Sunday, July 31, 2005


One of our favorite summertime activities is catching crawdads.  Last night was our first time this year, and it proved to be very fruitful.  We just tie chickenlegs on to a piece of string and toss it out into the water, wait a little while and then drag them in and scoop the critters up in a net.  This is done at night when the crawdads are most active.  We let the crawdads soak in fresh water overnight.  Today, for lunch, we will have a crawdad boil!

We heard movement in the woods behind our little basecamp and figured it was a raccoon, but never did I think the animal would show itself, let alone raid our picnic.  There were in fact 2 raccoons that came to visit, including this nursing female who boldly helped herself to Becca's sandwich.

I have decided that coffee is not responsible for my insomnia.  I have also decided that it is no coincidence that my resumed consumption of coffee after one coffee-free and fart-free day resulted in a fresh batch of butt-gas.  One can only conclude that there is a relationship between coffee drinking and flatulation.  I think I smell a Nobel Prize here... or maybe its just a Folgers Fart.

Saturday, July 30, 2005


We went to the wedding of our good friends' daughter this morning.  It was a beautiful wedding, but the best part happened AFTER the ceremony.  Not only did Rocky catch the bride's bouquet, but Art caught the garter!  Woo hoo!  That means they're both getting married and out of my house!  When are these weddings supposed to happen?  I'm not against quick weddings. 


Friday, July 29, 2005

RING, RING, RING! or good news, bad news.

I have a cell phone that I rarely use.  I have the family plan so Dickidoo and Gabe can call me anytime without using up our monthly allotment of minutes.  They never call me on it, because I never know where my cell phone is to answer it.  Basically my cell phone is to give to the kids any time they leave the house without me or their father.  Its kind of a security device.  I feel secure knowing that I can reach them when ever I want them.

My wall phone has been unusually active lately.  Gabe called and I had the opportunity to tell him I loved him.  One of my best friends and her husband, whom I refer to as my 4th son, called now that they are back in the states from a long overseas PCS in Germany (her home country).  My sister-in-law, the mother of the Southern Oompas called, giving me the opportunity to try and brainwash her into moving out here where I can help her with the kids while she deals with her health issues.  I feel so helpless way over here, knowing that I am in a position to assist her but the commute is a real killer!

And... my mom called today.  She said she just wanted to touch base with me, but there were other things she needed to share with me as well.  Things such as the battery of tests her doctor ordered for her heart.  'Don't worry' she says, 'At least not until I say so'.  Oops, too late!  She says one of her medications (she's currently on 11) is giving her dry/sticky mouth.  She can handle the dryness, but the stickiness is making her nuts.  She says she wouldn't be surprised if she were to wake up one morning and find that she can't open her mouth because it was stuck shut, which she says Daddy might appreciate.  Yep, I think he might, considering the fact that he left a dead battery in his hearing aid on purpose.  These are the folks who bore and raised me, do you need any more explanations?

My mom also mentioned that my brother has applied for re-enlistment into the Army Reserves.  He has already passed some of the preliminary tests and is waiting on some final results to see if that is even possible.   If he is accepted, once he is finished with his retraining he will be combat ready and most likely deploy to the Gulf region.  The reserve unit he will be assigned to, if accepted, already has a regular Army unit assigned for attachment.  It will be with my son's unit.  I hate that my son is going to Iraq.  I hate that my brother may go.  I love that they may serve together.  I'm thinking I may even get some sleep tonight.

I had no coffee today.  None, nada, zip, zilch, nix, nine, zero!  Its never been the cause for sleeplessness in the past, but I'm getting desparate.  I tried the hot tub, I tried a little hoochi coochi, I've tried wine, I've tried rum, I've tried Brett Hume's news report, I've even tried counting sheep (ended up shooting them).  So I'm decaffeinated, I'm on a roller coaster of good news/bad news, I'm a little buzzed (didn't take much tonight), a little bit itchy (thanks to the little buzz).  If I don't sleep tonight, I may NEVER sleep again!

And I've come to the conclusion that.... coffee induces farts.  I haven't farted once today.  None, nada, zip, zilch, nix, nine, zero! Its got to be the coffee, its the one constant.  You know what?  I miss coffee and therefore I miss farting.  Tomorrow I'm due to make an appearance at a wedding and I shall be there, fully caffeinated and tooting the trumpets of glory! 

On that note, I bid you all a good night. 

Thursday, July 28, 2005

BACK TO SCHOOL SHOPPING (just the beginning)

We did our first round of back-to-school shopping yesterday.  The thrift store had a 99¢ day for all clothing.  That seemed like the ideal place to start.  It would have been perfect if I had been the only person in town who knew of the promotion, but that was not to be the case and the store was packed with other parents with the same idea... saving a buck on clothes to help finance the outrageous school supply requirements.  The kids actually fared very well and while I walked out of the store $57 lighter, they walked out with last season's fashion trends that are still current enough to count as 'new clothes' but at a mere fraction of what the original owners must have paid 4 months ago.  The kids challenge now is to weed out the same number of clothes from their own wardrobe that can either be donated and recycled at the thrift shop (yes, in the past we have actually seen some of our donations on the racks...) or thrown out.  Goodness knows the last thing we need is more clothes to launder!

20 more days until school starts.  20 more days until my REAL vacation begins!  Woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


A memorial guestbook has been set up for debbi4873's son Travis.  I encourage you all to visit and sign it.  A few photos have been added, including a black and white picture of Travis with his son Hunter, so click on that link as well.  The guestbook will probably only be up for a month so this link will not work after August 23, 2005.

Guest Book - Petty Officer 3rd Cl Travis L. Youngblood

I have watched the number of fallen US servicemembers rise faster than the number of days that pass, but its different when you know a name or a face.  Now its personal.

Note:   I just want to clarify, I was not involved in setting up the guestbook, the link was shared with me by Debbi and I just wanted to pass it on to the many who have expressed their care and concern.



The kids have used up all of my hazelnut coffee creamer to flavor their milk.  This is a bad thing.  I must have my coffee, and it must be flavored with my hazelnut creamer!  I've been having a real hard time sleeping at night, and sleeping during the day is out of the question.

I spoke to Gabe yesterday.  I couldn't tell him that I was afraid for him, he really would have thought I was nuts, after all he doesn't leave country until September.  All I could say was 'I love you'.  I want to be able to say that for many years to come so I keep the dark voices that whisper 'what if?' at bay by cluttered thoughts of nothing specific, and lots of coffee... strong coffee... no longer tinted with a kiss of hazelnut because my kids have used it all to flavor their milk!  Hello kids, its COFFEE creamer, not MILK creamer!

I tried watching the news.  Misery across the nation and world always seems to make me feel better about my own life.  This morning, when they were not showing live shots of the front entrance to a police station in London where a bombing suspect MIGHT be brought in, they were showing a live shot of a pond being drained in Aruba where a clue MIGHT be found in the Natalee Holloway case.  We finally get the technology to have live news coverage and what do they do with it?  They park their sattelite cameras up infront of where news MIGHT happen in the next two or three hours, or four or five... or not at all.  Yeah, you gotta love the media.

It rained last night.  Actually it poured.  My zeroscaping works from time to time.  The weeds that make up my lawn are smiling.  This usually means that we will have to break out the lawnmower ... for the third time this year.  It may actually get more use than the vacuum cleaner!

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


The water district for my area is holding a contest for the best use of Xeriscaping, which is the use of landscaping to promote water conservation.  In otherwords, being water-wise.  This is my entry in the contest.  I call it Zeroscaping.  My system is natural and my watering schedule is completely, 100% reliant upon the weather.  If it rains, my lawn gets watered.  If it doesn't rain, my lawn doesn't get watered.  My garden thrives upon this method.  Dandilions are very resilient.  I had a good crop this year but they have long since bloomed, pollenated and gone to fluff, scattering wishes into the 4 winds.  My neighbors were naturally jealous of my success with the dandilion bed and pulled all of their piddly dandilions out in shame.  They do have a nice batch of Kentucky Bluegrass but they also have a higher water bill than I do.  Ah yes, the satisfaction of Zeroscaping.

Monday, July 25, 2005

TIME FOR DESSERT, and doggy breath

One of the benefits I have discovered since 'retiring' is that I now have time to bake again.  My children are loving that and have begun to expect a hot breakfast and dessert.  Rocky actually sat there for 20 minutes patiently watching a batch of banana muffins baking.

I'm being lazy today.  I can't concentrate with the TV right next to my head... I have definitely got to rearrage this area or I shall surely lose the hearing in my left ear.  Anyhow, here's an old entry I dug up from September of last year.  Ironically I could have written it this morning.

Don't know what I ate, but my gullet was fussing today.  Remember my little saying about 'why fart and waste it when you can burp and taste it...',   Well, I take it back!  I was sitting here today thanking the good Lord that it was a fart and NOT a burp, cos that sucker was deadly!  Now I know why dogs are always panting with their tongues out of their mouth... cos they lick the place where farts come from... and it can't be good!  They don't want that tongue in their mouth!  They just hang it out there until a human comes by that they can wipe it on.

(this explains perfectly why I don't like dogs to lick me, especially my face and mouth!)

Friday, July 22, 2005


Today has been a difficult day.  This morning I learned of the death of journaling friend's son who was serving in Iraq.  This woman  came to me and offered a comforting shoulder when my son enlisted in the Army.  This is the woman who voiced her own fears as her son was placed in harms way time and time again.  From time to time I left sincere words of encouragement.  'Everything will be fine' I said.  But I was wrong.  Everything is not fine.  Tonight, as I sit here infront of my computer, typing and retyping these inadequate words, she grieves with her family as their world is torn apart by a gaping wound that will scar their hearts forever.

How many times have I read on my monitor, shallow words composed by shallow minded people... 'The internet is not real'.  If that is true, then why do I feel so much pain right now for someone I know only as debbi4873?  For some it is easier to accept the idea that behind every screenname is a make-believe person, a personality completely fabricated as the name itself.  The reality is that there are real people behind those names, real people with real feelings, and real lives.  People who share our joy, enjoy our humor, and comfort our pain.  People who feel pain themselves.  People who are just as vulnerable to life, and death, as we all are.

This has been my second online tragedy.  It should be easier to deal with than a face-to-face tragedy.  It is not.  In some way it is harder.  I cannot reach out and physically grieve with others.  I cry over my keyboard and my family stares in helpless confusion.  They don't know how to comfort me, they do not understand my loss.  They cannot comprehend how I can hurt for someone I have never met and never even spoken to.

To Debbi, my heart is with you in your grief.  My friendship is with you always.  I pray for you and your family to find strength, and healing.  For Debbi's son Travis, I pray that he has found peace in his new Home.  And while I regret the sacrifice he has made, I thank him for it.  I pray for the safety of all the other service members who are still in harms way, and for those, including my son, who will soon join their fellow warriors on the battlefield.  I pray for the world that may one day know peace throughout the lands so that no more families have to shed a tear over a son or daughter lost in a time of war. I do not pray as often as I should, but tonight I pray all these things.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

PHOTO SHOOT, Spam-zapper and Poor Henry

I'm having problems with AOL's ftp this morning so I'll just reuse an old picture for the Monday Photo Shoot (on Thursday... late as usual).  This is Shorty (aka Shirley, Shitty, Shelly and Hey You Dumb Squirrel Get Out Of My House!)  This little guy will fuss at us from the pine tree right outside of the window for his morning snack of trail mix.  Okay,  I admit it, I buy the trail mix for the squirrels.  (Hey, that stuff is nasty, you didn't think I'd actually eat it myself did you?)

I finally had to break down and go to the store yesterday.  My Bunn-Omatic Brew-Omatic filters are very versitile, but I don't recommend them as an emergency substitution for toilet paper.  So I went to buy some toilet paper, and when I got back, almost as if he was waiting for my return, a door-to-door salesman showed up on my porch offering to clean the rust off of my truck.  I cut him off and explained that I had already seen the demonstration before and wasn't interested.  His first mistake was to question me as to when I had seen the demo, was he suggesting that I was lying?  Then he proceded to argue whether I really could afford his product or not.  Needless to say I forgot my manners and he left mad. 

Why do some salesmen feel they can come up to our homes uninvited to pressure us into buying their over-priced products but when they come across someone who really isn't interested and won't buy into their pitch, they get mad?  I wish there was a universal 'do not knock' list for home solicitation, a door to door spam blocker.  I need a spam-zapper, preferably an electrical one... with lots of watts, ohms and hertz, and things that spark and sizzle.  I understand that they are just trying to make a living, but if they don't take 'no' the first time, I get to hit the switch!

Henry the goldfish is having some major issues.  Is it normal for a fish's doodies to be longer than the fish itself?  Henry is only about 3 inches long, but he has this long string of stuff hanging out of him that is at least 5 inches long!  Can't they pinch it off or something?  All I can say is... I'm glad I'm not a gold fish!

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Look what my sister gave me, its a picture of me when I was probably about 7 or 8.  And check it out, I'm wearing a dress!  My mom probably made it, she was an awesome seamstress and I always thought the dresses she had made for us were a million times more beautiful than the ones the other girls at school wore.  I was such a tomboy, but I always felt like such a princess in a dress that she had sewn.  As we got older she no longer had the time nor the desire to sew, but she made my wedding dress for me, and once again I felt like a princess! 

My hair was always short, and my bangs, as hard as my mom tried, were always crooked because I wouldn't sit still while she cut my hair.  Oh what a dreamer I was in those days, my imagination was always working overtime.  I'm sure in today's society it would have been recommended that I be on some kind of medication but my parents put up with me with resigned tolerance.  Poor things, they probably had no idea that it wouldn't be until I was 23 that they would finally get me married off and out of their house!


I have been on this earth for almost 45 years.  During those years I have been to two other countries besides the United States.  I grew up with 5 siblings, and went on to raise 5 of my own.  I was born into the military, married into the military, and last year I sent my first born to follow in the footsteps of his father and grandfathers.  From time to time I sit and reflect on my life, laughing at some of the memories, shedding a tear at the somber ones, and then... as I struggle with a vague and elusive memory, I feel frustration at the loss of a precious moment in my life that has slipped through my grasp and faded into obscurity.  My mind has become a maze of memories that grow more and more crowded with each passing day.

Keeping this journal has allowed me to keep my experiences and thoughts fresh for reflection at a later date.  It has also allowed me to reach back into the haze of my mind and retrieve memories long forgotten, so that I may shake them off, iron them out and display them on the collage of my life. There is no order to the way I display my life, just as there is no order to how I live it.  I splash my thoughts up on the canvas with the same spontaneity I use in my daily life.  Those who know me personally look upon my journal and find a clearer understanding of who I am and how I came to be this way.  Those who know me only from these brief glimpses afforded by my journal may wonder about the sincerity of my entries but while I may be a eloquent story teller, I am a lousy liar.  For what ever reason a visitor may have to return for another peek at my ongoing saga, I invite their interest, and have on occasion, been the recipent of their unconditional support.

I write mostly for my children, so that they may look on my words and know about me and their importance in my life.  When the spoken word fades into the past, the written word remains a solid testament.  I never want there to be any doubt in regards to my love for them.  Life is all about how you look at it.  I view my life at a slightly lopsided angle and hope those who read this can tilt their own head enough to appreciate my stories.  I have been touched and inspired by many who respond to my words.  I am not searching for approval and yet I am constantly amazed by the number of readers who can relate to some of my stories.  It does not elevate me in terms of importance.  What it does is prove that EVERYONE has a wonderful story that is their life, even if the individual may not think so at the time.  My journal is the story of my life, but it is just one of so many other wonderful and unique stories in the library of life here in J-land.

July's Very Special Artsy Essay  in celebration of AOL Journal's 2nd Anniversary.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005


Have you ever had one of those days where you don't want to do anything but lay on a rock and soak up the sun like my buddy, the yellow bellied marmot?  Thats how I felt today.  I got up, went downstairs, and then laid down on the sofa.  I didn't even make a fresh pot of coffee, I just reheated yesterday's leftovers.  If Dickidoo hadn't called me and asked me to bring him some lunch I'd probably have been on the sofa all day!  Even after a drive and a nice long hike around one of the base's reservoirs, I am completely devoid of motivation.  Tonight I think will be 'salad night'.  We have a totally vegetarian meal every couple of weeks or so.  We tell everyone that it is our way of assuring the appreciation and importance of vegetables in our childrens' diet, but usually it occurs when I am just too lazy to actually cook something.


Before I leave to take up residence on the downstair's sofa I have one last thing to do.  I would like to share a couple of pictures I took at the zoo last week.   I call this little series 'The Dumbest Kid at the Zoo'.  As you can see in the first frame Rocky is trying to get a drink at the fountain.  But wait, something is wrong... Look at the next frame.  Yep, her finger is stuck in the hole!  Instead of using the push handle on the side, the future mother of my future grandchildren decided to stick her chubby little finger into a hole that obviously didn't work.  A thirsty crowd was already beginning to form behind her, but being the loving mother that I am, I had to take a picture for posterity before helping her to get her finger unstuck.  What is it with kids and holes?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

For a good time, click here:  CarnivAOL  Fellow journaler Plittle has started a compilation of journal entries submitted by AOL and AIM bloggers.  He will be updating it each Tuesday, so if you have a journal entry that you are especially proud of and want to share it with a greater audience, or if you want to investigate new journals and writers, this is the place for you.  I noticed he has included a short intro, which can give readers an idea of which links they may find interesting.   Its definitely worth a visit.  Besides... he's included one of my entries in his inaugural entry.  Okay, so I submitted the entry myself, but still, its really cool to see it listed on someone else's journal.  Check it out, you just might find a new journal to read instead of washing those supper dishes!

Monday, July 18, 2005


Guess who turned 18 today?  My second oldest son, Zachary, is now an adult.  Well, at least age wise.  He's been paying adult fare to movies and attractions since he was 15.  Now its just official.  All we need is to get him a job and he can start paying his own way!  And then he can get a wife, move out and start handing over the grandbabies!  Okay, it may be a little early for that... for now...

Zack has inherited my gift for art but has been cursed with my sarcastic sence of humor.  Fortunately he has inherited his intelligence from somewhere else in the gene pool.  I'm sure Dickidoo will take credit for that.   I see great things in Zack's future, and I believe that he will achieve what ever he puts his mind to, I just need him to pull his mind away from the tv and computer so he can find this great place to put it.  Heck, who knows, maybe his future IS with computers.  Look at Bill Gates, I'll bet his family worried about him once upon a time but not any more!

So anyhow, we celebrated over a meal of home cooked bbq ribs, potato salad and corn on the cob and a lucious chocolate cake (store bought, but the girls decorated it).  I thought I had everything under control until we were setting the table and realized that we had no napkins.  I didn't even have paper towels!  Now everyone knows that you can't eat ribs without a stack of napkins, so I improvised... I pulled out a stack of my Bunn-Omatic Brew-Omatic coffee filters!  Folks, you may laugh, but they worked like a charm!  This wasn't the first time I've used my hillbilly napkins.  They make great make-shift plates, they work great in the microwave  and don't leave streaks when you clean windows with them. 

Happy Birthday Zack.  I guess I can't call you 'Zacky-Zack' any more.  Awwwww, heck, sure I can!  You may be taller than me, but I'm still your mama!  Happy Birthday Zacky-Zack!

Sunday, July 17, 2005

THE FARTRILIQUIST, and fart etiquette

One of my children possesses a wonderful talent but is too bashful, or smart, to own up to it.  That talented child is a 'fartriliquist', one who can throw the sound and/or smell of a fart in another direction so as to avoid detection and responsibility for said stench.  Oh, the fun I could have with a talent such as that!

Today, as I sat at my computer, I couldn't help but admire the skill involved in fartriliquism even as I sat gasping for air and blinking back the tears from my eyes as the putrid gas filled the air.  The three spawn in the room with me vehemently denied the infraction and I immediately discounted my oldest daughter's confession for although she was gladly laying claim to the talent, she had been down the hall in the bathroom at the time.  Even the greatest fartriliquist of all time, my brother, could not have thrown a fart that far, so who was it?

For now the culprit remains a mystery.  But I shall eventually discover who the silent gasser is and then I shall learn the art of fartriliquism.  Never again will I have to excuse myself from a crowd to relieve the pressure.  No more will I have to fake a cough or force a laugh to hid the sound of a butt burp.  And never again will I endure the embarrassing and accusing glares from others who know darn well where the smell came from.  I will learn to throw my farts, and let someone else take the blame for it!

For those who have not aquired the talent, allow me to share an emergency response trick of mine.  When you are in a crowd and find yourself in an embarrassing situation, quickly turn to someone nearby, wrinkle your nose up and say 'Excuse you!'  Even if the person denies the charges, or tries the old 'he who smelt it dealt it' routine, the damage has already been done and the others in the party will believe that the accused is actually the offender.  A word of caution, this does not work if you are with only one other person!  Dogs are always easy scapegoats, and in some circumstances ducks and frogs.  Even cats and babies!  But when you are with just one other person, just smile and accept responsibility.  Besides, no matter what anyone else may have you believe, everyone farts, and most farts stink!

gifts from my sister........

My sister showered me with gifts this past week.  They weren't wrapped in colorful paper and topped with bows.  They weren't lucious and dripping with calories, or bottled with a crisp, fruity bouquet, best served chilled...

No, these were a completely different kind of gift.  Some of the gifts were delivered and received with laughter, some with sadness.  Some came in the form of .jpg files, photos of moments in my life long pushed from the active archieve of my memory.  Some were of shared memories, some were of others who are now gone, some were from loved ones I never got to say good-bye to and as I viewed them, the tears fell afresh.

She also gave me new memories, many already carefully recorded on new .jpg files.  These memories will be the ones my children will be able to look back on with each other later on in life and say 'Hey, I remember that!' 

My brother-in-law gave me a gift as well.  Besides the gift of my sister's presence, he gave me the gift of patience, patience as he sat nearby while my sister and I sat up until well past midnight almost every evening, laughing and giggling like the young girls we once were.   Patience as we took almost two hours to get ready to go anywhere because we were so easily distracted by memories.  And patience as meals were almost always late because we were too busy talking to cook.

I can only hope that one day I will be able to return the favor.  I'm not sure that my brother-in-law would consider it as a 'gift' when my sister and I get back together, but he is already making plans for retiring near by.  Woooooo hoooooooooo!  Now thats something to really look forward to!  I wonder if our husbands have ever considered the danger of my sister and I living so close together... probably not!  But thats okay because they will have each other.  After all, they were close friends before they ever met us.  My sister met her future husband  at my wedding.

I wonder if my children will be as close to their siblingsas I am to mine.  I certainly hope so, because you should not out-grow your family when you grow up, your family should grow with you.  I hope all of my children continue to grow together, even as they start growing their own little families.  And I hope that there are no more restraining orders!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

SISTERAZZI and the restraining order

This is my little big sister.  She is a year older but about an inch or so shorter, and, well, never mind how many pounds lighter.  Guess what, my camara is bigger than hers too!  I took her and her husband to The Garden of the Gods for pictures.  Later, as I looked over her shoulder while she downloaded her camera, I realized...... dang, we have a whole bunch of the same pictures! 

My sister and her husband are enroute to New York for their last duty station.  After that, they plan to move to Colorado or New Mexico to open up a Bed & Breakfast and a yak farm!  I guess that would make my brother-in-law a 'yakaroo'.  But not my sister, she says he's the yakker, she's the bed-n-breakfaster.

Becca and Rocky are at war again.  Rocky has issued a restraining order for her sister who is no longer allowed within 100 feet of her little sister unless she comes bearing food or other goodies.  The offense, Becca has been accused of causing her sister's atomic wedgie.  I was presented with the evidence of the crime at the time and yes, it was definitely a wedgie, and a good one too, but after her swimsuit was re-adjusted, Rocky began to file the charges.

Did I say my kids were quiet now that their cousins were gone?  Did I say it was suspicious and that they had to be up to something?  Well, what ever they were up to, they're done.  My house is once again so noisy I can barely breath.   Ah yes, home sweet home!

Watching my two daughters bicker from sun up to sun down, I know I've asked my sister at least 10 times already... 'We were never that bad, were we?'

She agrees, theres no way!  But we'll keep our parents out of this one, parents always seem to have a different version of the past.

And yes, I miss my little Southern Oompas.  I find myself talking about them to my sister all the time, she's probably sick of them and she's never even met them!  I miss the Littlest Loompa's singing, she really did have a song for everything.  And the Boy Loompa, watching his confidence grow right before my eyes as he tried new things was amazing.  The oldest of the cousins, she was one of my biggest helpers during the trip.  I smile and think about her every time I look at the hot sauce bottle. 

And I hope my brother-in-law stopped and let my sister-in-law get a picture of that 6000 pound prairie dog they saw advertised on a billboard along the interstate in Kansas.  That will make her trip complete.  On the other hand, if he didn't stop, she'll just have to come back and visit us again so she can see it.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005


Shhhhhhhhh...........  My sister is still asleep.  So am I, sort of.  It was almost 3am when we finally said 'goodnight' and went to bed.  That was just a few hours ago.  My children went to bed long before we did.  They are not tired.  They are wide awake.  I have tried to reason with them, weekends and summers are for sleeping in!  You won't always be able to sleep in so do it while you can!  Do it so I can!  But alas, they don't take that advice any more readily then they take any other maternal advice I share with them... Little turds, may they all be blessed with half a dozen little oompa loompas of their own with lousy sleep habits and major gas problems!

I got to see some of my sister's photographs.  Did I mention that she was a mall photographer?  You know, the ones that take pictures of whiney, snot-nosed kids sitting on Santa or the Easter Bunny's water-proofed lap in between JC Penny and Foley's.  Well, I guess she was good at that, I know she always had a talent for making my whiney kids smile, but her talents are wasted there.  This lady can click a shutter!  She had the opportunity of photographing one of the most beautiful places in the world, my homestate of Hawaii, and her pictures are absolutely awesome!  Her sunsets are phenomenal.  I can't wait to get her out here in the foothills to see what she will capture.  I am once again in awe of my sister.

Of course that will have to wait until she wakes up.  If memory serves me correctly, she is one to enjoy her sleep.  And with her children all having moved out, she has the luxury of being able to sleep in.  She doesn't  have to rely on a pot of coffee to get herself jump-started in the morning.  In fact, she can't even stomach my coffee.  She claims it will grow hair on her chest.  Thats not true or I'd have a fuzzy chest by now.  It might however explain my rapidly replenishing pit hair though.

Sunday, July 10, 2005


Disclaimer:  No Oompa Loompas were harmed during this photo-shoot.  This was a closed track with adult supervision and the children were perfectly safe.  No adults were harmed either.

The Southern Oompas left late this morning, or early this afternoon, depending on how you look at it.  They rode out of here at noon with their parents with a long cross-country drive ahead of them.  The parents had never taken such a long journey with the little loompas.  We recommended a portable dvd player with earphones.  They took our suggestion.  No doubt they will thank us when they get home.  Oh, it might still be bad, but it could have been worse, much worse!  We know, we made the same trip with 4 kids 11 years ago.  When we drove back this past February we had the Miracle Machine.  It made a world of difference.  Add earphones for all of the kids and you have one quiet, peaceful ride... unless they need something, at which time they yell your head off because they can't hear how loud they are with their earphones on.

I haven't written much about my in-laws.  I adore Dickidoo's baby sister.  She stayed with us for a summer when she was a teenager, and she looks the same.  I don't.  Its not fair!  She drinks coffee around the clock.  That just makes me love her even more.  I hate that she is always in so much pain.  I wish I could help her.  I can't, so I do what I can.  I took her children for a few weeks and totally corrupted them.  No doubt she will thank me when she gets home.

I adore my brother-in-law because he adores my sister-in-law.  He also likes to read books that include dragons.  One of the earliest collections I recall reading was Anne McCaffrey's Dragons of Pern series.  That was right about the time I got hooked on J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings series .  He also adores all of the Southern Oompas, even though he is the biological father to only one.  To many people that would make a big difference but I have not noticed any difference and that in itself endears him to me.  He also reads and enjoys this journal and I want to publicly endorse him since I was unable to attend the wedding and voice my approval then.

Its funny, I never realized how quiet my own kids, the Mountain Oompas, were, until we put them together with the Southern Oompas for a little while, and then separated them.  This afternoon has been really .... quiet!  And my kids actually got along with each other!  There was no fussing, no fighting, only suspicious commeraderie.  Thats right folks, I said 'suspicious', because I don't trust them one bit!  They NEVER get along so they have to be up to something!

But I don't have time to dwell on it.  My sister and her husband arrive sometime tomorrow.  They are in town because my brother-in-law has a seminar to attend just outside of town, so my sister will visit with us while he learns how to build a log home.  We have plans to play the Sister-razzi (look, I spelled it right this time) around town, and I am sooooo excited.  Its been 2 years since I last saw her.  Dickidoo has to work and then has a meeting.  I'm suspecting that this may not be a coincidence... but thats okay.  Oh the fun my sister and I will have!

Friday, July 8, 2005

OOMPA LOOMPA FLU PART III, and the Sister-ratzi.

I am lost.  My Nikon D70 is not in its normal place beside me.  I don't use it every day, but at least it is near by.  It is not today.  It is in the mountains far away.  It is with Dickidoo.

We were all supposed to go to Eleven Mile Reservoir this afternoon.  Dickidoo's sister, the mother of the Southern Oompa Loompas, and her husband arrived last night to pick up their spawn, so he wanted to take her to the site where their father's ashes were scattered.  We took off in two trucks, with a drive-by through the Garden of the Gods, when my youngest son Art started showing symptoms of the Oompa Loompa Flu.  We had to drop out of the convoy and return home.  But before we did, I entrusted my beloved camera to Dickidoo.  Since then my hands have been twitching uncontrollably.  I miss my baby.  I can't wait until Dickidoo returns home, and places my baby back in my hands.

Art was ill off and on the entire way home.  One moment he would be moaning, then he would smile and say "Take your time, I feel fine" and then he would be groaning over the yucky bag again.  We got him home, pumped him full of water, let him sleep and guess what, he's fine!  So he and I were talking and I was remarking how Becca was feeling first hand how I feel when she raids my closet because her cousin is always wearing her clothes.  Art suggested that I start raiding Becca's closet as well.  Okay, I weigh a good 50 pounds more than Becca, and wear about 9 sizes larger than she does.  Can you imagine the devastation I could do to her wardrobe?  This could be fun!

Operation 'Squeeze Mama into Sissy's Clothes" begins tomorrow!

The Southern Oompas leave Sunday.  My sister from Hawaii is due to arrive on Monday.  It has been a crazy, wonderful summer so far and its only half over.  My sister and I will be traveling around the state with our cameras so watch out Colorado, the Sister-rattzi are coming!

Wednesday, July 6, 2005


We had a cushioned toilet seat in the main bathroom.  It was soft, smooth vinyl, gently padded and stayed warm even during the winter months so your business didn't get scared back in as it does when you sit on a cold wooden or plastic seat in the dead of winter. 

Please note that I used 'had' as in past tense.  We HAD a cushioned toilet seat.  We do not have one anymore.  Someone got bored while sitting on the throne doing what ever people do when they sit on the throne.  Someone decided, in their infinite boredom, to play 'dot to dot' on my nice cushioned toilet seat... with a sharp object!  And when they tired of the game and vacated the gaming chair, the once smooth padded seat was riddled with holes.

But that wasn't the end of the story.  A simple seat cover could have prolonged the life of the cushioned toilet seat... had someone with incredibly poor aim not gotten to the bathroom before we could add the protective covering.  And the unprotected foam cushion just absorbed it all like a thirsty sponge.  The toxic waste leak was discovered by the oldest Oompa female who set off the alarm and scared all of the other Oompas into closed lip denial. 

Dickidoo assumed the hazardous waste clean-up and restoration of the throne room.  We now have a virtually indestructable solid plastic toilet seat, completely spill and puncture resistant.  No doubt it will scare my business back where it came from in the cold winter months, but in the heat of the summer it is quite cool and comfortable.  I may have to install a Pocket Yahtzee in the nearby cabinet.

Tuesday, July 5, 2005


I hate allergies.  And I hate that its not just a once-a-year affliction for me.  I get it in waves.  There's the spring pollen season, the summer dust and gunk, and then winter brings the mold and other ick.  And I participate in every season that comes by.  Right now I'm congested in one nostril and I can't breath through the other.  I know there are air filters that help eliminate allergens in the air at home, but I need something that I can take with me every where I go since my allergies hit me every where I go.  I need a portable air filter.  I need... a Nose Ionic Breeze!  Just shove one of those babies up each nostril and I'd be good to go.  When it gets dirty, I'd just pull it out, wipe it clean with a sponge and shove it back in.

So how about it Sharper Image.  You've already got the Car Ionic Breeze.  Just make a smaller model, make the Nose Ionic Breeze.  I'd be eternally grateful.

(Not available in stores)

OOMPA LOOMPA FLU, and the 4th of July

With the morning sun came another case of the Oompa Loompa Flu.  My mom calls it 'bachi'.  It means to jinx yourself.  If you fake illness, you will become ill.  One of the Oompa Loompas discovered the truth in that.  The symptoms he reported in order to get ginger ale when the others were sick last week had him flushed and miserable all day yesterday.  No games, no playing, no nothing... but this time he didn't mind.  He was too miserable to care.

We celebrated the 4th of July by doing laundry and dishes.  When the sun set I loaded up the truck with the 6 well children and we drove out to a spot where I knew the view of the fireworks from Pikes Peak would be spectacular.  There was even a great parking spot waiting for us and I backed the pickup in so the kids would have an unobstructed view of the peak.  We were there with about 30 other families, watching the aerial displays from the surrounding area while waiting with anticipation for the show when it dawned on me.  We were too early.

6 months too early to be exact!  Pikes Peak does their fireworks display on New Years Eve, not the 4th of July!  I sat there for a moment wondering how to break the news to the kids when my youngest neice announced in her loudest voice (which is VERY loud) that she had to go potty!  At that very moment there was not a sound any where, not even from the fireworks.  And then... everyone in the parking lot started laughing.  We did a quick vote and decided to just go on back home and watch the fireworks there in the neighborhood, close to a bathroom.  Dickidoo was able to sit with us as his patient had managed to fall asleep despite all the noise.  All in all it was a nice evening. 

Happy Birthday America!

Sunday, July 3, 2005


These are the pictures that will not, I repeat WILL NOT be used in the brochure for next year's festival.  My 3 pirates obviously watch way too many TV commercials!  Personally I prefer Bacardi gold.

I call this knight 'Sir Picksalot' for obvious reasons.  He is really a good looking guy if you can look past his personal hygiene habits. 

May I present Sir Dickidoo, squandering his kingdom's treasures.  I would have joined him if those were Corona kegs, but alas, they were just Coors.


Now that's one tired camel!  He remained in that position almost the entire time we were at the festival.  I wasn't even sure he was alive until I got closer and he peeked at me through one eye.  I'll tell you what though, thats pretty much how we all felt at the end of the day!


We love the Renaissance Festival and try to go every year.  We knew the cousins would have a blast.  I was sewing and piecing together costumes until the time we left, but it was worth it.  The Oompas looked fabulous!  Unfortunately, despite their distinguished looks, it was no easier getting a group photo of them.  This was as good as it would get in the 581 shots we took.


Experience taught us to take lots of water.  Uncle Daddy carried 2 camel-packs.  At least we knew where two of the kids were.  Little Miki was probably the most adorable little Princess at the fair, and people made a point of telling her so.  Her gown was made from my old purple lace outfit from the military ball disaster that I wrote about earlier this year.


Jo wanted to be a pirate like his older cousins and spent the day before practising his 'Arrrr Arrrr Arrr!'.  His sister Talia went as a gypsy, and a very dainty one at that.


Rocky doesn't often wear a dress, and she tried very hard to act like a lady at the fair, but we had to laugh at her sneakers poking out from underneath her gown.  Becca dressed as a gypsy as well, but looked like the perfect lady.... until she opened her mouth!  Oh well, I guess I haven't been the greatest role model in the 'Lady' department.


These are my other 2 pirates.  It was so cool seeing the two boys walking through the fair grounds, many people assumed they were part of the show.  A voluptuous wench tried to kidnap Art and one fair-goer tried to get an autograph from Zack, thinking he was Johnny Depp re-living his role as Captain Jack Sparrow. 

Friday, July 1, 2005

THE PHONE CALL and the Loompa Land Epidemic

Guess who I talked to last night.  I'll give you all a hint, and I quote:  "Ohhhhhhh goooooo goooooooo gaaaaaaa gaaaaaaa whaaaaaaaaaah!"

Gabe called and put little Zachary on the phone.  I guess the little guy was tired and hungry because he gave me an earful!  And of course I had all kinds of advice to give him on how to handle his daddy.  You can read about it here in my Letters to Gabe .  Yes, he sounds as cute as he looks in his pictures, even when he's crying.

Yesterday I ran to the store to get some milk and doughnuts and upon my return I found that instead of just 1 sick Oompa Loompa, I had 3!  Naturally that set the Loompa Land Emergency Quarantine Procedures into effect.  No video games, no swimming pool, no trampoline, no nothing, just rest and lots of fluids.  Symptoms of one Oompa immediately disappeared when faced with the terms of confinement... I guess the thought of not being allowed to play the video games instantly cured him.  His stomach ache symptoms immediately returned when the medicinal tonic Ginger Ale was being passed out to the other two patients.  Well, no wonder he had a sore stomach, he had just eaten 3 doughnuts!  By evening all symptoms from all the patients were gone with the exception of one lingering sore throat.  Hopefully what ever it was has passed.  With this many people in the house, a contegious illness would be devastating.  And we are all so looking forward to going to the Fair tomorrow.

Today we go SHOPPING!