Saturday, December 27, 2008

Nobody got black coal

This year Xmas was mellow and much more simple than in previous years. Normally Xmas Eve all of Todd's family comes to my house for dinner and a game of white elephant. This year I did not invite anyone except my parents. At 5pm we went to a children's mass at our church, which was very entertaining. Paula , along with 11 other children, were chosen by the priest to hold up a pole w/a flag with the number 2 on it. The entire church sang "12 Days of Christmas" but certain sections were only supposed to sing their number. It was fun.

Afterwards we came home and nuked up ham, sweet potatoes and rolls. No veggie was in sight but no one cared. I wrapped up all my gifts that day. I went to bed late only to be literally shaken awake at 8am by my 7 year old saying "MOMMY, wake up, it's CHRISTMAS!".

Santa was good to us this year. Paula got her DS lite, Shawna got her Hannah Montana Glammer Kit that she asked for. He also surprised them with matching skate boards and pogo sticks. Shawna also got a VTech game. Shawna said Nobody got coal this year even though Paula wasn't very nice. LOL

At 9:30am we headed to Todd's parents house to meet up w/his family. We had brunch and opened more gifts. The kids made out like bandits again. Todd's dad goes to Costco and buys up random items to fill our stockings. Each family member has a stocking at his house. You get things like pens, post-it notes, tape, batteries, light bulbs, bars of soap. Bulk items from Costco basically. This year he also poured peanuts in the shells into all of our stockings. Scottie, Todd's nephew, wrote on the post-it's things like Kick Me, I'm Gay, etc and stuck the notes to the children's backs as they walked by. It was pretty funny.

We came home and my brother and his wife were here with their Viszla puppy Ella. She's 40 pounds and 7 months old. Very hyper!! Rosie became very nervous and upset. She literally drooled huge amounts all night. It was so sad. The next day she was fine though.
The turkey dinner was awesome!! Everyone loved it.

That night my mom and I sat up until 1am and talked. I filled her in on Todd and I. She was sad to hear it and also surprised. I just felt she needed a heads up in case we do decide to split. Todd and I have been getting along nicely this week. That can change in a heartbeat, we all know that.

Next week I'm taking the girls up to my parents to visit the snow. That's what we do here, VISIT the snow. LOL As it is I'm not sure I have snow boots that fit Paula. She grows so fast and I know she's bigger than last winter.

I'm loving being on vacation. I'm sleeping in until 9am or longer. Of course once Todd goes back to work I won't be able to sleep that late.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blogging about nothing or something

I realize my camel post wasn't all it could be. Chalk it up to being lazy and out of ideas. Well, that's not totally true. I have ideas, I'm just too lazy to type them up or choose not to share them. My life is a constant blog idea. With 2 daughters and an idiot husband the ideas are endless. But sometimes putting those ideas into coherent posts is mentally draining.

Right now I'm waiting for my husband to come home from work. I'm off work for 2 weeks due to a work shut-down over the holidays. I'm not a good SAHM. I do much better with adults than I do with children. Even my own children, who I do love and adore and would take a bullet for in a heartbeat, get on my nerves on a regular basis. "Can you" seems to be the foremost thought in their little head. I am asked a zillion times a day "Can you......". I'm to the point where I can't. They need to do more for themselves. And if they can't, then they must not want it very much.

Here is just a few "Can You's I've heard in the last 2 days. Many I've heard more than a dozen times already:
Make me hot chocolate?
Bring me my stuffed animal
Bring me a blanket
Make me something to eat
Help me get dressed
Wipe my butt, I went poo
Wipe my butt, but I didn't go poo
Put Rosie on my lap
Fix me cereal with milk
Fix me cereal without milk
Help me put in my shoes
Tie my shoes
Put some tattoo's on us
Put nail polish on my fingers?
Fix the nail polish, some is coming off
Put on more nail polish again, this one is coming off now
Tell Paula she's in trouble for XYZ
Tell Shawna's she's not allowed to touch my XYZ

Gosh it's fun being at home and not at work where it's quiet!!!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wise Men's Camels

A couple years ago my company did an event where you were asked to send in pictures you've taken yourself. They had those pictures rotating on our intranet main page. When I saw this one of all these camels I just had to ask the photographer about it. Was it a parking lot for camels? I could not imagine what or why there would be so many camels in one place. He replied that he'd been on vacation in India to witness a camel fair. He sent me a couple others as well. I've posted the two below. I went online and this is what it says:

"An astonishing 50,000 camels converge on the tiny desert town of Pushkar, in India's state of Rajasthan, for the Pushkar Camel Fair. It's a fascinating and peculiar sight, and a great opportunity to witness an old traditional style Indian festival.

The original intention behind the Pushkar Camel Fair was to attract local camel and cattle traders to do business during the holy Kartik Purnima festival, held in Pushkar around the full moon in the Hindu lunar month of Kartika. The fair has now also become a major tourist attraction.

For five days, the camels are dressed up, paraded, shaved, entered into beauty contests, raced, and traded. A huge carnival is held, with an array of musicians, magicians, dancers, acrobats, snake charmers and carousel rides to entertain the crowd.

The sand dunes appear infested with camels as far as the eyes can see and the population of Pushkar swells to over 200,000 people, with an inflow of pilgrims, camel traders, and tourists. It's a fascinating and peculiar sight, and a great opportunity to witness an old traditional style Indian festival. The highlight is definitely the camel races, although the comical beauty contests featuring elaborately adorned and shaved camels are also amusing."

Have you ever seen so many camels at one time???? Amazing. I just wanted to share this since I know most Americans have no idea that this event even exists, and since the camel was the transportation tool used by the 3 Wise Men to visit baby Jesus on Christmas Day so it really is an appropriate topic. :0)

See, you learned something today!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Random post

Randon post Tuesday.

1. This weekend Paula was watching a Disney Family channel. There are many Disney channels. Mostly they watch the one that has Hannah Montana on it, but I got them interested in the family channel showing Christmas movies. For a Christmas movie, which should be upbeat, sadly a dog died. Commercials came on asking for money to help save dogs and cats. Paula immediately tells Todd we need to call this number NOW. She was quite concerned. Todd nicely told her it was great she was concerned, but we already gave to animals a couple months ago when we donated a bunch of food for an animal shelter thru the school. Not good enough. She said "Daddy, they take credit cards. Just call them and give them your credit card number." So cute. She would have given them any amount they needed. But damn those commercials.

2. Yesterday Paula came home from school with a letter from an elf named Ariella in Santa's North Pole. Apparently all the 2nd graders received personalized letters mailed by they're special elf's. The elf explained how she's responsible for tracking certain children, she's Paula's elf, how she knows she's been a good girl and to let her know what she wants for Christmas and she'll pass it on to Santa. Paula was thrilled! It was so cute. Even Ariella's picture was on the letter.

3. I get 17 days off work starting Saturday. My work is shutting down for 2 weeks. I know I'm going to go crazy being home all day with my children. Between the fighting, their annoying TV shows, them being bored & my going crazy, I'm hoping we will all surive. Normally we might go camping but given we're trying to save money we're not planning any trips until February. So, send good luck vibes. Better yet, send alcohol and drugs. I'll need them.

4. I weighed myself today for the first time in months. OMG I've gained so much flippin weight. SCARY! I of course knew that I'd gained weight since my pants were no longer fitting and I had to buy larger size pants to go over my larger size butt. But I never had a number for my weight so I was kind of able to stay in a bit of denial as to how bad I might be. Yeah, it's pretty bad. I must must must never open my mouth again and insert food. never ever.

5. It's been raining here the past couple days. We really need rain so I'm fine with it. Yesterday on the way to school the girls and I witnessed a beautiful double rainbow! Sadly, my camera phone doesn't do it justice. The rainbow on the right was much brighter and clearer. As we got closer to school we could see the full arches of both of them. So awesome.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Interesting family members

I have a first cousin, who for almost as long as I can really remember him, has been in prison. He's 49, 9 years older than me. My mom and his mom are sisters. I don't know everything about him, but what I do know is that about 20 years ago he was accused of killing two people over a marijuana issue. According to my cousin, it was a set up. In addition, according to his mother, there was tampering with the jury by other jury members. Apparently some jury members who wanted to vote 'not guilty' were being scared or threatened to vote guilty. Now, you would think this is a no brainer for a mistrial or at least a new trial. Nope. He's done what he can with the system, but at this point I believe only a pardon can set him free. He got life in prison.

I was about in high school when he got arrested. I have vague memories of him at family gatherings. Since I was a girl and he was much older we didn't hang out much. His one sister stayed with us for a week when I was 4 yrs old after my brother was born. He also has another sister and brother.

My cousin had the cutest daughter and son at the time he went in. Rachelle was only 2 yrs old at the time. I was completely in love with her since I was in high school when she was born and prime babysitting age so I'd follow her around while her mom visited everyone. Sean was a couple years older. In 2001 Rachelle and I were both pregnant with our first child together. We were both due in April 2001. She was a young mother. She now has 2 sons. Her brother Sean has a son and daughter. He's also a young father. We're talking 3rd cousins now. I have a big family.

He also has another daughter I didn't even know about until the year 2000 and she was 18 at the time. He remarried while in Folsom prison (because you know how some women totally dig prison men) which I knew, but they had a daughter which I didn't know about. She came to our last family reunion this past April. She's very sweet and beautiful.

In prison you belong to a certain group in order to survive. You have your Hispanic gang, black gang, Asian gang etc. Tommy's father, who died when I was young, was American Indian. His mother is Italian and Irish. Tommy choose to take on his American Indian heritage more strongly and belong to that group. He grew his hair long, totally worked out and got lots of tattoos.

Up until a few years ago he was in Folsom Prison in CA. Then he blew it. He was working in the dentist office of Folsom prison and there was a woman that worked in there too. She would just come for the day and leave. Hanky panky is a big no no. Well, he got caught fucking her in the back room. They wanted him to admit to some things, which I believe would have gotten the lady in bigger trouble, but he refused to comply. You absolutely cannot be a tattle tale in prison or your dead meat. As punishment for not cooperating they sent him to a different prison.

My cousin had been in the new part of Folsom prison almost his entire time, which as far as prisons go was apparently pretty nice. Large cells, and much newer with more modern conveniences. They sent him to Corcoran Prison in King City, CA which was older and not nearly as nice. He hated it. His mom and family tried to get it reversed but no go.

His mom was really upset for many reasons. Mainly, because she and her husband had moved to a nearby city on purpose, because it was only 1 hour from Folsom. She would visit him once a week. His new prison is many hours away and she just couldn't do the visits anymore. Now she lives in Florida, but is visiting this week and staying at my moms house for a couple days. I know she plans to see him while she's here.

At family reunions we each write a note to him that delivered by his mother. She keeps him pretty informed on the family. I've been encouraged by his sister to visit him, especially when my own grandparents lived in Folsom, but since I didn't really remember him well, I felt uncomfortable going. To visit you first must get approved by the prison administration. You have to apply so they can do a background check on you. In addition, when you visit the inmates you can't wear under wire bras, belts or anything that can be used as a weapon. The entire thing seemed too complicated.

Going off topic for a second. I remember once as a teenager, my parents, brother and I were visiting my grandparents for a weekend. They lived in the town of Folsom, CA. On a whim we decided to go check out the prison. We'd been there many times in the parking lot. I know that sounds weird, but my Granddad was a guard there for 22 years and at the end of his employment he worked in the towers with the rifles, overseeing the grounds and the Folsom Dam, which was right next to the prison. Everyday he would pack a peanut butter & jelly sandwich along with other food items into his lunch box and off he'd go in his uniform.

In summers I would stay there by myself for a couple weeks and I was always curious about my Granddads cool job as a prison guard. The prison was ominous. Not only that, but the road that you turned into to drive up to the prison had huge sirons on either side and was very long with nothing around. My Grandma would drive me over there and show me which tower he was in. I thought it was the coolest job ever. They have a barber shop, museum and store on site that you can visit. My granddad only got his haircuts at the prison. They even took my brother there once in the 70's when he was a boy and lopped off his long hair. My mom was pissed.

So that one day we decided to go see the museum and store. At the time I also had a classmate and friend named Carol, whose brother was also in the same prison for murder. She didn't talk about him much. As my parents and I walked past the visitor area where you wait your turn to visit the inmate, there was Carol and her family in line to visit her brother! Talk about awkward. They saw us and were shocked. I know her mom looked embarrassed. Carol wasn't though, she was more surprised so we chatted it up for a few minutes. Talk about coincidence!

Back to my cousin. I decided to look him up online and found the 2 below pictures with corresponding entries. He is on a couple pen-pal prison websites.

"I am a 44 year old Jicarilla/Ute half-breed with close connection to my spiritual nature, and find this in my Native American heritage. I have been in prison for 18 years and will be here as long as it takes to win my freedom. I fight the system to the best of my capability and in so far I have a little luck in these endeavors. If I should be fortunate enough to meet people from all over this world to talk with and share ideas with, then I would consider myself a lucky man.I have had the blessing of being a father, in turn they have made me a grandfather three times over - this is truly a blessing, I only wish I could be a bigger part of their lives. I do a fair share of writing in many forms, and I wish to share with others any and all of my experience. I have contacts in Northern Europe, and I like to expand out to the South-seas and New Zealand. Not to be petulant, but I find that I respond better to women that seek sharing life's gift and experiences
with a man who has an ear for understanding. I do not seek anything from anyone but exchanging letters. I have no needs but company and I enjoy humor and tales of wonder about family and friends, about travels near and far. I can offer the same in return.

The picture below is him with his daughter and her husband along with their son. I believe this must have been in 2001.

"For me it has been many years of suppression inside the walls of this system, but I fight on to win the freedom desired. While the twenty years have been hard, I have learned to become connected with the Spirits surrounding everything upon this path. I bead and write to pass the time - that is when not being worked - I am now 45 with three grown children and have been blessed with three beautiful grandchildren. In this way I am happy to have lived a life before all of this.I seek correspondence with WOMEN from all over the world who would like to help release the inner spirit, one trapped of loneliness, to travel outside these walls. I like to share your world with me - if you look tothe setting sun and find that you have a curiosity, if you feel you want some kind of connection - PLEASE, allow me the grace of your words, to travel to places only dreamt of. No expectation are placed upon anyone, only friendship and the thanks of a chained man."
I can't imagine what it's like to be him. But he's certainly made a life for himself inside.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Christmas time surprises

Last night Shawna was sitting in my lap naked on the couch. She likes to snuggle with me before bed time, which is an hour after bath but always refuses to put on jammies until the last minute no matter how freezing she feels. She was in a fetal position on my lap under my Grandmothers handmade afghan and I was snuggling against her and kissing her cheek like I usually do while we watch Sandra Lee Semi-Homemade Cooking.
She turns and looks at me.

Shawna: Mommy, promise me you won't get mad.

Me: What?

Shawna: Promise you won't get mad.

Me: Saying slowly Okay, what happened?

Shawna: I kinda peed in my underwear at school today.

Me: That's okay sweetie. Your only 5 and I know how you have terrible bladder control. Just a little pee is no big deal while at school.

Shawna: I peed in my underwear in the church.

Me: Confused. Why was she in the church on a Wednesday. Why were you in the church?
Oh, the light goes off in my head were you practicing for the Christmas program?

Shawna: Yes and Mrs. G aid took me to the bathroom.

Me: Why couldn't you go potty before you had the accident?

Shawna: I had to go but we were up next to do our song.

Me: Oh, Okay. Next time remember to go before you get into the church. I'm sure Mrs. D teacher tells all the kids to go beforehand. Make sure you go. This child is notorious for saying she doesn't have to pee when 10 minutes later she has to pee.

Shawna: No she doesn't. She never says it.

Me: Yeah right. I bet she does. Just make sure you go beforehand okay?

Shawna: OK.

The kids go off to bed. I'm in Paula's room braiding her wet hair so it will be curly in the morning when she asks:

Paula: Are you and Daddy going to get divorced?

Me: Shit! Why? Who said that? Todd and I have had some big discussions lately and were even considering having him move out after the new year but now we know we can't afford that unless we sell the house.

Paula: No one

Me: Do you know what divorce means?

Paula: Yes, it means someone leaves and lives somewhere else

Me: Not always honey. Thinking we'll have to sell the house in order to separate so we'll both be leaving.

I quickly change the subject.

I go downstairs.

I make their lunches going through their backpacks. Shawna has a huge bag of clothes in hers. Everything except her shirt was soaked!!! Her jumper, underwear, bike shorts, socks! Pee soaked! She didn't just wet her underwear. She soaked everything! It's like she just stood there and peed while singing. I wonder if any got on the carpet in the church. Crap. I'm sure Miss G just LOVED her job that day.

Now I need to wash it all because her other jumper, which I just had hemmed, is now un-hemmed when one of Shawna's classmates noticed a thread hanging and pulled it, causing the hem to fall. Nice.

Grab all items and toss them in the washing machine. Look around, grab anything else that looks like it can be washed together. Turn it on wondering what Shawna wore home from school.

This morning I threw everything in the dryer. Thankfully the jumpers dry fast. I notice on her floor is a very small jumper she borrowed. I'll need to wash everything and return it back to the school.

Shawna: Did you dry my shoes?

Me: Your shoes?!!! Uh, yes. No, I didn't check the shoes. I hope they're dry! They were.

Dang surprises.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

All I want for Christmas.....

Today on the way to school:

Me: So what do you girls want for Christmas?

Paula: I want a DS. Because I'm the ONLY kid in my class that doesn't have one.

Shawna: I want a Hannah Montana kit. (make-up kit like her sisters)

Paula: I also want a laptop but Daddy says I can't have one. I don't know why. I know how to use one and I'm really good on computers.

Me: We have two computers already and laptops are more expensive then desktops.

Shawna: I want a Hannah Montana kit.

Paula: I also want the gift to be able to wake up faster in the morning.

Me: Oh yeah, that would be nice.

Paula: But I really want a laptop and a DS.

Me: Santa is not going to bring you a laptop and a DS. They're way too expensive.

Paula: O.K. Then I want the DS. But Mommy, it's a Christmas present from Santa. We don't have to pay anything.

Me: smiling Uh huh.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Jill Visit

Yesterday I visited with Jill. To update you all, Jill and I have known each other for about 16 years. We met at a previous work place. 11+ years ago her ex-husband helped my husband get the job at the company he still works at today. (Although their doing layoffs as I type this so I'm hoping he still has a job!) She was the matron of honor in my wedding and her daughter was one of my flower girls. We go through long periods where we don't talk, but thankfully we always come back together. I love her.

I was there from 3pm to 10:30pm. I filled her in on my life saga involving my husband, which, most of you usual readers know the basics of, but she and I hadn't really talked in a year and a half so she was way behind. I also told her some stuff about me that went way back to before the Todd days. That kinda surprised her. As much as you might think I'm an open book, I'm really closed lipped when it comes to the aspects of my life I'm not proud of. It's one thing to share with perfect strangers, but telling friends and family causes them to worry, plus I don't want to be judged by my friends or family by what they might consider mistakes I've made or are going to make. At the same time I love them dearly and need their guidance so it's a tough line for me.

She offered great opinions and insight which I really appreciated. She's an awesome friend.

I felt the need to confess to her that I recently tossed out a t-ball baseball card picture I had of her oldest son when he was about 7 (he's 20 now) that just kept popping up in my drawers. She teased me about that! She showed me pics of her daughter now 18. OMG she's gorgeous and so smart. I first met her daughter when she was 2 years old. Her son who is 20. Her youngest son is a mini Jill. It's so wild to see those kids so grown up because when I was hanging around them all the time the older two were in elementary school and the youngest didn't exist yet.

As for the dogs, Fred, her other half, had taken the 2 greyhounds with him on errands so she and I could be alone. Her whippet, Jordy, and her foster dog, Malcolm, stayed with us. I had many noses in my lap or looks that said "please pet me". All the dogs were very sweet. Jordy, however, has a squeaky ball fetish where he squeaked the damn ball non-stop as I was trying to talk. I couldn't think!!!! Finally Jill had to put out of his reach.

There are dog beds everywhere. She has to fill up their two water bowls about 10 times a day. While I was there I filled them up twice. I was told I got the preferred guest treatment as the couch had been uncovered for my visit. The excitement of the night was when one of the greyhounds stole a good chunk of chicken (our dinner) off the counter. Funny stuff.

Below is Jill looking lovely. She's going to hate that I posted this picture but since it's all she gave me it's what I have to show. I'm sending her my blog address after I post this. lol

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


As follow-up to my Jill post she and I are getting together this Sunday so I can bitch, I mean fill her in all the crap, I mean stuff, in my life this past year. My girls were bummed to know they couldn't join me. They really like Jill. Something to know about Jill is that she takes in strays. Right now she has 4 dogs. 2 are rescued greyhounds, 1 is a whippet and 1 is a stray lab mix that she's fostering. When I met Jill she had a 3 legged cat she'd rescued from the pound, in addition to a rescued greyhound and a 15 year old cat. She also came home one day with a dog she found in the supermarket parking lot. She kept it for weeks until the right family came along to take him. So in my next post about Jill I'll probably have some things to say about life with that many dogs in her small rental house.

Today after school Shawna is going Christmas Caroling with her brownie troop to a senior living place with the 7th grade Girl Scouts. Yesterday they had practice where I was told she didn't look pleased to be there. LOL In fact I think she was bored. Most likely it's because she doesn't know many songs. Plus she doesn't read yet so it's not like she can read the words. I'm hoping she at least smiles at the old folks. Either way the seniors will adore watching the girls.

Monday, December 1, 2008

December is here!

We had a nice Thanksgiving up at my parents house. We saw deer and turkeys in their yard which is always fun. The weather was gorgeous the entire weekend.

On Black Friday I ventured out to Kmart in Grass Valley. I fully expected huge lines but there were NONE. I found some great door buster items on sale for the girls. All Hannah Montana stuff of course. Getting them from Grandma's to home in the minivan was tricky but we used a big blanket to cover the items. They each get a skateboard and pogo stick. I also got Paula some new bedding since she doesn't want Princess stuff anymore. 8 years old is about age when they're tastes change.

Saturday on our way home we stopped by to visit with my grandmother. She'll be 93 in February. She looks great. Her memory is slipping more and more but it's to be expected. She always gets a kick out of Rosie. The kids and dog attract attention with all the seniors living there. She lives in a assisted living place. We left when it was time for her lunch. They all sit in a large eating room. She sits with 2 other ladies at her table. It's cute. Paula and Shawna helped wheel her in (she had a stroke 2 years ago so her right arm doesn't move and she can't really walk well). She's such a great lady. I love her so much.

Sunday Paula was invited to a play date to go ice skating and to the park so she did that. They also took her to church at night. Todd and Shawna hit the grocery store while I put out my Spode Christmas china. I have way too much. I bought a bunch 2 years ago at Marshall's for cheap. I planned to give them away as gifts, then forgot where I put it all. We found it after Xmas last year so now I need to decide what to do with it all. Plus I get Spode items as gifts from people since the know I collect it. I have tons of bake ware. I'm using some as fruit bowls right now.

Sunday is also the day Megan moved in to the in-law suite over our garage. Her bed is gigantic in that small room.

Overall it was a nice long weekend. This week is mellow. I do have a hair appointment but other than that no plans.