Friday, January 30, 2009

Childhood Memories

Over the Christmas holidays I managed to rip the slides out of my father's grasping hands while simultaneously beating him over the head convince my father to let me have all the slides from my childhood. That's right. I said slides. Because I was born in the 1970's. And yes, I added the wikipedia link for those of you who think a slide is something you create in Powerpoint. *Sigh*

Anyway, I also bought a slide scanner and have spent many, many hours (and by hours, I mean days) scanning in slides.

Do you know what you learn when you get your parent's slide collection?

That they lied to you all those years.

And that at one time in your life, your left eye DID indeed open all the way (but I'm sure that bathtub falling incident had nothing to do with the eye...nothing at all).

That someone in your family visited Hell. And took pictures.

And that when they said, "We moved to the United States when you were 9 months old and visited Disneyland and New York and drove across country." those were all separate thoughts. Or you were a giant 9 month old.

Your father was not always the best cook. And he took photos to prove it.

And best of all, that over 1000 slides can provide loads of blog fodder.

Til next time...

Thanks to all of you who had advice about my friend. I really do appreciate it. I will keep you all posted on her recovery.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

How Poles Dress (Alternate Title: Why I've Been A Bad Blogger)

So after my last post, y'all (ha, my Texas roots!) showed a lot of interest in how Poles dress.

And I was all set to start making fun of Poles (which always sounds totally wrong, but the Polish words are Polak for men, which is kind of derogatory in English, and Polka for women - which is a kind of dance/music from...Czech - seriously).

Then I came down with a really bad stomach virus. The second one I have had in two months.

Then today, I learned that a very dear (Polka) friend of mine has cancer. She runs her own business and has asked me to fill in for her while she has surgery and recuperates. So today did not seem like the best day to make fun of Poles.

But worry not dear friends, in the next couple of days I will revert to making fun of Poles.

For today though, I wanted to ask your advice. My friend wishes to pay me for my time. I would gladly do it for free (I have a very soft spot for cancer victims), but I know it would make her feel better to pay me. Should I let her pay me?

If so, how much? A token gesture?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Meager Monday


I've been out of blogging mojo lately. But because I know my loyal readers all 3 of you are awaiting a new post, here's something to tide you over.

But it's not a real post.

1. President Obama indirectly canceled a party that I was looking forward to. I'm now not happy with him. Isn't it funny how the tide turns?

What's that you say? He's working on the economy? He's going to get us out of Iraq?

Whatevah. He canceled a party.

2. Poles really like to dress up. It's a thing for them. In the past week, I have had 2 people complain to me about how Poles stare at them when they dress like Americans (although one of them was not American, so perhaps I should say "relaxed dress"). My solution: dress like a Pole. That's what I do.

No one else seems happy with that response.

3. Once, when I was in the U.S., someone complimented me on my English. Since I am a native speaker of English, I was unsure whether to be flattered or insulted. So I just let it go.

4. I have some good news that I was so hoping to share soon, but because of the aforementioned canceled party, I cannot. And there is no end in sight. Ugh.

5. I told one of my minions helpers for my religion class that I wanted to stab one of the kids that I teach in the head with a fork. I also smacked one in the head for drawing a mustache on Mother Teresa.

And the parents/teachers/priest still let me teach their kids.

And that's all there is. For now.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

And He Actually Hasn't Spent That Much Time In Prison

Last week, at breakfast, Pooh and Piglet were talking as usual. Piglet asked Pooh "Would you like a tattoo?" (Read: Would you like me to write all over you with this pen?). Pooh, who hates to have people mark on him and has a severe aversion to even face paint, said "Um, SURE!" So Piglet wrote Mommy on one forearm and drew a picture of me on the other. You know, prison tattoos. I took Pooh to school and his teacher said "Pooh, what do you have on your arm?" So Pooh showed her. She said, "Mommy. Of course. Does he sleep with you?" I said, "No, he sleeps in his own bed in his own room with his brother who can't sleep alone." Pooh doesn't actually love me THAT much.

Stewie does. Stewie loves me so much he tries to impale me with the drumsticks from Rock Band. Often.

That's true love right there.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

So, um, How Much Does Botox Go For These Days?

Every year that we go back to Houston, my dad likes to get a family photo. Even if we don't change that much from year to year. I guess it makes him feel like he's an involved grandpa around his grandchildren more.

So, every year, my sister's family, my family and my father carve time out of packed schedules to make our way to Picture People (the mall atmosphere is TO DIE FOR when you're trying to corral 5 children) to have that family portrait. This year we had our photography session and then bribed treated the children to ice cream (at Marble Slab - YUM!) while we waited for the digital photos to...develop?

My sister, who had very low blood sugar and was starting to threaten people had not eaten in a few hours and was quite hungry was begging for food asking nicely if we could go to eat. So, after the ice cream, Dylan and my sister took the kids to eat, while my father and I went back to Picture People to collect our photos.

The guy who "sold" us the photos was different than the guy who had taken our photos. This will play an important part later in the story.

I mentioned to my father that I wanted to get that cousin photo with my nephew, but that I only wanted it in 5x7.

My father, who was born and raised in the United States, said, "Do they just sell one?"

I said, "No, you have to buy two."


"Because two come on a sheet."

"Well, why don't you ask? Maybe they'll sell you just one."

"No, Daddy. I will not. They have posted prices here. I WILL NOT BARGAIN WHERE THERE ARE POSTED PRICES!"

"I was just saying you should ask."


"Fine, then I will ask."

The salesman returned and my father asked him if I could buy only one 5x7.

Salesman: "No. They come two on a sheet."

Me: "SEE! I told you!"

Salesman: "You know this is how it is in my house too. I'm always trying to get something for free or discounted and my wife is always looking at me like I'm an idiot. Just like you're looking at your husband."

*Stare at him in silence*

Me: "He's not my husband. He's my father. But thank you for that."

Maybe the salesman moonlights for Botox?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Something About A Gym

My gym opened. After much Polish red tape hurrah and delay, it finally opened.

The best thing about it? It’s on my way home from my kids’ school. In order to get home every day, I have to pass it.

So I don’t.

The cardio room rocks. There’s treadmills and ellipticals and cross country skiers and rowing machines and lions and tigers and bears, oh my.

And the best part about it. I don’t have to fight anyone for equipment, because there’s no one there.

Because the majority of people who buy gym memberships don’t use them.

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all the lazy people who think that merely owning a membership will make you fit.

And the first day I wandered around and got “lost”. I found the pool, which is awesome, and the locker rooms. (Men stop reading – this will ruin your fantasy) The showers that actually have locks on stalls as opposed to a giant tiled room with spigots where everyone stands together, in the words of a friend, “as God made you.” (Male readers can resume reading). A beauty salon, a spinning room, and child care center. But without the annoying “bar” that all the other gyms in Warsaw seem to have.

And then I walked into the weight room. And it sparkled and shined and there were rainbows and fairies and flowers and Obama flew in on his unicorn.

And I knew I was home.

Friday, January 16, 2009

My Daughter Has Minions

Can you call them that when you're talking about church?

Surprising to us, on Sunday, Father told Tigger she had to serve on the altar. We'd been gone for three weeks and there was no posted schedule before we left (but that's not really anything new), but we were there and he needed whatever.

It turned into a promotion ceremony. Tigger got promoted to red, THE highest rank of altar server. So she's now the highest ranking altar server.

And, like the infamous cousin picture, she looked like a giant.

But aside from that, she's got minions. All the little altar servers look up to her and do her bidding. She sat on her butt and did nothing, while she directed the other altar servers and smacked some of them around for misbehaving in church.

'Cause we're Catholic, and I think we invented corporal punishment.

Anyway, as our family filed out the door, we looked over at the altar for Tigger. She was gone. Her minions were working and she was chatting it up with father and heading out the door to meet up with friends.

It's good to be the king.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Young, Female Gulliver

My kids with Dawn's (my SIL) girls.

My kids with my sister's son.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

For Piglet

6 years ago today, my second child and firstborn boy was born. His birth was the most pleasant of the four for me, but it was fairly traumatic for him.

He was blue.

They never told me why he was blue, and he was only blue for a very short time (it's all kind of a blur). I only remember thinking, "I don't think Tigger was that color when she was born." And when the doctor and nurses were saying "Come on, come on, breathe!" I thought, "I don't think this is normal."

But all was well and he's been normal and tormenting his brothers and sisters since then.

He's my funny one, without trying to be.

He's my friendly, mean, sweet, deceitful, loving, manipulative, obedient, rule following, playful, leader.

He stutters and he's anxious. But he's calm and friendly with people he knows well.

And he's never afraid of blustery days.

He's the only one that was planned for.

He's my Piglet.
Give a 6 year old a camera where he can see himself while trying to take the photo and he will take a photo of him looking at himself.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Zombie Cat

We returned from Houston to snow.

Our garden was covered in snow.

Except one patch.

That's E.D.'s grave.

AND, before there were all those kid footprints in the snow, there was a trail of cat footprints that surrounded the house.

Just one trail of cat footprints.

Starting right around E.D.'s grave and going completely around the house. As though she was looking for a way in.

So, um, how do zombies get in your house? Are they like vampires? Do you have to invite them in?

'Cause I'm just gonna go bolt all the doors now, and we're going to stay inside for the next few months.

At least until the snow melts and there's no more proof that a zombie cat is trying to get in.

'Cause that's kind of spooky, scary. And not in a good way, like a werewolf Bar Mitzvah.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

"My" Harley

She's pretty, no?

Sorry, there are no photographs of me riding her yet ("That's what she said!" Teehee, I'm 12). The only time I took her out was when I stole her because I was angry with my husband. And I didn't have my license yet, so I didn't want evidence that I was illegal - I'm generally not big on having evidence. The photographs of me will have to come, at this rate, in the summer.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Having a Bad Day? Try the DPS.

Over our Christmas holidays, I earned my motorcycle license. That's right, I am now legally able to drive a motorcycle (really, really poorly...). The state of Texas will apparently give licenses to anyone. Although...

The easy way to get my motorcycle license was to go back to my "home" state and take a motorcycle safety course, then go to the DPS (Department of Public Safety) and have them add the "M" class to my license.

I finished the course (on the only cold, rainy day they had all year in Houston) and went to the DPS the next day. If you are ever having a bad day, just go stand in line at the DPS and people watch and eavesdrop on conversations.

To start with, a young man (probably about 18) walked in behind me in line. He loudly told everyone that he had been there at 7:30 that morning (this was about 8) but had been told that he had to go take a drug and alcohol class before he could renew his license. If the volume with which he told this story was any evidence, he was very proud of this.

The couple behind him in line asked him if he had ever had a DUI (they were probably in their mid to late 30s). He assured them that no, he had never had a DUI. He continued to loudly complain about this until someone asked him if he had ever been busted with drugs. At which point he said, "Well, the cops caught me with a joint once, but that's supposed to fall off your record when you're 18."

Um, yeah.

Then there was the girl who was wearing the red heels with the maribou feathers around the top and capri jeans. Her nails were about a foot long and when she scratched her head, all of her hair moved with it. Now that I think about it, she very well may have been a he. I wonder what gender she/he put on the license.

In order to get a motorcycle license you have to either take the driving test, or the safety course, and take a "written" test (which now means computer). The first 2 of 15 questions are your name and date of birth. The kid behind me failed the written test. It was at that point that I realized I didn't want to be on the road with most of the people in the DPS. Which is good, because I don't have to be on the road with those people.

I'm very sorry for all of you who do have to.

I'm still making my blog rounds, so sorry if I haven't caught up with you yet. I promise I'll be around soon:).

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

We're BACK!

Hello Internets! I'm back to my rusty old desktop and mostly awake, but my goodness the jet lag is killer. So it will just be a short post for today, as I'm not sure I'll make a tremendous amount of sense.

Some highlights:

- In the Frankfurt airport, Dylan forgot to take his cell phone out of his pocket while going through security. This resulted in him being escorted to one of those little cubbies and a nice man with latex gloves coming to interrogate question him about his intentions. It's a very good thing that the Poles confiscated my scissors before I got to Frankfurt, otherwise the children would have been left to their own devices.

- On going back to Warsaw, I had an ongoing conversation with Tigger about liquids in her carry on. (Tigger CAME to Houston within .2 kilos/half a pound of her weight limit on suitcases - apparently she figured she wouldn't acquire anything during the trip.) Finally she relented (after several hours) and coughed up all of her makeup, shower gels, hair care products, etc. and put it in a suitcase. This from a child who makes regular flights through Europe (they're sticklers for the liquid thing). She was totally assuming that she could get through by telling them that all her make up and hair stuff was medicine. A little part of me wishes I had let her go through security in Frankfurt with all that stuff.

- Returning to 5 degree F Warsaw from Houston, where the temps were mostly in the 70's and 80's. Global warming has fooled me again.

And there will be more (oh, yes, there is always more). I'll be making the blog rounds today. I'm sure my google reader has over a billion unread items.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from the land of "I have only one laptop to share between six people and even though we got a PSP for Christmas, someone who is not me tends to dominate all the computer time".

Yep, that's where I am.

And my New Year's resolution? To never take a car trip with my dad. Oh, wait, guess I blew that one already since I'm off on that today.

I should be back to my rusty old desktop on Wednesday with some good stateside stories for y'all.

How's your new year?