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March 21, 2013

You know the old adage…  “If something ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  Well, I am packing my bags and heading back to blogger.  I have to say I am a bit disgusted with WordPress’ ad policy and the content that they tack all over your site…

So, I am fickle and changing my blog back to the original blogger site.  Don’t worry I was able to import all of my posts and I can still push content through to twitter and facebook so most won’t even notice I bet…

If you do subscribe here though, please join me back at   There is a link at the top to subscribe via email or rss.  So please, go sign up now and read the latest posts! I would hate to lose you.



Fortune Cookies…

January 31, 2013

fortunecookieLast weekend we found ourselves with a free Saturday night…quite a rare event in our busy household.  The boys lost their playoff game (by one goal in overtime) so we were able to skip the rest and head out early.  Everyone was hungry and so we decided to go out to eat.

Relying on GPS to find a restaurant isn’t always ideal.  If you aren’t looking for a known restaurant, it’s always a gamble.  We vetoed a few hole-in-the wall mostly take-out Chinese places in favor of sit-down dining.  We almost ended up at Mezcal, but the wait was too long and it was nearing couple, date-night time so we opted instead for ChopSticks, which was perfect for family dining.  They sat us in the back room near a large birthday party with kids and adults of all ages.

We didn’t have to worry about disturbing anyone’s dinner, were surrounded by other families and everyone found something they liked to order off the menu.  The food was delivered quickly, two pots of tea were consumed (with lots of sugar) and my son even tried actual sushi and fish eggs!

At the end of meal, they delivered the fortune cookies.  I know most of you have played that silly game of adding “in bed” to the end of your fortunes.  Looking for a more G-rated version, I suggested we add “on the toilet” to the end instead.  My three children love nothing more than potty humor so this resulted in bouts of laughter as we read fortunes such as:

A wise man says nothing…on the toilet

One who loves to sing will always find a song…on the toilet

The fastest and easiest is not always the best way…on the toilet

As we went around and read our altered fortunes, all of us were giggling and being quite silly.  As we left the restaurant I was thinking about how much fun we had, just being together.  Time goes so fast, already my oldest son is as tall as my chin and has the same size feet as me.   Saturday night was a reminder to take the time to unplug, get out of the house, away from the projects, turn off the phones and electronics, and just have fun being together…on the toilet.


January 30, 2013

My Mother tells me interesting stories that I usually dismiss because they just seem too crazy to not be true…  For example, she recently told my husband and I that after her Mother had her third baby she refused to get out of bed.  Apparently my Grandmother said that her legs wouldn’t work and she could not walk.  I believe that she was suffering from a severe case of postpartum depression, but that has no bearing on the tale.

My Grandfather decided to help.  While she was sleeping he took two live electrical wires, crossed them and shocked her feet.  Wait a minute, yes he basically sent an electrical current into his wife’s feet on purpose.  Some would call this electrocution.  The husband interjected to ask if these were 220 volt wires.  Deemed irrelevant to the story, my Mother continued that this shocking of my Grandmother awoke her and made her so furious that she jumped out of bed and chased my Grandfather out the room presumably to kill him.  He ran out of the house where he hid until she calmed down, feeling very smug about curing her leg problem.  Yes, she did get out of bed and start taking care of the house and the children again.

So these are the geniuses I am descended from which only makes it more ironic when she starts telling the husband about how intelligent I am and did you know I has a “MENSA level IQ”.  Really?  How do you know?  Well apparently she had me IQ tested before starting kindergarten, at the tender age of four.  What exactly does an IQ test for a 4-year-old look like?  Are you a genius if you know your colors?, can read?, ponder the cosmos?  The whole thing seems suspect to me…although I do think I can use this to my advantage during arguments.  How can the husband not concede to my wishes when I am the one with the MENSA level IQ.  I did marry him.  I must be brilliant.

To answer the MENSA question once and for all, I decided to take an online IQ test.  Coincidentally, the normally $18 pre-screening “so you think you are smart enough for to apply to MENSA” test is free during the month of January.  You have one more day to take advantage of this special offer at:

The test is four parts and timed.  You have 8 minutes to complete about 20 questions in each section.  The first section was weird partial pictures of hands and forearms where you identify right or left.  Seriously.  The rest was logic and math questions, which I happen to like.  I took the test amidst distractions and probably would have done better if I focused a little more, but part of me just wanted to prove Mother wrong.  Yes I still have not outgrown my tendencies toward teenage rebellion…and unquenchable curiosity.

These are my results.  I am convinced that I botched the right/left questions…


You scored a 69 on the Mensa Home Test.

Scores between 63 and 70 from the online test are above the 86th percentile and indicate an approximate IQ range between 116 and 125. This high score indicates a strong possibility that you may qualify for membership in Mensa!

Pretty inconclusive actually.  What the next step requires is paying $40 to take a 30 minute test.  If you score in the top 2% you are eligible for MENSA membership.  Then you get to join and pay dues for the privilege of wearing around an I am Smarter than You pin.  Ok, not really, but I can’t help thinking about it that way.  When I was in college working as a waitress I would occasionally have the privilege of waiting on the MENSA meeting.  They were pretty eccentric and did not tip well, despite their grasp of high math.

So I think I am going to leave my little MENSA experiment at that..let’s call it a draw…within the realm of possibility but certainly not definite. I still should win all the arguments though!

why I hate my birthday

January 3, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

My birthday falls on New Years Day and it has got to be the worst birthday ever.

Baby New Year

I know I get a Rudolph cartoon character with giant ears to represent me (my ears are fine by the way), but I can’t think of a worse day to be born.  In fact when we were thinking about having children I absolutely refused to have one born in December or January.

Here’s why…

It starts out bad as a baby…

  • Your parents miss a tax write off so right away you start out costing them money.

You get shortchanged as a kid…

  • Your birthday falls over school break during the holidays so everyone forgets 
  • You will forever be hearing “Here’s your Christmas/birthday gift” that is if they remember about your birthday
  • Your birthday gift, will always be wrapped in left-over holiday paper or be delivered in gift bags sporting Santa or snowmen.
  • You are expected to open your combo Xmas/birthday gifts when you receive them at Christmas so there are no gifts on your actual birthday.
  • The timing is terrible, did I mention that it falls one week, seven short days after Christmas?  You wait all year for Christmas and then your birthday and then spend 11 months waiting again…how I envied those summer babies with their every six months of gifts!

Now that I am an adult, and I have outgrown a lot of the present hype (although who doesn’t like a present, maybe I am lying a bit) it still hasn’t gotten much better.

  • You receive all those lovely Yankee swap gifts that people want to get them out of their house and are so excited to have your birthday arrive to relieve them of them
  • You start getting all those holiday bills so you are flat broke, waiting for payday and not really in the mood to spend any more moolah on your birthday

This year my sister had the flu so we exchanged gifts on her doorstep – quickly transferring the bags of presents away from the germs.  She said, “The little purple bag is your gift from last year.  I haven’t gotten you one this year yet.”  I think at that point she should have just pretended…

My Mother however, takes the cake.  Literally.  She asked what I was doing for my birthday this year and I told her that I really didn’t have any plans so she said she would come visit me and bring a cake.  I said that sounded great.  She called me that morning while she was baking to ask what kind of frosting I wanted.  We settled on a chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting like she used to make when I was younger.  She was worried about transporting it in her car so she decided she would pick up the cream at the market by my house and we would finish the cake together.

The husband took the boys off on an outing while my daughter and I waited for my Mother.

Well…she arrived late and breathlessly came in the door with an exclamation of “You will never guess what I did.”

Uh-oh.  “What, Mom?” I asked, with a sinking feeling.

“I got to the store and realized that I forgot my purse.”  Ok, I can work with that.  “Then I went to look for it in the car and I realized I forgot the cake.  I must have left if sitting on my kitchen counter.”

Wait, let me repeat that, she forgot her purse and the cake and drove an hour without noticing.

Of course I told her she had to turn around and drive the hour back home and go get it, to which she told me that she didn’t have any gas and needed to borrow cash.  I gave her my last $10 plus $ from the kids piggy banks.  Then she left to go to her friend’s house for dinner.  Thanks, Mom.

The husband arrived home with a cheesecake to smooth things over.  I think even he pitied me, which says something.

So that was my birthday.  Pretty poignant.  Definitely memorable.  Can’t wait for next year.


November 29, 2012

I have been terribly remiss on updating you about the goings on, but I have been busy on writing a 50,000 word novel (more on that later)…  I do have some fabulous pictures of the incredibly ugly roof the husband made for the duck pen, and also the outdoor hawk proof enclosure…

I have some pictures of the work that has begun on the office – started plastering the walls.  The husband seems to avoid this project and keeps coming up with other distractions like stringing Christmas lights and worrying about the main electrical panel and obsessing over the crooked kitchen floors and how he needs to raise them up and oh about a million other things.  He has created a bracket pattern to recreate the wooden brackets that used to be on the roof line.  I try my best to keep him on track.  I gave him a deadline, but he is so distractible.  Our friend Mick came over with trowel in hand and said, “Come on we are going mudding…” practically dragging him along by the hand and not listening to any excuses.  That’s how the second coat got done.

He tried to talk to me about insulation and finishing the front, and moving the electrical service, and starting on the dining room and I stick my fingers in my ears and send him back into the office to f-o-c-u-s.  Well, okay that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

I actually am just as bad.  My friend Michele does this write a novel in a month thing called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo and I had the brilliant idea of joining her this November.  Basically, you commit to writing at least 1667 words per day during the month of November and finish a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  Mind you, it’s all about getting words on paper and the amazing thing is that I actually just finished it on November 29th, one day early with 50,015 words.  Now of course it needs some serious editing, plot fixes, details fleshing out in some areas and major condensing in others, before I will let anyone go near it, but the thing is done (well about as done as our house) or should I say the thing exists, in rough form, but still…

So now that I have written a novel in one month I can possibly get back to blogging.  Blogging is much easier, much shorter and much more visual!  Long live the blog!  More about the house coming soon, I promise.

NoNoWriMo Winner 2012

Duck update…

November 11, 2012

Snowball and Sweetie grazing in the yard

My friend Cora tells me that I left her hanging with the duck situation. Back in April I was complaining about our over-loved hens and over-amorous drakes… See here to catch up .

We got a new female duck, Daisy to help with the ratio, but it just made things worse…  The two males turned their attention to the new duck.  She couldn’t move without one of them pinning her to the ground.  They were so mean.  It wasn’t long until her neck was going bald and bleeding from duck “love” bites.

So we spent most of the summer scolding boy ducks and rotating the males from the females. It was a lot of work, we had to section off the pen and be vigilant about who we let out when. We knew this was a temporary solution because winter was coming and at some point they would all need to go in their house…together.

We decided instead of adding more hens we should subtract one drake.

We had a few offers from people to take one of our male ducks. One wanted to eat him. Another needed a companion for his other duck who had lost his partner and someone else had a big flock of drakes (no females) and we weren’t sure if he would be happy there…

As it turns out, the neighbor behind us got ducks. She had four females and one male, but her male had recently died. The ducks weren’t the same breed as ours (Pekin), but they were also heavy breed (big) ducks. So we dumped Nibbles over the fence and he happily became an alpha male duck to his new harem, I mean flock.  We can see him happily swimming in his pool with his new ladies.  Sweetie has been much better behaved around Daisy now. Apparently the two boys were fighting over her and neither wanted the other to win so they worked this out in true boy fashion, by beating on her.

Peace had been restored to the duck pen. Sweetie has his three girls and Daisy’s neck feathers have started to grow back in. Since things were going so well we decided to go to a poultry swap and came home with two new ducks. A male/female pair. They are light weight, black east indies ducks that are iridescent green and blue in the sunlight.

Black East Indies Duck

J named them Ana and Jones (get it – East Indy Ana – Jones). Thankfully Sweetie is not threatened by this small drake. The Pekins seem to have accepted them into the flock and while they keep a bit of a distance from the bigger ducks, they all fit comfortably in the duck house.

Ana – who almost didn’t make it onto the blog…and looking a bit rattled after her morning encounter with a hawk.

Lately our biggest problem is hawks. We have a juvenile hawk that keeps attacking our ducks. This morning was the closest call we have had yet. My daughter actually saved Ana’s life. She looked outside and saw a hawk next to the ducks pool (while all the ducks were in it). J ran outside yelling at the hawk. It had picked up Ana and was trying to fly away with her.

Thankfully J caught up to it in time and the hawk dropped the duck. She was unharmed, but a bit rattled. Her mate, the drake had hidden behind the pool.  Coward!  Sweetie and the other ducks just sat in the pool and watched the whole thing.  These ducks run in their house when a plane flies overhead, but they sit and watch a hawk attack.  Odd.  I believe there comments were, “well at least it’s not me…”

We may have a Red Tailed hawk looking for a duck dinner.

Diet (from wikipedia

The Red-tailed Hawk is carnivorous, and an opportunistic feeder. Its diet is mainly small mammals, but it also includes birds and reptiles. Most commonly reported prey types include micegophers,voleschipmunksground squirrels and tree squirrels.[22][23] Additional prey (listed by descending likelihood of predation) include lagomorphsshrewsbatspigeonsquailcorvids, waterfowl, other raptorsreptilesfishcrustaceansinsects and earthworms.[4] They can also prey on marmotsWhite-tailed Jackrabbits, small domestic dogsdomestic cats, or female Wild Turkey, all of which are easily double the weight of most Red-tails.[4]

File:Red-tailed hawk02.jpg


It looks like we may be building an outdoor bird pen and covering it with netting to keep the ducks safe while outside in their pool – so much for free-range ducks  (sigh).

the current flock – Sweetie, Snowball, Ducky, Daisy, Ana and Jones.

Night Scraping….

August 9, 2012

I realize that I have been on blogging hiatus for most of the summer…more on that later.  For now, here are some pictures of one of our summer priorities relating to the house…
We call it night scraping and yes it does deserve a quiet night.

Scraping off about 30 years of peeling paint down to bare wood. Hours of work with the heat gun around the intricate trim.


A job best done when it cools off (ha!) at night – if the moths don’t get you first from the light.

Finally priming scraped areas around door…