December 31, 2011

things that go boom and things that go bust

New Year's Eve in Alaska brought 3 things:
1. Great food
2. Games with good friends
3. Going downtown at midnight to stand outside in the freezing cold to watch the fireworks!

Fireworks on New Year's Eve in Alaska?
Yes, because it doesn't get dark in Alaska in the summer, so pyrotechnics on July 4th just don't fly. Well, they may fly, but you can't see 'em!

Too bad the guy who built the NEVER-used Drive-In Theater in Anchorage didn't think about that important little fact before he invested thousands of dollars: Alaskan summers bring 24-hour daylight, so when it's warm enough to go to the drive-in, you can't see the screen, and when it's dark enough to see the screen, it's way too frigid to sit outside in your car.

Just a fun little reminder that, as you make resolutions and set goals for 2012, be sure you think through the ways you plan to accomplish your goals.

Happy New Year.

the end of 365

So my "365 Project" turned out to be way too easy. I got rid of over 500 items in 2011 - none of which I miss - except maybe Kevin. I plan to continue this project for another year...minimalism here I come!

187 articles of clothing
2 "mother of the bride" outfits
12 pairs of shoes
4 votives
36 votive candles
3 styrofoam balls
1 old briefcase
2 binders
1 decorative plate
1 bag of silk flowers
1 decorative lantern
1 wooden letter "R"
6 Rubbermaid containers
2 quilts
3 baby blankets
26 pairs of earrings
8 necklaces
12 placemats
1 vanity case
4 Spaghetti Factory glasses
26 Christmas ornaments
13 Christmas decorations
4 kitchen towels
2 aluminum pans
1 divided party platter
1 kitchen timer
1 small mixing bowl
1 funnel
5 candles
6 green glass bottles
1 decorative greenery
3 purses
1 scrapbooker's drink holder
2 leaf prints
1 box of stamping up items
7 stuffed animals
2 sets of twin sheets
1 set of queen sheets
1 treadmill
14 toys
10 videos
48 books (which I forgot to photograph)
8 mugs
1 zebra backpack
3 puzzles
17 cds
22 computer games
2 scarf/earmuff/glove sets
1 tv antenna
1 old camcorder
2 umbrellas
1 erector set
2 soap dispensers
9 decorative balls
3 bath towels
1 large vase
1 lap desk
3 baskets
...and numerous cardboard boxes :)

December 19, 2011

socks & bonds

My friend Debbie (who lives in Great Britain) says I should blog about: Chocolate, Love, Sex and Money. So here goes: Chocolate has never disappointed me. EV.ER. The End.

(Unless you count the time Mom burned a batch of chocolate pudding and it tasted like ashes and dirt, but that was really more Mom disappointing me than the chocolate). The End Again.

My friend Bernie (who lives in British Columbia, which is nowhere NEAR Great Britain, despite its name) says I should blog about: Toeless Socks. Now back in my marching band days, we woodwinds cut our gloves to make them fingerless to enable us to play, so why not toeless socks to enable my toes to play? If you know me at ALL, you know my claustrophobic feet HATE socks. So, as I'm sitting here contemplating the joy of free toes (not to be confused with Fritos, which are great with chili and onions), I googled "toeless socks". OH MY GOODNESS! They exist! Not only do they exist, but there is a myriad of manufacturers and a plethora of patterns! DID YOU KNOW THIS??? If you did, you are now on my "You OWE me one!" list for allowing my toes to sweat and suffer in silence all these years.

This blog is over. I have to go make a call now.

"Hello, Sockdreams? I NEED to place an order..."

December 11, 2011

church is not a place

The weird and the broken. That's what we jokingly call ourselves. The church of the weird and the broken. I could not love a group of people more than I love this group I call my "church family". For the last two years I have been one of the 'broken'. I have struggled deeply in my relationship with God. There, I said it out loud. Not struggled with believing IN Him, mind you, just BELIEVING Him. I have continued to pray every day, though I quit praying for myself, because I reached the point where I don't think He listens to me or cares. I know in my head this isn't true, but I can't convince my heart otherwise. Despite that, I'm not sure what I would do without these people in my life ... they make me better.

I grew up with a very legalistic view of church. "Going to church" was a requirement. "Being good". "Earning salvation" by being in a perfect church filled with fake people who pretended to be perfect as well. We sat in our pristine buildings, based our belief system on a handful of verses taken out of context, and patted ourselves on the back for being God's favorites. If only everyone else would open their eyes and see "the right way" as we saw it...

It took a while for that twisted view to morph into something much different, for me and for the church I call my family. We stopped seeing the Bible as an instruction manual, and started reading it as the story of God's presence in the lives of His people. We gave up pretending to be perfect, and are much more open with our flaws, our struggles, our humanity. We stopped sitting in a building up on a hill waiting for the world to come to us to find God, and have become a group of people who get outside our four walls and try to BE Jesus to the people around us.

We also happen to love each other. And pray for each other. And annoy each other. And laugh with each other. And cry with each other. And hurt each other's feelings. And forgive each other. And take care of each other. It's a perfect imperfect church.

As I work through my own junk and struggle to find hope again, I'm blessed to have this group of weird and broken people in my life every week.

December 07, 2011

good luck will rub off when i shakes 'ands wif you

She sat on the back row of the bleachers wearing a brown plaid A-line jumper and ribbed white turtleneck, swinging her feet back and forth and wondering why they were HERE on this show today instead of in Kindergarten melting leaves & crayon bits in-between pieces wax paper, or dancing around the room to "Chim Chim Cheree" like they'd done yesterday. "Who is Captain Spaceman anyway?" she wondered to herself, looking at all the rows of lights hanging from the high ceiling of the television studio. Oh, well, at least the man in the giant blue leotard says our time is almost up, he just needs to draw a name for the prize. Sure, a prize would be nice, but not if she had to walk down in front of everybody to get it. No thanks. Her little wallflower self would rather just sit here watching her feet swing than be made a spectacle of, thank you very much. What did he say? The giveaway is a Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea game? Icky Yucky Ooky. She may only be five years old, but she's smart enough to know that Jules Verne, and for that matter, all Science Fiction stuff is for boys. And she did NOT want boy stuff. Surely they wouldn't call out a girl's name for a boy's toy. If they did, it would be like that awkward moment when the boy in front of you passes gas and then looks at you so everybody else will think it WAS you. No thank you very much. That would be mortifying. But she told herself there was nothing to worry about. Only a 1 in 30 chance even if they DID include the girls, "Which they wouldn't," she thought just as they announced ... HER name. WHAT? NOOOOO!

And that, boys and girls, was the beginning of my good fortune. I have gone on to win tickets and gift certificates to nice restaurants and books and videos and essay competitions and savings bonds and a vhs player and $200 in a photo contest and numerous cds and a weekend trip to Memphis, and if you have EVER been to a "sales party" with me, be it Pampered Chef or Creative Memories or Tupperware or whatever, you know my name is ALWAYS the one that gets drawn for the door prize. Always.

Some decades later, only a few petals remain from my wallflower days. I have since learned to love Jules Verne and the SyFy channel offerings, no thanks to that stupid boy board game. And since I just won a new flatscreen tv, I guess my lucky streak still holds.

*The little dude next to me was my first "boyfriend" despite the ugly plaid shirt and buzz cut. He gave me a bracelet. Gotta love a guy who gives you jewelry. And it's quite possible the girl next to me is Cindy Brady. Just sayin'.

December 03, 2011

biodegradable by december

No Sugar November has come and gone with only a nibble of Mom's Italian Cream Cake, one sweet roll ('cause I forgot), a cookie (because they were baked for me by some new friends when I took them dinner, and I couldn't be rude), and a peppermint mocha in the middle of a 38-hour labor experience. Not perfect, but really not bad, all things considering.

December kicks off my switch from mild recycler to Serious Green Freak. Or maybe I'm just returning to my Earth Mother roots from the late 80's when I ate all organic and gave birth at home and climbed a lot of stairs. (The stairs don't really have anything to do with being "earthy", we just happened to live in a 3-story condo in Alaska at the time.) But really, my only goal for December is to limit my "throw-away" garbage to one bag per week. I have recycle containers for plastics, glass, aluminum (which I would love to eliminate altogether), and of course, paper and cardboard. I even bought a shredder to make the process easier.

Today I spent the day being Squeegie Beckenheim and successfully unsubscribing from about two dozen catalogs that serve no purpose but to kill 10 minutes of my day every day as I sort through the mail and toss the junk.

It's not that I don't like the catalogs, it's just that I can shop online for all the same things. Besides, my arms aren't long enough to catalog shop anymore.

December 02, 2011

christmas movie quiz!

A little Christmas movie-quotes game! To make this more fun for everybody, PLEASE comment, BUT only answer ONE - doesn't matter which one! (So your comment would look something like this: #12 - White Christmas. No, there is no #12 and as you may have guessed, "White Christmas" is NOT one of the answers.) No googling (on your honor!).

Okay, here we go!

1. "Toys are hereby declared illegal, immoral, unlawful AND anyone found with a toy in his possession will be placed under arrest and thrown in the dungeon."

2. "Some men are Baptists, others Catholics; my father was an Oldsmobile man."

3. "There are more important things than comfort: Self Respect!"

4. "You call this a happy family? Who do we have to have all these kids?"

5. "Come out to the coast, we'll get together, have a few laughs..."

6. "If you're really Santa Claus, you can get it for me. And if you can't, you're only a nice man with a white beard like mother says."

7. "Dear Santa Claus, How have you been? Did you have a nice summer? How is your wife? I've been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want. Please note the size and color of each item, and send as many as possible."

8. "I love smiling. Smiling's my favorite!"

9. "He got stuck only once for a minute or two, then he stuck his head out of the fireplace flue."

10. "Say, isn't it true that French babes don't shave their pits?"

Alrighty, choose your quote and then leave a comment with the name of the corresponding Christmas movie. And for bonus points, name my two personal favorite movies from this list!

November 28, 2011

my first cell phone...a love story

(2 years ago today)

I have a new cell phone. I didn't invest much in it, and basically it's just a functional phone I settled for because it seemed on the surface very much like my first one.

Problem is, I don't love it. Not that there's anything wrong with it, in all fairness. It's just that I didn't want a new phone. I truly LOVED my first phone. We had the perfect relationship, this little Nokia and I. But it broke. It's my fault, really. I scratched up the screen, I wore out the battery, and there was a red half-heart-shaped piece broken off the body leaving exposed wires and I'm still not sure how that happened. Apparently living with me on a day to day basis proved to be too much.

And though we were only together for a couple of years, the first phone holds so many memories that I found I couldn't transfer to the second one. And trust me, I tried. I exchanged the card, I even read the manual, but I ended up losing everything. Text messages encouraging me to "breathe in and breathe out" on days when it just seemed too hard to do it on my own, photos of special memories, voice mails and video clips and audio files, and hundreds of other pieces of my life that are irreplacable and very special to me.

So though I committed to a long-term contract with this second phone, I'm still carrying the broken one around in my purse. What can I say? My heart will always belong to the first one.

November 23, 2011

that which we call a rose ...

We've had a cat named "Puppy".

A cow called (Hamburger) "Patty" and her offspring, "Slider". And two calves christened "Norman" and "Mailer".

I have a pair of stuffed animal raccoons from high school dubbed "Smokey" and "Bandit".

My iPod is named "Soma" after the addictive drug in Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. Kevin has named his "Life Support".

My daughter received her first Barbie (against my wishes) for her 4th birthday. She could have named her Buffy or Ariel or Jessica, but instead, she chose the prettiest name she knew: "Leonard".

We have had the following vehicles:
"Stella!!!" (Kacey's 'regal' Buick)
"Tank the Sable Tooth" (my old 1992 white Mercury)
"Fiona" (the green monster Taurus)
"Armadillo", Kevin's little gray Dodge roadkill
And, of course, "Eddie van Honda"

My lovely children answer to the nicknames "Daughter-Face" and "Kevie-Poo".

But of all the weirdly-named things in our little world, my favorite of all was Kevin's first Beanie Baby. It was a lobster, which, at the age of 5 he pronounced "lomster" and branded it with this biggest word in his little vocabulary: APPARENTLY.
Apparently the Lomster.

Every moment of one's existence one is growing into more or retreating into less. One is always living a little more or dying a little bit. ~Norman Mailer

November 15, 2011

you bet your aspergillus or... it's not that easy bein' green

Today is "National Clean Out Your Refrigerator" day. Seriously. I don't make this stuff up.  And I fully intended to celebrate the holiday in style with red glitter and a Jell-0 salad, and possibly wear an old t-shirt from my breastfeeding days that reads, "Got Milk? I do!". But I got distracted by a Jim Gaffigan special on Netflix, getting my tush kicked by Bernie in a Scrabble game, and Monsanto's new propaganda-laden coloring book for kids, and I forgot.

Better late than never, right? After all, if I wasn't a procrastinator, my fridge would be all Fly Lady sparkly and organized and I wouldn't have found myself donning the yellow rubber gloves to tackle this job, would I?

I began with the top shelf, a shelf useful only for items under five inches tall. Spicy 3-pepper hummus, Manuka honey, cottage cheese, jams, jellies, and yogurt, because as much as I hate yogurt, I seem to be unable to stop buying it. So, I checked the printed expiration date on the sides of each one, because yogurt tastes exactly the same before, after, and even WAY after it has "gone bad".

The top shelf also contained seven - SEVEN jars of jalapenos. Why? Apparently to keep the 8 jars of salsa from getting lonely. I must have been planning a Cinco de Mayo party back in June when I discovered that Cinco de Mayo didn't have anything to do with mayonnaise.  Anyway . . . I combined the half-empty jars, the mostly empty jars, and the one that seemed to have been saved for the juice alone, reducing the jalapeno count to three, but all of the salsas had crusty residue under the lids, so they had to go.

I discovered something on the middle shelf that required a Haz-Mat Team.
I'm pretty certain, at one time, that toxic Tupperware actually contained a half-eaten block of sweetened Philadelphia Cream Cheese surrounded by blackberries. Today, all covered in enough fuzz to be this year's Chia Pet, it looked more like Dead Possum a la Mode in a Snap-n-Seal.

At some point, an Olive Garden take-home box dripping with butter had been shoved onto the bottom shelf, and had collided with an 18-count carton of brown eggs, cracking one of the eggs, and overturning some heavy cream and a not-quite-closed container of grated parmesan. The result was a petrified Alfredo Sauce strong enough to cement styrofoam containers to plexiglass.

Finally, in the crisper drawers, I saw my first UFO (Unidentified Fermenting Object), which appeared to be both a solid and a liquid in one gelatinous blob, and something that could, quite possibly, be a shrunken head from the Huambisa tribe in the Amazon Basin. Or an old plum. Hard to tell.

After utilizing an entire bottle of vinegar (because I'm trying to be "green"), an entire roll of Brawny (because I'm not THAT "green"), the shop-vac and the air compressor, the job was complete.

I'm so relieved "National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day" only comes around once a year. I'd hate to have to do this every week.

(reposted from 2010)

November 14, 2011

natural childbirth is not possible

I rarely rant. I almost never rave. If I seem taller than usual, it's more likely from my new winter boots than from standing on a soapbox. But...well...I want to say something that's going to make some of you furious and others of you feel justified:

Natural childbirth is not possible in an unnatural world.

Okay, maybe it's POSSIBLE, but it ain't likely.

We live in a culture that fosters negative perceptions regarding childbirth. We watch movies and tv shows that tell us labor will begin with intense pain and agony. We see images of women screaming and begging to be medicated. We freak out when water breaks and rush to the hospital. We listen to the horror stories of our "friends". We ignorantly put ourselves in the hands of people who are trained to handle abnormalities and emergencies, hence all our births have become such.

What we are NOT doing is educating ourselves. We have lost our communal knowledge of the art of birthing and have chosen instead to simply trust the medical profession to decide what is best for us.

You can SAY all day long, "I want a natural birth," but if you aren't educating yourself, your chances of actually HAVING one are practically nonexistent. I mean, if you want to be a safe driver, but you don't read the Driver's Manual, or learn to operate a vehicle from someone who knows how, or even take a driver's ed class, you MIGHT get in the car and know WHERE you want to go, but what are the chances of actually making it there safely? Probably about the same as having an uneducated natural birth.

Now, by "educating yourself" I do NOT mean taking the little hospital class that tours you through Labor & Delivery, makes you watch the epidural video and discusses all the things that "could go wrong" and how the hospital will deal with them. NO. NO. An emphatic "NO".

Read for yourself - literature from both ends of the spectrum, from "Twinkle Ding-Dong Yoga Birthing" to "Shut Up and Put Your Feet in the Stirrups". Go ahead and take the Labor & Delivery tour at the hospital, then go to an independent childbirth class. Drink in "A Baby Story" on TLC, then chase it with "The Business of Being Born" on Netflix. Read up on epidurals and episiotomies; C-sections and vitamin K shots; vaccinations and circumcisions; fetal monitoring and forceps; meconium and mucous plugs; contractions and colostrum; dilation and doulas; VBAC and PRoM; breech babies and birth positions; posterior presentation, placentas, pitocin & postpartum depression, and for heaven's sake, PARENTING.

While I heavily favor drug-free birthing, as a doula it is my job to help you have the experience you want. Have a C-section, squat in a cornfield, whatever. It is, after all, YOUR decision. Just please, please, please make it an INFORMED one.

November 08, 2011


She would have been 45 today. Hard to imagine, since she is frozen in time at 28 in my memory. She was wearing a white blouse, jeans and ankle boots and that is often how I think of her.

Her baby girl, who was only 4 at the time, is getting married this weekend. Her baby boy, who was only 2 at the time, is getting married next month.

Life is quick. Quicker for some. Oh, for a time machine and the knowledge that I have now.

Happy Birthday, Stacey.

November 05, 2011

no-sugar november

A few years ago there was a comedian who did a bit about work-out programs that urged you to "Consult your doctor before beginning any exercise routine." She quipped, "Does ANYbody DO that? I kind of think my doctor is busy dealing with people who have serious problems. I just don't think I should be calling him saying, "Hiiiii ... this is Ritaaaaa ... I'm thinking of bending at the waist."

This phrase "stuck" at our house. "You want me to get UP and change the channel? But I'll have to bend at the waist!" "Can't I sleep in? I don't feel like bending at the waist."
That sort of thing.

So anyway, October's challenge to exercise every day kinda fell flat. It was more like exercise-every-third-day. And really, I could explain it away, but you don't want to hear my excuses. Lucky for you, this is a blog, so you don't have to hear them, you just have to read them. See, in the last month I have:
  • Spent 3 days at the "Saddle Boy" competition
  • Spent 4 days visiting Mayah and her parents in Indianapolis
  • Spent 3 days at a youth conference with a group of teens
  • Spent nearly 8 hours sitting in traffic
  • Had 2 doula meetings and 2 overnight births
  • Tutored my little Reading Buddy on Wednesdays
  • Made several hospital visits, including a couple to my grandmother
  • Celebrated my 24th birthday for the 24th time
  • Attempted to work my "real job" as many hours as possible
  • Boxed up and hauled a vanload to Goodwill
  • Played numerous games of Words with Friends with Bernie and the rest of you
  • AND spent 70 whole minutes on the phone with my Kevie-poo
There's more, but you get the point. Finding time to walk or otherwise workout was difficult. Although during one of the births, we walked for 17 of the first 21 hours and climbed a double staircase about 15 times, so maybe that can count for half my month's walking. Or maybe not.
Anyway, I trudge on. Literally. But Walktober/Octoberquest is officially over and No-Sugar November has begun.


October 26, 2011

wait for it

I LOVE when funny stuff happens to me. It gives me blog fodder. Like the time I locked the keys in Mike's truck with it IN the garage and still running. Or like the time the cow jumped the fence. Or like last week when I lost my car in the parking lot.

The sometimes funny, sometimes not so funny thing about the last 18-24 months is that my brain has quit working. Call it hormones. Call it age. Call it grief. Call it whatever, just don't expect me to remember anything if you don't see me write it down, or make a note in my ipod, or send myself a text as a reminder.

But sometimes things happen that are SO funny, you know you won't forget. That's what happened today with my reading buddy. It was so hysterical we laughed and laughed and I thought, "I should text that to myself so I don't forget." Then myself thought, "You don't need to do that! This was so funny, there is no way you'll forget! PLUS, this will make a great blog!"

I have no doubt that it would have...if only I had written it down.

October 25, 2011

oh, poo

Kacey was a newborn - like maybe 3 weeks old - when an acquaintance (sort of a "friend of a friend") called one morning and asked if I could watch her children for the day. Now I’m about as accomodating as they come, but I hardly knew this woman, I had no relationship with her kids (girl 3 and boy 2), but mostly, I just wasn’t up to it. (Hey, don’t judge me! It takes a REALLY LONG TIME to recover from 32 hours of labor!)

Anyway ... I politely told her I wasn’t up to it, but I'd be happy to help her out another time.

Half an hour later she called back, this time practically begging. Seems an old friend of hers was in town just for the day and they really wanted to go to lunch and catch up. She had apparently called every one else she had ever known since birth and absolutely no one else was available(this should have been my first clue). She would feed her kids lunch before she brought them and would only be gone an hour - hour and a half tops.

“Well ... I guess so,” I replied.

Twenty minutes later she showed up at the door, and informed me that she just hadn't had time to feed them or even pack them a lunch, but that they would eat just about anything I would fix. (Lucky me!)

So I attempted to feed and clean up after two toddlers, while breastfeeding one-handed (now, this may work for some of you B-cup gals, but some of us more well-rounded moms requre both our hands to adequately accomplish this task without smothering our babies.)

Once that task was complete, Kacey fell asleep, so I took her upstairs and put her on the bed. When I returned downstairs a very few minutes later, I saw the 2-year-old turning a corner dressed in Pooh fashion. (Read: shirt, no pants.) Seems he had dropped his diaper . . . somewhere. I quickened my barefoot pace to catch up to him, when first ...

THEN ... I said it.

Seems he was not only dressed in Pooh fashion, but also in poo. Which, thanks to the ripaway diaper, now covered my living room floor as well. Gross.

Three (3!) hours, two diaper changes, one temper tantrum (mine) and a $60 carpet cleaning call later, “mom” returned to collect her little angels, without so much as an apology for being late, an offer to clean my carpets, or even a “thank you” for my time.

I’d say I learned a valuable lesson from this experience, but since it has been 25 years and I am still whining about it, probably not.

October 16, 2011

just the other day

The other day I instinctively threw half a cup of coffee away in my office . . . only for it to hit the floor and splatter everywhere because somebody moved my trash can and I had failed to notice.

The other day I threw two nylon jerseys in the dryer . . . only 10 hours after my son said, "Whatever you do, Mom, DON'T throw these two jerseys in the dryer."

The other day I got a fortune that read, "If you are fortunate enough to live a long life, it will be a testament to your friends' self-control."

The other day my dad called to ask, "What do you do about vertigo?" which led me to drive to their house to find my mother retching like a walrus calling her lost pup and falling (to quote Beyoncé) "to the left, to the left". I thought she'd had a stroke, but thankfully, it was just a nasty inner ear infection.

The other day my dad called to ask if my son had hidden my mom's Halloween plates. No, no he hadn't. Admittedly though, it does SOUND like something he would do.

The other day my dad called to say my grandmother had fallen and broken her pelvis. It's her first hospital stay in 25 years.

The other day I was a slacker about drinking my 64+ ounces of water. Same day I got stuck on the interstate behind an accident scene for 4 hours. Four hours. In the van. With no place to pee. Sometimes it's good to be a slacker.

The other day I was a slacker about filling Eddie van Honda before the gauge dropped to "E" and I had no choice but to get gas. I got stuck waiting behind an older couple in their dress-up clothes giving their Buick Enclave a free full-body car wash at the gas pump with the windshield washer squeegees and blue paper towels.

The other day I woke up, got dressed and ready for the day, then decided I wanted more sleep and went back to bed. It was like having sleep dessert. Only without hot fudge.

The other day I went to the grocery, and because I'm SO forgetful these days, I made certain to note EXACTLY where I parked. When I came out, I went straight to the place I parked, only my van wasn't there. I walked down a few more spaces, crossed over to the next aisle, then back to the previous one. "I KNOW this is where I parked!" I kept telling myself, "

It was where I parked, I just forgot I was driving someone else's car.

October 12, 2011

little buddy ... or how I learned to eat chicken nuggets with only my front teeth

When our eyes met in the hallway today, we both broke out in ear to ear smiles - only I have all my teeth (so far, knock on wood). We started walking down the hallway to the cafeteria and I was asking him about his fall break and he was telling me about riding his orange bicycle when ....... he reached up and held my hand.

We had chicken nuggets and potatoes and, despite my best efforts to convince him to "eat something green", he had a roll and I had the green beans. He told me about getting 100 pieces of candy last Halloween and how his "little brother, well not his LITTLE brother 'cause he's a baby, but my next little brother who's my best friend and whose name is Jayston" is about to have a birthday and how his own birthday was the same week school started and how if you eat with only your front teeth you can only take really little bites and you get crumbs everywhere especially when you don't have any front teeth (insert breath here).

To quote Holly Hunter from one of the greatest movies ever: "I LOVE HIM SOOOOOOOO MUCH!!!!" (Raising Arizona. Thank you Coen brothers for your brilliance.)

After lunch we walked hand in hand to the library and picked out books about insects because he was "in a bug mood". He thought it HIGHLY entertaining that I also have to wear glasses to read. We read about how male crickets "chirp" with their front wings and got off on a rabbit-chasing tangent about the similarity to playing the violin and since I just happen to have Joshua Bell's recording of Vivaldi's Violin Concertino in E (from the Spring Movement of "The Four Seasons"), we snuck in a little listen. We also read Eric Carle's "The Very Clumsy Click Beetle" and learned three new verbs: ambled, scurried and slithered. We barely made it through the Little Critter book, "I Just Forgot!" (both of us racing on each page to see who could find the spider first) when the teacher conducted some mystical magical hand-clapping maneuver signifying that our time was over for today. He put our books away, got in line, waved with his whole arm, then ran back over and hugged me.

167 hours until I get to do it again. :)

October 01, 2011


. . . or maybe I should call this one "Children of the Corn".

See, there are about 200 acres of big open fields, interjected with woods lining my walking place. In the spring it's soft and wet and freshly green. In the fall it encompasses every earthy color in God's creation. It's beautiful.


But SOMEBODY had the audacity to plant corn there very late in the season, and here it is October and I still can't walk there. Well, I COULD, but frankly Bigfoot has way too many places to hide now and it creeps me out. It's like my own personal corn maze, only with coyotes and camrys and I just don't feel safe.

Regardless, a quest is a quest, and October's goal in the quest for self-improvement is: exercise every day. There. I've said it out loud. Now I have to do it. If I can work it into my schedule. Just kidding.

Next blog: too many irons in the fire.

September 29, 2011

did I do that???

I fell in love a little bit today. He looks like a 7-year-old version of Steve Urkel: skinny little thing, black plastic glasses, missing front teeth, size 6 striped polo tucked into his dark jeans that were rolled up at the ankle. I swear. He loves cheese pizza, dinosaurs, the color yellow, recess and his teacher. He has a pet turtle and his 5-year-old brother is his best friend.

This LittleUrkelLookalike is my "Reading Buddy" for the next two years. We met today and broke the ice by making a dinosaur puppet with a foam head, button eyes, a pink felt tongue and some wicked rigatoni fangs. His puppet was SUPER AWESOME and because he was made from spongy foam, my little buddy named his dinosaur "Bob". (Get it? Spongy Bob?)

He says he wants me to teach him to read gooder.

Be still my heart.

September 18, 2011

how many gingers does it take to change a lightbulb?

One full month without my son in the house. YES, I miss him. He was my minion (Urban Dictionary definition: "one who is inexperienced, but will perform menial tasks; an evil sidekick or servant." Tell me that doesn't describe him perfectly???) We went to movies together, we split the shopping chores in half (you get food, I'll get toiletries), he helped clean house without even being asked, he did icky jobs for me, ran errands (always 'borrowing' the debit card in my purse and 'forgetting' to return it), and he threw at least a dozen "your mom" burns at me every week. So, I have made note of 10 pros and 10 cons of his being gone.


I no longer have my own personal travel D.J. for road trips. Though, I guess, since he uses an iPod adapter, that would make him an I.J. Of course, most of the time narcolepsy boy fell asleep on road trips anyway.

I now have to actually READ instructions myself, and the way my brain works, I might as well read the side printed in Chinese.

I never hear ginger jokes anymore. (Urban Dictionary defines a ginger as: "a human characterized by pale skin, freckles and red hair. Gingers are considered to be inferior and thus deservingly discriminated against. They are thought to have no souls and their only real enemy is the sun.")

While driving, I now have to fish through my purse one-handed to feel for a lipstick. Was SO much easier to say, "Hey Kev, can you find my lipstick?" Of course, since he was usually asleep as mentioned earlier, I'm kinda already used to this one.

The yard has not been mowed in 5 weeks and 3 days. I got lost going to the mailbox yesterday.

It's impossible to divide an 8-piece sushi roll without a fourth sushi-eater.

Grocery shopping takes twice as long.

At work I now have to change laser printer cartridges and copy machine toner. At home I have to dust, windex, clean the bathroom, vacuum, sweep, do the dishes, put away the laundry, put away the groceries, AND take out the trash. I miss my slave son.

If I want a half-cherry half-vanilla diet Coke, easy ice at 3:00 in the afternoon, I have to actually leave work and go get it myself.

There is no deep bass voice sweetly asking, "Mom ... scratch my legs."


There is no deep bass voice sweetly asking, "Mom...scratch my hairy man legs!!!"

The entire box of Blueberry Muffin Pop-Tarts is mine. MINE!

His bed is always neatly made. Well, except for when I miss him so much I curl up in his bed with his drumsticks and his Mr. Potato Head and his half-used stick of Fiji Old Spice deoderant and have a good cry.

Unlike narcolepsy boy, my imaginary friend never falls asleep on car trips. Then again, my imaginary friend can't find a lipstick in my purse, or create an amazing road trip play list either.

His little Dodge isn't parked in the driveway, so I no longer have to look behind me when I back out. Of course, the big oak tree has a new ding in the bark.

The pillows on my office loveseat stay fluffy and symmetrical as he is no longer taking afterschool naps on them. Plus, nobody at home is complaining about all my pretty new throw pillows!

When I am checking out of a store, I am no longer embarrassed by missing debit cards.

While grocery shopping takes twice as long, it only costs half as much!

If - ON RARE OCCASION - I want, say, a mango martini while out to dinner, I don't have to deal with his "death stare" and Darth-Vader-like voice saying, "Fine. Drink and drive. Kill me. What do I care?"

And finally, since he took his Old Spice deodorant, shampoo and body wash to college with him, the bathroom no longer smells like that guy "on a horse". It does, however, still smell like that OTHER guy on a horse.

Oh, and how many gingers does it take to change a lightbulb?

None. They can't be exposed to the light.

September 15, 2011

a 100 grand kinda day

Last year about this time I had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Today was NOT one of those days.

First, I was walking downtown last weekend and saw a woman I recognized from somewhere - and I couldn't place her to save my life. I knew I encountered her on a regular basis, and I wracked my brain trying to envision her in all my regular places. I never could figure it out, and it bugged me for DAYS. This morning I stopped for coffee and THERE she was behind the counter.

Second, I dreamed that Mayah started talking all in one day, and at the end of the dream she said, "I wuv you, M.E." For real, Kacey texted later to say that she had made the "I Love You" sign to Mayah and she had made it right back. Clearly brilliance runs in the family.

Third, daughter-face (the aforementioned Kacey) said, "Hey, guess what?" So I sarcastically responded with, "You're pregnant?" Turns out Kacey was told she is "an invaluable member of their [work] team", they are going to alleviate some of her work load via an intern, AND they are giving her a raise! Color me proud.

Fourth, Kevie-poo scored a 97 on his statistics test!

Fifth, ever since leaving for college, Kevin has referred to himself in the third person when sending me more than one-word texts. "Your son is tired." "Your son made an A on his first big test." "Your son is playing on the Ultimate Frisbee team." "Your son needs cleats." (To which I responded, "My son needs a job.") Well, today he texted, "Your son has a job." Yippee! So, as promised, his mommy will be sending him a care package tomorrow replete with goodies and a new phone. (The speaker is broken on his.) When I asked if he had any special "junk food requests" he replied, "the kind of stuff that takes 2 years off your life." Hot Fudge Sundae Pop-Tarts it is.

Sixth and finally, I started a "traffic counter" on my blog in May of 2009. Today it rolled over 100,000. One. Hundred. Thousand. Must be time for an oil change.