Friday, October 31, 2008

Scrooge City

That's me on the right. Because much like Linus, somebody ruined Halloween. Our doorbell just rang for the first time tonight, and I didn't answer it. I felt a pang because I loved Halloween when I was a kid, and again when my kids were little. I always liked opening the door to small, adorable children in cute costumes. The problem is, the past couple of years have shown a dearth of small, adorable children in cute costumes, and a glut of rude, obnoxious brats.

When we lived in a small town in Oklahoma, I opened the door to kids I knew. Even after we moved here, I still knew the neighborhood kids. Now, kids come from neighboring towns, and other neighborhoods in the city, in large vans that they park at the end of the street. I don't know them and frankly, I'm beginning to feel a little like Joe the Plumber. I also don't like jacked up candy prices, especially when I am handing out three times what I used to. And I really hated it a couple of years ago when a kid threw his candy back into my bowl and said he wanted Reese's. Oh, and later that night when the doorbell rang at 10:30, I wasn't very happy. So, I am totally Scrooging out this year and opting out of Halloween. I may pay for it with toilet paper antics, or worse, but I guess that's a chance I'm willing to take.

So on that bitchy note, I would like to thank everyone who shows up and reads this blog - today is my two year blogiversary. Yay!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Do You Hear What I Hear?

In one of my very earliest posts, I wrote about my penchant for eavesdropping on other peoples' conversations while out in public. A slight variation of that happened last week when I treated myself to a mini-spa day, with a mani-pedi and a haircut. While I was getting a pedicure, a woman came in for a fill and a pedicure. She seemed quite, shall we say, outgoing (loud), and asked everyone in attendance what color polish she should get. She said she wanted something that would compliment her tan, after which she told the room that everyone she knew could go into the tanning bed and fall asleep, but she couldn't. As a result, she just lies in the tanning bed, bored. As she sat down, she commented on the elevator music, asking, "Where's the rock and roll?"

The pedicurist had her sit down while she ran the water. The client put her feet in it and said that no, it wasn't too hot. She said she liked hot water. I said, "The water feels good, my feet have been cold all morning." To which she replied, "Yeah, I can't shower with my husband because I have to have the water HOT and he likes it lukewarm." Oh, I KNOW you didn't just say that to me because that is way too much information. Thankfully, my pedi was almost over and I got to leave before I found out what may have been even more revealing details about her and her husband.

I heard several conversations a few weekends ago, when we were at an airshow with an attendance of 35,000 people. The one that stuck with me was a woman, about my age, on her cell phone as everyone was leaving. "I'm on my way now, what is wrong with you? God, why do you have to be so %#@*ing rude?" Gee, I don't know. Because it's so polite to yell %#@*ing rude in a crowd, particularly one with multitudes of small children.

Last, my daughter and I were at Red Lobster a few weeks ago. There was a table near us with four people, who appeared to be co-workers lunching outside the office. They made no attempt to be discreet about any of their table talk, which was mostly mundane. At one point, though, I heard the only woman at the table loudly exclaim: "The man is obsessed with donkeys. He absolutely LOVES donkeys!" Guess we know who he'll be voting for next month.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Hunkering Down

Some people call it nesting, but I'm okay with hunkering down. It's the way I roll in the fall when I want to clean and cook. You know I like my jam and jelly. I love the way it smells and how pretty it is in the jars, and the popping of the lids.

Here is another favorite. There is a roast underneath all of that. Around the roast are carrots, celery, onion, red, green and yellow peppers, and two kinds of squash. That all goes in the baking stone, along with some broth. I used to put potatoes in the mix, but I ended up with so many veggies that I now nuke the potatoes separately. I made that last night. So tonight, I cut up the leftovers, tossed in a can of corn, some leftover peas, a tomato, and some salt and pepper, and, with some crusty bread, we had another meal. We have enough for tomorrow night also. I have to say a big pot of soup is great for our first real fall night. We got a cold front from the north and it's been rainy and gray all day.

In addition, as an update on my September 4th post, in which I mentioned Alfie the Squirrel, he has decided to be part of the family. He comes to whatever window he thinks will give him a view of me (desk, living room, bedroom) and looks in so that I will bring pecans. He has gotten so comfortable with me that he takes pecans out of my hand. I go out to the back porch and hold them out. He comes to my hand, puts his little paws around my finger, takes the pecan in his mouth, looks at me and runs away to stash it somewhere. I really like the little guy.

Pssst! Don't tell my father-in-law. He hates squirrels.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

This 'n' That

The move-in to the shelter was hectic, and we didn't get phones or internet until Tuesday, so it was still somewhat chaotic. Here are some highlights of the week.

On Saturday, hubby and I went out to Vance Air Force Base (our house is in the flight path for landings, so we get a lot of jet traffic overhead) because they were having a huge airshow. We only wanted to go mid-afternoon to see the Thunderbirds. We drove out, fought traffic, found a parking spot in a field, I turned around to get my camera . . . and realized it was sitting on my desk where I'd been loading photos of the big move. My zoom lens was in the bag in the back seat, and it would have taken some awesome pictures had it actually been connected to a camera. Oh well, maybe next time. The show was amazing anyway. I don't know how many times I've seen them perform, but it never ceases to impress.

I could have taken this picture. You know, if I'd had a camera.

Of course this time of year one always must decorate for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Harvest etc. It would be nice if the wind would simmer down a bit. Every time I go outside my little scarecrow is saying "Linda, help me, I've fallen and I can't get up."

Thursday night Jess came home for the weekend with a friend. We have graduated from Guitar Hero to Rock Band II which has, in addition to the guitar, drums and a mike for vocals.

While they played that, I slaved over a hot stove making chili for the United Way Chili Cookoff the following day. YFS always has a booth there. I'm surprised my house doesn't still smell like chili.

The cookoff was, as always, a success, with 37 booths. I'm proud to say our chili won second place, and we will get a nice plaque for our shiny new building. Thanks to April for the recipe.

Last but not least, hubby came in last night and said that my van had been 'violated.' Jess and Andrew had decided to jazz it up.

Don't ask me what a hornbeam is because I have no clue. Here is Jessica's signature vampire. She also likes to make this on the back window when the van needs washing.

And this is a tribute to Live's song "All Over You," which she and I crank and sing along with and giggle because the words make no sense.

"Our love is like water,
Pinned down and abused for being strange."

So . . . that is the week in review. Fun, busy, pinned down and abused for being strange. Just kidding. Looking forward to what the next week will bring. Well, I think I am. At least the stock market will be closed on Monday.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Home at Last

Jessica came home from school last Thursday night and Friday morning we got up to head for Youth and Family Services around seven o'clock. Our Development Director had arrived even earlier to put up this banner and set out this cake.

Several more Board members arrived, followed by some staff. We knew we were in for a long, hard day, but we were pumped up!

We hired professional movers for the big stuff, but staff and volunteers carried everything else: plants, paper, files, phones, kitchen stuff, food from the shelter, toys, bedding and whatever else you can imagine would be in a youth shelter/counseling center. Here is our fearless leader (ED) hauling files.

That's the son of one of our counselors, another counselor and my daughter.

We broke at eleven for sandwiches and fruit and vegetable trays in one of our beautiful new rooms.

Our Executive Director told the shelter staff that he wanted the shelter to be as close to normal as possible before the kids got back from school, around 3:30 that afternoon. They hustled in the kitchen, in the common area, unpacked bedding, Jess and I made beds. This is what it looked like at ten a.m.

And this is what it looked like when the kids came in. Our agency has the most dedicated staff and Board, willing to do whatever it takes for our kids. I stayed until 4:30 and Jess stayed another hour or more after that. It was a long, completely rewarding day.

And yes, we're finally home.