Monday, October 31, 2005

10/31 Clarification from Red Cross

Okay. I finally know what's up. The guy (Ron) I thought was a deployment specialist is actually a temp in the Wisconsin office. He was finding out my availability, not telling me I was going. Boy oh boy, was I on the wrong track with that!

I wrote an email to the Red Cross DSHR (Disaster Services Human Resources) person (April), and she called me to clarify. And it looks like it's almost 100% sure I'll go, if I go in disaster mental health rather than public relations/communications. That is absolutely fine with me because I can hit the ground running then--I'm confident in my ability to provide sound treatment services in mental health. My training and experience are much more powerful in trauma social work than in PR. Yay.

So April put mental health as first choice and PR as second choice.

The funny thing is that they don't call you until one or two days prior to deployment, so you never know if you're going or not until immediately before. That must be hard for some very structured people. As for me, my motto is Blessed are the flexible, for they shall not get bent out of shape.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

10/30 HHS Email

An email just arrived from HHS saying they need mental health specialists this week for a two week rotation. I can't accept it because I'm giving that presentation in New York next weekend. I'm sure disappointed. But I will contact Red Cross tomorrow and verify my assignment. If it's not 100% sure, then I'll contact HHS and give them my availability. I'm definitely going to go with one of those agencies.

HHS needs help in Shelter, Primary Care, and Hospital Augmentation, and said the current mental health specialists are due to rotate out.

More tomorrow on this.

10/30 Pajama Day

I loved it! Stayed in sweatpants and T-shirt all day. Didn't venture outside of my condo--although I may decide to exercise and empty my trash later. :) This was such an unusual day and I don't feel a bit guilty.

I spent most of the day watching football (poor Packers) and working on a rough outline for the NANOWRIMO work.

It was a good day.

For your viewing pleasure--here's a picture of how I looked last night at ComedySportz.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

10/29 Halloween at CSz

We had great prizes for fans, but not one of them wore a costume. Odd. Many staff did, but of course we weren't eligible for the prizes. I had a good time though. I put some real thick white stuff on my face--it looked like old-timey cold cream. That, coupled with my wig, slippers, pajamas and robe, ended up making a fun costume.

I took a few pictures and will post one or two tomorrow. Right now I'm playing online poker. A great way to unwind. :) Yeah.

Friday, October 28, 2005

10/28 Work Halloween Picture

I told everyone to make a silly face on this one. I especially like the faces on the Candy Stripper (4th from left) and the Deviled Egg (far right).

It was fun. Sister Reada Thesaurus won for funniest, Deviled Egg won for most creative, and Corpse Bride won for scariest.

10/28 Panic and such

I just realized that November 1 is Tuesday. That's the day NANOWRIMO starts. I don't even have an idea for a new manuscript, much less carved out time to begin writing. Panic ensues internally.

One thing was decided. I'm putting my laptop in a backpack and taking it everywhere with me. You never know when you'll be able to take a few stolen minutes to write. (God, it almost sounds like an affair.) I'll type over lunch at my regular job, when it's a bit slow at ComedySportz, on airplanes, and at home (while reality shows blare away on the TV). And I always have my handy-dandy notebook in my purse so I can jot down notes. My laptop is big and heavy and I find I have laptop envy when I see these lightweights that still have plenty of power. All I really use it for is writing--and email when I'm in a hotel.

Okay, my panic has subsided. Now on to the "such."

Best news ever!!!! Aiden was given a clean bill of health today. What a blessing.

And today at work is just plain fun. We're having a costume contest, which I entered with no expectation of winning. (I just got a magistrate's wig and judge's robe from CSz. It looked cool, but very easy.) Lots of people put great effort in their costumes and it really paid off. We'll find out later today who won in three different categories. And our chili cook-off is still running. From 11-2 there are crockpots of wondrous smells in the conference room across from my office. And this year there were two vegetarian entries. Usually I'm the only one in that category. :) So this year I got to eat two kinds instead of just my own. There are around 15-20, I can't remember the number. People circle the table and put a bit from one crockpot, eat that, and move on to the next one. It's actually quite fun.

Tonight I work at CSz, tomorrow night too. Tomorrow night will be their Halloween celebration. I know it will be fun--I worked it last year.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

10/27 Revelation

Nothing much going on except I got my hair cut. While in the chair it is my job to keep Stacy amused. She's cut my gorgeous locks for several years and thinks I'm funny. So I'm chatting away and she's laughing--both of us doing our assigned role.

Then it hit me, right in mid-anecdote. I am happy. What a neat revelation. I am happy.

I didn't think I was. So you can see why I'm excited!

I'm working at a job I love, listening to my little pink iPod mini. My kids love me, my grandkids love me. I'm a member of a huge, boisterous family, and I'm always welcome in any of my relatives' homes. My son and d-i-l are coming home from Okinawa for Christmas. I'm giving a presentation at a castle in NY next week. I'm volunteering in the gulf for two weeks in November. My health is good. And so on... (believe me there's plenty more).

Don't be jealous though. I'm still really fat.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

10/26 Letter from Red Cross

But it's not the letter I've been waiting for. This one says I've been approved as a member of the DSHR (Disaster Services Human Resources). So that's cool. Then it gives me info on how to get a background check; which could get me un-approved really quickly if it doesn't turn out okay.

One more step out of the way. And November 14 is just around the corner.

Prior to that, however, is my presentation at Mohonk Mountain House. I'm so excited about that as well. It's like work wrapped in a vacation package. How cool is that! I do need to get busy on the presentation. It's only 45 minutes and I can talk about this subject for much longer than that without preparation. This presentation, though, is very special. So much work to do to prepare. November 4 is only a week and two days away.

Follow up note: Found out that my ex is fine and going home today. His heart is enlarged from a previous heart attack, but they can fix that with meds. So that's a relief. Kayla and Hunter need their granddad around. Jill is still daddy's girl, and I don't want anything to happen to make her sad. Plus, even though John and I don't have a relationship anymore, I still remember the good stuff--and don't want the young man I loved to be ill, even though he's not a young man any longer. (He's still young compared to me.)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

10/25 A fun meme

Here's a meme I got from my friend Anne Frasier.

1. Take the first five novels from your bookshelf.
2. Book 1 -- first sentence.
3. Book 2 -- last sentence on page 50.
4. Book 3 -- second sentence on page 100.
5. Book 4 -- next to the last sentence on page 150.
6. Book 5 -- final sentence of the book.
7. Make the five sentences into a paragraph.
8. Feel free to "cheat" to make it a better paragraph.
9. Name your sources.
10.Post to your blog.

The only "cheat" I did was to make it into two paragraphs instead of one.

For kids at a New York City high school, a bomb scare is like an extra recess. For the North Koreans to reach this far, there would have to be a serious failure of command.

“Patty may be hurt.” PJ listened to the jumbled outpouring, held him and rocked him, murmured that everything was going to be all right, her own cheeks wet with tears. Wearing a smile of contentment, Jennifer picked up the suitcase and headed out the door.

My first two shelves of books are those by friends or authors I've at least met. The first book is by two guys I met at a writing conference. The others Cyn, Doug, Shirley, and Beth I consider friends. (And Anne, yours were just a little further down the shelf.)

Final Seconds by John Lutz and David August

Rage Sleep by C.W. Morton (Cyndy Mobley) and Jack Mobley, M.D.

The Children’s Hour by Douglas Clegg

Gray Matter by Shirley Kennett

Cold White Fury by Beth Amos

I "tag" Beth Amos, Shirley Kennett, Doug Clegg, Cyn Mobley, Brainne Edge, Jill Headen, Evan Ramsey.

Monday, October 24, 2005

10/24 Oh my, so much...

I don't know what to post first.

First of all, I'm such a dumbass and I love my bank. There was a message here when I got home saying that it was US Bank, fraud prevention. They'd noticed unusual activity on my debit card. Right away I thought this was some kind of scam (isn't it awful when that's the first thing you think of?).

Young man said, "Did you attempt to buy gas at several different stations? We have an Amoco purchase for $44 and a Citgo purchase and another Amoco purchase...."

The first one was mine. I'd gotten gas at Amoco on the way to work and LEFT MY DEBIT CARD IN THE MACHINE!! I definitely am a dumbass. Big time.

But they caught it and stopped the purchases. And put the money back into my account. I'll get my new card in a few days.

I'm so glad I didn't stop at the grocery store on the way home. That would have been embarrassing, "Sorry ma'am, but your card has been declined." I would have panicked.

Item number 2, but actually much more important: My daughter emailed that her dad (my ex) is in the hospital. He's had a heart attack before, but she said it wasn't a heart attack this time, but he was having chest pains. I sure hope he'll be okay. He and his wife have a five-year-old son, only two months older than our grand-daughter.

10/24 Decision time

I think I have too many commitments and need out of one. The items under consideration:

Working at ComedySportz part-time
Stand-up comedy class
ComedySportz Recreation League
NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month) in November

With the two-week trip with the American Red Cross coming up in November, and the nuttiness of my family time during the holidays, I have to give up something. And my novel-writing has really taken a nose dive because of being so damn tired. When I get home I just plop into a chair and veg! No energy at home for writing. And I miss it a lot.

Working p-t at CSz--I don't want to give that up because it's extra spending money, but more importantly it's fun and has benefits (getting into all shows for free, discounts on certain classes, etc.).

Stand-up comedy class--don't want to give that up because it's fun and informative, and I love performing (and get good response from the audience).

CSz Rec League--I love performing every week at CSz. Nice bunch of people. It's fun and a good way to socialize.

NANOWRIMO--it's a super way to jump start a novel, but I've got one manuscript finished and two more that need to be finished. Do I need to start another?

Probably out of everything I could give up NANOWRIMO and stand-up class easier than the others. I have to think some more.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

10/23 Last CSz match for the fall season

Tonight was the last Rec League match for my team (Brainstorm) for the fall season. We'll start again in January. We had such a great time tonight. My teammates (Stacy and Chris) were awesome. Here's a picture of Stacy and me playing the game...Crazy Mixed-Up Country Hijinks. I'm her Aunt Matilda (using a walker), and she's holding my cat.

There's no picture online of Chris this week, but you can glimpse him in the picture on the right, although he's mostly hidden by my broad shoulders and messy hair (hey, I'd just taken off a wig.)

The Rec League is a lot of fun and I always look forward to playing. Can't wait until next season to play again.

Until then there are the holidays, and also my trip to the gulf. I'm looking foward to receiving my deployment letter from the Red Cross so I can definitely plan the trip--and how to get my work done in my office so I can be free to go.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

10/22 Wedding party & other fun stuff

Two people who work at CSz got married today. Most people went to the wedding and reception. In between the two, Dave and Amy came by CSz to have some extra pictures taken. They both looked so wonderful. Amy was a vision in her beautiful dress and veil. Dave was so handsome in his tails. It really made me smile to see them and talk to them. What a wonderful day they were having. Their entire wedding party accompanied them. I couldn't wipe the grin off my face.

Unfortunately it was really busy so I didn't get to talk too much.

The nice thing though was that the people who worked with me today were wonderful and so helpful--Amy (nope, not the one that got married), Lisa, Honni, Joe, Buddy, Elsa, and even Dick and Jen--they came in for a while. Both the cash register and the credit card machine ran out of tape at the same time. And the credit card machine was stubborn and didn't work right afterward. I still don't know what's wrong, but I finally got it to work perfectly if I left the cover off of it. So that's just what I did--left the cover off. :)

Tomorrow is Rec League and I'm looking forward to it.

There's also something else cool happening. There's a women's soccer game at Marquette between Syracuse and Florida. It was recently moved here because of the hurricane. A woman contacted Dick and said that because the Florida team wouldn't have many fans, she wanted us to go and be their fans and she'd pay. How sweet is that! And how loyal to her team! I just thought it was awesome. I was going to go, but after working so many hours, and with Rec League tomorrow, I decided I'm going to sleep in and then get some stuff done around here.

I'm tired. Yawn.

10/22 a bad ending to a stressful day

I don't want any of my pals or family commenting on this post please. Am just venting. Had a stressful 11-hour workday at CSz. But even when it's stressful it's still fun. But it ended crappily with a conversation that was hard to hear. Even worse, we couldn't complete it because customers were coming up. But I wrote it down right away so I'd remember it correctly and am transcribing it from my notes.

After someone said a comment that I thought was hurtful...

Me: Don't be mean to me.
Her: I'm not mean, but number 1, I don't feel well and number 2, you aren't one of my favorite people.
Me: I don't like you either, but I pretend in public and at work.
Her: You pretend? (smile)
after customer...
Her: You have a full-time job, right?
Me: What does that have to do with it?
Her: You have a full-time job, right?
Me: Yes.
Her: You have insurance, right?
Me: (I may be dumb but I see where this is going.) Yes.
Her: So you don't need the money.
Me: I don't tell (the boss) to book me all the time. He just does.
Her: You don't need the money.
Me: Don't take it out on me.
Her: I'm not.
Me: Tell (the boss).
Her: I have.

Then a conversation about how she doesn't trust half of what comes out of my mouth because I distort the truth. I, of course, said I didn't. She said she speaks for others and I kept saying... Speak for yourself. That was hard for her to do, because it's a lot easier to confront someone when you can say "everybody feels this way," or "three other people" or whatever the deal is. But I'm not going to take that from anyone. If you don't like me and think I do or don't do something, then I respect you if you can tell me. But to pull that b.s. of saying you're speaking for others. Nope. I won't tolerate it. And I'm not saying she's lying, by any means. I'm sure one, two, or twelve cronies have agreed with her. That's not the point. The point is that I want to talk to grown-ups when we talk about problems or disagreements. That's the only way things can change.

I've worked there for a year and a half. And in the beginning I made so many errors. And some (many) of those errors were me thinking things were a certain way and stating that, and it turned out that it wasn't right. That wasn't distorting the truth--it was just plain being wrong. Making mistakes.

I'm always so freaking confident. Wish that weren't so. I come across as knowing absolutely what I'm saying is 100% correct, when in fact, most of the time I'm just expressing an opinion. I think that might be part of the problem.

Lying is not my style. Distorting the truth is not my style. Being wrong--well, that's sure my style sometimes.

Anyway, the conversation wasn't appropriate for work, because there was going to be a late show and customers were starting to come around. So I said we'd continue the conversation later. She nodded. Wasn't much either of us could say because there were customers about. I'll continue to be friendly at work. "Pretending." That's what being professional is about. At my regular job I don't get to be snippy with people just because they aren't my favorite folks in the world. I think the same thing applies to this part-time job.

Okay. Venting over. I'll start another note that's much more fun. (After re-reading this note, I think I sound mad. But I'm much more hurt than I am mad. And I hate that. Why would I allow someone I don't even like to hurt me? Why should her opinion even matter at all? Don't know. Maybe 'cause I'm human?)

Friday, October 21, 2005

10/21 Forgot....

I forgot to mention that Beata called me from Okinawa last night. She and Rob are doing well and very excited about their impending visit to the states for Christmas. (Me too!)

She's also started writing a book, and is committed to finishing it. I bet that Rob has already finished with his--finished writing that is, not finished with the manuscript itself. She laughed and said I was right.

Too bad. Rob's a good writer and had an exciting concept. Hope Beata is able to finish hers. She tells great stories verbally, and I bet that'll translate well to paper.

Jill called last night too and I got to talk to Kayla and Hunter. That's always a thrill for me.

10/21 Going to the Gulf?

I'm like the little boy who cried wolf, but I think it's really going to happen this time. The American Red Cross called last night and want me to go to the Gulf as a Public Affairs person. A friend (JoePRGuy) in Las Vegas turned me on to the opportunity. And I applied.

They emailed a lot of forms and I've completed almost all of them. The only one left is the Health one, and it will take a while. I'll get it done today. Everything else is sent in already.

Then today a deployment officer called me and we set a date. I said that I had a commitment the weekend of November 4th that I couldn't/didn't want to get out of (the presentation at Mohonk in New York). I also said that I'd love to volunteer over Thanksgiving--first of all, I have no plans for that holiday, and secondly we're not quite as busy here over holidays. So it looks like I'll leave November 14 for two weeks.

I took an introductory course online last night. And instead of taking the Public Affairs course, because of time constraints I'll get trained in the field. I'm also gathering other PR trainings I have from my job at CPI.

I'm very excited--except for the part where I'm taking off two weeks without pay. :) I am grateful that my company is giving me the time, that's something they don't have to do.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

10/20 More writing news and other stuff

Another article has been accepted for publication. The executive editor contacted me today for clarification on a few references, but other than that it's cool. This one won't be published until February, but it's nice to know it's accepted for sure. It's called Crime Is Easy; Shakespeare Is Hard and will appear in Issue 15 Vol I of Reclaiming Children and Youth. The article is about Agnes Wilcox, who heads Prison Performing Arts, and who I worked with in producing Hamlet at a men's maximum security prison in Missouri. It was hard work, but especially rewarding. (Besides helping out a bit with production, I got to appear as Gertrude--a real treat for me.)

I'm proud of this piece. It's not scholarly writing, but it's heartfelt and one of the references I used was my personal journal. Of course, this is pre-blog.

And today I wrote to Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) asking for more information. I still plan to join them in a few years, closer to retirement, and want to know which other language I should study. They ask for Spanish, French or Russian especially, although they like any language in addition to English. I guess that even though the organization originated in France, that English is the common language among the volunteers. I wouldn't mind trying to learn French or Spanish, because I took four years of Latin in high school and any Romance Language would be easier for me.

Robbie speaks English, Thai, and Chinese--and a smattering of Japanese. Beatka speaks Polish, Danish, English, Russian, a smattering of Japanese and many other languages. She doesn't claim the others because she isn't fluent. Both she and Rob are so brilliant with languages--I'd love to still have that facility. Age makes it a little more difficult. But I'm still good with languages. We'll see. (Why is it I end so many of my blog entries with that phrase?)

10/20 Great News!

In my niece Kelly's words:

Great news!! We are coming home this afternoon!! The GI team came and talked to us today. They said that usually the enterocolitis that Aiden has is associated with the Hirschsprung Disease but since the biopsy shows he doesn't have it, they aren't sure how he got that. They said it's rare to see it in babies that are full term and breastfed. They are guessing that the infection in his intestine caused the inflammation which then caused the waste to build up and start the blockage. Usually the antibiotics take care of it. He started the meds two nights ago so we will bring the rest of the antibiotics home with us to finish up and then we have to come back down next friday for a checkup. I'm guessing they will do more xrays to make sure the inflammation has all gone down. So our next hurdle is to hope and pray the antibiotics clear all this up so Aiden will be back to normal. The Dr. said there is a reasonable chance of this happening. If not, then we will have to go from there to decide what the next course of action is. Of course they told us too what signs to look for in case he would get worse so I know Todd and I will be watching him like a hawk for quite awhile. From what I've read enterocolitis can be life threatening if left untreated b/c the infection can get quite nasty and there's a chance of the intestine rupturing. Luckily we caught it early enough and are treating it early enough that Aiden didn't get too sick from it. All the drs. have told me over and over how great it was that I was breastfeeding him b/c he would have been a lot worse off if I hadn't been. Another great thing about mommy milk!! So a lot of our worries are over for now but I won't rest easy until he is completely healthy again. I feel a little guilty leaving here today knowing there are so many sweet children here with conditions far worse than Aiden's is or even could have been. We are so blessed and lucky to have the three wonderful boys we have and I will do my best never to take that for granted ever again. Thanks for all the prayers, emails and phone calls. It's heartwarming to know our family and friends care so much about us. Hope to see you all soon!! Drew and ready for lots of lovin'!

Love, Kelly, Todd and Aiden

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

10/19 Updates

Todd (Aiden's dad and not to be confused with my son-in-law Todd) called last night and we also received an email from Kelly this morning. We should hear about the results of the biopsy sometime today. And it's almost guaranteed that some sort of surgery will take place. Two options with one a lot more complicated.

I was still so down last night that I didn't go to my comedy class. But I feel better today--still very concerned, because little Aiden is going through some serious shit. I'll update when we hear about the biopsy results.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

10/18 Poor little Aiden!

My tears keep falling unless I'm totally into a project. Every time I stop, then the tears re-appear. Three-week-old Aiden (my great-nephew) is in Children's Hospital in St. Louis. I'm waiting for definite word, but they think it's a bowel obstruction and he'll have to have surgery.

I'll add to the blog as soon as I hear something for sure.

Picture cuties from top left going clockwise: Noah (4), Drew (6), Aiden (3 weeks), Tyler (3 weeks), Blake (1). Noah, Drew and Aiden are brothers and Blake and Tyler are brothers.

Both new babies were on our hayride last Friday. It was such a treat to have the littlest ones with us.

Monday, October 17, 2005

10/17 Back to work!

Very busy after being gone a week. Yet, the pressure feels good. I need to be busy so I'm not missing my family so much. There are some good pictures, but I'll need to post those from home.

Good news! The EAP Digest arrived today with the article a colleague and I co-authored. It's called Dealing with Office Bullies: Developing Respect, Service, and Safety on the Job. I have permission to reprint it in our online newsletters, so will post when that happens.

Last night's Rec League at ComedySportz was really fun. My team (Brainstorm) won, which was an unusual occurence. :) We're now in 7th place out of ten teams. That's a comfortable place for me, since I'm interested in having fun and giving the audience an enjoyable (and hopefully laugh-filled) show. This picture is funny, but I shouldn't post it because it's horrible of Stacy, who is actually very cute. But I'm in process of telling her she has a giant zit on prom night, so she's in a lot of pain.

There's lots more about the Rec League and other fun info on ComedySportz.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

10/16 Inevitable letdown

It has to happen. After a near-perfect vacation, coming home is mostly a letdown. On one hand, it does feel good to be in my own place. On the other, I feel incredibly sad. Saying good-bye to Jill and the kids at the airport was more heartbreaking than usual. Kayla leaned over and said, "You always cry, Grandma. I'm going to cry too. Come live with me and we won't be sad."

Now that I've had a good night's sleep I feel much better. Don't know why it gets harder to leave them each time, but it does.

I'm surely blessed to not only have wonderful children and grandchildren, but also a fun and loving extended family. This was a great way to spend my vacation time, and I got my share of hugs that should last a while.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

10/15 Fun test

The kids were up late last night, so while waiting for them to wake up, I played. :)

Your IQ Is 130

Your Logical Intelligence is Below Average

Your Verbal Intelligence is Genius

Your Mathematical Intelligence is Genius

Your General Knowledge is Exceptional

A Quick and Dirty IQ Test

First of all, I resent that my logical intelligence is below average. Secondly, my IQ is higher than this. :)

10/15 Almost over

The funniest line all night was three-year-old Hunter, "My dad won't buy me toys. He says I steal."

No one knows where that came from. No matter--it's hilarious.

The hay ride was a huge success--other than the fact that my allergies are acting up a bit more this morning. :) We went about seven miles, so it was a lengthy ride. We sang tons of songs, from John Denver to nursery rhymes. There were 31 of us.

Afterward, we consumed tons of food. Beginning with the weiner roast and many many side dishes, and culminating with the s'mores. Way too much food. But the kids really enjoyed the fun (me too). The only crisis was when Kayla fell. She was running hard with her cousins and tripped on something in the dark. Took a header. Several tears later, everything was okay again.

It was hard saying good-bye to everyone. I'd live here if I could--that is if I could find a well-paying, interesting job that provides adventure, and if Quincy suddenly turned into a larger city. :) Ah well, you can't have everything.

This morning we'll have rolls from Underbrink's Bakery and we'll pack up. Guess we'll leave here around 12:30 or so for the drive to St. Louis. I've been tearing up just thinking about leaving my grandkids. We've had such a marvelous time and have gotten even closer. Didn't think that was possible. Other than Hunter's meltdowns, they behaved beautifully.

Great photos, great memories, great laughs. Lots of love.

Friday, October 14, 2005

10/14 Only one more day left

Kayla is sad. I reminded her that we leave tomorrow. She said she wants to live here. Me too. Sigh.

Yesterday Jane, Pete, Jill and Jessi went to the Ritz so Jill could have catfish done just the way she likes it. I took Kayla and Hunter to the Veterans' Home to the deer park. We saw tons of deer and other animals. Their favorite were the llamas. Their least favorite? Buffalo, "because they're stinky." We stopped at a playground on the way home. It had a climbing wall. The kids are little monkeys and were all over that thing. I took a bunch of pictures. My ex-h is a climber and builds ropes courses. So I'll send a pic to him so he knows it's time to take the kids climbing--or at least bouldering.

Last night we didn't have plans, but Jane invited Jan, Tim and Jessi for dinner. Pete made meat loaf and we had mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, and crescent rolls. Talk about your comfort food. :) Everyone enjoyed it. After folks left and the kids went to bed, Jane and I watched Survivor and ER.

Tonight we're going to Jan and Tim's for a hayride and weiner roast. Kayla's very excited because "we all get to cook our own food." This will be a first for the five-year-old. And of course we're making s'mores. Jan and Tim's place is perfect for a total family get-together. There are more than 40 of us and the only ones not going to be able to make it are the ones who live out of town--Rob, Beata, Craig, Megan, Suzie--and the ones who have to work--Jay (and his family). So we should have more than 30 of us there, which absolutely thrills me. We're leaving tomorrow and I know I'll miss the madness here.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

10/13 Night adventures

My nephew (and godson) Jordan is 16 and is sleeping in a sleeping bag on the floor of the living room, where I'm sleeping on the hide-a-bed. During the night he passed gas of such ferocious intensity and duration that it not only woke me up, it scared me. I screamed. In a moment I noticed a flashlight coming down the hallway. My brother-in-law was investigating the scream. I started laughing and explained to Pete that he could go back to bed, all was well. It was merely a case of gas. :)

Before bedtime, five-year-old Kayla was brushing her teeth and I heard her raised voice. I checked, and Jordan was standing in the hallway outside the bathroom and K was berating him. Don't know what went on before, but what I heard was, "And that sink was disgusting. I'm not going to clean it out for you anymore." Omigod, it was hilarious. A five-year-old telling off a sixteen-year-old. She was very serious too. Jordan was so nonplussed that he turned and walked away, kind of giggling under his breath. I've never heard him at a loss for words before. How I wish that moment was recorded for posterity. At least it's here, so I won't forget about it immediately.

Last night we went to John and Paulette's house and the kids had a ball playing outside with their cousins. Today is going to be a quiet day (we hope) and we'll eat here tonight at Jane and Pete's. But before that, Jill needs to go to the Ritz for catfish. That's the last of her hometown food requests.

I believe I'll work on my "work work" stuff today. So much to do and it's hard going back to the office with nothing done. That overwhelmed feeling is not one I cherish.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

10/12 More fun and family

Yesterday was simply great. I get up at 6 AM here because I sleep on the fold-out couch and Jane's kids get up at 6 for school. So I'm always awake early.

Jill slept in and I played with the kids in the morning. At noon we went to McDonald's, only because Jane had promised the kids they could go on the playground there. Then we went to the mall and got presents for Noah's birthday party. Hunter had a meltdown in a toy store--usually he only does that when he's very tired. But he recuperated quickly.

Bonkers was really really really really really really fun. It's so much better than Chuck E. Cheese. In fact, Kayla asked if she could go there on her birthday. A bit of a commute, but I'd love it.

Imagine the nice little climbing apparatus that you notice at McDonald's as you drive by. Well, multiply that by 20. Only it's not made of plastic, it's all netting and straps. You can see the kids at all times--that is if you can follow them as they scamper about. Adults are allowed to play with their kids too. So I went in. Omigod it was a riot. I'm all stiff today because many times you have to crawl on your belly or your knees because of little tunnels that exist. But it's worth it. Noah had a wonderful birthday. Kayla and Hunter had such fun. And we adults got to hold Aidan and Tyler. An all-around good day.

When we got back to Jane and Pete's it was already after 8--K and H's normal bedtime. They stayed awake until 9:30 so I expected them to sleep late today. Hunter is still sawing zzzz's, but Kayla woke up with cousin Sarah's alarm. Sarah said, "Go in on the couch with Grandma." Instead of coming to me, K went into the couch in the family room (I'm in the living room). She saw Uncle Pete asleep in the recliner and she climbed on him. I just took a picture of it. It is adorable.

Tonight we're going to my brother and s-i-l's house (John and Paulette). The best pizza place in town has two for one on Wednesdays. So Jane is buying, but we're eating at J and P's so the kids can make more noise than in the restaurant. (Okay, so I can make more noise too.)

Monday, October 10, 2005

10/10 I'm fat and happy

Eating so much here. Ugggh. But other than that I'm happy.

I'm so totally enjoying myself here in Bozarth-land. We had 20 last night at dinner (at Gem City Pizza and Mexican) and that wasn't half of us. Today we played in the park, lunched with other family members, enjoyed two babies--one 15 days old and one 11 days old--Aidan and Tyler. What a great day.

Tonight we were at Jan and Tim's home. Kayla drove the tractor with Uncle Tim and had the time of her life. We're going back there Friday evening for a hayride and we're all excited. The entire family is invited. We'll see how many can make it. Tonight they cooked brats and we drank beer. Of course I had a veggie burger. Then out came the wine and the appletinis for those not driving. I had one beer early on and that was that. But I still had my share of laughing. The little ones were hilarious. We sang lots of kid songs and Hunter got stuck on the word Paddywhack. He kept calling my sister Jane, Aunt Paddywhack Jane. Then would burst into the most beautiful laughter.

I'm loving this.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

10/9 Tired but grinning

It's not even 8 PM and I'm ready for bed. :) Got up much too early after not enough sleep. But it's well worth it. I'm at my sister and b-i-l's house. We just returned from Gem City Pizza and Mexican. There were 20 of us there and that's not even 1/2 the family. What fun! It took Kayla and Hunter a few minutes of pretending to be shy and then they went to everyone--hugging and kissing. Hunter found that his cousins Blake and Riley are just the right size. And when he sees Noah that will be a fourth in the "gang." Kayla just loves having so many cousins too. And of course Jill was in hog heaven, eating her favorite nachos and seeing a lot of her family.

After meeting them at the St. Louis airport, Jane and Jordan drove us to Quincy. The trip was peaceful and wonderful--UNTIL--right before arriving in Quincy Kayla and Hunter both fell asleep and when we stopped they woke up. No problem with K but H went ballistic, a nuclear meltdown. He cried until he vomited. Everywhere. So we dropped Jill and H at Jane's house so he could get cleaned up. By the time they joined the rest of us at Gem City, he was not only clean, he was his usual jovial self. Whew!

It was a wonderful and delicious time. Now the kids are winding down--both Jordan and Sarah have school tomorrow. But Jill, Jane and I are ON VACATION!!! Yeah.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

10/8 Packing for Quincy

Whew! I'm tired. Worked at CSz Thursday, Friday and Saturday...but just had to do the matinee today. I'm glad because I have so much work to do to prepare to leave tomorrow. Had a nice crowd at CSz this afternoon, bunches of kids' birthday parties and a big group of ladies from The Red Hat Society (they wear purple clothes and big red hats). They sure had a good time too.

Some of my friends were moved up to the pros and had their debut performance this weekend. I'm so proud of them. Funny, funny people.

I had my own private miracle. My dryer works again. This morning I was tumbling some clothes, just to get the wrinkles out before I hung them up to dry. Suddenly the dryer belched this huge noise and shook like it was an earthquake. I went to get my clothes a few minutes later and they were dryer. I swear I cried--it's such a wonderful gift to have the dryer working when I'm packing for a trip. Hope it lasts a few more months and then I can get a new one.

Okay...lots of packing to do.

Friday, October 07, 2005

10/7 Writing, etc.

Taking a quick break from work to eat and blog simultaneously. It's difficult but possible. (Oops, dribbled some soup down my chin.)

I'm thinking of joining NANWRIMO again this year. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. During November thousands of people attempt to write a novel. Two years ago I completed the required number of words--50,000 and immediately cut about 30,000 of them. They were absolute crap.

But I do love the thought of being forced to sit my butt down and write. During the last year I've filled my life with other things and have neglected my fiction writing. I do miss it, and maybe just need a jumpstart.

Last year I was a miserable failure at NANOWRIMO, but at least I started. This year, I just can't decide whether or not to do it. I'll join up, but come November 1 I don't know if I'll dive in or not. We'll see.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

10/6 More on today

Staying busy, but accomplishing a lot today. Am working tonight at CSz and tomorrow night and Saturday afternoon. Lots of work. That's good. Then Sunday off on vacation for a week. Yay.

10/6 My humor style

the Ham
(19% dark, 61% spontaneous, 26% vulgar)
your humor style:

Your style's goofy, innocent and feel-good. Perfect for parties and for the dads who chaperone them. You can actually get away with corny jokes, and I bet your sense of humor is a guilty pleasure for your friends. People of your type are often the most approachable and popular people in their circle. Your simple & silly good-naturedness is immediately recognizable, and it sets you apart in this sarcastic world.

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Will Ferrell - Will Smith

The 3-Variable Funny Test!
- it rules -
If you liked my test, send it to your friends!
The 3 Variable Funny Test

I took the above silly test. It's pretty accurate for my sense of humor. Spontaneous and light with a hint of vulgarity. Yep, that's me.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

10/5 Have to hurry

Have to hurry and get back to work. So much to do that my head is spinning. I really need someone to assist me, so I can do a GREAT job at publishing everything. There are so many periodicals (both hardcopy and online), plus keeping the website updated that it just boggles my feeble little mind. I love this stuff, but I do need help. It's awful if something turns out mediocre simply because of time.

Sometimes I wish this were a private blog so I could say things I really want to say, instead of being so damn nice all the time. Yuck.

Things aren't that bad, but I really want to bitch about something, and can't. Arrggghhhh. It's hard keeping my mouth shut. But I will.

Good things--last night was fun at Stand Up class. My routine is getting better and better, not to mention longer and longer. So far I don't think I'll have a problem with memorizing all the new stuff. Should be fun, in fact.

Reality TV: Tonight is the final for So you think you can dance? I'm looking forward to seeing the finale. I'm rooting for Nick.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

10/4 Talked to grandkids

It was fun. Hunter said he was going to take his motorcycle on the airplane, but "it was really dirty, and it was muddy in the front wheel and in the back wheel it was really dirty so maybe I won't go on the airplane 'cause it goes really fast and makes a lot of noise and maybe I'll go again when I'm a big boy. I'll wash my motorcycle then and take it with me but right now I can't because there's mud on it.

"Oh, we're coming on an airplane to see you?

"Okay, I'll wash my motorcycle so I can take it on the airplane. Love you, Grandma, bye." Sounds of him kissing the phone.

Kayla said she's taking one of the dress up dresses with her, so she can play Princess in Quincy. She thinks her cousin Sarah will have fun with that too. (Sarah is 14, Kayla is 5. Both are adorable.)

I can't wait to see Jill and the kids.

But before that I have tons of work to do, so back at it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

10/3 Writing, editing and comedy

I love all three of the above. I do the first two for my job, and also for fun.

Today, besides attending various meetings, I have to edit two journals, and publish two online newsletters. As if that weren't enough, I have to write some press releases. At least I don't have any articles to write at the moment.

Which leads me to personal rather than work--I love writing and editing outside of my job, but it's hard to find the time. With one 50 hour a week job and two part-time ones, it's not easy. I'm not doing a good job of writing (and memorizing) my expanded comedy routine.

I think it would be easier to do that if I had wireless access in my place, or at least was able to re-arrange my desk. It's a crummy one. There's no room to have papers at the side of my monitor, just room for the monitor and keyboard (and stacks of "stuff"). I have an idea on how to reorganize my huge bedroom to accommodate a different desk, but I don't have the money at the moment. (Need to buy a new dryer instead.)

Sunday, October 02, 2005

10/2 Rec League

Tonight was a lot of fun. Except--we had to forfeit because Howard didn't show up. Stacy is in Chicago playing at Second City tonight, so we knew the other three of us had to be there. I called H at 4:45 to ask where he was because our match started at 5. He said he lost track of the time and it would take him 30 minutes to get there. I said, okay, come on and we'll try to stall everyone. What we ended up doing was have someone "temporarily play the part of Howard." But Dave had to take Howard's place because H never did make it. He didn't call either. So we forfeited. (Editing to add: Howard emailed that he came in, saw that we had a substitute, and left. That's sad. He could have played after all. Well, at least we know this won't happen again.)

We still got to play though. And boy, we rocked! I loved playing with Dave...he's a great guy and so funny. Just got moved up to the pros. And he really deserves it. Chris and I did well too, I think.

All in all, it was fun. The audience enjoyed it too. So that's a happy ending--even though we didn't get any points.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

10/1 It's fall

I love fall. No air conditioning, no heat. Just open windows and cool, cool air. Lovely.

I was supposed to work at ComedySportz today from noon until 11. But I got called in last night because someone didn't show up--for the second night in a row. So I worked until 10:30 PM and called someone else to come in tonight. I'll go in at noon and work until 5, working the matinee. I do so enjoy working when the kids are there for birthday parties. It's loud and chaotic. Just like being with my family. :)