Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Weakness

I have a confession to make.  Interior decorating blogs are my porn.  I drool over a "vignette" on a tabletop, I pant at the thought of decorating myself a walk in closet (or even a not walk in closet OMFG!) and I positively scream a la Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally over pictures of beautifully decorated living rooms with no fucking wires showing!

(Please excuse my foul language, I spent half the morning organizing all the electronic shit in the playroom and the amount of zip-ties needed to corral the wires so I could JUST MOP THE DAMN FLOOR was obscene.  Typing "fuck" makes me feel better so skip over it if cursing offends you.  Come to think of it, if cursing offends you this is probably not a site you want to read.  Ever.)

The problem with masturbating to interior decorating blogs is that no real house ever looks like that.  (Just like the silicone-enhanced, waxed, airbrushed up the wazoo girls in Playboy!)  They use duct tape and chicken wire (just what I use for my kids!) to make everything stay in EXACTLY the right place and since a picture is just a moment, the fact that kids and husbands and pets and LIFE are going to come in the room .3 seconds later to fuck it all up again is ok.  But it makes those of use who actually LIVE in our houses feel like shit.  I know this.  I know that Martha Stewart is the antichrist and yet I read her blog.  And website.  And occasionally, when I've had too much to drink, I try to cook her recipes.  Because I do not have forty-eleven minions to do all the work for me, it never ever turns out.  I KNOW this.  And yet, I keep going back to my own twisted version of internet porn.  It's a sickness people, an addiction.  That means I can't help myself so back off bitches!

Then I found Moggit and all is right with the world again.  Thank you Joy and Janet for helping me to find the humor in my own sick, twisted addiction to interior decorating blogs, photos, websites, magazines and television shows.  You and red wine (along with chicken wire and duct tape) are the only things that keep me sane!

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Beginning of World War Three?

Hamas vows to dig in their heels and fight.

Hospitals with already low to non-existent supplies due to the blockade of Gaza are unable to care for all the injured.

Food supplies are dwindling.

Iraqi Ayatollah is calling for support of Gazan citizens.  (Is it just me who gets nervous about what exactly he means by support?)


Am I the only one that thinks this kind of large scale violence is going to INCREASE support for Hamas among the people of Gaza - exactly the opposite of what Israel says its goal is?  No, I'm not.  I really want to go over there and slap the shit out of every leader on both sides.  Just like I tell my kids, BEATING EACH OTHER UP WILL NOT HELP YOU GET ALONG BETTER, IT WILL ONLY MAKE IT WORSE.

Idiots.

(India and Pakistan, that goes for you too.  Put away your nuclear weapons and play nice.)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

I'm Going Crazy

Don't worry, it's not a very long trip for me to get to crazy.

Thank JEEBUS on a cracker the snow is finally melting, even the kids are ready to see the end of it.  Husband and daughter went snowboarding yesterday with Stepdan and the Aussie visitors and coming home he got STUCK at the beginning of our gravel road, approximately 100 steps from our house.  He had to chain up the car and rock it for quite some time to get it un-stuck.  Guess what a great mood he was in when they finally got home around midnight.

Begone evil snow, begone!

I kicked everyones ass today and we put away all the Christmas decorations and cleaned up the pine needles from every nook and cranny.  You see, I had the bright idea to host a New Year's Eve party (come over about 7ish, everyone is invited!) this year so in order to get ready for that party, we had to clean up from the Christmas festivities first.  Then I will have four days to recover from New Year's Eve before I go back to school.

We made the boys take a day off from the television, video games and computers today.  I know it is good for their BRAINS to not be sitting in front of a screen all day but my ears are bleeding!  They rode their new scooters all over, shot nerf guns at each other while they were "helping" clean up Christmas and were so freaking loud I put earplugs in!

Time for a cup of tea and some quiet time.  The twins are duct-taped to the walls in their bedrooms so they shouldn't give me any trouble.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Smartass Family

Me (on Thing 2's scooter) with Marvelous Mom.


Me with Scientist Genius's Aussie girlfriend.


Dad and Stepmonster got husband and Scientist Genius Brother "Underwear Repair Kits" because they are the two Cheapest. People. On. The Planet.  When Scientist Genius Brother told me he could get lunch for 55 cents at school (35 cents for a cup o' noodles and 20 cents for coffee w/unlimited refills) husband wiped away a tear and said "I'm so proud!!!".  Cheapskates.


Husband BBQ'ed the chicken kabob In The Snow.  Cheapskate or not, he is a good good man.


Almost 15 years later I think I will keep him!


Christmas Day Take 2

We had a lovely Christmas Day yesterday with the 7am wake-up call courtesy of Thing 2 who set his alarm, stockings and gifts opened with enthusiasm that bordered on mania and three bleary eyed adults (husband, grandmother and I) trying to get photos of the kids and guzzle coffee simultaneously.  

Then husbands brother, his wife and their three kids joined us for more wrapping paper shredding and family togetherness before they headed out to their next stop.  Unfortunately their AWD car got stuck in our driveway and then again down the street.  While husband was helping them dig their car out, our power went out quickly followed by the phone.  For some mysterious reason husband decided to take our AWD SUV out of the garage and got IT stuck in our driveway too.  So I called Marvelous Mom, who was to come for Christmas dinner with Stepdan, Scientist Genius Brother and the Australian guests and told her that Christmas would be postponed until the 26th due to a shitload of snow and no power.

So it was just the five of us at home for Christmas day and it was quiet, relaxing and weird.  I am used to total chaos and noise on Christmas and the quiet was unnerving.  Thing 2 and I went sledding after dark and had a blast watching the dog fall down while trying to catch us as we sped down the hill.  Then we woke husband up by pelting the bedroom sliding door with snowballs and generally made ourselves obnoxious.  A nerf war was waged and we enjoyed each others company.

Today is take 2 on our family dinner.  It's snowing again but we have a plan as well as power and phone service (thank you utility workers everywhere!).  Marvelous Mom and the gang are going to come as far as the corner store near our house and husband will try to get there to pick them up with our car that has been un-stuck and chained up.  If he can't get there, we will bundle up and take the sleds to meet them but come hell or high water we will have our Christmas dinner!  And me, I've come up with an ingenious solution to not enough room in the fridge:


Happy Boxing Day!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Matriarch

Here is Grandmother with all six of her grandchildren.  I'm the oldest, Scientist Genius Brother is the youngest and our four cousins are in the middle.  Dad always did have to have the first and last word!

Snow, Snow, Beautiful Snow

Help!  We're drowning in snow!  These pictures are from the past three days but there is even more this morning.  4 inches fell overnight and its still coming down hard.

Thing 2 decided on a drowning snowman for his sculpture project.


Above is Thing 1 standing on the road to our house.  That orange thing near his foot?  That's the top of a construction cone.


Penny in snow up to her belly.  Watching her try to retrieve snowballs is absolutely hysterical!


This is why husband hasn't been to work in a week.  His van is rear wheel drive and won't be going anywhere until the snow is gone.


FIGHT!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Whatever's Twelve Days of Christmas

Last night Thing 2 told me I should write a Whatever version of the twelve days of Christmas. After doing eleventy-five loads of laundry, cooking, cleaning and wrapping gifts there was NO WAY I was going to write it so I told him to knock himself out. Half and hour later he and Thing 1 showed up in our room and sang their composition to us. Here it is for your enjoyment.

You are really missing out by not hearing the two of them sing it but we haven't yet figured out how to download videos off our video recorder so you'll just have to imagine it.  This pic of them is from last Christmas but it pretty much sums up their personalities to a T.  I don't get genuine smiles for pictures from them unless they are picking each others noses!


On the twelfth day of Christmas, Whatever gave to me,

Twelve funny links a-linking,
Eleven long wish lists a-listing,
Ten school freakouts a-freaking,
Nine awesome grades,
Eight Palin put-downs,
Seven plastered daughters,
Six genius brothers,

FIVE L-O-L-S

Four texting daughters,
Three stepmonsters,
Two hyped-up things,
And one great site in the blogosphere!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Great Grade Race!

My Brother, Scientist Genius, is every parents dream child.  He was a sweet, quiet, well-behaved little boy, excelled in sports, got straight A's in school while taking honors and college prep classes, got lots of scholarships to go to Seattle University (a very expensive private college) where he majored in Chemistry (ugh) and minored in mathematics (double ugh), got accepted into all eight of the graduate schools he applied to, is now earning his PhD. in Chemistry at Berkeley while getting paid to do so, earned a prestigious fellowship or some such thingamabob this past summer and is, in general, a total pain in my ass.  

When I decided to go back to school, my GOAL was to do AT LEAST as well as Scientist Genius Brother.  No snot-nosed kid 9 years younger than me was gonna beat me at this school thing!  (Why no, I'm not at all competitive.  Why do you ask?)

He graduated from college with a 3.86 gpa.  I transferred into the University of Washington with a 3.62 cumulative g.p.a.  (Curse you Spanish 102 and Intro to Chemistry 139, Curse you both to Hell!)  So I have six quarters in which to beat Scientist Genius at the Grade Game.

Here are my Fall Quarter Grades:

Race, Crime, and Law  a.k.a. why O.J. got off (but only the first time!)  3.9
Americans at the Margins  a.k.a. weirdos are just like us  3.8
Interdisciplinary Inquiry  a.k.a. KILL ME!  KILL ME NOW!  4.0

This gives me a 3.9 cumulative g.p.a. at the U of W but it's actually less than that when my transferred g.p.a. is figured in so I am BEHIND in the Great Grade Race!  Five quarters left.  I have to study harder!

I will go and console myself with being way ahead in the Providing Grandchildren Race.  Neener Neener Neener!


Here are Scientist Genius Brother and I with Marvelous Mom.  He's genius smart AND drop dead gorgeous - not fair!  Good thing he is a fabulous brother, the best uncle in the world and my best friend or I would have to kill him for making me look bad. 

Monday, December 15, 2008

So Cute I Think I Might Vomit

Thing two is doing amazingly well in his new school.  He's made some friends, hasn't gotten sent to the Principal's office once and is cheerful and happy to head out the door every morning.  His new BEST friend is a little girl his age who also takes the shuttle to the YMCA after school to stay until her parents pick her up after work.  Thing 2 doesn't want to go to the Y unless Best Friend is there too and when she is there he doesn't want to leave.  He called me this afternoon when he got to the Y to ask if he could stay until 5:00pm so they could play.  She enjoys the same video games, computer games and comics that he does and I suspect she can relate to him when it comes to not having many friends.  They are two peas in a pod and she is a very nice little girl.

Today when I picked him up she gave him a big hug goodbye and I thought it was So. Cute.  In the car on the way home he informed me that the two of them have decided they like LIKE one another but they aren't going to "go out" until they are in high school because they are too young right now.

I almost ran the car off the road.

Friday, December 12, 2008

My Christmas Wish List

Husband is bugging me about what I want for Christmas and our Anniversary (it's on New Year's Eve) this year so I decided to make a list for him.  It got a little ridiculous so I thought I'd share my particular brand of crazy with all of you.  Plus it means I can put off going to the dreaded grocery store a few minutes more.

1.  A romantic weekend away that I don't have to plan, arrange for the kids to have supervision and make sure someone takes care of Grandmother.  It would be lovely to pack only for myself and walk out the door with no other fussing or preparation.  And I want it to be a surprise so stop asking me where I want to go!

2.  A flat screen television for our bedroom so I can decorate without having to work around a gigantic gray box.

3.  A magic pill to remove the extra 30 pounds I'm carrying around but am too lazy to actually exercise away.  Bonus points if the pill is permanent no matter how many Christmas cookies I eat.

4.  An automatic tennis ball thrower.  The dog is driving me batshit crazy by dropping slobber covered tennis balls into my lap every time I sit down.  I keep hiding them but she finds more!  She's a magic tennis ball conjuring dog!

5.  Mute buttons for the children.  I promise not to mute them more than 2 hours a day.

6.  Thicker hair.  Curly too.  Actually, just switch my hair with daughter's and we'll both be thrilled.

7.  A bachelor's degree in American Studies and a master's degree in education.  Four more years of college is such a drag!

8.  A private jet and pilot so I can fly to Vegas every time Jeff Renner starts freaking out about SNOW STORM 2008 *dum-dum-dum-duuuum*.  (At least it's coming on a Friday night this time so the kids won't miss any school.)

9.  Walk in closets.  But I don't want to move or remodel again *shudder* so do it with your magic construction powers.  And don't get sheetrock dust all over my clothes while you're doing it.

10.  Children that don't fight but instead love and help each other.  (Stop laughing)

That's about it honey.  Thanks for asking!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Just Call Me Moron

I've spent two days getting nothing done.  Or if I look at it optimistically, getting only the bare minimum done.  Christmas boxes need to be put back in the garage, floors desperately need to be swept and vacuumed, the kids have eaten soup and sandwiches for dinner three nights running and there is a plethora of stuff strewn all over the kitchen and dining room  I'm tired, cranky and can't get any sleep.  It's like trying to live my life while encased in molasses and stoned.

This morning I realized my happy pills ran out three days ago and I forgot to refill the prescription.

I don't know whether to be horrified that I am such an idiot or relived that I'm not coming down with some sort of bizarro fatigue-inducing disease.

Off to the pharmacy now...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Air Mail!

I started blogging as a way to share pictures and funny stories with certain people in my family who have deserted us for sunnier weather.  I'm growing mold while they are tan and warm.  Jealous?  Moi?

The thing that has surprised me about blogging are all the cool people I've "met" online!  I don't remember how I found Frogdancer's blog but I was hooked the first time I read it.  She is a high school teacher in Australia and tells the FUNNIEST stories about her students.  Since I want to be a high school teacher when I grow up, it is a lot of fun reading about someone who is doing it and so obviously loves her students.

But aside from her teaching job and raising four handsome boys on her own, she also knits and sews!  And she came up with the coolest idea ever for coasters - so I bought some and they arrived today!  I love getting mail...


When I ordered my own set of these, I asked for "Persian Carpet" fabrics in deep reds, greens and gold since we have huge Persian carpets in our house that I've decorated around.  Apparently she had three different people order "Persian Carpet" coasters after they saw mine.  I am lucky someone else didn't snatch them up before she mailed them!


Here they are on the carpet so you can see what I meant.  Aren't they awesome?


How cool is this - THEY STAY ON THE WINEGLASSES!  And since they are all different they also serve as glass markers so people can remember which glass is theirs.  I love love love them!


So if you are a wine drinker (me!) and have lots of wood furniture that you don't want circle marks of red or white wine on, get thee to Frogdancer's site and order some!  Or baby hats, clothes, quilts...she makes the cutest stuff!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Stop Sending Me Blonde Jokes!

For the first time in my life, I am not a blonde!



I *think* I like it but after 34 years of being blonde it is definitely going to take some getting used to.  What I really like is that it doesn't look like straw anymore - the ends were getting pretty scary looking.  

Things 1 and 2 are gonna have a whole herd of cows.  They hate change and my hair is sacrosanct.  Whenever I do something different to it they have a hissy-fit and this is by FAR the biggest change to my hair since they were born!

Husband won't notice.  (Seriously, I could shave my head bald and he wouldn't notice any change.)  And daughter will say something non-committal and smartassed.

Now I have to let it grow out again - I don't like the layers!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Daughter and I went to the mall tonight.  (I know.  The mall.  On a Friday night.  In December. Yes, I'm insane.)

We're driving into the parking lot and she sees a car with super dark tinted windows.  Her comment?

"I don't get super dark tinted windows.  If I had a really nice car I'd want people to see me driving it."

I love teenagers.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

This is What Ninety-Three Looks Like

No fabulous pictures since Grandmother does NOT LIKE having her picture taken.  At all.  And she's pretty obnoxious about not even pretending to cooperate any more.  It's like trying to photograph a recalcitrant toddler.



She had a very nice birthday.  Uncle Computer Pro surprised her by taking her out to lunch, all her grandchildren and her Number 2 son called, her Great-Grandchildren made her cards and pictures (here are things 1 & 2 giving her love and backrubs), Husband brought home flowers for her and I made meat & potatoes for dinner with cake and ice cream for dessert.  She was happier than I've seen her in a long time and is excited to have a lovely lunch on Sunday at Aunt Wonderful and Uncle Computer Pro's house with the rest of the in-town family and friends.

Next year she doesn't get dinner until she agrees to pose for a picture.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

For the Foodie on Your Gift List *Update!*

Here is the perfect cookbook, I guarantee they won't already own it.  Don't click on the link if you are at work.  Or if your Mom is in the room.  Or if your kids are in the room.  But your husband/wife/spouse/partner will think it is hysterical!

(The comments are funnier than the original article!)

LOOK!  I found where you can get the main ingredient for the recipes!  I know you were wondering where you could go to stock up...


engrish-funny-free-semen
more the engrish!

As always, Dan Savage finds the best links!

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Annual December Freak-Out

Grandmother turns 93 tomorrow and I haven't bought her gift yet.  Although by my normal standards I am ahead of the game because I do know WHAT I'm going to buy her which is not the usual state of affairs the day before her birthday.  I also have to shop for dinner fixings for tomorrow night and make a little birthday cake.  I think I will outsource the cake-making to daughter, she likes to bake.  The whole family is celebrating her big day on Sunday but I like to have a nice dinner and cake on her actual birthday.  (And if we didn't the kids would skin me alive, birthdays must be Marked By Celebration!)

I have a paper due tomorrow by midnight and another one due on Thursday by midnight.  Haven't started either one.  Finals are next week and I'm not done with my review guides yet.

Getting the damn advent calendar out of it's storage spot is going to entail getting every fucking Christmas decoration box down which means we might as well get the tree up and decorate while all the boxes are strewn around the house.

Two boxes of gifts need to be mailed to the out-of-towners.  Of course I can't mail them until I have PURCHASED the gifts.  More shopping.  This week.  (You might just be getting gift cards and you know who you are.)

Christmas cards have been ordered. (HOORAY!)  And as soon as they get here they must be written in, addressed, stamped and mailed.  I will also be enlisting help for that job so if your Christmas card arrives with aliens doodled inside of it and signed with the names of the Star Wars characters or with all the "i's" dotted with hearts you will know who helped with that job.

When my finals are over it will be time to completely trash the kitchen and all areas within a two-mile radius by making fudge with the kids.  We skipped this last year and they have all assured me that if we skip it this year it will cause them thousands of dollars in therapy as adults.  So we're going to make the damn fudge.  Which will then be put into cute little packages for their teachers gifts because if it stays in the house I will weigh approximately seven hundred pounds by New Year's Eve.  So I will make their teachers fat instead.  Ha.

Once the Christmas decorations have been drug out of hiding, I will have to begin the annual Nagging of the Husband.  This is a special tradition for us and begins with my gently suggesting that putting the lights on the house today when it is not raining, it is daytime and he is not busy might be a good idea.  It ends a week later with him putting the lights on the house at night, in the rain, on a workday while cursing me, Christmas, that motherfucker Santa Claus, and holidays in general but this one very specifically.  You can IMAGINE what FUN this tradition is and how MUCH I look forward to it every year!!!  Maybe I will call his foreman and have the crew come and do it one Saturday while he is gone.  This would ruin the tradition for us but I might just be willing to make the sacrifice.

Happy December.  I'm going shopping.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Cats Are Good Company

While daughter and I were out braving the crowds at the mall on Black Friday, Thing Two was feeling worse and worse.  He just hung out on the couch and rested all day.  Then at about 3am on Saturday morning, the puke-fest began and the poor kid puked his guts out from 3am to about 9am.  He started to feel a little better and was lying on the couch when Princess came to cuddle him and make him feel better.  What a good kitty-cat!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving at Home

We had 15 people here for Thanksgiving dinner and a fabulous time was had by all.  We laughed ourselves silly,




Uncle Yukoner and Bestbuddy Cousin posed for the camera, like Father like Daughter,


Thing One cuddled up with Grandmother,


And Daughter and I enjoyed each others company.

We didn't get a lot of great photos, we never do at Thanksgiving.  It probably has something to do with the tryptophan poisoning, but we had a really good time.  We played "Pit" after dinner, something we always do at family gatherings.  It gives us an excuse to yell at each other.  (If you haven't played "Pit", go out and buy it now to play at your next family gathering.  It's hysterical!)  We missed Science Genius Brother, Dad and Stepmonster but got to chat with them on the phone briefly and then drowned our sorrow in red wine.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and got to laugh with your family and loved ones as much as I did!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Mumbai

The absolute terror in Mumbai is so awful.  Arun Shanbhag has pics (some have blood in them but he warns you first) and a first-hand account of what's going on.

You can follow Twitter's Mumbai tweets, in real time, some of which were from people in the thick of it.  Last night as I watched there were people tweeting from inside the hotel - the hostages and possibly even the terrorists.  How all this new technology will change the world is yet to be seen.

My own frustrations with hosting Thanksgiving dinner?  Gone, all gone.  It's so frustrating that I can't do anything - just like I felt after 9-11.  I've got an appointment to donate blood on Saturday and will donate to the international Red Cross but that just doesn't seem like enough.

Horrible.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanks

I'm thankful for my healthy husband and kids, Grandmother and the rest of our fab extended family.

I'm thankful that Obama won and we won't have four years of McPain.  Or worse yet, Caribou Barbie.

I'm thankful for Jon Stewart.  *swoon*

I'm thankful I haven't gotten thrown out of college (yet) for being a smart-ass who isn't afraid to call Professors on their bullshit.

I'm thankful that in a few short weeks I won't have to listen to George Bush speak in public and cringe at the thought that this idiot is our representative to the rest of the world.

I'm thankful that Aunt Wonderful is making the pumpkin pies for tomorrow.

I'm thankful that our house is on three acres so the neighbors can't hear the children scream when I beat them or duct tape them to the side of the house because they won't stop fighting.

I'm thankful that daughter is in her room scraping the mold off the walls in preparation for company coming tomorrow.

I'm thankful for the most amazing and wonderful Mom and Stepdan in the world who will, at the drop of a hat, take home whichever kid that is driving me batshit crazy and ENJOY their visit!

I'm thankful that I only have two more weeks left until this quarter is over and I get a months break from school.

I'm thankful that the kids aren't out of school until December 19th.

I'm thankful that my brother Genius Scientist can answer all of thing 2's unanswerable questions like what is absolute zero and why do neutrons go faster blah blah blah....

I'm thankful for phones so even though he lives in Berkeley, Genius Scientist can answer thing 2's questions immediately so I don't have to listen to him go on and on and on about them for days.

I'm thankful for airplanes so I can send Grandmother and Thing 2 to visit Grandpa and Grandmonster in Las Vegas for four days in January.  (WOOT!)

I'm thankful for airplanes so I can visit Dad & Stepmonster in February.  (DOUBLE WOOT!)

I'm thankful for my car so I can drive to Berkeley to visit Genius Scientist over spring break.  (TRIPLE WOOT!) 

I'm thankful for all of my friends, real and bloggy ones.

Happy Thanksgiving All!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Resting My Brain

This is the last thing I wrote:

Education and children’s roles as students of elementary, middle or high school levels are a social order and institution derived from our own activity. The natural world’s role in this dialectic process is that “the necessity for social order as such stems from man’s biological equipment” (52) or the natural world. 

There is more but it makes my ears bleed to read it again.  So instead, I am shamelessly lifting material from Laurel to help me regain my normal equilibrium.  This college writing shit is HARD!

Where is your cell phone - docked
Your hair color - blonde
Your mother - AWESOME (she took thing 2 home with her today, YAY NANA!)
Favorite thing - red wine
Your dream last night – don't remember
Your dream goal – waterfront in Mexico
The room you're in – bedroom
Your hobby - Ummm, what?
Your fear – rivers
Where do you want to be in 6 years - teaching high school
Where were you last night – here
What you're not - tall
One of your wish list items - skinny ass
Where you grew up - Renton
The last thing you did - Tucked boys in 
What are you wearing - jammies
Your TV- history channel
Your pet- Penny, Pickles and Princess
Your computer - Apple
Your mood - Happy
Missing someone - Spanish Teacher
Your car - MDX
Something you're not wearing - makeup
Favorite shop - Costco
Your summer - road trip
Love someone - husband
Favorite color – orange
When you last laughed - five minutes ago
When you last cried - I don't remember

There, now I feel more human again.  Thanks Laurel!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Intelligence is Elitist

This article by Andy Borowitz titled "Obama's Use of Complete Sentences Stirs Controversy" is the funniest thing I've read in a long time.  Go read it and I DARE you not to laugh out loud.

Now I am going to step AWAY from the computer and STAY away until I have finished writing a 6-8 page paper on the tenets of snake handlers in Appalachia using the first person accounts in Brown and McDonald's book, a 6-8 page paper linking Berger & Luckmann's The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge with my research topic of the transition between middle school and high school and prepared a debate arguing that historically, the primary determination of who receives the death penalty in the United States is race.

When I'm done, I can have my internet back.  Husband is going to help me out here and disconnect the wi-fi because I have no self control.

Both of those books are listed on the right in my Goodreads box but the only one I would recommend is the Snake handler one which is fascinating.  The Berger-Luckmann is PAINFUL and should be burned.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Daughter Got Plastered At School

Daughter's high school art club is making plaster casts of their torsos and legs that will be painted and hung up around the school as an art project. Daughter has been DYING to get plastered and on Tuesday she finally got her wish.


Like mother like daughter.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Sick, Sick Child

The Grandparents will appreciate this one.  When I got to the YMCA to pick up thing two yesterday, they were making posters for the Senior Center Toiletry Drive.  This poster he made will shock the Depends off the seniors who have lost their juvenile sense of humor but the ones who haven't will love it.

Grandmother loved it, she has a well-developed juvenile sense of humor.


Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Communicating with a Teenage Girl

Yesterday daughter stayed after school to work on an art assignment.  She texted me in the morning to make sure it was ok and it went downhill from there.  Here's our "conversation"...

Daughter @ 10:48am
Hey mom, im gonna stay after school to work on my art, ok?

Me
Ok, I have to pick up thing two when I get out of class anyway so I can pick you up then.

Daughter
Ok.  Call me when youre gonna pick me up and ill go out front.  Also, can you pick me up before thing two?  I want the front seat  (My eyeballs are rolling all over the place at this)

Daughter @ 2:26 (school gets out at 2:20)
Wheen r u gonna be here?  I'm really hungry...

Me
I'M STILL IN CLASS!!

Daughter
Oh...Well hurry! im starving  (How do I hurry up a class that is over at a set time?  She is not a stupid child, I swear!)

Daughter @ 3:15
R U out yet?

Me
Just got out, it'll take me about 15 minutes to get there

Daughter
Aaargh...Hurry...And can we PLEASE get food after you pick us up?  I'm SO hungry... (At this point I'm wondering why in the hell she even bothered staying after school, if she had taken the bus home she would be HOME by now where there is FOOD)

Me
I won't let u starve - didn't u eat lunch?

Daughter
Noooo...I just want food, and none of the vending machines work, they never do (Now I want to know what the vending machines not working has to do with the fact that she was too stupid to eat lunch?!?) 
Call me when you get here...And youre still picking me up first, right? (She is just a LITTLE bit crazy over the front seat!)

Me
Yes

Daughter
Kay see you soon...Signed, your hungry daughter :P

Me
Goofball!

Daughter
Hungry goofball

Daughter @ 3:34
U here yet? Its been over 15 minutes...

At this point my head exploded and the blood and brains made a huge mess of the inside of my car.  It took me all evening to clean it up.

For a smart kid, she sure can be an idiot.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bail Out the Auto Industry? WTF?

I wonder if it has occurred to any of the governmental leaders who are contemplating a bail-out for the auto industry that if we had universal healthcare and a decent pension plan for the elderly then the car companies wouldn't be bankrupted by providing those things to their retirees?

I think that would be a better investment of gazillions of dollars then bailing out companies whose CEO's have their heads up their asses and can't make a good product that people want to buy.

All these companies and banks that are failing need to be allowed to fail so they won't make the same fucking mistakes over and over again.  Let's create jobs by investing in our infrastructure (there are a lot more bridges that are in danger of collapsing) and our health care industry rather than bailing out badly run private businesses.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drink, Dammit!

So Dad left yesterday afternoon and the second his plane was off the ground, it started to rain here.  And it rained and rained and rained.  It's still raining.  A school district in Snoqualmie is closed due to flooding, all the rivers are on flood warnings and the county we live in is distributing sandbags for those people who need them and haven't clued in to the fact that moving is easier and cheaper than digging out from a flood once or twice a year every year for TWENTY PLUS YEARS...jeeze, when they interview these people on the news EVERY TIME IT FLOODS, all I can think is why the fuck don't you move away from the river????

I'm blaming the rain on the fact that Dad left and took his good weather mojo with him.

(May the fleas of a thousand camels infest his armpits.)

It was great to hang out with him all weekend and let someone else fuss over Grandmother.  We very nearly had to take her to urgent care because she was dehydrated and getting woozy but when I whispered sweet nothings like "hospital" and "nursing home" into her ear she managed to get enough liquids down to keep herself at home.  Apparently elderly people do not get thirsty so it's common for them to become dehydrated very rapidly.  

Now I just holler DRINK, DAMMIT into her ear every hour or two.  You know, a friendly little reminder.

But while Dad was here he got Grandmother duty which is nice because it lets me off the hook a little bit and she is in a wonderful mood for at least two weeks before and two weeks after his visit so she'll be a ray of sunshine for a little while.  Hopefully.

After I dropped him at the airport I realized that I took zero pics while he was here so the pic I was going to post doesn't exist.  I'll try to do better next time.  I really wanted a pic of him and Grandmother but worrying about her health drove it right out of my head.  Next time for sure.

Now I have to get in the canoe and paddle to school, maybe I can catch a salmon swimming across the freeway...

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Extra Hairy Kid

The pouring down rain stopped long enough for me to sweep the leaves off our front porch and into a pile.  While I was sweeping, Thing one and Thing two were throwing the ball for the dog and they wore her out.


I don't know about you but when I'm all worn out from running after a slimy tennis ball the VERY FIRST thing I want to do is flop down into a pile of wet leaves.


I think she's really a secret agent for the government and this is her camouflage.  I hope she is comfy cause she sure as hell is not coming back in the house for awhile!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Helicopter Parenting

If I was a "cool" blogger I would probably get into trouble for linking to this site but since I'm not cool and I'm not afraid of pissing people off, I will go ahead and link to this post about "negative child fear mongering" because I think it raises some interesting questions.  

V is not someone I always agree with but I like her blunt, even shocking, in your face way of putting things and sometimes she comes up with a topic like this that makes me want to consider my own view on the subject.

Plus she makes me laugh, I am THAT sick and twisted.  So shoot me.

I let my kids ride around our neighborhood on their bikes, daughter hangs out with the neighborhood kids at "the jumps" and they all can walk to the gas station/convenience store to get a soda or a treat (or milk if I have forgotten to stop at the grocery store on my way home from school) which is maybe a mile from our house but you have to walk on a street that takes a 90 degree turn with no sidewalks.  Daughter even hangs out with some kids in our neighborhood that smoke cigarettes and pot.  She is very honest with me and told me when she tried cigarettes ("it was SO GROSS Mom, I don't know how they do that all the time on PURPOSE!") and asked me what pot was like when one of her friends got into trouble for trying it.  I told her what it felt like to get high and gave her vivid and real examples from our family about why she should NOT smoke pot but ultimately it is her decision and all I can do is give her guidance.  I am quite sure, from personal experience, that if you just say DON'T DO THIS then they are absolutely 100% sure to DO IT and make sure you don't know.  But if you have an ongoing conversation they will ask questions and talk to you about things.  I would rather this start now, when they are in our house and we are still in control over their day to day activities than have their first experiences making decisions when they are in college.  Kids who live under their parents thumbs throughout high school go absolutely APESHIT in college and get into a lot of trouble.

My kids walked to elementary school by themselves in 1st grade.  Well, they weren't ALONE, they walked with each other and the rest of the neighborhood kids but I didn't walk with them.  Or drive them.

In the summer I have been known to send them outside to play with strict instructions not to come back until lunch.  The boys are homebodies and usually just play in the yard but daughter has friends all over the place and it can be all day until I see her.  Granted, she has her own cell phone so I can call her, but she is out of my sight for hours at a time in the summertime and on the weekends.

12 was the magic age for being old enough to be dropped off at the movies with a friend or sibling and we let daughter fly alone to Vegas at 12 to visit my Dad and Stepmonster.  (We are going to send thing 1 to Vegas for an extended visit with them next week.  Until he is 18.  They don't know yet.)  

We followed the law and didn't let them stay home alone until they were 10 or to be at home alone in charge of younger kids until they were 12 but I probably would have let them do that at a younger age were it not for the laws in Washington state.  (And the fact that daughter would have killed her brothers and buried the bodies but I digress...)

When I was a kid I rode public busses in my neighborhood and into Seattle alone in elementary school but there are parents of my kids friends who are horrified at the thought of letting their middle and high schoolers ride public transportation alone.  Many of their friends have never been to the movies without a grownup or ridden their bikes to a friends house unaccompanied.  I let the kids walk to the bookstore while I shop at Target or the grocery store and some of my friends ask if I'm worried about them "wandering around alone".  No, they're 12 and 14 years old for god's sake!  Daughter does her own laundry, they all have chores they have to do every day and the boys are getting really good at dishes!  I try not to be a helicopter parent but compared to my peers I am practically neglectful.  My whole goal at this point is to have them learn everything they need to know to get the hell out of my house and live successfully on their own!  If I don't teach them that, they will NEVER LEAVE.  And that would fuck up my plans in a very big way!

So what do you do?  When is it necessary to let them out of your sight and learn things the hard way?  We can't protect them from the real world forever and I think that not preparing them for reality is a subtle form of neglect.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Did!

I can't remember ever being this thrilled about an election or this hopeful for the future of not just the U.S., but the whole world.  Husband, the kids and I were all glued to the television last night along with the whole world, watching history being made.  Obama didn't just win an election, he changed the very fundamentals of politics in this country.  And his speech was humble and inspiring and let us know that the calm, hard-working man is ready and willing to roll up his sleeves and dig into the godawful mess that this country is in.  I cried!  For a politician's speech!  Me who comes from a long line of sarcastic cynics!

The lack of gloating and chest thumping in Obama's acceptance speech and the way he reached out to not just his supporters but the whole country was awesome and I truly and desperately hope that he is able to bring together people as American's and get them to look beyond Democrat and Republican.  He was totally gracious to McCain and I was impressed at the cheers the crowd had for McCain.

Obama Pictures and McCain

John McCain's speech was also wonderful and reminded me of why I used to respect him.  He seemed calm and composed, as if relieved that he no longer had to pander to the wacko's in his party with whom he really didn't agree.  The reaction of the crowd when he talked about working together to help the country get out of the awful mess it is in was a little disturbing - I hate to think that these people would rather let the entire country go down the toilet rather than help Obama succeed - but it is also more difficult to be magnanimous in defeat than as the winner so I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

For the first time that I can remember, I am not convinced that my grandchildren will be around to see the end of human life as we know it on this planet.  I have hope for the future...it's a beautiful feeling!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hey McCain and Palin....

Neener neener neener.

This is Worse Than Christmas

I can't stand it, the election has been practically all I can think about for days and now I have to get through my classes, grocery shopping (vomit) and daughter's 2 hours of math tutoring before I can glue myself to the television and watch the election returns.

The Stranger is throwing a party at the Showbox in Seattle that I had planned on going to but the kids are just as excited about this as I am so I'm gonna stay home with them and we will all watch the returns as history is being made.  (We hope)

Only a few more hours...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Success!

Thing 2 had a GREAT first day at school, met a bunch of nice kids who asked him to sit with them at lunch, likes all his teachers and is jazzed to go back tomorrow.

I can't even express how happy and relieved we are.  I know it's only one day but with this kid, if he likes it from the beginning then that is at least 75% of the battle.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Random Stuff Bouncing Around in my Head

What is the deal with the forty-eleven hundred credit card aps I'm getting in the mail every day?  This is the part of our economy that I believe needs to be HEAVILY regulated.  My KIDS get a bunch of applications every week for God's sake!  Why should we bail out banks who will extend thousands of dollars in credit to CHILDREN?  They're creating a situation that has resulted in the rise of bankruptcies in this country and people being overextended and yet they're STILL TRYING TO GIVE US MORE AND MORE CREDIT.  Grrr.

I only have one more month to go for this quarter of school which means all the big papers and projects are due in the next 2 weeks, followed by finals.  So if I drop off the planet it means I'm at the library cramming.  Send in a search party if I'm not out by December 9th.

Only one kid trick or treated this year.  Daughter hung out at a friends house on Halloween, thing 1 stayed home, husband got stuck working at the jobsite from hell so it was just thing 2 and I at a friends party where he trick or treated with her kids.  I'm sad that thing 1 suddenly decided he is too old to trick or treat.  How did that happen????

The election cannot come soon enough.  I am not getting anything done other than reading political news and I have too much to do!!!

Thing 2 starts at his new school tomorrow.  I am excited and nervous and hope like hell that it works out.  I'll update after he settles in.

Back to work now, school is calling....

Friday, October 31, 2008

No On Prop 8

I found this pic on Reclaiming Miss Havisham and she got it from Inside Bay Area.  I can't decide which family has the bigger balls.  If you live in the Bay Area, it takes some pretty big ones to put a ginormous Yes on Prop 8 sign on your house but the response (totally legal for 72 hours) of two women who parked the SUV painted with "Bigots Live Here" is pretty ballsy too.



I'm gonna award this one to the two women who parked the painted SUV for creativity above and beyond!

If you live in Cali, vote No on Prop 8, if you don't then donate to the No on Prop 8 campaign.  If this thing passes there it will just be a matter of time before it spreads to other states like a virus.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Helping With Homework

Is this not the cutest thing ever?!?  (I only want the grandparents to answer that question!)  Of course they were trying to kill each other minutes later but still...  Thing 1 was making a "Don't Smoke" poster for his science class and Thing 2 offered to help him color in the drawings.


Tomorrow I will try to figure out how to work the scanner on my new printer/scanner/does the dishes machine and scan in the rough draft of the poster.  It's pretty funny in a weirdo 90 year old in a 12 year old body kind of way.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Never Boring

I'll spare y'all the angst I've already spewed about our decision to enroll Thing 2 in an online school this year - you've probably already read it and I am much too lazy to write it all out again.

(Don't you just love *y'all*?  It's the best thing to come out of the South aside from fried chicken!)

So guess what?  We're putting Thing 2 back into "regular" school.

Why?  Oh alright, I guess I should justify this decision for the grandparents so they don't think I'm shirking my responsibility to educate their grandson to the best of my ability.

He. Is. Bored. Stiff.

It is taking him approximately three nanoseconds to get through the curriculum, leaving him the entire rest of the day to fart around doing nothing productive other than helping out Grandmother and playing with the dog.  He's not officially allowed any screen time on school days but I'm 99% sure that rule is out the window on the days that I am in class and not at home to monitor his activities, which is every non-school day of the week.  He's so bored that he has ASKED to go back to school because he misses the other kids.  (If you know him you will realize what a huge change this is from last year and if you don't know him you will have to take my word for it.)

And as much as I would like to do the homeschooling Mom thing and get into all the extra activities and groups that I know are out there, I cannot do that while I am in school myself.  Not finishing my college degree now is not an option either.  Husband is working himself into an early grave and when I finish school and go to work, he will be able to ramp down his business and pursue his own dreams and aspirations.  As nice as it would be to be supermom, husband's health and well-being has got to come first.  Especially when there are other options, good ones, out there for Thing 2.

So we have explored many ideas, including private schools, and decided that the best place for Thing 2 is back in our local school district but in a different middle school than he attended last year and different than the one that Thing 1 still attends.  It is a larger school and therefore has more programs and electives that will keep him challenged, he can move ahead into Algebra and there are lots of other very bright but "quirky" (such a nice way of saying weird!) kids that I think will be a great peer group for him.  It is a school that daughter attended for 2 years so I have a relationship with the principal and many of the staff and regardless of what anyone tells you, that makes a difference.  Husband and I have always been super involved in the kids schools, with parent groups and volunteered in classrooms.  The principal not only is welcoming of Thing 2 coming into her school, she and the rest of the staff are eager to have us as parents back and I know that will help Thing 2 in the transition.

This will also give him an opportunity to develop relationships on his own rather than as part of a unit of ThingOneandThingTwo.  It was interesting that when we talked with the boys about the different options, one of which was for Thing 2 to return to the same middle school as an 8th grader (the test scores confirmed what we already know, the kid is scary-smart), Thing 1 totally freaked out.  He likes being just Thing 1 too and doesn't want to go back to being part of the twin unit that they have always been, even though he didn't have any visible problems when they were together.

I've started the process of re-registering him in our district and getting the intra-district waiver formed signed and he should start after Veteran's Day which is the beginning of a new grading period.

Sometimes I wish that Moses would come down the mountain (Mt. Rainier? Mt. St. Helens?) and give me a stone tablet with the "right" decision engraved on it so I would know and not have to give myself an ulcer worrying about what is best for my kids.  Husband is very pragmatic and says "if it's right, it'll work out, if not, we'll go from there.  No sense in stressing out over it."  I, on the other hand, am having a hard time not pulling my fucking hair out over this.  The decisions you have to make when they're teenagers make the whole breast vs. bottle decision controversy pale in significance.

It's ok to have wine with my lunch, right?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fourteen and Nineteen

Daughter's fourteenth birthday was yesterday.  She was born five years to the day after her boycousin.  He turned nineteen.  They used to fight like cats and dogs but now they're buddies.  Daughter thinks boycousin walks on water and I'm convinced that his advice to her about high school is responsible for her much improved grades.  

(We've been telling her the exact same things for years but we are dumber than dirt.  Boycousin is a genius and therefore she is following his advice to the letter.)

They are both cut-ups, evidenced by their silly poses for the camera.


It is more than a little uncanny how alike in their personalities they are.  They talk for hours about music, bands they like and concerts they want to go to.  Boycousin gives daughter advice on school, boys and dealing with pressure to conform and looks after her when he brings her along with him and his friends to the movies or the waterfront to "hang out".  She didn't get a big brother but boycousin is just as good.


But we still won't let her go visit him at college for the weekend by herself.  Nice try kiddo!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The Meanest Mom in the World

I just got an email that daughter's school will be closed tomorrow because the sprinklers malfunctioned and flooded the second floor.

But I'm not telling daughter until she finishes her homework...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

McCain Gets An Endorsement

Al-Qaeda has endorsed McCain as the best candidate to further their goal of exhausting the U.S. militarily and economically.

I wonder how McCain is going to spin this little gem.  And after this, who in their right mind would support McCain?


Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I Am Random and Weird

The Girl Next Door Tagged Me (and boy does that toe-tag get in the way while I'm sleeping) so here are seven random and weird facts about me for your edification.

1. I cut husband, things one and two and daughters fingernails and toenails.  I love to pick at stuff so this satisfies my picking urge and gets them well groomed at the same time.  (Daughter has the stinkiest feet in the bunch!)

2. When I was a kid I wanted to be a coroner when I grew up.  Just think, no malpractice suits - the patients are already dead so how much more could you fuck them up?  This dream went up in smoke when I realized how many science classes I would have to take AND PASS to get through the schooling.  Mad Scientist Brother got all the science genes in the family.

3. Making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches is an art.  The peanut butter must be totally even and go all the way to the edge of the bread, butter must be applied on the other side with the jelly on top of it.  That way the jelly doesn't soak into the bread and make the sandwich soggy.  I take forever to make pb&j's but they are AWESOME.  Stop laughing.

4. PB&J's aside, I hate to cook.  Actually it's more like I hate to make dinner every night.  I don't mind cooking when I have the time but the day to day what the hell are we going to have for dinner game totally makes me want to scream.  So we eat out a lot.  And husband cooks a lot.  I am a lucky girl.

5. I love the smell of gasoline and rubber cement.  I remember sniffing rubber cement in elementary school.  I probably managed to get myself high once or twice on it.  And when I'm putting gas in my car it's all I can do not to stick my nose in the tank and take a deep whiff.

6. Black licorice is evil and should be abolished from the face of the earth.

7. If I use the bathroom at your house and the toilet paper is put on WRONG (as in hanging down behind the roll instead of in front of the roll) I will take it off the roll and turn it around.  Every time.  I am the toilet paper direction police.  Maybe I should write a grant to get better funding.

I'm supposed to tag seven random people to do this so I'm gonna tag Shelly (who gets really pissy when I turn her toilet paper around!), Christy, Laurel (It must be your week for games of tag!), Embee, Suburban Correspondent, Mom #1 and Hotfessional.

Back to the homework grind.  I wonder if I could buy a paper for this class online....

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Homecoming 2008

Well, everyone survived Homecoming.  Daughter and her BFF had a wonderful time at the football game on Friday night and the dance on Saturday night.  Husband and I took the girls to Anthony's for dinner and then we all went to the dance.  Due to a problem with the camera flash (that had NOTHING at all to do with the fact that I dropped it), we didn't get any pics at the dance but there are several from beforehand.

This is daughter all dressed up in the school colors for the football game.  At this time of year it's easy to find orange & black clothes!



Here she is posing for the camera and laughing at something goofy husband said.


Here are the girls mugging for the camera.  (Angels they are NOT!)


And finally daughter and a camera-shy Grandmother.


Husband and I survived our chaperoning duties with no ill effects although both of us are glad that this event only comes around once a year.  We will be doing it again in the future though, if only to prevent our daughter from dancing in a way that looks like simulated sex with clothes on.  My GOD the way a few of the older kids were dancing was practically pornographic!  The school staff that were there got to deal with that particular issue.  

I have to say that for the most part, the kids were very well behaved and had a really good time.  It was fun to see them all dressed up and playing grownup.

Husband and I even got to dance a bit, especially whenever daughter came around to our assigned area.  It's not often that I see her move SO QUICKLY to get the hell away from her parents.  It was highly amusing!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I Have a Foul Mouth

My Dad and Stepmonster will be so proud.  Almost all of my pages include cussing!  Shelly is really the person who allowed me to get in touch with my inner F-Bomb.  

My Marvelous Mother is very sweet, nice and kind (I know, hard to believe we're related) and she RARELY utters any bad words.  I was sixteen the first time I ever heard her say "shit" and was so shocked that my jaw dropped to the floor.

Stepmonster on the other hand taught her best friend's two year old some very choice words while babysitting her (I seem to recall the phrase "God Dammit Cookie Monster" being uttered) and continued the tradition with daughter.  Daughter was about 9 or 10 when she told Dad & Stepmonster's neighbor kid to "shut the hell up".  We laughed and laughed when the other kids told us what daughter had said.  (In her defense, he was a supremely irritating little shit.)

The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?

So there it is, I am a foul-mouthed monster destined for hell.

Fuck.

I Have a Foul Mouth

My Dad and Stepmonster will be so proud. Almost all of my pages include cu
The Blog-O-Cuss Meter - Do you cuss a lot in your blog or website?
Created by OnePlusYou - Free Dating Site

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Homework with a Double Chin

Daughter is looking for revenge because husband and I are BOTH chaperoning the Homecoming Dance on Saturday.  So she took a pic of me doing homework, while drinking wine and with a double chin.  Awesome.


Don't give me any shit about the wine either.  If you had to write a paper in which you "define mediate, domesticate, and commodify as used by Weaver-Zercher...and write an argumentative essay in which you state whether Mackall mediates, domesticates, and commodifies the Swartzentruber Amish (or other Amish groups) in his book...provide the best examples to support your answer and demonstrates your argument" in no more than 5 pages maximum, YOU WOULD BE DRINKING TOO!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Debate Watch You Will?

I'm looking SO forward to it.  And hoping that Colin Powell makes his endorsement for Obama immediately after.  Republicans all over the country are not just jumping ship on McCain, they're jumping ship on the whole damn party.  It will be interesting to see if this is the crisis that allows a third party to get a foothold in the system.

I love politics!

Obama Pictures and McCain Pictures