Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Ah, the lazy, hazy days of summer

School's out here now. Time for those lazy days of summer one hears so much about on the commercials for patio furniture. I remember summers as a kid being fairly lazy. In fact, so much so that I was glad when school came 'round again. What a difference a generation makes. I'm not sure when my kids are going to be lazy this summer. Off the top of my head, they have .....

Weight lifting class, four days per week, one hour each for two months. I'll probably only take them two days.

Levi will do swimming lessons four days per week for two weeks (maybe four).

Levi will do summer orchestra five days per week for two weeks.

Lane's in driver's ed class every day this week for three-and-a-half hours. Then he'll have driving times later.

Lane will have a Junior Leader's trip of four days.

We'll take a three to four day trip.

I want to take them to Oklahoma City at least for a day to do some photo taking downtown (Murrah Building memorial, botanical gardens, Bricktown).

Our lawn needs mowed weekly. Lane is mowing a neighbor's yard weekly. We'll mow my mom's lawn every other week.

I need to go to mother-in-law's and paint a room for her.

There are two different photography judging contests the boys will participate in.

Around and about all of these things there are their 4-H projects to get ready for the fair. Some of them, like the rockets, will take some time.

Lazy days of summer?

My ass.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Am I really??

Can this really be me? I have to say that, whenever I do those surveys where they tell what kind of whatever you are, they NEVER match my personality. I have to think about this one, though. To be honest, I'm not sure that I object!

You Are Scary!
You Are Scary

You even scare scary people sometimes!

How Scary Are You?

In honor of ....

Today is Memorial Day. My family never did the big go-to-the-cemetery-and-decorate-graves thing. Then again, we never had any relatives buried nearby. My mother-in-law has always made a big deal out of visiting the graves of her family. Even more so now that father-in-law has gone. And there's nothing wrong with this. By all means, remember your loved ones.

But I think many people forget that Memorial Day originated in 1868 to commemorate those who died in the Civil War. It has since become a day to honor all US service men and women, especially those who have died serving their country.

So, in light of that, I'd like to take a moment to honor some of my family's military .....

My nephew Josh and his wife Tina, both Army medics.

My brother, Steve, National Guard.

My sister, Debbie, who did a short stint in the Army.

My Dad, Charles F. Juckes,
who died last Valentine's Day,

3rd Recon Company

Circa 1954

Grandpa (Dad's Dad)

James K. Juckes


This is either my Granduncle
or great Granduncle
(not sure which!!)

Thomas Juckes

Also, Dad's brother James W. Juckes, Mom's brother Paul H. Schofield, Mom's Dad Austin H. Schofield and many, many cousins, uncles and various other relatives.
To all of you, thank you for your service. I'm very proud to be descended from such as you.

Friday, May 26, 2006

The boys done good

We've just finished another school year. And a very good one it was, too. I feel so fortunate to have bright children. If you have a middle schooler, you know that the slam of choice at this age is "retard". Ugh. I won't allow my kids to use that word. I hate it. I've pointed out to them that their intellectual abilities are nothing more than an accident of birth. Parents with high IQs have challenged children all the time. They just hit a lucky roll of the dice in the biological crap shoot. Nothing more.

Still, I'm glad they got lucky.

Lane achieved 3.75 GPA honor roll, Academic Excellence (maintaining a 95% or higher the entire term) in Computer Science and Language Arts and the President's Education Award for academic excellence (maintaining a 3.5 or higher GPA for the entire middle school career).

Levi achieved 4.0 GPA honor roll, Academic Excellence in Science, Language Arts and Social Studies, and 529 AR points.

Dang. It's nice to have such smart kids. Makes a mom feel pretty darned proud of them. And of herself. After all, those ARE my genes at work.

And then ....

Lane asked me what's for dinner? Meatloaf. Five minutes later .... Mom, what's for dinner? Honey, what did I tell you just FIVE minutes ago??

I told Levi that I had bought him two new pair of shorts and I wanted him to try them on before he took the tags off. Okay? OKAY? Levi, what did I just say to you? Ummmm. That I need to take my clean clothes off the dryer and put them away.

And Mom comes crashing back to reality. Then again ....

Steve called earlier. What are you doing? Buying Lane some shoes. At Wal Mart? No, we're at Stage. Oh, okay. See you soon. We get home. He asks what kind of shoes Lane got. Nikes. At Wal Mart? Ummmm, no honey. Where did I tell you I was buying them when you asked me? Oh, right. Stage.

Apparently the latter behaviors are Steve's genes at work.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Puppies, puppies everywhere and not a one was mine

Had to take mom for a check-up in OKC today. We got a wild hair and decided to stop in nephew's office on the way home and surprise him. He works at a vet clinic in Edmond. He was very surprised. It was really fun to see the look on his face when we walked it. His clinic is 1.5 hours from our town so it's not like he would expect us to be in the neighborhood! It was one of those things where it takes a few seconds for the brain to believe what the eyes are seeing. I thought surprising him and seeing his "domain" was fun.

And then ....

I see the open doorway into another area. What's that, I ask? Oh, a pet shop. WHAAAAAAAT??

Well, anyone that knows me knows I could not resist the lure of a pet shop. I usually avoid them for this reason but this one was was just so ... so ... available. Just a few, meager steps away. My feet were moving that way before I could think to tell them not to. I got to pet 18 puppies ....

2 Yorkies
1 Chihuahua
6 Cairn Terriers (these little guys nearly made me lose my will power)
2 Pointers
2 Puggles
2 Cocker Spaniels
1 Bichon Frise
2 other little white ones (Westies?)

Oh, and two orange and white kittens. I think the only thing that would have been better than getting to pet them all one at a time would have been if they'd gotten them all out of their little pens at the same time and let me sit on the floor in the middle of all of them. I came away with well chewed fingers, smelling like puppy breath and a whole week's worth of warm fuzzies.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Kudos, KPM!!

Poor customer service seems to have become the norm these days. At least it has in my little patch of the world. And, considering that Kansas is always the last to catch onto any fad, I'm guessing it's not a localized phenomenon.

So, in light of this, I feel compelled to sing the praises of a small, local computer store ... KPM Computer Solutions in Winfield, Kansas. We bought our latest computer there last July. Kevin, one of the owners, offered to let the boys watch him build it when they expressed an interest. He patiently explained everything as he installed each component.

A few months ago our mother board died. I was a bit peeved as the computer was only about 6 months old at the time. Um. Well. Turns out youngest DS had mistaken the floppy drive for the place where he should insert one of those half-sized CDs. In all likelihood, this killed the mother board. KPM installed a new one and covered it under our warranty. As far as I know, user stupidity isn't a covered item, but they did it anyway.

I've been having internet problems. My server support say it's the computer. Called KPM and they said they were short two techs and really busy but run it by and they'd hook it up at their store to see if it was the computer or not. It was. Our network connections were all gone. The tech (forgot to ask his name) also installed some better drivers, did a couple of other small fixes and dusted the inside out. All for a whopping sixteen dollars and two cents.

As much as I hate poor customer service, I really, really love great service. If anyone needs a new computer, take my advice and check KPM first!!

Sunday, May 21, 2006


I'd probably hate drama kings, too, but I don't think I know any.

My sister-in-law has a serious case of PTDD. You know ... Prone To Drama Disorder. Usually I can avoid getting sucked in. Oh, she tries. She calls me up specially to bitch about this or that. But I just listen to her rant and rave and let the words wash over me. Sometimes, it's harder to avoid, though. Plus, it's often clear that her "stories" have only an element of the truth. And that bugs me. I think I hate liars more than I hate drama queens. I usually let those glaring discrepancies go, too, though. Ultimately, it's just not worth it to disagree or to call her out on the dishonesties. Family harmony and all that.

But, you know me.
Just can't keep the ole mouth shut forever.

The latest ... she called me on Friday PISSED off because her sister had given our mother-in-law a birdhouse. And now MIL has this birdhouse in the garden. And birds are building a nest in it! Oh the horror!! I simply responded that her sis told MIL she didn't like it and gave it to her.

She e-mailed me about this twice yesterday.
The first one said, "It is no big deal."
The second one said, "So forget I even noticed it was in the garden."

Like a total idiot, I assumed this meant she wanted to drop it. You know, I assumed she was a rational member of the human race. Silly girl. Assuming such, I didn't respond to either one. (Not about the birdhouse issue ... just a chatty what-are-you-doing-type one.)

This morning, she e-mailed about it again.
This evening, she e-mailed about it again.

This time, she pouts and says that she feels like she has "no right to say anything anymore if I'm upset" and that it "isn't worth it honestly".


Let me get this straight. YOU call ME mad about something. I don't say much about it. What could I say? You e-mail me a couple of times saying, basically, forget about it. I forget about it and now you think I'm mad because I forgot about it?

I flipping can't stand drama like this. Real-life drama comes around often enough. We don't really need to go making it up. Well, most of us don't.

I just sent her a loooong e-mail pointing out what was wrong with every one of her messages and even quoting her to make my point. Hooo-BOY! I can't wait till she gets that one. She's been begging me to side with her all weekend and I've just slammed the door. She's gonna be pissed with a capital PEE.

And just think, we're spending the weekend together at mother-in-law's house.

Can't. Hardly. Wait.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Mr. Fashion Corrupts His Brother

The latest installment of Mr. Fashion. I hadn't really meant this to be a continuing saga but, as these things often do, it's taken on a life of its own. Probably how Curious George got started. First Curious George, then Curious George Goes to Washington, then Curious George Irritates the Crap Out of His Mother. And so continues "Mr. Fashion" .....

Lane, aka: Mr. Fashion, has been giving me fits for about three years now with his eclectic clothing choices. Luckily, Levi has been easy to please since birth. Oh, he doesn't like things too big or too short, but I can understand that. In his case, size mattered, choices did not.

Until ....

For his last orchestra concert the director told them they could wear "church clothes" but no specifics otherwise. The standard concert uniform is almost always black pants and white shirts. I was glad the boys could wear a COLOR! Now, you other scrapbookers will understand this excitement. I have three years of orchestra photos and they all look identical. A scrapbooker wants some variety for their pages!

So Levi asks what he should wear for the concert. A series of very nice shirts were considered and, by him, quickly rejected.

How about your black one?
No, I wore it to school yesterday. I can't wear it to the concert tonight!
No photo available as he wore it to school today.

How about the orange one with the little black stripes? That will go perfectly with your black dress pants.

No. (No reason given other than he didn't want to wear it.)

How about this green one?

(With a HORRIFIED expression on his face....) NO! That's a gross color! It looks like someone puked in grass and then rolled a shirt in it. (Nevermind that he wore this shirt off and on for the last two years.)

After much wrangling back and forth, he chose this one ....


I. Will. Survive. These. Kids.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

What a concert!!

Wow. The boys had their final orchestra concert of this year on Thursday night. It was incredible. Levi's 6th grade group did SO well! It's just amazing how far they've come this year. Nine months ago they didn't even know how to hold their bows and now they're playing songs. And playing them very nicely. Levi did so well. And, yes, I can hear him. He's one of only two cellos and even I can pick the cellos out. His orchestra played March Oriental, March of the Metro Gnome and Country Cookin'. During this song, they all put in those Bubba teeth you see at the quick shops. Gross! And yet funny at the same time.

Then on to the 7th/8th grade orchestra. First, to retrace a bit, Lane helped the 6th graders out on one song. He "played" the drumsticks. Just whacked them together to make a clacky rhythm. I thought that was interesting as she, the director, had a couple of percussion band students there for this very purpose in later songs and yet she had Lane do it. I think it's because she's had him helping her tutor this group once a week all school year.

Then, Lane got to play a solo! And not just a bit in a song either. It was bass-ically a full-song solo. The song was Bass-ically Bluegrass. We've got three years experience in orchestra and this was the first real bass solo I've seen. That was very cool.

But wait! There's more! When Mrs. G. had Lane front-and-center for his solo, she presented him with the Director's Award. This award is for leadership and musicianship. *sniff,sniff* Mommy nearly cried. The director said that this award almost always goes to a violinist due to their natural position in the orchestra but Lane most definitely deserved it. *sniff,sniff* The 7th/8th orchestra also played an Irish Suite: Kerry Dance, Lullaby and Irish Washerwoman.

The high school did a phenomenal job as well. During Santiago, the lead violinist played an electric violin solo that was just incredible. The lights were dimmed and he had lights on his bow and fingers. And just when we thought it couldn't get any better, the lights were lowered completely and they played The Ocean - kind of a rocked-up song with a light show, ala Trans-Siberian Orchestra. You don't often see high school orchestra audiences screaming and whistling but you did that night.

What a truly amazing night for all of the kids. This is one proud orchestra mommy.

Friday, May 12, 2006


Look what I almost SAT on this morning.

I went into the back yard to take some pictures of jewelry out in the sunlight. Was halfway to sitting down when I glanced down and saw THIS literally about 1-foot from where I was preparing to sit. Now, I'm okay with snakes as long as they're over there and don't seem too interested in me. Or if I can verify that they're harmless. I just don't know most of them by sight. Still, harmless or not, I don't want to SIT on one! I'm a biggish woman and not particularly nimble and it's not all that easy to reverse direction when you're halfway into a sit-on-the-ground maneuver, but you can bet your booty I managed it!

I consulted my "expert resources", ie: Scrap Share, and have found he's a simple garter snake. I didn't know they had red on them. Whew! Now that I know he's a good snake, we can peacefully co-exist. If he wasn't, Steve would have been mowing the yard for a while.

Now I just hope he'll eat those moles that have been invading my yard!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

When OCD meets snack time

My brother thinks I'm a freak. I staunchly deny this, of course. I'm perfectly normal, thankyouverymuch. Or, at least I thought I was. I bought a big ole bag of Monster Trail Mix last weekend at Target. Yummy stuff. Nothing freakish about eating trail mix, right? Well, I didn't think so either until I noticed how I eat it. One component at a time.

Raisins first
... then butterscotch chips
... then M&Ms
... then chocolate chips
... then peanuts.

No taking a handful and cramming it all into my mouth at once. Nope.

One. At. A. Time.

Really, that's not freakish, though. Is it? IS IT???

Edited to add: Okay, in this case I only ate the raisins, butterscotch chips, M&Ms and the chocolate chips. Got a phone call then, left the computer and came back to find that my little bitch-dog ate all the peanuts! Grrrrr.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

That's it. I'm DONE!

It's official. I am never, ever watching American Idol again! This is the first season I've watched more than just the auditions. The boys and I love that part. It's hilarious, pathetic, touching and horrifying all at the same time. But I always lose interest after that. I'm not sure how, but I got sucked in this season. I have loved Chris Daughtry since the beginning. Love his story ... love his looks (those dark eyes just melt me) ... but most of all I love his singing and his style. And now he's gone. There is NO WAY that Elliot, Katharine or Taylor deserved to win over Chris. There is just no justice in this world. (And, yes, I do realize that I'm taking a TV show way too seriously but I just can't help it, dammit!)

I do believe that we'll be seeing Chris again. I'll wait. And I'll be first in line that morning to buy his CD.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Mr. Fashion Continued
~ ~ OR ~ ~
Kids are Weird, Part III

So, as it turns out, Lane hasn't changed back from boxers to briefs. He's ADDED briefs to boxers. I know this because I do the laundry. Anyone with a teen-aged son can probably attest to the fact that they, apparently, strip all in one flowing motion. Pants show up in the laundry with scrunched-up socks still stuck in the legs and unders still in the top part. So, now we have briefs under boxers under pants.

Funny thing is, I've been a mom long enough that I'm not even going to ask why.

Kids. Are. Weird.

BTW, I've mentioned my blog, but he's never read it. He keeps wanting to and I keep forgetting to tell him how to find it. If he ever does, he'll be MORTIFIED to find that his personal underwear choices are featured! :-)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Deliveries, Detention and Violins

What a day. This has been one of those typical Mom days where it seems like all I’ve done is run back and forth. Mostly doing kid stuff. Well, virtually ALL kid stuff. But that’s what I get the big bucks for. Right? I won’t bore you with all of the details, but here are a couple of highlights.

Lane has that 14 year old, head-up-the-butt focus that is an all-too-common trait of the breed. Last week he forgot his track sweatshirt on a day of a meet. Being the good mommy that I am, I ran it to him at school. Yesterday, he forgot his camera that he wanted to take to that day’s track meet. Being the good mommy that I am, I ran it to him at school. Today, he forgot his bass guitar again that was still in my van from his concert Monday night. I say “again” as he didn’t have it for class yesterday either. Being the good (and now irritated) mommy that I am, I ran it to him at school and informed him that all future deliveries would come with a $2 surcharge. Mom’s taxi is still a free service. Mom’s delivery service is gonna cost you.

Next, I took Levi to a local music store to choose a new violin. He’s been playing cello all this school year but hasn’t really been crazy about it since mid-term. He wants to change to violin but his instructor really didn’t want him to, especially part-way through the school year. Plus, she needs cellos. Well, being the good mommy that I am, I want him to be happy. Plus, if he doesn’t like the instrument he’s playing, he won’t keep playing. I’ve talked her into giving him lessons over the summer and then we’ll talk about where to go from there. So, we got his violin today. He was so cute when we got home. He took it out of the case, marveled over the smooth, perfect finish. The cello is rented from the school so has suffered not a little abuse over the years. He tried to tune it, rosined the bow, plucked around on it. He was charmed. I hope it works for him.

Then, to top off this rather eventful day, Lane tells us he got detention this week. It wasn’t a major infraction. He was taking photos of some other kids performing antics in the lunch room and things got a little out of hand. Ugh. This means he has to miss the last track meet of the season. I know, it could be worse. The problem for me was that he knew darned good and well that the camera wasn’t allowed in the lunch room (he takes it to school to take photos at track practice/meets which IS allowed). But he’s at that age where he questions authority. And looks for loopholes. Sometimes he finds them. Sometimes he only thinks he does. This would be a case of the latter. He's now busy writing a note of apology to his track coach.

I. Will. Survive. These. Children.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Hey, honey! I have a present for you!!

I was poking around a local pawn shop this morning. Didn't really need anything. I just like to look. The guns drew my attention and I was looking them over when the shop owner approached me. He asked if I needed any help?

I told him I was thinking about getting a gun for my husband.

He wanted to know what kind he might need?

I told him it didn't really matter. He doesn't even know I'm going to shoot him!