Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Fine Day

This whole week has had one funky ass vibe. Just something hanging in the air, a funk that can't be metaphorically Febrezed away. However, today the sun is shining. It is a GOOD day. Today the annoying know-it-all-but-doesn't-know-jack temp that has been plaguing the IS department has been declared GONE as of Friday. As one of my fellow suffering coworkers so aptly put it, "It's a hump day miracle!"

FC1 had her birthday party at home yesterday. Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen ice cream cake. She's also having a party this Friday at the local skating rink with 15-20 of her closest friends. That'll be a trip. Hopefully on Monday I'll have lots of good pictures! Then Saturday she's having another party at my MIL's house with all of Richard's nephews and family. How spoiled is this kid, huh? She's such a sweetheart though that it's just plain fun to spoil her.

Gotta jet!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Spinning Under the Willow

Last night it was just me and the girls, with Richard off trap-shooting with some friends. We had Jimmy John's subs for dinner (with Richard). After dinner, FC1 dragged my spinning chair outside, FC2 dragged the Happy Mother's Day rug they made for me out to the willow, and I brought my spinning wheel and fiber. I spun under the tree while the girls played on their bikes, in their playhouse, and in the sandbox. Then we all just sat and chatted for a good half hour or so before their mom called. After that it was brushing teeth and bedtime.

Not so much exercise last night, but had some very good quality time with the girls. Found out something interesting, too. FC1 was named after her mom's foster mother, from when her mom was in foster care as a child. I thought that was so touching, that she named her firstborn after somebody she obviously admired a great deal. Then I was brought back down to earth by the fact that even though this woman had that kind of impact on her, it hadn't been enough to break the cycle. Damn. This fostering business is a chocolate-covered lemon, with the sour always lurking just below the sweet. That said, I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Just yesterday I was having a conversation with a coworker about foster care. He is of the opinion that kids just shouldn't go back to their abusive/neglectful/whatever real parents. I don't think he gets it that kids need their parents. Or at least their primary parent. It's not that they want them, or prefer them. It's a human need, and if that's missing, there's a piece missing from that child from that point on. Period.

This is where my faith steps in as well. I believe each person has their own path in life, with God at their side. It is not my place to decide that this child doesn't belong with their parent(s), if that parent has passed the state's requirements. I can't protect beyond a certain point, except to hope that the tools I've helped them develop will serve them well. I must be at peace with all possibilities after I let go; they may thrive, they may stagger and fall, they may follow in their dysfunction's footsteps. This is where I end, where I must let go and trust God to be there when they need Him most.

This is where I become my final incarnation as a foster parent: Available.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Spring is Firmly Here

I was the first to get home yesterday, so I went in and changed into play clothes (read: jeans and hoodie) and went outside to sit in a chair in the driveway. That's right, I hauled a deck chair into the driveway so hubby man would sure see me and hopefully not even bother to turn off the truck because I soooo didn't feel like cooking. They got home and somehow did not see me and everyone piled into the house. Fine. I piled in after them and sat chatting with hubby for 10 minutes or so until we all filed out again.

We went to a local restaurant that has the best ranch dressing I've ever had and I only ever order one thing there: the grilled chicken salad. Yummm. We even ate outside next to a trickling little water feature because it was so nice out. Finally! Afterwards we walked to the park across the street and I went down the big slide with the girls. They were thrilled. Then I attempted to ride one of those springy little horse things that stick out of the ground. Yikes. Not recommended for adults over 100 pounds. Then Richard and I both went on the swingset for a little while, after which I got some knitting done on the super secret sock. Not a ton of exercise but at least we got out of the house and had some fun!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bizzy Bizzy Bee

Long time no postie. I have no pictures today. I'm working on a super-secret sock project that wasn't initially intended as a gift but I goofed on the size and they don't fit my feet so off they go to someone who will love them very much. Hopefully I will be able to get them done, blocked, and photographed before I gift them.

Life has been ... interesting. The girls are doing fine, Richard is fine, and me? Well, not so fine. Just got a bad case of the blah's lately. I could blame it on work but then I remember how good I have it and feel like a nincompoop complaining about my cushy, sit-down, safe, stable job. I could blame it on the weather but the weather is getting beautiful. I guess it boils down to the fact that I just have to get off my rump at night and work out so I feel better. I just feel stagnant inside.

So maybe I'll use this blog thingy as a prompter for that. I'll post every day and see it all written down (or up, in the case of a blog) and feel better about myself.

[jumps down off the pity potty]


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Swingin' and Sniffin' and Horfin'

Yesterday was an adventure, pure and simple. It was one of those days when everything around you sparks and flickers with unseen energy, while forces work hard behind the scenes to make you notice life. Some forces don't bother to pull the curtain.

On the way back from lunch with my work compadres, we were behind a firetruck in traffic. It was moving kind of oddly. Kind of swaying and dipping too low in the back end. Soon we noticed there were little sparks coming from beneath the undercarriage. Ruh roh. Suddenly there were LOTS OF SPARKS coming from beneath, and it looked like they were dragging a metal garbage can. They pulled over and as the firemen piled out of their disable vehicle, we saw that the GAS TANK STRAPS HAD BROKEN AND THE GAS TANK WAS DRAGGING. Holy mother of hell!

As this post can attest, we did make it back in one piece, sans explosions.

After work I went to West Bend to meet my friend Deb for dinner at 5:30. I arrived 20 minutes early (do the math - 5:10), so I went to Valvoline to get an oil change. The poor little red bus was 1,200 miles over when it should have had a change and it was chuggin' and clackin'. I got right in. Then the little grease monkey dude showed me that my air filter was looking like a smoker's lung, and when he pulled out the in-cabin filter, I thought there were mice on it but no, just huge grey hairy dust balls. Oh, and your tranny fluid is brown, would you like us to flush it for you? Criminy. Poor little red bus was limping pretty badly. Let's not mention that it also needs new brakes and possibly new rotors right now as well.

Little grease monkey dude discovers they're out of hose clamps, so he has to sprint over to Auto Zone. Then he doesn't put it on correctly or something and has me turn on the bus and it sprays tranny fluid to the sky. Beautiful brown tranny fluid! Whoopsie. Please turn your car off, ma'am.

Cut to the chase; antics of grease monkey dude get me to the restaurant at 6:15. 45 minutes late. Deb, for perhaps the first time in her adult life (ducking) was not only on time, but 5 minutes early. She had also organized her bag and taken out all books, knitting, etc, so she had nothing to do but watch TV screens and people for entertainment while looking stood-up. We had a lovely dinner (AVOID AT ALL COSTS the fish sandwich at BW3's - bad frozen fishy taste) and then I suggested we go to the batting cages at Blue Dog.
After paying our bill and almost forgetting my take out box, we go to Blue Dog, a few minutes drive away. Walking into Blue Dog, a vile, ripe, tangy, gut-wrenching smell assaults us. "Oh my god, what is that smell?" I ask the guy at the desk, horrified beyond tact. I scan the dim interior, looking for something dead, or being eaten by maggots, perhaps. He shrugs.

The girl who walked in with us who apparently was coming in for her shift start says, "Yeah, what is that?"

He shrugs again. "I d'no."

I choke enough words out to communicate that I want to purchase some batting cage tokens and hand him the money. "Is that vomit? It has to be vomit. Holy mother that's foul." I admit, I was a bit lightheaded and not very much in control of my words. My mouth was watering uncontrollably and I couldn't stop swallowing. I keep thinking, my god, it's like I'm the one who horfed in here. I suddenly hear Deb behind me, and realize she's been snorting and trying not to die laughing this whole time. We grab two bats and stagger out the back door, sucking in fresh air and laughing until we cry at the oddity of the situation.

Check out some action shots!

Notice the Hot 'n Sexy white FOTL's peekin' out there. Yeah, baby! Sizzzzle!

Deb, you're a lousy shot, but I love ya.

Here's one of the boys who was very nice to two very odd, snorting ladies dressed in business casual at the batting cages.

Go Debbie Go Debbie Go Debbie Go!

Two swingin', snortin', almost-horfin' dorks. Too much fun.

Embryonic yarn

I'm aiming for a nice fingering weight sock yarn with these two bobbins. I'm hoping when I ply them they don't poof up into a DK weight. Right now they're both about 24 wpi so together they'll be 12 wpi. Still acceptable for socks, right?

I'm thinking with the gorgeous blend of colors that include peach, tangerine, and mango, I am going to name this yarn Sunrise Margarita. What do you think of when you see these colors together?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

And here's where I disillusion myself that I am indeed NOT a reader, at all, apparently.

Not An Artist, a blog I have recently been reading, has recently posted about unread books meant to sit on your shelf and make you look smart. Looking at this list, I am coming to understand that I am distinctly, terrifically, and undeniably unsmart. However, I am also well-read enough to acknowledge that fact and be smug about other stuff I've read.

Here are the top 106 books most often marked as "unread" by LibraryThing’s users. As in, they sit on the shelf to make you look smart or well-rounded. Bold the ones you've read, underline the ones you read for school, italicize the ones you started but didn't finish.

Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
Anna Karenina
Crime and Punishment
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Wuthering Heights
The Silmarillion
Life of Pi : a novel
The Name of the Rose
Don Quixote (In my defense, I was reading the spanish version. Tough going in 7th grade.)
Moby Dick
Madame Bovary
The Odyssey
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Tale of Two Cities
The Brothers Karamazov
Guns, Germs, and Steel: the fates of human societies
War and Peace
Vanity Fair
The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Iliad
The Blind Assassin
The Kite Runner
Mrs. Dalloway
Great Expectations
American Gods
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius
Atlas Shrugged
Reading Lolita in Tehran : a memoir in books
Memoirs of a Geisha
Wicked : the life and times of the wicked witch of the West
The Canterbury Tales
The Historian : a novel
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Love in the Time of Cholera
Brave New World
The Fountainhead
Foucault’s Pendulum
The Count of Monte Cristo
Dracula (It's on my shelf. Makes me look smart. It was also a gift.)
A Clockwork Orange
Anansi Boys
The Once and Future King
The Grapes of Wrath
The Poisonwood Bible : a novel
Angels & Demons
The Inferno (and Purgatory and Paradise)
The Satanic Verses
Sense and Sensibility
The Picture of Dorian Gray
Mansfield Park
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
To the Lighthouse
Tess of the D’Urbervilles
Oliver Twist
Gulliver’s Travels
Les Misérables
The Corrections
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
The Prince
The Sound and the Fury
Angela’s Ashes : a memoir
The God of Small Things
A People’s History of the United States : 1492-present
A Confederacy of Dunces
A Short History of Nearly Everything
The Unbearable Lightness of Being
The Scarlet Letter
Eats, Shoots & Leaves
The Mists of Avalon
Oryx and Crake : a novel
Collapse : how societies choose to fail or succeed
Cloud Atlas
The Confusion
Northanger Abbey
The Catcher in the Rye
On the Road
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
Freakonomics : a rogue economist explores the hidden side of everything
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance : an inquiry into values
The Aeneid
Watership Down (Favorite, favorite book of all time, every time.)
Gravity’s Rainbow
The Hobbit
In Cold Blood : a true account of a multiple murder and its consequences
White Teeth
Treasure Island
David Copperfield
The Three Musketeers

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Picture a Day 365

So I've decided to take a picture a day, which means I'll do a post a day as well. It'll keep me writing, my blog current, and my mad photography skillz sharp (not). But mostly it'll be fun.

Today Richard and the girls did some landscaping in the front yard. Richard went on Craigslist and got a whole bunch of plants from people who were giving them away and brought them all home, along with some large cement landscaping rounds. He's ambitious.

I just wandered around and took pictures.

Now, the next pictures are sorta strange. We have a Lint Tree. Not familiar with that species? It occurs in nature only when next to a dryer vent.

Happy Monday!