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Archive for October, 2008

I do not have a cat who shreds my toilet paper, as  TouchedByMadness  does. What I have is my mother’s 6.2 lb Chihuahua who is, at this very minute, attempting to dig a hole through the rug. She has been freaky all day. Earthquake freaky.

Okay, if you do not know what that means, you have not been reading my blog long. Exploding Birds and Earthquakes « Savanvleck’s Weblog  This dog predicts earthquakes and bird explosions. I type by a window and I sleep by a window and, when the dog senses danger she starts getting weird.

Today she has been wanting out all day but then, goes to the door and will not go out. She is hiding on the floor behind my feet, staying away from the window, and crawling up in my lap and onto my arms, to be cradled like a baby. You just try typing that way.

So, either Indiana will have a trembler, another bird will explode or, just possibly, the dog was listening to CNN this morning when they said Texas had an earthquake and she just does not know what state we live in and that is why, she is at this moment, trying to dig a hole through the rug.  I figure she wants to hide in the basement and does not want to take the stairs.

And, while she is a chicken loving dog, she will steal a hamburger occasionally too.

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This is seriously scary JRock (a/k/a)JRockGuitarMan in what can only be described as a military poster shot.

I am sure you are all ready to move on, after my week of Halloween posts.  So, I shall end the week, although there are plenty of parties going on this weekend, I am sure, with the a costume picture of me, that is as scary as I get.  And, no, it is not of me as Germaine Greer.  Now that, would be scary.  Although, I am with a friend of a friend.

And, since I took forty-six pictures last night, as they tried on costumes and changed them and were generally acting NOT their age, I have to share a couple more with you.


This is EMT Guy (he’s too old for EMT boy, well, except on Halloween) and his statement last night was, “364 days of the year, I dress to fit in. Tomorrow, I’m dressin’ like I want.”

JRock Hulk

The Dreadlock Cowboy and friend.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, ya’all. From the boys.

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When EMT gets off the bus, the first words out of his mouth, every day this week, have been, “Did FedEx come today?” In fact, he has called me to ask this very same question several times. The reason??? EMT’s friend (a girl) and he are to dress up like Pirates for Halloween. Her mother ordered the costumes and EMT’s was to come here. Part of the reason, for the costumes, is that the daughter is directing Pirates of Penzance.

I guess EMT is going to have to hit the bucket of costumes, if the pirate outfit does not arrive.

This is the winning “scary” costume for EMT the first year he was here.  We thought it was funny; rather than scary. 

And, since I am only up to 1986, in my photo album scan, I will post Crazy for Pepsi (oldest grandson) in his Dragon costume (1986).

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Halloween used to be one night but it seems to last a full week now. This past weekend, JRockGuitarMan helped the fire department with their haunted forest. For $7.00, you get on a wagon and ride through the woods. With JRockGuitarMan driving, it may be a wild ride. I am assuming things jump out at you and monsters stir. There is also a huge tent. I have not paid my fee, so I am not privy to the haunted world and I keep forgetting to ask him exactly what the ride entails. Since cars are parked as far as you can see, I am guessing it is a good ride.

I purchased pumpkins early last week and set them on the porch. In the picture above, they are on the ground, but that was just for a picture. Being the observant children they are, the boys walk in that door all the time and just noticed them yesterday. Granted they are knee-deep in the fallen leaves, the pumpkins—not the boys, but they are still visible. They will probably carve them one evening, if not, they will be turned into pies. Did you know that the first jack-o’-lanterns were carved from turnips or rutabaga?

Thanks to trusty Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Halloween for that tidbit.

The pumpkin carving is for our enjoyment, alone. We live rural enough that we do not get trick or treaters here. That has been the drawback of our last couple of houses. I love living rural but I miss seeing the kids in their costumes.

I also miss my pumpkin soup, but I am the only one who eats it and I hate making it just for myself. But, being on my new “you deserve a treat” kick while trying to eat better, I just may do it. We usually get a couple of extra pumpkins and process and freeze the meat to make our Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. We also make two pies out of canned pumpkins for the white bread weenies in the family.

Our town has a great tradition. Downtown is a church/parking lot, with “Trunk or Treating.” The parishioners park, open and decorate their trunks and sometimes whole car. They play ghostly sounds as they sit in their lawn chairs passing out goodies. Parents can take little ones to get guaranteed safe treats, from the shops in town and from the church and the teens enjoy it too. I think they have a bit of stuff inside for the kids too. Artists’ Drive is another tradition the boys do every year. The residents of this long road try to out-ghost one another in the quality of their treats.

The outside decorations are not bad either.

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Long, long ago, when Master’s daughter was a young, married, stay-at-home, mother of just one (this was before she became a Master’s teacher of children, mother of one bear like husband, one military son, two electrician sons), she had time.  She had time to decorate cakes, houses, make gravy starter (funny Thanksgiving story) and to sew.  She sewed Halloween costumes and, given the week is Halloween week  (Notice how it is no longer a one day holiday? ), I thought you might to see some of her handiwork.

 

 

 

To explain this picture:  There is a pumpkin to collect candy, a child barely bigger than the pumpkin who is dressed in a bear costume and the light brown/tan furry thing is actually a dog. 

 

 

This was my dog, then my mom’s dog (we do not actually mean to trade dogs in this family, but it does happen as you move and cannot take the dog with.)  This one was a little thing and really ornary with buggy eyes.  She was also, agreed upon by most of the family, to be a rather ugly dog.  My mom adored her 

 

 

Here, child sitting on the porch, has gotten bored by the whole costume, pose, dog thing and fallen asleep.  Whereas dog is thinking, “Why the heck is that kid sleeping on MY porch in a fur suit?  Don’t they know that is my job?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child grows, as children do.  I have one more, a fantastic dragon costume, but I have to scan it in yet.  Perhaps I should have titled this blog: Thoughts of a Proud Grandma.

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It is that time of year again. It is a time for teens, and adults, to be children and play dress-up.  This is truly one of my favorite holidays.   When I was a girl, mom would stay home and hand out treats and dad would drive me, from our rural home, to Griffith, where the houses were close together.  He would park at the end of the block and watch me go up one side and down the other.  When I got back to the car, dad got to check out the candy and I got back in the car for the next block.

 

It is amazing how everyone is a friend on Halloween.  I was Trick or Treating in a different school district and I always discovered a kid or two to run and laugh with. Including the year I met that awesome Zorro.  What’s not to love?  There’s dress-up and pretend, being out after dark, being let out of your own yard (for me that was a big adventure) and there was candy; specifically, chocolate.  

 

The two boys left at home, in my house, had never “done” Halloween before they moved in with us.  They were really excited about the school parties the first year they were here and ended up Trick or Treating. EMT boy won school award for the scariest costume.  It was a strange mix of mask, green fake fur and such.  I thought it was kind of funny and so did he.   It is accepted for teens to trick or treat in our town.  Of course, I think the homeowners have decided it beats the alternative. 

 

These guys though, were like two little kids their first year here.  Any time I found a cheap costume, I started picking them up.  They now should have (I say should as at time the stuff is all over the house) two rubbermaids of stuff:  phony teeth, makeup, chains, hooks, wigs, capes, and the whole deal.  After that first Halloween, we went to about four stores and picked up a bunch of sale stuff.  It was their absolute favorite Christmas gift.  Every once in a while they will still just surprise us, in the middle of the summer, when they come up the stairs in mask and costume.

 

You know, it’s a great escape.  I hope they never outgrow it.  Laughter is one key to good health and if we could all retain that playful attitude we could enrich our lives and those around us.

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This is from That’s What She Blogged . I am adjusting it a bit because I have no answers for a couple of the questions. Feel free to re-post, that is the point of a Meme, isn’t it?

1. What is the worst treat to get when trick-or-treating?

Personally, do not give me gum
JRockGuitarMan has said that the worse thing to get is those “candy bars that are good for you–neutrian bars.” He tells me they are horrible and that they leave them on the giver’s doorstep, when received.

2. What character from any horror film would you most like to play?
I am not a big horror film fan. My Melatonin ** dreams are bad enough.

JRockGuitarMan says that, while it is not from a horror film, he wants to play Darthmaul from Star Wars, and Gaffer, if you are reading, do NOT write and tell me I spelled it wrong. I imagine I did.

3. Would you rather be a zombie, alien, or psycho? (why)
I want to be an alien, so I can travel in outer space.

4. How many Halloween, Friday the 13th, or Nightmare on Elm Street movies combined do you have on dvd?
I have zero but I am betting Gaffer has several of these and many more you have never heard of. This includes the one I call ”Water Soluble Clowns from outer space.” He swears I am combining movies but since I wake up at 1:00 am and he is watching them, it is hard telling. I am not a 1am person.

5. What is the scariest movie you have ever seen?
Psycho kept me showering with the curtain open until I got yelled at for soaking the floor. But, I did not sleep for weeks after seeing the 50s werewolf movie on tv. My brother had it on tv one night, but he was making crème puffs for us and not paying attention. Mom and dad were off square dancing. When I complained about how scary it was, he told me to turn it off. I told him that I was too scared to turn it off. Okay, I did not have great amount of logic as a child.

6. Lamest costume you have worn on Halloween?
Once, I wanted to go out but did not feel like dressing up, so I wore a black dress on Halloween. Strangers were coming up telling me what a good costume I had. When I asked them who I was, they said, “Germaine Greer. You’re a dead ringer.” I do not leave the house on the 31st, without a costume on, now.

7. Favorite Halloween treat?
Dark chocolate truffles. I don’t think too many people give South Bend Dark Chocolate Truffles though.

8. Friendly-faced jack o’lantern or scary one?
Friendly…a Jack O’Lantern just looks like it should be fun.

9. Have you ever had nightmares about a scary movie character chasing you?
Not that I recall. My dreams tend to range more of actors, well—not chasing me. Although, if Viggo would like to chase me, is is most welcome to do so. I promise not to run too fast.

10. Best thing about Halloween?
It’s a time when you can play pretend and dress up and be anybody you want to be. As a kid, you can be outside after dark. Plus, you never know when you are going to run into Zorro. He’s hot! Note to Viggo, wear a Zorro costume and I will follow you anywhere.

11. Strangest Halloween custom you’ve heard of?
Keeping Jack ‘O Lanterns until Christmas to see if they will turn into Vampires. Ask Gaffer!!

12. Person in your family who most likes Halloween (not counting yourself)?
EMT boy and JRockGuitarMan. They have two rubbermaids of false teeth, fake blood, swords, chains, wigs, masks and such. All year is Halloween around here.

13. Are you superstitious? If so, name at least one superstition of yours.
Nope! Nada! Not at all!

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I have joined Classmates.com and in doing so, rather than finding out that no one remembers me, I am finding out that I don’t remember hardly anyone else.  I see a name and think it is familiar, but I have no positive recollection of who that person is.  Is that the little snippy girl or the one I liked?  And, on top of that, everyone labels themselves as a “loner” and no one posts pictures of themselves back in high school.

 

I know that our faces widen as we age, noses and ears continue to grow and let us not even get into what happens to our hips and stomachs, but come on guys, who the heck are you?  Too many years have passed and no one looks even vaguely familiar.

 

Is this actually the high school I graduated from?  The same high school where this girl was the ditzy, back stabbing cheerleader?  Has she grown up now and realized how shallow that was?  Is this one the nice quiet one?  Is this the same school where this guy was the hot jock and these kids (and me for a short time) were the band nerds?  Is it that no one wants to admit who they were or does it just not matter anymore?

 

Or, did everyone see themselves as loners then, or just in looking back now?  High school years can be rugged; two of my guys are going through them.   It is good that I can tell them, “this too shall pass.”  After all, we do all have to grow up sometime.  It’s just unfortunate that our memory has to go when we do.  

 

Oh, that’s just me.

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Okay, I am a bit slow.  October is Breast Cancer Awareness month and I just came across a blog that was pink for October.  This is an issue near to my heart and family.

Long ago, they called the doctor out to the house when my maternal grandfather had a heart attack.  As long as he was there, my mother asked him to check out her mother, who had been ignoring a lump in her breast.  It was cancer and it was too late.  She died when I was a year old.  She left a teenage daughter parentless.

Years pass and my mother finds a lump in her breast.  By the time she had surgery,there were five separate cancers in one breast. She is a survivor. 

At age twenty-six, I found a lump in my breast.  I was in pre-law at University of Illinois, Chicago Circle and, by the time they got me to the oncology clinic, three months had passed and one lump was now a mass of lumps in both breasts.  At that time, the answer was to remove my breasts. I did not test positive for breast cancer.  I have been the lucky one. in the family. 

At this time, one of my mother’s three sisters and three of that sister’s daughters have, or have had, breast cancer.  That is six immediate family members with breast cancer. 

Please check your breasts monthly.  Early detection is the key. 

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I gave birth to two daughters.  I watched them grow and marry and have children and I am here to tell you.  Raising girls is WAYYYY different then raising boys. 

 

I did not give birth to these boys but they lived with me for nine, six and three years before their mother’s second marriage.  Then, I spent an average of three days a week in their home or they in mine.  The oldest, Gaffer, moved in when he was a freshman in high school and he will be twenty-two, in November.  The middle, EMT boy, is nineteen and JRockGuitarMan is sixteen.  These last two have lived with me for the last three years.

 

The big concern for girls seems to be their hair and their butts; and the respective size of each.  Boys: the big concern is more varied.  Shirt sleeves are a big concern.  It is amazing how much time a boy, in Brown County, can take rolling up and down a t-shirt sleeve.  We do, sad to say, live in a rather red-neck county. 

 

I know this because, periodically I have to remind JRockGuitarMan that he does not have a southern accent and that “ya’all” is, in fact, not a word.  Try calling his cell phone and you will think that Randy Travis is answering; with a hint of twang to it.  The boy was born in northwest Indiana and raised in Wyoming, but three years of Brown County takes over.

 

My brother, David VanVleck, was six years older than me.  He read books, listened to music with headphones on and played the clarinet.  He was quiet; unless he was complaining that I was not rinsing the dishes good enough.  This is not the norm with these boys.  They are anything but quiet.  I have stopped sword fights and wrestling in the front room.  If I pull in the drive, and only the boys are home, I can hear the stereo vibrating the neighbor’s windows. 

 

I think that girls are a bit more consistent too.  EMT boy has had his ear pierced three separate times, Gaffer, at least twice.  They decide to let it seal up and then redo it.  Is this some ritual to prove you can endure pain?  Girls are smart enough to do it and keep it.  Why go through that again?  Then, there is the tattoo.  EMT boy designed a fireman tattoo and has had it touched up once.  JRockGuitarMan, who hates needles with a passion, periodically discusses getting a tattoo.  I’m not sure he totally believes how many needle sticks are involved in the process.

 

Then, there is the military.  Gaffer will never let them get their hands on him.  EMT boy dresses military, goes out to Camp Atterbury and challenges them to the obstacle course and wins.  Wins “cool” military posters at school by doing more push-ups than anyone; but until yesterday, he was never entering the military.  I understand this, however, he has found out how much money they will pay him to get his RN.  He does not like debt. 

 

Now, JRockGuitarMan is talking military.  He, like Gaffer, has an aversion to homework and some idiot in Brown County, told him that he could quit school, get his GED and join the military.  He has visions of being Special Forces.  He was informed, yesterday, that if he drops out (in his continuing effort to avoid homework) that he will have to get sixty credit hours at the local college before they will take him.  Opppss!! That did not work out so well for him, now did it?  And, since all the teachers agree that he is a very bright guy, he will be doing his homework. 

 

The best laid plans of mice and young men—

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