Rosehill Academy

Friday, December 31, 2004

Pampers Melt in a Maytag Dryer

No, it hasn't been quite that bad... It's a line from a Lonestar song that pretty much describes how today has been.

Papaw put together the trampoline this morning while DC, Brian, and I went to Wal-mart for Friday toys and DVD+Rs. When we got back Kate and Elizabeth had just gotten up. The trampoline went up, Brian went down for a nap, and my new DVD Recorder was busily transfering Power Rangers DinoThunder to a DVD.

After the trampoline was finished, Papaw went downstairs to deal with the clog in the basement's septic line. Both toilets and showers down there weren't draining. This, as you can imagine, involved quite a lot of mess and in the end a plumber's snake. He got done at 6 pm, and still has to put my comode back together. I'm under strict instructions to never flush the "flushable" cat litter ever again... *blush*

Of course, the real commedy of errors only happened a little bit ago. One of the things I did today was clean out the rat cage by flushing it with boiling water. This evening Nora was patiently standing over the pot of water that was this close to boiling when I asked her if she had cleaned the pot out first... I never told her that I had actually dunked the rats' wooden house in the pot of boiling water to get in nice and clean... We laughed as we emptied the pot and got a new one.

Once again the water was getting ready to boil when Brian came in asking for Sprite in a Christmas cup. I opened the fridge to get... something, and found that it was flooded with water, so Nora opened the new bottle of Sprite and got sprayed in the face with it while I mopped up the mess... At that point I just started laughing, because, really, what else can you do? And Nora asked if it was 8:30 yet.

Thursday, December 30, 2004


One of the toys Brian got for Christmas was this nifty little gadget that makes music any time the floor vibrates. The faster you move, the faster the music. It's supposed to get kids up and dancing and experimenting with music.

As of yet, Nora and I have had more fun with it than the kids...

Anyway, it's been sitting in the dining room all day. On, all day. And every time someone passes through the dining room music plays. And every time I go by it an image of a silent movie actor scurrying around doing whatever necessary to advance the plot of the movie goes through my head. The fact that at the moment it's set on a calliope sounding tune doesn't help.

Do do dodo doit do do dodo doit.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004


Well, I got my Corporal stripes and my CIB pinned on today. Good stuff, but really all that is going on at the moment. I do love the Hadji shop though, I picked up 25 movies today for $30. A lot of movies I wouldn't normally buy but that are fun like the first 4 Freddie movies, but who can argue at $1+ a movie.

Monday, December 27, 2004

8:30 PM

Is a magic time around here. At 8:30 DC gets his one bottle of snakejuice (milk) and settles down to sleep. Brian is usually downstairs at this point, and the house settles down.

8:30 is not a static time, though. Some nights it comes a little later than most. Such as the night of Christmas, when I came upstairs after settling Brian down in order to kiss DC good night at 8:30. An hour and a half later he was still playing on the computer with Kate and the in-laws and I were happily chatting away. At quarter 'til 11, I told him that it was time to go to bed. His response was "Is it 8:30 yet?"

Yes, DC, it's 8:30...

Yesterday and tonight, 8:30 occurred earlier in the day. DC was just so tired that he had a meltdown around 8:00. Nora and I looked at each other and said "It's 8:30."

Life, if you're a kid at Rosehill, is pretty good. DC and I made a foray off the ridge today and went to Wal-mart. Didn't find what I was looking for, but we discussed the fact that I'm a big marshmallow while picking out Power Rangers. DC insisted on getting Kate the pink Ranger so that she could play with him and his green Ranger. They also scored Crayola Crayon Makers. I love after Christmas sales.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

E4s--Specialist vs. Corporal

I learned for the first time this evening that my soldier boy had been promoted to Corporal. It seems that the ladies in the family learned about it from him three weeks ago, but since they didn't really understand what that meant, they neglected to tell me.

Specialists who have demonstrated leadership abilities and are serving in Sergeant positions can be promoted to Corporals. This signifies that they hold a leadership position, and are held to the responsibilities and authorities inherent in that role. It doesn't mean any higher pay grade. Specs and Corporals are both designated pay grade E4. But there is enhanced prestige that goes with the responsibilies of Corporal's stripes. He will get his Sergeant's stripes in about six weeks, but I am proud to learn about his new stripes now.

The Yuletide Fire

This afternoon has been fairly quiet. The kids have settled down to playing with their toys, with a bit of help from Papaw. We have called family and chatted about the joys of the day, the ice, and the kids. Nora is now preparing Christmas dinner, the etrée being a Christmas goose.

A week ago DC insisted that we have a "big fire" in the fireplace in the dining room. I don't think we have had a fire in there since before Kate was born. So that weekend, we went out to pick a Yule log. DC chose an 18" diameter log that I had cut from the maple tree that destroyed Kate's club house in the great wind storm this summer. It was appropriately decorated with pine bows, pine cones, and other approriate to-do. It has rested on the fireplace heath all week.

Today, this afternoon actually, I finally unsealed the fireplace, checked the chimney to make sure it was clear. (Chimney swallows do a good job of cleaning it every summer.) Then I prepared to lay the fire. Of course, being a 4-year-old, DC was not at all interested now. And Kate, being an 8-year-old, objected to going out to find kindling for what she considered to be DC's project.

Well, eventually the fire was laid, and Brian, being a 2-year-old pyromaniac, was more than happy to help me get it going.

Oh Yes, a Good Christmas

Dad is working DC's dinosaur puzzle for him. Jo is assembling a yet another teenage mutant dino dragon transformer. Kate is pulling a foam rabbit out of a hat, repeatedly. Brian has mooched enough muffins, bacon, donuts, and dog hair to produce one remarkable diaper already.

Dishwasher is running. One more load and I should be able to start cooking Christmas dinner. Cow with no crust on duxelles, goose on a bed of sauerkraut, braised artichokes, buttered potatos, creamed spinach, fresh pineapple, relishes, cheesecake, fruit cake, and chocolate pie if all goes according to plan.

For sure we can't order pizza. We still have only one car we can even get into - and no reason to do so, given that the half inch of ice is even slicker today. Yesterday's sunshine melted the toppest layer, which promptly refroze into a perfect glaze.

Santa Chaos . . .

or Holy Disorder.

Eyes All Aglow

As if she expected them to sleep long... Brian was actually awake at 7 when Nora posted, but was perfectly happy snuggling up to Mommy. DC woke up about 7:15, I guess.

Both boys are now "Pow'r Ranga"-ing with their new "SUV" rangers. DC has been asking for toys for the next installment of the series for a month now. We finally found the toys a week ago. There was a huge sigh of relief involved.

DC joyfully picked out a present to make my beautiful hair "beautiful-er." A bonnet hair dryer... I don't use a regular hair dryer. But, I was warned beforehand and therefore DC recieved the appropriate response for the intent. Lots of hugs and kisses and "I love yous." He's pleased.

Kate has now stirred and Papaw will be out of the potty momentarily. So, time to see what Santa brought.

Tiny Tots

Are still asleep, mirabile dictu. It is 7 degrees outside, so I hoisted myself out of bed when I first noticed it was morning so I could stir up the fire. Almost warm out there now. It is going to be a good Christmas.

We kept trying to get your chair at the tree for present opening and to hang your stocking for Santa, but having survived those moments, we are in the easy part now.

Friday, December 24, 2004

An Hour and a Half of Opening

and now we are to the "who has the Phillips?" stage.

Sleeping Baby

Brian is still zonked almost two and a half hours after his great sledding adventure. The bigger ones are outside again. The magic of the snow and sleds has pretty much consoled Kate about missing Mass. The buffet is ready for last minute browning of the stuffed mushrooms etc. The dishwasher is running (as it has all day). The magic reindeer food is bagged for tossing after presents are done. All the stuff that has to be moved after the kids go to sleep is in places from which it can be gotten. Life is good!

The 2004 Rosehill Christmas Tree

Too icy even for the Deer.

The layer of ice under the snow even made travel dangerous for the deer.

Papaw has to have a flag picture.

This is the flag of Yorkshire, England, designed by my friend, Michael Faul. I fly it at Christmas and Easter, just because it looks right so to do.
Es ist ein Ros entsprungen aus einer Wurzel zart.

Kids Love Sleds!

Here are some photos of the kids with their sleds. When they got the wrapping paper off, DCs sled was wrapped up in a Hoover vaccuum cleaner box. He seemed genuinely excited about getting a Hoover. He did not seem too disappointed that it was a sled instead.

All three of the kids loved sledding down that steep, icy driveway behind the house.

Percy also had fun with them.

DC just kept going and going, until he finally got the hang of stearing.

Hear Them?

That is 2 kids with sleds on a white Christmas eve afternoon, who have found the absolute iciest spot on the drive around the north side of the house where the hill is just right... .

I came in to generate significant hot calories (sorry for the pleonasm) which will be greatly needed shortly. Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow will fall asleep tonight.

Dad is taking pictures; Brian will get his little red wagon in a bit.

Christmas excess

I am presently wearing my eleven-year-old "Hanging of the Greens at Rosehill" sweat shirt while trying to remain cheerfully holiday-ish in the midst of 4 dozen hardboiled eggs that have to be peeled immediately so SMT can devil them this afternoon. Did you ever see 4 dozen eggs at one time in one kitchen that is deeply, deeply under construction?

Actually, he's doing a bang-up job of the thing, and it looks better--even in media res--than i had ever dreamed it could. Meanwhile, the eggs are probably going to be a tiny bit gritty with sawdust. Asi es la vida.

God's blessings on all this Christmas Eve.....p

Dashing Through the Snow

Given that we are socked in - and given that the sun is beating down on the snow, I think there will be a little pre dinner opening here in a minute. If you hear shrieks there in Bagdad, you will know that I am correct in that assessment.
- Mom

Damn that Cat

Rose decided that she desperately wanted to go out this morning. So much so that she actually dashed out the door and past a horde of other cats. You have to remember that it was 11 degrees at the time and Rose is timid around other cats.

Maybe an hour later she started scratching at the study window, requesting to be let in. The front door is blocked, so I went around to the back door and called for her. After awhile she came to the back door, as did every other cat in the county. Instead of coming in, Rose took off, with me chasing her and cursing her very existence.

Ten minutes later, she's back at the window. I trudge out again in my nice, leather and fleece slippers (best purchase I ever made) and go to the porch to pick her up... And she's gone, spooked off by Percy.

It did give me a chance to notice how absolutely gorgeous it is outside, though. Yes, 11 degrees, but beautiful. I decided to come back in and assemble my camera and put on actual shoes in order to take some pictures.

While I was out, laughing at the emu whose feathers are frozen in the shape of the ground, the dumb cat decided she'd had enough and streaked in through a door despite the other cats and Percy.

Now, if only that red cardinal would come back and perch on a branch again... That will make a lovely picture.

The Spirit of Cooperation

has not yet arrived:

If that great bird lands before too long, we will have adorable Christmas portraits of the boys wearing John and Milton's ringbearer outfits from our wedding, but with red and green belts.

In the alternative we could go on, take the pics now and make a fortune off of humorous Christmas cards.

Christmas Eve Gift!

There, that's out of the way.

Furthermore, DC promised that if I would just turn on the lights on the tree and off all the others in den, he would stay out there and admire it until I had coffee. Bright child.

Be back later.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas Eve Eve

Well the weather says that our Angel and Bethlehem Green Stable spider won't make the Christmas pageant. There is a half inch of ice on everything and the snow is peppering down. I called Joyce and told her that the 9 shepherds costumes weren't going to make it off the hill tomorrow, but she thinks she has enough sheets that were otherwise headed to Goodwill to solve the lack.

The Angel and Spider are more than a little bummed, but also excited by the possibility of opening presents earlier than usual. It has been a funny, snowy day. Here we are at not quite 8 and all 3 kids are going to bed. I fixed a ham, macaroni and cheese, and Italian green beans for dinner, Nobody ate much - too tired. A mixture of ennui and cold weather languor.

This afternoon I looked around. Jo was making stays for 1780's re-enacting. Kate was cutting out letters to make an "Aunt Helen" style stocking for Percy dog. Dad was still in his PJ's. DC was watching the Peter and the Wolf ballet on PBS and Brian was eating Mexican Chex mix. That wonderful suspension of the world that is Christmas here, made all the more natural by the weather conspiring to prevent any last minute, errand type distractions.

If the weather is as expected, I may add a hot soup to the earlier than usual Christmas Eve buffet. There has always been an intensely Jewish element of the domestic church to our holidays. This year, with the ice, seems even more so.

I can hardly wait for the kids to open their presents. There are some true delights under the tree for them - and the pace will be child friendly. On the other hand not greeting the Baby at Mass is disquieting. There is a line, "silent as a sparrow in the snow on the brink of an exquisite indecision" that turns up in one of my mother's poems and of a Russian poet's from the time of the Revolution (probably in other places - it is an arresting and universal image); despite the physical noise of our pediatric units, it also applies at Rosehill tonight.
Posted by Mom who didn't realize Dad had logged on

Food, Glorious Food

One too many kids told Brian to "go away" one time too many, so he sought refuge in the kitchen. Homemade boursin is a blessing for that circumstance. All his favorite tastes - garlic, more garlic, onion, capers, more garlic, thyme, more garlic are in it. Best of all it can be stirred more or less effectively for as long as it takes to get one's world back in order. ... or maybe best of all, when it slips off the counter, it stays in the bowl.

The chocolate smears are from taste testing the Tollhouse bar cookies, made with red stocking and green tree chocolate morsels. Wal-Mart lost courage on Tuesday, started marking everything down and setting out Valentine's Day stuff.
Also posted by Mom, who didn't realize she had been logged off

Weather Report

It is getting colder, but the sun came out for a bit.

I know this not from listening to the news or even from looking out the window. DC has added socks and a shirt to his normal near nudist ensemble, so it must be cold. A series of cars spun out, skidded, and generally and noisily escaped control on Womack, so the bright souls who were determined to get out must have seen sun and decided the road would melt, even though temperatures were forecast to drop steadily all day.


Excessive symmetry in plantings has always seemed to me a bit precious - as well as a near blasphemous tempting of the Lord Your God. Nonetheless, we have allowed to 2 blue spruces which flank the entry path to Rosehill (if anyone were so misguided as to think the front door really was the entry) to remain. They are pretty and how to decide which healthy tree to cut??? a conundrum.

Well, about a year ago the east side spruce began to list. Not a huge amount, just enough to be quirky. The tree elves did not, of course, right its tilt. Over the heavy rains of the Fall, the lean became more pronounced and the trunk, seeking verticalness, even more quirky; we decided that after the greenery cutting of Christmas would be a good time to end its misery. Ice can be pretty accommodating.

The Hobbitts are Back

And jelly sandwiches with bacon make a fine second breakfast, IMHO.

And Sound a Lot Like Christmas


It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Ice storm last night, but still have power, so the flurries that are coming down are just a joy to those who think a white Christmas is a good one. The electric company did their trimming in this end of the county this year, so we may keep power.

Dad is off today and tomorrow; he is watching Casper's First Christmas in the den wearing his PJ's and robe Kate got him for his birthday. The kids have been out once, had hot chocolate one and are dressing to go out again. Somehow each trip generates 12 cubic yards of wet clothes and a need for more food.

DC has been playing with his Advent village off and on since 7. Brian was the first one up - and came upstairs looking for company, loudly. He has reformed from his previous mischief and is no longer stealing tree ornaments. In fact he has even agreed to leave the packages alone, so most of them are under the tree. The fact that he can't get to the tree for the packages may be facilitating his resolve not to steal any more ornaments.

I have refilled the Chex mix tin, the Rice Krispeys squares tin, and the fudge tin already this morning; the Mexican Chex mix is cooling. Most of the corned beef hash has been consumed. The angel and the Bethlehem Green Stable Spider costumes are ready for the Christmas pageant at Mass tomorrow. God willing we will be able to get out. The Elf still needs to pick up some more fruit, too.

A few more presents to wrap. Not many, just the ones that either couldn't be wrapped until I saw the over all balance and a couple which had somehow never gotten out of the Jeep, because of the intense supervision of adults the kids seem to have arranged.

Strange not to have you here - for the first time ever. Miss you and looking forward to a second Christmas this Spring.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Jawbone of an ass

I'm serious. I was searching a rooftop last night and found the jawbone of an ass up there. I forget the complete referance, but it was enough for me to decided it was time to go home, or at least to the barracks.

Monday, December 13, 2004

This should tell you something

So, we're standing around last night waiting to go out on patrol and one of the guys looks at me and says, "I had a dream last night and you were in it." Well, he proceeds to tell us about it. Apparently, we were all going to a bar and there were a lot of guys in one car and I was driving by myself in a red station wagon. Naturally, I got bored so I start racing them and just leave them choking on dust. So, they're trying to catch up to me and see the station wagon flip and start burning. The guy tells me, "You know how things can be Kinda strange in dreams? Well I got out to help and I get up there and the station wagon's really small [about a foot long from his hand gestures] and I look inside and see this burning skeleton and I'm like 'Oh NO.' Then you walk up behind me and say, 'Got you!'" To which the general response from the group was, "Ya, that sounds like Cannon. And ya'll were afraid I'd take things to far...Now as to water balloons...

Merry Christmas

Click HERE to see a larger image of this photo.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Well, I went to the promotion board today. They decided they'll pay me for doing the job I'm doing anyway; so, I should get promoted at the begining of February. Really nothing else interesting going on.