Friday, December 31, 2010
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Actually, I've just been super busy.
I do want to give you all a quick update on my surgery and say Thank you for all the prayers, well wishes and comments.
My surgery on December 1st went well. I expected a lot of pain but other than immediately post-op, it wasn't near as bad as I thought it would be.
I did have a few surprises.
The first was the complete deafness in my ear. I had severe hearing loss in that ear before the surgery but I was surprised at the difference.
I had about a week of total deafness.
It was weird.
I also didn't realize that it could be up to 3 months before I'd have my hearing back to normal levels.
Silly me, I guess I was so worried about pain, dizziness and healing time that I forgot to ask about the actual "hearing" part.
I was also surprised by the weird taste in my mouth.
I guess that is a complication of middle ear surgery. The best way to describe it is the taste of a really old piece of spearmint gum
that or sucking on a spark plug.
It's gross and makes everything taste funny.
You'd think I'd give up eating and maybe loose a few pounds,
I had a pretty cool experience on December 19th.
That was the day of my oldest daughters graduation from college (woo hooo!! I can't believe I didn't blog about this!)
I was driving home listening to the radio and suddenly something popped in my ear and I could hear better.
Not just better
I could hear my voice outside my head for the first time in years.
It was huge!
And guess what I did?
yep, I sang!
I sang to the radio the whole way home!
And it was glorious!
not my singing
but the fact that I could do it.
I went to the doctor a couple of days ago and had my hearing formally tested.
I was surprised to find out it's almost at normal levels.
I wanted to do a little dance.
I'm still getting used to my "new hearing".
I forget that I don't need to pick the right seats or position at a table.
I forget that I can use my left ear to talk on the phone now.
How cool is that?
Only one little complaint.
I'm back to wearing ear plugs at night for the Hubby's snoring.
He did have his surgery (as agreed to) for his nose.
The Hubby was a hockey and soccer player in his younger years and broke his nose several times.
He also had his nose fixed before but broke it again afterwards.
It was a solid mess.
So solid that he couldn't breathe through it.
I remember our first dinner date.
He sat chewing with his mouth open during the whole meal.
If I hadn't been so mesmerized by his beautiful eyes, I would have put a nix on the whole thing right then and there.
I thought he was extremely rude.
Little did I know, he was just trying not to suffocate.
So anyhoo, He had surgery on the 21st (see, I have been busy) and it really hasn't affected his snoring that much.
Actually, with the plastic stints they have sewn into his nostrils, he kinda whistles now.
A combination whistle snore thingie.
And I can't sleep.
But I can hear.
And I'll take that any day!
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Thursday, October 28, 2010
We've been talking about it since we moved in
a year and a half ago.
Hubby has finished the basements of all our previous houses.
He's a do-it-his-self kinda guy.
Paying someone to do something he can do himself would drive him crazy.
Or at least that's what he says.
I've never witnessed it.
He has ALWAYS done everything himself.
But with the amount of time he is working here in Chicago, he hasn't had the time.
And I was getting sick and tired of getting sent to my room.
That's what usually happened when the kids had friends over.
Trying to not be the hovering mom can feel like punishment sometimes.
So we decided to do a "temporary fix".
He painted the floor with that garage floor paint (with sprinkles- just like a party).
He hung painters drop cloths to separate the storage and workshop areas.
Then we unpacked all our old basement furniture and junk.
Notice on the left that Tony has taped a goal on one of the drop cloths.
We bought a used pool table off Craig's List.
and set out the old foosball table.
Friday, October 15, 2010
Right now it's our favorite place to play Frisbee.
For me, it's my favorite because it's so close.
For Ace, it's because he always has an audience.
He's kind of a show off when it comes to playing Frisbee.
The park is always busy with all kinds of pee-wee soccer, football and lacrosse practices.
And the siblings of all these pint sized athletes like to play on the play ground equipment.
They also like to watch Ace.
The louder they clap, the higher Ace will jump.
Sometimes he likes to catch the Frisbee and then circle the group of kids before he brings it back to me.
Like he's saying "yeah, I'm awesome!"
There are two very cute little girls that are always there.
They have long curly black hair and bright blue eyes.
They are twins.
Taylor and Riley.
Try as I might, I can't tell them apart.
I've spent weeks looking them over, talking with them, trying to find something to distinguish them from each other.
Last night I finally asked them
"Taylor?" I said.
"I'm RILEY!!" she corrected me with a roll of her eyes for the hundredth time.
"Riley, do people have a hard time telling you and Taylor apart?" I asked.
"No body can tell us apart," She said proudly with her cute little lisp. "even my mom and dad can't tell us apart."
"You're mom and dad can't tell you apart?!" I was amazed. I'd never heard of a mom and dad not being able to tell their own twins apart. "So how do they do it?" I asked, hoping for a clue so I could use the information for myself.
Riley started to pull at the collar of her sweatshirt "See. This is how they tell."
I looked closely at her neck "Oh, you have a birth mark or something?"
She looked at me like I was crazy "NO! Pink! I always wear pink and Taylor always wears Blue!" I look over at Taylor who was pulling down her sweatshirt to reveal a blue t shirt underneath.
A little later I asked them both how old they were.
"We're 4." they said. "How old are you?" they innocently asked.
I paused for a moment. This could be funny to let her guess. But the last time I let a 9 year old guess my age she guessed I was 79. That was when I was in my late 20's. Now a days it doesn't seem like it would be as funny anymore.
"Well, I'm 41." I said honestly.
Taylor (or maybe it was Riley) swallowed hard as her eyes got big. "Wow!! That's really old!!" she said with her little lisp that I didn't find so cute anymore.
"Well, not really." I said more for my own sake than hers.
"How old is your mommy?" I was thinking I could put age in a little bit of perspective for them.
"My mommy is 10!" said Taylor.
"Oh really?!" I said trying to hold in my laughter. "And how old did you think I was before I told you?"
"We thought you were 5!" they lisped in unison.
Did I mention how cute they are?
Saturday, October 9, 2010
I'm waiting...aren't all you other addicts supposed to say "Hello Tori." ?!
Well, okay then.
Actually, I'm not really an addict.
I only watch it when I'm babysitting the twins.
It's not like I watch the show by myself or anything...
Stop judging me.
I will admit, the first time I saw the show I thought it was the most awful thing I'd ever seen.
Worse than Barney.
And it scared me a little.
It seemed to have some kind of weird hypnotic powers over the twins.
I remember it all so well....
The twins were around 4 or 5 months old.
They were both crying.
I grabbed the remote to find something to hopefully distract them.
I stop on this program because of the weird name.
It was like a magic baby switch.
Suddenly, they were silent.
Mesmerized in fact.
They still are.
Every time I turn it on they stop and watch every minute.
And I can't figure out why.
At first I started watching it with them to find out what grabbed their attention.
I compared it to other kids shows.
I thought maybe it was the music or the bright colors flashing here and there.
But lots of other shows are colorful and filled with music.
And the twins could care less.
Maybe it's the weird creatures.
Even if you haven't seen the show you've probably seen them without realizing it.
Muno (the big red guy with one eye) for example, was featured in a Superbowl commercial for the Kia Sorrento "How do you like me now?" playing in the background. (love the sock monkey get a "MOM" tattoo sewn on his arm!)
I've given up on trying to figure out why kids love it.
Now I just enjoy watching it with them.
Well most of it anyways, some of it I still consider weird.
I'm a huge Alternative Music fan and I'm guessing that the writers must love Alternative Music too because they have featured some of great bands on the show.
I love seeing who they get to come on and the cute songs they sing.
All with a little "life lesson" of some kind.
Some bands that I've seen...
Jimmy Eat World...."enjoying a beautiful day with my best friend"
The Shins..."sometimes you win, sometimes you loose....it's okay to try again"
MGMT...."look around you....art is everywhere"
The Roots...."love and appreciate your family"
Ting Tings..."Happy Birthday song for Brobee"
The Salteens...."I'm so happy"
I'm from Barcelona...."just because it's different, doesn't mean it's scary...try new things"
Hot Hot Heat..."time to go outdoors...enjoy the sand btwn our toes, smell the flowers, see the trees, play in the garden hose".
and some groups I've never heard of until I saw them on Yo Gabba Gabba (who knew I'd find new alt music to listen to by watching a kids show!)
here's a couple.
Chromeo...."wash your hands"
The Mates of States..."no one likes to be left out...everyone offers something new"
There there is a Live Yo Gabba Gabba show touring around. They have had some groups that I hope will show up on the show sometime soon (Dinosaur Jr. and Cold Wars Kids to name a couple).
They also have a growing number of celebrities who make appearances on the show.
Jack McBrayer and Paul Scheer make recurring appearances doing knock knock jokes
Jack Black (a total must see episode...just to see him in a DJ Lance Rock orange outfit!!)
Amy Sedaris as the tooth fairy (although a mighty scary tooth fairy, if I must say!!)
Elijah Wood (teaching us a dancy dance)
Sean Kingston (also teaching a dancy dance)
Rhys Darby (from Flight of the Concords-a show I'll always LOVE) instructing us on how to pretend to be a robot!
And one of my favorite parts of the show with Mark Motherbaugh (The co founder of Devo). He does a recurring art segment that's very cute (and weird).
Check it out.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
And I've been in mourning for the past month.
Not really. Just taking another blogging break.
So yes, Agility Class Number 3 was our last.
Ace was officially kicked out, banished, expelled....
or as the trainer tried to put it nicely in her email "not welcome back".
Class number 3 started the same as the last two.
Even with 2 separate hours of Frisbee chasing, Ace was a hyper mess going into the building.
He jumped and twisted on his leash, growling randomly at the other dogs.
We did "crate training" again for 20 or 25 minutes.
Ace had made a little progress but not much.
He spent most of his time pacing and watching the other dogs.
We then moved onto "the tunnel".
The trainer held our dogs while the owners went to the other side of the tunnel and called them through.
Ace was at the end of the line watching all the other take their turns.
He would jump and spin on his leash and then look back at me as if to say "let me go! I want to try!"
It was finally Ace's turn.
I handed him off to the trainer and went to the end of the tunnel.
Before I could even finish calling his name, Ace shot through the tunnel.
I reached to grab his collar and he immediately dodged to the left, just out of my reach.
Ace ran straight over to the German Sheppard puppy.
Remember how I told you about the puppy that barked non-stop from the beginning of class to the end?
I've also mentioned before that Ace doesn't like it when dogs bark. He avoids them at parks and on walks. I've noticed he looks at them at times like he's puzzled by them. He sits there and tilts his head to the side and then looks to me as if asking "why is he making so much noise?"
Anyhoo, Ace bolted over and attacked the barking German Sheppard puppy.
I ran over and grabbed Ace as fast as I could, pulling him off the now yelping puppy.
The puppy's owner was knocked down in the process.
The trainer was there by my side in an instant.
"You never told me your dog was violent!" she blurted out accusingly.
"He never has been!" I said.
After apologizing profusely and inspecting both dogs (no injuries)
Ace was banished off to the corner of the room to calm down.
I was shocked (and extremely embarrassed)!
"Ace! What is wrong with you?!!" I wanted to grab him and give him a good shake so he would snap out of this crazed dog guise.
He just continued to jump and pull on his leash with what seemed like "let's do it again! let's do it again! that was fun!" attitude.
The trainer allowed us to give it another try at the end of the class.
"Are you sure?" I asked while I watched the other owners step defensively in front of their dogs or literally pick them up in their arms.
Ace tried again to cut quickly and slip past me.
But there was no way that was going to happen again.
After apologizing one more time to the German Sheppard puppy owner, I went home defeated and exhausted.
The Hubby and I talked that evening.
I told him I didn't want to do the class anymore.
I didn't like the way Ace behaved when we were there.
I didn't trust Ace while we were there.
I'm not sure I trust Ace at all anymore.
I got up the next morning and decided to email the trainer and let her know we wouldn't be coming back.
But there was already an email for me in my inbox when I logged on.
She was very nice. She explained their "no violence policy".
I totally agreed with everything she said.
But it still sucked.
It's hard to explain.
Have you ever been ready to break up with someone? You're actually on your way to "end it". And then suddenly, out of no where, they dump you.
And now, all you feel is how bad you want that person back?
That's kinda how it felt.
She offered a couple "private instructions" to make up the difference in the money I spent.
And we did those.
And Ace was his normal self.
I figure, at least she knows that I'm not some irresponsible dog owner. One that never bothered to train her dog.
Ace continues to learn new tricks.
When a dog walks by our house, Ace sits quietly in the yard and watches them walk by.
When we pass a barking dog on our walks, Ace still looks at them like they are crazy but other than that seems to ignore them.
I have had him off leash to play Frisbee at the park by our house.
We always have an audience of clapping kids and a maybe a couple of adults with dogs here and there.
Ace ignores them all. He is completely focused on his "job".
My reasoning for the classes in the first place, was to give Ace some physical and mental outlets.
I'll just have to do something different.
Just so this post isn't a complete "downer" I thought I'd share this video my cousin, Kristin sent me.
This will never be Ace.....and I'm okay with that.
Saturday, August 21, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
Thursday, August 12, 2010
And I would have if I didn't start worrying about my hemoglobin level.
Only it's not from the puppy, it's the owner giving me a dirty look.
I resist the urge to stick my tongue out at her.
Mostly because Ace has decided to find other well behaved dogs to bother.
Needless to say, I have no idea what the video said.
We were directed over to our crates. The only time we use our crate at home is for when we leave Ace. He will go in his crate occasionally to take a nap on his own or to stow a toy. And just in the past couple weeks we have been leaving him out of the crate when we go somewhere.
The trainer tells us to put our dogs in their crates.
Ace immediately sits and refuses to budge. Nothing I can do will get him in there. He won't follow a treat in there. Not even his Frisbee.
I'm at the end of the line of crates and by the time the trainer gets to me all the other puppies are going in and out of their crates and playing their "crate games".
Ace has his heels dug in.
The trainer tries all the things that I have already tried. She then tells me to pick him up and put him in.
Imagine trying to put a cat in a bucket of water. Ace wiggled and arched his back. He flailed all four legs out. After a couple of failed attempts of trying to shove an insane shaped dog into a well behaved shaped dog sized hole, the trainer says "stop".
"What have you done to him? Have you been using his crate as punishment?" she says in an accusing tone.
"No! Never! The only time we use it is for when we leave him. He probably thinks I'm going to leave him here!" I say while wiping the grey muddy sweat off my face.
"Well, I've never seen a dog so upset!" she says in her I-don't-believe-you tone. "You'll have to work on this at home!"
Yeah sure. whatever.
We did a few more "exercises" that all made me look equally as horrible as a negligent dog owner.
I went home exhausted, dirty and defeated.
My only hope is that next week Ace adjusts to all the stimuli and "wow's" them all.
But I won't be holding my breath.
Friday, July 30, 2010
His attempt at "herding" cars?
I don't know, but it definitely brings lots of laughs to whoever is riding in my car.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Do you see it?
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
In the span of 30 minutes.
He left the house today my baby
and came home a young man.
All due to a haircut.
Well, not really.
Sure, he's had plenty of haircuts before,
but I think there's this magically age
(usually around 8th or 9th grade)
where one day you look at your child
and suddenly you see a young adult.
With my 4th baby it just seemed to happen with the removal of about 5 pounds of hair.
I clearly remember the day I noticed Nae had changed over night.
It was the summer before her 8th grade year.
We were sitting in an auditorium for 8th grade orientation.
I looked over at her and thought "Holy cow! I see a woman!"
And I couldn't take my eyes off her.
And she noticed.
"Why do you keep staring at me?!!" she whispered.
"I'm not." I said nonchalantly and turned and tried to focus on the lady speaking.
That lasted all of 2 seconds and I was staring again.
"Will you stop?!!" she hissed.
"What?" I tried to pretend I was looking at something else that just happened to be over her shoulder.
She didn't buy it.
Mostly because I kept gawking.
But hey, I went through 38 hours of labor!
I figure I'm entitled to a little gawking.
Can I have an 'amen' ?!
Anyhoo, of course, I'd love to prove my point by sharing "before and after" pictures of Tony.
And of course, being the teen that he is, he refused to let me take a picture.
I could go up and take one of him sleeping....
Please note that I am showing great restraint right now.
Yep, I'm a good mom.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Naked Hand Towel Hot Guy With Really Nice Legs And The Most Beautiful Eyes I've Ever Seen makes some more small talk and then points me in the direction of Matt's house.
And I leave.
A little dazed and confused.
We ended up running into each other again later that night.
It turns out Naked Hand Towel Hot Guy With Really Nice Legs And The Most Beautiful Eyes I've Ever Seen Plus Really Great Hair has a girlfriend.
She must have heard the story of our meeting.
But that didn't stop Future Hubby* and I from becoming friends.
*I will call him this now because if I continued to add all the other adjectives for his appealing characteristics as I got to know him better to "Naked Hand Towel Guy"...well, we could be here forever.
And he turned out to be a wonderful friend.
Over the next couple of years we had a lot of fun hanging out. He was always there to make sure I was doing okay.
He showed up at the hospital when Nae was born and I was all alone.
If I heard a motorcycle pull up outside the little apartment Nae and I lived in, I knew it was him stopping by to see how we were doing.
When my sister, Alex passed away he listened to all the endless talk I did about her and comforted me when I cried.
We started dating not long after that. It only took 3 years after that awkward meeting in his garage.
Hubby says he can still remember what I was wearing that day (he IS the ultimate "detail guy").
And for once, I can say the same.
It was a towel.
A green one.
Or maybe it was blue?
Friday, July 16, 2010
Nae is a bridesmaid in a wedding.
I can't decide what I'm more excited about....
seeing a bunch of friends I haven't seen in a while
Every year I freeze a bunch.
I haven't found blueberries here in Illinois like the ones back in Michigan.
Maybe other states have ones just as good.
I just haven't had them.
Blueberries that are huge and sweet.
This year I've decided I will bring home 40 pounds.
Sounds like a lot but we'll see...
Have a great weekend everyone!
Thursday, July 15, 2010
As I've said before, our yard is the size of a postage stamp but I wanted to be able to let Ace out and not have to stand outside with him while he does his "business".
It was a long, cold, brutal winter. Well, not really but when you're potty training a puppy it's miserable standing out in the snow.
We asked one of those name brand underground electric fence companies to come out and give us an estimate to put one around our yard.
It was thousands! We said no thanks. A friend told me how they installed their own so we decided to do it ourselves.
The Hubby did lots of research on line and picked one that suited our needs.
Installing it wasn't fun but it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
I carefully followed the directions to train Ace to the fence.
It only took once.
He got his first "correction" (the word electric fence manuals use that's supposed to sound more humane than the word "shock") and he never went anywhere near the fence (or anywhere near the treats I used to lure him to the fence) again.
Actually, that's not completely true.
He will go near the fence, for a good reason.
And there are two good reasons that live next door. Bob and Sue.
Ace loves Bob and Sue.
They give him wonderful treats.
They always stop to rub his belly.
They have a dog named Tucker that Ace loves too.
When either Bob or Sue comes by Ace chooses to get near the line of the fence.
But he does it in a curious way.
I always laugh when he does this and today I had my camera to catch Bob coming home from work.
then he gets flat on his belly....
all four legs out to make himself as low as possible....
and he "army crawls"....
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
He never did preform "Hi-five" for Nae last night.
But he has done it for me today.
I'm pretty sure he is humoring me.
It was a pretty stupid trick after all.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
~"that blog people like in kalamazoo" (I'm flattered but I'm sure not everyone in kzoo likes it, probably just my dear friends)
~"skinning a Kenyan goat and cutting up a Belgian sheep" (now that's a little scary!)
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Everyone was pretty mad. Especially me. I'm usually guaranteed leftovers since none of the kids like mushrooms on their pizza.
Monday, June 28, 2010
I was invited by this nice woman that I met at one of the dog parks Ace and I visit.
I was telling Mac about it the other day and she asked me who I went with.
"Kathy" I said.
"Kathy who?" Mac asked.
I got nothing.
And adding to my distress, it seems the harder I concentrate on what I'm trying to remember, the father it gets sucked back into the depths of my murky mind.
She told me her last name the day I met her.
She said her last name when she called me.
I heard her last name a dozen or more times that morning while people introduced themselves to each other.
What is it with my memory?
It wouldn't be so frustrating if there was this general forgetfulness for all things.
But what really drives me crazy are the things that I do remember.
Completely useless things.
Like my address and phone number of the house I grew up as a little girl.
Or the word for word conversation of an old high school boyfriend pointing out my "flaws".
Or pretty much every annoying song from the 80's. (and some 70's songs....who needs to know all the words to Copacabana anyways?)
Things that I wish I could just delete.
You know make some room up there for the important stuff.
If anyone out there knows how to do this please let me know.
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
My brother and I have been going there every year since 1979 (I've only missed a couple times).
We are both roller coaster fans.
Not over the top kind of roller coaster fans~ otherwise we'd probably be going to other parks just to ride different coasters.
Both of us have been to other parks, but there is something that keeps us going back to Cedar Point each year.
For me, other than number of great coasters, it's the sentimental feelings I get from going there (another aspect of my warped sentimentality?...).
Jason and I always have fun reminiscing as we walk around the park.
Remembering the year the Gemini opened. The thrill of that huge wooden coaster. Racing friends in the other car and reaching out over the tracks to slap hands. Laughing at how everyone ducks their raised hands when you go under that one set of tracks that you would never really touch anyways. How we had to wait in line for 3 hours for a coaster that you can now walk right on.
Or the year the Top Thrill Dragster opened.
If you don't know about this coaster, it's called a "Strata Coaster" because it is the first coaster to top 400 feet (420 ft actually), and it has a hydraulic cable launch system that launches riders from 0-120 mph in less than four seconds. It takes you into a 90 degree climb up a hill, twists you 270 degrees and drops you down the other side to hit 120ish miles a hour again. The whole ride last a whopping 17 seconds. Here's a little video of it.
Anyhoo, my brother and I had just entered the park and we were at the base of the ride watching it (it's even fun to watch). The coaster launched and went into it's climb up the hill. As the car climbed the hill you could tell it wasn't going fast enough. It didn't make it to the top of the hill it just hung the on there for a second and started falling backwards. My brother and I both started screaming thinking that we were witnessing some horrific death scene you see in the movies.
We didn't realize the coaster did this sometimes (actually quite a bit the first couple of years that the coaster was getting it's bugs worked out).
But we laugh about the terror we felt that day.
We also like talking about the rides that aren't there anymore. Like that round ride that you stood against the wall and it spun and the floor dropped down and you just hung there.
It had a metal floor and a hose nearby...I have never seen so many people throw up on a ride as that one.
Ah, the memories.
Every year we wonder if the park splurged and bought new uniforms for the kids working there. And every year the answer is 'no'. I think they have had the same hideous blue and red jumpers since 1979. I have never seen an employee that actually looks good in it.
Maybe they make them wear them to cut down on the kids fraternizing with each other.
People watching is always fun at Cedar Point. Every year I think that I have now seen it all, only to be shocked by something new the next year.
Kinda like going to Walmart or the county fair but because of the water rides inside the park there's even less clothes.
A couple other things....the roar of the coaster as it goes by....my once a year treat of an elephant ear....
But my biggest reason for going every year is spending time with my brother.
I can honestly say the thing I look most forward to is hearing him giggle as we go down that first big hill of a coaster.
It's the same giggle as when we were kids.
I actually close my eyes and take it all in and suddenly I'm a preteen again and life is simple and carefree.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Like the time I thought it would be fun to take Ace to one of Tony's track meets.
I could give you quite a few other examples, but I won't embarrass myself.
(I'm kidding...please tell me you know I'm kidding)
There were lots of cool tricks....like this.
Instead our time at the show was chaos.
I'm pretty sure Ace thought he was going to a new dog park and couldn't figure out why we wouldn't let him off leash so he could go play with the other dogs.
People were starting to look at us funny.
but this lasted just long enough to take a couple quick pics.