Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.

7.31.2008

Point of No Return

Gees, I love Kansas. Thinking about the trip made me think of one of my favorite bands from my youth. How can you forget these lyrics? Was it that you that said 'how long? how long? how long to the point of no return?' Ok, enough of the flashing back to music that my young husband won't even recognize unless his folks listened to it. *sigh* Anyway. This is the clock in Union Station in KC. It was so incredibly beautiful in there. I tried to take a picture of the ceiling, but I couldn't get a really good one to do it justice. I shot this photo from a little cafe where we had the $2 Boulevard beers and the sesame chicken skewers. Oh my. Those things were GOOOOOOD!!
Here I am on our balcony at the hotel before the awards dinner on Thursday night. I love this shawl my father-in-law brought back to me from the Phillipines. It is gorgeous with my nice black dress and it keeps my shoulders warm. :)
In keeping with my Kansas theme and the sports bar, I had to listen to Play the Game Tonight. We hung out at the 810 Zone sports bar on two different nights. It was great. After 10 p.m. the beer was cheap and the tasty Royals Bleu Balls were half-price. Oh my gosh, they are so good. They're like little chicken cordon bleu bites that are deep fried. Dip 'em in ranch dressing. Mmmmm.
This is the hotel where we stayed. Ok, not only us, but the Tampa Bay Rays were staying there, too. I thought I could feel the testosterone levels rising.
Speaking of testosterone. Me with my handsome hubby at a cocktail reception on Wednesday night. I had the cleavage going. One of the editors tried to put a carnation down the top of my dress. *shaking my head* I was impressed at the men who managed to keep eye contact. Of course, I was reassured that it only happened with Army of Dad was standing there with us. *shrugging* And, I can't tie it in, but just for grins, here is Carry on my Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind.

Ever feel like this?

10 years of marriage. 3 months of unemployment.

Every once in a while, you hit a bump in the road. For me, this sums it up. Army of Dad would be happy if I could switch places with Terri Clark, I think. Especially now. :)

7.30.2008

More from KC

This was the pretty view from the Liberty Memorial (more to come on it later) in Kansas City. You can see the skyline and in the front on the left is Union Station. Army of Dad and I spent a 3-6 p.m. Happy Hour there with $2 Boulevard Pale Ales and some really good sesame chicken skewers. Mmmmm. The hotel on the far right in the Crown Center Westin. On the other side of it is the Crown Center and Hallmark's headquarters. Crown Center is a pretty cool mall and the Hallmark Visitor's Center is there, too. Pretty cool - yet another blog post. :)
This tower is a replica of some place in Spain. (Don't you love how I'm a fountain - pun intended - of information?) There is another big decorative one that is part of the Cheesecake Factory. I just thought this was really pretty. It was right across from our hotel in the Country Club Plaza.
Yet another pretty fountain. This was in the Country Club Plaza, too.
Gates BBQ. Big portions. Neat atmosphere and some of the best sweet peach iced tea I've ever had. The beef sandwich was good. Army of Dad had lamb ribs that were a bit fatty. They're also VERY proud of their BBQ. $33 for two of us and Army of Dad only had one beer and no desserts. I wasn't fond of the sauce either. But, I had to try some KC BBQ and this is where the locals sent us.
Me and the statue. Try to figure out which of us is more stiff. *some uptight humor*
I love big container plants. I need to learn some of these secrets. I've done so many container gardening stories for a magazine that goes to garden center retailers - you'd think I'd have mastered this by now. No such luck.
Army of Dad getting a little from the strange bench outside of our hotel. Is that weird or what? Oh yeah, you can see that groovy tower thing behind him, too, that I photographed above.
And, a close up of the disturbing bench. To add another weird twist to this area, there was a statue of Winston Churchill and his wife just in front of where AoD was sitting. That little stream you see behind the boobie bench ran right in front of the hotel. I had a great view of it from my patio. Was really nice.

The Twitch is Back

Just substitute Twitch for for the word that rhymes with it. Then, you can sing along with me.

Now, everyone sing along.

p.s. My left eye twitches when I get stressed. Little wonder.

For the record

This editorial from Investors' Business Daily Editorials can pretty much sum up in one article why I am not on board for the Obama Express Train to Hell. As I get older, I am learning to recognize a snake oil salesman when I see it. Glib and golden, they'll tell you what you want to hear. Then, after you make the purchase and get home with your wonder cure, it is nothing but castor oil repackaged.

Beware people. Beware. Hope and change are just words and in this instance, I'm scared of them.

7.28.2008

KC Cancer Survivors' Park

A nice little excursion on the edge of Country Club Plaza is the Cancer Survivors' Park in Kansas City. There is a great background story to the park that I didn't know about when I went there. Turns out that H&R Block was founded in Kansas City. Richard Bloch, one of the company founders, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1978 and given three months to live (ironically, I was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1975 and given three months to live). He and his wife, Annette, didn't agree with the diagnosis given to them and sought aggressive treatment at M.D. Anderson in Houston (also where I was treated for my cancer.) Creating a non-profit, the Bloch Cancer Foundation, was part of the couple's dream to help others with cancer. This park was the first of about two dozen created across the country to empower cancer survivors. I can remember being told that you're a survivor from the day you're diagnosed. As part of the sculptures that grace all of Kansas City, there are a few in the Cancer Survivors' Park, including this Transformed Flower, by Phillip Smith, III of The Art Office. I have tried to write several more things in here, but they keep disappearing. I will take that as a sign to let it go. You can see here some of the images from the park including messages from the Positive Mental Attitude Walkway to the Road to Recovery path. The Celebration Plaza statue and the plaque describing it are pretty spectacular, too. This was definitely one of the highlights of my KC trip. I'm so grateful to Army of Dad for finding it. There are also Cancer Survivor Parks in New Orleans - where I will go for a national board meeting in October - and one in Dallas, which is just a short drive away. Road trip, anyone?




7.27.2008

Dances With Penguins

I knew I had a Native American name: Dances with Penguins. One of my favorite parts of the Kansas City trip was the plethora of sculptures. They were everywhere. If there was an empty spot in the road median, there would be a sculpture. A small part of sidewalk between a CVS and some skanky dive, there was a sculpture. It was so cool. We stayed across the street from Country Club Plaza (where the penguins live) and we saw some incredible architecture, works of art and fountains. I didn't know that Kansas City is known as the City of Fountains with the most fountains in any city in the world other than Rome. (far top left of image is the Cinemark where we saw Batman. Not that impressed. Actually, I was pretty grossed out much of the movie.)
Self-control be damned. I couldn't resist giving this cute little fella a kiss. There was one other penguin statue, too. I gave it knuckle bumps for a snapshot. :)

Tips for the traveller

Just a few things I've noticed while I was travelling:

*Airline employees and TSA folks are really nice when you encounter them at 7 a.m. on a Tuesday. The same isn't true when you're dealing with them at 5:30 p.m. on a Friday.

*Don't lean your elbows on your knees while sitting on a toilet with an automatic flush mechanism. (In case you're wondering, the toilet will flush every few minutes and splash toilet water on your backside.)

*The friendliest people on the airplane are those NOT in the vicinity of a small child.

Discoveries not related to travel:

*I'm the last woman under 40 who still wears slips. No one else does.

*Women don't wear hose any more either; even to formal events. For me, this is a huge win. I hate hose and always have. So, this change in the norm is a plus for me.

*Rude people still suck. Turn your cell phone off - or at least turn your ringer off - when you go into a movie or conference session. Additionally, during a conference or awards presentation, keep your fucking trap shut. I was totally perplexed when our lifetime achievement award winner (a recently retired college professor) talked to the CEO of a big media company throughout the awards banquet Thursday night. Not just a whisper here and there, but actually talking loud enough that I could hear them 20 feet away! The audacity and complete lack of good manners made me seethe the whole banquet.

7.26.2008

'Felt this thrill going up my leg'

Nah, it isn't THAT kind of thrill. For me, at least.

But, I had to laugh at this campaign ad. Whether you are an Obama fan or not, you gotta admit that the media swoons over B.O. Well, the McCain folks decided to create a montage of the love and came up with the Obama Love ad. I cracked up. I think - even if you love him - that you'll still get a giggle out of this.

I have read that MSNBC dude, Chris Matthews, has cried over an Obama speech and compared him to Jesus, described how he feels when Obama speaks: I felt this thrill going up my leg. I mean, I don't have that too often.

I certainly hope not. He has a serious man crush going on. There's a few more reporters in there, too, who have it bad.

Adventures of my FIL

My father-in-law has some wonderful adventures in his line of work. He has some serious smarts and has tried on numerous occasions to explain to me what he does, but I think the simple explanation is that he inspects nuclear power plants. Or something along those lines. So, since there aren't a lot of those in the US any more, he spends a lot of time working overseas. He has brought me back some beautiful scarves from the Phillipines and South Korea. I wore one Thursday night at the snazzy awards banquet in KC.

He sent some wonderful pictures this morning of a floral parade occurring outside his hotel. Here is a snippet of his travels update he sent today:

I flew out of Orlando on Delta at 1700 hrs Wed July 21st. Connected at JFK in New York. The plane was on the tarmac and we were loaded onto a sky way sort of bus and driven to the plane. The driver got lost, could not find the plane! When he did find it it wasn't cleaned or ready for us so we waited all crammed on the transport. Finally he pulled up to the plane and knocked on a door. That was hilarious!! We finally got loaded and after about a 45 minute wait took off for Heathrow airport in London. In London I switched to Malaysian Airlines. They could not get engine #3 started so we sat on board for over 2 hours while it was fixed. They actually topped of the fuel while we were on board. That is highly irregular. The pilot made up most of the lost time in flight so we arrived at Kuala Lumpor nearly on schedule. It was a 40 minute flight from KL to my new temporary home, Johor Bahru. I collected my bags and cleared immigration and customs without a hitch. My driver was waiting and I was off to the hotel for a much needed nap. Total time from Cocoa Beach to the Hyatt was about 40 hours. This is the first time I've travelled to Asia heading East. I'll book my own flight next time and fly into Singapore, it's a short taxi ride across the causeway to JB. I have the weekend off. I saw some signs for a Floral Bazaar this weekend and the opening festivities kicked off with a parade only 2 blocks from the hotel. I grabbed the camera and took a few pics of the event. It was quite fascinating! All of the floats were made of flowers. I was surprised to see the parade was so similar to those in the West. I had stationed myself next to the judges stand which held the Sultan of Johor and his court. Overall my first impression of Malaysia is that the people are extremely friendly and helpful. This is a multi ethnic culture with the the Malays making up about 2/3 of the population. Chinese and East Indians comprise most of the rest. The food is diverse and wonderful. At only 4 degrees above the equator it is warm but not intolerable. It's the dry season now and still it rains most days.

I love to get his updates. I learn much about the world through his travels. Much more exotic than my trip to Kansas City, I must say.

7.25.2008

Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me

Yeah, I'm back from Kansas City.

Got the kids in bed. Loved KC. Ate some tasty BBQ, visited some cool sites, learned some new stuff about writing. I even had to moderate/lead a roundtable discussion with about an hour's notice.

Yippee. Made some new friends and got to spend a lot of time hanging out with my honey.

Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

I'm back.

And, yeah, today is my fourth anniversary of blogging. Scary, huh?

7.20.2008

Kansas City, here I come

Yep. We're on our way. Anyone have any suggestions for local places to eat, have a beer and hang out? We like to hit the mom and pop places instead of the big chains. I'm jonesing for some KC BBQ and wanna know a great place to go.

Super Sunday

This was a great day for our family. Ok, other than Hot Rod had a soccer game at 7:42 a.m. *seriously, that was the start time on the schedule* And, it was in Dallas. Yuck. But, Army of Dad got a coaching fix in. The coach had a conflict and the coach he assigned to cover the game blew him off. Needless to say, our coach is pissed. But, AoD handled it well. I like our new uniforms, too.
On the way home, we went by the cool McDonalds that is shaped like a giant happy meal. You can't tell it as well in this picture, but from 635, it looks like a giant happy meal. The kids were more impressed with the rotating M just to the left of the image.
Then, we went to Waffle House for breakfast. Gotta love hash browns covered and chunked. :) Then, Little Bit went on a bike ride with her dad and brother jogging alongside. The only down side of the day? The Twins lost to the Rangers ... hard for me to enjoy the victory over the beloved Twinkies. *sigh*

Here comes the drum

Humming to the George Harrison tune, I keep singing "Here comes the sun" only changing one key word. This was the drum that my boy caught last week. He is really enjoying his dad's layoff, probably more than anyone because he has done lots of fishing. And, actually catching some, too!

Pork N Beans and Swimming


Nothing says summer fun like hot dogs, pork n beans and a swimming pool of British soccer coaches. Ok, the last part was the best part for me. :) Pickle loves him some baked beans. We never have them, so he was really excited to chow down on them at a cook out/swim party last week.
Little Bit made a friend at the pool party and then had great fun jumping in the pool. Doggie paddling to the stairs, getting out and doing it all over again. She felt very big.
And, Hot Rod couldn't let sister be the only one getting in on the action. Army of Dad spent much of the evening helping the host with the grill. Me? I was being paranoid overprotective mom and staying in or near the pool. For my kids, a swim party was a treat the they loved.


Goofy Goobers

Trying to do team pictures with nine goofy little 4-, 5- and 6-year-olds is like herding cats. No lie. This image was shot AFTER trying to get them all to sit still for just one click of the camera. Gees louise. This is about as still as they were the whole time.
The team divas. Little Bit and her buddy.
And, my honey and my Little Bit. Is that cute or what? So funny to see him with these little kids. He is much more patient with them than I am. For that, I am grateful.

And, the winner is ...

My sweet Pickle won an art contest at the local library. The goal is to promote the anime club with original artwork. He was pretty proud of himself.

7.18.2008

One step forward, two steps back

My pity party keeps fluctuating from feeling upbeat and positive one moment to feeling like poop the next.

We had attended some sales pitch event to get a free trip to Vegas. We were supposed to go in February, but due to me being off by one day on the timing of the trip in my paperwork, they voided our trip.

I've wanted to see and do Vegas for about seven or eight years now. One of the things that has really drawn me to wanting to go has been the Star Trek: The Experience attraction. Well, looks like I'm going to miss out on that, too. It is closing in September.

Seems really silly, but I am so terribly disappointed right now. I really wanted to go. I've heard it is really cool.

Sending this one to Leno

The headline across the top of the local newspaper's sports page on Thursday:

Denton High's students, athletes shrinking

I cracked up at the image of the tiny students and athletes being shrunk by that goofy Moranis guy from "Honey I Shrunk the Kids" series of movies by Disney. The next thought was of the grandma from "Parenthood" when she sees her loser grandson and he tells her she looks shorter and she grumbles "I'M SHRINKING!" with his response, "bummer."

Anyway. In J-school, they teach you to think about what you write in literal terms, because someone else is going to do it that way. So, reading that headline made me squeal with laughter. Then, the dorky part of me starting thinking about a correct way to write the headline and illustrate that the number of students in the school is shrinking, not students shrinking.

Of course, then my pinball thinking led me to a favorite tune from "Parenthood." It is one I taught my children, much to Army of Dad's chagrin. The tune is Diarrhea.

7.17.2008

One week later

Delayed a week in posting, but here are the FA Cup pictures from British Soccer camp last week. Hot Rod had a treat and went both in the morning and at night. That was really cool for a kid like him. Little Bit, on the other hand, prefers playing indoors where she is less likely to sweat and more likely to find shade. Both kids were on Chelsea in their age groups.
Little Bit's Chelsea team. The little gal who is posing was a hoot. She and the boy in yellow really didn't care about soccer. On Friday, the mini-campers got to dress their coaches, thus the big pacifier.
Yep, there he is striking a pose wearing my full slip, a Jessie the cowgirl had and vest, fairy wings and a boa.
The big Chelsea team.

The fire truck that came to hose the kids down. Yep. On Friday, the coach who loses the coaches' challenges all weeks gets wet. This year, one of the host families arranged to REALLY get the coach wet.
Here is the coach we hosted with Little Bit after some playing in the water.

And all my kids with the coach. Pickle elected NOT to get wet.

videoHere are the coaches doing a dance in the water coming from the fire engine hose. It was too much fun. I don't know how they can top that next year.

The boobs aren't in the bikinis

I find it funny that my honey was the one to send me the link to the story: "Science proves bikinis turn men into boobs". I think we all knew that, but this just sort of backs it up with scientific research - one-handed research in some of the instances. Seriously.

I find it funny in light of something that happened to my 13-year-old the other day. He's banned from using the laptop any more. For one thing, I can't see what he's doing when he uses it. Apparently, he found the naked buxom chick anime sites. He was sad at being caught, sad at being banned from the laptop and even sadder when he later told me "I don't know why I can't stop doing it!" Well, son, I told him, you're a 13-year-old boy. Its what you do. It is my job, however, to try and curb that curiosity. I didn't tell him that God only gave him - as a male - enough blood to operate one head at a time. He'll learn that soon enough, unfortunately.

Thanking God Three Years Later

Three years ago today my mom had her stroke. It was so scary. She has never been in good health and has always had a few screws loose, but it was the closest I can remember to really losing her. She had breast cancer when I was in college and that was pretty frightening, but nothing that came close to the stroke. She had open-heart surgery this past November. That was pretty terrifying for all of us, too. But, she came through with flying colors and feeling better. She had a few TIAs in the past few weeks, which makes me worry. I've been fussing at her to call the doctor. Don't know if she will or not.

This picture is Mom and Little Bit in Dallas behind the science museum in May. She has gotten more absent-minded, like walking in front of a car (with my daughter in tow) when we went to the museum that day. So, the days are dwindling, but I'm trying to make the most of them while I have them left. But, as she has told me for years - every time I worried about her - she is too mean to die. That may be true. :)

7.15.2008

Sunglasses At Night

Surely I'm not the only one who starts singing this song every time the Brewers' Cory Hart makes a play in the All-Star game.

Only in my home

Nowhere else - or it is highly unlikely - are their couples debating over how many innings Cook pitched and who was the better closer for the Rangers - Jeff Russell or John Wetteland.

I won the round regarding the number of innings Cook pitched - 3.

Army of Dad won the round about Wetteland being the better reliever.

What an exciting game. Of course, I want it to be over so I can go to sleep. And, to think, I was sad that I missed the first six innings shopping at Wal-Mart. Hell, that was just the warm-ups.

P.S. I got my Rangers rally-cap out just in time for Michael Young (my team) to hit in Justin Morneau (AoD's team) for the winning run. 11 straight, baby.

The windshield wipers of my brain

Funny how a good cry can seem to clear my head. I'm glue. I have told you poor folks about that before. I'm the glue that holds my family of origin together. I have been for as long as I can remember. I feel that way, to a certain extent, about my Army of Mom family, too.

With that role, how can I break down and cry around others? I can't. I have to keep on smiling, keep on encouraging while assuring to everyone that things will turn out for the best.

Then, when I'm alone, the tears come to visit me. I fight them. The combat is pretty remarkable. No, I will not show weakness and cry. Nope, nope, nope. Ok, maybe a little. That's when my little Dutch boy pulls his finger from the dike (get your mind out of the gutter) and the waters start to flow.

This afternoon a local movie theater was running half-price matinee shows. So, Army of Dad took the boys to a movie. Little Bit is up in her room taking a nap and I'm left to my own devices. That includes writing a story due last Thursday and having a good cry.

What is really weird is how much clearer my head feels, as if a weight has been lifted from atop my head. Maybe I'll feel better now.

Big hitters

The kids and I stayed up late last night to watch the monstrous hits of the All-Star HomeRun Derby. We love to watch this every year. This year was especially exciting. Not only was Justin Morneau of the Twins in the action, but so was Josh Hamilton of the Rangers. For those who don't know, Army of Dad and Hot Rod are Twins fans and I'm a Rangers fan. So, it was awesome. Then, the hitting clinic that Josh ran was phenomenal. For Hot Rod, it was even better when Morneau won. Wow is all I can say about it all. Too cool.

Poor Poor Pitiful Me

Man, I am feeling this song right now. I don't really want to go into it all. But, I'm frustrated at the world. And people? Don't even get me started.

7.14.2008

The M Word

It's harder than it looks! Courtesy of our former babysitter on MySpace.

Use the 1st letter of your LAST NAME (using Army of Mom) to answer each of the following... *they have to be real places, names, things...nothing made up! Try to use different answers if the person in front of you had the same 1st initial

1. What is your last name?....................... Mom

2. 4 letter word............................................ most

3. Vehicle: .................................................... Malibu

4. City or State ............................................. Mobile

5. Boy Name: .............................................. Miles

6. Girl Name: ............................................... Molly

7. Occupation: ............................................. Mom

8. Something you wear:............................. mask

9. Food: ....................................................... Malt o Meal

10. Found in a bathroom:......................... medicine

11. Reason for Being Late........................ mumps

12. Something you shout......................... Momma Mia!

13. Animal:................................................... monkey

14. Body part:............................................. muscle

15. Describes yourself.................. maternal, mischievous, moody

Anybody else want to also avoid work and play?

How do I get here?

Sometimes, I feel very in control of my life. Other times - like right now - I am so helpless. I feel like a bystander in my own life. I'm just watching without any ability to make things work the way they're supposed to. Going through the motions. Yep, that describes it. I wish I could get to the point where I could hand things over to Jesus - to take the wheel - but I don't even know how to get to that place. I'm trying, but I can't loosen my grip on the wheel.

Moms

The first time I saw Tim Hawkins was when he did "Cletus Take the Reel" and I laughed so hard that I almost cried. This bit is particularly amusing to me because just last night, poor little Hot Rod was having really bad tummy pains. I was worried enough to call the doctor's after-hours nurse. But, my advice to my little punkin, go sit on the potty. So, in the midst of watching this bit today I had tears coming out of my eyes because I, apparently, am a true Southern mom. My parents used the term "pot" for toilet, too. I catch myself doing it from time to time. And, his "be careful" upon departing in a vehicle. Yep, guilty again as charged.

Kids' Rock

My sis-in-law (of whose birthday it is today - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!) sent me this link and I almost spit Diet Coke out on the monitor because it is so funny. Thing is, I might actually listen to this version of kiddie songs. :) Have a giggle and whatever you do, don't be drinking anything or you'll need a new keyboard.

7.13.2008

Unhappy with 2nd Place

Hot Rod had a bonus camp this week with the Golden Goal camp in the evenings after his regular half-day camp in the mornings. He loved it. At the night camp, he was on the Wolves team. On Friday night, his team tied 1-1 and he scored the team's only goal. In the second game, his team won 3-1 and he scored all three of those goals.
Here is one of his shots going in.
Hot Rod taking the ball down the pitch.
With his Wolves team. The best player on the team didn't get to play on Friday because he was hurt. Not sure why he didn't get in the picture, though, since he was on the team. Hot Rod's uncertain expression is the result of his team finishing second in the FA Cup competition. He was really hoping to win since his team was pretty decent.
However, the sting of defeat was numbed when he participated in dousing Coach Bammers with ice cold water for losing the coaches' challenge.