Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year

Truthfully, I've never been a big fan of New Year's Eve. It always sounds like a good time but in reality it's usually just a bunch people sitting around and waiting for midnight so they can finally go home. The past three New Year's have been particularly bad because The Man was in Vermont. It's hard to be jolly when your sweetie is so far away and won't be home for another week.

But this year The Man is here and in about an hour we are headed out to once again spend the evening with our oldest friends. Even if we are driving home by 12:15, this will be the best New Year's in quite awhile.

Happy 2009 to everyone!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Presenting...The Girl

This summer The Girl surpassed me in height. It was such a relief. The relief comes not that she'll end up being a tad bit taller than the U.S. average, but that the constant comparing of our heights was finally at an end. The months leading up to last growth spurt, I would find her frequently standing too close to me asking anyone nearby who was taller. If I was picked then we would both have to take off our shoes and be compared again. Finally she was the taller one, even with both of us in bare feet. A new mark on the wall where we've been measuring the kids since they could stand commemorated the moment.

I knew she would end up taller than me eventually. She's got these crazy long legs. I don't even know where they came from. Nobody in either of our families has legs like she has. But I do know where she got this hair from.

The perfect combination of her mommy and daddy; the color is Weigl and those waves and curls are all Anderson. Just check out this eighteen year old and you'll see for certain...

But what does she do to this almost every morning? She uses this...

...and makes it look like this.

That's what my hair looks like every damn day. Flat and limp. Why would she take waves and body and flatten it?

"I just like it that way! Geeze! If I let it just go normal it's too....too..."(hands fly wildly about her head).

Fair enough. We get the idea.


Like every other young woman in America, The Girl is currently in midst of the Twilight series. She finished Twilight and is about halfway through New Moon. I'm about a chapter behind her. While it's a wonderful thing to see your kids really get into a book, these vampires are seriously cutting into her sleeping time making her not so cheerful come morning. Many a night I've busted her reading in bed way too late.

She takes the book to school with her so I can't read it during the day. At night she's reading and reading and reading, so I have to wait until she finally turns out the light, sneak into her room (because if she catches me I get scolded) and take the book so I can get some reading done.

A sad situation I know. I COULD go get my own copy from the library. I COULD just wait for her to finish and then read it. I could. But I won't.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Presenting... The Boy

The Christmas cards are getting mailed today and I always put a "Come see our blog" sticker in each one. In preparation of the oodles of new visitors The Cafe is sure to receive, here's the first in a series of spotlights on us.

The Boy

Last Saturday, the Boy Scout troop was headed out to a Lake Erie Monsters game at The Q. Somehow our Troop Master got 12 loge tickets and decided to take the troop instead of his beer drinking buddies. The Boy was pretty vanilla about this whole trip.

You are going to have such a good time! Those loges are cool!


I've never even been in loge! You're going to have to tell us all about it!


You wait and see. You are going to be really impressed!


Five and half hours later, The Boy burst through the front door filled with news. That-loge-had-a-special-elevator-you-went-up-into-a-carpeted-hall-and-a-little-room-that-had-couches-and-tables-and-a-balcony-with-more-seats-where-you-could-watch-the-game-and-it-had-it's-OWN-BATHROOM!


Do you remember taking Health in the eighth grade? I'll give everyone a chance to shudder now.

The Boy is in Health right now and this past week was the project where an egg becomes your baby and you have to keep it safe for five school days. The Boy ended up with a pretty little pink egg, a girl named Alice, which he carried around in the bottom half of a juice container.

The first day of the project was Monday and that night was the Winter Concert at school. Very politely The Boy asked if I would babysit Alice during the concert. Of course I would! The Girl found a little Christmas basket with ribbons on it and padded it with a Christmas towel. There was no way I was taking Alice out in a plastic box to her first concert. She looked very pretty. The Boy looked like we had all lost our minds.

But he needn't have worried. At the concert I saw at least seven other parents with eggs in little baskets. Two other "grandparents" sat with me and we all showed off our babies. I spent the concert sewing the edges of new Christmas ornament together. (Just sitting at school events makes me antsy.) A friend leaned over and asked it I was making an outfit for the egg!

Everyday during the week the Boy would come home with an update on who dropped their egg and killed their baby. There was even a death certificate that they would have to fill out. The Boy made it all the way until Friday afternoon and then he dropped her. But she didn't break. She only got a crack. The Boy was reported to "Egg Services" for potential abuse. Harsh project! I asked him if he learned anything about being a parent.

Not really, he said. It's just an egg.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

It's all in the cards

About a week ago I was trying to fall asleep but my head kept running to-do lists about Christmas. One of the things that still needed done was the Christmas cards. By this time of year my cards are long since sent. This year I just wasn't feeling the drive to write out cards. While I laid there, I made a decision. I was going to give myself permission to skip doing cards this year. As I came to this moment, I felt a small twinge of stress untie and I fell asleep with a smile.

The next day, we got four cards in the mail.

"When are you sending out our cards?" asked The Man.

"I'm not. I'm letting myself skip it this year."

He looked a bit confused by this announcement, but I must have sounded unbendable about it because that was as far as the conversation went. A few days later, The Girl asked about cards.

"What do you mean you're just not doing cards? Scrooge!" She pouted her cute face at me.

"I just don't want to. It doesn't sound like fun and it's supposed to be a holiday, not a giant obligation fest."

"Party pooper!"

"Hey, it's my decision and my time. If you want to do cards, feel free."


Seeing that I was completely outwitted, I took my leave.

Then three things happened. First I found a box and half of cards left over from last year. More than enough to cover the tight part of the family and a few on the side. Hmmm.

Then I found five sheets of labels from last year, two signature label sheets, one return address, and then two blog promotion sheets. Last year I seriously over made labels. Double hmmmm.

Then The Man came home with stamps. Christmas stamps. One book of twenty.

Okay, fine. Twenty (or so) lucky people will get a real, mailed Christmas card from the Andersons. As for the rest of you, I actually found an e-card that I like. It's quite a piece of work. And one of you out there will be getting both a real card AND the e-card. Who is the lucky person? Wait and see.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

It's good...It's good

As a Christmas treat I offer you my favorite scene from my favorite Christmas movie!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A not-so-sweet gift

I recently got a Christmas survey from a dear friend of mine. It asked things like what was my favorite Christmas song and my favorite Christmas dinner food. One of the questions stumped me though. "What was the worst Christmas gift you ever got?"

The worst? What was the worst? I really couldn't think of anything. I know that every gift giving holiday that went by without getting the Millennium Falcon was always a bummer. One year I got a little die cast Falcon that I guess was suppose to shut me up but instead made me really mad, but I think that was a birthday gift. And then there was one year that I got almost exclusively clothes, but that wasn't terrible, just disappointing.

In the end, I can't think of one Christmas gift that would rate as the worst. That said, while I was searching online for gift ideas I found this item.
It's the All Edges Brownie Pan. If someone were to give this to me it would immediately become the worst gift ever! In this house, when I make brownie the edges only get eaten after all of the middle pieces are long gone. The corners usually end up getting pitched because no one likes them at all. This pan has TEN CORNERS! Never has there been a pan that has been so anti me and my family!

Now it's your turn to share a bad gift story. 'Tis the season to be ungrateful!

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Day of the Christmas Tree

Yesterday was the kick off to the Anderson Christmas around here. Yes, it was Christmas Tree Day, otherwise known as our anniversary. Every year we break the the kids out from school and head out to the woods to find the perfect tree.

It was just a tad bit too cold for this trip yesterday, but at least we weren't trudging through knee-deep snow like we have in past years. We trekked all over that tree farm searching. The kids are wise to the slow shutter speed of my camera. Trying to get a picture of them lately is impossible.

The Girl...

The Boy

We were just starting to give up hope. We've been coming to the same tree farm for sixteen years. Every year we wonder if THIS will be the year when we can't find anything. And then every year...

we find it.

The Girl lent a hand by dragging it back to the truck. The tree is so fat this year it kept rolling out of the cart.

To make up for always dodging my camera they finally posed for a shot.

They posed for this one too, but only because I promised I wouldn't put it out for the world to see.

It's hard to make out, but the Girl found the top of a tree on the ground. A perfect tiny tree that she wanted to bring home but then changed her mind.

We got the tree up, put on the lights, angel and garland and then called it a day. Instead of putting on ornaments we settled in and watched two episodes of "Lost". We're watching the entire show from Netflix. Yesterday we started Season 2. Love it! Check out the Boy in this picture trying to get out of the shot!

Here's the tree this morning. It made it through the night without falling down so it's safe to put on ornaments. Marco and the cats are not fond of all this extra stuff in their house. Too much chaos for them.

Happy Anniversary Weaver and Brewer! I hope found a way to make your day special as well!

Monday, December 01, 2008


The Sister hosted all of the family for Thanksgiving. She's my hero. She called me Wednesday night while she was cooking cabbage rolls. I was making an apple pie. Neither of us knew the other was drinking and cooking at the same time. Does this account for our overly long and giggly conversation? Perhaps. Here's a snippet.

We've got all the tables up and set in the basement. I feel bad though. It's all Halloween down there. I have no Thanksgiving decorations at all.

Ah, nobody's going to care. A Halloween Thanksgiving is cool.

We went ahead and put up the Christmas tree in the living room to balance it out.

So it will be Halloween downstairs and Christmas upstairs.

And Thanksgiving nowhere.

It's exactly like the stores treat Thanksgiving! They take down the Halloween decorations and put up the Christmas on the same shelves. *hiccup* If you look close you might find a package of napkins with turkeys on them tucked off to the side.

Should we turned the black lights on?

Hell yeah! And light the candles in the heads of those creepy dolls so their eyes glow!

We've loaded the Ipod with mostly Christmas music for dinner.

Keep Monster Mash in the mix... (something slurred)

It's already in.

I was just finishing the lattice work on the pie when we got off the phone. We always put some kind of cut out on the top. This year, in honor of our Halloween-Christmas-and no Thanksgiving, The Girl and I decorated the pie with a jack-o-lantern and a Christmas tree with a big space between them. And yes, the edges are burnt! Ugh!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving for Everyone

On this day of thanks, let us not forget that everyone has something to be thankful for.
Mamacat is thankful for the bathroom water faucet, Mamahuman, the rings off of milk jugs, sunshine and every time that stupid dog goes outside.

Jack is thankful for food, that big cat Marco, snacks, sunshine, paper bags, food and getting his cheeks rubbed (and food).

Meg is thankful for heat vents, The Man, sunshine, the comb and anyone who will sit on the couch.

Marco is thankful for all those little dogs, car rides, walks, squeaky toys, playing fetch, sunshine, running around, his humans and his excellent ability to protect his home from attacking squirrels, birds and rabbits.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Another Moment of Grace

I could write about the Scout program that the Girl and I attended on Friday involving one yard of fabric and ending up with five matching accessories for her room.

I could write about going to see "Legally Blond" at the Cleveland Palace on Saturday and that it was a tremendous amount of fun even though our seats were a bit stink-o. But... I think not.

A much more important thing happened last night.

I stubbed my pinkie toe.

Mind you, this wasn't your ordinary run-of-the-mill type of stubbing. This way a "fall down and immediately break into tears" type of stubbing. The kind of stubbing that involves pretty much every four letter word you know. The Man said I was just freaking out because I was afraid of a repeat of last autumn. And frankly yes, that did cross my mind, first thing. And then over and over and over again throughout the night as the pain would not subside.

This morning I was into a full on limp. And this is what my toe looks like.

Gruesome, isn't it. I think I can safely say now that it isn't broken. The swelling is gone and I can wiggle it freely. I'm saving the limping now just for sympathy. I think it actually helped that I had to go zombie watching today. All that pacing and moving around kept everything from going stiff. But it still hurts like a you-know-what.

So forget cute projects and travelling musicals. My toe hurts and it's ugly. That's all you need to know.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Let it Graupel

Last winter the Man came home with startling news. He heard on the radio about a new type of snow. It looked like little Styrofoam balls. When it fell and finally landed you felt like you were in a snow globe. He couldn't remember what it was called except that it started with a "G".

"Can you believe it? You think you've heard everything and then you find out that something new is falling from the sky!"

Today is day three of snow around here. Snow a week before Thanksgiving isn't unheard of, but enough snow to cover everything and stay, which it has, certainly is upsetting folks. My street was an ice rink this morning. My driveway is a deathtrap. And true to my prediction, the leaf sucker truck has not returned. Everyone has a snow covered drift of frozen leaves banking their front yard.

I was zombie-sitting a particularly nasty group of second graders today. I couldn't wait for the buses to come. Of course, one of the buses was late and that was the bus that was supposed to be carting away my two worst offenders. As we stood outside waiting for the big yellow savior I took a good look at the snow. It was in the shape of tiny balls, like Styrofoam packing all ripped to shreds.

"Hey, this type of snow has a special name," I pointed out to the future juvie inmates.

They all looked at what was gathering on their shoulders, gloves and the ground.

"Yeah? What's it called?" They pointed their little rat faces at me waiting for the answer.

" starts with a G. I'm not sure actually."

Luckily the bus pulled in at the moment so I didn't have to put up with their smirks.

Anyway, that type of snow is called a graupel. Now I know and so do you!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Remembering Herb Score

When the Man and I were first dating, the first thing I had to learn was to not talk during the guitar solos of songs. The second thing I had to learn was baseball.

Before the Man I had zero knowledge or interest in baseball. My dad raised me to watch football and boxing. I had never been to a baseball game and never watched a game on television. And I certainly had never listened to it on the radio.

The Man and I started dating in the winter. When our first spring rolled around I noticed that his truck radio was constantly on Cleveland Indians baseball games. I was bored out of my mind. Why were we listening to this? But as the summer progressed, I grew to love the voice of Herb Score as he called the game. He was folksy and always upbeat even when the team was getting their asses handed to them again.

The Man took me to plenty of ball games those first years we were together. This was back when the Indians played in Municipal Stadium and you could show up anytime and still leave with money in your pocket. We would go way up in the nosebleed section, mostly empty except for us and cheer on the team. Sometimes they would even win.

Herb Score became the background voice for our summers. In the mid 90's, when the team was really put together, we rarely missed a game. More often than not we would have the game on the t.v. with the sound off and the radio on. Television announcers can't measure up when you could be listening to Herb.

The Man and I once went to Indians and White Sox game in Chicago. When we were leaving, we saw Herb crossing the street ahead of us. The Man shouted out, "Hi Herb!" Herb Score turned and waved to us. That was the best part of going to that game.

Herb retired from announcing games in 1997 leaving us stuck with the doom and gloom of Tom Hamilton. Since then, we hardly ever listen to games on the radio. It just isn't the same.

Herb Score passed away this week. He was 75. I just want to say thank you, Herb. Thank you for making baseball interesting to listen to. If it wasn't for you, I don't know if I would have been able to stay with that boyfriend of mine!

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Houseplants in the house

One of the saddest days of autumn is the day I have to bring my houseplants back in the house. I just feel so sorry for them. They've been living la vida loca outside since late spring getting all the luxuries like sunlight and water. Once they come back in the house it's all over.

I try to water them. But I usually only realize to do it when their all droopy and pathetic looking. As for light, my house has a lot of windows, but none of them are placed very well for plants. Add that to the fact that we have to keep the plants up and out of the range of nibbling cats. I'm sure the all the plants consider my house nothing more than a dark, dry cave.

This year the plants had a great season outside. The spider plants are huge. The Girl's jade plant doubled in size. Even my poinsettia survived, which is big news. I've never had much luck with poinsettias. But now they're in the house. I spend the whole time bringing them in apologizing to them. Really. Ask The Man.

One of the plants we inherited from Grammy back in the spring was this guy. I'm not sure what kind of plant this is.

This would be the one plant who did not have a nice summer. When I went to get it, it's leaves were all bug chewed. It was scraggly and listless. I figured it would be a complete goner in two weeks once it came in the house. A few days later it started to flower.

Right now it has tiny towers of white flowers with purple speckles. They don't look like much in passing, but when you get close you can see how complex and beautiful they are.

Look how small they are!

My camera has not really been in top form since my baby cousin dug through a pile of coats to find my purse at the very bottom. Then she dug through my purse and found my camera. Then she threw my camera down a flight of steps. Lovely. I have to keep the battery compartment closed with a piece of tape. Whenever you turn it the camera creaks like it's in pain. But that was almost a year ago and it's still taking pictures. I asked the camera if it could take a super close-up of a flower so I could really see the purple speckles. The camera clicked and groaned and had plenty of failures. Finally we got this one.I think this plant is trying to tell me that it's a true houseplant and could I please never put it outside again. I think I can manage that.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

President Elect Obama

I didn't actually believe it was going to happen until they said it last night.

"We just got this in. We can project California for Barack Obama. So now we can say that Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States."

And I'm proud to say that I cried quite a bit.

I stayed up late for his speech and I'm really happy that I did. It was wonderful. So wonderful in fact that here it is!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Do you hear something ringing?

I appreciate all these organizations calling to remind us to vote. I really do.

No. I'm sorry. I don't. I'm sick of it. I'm so annoyed with the constant ringing of the phone today I'm ready to rip the cord from not just the wall, but completely from the house. Our answering machine has been quite a trooper taking most of the blows. I would understand if it were to burst into flames before the day was out. I wouldn't blame it in the least.

We've been reminded to vote, reminded where our polling place is, reminded who to vote for, reminded what not to vote for, told again to vote, told again where out polling place is. I can't wait for today to be over!

PS: And just so everyone can sleep tonight, we did go vote today. We tried to go and vote last Friday but the line was an hour and half long! Forget that! Today I just walked in, voted and walked out. Easy peasey!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Jack O' Lanterns at Night

While I'm thinking of it, here's our pumpkins all lit up.


The Girl's

The Man's

I would show you the Boy's but before I could get a picture he and his hoodlum friends shot it full of holes with the archery set and then dropped it out of a tree just to see what would happen. I'm sure you can imagine what happened.

Halloween Day 3

My sister is having a Halloween party.


Yeah. And we're not doing anything that night, so I already said we would come.


Yeah. It's a costume party.


Did you hear me?

I haven't worn a Halloween costume since I was in the sixth grade. I don't think I've ever even been to a Halloween party before.

So this will be fun!

The kids don't even have costumes this year.

Nope. But we will.

Huh. What night is it?

Thanks for the invite sis! We had an great time!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Day 2

Yes, the post is called Day 2 and there wasn't a Day 1 post. Sorry about that. I'll try to make amends.

There was no school today so all the Halloween parties at school happened yesterday. Every school does Halloween a little different but the end result is the same, a building full of kids completely whacked out by 1 PM. I chose not to go to work. Been there. Done that. Never again.

Also yesterday evening it was trick-or-treat in our fair city. It happened last night because we can't have kids and drunks on the streets at the same time. Anytime Halloween lands on a Friday or Saturday night, trick-or-treat is moved. We got hit SO HARD last night by trick-or-treaters! The weather was just a little too perfect and every stinking kid, their mom and the new baby in the stroller was out. We ran out of candy and glow-sticks in the first hour and we started out with a ton. My kids hit the roads on their own with a gaggle of neighborhood kids. They were gone a good long time and came home with lots of Snickers bars for me!

Here's our jack-o-lanterns this year. I've got them lit outside again tonight since it really is Halloween and we can use all the protection from evil spirits we can get. I'll go out in a second and get some nighttime shots of them.
The Boy's cyclopic offering...

The Man's very creepy skeleton face...

The Girl's two-faced thing...

And mine featuring a sweet kitty, spider and pumpkin in a pumpkin!

Tonight was Day 2. We went out to the Halloween Walk the Metroparks put on. Every year this event gets better. This year's set-up was excellent and it wasn't too crowded which was a nice surprise. Now we are home and we are trying to decide which scary movie to watch.
Tomorrow is Day 3. The Sister is throwing a Halloween Bash that should be the end-all-be-all of Halloween parties. Stay tuned for how it turns out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Kiss it and make it better!

Thanks so much to the two of you who have reached out in my hour of need. *sigh*

In a moment of weakness, which I've been chock full of, I went to peruse my Site Meter account. I made a promise to myself about a year ago to cool it with the constant Site Meter checks. I was making myself crazy trying to matching up the little dots on the world map with people I might possibly know. Then I was making myself more crazy with watching entry pages and exit pages. It got to be too much, so I successfully banned myself from it. It was easy actually. I just took it off my favorites list.

But now its back! At Site Meter, everything looked the same. There was Weaver, there was Brewer, there was Nance, there was a long list of people who stayed 0:00 minutes, okay. But then... Who the hell is that? I wondered. Some person had checked out the Cafe for forty two minutes! Where did they come from? The answer was this posting on that put up almost my entire piece about the Man and his truck. How cool is that? The downside is that this link has been up for about a week and this forty two minute person was the only taker, but still I'm pretty tickled.

So now I'm back to being all cool with the lurkers again. Go ahead and lurk. Knock yourself out! Goodness knows there's a few blogs that I lurk on.

Now onto this:

I want this little key fob so bad it's causing me physical pain. When you whistle, it barks so you can find your keys. ACK! Too cute! Can't take it! Gimme, gimme, gimme!

Finally, here's some big love to my sis who went to CP with us in the drizzle and cold. Three roller coasters, three haunted houses and countless corn dogs later, we were the sleepiest family in the state on the ride home. It was wonderful having you out with us, babe!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Hello? Anyone out there?

I'm asking because it's been a bit quiet around my email inbox lately. Two weeks ago I would traipse home from ZombieLand and there would be like eighteen new emails. And it wasn't junk mail. It was from real people who had questions to ask or answers to my questions or stories to share or venting to do. And while at the time it could be a bit overwhelming, still it gave my zombie soaked day a bit of purpose and sunshine.

And what about this blog? I know you are out there. Lurking. Lurking. I don't mind the lurking usually, but this lack of email has got me looking at the bigger picture. Where the hell is everybody? What offense have I laid out, unbeknownst, that has caused all this shun?

The pebble that started this avalanche of communication examination was that comment from Jen Jen. While I was thrilled to hear from her, I couldn't stop wondering this: If Jen Jen is out there and I wasn't aware of it, who else is reading?

Maybe it's this new "Followers" widget I put on the sidebar. I'm checking that thing out way too much. Waiting to acquire followers so far sucks. But being a follower is very cool. You can check out every one's blogs that you follow all on the dashboard page. You don't have to go from site to site to site just to find out that there's nothing new to read. I'm a big fan of being a follower. Being followed? Ask me later.

So now you're thinking, Gee, J, if you would just write about something comment-worthy I'd be right there.

Is that so? That's how you feel? Well, you all seem to like Zombie stories, so here's a cute one.

Monday I had to zombie-sit gym. No. I'm sorry. Physical education. (Some gym teachers don't like being called gym teachers. W'ever!)

It's my last class of a long day and I've got first graders running around playing an adorable game of tag that involves a witch turning trick-or-treaters into ghosts and pumpkins tagging them back into trick-or-treaters. I've got "Monster Mash" and "One Eyed, One Horned Flying Purple People Eater" blasting in the background just to crank up the running.

I feel a little tap-tap-tap on my arm. Standing beside me is a tiny guy, about a wide as he is tall with Harry Potter-esque glasses.

"I'd like to have a word with you please", he says in a way that's more than a tad creepy for someone is age and height.

I size the situation up in flash. There's no way I want to hear what this kid has to say.

"Nope, I don't think so," I say with a smile. I wave a hand out toward the melee. "Go play!"

He looks stunned and put out by this, but spins aways into the knot of running kids. Another situation handled in my own expert way.

Ten minutes later the class was being led out the door single file by their teacher. Mr. Potter, I notice, is last in line. As he gets closer to me, he catches my eye and points one of his stubby fingers right at me.

"I'm going to write you a letter!"

And then he's gone with his class, the door bouncing to a close behind him. He didn't say it in a mean or threatening way, but it didn't exactly sound like I was going to be receiving a love note either. The whole encounter caught me off guard.

As the door finally came to a stop, I finally found a witty retort. "I can't wait!", echoed through the empty gym. Funny thing is, I mean it. It's going to be a gem!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Halloweekends at CP

Sorry about this, but I've got to do one last post about Cedar Point. Friday night we went to Halloweekends and it was so fantastic! It was a night full of first. It was the first time going to Halloweekends for the Girl and I. (The guys went a couple of weeks ago when we were camping.) We went to see performances of The Tell Tale Heart and The Black Cat by Edgar Allen Poe. While we were there, I had my first ever beer at Cedar Point. I must be a grown-up now! And that beer kept me plenty warm on the inside while we waited in line to get into the haunted houses.

The Girl isn't much into scary stuff. She gets shaken up by yard decorations if they are too spooky or gory. Getting her to go to Halloweekends was quite a feat for us. The actors don't start jumping out at you until 8 PM. She must have asked me every five minutes what time it was up until then. She didn't want to be taken by surprise, I guess.

It didn't do any good though. As you walk through Frontier Town you can hardly see for the smoke machines and the lighting. When a insanely scary person does jump out at you in amazing make-up, you just can't but scream. We all did plenty of screaming!

Right by the entrance to the park there is a shop making doughnuts fresh all day. It smells heavenly but we never go in for one reason or another. Friday night, just before we left, we finally stopped and each got a warm doughnut. It was just the right thing to end our scary (and chilly) trip to Cedar Point.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why I hate (and love) the leaf suckers

Ask any official la-di-da person around town and they will likely crow about how lucky we are in our fair city to be provided with curbside leaf removal. And yes, I feel lucky. These trucks perform a very valuable service and save people hours and hours of bagging. Not too mention that most people, without these trucks, would simply bag up their leaves and put them out with the trash. What could be a more wasteful use of landfill space than plastic bags of leaves? It makes one shudder to think of it.

But these trucks go around on a schedule that can only be described as oblivious and unpredictable. The leaf sucker trucks and I have a yearly war and it started today.

Dark and early this morning, I was lounging around waiting for the phone to ring and send me off into zombie hell. (It never rang. Bonus day off for J!) While I was perusing all of your blogs, I heard the unmistakable sound of the leaf sucker sucking it's way down the street. No way, I thought. Not already! Yes, already. Even though most trees are still green, barely any leaves are on the ground and NO ONE has raked to the curb (because there's nothing to rake), the truck was still coming.

I have terrible history with the leaf sucker. Whenever I make a decision to rake, the day before I plan to do it, the truck comes. I'll come home from work and see all the neighbors piles gone. UGH! Or I'll get all ambitious and get everything available down to the curb and it will just sit there and sit there and sit there. The only lucky thing is that the neighbor kids never jump in my leaf piles and throw it all over the place. We've got a history of dog poop in our leaves. Everyone steers clear.

The appearance of the leaf sucker today, so early in the season, is seriously bad news. It probably won't be back for another month, by which time people will have leaf mountains on their curb lawns that will slowly shift and blow into the street and block the mouths of driveways. The weight of the leaves will once again destroy any grass growing underneath it so in the spring only the hardiest of weeds will appear. And if we are really unlucky, we will have an unseasonable snowfall on top of the leaf mountains. When the leaf sucker finally graces us with its presence the leaves will only be soppy, icy messes pressed flat into the earth.

But there is one thing about the leaf sucker truck that I absolutely love: The sound it makes. Truly, when I heard it this morning my first instinct was to run upstairs and jump in bed. The leaf sucker noise knocks me right out. I don't know if it's the sucking noise or the motor on the truck or the combination of the two, but that sound relaxes me right down to my toes. But instead what did I do? I ran out and took its picture just for your entertainment.

You should know though that as soon as I got this shot, I did go back to bed and the truck came back and did our side of the street. Bliss! I won't tell you what time I ended up getting up, but it was decadently late.

But the time of falling leaves is upon us. My favorite dogwood is showing off in style. I think it just likes to prove that it's more than a pretty springtime face. Happy Autumn!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Camping Success

It was a grand weekend at Timberlane. The kitchen staff led by Fearless Co-Leader, Co-Leader Extreme and my mom made wonderful meal after wonderful meal. They were the real stars of the trip.

The weather was perfect. All the stations ran like a dream. We had a clear night for the observatory viewings. And everyone left on time!

It was a complete hassle-free weekend. A great big round of applause to all of my crew, especially my program aide girls who rose to occasion in style. I would put up pictures, but I while I remembered my camera, I forgot to put in a memory card. I hope some of the other leaders there got some great shots.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Man stands alone

This weekend the Girl and I are headed out to Timberlane for our big rented-the-whole-camp event. This event was on the verge of cancellation two weeks ago. On the deadline day to sign up we had 27 people attending. I couldn't understand it because last year it was such a hit we had to turn people away. Even with the measly 27 though, we decided to go ahead anyway and just scale it back. I should have remembered who I'm dealing with here. Since the deadline, I've had more and more reservations trickle in as the leaders get their act together. Tomorrow we leave and we are 93 strong. What a relief.

Coincidentally, the Boy is also going camping this weekend with his troop. That leaves the Man home alone (with the dog and all the cats). Is he sad about this?

"I think I'm going to go up to Detroit for the day and get in a poker tournament."

No, I think he's fine.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Popcorn selling day

Oh, hello there! Popcorn Kernel here! I suppose you've all been losing days and nights of sleep wondering how our popcorn sale went yesterday. What? You say you didn't know we were selling popcorn yesterday at Sam's Club for four hours? Well, lucky for us there were plenty of good folk out there who stopped by to visit and just happened to have cash in their pockets.

Here's our table with our homemade signs. Pretty spiffy. We had some cans of chocolaty popcorn out, but it was so sunny we were afraid they would melt. If you had x-ray glasses on you could see them under the table.

Here's our first crew of salesmen.(Plus this one who had partied too hard the night before.)And the second crew. You've noticed, of course, the problem with being the son of the Kernel. You get stuck working both shifts. Poor kid.

It was all worth it. We sold $225 worth of product out there. That's pretty impressive considering the majority of it was made selling individual popcorn packets for $1 each. Not to mention that little cute Cub Scouts can sell popcorn just by flashing a goofy grin. Guys this big have to work extra hard to get people to shell out some cash for just for popcorn. Popcorn? Shell? Hey, son, that's a joke! Don'tcha get it?