Thursday, August 31, 2006

Thursday Blurbs

1. One part Rose's Blue Rasberry Mix + one (or so) part vodka = one sweet tasting blue rasberry martini (shaken, not stirred). Recommended highly for Saturday nights after spending all day outside watching soccer.

2. Thank you very much to our "friendly league rival" team for inviting Woody and his teammate Jordan to play with them as guest players for their tournament. They had a fabulous time, especially Woody who, normally a keeper, doesn't get much playing time out in the field. Your parents are extremely gracious and I hope Jordan's mom and I didn't do to much damage with our loud cheering!

3. That (loud cheering) was just a preview for what you can expect when our teams play each other in October!

4. Oh and a special "thank-you-shout-out" going to Buzz's coach for deciding to hold practice on Mondays and Wednesdays this season (instead of the old Tuesday/Thursday schedule) because it fits in nicely with Woody's Tuesday/Thursday/Friday practice schedule. Yes, you read that right, soccer everyday through mid-November.

5. I'd better stock up on the Rose's Mix and vodka. Do they sell it in bulk?

6. Is it wrong to be secretly happy that of seven brothers in the family, my husband and one other brother are the only ones not going bald? Ha! Well, maybe if you knew some of my sister-in-laws you'd be more happy for me.

7. Like the one who was visibly PISSED when we bought a new car a few years ago. Oh, wait. Her husband is the other brother not losing his hair. Nevermind. We can't really afford a new car right now, but it might be worth it just to see that look on her face again!

8. Speaking of family...Hubby leaves today for Mexico to go visit his mom. She normally comes to stay with us once or twice a year but she had to cancel her plans twice this summer due to health problems. She suffers from diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritus. I really hope she is going to be okay.

9. I so much love and admire this woman. She gave birth to 13 children (and knows all their names), how can you not admire that?

10. Seen on a t-shirt of a student (on the same campus my boys attend) on the first day of school: "Silence is golden. Duct tape is silver." I wasn't sure whether I should be scared or merely amused.

11. I am the world's biggest hypocrite! Is there a "hypocrite" button I can post on my blog? I have no principals or values. Uggh! I did it kind of as one of those "wouldn't it be funny if..." things that you just laugh about but don't actually do. Then? I went ahead and did it. If you want to know what "it" was, send me an e-mail, cuz no way I'm gonna post it here!

12. No plans for Labor Day. Hubby will be gone, so I guess it is the perfect opportunity to check some stuff off the old "to do" list. But? Who knows how I'm going to feel come this weekend. I haven't checked my calendar, but I may be in "slug mode" for the next week or so.

That is all! :-)

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Our Kids' Education Courtesy of Nickelodeon

One day driving home in the car...

Radio: "blah blah blah blah something something, Atlantis, blah, blah, blather, blah, something..."

Woody: "Mommy, what is Atlantis?"

Me: "Atlantis? It's um, er (concentrating hard on putting some brain cells together to connect to the far reaches of my brain where my memory is located and occasionally retains useful information that I can retrieve and answer my children's questions) well, let's see...
Over 11,000 years ago there existed an island nation located in the middle of the Atlantic ocean populated by a noble and powerful race. The people of this land possessed great wealth thanks to the natural resources found throughout their island. The island was a center for trade and commerce. The rulers of this land held sway over the people and land of their own island and well into Europe and Africa. This was the island of Atlantis."

Well, okay. I didn't really say all that. I googled Atlantis later to impress the internet with my vast knowledge of Greek Mythology. What I really said was more like, "well, it was a city and I'm pretty sure it is a myth but supposedly the people of the city angered the gods so the gods basically destroyed the city and sank it under the sea."

Woody: "What do you mean? Like they made a big earthquake or something?"

Me: "Yeah, something like that. It was a myth though. I don't think it really happened."

Buzz: "I thought Cosmo [from Nickelodeon's Fairly Odd Parents] did it."

Monday, August 28, 2006

First Day of School Bios

Name: "Buzz"
Age: 8 (in 22 days)
Grade: 3
Today's outfit: maroon & black basketball shorts, black "take your hands off the controller and no one gets hurt" tee, red & black track jacket and black "turf "shoes
Breakfast Food: two toasted Eggo waffles, syrup and strawberry/kiwi Hi C cooler.
Contents In Back Pack: none (we always wait for "the list" from the teacher so we know what to buy)
Goals For The 06/07 School Year: 1. To not lose any outerwear (sweatshirts, hats or jackets) 2. To not forget to bring homework material home 3. To get my mom to drop me off on time so I don't have to many tardies To be better organized.
Most Exciting Thing About The First Day of School: "It is also the first day of soccer practice!"
Hardest Thing About The First Day of School: "Not being able to sleep last night because I was so excited!"

Name: "Woody"
Age: 11 (for the record: 2 years away from being a teen and 5 years away from getting a driver's license)
Grade: "6th baby, oh yeah!"
Today's Outfit: Black "Jordan" tee-shirt, black & red basketball shorts and black "my mom almost peed when she found out how much her aunt paid for them" Nike (some fancy name) running shoes.
Breakfast Food: "I usually skip breakfast but my brother's waffles smelled good so I had some too and a glass of juice."
Contents in Back Pack: Hmmm... I really should have checked (note to self: check tomorrow).
Goals for 06/07 School Year: 1. To get back on the honor roll. 2. To not get in any trouble (even though if I do it absolutely won't be my fault. I swear.) 3. To finally get to go on the "good" field trips. 4. To be and to walk to school if my mom doesn't start dropping me off on time every day!
Most Exciting Thing About The First Day of School: "To see everyone again. To show them my shoes (I didn't know how much they were and she wanted to buy them for me!) and to check out the girls see who is in my class."
Hardest Thing About The First Day of School: "Waking up at this ungodly hour and having to pose for 'first day of school" pictures, again. When does that stop anyway? When I'm in college? Enough already...we're late!"

Friday, August 25, 2006

Most Quotable Friday

Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones.
- Phillips Brooks

The two hardest things to handle in life are failure and success.
- Dr. Joyce Brothers

Just when you think you've graduated from the school of experience, someone thinks up a new course.
- Mary H. Waldrip

Once you have them by the funny bone, their hearts and minds will follow.
- Robert Wieder

If you can accept losing, you can't win.
- Vince Lombardi

Destiny is not matter of chance. It is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.
- William Jennings Bryan

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Thursday Blurbs

1. A warning to all moms: please don't let your babies grow up to tell their own birth stories to people you know (but not that well) and who are a captive audience because you are giving them a ride home in your car. I'm just saying ladies, it's um, a bit awkward.

2. But not as awkward as when they tell the birth story incorrectly and confuse it with their sibling's birth story and you feel compelled to set the record strait and tell the correct birth story not really taking note of the confused and "why the hell are you telling me this?" look on the person's face, because of course you are driving and not looking at their expression...but once you realize the "ickiness" of what you are saying and how it must sound you decide since you've almost finished the story it might be too weird at that point to just stop... so you finish telling it...albeit very lamely.

3. Does anyone's dog howl at police/ambulance sirens? If they do, are they in a semi-trance when they do it?

4. To the parents of the kids that were playing soccer against my son's team last weekend for the tournament championship and called our boys a "junk team," you might want exercise a little restraint with your comments or at least use some volume control on the sidelines. You are there to cheer and support your kids not berate their opponent.

5. A special note to the mother that yelled "FUCKING JUNK" at the top of her lungs after one of our boys committed a foul on the field, ummm... just be grateful that when you went to use the portable potty after the game was over that it didn't get tipped over. I'm just saying.

6. Maybe it was just me because I was tired when I saw it, but that movie Monster House really bothered me. The premise was really dark and bizarre and I just didn't like it. I think it must have been written strait out of someone's real life reacurring nightmare. It made no sense otherwise.

7. We're going to see "Invincible" and "How To Eat Fried Worms" tomorrow. Hope those work out better.

8. I wish that before I called the man, told him that my kids found his cell phone at the park and put it out in my mail box for him to come pick up at his convenience... that they told me they had used it to take pictures... (((sigh)))

9. There has been a dilemma brewing for the last six weeks or so and today, suddenly out of nowhere about 10 things fell into place and our path has become clear. It just sucks that someone has to show their true ugliness and selfishness before we are able to make the correct decision.

10. Drove by the kids school earlier today and there is still construction going on with a chain link fence closing off the entire campus. The kids think maybe their summer will be extended a few days until they finish the job. I had to shatter that fantasy mid-smile because I will cut a hole in that chain link fence come Monday morning and bus in my own teachers if I have to. SCHOOL WILL RESUME ON MONDAY MORNING!!!!

11. Buzz got $5 from the tooth fairy (WHAT? Doesn't everyone?). On our way home today the kids asked me if we could go to 7-11. Buzz offered to pay with his $5. I asked if he had brought it with him and he pat his pocket, pulled it out and showed it to me. I parked outside and let the two of them go in by themselves. A few minutes later Buzz came running out and said he left his money in the car. We looked around and didn't find it. I pulled another $5 out of my wallet and sent him back in to pay for their stuff. I have no idea how he lost his money. I asked him later when he was going to pay me back and he said "the next time I get money from the tooth fairy."

Monday, August 21, 2006

4 Days In My House... A Pictorial

Day 1 - hubby's bartending shirt is left draped over the kitchen chair
Day 2 - a second shirt is added Day 3 - a third shirt? why not...
Day 4 - the shirs are spreading to another chair

On the fifth day I couldn't take it anymore.
They had to go.
I put them in the washer.
I put them in the dryer.
I hung them up in the closet.
But I took pictures for evidence...because I seem to be getting weird like that.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Most Quotable Friday - a parable

An old man, a boy, and a donkey were going to town. The boy rode on the donkey and the old man walked. As they went along they passed some people who remarked it was a shame the old man was walking and the boy was riding. The man and boy thought maybe the critics were right, so they changed positions.

Later, they passed some people that remarked, "What a shame, he makes that little boy walk". They then decided they both would walk.

Soon they passed some more people who thought they were stupid to walk when they had a decent donkey to ride. So, they both rode the donkey.

Now they passed some people that shamed them by saying how awful to put such a load on a poor donkey. The boy and man said they were probably right, so they decided to carry the donkey.

As they crossed the bridge, they lost their grip on the animal and he fell into the river and drowned.

The moral of the story?

If you try to please everyone, you might as well kiss your ass good-bye.

- Author unknown

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Thursday Blurbs

1. Yes, this is a blatant rip off of the already established "Thursday Thirteen" that you see on some of you favorite blogs. Oh, you've never heard of it? Umm, then nevermind. However, if any one is offended please send me to blogging jail or whatever it is they do to people that steal borrow from other blogs.

2. If you are not offended by stealing borrowing ideas from other blogs then you won't be offended that I stole borrowed this cartoon from the internet, so that I could share it with you (enjoy).

3. Starting this weekend, all weekends thru November 19th will be scheduled around a minimum of 2 soccer games and for those really special weekends, let's squeeze in 5 games... just for the heck of it.

4. Oh, and for those "special weekends" when there will be 5 games? Let's make sure I have snack duty for at least two of those games, that hubby will be working both of those days, is unable to help me get two kids to two different games which start at exactly the same time and that at least one of the games is really, really, really far away.

5. My grandfather is turning 90 in October. Awhile ago my aunt asked me to join her for a few days in Hawaii (where he lives) to celebrate his birthday. By myself. No kids. HAWAII. Let me re-cap that. 4 days-Hawaii-no kids. I told her I'd think about it (I'm so there).

6. Some alternate titles for this post, which I'm considering to be a regular feature in addition to my "Most Quotable Fridays": a) Thursday Buffet b) Thursday Offerings c) Thursday Pick-It (pick one and leave a comment, uh please?) d) Thursday 's Week in Review e) Thursday's Blog Filler

7. I finally saw#91's new place! It is nice. A newer condominium complex that he shares with one other guy. I think his bedroom is bigger than mine. Somehow, I don't think that is fair. On second thought, he doesn't have any furniture in there besides his bed, so I guess it isn't that big after all. He is babysitting his brothers this week (Woody and Buzz).

8. Drama is creating lots of drama for herself. I won't go into detail but knowing her as I do, this is part of her pattern. She is not putting her health or the baby's health in danger, but she seems to be demanding a lot of attention. If I sit back and resist the urge to "rescue" the situation will resolve itself. But, yes, I worry.

9. I am on vacation next week. The last week before the kids start school. We will mostly be staying in town (because in addition to the multiple games per weekend, there is also 4 days/week practices). Monday, however (no practice) I promised the kids I'd take them and a guest (to make an even 4) to Six Flags Marine World in Vallejo, CA. Buzz was in a stoller the last time we were there. It should be fun. Other planned activities include, school shopping, bowling, maybe a movie and ice skating at Logitech Ice. This is the same building where the Sharks train so (maybe if we're lucky) we'll be able to get a glimpse.

10. Speaking of hockey. We saw the funniest thing yesterday! We were looking for a new stick for Buzz and in the store was a life size poster of Joe Thornton. However, the picture was from when he played for the Boston Bruins so someone from the store took a pair of Sharks' colored hockey socks and a Sharks' jersey and positioned them strategically on the poster to "replace" the Boston uniform. I wish I had my camera.

11. Hubby still hasn't told me that, a) he found my blog b) he reads it semi-regularly and c) I'm not going to be mad when he does tell me. If he doesn't fess up soon, I'm going to start telling embarassing stories about him (which may or may not be true). Hint: Remember how I got you to smile in our wedding picture? Cuz, I'm sure the internet is dying to know...

12. OMG! Only 11 days (here) until SCHOOL STARTS!

13. (because let's make it exactly like the "Thursday Thirteen" idea that I stole borrowed) Bonnie B., if you are back in town and checking in, please see the Bonnie Made Me Do It Post, because, well it was dedicated to you (and your mom).

That is all!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Restored Balance

Woody got back safe and sound last night. And suddenly out of nowhere, balance was restored. I didn't really realize how much I missed him (how much we all missed him) until he was back in our home. And? He brought gifts!

As I retired to my room to finish folding the last of the weekend laundry I listened to the familiar sounds. The joy in my younger son's laughter as the two of them played one of their made up games. The lift in his voice as he peppered his older brother with questions and the excitement he gathered when updating him on the latest round of the Disney Channel Games.

As I sorted the socks I resisted the urge to turn on the T.V. and opted instead to let myself be entertained by the giggles, the whizzing sound of a flying hackey sac and the thud it made upon contact. The dog was barking, trying to get in on the game and his paws were making the rapid clicking noise on the tile floor as he ran between the boys. I heard my husband speaking to them, his deep voice vibrating down the hallway. At one point he offered $5 to anyone who could catch one of the flies that had infiltrated our living room while the front door was open. This set off another rush of sounds and peels of laughter as their bodies moved around to face the challenge.

"Enjoy it while it lasts," I thought to myself, smiling. "For tomorrow the battles will commence." Yes, tonight they rejoice, but tomorrow the rivalry will resume, the feelings will be bruised and the mind games will be picked up where they left off.

The last pair of socks was folded and placed neatly in my husband's top drawer as I let out a deep sigh. It was getting late and I looked around for something else to tidy up or otherwise occupy a few more minutes before I would have to end the evening and send everyone to bed.

A little while later the house was quiet. The kids were in their beds, Nico was happily in his spot under Woody's bed and there would be no late night sneaking in my room to sleep with us. His nighttime companion was home and I could sense his happiness and feelings of security.

As hubby and I settled down to go to sleep I could physically feel the restored balance and I was momentarily content. I closed my eyes, but something in the back of my mind wouldn't let me take that final step into unconsciousness. I just had to know something.



"I was just wondering. That fly catching thing? Is that retro-active? Cuz, I'm a little short on cash."

Monday, August 14, 2006

He's Back...

...well, almost anyway. Woody comes home tonight from his week long visit with my aunt and uncle in Oregon. Right now they are probably loading up the car and closing up the beach house in Manzanita. Then they will head back to Hillsboro (suburb of Portland) and get him ready for his 6:15 flight. It has been sooooooooooooo quiet! I've had a lot of one on one time with Buzz which has been great. He is becoming very independent and I am amazed at how he seemingly entertained himself for the entire week. The last two nights he has gotten on the San Jose Sharks' website and played highlights from last season. He turned up the volume really loud and ran around the house celebrating each goal. Oh, and bless his little heart for him asking me my opinion on where he should have his birthday party.
"Mommy, where do you think I should have my birthday. At really expensive place A? Or less expensive place B?" Hmm. Let me think about it honey (gah!).

The funniest thing about Woody being gone was the dog sneaking into my room to sleep with us. Normally he sleeps either under Woody's bed or in Woody's bed with him. Buzz, who has the top bunk and doesn't like to sleep alone, set up camp on our floor, which left the dog to sleep on his own. Hubby is normally able to keep the dog in check. He knows he is not allowed in our bedroom, especially if hubby is home. However, Nico, who has a healthy fear of hubby, would not be deterred and was very persistant in not giving up. Hubby kicked him out several times each night but every morning there he was, fast asleep on Buzz's blanket. Apparently, like Buzz, he doesn't like to sleep alone.

Although I enjoyed my time with Buzz, valued the break from being "mediator extraordinaire" and relished a week off from the heavy commute to soccer practice I really ran in to a major road block mentally. I'm really bad with facing and accepting change. On those quiet evenings while Buzz was entertaining himself and hubby was out, the winds of change were whispering to me and I tried so hard to shut them out. I didn't want to hear it, I certainly didn't want to think about it and I most definitely didn't want to accept it. So, a couple dozen chocolate chip cookies, half a box of fudgecicles and all my emergency chocolate later, I had the largest sugar induced headache known to man. And through my self-induced pain I still denied the truth. Saturday and Sunday I nursed a bottle of chardonnay for what was by then a blatant attempt to stuff down any thoughts of change and simply float the weekend away.

This morning I woke up not only to the fact that Monday mornings are a bitch in more ways than one, but to the reality that changes are coming at me, whether I see them, want them or accept them. They aren't so much tough changes as they are"part of life" changes, but the volume of them is what has got me overwhelmed. They run from the mundane (getting the kids ready for school) to the worrisome. From upcoming family obligations to upcoming constant demands on my time and a miriad of other little things sprinkled in between. Nothing earth shattering but enough to get me rattled and enough to shake my calm. Nothing like waking up in the morning and getting slapped in the face.

Mondays are funny like that.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Most Quotable Friday

Do It Anyway

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

-Mother Teresa

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Bonnie made me do it...


The Babaloo family.

The happy looking fellow on the left is my (11 y/o) nephew, Ya Ya. His actual name is Eduardo, however, when my son was little he couldn't pronounce it and it came out as Ya Ya. Everyone (even his own mother) has called him that ever since (hmm... maybe that is why he is not smiling?) Next to him in the dark blue polo shirt is another nephew, Jacobo. He is 25 (26?) and single ladies! Next to him in the black shirt is #91, my (step) son (he's not so single, see the next photo with his gorgeous girlfriend, Flo). In green is Woody and next to him is younger brother Buzz. The two old-farts? That would be I, Babaloo and hubby (who is also taken and might freak if he sees I posted his picture... if this post disappears suddenly, you'll know why) I think this is how we look most of the time...although I seem to be having an awfully good hair day so I'm going to say I DON'T ALWAYS look like this.

I guess Ya Ya is just really anxious for cake... either that or he is really growing to resent being called Ya Ya. He's usually a very happy kid, honest!

This is my (step) daughter, Drama. She'd kill me if she knew I posted this one. I'll try and find a more flattering picture. She is absolutely beautiful (I think), even when she's windblown and cold at the beach!

So, that's them. I hope Bonnie's mother approves. If not, Patti (Bonnie's mom), I'll send you some others for you to post on your blog!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Fun With Blogrolls

OR, the one where I was really bored and this is what happened...

There Once Was A Girl who grew into a Busy Mom . It didn't bother her that amongst the other moms she was considered a White Trash Mom . She thought herself, instead, more of an Average Mom with Tightknit Mom tendencies who always aspired to be a laid-back and casual Sweatpants Mom. She would often daydream Of Socks and Men while living her true-life Adventures In Parenting and writing her memoirs titled Chronicles of an Exhausted Mom under the pseudynym of Babaloooo (yes, I know I don't have my own blog on my blogroll, but this is my time wasting, blog filler excuse for a post, so I'll just take that liberty). Most of her life was an Open Book and with her bunch of kids that took up Half of the Sky, she was one Crazy Momcat most of the time.

In other (non-related) news:

Did you hear what's going on in Jodi's World? She left her job as a Socialworker/Frustrated Mom and moved to Vegas to become The Great Sparlini! I mean one minute she's all Debbiedoeslife and the next she's all "Nothing To See Here, I'm moving on and am no longer The Kept Woman."

Yeah, whatever. I'm always the last to know. I mean, things like This Could Only Happen To Me, right? And, can somebody please tell me, What About Mommy? I never get a good answer to that question. You don't have to be a Sarcastic Journalist to do a little Soul Gardening amidst all the Suburban Turmoil. So come on, you can be Mommy Off The Record and tell me. ..
Exactly what is a Niihaus? Is it the kind of Joy Unexpected you experience on your first trip to Mamaritaville?

Luckily (for anyone reading today) I don't have a longer blogroll.

Thanks for playing.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

The Joys of Being 7

According to Buzz...

When there is a hundred fun and interesting things to do... there’s nothing to do.

However, when you are stuck at your mom’s office for the day and there is nothing fun or interesting to do... calling mommy on her office phone from her cell phone is the funniest thing ever!!

When you run into your mom’s boss in the restroom, it is fun to describe to your mom the way he washes his hands... even funnier is the pained expression on your mom’s face when you tell her the story...

It isn’t too important to match.

It is fun to put pretzel sticks between your fingers and pretend you are the guy from X-Men.

The thought of going to McDonald’s makes everything okay with the world.

You still love your mom and aren’t ashamed to yell it out in public.

Having an ATM card means you always have money.

You are clever enough to get on the internet with your mom’s cell phone... without being quite accountable for charges that occur.

When you grow up and have a lot of money you want to buy your dad a new when he picks you up you will have air-conditioning.

It is fun to leave yourself messages on the answering machine... so you can hear what your voice sounds like.

Monday, August 07, 2006

And Then There Was One

Well, for one week anyway.

Buzz and I just took Woody to the airport. He is flying up to Portland to visit with my aunt and uncle for one week. This a tradition that started when my daughter was younger. Back then, we used to have a "ladies only" family get together at my aunt's beach house. The boys were allowed because they were little and didn't have to much testoserone pumping through them yet. Or at least not enough to complain about our female oriented activities. The annual event was called the "E (estrogen) Weekend" After the "e weekend" my daughter would stay an extra week with my aunt and get completely spoiled. Now it's Woody's turn. I talked to her last night and she said the first thing they were going to do was go to the grocery store and pick out all his favorite foods. After that, she said, they were going to go to Nike Town. This is all before he unpacks his suitcase! (((sigh))) He'll never want to come home!

The airport was a zoo, but we got him off okay. As we said goodbye, he told me not to cry. When did he start taking care of me? He looked so grown up getting on that plane all by himself. It sure will be quiet without him.

So, Buzz? What do you want to do this week while your brother is gone?

Buzz: Can we go to Denny's?


Buzz: I really want pancakes. Can we go?

So, it will be quiet.... but with pancakes!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Most Quotable Friday - a parable

Sometimes your biggest weakness can become your biggest strength.

Take, for example, the story of one 10-year-old boy who decided to study judo despite the fact that he had lost his left arm in a devastating car accident.
The boy began lessons with an old Japanese judo master. The boy was doing well, so he couldn't understand why, after three months of training, the master had taught him only one move.
"Sensei," the boy finally said, "shouldn't I be learning more moves?"
"This is the only move you know, but this is the only move you'll ever need to know," the sensei replied.
Not quite understanding, but believing in his teacher, the boy kept training.
Several months later, the sensei took the boy to his first tournament. Surprising himself, the boy easily won his first two matches. The third match proved to be more difficult, but after some time, his opponent became impatient and charged; the boy deftly used his one move to win the match. Still amazed by his success, the boy was now in the finals.
This time, his opponent was bigger, stronger, and more experienced. For a while, the boy appeared to be overmatched. Concerned that the boy might get hurt, the referee called a time-out. He was about to stop the match when the sensei intervened.
"No," the sensei insisted, "Let him continue."
Soon after the match resumed, his opponent made a critical mistake: he dropped his guard. Instantly, the boy used his move to pin him. The boy had won the match and the tournament. He was the champion.
On the way home, the boy and sensei reviewed every move in each and every match. Then the boy summoned the courage to ask what was really on his mind.
"Sensei, how did I win the tournament with only one move?"
"You won for two reasons," the sensei answered. "First, you've almost mastered one of the most difficult throws in all of judo. Second, the only known defense for that move is for your opponent to grab your left arm."

- Author unknown

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Kitty Kismet, part 2

So, I ended up taking two kittens. I had the tan colored one, that I picked originally, and the little reddish, orange one whose mom picked me. I learned pretty fast how to take care of them. I learned, for example, that when I found kitty poop in my shoes that meant the litter box needed changing. I learned that the couch will be scratched (and ruined) whether I liked it or not and that I will share my bed and that the areas behind my knee caps are reserved for the cats on especially cold nights.
About 6 months later, on New Year’s Eve, I came home from a night of celebrating only to find that my kitties were gone! The next afternoon, when they didn’t come home my anxiety turned into despair. I combed the neighborhood looking for them but didn’t see any sign. They were gone. Two days later I heard a “meow” outside the window and when I went to look it was PC, the reddish, orange cat! I opened the door and without any invitation he walked in like he had only been gone for 10 minutes! The other one never showed up and I, to this day, never found out what happened to him, nor where PC been for three days.
Fast forward to 3 and-a-half years later. It is summer again and a lot of changes have taken place. I was now married, raising two (step) children and had just given birth to my first child. For many reasons we (hubby and I) decided that we needed to find another home for PC. It was a very hard decision for me to make and I had put it off for as long as I could. Besides being completely overwhelmed with a new baby, taking care of two children and dealing with a lot of extended family strife, we were also keeping the fact that we had a cat on the down-low from the property managers because we were not allowed to have pets. Unfortunately, with everything going on in my life, my precious kitty who used to be number one on my priority list was slowly moving down the totem pole into obscurity as well as becoming a source of conflict between hubby and I. Hubby complained about the smell, the cat hair and the scratching of the furniture and I could not keep justifying it. Things came to a head one evening when hubby went to check on the baby, who was napping in his crib, and found the cat in there with him. He had a fit and I lost my resolve.
I conceded and began asking around to see if anyone could or wanted to take my cat. A former co-worker agreed to take him He had been wanting to get a pet for his 4 year-old daughter and plans were made. We arranged to meet and said our final goodbyes in a Tony Roma’s parking lot. As I stroked his head and looked into his eyes for the last time, I felt the strangest sensation that he understood that we were saying goodbye and that it would be the last time he would see me. With a heavy heart I watched him drive off.

A few hours later the phone rang and it was my former co-worker. “Babaloo,” he said. “Something is wrong with the cat. He is totally throwing up and making gagging noises.”
Hearing the alarm in his voice, I tried my best to calm him and reassure him that the cat hadn’t been sick and that most likely it was his own hair that he was throwing up and to make sure he had plenty of water.

Two hours later he called back. “Babaloo,” he said. “The cat is dead...he’s...totally dead. I don’t know what to do.”
OMG, I totally freaked out. How is that possible? I just had him in my arms. How could he just die like that? He was only 4 years-old. He was never sick a day in his life. Then, it struck me as I remembered that last moment we shared together. He knew he was never going to see me again. Somehow, he knew. Is it possible he died of a broken heart? It was both a disturbing as well as a comforting thought. And? I really didn’t have any other explanation. We had a connection and once it was broke, he broke as well.

The End

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Kitty Kismet, part I

It was the middle of summer and I was staying with friends for a few weeks while the place I was moving into was getting ready. My friends' place was a modest two-bedroom apartment in cozy four-plex style complex. There was a friendly cat that belonged to one of the neighbors that just had kittens. She was very sweet and would come by once and a while for a little attention and an occasional scratch behind the ears when I was sitting outside. After saying hello and making small talk with the neighbors they asked if I would like to take one of their kittens when I moved. I’d never had a cat before (I’d never had any kind of pet before except a gold fish growing up) so with the enthusiasm of someone who didn't know what they’re doing, I excitedly picked out tan colored kitten. I went over a few times a week to check on my new kitten. In the litter was a tiny little reddish/orange ball of fluff that couldn’t open its eyes. He was the runt of the litter, I was told. They weren’t sure if he was even going to make it or if he would ever open his eyes. I felt sorry for the little guy as the other kittens would come over for some attention and he would stay quietly by himself. Once the kittens were old enough to be weaned from their mom they began to leave the apartment one by one to their new homes.
One day, shortly before I was to move into my new place, I was sitting alone in my friend’s living room. It was very warm and I had the sliding door open in hopes of catching a late afternoon breeze. As I looked up from what I was doing, I saw the mom cat walk right in to my friends' apartment. She meowed at me a few times then walked back out. I didn’t know if she wanted me to follow her (like some kitty version of Lassie. Was someone in trouble? Did they need my help?) and I was just about to get up and look for her out of the window when she returned. With her was her littlest kitten, the reddish, orange one that couldn’t open its eyes. It followed right behind her into the apartment. Intrigued, I sat back down and watched as she brought the little thing about four feet away from me and slowly, methodically began cleaning his face. She kept at it until all the build up around his eyes was cleaned away and he opened his eyes, for what was probably the first time. And? They were gorgeous! The most incredible aqua marine color I had ever seen in a feline before. Satisfied with her work, she looked at me one more time, meowed and walked out the door. BY HERSELF. The little kitten and I just stared at eachother in bewilderment. I asked him, “Does that mean you’re mine now?”

To Be Continued...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Blown Away...

By the news, the gifts, the surprise get-away and the chocolate! Where to start?

The news: I was out with the kids Friday evening when I got a call from #91. He wanted to know if I'd be home later because he had some "stuff" to tell me and wanted to come over. *Groan* He had stuff? That he had to tell me in person? Hmm. My first thought was he needed money. My second thought was that his little brother (from his bio-mom) needed help. As I wondered aloud these two possibilities, Woody (in all his 11 y/o wisdom) said he bet it was because he was getting married. Then? It clicked. I bet his GF is pregnant. I hate it when I'm right.

She is due in April... more to follow.

The gifts: Wow. The boys kept telling me they were going to get me endless varieties of chocolate for my birthday, so imagine my surprise when I peeked in the gift bag they presented and saw... jewelry boxes! They gave me the most beautiful and feminine watch I've ever seen, which hubby said was thoughtfully and carefully picked out by Buzz. In the other box was a gorgeous silver heart pendant with a delicate little design that (I'm told) was equally, thoughtfully picked out by Woody! Hubby also gave me some perfume from Victoria's Secret and, gulp, 40 long stem roses!

The surprise get-away: And, if the gifts weren't enough, Hubby arranged for us to have dinner and spend the night in Monterey. Just the two of us! Alone! What a perfect night. What a perfect surprise. He took me to a French restaurant that overlooked the harbor and old Fisherman's Wharf. The food? To die for. I'm still full, seriously.

The chocolate: Remember this post when I talked about not eating chocolate since the beginning of 2006? 7 months and 29 days. Without chocolate. That all ended on Saturday when I ordered this beautiful thing. It was called sac de chocolat. OMG! It was actually a vanilla/mocha milkshake inside a dark chocolate "sack." My only wish at that moment was that I had forsaken the rest of my meal so I could have been able to do it justice and finish the whole thing. Sadly, I could not. But I sure as hell tried!

Sunday morning after we checked out of the motel we had breakfast in a little place on Fisherman's Wharf. Along with my eggs and potatoes I had a chocolate chip pancake (oh yes I did!). After that we headed home. That night we barbequed grilled some seafood skewers, chicken, garlic bread and corn for dinner, followed by a chocolate/peanut butter ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery. I guess I'm done (with chocolate) until the holidays? We'll see.

All in all it was a fabulous weekend, thanks to hubby (who may or may not be reading today) who really came through and made it so special that I'll remember it, always.