comeback of winter, originally uploaded by c-h-l (busy).

I’m in a funk.

Which is really stupid because there is really nothing in my life to cause this funk.

Kevin is doing well. He’s pretty much back to normal and though he had a pretty bad cold (more like the flu) a few weeks back and still has a cough (which I’ve been watching carefully and think he needs to go see a doctor about, though he refuses), he’s in pretty good physical shape. (In fact, he’s in the kitchen, fixing his lunch and whistling so he apparently doesn’t feel too bad).

The boys are well. Jazz is getting straight A’s and though Dude is not getting straight A’s, his grades are in pretty good shape (though there is a science class I’m a bit worried about but he assures me he’ll bring it up before the semester is over). They are in good health and seem to be well adjusted and happy – no troubles there (that I know of).

Our finances are okay. We could probably do a better job of watching our pennies, but we’re not squandering it and Kevin assures me that everything is fine on that front (though it makes me nervous that neither one of us is working … well, we’re working, we’re just not getting paid on a monthly basis but rather in lump sums).

There is really no excuse for my funky mood so … what’s the dealio?

I think it’s hormones. I feel restless and crabby and again, there’s really no REASON to feel this way, I just feel this way. I’ve been having hot flashes (sorry, probably TMI but let’s get real, I’m 45 and it’s TIME). And I’m having digestive issues again. They come and go. I made the mistake of Googling my symptoms and I think I have it narrowed down to either Crohn’s Disease or IBS. (Again, probably TMI, but well … ) I am thisclose to going to the doctor, if for no other reason than to KNOW, you know? I can’t stand not knowing what the heck is going on and if I know, then I can take preventative steps. I guess I’m scared (well, not really scared, apprehensive) to go to the doctor because I know they will have to do a lot of tests on me, the least being a colonoscopy and come on … EW. And/or they will try and ply me with a bunch of drugs when I’m pretty convinced (or I’ve convinced myself, take your pick) that it will probably boil down to watching my diet.

I’m keeping a food diary to try and figure out just what in the world I’m eating that is triggering this terribly painful, bloating and gas build up. So far, I KNOW that peanuts nearly kill me (seriously, it’s BAD), and I hate to say this but it looks like chocolate is also causing a reaction.

Maybe that’s the reason for my funk – I LIVE FOR CHOCOLATE.


At any rate, I’m about ready to throw in the towel and just go to the doctor already. I plan on looking for a job beginning in January (maybe that’s another reason for my funk – I’m nervous about getting back out into the working world?) and I honestly can’t afford to deal with this intestinal issue and work, too. If my self diagnosis is right, there is no cure for this type of thing, but at least I will have a handle on the triggers and can actively work on avoiding them.

This “issue” is seriously taking control of my life and it’s making me cranky. Damn it.


Dude nearly has enough money saved up to buy a serious gaming computer. Actually, he wants to build it, from scratch. Kevin is in heaven. He loves that Dude has been researching what he will need and doing some comparative shopping on his own. They’ve been talking a lot about the possibilities and we’ve been impressed with Dude’s knowledge, which has far surpassed my own when it comes to computers. I’ve reached the point where I’m now asking HIM for advice and help on my own problems.

In fact, we were talking to Dude in the car after school yesterday and I mentioned something about him getting a job at this computer store that has opened up at a shopping center not far from our house. He could trouble shoot other people’s computers and fix them for them. To my surprise, he acted interested.

In fact, Kevin and I were at a computer store a few months back and out of curiosity, I asked the guy that worked there what one needed to do in order to get a job there. He said that they would have to be A+ certified. It looks like our local junior college has certification programs available.

At any rate, with him building his own computer, this might whet his appetite for a future in Information Technology – you never know.

I’m pleased that he’s taking independent steps toward SOMETHING. I’ve mentioned before that we’re not really sure that college is the answer for our oldest son, but this certification program and some actual work experience might be just up his alley.

We told him that he needs to start seriously thinking about what he would like to do after graduation – both career path wise and work wise. We told him that we are all going to sit down after Christmas break and have a serious talk about his future plans. Though we don’t really expect him to have a concrete idea at this point (did you know what you wanted to do with the rest of your life at 18? I didn’t. Hell, I still don’t), we do think he needs to have a general idea of which path he wants to start, at least.

We also have a vocational school nearby that offers classes in video games as well, so I’m sure we’ll look into that option, too. Maybe he’ll do both options AND work, who knows. All we know for sure at this point is that he will have to get a job after graduation. Ideally, he’ll work and go to school, but that will be up to him.

We told him that unless he’s going to school full-time (remember, he will be working regardless), he will need to pay us a little money for rent. I feel a bit mean for even bringing this up, but it will teach him a little responsibility and give him a taste of what the real world is like.

This pushing your child out of the nest thing is HARD.


Jazz’s school band is scheduled to march in the city parade next Saturday.

And I just checked the weather – RAIN AND SNOW!


They didn’t get to participate in the parade last year because of bitter cold temperatures and icy roads and they may not get to participate this year, either.

I haven’t been to the city parade in years so I’m REALLY looking forward to going, not only to see Jazz, but to watch the whole thing.

I really hope they get to play next weekend. And of course, if it happens, I’m sure I’ll have a ton of pictures to share with you because it’s also BLOG FODDER!


I have a hankering to make some videos … but doing what?

Friday Fun

Friday Craft: Homemade Christmas Cards – Part Two


Don’t mail those boring store-bought Christmas cards, make your own! Friends and family will appreciate the effort and it’ll keep the kids busy (for about an hour, but STILL!)

Here are a few of my favorites from Family Fun:

Art Cards

Package five or 10 cards with envelopes, and you’ve got a great gift for doting grandparents and other relatives.


* Ruler and pencil
* Card stock or construction paper
* Scissors
* Glue stick
* Artwork


1. The following directions are for a 4 1/4-by-6-inch card (which fits nicely into a store-bought envelope), but obviously you can adjust the dimensions to any size you like. Using the ruler and pencil, trace a 12 3/4-by-6-inch rectangle onto your card stock or paper and cut it out.
2. Fold the rectangle in thirds, accordion style. From the top third, cut out a window that will fit your artwork, leaving at least a 1/2-inch border around the edges.
3. Slip the artwork behind the window so that it’s centered. Now, glue the back of the artwork and the frame around the artwork to the paper behind them. Place the finished card under a book for about an hour to set.

If you don’t want to part with your child’s original artwork or want to use a very large piece of artwork, you can make reduced copies with a color copier.

Build-Your-Own Snowman

Let the folks on your list have some fun with this greeting that moonlights as a DIY ornament. And don’t worry, your friends and family don’t need to be craft experts to assemble it!


* 8 1/2- by 11-inch sheet of card stock or heavy paper
* Craft knife and scissors
* Glue stick
* Card stock in white, black, and orange
* 7- by 1/2-inch piece of red felt
* 6-inch piece of embroidery floss or string
* 6 large black seed beads
* Snack-size ziplock bag
* Clear tape
* A9 or 6- by 9-inch envelope


1. Fold the 8 1/2- by 11-inch sheet of card stock in half width wise. Open the card and use a craft knife to cut a 6- by 3-inch rectangle from the front of the card (leaving a 1 1/4-inch border). If you like, glue the cutout inside the card, opposite the window, as we did below.
2. Cut 3 white circles, a hat (ours is 1 1/2 inches wide at the brim), and a 3/4-inch-long carrot from the card stock. (For easier cutting, use our templates.) Fringe the ends of the red felt strip and tie the floss or string into a loop.
3. Place all these parts plus the beads into the ziplock bag, seal it, and tape it behind the window. Finally, add a message letting recipients know that a little glue is all it takes to put together their ornament.

Christmas Cactus

These art cards make extra-special holiday greetings for a relative or friend.

Be sure to check out our other festive ideas for homemade holiday cards.


* Tacky glue
* Fine sandpaper
* Plain notecards or card stock
* Scissors
* Green paper
* Dimensional paint or colored marker
* Colored sticker dots
* Star sticker


1. Glue a piece of sandpaper to the face of each notecard. Cut out a green paper cactus and glue it to the sandpaper. Squeeze lines of dimensional paint or draw marker lines in a zigzag fashion across the cactus to resemble strands of holiday lights.
2. Once the paint dries, add sticker-dot lights and a sticker-star topper.

Drying Mittens

What could be homier than a pair of mittens drying on a clothesline? This card idea, from the Mollette family of Uniontown, Ohio, was modeled after a card that had been given to a coworker.


* 8 1/2- by 11-inch natural-colored paper
* Rubber cement
* Fabric remnants
* String
* Cardboard
* Pencil or pen
* Scissors
* Hot-glue gun
* Mini clothespins
* White glue
* Tissue paper


1. Start with a piece of 8 1/2- by 11-inch natural-colored paper. Cut each sheet in half to make two cards, and cut to fit another, lighter-colored sheet, rubber-cemented to the paper as the background for the mittens.
2. Draw a mitten pattern on cardboard and cut out multiple mittens from fabric remnants. Using a hot-glue gun, attach each end of the string to the background sheet, then clip the mittens to the string with mini clothespins (available at craft stores). Use white glue to attach small squares of white tissue paper.

This card can be a terrific gift when given in sets, and can also be customized for special occasions, replacing the mittens with, say, diapers as a baby announcement.

Joyful Tidings

Holiday decorations help you spell out your season’s greetings loud and clear.

Be sure to check out our other festive ideas for homemade holiday cards.


* Plain notecards or card stock
* Colored markers
* Metal-rim key tag
* Scissors
* Black scrap paper
* Glue dots
* Star sticker
* Candy cane stickers


1. For each card, first create a mini ornament that will also serve as the letter “o.” Use markers to draw a snowman’s face on a key tag. Then cut out a black paper top hat and stick it in place with a glue dot. Drape the key tag string over the top of the notecard and secure it to the back with a star sticker.
2. Now finish spelling the word joy by adding candy cane stickers: one turned upside down to serve as a “j” and the other cut in two and reassembled to create a “y,” as shown.

You can find more homemade Christmas card ideas here, or here.

Christmas song #3 Blue Christmas by Sheryl Crow

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