Thursday, January 31, 2008

Oh Deer!

Dear deer,

I am so sorry for taking your head off tonight while driving 70 MPH down the highway. It was swell of you to jump right in front of my BRAND NEW CAR THAT HASN'T EVEN HAD IT'S FIRST OIL CHANGE YET.

I didn't need the driver's side mirror that's now impaled in your skull, so you can keep it. And I think the giant paint scrape along the windshield casing is super classy. So thanks. You're a gem.

I'm always looking to make new friends, deer, so it was cool that I got to meet the young man who stopped to see if I was ok after I pulled over the side of the road to survey the damage. He was actually pretty creepy, so thanks for looking down on me from deer heaven and making sure he didn't kidnap me and cut me up into pieces.

I'm sorry that you got ran over a few more times after you chose my shiny black car to commit suicide with. I think your carcass was pretty mincemeaty afterwards. So that sucks, because you can't have an open casket funeral and all. And nobody can make deer jerky out of you either, because you're too tenderized. Which is a shame.

In closing, I hope the last few seconds of your life weren't painful. You know, those moments when you stared at me with that blank expression and decided that standing in the middle of the left lane wasn't a good idea. Too bad you decided to jump into the right lane of traffic instead of into the safe, vehicle-less ditch on the other side. But at least the last thing you looked at was pretty - my shiny new car that didn't have a scratch on it.

Until now.

You're the best, deer.

Hugs and Kisses,
Monnik

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Sounds of Our Home

I'm sitting here listening to the sounds of my household:
  • The dog is barking her bark-that-sounds-like-a-quack bark at the wind outside.
  • The Boy is playing is trumpet.
  • Bumblebee is telling the dog to hush. "Hush, Merlin!"
  • The potatoes are boiling on the stove. We're having roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli for dinner. Yum. (I ran THREE whole miles tonight, so I can eat this dinner without guilt so long as I don't eat the entire chicken.)
  • The Boy's trumpet is still blaring.
  • I can faintly hear - and definitely feel through the floor - the bass of the music Hollywood is listening to in her basement bedroom. She recently bought the Rent soundtrack and has been playing it non stop.
  • The wind is pounding our house. I can hear it the most coming from the chimney.
  • I just heard the cat thump to the floor - she's been jumping up on the mantle - we probably have mice in running behind that wall.
  • Hollywood's door just slammed. Now I hear her bounding upstairs. She's probably hungry.

Life is nice on nights like these where we have nowhere to go and only each other to spend the evening with. Even if it is a little bit noisy.

Monday, January 28, 2008

New Widget

I added the new PlayPumps widget to the right side of my blog because I think it's an interesting charity. It helps provide safe drinking water to people in Africa - I think they're focused in Mozambique. The PlayPump systems are innovative, sustainable, patented water pumps powered by children at play. Installed near schools, the PlayPump system doubles as a water pump and a merry-go-round for children. I gave them $10 - a puny amount in the grand scheme of things, but I figure it's worth 2 1/2 lattes. I read about this charity in this article on msnbc.com. I think it's a pretty cool concept! Interesting how charitable organizations can reach people through social networking.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Winter Fun

Yep - I said Winter FUN! Today was a beautifully warm and sunny day. The snow was perfect for snowmen. Take a look at these pictures...






Today is also my brother E's birthday. Happy Birthday, E!!

Friday, January 25, 2008

Grand Master of the Bad Mom Parade

Seriously, I blew it last night, folks.

All five of us were sitting in the living room watching the incredibly annoying game show called Are You Smarter than a Fifth Grader? I get so irritated by the show because they honestly seem to invite the most unintelligent people in the country to be contestants.

But like the poor little mice in our basement are to their glue traps, we were stuck. Watching it. For TWO HOURS. One segment had the Dallas Cowboys' Cheerleaders on as a special class. In a defining moment for cheerleaders everywhere, three out of five of them reinforced my expectations by answering 'True' to the question: True of False: Spiders are Insects. (ok, sorry - I don't intent to offend cheerleaders. It was just funny.)

During the show, I made a blunder which rightfully gives me the Bad Mom of the Century Millenium Award. One of the questions was this:

What is the Fahrenheit equivalent of Zero Degrees Celsius?

I blurted out the following, in a rather smug and scornful manner: "You have to be some kind of retarded not to know the answer to THAT!"

The Boy looked at me, and honest to God, I watched his heart break. His face crumpled, he started to cry and said, "Mom... I didn't know the answer to that!"

Oh, shit. Shit. Shit. What have I done? Why did I say that? He is going to remember this day forever - just like I remember my mom telling me that my toes are unusually, scarily long.

The Husband gave me a look that meant, "Good one." I scrambled to backpedal. "Buddy... I didn't mean YOU were retarded. I meant that any adult who doesn't know that isn't so smart."

He was still crying. Hard. "But Mom, I am a fifth grader." He said.

God - I am tearing up while I type this. I tried to explain what I meant, but in the end I just said I was sorry. I really have to think about what comes out of my mouth. You see, I talk much like I blog, with little thought to the consequences of the message I'm giving. But really, I wouldn't have thought he'd have had that kind of response. We were all joking about how dumb the adults on that show can be.

It was one of those things that made me feel about two inches tall. Please, readers, make me feel better. What are some of your not so stellar moments?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Baby it's Cold Outside!

My mother will start worry
(beautiful whats your hurry)
My father will be pacing the floor
(listen to the fireplace roar)

So really i'd better scurry

(beautiful please don't hurry)

but maybe just a half a drink more

I love that song!!!


I took this picture of my car’s dashboard on the way into work this morning. (Never mind that I was driving at 40 mph while I took the picture. That really was pretty irresponsible of me. Don’t tell my kids.) Can you believe my brand new car has 4080 miles on it already? But again, not the point.

Check out the temperature reading. Can you see it? NEGATIVE NINETEEN DEGREES.

I am so sick of this cold, snowy, crapdappity winter. I want warmth. I want longer hours of daylight. I want sunlight that actually warms your skin. I want to see grass instead of snow. Argh!

So anyway, I decided that since you all know that I hate winter, I’d write a list of the things that I actually do like about post-holiday winter:

  • Fires in the fireplace – The Husband is great about making fires on cold nights when we are just hanging out.
  • Hot tea – I drink this all year round, but it’s especially warm and cozy in the winter.
  • Reading – I get more reading done in the wintertime, since I can’t be outside as often.
  • Snuggling under a blanket – I have a few really soft and fluffy blankets in the living room that are perfect to grab a kid and snuggle under.
  • Coats – I love coats. I have several. My favorite is a long, wool purple number.
  • Mittens – (I guess they’re actually gloves, but I always call them mittens). I like mittens.
  • Warm and fuzzy slippers – I got a great pair of them for Christmas from TH and they are awesome.

But, here's the number one thing I like about post-holiday winter (and it really is the best part of this God-forsaken season):

  • Boots. (not the snow variety, the fashion kind) Boots are awesome and they are only wearable in cold weather.

See? I’m not always a pessimist about winter…

But DAMN is it cold outside!!!!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Still in Mourning

I'm still lamenting my Packers loss. It was brutal. I appreciate the nice comments left about it, though. Sigh. I had such high hopes. But oh well.

A couple of Bumblebee-isms to brighten your Tuesday:

The other morning, as I was drinking coffee and snuggling with Bumblebee, she said to me, "Ew! Momma, your breath Stinks." And after a quick pause, "But I still love you anyway."

Then, while we were at mass on Sunday, she asked me: "Mom, does God play with us?" I shushed her, since she has a tendency to chatter all the way through mass, but she persisted. "Does he play with us?" She repeated. I didn't follow her line of thinking. I said I wasn't sure. She then elaborated: "You know, like how I play with my Littlest Pet Shops. Does he move us around, and that's how we walk?" She gestured with her hands, how God would move us from place to place, like we were Barbies or something.

Winter Still Sucks update: More snow last night - 4 inches, I think. -3 temperature when I got up this morning. Snow again tonight and tomorrow. Temps to dip in the negative teens tomorrow night, I think. Yeah. Fun.

Get Moving! update: I am a lazy slob. But today I am back on track. I have extremely healthy, Weight Watchery food with me and I'm starting my One Hour Runner program again so that I can actually get back to running, which is something I love but have completely slacked off on.

That's all I've got. Stay warm!!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Chinese Food Debacle

Last night we decided to order Chinese carry out. Nobody delivers up to Tinytown, so we had to order from the bigger town close to us. I was trying to find the menus that we keep magneted to the fridge, but they were nowhere to be found. So I looked in the phone book and found a menu for China Moon. Which I thought was the name of the place that we always order from.

It takes about 10 minutes to get to the north side of Bigger-Than-Tinytown. The Husband got into the car and came back about 25 minutes later. We started pulling out our stuff and noticed that there were no crab rangoon or egg rolls. We thought the order was incomplete. But then we looked at the entrees in the order and realized that we had paid for someone else's order.

At the wrong restaurant.

I had ordered from China Moon. But I told TH that it was the restaurant on the north side of town by the hardware store. Oops, that was Panda Garden.

Funny thing is, Panda Garden just gave TH's order without checking any name or anything. I feel bad for the family that came to get their order only to find it gone.

We started nibbling on the order, but I really wanted my Lo Mein, so TH kindly (without complaint) went back to Larger-Than-Tinytown - all the way to the south side this time to get our real order.

Yeah. That was an expensive mistake. We spent almost $70 on chinese food. Guess what we're having for lunch today?

Thursday night when I got in my car to go to Bunko, I noticed a little bird flying around in the garage. They get stuck in there sometimes. I left the garage door open for the little guy while I was at Bunko and assumed he flew out to his nest. Last night when I got home from work, we had a birdcicle on the garage floor - next to the stairs into the house. I shuddered when I saw the poor, frozen, seemingly dead bird. I told TH that he had to dispose of the little guy. He came back and said that thing was just as good as a lawn dart. He had flung the poor bird into the snow in the front yard, offering it up as a snack to the area wild. Shudder. Lawn darts, birdcicles, I just have bad luck with birds. No wonder they skeeve me out.

Today is Saturday and I have to cram as much of my weekend chores into today as possible since tomorrow is the big NFC Championship game. Go Packers!!!


I'm headed to Target with all three kidlets who have gift cards burning holes in their pockets. Fun.

Oh yeah, and here's a winter-still-sucks update: the current temperature is -3 degrees. Windchills are at -19. Brrrrrrrrr!!

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Funk Continues...

The funk continues. The weather still sucks. They’re talking about -25 wind chill temperatures tonight (actual temps of -8 or something awful like that). I’m still unmotivated, I’m still eating like crap (although this morning I had oatmeal with blueberries for breakfast), I still want to crawl in bed and do absolutely nothing when I get home from work.

Have I mentioned this fact before? I HATE WINTER.

Last night I wanted to curl up on the couch with a book and do nothing. I was in a foul mood because of some ickiness at work and after The Husband patiently allowed me to get all of that stuff off my chest, I felt like snoozing and napping on the couch. Then I remembered that I had Bunko. Our neighborhood ladies have a Bunko group and we get together once a month to play, drink, eat, and socialize. I sooooooo didn’t want to go. I thought about bailing, but since I didn’t make the last two months due to conflicts, I decided that I really had to go. So I dragged myself off the couch, put on some real clothes (I’d changed into pjs the second I got home from work) and went.

I’m so glad I did. The camaraderie of my neighbor pals was just what I needed to pick me up. I’m not super close with any of them, but I do enjoy their company - they're a fun group. The margarita that I had improved my mood greatly too.

And today is Friday. However, it’s a cold and miserable Friday. But you guys are probably sick of hearing about the cold so I'll quit whining.

I’ve mentioned before how The Boy is my ‘easy’ child. He rarely gets in trouble, and is such an upbeat kid that even when he does get punished for something, he usually accepts it gracefully, if not cheerfully. This week’s been a challenge for us, though. His room has been a disaster forever. I finally couldn’t take it any longer and told him he had to get it cleaned – closet, under the bed, in the corners, all of it. Well, the little guy just isn’t the best at organization, so in his attempt to clean it, he made one hell of a disaster out of his room. He’s still not done and has been working on it every day after school this week. Of course half the time I check on him, he’s sitting on the floor daydreaming, so that’s a big part of the problem. To add to this issue, he got his Reading grade sent home yesterday with a D-. The Boy is awesome at reading, an A student, so this was a shock. After further review, I noted that he was missing 5 assignments. I asked him where they were and he said that he couldn’t find them. He did them, but lost them somehow. This lack of organization really hurts him sometimes, and this is a prime example of that. And then, to add to the issue some more, he got a check mark at school yesterday for talking during work time - something that is very much out of character for him. I had no choice but to tell him that he couldn’t spend the night with his friend tonight – even though we’d agreed on those plans a few days ago. He was so disappointed, he started to cry. I felt bad, but I really had to show him that until he gets a handle on his organization and school assignments better, he really has to pay a consequence. His teacher, bless her heart, will let him turn those assignments in again for full credit. And while I love that, because it will bring his grade up to an A again, it doesn’t teach him accountability for missing deadlines and being disorganized. So he was sad this morning when I told him the bad news. And it made me sad too, but what else could I do?

And THEN! I got the cell phone bill yesterday and it was almost twice the normal amount. I thought maybe I’d forgotten to pay it last month, but no. I found that a certain 14 year old daughter of mine had racked up $76 worth of texting charges. She sent or received over 500 text messages last month. Problem is, she knew it was against the rules. When I gave her the cell phone I told her texting was not allowed. She’s been begging me to buy the unlimited texting plans for $10/month. And while that would certainly beat the $76 I spent this month, it isn’t something I was ready to do. I don’t think she needs to text message a zillion times a month. I see kids doing that all the time and me makes me nuts. I’ve seen kids texting while driving… Anyway, she got her phone taken away until who knows how long. And that sucks because it’s an inconvenience for us both. When I got the bill, I sent her a text message that said, "I just got the phone bill. 50+ texts in the last month... $76 worth. NOT COOL. Expect many, many chores."

Sigh… can you see why I want to go to some tropical island right about now?

I’ll settle for a Packers win this weekend. GO PACK GO!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Go Away, Winter!!

I hate, hate, hate, (a thousand times hate!) winter. I am currently sitting in my dining room listening to the oh-so-lovely sound of my husband snowblowing the 5 inches of snow that dumped on us last night.

I can usually work from home when bad weather rears it's ugly head (and trust me - this is UGLY), but today I have NINE meetings scheduled. So I have to go to work. (I know, I know... poor me.) Wish me luck on my commute.

Hollywood came upstairs to inform me that the downstairs power is out, but the upstairs power is fine... Guess I should go check the fusebox. Fun times.

So anyway, here's where I really want to be today:

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Lion Dancers

Remember me telling you about my brother's wedding in San Francisco on December 15th? Maybe I didn't go into detail, I can't remember and am too lazy to go back and check.

My sister-in-law is chinese, and so she and Sam hired traditional lion dancers for the reception. I'm sure you've seen similar things in parades - people crouching under huge, ornate costumes of dragons, lions, etc. Up close at the reception, adults and children alike were in complete awe of this performance. In addition to the dancers, there were musicians beating drums to the rhythm that the lions were dancing. The lions would get up on these ladders and stretch to their full height (which was all the way to the ceiling). It was so amazingly cool.

During the dance, the maid of honor came up to me and told me to have Bumblebee (who was the flower girl at the wedding) 'feed' the lion a $20. So we got up there and I was afraid Bumblebee would be frightened by the immense 'lions' but she was delighted. They made a big show of being scary and mean and after she gave them the tip, they pretended to kiss her and danced around.

Since I was up there with her, I didn't get a picture of this action, but someone did, and my brother emailed it to me last night. You can tell it's an action shot - there was tons of movement, but you get the idea of how cool this dance was. And hey- this post bumps down the icky chicken neck picture of the post below it, so there's another bonus!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Not Sure Where I'm Going With This One...

How can it only be Tuesday? Sheesh!

First order of business, I'm going to create a blogroll one of these days. Once I get it up (ha! I'm easily amused today) just comment if I missed you or you'd like to be added. Or, if you'd like to be removed, that's cool too.

I've been going through a mini depression of sorts. It's more like a funk, but it's odd. The first reason for the blues is the season - I hate winter. It was 5 degrees outside this morning. FIVE DEGREES. Fahrenheit!! Damn my parents for bringing me into this world in a place like Iowa. Why couldn't I have been born to parents in Hawaii or somewhere warm and lush? Because I have an emotional attachment to this wasteland that I was born in, I place the blame on my folks. Because of them, I freeze my ass off every November - March. So thanks, Mom and Dad! You can rectify the situation by winning the lottery and moving all of us to Maui, mmkay? (does anyone else think of their, um, sphincter when they see the word 'rectify'? No? Just me, huh? Hmmm. My mind is definitely stuck in fifth grade humorland today.)

Which reminds me of the time that my friend Susan spent the night when we were in fifth grade. My mom was making a chicken and the chicken neck was in the sink. Susan and I saw it and started giggling hysterically, because, well, because a chicken neck looks like the picture on the right. And of course a fifth grader is going to think it resembles something else. Though the curve is rather alarming, don't you think?

Oh my God, I was uploading that image at work and kept looking behind me to make sure nobody was watching what I was doing... Which reminds me of yesterday when my mother in law (of all people!) sent me an email with a Christmas card that was a picture of George and Laura Bush. But the card was from George and Laura's Bush, and well, it showed a picture of Laura's bush, and well, I didn't see that coming and had to scramble REALLY fast to shut it down since my monitor is huge and I sit in a cube farm here at Giant Ass Bank. You'd think you could safely open an email from your mother-in-law, but not always.

I've completely veered off course. I was going to write about my little mini-depression and I got onto the topic of phallic chicken necks and Laura's bush. Sorry about that! I will try and stay on track from now on.

So the second reason for my little funk is that I'm sad because Bumblebee is growing up too quickly. She's just so BIG! All of my kids are big and growing up far too quickly - but it's normal for Hollywood and The Boy - they're so much older than the 'baby' of our family. Since we've decided that she is to be our last child, this is kind of sad. Don't get me wrong, she's still a very affectionate and loving critter, but the snuggly baby hugs and kisses turned into snuggly toddler hugs and kisses, and then to the pre-schooler that she is now. And she's just so grown up! The words she uses, her expressions, her sense of humor (that kid makes me laugh every day!), her affectionate hugs and the everyday rituals we go through. All of that illustrates just how fast she's growing up. And it's sad. Because for a very long time I've been the mom of little kids. And now that is changing...

But it's also good. She'll be a teenager like Hollywood one day. Which will be interesting, to say the least. Those of you who have older kids, did you go through a period of mourning when you realized your youngest was past that certain helpless, needs mommy for everything stage? I can't be the only one thinking about this!

And finally, just a comment that's not related to my blue mood or fifth grade humor. But it is about a fifth grader! (wow - was that a horrible segue or what?!) The Boy is in chess club now. Which is great because he loves it, but chess gives me a headache. I can play it (not well), but I hate that you have to think when you're playing it. Aren't games supposed to be relaxing? I love a good game of scrabble, or anything that has to do with words. My new obsession online is Bookworm Adventures. Yep - geeky. That's me. But chess? Wow - that requires more brain cells. Before chess club, the boy was almost able to beat me in chess. Now that he'll be taught actual strategy, I'm toast. I'll never beat him again.

Monday, January 14, 2008

To Tip or Not...

Are you supposed to pay a Notary Public?

If so, I get the schmuck of the week award.

This morning I went to the bank and asked if I could get a Notarized signature for a form I've been meaning to fill out forever. This very nice woman came out from behind the counter and led me to an office in the bank. She shook my hand and signed my document. Then, when I thought we were done, she sort of stood there, expectantly, and said, "Did you have a great weekend?" I mumbled something about it being a great weekend since my Packers won and the Cowboys lost. I thought that was it, so I shifted and stood up to leave.

Then she said, "One more step to the SuperBowl..." But she still didn't leave. And she still was making eye contact.

So I said, "It would be a miracle to beat out an AFC team, but it sure would be cool."

And she said, "Miracles happen." And she paused. And then she got up and left.

The exchange sounds like it was friendly, and it was, but it was also awkward, and it all just seemed odd to me.

After I left the bank, I was walking back to my office and I had a sudden thought: "Oh shit. Was I supposed to TIP her??" It would make sense. It would explain the football chit chat between strangers. They don't teach you these things in college, so how am I supposed to know if I should tip a notary or not! Tipping rules should be advertised. Like did you know you're supposed to tip your priest when he baptizes your kid? How does one know these things without being told? Clearly I'm not great at nonverbal cues, if a Notary is indeed supposed to get a tip of some sort.

I feel like a total tool.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Thank You, Wal-Mart Sweatpant Lady

Last night was another hectic night. I had to swing by Wal-Mart to pick up a few things after I grabbed Bumblebee from daycare. Then we had to rush off to Hollywood’s basketball game. I knew we wouldn’t be home until at least 7:30 and I was HUNGRY. So I moseyed on over to the baked goods section of Wal-Mart (my absolute favorite part of that hellhole) and that’s when I saw her. A woman, about my age, and close to my current size. She was wearing a pair of fuzzy gray sweatpants identical to the ones The Husband got me for Christmas. (aside: I am in love with those pants. They are the most comfortable lounge pants ever. Nothing says Christmas happiness like hanging out in super soft and cozy sweatpants and going on an HGTV bender for three days. Which is what I did over Christmas break.) But back to Wal-Mart. This woman who was perusing the choices of croissants (my favorite), muffins, cakes, cookies, scones, etc, was wearing these exact same sweatpants.

And she filled them out like I will in about another month of eating that kind of crap.

So I turned my cart around and grabbed some bananas and a box of granola bars.

There is a McDonald’s right next to the Wal-Mart where we shop. As we drove by it, Bumblebee started singing, “McDonalds, McDonalds, McDonalds… I doubt my mom will let me eat there… McDonalds, McDonalds.” Damn straight, skippy. You’re not eating Mickey Dee’s if I can’t have a croissant.

Guess who has pink-eye? Me. Guess who else? Hollywood. My babysitter has an adorable 10 month old baby who had the mother of all colds this week. The poor kid was so leaky she dripped out of everywhere! Our babysitter pointed out that she thought the baby might have pink eye. I took a look and (because I'm a trained medical professional - or not-) said, “eh- she’s on antibiotics for her sinus infection, so that should take care of the pink-eye too, right?” And then I proceeded to pick up the drippy cutie-pie and play with her while Bumblebee got her coat on. Yeah. That was two days ago and this morning I woke up with red and drippy eyes. Hollywood has only one red and drippy eye. I told her to walk around with it closed all day so the teachers wouldn’t send her home. She has another basketball game tonight and she doesn’t want to miss it, so we’ll hit the doctor’s office tomorrow morning for some eye drops.

This morning on my way to work, Bumblebee asked me why I didn’t work from home today since I had pink eye. I told her that I had to be in the office because I had some meetings to go to.

“What’s so important about meetings?” She asked. “All you do is talk and eat lunch and stuff.”

Indeed.

****

So, I'm running three miles tonight for my 'Get Moving' campaign. Anyone else doing some exercise today????

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Run, Monnik, Run!!!

So I've hit a wall in my running hobby. In November I had some hip pain that turned pretty nasty, so I took a few weeks off running to heal it.

The good news - my hip seems to be healed.

The bad news - the time off seems to have refamiliarized my ass with that imprint in the couch that's so comfy... November turned to December and then the holidays came around.

I think I ran three times in December. Maybe it was four, but the point is, I totally slacked off. And I ate. And ate and ate and ate.

The good news - I'll survive a long time on fat reserves if I find myself in a post-apocalyptic situation. (I just read Cormac McCarthy's The Road)

The bad news - Running with seven extra pounds is noticeably harder.

More bad news - I got used to eating crappy food. It's hard to get back to oatmeal and healthy food when you've got holiday cookies and chocolate on your mind.

Even more bad news - My pants are tight. All of them. Even the 'fat' pants - you know the ones you wear to Thanksgiving so that your belly can expand and you can still button them? Yeah. They're tight. And they look awful.

So. I really MUST get back on track. I've done pretty well with the eating, but have still struggled with the running. It's pathetic that I can't lose weight by walking (I do that a lot on my lunch break) but it's how I'm built.

This morning I hauled my tired self out of bed and ran 2.5 miles. I ran it slow and it wasn't pretty when I got done. My face might still be red from the exertion. But I did it.

And I must continue. Who's with me? Anyone else want to join in my get moving campaign? It doesn't have to be with running - I know that's not for everyone...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Parenting, Cancer, and Meltdowns - Oh My!

I’ve been bad about blogging – it’s almost been a week! This first week after a holiday schedule is brutal. Whoever decided we should work five days and relax two days was off his rocker.

I read an article today on a woman who sold her old son’s car because she found a booze bottle under the seat. Here’s a link to the article if you’re interested. This is what her ad said: "OLDS 1999 Intrigue. Totally uncool parents who obviously don't love teenage son, selling his car. Only driven for three weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under front seat. $3,700/offer. Call meanest mom on the planet."

This sounds reasonable to me. I applaud her for sticking with the rules. Further information in the newspaper article explains that she’s a DJ, the kid is 19 and in college, and that they bought the car for him around Thanksgiving. She and her husband got him the car, told him the rules were to always keep it locked and to have no alcohol in it. She found a bottle of whatever under the seat and sold the car.

None of this shocks me. I think she did the right thing – in fact, it reminds me of something I might conceive of. I’m surprised by the comments left by readers in the newspaper article. So many of them are accusing her of overreacting, being a controlling mother, or even that she was doing this to further her DJ career (oh please). Maybe the reaction would have been different if the kid were 16 instead of 19, because these commenters kept pointing out that he was an adult and could live how he liked.

I cry BS on that note. I was 19 once and made some of the poorest decisions of my life that year. I drank too much, studied too little, and wound up really, REALLY lucky that my poor choices turned into blessings. Was I an ‘adult’? Hell no. I could vote. And that’s about it. Would I have listened to my mom if she’d have told me to stop screwing up my life? Probably not, I was headstrong and on that ‘on my own’ high... But she would have had every right to take away any support she was giving that enabled this behavior. This kid is still being supported financially by his parents. They bought him this car and set rules for it. He broke them, they sold the car. Good for them.

As for her doing this to further her DJ career, she was apparently asked by several local radio and news shows to talk about the ad, but she refused because things were strained between her son and her and she didn’t want to add to the tension by yapping about it on the radio or tv. The kid is mad. I get it. Haven’t we all be mad at our parents? Someday he’ll understand, though.

Enough on that…

I found out on Monday that my former boss’ boss has late stage lung cancer that has spread throughout her body. Then yesterday I found that another former coworker has brain/spinal cancer. Today my mom emailed me to tell me that my uncle’s brain cancer has spread and there’s not a lot that can be done treatment wise, but they are still giving some things a try. Three days this week and three bad news cancer updates.

Cancer is so scary. And it just seems to be so prevalent! So many people I know have died from it – and I know many who have beaten it. It terrifies me because The Husband is a smoker and I don’t want to lose him to cancer when we’re young and our kids are still little. I don’t want to see him waste away like his Uncle Bob did. I do my fair share of nagging about the smoking, but it doesn’t do anything but make both of us grouchy. He’ll quit only when he’s ready to. I just hope it’s not too late when he decides it’s time. Every time I hear about someone getting cancer, I worry about TH. I know he worries about it too… I just wish the cigarettes weren’t so powerful over him.

Ok, enough on that too…

I got a really fancy new phone the other day. Hollywood was irked that her mom has a ‘cooler’ phone than she does. It’s orange and has a good camera and a fancy keyboard to use for all of the texting I’ll be doing. Ha – I only send text messages to TH to ask him to pick up things from the store that I forgot to put on the list. Or, sometimes I’ll send him a text message after I’ve pissed him off and he’s no longer answering my phone calls. So anyway, the phone is very tricked out. It has more features than this uncool old hag will ever use. But that’s ok.

Ok, one more thought… this one’s political, so skip it if you’re so inclined.

Did you all see Hillary when she got teary eyed while answering a question on the campaign trail the other day? If you didn’t, I really think you’re living in a cave without tv, radio or internet access. (so how are you reading my blog??) Anyway, here’s the link if you haven’t seen it. So. I’ve been busy and didn’t actually see the clip until yesterday and my first instinct was to absolutely, totally, and 100% identify with her. I get teary when I get stressed, angry, tired, whatever. It’s something I’ve always hated about myself. So when someone like her with her normally steely resolve gets emotional, it was actually kind of humanizing.

My work friend had a different thought. She said, “But you can’t have a president burst into tears when she’s meeting with a prime minister and negotiating a treaty.” Hmmm. Good point. The Husband had more colorful things to say about it – they had to do with a female president having her time of the month and going bonkers with the deadly cocktail of hormones and exhaustion. My solution to that problem: you just don’t schedule the peace talks while the prez is PMSing. Am I Right? Ok, ok. That was a joke. Don’t hurl anti-feminist comments at me, ok?

I didn’t watch or read any further commentary on the subject, but had one of those lightbulb moments on the way home from work when I wondered if that reaction was STAGED. I fell right into the trap if it was. Did she do that so that scores of women would connect with her on some level like I did? Now I’m not saying I’m going to vote for Hillary – but I did, for a few minutes, identify with her. I thought about how grueling the campaign trail must be, how she probably just wants to flop into a bubble bath with a glass of Merlot, but instead has to have a gazillion cameras on her and people asking her question after question… It worked for me!

And so, I wonder how many women in New Hampshire yesterday had the same reaction that I did and voted for her in the primary. And if so, did her campaign trail tell her to have her little emotional response to dispel her normally icy, unperturbed image? If so, how genius are they? Interesting food for thought. Initially I saw the tape and thought – oh man. She is melting faster than the cheddar on a grilled cheese sandwich. But maybe it was all planned….

Wow – I’ve blabbered on yet again. Maybe it’s a good thing that I don’t have time to do this very often. Happy Wednesday!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Thought Provoking Thursday...

Yes, I know I'm posting this on a Friday, but it's about yesterday, so you get the point.

Yesterday was an interesting day. I had so many things leave an imprint on my brain that it’s hard to know what I should blabber (er, I mean blog) about. But I’ve never been known to spare you all from the mundane, so I’ll bravely forge ahead.

I was at the downtown library on my lunch break and as I was turning the corner of one of the stacks while reading the back of an audiobook that I’d selected, I plowed into a very, very large man. His hair was a sandy blonde and he wore a full, scraggly beard. My first thought was to berate myself for not watching where I was going.. “Oh! Excuse me, sir. I’m sorry!” I said.

Then my olfactory glands went on full alert – the man smelled as if he hadn’t bathed in a month or more. He wore multiple layers of filthy, threadbare clothes and carried a large duffel bag. The downtown library is a place of refuge to our transient population, especially on days like yesterday when it was about 12 degrees Fahrenheit. He seemed surprised, but immediately apologized to me. “I’m sorry – I didn’t see you – the sun shining in from the windows made it hard to see.” What a polite response. Remember, I was the one who smacked right into him.

I smiled at him, looked him in the eye and said, “Oh no. I just need to look where I’m going next time.”

He smiled back and told me to have a great day. His eyes had merry crinkles around them and he said it with such warmth that I knew he was honestly wishing me well. My brain went into overdrive (as it tends to do often) and I started turning things over in my head. Why is this man in the position that he’s in? Did he lose his job? Does he have a drinking problem? Did he get sick? Does he have a family? Kids? Parents? None of that really matters, maybe. I was just thinking about him. And I really hope he had a warm place to sleep last night and that his luck improves very soon. I can’t put my finger on what made me think of this man over and over again yesterday. He just struck a chord in me, maybe because he was so polite to me - a well dressed, professional woman so engrossed in her own world that she wasn’t looking where she was going and about knocked this guy off his feet. It’s not that I expect the homeless to have a sour disposition (though one could understand if they did.) I was surprised at his cheeriness and his immediate impulse to wish a great day upon me. It felt like a gift. And that’s what I’m taking it as.

On to the next part of yesterday. Hollywood had a basketball game after work. The Husband was working late, so as usual, I dragged Bumblebee along to the game. Four year olds and packed bleachers are never fun. Four year olds who claim to be in a ‘silly mood’ (interpret that as a kid who doesn’t want to listen to Mommy) are disastrous in packed bleachers. That kid was driving me nuts! She kept swinging her arms and legs around, bumped into the woman in front of us at least a thousand times, and wouldn’t color in the coloring book I so preparedly brought with me to amuse her. She kept breathing on me with her foul goldfish smelling breath and that was probably irritating me the most of all. “Mommy – I’m so silly!” she kept saying while giggling maniacally and flailing about. Silly indeed. I wanted to tie her to the bleachers, but I think that might be against a law or two. It was painful. Almost as painful as the 53 – 9 loss Hollywood’s team endured.

After the game, I rushed home, refreshed my makeup and went to the caucus. It was so extremely interesting, I can’t even begin to describe it! We live in a teeny tiny precinct, and only get to send two delegates to the democratic convention in March. But wow- what a process to get those two delegates decided. We went to stand with our candidate of choice. There were 101 people present in our precinct and we had to talk 26 people to come to our group for a viable option. I totally thought Hillary was going to blow this away, but to my surprise, the Edwards camp had the first viable group upon the first count. The way it works is that if there is only one viable group after the first count, then people can talk others into joining their group. That’s when the ‘fun’ begins. It’s a debater’s dream. People are highlighting the points of each group, trying to talk those who are caucusing for the less popular candidates to come over to their team. Very interesting process. In the end, our precinct sent a delegate for Edwards and one for Obama. Our group was very persuasive! We talked 11 people into coming over to our ‘team’ after the initial count. One of them was an 80+ year old man. He was originally supporting Joe Biden, but came over to our group when it was clear that Biden wasn’t going to become viable. It was fun listening to him, and he just had the sweetest smile on his face when we all cheered for him when he put on his Obama sticker.

My first caucus was so interesting, it was fun even! I was afraid that I wouldn’t know anyone, that since it was a new process to me that I’d do something to embarrass myself. But I knew lots of people there – including Hollywood’s softball coach and the lady who lives in the house directly behind me. And those were just a few. It was a really good time, and I was glued to the tv after I got home to watch the news coverage of it. Of course I was happy as can be to see that Obama won.

So. What a thought provoking day. I think my brain is taking the day off. A coworker of mine sent me a brain teaser that she got from the Mensa calendar. I figured it out, but it sucked all of the rest of my brainpower away. I’m sure I’ll forget where my car is parked tonight when I leave work…. Not enough energy left to do the necessary stuff, I guess.

Um, like write a coherent post apparently. If you’re still with me, then I’m amazed. Happy Friday!!!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Back to Life, Back to Reality

Ugh. The title gave me a horrible earworm! Sorry if I passed it along to you...

Well, the holidays are officially over. Last night was definitely back to reality, frazzled style. I had to get groceries after work, but had to be done in time to run the girls to the church where Bumblebee had religion class and Hollywood was helping out to earn credits for community service needed for her Confirmation class. I got home from dropping them off, unloaded the $160 worth of groceries I bought and then whipped up a super-fast, super-unhealthy dinner of fried catfish, fried potatoes, green beans and dinner rolls. (I made oatmeal for myself. Weight Watchers doesn’t really approve of a meal where 2/3 of the food is fried…Sure, they say you can eat whatever you want, but only if you eat a piece of fish the size of a quarter and ONE tiny fried potato sliver.)

Anyway, It was a normal night, busy, chaotic, where we eat in shifts. The Boy and The Husband got to eat the first shift while I ran and picked the girls up from the church.

When I returned from getting the girls, The Husband paid me a really nice compliment. He told me that he would have happily spent $40 on that meal at a restaurant. The Husband is a REALLY picky eater, not with what I make, but at restaurants. He rarely thinks food at restaurants is worth the meal price, so this was quite the pat on the back. Huh. Who knew that catfish and taters would earn such high praise? I should’ve raided his wallet for that $40. I am out of cash at the moment.

Hollywood wasn’t quite as complimentary. She took a bite of the fish and there was a teeny-tiny little bone in it. No big deal right? Wrongo. She was convinced that the bone ‘slithered’ and she screamed like one of Freddy Kreuger’s victims and dropped the fish on the floor thinking there was a worm or something in it. Her reaction made Bumblebee very skeptical about eating my gourmet quality fish meal, so neither of the girls really wanted much to do with dinner. They kept asking for bites of my oatmeal instead. Go figure.

So yeah. A post about fish dinner. I am really reaching today, I know. Since I’m not being particularly interesting this morning, I shall point out someone who is. My goofy-ass friend Mom in Scrubs wrote a highly entertaining blog post last night. Unfortunately, I can’t get it out of my brain, but it is definitely worth the read. She’s as funny as two cats scrogging in a comedy club.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Happy New Year


Can you believe it's 2008??? Holy moly.

I hope you all have a happy and prosperous 2008!!