30 September 2008

Court of Honor

Sunday was Mr. A's Fall Court of Honor for Scouts. He isn't on the leadership team this six month period, so we didn't need to get there early for him to help cook.

This Court of Honor was also the first Troop activity that the Webelos have been invited to, in order to get them interested in bridging up from Cub Scouts. Bugaboo's Cub Den has seen a lot of dropping out over the years, mainly due to their leader, so it was nice to see a majority of the boys at COH taking a look.

Mr. A was excited about this COH, as he was due to receive seven merit badges. It did however cause some consternation with X, as Mr. A also had two baseball games on Sunday and had to choose between COH or baseball. Mr. A chose COH, but not without some serious pushing by X to pick baseball.

COH tends to be a roast of the Scouts by the Scoutmaster. Mr. A has yet to be roasted. Part of me thinks he's thankful, and part of me thinks that he'd like to be. It's nice to see the relationship that the Scouts have with their leadership. It is much more of a give and take relationship than you see at the Cub level.

To cap off the night, there was the Annual Parent-Scout Softball game. The parents have won the last six years, and added this year to their streak. Not without a lot of cheating by the parents...which just adds to the fun, as it is expected.

Did I mention we got our fundraising packets? Sigh.

Until later...

29 September 2008

Earnest Thinking

A man seldom thinks with more earnestness of anything than he does of his dinner.
~ Samuel Johnson

That's so true...at least here in the Hinterlands. I give a lot of thought to what I'm planning for dinner. It probably takes me an hour or more to decide, and then another hour to go through the pantry and make my grocery list for the week.

So...last week's recap. Authentic Hungarian Goulash "gulyasleves" ~ not going to stay in the keeper file. It was "okay" but something was off. Bacon Cheeseburger Rice Casserole ~ another "okay" meal. One monster doesn't really like rice, so I doubt I'll make this again.

This week's menu is as follows:

Monday ~ Wreath Sales

Pizza Casserole using To Die For Crescent Rolls

Tuesday ~ Football Practice


Wednesday ~ Wreath Sales


Thursday ~ Football Practice


Friday, Saturday and Sunday ~ Monsters with their dad

I've got to make some of Kittencal's Extreme Chocolate Brownies for Bugaboo's banquet on Saturday, but other than that, it's up in the air.

So that's it for this week. Stop by this week's MPM to see what other's are planning.

Until later...

28 September 2008

Big Fast Kids

When it comes to football, God is prejudiced - toward big, fast kids.
~ Chuck Mills

Bugaboo would agree to this quote today. He got thrown around the field yesterday.

The opposing center was much bigger, both in height and weight, and just threw Bugaboo around the field.

It didn't help that Bugaboo's team, for the first time this year, were harping on each other in the back field.

There were some punches thrown by both sides yesterday. Bugaboo's coach does NOT put up with that sort of behavior and all of the boys were read the riot act at the end of the game.

Bugaboo had possibly the worst game in his short football career and he was not happy.

My parents came over to watch Bugaboo play, and he wouldn't even look at them or say hello.

After the game, Bugaboo, Mr. A, their step mom and their little sister headed to watch the baseball game, which our team lost. I sure hope Bugaboo's attitude improved before they got to the stadium!

One more week of football.

Until later...

27 September 2008

Another Saturday Six

1. On an average night, do you tend to get more sleep than you need, less sleep than you need, or just about exactly how much you need?

About the right amount. I get crabby(ier) if I don't, so I've learned to get what I need.

2. Do you have trouble sleeping well in a bed other than your own, i.e., a hotel room?


3. Do you have trouble sleeping in a sleeping bag or tent?

Ahh...yeah. Camping is for others.

4. Take the quiz: What Does Your Bed Say About You?

What Your Bed Says About You

Outward appearances are a concern of yours, but not your primary concern. You try to take care of yourself and your home, but it's not an obsession. You are an organized and disciplined person. You do the right thing because you want to, not because people expect you to. You are very high maintenance. You like everything a certain way, and you're grumpy if things aren't the way you like them. In relationships, you tend to be quite dominant. You enjoy taking charge. You tend to be a down to earth, practical person. You think in terms of what is actual. You are a total homebody. You are happiest when you're at home.

5. Has anyone ever told you that you snore? Did you believe them at the time?

Yep, and yep.

6. When was the last time you woke up in the middle of the night thinking you had overslept? How many hours did you have left to sleep before you had to get up?

I don't remember doing this. If I wake thinking I overslept, I usually have.

Until later...

26 September 2008

A Quiet Weekend?

Not hardly. I found out last night, that I have been added to the on-call rolls for the weekend. We're switching servers at work, and that means that once the switch goes through, we'll have to test to make sure everything works okay.

Which means I can't make any plans for tomorrow, as I'll be tied to the laptop all dang day. Part of me doesn't mind, as the OT is always a good thing, but part of me does mind, as I was looking forward to heading out to a small town near here and just browsing the antique shops.

Ah, well...maybe next weekend.

Until later...

25 September 2008


Thursdays are a day of running around doing laundry, quizzing the monsters on their Friday tests and getting things ready for them to go to their dad's for the weekend.

I hate Thursdays.

Even though most Wednesdays are days of relaxation, it doesn't quite make up for the chaos of Thursdays. Plus, Thursdays mean that the monsters are heading to their dad's, and while I know that they need to spend time with him, I prefer to have them home.

So my agenda tonight is laundry, quizzing and searching for that missing shirt that one of the monsters has to wear tomorrow.

Is it Friday yet?

Until later...

24 September 2008


A compromise is an agreement whereby both parties get what neither of them wanted.
~ Author Unknown

So Mr. A's birthday money has been burning a hole in his pocket. All $15 of it. He desperately wants a new game for the Wii...not that he didn't get two new games ON his birthday.

So he convinced me that he would pay me back, if I bankrolled his game purchase. It took a lot of convincing and some compromise on both our parts.

Mr. A got a list of chores (and not any of the usual chores!), and a set dollar amount that I'll pay for each chore. I got a new charge on my credit card.

The understanding was reached that he has until November 1st to pay off the game. And it shouldn't be too hard, if he actually does the chores I've listed for him. If too long goes by without him completing a chore, then the game is mine, until such a time that I determine he's worked enough to get it back.

Me thinks that Mr. A got the best of this compromise.

Until later...

23 September 2008

Leisurely Afternoons

Baseball is for the leisurely afternoons of summer and for the unchanging dreams.
~ Roger Kahn

So Sunday was Mr. A's birthday and also a full day of baseball. It was a very warm, very wonderful fall afternoon, reminiscent of an early summer day. And how better for Mr. A to spend his birthday, but doing the one thing he loves best in the world, but baseball?

The first game was fun to watch. The boys were all at a peak playing mindset and enjoying what they were doing. It showed in their bats, in their gloves, in their overall performance. Mr. A had a good game at the plate and in the field.

The second game was a hardship to watch. The other team was atrocious. Truly, I'm being kind when I say that. We walked more than we did anything. We surrendered the plate all of the innings, as we'd hit the seven run rule each inning. As a birthday present, Coach R let Mr. A pitch, and he did quite well. Not up to his standards, but then, he never does play up to his standards. But well enough, that he didn't let any runs cross the plate.

I truly didn't think that game was ever going to end. Coach R even told the other team that we'd just take 3 outs one inning instead of batting, to try to make it go faster. At some point, you just have to, kwim?

So we left the fields Sunday with a record of 4-0 for fall ball. Pretty good for a team that really hadn't played together before the start of the season.

Until later...

22 September 2008

Dinner Table

Never argue at the dinner table, for the one who is not hungry always gets the best of the argument.
~ Richard Whately

Happy Monday!

There's a rule in the Nonnie Household, that there are no arguments at the table. It's one that we're pretty good about keeping. I think that the dinner table isn't the time for a family to hash out problems, but rather a time to connect about their day.

So...last week's recap. Chicken Fingers made with Best Batter Ever and fries ~ The monsters loved this. I'm not sure if it was the batter, or the fact that it was deep fried, but it got two thumbs up. Cheese Manicotti ~ this is an old favorite and always devoured. Orange Beef with Broccoli ~ Meh. It was okay for what it was, but I liked the sauce from the Orange Chicken a few weeks ago better. If I make this again, I'll swap out sauces. Shrimp Stroganoff ~ this was okay. I'm not sure I'd make it again, unless I could make a full recipe. Easiest Brownies ~ not a recipe I'll make again. I'll stick to my tried and true instead.

This week's menu is as follows:

Monday ~ Scouts for Mr. A

Authentic Hungarian Goulash "gulyasleves"

Tuesday ~ Football Practice

Bacon Cheeseburger Rice Casserole

Wednesday ~ Chore Night


Thursday ~ Football Practice


Friday, Saturday and Sunday ~ Monsters with their dad

This weekend is a huge question mark. Sunday is Mr. A's Fall Court Of Honor, so I'll be making something (what????) to take to that, but I'm not sure about the rest of the weekend. It'll probably be whatever I find in the cupboards.

So that's it for this week. Stop by this week's MPM to see what other's are planning.

Until later...

21 September 2008


Football is, after all, a wonderful way to get rid of your aggressions without going to jail for it.
~ Heywood Hale Broun

Another week of football, another week of getting rid of aggressions. Today, Bugaboo's team played his best friend's team. And man, did that team have something to prove. They hadn't won a game yet, while Bugaboo's team was 1-1. The other team was pounding on Bugaboo's team.

But the boys were up to the challenge, and played very well. So did Bugaboo. I am really enjoying his transformation on the team. Watching him with the coaches, I can see him soaking up the praise, the direction when he's not doing things the best and just having that attention from a male figure. It's wonderful to see.

It was a tight game, but when all was said and done, Bugaboo's team won. 2-1 on the season!

Until later...

20 September 2008

Saturday Six

1. What’s more important to you: being a recognized leader in what you do, or being a trusted “worker bee” in what you do?

I don't see them as being mutally exclusive. If you're a strong, recognized leader, then you're also a trusted "worker bee", because you couldn't have become a leader without being a dedicated worker.

2. If you knew you had accomplished something that would make you “famous” by today’s standards, what would scare you most about such a prospect?

I think the impact on my family and how they'd deal with being part of a "famous" dynamic.

3. Should famous people’s families be “off limits” as some have suggested, or are such intrusions something that famous people should just “live with?”

Definitely "off limits".

4. Take the quiz: What Are You Going to be Famous For?

You will be famous for writing a national bestseller

You are very observant and tend to be the wallflower at parties. You are intuitive and know just how to communicate everything that you are feeling to those around you.

5. How would you define “success?”

Being happy and content with my choices and my life.

6. What’s more important to you, a career that could bring you financial security, or a career that could bring you emotional/spiritual security?

Emotional security.

Until later...

19 September 2008

School Patrol

So Bugaboo got into the car yesterday, all smiles and happiness. Now, last year, this was a major deal. This year? Not so much. He's having a wonderful year, so I didn't think too much about the smiles.

We talked a little about his classes and what he had for lunch...the regular things that happen on a day to day basis.

Then he says "I'm a lieutenant!". Um...sorry? It appears that they voted for the patrol officers today, and he was voted as his class's lieutenant. Which is a great, great confidence booster for my child.

Last year, he constantly felt bullied. He felt he had no friends, that kids didn't like him, the whole gammot. But this year? He's got tons of friends, he's doing well in school and he's grown so much.

Which translates into the fact that kids like him and want to be with him, and look at him as someone who they'd be comfortable with as a leader. And so they voted him in as one of their patrol leaders. How awesome is that?

Today, at 2:45, I'll be in the school gym to watch this year's school patrol take their oath, get their badges, and then watch the new patrol leadership being sworn in. I'm not proud...much!

Until later...

18 September 2008

What You Put In

It's not necessarily the amount of time you spend at practice that counts; it's what you put into the practice.
~ Eric Lindros

Bugaboo is getting tired of practices. The football program changed the way they do things this year for the fifth and sixth grade boys, so that they are more on par with how things will go for them once they start middle school ball.

What that means is for the first half of practice each night, the boys aren't split up into their teams, but rather split into groups based on what position they play most of the time and drilled. Bugaboo hates this part of practice. He loves being with his coach and his team, running plays and practicing for the games, but the drills? Not so much.

I've been trying to explain that this is just the way things are and that to get better, they need to run the drills, but what does a Nonnie know?

It seems that this is a common theme amoung the boys when I talk to other parents. We all agree that the drills are a good thing, the boys all agree that they aren't.

Some day Bugaboo will understand that you get out what you put into things, but right now? Not so much.

Until later...

17 September 2008

The Best Cure

The best cure for the body is a quiet mind.
~ Napoleon Bonaparte

It's Wednesday, and that means sitting at home for once. I love Wednesdays!

There's not much on the agenda today. The monsters have their chores to do, and other than cooking, I'm not planning on much of anything. I have a new book to read, and the monsters are planning on playing with the new games that Mr. A got for his birthday.

Wednesdays mean taking some time to rest up the body for the rest of the week...one of the best cures for over work.

Until later...

16 September 2008

Walk In The Rain

Some people walk in the rain, others just get wet.
~ Roger Miller

This past weekend we celebrated Mr. A's birthday with my parents and my grandmother. We were instructed to bring the Wii over, so that Greatma could take on the boys and show them up in bowling. What a hoot!

Saturday before Bugaboo's game, I made Mr. A's pie. The filling was simple, and the crust came together wonderfully...until I tried to roll it out and put it into the pie plate. What a disaster! But it had a wonderful taste, and Mr. A loved it, so that's what matters.

Sunday dawned quite grey and gloomy, but the rains were supposed to hold off until the second game. Mr. A and I left early, leaving Bugaboo with my parents and grandma...they were to follow later.

We got to the field and Mr. A and his team started warming up. The first games were about finished, when the drizzle started. The rest of the family showed up, and the rain just started coming. My parents were worried about grandma getting sick, so they left before the Mr. A's game really got underway.

Now, we played in rain for most of the spring, so this wasn't out of the ordinary, but it just kept coming. In the first inning, the boys played well, bringing in three runs, and overall showing that they were the better team. They had a nice hotbox play between second and third, with the left and center fielders coming in to help out. It was a thing of beauty!

Bugaboo was beyond pissy about being out in the rain, so I sent him back to the car so I didn't have to hear his whining. At least one of us was going to be slightly dry.

In the second inning, one of our players got hit in the elbow and just about fell to the ground in pain. I learned over the summer that this player is a big baby when it comes to being hurt, so I wasn't too horribly worried, and given how he acted when he got out of the rain, well, I was right.

The coaches and the umps had a 15 minute conference about the state of the field. The batter's box was filling up with rain, and the pitcher's mound was so slippery, the pitchers skidded when they planted their front foot. So they finally called the game.

By the time Mr. A and I got to the car, we were so wet, I didn't think we'd every dry out, or get warm. The rest of the team was going out to eat, but there was no way I was going out the way I felt. So we headed home.

I don't mind a nice walk in a soft drizzle, but watching a baseball game wet to the bone? Not my favorite thing. Ah well, there's always next weekend.

Until later...

15 September 2008

The Very Nicest Things

One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.
~ Luciano Pavarotti and William Wright

Happy Monday!

It was a full weekend for us, but it's time to get back into the swing of things...so without further ado...

Let's recap last week's menu. The Orange Chicken was enjoyed by all of us. I added quite a bit of red pepper flakes as we like our food with a bite. The monsters liked the Open-faced Lasagna Sandwiches, but I think if I make them again, I'll use half the amount of spaghetti sauce and I won't bother with the fresh mozzarella. The monsters couldn't care less, and I can use that money on something else in my grocery budget. The Spicy Southwestern Pasta was so-so for us. The Pork Roast Yucatan Style, Mexican Mashed Potatoes and Apple Pie got huge thumbs up from everyone. They'll stay in the "Make Again" file. The Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad didn't however, so that recipe gets 86'd. I also made Vanilla Pudding Cinnamon Rolls for breakfast on Sunday. They didn't make last week's menu, but they made the "Make Again" file!

This week's menu is as follows:

Monday ~ Scouts for Bugaboo

Chicken Fingers made with Best Batter Ever and fries.

Tuesday ~ Football Practice

Cheese Manicotti

Wednesday ~ Chore Night

Orange Beef with Broccoli

Thursday ~ Football Practice


Friday, Saturday and Sunday ~ Monsters with their dad

I'm not sure what I'll do Friday. Probably a leftover night. Saturday I'll be making Shrimp Stroganoff and then a few batches of Easiest Brownies to bring to Mr. A's games Sunday to celebrate his birthday with his team. Sunday is Mr. A's double headers, so it'll likely be a picnic of sorts between games.

Don't forget to head over to Organizing Junkie to see the rest of today's meal plans!

Until later...

14 September 2008

Individual Commitment

Individual commitment to a group effort -- that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.
~ Vince Lombardi

Bugaboo is learning a lot about individual commitment this year in football. He's improved more than I can say over last year. He moves with the ball, he doesn't sit around after it has gotten out of his immediate area. He's motivated. And because he's motivated, he's giving the commitment needed on his end, to help the team win.

Yesterday, Bugaboo's team did win. We played an out of town team who just looked more like a team than we did. But that was before the game started. Once the whistle blew, our boys just went out there and refused to play without heart.

Bugaboo plays on the line, and on defense, he pushed himself through the offensive line time and time again. Sacking the quarterback, tying up the runner behind the line of scrimmage and generally introducing mayhem into the other team's back field with the J Twins.

He's got some work to do on offense. He takes his eyes away from his guy to watch the ball, and he needs to remember that he's on the line to stay with his guy, not to watch where the ball is. It'll come with time, and I'm guessing by the end of the season.

I was so proud of his efforts this week, and I told him more than once. This child of mine SOAKS up the compliments, so I make sure that he gets them when they are deserved. They make his day, and really, who doesn't have their day made by a good compliment?

The boys are all giving that individual commitment and making the team work. That's why Bugaboo's team is 1-1 on the season, and they're enjoying that record greatly. So's this Nonnie.

Until later...

13 September 2008

Five Things...

I think, at least until football is over, Saturday is going to be a meme day...so you can choose to check in with me on Saturdays, or not.

What was I doing ten years ago?

Ten years ago I was dealing with my husband walking out on me, our 2 1/2 year old and our 11 month old. I've come a long way from that woman.

What are five (non-work) things on my to-do list for today?

1. Bake Mr. A's birthday pie.
2. Put together the dough for Sunday's rolls.
3. Drink coffee.
4. Push Mr. A out of bed so he watches Bugaboo's game!
5. Head to my parents to celebrate Mr. A's birthday!

Five snacks I enjoy:

1. Cashews
2. Newton Fruit Crisps ~ Apple Cinnamon
3. Cheese
4. Yogurt
5. Gum

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

1. Set up trust funds for the monsters.
2. Go back to school.
3. Buy a house.
4. Buy my parents a house.
5. Buy a resort "Up Nort" for the family (read that as Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and all respective spouses and children) to use each August.

Places I've lived:

1. Scandahoovian Town #1 ~ birth
2. Scandahoovian City #1 ~ childhood
3. Scandahoovian Town #2 ~ teens
4. Scandahoovian City #2 ~ college
5. Scandahoovian City #3 ~ marriage

Jobs I've had:

1. Publishing Specialist
2. Customer Service Rep
3. Manager
4. Self Employed
5. Babysitter

There you go!

Until later...

12 September 2008

Wobbly Spelling

My spelling is Wobbly. It's good spelling but it Wobbles, and the letters get in the wrong places.
~ A. A. Milne

With another school year started, the agony that is the spelling test has once again entered our lives.

Bugaboo has a spelling test every week. Most weeks there are 20 words, but this week there were only fourteen. I guess that was a gift from the teacher because it was the first test of the year and she wanted to ease the kids into the torture...or maybe that's the parents!

Four of the "words" were actually things related to the school. The name of the school (including the whole "Elementary School" bit), the name of the town we live in, the name of the principal and the name of Bugaboo's teacher. The other ten words were words "with long 'a' and long 'i'". Words like convey and hesitate.

As I go through the words with Bugaboo, I generally try to have him define them for me, hoping that will boost his vocabulary. When he can't, I give the easiest definition I can think of, but sometimes, the easiest isn't down at his level.

Bugaboo got his words on Monday. We had Monday night and Tuesday night to study for the pre-test on Wednesday. I didn't have high hopes for the possibility of success on the pre-test due to wobbly spelling, but figured it was a pre-test, so no big deal.

Bugaboo got in the car after school Wednesday and told me that if they get a 100% on their pre-test, they don't have to take the test on Friday. Well, that's an incentive we can work with! He didn't know how he did on the pre-test yet, so we still spent time studying that night.

Yesterday, he got in the car after school and was grinning from ear to ear. I asked what he was so happy about, and he said that he didn't have to take the test on Friday! Whoo-Hoo! That was a fist pumping moment for this Nonnie!

So Bugaboo and I have made a deal that we'll do our best on Monday and Tuesday nights to learn his words, so he has extra time to play the Wii the rest of the week instead of studying for the spelling test. Maybe it won't be so torturous this year.

Until later...

11 September 2008

Images That Make Us Remember

Of all the images of 9.11 that stand out in my mind, this is the one that calls to my soul. Its close replication of the Iwo Jima image makes me think of both the bravery of those who rushed to the assistance of the victims that day, and also of the bravery of those fighting the war we ended up entering.

9.11 is something that I know is a huge "There but for the grace" moment in my life. If 9.11 had happened on 9.12, I would have been 3 blocks from Ground Zero. I was packed, at work and waiting to leave for my flight when the planes were grounded. I was heading to NYC for work and I was both thrilled to be going to NYC (if only for work!) and a little nauseous because it was my first business trip.

My mom called and told me that I couldn't go. I laughed at her, because at that time, the news was that a small plane had hit the first tower. It wasn't until an hour later that I knew things for this country were worse than they ever had been in my memory.

Everyone at work sat in stunned silence. To give it some perspective, at the time I worked in a large call center and it was never silent on that floor of the building. NEVER. Calls were few and far between as the country tried to come to grips with what had happened.

I drove home listening to talk radio, to the calls that were full of grief and some that were so, so angry. I picked up my children from daycare to their surprise, as I wasn't supposed to be in the state.

It was Mr. A's second week of kindergarten. I wasn't much of the "Mom & Apple Pie" sort, but that day (and since), it was very important to me that he was saying the Pledge daily and that he (and eventually Bugaboo) understood what it meant.

The boys knew, on a very high level, that bad things had happened. I made an effort to keep them occupied that afternoon, through dinner and through our bedtime rituals. I kept the TV off until I knew they were asleep. And all during that time I desperately wanted to be getting the most up-to-date information. I wanted to know what was being said and what was happening.

I watched TV for hours that night. Tom Brokaw was my link to what was going on. In the days and weeks that came after, he remained my link.

Life has a way of distancing us from tragedies. This tragedy is no different. But I know in my heart, that this one moment in time has changed me and the way I look at life, at my country and the world.

And every year, on the anniversary, I look at that image and I remember those who sacrificed everything that day and all the days afterward through the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I remember those people, and I offer my sincere gratitude to them for their sacrifices, so that me and mine can live the life that we do.

I'll never forget.

Until later...

Painful Moments

One of life's most painful moments comes when we must admit that we didn't do our homework, that we are not prepared.
~ Merlin Olsen

This is something that Mr. A learned painfully last night. Not at school, but at home.

Mr. A's school lets parents sign on to a secured site and check out their student's grades. As I mentioned yesterday, I'm a slight bit anal, and I check it daily. Well, yesterday afternoon, I was doing my daily check, and what to my disbelieving eyes should appear? A "D". Yes, a "D". Now, Mr. A is one of those kids who has things come easily to him. He reminds me of both me and his father in that regard. Neither X nor I had to learn to study until college, and by then it was almost too late.

I vowed that my boys would learn to study and to WORK for their grades. It's a constant battle.

Now Mr. A's "D" is in a class that he has a desperate hatred for. A class that I can't relate to his hatred for. It's Literature...otherwise known as Reading.

I read constantly. Always have. I read nightly to the boys until they told me they were too old, and they wanted to read on their own. Bugaboo did, but Mr. A decided it was too "hard". He's always been the one who wants to be entertained, rather than entertain himself.

Now, part of his grade maybe my fault. Last Thursday night both of the boys had practice and we did homework from 3:45 to 4:45, ate a quick dinner and went to practice. I knew that Mr. A still had to complete his homework for Literature, but he promised that he could get it done in Study Hall the next morning. I let it slide.

He did do it in Study Hall, but without Nonnie there to double check and see how much effort was put into it, he did the bare minimum to turn it in, and his grade reflects that.

I got home yesterday after picking Bugaboo up at school, and removed all electronic privleges from Mr. A. He was sent to his room with the instructions to do his homework, practice his trombone and to stay there, only to be allowed out for dinner and the bathroom.

He wasn't happy. Not that I cared. He tried bargining with me. He said it was only the first grade and he had all quarter to improve, so I should give him a break this once. He said that it was too much of a punishment, and that I should let him have one of his electronic devices. You name it, he used it for a bargin.

I didn't budge. Oh, I wanted too, because I was tired and crabby and the effort was just more than I wanted to give. But I'm his Nonnie, so I knew I couldn't.

During dinner, he kept trying to bargin. I told him that if he really thought my decision was too harsh, we could call his dad and find out what he thought. LOL! I knew that would stop him, because while I might discuss things and explain my position, X yells and yells. Mr. A didn't want to deal with that, so he finished eating and went back down to his room.

Then his dad called. I spoke with him and rather than agreeing with me, he took Mr. A's side. I was full of WTFery. Apparently, something sucked X's brain out over the summer, and he decided that a "D" was an okay grade. Okay then.

So Mr. A and I talked after his dad hung up. I asked him if he wanted me to back off and leave him alone, wait until report cards came out and then bring the hammer down (if necessary) or if he wanted me to pay attention and knock sense into him as I noticed him needing it. He picked me paying attention.

Somewhere there is a quote about pain and growth. I'm too lazy to look for it now, but it's also true. Mr. A and I both grew yesterday. And we're better for it.

Until later...

10 September 2008

Chaos and Whim

A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
~ Annie Dillard

This quote is so true for my family. We NEED a schedule. Okay...the monsters might not, but I certainly do!

I have a severe Type-A personality. I work best when things have a place and are in their place. If everything is "just so" I can deal better with the chaos and whim that pops up from time to time.

The first few weeks back to school have a huge relearning curve for my little family. After three months of living basically on my own, I need to relearn how to deal with the needs of the monsters. I need to learn how to balance my crazy work hours (will there ever be a time when I don't bring work home?), helping with math facts, quizzing on spelling words, helping with French vocab, making dinner, washing clothes...well, I don't have to tell most moms how it is.

I admit that I get very selfish over the summer. I do what I want, when I want. I eat what I want, when I want. The monsters? Not so much. For whatever reason, they expect to have a three course snack after school and a five course meal for dinner...of course those courses are just seconds, thirds and fourths of what's on the menu, but still.

I have been more tired these past two weeks then I have in a long time, and I know that it is because the monsters are back home and we're learning to live together again.

I'll be glad when chaos and whim are only sometime visitors, instead of the guests that refuse to leave.

Until later...

09 September 2008

Blending Effortlessly

A coach's main job is to reawaken a spirit in which the players can blend together effortlessly.
~ Phil Jackson

Sunday was Mr. A's first fall ball double header. First, let me just say that I never knew that baseball for kids could last as long as baseball for the pros. Is it October yet?

Mr. A played on the "B" team this summer. For the most part, the boys that he played with have talent and love the game. It was a good fit for Mr. A, his first time out for travel ball. He had a wonderful season, stepping up and making himself invaluable to the team. The team went to State, missed the championship game of the league by 2 runs and Mr. A was elected to the All-Star team. And I thought baseball was over.

Then, the words "fall ball" entered our vocabulary, and Mr. A decided that playing fall ball was better than even thinking about playing football. Fall ball is supposed to be more laid back than regular ball. The boys are told to look on it as a spring training of sorts, and to practice the things that they wanted to do during the regular season, but were unable to, due to the needs of their team.

Not all of the boys who play regular ball end up playing fall ball. And that's where the coaches come in. They need to take 13 boys who love the game, and are good at it, and blend them effortlessly into a team that can go out and play together.

The fall ball coaches, based on just one double header, seem to have done that. There are five boys from Mr. A's regular team and eight boys from the "A" team on the fall ball team. They seem to play well together. Well enough that they won both of their games on Sunday.

I didn't see a huge difference in the abilities of the boys on the "B" team and the boys on the "A" team. It appears to be one of those "it's who you know" things that land you on the "A" team. Since this was the first year that Mr. A played ball with his classmates, being on the "B" team was apparently a given. Our coaches from the regular season have said that four of our boys have a legitimate chance to move up to the "A" team next year. Part of me hopes that happens for Mr. A, as he really wants it, but the rest of me almost hopes that he stays on the "B" team, as I know the coaches and think that ultimately, he'd have a better year. We'll see what happens.

For now, I'm enjoying watching the blend of these two teams, and while I might wish to be sitting in my warm house the next five Sundays as fall descends on the Hinterlands with a vengeance, Mr. A enjoys it too much for me to not.

Until later...

08 September 2008

Intimate Acts

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly.
~ M. F. K. Fisher

Sharing food is an intimate act. I think that's why families gather around the table...to share their days and to grow closer. I know that I enjoy hearing about the monsters' days as we eat.

This week is a little different from normal. We'll be celebrating Mr. A's birthday this weekend, so that's been added to the mix.

Monday ~ Scouts for Mr. A

Hamburgers...I got an excellent deal from Omaha Steaks for these.

Tuesday ~ Football Practice

Orange Chicken

Wednesday ~ Relaxing at Home

Open-faced Lasagna Sandwiches

Thursday ~ Football Practice

Spicy Southwestern Pasta

Friday ~ Chore Night


Saturday ~ Football Game & Mr. A's Birthday

Pork Roast Yucatan Style with Mexican Mashed Potatoes and Roasted Corn & Black Bean Salad. For dessert, we're going to have Apple Pie on the birthday monster's request.

Sunday ~ Baseball Double Header

Up in the air. Mr. A's games aren't until 2, which means we'll need to be at the fields at 1. We'll see how I'm feeling when it comes to lunch, but I know that we'll probably grab McDonalds or Subway on the way home for dinner.

So that's what's up for this week. Stop by this week's MPM to see what others are planning. Who knows? You might get some good ideas for yourself!

Until later...

07 September 2008

Collision Sport

Football isn't a contact sport, it's a collision sport. Dancing is a contact sport.
~ Duffy Daugherty

Yesterday was Bugaboo's first football game of the season. He has a wonderful coach...the same coach who spent so much time and energy as Mr. A's baseball coach this summer, so I feel confident that Bugaboo will learn a lot this year.

They had an okay outing for the first time. And while the coaches want to win, the focus this season isn't winning, but rather learning the fundamentals, which will give them a winning edge as they move on to school football.

Bugaboo's team is the Wildcats...they've got yellow jerseys with a blue wildcat on front. Their sponsors didn't want to have their name prominent on the jerseys, and it almost looks like they're part of the school teams.

It was a clear, sunny and cool day. Just the kind of day for fall football. By the time I got to the fields this morning, Bugaboo and his team were warming up and I didn't get a chance to say good morning to him.

Bugaboo got moved from left tackle to center today, and it was easy to see why. He's the biggest, both in height and weight on the team. He looks so big out on the field.

The boys had some troubles getting into the game at the start, but by the end of the game, you could see that their confidence level had improved and they were tackling much better.

Bugaboo got quite a few accolades thrown at him by the coaches during half time. "Watch Bug...see how he does it. That's the way we want you all to do it", and so on.

One one of the last plays of the game, two of our players ended up laying hurt on the field. I'm still not sure what exactly happened. Bugaboo was one of those players. It took a few minutes for the two players to get up off the field, and Bugaboo sat out the rest of the game. The coach said that it sounded like his neck snapped the wrong way when his body went another, and that Bugaboo seemed more scared than hurt.

I'm not one of those moms who rushes out to check on their kid when he gets hurt during a game. In fact, I didn't go over to Bugaboo until after the coaches talked to all of the boys after the game. X's wife however was right on top of him, and I could see that Bugaboo was getting upset with all of the attention. I might have gotten a sideways look or three from X's wife, but I know my child, and I know that he hates to have extra attention called to him.

When I finally talked to him, he said he was fine, just a little sore and didn't want anyone asking him any more...that's my boy! LOL!

So, the team might have lost, but I think Bugaboo built some confidence, he learned what it's like to be hit and he learned that he can take it. I'll take that kind of game over a win any day.

Until later...

06 September 2008

A Book MeMe This Saturday

Hardback or trade paperback or mass market paperback?

Both. I buy hardback for my favorite author, plus the HP series and the Inheritance series, but otherwise is it paperback...preferably mass market.

Amazon or brick and mortar?

Both. Amazon for the most part any more, but if I'm out of something to read, I'll run to a brick and mortar.

Barnes & Noble or Borders?

I always liked B&N, but the Borders here is a better store.

Bookmark or dog-ear?

Neither. I usually stop at a chapter or a break within a chapter and remember where I was by page number or chapter number.

Alphabetize by author or alphabetize by title or random?

Alphabetize both by author and within author.

Keep, throw away, or sell?

I've been keeping, but I think eBay is calling my name for getting rid of the ones I won't read again.

Keep dust jacket or toss it?


Read with dust jacket or remove it?

I read without the dust jacket.

Short story or novel?

Novel. Definitely. Short stories are just too short for me.

Short story collection (short stories by the same author) or anthology (short stories by a different author?

I don't read many of either. The only anthology I read is the one that comes out each fall with the new JD Robb story.

Harry Potter or Lemony Snicket?

I've read all of the HP, but none of the Lemony Snicket.

Stop reading when tired or at chapter breaks?

I try to make it to the end of the chapter, but if I'm really tired, I'll just stop anywhere.

“It was a dark and stormy night” or “Once upon a time”?

Most of what I read probably falls into the second category, with a strong influence from the first.

Buy or Borrow?

Buy. I have a book fetish.

New or used?

Only new.

Buying choice: book reviews, recommendation or browse?

Generally through browsing, but sometimes I use recommendations.

Tidy ending or cliffhanger?

I don't mind a cliffhanger if it is an on-going series.

Morning reading, afternoon reading or nighttime reading?


Standalone or series?


Favorite series?

JD Robb's In Death series.

Favorite books read last year?

Any that pulled an emotional response out of me.

Favorite books of all time?

The Trixie Belden series from when I was a child, the In Death series and Northern Lights.

05 September 2008


I woke up to 40° temps in the house this morning...at least it felt that way. Fall has arrived in the Hinterlands with a vengeance. I'm planning on actually breaking out the long pants for work today.

The monsters have had a good first week at school.

Bugaboo really likes his teacher, which is a wonderful thing, given how horrid his teacher was last year. There hasn't been any problem with homework yet...and yes, I know that there have only been two days of school for him, but he's coming home and reading his book...probably more than is assigned. That makes my heart happy, as I've tried for years to get the monsters to read for pleasure. Bugaboo is enjoying patrol too, and he's standing there like a new recruit, at attention and very focused. I wondered how that would be, but then it IS only the first week!

Mr. A seems to be enjoying his classes too. He's got French this semester, and they had to pick names...why their own names aren't good enough, I'm not sure, as it just seems weird that you need a different name to learn a language, but then I'm not the teacher. Mr. A picked out Samuel. He wanted Raphael, but someone else got to it first. Homework for Mr. A has been light, although last night he had three subjects to get done, and only got to two before practice. He says he'll finish the other in Study Hall tomorrow. We're going to have to buckle down a little better I think as the year progresses, so he gets it done at home.

Today is another day in the trenches for me. I've got a feeling that I'll be bringing home work this weekend, but we'll see what happens.

Until later...

04 September 2008

Thursday in the New Year

It's Thursday here...okay, it's Thursday everywhere...and that means that it is a busy day for the Nonnie household. I've got to get things together to send to the monster's dad's for the weekend, get homework checked, follow up on chores, the whole gamut.

Tonight is also practice night...for both of the boys. I'm so glad that they're both practicing at the middle school. It's hard to get them to two different places at the same time.

Bugaboo has been loving football this year. I think it is because this is the first year of tackle and his body size makes for an excellent tackle. He is actually a crucial part of the team, and I don't know if he's ever felt that way before this year.

His first game is on Saturday. I'm hoping it will be a good one for him. X has to work on Saturday (all Saturdays for that matter) and won't be there. I'm both happy about that and a little sad. Happy because X won't be yelling at him from the sidelines. I hate that. Hate it. He does his best, and while it might not be the best that X wants him to do, it's good enough for me. He'll improve as the season progresses I'm sure. I'm a little sad, because X won't be there to yell at him. Waffle much? Why yes, I do. I'm sad about that, because it has always seemed to me that Mr. A gets the bulk of X's attention and Bugaboo is left with the crumbs. It'd be nice if he had his dad's attention during these games.

Mr. A is playing fall ball this year. Not with the team that he played with this summer, but a conglomeration of that team and the "A" squad. It'll be interesting to see the boys from the "A" squad and see how Mr. A measures up. Given how competitive Mr. A is, I'm guessing he'll do some improving this fall, so he measures up, should there be any gap.

I'm hoping that work is quiet today, so I don't end up with a lot to bring home...but we'll see. As it is, I'd best get myself motivated to leave for the day.

Until later...

03 September 2008

Bugaboo's First Day

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world"
~ Albert Einstein

This quote is something that really personifies Bugaboo. His imagination is wonderful. He loves to create things...worlds for play, art, you name it. School on the other hand? Not so much.

Bugaboo isn't the child his brother is. He's more reserved, more shy and doesn't make friends as easily as Mr. A does. But he tries. He really does.

This year, he's the top of the school pyramid. He's the oldest class in school, which means that he's part of the School Patrol. He's the one seeing your precious Johnny and Jane across the busy street. He's the one sending people to the principal's office for infractions. I think it'll do him good to have this experience, even if it is a required part of school.

Bugaboo is starting to look like a young man too. He's almost as tall as I am, he's filling out across the shoulders, and he's at least six inches taller than any of his classmates. His face is losing that baby look that I've loved for so long and that saddens me, almost as much as it fascinates me.

He is the child that needs things just "so" and if they aren't, it can send him into a tailspin. He's had things planned for this day for a while, and I just smile when he double checks.

He's my baby who is entering his last year of elementary school. I didn't cry when he started kindergarten, because he wanted it so bad, but I think I'll cry just a little at the start of this year. He's growing up so fast.

So we're off to school in a little while. I'm hoping this year will meet, if not exceed, all of his expectations and desires.

Until later...

02 September 2008

Mr. A's First Day

Back To School by Unknown

Today I hurry off to school,
To work and learn and play.
I'm in a brand new grade this year.
What a happy day!

Okay...to be truthful, that describes Nonnie more than it does Mr. A. He's not happy to be going back, but neither is he upset. I think he thrives on a schedule, just like his Nonnie, and going back to school means that he's with his friends again.

It's hard on Mr. A to build these friendships during the school year and to have no hope of keeping them going during the summer when he moves out of town to live with his dad.

He decided that riding the bus this morning wasn't for him. And that's fine...I'm home today anyway, but tomorrow...it's back to the bus.

He looks so old to me this year. He is taller than I am now, and he just has a young man's carriage. He's a good looking child who never seems to have problems meeting new people. He's funny and he's sweet and he's my first born.

I tear up from time to time wondering where the years have gone, but I also enjoy watching him grow, as it proves that even when I think I've screwed up, his father and I have done a good job with him.

So off to school he goes...I hope he has a wonderful day!

Until later...

01 September 2008


It's been a busy summer here in the Hinterlands...I've not had a moment to spare what with baseball and everything else that the monsters have been involved in. That meant that Notions went by the way-side for me, but that's okay...family is much more important.

With September comes the start of school. The monsters will be home from their dad's at 8 tonight, and life will get back to normal. Mr. A starts school tomorrow, but Bugaboo doesn't start until Wednesday.

Also with September comes a return to MPMs for me. So without further ado, here's this week's menu.

Monday ~ Monsters not yet home.

YOYO ~ I'm not sure what's in the fridge, but I'll be eating it.

Tuesday ~ Mr. A's first day, football for Bugaboo

Pizza ~ Mr. A's pick. It'll be homemade sausage and pepperoni.

Wednesday ~ Bugaboo's first day

Chicken nuggets and fries ~ Bugaboo's pick

Thursday ~ Football & Baseball Night


Friday, Saturday & Sunday ~ First School Weekend

Just me for the weekend. Bugaboo has a game on Saturday, Mr. A has a double header on Sunday. I'll probably eat whatever leftovers are in the fridge.

So that's what's up for this week. Stop by this week's MPM to see what others are planning. Who knows? You might get some good ideas for yourself!

Until later...