March 31, 2006

Happy Birthday, Andy!

Today, our son, Andy Poland, turns 21. He is all grown up now! I am very proud of Andy and love him very much. He is coming home for a visit tomorrow. I've been thinking about baking him a cake or brownies or cookies. Probably brownies - he loves brownies!

His lovely girlfriend, Ashes, is giving him a birthday party tonight.

Anyway, Andy - if you get around to reading this - here's to you and a long and happy life!

Posted by Beth at 01:52 PM

November 05, 2005

Exploring my past in an old cardboard box

With John in Georgia, I thought I'd do some things here at home that I don't seem to have time for when he is here.

I have had an old cardboard box stuffed full of pictures and papers since my mom died in 1986. She had it before me. I recently realized that I ought to start scanning and saving those pictures before they are lost forever, so I sat down and started going through them all.

There are pictures of my sister and I when we were little, pictures of Mom when she was little, and pictures of other relatives, too.

I also found First Communion Holy Cards going back to 1904. For those of you who are not Catholic, I should probably explain about that tradition.

When a child makes his or her First Holy Communion, it was traditional for each child to give out Holy Cards to all the other children making their First Communion. Assorted relatives, nuns and priests would also present children with Holy Cards for other occasions, like winning a spelling bee, etc.

Anyway, these are absolutely incredibly beautiful cards - pierced paper, gilt, some in German (my grandmother's maiden name was Mangold - I think her parents might have been immigrants - don't know for sure.)

Now, I need to figure out what to do with them. I think they would look lovely matted and framed - matted on a dark background to bring out the pierced paper.

Any suggestions?

Posted by Beth at 07:04 PM

June 02, 2005

Now, I feel old

Yesterday, Andy, our 20 year old son, moved into his first apartment. We rented a U-HAUL and packed up his bedroom furniture, his computer, console games and everything else I could think of and drove out to Manhattan, Kansas so he could get all settled into his new place.

I got to meet one of Andy's roommates, Ashes, a very cute, bubbly girl with lots of personality. His other roommate was still transporting her furniture, so we did not get to meet her. We also got to meet Lu, a friend of Andy's who he dates sometimes, and Jason, another friend of Andy's.

Times have changed. When I was 20, it would have been quite the scandal for a guy to live with two girls. Now, it is not at all uncommon - the three of them are friends, platonic friends.

The apartment itself is the second floor of an old house. It has a nice screen porch, three bedrooms, one bath, a kitchen and a small living room. The decor is a bit startling - Andy's room and the 'computer room' off of his room are a dark coral, nearly orange, color. Knowing Andy as I do, he will not paint it, he hates painting rooms. He will put up as many posters and wall hangings as he has, I suspect!

Andy's friend August helped quite a bit with the move. August and I loaded everything into the truck together (John was at work, and Andy had to be in Manhattan earlier to pay his first month's rent). It was hard work, and I am so out of shape, that today I ache. I didn't realize how heavy desks and beds and bookcases and boxes of books are.

Andy and all his friends are going to an Anime convention in Dallas this weekend, then he starts his first job on Monday. We bought him a bike so he can ride it to work everyday, and when school starts in the fall, he can ride it to Kansas State (He is only about two miles from the Engineering School).

I am very proud of my son. I love him as much as any mom can love her son, and then more. Getting that first apartment is an important milestone in a young person's life. I remember how excited I was to move from the dorm into my first apartment when I was in college.

Andy will do fine, I'm sure of it. It is hard to let go of him, and let him grow up, but he is more than ready to get out of the house and start living as an adult.

I am both happy and sad. I'm happy that Andy is becoming more and more independant, but I'm sad, too. It's the whole empty nest thing, I guess.

I'll get over it eventually (:

Posted by Beth at 12:29 PM

April 01, 2005

Happy Birthday, Andy!

Yesterday was Andy's 20th birthday. With all the sadness going on yesterday with the death of Terri Schiavo, I did not blog Andy's birthday. So I'll blog it today!

Andy is a wonderful young man. I am very proud of him. He is funny and smart and loving. He is also a very talented writer and is on his way to being a talented programmer. No one could have a better son.

I'm a bit perturbed that the Mrs. Field's Cookies Birthday Brownie did not reach him at the dorm, someone at the dorm signed for it - it was fed-exed.

Hopefully, it will show up and Andy can have his treat soon.

He is at the age where it's very hard to buy gifts for him, so he just gets money anymore, pretty much.

My wishes for Andy are a long and joyful life filled with love and happiness.

Posted by Beth at 06:13 AM

February 09, 2005

College son

I use aol's instant messenger - the only worthwhile thing they do (I do not use their IP stuff - yuch!)
It's a way to keep in touch with Andy, away at college.

This afternoon he IM'd me and told me that he is dating Lu, an art major at K-State. This makes me very happy for Andy, because he is, as I am, a nerd, and this is his first girlfriend (he has always had plenty of friends who were girls, but not a girlfriend). It should be interesting, Andy has not an artistic bone in his body (though he is a great writer). Perhaps he will grow to like art more now that he is involved with someone who is an artist!

This has been a good year for both Andy and August (his best friend - he goes to KU). Both of them have girlfriends for the first time. As a mom, I'm happy. And I'm even more pleased that I get to know about it!

Posted by Beth at 04:27 PM

November 28, 2004


John and I are taking Andy back to Kansas State today. Andy is currently is packing the car with food and other stuff he is wants to take back with him - the semester ends on December 18th, so it's not like he'll be gone a really long time!

So, see y'all later. Gotta go on this roadtrip to Manhattan before the few flakes of snow I see falling start piling up.

Posted by Beth at 10:12 AM

October 10, 2004

Ahhh, Sunday

Spent the day with John and Andy. Yes, Andy came home from college today - seems that it is 'Fall Break' and he didn't realize it until Friday night when there was no one left in the dorm. There is a shuttle bus from Manhattan, Kansas to Kansas City International Airport that runs several times a day, so I was able to get him on it this morning. He doesn't have class until Wednesday, so it will be nice to have a couple of days with him home.

Plus, John and I can get him to help move some furniture around and do some other fun chores.

We saw a movie, Taxi, and it was a bit on the too long side, though Queen Latifa was funny enough to make the movie well worthwhile. Ann Margaret was great, also.

An amazing thing - the fall color is here - today - it was not here yesterday. Today, the trees suddenly turned color, and naturally, I didn't have the camera handy. Tomorrow I will go take pictures. This looks to be one of the prettier autumns we have had.

Other then that, nothing much to report. John and I are still conservatives, Andy is an Andiest (that's what he calls himself - he is for those things that he likes). The dogs and cats and horses are all happy and now I need to put the laundry away!

Posted by Beth at 08:10 PM

October 09, 2004

Email from College Son!

Andy sure has being a college student down!


School's been going pretty well. The chess club had a tournament and I did fairly well in it, I only lost to the guy that won it. The anime club is doing a thing where we clean up the Colisseum to raise money, which is cool. A little bit of community service has yet to hurt me. Classes are going well too. Our final project in Software Arch and Design is creating a really basic AI that will be able to find it's way through a maze kinda thing. Think kinda like putting a mouse in a maze. Bart and I are working together in that (our teacher is big into group work). Intro to Computer Engineering is interesting too. We're working on building a circuit that will activate a seven segment display (if you don't know what that is, look at a digital watch, it's what makes the numbers). I have most of it done, but I need to go into a lab sometime and finish it. The lab teacher in physics is awesome. He's just a GTA, so he doesn't really care about dressing up for it. He comes in with a bandanna, tells us how to do our homework, and explains the lab...all with an August like snide tone to it. Umm, that's about it I guess. Oh yeah, I hate to ask you for money, but I don't suppose you could send some? If not that's cool.



P.S. Oh yeah, cookies would rule too.

I've already sent him a check - now for the cookies!

Posted by Beth at 10:36 AM

August 14, 2004

College starts too soon

Andy has to go back to Kansas State on Monday. I will really miss him. August got an apartment this summer, so we haven't seen him all summer until this weekend - he came back to Leavenworth for a few days before classes start up again at Kansas University.

So we took them shopping today - they both needed new shoes, new jeans, new shirts, new belts, new this, new that. We spent most of our money at Kohls, as they have a great selection of name brand stuff at affordable prices. I was thrilled to find out that in Missouri, no sales taxes are charged this weekend on clothes and shoes (individual items had to be underr $100 to keep people from scamming the deal too much) for back to school.

It's good to have August and Andy here for the weekend. They are playing DDR and other Playstation games like crazy.

On Monday, I'll drive Andy out to Manhattan, Kansas. He will be a sophomore now. As far as I'm concerned, he is growing up too fast! I'll miss him.

Posted by Beth at 07:13 PM

May 20, 2004

I have today and tomorrow off

Andy has his last final of the year tomorrow afternoon, so it's time to start moving him home for the summer. I am driving out to Kansas State this morning to pick up as much of his stuff as I can fit in SpotŪ. Then tomorrow afternoon, John and I will go and pick up the remainder and Andy.

John took the day off so he can help around the house (what a grand man!).

I'm going to let him decide what needs doing most desperately.

That will make him nervous!

Posted by Beth at 08:24 AM

March 11, 2004

Eyes get old, too.

I had to go to get my Driver's License renewed today. Here in Kansas, the renewal is every 4 or 5 years.

For the first time in my life, I could not pass the vision test without my glasses on. In fact, things were a wee bit blurry with my glasses on. I guess it's time to get my eyes checked.

On the bright side, I did get 100% on the written renewal exam.

Posted by Beth at 06:25 PM

February 01, 2004

Weekends are never long enough

I had a nice day yesterday with John - we went to a gun show, saw a Springfield and a couple of Brown Bess's that I would love to own - but they were all a bit above our budget at this point.

Last night, I spend about 30 minutes trying to massage out a cramp that John has had in his shoulder for the past week or so. He has been in considerable pain, and is on some serious muscle relaxers and such, but nothing seemed to work. John, believe or not, does not care for back rubs - but he finally asked me to try massaging his shoulder and back as a last hope before he goes into to see some doc tomorrow who is going to shoot the area full of something.

I am a strong believer in the therapeutic power of massage. When I have the wherewithal and time, I try to get a full body massage every week. I've been doing this for about 3 years now, and it makes a real difference in my energy

level and really lessens the stiffness and aches and pains that being middle aged curses me with.

It looks like my massage helped John, at least somewhat. He is busy in the basement today, cleaning his guns, etc.

Andy, wonderson, is home for the weekend, and I have spent lots of time talking to him about what's going on at college, etc.

I don't seem to have the empty next syndrome that so many people talk about. But, Andy and I internet messenge each other about once or twice a week, so I don't feel like he has completely dumped his parents.

I'm washing clothes now, and packing for my trip to Columbia, South Carolina. I'll be going there every week for the next 5 weeks. My life has become incredibly hectic in the past year. I never expected to be traveling all the time
and I'm not sure I really like it. In a way, it gives John his space, which he needs. I need some space too, but travelling doesn't seem to give it to me. I'd rather be spending some evenings with either the horses or throwing some pots or trying to finish some of the stained glass projects I have started. Instead, I spend my evenings kinda bored - might read a book, might watch tv, but mostly, I'm bored and alone. I miss John so very much when I am gone, and I really don't know how much longer I can go on like this.

On the other hand, I do love my job and what I do, and I feel like I am quite well paid. I so wish I could have a job that paid as well as this, and was as challenging, but didn't require me to travel nearly every frigging week. Need to get more laundry done - more tomorrow night.

Posted by John at 05:58 PM

January 01, 2004

At least I got one thing done today!

I got it in my head that I'd like to start this year out fresh, anew, clean, and guilt free.

Today, I had to run some errands - I'm trying to catch up on the pile of laundry in the basement, and I ran out of laundry detergent. I drove up to Wal-Mart, yes, I know, Wal-Mart is bad, evil Zoot. And after making my laundry soap selection, I wandered into the men's underwear department. I bought 18 pairs of underpants and 18 undershirts for John.

I drove home, dumped everything in his underpants drawer into the trash and put all those nice, pristine, white underthings into it.

I'm so proud of myself. The cashier at Wal-Mart said she didn't have the nerve to do it to her husband. But John is wonderful, and so far doesn't mind that I threw out all his old underwear for new, clean, fresh, white ones.

Posted by Beth at 04:54 PM

December 30, 2003

The aftermath of Christmas, or what happened to my bank account!

I'm such a dolt. I waited until the last minute to buy my sister and her family gifts (well, certificates, really - they live in Buffalo, New York). I talked to my nephew to get the important info as to where everyone shops, so I could get appropriate certificates.

My sister shops at JC Penney's, it seems, so I went online and ordered an electronic gift certificate to her. After a day, I never got a receipt in my email, so I went back to the JC Penney web site and ordered her a real live gift certificate that JCPenney's would mail to her for the reasonable mailing price of $15.00 - what a rip. But it was at that point two days before Christmas and I thought, what the hell, maybe she will get it on time.

I must have hit enter twice.

The day after Christmas I got 2 receipts from JC Penney's and one electronic gift certificate.

At least I can use the electronic gift certificate.

But my sister will think it odd when she gets two gift certificates (each mailed at a cost of $15.00, mind you).

I don't mind spending all that on Anne, she just bought a new house, and I'm sure she can use the spending money. But, I will never, ever buy anything on-line from JC Penney again.

Except to spend that damned $50 electronic gift certificate.

I am a dolt.

Posted by Beth at 06:50 AM

November 16, 2003

quiet weekend

Last week, we bought a dry bar at this neat little store in downtown Leavenworth called Abierto Puerto. They go to Mexico and buy furniture, glassware, dishes, etc., and bring them here and sell them. We put it in what used to be our breakfast area (too big to be called a nook, and too much a part of the kitchen to be called a breakfast room). We had a corner bench /table set up (anyone want that? Free if you come get it), but we never eat there, it had become a place to put junk on - junk mail, junk food, junk anything.

So, this weekend, I spent a chunk of time arranging things, rearranging drawers, moving bar type stuff to my bar, etc. Not too exciting, I guess, but rather satisfying. My kitchen now looks pretty darn nice, except we need to paint the walls and do something about the awful carpeting - I hate carpet in a kitchen, but flooring ain't cheap, so I'll just have to wait longer!

Now, if I could just extend my rearranging and straigtening and getting rid of stuff we don't need to the dining room and living room! Maybe next weekend.

We went to see Elf today. It was pretty cute. A little too long, I thought, and awfully corny, but what do you expect with Will Farrell as the star - I think he has reached the peak of his acting ability in this movie.

That's about it - we did go out to dinner, and now we are home and John is blogging nekkid. I think he writes better when he has no clothes on.

So, I'm just trying to catch up on everyone else's blogs, and I'm neglecting mine. I'm just not really inspired today.

Posted by Beth at 08:21 PM

November 06, 2003

I know that Mr. Du Toit will not like this!

Today is the annual Men Make Dinner Day.

John, I'd like a nice juicy rare steak, please - oh, but I forgot, last time you tried to grill steak, you were showing your dad the arsenal of doom and forgot about dinner - and we had crispy cow instead of steak!

Guess I'll cook after all!

Thanks to Michele for the link!

Posted by Beth at 03:57 PM

October 25, 2003

home alone

This has been a kinda weird weekend so far. It is the first time in months that I am home alone for a weekend. Normally, when either John or I travel, we get to come home on weekends, but with John in England, that is simply not practicle.
I've felt a bit uneasy - had a huge list of things to do, but only got a very few of them done- of course, there is tomorrow.

The good think about John traveling is I can fix anything my heart desires for dinner. Anything. *Anything*. John does not care for seafood, except the occassional shrimp. So, I bought some IQF oysters and make a cajun fried oyster po'boy, kinda like what I had in New Orleans last spring.
It was good. If seafood is frozen pronto and not thawed until cooked, it can still taste pretty damn fresh, except for lobster - that has to be live when cooked.

Had to run some errands - went to the feed store to get Equine Senior for Petey (who is 10 years younger than Willy -but it is hard to keep weight on him) and 50pounds of Puring Horse Chow 100 for Willy (he is an easy keeper, doesn't need much in the way of grain, just give him decent hay and he's happy).

The temperature dropped a good 30 degrees since yesterday, so it finally feels like fall. And in the past day, a zillion leaves have agreed that it is indeed autumn and have fallen in our front yard, and on my garden pond, and my goldfish.

That's the neat thing about living in a town that doesn't have home owners associations - we built a large garden pond with waterfall, miniature mountain and tunnel in our front yard. Can't do that in them fancy suburbs!

Went to the commissary to do some grocery shopping - it is the neatest place to shop because there are a lot of foreign foods there that the local grocery stores don't have - that's because there are a lot of foreign officers at the Command General Staff College for a 10 month program. (and lots and lost of American officers). And because all the military people and their families are always pretty nice to us retired military types, and people don't push in line or get bitchy with each other while shopping. Everyone is always smiling at everyone else, because they are all in situations that everyone else understands. Our local grocery stores can be a nightmare with pushy shoppers.

We have so much we need to do with this house. The entire interior needs patching and painting and decorating. We had a ton of foundation work done on the house last summer, and the result of leveling the house was a lot of cracks. This house was built in 1960, and thought it has its good points, there are a lot of things we are trying to update. And we don't know where to start, literally.

Anyone out there want to volunteer to be my decorator? We have very eclectic tastes, and absolutely nothing goes with anything else.

I often wish I could win the lottery, get an architect and say - this is what I want with this house - make it so.

of course, I'd have to buy lottery tickets to do that...

Posted by Beth at 07:21 PM