Thursday, September 30, 2010

Dakota the problem solver.....

With Dakota having every other day at home still, I am to make the most of our last year at home together during the day. I try to split things 50/50 and have him sit next to me with an activity, like a dot-to-dot worksheet or paints and we talk as we work on things.

Today was NOT a 50/50. I was trying to re-write a difficult paper and also balance the checkbook and deal with a bill I was trying to pay over the phone but the bank was having problems off and on all day with it. Today was so incredibly gorgeous - almost 80 and all I wanted to do was go for a walk with him. It got too late and the evening routine was about to start so I sat on the back step while he showed me how he could wrap the swing around the frame and swing really high. Then he ran laps around the yard to impress me. It was so cute! He sat down to rest by me on the step and I told him how I wish the day had not been overflowing with papers and how I was going to work on fixing that. I told him it won't always be that way. His reply was, "Why don't you just come to school with me and then you could spend time with me?"  Clever little heart-melting genius!
Tuesday, September 28, 2010

It was a great day to be a boy...

 Sunday was a great day to be a boy in our family. Sundays are our family activity day. Since our middle son, Wyatt, is a major gearhead I planned a special outing that I knew he'd love. He's bilingual. He speaks English and "Rockcrawler-iese".  For two months I've been Googling details about this Top Truck competition coming up since the fliers were removed at work. I sat next to him and listed to him tell me all about the vehicles that had "beadlockers", if it had "Detroit Lockers" and we betted each other if the next vehicle looked like it would roll when it came down the "frame-twist" obstacle. He said we were the best people in his life - ever!
Next we headed over to the Game-stop for Josh to trade in some games and get a new Power-Up card membership. I snuck away to use the restroom in the next building (since gamers somehow don't go-it's too distracting from DefConUberAlien or whatever and they don't have one for customers). His best friend was in there shopping with his birthday giftcards and it was crowded. Borders Bookstore is next door and I took  a moment to wander the YA section, check for titles I hoped they carried and saw lots of new releases already reviewed on blogs. Why don't they have Matched? For two whole minutes I was in my zone and they were in theirs. Of course they stayed so long in Gamestop that when I went back, the younger ones needed to find a bathroom as well so, sigh, I HAD to take them next door to....
Borders Book Store!! And they went nuts. I think it was overload by  this time and my wallet was on "underload". Taking Wyatt in there and telling him he can't buy anything just makes for a horrible fight. Darn Gamestop for not having a bathroom!  At least they love books....
Saturday, September 25, 2010

Anyone know the origin of this design?

I am entirely hooked on Lia Sophia jewelry and parties. I have a ball buying into their sales pitches like, "Buy three, get two at half-price!" Who wouldn't be sucked in by that idea?  Some of their best pieces can be worn as a long necklace, a double looped short necklace, a "tie", a bracelet, AND a belt. I see customers in my line wearing pieces I easily recognize and can even name.

The fact that I can't afford these pieces motivated me to make the most of this one:  

Does anyone know what the design actually is?

My customers always ask, "Is it Aztec?", "Is it Celtic?", or say "Nice cross!"

The truth is, it came from the Michael's clearance aisle for about $1.99 and I added the leather strap. It's fairly large, about the size of my palm and I wear it as a "choker" necklace since I button up pretty high at work.

Any guesses? Should I just answer, "It's Crap-o-lian?" with the possibility of lead poisoning?

Mostly I just thank people, but I'd love to know if I'm wearing some type of cultish-symbol calling up evil demons or something......
Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A Whole New Level of Cool!

I often take my five year old, Dakota, with me to school for extra meetings. It must be 3/4mile or more from where I park to our destination so I bring his scooter and make it fun. Today I was walking beside him thinking, "Man, I need one of those!" Unfortunately, my buttI hair-do is just too big to be on one of those. The problem persists. All these long-legged students pass me by no matter how fast my short little legs are going. I also feel the need to streamline every moment of the day and all that walking, although good for my health, is just taking up too much time that could be spent studying. Being late for class produces a sight that would even cause Jello to shiver - a grown woman in a backpack-running! Way too much jiggle going on there.  So I  started thinking about option one:
This thing goes FAST and it could easily navigate between other walking and long-boarding students. It even has an irritating horn that just might be annoying enough that people would part ways and allow me through. But, nah, other students might feel jealous and it might "go missing" (is that even a part of the English language?)

Option 3: The electric scooter. I don't have a photo of it, but I know the boys have one stored in their grandma's garage and that baby is so fast it whips my head back when I push the button.  But, nah, our school is too eco/health conscious for me to be on something battery operated. It says "lazy/mercury polluter" all over it.

Option 3: The piece de resistance

The coolest part of the Fuzion is that it's articulated. You swivel the board deck left or right when you want to turn - fun! I'll have mine tailored to match my mini-van - "Cherry Red" with a cup-holder and cell phone cradle. Oh, an an alarm with "chirper" and a horn-just in case!
Friday, September 17, 2010

Mom Chic at the bus stop - RU KIDDING?!

I stumbled across this video clip from the Today Show about two weeks ago. (sorry, I tried to embed the clip but can't figure it out!) Every time I throw on a pair of sweats in between making five sandwiches, combing three heads of hair, helping with last minute homework and gathering library books and band instruments-all on yet another a 5 hour sleep allotment and half a cup of coffee I am reminded that I should be ashamed of myself......

"Mom chic for the bus stop

Kids aren't the only ones who might need some new clothes to start off the school year. Jene Luciani says ditch the old sweat pants for something more stylish when dropping the kids off for school."

Notice the fashion expert has one toddler and her mom helping her? You only need to see the first minute and 20 seconds of this clip before you roll your eyes....$260 for an outfit to impress the neighbors and all their little ones! Oh and in case you were wondering, the expert says you don't even have to be "matchy-matchy". This "expert" claims she spends 90% of her day covered in pee and spit up, so now you, too, can spend your week's shift-work wages for your toddler to cover your new non-match-match outfit in bodily fluids before you go back inside to wash the dishes in it. At least they did throw in a pair of enormous Paris Hilton style sunglasses "so you don't have to wear make-up", which is great because I really thought I was going to have to get up at 4:30am but now I can just get up at 5am to get my "bus-stop chic".

Did you pack Junior's lunch? Junior's what? Is my outfit too matchy-matchy?
Who thinks Kathy Lee and Hoda should come work my night shift three nights in a row, go to school for me during the day - do my lengthy homework assignments and then get up with the rooster and get their fashion on?   I'll be waiting at the bus stop with four well-prepared kids and the other half of my cup of coffee!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

College Rocks!

 I've only been in school three weeks and I am blown away by all the extra opportunities to learn and meet interesting people presented to us. MSU helped us make the connection with NASA to attend their Lunar Workshop for teachers and future teachers.  This allowed me certification to request samples of lunar rocks for LIFE!  So every first day of school, when my students are nervous I can win them over with, "Wanna see a real MOON ROCK?" Year after year.

The presentation was so interesting! Who knew the Apollo astronauts weren't even interested in picking up the right samples until they were taught what information is actually in a geological sample. We even got to see a "blooper" clip of an astronaut trying to dig the sample out and smacking himself into the surface of the moon. The samples are considered national treasures and have to be kept in a vault at a bank of police station if they are not in the posession of a certified borrower - the borrow has to be in the room with the samples or carry them in a special case like an FBI agent! What's funny is that we are sharing this with little kids! "It's like - don't touch that! Oh, wait, you can touch it if I'm watching you." We got to look at them under microscopes and it was amazing how brilliant the samples were. When the light hits them they really sparkle. Some are dark, some are brownish-multicolored and some are stark-white. Each sample had a different texture too - even the sand was sparkling. 

If that wasn't mind-blowing enough - how about being invited to sit in on a presentation by Maya Angelou?  Is this for real? I wonder if the average 18 year old college student even knows who she is? I can't wait until she comes in November! This ROCKS! 
Monday, September 13, 2010

One Up, Two Down....

Rock em' Sock em' Josh!
Today is my 13 year old, Josh's, first game of the season...(one up!), he just made a tackle... (one down!), and I'm  at home reading it by text because my middle son got hit in the temple while walking at school and has a concussion (one down!). Poor guy. I feel so bad for him!

Who knew walking was dangerous?

 I wish I were omnipresent (able to be all places at once). Reminds me of last year's superbowl when I had to leave for work during the last 5 minutes of the game. Can't wait to see the game video....

Another Sunday - Another gorgeous lake!

How could this gorgeous lake be named after a rat?

After helping teach the kiddos at church, we let the dishes sit, the messes be messy, the shaggy lawn grow another inch, the homework and haircuts wait for one more day and took off  with our boxer, Ruby, for a hike to Rat Lake. I keep saying it's our last time out for the season, but the weather went from rainy back to gorgeous with long, fall shadows and crisp breezes. It was an interesting hike - a steep rocky trail that was supposedly 1 mile round trip (no way, 2 miles for sure) led up to this quiet lake. We only saw three groups of people the entire time. We cast our lines, but the fish eluded us. It was funny seeing Josh somehow get his fishing lure stuck about 13 feet straight up in a tree.  After that crazy week it was just what we needed!
Saturday, September 11, 2010

Breaking news: Cashier Becomes Personal Therapist Overnight!

I love people. For years I had a bookkeeping job in an office basically in a room alone, but when I returned to the workforce I went in search for a job where I could interract with a multitude of adults and chose to cashier at a local grocery store. Since then I've been offered two bookkeeping jobs at that store and turned them down. Even though I absolutely HATE leaving my family to go earn a living, I really do love working with people.  I love people even on 5 hours sleep at 11pm. I laugh with them, ask if they are on vacation, comment on their fantastic taste in muffins, etc. I've had customer comments like, "You are WAY too perky for 11:30 at night!", or "Go in this lady's line - she always acts like she WANTS you to be there!" So what in the world went wrong last night?  - I'd like to know! 

 At precisely 11pm, I saw this average-looking lady customer an aisle away about to go to the other cashier, but that cashier was engaged in a conversation. I made eye contact with the lady and smiled while she was still an aisle away. I asked her if she found everything ok. I did the "beep, beep","clickety-click", "count, count, count", receipt routine as I rang up her three items, and as I fixed her bags so their handles were pulled up and set it by her I said in a VERY perky voice (mind you I've had 5 hrs sleep, and it's 11pm), "Thank you, have a nice evening!", smiled and stood basically at attention looking at her stuff and watching her put her things in her purse, looking around, just in case she needed anything else.

Her response just blew me away! She boomed, "I feel RUSHED!". Then she pointed at the self-check machines and my check printer and said, "All this technology, it's just TOO efficient, there's no one in line behind me and I feel RUSHED! No, how are you, what's going on with YOU?" I replied, "I did ask you if you found everything okay." I thought surely she must be JOKING? Nope, she was serious. She went on ranting at me about how I went too fast and it's a small town and with no one in line , how I should have asked her what was going on in her life - gesturing wildly at herself meanwhile. She stomped off continuing her rant and making rude comments at me. I checked myself - even I don't appreciate casheirs that don't even make eye contact, but this was not the case. Okay, so I get lots of weirdo's at night -drunks, people who need to throw up and want to find the bathroom asap, people who don't actually make it there, people who enlighten me on conspiracy theories, people that cross-dress, people who complain that my line is too slow, but being chewed out for being too fast???SERIOUSLY?????
Friday, September 10, 2010

US101 - part 2 Big News!

Finally got my book signed!
For those of you that aren't familiar with Kevin Michael Connolly, I have something great to share with you!  Kevin's book Double Take is currently featured as the "One Book Bozeman"  selection. It's a way for our whole community to be in one big book club and is featured in the local paper to give us a common month to discuss the selection. Kevin is a Montana State University graduate who became a successful photographer  who has received international acclaim. through his project named The Rolling Exhibition. While travelling around the world, he created this art project out of candid photos he took behind his back when people would pass by then do a "double-take" because of his appearance. 

What makes him catch peoples' eyes is that he was born without legs and rather than use a wheelchair to get around, he whizzes by on a skateboard .  In addition to his photo exhibit, he has written a memoir named, Double-Take  Not only does he talk about the project in his memoir, he also shares what life is like when you have to overcome adversity every single day. Not only did he overcome, he took the X-Games by storm, and his mono-skiing experiences will have you holding your breath! He was selected to give an inspirational speech at our Freshman Convocation this week.
  What does that have to do with my blog?  Here's the big news....

I was chosen to attend the Master Class where he did a Q&A with about 50 students. My role was to take notes, try to get our class question answered, and share what I learned with the class the following day. He's such a fun and open guy - he said we could ask him anything. I had a list a mile long I wanted to ask, but since I was the first one to ask a question I asked, "Now that you are back in Bozeman, how do people respond to you?"  His reply was, "It's more like, 'Hey, you're that guy!' and eventually it will peak." He referred to other famous writers like Greg Mortenson of Bozeman who is currently building schools in Afganistan off the pennies of local students and how people like Greg are more worthy of the attention. Here he is, a day before giving our convocation speech and he's completely humble! 

He was such a character, telling jokes and even shared an edgy comment he once was told not to use on TV (again). He's the kind of guy you'd love to hang out with - entertaining and full of stories.  It was a blast and I was thrilled to have him sign my book after convocation. I look forward to bumping into him on the streets of Bozeman and saying, "Hey, remember me - your old stalker pal from MSU!" and hope he doesn't hit warp speed on his longboard heading the opposite direction!
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Scott, Foresman and Company - move over!

Looks like my 7 year old son, Wyatt, is revamping the standard textbook worksheets (created by Scott, Foresman and Co) in his class to a more "modern" level! Go Wyatt! 

Thursday, September 2, 2010

University Studies 101 Part 1 - peers

Okay, so I got through day one without too much trouble except having to push-add my University Studies class so that my schedule will remain on target. I won't even go into what it takes for a mom of 4/football-mom/night-shift worker/volunteer/every-other-day kindergartener parent to work a schedule out at school!

What, no drama? Oh, you know me better than to think nothing happened that was worth blogging about!  My US class is a reading/discussing/critical thinking/writing class that is mostly about the students leading class in discussions together and writing college level papers individually. These kids are all fresh out of high school with college prep classes and lots of recent practice - a little intimidating but not enough to keep me from sitting side by side with them. Our "icebreaker" for the class was, "Tell a little about yourself and ask a question about the person that went before you." Each student tried to tell something unique and the following student would ask them something like, "What's your favorite restaurant?" or "team".  My turn comes and I mention the obvious just to get it out there. "I'm a non-traditional student with four kids and today is a big day because my youngest went to kindergarten and my oldest started 7th grade and today is my first day, too". The guy after me asks plainly, "So, did you cry?" ..."What?".... "When you dropped him off did you cry?" 

Right for the jugular!  What, don't wonder if I like Pita-pit? Don't wonder if I love the Packers? Did I CRY?

The funny thing is, on my way to class today I decided I loved the question!  Serious ice-breaker, right to the point - what kind of parent am I and how did letting go effect me - is basically what that means.  What I didn't think about is that all the students in the room had just faced that at home on the other end of the spectrum. Ah, I see  - we have more in common than it appeared!

And my reply was, "No, I didn't cry - my kindergartener basically ditched me and was happy to be there."

Come back for part 2 - it's BIG news!
Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Here's to 20 years!

 Our first anniversary..........
Our 20th anniversary.......

Here's to the next 20!
Wish we were here.......
Here's to all the great stuff in-between. Thanks for 20 wonderful, adventure-filled years. I love you!