Thursday, January 29, 2009

I've hit rock bottom.

There is snow piled up to my waist. I'm fighting off (successfully, I believe) a cold. Doc's sick. The house is in disarray. The kids have cabin fever and are behaving like they've been raised by wolves. We're short staffed at work. I'm out of clean underwear. My eyes just want to go shut. I feel like death on toast.

But I keep remembering: My vacation starts Saturday. Just get through today and tomorrow. That got me through the beginning of the week. But I don't know if I can squeeze the juice out of that good thought much longer.

Help me please. Why should I keep plowing forward and not just drop? Oh yeah...Groundhog's Day Party 2009. It will be a time of renewal. A time to flip the double bird to winter and say:

HA! You can freeze my buns off but you can't freeze my spirit! See! I'm in the hot tub! I'm in my bathing suit in the middle of winter! Watch me walk barefoot through the snow!


Another thing to look forward to: I will get to spend time with my wonderful sister-in-law and her super-awesome husband (more on him later...wait til I tell you about the chair he refinished for me). Thinking of them and my neices and nephews coming to visit just made everything somewhat better. After all, they are the kind of people who have this hanging on their fridge:



Yep. Never give up. That's my motto for the day. Either that or: Never stop choking the bird that's trying to eat you. Actually, I think I prefer the latter.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Thanks to Rock and Roll Astronauts: Evil Genius and Red


I now have two super funky new avatars to choose from, whether I'm feeling evil or not! Thanks guys! I will try to live up to the image you've created for me.
What I love about the universe: Evil Creative People

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Family Night

Jokes:

Riley: What's the grumpiest sea creature? A crab!

Lucy: Why is the elephant standing on a marshmellow?

Us: Why?

Lucy: Because he's not going to fall in the hot chocolate!

Lucy: Riley! They laughed their pants off! Let's get aonther joke!

Riley: Here's one! Let's rehearse it...

Lucy: No!

Riley: We've gotta rehearse!

Lucy: No! Let me tell it...

Riley: What knight designed King Arthur's round table?

Us: What?

Riley: Sir-Cumference!

Lucy: It's like they laughed their pants off! Let's go get another one! First one to the computer gets to tell the joke!

Did You Get The Number Of That Truck...


...that hit me last night? Kapow!


I was out like a light a 9:45. I was laying on the bed watching "Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf" with the kids and I was gone. Normally, after about 8:00, I catch my second wind and can be the night owl that I am. Usually it's the only time when I can actually be in the same room with Doc and hang out. I look forward to it, even if it does cause me to burn the candle at both ends.


Last night, though, I was gone with the wind. I think I'll blame it on our new heated mattress pad. As soon as I stretch out on it, it sucks the will to be conscious out of me, which is probably a good thing. I must have needed the rest. And Doc can live without hanging out with me for one night.


Still, since we are ships passing in the night, I hate to give up even one evening with him. Good news, though: He doesn't work tonight, so we can be a regular family and have dinner together, put the kids to bed at a decent hour, and squander the rest of the evening goofing off.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

GHDP2K9: Preparation Update

We are well on our way to our Groundhog's Day party; it's only 17 days away. Of course you've probably heard we're redecorating here and there. My parents gave us their couch, chair, ottoman, 32 inch TV and stand. As we were preparing to move the old couch out into the garage for extra party seating, Riley flipped out.

"I don't want Grandma and Pop's couches! I love this couch!"

On and off all morning she would dip back into weepy sadness over the couch and would try to negotiate ways to keep the old couch.

"Baby, this train has already left the station," I told her. "I'm sorry this isn't working the way you want it to; you're going to have to find something positive about it because crying isn't going to change this decision." Two Men and a Truck were already at my parent's house and would be at our place soon.

At one point, Lucy came up to me and said, "Mommy...I tried to cry about the couch, but I couldn't; I'm just too happy."

"That's the spirit, Lucy!" I said, trying not laugh. I was actually very proud of her in that moment. She tried to be an ally with Riley and feel her pain as it were, but she just couldn't intentionally dampen her own spirits. I think this bodes well for her future.

As for Riley's depression, she's over it. The next day the neighbor girl came over and the three of them discovered new ways to have fun on this beautiful leather sofa. It's slippery and you can sit on the back of it with your backs toward the seats lean back, slide down and flip over. Again and again and again. I haven't heard word one about that old couch since.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Mystique of the Snow Blower

I have never yet met a man who didn't melt at the site of my snowblower. When I pull that shiney, red contraption out of the shed and begin working on the driveway, I can sense a ripple in the force. The collective ears of my adult male neighbors perk up. I'm able to make two, maybe three, passes up and down the driveway before one of them comes out suited up in their snow gear.

"Why don't you let me do that," he might say. From a distance, this would look to a passerby like a gentleman helping out a lady neighbor with a cold, wet and possibly dangerous chore. But up close, I can see the desire in his eyes. This is no mission of mercy. He wants to get his work-gloved hands on the throttle. He wants to pull-start that little engine. He wants to squeeze the hand controls to engage the auger. He wants to turn that crank to redirect the snow fountain as he marches up and down the driveway with the speed cranked to six.

But I play along. I reply, "Oh that would be nice of you." And I watch him try to hide his glee as I step away from the red machine and show him the controls. He tromps off behind the snowblower and I pick up a shovel to get to the tight spots. I always smile to myself, feeling a bit like Santa Claus and Tom Sawyer all at once.

I also feel a little bit disapporinted. Sure, someone else is doing my chores, but running the snowblower is amazingly satisfying work. I love that damn thing. I love the way it sounds. I love the way it smells. I love the way it shoots snow out of the front. I love how you can push it through knee-deep snow and end up with a path. No other machine does so much work with so little effort. So, truly, I hate to hand over the controls, but I do anyway. Who am I to hoard all that fun to myself?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Semi-Colon Lament

I'm a fan of Kurt Vonnegut, although I haven't read much of his work recently. I stopped in the library at lunch and picked up Armageddon in Retrospect, which is a compilation of things he wrote that were never published. There is a delightful introduction by his son, Mark Vonnegut. In it he states, "If you can't learn about reading and writing from Kurt, maybe you should be doing something else." I tended to agree with that statement and the introduction put me in a mindset to start reading the rest of the book with my eye on word choice, rhythm, and structure.

This was all well and good and added to my delight at reading Vonnegut again. Until I read this line:

"My advice to writers just starting out? Don't use semi-colons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, representing exactly nothing. All they do is suggest you might have gone to college."

Personally? I love semicolons; I think they add a bit of poetry to my prose. And yes, I'm probably showing off when I use them. So what?

Harumph.

I'm all about simplicity and brevity. I want to be as efficient with words as possible...except when I don't. And then I want to use semi-colons.

Am I being a baby about this? Are semi-colons pretentious? I want you to be honest with me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Sexy Six

The lovely Beth has tagged me as one of six sexy gals to answer this meme:

The Rules

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post and link to them.
5. Let each person know they’ve been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

After four and a half years of blogging, I'm not sure what you don't know about me, so this is going to be quite a challenge. But, like Beth, I love making lists, so here we go!

  1. I am to reality TV as George Will is to baseball. If there were daily stats, I would read them. I study the contestants, the show, the judges, the rules, the sets, the production value, the music. It is a science to me. I could probably write a book about American Idol or Survivor. I'm also pretty good at predicting outcomes, but that's because...
  2. I'm psychic. At least my Grandma thinks so. I'm not sure myself. Though I did know the moment my Grandpa (on the other side of the family) passed away. I also predicted several peoples' coming out of the closet. But this is probably because...
  3. I study people. I observe them, sometimes to the point of staring. But I can often tell what's going on behind their eyes and this gives me insight that may be confused with psychic powers. But I don't try to convince anyone I'm not psychic. It gives me an edge when...
  4. I play poker and the best part about poker is it gives me a chance to stare people down. What's not to love about having the opportunity to stare at people and it's not taboo? I especially like trying to stare down my parents. My Dad is nearly unreadable. My Mom gets really serious, and if she stops breathing, she's bluffing. But what's even better than staring, is...
  5. I love being in the moment and outside the moment at the same time. When I've got a good hand in poker, I love managing my expressions and governing my emotions, while still savoring the knowledge that I have the nuts. It's quite a challenge, but it makes me feel alive. Is that cliche? If it is, then great! Because...
  6. I love cliches. The more hackneyed the better. They crack me up and I enjoy the ensuing groans after I lay one out there. Some of my favorites are:

    "They don't have a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of"
    "I'm busier than a one-armed paper hanger with the crabs"
    "Balls to the wall"
    "'Til the cows come home"
    "Closing the barn door after the horses get loose"
    "That beats a sharp stick in the eye"

    In fact, looking at a comprehensive list of cliche's to remind me of the ones I love best, I realized that my speach is overly peppered with them. But what can you do? A leopard can't change her stripes...(BTW: I also love saying them wrong...Because I'm not the sharpest bulb in the tool shed)

So, now I get to find out more about you. Here are six more sexy ladies to contribute:

Red

Spooky

Tanya Espanya

Amy

Genn6

Mix Tape Girl

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Oh, No! Say It Ain't So!


CBS has just greenlighted John Mayer's Variety/music show! Why?!? Why ?!? Why?!?

"I want to return talent to television...I want a show that rewards true talent." says the ever-smug Mayer.
Gag me. Stop slaggin' American Idol, you pompous, pretentious douchebag! You giant asshat!
Call me when it's cancelled.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

On The Bright Side, My Phone Smells Clothesline Fresh


It wasn't until after I cleaned out the couch and searched high and low, that it dawned on me that there was a load of jeans in the washer. I had a sneaking suspicion that I had left the phone in my jeans pocket and then did laundry without checking any pockets. Alas, my suspicions were confirmed.

So, I can't get a free upgrade until the end of March. And this was my back up phone; I have already destroyed one during my two-year commitmenet. What's a poor disconnected girl to do? I thought I'd try my luck on eBay. I'd received many suggestions (including hold the phone under the hair dryer), but eBay seemed to be the best. This newly laundered phone was my back up phone. I'm going to need to replace it anyway.

My Grandma offered me her phone, which I could borrow until I'm eligible for an upgrade, which I may do if I lose my bid. I'll keep you posted.

I didn't do this on purpose, despite the fact that I loath the phone I laundered. It's probably four years old. It doesn't have a camera. The ringtones are limited to the polyphonic. I crave the cutting edge. I'm trying to be frugal and not dive off the deep end and by the $200 Jungle Green Sony Walkman Phone I currently covet.

If all else fails, Grandma's phone is the smartest option. But I'm committed to a bid on a lesser phone. I'm certainly not getting my dream phone. Ugh! Being financially responsible sucks! But if it hurts this much, I must be doing the right thing.

Monday, January 12, 2009

I Had A Dream...

It was really awesome. I kept thinking throughout that I need to remember what happened here and there so that I could post about it when I woke up. That's often how I will remember my elaborate dreams: I tell myself in situ to remember this when I wake up or I'll tell someone in the dream about the dream that I had and that usually does the trick.

So I kept doing that all throughout the dream. "I'll have to remember this for my post..." It was all awesome. I knew it was up to your standards. I knew I'd have you gasping and spraying your monitors with Diet Coke.

But I forgot the dream. Every blasted morsel.

I blame the Cap'n. We'd spent the evening with him and Spooky, having a grand time drinking Asti and Mead (sequentially, not mixed together). He has this habit of remarking: "Blog-fodder!" or "That's blog-worthy!" whenever something interesting/amazing/out of the ordinary happens. So much so that I think he wore a path in my gray matter. I'm guessing nothing of note happened in that dream, but his insistance that all of life is blog-worthy invaded my psyche and caused me to see everything in such a light.

I was really psyched, too...It's not very often anymore that I find something new to share here with such zeal. Maybe that's it. I need to look at the little things and serve them up. Here's some to tide you over:

  • Doc brought out his sword collection (actual swords/sabres) to show to the Capn' and the girls were so frightened, they huddled behind me in the kitchen until the swords were well put away.
  • I was cooking and Doc and the girls were swarming me in the kitchen. I looked down on the counter to see an amazing brown spider with white accents. I motioned to Doc, who took time to admire it. "What do you see?" Lucy asked. "A really cool spider..." he began but was drowned out by the doppler squeals of our girls beating feet to get out of the room
  • Lucy is so enamoured with the sound track of Mamma Mia! that she now knows most of the words to most of the songs. It's strange to hear an almost 5-year old sing, "If you change your mind...honey I'm still free...take a chance on me..." The best thing is that she's also learning the dances and she's getting pretty good at it.
  • A note from Riley to Lucy:

    Dear Lucy,
    Put a qork in it.
    Love,
    Riley
  • Also, Riley creates agendas for play dates. First they were going to play with dolls, then create scrap books, then jump on the bed, then have a snack, then play with the moon sand, then it's time for you to go home.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Retirment Day

Well, my good friends, Couch #2 is on it's way out to pasture. Having joined our family in the summer of 2004, it has served us well for nearly 5 years. It's extra long (just like Elvis') and with the 4-foot long ottoman, it could contain the entire family plus a cat, even to this day.

Alas, it's time for the old guard to step down and make room for the new. There's a large hole where the armest meets the base of the couch and it swallows very important items like keys, remotes, phones and the neighbor kids. There is a hole in the fabric on the armest that was barely noticable, until Lucy made it bigger with a pair of kids scissors.

It's hard, though, to part with it. I grieved as I stretched out on it last night, with the girls snuggled up to me. We bought this couch when Lucy was just born. It's wooly and light brown, so it doesn't show dirt. The cushions are vast and plentiful, perfect for fort building. It's shape is modern and clean looking. Just thinking about moving it out of here is breaking my heart. It's been so central to our lives.

But time marches on. And my parents want to give us their buttercream leather couch, chair and ottoman. It's solid and like new, no holes in this one. Also, the pillows across the back are sewn on, so they won't get flung around the house. And it's leather, so it's hopefully going to be a bit more durable and easy to clean. I'm lucky to inherit such a lovely set of furniture. But still...

The old couch holds so many memories and is so comfy I can't stand to part with it completely. The plan is to move it out into our garage, where our bar is and where the grown-ups hang out. I worry that a mouse might make it's home in there and make it completely unfit for human lounging.

In the long run, it's all for the best. But, damn. I'll miss the good naps and cozy spaciousness Couch #2 offers. So, thank you, old buddy, for cradling me and my babies, for giving my kids fort material and for offering such a cozy spot to snuggle with Doc. I'll never forget you.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

I Love My Kids, But...

They're great. They're cute, cuddly, sweet, smart...but they are always in my personal space, and usually in a blind spot. Riley for example hovers just below my right elbow, so I don't see her until after I turn around clock her on the head accidentally. Lucy is more overt. She likes to sit on me, especially if I'm eating or doing something that requires concentration. I've gotten used to this and even rather like having them so close. I know this time is fleeting and soon they won't want anything to do with me, but that's hard to remember when they're waving an object 2 inches away from my eyes so that I may see it better.

But last night was the worst. I had put the girls to bed and snuggled up to watch some MASH with Doc. We settled in for a long winter's nap and all was well. Until sometime in the wee hours of the morning, I found myself with maybe 3/4 of a foot of real estate. Riley and Lucy both made their way into the middle of our bed. I propped myself up and assessed the situation frowsily. Hey, I thought, there's room at the foot of the bed! I was able to stretch out and have some space on either side of me down there. Satisfied, I fell back asleep.

...Only to be awaken by a thrust kick to my chest. Lucy had planted her feet and was continuing to apply pressure. I tried to scootch away only to discover my legs were pinned by Doc's feet. You'd think by now I would realize that having the children in our bed is a recipe for a bad night's sleep. I should have gotten up and moved to the couch or moved them to the couch. But no, I shifted again, this time I formed myself into a right angle so that my legs were along the foot board and my back along the edge. This did not work, as Lucy began to edge toward me and I was back to where I started: No room.

So, now I'm extra sleepy and drinking caffiene by the buckets, kicking myself as if I were Lucy asleep in my bed with me. But this is a testament to the way my brain works in the middle of the night, i.e. not at full capacity. Maybe I'll get a deadbolt for our door...

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Lenny & Squiggy's New Years Predictions

Hello, suckeroos... and suckerettes! We gotta brain to pick with you! We bet you think you've got this year all figured out. But me and Squig know different. So, without further ado we present: Stuff that's gonna happen this year.



The Economy


We're all gonna be broke. But there's nothin' wrong with that. We've always been broke, right Squig? But that's what neighbors are for. Whenever you need something, just march down the steps, fling open their door, and ask them if you can borrow a cup of pork or something.





Entertainment





The entertainment word du jour for this year is "free" and "cheap." When you're tired of rolling balls down at the Pizza Bowl, why not just get together with your neighbors and play songs you wrote. You could use one of our songs, something like "Only Women Cry" or "So's Your Old Testament." The important thing is to drown your sorrows with your friends. This is good medicine and don't forget the beer. Remember what Mary Poppins told you: A case of Schatz beer is a spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down.



The Environment



Walking is the new hybrid. You've got a battery and you've definately got gas. Take our advice and take a hike. There's more money for beer that way and you won't be wreckin' the ozone.





And there you have the news that's yet to be. Everything else is for you to know and me to find out!

Edited to add: Lines in italics (excluding this one) are Lenny and Squiggy lines from the show Laverne and Shirley. No plagiarism intended here, I just wanted to talk like them...

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Head's Up, Party People! It's Almost Groundhog's Day!

Yes, we've closed the door on one holiday are gearing up for the next one: Groundhog's Day! Not to be outdone by the Cap'n or Doc, I've penned this little invite myself. So, if you find yourself in the area and in the mood for some winter cocktails and a soak, stop on by.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Years Blues

I'm bummed. It's looking like we're going to have more of the same this year, although a new president will be nice. I need to shake things up. I've asked Doc to start working on that one for me. He's game, which is 1/2 the reason I married him. Also he's 1/4 handy/prepared and 1/4 dimples.

I think this notion was brought about by watching Mama Mia on New Year's Day. I don't care what you say about this movie: it got me. I loved it, every minute. Even when Pierce Brosnan sang. It made me want to move to Greece, that's how much I loved it.

And why not? What would it take, really...we could sell the house and everything we own and live in a box until the rest of our debts are paid off. Then we can take our tax refunds, get a passport and hop on the next Aegean Airlines flight out of here. We wouldn't need shoes and we could make our clothes out of flimsy material. It's always sunny there and we could buy a hotel to run. I've seen Newhart and Fawlty Towers; we could do it. Think of the things I could post here...

I can hear Doc now: "Well, darlin'" he'd say slowly, "If that's what you really want to do...but what about [insert reality check here]."

See? I'm pretty sure he'd be game for moving to Greece with me if I could answer his doubts. And let me tell you, right now, Greece sounds really good to me. I'm sure it will pass as many of my whims do these days. It used to be I'd jump at these ideas without thinking. Now, it's a bit harder with the little ones. However, as long as they could listen to the sound track of Mama Mia over and over and over again, I could talk them into just about anything. Doc's not so easy, which is another reason why our marriage works: He's one hundred per cent his own person. I can only cajole him into something if he's already inclined so to do.

But really, I want to go to the Greece in the movie, where people break out into song. Where beautiful people dance together and emote. I want to hang out with those loud boisterous people and sing "Dancing Queen." I want to wear my heart on my sleeve and feel sunbleached, warm to the bones. I'm want someone to stand on the top of the mountain with me and let me bemoan that the "winner takes it all..." and then profess his love publically afterwards (Doc, can you help me out with this one?).

How can I get that in my life?