Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

Posts Tagged ‘Family stuff’

Things are a little bit different now!

Posted by Lissa on March 17, 2019

Hello, everyone!! How ARE you?? What’s going ON???

There’s no non-awkward way to come back after a 2.5 year hiatus (and much, much longer than that for regular blogging). There’s no smooth transition or easy segue. But who needs easy anyway? Not me!

So here are some things that have happened recently:

  • My boys are growing! Bigger, smarter, and (sometimes) sassier each day. I’ve used various aliases for the kids over the years, so let’s re-introduce them:
    • Son #1 = Doogie Howser*, age 6. He’s incredibly sweet and earnest, scarily smart, and VERY concerned that everyone follow the rules. As the biggest and the oldest of the clan, he’s the default leader. As a younger sibling myself, I thought that meant that he would be the most independent and fearless, but that’s not his character. It’s almost the opposite: when he doesn’t have his built-in entourage (i.e., one or both of his youngest brothers) he becomes shy and hesitant. A general needs an army to lead!
      *Doogie Howser is the best I can come up with right now, but I hope to find a better moniker.
    • Son #2 = Casanova, age 4. Oh my LORD, this child! He believes that the entire female half of the species exists to coddle him, cuddle him, admire him, and generally provide for his every want. Sadly, he seems to be right: he’s a VERY good-looking kid, which when combined with his charm makes every woman melt. He thinks nothing of asking to be picked up and hugged by near-strangers, nor of kissing the occasional random 13-year-old girl at Disney World before running off. (Yes, this really happened.) He’s also SCARY smart – I’d guess he reads at about a first or second grade level. I think he may take over the world someday, and I’m not at all convinced that he’s going to be a benevolent dictator.
    • Son #3 = Little Gronk, age 2. This kid is either rambunctiously, riotously happy or melodramatically devastated, with very little in between. His favorite activity in life is to jump. He prefers height jumps – i.e., off the couch onto the floor – but will hop up and down on the ground when that’s the only option. He’s also a giant, metaphorically speaking: he’s in the top 10% of his weight and height cohorts, and unbelievably agile. There’s statistically zero chance that any of my kids will become professional athletes, but if any of them did it would DEFINITELY be Gronk.
    • Watching the three of them play and interact is a never-ending amusement (except when they occasionally try to kill each other). I am very, VERY grateful I have three boys; I never have to arrange for a play date, we just pack up and go.
  • My wonderful husband remains my wonderful husband. That’s a more private relationship (and he’s kind of a private person) so I won’t say much about it – just know that he’s still awesome.
  • My politics have gone off the rails. I pretty much don’t believe anything that any politician says nowadays, including the words “and” and “the.” I’m focusing on tending my own garden and crabbily telling people to get off my lawn and leave me the hell alone.
  • One of the reasons my politics went off the rails is that I don’t follow the Standard American Diet (SAD) anymore. I read a lot about how that monstrosity got established and what it does to your body, as well as literature establishing the science of my current low-carb, high-fat diet, and lost forever my faith that The Established Wisdom Must Be True. No, it was all of a load of crap, and if they f*^*ed up THAT badly, for THAT long, with THAT AMOUNT of catastrophic results, over FOOD – what else did The Establishment screw up? I just assume “everything” – it saves time.
  • And finally, the most recent big change: I quit finance and went back to school. If all goes well, I’ll graduate with my ASN (Associate of Science in Nursing) in July 2021 and sit for the NCLEX in August. That’s right, after fifteen years of being a cubicle monkey I’m learning to take blood pressures, look up drugs in my Davis’ guide, do cardiac and respiratory assessments, and fun stuff like that. So far I LOVE it!!

So, that’s me nowadays! Why am I coming back to the blog? (Or, let’s be honest – intending to come back to the blog. We’ll see how it goes.)

Stories. I have stories, and I want to record them and share them.

Between the kids and the new experiences in nursing, I have things I want to say. Things that I think are entertaining, or that I want to remember. And apparently texting my close girlfriends isn’t scratching the itch.

Who wants to come along and play? 😉

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This year? SEVEN pounds of Who-Roast-Beast

Posted by Lissa on December 28, 2009

Merry Christmas everyone!  We had four fewer people than last year so we downsized the roast to a more reasonable size.  Fewer leftovers, yes, but there’s still plenty for Lissa’s dinners this week!

Mike’s family and my father showed up around 4:10 PM to consume hors d’oeuvres.  (Bless them all for not showing up early!)  Mike firmly reigned in my tendency to go overboard with food, so we limited ourselves to fresh salsa and Tostidos scoops, fresh-baked pesto bread with Parmesan-garlic olive oil for dipping, Lays potato chips, and caprese salad made with three different kinds of tomato.  My father particularly complimented the salsa and asked for the recipe.  It’s very simple —

1) drive to Stop and Shop

2) buy a container of Fresh Salsa (you’ll find it in the produce section with the dips/chopped onion etc.)

I washed all the romaine and butter lettuce and ripped it to pieces and sliced up three carrots last night, as well as chopping up mushroom and onion for gravy (which I finished except for pan drippings before the folks arrived).  Once the roast was ready, I had only to a) steam the green beans, b) microwave three slices of bacon, c) boil the egg noodles, d) add grape tomatoes to the salad and dump it into a serving dish.  I’ve decided that microwaving bacon in a bowl is perfect for this preparation of green beans; I steamed them fresh and crisp, then tossed them with the resulting bacon fat and crumbled the bits over the top.  Delicious!  Even vegetarians admit that bacon is the perfect food.

After a break to clear away the carnage and open some presents, we re-convened for dessert.  Again, I kept it small this year — I baked an apple pie (thanks Mom!) and served it with banana bread and zucchini bread (a gift — thanks again Mom!).

I’m munching zucchini bread as I drink my coffee and looking around at my clean-and-tidied living room.  It’s a good way to approach the New Year.

I hope all of you made Santa’s Nice List this year!  But if you didn’t . . . well, I hear the people on the Naughty List have more fun anyway 😉

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Eyes like a hawk

Posted by Lissa on October 23, 2009

I get my knowledge from the most random of places.  I owe any (sketchy) familiarity with the historical religious quagmire called the Middle East to The Source. I helped diagnose my grandmother’s cataracts thanks to The Clan of the Cave Bear.*

And now  — thanks to The Fiery Cross — I’m wondering if I lack binocular vision.

Physician Claire gives her son-in-law Roger a few eye tests, asking him about which sports he played and which sports were difficult.  She then explains the reason that he could play soccer but not tennis was that he has no binocular vision — that his brain never learned to merge the pictures from his two different eyes to form a true 3-D picture.  Instead, he’s learned to subconsciously judge the distance of things by comparing their relative size.  She assures him that he should still be able to shoot, as many men close one eye while doing that anyway, but warns that he might have difficulty tracking moving objects across the sky.

Every single bit of this applies perfectly to me, right down to the preferred and proscribed sports.

I find it just as easy to go about my business with my left eye covered.  I don’t gain any real depth perception by looking at something with two eyes, rather than just my strong eye.

Is anyone else familiar with this concept?  Do you have the same problem?  Do you know how to test for it?

At the end, Claire assures Roger that many creatures, such as birds of prey, have no binocular vision, as their eyes are on the sides of their heads.  So even if it’s true — I’ve got eyes like a hawk.

But that’s not going to help me when shotgunning clays . . .

P.S. Thanks to everyone for holster advice!  And I definitely plan to buy a bluegun.  I’d mentioned to Mike that we need to practice a bit with him trying to grab my “gun” away from me — and that’s not the sort of thing you do with a real gun!

*I noticed that my Japo’s irises were blue at the edges.  Japo, you will recall, is Chinese; we’re not supposed to have blue eyes.  I thought of how, in The Clan of the Cave Bear, the Clan initially thinks Ayla might be blind because she has blue eyes.  All the Clan members have brown eyes; their eyes only film blue when they’re going blind with old age.  Thinking of this, I mentioned it to my mother, my aunt took Japo to the eye doctor a little while later, and they diagnosed her with cataracts.  True story!

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For clarification

Posted by Lissa on September 29, 2009

While this post was factually accurate, it’s misleading.

I wrote, “H/t of my sister, who I am desperately trying to convince that gun-owners are largely responsible, careful people.”  That is true — I have been desperately trying to convince her of that.

But the thing is — she doesn’t need to be convinced.  As she commented, “I have never stated that I think gun owners are largely irresponsible. Therefore, you have never had to try and convince me that they’re largely responsible. I have been QUITE clear that I am not against gun ownership and there is no possible way that you could have misinterpreted my position.”

I know Jenny’s not thrilled about my foray into the gun world; she’s told me so.  Ironically, this led to me frantically trying to convince her of something that she already knows — that guns are safe when in the hands of safety-conscious people — and I think I came off as rather a fanatic.  Serious backfire, there 🙂

So, to clarify — my sister does NOT think that all gun-owners are mouth-breathing hillbillies, and it wasn’t fair to imply that she did.  When she expressed her not-thrilled-ness with my gun stuff, she also stated right off the bat that she had complete faith in my ability to be safe, and that she had no doubt I would be the most responsible gun owner/user ever.  My apologies for the error.  Mea culpa!

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Range report: Father edition

Posted by Lissa on September 22, 2009

Saturday morning Mike and I met my father up at Manchester Firing Line for some father-daughter-son-in-law bonding time 🙂  Sadly, they didn’t have the Smith & Wesson M&P Mike wanted to play with, so we settled for the Sig 226 (.40).

Sig 226

I hate to say it . . . but I did NOT like this gun.  I thought the sights were wretched and the kick was serious enough to screw with my aim.  Shot after shot would go low and/or wide.  After we’d jointly put 50 rounds through it, I said the hell with it.  Why beat up your hand, beat up your wrist and not enjoy yourself?  I walked out and rented the little Sig P239 darlin from my last trip.

Maybe I just can’t shoot .40?  Or I’d have to get used to it?  I understand that it has a lot more stopping power than 9 mm, but I think everyone agrees — better to get one 9 mm with less stopping power on target than to have .40s hitting low and wide.  It was a wise decision on my part; I went from being frustrated and disappointed to happily hitting the target.

(It may also have just been a bad day to try .40; I overdid the coffee Saturday morning and my hands were quivering no matter how hard I gripped the gun.  It was easier to control with the 239 than the 226; my hands were noticeably trembling with the bigger gun.  I know it was noticeable, because Mike noticed and commented on it.  Q.E.D.)

After I finished off my box of 9 mm — and yes, I did let Mike run through ten shots on the P239 compact; he was more accurate as well — we cleaned up our lane and went to go bother my father.

Daddy rockin' the Glock

(I also took a gun-profile pic of his piece, but . . . dude.  It’s a Glock 19.  It’s very functional and it has no soul.)

Daddy was West Point, so he’s been shooting guns just a wee bit longer than we have.  Just a wee bit longer than we’ve been alive, actually; tack on a few extra years for his being an Army brat.  Anyway, for the most part he let us just have fun, but every once in a while he would give us tips on our shooting.

Having ascertained that Mike (and I) tend to anticipate the shot and therefore dip the muzzle while squeezing the trigger, he ran through an AWESOME exercise with Mike.  He removed all the bullets from the magazine and handed them to me, clearing the gun and locking the slide back on an empty chamber.  He had my husband face forward towards the target and proceeded to hand him the Glock a number of times.  The first time, the gun was empty; we all clearly saw the muzzle dip as Mike pulled the trigger.

We repeated the exercise a number of times, with a twist.  Sometimes Daddy would take a bullet from me and put it in the chamber before closing the slide.  Sometimes he would simply pause a few seconds before closing it.  At all times Mike faced forward, so he didn’t know whether he’d be dry-firing or shooting an actual bullet.  (I don’t really need to say so, but — of course the gun was treated as loaded whether it was or not.  Duh.)

I thought this was a FASCINATING and very helpful drill.  Watching Mike go through it and applying the lesson to my own habit of anticipating the shot, I changed my firing method.  Instead of squeezing the trigger smoothly, I concentrated on pulled it back as slo-o-o-o-o-owly as I could.  The results were IMMEDIATE:

Glock 19 at 5 yards

The center bullseyes were all from the first magazine I shot with the new slo-o-o-ow trigger pull.  I did that consistently with my next few turns, too.  (I could hear my father even through my ear protection, commenting to my husband that he was a little scared of me.  *grin*)

So . . . if a goblin ever breaks in, I just need him to stand very still at five yards for the ten seconds it takes me to pull the trigger . . .

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Random thoughts

Posted by Lissa on July 15, 2009

– Mike’s sister D just received a postcard we sent her.  On our honeymoon.  Almost three months ago.  What is WRONG with the Caribbean postal service??

– We saw the trailer for Julie & Julia yesterday, and the first thing that popped out of my mouth was “I hope they include the part about Julia Child inventing shark repellent!”

– This ad came on while I was using the litter box yesterday.  Thank you, Mike, for rewinding Tivo and making sure I watched this:

My mouth hung open for a good ten seconds afterward.  Shades of Anchorman, anyone?

Ed Harken: [on the phone] I have no idea where he would have gotten ahold of German pornography. But you and I are mature adults; we’ve both seen our share of pornographic materials. Oh, you never have? Of course you haven’t, how stupid of me. Neither have I. I was just speaking in generalities. Right. I’ll stop by the school a little later, Sister Margaret. Bye.

– Last but not least — she doesn’t check this blog very often, but I would be sorely remiss if I didn’t wish Jenny a very happy birthday.  Thanks for coming into the world, thanks for holding my hand, thanks for making me get tetanus shots 🙂  Thanks for that time you brought all of your sixth-grade authority to threaten the little fourth-grade punk who was bugging me, thank you for having your high school buddies troll the junior high school halls to make sure no one picked on me, thanks for teaching me about the deliciousness of peanut-butter-and-jelly mixed together in a mug.  Thank you for reading a blessing during our wedding ceremony and thank you for crying during the first dance.  You’re the best!!

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Bad grammar makes me [sic]

Posted by Lissa on July 14, 2009

In retrospect, I don’t know how I got the reputation as a grammatical hardass.  After all, I never formally learned English grammar.  It’s not like I can diagram a sentence.  And the only encounters I’ve had with the present perfect or the pluperfect were in Spanish class.

Regardless, I did somehow manage to acquire that reputation.  Thus the birthday card I received from the LilBros this weekend:


Open it up to read:


We passed it around the table and every single person at the table LOL’d.

Except my mom.  🙂

Thanks LilBros!  And to Jenny for all the birthday riches she gave me last month, and to Mom for cooking and baking up a storm, and to John for cleaning and painting before our arrival.  And to Mike, for not grumbling about the four hour drive.

I love my family.

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The coolest present ever

Posted by Lissa on July 13, 2009

For anyone who liked The Godfather, anyway.  Horse’s heads are the new flowers!


This would be the enormous stuffed severed horse’s head we got LilBro1 for his birthday.  The damn thing even has a spinal cord!


LilBro1 was entertained as hell 🙂 (You can find it here.)

In other, less happy news, I feel like someone took a blow torch and some steel wool to the back of my throat.  DayQuil and saltwater-gargling will be a regular feature on my schedule today . . .

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Lost in translation

Posted by Lissa on June 26, 2009

Mike’s cousin M is four years old and just cute as a button.  That being said, she needs a little work on her delivery . . .

M: “Knock knock!”

LISSA: “Who’s there?”

M: “Why does . . . why does a gopher . . . wear two shirts?”

LISSA: (puzzled) “Um, what’d you say, sweetie?”

M: “Why does a gopher wear two shirts?”

LISSA: “Gee M, I don’t know, why?”

M: “In case . . . he gets a rip, right here!” (indicating her breastbone)

LISSA: (utterly bewildered) “Oh . . . um, right there?”

M: (gleefully) “Yes!!!”

LISSA:  “Um, oh!  Hahahaha!!!” 

After a bit of clarification from the aunts and uncles, I give you a perhaps more-comprehensible version:

Q. Why does a  golfer wear two shirts?

A: In case he gets a hole in one.

You might like M’s version better 🙂

Happy Friday!

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A Japo story

Posted by Lissa on May 27, 2009

It just so happens that my grandmother is The Coolest Lady On Earth.

She’s 94 years old now, so her hearing and her vision are fading.  Her English is and has always been broken.  That being said, the woman misses NOTHING; I wish I had half her memory or a quarter of her smarts.

Japo has been around the block a few times, too.  She lived through the Japanese invasion of the 1930s, hiding in the caves of Kweilin and living off scraps of food.  She moved to Jamaica, raised a family and helped run a small grocery store despite ethnic tensions in the area.

It was during these days as a shopkeeper that she told one of the only two lies of her life.

We sat around the food court of a large mall in Toronto while she told us the story.

You see, there had been a robbery of the shoe store across the street, and the police knew that Japo was a witness.  They told her she had to come testify and identify the robber in court.

Only problem was, the robber’s buddies had already come to the store and explained to Japo in no uncertain terms that if she identified the man, they would burn down her shop. 

“So,” she related in her loud voice, “I prayed to God to know what to do.  And then I prayed to God to forgive what I do.” 

She went to court, and she got up on the witness stand.  And when the judge pointed to the man on trial and asked if Japo could identify him, she waved her hands and shrugged.

“I tell him, ‘I don’t know!  All you black people look the same to me!’ ” she told us triumphantly.*  And very loudly.

Eyes widening in horror, open-mouthed, my sister, my brothers and I looked over to the next table where several pigmentally-gifted young men were sitting.

And lord bless ’em, they looked over, saw that the speaker was a tiny ancient Asian woman, laughed, and minded it not a bit.

Love you, Japo.

*My mom explained later — black folks in that area of Jamaica sometimes complained that all Asians looked the same.  Japo was smart enough to lie in such a way that the audience would believe it — just as all Asian people looked the same to blacks, all black folks looked the same to Asians.  Really, judge.  In the process, she saved her shop and her family.  That is one tough, wise lady.

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