Writing about the day to day mysteries of life.
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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Miscellaneous and More Miscellaneous

More Than You Know: A Novel
I just read this book and really enjoyed it.   I thought it was new, but is 10 years old.  It is a ghost story and a love story.  The story is basic, but I really like her view on ghosts. I would print the exact quote, but I think it is worth the read. It is quick.  That was a lame review.

Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son (Hardcover)I am also reading "Manhood for Amateurs".  It is a lot, a whole lot, of short stories by Michael Chabon.  I really like his writing and his view on fatherhood, men, children, women, drugs and all the other miscellaneous things he touches on.  I just finished his discussion on murses or male purses and I was laughing out loud.  "It's handsome, soft and rugged at the same time the way only suede can seem.  And it's definitely a purse.  It holds my essential stuff, including a book - for true contentment, one must carry a book at all times, and great books so rarely fit, my friends, into one's pocket - but no more, and so I can wear it, and my masculinity, and my contempt for those who might mock or misunderstand me, very lightly indeed." This guy has the best vocabulary and hilarious use of words, quite creative.  He looks at these issues with true, brutal honesty! I would like to hear him speak.

Yesterday, I heard Kelly Corrigan read from her book "Lift" and thought she was fabulous.  She was upbeat, emotional, honest and funny.  I love to hear authors read their words, it brings the books to life.  " I often wish I could come back to life as your uncle, so I could give you more.  But when you're the mom, your whole life is holding the rope against these wily secret agents who never, ever stop trying to get you to drop your end."

I haven't heard from any of the die-hards, they are probably too busy reading and watching, but all the new Sookie stuff came out yesterday.  I ordered my book on Amazon, which means I don't have the instant gratification of picking it up today.  Drat, I just realized I could be reading it tomorrow in the big, pink chair. 

Today I am going to remind you all to hug your family.  I spent the morning down at Hopkins with a little nine month old who is going through chemo.  I kept him and his mom company until dad could arrive.  This little guy smiled, laughed and was just so sweet the entire time.  I left them and drove to a viewing.  It was the mother/mother-in-law of friends.  She had been at Gilchrist and died very peacefully.  I also saved a baby chipmunk from being mauled by the gray flash.  It ran off very spitty, but hopefully quite alive.

I bought my first App for my iPhone.  I have had it almost two years, but didn't really pay much attention to the app thing.  I bought the dumbest time-waster and I just love it.  I bought Cat Paint. You can paint a cat into any picture.  It makes us all hysterical!  I think my next App will make my phone sound like a light saber when I wave it around.  Silly, silly, silly.

Last night, Ellen and Ian were doing the usual bickering and Ned pipes up, "Stop fighting, it isn't good for your relationship." 

Ned was playing outside and told me to come quickly, because he found an ant pharmacy.  
I feel like Chumby gets short-shrift in my blog.  He is the most even-keeled of the four of us.  He isn't meek or mild, he just marches along more evenly.  He doesn't have the extreme highs and lows.  He isn't stomping off to his room, because I bought red grapes instead of green.  But every now and then he is a giant grump and then wowza we tiptoe around.  I ask him if he was abducted by aliens and replaced with a grumpkin, which of course makes him madder.  His snits seem to be worse, because they are fewer and farther between.  Ian has his undies in a bunch today, because Ned always asks for stuff and people give it to him.  Ned uses his cute factor to the highest, maximum degree.  It offends Ian's sense of fair.

I want to post a picture of my latest quilt, but it is not quite finished.  I have one last corner to round on the binding.  Oh, I will finish it tomorrow morning!  I haven't made an April quilt.  There was no big event, just a bunch of small things.  I think I might just make a crazy square, this month was filled with little odd-ball happenings. Kelly Corrigan had a quote that I might use, "you can't fly without some turbulence." 

I have really hopped around, but I want to show a picture of the sweetest puppy ever.  We dog sat, Teddy, this Sunday,  He was wonderful.  I have never met such a calm dog.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Adventures of Chummi Bear

Spring is here and the bears have left their dens in the wilds of Alaska.  Chummi has decided he would like see the world.  He is on his way to Baltimore, Hon. Ellen, Ian, Ned and I will be showing him the sights and then send him off another leg of his journey.  I won't be able to send him off into the big world without a little quilt to keep him warm.  If you would like Chummi to visit you, just leave a note in the comment section, otherwise he will arrive somewhere at random.   He will need to be sent on his wanderings with a picture and a little memento of his travels.  It will be exciting to follow his adventures.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Salad and A New Book

Ned is feeling about 90% better.  I do think he might have a head injury, because he had a salad for lunch.  Ned even took a picture to document this occurrence.  He ASKED for a salad for lunch.  I also had a salad, with lettuce from our yard.  I am on this ranch dressing kick.  I am going to start a test kitchen type scenario and experiment with ranch.  I had the best dressing at the Woodberry Kitchen a close second from Stone Mill.  I want to try and make the perfect ranch dressing.  I only started liking ranch about two years ago.  When I was about nine years old I got the stomach flu after having salad with ranch and steak with my grandma and grandpa.  I didn't eat steak until well into my thirties and no ranch until recently.  I have been missing out all of these years.  There is probably no coincidence with my weight gain and the love of ranch.

Ellen came home with a new book selection.  She has switched to "The Thief Lord", which is an excellent choice.  Her teacher was very understanding.   All is well in the Killefer household - at least for this moment!

A Concussion and Tears

Yesterday was a long day.  I had lunch (fortunately a good one) with a friend recovering from surgery and then I drove out to school.  I went early, because I thought it was going to storm.  It ended up being beautiful weather.  As I was carrying up all the boys stuff a mom came to get me, because Ned had hit his head.  He was on the monkey bars and a bigger boy knocked him off.  We got ice and into the car quickly.  I was explaining to Ian and Ellen about concussions, when Ned starting throwing up.  I told the kids we were going to the hospital and poor Ellen fell apart.  She is so squeamish and sensitive to medical stuff.  I ran them home and they rallied to help me clean up Ned.  I was back on the road in five minutes.  I took Ned to GBMC and we were in a room within five minutes.  The staff last night was awesome!  They did a CT scan and it was normal, just a concussion.  They let him sleep until 11:00.  When they woke him up he drank water and ate crackers.  He was able to walk around and talk with the doctor.  They released us.  Ned asked me to take his picture to "remember his adventure."  I don't want anymore of these adventures.  I took a picture of him just after arrival, so you can see the improvement.  The staff kept staring at him and calling him an angel.  I don't know if Ned is angelically fiendish or fiendishly angelic?

It was nice to be able to come home.  Ned asked to sleep in my bed and then reached over to hold my hand.  He is a sweet little man. Hoover cuddled up next to him and we were sound asleep. 

Here are some of Ned's quotes from the long evening.

I hit on solid mud.
That kid was crazy.
I did a fart, so my lungs must be working now.
We had an adventure.

In the hospital after Ned was asleep I talked with the kids to let them know Neddy would be fine.  On top of all of that, poor Ellen burst into tears over the book she has been assigned for a book report.  As I mentioned above, she is squeamish.  In the book she is reading people are dying and she doesn't want to read it anymore.  I am going to call and talk with her teacher today.  No matter how hard we try, no matter what we do, our children still get hurt.  It is heartbreaking, parenting is the hardest job.

Ned and I are spending the day on the couch!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Cancer and Surly, Stupid, Rude People

Teri told me I can't use the word stupid, it isn't nice.  So I asked her if I could use dumb-ass and then I told her I could write whatever I wanted!  Don't mess with me today.  So that  I will appear judicious in my judgment, the other people involved probably are going to complain about the stupid woman they met today.  I however was not surly and rude!  I strive for annoying over out-right confrontational.

I was down at JHU today for a follow-up MRI and had a technician who must be apprenticed to the grim reaper.  I feel lucky to have survived.  Three blown veins and contrast in my forearm did not endear me to this guy.  I think I may need to call quality control or something, I think he may need more training.  Yikes!

After this trauma I had an hour to kill, so I went to the Gobblestone.  It was there I got to listen to the first of my STUPID conversations. To quote Bugs Bunny, "what a maroon."  It is ironic this first conversation is happening after my post on prejudice.  Two black women employees were shooting the breeze near the table where I was sitting.  I am going to use the word black and not african american and you will see why.  Another black woman emploee walks up and says, "that african woman, I hate her.  They come here and they think they are better than us."  The other two women ask which women she is talking about.  She replies, "the nappy ended thin one."  There are probably 50 black women in the cafe and I don't really know what nappy ended looks like.  Now, whoever the nappy ended woman was probably worked her butt off in a third world country to get to medical school.  She probably endures white and black prejudice.  A world of stupid, surly, rude people.  A woman at the table next to me says, "there are so many people here with problems and then there are really people with problems."


After that exchange I leave the cafeteria and notice this cute, little village.  It was not there two weeks ago when Teri and I were there.  Past the little houses is the "information" desk, probably twenty feet past.  I stop to ask the woman what the little town is for.  Damned if that woman didn't sit with her head down until she figured I really wasn't going to leave.  She looks up at a point past my left shoulder and says, "yes?"  First off, what personnel moron put the woman with no social skills at the information desk?  I asked her what the little houses are for, of course she doesn't know.  If I sat next to that all day, I would find out!  I feel the need to be irritating, this woman deserves annoying.  "Is it an animal? Are they in there? Is it a turtle?  There is a turtle on the mailbox?"  She finally grudgingly says it is a turtle, they have a race.  "What race? Where is it?  Is there more than one turtle?" She briefly looks me in the eye (voodoo curse), puts her head back down in hopes I will go away. And I do. I am staying at home the rest of the day, I think it is the safest place for me.

Truth be told there are many, many, many things that bother me about my cancer, but having to go to see doctors all the time really gets me.  It is hard to feel well, when you are always being poked, prodded and questioned about ailments.  I never know if I should discuss something as minor as a chafing spot or in fact if I don't mention it will it be the most critical detail I forgot to share.  I hate having to analyze every gawddammid pimple on my ass.

I was on the radio this morning! I am a dork and always trying to win something.  Last year Ned and I were listening when they were giving away a brief case.  Ned shouts out, "call, Mommy, call, I can't breathe.   I need a breathe case."  We didn't get through.  This morning Jo Jo and Reagan interviewed a guy that wrote a book I wished I had thought of.  He wrote a book of awesome things, one thousand of them.  You could call in with something awesome.  They talked with me on the air, very exciting, I wish the kids had been in the car.  My awesome thing is waking up before the alarm and realizing you still have an hour to sleep.  His book is on day to day awesome. It is a great idea, but today I might opt for a book on one thousand stupid things.

Many of you have already seen the actual skin or the picture, but here it is again, because I think it is so cool.  My neighbor had a big black snake on her porch.  When she came back later, she just had a big skin on her porch.  We have all taken it to school to show it off.  I am glad the snake lives at my neighbor's house and not ours!

Friday, April 16, 2010

A Dilemma and Five Lines

My dilemma is that my clothes keep shrinking in the laundry.  They are getting smaller and smaller.  The waistbands are too tight and the zippers don't want to close.  They must not be making clothes the way they used to.  I am sure it couldn't be anything else!  I keep pondering this situation over chocolate chip cookies and potato chips.

I was listening to Mix 106 one day last week.  The music makes me cringe, all you hear is Beyonce, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga and Kesha, but the kids like this music. I do like some of the songs, but it is a rotation of seven songs.  You can hear the same songs every hour - boring!   I figure how can they have a teenage musical rebellion when I listen to the same stuff they do?  Mix was doing a fun call-in-thing.  You had to describe your weekend in 5 words or less.  This is my kind of interesting.  I am going to do something similar on the side column.  I won't do it every day.  I may stockpile them and then post.  I will work the kinks out.

I am taking a quilting class tomorrow.  I haven't taken a class since last July at MAQ.  I am looking forward to it.  I got Ian to help me pick out fabrics.  I think the weather is to be bad, so I won't feel guilty about sitting inside all day. 

Here are the books I am waiting for in the month of May. Go ahead roll your eyes at the last two books.  Season 2 of True Blood will be out also.  Naughty and not nice.
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's NestLover Mine: A Novel of the Black Dagger BrotherhoodDead in the Family: A Sookie Stackhouse Novel (Sookie Stackhouse/True Blood)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Addendum to the Crazy Lady and Quotable Sloopy

I forgot to mention the other part of the conversation with the crazy lady.  First off I have to say that I crack myself up, which is good because half the time no one gets my humor.  The crazy lady asks me if I smoke and I replied never.  She says, "that is why you are so tall.  If I had not smoked I would have been taller."  I said, "yeah, you might have been five twelve."  To me this is really funny, she just answered, "uh-huh and I would have been blacker."   To me this was also really funny.  Maybe Michael Jackson gave up smoking?

Tonight in the car Ian asked me why some houses had name plaques.  I told him anyone can name their house, try and think of one.  He immediately suggested "happy house", because we are always happy here.  That makes me so happy!!  Good ole Sloopy says, "I am always happy, unless I am sad." 

It is only 8:30, but I am off to bed.  It was a chemo couch day.

Luck and Prejudice

I am following the blog of an author who is re-writing "Pride and Prejudice" for teens.  During her travels last week, she started talking to a woman in the airport, who it turns out is a buyer for QVC.  The woman invites her on to the show and is going to sell her book.  That is lucky, way off the charts lucky.  Last week, I was sitting next to a woman.  She started telling me about the rash on her son's neck.  She talked on and on about the dead, black skin falling off his folds and creases - gross, gross, gross.  She then talked for about three minutes straight and I understood absolutely nothing!  The woman concludes with "that is why it is so dangerous out on the streets."  I have no clue how she got from the disgusting rash to the streets.  I have nothing marketable, but why could I not have been talking to the QVC lady?  Why do I get the crazies?  Why? Why? Why? Why? Why?

I was in my sewing room thinking about prejudice. I was trying to figure out what mic and spic are short for.  It got me thinking about how I grew up in a very un-prejudiced household.  I don't think I ever heard my mom comment on race or ethnicity.  Not until later, at least from my perspective, did she get visibly weird about religion.  My grandmother had one prejudice, Monday through Friday we heard derogatory remarks on this subject.  The remarks are one of my earliest memories.  It wasn't until I went away to college that I realized other people didn't have deep-seated opinions on...........Bob Barker.  Every day, we watched the "Price Is Right" and she would exclaim, "THAT Bob Barker."  We would ask her why she didn't like him and she would say it was because he grew up on a reservation in South Dakota.  I don't think she ever knew it was because his parent's were missionaries.  This prejudice, quite truthfully, is a bit baffling.  She wasn't crazy about Indians, but she wasn't belligerent about them.  It was Bob Barker that riled her up.

The first summer after I came home from college, I got jokingly mad at Teri and called her the biggest insult in our house.  BOGGER!  You are such a bogger was the way to win any argument or make each other mad beyond belief.  My grandma overheard the exchange, and yelled out "stop talking about Bob Barker."  Neither Teri or I had known that bogger was morphed from Bob Barker.  Grandma told us we had started calling each other that when we were about three years old and she could not believe we were still doing it.  

I guess Bob Barker may indirectly explain why crazies will talk to me.  I must give something off, perhaps I have an aura of having been around benign but weird people.

The kids and I did a project last week and it turned out great.  Here is a picture of our masterpiece. I am quite proud of our endeavor!  This proves it is the small things in life, yes, we just glued numbers to a rock.
I saw these bug holes/nests/cocoons last week on the cement patios of a retirement home I was visiting.  I don't know what they are, but aren't they really cool (little terracotta papooses).  They were all empty and nothing was flying around, it is a nature mystery.  I am sure the maintenance guys could have solved the mystery if I had asked.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Ahhh and Vocabulary

Ahhhh for Monday being over.  It was a good day, just a very long one.  I realized that if I expect the kids to change their clothes, then I actually have to have some clean clothes for them to wear.  Laundry was my afternoon activity.  Some days are spent moving things from room to room, it is amazing the things I find in the weirdest places.  I wish I could find Ian's floor, but it is covered with Lego creations.  I don't have the heart to move them, the boys have worked hard on the masterpieces.  It is very furry in there, since I can't safely vacuum. 

Thing One and Three ride the bus home on Mondays and then we drive out to McD to pick up Thing Two.  Tonight we went to Rita's for snowballs, or whatever it is they have.  That place has seven thousand choices on the menu and I never understand the differences.  I got a soft-serve with sprinkles which I think is actually custard.  I just can't figure it out.  I had six kids with me and ordered drinks for two others.  The girl behind the counter should get a medal.  Fun was had by all.

I read "The Road" and it was depressing as hell.  Hell being the appropriate word here.  If there is any cataclysmic event I will be one of the first to go, because I have NO survival skills.  The book was as I expected, a good read but grim. 

I don't have much of a speaking vocabulary, but I have always been good at learning and remembering words.   I like words.  I like spelling.  This book really had a lot of words that I didn't know.  I drug out the dictionary, instead of looking online.  I thought it would be easier, sad to say, it is easier on online.   I felt better about the list after realizing eight of the words must be made up, no definitions were listed.  Here is the list of words I did not know, that are real.  I won't include the meanings, you can look them up if you are interested: discalced, kerfs, claggy, rachitic, catamites (yuck), palimpset, chert, davits, bindle, vermiculate.  I also didn't know where Tenerife is, I am bad at geography. 

Last week when I ate lunch with Helen one of the other residents was complaining that they hadn't had fairy cakes in awhile.  She was quite sad about this.  The rest of us were sad, because we had no idea what fairy cakes were.  Turns out she was talking about cupcakes, the waiter (rat guy) told us.  April has been a month for learning new words.

Earlier Ned informed me that his brain would stop working without candy.  I could embrace this idea, M&M's as brain food works for me.  I keep saying Ned is a genius.  Speaking of M&M's.  Someone told me they think the M&M's commercial makers are republicans, because they always use the red M&M.  I will put on the dunce cap and fess up to the fact that I did not know the R's are red and the D's are blue.  I am sure I must have known this at some point in my life, but I really had no clue what this person was talking about.  The argument being that EVERYONE knows the blue and green are the most popular colors, so the makers must be republicans to always use red.  I think this discussion proved that candy is not brainfood.  It might also prove that I know some really odd people, except I do make this all up, so I am the odd one.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Read and Vomit

Her Fearful Symmetry: A NovelMy friend thinks we should start a book review called "Read and Vomit".  We would review books that are really bad.  It is an intriguing idea, but that means I would have to read all those terrible books.   I can't read a Nicholas Sparks book, you know he has to be on the list.  She has voted "The Bridges of Madison County" as number one lousy.  Maybe I will add a column to the side of this blog to list stinky books.  I have one to add as a matter of fact, "The Fearful Symmetry".  PeeUw was it smelly, and I read the entire thing.  A waste of my very limited gray matter.  If you have a book to add to the list, post it in comments and I will add it to the list.  If we collectively list books, then we can save others the agony. 

The Road (Movie Tie-in Edition 2009) (Vintage International)I am reading an excellent book, but extremely depressing.  I might have to put it down for a few days.  I am in a funk today, due to my sister leaving.  It is so nice having her around.  I love it and the kids love it.  This trip was so short, disjointed and not relaxing.  She left me the book she read on the plane ride here.  It is "The Road" by Cormac McCarthy.   I do not enjoy his books.  They are too stark and depressing, this book is incredibly so.  The world has been destroyed and we follow two characters as they try to survive.  I will read it for his intense, beautiful use of words, but regret it once again for the sadness of the story.  No way will I rent this movie.

We are having another beautiful day.  I am going to finish planting some flowers.  My lettuce and rhubarb seem to be doing well.  The hummingbird feeder was hung up and now we are awaiting the first sighting.  I also bought a new patio umbrella, the old one had lived its life.  It was bleached almost entirely to white.  I bought a brightly colored one, it will spiff the place up.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

The Most Scared I Have EVER been!

Holy Shit, is how I start this.  Those of you who live here know that Greenspring Avenue is a really busy street.  The bus stops and lets the kids out to cross the street of traffic.  I always walk out to meet the kids, unlike one of the other moms (not Joy). I wait until EVERY kid is off the bus.  Today a Shred-It truck came up over the hill and stopped pretty close to the bus.  All the kids got off and we were walking towards the car.  Ned dropped a baseball and ran out into traffic.  He was on the white line, as I turned to grab him.  The Shred-It truck slammed on his breaks and I jerked Ned back by his backpack.  The truck driver and I stared into each others eyes with absolute terror.  This is all within three seconds!   Boy did I let him have it, that was way too close!

Yesterday, I had lunch with Helen.  I introduced myself to one of the wait staff.  He said, "Hi Miss Toni, nice to meet you.  I once had a gay rat named Miss Toni."  Now, this is too weird and random.  

I have been following the story of the Chinese miners trapped in the mine for a week.  One of the miners said he survived by eating bark.  In a mine, where would you find bark?  Is this a translation error?  They found most of them alive miraculously.  Yesterday, there was a mine explosion in West Virginia.  They are still searching for some of those miners.  I can't imagine being a miner, working in the deep dark would do me in.

On the way to school yesterday we discussed whether or not Ian wanted a cup for lacrosse.  I told him I would get him one if he needed it.  Ned pipes up that he wants and really needs one as well.  At practice Ian comes up to tell me that one of the boys got hit in the nuts and wasn't wearing a cup.  Well this kid was playing goalie with no pads and is four feet wide and four feet high, he is a human target.  His Dad happened to be there and said, "way to take one for the team, son."  I just don't get this at all.  I don't want Ian or Ned to take one for the team on any part of their body, this is what padding is for. 

The kids got drinking cups in their Easter baskets.  Unbeknownst to me Ian took his cup to school.  He kept telling me his cup was in his backpack and I kept saying I hadn't bought him a cup.  He kept telling me there was one, finally I told him to not wear it.  I had no idea where it came from.  He of course was talking about the Easter cup and I am thinking he was talking about the bun for his hot dog.  You find out that with boys that there is just a lot of whanker talk.

I planted lettuce.  I am quite excited about this.  I am not a gardener, but figure I will be safe with lettuce.  The dogs won't touch it and hopefully it is close enough to the house to keep the deer away.  I love salad.  I hope it grows.  It is very cheery. 

Saturday, April 3, 2010

News and Stink Bugs

I try not to watch the local news, it aggravates me.  I watched a couple of days this week and came away with these stories, concerns, issues.  I need to stick to the weather only.

One day last week the city named the day, "Kate Amara Day", because she is moving to DC.  Why name a city day after someone who isn't going to live in your city anymore?  Why didn't they name it after her when she was a resident? 

Back-aways, I discussed the number of stink bugs, the news had an etymologist on to talk about stink bugs.  Here is the dirt on these bugs.  "They have no redeeming qualities, I just murder them," says the odd-ball bug guy.  He said they came from Asia to Allentown fifteen years ago.  Really truly, how do they know this?  Little tiny suitcases?  Credit card receipts for roach motels? Footprints?

Don Dwyer is a Maryland state representative who tried to get the D.A. impeached for the gay rights bill.  Now I don't know the legal aspects of this, but what I do know is this guy is a scary nut.  He actually said, "it is right and righteous."  Wow, a lot of ego and judgment packed into that statement.  This guy is truly a loon and to make it worse, an elected loon. 

"If you mind your own business, then you won't be minding mine."- Hank Williams

I then heard on NPR that Henry Heller, another state lawmaker, is trying to get a bill passed that won't allow first cousins to marry - each other.  Maryland is one of nineteen states that still allows it, who knew.  I went to the website cousincouples.com to get the facts.  We are the only western country to have these laws.  Turns out almost anywhere you want to you can marry your cousin.  Now I like all my cousins, but never enough to even think about marrying them. Truthfully in my 45 years of life it never crossed my mind that so many people wanted to keep it in the family.   I guess it makes family reunions easier.

The lawmaker dropped the issue, "he had concerns that this bill would lead to a debate over gay marriage."  WHAT!!  WHAT?  I am sure all these gay couples are clamoring to get married so they can marry their cousins!  What is the matter with these people?  Under no circumstance do I feel I am being represented.