Thursday, December 24, 2009

This is CNN

I feel so cool. I got a shout-out on CNN this week from the man himself, Tony Harris. Now, if I could only win a Beat 360 t-shirt, I'd be in heaven!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

An Early Birthday

We had an early birthday party for Riley today at Jump 4 Joey so that would not interfere with the holidays--many of her friends from school were able to come. They had a blast!!

She had pizza, lemonade, an ice cream cake from Cold Stone Creamery (devil's food cake with chocolate ice cream mixed with Kit Kats) and I made "magic wands" (pretzel rods dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with colored sugar) to go with her Harry Potter cake.

Our friend George took a couple of videos:

Alex, Riley and Paul in the birthday chair.

Riley really focusing on blowing out the candles...

Charles took quite a few pictures and I'll upload them later.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

The Excitement is Killing Me!

I'm very excited--only five more days until the release of Under the Dome, the latest from Stephen King!! I feel like Christmas is coming early...

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Check Ya Later, Halloween!

Well, another Halloween has come and gone. Riley had a full day on Saturday: Karate, a birthday party and then Trick-or-Treating with her cousin Ann.

The birthday party was for her school-friend, Abby, and featured a fun carnival theme. Unfortunately, the weather was quite cool and misty the entire time, but the kids didn't mind a bit. Most of the parents huddled by a fire pit to keep ourselves nice and warm.

Riley and Paul on the swings.

Paul, Riley and Alex wating on cupcakes.

Riley's cousin, Ann.

Riley and Ann help Grandma prepare their supper.

Grandma & Papa's dog, Snowy.

One very cute skeleton and an
adorable Minnie Mouse!

Halloween was a long, full day, but we all had a wonderful time. Riley's already planning next year's costume. Right now, it's a werewolf, but last night it was a zombie. I'm sure she'll change her mind hundreds of times between now and next October--that's the beauty of being a kid!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I'm Having Flashbacks to "It"

So, we finally got our pumpkin and decided to carve it on Sunday. I pulled out all my pattern books so we could choose a design. I recently bought "decades"-themed book and was hoping to carve a Pac-Man design (from the "Dig Those Decades" book) this year.

Unfortunately, with a five-year-old, plans mean nothing! Riley looked through the books and found a design we just had to use. Of course, she picks one that the book calls "challenging." I tear it out and soon realize that the design is way too small for our rather large pumpkin. No problem! I just walk over to the printer/copier and re-size the design. I hit print and nothing happens. No ink. Great.

Riley really wants to carve the pumpkin so I have to improvise. I pull out some tracing paper and tape two sheets together so I'll have enough room to increase the size of the design. I had to draw the design myself! I just looked at what I had and tried to double the size just by sight.

I must say, things turned out pretty well. We transferred the design and began disecting our poor specimen. Riley and I dug out the guts and she and Charles pulled out all the seeds. We roasted them in the oven later--yummy!

When I was drawing and carving, I thought the design was just a weird scary face, but--after finshing and lighting it up--I noticed it reminded me of someone else. Pennywise. You know Pennywise, right? The "thing" that dressed up as a demonic clown and terrorized a 1960s town in Maine?

Pennywise is the main dude in Stephen King's "It" and pretty much ruined clowns for me--forever. I hate clowns. They creep me out. Now, I have a morbid looking one staring at me each and every time I enter or exit the house!

Thanks Mr. King...and thanks to Riley.

Think I'm reaching? I don't think so...

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Maybe We Should Buy a Boat...

As most of you know, the Atlanta area received rain of biblical proportions this week. Riley was out of school for two days and Charles was unable to get to work during the same period due to hundreds of road closures--including major interstates I-20 and I-285. I read on a local news site that Powder Springs (our little town) got 20.1 inches of rain in just over 24 hours. Incredible!

Downtown Powder Springs, Austell and Hiram were the hardest hit. I found a great video that shows just some of the flooding in the area. We were big news, I saw reporters on The Weather Channel, CNN, Fox, The Today Show and Good Morning America all reporting from our area. I also found a great photo gallery on the AJC's Web site.

Here are some pics Charles took on Monday while trying to get Riley to school (she didn't stay long--they got out early due to flooding and the ever-worsening road conditions).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

She's Ready!

Riley is definitely ready for Halloween. She already decided her costume and we bought it a few days ago...

I think she'll make one cute skel-til-on (Riley speak for "skeleton")!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Who Dresses This Kid? and More Evidence

Sunday morning was a bit cool for yardwork, but Riley and Charles headed out to mow the lawn and play anyway. Not long after, Riley comes back inside and tells me she's cold and could I please find her "skeleton" mittens. Odd request, but I get out the basket in the closet filled with all our winter goodies and go on about my business.

Minutes later, I check to see what Riley is up to and this is what she looked like:

Okay, this is a nice look for her...

She cracks me up! Hopefully this phase of wearing only boy clothes will pass--I actually heard a little girl behind us in line at Kohl's the same day tell her Mommy to "look at that little boy's shirt." God help us.

Remember Riley's little Houdini act with the candy wrappers a few weeks ago? Well, yesterday we found even more hidden wrappers behind the big screen in her play room downstairs. When I say a "few" more, I actually mean a lot more:

How did we not notice all this missing candy???

I thought it was humourous the first time--this time, not so much. I think I'm going to have to start hiding the candy in really obscure places--or just ask Dad to quit sending so much of it.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Time to Move

Well, today has been a hell of a day. Busy day at work concluded by a threat from a neighbor and a visit with the Cobb County police. Let me explain...

We've lived in our subdivision for 10 years now and never had a problem with any of our neighbors. Heck, some of our best friends we met two years ago when they moved in across the street! But, in the last few years, some not-so-nice folks have moved in around us--especially next door.

A few days ago, after looking at a ridiculous yard next door for years, Charles filed a code complaint against our next door neighbor. She never mows her grass! Well, she does, she just does it every couple of months or so. Right now, her grass comes up well past my knee and looks horrible. We've seen an unusual amount of snakes and that prompted Charles to file a complaint online. I do not want a snake to bite Riley! We actually turned in her and a house across the street which looks just as bad. We take pride in our house and yard and it just makes things look tacky when all the people around us don't give a rat's ass!

(Charles took some pics, but I don't have them to post. Trust me, the grass is crazy tall!)

Anyway, this particular neighbor must have gotten her warning letter in the mail today, because this evening, as I was preparing supper, she marches up on our front porch and asks to speak with me and Charles. (FYI--I didn't even realize she was our neighbor at first. I don't think I've actually seen her before!) She starts her tirade saying that she couldn't believe none of us (any of the neighbors) brought her a pie or a casserole when she moved in--that no one has ever once offered to assist her in any way. Hmmm, I didn't know that was a responsibility of mine, but, anyhoo...

She starts complaining about the warning she received--she goes on and on about how her yard looking the way it does is a one-time thing. What? Her yard has been like that since she moved in! I swear, she has some guy come and mow it every 6 to 9 weeks--it's crazy. She tells us she works 24/7 and is never home. Charles says he works too. She laughs and says he only works 9 to 5. Charles tells her not to assume--that he works evenings and some weekends, but sill he finds time to mow our yard and take pride in what we've worked so hard for. Charles tells her to hire a service. She says she has a service, but they don't come regularly. He says to find a service that will come regularly. She says she doesn't know of another service. Charles asks her, "Have you ever heard of the Yellow Pages?"

The kicker here is that Charles actually saw a man in her garage yesterday, just after he finished mowing, and went over and offered to mow their lawn each time we mow ours--all for just the price of the gas to fill the mower!

This woman keeps going--accusing us of being racists, of picking on her because of who she is. All this craziness for just a warning! It wasn't even a fine! All she has to do to solve the problem is mow her damn yard!

Unfortunately, I didn't hear the entire conversation--I was in the middle of supper and had water boiling, etc. I heard raised voices on the porch, but when I came back, I heard the woman say these EXACT words to Charles: "I know your wife is home all day alone, sometimes with your little girl. There's been a lot of home invasions in this area recently--I sure would hate for something to happen to them."

Charles just said, "Was that a threat? Are you threatening my family? Okay, I'm calling the police." And we did just that. Two officers came--one to her house and one to ours. We told our side of the story and she hers. I did hear the officer on her porch say to her at one point, "Ma'am, they are not harassing you." Us harassing her? What? All this over a stupid county warning about her lawn? Crazy.

Of course, the police could do nothing but file a report. If we'd gotten her comment on tape (curse Charles for not having his iPhone!), she would have been charged with making a terroristic threat, according to the officer. She was told not to set foot on our property and to have no further contact with us. The officers seemed to be sympathetic to our concerns. What monster threatens a five-year-old girl?

Now I'm scared about being here alone all the time. I'm sure this is the end of it--it should be if this woman has any sense at all. I would hope she's not crazy enough to slash my tires or damage our property in any other way.

I've hated Atlanta for a long time now. This is just the "icing on the cake." If the economy/housing market wasn't in the crapper, we'd put our house on the market and get the hell out. But, for now, we're stuck--stuck with a crazy neighbor who saw fit to threaten me and my child. Charles was really taken aback--he's always been nervous about us being here alone so he's on a war-path.

What is it with me and all the drama? So. Over. It.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back to School and Too Short

Riley has been back in school for a couple of weeks now and she's doing well. I think she's really excited to be back with her friends and away from her boring Mommy. This week, a teacher took photos of the progress she's making in class--we were very impressed.

Working with the "movable alphabet."

What an awesome job!

Riley is also going to try being a Girl Scout this year. Her school has a group there, but she'll be the youngest. Right now, the girls range from 7 to 11. She should really be a Daisy Scout, but Carole, the group leader, says we should give it a try. Her first meeting is Friday.

Riley's school is also having a picnic tomorrow evening. I made a yummy lemon nectar cake to take. It should be fun evening, but it would be even better if they served beer and wine!

I also took Riley to get her hair cut today--she really needed it. I asked the lady to cut 3 inches, but she took more than 4! It was a shock for me (I almost cried), but it didn't seem to phase Riley one bit. School pictures are Monday, so she'll look extrememly different in her class photos this year.

Having fun with the mirror.

Ummm, that looks like a lot more than 3 inches...

All clean and ready for bed.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Death's Acre: The Legend of Dr. Bass

On Saturday, Charles and I were fortunate enough to get tickets to the UT Alumni/ Atlanta Chapter event, "Beer and Bones," held at the Atlanta Brewing Company. I, normally, am not too interested in these things, but when the newsletter mentioned that Dr. Bill Bass would be the featured speaker, I yelled for Charles and we bought tickets almost immediately!

We showed up to the brewery, signed in, got our swag and a beer glass (ours to keep) and found a spot to sit. We mingled a bit, got some not-so-great munchies, filled our beer glasses (note: my favorite is ABC's new brew: #'s) and I waited for my chance to meet Dr. Bass. During a slight lull in the foot-traffic and got up and handed my book to his assistant. She wrote my name on a Post-It note so he would have the correct spelling. I got to him and he was the nicest man! We spoke for just a couple of minutes--I told him my brief story of how I came to have an English major and an anthropology minor (thanks to a man he actually hired, Jan Simek) and we even talked briefly of the "death" of print.

Signing his life away...

The highlight of my evening--one-on-one time with Dr. Bass.

I should have this framed!

Dr. Bass said he wasn't all that familiar with the Internet. He told me that an assistant once informed him how many millions of times he'd been "Googled." Dr. Bass laughed and told me, "I didn't even feel it!" Ha! What an amazing sense of humor the man has!

His talk had us all completely enthralled. He spoke of three cases: 1) a missing teenager in the early 80's that he identified using only a single tooth; 2) a woman who was discovered two weeks after her passing--and after her three dogs decided they were hungry enough to eat her; and 3) an X-ray autopsy he did of The Big Bopper in 2007 after his coffin was exhumed to be moved to a new location. I won't go into too many details, but I could have listened to the man talk all night. What a fascinating life he has led!

One of the X-rays taken of The Big Bopper in 2007.

Charles says that the two words he will never forget from that night are "skin slippage." If you don't know what that is, and you don't have a weak stomach, look it up.

Dr. Bass discussing "skin slippage."

We ended our evening with a great supper at, appropriately enough, Six Feet Under. The fried green tomatoes were sooooo good!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Creative Language and Covert Operations

Well, today I have two excellent examples of the wonderful child Charles and I are raising.

First, a few minutes ago, while she was playing with Charles downstairs, she told him, "Don't make me angry, Dad, or I'll kick your ass!" While stifling laughter, Charles calmly told her not to use that word again. I, on the other hand, was crying with laughter upstairs! I would say that I don't know where she comes up with this stuff, but that's not true. I know exactly where she gets it!

Then, only a few minutes later, Charles had to retrieve a ball from behind the big green chair in her playroom. When the ball was removed, he notice a pile of trash behind the chair. He gathered up the mess and brought it to my desk--placing it neatly on my desktop. The pile was nothing but candy wrappers. Riley has been sneaking candy--Starburst, Tootsie Rolls, Smarties, etc.--from the top of the rack in the kitchen!

Instead of just throwing away the wrappers in the trash (where we probably wouldn't even notice them), she's been throwing them all in a pile behind the chair! I mean, did she really think they would never be found?? Unfortunately, Riley stayed downstairs, terrified that I would be angry. Instead, when I took a look at the pile on my desk, I just started laughing. How could I not?

At least she was honest about the whole thing...she immediately fessed-up to Charles about what she had done. In the end, this is one of those stories we'll bring up when she's older and have a good laugh about the whole episode!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Look at All the Pretty Colors!

Well, I'm on Day Four of this and the knee still doesn't look so good...

Wow...such pretty colors!

I swear, this thing is still three times its normal size!

Hopefully, as the days go by, the swelling will finally go down and the pain will subside.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Don't Drink and Bike

We had a great vacation last week on Hilton Head and Tybee Island--Riley did not want to leave. I think she'd be happy as a clam playing in the ocean all day, every day! I'll be sure to post a few pictures after we've had a chance to go through them all, I promise.

I've decided that I am a total klutz. I hurt myself more than any other person I know: I have burn marks on my hands and arms from cooking; a dent in my shin from a 6th grade chair incident; scars from stitches in high school after I sliced my knuckle open on a metal piece on my locker; crooked toes from countless "stubbing" because I can never seem to watch where I'm walking; and, well, I could go on and on, but you get the picture here, right?

Saturday night on Tybee, the Fulkerson's and other friends all decided we should ride our bikes out for a night on the town (minus the kids). Bikes are a great idea--no worrying about parking or getting pulled over later and risking the consequences. Ten of us hopped on our bikes (Charles and I had to borrow) and we headed out to Marlin Monroe's right on the beach.

We commenced with the drinking and eating and had a fun time--so fun that a woman, as she was leaving with her husband and grandchildren, stopped by our table and chided us for being loud and obnoxious. She said we were appalling and should be ashamed of ourselves for our behaviour. Fine, she could have said something to the waiter, but no--she had to try and make us feel bad. Hey, lady: You're the one who brought your grandchildren to a patio bar at 10:00 on a Saturday night. What did you expect????

Anyway, three banana daiquiris later, I hoped back on the bike to ride to another island establishment. Charles took off with another group and we were separated. I was following Mark--who had a light on the front of his bike--but the rest of the group was well behind us. Mark got a bit ahead of me and it was dark--very dark. I managed to drop off a curb that didn't have a nice little decline onto a cross street and BOOM--I dropped and I think I went over the handlebars. I'm not really sure what happened, but I sure know what it did to my body.

Ouch! My scraped-up and bruised toes...

My knee--three times its normal size.

I pulled myself off the pavement and looked down--one of my toes was pointing in a direction I didn't know it could go and blood was running down my leg from the scrape on my knee. I could actually see my knee through the gaping hole left in my pants leg.

I was mortified!! Mark circled back to check on me, but I dismissed his concerns--not wanting to make a big deal of it. I got back on the bike and pedaled to the next stop and, thankfully, it was next door to a convenience store. While everyone went into the bar, I called Charles and told him to get his butt to me. When he got to me, I grabbed his credit card and went into the store to get peroxide and bandages. I cleaned my knee and toes off the best I could and stayed at the bar for about an hour before I could sneak away. I rode my bike back to the Fulkerson's house and crawled in bed.

When Mark and Charles got back, they put ice on my leg and Ellen gave me some ibuprophen.

The next morning, after a great breakfast, we took off for our drive home. My leg was in bad shape and I was in a lot of pain. I guess the four hour drive to Charles' parents house didn't help the situation--when we stopped there, my leg was so swollen I couldn't even bend it and my toes and the skin around my knee was completely numb. Charles' parents insisted on keeping Riley while Charles took me to a local ER.

The good news: Nothing is broken. The bad news: I have what the doctor calls "severe tissue damage." A nurse wrapped up my leg, gave me anti-inflamatory and pain meds and put me on crutches (or "crunches," as Riley calls them) for the next few days.

The take-away here? Don't drink and bike, kids.

P.S.--This is all after I had another bike incident on Hilton Head! I was riding my bike to the beach and was passing a guy pulling a beach cart. I yelled, "On your left!" What does he do? Pulls his cart to the left right in front of me! I tried to squeeze past him, but ran along a wooden fence--my left arm still has scrapes and bruises from, just call me "Grace!"

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pure Joy

This picture is only worth two words: "Pure joy."

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Double the Trouble / Swimming Lessons

Having two computers in the house is causing issues. I've discovered that trying to keep track of photos, e-mails, documents and other such madness is becoming a real hassle. My computer is a "company" device, but I still have plenty of pictures on it--most downloaded from my iPhone.

I'll often sit down at our "home" computer and realize what I'm looking for is actually on the other laptop. Bother. I then trudge upstairs, find what I need and e-mail the files to my device. I don't know why, but I feel more comfortable using my laptop--probably because I'm on it 8 to 10 hours a day!

Another reason I prefer my own computer could be that Charles has set the resolution on our home computer to a size that only a hawk could properly read. Jeez, my vision must be really bad because I can't read a damn thing on the screen! If I change the resolution to a size that an actual human being can read, Charles becomes frustrated. Ugh!

In more positive news, Riley began swimming lessons this week. Most of the other kids are much more advanced, but she's coming along--slowly. First class, first request by the teacher was to go underwater so she could see how long they could stay under. Riley just sits there, looking at her like she's completely nuts. She never did put her face in the water, but practiced kicking and strokes.

Riley's class at the pool.

Riley working with her teacher.

The second day of class was better--after about 30 minutes of stalling--Riley finally put her face in the water for about half a second. She inhaled water and was choking and coughing...I think she panicked a bit. Later, she told Charles she "drowned" during her class. So dramatic.

"Look, Mom, I got my face wet!"

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

If Only...

How cool would it be to have the money to purchase this beauty? That and if I had the money to put that red Porche in the famous garage. Hey, maybe it's still in the woods--right where Cameron left it?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Say Cheese!

It doesn't take much to entertain me. Today I discovered the Awkward Family Photos blog. My absolute favorites are the pics of the "Bon" gotta love the 80s!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Those Came Out of Where?

Okay...I think I truly had a panic attack today before the splints were removed. I took a Percocet about 45 minutes before the procedure, but I was still a mess. The doc came in and took a look, sprayed two types of medicine up my nose and noticed that I was not good.

He told me I would more than likely pass out--I know, what great bedside-manner, huh?--and told me to lean back while he cut the stitches. Just cutting those hurt. At this point, I really lost it. I was terrified, but embarrassed--I was acting like a small child and I could not control myself.

He pulled those things out and, honestly, it was pretty bad. I did not pass out, but came close. Here's what he took out of my nose.

I'd guess these things were about 4.5 inches long and 0.5 inches wide on the flat side. Waaaayyy too big to be in my nose. Trust me, I felt every bit of them as they slid out of my nostrils.

My eye still looks rough. The doc swears it has nothing to do with the surgery and told me to see an optomologist if it doesn't get better in the next week or so.

Light at the End of the Tunnel...

Well, things have not been so great the last few days. I'm writing this now on a break from my pain meds--once I take them, I become exhausted and drunk-sounding...pretty much useless!

The pain has been horrible and my medication wasn't really doing the trick. On Sunday morning I called my doc because I had several burst blood vessels in my right eye, my vision was blurry and I was also quite dizzy. He told me to go directly to the ER to get checked out because those symptoms aren't normal in the post-op recovery period.

I was at the hospital for over five hours and got a CT scan--the scan showed just severe swelling which was, most likely, causing my pain. I got new pain medication that works much better--it's not 100%, but it's much better than what I was on before. My eyes are still blurry and look horrible, but I'm hoping that won't last much longer.

Tomorrow I'm scheduled to have the splints taken out and my doc (and the doc at the ER) says that I will see tremendous improvement once those are out and the doc suctions all the gunk out of my nose. Unfortunately, someone online equated the splint removal to childbirth. Not good. I'm so, so scared.

Fun times.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Final Countdown

Okay, so I'm having surgery tomorrow morning and I'm an absolute wreck. I've never had surgery (unless you count my C-section) and the thought of the recovery period and the pain has just got me all wound-up.

I'm having a septoplasty and turbinate reduction--the doc is also correcting a collapsed nostril on my right side. Sounds fun, huh?

The doc says my nose looks pretty much just like the one in the photo above. Out of a possible 10 for "messed up," he says my nose is a 9+.

I'll be out-of-it for a few days--probably close to a week. If splints are inserted during the surgery, I'll be back in the doc's office in three to five days to have those removed--big ouch! The swelling and general pain should last about three weeks. At six weeks, I should be able to tell how well the surgery worked. Total recovery time, according to my doc, will be four months.

I sure hope all this will be worth it!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tellus Museum

Last Sunday, we had planned to take Riley to see Race to Witch Mountain, but found something to do that would be way more fun...the Tellus Museum in Cartersville, GA. All we had to say was "dinosaur bones" and she was halfway out the door!

The museum has only been open since January--in fact, many exhibits were still under construction. We saw lots of cool skeletal casts and tons of gems, stones and geodes.

Riley standing in front of dino poop!

We also had the chance to pan for gems and dig for fossils in another part of the museum.

We left the museum and took a short drive to visit an old covered bridge.