Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Obese Navidad

The song "Feliz Navidad" was playing the other day and I contemporaneously changed the words to "Obese Navidad." Recession or no recession, or maybe because of the recession, we are eating like there is no tomorrow. Because there may not be one for us. My job and hubby's jobs are both vulnerable to extinction. So, bring on the cookies,the drinks, and whatever highly caloric and life limiting food choices are around. 'Tis the season to be Merry and damn it, no matter what, we are going to give it a go.

So, we have been scarfing down homemade cookies and whatever else has been sent from above or from devious types to tempt us. We baked lots of cookies but sadly, they are mostly gone now. Well, they are best eaten while fresh, why wait until Christmas? Speaking of Christmas, why have the stale homemade christmas cookies that by some miracle you did not yet eat, for your dessert? Those should just count as snacks or highly caloric energy "pills." No, by rights we should have a proper dessert.

So, its on with the boots again and off to the crowded store to buy the ingredients for sticky toffee pudding, a favorite English dessert I had the misfortune to fall in love with during our UK years. Oh yes, and the individual fallen chocolate cakes have become a Christmas Eve tradition. Really, it isn't officially the night before Christmas without them.

While flipping through my recipe file I just ran across a recipe for Lemon Almond Polenta cake. Well that sounds yummy too. May as well make it and take it, along with the sticky toffee pudding, to Christmas at hubby's uncle's house. It will be the blessed union of two great sayings: Tis the season to be merry and: The more the merrier. Is that Jose Feliciano I hear singing in the background?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Deck the Balls!

Okay, I admit, if there really were fashion police, I would probably have been arrested a few times. But, I will go ahead and mock some of the obnoxious holiday "styles" I have seen of late.

Saturday night at my husband's work holiday party, there was a man there wearing the most obnoxious "holiday" pants I have ever seen. They were bright red cordouroys with green wreaths adorned with red bows all over them. There was no missing this man in a crowd. When I relayed this to a friend she told me that her significant other does a good volume of business in vintage and high end clothing of just this sort. Just goes to show you that taste and money do not always go hand in hand.

I was thinking that maybe the man had mistaken the words of the song "Deck the Halls" with "Deck the Balls" and therefore sported such pants to show his holiday spirit. He was probably just a victim of fashion amnesia. I myself bought a pair of pants a few years back which I now realize upon reflection, should have been limited to either upholstery or shower curtains. Bright blue and yellow. I must make a mental note to go back and destroy any photos of these in case I decide to run for public office.

A few nights ago we dined with some acquaintances from our Alma Mater. A spouse of one of the alums also decided to get all decked out in the spirit of the season. The fashion police would have picked him up on his three-alarm red blazer complete with christmas holiday buttons as extra adornment, had they been in the vicinity.

In general I don't go in for looking like a Christmas tree just because 'Tis the season. Consistently, I am also not into things like dressing in Disney top to toe. Just the occassional foray into the world of upholstery, that's me.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Going Postal

A few weeks ago I went to the main post office in our area to do the first bulk mailing for the nonprofit I am the Executive Director of. I had spoken on the phone to several post office employees and researched on the internet all that had to be done beforehand and thought I was pretty well prepared. I had even sorted the 204 letters by zip code as instructed by one of the employees. So, imagine my surprise when it took 3 1/2 hours and then an additional return trip to get the mailing done.

First you see, I was advised to go to the front retail window and ask them if they had 500 precanceled five cent stamps to purchase. I was told that was the minimum and if they didn't have it, there was no point in opening the permit, etc. So, I waited in line in the front lobby for about five minutes. There was one guy working the counter. Did I mention this was around the middle of December? Finally, another woman came out and prepared to open her desk to serve customers. I jumped the line to ask her, if she could just tell me if the office had at least 500 precanceled 5 cent stamps because John from the Business Entry Unit had told me to inquire.

She said "they don't do 5 cent stamps anymore, just 10 cent ones." "Oh," I said, "John had told me specifically that they should be 5 cents." "No," she insisted, "they are 10 cents." "Okay" I relented, "well, do you have 500 of those?" "I think so, I am not sure and I have to wait on the customers." she said and motioned to the line of customers. So, I took a chance and decided to go ahead and pull the permit for the bulk mail, assuming their would be enough stamps.

Pulling the permit entailed getting into my car, driving out the entrance and driving to the second driveway, essentially driving 1/4 of a mile in a circuituous route to the back of the building. There I was met by John with whom I had spoken several times by phone. He was very nice and helpful and immediately announced that the woman who I dealt with, who he decided was "Cecile," was providing inaccurate information. Anyway, John and I spent twenty minutes of him inputing my organization's information (I thought I was all set when I had applied for permission to mail under nonprofit status, however, that essentially just allows you to open a permit-should have known it was too easy...). Once he was done, he instructed me that I had to go back around to the front and pay the $180 to open the permit and to buy my precanceled stamps. Once I had done that he said, I could come back with my mail to the back and mail it with the properly completed forms and the mail in the proper trays, etc. I figured I would cross that bridge when I got to it and off I went back to the front of the building in my car.

When I got back to the front of course the long line was being served by one person only, the other employee (who I later learned was Bill) was off to lunch. So, twenty minutes waiting in line later, I got served by a different woman who had just come on to join Cecile. The new woman was very pleasant and I am sorry I don't recall her name. I asked her for the 5 cent stamps and she said no problem but the supervisor then came out to tell me that the minimum amount of precanceled stamps which could be purchased was 3000! That will be plenty for over two years of mailings! Yikes, but now I was already down the road of commitment, having just paid the $180 permit fee to mail under nonprofit status!

So, off I went, $330 lighter and a massive coil of precanceled 5 cent stamps in my hand, to get into my car and put the stamps on the 204 letters. Once again, I drove around to the back of the building and headed for the bulk mail office. I had downloaded the form for the bulk mail and John had kindly weighed 10 of the letters to get an accurate weight of one piece for the form. The women at the bulk area were very nice and explained how to fill out the rest of the form and in fact, Hortense even filled out much of the form for me. Then she showed me where the trays were to put the letters in which I had sorted by zip code. She then showed me the cardboard covers that went on the trays. So far so good. Finally, she tallied up the sheet and told me that the difference between the amount paid by using the 5 cent stamps and the rate to be paid for nonprofit postage amounted to $13.81 I still owed them.

You guessed it. I had to drive back around to the front to pay that. So back in front and back in line, I finally reached the counter and was served by Bill who by this time was back from his lunch. While waiting I got to chatting with a woman standing in front of me whose name was Barbara and who noticed that I had just been in the bulk mail area around back like she was. Turns out that she runs a mailing service business. Before this day I would have wondered as to the business need for such a service. Now there was no doubt in my mind. I quickly asked for her card.

When I paid Bill my $13.18 I drove back around to the back and gave them the sheet with the evidence of my having paid the $13.18 and they told me I was all set. Off I went home, happy to have this all behind me.

Twenty minutes later the phone rang. It was another woman from the business entry unit. She said the math on my sheet didn't add up. I quickly blamed Hortense who had so kindly helped me. The math was saying that there were 194 pieces (in the end it was my error, I had given her the various numbers). There is a minimum of 200 pieces for bulk mail. I had a moment of panic thinking I had miscounted, but I knew I had 204. I speculated that the missing 10 had to be in either the 060 or 061 zip codes as this was where the overwhelming bulk of our mail went. She said she would count it all and call me back. Ten minutes later she called to say that indeed they were part of the 061 batch.

Then she told me that since they weren't in the calculation, that I owed an additional $1.18. So, off I went back to the post office twenty minutes away from home, to the front window where I had been instructed to tell them I needed to pay for a meter strip of $1.18 and bring it back around to the back to be affixed on my sheet.

Once again, after waiting 10 minutes (the crowd was thinning out in the late afternoon, a lull before rush hour I guess) I got Bill. I told him what I needed. He asked if I had anything to put it onto. I said no, they told me to just get it and take it to the back. He insisted it had to be put on something. So he took a scrap piece of paper and affixed it to it. Off I drove back to the back of the building where I handed the paid meter strip to the lady whose name I don't recall. She looked at it and said "who put it on this piece of paper?" I told her how Bill insisted. She and another employee commiserated how that was NOT how it was meant to be done and Bill knew that full well. "That Bill, he in the KMA club, he just waiting for his time to be up so he be out of here." She told her fellow employee. I started laughing and said KMA, I think I know what that means (kiss my ass!). With that she told me that I was truly all set and I got in the car, sat on my ass and drove around the building and home.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Land of the Limp Blimp

This morning while catatonically going about my morning routine I heard a story on NPR that made me bust a gut. It was on the local CT news. Apparently, some man in a town nearby had been arrested for stealing all of his neighbors lawn ornaments and other holiday decorations. According to the news source the police required 3 trucks to haul the evidence away. Neighbors were perplexed as to why their reindeer, snowmen and the like kept disappearing. The part that made me laugh was when the story concluded by saying that police had not yet determined a motive. Hello? He probably couldn't stand the tacky ornaments and thus took matters into his own hands.

Lately, I have been thinking about that a lot as I drive around town. There are definitely different ornament styles for different neighborhoods. I would characterize my nieghborhood's style as New England Puritanical-i.e., real traditional. I mocked my husband for putting out his Santa climbing up a rope which he bought in France. I told him it stuck out like a sore thumb in the 'hood. To which he replied that it was European. To which I replied, "you mean Eurotrash."

In the center of town it seems that people really go in for the Christmas blow up figures-santa, frosty, etc. As I drive around during the day, these deflated "limp blimps" as I like to call them, lie in the various front yards like victims of some sort of terrorist attack. They really are quite weird looking by day, forlorn fallen victims of the green energy movement.

I will conclude with something that a friend sent us in an email on this topic:
if you had 250 strands of lights, 100 individual bulbs per strand for a grand total of 25,000 individual miniature imported Italian twinkle lights stapled to the outside of your house you know who you'd be don't you? Click this link to find out: http://www.quizilla.com/user_images/R/riverblue/1059698537_z-griswold.jpg

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Rubbing Elbows

Last Friday night was our big chorale concert. We practiced all fall, learning 5 Hebrew songs, 3 Spanish songs, three British songs and three Gospel songs. That was a lot of songs.

I made it to every single rehearsal and spent a good deal of time listening to our practice CD. So much so, in fact, that I knew many of the songs, or a good portion of most of the songs, by heart-even some of the foreign language ones.

Therefore, you would think that I would have done fine in the concert. Well, not quite. I fumbled along with the rest of us altos, through a few bits and pieces of earlier songs where it seemed we weren't keeping up with the sopranos. However, not satisfied with being one struggling voice amongst many, I had to have my own solo screw up. Pretty early on in one of the gospel tunes, "Rise Up Shepherd and Follow," I lost track of the "doot doos,"because I was focusing too closely on the music and missed a line. This is directly in contrast to my husband's assertion that I try to pride myself on not looking at my music and that is why I screwed up. In fact, if I hadn't looked at the music, I probably wouldn't have made that particular mistake. That was one song I had memorized. Anyway, perusing the music, I confidently and boldly launched into the verse "Oh you better rise up..." until I suddenly realized to my horror that I was the only one rising up. Everyone else was diligently "doot dooing."

I know at that moment that my body temperature must have risen to about a million and three degrees being shocked and disgusted with myself. I also know I said a dirty word. This was confirmed later by my daughter, Thing 1: "Mommy you messed up and then I saw you say a dirty word." Screwing up and saying a dirty word should have been a big enough faux pas, but instead I then, inexplicably, elbowed my poor innocent fellow alto 1 Jane, whose only mistake was in choosing to stand next to me.

I can't be certain now, but I am hoping that I said the bad word and elbowed Jane at the same time, sort of like a reflex. I sure hope I didn't say the bad word and then separately decide to elbow Jane for an additional release of frustration. Poor Jane was very good humored about it. She joked that now she understood why her grandfather did something similar to the guy next to him when he played the tuba. I believe she said tuba, I think I was still in shock afterwards (and according to my husband, informing everyone who didn't happen to have noticed the screw up in the concert, of how I screwed up), so I could have had that wrong.

Right before the concert I had confided to Jane that I wasn't going to buy the DVD of the concert if one was available, because I hadn't even watched the last one I purchased. Well, now I must say I am curious to see if my little outburst was caught on film. If it was, then Jane might be interested in purchasing the tape too, in case she wants to file charges against me for assault!

I told Jane that she should probably ask for a seat reassignment so she doesn't have to be assaulted by me. She said she still preferred singing next to me because I have a strong voice. What she hadn't counted on is that strong left jab. I told her I would look foward to seeing her again in January and that she might consider investing in some arm pads.

I guess I know what my New Year's resolution is going to be.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Another Cockamamie Christmas Tree

I know I haven't written in a while what with being busy with work and that whole Christmas thing, but this blog about a bog should make up for it.

This past weekend the family trudged out on the annual ritual of picking out the family Christmas tree. Taking our cue from my husband's family (my family never had a tree, we only celebrated the material aspects of the holiday), with the exception of the three years when we lived in England, we have always had a real Christmas tree and ever since having kids, have always cut our own. So, seeing as Thing 1 is 12 and Thing 2 is 10, you would think that we would have gotten this little exercise perfected by now. Not so.

Instead, once again, we have managed to pick out the most "Charlie Brown" of all Christmas trees available in the fields where we hiked around looking for the elusive (or in fact, nonexistent) perfect Christmas tree. Okay, I admit it, this time I am to blame because I picked out the tree we actually cut and took home. In my defense, I did offer a few disclaimers: 1. "You won't see that bald spot because it will be against the wall when we get it home." 2. "It doesn't matter what it looks like, because it is going to look cockamamie when we get it home like every other year." I think the group finally decided to go for the tree I picked for the same reason I picked it-to get the heck out of Dodge and get home, decorate the tree and check that task off of the list.

As soon as my husband had cut down the tree I started heading back the way we had come. He stopped us and insisted that if we only went to the left and across what looked like a frozen marshy field, we would be shaving lots of time off of the return trip. I wish I had an aerial map to paste here so I could show you how big this place was. Suffice it to say, not big. But, in our desire to get the heck out of Dodge, we followed along blindly. An appropriate analogy really, since only a blind person should have willingly gone into a SEMI-frozen marsh bog to cut a few hundred feet from their return trip to the car. Only a blind person would carry on through the bog, jumping from hillock (is that a word? this is what he kept shouting to spur us on, or lead us to our deaths of cold) to hillock. Once we were 4/5ths our way through this bog without actually having gotten our feet wet, all logic went out the window when the hillocks dissappeared and all we were left with were little patched of hay shooting up through the icy mess. Logically we should have retraced our steps and taken the longer and safer way back. Once again the desire to get the heck out of Dodge trumped all rational thinking. We trudged on and within seconds, Thing 2 and I were ankle deep in icy water. Thing 2 shouting he was going to die, Thing 1 screaming because though her feet were not yet wet, she never misses an opportunity to add an air of drama to a situation and I was shouting something about "don't tell me I am not a good example going over that log..."

You see, this wasn't the family's first forray into potentially icy water that day. As we were trudging between fields earlier, I decided to take a short cut back to the first field. When I climbed a steep hill, I saw that in actuality there was a semi-frozen stream between the two fields making it impossible to get from Point A to Point B, unless one crossed over the long fallen tree traversing the semi-frozen water. Not wanting to miss an opportunity to show off my core strength honed at the gym 4-5 days a week, I eagerly ran down to the log and said I will do it! Hubby started shouting that I was crazy and not a good example, etc. I of course ignored him and beat the kids, who claimed they wanted to do it first, to the log.

Naturally, as soon as I got far enough across the log to make turning back just about as precarious as going forward, I became scared out of my mind and realized the foolishness of my ways. Not wanting to show this to the kids (except the part when I told them all to shut up and stop yelling at me), I decided to run across the log and get it over with. Miraculously, I made it across with just a bit of muddy water on one shoe from where I jumped onto the bank where the bank was pretty boggy. I then had the task of convincing Thing 2 that mine was a foolhardy stunt, not to be repeated.

As I mentioned, that was earlier in the Christmas Tree hunt. Later as Thing 2 and I waited in the car, our feet stripped bare and the heat on full blast. I noticed a funny thing. From my vantage point in the car, it seemed to me that if we had just come back the way we had originally came in when we found "the tree," it sure looked a lot shorter, and drier than the route Hubby took us on.

In keeping with my prediction, once we got the tree home, we realized that it was dwarf like and contrary to my assertions, the bald spot was so big that it could be seen from three quarters of the room, despite it being turned towards the wall. On top of that, it, like every year, this tree mysteriously fell over the next day (they tried to pin it on the dog, but there are no witnesses), breaking 85% of the breakable ornaments, spilling water all over everything and creating a blanket of pine needles all over the floor which I had just finished vacuuming.

An artificial tree is becoming more and more appealing with every passing year.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Page Boy Meets Dutch Boy

I got my haircut a few weeks ago. Lately, I have been getting it cut on a Tuesday. I sing in a chorale group on Tuesday nights. Whenever I get my haircut, hordes of my fellow singers come over and tell me how fabulous my hair looks. I thank them graciously and tell them it will not resemble this beautiful state again until six weeks on when it gets cut again.

You see, I can never replicate what Rick and now Ray do to my hair with just a hair dryer and a brush. I have a hair dryer and a brush at home and I use them. My hair looks nothing like it does when the boys do it. Sure, I don't have the exact brush, nor the exact hair dryer. But, let's face it. The key ingredient is they are operating from a position of height as I sit in their chair, and they have two hands to work on my head below them. I on the otherhand, must be a contortionist to work around to the back of my head, and of course to curl the hair under while blowing it from the top or bottom.

The last problem in even attempting to replicate the hairstyle, is of course, that I don't pay too much attention to what they are doing, as I am too busy gabbing away as usual. For me I sum it up to the fact that my hair looks really straight while it is not normally so.

Now, I mentioned that of late, I have been making an effort, well, an effort for me, with my hair. Thus, the hair dryer which was added to the usual brush. This represents 50% more equipment on my hair. Unfortunately, it has not resulted in a 50% improvement in the hairstyle outcome. Sadly, the end product resembles something more like the hairstyle sported by "The Dutch Boy" on the paint can with the same name. Suddenly I have these bangs that I have no idea what to do with-push them back and I look kojak-esque with a too big foreheard. Pull them forward and I look like a first grader. Never mind, my next hair cut is only four weeks away and it is cold here in CT, so I think I will wear a hat.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Time to Chuck the Pumpkins!

I have just finished putting Thanksgiving back in the box to be put away until next year. Don't worry, I didn't mean the leftovers. Rather, the decorations. I gave myself a one day reprieve on taking out the Christmas decoration boxes. But I did start chucking the pumpkins, literally.

I put sugar pumpkins in my window boxes as part of my fall decorations. But now that the color orange is out and all things Christmas or Hannukah are in, those pumpkins need to be 86ed. Of course I am too lazy to carry the pumpkins in from the second floor window box down through the house and out the front door. I prefer instead to chuck the pumpkins from on high and hope they are not mushy enough to splatter on impact with the lawn (and then imbed into a pumpkin patch in the spring, right smack in the middle of the lawn).

I already chucked the pumpkins from the first floor window box by carrying them out to the woods and rolling them down the little slope. Hanna, our puppy, looked on, baffled at this bizarre ritual.

Once these pumpkins (and the kale and the mums) are history, I will have to figure out where I am getting greens for the window boxes this year. I refuse, of course, to pay for any greens, preferring instead to pilfer from friend's yards, woods, etc. much more of an adventure and you can't beat the price!

So, if you see me prowling around your yard, garden shears in hand, don't be too alarmed. I am after your evergreens, not you!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Face Cream is the Salve for The Economy (and Me)

Hank Paulson and his team of experts can't seem to get it right. No matter what they have been trying, the markets just seem to go down further and further and the words "lay offs" are becoming more and more frequently spoken. So what's next?

Well, I deferred to those experts for a while and like every other consumer, in America judging by the declining sales, made the words "purchase" and "shopping" a dirty word, whether on-line or in person. My only purchase recently other than groceries and things like toilet paper? Face cream. Okay, $52 face cream to be exact. It is from France and with the cost of fuel and translation, well, it could be more expensive.

I decided to go ahead and buy the luxury face cream because well, someone has to save the economy and what the experts have been doing hasn't had any effect yet. Moreover, all of this economic stress is really bringing on the aging process big time. So, of course I am going to need something to counteract that. The fact that it has this yummy and soothing rosemary aroma is an added bonus that soothes my frazzled nerves everytime my husband comes home and tells me his company's stock has hit a new low and that the layoffs have begun. Don't worry, I am using it sparingly, it seems like we are in for the longhaul here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Leaf Me Alone!

So, the town finally came around today and sucked up the leaves we had raked to the curb. While we feverishly raked on Sunday afternoon after the torrential rains and high winds finally subsided, I am not sure you can tell that right now by looking at our lawn.

On my way home from walking our puppy Hanna this morning, I noticed that several leaves had remigrated back onto the lawn. Sort of like terrorist sleeper cells on some CNN map of the world. The thought briefly crossed my mind that I could grab hold of a rake and feverishly rerake at least the portion nearest the road, before the leaf suckers came. I say briefly, because as soon as I remembered that the wind was buffeting the dog and I, I realized that the whole effort would be futile (sort of like ironing your blouse and then putting on your seatbelt to drive to work...)

The ambitious side of me says that I might get out there tomorrow if I finish all of my thank you letters for my paid job, and rake the stragglers into the woods. The other side of me figures it is going to snow soon and what you can't see, you can't rake. Which side of me do you think will win out? By the way, they are predicting possible morning snow showers tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Welcome Back Coupons

It has been a long time since I broke off our relationship. Really the fault was all mine, I would put all kinds of effort into our relationship, systematically searching for you and making you mine, then lovingly plunking you into the dark recesses of my pocket book. From these recesses, I rarely remembered to rescue you and so, I maturely decided to end it with you. I didn't want to carry you along anymore. It really wasn't fair to you, feeling useless, and to me, wasting all my time on something that just wasn't working because my effort just wasn't consistent.

So, for years now, I have avoided you, flipping quickly past your kind in magazines and throwing out your special inserts in the Sunday paper. But suddenly, thanks to our plunging economy, I have decided to rekindle the flame, and clip the coupons. So far, you have made it out of the pages and onto the counter. I want to move a bit more slowly this time. I don't want to dissappoint myself or you, but hopefully today I will take the big step (remembering!) and put you into my pocketbook so that you will be poised to save me from the depths of bankruptcy. If only I remember to let you save me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Expanding the definition of Expressholes

I love that term"expresshole" which was coined by Gary Larson of the Farside to define anyone who gets in the express line at the grocery store with more than the specificied number of items to which one is supposed to be limited in order to use said line. The other day while shopping at Whole Foods I encountered a new kind of expresshole.

I don't think that it is a coincidence that I discovered this new type of expresswhole at Whole Foods. In fact, this is probably the best place to spot this kind of expresshole. What kind? The kind that goes through the line with her three year old and allows her three year old to conduct the transaction. I kid you not.

I was standing a few customers down from the expresshole when I heard the syrupy voice of the mom saying "it's okay honey, swipe the card again." Then again, I heard the same thing, only this time I heard after that "okay, you can try it one more time on your own." Three minutes later I heard her say, no honey, you can't sign it, mommy has to sign it but you can color in the 'accept' box."

This irritated me to no end because of course I was in the express line because I actually needed express service and I happened to be buying just a few items. I had exactly 8 minutes before I had to be at my gym class around the corner.

I am all for making everyday transactions learning opportunities for kids. With two caveats. No education in the express lane. If you have time to teach your kid, do it in the regular lane and don't bother teaching kids credit card transactions at that age. It just reinforces the notion that all one has to do is have a plastic card and swipe it in order to magically get groceries, things, etc.

I remember when Thing 1 was about that age we had a discussion of how she was going to go to Disneyland on her own. I asked her how she was going to get there. She replied matter-of-factly that she was going to drive her Cozy Coupe. I asked her how she would get money to put gas in it. Without blinking, she said she was going to go to the bank and get the money. Unfortunately in this day of electronic deposits, it is hard to show a child an actual paycheck that you then deposit into the bank. Thus it becomes even harder for a child to grasp the whole money thing. Never mind credit derivatives and bailouts...

Friday, November 14, 2008


When I was a child, Halloween was my favorite day of celebration. Free candy? Who could pass that up? Even when there was candy that you didn't like in your bag, you were hopeful that at the post-trick-or-treating swap at home, you could unload much of it for something more palatable.

Now that I am older and am either relegated to handing out the candy or walking behind (i.e., not in eyesight of the candy donors, per Thing1), I consider Halloween to me much more hellish.
You see, from year to year I am constantly caught in what I call the Halloween dilemma. All year you make note of all of the new families who are moving into the neighborhood. As the day draws nearer, you carefully watch the forecast to see if conditions are optimal for Trick-or-Treating (i.e., warm enough so that you don't need to do what your parents did to you, which is commanding the wearing of a coat over the costume so that the costume is quickly rendered useless). Based on these factors, you buy your candy, almost at the last minute (to avoid eating of the candy by either you or other family members, which would necessitate a second trip to the store).

Each year, you think that this will be the year where you are caught unprepared and run out of candy. There were those new families that moved in, the weather is warm, Halloween is on a Friday, etc. So, you err on the side of caution and buy two massive bags of candy which could probably be enough for the troops currently stationed in Afghanistan.

Then the cute kids in their costumes start ringing the bell. First you start out giving them two pieces of candy, figuring you had better ration the stuff for the dreaded onslaught which is sure to appear, like a hungry pack of middle schoolers. As the hour gets closer to 8:00, you start thinking that maybe, just maybe, you screwed up. Maybe that hoard won't show up at all. Sweat starts to trickle down your forehead as you realize that you might be stuck with four pounds of leftover Halloween candy. This is not to mention the 8 lbs that Thing 1 and Thing 2 will haul home. So, you start giving out three pieces at a time. By 8:40 you know it is time to shut off your light and close shop, but you still have 2 lbs of candy left. Ugh.

At this point, you might as well get the duct tape and strap it to your thighs. Even when you buy the stuff you think you don't like to avoid any pitfalls. In fact the only pitfall you don't take into account is your pathetically low standards-much like many of our family dogs, you will eat it if given the opportunity and the ennui. Rationalization also plays a big part. You figure well, "fun size" what is the harm in that? Then you decide to have more "fun." You rationalize this second dose of fun by the fact that you are pretty sure you read somewhere that these portion sizes are getting smaller so that the manufacturers can make the same amount of money. Suddenly this business-centric practice assuages your lack of willpower and gives it new raison d'etre.

So now, two weeks after Halloween I am battling the bulge of Halloween candy that I would never think about buying or eating at any other time of the year. Like every repentent Halloween candy recovery victim, I have vowed that next year I will buy less candy. Will it really be the end of the world if I have to shut my light off at 7:45? Then I remember what it was like as a kid, walking by that house that wasn't lit, walking by it was the literal definition of empty calories as far as I was concerned. Something tells me I will make the sacrifice again next year so as not to dissappoint the kids that trudge down our street.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back To The Blog!

Okay, so Thing 2 never did end up sick and stayed at school all day. But, you know how that works, it is called Murphy's Law. Had I assumed he was fine and went about my business, he definitely would have been sick and in the nurse's office.

You are probably wondering, why, if he wasn't sick and I wasn't forced to hold my nose and try not to gag while cleaning up his vomit or any of the other possible sundries our kids eject when sick, I did not post to my blog in so long?

The answer: not one but two four-letter words. "work" and "sick." I mean that I have been too consumed by my "part-time" position and that took what energy I had which wasn't much. The low energy came from a general feeling of malaise. I was able to function on the most basic of levels. Yet, it was candidly a struggle. I just haven't felt myself. I thought the lightbox would be a quick cure, and it has definitely helped, but thanks to the change of seasons, IBS and these iron pills I have had to take to counteract heavy periods (thanks to going off the birth control pill and perimenopause, welcome to my world), let's just say my stomach has been off and thus, so have I.

I have been doing really uncharacteristic things, like napping and forgetting to meet a friend for a lunch and museum tour, which I had suggested! Yikes. I was horrified when I woke up to hear her message on my machine and her wondering if she had the date screwed up. Something was screwed up alright, that was me!

Anyway, after I called the doctor's office to complain about the havoc being wrought on my system by the iron pills, the nurse there told me I should stop them for a few days and try another brand. Since I was due for follow blood work 5 days later, I figured I would define "a few days" as "five days" and would just stop them altogether and take my chances. I went for my ritual blood letting at the blood drawing station yesterday and sincerely hope my iron count comes back normal.

This whole slippery slope began when I went off of one pill, the birth control pill, due to fear of breast cancer. My sister, had just been diagnosed with aggressive pre-menopausal breast cancer when I made that decision. I figured I didn't need extra hormones to increase my risk, so out went those pills. And in came the heavy periods. When I say heavy, I mean heavy, and will leave it at that. Pretty soon after that, I was anemic and guess what? Started taking more pills, this time iron pills. The risks and side-effects of the birth control pill were long term and theoretical. The side-effects of the iron pills, at least the brand Target sells, were pretty immediate and concrete (really, no pun intended).

I try to move beyond the irony of this situation, that even when I am not bleeding, some lab tech makes me bleed. Still though, I know that my medical problems are more annoyances than actually problematic. There would have been no real harm in taking a nap every once in a while as long as I had remembered to call my friend ahead of time and told her I was wiped out and down for the count. The struggle of having no energy and my stomach feeling very bad are not pleasant, but not generally debilitating. My sister's struggle through treatment of breast cancer puts my own issues in proper perspective.

In the final analysis it all comes down to one thing, or shall I say a few things: hormones, oh yeah, and getting old.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Vomit Watch '08

Today I am on Vomit Watch '08. No, I am not refering to the impending elections. Rather, I am inviting you into my world today, as a virtual in-home prisoner, just waiting for a call from the school nurse. You see, Thing 2 came down to breakfast today and told me that he wasn't feeling well when he was upstairs.

I did what every mother does and touched his forehead. Nothing unusual, no fiery hot skin. His color looked fine. Perhaps more importantly, he eagerly ate down his breakfast while discussing his malaise. So, I asked him if he wanted to stay home. He said that I should decide.

Being paranoid, I then asked him if he didn't want to go to school for some other reason, like if someone was bullying him. He said "of course not." "Well then," I said, "you should go to school and if you feel sick at school, ask to go to the nurse and she will call me to get you." I added my caviat, though. " I am home all morning (I immediately decide not to go to "Militant Fitness" at the gym at 11, okay, so it didn't take a great deal of convincing me) but I have an appointment for my monthly massage (my one splurge for cleaning my own house [mon dieu!] and not splurging on things like manicures and pedicures and make up) at 12:15, so if you are not feeling well, make sure you go to the nurse well before that.

This brought up all kinds of questions like, "what if I feel sick at 12:16?" (then you go to the nurse and wait until 1:25 when I can come get you). "What if it is after that?" (then there will be no problem, go to the nurse, she will call and I will get you) "What if I feel sick as soon as I get to the school?" (go to the nurse and she will call me and I will get you). After several more questions I pointed out that if he had the energy to ask all of these questions, he probably felt better than he was giving himself credit for feeling.

So, I have spent the morning within earshot of the phone since returning from an abbreviated walk with the dog (in case his query about feeling sick as soon as he got to school proved true). Instead of militant fitness, I cleaned the first floor of the house, remembering to bring the phone from room to room so that I stood a chance of hearing it. Has the phone rung? Not at all. I am fine with that. However, I can't help wondering if I am going to get a call from the school nurse during my massage...? What is your guess?

Monday, October 27, 2008

What Does A Soccer Mom Do When Soccer Is Over?

Thing 2's soccer season capped off yesterday with a thrilling win for the championship title. The boys were undefeated, though they tied twice in the regular season. Unfortunately, Thing 1's team lost their game on Sunday and tied their Saturday game. Next week is her playoffs and then we are done with soccer. No more driving someone to a practice four weeknights a week, no more four soccer game weekends. What to do? How to plan for the future? By signing up for more soccer of course.

I didn't even wait until the next day before I started the push to get Thing 2 on an indoor soccer team. You see, Thing 2 loves soccer and he is very good at it. Thing 1 likes soccer well enough and though she too is good at it, she said she did not want to play indoor soccer. What will Thing 1 do then? Basketball.

Why do we sign up for sport after sport, effectively signing away our nights and weekends when multiple practices are multiplied by two kids? Because they like these sports and we want them to get the team experience and keep fit.

Thus, there is the usual rush at our house, where are the water bottles? Is the uniform cleaned? Did you close the door when you ran out of the house? Are we supposed to bring oranges and juice? These are the questions that fill our brains. Then, once we get to the games, we try to control ourselves and not shout too much from the sidelines.

For the most part, I try not to coach from the sidelines. Yet I can't resist being true to my vocal self. So I try to root for all members of the team with words of encouragement: "Nice kick Geoff!, Way to go Daniel! You get the idea. Of course, I must admit that I don't always entirely behave myself on the sidelines.

Recently after a game, my husband asked Thing 2 about a "trash-talking incident" Thing 2's coach had written to the parents about. I volunteered tongue in cheek that the trash-talking guilty party was probably me, his mom. I couldn't resist suggesting that the referee remove his sunglasses when he didn't see an intentional shove by the opposing team. I've been behaving better since, I swear (but not loud enough for anyone to hear-that's not allowed on the sidelines).

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Get Thee A Light Box

It is just past the middle of October and like clockwork, I have turned into a complete and utter grouch. Yes, we have a new dog in the house, but lately it is I who have been doing all of the barking. I behaved this way despite going on a long walk on a sunny day allegedly to relieve stress. What gives? Seasonal Affective Disorder. I never would have suspected that I was susceptible to this syndrome until a few years ago when I was asked by my then MD how I was feeling. I answered honestly that I felt pretty lousy and that the odd thing was I remembered feeling just the same way at that time the previous year.

Feeling how? Very, very tired. Tired as in constantly yawning, all day long, no matter the activity, even in the middle of an exercise class. Go figure. This despite the fact that I succumb to sleep at ridiculously early bedtimes, like 9:15pm. Upset stomach-as in waking up with abdominal pain every morning. Really bloated. So bloated that I have no appetite in the morning (sadly, the appetite comes back later in the day and I make up for it-losing weight would have been a nice benefit of this malaise).My MD listened to my symptoms and when I asked him if there was anything to them, he replied matter of factly that this was because I am a 'summer person.' A what? I never really thought of myself that way, despite the fact that I love being warm and hate being cold. It used to be that fall was my favorite time of the year. Cozy sweaters, warm cider, beautiful leaves. Until I first realized I have primary Reynaud's syndrome. Reynaud’s is a harmless but annoying and painful affliction which causes numbness and pain in my hands and feet whenever exposed to any small amounts of cold.

So I asked him what I could do with this knowledge that I was a 'summer person.' He told me that I should try using a light box everyday during the fall and winter. He admitted to first being skeptical of light boxes initially until one of his longtime patients who had been on depression medication for years tried own and was able to wean herself off of the depression drugs. I decided to try it and did some research and ordered a Golite portable light box so that I could walk around with the light while getting the kids breakfast (it is important to use it at the same time everyday and you can take an online quiz to figure out what that time should be (http://www.golite.com/)Now things are a bit different. I am now on my third fall/winter season on the light box. I just started this weekend at the strong urging, okay actually, begging, of my husband. As I stood in the kitchen yelling at the family for something I can't even recall, he pointed to the light box( which I did actually take out myself that morning, anticipating that it was time to use it.) His response to my rantings was "maybe you should start using that light box again!" He was so right, so the next morning, I started using it. Last night, after two mornings of using it, I realized that I was not sleep despite it being 9:30pm. This after only using the light box for 12 minutes at 50% power for the two days. I guess I am pretty sensitive to changes in the amount of daylight.So now I have my lifesaving (and marriage saving) lightbox. But why did I need it in the first place? Just as every time my children were cranky or under the weather I blamed that on teething, I am chalking this one up to perimenopause. After all, this whole thing started in the fall/winter before I turned 39. When will it end for me? Probably during some October in the future when my husband or the kids don't beg me to dust of the light box and start using it. For now, I will bask in the blue light. If you have experienced similar seasonal problems, get thee a light box! By the way, these boxes are covered by many insurance policies.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here, But Just In Case She Drops By...

Today I am in my usual frenzy to have the perfect house and the perfect meal all prepared in honor of my Aunt's arrival. What does this entail? Well, of course, a deep clean of the entire house by none other than moi, as well as a carefully planned out gourmet meal. Why? Because I suffer from Martha Stewart Disorder. No, I can't just put up a "Martha Stewart Doesn't Live Here Sign" and go back to surfing the 'net. Instead, I must make sure everything looks "just right" which means not only cleaning but cleaning out-stacks of magazines and newspapers we haven't gotten around to looking at in months.

As for the food, everything must be made from scratch because I also suffer from an inability to make prepackaged food because I feel the need to be a food superhero (think Wonder Woman but with a knife instead of a lasso, and while we are at it, an apron instead of that silly getup).

I know, I know, I should chill and take it easy. They aren't coming to do a white glove test on the house or have the most gourmet meal they have ever tasted. Rather, they are coming to see us, family. I also try to remind myself of what Erma Bombeck said about how she had wished she had invited people over more often, instead of not doing so because everything didn't look just right.

I have gotten over the not inviting people over because everything won't look just right. Now, if I can only get over the needing to make everything look (and taste) just right because I have invited people over...

Monday, October 13, 2008

De-bunking bunk bed myths

Sure, it sounds like a great idea. Get your kids a bunk bed, or as in our case, your kid a loft bed, which is a bunk bed but without the second bed underneath. They save space, they are considered cool by all kids and for me at least, they make up for the fact that I never got one growing up, despite incessant begging and whining.

However, the realities of living with bunkbeds when you are the one who has to change the sheets, is something very different altogether. Maybe being a circus star would come in handy when you must precariously perch yourself on the edge of the top bed and lift up the mattress without falling off, in order to get the fitted sheet around the mattress. The same goes for tucking in the top sheets and any blankets. Suddenly that bunk bed I wanted when I was a kid doesn't seem so fun. As I wrestle with the mattress and try to maintain my balance, I realize that I should have brought the top sheet and comforter up there with me too so I wouldn't have to crawl up and down several more times like a monkey on a mission for more bananas (though I will need one of those to reenergize soon).

Yes, I have tried getting my son involved in helping make the bed. This is only marginally less cumbersome and more efficient. His bed is in the corner of the room, so one of us (guess who?) has to perch on the wall end of the bed, with zero room to manuever, and fix our side of the bed without hurling off the bed. It doesn't help that my son keeps trying to get on the mattress to fix his side, making it impossible for me to then raise up my side.

So, the reality is that his bed sheets get changed a little less often than the others. I rationalize this by calling it my green initiative. I am thinking of putting up a sign like you see in the bathrooms of hotels, only a bit more realisitic. "In an effort to preserve our precious environment and your mother's spinal cord, these sheets will only be changed if they are placed on the floor." I know that the chances that he will actually strip his own bed are equivalent to the chances of Ralph Nader winning the election, so I will get around to changing the sheets when I get there, and meanwhile, I will hide behind the green revolution, saving money, time, resources and a trip to the ER.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Undecided, But Overweight

I was struck last night, in watching the second debate, as well as watching a second group of undecided voters invited by CNN to watch the debate, by the girth of the majority of those undecided voters. Yikes! Now, full disclosure here, I should really lose 8-10 lbs myself. But, I would guess that most of those I saw either in the debate audience or in the CNN undecided focus group, needed to lose a minimum of 25 lbs.

Now, imagine if the two candidates took a page from Dr. Phil and told these audiences that the time of sacrifice begins now, and that includes losing weight. Losing weight will save each overweight American money in terms of what they are not eating, as well as, directly in terms of less healthcare costs, as we know that extra weight leads to extra healthcare expenses.

I myself am adopting this plan for myself. If this is a time of belt tightening, I am going to take that challenge literally. I am trying to do my part and eating less. The less I eat, the less I will spend on food and on having to buy an expanded wardrobe.

Of course, the cynical side of me thinks that these campaigns, which are getting down and dirty, won't adopt this honorable objective. Instead, maybe they will pander to our weakness for food, especially comforting food at these uncertain times. I can just see them giving away McCain's Mac & Cheese, or Obama-o's instead of oreos, in order to sway voters. After all, it would be a free meal and a quick feel-good fix. Never mind the increased healthcare costs down the road. The winner will worry about that once he takes office...

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I Am Separating from My Husband

Before you get reach for the phone or the computer to broadcast this news, a bit of clarification. We aren't physically or emotionally separating. At long last, I have decided to get my own email.

So what if it took ten years? At least I finally got around to it, unlike the other things I have been meaning to get to, like going through my sock drawer, my CD collection and dusting the tops of all furniture I can't reach without a chair.

After putting the email separation off for so long, I have to admit that it was embarrassingly easy to set up my own account. Okay, I didn't send a global notification to everyone, but I did send it to most of those necessary. Now, if I could only figure out how to inform the printer that I took care of the paper jam and it should get back to work, I would be all set in the technology department for a day or two.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Not Tone Deaf, Just Phone Deaf

Today I was taking advantage of the fact that it was not raining for a few hours, and went outside to plant my window boxes in an autumn arrangement. The kids, Thing 1 and Thing 2 remained inside, mesmerized by TV and computer game, respectively.

While up to my arms in potting soil, I heard the phone ring. And ring, and ring. Finally, I bellowed "someone get the phone!" Or actually, more like: "someone get the phon-nuh!!!" And still I heard: ring, ring, ring. Finally, I heard the answering machine going. Clearly Thing 1 and Thing 2 have inherited phone deafness from their father.

On the weekends, when we are all in the house, this same scene will play out, with me finally rushing to find the phone and dropping whatever I was doing, and hopefully not tripping over anything, to get there in time. Meanwhile Hubby, Thing 1 and Thing 2 are invariably positioned much closer to the phones and are not engaged in productive work (i.e., not cleaning, doing laundry, doing paid work, or cooking. Instead they are either on the TV, on the phone or reading something non-essential.)

Whenever I go out solo, like on my night for choir practice, I invariably come home to the house full of my family and the answering machine full, indicated by the light blinking. Each one in turn, when interrogated by me claims not to have heard the phone at all. Sometimes Hubby lamely claims he heard it but that he was putting the kids to bed. The kids are 10 and 12 years old. They put themselves to bed!

So next time you call, let it ring a good long while before you give up. I might be outside, or in the attic and no one else in the family will pick up.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rain Rain, Go Away, Little Hanna Won't Go Out Okay?

Well, I have been crazy busy with work this last week and haven't had time to post. Today is the day. However, it is pouring out and Hanna, our new puppy has zero interest in going out in the rain. So, I have spent much of the day trying to persuade her, then giving up and carrying her, outside to "do her business." If we humans can be appreciative of indoor plumbing, it is on the rainy days when we can be most appreciative of it. Of course, how Hanna would survive in the wild if she didn't live in the comfort of our home, is beyond me.

When I do get Hanna outside and plop her down on the lawn and tell her to "do her business," she gazes up at me with a look of pathetic disdain. Then she tries to run back into the house. I try rationalizing with her. "Come on, you must have to go!" "It doesn't look like it is going to let up soon, so get back here and just pee, okay?" This has happened three times already today. I finally took her across the street and under some bigger branches which diffused the pouring rain somewhat, and there, at long last, we had success.

Not exactly my idea of a relaxing day of good book and a cup of tea. Especially as since unless Hanna is sleeping, she is confined in the kitchen and sitting in a kitchen chair or stool just takes away the "relaxing" part of the reading experience for me. But, as soon as she heads into her crate for a nap (which she is not likely to do since she has technically been on zero walks), I'll escape to my comfy couch with my book.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Is It Live Or Is It Mom-orex?

Last night as I told Thing 1 for the 143 time that if she bunches up her towel on the towel rack after showering that it will never dry, I had an epiphany moment. It doesn't matter what I say, I might as well be a tape recorder. This is how the statement is conveyed, or actually received. In fact, I might as well have been speaking in that same "wah wah wah wah wah wah" language used by all of the adults in the Peanuts videos.

So I am starting on a new (yes, back for the 34th time) mission to say things exactly once-the same way I am supposed to train the dog. With dogs, if you say "sit" ten times, then make a physical correction, the dog won't do it until the tenth time when you make the physical correction. So, I am going to go right to my version of a physical correction. I am going to throw the bunched up, wet towel on her bed. I figure then I will have her attention. When she asks what it is doing there, I will tell her for the 144th time that if she bunches up her towel on the towel rack after showering that it will never dry. I am thinking (or desperately hoping) that in this way she will actually listen.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tightening The Belt When You Don't Wear Belts

I gave up wearing belts a long time ago. I am already short, I don't need to be cut into two by a belt. So how does one tighten the figurative belt without actually wearing one? Well, due to the fact that the economy seems perched on the edge of certain doom, I have been vascillating between not shopping, eating out etc., in an effort to conserve the funds we have in case one of us loses our job, and in the face of rising prices for just about everything, and spending money in an effort to single-handedly keep the economy going. Whether I spend or save on things depends on no real logic.

We definitely are eating out less, but then again, I like cooking and am always on some health kick or other, which makes it hard to eat out anyway. Then again, when I am feeling weak and need emotional sustenance, I might decide that the economy needs a boost and we do too, so off we go to the ice cream shop and get sundaes.

I have definitely cut back on shopping for clothes-for the whole family, not just me. I didn't buy any back-to-school clothes for the kids because I accurately predicted that the weather would hover around 90 degrees the first few days of school. Truthfully, they have enough stuff to wear. They just got some new shoes-those feet always seem to grow faster than the rest of their bodies.

As for me, I have avoided going into clothing stores in order not to succumb to temptation. Okay, well there was that little trip to Nordstrom's the other day when I had to pick up a sweatshirt that they mended (it came partially undone a month after I bought it-at full price!)
When I was leaving, my eyes could not help but lock on a pretty plumb colored sweater which would work quite nicely for the special event for my job at the end of the month. Helping the sluggish economy was just the icing on the cake.

Then there was the little trip to AVEDA while in the mall. Well, I did have to use up the $7.26 remaining on the gift card my sister had given me for my birthday back in February. With the economy in such a precarious state, there is no telling when AVEDA might upsticks from the mall and go under, without hopes of a federal bailout. So, in the interest of protecting my sister's investment, I bought the $20 facial wash. Okay, so I spent a little more than the $7.26, but I challenge you to buy anything at Aveda for $7.26. Even the travel size products are $7 and with tax in CT, that is $7.42...

Never mind, I don't want to tempt you to go to the mall, you might end up with a few extra items that you weren't intending to buy either. If you do, cheer up, at least you are doing your part in trying to save our fragile economy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Fool's Gold

After staying up late to solve the underwear shortage crisis and indeed solving "underweargate" I went to change the laundry from the washer to the dryer. What to my weary eyes should I find, but what was like Aztec Gold to my bleary eyes. Or more appropriately, Fool's Gold, because only a fool like me would be excited to find extra laundry to fold in the dryer at that hour of the night. But, never the less, that precious load held not one, but two pairs of clean underwear belonging to Thing 2, so I almost happily folded it. I chucked the other load into the dryer and off I stumbled to bed. Let's hope I remember that load today, or we could repeat this sad exercise again real soon.

Monday, September 15, 2008

All Night Laundry

I was heading to bed just now, exhausted and a bit guilt-ridden over not having posted since Wednesday. I knew that I should have carved out the time to post, but I couldn't be deterred from that one goal: falling into bed. I was almost there, I had the bed within my line of vision, when my son uttered the words that undoubtedly send a chill through every weary parent's overworked heart. Those dreaded five words? " I have no more underwear."

Unless you make your kid go to school commando, there is just no way of getting around this. Sure, sure, I had been meaning to show them how to do their own laundry (not just how to fold it, and the term "fold" is used very loosely here), but didn't have the time or energy of late. So off to the basement it was with me.

Instead of going to bed, I am now writing this blog (and trying to stay awake) while I wait for the rinse and spin cycles to conclude. Yipee! What an exciting life I lead. Oh, and did I mention I got up at 5:40 this morning to go to the gym? Yes siree, I am finding out first hand that sleep is for the privileged, or at least for those whose kids have at least one pair of clean underwear. Instead of trying to slog through Three Cups of Tea, the book I am trying to read, it is going to be "wish I had had three cups of tea" maybe then I wouldn't be so weary.

Did I also mention that I was particularly looking forward to bed tonight as both Thing 2 and Thing 1 (not to be outdone) had mini-mental breakdowns this afternoon? To be fair, Thing 2's mental breakdown really borderred on full -fledged mental breakdown. Apparently, he was incapable of communicating in logical terms that he was overwhelmed with his school and soccer and LEGO team load on Mondays. So instead, he chose the moment when I asked him how "calendar" was correctly spelled (he had gotten it wrong on a spelling test) to burst out crying, tell me he didn't have to do that and run out of the house and down the street, in his socks. Okay, so the irony of the word "calendar" being misspelled and the fact that the kid is overscheduled wasn't lost on me (even as I looked at my watch and wondered if the runaway was going to return and regain his composure in time to make it to soccer practice in 20 minutes).

When I finally got him back into the house and we discussed the problem rationally (as much as you can with a 10 year old boy), and we ruled out anything more sinister going on (predators, bullies, etc.) he settled down, I called his soccer coach and told him Thing 2 would be a no show, I banned him from the computer for the rest of the week for running away (even if it was just down the road and in the bushes-out of my line of vision means out of line to me), Thing 1 decided to then pitch her own fit. When she learned that Thing 2's breakdown revolved around a perceived excessive level of homework, she decided to scream and cry and do everything in her power to make me realize that if anyone had too much homework, it was her. Doubly irritating to her was of course the fact that I called her on this behavior. Thing 1 is nothing if not a wonderful drama queen (though sadly for her, she will not be watching TV drama for the next week for her own drama today).

I could go on and chronicle how I then had to race out to Thing 1's Open House where I got to be a Middle School student again and change classes from room to room and meet her teachers. Being treated like a Middle School student was quite appropriate at this point in my day, considering the emotional upheaval I had just been through. However, I digress, from the laundry that is. I think the spin cycle is over and I have spinned this story as far as I can. Time to chuck that stuff in the dryer and get some rest before I wake up to the call of "I told you I had no more underwear!" in the morning (you don't think I am going to wait up while the stuff dries, do you?).

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"Currently In Therapy Because My Parents Wouldn't Put My Student Of The Month Sticker On Their Car"

This slogan is what I feared my daughter would some day sport on her car if I didn't put her "My child was student of the month" bumper sticker on our car. So, even though I had a strict policy of not putting bumper stickers on my car, I broke the rule. You see, I really was worried that she would think having a bumper sticker free car was more important than recognizing her achievement as Student of the Month (leaving aside the fact that there are 1,254 such stickers around town.) I know it is really silly, but I had to succumb. Or else all future failures could easily be pinned on that bumper sticker, or lack there of, actually.

Of course, it was easier to break the rule and put the sticker on my car as I had already unofficially broken the rule by putting a minibumper sticker on the car so that I could park at my gym. I rationalized that one as health related, however.

I am not really sure what I have against bumper stickers. I think it is kind of like a box of chocolates. Once I start with one, I might not be able to stop. I might have to order some of the really funny ones I have seen, such as: "If It's Not One Thing, It's Your Mother," and "Ordain Women Priests or Stop Dressing Like Them," or "I Love My Country, But It Is Time To Start Seeing Other People." I could quickly see my car wallpapered with bumper stickers. Not a pretty look, and more importantly, really identifiable if I pull a crazy driving manuever (moi?).

So, I will stick with the gym sticker and the "Student of the Month" sticker. Putting those stickers on could save me years in hospital and therapy bills.

I'm Off-Duty

"I'm Off-Duty." I like to try that line on my kids from time to time. Especially the longer version-"Get it yourself, I'm off-duty." If only I really were. Though often, just this one liner, spoken with the correct intonation of total annoyance, inspires new heights of independence in the kids, Thing 1 and Thing 2.

Sometime I have to remember to take it out of auto-pilot, step back and realize what the kids are capable of doing. In doing so a few years back, I realized they could set the table, dust, clean the toilets and sinks, and also fold the clothes. Of course I don't make them do all of these things all of the time. But the setting of the table and the folding of the clothes are regular chores for them. The cleaning is assigned whenever I begrudgingly assign myself other cleaning tasks (I do have a strict "don't look down policy" in the kitchen but you can only take that so far before the Health Department steps in.

Truthfully, if I paused to think about it, there are even more things they are capable of doing. It just takes time and energy to show them how to do it once or twice. Like cooking for instance. Or yardwork. A small amount of time spent now showing the kids how to do things saves time for my husband and I down the road and, more importantly, teaches the kids life skills. Maybe they will have housecleaners and landscapers in their future, but either way, they will know how to do these things and appreciate the effort it takes whoever does these tasks.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Key Points

I have a Post Office Box key as part of my new role as the Director of the Foundation. I got it a few weeks ago. I lost it yesterday. Well ,sort of. Somehow I knew it was buried somewhere in the recesses of my handbag, but of course I couldn't find it at the Post Office.

Luckily the guy in charge of PO boxes took pity on me and got me the mail. As I drove back I was trying to decide how I was going to explain that I had already lost the key only a few weeks into the job. I figured if it didn't turn up I would have to slink back into the post office, in dark, oversized sunglasses and inquire what the fee for a replacement key was (and not tell hubby who would undoubtedly say it is because I rush around so much that I lost it).

I am happy to report that after "Operation Handbag Storm" I did unearth the key. It was lodged between the two sets of my children's motion sickness bracelets. Why I still carry around those motion sickness bracelets (or really half of the stuff that was excavated out of the bag) is really one of those "damned if you do, damned if you don't" things.

You see, I think it has been at least two years since either child has actually needed the bracelets. However, I am positive that the minute I remove them from my handbag, one or other of Thing 1 or Thing2 will projectile vomit on the very next car trip of length, or airline trip, or both. I know this for a certainty because I am a life long sufferer of Murphy's law.

Just today for instance, I had to go to the doctor for a quick follow up visit. I didn't want to go and had tried to weasel out, saying I felt fine, had my period, blah blah blah. They said to come anyway. This appointment was at their office next to the hospital.

Most people who visit the hospital elect to park in the adjacent parking garage for convenience. I hate that garage with a passion. It takes longer to get out of that garage than it does to get ones hair permed. In fact, I do anything I can to avoid the garage. I make all my appointments in the 'burbs if I can at all help it. I would have made this one there too, but I had had to reschedule it to go to the bloomin Post Office the day before, site of the missing key discovery.

So, instead of parking in the garage today, I did what I usually do and found a meter spot on the street. I put in seventy five cents which was good for 45 minutes. The doctor's office had told me the appointment should take no more than half of an hour and I was there one minute before my appointment.

So I ran to the office and took a seat. And sat, and sat and sat. Then I got a room 22 minutes later. I got prepared to see the doctor and sat looking at the clock and watched slowly tick towards, then past, the time when my meter would expire. In the end I got out of there 20 minutes after the meter expired.

While the doctor was running late, apparently the meter maid was not. Exactly ten minutes after the quarters ran out, she or he came along and issued a parking violation. If I had extra time on my hands, which of course, thanks to the MD's office I did not, I would have sat in that parking spot just to get my money's worth now that I was $20 in the whole! Actually, the fee was $25 but if you paid it within 72 hours, you got a reduction. Sure, I can pay within 72 hours, I have nothing else to do but go to the Parking Authority (and where do I park for that?). But alas, if I mailed it in time and made it a money order (for an extra $1.05) I could be done with it and "save" $3.95. How lucky.

So, next time I am at a parking meter, someone remind me how I always end up a victim of Murphy's law. Remind me to put in an extra quarter or two. In the meantime, those motion sickness bracelets are staying in my handbag, along with the Post Office box key.

Monday, September 8, 2008

And They Called It Puppy Love

It all happened so fast and now we have a new love in our life. Meet Hanna. Hanna is a rescue puppy from Tennessee. Her mom was rescued from a shelter, and she gave birth to Hanna in a foster home. Through the alignment of moon and stars, she made her way into our home and hearts.
For many months we were numb from having had to put to sleep our first rescue dog, Kramer. The house was empty without him and I had no loving companion to take walks with me. We were also quite consumed by worrying for my sister Debbie who is battling breast cancer, and wanted to be available to care for her. But now Debbie is almost done with chemo, with one more round to go, and my kids are back at school and somehow I knew it was time. The timing was right because we have no travel plans in the next four months thanks largely to soccer season. I have a new job that allows me to continue to work from home except for an average of two meetings a month. So, I began the search for a dog.
We applied with two Westie organizations as the children had been quite taken by Sophie, our friends' Westie. We also inquired about another samoyed rescue in NJ. I visited the Humane Society where we had adopted Kramer 15 years ago. I searched on Petfinder. Then on Petfinder I saw a cute puppy that was half Great Pyrenees half Lab being offered by Paws4rescue.org. I applied online. Quincey, one of the leaders of this tiny dog rescue sent an email back on Friday morning saying that she had gotten my application and it looked good and that I should call her. I sent her an email and asked her when a good time to call was. She sent back an email and said after three or over the weekend. My heart sank. I figured that Little Bit was either not available or promised to someone else otherwise she would want me to call sooner. So, I sent an email and asked if Little Bit was still available and also attached my tribute to Kramer, our former rescue. Withing 15 minutes of sending the tribute, the phone rang. It was Quincey. She had been so moved by what I had written that she wanted to offer us a puppy whose adoption had just fallen through due to another family's health emergency. The puppy was Hanna. (My mother in law pointed out that in this fashion Kramer had actually found his replacement.)
Within 24 hours of first speaking to Quincey, Hanna was in our car and coming home with us. She had taken an overnight transport from Tennessee with 77 other dogs, all being rescued. The kids decided to call her Hanna as Tropical Storm Hanna came on the same day and Hanna was driven through it to come to us.
It is nice to have a new companion and fan in our house. It is also nice to see how the kids interact with her. This is their first puppy. What is somewhat sad is the fact that Thing 1, my daughter pointed out that Hanna will be with us all her life, but that she and her brother, Thing 2 will be gone in 6 and 8 years respectively, gone to college that is. Yikes, that gives it a lot of perspective and is a reminder to love and treasure the time I have with my kids because, before I know it, they will have gone off into the world the way Hanna went off into the world to meet us. Luckily, I know they will be back to visit and that Hanna will be here to keep us company.
In the span of the lives of two dogs, my children will have come and gone through my everyday life. Sad, but that is life. Thank you Hanna, for reminding me to cherish these moments while I have the kids in my life every single day.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Guess The War-Drobe Was A Fake

So now on the gun website, http://guanabee.com/2008/09/just-what-we-thought-not-wishe.php I found the Sarah Palin gun-tottin bikini photo on claims it was photoshopped. What is scarier is that they still like it. Here is what the website says:

"Awesome! Now, some would argue that the doctored picture above passes as political humor and is meant to be harmless, since the picture is so obviously fake, others disagree, and say that these stunts hurt the political process. Whatever it may be there’s no question this is an awesome Photoshop job."

Maybe we should change the name "wardrobe" all together... Peacerobe? Paxrobe? Of course, I am sure the word really originally came from "ward" and "robe." If that bikini photo goes around the world, it will do wonders for our image and we might all have to check into a "ward"...

A Heartbeat Away?

In case you can't see the picture of Sara Palin (and
you must-go to
little did I know
it would give new meaning for my post label of "war-drobe"

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Does "ShenMin" Mean "Desperate Fool" in Chinese?

Tired of having clumps of my own hair in my drain, on my floor and in my hands, I decided to take instead, matters into my hands and investigate herbal supplements to stop the mass follicle evacuation. What I settled on was an herbal supplement called "Shen Min."

I read about ShenMin in one of my magazines and checked it out at Whole Foods. According to the Whole Foods lady, it is the product that gets the best reviews from people she encounters. So I thought, okay I will give it a try, and a try, and a try. Turns out you have to use it for three months to see if it works at all. At $30 a pop, that is not a cheap experiment. Nevertheless, the plumber is coming over today to unclog our shower drain, and that isn't going to be cheap either, so maybe this is an investment of sorts.

Still, the skeptical side of me wonders if I am just being taken in by yet another health and beauty company that is marketing to our desperation to revert to the way things used to be, and not face reality. In this case, the reality that I am losing lots of my hair. Does Shen Min mean Desperate Fool in Chinese? I will let you know. I did check out the internet and found mixed reviews for Shen Min. Were all the good reviews written by Shen Min employees? That is what the skeptical side of me always presumes.

Maybe it will just stop the excessive shedding, without adding real volume. But if it does, that will be fine. Anyway, I have embarked on the experiment, so "hair goes!"

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

School Daze

Okay, I have pulled myself out from under the pile of school documents I need to have filled out tonight, and the checks I needed to write for various collections, field trips, etc. to write this. Every year I forget, in my eagerness to send the kids back to school, of the mountain of paperwork that must be filled out each new year for each kid. After the 45th form I find myself filling out my daughter's birthday (Thing 1) with my son's birth year (Thing 2). Yikes.

Organized though we were, having all listed school supplies safely purchased two weeks before school started, nevertheless, we faced the inevitable school supply crisis this afternoon. This consisted of the crucial and immediate need for additional school supplies that absolutely have to, positively must, be purchased for Thing 1, if her life is meant to be any sort of success. You see, since she isn't an eighth grader (she is in seventh), she didn't get the eighth grade school supplies list, or else, she would have known that she (read me) needed to buy a bound composition book for Spanish (she is a year ahead of the other kids as she took the language in the UK for three years). This obviously is crucial for tonight's homework and cannot wait another minute.

So, off I go to Staples (is there any other choice? sad really) to get the composition book while she does her homework before she has to go off to soccer practice and I have to figure out dinner. Small window of opportunity here folks. So I race into Staples, half crazed, searching madly for the composition books, and encountering no less than 769 people there. At this point, I am hoping there are any left. Eureka, composition books. But wait, do I go for the clinical "TV screen at 2 am" looking cover, or the cool hot pink and black tiger stripe? The cool one looks like it is on sale for 99 cents. But the other doesn't appear to be marked down. Ugh. What the hell? Who has time for this, I get both and then lap through the aisles frantically trying to predict the next item that Thing 1 or Thing 2 will absolutely positively have to have tomorrow, or else they will definitely turn out to be degenerate adults down the road.

By the way, Thing 1, being a law and order, compliant, don't want to stand out in a crowd or I might have to kill myself kind of gal, picked the very traditional "TV screen at 2 am" looking cover. The small ray of luck was that it cost 99 cents too.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Let' Them Eat Cake, But Only Really Good Cake

I admit it. I love cake and I have a sweet tooth. Probably why I found Gaffigan's comedy routine on cake so funny (see yesterday's blog: Let Them Eat Cake). But, I must admit, as I get older and as the pounds get harder and harder to take off, I have higher standards about what I will overindulge in.

NWTC is my new mantra on a lot of frankly substandard food. Not Worth The Calories. If I try something new and decide it isn't truly delicious. I declare it NWTC and drop the fork. I also remove it from my presence or remove myself from its presence.

So, you would think I would be skinny. But, sadly (or really thankfully, per my sweet tooth) there is still a lot of truly good food outthere, and I know how to find it. Or make it. It doesn't help that I also like to cook and make a good portion of it! Lately, though, I have tried to raise my standards with even the things that I cook. This of course creates a dilemma between the frugal, common sense side of me that says "you put all of that time, energy and expensive organic ingredients in that, eat up!" What to do? Why push the stuff on my husband of course.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Let Them Eat Cake!

Here is a hilarious skit one of my favorite things, cake. Eat up!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"Is This The Hysterectomy Hotel?"

I survived yesterday's hysteroscopy and D & C just fine. I thought I was pretty out of it when I woke up. Apparently that was the second time I woke up. According to one of the nurses, the first time I came to I asked her "is this the hysterectomy hotel?"

Wow, who knew that I could crack jokes even when drugged? But why was I asking about a hysterectomy? I was only in there to get a polyp removed. Must have been some kind of a Freudian slip ("don't need that equipment anymore, so just take it all away while you're in there?"). Who knows?

Actually, the experience was as pleasant as possible. Everyone there was really nice. I especially liked Nurse Mary with whom I bantered. I scared her half to death when I changed quickly and sat back down in the chair in the next room while she was checking the results of my (mandatory) pregnancy test. After I scared her by sneaking back in the room she told me that the pregnancy test was negative, but by rights she should have told me it was positive to get even. Mary is my kind of gal.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Food or Water part 2

I just returned from dropping my son off to his golf tournament. As I was driving I looked on with jealousy at all the people sipping coffee and eating muffins, bagels, etc. as they drove along. I don't even drink coffee and I don't eat in the car, but I would today if I could, simply because I was told I couldn't.

Yup, it is 8:42 am and I think this day is going to go slow. Slow as molasses, something else I can't eat. Everything is reminding me of food. While driving back I was listening to NPR and they were talking about unrest in Kashmir. Images flashed through my mind, not of violence and people fighting, but of Kashmiri chicken and that really good pilau those folks can make.

It is going to be a long day.

No Food or Water

I don't know why I am sitting here writing this when I could be living up the last 1 hour and 21 minutes of time in which I can go hogwild with imbibing tea, coffee or ginger ale, with nothing added (particularly the milk I always add to my tea). That's right, I have to have a procedure this afternoon. A hysteroscopy. Sounds kind of like hysterical, but I am thinking it won't be.

I can deal with the whole no food thing until 4 o'clock today. But no liquids, not even water after 9 am? Well that is just down right cruel. If you aren't getting an image of me leaning over my sink and gulping down a tall glass of water at 8:59 am, you should. I am not complaining (too much) about getting the draw of an afternoon appointment. I suppose on the one hand, it means I might start losing those 12 extra pounds I seem to have gained (undoubtedly from someone else in the universe who had just lost 12 pounds, that is how these things work actually).

So, I will slog through this half of a never-ending, desert like, dry mouth day with my usual "I'm not bothered" attitude. Off to have my plain tea and water. Don't be jealous.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Go To Your Room!

Yesterday I spent a good portion of the day cleaning out Thing 2's room. Thing 1 is quite self motivated and very neat. I just had to convince her to get rid off too much clutter in her room. Thing 2's room was an altogether different story.

First, there wasn't the same level of cooperation. Thing 2 grudgingly tore himself away from his "Battle for Middle Earth" computer game (in truth, he would prefer to live in Middle Earth) and plopped himself down on his reading chair, announcing "I don't need any of it, I don't care, just throw it out!" Clearly, he wanted to do whatever it took to get back to Middle Earth.

So, I had to stand there, somewhat like a QVC Salesperson, saying, "how about this (book, bionicle, marble, piece of string tied around a branch), do you still want it?" Usually he would say "no, just throw it out" without glancing up. Sometimes though, if it was something he had clearly forgotten he even owned, like a bag of small plastic toy pieces with which he used to play a game back in England, he would say "give that to me now." A good thing?

Well, yes and no. Sure he was now playing with the item that had been buried in the abyss of his room. However, he was also OOC, out of commission, for helping clean up himself. So I had to keep getting him to focus on the task at hand, which for me was cleaning his room and for him was getting back to Middle Earth.

"Come on," I would blurt out "if you ever want to get back to Middle Earth you are going to have to pay attention! Now do you want to keep these Doctor Who cards which you made my drive around half of England to find as each store ran out, thanks to you and your little eight year old friends?" The answer was of course no. I should have wanted him to keep the darn cards because of what he had put me through to get them. But the truth is, in the end, I am a realist. I knew he hadn't looked at them once since we moved in over a year ago. I also knew he had no friends here that related to them. So I was completely fine with him wanting to throw them out.

However, then came not the Battle for Middle Earth, but the Battle for Middle Ground-with my husband. Hubby decided to come in during the delicate negotiation process, reach in to the garbage bag, fish around and announce "Doctor Who cards? What? You can't throw those out!" To which came my reply of "Yes he can and he just did. Now leave it and let us get on with it."

He thought I was busy, but in fact I did notice that he had left with the Dr. Who cards in hand. So, later I had to find where he had squirreled them away and throw them away, again.

Actually, there were several things that we found in Thing 2's room which rightfully belonged to the Hubster, though he had purchased them under the guises of presents for Thing 2. These included: A book entitled "107 Youth Soccer Drills", and another book entitled "Discovering The Golden Compass, A Guide To Philp Pullman's Dark Materials." Did he not remember that the only way Thing 2 "read" the first two books in the series was when I read them to him? If that book was meant for anyone, I guess I would be the most appropriate member of the household, certainly not Thing 2.

Of course, in cleaning any 10 year old boys room you are bound to find one or two disgusting thing. In this, Thing 2 did not fail. I encountered several stale packages of partly eaten lifesavers. These registered a 2 on the gross scale. What came out as an instant 10 however, was the peeled, petrified remains of a clementine, found in two halves, on different parts of his bookshelf. What? How? Never mind that this clearly broke the rule of no taking food upstairs. I am guessing this must have been some night where I said they each had to eat a clementine and I had dutifully even peeled it for them. He probably snuck it up to his room and decided his shelf would make a great hiding place.

I am seriously thinking of sending the kids to their room more often. It is amazing what they can find there. Not just disgusting things that need to be taken away before the Board of Health is summoned, but toys and games and books and artwork they forgot they even owned. The silence around the rest of the house would be a perk I wouldn't mind either. "Go to your room" it is going to be my new mantra.

Friday, August 22, 2008

You Say Tomato and I Say Don't Wait-O

Okay, so now the Chip-punks in my yard are really ticking me off. It is bad enough that they have built an impressive underground network of tunnels that would frankly make Osama Bin Laden jealous. Now they have decided to sample our just ripened tomatoes.

That is right sample. If they ate the whole darn tomato, I think I would be less angry. Instead, they leave the tomatoes, with one bite taken out of them, hanging on the vine, as a gruesome reminder that we should have picked them last night even though they were a shade under truly ripe.

What were these chip-punks thinking. Did they try a bite and decide, yup, those human creatures were right, probably another day or so and these would be much more tasty? Or perhaps they are on some kind of diet and one bite is their restricted portion?

Was this the work of one chip-punk? or two? If two, why couldn't they share one tomato? If it was one, why treat our garden like a buffet? There is no carving station, no omelettes made to order...

Whether it was one chip-punk or more, I am on to them. I am going to pick my stuff before they are perfectly ripe. No waiting, I don't like chip-punk seconds.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I think A T & T stands for alternating Tuesdays and Thursdays

As I mentioned previously, some sort of vacuum has sucked me onto the couch every evening that the Olympics have been going on. While I try to do little domestic things like folding clothes, drying dishes, etc. on the long commercial breaks, I must admit that I am guilty of seeing a few of the commercials.

While I find some of those commercials funny (like the little creature that sings "sorry that you lost your files, here' s some fruit to make you smile ooo ha") I find the A T & T commercials very ironic.

If you have seen these commercials, the constant theme is if you don't have A T & T, you will miss that crucial call because of your carrier's spotty coverage. The irony is that I have A T & T and I missed several crucial calls, including the one about my son breaking his arm at school. Thanks to A T & T, I didn't get the calls until the 9th call somehow pushed the other 8 through, by which point Thing 2, my then nine year old son, was in the ambulance with his new teacher en route from his new school to the hospital. I felt really bad about not getting the phone call. When he told me that he thought he was having a heart attack when they put him in the ambulance, I could feel the dull head of the corkscrew enter my heart.

An isolated incident? I wish. I am forever getting voice mails that somehow finally get pushed through the cyberspace void and end up on my phone a week later! Of course, it doesn't happen all the time and there is no rhyme or reason to when it does. So, I tried going into the A T & T store to complain about it, but couldn't prove it at the time, as I had already checked and deleted messages. Everytime it happens, I am busy with work, kids, life, travel, etc. and can't run down to the store to show them.

I am counting down the days until my three year contract expires. In the meantime, I have decided that instead of Atlantic Telephone and Telegraph, A T & T actually stands for Alternative Tuesdays and Thursdays as my voice mails tend to come through about that frequently. So, if you leave me a message on my cellphone, just give me a while, like a week or two to respond.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Thankful Cars Don't Come With Secret Microphones

My daughter, on the verge of becoming a teenager tends to complain. A lot. In fact, often it seems she only sees the negative in everything, especially as to how everything seems to impact her. Being the ever intolerant mother of the constant whining, I set up a rule. It was simple. She was only allowed to complain about three things in a day.

Either she or my son decided that she who invents the rules should also have to live with them. While I don't complain a lot generally, I do suffer from an abundance of "color commentary" when I drive with respect to the driving skills, or lack there of, of other drivers who I encounter on the road. The children, or as I like to refer to them, Thing 1 and Thing 2, quickly decided that the rule of three was good also for me. They decided that I could only make three negative comments a day about other drivers. What was the penalty? Why they claimed I would have to pay fifty cents for every additional offence.

While I haven't forked over any coinage thus far, they have started the count towards three many a time in the car. I am actually generally better about the comments I make when I know someone else is in the car.

This was not always the case. When my daughter was about 18 months old we were driving around and someone cut right in front of me, causing me to stop short. Two miracles occured then. One was that I was able to stop in time. The more impressive one was that I remembered Thing 1 was in the car and didn't utter the name which had come to mind with respect to the other driver. However, out of the backseat I heard the word "STUPID!" spoken forcefully by my daughter. Now where ever did she learn that?

As I mentioned, I do make an effort to withhold some commentary when others are in the car. When no one is in the car though, well, let's just say I am quite often politically incorrect. It got me thinking that if anyone ever secretly miked my car, I would be seriously embarassed by the stuff that comes out of my mouth. For instance, while driving home today, a woman in front of me inexplicably slammed on her breaks, coming to a nearly full stop. No reason, no impediments, nothing. She got the choice response of "thanks for stopping at nothing you jack#%*, I really enjoyed that episode of heart palpitations as I came within inches of your car." Don't worry, I don't actually say these things to the people involved. I am far too scared about road rage for that. Instead I have my own personal little venting session safely within the confines of my locked, windows rolled up, car.

Will I ever stop the car commentary? Not unless I am broadcast on some version of candid camera, perhaps "reality radio" or "mike time with mom." Then I would have to pay up, and more than fifty cents.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Losing It!

I wish this were a piece about my losing weight. Sadly though, it isn't. It is about me losing my mind. Days like today, I do start to question my memory retention skills.

I was out running around all over town, doing errands. I decided to stop in at Whole Foods and to get some milk and while there I figured I could get that environmentally "safe" bleach I had considered buying recently. I had changed the sheets on our bed today and decided they looked rather dingy.

So imagine my surprise when I threw in the sheets with the detergent and the new "safe" bleach, then put the bleach down right next to the same exact container of "safe" bleach. That's right folks, apparently last week, ORD, or Other Rational Donna had bought the "safe" bleach. Too bad she didn't tell me, Dementia Donna.

What is really sad about this whole thing is that I still don't actually remember buying the first container. I remember looking at these bleaches in Whole Foods last week, but I thought I remembered deciding to hold off and go with the vinegar and lemon juice remedies I had read about it in my "green" books. In fact, I remember being more drawn to a different brand of "safe" bleach than the one that I ended up buying, twice.

This latest move (or should I say moves) ranks up there with the time I rented the same movie twice, not realizing that I had already seen it. Then of course, there was the time that I bought my hubby wine glasses to replace the ones he had broken only to realize that he had already bought replacements and apparently shown them to me (or rather to ORD).

I am only 41 years old, so I clearly need to work on this memory thing. ORD or I will have to start doing crosswords and word searches. It's either that or lost words and car key searches.

Monday, August 18, 2008

No Spring Chicken, Just a Chicken

By now you have realized that all of my blogs tend to be about the Olympics of late. Get used to it. Watching the Olympics and blogging about them is the only thing I seem to do outside of work and boring domestic things (which I force myself to do over those long commercial breaks).

The other night, I was excited to see a 38 year old win Gold in the Women's Marathon. Yes! Power to us creaky ones is what I say. I read today too about Dara Torres commenting at one sound test the four word sound bite that she thinks sums up her media interest: "Dara Torres, swimmer, old. "

She is right about that. We in the over forty crowd are interested in her because she is 41. We think she gives us all hope, and on the darker side, less excuses. I guess she and the 38 year old marathoner and the 33 year old silver medalist in women's gymnastics on the vault have made great strides, but have also made our lives harder.

We can no longer institute the old "I am over 40 years old, I can't run around (or insert sport here) like those younger folks do. We can no longer announce, "I know my limits, I am not young anymore" as an excuse to sit out the physical activity in question.

Maybe someone (over forty!) can come up with some sort of genetic test that sets us apart from those great ladies, but I have a feeling there isn't one. I think that what they have proved is that with determination, hard work and no insurmountable injuries, as Dara Torres said "there is no age limit on your dreams."

So ladies, no more excuses, let's go.