Thursday, February 28, 2013

Really? Again?

We had ANOTHER snow day yesterday.  I think we're averaging one a week for the month of February. Thank goodness it's over (February, not winter, we've got another month or two of that) -or will be in a matter of hours.  We got a lot of snow and it was really windy, which made for some pretty hefty drifting in parts of the driveway, some past my knees. Then today, a chicken got out and when I noticed her, she was perched on top of 4 feet of snow it was natural snow, not a drift we made by snow blowing or shoveling or anything, so it wasn't packed down.  There was no way I was going up there to chase her back or I was going to end up in one of those little snow caves like Pa in the Little House books.

Since we were snowed in all day and night yesterday, we didn't leave the house.  We had overnight house guests, two of the ministers from our church.  Since we had a decent amount of people, Angel #4 broke out the Pit game.  Miracle of Miracles, WE didn't loose for a change, but that was only because he didn't play. :p   We decided it was really time to get a new Pit game.  Because our bear card (the most traded card of the game, for those of you unfamiliar with Pit) was totally bent up and worn out, we made one of the spare cards the Bear card, which we also wore out and our second home made bear card is now looking pretty beat-up as well.  Once you wear out 3 bear cards, it's time to get a new game.  We've had the game for only about 10 years - we're kind of rough on Pit cards.

**update, I went outside and she was still perched there so I figured I'd better just climb up the snow and chase her down.  The snow turned out to be really packy, so my feet only went down a couple of inches.  The chicken refused to move, so I had to get all the up there and carry her down myself.  I hadn't realized chickens could be such divas.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

my life - a study in surrealism

Sometimes I look at something, don't think about it, then do one of those cartoon double takes.  Like the time I was talking on the phone, glanced out the window and saw a ladder bobbing past, then brace itself on the roof.  It only took a few seconds for me to realize it wasn't moving on its own and I needed to do some investigating.  Looking a little further down, I saw a 3 year old Wormeater at the foot of the ladder, preparing to go onto the roof.  I didn't waste time trying to figure out why (some things I prefer not to know) but I cut my conversation short and stopped my little Bob the Builder from whatever mayhem he was up to.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, he was also naked.  Well, this happened to me again yesterday, but thankfully without the nakedness (you'd be thankful too, once you hear the rest of this story).  WE and I were driving down the road toward home when we passed an Amish man (complete with beard and suspenders) roller blading down the road.  I kept driving, then looked at WE and asked, was that really an Amish man roller blading down the road???  Yep, we both saw it, so it must be true.

Angel #4 is complaining that I never write about her, so here goes.  My daughter doesn't know how to play guitar, she's never had a lesson and made a half-hearted attempt to teach herself a One Direction song a couple months ago.  Well, last week, she decided that when she and her friend Jenna do their duet at the Fine Arts Festival, Jenna was going to accompany on piano and #4 on guitar.  Yeah, this was last week.  The Fine Arts Festival?  It's on Sunday.  Brimming with confidence would kind of be an understatement.

Monday, February 25, 2013


proma =  (noun)  a state, situation, or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces during the high school prom season

It's starting.  Who's going to make it? Who's sitting in the back of the room?  Who's not going at all?  The voting hasn't yet begun, so those who think they may be in the running are being exceptionally nice to their public.  Though, as WE says, you're not going to erase 7 years of nastiness in the week before prom voting.  According to WE, the competition is fierce.  WE is hoping his girlfriend makes it for her sake, and hoping he doesn't, for his wallet's sake.  Prom dress code for guys is pretty relaxed, unless you're on court, then you've got to spring for a tux and a limo, apparently.  I asked him what he would do if he makes court but his girlfriend doesn't and he said he would withdraw - I guess the proma would be to much for him.  I asked him if his GF would do the same for him, he just laughed. He figures next year for Homecoming that very situation is going to come up.  Homecoming court is chosen by number of sports letters you earn + your GPA, it looks like he'll probably be in, but the GF not so much.  High school dance drama is such fun to watch if you're not 17 and in the middle of it all.

**yes, I know my background is white and weird looking.  I know what I did (accidentally) to make it that way, but it's too much work to figure out how to make it right, so just deal with it, people

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Our basketball teams are still cutting a wicked swath through northeast Wisconsin.  The girls just became conference champs and the boys took regionals last night by the skin of their teeth.  Last nights game was 58-56 and Friday nights win was an edge of the seat 58-57, won by a 3 point shot the last second of the game.  This Thursday, they go on to play against the school district where my sister teaches.  I'm gonna have to talk some smack to her.

Hubs is off  again, this time it's Los Angeles and Las Vegas - he's in the Land of the Las (Los) tee-hee  I swear that man is never home anymore.  I can survive as long as I've got a working snow blower and a teen aged boy to work it.  But I worry that poor hubs is missing the wonders of winter in Wisconsin...or possibly that's his plan!  Friday they even called off school, which was an epic fail.  We were supposed to get a lot of snow, so they called it off in anticipation of a blizzard, but we only got a measly inch or two, hardly even a blip on the snow radar.  The weather was much better than it was on Tuesday, when they didn't even have a school delay.  Oh well, can't win them all.

On Thursday, hubs went to fix a guy's furnace.  Money was a bit tight for the guy, so they agreed to a barter.  The man is an antique wholesaler and has a huge barn just packed full of stuff.  I got a small bedside table and a cool looking 1950's chrome dinette set. He also gave me a big starburst clock, it's in  rough shape and the clock itself isn't working, which is why he just gave it to me.  I'm hoping that a little oil in the works and some cleaning on the starburst part will do the trick and that baby'll be hanging over my sofa in all its retro glory before you know it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

slip sliding away

Our see-sawing weather we've been having is making a mess of things.  It thaws, then freezes, then thaws again, making ice patches all over the place.  Yesterday on my way home from work, I hit a patch as I was turning into our driveway and ended up in a snowbank.  I wasn't in far or anything, but just enough so I had to call for hubs to come out and give me a little push.  Of course, there was mocking on his part, but I would have done the same to him, so I can't really blame him.  Then, later in the day hubs and I went into town to pick WE up at school, then go to his parent teacher conferences. As we were driving downtown, we saw a man slip and fall and then laid there on his back motionless.  We pulled over and hubs jumped out to see if he could help.  The guy was conscious, but smacked his head pretty hard and was bleeding all over the ice.  He didn't want us to call an ambulance and he was too big for hubs and I to help him up, he was old as well, so not quite so nimble, besides, it was really really slippery there and I didn't want to end up in the same condition as him.  So I ran into a nearby bar to ask for some help, the guy got onto his feet, then they brought him into the bar to call his wife.  He wanted to drive himself home, but that wasn't going to happen, he was in no shape to be behind the wheel of a car, besides, he was still bleeding quite badly.  

Once we shifted responsibility for the man onto the bar (it was their sidewalk that hadn't been properly taken care of and caused the fall in the first place) we headed to the high school.  Now that the kids are older, I usually don't go to conferences.  I figure that if there's a problem, they'll let me know, but since we were going to town to get WE anyway and the school was trying a new thing (open house conferences, just come between 3-7pm) we might as well go.  We got all good reports, which is nice, but also heard there was a bit of horsing around going on, not a big surprise, WE tells stories.  And even though WE is no longer in chemistry, I swung by to talk to the chemistry teacher.  Angel #2 told me he was really good looking and I should check him out if I got the chance, so I did - she was right.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

stormy weather

Thanks for your comments everyone.  It's nice to know I'm not the only person sick to death of trendy, generic kitchens.

We had some crappy weather yesterday.  It started Monday night when we had ice rain, WE ended up driving home from the girls basketball game at about 15 mph.  School started on time on Tuesday, but the roads were still really cruddy, I was kind of surprised we didn't have a two hour delay.  Things didn't get better as the day progressed, with heavy winds blowing, causing the roads to drift shut.  The kids said they saw 2 cars in the ditch on the bus ride home after school.  Hubs and I had to head into the city to get our taxes done, I let him drive as trying to drive through snowy crap puts me over the edge.  On the way home, we were in a long line of traffic and a deer ran out between cars.  We hit the breaks, but just kept on sliding, until that moment, we hadn't realized we were driving on glare ice.  Somehow the deer managed to get across the road unscathed and all the cars got through as well.  This  morning I read there was a 26 car pileup about 40 miles from here, so unfortunately, not everyone made it through without damage yesterday.

We also went to the boys basketball game last night.  By the time we got there it was halftime.  It was regional tournaments, so we were playing a school out of our conference.  It so happened that we were playing against hubs' old hometown.  I think he was a little bit torn as far as cheering went.  We know or at least recognize the boys playing for our team now, but hubs has been cheering on the Wolves for most of his life and it just went against his grain to root against them.  So we just cheered no matter who made a basket.  I was a bit surprised to see a fairly good turnout for the visitors team, those folks had a 70 mile one-way drive to get to the game and with the roads the way they were, there's no way I would have gone.  Hubs saw a few people he knew from back in his school days, but we didn't recognize any of the kids names on the team.  We moved from that town the summer between  Angel #1's 2nd & 3rd grade year, so any kids I would have known from then would be long graduated by now.  Our Panthers ended up beating the Wolves quite handily (too bad, Tanya! ;P ) so we were happy, but I felt bad for the out of towners who had such a long, slippery, cold ride home without even the glow of a basketball win to keep them warm.

Oh hey, did you know that there are carrot cake flavored M&M's?  How weird is that, eh?  We bought some last night, they DO taste like carrot cake, but are really really sweet, so you're pretty much maxed out after about 6 or 7 of them.

**Tanya, my brother is living in New London, so it's entirely possible  you saw him at Festival.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

leaping out of my social shell with both feet

Wow, was I busy this weekend - well, busy for me, a lot of people probably have a regular social life and this isn't such a big deal.  Friday was only half a day of school, so when we got out, Angel #4 and I headed to the thrift store, it was $10 bag day.  All the clothes you could shove into a bag for $10.  Not a bad deal.

We got home and I was putting off thinking about what I was going to make for supper when hubs called.  He bumped into someone he knew who told him about a grand opening at a little coffee shop.  There was going to be a musician and a stand-up comic.  He wanted to see the comic, so we decided to make an evening of it.  We went out to eat, then found the coffee place and each got a delicious gelato.  We had fun listening to the comedian, who did a little improv.  Both hubs and I were pulled up to play along.  Afterwards, the entertainers sat and visited with those of us in the audience and had a fun little chat.  I think hubs may have given the comedian a whole new bunch of performance ideas. :p The coffee shop gave us all cake, gave away some door prizes (hubs got a thing of candy) and we had a really fun time.

Saturday morning, Angel #4, her friend and I went over to my sisters house and the 4 of us did the Winter Parade of Homes.  This is usually a yearly tradition for sis and I.  There were 41 brand spankin' new houses in this years parade for us to go wandering through, we managed to hit 15 of them before we ran out of time.  We usually do better, but we weren't as organized this year.   My sister has a great memory for which contractors have the most interesting houses to go through, so she plans out our route, but her computer is down, so she didn't have a chance to check out the map until I showed up that morning.  We still did pretty good though. Sadly, there were no exceptional, stand-out houses this year.  Usually there's one or two that really stick in my head, but nothing really did it for me this year.  I think the main thing is that very few stepped outside the box decorating-wise.  All the counter tops were granite (I despise granite counter tops), most of the rooms were painted some neutral color (I hate neutral colors) and nothing really popped.  I understand how most of them are spec homes and the builders want to keep them as buyer friendly as possible, but I can't help thinking that they would make them more memorable if they didn't make them look exactly like every other house.

I no more than got home from the house walk than I was out the door again.  The chamber of commerce from the next town over had a big tasting event.  For $40/couple, we got to sample the wares of nearby breweries, chocolate shops, bakeries, wineries, cheese makers (this IS Wisconsin, you know) and sausage makers.  We wandered around for 3 hours stuffing our faces with cheese, cake and candy and washing it down with tons of different wines.  It was a really fun time.  I saw my cousin there, which was nice.  Her husband died in August and I was happy to see that she's going places and out there enjoying herself.  She's only in her mid 30's and much too young to sit alone at home.

While hubs and  I were parked in front of one of the wine display tables tasting their wares, a lady standing next to us started chatting.  Turns out that our kids go to school together and I remembered her son from last year's track team.  We ended up having a really fun time together and talked about getting together again.  She and her husband are good friends with WE's girlfriend's parents, so looks like we might actually get into a local social circle.  Who woulda thunk?  Oh, and I also one a raffle prize, which was pretty cool.

Today, once I was home from church, I just hung around home recovering from my massive socializing from the rest of the weekend.  Angel #4 had a relapse from the cold we thought she'd recovered from and hubs caught the cold that #4 relapsed into, so they both stayed home this morning.  WE was at the school Snow Ball last night and ended up spending the night at a friends, so he wasn't home either, so I ended up going to church all by myself.  It wasn't a bad thing, I needed the alone time I got in the car.  Tomorrow it's back to the daily blur.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Asian Standoff

You've heard of a Mexican standoff.  Since my family can't do things like normal people, my kids had an Asian standoff Tuesday night.  An Asia standoff happens when you want to bring your friend (who's Laotian)  home after the high school basketball game and your little sister refuses to give up the front passenger's seat for your friend.  WE refused to leave the school parking lot until Angel #4 let his friend sit in the front seat, #4 refused to acquiesce to his request.  WE's buddy really didn't care where he sat, but being an experienced brother with 9 siblings of his own, was willing to help WE prove his point.  WE refused to start the van or allow the interior lights to be turned on (he didn't want to drain the battery) until #4 moved.  He and his buddy wrapped up in a blanket, put the back bench seat down and ended up falling asleep for a little while. He woke up and realized that they'd been sitting in the parking lot for almost a whole hour and #4 still refused to give up her seat.  WE was afraid he'd get in trouble for staying out too late, so finally started the van, delivered his friend and drove home.  Once home, #4 admitted that she was going to wait a full hour and if he didn't give in, she would have moved.  WE waited 55 minutes.  #4 won the standoff.  Amazingly enough, instead of being mad at each other when they got home, they were happy and joking around.  Go figger.  Tonight they're going to another basketball game.  To make things more interesting, not only is WE taking his buddy home again, but his buddy's little sister is Angel #4's friend and he's taking her home as well.  I told #4 that she and her friend had to sit in the back seat tonight.

WE won the unofficial greatest boyfriend contest today.  The stuffed bear and box of candy definitely got him the points he needed, but the thing that put him over the top was the pillow.  They had lunch and a movie today at school as a fund raiser for Huntington's disease (one of their classmates suffers from it) and they could bring blankets and pillows from home to make their seat on the floor of the gym more comfortable.  WE's girlfriend brought the amazing, as seen on tv, light-up pillow she got from WE for Christmas and everyone was massively jealous of it.  So not only did he win Valentine's day, but he also won Christmas 2 months after the fact.  My boy's got skills.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

making pizzas in my sleep

Yesterday, all the volunteers made about 3000 pizzas, assembly line fashion in about 8 hours. Surprisingly enough, pizza sounded good for yesterday's lunch break and again for lunch today.  It was an entire volunteer effort, with the Jaycees's, Optimists, Catholic Church, high school flags team and who knows how many other organizations working together to raise funds, I think the profits all went toward Children's Hospital or something.  I'm not sure, I didn't ask questions, I just spread the pepperoni and smiled. I was surrounded by 3 foreign exchange students from the high school in our neighboring town and it was interesting hearing them talk about what school is like in Italy, Finland and Germany as well as their experience going to a Packer game (Packer fans attending home games are a special kind of rabid).

I also stopped by the library and picked up a book waiting there for me.  Talking Pictures by Ransom Riggs is awesome!  He's the author who wrote Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, a book so incredible I'm jealous of him for coming up with the idea.  Talking Pictures is non-fiction and is simply a compilation of old photographs and the written notations the photographer made on the backs of them.  These are all pictures from Mr Riggs collection, just simple pictures of regular every day people taken by regular, every day people behind a camera.  They really make you think and my mind keeps wanting to fill in the blanks the short captions leave. Some though, are pretty self explanatory, like the picture of the smashed up car and the note on the back that said it was "for your scrapbook reminding you of the wonderful time we had when you were teaching me how to drive".  It just made the people in the old photos feel like real live personalities rather than just relics of the past.  I highly recommend it.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Exciting extras!!!!!!

If you want a chance to win some cool prizes, check out the Heartbreak Blog Hop that we're participating in at Novelfriends.

Do people not keep food in their house?

So, the news says the north east is going to be hit by a snow storm.  It's the north east.  It's February. There WILL be snow.  Why does this always seem to come as a shock to people?  They show pictures of people lined up buying bread and, of all things, water.  What's up with people buying water when a storm is coming?  Do they not have it coming out of their faucets at home?  You take a couple of pitchers, or even mason jars, you fill them from the faucet and line them up on your kitchen floor if  you think you might have a water issue.  It's free (or at least cheaper than buying bottled water) and if you end up not using it, dump it in your washing machine the next time you do a load.  Anyway, back to the snow storm grocery rush.  Don't people keep food in their homes anymore?  Has our society become so dependent on instant accessibility they they don't even know how to keep a little extra food around in case of an emergency?  I find this so sad.  Maybe it's the location.  It snows here in Wisconsin too.  Yesterday we got at least 6-7 inches.  I don't know a single person who felt like they needed to make a run to the store to stock up.  School was delayed for 2 hours this morning, then it was business as usual. Like I said, it's February up north, there will be snow, there's no reason to be shocked when it happens.

Tomorrow, hubs, WE and I are going to spend the day making homemade pizzas for the Optimist Club pizza fundraiser.  I don't think I"m going to have a good time (see what I did there??  tee-hee)  Angel #4 was supposed to help as well and was going to bring a friend along, but she's got a really bad cold and I really don't think the optimists are going to want her sneezing and snorking on their pizzas.  She could pass her cold on to almost the entire town in a single afternoon (I did it again! giggle).

WE bought his girlfriend a tee shirt online for a 6 month anniversary present (I think the monthly anniversary celebrations are eventually going to get old).  The website he bought it from didn't bother to tell him that it was on backorder until 2 days after he ordered it and already took his money.  He's been checking the mailbox for weeks waiting for it to show up, and finally, today, it did.  Just in time, this milestone anniversary takes place tomorrow.  He was so relieved.  He also bought her a Valentine's day present that he has lying in the corner of his bedroom, every time she comes over, he has to run and hide it so she doesn't see it.  He got her a heart shaped box of candy and a fuzzy white teddy bear holding an "I Love You" heart.  He's such a nice boyfriend.  He bought them during our shopping trip last Saturday, while we were at the store, he texted his buddy Alex, who's dating one of WE's girlfriend's best friends (got that?)  He had to find out what Alex was getting Emily, so he could buy his  girlfriend more so he would be the better boyfriend.  I didn't realize that boys had competitions to see who could be the best boyfriend.

I actually feel kind of professional-ish

Busy week at work - for me at least.  Except for the hour when I'm helping with dishes, scooping corn for kids and that kind of thing, I was feeling a bit useless.  I'm spending the other 2 hours of my day learning the ins and outs of school lunches, federal nutrition guidelines, menu organization and that kind of thing, but I haven't been doing anything tangible.  Like I'm hiding out in my office playing solitaire or something while everyone else is working (I'm not, btw).  But Tuesday of this week I had a meeting with the regional rep for our main food vendor, tomorrow I've got another meeting with a competing vendor who's going to try to convince me to buy from them instead.  Today I came in early to take part in a live webinar and talked to our superintendent about my possibly going to an all day conference next month (we decided against it).  Next week I'm planning on meeting with one of the state reps for government nutrition stuff.  I feel so popular!

Tonight I was planning on going to a Meet-Up meeting (have you discovered Meet-Up? if not, check it out online, there's bound to be some in your area).  But, we've gotten about 6 inches of snow already today and it's still coming down.  If I would have gone, I would have had to leave 45 minutes ago, but the plow just came down our road for the first time about 5 minutes ago.  Since my route takes me down about 35 miles of back country roads, chances are, my drive would have been pretty awful.  I prefer to be at home in my warm living room rather than waiting on the side of some dark road in the middle of nowhere for someone to pull me out of the ditch.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I've arrived

I was really starting to feel out of the loop this weekend.  Saturday night hubs, Angel #4 and I went to a benefit  for our former neighbor.  She's suffering from cancer and it's really hit her hard. It was held at a local bar, not my usual pick for socializing, but whatever.  I didn't think I'd see many people I knew and had a few concerns about feeling really awkward.  When we first walked in, I was temporarily relieved to see one familiar face a woman I work with and I got to thinking, hey, maybe I'll see some other people I know as well.  But, besides her, and the family the benefit was being held for, I didn't know a single other person. So the three of us just sort of bellied up to the bar and listened to the live music, which was pretty good. The three of us chatted a bit and hubs made a super lame joke, when he complained that we didn't laugh, Angel #4 informed him that it would take a lot more kiddy-cocktails before she found him funny.  #4 and I also had a contest to see who could tie a maraschino cherry stem with our tongues the fastest, of which I was the winner.  So that was about it for the evening and we were home about 9:30, but there was one slightly redeeming feature to the night.  Usually hubs, who's an uber-extrovert, knows tons of people wherever we go, but last night, I ended up knowing more people than him.  Though my acquaintance factor was a mere 4 people, hubs was only a one - I hadn't realized that he'd never met the lady next door (the one with cancer) or the couple's daughter, he only knew the man.  So, compared to him, I was downright popular.

Then this morning after church, WE said he'd like to go to the local bar/restaurant for breakfast - the high school robotics club was serving there as a fundraiser and his best buddy is on the team.  So we went there to get something to eat and I knew a fair number of people because of my work at the  school and from going to the kids' school activities.  Once again, hubs knew no one, I've really got to get that man out and socializing more.

Then, there was the cherry on the sundae, proving that I'm really becoming a certified member of our small town.  We got a wrong number on the phone this morning, not only did I know the person they were looking for and give them the correct phone number, I also informed the caller that the person she was looking for wasn't going to be at that number today anyway.  It wasn't quite on the level of hubs, who once called a wrong number and ended up chatting with the guy for half an hour, but it's a beginning.  So yeah, I'm connected.

Friday, February 1, 2013

sibling rivalry

My kids are jealous because yesterday I spent the afternoon making treats for my least I think it's jealousy, it may just be that they don't like the way it made the house smell.  I've had a big bag 'o pig fat sitting in my freezer for quite awhile now and yesterday I decided to render it down into lard.  But, I don't need a half of pig worth of lard, so I melted it down just a bit, until it was liquid.  I mixed it with some scratch grains and poured it into aluminum pie pans and froze them for chicken treats.  Chickens love that kind of thing, and since it's so cold out (-5) the extra fat will help keep them toasty warm.  I scooped up enough to render down into 2 quarts of lard and have just enough cracklings to keep me happy (cracklings are the little bits of deep fried meat bits that were mixed in with the fat, they're yummy!)  But all that lard cooking made the whole house smell like a deep friend pork chop.  Ideally, I should have done this in the summer on the burner of our grill, but who wants to spend the day boiling fat when it's hot and humid outside, besides, then I'd have to store a bunch of chicken treats in the freezer for months at a time, because those are not things you're going to want to leave siting outside in the summer time, you'd have a gross greasy mess.  Anyway, I'm glad to have the bag of fat out of my freezer.  Hubs brought the rest of our friend Jim's chickens over to him today, we'd been storing them in our freezer for him, so, with the fat gone and the 20 chickens gone, I think I may be able to combine the contents of both my chest freezers into one.  Of course, that means that I"m going to have to clean out my small freezer to make room for a bunch more stuff, and who wants to clean out a freezer when it's a million stinking degrees below zero outside?  So that might be a job I'm going to procrastinate on for awhile.

Yesterday, I finally got around to watching the very last ever episode of Fringe.  I've been watching the show since the very first episode and here it is, 5 seasons later, and it's all done now.  It was a perfect and satisfying ending.  I have to admit, I was a bit concerned about how they were going to end it, it's a JJ Abrams show and, though I never watched it, I remember people being dissatisfied by the way he ended Lost.  But no, all loose ends were tied up satisfactorily.  I laughed, I cried, it was good, though I'm going to miss having Walter Bishop in my life.  Fringe has one of my favorite lines ever from a television show (besides everything ever said on Firefly):  "Why are shape-shifting soldiers from another universe stealing cryogenically frozen heads?"  How can you not love a show that has a character saying that with an absolutely serious look on their face?