It Hurts..Oh So Good....Please Do It More...WAIT, Stop, Not So HARD!!

**Just a quick note: Sign up for the 100 Personalized Postcard giveaway here. Don't know what you would use them for? How about making some wonderful postcards promoting a local non-profit? Non-profits love free advertising, yo. Do a good deed with no money out of your pocket and very little effort!!**

Anyway....You know how you hear about all these places that try and get you to sign up for their club, where they sign you up for auto-pay and you have to commit to a length of time and sign on four forms and offer up your first-born and agree to marry their brother......I usually avoid these types of things. However - ya'll may have heard me talk too many times about how I have chronic pain for both tmj and tendinitis (or maybe it's carpal tunnel - I should know this!) and so one of the things I do to ease the pain from these is to take copious amounts of vicodin get massages every 4-6 weeks.


Let me review for you:
TMJ - pain in my left jaw (the drivers side, if you will, ha). The pain in my jaw causes the muscle that runs from my jaw down over my shoulder to get very taut. Try flexing your arm muscle...and hold it for 4 weeks. Hold it really tight. That muscle will most definitely start to ache. After your four weeks of flexing, have someone rub all around and on that muscle for an hour. Are you imagining it? Isn't it a wonderful relief? YES, it is.

Tendinitis - (or maybe carpal tunnel) - so this is mostly affecting my right wrist, but my left wrist sometimes flares up just to remind me that it needs some love too. I type for a living-all day, every day. I also type way too much outside of work, like for all of you, here, my blogger friends (you're welcome). My poor lil wrists just get tired.

Soooooo.....back to the point........
I went ahead and signed up at the local Massage Envy for monthly massages for the next six months. I had to give up Andrew and I might be engaged - but it's a better deal to sign up for the monthly club thing and it pushes me to take this step of self-care on a regular basis.

And I love it.


However, there are two types of massages that bother me:
  1. Sometimes you get a massage person who is a bit over-zealous about working out that knot in my shoulder. And it feels oh.my.god.SOGOOD. Until it's over. And then suddenly you realize that you've been assaulted and omg-why can I feel my kidneys when I look over my left shoulder?? 
  2. I'm almost torn though on if it's better to have this KO feeling as opposed to the other type of massage, where they gently rub you...and it's nice.....and it feels good....but so does taking a bubble. And taking a bath is free. So don't just make me feel good lady.....make me feel it, at least for an hour after. But there's a fine line there....I don't really want to feel it all week.
Tonight's massage was brought to me by the letters K and O. As in KnockMeTheEffOut.
Did I mention I have a pinched nerve in my back? It comes and goes, it's been around for 8 months, I deal with that and don't really care most of the time....but after Mike Tyson gave me a massage tonight, it's just me and the heating pad. Night, ya'll!

Weekend Wrap Up - Presents Day 2009

And it's over...Presents Day was fun, more so this year than any in the last 6 years. It was so wonderful to have the house to decorate, to spread out in, to celebrate in, to have friends over....it makes a huge difference in my happiness quotient.

We saved all of our present opening until Presents Day, aka Xmas.

Andrew got me a great gift of a digital photo frame and a storage card for it, which is awesome as I think about getting one often, thinking I might be the very last person ever to not have one. I spent two hours selecting the right photos for the memory card, but have not yet decided the most perfect spot in the house for it.

We spent Xmas Eve watching a couple movies while making a gazillion cookies.







Xmas day brought guests and lots of food:



My friend Dean made deep-fried turkey breasts, which were a huge hit. And we had ham, corn casserole, stuffing, ginger carrot things, a squash souffle and homemade biscuits. We also had a homemade apple crisp, which was neglected but that was fine for us because we ended up with leftovers!


Later in the evening we made pavlova:





Decorated in a holiday spirit of green (kiwi) and red (raspberries), it turned out quite well considering I didn't really follow any specific recipe. I googled "pavlova recipe" and then I somewhat guessed at measurements and whatnot. I had a great recipe about 5 years ago, but can't find it anymore. I don't know how this years pavlova turned out so yummy, given the "meh, does this look like a teaspoon amount?" way of doing things (which I never do because I'm just not that talented in the kitchen). Pavlova is a meringue - and I do not like lemon meringue pie, not just the lemon part, but the entire thing isn't good to me.
I think the best part of this pavlova dessert is the crispy outer shell, the soft squishy middle and the crispy sweet crust on the bottom. We made the "frosting" from scratch too - just ultra fine sugar and a splash of vanilla...and something else (sorry I have no recipe for you to copy). Just delicious!! We all loved it, and had just two squares left on the pan after everyone had 1-3 servings and we all said, "whew, we're DONE" - then we stood around the pan talking....and it just slowly disappeared. It's best fresh anyway!


We had 7 guests for Xmas Day. It was pointed out that I have been quite the socialite since moving here...and this is absolutely true. I lived the last 5 years in a tiny apartment that was not really conducive to having friends gathering together for any length of time....and now I have a large living room area: the game room we call it, that is perfect for all of us to just hang out and lounge and (as always) play games. It's just wonderful. And my old kitchen fit 1.5 persons at any given time. This one comfortably fits 6.8. It's just wonderful!
Amy and her beautiful daughter Holly

I think the 3 kids (not counting young Andrew) had about 12 cookies each before dinner, which means they were good. Then they bounced off the walls for a little bit.

We ate, we talked, we laughed, we ate, we played games, we cleaned....someone (me) dropped a container of expired sour cream on the floor. Directly behind someone who was kindly doing some dishes. It made a wonderful cartoon-sounding SPLAT noise and attacked poor Dean....Amy very kindly jumped right in and helped do damage control. I, of course, jumped for the camera.

Overall - a great weekend. I did no work at all, which is a good weekend anytime, I ate a million calories-in preparation for my upcoming 2010 work-out plan, I celebrated with family and friends, and we have enough leftovers that I don't have to worry about any meal for the next 3 days.

Next steps: must put away holiday decorations and get the house cleaned up for the small New Years Eve party later this week. Oh, and work will be a nightmare, end of year stuff and all.

Did you all have a great holiday? Get anything amazing from your loved ones? Anything scandalous and drama-filled happen that you must share with all of us? Please do!

T-2 Until Pavlova Day!!!

Do any of you out there know the goodness that is called Pavlova?
It's the most delicious thing and it's traditional to have at birthdays and xmas if you are from a down under land. The New Zealanders, the Kiwis, will tell you that it's their dessert. The Australians will insist it is their dessert. If you ever want a really heated discussion with someone from one of those countries, let them know that you heard pavlova comes from the other country. And then stand back a little bit, because honestly-I've known some people from each country and they would defend their dessert heritage to the DEATH. It's serious.

I first had pavlova when I was hanging out with a Kiwi in Korea. Her and her daughter lived about 2 hours south maybe and we decided to meet, just coincidentally around her daughters birthday. In Korea, we didn't have stoves, so baking a cake was a bit of a challenge. Baking a cake that was not native to the country we lived in was even more of a challenge. She actually had to have someone ship her some of the supplies - like cream of tarter.

With the baking supplies challenge done, she found a local bakery who agreed to bake it for her. However, the standard way to bake a pavlova is to leave it in oven for just a short amount of time and then turn the oven off, never ever open it, but leave the pavlova in to cook slowly while the oven cools. We weren't really certain we were able to translate this correctly to the baker, who really thought the entire thing was insane, but he humored us. We gave him the pavlova mix and left it in his hands....and it came out perfect!!!

We made fresh cream to frost it with and covered it with kiwi fruit and it was the BEST dessert ever!
Photo from a real live Australian website.
I don't know why we don't make this more often...it's delicious!! And it will be at my house on Xmas night if anyone would like a bite. But time it right, because it won't last long!

Presents Day 2009, Part One: The Family At Large Edition

We celebrated Presents Day up north this weekend with the family and it was a blast!
It's a three hour drive to get to my folks house; sometimes it seems like nothing, sometimes it takes FOREVER.

It's well worth it regardless. We laughed and laughed and ate and laughed and laughed some more.

We opened presents on Friday night. We all got/gave some great gifts.

One of the funniest moments accidentally happened when I opened a gift from my sister. It was an Adult Mad Lib game. She had bought it months and months ago and had set it aside for Xmas. Then she wrapped it up and brought it on over....and was much surprised when I opened the gift and started flipping through it and found one of the pages already completed! Apparently my sisters kids were waiting in the car one day and it was in the back in a box of goods and they pulled it out and completed one. It's and ADULT version mind you, so it asks you for totally adult words....and I'm going to love playing this with my adult friends. I'll spare you the details of what the kids wrote (it has an unfortunately common derogatory word for gay a few times), but it was QUITE funny that the gift had been sampled already. We laughed quite hard over this...

My sisters family gave me the Pictionary game with the little guy you write on and it provided us hours of laughter. I could not love this game any more!!
Pictionary ManA funny story: see my sweet little mom pictured above? Keep that sweet face in mind as I tell you this story:
Mom was on my team. The category is Movie Titles. I have to draw for my mom and get her to say the word Shaft. Knowing that my mom would not have any idea about this movie (and it would be difficult to draw that movie anyway), I went a different route.....a different type of shaft......making it an Adult version of the game...


AND I thought this would really work, because my mom works in the medical field.

So I sketched out a diagram of a penis.

Yes, for my sweet little mom.

And she just sat and stared for a moment and was not sure she was in the right house I think....and then she names off 3 or 4 synonyms for penis-words we NEVER hear my sweet little mom say, words she probably didn't expect to say to her daughters and grandson at her kitchen table...and so I start indicating the middle section of my drawing....drawing a line at the top and the bottom of the "shaft"....repeatedly and frantically tracing over them to get her to focus on that middle section.

While sweet little mom just stares.
And my sister laughs hysterically.
And Andrew starts screaming out: "She's cutting it!! She's CUTTING IT!!!"

Mom and I didn't win...but it was a fun game nonetheless.



Young Andrew - turkey carver.






Mom and her new coat and purse. She's just darling!!!







And anytime Andrew gets slightly bored, I find him like this:

We couldn't possibly travel anywhere without a guitar!

And here's the kids:
That's my nephew sitting with his girlfriend in front of him (she was with us both days while my nephew was there and at no time was she not touching him). My niece is standing in back (she's so pretty!) and there's my little Andrew sitting in front (I love him).

Oh - and I have blown my nose about 7000 times in the last 48 hours. I think I have sneezed 22 times. This is so totally unacceptable!! I was sick two days after Thanksgiving!!! I am DONE being sick!!! Presents Day Part Two in just five more days!!! I can't believe it!!!!

KaPOW! Bang! SHAZAM! Zowzers!!! It's a GIVEAWAY!!!!!!

Hello everyone!
Welcome to my blog.
Today's blog is about you.
All about you.
And your desire to utilize our U.S. Postal Service. It's a great old organization and we should all use it more. Who doesn't love to get stuff in the mail??

To help you with this desire of yours, I've got a sweet little giveaway for you.

You know how you just started a business/about to have a baby/just bought a house/made a million dollars/want to have personalized thank you cards- and you would love to have a mailing go out to your friends and families and all their friends and families? Well Uprinting.com can help you.

UPrinting.com will print up some fancy-schmancy postcards with your personal design on them.

The UPrinting.com website is simple to use - I'm not just saying that - it really is. Would I lie to you? (not about this, no) I have actually used their site and it is user-friendly.

Here's the details:

Giveaway Prize: 100 Postcards for one (1) lucky winner
Size: 4x6;
Paper: 14pt Cardstock Gloss;
Printing: Full color both sides
Shipping: Winners have to pay for shipping
(bummer - but how much is this really? Probably not much!)


SO - think really hard - I bet you could come up with a good reason to need these. Yep-think about it. I am receiving a batch myself and I honestly started thinking "postcards?? what would I use these for??" but then I had some great ideas.
I wish I had these back in May when I moved into my new house.
Or back in 1992 when I had a baby.
Or when I was married and we owned a business.
Or when I was looking for a job and wanted a fun and unique way to impress some potential employers.
Oh--wait!!!! I might just use these to make graduation announcements!!! Is it too early for that? June 2011 is coming up fast!!!
My other idea was to make thank you cards for the volunteers who help out all the time, that would be a nice personal touch.

It's really easy to enter. Just show me some comment love. Some of you are really good at that. Some of you need to practice (you know who you are). Leave a comment and let me know what you are thinking you would want to do with them. You could steal some of my amazing ideas listed above or use your own.

Those are the rules - easy right???
Just leave a comment.
I guess I'll do the normal blogger thing and offer up another chance to win if you subscribe via email or follow via blogger. Just one extra entry, eh. Two chances to win. Go ahead now....get your name in there.
Winners will be chosen on January 3rd when I sober up.
Comments close at midnight on January 3rd. Start typing. Good luck everyone!!
Thanks UPrinting.com - if you're really anxious and can't wait until this giveaway ends, you can go ahead and order postcards online here.
In adherence to the ridiculous FTC ruling on Blogger Reviews and Sponsored Postings which is ridiculous, I need to fully disclose blahblahblah that I will be receiving 100 Postcards from UPrinting.com for hosting this giveaway. woohoo!

Secret Santa Special Surprise!!!

Can I just say how much I love to get packages in the mail?

It's so much fun to come home and pull up in the driveway and see a little box hidden in the corner by your door.

I received one late last week from a special blogger friend....via the Secret Santa Blogger Soiree hosted by the most wonderful Georgie and Amy. You might have seen the button on the sidebar all month - and now all the effort of having that button have paid off!!


My Secret Blogger Santa did really well by me.

First was the card, which featured an animal dressed up and we all know how much I love that!!

On top was my most favorite treat (next to ice cream, which isn't mailable so it's totally understandable that I received none): Reeses peanut butter cups, which lasted about 15 minutes between me and the teen, and peanut M&M's which lasted a bit longer, but are sadly no longer with us.

I got a super cute holiday towel set, a gift card to Panera bread (YUM), and the most thoughtful and best thing of all......this ornament:


Some of you know that my son and I (and the furry friends) just moved into my very first home ever. It's the best house in the whole world and I never ever want to leave it and my secret santa obviously knows this....a very sweet present!!! I literally hugged it and squeeled like a three-year old.

Here's my full spread:

I love it all!!!

Thank you super special secret santa!!! Happy holidays to you!!!

If anyone else is interested in sending me special packages, just let me know!! I'm happy to let the entire blogger world know how wonderful you are. I just don't want you to feel left out if you wanted to be called out for sending a great gift to a stranger. I'm nice that way.

Random Thoughts Tuesday - I've Missed You RTT!

I've missed the last few RTT's. I have no excuse. I hope I'm still allowed in the club.

randomtuesday
Click on the button for the link to more randomness.


  • OMG – I got my secret santa box!!!! I have a secret santa, she did wonderful things for me….and I took pictures and I’m ready to share my goodies with you all…..tonight! I keep forgetting to upload from my camera. TONIGHT though!!! My secret santa did me right, yo.
  • I made cupcakes last night based off this recipe. They aren’t quite what I had hoped for….but I didn’t follow the recipe exactly-I added a little more sugar and I used fat-free cream cheese. And I used white cake mix, not chocolate. They are okay…..not as spectacular as I had hoped.
  • We celebrate Presents Day with my folks and my sister and her family on SATURDAY. I need to have all shopping done before I leave for work on Friday morning. Yikes, where did the month go??
  • Alison isn’t talking to me and I don’t know why.
  • I’m still in shock that Tiger Woods hit a tree and he’s suddenly the worlds worst husband and no longer a role model. I do not know what happened…how do you hit a tree in a car…alone…and suddenly you have 7, no 9, no 12 girlfriends and all your text messages are public? I am being very careful to not hit any trees – who knows what will be discovered!!!
  • I have seen my raccoon friend twice more, waddle across the backyard and head under the deck. I’m worried he lives there. The one time our cat got out (when some wonderful visiting teenager left the door open ALL night), he hid under the deck. I don’t want to be afraid of letting my kitties out…any suggestions on how to teach my raccoon that we can all live peacefully?
  • I’m thinking about visiting Iowa next June. Anyone willing to let me sleep on their guest bed? I’m 89% sure the teen will be coming with. And my mom.

Weekend Wrap-up: Couldn't Be Busier Edition

Busy weekend!!

Saturday was the Holiday Ornaments for Seniors event. I bring about two boxes full of misc crafty scraps (which are all donated from various sources) and some very crafty people volunteer their time to make the greatest decorations for a low-income senior housing.


Here are just a couple of my favorites:
These have foam centers and are covered with cotton batting. The best part: Look at the girl snowman ---- she has a very stylish purse!!! How adorable is that?
The bodies of these are made from those large old beads that preschools use for making necklaces. I have no idea how the little chorus books are made, but these turned out AMAZING. How darling is this?? And some girl just came in, with no idea what was going to happen and she created this masterpiece! Awesome work!



After the event, I ran some errands and then Saturday night friends came over for games night. We had a fair amount of alcohol, more than our fair share of laughs and good times, and we ended up staying up playing games until 3am!!! THREE AM!!! It was just so much fun - a very good group of friends.

Today was another holiday volunteer event - a local apartment complex for low-income families receives donated gifts for their families. Then they set up all the donated gifts in their community center as a "store" and during one hour, the families can come select which gifts they want. My volunteers and I helped sort the gifts by gender and age and then helped find a present for the parents.

Most of the families were lined up outside for the entire hour that we were setting things up, as they wanted the first pick. We anticipate that not everyone can stand outside and be first, so we set aside a few of the bigger gifts and replenished our stock halfway through. Kids weren't allowed in the "store," but we had a couple kids follow around the window areas and watch their moms. This one little boy was outside and he kept saying, "I'm so excited!!" He watched his mom pick out a big play dough gift set for him. She explained that she never has money for a babysitter and there's no one to watch him, so there is no surprising him on anything ever.

The families were all very grateful, and the program coordinator was even more grateful. She said she doesn't usually have volunteers helping at the store and it's typically just her and another employer. It was great to feel the appreciation and I think all the volunteers had a great experience.

My son couldn't be bothered to help out - he is now up for adoption (not for not-volunteering, but for not coming to help me when I asked for it). Please let me know if you are interested. He really is a good kid in many other ways.

Did I mention I was up until 3am?? I'm exhausted! Off to a long bath and an early bedtime.

I'll Be The Queen, You Be The Jester

Love it! Ginger makes a great jester! She kinda just laid there frozen in place. She believes that she is being tortured nearly every time Andrew comes near her, so this is her normal face when he is nearby. Isn't she darling??

There are actually holes for the ears even! I can't believe they had this on sale for less than two bucks! A jester hat for a cat WITH ear holes??? I know, you would expect this to be fairly expensive, and definitely out of my price range during the holidays, but nope...I got it the week after Halloween for about a buck-sixty. This is probably the best deal of the YEAR, right?

Whiskers wanted to play along too, but Andrew decided he didn't like the pic of himself (though it turned out really well) - here's the edited version:

Coming to You Live From a Tanzanian Village Near You

Some of you may have heard that I like to volunteer (because I talk about it ALL the time).

Some of you may actually have volunteered with me in the past (thanks!!! I really appreciate it and value your help!).

Some of you may know that every little thing you do to help others has a ripple effect....like the other day the car in front of me gave a young homeless girl a couple bucks when we were stopped at a 4-way stop. And instead of being irritated that he was taking FOREVER - I was inspired to give up a couple bucks myself, and didn't remember why I was in such a hurry. Or by making a small little card for a terminally child - you are actually affecting that entire family (who knows how bad their day was going before you sent that card, and how uplifting it might have been for their spirits to see your great rendition of a cartoon dinosaur). We can do just LITTLE things and make such a BIG difference. We really can!

Just try it, I dare you.

Last year, some volunteers got together and we made ABC posters for schools overseas. Some went to Dominican Republic, Uganda, and Kenya. And then the project came to a standstill because I just didn't have any more schools to send them too and I had an abundance of posters ready to mail. And they sat in my closet for about 5 months with no home.

And then one day, I just put in more effort and searched around for a local non-profit that was somehow connected to an overseas school that might benefit.

And that's when I found Barry Childs and Africa Bridge.
And that's when I fell in love.

Barry is this amazing human who has dedicated his life to the people of Tanzania. He works with the elders to identify a counsel of people who work together to identify the most needful children in a community. Then they, the counsel and elders, work together against the factors that prevent their community from being successful with the bridge to what they need in order to educate their children, grow their community, provide for a future for their people.

I'm certain I am not doing the program justice with my little description - here's a little blurb from their website:

Africa Bridge blends effectiveness and efficiency to change Tanzania one child at a time. Its core projects include providing seed capital for farm cooperatives, training for agricultural projects, building classrooms, providing scholarships for school expenses and supporting Tanzania's Most Vulnerable Children Committees (MVCCs).

We use an integrated approach that works through local families and communities. They agree to identify and care for children orphaned and made vulnerable by HIV/AIDS and other diseases. We bring resources, technology and training to create sustainable incomes for the caregivers.The children receive housing, clothing and food, social and legal support, and at least a primary school education. We make each project sustainable to create permanent change.


I have had the chance to hear Barry speak a couple of times, and listening to him speak, you can actually feel the passion he has towards this cause. He has done amazing things in these little communities in the middle of one of the poorest countries in Africa...and he just does it, with little recognition, and in such a humble way, and in a peaceful and quiet way. He's just amazing.


Anyway - I spoke with the people at Africa Bridge, and Barry was happy to take our posters to his schools in Tanzania. I think we sent seven or eight. Barry had to buy an extra suitcase to get them there-the posters, when folded even, take up quite a bit of space, and were not really conducive to suitcase packing.

Typically, we send these posters off and then never hear another word. Not a card, not a thanks, nothing...which is fine-but we would all love to see the outcome of our work, right?


Well, Barry pulled through......and our posters are in the hands of some very happy teachers in Tanzania and Barry and Africa Bridge has requested more donations! Not just letters, but also numbers. Or other teaching implements. They really value our work. They really appreciate what we have done. They loved them - and beyond that even, they brought back pictures!! Of our little posters....in the middle of Africa!! And I have to say that I almost cried a teeny-tiny bit when I saw them.

The children were all gathered around, as they come running when they see "papa Barry" come to town. They were all so excited about our posters.



The teachers literally have nothing on their wall. The children do not all have paper and writing utensils. They do not all have books. Our posters have really made a change to the lives of others in a little community far, far away.



Thank you to everyone who helped me make this happen. Thanks to Natalie, and Jackie, and Kathy, and Kristi, and Mike, and Dean, and Amy, and anyone else I'm missing.....we have made a difference!!!

If anyone else wants to make a difference, it's really easy. Donate via their website ($25 will buy a student supplies for a year). Or become a fan of their cause on Facebook. Or just spread the word about them. They are wonderful.

The Amazing Race Finale!

Fun! I love this show!!
I'm glad someone NOT famous and/or wealthy won, it just seems more fair.

Did anyone watch this show?
Did anyone else think that the winning team was brother and sister? I did - the entire time. I just don't remember them doing anything that would identify them as a couple.
It was weird. I thought they were brother and sister and that the boy is a secret gay man. Nothing wrong with being gay, Cheyne!!! We'll still be happy for you!!

I'll miss this show. It's the only good thing going for Sunday night. Now Sunday has nothing. NOTHING. Just a lot of animosity and bitterness that we all have to work tomorrow. Thanks Sunday...Thanks for nothing.

Babies and Dumpsters Don't Mix

This is a reprint from two years ago (when none of you were here with me)...I remembered this story the other day when we were talking about interviewing at work. It's such a great story, I feel like I need to tell more people.

We had an interview candidate come through my work on Tuesday and I spent about 30 min talking about the company and the city with him. Our candidates meet with about 5 people, both so they can get a good feel for the atmosphere in our department and so we can get a well-rounded look at whether or not that person would be a good match for us.

He mentioned he had a new baby so I said "aw, your first? Are you still in shock" and he said "yeah, the other day my wife and I were with friends and she looked from our fussy baby to our friends and then said "I don't know why more people don't throw these in the dumpster."

Huh?
Wait, what?
Yeah...."I don't know why more people don't throw these in the dumpster."
Seriously. In a suit and tie, at a JOB INTERVIEW, relating that story to someone he JUST MET.
He then shared his theories about how some people must just be born to be parents, but unfortunately, neither he nor his wife feel that way about themselves.
Which is fine....but um, I just met you? Should you be sharing that personal info with me? And um, are you trying to impress someone at your job interview?

And really-who says things like that?? Even if I was feeling that way as a new mom--I wouldn't share it with A) my circle of friends or B) a stranger in a job interview or C) ANYONE.


I told my young one about this that night over dinner and even he couldn't believe it. I made sure to let him know that it's not too late---and there are dumpsters everywhere. He better watch his step.

I imagine if you shared this with your much-younger-than-mine young one, they might come to develop a rational fear of dumpsters. Maybe there are already people out there that have this fear and don't know why. I have now solved the mystery for them.

Burglar in My Backyard - Caught on Tape!

We really just figured out that if you leave the backyard lights on, eventually they go off - and they are security lights, so they will come on if someone is in the backyard. How nice! 5 months in the new house....I wonder what other tricks this house does...

Tonight Andrew was teaching himself a new Coldplay song (he really is that talented!) and I was unpacking holiday decorations and the backyard lights came on...they NEVER come on. And we were a little surprised-but nothing was there. Until......I saw someones beady little eyes, peaking out from around the deck bench.

And I happened to have my camera out as I had been taping Andrew moments before, so luckily I was able to catch this trespasser.

Also luckily, our cat-who-thinks-he's-a-dog was at the ready and rushed low-belly style right up to confront the intruder.

The intruder did not even blink at Whiskers, just kept on foraging.

Oddly enough - there is a stuffed chicken leg at the door, as if it was being offered up. I assure you that we did not offer any food to this uninvited guest.

Andrew took a moment to wonder why we never domesticated raccoons. Good question. They are so cute to look at!

We named her Cassandra.

Notes from Korea: 01.18.02 - The Beginning of Our Year Abroad

I think this is the first email I sent out, though it's the 2nd Notes from Korea post....because I'm not that organized apparently. I'll work on it, have patience.

Andrew and I are actually in Korea!
We had a little trouble with our cat and after two hours of arguing, we finally had to leave our cat with them in quarantine for 20 days, although we did everything we were supposed to beforehand. We are going to visit Tasha next week though and check in with her to make sure she is okay.
We are staying with my directors family for a week, hopefully not more. On the positive side of that, we have learned many Korean words and are being fed well. We haven't had to pay for a thing. We went to a museum and did a tour through Yeoju and in Wonju, where the family lives.
There isn't any food here that I have found that I really like, though Andrew has found some great pork dish that he has had twice in two days. The family eats a LOT-every meal there is a lot of food and rice is, of course, the ever present side dish. Andrew can't even eat as much as them-and he can really eat! The directors sister keeps bringing us food all day because she thinks we must be hungry when we don't drink as much as them. The director said to me that his sister is worried that I will starve or pass out from hunger.
The family has a ten year old boy (he's only two months older than Andrew but the Korean children are considered one when they are born). He knows a little English, but not much and he continually says, "And-er-ew, COME," and most of the time he is not wanting to GO anywhere. Andrew has mixed feelings about the boy, as he wants someone to play with, but the boy doesn't seem to know how to play what Andrew wants. The Korean children are very independent. I saw two young boys weaving their way through traffic trying to cross this very busy intersection-and they were only about four and five years old! The director set Andrew and his nephew up in a PC room this morning while we went to the bookstore. We ended up being gone for 2 1/2 hours. When I asked about getting back to the boys, the Director didn't understand why I asked...he said something about-did Andrew need me tonight? Then I was getting a little nervous wondering if he was planning on going back before the night was over! I don't know that I will ever get used to that!!
Korean drivers are INSANE! There seems to be no sense of order and a lot of streets are very narrow, with cars just parked where they want. I don't know how we have managed to NOT be in an accident yet. I haven't even seen an accident...
I am hoping to be in our own place by the end of next week and hope to get a computer or laptop. I am in a PC room right now, at a buck an hour, which is fairly expensive. Most things are pretty cheap though, as I expected. The gas is NOT cheap-it costs about $31 US dollars to fill my directors gas tank-and it's a small car. The only time we did buy something, we weren't sure if it was a good deal or not since we still haven't gotten the hang of converting won over to dollars.
That's all for now!


This is a pic of a private science lesson in the home where we lived. The woman on the couch is the directors sister we lived with. Her role was to pay the teacher who came in for an hour lesson and to hit the children when they weren't paying attention. Note the yardstick in her hand. Andrew was made to sit there and listen and join in the lesson, looking through microscopes and such, but the teacher only spoke Korean so it really wasn't educational for him. (The pic is in my scrapbook-that's another photo overlapping in the top right corner)

Sick Sick Sick!!!

I made it to the end of NaBloPoMo!! One post every day for an entire month. Good Job, Me!

I'm celebrating by overdosing on various cold medicines and attempting another challenge: using an entire extra-super-sized box of tissues in 24 hours. I'm right on track so far...

Does anyone else aim towards their pet when they feel a sneeze coming on? Is that mean?

I think it's technically a law that you can't deface U.S. money, but these are fun:
(found via WildAmmo)

ninja turtle
funny money
art money
decorated cash You can see more at Joe D's flickr site. He's really quite good!

Back to me.....why does some cold medicine help my head, some helps my nose work, some stops the sore throat and some stops the sneezing...but I can't find one pill that does all of that at one time? I did end up staying home today. I may do the same tomorrow. I hate getting up and making the effort to pretend to be well and go to work and have people continuously say, "why didn't you just stay home??" Answer: because I have a job to do and I don't want to get fired.

Andrew update: he supposedly broke up with his girlfriend last week. I found them canoodling on the couch after school today. I think they are back together.

Weekend Wrap-Up: Dirty Tissue Edition

I'm sick.
But I'll play along, I know everyone gets really antsy to find out about my weekend.

It was a super-long weekend, which would have been great-if Andrew hadn't brought some germ into my life and contaminated my every pore. I spent most of Saturday and all of today in bed. Kids are great.

So Thursday was turkey day. I made this beautiful bird. I ate not one bite of it. I can't even remember what turkey tastes like, but I don't really remember loving it, and I really have no urge to eat it.

But I hear this turned out well...so yay me!!

There was just the right amount of people over - we had plenty of variety in foods, lots of helping hands, but not too many that people were in the way.

Dean carved the turkey. Janet (sitting down) didn't really do much but drink wine. Amy drank wine but spent a lot of energy fretting on her stuffing and the gravy. Michelle (in the blue) was wonderful and asked to borrow a headband to get her hair back and didn't even blink when the only headband I could find was the kitty cat ears I wore at Halloween.

It was a good group. We played games and talked and talked and ate and ate.

Did a little shopping Friday morning.
Watched movies.

Started sneezing.
Blew my noise a million times.

Saturday - repeat above.

Sunday - repeat, but I didn't actually leave my bed until 2pm. I'm sick!!!!

I did finish my book about Afghanistan and I'm horrified that our country is so selfish in its foreign policies. And I'm disheartened to think that Obama will be continuing on the same path as Bush in this regard, unless he really surprises us all on Tuesday when he unveils his Afghanistan plan. Sad.

And now I've started the Diana Gabaldon book and would love to just crawl into bed and do nothing but read, but the book is so big, too big to hold-I'm sick!! And weak. And reading is making me sleepy and I want to try to stay awake for a good 6 hours.

Will I make it to work tomorrow? Who knows....if I don't go, I'll feel guilty for not being in the office (though a lot of people work from home and it's not a big deal), but if I do go, I'll feel guilty for infecting others. Lose-lose situation. I might just sleep in and spend the entire day blowing my nose.

Life Is Not Always Peaches and Cream

I just feel so fortunate lately...let me share some personal information with you: I don't have a savings account. Not at all. This shocks some people, however, I have no debt beyond a very small credit card and my student loans. Oh, and that new home mortgage, but that doesn't count right? I don't even really count my student loans either because I feel like I'll be paying those until my very last breath, as I'll have to take out more loans to get the kid through college. Student loans are a lifetime expense for me.


So....with that said, I am one major crisis away from homelessness, right?

Am I worried? No. I was basically homeless in the past and I have lived part of life of just barely surviving month to month --the kind where you juggle whether you pay the doctors bill or the gas bill, the daycare bill or buy food. Hard choices. Nothing I am going through now can compare to the days of struggling as a single mom with a child in daycare, receiving no child support. Or even when I received child support, it never covered even half the daycare costs, much less provide for any necessary support.



And I feel so fortunate right now. Look at sweet Selma, my recycling friend. She spends hours collecting recycling and can't possibly be making much money doing so. And I know several people who have huge medical bills looming over them and just do what they can to keep on top of it all. For me to be able to go buy some curry for dinner, or a new set of 400-thread count sheets (half off the day after Thanksgiving!) - I just feel good about where I am. It could be much better, but it could be much, much worse.


Malalai Joya Afghanistan womenI'm reading this book about an Afghanistan woman, Malalai Joya and it just amazes me how fortunate we are. In her land, they struggle to just make it through each day alive. Not only from lack of food, medical care or day-to-day expenses, but people are just killed every day. For reasons they don't know, or for unjust reasons that they have no control over. They are picked up off the street by criminals who are supported by a corrupt government (that the US helped put in place), they might be tortured and killed immediately or just tortured and imprisoned for a lifetime.


It's just all so unfair. And unfortunately, the more I read, the more I learn that my own country -the one who claims to be trying to help the Afghan people- are actually part of the problem. More on that later...or maybe not...it's very depressing. I'm not sure I'm educated enough (yet) to really convey the information, but just know that the U.S. made some very selfish moves involving Afghanistan.

Cleanin' Blood and Guts and Stuff - Sunshine Cleaning


I just watched this indy film called Sunshine Cleaning.

It's about a girl who is working as a cleaning lady who stumbles into this opportunity to clean up crime scenes, which is a fairly lucrative business it seems.

I have actually thought about this before - when someone dies an unfortunate death, there's going to be a mess. And someone, a normal person, has to go in and clean that mess. Who are these people?? Apparently, they are just like you and I. It's a job they do. And someone has to do the job.

The movie has a behind the scenes special feature report on two sweet little ladies who actually do this for a living and they are totally normal, very sweet ladies who just do this job and are proud of the work they do. They help out where there's a need. It's very interesting...

It's a cute little movie. Nothing really spectacular, but an easy movie to watch. It stars Amy Adams, who is wonderful.
Anyone see this yet?

And A Happy Thanksgiving to You, And You, And You, And Especially You!

said the Pilgrams to the Indians as they accepted the feast that was presented to them...and as they plotted the need to slaughter these "savages."

As I've said before, this holiday of ours is somewhat misleading. Yes, let's give thanks, blahblah, but let's not forget what happened to the Indians. This was their land ya know...those were their buffalo, those were their gene pool (thanks for the new diseases Europe).

So I won't mention it again (this year)....we've covered the travesty of it all.
Not much more to say except:

Thanks!!!!
Thanks to my family.
Thanks to my friends.
Thanks to my blogger-friends (who deserve their own category).
Thanks to my teenager, who I was angry at last night but have forgiven him (as always) and love him more than anything.
Thanks to Ginger, the cutest girl cat in our house, for cuddling up on the couch with me every time I sit down.
Thanks to Whiskers, the best boy cat in our house, for being so obnoxious it's cute sometimes and for his fun dog-like personality.
Thanks to Honda - I love my CRV and Andrew loves his Civic.
Thanks to the handyman friend who came to my house at 11pm last night when I discovered my oven was not working and I thought I would have to alert Obama to cancel this holiday.
Thanks to Comcast for the music channels, which is necessary since Mtv has failed us in the music category (for a variety of reasons, but mostly for not playing any music).
Thanks to Selma, my recycling friend who wanders the streets and who gave me the most grateful smile and handshake I've had in ages.
Thanks to Peter Gabriel for "In Your Eyes."
Thanks to the inventor of yoga pants, the most comfortable thing in the world.
Thanks to all the U.S. Military and their families.
Thanks to Samsung for making the best phone ever.
Thanks to all my volunteers, who make my job as a Volunteer Project Leader way too easy.
Thanks to Gmail (no explanation needed-it's that awesome).

Just Screw It All

I am GRUMPY.
Anyone want to guess why?

Let me give you a hint: I gave birth 17 yrs ago....so I'm the mother of a teenager. Nuff said, right?

Guess how thankful I feel right now?????????
REALLY EFFING THANKFUL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have edited this about 4 times now. I'm glad we didn't all share the first version I wrote.

Notes From Korea - Welcome to Asia 01.23.02

Once upon a time, Andrew and I lived in Korea. I wish I had thought to have a blog at the time, I guess I wasn't that geeky back then. I also wish I had enjoyed more of the fried egg sandwiches in that one back-alley in Seoul. And I wish I would have bought more Korean "stuff."

While I was there, I wrote long (sometimes boring) emails to family and friends.
My mom and my ex-mother-in-law thought to save these and print them out for me. Great idea!! Thanks Mom!!! I haven't read through them...but I am going to.
Care to join me?

Info you should know: Andrew was 9 at the time. I homeschooled him while there. We took his cat with us (RIP sweet Tasha!). I sometimes write like a 5th grader (but you might have already noticed this). When we first moved there, we lived with my school director's family for the first 2 wks.

My plan is to revisit the binder of emails at least once a month and post some of the email content along with pictures. Fun, right? Well, we'll just see....it'll be fun for me to relive anyway. The rest of you can just humor me.

Here's part of the first email:

Hello from Korea!!

Well we have been here one week now and feel at home, as much as possible. Yesterday we went and looked at our new apartment and we will be moving into it on Saturday. It is very small compared to American housing, but it is a standard size for Korean apartments. We have a two bedroom, but the bedrooms don't have closets - so small as they are, they will be getting smaller once we move our stuff into them! The kitchen is almost non-existent, but it does have two sinks and lots of cute cupboards....There is a nice sized private "deck" with glass doors, so you can still go on the deck on a windy day-good for cats! The deck has concrete walls on each side so we don't see our neighbors next to us. The view is of the other apartment buildings and the parking lot. Just next to the parking lot is the apt office building. In this building is a video rental store (all movies are in English with Korean subtitles), a hair salon, a medical clinic, and a Tae Kwon Do class. There is a little market there as well.

The school is down the road aways, not really walking distance, but it's on a bus route and the director said he would us up most days anyway. The school is small as well, but it's going to be pretty nice. They hope to open it by Feb. 15th, when our tourist visa runs out. That way we can fly to Japan and get our E-2 Visa stamped. The school has to be open before we can get our E-2 though, so they are rushing to get it all done. I am excited to start teaching. We're going to have five classes a day, starting at two, so it will be almost a half a day of work! Andrew will be with me all day, except that I am hoping to get him in piano and art classes-which are both on the same block as the school. There will be a media room so he can hang out and watch a movie if he's done with his schoolwork and doesn't want to be in the class.

Things are so different, but there is a lot that is the same. We ate lunch at McDonalds yesterday! That was just like having lunch at home - except they serve you your meals, you just order and sit down!

We're off to Seoul to visit Andrew's cat in quarantine. The rabies shot was supposed to be over thirty days old-though the Korean consulate in the US said otherwise, so now she's stuck in some cage in Seoul until the ninth of February. It's irritating because we've been planning this for so long that we easily could have gotten her shot a while ago. I just hope they have good conditions, otherwise it will be more terrible leaving her there than it already will be. Andrew has taken it all very well and we both agree that it's best that she get to come straight to our new apartment instead of having to move from one house to the next.

Not much homesickness yet. We found M&M's, peanut butter, spaghettios, Pringles (they're everywhere), and Mt Dew (yuck) yesterday - what else could we need??

Sing Loud and Proud, My Froggy Friends!

My son can sing...like a little Liberace (in a non-opera way), or a Jimmy Buffet (in a non-drunkard way), or a young Frank Sinatra (in a non-romantic way)....get it? He's got pipes.

His mom, Me....can not. Not really at all.
I don't think it's a curable condition. I've tried many times to hit a note, or a pitch, a scale, or whatever singers "hit," but it's just not possible.

What's really fun for me, since I know I'm not ever going to sound the normal way regardless of how much I drink try, is to sing regular songs in different ways.

Tonight's songs in the shower were sung in the tone of: Kermit the Frog.


With a little bit of Satan-sounding demon thrown in.


And it makes that one Taylor Swift song that you hear any time you turn on the radio, at any given time of the day much more tolerable.

I like Alanis Morissette in the demon voice - she's great normally, but in demon-voice, she's extra vindictive sounding!

I usually really like to do rock or metal songs in an operatic way. Those are great!

Unfortunately, my young perfect-note/pitch-son is forced to listen to it. Sorry Punkinhead, Mama loves her music.

Anyone else do this? I think it's totally normal. Please do share in the comments. Confirm I am normal.

Weekend Wrap-Up - Another Boring Weekend

This weekend, in the preferred bulleted form:
  • Andrew grilled steaks for two of his friends. He made the marinade, he marinated it for 24 hours, he grilled it himself, he did great. The other boy made mac-n-cheese, with a full stick of butter (gross). They did it all themselves. What they did not do is clean. Not at all. Not in the slightest. I'm mad at all of them. All teenage boys everywhere.
  • We had a windstorm and it blew over one of the two potted trees that live outside my front door. I blame the boys. It may or may not have been the wind, but really, it could have been the monstrous teenage boys.
  • I went to a holiday craft bazaar named "Every Husbands Nightmare Holiday Bazaar," with my friend Amy and her two kids and one of their little friends.
  • As we pulled in, we were in the middle of a discussion about whether it really was a nightmare for all men and we were in the midst of saying that the only men who would attend would be men who bow down to whatever their wife wants or they are gay. As we turn the corner in the parking lot, going about 2mph, with a window halfway down, Amy points to a man with his wife crossing in front of us and says MUCH too loudly, "There's a man - GAY!" And the children all yell, "The window is open!!" It didn't help that she was pointing as the man turned our way.
  • In the building adjacent to the holiday craft bazaar was a medieval craft faire, complete with people dressed in medieval robes and calling each other m'lady and m'lord. They had some battles going on with pretend swords....and spoke in the olde language....and well, we had to try really hard not to laugh. These are grown men, pretending they are defending their honor to the death.
  • I raked leaves for 40 minutes and only got about a third of my backyard done before the yard debris was packed tight. Is it really necessary to rake them ALL? I really want to, just because if it snows and we go to make snow-people, I don't want them to have leaves dirtying up my snow.
  • I worked about 6 hours this weekend....for no overtime. Just because I really want to do my job well. And not stress out about getting my stuff done during this short week. AND I like having a movie playing in the background while I work. I know some people get distracted - that's not me. I am the Multi-tasking Queen.
  • Did I mention that my son and his friends for some reason had my coasters on the floor in the hallway? Why? Oh, nooone seems to know...but I imagine they are fun to throw like Frisbees.
  • I'm in the midst of another great book and I must get back to it.

I Just Can't Do It All...

Google reader is stressing me out. I have a gazilion blogs to catch up on!
Apparently my reader stops counting at 1000 and just adds a plus sign.


Google Reader

I wonder if eventually it will say 2000+.
Anyone know if Google Reader just gives up at 1000?
Anyone know how to add in an extra 7 hours of each day so I can get caught up?

I usually first try to go visit the blogs of the people who comment. And when I get a minute during the day, I check out my RSS feeds, but even those are far behind. And then when I can sit down for about 30 minutes, I move on to my Google Reader. And clearly, I have neglected it.

Book Review: The Unlikely Disciple -Kevin Roose

Wow - this book has been an absolute joy to read!

Kevin Roose was a student at Brown and somehow came to have this grand idea of a writing assignment of being a student at Liberty University, the very Evangelical college founded by Jerry Falwell. I love stories like this. I think this type of thing is what really sparked my interest in sociology in college, just studying people is so interesting to me.

Kevin's book is called: The Unlikely Disciple: A Sinner’s Semester at America's Holiest University. I love the cover:


Kevin Roose The Unlikely DiscipleWhat I enjoyed about the book from the start was that this didn't come across as an anti-Liberty college book, or an "I was converted and you should be too" book. It was just good ole sociological research! I love it. I would love to do something like this sometime - not at a religious college, but somewhere out of my normal comfort range.

Anyone ever see that show 30 Days? It's exactly like what I'm talking about: Morgan Spurlock (the guy who is known for just eating McDonalds for like 2 months and almost dying) picks something and does it for 30 days, like live "off the grid" with no electricity, living as a Muslim, or living on minimum wage. It's a GREAT show - I highly recommend it. It was on the air for three seasons, long ago, but it's available on dvd. Make note.

Back to my man, Kevin. I really like Kevin. I like his writing, I like his style, I like his sense of humor, I like his pretty face.

As most of you know, I'm not a very religious person. I'm definitely more agnostic than anything - which my sister informed me actually means ignorant (to her). However - as those of you who know me also already know, I like to read and learn about other cultures and religions. I have read quite a number of books about China, Korea, Buddhism, Muslims, Mexican culture, Dungeons & Dragons, Harry Potter, etc...I'm pretty open to what I read, but I don't like reading things that are totally one-sided and are trying to convince me to believe something specific. I just want a good informative book based on facts and real stories.

Kevin met my reading needs. He was very open-minded and this book is about his experiences and thoughts about his time at Liberty. He writes of the classes he attended, very atypical classes then you would expect is mandatory at a college. The people he meets are happy and sweet and totally accept him. He talks about his feelings of guilt for misleading them while he goes about his semester. I think he does his research in a very ethical way - he really was taking his courses seriously, he really did participate in the bible studies, prayer circles, etc, including joining the church choir. And he's still in touch with some of the people who he met at the school, so obviously he was a good friend to those he met (except for the roommate who thought he was gay and he could not convince otherwise).

I don't usually quote books, but I actually made note of a few things I thought were fun:

...the roots of the environmental movement are linked to the devil himself, "This is Satan's attempt to redirect the church's primary focus." (I think Falwell said this quote-do you see why I don't quote things?? Too much work involved)

Quiverfull movement is a small, highly controversial subgroup of Evangelical
Christianity whose members attempt to have as many children as is biologically
possible, as fast as possible. The movement takes its name from a Bible verse
that praises a man "whose quiver is full" of children.

Every Man's Battle, Liberty's on-campus support group for pornography
addicts and chronic masturbators. (masturbating is lustful, lust is a sin. The story about this support group made me laugh out loud, literally.)

..I've developed a numbness to homophobia. I don't like it, but it's
unavoidable when you're in a climate like this, where homosexuality is talked
about at near-Tourettic frequency. ...I've heard ten times as many conversations about homosexuality at Liberty than I ever heard any place where gay people existed in the open. (sad, where's my gay friends at...HOLLA!)

There was a lot you might assume the author did not agree with, like all the homophobia when he has a lesbian Aunt he's close to back home, but he doesn't write about things in a negative manner. He just tells you what is what - and you can take what you want from that. He shares his feelings about things in a way that isn't trying to influence you, but rather just sharing what he's feeling when in that situation. It just oozes the importance of tolerance, tolerance of religion, tolerance of lifestyles, tolerance of mankind in general. I like tolerance, it warms my little black heart.

Anyway, I could go on and on and on about this book. It was just really interesting and I feel like I am much better educated on the ways of the Evangelicals of the world. And I am quite certain I am not interested in being one, but more power to them for believing in what they believe in.

You should read this book if:

  1. You like reading about religions but don't want to feel like it's completely one-sided.
  2. You are not part of a religion and want an inside look into what goes on inside one.
  3. You are part of a religion and want to rejoice in the goodness of this man's experience.
  4. You like reading a book and feeling more intelligent at the end of it.
  5. You have any interest in attending Liberty College.
  6. You just want a break from your world - here's a chance to delve into someone elses. Do it.

My Son Is Leaving Me!!

And I am trying to help him?? It's weird, right? He's my one and only child.

But in 18 short months, he'll be done with high school and I am going to pack him up and ship him off somewhere. Some college somewhere.

I've been looking at websites that help your student get matched up for colleges, based on their interests, their majors, their grades/activities, etc.
Then you can select colleges you are interested in and send your information to them. Each college you select has criteria and the website tells you your chances of getting in.

This is what Harvard has to say to little Andrew:


Ouch, indeed.
The search continues.
Andrew is open to going to almost any college. His criteria is: whatever college offers me the best financial aid.
.....and as long as it's not in Texas.
He feels that Texas is too republican of a state. That made me laugh.

Hello....Hello......Where'd You All Go???

Why is it so easy to lose touch with people? Are we really so busy that we can't just write a quick letter, or even easier these days-send off a short email?
No, we are not.

I lose touch with everyone. If you start to drift away at the same time that I happen to be drifting away...we're lost, that's it, we're through.. and then we'll need to let five years go by before we reconnect on facebook. I'm not blaming anyone else, it's as much my fault as it is yours

I moved a number of times while growing up, big moves, not moves across the city. First we moved three hours away, then we moved from Minnesota to Washington state, which is like 17,000 miles. Then I moved to Korea, which is like on the moon. Then I moved to Washington. Then I moved to Oregon.

Each time I moved, I hugged my friends goodbye and we swore that we would stay in touch. And each time...we tried for a bit and then we both just kind of drifted off into our new worlds. Sad.

And even the friends from my last job and I - we were just getting to be good friends when I was offered another job in a nearby city. I didn't move. They didn't move. But we don't talk or see each other. Sometimes we will send a quick email to say hi. Or invite each other to an event we're going to...but the connections just don't happen.

While cleaning out my old photo albums, the kind that eat your photos (did you all take care of those?? I warned you!!!), I saw this on the back of one of my friends school photos (maybe from 7th grade):
grade school photo
She said the word Always three times. How sweet is she?? It's like she really meant it----but we just drifted our own ways, cause that's what happens.

And then there's this BFF (on her 10th grade photo, I think):

middle school photoHeidi is a school teacher now. But you probably already guessed that by the prose she used on this photo she sent me a year or two after I moved away.

Anyway - to all my friends in the past: I miss you all.

(I bolded it and that means I'm serious!!)

Random Thoughts Tuesday - Stoned Like A MoFo

It's Tuesday! I like random thoughts, but sometimes there's a theme. Today's post is brought to you by the letter M & the letter J, as in MJ. (not the singer)


randomtuesday


  • I had a donut this morning that had a frosting that tasted dead-on like grape soda. It was intentional. Ever hear of Voodoo Donuts? They are stoned-all the time. They must be. Other offerings were a butterfinger flavored one, complete with crushed bits of candy on top, fruit loop-covered, oreo cookie covered, and captain crunch covered. We didn’t have them offered today, but you can also get a selection of naughty donuts, such as a very large penis shaped (complete with testicles) donut and boobies. Donuts shaped like female breasts….a big hit any time, I’m sure. Stoned those people are, definitely stoned.

  • I went through McDonalds for a medium Hi-C, light on the ice. I drove away and 4 minutes later, I took a big gulp and found I had a medium Iced Tea, light on the ice. I don’t go to this place often and have forgotten why I used to order it by stressing ORANGE Hi-C. I wish I could say my drive-through girl was stoned, but she was too rude and nasty to be stoned. Stoned people aren’t generally that mean.

  • I have smoked pot**. I did inhale. I hated every second of it.

  • I have had sugar cookies made with pot. They were the best sugar cookies I have ever had. I was already drunk so have no idea if the cookies made me feel any higher than I already felt. Sugar cookies are ALWAYS good so it's hard to say if the pot made a difference.

  • My ex-boyfriend smoked pot. A lot. It irritated me. Me being irritated with him probably made him want to smoke more pot to tolerate my irritability. It was a vicious circle. He was a wonderful guy though!

  • Marijuana smoke (supposedly) contains 50–70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which further increase the lungs’ exposure to carcinogenic smoke. Puff puff pass, sucka….aren’t so cool now, are you!

  • My girl Yaya has been trying to have a baby and/or adopt a child for like a gazillion years. The adoption agency called her and said a birth mom had selected them and she was giving birth very soon. Yaya and family - over the moon excited. Then the birth mother changed her mind and went home with the baby. Yaya and family – devastated. Yaya, an avid blogger, blogged about her thoughts/feelings and some mean (again, non-stoners) people left very mean and negative comments about what she blogged. Yaya and family – more devastated. It’s so ridiculous. I try not to ever get outraged about something I read on someones blog—unless they are affiliated with something like a newspaper or a magazine, in which case they are not just writing their thoughts-they are representing an agency of some sort. Somewhat true right?? A personal blogger though—blog away!!! Your blog is your blog!!! Leave Yaya alone!!!! If anyone knows anyone who wants to give up their baby (like any mother of a teenager 50% of the day), please contact her (I also have a button on my sidebar linked to her). They want to parent!!! They don’t smoke pot. (well, I don’t think so…there are a lot of closet smokers out there)

  • I am on the fence about the legalization of pot. I think it's probably a good way for the government to make some money. But I'd prefer my eye doctor or plane pilot not be legally stoned before they tend to my needs. I don't get that whole "it's natural, it grows from the earth, it's almost good for you!" argument, but doesn't cocaine also grow from the earth? So do mushrooms. And heroin..wait, maybe not. I have no idea really..but maybe if I was stoned I would.

**disclaimer: If you are my mother or my child - this was all fictional and I have never ever done any kind of drug.


No drugs were used in the writing of this blog (today).

Hey Sailor, Congrats - Your Wife Had a Baby

Let's say that you are 24 yrs old and you are in the United States Navy.

Are you picturing it? You are stationed on a large boat that is never ever called a boat - it's a SHIP, thank you very much. You get very angry when someone calls you Squid, but you proudly wear your blue bell bottom work pants (they convert into a life preserver-handy!).

And let's say that you happen to get married to a very sweet and innocent 18 year old and she happens to be pregnant (we'll leave out the math on the pregnancy vs marriage debate, but know that it is a fine line between married and pregnant and not married and not pregnant).

And let's say that your contract/agreement/punishment with the military is due to end in just 6 weeks.

And that in just three weeks your young child-bride is due to give birth to her wonderful bouncy baby.

And then let's say that your it's-not-a-boat Ship is due to leave port for six months IN 2 weeks.
YES - did you do the math on that one everyone?

That means that your boat/ship is leaving port one week before your baby is due to enter the world. Oh, cruel world...why....WHY!!!!

You try to do what you can and there is no way that they will assign you shore duty for your last three weeks and instead, you are ordered to leave with the not-boat in two weeks whether that baby is born or not. Nice, thanks United States Navy for showing compassion (and we should make note that it happened to be the one week time period in the last 3 decades that we were not at war).

Luckily, your child-bride's mother happens to work at the medical clinic and she pleads the case to the baby-doctor and the baby-doctor doessome baby-doctor-checking and determines, hey-this bird can come out now, it's good enough! SO - let's put some drugs into action and get this baby OUT. This is the week before you are set to leave port.

However, boys are difficult, and this bouncy baby boy was not quite ready to come out. Exit hospital, stage left, no baby born.

And the next week, amidst a LOT of tears and begging and crying and teen mother angst.....you must get on your stop-calling-it-a-boat-Ship and sail away....

Then one day, in the middle of some ocean somewhere....you get this message:


red cross birth announcementyou can click to enlarge - really, it's interesting!

I tried to blur out any pertinent information that might be sensitive to the navy and might possibly cause Russia or to be able to attack us. I hope this was sufficient blurring. If not, I apologize in advance to Alaska (cause we all know they are closest to Russia and as such, will be the first to go under).


**and on a funny (to me) note -the first time I saved this blurred version, I missed blurring out my not-beloved ex-husband's social security number. It would be a shame if anyone out there happened to get his social security number and wreck havoc on his life...cause someone as wonderful as him should only have roses and furry kittens surround him for every breath he takes until the end of time. I corrected it because I am a good person and don't wish ill will on anyone (though if I did, he would be candidate numero uno).

Weekend Wrap-up, Did I Promise a Giveaway? I Lied.

I'm not quite ready for the giveaway...but this week for sure!!

My weekend was long - I took Friday off of work and am really considering how I can retire early and never have to work again. I just love not working five days a week! Five days is at least one too many. Maybe two. Yes, I would be happy to work three days a week. That sounds more reasonable.

Here is the weekend wrap-up, in bullet form because that makes it look less cumbersome to read, doesn't it?
  • Friday, I played bingo with my friend and her son. Uneventful except for: Bingo is located next to the dollar store. The dollar store sells condoms, like this little jewel:Toosh condomsTake note of their slogan, "it's the very best, for all the best reasons." Nice. Simple. Timeless. It's a DOLLAR for a pack of three. I'm not saying that I wouldn't trust these condoms...but I definitely would NOT trust them. I could be wrong...(but I doubt it)
  • Friday night I did a whole lot of nothing...just cleaned the house and prepared for a visit from my beloved parents.
  • Saturday - see above - the parents came to visit!!! We continued our picture taking series of "Grandma is Shrinking." Here's a shot from Dec 2006:
grandmaCute! Look at my baby! He's on the right. I love him! And look at my little mini-mom. She's super-cute! I love her too!

Then this is a shot from November, 2009:
grandmaYikes, who is that handsome man-child?? Ugh, he's going to leave me soon (less than two yrs) to go to college...sigh....but the point is---Grandma is Shrinking!!! Isn't she cute?
She gets smaller every time we pose Andrew next to her.
  • So my dad helped Andrew work on his car, my mom and I shopped. Then my mom and I spent about 90 minutes scanning some really old pics and documents. We're starting a family genealogy project soon and I'm trying to get started on things.
  • Saturday night I watched two movies, Something about Pelham something-numbered, about a subway thing, very exciting, it was really good. If you go to the video store and tell them you want the Pelham movie, they'll find it. It was good!! I also rented Orphan, which reminded me a lot of that one movie about the bad kid played by McCauley Caulkin - until the end. It was a bit spooky overall, a bit violent. It made me a little afraid of my dark and quiet house...but I survived so it's all okay.
  • My beloved Ginger cat pooped on my bath mat. I am appalled that she would do this!! She is grounded - I am not petting her at all this week!!!
  • Sunday was a lazy morning, taking a long bath, finishing a good book (which you must read and I will review later this week).
  • Today was also Love Letters - a good crowd, lots of cards made for kids. I need to get them in the mail, I still haven't mailed the cards we made two wks ago. I have 6 large manilla envelopes to be mailed to sick kids. Yay for us!
  • Oh - Saturday I also pulled all the photos out of my childhood photo album and scanned them. More to come on that later, but omg---do this NOW everyone over the age of 30!!! Remember how we all made sure to buy those photo albums with the sticky pages so that the photos would stick in place? Well those pages are now eating your photos!!! Seriously--what a disaster this is for the photo-lovers of the world. And seriously-go save your photos now!! Don't make me come to your house and take control...just be an adult and go save your memories!! SERIOUSLY!

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