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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

How Can This Be?

I just don't understand...

Why do people behave this way? Was their childhood so traumatized that their compassion has been eradicated? Are they missing a portion of their brain that controls their emotions and feelings?

How can someone be so cruel?

This unspeakable cruelty happened just down the road from the magical fairy rings...the place we go for a spiritual can this darkness, this evil reside by this magic, this beauty?

Another Pressie....

Look what came in the mail yesterday....another gift from my friend Jan. This is a very special gift...a gift from her garden.
A wonderful bag full of hollyhock of my favorite flowers!!
She even included planting instructions. You are so sweet Jan.....thank you so much. I can't wait to plant them and next year I will be sure to post pictures of my blooming hollyhocks!!

I am still reading Fun Monday is taking me a while because they are all so wonderful. If I haven't visited you yet, don't worry...I will get there!!

Have a wonderful day!!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fun Monday

Our wonderful hostess this week is Mommy Wizdom....and here is her assignment:

The assignment: If you were ruler of the world for a day/week/month/year (your choice on the time), you would...

I would not want to be in charge of the world....but I would like to change a few things. I can't understand why a woman would pay thousands of dollars for a purse while another woman can't afford to make her family a decent meal. I would definitely change that. I also can't understand the fascination with celebrities, especially "celebrities" that don't have any talent. I would change that also.

In my perfect world our educational system would have unlimited funds and our politicians would earn just enough to support a modest lifestyle. Emphasis would be placed on educating our youth and cleaning up our planet. The defense budget would be small compared to the public school budget and the environmental protection budget.

Prison would be a place of punishment, not an easy lifestyle. Convicted child molesters would be castrated, without the benefit of anesthesia. A convicted murderer would get the death penalty immediately after being convicted. Death row inmates will not live on death row for 20 years.

Puppy mills will be non existent. Only reputable breeders will be allowed to stay in business. There would be stringent laws in place to keep the breed lines healthy. Emphasis will be placed on rescue and all pets will be neutered. Only breeding dogs will be allowed to remain intact. These rules also apply to cats.

Parents who are convicted on child abuse or neglect will be sterilized. They will have to undergo vigorous therapy and parenting classes. As part of their rehabilitation they will have to do volunteer work at a local children's hospital.

Children would be taught respect for themselves, for others, and for their environment. The entitlement society that we live in will disappear. Our youth will be taught the value of an honest day's work and an earned paycheck. They will learn to take responsibility for their actions and suffer consequences, and learn lessons. Manners and etiquette will be taught and valued.

That is my head on over to Mommy Wizdom's place to visit other's utopias.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Teaching a Young Dog New Tricks

We taught Baron a new trick this week....take a peek...

Did you see that? Here it is again...

This is by far the best trick any of our dogs has ever done. Our first dog, Koni, used to balance a treat on her nose and then flip it in the air and catch it. That was pretty awesome. But, I do think Baron diving to the bottom of the pool is more impressive. The pool is about 5 to 6 feet deep where he is diving. He is diving for his soccer ball. He has torn a hole in and we fill with water so it will sink. We started out with it on the second step, and then the third, and then the bottom of the pool. We slowly went deeper and deeper. It didn't take long and we had a blast teaching him!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

A Moment in Time, Never to be Forgotten

Today was a day that I will never forget. It was an ordinary day with an extraordinary experience. An experience that gave me a spring in my step and I held my head up a bit higher today.

It started out like any other summer weekday. I took Cassie and her friend to their summer theater camp and Michael and I did a few errands. We went to his eye doctor appointment. He has a new prescription which was not a surprise, every year his prescription changes. He is also growing out of his jeans quite regularly. Just last month all his jeans fit him and now they are 3 inches too short. It is really too bad that capris are not fashionable for boys since the pants still fit perfectly in the waist. Our next stop was the purchase of 2 pairs of jeans. Hopefully they will last until Halloween.

We had some time to kill before picking up the girls at noon so we went to the local bakery for a snack.....yum!!! After getting the girls, who were STARVING....I just love this teen drama. They are never just hungry...they are hungry. Wisely I chose lunch for our next stop. I didn't want the deaths of 2 - 13 year old girls on my conscious.

After lunch we went to one of my favorite stores - a home store - in order to get a gift. Since I had gift cards...I love gift cards...I decided to purchase new throw pillows for our couches. Our pillows had been eaten by the brown hairy four legged creature that shares our home with us. Since we are having a huge party/wedding reception/family reunion at our house in 10 days, I am trying to spruce the place up a bit.

Like I said earlier....just an ordinary is where the extraordinary aspect occurs....

I was choosing throw pillows...picking out colors, fabrics, patterns, etc. I also wanted to choose a pillow based on I did what I am sure everyone does when choosing a pillow. I hit my son over the head with the pillow. Of course he thought it was did the girls. After I chose which pillows would work best in our house, my daughter's friend casually said to me - "You are an awesome Mom Alison."

"You are an awesome Mom." Wow, I almost cried...what a compliment coming from a 13 year old girl. At an age when they are embarrassed being in public with their parents or any adult, to laugh in a store with an adult who is like another mother to her and give her the utmost compliment.

My daughter heard her say it and she replied, "You are right, she is an awesome Mom."

I think my smile lit up the store. I was so proud. These girls have the confidence in themselves to giggle and have fun with me in the store, and then bestow upon me a compliment that made my spirits soar.

I felt like an awesome Mom today. I will not forget this ordinary day with an extraordinary twist.

Ad Free.....kind of like Born Free

Did you notice anything missing on the sidebar over there? I took off the ads a few weeks ago...I am now ad free. When I started blogging I thought this would be a fun way to make some extra money. It seemed simple enough and some women were getting pretty wealthy from blogging. I thought if they could do could I!!

As time went on I noticed a change in my blogging habits. If a blog was full of ads, I tended not to read it. If a blogger wrote a paid post, I tended not to read it and usually would not visit said blogs again. I realized that I was being a hypocrite because I had ads on my site. The ads had to go, and I don't miss them, not one bit.

I have found a community of friends through this blog. I write from my heart, sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's poignant, sometimes it's sad. My friends leave me comments and that is the best payment I have found. The monetary payments from ads meant nothing, the comments from friends mean the world to me.

I have never been a person to idolize a celebrity. Their lives mean nothing to me. I can't justify idolizing a blogger who is making their living blogging. I am happy for them, mind you. I think it is wonderful they have turned what they love doing into a profitable business, but I cannot idolize them. I do have respect for my friends. I respect the bloggers who write candidly about their struggles being a mom. I respect the bloggers who make me laugh, who take a mundane daily experience and turn it into a comedy routine. These are the bloggers I would love to have a cup of coffee with, have an IRL conversation with.

These are the blogs who have maintained their sense of innocence and honesty. They write what they feel, not what the masses dictate. These are the blogs I visit regularly and they are the ones who visit me and leave me comments. They are my friends.....and yes....bloggy buddies are real friends!!

Monday, July 21, 2008

And the Award Goes To......

I guess I am an official blogger now....I have created my own award!!! It is lovingly called the "Share the Magic Award". It is for sharing your magic in the world of blogging. I have met some incredible people since I have started blogging. I think of you as my friends and liken you a pen pal. I have met bloggers from all over the world, from as far away as Australia to as close as a nearby city. Although I have not met any of you IRL, I feel like I know you. We share our lives, our hopes, our dreams, and our most embarrassing moments. I don't know how I stumbled upon my first blog, or why I got the notion to start one of my own. I have unleashed a passion for writing that I never knew I had. Because of the encouragement you give me with your comments, I am nurturing this passion, and loving every minute of it. That is the Magic of Blogging.....and for that reason I am bestowing this award to my wonderful friends in the blogging world.

Swampy - she makes me laugh, her sense of humor is incredible, she was/is a school teacher (a modern day superhero), she always has a kind or funny comment for me

Karisma - my friend from Down Under, she loves fairies like I do, it is a good thing we don't live closer to each other as I am sure we would always get into trouble, she is kind and sensitive soul and it shows through her writings

Lisa - she makes me want to move to Wisconsin because of her photography, her photos are amazing, I often stare at her blog with my mouth open in amazement, she graduated high school the same year as I did, but she is already a Grandma!!

Stella - she writes candidly about her trials and tribulations in raising 2 toddlers, I love her honesty, her comments to me are always kind and loving

ChrisB - a kinder woman you will never meet, right now she is posting incredible photos from her vacation in Portugal, she is always upbeat and positive, kind and loving.

Chrys - she is also a kind, loving and sensitive woman, she has 4 gorgeous children that she is very proud of, her photography talents are incredible and she regularly sends me wonderful comments.

Irene - she is the writer I aspire to be, she has published a poetry book and is currently working on a novel, she regularly posts poetry on her site and recommends books and movies, her taste is like mine and I have not been disappointed yet!!

Becky - she is another adoptive mom and she also writes honestly about being a parent, the ups and the downs. She just recently wrote her daughter's adoption is wonderful writing.

WT - although he does not "do" awards, I just can't leave him out. His was one of the first blogs I found and he was very helpful to me in the beginning. He patiently gave me helpful hints and would answer all my questions.

Debbie - what can I say about her?? Her daughters are gorgeous, she is gorgeous...a softer, gentler woman you will not find, her words of encouragement are heartfelt, she has a soul of angel and a heart of gold.

Karen in SC - she is my anonymous poster and does not have a blog, but I need to mention her. She is my son's birth great aunt (see sidebar for his adoption story). Karen is a wonderful, kind, loving, patient, beautiful woman. We had the pleasure of meeting her when Michael was born and instantly fell in love. She is a regular reader of my blog and comments all the time, and will even email me if a post so moves her. Her words are always kind and loving and they always come at just the right time.

The Righteous Buzz - she is one of my original bloggy buddies and went through a huge change in her life a few months ago and stopped blogging. She is now back and is candidly honest with her struggles, I have the utmost respect for her.

Beth - I am secretly envious of her life, she lives on a farm and rides horses all day, well she may also muck stalls, but still, her life sounds heavenly to me!! She regularly posts about her daily life and her barrel racing adventures.

Angela - she is another one of my original bloggy buddies. She shares her life with her wonderful four legged friends and she is very active in rescue, I have much respect for animal rescue individuals.

Cyndy - she also does animal rescue and is a true animal lover. She also loves camping and goes almost every weekend!! She is a wonderful mom and is in the process of transforming her physical self, I am very proud of her!!

HolleeAnn - she is another great mom who has devoted herself to her daughter, she inspires me to be a better mom to my daughter. She regularly posts about her daily life, her blog is always entertaining and uplifting.

Jennifer - she is my twin separated at birth and a few states. She is another one that would routinely get me in trouble if we lived closer. We are both girl scout leaders and have daughters the same age. I am a retired soccer mom...she is an active soccer mom. Her post are hysterical, her writing is wonderful. If you need a good laugh, read one of her diatribes, you will not be disappointed. You need to learn how to put this on your blog, woman!!!

Nikki - her writing is also hysterical and always leaves me with a smile on my face. Her sense of humor and her honesty keep me coming back to her blog. She is very candid, and I like that in a person.

Jan - her photography is also incredible and her garden is gorgeous. She is a very supportive and kind person and is also very generous. She is having numerous give aways on her blog this month!!

Kim - she is another modern day super hero (teacher), I wish all teachers were like her. She is very honest and candid, she loves her dogs and she loves her students. If you are looking for a good summer read, check out the book reviews she has posted this summer.

Heather - she is another kind soul and an incredible mom. She is also a great cook and regularly posts wonderful recipes and pictures of her creations...don't visit her if you are hungry!!

Tera - she is a very honest and candid person and an excellant mother. She writes honestly about her struggles raising her boys, one of whom is autistic. She is an American living in Europe and I gain much insight from her writings.

Melissa - she in another one of my original bloggy buddies. She also left the bloggy world temporarily and now is back, albeit incognito so I am not linking to her site. She is funny and candid and witty and I would love to have coffee with her someday.

Take this award and proudly display it on your blog. You have shared the magic of your life with me, and the magic of the world of blogging. No rules attached to this award. Share it if you want. Definitely enjoy it!!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Fun Monday

Our wonderful hostess this week is Irish Coffeehouse and here is her assignment:

Careers- Then and Now

THEN: As a child day dreaming of what your future would hold for you, what did you want to be when you grew up? Did you ever pursue or achieve it?

NOW: If you could be trained and placed in any career beginning tomorrow, what would it be?

This is going to be a fun assignment, I can't wait to read everyone's....

As a child I wanted to be a veterinarian, what little girl doesn't? I also had dreams of being an archaeologist or an anthropologist. I am still very interested in different cultures, both ancient and modern day.

Now, I am very happy with my life and I feel so blessed that I can say that. I work part time as a Dental Hygienist and full time as a wife and mother. I feel that I have the best of both worlds....I get to visit with adults all day, albeit one way conversations, and I am home with my children the majority of the week. A regular paycheck, mom time, and adult time!!

With that being said...I thought about this assignment all week. What would I do, if I could do anything? I love learning and going to school, I could that full time. I also love gardening and would love to do landscape design. I also love party/event planning. We are having a wedding reception at our house in two weeks for our cousin and I am thoroughly enjoying the planning process. I have also planned and implemented incredible parties for my children. I really enjoy it.

So there you have careers past, present, and future.....Now head on over to the Irish Coffeehouse and have a cup of joe and a pastry and read all the other careers.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Butt Paste

This was one of my birthday presents on my 40th birthday, as mentioned in this post. I don't think it is a typical or usual birthday present for a newly christened 40 year old, but I could be mistaken. When I think of typical, mature birthday gifts other items usually come to mind, like Depends, Geritol, Viagra, Urine incontinence pills, anti aging creams....but not Butt Paste. Obviously there is a story behind this gift, so lovingly given to me by my husband.

As you know by now, we spend my birthday in the forest every year, camping. This particular year before we left for said camping trip, we were in our local Discount Superstore purchasing essential items for our trip. As we were trekking through the store with our cart fully loaded, we ended up in the baby department. I have absolutely no idea why since our youngest was 6 years old at the time and was fully potty trained by then, thank God!! As we were fumbling around trying to see over our fully loaded cart to exit the baby department, I spotted Butt Paste on the shelf. I had never seen it before and I fell into a spastic fit of laughter. I picked up the box and said to my husband, in between snorting with laughter, "Here honey, just what you need - some Butt Paste". Unbeknownst to me, we were surrounded by other patrons and I have never been known to be discreet, i.e. quiet. All the ladies around us began chuckling to themselves and I was in a full fit of laughter, accompanied with snorts.

My husband....I don't think he found the humor in the situation that I did. Our children, on the other hand, were very amused, especially our 6 year old son. Of course, to a boy, anything that has to do with butts is extremely funny. Consequently, the remainder of our shopping trip in the Discount Superstore was interrupted with fits of laughter whenever one of us mentioned Butt Paste.

We eventually finished our shopping and went home to pack. As is typical in our house, we forgot to purchase an essential item for our trip. Dave took the kids to purchase this item so I could stay home and finish packing. Apparently they thought it would be hysterical to also purchase the Butt Paste for me for my birthday. Surprisingly enough, they kept their secret, even our son, who never keeps secrets!! I had no idea until the morning of my birthday when I opened presents. I am sure my hoot of laughter woke the entire campground.

That box of Butt Paste now resides in our medicine cabinet....I cannot throw it away. Everytime I look at it, I laugh.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Mailbox Surprise

The other day Cassie collected the mail and found a present from my good friend Jan. Notice that Cassie's name is on the envelope. She was so excited to see her name on the envelope she almost ripped it open before I could take a picture of it!!! Whoa Nelly, slow down a bit. If anyone wants to make Cassie's day, send her some mail!!

I was able to pry it out of Cassie's hands and take a quick picture before she grabbed it back and ripped it open. Inside we found a nice note from Jan and not one, but two packages of mismatched socks. When I entered her contest I mentioned that my daughter always wears mismatched socks. I think it must be a new fashion trend, or maybe she is starting a new fashion trend, or maybe her room is such a disaster area that she cannot find a pair of matched socks. I think the last one is probably the closest to the truth!! Anyways.....Jan must have remembered my comment and she lovingly remembered to include Cassie. Isn't she sweet?

Look how happy you made her Jan!!! I just love her huge, sweet smile! Thank you!

Amazingly enough....both packages of mismatched socks have gone into the black hole that is Cassie's room....wasn't one of the packages supposed to be for me?

Thanks again Jan....we Cassie loves them!!

Monday, July 14, 2008

Fun Monday

Our wonderful Hostess this week is Penny, who has her pants on fire. Her assignment is the following:

Let's hear about your favorite “Birthday”, it needn’t be your actual birthday just a "birthday" celebration. You can use one you planned, one you attended, one you crashed, just a fun time for this FUN MONDAY

As most of you know, for the past several years I have spent my birthday in the forest. These have been my best birthdays celebrations. I will wake to the birds chirping in the trees and the wonderful scent of the forest. My husband will have the coffee boiling and pancakes cooking on the griddle. After breakfast I will open my cards and gifts. My cards are always handmade by my children. My gifts are usually gag gifts.

There is a story behind the Butt Paste, I will save it for its own post!
After breakfast we usually go on a hike. Sometimes we run into town and purchase a birthday cake, sometimes we don't. All in all, it is a wonderful day spent with my family.
Head on over to Penny's to hear about everyone else's birthday celebrations!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

No Dogs Allowed, or are they?

No Dogs Allowed
Except Seeing Eye Dogs
or Service Dogs

These signs are posted on restaurants, stores, most places of business. They are posted so prevalently that most people don't even see them anymore. Yesterday I walked into my local grocery store and passed this sign hanging on the front door. I immediately spotted a woman holding a dog in her arms. The dog was a cute little Shitzu type dog, but, he was still a dog. I spotted an employee and made the comment to her - "Have you changed your policy and are allowing dogs in the store now?" She looked at me and looked at the woman and said to me - "Oh it is okay, she is holding the dog in her arms." I was incredulous......and that is when my diatribe started.

I suggested to her that maybe she should change the sign on the door to say "except for service dogs and dogs in arms and dogs in purses". Her response - "would you like to speak to our manager?" Oh yes, please.

Let me clarify my position here. I am a dog lover and dog proponent. I love dogs of all shapes and sizes. I have always had at least one dog, usually more as a pet. Our dogs are part of our family, they live in our home, and are treated with love and respect. A dog is a living creature, not an accessory. I don't wear my dogs as a necklace or bracelet. I don't carry my dog in my purse. I don't take my dog into establishments where they are not allowed, especially a grocery store or a restaurant. I do take my dog to dog parks and daily walks. I do clean up his messes in public. My dog is current on vaccinations, he is neutered and licensed. I am a responsible pet owner and a responsible citizen. I follow the rules.

The store manager was summoned, and unfortunately by this time the woman with the dog had left the store. I calmly told him my concerns. I asked him what he would do if I brought my dog, who weighs 100 pounds, into the store. I would be asked to leave, he told me. Why would I be asked to leave but the under 10 pound dog accessory was not? A dog is a dog. They all poop and pee, some are just bigger than others. When I stated it that way, he paused for thought. He agreed with me. I also stated that the store was in violation of the health code when dogs are allowed to enter. He agreed again and he will institute a policy for the employees.

I did my shopping, but my mind kept churning over this matter. When did our society start changing? Why do people blatantly ignore posted signs and feel they are above the rules or laws? This is anarchy at its finest. When small, seemingly insignificant rules are ignored it is only a matter of time when larger and more significant rules are broken. I could not help but ponder these thoughts. Our society is becoming a selfish, self serving society. A people who think it is OK to make their own rules, or only follow the ones that are convenient to them. I am frightened for my children and grandchildren.

While I cannot change society's thinking, I can teach my children to be respectful and responsible members of society. I know there are other parents like me in this world. My only hope is that our children will be our leaders when they are adults.....and I am sure they will not wear their dogs as accessories while grocery shopping.

Friday Funny

Disclaimer: I did not write this, but I loved it and had to share.

If you are 30 or older you will think this is hilarious!!!!

When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tearswith their tedious diatribes about how hard things were when they were growing up; what with walkingtwenty-five miles to school every morning ... uphill BOTH ways yadda, yadda, yadda And I remember promising myself that when I grew up,there was no way in hell I was going to laya bunch of crap like that on kids about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it!

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty,I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today.You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in a damn Utopia!
And I hate to say it but you kids today you don't know how good you've got it! I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have The Internet. If we wanted to know something,we had to go to the damn library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog!!

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter ...with a pen!
Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox and it would take like a week to get there! There were no MP3's or Napsters! You wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the damn record store and shoplift it yourself!

Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio and the DJ'd usually talk over the beginning and @#*% it all up! We didn't have fancy crap like Call Waiting! If you were on the phone and somebody else called they got a busy signal, that's it! And we didn't have fancy Caller ID Boxes either! When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was! It could be your school, your mom, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, a collections agent, you just didn't know!!! You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister!

We didn't have any fancy Sony Playstation videogames with high-resolution 3-D graphics! We had the Atari 2600! With games like 'Space Invaders' and'asteroids'. Your guy was a little square! You actually had to use your imagination!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen forever! And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died! Just like LIFE!

When you went to the movie theater there no such thing as stadium seating! All the seats were the same height! If a tall guy or some old broad with a hat sat in front of you and you couldn't see, you were just screwed! Sure, we had cable television, but back then that was only like 15 channels and there was no on screen menu and no remote control! You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on! You were screwed when it came to channel surfing! You had to get off your ass and walk over to the TV to change the channel and there was no Cartoon Network either! You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying!?! We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons, you spoiled little rat-bastards!

And we didn't have microwaves, if we wanted to heat something up we had to use the stove or go build a frigging fire ..imagine that! If we wanted popcorn, we had to use that stupid Jiffy Pop thing and shake it over the stove forever like an idiot.

That's exactly what I'm talking about! You kids today have got it too easy. You're spoiled. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980!

For everyone who was interested in the moth food from the post is the recipe, per my 8 year old son:
"Take overripe fruit and smash it all up. Put lots of sugar and some fruit juice in it and mix it all together."
I have not seen any moths eating it yet, just a couple of yellow jackets.....

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Free Meal....stop here if you are a moth...

If you are a moth and are flying around in our area....stop off for a free meal. Look for the sign.

My son is a budding scientist and found this recipe for moth food in one of his science books. He lovingly created this yummy recipe and put it out in the front yard. He thought it would be a good idea to post a sign so the moths would know exactly where their food was. As we all know, moths are very intelligent here in must be our incredible public schools system!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Gourmet Dog Food

My dumb dog just ate some toilet paper, unused toilet paper. My first thought was, "at least he will be able to wipe his own butt when it comes out".

Just thought I would share....I am off to walk the dumb dog!!!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Fun Monday

Our wonderful hostess with the mostess this week is Olive and this is her assignment:

Hey, we are starting a new month and will be celebrating our Day of Independence soon in the US so let’s make the next FM a fun time. I would like to hear about your *whopper* of a fishing story. Yes, you heard it correctly whether it is fictional or non fictional I want to hear a fishing story from you. An example would be if you catch a minnow and tell it that you caught a swordfish (exaggeration is the operative word here). Did you hear me say show your photo(s)? Of course you did – be creative.

Many years ago, in a life far away (before we had children) we would spend one week out of every year living in a houseboat on Shasta Lake. During this week we would spend our time hiking, playing with our dog, swimming (if is wasn't too cold), reading, other unmentionables, and fishing. I am not what you could call a true fishing aficionado. I cannot bait my own hook with a live worm, they tense up and I am sure I am hurting them. I will not touch a fish, especially if it is alive. I do like sitting in a chair and doing nothing though, and since that is what most of your time spent fishing is like...well, I like that just fine when we are on vacation.

Now, Dave, on the other hand, does take a shine to fishing. He has all the accouterments needed, and desired, for the fishing experience. He will bait his own hook and he will even gut and clean any catch that is made. He is a true fisherman, but unfortunately there is one catch to this....he very rarely actually catches any fish. I, on the other hand, seem to catch fish on a regular basis, much to his chagrin.

Our trips usually start out with Dave chivalrously baiting my hooks, removing caught fish, basically doing all the dirty work. My only contribution is casting my pole and reeling in my catch. It soon becomes apparent that my lovely husband is becoming quite disgruntled. He soon refuses to bait my hook and I am left to torture the poor worm myself. Unfortunately, I am unable to do this so I resort to fishing with a lure.

Now, we are finally coming to the fishing story....are you still with me? The scene is set. We are on a houseboat on Shasta Lake. I am using a lure on my pole. Dave has not caught a fish yet.

I am slowly casting and reeling in my pole. The fisher woman that I am....I am standing up and have the tip of my pole pointed directly at the water and slowly, ever so slowly, I am reeling in. I pick off all the algae and grass from the bottom of the lake off my lure and cast out again....and the process repeats itself. Dave is watching me, shaking his head...."you are never going to catch a fish that way"....I look at him and say "watch me".

My line goes taut. "Ha, you caught a snag", Dave says. This is no ordinary snag. I begin to reel in....I have caught a fish.....a big one. Dave is incredulous. I keep reeling and to both our utter amazement I have caught a huge catfish. I bring it onto the boat and the fish falls off the hook. He was barely hooked and I caught him using a lure. I smugly look at Dave, he is standing there with his mouth agape. Meanwhile the fish is flopping all over the deck of the boat.

Picture....we need a picture of this. Dave insists that I hold my prize for a picture. No way am I touching this huge prehistoric creature...and it smells. I have a wonderful idea. I will lean over and point to it while Dave takes the picture. I calmly lean over, with a huge smile on my face, and point to the creature while Dave readies the camera. I need to get a bit closer, he tells me. Luckily the fish has stopped his break dancing on the deck and I feel safe inching my way towards him. I lean ever closer with my finger pointing. I am inches away when suddenly he decides he is not done dancing and flops and writhes in my direction. I immediately scream and run through the door into the houseboat. There was one problem though. The screen door was not open. I ran into the screen door, went down....I kept running...totally oblivious. I ran the length of the boat before I stopped and turned around. Dave was bent double in laughter on the deck...the fish...he was done dancing.

The fish I named Herbert and he made a nice dinner the following night....running through the screen door is something Dave will never let me forget!!!!

The following pictures were taken last year. We rented a houseboat with our friends and had a great time. The fish Michael is holding he caught at 3:00 in the morning. That was the first and last night I allowed poles to be left in the water all night!!! Herbert was much bigger that Michael's fish!!

Now head on over to Olive's for more fish stories....

Friday, July 4, 2008

Friday Funny

A father asked his 10-year old son if he knew about the birds and the bees.

'I don't want to know,' the child said, bursting into tears. 'Promise me you won't tell me.'

Confused, the father asked what was wrong.

The boy sobbed, 'When I was six, I got the "There's no Easter Bunny'speech.

At seven, I got the "There's no Tooth Fairy' Speech.

When I was eight, you hit me with the "There's no Santa' speech.

If you're going to tell me that grown-ups don't really get laid, I'll have nothing left to live for.'

Have a wonderful and safe Friday...and if you live in the states.....have a wonderful and safe 4th of July!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions

As a parent, your wish is to keep your children happy and healthy. When they are little you protect them from anything that might harm them, either physically, emotionally, or mentally. This is usually very easy to do since you have complete control over their environment. When they start school it becomes harder to protect them. You still have control over their environment to a certain degree, but their world has been opened up to new situations and populations. In the first few years of school you become adept at skirting possible adverse situations and continue to keep your child safe. As the years fly by your child starts making some of their own decisions and choosing their friends and their world opens up even more. You have two choices now as a parent - you can allow them to make some decisions and have your child "own" their decision and any consequences that may incur, or you can choose to continue to try and control your child's environment and consistently struggle with your child in maintaining this control.

We have chosen to allow our new teenager to make some of her own decisions and to take ownership of said decisions. Of course we are very choosy in which decisions are allowed to be hers and our up most desire is to keep her safe. But, she needs to learn how to make decisions and how to learn from her mistakes.

As most of you know, we are sending our children to a "nice Catholic school" and the children in our daughter's class are not so nice, especially to her. Last year was a terrible year for her, and consequently for us. She really struggled socially with the idiots in her class. You know how every class had a kid that gets picked on? Well, that was our daughter last year. Quite frankly, we don't even like most of the kids in her class anyway and would not want her "hanging" out with them. Most of them are headed for trouble. We were contemplating pulling Cassie out of this school and homeschooling her for next year, her 8th grade year. Cassie decided that she did not want to leave the school she has been at since kindergarten, she wants to graduate next year. Her decision, she is owning it, she is at peace with it.

Cassie is a very sweet and sensitive girl and she is very trusting. She doesn't know how to play the stupid "girl" games, and because of these traits, she is an easy target. One girl in particular is her nemesis. She will call Cass and pretend to be her friend and then stab her in the back the next day. We have told Cassie over and over that she is not a true friend...but because she is such a trusting girl and views the world through rose colored glasses, she falls for this girl's false friendliness every time. Sometimes you just need to learn the hard way....

Before we went camping this girl called Cassie and wanted to "hang out". You no longer "play" together when you are 13, just so you know!! This girl came over and we all went swimming for the afternoon. At one point in the afternoon we were outside by the pool and she was in the house by herself (remember this point). When we were done swimming the kids watched a movie and then we all went out for dinner. After dinner we took this girl home.

The next day Cass and I went to the bank to open her first savings account. She has been babysitting and had $160 to deposit in the bank. That is alot of babysitting money, money she earned. At the bank we were dismayed to find $40 missing from her wallet. We immediately went home and searched her room, to no avail. The money was gone....we suspected the "friend".

Cassie called the friend and asked her if "by chance" the money "fell" into her bag. The girl "checked" and said that the money was not in her bag "or in her pants' pocket" (why would she say that???).

I immediately called her mother and explained the situation to her. She told me she would look into it....I have not heard back from her. It has been 3 weeks. The money is gone...we are sure she took it.

A lesson learned, the hard way. Cassie was very upset, of course. We did not want this girl to come over, but Cassie did. We allowed her to make the decision, unfortunately these are difficult consequences to deal with. Surprisingly enough, this girl called again to "hang out". Wisely Cassie told her no. I think she has learned a valuable lesson, I just wish it was easier. My first thought was to give her the $40, but what would she have learned then? I think the more the lesson hurts, the more learning that is obtained. In the next few years she will have many more decisions to make, some will have dire consequences. She will need to know how to deal with the offer of drugs/alcohol, the decision to have sex with her boyfriend, to get in a car with someone who has been drinking....these are life threatening decisions. I hope we are preparing her for these.....I think we are.

Last week she tested for her yellow belt in karate. During the testing and evaluation she broke a board with her fist. We were very proud of her.

Later that night I said to her - "too bad "friend" didn't see you break that board....I bet she would think twice before she stole from you again" - does that make me a bad person for saying that???? Cassie just gave me a sweet little didn't really feel like a bad person!!!