Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Wizard of Oz....

It's a STORMY day here in the Mid-Atlantic region.....severe thunderstorm warnings, tornado (!!) warnings all day and hail, rain and high winds. I have walked around the house all morning checking the skies, checking the radar and checking the Weather Channel. I don't mind thunderstorms and I don't mind the winds. I love it actually - to sit and watch the winds blow and feel the strength of the wind on my face - it's exhilarating. But.....

The second and I mean the SECOND someone mentions the word "tornado", I freak. I have no idea why - I have never experienced one, never been around one and I am fascinated with watching all the tornado specials on the Weather Channel. The first time I ever even heard the word or saw one, was while watching the Wizard of Oz (a favorite movie of mine, to be sure) and maybe, at such a young age, it just set in motion a lifetime fear of them. Unfortunately, I have passed along that fear - not intentionally, mind you - to my oldest daughter. As soon as the skies turn dark, she suddenly decides that she CANNOT leave my side no matter what. It turns her into a weepy, scared child. I think that if she could have crawled back into my uterus today, she would have. Of course, she would have been joined by two very big dogs who feel that when it starts to thunder and rain, they must stay on TOP of mommy's feet or hide between her legs while she's walking in order to gain a little protection from the big bad storm. And when I happen to stop walking, they both flop right on top of my feet, legs, or whatever body part happens to be closest. Did I mention they were big dogs?

I feel bad that I have passed this irrational fear onto Liv, because her dad is fascinated with the weather and nothing gets to him! We always check with Brian when we want a weather update - he should have been a weatherman. Maybe as she grows up, the fear will go away, I don't know. Sydney doesn't seem very affected by it. I'm trying not to show my panic when the sky turns dark and green and yellow and menacing and the television starts beeping incessantly "WARNING! WARNING!" And really, this is not a place that is known for it tornadoes, so what am I scared of?

It's starting to hail a little bit now, so I am going to sign off before I hear Helen Hunt's voice yelling "Cow! We have cows!" at which point I will retire to the basement to wait out the rest of this miserable day......

Stay safe my friends.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


School starts Tuesday. Two classes - two nights a week - twelve weeks. Shit.

I would suggest that all my friends buy stock in Corona this weekend. I have a feeling they are going to see a large increase in consumption.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Well, we're done...

Finally! We only had a little power washing to do this morning, so we finished by 11:30 or so. We waited until 9:00 to start to be a little courteous to our neighbors that were sleeping off all the parties yesterday:)

Anyway, Brian told me about a place to get cantilevered umbrellas, so mom and I hopped in the car and off we went! They were EXTREMELY cheap (which I'm sure means that they won't last very long) so I got two! They are about 9 1/2 feet wide - nice and big! As you can see, we have a very big deck that gets lots of afternoon sun...

(Liv - chiling on the deck)

And we need to get a little table and chairs for here. I'm still looking...

Let me know what you think - I wasn't sure about the rust color, but I really like the way it complements the brick and terra cotta planters.

And I noticed that there was something very important missing from this blog - you have seen numerous pictures of my girls, but none of my boys!

The boys playing on the deck - Chauncey and Baxter....

Brian's boy, Chauncey aka "The protector of all he surveys" Don't even try to get near me or the girls, unless he know you. He even gets upset with Brian when we joke around if he thinks Brian is threatening me! He's the greatest watchdog in the world. I fully believe he would lay down his life for Brian, me or either of the girls. He's very protective of them...

And this is my boy - my Baxter... He's not so very protective - he's a big lump of love who gives me a smile as soon as I walk through the door. He's just got a gentle soul and there are not enough words to describe how sweet and loving he is...

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Eight hours later....

What we got done....

What we have left.....

I'm dirty, I'm tired, I'm sunburnt and I need a drink. Then I'm going to hop in here...

With a big fat cocktail and some candles.... =)

Memorial Day

So, the weather is GORGEOUS, we've had lots of rain lately, so the well is full (I hope) and we have three days off of work. Most people would take a nice relaxing holiday to the beach, or go to a picnic, or hang out at the pool....

Not us!! Here's what we are doing....

POWERWASHING!! Which is fun...for about the first 100 square feet....then, not so much. We started at 10:30 this morning.....



By 1:00 I was fried....Damn Irish, German fair skin.....

The rails are done, inside and outside.....and Brian is now finishing the lower level of the deck. We have A LOT more to do....and then we have to seal it. I'll post more tonight when we (hopefully) have the the whole thing power washed!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Somewhere, over the .....

A beautiful double rainbow appeared right in front of our house last night - and Daddy had his second hip replacement surgery today, so I saw this as a good omen!
And lest you think he's old and frail, the man hand-makes the most gorgeous wooden kayaks (among other things), takes me kayaking every year and walks a few miles at lunch every day. He's got the strength and stamina of a 30 year old. Unfortunately, he has the bones of a 90 year old. And he's not quite 60.
So, I'm glad your surgery went well, and I'm glad your hip will now be able to keep up with the rest of you! If you keep replacing all your parts, there won't be anything original left! That's my dad, the Bionic man =)
Love you Daddy.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Recital 2008

Well, it's come and gone......

First Sydney on Saturday (sorry about the dark flash allowed and I haven't used a manual camera in so long now that I have my Rebel! Completely forgot how to change my shutter speed and ISO!)

After Sydney's recital we had a late birthday party for Sydney at the house. Lots of good food, lots of good friends, lots of kids running around like Banshees, and lots of sitting outside on the deck, talking, laughing, drinking beer and generally having a great time. I have the greatest friends in the world!

And then Olivia on Sunday......she's front and center...and dad changed my camera settings, so this one looks a little better! Thanks Dad!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

So far, so good....

Sydney slept ALL DAY yesterday and I got three doses of antibiotics in her as of this morning. She looks like she's been through the ringer, but no fever! And her fiestyness is back (as evidenced by the screaming match she had with her sister this morning a they were "cleaning" the playroom in anticipation of the party tonight. (Of course, by cleaning I mean they shoved everything pell mell against the walls and into the corners of the room - but the floor is clear, so that's a big improvement!)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Child's Name: Sydney




Hours until the recital and birthday party after:

Let's hope she makes a quick recovery......

Dress Rehearsal, Part Deux....

And here she is!!!! Olivia Leigh!! This is her Musical Theater number - the song "Happiness" from You're a Good Man Charlie Brown.....the picture is dark (sorry - no flash allowed) but she's the one in the middle singing her little heart out.

Liv and her best bud Emma - they are in Musical Theater together. We go out to dinner every year after the dress rehearsal. Emma and Liv have been dancing together since they started at three years old.

This is her costume for one of her dances - it's tap (which she's not too fond of....) but she was FABULOUS! It's always amazing to me to see her up there dancing - I know she's been in dance for 5 years, but I'm just blown away to think MY DAUGHTER can dance like that! She's a beautiful dancer! And just look at this gorgeous face....

Enough said!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Professor, a Doctor and a parking deck attendant walk into a bar....

Tell me if you've heard this one....

Seriously though, each of the above represents someone I had to deal with in the past 48 hours. Let's start with the Professor.

  • Professor

So, you all (meaning the two of you who actually read this) know how I have been anxiously awaiting my grade for my second class this semester. I should preface this by saying that my class was the first and only class he had taught at JHU, and he was probably the most unpopular professor in the history of the school. Nice enough guy, but horrible teacher. I won't go into all of the details, but suffice it to say that the rumor is, he will not be teaching any more classes at the school. So, having received not only my final exam grade but also my final semester grade in my finance class and nothing from this professor - let's call him "Bow-tie" - I e-mailed him Sunday night (and yes, these are actual e-mails and responses):


Can you please send my final exam back to me if I send you a self addressed stamped envelope? I like to obsess over the answers I got wrong and beat myself up about it until my husband gets tired of listenin to me berate myself and pours me several cocktails. Crazy, I know, but it works for us =)

Bow Tie:

Liquor is quicker. Don't obsess too much.

Two days later I get this message:

Bow Tie:

A very good job. Overachievement, or achievement? Either way, very good.


So then I realize that I have completely miscalculated my grade and even though I bombed the midterm I have an 89.2 (or thereabouts, depending upon my class participation grade, which I gave myself about 80% on to be conservative) and can still pull an A and walk away with a 4.0 for this semester if he gives me just a little more credit for my class participation. Then I get my final grade.


A B+???? It's worse than a "B" because it means I was this close. At least with a B I would have known I wasn't even close to the Nirvana that is an "A". You couldn't have pulled one more measly little point out of your ass and given me an "A"? B+ is like saying "Oh my, well if you had only tried a LITTLE bit harder I could have given you an "A", but alas, you suck, so here's a B+".

I'm off to a great start.

  • Doctor
So Olivia's ear starts draining over the weekend. Gallons and gallons of pink tinged greenish goo. And she's stuffy. And I find out that she has been exposed to Strep (Yeah, thanks for that.) She has not complained of a sore throat or had a fever, but after the scare earlier this year, I'm not taking any chances. So off we go to the doctor Monday morning to get her checked out. I should tell you that I have been through the ear infection thing with her on several occasions before and I know that they don't typically treat it with anything. But, even I know that when your child wakes up looking like she's been fighting ghosts next to Dan Akroyd and losing, it's time to go to the Doctor.

Who says she has Strep. And a nasty ear infection, with a ruptured ear drum. Which the doctor wants to consult with another doctor about before we leave. Say it with me now, "Lovely". We get antibiotics for the Strep, antibiotic ear drops for the ear, a follow up appointment for Olivia on Monday and an appointment later in the day for Sydney and I to get strep tests. Oh, and did I mention that dress rehearsals are this week and the recital is this weekend? Right. Get my children on meds NOW. So, Sydney and I come back with a negative Strep, but we still get antibiotics and they send our tests out to be cultured. I am typically against any sort of antibiotics unless it's a proven fact that they are needed (Stop taking those antibiotics for a cold, people - you're creating super bugs! It's not helping you to take them so suck it up and take some aspirin! ) Sydney and I will not start our meds unless the cultures come back positive.

At 5:00 last night Olivia starts throwing up - not from the meds - she hadn't had a dose yet (pharmacy snafu - don't ask!) She didn't stop until almost 5 this morning - you could have set your watch to her. Every hour on the hour. She slept on one couch downstairs and I slept on the other. My reasoning was:

1) We were close to a bathroom
2) She always runs to me when she feels like she's going to puke, so I just cut out the hallway upstairs and my bedroom, thereby saving the carpet on the second floor
3) She needed me - I'm her Mommy =)
4) we were pretty darn comfortable!

Well, let me rephrase number 4 - I was apparently VERY comfortable because I fell into a coma after her tenth trip to the bathroom. I believe I remember hearing her jump up at about 4 o'clock a.m., grab her bucket, run to the bathroom and retch, run some cold water over a fresh washcloth to wipe her face and then trot back out to the couch. Being the good mommy I am, I reminded her that her bucket was still in the bathroom.

Move over Dinah Lohan - I'm a'nipping at your heels for Mother of the Year.

  • Parking Deck Attendant
So, despite the fact that Liv was up all night puking, I was home from work two days and things are in general disarray around here, Sydney's dress rehearsal was tonight, and we had to go (see pictures below). The theater is located downtown next to a parking deck. As I pulled in and took my ticket at about 4:50, I read the sign about the parking deck charges. It said:

9 to 6 $1.00 for the first hour

$ .75 each hour thereafter

After six $1.00 - exact change only

As a native Fredericktonian who used to frequent the bars downtown - frequently - I smiled at all the old memories of parking in the deck, perusing the entertainment downtown as we went from bar to bar to bar, then stumbling back to our cars at 2:00 in the morning at which point everyone would frantically search for the dollar we knew we had saved to "get out of the deck". It's been $1.00 to get out of the deck on evenings and weekends since I was a an innocent wee lass of 21 - some five ten ....well, um, it's been that way for a lot of years OK?

Sydney has her dress rehearsal and she is FANTASTIC. The kid should be in pictures. She could have performed the dance by herself - kicked all those other kids who were crying and "scared" off the stage and shown them how it's done - while I stand in the back of the theater screaming "Sing out Rose Louise!" - no wait - that's Gypsy...anyway - she was great.
We get in our car and I call Brian to see if he's thought about dinner (I know I was home all day, but I was taking care of a sick child! I didn't have time to think about dinner! Olivia needed her sleep and I, well, I needed to catch up on some reading..and... things...) As I pull to the gate the timer on the gate keepers castle reads "5:59". So I smile and say to the very large, mean looking woman and the quiet little man sitting opposite her "Oh! It's almost 6:00. Can I just sit her for the next thirty seconds so that I only have to pay a dollar to get out? Ha ha?"

At which point parking lot attendant lady just about comes through the glass, spit flying saying "I need your ticket! I don't know why all you peoples (yes, "peoples") keep a'thinking it's only a dollar to get out this deck after 6:00".

When I got over the shock of her CLEARLY unfounded tirade at me and picked my jaw back up I said politely "B-B-B-because that's what the sign says?" (I was scared!)

At which point her head spins completely around and she launches into Tirade #2 with "That's only if you come in after 6:00. You gotta pay what your ticket says".

OK, now I'm getting a little pissed. If all us "peoples" read the sign the same way, then don't you think perhaps its an issue with THE SIGN??????

And my husband is still on speaker phone in the car,which comes through my stereo speakers - great for hands free driving, bad for situations where not only can he hear what's going on in and around my car, but she can also hear every...word...he says... And he's not really "tactful", my Brian, God love'm. I was terrified he would blurt out "Who is THAT bitch? Tell her to get a real job and shut the hell up". Thankfully he didn't, but at this point I want to get out of there before he says something that will get me beaten up.

So I politely say through gritted teeth as I hand her my ticket and three dollars (which is all I have on me) "Well then the sign isn't really that clear. Here you go."

She Barks "Well, I am not HERE to ARGUE with YOU!"

"Really?" I say, "Because you are." Big Smile.

At which point she hands me my change, and I drive away. As I get to the stop light, I look down at the money she's unceremoniously shoved back into my outstretched hand. And guess how much it cost me to park in the deck and be subjected to that?

A dollar. Go figure.

Dress Rehearsal, Part I

Sydney - the little eskimo....

Giving "Eskimo Kisses" on stage....

Saturday is the big day!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Just some quick pics....

Sydney opening presents on the deck after her was getting dark outside, so the flash went a little crazy...

Thursday, May 8, 2008


Yesterday was Sydney's FIFTH birthday and after a party at school (and two very cute butterfly cakes made by Aunt Beth since I can't bake well - Thanks Beth!) we went out to dinner at a local Japanese restaurant where they cook the food in front of you - The girls LOVED it and we had a great time! Of course, I forgot my camera, but the restaurant took our picture.....

That's my mom and Dad, Olivia, Sydney and Brian and I. Note to Bunkabee- this is where we were when you called last night and the reason you couldn't get in touch with the parental units or us. I took more pictures when we got home, but I haven't gotten them off of my camera yet. I'll download them tonight and post them...

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

HOLY $%&#!!!

I got a 99 on my Finance final - a 99!!!!! Well, at least I have an "A" in one class. One down, one to go......and the next one is the one I'm worried about - there's no way I'll swing an "A" in that class, it's simply not mathematically possible.....but after the day I've had, this finance grade was such good news. I definitely needed that!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Happy Birthday Baby Girl.....

My littlest, Sydney Alexandra, turns five tomorrow. I don't think I can wrap my head around that.....Where is my little baby? Where is my little toddler? The past five years have gone by so fast - it's just not possible......

In honor of my little flirt (she's been kissing boys in school and taking her clothes off on the bus...God Help Me...) here are some pictures of my baby over the years.

Notice the tears? She fell over and bumped her head about two minutes before this picture - she was six months old....

Here she is at about 18 months old.

Sydney and her sister, Olivia.

She can fall asleep anywhere.....I love you Sweet pea....

Her first Dance Recital 2007....

The first day of Pre-K - waiting for the bus. My how she's grown. Isn't she gorgeous? And so grown up! I'm going to cry now.....

Two down, twelve to go......

"That's it - it's all over..."

That line is from the original Willy Wonka movie..not the one with Johnny Depp. The newscaster said it when that last Golden Ticket was "found" (but later turned out to be a fake....

Those words were ringing in my head as I wrote my last sentence in my last final exam for this semester. Can I just say ....YAY!! I feel a bit better about these exams than the last ones. I feel like I knew a little bit more about what to expect this time. I hope I'm right! After class all of my classmates went to an Irish Pub for a few drinks. It was wonderful being able to interact with them on a social basis. The people I go to school with a great and I'm glad that I will be spending the next two years of my life with very cool people. Of course, the talk - as much as we tried not to - inevitably turned to business, but that's what it's all about right?

And now, I can begin my four week break - filled with three dress rehearsals, two recitals, a birthday, a birthday party, Mother's Day, Memorial Day and the plethora of projects I have planned...But I won't have to study - How wonderful is that?????