Don't you hate it when someone cheats so that they can win something, then brags about winning? What is that? And I really really hate it when I know that the person cheated, as in competed in a region other than their own, in order to avoid the competition they knew would beat them in their own region - then brag about it!!
Ok, that rant is over now.

D3 is safely home from China, about 8 lbs lighter than she left and she barely weighted 100 pounds when she left - so can you say no butt at all? We'll get her all fed up soon though and get her back to that whopping 100 pounds (soaking wet). Kid can't afford to be loosing pounds. When you are already a size 0 - loosing weight is not helpful, they don't make size -1. Anyway, she did take some pictures so I'll try to get some of those posted this week. She also brought home two Chinese instruments of which she is very proud. Especially as she managed to get them for about $20 US each by haggling. You'd think the kid had traveled and haggled before :)

I'm in a bit of a pissy mood of late... wonder why?
Thank you rings hollow, tears flow when I think of them. I see faces I want to touch, hands I want to clasp. My heart aches with gratitude and sorrow.

Last August, as my D3 and I sat at the airport in Shannon Ireland, waiting for our flight home, we were suddenly surrounded by men and women of the US military. Some smiling and chatting, some quiet - grabbing some rest. They were on their way away from home (Texas)- toward danger in Baghdad. We took time to chat with some, there was one young woman in the group who had a tiny mandolin in her hands. She was trying to figure out how to tune it. She'd bought it to bring along and maybe learn a little how to play during her precious down time. My D3 reached for the mandolin with a smile, quickly tuned it and handed it back. Then explained the tuning and gave the soldier a few tips. I was so very proud - of both of them. D3 probably gave the soldier a gift greater than anything I could have. I hope that young woman is safe now - maybe even home.
Thanks to Joan I found a new place to visit for a good belly laugh this morning. Try this old dude for some good giggles. He is now officially one of my morning visits!

Sorry for the sparsity of posts these days. With home school in coast mode (most of my blog time is sitting at the computer whilst the boy does his work next to me) and D2 home I'm hurting for time to blog. D3 will be winging her way home from China tomorrow evening and we are all going to meet her boyfriend to welcome her back at the Charlotte airport (2 hours from here) then we'll stay in Charlotte as a family for a few days while himself works. I'm gonna take S1 to discovery place for a day, take the cello to the cello doctor for some minor surgery, then spend a day at Carowinds before heading home (S1, soon to be 12 years old, has never been to a theme park of any sort).

But I'm still here. Just busy busy busy.
I'm finally hearing from D3 and the ASU orchestra at least a little bit. They seem to be having a wonderful time. My emails from her tend to be rather short. I am informed that less than 7 days into their trip she has already spent most of her money... But she is excited about her purchases and plans to surprise us with what she got upon her return to the states. Hopefully she is not disappointed at not being able to pick something up further into her trip - so much for carefully rationing her Chinese cash! At the end of the day it doesn't really matter, she needs to spend it there cause it sure isn't going to do her any good here... at least not yet.

She took a camera, and is a pretty good photographer, but we'll see if she remembers to snap anything. I sure hope so.

They have already had several performances, the first couple the ASU orchestra was teamed up with the orchestra from a Chinese University and they performed together. Sounds like communication with the Chinese conductor was an adventure. Somewhere along the way in the second half of their trip they are supposed to be teaming up with a traditional Chinese orchestra playing traditional Chinese instruments. I sure wish there was going to be video of that!
Just in case I've left anyone wondering, D3 was four when she was diagnosed. She is 19 now and going gang busters. She doesn't remember much from when she was sick, though I think she remembers more than she realizes. It is just that we worked so hard to keep her days fun at the time that she doesn't realize all those days she dressed in kitty suits were days she was going for chemo : ) Anyway, sometime along the line I'll share that story plus the rest of her story (some has already been posted - check for D3 related posts if you missed them) but since I already shared D1, I'd probably better post on D2 next to keep her from feeling skipped.

A very uncommon sunny day here - after a morning low of 34! I'm taking the opportunity to bail hay in the front and back yards ; ) Then I think a trip to the park to throw frisbees for the corgis to runrunrun is in order...
Happy Birthday Joanie!!! Hope the blues weekend was a blast!
I've been tagged. For the very firstest time : ) Thanks for thinking of me Hapkido?!


1) Post the rules on your blog.

2) Tell 5 random things about yourself.

3) Tag 3 people at the end of your post.

4) Pass on the tag.

Random things... ya know, since I only recently wrote my "about me" I'm gonna have to think about this to come up with 5 more random things...

1) I hate (fear) flying. But if you've read my about me you know I've been a lot of places that I couldn't have gotten to without flying, so obviously I don't let my irrational fear keep me from going places.

2) I have a parental form of PTSD. My third daughter was diagnosed with cancer when she was four years old, while we were in Europe on vacation. That time, the trauma of discovering her tumor - getting her into a hospital in a country with socialised medicine (that post is coming folks) - trying to get home a week before our scheduled flight at the height of tourist season - going straight from the airport to DUMC - and the following year and a half of trying to get her safely through treatment have messed with my ability to handle crisis.

3) I got my YMCA SCUBA certification when I was 12 years old.

4) I won an equitation class (judged totally on the rider) in a horse show when I was competing against a whole bunch of teenagers (I was 40ish) that ride all the time - I almost never rode by this point. and I WON, I WON, I WON, so there you snot nosed brats!!!!!!! the only class I ever won....

5) I once hand stitched an entire wedding gown from fabric that cost $300 a yard (my job at the time was sewing wedding gowns, prom dresses, etc)

hmm now whom to tag...

Jana at Speak,Dog! Speak!

vw bug at One Happy Dog Speaks , I mean it follows right?

and Joan of Argggg at Primordial Slack because himself likes to say "joan of Argggg!!!!!!" when he catches me reading her blog.

So there, another first for me :)

I'm no photographer, but here are some of my flowers. Note for the last 4-5 years my gardening has been limited to killing weeds so my plants are not flowering as well as they used to, but you can't tell from these pictures :) Some of these are worth embiggening.

I haven't tried roses yet, though I hope to get some heritage roses in some day. I just don't have much sun and I know roses need their sunlight. So I have peonies instead, and I love them.

I love iris too and I used to have tons of these old iris which are called flags by the old timers here in the mountains, but if you don't dig and split them every couple years they get too compacted and stop blooming - and I already told you what I've been doing so... I also used to have so many forget-me-nots they were like a blue cloud across the garden when they bloomed, not so much any more. Love me some johny-jump-ups.

These are called "Carolina Geranium" and are a wild flower that I cultivate - sort of. They are very prolific so some folks call them weeds :)

These blue ones are bell flowers.


I have forgotten

And the only roses I can grow - Wild rose, they smell wonderful.
Can you tell I have a preference for pink, blue, and purple flowers?

And that, more or less, is how MY garden grows.
Christine Sloan

"I had to notify just around 50 people today that our business has been terminated, that they no longer have a job," said Kevin Ormes, owner of the dealership. Ormes got a courtesy call on Thursday morning delivering the news, and he's angry. "Over the past months, they've begged us to buy vehicles, they've begged us to do everything for them and when it came time to do something for the dealers that basically invested everything that they have, they've turned their back on us,"

full article
By Anthony Faiola and Lori MontgomeryWashington Post Staff Writers Friday, May 15, 2009

Outrage spread in Canada, with the Toronto Star last week bemoaning "a plague of protectionist measures in the U.S." and Canadian companies openly fretting about having to shift jobs to the United States to meet made-in-the-USA requirements. This week, the Canadians fired back. A number of Ontario towns, with a collective population of nearly 500,000, retaliated with measures effectively barring U.S. companies from their municipal contracts

full article
By Roger Runningen and Hans Nichols
May 14 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama , calling current deficit spending “unsustainable,” warned of skyrocketing interest rates for consumers if the U.S. continues to finance government by borrowing from other countries.
“We can’t keep on just borrowing from China,” Obama said at a town-hall meeting in Rio Rancho, New Mexico, outside Albuquerque. “We have to pay interest on that debt, and that means we are mortgaging our children’s future with more and more debt.”


full article
Dead People Get StimulusChecks
From DICK BRENNAN MYFOXNY.COM - This week, thousands of people are getting stimulus checks in the mail... Antoniette Santopadre of Valley Stream was expecting a $250 stimulus check. But when her son finally opened it, they saw that the check was made out to her father, Romolo Romonini, who died in Italy 34 years ago...

The Santopadres are not alone. The Social Security Administration, which sent out 52 million checks, says that some of those checks mistakenly went to dead people because the agency had no record of their death.

-If they had no record of the deaths, have these same dead people been getting social security checks all along?

That amounts to between 8,000 and 10,000 checks for millions of dollars.

- Just in NY or nation wide? I'm sure just NYC - if it is just in the city then how many of these checks to dead people are going out nation wide? and even if it is not just in the city, still, What The Heck? !?!?!

The feds blame a rushed schedule, because all the checks have to be cut by June. The strange this is, some of the checks were made out to people -- like Romonini -- who were never even part of the Social Security system.

-Wanna bet these dead people voted? Democrat? and THAT is why they are getting checks!!!!!!
So, unknown woman calls here asking for _______ (son's first name, he goes by shortened middle name)________(first four letters of our last name). I ask whom is calling and of course she refuses to say but insists it is personal and would I please bring him to the phone. I say no he is not available, she asks if there is another number where he can be reached. I say look lady I am his mother, who are you and why do you want to talk to him. Again with the "personal" line. Look lady, he is 11 yrs old ---- silence---- I must have the wrong person (you bet your sweet ass you do lady), and I reply you are close enough to the name and you have my phone number, who are you and what do you want. Really, I've got to get caller ID. Now the question is this "telemarketer" or "bill collector" from somebody stealing the boy's ID?

Truly this lady does not want to mess with us. Not going to say just what, but believe me I have resources if I feel the need to find out who she was or more importantly who she was calling for. I've done it before and you can bet that is one young man who will never again pick a random number from the phone book to make a prank call in the wee hours of the morning. Not so funny when a US marshal hauls your ass out of class to question you about your wee hour reaching out and touching of people. No sir, don't mess with this mama.

I am in the midst of another day of parental anxiousness. D3 is in the final leg of her long awaited trip to China. Problem is, she is flying there on a Chinese airline. Arggg, like I want my kid taking part in the miracle of human flight, sitting in a the SKY, on a plane maintained by Chinese workers. Scaring the bat crap out of me right now. I know the long flight has landed safely but I can't track the shorter, 2 hour, hop from Beijing to Shanghai which should be taking off in just a few min. now. I will be ever so glad to get about 4 hours from now without any terrifying news. At least the first plane was a Boeing 747, so I know it was built here. Have no idea what the next plane is, and either way they are maintained by Chinese Air - and I sure don't trust the quality of their work!

Update: I assume they are safely at their hotel now, sleeping off a 36 hour day. The orchestra has a designated blogger so hopefully I'll be getting updates every couple days. As soon as she wakes up, anyway.

Update #2: Got an email from D3. This is the email in its entirety:
"all in china now :)
Internet cafe is huge and super cheap"
No need to waste words or anything.....
Well, almost through all the trips back and forth to get college girls squared away. D2 is home for the next few weeks. D3 is leaving for China early Wed morning and the only trip I have left to make is to ASU to pick up the cello. So maybe by Wed I'll have something worth blogging about.

Have several ideas, but each will take a bit of time to do research to back up my points. I'm leaning toward a socialised medicine rant...

Still raining here day after day. Yard is way out of control. My horse is still not responding to treatment, that makes me sad and nervous. More x-rays tomorrow. Hope hope hope it shows some improvement. D2 just informed me her windshield is cracked.

Mother's Day was rather nice. Kids made breakfast, then himself volunteered to run D3 back to Boone so I wouldn't have to (he had to drive up to Richmond for the week anyway). Got some nice smelly bath stuff from the kids. Then himself and D3 left and D2 took S1 to the barn leaving me in a quiet house for 3 hours. The barn kids returned for about 1 hour then left again giving me another 4 1/2 hours to myself and peace. Now I know full well in 10 years my idea of a great mother's day will be having them all in the house, but for now - a day with them all out of the house and me in it is just lovely.

How was that for a bunch of nothing?
Blogging this week is probably going to be a hit or miss thing round here. The schedule is crazy - crazier than normal.

Monday- work at barn AM and PM - school boy between, run errands between.

Tues - work at barn AM - school boy, grocery store, get a bit of house cleaning done. Get the boy's vergies planted. Organize his school work for the rest of the week so he can carry it with him to his Daddy's office and work on his own because...


Wed morning drive 2 hours to D3's ASU and load all her dorm room stuff into my car, do the year end dorm room cleaning, take her for a quick lunch then bring all her stuff home - but not her yet, she'll be living with a friend in friend's apartment for the next few days as they have several orchestra rehearsals in preparation for China trip. Unload all D3's stuff and get it more or less out of the way because...

Thurs morning drive 4 hours to D2's UNC and load all her dorm stuff into my car, do the year end dorm room cleaning thing - not feeding this one - drive the 4 hours back with D3's stuff but not D3 herself. She wants to stay in Chapel Hill to attend midnight showing of Star Trek movie with her girl friends so she'll bring herself home sometime Fri. Once I am home with D3's stuff, unload and get it more or less out of the way because...

Fri drive back to Boone (2 hours each way) to pick up D3 after her orchestra rehearsal so she can have a day and a half to pull herself together for trip.

Sat lots of laundry and organizing of D2/D3 school stuff and get D3 all packed and ready for China trip

Sun drive back to Boone again to return D3 for final rehearsals.

Mon Barn work X2 again

Tues drive back to Boone one last time to pick up cello. D3 will be using a borrowed cello in China but I must go pick hers up as she cannot leave it in her music locker over the summer.

somewhere in there I need to mow, the rain has kept me from it the last few days, but the rain is also making grass grow like crazy out there. On the upside, it keeps the rest of the neighbors from mowing too so they can't come after me with pitchforks!

arggg Wed I'm gonna be tired!
D3 has now explained it all to me:

On the first day, God created the dog and said: "Sit all day by the door of your house and bark at anyone who comes in or walks past. For this, I will give you a life span of twenty years."
The dog said: "That's a long time to be barking. How about only ten years and I'll give you back the other ten?"

So God agreed.

On the second day, God created the monkey and said: "Entertain people, do tricks, and make them laugh. For this, I'll give you a twenty-year life span."
The monkey said: "Monkey tricks for twenty years? That's a pretty long time to perform. How about I give you back ten like the dog did?"

And God agreed.

On the third day, God created the cow and said:"You must go into the field with the farmer all day long and suffer under the sun, have calves and give milk to support the farmer's family For this, I will give you a life span of sixty Years."
The cow said: "That's kind of a tough life you want me to live for sixty years. How about twenty and I'll give back the other forty?"

And God agreed again.

On the fourth day, God created man and said: "Eat, sleep, play, marry and enjoy your life. For this, I'll give you twenty years."
But man said: "Only twenty years? Could you possibly give me my twenty, the forty the cow gave back, the ten the monkey gave back, and the ten the dog gave back; that makes eighty, okay?"

"Okay," said God, "You asked for it."

So that i s why for our first twenty years we eat, sleep, play and enjoy ourselves. For the next forty years we slave in the sun to support our family. For the next ten years we do monkey tricks to entertain the grandchildren. And for the last ten years we sit on the front porch and bark at everyone.

Life has now been explained to you. At least that is what D3 has told me!
Tomorrow morning the boy has his state level bible drill. This is the third level, first church competition, then associational, now state. The young man is pretty darn good, I couldn't do it, believe you me. Not only can he name all the books, but he can find any given book in less than 10 seconds. Having done this for several years now he can find something like 30 key passages in less than 10 seconds each, and recite 75 verses and their citations. Wowy! Fingers crossed, prayers, think good thoughts - all those things. Good luck bubby boo, Mommy loves you the mostest...but don't tell your sisters.

Update: State Champion! woohoo, good job!
I took this passage to heart back in the first couple years of my 30 plus year marriage. It is what I have striven (? is that a word?) to live my life by. Try to be content with what I have, where I am, who I am - not so good with the last one sometimes, but I try. The things we need to live we most always have (that is why we are still alive maybe?), the things we need to be happy are usually there too, so long as we have eyes to see and hearts to understand and/or appreciate.

Like many of you, I grew up poor - and I mean poor, seriously. But we always had food, a roof, and clothes - not fancy clothes but clothes. I too hit the door and played outside all day, though I didn't always check in, we lived in a small town and folks always let my folks know where they had seen me so, ya know, can't get away with too much. If I couldn't get a ride the 5-6 miles to where my horse was or to a friend's house, I walked. Once I was in the saddle I could go anywhere. Rode that mare all over that county. Things were not always good, I was not always happy, but I managed. (man I could tell some stories Pete :)

Then when I got married he was in college so we lived off what I made as a waitress. Poor! Had to sell the horse, newlyweds can't afford horses! But we got by (good thing he is crazy smart and had a full scholarship!) and when he graduated we had no debt - that was all the way through a post graduate degree. We lived on $50 a week in grocery money while he was in school, long time. Not fancy food, but we managed.

Lots of people are struggling now, including members of my own family and some very dear friends. I'm not a preachy sort, get the log out of my own eye first, for goodness sakes, I hate preachy. But these words have been something I have clung to, and I'm hoping they may help some of the people I care about. Unlike most folks who know the last verse, I find the first 3 the most inspiring. Maybe some of you can find help and encouragement here too. Don't have to be joyful, content will do, at least for me. In fact I can't really remember the last time I was "joyful" or even particularly excited about anything, but I feel comfortable with content - joyful and excited both take too much energy! Love you guys. And I hope each of us find ourselves in better days soon.

Philippians 4:11-13

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.