Grandma is Shrinking!

We just got back from a visit to the family. I took my camera-but forgot to take it out of my backpack so I have no photos to share. We'll go back in a month anyway-I'll get some then, but over the last 2 yrs, I've been taking a similar photo of Andrew and my mom and it really looks like she's shrinking!! I'll compile the collage of them after Presents Day next month.

Here are the highlights of the trip:

  • Andrew drove half the way there - he did really well, which is good because really--who wants to sit in a car with a new driver going 70mph, merging and passing big slow trucks and dealing with motorcycles and really-fast cars weaving in and out of traffic? Not me!! He is a pretty good driver, has been from the start. My role on this trip was to continuously remind him "you're on the white line."
  • Tyler is living on his own now and seems to better appreciate the value of a dollar, since he only has his own dollars to buy things now.
  • We played Phase 10 (one of the best games ever) and our family friend Carol whipped us all. Tyler quit, as he always does. Andrew nearly came up from behind. The cards were sticky for grandma, as they always are. Jenny was tired, as she always is. I was loud, as I always am. We drank blackberry brandy slushes-the best alcoholic drink ever.
  • Some people overate Thanksgiving dinner. I was not one (thanks to my particular eating habits).
  • Jenny believes her teenager never lies. I do not believe this is possible for anyone to say about ANY teenager. And then we made jokes about a Truth Bracelet (rubber band) that later broke when Andrew (my son!!!) was playing with it.
  • Andrew and I stopped at the outlet malls on the way home and I bought FIVE shirts/sweaters/tops/blouses for under $92.00. Andrew got a coat and 2 shirts for $40.00. Doing our part to stimulate the economy.
  • We spent about 7 hours playing FowlWords on my moms computer (we play as a team) and were listed as #4 in top scores for the day online. We are awesome.

(Not) On The Money

The Typealyzer says this about my site:

True? Somewhat!!!
I like soft fabrics!!!
I love sweet smells!!!!
I do like to plan though....
But I LOVE work that lets me help others in a visible way!
But - I do initiate confrontation when I deem it necessary.
Hmm....maybe this isn't so accurate...

It's That Day Again...

To anyone who I have forgotten to say thank you to for anything or who has not felt appreciated by me in the past year:



Thanks.

Testing Testing- Come in, Jurassic Park, Come in!



This is the Jurassic Park ride at Universal Studios (in slow motion so you can see my boy!)- just testing the video feature! Yay for blogger - could it be this easy to post a video???

We visited here in January of 2006 (wow-was it really that long ago??), well, I'm pretty sure it was 06...maybe 07? Anyway, it wasn't very hot, but it was PERFECT - there was about 8 other people at the park. I think Andrew rode on this ride about 10 times in a row without once having to wait. I only went 2 or 3 times because 1) the water was COLD and 2) um, the ride is SCARY.

We also went to Disney for 3 or 4 days (see the trend with my memory?) and it also was not crowded. I don't how it worked out so *magically* but it did, we barely ever had to wait in line-EVER. Which really makes the visit so much better.

Goodbye, Dear Friend

I have had the same VCR since maybe...1998? It has been a REALLY long time. It's moved with us 4 times, it lived in storage for 2 years, and most recently, been trapped under the bed very neglected. It's on it's last leg, it growls a lot, it makes a horrendous grumbling noise when it rewinds, and sometimes it flickers a little black line, randomly. For the last two years that it was really used a lot, the solution for the black line is the same as any electronic random misbehavior: Hit it on the side. It works. There's some technical piece behind that, I'm sure, but my son actually did the exact same method of treatment to our grumbling DVD player which has been acting up very sporadically over the last month and it absolutely stops the bad behavior.

The VCR has been unloved.
Until NOW - tonight is it's shining moment (and then it will be retired).

I bought this little beauty on Woot.com - which is a great site and if you haven't visited it, you should (at 10:03pm PST every night!).

It's the Pinnacle Dazzle and it's super wonderfully good. You just plug your VCR into it like you would to your television and then use the software it came with and just hit play, tell it to record and then BAM PRESTO MAGIC - it will burn it straight to DVD for you!! LOVE that.
I have approximately four VHS tapes I need to convert.

1) A tape called The Kids with about 25 minutes of tape from 1996 of my son, nephew and niece. And then another 15 minutes of them in 1998. Part of it is interview style (what do you want to be when you grow up, who is the president, are you going to marry, etc) and some of it is just them singing and playing. CUTE stuff. The tape itself has been an issue - I loaned it to my eldest sister one time and she lost it, though for six years, she swore up and down she gave it back to me. And then one day a couple years ago, it magically appeared in her home and she gave it back. Yay. It was a happy day-both because I was proven to be right (I KNEW I was right!!!!) and because I got my prized tape back.

2) A home video of various events during 1997-98 while I was in college. The kid was 6ish. We were really close with our neighbors and they were a big part of our life while we all lived next door to each other. We took a road trip with their teen daughter and their teen foreign exchange student to Seattle and I edited it and put it to music and made a copy for them both to have. I love this tape-it's awesome (not just because I spent hours editing it).

3) Disney world and a trip to my other sisters house - it was the one and only time we have ever visited their home (she lives on the east coast in the bayou).

4) A copy of the play I was in during 7th or 8th grade - Grease. I was a pink lady. It was awesome. And...I can't find it right no. I HAVE it-I know I do....but it's not with my tapes. No idea why....Frustrating! Why do things just leave their designated spot???

So----I'm converting to DVD format, but I can't get the first one I started to open in Windows Movie Maker -lame, which means I can't crop the cutest sections and post them online for the world to enjoy!!! More frustration. I'll have to work more on this later.

I also am in the midst of editing a little video of the big birthday bash - I have about 15-20 minutes of six teenagers hitting each other with blow-up bats. Good, classic fun. How many times did they want to watch themselves hit each other? At least 15 times so far. And they all want the video for their MySpace pages. It may be my most popular video ever.

Let Me Give You a Tip!

Sometimes thoughts just spring into my head out of nowhere-I swear, they do. Tonight was such a night. As I was thinking about NOTHING related to this topic, I remembered this tipping incident on November 7th at Azteca.

I'm not typically a bad tipper - I actually go the extra mile if our server was particularly wonderful or even if they were just super-friendly but not wonderful OR if it's super-crowded and they were super-friendly and/or wonderful. One of the above combinations = better tip from Kaylen.

If they barely make eye contact and don't come back to check on us for AGES and/or don't even try to be friendly, I tip the minimum. One of the above combinations = nothing special, just a basic tip from Kaylen.

If they screw up the order and don't try to make it better, take FOREVER before they come back (I usually need a water/drink refill at least once during a meal) and/or if they are not only not friendly, but out-and-out rude, I do not feel bad about tipping less. Not at all. If I did my job half-ass and my employer was dependent upon having people say good things about my work-I would not expect someone to pay me extra just for being in uniform. Nope. Any of the above combinations = less than average tip from Kaylen. Still a tip--cause I always tip---but NOT a good tip by any definition.

SO - back to Azteca.

Azteca is okay Mexican food. Not great, but okay. They are usually fast and the servers are usually very friendly and I think you get a good deal for your money. AND even better-they almost always have coupons for buy one, get one. And so it was a few weeks ago, my son and I went there for dinner and I happened to have one of these coupons in my purse. Yay---save $10.00!!!

AND the kid got a free ice cream for his birthday. And they sang to him. Fun.
But-our waiter was NOT great, never made eye contact, barely spoke to us and acted put out by us from the moment we sat down-however, it was crowded and we forgave him. I recognize that being a server probably is a really horrible job sometimes (or maybe all the time) and it's really hard and can be really draining. I personally would never ever be able to do it. However-it's his job to put on a smile and make us feel welcome.

When I'm at work, sometimes I'm rushed, and busy, and maybe I just don't feel good. Sometimes there are people pulling you in all directions. Sometimes I make a mistake and have to own up to it and fix the problem. Sometimes I have to sit all day and that's not fun. I have to sit in a cubicle (aka The Box) and that is a hard adjustment for me in my new job. BUT----THIS is my job. I can not imagine if I went to work and was blatantly rude and disrespectful to others.

And that is exactly what my waiter was to us.

However, we got our food, it was good, it was hot, it was fresh and I saved $10.00. And so our bill came and it was $17.00, so I tipped our waiter $2.00. Barely ten percent, I know, not nice--but did I mention that HE was not good at his job??? Anyway, then as we were getting ready to leave, I thought that I have to tip on the full bill, not just the discounted tab, so I laid down $3.00 in cash. So now he's made $5.00. If the bill was $27.00, that would be um...maybe over 20%? My math skills are def lacking these days.
(10% would be 2.70. Half of that would be 1.35. 2.70 plus 1.35 would be 4.05)

YES-that means I tipped a not-so-great waiter over 20% on my original bill, OR 30% on my discounted tab.

What? How did this come to happen?? What was I doing?? Was I supposed to tip on the full bill?? I didn't get $27.00 worth of service, that's for sure.

Tipping in general irritates me. Over tipping for not-really good service is just obnoxious. And anyone who knows me knows how I hate to be obnoxious (ha!).

I feel like I ripped myself off at Azteca. I must figure out the tipping issue before I go out to eat again---tip on the discounted tab or the full tab?? Why do we tip based off our tab anyway?? If you work at a restaurant where a burger is $6 vs a restaurant where a burger is $12 - aren't you doing the same amount of work as a waiter anyway? So why do I have to base my appreciation tip off a particular dollar amount that I spend? The waiter isn't hand-making my food. They are going to walk to my table with my plate regardless of what I order. This tipping thing is messed up...

I just want good service, I just want a restaurant to do what it is supposed to do (like give you all you can eat shrimp, thank you Red Lobster!), and I just want to get what I pay for (I love you Outback Steakhouse!) . Is that really THAT much to ask for??

You wouldn't think so.

Pardon Me, Mr. President!


What is the deal with presidential pardons?? What an insane idea this is - the president can choose to pardon anyone for anything for any reason and not have to answer to anyone about it?

Well isn't that convenient...for crooks with money.
Lincoln pardoned someone who was convicted of bestiality. That was nice of him.

The first George Bush pardoned a bunch of Iran-Contra convicts. Not surprising.

Clinton pardoned a ton of people on his way out - I still have to ask him about this, it seemed like a bad decision the way he went about it.

Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon - but he was no crook, just ask him.

And now the smaller George Bush, I mean younger, will be setting some dirty scandals free of their crimes.
It just doesn't seem right. Isn't this why we have a criminal justice system? The appeals system? The whole jumbled mess of hoop jumping that people have to go through to do ANYTHING in our legal system? There are rules and rules and incomprehensible amounts of words thrown together (with bits of latin thrown in for fun) and yet it doesn't matter in the end because all you have to do is have enough money or have friends who are friends of someone who has loads of money and the right connections. It doesn't matter what you did even.
Sometimes I hate our legal system.

Madonna, Come Back to Us

At what point do you start making so much money that you can no longer force yourself to wear normal, pretty clothing?

Poor Madge. With a net worth of over $600 million, she has crossed the line. I really like her and most of what she has done in life, but our friendship is on edge right now. My cats would LOVE for her to stop by wearing this though. It really looks like something they would enjoy.


This seems to be what happens when you get older and have more money than humanly possible that continues to roll in long after you are wonderful to the public anymore. Case in point: Elizabeth Taylor. I have no words for her:

And by NO MEANS am I a fashion diva....but I have eyes. And I know that they shouldn't burn when I see a particular beautiful (as in Madonna) person's clothing---especially when that person has made it a point to have their entire life be one in the spotlight.

I'm a big fan of jeans and a sweater or jeans and a t-shirt---but if my occupation was one such where I would have photos taken of me 24/7, I would probably make sure I had on a pretty t-shirt at least. Not one made from a shag carpet. Or from 1960's curtains.

But What About Kobe Bryant??




I haven't really lived through a depression era (other than some my own personal ones), but there are some things that are confusing to me.

We KNOW that our country is on a downhill spiral. We know this. Some of us are in a little denial and try to put a positive spin on things -but really---it's not a good prognosis.
Our unemployment rate is insane and it grows and grows every morning when I turn on the news.
Our stock market is almost negative-so people who own stocks will not only have any profits, but will owe people - or something. I never said I understand the stock market!!
Businesses are closing left and right - leading to MORE unemployment.
Food banks are having problems feeding the increase in numbers.
Milk is over $3.00 on a regular day.
Whoppers cost over $2.00 a box. (I love these smashed up and over vanilla bean ice cream)
It costs $27.00 to go to a movie (well, it's been a long time since I've been, but I'm guessing it might be close to this by now).

So with all of THIS just brewing around us....I'm confused about a few things.
I was listening to NPR on the drive home and they were talking about a state university that is preparing to build a new and outrageous football stadium.
Really? Now? Wouldn't it make more sense to keep the stadium they have, even if it's not the BEST, and use those $13gazillion dollars towards offsetting education costs so that the college tuition rates don't rise even further beyond a realistic number? I understand how a bigger/better stadium will bring in money in certain ways--but when will that be? It takes a good year or two to build a stadium and how long does it take to pay off the $13gazillion that it took to make it? Shouldn't we put our bigger and better stadium on hold until we climb out of our nation's current economic crisis?

And along those routes....since I've never been in a depression....what happens to the young people in our country - such as Kobe Bryant, who, as a young 25-yr old athlete, depends upon his $26.1 million salary to live? What will Kobe do? He has a contract right? So he will make $26.1 million regardless of the economy? That's how contracts work. But that means that sports ticket prices will have to go up -but who will buy them? Poor Kobe.



And what about Miley Cyrus? What will become of her if she stops making $25 million a year?? You know her daddy doesn't make much money on his own anymore. She IS his product - so if she isn't making money, he's not. I think the depression might hit little Miley and her daddy hard. I feel for them. They seem like such sweet people.

Starbucks profits fell just over 90% in the last quarter. Um, hello? 90% is almost 100%-which means they made almost NO profit. What will become of Mr. Bucks?? (does ANYONE know who started Starbucks??) And you know when Starbucks with their value $4.00 cup of coffee starts losing money...you KNOW it's a recession.

I just don't understand at what point while in a recession do we stop paying $4.00 for a hot cup of caffeine, or spend $150 on a concert ticket, or buy a tv for every room in your house, or have cosmetic surgery, or pay $400 for a pair of designer shoes....when does it really start affecting the public at large?

I am quite certain that the "little" people of the world have already been deeply affected. But when does it make the move to the rest of us? I just know it's coming.

Rock On!!!

Seriously, bingo is a fun way to waste 3 hours with friends. Stop laughing at me! I'm just hanging out with my friends. Really---I'm not a dork!!

I like bingo. I don't have to win to have fun!!!

Which is great---- cause I NEVER WIN!!!!!!!!

This might be my new bingo shirt- whataya think?

I Love Sweden!!!

I have a new bed part!!!
FOR FREE!!!!
AND it got to my home within 3 days of me asking for it!!!

And this is how life is supposed to work!

I buy something, expecting it to be made of a good enough quality that it will function and do it's job.
If it breaks in an unreasonably short amount of time, I expect that the company will replace it (in this case it was a piece of a metal bed frame that lasted about 10.5 months).

And in most cases-this philosophy works out for me.
And I'm super-happy-excited to know that Ikea came through for me.

YAY FOR SWEDEN!!!

(this could have had a totally different outcome for that country, much like what happened to make us dislike Scotland. Good job Sweden!!)

I think sometimes all you have to do is ask. And I also think that you are doing yourself a disservice if you don't ask when you really deserve something. And in this case--I deserved a new left hinge for a Bellinge futon.

My First List

My 1st Job:(not counting the babysitting jobs, things where I earned money from my family members, and a paper route) - Ross Dress For Less - over the holidays in the shoe department

My 1st Concert: Van Halen (rock on)

My 1st Car: (I'm pretty sure) 1979 Cadillac

My 1st Volunteer Memory: wrapping presents in the mall for Lutheran Social Services (which I think I found by just talking to one of the people at the table in the mall

My 1st Serious Boyfriend: Jason Battin

My 1st Memory of Life: I think it was my 4th b-day and I remember getting a big Micky Mouse ball - which was later lost when it bounced into a ravine behind our house.

My 1st International Travel: South Korea (excluding Canada)

My 1st Surgery: Tonsillectomy in 9th grade

My 1st Long-Lasting Pet: Midnight, who moved with us from Illinois to two houses in Minnesota, then to three houses in Washington and lasted a good ten years

My 1st Frat Party (cause my son couldn't believe I've ever been to one):I am fairly certain it was in 1995 - New Years Eve in Seattle - University of Washington frat party with Cherri Gumapus and Rob Harrison (from high school)

No....Time...........to......Type.

I have 60 pages left in the book!!!
How incredible am I?

Seriously--I am like a world class professional reader. I should consider leaving my day job (but I really love it so I won't).
And I'm not sure if being a professional reader would support my lavish lifestyle.

You know what I like about Verizon? I can just walk out of there with a brand new phone and have them bill my cell phone account.

You know what I don't like about Verizon? Getting the $400 phone bill.

Gotta go read!!!! 60 pages left!!! Yippee!!! Yay!!!!
Book club tomorrow.

Three Ways I Am Like a Grandmother

...According to my 16-yr old:

1) I am going to a book club

2) I like to go play bingo with my friends

3) I always have band aids in my purse.

Kids are funny--these are three reasons that indicate someone is elderly.
Good to know.

and FYI:
1) I think the majority of the people going to the book club are in their 20's. (minus Alison's mom)

2) Bingo is a fun time just hanging out with my friends---while maybe winning some money. Cheaper than happy hour, healthier for the body too!

3) Um, who doesn't carry band aids in their purse??

Read Like A Maniac Weekend: American Wife:


Yikes...Alison's first ever book club meeting is in THREE days and I have JUST gotten the book!!!
I started reading a short bit on Friday and read all this morning (literally!) and still have just over halfway to go!!!

It's a 576 page book!!! Why did I wait until the last minute to buy it?? What was I thinking???
It's the only time I have missed riding the bus as a normal commute to work---I have always had time to read EVERY day, but not anymore.....now I have to make time. And I'm not doing very good at it. :(

Luckily, the book is an easy read and it's a fast read (for me).

I have a volunteer event tomorrow afternoon, which is unfortunate that it coincides with my Read-Like-A-Maniac weekend. I'm pretty sure I can get through 300 pages in 3 days. I just won't clean. Or cook. Or talk to others. (but of course I'll blog!)

Mission NOT Accomplished at Ikea

My teen's bed broke. I'm not going to say it was his fault-but it most likely was....boys are oafs. They truly are. If something breaks-it is most likely because there was a boy nearby who did something to it at some point. If something is spilt on the floor - there is probably a boy nearby. If something smells bad - most definitely keep an eye out for a boy.

Anyway - the bed broke.
Just one piece of it (surprisingly it wasn't the wood slats of the futon which I really didn't have faith in lasting long - but it was the metal hinge that somehow holds it all together, not the wood slats. Shouldn't metal be stronger than wood??
Shouldn't it?? Yes, it should.

Anyway, so I call Ikea and tell them I need to get a replacement piece and the nice lying woman on the phone tells me, YES-they have it-YES come on in and pick it up. I explain it to her multiple times: I don't know that I have my receipt and I don't live that close. I want verification that they actually do have THE PART for me, not just that they sell the bed. AND please verify AGAIN that I can purchase this part in the local store. Yes, she says enthusiastically (and probably not even listening to me and just totally trying to ruin my night), come on in!!! It is HERE.

Anyway, so I drive - and for some reason there were THREE cars pulled over on the side of the freeway and causing a backup of seven miles. Randomly pulled over, not an accident.

Anyway, I finally get to the store and go straight to the parts department, as I now have just 20 minutes until the store closes. The boy who looks to be 12 spends 10 minutes looking for the bed and then determines YES we do sell that bed.
Right, doogie-I already know this fact. I need the hinge that goes for it.
And then Doogie tells me to wait as he prints the instructions and then he has me circle (with a red pen) what part I want. Oh--it's the HINGE? The ONLY hinge? Got it. Let me go find it for you. It will take about ten minutes.

Great-I'll just stand here-since the store is turning lights off. I did manage to buy a stuffed toy and a plant. Yay-not a wasted trip regardless!

Anyway, Doogie comes back and lets me know, sorry, we don't have it.
Hmm....really, that's impossible. Let's try again. And I explain to him my phone call (for the second time) and tell him that I drove all this way on the word of a local employee that they will have my hinge - and as such, please go get my hinge.

No? Fine, how about the manager then.
And then I'm told that Doogie is correct, but what he could have told me is that if I bring in my receipt, they will get the part for me from a new product, but they need proof that I am the original purchaser of the bed.
Really? That's great- cause Ikea girl on the phone said otherwise.

Anyway, so there I stand with my stuffed toy and my plant and I explain to the nice manager: so I drove 40 minutes to buy THIS? That's very frustrating.
She agreed. Thanks....that helps.
BUT - if I call her back with the exact date I bought it and the last four of my credit card that I used, she can look it up and then.....get ready....UPS me the hinge!!!!! FOR FREE!!! LOVE that.

(though it's not really free, as I drove 62 miles and bought things I wouldn't have bought otherwise.)

Whatever---as long as I get my hinge in the mail next week-all will be forgiven.

I'll keep you all posted as to whether we need to add Ikea to the list of places we are boycotting.

Congratulations Last Vet of WWI



I'm not sure why this makes me sad, but there is now only one last WWI veteran left (from the United States).

Frank Buckles is IT.

He's the only one who can talk about first-hand knowledge of combat in WWI. Sad.

He was 16 when he joined, but he denies it.

He didn't have a birth certificate, because they didn't issue them back then (how cute is that).

He actually met Adolf Hitler. (boo)

He was a prisoner of war for three years.

And now he's IT.
He's all we have left.

There is this amazing Veterans project that you can access online though--and it has audio recordings from him with some wonderful tales. I think we should all have this type of thing set up for our family tree. Who needs just a written record of names in the shape of a tree? How much more cool is it to have actual recorded stories from someone, with pictures and maybe videos and scanned documents?

This is one of the greatest things about technology-having the ability to do this.

My son interviewed my mom for a school project once, it was very cool and its something he was really excited to have done. He tried grandpa first, but grandpa passed!! (boo) And this blog is my interview. (ha-where I interview myself daily-ha)

Now the rest of the family just has to get on board!!

48 Hours of Fun


One rental car.
90-minute drive.

Six teenage boys.
TONS of food (mostly sugar).

One busy water slide.
Two hotel rooms (one for boys, one for me).

TONS more food.
VERY little sleep.

HOURS of video games.
48 hours of fun.....

For one great birthday.


Happy 16th Birthday to my baby!!!!!








Sadness Over Prop 8 (aka Longest Blog Ever)

my disclaimer:
I am very aware that certain friends and members of my family think I'm a free spirit, an outcast, a black sheep, a sinner, a lost soul, confused/lost/mistaken, etc....however - I live in a country where I was given the right to express my thoughts. This country that most everyone I know claims to support and love for the freedoms they have - but then they turn that love into hate when they hear something that goes against what they value.
I value freedom - the freedom to believe and the freedom to explore other thoughts and beliefs. I value respect and love. I value honesty and kind-heartedness. I value family and I value what others have to offer.
This issue makes me so passionately sad and I hope that you will not stop reading just because the topic does not align with what you believe.


I don't know how you might not have heard about this by now...but Prop 8 is:
The official ballot title language for Proposition 8 is "Eliminates Right of Same-Sex Couples to Marry." The entirety of the text to be added to the constitution is: "Only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California."

The campaigns for and against Proposition 8 raised $35.8 million and $37.6 million, respectively, becoming the highest-funded campaign on any state ballot that day and surpassing every campaign in the country in spending except the presidential contest.

And it passed. And there is sadness in my heart over this.

I'm not gay. I don't have a lot of gay friends. I have a few family members who are gay, some who are out and some who are not. But it does NOT matter. What matters is that people who love each other are not allowed to marry in our legal system.

BUT - if you happen to have a penis and you happen to find someone who has a vagina---you can marry for ANY reason. (sorry to break it down to the basics...bear with me)

And people argue that we must protect the sanctity of THIS? penis + vagina = the ability to have a marriage??

Are we not smarter than this??

Here is a few examples that take issue with this equation.

1) I had two male friends in the military. Both were young, early 20's. Both married a friend from high school to get extra money from our government as a married person in the military. Married not for love----for money. FROM OUR GOVERNMENT.

The women got full medical benefits and other bonuses (discounts and access to certain things on military bases) and the men both gave the girls a kickback on the extra dough. One sent back money monthly, one just gave her a huge portion of his tax return yearly. Both of them admitted that they did not think of this on their own---they had buddies they met in basic training who were doing it. They did not know each other---one was navy, one was marines. They just both happened to do the same scam and both heard of it from others in their respective branches who were also doing the same scams.

THESE marriages---absolutely protected. One vagina, one penis = LEGAL marriage.

2) Britney Spears and Jason Something - a friend from high school. Married in Vegas on a whim---thought it would be fun. Married for 55 hours. Less than THREE days. TOTALLY legal. one penis, one vagina = legal marriage.

I have no comment on this type of marriage because it is too absurd to discuss.

3) Marriage by mail, aka mail order bride. TOTALLY legal if you are a male and help a female get a visa by marrying her. She gains her citizenship while making him happy in a pretend marriage.

Yep, that's a great marriage. Definitely what the marriage license is all about.

4) Marriages where the wife is battered (or husband I suppose). The woman is beaten down repeatedly and too afraid to leave because she is unable to support herself and her children without the income/help from her husband. She can't leave him because she has no home for her kids, no income to feed/clothe them, and all she has to do is let herself be beaten down a bit each day/week/month and in exchange, he will take care of the family. She just has to suffer for her children.

THIS type of marriage we support. We allow this type of marriage. It works - one penis, one vagina=legal marriage.

HOWEVER---find someone with the same anatomy who LOVE each other and will do anything for the CHANCE at just having the sheer joy and happiness and the same civil rights as others and we say no?

Divorce rates are ridiculously high, but people are still crying over protecting the "sanctity" of marriage?? What do you care??? What sanctity is left anymore?? 50% fail. See a problem with the "sanctity" of the marriage??

It is none of my business who loves who and whether I am a pro-gay rights activist or not---it is NOT my business to dictate that legal marriage MUST have one penis and one vagina.

Keith Olbermann said it best. It's lengthy but WELL WORTH IT. I copied part of his transcript for those of you not able to watch the video. It could not have been said better than this:





If you voted for this Proposition or support those who did or the sentiment they expressed, I have some questions, because, truly, I do not understand. Why does this matter to you? What is it to you? In a time of impermanence and fly-by-night relationships, these people over here want the same chance at permanence and happiness that is your option. They don't want to deny you yours. They don't want to take anything away from you. They want what you want—a chance to be a little less alone in the world.

Only now you are saying to them—no. You can't have it on these terms. Maybe something similar. If they behave. If they don't cause too much trouble. You'll even give them all the same legal rights—even as you're taking away the legal right, which they already had. A world around them, still anchored in love and marriage, and you are saying, no, you can't marry. What if somebody passed a law that said you couldn't marry?

I keep hearing this term "re-defining" marriage. If this country hadn't re-defined marriage, black people still couldn't marry white people. Sixteen states had laws on the books which made that illegal in 1967. 1967.

The parents of the President-Elect of the United States couldn't have married in nearly one third of the states of the country their son grew up to lead. But it's worse than that. If this country had not "re-defined" marriage, some black people still couldn't marry black people. It is one of the most overlooked and cruelest parts of our sad story of slavery. Marriages were not legally recognized, if the people were slaves. Since slaves were property, they could not legally be husband and wife, or mother and child. Their marriage vows were different: not "Until Death, Do You Part," but "Until Death or Distance, Do You Part." Marriages among slaves were not legally recognized.

You know, just like marriages today in California are not legally recognized, if the people are gay.

And uncountable in our history are the number of men and women, forced by society into marrying the opposite sex, in sham marriages, or marriages of convenience, or just marriages of not knowing, centuries of men and women who have lived their lives in shame and unhappiness, and who have, through a lie to themselves or others, broken countless other lives, of spouses and children, all because we said a man couldn't marry another man, or a woman couldn't marry another woman. The sanctity of marriage.

How many marriages like that have there been and how on earth do they increase the "sanctity" of marriage rather than render the term, meaningless?

What is this, to you? Nobody is asking you to embrace their expression of love. But don't you, as human beings, have to embrace... that love? The world is barren enough.

It is stacked against love, and against hope, and against those very few and precious emotions that enable us to go forward. Your marriage only stands a 50-50 chance of lasting, no matter how much you feel and how hard you work.

And here are people overjoyed at the prospect of just that chance, and that work, just for the hope of having that feeling. With so much hate in the world, with so much meaningless division, and people pitted against people for no good reason, this is what your religion tells you to do? With your experience of life and this world and all its sadnesses, this is what your conscience tells you to do?

With your knowledge that life, with endless vigor, seems to tilt the playing field on which we all live, in favor of unhappiness and hate... this is what your heart tells you to do? You want to sanctify marriage? You want to honor your God and the universal love you believe he represents? Then Spread happiness—this tiny, symbolic, semantical grain of happiness—share it with all those who seek it. Quote me anything from your religious leader or book of choice telling you to stand against this. And then tell me how you can believe both that statement and another statement, another one which reads only "do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

You are asked now, by your country, and perhaps by your creator, to stand on one side or another. You are asked now to stand, not on a question of politics, not on a question of religion, not on a question of gay or straight. You are asked now to stand, on a question of love. All you need do is stand, and let the tiny ember of love meet its own fate.

You don't have to help it, you don't have it applaud it, you don't have to fight for it. Just don't put it out. Just don't extinguish it. Because while it may at first look like that love is between two people you don't know and you don't understand and maybe you don't even want to know. It is, in fact, the ember of your love, for your fellow person just because this is the only world we have. And the other guy counts, too.

**thanks to my geeky blogger-friend Flea for posting the video-I absolutely appreciate seeing this.

NaBloPoMo Trouble

I signed up for the NaBloPoMo - which means I'm supposed to post every day for the month of November. It's hard though...I don't always have time or something I want to write about.



I'm pretty sure this started from the idea of NaNoWriMo, which I have always been interested in, but never had the courage/ability to join in on---it stands for National Novel Writing Month (which is November). It's pretty popular, which is surprising because writing a novel is a long hard process and 30 days really isn't long enough. I'm not sure on the quality of the novels that come out of it but I think the plan isn't so much to write a perfect novel, it's just to dedicate 30 days to writing.

And so here we are....now we have the same thing for blogging.
And here I am...feeling pressure. And blogging about blogging. What a dork.
I'm just too tired right now -it's been a long birthday weekend for us here, my baby is sixteen. SIXTEEN!!

And somehow, I thought he would be more grown up instantly. But alas, that isn't the case.
More details and pictures to come later this week.

Astronauts are Crazy

Whose bright idea was it to sit on a rocket full of fuel and actually propel a human into outer space? Could there be anything more absurd than that?


CUH-RAZY.


It's just wild to think of what we humans do. Do we really have NO limits?

We can travel to the moon.

We can create a cloned animal.

We (thanks to Al Gore) created the Internet.

We have play-doh and bubble gum and botox and Dr. pepper and a ton of other amazing things---at one point will we reach our full potential? Have we mastered everything yet? What is yet to come?? I know when I was growing up, we somewhat believed we would have flying cars before we were "grown up" (we also believed that California would be sinking into the ocean).


Is it possible that the human race is just too smart for its own good?

Addictions R Us

I am totally addicted to this....I can't stop checking in on them!
Free Videos by Ustream.TV
Is there anything cuter??
No, probably not.

Blast From the Past



I have GRAND plans for tomorrow night to peruse my old high school yearbooks and refresh my memory on people went to high school with...maybe it's important we remind ourselves of things, lest we naturally forget over time?
Is our brain really like a large bowl of memories and some of them naturally get pushed out of the bowl over time? And only important, bigger ones are kept? That's sad. I want to remember it ALL.

SO---expect to see some great quotes from my yearbook soon---cause I'm CERTAIN there are some very profound things that my classmates said to me back in the day.

My high school used to sell insert pages for the yearbooks for people who need MORE an additional six pages for "autographs" - I know that in each of the two yearbooks I have, I have at least once of these extra inserts. And they are FULL. One friend of mine wrote like 4 pages of memories of our year together one time---I'm not sure I can share some of what she wrote (I'm not sure she should have put it all in writing even!), but it will be fun to go back and reread things. I'll have some time to kill while the kid is busy with his friends (we'll be away from home) and it's one of those things you never HAVE time for---but it would be fun and interesting to do.

I had lost touch with everyone from high school soon after----probably due to the poorly planned idea of getting married and having a baby right after high school, but they are coming out of the woodwork on Facebook. I read this article the other day about a guy who said that he feels no need to travel to his old town to go to his high school reunion because he's been in such contact with everyone via Facebook and reconnected that way, so there's just no need to go.

There are sooooooo many things like this that the Internet has somewhat tainted. There's no more anticipation of seeing what an old classmate has done, you can just slightly spy on one of their webpages---a blog, their Myspace or Facebook accounts, Twitter, etc.
It's a bit sad in a way. We are somewhat missing out by being so connected.

SHOCKING!!!!

My son is going to be 16 years old!!!! I can't believe it!!!!!



Neither can he!!

Not the Song of the Day

There is construction going on in my building at work and TWO days ago, there was three very loud noises from the floor above us and without a moment's thought to consider her actions, one of the ladies nearby burst out with a "Knock three times on the ceiling if you want me...." and then just went back to work as if nothing had happened.

And TWO DAYS later, I am still singing this song in my head.

Thanks Jodi. You're the best.


Sing along:


Hey girl what ya doin' down there
Dancin' alone every night while I live right above you?
I can hear your
music playin'

Moving On...FINALLY...Now Let's Talk About Me

The longest election process EVER is finally over. And now I don't have to not blog about it, or just barely blog about it, or not obsess over it, or obsess over it, or try to avoid it, or embrace it every day.

PHEW! Glad we made it. Let's move on.

I would like to wear pigtails and overalls again.
Or walk barefoot in the warm sand, weaving in and out of the water.
Or dance all night with a room of strangers who, after 4 hours in a crowded bar and 2 drinks too many, are your new BEST friends.
Or be irresponsible and do stupid things just for fun.
Or just pack a small bag and hop on a bus and not really have any real plans-no plans of where to stay, what to do, or when I will go home.


I would also like to have my student loans paid off - feel free to donate HERE:
(no seriously---every little bit helps!! Go ahead....make my day!!)

I would also like to have some homemade cookies, but I want them to be calorie-free. But taste like the yummy goodness that they are supposed to. I mean really - we can solve erectile dysfunction but we can't come up with a superb tasting, low calorie dessert??

I would also like a foot rub. Is there anything better than a nice foot rub?

And when was the last time you played ping pong? I would love to play a good game of ping pong. One time, my friend Rip (yes, that's his name) and I were going to go have a beer together and he knew of this bar nearby that was supposed to have a table IN THE BAR (best idea ever), but after searching for the bar, then searching for a parking place-we discovered that the ping pong table was no longer in the bar. Sad.





I would L-O-V-E to only have to work 30 hours a week. I think 30 hours is good. Or actually-I know a doctor who was hired on at something like .75FTE which means he had off a week a month. Being the smart man he is, he somehow convinced his new boss to let him stock up his time and take off multiple weeks at a time. So what ended up happening was he would work something like 3 months of 40hrs straight and then take off for three weeks. And THAT is a great schedule.





I would like my memory back - I have some key things I'm forgetting. Like a good portion of my childhood. And the name of the single dad I was friends with in college--all I can remember is his sons name was Adam and he had two girls as well. And he really liked the Seahawks. Or was it the Mariners. And the last name of the man who lived next door to us in 1997-he had the dog with the funny shaped ears. He was a vet and I know he was doing research that involved him artificially inseminating cows. Think about that...he was the inseminator of cows. Nice guy, not so nice job.





I think my earring hole on my right side is infected. I would like it to not hurt anymore.


I would like my bladder to not wake me up 90 minutes before it's time for my alarm to go off. I think there's a pocket of time when you CAN go back to sleep and when it's just not humanly possible.
The window of time seems to be 2 hours or 20 minutes. So if you wake up 2 hrs before the alarm is due to go off - you're okay, you can go to sleep again. And then if you have just 20 minutes---you'll doze right off, though you really won't enjoy that 20 minutes. ANY time frame between the 2 hrs or the 20 minutes prior to the alarm though-and you're stuck tossing and turning.
Hate that.
But sometimes you just can't wait....

Yes We Can!

Hmm...not much going on tonight.

I wore dress shoes to work -which I rarely do - and was standing all morning so my feet are a bit sore.

hmmm...what else....
I still got on my treadmill tonight, tired dogs and all....but just for a mile and a half (I wanted to do 3).

Hmmm....
Anything else going on tonight?

The condos that I have had my eye on since moving here five years ago now have THREE units available. THREE. I have been very reluctant to purchase a home - single mom, one income, very little child support and no other assistance coming in, hungry-hungry-teenager, car payment, buckets of student loans to pay, etc....AND most importantly, I have always been led to believe that if you don't plan to live in a home for five or more years, you will not get your investment back and thus, it's more economical to rent.
AND who wants to do yard work? Or clean a bigger home? Or fix every little thing that breaks? Or a million other things that homeowners have to deal with?

Anyway...now I have to think harder about it---because the condo/townhouses that I wanted are available.

Quiet night around here....the kid is addicted to Warcraft right now so he's off in his room on his laptop a lot these days.
I have a couple of movies to watch.
The cats need to be combed.
Kitchen needs to be cleaned.

I should probably go to bed soon.

Oh---AND WE HAVE A NEW PRESIDENT!!!!!!!!! and it's the right one!!!

I'm excited for Obama and our future together. I really hope that he brings us back from the depths of the deep beyond that our current legislation has managed to do to us.

I remember 8 years ago, I was working in a non-profit and the day after the election when Dubya Bush won, we all were in a trance at work. It was as if we were in mourning. As if we had an inkling of what was about to come...
And everyone I spoke to in my world of the not-for-profit business, where we care for others and do good for all that we can - everyone was in a daze and were only saying things like "I just can't believe he won" or "I can't believe this is happening."
And then four years later---no longer in the non-profit world, but still surrounded by people saying to teach other: "I can't believe he won AGAIN" and "how did this happen??"

Maybe it's where I live. But maybe we had a notion of what path our government was on...and maybe we were right.

But NOW ------ we can try to climb back up from the dregs and make a change and bring our country back to the goodness of what our country is supposed to be.

Woohoo!!!
and
YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Volunteer More

Tomorrow a group of girls from work and I are going to volunteer at a local alternative school.
Why? Because we are good, kind people.
Why? Because we can.
Why? Because it is a good thing to do for others.

The better question would be:

Why not?

*crickets*

Exactly.

So while you are all off to your day job, the girls and I will be off to help two classrooms of 17-20 year old students work on their mock interview skills and resume-writing skills.

And our employer supports this!
Why? Because they should.
Why? Because it makes the world a better place.

Seriously---it does.
Imagine if everyone was obligated (we are not) to spend 4 hours a month volunteering. Think how much we can accomplish in the world with 8 billion people (totally made up number) volunteering four hours a month?
I just can't do math in the billions-it's THAT big of a difference in the world!!!

There will never ever ever EVER be a shortage of a need for volunteers. And who can't spare four hours a month? Is that really that much to ask? That's two movies. That's 4 network prime time hour long shows. That's 4 stupid soap operas that mean NOTHING and provide very little entertainment value.
AND
the best part?
You can do this with your family!!!! It doesn't even take away from your family time.

Ready to sign up??
Are we all raising our hands in unity and cheering???
YEAH!!!!!!!!!
Let's all go volunteer!!!!!!!!!

And then report back here on your adventures!
YAY for us!!!!

Cute Little Caterpillars, Mr. Rooney


I don't quite understand why no one has helped this poor elderly man fix his eyebrows.

It's not like he's just sitting in a nursing home somewhere...he's actually on tv EVERY week. And I really like listening to him-he's like the old crotchety grandfather of your best friend (which makes him slightly endearing). I don't agree with a lot of his views, but I enjoy hearing his point of view. He's 89 going on 159.

89 years of growing out his eyebrows.

Here are some great Andy quotes:
  • Computers make it easier to do a lot of things, but most of the things they make it easier to do don't need to be done.
  • People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe.
  • Anyone who watches golf on television would enjoy watching the grass grow on the greens.
  • Vegetarian - that's an old Indian word meaning lousy hunter.
  • The average dog is a nicer person than the average person.


Thanks Andy for reminding me to get my eyebrows waxed!

Book of the Week: The Mermaid Chair


Alison recommended this book, though one of the main characters name is Hugh, which is a name she dislikes for no reason other than she doesn't like Hugh Downs.

The Mermaid Chair is a good book-an easy read for anyone I think. It's all about how sometimes a choice comes along and can fully change the path your life has been on.

It reminds you of how sometimes you make a decision that can totally change your life.
ONE decision.
Your ENTIRE life.
That's a BIG decision.

I like the Pocahontas way of looking at it, to draw from the wisdom of a Disney character: the river path you choose will determine where you end up.

Like what if I hadn't gotten married right out of high school?
What if I didn't go to college?
What if I didn't move to Oregon?
What if I didn't live overseas?
What if I lived overseas longer?
What if I didn't get engaged to that sociopath?
What if I didn't take the first job offer I had after moving back here and spend the next 3 yrs in an admin role where I did very little productive work (not because I didn't' want to - it wasn't an option)?
What if I didn't eat that junk food last night?
What if I bought another kitten (I really want to!)?
What if I don't clean my room today (I really don't want to)?

Big and small decisions that totally shape your life....and sometimes you don't even know that they are BIG decisions.

Like what if one of the pieces of junk food I ate last night had a razor blade in it? Remember when that was a risk? (what was that all about anyway?? What kind of sadistic person does that??)
What if I get another kitten and it's sickly and I have to spend all my riches on vet bills?
(great examples, I know...)

You just never know. The Mermaid Chair was a good book anyway. I recommend reading it on a rainy afternoon with a warm blanket and a fuzzy friend beside you. Or maybe on the beach in Mexico with the sun just rising and a breakfast buffet before you.

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