Easter Weekend- Part Three- Hiking, Tacos and Ice Cream

Easter morning at our house was pretty awesome. I was off from work for the first time in years.  I don’t even recall the last time. I got to sleep in a little bit. Of course sleeping past 6:30 in the morning is considered sleeping in around here. It’s glorious to be able to do that.

We had colored eggs on Friday afternoon so I had them carefully hidden around the house. As Dom was searching for them I had to laugh at myself because I forgot to count how many I had hidden. We started out with two dozen but a few of them ended up as a snack. Oops. I’m pretty sure he found them all.

Dom loved his Easter basket.

After lunch, we went to Dom’s grandmothers house to drop off her Easter basket. Then we made the twenty minute drive to Potato Creek State Park to do some hiking.  The weather was perfect. Blue skies and a lot of sunshine with a breeze. It was nice.

I let Dom explore along the shore of Worster Lake for awhile before we headed out on the trail.  We walked along for probably a half an hour before I realized that Deer Ticks seemed to be falling from the sky. They were popping up everywhere.  By a fluke, I spotted a tiny one on Dom’s pant leg.

Since I am recovering from Lyme Disease, this makes me very nervous and I decided that we needed to leave and do something else.  I can’t afford to put myself into the position to reinfect and I certainly don’t want Dom to be infected.

I had friends come out of the park after a brief hike and between the three of them they had removed 11 Deer Ticks. This made me feel a bit frantic to get home and check Dom and myself and change our clothes. depending on their stage in life, Deer Ticks can be as small as a poppy seed. It just wasn’t worth the risk.

Aside from my paranoia, we had a really great Easter. We stopped for ice cream on the way home. It doesn’t seem like anyone closes for the holiday anymore. Dom wanted Tacos for dinner so of course, that’s what we had. It was awesome.  After dinner we enjoyed watching some movies Dom had gotten for Christmas.

Below is my usual gallery of photographs taken from our adventure. I hope you’ll check them out.

I hope everyone is having a great week!

 

 

Easter Weekend Part Two: The (Former) Mother In Law

Im already exhausted and I haven’t even started writing this blog post yet.

The first thing that you need to know is that my (former) mother in law, we’ll call her Sharon, is 1. An introvert and 2. The reigning passive-aggressive-knock-out- champion-of-the-universe.

Okay, that’s technically two things but they go together. These are the key points that you have to remember any time I tell a story about her. Just remember. We are referring to her as “Sharon” and she’s difficult.  Just thinking about everything I have dealt with, with this woman, I often wonder why I even bother.

I respect her as Dominic’s grandmother. Since her son decided to make other choices, she has really stepped up to help me raise Dominic. However, this has come with a price. I have to submit to the jabs and harassment from the ex husband. It’s him that she’s really mad at, but I often get the backlash. She will say and do things to him that he will turn around and take out on me.

All of that drama is an entire separate blog post.  With that said, there have been times when she hasn’t been so pleasant to me for whatever reason either. Up until this year, I’ve tried to include her in things and treat her as if she was some kind of matriarch. She sort of is I suppose.  It has bitten me in the ass more than once.

She pulls stunts. I won’t go into all of it now but don’t worry my dear readers, something will come up. Probably soon because she’s been fairly well behaved recently. Just one example is the time she kept the invitation for Grandparents Day at Dom’s school for herself and never told  me about it nor did she send the information home. Since I didn’t know about it, my mother missed out on Grandparents Day at school.

We’ve had some rocky times in the past year because I’ve grown tired of her. I’ve ran my mouth a few times and I didn’t used to or probably shouldn’t have. It just gets old and I’m only human. I shouldn’t have to listen to it but she is Dom’s grandmother and she does help me out a lot.

I decided to try to be more thoughtful or at least mindful of holidays and her birthday. So on Valentine’s Day, I made a batch of cupcakes and cake pops that I decorated. They were really cute. I also got a basket of wild flowers that was really beautiful. I put it all together and helped Dom make a card to give to her. The. We went and gave it to her.

She seemed really surprised and appreciative of the gesture.

Fast forward.

Things haven’t been so great. For some reason she stopped talking to me. When ask she says nothing is wrong and everything is just fine. Ugh. She’s the passive-aggressive-knock out-champ, if you recall. Fine. Be that way.

So, when I decided to put together an Easter basket for Dom to give to her, I should have known I was setting myself up to have her suck the winds right out of my sails and boy she sure didn’t disappoint.  I called her on Saturday night to make sure she would be home. I told her Dom had a gift for her.

We go to deliver the Easter basket and she was less than enthused and was just like “thanks”. We were at her house for less than five minutes. While I certainly didn’t expect her to break out into dance and do cartwheels, she could’ve at least expressed some gratitude.  Dom seems to be picking up on these things too. He was like “Bye grandma,”

I have my moments when I allow myself to get upset over “my circumstances”. I certainly didn’t sign up for things to be this way but I’m doing the best that I can. I’m not going to apologize for going to work every day and making a living. My hours aren’t the best but it is what it is right now.  She was a single mother too, you would think that she would cut me some slack.

I’m sure I’m not alone in dealing with people who behave like this. She’s technically not my family but she’s Dom’s family. Up until now, she was the only reason I was staying in the area. I try to keep an eye on her.  She literally has nothing and she seems to alienate everyone on my ex husbands side of the family also.

Sigh.

Below is a photo of her basket before it was finished. That little planter is adorable and I almost bought one for myself. I’m not going to lie,  I considered saying “to hell with her” about forty times and thought about keeping it all for myself.

image

 

I totally should’ve just kept it for myself.

 

Easter Weekend: Part One

I got to enjoy a rare weekend off where my son was also at home. It was a bonus that it was Easter weekend. Easter is my favorite religious holiday. I was raised Roman Catholic and Easter was highly celebrated for obvious reasons.

Even if you aren’t a believer in Christ, you have to agree that the drama surrounding his crucifixion is pretty wild and is a fantastic story. It has everything Humans seem to want just short of a cage fight.  With that said, I don’t want to pander to either side of the religious debate. We all have our own ideas so instead, I’m just going to tell you what we did this weekend.

We cleaned up around this place.  How about that for excitement?

Dom didn’t have school on Friday (Good Friday) as it was the end of the school semester.  I was really happy about that because 1. I got to sleep in past 6:30 am. 2. He has spent the last two weekends at his dad’s house. I haven’t gotten to spend a lot of time with him. I got to hog his adorableness all weekend.

The first project I wanted to tackle this weekend was the awful backyard.  I didn’t. I tackled the inside of the house instead. I rearranged the furniture in the kitchen, cleaned the wood floors in the entire house and caught up most of the laundry. I feel so much better.

Yesterday we tackled the awful backyard.  It snowed fairly early in the fall and was consistent enough at first that I didn’t bother raking the remainder of the leaves.  I just let it go. I also let go of cleaning dog waste from the yard. I can’t blame all of that on the snow.  Hilli was also using the deck as a toilet and I didn’t keep up with that as often as I should have either.

I know. Gross.

I only filled up four grocery bags of poo. With three dogs, I expected more. There probably was but it disintegrated over the months with the rain and snow. Gross.  I really hope  my yard doesn’t smell bad to my neighbors. I was pretty embarrassed. It’s done though and it’s supposed to rain tonight and tomorrow so hopefully it washes away the yuck for good.

Dom on stick patrol

Dom on stick patrol

Dom was very helpful and picked up sticks and branches for me. He had a great time wheeling around our yard cart and filling it up. Lu kept bringing him her ball to throw.  I paid him back in tacos and ice cream. Our two favorite things.

I filled up several yard bags with leaves and debris. There are six bags, in case you wondered.. The city does a pick up once a week. My next move is to drag all of this mess to the curb this coming Thursday. Yay me! If you look at the bottom right of the photo you’ll see the dead Boston Fern that I swore ALL summer I was going to bring in and keep alive. Fail.

Anyone need a kiddie pool!?

Anyone need a kiddie pool!?

I never in a million years would’ve posted a before photo of this mess.

Almost done!!

Done for now

I still have to clean up the leaves that are trapped in the bushes in the front yard. After I get that accomplished I won’t do anything for at least another month. I don’t generally buy flowers or put decorations outside until at least mid May.  I’m really anxious to get my deck put together.

Im going to put up little fences along the privacy fence to keep the dogs out of the flower beds. I’m also going to choke the rabbit that keeps eating my hostas with my bare hands.  My neighbor is taking care of the squirrel problem.

The only other big thing I want to do is to replace the red mulch I laid out two years ago. It has faded a bit. I’m going to replace it with more red mulch.

As you can see in the photo, my house is blue. The red mulch looked awesome with the blue house. I suppose I can mulch any time. All of the stores are already selling it.

My house. Taken in early summer after I mulched the the front and side.

My house. Taken in early summer after I mulched the the front and side.

 

Ugh. I really want to pull those bushes out.  Or I need to at least learn how to prune them properly.  One thing at a time.  I enjoy yard work to an extent.  I have a few ideas for the back yard but I think with the exception of those crazy bushes, I like how it is already.

I’m so ready for warmer weather.

 

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

 

Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day And Other Stuff

Happy Belated St. Patrick's Day

Happy Belated St. Patrick’s Day

I love St Patrick’s Day, but unfortunately, depending on what day of the week it falls, you may be celebrating a week before the actual holiday. That’s what happened this year. The holiday was on Thursday, March 17th. Most cities celebrated the weekend before. On the actual day, it almost felt as if the holiday had already past. I guess technically it had.  The rivers had already been dyed green and all of the cool pub crawls, parades and other festivities had already been done.

On St. Patrick’s Day, I went up to Chicago to enjoy the city for a couple of hours. I was attending a performance of the Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre later in the evening. The initial plan after my arrival was to visit the Shedd Aquarium. It had been awhile since my last visit. The place is really big and it can literally take all day to get through all of it.

When we got there, the line was all the way out to the street. We stood in that line for almost an hour. When we were finally allowed to have access to the building to buy the tickets, the line for that was probably also an hour long.

You know the line is long when you measure it in hours.

I checked the time on my phone and saw that the aquarium closed in three hours and that there wasn’t enough time to get in and then to be able to see even half of it.  Tickets are fairly pricey at around $50.00 just to only see a very small portion.  So, we decided to go and do something else.

I ended up at the Willis Tower ( formerly the Sears Tower ) to go up to the Sky Deck. The day was gorgeous and the skies were blue and clear. This means that the view from the top of the building would be phenomenal.

I stood in that line for almost three hours. Ugh.  I also kept watching the time because I had to be at the Briar Street Theatre by 8pm. When it was getting close to 5:30 pm and I was about to pass out from the heat and hunger, I started to get worried that we would be late.

We all stood in line to go up to the Sky Deck so we could walk around for less than 15 minutes, snap some photo’s and then get into another line to get on the elevator to go back down.  Time well spent. *hard eye roll*

It was still fun though. Had a blast that day. One of my taxi drivers was simply hilarious. I had the best burger I’ve eaten recently at  Clark Street Dog. This place is amazing. If you’re in the area, be sure to stop in for a bite to eat.

This was the second time I have seen the Blue Man Group perform at the Briar Street Theatre and as expected, they were awesome. The show is so much fun! I recommend seeing a performance if you get the chance. Check out their website at blueman.com

I couldn’t have asked for a better day. The weather was perfect. I snapped a few photo’s and placed them in the gallery below, I hope that you will check them out.

 

 

Another Unsuccessful Interaction With A Fellow Human

Sometimes we have interactions with other Human Beings that are simply memorable. The way that we treat each other can be pretty appalling sometimes. It seems like quite often, the bad can outweigh the good. We can definitely be selfish and fail to look past our own noses.

I’ve learned to stop taking things personally and just go with the flow. People and their behavior is generally all about them and has nothing to do with you. Most of the time, sometimes you’re really a jerk too. Either way, I don’t offer much of a reaction. Usually.

I swear that if I didn’t have my sense of humor, I would have nothing at all. I see humor in almost everything that I come across, or at least I try to. I try not to get involved and pass by most opportunities to call people out. Usually.

Here is what happened today.

My ex husband and I meet every other weekend to do a custody exchange in the parking lot of a travel plaza that is in the middle of where each of us live. While I am sitting at the stop light, I take note that I need gas. I look over at the pumps and see that all of them are full and each of them have a line.

I sent a text to the ex to let him know that I had to get in line for gas. He says ok and he’s still a few minutes out. The arrow turns green and I pull into the lot and up to the pumps. As I mentioned before, they are all taken and there is a line.

I get behind a black SUV. The pump is hanging out of the gas tank. The screen indicates that it has stopped at $20. There is nobody with it. There’s nobody in the drivers seat.  So I am thinking, ok, maybe they haven’t pumped yet and they ran inside to go pay and they’ll be right back. I wait.

Ten minutes goes past.

I am watching the other pumps and some of the ones far off are starting to clear up, but there are still cars pulling in and taking them.  I run the risk of not being able to get one and losing my place in line.

So, this is where it begins. It has been twelve minutes since I pulled in behind this SUV. I make the decision to get out and walk up to the passenger side where an older woman is sitting in the seat. I said, “Hi ma’am, would it be okay to move your car so I can pull in?”

She looks at the building almost as if, where the heck are they?  She doesn’t even bother to look at me and doesn’t say a word. I go back to my car and get in like “whatever”.  I sat there for another couple of minutes. I look and see another pump on the other side has come open so I decide to make a break for it.

I pull around and I see that she is now out of the car and taking the pump out of the tank and putting it back.

I say “Never mind now,” to her over the pump.

This was clearly my fatal error because she angrily responds

“You could’ve gone to another pump they were all open when you got here.”

“No, they were all full and you wouldn’t know when I got here because you’ve been on your phone the whole time,”

Nope, that statement was my fatal error. This was when she began screaming at me like a deranged chipmunk on crack. Except, I was mostly focused on the fact that she didn’t have any teeth.I didn’t even hear what she was saying. All I could think was.

“Bitch, where your teeth at?”

Also, do you remember that show Wife Swap that was popular a couple of years ago? Do you also remember the episode where one of the wives has a melt down and goes nuts proclaiming that she was a “God warrior”.  You didn’t have to see that episode because it was all over the gossip shows and was also a pretty popular meme for awhile. You’ll recognize her as she’s in the photo below.

Bitch, where your teeth at?

Marguerite Perrin

This woman looked and sounded just like her. As she got angrier at me, her eyes got bigger and wider and her mouth even larger as she spoke. All I could focus on was the slobber and spit coming out of her mouth as she went on and on. Seriously, where are your teeth?

She continues to yell at me. I tell her to go get back in your car.  This pisses her off too.

She informs me that it isn’t her car. Okay, you have the keys in the ignition and I’m pretty sure you can drive.  She counters that with a toothless “You need to shut up,”  Oh okay, this is getting awesome so I laughed at her and said “No you shu-up,” (Like shaaaa uup.)

I’m pretty sure she took that as a “you don’t have teeth joke” and then she starts walking towards me.  Now I am like, great, I am about to get wailed on by  a middle aged woman who thinks she is about to get in my face. She has no idea who I am or anything about me or the fact that picking a fight with me will be a huge mistake on her part.

I just kind of looked at her all annoyed, like “Lady, I would kill you in a fight,”

She’s getting just close enough and saying just enough to get her in and out of the trouble zone at the same time.  I look up at the cameras. At least I had them going for me, so when I knock this woman out, and they call the police,  they’ll see that she friggin attacked me.

I flat out tell her to back away from my vehicle. She looks me up and down, obeys the order and then starts running her mouth.  I’m starting to get more annoyed than I am angry but she’s  creating a scene. People are starting to stare at us.

Now she turns around and starts yelling at another group of people who are standing on the other side of the pumps. There are approximately six people standing around another SUV except they all have their luggage out of the car for some reason and they are all standing around their suitcases.

I can’t hear everything that she’s saying but I can tell that she’s trying to get their attention and wants someone to come over to where we were standing. She stops paying attention to me. I hang up the pump, grab my receipt and then get into my car and pull off. Engaging into further shenanigans with these people would just get me into trouble.

I pull into the lot next to the ex. We chat for a moment about the weekend when I see this black SUV pull into a parking space on the other side of the McDonald’s drive-thru.  Just about that time, I see an older male and four younger people following behind him. They were all carrying bags from the McDonald’s. They get into this black SUV.

So, what happened was, they decided to pull in to get gas and while it was pumping, go to the restaurant side, order and then wait for this huge order of food from McDonald’s. Not even giving anyone else any kind of consideration that it was super busy and people were waiting to buy gas.

By this time, twenty five minutes had passed. That was just the time I had spent in the travel plaza. I couldn’t even tell you how long that SUV had been sitting there before I even pulled up to get in line behind it.

I tell the ex that story, we laugh. Then we watch as they leave. She doesn’t even look in my direction as she’s leaving. I watch her pull out onto the highway and wait at the light. I had a momentary feeling of dread that I would have to spend the next hour dealing with them on the highway with my ten year old in the car.  They had Illinois plates, so it would have made sense if they had gone north.

They went south. Thanks be to God.

I’m pretty sure that this woman was already having a terrible day. I try not to judge people based on their bad moments in life. Or she could really just be this way all the time. Who knows, deep down, I don’t care.

As I think about this situation further I do have some questions. First, where are your teeth? She seemed to be type that was able to buy herself some dentures.  Why are they not in your mouth? Is it uncomfortable to travel with your teeth?

Seriously, where are your teeth?

 

Taking Courses Online- An Adventure In Interests

I don’t even remember what I was reading where I came across information for Open2Study.com . I found the link saved to my favorites and that reminded me to go and check out the website.

I cautiously want to share this website with other people while I have just starting using the site and am considering enrollment into several of the courses that they have offered. It appears that they start their courses over every 4-5 weeks.

Open2Study is a website that offers several, free, online courses that cover various topics from Midwifery to Physics to Anthropology.  The Anthropology course is the the that I have decided to enroll in.

It is a consortium of different universities in Australia.

While I have been been seriously considering going back to school (along with the list of other things I keep saying that I want to do) I am leery to do so given that I haven’t gone to school in almost twenty years.

It is true that I have had to take several courses over the past few years in order to be employed and keep my employment. I have to obtain several certifications and then re-certify every couple of years.  With that said, it’s not quite the same thing as going back to school.

You know, spending a few thousand dollars doing it.

I am also open to admitting that a lot of my problem is that I am very bored and unchallenged in life right now. I blame the majority of my restlessness on the fact that I feel like every day is the same. I am focusing on work work and work. All the time.

I think that it will be good for me to have this as a distraction. It will give me something to look forward to, something to do and in the end they give you a certificate of achievement. While that’s not a college credit that can go towards a degree, it might be a leg up by giving me experience through knowledge that I can apply.

There are three courses that I can apply to my job currently.

First though, I am going to complete the course on Anthropology: Becoming Human. I am going to do this one because it interests me and for fun. I think I will enjoy it and it has very good reviews from other people who took the course.

Everything that I have read about this has been positive.

If you’re interested you can check it out at Open2study.com

Goodbye To Winter

I believe that we have seen the last of the snowfall for the year. The temperatures are starting to rise and soon the remaining ice and snow will melt and leave us with a muddy mess for awhile.

I’m okay with that.

Next week our temps will be in the upper 50’s and lower 60’s. It’s early though, I know. March comes in like a lion and out like a lamb, they say. In a matter of an hour we had rain, freezing rain, ice and then snow. I went to Target for twenty five minutes and walked out to an inch of snow on the ground.

This morning the air was foggy, the ground was icy but at least the sky was sunny. The sun always helps to make up for the things going on around you. It does for me at least.

This winter wasn’t much of a winter. We had some periods of snow but not as much as we have in the past two years or that I can remember. It didn’t get nearly as cold either.  I’m okay with that too. Old houses get drafty.

I only got to use my snowshoes once but I still got outside and hiked frequently. I really don’t mind that it didn’t snow much, I hate to drive when the weather is bad. Considering that I live in southern Michigan and northern Indiana, you would think that people would remember that we deal with this every year, but they always forget how to drive etc.

It sure can be pretty to look at. I snapped the photo below when I decided to take an alternative route home after I dropped my son off at school. I couldn’t help but stop to admire the red barn and the snow. The silence.

The lane at Johnson's Tree Farm

The lane at Johnson’s Tree Farm

So long Winter, you still technically have a few more days until it’s officially Spring, but I think you’re done until next year. At least I hope so. I’m totally ready for warm weather.  I’m also ready for the possibilities the rest of the year will bring.

What about you? Do you enjoy the winter time?

I hope everyone is having a great weekend!

How You Know Your Human BFF Is A Keeper- Hiding the Body

A few days ago I wrote a post about how my little red Australian Cattledog, Hilli, had passed away called “Death and Friends-Hilli Has Flown Away.”  I ended up placing her in the freezer at my friend Diana’s house  because I am in Indiana and it gets cold here. The ground is frozen. Frozen solid. You would need large equipment to dig a grave.

I am not afraid  to admit that this has given me a little anxiety.  It’s a huge favor and it’s a really big deal to me that she be honored for her lifetime of love and everything she’s ever been through. It also grosses me out a little bit.

Her response to my repeated THANK YOU! was totally classic.

She said “Everyone needs a friend that will let you keep a body in their freezer,”

I would totally do that for her too and she knows it.  How cool is that?

Our conversations are always the best too. The stuff we come up with would make hilarious Saturday Night  Live skits. We are a great Lifetime Television For Women movie about loyalty and friendship. We’ve both been through some garbage and our stories are similar. We just get each other.

We work the same shift and quite often depend on each other to keep the other amused and break the boredom or even vent or whatever comes up.  At least once in the shift I try to send a totally hilarious photo that I found on the internet that’s way too inappropriate for my Facebook.

So tonight, one of our co workers was bragging about how they had already been paid. Our automatic deposits don’t generally hit until at least 2am on Friday morning. Somehow, she claims, her check already hit the bank. Knowing her though, she just told us all that to laugh at how we would all check our accounts fifty times in the next hour.

This led to us talking about bills and kissing our pay checks goodbye the minute they even hit our accounts. Such is life. It then led her to disclose her mortgage payment at a house she doesn’t live at because she just got married.

This is also where Hilli is currently wrapped in a blanket and in several garbage bags, in her freezer.

Hello again anxiety.

This is what that conversation looked like..

Partner in crime.

Partner in crime.

 

In case you’re confused, the plan is to bury Hilli’s body, at a currently undisclosed location, where she liked to go hiking with me. It’s probably not legal and we aren’t going to ask for permission. It’s going to be a cover of darkness, plant shovels by the road, hide the car and hurry with a frozen beloved pet….

In reality if we got caught, we probably wouldn’t actually get in real live trouble considering our ties to local law enforcement. We would likely get the low or high brow reaction and probably an offer to help us dig. Seriously, who is going to scold us for this and mean it? I’m telling you, we are a made for television movie.

This is isn’t supposed to be funny but right now, I’m seriously smiling because I have a great friend who knows what matters and that’s the greatest feeling ever.  I’ve said that I keep my circle small. I would rather have a handful of amazing friends than two hands full of mediocre or just plain crappy ones.

Di is a gem and I am so overlywhelming grateful for her.