Category Archives: Family

Back to the Blogosphere

Scalzi said it was a rule that when you start a blog, or restart after long absence, there must be a pic of a cat. So here you go:

It’s been over a year since my last post. Things are pretty much the same. Same husband. Same kids. We’re all just a little bit older now. New dogs!

Cute, huh? And very entertaining.

The famdamnily returned from a vacation at Bryce Resort last week. Honestly, it was kinda boring, as we don’t play golf and that’s about all there really is to do around there. The nearest town (Mt. Jackson) is about 15 miles away on twisty mountain roads. But we had the pool, a nice townhouse, beautiful weather, and the highlight of the trip, the zipline.

It took about an hour for 10 separate zips. The boys loved it.

And then there is the beautiful scenery of the Shenandoah mountains.

All in all, a good trip.


Guitars, Drums, and Shin Guards

Youngest Son is in the other room, practicing on my guitar. I’m torn by this.

I’m happy he’s getting music lessons, as I can see that music will be a large part of his life, as it has been for generations of his family before him. His uncle is a producer. His mother and grandmother are known for their singing. His great-grandmother and great-great-grandfather were respected pianists. His great-great-uncle was the Tin Man in the original Wizard of Oz. (No, really.)

But he’s playing my guitar.

See, this guitar is a Tacoma hard body, folk size, and I spent a summer working for minimum wage many years ago to buy this baby. Mother of pearl inlays. Acacia solid top. Gorgeous. I tremble when I think of the damage my seven year old can do to her.

Middle Son is playing drums. There’s not much more to say about that. Other than, perhaps, “Eeep.”

Oldest Son has decided to play sports (soccer) and chess. And join the drama club. He’s so cool.

I have to admit, I am terribly excited by this time in my sons’ lives. They’re learning passion. Music, art, sports, drama – a whole world is opening up for my boys, and I adore being the one allowed to watch.

Vacation Pics

Some great action shots of the boys!

Killing Uncle Bob, Part Deux.

Wow. Three posts in one day! I’m on a roll…

It occurs to me that the ‘Killing Uncle Bob’ part in my recent post doesn’t make sense. Until you hear it in context.

When learning how to fight with a sword, you must recognize that if you screw up, you’re going to undo the man standing behind you. In our little play, we called him ‘Uncle Bob.” All three of the boys murdered said ‘Uncle Bob’. They swung their swords so wildly, they killed anyone who ‘had their backs’.

The only member of my family who did not issue an untimely death to his relatives was Hubby. I wonder where he learned to use a sword?

Here’s Youngest Son, killing Uncle Bob:

Here’s Hubby, issuing a cathartic war cry:

And here’s Middle Son, committing a family massacre:

Pony Pasture

Here’s what we did today. This place is called ‘Pony Pasture’. It’s a section of the James River about two miles from my house where boulders make the river unnavigable. The boulders also produce rapids that the kids can body surf. The weather was perfect. We had a blast. In the above pic you can barely see Eldest Son in the center playing ‘King of the Mountain.’

Here are Middle Son and Youngest Son actually being nice to each other. However, Middle Son is holding his ubiquitous stick. I’m sure trouble is brewing:

Middle Son keeping his head above water:

Eldest Son kicking back:

Youngest Son didn’t want to leave:


All is Well

Settle in, gang. This is gonna be a long one…

Mamogram is A-OK. Teeth are healing nicely. Other than the fact that the dog has heart-worms (and that’s going to get expensive), all is well. So much for the recap.

Father’s Day weekend was good and bad. Hubby missed his flight Friday evening due to weirdness and traffic in Miami, so slept in the Miami airport while waiting for a 6:00 AM flight. He was not in the best of spirits about this turn of events, and has basically decided that the rest of the world can have Miami.

I, on the other hand, collected children and in-laws (Grandma and Great-Grandma joined our clan for a weekend away) and drove to Williamsburg, where we had a lovely three-bedroom condo waiting for us. It’s called a lock-out, which basically means it’s a one bedroom and a two bedroom attached with locking doors so they can be let out individually or together.

Now, I was fretting about Hubby and sorry for his plight, but I gotta tell ya, it was really nice to close the door on the boys and leave them to their Grandmother while I enjoyed a lovely one-bedroom condo all to myself. The apartment was spotless (!), with antique furniture and colonial art and plush upholstery. No little boy socks or toys or popsicle wrappers in sight. I took a long soak in the tub, pulled out my sudoku, turned the A/C as low as I wanted, snuggled into a pillow top mattress with lots of pillows that no one gave me a hard time about, and watched the Battlestar Galactica mid-season finale with a cuppa decaf. Nice.

Saturday morning we retrieved a tired and only slightly cranky Hubby from the airport (well done, babe. I’d have been much more irritable in your place) and headed off to the final weekend of the Virginia Renaissance Faire. (We stopped at Red Robin for lunch on the way, which was fun. Seriously, Red Robin has the best hamburgers I’ve ever eaten. And the kids always finish their meals, which says a lot.)

The Faire was much the same as before, but this weekend was the belly-dancer weekend, and many women were in revealing costume, so Hubby had lots of nice things to look at (ahem). The shows were great, the children were well-behaved, and a lovely time was had by all. We parked Great-Grandma at the main stage, where she sat all afternoon (she’s in her late 80s, so wandering around in the woods all day is not really doable. But tactically, it was a good thing to have her there as a focal point. And she loved people-watching, which is her favorite sport).

Eldest and Middle sons ran off to the militia, while youngest hung out with the alpacas, horses, and greyhounds (I thought of you, English Mum). Youngest made friends with a greyhound named Basil, and I told the lady who ran the tent that it was great that I would always be able to find my son, as he would’ve been happy to spend the whole day sitting there with the dog.

The best show was “Dinty, the Moor” (ha ha), who gave us all a lesson in Renaissance chicanery. He played card tricks and such, and told jokes, from a Spaniard’s point of view. (Hubby’s favorite: Why does the Sun never set on the British Empire? Because even God does not trust the English in the dark.) (Hubby only likes that one so much because I needle him so often about being French (I’m a committed Anglophile, you see). He’s only 1/4 French, actually, but his mother and grandmother speak French as their first language, and Great-Grandma still has trouble with English, so every time we get together the language is all mixed up. It drives the boys crazy when Dad starts talking in a language they can’t understand. I’m hoping that’ll give them incentive to learn new languages, though in this climate in the US, that language should better be Spanish.) (Poor me, who’s second language is German. I have no one to talk to.) (But I digress…)

After an amusing conversation with one of the role-players who noticed I was carrying a fan (and using it constantly), I learned about an interesting invention: the “bodice chiller“. As it was 100 degrees and close to 100% humidity, a bodice chiller would have been wonderful. This is a small item that Renaissance women used to carry around in their cleavage to keep them cool. As I tend to keep a lot of things in my cleavage (I’m rather large in that department, so I manage to keep money and keys, and sometimes my cell phone, in there), this seemed like a super idea. Hubby – did I mention he’s kinda awesome? – went looking for one in the booths, but they were fresh out. Bummer.

Bodice Chiller from Medieval Productions

Looks obscene, doesn’t it? But apparently you can put a shot or two of your favorite beverage in there. Handy. I think I’ll get one.

Toward the end of the day we had the archery demonstration. Truly interesting. The Master-archer, an historically well-versed professional dressed in period garb, was a pre-op transsexual named Susan. This brought up some intriguing questions from the boys. But after the first time she shot four arrows at once into the bulls-eye (complaining that she could do five, but that Mel Brooks’ people threatened to sue (no kidding)), gender questions kinda went away. She then launched into what I’ll call the “Lesson of the Middle Finger,” explaining how long-bow soldiers would show their middle fingers to the enemy to display that they could still ‘PLUCK YOU”. Eldest and Middle Sons are now completely convinced that archery is their future. After a short conversation with the Master (who has an enormous chip on her shoulder, but whom I respect for her talent), I learned that apprentices are not accepted under the age of 14. The boys are sorely disappointed.

At the end of the day we set off again for Williamsburg. Had Father’s Day dinner at Red Lobster on Grandma (nice!), served by a waiter who was a dead ringer for Jared Leto. Youngest was convinced it was him, and started singing a 30 Seconds to Mars song at him. Funny. Another nice evening. Poor Hubby was exhausted, though, and we sacked out early.

Sunday was spent lounging at the pool. Delightful.

Then Sunday evening we had to drop Hubby at the airport – this time to Chicago. He had a 6:30 flight. I got a call from him at 8:30, when he told me the weather was lovely – in Richmond. No joke. Another bit of weirdness for my weary traveller. Apparently, the flight attendant didn’t show up. So there’s the plane, sitting on the runway, ready to go, but no crew. Hubby finally managed to get on the plane at 9:45. At least he was laughing about it this time. He seems to have made friends with the other passengers as they sat around waiting for someone to hunt up a stewardess. Unbelievable.

All in all, a good time. And next week we’re off to Massanutten! I could get used to this…


Damn You, Miami!

Hubby gave me a ring (a phone call) this am, and explained that his GPS didn’t recognize his destination. I got on-line (I heart the Internet), and told Hubby where he was and where he was supposed to end up. Well done, Mom, and Yahoo! Maps.

Hubby made it to the business park (again, well done, Mom. And Yahoo! Maps).

Badly done, Tom Tom, etc.

Why did we spend $$ on a GPS that can’t find Miami (I mean really. We’re not in Siberia here – we’re talking about MIAMI) in the morning? Hmmm…?

Hubby was literally three miles away from his destination when he set out in a strange town. The GPS took him 20 miles away. Hmmm…

Y’all tell me what that means. I think about faulty wiring. Hubby is still yelling. Conspiracy theorists are suggesting that BP owns Tom Tom.

I have a new GPS in my car (not a Tom Tom), that Hubby so generously provided me with. Apparently, I can’t leave town with the thing. Which makes it useless, as I already get around this town just fine.

If you were me, what would you think?