Friday, December 28, 2007


Today Trevor asked me if I had more time this year than last. I responded that I had the exact same amount of time as I had the previous year. He then amended his question to be "free" time.

Then I had to prune that down to find out whether he meant time when I was was not being paid (at work), cleaning or cooking, volunteering, attending club meetings?

He wanted to know how much time I had to do absolutely whatever I wanted. And whether I had more of that time this year than last.

What he's looking for is some kind of assurance that once he completes his education, he'll have plenty of time to pursue his interests. But he also knows he will be working full-time once he's out of school (or should be!!!). He knows he'll have to pay for his education, for instance.

I actually have a good amount of time for myself, I think. I consider my TOPS club time for me, for example. I have time to play WoW while I ride my bike. I have time to blog, and read other blogs.

I don't have big chunks of time to just lay around, typically. I have a family & home & career, and that lifestyle doesn't lend itself well to laying around.

Today - however - I spent most of the day reading a book. I don't get to do that very often. So there. I did manage to go to three different stores & exchange Christmas stuff that wasn't right, and do the shopping - but other than that - I enjoyed my heated blanket and learned about Jack the Ripper (Diana had an English paper and that was one of her source books).

I don't even have dishes tonight, and Diana is making leek soup for dinner - whee!
I think I have at least the same amount of free time as I had last year. I think...

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Family Christmas

We all met at Myrna's this year. Instead of the regular gift exchange, we did Bunco this time. Everyone brought a Bunco prize, and the winners picked first, and those of us who didn't win so big, picked toward the end. It was a lot of fun & everyone got something ;)

Jeff & Amber with Pop & Mom.

Diana, Jon, Myrna, Karen & Lee.

Connor had a great time running around with cousin Rita & her little brother James. Connor really liked the nerf gun stuff, which is why he got one for Christmas at home a couple of days later!

And Crystal was home from Rome - she got to pick the food for dinner since she came from furthest away.

We had Mexican food :)

More Christmas Eve

Connor really likes Star Wars. He specifically requested "Attack of the Clones" and "Revenge of the Sith." He was literally close to tears when he saw that he'd gotten them.

I had tried to find Episodes 1,2,3 in a boxed set, but no one (including Amazon) had it. I had sent Lee out to get the "first three" and he came home with the Original three. Dang you George Lucas!

I found Revenge of the Sith - one copy left - at our regular store. I had to hunt all around town to find Attack of the Clones. I finally found it on Christmas Eve at the used movie & video games store. Whew! But it was worth all the running around. Connor was SO happy.
Diana is wearing the little fox hat she got from Trevor. She's been making her own fleece hats, and not only is this one pretty close, but now she can figure out a pattern for round ears to make more if she wants :)

They are spendy because they are sold in Comic Shops & Hot Topic-type stores. She sells hers for $15-20, which is a good $5-10 less than the "professional" hats.

Diana is working very hard on her long-term art project. She's making a flash animation for a song. It's gonna be really cute & either Lee or I will post it so everyone can see.

I have to return the cream colored blouse there, it's a little too snug. I also have to return a hat I got for Lee. And I need to exchange the hoodie I got him. I'll post that after we get the right size. He really liked it, but the arms were too short...

Here I am with my College boy. He mostly got stuff that will be cool for his dorm room, books, etc. He registered for his next term yesterday, and he's going to be working on his scholarship applications this week & next as well. He goes back to OIT on the 4th or 5th, depending on how long Daniel stays, I think.

I like to hang our Christmas cards up when we get them. The photo cards are on a different wall (by the front door), so these are all the regular cards. I love hearing from people & getting the letters & all. Whee!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas 2007

From our home to yours:



Lee & Tina, Trevor, Diana & Connor

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Travel Bug in Switzerland!

Earlier in the year, we helped a Brownie Girl Scout Travel Bug (trackable geocaching item) get from Oregon over the ocean to England. She's trying to make her way from the East Coast of the USA to Switzerland before the troop that created her gets there in 2008.

I think she's gonna make it! I got a notification via email today that she was placed in a geocache in Switzerland now, so it's not too far for her to get to the GS World Center in Adelboden! Our Chalet

Anyway - I'm excited she's getting so close now. She was stuck in Germany a good 4 months. :)

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Monday, December 17, 2007

40 Guests! Whee!

That was a fun Open House. We blocked our street with all the cars & people had to slow down to drive between them. Hee.

I think everyone who came had a good time visiting. I am pretty sure either Lee or I spoke to everyone that came for at least as long as the dip didn't need refilling (and it's a good thing Lee made a double batch of the spinach dip cause it was awesome!).

A big highlight was Mel & Libby (almost 2 years old now!) running all around. We introduced them to potato chips (sorry!!) and they would find any soft touch to get another one. Very cute.

Connor shut the door to his room about 2 hours into the guests being there. That was enough of that. He would come out to visit here & there and grab another rice krispie treat (which is why I make those at all).

Diana had a gaggle of girls in her room all day. Trevor & Christy got to play some WoW once the crowd died down a bit.

Lots of family, friends & neighbors. Good stuff.

And the house is clean! Whee!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Clean the House!

Tomorrow is our Holiday Open House (if you're anywhere near us & can get here, you're invited!!)

We do this every year because #1. We get to relax & visit with family & friends at our own house, and #2. It forces me to get my butt in gear & get the house all decked out for Christmas (before Christmas Eve).

So the Saturday before, we do a lot of cleaning & stuff to get ready. In the afternoon, we do the food prep & baking. It's a busy day, but we blast the Christmas Carols & have fun with it.

Yesterday Lee took Connor shopping with him. I asked if we had enough 409 or Fantastik to get the cleaning done, and Diana said "Fantastik? What's that?"

I just never realized I've been so faithful to 409 that my kids didn't know the names of other cleaners! We're all out of Simple Green too.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

For Kaleigh

Kaleigh just celebrated a birthday. I thought it would be fun to dedicate a post to her.

Here's something fun....

This is your mom with long hair.

She's a little younger than Diana right now in this photo.

:) Tante Tina

Friday, December 07, 2007

the Girls (together again!)

Note how I can't get one serious photo from these people...

So we had a "meeting" yesterday which meant when Lee & I got back home from our club thing, the girls were all at the house and ready to go - they had very considerately left me my usual parking spot (since everyone but Diana drives now).

We piled into the van to go to Taco Bell, because that's what they wanted to do. We heard non-classified stories from Renee and how she's government property so we're not allowed to make marks on her.

Interestingly, Taco Bell wasn't as crowded as we thought it would be. Probably due to the fact that they had run out of Chicken, Steak, Nacho Cheese sauce and sour cream. Diana asks the guy behind the counter, "How do you run out of sour cream?!?" He said, "Well, you pump the thing, and no more sour cream comes out!"

We managed to get food anyway and Renee gave hugs to the guys behind the counter because she knows everyone. After we ate, we had to go to the grocery store to get Umpqua Ice Cream, because poor Renee hadn't had decent ice cream since she left. Altho the girls insisted the ice cream counter at the store was open until 9:00 (it wasn't), at least the 1/2 gallons were on sale, so we got two & took them home. Renee got to pick.

We got back home and did a lot of ice cream-eating & laughing. Then everyone went home!


My niece had a birthday today. For fun, I had Connor help me make a Monk-email. Monk-e-mail from

If you haven't done it before, it's a lot of fun with the typing choice. Get your email addys together & go for it! Kids think it's especially fun.

If the monkeys don't say the words you want quite right, try using more phonetic spellings. And don't forget to copy your work before you leave the composing page - the box will be blank when you go back to fix the mispronounced words so you need to paste your former text back in there to fix it.


Thursday, December 06, 2007

St. Nicklaus

This year St. Nicklaus came & brought Diana & Connor some little gifts & goodies.

Diana liked the pens & fuzzy socks, and Connor got some magnets that "whizz" together and a ToothTunes toothbrush that plays the Star Wars theme ;)

The thing is, Connor learns a lot by visual input. Everything you see about Christmas in the USA involves Santa pretty much.

The German tradition celebrates the feast day of Saint Nicklaus (aka Santa Claus) on Dec 6th. That's why you put out your boot or stocking on December 5th.

On Christmas Eve, it's the Christ Child that brings the gifts & goodies - not Santa.

This is a little confusing to a kid with autism, so Connor created his own answer to the Santa issue.

It must have been Santa's elves that brought last night's stuff, since Santa won't be flying around until Christmas Eve.

All morning he was saying, "The elves came in Connor's house! Good elves! Elves in Connor's house in the night!"

Works for me!

Navy Nae

Wow! Doesn't she look great?!

Diana & I got to go welcome Renee when she arrived home on her first leave since joining the Navy in the summer.
Everyone was so excited to see her. All the adults were teary with pride.
She gamely put up with us all taking photos when what she really wanted to do was get out of uniform & relax after the long flight & drive home.
We're looking forward to visiting with her today when she comes to a GS meeting :)
Welcome Home Renee!!!

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Happy First Advent ;)

Yesterday we got the tree in the house & trimmed off all the extra branches. I had gone to various stores around town yesterday and couldn't find a big enough frame for the wreath I wanted to make. Finally at Michael's Village Crafts, my friend Sue who was shopping with me, suggested using a grapevine wreath - they had nice big ones, but I knew the 40% off coupon would come out in the paper today, so I waited to get it today. There were some little decorative sprays out in front, and I got some ribbon too, but I didn't use that this time.

I took a few photos once it was hanging outside, but you couldn't tell how big it was, so I had Diana take a shot with me too. I think it came out pretty nice :)

My friend, Kathe, gave me the nice poinsettias last Friday. I hope I have a good spot for them. Last year the one I had in the kitchen didn't survive. I think it was too cold. These are in the living room where the heater is, and hopefully they'll manage better.

Tonight we'll light the first candle of Advent.
I'm just going to stuff the remaining fir branches in my planters out front. They won't be growing much until Spring anyway.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Things to do

This weekend, I'll be getting the tree up & starting on decorating the house. Since we got such a large tree, I think I'll make a big, ol' wreath for the front of the house (I have one from Carolyn for the front door). This big one will have lights in it & stuff. If there are still enough boughs left, I'll make a swag too. Really, it's not that hard. If you wear gardening gloves while you work, you don't even get too sticky with sap.

Sunday is already First Advent, and I'd like to have the other Advent calendars & stuff up around the house too. The kids will do the chocolate ones, but I also have a wall hanging. I tend to buy my advent wreath candles after the season, so I usually have a decent set to use the next year ;)

If you've never made a wreath & want to give it a try, here's a nice little site to help: How to make an evergreen wreath
They have links for swags & stuff there too.

If I can manage it, I might get some baking in too... I want to do our Open House on the 16th, so I need to start scheduling my time to get everything ready for that. The cleaning is what takes the most time. Trevor might be able to help since he comes home on the 8th! Yay!

Here's a stupid song stuck in my head now:

Happy Holidays,
Happy Holidays.
While the merry bells keep ringing, may your every wish come true...
Happy Holidays,
Happy Holidays.
May the calendar keep bringing Happy Holidays to you.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Carolyn thought I should have put "Wheeeee!" in here.
It was more like "Get out of the way, Mom!"

Tree Hunt 2007

The other Thanksgiving tradition for us is the Tree Hunt on the Saturday following Thanksgiving - no matter what the weather is like, we all get our $5 permits to cut any tree we want. We were lucky this year again with the sunshine & enough snow to play in, but not so much as to make the driving too scary.
It's usually scary enough anyway, but we're in a caravan of 5+ cars, and someone will pull you out if you get stuck. This year, I'm wearing temporary crowns until my regular ones are done, so I can't bite down hard. I asked Lee to please drive extra slow and not play around with skidding & stuff so I wouldn't clench my teeth. Every time the truck seemed to slide a little, Diana (who also doesn't care for sliding cars) would say, "Dad! Mom's teeth!!"
This year we brought along Trevor's friend, Christy (in the fushia). I think she had a good time. Connor loved the snow, eating it, playing in it, laying in it, and the fire. What could be better?

We had chili, veggie hot dogs, cupcakes, chips, hot chocolate, and just a ton of other food. Some years the guys actually struggle with chains & pushing cars out of ice or whatnot, but it was pretty smooth this year & they didn't have to do that. The only work you had was finding, cutting & dragging your tree back to your car :)

We got a massive tree - the lower branches will be used for making a wreath & garland - any extras I'll just put in my flowerboxes out front. We also got a tree for some friends here in town that couldn't join us this year - maybe next year!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Thanksgiving 2007

Whew! This was a busy one for us!

Lee is still working pretty hard on setting up new workstations at work and he was leaving at 5:00 am and getting home at 11:00 pm -- long days! I had Tuesday & Wednesday off, so I spent Tuesday doing house stuff, and Wednesday doing shopping and cooking stuff. Since Lee couldn't help, it was up to me to do "our" share of the potluck stuff.

I made a double recipe of the green bean casserole (which I continue to love - yum!) as well as a double recipe of the Stuffing Balls (Stuffing Dumplings? -- anything but Turkey Balls). If you haven't had them before, they are a nice change from the typical stuffing/dressing at Thanksgiving. Our family kind of uses them as the center of the meal, since we're not eating the turkey because it goes great with the Mushroom Gravy (which I also made) and the mashed potatoes, etc.

Diana wasn't feeling all that great, so I put on some CD's and just got busy. The Stuffing Balls actually take a bit of doing, since there's a lot of chopping, measuring, cooking and such involved. I told Lee's nephew Jeff that he and his girlfriend, Amber, should just come from Eugene to our house next year to spend the night before Thanksgiving. Then Amber can help me, and Jeff & Lee can hang out and laugh a lot - because that's what they usually do anyway.

So after 3 Madonna CD's and the Greatest Hits of Barry Manilow, I was all done and I packed everything up to take in the morning.

We left the house on Thanksgiving morning around 9:00 to head down to Mom & Pop's place. We wanted a chance to visit with them before the bigger gathering, and we needed to use the oven! Trevor was going to be coming in at 1:00 downtown, and if there had been any problem with him getting on the shuttle from K. Falls, we would have been close enough to be able to drive out & get him if necessary - however, we didn't need the Plan B, since he was ready & waiting at the bus depot when we got there at 12:50. He'd actually arrived already at 12:30 (note for next time...).

He looked a little shaggy, but still healthy and happy. Turned out the regular busses in K. Falls don't run on Thanksgiving, so he'd walked 4 miles with his luggage to the bus depot! Once he got there, he recognized another student from OIT. That kid had taken a taxi - maybe next time he & Trevor can split the $10 fare :)

In any case, we got Trevor, went back to the folks' to get Diana & Connor and the hot-out-of-the-oven Stuffing Balls and green bean casserole (I would nuke the gravy at Donna's), and off we went to Donna's house.

We had a good crowd once again - 30ish people, I think. Lots of food of course - besides what I'd brought there were chips & dips & veggies to munch beforehand, and the traditional fare with the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, regular stuffing, turkey gravy and a big salad bar-style set up, and rolls & butter.

Everyone ate their fill! Dessert was mostly pies - apple, pumpkin, pecan & Myrna made a bourbon pecan pie with chocolate that was a nice addition - make that again next year, Myrna!

Connor had eaten all of Grandpa's muffins and jello before we made it to Donna's, so he only had bread & butter & then ice cream for dessert. He led the family grace, however, which was very nice that everyone let him do that - he gets such a big kick out of people following him, vs. the other way around :) Thanks everyone.

I didn't get any photos, even though I had my camera. We also forgot Diana's nut order form, so we couldn't deliver the nuts we had, since we didn't know who got what (duh). So I ordered some nice smelly candles from Daniel for his school :)

Then I drove home while everyone else in the car snoozed (typical).

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Macy's Celebration of Caring

Every year, I go to this event at our little Macy's. I say "little" because it must be one of the smallest Macy's stores in existence. We are a small town, although we serve one of the largest counties in Oregon. Pretty much anyone that decides to open a chain store or restaurant here figures out maybe they should have made it a little bigger... Case in point, we still have a K-Mart!

This event takes place the Monday before Thanksgiving. It's put on by the United Way, which I typically don't support because I don't like what happened with them in California when I worked with disabled people who relied on United Way support. If you don't recall, it had to do with the administration of the non-profit organization squirreling away a LOT of money for themselves.

At this event, however, you are able to designate the funds from your tickets to go to your favorite organization and it stays right here in our area. So the three tickets I bought each sent $15 directly to Girl Scouts. A percentage of the shopping proceeds go to the United Way as well - I don't typically do that much shopping, but I always do a little. They offer their "day after Thanksgiving" prices at the event - I can't figure out how they priced anything, but it was always lower than I expected (Diana's $48 jeans were $19.98 after sale & discounts).

Then there are all the local wineries and restaurants and caterers all along the aisles, and you eat while you shop. There are also free chair massages and then a big drawing at the end of the night. I've never had my name drawn, but after 6 years of doing this, I should be up pretty soon, right? Right? They have a lot of nice Macy's items (luggage, pots & pans, perfumes, hotel robes - most things at least $100 in value) and then at the end they draw for a $250 and a $500 shopping spree. It's just a fun night. Not Lee's deal, so I usually hook up with a friend. The last couple of times it's been my friend, Kathe. She had a lot of nice suggestions for Diana's stuff :)

Diana, by the way, has decided to be more of a young lady. She got her hair cut last weekend, and she's wanting to wear more fashionable clothes than the t-shirts & boy's cargo pants she's been wearing. She's never been the frilly lacey kind of girl, and this is a nice change. I will post a photo of her new 'do soon. Very cute!

My Folks got me the coolest toys!

So cool, in fact, that there are nostalgic sites dedicated to how great they were!

I posted a comment on Robert's blog, and then decided to see if I could find a photo of the toy I mentioned in the comment.

So here's this whole thing dedicated to one of my favorite toys. Hee! Mattel in the good ol' days. Baby Go Bye Bye (Currently $50 on eBay!)

This is my other favorite doll: Swingy
I woke up the morning of my 8th (I think) birthday with this doll on my nightstand, with a little banner between her hands that said "Happy Birthday Tina!"

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Connor & Christmas

Yesterday, I got a call from Connor's teacher. He was very upset when it was time to go home, because he thought school was over. He was hugging his teacher and didn't want to get on the bus. I think he got mixed up with the Thanksgiving Break idea. I reassured him once I got him off the bus the break was only for a week, and then he would go to school again.

Once we got home, I took him to the family calendar, showed him today's date, when Thanksgiving is, and all the way through Christmas. At that point, he focused on what he is hoping he gets for Christmas. He wants Star Wars, episodes 1-3. We have 4-6 and he has watched them repeatedly, but he really wants Anakin Skywalker -- especially The Revenge of the Sith.

This is mostly due to Lego Star Wars for the X-box. Connor rocks at that game. Because of playing that, he's interested in the story behind the characters he runs around. And our family has all been assigned characters too. Connor is Anakin. The rest of us are bad guys - ? I'm Darth Sidious. Don't ask why - I have no clue.

A few things that bug me about this picture: First, it looks like Luke has droids for children, and second, shouldn't they be alongside Luke, since Anakin made C-3PO? And R2D2 was there before Luke too...

Luke shouldn't have Owen & Beru under him, and they're listed as "Adoptive Parents," but Luke called them "aunt" and "uncle." And which one was related to Anakin... Beru or Owen? If it's Owen, why isn't the last name Skywalker? Why am I thinking Anakin had a brother?

Okay - went to Wikipedia & got that resolved - no wonder I was confused :) Lars, Owen on Wikipedia

Whatever - Connor will be getting the Trilogy for Christmas. And maybe a Ben Ten watch...

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Trevor's Christmas list

I was on IM with Trevor the other day, and I asked him to think about what would be good for Christmas ideas for us (within reason).

His first ideas were a car, and an x-box 360 (I told him I didn't even BUY a lottery ticket...).

Then last night, he says he wants a motorcycle helmet. A black one. With the full visor.

You'd probably think, hmmm. He must be thinking about getting a motorcycle. No. He doesn't want a moped or anything like that either.

It looks like a space helmet. That's why he wants it.

I think he'll be getting socks & underwear.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veteran's Day / Remembrance Day

I missed the parade again this year. Diana also missed it this time (first time in about 11 years!) because she had to babysit Connor for me while I was having my crowns done (ugh). Believe me, I would have preferred the parade, even in the rain!

It's also Remembrance Day in Canada today, and since I'm Canadian, I thought I should include that in my post.

I would like to thank everyone who has served their country. I appreciate your sacrifices for my freedom. Thank you.

Thanks especially Pop, Kraig, Jim & Renee. :)

I spent a lot of the day in Warsong Gulch in World of Warcraft, trying to ignore the feeling coming back into my mouth. I can open my mouth maybe 1/2 an inch right now. Soup for dinner :/

Friday, November 09, 2007


This year, I'm responsible for making/getting my own Christmas cookies. In years past, my dad has either brought or shipped a large container of the homemade cookies he made out of his mom's handwritten cookbook. My dad isn't in a place to do that sort of thing this year. He typically would start baking in October, because german Lebkuchen has to actually "ripen" in an airtight container for at least a couple of weeks. It's better if you wait a couple of months. I know it sounds odd, but that's how you do it.

I went online and ordered my Lebkuchen the other day. I did NOT get this:

It's on sale, but I'm afraid $99.00 for cookies is a bit spendy!
I ordered my favorite Lebkuchen though, along with some german chocolates & other treats. I just don't do a good job on Lebkuchen - mine are always undercooked or overcooked, and they never go from the rock-hard right after they're baked to the soft-chewy after they've been in their tins.
I will be making meringue cookies, however. Those go pretty fast. The main ingredients are nuts (almonds, hazelnuts) and meringue! They crush really easy, so I'll wait until a little before Christmas to make those.
I will be making my Stollen (German Christmas bread) pretty soon, because I need to send some to Carolyn. Connie & my folks can get it up in Canada, if my mom doesn't decide to make her own anyway.
Before any of that though, pumpkin pie!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


Liberty decided to scrounge through our trash over the last couple of days. She made a huge mess.

Part of that is because I think the bags we're using are too thin (although they are "Hefty") and she can smell through them. The other part is because no one is doing a paper route anymore, so she's not getting a walk 6 days a week as she did before.

In order to remedy that, I'm going to try to take her on a little 20-minute walk in the mornings now, so she gets a little attention and doesn't feel the need to rummage through the trash as much.

While I'm picking up the trash all over the yard, I'm thinking about (for who knows what reason) our friend Tim noting that he feels he doesn't pay enough taxes. Maybe because our property tax is due shortly, and it kind of squeezes us in November. Tim happens to be in a tax bracket that's up there, and he doesn't think the 'rich' are sharing as much as they should.

My next thought was if I had the money to share more, would I want it taxed for the government to sort out, or would I want to 'share' it my way? I'd probably want to see a more direct result of my money being put to use, so I doubt I'd opt for higher taxes.

That lead me to dang, if we won the lottery and actually had a huge amount of money, besides paying off anything we owed, covering tuition for colleges, etc., what else would I want to do? Our standard of living would go up, but really, that's not a whole lot. Landscaping the backyard (as I'm picking up old coffee filters & grounds), putting in central heating, new roof & stuff - that's all kind of short-term, and not all that spendy, compared to just buying a house on the river, I suppose. I like my house though - I don't want to move.

I think I'd like to see something better happen for families in our area for their kids. There are plenty of kids around here who get their nutrition at school breakfast & lunch in the free program. They may or may not get dinner at home. They may or may not have anyone to help them do homework at home. They may or may not have an actual location to call home. These are the same kids that will (mostly) wind up doing drugs, dropping out, and spending time in jail.

Lee's thought was to build Elementary School dormitories for these kids. There would be a safe place (away from drugs & crime) with responsible, educated adults on site to help with homework and life skills. Parents would be encouraged to visit, and then be able to take the kids on weekends. For parents without jobs, and living in motels or campgrounds, this would be a very welcome option. For parents more interested in making meth, this would be a great option. For parents in jail - obviously. Those are all situations happening in schools. It's not the majority, of course, but enough that the free lunch program exists and we have schools in our district that 70% of the kids qualify.

The obvious benefit for the kids besides safety & health would be the comfort of a home with people that care who are invested in the kids. If their own parents are not able to be "good parents" this would be an alternative.

A recent study at the University of Michigan cited: After examining a range of other factors that could affect both educational success and substance use, the researchers report: "Among the most important are parents' level of education, parents' involvement in homework, and the presence of two parents in the home. These factors all influence how well a student does in school, and they also influence -- both directly and indirectly -- whether a student uses drugs."

How would you ever get something like this done via the government? It would never happen. But privately funded? As long as you've got your liability insurance - you're good.

Too bad I'm not personally in a position to get anything like this going. But it would be cool, huh?

And if the dog messes with the trash again, she's just gonna have to hang out in her kennel. Who knows what other things I'd contemplate if I have to pick up the whole dang yard in the cold again?

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Neewalloh Parade

This has been going on for the last 35-40 years in town. Rain or Shine. It wasn't raining tonight, so there were lots of folks.

We started gathering at 5:00, and the parade started at 5:30. Once you parade thru the town, you turn around at the end and start collecting your treats from the shop owners. So it's similar to trick or treat in a mall, only you're still outside.

Connor was a cowboy, as you can see. He wore Trevor's hat, but the rest of the stuff is his. He really enjoyed going along in the parade, and then once we got back to the beginning, he was pretty much done. We did stop at a very decorated house on the way home, which was fun & spooky, but once we were home, he really was finished.

This guy's costume was pretty cool. He freaked out some of the little kids at first, but then they got used to him and he was moving very slowly so he wasn't too scary after a bit.

He came over to me from behind and put his "hands" on my shoulders. Connor backed up but still held my hand. I laughed and he could see I wasn't scared. Then I said "bye" to the guy & he moved on :)
The spot on the chest is where the guy could see thru, and he operated the head & arms separate somehow. Big ol' cape and he wore dark pants underneath. This would be a good costume for a haunted house :)

Diana had a good run with the Haunted House. She got to be done at 10:00, which was good, since it could have gone to midnight, and she has school tomorrow!

Happy Halloween

We are changing Connor's costume. He was going to be Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes), but the tiger fabric I ordered from ebay hasn't arrived yet, and the mail drops off about an hour before he's going trick-or-treating. So, Diana's Hobbes costume has no chance this year (maybe next year?).

Connor will be a cowboy instead. Diana could have been a cow again... but she's going to be getting ready to do her Haunted House stuff instead. This works out better for her, because it gives her more time to eat dinner, get ready & do any homework before she goes from 7:00 to midnight tonight.

I'll take Connor through the Neewalloh Parade, and then we'll come home & he can play Lego Star Wars & help me pass out the 1-10 pieces of candy (no one likes walking up our hill). Then I can go back into Warsong Gulch or Arathi Basin while I twink up Suella (altho, if she's earning all the twink gear - it's not really twinking, is it?).

They don't do Halloween at school anymore (there's a Harvest Party), but Connor's school is doing a "Don't do drugs" campaign this week, and as part of the awareness, the kids are supposed to wear/do different things. Yesterday was wacky socks (Sock it to Drugs!), and today is Crazy Hair (It's Crazy to do Drugs!). So I've got his hair all spikey with gel & hair spray (we'll see how long it lasts...).

I'll have photos tomorrow of Halloween.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Connor's take on things

He processes sounds differently, I think.

Yesterday, he went around with his ears covered because of the startle with the train whistle.

Today, we were in the kitchen and the radio is on. Lee & Connor had just gotten back from grocery shopping. Diana had brought home some cupcakes from the Haunted House goodie booth (they didn't sell and the next time they run is Halloween - too long to hang on to a bunch of baked goods).

When Diana gave Connor the cupcakes, he said it was time for a party, since the cupcakes were all decorated for Halloween. So Diana had to sit and have a "party" with Connor. When the cupcakes were eaten, Connor said, "It's time to dance!" and starts jumping around and laughing. Diana had to join in (because it's a party), but when I tried to dance with them, Connor held up his hand and said, "No dance, Mama." (okay...I didn't get a cupcake either)

Then Connor exclaimed, "I love this song!" He was going through some kind of little spiel from something or other - the cupcakes, party, dancing - and apparently someone says that in the spiel.

One clue was that there was a commercial on the radio - no song.

Yeah - we were laughing.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

The other pumpkin patch

Living in a rural area like we do, there are plenty of places to get fresh produce outside the grocery store.
One of our local farms has a pretty big stand (they also have a bakery with fresh pie, etc), and this time of year, they go ahead and do a corn maze and take people out to pick pumpkins in the field on the "hay ride." Kindergartners from all the schools in the area do this as a field trip with their classes.
It's not anything scary, just fun. Usually it's really muddy, but this year it was nice & dry. If you get a pumpkin from the patch, it's $4.00 for the ride, corn maze & all. But if you don't, it's free. So we told Diana not to get a pumpkin. She came back with a white one. Those are free, because no one wants them. We're gonna make it look like a skull or something else white. Hee.
This maze was actually pretty long & narrow, so it was easy to see where you were & not get lost. Some farm places do really big scary mazes that are open at night & people jump out & scare you.
Today was just a really nice day to get out & do this kind of thing. I'm glad we went!

Camp Millenium Pumpkin Patch

Today we thought we'd go check out the pumpkin patch that's run by a couple on their property. It benefits Camp Millenium, which is a local camp for kids with cancer.

Apparently, when Santa's Village shut down in California, these folks went and bought up a bunch of the stuff they used to use there. The pumpkin coach still has the sign from there.

The only trouble was when we got there, the little train blew its whistle and caught Connor off guard. The rest of the time we were there, he covered his ears.

It's actually pretty interesting to see him eat and keep his ears covered. He uses his arm and wraps it over his head to cover one ear with his upper arm, and the other ear with his hand.

I am not sure where Garfield fits in - it's a costume, it's orange, what the heck. I think whoever was in Garfield might know Diana, because he/she came right up to her. Or maybe he/she just liked Diana's cat-ear hat she made herself?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Diana helping at the Haunted House

Way back when T & D were in elementary school, pretty soon after we'd moved here, their school started doing a Haunted House. It was a simple little PTO-type fundraiser, not really well attended, but just for fun. I remember kids covered in sheets running around in the gym of the school - not hugely scary or anything.

In time, however, it grew. By the time T & D were in 5th & 6th grade, it was being held in an old building downtown, and the year Lee got involved, it morphed into a full-blown, scare-your-pants-off kind of haunted house. Now the proceeds went to Camp Millenium, which is for kids with cancer.
Diana really liked to help out, so through most of her Jr. High years, she got to man stuff like a big spider that she'd skitter around by people's feet. Lee was in his skull mask, and would really freak people out. Toward the end, the Haunted House was being held at the fairgrounds and it was a really big deal.
Well, our principal from the elementary school wound up having to move to a different school to fix the disciplinary problems they were having. It was too much to continue the Haunted House, so it was put to the side for a while. This year, however, he retired, and at the retirement party, we heard they were starting the Haunted House up again.
Lee is not able to be involved this time, due to the busy schedule with all the moving around at his new job, but Diana was able to get involved through National Honor Society. She gets 5 points for every hour she puts in (it's about 4 hours a night, for 4 nights, plus whatever time it took for set up). She should have at least 20 points at the end.
Diana is thrilled, because she gets to be a guide now. She's the one who leads the groups through, who tells the HH people who to scare for the most reaction. It's being held in the Elk's Lodge downtown this year. I'll bet they do great.
In case you didn't figure it out, she's the victim of a hanging.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rainbow Boy

It's a little blurry since I had to do it without a flash, but he was having so much fun with it.
This is from the sun shining through an etched glass award Lee got from Dell that's on his windowsill.
At first, Connor was cupping the rainbow in his hands (from the opposite wall & up to the window to let it go) and then when I told him I wanted to take a picture, he put his face in for me.
This kid can have fun with anything.

I guess it rubs off...

I'm referring to comic book trivia. I don't read them all, but if I can score 10/10, it can't be too hard, huh?

Encarta Superhero Quiz

Good luck!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A note from Trevor

Things are doing fine, except Joe got sick again.

My immune system is freaking godlike. I haven't even been congested once.

Most classes are going fine, and I had a meeting with Joan. I will now stop by her office every tuesday.

Last speech class was cancelled as well.

And I met a girl who was in a video in speech class who likes to draw. she also extolls the thriving ability of geraniums.

I love you too!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Dad's doing better

I didn't post it before, because it wasn't great news.

The Thursday after I got home from Canada, my dad landed in the hospital again. He still hadn't eaten anything since he'd had his radiation therapy, and now his kidneys had shut down. So he had to go to the emergency room, and after a couple of hours, he was placed in a ward.

He had to have dialysis done for his kidneys, but the doctors were hopeful that since the failure had come on so fast, his kidneys might recover on their own after a few dialysis treatments.

All in all, not a great thing to post on the ol' blog.

But I got an email from my sister, Connie, yesterday.

My dad is still in the hospital, but it looks like the radiation therapy that was so difficult for him did better than hoped on the lymphoma.

He is still on watch for dialysis, but the doctors are saying his kidneys are starting to function on their own again. They are keeping him in the hospital for observation, and to make sure his kidneys are okay.

I'm not sure, but I would guess he's eating again, or they wouldn't be considering letting him come home (right?).

We've all been praying very hard, and I'm extremely grateful to everyone sending their good thoughts my dad's way.


Friday, October 12, 2007

They're REALLY missing Teemu

The Ducks have lost all 5 of their home games since the hockey season started. They won their first away game.


I wonder if that makes Teemu Selanne feel like he was all that, or if he feels bad that he retired?

On a related note, if you haven't looked at Keeka's blog lately, take a quick peek.


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Girl Guides!

Just so you know, the US Girl Scouts are part of the "Worldwide Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts" (aka WAGGGS). There are all kinds of names for basically the same organization, no matter where you are in the world. When our girls celebrate Thinking Day, they research other countries and learn about the 'scouts' in those regions.

These girls were selling their Fall Sale cookies. They only have one kind. It's similar to a Thin Mint here, except the mint part is a cream on top of the cookie - then the whole thing is "enrobed" in chocolate. The basic taste is the same though.

In the Spring, these girls will sell the Other cookie (which I think the leader said was a shortbread something or other). But still, only one kind of cookie!

In case you're not aware, US girl scouts sell 8 varieties, with the 6 main cookies and 2 that trade off (which is why they don't always have the lemon cookies, or the apple cinnamon - those cycle through). They ALWAYS have Thin Mint, Samoa, Tag-a-longs, Do-si-dos, Trefoil and All Abouts, although they are known by different names in different councils.