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!

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Sunday, April 10, 2005 - Home Alone

Ha! I wish! I haven't had a night honest-to-goodness truly alone by myself since before the kids were born. Ironwolf made it safe and sound to Shanghai with no problems, so I can sleep a little easier tonight.

I've been asked to do a survey regarding the woes of Erie County and the City of Buffalo by VOICE-Buffalo, a faith-based community action group of which my church is a member (though I personally am not a member). For those of you that don't know, the city and county (and state, for that matter) governments are a mess. It's nice that people want my opinions on the subject, but the fact is that I don't have a solution, everyone and their brother has their own ideas, and I don't forsee anything but endless round-in-circles discussion for years.

I've been delaying my response because I want to be able express a cogent, rational, and thoughtful opinion. But I don't think that my opinions are worth a hill of beans. I should pass this survey along to a couple of the local political bloggers I know and see what they can do with it.

Instead tonight I'm going to be shallow - watch a movie, maybe dye my hair... policy planning can wait another day.

Saturday, April 09, 2005

Saturday, April 9, 2005 - Anyone For A Little Emotional Draino?

Right this moment Ironwolf should be somewhere over the North Pole on his way to his two-week business trip in Shanghai. I miss him already (though he was kind enough to call me from Los Angeles this afternoon to let me know that he is alright). But I should have asked for the flight number because I can't find a flight that matches up with his itinerary.

Supposedly he's flying United, but there is no direct Los Angeles to Shanghai flights listed on there. It's goofy - you can go from Los Angeles to San Francisco to Shanghai, or you can go Los Angeles to Chicago to Shanghai. Who in their right mind is going to choose the latter? I know, I know - someone cheap like me! You fly for 15 hours or fly for 20 hours, what's the difference? [snort]

Anyway, Ironwolf will be arriving around 5 AM EDT so I'm anxious to hear from him.


This morning I took the boys to an Easter egg hunt! What, you say? But it's two weeks after Easter! A family friend hosts an annual egg hunt at her home - the original date was cancelled because her yard was extremely muddy, the 1st rescheduled date was snowed out, but finally the 2nd rescheduled date was successful!

We had a lot of fun, but I think that Rascal is getting a little too old to participate. There are a lot of very small children there, and Rascal (and a couple other older kids) snapped up the majority of the eggs before the little ones could get to them. But Rascal was kind enough to give a few of his eggs to some of the smaller children - it was very sweet of him.


Today we went to find a wedding dress for my sister! We went to a local "bridal superstore" because she has less than 2 months to go before the wedding. As I've mentioned, she had a breast reduction done a couple weeks ago (and she looks good!) so she didn't even know what size she was anymore. For the first time in her adult life, she was able to try on a dress and be able to say "Wow, this is way too big in the bust!". I am happy to report that we found a lovely dress (that I picked out, btw). She looks really great in it. We took some pictures of her in it to send to our parents. And we (ok, I didn't) took pictures of her boob job to show them (ok, just our mom) too! LOL


I'm exhausted, mildly anxious, and have a killer migraine, so I'll have to call it a night. So g'night, y'all!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Thursday, April 7, 2005 - Into Every Life A Little Jellybean Rain Must Fall

Today was the biggest event to hit Buffalo in months - the grand opening of the new Kohl's department stores! *snicker*

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for a new retailer (and a nice discount coupon too), so after dropping Rascal off at preschool I drove over there to check it out. I figured that since the store opened several hours earlier it would no longer be packed. Wrong! The entire parking lot was full, and I wisely decided to defer my excursion to a later date.

I went to the supermarket next door to pick up a couple things. Among these purchases were about 3 1/2 lbs. of red Jelly Belly jellybeans from the bulk section, which I have been buying in spurts when I see them at the supermarket because I am making my sister's wedding favors with them.

I dropped the big bag of jellybeans into my cart to discover that the bag was not securely closed. Jellybeans everywhere! Spectators all about fell silent as the last of the clattering candy came to rest on the floor. I sheepishly gaze about and see that there is a broom and dustpan right next to me. True to my maternal instincts, I start sweeping up, and suddenly hear the laughter of several of the associates there (who then came to clean up).

Thankfully I managed to retain 1 1/2 pounds of the jellybeans. I was so embarassed, but it was so funny!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - I'll Never Understand the Airline Industry

I bought tickets a few days ago for the trip that the boys and I are taking to see my parents. I hunted through a number of the more popular online sites until I found a nice cheap fare to my liking.

Weird thing #1: we are flying Buffalo to Charlotte, NC to Fayetteville, NC, changing planes in Charlotte. Taking the extra flight to Fayetteville is cheaper than just flying to Charlotte on the same flight. WTF? I don't get it.

Weird thing #2: Mind you, I should have just taken the flight to Charlotte after all - by flying to Fayetteville (about 50 minutes) I'm actually only getting about 25 miles closer to where my parents live in SC.

Weird thing #3: When I booked the flight on Travelocity, they gave me lots of options for getting to my destination (some 7-8 options) at their best price. But if I wanted to get back home at that price, there were only two choices for the flight home - one at 5:50 AM, and one at 7:00 PM. It put me in the position of having to choose between getting up at 2 AM so we could get to the airport on time or arriving after 11 PM in Buffalo (waaay past the boys' bedtime). No surprise, I chose the latter. Heaven help me if I'm delayed or canceled on the way home.

Weird thing #4: On a whim I searched for fares to Florida from Buffalo on USAir's website. If you want to go round-trip to Orlando, it's $99 right now (woo hoo get me out of here! oh, yeah right, darn it all). But if you want to go to Miami round-trip, it's $647.

If anyone could explain how the airline industry does its pricing please, please help me! I don't understand! I'm a smart person, so why is it so difficult? [sob]

Wednesday, April 6, 2005 - Happiness Is...

Having a snowball fight in your shirt sleeves!

Woo hoo! 68 degrees in Buffalo today!

Monday, April 04, 2005

Monday, April 4, 2005 - You Like Me, You Really Like Me! (?)

Due to popular demand (ok, mostly Jade) I am making a not-so-triumphant return to the blogosphere, beginning by spending 45 minutes typing out a post and then losing the whole thing just before completing it. Typical.

I am sorry for just dumping you all. This would be the point where I would be offering up some lame excuses, but I don't really see any point to it. If you were concerned about me (ha ha yeah right) please rest assured that no major disasters (and very few minor disasters) have occurred in the last 2 months.

So let me attempt to sum up where things stand right now without boring you all to death:

  • The DH: Ironwolf is once again spednign too much time traveling. He left for Chicago/Indianapolis today, and after a couple days home he is off to Shanghai for 2 weeks. But, on a good note, this opens things up for...

  • The vacation: While Ironwolf is away I am going to take the boys to see my parents in South Carolina. It will be their 1st plane trip. I am both excited and anxious about the prospect of traveling alone with two small boys.

  • The China situation: It's still on hold. We don't expect to hear anything more on it until summer.

  • The elder boy: Rascal is back in preschool again (the same one he attended the last 2 years). He's a little old for it, but it gets him out and with other kids. I've got him signed up for teeball next month, and I bought him his first big-boy bike last week.

  • The younger boy: Drake just finished up a playgroup for 2-year-olds at the same school Rascal attends. I moved the boys into the same bedroom because they wanted to sleep in the same room every night. I converted the other room to a playroom, which they rapidly proceeded to turn into a disaster area.

  • The extended family: Sis had a breast reduction last week. I can't imagine what she'll look like with only a D-cup. She says it was the easiest 8 pounds(!) she ever lost! She's getting married in 2 months, so she needs to hurry up and heal so she can go get a wedding dress.

  • The tae kwon do studies: They're going pretty well! I got my yellow belt last month, and I should be ready to test for my green stripe at the end of this month. I have a few tales to tell, but I will leave them for a later time.

  • The quest for less mass: Over the holiday season I gained quite a lot of weight, which I largely attribute to my bro-in-law, who gave "my children" a 5-pound Hershey's bar for Christmas. But between the tae kwon do and my other favored physical activity, playing Dance Dance Revolution on the XBox, I've taken that and a little more back off. The influx of candy for Easter didn't help me, but I'll push through it. Darn my weakness for chocolate!

  • The musical mayhem: Hey, I finally found a sucker - I mean, a kind soul - to host my music files! You can download them at Red Room Tunes, a very cool site run by one of my husband's coworkers. The site features various artists, most of whom crank out tunes sitting in their little home studios. My stuff is listed under "Jennifer", but please check out some of the other artists - I'm sure you'll find something you like!

  • The rest of it: Eh, same ol' same ol'. I feel like I've been simply existing for the last couple months - not really accomplishing much of anything. It's the old winter blahs (you can scarcely avoid them here in Buffalo). But this too shall pass - winter is ending, I've started digging in my garden (before the snow came over the weekend, that is), and I'm inspired to do a little spring cleaning (and hey, when I'm inspired to clean, I'd better get to it, because the urge comes briefly and infrequently). In any case I'm doing ok.

So that's it. I'll start posting regularly again (though I'll be breaking from that when we go to South Carolina - the folks don't have Internet access). I'll even make sure that I'll read (ok, skim through) some of your blogs in the next couple days. For now though, I'll leave you with a couple anecdotes for the day:

This evening I'm scrubbing my living room rug with the handy-dandy rug scrubber. With only 6 square feet of carpet to go, the scrubber runs out of wash solution. Did I:

  1. Refill the scrubber with a whole new batch of wash solution to do the last little bit? or...
  2. Say "screw it" and left that corner of the carpet unscrubbed?

I'll let you decide.

And last, a quote from my dear, sweet Rascal today: "The more love you give, you get even more love back."