Blogger Backgrounds

Monday, July 25, 2011

Getting There

He is still rolling to get places, but I noticed today that he's getting ready to crawl! It's not going to be too much longer. Thank goodness for baby gates and outlet covers!

*While yes, I AM actually a fan of the Pina Colada song, I wasn't actually listening to the song per se. We had the movie Grown Ups on in the background.

I have so much to do before we leave to go visit everyone in Montana soon. All of the trips we have taken in the last year have been emergency situations. Coming home to a dirty house drives me INSANE, but I didn't really have a chance to get everything the way I wanted in my house before leaving. So this time, I want to have the house nice and clean before we go - much more relaxing to come home to a nice house after a trip.

And then there's all the laundry. It might be nice to have clean clothes for our trip. I think the people around us might appreciate us a little more if we DON'T smell like gym socks.

And then there's the extra fun situation on our bed. I noticed the sheets were starting to show signs of wear. I kept meaning to go find the other set we have, but never did feel like rummaging around in my very packed basement.* My mom got us a nice set of white sheets, but I didn't want them to get dingy. But then, this morning, when the blankets were thrown back, Surfer Pirate's side of the bed has a HUGE hole, about 2 feet long. Okay fine. Time to change out all the bedding. And I guess I'm going with the white sheets because I'm still not willing to go dig in my basement.

*Beware buying a house with a lot of storage space. It becomes WAY too easy to fill it all up. Then, when you move to a smaller (although much more charming) house, you have to do some major purging. But even then, quite often, it isn't ENOUGH. So you still have a TON of crap in your basement that you still have to sort through and decide what stays and what goes. I've been procrastinating that part. Today is exactly one year after moving to Northern Middle of Nowhere, ND, and I don't think I've even dealt with 10% of the boxes down there.

I'm looking forward to this trip a lot. My dad gets to meet his grandson for the first time! Many of my friends have had babies since I've been gone, and I can't wait to see them. My cousin and his adorable wife just bought a house. We're talking about possibly going to the drive-in movie theater when we're there, and my home town has a SONIC!!!! CHERRY LIMEADE, HERE I COME!! Plus it will be nice to get away for a little bit.

There is one really interesting thing I have noticed. In the three (horrible) years that I lived in Utah, I went home to Montana every chance I got. And every single time, having to go back to Utah killed me. I didn't like living there, and I really missed my beautiful home state. When I moved back there 10 years ago, I vowed to never leave Montana again. But life changes, things happen, and we ended up taking this opportunity to move to ND.

And you know what??

I LOVE it here!

This trip to Montana will be just that - a nice trip. I'll be more than happy to come home when our vacation time is up.

Home to my beautiful North Dakota with the fields of wheat, soybeans, corn, sunflowers, and the stunning bright yellow of blooming canola. Home to my beautiful Victorian house. Home to my small town where two different people remembered my name today without me even telling them.


Saturday, July 23, 2011

I See You!!

I can't give credit to the website for this great picture because the website comes up "Forbidden." Somehow, that just seems really appropriate to this picture. LOL

A couple weeks ago, I set a Stat Counter on my blog so I can see how many people are reading my ramblings. It also has fun information like how long they were on my page, where they are, etc. I'm far behind in getting to this, I think most bloggers have had this kind of thing for years. I just haven't gotten around to it.

I get a LOT of hits for my pictures. (Guess that means I should probably figure out how to watermark my personal photos.) But I also get some really fun keyword searches. Here are some of the more interesting ones:

awesome gator pictures

scooby doo villains

pitbull tattoos gangsta

And then of course, there are pirate-related photo searches.

I have people finding my blog from literally all over the world! It's fascinating stuff. I also know that when I link to my blog from facebook, I get some pretty impressive spikes of people who have opened the link.

I KNOW I have more readers than I used to have. I just spoke to someone today who has been reading it. (You know who you are!)


So here's my assignment to you, my dear readers. I want to know who's reading my blog and what you think of it. What do you like? What don't you like? Come out of Lurkdom and tell me who you are.

Stupid Criminal Saturday, July 23rd Edition

I love when my Stupid Criminal stories come from my very own local news! It makes it SO much more convenient.

Today's story comes from our not-so-distant neighbors in Moorhead, Minnesota. If you go here, you can even see the video from the news.

Naked stranger arrested in Moorhead

As a recent retiree, Bruce Larkin usually sleeps in and peacefully wakes up. But not this morning.

Bruce Larkin, homeowner, says, "Usually she doesn't scream, so my thoughts went, "boom, boom!" I mean, it was quick."

His wife, Maxine, was taking their dogs out when she discovered wet socks and underwear on her front steps. She then found a large puddle of what she believes to be urine. She wondered what was going on and then found the naked truth...

Bruce Larkin says, "Then for some odd reason went to the garage, opened the door and here's this stark ass naked man."

Bruce went around last night and made sure the doors were locked, but there was one he forgot.

Bruce Larkin says, "I usually lock the garage door, but for what odd reason, I didn't think of it."

An intruder came in the back door, and even though the he was just sleeping on the floor, police say the Larkins are lucky.

Tory Jacobson, Moorhead Police, says, "People that leave their doors unlocked and allow for people to gain entries. Certainly scary. Something of concern."

It's a scary situation, and Bruce says his wife is still shaken up. But Bruce just thinks its funny that the incident's only casualty was frozen food.

Bruce Lark in says, "The only thing is the wife's favorite chicken alfredo pizza corner, that's the one he had on the inside steps."

Even with the humor, Bruce says he'll never forget to lock his doors.

I think I'd mostly be upset about the loss of my pizza. Because Pizza Corner? That's some darn good pizza!

* If I'd thought about it when I was out and about this morning, I would have stopped at the store to take a picture of one of their pizzas. Since I didn't, you'll just have to settle for their logo.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Like Mother Like Son

I was drinking a Dr Pepper when Pirate Baby was on my lap. He looked at the bottle, opened his mouth and said "Aaah!" I gave it to him to see what he would do, and he promptly put it in his mouth.

When I took it away to finish it, he screamed.

This was right after I finished it and gave it back to him.

The child is addicted to DP, just like his mom.

Lazy Poo Day

No real picture for this post today, so please enjoy this lovely picture of a brooding Jack Sparrow that I got here.

I got up this morning and took a walk. I'm trying to make that a daily thing. I'm also trying to get in the habit of exercising in the morning after I get home from my walk, but some different circumstances threw off my routine today. I'm sitting in my comfy chair reading blogs with a baby on my lap who is apparently not feeling very well. He's doing his "I'm sleepy" behavior, but he won't go to sleep. Not sure what his deal is.

Meanwhile, I have a big project I need to do today. I'm not looking forward to it, so I haven't started it yet. The last few days have been hot and super humid. I don't think I've ever been so sticky in my life, and it's zapped all my energy. "You should drink more water," would be good advice. Except as I learned LAST summer, they treat our water here once a year. Normally, we have pretty tasty water, and I drink a lot of it. But whatever they treat this stuff with is beyond nasty. I can't stand the stuff. And that's how my water tastes right now. Ick.

So here I've sit in my sticky hot house (and no J, I don't want to hear how cold your toes are right now. You and your central air can go jump in a lake!) wishing I had something more fun to do.

So I think I'll tell you the story of how I almost married a Hoarder.

The year I graduated from high school, scholarships were hard to come by. A friend of mine was one of our valedictorians, and she didn't even get one. Looking back, I realize I might have had more of a chance if I'd actually applied for more of them, but I think I was pretty much waiting for the Scholarship Fairy to leave a little gift under my pillow while I slept.

I only mention this because I think if I'd had financial abilities to finish school, this situation probably wouldn't have happened. 1. I would have known that I had many years to get through, so I might not have tried to squeeze so much out of my first year in school. 2. I might have put more effort into making friendships on campus if I knew I was going to have all these people to lean on through the years. 3. I wouldn't have seen "marrying a state resident" as an opportunity to finish school.

As it was, I knew going into it that I probably wouldn't be able to afford more than a year of college.

And I loved college.

Add to all that the fact that I've always been very focused on having a family (In the last 17 years, I've spent 10 of those in my first marriage, almost 3 since marrying Surfer Pirate, and been engaged twice to guys I didn't marry. What's that tell you?), and had no problem with getting married young.

Spring Quarter had either just started or was about to start (back then, my school was on a quarterly system rather than doing semesters), and I was having to face the fact that I was almost done with what college I could afford. I wanted to continue, but didn't know how or when that could happen.

As much as I loved school, I was homesick. All of my roommates (6 of us in an apartment-style dorm) were within just a few short hours of home and could take off for the weekend if they wanted to. I was 9 hours away with no car.

As I said before, I really didn't spend enough time making friends, so I was really lonely. I didn't have much for female friends to confide in, and males (either of the friend or boyfriend variety) weren't happening, despite my (sometimes quite pathetic) efforts.

All of those details = Recipe For Disaster

I was at a school dance. Dances meant guys, and I was all for that idea. I had my eye on this really cute guy with light brown hair down to his shoulders, and was trying to figure out how to get his attention. I was interrupted by a rather nerdy-looking skinny guy. He struck up a conversation with me, and I halfheartedly answered his questions while keeping one eye on my Target. Eventually, Mr Personality * asked if he could take me out some time and could he get my phone number. I gave it to him, hoping that now he would leave me alone and I could get back to trying to break the heart of the guy across the room.

*Seriously. Go look at that link. I swear the guy in that video HAD to have been modeled after him.

Never did get that cute guy's attention.

Meanwhile, Mr Personality called me right away. Free dinner? Sure. I'm in.

BIG mistake. Big. Huge.

From there, I'm not really sure what happened. I found myself in a serious relationship with this guy. As far as his good points: he drove a pretty nice car, owned his own house, had a good job, was taking college classes in computers, liked to garden, and had beautiful rosebushes. (I was a horticulture major. Those last two points meant a TON to me.) And he had state citizenship - meaning if we married, I would instantly qualify for in-state tuition, and I could continue going to school.

His bad points?

He was 12 years older than me. He was 30 when we started dating, but turned 31 shortly afterwards (I found out later my roommates called him Mr. 31 Flavors). He was NOT sexy -not even a little bit. Super-skinny, bad hair, and he had the lips of an 80 year old man. (He also dressed like an old man.) He had a weird way of "gardening". I swear he must have stood on one side of his garden and literally just thrown the seeds anywhere. There was no organization to it at all - random vegetables coming up everywhere. I helped him weed it one day and must have pulled up half his celery plants before I realized they were something he actually wanted in there. And those college classes he was taking? Turns out he was a career college student - had been in college non-stop for 10 years! He was also doing some sort of investment stuff that had to have been illegal based on his secrecy about it.

But he had two REALLY bad points.

He was a Hoarder. Back then, the term for it was Pack Rat. His house was FULL of piles of newspaper, gutted televisions and microwaves, bicycles, and TWO dressers full of those little tiny LED lights that they put in alarm clocks. There was stuff EVERYWHERE! He said everything was some project he was working on. Even without the classes and a full-time job, he wouldn't have been able to complete all of his "projects" in 60 years!

The second really bad point is what eventually ended the relationship. Once he'd brainwashed me into believing I was supposed to marry him, he started in with the emotional and verbal abuse. I was fat (I had a 22 inch waist at the time). I was worthless. He acknowledged that he wasn't a Great Catch, but I would never be able to get anyone better than him, so I may as well just stay with him. He convinced me that he'd been abused as a child (I don't buy it. His family was great), and he tried to get me to figure out who had abused ME. He said "abused people are always attracted to each other." (So THAT'S why he liked me, not because I was cute!) He tried to use my having been picked on in junior high as "proof" that I was a constant victim. (Seriously, who WASN'T picked on in junior high? Kids are horrible to each other at that age!)

And I bought into that crap.

This is what happens with you're lonely and desperate.

We had been eating a lot of salads made from all his fresh garden veggies. I hate radishes. Absolutely hate them. He was growing 3 or 4 different varieties of them, and always insisted in putting them in our salads. He got really mad if I would pick them out. Rather than fight with him, I would make sure I mixed them in with a bunch of other vegetables to mask their flavor a little. One day, I suddenly had this image of myself teaching my children how to do the same thing so they wouldn't upset their father. I realized I would be living in a world where it would be the kids and me against him - not a team. I didn't want to do that. I was willing to put up with being treated like crap, but I wasn't about to let that happen to my future children.

So I broke up with him.


I've learned from that experience that when my body won't get warm no matter what I do, and I can't stop shivering, something is VERY WRONG. I ALWAYS shivered when he was around.

About a year later, I found out from my former roommates that Mr Personality had gotten himself into some trouble. Apparently, he had been charged with voyeurism. Some woman who lived a few blocks away from him had discovered a little electronic devise attached to her house. It was some sort of light sensor, and when the light would be turned on in her bedroom, an alarm would go off in his house. That would tell him it was time to go stand outside her house and watch her get undressed. It wasn't hard to track down who put the devise on her house - he'd carved his name on one of the pieces inside of it.

Dodged a bullet there, didn't I?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Live and Learn

Once upon a time, I had a nice, big, overstuffed couch. Here it is back in better days in my old living room. (Man, that room looks HUGE now compared to my little 1903 sized rooms!) I got it used, paid $50 for it. It was the best couch. Soft and comfy, long, the perfect couch to stretch out and take a nap on.

I loved it.

But then I got this adorable little guy:
Look at that face! Doesn't that make you just want to snuggle and pet him and give him widdle kisses and wuvins and...


Excuse me.

Anyway, in the process of bonding with him, I didn't see anything wrong with letting him hang out with me on the couch.

And then we got another puppy. She got the same treatment.

But then they took hanging out on the couch with us as permission to be on the couch ALL DAY LONG.

Laying on the couch turned to wrestling on the couch. Because that's what puppies do with each other - they play and wrestle.

After a while, my couch started to look like this:

See how shredded the upholstery is there?

It was also covered in fur, and no amount of vacuuming would fix that.

And it smelled like stinky feet.


Definitely the kind of place I want to have guests. Blech.

So the time came to accept the fact that the old couch had to go. We played around with the option of buying a new couch, but we're not quite ready to shell out that kind of money on furniture right now - especially since we have a very old fridge that "pees".

(Really makes you want to come hang out at my house, doesn't it? I know. But seriously, the rest of my house is really quite nice.)

But it turned out part of our surrogate family had a couch they wanted to get rid of. I have no problem with used. Like I said, my wonderful old couch was also a used couch.

In order to bring in the new couch, obviously, the old one had to move out. Last night, Surfer Pirate and I were supposed to move it. But he was exhausted from an especially trying day.

Never one to back down from a challenge, I told Surfer Pirate that if he would take the front door off the hinges, I would figure out how to get the couch out of the house on my own.

Did I mention this thing is 7 feet long?

So one person + big monster couch + doorways made in 1903 = not happening.

I thought to myself "If it weren't for the big backrest on this thing, it would work just fine.

And it's going to be burned out on the farm anyway."

So I got my hammer.

I started by prying off the upholstery from the back. Then I went after the upholstery on the backrest.

Peeled that all off to get to the inner framework, and started pounding out all the wood that held the back of the couch together.

No problem getting the thing out the door now!

Once I got it out the door, I gave it one good FLIP off the front porch:

*Notice only two of the feet have been removed. That's because the screws that held the other two feet on were completely stripped.

And there it lies in it's saddened state. It was a good couch.

But this is what happens to couches in my family when they make me mad.

Let that be a lesson with all other couches! Do NOT mess with me! I WILL find a way to move you!

It is also a lesson to me:

No more dogs allowed on the furniture.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Poo on Casio

Surfer Pirate his hard on his phones. Being a mechanic, he's constantly climbing under vehicles and crawling around on the floor. His work is messy and fairly dangerous - especially for small electronic parts encased in plastic. He has to have a phone that stands up to that kind of environment.

He's recently replaced his "normal person" phone for a Casio Boulder. He's had a similar phone before, with good results. So when he found this one online for super-cheap (thank you ebay!) he snatched it up. (Good thing, because yesterday when checking again, they've tripled in price on there!)

But there's a problem.

As mentioned on several occasions, we live in Northern Middle of Nowhere, ND. We're not exactly discussed on most weather maps. We also sort of have our own little weather pocket here. Big nasty storms hit all around us, but miss us on a regular basis. We also get storms that no one around us gets. So watching the weather reports on the news or online usually will cover areas around us, but not actually our area. Since Surfer Pirate is not only a mechanic, but also a farmer, weather is a big deal. We've found that there is an application you can get on your cell phone that is fairly accurate for us here.

Except his new phone can't get it.

Apparently Casio failed to renew their application contract (or something to that effect).

So they suck.

I have a feeling I'm going to get lots of phone calls and text messages to check the weather for him.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Stupid Criminals and Gators

It's another gator-related Stupid Criminal Saturday! This one comes from AOL.

Intoxicated Men Take Dead Alligator Off-roading

HOWELL, Mich. -- Authorities say three intoxicated men stole a 14-foot flattened and preserved alligator, strapped it to a pickup truck and took it off-roading.

The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus reports that 55-year-old Douglas Ward of Linden, 60-year-old Roy Griffith of Linden and 53-year-old John Sanborn of Harrison are charged with breaking and entering.

The charges stem from a June 25 theft from a barn in Hartland Township, about 40 miles northwest of Detroit. Sheriff Bob Bezotte says the alligator's owner found tire tracks near his barn and followed them to a party in Deerfield Township where the men were driving their vehicles around in the mud.

The men are due in Livingston County District Court

Did you catch that? These three middle-aged men were charged with breaking and entering. That means they had to break in somewhere to get this alligator. Did they just randomly break into a house and find it, or did they already know it was there, having seen it before? Did the gator belong to a buddy and someone had the bright idea "That gator looks bored. We should take him off-roading!" Or did they decide he needed to be freed and taken to his natural habitat? So many questions, not enough answers.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Flashback Friday, July 8th Edition

When I was a teenager in need of some cash to buy the important things of life (aka cheap sunglasses from Spencer's and snacks from the vending machines at school), I set out to get me a real job. My mother's rule was I had to find work somewhere within walking distance from our house so she could actually drive her own car from time to time and not be called on as a taxi service. I found myself walking down what's lovingly known as Fast Food Row in my home town, filling out applications. Eventually, I received a call to come in for an interview at Arby's. For my interview, I donned A SUIT. (Nothing like a 16 year old girl wearing a suit to a job interview at a fast food restaurant. Talk about over-kill! For the record, it was a very pretty suit.) I worked at Arby's for basically three years (minus the 9 months that I was out of state going to college).

I have MANY good memories from working there that could serve as good options for Flashback Friday.

But today, I'm going to talk about Wes*

*Name changed to protect The Crazy

Wes was in interesting guy. He was 30 years old, still living home with his mother, working fast food. He had one VERY distinctive trait. The SMELL. Wes ALWAYS smelled bad. We're talking body odor that would kill an elephant. One of the night managers told me that Wes only showered when he was about to go fishing. The joke being that he had to shower so he wouldn't scare the fish away. Sadly, I did learn this was pretty much true. He showed up on his day off one time to buy lunch before going fishing. And he was clean. When he came back to work after his fishing trip, he then had the lovely addition of fish smell to go with his body odor. I will never understand how he was allowed to come to work like that. Think about that. Someone who smelled that bad was allowed to handle people's food.


But, Wes in general was a very sweet guy. Soft spoken and kind. Funny. The big teddy bear kind of guy.

And he was in love with me.

At first, I didn't believe everyone when they told me that. And then I started noticing that he did pay more attention to me than anyone else at work. And his eyes would sort of light up when he talked to me. It was flattering and creepy all at the same time.

Any doubt that I may have had was settled on Valentine's Day my senior year of high school. I came to work where I was greeted by Wes. He looked extra shy when he handed me the bouquet of roses that he'd bought for me. I still remember that there were 6 of them, and they were dark red and almost completely open. The blossoms were HUGE! It was so very sweet of him, and I'm not the kind who can just say Thank You and be done with it when a guy gives you flowers - especially roses. So I hugged him. I will admit I had to hold my breath a little, and my co-workers gave me grief about it for weeks, but I don't regret it. I know that hug probably made his day as much as the roses made mine.

My favorite animal is the rhino, and Wes knew this. When I graduated from high school, he gave me another present - two little ceramic rhinos. They were smiley and adorable. He told me that he was just going to get one, but they seemed like they were friends and he couldn't break them up. I was glad to hug him for them as well. I called them the Laughing Rhinos and took them to college with me. I kept them at eye level on my bookshelf where I could see them smiling at me every day. I still have them, and I think of him fondly every time I look at them.

I ran into Wes one day a couple years ago. I had stopped to buy gas on my way home from work, and he was working behind the counter. It was shortly after my miscarriage, so I wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone. It took me a minute to recognize him because he'd grown his hair out and had a beard (think Bob Ross from the Joy of Painting). A quick glance at his name tag verified that I was right. I was happy to see he was wearing a wedding ring. I hope his wife appreciates what a sweet guy he is.

And I hope she's taught him about soap and deodorant.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

4th of July

I've got to say that I really enjoy the 4th of July falling on a Monday. So instead of one day, we got a full weekend. This picture was taken while we were waiting for the parade to start on Monday afternoon.

When I was growing up, we always spent the 4th at my grandparents' house in Jackson Hole, WY. There were 15 of us cousins, and usually we would all be there. There were tons of people to spend time with and lots of different things to do. The time as a family for the 4th of July was definitely a highlight of my childhood. I always hoped that my children would be able to have similar experiences when they were growing up.

I only had one other sibling (not my mom's fault. She wanted 12 kids!), and she passed away before having children. Her husband remarried and they have a baby just older than Pirate Baby, but they live halfway across the country. My in-laws? Well... let's just say there's not much contact there.

It made me really sad to think that my children were never going to have the benefit of having lots of cousins to run around with as they were growing up.

And then we moved to North Dakota.

I never expected to have a whole family come out of our move. Surfer Pirate just had a friend. A friend who liked and respected him enough to ask him to move out here to help with his family's farm. I never expected that his family would accept us and consider us an extension of their own family. But they did.

Saturday night, we all gathered together at the farm - grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. We roasted hot dogs and marshmallows (S'mores... mmmmmmm.....), went for a "hayride" (no hay) behind the tractor, there were 4-wheelers, and tons of fireworks.

It was everything I could have hoped for for my kids.

And they do this every summer.

And people wonder what would possess me to WANT to move to Northern Middle of Nowhere, ND.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Another One Because I Like Them

Another picture of Pirate Baby because he's just too adorable.

I love me a good meme.

4 Things I Did 10 Years Ago (2001)
1. Moved the heck out of Utah before the insanity of the Winter Olympics
2. Became a Football Mom (gotta love being the mom of teenagers before I was 30!)
3. Moved into the Duplex From Hell, complete with slumlord-type landlord
4. Found out my (now ex-)husband was a big fat cheater (yeah, THAT was a fun weekend)

4 Things I Did 5 Years Ago (2006)
1. Officially adopted my beautiful little girl
2. Had the privilege of raising her gorgeous little sister for a while
3. Became a grandmother at age 30! (yikes!)
4. Dealt with more crap from my (now ex-)husband

* Obviously, those were unpleasant times in my life. Happily they're over, and the last 4 years have been great!

4 Things I Did Yesterday
1. Slept in on accident because the baby slept, and slept, and slept!
2. Made the doggies a bed on the floor out of blankets. (I'm in process of training them to stay off the old couch before we move the new one in - they've trashed the old one)
3. Made super yummy roast for supper
4. Made dough for my first batch of homemade donuts to be cooked this morning

4 Things I've Done/Am Doing Today
1. Made ultra super yummy donuts
2. Lots of laundry going on today
3. Hopefully making my new nursing bracelet if my number beads show up in today's mail
4. Joining the (surrogate) family for our big 4th of July celebration on the farm tonight