Thursday, May 29, 2008


I was thinking today about why I'm not a cleaner. Sure, I can give you some clever clean-isms about smart people being messy, being too busy to clean, cleaning making you sick, etc. I could also blame Mas, which would be partially correct. He is a tornado in jeans, I will say that. He can unclean a room in moments. Here's a sample of his work: spitting on the windowsills; spitting on the window and then rubbing his forehead in the spit on the window; spitting on the screen front entry door; taking things out of drawers; pulling dirty and clean clothes out of the laundry baskets and walking around the house with them; taking every single item out of its' Designated Place in his room; destroying mini blinds so he can look outside; throwing multiple items down the basement stairs and then gleefully chortling; spitting food out on the furniture and leaving it there, so it can dry into a crusty nasty evil glob of partially digested food; pulling fun things out of the garbage, etc. I could go on and on. But, then, I may not have any readers. Some will be leaving just because I wrote: "But, then..." But, then, I digress. I'm not sure why I hate cleaning so much. One obvious reason to me is that it seems foolish to clean things that are going to get dirty again. Making beds seems the most pointless of this type of cleaning. I know I am probably alone in that comment. However, it seems odd to pull your bed together and get it looking "fab", just to go to bed that night and make it a mess again. I sometimes will make it and use all of our throw pillows in order to make it look just so...but, we always mess it up again when we go to bed. So, go figure! Cleaning Mason's room is like sweeping out the ocean. You can clean it for awhile, but as soon as he's home, it's tornadic in appearance again. Sigh. I do have particular rules about his toys; no toys in our bedroom, and no toys out in the house after he goes to bed. That seems logical. I guess I'll just never be a squeaky clean type of person; however, it doesn't seem to be just that important to me, anyway. So, I don't feel like I'm really missing much!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Well, I've been missing in action a little bit lately...the Masinator is home for two weeks, so I've been busy being mom and trying (desperately; and not succeeding) to keep him out of things. He has discovered the neat toys I have in the kitchen drawers, and seems totally drawn to the turkey baster. Lastnight he decided to be awake for four hours in the middle of the night...even untaped his light switch and was playing gleefully in total room light....nice! He somehow managed to get his Disney store Pooh snowglobe (which is quite heavy) off of his dresser and into his bed during his fiesta lastnight...this afternoon, he somehow hauled it into the living room, where it was perched precariously on top of our (makeshift doggy/kid gate) covered dog kennel, right over the basement steps. Gasp. At least he, for once, didn't throw it to see what type of sound it made as it flew down the basement steps and into his sister's head. Riley got her hair colored today, so she is a happy camper. She is prepping for a band trip that will take her out of state for one whole week! (During which time her grandma and myself will be transforming her room into teen mania happiness room!) I feel safe blogging about that here since she doesn't read my blog! It is a surprise and I hope it is a good one! It was weird not to have anything to watch lastnight...former Idol night...but we have so many things DVR'ed that I think we can watch tv for three days straight and not catch up. Whoever invented the DVR has my undying love and devotion for-EVAR!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

what a rush

Well, it was a long day, but a wonderful one. We spent lastnight being entertained by Geddy, Neil, and Alex, or "Rush", to you. It was amazing. I think it might be the best I've ever seen them. It was our 5th time seeing them in concert, and Riley's 2nd time. Aside from the pill popping guy to my left, who kept air drumming and running his hands into me, and also pushing me over until I was eventually standing behind Riley in order to see; the two spooks in front of us who were smoking weed, which was entirely disgusting; and the incredible heat inside the Excel Center, things rocked. --side note--Howard eventually tapped the dude on the shoulder and asked him to knock it off, which he *(surprisingly!)* did. I am hard pressed to pick a fave song, but would probably have to go with "The Spirit of Radio", which is one of the ones I love the most anyway. (although it's like picking your favorite child to actually pick out your favorite Rush song!!) The band was plagued by a few mix problems and Alex seemed to have monitor troubles, but other than that, it was incredible. Geddy was "on" and stayed on for the entire 3+ hours. It's amazing to me that they have no opening act and can play music for that long, and just be so ALIVE, song after song. Bands half their age can't do that. Neil was actually SMILING a few times lastnight, too, which was so fun to see! What a guy! I decided that I am designed to listen to very loud music. It fills my soul with joy and makes me want to live a good life! After driving straight through, we arrived home at 3:30 am and managed to snooze through pretty well until around 9:30, for me, and later for everyone else. It was a great night!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

and the winner is...David!

Well, how about Idol lastnight? I was either really tired or just found it a snoozefest...I even caught myself talking during the performances, which is something I usually never do. I think Archuletta is a wunderkind, but I also think I would buy Cook's cd, I think they will both win, in the end, and so will we! I thought it was funny Randy referred to it as the fight of 2007....okay, we're five months into '08 now, dawg! Hee hee! I have a personal theory that Cook is hoping to lose, so he'll have more time to work on his record. I know they all have to go out on tour, but the winner will have to do more "stuff"--photo ops, interviews, etc.

It finally appears to be spring...although it was 34 degrees lastnight...nice! It would be neat if we would experience a couple days of spring in a row before summer grips us in its' sweaty roasting grip. We'll see how that pans out.

Friday, May 16, 2008

coughing up spring

Well, it must be spring, because Riley and I are busy coughing our lungs out. We are both on our respective antibiotics. It's no fun. I coughed so hard today I saw stars and then saw black. I think I checked out for a moment! Wild! That's a first for me. Riley had track and field day today and burned the top of her head. We had a long discussion about sunscreen lastnight, but I failed to mention applying it on her part. Silly us! Tomorrow she has 12 hours of band, so hopefully she will know enough to wear a hat or to apply lots o' sunscreen...or, change her part! I had a weary day of coughing and going up to bat for Mas again...seems logic is so difficult to come by in the education game for these kiddos. I guess all a person can do is fight the good fight and do what is right. If there's any truth to karma, I can sleep well tonight! (in between coughing fits...) Our patio is nearing completion and it is really exciting. I'm a long way from drinking lemonade while swinging in my swing and watching Mas in his pool and hearing the martins overhead while throwing balls for the dogs to fetch, but we are getting closer every day! The weather hasn't been on our side, but we can't control that. Above is a pic of the start of Garden #1, and our patio in the distance. Yes, it appears pink, but it is supposed to be brown with red highlights...we'll see what the final color looks like!

Thursday, May 15, 2008


This picture is back when I was king of my mountain...

Just wondering today when life is going to get easier for Mas. Pitiful thinking? Maybe. Depends on how you look at it, I guess. He just lost his (and our) favorite aide yesterday. She moved on to another job. This is a person who completely understands him, took over his class last year and finally taught him something, and was so positive and upbeat when she wrote notes home that I didn't have to feel guilty about what he had done at school....for once. It's tough to see people enter and then leave your child's life, but especially hard when it's tough for your child to make connections to people, and when it's so difficult for people to look through the disability and see the person. She did that. We're going to miss, miss, miss her. So now we're back to worrying about his education and what his days are like; in the midst of our 15th month of toilet training, (which will regress now that she's gone); knowing his room was short staffed before she left and will now be even shorter on adults; him having been on the receiving end of someone else's behaviors (and having the bruises to prove it). Argh. It seems we can never just sit back and relax in the comfort of knowing he is being taken care of while at school. I think that's one area that parents of "normal" kids take for granted. It would be nice not to have to worry about him on a daily basis.

In other news, it seems my prediction of a double-David showdown is now a reality. Woo-Hoo! I'm psyched to see what they come up with next week. To me, they are just such completely different vocalists, it's going to be difficult for me to pick one over the other one. It will be fun to watch, though.

My daughter asked me this morning how she looked as she was ready to go to school. I innocently answered, "Cute." "Cute?!" she answers..."I don't want to look cute!" I furrowed my brow and said, "Hot?" She smiled. I guess I need to learn this newfangled teenybopper jargon if I am to survive in this hormone jungle.

If you haven't checked out The Alaska Experiment yet, try's awesome! The scenery and wildlife is one reason to watch, but the human drama is classic! I'm telling you, some of these people couldn't survive in the middle of Manhattan on a $15,000 a month stipend! It is pretty gripping television. You won't know whether to laugh or cry when you see people who have never even held a gun attempt to scale the side of mountain with rocks slipping down it in order to shoot a mountain goat...and then, be afraid to gut and skin it...and then, have to to haul it out back to their cabin in a backpack, hoping that wolves and bears don't sniff it out and attack them...Good stuff. Just proves that sometimes television is more dramatic than real life...sometimes.

Monday, May 12, 2008

The Plan

We all have them. Or, most of us do. I always used to. I still do, although it is so ragged and altered that it's almost unrecognizable. I can remember starting it about my sophomore year in high school. There were times I considered others, but always came back to my original one. Until life intervened. I'm talking about my Master Plan; the Plan by which every decision orbited around for years and years. Can I quit choir my sophomore year in high school? Not if I want to be a band director. Should I draw pictures or listen to the radio tonight? Better draw pictures if I want a minor in Art. Should I study or party? Better study if I want to make the Dean's List. Better get good grades. Better get great judge's comments at contest. Better increase my range on trumpet. Better sing a solo for vocal contest to show I'm well rounded in music. Better go to music camp to see if I want to go to school at SDSU. Better get a good student teaching gig lined up. Better do a great job so I get a good reference. Better work hard at being better, so I can go out and do my best....argh. It's exhausting just thinking about it. My entire life revolved around The Plan for years and years. I was great about staying on course. Very focused. If you're curious, my Master Plan was to live in a small town and be the band director and art teacher, have 4 kids, and many dogs. I would say part of my plan came true. I did get to major in music education and minor in art education, even though every teacher throughout college told me it was a huge waste of my time, since most schools couldn't even afford an art teacher. I did get many dogs...three, to be exact. I did have some children, although the number is 2 instead of 4. I used to make a weekly list throughout college, and I was SO happy to be able to check things off. Write my paper, check. Practice trumpet, check. Study, check. I know some things on my list would take a few days, others stretched out over two or three semesters. Now, my list is generally shorter and not as exciting. Do laundry, check. Do dishes, check. Prepare the kids for school, check, and check. I often look back now and wonder what good my music ed. major and my hard-won art minor are worth now. What need do I have of such things, to just be "a mom" now? My ability to play through Charliet Etudes or the Arutunian Trumpet Concerto are really of no value to me now. I don't need to know how to paint or draw to change diapers. My ten semesters on the dean's list are pretty much unnecessary in my day-to-day life at the moment. And yet, I'm so glad I had a Plan through those years of my life. I hope I will one day be able to utilize these things again. For now, though, "My Plan" is just a plan--no lights or glitter, no drama, just a plan to make it through daily life and be there for my kids. Nothing too exciting going on here...just playing out my plan as the days march by.


Hope you all had a great Mother's Day. Mine was fine. Yesterday also marked the ten year anniversary of my dad passing away. It seems like it was only a year ago. It's amazing how time marches by, no matter what you're up to. I went up to help with marching band this morning. (The band is going to be marching in Portland in a few weeks.) Everyone looked older and prettier. I wonder where the time goes?! I didn't even recognize a few of the kids. I hope I don't look any older! (Groan...)Riley learned that self tanners are hard to apply this weekend. Poor kid. There is definitely an art to application where they are concerned. Mas has a cold, so we dealt with that all weekend. (It would be so helpful if he could cough well or blow his nose.) I think back to ten years ago and remember that Mother's Day; not knowing what was going to happen with Mason, having cute little Riley run around with bugs in a bug keeper, and trying to picture my mom without my dad. Amazing how things change. I did make sourdough pancakes in honor of my dad yesterday, though, and enjoyed every bite. It's still weird without him here. I don't know if that ever goes away completely. But, regardless, time continues to move forward, no matter what we're doing with our days. Here's to having a good day, TODAY!

Friday, May 9, 2008


n. pl. pat·i·os
1. An outdoor space for dining or recreation that adjoins a residence and is often paved.
2. A roofless inner courtyard, typically found in Spanish and Spanish-style dwellings.
Now I'm supposed to say that a picture is worth a thousand words.

Thursday, May 8, 2008


I think Jason was filled with relief at finally being voted off, don't you? I think Syesha is next in the crosshairs, which will bring us to a double David finale...yes! THAT will be fun to watch! My soul leans towards Archuletta, but my ear likes the things David Cook does, so we'll see. I think Archuletta is truly a vocal prodigy, while Cook is more of an arranger. I think the final winner is rather unimportant at this point; most of the final folks will have people eager to pump out a record with any of them. The next couple of weeks should be fun, though!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

shhhh...don't tell me about it!

We had to tape Idol and we'll watch it today, due to Riley's band concert. I haven't heard a thing about it, and I hope to not hear anything until I can sit down and watch it. How exciting! I hope they had a good night.


I chaperoned Mason's class trip to the zoo yesterday. There were five students and 6 adults. And that was about right! Although the zoo was lacking in many ways, the kids did a great job. They even got to ride the train that goes around to the African animals. Mas loved that. I have some pics of the event. Only four kids are in his class picture. One isn't a fan of pics. I think Mas thought it was cool to ride in a train! He was pretty into that. The weather was perfect and the kids all did so well. It was a great day!

Monday, May 5, 2008

day of ponderance...

Ever have a day where you just think....hmmmmm...what is going on in my world today? It's been a good day, but a day full of pondering things...patios, grass, gardens, clouds...yes, I know how it sounds. But, I'm not crazy! I haven't ingested any illegal (or legal) drugs....just thinking a lot today. One of the things I'd like to be able to do is to turn off my mind on days like this. I did manage to bake cookies for Mason's zoo field trip tomorrow, (which I am going to chaperone for)...I also did my usual laundry, dishes, cleaning, dog chores, and also mowed, watered, mulched the garden area, put on a new hose wand, replanted a potted plant, and pondered a lot of stuff. I had a really cool song in my head while I was planting yesterday, which I failed to write down. This is the kind of ponderance that's at issue the past few days...My mind has been on a weird run lately. Maybe it's overwhelmed by the greenness and warmth of spring? Or, maybe it's time to get me one of those lives! Hmmmm....

Sunday, May 4, 2008


I'm taking a chance on Green Things Surviving the Night and planted today. Everything. Yikes. It was a LONG day! I planted everything in the front of the house, both whiskey barrels, and put in the entire garden, coffee cans and all. We'll see how everything fares. They have changed our low tonight to 40 degrees, so that will help things. I realized today that gardening is hard work! Yesterday, I put in 9 rhubarb plants and added 6 peonies to my line of peonies, making it 11 total. I was amazed to realize that the peonies that I dug up from my mom's yard have been there for (at least) 38 1/2 years! That is a long time. It will be fun to see how they do. The martins are enjoying this weather; had 8 of them on the house today. They sing so beautifully in the morning. It is so great to see green grass for a change. Let's hope spring is here to stay this time! I will post pics of the work later on! We are hoping to see the whites of our concrete contractor's eyes this week, as we are having a colored, stamped concrete patio put in. He has been scarce due to the weather, but we should be seeing him soon. After that's done, more planting will be done around the deck and patio, and then I should be able to take pics of it. Hope you all are able to enjoy the weather! We are!

Friday, May 2, 2008

just a springin'

Well, here we are, into MAY now, and I still am unable to plant! Grr! They are still forecasting 29 degree lows through Sunday night, so that puts a damper on Green Things Surviving The Night While Living Outside. It is beyond frustrating. On a happier note, the western half of the state is experiencing a blizzard, (while the eastern half was experiencing tornados lastnight) so who are we to complain? We'll take our rain and we'll like it! I'll be glad when I no longer have to baby my plants in the garage, however. I fear by the time spring arrives, it will be summer. If you're bored and want The Picture Box to entertain you, try checking out The Alaska Experiment...they take various groups of people, drop them in various remote parts of Alaska, and give them housing and a small bit of rations and then leave them there for 3 months. Let the fun begin! We were laughing the hardest at the father with two daughters; he was out fishing, they were in the tent wolfing down the only jar of peanut butter and eating raw potatoes. Hello?! I wonder how they will fare? I'm rooting for Alaska in their cabin. The scariest couple is the one living in a white tent, (given some fancy Alaskan name...but, still just a white tent) in the middle of a lot of bears. BIG bears. I wonder how long it would take the bear to break into the tent? That goes beyond survival into stupidity. They are, however, equipped with a bear whistle. Hmmm. I do think, though, that this is one of the more thought-provoking, discussion-starting shows we've watched in a long time...(along with Deadliest Catch, our fave reality show)...our 13 year old even watched it and asked a lot of great questions about survival, firewood, and food. As long as the weather keeps rearing its' ugly head at us, it's good to know The Picture Box can come through. (See, we do watch something besides American Idol!!)

Thursday, May 1, 2008

tooting my own trumpet

Just to toot my own can click right over to my cousin's blogspot,, to read my guest blog about our son, Mason. It's always a bit of a "sticky wicket" (thanks, mom!) to try to sit down and write "about" Mas, but I feel I maybe got close to capturing my true feelings on the subject, in the least amount of words possible. I hope you enjoy it!

not Castro-ated

Sorry; I couldn't help it! I was a bit surprised Jason stayed, but not so surprised that it was Brooke. I think Brooke wore the deer in the headlights look well...(or, the "dear" in the headlights look)...sigh...gotta love her!

Certainly, she is a more talented musician than Mr. Castro, but the American people could see her weekly escalating panic and screech-y fear rising in her voice. Reminds me of Bull Durham, when Susan Sarandon is telling Tim Robbins that he is thinking too much...that his mind needs to be somewhere else to pitch. I tend to think music performance does draw some parallels; although you need to be totally in the moment to carry off a great performance, you also need to not be thinking so much of each note you sing, each person in the audience who is frowning at you, each raised eyebrow of the judge. It's maybe most similar to the gestalt theory, which states that the sum of the parts is different than the whole. While you CAN break down a musical performance into individual notes, volumes, tempos, (and in Paula's case: outfits), it's only when the performance stands alone as a WHOLE that people are touched and moved by it; that it has served it's real purpose. I think the Davids get that. I think Brooke did get that in the beginning, but seemed to have lost that along the way when she started listening to her detractors. Castro just seems embarrassed and tired of the whole scenario, and Syesha, while able to look like she's in the moment, is cursed with the voice of a non-polished singer; someone who is crashing into notes rather than finding them and centering them. The thing is, you can't learn to find your pitches note by note during a performance. That is learned by hours of practice with a trained vocal coach. Still, though, I think we will see Castro leaving next, followed by Syesha, and then a fun double David standoff. Yay! I'm looking forward to the final battle!