Sunday, December 24, 2006

I guess he doesn't after all

Since Lane got his permit in June, I've teased him that he drives like a little, old lady. He's a very safe driver. A very law-abiding driver. A very slooooow driver.

We were running errands today and he was driving. We were just moseying along a residential street where, I'm pretty sure, no passing is allowed. Still, he did get passed. By a silver-haired, could-hardly-see-over-the-steering-wheel, 80-years-old-if-she-was-a-day woman. I nearly split a seam laughing.

So, apparently he doesn't drive like a little, old lady. He drives even slower than one!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Psycho Sister-In-Law Takes Over
or How the Grinch Controlled Christmas

Gee, it’s been a while since I’ve had a psycho sister-in-law post, hasn’t it? Oh, not that there haven’t been issues. But sometimes there are Just. No. Words. Couldn’t resist this one, though. The following are actual excerpts form e-mails between psycho sister-in-law (PSIL), mother-in-law (MIL) and myself. I should probably explain that PSIL and I have BOTH been highly irritated with MIL in the past as, when we’re all getting together, she often says, “You girls figure out what we’re going to have to eat!” Um, it’s YOUR house honey. It’s YOUR family. You figure it out. Or at least discuss it with us. But, especially after this round, I’ve realized that she doesn’t bother because she knows PSIL will just change it anyway. Here we all are planning food for our Christmas weekend:

PSIL: Oh yeah... do we need to kinda start planning Christmas dinner yet? Let me know.

Me: I guess we could start. How do we want to do it – one big dinner then snacking stuff? Only snacking stuff? Just eat candy and cookies all weekend? We’re okay with whatever everyone else wants to do. And, Hazel, no fair saying “you girls figure it out!” It’s your house so you need to give input, too!

[Note the last sentence. At this point, I’m not going to let her get away with just leaving it all to her two daughters-in-law!]

MIL: About what to fix for Christmas gathering; I am open to suggestions. I thought perhaps we just have sandwiches, dips/chips, salads and desserts. Shall we have soups too and if so what kinds?
[Sandwiches are SO not my favorite, but at least she’s getting involved – making suggestions. That’s good.]

PSIL: About Christmas dinner, I think a Ham, potatoes, corn and rolls would be ok. That is just my opinion (ok, Bryan thinks we should have a nice sit down meal because you always used to) and as far as desserts, I am bringing my usual. Frosted Sugar Cookies, White Chocolate Pretzels, Choc. Chip cookies and what ever else I think of. We can make different dips and such to snack on the rest of the weekend.
[And so it begins. MIL makes a suggestion, PSIL overturns her.]

Me: Okay you two. Hazel says sandwiches, etc. and Rhonda says dinner. None of us cares which. I guess we’ll let you two fight it out and you can let us know what to bring!
[Diana decides to let them hash it out.]

PSIL: Actually it wasn't me. It was Bryan that said, and I quote, "We need to have one nice dinner, then the rest of the weekend, you (being me) can cook some steaks and everyone just bring snack things" You know me, I don't really care what we have as long as it is food, fattening and lots of it.
[Oh, well if you’re going to “quote” him, that’s different! And, for someone who doesn’t care what we have, you’re making lots of suggestions. By all means, let’s all do what Bryan - you know, the one not doing any of the food preparation – wants. But I’m still playing get-along.]

Me: We’re easy to please with the food thing. I’m like Rhonda – as long as there’s food, I’m happy! So, Rhonda, are you going to bring the ham, then? How about if I bring chili for Saturday night, tortilla roll-ups and some kind of dip/chips? Anything else??
[Note how, in the last message, PSIL suggests ham, but doesn’t offer to bring it. Note how, in this message, I make the oh-so-subtle suggestion that, if she and Bryan think we have to have ham, maybe they should bring ham.]

MIL: Christmas dinner/sit-down one is fine with me. Food: Ham, mashed potatoes or that potato casserole? green bean casserole? I will make the jello salad, have rolls, desserts? I will make the chocolate sheet cake what pies would you all like?
[Again, ham is fine, but no one’s bringing it. MIL suggests other foods to have with dinner, but doesn’t offer to make them. I’m starting to wonder if I need to bring the entire dinner as everyone else is suggesting things for the main meal, but not offering to bring them! And I should point out that I’ve copied their messages verbatim, not fixing spelling or punctuation.]

PSIL: I think on Saturday, we will do the ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, corn and rolls. Then open gifts. Saturday evening, we can just eat what ever is there. On Sunday, I am going to roast a beef tenderloin around noonish.
[So, my suggestion of chili for Saturday night is obviously out. And still, PSIL has not offered to bring the ham, potatoes, green bean casserole or corn that she says we will have for dinner. Nor has MIL. Again, does this mean *I’m* supposed to bring all this?]

Me: I guess chili is out. Also, I was going to bring chips/dip but Rhonda you said you would. Should I bring another kind or just something different all together? How about when we’re doing the main dinner? Last I heard Rocque wouldn’t be there till Sunday. Did that change? I’m so confused. Someone please just tell me what to bring for sure!
[At this point, I'm getting thoroughly sick of the whole thing. I did have to point out that, although we had previously planned to wait for dinner and gifts till Sunday, PSIL had to change that as well.]

PSIL: As for dinner. I think we are going to skip the ham as Bryan wants me to roast a beef tenderloin. We will bring that. If you want baked taters, cheezy taters, corn, what ever else, I don't care. I am open to anything. I bought some sweet and savory buttered King's Hawaiian Rolls also. I am just bringing a ranch original dip with plain chips for Friday and Sat. It wouldn't be Christmas without your dip Di. Now all we need to figure out is what we are doing on Saturday for food. Chili? Cheese and Crackers? Little Smokies?
[I am so freakin’ confused! Now ham is out. Side dishes are in but still no offer to bring them. So do I go back to my plan of making chili? PSIL is bringing rolls even though MIL offered to get them. What’s funny is that she’s asking what to do Saturday when we theoretically had that figured out long ago – chili Saturday, big dinner Sunday. Why didn’t we just stop then?]

Next year, my guys and I are going to Colorado the whole week of Christmas. We will not see either family. We will not exchange gifts with them. We certainly will not plan dinners with them. We will call and say “Merry Christmas” and be done with it!

Monday, December 18, 2006


Who are these kids and where do they come up with this stuff?

We grabbed a quick lunch from Wendy's yesterday. Levi was looking at the bag which was proudly proclaiming Wendy's new "healthier" menu. He was unimpressed. He snorted, "Oh, yeah. This is a real healthy menu. There's a kids meal with fried chicken nuggets, fruit and milk and a salad with diet meat." Um, diet meat?? "Yeah, that low-fat meat." You mean grilled chicken? "Yeah, that."

Tonight, driving home we noticed a house with Christmas lights and a big, blow-up Scooby Doo on the porch. Not even Scooby in a Santa hat. Just Scooby. Lane, ever quick with the derision, thought this was stupid. "You put CHRISTMAS up during the Christmas season and Scooby up during Scooby season." Um, and exactly when IS Scooby season?? He wasn't quite sure when it is, but he's quite sure that it is not in December.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Wizards

My guys and I went to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert on Friday night. I wish I were a skilled wordsmith so I could fully describe what it's like seeing them live. We saw them last year and really liked them. It was five times better this year. I think that's because, when we first saw them, we'd only been listening to them for about a month. This year, we were much more familiar with their music so seeing it performed live made even more of an impact.

We were on the floor in the second section back from the stage. There were times we could literally feel the bass thumping in our chests. I'm not sure it would have been good for someone with a pacemaker. Or, maybe it would have been exceptionally good!

TSO's music is, to me, so innovative, so new, so like nothing else out there. And it converted me to electric guitar. I never liked rock music that had lots of screeching electric guitar. But I'm totally enamored of TSO's guitars. Plus, I'm a total traditionalist when it comes to Christmas music. My theory has always been 'leave it alone'! I've never liked it jazzed up or changed around or made the artist's own. So, to me, if a group can totally rock up Christmas music and leave me enchanted, they are truly skilled artists.
Hearing the music on CD doesn't even come close to comparing to hearing it live. Of course, the laser light show and pyrotechnics add a lot, but just being there and feeling that powerful music wash over and through you, truly makes it an experience that actually is an experience. The bass becomes a heartbeat. Your heartbeat. The guitars make your blood sing, ebbing and flowing with their rhythms from hard driving to sweetly poignant. The strings weave subtly in and out, pulling you along with them. The piano punctuates, exclaiming their greatness. And the voices. The voices, from the sweetly angelic to the sultry, the powerfully commanding to the smoke-and-bourbon growl, all captivate.

I'm already counting the days until I can see them next year. And the next year. And the next ...

Listen to TSO here:

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Put in on sale and they will come

I was on the way home last night and the boys called saying they each needed a 3-ring binder. I stopped at a store I thought would have them. Once there, I see signs stating that EVERYTHING in the store is on sale! 30% off. How cool! I mean, stores often have sales but some things are always excluded. When do you ever see a store where every single item is on sale? Rarely. And the shoppers were flocking. While looking for the binders, I roamed up and down each aisle to see if there were any bargains I couldn't stand to miss. The longer I wandered, the more tickled I got. Seriously, by the end I was close to just laughing out loud. Why? Because this was the DOLLAR STORE. And it was packed with shoppers. I mean, that was a whole whopping thirty cents off each item. Now, I love a bargain as much as the next gal, but thirty cents?? This really struck my funny bone. Plus, the checkout lady was counting the little place mats I bought. She counted five, but I only had four. Still, no way was I going to say, "Oh, you overcharged me seventy cents here!" I just overpaid and left. Laughing all the way.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Fill In The Blank
[Brought to you by the weekly SS blog challenge.]

1. My current favorite song is: Wizards of Winter by Trans-Siberian Orchestra

2. The last book I read was: Lisey's Story by Stephen King

3. The last book I bought was: Dracula by Bram Stoker

4. The last cd I bought was: TSO's The Forgotten Christmas Eve

5. Another CD I wanted but didn't buy is: can't think of one

6. Right now, I'm wearing: Cargo pants and ... um, do you know me at all? If so, you already know it's a white shirt.

7. The last gift I bought was: Oh, geez. It's Christmas time! I shopped all day last Tuesday. Couldn't begin to say what the last one was. How about this, the next one I buy will be a scrapbook for mom.

8. The last time I laughed heartily and loudly: At that stupid "Ode to Christmas" poem I got on e-mail yesterday.

9. My favorite holiday ornament is: My treetop angel. It was one of Mom's Storybook Dolls from childhood. She was Little Bo Peep. Mom used a great aunt's eyelet underskirt to make her a dress. She's about 60 years old now.

10. My house smells like: The WONDERFUL coffee candle Stacey gave me for my birthday at this end ... litterbox at the other. (Forgot to have Levi change his kitten's box this weekend!) I think I'll stay at this end of the house.

11. The first thing on my to-do list tomorrow is: Get out of bed.

12. If I could sit on Santa's lap and believe that he'd bring me whatever toy I wished for, I'd ask for: Depending on what Santa looks like under that beard, I'm might be getting it already if I was sitting on his lap.

13. If I could holiday shop in ONE store, all expenses paid, I'd shop at: Nebraska Furniture Mart!

14. If an angel alighted on my doorstep today and said, "I'm here to grant a Christmas wish," I'd wish for: A saner family

15. When I see a bell ringer while out shopping, I: Think, "Oh, crap."

Friday, December 08, 2006

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

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
The challenge:
Write 5 open letters. People, places, objects, an
imals. It doesn't matter. Write 5 succinct letters and express what you can't express in person. Strangers? People you'll never see again? People you're afraid to be completely honest with? Corporations? Celebrities? Your sister's cats? Write to 'em. Angry? Disgusted? Enthralled? Amused? In awe? Annoyed? Admiring?Write about it. 5 of 'em. Let it all out. Have fun!
= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =
(Sorry - having troubles with formatting again. Can't get it to fix and no time right now.)
Dear Mom,
You need help with some things. I am willing to help with some things. However, you are NOT helpless! You can make that phone call yourself. That's why I told you to do it yourself.
Dear Sis,
I know you see Mom as my, and mine alone, responsibility. I know you think it's funny that I've kind of gotten "stuck" with her care and feeding. Guess what? That's gonna change. Next year. I'll be calling a family meeting. It's gonna PISS you off. But I'm gonna do it anyway.
Dear MIL,
Just a question for you. Why is it you're able to drive 45 minutes to go shopping, but not able to drive the 1.5 hours here to attend the boys' concerts? Why is it you're never able to drive down for birthday parties and sporting events but, by cracky, when we (read: your loving son) invites you (again) to go on vacation with us, you ALWAYS manage to make the trip here so that you can?? Hmmmm.
Dear Holiday Shoppers,
Please be kind. Please be considerate. I know you're stressed. I am, too. But parking your cart right in the middle of the freakin' aisle and ignoring me as I try to pass until I finally, loudly say "EXCUSE ME!" isn't the way to deal with it. Being rude to the poor checkout clerks isn't the way to deal with it. Being growly, grumpy, grouchy or just generally pissy, is not the way to deal with it. Oh, and Merry Christmas to you, too.
Dear Sunny,
Please allow me to disavow you of the illusion that we put up the Christmas tree for your entertainment. We did not. It's for us. You may look it it, but you may not play with it. Do not climb it. Do not hang from its branches. Do not bat its balls. It's not for you. Lay off!
Very sincerely yours,

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

You say "Freak" like that's a bad thing!

I'm a scrapper. And I'm a Mom. Which means I go about armed with a camera. I'm a kind of a memory soldier... marching to the front of auditoriums, halting the kids by interesting landmarks for a quick snap, invading spaces they're prefer I not. All in the pursuit of capturing memories. I have been told by them, on more than one occasion, that I'm a freak.

A couple of nights ago I was cleaning out a crap-stacking-spot. One of those out of the way areas that's easy to ignore. I came across Lane's 4th grade composition notebook. I read a few well chosen stories from it aloud to the boys. We were all having quite a laugh. Then Lane wanted to know if I had any of Levi's stories? You know, so we could laugh at him, too. I directed them to the storage box in my closet that contains many of their school papers, pre-school through last year, tidily sorted by year and filed away. They drug the box out and spent a couple of hours going through these, reading aloud, showing each other their "artwork", laughing their butts off.

Afterwards, Lane gave me a hug and told me that maybe being a freak wasn't such a bad thing after all.