Thursday, December 25, 2008

Some People Call Me The Space Cowboy

Christmas! We have a family tradition of prolonging the agony. When the kids were younger they always woke up at about 5:30 AM. Today Joe woke up at about 8:00. We always let the kids get into the stockings without parental supervision mainly because we wanted to shower and dress before we started taking pictures. I made a nice breakfast of french toast, bacon, fresh raspberries and juice. After breakfast we went to open presents. Do you get how painfully slow this is for kids who really want to open presents? At this point the kids were dying when they were younger. Joe is now ten so he is used to this routine and he was a pretty good sport about it. By this time it was about 9:30. I figured I better get the turkey in the oven because it takes a long time to open presents. So we didn't get to the tree until around 10:00 AM.

We always open the presents one at a time and that can take a couple of hours. I think we were finished opening presents around noon. My idea is that kids wait all year for this one day. I don't want to rush it and have it all over by 6:05 AM.

I had to make a run to Albertsons because I had forgotten to make or buy cranberry sauce. Turkey, cranberry sauce... I know what you are thinking. Why did Bonnie cook Thanksgiving dinner for Christmas? It was primarily because our pneumonia induced restaurant Thanksgiving feast was so bad that we all still had a hankerin' for the traditional meal and now that I am feeling better I was happy to fix it. As I am posting this blog I have my leftover turkey carcass in the pressure cooker making broth for future use.

Joe got Guitar Hero World Tour and Rock Band for his Wii. When he opened each one I think he wet his pants a little, he was so excited. Today I got to help the band out by singing Hotel California and The Joker. The way the singing works is you get points for singing on time and on pitch, even if you sing the wrong words. Joe really likes being the lead singer but sometimes he needs help from his mom so I am right there especially if I know the words. John and Jeff also like being the lead singer so we had to take turns with the mic.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sometimes I Should Just Keep My Mouth Shut

This is one of those times. The subject is wide spread underage drinking. Why is it condoned by so many? I just attended a Military ball tonight at the Dallas Hyatt Regency where everyone in attendance was served a glass of champagne regardless of age for a toast. I know that at least 3 of the 10 people at our table were underage. One girl was 16. She and her date chugged their toast because it was in front of them, and no one was there to stop them.

The general manager of the hotel happens to live in my neighborhood. Maybe I will call him and ask him about his alcohol policies. I could question the board members who put the ball together. I am sure the answer will be that it was about 4 oz of champagne. What is the big deal? And if I call the police, well the party is over so why don't I just prove it.

But I've tried keeping my mouth shut and I just don't seem to have that talent. That is just the way I am.

I wrote this post about 2 1/2 weeks ago and did not publish while I let the emotion simmer down. Today I published 3 new blogs. The others are a little more uplifting and one contains a bunch of pictures so feel free to check them out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Dodging Bullets at the Naval Academy

Today Joe had his classroom winter holiday celebration (PC language for Christmas party). I had talked to Mrs. Tomasavic earlier and she wanted John to come and talk to the class about life at the Naval Academy. John wasn't very excited about this. He told me that he hated being voluntold what to do. I like that word and I am going to incorporate it into my vocabulary. While he was complaining about how dumb and unproductive it would be to talk to fifth graders who would have absolutely no interest in the Naval Academy, I had him help me take stuff over to the school for nachos for the party. We happened to be there right on time for John's presentation. Imagine that.

When both fifth grade classes came into the library the boys started peppering John with questions about guns. They were asking him about his experience shooting terrorist machine guns and Marine assault weapons. John had to admit that he only shoots rifles and pistols, and only on the shooting range. Other questions were if John had ever been shot accidentally on the shooting range, and if he had accidentally shot another person or animal haplessly crossing the shooting range while he was practicing shooting. I think one kid asked him if he had ever shot a deer. John showed them his expert medals for rifle and pistol which were pretty impressive. He talked about the food at King Hall and tried to get a fifth grader to do a chow call for the Spring Creek cafeteria. He talked about going to school and taking really hard classes. I didn't hear everything he said because I had to help set up for the party. The teachers were happy because the kids learned something new. The kids were entertained, and we were ready for them when the party started.

I think it is funny that fifth grade boys are so interested in guns. The questions the girls asked had to do with haircuts for the female mids and uniforms. I asked John if there was any upper classman at the Academy with the last name of Bullets. He looked up the mid list and determined that there was not. Darn! That was the only way he could have claimed to be dodging Bullets at the Naval Academy.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

John Is Making Me Fat

I wrote a post a few months ago about how I had been able to wear my tightest jeans with ease. I had attributed my weight loss to walking. Something happened yesterday that has made me rethink my conclusion.

I picked John up from the airport. He was so happy to get home. He has been gone for 6 months. We met Bob for lunch at Mercado Juarez. John has not had decent Mexican food the entire time in Maryland and he knew what he was hungry for good salsa, chips, enchiladas, rice and beans. We also stopped at Sams and Target. John asked if we had tortilla chips at home. Did we have filled pretzels? Did we have Skittles? Well, the list went on. The answer was always, "No, I am watching Joe's weight." It finally occurred to me that I was actually benefiting by keeping Joe on a diet of carrot sticks and hummus.

I know John has huge caloric requirements. I just hope the rest of us can resist temptation.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

An Answer to One Of Life's Most Perplexing Questions

I don't know how things work at you house, but we can never find tape when we need it. I have established a tape zone. I have hidden the goods in a private stash. I have put it on the desk with a dispenser. I have bought 10 rolls at a time hoping that there would be so much tape that certainly it would present itself. But, alas, most of the time when tape is needed I have to run to little Walmart for a roll.

Today I was cleaning up John's room preparing for him to come home tomorrow. It wasn't too bad until I swept under the bed. I found three rolls of scotch tape, a nearly new roll of packing tape, and a nearly new roll of masking tape. I really don't know what he was doing with all of that tape in his room. Whenever he needed a gift wrapped he would come to me claiming that gift wrapping wasn't his talent. I would usually agree to do the job for him. This almost always started the unfruitful hunt for tape. John would give no clue that he was hiding a stash under his bed.

When John was two he asked for tape for Christmas as his main gift. It was pretty cute when Santa had to clarify that Johnny wanted tape, and offered to bring him a few toys too. John seemed to think that tape was not only fun to play with but had some wonderful healing properties. Anytime something would break he would ask me to tape it back together for him. I wish I could have repaired his broken toys with tape but that usually doesn't work.

But I digress. The answer to the question of ,"Where is the tape?" is under John's bed.

I also found a hammer and two phillips screwdrivers,answering a few more of my perplexing questions.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Depression-The Double-Entendre

I was out doing some errands today and my mind wandered onto the subject of the gloomy economic situation because I saw a billboard advertising for patients suffering from depression for a medical/drug study. I thought about how a year ago I probably wouldn't have associated the word depression with the economy. I was particularly thinking about the impending bail-out of the American auto industry. A few short weeks ago the financial sector got the bail-out. Now the Auto industry is asking, and who next? I understand that government intervention is needed under extreme circumstances. If you listen to the news you hear the extreme desperation everywhere. But you all can watch the news and make up your own minds.

As my mind was wandering, I thought about my two grandmothers who weathered the depression while raising families. They had diametrically different political views. My Grandma Bullock was a true blue democrat. I have seen her tear-up at the sound of Ted Kennedy's voice. She would have been for the bail-out. In her personal life she was one of the most charitable people I have ever known. During the Great Depression the down and out were always knocking on her door. She had very little but she could always prepare a sandwich and a drink for anyone who knocked on her door and asked. At her funeral I spoke, and noted how she did the work of the Savior by feeding the hungry. She never wanted to turn anyone away. What if she turned someone away and he happened to be John the Beloved or One of the Three Nephites?

Unfortunately, during a time of need in her life she was turned away. This was in 1938. She and my grandfather had just moved to Mesa, Arizona from Ogden, Utah. Grandpa Bullock had been sick for about a year with a lung ailment. Back then, if you had a respiratory problem the doctors sent you to Arizona for the dry, warm climate. He had a job lined up but he had not been paid yet. The move had cost them more than they had planned, so they were out of money. My mother was still a baby and they had no milk for her. Grandpa Bullock went to the grocery store and asked if they would give him some milk for his baby daughter. He explained the situation and offered to pay them back the next week when he got paid or when his family in Utah sent them an emergency loan. The owner of the grocery store told him to get out of his store and to stop begging. Basically saying, "Don't come back unless you have money. We don't want beggars in our store." Grandpa had to go home and tell Grandma that there would be no milk for the baby that night. Grandma was pretty resourceful though. She had a little white flour so she browned it in a pan and added water to make a really thin Mormon gravy. She put that in the bottle and gave that to my mother. The next day, Grandpa went to a little Chinese grocery store/restaurant. The owner had compassion and gave him milk. They were able to get by with the milk and what they had until they got paid. My grandfather was able to pay him back the next week.

The funny part of this story is that Grandpa Bullock's new job was the Health Inspector for the City of Mesa. He told me that the grocers who turned him away ran the filthiest meat and dairy department in town. He was constantly writing them up for infractions. He witnessed them putting water in the cottage cheese to bump up the weight. He noticed evidence of rodents. He was a thorn in their side from 1938 until 1972 when he retired. He also told me that the Chinese Grocer ran the cleanest store/restaurant in town. So maybe he wasn't John the Beloved, but you never know who you are turning away.

Grandma and Grandpa Stockam were staunch Republicans. It is almost as if Self Reliance was their religion. They would rather starve than ask for or receive help from the government or anyone. They came to Arizona from Oklahoma in 1932. This was at the time of the dust bowl when immigrants from Oklahoma were going to California. Think Grapes of Wrath.Grandpa Stockam suffered from a respiratory ailment also. So they would always distinguish themselves from all of those poor Okies who were relocating for economic reasons, because they were relocating for health reasons. They sold everything they had in Oklahoma and bought a truck. Grandpa had to teach himself how to drive. Evidently it was pretty scary. Grandma had little faith in the car and probably less in Grandpa's driving abilities because when they got to the top of a hill Grandma took herself and all of her kids out of the car. Grandpa would drive down the hill while the family walked. He would wait for them at the bottom of the hill and prepare lunch or set up camp, whatever the time of day required. Then all of the family would pack into the car to go up the next hill. At that pace it took them over a year to get to Arizona. They picked crops along the way. They broke down in New Mexico for several months until they could raise enough money to fix the truck.

They raised 11 children by picking cotton and raising dairy cattle. This was where the 11 kids came in handy. They milked by hand and picked cotton by hand. They had few material possessions and life was hard. But this is the way they thought it should be. I haven't heard of Grandma Stockam feeding the hungry except for those 11 hungry kids who ate beans and biscuits almost every night by the sweat of their brows and the labor of their hands. Maybe the down and out knew that if they came knocking on the Stockam's door the best they could hope for would be cold beans on a cold biscuit sandwich.

My father and his twin brother were the 9th and 10th children. They were born about 3months early and weighed about 5 pounds between the two of them. Chances of success in 1936 of that small of babies was pretty low. Fortunately they were able to afford Borden brand sweetened condensed milk which they mixed with water and put in a bottle. If any of you are familiar with sweetened condensed milk you know how much sugar those babies were getting. The babies thrived on the high sugar diet. The Borden company heard about the success and sent out representatives to try to use the twins in a advertising campaign. They were trying to offer my grandparents thousands of dollars to take pictures of the twins and tell their story. Grandma Stockam got really angry at this. She kicked them out of her house and told them that she didn't need their charity. Obviously, she had never been to business school. She couldn't imagine anyone giving her money if she didn't have to work like a pack mule for it. She could not envision the reality of intangible assets. I think I can safely say that if she were alive today she would be drastically opposed to the bail-out.

Last Saturday we rented the movie Kit Kitteridge American Girl. This is a movie about a 10 year old girl who gets to make it through the depression. She and her family have to do things they would never have imagined just to keep up with the mortgage payment. I know it sounds like a kid's movie but I really liked it. Joe liked it too even though he is a boy, so the message seems to transcend age and gender limits. If you see this movie you will have to notice Kit's friend Ruthie. Joe thinks she is hot.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

White Elephant Ideas

Today I went to the Spring Creek PTA Board Christmas party hosted by my friend Cathleen. It was really fun. Every year we do a white elephant gift exchange. My contribution this year was a couple of gold fish which cost 12 cents each, a glass bowl pulled out of my cupboard, some tap water conditioner and some gold fish food. Total out of pocket--$5.26. There was a $10.00 limit so I was well under. I can't say it was the most popular gift, but it might have been if it were picked earlier or if it were a different crowd. My sense of humor is a little more warped than the standard woman's sense of humor.

Here are some other great ideas. How about keeping your eye open during the year for some really big sized or outlandishly weird panties or a bra? Just make sure no one sees you bring it in. Also you need to act really appalled that any one would dare put such an inappropriate gift in the exchange. Another idea is to wrap up your husband's most prized possession if he is going to the White elephant with you. Wouldn't that be a hoot? I think you would need to video his reaction. A couple of years ago John put a picture of himself with a huge braces style smile and giving the double thumbs up. Kyle, the 14 year old boy who got it was pretty surprised. Not even John's girlfriend at the time traded for the picture. Low-Blow! She didn't remain his girlfriend very long. Just a hint to any girl out there, if your husband or boyfriend puts a framed picture of himself in a White Elephant make sure you steal it and then jealously guard it so that no one will steal it from you. This may require your best academy award winning performance but it could be worth it.

I would love to hear of any other great ideas so feel free to comment.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oprah's Big Revelation

Today Oprah has come out of the closet and confessed that she has gained 40 pounds. I know she thinks she is stunning us with this big revelation but seriously, who didn't guess she had gained weight. There are some things you can't hide from the public. She has been wearing loose fitting, sweat pant-style clothes for over a year. On top of everything, this is who she is. She gains weight and loses it all of the time. No one is shocked. No one is saying,"But she said she was so done with the yo-yo diet." There seem to be a few solutions to ending the yo-yo dieting cycle but they require death at a low spot, surgical intervention, or just giving up.

Almost every woman has to diet and work hard at looking good and being healthy. Call it a yo-yo diet, call it a lifestyle change, call it whatever you want. When we cease to engage in it we end up with an out of control weight problem. There may be reasons to avoid dieting. I know I have had valid reasons. But the result is never pretty no matter how good the reason. The solution is always a major course correction.

Good luck on your big lifestyle-change this year, Oprah. And good luck when you do it again in a few years.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Looks Like Navy Wins Again, Kaydet Chump

Today Joe, Bob and I went to Cool River restaurant to join a watching party for the Army-Navy game. It was a good old fashioned spanking of 34 to 0 Navy. Traditionally, West Point fans meet up for the game, but not even one showed up. That was pretty much the way it was on the field in Philadelphia.

A guy sat at our table who graduated from Annapolis in 1960. His father had gone to USNA and graduated in 1931 and died during WW2. So he grew up in a single parent home. When he went to USNA it was really tough for him to get used to grown men yelling at him every day. I thought about this and realized that when my father was insistent that I go to the Naval Academy in 1978 I declined because I had no desire to be yelled at by grown men on a continual basis. I woke up every day while growing up to a grown man yelling at me to hit the deck. This was the way it started, and continued along the same vein for the rest of the day, day, after day, after day. By the time I was 18 I had a belly-full and was ready to move on. It is pretty amazing how the mind of an 18 year-old works and how so much of life revolves around our choices and preferences at that time of our lives.

Right before the game started President Bush walked out onto the field and all of the Navy fans at the restaurant erupted into a spontaneous round of clapping and cheering. I wonder how the response will be next year for Obama.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Free Skate at the Galleria and My Newish Purse

This morning when I was reading the paper I found a notice that today was free skate at the Galleria. Even the skate rental was gratis. I called about 3 of Joe's friends to try to find a buddy with whom to share the joy but I couldn't find any takers so the two of us packed up and went, planning to meet Bob when he could get there. As soon as Joe hit the ice he had a great time. I am going to blame the fact that I am still recovering from pneumonia as to why I stayed on the sidelines to watch. Bob doesn't have that excuse. If I wasn't going to pull out my well worn pneumonia note I would use the lame excuse that Ice skating makes my feet hurt.

Joe did pretty good at skating. He has only ice skated once before so I wasn't expecting much. He figured out how to go fast and then he started trying to do tricks like spins.

At about 9:30 PM Bob and I decided it was time to go but our little lunch bucket was having too much fun. He kept coming up to the sidelines and asking for water so I finally told him that as soon as his glass of water was gone we were gone also. He started to take really small sips of water, but eventually with a few gulps on my part all of the water was gone and we left. Joe thinks he would like to take ice skating lessons if he could find a friend willing to go with him. We shall see.

I got this purse at the end of October when I was in Chicago with Megan. I got it at Macy's. It is a Fossil. I got it on a good sale with a coupon. The reason I am bringing this up is because I have had so many women admire my purse. I like it too. But, I am not kidding, the only people who have told me they like my purse are African American women. They will cross the store admire it. I don't know what this says about my tastes. I admit I like bold colorful purses and shoes. I better double check the genealogy.

About Me

My photo
I am a stay at home mom but the clock is ticking. My husband and I only have one child left at home. I enjoy shopping and finding great bargains.