Friday, December 19, 2008

WARNING!! This is going to be my own personal, little rant regarding this particular seasonal greeting. If you don't care to hear it or think it might piss you off, go ahead and click that little red X at the top right of your screen now. Go ahead. I'll wait. No? Ok, read on at your own risk!

It seems that every year, people become more and more offended by the use of the phrase "Happy Holidays" in place of "Merry Christmas". Everyone is screaming that people are trying to take the Christ out of Christmas. Well, here are my thoughts ...

1. I've always viewed Happy Holidays to mean Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! After all, those two holidays are very close together. Is that offensive? Are you OK with being told Merry Christmas but NOT Happy New Year? Probably not. So choose to view this greeting in this manner if you will.

2. That poor little, harried clerk ringing up your socks and underwear at Wal Mart has not the slightest idea exactly which holiday(s) you celebrate. For fear of offending, perhaps she says Happy Holidays in order not to set you off, rather than to so. After all, if she says Merry Christmas and you're an atheist, she might get her ass chewed out. Take it as the well-wish it's intended to be.

If a Jew were to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, would/should I be offended? No, of course not. I, myself, do not celebrate Hanukkah, but I would recognize it as a sincere wish for a happy season.

Lighten up, people!! When did everything the world become about me?? How is it that people expect every other person out there to know exactly which holiday it is that you happen to be celebrating?? If someone wishes you Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Merry Winter Solstice, just smile and say thank you. They ARE, after all, hoping that you have happiness.

Oh, and if Merry XMas is the one that gets you, did you know that he idea of using “X” in place of Christ is not a modern idea? In the Modern Roman Alphabet, which comes from the Greeks who were before Rome, the first letter of the word “Christ” is “chi” which is represented by a symbol similar to the letter “X.” Perhaps XMas is just shorthand for the lazy. Choose to view it this way when you see it and you'll be much happier.

Besides, wouldn't Happy Holidays offend you much less that Happy Whatever the F**K You Celebrate??

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

How did they miss that?

I keep a broom in the laundry room to sweep up the daily scatterings of kitty litter. This morning it wasn't there. I went around asking each of my three guys ...
"Have you seen my broom?"

Not one of them made a witch reference.

Seriously, how easy was that one? And they missed it. Yeesh.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


I just returned home from taking Frankie
to the vet for her first shots. Yes, that’s her. Apparently those little nodules that I assumed were boy bits, were not. So she’s no longer Frankie as in Frank Sinatra, but Frankie as in Frankie & Johnny.

She gained ½ pound since I first took her in. Considering that she only weighed 1 ½ lbs to begin with, that’s quite a weight gain. They said it was very unusual for a male cat to bond with a female one like Sunny has. Usually same-sex cats make the best friends. That just reinforces the fact that even the dumb cat knew she needed loving.

Oh, and judging by her ears and feet, the vet thinks she’s going to be a pretty big cat. Either that or she’s just going to have ridiculously over-sized ears when she’s grown.

Yes, I know the first photo is terribly blurry but it's the only one I have that shows her beautiful, blue eyes. If I can ever get her to sit still long enough, I'll attempt to get a better one. But, as you can see here, she's certainly made herself right at home.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Pirate Laws

1. A pirate does not ask for directions. He relies only on his gut feeling, a compass, or a treasure map.

2. Parrots are the preferred pirate companion. Monkeys are an acceptable substitute, unless they fling their feces at people. Then they are an awesome substitute.

3. When fishing, a pirate uses either a sword, a knife, or his bare hands. Use of a hook is only acceptable in the event the pirate is missing a hand.

4. Pirates shall always wear boots, except in the case of a peg leg. Then one boot is acceptable. Flip-flops are right out.

5. Pirates do not cry, except in the case of the loss of a shipload of rum.

6. When describing the size of a treasure, a pirate is required to exaggerate by at least 130%. Flowers are not treasure under any circumstances, unless said flowers are made out of gold.

7. A pirate shall never wear lipstick, nail polish, or capri pants. Actually, that kinda goes without saying.

8. No pirate shall discuss his feelings, unless his feelings include gutting a man from stem to stern and spilling his entrails.

9. A pirate should always remove his hat in the presence of a bartender.

10. During a swordfight, swordfighting insults are required. In the event both participants are still alive at the end of the fight, the participant with the superior insults shall be declared the victor.

11. No pirate shall ever wear a "fanny pack".

12. All foods prepared by a pirate must include rum, grog, or beer. Boone's and other "Wench Punch" is prohibited.

13. A pirate may never compliment another pirate on the softness of his hands.

14. No pirate shall wear a bracelet or a necklace, unless it is the tooth or tusk of an animal he killed. If in the presence of cannibals, a necklace is acceptable camouflage, but only if said necklace is made of human toes.

15. Pirate Law: Dousing oneself in beer is a perfectly acceptable replacement for a shower.

16. No pirate shall drink Grog out of a glass. Grog is only to be consumed either straight from the barrel, or from a mug heavy enough to to kill a man.

17. Three-cornered hats, headbands and bandanas are the only acceptable headwear for pirates. Fedoras, bowler derbies, baseball caps, mickey ears, top hats, sombreros, or anything with lace and flowers will be removed from the vessel-- head included. A grace period of one minute is allowed for hats looted from a tailory.

18. A pirate shall never wrap presents. The only thing a pirate gives is a bludgerin'.

19. Pirate Law: A pirate does not use the word "Fabulous". Ever.

20. No pirate shall attend a movie with less than an Arrrr rating.

21. Only a pirate is capable of killing another pirate. If you are not a pirate (let's say a ninja) and wish to challenge a pirate, they have a word for that. Corpse.

22. Pirate Law: "ARRRRRRRRRRR..." is a perfectly acceptable answer to any question.

23. A pirate does not "go shopping". Unless by "shopping", you mean "killing".

24. Peglegs must be made of timber or some other suitable wood. Plastic, ceramic, porcelain, or metal peglegs are utterly unnacceptable, simply because it complicates the use of the phrase "shiver me timbers".

25. Real pirates have chest hair. If you cannot grow chest hair, you may be a cabin boy.

26. Under no circumstances is a comb-over an acceptable pirate hairdo.

27. No pirate may ever change his shirt because it is "wrinkled". A pirate may only change his shirt if it is completely soaked in blood.

28. When drinking, Pirates may sing. "Fifteen Men on a Dead Man's Chest" is preferred. Kelly Clarkson songs are not allowed.

29. No pirate shall ever drive a minivan, unless he drives the minivan into a tavern, for the purposes of looting barrels of rum from said tavern. Upon completion of this task, the minivan is to be burned. No exceptions.

30. No matter how hard it is raining, two pirates may never share an umbrella. Pirates do not fear rain.

31. If circumstances demand a career change, a move into real estate brokerage or tax collection shall be considered a lateral move and said individual may keep their pirate status.

32. A pirate does not snuggle with an animal, unless he is trying to snap its neck. But I guess that wouldn't really be "snuggling".

33. A pirate may never wear another man's clothing, unless he first kills that man.

34. Two pirates must never share a bed or a hammock. It is perfectly acceptable for one pirate to sleep on the floor, or on a pile of treasure.

35. Pirates do not wear eyeglasses or bifocals unless they are looking at a treasure map, and even then they are allowed only a monacle. Any comments about "Mr. Peanut" while wearing the monacle are prohibited.

36. When setting out on a voyage, a pirate does not pack a suitcase. He is only to bring what he can carry under his arms, or what his wench can carry on her back. Pirates do not go shopping. They go lootin' and plunderin'. -->

37. A pirate does not mow the lawn. Lawns are for landlubbers.

38. Lifting or removing one's eyepatch is extremely impolite but is not considered an insult. It's just kinda gross. Likewise, one should never remove another pirate's eyepatch, except with a sword to the face.

39. Pirates never use the words "fresh" or "feelings," and certainly not together (as in "I have that not-so-fresh feeling").

40. A pirate must never visit a tanning salon. If he is not already tan enough from searching for treasure, he hasn't been searching hard enough.

41. While creativity is encouraged during any barfight or battle at sea, pirates may only use the following types of sword; falchions, scimitars, rapiers, and particularly long knives. Katanas or any other Ninja sword are strictly forbidden, unless the Pirate rips off a Ninja's arm and hurls the arm, and attached Katana, as a projectile.

42. No pirate shall ever sit on a toilet seat, for any reason.

43. Kidnapping is an acceptable substitute for killing, but only if it is for the purpose of plank walking at a later time.

44. When swimming, pirates do not dive. They cannonball.

45. Cannoneers aboard a pirate vessel are not allowed to use hearing protection of any sort. No matter what the OSHA regulations say, if ye can't stand bleedin' from the ears, you have no business being a Pirate.

46. A pirate will never wear a patch that is any other color than black; unless it's halloween. then they can wear a patch with an eyeball painted on the outside. Polka dots are not permitted under any circumstances.

47. Female pirates are allowed some exception to rules concerning hygiene and garmentry, but must make up for it by using twice as much profanity.

48. Hooks are the only acceptable hand substitute. However, they may not have secondary attachments such as screwdrivers, bottle openers, corkscrews, or nail files. These are Pirates we're talking about, not Inspector Gadget.

49. A pirate's diet consists mainly of meat. If at sea, and meat is not available, shoe leather is an acceptable replacement.

50. Pirate Law: You can't spell pirate, without "irate". There's a reason for that, so don't even try.

51. No pirate will ever, ever raise his pinky when drinking any sort of beverage.

52. Pirate Law: When choosing clothing, even if it looks dirty, or smells dirty, it is clean.

53. A pirate may ride in a rowboat, if traveling to or from his ship. Use of a Kayak is only permitted if used for cannon target practice.

54. When drinking rum, the only thing a pirate adds to the rum is more rum.

55. The official Pirate religion is Pastafarianism.

56. No pirate shall ever play wiffle ball.

57. Under no circumstances does a pirate speak with a Ninja, unless he first decapitates that Ninja and uses his head like a sock puppet.

58. When at the office, answering the telephone with "Arrrrrrr" is perfectly acceptable for pirates. Other acceptable choices are "Avast!", and "Ahoy Matey!"

59. A Pirate does not read poetry, unless said poetry is scrawled on the wall of a bathroom.

60. All women are to be referred to as wenches, with the exception of female Pirates, who can be referred to as "lass".

61. Pirates do not clean up, except when gold falls out of a treasure chest.

62. Spilling rum is not acceptable, except in the act of "pouring some out for dead mateys".

63. A pirate may tell any tale of swashbuckling without being called on the details, as long as at least 51% of the story is true.

64. A pirate may never shave below the neck. Shaving above the neck is allowed, but only if the pirate shaves his entire head. In the presence of cannibals, a mohawk is acceptable.

65. No pirate may do the arm movements for "YMCA", or engage in country-western line-dancing.

66. Pirates do not say "please" or "thank you". The phrase "Arrr, I'll probably kill you tomorrow" is an acceptable alternative for "Thank you".

67. Should the ship's bow have a carving of a naked wench, mermaid, or something of the like, crew members should not touch it. Feeling up a wooden statue is unbecoming of a pirate.

68. Pirates do not "IM". The only instant message allowed is a sword through the chest.

69. Dental Hygiene for Pirates is not a priority. Should there be occasion, however, strong rum or salt water can be used as mouthwash. Anything "minty fresh" is strictly forbidden.

70. Pirates never, ever obey laws. Period. Ironic, I realize.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

And Frankie makes three ...

Last Wednesday night, Steve worked late. When he got home, he presented me with a tiny scrap of cat flesh with the biggest blue eyes I'd ever seen. He was driving down the highway when a wee kitten dashed out onto the road in front of him, then dashed back into the ditch. He stopped and called to it, thinking it probably long gone, but the kitten ran to him as fast as his little legs could go. Being a bit of a softy, Steve knew he couldn't leave him and so brought him home.

Our original plan was to, 1) try to find owners or, that failing, 2) try to find him a good home. He was in rough shape. His spine and hip bones jutted up from his tiny back and you could count each rib easily. He had fleas and ear mites. He had a bare patch on his nose where all the hide has been scraped off in the past. He had three small cuts on his forehead that looked to be from teeth or claws. He was a pretty pathetic sight.

We took him in and fed him. Steve began looking for his owners the following day, despite having already stopped at the only three houses within a mile radius of where he was found to see if he belonged there. Meanwhile, I began the search for something he would eat. Dry cat food was too hard for him. I bought canned, of which he only at a little. I mixed the canned with milk and he mostly licked the milk off. By Saturday morning, he was getting even thinner and was starting to be lethargic.

A quick trip to the vet yielded treatments for worms and ear mites. I had already treated his fleas. She gave me an antibiotic to give him as his eyes were runny. She also suggested a milk-replacer rather than just cow's milk. I brought him home and blended the milk-replacer with the canned cat food and he attacked it as only the starving can. A mere 24-hours later he was energetic, bright-eyed and playing as a kitten should. It was at this point .... well, actually probably before this point ... that we all realized that we could never give him away. It seemed like he was put into Steve's path, knowing we would care for him and love him. If we're sitting on the couch, he'll crawl up into our laps and sit staring into our faces and purring contentedly. How can we look into the face of such trust and not give him a home?
And so .... we have a new cat. We already have two cats. We most certainly did not need another cat. But a new cat we now have.

The most surprising thing about his introduction to our home is that Sunny, Levi's big, orange cat, has actually taken to him. Sunny is the same cat that tortured our female cat for about two years until she learned to fight back. Sunny spent about two days hissing at Frankie. He now plays with him often and has even been observed grooming him. Sunny seems to agree that he belongs with us. Twilight still hisses at him, but she's grumpy. Even Ty, our dog, has taken his presence with at least patience, if not quite joy.

I used to believe that people who dumped animals should have a special place in Hell reserved for them, but I no longer believe that. I now believe they should go to Heaven. Yes, God should take them in, feed them, clothe them, give them a warm, safe place to live. For five or six weeks. Then he should take them out on a cold, rainy night and dump them in the country and leave them there wishing them luck. If some kind family comes along that wants to take them in, so be it. If not ... are those wolves I hear??

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Bye Bye

When your children are growing, there are any number of rites of passage that that mark the growing of your kids, not only in size but in maturity, independence, attitude, etc. Levi recently turned 15, got his driving permit and started high school. There’s two pretty darned big rites right there. But these rites are expected. When one has a child, you expect the first day of school, the first bicycle, the first sleep-over away from home without you, the first license, girlfriend, chin hair. But there are other rites that catch a Mom off guard. Things you don’t plan for, things you don’t see coming, but that are solid reminders nonetheless that your children are growing up. Many of these are little things, but that makes them have no less of an impact. As you may have guessed, one of these little things happened today … I gave away all our craft supplies.

When one has children, one is often called upon to help produce various projects from dioramas of an African veldt to models of cells to working volcanoes. There are 4-H fair entries and school projects and things they just want to do for fun. Over the years, I had built up an enormous cache of widely varied craft supplies. Moms never throw the left-overs from one project away as they know they will likely be able to use them on a future one. And this stockpile of ribbon, yarn, modeling clay, pipe cleaners, bits of wood, bits of stone, bits of everything imaginable has bailed us out on many last-minute ‘Oh Mom! I have to make a (fill in the blank) for school tomorrow!” emergencies.

But now it’s gone.

It hasn’t been used for years and I can’t see it being used in the future. Bye bye craft supplies. We’re into a new phase of life now.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

What's In a Name?

A fair lot, I would say. When Lane was born 16+ years ago a number of people, when told what his name was, asked how we spelled it? Laine? Layne? Laene? Um ... no. Just L.A.N.E. I'm not sure when the I-must-find-a-new-and-unique-name-for-my-child craze started but, apparently, it was before that. The old standards were no longer good enough and people started branching out trying to find original names for their babies. And, when all the original names appeared to be taken, they just started spelling them in new and 'interesting' ways. And, by spelling them in an interesting way I mean, of course, blatantly misspelling them. There is a belief among many that naming your baby something unique will make them unique. I am of the belief that the child either will or will not be unique on his/her own merits and not because of whatever handle their parents stuck them with at birth. But that's just me.

At last night's county 4-H sale, I found myself "reviewing" some of the names on the sale roster. Here are just a few that caught my attention:

Blaak - Is this Blake? Cause it sure reads as black.

Torrie - I bet she hates the Whigs

Cutter - Have you met his brother Emo? (Sadly, of 127 kids, this name was found twice)

McKenzie - Not unusual these days, but also on this roster of 127 were: Kenzie, Kenzi and Kenzee. I default to the 'original' spelling thing.

Anastasia - A pretty name, but really, who's not going to associate this with a Russian princess?

Arden - I just can't help but think Eve Arden when I read this.

Brooklene - Close to Manhatteen

Kaghe - We keep our parrot in a kaghe.

Mirriah - They call the wind .....

Cyruss - Middle name Billyrae

And, bless her ....
Jemimah - No explanation needed

You know, I have a very simple name and yet I still have to spell it for people. Do you think anyone, ever, will spell Kaghe right? Come on folks! Give these kids real names and let them be emotionally scarred by other things!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

Just checking in ...

(Before Stacy scolds me because it's been so long since I've blogged!!)

Nothing worth mentioning has happened lately. That's why I haven't been here. So, here's some randomosity ...

Driving to town one day recently, I saw a couple of Canada geese in the ditch, looking for all the world like they were intending to cross the road. I slowed down just in case they decided to hop out in front of me as critters so often do. When I got close, I saw that it was a mommy and daddy goose with their three little baby gooses. That was about the cutest thing I've seen in a long time. Awwwww.

Lane uses my bathroom on occasion, instead of using the guy bathroom. But it's only every now and then. For a while, I assumed it was because 'his' bathroom was taken. It wasn't. I finally asked him why because I could find no discernible pattern. I'm afraid I cannot tell you the reason because he would murder me if he found out I put it here. Suffice it to say that the reason was so damned funny that I laughed out loud, long and hard. And every time I think of it, it still brings a smile to my face.

My guys were sweet enough to buy 'me' a nice, flat-screen high-def TV for Mother's Day. Awwww. Sweet. And they were even thoughtful enough to put it in the room where I watch TV, not the one where the boys have all their game systems. Awwww. Want to guess how long it took the boys to move the xBox and hook it up to the new TV??? *grump*

Lane has said for a while that, once he's out on his own, he's just going to have cats, no dogs. We recently saw a comedian who said that a single men who owns a cat is either gay or an evil genius. It's not too hard to figure out which one Lane will be.

We've had lots of storms in the last few weeks. Lots of awesome lightening. I love lightening and will usually set a lawn chair in the end of the garage to watch it. It's been making me miss my Dad though. He loved storms.

I drove by a yard in town the other day that was COVERED with those gaudy pink flamingos. That's still going on?? It's long been a tradition in our town to occasionally flamingo someone's yard. The person who gets flamingoed holds on to them for a time and then places them in someone else's yard on the sly. I hadn't seen this happen for a while. It's nice to see that some traditions never die.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Chronicles of Narnia; Prince Caspian

Go see this movie. Go see it now! Seriously. It was awesome. After having seen, and loved, the first one, I didn't know quite what to expect from the second. The previews look good. But, then again, previews always do, don't they? I've seen too many movie series where the first one is spectacular and the following one falls spectacularly on its face. That was not the case here.
Caspian is every bit as beautiful in its visuals as the first. Lane worded it best when, upon leaving the movie, he asked, "Do you ever see movies like that and then find that you just hate our world?" Yes. Yes I do.
It's been long and long since I've read the books (although seeing this movie has made me want to get them out and read them again). So I cannot attest to how well it followed the book. I can only say that the movie was beautiful and highly entertaining. Often, after about an hour and a half in a theater, I'm starting to squirm. I'm not a good sitter. But I was surprised that this one ended so quickly after 2 hrs. and 24 minutes. Nary a squirm one.
Classic lines from this movie (which will make no sense until you see it but which you will probably love after you do) ...

*I* am an adult.

Can you see him now?
Go see Caspian. Tonight if you can.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

Do, or do not. There is no cry.

(Yeah, I know that's not Noirre, but I just had to use his image here.)

There are two kinds of people in this world ... those who Do, and those who sit back and bitch about what has been Done. Now, in all fairness, I do have to admit that there really are three kinds. There are the Do Nots who appreciate what the Does do. But they are a tiny fragment of the equation. And the Do Nots who actually tell the Does that they have done a good job and that they appreciate it is such a small percentage that I can't give you the number as my calculator doesn't have that many decimal places.

If you're a Do, you know it. If you're a Do Not, you also know it. However, if you are a Do Not, there are some rules that you should know about that, apparently, many of you do not. Whose rules? Mine, for now, but I plan to see if I can make them universal law.

Rule 1 - You may not utter any sentence to the Does that begins with any of the following: "Why didn't you ..." "Maybe you should ... " "I think you ought to ... "

Rule 2- In referring to any event which the Does planned and you, as Do Not, did not, you may not refer to it in terms of "we". "We" didn't do squat.

Rule 3 - You may not sniff, roll your eyes, huff, puff, stomp or otherwise show any physical form of discontent over what has been Done. Sit your ass down and smile.

Rule 4 - You may show your appreciation to the Does in any positive form including, but not limited to, smiles, hugs, verbal thanks, singing of praises and monetary gifts.

Honestly people, if you're not willing to do the work, you really, really need to just shut your mouth. If not, you may find yourself having the job the next time.

And, on another note, but completely unrelated to this post, I cannot wait until both my family reunion and my term of service as 4-H community leader are over.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

It Takes a Thief

Clearly, I will never have a career as a thief. How do I know this? Because I recently attempted something that I wasn't even sure was completely dishonest and nearly fainted doing it! Here's the deal .... Steve's birthday was last week. Steve is both very easy and very hard to buy for. Easy, because he's not particular and will appreciate anything you get him. Hard, because he's not "into" anything really so it's hard to come up with something that will WOW him. One of the few things, other than just crash, he does like to do on his off time is play blackjack. But he very rarely does this. I think there's a part of him that feels guilty for leaving his family to go to the casino even though none of us minds at all. After all, it's not like he's doing it every night and losing the grocery money, KWIM?

SO, the boys and I agreed that wrapping some chips from one of the local casinos and giving them to him for his birthday would be an awesome idea. That way he'd go, he'd play, he'd have fun, and he'd not feel guilty.

SO, off I goes to the casino to get the chips. Now, the day before I had discussed this plan with a friend. She agreed that it was a great idea! However, she warned me that they might not let you take the chips out of the casino. But if I just stick them in my pocket and walk out, they'll never know, right? Well, maybe they have sensors in them or something and an alarm will go off like at Wal Mart when they forget to deactivate that little strip. Hmmm.

So, not wanting to break any chip laws, my first stop at the casino was the cashier who I asked if I could take chips out of the casino or not. He informed me that he wasn't aware of any rules against it. But then he proceeded to suggest that I more or less 'hide' them when leaving. AND, should anyone stop me, he never told me that. Ah. Great. Like I wasn't a bit paranoid before.

Naturally, the only open table at the time - 9 a.m. - was the one with NO players sitting at it and the pit boss standing behind the dealer. Gulp. Luckily, when I walked up to the table the PB drifted away. Nice. Maybe he's not paying attention now. (Yeah, right. Like it's not his JOB to pay attention!) I asked the dealer for four $25 chips. She goggles and asks me, "TWENTY-FIVES???" Sheesh. Like that's high-rolling or something? Or maybe I just looked poor. Who knows? But she took my cash and then, to my horror, called over her shoulder to the PB, "CHANGING ONE HUNDRED." Thank you so much for calling attention to me, Miss Helpy. After getting my chips, I asked for and was directed to the rest room. Step one in sneaking out.

This is where the paranoia really began to creep in. I escaped into the restroom where, by this time, two cups of coffee and nerves dictated that this be a legitimate visit. Once inside the stall I heard someone else come in. Did they send someone to keep an eye on me? Gulp.

The chips now safely hidden away in my pocket, I exited the restroom and unobtrusively strolled around looking at the various slot machines as if just checking them out. Now, exactly how unobtrusive one can be when one appears to be the only patron in the entire casino at 9 a.m. on a weekday morning, I don't know. But I was trying to tell myself that I was. On one aisle, there were two casino employees seemingly just strolling along and looking things over as well. Two aisles over, here they came again. Shit. They really do have people following me!

I turned a corner and ran into Levi's two soccer coaches who work there. I stopped to visit with them thinking this might throw off my pursuers. Of course, then I immediately wondered what they thought about Levi's mom hanging around the casino at that time of the day, but there was nothing to be done for it.

At this point, I decided to make a break for it. I strolled purposefully toward the exit, neither looking left nor right, just acting for all the world like I was doing nothing wrong. Naturally, the table where the goggle-eyed dealer gave me the chips was the one RIGHT next to the exit. And now the PB is standing with her again. Watching me leave? Knowing I have chips on me? Calling security? I kept walking, expecting at every moment to hear "Ma'am! Please stop for a minute!" Of course, I never did. Sheesh. They're just stinking CHIPS for heaven's sake. Chips I paid for. But the very idea that one may be doing something wrong is a powerful paranoia inciter.

Obviously, I will never have a career as a criminal. If something as simple as smuggling casino chips sends me this far over the edge, committing an actual crime would probably cause me to just fall over dead at the scene. Case closed.

I am glad to report that Steve loved the gift and happily trotted off to the casino that evening and played to his little heart's content, so I guess it was all worth it. ...... Next year he's getting a tie.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

The Mist

Have you seen this movie?

Being a long-time Stephen King fan, I've wanted to see this movie since it first came out in theaters. There's the King factor, plus it just looked really good. Well, I finally saw it on Saturday. I kind of wish I'd noticed where, on the cover of the DVD, it said "One of the most shocking movie endings ever". Maybe that would have prevented me from seeing it. But probably not. First, I'll just say that the movie was pretty good. It seems like with movies made from King's stories, they're either great or awful. This was more toward the great end of the spectrum, although not quite there in my opinion. I reserve great for The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption. Still, it was pretty good.

Until the end. Nothing like having a movie kick you square in the balls. And that's what this one did. It was incredibly disturbing. Three days later and I'm still thinking about it. I was so unprepared for it. I won't say what 'it' was ... I'll just warn you to pull up your protective emotional blankie before watching it. And, if you do, let me know what you think.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

Random Thoughts

Man, I'm full of it today. [Do not insert comment here.]
Here we go ....

To be added to the list of things that I don't get - celebrity gossip. I mean, who cares? Why does anyone really want to know who's doing whom, who's gay, who's drying out, etc.? I saw a clip from a South Park episode where Barrack Obama - you know, the potential leader of our entire nation - was being interviewed and a NEWS FLASH broke in about yet another Britney Spears antic. I found it hard to see this as funny because there are so many people obsessed with celebs that I could almost see this actually happening. This clip was shown on the Today Show. It was shown in conjunction with another clip of Britney's cameo on some sitcom or other (I wasn't paying particularly close attention.) And then they announced that if that cameo "... didn't fulfil your Britney fix, you can bid on the outfit she wore for that cameo!" Um, who wants that? Seriously. Please tell me. And this is just the tip of the celebrity gossip iceberg. Speaking for myself, I do NOT want to know anything about actors other than how they perform in whatever movie I happen to be watching at the time. What I find even sadder is that this type of information is often passed along in the form of "news". Someone, somewhere, needs to look up the definition of news.

On the same Today Show, some expert or other (did I mention that I was only paying partial attention?) stated that we've become a society of germophobes and it's actually making us sicker. YES! They confirmed my long-held belief that my shortcomings as a housekeeper are actually building up my family's immunity and, therefore, keeping them healthier in the long run. We NEED to be exposed to a certain amount of germs in order for our bodies to build up that immunity to them. Smug.

I really, really, seriously, deeply hate my insurance company. Wouldn't it be nice (and, in their case, novel) if you could get the correct, complete answer the first time you called? And not get a different answer each time? Wow. Imagine.

Why is it that this sporadic back pain I've had for the last few years has always gone away within a few days when left to its own devices and yet, when I finally seek chiropractic help to stop it from recurring, it has now hurt continuously for a week and a half? I know he'll make me better in the long run. It's just waiting for the long run that hurts.
I still can't believe that I'm on Myspace with all my teenaged WoW friends. Honestly, I'm way too old to even be there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

Chosen by a Cat

My friend gave me a book to read called Chosen by a Horse by Susan Richards (and, honestly, I'm still not sure I've forgiven her for that!) In the book, the main character receives a rescued horse to care for. She watches as this mare goes from a sad, skinny, mistreated animal to a healthy, glorious, beautiful creature under her care. Many things about this book reminded me of our Sunny. Or, more accurately, Levi's Sunny.

Levi had wanted a cat of his own for quite some time. Last year I told him he could have one for his birthday. About two weeks before the day we headed to the Humane Society to choose one. There were several kittens and young cats available. They have a little room where you can take the potential pets and spend some time with them to try to get to know them a little. After playing with a number of kitties, Levi chose the one who was to become Sunny. Honestly, I was angling for the little orange and white one who was beautifully marked, a few months old and looked sleek and healthy. My second choice was the year-old grey tabby female who displayed a very sweet personality. But it was Levi's choice. He picked the skinny, runty-looking little orange male with the attitude. Oh well.

We had hit Wal Mart for a wide variety of feline supplies, including a brand-new carrier, on the way to the Humane Society so were all ready to bring his new friend home. Levi was immediately in love. Sunny, not so much. Oh he was affectionate and playful, but he also displayed so many of those typical cat characteristics including accepting affection when HE decided he wanted it.

He was kind of a sad-looking little thing. He was so starved that his skin just draped loosely over his tiny, little hipbones. His head seemed over-sized compared to his skeletal figure so that he kind of resembled one of those creepy bobble-head thingies. But Levi didn't care. He thought he was beautiful. He named him Sunny, more in honor of his color than his personality.

And then Sunny got sick. Two days after bringing him home, he developed a cough. I understand that 'kennel cough' is not unusual for rescue pets like this. However, his breathing became very labored and he grew lethargic. I immediately took him to the vet and pumped a fairish sum of cash into him. He was quite an ill little kitty. One night not long after that, Steve and I were discussing how to handle it when Levi's birthday gift died on him. That's how bad he seemed. But, he was tougher than he looked and he rode it out, beat the bug and grew into a fat, healthy, beautiful cat.

Being a cat, he doesn't display the attitude of gratitude that the horse in the book did. Or maybe he does in his own way. Levi takes Sunny into his room and night and closes the door so that he stays there. Given a chance, Sunny will escape. And yet on those nights when Levi doesn't lock him in, Sunny can often be found sleeping next to Levi on the bed. Apparently if it's HIS choice, it's OK. He is, as far as he's concerned, the alpha male. Almost from the moment he entered the house he began trying to assert his dominance over the other two pets. The dog doesn't fall for it. The other cat did. He strolls about the house with the air of an aristocrat who has graced us with his presence. We often call him The Young Prince. Well, when we're calling him something polite that is. He won't voluntarily come sit in your lap, but he will at times deign to sit on the back of the couch behind you and slap you repeatedly in the back of the head with his tail. We've chosen to take this as a sign of affection. He's aloof, demanding and arrogant. But he does occasionally wrap his tail around your leg briefly as he walks past you and I think that might mean he likes us. He has free run of the house, his own jar of treats, gets the toilet flushed just for him when he's hanging over the rim wanting to watch the water swirl and more affection than he really wants. You'd think he'd be grateful. But he's not. He's a cat.

After paying the last of the vet bills, those on top of all the supplies and the adoption fee, I told Levi that his birthday gift ended up costing far more than we ever spend on each other. He agreed that was true, but also pointed out that Sunny actually ended up being a gift for the whole family.

And, really, he's right.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

[SS Blog Challenge - Your most embarrassing moment]

I can be a bit of a smart-arse. I sometimes make rude smart-arsed comments. Sometimes even crude. And they never embarrass me. At least ... not when I do it on purpose.

Last year my high school volleyball coach called and wanted me to be his assistant coach. I really didn't think I could commit that much time with my own boys being so busy, but I thought I'd talk to him about it anyway. Upon entering the gym, I noticed the ball cart. This is a wheeled cart that holds about 30 volleyballs for practice. Back 'in the day' when I played, volleyball had a pretty small budget compared to other sports. We had a few nice, new balls for games, but our practice balls were crap. Old, brittle, brown with age. The first thing I noticed about most of the balls in the practice cart were that same agedness. I picked one up and carried it into Coach's office with me where I held it aloft and asked him, "Do you still have the same balls you had when I played for you?"

Without missing a beat he looked me straight in the eye and said, "Yes, I do."


Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mrs. Hughes Skewed Views

Cheery Bunny from Scrap Share shared this video of her MOM performing her comedy. Her mom! How awesome is that? I loved her so had to share this clip.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

Hubby Done Good

Steve has been selected to be the Chamber of Commerce President for Blackwell for the coming year. He's very proud. I'm very proud of him. This, of course, will mean more work for him. Like he needed that. Still, it's an honor, and a good move for him being a bit of an 'outsider' in the community. He worried a bit that I would be upset when his exta responsibilities take him away from home more evenings this year. How can I tell him that I consider those bonus nights? Nights when I can get away with just making chicken nuggets and mac 'n' cheese for dinner. This is certainly no hardship on me.

Here's an excerpt from the article the paper carried:

Developing a sense of family within Blackwell is the goal for incoming Chamber president Steven Russell.“I believe in Blackwell,” he said the week prior to assuming his new office.“This is truly a community of family. We are blessed with multiple families here. We have our home family, our work family and the community family.”

I wanted to add the entire article but discovered that the Blackwell Journal-Tribune requires a paid subscription to do so. Note to self: Send an email to the BJ-T editor letting them know that NO one from out of the area is going to pay to subscribe to this paper online. And those in the area can just pick it up at the gas station. Sheesh.

Friday, February 15, 2008


I need to get a t-shirt that says this. On reading the Scrap Share board, Kellisue posted about a very unmotivated teenager. I could SO relate (x2). But the best thing to come out of the thread, for me, were these words by the ever-wise Diana in MD:

Teenagers ...
Taller toddlers
with bigger words.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

The Cave

I'm not sure if I should call it the bear cave, the bat cave or just the man cave. Any one of those would apply. But a cave it as certainly turned out to be. See, we used to have this nice family room. We gained it when we added on to our house nearly five years ago. It was a lovely room for a time. We installed surround-sound and I decorated it with a fun movie theme. It belonged to all of us. For a while.

Then, slowly, the men took over. Steve started going there when he wanted some alone time. He closes the doors (a clear signal) and hibernates in front of the TV. But the real overthrow came when Lane discovered that he could hook their game system into the surround sound. Hey, who wouldn't want the sounds of things exploding coming at you from all directions?

In the last three days I have had a succession of eight different teen-aged boys through there. When the boys have friends over, that is their domain. And, admittedly, it's nice for me to have a place to send them, out of my way. But can you imagine the look and, more importantly, the smell of that room after having that many guys in there for the weekend? Teen boy funk. Ah, there's nothing like it. That's why I'm thinking I should call it the bat cave. Not because of that cool masked hero. No. Because of the odor of guano that permeates it. Seriously, there is not enough Febreeze in seven Wal Marts to freshen it.

I wonder if I could talk Steve into adding on again? This time, we could build a girl room. Hmmm.....

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Tiptoe Through the Tulips

Does anyone else get seriously tired of having to tiptoe around certain people? Do you have those people in your life that you have to pussy-foot around? You know the ones that are always on the edge of their seat ready to leap at you for the slightest (inevitably imagined) insult or slight? If not, thank your lucky freaking stars! I have a few too many of them in my life. If you know me, you know who they are. I know I should stop indulging them, be blunt and just not play their game. But then I have to suffer the repercussions. It's a catch-22.


Maybe I should just buy some of those toe shoes ballerinas wear to make this balancing act easier?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

My kingdom for a king!

I'll make a confession. Steve and I really do not make good bedfellows. We really should not sleep together. And, by "sleep", I mean sleep. Our sleep styles are just waaaaay too different. For starters, he goes to bed around 9 p.m. and I go to bed around 1 a.m. Normally, this is no problem. 1) If he needs sleep, he normally doesn't wake up when I come to bed. 2) If he needs something else, he normally does. (Side note: How does he do that? It's a secret man-gift, I tell you!) Then there's the fact that he's a flopper. I am not. It takes me a good while to get to sleep some nights with him tossing about on his side of the bed. Not to mention that these sleep gyrations mess the covers up. Bedtime is one of those times when my OCD comes into play. I must have the covers centered on me and the sheets firmly tucked in at the foot of the bed or it bugs the everloving crap out of me. By the time I get to bed, he often has the covers all messy. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to re-make a bed with someone sleeping in it without waking them? Quite. And then there's the snoring. He doesn't always snore. But when he does it's a touchy proposition getting him to stop. If I wake him, he gets very grumpy. It's an extremely delicate operation poking someone juuuust enough to make them roll over, but not so much as to wake them.

I have suggested twin beds. Hey, Lucy and Desi had them! The very idea of this offends him greatly. Another solution would be a king-sized bed which would at least make for a larger playing field and maybe I could keep 'my' side of the bed tidier. The perfect solution? Separate bedrooms. Hey, no one says we can't visit each other once in a while. But this would alleviate all of our nocturnal troubles. Now .... which kid can I make sleep on the couch?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Tuesdays With Noirrie

Well, that was exhausting!

This past weekend was String Fling at Kansas State U. This is the middle school orchestra workshop weekend. It's loads of fun and such a good experience for the kids. But it is also thoroughly exhausting.

Our day began on Saturday with waking at 3:45 a.m. Now, if you know me, you know I'm not a morning girl. And I'm certainly not a butt-crack-of-dawn-early morning girl. The caravan left the school at 4:50 (late, because, as always, we had to wait for the late-comers). The day was pretty much: drive, potty break, drive, breakfast, drop kids for rehearsals, pick kids up for lunch, drop kids for more rehearsals, pick kids up and check into hotel, take kids to mall for dinner and shopping, take kids back to hotel for play time, lock them in their rooms at 10 p.m. Honestly, the day wasn't hard for the sponsors, just ... long. Then again, any day spent with 11 middle schoolers is ... long.

Sunday began at a not-quite-as-butt-crack-but-still-too-early 6 a.m. More rehearsals, concerts by the kids showing off their newly learned songs, lunch, drive, potty break, drive, home at 4 p.m. I got home, unloaded my stuff, and headed straight for a nap. I am WAY too old for this kind of thing.

But, as much as I seem to be whining, the end of this trip was a bit bittersweet for me. This is quite likely my last-ever school trip. There just aren't these kinds of things in high school where both boys will be next year. I have been going on field and various other trips with the boys for 13 years now beginning those little excursions to the pumpkin patch and the nature center when Lane was in preschool. And now it is most likely over.

I'll admit, I'm a little sad about that.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Tuesdays with Noirrie

I believe ...

... that Andrew Lloyd Webber is a musical genius.

... so is the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

... Gerard Butler is the sexiest man alive.

... that God gave me kids to carry things for me.

... that He made Lane extra tall to get things off high shelves and decorate the top of the Christmas tree for me.

... cats are weird.

... that I'm going to knock my dog in the head soon as she's been barking a very low, quiet bark for about 30 minutes solid now.

... that, despite my efforts to resist, Family Guy and Futurama are actually pretty funny.

... that almond M&Ms are the absolute best candy on the planet.

... there's something completely adorable about elderly couples holding hands.

... that my dog should not lay under my computer desk and fart.

... that needs to update their WoW t-shirts.

... that, if a website has a "remember me" option, it should damned well remember me!

... that people who don't give you the little wave when you let them into heavy traffic should have to go to the back of the line.

... that people who let their dogs poop in your yard should have their noses rubbed in it. The owners, not the dogs.

... that blogger shouldn't screw up the formatting of your post every stinking time you add a picture. And often not let you fix it.

... that I think way too much about stupid stuff.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

I've created a monster!

Remember my plans to become an old hippie one day? And remember that Lane actually thinks that's a good idea? He emailed the following photo to me from school yesterday saying, "Wouldn't it be awesome if this was our family?" Should I worry?

On the other hand, yeah, it would be kind of cool if this was our family.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Tuesday's With Noirrie

Happy New Year

And so begins another year. A new one. A fresh one. Time to make changes? Naw, not for me. I'm not a big believer in new year's resolutions. Why? Not because I don't need to make any changes, believe me. Mostly because I never keep them. And because I think if you decide to make a change in your life, you should just do it. Now. Don't wait for a particular date.

I do, on the first annually, wonder what this new year will bring. I confess I'm a bit worried because my dryer quite working the day before Christmas. You know how those things tend to run in threes? I've been angling for a new computer. After getting a new dryer, I'm guessing the next new item will be something equally less fun.

What else will this year bring? I hesitate to even guess, but yet I always do. But, this year as every year, I guess I have no choice but to wait and be surprised.

May YOUR year be a wonderful one.