Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Snowmen!












That Bakerella has got nothin' on me....nothin', I tell ya! I made these cutie cake snowmen for my GS troop. They have no mouths - it would be baaaaaad for little girls to hear these pricks repeating the string of cussing that was coming out of my mouth while working on this project. Bakerella makes it look so easy. They weren't really too difficult, but mine are lumpy, bumpy and my lack of patience made them....meh. Alas, they are for little girls, and they will think they are perfect!!
That treehouse thing - yeah, it's toooooo cold to proceed. It is a full tree deck with rails and a slide, just no "house" yet. We did decorate it for Christmas - lights and giant candy canes. I should take a picture!! It's playable, so that's what matters right now.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Progress!

The treehouse is underway. It's not as I had envisioned, but nevertheless things are moving along.

I've tried to design the thing twelve ways from Sunday by using tree bolts and having the design be completely within the tree. I think that would be SO cool. BUT. I want a larger platform and I'm working around 4 trees, so it's been challenging. Plus, I'm not a builder so there's that. I was worried about my house not having enough support to handle my kids plus their friends, so plans ended up changing. I'm a little irked, but in the end my kids won't care - it's still a treehouse to them. For me, it was a personal challenge that I didn't win. Oh well.

I consulted my dad on the supports, etc. and he suggested that I build the treehouse with 4 stilts - basically a deck surrounding the trees. It's the exact opposite of my vision, but I'm moving forward. Got the stilts set today and my dad came and helped get it squared - a difficult thing to do when you can't use your diagonal (the tree is in the way!).

An interesting thing about my tree is that it has a barbed wire fence that runs through it. There was a fence running near the tree WAY before I was born and the tree grew over one of the wires and eventually absorbed it. The fence has been gone for more than 30 years, but there's still a spot hung in the tree. I'll be trimming it soon, but I don't have the proper tool yet. This tree has obviously been through some stuff, so maybe it's a good thing I'm not drilling into it.


My building inspector came by today, just to make sure everything was going well. And to take a pee on a pile of fresh dirt. Can you believe how big my kitten is!!?? She walked along every piece of wood today, walked the entire square like it was her own personal balance beam.





It looks like lots of boards, but all the angled boards are just there to keep the posts leveled while they set - I made concrete today - yeah baby! I'm also all splintered up.





Tomorrow the floor frame is going up! That will be it for a while since next week is holiday week and we have a lot of plans.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Being Thankful

Yesterday I took my girls & our troop downtown to deliver warm items to the homeless. We made 100 lunches and tied over 200 fleece blankets to give away - we hit the areas where folks are set up fairly permanently and visited those under bridges. It was quite an experience for the kids....ended up taking 12 girls along. The attitudes washed away and the girls spent some quality time talking to the people who we served. I've got tons of great photos, but can't share them because of the girls in them. They all gained a new respect for the comfort they live in. A great way to enter into the Thanksgiving season!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Kindness gone wrong

My dad has always been a very giving person. Throughout my entire childhood and teen years I experienced his many random acts of kindness and selflessness as he helped both people we knew and also strangers. Many weekends of mine were spent begrudgingly raking an old person's yard and there were countless people who lived with us during stints of distress in their personal lives. This often cramped my life, but he never let me "opt out"....this was what we were doing and I had the opportunity to make the most of it, or to make myself miserable. I often chose the latter...I'd rather be listening to Pat Benetar and dreaming about when John Travolta would finally answer my fan mail. Sadly, he never did.

Even though I didn't always enjoy what we were doing to help someone else, the lesson was not lost on me. I think my dad probably wanted to choke me on several occasions because of my attitude and I'm certain he thought I was a total lost cause, but the seeds were planted. I have a large desire to volunteer and I'm typically thinking of others and how I might help them. I constantly drag my children along on my adventures and chid them when they are less than happy about giving up (insert tween/teeny bopping activity here).

Over the years, I've seen my dad get burned on occasion by an ungrateful recipient. This is to be expected as some folks are looking for an opportunity, not a helping hand. It was something that has turned me into a bit of a skeptic and I've spent a lot of time trying to learn how to read people. I believe I have a knack for discernment after all these years of watching and learning. Yet, it didn't prepare me for my first real encounter with what I feel like is someone trying to take advantage of my family's kindness to them.

Jason is a college senior, I met him when a friend of mine sent him over to our house to move a play structure. We had a big structure and were giving it to her, it required a professional dismantle and a big trailer to haul it, since the structure was not costing money she was paying for the moving fee. She found a neighbor who is very handy and also has a very handy son, in college. What college kid doesn't need money?? Enter...Jason.

Jason spent a day at our house dismantling the mammoth play set and that kid worked his tail off. He was polite, resourceful and seemed to be really handy. I asked my friend how much he was charging her for the work he was doing and it was insanely low. It was a HOT day and I knew that he had overcome many obstacles in getting the set taken apart. I also knew what a big task was ahead of him in trying to re-build the set in her yard. The price was not enough, in my opinion. When he finished at my house I gave him $200 for taking such care with our property and working so hard. My friend couldn't afford to give him more, so I was basically giving him a tip on her behalf.

We used Jason a year later to do some yard work for us, where he once again worked his tail off. We got a great result and I felt that his price was more than reasonable. Since he brought in 2 day laborers to help him I decided to give him another tip. I know those guys get paid in cash and I felt the price wouldn't justify the work with the additional helpers. Jason was VERY happy with the amount of money in the envelope. I was VERY happy with a job well done.

During the yard work, Jason noticed that we had an old truck parked in our shed. He inquired about it and I told him we were probably going to sell it soon - we hadn't had a need for it over 6 months. He became very interested in the truck as he was driving a truck owned by his parents. The value of the truck was $2,400, but the A/C needed a recharge and it had a radiator leak. I offered him to drive the truck for a couple weeks, see if he liked it and then we could talk about it. He jumped on the chance, took the truck that day and said there was no need for a test drive, he wanted it. We decided that we could come up with a project where we buy the supplies and he would provide labor in exchange for the vehicle. We agreed to a price of $1,500 for man hours. Quite a bargain considering the value of the truck. I liked Jason, I respected his work ethic and I remember being broke in college. I wanted to help this kid out.

Today, I feel like I am being taken advantage of. We gave the truck away (kept the title) in June. Jason went to summer school and it was SOOOOO hot that I told him we would wait for cooler weather to start anything. He was thankful, and kept on driving the truck. In September I approached him about a project that we wanted to begin - I inquired about a price for grading with a backhoe (which his family owns) and possibly some plumbing on a water feature we are adding to the yard. I asked him to give us a price on those two items and we could weigh it against the price of the vehicle. Unfortunately, Jason sees this as an opportunity to milk me for cash. We can't reach an agreement on him coming to work without it costing me close to $4,000 in cash. This is down from the $8,000 price that he started with. We approached him with the project that we plan to DIY OURSELVES, we only wanted him to grade and possibly run plumbing. I didn't expect him to do it all for free, but I expected that I could get a price on each part and make decisions based on the $1,500 labor owed. I also offered to pay him an hourly cash rate while he was here - it would be very difficult for him to just work for free. Granted, his lack of cash isn't my problem and he probably should not have taken the vehicle knowing that he couldn't offer labor hours in barter without putting him in a flat broke situation. I've been more than willing to accommodate his schedule and his need for "walking money".

Jason wants a lump sum of cash, he needs it and he is trying to get it from me. There is a huge problem in trying to get him to understand that I have already fronted him $1,500 in the form of a vehicle, I would now like some work out of him. The work should not COST me money, even though I am willing to give him *some* cash. I finally broke it down very specifically and asked him to come & just trim some trees this weekend - what is the price per tree and let's split it between car equity and hourly rate. He still doesn't get it. His offer is this.....tree trimming, eventually doing the grading and the plumbing is $4,000 cash + plus the car title. He wants $750 in cash up front this weekend, then two more installments over two weeks of $1625 cash. And the car title. *blink* I think the kid is smoking crack. We don't even KNOW when we will need the grading and plumbing and he wants to be paid now. I didn't know college kids required retainer fees.

I repeat - what is the price for JUST TREE TRIMMING this weekend and we will address grading and plumbing IF we ever get to that part of the project. He still doesn't get it, his price for this weekend is $750 upfront cash, for yard work. When he owes me $1,500 in labor. The kid wants $125/hr, plus barter credit against the vehicle. I guess he has high expectations for his life after college, but the reality is that most of the population of America makes much less than $125/hr. and get a free car out of it.

This kid must need money desperately. I really do feel for him, but I have extended this more than most would even entertain. I feel at fault for placing trust in him, I should have given more time to get to know him better I suppose. I now face a very hard decision of an ultimatum. I don't want to go there, but it seems like it is the only way he is going to see that he actually owes ME and not that I owe him. I know that this will be the end of the relationship as well and that I could be putting him in a dire situation with no vehicle. Again, not my problem, but I'm not a robot and I don't want to do that to anyone. I also don't want to get screwed. He won't communicate with me by email, he prefers phone calls. At this time I will only respond to him via email because I feel it is the only way for him to see IN PRINT what is really happening. It is also giving me a paper trail if I happen to have to repo the vehicle, at least I'll have my side of the story. What a frackin' shitstorm.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My head is in the trees

All I can think about lately is the treehouse - I'm ready to get started, but I have yet to get my first big necessity.....attachment bolts. I didn't find what I wanted at the local big box home improvement stores so I'll be ordering online and spending more than I had planned to. Oh well, what in life doesn't cost more than you wish it did?? I'll feel better about getting the bigger, better attachments - especially since I'm a novice builder. I'll post a picture of them once I get them in hand, I think they are going to be huge.

I've been working on design ideas and I keep changing my mind, something that I am definitely going to add is a widow's peak. It will be a small lookout tower that will rest high in the trees above the actual tree house. This project keeps growing in my head....

In other news, I'm dealing with a lot of crap in general - first, my grandfather. He's been someone I've always looked up to, but lately it seems that he is just pissing me off. I don't agree with his ideals, his morals or his view in general. It's really hard to start seeing someone without the filter after so many years. I want him to be my hero, but honestly, he is a racist and a chauvenisitic pig. That's hard to say about him, but I'm just being real. He is old and he is easing his way into dementia so I'm just riding along as usual and playing nice. I wouldn't want to ruin our relationship before he passes (at least, ruin it for him - it's already gone for me). I hate that my memories of him are now shrouded by what I've realized is his true personality. I can think back and see it all along, but as a child I just wanted him to be a hero and I looked past so many things. He was so completely rude to me a few days ago that I left his house in disbelief. He is just selfish. Period. Selfishness is something that I detest.

My grandmother on the other side of the family is slowly going down hill - she now has home healthcare and really just stays in bed most of the time. She has lost her desire to be on earth, but she trys to keep it positive on the outside. I'm inheriting her dog. I'm not a dog person, we have 3 cats. I've been spending a lot of time with her dog so we can all get used to each other - judging by the amount of dog bling I've purchased I could be getting converted. The kids are excited to get him - he is a black lab, very big. He has been an indoor dog his whole life, but that is not an option at my house. I'm kinda worried about the cold weather and how we will handle that. I'm hoping for the sake of the dog that grandma doesn't give in before the spring. The dog can stay in her house as long as she is there.

Funniest thing about the dog - I've always seen the cartoons where dogs bury their bones, etc. I thought is was just a cartoon thing. NOT. I gave Bo a rawhide and then he disappeared into the woods - near the treehouse spot - once I eyed him I saw him digging a hole. He dropped the rawhide into the hole and proceeded to cover it up by nudging dirt and pinestraw with his nose! It was the cutest thing ever! I'm anxious to see if he will actually remember where it is in a few days!!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Treehouse!

Boy, *the* Twitter sure has affected my desire to blog! No excuses, but it has definately changed things. I've never been a frequent blogger by any stretch, but it just seems like I can keep up with everyone on Twitter. Unless there is something lengthy to report 140 characters seem to work just fine for me! Of course, there isn't a lot to report about in my life - it's regular old day to day around here, EXCEPT...when I get a hairbrained project in mind.

I tend to have a LOT of ideas for projects. A LOT. I'm constantly brainstorming about what I "could" do with my house, my kids, my pets, etc... I have some great ideas and many that are questionable. I usually think BIG and I truly believe that I can do ANYTHING, so that makes other people look at me sideways when I suggest something huge. Let's add another garage! Let's extend the kids' rooms! Let's build a tennis court!! And it goes on and on. A recent idea - I want to install about a mile of fencing around our property (and I think I can do it). Now, I DO NOT want to dig holes, I do draw my lines somewhere. Those can be hired out, BUT I can set posts, mix concrete and nail up the slats. Why not? It's not too terribly "out there", is it? I think the hardest part would be the leveling. It would take a long, long time to complete - yes. But I could do it. We are planning to get two horses next summer and I could finish the project by then, I really think I could.

Do you see why Hunk thinks I've lost it? Honestly, I'm saving him money if I try to do it. I think he hates my ideas most because he would feel the need to help me if I was doing it while he was home. He is not an outdoorsy type, he is not a project type, unless it involves architecting (is that a word?) a server room, or a data center, or a virtual environment...things that happen behind a desk, in other words. I DO NOT have a problem with that, I knew him before I decided to keep him. I'm not trying to change him, but I don't see why MY outdoorsy, crafty, do it yourself inner self must be stifled because he is not interested. I simply do not want to hire out everything, I find it more fun to DIY.....and THEN hire out to fix what you screw up! :)

So my newest obsession is a TREE HOUSE! Last year we gave away our huge outdoor playhouse/swingset to a single mom with younger kids. It was a GREAT set, but in all honesty my kids didn't use it. Of course, now they miss having an outdoor hangout so I think a treehouse would be a really cool thing. I also think that I can build a treehouse. I really do. There will be heavy lifting, but once the main deck is on I can get the parts placed up there and I can do the rest. I have big visions of Robinson Crusoe types of structures, but I am going to try to keep it simple at first with the options of adding on features later.

I've read up a lot on the ins and outs, the safety, etc. and I still think I can do it. Here are some pics of my scouting out for spots. We have a lot of land, but I want to stick to the front so I can see it from my front porch. Plus, it's mostly pine trees in the other area - not good for treehouses.


I had a treehouse growing up and I can't believe we have gone this long without one. I'm so excited to build one, too. I *hope* it turns out as fun as I imagine it will be!

If you have built a treehouse for your kids I'd love your opinions on my spot choice. I'd also love any tips anyone wants to pass my way. I've been first and foremost doing my research on how to minimize the stress and damage to the trees. I plan to put one bolt in two or three trees and use a sliding frame. The Garnier Limbs are expensive as all get out (special bolts) so I think I'll be going with 1"x12" lags if Home Depot has them - and then I'm a bit confused as to how to attach knee joints. I'm going to keep reading though.



Did you have a treehouse growing up? What was the BEST thing about it?? Give me ideas!!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stupid policies

 So it's no secret that I hate school.  It's not a public vs. private issue it's just school in general.  I love that my kids have a place to go to interact and learn with friends, but I LOATHE all the " policies".  My kids go to public school so it's very possible that private may more laid back, but I don't have a comparison.

At any rate, one (though there are many) thing that bothers me to no end is the Excused/Unexcused absence policy.  If my child misses school for any reason I must send in a parent OR doctor note to have the absence excused.  Notice the 'OR'.  Unless my child misses more than two consecutive days the school will take *my* word on the fact that my child was ill.  WIN.

Here's where I get in trouble - the early checkout.  With orthodontists, doctors, dentists it is impossible to schedule everything after school hours, especially when your child gets home at 4:45pm.  Most offices close at 5pm so you schedule during school.  Having orthodontic appointments nearly monthly means a lot of checkouts, then add all the other necessities and it adds up.  The policy is that 3 checkouts = 1 absence.  In order to not have to attend "you are a sucky parent class" all of these checkouts must be EXCUSED.  Leaving early for vacation is unexcused, for the dentist is excused.  Easy enough.  5 unexcused absences and you suck as a parent.  

So I walk into the building to present my photo ID and to retrieve my child prior to the end of the school day.  I sign her out and provide a *written* reason on her attendance card that she is attending a medical appointment.  I am then spoken to very harshly by the secretary that "IF she is in fact going to the doctor she will need to bring in a note tomorrow".  It is as if she thinks we are just checking out early to go throw back a few beers.  Ummm, WHY would I give up any of my precious moments of freedom unless they were absolutely necessary you crazy bat!?!?  So I question the fact that I am standing here with photo ID and I just WROTE on her card that she is going to an appt. and so why is it that yet ANOTHER note is needed??  It's policy.

So policy dictates that I'm probably looking you in the eye and lying through my teeth about why I'm checking my child out early.  And that what I wrote on the card is probably not true, but by golly if I send in a Post It note within the next five days stating the exact same information then we are all good and peachy with our excused absence.  WTH?

This is the tale of how I got a "you suck at parenting letter" because I simply REFUSE to re-do something that I already did for you IN PERSON!!  Bite me.  

   

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pancakes and Astronauts

We had an amazing vacation....3 weeks ago!! I can't believe it has taken me this long to update from our week in Florida, but here we go!

We ended up leaving at midnight on a Friday so that we could drive while the kids slept, but more importantly so that we could arrive in time for PANCAKES at the Old Sugarmill Restaurant in DeLeon Springs. We read about this place in the Florida magazine and it sounded like a fun family place and we were not disappointed. Well, maybe a little bit because they don't have A/C, but I can also be high maintenance that way. The Old Sugarmill is an old cabin looking restaurant inside the Ponce DeLeon State Park, we paid our parking fee and proceeded to find the restaurant. It was right next to a giant cement pond (channelling the Beverly Hillbillies....) which was actually a pool created by the spring. It was really cool and the kids swam in it later - they said it was really cold. According to the literature it maintains 68 degrees. There were tons of people in the pool and even some Scuba divers - this was because the pool ranges up to 30 feet deep!! There is a drop off (according to my daughter with a mask) that is like an abyss - the literature calls it a chimney and it leads to the spring inside a deeper down cavern. COOOOOOOL!

At any rate, I was there for the pancakes. The restaurant has tables that are similar to mini hibachis - each table has it's own built in griddle for making your own pancakes. It's $4.50 per person for ENDLESS pancake batter!! That's right....FOUR DOLLARS AND FIFTY CENTS. For reals. They have regular batter and a whole grain batter. Both were phenomenal. You can purchase things to mix in to your pancakes like bananas, chocolate chips, etc. My daughter also ordered a scrambled egg and they brought her an uncracked egg and a bowl and told her to get to work!! She made her own scrambled egg right on our table - it was definately a very unique experience and we are very glad we made the trip! I was thinking our bill would be incredibly cheap, but once we got Diet Coke (comes in a can, no refills), milk, sides of bacon, an egg and some toppings our breakfast was nearly $50. TOTALLY worth it. It was so much fun. Even though it was sweltering with no A/C and about 20 pancake griddles heating the place up. We got there at opening time and on our way out the wait for a table was close to one hour, a few minutes later it was 1.5 hours. If you go, GO EARLY. But the bonus is that if you are waiting the kids can swim in the spring pool because it is literally at the steps of the restaurant.


After breakfast we finished our drive into New Smyrna Beach and piddled around on the beach watching surfing lessons until our beach house was ready for occupancy. We rented a fabulous condo with a beachfront pool. Our living room window overlooked the pool and the ocean. It was great!

The next day was spent at Kennedy Space Center - we had planned this vacation around a Shuttle Launch (which was cancelled AFTER we had already paid for the house), but we had fun doing the extended tour of the facility and getting the closest as any tour goes to the launch pad. Hunk was totally geeking out all day long. We met an astronaut who did not look at all like Kevin Bacon :( and we got Icee drinks in giant space shuttle shaped bottles. What could be better?

We spent the following three days laying around on the beach and then at the end of the week we went to Islands of Adventure to visit The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!! So.Much.Fun!! In fact, it will be another post because it deserves all the attention! Plus, this one is getting long winded....

Can't believe I've been away so long that I almost forgot my blog password. Eeeeeeek! How've you all been?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Packing Heaven

I've mentioned before that I really do enjoy packing....or even more - planning. It's not the thrill of putting things in a suitcase that I love, but the whole idea of gathering, shopping and planning for all the fun stuff I can organize with. Then I really do love putting it all together neatly and "just so".

My kids are going away to camp in a week and the prep and lead up time to this has been absolutely fun for me. My kids, quite frankly, could probably not care any less. If I sent them to camp with a trashbag full of t-shirts and shorts they would both probably be just fine. In fact, last year my oldest daughter refused some of my 'bunk set up techniques' because one of the other girls called her a "fancy camper". Sadly, this made me feel very accomplished.

At any rate, I only have a week left to find all the perfect little things to get these kids off to camp. I spent this morning at one of my favorite place - The Container Store - and I spent way to much money on organizational tools for packing. I bought my oldest daughter things that I know she probably will not want to use, but things that I just could not resist. Luckily my younger daughter is all about the "set up" and she thrives on taking an idea to the limit. There's still hope for me as long as no one teases my younger child about all her accessories. If she gets the minimalist attitude I'm going to have to enter a program or intervention.

If you'll excuse me I've got a trunk to organize......

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's all related

We've got family coming to visit for a week tomorrow, so don't mind me as I try to get my ass in gear and clean up this place. Did I mention they are staying for an entire WEEK? Did I mention that I don't necessarily have ANYTHING to talk about with 75% of the crowd? That I'm not really looking forward to this?

I'm struggling with the whole idea that family is the most important. I understand it for me, Hunk and our kids, but beyond that I don't understand why blood relation is a requirement to bend over backwards and spend time with someone whom you would not ordinarily ever hang out with. I get it for my parents, really - while we don't have a lot in common I can appreciate all that they have done for me over my lifetime. I can understand how they probably feel about me because I can translate that from how I feel about my kids. And while we don't have the same interests they are both pretty cool. I just don't get why we usually feel obligated to spend so much time with cousins, siblings, etc. with whom we really don't have anything in common with. If we weren't related I would NEVER go on vacation with them, and I certainly wouldn't let them invade my house.

Don't think I'm a jerk - I love my family, many of them.....but what about all the asshats in there? Why do they get a pass just because we played together when we were younger? I just don't place the value of blood relation as the foundation for "family" and why I have to cater to them. I guess I'm just too nice to say no. I mean, 'I' don't want to be THE asshat in the family...

Who has a vacuum and wants to come over?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The lost art of the "note".....



I was reorganizing a shelf and I came across a super sized manilla envelope with my name penciled across the front. I had forgotten that I put this envelope aside well over a year ago, but the memories came rushing back as soon as I saw it. I remember more about my teenage life because of this envelope. Things that I had long ago let fade away are now funny, sad and pathetic memories, many of them are moments that I would never have gotten back....no thanks to my addiction to Diet Coke. And, of course, the fact that I am approaching 40.




This envelope came from the mother of my best friend since 10th grade. Sadly, my friend died in a horrible car accident 13 years ago. I've been in touch with her mom over the years, though not very often, but we met a little over a year ago and she presented me with this envelope of "notes" that I had written to my friend. She had saved every scrap of paper I had ever given her, movie tickets, concert stubs, receipts...everything. She was the kind of friend that I find myself longing to find these days. She was completely invested in our friendship, she was the kind of friend that I could call anytime and not worry one ounce about the fact that I might be bothersome to her busy life.




There are a lot of memories that I have of days, nights, weekends and parties with my friend, but there was SO much that I couldn't possibly remember it all. There was also a lot of alcohol consumption which managed to fade away remembrances of places & events. But this envelope is chock full of notes and letters where I spilled my heart out to my kindred spirit. Thoughts of boredom, struggles, plans, fantasies....and, best of all, love. Love for my friends and love for all those stupid, stupid boys that I thought loved me back. The letters date from 10th grade all the way through my college years....and even the first introduction to my HUNK. Talk about a blast from the past. I'd long forgotten that I was struggling to decide between two guys when I met him -he almost didn't make the cut!!




The notes are all different and each carry their own distinctive clue to the mood of the day. Some are funny, some are serious, some are wildly stupid. Some are done with a dot matrix printer and clip art that makes me laugh. They are like small time capsules of my life. And I realized that my girls won't have anything like this. It's kind of strange to think that the hopes and dreams that they are sharing with their friends are lost in Facebook chat or a deleted text log. Not to mention that a typed message certainly doesn't hold the context, mood or feeling behind a message. There are no doodles, no puffy hearts and no Ziggy stickers.




I remember putting so much thought into most of my notes - I was forever drawing things around the borders, looking for perfect stickers and folding them just right for discreet passing in the classroom. I also remember getting in trouble for reading notes when I should've been working, hurting feelings by writing something down that got into the wrong hands and being embarrassed when my mom found a note from a boy talking about sex. The notes were good, but they could also be a tangible reference of ignorance and stupidity.




I didn't keep notes from friends, there were a few that got put inside a book along the way, but most were long since thrown away. I did keep all the letters and notes that I got from Hunk while we were in college. The very first letters were before we started dating, when I was trying to get his attention. It didn't seem to be working out too well, and he was in the desert for Operation Desert Storm/Strike war. I was still at school and I was casually dating other guys. I tried my best to get him to notice me before he was activated, but it just didn't pan out. I didn't give up and I sent him letters and care packages to the desert throughout his tour. Luckily, he started to catch on through my letter 'flirting'. He started writing back to me and our love developed through our letters. When he returned we were immediately 'together'. I have all those letters, stacked in order, and tied with ribbons stashed away with the many love notes that followed once we were officially dating. I don't really do anything with them, but on an off chance that I'm in our storage area I might pick one up and re-read it, bringing a wave of emotion and nostalgia....those letters can re-ignite the spark in a flash. Hunk can probably pinpoint the days I've come across an old love note by the way I ravage him when he walks through the door. It's definately a wonderful archive to have after 19 years together.




I think it's a sad thing that the 'note' is falling by the wayside while our kids send texts and hold conversations in chat. I suppose Facebook will be their memory lane, but I wonder how far back it saves -does your wall ever wipe clean? Is there an archive? I'm all about the electronic world, but this envelope just made me stop and think today. It also made me think about the fact that someday I'll be approaching 80 and since I don't write notes to Hunk any longer I guess I'll get nostalgic looking back at my blog while I float around on my hover chair.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Keeping it to myself

Putting words out on a blog can be a lot of different things to people. I have kept my blog somewhat anonymous because I like to use it at times to rant about people who annoy me, or situations that clearly I would handle in a much better way. I use my blog for both good and bad, but it's been pretty easy to just put anything out there since many of my readers are strangers. Some of my readers have turned into friends and aquaintances, but the majority are not people who would be affected personally by my everyday complaint.

Today, I wish my blog was totally anonymous - I want so bad to spill my guts and yet I know that the person who hath offended reads here. I feel so restrained because I want to share the situation, but I know that if I do it opens up a whole can of worms for me, not to mention that it could be hurtful for the other party to put it all out in the public. It's a fine line of deciding what to put out there and what to keep. Having a sounding board of readers, but not being able to use them feels paralyzing.

So, I'll just leave you with this......that whole thing, with them, and the others, it's very frustrating and I hate it. And I wish you could step back from yourself...and just realize.

Y'all have a good weekend - it's going to rain here, with big thunderstorms. Quite appropriate..

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Random nothingness

Nothing to see here - just waiting out the last two weeks of school so that I can SLEEP IN! In which case I am certain that my body will awaken me by 7am regardless. I have never been one to sleep late, even when I was a teenager I was always up very early. My dad used to say that sleeping in was wasting daylight, and I kind of agreed. I just really hate to be forced to get up early, which is what school does to me, therefore I complain. It's a mental issue really, the wanting what you can't have.......

I'm feeling kinda weird lately because I don't seem to have a lot to do - it's like I was jam packed busy for a very long time and then, now....nothing. I don't have a lot of work going on, the sports are finishing up, school and scouts are ending. I'm trying to decide if I even WANT to work with my sewing anymore. I mean, I LOVE to do the fun stuff, but I'm just pretty irritated with the "have to" and all the shithead people I have to deal with as a business owner. I'm just feeling a little bored with the whole set up. Perhaps I need to go to a business related conference to get my creative juices flowing and to renew my love for what I do. It wouldn't hurt if it were somewhere awesome like Hawaii or Vegas or S.F! I usually scoff at conferences and their credibility/necessity, but I think I need to eat those words. So who wants to organize a trip in the name of sewing??!!

I have not planned out the summer, which is a first for me. We have a trip at the very end of July, but beyond that we aren't doing anything spectacular. Both of my kids are going away to camp for the same week, and I would be very excited to have an entire week of solitude, but I'm 99 3/4% certain that my youngest child will not enjoy her first experience away. I have a strong feeling that I'll be picking her up early. I hope not, I hope she has a BLAST, but I'm just not too optimistic. I planned for them both to be at camp the same week and I hope that having her sister there will be a comfort for her. It was her idea to go to camp, but I just know her personality and I know how much she loves to have 'her space' - something that she won't get at camp. I do feel a great amount of relief that her big sister will be there and that she has such a GREAT big sister. As much as they can fight and bicker my oldest daughter loves my youngest like she is her child. It may have a lot to do with the 4 year age difference, but she is very protective of her and takes such good care of her. But all of that is not until July.

What a boring post. But that's just how I feel. Boring.

Monday, May 3, 2010

I was Avitaballed....

Not really - at least, I *think* he kept his pants on the whole time......but I did finally get to meet Adam, along with being able to hang out with Muskrat, Whipstitch, Coalminer's Granddaughter, and Grant which was great! I've had a record month meeting with new folks so I've been a really happy girl!!

Last week was spent getting back into the reality that is life after being away - I took the kids to The Atlanta Community Food Bank which was an awesome thing to see. There is so much opportunity there to help feed the hungry, so we have some ideas to keep us busy once school is out.

We also got a new lawn installed because ours had pretty much gone to crap. It was so weedy, and we've tried numerous times to spruce it up. It just needed to start over - so we got sod installed. It's like an instant lawn!! So cool!! I've got a list of house projects that I hope to get accomplished over the summer time, the next one is re-doing & expanding our back deck.

Now, I'm just trying to burn through the last few weeks of school for the kids - have I mentioned how much I hate school? Yeah, I think I do that a lot!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

You're going where?

People questioned me about flying across the country to have a drink with a few people. Specifically, Canadian customs agents questioned me. I left for Vancouver on a relatively uneventful Thursday morning, I planned my flight so that I could drop my kids at school and have time to get to the airport. Bonus for me was that there was NO traffic and I was way ahead of schedule, no line at security, I got a great seat with in flight entertainment. The perfect day of travel! UNTIL......I got to Canada.

I got off of the plane and instead of going straight to baggage claim, I hit the washroom and proceeded to freshen up my hair, face & breath - knowing that Hunk was waiting for me at the exit and we hadn't seen each other for quite some time, I was banking on getting some tongue. This all resulted in me being the last person to claim my bag in a virtually empty baggage claim area. I was the last person to approach the customs checkout and for whatever reason, I was diverted the opposite direction from all other passengers. I followed directions to a large waiting area full of officers and quite a few male passengers just sitting around, awaiting questioning. So, I sat. When it was finally my turn, I was pulled to a more private area where an officer proceeded to ask me why I was coming to Canada. My mistake, I said I was getting together with friends I met on the internet. **SOUND THE ALARMS** I was drilled on what a blog is, what's my blog, who are the other bloggers, how many are meeting, where are we meeting, what will we eat? drink? do? What do I have to show that supports this claim? Uhhhhm. I had nothing, well, I had a stack of TequilaCon hats in my bag that I did not claim on the customs form - I chose not to bring that up for the sake of creating more of a problem. I thought of my iPhone, while I had no service in this area I did have a few "Dave" related widgets. So, I showed him. He was not convinced just because I had a link button, so I showed him ASK DAVE....***MORE ALARMS***. I tried to explain that I was meeting this super fun dude who creates cartoons & apps, and I'm really just a housewife that needed to get away. Use this app, just ask it if I'm a threat to Canada, clicking on Geeky Dave "do I have any dangerous items with me?" - to which he replied "The data indicates Y-E-S". "Am I in anyway here for malicious reason?".... "Aye Captain!" says Pirate Dave. This is not going well - let's switch to Nirvana Dave who is notoriously positive. "Am I a nice person, just on vacation?"......"This is doubtful". Greaaat. I spent a solid half hour in behind the scenes customs, turned the government onto Blogography and finally managed to convince them that I had no ill intentions with my flat irons and chapstick.

Hunk met me on the other side, not surprisingly a bit worried by my delay in exiting the plane. He was all snazzed out in his suit and he met me with flowers....and you might've thought we hadn't seen each other in a month by the way we were groping in the airport.


It's hard to explain to the people in my world why I would go to Vancouver to meet some internet people. Nobody gets it, they never will. Fortunately for me I wasn't just going across the country for TC2010, Hunk was there for work and the absence was definately taxing. We knew that he was going to be travelling across Canada for quite a few days leading up to TC2010 so this was a great chance for us to plan a "getaway".


While Hunk did have to work on Friday, it gave me a day to explore Vancouver on my own and decide on the best spots for us to make the most of "our" time together on Saturday and Sunday. Plus, I'm a rather independent type of girl and I absolutely LOVE to be by myself and be free to just check stuff out without holding anyone back or dragging someone to a place they aren't really interested in.


Saturday, we had some issues understanding exactly where public transportation would take us (we didn't buy a transit map!) and we ended up getting dropped on the opposite side of the Lions Gate Bridge. We thought we would just walk back across the bridge to get to Stanley Park, which was really fun, but OMG, it was raining and that is a long assed bridge. So we got wet, and cold, but it was a really nice view. Then we walked all the way around the seawall to get to the totem poles in Stanley Park and holy crap my legs were about to snap off. I can say that I ate without guilt that day because I literally walked my ass off. Funny thing is that we then ate a really small lunch. We went to a place called SALT where they only serve salt cured meat and artisan cheeses. Hunk is a total cheese head, so we thought this would be fun. It was in a REALLY bad area - there were a lot of colorful things happening around us as we walked down the side alley that Salt was in. Blood Alley was aptly named, partially because it is a known rough area. We survived, but I am confident that there was more illegal activity that happened in that alley than I have seen in my lifetime. We got a plate with a combination of 2 cheeses, 1 meat and 3 condiments. I thought it was a bit pricey because it was really only an appetizer, but it was unique and the selections were really good so I'm not complaining. I'm also kinda frugal, so there's that.

Later that evening we readied ourselves for TequilaCon. I was excited to see Dave again, but I was stoked that was finally going to meet some people that I thought I would never get to meet due to our continental divide. It was funny that some people were really different than I thought they would be and then some were exactly as I imagined them, or even more awesome than I already knew they were. I can say that Jenny is now on a pedestal - she is one of the nicest, most genuine people I've ever met. I didn't know much about her from her blog posts since many of them have been photo booth essays, but I kinda figured she would be entertaining at the very least. I would've taken her home with me if I could because she is just good people. And Shari, whom I thought had dropped off the face of the earth after TC 2008 - she's alive and well and she is freakin' awesome. There were just so many nice people to meet, it was just fun and I'm so glad I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time to be able to attend. Dave, Jenny, Dustin, Brandon and Vahid (who I might've drooled over a little bit) are all so cool to put this gathering together. There should be more people like them in the world. And they were all so extremely thoughtful, like SHARK EXTREME, just because I brought a few hats and I am forever honored to know them.
Some of the fabulous people I met......Angie & Brandon, Kerri Anne, Sarah, Sizzle & Mr. Darcy, Laura & Abby, Flo, Hillary, Angella.....there were more, but my photographic evidence wasn't very thorough and my memory was floating in tequila.


Sunday was my hike day, there were so many places I wanted to go, but I had to pick one so we chose Lynn Canyon for the suspension bridge, waterfalls and hiking trails. It was just gorgeous, I've wanted to be outside in the PNW for many, many moons and there was no way I was leaving this area without getting into the woods. It was so lush and the trees...the trees are just different than the south. I could spend all day just studying the evergreens and the moss - it was just perfect. My city boy loved the bridge and waterfall and I must admit I did pee myself a little on the suspension bridge. Holy crap those things are scary.




My trip home was less eventful, no customs problems. I also had NOTHING to watch!! I had started a few downloads in iTunes that didn't get to finish before I left home. On my trip up I watched all the completely downloaded movies and figured I'd hook up to wireless and finish the partial downloads for my trip home. Guess what!? You can't do that in Canada! There's also no hulu in Canada. Holy Crap!!!! I was really disappointed because man, that is a LONG way and the trip back had NO in-flight entertainment. FAIL!!

We got off the plane just in time to go straight to the softball field to my daughter's game, which I'm SO glad I didn't miss because she ROCKED the ballfield. I missed my kids, but I can't lie that I am happy to get away from them when these opportunities arise. I love them with all my heart, but I have to put just as much into my marriage because in the end, the kids will leave. I am proud that Hunk and I still have things that are "just ours" and that we can come home and slay the parenting deal just as well. So many of my friends put their children first and in the end, their marriages have suffered or failed. While we don't have a perfect marriage I have no doubt that we will be together forever, and while we have wonderful children and we give them as much of ourselves as we can, they do not define "us" and we will still be "us" after they are grown. This trip was a great opportunity to practice the balance of our commitments to each other and to our children and it was worth every penny spent, all the stressing travel drama, every shot of tequila and every stolen moment. And THAT is why I traveled across the country.

My hair was seriously cute when I left the hotel, screw you, rain!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Spring Break Camping, sort of

We survived the camping trip, though every single thing we took is now completely YELLOW from the blanketing of pollen that we received. You can not even imagine how much pollen was in the area we were. We were enjoying a nice overlook of a waterfall and the wind blew just a bit - a massive cloud of yellow came lumbering over the falls and continued down stream. The air was completely cloudly. Driving home the air looked smog filled and I was using the wipers to remove yellow dust from the windshield. It was bad.


We definately bought our fair share of Claritin on this trip! We did have fun, and one of the highlights was that we did not use our tent on this trip. Less to take, less to set up. And no, we did not sleep under the stars - you must remember I am married to a city boy. We rented a YURT. This was our second time using a yurt - it is like a round tent with canvas sides, but it has hardwood floors and electricity. Yeah, not REALLY camping....but we still have to do all the outdoor cooking and walk to the bathroom, so it's modified camping!
This is a yurt.

The yurt also looks really cool on the inside because it is a round lattice frame and has big cedar futons inside - it also has a sunroof on the top that you can pop up. We left ours closed to try to keep the pollen out!

While on our trip we visited an animal rescue where they have a unique animal family of fully grown Lion, Tiger & Bear - they all grew up together and live in the same habitat. They play together like overgrown kittens. SO FUNNY! They had lots of animals, including retired circus tigers, leopards, wolves, primates, pigs, deer, bison, zebra.....like a zoo, but at someone's house. They had a lot of property and it was just beautiful. Very nice!

We also visited Ocumulgee National Monument - indian mounds which was really cool. I like hiking, walking and being outside, but I prefer to do those things in the SHADE. Walking to the big mound was not my idea of fun, but once we got on top it was worth it. And to think that these mounds were built by hand/basket is mind boggling. There was also a mound where they held tribal meetings and it is mostly a completely original clay floor. Very creepy to go inside if you are claustrophobic, but I didn't want to miss it. I waited until it was empty and made Hunk guard the passage so I wouldn't get trapped and freak out. It was very cool. I took a picture in the museum of the re-creation of the interior because I was too busy trying to keep my cool while inside the real thing.

a long trek to the mound - no shade!

entrance into the mound, looks tall - it's NOT

a VERY LOW, NARROW path...eeeeeeek

And thus ends our Spring Break camping. I've decided we won't camp again at this time of year due to the pollen. I would've thought I remembered that we were coated in yellow at our camping trip last year, but I didn't. I think I have finally etched it in my brain.






Saturday, March 27, 2010

I crawled in a buttcrack...

I'm typically a very laid back type of person. I do have a list of things that I am extremely particular about, and there are a few things that rattle me, but for the most part, I'm a pretty calm person.

One thing, in particular, that can send me to edge of reason is the invasion of my SPACE. I don't like to be touched (except by Hunk) and ESPECIALLY when I'm hot/sweaty. I don't like to be in tight spaces and I don't like to share workspace. I'm borderline claustrophobic. I don't say that I truly have a phobia about space because I like to think that I have control over my reactions to things, but in the end, I'm teetering on the edge of a full blown hysteria when I feel trapped.

I can handle most elevators, I've been in a few small ones that made me wish I had taken the stairs. I am okay on airplanes, but I do insist on an aisle seat. My biggest problem to date has been a cruise ship. Yes, a SHIP made me freak like a mad person. Our very first cruise was on a Radisson Seven Seas ship with a mere 170 rooms. This was only a 20,000 ton ship which is a dwarf to those 70,000+ ton ships that you see from Carnival, etc. Being a small ship the room was big (in my later comparison to a Carnival ship). At the time, however, I had never been on a cruise and the room size was a bit annoying to my phobia. The biggest issue was the hallway outside of the room. If you met another person in the hallway you had to each turn sideways to pass. O.M.G. And, of course, our room was 3/4 of the way down the hall. I would stand at the doorway, send Hunk to the end of the hall so he could block anyone coming in and then I would sprint down to the lobby. Yeah, I know, weird. I was also freaked out by the room that had no balcony - there was no way out except into that freakishly narrow hallway. My thoughts raced around to all the what-ifs. I could imagine the hallway crammed with people trying to escape and how I'd rather die in my room that to try to push through a crowd in that tube of a passageway. We didn't cruise again for MANY years after that incident, until I finally could no longer deny my kids the fun, and we went on a Carnival cruise. Luckily, I was able to find a full map of the ship and locate a room that was nearly in a big open lobby - I made it very clear that if I could not have THAT ROOM, I was not going. It cost more and caused me a lot of stress leading up to the trip, but in the end it was great. This ship had huge hallways (small rooms, but with OPENINGS!) and I had no worries at all. Anyway, back on topic....

So I can't decide if I'm just claustrophobic or if it is something else as well. When I said that I would imagine all the 'what if's' on that small ship - that is something that I do all the time, with every situation. I was walking on the treadmill and I saw a shadow moving in the other room (it was the cat, and I knew it), but I spent the rest of that walk spinning all the scenarios of 'what if that were an intruder' and they suddenly burst around the corner - what would I do, where would I go? And I stayed on the treadmill longer than I ever have planning out all of my escape routes. It was at that time that I realized that my house is built with multiple exits in each and every room. When we built this home the general contractor thought I was the biggest pain in the ass because I kept adding doors to the blueprint. I thought I was planning a practical home, but I think I was subconsciously planning escape routes throughout my home!! It is really odd that it took me this many years to figure it out, but both floors in our house have 'circular' patterns, and every room has an alternate exit door - except bathrooms, however all but one has a window. I think I have issues.....

I can't explain why I fear being cramped or trapped. Funnier still is that when I see situations on movies or TV where people are trapped I get SO uncomfortable!! The scene in Kill Bill when Uma was buried alive made me want to rip my skin off!!!! Even worse, is that it isn't just having my whole body trapped that freaks me out, it can be just 'parts' of me. Even if it is just my foot or my hand that is trapped I can have a full panic attack. Seeing other people with trapped body parts makes me squirm, too. I've also already informed my family that I shall not be buried when I pass away. Even though the thought of being cremated sends me into a tailspin it is worse to think of my body forever trapped inside a box! I want to be cremated in the express lane and then tossed out, anywhere, no urn for this chick - they seal those things shut!! EEEEK! And there lies more weirdness, why am I even worried about my dead body. Uhm, hello, I won't be in there anymore!!

This past Halloween we went to Ripley's Haunted House in Gatlingburg, TN and the entire theme was PHOBIA (Hey Adam, great party idea for you!). Each room was themed with a phobia - dentist drilling, dead babies, clowns, bugs, etc. And then, THEN there was the CLAUSTROPHOBIA room....oh my, I thought I was going to pass out before I got through it. The only thing keeping me alive was that I was trying to be calm for my 8 year old who we should've never taken to a haunted house in the first place! If it weren't for my kids I would have freaked the fuck out, no doubt. The doorway was a single opening and there were canvas bladders to the ceiling on each side of the room. Behind the bladders were what sounded fans blowing them up like balloons. Two room-sized balloons pushing against each other with jet powered force. Basically it was like squeezing into a huge buttcrack and digging your way through in total darkness - no reference to 'how much farther'. The walls were pushing in so hard I could picture myself suffocating, my arms were aching from trying to keep the walls from pressing against my face and trying to give my daughter enough space for passage. The smell was horrid, like old socks and diesel. I thought about all the bodies that have squeezed along this path, the germs, the sweat, the tears rubbing up against me. In my mind, I thought it would never end, I thought it was THE END. I was on auto pilot, just telling myself that I had to get my kid out of there, my focus was completely on her or I would not have been able to do it. Finally, we were out, the humanity! We survived! We rounded the corner only to be chased out by a masked figure and a REAL chain saw. OH, the fun family moments we've had......

So, if you don't know me very well, welcome to the first installment of how to freak my ass out, sit on me or show me your crack, that is all it takes. Just ask Hunk, he knows all to well...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

It's looking up....

So things are looking up around here....my daughter finally got her shit together, even if it only lasts a few days, and we are getting the party planned. I am beyond stressed at all that has to be done before Saturday, but I'll take party stress over work stress any day of the week!!

I have a ton of great ideas for the party, but I don't have the time to implement any of them so we are having a sleepover and possibly will go to the movies. I'm still working automobile logistics on that idea....

I told Hunk he was being an ass and he pretty much agreed - he's got the work stress thing going on, so I can't blame him too much. Something really cool happened because of work for him, he goes to Canada a few times a year, but not anything too regular. He found out yesterday that he is scheduled to be in Canada for the TequilaCon date. Well, Canada is a big place, and he's going to multiple cities, but it just so happens that he will be in VANCOUVER the exact date. Could the stars align any better? The bigger hurdle now is trying to get myself there to be with him, but hell, somebody in this house gets to go so...HUAH!! My schedule is open that week/weekend, but getting my kids' calendar covered for a few days is like herding kittens... I only have two kids - I can't imagine all those people with 4-5 kids all doing their own thing. I would lose my mind!!!

And because I love myself for being a volunteer, this past weekend we helped pack up cookies to send to soldiers serving overseas. All four of us went to help and it was so fun - tons of girls, and a few dads & moms, decorating boxes, writing notes and packing up cookies with love. Over 5,000 boxes - that's a lot of cookies!! And they will travel via military crates, on military planes and be delivered far and wide to the soldiers. It's really hard for the kids to understand how much this can mean to a soldier. Hell, it's hard for ME to understand. I've never had to leave my family behind to go work, I've never had to dig myself a hole to take a crap in, I've never had desert sand in my eyes and I have never had to eat MRE's three times a day, seven days a week. While we were selling cookies in front of a store we had a mom come up to our booth and purchase cookies to add to our "Ship to Soldiers" bin. It so happened that she had recently come home from being stationed in Iraq and she told us how getting a box of cookies, decorated with puppy stickers, silly notes and smiley faces absolutely made her day. She could not stress enough how "you just have no idea what it meant to me..." And she is so very right....I have no idea, and I am thankful that I will never have to know that struggle.

..a trailer full of cookies...notes for each case...notes from donors........every box decorated..






Thursday, March 18, 2010

I get no respect.....

I typically have thought of my kids as being very respectful and kind. This week, however, has been a challenge for me. I'm the FIRST to admit that my kids can be annoying - ALL kids can. Any parent who says their child is always a dream is obviously high. They are kids, they are annoying. They are plowing through life, trying to figure out all the things that we already know. This is where my frustration lies.....those things that I 'know', the common sense, the street knowledge, the things that are just second nature to my being are the things that I mostly EXPECT my kids to 'just get it'. Which isn't fair, they haven't experienced everything that I have and for some stupid reason, I feel that they should just have all this common sense by OSMOSIS, because I am the all reigning queen of common sense. They should've inherited it, right?

Getting back to the point - Respect. I've been getting a lot of lip from my oldest in the past two weeks. This is HIGHLY unusual and I've not dealt with it in the best way. I just get really angry because it is a struggle for control of the situation, and I don't like to lose. In fact, I actually got so mad at her a few days ago that I just told her, "I'm done with this conversation, just do the fucking dishes". She nearly passed out by my lack of censorship. I never say the "f" word to my kids. Never. It KILLS me that this child does not have the common sense to realize that she can make her life easy, or hard and that she is in control of her actions and reactions. It is so hard to remember that I wasn't born knowing all this stuff.

My youngest child got raked over the coals last night. We were putting things in the car (A LOT of things) after softball and she wanted me to load in her bat bag, very impatiently she's all "UUUHHHHHM, HELLLLOOOOO, you NEED to get my bag!!!!" I snapped around and nearly pinched her little head off. I let her know very quickly that should she ever speak to me that way again that she will live to regret it. But I just keep asking myself where on earth it came from? I mean, why did she all of a sudden decide that it was okay to be so rude?? I just kinda thought that they would realize when sarcasm is funny, and when it is disrespectful - but why would they know these things without getting to experience them?

My kids are good kids, but they have to test the theories that they are learning to find out when they are appropriate and unfortunately, I am the test dummy. And I don't test well.

It's not just the kids, either. I'm getting lip from Hunk, and NOT THE GOOD KIND! It's like my shields have been lowered and someone put a sign on my back that says "Talk to me like I'm the dog....".

The best part of all of this is that my oldest child's 13th birthday is near. I didn't have a huge celebration when I was 13, but apparently this is a big milestone and everyone can't believe that I just wanted to go to the movies and call it a night. So, in the midst of being treated like yesterday's news I'm supposed to be planning a blowout bash for this kid who I really can't stand right now. This irks me on so many levels......first, because I'm MAD AT HER (and clearly, I'm 13, too) and secondly, because I am a planner. The very thought of tossing together a party in a week's time makes me want to vomit. I'm a perfectionist when it comes to event planning and I'd rather just not have it if it can't be top notch. If we had discussed that this age bracket was huge about a month ago, when said child wasn't being a butthole, I would've happily planned an extravagant event. Now I'm rubbing sticks together trying to come up with fire. I'm so uninspired, and mostly because I'm so unhappy with the dynamic that is going on in our household. Even the cat threw up on the carpet today, RIGHT NEXT to where the hardwood meets the carpet, but ON THE CARPET. Everybody is a butthole....except me.


BUT - since one of my 4.2 readers thinks that blogs are becoming bitchfests I will include a happy tidbit. I'm looking at YOU, LSL. I'm on my way to the post office to mail a package to my Chemo-friend as a part of the Chemo Angel program. My kids and I picked out a cute little sign of hope for her to hang on her wall. This was during a 10 minute lapse that we were all happy and inside Target. Because going to Target makes everyone happy, right?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Let's Get Physical

I don't think I'll ever like to exercise. It baffles me that there are people who love it, I have tried and tried and tried some more, but I just.don't.like.it.

Just because I don't like it, doesn't mean I don't do it. I just don't find any enjoyment in it whatsoever. At first I thought that perhaps once I got into better shape that I would find enjoyment in it, but thinking back to my much younger years when I was in great shape I still hated it. I hated it with every bone in my being. I remember in college how I completely LOATHED having to take P.E. I took aerobics classes and used the gym at college like crazy, but it was completely a social game for me - I was never in it for the feeling. I never look forward to it and it is always something to "get out of the way" so that I can get on with my day. The days that I wait to do it I feel like it is constantly hanging over me. I just don't like it.

I am not a member of a gym - my exercise is limited to what I have here at home, but I really do not think that a gym would change my perspective. I used to belong to a gym and I went out of being a slave to a payment, not enjoyment. I took classes, used equipment, but I didn't find anything that I truly enjoyed.

I just wonder if some people just don't ever get there. Will I ever feel it? It baffles me to hear people who are so excited about going to a class, or who are fighting over who 'gets' to go and who has to stay home with the kids!! I was talking to Hunk about people who exercise while on vacation - I personally think they are NUTS!!! The only reason I can think that I would exercise on vacation would be so I could eat more!! If there wasn't good food on a particular day then I'm OUT! You won't find this chick on the ship's treadmill!!

Why do you exercise? Do you love it? Have you always loved it? Am I all alone here?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Entitled

I think probably everyone feels entitled at some point in their life - we are taught very young that if we are good, we are entitled to a treat or if we work hard, we are entitled to better opportunity. If we treat others with respect we are entitled to receive the same.


What I don't get is why there are so many people in the world that feel they are entitled to a different set of rules or laws than the rest of us. This week has been the epitome of entitlement by a number of fucktards that have crossed my path.


Driving. I really should not even get started on this. The road is a sea of entitlement - every driver out there thinks they are better than the next. I get irritated when drivers do stupid things, but this week has been a plethora of annoyance. Yesterday, some asshole in the school carline decided that he didn't like the pattern of merging so he just decided to keep going and not let the next car in (which happened to be me). Honestly, is one car length going to get your child to school any faster? Really? THEN, when the bus dropped my child off in the afternoon some pimply faced hotshot decided that he was too good to stop for the bus STOP sign and blew right through - could've killed my kid, but hell, we don't want him to be late to Abercrombie now, do we? THEN I was turning right on GREEN and a dude coming from the facing traffic decided he should get to turn RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME and blew his horn AT ME. Uhm, hello asshole, first of all you DO NOT have a green arrow, secondly, screw you.

I swear, I am surrounded by idiots.

Yesterday, I had to go to the Cookie Warehouse. Did you know that in almost every city there is a Girl Scout Cookie Warehouse chock full of pallet upon pallet of cases of cookies? Well, there is - and when a troop runs out of cookies they can simple back up to the dock and take a carload. There are rules and proceedures to get the cookies, of course. One rule being that NO CHILDREN ARE ALLOWED AT THE WAREHOUSE. This rule is stressed because as GS leaders we almost all have kids, usually in tow. We are frequently reminded that they are not welcome at the warehouse. OF COURSE, as I waited in line to secure my cookie stash a lady jumped IN FRONT OF ME, gave me a pathetic apology "I'll just be a second" and stated to the warehouse manager that she must be allowed to go ahead and load her car first because she has a 1yr old and a 3yr old in the car. Excuse me you entitled HO, but we all have kids and we all made arrangements so that this particular scenario wouldn't happen. How is it that YOU are special, or different, or that the rule does not apply to you. Last time I checked your kids are young enough to be strapped into car seats and therefore if you are stupid enough to bring them they can sit in the car locked down.

Lastly, I want to vent about our experience at the eye doctor. I made an appt. for my child, though they accept walk-ins I wanted a dedicated time slot. I made the appt. a few days in advance and showed up 15 minutes prior to our appt. Apparently, appt. means nothing to this establishment because we waited for OVER an hour and a half. People who needed "quick checks" were ushered in before us, walk-ins who came in prior to our appt. all got preference. This means that if 20 people 'walked-in' at 2:14 and I had an appt. at 2:15 every.single.one of them would get seen before me. That is BULLSHIT. The best part is that when we finally got seen it took a whopping 14 minutes to complete the eye exam. The clerk tried to explain that the 12 people who were seen before us had "quick checks" which only takes a few minutes, obviously they are entitled to slide in first. So instead of making a person on a quick appt. wait an additional 14 minutes for us to finish, we had to wait over 90 minutes for a variety of 5-7 minute walk in's to be seen. I was FUMING. Obviously, those who just SHOW UP are entitled to be seen before the customer who politely waited 2 days for an open time slot - which wasn't open to begin with. We ended up getting a discount, because clearly I was NOT happy, but in the end I would have preferred to have my day back.

It just makes no sense to me why some people believe that they are above the rest of us. My sister in law is one of these people. No matter what the situation is, she has to go about it a different way - a way that says "I'm better than you and the rules". In the 19 years that I have known her she goes out of her way to break a rule or guideline, just because she knows she can get away with it. She does these things because she knows it pisses people off and she knows that most of the time no one will call her out on it. Which leads me to the fact that some of us rule followers are PART OF THE PROBLEM. I don't always call people out, sometimes I just choose to take the high road and avoid the confrontation, but this allows people like my SIL to keep getting away with shit. I'd like to think that the mom at the warehouse was just having a stressful day, maybe her sitter cancelled, but the reality is that she probably plays this card all the time. If she's like my SIL, she pulls it out every chance she gets, knowing that no one is going to call her on it.

I don't think I'm better than other people, or that my moral code is superior to others. I have plently of flaws, but I'm just so tired of this world that is so full of self centeredness. I try not to make my problems become those of other people, I try to be respectful of other's space and time and I am keenly aware of what is going on around me. Too bad that 90% of the population is the complete opposite. And it will never change, so all I can do is vent. I'm entitled to my opinion, right?

Dinner

Okay, I realize I sounded like I was whining for comments - I really wasn't! I was just thinking out loud about what other people would think......onward!

A few months ago I decided that our family needed to do some charitable work - we are usually pretty involved and like to volunteer, but I just felt like we needed something new for our plate. Something we could do as a family. So I signed us up to cook dinner for the Ronald McDonald House.

I chose some specific dates that would work, or that had meaning for us, but nothing was working out for the volunteer schedule. I ended up taking a random date that meant nothing to me, but according to my calendar I was available. February 7. I am a horrible football wife.

Many of you know that Feb. 7 was Super Bowl Sunday - and I didn't even know it. Better yet, I signed up our family for a 4-5 hour commitment between 4-9pm, which is smack in the heart of Super Bowl kickoff, pre game, etc. GO ME!

Fortunately, Hunk decided that he would DVR and catch up when we got home - even though I gave him full liberty to stay home and I would handle the dinner with just my girls. THANK GOD! I had no idea what I had gotten myself into and having him there was quite a relief!!

I did a lot of pre-cooking for the meal to try to make it easier on myself, but my goal was to serve a well thought out, no corners cut meal. After all, these folks could get cafeteria food at the hospital - what they needed was well prepared comfort food.

Our evening started out very stressful - I had incorrect directions and I was on edge about my portions, constantly second guessing myself on whether or not we had enough food. We got lost on the way there and were then 30 minutes behind the "start time" that I had planted in my head as the only road to success. I was freaking out that the food would not get done in time and the world would end. Hunk was on edge because, well, we were lost and he was driving (though not his fault, I had the directions). And he's a man. We finally made it, though behind schedule and found ourselves in the biggest kitchen I've ever seen in my life!

If you don't know what the Ronald McDonald House is, it is a place for families of children in the hospital - a place to stay, two meals a day and it is located right near the Children's hospital. It alleviates stress on families who don't live near the hospital, plus saves all the money that a hotel would cost. It's like a small home away from home, with lots of support to help them through a time when their focus should be on their child's medical health. It is a dream come true for families in medical stress. Thankfully we have never had to use their services, but both of my kids have had their fair share of medical needs and had we needed Ronald McDonald House, they would've been there for us. There are TWO Ronald McDonald Houses in Atlanta, obviously since we were lost, this is the location I had never been to before!

Our meal consisted of Pot Roast - mostly because it is my number one comfort food, and secondly because I knew that I could start it in the crock pots (I borrowed crocks from everyone I knew!) a day early and let it cook over the 24 hours leading up to the dinner. We also made twice baked potatoes, broccoli casserole (vegetarian option), green beans w/almonds and garlic cheese bread. Since it was Super Bowl Sunday I also decided a good appetizer would be a 5 layer mexican dip - and by the looks of the licked out pan I made a good choice!! We made cookies for dessert so that we could fill the house with the fresh baked smell. It turned out great - one woman commented that my cooking reminded her of her mother, another man was a chef (for a very famous TV personality) and gave my Pot Roast rave reviews and came back for seconds!

I left the dinner feeling great - we had done something wonderful for families who aren't as fortunate as we are at the moment and I left feeling like the greatest cook on earth from all the compliments I received. I didn't do it for my own satisfaction, but I certainly got a lot from the experience.

We are now on a volunteer schedule and I plan to cook for them as often as I can - it's time consuming and expensive (meal for 80+ people), but I think we've found a great outlet for our family to work together helping others - something that we are all equally a part of and all interested in.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Empty

My blog feels so empty.

My comment site was Haloscan, which is now gone. It decided to vanish and take everyone's comments with it. I did have an opportunity to export my comments to a file, but I can't really do much with it. I saved all of your thoughts, jabs and musings - tucked them away to never be seen again. Since I'm just a peanut of a blogger, I didn't think this transition would really be an issue for me, but coming here and not seeing anyone's name listed as a recent comment makes it feel so empty.

I wonder if anyone new were to stop by and see that I had no comments on any of my posts - what would they think? Would they feel sorry that I have no one interested in my drivel? Why do I even care?

I tend to look at most situations from the perspective of 'the other person'. What does that make me? When I say things to people I often put myself in their shoes, trying to understand how they heard what I said. Did I correctly convey my true thought? Could it be taken the wrong way? I usually try to carefully word emails that I send and I'm not quick to answer questions in a group - I prefer to think out my answer to make sure I don't blurt out something weird or stupid. I often wonder what someone else thinks of this, that or the other. Perhaps this is a small part of my self imagine issue, I'm constantly working to try to be better than what I perceive that I am. Keeping my mouth shut and my thoughts under reign will assure that I don't make myself look like a buffoon. Right? Or does it make me look like a quiet wallflower? If I have no comments, do I look like a loser?

There have been occasions where I've taken my perspective and tried to shed some light on how a conversation could've come across the wrong way. Recently, I tried to tell Hunk that he sent out a message that I thought was inappropriate for the situation. That had he really thought about it before he sent it, he might've changed his mind. He got really irritated, with good reason. I mean, who am I to tell him what to say? We had a big discussion and he has said before that I "take the other side", meaning I am forever defending the other person(s). But I'm not. I am simply taking what was said and trying to see how it could've been perceived by the other 'side'. And then I often will say, hey, that kinda sounded smart assed, or don't you think you might've offended someone? But it comes across as defending someone other than him - when really, I'm just thinking out loud about the 'what if's'.

On many occasions Hunk loves to proclaim to anyone who will listen that there is no point in arguing with me because I am ALWAYS right. Kudos to him for being smart enough of a husband to realize that YES, the wife is always right. This will lead to a long and happy marriage (at least for me). And, yes, I am usually right if I'm being bold enough to take part in the discussion. That being said, I don't "know it all". I am simple smart enough to keep my mouth shut if I am uncertain about the facts. If I know what I'm talking about I will loudly and passionately argue with you until the death.....because I KNOW that I am right. So, no, I'm not a wallflower, though there are many situations when I will choose to just be quiet (meaning I don't know Jack Shit what you are talking about), but I'm listening, and learning and next time...I will be ready to speak up.

In the end, I'm not a big talker and by reading this post, that may make you think that I just don't know Jack Shit about much. You may be right.

This took a weird turn, from being about missing comments to self esteem and on to my knowledge base.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

39 Candles

It's my birthday and I am totally planning on giving my panties to a geek!!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Happy Self Love Day!


Here’s how the whole thing works:
1.) You’re gonna grab yourself a banner. If you don’t like the one I’ve used in this post, you can find another one here.
2.) You’re gonna post that banner and then tell us all something that you really like love about yourself (thus, the “self-love” portion of our program).
3.) Ask or beg your readers to post one thing that they too love about you!!! If your blog friends are nice, you shouldn’t have to beg…much.
4.) Enjoy yourself and spread the love by doing this on your blog!
I generally think I'm pretty full of awesome, but I usually am not quite sure that other people feel that way. This year, something that I love about me is that I have spent more time focusing on helping other people. I've allocated more time and commitment to volunteering for things that I feel are truly important. I've made a difference to people who were hurting and I think that is really important! I also love that I am sharing this with my kids and hopefully instilling in them a desire to be more than just someone taking up space on the planet.
And since my Hunk doesn't blog anymore, I'll tell you something I love about him - uhhhhm, well, it's really hard to pick ONE thing, but I just love that he LOVES me, and I mean that in a way that he loves me and takes a genuine interest in things that I love. We have our own separate 'stuff', but we still do a lot together and when I like something he finds something about it that he can enjoy right along with me. Yeah, and he has AWESOME hands that soothe me and can make me scream. Ok, that was two, but still.......
LOVE YOU ALL!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Own it!

Why is it so hard for someone to JUST.OWN.IT? If you upset someone, and they let you know what is wrong, why do some people continue to just back pedal in the discussion???

Is it really SOOO difficult to just say "Yeah, I can see where you're coming from...." (and ACTUALLY assess the situation). Heh, I said "The Situation". I'm not even trolling for an apology, especially a forced one. Just OWN IT. You pissed me off and I have every right on earth to let you know it. No matter how misguided you believe my anger to be does not replace the fact that YOU upset ME. If you cared an ounce about me I would think the fact that I am upset about something would be enough for you to step out of your box and look at the situation instead of being a blamer.

Key words - Acknowledgement & Discussion - take note.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Lose It!

I've lost a lot of things in my life, most specifically my marbles, but I've found a new App that encourages me to LOSE. Calories that is. I got the new Lose It App for my iPhone and have begun recording everything I eat on a daily basis.....and HOLY COW it is eye opening!!

I've always read that a food journal is a good thing, but I can't keep up with one single notebook to save my life. The one thing in my life that I have managed not to lose (including my kids) is my iPhone. Therefore, this App is always with me and easy to use. I've been trying to eat healthy for over a year, we've switched to whole grains, 1% milk, blah, blah, blah....but until you actually realize HOW MUCH stuff you are putting in, it really doesn't make a huge impact on your body size. Plus, it is easy to rationalize small snacks throughout the day because they are just 100 calories, but in the end it really adds up fast!

I joined WW once, and it wasn't willingly AT ALL. My friend asked me to go with her and since I am an awesome friend, I did. I was shouting joy from the roof tops the very next week when said friend got knocked up and could no longer follow WW. Now, there was no need for me to try to count points and all this nonsense!! That baby remains my favorite child to this very day!! I just can't see keeping up with conversions and points - it's just not me. The Lose It! App is FREE (no weekly fee, like WW) and you just put in what you ate, then it tells you how much more you can eat if you want to stay on track. Granted, I know that calories are only one equation to the overall process with fats and carbs, but this thing is EASY - and it works like it says it will. I've lost some poundage just by being aware of how much is going in. I still eat what I like, but I can realize better how to space out the things that I love the most. You can add in fats, carbs, etc., but I haven't done that. You can also record your weight and watch your progress on a fancy schmancy graph.

One of the biggest eye openers I had was my Macaroni Grill Penne Rustica - this revelation made me cry. This is my absolute favorite dish in all of the USA and I realized that it is almost 1600 calories!! Thank goodness I have never finished off a whole one in one sitting, but I could. That is an entire days worth of eating!! In one dish!! OY!

It is also eye opening that just a small bit of exercise allows you to eat another 100 calories, and the App will allow you to add in your exercise (even if it is SEX! wooty!) and then you realize that you can have that midnight snack after all (and not feel horrible about it).

If I get to the end of the day and I'm out of calories it is a good motivation to go hit the treadmill, even if just for 30 minutes.

So, while I have not been paid to do this post - I did get the App for FREE - but so can everyone else on earth, I can highly recommend this App for even the most casual attempt at a healthier life. It really makes it easy and makes it very straight forward.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

PANTS!!

I don't know where I have been for the past few years, but dudes, I have been missing out!

I went shopping for a baby gift and I ended up at T.J.Maxx - this place has something for everyone! So I found something cute for the baby that I could embellish with embroidery (and on Clearance! Woot!) and then I decided to wander through the clothing.

Now, I don't typically like to shop for clothing - I'm short and wide, so nothing really fits. I've given up on finding things I like so I stick to my tried and true wardrobe, crossing my fingers that I can make things last! I have a pair of adidas pants that I really like, so I decided I would look for a second pair. Unfortunately, I had no luck. But I did find something new.... YOGA PANTS! I have really missed the boat! These things are tre-awesome!!!

I've never purchased Yoga pants before, they are made for those who are blessed with long, slender legs - or so I thought. I am right about the LONG part, good lord every pair of yoga pants I've ever looked at would've been a good 8 inches past my feet. Out of the question. But I found a cute pair of cropped yoga pants, with a roll down waist. I figured for 15 bucks it was worth a shot. I kind of figured that I probably would not like them, or that I would be squeezed into them at best, but O.M.G. they are frickin' perfect.....AND I don't look half bad in them. They fall at all the right places (especially the roll down waist) and they are sooooo comfortable!! I am completely in love with these pants.

I've heard that it is not socially acceptable to wear yoga pants in public, except in class transit. My new mission in life is to find any and all retailers that deem my yoga pants acceptable shopping wear, otherwise I plan to just stay at home. Or maybe I should open up my own yoga wear shop, therefore I could be a working model! I suppose I could take a yoga class, then if I get caught at Target in my yoga pants I can say that I was just leaving class......yeah. Or I could just lie about it.