Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Sorry to have disappeared for so long. Spent the weekend getting Alex settled into his dorm. We packed on Friday and I took him up on Saturday and unloaded his stuff, then I came home. The dh and I went back on Sunday for convocation and to bring Alex the stuff he forgot or didn't fit in the car on Sat.

He seems very contented so that's good. I just feel tired right now. Probably from spending the weekend going back and forth to Murfreesboro and the emotionals of Alex really being out of the house.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

A layout I did of myself and my 2 sons in the first grade.

I went to the Department of Motor Vehicles today. Wait! Where's everyone going? This is a rant about the DMV--I swear.

I had to take Alex today for his driving test. Yes, I know he's 18 and going off to college in like 2 days, but he still only had his permit and we told him it was time to get on the stick and get his license. Anyway, they take appointments now so we made one for 9AM. The e-mail they sent said to arrive 15-20 minutes early so we got there at 8:45 AM. The first surprise we got when we walked in was they had totally rearranged the place...it's more like a bank. You wait in one line and the next available person helps you. Well, we did the paper work, Alex took the road test at 9, came back did more paper work, got his license and we were out of there at 9:30 AM!!! I still can't believe it. When I took each one for their permits we were there each time for a minimum of 3 hours most of it waiting in endless lines only to be waited on by people who took customer service lessons from the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld. This time, however, the people behind the counter smiled and talked and joked. It was--dare I say this--a pleasant experience!!

All of Alex's friends have had their licenses for at least a year some 2 years and they all told him to expect to be there for around 3-4 hours. So I guess it was a good thing he didn't get his license before now.

All I can say is thank you FedEx!!! A while back they had a thing on the news about the DMV hiring FedEx as a consultant on how to improve service and speed up the process. Well, it worked!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Busy weekend but I did get some layouts done. This one is my first grade class. I found a bunch of old class pictures and I want to do an album of mine, the dh's and my kids and we can compare them.

As I said in a previous post, we went to see Snakes on Thursday. Alex went again Friday night with a bunch of his friends after work. So Michael wanted to go again. So yesterday I took him and his best friend. His best friend wanted to see it but his dad wouldn't take him--not because he didn't want him to see but he just didn't want to see it himself. He's the one who went when we took the kids to see Silent Hill. I guess after that movie he wasn't up for this one. But I made sure and talked to his parents when I picked him up. We went to the special matinee so it was only $5. The showings that are between 4-5 o'clock are cheaper. Plus this theater was showing it in all digital--picture and sound. The digital is soooo much better than regular.

Not much else but running around this week getting Alex ready to leave. There's a list of things he still needs since we seem to shop in increments of 8 minutes (see previous post).

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Here's a couple more New Orleans layouts.
Things are pretty quiet here this weekend. It was a bit cooler this morning so I mowed the lawn--or should I say weeds since they are the only thing that's grown this summer. Horrible weather...hot and very dry. It's rained just enough to keep things alive but just barely. The only place anything looks decent is next to the central a/c units where the water runs off and that's out in the back corner not visible to anybody but us.

Alex went with a group of friends to see Snakes again so now Michael is bugging me to take him again. He can't go alone because he's not old enough. Is it just in Chattanooga or does other parts of the country not allow under 18 for rated R. According to the official movie rating people, R rated movies are under 17 not allowed. Anyone know why the discrepency?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Okay, I admit it! The kids and I went last night to see Snakes on a Plane.
All I can say is...GO SEE IT!!! Just don't take it seriously! The filmmakers sure didn't and that's why (IMHO) it worked. I can't remember when I've laughed so much during a movie...even Talladega Nights wasn't this funny or as much fun and it's a comedy.
I feel compelled to put up some sort of SPOILER WARNING although I'm not really revealing any plot twists or anything because there really isn't any. It's pretty straightforward--there's Samuel L. Jackson, a plane and some snakes.
At first I was worried. I was afraid it would turn out to be another 15-18 year old boy movie like Silent Hill and my kids would love it and I would be wishing I could get a refund. Or, I would end up falling asleep since it was a work/school night and it was the 10 PM showing -- nearly past my bed time. Both fears proved unfounded. I still laugh thinking about some of the dialogue. Of course everyone was waiting for Samuel L. Jackson to say the now famous, "I'm sick of these bleep snakes on this bleep plane." and the theater errupted with cheering, clapping and laughter but I thought it felt like it was just tacked on. And if the internet rumors are true, it was added on later. But that doesn't matter when there's other gems like when the co-pilot tells Jackson that such and such on the plane isn't working and Jackson asked what will happen if they can't fix it. The co-pilot replies, and I have to paraphrase since I don't have perfect recall. He said something like "we're in a metal tube 10,000 feet in the air--she'll go down quicker than a Thai hooker." Or when the stewardess heaves a big sigh and says, "I don't believe I'm saying this but ... can anyone here fly a plane?"
I admit the first 5-10 minutes I was wondering what I had gotten myself into. I mentioned it to Michael and he said, "Yeah, I thought maybe they were showing the wrong movie." All I could think of was that old tv show CHiPS. It was endless scenes of a guy riding his dirt bike with music blaring in the background. But as soon as Sam showed it was like he was saying "I'm here now. Let's start having some fun with this movie!"
I don't know yet what the critics will be saying but if they understand that this isn't serious filmmaking, I think they'll like it. There's a very high cheese factor...but in a good way.
Well, that's my take on the movie. Would love to hear what others think.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Oops, I forgot to put the link in for the credits on yesterdays layout. You can go here for credits.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

A layout for another sketch challenge. I'm hoping to create an album of some of our New Orleans trips. For credits go here.

Remind me again why I get teary eyed thinking about Alex going off to college? Yesterday, I rushed home after work so Alex could get some shopping done for his dorm room. When I got home we had about an hour and 45 minutes before I had to pick Michael up from school. Of course Alex was still sleeping (it was 12:45 PM) but he did get up and took a quick (for him!) shower. Okay, we still had an hour and a half. He's out of the shower but why isn't he coming? Well, before he can leave the house he has to convert some songs he's got on his computer so he can put them on his PSP. Twenty-five minutes later the songs are ready. Five minutes to put onto PSP. I guess we still have enough time. But before we can get out the door he has to hunt for his glasses. Finds glasses but before he can go out the door he needs to go back upstairs and look for his wallet. Are we ready to go out the door? As soon as he finishes getting his PSP headphone wires untangled. Okay we make it to the car! Yippee! We went to Bed, Bath and Beyond to look for sheets, etc. We go in and find some sheets. Do you like these? What? I can't hear you, Mom, I still have my headphones on. We finally establish that he likes those but the paper that tells the mattress size is in the car. No problem, I tell him, I'll run and get it. I ran to the car and grabbed it and went back into the store. Where is Alex. He's not where I left him. I look around. No Alex. It won't do any good to call him because he's got the headphones on. I circled the store three times and had a clerk searching for him. I'm ready to give up when he finally appears. Now we have to rush to pay for the sheets so I can pick Michael up.

That hour and 45 minutes I had...I think in the end we had about 8 minutes to actually shop. And that was only 1 item!! He still has a list of things he needs.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I did this layout for the August song lryics challenge at RAKScraps. For credits go here.
Well, we survived first day of school yesterday. 3 out 0f the 4 teachers Michael has this semester had Alex as a student. Michael said that worked out good because they automatically liked him because of Alex. Michael said good thing they don't really know me yet!
Recently Budd was talking about "Evil Genius" on his blog. An incident yesterday made me think of that--only I don't know if it's a case of evil genius or complete idiocy. As I said, yesterday was the first day of school and someone chose that day to close the road and dig up the railroad tracks on the main route between the middle school and the high school (and between my house and the high school). There are other ways to get from one to the other but you have to go all the way around. No to mention that the buses take that route. They had to go around and tie up traffic especially since there are a lot more sharp turns and the buses have to wait for the oncoming cars to pull out so they can make the turn.
This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Several years ago they talked and talked about extending the sidewalks in front of the middle school. They talked about it all summer. When did they start? You guessed it! The first day of school. Talk about a mess! Half the road was closed for several weeks.
Who in the world makes these decisions?

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Back to school tomorrow! Unfortunately, that also means I have to get up at least 1 hour earlier. Two more weeks and Alex heads off to college. Feeling nostalgic I did a layout of his first grade picture. I love the gap tooth grin. I used Kathryn Balint's The Alphabet Book Kit.

Not too much else happening this weekend. We went to the local Chinese buffet last night and got another questinable fortune cookie. The first time it happened I got one that said "Enjoy life while you can." Maybe it's just me, but that sounded more like a threat than a fortune. Last night Michael got one that said something like "You're creative and personable. Prove it." What happened to "Help! I'm trapped in a Chinese fortune cookie factory."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I was going to upload a layout but Blogger won't let me. I hate when that happens. I finally learned how to properly save my layouts for the web. Thanks to Kelly at Kathryn Balint my layouts will look better when I upload them. If Blogger lets me....

We went to see Talladega Nights yesterday and I have to say I liked it. It was typical Will Ferrell --sophomoric humor and Will running around in his undies-- but it was fun, funny and entertaining. Not all the jokes/gags worked but enough did so I'm not complaining.

After the movie we went to pick up Michael's schedule for school. He's got English the first semester so we also had to pick up a summer reading list. He was hoping he'd get it 2nd semester and could put it off even longer. No such luck! He has to read Farenheit 451 but we told him since he liked Animal Farm he'll probably like it too. He can also read either a Grisham or a Mary Higgins Clark. I have some of each so he can pick what he wants.

Alex had good news from MTSU--they're changing his roommate assignment and putting him with his friend from high school. The other kid called yesterday before he knew about the switch but Alex told him he might be switching. I told Alex he'll probably run into that other kid and he'll be like "so you're the one who didn't want to be my roommate!"

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Another Animal Kingdom layout. I love looking at the tigers. I think they're so beautiful.

Tennessee is having Tax Free days (Fri-Sun) this weekend so I've been shopping and taking advantage. Tax free is for clothes, school supplies and computers. With sales tax at 9.25%, it's definitely a savings. Alex has been working lots of extra hours this weekend. The money will come in handy since he'll be leaving for school in about 3 weeks.

The kids and I are planning to go see the new Will Ferrell movie tomorrow. Talladega Nights. Not my first choice but they really want to see it so I figure I'll tag along.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Back from vacation!
Despite some bumps in the road, we had a great time at Disney World and now I'm trying to catch up on everything plus get ready for the new school year. Michael picks up his schedule this Monday and starts the following Monday (8/14). Alex will be going soon after.

Disney was hot and crowded but that's summer at WDW. Didn't expect anything different. What I didn't expect--and this is totally naive on my part--was that someone would try to snatch my camera from around my neck. We were in Epcot heading for the exit after the nightly fireworks and someone came running by me and bumped into me. I felt a tug and next thing I knew my camera was gone--all I had left was the strap it had been hanging from. I yelled and ran after her. Some guy saw it and yelled too. I ran after her and she either dropped or threw the camera down. I got my camera back but the way it hit the ground I seriously thought it was ruined. To my surprise and relief it still works. Park employees asked if we wanted them to call security and fill out a police report but I honestly couldn't describe the person who did it except she was female. It's true what they say about witnesses. Michael thought she was wearing a red shirt and I thought she had on blue and the guy who yelled was wearing red. I was super careful with everything after that.

Unfortunately Alex had bad news from MTSU when we got back. He and his friend thought they were going to be roommates but when they got their letters they were assigned to different people. They've been making plans for the past 3 months and coordinating what each one would buy and bring for the room, etc. With such limited space, no sense in having 2 of everything. The part that makes me mad is that we asked--repeatedly--about roommate assignments and were reassured each time. If we had been given correct info to begin with we could have been working to correct it. Now they're saying it's probably too late. Grrr.

I fired off an e-mail to the people running the orientation and told them they need to give correct info and not paint a rosey picture if it's not true. It would have been better to receive dissappointing news back then. What they told us (at orientation) and what people in the housing dept. told us when we called were totally opposite. Alex and his friend are trying to get their assignments changed but don't know if it's futile or not.

One of the admin staff gave a speech at orientation and basically said if a student (or parent) came to him with a problem he would make it his problem until it was solved even if it wasn't his department. I told Alex we need to make this his problem! LOL! Of course he could have been just blowing smoke too.