Archive for January, 2010

Dear (Deer) Friends

Posted in animals on January 29th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

It’s always fun to read about friendship that crosses the boundaries between animal species.  I received some cute pictures of a cat and her deer friend via an email forward.  What’s interesting is that friendships between cats and deer don’t seem to be as uncommon as one would think – I was having trouble getting the picture from the email to the blog, so I did a search for cat and deer pictures, and I came up with pictures of at least 5 different cats being friendly with deer!  But thanks to Hubby for graciously taking the time (even during football playoffs) to help me get the original pictures from my email.  These are cute!

Those Crazy Kids

Posted in Kids on January 27th, 2010 and tagged , , , ,

Well, it’s not a full moon tonight, but you could have fooled me.  My kids are acting completely nuts today; I just had to get away from them for a few minutes for some “me” time to vent and blog this out.  Ok, it’s not really “me” time; the kids are right here, they just happen to not be needy at this moment – first time all morning.  I actually just checked the moon’s forecast, and we are only 2 days away from a full moon.  Oh, my – does that mean I have 2 more days of this?  My blogging teacher friend wrote about how she used to be able to predict her students’ daily behavior by the way a herd of Clydesdales were acting when she passed their farm on the way to school each morning.  If the horses were running around, there was a good chance the kids were going to be crazy.  I’m betting that if I had a herd of Clydedales in my backyard, they would be running around.  And that would be cool – I’ve always wanted a bunch of animals.  But hopefully I’m wrong about something crazy being in the air and the chaos is just localized to only our house because I have to teach youth group tonight, and I don’t know what I’ll do with crazy teenage girls if I have to deal with crazy little kids all day!

Sammie, my Kindergartner is still sleeping, and it’s almost lunch time.  I can’t complain about her behavior because for the past 3 days now (knocking on the wood floor), she’s been good as gold.  Yes, I am counting the days of her goodness because we just endured an incredibly bad phase of hers that lasted a few months – it was really bad.  Why dwell on the negative, though?  Today she was playing with her little brother without even being asked, and they were so cute together!  They played tag, and she read books to him – I would have taken a picture, but I was busy meeting the demands of my 3-year-old, Disney.  She was always the one I could count on to be good; she’s always been a sweetheart.  But lately, she’s been in a really intense phase, and it’s hard to handle.  She has a very loud, shrill little voice, and she’s always using it to yell “MOM”, and you wouldn’t believe how often she needs something – hungry, thirsty, help with something…  we starting heavily potty training; I’m talking no more diapers during the day, so of course that makes her even more needy.  By the way, the potty training is not going very well.

Well, I’d better wrap up; I’m sick of all the interruptions – I’ve found it’s better when I don’t really try to blog or work while the kids are around because it causes more frustration than productivity.  But it’s amazing how positive things look when our Kindergartner is in a “good” phase!  And her older sister has been completely awesome lately too, so that makes 3 of my 4 kids in good phases.  And Disney’s bad phase can’t even be called “bad” when you compare it to one of Sammie’s bad phases.  It’s funny how our family dynamics are constantly changing as the kids go in and out of phases – kind of like the moon!

Lab Rat

Posted in health on January 26th, 2010 and tagged , , , , ,

Mostly, it was worse than I thought it was going to be, but I survived.  I spent the night at the hospital last night undergoing a sleep study.  These are becoming increasingly common, and many people experience anxiety beforehand, so perhaps I can help by describing it to someone who doesn’t know what to expect.  Then again, maybe you shouldn’t read this post if you’re looking to be reassured…

First, I got a prescription for a sleep study from my kids’ pediatrician, who is also the local sleep expert doctor – I had mentioned to him that I never feel rested.  So I arrived for my sleep study last night around 8 pm; usually they have you come earlier, but they wanted to mimic my bedtime schedule, and I rarely go  to bed before midnight.  That’s funny – mimic my bedtime schedule, yet the 4 rowdy kids who usually keep me up past midnight were no where in sight, hmmm, not much mimicry there.  So I waited in the lounge for a little bit for the nurse to do paperwork, which is more like a little living room that I luckily had to myself – didn’t really feel like being social.  Soon it was time to “hook me up” (which sounds better than it is, believe me) and we went into this little room off the lounge.  I would not be exaggerating to say it was reminiscent of a clinical torture chamber.  There was a simple chair bolted down in the middle of the small room, and various medical apparatuses and who-knows-what bolted to the walls, along with extra wires and electrical looking boxes and things – is this where they interrogated Saddam?

Not that I was nervous or anything because I really wasn’t.  I didn’t like being away from my family, but I made the best of it by telling myself that I was going to enjoy the few hours away from the chaos; I had brought piles of old newspapers to catch up on and 3 hardcover books to read.  And as far as the medical stuff goes, it didn’t really seem like a big deal after the 9 mos. of poking and prodding I’ve endured as a pregnant woman – times 4.

So I get all wired up, and after I sat in the lounge alternating between reading and watching tv (I had no idea what was even ON tv, which shows how little I watch it now), I decided that it was time for bed, and this is where things take a turn for the worse.  As if the millions of electrodes the nurse had glued to various parts of my body weren’t enough, she added two belts and also shoved something up my nose.  That’s right – they glue electrodes to you, disregarding your hair and everything.  My kids today had fun playing with my stiff “glue hair”, but I quickly took a shower and washed it out before anyone got any ideas that “glue hair” is cool – that is one mess I don’t need to clean up today or ever!

So I’m fully wired, and the nurse plugs me in, and then she leaves the room and comes over the intercom.  She makes me do a series of silly actions – she said she wanted to “test the sensors”, but I was starting to think that her having me roll my eyes around in my head and demonstrate fake snoring might have just been cheap entertainment for the hospital’s 3rd shift.  When we were finished “testing the sensors”, the nurse turned off my light and I was expected to fall asleep, but I had lots of trouble.  First of all, imagine trying to sleep while looking like this:

Not only that, but the bed was just awful, hard as a rock – I have a crick in my back today.  And don’t forget there is a camera and microphone on you at all times; it’s a bit daunting to relax in this situation.  And when they said that I could “bring my own pillow if I wish”, I thought that was implying I should bring my pillow if I have some sort of special attachment to it.  What they really meant was “You might wish to bring your own pillow because we only have little slabs of rubber we cover with pillowcases.”  Maybe they figured that if they put a pillowcase on it, they could call it a pillow, but after spending 8 hours with it, I strongly disagree.

So I had trouble falling asleep, big surprise.  Not only was I so wired I felt like I could help E.T. phone home, but the bed and pillow were awful, there was a camera and a microphone on me, and the room was dark and quiet (that NEVER happens at home!).  I was alone with my thoughts, and that’s never a good thing 😉  It didn’t help that I could occasionally hear the wind howling outside, and it reminded me of when the lights were on and the nurse was “checking” my fake snores – the lights had been flickering slightly.  What if the power goes out, and there is a sudden electrical surge?  Would I get shocked?  Would I burst into flame?  Would I disappear?  Might I come away with some sort of obscure superpower?  Hey, that might be kind of cool…  I guess I finally drifted off, because the next thing I know, I’m waking up, even though it felt like I hadn’t fallen asleep yet, and that’s how I knew I still had hours left in my sleep study.  Still uncomfortable, still cold, still not liking being both seen and heard while I’m asleep.  And then I wake up again.  Still uncomfortable, still cold… you get the picture.  I must have woken up about 5 times during the night, tossing and turning each time, hoping for comfort until I passed out for good all tangled up in wires like a fly caught in a spider’s web.  Then I had a nightmare, and I wonder how that appeared on the charts?  Finally, I hear a voice from above say “Lisa, the sleep study is over.”  Even though that was the best news I had heard in hours, it was a bit unsettling to be woken up by an intercom saying my name.

Overall, it wasn’t that bad, even though I was disappointed because I had been under the impression that I would be able to fall asleep easily, and that I would be in a comfy bed and stay asleep until the morning.  Instead, I returned to real life very poorly rested early this morning with 3 kids to look after all day.  But at least today, unlike yesterday, I can have all the coffee I can brew, and tonight I get to sleep in my own bed!  Well, providing the coffee doesn’t keep me up all night anyway!

IT

Posted in books, Movies on January 25th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last Saturday night,  because the temperature wasn’t too bad, we went for an evening family walk and took the kids to Walgreens for milk.  Even at just 6:00, it was already completely dark outside, and a dense fog was starting to settle in, so Hubby and I decided it was a perfect night to watch a scary movie.  The only thing is that we watch A LOT of horror movies, and most of them just aren’t scary anymore.  Call it desensitization to the horror, or maybe it’s the fact that we have 4 kids and it’s difficult to find something scarier than say, 3 of them being wide awake at midnight or someone taking off their dirty diaper and making a mess with it.  But whatever the reason, it’s hard to find a movie that will actually scare either of us.

While we were trying to choose a suitable scary movie, we came across Stephen King’s IT.  My  husband was skeptical, but I was certain it would be terrifying, so we gave it a try.  And I was right, well partially right anyway – the first time Pennywise the horror clown was shown on the screen, it was so creepily done that my husband grabbed ME and not the other way around – which was only actually because I couldn’t even watch it; it was so scary!  Unfortunatley, my husband was no longer scared once Pennywise began to talk, but I was creeped out by the entire movie…  well, at least until the end, when the big showdown scene completely disappointed me and took away my fear – that’s all I’ll say, don’t want to spoil it if you haven’t seen IT.

I like to research movies that I watch; I look them up on imdb.com to see if I’m correct when I recognize actors from other movies.  When I looked up IT, I came across information that pointed to the theatrical release of an IT remake in the near future – I’m there!!

I think I might want to read Stephen King’s IT the novel first before I see the remake maybe; I’ve been thinking about what to read after I finish the 2nd Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.  It’s going kind of slowly for me; I think I’m ready for a break from Hogwarts – some Stephen King should do the trick!  Then again, maybe not, I’ve been  having enough trouble sleeping as it is – matter of fact, I go in for a sleep study later today.  That’s all I need is to get my sleep problems under control and then give myself nightmares by reading scary books…  But anyway, wish me luck – I’m a little nervous about the study (I don’t know what I do in my sleep, and I don’t know how I feel about strangers knowing what I do when I sleep – that’s kind of personal!  Plus I’m going to miss my family like crazy and worry about them.  I hate sleeping in hospitals, but at least in the past, I’ve had a newborn baby to cuddle!).

Click here if you want to do more reading about the IT remake – but keep in mind that this article complains about the same spoiler at the end of IT that I hated, so if you don’t want to know what happens, don’t read it!  And one more thing…  I thought Tim Curry was just excellent in IT.  He was unrecognizable, which was probably part of the charm!

My Favorite Amphibian

Posted in animals on January 24th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , ,

Recently, a friend and fellow tangents blogger wrote a blog post regarding her bucket list – for those who haven’t seen nor heard about the movie of  said title, a bucket list is comprised of things you want to do before you die.  Her post got me to thinking about my bucket list, and maybe I’ll post it in the future.    For now, I know that one of the items on my bucket list – or many items, depending upon how I write it – will involve seeing certain species of animals; many of them endangered and rare.  If seeing rare animals is on my bucket list, then I can cross off one item – last week I got to see several specimens of the Kihansi Spray Toad – an animal that is considered extinct in the wild!

Given my intense fear of them, I never thought that a frog or a toad would be on my list of animals to see – but the Kihansi Spray Toad is actually kinda cute!  For me, it seems that the more brown and dry the amphibian, the more it creeps me out – not including salamanders, which I don’t have a problem with at all.  I’m not at all frightened by the beautiful blue Poison Dart frogs or other colorful species, which is strange since those are the ones that tend to be poisonous and harmful to humans.  Weird.  So anyway, I think the Kihansi Spray Toad is both extremely fascinating and very cute!

The Toledo Zoo is the only place in the entire world where people can view these special little toads who were first recognized as a species as recently as 1996.  Not only that, it is estimated that over half of the earth’s entire population of the toads live in Toledo.  I am so glad I decided to venture over to the Museum of Science in the Toledo Zoo last week to see the spray toad!  It was the highlight of my zoo visit; all of the other animals were kinda lethargic.  Oh, there is one more thing – my 10-year-old daughter got pooped on by a bird in aviary!  She was a really good sport about it, and it just plucked right out of her hair – no harm, no fowl.  My daughter’s unfortunate accident:

It was neat to see the local wildlife congregating in the unused Hippo-quarium.  It’s too cold for the hippos to be outside, but the ducks have a nice place to swim – who would have thought about what a group of ducks look like from under the water?

My 3 daughters fit into one giant egg!

This was taken on a different day, but I had to put in this cute picture of my 2 youngest.  My little guy is learning to say “CHEESE!” for the camera 🙂

Harry Potter – Reading Vs. Watching

Posted in books, Movies on January 20th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Now that I’ve read the first installment in the Harry Potter series, I decided to watch the movie make the story come to life.  I wasn’t disappointed, but I much prefer the book – the movie leaves out a lot of details.  It was obvious that was going to happen otherwise the movie would be about 12 hours long, but the excluded details were enough to make me prefer the book to the movie.  Here is a run-down of thoughts I had while enjoying the movie last night:

•  Did the beginning of the movie portray Professor McGonagall as a cat as she is in the book?  I didn’t notice it, but I also came into the movie a minute or two late due to an unplanned (though pleasant!) phone conversation.  I would have liked to see her as a cat.

•  I really liked seeing how the train station came to life, and especially how exactly they found platform 9¾!

•  Did the movie explain the resident ghosts of Hogwarts?  I noticed lack of explanation for other characters as well – especially Neville! – but as stated before, it’s a long movie, so maybe it was out of necessity that they had to cut some descriptions that were present in the book.

•  The movie is well cast and directed.  Everything is just like I pictured from the book, and that’s a good thing.  I had considered waiting to watch any of the Potter movies until I was finished reading the series for fear that movie would ruin my vision of Hogwarts, but I’m glad I didn’t wait; the movie was very enjoyable.  I was pleased to see  that creatures like the Gringotts bank goblins, for example, looked just like the sketches in the book which also helped to make my expectations match the movie.

•  Visually, the invading troll was cool, although its extreme smelliness was completely downplayed in the movie – one of the things I wish was not.

•  This movie would be so cool in 3D!!

•  The charcer Hagrid gained about 50 IQ points for the movie.  He was likable, but reads dumber than he acted in the movie.  I think I would have liked to see him more like he was in the book.

•  The movie is a good representation of the book brought to life, but how is it to watch it on its own if you haven’t read the book?  I will talk to my husband about this because he did just that.  And for me – the movie almost went too fast for me.  I saw events happen in minutes that in real time, took me weeks to read about!  But then again, there are over 300 pages being shown in under 3 hours.

•  The character Severus Snape stood out as being very well cast – I’m not remembering a very vivid depiction of him in the book, and the movie did not disappoint in this regard.

FOLLOWING MIGHT BE SPOILERS – YOU MIGHT NOT WANT TO READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN OR READ HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERER’S STONE

•  Quirrell didn’t seem to be stuttering much in the movie, which brings me to a minor complaint that I have about both the book and the movie.   I felt that Professor’s Quirrell’s character was not elaborated upon enough to fully give the audience the big surprise ending.  Sometimes I would even get Quirrell mixed up with Filch (while reading the book anyway), but I guess that could also be a side effect of reading while falling asleep!

•  Did I miss something, or does neither the book nor the movie elaborate upon why Harry’s scar hurts when he see Snape?

Overall, a very enjoyable movie-watching experience!  Fun for everyone – the kids weren’t scared by it and enjoyed it, and my husband liked it so much that he’s been asking me when I’m going to finish the 2nd book because he wants to see the 2nd movie!

He Ate The Cheesy Fiesta Potatoes, And Then He Wore Them

Posted in Kids on January 17th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , ,

I have an 18-month-old little boy, and the other day, he tried cheesy fiesta potatoes from Taco Bell.  I think the title of this blog post pretty much says it all.

Beeber wears potatoes 1-16-10 002

Learning The HARD Way

Posted in true crime on January 15th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , ,

This guy learned the hard way that there was no escape from Lake County Illinois Sheriff’s deputies.  He fled from a courtroom, trying to escape, and well, it didn’t go quite as planned…

Oops, I didn’t have the time to try to figure out how to embed this video, so click here to see it.

Easy Money

Posted in games on January 14th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , ,

How I wish I were talking about real life, but ‘Easy Money’ is the title of a board game we’ve recently discovered.  As you may have read in the past, my husband and I collect board games.  We used to go to thrift stores and pick up any games we saw that were missing from our collection.  We fashioned ourselves a large game closet where we keep them all, and there are some games in there that we haven’t yet had the chance to try.  A few weeks ago, we pulled out the board game Easy Money and gave it a whirl – we all loved it!

According to the instructions, the first thing you do to prepare the game is to count out millions of dollars (fake of course, but still too bad) and bundle them into various amounts.  This does actually add a fun element to the game; for some reason, it’s much more fun to bet a million dollar bundle than it is to wager a million dollar bill – go figure.  Had we purchased this game new, we would have had to do all the money-bundling ourselves, and knowing our general lack of patience, we might have quit right there.  But we’re glad we purchased this game used since all of the money had been pre-bundled for us.  What I don’t understand, however, is why the people who bundled all the money then got rid of the game, especially without seeming to play it much given the game’s relatively good condition.  Once the bundles of money are made, each player takes his or her turn, all moving the same pawn around the board until  the bank runs out of money.  Each player follows the instructions on the space they land upon, and usually some sort of gambling or betting is involved.  I really like the game’s Lottery concept, but the Wall Street spaces are not my favorite.  I’ve played 3 games of Easy Money, and the Lottery was responsible for letting me win 2 of those games at the very last minute.  When someone lands on the Wall Street space, every player has to predict whether the market will go up or down  and bet accordingly.  Since the chances of winning the Wall Street bets are 50-50, you’d think I would have made some money.  But I have some sort of terrible Wall Street luck, and I’d bet (pun intended, hehe) that I’ve only won the Wall Street gamble under 5 times throughout all 3 games I’ve played.  I take it in stride though, the rest of the game is so fun and great for the whole family.  Its only negative is the fact that it only accommodates up to 4 players, therefore it is not a contender for the crowded game nights we have with friends.

Patience

Posted in Pets on January 12th, 2010 and tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Our new bird is so cute!  Not having parakeets for years has made me forget how pleasant they are to have around.  JJ chirps and sings, and even when he’s quiet, he’s adorable to look at.  My husband (who is not known for his patience anyway) mentioned the other day that he’s having trouble with his temptations to reach into the cage and grab the bird to play with him.  It’s partly his impatience, and it’s partly because he’s used to just reaching out and grabbing his obnoxious parrot.  But my husband knows that if he is disruptive to the training process I’ve chosen for JJ, there will be big trouble!

I’m having trouble being patient too, but I understand how innately nervous parakeets are.  Once you build their trust, they can make wonderful interactive pets – but the key is taking it slow and being consistent.  As much as I want to cuddle my baby bird, I can respect his need for space right now too.  But try telling that to my excited kids.  The older ones (ages 10, 5 and 3) are ok about it; for the most part, they’re content to just stand there watching JJ and talking to him.  But my 18 month old toddler is another story.  He is fond of banging on metal cages because that’s what makes the most noise, and the rats don’t really mind.  My poor little baby bird, on the other hand…  We usually shut the door to our bedroom since that’s where JJ lives, but the other day, we forgot.  I figured shutting the gate at the bottom of the stairs would keep the dog away from our bedroom, but kids opened the gate.  While the dog was fine (I don’t think she even realizes there is another bird in the house), I  found little Beeber (that was our then-2-year-old’s nickname for her baby brother) next to JJ’s cage, and he hasn’t been the same since.  He still chirps and acts happy, but he now tries to fly around the cage whenever I come near – he used to let me put my finger right up next to him…  He was doing so well with the training, we were bound to take a step backward.  I still have confidence that I can train JJ to be a nice family bird, or at the very least, a little buddy bird for me.  We just need to have a little patience.