Saturday, December 27, 2008

Difficult

5 theme parks, 4 tired people, 3 days, 2 ten dollar balloons, 1 dollar left and ZERO sightings of Mickey Mouse in person. Really, who goes to the Magic Kingdom and does NOT see Mickey Mouse - we do, that's who.

We had a great time in Orlando, but I can say that we did not see Mickey Mouse in character the entire trip. Granted, we only did Disney parks on one of our 3 days. We were on a tight schedule and we were completely focused on cramming in every ride we wanted to, so doing character meetings was not important to my kids. In fact, we skipped A LOT of the Magic Kingdom. They would have stayed in Frontierland the entire time if we would have let them - it was Splash Mountain and Thunder Railroad that were the big tickets.

We started our trip with Sea World which they loved, and they were really only interested in seeing the animals, not riding anything. We had to drag them on to the Atlantis ride, upon which I got completely soaked from head to toe. I was one of those people coming off the ride that people laugh and point at for getting SO WET. We stayed until the park closed and we finished it off with the Miracles Killer Whale show in the Shamu theater - it was awesome.

Day two took us to the Magic Kingdom where we went straight to Splash Mountain. The park had been open for 2 hours prior and oddly enough the ride was not yet open. It opened just as we walked up and we were able to get right on. The best part is that upon exiting we were "winners" of Dream Fastpasses for the day. We were able to Fastpass 10 rides, many of them were the most popular rides, so this made for a great day for us. I feel kind of like a slug passing people who are standing in line for hours, but this really helped us fit this park into a half day trip. We were then able to go to Epcot for the rest of the early evening. Lines at Epcot were horribly long and we only rode Test Track and then wandered around the World Showcase. The kids loved Japan the most and we spent most of our time there.

Day three took us to Universal Studios and Islands of Adventure. This was a very cold day, which made it hard to really enjoy Islands - they have a lot of water rides and at 40 degrees there was no way we were doing it. There were plenty of crazy people willing to get drenched, and we laughed and pointed! We really wanted to ride the Hulk coaster, it has always been our favorite, but HUNK was afraid that we would end up with SNOTCICLES it was so cold. We ended up skipping it. In fact, we did not really do much at all by the time we got to Islands, it was really cold and we were all just pooped.

We tried to cram too much into a short time, and while we thought the kids were big enough to handle the all day time frame we were wrong. They just couldn't take the 14 hour days were were pushing. We will do it differently next time, but we did have fun.

We came home and had a great holiday with family - some came into town and some we took a road trip to visit. The kids had a fun, but small Christmas morning (the trip was THE GIFT). And now we look forward.

Monday morning my youngest will have surgery, yet AGAIN. A proceedure we had done in May of this year just isn't cutting it, so we are trying something new. While I hated to use her school break for surgery, this recovery is two weeks, so this way she will only truly miss one week of school......but it sucks for her. Luckily (I think) we are pet sitting for our friend's hamsters and guinea pig. This should keep her occupied once she gets home, something new and she can hold them and they will run around on her!

Think of us on Monday and send some good vibes. She is excited to go back because Children's Healthcare of Atlanta makes her feel like a rockstar. She doesn't even remember the pain, just the awesome staff and all the fun distractions that are there. I, however, will be on the verge of mental breakdown. It's difficult - to watch your child's body go limp as they put her to sleep. To know that her little body needs help and that you have no control over any of it. But I do realize that we are lucky, that this is our only problem, that there are so many kids that have so many more difficulties. And we are blessed with near perfect bodies and so many opportunities....it is still difficult.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Not out of the woods....

Just when I thought we were on the mend, we woke up with another sick kid today. The madness continues!!


But I'm fine, so I have no excuse not to blog. The latest news around here is CHRISTMAS! We are realizing that we have virtually no time left to finish our shopping. We have committments (aka..jobs!) and then we leave for Orlando on Friday. We won't return until Dec. 23rd, late. WOW, I'm actually going to be one of those insane parents scrambling around on Christmas Eve in search of something better than incense sticks to give my kids. I did get a number of things on Black Friday, so all is not lost, but this is the first time I've been this far behind. It has really snuck up on me.


I am excited that this year the Hunk and myself decided to finally not give each other gifts, and no cheating allowed. We always say it, and it never works, someone always gives in and buys stuff - usually both of us cheat. But this year, first of all we are both out of time and we know it, secondly we are very blessed and we just don't need to buy each other more stuff. Besides, the only thing that I really want is a BIG ASS chaise lounge which is a) not cheap, b) BIG ASS, c) WAY too hip for our house and d) did I mention HUGE and EXPENSIVE?? It is a furniture piece that I will have to only dream about. At least until we can get these kids out of this house, and the cats....Kids and cats = ruined furniture. My house is not exactly a decorators paradise, it is clear that children and animals reside here and so really, a high end chaise lounge would be sooooo out of place. I'm living someone else's life in my head. We gave a nice chunk of change to a charity and so I'm hoping that since I made Hunk write the check, he will realize that we donated the money we would normally spend on one another. He's a tight wad, so I think it will work.


We are leaving for Orlando on Friday. I'm so excited I can't stand it. The kids have no clue that we are going anywhere. We are going to pick them up from school on Friday with the car packed up and just leave. They are going to flip out. Better still, we are meeting up with Hunk's brother and their 6 month old who are also going to be at Disney. My kids go ape for babies, so this will be babies + Mickey Mouse which should cause my children to puddle into a grape kool-aid mess. We are only doing Disney for one day and then we will go to Universal for one day and then we will have one day left to decide what we want to do. I think I'm going to take my kids over to Adam's house for a swim, especially knowing that hates kids......oh, and he swims naked. Who needs to buy a calendar when you can get the whole enchilada in person!


Did I mention that we have a family elf? His name is Bobby and he lives at our house from Dec. 1 until the 24th. He watches to see if we are behaving ourselves and reports to Santa each night. He also likes to make a mess while we sleep. He makes coke can pyramids in the living room, he hides all the stockings and he dresses up the cat. He has also been known to dump out an entire bag of powdered sugar all over the kitchen floor. Can I tell you how much I love our elf? And his ideas for messes.....some of which a MOTHER could NEVER come up with. Seriously, our elf thinks like a MAN, and MAN who DOES NOT CLEAN. Are you getting my drift? I'll be happy on Friday when we take our elf to the hotel with us and there is a MAID!! I believe the best gift I could possibly have is to spend the 5 days leading up to Christmas in a place where I do not have to COOK or CLEAN! It's a wonderful life!

PS...still no word on the kitten situation.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Sick

We have a stomach bug in our house.....can someone come kill it, and then put me out of my misery???

Blah

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Hermit

So......does a feed reader drop you if you fail to post, for like, a month! I can't believe it! Time is just flying by and I wonder if I will end up in anyone's feed after such an absence. Hey, anyone, can I get a shout out?


We just arrived home from the beach for our Thanksgiving holiday. It was great, low 70 temperatures and sunny all but one day. The kids even got in the ocean, but I'll admit that the water was freezing. They didn't seem to care.


We built a sand snowman - which is a lot harder than one might think. I don't know what else I could do, but he turned out to look like total crap. Kind of a sad, melting sand snowman.....a bit freaky, too. I had a snowman kit and the eyes are so big, kind of possessed looking.


We came home and decorated the house and are now ready for Christmas. We even have a mischeivous elf visiting our home this month. He tends to go nuts at night a make messes - what fun. I wonder what genius came up with this idea.


We also came home with two hermit crabs. Yipee, they do absolutely nothing and the whole set up cost $25. They stay in their shell unless it is the middle of the night. The only way I know that they are not dead is because I poke the little prick and he reaches out and pinches the crap out of my finger.


That's the latest from this hood......and we are trying to decide whether or not to get the kids a kitten for Christmas. Anyone want to weigh in on it? We've got two really old ass cats, I think a kitten would totally rock the house, and would really piss off los gatos en la casa.......might be kind of fun. Hunk thinks we should wait until one of the others dies - you know, nothing like planning someone's death. Harsh!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Weird

So I walk in my house late at night, it's dark. I come in the back door and make my way down the dark hallway. Then I pass the front foyer where there is a decorative table. I hear a thud, the cat jumped off the table to the floor and began to follow me. This strikes me as a bit odd, because the cat doesn't usually get on that table......oh well, whatever. I'm making my way to the kitchen with the pitter of little feet quickly following me. Still dark, I make my way to the sink and hit the light before I begin to wash my hands. The cat is underneath me, swirling between my feet, pushing on my leg. A normal kitty cat greeting. Only I feel something strange against my leg - I'm wearing capris so my skin is exposed and as the soft fur brushes across I feel something...nubby...?

I glanced down to see who was under my feet, Emmie or Ashley, and what is wrong with them that they would feel nubby? This is when to my utter surprise I look down and see a cat, not Emmie, not Ashley. A CAT THAT IS NOT MINE!.......IN MY HOUSE!!!!......WTF? Am I in the Twilight Zone?

Under my feet, purring like a contented lion is a black and white cat with a bobtail. Again, NOT MY CAT!! IN MY HOUSE!!

I screeched a little at the shock and he hopped away. The cat swayed over to the cat bowl and began feasting on the catfood, he stopped, looked up and then took a drink. He then proceeded to sit at my feet and gaze upon me as if we had known each other since childhood. Blink. Blink.

WTF?

I have been away from the house for most of the day, before I left I loaded some things from our garage into my car, apparently this rogue cat sneaked into the garage and from there he was able to enter the cat door to the basement. Having hours to look around the basement he then found the cat door at the top of the stairs and entered the main floor of our home. He must've spent hours poking around because he was clearly well versed on the territory of our home, found a nice perch and was lounging around by the time I got there. He knew exactly where the food was and he was quite comfortable.

And my cat? My fierce tomcat who was supposed to be guarding my home while I'm away??? Is huddled in my bathtub, scared for his life. And there he has remained for the past 2 days. I suppose his territory has been infiltrated, but he sure let it happen.

So, I scooped up this black and white intruder and promptly tossed him out the front door. He clearly eats somewhere else as he has quite a hefty frame, but I have no idea whose cat he is. I suppose he thought if he acted all cool and nonchalant that perhaps, just maybe, we wouldn't notice that he was there. Uhhhhm, NO, Mr. Kittywhoeveryouare.....we noticed, and you can't move in.

I feel so violated.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Suck!

MAN! Do I ever suck at commitment!? I suppose that it is good that my loyalties lie elsewhere to a blog, but geeeez I'm gettting really slack!


I am in my busiest season of the year, what with all the holiday shows and people beginning to think about holiday gifts. It won't be long before I shall be chained to my sewing machine 24/7 trying to get all the orders filled and off to Santa's sleigh. Sometimes I wish that I would just completely close up shop for the whole month of December so that I could truly enjoy a peaceful holiday season. However, this would involve the entire collapse of my business, so, uhhm.....maybe I should put that thought aside? Anywho, I'm here for the moment and I have PICTURES! No, no, no, not of Adam's party, though I truly wish that I could have squeezed in the time to go. I have pictures of our spooky tent and car and then my cuties. We went camping the weekend before Halloween and it was torrential rain - while we put up the tent. We waited to see if it was going to stop, but there was no end in sight so we pitched in the rain. That was a first for us. We did learn a lot of great lessons for the future, but let's just say that for this trip our tent was a wee bit wet.....meaning, puddles. But we lived. The low temp was 37 degrees, so we warmed the sleeping bags with a hair dryer before climbing in and once everyone was tucked in, the night was not so bad. The rain stopped over night and we had a great day to play on Saturday. We went to an Apple Orchard and Pumpkin Farm. We also rode bikes and hiked to a beautiful waterfall. It was a perfect fall camping trip. I believe that I did find my limit for camping weather though, I prefer to stay above 40 degrees.






















We always plan our costumes well in advance so that I can try to find all the necessary parts. Much to my dismay my youngest child has changed her mind on her costume both last year and this year ON HALLOWEEN. So we end up throwing something together and the meticulously planned outfit gets slept on by the cat. Why do I give in you say? 'Cuz it's Halloween and that's how I roll. You get to be what you want, and if you decide to wear a garbage bag at the last minute, and it makes you happy, then go with it. This year we ended up with a Pirate and Death (who turned into an Evil Doctor just as we were ready to go). Anyone in need of a Death costume? Comes with a Sickle..... I would love to upload pics, however I can't find that CF card at the moment and if I don't post now, well.....we all know you won't see me again for DAYS!!



















I did manage to find time to vote early, so I was able to avoid the mayhem on Tuesday. Congratulations to OBAMA, I could not be happier for him. I am ASHAMED to say that many of my family members would not have voted for him, even if he were a Republican, strictly based on the color of his skin. My eyes stung and my heart dropped when my grandmother actually asked, "You didn't vote for that N*gg*r did you?". My only *hope* is that the hatred and stupidity is dying off with these generations that just can't come to grips with humanity and decency. I absolutely CAN NOT imagine how the people of the past just accepted that people were not people, simply because of their color. I have never been accepting of something, "just because that's how it is". I had a black boyfriend in the 6th grade and my grandparents threatened me, tried to counsel me and in general told me that he was evil. Even at the age of 11 I knew they were wrong, no matter what I had been told my entire life I could see that this boy was just that, a boy. And I liked him.......and I kissed him......and guess what? Nothing happened, other than a lot of butterflies. I didn't wither away and the sky did not fall. So, the answer is YES, Grandma, I voted for a MAN who I think can not only change America, but can change the stupid way some Americans think. I voted for OBAMA.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Work

I am pooped. I worked a show last week/weekend and it totally kicked my butt. It was a Christmas show where different vendors rent booth space and sell their wares, tickets to benefit local charity. It is hard work!! We set up on Tuesday, rearranged and decorated on Wednesday and were open for selling Wednesday night all the way through Saturday. Then it was time to pack up, re-load the truck and go home. AND START ALL OVER AGAIN tomorrow!!

I'm not sure why I do this to myself.

It is fun and I can say that I met a lot of nice people that were either shopping or selling in their own booth. My personal favorites were the security guards that kept me entertained (my booth was next to a back exit that required a posted officer at all times). Every year at the end of a show I vow that I will not do it again, but then I always do. It is definately a money maker, but the toll it takes on my body and energy is insane. It also takes A LOT of help from my family - especially in the kid department. I think I saw my kids for an hour in a span of 5 days!! It is certain that there is no way that I could do this without Hunk's help and also my parents. They were all invaluable during this show - I hope they will stick with me for the next two I have coming up!!

The biggest plus to these shows is that I get a ton of Christmas shopping done by visiting the booths of other vendors. There are always some unique and fun items that I haven't seen at any of the regular stores so I definately get a jump on the holidays!

So, I'm off to re-stock my merchandise today (that means sewing my ass off), try to do some laundry and wade my way through our kitchen which is a DISASTER. I'd love to just collapse on the couch for a day, but I can't - it is covered with toys, so is the floor. Oh yeah, and the cat is screaming her head off, shocker. And somewhere in this week I shall find a way to pack for our camping trip. I think I will stay in the tent for at least 2 days and just SLEEP!!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Craigslist

Hunk tries to be a happy person. He is not. His trying is in vain. He is destined to be a cranky old coot.

I try my best to control, steer around and/or eliminate things in general that tend to tick him off. I keep a little treasure box of treats so that I can distract him from pissery. I try diligently to stay on top of keeping him informed of all things so that he won't freak out (Seinfeld reference). But I am at a dead end......I am also a bit worried.

Hunk hates one of our cats. Honestly, he hates them both, but he can tolerate the boy by tossing him outside. Our girl cat, Ashley, lives inside the house and her little paws 'ner stray outside the door. She is always in the house and underfoot.

There are several things about Ashley that he loathes and which put him in a state of pissery. These things happen on a daily basis, mostly about 1000 times per day....

The cat talks non-stop, the cat wants to eat non-stop, the cat farts, the cat poops in a box which has to be cleaned, the cat nags the other cat constantly to clean himself, the cat sits in HIS spot, the cat is very picky and needs special food and care, the cat is getting very old, the cat wants to sleep in our bed, the cat has bad breath, the cat sheds hair and the cat is forever up in HIS business. There is NO doing anything in this house without the cat being on it, in it, or around it.

So Hunk wants to get rid of this cat. This is the cat that we got when we moved into our first home, she was our little child and we have had her for 15 years. Hunk would love nothing more than to ship this cat off to a nursing home for some little old lady to love.

My feeling is that we committed to this cat when we got her and she has every right to remain in our family until her death. So we have a quandry.

And where does my worry lie? In short, I am a lot like this cat (though I don't poop in a box and I use Scope regularly). I worry there may be a Craigslist ad someday that reads......

"FREE to a good home, friendly older woman, makes a great companion to the elderly or children, housetrained, some dietary restrictions. FREE DELIVERY, except during NFL game times."

Monday, September 29, 2008

You are a TOOL

I was looking through my Vegas photos and saw a photo of a homeless man, which reminded me of a situation while there and thus proceeded to make me hopping mad, again, this morning.

There are a lot of people in Vegas, in the world, that are beggars, homeless or otherwise in need. I get it, sometimes it's bad luck, sometimes it's a lazy choice, sometimes it's drugs...it will never be solved and no matter what we do, there will always be people asking for help.

I tend to feel empathetic towards people on the street asking for help. I realize that a majority of the time they are asking for the reasoning of getting alcohol or drugs and I also know that many of them have plenty of cash - I am not naive. The empathy that I feel is that they have chosen this as a life, when there are other options. Most of the time I will just pass them by, offer a smile or hello and sometimes I give them change. While in Vegas a guy approached us in the parking lot of our hotel. He got our attention in a friendly manner and then approached closer with a story that he had a pregnant wife, blah, blah, blah. I KNEW it was all smoke and mirrors, but I was in a particularly good mood, feeling very blessed that I was on a vacation and so I gave the guy $5.00 and said, "Good Luck".

Then, then the guy proceeded to say that $5.00 was not enough, he needs another $10. Talk about balls. I promptly said, sorry and good luck, again, but what I really wanted to do was to kick him in the balls and take my 5 bucks back! What a loser.

What a mood killer.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Gas

We have no gas. I have no idea what is really true about who has gasoline and who does not. But I'm here to tell you that our town does not have gas. The only way to get gasoline is to happen by a station that has gotten a delivery within the last 3 hours - after that it is all gone.

Yesterday I drove for an hour trying to find some gasoline - it seems strange to waste gas to look for gas, but the reality is that I am almost out and there is going to come a point when I am unable to get back home. Call Triple A, you say? Yeah, they don't have gas either, but they will tow your empty car home for you. This happened to my neighbor.

I contemplated not going to church today because of the very little bit of gasoline left in my tank, but we decided if the economy and the gas world is going to collapse, it won't hurt to be at church, so we went. And we found a station with gasoline - and the line was, no exaggeration, a quarter of a mile long to get in. We passed.

We found only one other station with gasoline, on a less traveled route with fewer cars in line. We made it to the pump after a short wait. "Prepay ONLY, $25 MAX", so I went inside to pay. "NO GAS" the owner says. But I see people are still pumping. He says the pumps are running slow and the gas is dwindling away. I persist, "let me get what I can". He says "NO". I don't move.

The next person who comes in calls the owner by name and says thanks for the call, I'm on Pump 1, then owner turns on the pump with no limit. Blink. Blink. WTF!? This is what we have come to. The gas station owners are rationing and refusing the general public and letting their buddies have unlimited fuel. Again, WTF?

I'm all for calling everyone you know with a heads up on a delivery, but there is no fucking way he should be telling people in general that he is out of gasoline when the line is out the station and down the street, and he HAS GASOLINE!!

I asked again, "Pump 5, I need to get some gas". "Bad Gas", he says, it's on the bottom of the tank. I just don't care, "How about $10? ANYTHING." He agrees to give me $10 worth of gasoline and says that he is going to get jumped because he refused people before me. Take a hint dillweed, don't LIE!! As I get my $10 and the pump shuts off, the guy across from me gets $70 worth of gas. And there was nothing I could do about it. In fact, I felt bad for getting the $10 that I got because there were about 15 people that he turned away before I got my gas. I wasn't budging until I got something.

I'm told that the gasoline situation isn't near as bad in other areas, but how much do you gamble on when you have 2.4 gallons to deal with. I could go to the next town in search of, but I may very well not get back home.

So, this week my husband can't go to work. But they say there is not a gas crisis.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Vegas, Baby!

I can't believe I've been home for a week and have had ZERO time to blog about our trip! It is amazing how time can just get away from you.

Our trip to Vegas began on a Saturday and we immediately got our rental car, which was a breeze even though the entire rental car city was filled with horrendous long lines and really pissed off people. We had all our info and did a Self Check In and were off.

Our first drive down the strip was a bit disappointing as it was the middle of the day and Vegas is known for it's lights. I don't know what I was expecting, but there just was not the ooomph! that I was hoping for. It was a street with a zillion people all over it and yes, there were some amazing structures, but I guess as I was driving I was focused more on not killing someone.

We checked in to our hotel and took off for Hoover Dam. We stayed at the Embassy Suites, no, not very exciting. We had originally planned for the Venetian and then switched to Treasure Island, but once I saw that the Embassy Suites was right behind the Wynn I opted to stay in our usual standby and earn some points. Also, not knowing exactly how lively Vegas is we thought it might be quieter to stay off the strip. It had both pros and cons, but we were happy because the Embassy serves a cooked to order breakfast everyday which is included with your room - along with a free open bar every evening from 5:30-7:30. Not only that, the price was about half of any of the major attraction hotels on the strip.

We got to Hoover Dam really quickly (less than 30 minutes), but found that we were just a few minutes too late for The Dam Tour. We opted for the regular guided tour for $11 which was short, but very informative. We did get to go see the turbines and walk through the tunnels. The dam is amazing seeing as how it was built in the 30's. It is also interesting to find out how the government did not disclose all of the deaths related to the building of the dam so that the public would not see the project in a bad light. Shocking to think that the government would sugar-coat something, isn't it?

The next morning we were up at 4am - due to us being on Eastern time so we hit the strip. Surprisingly, it was pretty calm, but there were more people out that I had expected. We took this time to tour Ceaser's Palace - simply stunning. We then hit the road to the Grand Canyon West. The drive took about 2.5 hours during which most of it was on OPEN DESERT ROAD. Yes, there was a speed limit, but I did not observe it in the least. I hit 110, but for the most part I kept it around 95-100. He would not admit it, but I think Hunk was a bit jealous that I did not insure him on the car. We had a Mazda 626, it was cute and had the option to be either an automatic transmission or a semi-manual. There was no clutch, but the gears can be changed manually up to a 5 speed. That was kinda cool....

Grand Canyon West is located within the Hualapai Indian Reservation. There is one road that leads in which is 21 miles long and unpaved. It started out fine, but it did get really rough for the last 10 miles. I bottomed out the car once because I was really driving faster than I should have. Once you get in there is a big parking area which costs $20 to park. You then go into the office and gift shop to purchase tickets for what you want to do while there. The standard tour is $30 per person which lets you ride the charter bus to 3 stops within the reservation. You have to add on things like the Skywalk and Helicopter/Pontoon rides. We stuck with the standard figuring we would check it all out and then decide if we really wanted to go out on to the Skywalk.

The Skywalk was pretty cool, but looking at the professional photographs (you can't take your own camera) you pretty much only see the plexiglass floor. We were a bit miffed because the area around the Skywalk would not allow you to go to the edge of the Canyon. It was roped off probably 15 feet back from the edge. Disappointing, but I found out later that the next stop was PHENOMENAL. So, it was definately resolved. From this area we saw the area in the 2nd photo below, which is called Eagle Rock because it really does look like the wingspan of an Eagle.

At the Skywalk we ate lunch - a Hualapai Taco (see photo) which is everything in a regular taco all piled onto a huge piece of fried bread dough. It was $12 and we were glad we only got one...it was huge. Not my favorite, the bread dough is pretty plain, but it was an experience. The Hualapai Indians were also at the location dancing and having photos taken. There were real examples of all the different types of Indian dwelling as well....very cool.

At our next stop - Guano Point there was a small cafe. This area was a peninsula jutting out into the Grand Canyon. This place was about a thousand times better than the Skywalk area, this was the reason I came here. As you can see from the 1st photo below you can walk right off the edge of the Canyon if you feel like it (that small blue dot is Hunk's Monkey Button shirt). We climbed a mountain in the middle of the peninsula and got a good 340 degree panoramic view of the Grand Canyon. It was truly phenomenal, there just aren't words to describe how beautiful it was and how awesome our earth is. Kudos to the Hualapai Tribe for sharing this with us. WORTH EVERY PENNY!



















The third stop in the reservation was a made up western town. Might've been more exciting if the kids were with us. I did see the cow "Norman" from the movie City Slickers. He lives there and they run him through the town a few times a day. He is ginormous! And, yes, his real name is Norman!

We left the Grand Canyon and hit the desert for more fast driving - whoo hooo - and got back to Vegas for a late night on the strip. We drove from our hotel and parked at Treasure Island to go see their Siren show out front. I personally though it was kind of lame, but then again, I don't know what I was expecting. A bunch of girls dancing around in lingerie pretending they are pirates. We also hit the Bellagio to watch the fountain show, which was pretty cool, this particular show was set to Elvis' Viva Las Vegas which was very fitting.

Once Monday began, Hunk had to work during the day, usually until 4, so I pretty much hung out at the pool. We decided to go to two shows while there, the first one was David Copperfield. This was at MGM so when I went to check it out earlier in the day I got to see the MGM Lion Habitat. There is a tunnel you can walk under and the lions were laying on the tunnel, there was also a guy in there sitting next to the lion just scratching her belly like she was a regular old house cat. I took a photo from down under...














David Copperfield was fun to watch, though we had seen most of the illusions already on TV specials. The best part was that Hunk got chosen to go up and assist with one of the illusions. It involved a real duck being magically transported from a box in the center stage to a bucket in Hunk's arms on the side of the stage. He still says he can't figure out how the duck got into the bucket or if there was some trap door, because the bucket truly did seem empty, then a duck jumped out onto him!

The other show we went to was 'O' at the Bellagio. It was something I'm really glad we did not miss because the stage and setting itself it worth the price to see. The show was good, but the concept is just amazing and I would pay to go see it again. We were forbidden to take photos, but I 'accidentally' snapped a quick one during a particularly active scene. Basically the stage goes from pool to floor in seconds and in several different sections. They can have a high diver plunge into the pool and then, don't blink, as the pool just disappeared and there are people dancing where the guy just dove in. Really cool. The Cirque performers are just top notch here as well. My favorite were the contortionists, they are incredible. We had limited view seats, but it was still worth it.















We did make sure to take a trip down to Fremont Street and eat at the Bay City Diner (at the first Vegas Hotel). They boast the Original 1.99 Shrimp Cocktail(4th photo below), which is actually 3.99. I still haven't figured that one out. It was a very small, old diner and Hunk really liked his dinner. I ordered the wrong thing, so I was a bit disappointed with what I had, but it was my own fault for not paying attention to the words coming out of my mouth!

Fremont Street is the true Old Vegas and I got to see Vegas Vic (the cowboy), but some of his lights were out and he no longer waves (1st picture below)!! If you want to see Vegas lights, this street is the place to be! We really enjoyed this part of town, there were lots of street vendors and artists doing some truly amazing work. Really talented people.
At the end of Fremont is the Plaza (2nd photo below) which is Biff's Tower from Back to Future II - one of my favorite movie series.
Did I mention that a few of the Chippendales (3rd photo) were on Fremont Street? My picture is blurry - I think Hunk bumped me on purpose!
We had an awesome time - sorry for the long post, and the fact that I hit publish before I was done - I know if I'm in your reader I look like a total dweeb. Not to mention my sucktacular photoshop skills.
Oh yeah, did we win it big?? NO, I put $15 bucks in a machine and lost it in under 2 minutes. I gave up until the next day and I tried $25 - it lasted about 5 minutes and was then gone. At that point I just stopped. It just isn't in me. I know these stupid electronic machines have got to be so rigged and I'm just not up to playing at a real table - not to mention the SMOKE!! I am definately a Vegas 'visitor', not cut out to be a player!

Friday, September 19, 2008

HOME!

I'm home - been away for 6 days in fabulous Las Vegas! Woot!

I want to blog all about all the fun things I did, but that would involve me finding photos and in general trying to jog brain cells that are currently paralyzed due to the immense amounts of second hand smoke they've been subjected to (and a little first hand alcohol....). So I will save Vegas for another day.....

Today, I'm sorting through mail and work, trying to get back to normal. I would certainly love to travel MUCH, MUCH more, but I can't see how people with kids at home do it. It is exhausting. Within 1 hour of being home and seeing what all piled up around me, I feel like I never left! Unless you count the fact that my bank account is drained. NO, I did not win it big in Vegas.....but I did see the Chippendales.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Noises

My hearing is near non-existent. I'm not sure why it is, but I do require hearing aids in order to listen to your opinions and thoughts. I rarely ever wear my hearing aids. hee hee heee......

Not that I don't think your opinion is interesting, ahem. Actually, I find the hearing aids extrememly uncomfortable and that when I remove them my ears are so in tune to having amplification that I am literally deaf. I do fine around the house (Hunk will beg to differ...) and we can watch TV, etc. I just like stuff turned WAY up or to have captions turned on. I ask "WHAT?" far too often.

This brings me to my current problem. I am hearing voices. Since I rarely hear anything that is not directed exactly to me, I find it strange that I am hearing voices. In my basement office. I'm down here working away and then I hear a young child's voice. It is muffled and I can not understand it, but nonetheless I can tell it is a voice.

A problem that goes hand in hand with my hearing loss is directional confusion. IF I am lucky enough to hear a sound there is NO way in hell I can tell you which direction it is coming from. Like when the cordless phone gets lost and you hit the button to make it call out to you.....uhm, yeah, that does me NO good whatsoever. I hear the phone beeping madly, calling for me to save it out from under the cat, but I can't even decipher if I am in the same room as the beeping. Odd. Yes, I suck at Marco Polo.

So, there is a voice. I've been hearing it since we started the big office relocation of 2008. I'm currently unhappy with our bottom floor layout and decided that we should switch all rooms and add some stuff and in general, cause chaos. I'm in a temporary location because my new office space needs flooring, and the rest of the area surrounding me resembles a ground zero explosion. There are boxes, plastic tubs, piles, baskets, etc. All overflowing with stuff that is temporarily homeless. From one of those receptacles comes THE VOICE.

I'm hoping it's a toy of some sort, but I would think that battery life would be an issue. The voice is repeated and in no particular pattern....other than just when it would like to freak the crap out of me. My other option is that it is actually a small child that we somehow put in a bucket and forgot about, not likely though because everyone I know is accounted for. There's always the chance that it is a ghost, but my thinking is that a ghost would have more sense that to live in our crappy basement. Then there is always the cat....whom I have not seen in 3 days.

And, of course, when I mention this to the Hunk so that he might tune in to the problem THE VOICE will likely go Michigan J. Frog on me.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Busy

I do this to myself every fall. I know this about myself, so why do I do it?

Hi, I'm Beth and I am an OVERCOMMITER.

I was going to make a list of all that I have committed to lead, head up or help with, but then Hunk will comment with "I told you so...", plus he has no real idea what all I've sold my soul to. So, let's just say that I am on the cusp of a whirlwind.

A small part of something I do is Girl Scouts. I lead both of my girls' troops, which they meet alternate weeks, so one week I lead older girls, the next I lead younger girls. Hopefull, this will spread everything out. This week we had older girls - a regular meeting and then a community service project.

Our community service project was to volunteer at the offices of the Walk for Breast Cancer. We met right after school and headed downtown (fought traffic on the way), but we finally arrived at the office and they graciously had ordered pizza for the girls. How cool was that? Our task of the evening was to begin the process of stuffing the "goodie bags" that would be gifts for each person walking for the cause. While we ate pizza, we got to sit around and talk with the founder of the Walk (who happened to have been a Scout leader many years before) and she was just awesome. She is a Breast Cancer survivor and she has endured so much, yet she is such a strong and positive person despite all she has been through. Thankfully, she is doing well right now, due to some experimental treatments. She had a goal of raising one million dollars over the course of 10 years and as of now, the walk has been going on for four years and they have exceeded FOUR MILLION dollars raised for Breast Cancer Research. Amazing what the dream of one person can turn into. When you think that you can't possibly make a difference - think AGAIN! She has made a huge difference and it all started with one person.

Publix donated some wicked new reusable grocery bags, much larger than the standard grocery store reusables. We filled these bags with socks, trinkets, information and some really good coupons. It was good for the girls to work and see behind the scenes that it takes teamwork to make things happen. It was good for the girls to meet the founder and to hear her story, it was wonderful for them to realize that they can make a difference, if they just have the desire.

Since we each got to take a goodie bag for ourselves I am sending mine to my Chemo Buddy (I'm a Chemo Angel). It has some really cute stuff in it, and even though she does not have Breast Cancer I know she will enjoy them. It was just a good experience all around and it makes you feel good to be a part of something that is changing the world, a little bit at a time. Hopefully, through this walk and through others they will continue to find ways to save women's lives everyday.

This is why I overcommit - because sometimes, it's just worth it, dammit!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Camping

Before I begin, I got a new phone! Should there really be an exclamation there? Not sure, because it was certainly not FREE, but nontheless it is new, unscratched, undented and hopefully I can manage to keep it that way.....

We went camping for the Labor Day weekend. I'm certain that my hubs will be blogging about our adventures, so some of you may get a double dose. I'm also certain that my recount will be significantly more positive than his. See, I actually LOVE to camp. Him, not so much. He just goes along for the ride and tries not to complain. He plays nice, but would prefer to be home.

We tried something new this time, because this was a last minute decision to go camping and all of our favorite spots were booked months ago. We found a private campground, within an hour of our house and they had 2 spots left. I did not, however, ask a lot of questions. I skimmed the website, they had toilets, showers, electric & water - we would definately survive. NOW JUST SHUT UP, because camping is STILL CAMPING, even if there are all those conveniences. YES, it is. We do NOT have a tricked out tour bus with flat panel TV's and hottubs - we have a tent, but I will NOT pee in the woods. I'm too old for that. I also like LIGHTS because nothing is more frustrating that trying to find something in the dark. Electricity is something I do not REQUIRE, but I find it necessary for being a Happy Camper.

So, we drove to the campground and found it to be less than expected. It was basically a big pasture with hookups scattered around. I like to camp with lots of trees, so I was a bit disappointed, but I'm still camping. We were assigned a site and when we found it, it was just a grassy area on the edge of the pasture. We had been assigned PRIMITIVE camping in direct sunlight. I did not ask about electric/water sites before I booked - my fault. We have never camped primitively so I drove back around to the office and worked some magic. We got a different site, under some trees and it was close enough to an electrical outlet that we could share with another site provided we had a long extension cord (uhm, hell yeah, I had FOUR - I like my lights....). The very best part of this was that it was right along the edge of the RIVER - whooo hooo! My kids were ecstatic! We set up camp and then decided that it took so long to do all this we would go out to dinner, rather than cook on the fire. We then headed off into town to get Mexican food. "Now THIS is camping!", says the hubs.

The local town is Dahlonega, Georgia - where both hubs and I attended college. Dahlonega is a Gold Mining town and there are many mines and tours and lots of panning for gold. There is a gold museum right in the center of the town. Since our campground was right on the river we encountered quite a few folks panning for gold. Many of them were campers like us, just playing around, but we also found that there are still many people that pan for gold on a daily basis. And they take it quite seriously. This one guy looked as though he had been doing this his entire life. He said he has actually found some pretty good gems and nuggets in his day. He was literally the poster child for gold panning, every single mine ad has a graphic of an old guy with a hat and a big long beard......










On Saturday we began to notice who else was camping at this place - there was a group of 10 families that had overtaken the place. The owner said these folks come twice a year and it is like a big reunion for them. How fun! Yes, they were definately having fun - a lot of LOUD fun. The difference in camping here, than in other places we've been, were the rules of camp ground etiquette. The owners here were laid back and didn't enforce any quiet hours. Lucky for me, I am mostly deaf, so the noise didn't bother me at all. The big group of folks were also Nascar fanatics, they displayed all of their Nascar flags and one guy actually had a Nascar themed picnic table that he brought to the campground. Now, bringing a picnic table is not that weird, but this picnic table was more than just a picnic table.....it was on wheels with a chain driven motor! Yes, that's right, a DRIVEABLE PICNIC TABLE, with flags! The guy was riding kids all around the campground. He was really friendly, and he would take everyone's kids. So, yes, I let a total stranger with no shirt, driving a picnic table, nascar themed, pick up my two girls to go for a ride. Am I a wonderful parent or what???!!










This campground also offered tubing on the river - yipee! We were taken for a 10 minute ride up the road which amounted to a 1.5 hour float down the river in big yellow tubes. I don't have photos because I could not carry my camera without it getting wet. It was fun, the water was cold, but you got used to it quickly. The river was just beautiful and serene, the tree cover overhead was phenomenal. This was my favorite thing!









We found some interesting things in the river....we thought this was a potato and a granny smith apple. These were actually rocks. The kids got quite a collection while there.

Since this was a last minute trip I forgot to bring a few things, so our meals were lacking my usual creativity for campground cooking, but we did manage to bake in our box oven (biscuits and chocolate chip cookies), we had chipotle lime chicken & veggies cooked in foil pockets which we just sat directly in the fire pit, we also popped popcorn on our camp griddle and of course, S'MORES. We are going camping again in late October so this was a good trip to see what I needed to replenish and remember to add to our camping supplies.

Hubs took a really good picture of the mountain man, which I did not want to steal, so feel free to check him out later this week. I know he hasn't blogged yet, but he will and I'm sure he will have a whole different perspective on the place. And for those of you keeping up with his new sunny outlook on life, he did really well not killing our camping neighbors and we didn't even bring any happy drinks on this trip! PROGRESS!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Cracked

I broke my iPhone, I'm inconsolable. Totally cracked screen. Fuuuuuuuuuudge!

I guess this will be somewhat like quitting smoking (or something) because I'm likely going to have to go cold turkey with NO ACCESS while this mother gets repaired. Oh the humanity! Prepare for me to be bitchy.....OH, WAIT, no, don't prepare, because I won't have Twitter to complain to. God help my husband.

I have a Genius Bar appt. on Friday. Any Geniuses got any advice on how to get this repaired for free? I am within one year.....fingers crossed.

Oh who am I kidding, I'm hosed.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Split Decision

On one hand I could blog about the babysitting experience I had. I survived, though I do have photos to prove that even after my miniature clean sweep the kid still found some small stuff and, yes, she ate it. Nothing swallowed. Crisis averted.

On the other hand, I could blog about blogging. And since blogging about kids tags you as a mommy blogger and will pretty much render you a bore in the blogosphere, I suppose that I should chose to blog about blogging. Can I type the word blog, just one more time?

Why do I blog? Honestly, I'm not completely sure. I don't enjoy writing, which seems to be the biggest reason for blogging - all the hopeful writers in anticipation that some big publication will notice them or that a book deal would fall in their lap. Definately not me. Others blog to get it all out, I can relate to that. The downfall is that in getting it all out in a public forum, you should probably know a bit about writing coherently. Again, not so much me. Some blog strictly in order to keep family and friends updated on the happenings of their lives. Still, not me. In fact, there is no one in my family that reads my blog. Not because they don't care, but because they just don't know about it. No, I don't have anything to hide really, but I just don't have the type of relationship with my family where I want them to read my thoughts. So, WHY? Why do I blog?

I started blogging a little over a year ago, and I've never been consistent. I've also not had many readers. Well, not many comments. I don't follow stats or anything, so I have no idea if anyone is reading this or not. I had hoped to meet some people through my blog. And I have met some wonderful people and had a lot of fun. It definately takes a new twist when you go on a trip and have someone to meet at the other end, someone that you would have otherwise never have known. That, in itself, is phenomenal. I read a ton of blogs, and I comment here and there, but I find it hard to call people friends when they don't know anything about me. I guess it is a lot of onesidedness? Is that the word? I read yours, but you don't read mine - how can you know anything about me? And I'm not complaining, it's not that anyone is rude or exclusive or anything like that, but I have this feeling like I'm back in high school and on the outside looking in. I feel like I know all of these people out there, but then you start to wonder if anyone would notice if you weren't there. KWIM?

I'm not trolling, but I guess I'm just envious that so many people have found others to "click" with in the blogosphere. I know for a fact that if I attended any event, meet up, whatever, that everyone is welcome and that there is not a cool crowd. I get it, most people are past that nonsense. But how many social relationships can one attend to? If you meet someone who already has 1,000 blogs to read and 4,000 emails a day where do you fit in? It's like joining in on a business at the bottom, everyone knows everyone (so it seems) and you are on the edge, interacting, contributing, playing a part, but does anyone really know you're there?

I guess it comes with time, that the more you read, the more you meet, the better chance you have of finding people that you click with. I love it when someone I read has multitudes of comments and lots of interaction with readers, I also then wonder how on earth they have the time to respond to all of those comments! I'm grateful in a way that I have a small amount of comments, that I can then read their blogs and feel like I know what is going on in their world. So, to answer my own question....Why do I blog? I want to meet new friends. I've connected with a very few bloggers on a more personal level and I am so grateful to know them. I don't have a lot of real life friends. Not because I'm a loser, but because I'm a loner. I have spent the better part of my life preferring to be alone. I'm getting past that. I want to meet people, I want to know people and I want people to know me.

I think a lot of folks go through this, because I've read people that say "I have not blogged in 2 months and no one even bothered to email me and see if I were still breathing!". I can totally relate. It's a cyberworld and you just can't see where people's heads are. You also are 1 in a crowd of millions, of course you can be overlooked and forgotten. Especially if you don't have anyone that you correspond with regularly. I think that is why it is so easy to feel like you aren't "in". So, I have no solution to fitting in with the blogosphere. I will continue to read others and I hope that others will continue to read me and perhaps, one day, some of us will connect in a way that is unique and I will know that if I were gone that I would be missed!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Death by Snapple


So I'm all set to watch my friend's kids for her tomorrow. She has two children, under the age of 3. Yes, please hold the applause, I am a saint, how nice of you to notice.


I've been perusing my house today, trying to get it somewhat "safe" for these little monsters, er, um, angels. This is no easy task. My kids are 7 and 11 and we are well past the years of eating things. Plus, by the time the second one rolled around it was just easier to keep her up on a shelf, than to try to wrangle all of the teeny tiny toys out of her reach. I'd say it has been a good 9 years since my house would have been considered "safe" for children that eat stuff. And, of course, as the years have rolled by, the house continues to be more of a hazard with each passing birthday, holiday or run of the mill trip to Target. My kids have a lot of stuff. NO, I am not proud of it, but we do have a good time around here. Some of the best stuff we have is miniature. I will admit, I have been a fan of the mini-stuff since disco was cool. If it is teeny, I want it.

Polly Pocket is one of our favorite friends. Even though my youngest is a die hard TomBOY, she still loves Polly Pocket. She can totally forgive the pinkness of the car when "MOM, you can totally switch out these rims!".....'cuz you know, Polly is all down wit it and she likes to pimp her ride like the bizzles in the hood. We also have Tech Deck skateboards for Polly, cuz when her ragtop is stopped it is all about the halfpipe mctwist. For those of you not in the know, a Tech Deck is a miniature skateboard in which you can switch out the wheels with a microscopic screwdriver - dude, mini-tools!! And Polly Pocket is a doll that wears rubber stilettos that measure about 2mm in length. I've attached a visual, with a penny included, so that you can see the scale.
Snapple - pink lemonade chokiness, followed by MiniPig (not to be mistaken for SpiderPig), Poker Chips (apparently Polly has been hitting Harrah's), In the very middle - no, not a donut - a Tech Deck Wheel (the other 3 probably eaten by a cat), just to the right is Polly's Protein Smoothie and a bottle of ketchup.

This collection is just a small representation of what I found just aimlessly floating around in couch cushions, under tables, on the bathroom counter...... This shows you why this woman should fear for her children's lives. Besides Polly Pocket we have alligators, seahorses, dog bones, paintbrushes, balloons, clear flat marble thingies, mini icecream AND suntan lotion. I mean, we are totally prepared for mad negotiations when there is hostile takeover from Lilliput and Blefuscu.

I've also managed to round up most of the Fisher Price population from the 70's. We love these little guys, but they are banned in the real world. We are sort of an underground railroad 'station' for these plastic people. We try to free them from disposal whenever possible. Poor guys are just misunderstood......yes, they all have faces, but some were afraid of possible identification and looked away.


So, I've scooped up as much dangerous stuff as possible and I've been moving things to higher ground. My house now appears to have 9 foot tall inhabitants and toll booths at all points of electricity. However, should you hear of a small child in the Atlanta area having complications from eating catfood, please send bail. If I move the catfood, the cats will start eating me. That one is just not negotiable.





Thursday, August 14, 2008

Plas-SHIT-tic


Are you green? I am, well, at least I try to be. I make mistakes ALL the time and I do get lazy - I sometimes dream of burying a peanut butter jar in the garbage just so I don't have to wash it out. But I do try. I try for my kids, because the green issue will only get bigger as their lives go on and I feel it will be much easier for them if being green is just a way of life. Plus, it's just a nice thing to do for this beautiful resource we have, I mean really, the earth is amazing....why not take care of it? I am in awe everytime I open my front door. I am surrounded by lush green trees and wildlife - and I'm sandwiched right in the middle of chaos! There are developers that would likely give me their first born if we would give up this land, but it would kill me to see this place plowed over. This is the view from my front door, just a few days ago.


Back to plastic, though. As a part of my green initiative I try to remember to always take my own bags to the store. I have these funky bags called Envirosax that are cute and portable and I love them. Unlike the bags that the markets try to sell to you, these bags will completely fold/roll up. The market bags have a hard bottom and will stand freely, but they are bulky.


Today at the food market, I remembered my Envirosax. As I got to the check out I sent the bags down first, then began to unload the food. The cashier sighed heavily to the bagger, "OH WAIT, YOU HAVE TO USE HER BAGS!" This clearly did not make either of them happy. "Oh and here's some more, oh, wait here's ANOTHER one" and she mumbled something I did not hear. Her tone was definately annoyed.


The bagger lady then proceeded to tell me that all that I had would not fit into my bags, to which I replied to put anything extra in the cart, loose. I'll put it in my box in the car. Well, she did not like this idea one bit. "It needs a bag"....."No, thanks, I'd rather not take the plastic home".... "I need to bag these things"...."No, thanks, I'm fine with putting them loose into the cart"..... "That will be difficult for you, I'll just bag them"...."Uhhhm, NO, thanks, I don't want the plastic". The cashier then gets in on the conversation and says that the melons will be fine in a bag and so will all these other things and she shoves them in bags and ties them up, ...."no, really....." I start....., but I gave up. So my cart now has 4 plastic bags in it, that I asked NOT to receive. LUCKILY for these ladies, I was not up for a fight, I had just had a Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato sandwich from my favorite place, and I was quite happy. So I let it go.


Until I got home. Now I am just mad. It seems that whilst I was busy unloading my cart, the bagging lady was putting things into plastic bags and THEN putting them into my Envirosax. I came home to each of my Envirosax housing 2 plastic bags of groceries. Beyotch! Either these ladies are bitches or just stupid. I can't figure it out. Perhaps, they are so stupid that they don't understand the concept, however, I repeatedly asked that no plastic be used. I don't think I could have made myself any clearer.


The problem with this, is that it is not the first time. It seems that a majority of the places I go are not at all happy that I have brought my own bags in. In fact, many people are just down right rude about doing something out of the regularly scheduled program. In Walmart I said no thanks to the plastic, I said something like "I'll use my own bag and save Walmart a penny" and the employee jerked out the plastic bag anyway and said that "Walmart can afford an extra bag", and she was rather snippish about it. Newsflash lady, if you don't respect your employer, work somewhere else!!


In other places I've had employees INSIST that I take a bag or to try to sway me from my Envirosax decision by telling me that I'll be stopped at the exit to be checked. I've also seen an employee pull out a plastic bag and when I state that I have my own bag, they toss the UNUSED bag into the trash.


It just kills me how uneducated and self centered people are. I am so sick and tired of people that act as if they are the only thing that matters on earth. How can you possibly walk around and not give a rat's ass about what is around you? Seriously, it stems way far beyond plastic and trash, it's just attitude. People and their SHIT attitudes, I'd like to put some plastic bags over some heads, that's what.


Monday, August 11, 2008

Alone

I'm all alone - at LAST!

Everyone is off to school or work, and while I should be working at a feverish pace in order to catch up....I'm NOT! The world can wait....

I had my usual August thru May breakfast today - sandwich crust. I made the required amount of sandwiches this morning and, of course, the crust must be cut off. I'm a waste not kind of girl so during the nine months of school imprisonment I usually have sandwich crust for breakfast. I hope my mom was right - during my entire childhood she refused to cut off the sandwich crust for me insisting that the crust contained the most vitamins. I should be more powerful than a locomotive, very soon.

So, tell me, what are the odds that you would be in need of a quart of Disney's Alien Green interior paint, which costs about $15.00, and you walk into Home Depot and there sits a quart of Disney's Alien Green paint on the OOPS pile, in a quart size, for $1.00? If you are me, the odds are pretty good because that is just what happened to me. I was so happy I almost kissed the paint guy. I mean, really, ALIEN Green? In a Quart, no less? That was just so lucky it was unbelievable. I love it when I get a great deal. Now, what could I possibly be painting in Alien Green, you say? I'll keep you guessing, because I'm not finished yet and I hope it turns out good. I'm not a painter, but apparently they will give anyone paint so I'm trying something new.

I'm off to be alone, please go away.....and no, I will not be in my panties - you people and your nakedness, gaaaahh...

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Pantry

Whew - I'm back from the grocery store. I know you were just sitting on pins and needles while I was away......

I set out today to make my life easier for the first two weeks of school. You know, the adjustment I am going to have to make to getting up at dawn's asscrack to shuffle these little people out of my house, yanno, so that I don't have to slam down the laptop screen while reading those bloggers who post with NO PANTS and NO WARNING. Anyway, back to this adjustment period where I no longer get to sleep in on a daily basis...

I am not a morning person and, truth be told, I would rather that you just not speak to me at all. Hand motions are fine, talking amongst yourselves - perfect, but PLEASE just do not ask me any questions at dark o'thirty, okay? If you can't figure it out, just do something, anything and hope for the best.

The start of school means that, yes, I have to start getting up early. It also means that I have to pack lunch, at breakfast time, while 3 people are invading my kitchen space and likely dripping syrup on the cat. I do not like to have other people in the kitchen with me, I also do not like to get up early (did I mention that?) and so to be up early with people under my feet just pisses me off. Oh, and the cats, the god forsaken cats that LAY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KITCHEN FLOOR OH MY GOD! No matter how many times I have tripped over or stepped on a cat, the frickin' nimrod still lay in the dead center of the kitchen. Oh, yes, and he only does it when people are in there. You know, he is social like that. The other cat, god help her, just screams until each and every human being awake has filled her bowl at least once, but preferrably twice. See, she's a grazer and must eat in multiple courses.

Where was I? Oh, yes, the grocery store. I went today in order to make this transition to PTA mom a bit easier. We are normally a recycling, reducing, reusing family. Though it causes mulitudes of aggression due to the piling up of plastic and whatnot, along with about 14 bazillion tupperware containers, we try the best we can to not buy prepackaged, individual servings of foods. Today was not a good day for the earth. This family purchased $169 of prepackaged, individual servings of food to shove into lunchboxes - all likely to be traded for HoHo's. My pantry, oh my pantry, it looks like a convenience store and the kids set it up all neat and organized so they can "shop the shelf". I think I may like to sleep in the pantry tonight and just graze on all the lovely little portion sized bags, lined up and happy. So the first two weeks of school shall go effortlessly, I hope, and the kids can just open the pantry and pack their own lunch! It will be back to reality once all this stuff runs out. Not only do I care enough about the earth to not buy this much packaging, it is also EXPENSIVE, holy cow! The total today just about made me puke because, people, we did not even get any dinner on this trip!! This total was purely about crackers, pretzels, cookies, cheeses, and the ever important Pirate Booty. Ok, yes, there was wine, but that is kind of a given. I mean really, we do have kids and how else do you expect us to cope?

So, if you need some lunch, just give me a holler. I've got Ritz Smiley Crackers in some cute little red bags that will knock your socks off.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cereal

We have a lot of cereal. Mostly because cereal is the main food group for my 7 year old. Since the age of 6 months and the discovery of Cheerios she has not once ever looked back. The child loves cereal. On average, my child eats cereal 3 times a day, no lie. Ask her what she wants for dinner and invariably the answer is, "hmmm, uhmmmm, OH, CEREAL!".

At the moment, however, the bulk of my cereal supply is not of the Cheerio-Rice Krispie variety. It is of Special K - see we parental units are trying to stick around a few years to see these kids off to college. This longevity requires that we stop eating bacon morningnoonandnight. :( Therefore, we have invested a small fortune in Special K of every variety, except bacon, because they don't make Special K with Bacon Bits. I also found Special K of every variety on BOGO. For those of you who are not Piggly Wiggly savvy that is Buy One Get One - FREE! And what could be better than free cereal? Maybe free bacon......

So we have all this cereal and my wonderful significant other, who likes to complain, but who is SUPPOSED TO BE on a complaining vacation feels that the Red Berries are hard. And instead of just thinking it in your head and then eating, say Cinnamon Pecan next time, he MUST voice how stupid it is to add hard fruit to a bowl of cereal. I mean really, if it isn't going to soften up, why bother???? Stupid Cereal CEO's and your evil plot to destroy teeth! I'd like to point out to him that the Red Berries do, in fact, get very soft in the cereal if you give the milk, oh say, 20 seconds to do it's thing. But apparently the man inhales the cereal before said berries have any opportunity to soak up some fun.

This complaining man, who is SUPPOSED TO BE not complaining, also thinks that the Yogurt and Fruit variety sucks. And, shockingly, has announced to the world (being me) that the Yogurt and Fruit variety is basically dog shit and should be banned from earth, yanno, instead of just dumping it and going for, oh say, one of the other 14 boxes. Ahem.

I can tell you that I LOVE the Yogurt and Fruit variety of Special K - I find it YUMMY with both hard yogurt bits and soft fruit pieces. I also LOVE the Red Berries, which I find get all soft and sweet and make the milk all pinky like (and who can't appreciate pinkness?). And now, my friends, I am hungry. I shall get away from this god forsaken machine to go enjoy a bowl of fruity, yogurty goodness....and a piece or 4 of bacon. Do think it will cancel out?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Skinny

It's time for school shopping around here. I remember how much I loved to get all my new back to school items when I was younger. Fresh new pencils, a brand new Trapper Keeper, the very cutest notebooks with kittens on them, the Smurf lunchbox, ahhhhhh. And don't even get me started on the smell of new clothing. I LOVED August. My kids, however, would rather send me out to get it all while they stay home to play. Sigh. My kids don't mind shopping so much, but they really don't have that many opinions on what they wear or which store it comes from - whew! - which makes my life much more affordable. Even my 11 year old, going to Middle School for the first time, said I could just go get her some cute stuff from Target - Hallelujah!! She is not picky at all. She also has no mind to match anything correctly, but that my friends is another post in itself.....

During our mall outing with friends yesterday, my oldest saw a cute shirt at Gap. It said "Little Miss Chatterbox", which I must agree, fits her to personality to a "T"! It was cute and I agreed to purchase it for her, seeing as how I picked out the rest of her school wardrobe. "It looks a bit, uhhhm, well, why don't you go try it on first?". And she happily skipped off to the fitting room with a size 12 shirt. A few minutes later she came back, without the shirt on. "It doesn't fit, not at all." Ok, I sent her back with a 16, because after I took a good look at the shirt I knew what was about to happen.
You see the picture of the shirt outline and then the shape of my child. This is not going to work, especially because the shirt is made of super thin, very taut cotton which is made to conform and hug the body. Even going up by 2 sizes, the shirt fits like a sausage stuffed into pantyhose. Or something, you can get your own visual. And at 2 sizes up we are at the largest shirt in the store and at a dead end.

What hurts me the most is that almost every store we go to, the pre-teen girl section is blanketed with shirts in just this shape - hourglass. This limits our selections greatly and it causes my daughter to say, "Oh, that shirt is for skinny girls" or "I'm too chubby for that." The last time I checked, most 11 year olds are pre-puberty meaning they are not shaped like an hour-glass. Hell, I'm almost menopausal and I've never been shaped like an hour-glass. My kid is on the far end of medium, a bit of a chubette, but she is not a plus sized gal. She is a pre-teen, encased in baby fat who will likely emerge into a medium sized build.

On the other end of the spectrum are the "skinny girls" who can wear these shirts. There are plenty of them, the girls who have started to take shape and don't have any chub to hide things that are beginning to pop out. I have a neice with this shape and I can tell you that she does NOT want to wear anything that will hug and conform to her body either.

It is just wrong, that my child is being made to believe that she is abnormal because people in the fashion industry design mainstream clothing with the intent to show off a body. These are little girls, trying to figure out what the hell is happening to them. They certainly don't need to worry about clothing that causes them to feel bad about themselves, or worse yet, to draw attention to the things that are freaking them out.

I can see the long road that my daughter has ahead of her in learning to accept her body. I can only guide her and hope for the best, but in this society I'm certain that she and many other girls of all shape and size, will have many more hurdles than victories in self acceptance.




Friday, August 1, 2008

Backwards

My kids have been fighting over a typewriter for the past few days. It all started at an Antique Mall. My oldest found an ancient typewriter and thought it was so cool. I told her I had a typewriter, but I had given it to my grandmother. While Granny loves to type letters and such, she can't (or won't) grasp real technology and let me set her up with a PC. So she types.

Immediately upon leaving the Antique Mall my oldest is on the phone calling my Granny, about 5 hours later a typewriter (my old one from high school) is delivered to our front door. Squeals of delight emit and my oldest retreats to her room and locks us all out. All we hear is clicking for the next few hours......

When my child emerges with many, many pages of typed nothingness she proclaims, "THIS IS SOOOO COOOL!" And pronounces that any and all future letters, school work, etc. will be typed. I find this mildly amusing since we have 4 computers in our home, 2 on each floor, and in reality we mostly have 5 if you count hubby's work laptop. All of said PC's are wirelessly connected to our printer. This child has had countless opportunities to type her work over the years. This child is very well versed on using the PC and Microsoft Word, and yet an ancient typewriter is still "SOOOOO COOOOOL". This makes me want to vomit.

I explained to my child that typewriters are really backwards, considering all the technology that we have with word processors and the like. I told her all the reasons, but more importantly the lack of being able to correct your mistakes. She does not buy it, clearly I am stupid and she will be so careful that no mistakes will be made. Ha!

An hour later she runs into my room. "I was typing a story and I had NO mistakes and I was doing so good and then I left out a WHOLE paragraph! Can you fix it, Mom?" Oh, sweet justice, how stupid am I now?

I believe that my child has a new appreciation for the PC - at least I hope she does. It does strike me as funny, though, that she could have very well gone her entire lifetime not truly understanding how far we have come. She did not even know what a typewriter was before this incident.

In other news, I did some serious cooking yesterday. Face it, I'm southern and grief or sadness means I must feed someone. I spent yesterday morning cooking for my Grandmother so that while they are trying to digest the news of cancer they will have one less worry. I made 8 meals in one run.....

Pot Roast with mashed potatoes & gravy
Grilled Chicken with green beans
Taco Kit
Quesadilla Kit
2 Chicken Casseroles
Supreme Pizza
Baked Ravioli
Banana Pudding
Also - cornbread and biscuits to go with everything

So, if anyone is tired of cooking, just find a true southern woman and let her know you are suffering. Hot cornbread will surely be on your doorstep soon. I'm southern and I feed people.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Babe

I can't write what I feel today. I just don't have the words and I'm just not a writer. I wish I could spill it all out and that it would all makes sense, but I type and erase and realize that I just don't have it in me. Nothing comes out how it feels and words just can't describe it.

I call him "Babe" and he calls me "Babe". I don't know why, it just works. My grandfather has always been one of my friends. Today, my friend has a rare cancer and I have no words for it. The only word I have is hope, I hope that there is more time. He has had a long and plentiful life, but I'm just not finished with him yet.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Skeptic

Have you ever had a friend that you really wanted to tell her something, but just knew that you couldn't?

I do.

I have a long time, great friend and I love her dearly. I can not stand her man and I can not tell her. This is killing me. They have been together for a few years and try as I might, I can't stand the guy. This doesn't keep us apart, but it makes it hard to want to do all the fun things like go out, go away or just stay in. But I can not tell her. See, there is nothing about this guy that makes me believe that he is mistreating her or cheating on her, etc. It is not that I get an immoral vibe, but that I just really think he is completely full of shit. I can not remember having one, not even one, conversation with this person where I felt like he was being honest and genuine. Not EVER.

When I talk to my friend we always talk about our guys and what they are up to, etc. and the things that she tells me that are going on in their lives are so unbelievably off the wall, I can't believe that she buys his crap. He is a first rate egomaniac and thinks that he is God's gift to the world - and he loves to talk about how much everyone just loves him and how he is the absolute best at, well, EVERYTHING. It is just really too much. The stories he tells are so incredibly outlandish that I can't see how anyone buys it. Perhaps my friend wants to focus on the positive and give him the benefit of the doubt, but I am amazed that she is blind to the steaming manure. If I were to believe even 1/4 of his stories, this man has been offered countless jobs with salaries higher than anyone I know, yet there is always a reason that the job is just not for him.

I suppose I am just a skeptic. I get it honest, though. My grandmother on the not so inbred side of my family doesn't trust anyone.ever.noway. She honestly thinks that everyone on earth is out to rip her off. This is a great trait to have since so many elderly people are preyed on, but she is downright nasty to folks. She doesn't trust the bank and I'd venture to say that if her house burned down so would all her money. She handed this skepticism down to my father and he has always told us to "do the research" on everything. He is pretty leary to most salespeople and 'new' fangled ideas. I get my loathing of salespeople from him. While I have finally met some salespeople on the up, I still have my doubts about a lot of them. I do think I read people pretty well, and if I get a weird vibe from someone at first meeting it is really hard for me to ever get past it.

So, back to my point, I got a weird vibe the first time I met my friend's man. I've questioned her on a lot of things, but never have come right out to say I just don't like him. They are married and it won't change anything if I do say it, other than to harm our friendship. So I suppose I should just deal with it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Inbred

I've known my whole life that my grandparents were cousins.


Yes, I said it outloud(?), my grandparents were related to one another before getting married. (insert GASP). Now everyone can proceed to determine that YES I live Georgia, the south, the capitol of backwards southerness and inbreeding. If you are a stero-typing butthead, yes, that is true. Fortunately for me, I never truly knew the entire background of this related-ness until now. NOW, I know that I am actually more inbred that I ever thought. My grandparents are 3rd cousins! Here's a little snippet of my family tree (names have been changed to protect the not so innocent).

Yes, my family tree branches out and then reconnects. Clearly this is not normal. Clearly this is a bit weird. Clearly this is disturbing. Joseph and Samantha are brother and sister, farther down the line Joseph's grandaughter WENDY marries Samantha's grandson GEORGE. Well, folks, Wendy & George are MY grandparents.

The funniest part is that I believe that my ancestors were so completely whack that the whole process of crossing the branches, so to speak, may have actually straightened some things out. In the history of my grandparents, their siblings, their children and children's children and so on.....well, I think we are by far the most blessed. There is a terrible history of bi-polar and thyroid disease going down the line, horrible arthritis that attacks very young, fertility issues, heart disease, severe asthma and cancer. Thankfully my immediate family has been able to dodge a lot of bullets healthwise, KNOCK ON WOOD. Personality issues, I think my family is pretty lucky as well - I've seen some real nut jobs at extended family reunions.

Besides this inbreeding, I think it is really cool that I am able to trace my family back to 1766. This is all thanks to my great uncle who did all of the research before dementia took him away from us, mentally. If I had just ONE more generation back I would be able to see if I was a Daughter of the American Revolution. I think it would be really cool to know what heroic things my great, great, great, great, great grandfather did to help shape our history. SOMEDAY, when I have some time, I hope to dive a little deeper. For now, just please don't judge me and pray that my grandchildren don't have arms growing out of their ears........

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Headache

Not tonite, honey, I have a headache......

This has been more often than not lately. I get headaches fairly regularly. I can usually tell when I'm going to get one, but as much as I do to try to ward it off, it always comes. Recently, I've been getting more frequent headaches at times when I would not normally get one. These headaches are not as intense as the migraines, but annoying none the less. I really should probably get checked out.........

I sent my husband to bed in a huff because I had a headache and he was getting no love from me. I THOUGHT the testosterone was running smoothly since he spent a few hours blowing up people on the Playstation. Apparently I was wrong.

The next morning I wake up and reach to push my hair behind my ears. I feel something crusty in my hair, but I dismiss it to the fact that I have kids and somebody probably put their grimy hands in my hair while giving goodnight kisses. No problem, I'm taking a shower anyway. In the mirror I notice my face has white crust from the corner of my mouth to my ear and then again up on my forehead. Did I drool myself into a puddle? No, I don't really do that. Now I'm just MAD.

I walked into the bedroom, "so what, now I'm a TOOL to use while I'm sleeping? You are a freak show! Who does this to their sleeping wife!? Are you KIDDING ME???", I'm screaming to a very confused looking husband. I will tolerate a lot of weird stuff, but don't mess with me while I am asleep. Have the courtesty to wake me up and then use me for your own satisfaction..... My blood was boiling, "and YOU are washing the sheets you pervert!".

My husband gave me a moment to collect myself, I went and washed my face. I also realized that some of the crust on my face was greenish.....WTF? I know this is not like "snot green" and I start to recall the events of the night. Husband, blasting away on Playstation and me with a headache. My typical headache routine is to take multitudes of Excedrin and put ice on my head. My pervert husband had purchased me a gel eyemask to keep in the freezer for such headaches - they usually concentrate around my eye area. I used that eyemask for this particular headache. That eyemask that is filled with GREEN gel. That eyemask that is supposed to be refridgerated, not FROZEN. That eyemask that is LEAKING GREEN GEL which drys into a nice crust. Ok, so he's not a using me for a tool while I'm asleep, I guess I will stop calling him a pervert - for today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Davelanta 2

He came, He saw, He conquered....the city, that is!

We had a great Saturday with Dave2 and the opportunity to meet some great new bloggers! The festivities began with lunch at SAVAGE Pizza. YUMMY, and they have the coolest bathrooms ever! Completely wallpapered in comics - awesome!













We also went to the High Museum of Art where we saw many interesting paintings and works of art. This one was my favorite. A kitty (well, lion) crafted from wood, sawdust, epoxy, marbles and hemp. The consensus was that we should light and smoke him. :)



















Then it was over the Black History Celebration to watch some traditional dancing and some wickedly awesome break(?) dancing.












Next is was time to introduce Dave2 to the NAKED DOG, but he's a vegetarian and it was almost dinnertime....so we all settled for some Frosted Orange goodness at The Varsity. It was sublime happiness, until Dave's iPhone camera decided to stop working and he went completely postal. He purged his rage by screaming "What'll Ya Have?" repeatedly while shooting off his Uzi. He's going to have quite a reputation in Atlanta between this episode and the World of Coke fiasco.

At the Hard Rock Cafe we had a priority seating at 5:40, luckily the priority seating meant waiting for 45 minutes for a table which gave everyone a chance to arrive. Atlanta has lovely traffic issues!! Anyhoo, there was much fun and food with Dave2, Coalminer's Grandaughter, Mentally Rehearsed and Geeky Tai Tai (& Way Hot Husband). The funniest thing was that not only did we realize that I lived in the same dorm at the same time as Coalminer's Grandaughter, she also had a few classes with my husband in college. To go even further, she lived adjacent to the property that we now live on for 5 years and we never knew it. There's something to be said for knowing your neighbors! Here we have "known" each other for probably 17 years and it took Dave2 to get us to talk to one another!! Crazy!!

I did take some great advice from the Reverend Howard Finster. His art is on permanent display at the High and it is very interesting indeed. While I don't agree with some of his ideas there are many wonderful messages to be found by sorting through his works. The ending says it ALL! This is a small section of a large work depicting the Reverend riding a mule.

You meet the good.....










Thursday, July 17, 2008

Engaged!

First off - did you realize there was a category in the Emmy's for a REALITY SHOW HOST??!! That is just LAME! Really, an Emmy? Seriously, what have we come to......?

While on our Lake Michigan shoreline tour (yes, one day I will stop talking about Chicago and how I love thee....) we got an amazing view of the city. It is truly incredible. We also puttered out to check out the old lighthouse in the harbor. Just as we pulled up to the lighthouse a guy next to us falls to his knee and proposed to his girlfriend. Awwww, it was so cute and she said YES!! and the whole boat cheered. It was sweet.

My engagement was a little bit low key. I was working at a mega-mart during my college summer break and Kevin came to pick me up after work. There was this "feelings" chart at the store and as we walked past it he stopped. "Lovestruck" was his choice, which I thought was so sweet - I had no idea what I was in for that evening!! We then went to our favorite restaurant, parked and he asked me to get him a Kleenex out of his glove compartment. When I opened the glove box I immediately saw a ringbox and panicked. I pulled out a tissue and shut the glove box!! Ha ha ha!!! I was just in total shock that this was happening right here, right now. Kevin did not find this funny. He asked for another Kleenex and, after I had a moment to compose myself, I was all casual like "oh, what's this?". And I opened it and he asked me - right there in his car. Of course, I said YES and the rest is history. Kevin constantly laments that he didn't choose a location more romantic than his car, but I have no regrets or complaints. I'm a no frills kind of girl and I was ecstatic that he actually wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. All that stalking had finally paid off!!

The best part was that earlier in the day Kevin was at my parents' house, along with me. He asked my dad to help him check out something in his car for repair. I told him it was useless and could not be fixed, "Dad, really, it isn't even worth a look....", but Kevin INSISTED and I got really irritated. This was all his way to get my dad alone and to 'ask' him about the engagement. Funnier than that, my dad said, "well, she might not say yes...." ROTFL...... Way to go, Dad!! Shoot that boy right out of the lovestruck mood! I have no idea what my dad was thinking, why he said that, or why he actually thought that, but it's a good thing it did not stop Kevin. Otherwise, I might be a homeless lady with a pet rat.

Please share your story, or if you aren't married/committed do you already have it planned out? Are there guys who actually spend a few years thinking about it, or have engagement fantasies the way we girls spend most of our lives picturing our wedding?