Monday, April 30, 2007

Museums and Ice Cream

So I never did show you my pictures of our trip to the National Museum of the Marine Corps. Just down from the Main Gate at Quantico,
and past the Iwo Jima statue on Route 1, is the National Museum of the Marine Corps.
SN2 and DN2 found their place on the yellow footprints.
DN2 tried lifting a standard pack -- she struggled a bit

And SN2 tried his hand at pull-ups. Yeah, he's really trying hard, can't you tell?

This was well worth the $5. For those concerned about rounds, rest assured this is simulated firing.

Besides, we always observe the Safety Rules when firing.

So many fascinating exhibits to see I just had to stop taking pictures and start looking around. If you ever get a chance you need to go there -- it's well worth the trip. It certainly brought home some of the Marine Corps history for SN2. When you live with the Marine Corps as a child you don't really stop and pay attention to what is happening around you, it was only on this trip that he fully realized what the Marine Corps is and how it can (positively) impact his life.

After the museum where else could we stop but JoJo's Ice Cream!

Yes, right next to Pizza Hut.

Anyone up for meeting at Quantico over the summer?

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nancy Drew had better get on the case

Almost all of my underwear are missing.
I just can't figure out where they could have gone.
Should I be watching the windows for Bratz dolls escaping from the attic using my panties as parachutes?

Saturday, April 28, 2007

What I've Learned After Drinking Two Beers in a Bar

I used to drink a lot.
A lot.
But that was decades ago.
I don't drink much anymore, so when DH and I went to a restaurant/bar last night to see some of my friends from work, I of course drank some beer (Killian Red in case you're wondering).
And I discovered several things about myself.
I'm a Lightweight. I weigh much more now than I ever did when I was drinking a lot, but I'm a true lightweight now. Two beers is all it takes to take me down.
I'm Cheap. How can it cost $3.25 for one bottle of beer?!?! Makes me remember how much more economical it is to drink at home in front of your tv.
I'm a Slob. There's a reason why I don't eat ribs in public. I love them, but I am a messy eater, and after two beers? - the sauce is all over my face and on my shirt. What a slob.
I'm getting Old. I know I'm getting older (and lazier) because I just don't see anything wrong with falling asleep at 8:00 on a Friday night.
Very sad.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Snippets of life

So Jean wrote me and asked if SN2 went to school on Monday.
She said that if she had children she would home-school them, that way they would know exactly where the violence was going to come from.
She's too funny sometimes, I'll tell ya.
This weekend there is a parade in town -- I took pictures of it last year.
The parade is held each year for this boy who had leukemia (or some form of cancer) and he requested it as part of his make-a-wish request. So each year they hold this parade in his honor - and it has been going on for over 10 years now.
Believe it or not, the boy who wished for it is now a strapping teenager and doing very well. And he marches in the parade every year.
A happy ending story.
This year DN2 is supposed to march in the parade with her Brownie troop but she has swimming lessons and can't make it. I'm sure she'll survive -- she likes the lessons and the thing is when the parade ends, it finishes right across from the building where her swimming lessons are.
So bonus for us is that we'll already have a great parking spot and then she can participate in the festivities that follow the parade!
Although I hear it's supposed to rain.
We'll see.
I saw this in the paper this morning:
Rochester Region Rated No. 6 Place to Live
It's hard to believe something like this when you live here, but when you compare it to other places it sure is a lot more bucolic. Okay, well since I live outside of the city in a small town, west of everywhere, my life is a bit more bucolic.
"Boring," the kids say.
Funny thing is, I was once one of those kids complaining about boredom.
I used to think Neil Young wrote the song "Everybody Knows this is Nowhere" about my hometown.
And speaking of Neil Young, belated happy birthday wishes go out to my friend Rick.
He probably thinks I'm a total shit because he even called me on his birthday to find out what is going on with SN1.
What a great guy - and a great friend.
So happy birthday to you.
Busy weekend coming up -- the girls and I (that would be DN1 and DN2) are going to see Tartuffe here on campus. I'm excited, but then I love French satire (Voltaire, Moliere, de Maupassant).
And that darned paper. Must begin outline -- must begin to write.
One more class left and then the semester is over.
Come on, Julie, you can do it.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Raise your hand if you love thunderstorms!

It's getting darker outside and the thunder is rolling and the lightning is flashing...what a great way to spend a Thursday evening.
It would be even better if it were a spooky Saturday or Sunday afternoon.
I absolutely love thunderstorms.
You can't get hurt by them - it's only loud noise!
After all, no one has ever been hit by thunder!
I don't like to drive in the rain, though, because my vision is wonky enough, I don't need the rain to exacerbate the situation.
I hit up the book sale at the library today - it started yesterday and I can only imagine what I missed.
Fifty cents for hardcover books and twenty-five cents for paperbacks (remember now, I work at a College, so you know there are some good things coming out of the library).
Got some interesting items - a huge red volume of Twentieth Century Children's Writers; Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded; Joseph Conrad's Youth; and I bought two books for one of the girls with whom I work because she stayed behind to watch the phones while another woman and I went to the library.
I don't know if she answered them or not but she was there to watch them if they rang.
Now this girl (woman, I should call her) likes romance novels, so I bought her books that are not romance novels, per se, but definitely have something of a love story to it - but also plenty of depth. For her summer reading pleasure (why put it off until then?!?) I picked up two books, one by Rosamunde Pilcher and the other by Maeve Binchy. I have always enjoyed their work, and they're literate as well, so you don't have to be ashamed to show the book in public.
I have a 15 page paper due next Friday and I am still allowing my thoughts to incubate.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
This weekend I will be allowing my fingers to give birth to the 15 page baby in my head.
Let's hope it's a successful delivery.
Off to make supper -- what should we have with the rain?
Why soup of course.

Friday, April 20, 2007

What kind of world do we live in?

SN2 is scared to go to school today.
And honestly, I don't blame him.
DH and I talked with him about not living in fear, etc., and he made the decision that he does not want to go to school because he is concerned about being shot.
Yesterday there were several incidents around the area at other schools, and the rumor mill keeps on generating more stories. But it is disconcerting and extremely troubling for a parent, because there are so many things ride on him doing well in school, but I also don't want him to learn in an environment of fear. No one wants that. So as much as I want to be a hardass and say - Go to school and confront your fears -- that little niggle of guilt comes in and says, "Well what if you forced him to go and something happened."
Damn that tiny voice in my head.
I chalked a lot of his fear up to rumors when he came home talking about kids in his school being ready to do harm to others. I read this piece this morning on the school website and it did make me feel a bit better:

Rumors are circulating around the District, perhaps fueled by the presence of a police vehicle. We are not in lockdown and school is in session as usual. It is a typical school day.

Until I read this:

Fortunately, the Anywhere Central School District is very safe. However, no community is immune from the threats of violence and drugs that endanger public schools nationwide. Every household can contribute to the safety of students at school. Students generally know about any problems before many others do. Encourage your child to tell you about any safety concerns or report them to another trusted adult at school.

Please call school with any concerns for safety, or use Anywhere School’s anonymous 24-hour Safe School Helpline. The helpline is designed so you can report any wrongdoing that impacts our schools, our students or our staff, while protecting your privacy.

So of course I thought, gee, maybe there is some credence to these rumors he has been hearing.
As I said earlier, he was given a choice to stay or go and he is choosing to stay.
What a world we live in, eh?
Too much significance placed upon a date in history.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

My VisualDNA

Hokie Hope

It's difficult to find a way to address the tragic events that took place on the Virginia Tech campus on Monday, but I received this from my friend Tracy, a Tech grad herself, and it seems like a very positive way to show respect and support:

Virginia Tech family members across the country have united to declare this Friday, April 20th, an "Orange and Maroon Effect" day to honor those killed in the tragic events on campus Monday, and to show support for Virginia Tech students, faculty, administrators, staff, alumni, and friends. "Orange and Maroon Effect" was born several years ago as an invitation to Tech fans to wear orange and maroon to Virginia Tech athletic events. We invite everyone from all over the country to be a part of the Virginia Tech family this Friday, to wear orange and maroon to support the families of those who were lost, and to support the school and community we all love so much.

Friday, April 13, 2007

It's Snowing on Friday the 13th

Any significance?
I'm sure there is.
Perhaps it will mean good luck!
Like this little cat:
Speaking of weather, I really need to get out and care for my garden.
But with all this snow, it's kind of difficult (mostly because it's too damn cold, not because it's accumulating).
I do need to put some Shi Shi Dragons out there this year:
Apparently my post is having a Japanese flavor today.
I wonder why.
Hmm...especially since I ate Italian food last night.
I went out to dinner with Sheri and we had a great time!
I'd forgotten how much I missed her - and the sad thing is, she only lives about 15 minutes away.
Lazy friend am I.
Jean was supposed to come too but her husband faked a heart attack and got himself admitted to the hospital.
Honestly, if he's that desperate to keep her to himself (and away from me, obviously) perhaps we just need to plan a couples night out and include him too.
I'll be busy posting some pictures this weekend - tomorrow is my baby boy's birthday. He's changed a lot since this time last year. For one thing he actually made the honor roll.
How amazed am I?
We're trying to find a Wii for his birthday but we're having a wee bit of a problem locating one (tee hee).
Well that's actually a gift from his Titi, but even still, we can't find one here.
At Christmas they were everywhere, now they're not even on the internet.
So if anyone hears any inkling about stores stocking some Wii's, please let me know.
Perhaps this weekend I'll be able to get some writing, knitting, and cleaning done.
I read a review of this movie this morning and it sounds really good - perhaps I can fit that in too - I was thinking DN1 might want to go, but she may have a wee bit of trouble fitting her poor old mam into her life.
I love the weekends, don't you?
Have a great day!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

RIP Kurt Vonnegut

What sad news, Kurt Vonnegut has died.
If you remember, I am Mother Night.
I can recall reading Kurt Vonnegut when I was in 6th or 7th grade. I used to have to take trips with my mother and step-father - which is one of the reasons I believe I turned into a voracious reader - just to escape the "Easy Listening" music that was played in the car (to this day I still hate Mantovani).
So RIP Kurt Vonnegut - we'll continue to remember you through your words.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

10 reasons why I'm glad I don't live in Virginia anymore

Ten Reasons Why I'm Glad I Don't Live in Virginia Anymore
1. Traffic.
2. Traffic heading north on I-95.
3. Traffic heading north on I-95 at 1:00 pm!
4. Traffic on I-95 South beginning at 3:00 (just reverse the picture and fill in the HOV lanes).
5. Stupid drivers.
6. Stupid drivers with vanity plates.
7. The Beltway.
8. The President holding up traffic on the Beltway.
9. More traffic (Hi Famous Dave's!).
10. High priced housing (they're asking $419K for this one - it's 26 years old).
But there's more to like too....stay tuned.

We're Back Home

We made it back - this had to be the fastest trip we've made.
And I mean fast as in a speedy drive there and back - but we had a great time while we were down there.
Plenty of pictures to show you but not right now.
First things first.
All our unpacking is done along with the laundry.
Not that doing laundry is really all that difficult, it's not like I'm down by the river beating on my clothes with a rock.
Even still, it's good to get that stuff out of the way.
But plenty more still to do.
More later!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

On Our Way Home

We're heading back home today.
Lots of pictures to show you, but you'll just have to wait until later!
We had a good time, you'd think it had been years since we'd been in the Exchange, and not just 1 1/2 years.
Man, that's a long time.
Anyway, say a prayer for us - we'll be on our way at 1000 ET with an ETA of 1900 at the latest.
Off to work tomorrow.
Ciao bella!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Easter Sunday - Final Destination

We had a lovely Easter Sunday.
During church all the noisy kids sat in the back (or in Virginia Beach) and then we came home and had ham, sweet potato casserole, asparagus with hollandaise sauce, corn and rolls - it was yummy.
And wine.
Then after we had stuffed ourselves we didn't even stop to do the dishes, we got into the van, with the one who was the least drunk driving (that was me!), and drove down to Quantico to see thisThe National Museum of the Marine Corps.
It was amazing.
I can't even begin to tell you.
But I will try.
Even if you weren't a Marine, you definitely want to visit this place.
And if you are a Marine, expect to run into people you served with like I did.
So now we're back off to Quantico - have to hit the Exchange - they have Vera Bradley there at 30% off (I do miss shopping at the Exchange!) - and I'm going to get some golf gloves for my sister-in-law. Any Vera Bradley for myself? Maybe some hangers.
I have to keep my obsessions to a minimum.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Vaya Con Dios all the way baby

Well we made it.
We're here in Virginia.
Back to our old stomping grounds, if only for a long weekend.
I didn't think I would miss it as much as I did.
Well I didn't know that I was missing it until I came back down here.
What have I been missing?
The traffic on I-95 with the six lane highway and two lane HOV?
The stupid drivers?
Yup (sort of).
The blatant consumerism?
Jo-Jo's Soft Serve ice cream?
My crappy old house?
All of it.
And I certainly miss driving 85 mph and still being "with the flow of traffic."
Can't do that where I live.
Well, I may miss it a bit less when I run into all the traffic on I-95 again on Monday, but right now, on Saturday night, I'm feeling a bit nostalgic.
After all I spent (all together) 13 years of my life here in Northern Virginia.
And if you do the math I only spent 17 years in New York. Okay, plus 1 1/2 more years since we moved up there in August 2005.
And don't try to do the math - because I'm much more than 31 - yes, the lost years in between 43 and 31.
But anyway, I'm really almost more of a Virginian than a Yankee (and to Jean I'll always be a redneck I'm sure).
Hmm...something to think about.
Anyway - to answer Caroline's comment, I do have two pairs of the knitting needles with lights, but truthfully, my hands are usually in the popcorn during the movie so I don't even try to knit because I'm such a sh*tty knitter to begin with, I can't afford to get greasy butter all over a project that I can ruin by dropping stitches anyway! Which leads me to this thought: Do I go to the movies for the movie or for the popcorn. I still can't give a definitive answer.
And Angelika - thanks for the offer for Cadbury Mini-Eggs (my fav!) but here in my friend's house she has Longaberger baskets filled with them!!! She says their her favorite too! Ahhh...chocolate heaven.
Blades of Glory was a stupid movie - stupid funny and I enjoyed every second of it.
We've been taking lots of pictures for the blog, but can't post them until I get back.
So Happy Easter to all!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Movies Have I Seen

What an odd title, eh?
But one of the things I have done in the past couple of weeks is go to the movies.
I miss going to the movies - we used to go all the time in Virginia.
One of the advantages is that we would go on base and see them and they were free!
I've seen some bad movies for free, and walked out of some other ones that were a waste of my time.
DN1 and I even went to see the beginning of Chicago one time, just to see one or two songs performed.
Free is nice.
Well, then this little conflict started in Iraq and the money that was being used to pay for these movies so that servicemembers didn't have to was diverted to that little conflict.
We then had to start paying $1.00 to see movies.
Still not a bad deal, right?
So we moved up to New York and now we have to pay even more for movies.
Well, let me rephrase that. Because we're really not paying any more than we used to, and the movie theaters off-base, I mean in "the City" are just as far away as they were from us on Quantico, but we just don't go as much.
Priorities change, I suppose.
I don't know, I can't quite figure it out.
But, when the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie was released - WE HAD TO BE THERE.
I only wish that SN1 and DN1 could have been us because they were there the first time around.
This time we just had SN2 and DN2 - ready for TMNT: The Next Generation.
That's not what it is called, but that is what it felt like. SN2 is soon to be 16, so he remembers the Turtles and watched the cartoons, but DN2 has never seen the movies and doesn't know much about the Turtles except that mommy wants to go see them.
It was a highly entertaining film - kind of like a combination of Final Fantasy (Casey Jones reminded me of Vincent Valentine) and something else that if I had written this post when I meant to I could recall. Oh, I know, Lara "April O'Neil" Croft. That's it.
I had to explain how the turtles became ninja teenagers - DN2 didn't even know!
It was all good anyway - because I really enjoy going to the movies.
And on Wednesday night DN2 and I went over to see Meet the Robinsons.
That was really funny - I enjoyed it.
Sure it wasn't great, but some of the jokes were laugh out loud funny.
and I love to laugh.
Of course in our small town it appears that we are sometimes the only ones in the theatre laughing.
Talk about making me feel like an outsider, because it is an odd feeling -- I mean it's not like we're boisterous or obnoxious, but just laughing out loud at the parts we're supposed to.
Guess that's the drawback of living in a small town, right?
Today I was only supposed to work for a couple of hours but I ended up working for 4. What a drag.
But I did talk to my friend Sheri on the phone, wished her a Happy Easter and then zoomed out the door at 11.
What are my priorities?
Well DN2 is packing for our trip, but I want to go to the movies!
DH is taking the older kids to see Grindhouse - but DN2 and I are going to see....
(wait for it...).....
So that's all for now, folks.
No time to even scarf down a lunch, although it is a perfect (snow) day for my favorite meal -- grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup -- but I've gotta jet!
Showtime is at 2:10 and the movie theatre in town is a 5 minute walk from my house.
And then I have to get to the Devil's Store and buy some more of my favorite candies - with Easter almost over, I won't find these bad boys for another year.
Cadbury favorite.
Happy Easter to all - I'll try to blog over the weekend - oh that's right, because only two of you out there know where I'm going (kudos to Major Knitter, fellow Devil Dog).
And I'll leave you with a picture of an Easter Bunny with taste:

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sick? Lame? Nope, just lazy

Sorry, I've been uber-busy and just plain lazy lately.
And not too much going on around here.
And apparently I was even too lazy to blog on my one year blogiversary!
Yeah, story of my life.
Although get this - check this picture out: No, it's not dandruff, it's snow!!!
Can you believe I have to clean off my car this morning?
And it snowed last April 4th, I have proof!
I mean come on - Easter is on Sunday - flowers are coming up and everything!
I wouldn't be at all surprised if we were hit by a hurricane this summer - one that comes up the Erie Canal or something.
So what have I been up to?
Drinking a bit:
Okay, granted, this is from St. Patrick's Day, but I drink so seldom anymore that I have to have photographic evidence.
(Good thing I never carried a digital camera back when I was 18, eh?)
I celebrated my favorite aunt's 84th birthday:
And I saw some bears doing a little dance: (Kudos to DN2 for her mad photography skills.)
DN1 went on a drinking... er...bus trip to Toronto and their bus driver claimed to be the son of Mr. Green Jeans!
Was he telling the truth?
Could be, rabbit.
I loved Mr. Green Jeans.
Here he is with the Captain:
And speaking of boy bands, I heard the new Justin Timberlake song.
I didn't realize it was him because I really thought it was this group: Du Jour! Remember them from Josie and the Pussycats? Best part of the movie.
So there you have it - I'm all over the map.
Not much knitting going on because either everything I touch is cursed or it's just me.
I think it's me.
Planning a short trip this weekend - hopefully I'll be able to find my camera battery charger before I go so you can look at all the scenic spots along PA Route 15.
Any guesses as to where we're headed?
I'll give you a hint:

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Things you can tell just by hearing them #105

How I can tell we chose a brilliant, exceptional work-study student:

I'm in my office working and listening to iTunes (set on shuffle).
In walks the student with her timesheet for me to sign.
She asks, "Oh, are you listening to Neil Young?"
Me, silent with open mouth gaping at her in shock thinking, this child has heard of Neil Young?!?!
She says, "I have his greatest hits CD."
Me, still somewhat in shock, "You do? Now, do you have Live at Massey Hall?"
She says, "No, but I watched that with my boyfriend last weekend. It was great."
Instantly I walked out of my office and said to one of the ladies who I think is awesome (and not just because she openly admits to being a hippie, flower child in the 60s), "You know, there is another great reason why we hired M."
Hippie, Flower Child says, "Why?"
Me, "Because she likes Neil Young!"
Both of us crow over our exceptional, young, impressional, yet oh so brilliant work-study student.
I mean I thought only my kids know about Neil Young.
The man is still out there -- and chicks dig him!!