Saturday, October 27, 2007

Blogging, pot-luck style

Per Beth's request, here are my beautiful boots with my gorgeous matching purse. I also have a shorter pair of red boots in the same color (but they're from pay less). While hunting in my closet, I realized I have 5 (FIVE) pair of knee-high boots, and about 8 pairs of shorter boots (maybe more). I love me some nice boots. Feel free to feel jealous!

Victor also received an afghan from my grandma. He finally got it on the 18th when we celebrated his 10th birthday (he still wears size 5 pants, although I noticed they were getting too short). Victor's favorite colors are red and blue, and he is in the cub scouts. He was very impressed with his afghan, especially the star, although he kept referring to it as his "afghanistan". When I would correct him, he would then pronounce it like my grandma does, afaghan. I guess it runs in the family.

My parents visited from the 18th to the 22nd. The kids stayed with us from the 16th to the 20th. We took the kids to the Virginia Living Museum in Newport News. If you have kids and are in the area, you must go. It is a wonderful museum. It has both indoor and outdoor components, with living animals in both places. These represent the animals that live in Virginia, explains about ecosystems and talks about environmentalism and why it's important. All on a kids' level while still being incredibly interesting for adults. The best part, the whole thing only took about 3 hours. Long enough to keep everyone entertained without getting cranky and tired. Here's just a few of the very cool things we saw.
I don't know that I had ever seen a beaver before. They are so much fun to watch.

When I was married to my first husband, we lived in a trailer. One day, the dryer hose popped off, and one of these (a baby) popped his head into our trailer. It was a little spooky (and my cat freaked out). I will never live in a trailer again.

There was a ton of hands-on stuff, including this giant tortoise shell. I wanted my mom to get in it, but she refused. Spoil-sport. Overall, we had a great time.

The visit from my parents was wonderful and I really enjoyed it. But we had had the kids the week before, and Wes's dad had been here and I had worked. When my parents left, I just wanted to sleep. I had a few jobs this week, two part-time, two full-day. Again, I loooooove Junior High. I am really surprised by this, but every time I substitute for them, I feel happy. Every time I substitute for high school, I go home feeling drained and slightly angry. I never would have known this though, if my advisor hadn't kicked me out of school.

We've been going over our finances again. When we married, my husband did not realize he had $70,000 worth of credit card and consolidation loan debt. He's in the navy and gone a lot and he just didn't know. More than half of that was debt from the ex-wife, the rest was his own stupidity. Well, we now have less than $30,000 in debt. We've been married for a little over a year and a half. He just got a raise and with me working (even if not a lot), we should have this paid off in another year and a half. At least I hope so. (I should add that he received a $23,000 bonus last year that went straight towards the debt. We will not be receiving another bonus for at least 2 years.)

That's about it here. I'm just cleaning and doing laundry and I trying to figure out what I'm going to cook for dinner. I hope everyone is doing well, and if you just need a pick-me-up, go look at my beautiful boots and purse!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I've got to get more jobs like this

Guess what I'm doing right now, as I'm typing this. Go on, guess. If you said I was getting paid for substituting while blogging from the comfort of my own home, you would be correct! Some teachers, usually the foreign language ones, teach at more than one school. The teacher I'm subbing for today does. There are 2 hours and 15 minutes in between when I left the first school and when I have to be at the second school. And I'm getting paid for all of them. So I came home, made lunch, made cookies, read e-mail, read blogs, called my mom and now I'm blogging. I definitely need more substituting jobs like this. Now, if you'll excuse me, there are peanut butter cookies downstairs called my name.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

She went that way

I was going to update my blog tomorrow, along with pictures of the kids and purse with boots, but I just got another job. We've been spending ridiculous amounts of money (ok, not really, but we've had a lot of company which always means spending money, and it was Victor's birthday), so I really have to take any job that comes along. I will update on Sunday, as my husband will be working on that day. Meanwhile, I miss everyone and I will come back.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fortune's Rocks

I had three days break in between the children's visits. I read a book. I will now review that book, because I have not yet downloaded the pictures from the awesome past week with my parents and kids.

I read Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve. This is a very poignant book about love, love lost, and the sacrifices we make for those we love. The book's central character, Olympia, age fifteen, lives in the final days of the 19th century. One summer, when with her parents at their summer home in Fortune's Rocks, she begins an affair with her father's close friend and associate, a man who is almost three times her age and married with four children. Their relationship is a loving and passionate one. Unfortunately, they are caught red-handed, at her 16th birthday party, no less, by his wife. Several months later, Olympia discovers she is pregnant.

This first part of the book causes quite the moral quandary. He is married and she is still a child, yet the story is so well written that you can feel their love through the pages. It is not based on physical desire alone, in fact, their intense physical passion results from their intellectual understanding of one another (she is incredibly well educated for a woman). After their child is born, he is taken away, where, she has no clue. She doesn't know if her lover even knew of her pregnancy. She suffers this loss intensely and spends the next four years trying to make up for the intense disappointment she has become to her parents. But she never repents of her actions. She wishes she could undo the hurt caused to everyone, but she cannot convince herself that the love she felt was, or ever would be, wrong. After four years of exile, she feels that she has lost herself and returns to Fortune's Rocks, by herself, to heal.

While in Fortune's Rocks she discovers that her son is there, that her lover placed him in an orphanage and that he is in foster care. She follows the family and discovers that although the family is poor, they love her son very much. She must decide: does she try to remove her son from the only family he has ever known and loved because she wants him, or does she let him remain with them. The court scenes are wrenching, her longing for her son, palpable. I will not tell you what happens in the last part of the book. I will tell you it has a "happy" ending. Not a sitcom happy ending, but an, all things considered, happy ending. Overall, a great book. I couldn't put it down and Olympia was a wonderful character to watch mature and evolve. I would highly recommend this book.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Hi-ho and beyond

We had the kids last week. We had a father-in-law last week. I worked full-time last week. My husband worked ungodly navy hours last week. My step-son was on new ADHD medicine last week. Do I really need to tell you how much fun it was?

My grandma had crocheted afghans for the kids. I told her Allison loved the color pink. Which she does. My grandma took that to an extreme. You may need sunglasses for the next picture.

Give your eyes a few minutes to re-adjust before trying to read. Needless to say, Allison loved her afghan. Her afghan that can be seen from space. Her afghan that glows in the dark. Her afghan, that is indeed, pink as pink can be.

As I mentioned, Wes's dad was here last week. He "watched" the kids while we both worked. I put watched in quotations because he watched TV downstairs while they played upstairs (and tore the blinds apart). I don't know why he even bothered. He kept saying he needed to take them to the store to buy them birthday presents. He never did. He said he would just mail us a check and we could buy them. But we don't have time for that, and he has never mailed us a check, even though we have bought presents to be from him since we got married. Whatever.

After everyone left we decided we needed to wind down just a little bit. We went to a wildlife refuge to bird watch. It was one we'd never been to before. It was on the beach. It was beautiful. We saw two new birds. And as we walked the boardwalk through the dunes, discussing what kind of wildlife they must have, we looked up and saw this.

It wasn't completely tame or anything, but as long as we stood quietly, he didn't mind our presence. Whatever he was eating must have been good. He let us get very close.

It was really cool. Although it makes me worry about him when deer hunting season starts. But it was a great way to spend the day. The weather has been beautiful and it is bird migration season. And who doesn't love to spend time with their spouse.

Money has been a little tight. The navy has made a few errors on my husband's paychecks, along with recent travel, and we're really watching what we spend right now. With me working more and once the navy fixes the errors (he was supposed to get a rather large raise, but his paycheck was smaller than normal. How does that work?), we will be fine. But, with me working, I need new fall clothes. I have gained about 10 pounds since I moved here (that's a whole other blog). I don't have any dress pants that fit, and while the weather is beautiful, it is fall weather. The capri's just don't work anymore. The other day, I went to the store, and they had a sale going on. But not on pants. On purses. And I haven't bought a really nice purse in ages. And this purse was beautiful, and red, and more than 2/3 off its normal price. Behold its beauty and charm. I may have to work with no pants, but no one will notice because they will be admiring my beautiful new purse (I also have matching red boots that I bought last year).

Now I have to clean up last week's mess because my parents will be here tomorrow. At least they do more than sit on the couch all day.

Monday, October 08, 2007

The cat's meow

After War and Peace I thought I might take a break from Russian literature. But my friend Sarah has been bugging me for years to read Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita and said it would be a great read after the crap that was War and Peace. Boy, was she right.

The Master and Margarita takes place in Moscow during the Stalin era of terror (specifically the 1930s, since most of the Stalin era was an era of terror). This book is so magnificent, I don't really know how to describe it. Bulgakov uses fantasy to reveal the corruption and lack of artistic freedom in the Soviet Union. Satan lands in Moscow, along with his bizarre crew, and causes total chaos in the artistic community. We find out that his goal is to "save" the Master, a writer, who was institutionalized after he wrote a book about Jesus and Pontius Pilate. Intrigued yet? This book will make you think for days and days. If you don't know much about Soviet history, it might make you head to your local library to learn why this book was banned for 26 years after it was written. And when you finish reading it, you know you'll have to read it again, because you missed something. As for me, I'm going to start looking for Bulgakov's work, because he is indeed a Master.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Don't shoot my mom!

I have been getting more and better sleep. But last night, last night was bad. My husband had duty, which means he didn't come home. I either sleep better than normal or not at all when he has duty. Last night was a not at all. And I woke up with a headache. And during the few precious moments I did sleep, I dreamt that my ex-husband shot my mom. It was disturbing.

I am slowly coming off my anti-depressants. I have been fine, but Saturday and Sunday, I freaked out. It was more money anxiety than depression. But I don't want to stay on the meds, so this week I called the school district and broadened the range of classes I am willing to substitute for. This will keep me busy, giving me less time to worry, and it will bring in more money. Thus, killing two birds with one stone. I already lined a job for all of next week.

My father in law and my step-children are arriving tonight for a week. Like I don't have enough to do. Wes was going to try to get time off, but with his new job, that's not going to happen. I hope Wes's dad was serious when he said he would watch the kids while I worked, because as I mentioned, I have a job every single day next week. Noooooooo, I didn't plan to be gone all the time when the house was chaotic. It just happened that way! The kids will be here a week, go home for the weekend, and then come back for a week (they're in year-round school). My parents will also be visiting the following week. October is going to be a busy month. That's ok though. I like busy.

I am crocheting an afghan for my grandma. I am very excited about this, but a little stressed out. She's been crocheting for 30 years. Hers will be the fourth afghan I crochet. I want it to be beautiful. Just like the 5 afghans we brought back with us and I shoved under the kids' bed, because we live in Virginia Beach and we already had at least 10 afghans. Maybe I should really crochet her 20 afghans!

In other disturbing news. Remember that other officer's wife, the one who is just a little bit slow (no, I am not being mean, she really does have a low IQ and she is aware of it). She is pregnant. And she is in shock that she is pregnant, even though she wasn't using birth control (I told you she was slow). She is freaking out. So we've been hanging out a lot (she doesn't have a driver's licence either). I'm a little jealous. I want to be pregnant but we have to wait to try because of the stupid navy. And then I'm afraid I won't get pregnant. I guess I should just quit worrying about it. There's not a whole lot I can do about it anyway.

We have new neighbors. They are nice. I like them a lot. I think we have new friends.

Have a great weekend. I'm going to go take a nap while I can.

Monday, October 01, 2007

I am a zombie

The trip to Minnesota was wonderful. They were in the midst of an Indian Summer, so some of the tress had begun to turn colors, but it was still warm. It was also extremely windy.
We hiked a couple of different days. We identified a bird we hadn't seen before. But even cooler, we watched a Red-tailed Hawk fly around with a snake in its talons. Minnesota is beautiful and if it weren't so cold in the winter, I would consider living there.

My grandma loved Wes. I didn't get to see as much of my family as I wanted (maybe next time Amynda!) but I did get to see my cousin, who had just had a baby.

Can you hear my biological clock over the internet? I really want one NOW, but my husband tells me there's a waiting period of 9 months. Since the lovely navy is taking him away from me again next spring, we're hoping to time things so he'll be home. I really hope it happens the way we want it to. Overall, the trip was great, even though we got stuck in Chicago for while. But when we got home, all hell broke loose.

My husband's new work schedule: 4 am to about 4 pm. I am so tired. Why? Because he wants me to go to bed with him at 8:00pm. Only I'm not tired. So I just lay there forever. And then when I do fall asleep, I wake up every hour because I'm afraid he won't wake up when his 3 alarms go off at minute and a half intervals, and then when they go off 5 to 9 minutes later, depending on the length of the snooze. It's only after he leaves for work, at 3:30am, that I'm able to fully fall asleep. That doesn't leave me a lot of actual sleep. But it gets worse, for Wes, not me.

The day after we got back, Wes's boss got fired. And Wes got his job (temporarily). In the military rank does not equal position. But today, Wes got promoted (see picture above). The promotion includes a pay raise (yay!), the new job doesn't (boo!). So now he has more work, crappy work hours and he's in graduate school. He's one tired puppy. Gotta love the navy.