Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Hi friends! I wanted to post a quick note ... some things have come up here that have swiftly devoured the hours of the day, and I haven't been back to posting my daily ornaments like I intended to. In case I don't get back to post my final installments, I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas. May your hearts be blessed!


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Countdown: Ornament #7

The Seventh Ornament of Christmas:
Santa Express

When Incrediboy was a toddler, I had him with me while we were out shopping about this time of year - and I decided to quickly peruse the ornamnet aisle before we checked out. He was very into trains and squealed with an outreached pointing hand, "MOMMA, A TWAIN!" when he saw this wooden Santa Choochoo hanging amongst the other ornaments for sale. I removed one and let him examine it, and of course he became immediately attached to it. I let him hold it as we headed for the checkout. By the time we had been rung out, he'd bent up and mangled he little metal "santa Express" banner until the paint had chipped off.

I bought it anyway, but frankly, I was a little pissed.

Today, the missing paint and crinkled metal remind me of the little boy my big boy once was, who's growing up way faster than I expected. These imperfections now make this otherwise average ornament priceless.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Christmas Countdown: Ornament #5 & #6

The Fifth Ornament of Christmas:
The Holly Bell

When the Hub and I made it through that first hard year, I decided that I wanted to collect bells for my tree. I was able to find quite a few really pretty bells through the years before they seemingly fell out of style, because I rarely if ever see bells anymore (jingle bells are all over the place, but not these types).
This is my favorite bell. It's gold with filigree holly and ribbons on it. The holly and ribbons are painted with colorful enamel as well as the inside of the bell, and it has the loveliest tone when you ring it.

The Sixth Ornament of Christmas:
The Snow Bell

I got this Snow Bell at the same place as the Holly Bell, as you could probably tell. It too is decorated with enamel-filled filigree and has a beautiful blue enameled inner side. Its tone is slightly lower than the Holly Bell but is of the same charming quality.

I love these bells. I have many others, including several Santas (with clapper feet), angels, and various other colors and styles, but these two are my special ones.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Countdown: Ornament #4 ~ ... Plus the Gingerbread House

The Fourth Ornament of Christmas:
The Pewter Floral Globe

My college roommate had this girlfriend one year. She was from San Francisco, and she was absolutely gorgeous. She looked like a brown eyed, brunette Kelly McGillis (remember Charlie from Top Gun?). Not only that, but she was so nice you couldn't help but adore her. I have no idea what ever drew her to hang out with the likes of us.

For Christmas that year, she gave me this ornament. It's pewter colored, but it's very light. I have no idea what it's made of. There are beautiful, delicate hand-painted blossoms all over it and it hangs from a silken cord with a tassel on it. To be honest, I probably never would have picked it out for myself. Yet I loved it from the start.

This girl didn't date my roommate but that one year, and I haven't even spoken to her in a couple of decades. I have no idea what happened to her. But each year I take out this pewter floral globe, hang it on my tree, and remember the lovely girl who gave it to me and the sweet memories we did manage to make.

Additional Festive Photo: I was visiting Martie's blog today and she'd posted her very first gingerbread house that she and her granddaughter made. Interestingly enough, I also recently made my very first gingerbread house with Incrediboy. Here is our sweet chateau.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas Countdown: Ornament #3

The Third Ornament of Christmas:
My Christmas Spider

One of my weird little fascinations is spiders. They are awesome - I have always admired their craftsmanship, patience and skill. They are truly one of nature's most amazing creatures. Imagine my excitement when I found this lovely little Christmas Spider ornament in the clearance section one after-holiday outing many years ago. Isn't he awesome? :D

I know what you're thinking. Spiders have 8 legs and this guy only has 6. I know, it's always bugged me too (pardon the pun). But since he has the anatomically correct two-segmented body, I live with it. After all, what says Merry Christmas like a shiny red and green spider?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas Countdown via Ornaments

My BFF Chesneygirl stole a great idea from her blogpal Onebrick, and is posting a photo of an ornament from her tree every day in lieu of "regular" posts during the scrambly holiday season. I love this idea and am going to adopt it as well. Which should be very exciting for my 2 readers I have left.

Like Cg, I have a hodgepodge tree - and other than the usual glass globes, each ornament has its own memories. Just for fun, I'm going to post two of them today. We'll call them the first and second ornaments of Christmas :).

The First Ornament of Christmas:
Peppermint Stick

This is Peppermint Stick. My Mom got him for me when I got my first apartment, because I have always loved bunnies. He is my official first ornament of my very own. Even during the years when I didn't put up a tree, Peppermint Stick always got hung somewhere - in a doorway, on a curtain rod, or from a string of garland. I love him to pieces! This year is the first year ever that someone other than I got to hang him up. Yes, Incrediboy did the honors. I must love that kid very much. :)

The Second Ornament of Christmas:
Santa's Boot

Admittedly, this boot looks rather pretty in this picture. But believe me when I tell you it's the cheapest piece of painted plastic crap that you'd probably ever set eyes on. I bought this and several other ridiculously chincy ornaments the first Christmas Hub and I spent together. We were super poor, having just bought our first house, and had a silly little 3 foot tree. I bought a bunch of cheap ornaments at the Dollar Store for 5 for a buck - just to have something to hang on our tree. We always said that after we'd settled and built our lives a bit, we'd throw out these cheesy plastic junky things and just hang nice ornaments. But I still hang this and all the others every year. They are part of our history, and part of our wonderful memories.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The OCD Tree

As I was putting up our Christmas tree this past weekend, I was thinking about how much my BFF, Naive, sucks.

You see, she's the awesomest memory maker I know. Every year she and her husband bundle up the kids, go traipsing through the gorgeous snowy countryside, and select the most excellent specimen for their Christmas tree that God's own hand has designed. She takes gorgeous, Currier-and-Ives-feeling photos of them all, hiking through the snow with bright smiles and pink, chill-nipped noses - hunting and posing with their glorious find, and hauling it back home through the snow. It's incredibly Norman Rockwell.

I, on the other hand, haul an old fake tree out of the basement, assemble it together with metallic scrapes and squeaks, spend hours trying to reshape the synthetic branches back into something that doesn't look like it's been in a box for 11 months, and ultimately spray it with Febreze to try and diminish the faint basement scent.

Personally, I think we have made and will continue to make great holiday memories - and to be honest, our tree really is a very nice, very realistic looking one. But compared to Naive, and especially since I always grew up with real trees - I feel a little stale about it. And the best part is, she's always doing crap like this. She's an awesome mom and a brilliant tradition upholder and memory maker.

In conclusion - she sucks, and so do I.

But I digress ...

The point I was originally going to get to, is that I have always been extrememly obsessive-compulsive about my tree. I blame my mother - she trained me to balance the spacing of the ornaments, evenly sprinkle the conversation pieces and the glass globes, place ornaments inside as well as on the outside of the branches in order to disguise irregularities and gaps in the tree branches, not put the same color or type ornament next to each other, and most importantly, NEVER glob up the icicles into bunches. I realize I can be highly annoying - er - persnickety about this ... but I can't help myself. I've tried to lighten up, but truth be known, Hub stopped helping me decorate years ago for this very reason.

The past few years, Incrediboy has been very into helping me decorate the tree. This causes me much internal stress (mainly because so many ornaments are breakable, but mostly because of my OCD problem explained above). But I certainly want him to begin building loving and fun Christmas tradition memories just as I did when I was little. So he's helped me the past few years, and I've later (sometimes only seconds later) gone back to micromanage the arrangements properly distribute the ornaments.

After coming to emotional grips with the untimely death of my favorite green glass frog ornament all over the hardwood floor this year - Incrediboy and I (and even the Hub) ended up having a great time decorating the tree together. Hub, understanding me more than anyone, whispered to me as Incrediboy busied himself, "You can rearrange the ornaments however you want later". He gave me a knowing smile.

When the tree was done, the boys wandered off to watch football and play with Lincoln Logs as I sat down on the couch and surveyed the tree. The top of the tree was evenly spaced and visually well-distributed. The bottom, however, was a little off. Sections as big as my head were bare, while others were piled up with several ornaments all together. One branch in particular, right in the front, had a large Daffy Duck, two glass globes, a cracker barrel store, a giraffe, and a backwards fox family, all clumped together. Two bare branches over was another, weighed down with a Santa-shaped bell, three more glass globes, a Lightning McQueen, a rabbit in a fur hat and a toy soldier.

My eye twitched rapidly as I stared at them.

Then something came over me.

This isn't the way I decorate trees, with big clusters of decorations all bunched onto one branch. But this, this is the way my little boy decorates. My little boy, who not long ago was a little toddler, and not long before that, a tiny baby. And not long from now will be much bigger, and perhaps much less apt to want to decorate with me.

I suddenly loved the traffic jams of ornaments sprinkled around our tree. I suddenly wouldn't change a thing.

Friday, December 05, 2008


So I think I'm really done with Christmas shopping. And this time I mean it.

Incrediboy is certainly not going to be left wanting this season, though I'm sure there's something I missed. But geeze, I'm not made of money! Have you SEEN how expensive everything is?

Oh wait, I've already talked about that ...

Anyway, I found the last thing I was trying to find this morning. Some Bakugans. For those who don't have preschool to elementary school aged boys and girls, Bakugans are the new craze brought to us by Korean Anime. They are some sort of evil-world-fighting warriors that transform from spheres to creatures of various types and back again. There are trading cards and board games and all kinds of crap - it's a big marketing suckhole. Bakugan is on Cartoon Network right after Incrediboy's beloved Transformers, so naturally, he got sucked right in.

He asked for some Bakugans a few weeks ago, and ever since, all I've found are big gaping holes where Bakugans should be on store shelves. I've been watching on my secret weapon website, Amazon, but supply and demand has caused the prices to skyrocket. Target, Walmart, and all the stores' websites are also sold out. Ugh.

But today I happened by some Deka Bakugans on the Toys R Us website. The Deka Bakugans are softball-sized Bakugans, as opposed to the golf-ball sized gaming Bakugans. I was not only geeked because I think these will be much better for general play, but double geeked because they were in stock, and for a reasonable price! I snagged up a red and a blue one like a duck on a junebug.

Right after I checked out, both of them were switched to "out of stock" status. Whew!

It's a lot of work, pulling off this Christmas dreams come true stuff.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Rush

Yup, I'm still alive. Barely!

I've been trying to get a jump on Christmas shopping this year. I've been poring over flyers and looking around online for not only great deals but ideas in general. Everything is SO expensive! Stupid economy.

I was at Target last night looking around, with full intent of picking some toys up for Incrediboy. I became so overwhelmed by the smash of people and the racket and the sheer overload of everything in the toy aisle that I left without buying anything at all! And it's not even Thanksgiving yet! I'm beginning to think I might just buy everything from Amazon. Then it can be delivered right to my door and I won't have to go traipsing around, possibly getting into a fistfight with some supermom over the last Megarig Shuttle on the shelf.

I hate Christmas shopping.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Clew's Annual Cat Litter Cake Posting

Yes, kids, it's that time again ... Time for sharing the Infamous CAT LITTER CAKE for your next Halloween soiree!

There are many versions of this gruesome recipe. This is a new one I found this year that sounds FABULOUS! (especially if you like brownies - yum!)



1 brownie mix
1 can whipped sour cream frosting
tootsie rolls - small bag
1 bag animal crackers or Keebler Sandies shortbread cookies
a few drops of green food coloring
1 small cat litter pan (never been used - very important)
1 cat litter scoop (also never been used - also very important)
parchment cooking paper (or wax paper) to line the litter box

Make brownies according to instructions on the package. Line the litter box with parchment cooking paper, wax paper, or other lining material. After brownies are cooled, break into large chunks and place into cat litter pan. Spread frosting onto the brownies, making sure none of the brownies are exposed. Put some animal crackers or shortbread cookies in a baggie and smash into tiny bits with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin. Don't crush them into a fine sand, but into smaller sized crumbs. Take a small amount of crushed cookies and set aside in a baggie. Make sure you have enough crushed cookies to cover the frosting. Spread the cookies on the frosting. Take the amount of cookies that you set aside and drip a few drops of green food coloring into the baggie. Seal and shake up. Try to color all the chunks in this baggie. Keep adding more food coloring until most of the chunks have some kind of green on them. Spread the green colored cookie crumbs evenly around atop the other crumbs. Get a small saucer or microwave safe plate. Unwrap about a dozen (12) tootsie rolls. You will need more if you are using the miniature tootsie rolls. Place the unwrapped rolls on the plate and microwave for about 30 seconds on 50% power. Test the tootsie roll to see if it is soft enough to change the shape. If not, repeat above. Now pinch, twist, and bend your, um...., cat droppings (poopies) into the desired shapes. Place your newly shaped "poopies" onto the crushed cookies (litter). Make sure you have the infamous "poopie" caught on the side or hanging over the edge. Tuck the scoop into the cat litter cake and you're ready to roll!

This cake will get a lot of attention and surely win the grossout factor award. But if you can get people to actually eat it, they'll love it. A guaranteed hit, especially with kids!

Enjoy ~

Monday, October 13, 2008

Top 5 Things Learned at Blogarita 4

5.) How creamed corn is made.

4.) That some spiders are the color "clear".

3.) Using rum to make coconut pudding is very, very good.

2.) That running and screaming at the same time will probably make you pee a little.

1.) Watching your best friend run for her life through a cornfield from a guy with a chainsaw, and then subsequently nosedive into the dirt, is the funniest thing you'll ever see in your life.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Scenes from a Car

After many lovely sunny autumn days, today brought a tranquilizing pattering rain. Incrediboy and I were on our usual morning commute to preschool and work, and I was thinking quietly to myself how unusually drawn out the journey seemed this particular morning.

Incrediboy must have been thinking the same thing.

"It sure is taking a long time to do our drive today."
"Yeah, I was noticing that too."

He was quiet for a brief moment, and then concluded matter-of-factly,
"They must have built more road last night."

I love his little mind. :)

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Blogarita 4 !!!

So Blogarita 4 is coming up THIS COMING WEEKEND!!! For those who are new around my blog, "Blogarita" started up a few years back, when 4 blogging buddies (Naive-no-More, Chesneygirl, Curly-Que and me) decided to get together for a weekend of nonspecific shenannigans involving margaritas. Most of us had met at least one of the other of us before but none of us had been in the same place at the same time, so it was pretty exciting.

I don't think any of us really expected it to become the huge part of our lives it's grown to be, though.

While we all continue to get together in various combinations whenever we can (going to concerts together, quick lunches or dinners, drive-by howdys, etc.), it's become tradition to hold a Blogarita on a semi-annual basis, sometime every spring and every fall. Priceless memories have involved but have not been limited to:

  • Mass consumption of cocktails and food
  • Scrapbooking and scrapbook store shopping
  • Riotous games of Balderdash and Euchre
  • Saran wrapping people's mailboxes and garage doors shut
  • Self mutilation (ear cartilege piercing)
  • Scarecrows with rude last names
  • A variety of body noises
  • Crime scene photography techniques
  • Panther stealing
  • Dining at restaurants that close soon after
  • Buttcrack cake
  • Spiders in the car
  • Munchos and Bugles
  • Taking photos in pitch blackness
  • Cow tipping

I love you girls! Our memories are some of my favoritest of my whole life, and I can't wait to see what this gathering's got in store.

Click here for visual aids from Blogarita 1 - the start of it all. You know you wish you were us.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Stinky Dog

Most Beautiful Dog was out on the back 40 for his evening patrol when we noticed he was barking and carrying on. This happens on occasion, but what really got our attention was the pungent smell of either old burning tires ... or a skunk.

I went out with a flashlight to investigate and sure enough, MBDog was circling our flatbed trailer, giving a darling young skunk underneath what-for.

As my longtime blogging friends will recall, MBDog has been skunked twice before - and I always make sure I have the proper ingredients on hand to make a batch of deskunking shampoo. I went in the house to draw a bath and mix the potion.

By the time I came back out, MBDog was carrying the poor lifeless thing around in his mouth in a victory parade. :( Ugh. I was really hoping he'd just bark at it and not figure out how to get it.

I recruited Hub to help me get the critter away from MBDog and dispose of it while I hauled him in for a scrubdown. Along with the revolting stench, he was smattered with blood smears. Yuck. I got him cleaned up and tended to his wounds. The baby skunk's fighting demise made me sad, but MBDog was just doing what a hunting dog does.

MBDog is now fresh as a daisy and snoozing on the couch. I, on the other hand, smell vaguely of old burning tires, and decided this was a good time to remind my dear friends of my beloved lifesaving Deskunking Shampoo recipe, should it ever be needed.

  • 1 qt. of 3% hydrogen peroxide (the common drug store variety)

  • 1/4 cup of baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon of dishwasing liquid

(MBDog is a shorthaired dog weighing about 75 pounds, and this quantity is just about right for him. Adjust your quantities accordingly if you have a larger or furrier dog)

Mix all ingredients and use immediately. Wet dog's fur and lather in the shampoo mixture thoroughly and generously, taking great care around the face not to get it in the mouth, nose or eyes. Let mixture sit for 3-4 minutes, rinse. Repeat if needed. If desired, follow up with a bath of baby shampoo or other gentle cleansing soap - this will prevent skin irritation.

Hope you never need it!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Could Michael Moore be a bigger jackass?

Hurricane Gustav hitting New Orleans at the beginning of the RNC is "proof that there is a God in Heaven"???

According to Michael Moore it is - and is said so by him with a snicker.

Why - I repeat, WHY - is he not getting strung up for this ridiculously heartless statement? What a worthless, self-righteous, oxygen-wasting, arrogant piece of sh!t. I can't even think of any expressions vile enough to describe him, or anyone who would say such a thing. ANYONE of ANY party should be disgusted. I can not BELIEVE he isn't getting so completely ripped for this that he disappears into perpetual seclusion!!!

This isn't a joke, you jackass. This isn't an unmanned probe crashing, or lightning hitting an endangered tree. This is people's lives. LOTS of people. People who've lost everything not once but twice in recent years. Yep, that's hilarious. God would surely orchestrate such a thing just to appease or discourage a political party. Michael Moore makes me sick.

THIS? Is considered a brilliant mind? Spare me. I just threw up in my purse.

What. A. Piece. Of. SH!T.

Monday, August 04, 2008


We have an apple tree on our property. Our apple tree drops a fair share of fruit onto the ground, as apple trees tend to do. And Most Beautiful Dog discovered in short time that he really loves apples. For the past several summers, he will go out and binge on apples until his belly is distended, and then he'll lay around and fart all night.

The tree had suffered its fair share of neglect before we moved here, and since our assumption of our country castle we've been pruning it and trying to encourage it to produce a decent crop of apples. We're finally getting there. The firm, tart apples are larger and better proportioned this year than ever before. The other night, Hub and Incrediboy went out and picked some for me to make into apple cobbler. A bit premature on the ripeness, but for cooking we figured they'd do fine.

MBDog was stuck to me like glue, gazing up at me with his amber saucer-eyes the entire prep time. I think he took the raid of his precious personal apple stash kind of personally.

The cobbler turned out well. We enjoyed some as a late night snack and I wrapped the dish with the remaining dessert in foil, leaving it on the counter before we went to bed.

When I got up this morning and shuffled into the kitchen, I noticed the foil was neatly folded back and other than a few bits and crumbs, the dish was empty. Hub has a way of getting up in the night and tooling around a bit before returning to sleep, and I figured he must have put the cobbler in another container and placed it in the fridge. I looked in there, but there was no cobbler. Then I thought he might have had a midnight binge while watching a little TV. I smiled to myself. But took note there was no spoon or fork in the sink. Then it hit me. I picked up the dish and studied it under the kitchen light. And there they were. Large, sweeping tongue marks.

MBDog had tippy-toed out to the kitchen overnight, got up on the counter, neatly nosed the foil back, and ate my cobbler - what I'm sure he considered his rightful property in the first place.

I was peeved for a moment. I walked back into the bedroom and glared at him sleeping soundly, as one tends to do with a belly full of rich sweet dessert. And I couldn't help but chuckle. It *was* kind of funny. The little sneak.

I made another batch of apple cobbler tonight. This batch is being stored in the oven. If he figures out how to open the oven, I imagine he deserves to get that cobbler.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Deep in the Grickle Grass

The world's people can be divided into two different categories: Those who love Dr. Seuss and those who don't.

Neither is good nor bad over the other - it's just a simple state of being. My mother loves the vibrant and colorful made-up people, places and things in the world of Dr. Seuss. Her mother waved it off as a waste of time to fill children's heads with such nonsense.

Like my mother, I believe a little nonsense now and then is relished by the wisest men.

A while back, I bought Incrediboy an anthology of ten or so Dr. Seuss stories for bedtime. To my delight, he takes after Mom and me. To my greater delight, his favorite story is also mine ... The Lorax. I made my Mom read The Lorax a scrillion times, and lucky for me she loved me more than she was sick of The Lorax ... Most of the time she indulged me. One of countless reasons my Mom rules.

Upon getting this new copy of my favorite Seuss book, I fell in love with it all over again. Not only is it a great story about responsibility and repercussions, but the descriptions are priceless. Words and beings not existing before the publication of this book seem so natural, so real. So perfect. As if they had always been.

Do you not get an immediate mental image of the look and feel of Grickle Grass? Can't you just imagine what the soothing song of the Swomee Swans must sound like? And the heavenly sound of the Humming Fish's hum? And what I wouldn't give to watch brown Bar-ba-loots playing. Cute. But most of all, I can smell the trees, which as any Lorax fan knows, have the sweet smell of fresh butterfly milk.

*breathing deeply*

Now I ask you - What's better than that?

The fact that I couldn't begin to tell you exactly what miff muffered moof is, is inconsequential really. It all makes perfect sense to me, and apparently to Incrediboy as well - as he has never asked me exactly what miff muffered moof is (thank God). Even after the scrillionth time of reading it, I don't even have to look at the words anymore - I know the whole story ver batum, and that's fine with me.

It's an awesome world, the world of nonsense.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

A Fool's Paradise

Hello friends! Yes, I've been slacking largely with the posting again. It's summer, though - you know how it is. So many things going on, no time to settle down and write.

Summer isn't what it used to be - I seem to be much more sensitive to heat than I was in younger years, and if I'm not on the boat and/or near a source of water where I can plunk in at will and cool off when temperatures exceed 90, my body tends to react with anything from dizziness and nausea to a brain-bleeding migraine. That kind of sucks. Luckily, I'm fortunate enough to usually be near water when I'm actually out in the heat.

Much to my chagrin, I fear that I'm beginning to develop allergies. The last couple years I've had very itchy eyes come late July and well into fall - Enough that I quit wearing eye makeup altogether (not that I wear a lot, but it used to be that I didn't leave the house without eyeliner on. I've gotten over that now.) I also had an irritating cough all summer long last year for no apparent reason. This year has also seen the return of the cough (though not as bad) accompanied by an annoying tickle in my nose, sneezing, and a bizarre wheeze when I take a deep breath. I really don't want allergies and I've been insistent that I have never had them before so why start now ... but it doesn't seem to be doing any good.

Maybe it'll go away.

These things aside, I'm feeling pretty chipper these days. The Hub and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary yesterday - and Incrediboy is at such a truly enjoyable age, we've really been having fun with him. We all went to a local fair this past weekend and Incrediboy begged and bugged to go on the ferris wheel. Well I am OUT on that, being completely terrified of heights, but the Hub took him on it. I wondered how he'd do - half expecting to see him clinging to Daddy for dear life with terror on his little face as they made their first round - but he was delighted. Absolutely loved it. Thank goodness the Hub agreed to take him on the ride, because I am quite sure I would have suffered heart failure before I was halfway up. My son is my hero.

I've been spending much of my other moments submersing myself in my scrapping hobby. I haven't done much ACTUAL scrapping, but I've been looking at layout books and magazines and bidding on cool supplies (mainly discontinued Creative Memories paper) on ebay. I'm chock full of nifty ideas ... now if only I can translate some of them into my own books before they escape me.

God bless my Hub. That's all I've got to say. Between you and me, I'm not the best homemaker. I will neglect the dishes and ignore the dust bunnies in lieu of indulging in creative hobbies. A fulltime career woman and full time mother deserves as much unwind time as any businessman with his sports page or golf clubs or Moose lodge, but so often it's only accepted after the third fulltime job of housekeeper has been tended to. My Hub gets bugged by my selfishness from time to time, but for the most part he is graciously tolerant. I love him for that.

Life is good.

BTW, today is my best friend Chesneygirl's birthday. If you haven't done so, pop on over and wish her a good one - even if you don't have a chance to until after her day. She's an irreplaceable cornerstone in my sisterhood square, she's awesome and deserves to be celebrated. :) Have a great year, sis!!!

Clew (west), Chesneygirl (north), Naive-No-More (east), and Nelly (south) - BFFs

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

This Vacation Stinks.

So remember the sore throat I came down with the end of last week? Well, long story short I've been sick for the majority of my vacation. NICE. The sore throat was actually gone by Sunday evening, so I was jazzed about that, thinking it was all over. I actually went to work on Monday though, because the weather was crappy - and I coughed all day there, feeling myself going downhill. By evening my nose was running like a faucet and I was coughing my head off. By Yesterday morning I was coughing so deep into my chest it was scary. I sounded like an old man with advanced emphysema. I spent the day lying around, coughing and moaning and hugging MBDog. Today is better, but you ought to see the gross stuff I'm bringing up out of my lungs. Ugh. At least my cough is productive today though.

Hub just went to work, seeing as we can't really do anything. I probably could have too, but screw it, I don't feel like it. I want to convalesce and feel sorry for myself.

I'll probably go back to work tomorrow. Maybe we can take a few days off next month.

This vacation stinks.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Big Ball of Nothing

So I've gotten complaints on and off record about my last post being disturbing and I need to post something else to push it down. I have nothing bubbling in the brainpot, though - so you'll have to do with some aimless chatter. Aren't you excited?

So my vacation started today as of quitting time. We're not really doing anything, just hopefully enjoying some downtime. The bad news is I started getting a sore throat yesterday and it's no better today. Not debilitating, but annoying at best, and very scratchy no matter what I drink or take. *Sigh*. Isn't that the way?

I've spent the last week or so rearranging my scrapbooking paper, hoping to be struck with some sort of inspiration (yes, I have that much paper that I can sort it for a week and then some. It's an addiction.). I have tons to catch up on - probably way more than I'll ever get done if I live to be 150 - which may be why I don't know where to start. I read somewhere recently that joining a scrapping challenge group can give your creative juices a kick in the pants. My dear friend Jody participates in a stamper's challenge frequently and seems to really enjoy and benefit from it - so I hunted around on line a little tonight and found one for scrapbooking that looks interesting. Like I have time for this, but I figure it'll be there when I can get to it. Meanwhile, I can check in, look, and think about it. :)

Bellydancing class is going GREAT, thanks for asking. I love it so much.

I was watching Ghost Hunters this week - which if you aren't familiar is a sort of documentary where a team of paranormal investigators visit various sites and try to figure out what's going on with the reported strange paranormal activity. This week they visited an old governor's mansion in Rhode Island or somewhere, which is now an historical site. In this mansion, among other things, was a room full of old dolls. Creepy, scary dolls. All of them. One was a marionette, which have their own special brand of horror to them. One of them had no head - WTF! Well, one of the investigators was in this room trying to establish some kind of contact with any sort of presence that might be there ("If anyone is here, can you make a noise or touch my arm to let me know you're here?") - and swears that he felt something brush against his leg.

Let me tell you. I love this kind of stuff, and paranormal investigator is on my list of dream jobs. But if I were trapped in a room with those dolls at ALL, let alone felt something brush against my leg in there? I would bust out of there so fast there'd be smoke coming off my shoes.

GAWD I hate old creepy dolls.

There I go again. Talking about scary dolls.

Don't look down.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Scary Dolls

I've never been fond of dolls.

Much of that has to do with my growing up as a tomboy, I'm sure. But it's more than a simple disinterest. Dolls in general give me the creeps.

Some friends of ours make fun of the Hub and me when we visit them. One of them had a Charlie McCarthy dummy when they were a kid, and the very thing is sitting in their guest room as a (subjectively) charming Americana-esque decoration. The Hub and I both decided we couldn't possibly sleep with that thing in the room with us. Our friends were highly amused as they removed it, and to this day whenever we visit, joke that they are going to throw it on us as we sleep. Thankfully they never have, as I'm quite convinced my heart would stop then and there.

Charlie McCarthy himself doesn't scare me. In fact I always loved those Charlie and Edgar routines when I was growing up. But to have the doll just sitting there - staring at you - grinning that freaky grin -WTF!

Clowns on the other hand are a different story: ALWAYS scary, no matter what. Remember in the movie "Poltergeist", when that awful near-lifesized clown doll went evil and pulled that poor kid under the bed? Geez, what could be scarier than that? Clowns are straight out of hell as it is, and clown DOLLS are the worst. Remember this guy? Cheese and crackers. EASILY the scariest thing in the whole movie for me.

But probably the ones I find most disturbing are the ones that look freakishly realistic. Real hair, rosy cheeks, rosebud mouths, serene expressions and awful, huge eyes that often "blink" when you tilt them back.

Look at them. You can just tell they're quietly plotting a way to kill you when you fall asleep.

Probably what started it all is in my very house this minute. My Great Grandmother's doll, which I inherited when my Grandma passed away a few years ago. I have a love/hate relationship with this thing. On one hand, I really think it's neat. It's got history, and was loved and treasured by Great Grandma when she was a girl in the mid-to-late 1800's. It's really cool to have something like that in your hands.

On the other hand, it's a horrifying thing, particularly for one with a doll phobia to begin with. I can remember when I was very young, my Grandma brought me to her old trunk to show me something really neat. She pulled out a small enshrouded object and gingerly unwrapped it as she told me it was her mother's dolly from when she was a little girl.

From out of the swaddlings came the scariest thing I'd ever seen. Matted hair, crackled skin, broken fingertips, and the most horrifying giant lapiz eyes that pierced right through my impressionable soul.

"Isn't she pretty?", my Grandma asked. I swallowed hard and forced a smile.

I held it together through the experience, but was indescribably relieved when she put it back in her trunk and closed the lid tight.

As I laid in the rollaway bed in her living room that night, I couldn't get that doll out of my head. I knew it was locked safely away. But I could feel it still staring at me. Through the material she was wrapped in, through the trunk, the paint, the plaster and the rafters between us, she was staring at me. I knew it.

As the years passed, I managed to file the demon doll in the back of my psyche, and then she came back to me. After Grandma passed away, my Dad asked me if I'd like to have it, and seeing it again gave me the same jolt. It was still as creepy as ever. But I took it. As I said previously, she's a family heirloom and a historical treasure. She was around before cars. Radios. Light bulbs. She's neat to have.

I still keep her covered and stored away. Far out of sight.

The other night I took her out after a discussion about dolls with a friend, and to my shock, her face was uncovered and she wore the cloth she is always wrapped snugly in like a shawl. Her stare straight into my eyes when I noticed nearly made me drop her.

Apparently, she's still watching me.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Mata-Mamma Hari

I dated this one guy for a couple years back in high school. His dad had been murdered when he and his brothers were kids, and his mom, Mary, worked hard to provide for her family.

Mary was a great provider and parent and a really nice lady. She was a 40-something strawberry blonde - pretty in an understated way, of quiet manner and gentle spirit, very pleasant and easy to talk to. We became friends.

She had the wisdom to etch out a little bit of time for herself as well. She was an active member of Parents Without Partners, and as her hobby, Mary had been taking classes and had become an accomplished belly dancer. As an advanced student, she had to write her own routines and would practice them at home. One evening, being that I was there, I was invited to watch one of her practice sessions. I was excited. I’d seen her working on her beautiful cabaret-style costumes from time to time and had wondered about her dancing. I was happy to be able to see one of her routines.

Mary came out in her costume – she seemed a little self-conscious wearing it in front of us at first – or perhaps it was only me, being the first time I’d seen a real (very sexy) belly dancing costume in person, and on my boyfriend’s mother at that. Either way though, that didn’t last. Mary proceeded to dance her routine – slow at first, and then with increasing tempo. Her tiny waist moved with power and control, her arms flowed with the ease and fluidity of the veils of her skirts, her brass zills and blue eyes flashed exotically. For those moments, quiet mild-mannered Mary became a goddess.

And from those moments on, I wanted to possess that gift.

The life of a young woman is tempestuous to say the least. That boy and I broke up and I lost touch with Mary. I didn’t know the first thing about finding a belly dancing class, even if I did have the time or money to do so. But I loved to dance. All through college and through my twenties, I went out dancing every chance I got – and the memories of Mary’s belly dancing and the unrequited dream to learn the dance stayed with me.

A few years ago my knees started bothering me when I did my preferred high-impact workouts of Tae Bo, kickboxing and the like. I started thinking about new approaches I could take for my fitness routines, of which are becoming increasingly more important as I approach middle age. I thought back to the days I knew Mary, and how much I admired her accomplished dancing to this day. I bought some videos and began to teach myself some basic moves. It was fun, sensual, and deceptively challenging physically. Unfortunately, I’m a poor self-motivator and didn’t keep with it regularly, especially with a toddler vying for my time in the evenings.

But recently, for whatever reason, I have been re-inspired. Something I can’t pinpoint has re-triggered this old dream in me, and I want to chase it. Chase it and capture it and make it mine. I have been doing some research and hunting around for classes. It took a while, and some soul searching in order to decide how far I was willing to commute, as there are no local classes in my residence of BFE. But I found one that’s both reachable and affordable. The class is offered at a real dance studio by a real belly dancer. There are also intermediate and advanced classes to move up to whenever the student is ready for a new challenge level.

My first class is tomorrow and I’m so excited I can barely stand it.

Those who know me in person might laugh at this pursuit – some even have. But I don’t care. I've seen how it can change a woman inside and out, and I want that. Many others have encouraged me enthusiastically, which fuels my fire even more. And the Hub? Well, he's always loved belly dancers anyway, so enough said ;).

Will I become as accomplished a dancer as Mary? I don’t know. But what I do know is I am making a twenty-some year old dream come true in pursuing this. I want to resculpt my body into something I can be proud of again and gain the confidence and power and femininity that belly dancers of ALL ages, sizes and skill levels seem to possess. I want to become a goddess.

I want to be a Mata-Mamma Hari! :)

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Rapid Progression Aging Begins

Last weekend we got together with some boating friends we hadn't seen since the fall. It was extra nice because they have a son Incrediboy's age and they became great buddies out on the lake last summer.

We had a cookout and enjoyed some beverages while the boys rode bikes, dug in the sandbox, and played with wild abandon. And at some point, Buddy's little quad runner came out for show and tell.

It was a cute little thing - green as a frog and just 4 year old-sized. Buddy strapped on his ridiculously disproportionate helmet and showed Incrediboy how he could ride it. Buddy spun it effortlessly around the property a few times, and Incrediboy looked on with great longing. Buddy's Dad asked Incrediboy if he'd like to try it (after asking us first), and his eyes lit up as he nodded vigorously.

After few quick lessons and quizzes on where the gas and the brake were, Incrediboy slowly rambled about, with Daddy running behind with the kill chord, just in case. Toward the end of the ride, I knew I was in trouble.

He was very careful. The quad had a governor on it to keep a speed cap ensured. Nothing dangerous or even scary happened. But as Daddy helped him off with his helmet, I saw it. I saw the look that daredevils and speed demons have. That glow in the cheeks and glint in the eyes that means my life and my garage will in time be stuffed with motocross bikes, go carts, quad runners and motorcycles. That birth of the hunger that will lead me to be on a first name basis with everyone who works in the ER.

I try to blame this on my Hub's blood in his veins. The man who only seems happy when he's going Mach 12 with his hair on fire. But as I dabbed Bactine on two little scraped knees tonight and blew cool air on them to soothe the sting, I remembered how my own knees were not without scabs for many summers (the ENTIRE summer), and how one year I even road rashed the entire back of my leg in a cannonball-speed-skating-down-a-driveway incident gone awry.

And I realized the poor child has no hope of escaping routine injury. Thrill seeking is infused in him - from both directions.

As of today, I have very few gray hairs - but I suspect that will be changing soon.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Grandma's Buttons

I’ve been searching for some new ideas to add to my scrapbooking pages lately and have been looking into things like buttons and charms. This is far from a new concept, but everyone knows I’m always running behind on such things. I’ve bought a few packets of miscellaneous buttons from the craft stores and such – pretty buttons, but lacking in distinctiveness.

I got to thinking about my Grandma’s sewing box the other day, and thought I’d take a look in there. I got her sewing stuff when she passed away a few years ago – I’m not a sewer past rudimentary repairs and patching, but I’m happy to have it and add it to my own meager supplies. Everyone needs a sewing box.

She’d kept a collection of buttons in an old medium-sized margarine tub in her basket. I’d looked through them before but not with any great intent. I got them out again last night and began to sort them. Many were average, unremarkable, run of the mill buttons. Others were gaudy and dated, perhaps once on a coat. A few even looked suspiciously like couch cushion buttons. But some were very pretty. Mother of pearl, bright plastics, tortoiseshell, etc. I set the pretty ones aside to put with my craft things.

As I played with the buttons, I caught a scent – hard to describe but that is unmistakable. Part dust, part facial powder, part faint old lady soap, part a few other things that nothing else smells like but that of items collected over long stretches of time. The smell of years. The smell of my Grandma.

I held the margarine container up to my face and breathed deep. And missed her more than I had in a while.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Odds and Ends of Late

Hello, friends! I hope you've all been well!

I've been busy. Seems like so much has been going on lately ... Nothing too exciting for you the reader, but enough to keep me hopping.

I'm home this morning with Incrediboy. He had a little episode at preschool yesterday, throwing up on the lunch table. Yuck! I don't know what it was all about, as he's seemed fine, before and since. Needless to say, he needs to stay home 24 hours before returning to class after such an event - so we're hanging out till noon today before he returns to school and I return to the office.

At least we got to sleep in a teeny bit. :)

For those who are wondering, we got a new mattress - a "real" mattress. It's a Cali King and fits perfectly into our waterbed frame, so that's nice. And I love it. It's firm and comfortable, and I sleep more deeply on it than I have in a long time. We ordered some high threadcount sheets off of Amazon for dirt cheap too, and they're smooth as silk. Heaven! Hopefully they wont get scratchy and full of pills after a few uses. For now, though, Hub and I are sleeping on a silken cloud. *Sigh*.

Speaking of the office a few minutes ago, I've been handed some new responsibilities at work. I don't mind that in and of itself, but it's something fairly complicated and I got little to no guidance on how to tackle it - it was just simply dumped into my lap by my extremely busy boss with a "here, take over this." I was stressed out for several days trying to blindly train myself - but am getting the hang of it now and am much less frustrated recently.

I actually like this aspect of my job - I get to do many things within the company, and the variety keeps it interesting and not so tedious. So in the end, I am kind of excited about this new challenge. Assuming I don't "FUBAR" it up too badly.

I've been scrapping like mad lately. Many of you know that I make a scrapbook recapping Incrediboy's previous year for each of the Grandmas, as a Mother's Day gift. It's a big project and I'm usually scrambling under the gun to get it done - but thanks to being able to attend more crops* than usual this spring, I'm making great progress this time and may actually get them done with a little time to spare. (*For you non-scrappers, a crop is a day of gathering with fellow scrapbookers in a large room for uninterrupted scrapbooking time and fellowship. Something rare and invaluable especially for mothers of little ones who rarely get more than 2 consecutive minutes of concentration on one activity.)

I don't mind that I got myself into this ongoing Mother's Day project in and of itself ... But after madly trying to get them done in time every year, I tend to have burnout by the time they're done. Hence, I rarely if ever scrapbook my own stuff - which kind of sucks. Maybe this year I'll be able to retain my scrapping groove and work on some of my own pages when I wrap these up. (Fingers crossed!)

My unemployed neighbor has taken a shine to doing a little target practice on his property, much to MBDog's dismay. He's a hunting breed, but does not like loud noises, and the gunfire has been scaring the bejeebers out of him. In the evenings we can cuddle and calm him, but our neighbor's also started banging around during the day while we're at work. Last week the poor baby got so terrified that he tore a hole in our bedroom door looking for a place to hide. I kid you not! There were bloody shards of wood all over the place. Hub went over and had a few words with said neighbor, who agreed to stop shooting his gun off during the day. We've had no further daytime destruction, but MBDog still shakes like a leaf whenever we leave him.

I hate that my baby dog is living with constant terror and apprehension now thanks to our bored neighbor. The rub is, it's totally legal for him to shoot a gun off on his property as long as proper precautions are taken. Country life isn't always what it's cracked up to be.

Despite a lot of complaining in this post, life's been good. I'll continue with the updates at a later time - for now I need to get ready for the latter half of this glorious Friday. Have a wonderful weekend, friends ~ Spring is on the way, and summer's not far behind! Yummm, I can practically taste it!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

July 30, 1967 - April 2, 1988

Twenty years ago on this day, my best friend died trying to help someone get out of a burning home.

Not a day has gone by that I haven't missed him.

Twenty. Years. My Gawd.

Though you, my dear reader, didn't know him ~ please remember my friend today. He's worth remembering.

See you on the other side, buddy.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Curse the Universe!

April Fool’s came early at my house this year.

Last night I had a splitting headache. I was about to go to bed early when the Hub came out from the bedroom and said, “The waterbed’s got a hole in it.”

The contents of my ribcage dropped into my legs.

I followed him into the bedroom and sure enough, the sides of our Cali-King waterbed were full of water, and you could hear an audible patter of water droplets hitting the burber carpet at the upper left corner of the bed, where apparently the liner fell a little bit short.


We removed the covers and toweled the top of the mattress off. We could see no leak on the top anywhere. We checked the sides as best as we could and still found nothing obvious. Despite the lack of an apparent exit wound, we knew we needed to drain before things got out of hand.

In came the garden hose, and down to the sump pump it went. Out came the air mattress, followed by the skull-shattering air compressor since the little travel air pump had died somewhere along the way.

MBDog was freaking out from all the commotion, and naturally Incrediboy was NOT going to sleep with all the activity in the house. Ugh.

Three hours later the waterbed mattress is for all intents and purposes drained, except for the several gallons trapped in the baffling. We still have not found where the leak is. WTF! We pulled it out and placed the air mattress in the bed frame, securing it with cushions from the couch on one side.

The air mattress is comfortable, but we’re not used to it. I slept deeply when I did sleep, but woke frequently. And I never did get rid of my headache – if you can imagine that! Needless to say, we’re all a bit grumpy today. If anyone tries to get cute with any further pranks today, he may pay with his life.

And please, don’t tell me, “See, this is why I’d never have a waterbed”. This too will get you killed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

School Fund Raisers Suck.

I hate the way that schools put kids into indentured service with these daggone fund raisers.

I can remember doing this when I was a kid. Bugging all my neighbors and relatives to buy calendars, candy bars, wrapping paper, crocks of cheese, cookbooks, all kinds of stuff. Nowadays, kids are still selling the same things, and more - flower flats, magazines, candles, even pizzas and subs!

I guess it's a good thing. I mean, it earns the school programs some money for new computers or sports equipment or band uniforms or whatever, and it teaches the kids something about hard work and responsibility (assuming their parents don't do all the work for them). But it's a little over the top. It seems like every month there's something else the kids from some school or another have to peddle.

I had to work extra hard at my sales when I was a kid. While my friends' moms and dads took their order forms into the office or the bowling alley and sold 250 units of crap FOR them, I had to collect my own sales. My parents told me they didn't want to bug their coworkers with what was my job to begin with. It was discouraging, especially when the prizes were handed out to the kids who didn't have to do a thing to gather all those sales. But it taught me a lot about working hard and following through.

Now that I'm a parent, I really don't ask my coworkers to buy anything from my son's fundraisers. I'll admit I do bring the order forms in and mention there's a thing going on (we all do) - but just one time, and I don't even announce when the sale is ending because I feel like I'm pushing people to buy the junk. I figure if they want to buy something, they will. I'm not going to bug them about it.

Even so, it's like you the parent need to buy stuff regardless. This latest catalog at least has a nice variety of things. Strawberry garden starter kits, windchimes, a barbecue set, dog treats. I really don't need any of it. But if I don't buy something I feel like a chump.

And I'm not even including the little booth they set up by the front door every so often, selling books and puzzles and things like that. I don't mean to be cheap, but I almost feel like I'm being extorted.

The most irriatating thing about these catalogs and forms with blatantly generous ordering line space is, Incrediboy is a preschooler. COME ON. Isn't this a little much?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Weekend

I usually put up a little Easter greeting for anyone who happens by, but I didn't do it in time this year. Things have been out of sorts in Clewland, so I'm sorry about that. Hope everyone had a nice Easter!

Ours was all right. We didn't go to church, and I feel bad about that. And we didn't go to my brother-in-law's house, due to too many things going on in their world - which is certainly fine, but seemed very weird. Incrediboy loved his Easter basket, which was more toy-centered than candy (we still have Halloween candy hanging around, for Pete's sake). And MBDog enjoyed his Easter Busy Bone. MBDog is funny when he gets a treat like that. He'll prance laps around the room with the bone in his mouth, crying excitedly, for a good 10 or 15 minutes before finally settling down to enjoy it. Silly pup.

I cooked a small ham and mashed potatoes and we went to my mother in law's house for a nice Easter meal. Incrediboy babbled all the way to Grandma's that he wanted to say the Easter grace, but then when it was time he refused. *shrug*. Whatever. That boy was cantankerous in general all weekend, to be honest.

The absence of the traditional egg hunt annually held at his cousins didn't go unnoticed. Hub and I were discussing having a little hunt for him in the back yard tonight, but I really don't have anything to put in his plastic eggs and I don't know if I feel organized enough to throw it together on the fly at Target on the way home today. We'll see. The commercial side of Easter was never really a big whoop while I was growing up, so I tend to forget a lot of details surrounding the secular angle of this holiday. Coloring eggs was always the highlight for me, and we got a small basket each year, but that was it. No trips to see the Bunny at the mall, no egg hunts, nothing like that. Deprived child, eh?

And because I like to gripe ... I was reading an article in the paper yesterday about 3 college kids who were killed in a car accident. They were all from China, a country which enacted a one child per family law in the seventies to help control the rapidly expanding population. Three families on the other side of the world lost their only children. The man who was responsible for the accident was doing 98 mph and crashed into the back of the students' Taurus. It pancaked between him and the car in front of them. What's more, is he not only had 11 points on his record and had also killed two other people in an accident a few years before, but he reportedly has epilepsy and often blacks out. Excuse me, but exactly WHY does this man have a license to begin with?

What. The. Hell.

Apparently the blood of two people on his hands made no matter to him - he had to add three more. Worthless waste of space. It's lucky for him that I have no say in the consequences for his actions.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cold-Nosed Angels

I work for a small company. We've all worked together for nearly 10 years, and in that time we've become extended family.

My bosses had to put their dog down yesterday morning. The atmosphere in the office has been so heavy - She was a sweet, gentle dog, and we had all grown to love her. But she was old ... Her hips were giving out, she'd been having trouble breathing, had stopped eating and drinking several days before, and had spent the last few days looking for quiet places to just ... lay down and seemingly let go.

Her folks decided it was time.

But even knowing when the time is right does not make the pain of saying goodbye any less sharp.

I was borne to a family which included a gentle-spirited border collie. He considered me his own and I dare to say no one in the house loved me more. He lived to be 17, and died at home on a Sunday morning. Naturally we were all devastated.

In time, my brother and I recovered from the loss. But my mother, while she learned to cope, never quite got the pain behind her.

Everyone who knows me knows that I love my dog to a ridiculous degree. He's a royal pain in the a$$ and at times has practically given us a nervous breakdown. But Hub and I love him with ALL our hearts. He's our oldest boy, our sweet pup, and the closest thing we have to eyewitnessing God's perfect unconditional love. And from the time we brought MBDog into our lives, I've prayed a secret prayer in earnest. I know it sounds morbid, but I've asked the Lord that when it's MBDog's time, that he releases his soul after a wonderful, love-filled day like any other. That he doesn't become ill, or suffer, and more to the point, that we won't be faced with the decision to put him to sleep. I can't even bear the thought of facing that decision without choking up. I hope with all my being that God will make the decision for me.

Herein lies the understanding for my Mother's torch for our sweet border collie. My brother and I shared the family with him - he was indeed a part of it as much as everyone else. But he was MOM's dog. SHE had adopted and raised him as her canine child. HE was HER boy. And she'd lost her boy.

My puppy, who once NEVER slept, now naps much of the time - and I've noticed the once distinct division of his white snout and brown cheeks is recenty becoming smudged with increasing amounts of gray. He's far from old, though - and statistically he still has many many years to go. But the past 5 1/2 have gone so fast. Too fast. I am glad that Incrediboy will know the happiness of growing up with a wonderful family dog. I know he'll remember MBDog always, even when he's an old man. But he will get over losing MBDog much faster than Hub and I will. If we ever do.

Opening your heart to a dog is one of the greatest blessings and learning opportunities granted to humans. They limit your freedom. They cramp your style. They can often be a burden on your budget. But they are worth it.

The only problem is they are here for such a short time.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Waxing, Waning, and Cleaning House

So, my cronies and I were talking recently, and the whole wad of us have seemingly lost our blogging mojo. In fact, one of us almost deleted their blog not too long ago, and another one of us actually DID, just today. That made me a little sad ... but I can't say as I blame her, seeing that, as it was put, she just wasn't feeling it anymore. Truth be told, I've considered doing the same thing myself, more than once, and for the same reason.

Not in every case, but it seems like so many people get into blogging for a year or two, and then just - to place it in a catchall phrase - lose interest. Some blogs get deleted, while others are merely abandoned, having a swipe of dust knocked off of it every now and then by the occasional visitor.

Why did I get into blogging? Those who've been around since the early years will confirm that even I didn't know that answer. Mainly because I was processing a handful of deaths and needed some sort of journaling outlet to help me sort out my grief. As time went on, my blog helped me rekindle my love of creative writing, and my posts flowed into a more narrative, magic in the little things, daily observations style - sprinkled with semi-fictional stories. And nearly always introspective, even if only obvious to me.

This blog has been a great tool of healing and growth for me. There was a time when I was posting twice a day, I had so many things to get out. Blogging was my biggest and most rewarding hobby, and I "met" wonderful, fascinating people I visited regularly and grew to love. Some have even become real honest-to-God figures in my actual life.

About a year or so ago, my inspiration for blogging suddenly fizzled. I now found it difficult to come up with anything to even talk about, let alone sculpt into an interesting metaphor of some sort. I waited, thinking and hoping that my muses would return. But they still have not.

Why have I lost my spark? Has this method of self-healing and creative indulgence served its purpose?

I thought of deleting this blog, but decided not to. Among the fluff and pointless spacewaste are a few bits of shine that I want to keep. Some I'm actually proud of. I could copy these things into a file so I could keep them - but I wonder if I'd change my mind one day and want this blog back. It's much easier to let a blog sit than to re-enter it (ha). But at the very least I've got an urge to put on my overalls and do some spring cleaning within my post files. In the next few weeks, I plan on doing just that.

If I delete a bunch of the stupid junk and leave only what I consider worthy of saving for something other than filler, maybe I'll be reinspired to do some good quality blogging again. Lord knows I want to - I miss it.

Many thanks to those who have been visiting me, riding along with me, and checking in on me even when I've taken long leaves of absence. You are a huge factor too in my decision not to delete my blog. I don't know when I'll get back to posting, but I'll continue to visit you, continue to pray for you, and continue to cherish your friendships.

I'm still here!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Top 5 Things Learned at Blogarita 3

Pearls of Wisdom gathered this past weekend ...

5.) There will always be something - a catch phrase, a song, something - that will manifest and become synonymous with any gathering you have with your best friends.

4.) It's a good idea to check the flue BEFORE you light a fire.

3.) There may indeed be more than one petrified forest.

2.) The silence can be as enriching as the gut-busting laughter.

1.) Piercing cartilage hurts. A lot.

I miss you girls!


Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Tuesday Reminiscing

I know, I'm slacking again. Sorry.

I snagged this survey from my bff Chesneygirl, who incidentally I will be par-tay-ing with this weekend along with Nelly and Naive, my other bff's. I know, you're all jealous!

1. Age on January 1st, 1980. – Young - but old enough to remember LOTS of stuff.

2. Favorite song of the 80’s. – How can you pick just one? The 80’s RULED for music!

3. Favorite rock band of the 80’s. – Def Leppard. And KISS of course but since they started in the 70’s I’ll say Def Leppard. I was a total Leppie.

4. Favorite dance/R&B band of the 80’s. – Midnight Star :)

5. Favorite TV show of the 80’s. – I LOVED Cosby – Bill Cosby ALWAYS cracked me up. And later that decade I was a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast. Vincent was SO cool.

6. Favorite male and female TV actors of the 80’s. – Tom Selleck – I Loved Magnum P.I. As for a female … I don’t know. :/

7. Favorite comedy movie of the 80’s. -- Ferris Bueller's Day Off and This is Spinal Tap.

8. Favorite action/drama film of the 80’s. – Raiders of the Lost Ark – definitely!

9. Favorite personal event, social gathering or political event during the 1980’s.—I’m not sure about FAVORITES. But the things I remember most vividly are John Lennon getting shot, the space shuttle’s first mission, and of course the Challenger’s final mission. Getting a booklet and letter from Ronald Reagan when I wrote him a letter. The Berlin Wall coming down. And all the activism in music: Band Aid (Do They Know it’s Christmas), Hands Across America, Hear’n’Aid, Farm Aid, USA for Africa, etc.

Sooo ... what do YOU remember about the 80's?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Enough Winter

Summertime is finally here
That old ball park man is back in gear
Out on 49, man I can see the lights
School's out the nights roll in
Man, just like a long lost friend
You ain't seen in a while
You can't help but smile.
And it's two bare feet on the dashboard
Young love in an old Ford
Cheap Shades, a tattoo and a
Yoo-Hoo bottle on the floorboard
Her favorite song on the radio
Sing along because it's one we know
It's a smile, it's a kiss, it's a sip of wine
It's summertime ~ Sweet summertime.

~ Kenny Chesney

If there's one thing that can be said about me, it's that I hate winter. I have absolutely no idea why I didn't run away to a more pleasant climate when I had the youth and energy to do so.

But with age comes temperence, and I've learned to accept my geographical fate. Mostly.

I seem to do all right anymore, tolerating the gray gloom and miserable temperatures - up through just about now. Round about mid-February, I've had about all I can take. My world's bland color palette and bone-creaking air really start getting to me. I get crabby (even crabbier than usual) and feel excessively exhausted. And I miss my boat. I miss my boat like the deserts miss the rain.

The weather sucks today as usual. It's about 20 degrees and very icy, with a biting wind that makes it feel less than zero. And then the stupid DJ on the radio station I listen to along the morning commute plays this song.

That's just cruel.

... How many days till summer?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Happy National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day

Mmmm ... crab stuffed flounder ...

Just wanted to let y'all know I'm still alive, just been kind of busy. Bear with me, I'll be back soon! Hope you're all well!

P.S. Remember my buttbustin' on the ice in my last post? My back still hurts. Yay.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

*Insert Expletive Here*

A few days back, I thought smashing a raw egg on my desk was worth complaining about. Well boy, did I learn my lesson today. I’d smash a dozen or more eggs, on my head yet, before repeating the beginnings of this fine Wednesday.

First of all, the power went out about 1am because there were gale force winds practically ripping our house apart. Which of course meant the Hub’s snore machine went out – a major problem for poor Apneatic Hub – and hence my problem as well. We rounded up this little battery backup thing and settled back down - but had a hard time getting back to sleep because the wind was shrieking like a swarm of premenstrual banshees.

About 2:30, Incrediboy woke up in a panic because his night-light and big blue clock were out and the wind was making scary noises. I went in and calmed him down - he wanted me to stay with him but I wasn’t into that - a.) because I don’t want to start that habit and 2.) I don’t want him to get my bug if at all possible.

“Bug?”, you say? Yes, I’m sick again. Normally I’m a pretty healthy person, but I seem to have been sick a lot lately. This time I have my boss to thank, who brought home some fresh plague from Europe and promptly shared it with the rest of the office. It’s a gnarly one, too, let me tell you. I love it.

So anyway, I finally got Incrediboy settled and went back to bed when the wind got extra feisty and freaked him out again. This time, Hub got up and went in with him, thank God. I was absolutely destroyed at this point.

What seemed like 2 minutes later my travel alarm clock went off. The power was still out. Completely exhausted, stiff and freezing half to death because our furnace runs on electric and so does the waterbed. The outside temperature plummeted a good two-score in the wake of the windstorm and our house had dropped into the 50's.

I got up to take MBDog out and the snow and wind was so bad. I hurried across the deck to unlock the gate and slipped on a big ice patch compliments of the night’s freezing rain - my feet flew out from under me and I landed square on the small of my back. I didn’t even really know what happened until I heard the sound of my own wind knocking out of me with an “UUUNH!”

I lay there for a moment on my sheet of ice, in my fuzzy robe and slippers, still clutching MBDog’s leash – watching the crystalline snow swirling above me. I thought very seriously about just letting the snow cover me and releasing my tortured soul to the heavens. But MBDog was doing his peepee dance at the gate. So I forced myself up and got moving again. I knew right away I’d feel it later, tough.

So I go back in and we're all trying to get ready by flashlight, which was fun. Eventually we got out the door, forgetting Incrediboy’s day bag. Luckily it’s Grandma Day, and we were able to whisk him in there and vamoose before he figured that out (I know what sounds mean, but at least Grandma has other blankets and toys there). Just on the commute in, I could feel my back stiffening.

I’m surviving this day, though I'm exhausted from having little to no sleep, and my stiff back has been joined by a sore wrist and kinked neck - and oh yeah, our hot water tank is electric too, and since the Hub worked on the car last night I let him take the one shower the water tank might be holding - so I've had no shower either.

I wonder if traction is covered by flexible spending accounts.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Explaining the Impossible

Men may not want to read this, and if you don't - that's fine. Just don't read it and then cry about TMI. Consider yourself warned! :) Also, don't lecture me about playing the martyr. This post isn't about martyrdom, I'm just sayin' it's difficult to explain to someone else - so zip it. ;)

Last night, my dear Hub asked me a profound question.

“What does it feel like to have a baby?”

I really had to think hard about that answer.

Now, explaining to another woman isn’t as challenging, as we all have the same – eh – structure. And if I’d refer to certain sensations in certain anatomical areas, she’d understand what I’d be talking about to a much more successful degree. But how do you describe something physical to someone who not only would never be able to experience it, but doesn’t even have the proper equipment in which to even relate?

To me, labor felt like increasingly excruciating menstrual cramps. But what feels like menstrual cramps besides menstrual cramps? So I described it as imagining really bad diarrhea cramps, but about twenty times worse, and centralized between your belly button and your – eh – peepee. Combine that with an immense and unique form of internal pressure from the inside of your pelvis, splitting those bones apart. And a burning sensation, as if the skin of your most delicate nether regions were being stretched to (and beyond) the point where it can remain intact.

Yes, I had an epidural. But it wore off mid-birth and I remember the subsequent sensations very, very well.

Did he understand the parallels I was trying to draw? I’m not sure. So I ask my women blogfriends with children, how would you describe the sensation of childbirth? Foregoing the typical “squeezing a bowling ball through a keyhole” illustrations, I mean actual comparable sensations. As if to someone who has no concept – what could they expect?

I imagine a similar dilemma would arise if I’d ask him what it feels like to be kicked in the jewels. Something that is, no matter what he would say, a sensation I’m sure I will never fully be able to grasp.

BTW, speaking of motherhood, today is my Grandma's birthday. She died in 2005, but she would be 98 today. Happy Birthday, Grandma - I miss you!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Things That Made Me Smile This Weekend

Sometimes, something completely arbitrary will just totally crack me up.

We took Incrediboy to see the new Veggie Tales movie yesterday afternoon. It was really cute and enjoyable. And one particular element just tickled me out of my shoes.

One of the characters has a thing for cheese puffs. On the troupe’s adventures, they came across a room full of cheese puffs, and this character decided to go no further – opting to bask in the sea of cheesy goodness from there on out. This turned out to be a mistake, as the cheese puffs raised up, bared large gnashing teeth, and went on attack. Naturally a change of heart took place and our cheese puff loving character rejoined his comrades – but the stampede of cheese puffs then chased our humble heroes throughout the rest of the picture.

For reasons even I don’t understand, these killer cheese puffs just made me lose it. Every time they’d show up, hopping frantically with a fierce “Ya-ya-yaaaaah!”, I’d just bust up laughing. Even now, I’m tee-heeing about it.

Why? Who knows. It’s just one of those things.

On a sweeter note, the Hub ran out to do some errands yesterday while I cleaned out Incrediboy’s closet. I had taken a break to work on a little side project at the dining room table when he came home. Incrediboy ran to greet him as he always does, and a few moments later he came back around the corner balancing in his arms a huge bouquet of purple heather, eucalyptus and 2 dozen mixed roses.

“Here, Mommy, these are for you!”

“They are? Oh, thank you!”

“You’re welcome!”

Hub stood in the living room doorway, smiling, and I smiled back. As I admired them, Incrediboy proceeded to explain to me, as if he’d thought it all out very thoroughly, that the peach ("orange") roses were his, the pale pink and dark pink roses were mine, and the white roses were Daddy’s.

Which is fine by me. I don’t mind sharing them at all.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A Dog and His Boy

In a rare - and I mean rare - event, Incrediboy spent the night with Grandma on Friday for only the second time ever. Hub and I had a chance to go to a fancy dinner downtown with some associates, and then to an NHL game. The evening would run late, so a campout at Grandma's was a blessing. We slept in liesurely with Most Beautiful Dog until almost 9 the next day.

We took advantage of the boy-less Saturday morning to get Incrediboy's new bunk bed together. The sizeable new piece of furniture required a redesign of the room's layout, so after getting a quick breakfast, Hub and I headed in there to start tearing down and rearranging.

We began with clearing out many of the long outgrown baby things (like the playpen we've been using for a toybox/catchall for well over a year now) and moved on to disassembling the crib. MBDog began hovering around the room, gradually getting more and more clingy. As we had one of the four sides of the crib removed and were working on the rest, MBDog slinked into the negative space of the frame, sat down and gave us a droopy-eared, saucer-eyed, questioning look. This continued throughout the morning - MBDog becoming increasingly more solemn and troubled. I'd stop and stroke his head, asking him what was wrong. He'd just gaze at me forlornly. He looked as if he'd lost his best friend.

After a while, Hub paused thoughtfully, and said, "I wonder if he thinks we got rid of Incrediboy?"

Now there was something that hadn't occurred to me. Incrediboy never spends the night away from home unless we're all gone. And with Mom and Dad taking down the boy's "crate" - it was understandable that he might be wondering that.

Some might say that perhaps we humanize our dog too much. But I can tell you that he most definitely was extra excited to see Incrediboy walk through the door again later that day. It was really very sweet. One of God's greatest gifts - to, as a child, be loved by a dog.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Sometimes Tuesday Seems like Monday

So with the start of the new year, I'm switching from breakfasts of Christmas cookies and chocolates to more healthy alternatives again. This morning I grabbed a hard boiled egg and a yogurt on the way out the door, as I didn't have time to eat at home.

They're a simple thing, really, but I love hard boiled eggs. They're small, but they satisfy my tummy, and they taste good. Especially with a little salt and/or mustard on top of them. Mmmm. So anyway, I got my coffee and my egg and settled down at my desk. I'd picked out the biggest egg in the carton, because I'm greedy that way. Sometimes the real big ones are double yolkers, and I wondered if this was one. I picked it up and proceeded to give it a good vigorous round of cracking.

Well. I thought I'd grabbed it out of the carton marked "hard boiled", but apparently I was still half asleep. I busted a fricking raw egg all over my desk.

I'm such a butthole.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Two Sides of the Stinkbomb Coin

A recent post by the lovely and brilliant Rebecca got me thinking about movies tonight.

I'm almost embarrassed by how many movies I've seen. Despite the fact that there are several quintessential classics that I've somehow never gotten around to seeing (It's a Wonderful Life and Casablanca, for example - I've also never seen Johnny Got His Gun despite it being my absolute favorite book of all time - but anyone who reads a book before going to see the movie will tell you, you'll always be disappointed - the book is way better - but I digress ...) - I've seen a disproportionate amount of movies for a hot, voluptuous socialite fox such as myself. And I know there are SO many other things that would be a better way to spend my time. But I like the escape of a good silver screen story - and even some bad ones. What can I say? I love movies almost as much as I love music.

I used to be able to enjoy most movies even if they weren't good. At the very least I could have fun making fun of them with my husband or friends. But since parenthood was bestowed upon us, and since we are one of those couples NOT blessed with hoardes of friends and relatives fighting amongst themselves over who gets to watch our dear child for free, time on the town is a mere fraction of what it used to be - and going out to see a movie is a rare treat. And if I pay $8 to see a piece of garbage, frankly it really ticks me off now.

Have you ever seen The Truman Show? Everybody thinks this movie is brilliant. I didn't like it. At all. I was practically bored to tears! My husband is under the impression that I hate Jim Carrey because of my distaste for this movie. That's not it - I just hate this movie.

Another movie I hated was Napoleon Dynamite. This overly ripe poopball of a movie was hailed by so many of my peers as the funniest thing since Ridgemont High. Wrong. It was one of the most annoying experiences of my life sitting through that. I hung in there, thinking it would turn around, but I only ended up wishing I could have that two hours of my life back again.

I absolutely despise the Austin Powers movies. So much I'm not even going to bother elaborating. Same goes for the "cult classics" Rocky Horror Picture Show and A Clockwork Orange. UGH! Putrid wastes of celluloid.

On the other hand, there are a few movies that I seem to be the only one who liked them. I actually liked Kevin Costner's The Postman so much I've watched it 3 or 4 times (though I'd rather take a sharp stick in the eye than ever watch Waterworld again). Battlefield Earth was by no means a GOOD movie, but I did rather enjoy it despite myself. Ladykillers, which made IMDb's top 100 Worst Movies of ALL TIME list, really tickled me (though it could have something to do with my favorite actor Tom Hanks' cheeky portrayal of the main character). I was also absolutely, indescribably captured by Apocalypto - which I don't know if anyone else liked or not because I don't know another single soul who saw it besides the Hub (he also loved it - and the fact that either of us liked a subtitled movie is remarkable in itself).

So I was wondering, what movies crowned as masterpieces did you find less than palatable? And what movies branded as bombs did you actually like - even love?

Come on now - we're all friends here. You can tell us!

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Commodity Oddity

I've been clenching my teeth at night lately. Hard. So hard that my jaw and face muscles hurt the next day. I got a bite guard at the store which has helped significantly. It was very distracting for a few days, but now I barely even notice it.

Interestingly, when I wake up on my own I don't seem to be clenching so hard, but when I'm awakened by, say, the alarm clock, I note that my jaws are clamped down on that bite guard tighter than a pair of channel-lock pliers.

I've been taking a new prescription the past few months, and upon doing a little research, learned that one of the side effects - which is completely unrelated to anything, it seems - is night time jaw clenching.

Huh! At least I know why I've picked up this weird reflex. You learn something new every day. :)

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Because I Don't Have Enough Pains in My Butt to Worry About

It’s that time of year. When many of us propose to make these life-changing commitments with the changing of the annual calendar. I used to make resolutions every year. Then I stopped. But the past few years I’ve started again.

I accomplished one of my resolutions from last year. I seem to be on a roll! So I’m making some more, just for fun and/or self-torture. It’s what life’s all about, right?

Get back to church. This was a resolution last year, and we were going every week for most of the year. But then we slacked off in September, so I’m not counting this as accomplished. And before anyone goes off about how organized religion is a bunch of crap, I diligently sought out a no-bull, Bible believing church. No church is going to suit you perfectly unless you start it yourself, which I’m too lazy (and too dumb) to do. Despite various faults of this or that denomination, I staunchly back the concept that Christian fellowship time is better than no Christian fellowship time.

Start working out again. After many years of high impact workouts (Jazzercize, kickboxing, Tae-Bo and Turbo Jam), my knees have been giving me problems. I can’t jump and spring about and forcefully kick imaginary foes in the chops anymore without seriously paying for it in my lower joints. It sucks, because I love the feeling of power and control that these workouts give me. But alas! Youth is wasted on the young! I did start getting in to the fabulous midsectional challenges of bellydancing this past year (much to some of my friends’ amusement – shut up, Nelly), but it too fell by the wayside. I plan to get back into that again – I’m much too young to feel this dang old. Not to mention the Hub loves an hourglass girl :).

Try not to punch out any lemmings. With the presidential nomination races heading into full swing here in the very near future, this will be my most challenging resolution. Wish me luck.

Only 3 resolutions, but these should keep me plenty challenged, especially that last one.

Happy New Year!