Monday, August 31, 2009

The Boat is In the Water.


And I planned on posting a bunch of pictures here today to show you the whole thing. But what I really want to do is make a video of the whole thing, because I've got some really cool progression photos. I think it will make a nice video. So I've gotta get around to that, but it won't be tonight.

Tonight, we had Chinese food to celebrate the fact that with Frankie at college, we are allowed to eat chinese food. :D

And tomorrow I have to start the early shift at work again (Groan!)

So I've gotta go to bed, like RIGHT NOW. Or else I'll NEVER be alive in the morning.

Good Night.
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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Move in day at Rowan University


We got up WAY too early, after a late night of partying. And then we headed down to Frankie's new school, Rowan University.

Move in day was pretty well organized. I didn't have to sit in traffic at the school - only on the Turnpike, and Rowan had nothing to do with that. There were plenty of people around to direct us to where we had to go. We backed in to a spot, unloaded, and had all of the kids carry stuff up to the room. And there is a LOT of "stuff."
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We had a lot of helpers...


A lot of Frankie's friends came down for the ride. About 2 hours one way, with traffic. It was very nice of them, and I know it meant a lot to Frankie.

And it was a good thing they came, because there really weren't that many people around offering to help. We did get there a little later, so that may be why.

So you could say we actually had THREE cars, because we had my car full of "stuff," and no room for anyone else; Thor drove the Thor-mobile with Nicky and Steven, my nephew; and Booth drove Frankie and the other kids. Then, Armand and his parents drove in a separate car. It was a little bit like ... a parade? A wagon train heading west? I don't know.
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The Steam Room


No, actually, it's the dorm room. Tiny. And with a bunch of sweaty bodies carrying in tons of "stuff", it got so steamy in there that my camera lens actually fogged over.

And you can probably see how tiny the room is, too. This is the angle with the beds -- most of the room.
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After the kids left -- I threw them out and told them to roam around the campus for a twenty minutes or so -- we started trying to organize. But, in the end, we did little more than put the sheets and blankets on the beds. Most of the organizing will be done by the roomies while they are hanging out tonight, I guess.

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We had a (nice?) lunch together


Well, the food was quite tasty. I just expected more choices -- they have so many stations and varieties of food to choose from in the cafeteria -- but it seemed like none of them were open. The choices were limited, and unusual -- no regular fries, only sweet potato fries? stuff like that.
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Make yourself Comfy.


Plenty of activities were set up in the "pit", which I didn't really notice. This is a blow up chair, the friends all sat down together for a quick picture before they said goodbye.
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The brothers hug goodbye.


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My hug goodbye


What kind of a unnatural mommy am I? Not only didn't I cry, but I took a quick picture as he walked over to give me a hug, so I could blog about it later!

I did call him about an hour after we left, though. Just to be sure everything was still OK. And I haven't been texting him... at least, not much. Only once.

After we left the college, we went to our friend's house, and took the boat out. It was Nicky's maiden voyage on the "Broken Drum." (Ya can't beat it.) I'll post those pictures tomorrow... so come back and visit!
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The Going Away party

We had a little going away party for Frankie, on the night before we took him to school. I took maybe 100 photos... here are just a couple... then later today, I plan on posting the pictures of College. Check back again tonight or tomorrow, ok?

The party started out being just a way to keep Frankie home the night before he left for college. I knew that his friends would want to see him off, so I told him to invite a few of them over -- not every single kid he knew, just a few -- and we would have a campfire.

But since I was having the kids, I figured I'd have the family too. And it grew to 30 ish people... and I wanted to keep it small.

William got here early with Gram and Pop. RJ stopped by early, but had to leave because he had to work on the ambulance squad.
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The girls were here...
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Booth was here...
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 Puff was here...
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His roomie came by for a while...
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There were plenty of other people, too... I didn't get great photos of everyone... but you get the idea.
People were hanging from the rafters!
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Everyone was milling around at 10:00 PM

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Chaos in the Toy Room


Kids were EVERYWHERE :D which actually makes me happy.
It makes Nick pretty happy, too.
No one was injured in the making of this photo. Alexander was tossed around a little, but he didn't seem to mind much.
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Soda Pong


The kids took over the family room for beer pong. NO, I don't let the kids drink beer. They had to play for soda, but they enjoyed the game anyway. And they were all sugared out and highly caffeinated.

I am so NOT posting this picture on facebook.

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The Grandparents were here, of course!

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Feeling left out in the rain...


No campfire, because it was a nasty weather night. But BBQ was on the menu, so I had the boys set up a little tent for over the grill, so Thor didn't get rained on while he cooked.
And since the kids took over the family room, the adults were left standing outside in the rain.
(But really, I don't think anyone minded... we all had fun.)
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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Wow that was a long hot day! But my oldest is off to college, and i'm out for drinks.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Ready to Launch

Frankie's been packing for college. This is just SOME of what he'll be bringing. (yikes.)


Frankie is the reason I started blogging in the first place. It was years ago, already. Amazing how quickly time flies. For those of you just tuning in, Frankie, my oldest son, has Crohns, and had serious problems that landed him in the hospital. At the time, the doctors would not make any promises -- they wouldn't say they could fix it, they wouldn't say he'd be OK.

So I started blogging to "keep in touch" with the family and friends who wanted to know what was happening -- which changed day to day -- and to keep myself busy, I guess, and because whenever I have a problem the only thing that helps me is to talk about it obsessively, and I really didn't have anyone to talk to like that. So I wrote it all out and put it on the blog, and that's the "Frankie Report" blog on my sidebar.

When Frankie got better, I handed over that blog to him, and told him HE should blog. But he's not really interested in writing. He's an engineer like his dad. But the blog is still there, with all the old posts, if you are interested. His last post was a list of everything he wanted to bring to college.

He's off to college to learn engineering. He's feeling great. He's had probably the best summer of his life. He is all optimism and expectation, and ready to jump out of the nest.

I'm not sad that he's going. I know I'm going to miss him, and I get moments of sadness thinking that by this time next week, he won't be here any more. But I'm not sad, because I'm happy that he's getting this chance.

When he was in the hospital, and also before that when he was so sick for all of those years, I didn't really think the day would ever come when he would be ABLE to leave home. I watched him sit on the couch in pain for quite a few years. And with the time passing, and the Crohn's going into remission, and with his life ahead of him, and his future so bright, I'm just THRILLED that he's leaving.

I think our relationship has always been close. Sometimes it's been too close, because he was very dependent on me when he was sick. And I know that his leaving won't hurt that relationship. He'll have a chance to miss me, and appreciate the good things about me, and I'll miss him. If he stuck around, though, we would be rubbing on each other's nerves. It's been happening a lot lately. And if he was home he'd be going out, and doing homework, and texting his friends, and on his computer. He wouldn't be spending his time with us anyway.

And besides. He'll be home for the weekend in three weeks. Sheesh. I'll barely have time to miss him.
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Monday, August 24, 2009

Hey Ya on the Ukelele!

I love this!

The Rose poem - Gather ye rosebuds while ye may

I found the poem that I was trying to remember. I recall my Gram reciting it to me when I was a kid -- she was often reciting poetry. That was just one of the things I loved about her.

Robert Herrick wrote this poem in the 1600's. It's supposed to be about youth and beauty fleeting, but I'm imagining it to be about summer fleeting, as well...

To the Virgins, to Make Much of Time

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may,
Old Time is still a-flying:
And this same flower that smiles to-day
To-morrow will be dying.

The glorious lamp of heaven, the sun,
The higher he's a-getting,
The sooner will his race be run,
And nearer he's to setting.

That age is best which is the first,
When youth and blood are warmer;
But being spent, the worse, and worst
Times still succeed the former.

Then be not coy, but use your time,
And while ye may, go marry:
For having lost but once your prime,
You may for ever tarry.

I don't really like that last stanza. I might write a rebuttal. What does a man know, anyway? Does Robert Herrick really think that I was in my prime when I was still sweet 16, or only until I got married? Hmph. It's a good poem, though.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Last Week of Summer


Well, this is it. This is the last real week of summer. Next Sunday will be the Sunday when school is starting again. Of course, since I work in a school, and I work all summer, you'd think that I wouldn't notice the difference. But there is a huge difference.

When school starts again, I have to wake up an hour earlier to go in to work, which is physically painful for me, being a night owl. Which means I need to go to bed earlier -- which is also a problem. I hate going to bed earlier. Plus, I have to start dressing more like I work in an office, and less "summer casual." (Which really isn't going to make THAT much of a difference in the way I look, it's just going to take more time. I feel like I need to at least pretend to style my hair and put on makeup.)

School starting again means that our nice peaceful office will become busy again, with parents interrupting every few minutes to drop off a lunch, talk to a guidance counselor, drop off money, pick up a cell phone, drop off gym clothes, drop off homework. And students coming in who've forgotten the combination to their lockers, because they never lock them -- but now someone else has spun the dial on the lock. And other students who need to fill out a report that things have been stolen from their lockers. Because they never lock them. I really don't mind the interruptions exactly, but I have to get up and walk to the front of the office everytime I am helping someone, because I can't hear well enough from my desk. So I'm up and down a lot. And sometimes it feels like I can't get anything done because of it.

The first day of school means it's time to start harassing Nick again... WAKE UP! Did you brush your teeth? Did you shower last night, or will you shower this morning? Don't you think you should eat something? Are you ready to go? Do you have homework? What are you doing after school? Shouldn't you be studying? Are you seriously watching Spongebob again?

And the first day of school this year means that Frank will be moving to college for the first time, which is going to be strange.

So this is the last week before all that happens. And I want to enjoy my week, I really do. I want to sit in the sun, and have a campfire, and leisurely read a good book on the patio with my feet in my babypool and a glass of iced tea by my side. And I want to sit around and chat with the kids. And plan a camping trip, maybe go hiking over the weekend... But there is quite a bit that has to get done this week. And the weather hasn't been cooperating lately, anyway -- and the mosquitoes are VICIOUS out there...

Smell ye roses while ye may. Wasn't that a line from a poem? Gram used to say something like that. So this week, I'm gonna try to make a point to smell me roses.
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Saturday, August 22, 2009

Movie Reviews: Julie and Julia, Time Traveler's Wife, and Inglourious Basterds

Ok, I did want to write about the movies... so here ya go... did you see these? Let me know what you thought of them!

I love movies, but I don't usually get around to seeing ANY, and the fact that I've seen three movies that are still in theaters at the same time, is SHOCKING! I'm pretty sure that I'm movied-out now. I don't expect to see anymore in the next few months. But here are my reviews...

1. Julie and Julia -- this movie is two stories in one, about Julia Child as she begins her career cooking and writes her cook book, and about Julie, who is beginning her life but doesn't feel like she's accomplishing much, and decides to start a blog about cooking every single recipe in Julia Child's cook book. I liked this movie, it was very pleasant. I LOVED Meryl Streep as Julia. I was glad I went to see it, and I would definitely watch it again, although I doubt I would pay to watch it a second time.

2. The Time Traveler's Wife -- I LOVED this book, and so I couldn't wait for this movie to come out. While I was waiting to go see the movie, I re-read the book, and loved it just as much the second time as I did the first.

But the movie disappointed me. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad movie. And I guess it's hard to create a movie from a book -- especially if it's a great book and has things in it that require you to suspend your disbelief, like time travel. I actually wasn't disappointed in the time travel parts. That worked fine. But the book had so many layers of attitude, or something, and I felt that in order to simplify it into a reasonable time for a movie, they got rid of that extra dimension. They made it into a lovely love story, but that wasn't the part I really liked. Sure, the love story is good. But I liked the gritty-ness of the book. I liked the contrast of his parents love for opera and violin, and his love for classic punk rock. The movie was all violin, and no punk rock. I didn't get the dichotomy of his character in the movie like I did in the book. He was supposed to be an educated, sensitive, lover, and also a violent, brawling, stealing, drinker. They tried to get that to come across, but I never FELT it in the movie. He wasn't "that guy" for me. And a few things felt downright creepy -- I was kinda weirded out by him showing up in the meadow the first time, and also, surprisingly, by the music they chose for the first dance at their wedding. Weird.

Anyway, I'm glad I saw it. I would watch it again. But I was disappointed.

3. Inglourious Basterds -- Wow. Wow. Hard to explain. Yeah, I liked it. And yeah, I would pay to see it again. In fact, I may NEED to see it again to really wrap my head around it. I really liked it. Surprisingly; it was Ultra violent, in parts, and I never like violence in movies. And there were TONS of subtitles. Which doesn't bother me at all, but I'm not sure how much other people are gonna hate that.

The story is all about Nazis vs. Jews/Nazi Resistance. And it's all about movies. It has SO MANY layers built in, which is quite impressive. You can say alot about Quentin Tarantino. He's a sick man, he's a genius, he's perverse, he's amazing. I guess the main messages I got out of the movie are -- hey folks, it's a movie. No matter how extreme the violence and how horrible the actors (actours? acters?) are treated, or treat each other, it isn't real. And yet, real people have treated each other this way, like for example, in the Holocaust. And good vs. evil, brave vs. coward, justified vs. not justified, turn the other cheek vs. revenge, is way more complex than people want it to be. It isn't easy.

It's a really complicated movie to wrap my head around. I loved it, I guess. Even though I needed to hide my eyes a LOT of times.

And oh yeah -- Brad Pitt? He's a really good actor, not just a pretty boy. I loved his character. He reminded me of my family from West Virginia. (Although he talked a little too fast for that, he should have slowed it down just a notch.) But I was very impressed by him.

Why couldn't Quentin Tarantino have directed Brad Pitt and Meryl Streep in Time Traveler's Wife???? I would have LOVED that. That is the movie that the book should have become.

So -- of the three movies I saw -- which impressed me most? Inglourious Basterds. Wow.

Yup, another Saturday...


... of me playing with my computer instead of cleaning the house like I'm supposed to.

But at least today it isn't gorgeous out, so I'm not going to be tempted to go outside and sit on the patio after I've gotten tired of playing with my photos. It's a rainy day and quite humid out. It's a good thing we didn't decide to go camping this weekend after all.

So, I haven't been blogging all that much lately, but that doesn't mean I haven't been on the computer... I'm playing a bunch of stupid games that are up on Facebook, like "bejeweled blast" and "farkle" and "farmerville." I haven't been very creative lately. Plus, I've had other things to do this week, meetings, appointments, what-have-you. I never seem to have much to say (at least nothing very coherent) for blogging. I think that I want other people to do my thinking for me, over the last few weeks. I haven't written anything much, but in the last two weeks, I've read two books, and I've seen three movies! Not to mention all of the blog surfing I've done, and tv.

What have you been doing lately?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Time is Flying

Another week is here, another weekend is gone. Time is passing by in a tight little spiral and it's making me dizzy.

This is the week of summer where Nick has nothing to do, so James is over to hang out with him. They sit around and wonder what they can do that's fun, but they are sitting around together together, so I don't feel too bad. They are so BORED... sigh... it's hard to be a kid.

This is the week for Frankie where he's gotta finish getting ready for school. He's got odds and ends of things to buy -- Q-tips, shaving cream, stuff like that. Plus, he needs to pack his clothes, which I keep telling him he needs to do NOW. I guess that's what I'm going to be doing tonight.

This is the week for me at work where I've finally caught up with the work I've been doing all summer, and I just need to try to stay motivated enough to get everything in tip top shape before the school year starts again. So far, I'm not too motivated.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

My head hurts.

I'm working on paperwork. That is the part of the house that I've assigned myself this weekend. I'm cleaning out the piles of paperwork that I never seem to get through.

I did a pretty good job yesterday, although you might not know it if you looked at it. Because a lot of it had just been thrown in a drawer anyway, but is now filed into a nice neat little accordion file. So it's more organized, but nothing looks too much better.

I'm also going through the check book. It's similarly messy, as my math skills are lacking, and I write things in, and then cross them out, and fix numbers, and get rather confused. Numbers keep shifting and nothing is balancing. Luckily, it's not balancing in my favor -- the bank says I have more money than I think I should have. And I looked all the way back to this time last year, and the numbers weren't balancing then either -- and I had finally just given up, noted that everything was way off, and continued on from there. If I can make the numbers be off by the same amount, then I can safely assume that this is now my money that's inexplicably in my account, and write checks on it. But, sad to say, the amount I'm off by has changed. So I still can't trust it. But I'm not done yet...

I'll let you know how it goes...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The absolute truth.

Absolutely. Without a doubt. The truth.
My house will never be clean.
Because I'm supposed to be cleaning it RIGHT NOW.
And instead, what am I doing????

Playing with my photos on my computer.

OK, I admit it.

My name is Sue, and I am addicted to my computer.
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Project: Nick

Frankie's almost ready to go to college. For a really long time, I've been trying to get him ready to grow up. It feels like he's done. Well, anyway, the influence that I can have on him is done. I'll have no control over what he is or is not doing at college, so I'm trying to let go as much as possible. (Like, for example, Frankie got a letter from Rowan University in the mail, detailing some of the plans they have prepared for the freshman when they move in. He asked me, "Do I really have to attend this stuff?" I was confused -- it all sounds fun! Of course you should attend! But no -- he's already been invited to some off campus party, and he'd rather do THAT. Yeah. Right. Do whatever, kid. Just DON'T do anything illegal, Be CAREFUL, and DON'T be mean to anyone. That's about all I can say.)

So, now that Frankie is on the launch pad and we are counting down to blast off, my thoughts are turning more and more to Project: NICK.

Last week, Nick was working Day Camp. It was his second week working it, and he didn't have Booth with him, so I guess he was more in charge; because Booth is a take-charge kind of guy, and when they worked together, I guess that Booth was probably the boss, and Nick was his back up/assistant.

Nick is interested in being a gym teacher when he grows up. I don't know if it's a good plan or not. I can certainly imagine him being a gym teacher, and having a good career. But -- and I know I've said this 100 times before -- it seems like every boy you talk to either wants to be a police officer or a gym teacher. It could definitely be a field that is flooded with applicants. I wish he reallllly, reallllly, reallllly wanted to be a plumber. Because THAT is a career I could see him making tons of money with, and being guaranteed a job. But, whatever. No glamour in plumbing.

So, in training to be a gym teacher, working day camp in the games area was a good idea. Plus, he's going to go back to coaching the little guys on the soccer team like he did last year. I'm going to enroll him in the high school's teacher apprentice program, too.

I asked Nick how he did with managing the little guys in the games; did they listen to him? Did they behave? Nick said yeah, they were aggravating but not bad. He said the kids kept pushing him, especially one particular kid. I asked him, "How did you get them to stop?" and he said,

"I asked the boy who was pushing me to put out his arm. He did, and I grabbed his arm with one hand, hoisted him onto my shoulders, spun him around and around, and then held him upside down by the ankles and shook him."

Oh. My.
"How could you do that? What did the kid say?" (Am I going to get a phone call from an angry parent?) (Are you crazy?)

"He loved it. Then all the other kids wanted turns."


Ok, the kid is only 16. He's got a lot of time.

I went out with his boss last night, the director of the day camp, Sueanne. I asked her how Nick did. I imagine she didn't see the spinning around thing, but she said he did great. All the boys loved him, she said. She said she felt a little bad for him sometimes, because he was always being mobbed by groups of boys.

I wonder if they teach you at teacher's college, the appropriate way to handle those kinds of situations???

Friday, August 14, 2009

Deep Thoughts

I've been thinking a lot of DEEP THOUGHTS lately :D which is a good thing, and actually, a lot of fun...

It all started with This Wonder-Ful Life which is Vincent's blog. He's been writing a lot of things that I think are true, and it turns out, I'm probably a Buddhist. Who knew?

Like... Buddhism is really a philosophy as much as anything else. And one thing about Buddhism that I like is that you shouldn't accept things just on faith, you should consider what you are being asked to believe, and decide if it makes sense or not.

I know a lot of people don't understand Buddhism, and this whole idea might freak some people out. But go take a look at the entries to Vincent's blog; it's pretty cool!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

SWAT day at work

SWAT day at work

Yesterday was "SWAT" day at work! When I pulled up in the morning, there were township emergency management vehicles all over the place, so I knew something was going on.

Even knowing that the township is running drills in case of an emergency, however, it is still a shock when you are walking around a corner and come face to face with a guy in cammo and a bulletproof vest and helmet with a rifle aimed at you!

And I felt rather bad for the first family, in the morning, who had come in to register their son for a new school. It's summer, so usually very few people are in the building, so we didn't have signs up or anything. I sent them down to guidance to register, and they left our office to come face to face with a whole platoon of guys with guns walking up the halls! "hey, kid, you better realize we take school security very serious around here!" That kid will be well-behaved!

It's a shame that we live in a world where we need to do these kinds of drills. But I'm glad they do them, since we do live in this world. You don't want the first time the police are in the building to be when there IS an emergency. You want them to know the layout of the building, to have practised some scenarios, to have an idea of what is going on. I just hope they never need to be here EXCEPT for practice drills.

Meanwhile, I'm starting to gear up for the fall. I've got a list of things to do already, and I'm trying to get a jump start. Here it comes, ready or not!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Julie and Julia: or, I blog for no reason.

Thor and I went to the movies tonight, to see Julie and Julia. I love to go to the movies... I don't know why we don't go more often! Well, actually I do know. It's because it cost $25. $10 each to get in and $5 for the candy. I love candy. I never get popcorn.

So that's probably why I don't get to the movies more often. Too much money. But I do intend to go back soon, when the Time Traveler's Wife comes out. I've gotta see that one, I loved the book.

But anyway, back to the Julie and Julia movie.

(Spoiler alert: Hey, if you can't figure out how this movie goes just by looking at the commercials, you probably don't want to read this. I don't give away some big ending, but... go see it. Make your own opinions.)

As you can probably imagine,I went because of the blogging, and dragged Thor because of the cooking. It was a pretty good movie. Thor said he liked it too. By "liking" it, I don't get the feeling he LOVED it, but he enjoyed it well enough... I'm glad I went to see it. I did really like it. But it did make me feel a little... uncomfortable....

The movie held up a mirror to me and my blogging, and I fell way short. For one thing, the Julie in the movie is really cute and young, and she's having a bit of stress because she's turning 30 and she hasn't accomplished anything "big".

I've turned 40, many years ago, and I haven't accomplished much of anything. And I'm not even young and skinny and cute anymore. :p

So she decides to blog, to give her life a sense of purpose, and to accomplish something.

Me too. I guess. I'm still not even really sure WHY I blog.

She has a purpose. Her blog is to record her cooking every one of Julia Child's recipes in one year.

I don't have much of a purpose. Back to that whole "why" I blog thing that I haven't figured out.

She blogs, but she also cooks, so even though her husband gets cranky about her blogging, he also gets to eat some amazing stuff. Thor, on the other hand, doesn't have that benefit. He just has to deal with the aggravation of me blogging with no fancy french cooking to make up for it.

Her blog becomes extremely popular, with tons of readers, attracts national attention, and she lives happily ever after.

I continue to blog in relative obscurity. Although I still intend to live happily ever after.

I guess the big issue here is "purpose" to my blogging. And I don't think my purpose is actually to attract an audience, or to accomplish anything big, or to get national attention. I guess my real purpose is to just write. Like a diary, except I know I do have SOME readers.

Maybe I should find a goal?

Probably not.

But it was a very nice movie. It didn't make me want to cook. I did come straight home and blog.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The end of the summer...

...hey, don't yell at me! It isn't my fault summer is flying by!

Looking at the calendar all year, the only thing I really thought about was how I was a little afraid of the backpacking trip... I was REALLY UNSURE how well I would do, if I could handle it, whatever. And most of my summer calendar planning was on Nick's behalf. Frankie is in charge of his own calendar. Thor just follows along with my plan, for the most part. I don't have many days off to make too many plans. But Nick had a whole summer free, and no job, and I wasn't going to let him sleep until 1 everyday and then play video games all night. So I scheduled his summer full of activities.
I think this picture is very symbolic of Nick's summer. Yup, that's his boxers flying from a flag pole. Nick flew his boxers from the flagpole on his week of summer camp. Then, at the shore house, there was a flag pole there too, and he flew his boxers again.

Well, the boxers are almost down. ;)

He's back from the beach house this weekend. Next week, he's working at the Cub Scout day camp again. Then, he has two weeks of complete freedom (well, not complete freedom. I'm going to make him do some things around the house, and do some summer reading.) And then I guess school starts.

Not much left to the summer.
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Friday, August 07, 2009

Star light, star bright,

first star I see tonight,
Wish I may,
wish I might,
get this wish
I wish
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