Friday, May 06, 2005

Friday, May 6, 2005 - That Rascally Rabbit and His Tales of T-Ball

Rascal began his first "real" sport today (what? I waited until he was 5 before getting him involved in such things?! oh, no, now he'll never become a professional sports star! *snort*). The glorious, magnificent sport of T-ball! Ah, fond memories (the ShadowAngel says whist fighting her gag reflex)...

It isn't a league or anything like that - it's entirely an instructional program for 5 and 6-year-olds to teach them the fundamentals of the sport. No real competition. It's a good thing. Ah, I remember those halcyon days as a 6-year-old, being utterly humiliated nearly every time I stepped onto the field {retch}.

Oh, sorry about that. If you haven't guessed, I don't miss my Little League days one bit. But since I think the skills are something good for a child to develop, and maybe, just maybe, he'll like the game, Rascal is in it.

I watched him. He was the kid who stares off into space, not paying one bit of attention to the coaches. The kid whose name the coaches learn first because they have to say it so often. "Rascal...Rascal...Rascal!!" The kid who, when it is his turn to run around the bases (after watching 3 other kids do it before him), runs to 1st base and then into the middle of the field. When the coach was teaching the kids how to hit, he told them to point their toes towards a nearby building. Yup, mine's the kid who picks his foot up into the air and points it at the building. The coach tells the kids to run and retrieve their baseballs. Yup, mine's the kid who slowly meanders into the field, doesn't pick up his baseball, but calmly picks out two new balls from the bucket sitting in the field.

I'm beginning to believe it's hopeless. He'll be as athletically incompetent as his parents were when they were young. But at least he's getting good at chess...

Of course, in fairness to Rascal, he was trying hard. And he also had the misfortune of having to use a tee that was broken so that he was having a hard time putting his ball on it. I'd get frustrated by that too.

So we'll have to see how it all works out. I don't care if he's any good at it; I just want him to have fun.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Wednesday, May 4, 2005 - Warning: Brag Alert

I'm going to brag and boast now, so if you don't care for that sort of thing, please stop reading now.

I went to tae kwon do last night. As you know, I successfully navigated my belt test last week, so I received my promotion to green stripe last night. But there was another treat! Much to my surprise, I was awarded a trophy for best poomse (the solo form, equivalent to a kata in karate)! I was totally stunned, in part because I couldn't imagine deserving such an award, and also because in the 4 1/2 months I have been there I have not seen a trophy awarded except for the usual "Student of the Month." I am honored to be recognized by Grandmaster Chong.

Who'da thunk it? Li'l' ol' overweight out-of-shape uncoordinated me? But from what I heard from of other students, they were not surprised by my receiving the award. Tres cool!

OK, that's enough bragging. Back to the mundane.

I finally got my sister's wedding cake thing settled. During the weekend I visited a bakery that had done my baby shower cake way back when. I walked into their shop, gazing at all the delectable goodies and took a look at a number of wedding cakes they had out on display.

And then I walked right back out of the shop without speaking to anyone. Beautiful, incredible cakes! At...atrocious prices. The prices were all about double what I was looking for.

So, feeling somewhat defeated, I began to drive home, and then I thought of a bakery that I had never been to that is several blocks from my home. Worth a try, right? Well, I stopped by and talked with them, and apparently this bakery had purchased most of the equipment that the original bakery (that went out of business a couple weeks ago) and had also received much of that bakery's business? What a bit of serendipity! I placed a order for the same cake at the same price. Life is beautiful, and I'm glad to get that off my plate.

Yay! It's date night! It's been a long time since I've had a date night because Ironwolf has been gone so much the last couple months. He's a little miffed that I have this incredible talent for picking out expensive restaurants. Haw haw haw that's the price you pay for not taking me out more often buddy!

I think I'm much happier now putting up a few posts per week rather than feeling pressed to put up an entry every day. So that's good! But I *still* haven't gotten back to my blog reading yet. So that's bad! I guess I'll have to pare it down to my favored 6 or 8 and get caught up. Soon. Really.

BTW, a happy 4th birthday to my niece, little B!

Friday, April 29, 2005

Friday, April 29, 2005 - TGIF

Because Ironwolf is racing home to me now (with possibly a stop at a friend's house along the way *hmmmf* [no, no, I gave him my blessing :-)])! All this travel is really wearing on me. Actually, I'm more concerned that it's wearing on him. I know he's been sick, and exhausted, and he isn't getting more than a couple of days at home before they send him off again. There wasn't supposed to be this much travel associated with the job (though we knew there would be a definite increase). I am hoping that it's just because this particular period of time just happens to require a lot of travel, and that it will not be a long-term trend. Because if it is, I'll make certain that Ironwolf's company will have one less employee.

Oh, enough griping already. I rather like having the occasional night all to myself! (Gives me more time to blog...)

Zipper is still sick. Sort of. Well, I'm not really sure. He vomited a couple times Wednesday night, once Thursday morning, and once this morning. He seems pretty cheerful overall, and while he isn't eating and drinking a lot, he keeps asking to go Burger King and was happy to raid the cookies with his brother today. Still, it means that I've pretty much kept to the house the last couple days.

Speaking of Burger King, a local consumer research firm that I occasionally take surveys for and the like has offered me the opportunity to participate in a survey/taste test next Tuesday. I get to eat Burger King food and get paid to do it! Bwah ha ha ha!

Zipper's illness has kept me from doing something that I've really needed to do for the last few days. As I've mentioned, my sister is getting married in just over a month. My mother was going to order her wedding cake. She called the bakery to place the order and was informed that they had gone out of business. What the heck? Just 2 weeks before my mother had spoken to them. Their web site is still up!

So now I am tasked with finding a bakery with relatively short notice. I have a couple places in mind. I was going to go with Zipper while Rascal was in preschool, but when Zipper got sick I decided that a bakery would not be a good place to go. Maybe tomorrow I can get this all taken care of, since my mother and sister are both getting a little anxious about it.

The tae kwon do test went fine. Grandmaster Chong addressed me at length; he seemed to be concerned that I might push myself so hard that I wouldn't have fun. He might be right - I've walked out there a few times annoyed and disgusted with myself when I shouldn't feel that way at all. And after all, if it's not fun, why do it?

One of my tkd friends showed up to watch me and another woman testing yesterday because we didn't have anyone coming to watch us and she wanted to give us some support. How sweet! I was really touched.

I'm known for my lack of "real-life" female friends, so I'm really glad that I've found her and a couple of others that I can talk to.

Hmmm... since you (foolishly) seem to request it, I think I will toss that bit of philosophical rambling out to you sometime in the next week. Don't let me forget, ok?

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Wednesday, April 27, 2005 - Night Falls Heavily Like A Curtain Over Collinwood...

and a woman sits down at a desk, typing frantically about any and all subjects, trying to make sense of the madness that has befallen recently...

If you are now throughly confused, please allow mw to explain. For the last 5 days I have been watching the 1960's tv series Dark Shadows on DVD, and it's rather insinuating itself into my mind after having viewed some 25 episodes.

I watched the series for a while during college, but at one point I stopped watching for about a month, and when I came back it seemed as though all the actors were playing different characters and I was very confused. So I'm watching it straight through now from the beginning of the DVD collections (which is *not* the beginning of the series - go figure - but the point in the series where the vampire Barnabas Collins is introduced - which from the summary of the series to that point seems to have been the right thing for them to do; it was just awful). Ah, it's fun, and Netflix can send me the discs a little faster than I can watch them, so it's all good.

Ironwolf came home safely from China. It looks like we will not be moving to Hong Kong after all from the indications that he has received. So be it; it's off the plate now. I haven't even had the opportunity to look at the photos yet. Ironwolf was home just long enough to not quite get over the jet lag and to catch a bad cold from us before leaving for Boston today. Booo....

Yes, we are sick, sick, sick. *sigh* I've had a head cold for a week, but last night I couldn't sleep and it just knocked me flat on my ass today. I was just laid out on the couch all afternoon. Zipper has hade a cold too, but tonight he also vomited twice. Poor baby! I think he's ok though. I know that I need my rest but the chances of getting much sleep are reduced by this afternoon's long nap. I don't dare take a Sominex because my kid might need me tonight. I suppose I'll just have to use a little alcohol for medishunal poiporses. *hic*

Tomorrow I have my tae kwon do belt test for my green stripe belt. I know everything just fine, but I am probably going to be dragging myself around tomorrow. Well, I suppose a nasal decongestant and a little caffeine will make things easier, but maybe I'll ask to leave after my testing is done because I don'w want to give this to other students.

Looking at my post history I noticed that a lot of my January posts are self-dated 2004. Oops.

Oh, I was so embarassed yesterday. I dropped Rascal off at preschool and went off to run several errands. I didn't have a timepiece with me, so I was relying on my own time sense and the radio to provide me with the approximate time. Mistake - I should have known better than to trust my lack of intuition! Instead of arriving about 10 minutes early, like I thought I was, I was 20 minutes late. I think they were not happy with me. Ummm...we won't let that happen again.

BTW, my good friend Random's birthday was yesterday. Excellent party, as always, sir!

On Monday I and the boys met my sis-in-law and her two kids at the mall to get photos done. The appointment ahead of us was running a little overtime. That, my friends, is the understatement of the year. It was a family of about 20 members getting all kinds of shots done in various groups. They ran an hour past their scheduled time. They must have spent at least $500-600 on pictures. And here we are, with four kids, ages 5, 3, 2, and 3 months getting very antsy. But in truth the kids were good and we did manage to get in there and get a few good shots in before the baby had a meltdown. After finding out what happened the manager of the studio gave us a discount, so I guess it was worth the inconvenience. But I'll never know how they got 20 people into that little room for a group photo!

On Sunday I was part of this big hymn festival concert with about 100 choir members from some 10 or so area congregations plus instrumentalists and readers. It was all great fun, and we might even have had more people in the audience than participants. (But everyone knows it's more fun to participate). The only unfortunate little bit (and forgive me for sounding childish, because it's *really* *not* a big deal) is that I was supposed to have a solo, and it was taken away from me a few days before because the organizer (not the director, mind you) decided it would be best to split the solos as evenly as possible between the different churches involved. So I got bumped. And of course I had to stand directly behind the gentleman who *did* get my solo. Ppptthhh!!!! Really, it's ok, I understand completely, but let me have my 60 seconds of divaesque bitching, all right?

One of the reasons that I was having trouble sleeping last night is that one of my friends from tae kwon do and I were having a religious discussion and she asked me if I believed in hell and in the Devil (I do not). She didn't ask me to defend my views, but I laid in bed needing to justify it to myself, and mentally went off on this tangent regarding free will vs. determinism and its relationship to the nature of evil. Yes, this is the kind of stuff I think about when I can't sleep. *chuckle*

I won't thrust my philosophical ramblings upon you this evening, but maybe I will sometime if I can't sleep or if I'm just feeling a little sadistic (bwah ha ha ha!). Or, of course, droves of you request it. Like that's going to happen. I've never had droves reading this blog and I expect my readership is way down right now. This post has gotten extremely long anyway, and I need to get to my "medicine" soon so I can get a little rest. Sayonara!

Friday, April 22, 2005

Friday, April 22, 2005 - Bloody Eye Wrapup

I forgot to mention how Zipper's eye was doing.

It's fine. You can't even tell that he was hurt.

The first few days it looked really ugly and he developed a black eye, but by the end of the trip it wasn't noticeable anymore. Thank goodness - I was really worried there for a bit. I guess it's just one of the hazards of parenting: kids get hurt sometimes, and it can be frightening.

Friday, April 22, 2005 - The Triumphant Return of ShadowAngel and Her Family

Hey howdy hey; we have returned!

As I mentioned before, I managed to bring the bad weather down south with us for the first part of the trip, but that wasn't a big deal. We spent a lot of time outside and the weather went up into the 80's for the last few days.

We got to go out on some fun excursions - swimming at the local YMCA, a road trip to the nearest Chuck E. Cheese's (an hour away), a picnic at a lovely state park, and a day of excess at Myrtle Beach where we went to an awesome aquarium (including a tunnel where the tank is around you on all sides and a pet-the-rays area), a boat trip, to an amusement park, and to a seafood buffet.

But of course what was best was getting to see my family. We miss them a lot and I know they miss us too. They'll be up here in 6 weeks for my sister's wedding.

We had one bit of excitement during the visit: we were swimming in my parents' pool (which was super-chilly). Zipper was playing along the side and yup, you guessed it, he fell in. My dad grabbed him and had him out of the water in a few seconds. Zipper was no worse for wear. He had held his breath and was fine. It still put me on edge for the rest of the day.

The trip home was a little rough because it was a late flight and the kids were cranky and I had baggage problems. I bought a rolling backpack at Evil Walmart during the trip to use as my carryon. They put it in the scanner at the start of my journey and it came out with a strap torn off. Well, that kind of negates the purpose of bying a backpack, doesn't it? They gave me a form to file a claim with TSA, but I don't much see the point of filling out several pages and getting a repair estimate for a $20 backpack. Then my bags didn't show up when we arrived - it's 11:30 PM, I'm towing two tired, whiny kids, and I have to deal with this too? Ugh. Anyway the bags were found and sent to us the next day.

I am happy to report that Ironwolf is zipping through the atmosphere towards home this evening. His transpacific flight went fine and he'll be home in about five hours. Yay! And for my present he'll be bringing home lots of illegal DVDs, including Kung Fu Hustle (which was released in the USA today).

Unfortunately Ironwolf will be off to Boston next week. Boooo.... He's going to miss my tae kwon do belt test next week. Booooo...... Well, what can you do? It's the price we pay for being able to live on one income.

Until next time... xoxo to all of you from the ShadowAngel...

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Wednesday, April 13, 2005 - Greetings From Florence, SC!

We are spending this evening in the lovely Florence, SC library - and it is lovely, and it's open 7 days a week, unlike the Erie County libraries (because all those schmucks in Buffalo don't believe that library consolidation is a good thing; oh, no we need all of those 50-odd branch libraries so badly in our neighborhoods! sheesh.).

Sorry, major digression there.

Well, we made it here with very little incident, and the boys did very well on their first plane rides. I was very proud of them. The only strange thing is that we were sitting on the runway in Buffalo, waiting to take off, when suddenly the boys and I are ousted from our seats in the last row of the plane, and are without explanation quickly shuffled towards the front of the plane. I specifically preboarded to avoid hassles like this, but what can you do. The flight attendants were very nice about the whole thing.

My husband was not very happy with me though. He bade me send him a message when I arrived safely at my parents' home. Ummm... I forgot. And I forgot to turn on my cell phone. And I forgot to give Ironwolf my parents' new phone numbers. That evening my sister (who lives there too) got a strange phone call with lots and lots of digits that she didn't answer, and it clicked: oh, shit, my husband is calling. From China, remember. So I got in touch with him and found that he had been calling everyone under the sun for a couple hours. D'oh!

The boys are so happy to be here. They have missed their grandparents and their cousin terribly. Oh, yeah, I'm happy to be here too. :-) I did indeed bring the bad weather with me. I was watching the Weather Channel this afternoon and found that the temperature in Buffalo was the same as here in Florence, except that in Buffalo it was sunny. But we still spent most of the day playing outside.

Well, that's enough for now. We are having fun, and we'll see you next week!

Monday, April 11, 2005

Monday, April 11, 2005 - And We Are Outie!

We are off to South Carolina in the morning for 8 days of rain and Buffaloian temperatures. Yup, I looked at the 10-forecast and it will be just a touch warmer than it is here and there will be rain almost every day. *sigh* Why does the weather have to suck every time I manage to get out of Buffalo? Last time I was in SC it was cold and wet; it snowed in Vegas...

I decided that we should pack light, so I'll only be hauling around about 75 lbs. worth of gear. :-P No, really, that's light when you have a couple of little ones on an 8-day trip! Besides, that is light compared to my scrapbooking supplies, which weigh more than I do...

We had a bit of excitement tonight. About 15 minutes after I put the boys to bed I heard Zipper screaming. Thinking that it was a typical bit of bedtime scuffling between the boys, I went upstairs to do the usual bit of threatening them with death (no, not really, sheesh!) but found that Zipper was bleeding from one of his eyes.

He cried for a while and I tried to get things cleaned up and to see if there was any actual eye damage. After I calmed him I was able to look and it seems that all that happened is that he has a cut on his lower eyelid *just* below the eye. I called up a nurse at my HMO and she didn't seem too worried about it, but I'm afraid of what it's going to look like in the morning. Oooh, I hope I don't have to work in a trip to the doctor's office along with everything else I have going on in the morning.

I couldn't really get a straight answer from either of the boys about how it happened - the best that I could surmise is that he probably cut himself with either a toy or, more likely, a book in his bed. Nothing other than the pillowcase had blood on it though so I am not sure. Poor thing!

Well, I'm off. Here's hoping that the trip goes well and that Zipper is ok. See you next week!