Wednesday, October 25, 2006

[Brought to you by the weekly SS blog challenge.]

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The challenge:"If I had it all to do over again, I would do most all things differently. However, how would I know that, if I had not had the opportunity to do them the first time." - Janice Markowitz

In golf, there's this thing called a Mulligan. Basically, if your golfing buddies agree to let you have it, it's your chance to try again without a penalty. It's a do-over. We don't get many Mulligans in life. But if we did ... if there was one Mulligan you could take - one do-over - what would it be?
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First thought ... I've made so darned many mistakes in my life that choosing just one to Mulligan would be really difficult. Upon further reflection, I realize that even the big mistakes have played a part in making me who I am today. Would I really want to change that? What part of me would I remove because I deleted the experience that taught me that lesson or affected that part of my personality or possibly even changed my life's path?
For instance, in some ways, one of the biggest mistakes of my life was my former marriage. And yet, my current life may well be a direct result of that. See, if I had never married him, I would never have met Kelly. If I hadn't met Kelly, I would never have gone to her sister's Halloween party many years later after we were both divorced. If I had never gone to the sister's Halloween party, I never would have met Steve. If I had never met Steve, I wouldn't be married to him today and have these two incredible kids. Would I change that? Absolutely not! And yet, if I'd never made the mistake of that first marriage, it's quite likely it would never have happened.
While it would be hugely tempting to me to take back one of my former mistakes, I think the best thing for me to do would to be to not. Who knows what other part of me I would lose along with that mistake? It's just not worth the risk.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

A Man and his Machine

Sometimes, you feel like all your work raising your kids has come to fruition. Lane just bought his very first vehicle. He's only 14.5 but has been working for a vet 2-3 afternoons per week for about 2 hours each. He's been saving almost every paycheck for a vehicle. Dad and I agreed to match what he could pay. His wants? Something reliable. He didn't care all that much how it looked. He just wanted something to get him back and forth to work and school. I was pleased that he wasn't being one of those kids who "demands", and gets, a brand-new car. (You know the ones I mean). He's been very sensible.

Knowing that he didn't want to spend much, we started looking very early. He won't get his restricted license till next March but we started looking for trucks a couple of months ago. Decent vehicles in his preferred price range are not easy to find. But luck was on our side on Sunday. We just happened to drive down the right street on the right day and saw this little beauty. We stopped, we looked, we drove, we brought him home.

Now, all that's left to do is teach Lane to drive a 5-speed. He's been practicing. I think I have whiplash. But he's catching on. And he's very, very excited to have his very own truck.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween Freakishness, continued

As promised, here are photos of the things that didn't show well in the night photos.

Spiders. The porch is covered in them. And webs. My mom hates it.

And the tombstones in the day so you can read them. The material was a "found" treasure. We had tile laid about four years ago. We've had this leftover cement board in our garage since then. I decided it was the perfect color and material for tombstones. They already look old, just by their natural color. All I had to do was draw on the words with magic marker. The lines I drew can be seen in these photos, but they don't show from the street. Full credit for shapes and most of the epitaphs goes to Scott Messinger at . Thanks, Scott!

Yeah, they're kind of messy but I purposely didn't measure when cutting. I wanted them to be a bit "off". Oh, and this one on the left was made especially for Steve. He found it funny for some reason.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

And what does this say about me??

I love Halloween. Always have. As a kid, I loved the dressing up in a costume and really loved the candy. In my teens and twenties, I loved the spooky movies. Now, I love it all. I especially love the decorations. When the boys were little, we had several cute things. As they've gotten older, cute as given way to gruesome. Or, at the very least, uncute.

As you may have read in a recent blog post, an article in our local paper specifically naming a house IT thought had great Halloween decorations spurred me on to add more things to my outdoor display. And now, being me, I want to add even more. I have a few ideas that I either ran out of time or money to create for this year. Be on the lookout next year.

For now, here is how my yard looks ....

The porch, in general. Lots of red and purple lights. A few of those fake jack-o-lanterns. The ones with scary faces, of course. Not the cute ones. What you can't see is the spiders everywhere. (I forgot to take daytime photos. Will try to remember to add those tomorrow.) Lane has all the lights hooked up to a programmable light box and the different sets come on, go off, flicker and dim at various times.

Levi informed me this evening that these silhouettes look "too cheesy" but I've had them for years and loved them for years, so they stay. I'd really like to find four more so that I have them in all of the street-facing windows.

The previous items we've had for a while. The rest is new. I have a couple of these creepers hanging in trees in dark areas of the yard. The spotlights just barely pick them up so they look faint and spooky in the dark. Had to use the flash here or he wouldn't show up.

Our own personal demon, standing watch over the cemetery.

The cemetery. I'll post daylight photos of the tombstones tomorrow. Some of them crack me up.

Busy witch, cooking up some kind of brew.

Close-up of her face as I was proud of my flash of inspiration. I put bicycle reflectors behind the eyes of the mask so they would glow red when lights hit them! These are shining from the camera flash.

And just a (very) few of my favorite indoor things...

This is for you SSers. See The Spooky Scrapbook?

Yeah, I get a little into Halloween. It's just too much fun not to. But I kind of have to wonder what the neighbors think? And what they think all this says about me?

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

And now let's play ...
"What the hell is that Smell?"

Ever play this game? It's hugely frustrating. And yet it must be played. A random bad Smell in the house cannot be left to its own devices. And, yes, I meant to capitalize it. A Smell is a vivid and definite living thing.

Day one, I began playing WTHITS. At first, it's very subtle. A faint whiff. What was that?? But now it's gone and one goes about one's business. But later, there it is again. The Smell. At this point, one usually starts searching. If you've ever played this game, you know what it looks like. One wanders about the general vicinity of the Smell because, if you could identify the specific location, you could identify the Smell. So you play bloodhound, nose to the ground, sniffing around like a penniless cocaine addict looking for a few left-over grains. During these searches, one will often sniff things that are, really, never meant to be sniffed. Admit it ... you've actually stuck your nose into a trash can and taken a big whiff! You know you have.

On day two, the hunt continued for my Smell. I thought it was either spoiled meat or decomposing small animal. Yes, I've smelled both. The former after an unfortunate forgot-a-grocery-bag-in-the-car incident. The latter because our darling cat occasionally brings the results of her hunts inside and caches them for future use.

Early on day three, I finally identified my Smell. When I was doing laundry. Note to self: In the future, when you spill a half a plateful of blood from the thawing out roast onto the floor and wipe it up with a wet cloth, RINSE THE STUPID CLOTH BEFORE PUTTING IT INTO THE LAUNDRY HAMPER!!

Smell solved. Lesson learned.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

I can hear the tantrum now

You've heard me talk about my psycho sister-in-law. She just keeps getting better and better. I just don't usually bother to write about it. Most of the time there are just. no. words. But I got a bit of a sadistic giggle today.

See, SIL's latest antic is to have become addicted to Internet bingo. Seriously addicted. Her hubby says he never sees her any more as, every minute she's home and awake, she's in the bedroom on the computer playing bingo. Mother-in-law even says she never talks to her when BIL and SIL visit her as SIL stays in the other room on the computer playing bingo the whole time. Nearly two months ago BIL told me that SIL has racked up winnings over $3,500 to that point. (I can't tell you how skeptical I was of that but I really like BIL so kept my mouth shut.)

Now, bear in mind that SIL (and BIL, of course) are way over their heads in debt. They have even had to borrow five figures from MIL over the years. But, with all these winnings, has she paid MIL a dime extra? Do you even need me to answer that? She continues to be two weeks late on the $100/month payment on the riding mower that she INSISTED on buying from MIL. Oh, they already had one. SIL thought they needed two so she and BIL can each have one. Whatthehellever.

My point? I just heard today that the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act was passed. In fact, I heard from the very same website that SIL plays bingo on as I created an account there to check it out. She'll no longer be able to gamble online. Not legally anyway. I can only imagine the shitfit she threw when she got that same e-mail.

Gosh. I couldn't feel sorrier for her.
(Did that sound sincere?!?)

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Desert Island Books
[Brought to you by the weekly SS blog challenge.]

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The challenge:
"If you were stranded on a desert island, what three books would you want to have with you?" My challenge to you is to answer that question, and then answer these as well: Why those three books?

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I'd really, really like to cheat here and take book series, but I'll try to be good. (But, if I did, the Sword of Truth, Harry Potter and Dark Tower series would be my three!)

I probably should say the Bible. I've never read it through. While I think, being stranded, I would most definitely need faith and inspiration, I don't think I'd really need its teachings. I mean, finding sin on a desert island is going to be pretty tough. I don't think I'd need God's help staying out of the bars or coveting my neighbor's new Tahoe. Sinful thoughts would probably get to be a problem, but I'm thinking God would understand those under the circumstances.

So, no Bible. What would I take?

First, I would take Stephen King's The Stand. I've just finished my fifth re-reading of that book. I read it twice in its original version. Then the uncut version was released and I have read that one three times. And I've never tired of it over the years. It's HUGE, which would make the reading time last. The characters are wonderful. It's well written, smooth and flowing, and just a darned good story.

Second, the Lord of the Rings. No, don't say I'm cheating as that's three books. It's really only one. Tolkien himself said it was never intended to be a trilogy. It's one novel with three "books" in it. So it counts. Why would I take that one? Because I've never read it. Loved the movies. Have tried to read the book a couple of times but it's boooooooring! The story part is great but I have no interest in who Legolas' great-great-great-great-grandsire was. Too much back story. BUT, since I'm going to be all alone on a desert island, I'll finally have the time and lack of distractions to get through it. And I would like to get through it some day.

Last, some kind of survival guide. Hey, I watch Survivor. I know that people only think they can whip up a fire and build a water-tight shelter. The practicalities of actually doing so always prove much more difficult than the average Joe (or Jane) thinks. I'm gonna need to read up on that stuff. And if that guide happens to have a "How to get off a desert island if you're stranded" chapter, so much the better. But I might wait to read that one until I'd finally finished the LOTR.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

How to light a fire under my ass

I love Halloween. Love the season. Love the scary movies on TV. Love the decorations. Love, love, LOVE the decorations. But not the cute ones. Oh, those are fine for others. But I want the spooky stuff at my house. I've got a decent set of decs going, but have been meaning to build a graveyard for outside for the last few years.

A couple of days ago our newspaper had a little article about fall decorations going up all over town. They showed a cute, little set-up of a couple of hay bales and scarecrows. *snort* BUT, they also listed an address that they claimed had a great spooky display. Well, Lane and I being total Halloweenies promptly jumped in the car and headed over. We were gravely disappointed. There was stuff, one could tell, but one could not see it at night. Still, giving them the benefit of the doubt, we drove by the next day in full daylight. Better, but just okay. There were a few neat things but they were smallish and the cars lining the side of the street in front of the house blocked most of the view of them. And they got a mention in the paper?? *harumph*

So, guess what I've been doing last night and this morning? If you guessed that I've been manically cutting out tombstones for my soon-to-be graveyard, you would be right! I'll show that darned paper what a real Halloween display looks like! PLUS, my display looks good in the day with all the webs and spiders, but it also looks good at night with all the lights and window silhouettes. Nothing like a little theirs-is-better-than-yours to get me motivated!

Photos to be posted upon completion.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

No Consequences
[Brought to you by the weekly SS blog challenge.]

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The challenge:
If you could live one day without consequences, what would you do? Would you get a tattoo just to see what it was like? Would you skip work or school and sleep all day? Would you have a one-night-stand, or would you buy a yacht, or would you tell your parents what you REALLY think of them? If you could live one day without consequences, what would you do?

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First, we'd sleep really, really late. The boys would be skipping school and Steve would be skipping work and no one would even call in.

Next, I'd have a double extra large chocolate-covered cherry mocha latte and raw chocolate chip cookie dough for breakfast. And I wouldn't even feel sick. And, not only would I not gain weight, but all that sugar would kick my metabolism into high gear and I'd lose 10 pounds.

Once we were all finally up and about, around noon or so, we'd head for Wichita. We'd hit Best Buy where I'd get that iPod Video, Nikon digital camera, flat-screen plasma TV and Dyson Animal I've had the lust, but not the budget, for. Levi would get a Video, too. Lane would get the super-duper video card and processor he's dying for. All of it would go on the credit card. None of it would get paid for.

We'd hit Old Navy for the cargo pants they both love. I'd buy 14 pairs each so I don't have to do laundry for two weeks.

Lane will have his restricted license next March so we'd mosey on over to the Dodge dealership and let him select the truck of his choice. Since this is our one free day, we'd probably get Levi one, too, even though he won't be driving for a couple of years. Of course, while there, truck lust would hit Steve as he's really been missing his since he traded it off so I'm sure he'd pick one, too. Then, not wanting to feel left out, I'd have to go pick out a Yukon Denali.

I'd order that automated Halloween sound and light system that Lane and I crave. That would be another $2,000 or so that CitiCards gets to eat.

We'd finish up our day with dinner at Scotch and Sirloin.

I'd spend the evening laying on the bed, watching bad TV and relishing the idea that I finally got away with something.

Woman Magic

Since his pre-teens Lane has steadfastly refused any advice or help from me in the area of hair or clothing. Not that he's particularly fashionable (a drawer full of nothing but khaki cargo pants does not a fashion guru make) but he knows what HE wants.

Fine. Have at it. It's your hair. It's your clothes.

However, last night he slept on wet hair and woke up with a cute little flip that would have done any 1950s girl proud and no amount of wetting on his part (and, by that, I mean wetting his hair) would control it. He came to me and said, "Mom, can you work some of your woman magic on my hair?" Hmmmm. I do have my uses.