Saturday, December 26, 2009

one perfect moment

That guy. Everyone knows a that guy. That guy who was hurt badly by a couple of soulless women in his 20's and 30's so he gave up attempting to trust any woman. That guy who is sincere and incredibly generous and should have had a family of his own but never did. That guy who has such a big heart to give but only pets to give it to.

My brother is that guy.

Now I can say he was that guy.

Almost a year ago he started a relationship with a wonderful, warm, faithful, giving woman. A woman worthy of my brother's kind and bountiful heart.

My brother, B, didn't even introduce his girlfriend to our family until August, so conservative was he with sharing the news that he had met someone who made him happy lest it all evaporate quickly as it had appeared.

The girlfriend has 3 children. Two are teenage girls who like B very much. The third is a 7 year old boy, Mikey. Mikey adores B. And the feeling is obviously shared.

For Christmas B built an electric train table for Mikey. Mikey ecstatically raced into the room--barely able to contain his joy! He looked and oohed and ahhed for a brief couple of moments before turning back around and making a bee line for B. Racing to B's side, Mikey spontaneously wrapped his arms around B and hugged him tight. B put his arm around Mikey's shoulders and hugged him back--an unheard of shower of affection from B.

I was immediately misty. That moment--that tiny, lightning quick moment was, for me, all the love and joy and familial warmth that is the meaning of Christmas.

I hope you all had a Christmas season filled with little moments.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My life is beginning to resemble a Rodney Dangerfield bit. And I have a blackbelt in guilt.

Rodney Dangerfield was one of my husband's all time favorite comedians. I married a man who reveres Rodney Dangerfield? There is, as the saying goes, no accounting for taste . . .

Today at work, the tall, slender, pretty girl pharmacist and the slim technician with the nice rack were both looking at me. Said the willowy girl pharmacist while gazing in my direction, "I'd give anything for that body." "Yeah," the tech concurred.

They were talking about my hair.

Also, a couple days ago I wrote what I thought was a touching tribute to my mom's unflappable spirit and the giving heart of a teacher. It garnered almost no comments. Today I opened up my mail to find--yay!--another comment!

The comment was via robot. The equivalent of junk mail. But worse. Because it was from an escort service . . .

You see where this is going, yes?

No respect.

Beautiful has asked me a couple times lately whether I could help her out by taking Lily for a couple hours. As much as I love to be with that baby, I've had to say no. I'm knee deep in Christmas projects and social events and work. And really that's no excuse for not making time for my grandbaby, but I can only do what I can do.
This morning on the phone Beautiful asked me, "Do you not like Lily anymore? You used to beg me to let you have her for the afternoon and now you don't want to be with her at all."
I was stung. Of course I like Lily. That child is the apple of my eye! I explained that it has pained me to say no--that I want to spend time with Lily and I want to be helpful to Beautiful, but that the timing has been awful for me. Beautiful let it go at that.
Hours later I called her back. "I realized another reason that I've been saying no to taking Lily with me," I said.
"Still feeling guilty about that, are you?" she joked.
"No--it's not guilt, but I had to really think about why it hasn't been working out, and honestly it's because of the carseat. Now that she's in the bigger carseat and it's either pouring rain or 16 degrees out, I'm reluctant to stand out in the weather in a parking lot for 20 minutes trying to contain a 14 month old while buckling her carseat into my car. And that is actually a huge part of the reason I've been unable to take care of Lily when you just don't feel like taking care of her yourself."
Beautiful was speechless from the poison dart of that last phrase.
"See that?" I asked. "Did you like how I turned that around to make you the one to feel completely unnecessary and groundless guilt? Yes, I do hold a blackbelt in guilt." heh heh

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas past. Waaaaaay past.

My mom is the third of eight children. Daughter of a very hard working fisherman. There was never any money. Ever.

The family was lucky to have food on the table. Anything else--be it toys or proper clothing--was considered great fortune. The only doll my mother remembers having was a sack of onions she packed around, wrapped in some scrap of fabric for a 'blankie'. With 10 mouths to feed, Dolly didn't last long.

Many Christmases my mom and her siblings each had a small present only because of local charity. The children didn't bother with any notion of a man called Santa Clause. A fact which slayed their father.

One very cold December when my mom was seven, the second grade teacher took Mom over her knee and spanked her (way back in the day when teacher meted corporal punishment was commonplace : ) for not wearing her snow boots to school in such miserable weather. It was only after the spanking that my mom had the chance to admit, with red hot shame, that she didn't wear her snow boots because she had none.

The teacher was taken aback. Of course she was.

A few days later on Christmas morning, inexplicably, at least to my mom's 7-year-old comprehension, in addition to the annual Benevolence League donation of candy, there was a pair of warm winter boots in bright wrapping just for her.

It was a hard time in a poor fishing town. Lots of families went without things that you and I would consider barbaric to live without today. No doubt that teacher had a dozen students, or more, with some pretty hard luck stories and on a teacher's salary she couldn't have fixed everything for them. But God bless her soul for having tried.

Glitter? Is a nuisance. And other Christmas laments.

This is my studio:

Does it look suspiciously like a dining room table covered in Mom's craft crap?

Those are pieces of old music carefully torn into 4 x 6" sheets with the the edges glued and glittered. I'm one of those people. I am a Christmas Themer.

This year's 'theme' is music. I had this lovely idea to use old music as the backdrop to our Christmas drama. The torn and glittered bits are to be strung as garland. For our tree I wanted to make the pieces of music into cone shapes or something--haven't quite fleshed out that idea yet. Nor will I get the chance to. Because Youngest has effectively put an end to my fun . . .

"Oh no. Not a theme!" he groaned.

"Yes! A theme! The theme is music--isn't that perfect for Christmas? Flocked tree, lots of silver and glitter with a little red and green for accent!" I chirped.

Youngest was unimpressed. Youngest is 14 and is unimpressed by everything . . .

"Can't we just have a normal, old-fashioned Christmas?" he whined.

"Hmm, okay, what does 'normal, old-fashioned Christmas' mean to you?" If it meant that much to him, I was willing to bend a little to make him happy.

"The tree with all of our regular ornaments on it? Not just the ones that fit your color scheme?"

Translation: All the tacky crap we've ever purchased or been given by anyone. Like the Luke Skywalker ornament. And the blown glass Buzz Lightyear. And the gumball machine . . .

"Okay, fine. Do whatever you want with the tree, but I'm going to have my garlands up on the windows."

"No!!! I don't want your theme all over the house!"

"Seriously? I'm trying to compromise with you. You get the tree the way you want it and I get the garlands. That's not good enough for you?"


Later, having forgotten that his mother is the most despicable creature on the Earth, he came to ask me advice on gift giving. Advice which he refused to take. I mentioned he's 14, right?

And speaking of Christmas gifts--Number One Son generously purchased tickets for Beautiful and me to go watch ice dancing at the Olympics. At the OLYMPICS!!! I am beyond excited.


I have to renew my passport in order to collect on this wonderful gift. Which means a new passport photo. UGH!!!! I am a seriously craptastic picture taker!

Tonight I went to Costco to have the photos done. I was wearing my nice leather jacket with a becoming, festive red scarf. I have a really fun new chic, short haircut. I looked great! But the camera was evil and didn't like me and made me look like a chubby, colorless 40-year-old mom.

The nerve!

To recap: My themed Christmas is a bust. My 14 year old--who is normally a delightful kid--is practicing his morose, languid, detached teen skills. And my older son gave me a huge downer for Christmas disguised as something I should have loved.

Yep. Sounds like a normal day around here : )

How are you all doing with your Christmas and other holiday plans?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Casual Friday. And Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday . . .

Saturday I invited my single friend, Dude, to meet me at work for lunch because I am concerned that he's not getting out enough lately. And I won't tell him, but I'll tell you, I am deeply worried that he's the kind of guy who, in the future, neighbors will describe as, "a loner who always kept to himself." And I'm going to be the deluded idiot on the witness stand saying, "He was always gentle and kind with his cats. I never had any idea he was burying victims in his garden . . . "

My concern about his isolation stems from several e-mail and phone conversations. In one of which he reported to me that he'd spent the whole of the previous day in his sweats.

The next time I spoke to him, I asked what he'd been up to. "Have you been doing anything interesting lately? Getting out of the house much?"

Why yes, he in fact had gotten out of the house recently. He'd spent the afternoon doing errands with a friend. "Oh, good," I remarked, "that must mean you didn't spend the whole day in sweats!"

"Yes, I did!" he answered with not just a little bit of defensiveness. "But I wore nice sweats. They even have pockets. And a back pocket for my wallet."


"No," I was adamant, "I'm not going to let this go. Sweats in public? Not an option. Not if you have any hope of being found attractive by women. No. Not even if they're nice sweats or unstained, unripped sweats. Not even if they have pockets! (And by the way? Just because they have a back pocket for your wallet does not make them non-sweats . . . ) Not even if they are your dress sweats. Just no.

"You're a good looking guy, Dude, but most women do not find men in sweats attractive. Trust me on this."

"But I was wearing my nice leather loafers!" Dude countered. Seriously. That was his defense.

"Yeah? Leather loafers? And were you also wearing an ascot tie? And a jaunty cap? Because that would make it . . . STILL SWEATS! And still completely repellent to women!"

"I'm wearing my sweats again today," he said, and I could almost hear his lower lip jutting out as he said it : )

"So, how's that working for you?" I asked with sticky sweet mock concern in my voice, "Wearing sweats. No girlfriend. Correlation?"

"Probably a correlation between the sweats and something," he reluctantly capitulated.

"Ah well, at least you're comfortable, right?" Yes--straight for the jugular! I am such a good friend!

Funny, Dude hasn't called or e-mailed me since then. I wonder why?

Monday, November 30, 2009

We've been together for 25 years. And there's nothing else to say about that . . .

Hubby and I just got back from having some "special alone time." Where "special alone time" equals we went to the local drugstore for Ibuprofen. And garlic crackers . . .

Yeah, our lives are provocative and wild!

As we pulled into the driveway I cheerfully said, "Hey, thanks for the date!"

"Sure," he answered, "anything for my lady." And then we got out of the car and he started walking to the house well ahead of me.

"Wait!" I whined, "Aren't you going take my hand and walk me to the front door like you used to when I was 17? Like you used to when you were hoping for a kiss and maybe to touch a boob?"

"Nah," he laughingly answered, "I don't want a kiss, you've been eating garlic crackers. And nowadays I have my own boobs to feel."

Middle age. Awesome!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Canned Black Olives + Vicodin = Higher Than Normal Threat of Divorce. That's a standard formula, right?

I have a tradition of cooking an entire turkey dinner with all the trimmings every year on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve. I do this because my house has been deemed too small by the Thanksgiving SS so I have lost eligibility to host the Big Ass Family Thanksgiving Dinner.

Thanksgiving bylaws are complicated. What can I say?

Consequently, we get no house full of Thanksgiving smell, no leftover turkey (no turkey sandwiches or turkey soup!) and no apple pie for breakfast over the weekend.

Eight or nine years ago I made my own damn tradition, thankyouverymuch, wherein I treat my hubby and kids to a scrumptious, gluttonous feast. The day before the real feast. Rendering the actual Thanksgiving Day dinner rather "leftoverish."

Don't you hate when your attempt to solve a problem only begets its own set of problems?

So. To remedy that issue, I vary from the conventionally accepted Strict Menu Of Thanksgiving, thus making Thursday's meal entirely different from my Wednesday meal. Except for the turkey. And the stuffing. And gravy. Cranberry sauce . . .

Also? I am not a fan of what Thanksgiving has become. I loathe pushing a cart through the grocery store late in November and finding that my basket has identical contents to every other basket I pass in the aisles.

  • Sparkling cider? Check.
  • Boxed stuffing? Check.
  • Cans of pumpkin and evaporated milk for pumpkin pie? Check.
  • Ingredients for "The Green Bean Casserole"? Check. Check. Check.
When, in our nation's history, did this banquet become so rigidly codified?

I diverge from the party line. I'm a rebel with my Thanksgiving menu. Gone rogue, if you will : )

While I was preparing our Thanksgiving Eve Thanksgiving Repast, hubby started opening a can of jumbo black olives and asked which dish I wanted to serve them in.

"I'm not serving olives." I answered, matter of factly.

"Why?" he was perplexed.

"Because they don't really go with the food I'm serving tonight."

"But we always have olives and pickles on the table at Thanksgiving," he counters. "Why do you have to be all 'fancy'?" And by 'fancy' he means, "This is different from the way my mom does things--therefore I don't like it."

"Not serving canned jumbo black olives qualifies as 'fancy' now?" I ask with not at all disguised contempt.

He continues opening his can of olives, puts them in a pretty bowl and sets them on the table. I seem to have lost that round. Bastard.

Later, when nibbling from the hors d'oeuvre dish, he quips that he needs to go check his Pilgrim Manual to make sure that pear/onion/cheese strudel was served in 1621. He's completely lost sight of my intention. I've lost another round. Bastard.

Oh, at this point I should probably tell you that I have a non life threatening, temporary medical condition and, since it's a holiday weekend and all, my physician has put me on constant and strong doses of Vicodin just to get me by. So my head's a little fuzzy. And I can't string two thoughts together, much less make a complex recipe or finish a conversation without looking around and asking, "What?" as though I've just entered the room and don't know what's going on . . .

My original idea was, instead of serving squash at the meal, to pay homage to the gourd family by making roasted pumpkin and garlic hummus. I put all the ingredients into the blender and it was all a yummy orange puree speckled with seasonings. Thank you, prescription narcotics, I got a little confused and poured my lovely blended concoction into a pie crust . . . I lost that round too and it wasn't even my husband's fault.

Later, while singing Comcast karaoke with the kids, I was 100% committed to belting out a song I love, Kryptonite, when I realized I really didn't know the lyrics and was singing completely different words. In a different key. With different timing. And they were all chuckling at me . . . "Take another pill, honey," my sweet mister mocked. He wins another round! Damn, that guy is good! El bastardo!

And when did this whole day become a competition anyway? Actually, let's face it, any day that is about family and celebration where a husband and a wife have different ideas about things, and where alcohol and/or medication are involved, naturally becomes a competition.

Can't wait til Christmas!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Typical Mouse Family Thanksgiving

I don't have any real blog posts in me right now. But ripping off conversations I have where other people are funny is okay, right? Plagiarism who?

A series of e-mails between me and my Aunt Candi who is hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year:

Aunt Candi
Hi Kristin,
You and your family are cordially invited to have Thanksgiving dinner with us! If you can come, think about what you'd like to bring.

Thanks! I’m not picky about what to bring for dinner (okay, except I hate Jell-O : )

Aunt Candi
We feel the same about Jell-O. Guess what I'm assigning to your mom? :D

Are you looking for specific veggies or side dishes or are you wanting everyone to just bring what they have a wild hair to make?

(Hint: don’t give me too much leeway because I’ll pick a recipe I’ve never tried before, I’ll realize at the last second that I don’t have one of the essential ingredients, have to run to the store, start making the food an hour later than I need to in order to make it to your house on time and I will not have read the recipe all the way through and won’t realize it needs to chill for 4 hours and can’t be served the moment I finish making it . . . in my car . . . on the way to your house . . . )

The moral of the story here is: don’t trust me with anything of major significance : )

Aunt Candi
I suspect there is a grain of truth to your story as I seem to know exactly what you're talking about from my own personal experience!

I'm just working up the details of what we should have to eat. No hurry right? After all, I've got 3 whole weeks to figure out the details, clean the house, prepare food, oh, and clean the guest house because my younger son's girlfriend will be staying there a few days. We all know what is (or should I say isn't) going to get completed so, as usual, bring your dusting cloth!

I think the only requirement to make it a true Mouse Family Thanksgiving is pie. Fourteen different kinds of pie! Also, if I get around to it, I might supply peppermint schnapps and cocoa mix if that’s okay with you? I like a warm, sleepy drink after a tryptophan laced dinner : )

Best of luck with the planning and shopping and cooking and cleaning and cleaning the guest house and all that! Glad it’s you, not me : )

Aunt Candi
Schnapps and cocoa - that's a good idea! Oh, and the house cleaning is a little behind schedule. Because I've never met my son's girlfriend before. So I had to run right out and buy a new bra. You, of course, understand . . .

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Guest Post by my lovely daughter, Beautiful. (Wait, is that redundant?)

Okay, not really a guest post so much as I'm cutting and pasting from an e-conversation I had with my daughter*.

Somehow we got to talking about intellectual giant, Levi Johnston, and it went south from there. Because really? Where else but south could it have gone?

a) I'm pretty sure the only people who read Playgirl are gay men. Ergo, the only people excited about seeing Levi Johntson's Playgirl spread are gay men. I can't fathom it. He's not all that great to look at. And maybe kinda dumb? Maybe it's not his brain they're excited about : )

b) According to a gossip website (which, I'm sure, is impeccable in its reporting) one of Kate Moss' favorite quotes is "nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." That just irritates me. That's a *terrible* message to be putting out there for young girls! Both for the ones who will ruin their bodies, teeth and health obsessing over being Kate Moss skinny and for the ones who can never achieve that kind of skinny and will forever think they don't deserve to be happy because of it. Biotch!!!!!!!

a) And Levi's conservative and probably doesn't support gay rights so why would they want to look at a big, stupid, ignorant teenager who knocked up the daughter of what some people say is what's wrong with America?

b) That's a profoundly stupid quote by Kate Moss. Are we conceited much?

" . . . why would they want to look at a big, stupid, ignorant teenager who knocked up the daughter of what some people say is what's wrong with America? "

I think that's my favorite the quote of the year. And I'm totally blogging it : )

Thank you :) But seriously, it's true. I hope people aren't stupid enough to buy that Playgirl issue for the novelty or something.

Here is a list of people who should not be allowed to be interviewed ever again:

1)Carrie Prejean. Because she has completely embarrassed anyone who is opposed to gay marriage by her double standards, skankiness and all around stupidity. Any time the girl opens her mouth it's a train wreck.

2) John Gosselin. Need I say more?

3) Kate Gosselin. Not quite as bad as John but is talking about wanting a TV career when she's supposed to be Mommy Of The Year at home with her kids not out globe trotting and working so hard to make herself look better than her embarrassment of an ex.

4) Sara Palin. The woman made such a fool of herself and the Republican party and makes rednecks everywhere look bad. Same thing as Carrie, every time she opens her mouth it ends badly.

5) Levi Johnston. His only talent seems to be that he knocked up his teenage girlfriend. Okay, and his incessant whining. Why is he getting interviews? We do not care. So far, he has had nothing profound or remotely interesting to say and should not be famous! You know, the media jumps all over young mothers, especially ones in Hollywood, for taking teen pregnancy too lightly. But the only thing Levi has ever done to be noticed is to get a teenager pregnant so what kind of message is that sending?

All these people should step out of the public eye and go be good people. Or at least try not to daily embarrass themselves and our country.

Can I get a witness?!

*Editor's Note: Beautiful is concerned that she comes off as a negative whiner in this post because I cut out all the parts of this conversation where we talked about kittens and rainbows and unicorns. Trust me, she's not completely negative. Wicked funny, sarcastic and cutting, but in a happy, positive, life-affirming way.

Also? Add Tyra Banks to my list of people who should shut it already. Just sayin.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One small rant

Can we be done with vampires yet?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I don't know quite how to explain the chain of events that happened inside my head which got me to this point . . .

Let's start with Dave. In fact, let's just skip right to saying it's Dave's fault.

Dave posted this entry. I thought it was funny and immediately recognized the everyday usefulness of the phrase.

However--and I guess this is because I have two young grandchildren and read lots of kids' stories--since initially seeing it within the context of Busytown, I can't divorce that phrase from children's literature.

Every kids' book I can think of--including every book I read to Gabe or Lily--has an opportunity to insert this versatile little epithet.

For example: Old Yeller, just as Travis headed toward him with the rifle, surely must have been thinking, "this is bull**it."

Cinderella, when given a mile-long chore list to complete before being allowed to go to the ball, had to have been silently saying to her evil step mother, "this is bull**it."

It even works with nursery rhymes:
This little piggy went to market,
This little piggy stayed home,
This little piggy ate roast beef,
This little piggy said, "this is bull**it"

Nothing--no piece of literature, no sentimental movie, no historical figure--is exempt from my mind's heedless substitution of any poignant moment with my new favorite phrase.

And you know what the British Royal Governor was thinking as colonists dumped boatloads of tea into Boston Harbor, right?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

battling dehydration

I didn't start watching The Biggest Loser until the tail end of last season. And what I found out in watching the show is that, like adorable Mike, I cry over everything!

Okay, so he's not technically crying here, but you can see he's CLOSE!

For example, at the end of last season, I cried when Helen won. But not because I was happy for her (I was happy for her) but because she looked unhealthily skinny and it bothered me that the healthier body type Tara sported didn't win.

Hmmm . . . this picture doesn't really show the too skinny. But trust me. She was.

While Tara, on the other hand, looked healthy. And isn't healthy the quality we're looking for in losers? Yes, healthy is how I like my losers.

The new season started right out with the tugging of the heartstrings. For one thing, Daniel (who, up until this season's first weigh in, was the heaviest person in Biggest Loser history) was back from last season--he had been given a second chance. What a huge blessing! (Um, sorry, no pun intended . . . )

Daniel before and Daniel mid--not quite after because he's still working on it . . .

And they brought in Shay. Specifically to make me cry. Shay lost her inattentive mother to longtime heroin addiction. Maybe some of that played a role in Shay's weight issue? We need to get Sherlock Holmes on the case . . .

Anyhoo, Shay, as of this season's first weigh in, became The Biggest Loser's heaviest person ever. And it made her cry. And it made me cry--surprise! And then [*sniff* I can barely get through this *sniff sniff*] just so I would spill over into a giant puddle Daniel chose Shay to be his partner because if anyone understands what it means to be young and enormously overweight and have to face that and work back down and try to gain health that was always undermined in the first place and . . . *sniff* . . . I just have to stop there . . .

Hi, Shay. You go, girl!

I already resembled a used tissue by the time they let Abby tell her story. For those of you who don't know, Abby started rapidly gaining weight and not quite knowing what to do with her life two years ago in the aftermath of losing her husband, 5 year old daughter and 2 week old son all at once in a car accident. If you aren't tearing up just a little while reading this, then you might want to see a doctor. You're probably a robot.

Spunky, loving, been-to-hell-and-back Abby.

Where were we? Ah, yes. Sobbing.

Every week no matter what happens, no matter how much weight is lost or who prevails in the challenge of the week or who is voted to go home, I always cry. For two hours. Pretty much non stop. Good heavens, someone help me!

Case in point, last night the group visited Washington D.C. The week's challenge was to recruit as many folks as they could to do a public exercise class with Bob and Jillian. When Amanda was recognized by a huge group of girls on the street for being the contestant voted in at last season's finale? Yeah, a few tears spilled over . . .

And when Allen rounded up a bunch of firefighters, well, what can I say? Guys in uniform? Guys being part of a brotherhood no matter where in the country they're from? Guys helping out their fellow firefighter? Okay, fine, a few buckets of tears spilled over . . .

Later, during the public exercise class, when Bob lead (led?) the group of hundreds in some warm up squats? Oh, come on! Who doesn't break down and blubber at the sight of hundreds of people in the nation's capital doing squats?

I couldn't find a picture of Bob leading the squats. So just look at that body and imagine the muscles rippling and the sweat beading and . . . wait . . . what were we talking about?

And then? Later? After the emotional week and the emotional weigh in and the emotional speeches and the emotional voting and the EMOTIONS, when, after weeks of maneuvering and conniving and betraying people right and left to stay in the game, Crazy-Eyes-Tracey was voted out?


Buh bye.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Why? Why do teenagers *insist* on disagreeing about things they cannot even know?

Youngest wants to start looking for a new guitar teacher as his last one retired. That's cool. I'm all for shelling out the money for music lessons.

"Sure," I agree. "Your playing is fantastic and I'd love to see you continue. Also, you need a coach to help you with your timing, you seem to have some difficulty staying on beat."

Okay. That's not really what I said. That's what a tactful mother would say. The kind and thoughtful words that left my mouth and went straight on to mangle Youngest's psyche were, "Sure, we can find another teacher. By the way, your rhythm sucks. You need to work on that."

"Your rhythm sucks." he adroitly replies. "Besides," he continues, because you know a teen can't let an insult go without trying to get the last word, "you don't know anything about music, you never played an instrument so who are you to judge?"

Good one. But his facts are woefully incorrect!

"Oh, yes I did play an instrument! I played saxophone in junior high! Which is why I know the fingerings for sax, clarinet and flute--they're all very similar. And that's also why whenever I eat red licorice I bite holes in it and play it like a recorder."

Youngest, who apparently has never witnessed my great talent, answered, " . . . >blink< . . . wha? I don't even know where to begin with that . . . "



"You know how Beautiful and Number One's friends all think you're the cool mom?"


"They're misled."

"I know."

Friday, October 9, 2009

signs that my focus is a leeeeetle bit off . . .

I was at my daughter's house on a Friday night so she could pin up a pair of jeans I needed to hem. Because I'm a midget. Practically.

But that's not the important part.

I had worn the jeans to her house because blah, blah, blah, nobody cares why.

After the brisk work of pinning my pants up, Beautiful went to the fridge for a bottle of water and asked me if I'd like anything to drink. A large bottle of Gatorade was in the fridge. Suddenly I had a hankering for Gatorade.

For the life of us, we could not get that bottle open. And that's a serious blow to my ego because I am a freakishly strong woman and I am always the one people ask to open lids. Dammit.

We gave up and I decided to just stop at a convenience store on the way home and buy some of my own. Then I realized I was wearing pants that were pinned up and could not be seen in public that way--and I had nothing to change into. Naturally.

Discussing this conundrum with my daughter, she offered that, since she lives in a bit of a sketchy neighborhood, I could just take my pants off and go into the store pantsless for my juice. "Nobody would even notice," she added.

What I should have been thinking was how dangerous it is for my daughter and her young family to live in such a shady neighborhood and whether we should offer to help them locate a home in better surroundings.

What I was actually thinking was, "No, I can't take my pants off and go into a store. I totally have the wrong underwear on for that."

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

it's FLAN, g**dammit!

On some occasions, our differences make certain events challenging. Or, more to the point, for Hubby and me certain events can be a real bitch. Eating dinner out is one such event.

Hubby and I like different food and different restaurants. Hubby likes generous portions and a reasonable bill. I like fresh, local ingredients in small, non-chain establishments and I realize that there is a price tag attached to such an experience. With our family budget, my style of eating out doesn't happen very often, but when it does, I want to enjoy it.

We tried to compromise last night. We tried really hard . . .

Hubby wanted to go to an all-you-can-eat buffet that features prime rib *and*, because it was Tuesday, it was 2-for-1 night! That wasn't exactly what I was going for, but I also didn't feel like staying home and eating leftovers or cooking something myself, so I agreed to go. As luck would have it, there was a one hour wait--I was off the hook : )

Instead, we went to a smaller, sort of high-end establishment that features a lot of northwest specialties (read: salmon and clams.) Luckily for my sweet Mister, there was a 4-course-meal-for-$18 deal. Yeah. Four courses for $18? Didn't promise to be outstanding, but it also wasn't Azteca. It was an okay compromise for us both.

Hubby doesn't like fussy food. He could not care less about presentation. He wants to be full and happy. "What you're looking for is abnormally American serving sizes," I chide. "So? I'm an American, aren't I?" he rejoins. How can I argue with that?

I don't like fussy food just to pretend to be something I'm not, but I do appreciate eating something new or something we don't normally have at home.

The meal was okay. Not spectacular, but not awful. Early into the second course I asked hubby to table the complaining. He had one more gripe to air--which made us both laugh--and then he agreed to finish the meal without grousing over every little thing.

Oh, but that didn't stop him from embarrassing me!

He ordered the flank steak and when the waitress asked how he would like his meat cooked, he surprised me by saying, "Rare." Usually he likes medium-rare, but whatever.

When it came to the table, it was too undercooked for his taste and he sent it back, "to be microwaved a little." Yeah.

I asked him why he didn't just order it medium-rare to begin with. "Well, usually in these places," which is his semi-disparaging code for any restaurant that he deems fancy just for the purpose of raising the prices to the roof, "'medium-rare' ends up being well done and I didn't want that." Okay, darling, whatever you say.

He asked me if it would be PC to inquire what country the waitress was from. I didn't want him asking that because I was afraid it would come off as though he was complaining that she somehow didn't belong here. That's not what he meant at all, but I was worried that's how it would sound.

Naturally, he did not take my advice and asked her anyway. "I noticed your accent and I wondered where you're from," he pleasantly asked.

"Ethiopia," was the answer.

Hubby had thought Sudan, so really he wasn't too far off and I was impressed. Except that 'Ethiopia' conjures up images of skeletal, haunted looking women and children. It's probable that not *everybody* in Ethiopia is or was starving, but it strikes me that it must seem obscene to an Ethiopian to work in an American restaurant with our fat asses sitting on large chairs eating 4 courses and groaning as we walk away from the table . . .

And also I wonder whether she suffered genital mutilation when she was a girl . . .

These thoughts are not conducive to a happy dinner . . .

At the end of the meal, lovely miss Ethiopia brought us our dessert course. I ordered flan.

"I see you ordered a plate of phlegm," chirps my husband.

"Really? After 25 years you still think that's funny?" I ask, disgusted.

Taking a bite of my dessert, he exuberantly answers, "Yes!" and starts to laugh. And while laughing, manages to spit a booger sized piece of flan out of his mouth and onto my side of the table where it now, indeed, looks like phlegm.

I start to laugh. "See!" hubby happily notes, "you're laughing--you still think it's funny too!"

This is a typical evening out with my husband. I would say I need to be rescued by a knight on a brawny steed, but in the end, he would burp and fart and repeatedly make stupid jokes too. Because he'd be a guy. And let's face it, there's pretty much one model : )

Friday, September 11, 2009

In which

Country Mouse gives up
a reasonable facsimile of
a 'dream'
for the greater good.
Sort of.
What I Did This Summer.

I took a little detour this summer. I began going to school. I've been researching and considering and planning for a long time. And I made a decision.

A couple years ago I was committed to massage therapy school, but at the eleventh hour I had to take a sharp left turn and quickly come up with a job that offered benefits. I landed at the pharmacy. Which I like very much.

However . . .

Okay, so here's my ego talking. My job is entry level. Yes, there's a little more finesse in my position than there is in, say, flipping burgers. (Although, to be fair, almost any job has its challenges and a person is either equipped to handle those challenges or learns how. Or doesn't learn and sucks at his job. I do not suck.) I'm not above my job. But I am capable of more.

And, to be completely honest, I would like to have some sort of title or job description that sounds a little less assistanty and a little more--I'm just going to say it--important.

How's that for ego?

So. I did the research and started ticking off the handful of pre-reqs I needed to qualify for a two year program to become a:

(drum roll, please)

Diagnostic Ultrasound Technician!

Doesn't that sound all Technical and Important and Responsible and Respectable???

Also--ultrasound techs make decent money. And that is the true heart of the matter. My sweet hubby who has taken care of my financial needs for my entire adult life is not able to provide for us like he used to. His disability money is waning and I don't yet know when it will cease, but when it does, ladies and gentlemen, it will be up to me to take care of us.

So. This summer, in addition to working more hours than usual, helping my daughter plan and execute her wedding, babysitting the grand kids, and, of course, the day-to-day with my own family and home, I was, in my spare time, taking a math course [*cough* 4.0 *cough*]

And then I had to pause. And think. And what I was thinking was that the hours of class time, homework time and commute time add up to 20 hours per week--tacked onto the 24+ hours a week of my regular job. And that's just with one class. That's a lot of time away from my family.

My youngest is 14 and is just beginning his high school years. It felt fervently unfair to be planning my own course of 4 years of abandoning my family when this is the time, both educationally and emotionally, he needs me the most.

So. Short story long, I withdrew from the chemistry class I was set to begin this month. And, therefore, withdrew from my future plans.

I don't know what we're going to do in the future, but I do know things will work out. They always do. For now I'm going to be here. At home. Raising my son. With no regrets.

And I'm going to be at my job. Where I am an assistant. Entry level. Also with no regrets. I'm good at my job. And there is no shame at being good at one's job. Ever. No matter how entry level it is. (Well, maybe if one is a hitman or a drug dealer or a prostitute, then *maybe* there would be some shame in being good at one's job . . . )

Besides being home and teaching my last child and rocking the pharmacy flunky job, I'll also finish the giant stuffed octopus I'm making for my grand kids. And I'm going to design the craft room I am getting at long last! But I probably won't be learning Portuguese . . .

Sunday, August 23, 2009

something's in the air

I feel like I've been through a very long creative drought. And suddenly, I want to read everything, and I want to cook everything, and I want to make, sew, create, repurpose, organize, clean EVERYTHING!!!

Which probably means I'm dying of some swift and terrible, and undiscovered, disease. Like John Travolta in that one movie. The one where he can predict earthquakes.

So if I don't post for awhile, it either means I died, or I'm learning Portuguese. Overnight.

I'll let you know how it goes . . .

A cake I made based (loosely) on Van Gogh's "Almond Blossoms."

Yeah. He'd be crushed to know he'd been this trivialized . . .

P.S. If I die, y'all will send armloads of sweet peas, right? RIGHT????

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Irony has it out for me

I have a running 'joke' with my sort-of-adopted Non Son, Guy. Every year I tell him when sweet peas (my favorite flowers IN THE WORLD) are blooming. And for the past two years, I have also informed him when bouquets of sweet peas are for sale at the store in which my pharmacy is located.

Guy has yet to bring me any sweet peas. But I keep trying . . .

We discussed it one day last week. I told him that Friday, which was destined to be a bit of a bummer kind of day for me, would be the perfect day to come see me at work and, on his way in, stop by the flower display to pick out some lovely blossoms for me.

"Would you be upset if I told you I have other plans that afternoon? I'm going to the Mariner's game," he explained with sincerity.

So much for my for my baseless hope that one day he'll do one thing--just one thing--to make me happy.

Friday afternoon found me at work (on a day I wasn't scheduled to be there) feeling kind of low. Out of the clear blue sky, one of the women from the floral department came to my window carrying a stunning bouquet of flowers--roses and lilies, all luscious shades of reds and purples. And for one split second, the most inane notion raced straight to my heart, "Did he really? Did he actually make arrangements for flowers to be brought to me even though he couldn't come see me himself?"

I hadn't even had enough time to knock myself off that puffy, pink cloud of a pipe dream before the floral lady said to me, "These flowers are a little too old to sell, but they're still kind of pretty. Do you mind if I leave them here on your counter?"

Not only a cruel twist, but an apt analogy for my station in life.

O, Irony, thou art one stone cold bitch.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

teach your children well

Opening our bank statement the other day, I was stunned. It's an account we don't have much money in. We only use it for paypal. It's at a different bank than we use for our checking, savings, etc.

I was floored to see almost $10k in the balance column.

How long has this been going on? Hubby has been secreting away money? Is he building a plan to leave me? Is he using this account as a means to pay his kept woman's bills? Oh no, he ditn't! He is so NOT getting away with this!

Before you could say, "Step back and think, woman!" I had a list half a dozen items long of things I would buy with that stolen money.

I'd love a new car.

A cruise!

A vacation on an island. With a ripped, young stud rubbing oil into my skin . . .

A shopping spree! In New York City.

I'll show that hubby of mine! There will be no embezzling of our family funds for his extracurricular activities!

Oh, wait a second. The name on this account is Douglas J. P____, not Douglas S. P____. This is my son's bank statement.

Never mind.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Are we all sick of discussing the wedding yet?

I told one of my friends that I have done many exhausting things--given birth to three children, hosted very large Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, organized/planned/spearheaded many events . . . for heaven's sake, I once threw a prom--but this? This wedding? It was my daughter's project, she planned and executed the lion's share of it and, though I loved it, I can still say it was the hardest, most draining experience of my life!

I was on my cell so much that the battery ran dead--twice. I heard my daughter's phone ring so often that her ring tone is forever imprinted on my brain.

Near the end of the evening the photographer was trying to get one last, huge family photo but Gabe's tux jacket was all bunched up around his shoulders and face. I tried to unbutton the jacket but he did not want it unbuttoned, thankyouverymuchgrammy. The fact that he didn't want me to adjust his clothing did not deter me. A few seconds later I realized that I was wrestling a 4-year-old while his real grandma looked on. I'm sure she was impressed by my natural gift with children . . .

That was the moment that I realized I had officially lost my sh*t.

Returning to the ballroom, the first person I saw was my husband's best friend. I wasted no time enlisting his help.

"Peter," I pleaded, "will you go to the lounge and get me whatever the best man is drinking?" He must have seen the crazy in my eyes because he did not question, he just did as he was bid. Five minutes later I was sipping a tall, strong glass of calm-the-f%&k-down.

And then we danced. And it was wildly fun. And I was somewhat sane again : )

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Daddy's little girl

One of my all-time favorite pictures of my daughter is from 1994. Beautiful was 6 and we were at Knott's Berry Farm. I was walking behind Beautiful and my husband as I snapped the photo. She was holding her daddy's hand. He was looking down at her, talking. She was looking up at him with the sunshine on her precious face.

Yesterday, as Daddy was walking her down the aisle to give her away, I noticed she was holding his hand. She briefly looked up at him and he down at her. The sun was shining on her lovely face. Any guesses as to when I started to cry?

Beautiful married a man who is a lot like her dad. We were surrounded by beloved friends and family. My two adorable grandchildren were in the wedding party. Number One Son delivered a touching toast to his little sister and his new brother-in-law. Youngest entertained the crowd when he busted out dance moves--and a complete lack of inhibition--which were, heretofore, not known to exist.

At the end of a very, very, very, long day, my husband slid into bed beside me, held me very close and whispered, "I love you."

Who could ask for anything more?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

How I offended people this week

The wedding is Saturday. Most things are coming together very well (with the exception of a bridesmaid dress that doesn't fit at all . . . )

The groom's family is flying in tonight from Tennessee and Indiana. They called the groom, Dan, a couple days ago to ask what kind of attire would be appropriate for the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Dan was at our house when the phone call came in, so he deferred to me.

The idea I wanted to get across to them was to feel free to keep it casual. However, as Dan was speaking to his younger brother, I also wanted to make it clear that casual did not mean sloppy. And my choice of words? To a young man I've never met? Who hails from the South?

"No wife beaters."

Yeah. I'm pretty sure our first meeting will go swimmingly . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Poor little Youngest.

Youngest is suffering a terrible loss of mother time because of a small thing called THE WEDDING THAT'S IN 11 DAYS!!!

Also, Youngest spends all his time hiking with friends and skateboarding and doing yard work for grandparents. Whenever I am home, he cares not whether he is here to take advantage of that wonderful fact. But the days when I go in to work, or, heaven forbid!, the time I am spending on last minute schlepping/creating/helping for the upcoming party he counts as time that I am blatantly ignoring him. If you could only see the pathetic expression on his sad little face as he moans, "I have no mother . . . *sigh* . . . "

Yeah. Don't try for the guilt or anything, Youngest.

Before he went to bed tonight I poked my head in to wish him sweet dreams and maybe give him a smidgen of my highly sought after attention.

"Goodnight, Youngest," I said.

"No sprecken ze Witch," came the reply.

If it hadn't been so clever I'd really be upset : )

motherless waif . . .

Saturday, July 18, 2009

talk the talk

We have been a significant part of Sweet Pea's life since she was born. We babysit several times a week at our house and I'm frequently at their house as well. It's been such a privilege to watch her change and grow. Babies are endlessly fascinating to watch.

She has been crawling for some time. And now she stands up on her own--it's so cool because she'll be in the middle of a room or the yard and, with nothing to help her, she'll just stand up. Cutest thing ever : )

She also talks! She says mama and dada and yumyum (which comes out more like num num : ) She says hi and bye bye and Gabe (big brother's name.) And she says doggie.


But not Grammy.


It won't be long, I'm quite sure, until she learns that to get the things she really wants (that pretty dress or candy . . . or a pony . . . ) "Grammy" is the only word necessary : )

Friday, July 17, 2009

sneak preview

The flowers--or bouquet--if you will, for a friend . . .

I'll expand on this when I have time : )

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why can't I just win *one*?

Why is it that nothing interesting ever comes my way on a normal day? But on a day when I end up leaving the house looking like a hot tranny mess--anything can happen!

I went to work at 8:30 this morning. Directly after work (without passing Go and without collecting $200) I had a meeting with some people about a thing. For a couple hours. Long, long hours . . . After the meeting with the people about the thing, I decided to finally go set up an account at the tanning place because the wedding is two and a half weeks away and what better time to risk burning, blistering and peeling. Am I right?

Next, sans makeup and covered in oily tanning goo, I decided to make a quick trip to Wal-Mart. (You don't even have to say it. I already know. Wal-Mart is the crux of the problem. I'm aware. Whenever I add Wal-Mart into any equation, it's like trying to multiply by zero--nothing good or positive or rational is ever going to come of it.)

I was at Wal-Mart buying flowers for a friend. Standing in line with no make-up, wearing jeans and my work T-shirt (not the most feminine garment ever engineered) and holding a bouquet of delicious roses, I suddenly thought that I probably looked (and I hope this isn't offensive) really butchy and like I was probably in trouble with my girlfriend so I was apologizing with roses.

And then I got to wondering because, darn it anyway, I'm adorable so if I'm standing there looking all gay and remorseful for having hurt my partner's feelings, why aren't all the lesbians in the store hitting on me?

And while I was mulling over my failure as a lesbian, I heard someone say my name. Not my actual name, Kristin, but the flat, tepid, defying-society-while-attempting-to-fade-into-the-junior-high-crowd name, Kris.

I am so unaccustomed to being called by that name that I didn't connect it with myself. After I heard it ring out a second time I realized I was being spoken to and turned around.

It was one of the most important people not to be seen by when one has no make-up, is covered in oily tanning goo and wearing unflattering clothes--it was a high school flame. It was Bobby. (Who, if he hadn't been the one to say hello, I never would have recognized. Because of the facial hair. And the 25 intervening years . . . )

Bobby and I had a brief relationship back in the day. We clung to each other as salve for both of our broken hearts. I don't remember how it ended (no doubt with me being a giant jerk . . . ) but I don't think there are any hard feelings. Or, if there were, it was so long ago that it's forgotten.

Standing in Wal-Mart, Bobby and I caught up for a few delightful minutes and then, when there was pretty much nothing else to say, we parted ways.

Obsessing over how craptastic I looked for this chance meeting with a ghost of relationships past, I walked quickly to my car. Or a car that looked like mine . . . that didn't respond to my remote . . . just in case I didn't already look like a big enough loser today . . . Seriously. Just one break, one time would be fanfreakingtastic!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I know, I know, I haven't been updating at all . . .

T minus 3 weeks from the wedding.

My lovely daughter has everything very well planned out, but at the same time she is being laid back and trusting about the details. For example, her mentor, Sara, is making her dress. They bought the fabric and discussed the pattern months ago but only took Beautiful's measurements last Wednesday. Beautiful isn't worried. Sara will deliver and it will be lovely.

Though most everything has been thoughtfully mapped out--we have a timeline, we have farmed out tasks to willing family members--it's still difficult not to be a little frantic as the date nears. There are things I can't finish too far ahead of time--like the programs. There are issues we can't control--like extra people inviting themselves to the rehearsal dinner. But my sweet girl keeps reminding me (and herself) that it doesn't have to be a perfect day. It's a day to celebrate being a family with all the people she loves. The most important thing is that they will be married.

And I believe it when she tells me that. Last night I was at their house discussing the order of the ceremony. Lily stirred a little in her sleep so I picked her up and rocked her. Meanwhile, Daddy ran to get a bottle for his sweet baby. Beautiful looked at her slumbering child in my arms and then looked at Dan. I could see her expression change. A smile and a flush. Her eyes welled up. She is a woman who is deeply in love and is grateful for her blessings. And what a blessing it was for me to witness that moment.

*sigh* . . .

Friday, June 26, 2009

For Gail

I probably won't be able to speak at her memorial service. But she was important and she was exceptional and she deserves to be remembered.

My ex-sister-in-law, Gail, died last Sunday. She was only 52. I don't know the official cause of death, but I can guess it was due to complications of her demons.

Actually, Gail and I had a bit of a tempestuous relationship. She didn't have children of her own. She adored my kids and was pretty opinionated about how they should be raised and cared for. Unsurprisingly, this caused a bit of friction between us.

For the most part though, I loved her. And I admired her.

She was bubbly and energetic and was the very definition of verve. She was never intimidated by a career challenge--she dove straight in and made the best of any situation.

Gail also loved to entertain and was a fantastic hostess. But the way she influenced my life the most was through her proclivity to celebrate her birthday with panache!

Gail didn't mind aging. And she didn't subscribe to the martyr theory of birthdays (I'm sure you all know people who do the martyr thing, "Oh, it's no big deal--it's just another day . . . ")

Gail celebrated much and with relish. But it wasn't all about her--she used her birthday parties as a platform to celebrate family and friends and especially to glorify the largesse of a brand new, freshly ripened year just waiting to be plucked and savored.

Her death was a long time coming. And the last several years of her life could not have been anything like enjoyable or comfortable. She's at peace now.

Godspeed, Gail. And when we meet again I'll look forward to hearing your familiar old words, "How ya doin? Can I get you something to drink?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

apples and oranges

The Girl Pharmacist* got a phone call from her 11-year-old son after school on Wednesday. He was very excited to tell his mom that according to the results of some standardized testing he'd endured, his reading level is that of a 9th grader, while his math skills were at the 12th grade level.

Not bad for an 11 year old.

The Girl Pharmacist was, understandably, pleased (though not surprised : ) at the news. And a little part of me whimpered.

My Youngest does not have testable skills. Youngest is a great kid, but scholastic, he is not.

Youngest, like his father, has common sense. And a fairly good work ethic. He's got a big heart. He loves women, respects his mother (well, you know . . . mostly . . . ) Also, like his father, Youngest is mechanically minded--he's been fixing the neighbor kids' toys and bicycles since he was 7.

He's the kind of kid who doesn't like other people to feel uncomfortable or embarrassed and will do what he can to put a person at ease. He's a natural with small children and is our go-to man when it comes to babysitting our extremely exuberant step-grandson.

I don't know what it is about his personality that makes him such a draw, but for some reason, with several different groups of friends, he is like the egg in a recipe--he is the ingredient that binds everyone together.

Four or five years ago, Youngest was away camping with his grandparents for two weeks. The neighborhood kids missed him so much that near the end of his absence a bunch of them were sitting in the lawn--and I am not exaggerating--chanting his name, "Youngest, Youngest, Youngest . . . "

Yesterday, he was with his dad running some errands. I noticed two of his friends sitting on the grass near our driveway. "What's up, guys?" I asked. "Oh, we're just waiting for Youngest to get home," they told me. It was the 13-year-old-boy-trying-to-maintain-some-semblance-of-cool version of chanting my son's name.

Don't get me wrong--my boy is by no means perfect. I'm sure the moms of a few of his friends could tell me things about him that I'd rather not hear : ) And, of course, we do have our bad days. Today, in fact, was one of them. Today, was just so darn much fun with my darling little Youngest that my facebook status reads, "Free to good home: 13 year old boy. Knows everything. We'll deliver."

He'll never test well. He'll never call me at work to tell me he scored light years above his age level. But as far as the intangibles? He excels. He has qualities that make him a good, decent person and which will make him a good husband and father some day.

All said and done, he is a boy I am proud of.

*Note to the Girl Pharmacist: Should you ever happen to read this, it's important to me that you know I am in no way disrepecting your son--I think he's wonderful : )

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!

Number One Son told me he had planned to buy me a dogwood tree and plant it in my yard for Mother's Day. I thought it was a lovely idea but he said he'd been shot down by his dad.

"Why?" I wanted to know.

"Because Dad says our yard isn't big enough for another tree."

Number One and I surveyed the landscape and had a good chuckle over the lack of room for a tree. What with the wood splitter, the tractor, non-working hot tub, dirt bikes, in-need-of-repair jet ski and ski boat, cars waiting to be fixed up and resold . . . yeah--no room for a beautiful tree.

"I wanted to plant it in the front yard by the gate," he said.

"I think that's a lovely idea."

"Okay," he agreed, "I'll plant it and you and Dad can duke it out from there."

"So," I summed up, "what you're giving me for Mother's Day is a divorce?"

What a sweet, sweet boy : )

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Icky x Gross = Disgusting

I've mentioned my friend, Bob, from the produce department before. In addition to his fine work with fruits and veggies, twenty-five year old Bob is going to school right now to become a nurse.

Passing through his department the other day, I stopped to ask him how school was going. He mentioned that they were preparing for their clinicals in which they would practice on their classmates.

"Oh," I asked--which was truly the beginning of my problems, "do you mean taking blood pressure and pulse and things like that?"

"Actually no, we're going to be doing things like sponge bathing and clipping nails."

It was then that I gagged and he had the most impish grin on his face.

This, naturally, segued into a discussion of Things Which Skeeve Me Out.

Things like the hot tub at the gym Bob and I both belong to. The hot tub in which I have seen enough hair to braid a friendship bracelet and upon whose foam I have seen a scum of body oil and dirt such that I will not go near that place ever again. But the real capper was when I saw a large toenail piece lying by the side of the hot tub.

Laughing at my squeamishness, Bob promised to fill me in on all the gritty details of his clinicals.

Seriously, Bob, thanks. A lot.

After a conversation like that, it is but a certainty that more nastiness would follow. Am I right? I was just asking for it.

Later that evening at The Gym Which Is Expensive Enough That It Ought To Be Pristine, I went to the pool for laps. The pool is tiny. Approximately 8' x 10'. Two other people were already in the pool, but they were in separate corners of the shallow end doing exercises, leaving me the middle "lane."

Careful not to swim into their spaces, I was using a little white thing at the edge of the pool as my spotting and turnaround point. Up close, it turned out that the little white thing was a band aid.

I thought maybe instead of trying to do laps without getting in the other folks' way and avoiding the lifeless (one hopes) band aid, I could do laps crosswise in the deep end. I started on one side and when I reached the opposite side for the turnaround, guess what was sitting at the edge of the pool? Anyone? Yes, another band aid!

And a few feet away--what's that? Oh tell me that isn't a cond . . . Nah--I'm pretty sure it's just a latex glove. But why? Why is there an abandoned latex glove at the edge of the pool? Some questions are better left unanswered.

I spent the rest of my 20 minutes not counting laps, but counting every single amoeba in the pool. Yes. I was that freaked out.


That was last night and I still feel like I need to shower. Again.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Does this dog make me look fat?

Three months until my lovely daughter's wedding and I'm dreading how I'll look in the photos. I am not photogenic. At all. I'm an attractive enough woman in person (well . . . attractive for my age . . . ) but I do not translate well to 2D.

Also? I weigh 20 (or 150--but who's counting?) more pounds than I'd like to and what with me being short anyway and photographs making people look even heavier . . . It doesn't bode well.

I'm thinking of getting that Valerie-Bertinelli-in-the-bikini People Magazine cover made into a life-sized cardboard cut-out from the neck down and standing behind it because really she and I are built about the same with similar coloring and face shape. As long as I'm going that far, I might as well just leave her head on the cardboard cut-out and stand it next to the wedding party. That's subtle, right?

But I've gotten off track.

So. I am perpetually trying to get rid of these 20 (or 150--but who's counting?) pounds and now I'm totally ramping it up because I only have three months!!!!

I've been working out a lot and eating really well and have shed a few pounds. And I feel great! Well, I did feel great until that thing with the dog happened . . .

My daughter has a dog. I hate that dog. He's really not a bad guy--just a big puppy who doesn't know his strength. Somehow he managed to poop on my daughter's pant leg the other day just before she got into her car to come to my house. (Yeah--on her pant leg. How does that happen?)

When she got to my house I loaned her a pair of my smallest denim Capris thinking they might be a bit loose on her but they'd be fine.

They weren't fine.

I saw my daughter swimming in my cute little Capris. My little Capris! The waist didn't fit at all, there were huge gaps where her butt didn't fill them out and they were all loose on the legs.


I know what my daughter weighs. And I know exactly how much I have to lose before I can look as good as the girl who just had a baby! And now after all my hard work and determination, I am completely let down.

It's the dog's fault.

I hate that #$%& dog.

Friday, April 24, 2009

thanks : )

Y'all are so supportive and kind : )

Still on hiatus. Working on some stuff at home. Helping my lovely daughter with wedding details--eeeeeeeeeee!

In the meantime, a little gratuitous grammy sharing:

Lily, 6 1/2 months old

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Taking a blogging break for awhile, but I'll be keeping up with your blogs : )

Happy spring, y'all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I think they make drugs for that . . .

I had a dream last night that I was cleaning out my purse. It was a mess. At first, I was pulling out food wrappers and half-empty bottles of soda. Not much of a stretch from reality.

Next, I started removing books from my purse--books that had been stained and leaked on by the food wrappers and half-empty bottles of soda.

Again, not a huge deviation from my real life.

Next, I pulled out a banjo.

That's just weird. Because I don't keep my banjo in my purse.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

In which I offer empirical proof that I am *not* married to Chuck Norris' cousin . . .

As if.

Who are Chuck Norris' parents? Might, Justice and Cunning. Yes, all three.

So, obviously, Chuck Norris has no cousins . . .

I got to looking at my sweet hubby the other day and the thought struck me that he bears a passing resemblance to Chuck Norris. Chuck Norris can kick through all 6 degrees of separation, hitting anyone, anywhere, in the face, at any time.

He is very muscular, has a reddish beard and when he's serious he gets a look on his face that you wouldn't dream of arguing with. Okay, maybe you wouldn't dream of arguing with him, but I would because I'm his wife : ) There is no 'ctrl' button on Chuck Norris' computer. Chuck Norris is ALWAYS in control.

Hubby doesn't wear Wrangler jeans. However, that fact, in and of itself, isn't proof enough that they aren't somehow related. Chuck Norris has a Wrangler belt in Karate.

There is other evidence though that proves my sweet Mister is not descended from the line that brought forth Chuck Norris:

We pay taxes every year.

  • When Chuck Norris sends in his taxes, he sends blank forms and includes only a picture of himself, crouched and ready to attack. Chuck Norris has not had to pay taxes. Ever.

Hubby is pretty darn good with math, especially interest rate calculations and anything to do with money. But even Hubby can't hold a candle to Chuck:

  • Chuck Norris is considered a prime number in certain schools in Ontario.
  • Chuck Norris counted to infinity. Twice.
  • Chuck Norris can divide by zero.

In addition to his grasp of intricate financial matters, my sweet Hubby has a common sense kind of intelligence. But . . . Chuck Norris is so smart, Stephen Hawking stood up to bow down to him.

Hubby is strong and tough and manly and possesses self control. But . . .

  • Chuck Norris can slam a revolving door.
  • If you Google search "Chuck Norris getting his ass kicked" you will generate zero results. It just doesn't happen.
  • When an episode of Walker Texas Ranger was aired in France, the French surrendered to Chuck Norris just to be on the safe side.
  • Chuck Norris can eat just one Lay's potato chip.

But the most compelling evidence that Hubby is not in any way related to Chuck Norris?

No human child could withstand the force of being this close
to a biologically related beard of Chuck Norris

Friday, April 10, 2009

It would be funny if it weren't true.

I don't usually think of myself as a clumsy or stupid person. But my body and mouth rebelliously tell a different story. Like the Thanksgiving I was playing Pictionary with my entire extended family.

I was partnered with my cousin, Greg, who was a college student. I have no idea what the word was nor what the clues he was drawing were, but I vividly remember yelling out in a strong and clear voice "nutsack!" Greg looked at me with such surprise on his face. And then launched into a giggling fit such that he could no longer hold a pencil, let alone coherently draw clues . . .

And there was the housewarming party for another cousin, Leslie. Leslie is one of those people whose home is always neat as a pin even though she has two children and a rambunctious dog. She's so tidy and together that she opted to put white carpeting in her family room.

We were extremely careful to insist that Gabe, still 3 at the time, eat and drink only on the patio outside so we wouldn't have any unfortunate carpet accidents.

Naturally, I was the one who dropped a strawberry margarita on the floor. The white carpeted floor. And it splashed all over the back of the white couch. I don't even know how it happened. I wasn't tipsy. Nobody bumped me. I didn't trip. It just slipped out of my hand . . .

A couple weeks ago at work I was waiting on a stunning younger man. Does anyone else have the problem of being klutzy once a month related to menstrual cycle? I do. Waiting on him I kept dropping things and generally making an idiot of myself. Anyone in the world looking on would have thought I was flustered because I was taken with his handsomeness. But I wasn't. I was just being me.

The piece de resistance was when, at the very end of the transaction, I was handing him the bag with his medications and I managed to scoop up my name badge too--as though I was attempting to not-so-casually encourage him to give me a call.

While I was strangling myself with the lanyard and, red faced, trying to untangle it from his hand, he was chuckling at me. I was dying and wishing I could say, "No really--I'm not coming on to you, I'm just short-bus special."

I could tell a hundred stories like that. So it came as no surprise to my darling husband the other night when I again found myself in a bit of a jam.

Sitting at the computer, I had an itch on my knee. I was alone, it was dark and I was wearing yoga pants. Seemed like a fine idea to put my hand inside the waistband of my pants, reach down to my knee and scratch.

My bracelet got caught on my pants seam. Really caught. And I couldn't dislodge it. I had to walk into the other room, bent over double with my hand still in my pants, and ask hubby to unhook my hand from my knee. I was laughing so hard I could barely explain to him what had happened.

Not that he was asking.

He's used to me and my problems by now.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I swear it was disguised as a Monday . . .

2:30 a.m. Friday--allergies are a bitch. Took a Benadryl so I could actually get some sleep. Only a few more hours til get-ready-for-work time.

3:30 a.m. Friday--woke up to hubby snoring. Sent him to a different room. Could still hear him snoring. Eventually forced my way back to sleep.

5:00 a.m. Friday--Number One Son absentmindedly slammed front door as he left for work. Jarred me awake. Trying to get back to sleep--again--I contemplate "absentmindedly" changing the locks before Number One returns home.

6:30 a.m. Friday--phone rings. In my stupor, I mistake that noise for the alarm and jump out of bed. Realize it's the f***ing phone. Enter kitchen just in time to hear the message. It's our friend Randy who doesn't live here anymore. Because he lives 2/10 of a mile away. He's calling because he wants to come over for morning coffee. He's calling from the road directly in front of our kitchen window. The kitchen window I am standing in front of. I am naked. Awesome.

7:00 a.m. Friday--my cell rings. It's Beautiful. She's very, very ill. Wants to know if I'm working and whether I can give her a hand with the kids because she's miserable. Redeeming his snoring self, sweet Hubby rises to the call and offers to take both children by himself all day.

7:02 a.m. Friday--Hubby achieves sainthood. There is no absolution for snoring, however.

7:30 a.m. Friday--my alarm goes off. Anticlimactic. Oh, and? Migraine. Naturally . . .

8:30 a.m. Friday--phone call from work. Instead of working 10-2, they'd like me to fill in for Cindy who is sick. Would I be willing to work 11-7:30? Of course I would.

11:00 a.m. Friday--haul groggy, cantankerous carcass to work. Notice that Cindy is there. Cindy, it seems, has had the worst of it and is feeling enough better to earn her 8 hours. Cindy has been in a serious financial bind for some time now and can't afford not to work--I suspect she's squirrelling away her sick leave in case something major comes up. And who could blame her?

11:01 a.m. Friday--"Since Cindy's here, can I go home?" I jokingly seriously ask. But I can't. Because Robby is sick too.

3:00 p.m. Friday--Manage to make it to previously scheduled doctor's appointment. Miss 2-1/2 hours of work in the middle of the day. Leaving me free to stay late helping out since they're still shorthanded and it's unusually busy for a Friday afternoon.

8:45 p.m. Friday--came home. Tired. Ill-humored. Obliged to spend an evening out with friends visiting from out-of-state. Visiting because their dad is dying. Turning them down is not an option.

9:30 p.m. Friday until 3:00 a.m. Saturday--drama. Juvenile drama. I might as well not even be in the room. I am not being talked to so much as I'm being used. And ignored. And now I am so angry and irritable. Just. Don't. Freaking. Care anymore. Wish that turning them down had been an option.

3:30 a.m. Saturday--finally get to come home. Find Hubby's stash of special chocolate and invite myself to sample.

3:32 a.m. Saturday--Hubby would like to know why I got into his chocolate. Seriously? Where's the mystery????