Sunday, April 29, 2012

Finding Studs 101

Remember when I posted that I was going to take magnet board hanging into my own hands; despite what Padre felt about nails going into the walls?

Well, I tried

 to do it with out his help.

It started with me trying to find the Stud Finder.

It's yellow and is this contraption that has these little green and red dots that light up when you find the stud in the wall.

I looked in his tool box.


I re-checked the layers of drawers in his tall, red  Craftsman tool holding drawer thingy out in the garage.


I was in distress- if I was going to do this right and show him I could- I needed that stud finder. I resorted to dropping my indepence=

I had to ask Padre where the stud finder was.

"Hey, Dad, where is the studfinder? I can't find it...."

He sighed. As he was in the middle of finishing a project in the garage and  he instinctively knew I was up to no good.

"It's in the drawer in the kitchen."

The catch all drawer? I asked perpelexed. Could that studfinder even fit in there? Was he hiding it in there to keep me from driving nails into his walls?

Sure enough, I pulled open the drawer that holds all sorts of things from various screws and nails stuck to a magnet, to electrical tape, small tools for odd jobs, and A Lot of other stuff that would go in a Catch ALL drawer.

Except I didn't suspect it would catch the studfinder. But, there it was, in its original packaging, opened carefully from the top- the receipt tucked in with the instrument.

I tried it out on the wall in the kitchen.

It isn't working. I said and turned it over to find where the batter door was located.

Padre sighed again.

I've got! I'll change the battery! I reassured him so he could get back to his project.

"No, cause then you'll mess up my office. They are in a certain place that is behind some other things..."

And he was right. If I went in there, I would have turned over and re-placed a few of the stones in his office and taken his office from the memorized position of all things in his mind, and caused upheaval; chaos.

Eventually he was downstairs and handing me the battery to put in the stud finder. He saw the mag board in J's room. The Cat was outta the bag! AAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

He still let it go up.

Can I just mention here that I did change the battery? AND I retrieved my tool kit and handed him instruments like a dental assistant hands scrapers and drills to a Dentist during a root canal.

Padre took over, like he'd wanted to in the begininng of the ordeal. He ran the stud finder, flat against the wall, until it lit up and beeped; signifying that he'd found one of the ends of the stud.

He grabbed his long metal ruler and measured various places on the wall to see which studs would best center it, in comparison to where I wanted it. A step I would totally not have included.

Finally he measured how far down the notches in the mag board were, placed a dot on the face of the board and then I told him where I wanted it to hang, he included the measurements of the notches and before I knew it- Boom. J's red mag board was hanging in his room.

I won't tell you which steps he added that I took to heart and will use when hanging my board. My board is a bit different. There are no notches that require EXACTNESS.

So it gives me somewhat of 'nail hanging' lee way.

But the principles are the same and I'm glad for Padre's refresher in mearsuring and perfection of nail placement in his walls.

I will have to wait until he isn't in the house, or the yard, or out in the garage running a loud air compressor to start hammering a nail in the wall- because he will hear it. He'll be rushing down the stairs before you can say Rush Limbaugh and the nail has barely chipped the paint off the expertly painted wall.

Because he is a bit like Count Olaf in the books by Lemony Snicket. Specifically the first book: The Bad Beginning- where the Baudlair orphans see pictures of Lemony Snickets tatooed eye, located just below his ankle, emblazoned on all sorts of things throughout the house, to give the children the impression, that Olaf was indeed, watching their every move.

Padre, however, just uses his 6th sense when we are up to no good. I'll post the pic of my mag board when he is out of state or something. So cross your fingers.

Ironically, Padre asked me what I was doing when snapping pics of his tools, the stud finder and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was only blogging.

"More like flogging." He said flatly. And and added that he'd have to read my blog cause he had the iimpression it was like this was some sort of voo-doo doll  of him that I stick pins into.

Now if that isn't just a crazy analogy, I don't know what is! C'mon! I wouldn't even think of torturing him more than necessary!!!

I did. Sometimes other times I haven't and others haven't returned his tools. But we've never been hurt.

Saturday, April 28, 2012


This snowy weather has me thinking of summertime activities-so I had to look back in my files and I ran across these pics. There was a lesson I learned that day.

You can have all the bells and whistles but when it comes down to it- skills are what count.

This photo, the boat, these friends and our [mine and J's] times developing talents or making due with what we've got- make me think of that: Skills.

We went boating some time ago with these friends and I recall a  nice wake boarding boat come to our dock. The young kids aboard were  talking with us a bit and  questioning what we thought the weather would do. (A black cloud was coming in from the east.)They also wanted to watch the boys do "tricks"- all behind a pretty simple boat.

I couldn't help but feel proud that the two boys with us could take off from the dock on one ski, simultaneously, and do

 some other tricks, then come back to the dock in tandem.

Sychronizing the sinking of their skis at the same time as they sidled up to the dock.

It was impressive.

I need to remember that skills are what counts.

When I want those killer heels, or that summer dress in my colors.

When I think that a particular "thing" will make me feel the confidence I want to remember that can only truly come from having the

Watching the masters do some pretty wicked stunts behind the boat. A boat that reminds me of Alan Jackson's song:

When Daddy Let Me Drive.

Although I didn't try anything, watching  J. get up was enough for me.

Along with laying on the dock.

Don't get me wrong- sometimes it is that pair of running shoes that does the mental trick.

The sun glasses that make you feel fine during a summer evening with the window down driving
down the middle of main in the city

(A non -Idaho city)

Just the right jeans that compliment your body and make  you feel confident

when you are out

alone doing your shopping:

Those thing can make me feel hot.

Being able to figure out a problem or resolve something difficult gives me


(me- far left debating if I should let them pull me. I decided I am too old.)

When I can learn from Padre, a neighbor, a friend,  or whoever about how to do something new helps me feel I am


incapable of learning and doing things

on my own.

It makes me confident. Cause I legitimately have the

Which is truly hot.

It doesn't matter that I don't have my make- up on or I've just run a brush through
my hair.

The skills make up for the lack of what I think I need.

But not all the time.



Between caring what the world thinks to conquering that mind set.

Do you?

It does take courage to dive in,  get wet and go for it-

No matter what skills you need to develop.

And to remind myself

it's o.k. to lack

other "stuff."

I gotta keep that mantra in my head.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Plant Progress

Well it looks like I was wrong.

Padre actually DID have projects outlined for the vacation.

He just is able to camo the fact until I ask him to do something for me!

He has one more magnet board to do.
If he wasn't so dang good with wood work, we wouldn't ask!!

So I guess he won't be able to snap some professional photos of cats for my

So I thought I'd show you progress of the transplanted lovlies that came from the funeral basket back in February.

I am comletely fanatical about them.

I  moved them from the kitchen to the living room through the winding down winter months.

So they could get every drop of sunshine that came to Idaho.

Today it is snowing.

This is as much sun that this poor plant can hope for today.

I thought the snow was actually the wind blowing the blossoms.

I went out and checked.




I went upstairs to tackle dishes and realized, that now it is blossoms mixed with snow, because it is blowing.

Thanks, wind.

On a side note, I went to grab a yellow sticky note off Padre's desk and decided to glance at his


It was just a glance, but what stuck out was "Jerky" and "Alka-Seltzer"

With stars next to them.

Reminders of what to grab on his next Sam's visit.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day with Padre

(My purse ready to go next to Padre's. No there is no gun in it.)

Carpooling with Padre during his vacation was inevitable. I knew this last night as I looked at the few errands and appt I needed to do and knew Padre was going to that vicinity.
Timidly I pecked out a text to Madre. Uh.... I'm gonna need to get to..... " which was code for both of us that it meant me asking Padre to pal with me while he did his thing and I did mine.

beep. "He said he'd bring you with him."

sigh. Well, that was half the need of the text. The real things I wanted to bemoan were going on an errand run with him. I posted about the last one that almost ended in death.

WEll, morning came and there was a small glitch in that I couldn't find my glasses for a time and they were in the bathroom but I had searched everywhere around my bed, turned over dresser drawers- looked under dirty clothes.

When I walked upstairs Padre was in Pilot mode: ready to go.

He grabbed a grapefruit from the bowl on the counter and then I heard a moan: "Ahh, I wanted so bad to eat that before it went bad!"

That's too bad. I said empathetically but wondering at what point he'd decided on this since it was half way molded. Yet, he still cut it in half, discarded the bad part and wrapped the somewhat "good" part and put it into the fridge for later.

He had his bag; man purse. I had to chuckle. What do you carry in there?

"My stuff." he answered mattter of fact.

he does have a lot of stuff but I wanted to know- just what you carrying in there?

"My glasses (he has several pair. Some for sun. Some for outdoors. Another for... something.)


Paper work? You are on vacation.

"It's for Sam's Club. I gotta figure out blah, blah blah and such."


We started to drive off and I realized I needed to take some allergy meds. (Don't move here if you have good sinuses- they will be destroyed.)

I reached for Mug.

EMPTY! -And we had just left the house where he has a year supply. The two nasal decongestants, antihistamines and generic Tylenol were sitting on my dry tongue yet I questioned;

YOu didn't bring a drink for Mug? Incredulus that could actually happen.

"Well, I gotta get you to your appt. then go re-fill it."

That's right. He likes Common Cents ice. And their straws.  So I took out the wet pills and put them in a zip lock bag from my purse.

He dropped me off. We texted times and some various information that had to do with life and such.
Then, amazingly the stars aligned and his errand ended in time for me to just waltz to the car.

The next stop- Sam's Club. Then the Scout Store by the old Post Office.

We were headed home and it wasn't even noon. Man, it felt good. Plus, he'd refilled his mug and I got a nice swig that hit the spot.

The sun had come from behind the clouds, a cool breeze was wafting through the cracked window and we passed by Bill's Bike shop.

Could we take down my bike? I asked somewhat dreamily.

"Funny you should ask that cause there's a story that goes with it."

Does it end in bikes?


It [the story that ends in bikes] started with a background story about computers- which he's been researching for over a year. A conversation with a cousin stands out; something about Mac for work. Apple for fun. Or was it Microsoft for work and Mac for fun?

I glanced over at him as it transitioned to Sam's club and he pulled out one of their brochures from his man purse. There was a pic of a shed on it! I could see the end of the story.

Enduring something about being on Extreme Shopping Status Privileges at Sam's and the discounts, watching him talk with his dark lensed glasses on and THEN seeing one of the straws he'd gotten from Common Cents inch its way up his pocket to the point it looked as if he was drinking something from the pocket;

I gathered that it might be a possibility, sometime in the next decade, that we could get it down.
By then I was exhausted and it didn't matter. We hit home just as I had hit my max.

Here's another photo- the roving BBQer. We had to accomodate a party for J. the other day and so it is now in the hall.

Padre just informed me that we forgot to take the toner cartirage with us to Staples-- I can only thank the Lord that we had forgot it.

The day is half over and I wonder what exciting possiblities will be derived from my time with him.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Then and Now Garden

Remember this dreamy photo of my garden?
It about brought tears to my eyes because this is where it stands today:

ugh. Work to be done and I don't know if I have it in me. And certainly the tires that are required, because of the harsh winds we've had the last few springs/summers, is really a downer. But Padre insists on practical over pretty.

The last two days have been very nice here in Idaho. So don't let this yucky, dreary overcastness get ya thinkin of feeling bad for us having to live here. I think we have one, or two, more nice days and then it's supposed to look like this again.

But J. had a water fight outside yesterday and even donned his swimming trunks for the 80 degree weather!!!!

So let's all hope that the sun and Padre's relentless watering bring about some lush green and pretty like the above pic. Guess it's a good reminder of transitioning... it takes time. Can be ugly at times. But eventually.......

Maybe I could get Padre to at least till it today and I can snap some pics of the brown, ready to be prettied up, earth.

But he's always so busy - even on his day off.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Cake and other forms of Torture

I did it again.

I pulled off a birthday cake for J.'s bday.

It took two weeks.

Honest. I have to pre make frostings. Made the cake a couple days ago and put it in the freezer. I had to Solicit help from Madre on Sunday to stir some marshmellows and krispies into one long rectangle to go under the baseball diamond cake.

Too bad second base fell on a Tectonic plate falt line.

Oh ,and did I mention I put fondant on top of the big Rice Krispy Treat? It was an easy fondant recipe. But let me tell you.... after it was made I was ready. So ready that I called everyone to come over in a couple hours and get the party on! I couldn't endure one more day of preparation!

(Random party attendees. The one on the right is a favorite and we are loving the hot weather and what it does to his hair.)

 J. had wanted some bleachers and ball players, hence the extended white fondant area. He also wanted an audience that we could make out of the fondant.

Which sounded fun but when I told him they'd all be white cause I was outta energy and not about to make all sorts of colors for the people- even he opted just to get the party started.

Presents probably had something to do with it.

The bad news is....  fierce Tongan drumming.....

Padre has the whole week off!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

This is bad news because he loves his work. It is painful for him to NOT be working. Forced time off is not relaxing to him.

And, as a result, will be a tricky week for the rest of us.

His morning began by setting the water and seeing The Tobaggan Family sporadically placed around the yard.

(Some of the Tobbagans in their home in the window well where I placed them after picking them up from sporadic places in the yard.)

We only use the family of sleds in the yard in the summer. They are unfit for sledding, after this season and for some reason, the grandkids LOVE them in the off season. They pretend they are ships. Put a kid in it and pull them around the yard in it. Not so slowly - I might add. Or on the tramp. And I won't tell you what they do with them on there.

They -The Tobbagan Fam of Five, (the fifth is too small to have cleared the window well)

sit over precious grass that needs sun,

water (Padre has an elaborate and thorough method of watering that is almost a full time job) and mowing!

As Padre was buttoning his Hawaiin shirt with the bamboo looking buttons and asking me to move the sleds so he could set the water, I looked down at his shoes then Back up to the shirt. It wasn't his regular snap button, plaid shirt he gets from Cal's in the same style and wears on a daily basis. Well, daily "work" basis.

"Wait, this isn't the week you are off is it?" I asked horrified.

He gave an evil chuckle as he finished the last button of his "casual wear" attire.

So we had our first vacation dance; a series of disgruntlment, that will likely continue into the week unless I, or Madre, or he can find a project for him to take his mind off things. Like wanting to go back to work.

(He has finished the mag boards. So that's out. I wonder if I could get him to build a small shed in the back yard for the lawn mower and rototiller? So I can get my bike down! But there is only a millimeter of space available between the car and all the... stuff.

So there she hangs.

His project for me was to go blog. I thought that was a good idea and skiddadled outta the kitchen, down the stairs and posting about our travails.

Shortly he intercommed me over the phone in the bathroom and apoligized for our dance.  So all is good and he'll probably invite me to run errands with him. Thankfully, I have an appt.

Still- For those lucky enough to be in school, or  have tee times to avoid any sort of run- ins with Padre about miscelaneous annoyments of 3 generations living under one roof, or a project he'd like help with; will miss out on the fun that can be had with a week's worth of Padre.

I can't wait for all the post material he'll give me.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

One of Those Days

Matching socks weren't readily available and I didn't care. Thanks to watching Rocky Balboa last night with J. I had it in me to go to Wal-Mart!

Even after a year of doing electives, segments, mtgs, flag ceremonies and are now at a mad dash to finish up the last drops of electives before J. becomes a Bear. (They only call the next level BEAR because that's what the parent feels like when they are in transition. Like a surprise wake up call to a still needing to hybernate Bear. )

I walked out to my car and for the umpteenth time walked to the driver side. Which has a broken handle which means I have to climb into it from the side slide door. (the passenger door has never opened with a key from the begining) So I have to climb into it like I am climbing into the cock pit of  a B-24 Liberator from WW II.

                                         (notice where "Entrance to Flight Deck is Located)

Usually I can mask this embarrasing moment or at least not have to crawl inside no matter how I feel, when J. is with me and I can let him in and then he lets me in. It's an awesome reminder of humility.

So back to the Wal-Mart scenes.  Wow. Who wants to walk to the back then to the front then to the back and then find ingredients to the recipe for Key Lime Cake? FYI: Aisle 9 next to the Lemon Juice there is the KEY LIME juice.

Thank you neighbor.

I should have called on my cell instead of leaving Wal-Mart dejected and instead of the Rocky theme playing out in my head.

I was now hearing the intense orchestra soundtrack for the ending of The Titanic movie.

Okay-- some sites you need to visit: and

You will love Pioneer woman's photography ability and want to buy her cook book.

The last site will make you wonder how in the world people come up with so many ideas just using streamers or paper and glue. I just like to look at the stuff because it would be impossible to for me to try and make unless I was on prednisone.

Just sayin'

And please visit This woman, whose body was 80% burned, just had an adorable baby. Oh. my. gosh. I was just amazed. Apparently she is undergoing surgery to move the excess skin and graft it into the burned parts of her body. Her husband, who I am in love with-- in a nice way-- is taking care of "Lottie"- yes, they named her Charlotte and that is her nickname.

Gosh, we ended up with awful ones. But these kids are so adorable. As they should be because they are the stars of the blogosphere and they and their mom deserve every bit of joy and color to their world.

Here is the color we Idahoans are blessed with......   besides my neon socks.

Oh, and reading through old journals I found that J. dubbed the 20th as Boy's Day. So mark your calendars. Cause a 4 year old invented this day to compensate for Mother's, Earth Day, Father's Day; etc. !!!!!

I plan on having the boy mow the lawn to celebrate!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Padre's Purchasing Protocal

Padre is very thorough in his purchases. He mulls over the purchase after much in depth research over said purchase. Even if it is a gift, or maybe a prize won for so many years working for the telephone company, like the BBQ above.

The problem with the BBQ is that he isn't sure he wants to "keep" it or pick another gift from his Company.

I initially thought the BBQ was a wedding gift and that it would soon be disposesd of from its spot in the living room.

It wasn't until my neigbor asked why we were keeping a BBQ in the living room that I stopped and wondered the same thing: "What is this huge BBQ doing in the house?

Come to find out it wasn't the wedding gift- although he gave one just like it as a gift- but that it was his and he was amidst a decision making moment with the grill.

Padre likes to grill. In fact, we have a couple different ones out back, that are covered to protect them from the elements, however, the cats tend to pee on the covers. How he knows this I don't know. And how the cats know that he can't stand that they would do this can only be addressed in my CAT post that is still in the works. (it is rather a deep subject)

This BBQ- is the stand by. We have one that is for grilling with brickets, I guess. And the other, well I don't know the difference or advantage, unless it is to get more burgers done or variety to a BBQ that he puts on. Which btw are really good.

But this NEW one is supposedly one that can easily collapse, be loaded into your car, and go on campouts.
Well, picnic outs. It is travel size and would be handier than the army green cooking stove we've used for so many years out in the woods.

This new grill has roved from the living room, to the sewing room, to the hallway, and now is in the kitchen. I had to take a picture of it simply because I have been dancing around this outdoor grill for several weeks now. There is even another purcahse beneath it, that Padre is still debating on- the foot bath.

The water apparently doesn't stay hot with these foot baths and that, to Padre, and most people seems to be the point. Maybe that is why they made jacuzzis.

I don't know. But stay tuned. I am about to break a Padre Protocal when I move my magnet board from the hallway into my bedroom and hang it myself. (Padre shudders when a nail is driven into his walls. And I can see why he'd want someone to be careful; he paints the walls like a pro and likes a zen look- nothing on the walls. Not even a color remotely different than egg shell white.

I guess so he can see the dirt properly.

So I will show you folks how to use a stud finder, to lessen the blow to your walls, and how to properly hang a magnet/chalkboard in your parents basement without their express permission! It should be fun!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Track Circus

Well, no sun meant that the pics weren't as bright and kids had sweatshirts covering up the bright colors. But here are some candy colored shoes and kids at the Track Circus.

Wish I'd brought Padre's good camera and listened to all his lectures on aperture. Sigh. Oh, well.

Sprinting ring leader below:

J. learning the ropes on the hurdle exercises.

Aww, now there is that good 'ol Idaho wind and overcastness in the background. Should snow tomorrow. Or rain.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


I have always wanted to publish a book. Or books. I wasn't too picky. Believe it or not, I never wanted to be a "blogger". I was skeptical of that sort of thing. I was an
Author, for crying out loud!

One Christmas I purchased the book above, on publishing. I used my last 26 dollars or so and banked on it being an "investment".

I mean it had all the addresses for publishers and explained the genres of them inside it, so it would save me some time. The tips in it were priceless, too!

It encouraged me to do as much research as I could about the company, the person's favorite candy bar or color that I'd be sending the initial contact info to and so on and so forth.

heck, I love research! And so I delved in! I did everything the book said to do. And when I started getting the stream of denial letters back- in my own self addressed and stamped envelope with the generic denial letter, I wasn't fazed!

Until I started to get sick of researching all these people and wanted more time to read and write.

And then one day-- many moons from when I'd tried to publish a couple books, I got a letter. It was from me, once again, and it was a denial letter, once again!

I was thinking: "I gave up on this years ago! And you are just now getting to the bottom of the slush file, or the janitor found my manuscript kicking around on the floor, saw a letter he could mail to me without paying for the stamp and stuffed the denial letter in it as a form a courtesy!

It was the final insult.

Then I forgave the publishing companies, janitor, and the author of the Address Book of Publishers. Got over the amount of money that was useless and started to do what I loved; Read.

I googled some of the authors and found they had blogs. I read some of their advice and one of the gems was: "Publishing Companies want to see that you can 'sell yourself'."

Put yourself up for sale? I thought. Sounded kinky and down right wrong. Couldn't the book speak for itself? And sell that way? Was it the economy that was making it so we authors had to do the foot work?

Finally, I agreed to the conditions. Which felt akin to contracting out with the Devil and I went to some place called blogspot and felt my way around and  reluctantly "made" a blog. I even eventually realized I had to make it look "cute". And I PAID someone to help me put the bed up there.

Now I am a blogger. Look at me. I will be up in the middle of the night writing to you readers!

As I started to get the hang of hanging myself out there, it started to feel like revenge on the Publishing companies!!

"Take that such and such, mighty industry of putting my words on paper and the makers of galleys and collectors of money! "

In essence I had taken out the third party and boom! I was publishing MYSELF. Quite literally.

The other day a mock interview came into my mind as I thought about when I'd reached "success" in publishing my 'work'.

It went like this:

So, Amanda, what made you want to blog and become this huge success that led to..... this....?

Well, Marie, it was really about revenge on publishing companies.

How so?

They weren't biting at what I had written and so I took matters into my own hands, started publishing myself!! It was the biggest relief! No more denial letters, editing into the night, having to research the companies and find a contact within the company. Let alone an agent or something.

So how much of your work have you been able to publish, by yourself.

Ummm, none. Actually. As you can see all of my ideas, etc. are still in this tub in the bottom of my closet.

Have you gotten it out lately and worked on any of those ideas, or finished any of the books.

No, actually. I have been really busy blogging. I take that back. There are three or four that are finished. But the rest... well, I can't even lift the tub above it off right now because I'm so weak and really the idea of writing a novel right now isn't a possibility.

Well it looks like you have really shown those Publishing Companies!

Ya know, I have. I bucked the system. I was determined to publish myself and I have done just that on my blog. I haven't had to put a bit of my books out there. Just myself. And it's been pretty fun.

You mentioned money. How much do you make without that third party?

Nothing, Marie! It's amazing. I have literally been able to write for others, for free. It's a great feeling.

Well, thanks for taking time out of your schedule to talk to us!

The pleasure is mine!

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