Monday, December 1, 2008

Not Too Busy to Read

To say I've been busy is an understatement. I'm working my butt off (unfortunately, that sentence indicates how much time my butt has been spent in my desk chair, NOT how much time it has been movin' and groovin' to the Wii Fit game).

To give an inkling as to truly how busy I have been, I recently decided to trim my bangs. I've done this a zillion times. This time, however, I decided that I didn't want to take the time to put in my contact lenses. I realized quickly that I couldn't evenly trim my bangs with my glasses in the way. So I took off my glasses.
Ummm...not a good idea. Pictures will NOT be forthcoming. Thank God I work at home and nobody has to see my crooked bangs.

So, after working so much, I have one small bit of enjoyment at the end of the day. As I crawl under the covers, I flip on my bed light and grab the book off the nightstand. Per orders from Andi (and under threat of death by Beth), I've started reading the Twilight series. I'm halfway through the third book.

Last night, I decided to ditch the desk chair early and I was between the sheets shortly before midnight. I looked forward to at least an hour of Bella and Jacob and Edward lusciousness. I read a few pages and realized that I must be a lot more tired than I expected. I wasn't able to keep anything straight in my head. I reread the previous paragraph and then went on to the next page again...and it still didn't make sense.

A quick glance ahead brought doom to my bedtime ritual...not only had 32 pages from earlier in the book been duplicated, but 32 pages had also been omitted. ARRGH!! Evil vampires must have infiltrated the printing press JUST to keep me from finding out how Bella liked her present from Edward.

I'm off to Sam's Club to exchange this. No guarantees that I won't read the book while driving home. Yeah, I'm THAT desperate.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

K-Tel Memories

When I was a kid, the best part of the week was Saturday mornings. Dad would take one of us kids to the L&K Restaurant for breakfast. It was one of those great old diners that had a mini-jukebox on every table.

As I grew older and started to finally "get" all of the dirty jokes that were bandied about at school, I learned about the jukebox game. Basically, Dad and I would sit at the table waiting for the pancakes and bacon to arrive, and we'd pick out songs from the jukebox and see how we could turn a nice, wholesome song into something dirty by added "between the sheets" after the title.

Tonight, Beth and I were snooping through an old box of 8-track tapes. Yeah, 8-tracks. I've still got 'em. I can't play 'em, but these plastic boxes of history aren't gonna get buried in my landfill while I'm alive.

So, Beth and I started going through the songs. We came up with a few fun ones:

The Isley Brothers - "If You Can't Be With the One You Love, Love the One You're With" (between the sheets).

Barry White - "I've Got So Much to Give" (between the sheets).

Barry Manilow - "Looks Like We Made It" (between the sheets).

For the rather well-endowed fellows, they have:
Olivia Newton-John - "Deeper Than the Night" (between the sheets).

And for those who got the (ahem) short end of the stick, we have:
The Sweet - "Little Willy" (between the sheets).

And for those lonely souls who buy Duracell by the case, we've got:
The Beach Boys - "Good Vibrations" (between the sheets).

So, these were the ones that we grabbed from just a couple of random 8-tracks collecting dust in my garage. Got any other titles that would be good?

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Never In My Wildest Dreams...

...did I think America would make the right decision.

Thank you to everyone who stood in long voting lines.

Thank you to the people who knocked on doors.

Thank you to the people who decorated their lawns with Obama signs.

Thank you to Hillary for (finally) helping Obama's campaign.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The hard works begin soon. But there is finally hope for America again.

Monday, November 3, 2008

What If?

Election Day is tomorrow.

I've become a fanatic about watching CNN, checking out NPR's electoral map configurations, and even occasionally reading the one-sided networks of MSNBC and FoxNews just to see how each of them can twist a story to fit their narrow minds.

I've heard a lot about the fear of "The Bradley Effect" which, in a nutshell, says that white voters are too bigoted and prejudiced to elect a black person, but they are afraid to say that to someone, so they tell the pollsters that they will vote for him.

I don't worry about the Bradley Effect. Our nation has come a long way in the past 25 years and I think people don't see race as having nearly the stigma it used to. That, of course, is only true when comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges. If you have someone like Richard Pryor going against someone like John McCain...yeah, you'll notice the race issue. But Barack Obama is just like all of the other Harvard graduates.

So...assuming America is no longer the prejudiced society that wouldn't REALLY for a black man even though they said they would back in 1982, let's play a little game of "What If?"

What if the Obamas had paraded five children across the stage including a three-month-old infant and an unwed, pregnant teenage daughter?

What if John McCain was a former president of the Harvard Law Review?

What if Barack Obama finished 5th from the bottom of his graduating class?

What if McCain had only married once and Obama had been divorced?

What if Obama was the candidate who left his first wife after a severe disfiguring car accident when she no longer measured up to his standards of beauty?

What if Obama had met his second wife in a bar and had a long affair with her while he was still married?

What if Michelle Obama was the wife who not only became addicted to painkillers but who stole them from her charitable organization?

What if Cindy McCain had graduated from Harvard?

What if Obama had been a member of the Keating Five? (The Keating Five were five U.S. Senators accused of corruption in 1989 igniting a major political scandal as part of the Savings and Loan Crisis in the 1980s and 1990s.)

What if McCain was a charismatic, eloquent speaker?

What if Obama couldn't read from a teleprompter?

What if Obama was the one who had military experience that included discipline problems and a record of crashing seven planes?

What if Obama was the one who was known to display publicly his serious anger management problem?

What if Michelle Obama's family had made their money from beer distribution?

What if the Obamas had adopted a white child?

If these things had happened, would Obama be anywhere even near McCain's 44% in the polls? No. He wouldn't have even been nominated. He would have been "too black."

This is what racism does. It covers up, rationalizes, and minimizes the positive qualities in one candidate and emphasizes negative qualities in another when there is a color difference.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Becoming a Bag Lady

I recently learned that most recycling facilities refuse to accept plastic grocery bags. I decided to do a quick research on the reasoning behind this apparently nonsensical idea.

Well, it turns out the problem is two-fold.

First, most bags are NOT made of material that is readily recyclable. I believe that the Walmart bags that inevitably scurry along the the sides of the road in my area ARE recyclable as they have a big old "2" in the recycle triangle. My small-town recycler is very limited and only accept plastic marked 1 and 2, so it sounds like we should be good to go to getting these things out of the landfill and into the recycling program, right?

Wrong. The other reason that nearly all recyclers refuse the bags is because they are so thin and filmy, they get tangled in the machinery. The handles catch on the conveyer belts and they just cause so many problems that there are virtually no programs that accept them. (There are, however, specialty places that take them and remake them into a fake lumber which is beneficial.)

So, of course, the logical step is to follow in San Francisco's ecological footsteps and stop using the bags altogether. During my web prowl for ideas, I came upon a blog called with a couple of great ideas.

Most folks mentioned how great canvas bags are. Yeah. They're good. But I grew up in the era where the only "bigger is better" thing involves television screens. When it comes to toting around stuff, I want thin, small, and lightweight. My mom solved that problem nearly 20 years ago.

She decided to make grocery bags out of "rip-stop nylon" (also known as "parachute material") which is incredibly strong and also, obviously, extremely lightweight. She made them just a smidge larger than a standard plastic Walmart bag, and when they aren't being used, they fold up so that six of them take up as much room (and even less weight) than a standard paperback book.

See all these yummy things? The next picture shows where I stuffed the bag to the brim with all that stuff from my cupboard. And hey, no teasing about the Poptarts. I have teenagers and they have their dietary requirements.

Ironically, the Walmart bag could only fit about half of the stuff that my bag held yet they were nearly the same size. Hmm.

Now, "rip-stop nylon" isn't cheap (about $8 a yard), but considering that places are selling thick, heavy, bulky canvas bags for nearly $10 apiece and mom can sell these for half that price, it's a pretty cool deal. And remember, these bags have been used and abused for nearly 20 years. Canvas can't hold a candle to that.

She's only made them for us, but heck, I think she should sell these suckers. They're better than anything else on the market.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Happy Hippie Homecoming

After the drama of Beth's homecoming preparations, I was a little frustrated that I had to leave home while Beth was in the middle of a First-Class Teenage Emotional Catastrophe, but it was still pretty awesome to have a little bit of "Mommy and Heather" time. I can't believe that my two teenage daughters are foolish enough to still enjoy spending time with their old mum. Yay.

We decided to go out to eat before I took her to Paul's house. We went to IHOP for some good old "Breakfast for Dinner" meals. Bacon IS one fo the four basic food groups, right? I know I felt like oinking on my way outta there, that's for sure. I guess it's true, you are what you eat. Oink.

As has become tradition at IHOP, while waiting for our meals, Heather has to do her duty as the Official Taste Tester of all the flavored syrups sitting on the table. Boysenberry is her pick. (I, of course, would like it a hell of a lot better if it was called girlsenberry, but I digress.)

After that, we had to walk over to Sam's Club where my recently disabled van was having a new battery installed. I had to pick up a few things, so Heather decided to get her dress and put it on in the store's restroom. Sure, she could have done it somewhere else, but heck, if you had an excuse to put on a party dress and be seen by a store full of customers, wouldn't you do it?

Heather looked amazing. She found a dress that looked like it was custom-made for her body. For some reason, all of my pictures made the dress look like it was raspberry colored, but it was really a maroon like in the photo from a couple of weeks ago (i.e. no make-up) above. While I wasn't thrilled about Heather's hair (the color is perfect for a Twilight Premiere Party, it wasn't exactly Cinderella-esque), but her make-up was pretty and she looked great.

We arrived at Paul's houe. Her boyfriend had on his suit and was just putting on cuff links as we arrived. Of course, since Paul is the consummate hippie, he had on a tie-dyed headband. His mom said, "Paul, you're not going to wear that thing on your head to the dance, are you?" Well, heck, how would anybody recognize him if he didn't have it on his head?

At Paul's school, just about everybody loves him for his quirkiness. He's just...Paul.

So, the Goth Princess and the Tie-Dyed Hippie headed off to dance the night away. I think Heather is STILL smiling from getting to spend that time with her beau.

By the end of the evening, he had shed his jacket and Heather stole his tie. The headband, of course, stayed firmly in place.

Friday, October 3, 2008

From "Handkerchief" to "Tissues"

Homecoming - the epitome of every high school girl's dreams.

The big homecoming dance was last weekend. The biggest fear, of course, is that you won't be asked to the dance and you'll either have to go stag, or worse, not go at all. Fortunately, Beth and Heather have been dating their respective boyfriends for the past year. So, the issue of "Will I get a date?" was never a concern. That meant that Homecoming was gonna go off without a hitch.

Beth eagerly showed Corey her sparkly blue homecoming dress. He liked it, but he made the comment that "you might get in trouble for wearing it." Why? Because it had a bare back. After seeing the skimpy dresses that the other girls have worn, trust me, it wasn't going to be a problem. Corey wasn't convinced.

And once you put a fear in Beth's head, she obsesses. Compulsively. (Get it? An OCD pun!). She fretted about this dress for a week. Finally, she decided to get her friend's opinion. Sam liked the dress, but decided to offer Beth the dress that she had worn to homecoming last year. After their youth group activities on Friday, Beth and Sam came over and Beth showed me Sam's dress.

Beth looked like Cinderella. It was a baby blue satiny material with a "handkerchief hem." When she called her other friend, Elizabeth, to tell her about it, her mom offered her the use of some silver shoes that would just be perfect. Then, I remembered I have a tanzanite ring which I bought on my cruise that was just the perfect color to match the dress. Finally, we got out a blue aquamarine necklace that has been "Beth's favorite" bauble in my jewelry box since she was a little kid. Beth actually had tears in her eyes as she said, "This is like so perfect. It's like it was just meant to be. Everything has worked out exactly right. It's like fate intervened and made everything just the way it was supposed to be. I'm so happy!"

We took a picture with Beth's cell phone and sent it to Corey so he could see her new dress.

The next day was moderately chaotic as tends to happen with teenage girls, as they got ready for the dance.

All of a sudden, Beth slammed shut her cell phone and burst into tears.

It turns out that Corey finally saw the picture and texted her the message, "Why not wear the dress you wore last year? I think this new dress is kinda ugly."

What moron would possibly say something like that to the love of his life?

When Beth texted back that she was really upset about what he had said, Corey texted back "what the fuck ever." Yeah. He did. Ain't he just the sweetest?

That's when the tears started to gush. She was crushed. She was hurt. She was devastated.

And I was pissed.

She sat at the computer desk for two hours bawling her eyes out. See that mess of tissues up there? That's what was left AFTER she filled up the trash can with tissues.

A couple of hours (and the better part of a box of Kleenex) later, Beth was still undecided as to whether to even go. Thanks to Corey's apparent inability to act human, her night was ruined. It would no longer be this dream of showing up at her high school looking like a princess and having all of her former classmates ogle and stare and wonder why they hadn't noticed her before.

Finally, she decided she would still go to the dance.

Since I had to take Heather up to her boyfriend's house an hour away, I left Beth in my mom's capable hands in order to transform my little tomboy into Cinderella. Her hair was curled. Her fingers were jeweled. And her dress was shimmering. She looked awesome. She couldn't wait until Corey would walk through the door so he could see how nice she looked.

As soon as he entered the houe, Beth said, "See??"

He responded, "well, it's not as ugly as in the cell phone picture."

Yeah. He really said that.

So, she might have been Cinderella, but that boy is no Prince Charming, that's for sure.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bloop Bloop Bloop thirty seconds at a time

It's one of my favorite times of the year...

Fall Season Premiere week.

Old favorites are coming back to my family room...Survivor! Desperate Housewives!! Boston Legal!!

In the stone-age time of 2002, "Season Premiere Week" would involve ignoring phone calls during prime time, labeling VCR tapes and having different shows recorded on different TVs...and then collecting dust as I never watched the taped shows.

But in 2003, my life changed. I met the first man who ever made my life truly happy...

Mr. Tivo.

When I got my first Tivo, it was a fairly new gadget and most people didn't understand it. My mom certainly thought it was a waste of money. I admit, I never told her how much it actually cost. (ahem).

But it didn't take long before our family decided we couldn't possibly watch TV without a peanut-shaped remote in our hands bloop-bloop-blooping our way through commercials. Someone recently asked me if I had seen that new commercial for something-or-other. Ummm. Nope. Commercials are for the neanderthals who don't have a "fast-forward" button on their TV.

I scoff at the poor souls who actually believe their cable companies when they say "Our DVR is JUST LIKE TIVO." Yeah. And a Big Mac is JUST LIKE PRIME RIB! As someone who has experienced both Tivo and Cable's DVRs, there is no comparison. They both do the basics - record TV. But Tivo does it easier, better, and with features Cable can't fathom.
  • Record every show to my computer? It's a simple push of a button. Transfer the TiVo shows to iPod? One click.
  • Record a show in the living room and play it in my office? No problemo.
  • How about watching home movies on the TiVo?
  • Or better yet, send home movies to the Tivo at your friend's house in Iowa? It's pretty simple. As long as you get the real Tivo.
So...a year later, I bought a TiVo for each of the girls for Christmas. The following year, Mom got one for Christmas, too.

Yes, we're addicted. I'm even creating a spreadsheet with lists of which series gets recorded on which Tivo so that we can watch EVERYTHING! I'm totally anal about not watching a series unless I see every episode. I still have a full year's worth of "Dirty Sexy Money" saved on my office's TiVo queue because I missed one episode and haven't taken the time to watch it online. But I will. Just as soon as I get through Chuck and Heroes and Pushing Daisies and...

Hmmm.... My "To Be Recorded" list is in serious jeopardy of being renamed my "Recorded But Never To Be Watched" list.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Crap! Is it really 6:30 in the freakin' A M?? And I've already been moving around for a half an hour? Is this some sort of Twilight Zone episode?


It's just my pitiful attempt at school-time parental duties.

Mom's 65-year-old arthritic back finally said "Gimme a break!" and she's been flat on her back in a Vicodin-induced stupor for the last 24 hours. Which meant that I actually had to set three alarm clocks (one of them in the bathroom so I'd be forced to stumble bleary-eyed and bare-assed nekkid through the hallway to shut it off instead of just rolling over and hitting snooze) to make sure the girls make it to school with all of their clothing intact and the morning fuzz scrubbed away from their pearly whites.

So, here I am, ready to go to to work. Andi gave me the wag of her finger not too long ago for going two months between blog entries. I hang my head in shame (which puts my forehead perilously close to the desk which will inevitably be a precursor to a quick little 20-minute "desk nap" if I'm not careful). So here I am.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Distracting the Itch

Heather thought it would be oh-so-amusing to go for a walk, climb a tree and take a picture of the view from the treetops with her cell phone, thus scaring the happy crappy out of her acrophobic mommy dearest. I was totally freaking out seeing how high up in the tree she had climbed. I shrieked at her to get down. She laughed and laughed.

A week later, she scratched and scratched.

Yep, there was a nasty little bugger of a vine climbing that tree along with my daughter. The first few spots showed up right before Heather's boyfriend came for a visit. He's one of those outdoorsy types (working on his Eagle Scout project right now), and he took one look at her arm and said, "ummm, yeah. That's like totally poison ivy, dude." (I wonder if they have Boy Scout merit badges for being a hippy?)

PoisonIvy (3)b PoisonIvy (2)b

Every day, the rash seemed to get worse.

It's been a challenge finding something to distract her to keep her from clawing her skin right off of her body.

Finally, she remembered how much fun it was to whack the mobsters while playing The Godfather on Wii. Yeah, go ahead, nominate me for Mother of the Year for letting my teenager learn the ultimate skills of extorting racketeers and using her Tommy Gun on innocent bystanders.

Still, it worked. I was thrilled that every time I looked at her, she had both hands on the Wii remotes rather than digging at her skin.

Then, she came to talk to me and I realized what happens when you become so engrossed in a video game that you forget to blink.


So, yeah. Red, itchy skin versus red, itchy eyes. Blink, dammit!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Overworked and Underpaid

I've been working for a transcription company in Florida for about 8 months now. It's going well. Sure, it's not a perfect job, but hey, it's paying the bills, right.

Last week, my friend Carrie offered me a part-time job transcribing notes for her mental health facility. Cool beans. Extra money means Mama can buy more electronic gadgets. Woo hoo!

An hour after I got off the phone with Carrie, Michelle, a nurse with whom I worked at Dr. Gabrail's office, called me and said that her boss wants to hire me as a transcriptionist. I had my interview yesterday and it went extremely well. So, I'll be doing part-time work for Carrie and part-time work for Dr. Eicher. Cool.

Then I got a phone call from Ann who wants me to type an 8-hour interview between a son and his ailing father. I said yes. That 8-hour interview will take me roughly 40 hours to type...while working for the other doctors.

All this time, I planned to continue working for the Florida company because I hate to turn down work.

This morning's phone call, of course, changed that strategy. A former client called and said their transcriptionist just turned in her notice and they want me to start tomorrow. Tomorrow?? Holy shit!

So, I called Terry from Florida and turned in my notice. She took it very well and said I was welcome back anytime. I think my fingers may just fall off from too much long, hard dic at one time. Isn't that how John Holmes died??

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How to Make Your Own Charcoal

I'm a busy mama in the mornings. So it is with the utmost disregard for authority that I usually totally ignore the "do not leave toaster unattended" warning on the Pop Tarts box.

So, I'm sitting at Mom's desk knee-deep in the process of reformatting her computer when I hear, "Mom, your toast is burning." I didn't worry that much about it because I could always throw away the burnt pastries and start over.

Then I hear the tinge of panic in her voice as Heather says, "Ummm, they are on FIRE!!!"

I take off at a run and sure enough, there are flames within inches of the bottom of the cupboards. Heather was smart enough to avoid throwing water on an electrical fire (see, she really does pay attention to public service announcements!). Mom grabbed the baking soda and we quickly extinguished the flames.

Check out the pop tarts that were reincarnated into charcoal.

I had to use silicone potholders just to unplug the toaster because the plug had melted around the power strip. Meanwhile, the toaster is puffing away and filling the house with the putrid stench of burnt plastic. Ugh.

Unfortunately, the disgusting smell of burning plastic wasn't quite as easy to eradicate.

So, I guess when the experts say you should have a nice hot breakfast, this isn't quite what they had in mind.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Buying Voters

Our election process is severely flawed. We have a great premise "let the people decide" but it has become a system where the person with the most money can buy the most votes.

We have "news" channels like Fox News which paints every story with a lovey shade of Republican Red. We have the religious channels which proclaim with great enthusiasm when discussing abortion that every soul deserves to live (unless, of course, the baby turns out to be a gay Muslim Democrat). We've got Jon Stewart (and yeah, I've got him TiVo'd) poking holes in all of the Republican concepts.

The election is won or lost through the media. It doesn't really matter where the candidate stands on issues. All that matters is how the media will spin their version of where the candidate stands on them.

Today, The New Yorker magazine came out with a cover cartoon of Barack and Michelle Obama.

According to the magazine, they were doing "a satire of the media propaganda surrounding the candidate." All I can see is that The New Yorker was encouraging the very propaganda they were supposedly ridiculing.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

I Get Crabby When The Kids Go To Camp

Last Sunday, I tearfully waved goodbye to my daughters as they went off to church camp for a week.

The tears were tears of joy.

Why? Because without two hungry teenagers in the house, suddenly I could afford to partake in my favorite pastime. Eating.

It started with Tuesday. King Crab Legs, baby!! I'm talking those super-sized suckers that have spiky legs the length of my own arm. I'm still drooling.

Tonight, it was Beth's favorite restaurant.

Don't let the picture of the (moderately) healthy ceasar salad fool you. My entree was grilled shrimp skewers dripping with garlic butter. Hopefully I'll still have garlic breath when they come home tomorrow and I kiss them hello.

Tomorrow, they're back. And I'm back to cheapo Mac & Cheese and Ramen soup.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Word of the Day Is...

OK, Kiddies, the word of the day is...

Irony as depicted in this picture.

Yes, I went to Sam's Club and bought the Jumbo Size bag of Reese's Pieces.

And yes, doing my part to aid in the "Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle" effort, I saved the plastic container that my Alli Weight Loss pills came in.

And yeah, I stored my candy in it. Ironic, eh?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I'm a Foxy Lady

A couple of years ago, I switched from Microsoft's "Internet Explorer" to Mozilla's "Firefox" as my web browser. I could give all sorts of good reasons for why I switched, but the ultimate answer is simply that all of the smart cyber geeks seemed to prefer Firefox.

Since then, I've upgraded to version 2.0 and last week I upgraded again to their newest version, aptly titled Firefox 3.0.

There are tons of security and performance improvements, but the upgrade was worth it for one reason only...

Full-page zoom.

Previously, I've had zoom capabilities for text but it was infinitely frustrating to my myopic eyes to try to figure out what was in a little picture. My 22-inch monitor was basically being wasted by many sites because the text and pictures would be fairly small with a big bit of nothingness off to the right.

Now, when I hold CTRL and move my scroll wheel, the whole page zooms in and out. I can read the tiniest print and check out the tiniest detail in pictures (Paris Hilton's underwear notwithstanding). It's awesome. And, of course, it is free.

Oh, and another nice benefit are the free add-ons that Firefox offers. My favorite is "AdBlock Plus" which eliminates ALL of those damn annoying animated banner ads.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Apt Commercialization

In this day and age of TiVo (and fake TiVo wannabes), it's not all that common that I watch those 30-minute segments of inane commercials.

Yeah, yeah. I know. Commercials are a necessary evil. They pay for the programs we watch, after all. Though, I have to say, my exorbitant cable bill clearly indicates that I'm already paying for that programming, but I digress.

Still, the problem is that most commercials are annoying. The public is more than willing to watch good commercials. Heck, the best part of the Super Bowl is the ads, right? But for the most part, companies don't care. They think that repeating the same sentences over and over and over is the most effective way to have people remember their product. And even more irritating than that is when they repeat the same exact commercial twice in less than 5 minutes. Ugh!

I guess that's what makes good commercials so memorable. That's why 30 years later we still remember Mean Joe Green and his Coca-Cola.

And, of course, there are the Budweiser frogs.

Sometimes commercials are just so perfect, you wonder why someone didn't think of it sooner. Today, I heard a Visa commercial where a young couple finally decide to buy a new flat-screen television. Of course, being of the "Now Generation," they don't have the money for it. Rather than save up for their new purchase, they whip out the old credit card. And the song that plays as they dig themselves deeper into debt? It's Queen's "I Want It All (and I want it NOW)." How perfect.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hey Beth, Keep Your Chin Up!

When Beth was born (gasp! nearly 17 years ago!), she was over 2 months premature and spent the first 2 months of her tiny life living in an incubator. To touch her, we had to put our hands in these little holes inside the box where she was being kept warm and safe.

On top of that, I was a pretty sick chick, too. The pregnancy was toxic to me and my vital signs were wickedly out of whack. Because of that, I was completely bed bound for the first few days after Beth was born. After two days of not being allowed to even SEE my daughter, let alone hold her, I kicked up a temper tantrum nasty enough that the doctors felt if they didn't get me down to the neonatal ICU soon, my blood pressure would be through the roof.

So, to ameliorate the postpartum freak out I was about to have, they wheeled me into that bright, sterile environment while I was still lying flat in my hospital bed. Not the best way to finally see your newborn baby.

It was a few days before I finally graduated to a wheelchair. That meant I could reach my arm into one of those incubator holes and I could touch my baby's face for the first time. It's a feeling I will never forget. Check out those bruises on my arms! And see that teeny little bottle sitting beside the blue machinery? Just call me Elsie the Cow. Homemade milk, baby!

Since this was my first time really seeing Beth, I did the usual new parent thing and counted fingers and toes. When I looked at her face, I realized she had a bump on her chin. It was ragged and irregular. Since she was born by C-section, I assumed the doctor nicked her chin with the scalpel when he was taking her out.

It was probably ten years later when a doctor noticed it and told me it was actually a mole. Weird. It was "skin colored" and not round. Sure 'nuff, another doctor looked at it a few years laterand agreed it was a mole. He felt she should have it removed while she was young and could heal better.

Another few years later, I finally convinced Beth to have it removed. It would have been smart of me to take a picture of it, but too late! This is the closest I could get.

Monday, she went under the knife (for real this time - not just presumably being nicked by an obstetrician), and she is now beautifully bump-free. Or so I would assume. She's still bandaged up, but the surgeon said it would be barely noticeable after a few months.

My brave baby.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Do the Hippie Hippie Shake

Recently, Heather got to spend a few hours with her boyfriend.

Paul, well, how can I describe Paul. I’d have to say that Paul is just a weird duck.

But as far as weird ducks go…Paul is infinitely likeable. He makes me laugh. He’s a total hippie. Yep, long hair, tie-dye headband and everything.

What I like best about Paul is the fact that he lives for himself. He doesn’t care what other people think about him. He’s just so completely sure of himself which is a quality I’m sorely lacking.

When Heather took Paul to her Youth Group meeting, a young 6-year-old girl noticed Heather was holding his hand. She went up to him and asked if he was a boy or a girl. Between Paul’s long hair and the fact that Heather had covered Paul’s fingernails with a pretty shade of blue nail polish, you can understand her question. He laughed and said he’s a boy. The poor little girl was mortified that she had asked, but I have a feeling that it totally made Paul’s day.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to just live life not worrying about people making fun of you or telling you how you have to live?

Don’t bother with mascara that always seems to flake off and turn my sclera bloodshot.

Choose your high school boyfriend based on who makes you happy, not who will allow you to rise a rung on the social ladder.

No need to wear a tight bra just to make my boobs land somewhere north of the equator just because everyone else thinks it looks better.

I don’t know about you, but as for me, until everybody else feels like they can be themselves, I guess I gotta follow the crowd. Oxymoronic, ain’t it.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


Now that we live right across the street from the city park and tennis courts, suddenly Heather finds the need to put on make-up and do her hair BEFORE going out to mow the grass. Sometimes, she even dresses up for the occasion.

I'm not kidding you, she actually took off shorts and a t-shirt and put this on just to mow. I have a feeling there was a cute shirtless teenage boy across the street whacking tennis balls and she wanted to catch his attention. (She's cute enough, she could have done it in sweat pants!)

OK, as per Andi's request (from the comments section), here, I present Heather's infamous "Panda Hair."

Tuesday, June 3, 2008


Who says that kids nowadays can't focus on more than one thing at a time?

For example, tonight, my daughter was talking to two different people on IM, had her email open, was listening to music through her MP3 player, was on the cell phone (with the house phone within easy reach) AND was reading a book in between sentences.

Now if only she could learn to chew gum and walk at the same time without tripping over her shoelaces, she'd be all set.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Welcome to Middle Age

It's not every day that you turn 40. As a matter of fact, it's a once-in-a-lifetime event. But for me, it really wasn't a big deal. No party, no get-together with friends. It was just another day. And let's face it, when you have family like I do, that's all you need.

For starters, my Mommie Dearest continued our long tradition of bypassing the standard birthday cake routine. She made one of her incredible "birthday pies." It's an apple pie made with three different types of apples with slices of cheese melted in the middle. She even sprinkles a little sugar on the top crust so it gets crunchy. Damn. I think I just drooled on my keyboard thinking about it.

Not only that, but Mom also bought a silk iris plant for my office. I've always had an affinity for purple irises. A few years ago, mom quilted an iris wall-hanging which is hanging beside my desk. For mother's day recently, the girls bought a little silk iris which is on my desk beside my phone. Now, this full-size plant is perched in the corner. I need to get a stand for it.

Unfortunately, Beth made plans to spend the night with her friend, so she was gone. I was cool with it. I get 364 days a year with her, I can give up a night so she can have fun with her friend, right? Still, I hoped she'd at least least make me a card or something, right? Apparently not.

Since I knew I would be receiving a little bit of money from Dad and his girlfriend, I decided to use it to buy a new MP3 player. I decided to join the Mac Fanboys and got an iPod 80 GB. It's nice, but I sure do miss some of the features that I had on my Creative Zen (which Beth is going to be using now). The only reason I switched was simply because everything is "Made For Ipod." Hmmm, I wonder if I should buy a new car since a lot of them have iPod docks. :)

The one gift I really wanted was a drawing from Heather. I had asked her to draw a picture that was in Stephen King's "The Eyes of the Dragon." She said she would, but she got busy and kinda forgot about it. Oh well, that's okay.

Imagine my surprise when she came up around 10 o'clock at night and showed me what she had been locked away in her room working on. I love it.

After a wonderful, relaxing evening, I head off to bed.

Beth didn't forget, after all. This note was waiting for me. Man, she has a way with words.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Dying To Make My Girls Happy

Recently, my girls have become obsessed with wanting their hair to be dyed. We've been lightening Heather's dishwater-blond hair for a few years now, but suddenly, she wants to go burgundy, and her sister wants it, too.

Once they finally convinced me that it would be so cool to have burgundy "low lights" in their hair, I relented. Last night at midnight, I stuck a shower cap on each girl's head and started the slow process of pulling strands of hair through the cap with a crochet hook.

Over two hours later, we were finally ready for the dye. Yes, we really were dying hair at 2 o'clock in the morning. I'm just nuts that way.

After the final rinse, the girls ran to the bathroom to blow their locks dry and check out the new 'do.

Unfortunately, according to Heather, it was a "hair don't" rather than a "hair do." She was so upset because she couldn't see much of a difference at all. Well, yeah, it was supposed to be subtle. I thought it looked nice on both girls (forgot to take a picture of Beth), but admittedly, it should have had bigger streaks.

So, this morning, we did it all over again. Another 2 hours of crocheting my girls hair followed by more burgundy hair dye.

I could hear Heather's scream as she was drying her hair. This time, though, it was whoops of delight (at least in HER eyes). She thought it looked totally awesome. I thought it looked way, way too much. Beth's was just about right, but Heather's was just too goth. Heather, of course, was quick to point out that "nobody is goth, Mom. This is Emo." I stand corrected.

A few Emo pictures later, and here's what we've got.

Oh, and the underneath side of their hair is still natural, which is pretty funky when they bend over.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Better Stock Up On Red Bull

It's been a rough school year on my little Beth. As a sophomore, she's been working her little fingers to the bone trying to keep caught up on her classes this year and they've been pretty intense. She chose to bypass the easier classes and enrolled in Honors and Advanced Placement classes.

So, after being buried under mounds of books and research papers for the past 9 months, she's obviously planning on taking easier courses for her Junior year, right?

Umm, no. She's trying to take it up a notch.

She found out about a program that will allow a handful of high school juniors and seniors to attend classes at Kent State University while earning college credit and high school credit simultaneously. Yikes. She's been working her butt off trying to get in. Her grade point average is fine (3.888 - woo hoo!), but that's only one part of the selection process.

Unfortunately, she had to take the ACT test (similar to the SAT) while she had mono. The next week, she had to take the COMPASS test (another standardized college entrance exam). The mononucleosis bug still had her feeling like she was knocking on death's door, so obviously she was not on her best game.

But today, the postman brought the letter...she's been accepted!!

In the fall, my high school junior will also be a college freshman! Oh, and the very best part is that the program is 100% free. It's not based on income guidelines or student loans or anything. The state pays for the tuition and the books and everything. Woo hoo!

Now the problem is trying to figure out what she wants to do after graduation. I'm pushing for a broad nursing background because she can use that in a wide variety of careers, but she's not convinced. She's still trying to figure out her future. At 16, I guess that's pretty understandable.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

It Must Be That Time of the Month

No frickin' way.

It cannot possibly have been a month since I last posted. What the hell?

Yeah, yeah. I have the excuse of "too much work" and "I was busy" and "the house needed cleaned" and anything else I can think of, but none of the excuses are valid. Sometimes, I sit here and think "Oh, I wanna post a new entry" but as soon as I click onto Firefox so I can write the entry...well, some stupid article on my Google homepage will interest me and off I go into Cyber Land.

Then, of course, so much time has gone by that I feel ridiculous posting an entry talking about Heather's Winter Formal, especially since we're halfway through spring.

As if that weren't enough, I find myself avoiding my blogging friends. I see that my favorite little nutcase in Los Angeles has (gasp!) 7 blog entries which I haven't even read yet. Why? Because I feel guilty reading her stuff when I don't take the time to do mine.

Also, after posting my last entry, a long, lost friend from AOL Journals wrote to me to say hi. I was beyond thrilled to get her email. I couldn't wait to write back. Just let me finish typing this one document and then I'll respond. I've typed probably a thousand documents since then and still haven't written. And now I feel guilty for leaving her hanging.

So ya know what? Tomorrow I'm going to ignore the doctor and his big dic. I'm going to bypass Google News (all the news that is too mediocre to print). And I'm gong to let the laundry wrinkle in the dryer long after it has buzzed. (Umm, well, admittedly, I ALWAYS do that, so I can't use that as an excuse.) Tomorrow, I write an entry. And if it has to do with a Winter Formal, we'll just pretend that the white fluffy stuff blowing in the breeze outside my window is snow rather than the pretty petals dropping from my cherry tree.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What's My Tagline?

Holy Crap! I've been Tagged!

Well, if Andi says to blog...then I must bloggeth (that's even in her vernacular!)

You’re feeling: Homicidal. My darling 16-year-old daughter has a boyfriend who seems to care a hell of a lot more for how his penis is feeling than for how his girlfriend is feeling. She's told me that she is not ready for sex, but she is convinced that if she doesn't have sex, she'll lose him. I'm feeling like it's just about time to get a pair of vice grips and make sure that he never wants to make that suggestion to her again.

To your left: An unfortunately empty wall. Usually, I have a quilted wall hanging of an iris there, but my Mommie Dearest is displaying it in the county Quilt Show at this very minute. This item is the one thing I would probably grab if the house ever caught on fire. Well, I might grab my kids, but only because they make such good tax deductions.

On your mind: Geez. I gotta clean my desk. Every time I sit here to type, I realize I should be cleaning instead. I swear, I'm gonna marry Mary Poppins one day so I never have to look at dust bunnies again.

Last meal included: Burger King has this new mega burger called the "Steakhouse Burger" and it's frickin' delish. It's so big that I actually left almost half of it uneaten (and for me, that's saying something). The meat is so good. It's not just your standard flame-broiled fare. It's got crispy edges and then they put these crispy fried onion crispies on top. I swear there was an audible sound of arteries clogging with every bite.

You sometimes find it hard to: Structure my time. Thus, the woeful lack of posts on this blog. I find myself eternally sidetracked during my workday, which means the "workday" turns into the "worknight" and I'm frequently still sitting at this blasted keyboard until after the beasties are in bed just so I can finally meet my quota.

The weather: After having a beautiful week of sun and 70 degree weather, alas, Beth's convertible top has once again been put up and the car is under a cover. Let's just hope it doesn't float away with all this rain.

Something you have a collection of: My collection of Stephen King first editions is extraordinary. Unfortunately, last year when I was suffering from Acute Empty Walletitis, I had to sell my prized book - a limited edition copy of Six Stories. I originally bought it for $125 and sold it on eBay for $600. Now that money is flowing a bit more evenly, I looked to see if I could snag a copy (only 900 copies were made), and sure 'nuff, eBay has three of them, ranging in price from $750 to $1,300. Looks like that little spot on my King bookcase will be staying empty.

A smell that cheers you up: Heather uses this awesome "Aussie Mega" shampoo and conditioner and when she gets her hair good and clean, I could follow her around like a puppy.

A smell that can ruin your mood: Cigarettes. Last year Ohio finally voted in a smoking ban and now I no longer have to hold my breath when entering restaurants, but unfortunately the ban only pertains to enclosed spaces which means all of the smokers are sucking on their cancer sticks just outside the door. Still, baby steps. Soon, all cigarettes will be gone. That's the only good thing that can be said of a Marlboro -- cancer cures smoking.

How long since you last shaved: Umm, can I plead the fifth? I actually took a picture of my overgrown legs to post on my blog, just haven't gotten the guts to do it, yet.

The current state of your hair: I'm about four months into the great "growing out my bangs" project. I'm at that funky stage where my face is just this huge pale mass of nothingness and I look longingly at every pair of scissors I see.

The largest item on your desk/workspace (not computer): Not one, but TWO baskets filled with furbabies. When I first bought this massive desk for my office, I thought I'd take one of Mom's Longaberger (i.e. "expensive") baskets and use it as an inbox. Well, it didn't take long for Harmony and Melody to claim it as their own (frequently together). Now that they are bigger, I've picked up another similar basket and now they each take their own.

Your skill with chopsticks: Fair to middlin. When I was in high school, I dated a guy (I know, can ya believe it?) who was rather worldly. He was born in India, his father owned a bank in Kuwait, he went to school in London...anyway, one day we went to one of those Japanese type of restaurants where they make the food in front of you. It was such a thrill, he decided to introduce me to all sorts of different restaurants. One night before going to an authentic Chinese restaurant, he brought home some chopsticks and taught me how to use them. I remember using sunflower seeds (first in the shell, then just the bitty seeds) to practice. Fun!

Which section do you head for first in a bookstore: I'm a thrill seeker in the library if not in real life. I love the mysteries and thrillers. Ironically, even though I love Stephen King, I am not a horrror fan.

Something you’re craving: Mmm. cookies.

Your general thoughts on the presidential race: The best thing that ever happened to the Democratic Party was having Monkey Boy in the White House fucking up the country for the past 8 years. He's turned many staunch Republicans into Democrats.

Favorite place to go for a quiet moment: That would be "the library" in my house. Also known as the bathroom. I've got more reading material in the bathroom than I do anywhere else.

You’ve always secretly thought you’d be a good: When I was young, I thought I would totally rock as a teacher. I remember playing school as a kid and creating these elaborate lesson plans and making up grade books. Then, I had children and decided that when my own kids were rotten, it took every ounce of restraint not to throttle them. How would I deal with other folks' juvenile delinquents?

Something that freaks you out a little: The onslaught of Guatemalans who have moved into my small town. Ten years ago, there was about a 0.5% population of Guatemalans. Now, it is over 15%. Virtually none of them speak English. None have drivers licenses (but they all drive - without benefit of the knowledge of Ohio's traffic laws, nor the insurance necessary when their ignorance wreaks havoc on the other drivers on the road). They get someone to rent a house and they fill it with 20 people for a 3 bedroom house. I spent most of my life thinking I was not a prejudiced person, but now, I absolutely cannot stand how my lovely town has deteriorated because of these people who make up their own rules and won't abide by ours.

Something you’ve eaten too much of lately: Hershey Kisses. I've got a little stash of 'em in my desk drawer and I let them melt in my mouth while working. So far, my favorite are the "cheesecake" flavor, but the "chocolate covered cherry" flavor are pretty damn tasty, too.

You have never: Tried any illegal drugs. It's hard to believe in this day and age, but it's true. I'm afraid that if I tried something and liked it, I'd be hooked immediately. Let's face it, just based on my eating habits, obviously I don't know how to quit.

You never want to: Put on a bra. I swear the inventor of the brassiere was the same massochocistic man who invented Stilletto heels.