Saturday, December 4, 2010


Whew, I need to get on here more often!

11/21 was another busy weekend. I took a half day off work on Thursday to go to Pnut’s conferences – more on that tangent later. It just happened to work out to be the same day Randy left for Arkansas. Friday night she spent the night at G’ma’s. Saturday morning we went to the Eisenhower Craft Show. Came home for a bit then went to the Fisher Theater to see Rock of Ages – awesome show! Sunday morning I was up early & cleaned out the frig, took the shelves out & scrubbed them down. Picked the girl up, had lunch at Tim Horton’s, went grocery shopping. Then I had every intention of vegging the rest of the day – until I saw the weather forecast. Rain late tonight for the next couple days. Blah! So I went out & used the leaf blower on the front yard & as much of the neighbor’s as I could reach. Sent Angel & Amanda out to finish Lois’s front yard while I did between the houses. Picked them all up – filled the entire yard waste container & 7 bags! Glad it is done and before Thanksgiving for a change, too!

My favorite purchases from the Ike Craft Show

Randy was in Arkansas until the Friday after Thanksgiving. He went to Clark’s house for the ARRL’s November Sweeps Contest. They clean swept, so they were pretty happy.

Rock of Ages was an awesome show! The “Sound Guy” who was the narrator sounded like he could have also played Dr. Frankenfurter in Rocky Horror. Laurie had seen in on Broadway in New York & thought we might enjoy it when it came to Detroit. She was very correct!! There were 7 of us: me, Laurie & her friend Michelle, Mom, Linda, Dave & Catie. I don’t know about Laurie & Michelle, but the rest of us sang every song & rocked out (I know Mom didn’t since she didn’t know the songs)!!

I went to conferences Thursday 11/18. Talk about embarrassing. A-, B-, 3 Ds and a big ol’ fat F. Basically all her teachers said the same thing that I’ve been hearing since 3rd grade. She has the potential to do much better, if she’d just turn her work in !!! Life Skills (the A- class) says she tends to act a bit domineering to the other girls who aren’t in her “inner group”, but is great otherwise. French (the B- class) says she’s ummm, very enthusiastic!! Basically she’s doing well (!!!) in the class but is social to the point of being disruptive. The other classes, it’s the same ol’, same ol’. Missing assignments & not doing well on tests. I really don’t know what to do with her. Especially when I know she does the assignment, but doesn’t turn it in! This has been an issue forever! She’s never gonna get into State like she wants with crappy grades. That’s OK, I’ll be perfectly fine with shipping her little butt off to bootcamp, no matter the branch! She really thinks Randy & I are kidding. Nope.

The Tremaine Convention 11/13- 11/14 wasn’t as horrible as I expected. It was foggy as crap when we left the house, and then left later than I wanted so I sort of was freaked out. But as soon as we crossed over into Detroit, it cleared up & I was able to fly then. We pulled up to the hotel right at 7:30 and luckily all the girls have black & lime green warm ups with the studio name on the back, so it was easy to see a bunch walking in. I told Angel to jump out & go in with them while I parked. I got her settled & my stuff in the room, then left for the craft show. I truly wasn’t thrilled about going, but it ended up being OK. Although I still have issues with the Hyatt marketing people who thought it would be a good idea to schedule both a dance convention with a couple hundred teenage and younger girls on the same weekend with a hockey convention with a couple hundred teenage and younger boys!! Besides it not being pleasant with all the noise, I can’t imagine how the staff liked that!!! Anyway, Terina had reserved rooms for everyone & when I said I was OK with sharing a room, I figured it would be with one other adult & child. WRONG ! ! ! ! ! There ended up being 3 adults & 4 girls in our room! And we got lucky in that we got the biggest room – I can’t imagine how the other smaller rooms were with 4&4!!! I had no desire to share a bed with another female that I didn’t know before that day, so I opted for an air mattress on the floor. I had paid extra for the observer wristband that allowed me to watch the classes & competitions.

I missed all of Saturday’s classes, but I went with Angel, Lauren & Cheryl to watch the competitions that night. And I missed Sunday’s contemporary class (that I really wanted to see) because I went to the Parent Forum with Joe Tremaine. Darn it. But I did catch the hip hop & street dance classes. The kids went crazy over street, because the teacher was Tony Bellissimo who was a finalist in 2009’s So You Think You Can Dance. I enjoyed watching him teach & interact with the kids. One of the first things he told them was to “Fake it til you make it”. If you mess up, keep going like you meant to do that. And he lived up to that, too. He had the boys out on the floor doing the dance & he was doing some break dance moves on the carpet & kicked his shoe off while he was spinning. I saw him hesitate for just a second, then he played it off & picked his shoe up & pretended it was a phone, etc. It was neat that at the end, they had a dance-off with the older kids who were doing hip hop on the other half of the ballroom. He had the teens chanting “Marty” (the hip hop teacher) while the wall was being opened and as soon as it was, they started their dance while the older kids watched (arms folded, etc – it was funny). And when they were done, the older kids danced while the teens watched. I am not biased, but the teens did better. They had a better dance & really put their all into it.

The final thing on the agenda was a faculty dance. All the teachers plus some kids from from Joe Tremaine’s studio danced. It was fun, because they female & male teachers had their own Dance Off. The guys pulled out their “secret weapon” and pulled off their sweat pants and they were all wearing black tights & basketball shorts with their tennis shoes. They danced to – of course – Men in Tights! Joe Tremaine even came out in his tights & shorts and danced with them. They did the kick line & everything  It was hysterical! He can still move for being an elderly gay man!

 Starting the Dance Off - Angel is in the lower left with blue & black bra on.
 Men in Tights!

Thanksgiving was about the same as usual. Nothing really exciting happened.  Random "Turkey Dancing" that I came up with, but that was about it.  Angel figured out too late about the Lions halftime show & then got mad at me for not telling her about it. Hellooo? There are signs posted at the studio in a couple places for weeks. She could have read it for herself. Too bad. We most likely wouldn’t have seen her anyway, since it looked like most of what the kids did was hold banners to look like a giant flag while Kid Rock sang Born Free. I know it would have been fun, but too much of a hassle for me!

So anyway – the tree is up, most of the decorations are out. The clean up efforts after the Christmas tornado are almost complete. Speaking of which – our tree is an emergency vehicle wanna-be!! I should have checked the lights before getting ready to do the tree, since neither of the strands of chaser lights worked. I half-heartedly messed around with one of them & only the yellow lights come on. Angel & I looked at each other, then decided to put them on anyway with the strands that stay on. So our tree has amber blinky lights like Randy’s car! LOL! I had to get new spiral trees for the yard since the old ones had sections out. And I got a new blow-mold snowman and the most awesome flying pink pig ! ! ! I love it!

We’re supposed to be going over to Mom’s on Tuesday to draw names for Christmas. I don’t know why we didn’t do this at Thanksgiving when everyone was there anyway. It was mentioned before that. Laurie was like “No one else said anything, so I didn’t, either.” #*@!^$#(!@^ I didn’t know I was in charge of the whole thing, but I guess I should have made myself be. I personally don’t want to shop for everyone. I’m really not too much in the Christmas Spirit this year for some reason. So much easier to choose something for one person. Other than that, I think I’m almost done with shopping for my clan. There’s one more thing I need to order for Randy and I think that should be about it. But then Laurie said she’d gotten a little something for both Linda & I and so did Linda. Damn it. I didn’t get crap for either of them. So now I have to. GRRR. Humbug.

On the happier side – the same guy who made the H’ween Forum made up the ChristmasFanClub Forum. So I got into a card exchange with a lot of the same people I’d exchanged H’ween cards with. It’s pretty fun. I have made a half-hearted attempt to make some plywood gift props to put out in the yard, but it got too cold & I can’t imagine that paint would stick & dry well in 30 degree weather. So there is a random 2’x2’ square box in the garage and pieces of plywood to make several others. I’ve been PMing a girl from the boards who lives in Poland. She’s 16 and we’ve been talking about the Christmas customs we both have. It’s pretty interesting and she speaks (types) fairly good English, too. I’m consciously trying not to use any odd slang that she might not understand. She wanted to know what Angel is asking for at Christmas & stuff.

Angel "helping" build the Christmas prop.  Put the lid back on that gift!!

So we’re leaving for Arkansas on either the 22nd of 23rd. I don’t know for sure. We have to be back before the 3rd since Randy has to be back at work & Pnut back at school. I don’t go back til the 4th – neener neener! Looking forward to going! Yay!

Randy’s work is pissing him off. He went back this week after his vacation & found out he’d been demoted from Team Leader to a Software Engineer. Same pay & stuff but decreased responsibilities. Apparently there are rumors that he has a bad attitude & the CIO is a bitch anyway. As much work & time he spends there & they treat him like this! He talked to his old boss Jeff (aka a reliable source) and Jeff says they’re basically trying to squeeze him out. Neat. So this week has been a trial for him. I’m staying supportive for him. I know I’ve told him 100 times if anything happens, I’d be ready to move to Arkansas the next day. But now that it’s a distinct possibility, I just ask to stay here long enough for Pnut to finish the school year, if we have to stay here a couple months without him, so be it!! It’s scary, but I’m surprisingly not worried too much. Nothing may even come of it.  I was praying about it & got the feeling that God has something planned for us. I just keep praying that it goes smoothly!

So that’s all that's up here. I got a Save The Date text from Terina that the competitions are going to be April 30 – May 1 and May 12 – 15! Woohoo!

         His name is Big Mike.  I got him on clearance after H'ween. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


OMG, it’s been forever since I wrote!
Let me see…..going back in time here…..

So I’m at home doing random stuff while munchkin is at school on the first day. Around 12:15, I got a call from the school asking where Angela was !!!! WTF !!! I panicked! She didn’t want me to drive her to school, but I know she was at the bus stop with Amanda & a bunch of other kids!!! The moron at the office said they’d go check and she was there. Seems to me that they should have done that FIRST – before giving me a heart attack !!! Apparently there was a glitch in the new attendance system & she found it. Neat. Had to email her first our teacher & finally get that fixed, since she was marked absent!

1st day of 8th grade

Angel & Amanda on School Spirit Day

Oh, neighborhood drama!  The people who live behind us, Ron & Tina, their house caught on fire!  I dont know the whole situation, but they seem to have partial custody of their nephew James, who's Angel's age.  Apparently he had a half day of school on the first day & when he got home he lit a candle in his room - I'm still not even sure WHY a 13 year old boy would want a candle in a nice hurricane shade in his room, but I digress.  But it was really breezy that day and he had the window open.  The wind blew the curtain into the candle & away it went.  As I said, I was home & smelled the smoke, but I thought some moron was burning trash or something.  Then I caught a glimpse of smoke out the window, but I couldn't tell where it was coming from.  I grabbed the phone & went out in the yard.  I was going to call 9-1-1 but saw the FD was already over there.  I still wasn't sure where it was until I saw a fireman on their roof.   That was crazy!  It had been really dry, so if there had been sparks, they probably would have caught our pine trees on fire, and then probably OUR house, too!   We got a chance to talk with Tina that afternoon & she said the house was a total loss.  They probably won't be back home until at least February.  She's so funny that she was concerned about us, because we had to have our back yard tore up for the septic field to be replaced.  Hello!  Ours was nothing - the field failed because it was original to the house.  A minor annoyance compared to what just happened to them!! 

Wednesday 9/8 was Open House. Randy & I went and followed a modified day of her classes, meeting each teacher, etc. I was amazed at how young her teachers are! Math looked like she may have been around for a while, but History & French have both taught for 11 years and English, Life Skills & Science (who all strangely resemble each other – being thin & petite with long straight dark hair) and have all taught maybe 3-4 years each. Crazy !!

I was rather miffed that Pnut went & tried out for the cheer team again without letting me know. I was pissed, since she tried out for & made the competition dance team at the studio so that was going to keep her plenty busy. But it worked out – lucky for her. Cheer is over for the season now. The Eppler Chieftains need to change their name to the Lions, since they were 0-6 again.

Cheering at the last game.

So anyway. The bathroom is done. YAY!!! The floor is still a problem, but one to deal with another time. And don’t get me started on the “master” bath. Pppft.

On October 3, we volunteered at the Brooksie Way Half Marathon Randy was Net Control along with Ted and Angel needed to do some community service thing for a project in school, so there we were - freezing our butts off!

Posing at Mile Marker 2.


I got involved in a Halloween card exchange with a bunch of people on the Halloween Forum. It was awesome. I got like 40 cards. Some handmade, some store-bought. Love them all!  Also got in 2 rounds of Secret Reaper - that's like Secret Santa but it's H'ween stuff!  The second round I got awesome stuff!  I love the original artwork in the frame!

My Secret Reaper Gift

Angel’s birthday party got delayed until 10/1 instead of 9/24 as originally planned. When I went to the parent cheer meeting, we discovered when homecoming was. September 24!! And friend Jazzy’s party was the 25th, so that was out of the question, too. Yeah- sorry party! So I left work early so I could watch the homecoming parade. I have to go on a tangent about Jack. I took him to the parade with me with his new harness. He was such a good boy! I was amazed!! Even with a little yappy dog about 10 feet away, he behaved very nicely. Even when we walked in that mob toward the high school to find Angel, he stayed right next to me. Except I’d just heard 2 girls behind us oohing & ahhing about him - then he stopped to pee. Classy! Anyway, he got 2 treats when we got home. So back to the parade. I had a good laugh at the beginning. I don’t know how many other people saw the irony in the fact the homecoming parade was led by an ambulance with all the lights flashing. Followed by a single fire truck & 2 police K9 SUV units running side by side. But several elementary schools were represented, 3 junior highs plus the Utica Chieftains, of course. Multiple marching bands, scout troops of all ages, floats for the Junior & Senior classes, the entire homecoming court and of course – cheer leaders! I was surprised at how big the parade was. I guess it’s one of the biggest in the area, so channel 4 was there & all. Plus it was voted the game of the week on channel 4, so that helped. We went home for a while, then I took Angel back to meet her friends for the game. Then I went Halloween shopping! BTW, the Chieftains lost. I think the final score was 31 to 23 or something. Angel was supposed to at least tell me the final score, but she called me to come get her before it was over.

That next week was insane. I was up for 3 nights before her party until 12-1 am working on getting the house clean & decorated. Things just kept coming up where I couldn’t get stuff done! I was actually so stressed that I would sit at work in the afternoon & start to feel nauseous when I thought of going home. But it all worked out.

Only 3 girls showed up at the party – which ended up being perfect. She invited 8 all together, but a couple couldn’t make it, one’s mom actually called me in advance that she couldn’t come & the last one called that afternoon that her G’pa had passed & had to go to Kentucky for the funeral. I had her write on the invites to RSVP only if you couldn’t make it. That seemed to work. Anyway, she got home from school with Patricia who lives on the other side of town (I left work at 2 to go to the store, etc) & they frosted cupcakes & put together goody bags. Then I took them to the Salvation Army to get suitable zombie shirts that I didn’t care if they cut them up or whatever. Then Amanda & Jazzy came over & they did their zombie hair & zombie makeup & wandered around the neighborhood for a while. Then we piled in the car & went to Cici’s for pizza and then to Sinister Glow Golf & Haunted House. That was pretty fun. The golf course was small & simple, but it was all painted black & stuff & lit with black lights. Cool. The haunted house was pretty good. We made Randy go in first, then the girls, then I came up the rear. Amanda flat out refused to go, so she waited in the golf course for us. Angel & Jazzy screamed like banshees the whole time, especially when a creepy clown kept stalking Angel. I seriously thought she was going to cry. Randy kept trying to scare them, too. He’d turn around & jumping up & down, screaming at them – Heehee! Then we went back to the house. They wanted to do my belly dance DVD, then they switched to something else, then ended up watching dance recital DVDs & they were all asleep by midnight. Awesome! I didn’t hear them stirring until 8:30 Saturday morning. Guess that’s the secret – have the party on Friday night when they all had to be up early for school that day – then they’re tired sooner! Woohoo!

Zombies Jazzy, Amanda, Angel & Patricia

UGH! How could I forget! The Sunday after Homecoming…Randy was working at the MS150 in Frankenmuth, Pnut and I were going to the orchard for the annual family gathering, etc etc. (stories later) We got in the car & I realized I’d forgotten my camera. I went back in & saw Maggie on the floor moving weirdly. At first I thought she was playing with something under the register behind the water dish, but then I realized she was having a seizure!! I freaked! I kept calling her name and trying to calm her down, and picked her up & held her, it was the most horrible thing! I yelled out the door for Angel to bring my phone in. I had her call our vet – I knew they weren’t there but there was an emergency # on the message there. She got that # & dialed it for me. By then Maggie was just twitching & seemed zoned out. So I took her in & they kept her over night. Monday I took her to our vet & she stayed there for another day. Here’s the Cliff-Notes version: she has kidney issues to begin with, but she had a bladder infection, which caused her blood pressure to rise, which caused her to have 2 Grand Mal seizures (she had one in the exam room). So now she had to take Norvasc, which is people hypertension medicine, probably for the rest of her life. Apparently stress sets them off, too. I took her in the vet for them to get a urine sample to make sure the infection was cleared up and she had a minor seizure then. So I had to go get her. I kept her fuzzy butt locked up in the bathroom all day with an empty littler box and she never peed once. Once I got home, I let her out & she eventually went for the box, so I stuck a bowl under her as she squatted & got a sample for them! It was awful and I never want to see that again – the seizures, not the pee!

So the drama there was Pnut twisted her ankle really good. She hobbled for a good week & had to keep it wrapped. She sat out of dance on Monday, but she still went & did what she could. Terina was mad, she thought she’d done it cheering. Nope. Basically uneven ground at the end of an obstacle course. At least she got to go on the awesome jumpy pillows before that happened!

Alrighty, what else? October 27 was one year since Dad passed away. Can’t believe it’s been so long. Everyone seemed to handle it well. No undue drama from any particular family members.

Halloween has come & gone. Sigh. I’m sad. This was actually the first year I’ve been here, at my house, for Halloween. Every other year I’ve taken Angel over to Mom’s for Trick or Treating. This year she chose to go with her friends in our neighborhood. So I was happy to get to see people’s reactions to my display. My favorite was the little brother of a girl Angel dances with. His Mom brought him up the driveway & he was fascinated with my zombie “Art” tied to the tree. Nikki said he always talked about the man in the tree when they drove by. Randy told the little guy that Art didn’t say Thank You for the candy we gave him, so he got tied to the tree. His eyes got big as saucers & he made sure he yelled “THANK YOU” when he got his treats. My favorite costumes were the little Charlie Brown ghost – a little person around 4 or 5 wearing a sheet with eyes cut out. A girl around 6 or so dressed as a policeman – I told Randy to make sure to give her the good stuff so she didn’t arrest us. She turned & shook her finger at us and said “don’t make me handcuff you!” We cracked up. Another good one was a girl around 10 all dressed in white – wearing an inflatable sprinkle donut on her front and instead of a bag, she carried a Dunkin Donuts munchkin box! Loved it!

Marilyn & Matt 

Ded Fred - decided to move this year.
Tom & the new fence
Some vases I got & updated.

Mine & Randy's Jack o lanterns

On Devil’s Night, we net the fam up in Romeo for dinner, then we went to Tillson Street to check out all the H’ween houses on that street. There were actually people lined up around the corner to get down the street. Come on, people! You’re walking down a sidewalk, not getting into a nightclub! So we walked around them & went against the crowd. Everything was amazing as usual. Someone even had a live band in their driveway. I saw the BEST costume ever! This person, a guy I assume, was dressed all in black, with the hood up & face covered. He had a blue glow necklace up each leg, on each arm, up his body and one around his face. He was a stick person! It was hysterical, especially when he started to dance at random!! The most original thing I’ve seen!
So anyway, Monday I got most of the front yard taken down, cemetery, fence, zombies, etc. Tuesday I took the spider webs down & put the blow molds away. It doesn’t even look like H’ween happened! Now inside is a different matter! The kitchen table is still covered with the spoils from my after H’ween shopping trips. I went to Spirit by my work on Monday for their 50% off sale. I scored a HUGE freakin’ spider – it was hanging on a display & didn’t have a tag, so I asked a guy there & he looked up the price for me & then folded up the legs so it was under control. I also got a giant latex rat that’s about Chester-sized, 2 white rubber rats to match the black ones I already had & also got some battery op strobe lights. Tuesday there was no school so Angel spent the day with G’ma. On the way home from getting her last night, I stopped at Target & picked up a 6 foot black tree with lights, a 3 foot black glitter skeleton (who says skellies can’t be glamorous??), 2 smaller spiders and a limited edition skeleton nutcracker - #43 out of like 225000. OK, I guess that would be important to someone who cares about stuff like that. I just thought he was cool.

So yesterday was busy. Got out of work, went to a doctor’s appointment (got my knees checked out again – doc thinks I have cartilage tears & referred me to an orthopedic specialist), went to vote. Cleaned up the flowerbeds a bit, went to get the girl, stopped at target, picked up Taco Bell on the way home. And I was DONE! Tonight I packed up some indoor decorations while Angel & Amanda watched 13 Ghosts, took them to go eat, then we watched the Rocky Horror Picture Show. That is so much better live. It’s not the same seeing it on TV, without all the yelling, singing & audience participation.

So the next big event is the Tremaine Dance Convention on the weekend of 11/13 & 14. Yay – I’m really looking forward to that! I am just going to drop her off Saturday, since that’s the Clawson Craft Show, then go back that night to stay at the hotel with her. And then I’ll stay all day Sunday. I think it’s over around 3:30 so I shouldn’t die of boredom. She’s going to be busy, but I’ll just be watching. Wooo. But it’s a requirement for the company dancers to go. But she is not dancing at the Lion’s Thanksgiving halftime show this year. I didn’t ask her if she wanted to, and she never came out & told me she wanted to. I don’t think she cares or even knows that Kid Rock is playing there, but it’s a lot of hassle. She’d have practices Monday & Tuesday nights 5-9 at Ford Field. Wednesday 4-9 or later would be dress rehearsal, Thursday I’d have to have her at the meeting point at 0930. Go home & wait. She’d leave Ford Field after halftime, then I’d have to go get her & then go to Laurie’s for dinner. Then Friday I have to work. No thanks!

11/20 I’m going to go see Rock of Ages with the fam. Woo, my first Broadway show! Laurie saw it in New York & said it was awesome. So this should be fun!

Christmas in Arkansas again this year! Woohoo! Buckstaff here I come!

Oh yeah, I quit Weight Watchers for a while. I’ve been hovering right around the 208 Lbs mark for well over a year & it was just discouraging. It’s funny that I’d never thought of actually quitting before, until one day it popped in my head! I’ll start up again, maybe next summer. I just need to get my motivation & stuff back.

Anyway, I’m waiting for Randy to come home from the County ARPSC meeting that I played hooky from. He should be home any time.

So that’s all the happenings from the Love Shaque for now!

Jack in his Hi-Viz Reflective Vest & Skeeter the photobomber

Monday, September 6, 2010


Happy September! Oh man – one more day of vacation then back to the grind!

I got a letter & CD full of pics from my Adopted Platoon last week!! Pretty cool seeing the faces that I’m sending stuff too. He also had some cool scenery shots,too. Lt. LaFontaine also said he’s going to send shirts to us! Woohoo Kentucky Nat’l Guard shirts! That’s OK. I’d wear it.

This was a midget store keeper on the CD.  I really like this pic for some reason.

We’ve done a lot on vacation this week. Went up to the Farm on Saturday & came home Monday. It was nice to just go veg for a while, do some swimming in the pond, have a few beverages & visit with everyone. It was only immediate family with the exception of Jamie’s friend / Catie’s boyfriend, Kurtis. The best episode was Mom & Randy sitting at the picnic table and it tipped over because they were on the same side. Talk about funny! They both just laid on their backs, covered in food & laughed. Glad they weren’t hurt! And Jack didn’t quite take the plunge & start swimming on his own yet, but he did wade into the water to get his belly wet. It’s a start! Morgan started out slow, too. Now she’ll just run right out & paddle around to cool off.

We went up Saturday & came home Monday, so Monday I decided I since hadn’t been to the river yet that I was going for a walk. It was me, Randy, Bo & Mom since Angel had gone home with Laurie on Sunday (as a trade for us taking Mom home). We ended up going all the way to the fork in the road, maybe a mile or so. That’s a long walk for Mom & Bo with his swollen ankles! Anyway, on the way back we saw this ferocious snake in the road! Had to take 2 pics so Mom wouldn’t tell everyone it was 10 feet long – LOL!

Mom said he had his head up, ready to strike - LMAO !!!
Watch out toenails!

Wednesday night was the county meeting. I officially signed up to work at the Brooksie Way half Marathon next month. There were some other pretty neat events going on the last weekend in September, but that’s going to be Angel’s birthday party. Something about Emergency Preparedness put on by Radio Disney at the Mall & something else by a Girl Scout Troop in Waterford. Darn. We still have to figure out details about Pnut’s party! She keeps changing her mind. First she wanted a hobo themed sleepover party at Laurie’s. Last I heard she wants to have a zombie themed one here, since I have cooler Halloween stuff. (I felt good about that!!)  So we need to really figure this out soon!

We also had a dumpster delivered Wednesday. Our big project was to remove the walls around the tub in the hall bathroom & replace the drywall with green board & put up one of those acrylic surrounds. It probably would have gone quicker, but we didn’t hurry at all. In fact, once we got the walls down, we didn’t touch it for a full day so the studs had a nice chance to dry. Lucky the only mold we saw was on the drywall. So as of now the surround is in & I get to try to replicate the texture from the rest of the room onto the green board that is showing above. Then painting probably the entire bathroom.

Grossness before
Shiny pretty work in progress!

We thought about tearing up the tile / removing shower in our bathroom, but we decided that having one tore up at a time was enough. It would have been nice since the dumpster was already here, but we think that is going to be a really really LARGE project. The subfloor is probably going to need replacing, too. We have enough going on right now with the hall bath tore up, the back yard looking like a de-militarized zone & a gaping hole in the middle of the patio.

My home-improvement for tomorrow is to find replacement trim for the back door, cut it & have it painted before Randy gets home from work so we can hang the new back door. The old one is already in the dumpster, so I can’t dink around! It’s weird going outside without a screen door!

Speaking of painting, I had Angel out there yesterday putting a coat of haze gray paint on my toe-pincher coffin. I had it made for her birthday party last year, but didn’t get around to painting it. So we took advantage of this cool weather while Randy & I were fighting with green board, she got to paint! And today I went & put a second coat over all the headstones to help seal them. I want to re-do the epitaphs anyway, using different fonts instead of just block lettering. So the shed has become my drying room – I used 4 of the boards from a pallet and laid them across the shelves to hold the smaller stones & the tall ones are all leaning where ever I could find room for them. They’re out of the way & out of the weather, too! Until we need to get to the lawn mower, but that’s not looking likely anytime soon.

Complete with supervision!

So Pnut starts 8th grade tomorrow. Sigh. I really hate that she has to wait until the first day to find out what her schedule is. So much for planning ahead with the supplies! But we got her 6 folders, binders & notebooks a couple weeks ago. That should get her started.  Hopefully she'll find out tomrrow if there is anything special she needs.  Then Wednesday night is Open House! I still need to find out when dance starts, too!

So I made my Secret Reaper gifts. I’m really pleased with how they turned out. I sent them out & found out that my Reapee didn’t get it yet, because she is driving from Florida to Michigan! But her son was home & got it, so it’s not like the box is sitting out on her porch while she’s gone. I found out she won’t let him open it, either – LOL!! She wants to do it herself when she gets home!

The wreath started out green & the roses black.  That's a raven in the center.  It's about 16 inches across.
These are from a cemetery out by Laurie's house.  I had them printed in sepia tone, painted the frames gloss black with a speckling of chrome.

I also got involved in a Halloween Card Exchange on the Forum, too. You basically post on the thread that you’re interested in participating & people will send you a private message with their address if they want to exchange cards with you. I’m at 26 people right now. I sent out one batch & have to get more cards for the rest. Some people send homemade ones, but mine are store-bought. I try to make the more personal by writing a little note inside & adding stickers. It’s still fun!

I have just 2 more pallets to dismantle & nails to pull from a few boards, and then I should have my stash ready to build. We’ve actually used a few of the more sound boards with this bathroom renovation – sniff! But that’s OK. I have plenty & they’re easy enough to obtain!

Angel & I went tubing on the Rifle River with Laurie, Lulu & some of Laurie's friends on 8/15.  Talk about a riot!  The kids went off in a group while the rest of us were all tied together with 2 coolers of goodies.  The water was really shallow in parts, deep in others, rocky in places, sandy in others.  It was crazy!  We got fried!  My poor cleavage was so burnt it peeled twice.  It was a 5 hour trip !!

Us at lunch break
Dennis pulling us in to shore.
The kids - Angel Lulu, Mackenzie (who got mad when I got his hair wet), Ashley

OOO!  I was so thrilled!!  On 8/21 I took Angel to the mall (with Amanda in tow) to do some school shopping.  Once we finishing spending mucho $$$ in JC Penney, we parted ways.  I wandered down to the Yankee Candle store to see their H'ween stuff.  There were a couple things I'd seen on their website, but had sold out within 2-3 days of being released!  I walked in the store and the first thing I saw was...  

 and I snagged the next to last one and then this jar candle holder....
that I grabbed the last one of!  And the woman who'd gotten the last Headless Horseman followed me around hoping I'd put the hands down.  Sorry honey!  And the entertaining efeminate salesguy told me this had been their last shipment.  WOOHOO!!!   Then the drama continues....I had stopped at Walden books & gotten a book to read while waiting for the girls.  So I sat there in a lounge area until they showed up.  We went out to the car & I realized I was missing a bag - the one from Yankee Candle!!  I tossed the rest of the bags in my car & ran back into the mall in a panic!!  I got to the lounge area & my bag was still sitting there, right where I'd left it!!  OMG, I thought I was going to cry!!!!

OMG, this is the coolest birthday present! I told Randy I wanted a candelabra I saw at Michael’s for my birthday. This is what he & Angel got me – I love it! It’s very cool!

So anyway – that’s about all here for now!

Saw this in at Oak Hill Cemetery in Pontiac.

Me & Pnut

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Wow, August already! 18 shopping days til my birthday!!

We got our yard seriously tore up yesterday – we had to have our septic field replaced. This is something that needs to be done every 40-50 years and there was no record of it ever being done since the house was built in 1940. Neat. It had old clay pipes that were broke in pieces from the tree roots growing thru them and everything. Hoping to put sod down to cover that mess, or it’s going to take several car loads of straw bales to cover new seed.

The new 2-track across the front yard.

Looking into the backyard.

So Angel went in last Tuesday to try out for the competition team at her dance studio & made the “All Starz” team. I’m proud of her! Tomorrow we’re going to sign her up for fall classes. There are 4 classes she has to take – conditioning, team tap, team jazz & ballet. But she also likes lyrical & hip hop, too. And wants to take a regular class, too. Either tap or jazz. She’s really torn about which one. I’m so glad that the studio owner set a maximum tuition amount because this could be some serious $$! Luckily they wear their comp costumes for the recital. It doesn’t look like someone will be trying out for sideline cheer this year!

Woohoo! 82 days til Halloween! I was on that psychotic kick collecting all those damn pallets & stuff and…..they’re all still leaning up against the side of the garage. I was going to start pulling nails & such last weekend, but obviously didn’t get to it. Oh well! I still have time.

My pallet & wood stash.

I got on the Halloween Forum online – it’s a cool place! There are tons of talented people who share their ideas and a good place to show what you’ve made to other people who truly appreciate it. I even got involved in a Secret Reaper – like a secret Santa, but we send Halloween stuff to each other! It’s going to be fun! I got plans to make a fence for the cemetery & a couple different coffins (a half-coffin for me & a full one for Linda) out of all that pallet wood. Those along with my zombies should be enough new stuff for this year. And I still have to paint last year’s coffin and do some touch ups & aging on the headstones. I don’t want to overwhelm myself. Oh yeah – and I want to make a grave periscope – a single bony arm coming out of the ground holding an eyeball. Yup.

Marilyn (because the face reminds me of Marilyn Manson)
Punkin Head - they still need finishing touches.

I got an email today from my Adopt-A-Platoon contact! They apparently have gotten what I’ve sent so far & he’s going to send me a CD & a card here soon. Can’t wait! We stopped on the way home tonight to get some more stuff to send over.

I’m going much better with my WW – I started going out walking in the morning before work. Which means getting my butt up as soon as the alarm goes off. It was easy to begin with, but all of a sudden I’m getting up before the sun! So it’s still fairly dark when Jack and I leave the house. Jack is my walking buddy – he may not protect me from much, but he’d let me know if anyone is getting near. We started Tuesday, 7/27 and Thursday morning I noticed he was limping some, so I left him home Friday (much to his dismay!) Then I finally realized that gee – my legs were sore – his probably are, too! Doh! But we’re good now. We go walk around the park – 35 minutes / about 2 miles and we alternate which way we go around so it doesn’t get boring. But anyway, I’ve had nice losses the past 2 weeks since we’ve been walking. Guess that’s what I needed to do!

I went last week to my first Oakland County ARPSC (Amateur Radio Public Service Corps) meeting, since I finally am a member. I had to submit info for a background check & it took FOREVER for that to come back. I didn’t realize they make a point of making new peeps stand up & introducing themselves – and Jim picked on me first. Now I’m working on a FEMA course so I can get into RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service). I admit I forgot how BORING a government study guide can be. I tried to study while waiting for the siren test Saturday & I found out quickly its going to be one of those things that I need absolute silence in order for anything to sink in. Pppft. I think I also volunteered me & Angel to help out at the Brooksie Way half marathon in October. Randy is usually net control for that.

So that’s about all that’s going on here!

Monday, July 26, 2010


Aaah. We had such a nice lazy weekend – no place we need to go and nothing we needed to do! It’s been a long time since that has happened!  But now it's back to the grind!

We took a family trip to Home Depot Saturday – I got on a kick lately to work on my Halloween stuff. I signed up on and have seen a bunch of good ideas. Tons of people with great imaginations who like to share their creations and encourage others. Anyway, I raided the plumbing department & got PVC pipes & fittings to make 2 skeletons & one upper body to hang over the fence. Still have some work to do – like attaching foam to the “spine” and covering it with vinyl for the torso & I already added pipe insulation to flesh out the arms & legs. Then I have to dress them. I have the stuff to make a dress for the girl – who will be holding her head in her arm. I got some purple, black and white netting to create a flowing skirt for her, but one that will also dry easily after a rain. The boy will have a pumpkin bucket for his head and probably be wearing jeans & a really ugly shirt. And Fence Dude? I don’t know yet. I’ll have to find something for his head, and he just needs a shirt. I sort of screwed up with getting happy with the PVC glue.  I meant to leave the caps on the necks free so I could slip the bucket or whatever over the neck and replace the cap to held the "head" on.  But I glued them, too.  Crap.  Oh well - as far as I can tell that has been my only ooops.  Definitely need some fake blood, too. Can’t have a headless body with no blood! And hands. Then I think I’m going to make another coffin that is sticking up out of the ground & I’d really like to make a fence to go around the coffins. Pallets would work great. And also need some strobe lights. I have no lights on my graveyard!

Dry fitted bodies
Duct tape!

OK, I’m obsessed. I know I’m rambling but Halloween is just so fun! I woke up at 7:30 Saturday morning & my mind was racing with ideas. So I just had to get up. Linda asked me to make her a coffin for their yard, too. Sure! She’s gonna help me with it. Fun!  Tangent -  I have to put in a plug for the ratcheting PVC cutter! Totally worth the $13 !!! I measured & marked the PVC and Angel cut it for me. If a 12 year old can cut with it, you know it’s easy! And cut cleanly, too.  So the peeps (zombies?) are taking shape nicely.

OK, back to Earth. Thursday Angel got to go on a field trip to see a Tiger’s game. They won! Yay! I bet she’s secretly glad that the Club didn’t allow her to switch field trip packages after all. Water parks & park beaches probably look all the same after going to a couple.

Last weekend I went up north to Linda’s place on the lake. I’ve only been up there once before, a couple years ago. At first she was just going to take Angel & I was excited because Randy was working at the Mid-Michigan MS150. I was going to get all sorts of stuff done around the house. Then Laurie said she was going up and that I should go, too. Crap. I ended up compromising and went up Saturday. Jack & I were on the road by noon. I have to say, it felt really weird to drive for 2 ½ hours by myself! Felt like I was escaping or something!
Me & Angel on the boat
Laurie & I ready to tube!
Lisa & Angel's tribute to their cousin Catie.
So I (we) got up there and went across the street and played Bocce Ball with Laurie, Scott & Annie (Annie & I rock! Undefeated all 3 games! Not bad for not even knowing what the game was!) Then we went tubing. Laurie didn’t like to ride with Lisa or Angel, since they made fun of her for laughing. So we rode together & laughed like idiots together. We were bouncing around and it was like I went in slow motion going over the side. I was aware of the water being warm all around me and I came up laughing. Dave (driving the boat) thought Laurie was crying, not even caring that I was gone – hmmmpf! But she was laughing just as hard as me. Mainly because she could hear me across the water! It was a good time. Then we went & had some burgers, and went back out on the pontoon for a sunset cruise around the lake. Beautiful! Then we went back and sat around the fire for a while. Everyone laughed at me when I came walking up with my jug of pineapple juice under my arm, pulling my little cooler on wheels. I was keeping my Malibu on ice! Anyway, with the exception of my cup that got kicked over & the one I made for Laurie – I polished off that bottle myself. I was pretty HAPPY! I also learned that my knees don’t like to bend that far, so it was tough to squat behind the trailer to pee. At least I didn’t fall over or get any mosquito bites on my butt. Once I finished my bottle, I realized I was cold so I went to bed. Lisa & Angel had gone to bed earlier & took the dogs with them. Jack really did not like Scott at all. Don’t know what it was about him, but Jack would just stare & growl at him. He had no problems with Jeff so it wasn’t the “stranger” issue. Anyway, Jack apparently didn’t like his blanket on the floor of the trailer because he was up on Laurie’s bed! So once I found a plug for my phone charger, I called him over & he slept with me. He’s never got to sleep on a people bed before. He also takes up a lot more room than a cat! I woke up once to see what time it was and he was lying in the crook of my legs. He popped his head up to look at me and his jowls were all squished up in what we call “bed face”. I couldn’t help but giggle at him. It rained early Sunday morning and it was kind of chilly. I was perfectly happy wearing jeans & my hoodie! Dave took us all out to breakfast and when we went back, Linda wanted to go out on the boat. I don’t think I ever reluctantly put my bathing suit on before, but I did this time! So we went tubing again, then Linda wanted to go to the beach. The shallow water was colder than out in the middle of the lake! So we didn’t stay there long, plus it was sprinkling. We went back & packed up the cars & just got in then when it started to downpour – perfect timing! Linda rode home with me because Dave left while we were out on the boat. They usually leave early to miss traffic – don’t blame them!

I signed us (the Love fam) up for Adopt-A-Platoon & just got my contact info the beginning part of last week. I sent the first package of munchies out Wednesday. Now that I know how to do the customs forms, it’ll be easier. I had to ask the post office lady how to do it. Makes me feel good to know that a little something I’m doing will make 25 people happy and make their life just a bit brighter. This transportation company is in Afghanistan and they currently have 2 injured peeps from IEDs. Scary! Reading stuff like that in the news doesn’t mean much, but knowing that MY platoon has encountered them is totally different. More real. Yeah, they probably don’t even know about me/us yet and I already consider them mine. I really only need to send one package a month, but I’ll probably send 2 – one full of goodies & the other full of stuff to do and other whatnot.

LisaLulu did pretty good in her horse show 2 weeks ago. She didn’t place, but it’s tough for a beginner to compete against kids who have worked with a trainer since they were little. The first class was bad – she was nervous & Captain acted up so they went to the middle and the ringmaster led her out. She rode both English & Western. I think she was more confident in Western, although Captain didn’t use his low gear required for it. He didn’t lope, he straight up galloped around the arena! But he looked good! I didn’t get many pics because I was using Lisa’s camera for her!

Angel asked Laurie if she could have her birthday party at her house this year. She wants to have a “Hobo Weekend” type party with sleeping in the barn, etc. Alrighty then! This will be fun to work out the details to! Mainly HOW to get kids there! I wouldn’t expect the parents to drive them up there, so we’d have to shuttle them. Guess she won’t be having a HUGE party like she wants!!

So anyway, that's all the excitement here - other than the pallet & miscellaneous pallet lid I brought home from work today - the begiinings of my graveyard fence.  I'm taking my hammer to work tomorrow to break down some other wood frames and bring them home, too.  This is one of the few times I miss having the Hoopdie!

Oh yeah - Our septic field apparently has failed - so we get to have our back yard dug up! 

Ominous blue flags.  We now also have yellow & orange flags, too!