead. Yesterday we had a good day without any arguing. Today has so far been ok. We just managed history in relatively little time without more than one or two minor huffs about whether or not the work would be done.


At work, things are plodding along at this point. We've had very few books coming in for shelving lately, and very little going back out. It's actually pretty painfully slow right now. The lazy putz is back from military service. However, that military service (only 3 months of training, thus far, not an actual tour yet) seemed to knock some bluster out of that boy. Thank the gods for the Marines!!!! *wink*

At the same point that he's back and behaving himself, though, Liz is really pushing the limits of EVERYBODY'S patience. Liz has made it clear to the rest of us that she feels she's "above the law", and has taken it more openly upon herself to play boss. Yesterday, my coworker CM came in and started making the usual start-of-the-day small-talk, "how're you doing, what do you think of the snow" type stuff, and was immediately "shushed" by Liz with pantomimes as to how uptight Boss Lady was feeling about small talk. Within 5 minutes though, Liz started chit-chatting and making lots of noise herself. Several of us (Myself, CM, and 2 other coworkers) have been chewed out by Boss Lady lately for being in the work room, doing non-consequential duties while we should be out shelving. And yet, several times Liz has dared to do the same but has not been called to carpet about it by Boss Lady, though it'd be impossible for Boss Lady to NOT see that Liz is as guilty (if not more!) of this kind of thing than the rest of us. As CM and I have started to mutter under our breath (a kinda mantra almost, lately) "The hypocrisy is amazing!" around that place. Liz has also managed to get on the nerves of the 2 new ladies that work with us, regarding her over-bearing, patronizing "Only _I_ know the right way!" attitude and manner toward the rest of us. And yet when anybody says anything to Liz about it, she starts spouting off how unprofessional our appearance, or manner, or work habits are, and she's only trying to model professional behavior. *shaking head* There are more than a few of us who are about ready to REALLY show her "unprofessional". Oh, then CM found Liz out "shifting" books the other day, in an area of the library that CM had herself been shelf-reading not a half-hour before. CM has a tendency to leave all the books very tidily faced out as she shelf-reads her sections, and Liz had totally shoved the books, handful by handful, back on the shelves without ANY attempt to face them out. *grin* I think Liz came VERY close at that point to seeing exactly how unprofessional a coworker could be.

Another of our coworkers, Helen, is also grating on everybody's last nerve. Helen seems to be purposefully refusing to do much of ANYTHING, and gets out in the stacks and comes along behind the rest of us and in the guise of shelving, totally un-does hours of hard work that we've done with shelf-straightening and shelf-reading. Or she'll take a cart, half-full of cd's or DVDs and will take 2 hours out in the stacks to put a hand-full of them away and completely disorganizing things while she goes. Helen was demoted a few years ago because she refused to learn the computer systems in the Tech area where she was a Lib. assistant previously. She was demoted to page, because she's union and cannot be fired except for out & out mis-behavior on the job. She's systematically gotten all of her duties take away, EXCEPT shelving books, because she refuses to even TRY to do them right. Talk about passive agressive. She's about 63 years old, and thus NOT QUITE to retirement age, but she does about 1/4 of what Keiko (our Senior Page) does at almost 80 years of age. (And, Keiko is taking a LOT of breaks these days, and is only pulling desk shift and back-up shift through strength of will. Her eyesight is pretty well completely gone, and her speed is down to a snail's pace, but at least she TRIES!) The lot of us have taken to hoping quite openly that Helen will just go ahead and retire already. She's filling a position without actually doing much at all in the way of work. That's a 30 hour position that COULD be filled by somebody who'd actually be willing to pull their own weight.

All in all, CM, myself, CF, and EC are all doing our best to stay out of Boss Lady's way, and out of the work-room where we might be noticed to be not doing much ourselves. Not because we don't want to, but because there isn't much TO do. A lot of shelf-reading (real, and supposed) is going on, instead. Now if only Helen and Liz would stop tearing apart our shelves in their "shifting projects" and "shelving", the rest of us could have that library looking pretty damned spiffy in a very short amount of time. As it is, though..... It's been very frustrating at work the past couple of weeks.


I think that pretty well covers it. I need to get back to work with Tay. She's finished with history now, so we need to get on to her Science, then Reading and Composition before she's done for the day. (Scott still needs to go over her math assignment from yesterday before she does today's work.)

Have a Blessed Day!

EDITED TO ADD: *grin* Meadowlark, you had me chuckling!!!! No, "LazyBoy" isn't related, he's one of the "casuals" at work. (Meaning his work week consists of 14 or fewer hours per week.) He started last Feb. and by the time his Marine Reserve unit got called up for training prior to assignment, he was already pissing off EVERYBODY in the building. He had a nasty know-it-all attitude and very lazy work habits. He was your quintisential 25 year old male-who's-never-had-to-work-for-a-living punk. Unfortunately, just about the time Boss Lady was herself getting piqued enough by his manners to fire his @$$, he was "called up" with the rest of his Reserve unit. Of course, once that happened any hope of firing him was out the window. (None of us would be hoping for his firing for military service, I just want to make that clear. Firing him for that would not even cross our minds. It was his incredibly bad attitude and very lazy work habits that we were all wanting to see him fired for.) Well, he's BACK from whatever Basic type training he went to for 3 months in California. So far it appears that the Marines knocked some of the bluster out of him.

(I've got a friend from HS who's a recruiter down at that particular fort or whatever now, and I half want to ask L. if he recalls seeing or hearing about "Lazy Boy" this summer. L. spent 2 tours in Iraq and 1 in Afghanistan and is "home" now and dealing with some brain problems. IE: last I heard, L's Dr's were concerned it might be cancer.)

Anyway, thanks for the chuckles. I'm going to have to pass this "info" onto CM, CF, EC, and Keiko. Except for CF, the rest of us are Mom's and find ourselves quite frequently adopting a "Drill Sergent" demenor with some of the unruly children that come through our building. (CF may not be a Mom, but she's got a commanding way about her anyway.)


Wednesday, October 01, 2008


So, I took today off work to get an command-start put on my car. I know, from a Peak Oil stand-point it doesn't make much sense. From an eco-standpoint it doesn't make much sense. But, in the middle of January, when the temp is -40 deg. and it's 9:20 pm on a Monday night and I'm heading out to my car after a long day at work, the LAST thing I want to be doing is sitting in my freezing car for 15 or so minutes, waiting for the danged thing to warm up enough that I can turn the steering wheel, or move my fingers. I know that the eco-friendly word is that even at 10 degrees (which is COLD to most other places in this country), a car does not need to be warmed up by idling. Here in Alaska, a good mechanic will tell you otherwise. When the temperatures are sitting cold enough to freeze the breath coming out one's mouth, a vehical that's been sitting outside for hours REALLY does actually need to be warmed up a bit before driving. Anyway, this will allow me to push that button at 9 pm and be able to climb into a warmed-up car at 9:20, without having to stop my work for 10 minutes to bundle up, run outside across the parking lot, and start up my car before returning to our closing procedures. (That's assuming I'm not on the desk and completely unable to leave for that 10 minutes.)

Anyway, so my car's in the shop today, which means I had no way to get to work. Tay and I have spent all day on her school work. It's taking considerably longer than it was supposed to, to get her through each subject. *sigh* I don't know how we're going to keep up, except that I've already told her and Scott that we WILL be schooling on Saturday, at least part of the day. Possibly (quite likely) we'll be doing schooling on Sundays as well.

So, we're done now for the day (except her Math test, which Scott needs to administer this evening when we get back from picking my car up), and Tay is enjoying one of her birthday presents.

Yeah, my kiddo turned 11 yesterday. (Sept. 30th, that is.) Mom bought Tay the American Idol game for the Wii. To sum it up...... My child appears to be rather tone-deaf. She can't carry a tune. Maybe it's just the fact that she's not been trained, but...... *cringe* THANK YOU, MOM!!!!! May I wish that you get to listen to other kareoke lovers??? *grin* I will admit that my singing skills are rather lacking, these days. But I've not really got a BAD voice, just one that's currently rather out of practice. Given some training and practice, I've got a passibly good voice. My hubby doesn't sing because he's rather embarassed by his singing. And I'm afraid the kiddo well-resembles him, yet again. *wry smile*

I'm tempted to take the dogs for a walk, just to get out of the house while the howling is going on. I know, that's mean right?!?! But, you would be too if you could just hear this. (Not to mention, I cannot help but make snarky comments at the computer-generated judges with their saccarine comments over the poor singing. Please, even the origional AI is more realistic than this game.) Ah well.... Mom, she IS enjoying the game, even if I'm not. Though she's also gotten me to sing on it a couple of times. (Which, I have YET to play Guitar Hero, even though we've had that since February.)


So, did I mention that it snowed this past weekend??? Saturday night, it was coming down in short, thick bursts. Woke up Sunday morning to a dusting of the stuff on the deck and ground around the house. But, as soon as the sun rose, the snow melted off.

Well, yesterday afternoon it started snowing again. Thick, heavy, constant. This afternoon, most of it is still on the ground. This may be "it". And yes, once again I was accurate in that I predicted snow prior to Tay's birthday. Most years, lately, it's happened only JUST before her birthday, by a day. This year, it happened 3 days before her birthday, with a "sticking" snow ON her birthday.


Also, not only did we get command start put on my car, but we also bought me a new oven, and a new clothes washer. The oven was knowingly needed. The washer was an unexpected buy, as my "old" washer crapped out on us. It was leaking from the turn-stile thingy in the middle. Scott called the only washer & drier repair co. in town, and after they asked what make it was, they suggested it'd be cheaper in the long run if we just bought a new one. *sigh* So much for not creating more waste. Anyway.... we did NOT get a super-efficient front-loader. We couldn't afford it while we also needed (and yes, DID need!) a new oven. The old oven and stove no longer heat properly. It's terribly un-even in the cooking, takes 10 minutes just to boil a small pot of water on the stove. Most everything I bake in the oven comes out either undercooked at the time and temperature recommended in the recipe, or nearly burnt. Yeah, it was time. Anyway, that's on order because they were out of the model that Scott wanted for me. (It's got a timer on it so I can set something in the oven, turn on the timer, and at the given time it will turn on and start cooking whatever it is inside. This way I can set a casserole or such to bake knowing that it'll be done at a REASONABLE time for us for dinner. Instead of getting home and STILL needing to put a casserole in the oven that takes an hour to cook.)

Anyway.... That fuel/energy allowance that Sarah Palin gifted us all with has actually been put to good use, in our family. We ALSO got our fuel tank filled (500 gal) for about $1650; got new canvas sheds for the cars (these are supposed to be sturdier and less likely to blow away than the sheds we "inherited" from Al last year); spent over $500 on Tay for hockey gear and some new shoes & clothes and such; and got her an Ipod for her birthday. (Mom, that money you sent, and the $25 that Dad sent, combined with a bit extra from us to buy an "I-home" for Tay to replace her old ScoobyDoo alarm clock and allow her to use her Ipod as her sterio now as well.)

Ok. I better finish this up. Scott should be here any minute to pick me up to head BACK to town to get my car from the shop.

Have a Blessed Day!