Tuesday, December 30, 2008

this 'n that

Christmas has officially taken its leave from our house.

Actually, it was gone by the 26th when I hauled the tree down to the basement. That's how I roll...once the day's over, I like to quickly clear out the evidence.

Here are some random shots from Christmas '08.

Logan put out reindeer food on Christmas Eve. After about two tosses of the oats and glitter, he ran for the house. I don't blame him; it was cold out there.

Here he is with this year's haul.

Todd had great fun putting together this toy garage. He was brandishing a screwdriver and spewing profanity when I went to bed.

We went to cousin Carie's house on Christmas day. Here's Dad with Mr. Nibbles, the resident bird.
Nibbles has got to be the sweetest avian specimen I've ever met. I think he should come live at my house. Maybe Carie would like to trade Nibbles for the beautiful and charming Bud Bird.

Todd and Chino are craning their necks to catch some sort of educational programing on TV. I think it was a monster truck rally.

Here's what Santa brought me. It's sort of like a compadre for my regular sewing machine and means I don't have to zig-zag my seams to finish them.

After staring at the box for several days, I finally learned how to use it and made Mom these pajamas for her upcoming birthday. But I don't think they'll fit her so I might have to keep them for myself. Darn.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

the christmas play

Logan's acting debut was a huge success last Sunday during our church's Christmas play.

He was incredibly convincing in his role as a shepherd. It's obvious from the photo that he got into character, delivering a convincing portrayal of a reaction to the angel's proclaimation of Christ's birth.

Naw, just kidding. He's actually reaching out and tearfully saying "Mama."

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

building a bear

I have a knack for acquiring items based purely on my exaggerated sentimental nature. Quite often, they're objects for which I have absolutely no use or need.

Such was the case with Grandpa's jacket. It's one of three jackets I ended up with after he died.

It's been hanging in the closet for a couple of years now. And around here, closet space is minimal.

So last night, I got out the scissors. Now, the jacket looks like this.

The brown material was the outside of the jacket and the plaid was the lining. The buttons were on the pocket.

The tag on the inside indicated that Grandpa liked to shop at Sears. I put it on the bear's behind.

I have another one of Grandpa's items, too. Any idea what I can turn this into? My husband would say scrap metal.

Friday, December 19, 2008

How long is too long?

This is Kasey. He's 16 years old and nearing the end of his nine lives.

For the most part, he gets around alright. Still purrs and craves our attention.

But he's got some medical problems that can't be fixed. The writing's on the wall that his days are extremely numbered. He declines visibly each week.

I've drawn a mental line in the sand about how far I'll allow him to deteriorate before taking him in for that final vet visit.

If he shows signs of obvious pain and distress, it's a given. If he starts using the upstairs as his personal toilet, something will have to be done.

At first, it was easy to be ojective about the notion that we'd have to intervene. But as the inevitable inches closer, that's becoming more difficult. My fear is that I'll let things get too far gone before I can muster up the courage to do it.

That's because Kasey and I go way back. I knew him long before my husband, son, and many of my friends.

I got him from some drug dealers while I was still in college. It wasn't part of a transaction; I wasn't affiliated with them.

A friend in one of my classes knew they were trying to get rid of a cat and since I've always been partial to Siameses, she gave them my number.

When I drove over to check him out, I first took in the large supply of their merchandise on full display in their kitchen. They took me to a back bedroom and opened a dark closet door to let Kasey out.

That's where they'd been keeping him; they didn't want their landlord to know they had a cat (I thought later that it was ironic they were more concerned about hiding the cat than their drug supply).

Inside the closet, Kasey had a bowl full of large-breed dog food and no water or litter box.

I picked him up and his feet never again touched the floor of that nasty apartment. He's been with me ever since, a loyal friend.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

so terribly sad

I found a heartbreaking link to a story today on another blog I frequent.

It's about a family who lost their baby to cancer. Now, they've discovered their newborn has a brain tumor as well as one on her spine.

Reminds me that I have a lot for which to be thankful.

You can read their story and offer well wishes and prayers here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

an only child's quest for entertainment

Logan's gotten the short end of the stick with this icy weather.

We've been housebound for a couple of days and I've used that time to try and finish my Christmas sewing. So he's had to come up with creative ways to occupy his time.

Yesterday, he constructed an obstacle course for our dog. The highlight was a high-jump made from bungee cords he drug up from the basement.

Augie's tired of being inside, too. So he had no trouble playing along.

That's the bird cage on the left. Bud was thrilled to be part of the event staff. His neck's probably sore this morning from repeatedly trying to get his head through the bars to bite the dog.

They both crashed like a ton of bricks at nap time. I guess that for Logan, a four-legged sibling is better than none.

Monday, December 15, 2008

sure, it might get a mite lonely around here...

...with hubby away this week on a business trip.

But there's one thing I won't miss.

Here's a chronological account of the first four days last week...





The sight of his dirty skivvies in the hallway burns my retinas every morning. I need to think up a clever solution. Maybe I'll hang them on the coach lights or from the mailbox. Or I'll wrap them up and give them to him for Christmas.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

man, they hack me off

My family is on my last nerve today. I feel like just grabbing a belt and swinging at butts.

This morning while I was out, Logan brought up every toy he owns from the basement. He has a sizeable collection upstairs as well. All are now on display in a heap on the living room floor and in the hallway.

Then, hubby gave him my cell phone and taught him to call our home phone. He's done this no fewer than 25 times today. Once the answering machine picked up, he screamed every profane word he knew.

"Butt, wee-wee, poop, pee, toot," he shrieked.

Then, he dragged the newly reupholstered kitchen chair to the counter so he could stand on it in his filthy shoes, reach the answering machine and replay the barrel-in-the-mouth-invoking chorus over and over.

Hubby hasn't been bothered. That's because he's spent most of the day tucked comfortably into bed. That's a whole 'nother post. Grrr.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Christmas crunch time

I'm spending the weekend finishing up some last-minute Christmas gifts.

Bud enjoys it, and so do I - at least until he poops on my back.

Gosh, I have a bony neck. Is that normal? It looks more like a bird neck than Bud's. Wish my butt and thighs were that bony.

Friday, December 12, 2008

a little peace and quiet

Dad has taken Logan for the day so I'm enjoying some time to myself.

It's refreshing to have a break from the usual Sponge Bob marathon. Instead, the TV is tuned to some quality programming.

On another note, my hopes were dashed that the Minnie Mouse theme of the doo-rag I made at my dad's request would deter him from sporting it. No such luck. He swiftly placed it on his dome, then put the pleather version on Logan.

Have a great day and steer clear of trash TV.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

last-minute gift ideas

Holiday shopping can be a drag. The pressure's on to find that perfect gift that will convey love and appreciation to the recipient.

If you've found yourself in a gift-giving quandary, here are some suggestions to quell the angst. All have been tested in my home.
Gift idea #1: The fart machine.
Our model produces a cadence of 15 toots. Comes with a convenient remote control for long-range gags.
It's brought about hours of family fun for us (and dread amongst my relatives who are on edge at the prospect that I might gift one of their children with it).

Gift idea #2: A kind, loving pet. This is always a good option.

Not sure about size or breed? My advice is that bigger is always better.

And try to retain an element of surprise for the recipient. Don't drop hints; just show up with that incontinent great dane.

Gift idea #3: A useful household item.

Would you rather err on the side of practicality? Try something like the item in the above photo.

No need to wrap; it's already attractively packaged. Add a bow for maximum effect.

Gift idea #4: A distinguished piece of glassware.

To me, refined slogans such as the above add an element of class that elevates the item to heirloom quality.

Gift idea #5: A figure-flattering garment that bears a personal slogan.

This is a thoughtful choice when you tailor it to the interest of the recipient. "Alcoholics Anonymous worked for me" or "Chillin' Like a Villain at Alcatraz" will evoke such fond feelings each time the recipient pulls them out of a clothes hamper for one more wearing.

Thrift stores offer a plethora of options. Or, you can just plow through your own dresser drawers and scrounge up a suitable shirt.

I ordered my little brother a couple of t-shirts for his Christmas gift. They arrived today, one bearing the word "Mexico" beneath a large donkey sillhouette.

I failed to notice when ordering that the donkey's nether-regions are greatly emphasized. Oh well, it'll give little brother another option when he's choosing something to wear for church or a job interview.

Gift idea #6: Let yourself be the gift.

If you don't feel like coughing up the coin this year, simply attend the family festivities with a pleasant disposition such as the one radiating from Todd in the above photo.

You might need some assistance to muster this up before facing your family. If so, try hitting the sauce the night before, then getting up early the next day to shovel snow while your head pounds through your ears.

Upon arrival, immediately guzzle down the hair of the dog that bit you. Then, sit back and watch your family delight in your cheerful presence.

That's what Todd did. Aren't the results heartwarming?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

tom, part II

Tom, our magical Christmas elf, continues to earn his keep.

Last night, we went to the elementary school Christmas party. In keeping with tradition, Logan refused to sit on Santa's lap for a picture.

I warned him that Tom was peeking in the window to monitor his behavior. He opened the window and investigated just long enough to receive a reprimand from one of the teachers.

A bit of history...photos with costumed characters have largely been unsuccessful in our family. Here's last spring's Easter bunny shot. The only reason he agreed to at least touch its fur is because I told him that otherwise, he wouldn't get a fart machine in his Easter basket.

But last night, the fear of Tom's presence got him up on Santa's lap.

According to the book, Tom's supposed to disappear on Christmas Eve when he goes back to the North Pole with Santa. But Logan's birthday's in February. Maybe I could come up with a different character to serve the same purpose. Any ideas?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

a Christmas visitor

Meet Tom.

He's taking a long vacation at our house and will be here through Christmas Eve (yeah, I know the cat lamp looks a little creepy in the photo).

Tom is part of the Elf on the Shelf gift set. He came with a book that explains his job, which is to report each night to Santa the behavior of the child who resides under our roof.

His book explains there are certain rules necessary for him to work properly. Most importantly, no one can touch him or he'll lose his magic.

Each morning, we go on a search for Tom to find where he landed after delivering the previous night's report.

Yesterday, he was in our bedroom clinging to the cat lamp. Today, he's on the living room shelf.

Logan's behavior since Tom came to visit has been incredible.

Best $30 I ever spent.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

be careful what you wish for

Dad has hounded me for several years to make him a distinguished piece of headwear known as a doo-rag.

And for years, I've put him off, not wanting to contribute to his delinquency.

You see, he already has one, and it's repulsive. The red, pleather-trimmed bandana makes him look like he's ready to attend a meeting of a street gang.

But Dad showed up the other night clutching his vile doo-rag like a child with a beloved stuffed toy.

"I want you to make me one of these," he said, shoving it into my hand.

Knowing he wouldn't be put off this time, I went online and found a pattern. Then, I searched for the perfect fabric.

Remember that Minnie Mouse costume?

By the way, I had to bribe Logan with a pack of M&Ms before he'd let me take his picture modeling this silly thing.

let's play school

My young scholar wanted to play school the other night.

Todd and I agreed to join in on the fun, then waited for him to assign our roles. We assumed he would take on the part of the teacher and that we'd pretend to be his students.

Instead, he walked over to the corner, and with disturbing familiarity and ease, assumed the above position.

It must be how he spends a lot of his time at preschool.

I should probably consider this to be foreshadowing of the future behavior we can expect as he embarks on his public school career.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

a winner!

Congrats to Joanna who said...

Worst present ever was from my old ailing great-aunt. I was 15 and she gave me a pair of toweling fabric underwear. That would have fit a 5 year old. Yeah it was pretty bad lol!!

Random.org chose her as the winner of the make-up bag, which is pictured above with an extremely cooperative male model.

Thanks to all who entered. This has been lots of fun and I loved reading your stories. Some of them made me grateful for my Top Ramen.

Merry Christmas, and please stop by my blog anytime.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

a give-away!

Edited to add: Oh my goodness gracious...I've been plowing through the master list of giveaways and am googly eyed after spending HOURS trying to enter everyone's contests. If I have to complete another word verification tonight, I'll tear my hair out by the roots.

I'm convinced it can't be done in a day, so I'm extending this until nighty-night time tomorrow...9-ish or so.

Meanwhile, keep the stories coming. Heidi, oh my gosh...cigs from Grandma? And Julianne, I feel your pain...my husband's done the same thing before (and let me tell you, he paid DEARLY. He's still paying, in fact).

Good luck, everyone!

One of my favorite blogs, Sew, Mama, Sew!, has organized a give-away day today. You can read about it here, but the idea is that everyone who participates gives away a homemade item to a blog reader.

There's a master list over there of participants, and if you've found me, I'm assuming they got my email.

So, welcome! Make yourself at home and please don't mind the dog fur on the sofa.

My contribution to the give-aways is this makeup bag that I whipped up over the weekend.

It's made from Amy Butler fabric and has a contrasting lining and zipper. I've made several of these in the past few weeks as Christmas gifts.

Here's how to enter.

Leave a comment by midnight CST describing the worst Christmas gift you ever received. Was it a homemade makeup bag, perhaps?

Mine, hands-down, was the industrial-sized box of Top Ramen my dad gave me when I was in college. I thought the enormous package under the tree had to contain something wonderful - a computer, perhaps, or at least a case of beer.

Fifteen years later, I still can't walk past Top Ramen in the grocery store without a slight twinge of repulsion.

Now, it's your turn to share your story. I'll randomly select a winner THURSDAY NIGHT, post the results and notify the winner. Your makeup bag will be in the mail Friday.

Unless, of course, you live nearby. If so, I'll drop it off at your house along with a kid and an animal or two.

United States entries only, please; with Christmas breathing down her neck, Mama doesn't have the coin to ship internationally. Good luck!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

deck the halls

We're throwing up the holiday decorations here at the Rogers Manor.

Bud's thrilled that he'll get a visit from Santa this year. He could probably use a nice, warm sweater to hide that bald belly.

Hubby was a tad reluctant to put up the Christmas lights. Last Sunday on our way back from church, I asked him when we could expect to see the display.

"I'm not putting up lights this year," he growled. "It's a pain in the butt."

Then, he scurried across the street and helped the neighbors hang their lights. I was so proud, especially as I surveyed the barren exterior of my own home and pictured myself teetering on the ladder.

Those lights were going up one way or another. I decided to call my dad and asked if he'd help me hang them.

The thought of Dad having to come over to take care of the job proved too embarrassing for Todd...just the effect for which I'd hoped.

So yesterday, without a word of protest, he got out the ladder and hung the lights.

But I'm still keeping Dad on standby after Christmas when it's time for them to come down.

Monday, November 24, 2008

my version of a thanksgiving feast

We're going to Dad's for Thanksgiving. But you won't catch me getting anywhere near the turkey.

A bologna sandwich will do just fine.

That's because after partaking of some turkey leftovers from last year's Thanksgiving food-fest, I experienced a dreadful and gruesome bout of food poisoning.

The puking was so violent that at one point, I prayed for release via a sure and speedy death.

I found out later that apparently, you're not supposed to store leftover turkey on the bones the way we did. Instead, it should immediately be cut from the carcass.

Please take this lesson to heart; otherwise, you'd better add adult diapers and an extra-large barf bucket to your grocery list.

But as for me, I'm playing it safe. Just a plain bologna sandwich, please.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

phoenix phamily phun

Last week, we were treated to a last-minute visit from Cousin Robert.

Robert works for an airline and is often able to zip into town from his home in Phoenix. When he does, we always find something new and unusual to do.

During this visit, we went to the St. Louis City Museum and ate at the elegant Hillbilly Heaven here in the metropolis of Wright City. The fragrance of cigarette smoke from that fine establishment still lingers in the fibers of my jacket.

But the highlight of the trip was the afternoon we spent in North St. Louis taking pictures. Robert and I share a love of photography and every time we get together, the cameras come out.

Our favorite subjects are old, dilapidated buildings and there was no shortage of them that afternoon. Here are a couple of the 500 or so pictures I took.

Friday, November 7, 2008

good eatin'

Augie and Tilly were treated to a full check-up today at the vet's office.

I thought they'd be excited about the break from their usual routine, but they proved me wrong. Augie whined like a newborn and Tilly shimmied out of her collar in the parking lot, then challenged me to a footrace.

Once inside, their adventure included a round of shots and what the bashful technician vaguely referred to as a rectal exam.

I felt a little guilty on the drive home and decided they deserved a treat. So I pulled off at the local meat market and asked if they had any scrap bones.

"We sell them for $3," a surly worker replied.

Seemed like a lot to pay for someone's trash, but I handed over the money. It was a rare extravagance and the dogs would probably get an hour's enjoyment out of the feast.

Several minutes later, a worker came out hefting a huge, bloody box that he flopped into the front seat of my van. Inside were the most massive bones I'd ever seen. They were dripping with scraps of flesh and utterly repulsive.

When we got home, Augie made off with something that looked like a spinal column. Tilly delicately nibbled at a pelvis.

The box was too heavy for me to lift, so I wrapped up the bones in individual packages and put them in the garage freezer.

The neighbors probably wondered what I was up to with all those large, bloody bones. Too bad Todd's not out of town for a few days; I'd like to keep them guessing.

Augie, our gentle and timid lapdog, reacts to the suggestion that he share his portion of bloody ribcage.

"This beats my usual grub," Tilly says.

Monday, November 3, 2008

settling a score

I've been nagging Todd for about a month to change the burnt-out lightbulb in our garage.

Finally, I decided to clamber onto the roof of Grandpa's car and do it myself.

But after the job was done, I decided to toy with Todd a little.

After all, if I let him become too cozy with the notion that I'll take care of his unsavory chores, I might find myself hanging Christmas lights next month.

I found a template for a fake invoice. Then, I entered the information of a make-believe handyman service and printed it up.

I then stuck it in the folder with the rest of the bills.

He's going to be steamed when he thinks this is what I had to resort to in order to get that lightbulb changed. It's about a week's worth of his beer money, after all.

I can't wait.