Tag Archives: extended family

Back home

For some reason I have this line going through the middle of my screen (horizontally). Sometimes it’s white, and sometimes it’s black. I guess it depends on the color of the background. Weird. I wonder if it’s permanent. The screen was off the whole time we were gone, though. Huh.

BratzBasher and I are back from sunny CA. We had a good visit, but I’m glad to be home. I do not miss cleaning the cats’ litter box at all. My oldest sister has the next two-week shift with Grandma. I got to spend a couple of days with her before we left. She is a great cook and loves to play games. Grandma was excited for her to visit because she actually knows how to do Grandma’s hair for church.

We flew into STL after midnight and were starving, so Merkin took us to Waffle House. I had a triple dose of hashbrowns with gravy. Apparently there has been some rain here while we were gone (understatement of the year). Actually, Merkin said they didn’t have a single day when it didn’t rain. Maybe Missouri missed me? Nah. It’s just that season.

I came home to a long letter from a dear friend and a present from the woman I helped with the Beauty and the Beast costumes. She gave me a program from the play (which has my name in it — how ’bout that?) and a hand-stitched plaque that reads, “Live your best life”. It’s pretty cool.

I didn’t sleep at all on the flights home, so I actually slept in till after 1:00 this afternoon. I’m fully rested now, though. I made sure to unpack and shower before falling into bed last night, so I’m feeling refreshed and don’t have a full suitcase staring at me.

BB told me the only thing she didn’t like about her stay in CA is the bathroom attached to her room. It had the only toilet with a built-in bidet, which was activated by a lever on the right-hand side of the seat. She said she kept accidentally hitting it whenever she shifted position on the seat. She found it rather aggravating. She did not appreciate my laughter in the slightest, but I know she would have been laughing if it had happened to me instead.

There’s really not all that much to say. It’s Thursday, so we’ll probably go to the library at some point. We also missed our movie day due to travel and preparations for travel, so we’ll probably squeeze in a movie, too. We borrowed my dad’s copy of Das Boot, and BB’s looking forward to watching it in German with English subtitles. Have I mentioned she takes German classes at her high school?

I should get off my lazy butt and go do something productive now — and by that I mean chores. *shudder*


There and Back Again

I went to CA for a week — just got back a couple days ago.  It was Dad’s 65th birthday, and all five of us siblings flew down to visit.  It was a surprise for Dad.  He didn’t know any of us were coming.  There was, of course, a big party.  We got to meet some of Dad’s friends and eat a ton of food.  Please, do not offer me any fried zucchini, mozzarella, or chicken tenders…even cheesecake is off limits for a while.

I saw a few friends while I was out there.  It was fun catching up with everyone.  We don’t see each other often enough, though I do exchange frequent emails with one of them.

I also got to spend some alone time with Grandma.  She lives just two doors down from my dad.  She’s…88 (?) now, and we don’t know how much longer she’ll be with us.  It can be hard to carry on a conversation with her.  She’s rather hard of hearing, and her short term memory isn’t what it used to be.  We chatted about family, the weather, why we don’t like sports, how annoying it is that President Obama’s press conference interrupted The Price is Right, and hummingbirds.  She even told me the story of how she and Grandpa met.  She was roommates with his sister.  Grandpa came to visit one day.  After he left, Grandma turned to her roommate and said, “I’m going to marry that man if he’ll have me.”  I get the feeling that, as shy as Grandpa was, it was Grandma that pursued him.  I sometimes forget how bold she can be.  She’s so petite and mild.

I joined Dad on Grandma’s morning walk.  We walked pretty much single file.  Dad was in front, clearing the sidewalk of any debris.  There were a lot of sweetgum balls Wednesday morning because it had been seriously windy the night before.  Dad was kicking them out of the way as fast as he could before Grandma came along.  If he left any that happened to be within 3-5 inches of her walker, she’d stop and kick them aside.  I cleaned up the rear.  We must have been quite a sight.  In fact, I know we were because someone drove by when Dad was furiously kicking the balls off the path (it was almost completely covered with them), and the driver slowed down and was staring at Dad.  Honestly, wasn’t it obvious that he was clearing the way for the sweet, little lady with the walker?  It was fun, the weather was mild, and there was green everywhere.  Not bad for late February/early March.

There was some excitement on the last plane home.  Mid-flight, the steward called for any medical personnel to please come to the front of the plane.  Apparently, one of the passengers was having some sort of emergency.  Two women responded to the call, and I believe an oxygen tank was employed.  The paramedics were waiting at our gate when we arrived.  I hope everything turned out okay.  I’d hate to have a medical emergency on an airplane.  Merkin pointed out that it would be much worse to have one on a plane on which there were no doctors or nurses.

The best part about the week was playing games every day with the family.  We’re a family of game players.  Sad to say, Merkin is not so much a fan.  BratzBasher and I are usually stuck with two-player games.  Merkin does have a few favorites, though: Monopoly (big surprise, considering he’s a financial analyst), Scrabble, Blockus, Backgammon.  BB isn’t quite comfortable with Scrabble (not being the world’s best speller) and finds Monopoly with Merkin to be an exercise in futility.  Backgammon is only a two-person game, so that pretty much leaves Blockus — oh, and Rumis (forgot to mention that one).  BB gets tired of playing the same thing all the time, though.  Maybe the Carcassone game we got for Christmas will be something everyone likes.  I played it in CA, and it’s pretty fun.

What’s your favorite game?

Goin’ back to Cali

Merkin, BratzBasher, and I are going to CA tomorrow to see my dad, stepmom, and grandma.  It’s spring break, so we’ll be there about a week.  I may or may not post while I’m there.  Depends on how much fun I’m having/how lazy I am/etc.  Sooooo…yeah, you probably won’t hear from me for next week.  So to make it up to you, I’m providing you with a little Swedish Chef to brighten your day.  This stuff never gets old, I tell you.

Happy Birthday to me!

Yesterday was my birthday, and a fine day it was.  I was showered with gifts, and Merkin prepared a feast in my honor.  Let me tell ya what I got.

I haven’t played Star Trek: Tactical Assault yet, but Exit DS is pretty fun.  You play a superhero/escape artist, Mr. Esc, who has to rescue people and pets from dangerous situations.  The situations are more puzzle than action, so it requires problem-solving skills.  BratzBasher just likes it when Mr. Esc falls too far and gets injured.  The screen shows him rolling on the floor, clutching his broken leg.

I requested this CD because I like the song “Fireflies”, and I have listened to the others on the disc and enjoyed them.  It’s not something you can listen to all the time, though, because a lot of the songs sound pretty much the same.  You’ve just got to be in the mood for some Owl City to listen to the whole thing.  I’ve put it on my list of happy music for when I’m feeling upbeat.  If you haven’t heard “Fireflies”, check it out below.

I also got a cool Pink Floyd baseball tee, a dozen yellow roses, two candy wrapper roses from BB, a box of Lindt truffles, and a paper clip necklace and bracelet (also from BB).

We had another family over for dinner and feasted on salmon, broccoli risotto, spinach salad, asparagus, and a giant loaf of my favorite bread baked fresh in Merkin’s ginormous dutch oven.  For dessert, we had I’m Sorry – You Were Right Chocolate Cake with blackberries, strawberries, and vanilla ice cream.  ISYWRCC has several different forms of chocolate in it, including bits of Scharffen-Berger’s 99% cacao bar.

Okay, you probably can’t see the part I’ve outlined in red, but it says, “May contain traces of sugar.”  Needless to say, it makes a chocolate cake all the more excellent.

In honor of my birthday (despite the fact that it’s over), I’m having the first-ever Bored Bunny contest!  Woo-hoo!  The rules are simple:

1. Post a link to the cutest bunny pic you can find, or email the pic to foo4luv@gmail.com

2. Whoever sends in the picture I like best will receive a fabulous prize in the mail.  Don’t ask what it is; I’m not telling.

3. There is also a second prize in this contest: first-time commenter.  To win this prize, you must comment on one of my posts for the very first time and include a link to a cute bunny pic.  Cutest bunny from a first-time commenter gets the prize.

4. If the absolute cutest bunny pic is from a first-time commenter, that person will receive BOTH prizes, so don’t think my family’s got it in the bag just because they’re the only three people who’ve already commented on my blog.

You may now embark upon your quest.  (Don’t forget: “fabulous prizes”)


I almost forgot — It’s Monday, which means it’s time for another Foo4’s Favs!

Today’s Fav is my sister Mad’s blog I am the giraffe.  Mad is sister #2.  Aside from her personal blog, she’s a regular contributor to By Common Consent.  Her posts range from quirky to hysterical to beautiful and, like lbs, show a brave willingness to be her true self.  (I’m still working on that part.)  Go ahead and give her a click.  You know you want to.

Have phone, will travel

My dad sent me a cell phone for my birthday.  Merkin and I have been dithering about buying one.  For me, that is.  Merkin doesn’t want to be seen anywhere near a cell phone.  “It’s too easy to get a hold of me as it is.”  I totally understand that.  I thought it might be a good idea to get one for me, though.  You know, for emergencies, and for letting my relatives know where and when to pick me up at the airport when I fly in for a visit.  Don’t even get the Seattle sisters started on that fiasco.

Anyway, Dad took matters into his own hands and bought me a phone, set up my account, gave me a nice balance to get started, and mailed the phone to me.  It didn’t come with a manual (refurbished, probably — which I’m totally fine with), and it took me three days to figure out how to get it to turn on.  Yeah.  Ha ha.  I actually had to call customer service on my land line.  But I’m all set now, so…yeah.  I’m still trying to access the online owner’s manual so I can figure out how to program the thing.  (Notice I didn’t say the “darn” thing because I’m actually very grateful my dad was so considerate to send me a phone.)  As soon as I figure out how to use it, I know I’ll love having it.  At least I can make calls on it now.

Other than that, my birthday’s coming up this weekend.  I’ll be…hang on…2010 – 1975=35!  I’ll be thirty-five years old.  Wow.  Not old enough to be reluctant to tell people how old I am.  Actually, I don’t think I’ll ever be reluctant to tell people my age.  I might have trouble doing the math in my head as I get older, though.  Merkin has today off, so we’re going to BratzBasher’s school to have lunch with the spawn.  She’ll be jazzed.  Apparently, her class has been so badly behaved that their teacher had to assign seating during lunchtime.  Of course, BB is seated next to jerks.  I swear, Teacher does not get it.  I tell her and tell her that certain kids cannot be placed near BB if she wishes the classroom harmony to remain harmonious.  The other day, Teacher assigned Antarctica to be the one to inform BB of the required homework when BB got back from JET.  Antarctica only told her one assignment.  Dude.  I know I’ve specifically mentioned the animosity between BratzBasher and Antarctica, and Teacher has even remarked on it herself, but the woman insists on putting those two together.  Sigh.  Anyway… when parents visit for lunch, the kid gets to sit with them at the visitors table.  No assigned seating next to the jerks.  Merkin’s making pizza.  Homemade pizza.  Yeah, I know.  We spoil her.

What else can I tell y’all?  Oh, BratzBasher is having to relive the 5th grade camp experience by writing a book about her week there.  It’s a program called Treasure Book that provides a free, published copy of the finished book to the student.  Additional copies are available for purchase.  It’s been very enlightening for me.  I’ve been taking dictation and typing out her words to speed the process along.  (BratzBasher is not fond of writing.)  I’m getting a lot more information about her camp week this way.  A lot of it was really crummy.  I hope Teacher won’t try to get her to edit out the bad stuff because I want the permanent record to be accurate (according to the narrator, at least). At first, I was opposed to the idea that BratzBasher wouldn’t be allowed to pick her topic — or at least be assigned something more pleasant.  But BB’s story is coming out so well, and her style is so enjoyable, that I’m really looking forward to sharing this book with others.  It’s going to be an honest, real story.  It’s pretty cool.

The main problem with this book project  is that the students are supposed to write out the story by hand in cursive on special paper.  BratzBasher doesn’t do cursive.  It’s taking her a really long time to write everything out.  The first day, she made it halfway through the second sentence.  I realize most of that is her dragging her feet, but I’d rather Teacher just let her print.  What’s the big whoop?  We’re going to ask about that while we’re there today.

I guess that’s all I’ve got right now.

Foo4’s Favs – “Nuttiness By the lbs”

Next up on Foo4’s Favs is by the lbs, a blog that’s written by one of my older sisters (#3, actually).  After following lbs for a few years, I’m wondering if there’s anything she won’t blog about.  Lbs may worry about what people who know her offline think about her, but she’s not afraid to be herself online (under pseudonym, of course 😉 ) and show you the crazy.  I couldn’t really pick one favorite window into bythelbsia, but I’m rather fond of her deodorant post.  She’s also got some of the funniest kidspeak  stories I’ve ever heard/read.  Give her link a click, and be sure to check out the  valentines I sent her that she was awesome enough to post.

In conclusion, I’d like to offer this tribute to fruit-of-her-womb # 1, Mr. T:

Home again, home again, jiggity-jig

BratzBasher and I made it back from Seattle in one piece. I’d show you pictures, but I forgot my camera. Maybe Madhousewife or Bythelbs will have some. Of course, I didn’t take pictures of the Foo4 family Christmas, either, and nobody else has pics of that. Whoops. What can I say? We were too busy enjoying ourselves.

The trip home was a little too eventful for my taste. Our plane at SEA had a cracked window (don’t ask me how that occurred), so the flight was delayed until they could switch us to a different plane. Then when we got to MSP, we had a bogus flight number from our bogus not-boarding passes that AlaskaAir.com gave us. That’s a whole ‘nother story in and of itself. Anyway, I finally found a travelers assistance desk and the wonderful lady there got me all sorted out. To make a long story short, we made our flight and got home. Without our one checked bag. Luckily, that was the bag with all of our dirty laundry in it. STL delivered it to our door this afternoon. Anyway, by the time BratzBasher and I got off the plane at STL, we were starving (no time for lunch, and only a couple pretzel packets on the planes), and I really had to go to the bathroom. Luckily, BratzBasher got a bathroom break while I was sorting out our second flight, so she wasn’t suffering like I was. Yeah, I know I could’ve used the one on the plane, but I decided I’d rather hold it for the hour and a half — if you know what I mean.  Merkin took us to IHOP before we headed home, and BB and I gorged on giant breakfasts.

BratzBasher is enjoying our new Wii.  She had to wait until we got home from Seattle to play on ours and create her Mii character. Last night she stayed up until 2:30 (AM!) playing various Wii Fit and sports games. Now she wonders why she’s sore. She did get to play on Bythelbs’ Wii. Btl’s kids got Dance Dance Revolution for Christmas, and BB had a lot of fun dancing with cousins. I want a copy of the video of Btl freestyling on the difficult level. Mad’s husband, Sugar Daddy, chose that level before anyone could stop him. He’s like that. Mad kept trying, but Btl got frustrated and just had fun. It was HI-larious. Totally awesome. So sorry I can’t post it here.

Our entire family was there in Seattle: all five kids and their families, plus Dad and Stepmom. Oh, and Little Brother’s girlfriend. We have no idea when he’ll get around to proposing to her, but we’re hopeful.

I think my favorite present may turn out to be the Wii Fit. I made my character today and started my fitness whatevertheycallit. I have a hard time with the soccer game because I can’t stop laughing about the fact that they’re throwing cleats and panda heads at me. Who are the crazy people that came up with that idea? Anyway, I’m enjoying the “exercise”. If I can stop eating Chex Mix, I might be able to lose those five pounds before my next appointment with my psychiatrist. I did tell y’all that he wants me down by five pounds, right? Not that anyone but the scale will be able to tell the difference.

I was going to take a picture of the second apron I made and the necklaces I did for my sisters, but I forgot, and now I no longer have them. Maybe the recipients can send me pictures. Or I suppose I could make more. Sell them on Etsy. Nah. I don’t have enough ambition for that. Speaking of those necklaces, I made them by supergluing together gears and keyholes from the Tim Holtz line (purchased at Michael’s). They turned out really cool. I need to make one for myself. Here’s a pic of what I used:

You can’t really tell in this picture, but the pieces come in goldtone, pewter, and copper. You can buy matching jewelry findings, chains, whatnot at just about any craft store. Next time, though, I’m definitely using rubber gloves. I did find a great way to remove superglue from my hands without acetone (which is the recommended way, but our nail polish remover is the non-acetone kind — aargh!). I scrubbed with a pumice stone and just removed the layer of skin the glue was attached to (which is not the recommended way, but my hands felt too weird not to do something).

While in Seattle, BratzBasher also got a makeover from Eldest Sister. This included a new haircut, and a shopping trip to discuss good wardrobe choices. I think BB felt more than a little overwhelmed.  She did love the haircut, though, until she realized that the pile on the floor that looked rather like a small lapdog actually came from her head. ES had to thin BB’s hair because it’s so thick that it hides her face. BB hates having thinner hair — even though a few minutes with the flat iron makes it look awesome. She has such a pretty face, I was so happy to see it! She is wearing the clothes we bought for her, but still prefers oversized, men’s shirts. She thinks it’s easier to hide in them, I think. We tried to point out that it’s a lot easier to hide when you blend in with everyone else, and that you don’t have to dress exactly like others to blend in.  It’s like camouflage.  I’m still working on it, but I think she’s coming around.  I’ve stressed that it’s still perfectly fine to wear whatever the heck she wants at home. I’m certainly not complaining. I just want to see her face.

I took notes for myself during the wardrobe choice lecture. I learned a few things. Of course, I do have a few men’s shirts, but they’re not oversized.  I just wanted those pretty colors. Why do the men get such pretty colors and the women don’t? Equality of selection! That’s what I want!

I like all of the long-sleeved shirts Merkin got me for Christmas. They’re even the right size! Yes, my husband is awesome.  Thank you.

Okay, it’s midnight now.  If I ever hope to get back to Central Standard Time, I’d better get some sleep.

The absolute best best BEST part of this year’s Christmas: I did not hear “Little Drummer Boy” even once.  So happy.