I love these people!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Belatedly Best Wishing

Dang! Am I a pitiful excuse for a blogger, or who? I can't believe my last post was a month ago. Where did that 1/12th of the year go?
I should probably tell you that I've been in a coma since Thanksgiving and therefore lacked the motor skills required to type while I teetered perilously close to landing in the big blogspot in the sky.
But that would be a rather HUGE lie.

Truth is, I have spent the last 30 days meditating furiously to the mantra
~'I will not stress this year'

Furious meditation is kind of an oxymoron, huh?
Whatev. So although I did not stress, I didn't do some other things either.
Like blog.

Stressless December wasn't a total success but it was close.
I ended up taking an emergency vacation day last Tuesday to finish up my shopping and get some baking done.
Lefse, anyone?

But even as we were finally getting around to decorating sugar cookies on Christmas Eve afternoon, I was calm.... although you might not know it from the erratic icing on my gingerbread men, some of which were NOT intended to be that anatomically correct.
For extra bonus points I should mention that my in-laws had already been in residence for FOUR days at that point.
~'I will not stress this year'~
~'I will not stress this year'~

True, the dog didn't get a Christmas bath.
And only the really bad areas of my carpet got shampooed.
Oh, and a shovel was never once put to the driveway after the last storm.
And no one died.
Did you even know that if you drive over the snow enough times it will come to resemble a cleared, albeit slightly lumpy driveway.
That's assuming you have all wheel drive and/or some serious tread on your tires.
And a good run at it.
Watch out for the big, black car turds, though.

This is kind of off topic but do you know what's fun about living on a hill?
Watching people with bald tires try to make it up the hill in a snowstorm.
And fail.
And instead of giving up and backing down the hill they just keep spinning and spinning until smoke starts rising or they slide sideways into the gutter where they have to sit until the tow truck comes.
It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know that they have been temporarily taken out of the traffic mayhem game.

Sorry, I digress.

Anyway, I wanted you all to know that I am alive and suffering from nothing but bad time economy.
I do have high hopes for the new year, though.
Yep, blogging and exercising will be my top priorities.

Of course there is always time to take pictures of Santa's little helper.
Merry Holidays, everyone!!!

Okay, so I know receiving is not the spirit of the season but I gotta know: What was your best present???

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Let the (holiday) games begin

Wishing you all a calm Thanksgiving!

(Except my Canadian friends, you just have a happy Thursday.)

Stay safe everybody.

And don't forget to send me your leftover pie.

Peace, hugs & Tums,

Monday, November 23, 2009

Makeup Days

The other Saturday morning Omega caught me applying the usual bit of makeup to my mug. She usually doesn’t poke her head out into the weekend until well into the pm’s so possibly this was something she hadn’t witnessed before.

She asked where I was going. I told her I had no plans, which caused her to give me the squinty-eye/doubtful look.
“Then, WHY, are you putting on makeup?”

“Because,” I explained “putting on makeup, as well as deodorant, is my gift to civilization.”

She seemed to take this as one more sign that her 50-ish mother is on the expressway to crazy-old-ladyhood. Okay, I don’t deny that course, but I don’t think that the use of makeup is one of the milestones. Is it?

I’ve never been a heavy user but I find that the older I get, the more I prefer a bit of mascara magic (applied with a wand, duh) on my lashes… just so everyone can tell that I have lashes. And yes, I do this even if I intend to spend the whole day working in my yard because I don’t want to become known in the ‘hood as that dotty old lady with no eyes!

Plus I was a product of the ‘Keep America Beautiful’ generation.

I have friends who wouldn’t consider getting out of the car to pump gas without their full face on – everything from foundation to lip liner to eyelid primer. And I have others who consider chap stick to be adequate.

I’m somewhere in between. Where are you? And, because I’m nosy, are you using more or less these days than you used to?

Just trying to get a feel for the competition, you know.
In case I want to enter the Ms. Sunset Manor pageant someday.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So smokin!

Hey Smokers! Do you all know what today is?

Uh-huh. Time once again for the Great American Smokeout. Yeah, I know you don’t want to hear about it because it only reminds you how much you really don’t want to be a smoker. And how annoying it is to have your nasty little habit held up to the light by all those self-righteous nonsmokers. And especially how, darnitall, you will not be told when to quit. If you DO choose to quit, it will be on your own schedule. If ever. Am I right?

Wait, wait! Don’t hit that back button!!! Really, I am NOT here to preach.

Seriously. I was one of you. For a long time. And I tried to quit manymanymany times so I know how nearly impossible it is. But, since I have only slightly more self control than a golden retriever puppy, I’m thinking if I can do it, so too can you! You just need the proper motivation, am I right?

Okay, you probably need more than that but since I’m often asked how I quit – did I mention that it’s been nearly 10 years? – and I have no idea how I did it, I’m going to make up some stuff.

Just kidding. Partly. While I don’t specifically remember, if I ever did know, HOW I quit, I do remember some of the WHY I quit.

First of all there's the money. Sorry, but my profession requires me to put that at the head of the list. And, this is the coolest part anyway, because if you quit smoking right now you will be one of the few people in this struggling economy to actually INCREASE your income. If you inhale anywhere near a pack a day, that amounts to nearly two thousand dollars a year of after-tax money. I know, you could buy some pretty sweet stuff with that.

Plus, there are the smoking fees that you hide from yourself: the higher car, health and life insurance premiums, the cost of everything you damage by playing with fire, all that gum and tic tacs you have to buy to hide your smoker breath, and what about all those extra trips you have to make to the Kwickymart?

Then there’s your health to consider. That should actually be first but I think you know it’s bad for you. I will say that one thing that inspired me was focusing on the benefits of quitting. I found a list that tells you what happens 20 minutes after you quit and 12 hours and 2 weeks and on and on. It's nice to know what you're gaining for all your misery.

And time. OMG, have you ever stopped to think about how much time it takes to smoke? I mean, it’s not just the few minutes of actual smoking. There’s the time spent looking for your pack, and finding a light and then getting yourself to a place where you are actually allowed to smoke. Here in You-tah, that’s basically a 2 acre plot of land out by the Nevada border. I think it’s also part of a missile range so be careful with those matches. Butanyway, you then have to get yourself back and try to remember where you were and what you were doing before you were hit with the insatiable urge indulge your addiction.

You know how else quitting has saved me time? When I quit, I had to give up talking on the phone because it was just too hard if I couldn’t smoke and I’ve never really gone back to it. I’m sure my mother thinks I have the weakest bladder in the world because I would usually end phone conversations after about two minutes with a ‘gotta go pee bye’. Not very original, I know, but polite people don't challenge you on it.

By far the biggest reward for becoming a nonsmoker is freedom. You can't believe how liberating it is to no longer have to think about the how and where and when of your next nicotine fix. I did miss it for a long time. I still dream that I start smoking again and I can't tell you how disappointed I get in my dream-self.

Quitting is also a free pass to be absolutely ornery for a while. Don't even try to hold back because you will be all the more likely to go running back to your crutch, Mr. Ciggy.

So that's my sermon for today. Okay, turns out I AM here to preach. But becoming a nonsmoker is a change that is SO worth it in SO many ways that I don't feel bad for tricking you. I promise you will never regret it.

Okay, gotta run so you'll have to run spellcheck and grammer nazi your ownself.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Men are from Jupiter (which rhymes with stupider)

At a bus stop not far from my office, there is a sloped area covered with size large river rock - a demonstration of The Organization's dedication to water conservation. Or it's disdain for steep water bills. Or both.

We do live in the desert so it is a marvelous thing to see that someone had the good judgment to replace much of the skinny little grass strippage with something more drought tolerant. Like rocks, because we have TONS of rocks in You-tah and they aren't all being used to fill our legislators' skulls.

While rocks are low maintenance, they're not particularly interesting. Unless some enterprising soul - I'm guessing an art student, a potter in particular - has left his mark.

If you've ever spent much time waiting at a bus stop.... the SAME bus stop every day, you know that pretty soon you run out of things to look at and you find yourself staring down at drought-proof parking strips while mentally making your evening must-do list.

Until one day you notice a rock that looks like it has a face! Very subtle features, but unmistakably human. Huh, you think, cool rock! But your bus comes before you can get a closer look.

Next day, or maybe a week later - it's hard to affix a time line to bus stop coma - you have the same experience. That seeing-the-face thing. Only this time you have arrived uncharacteristically early, so you have time to check it out and notice, wow, there is another one!
And another and another....

Amid the hundreds of the basic roundish rocks, averaging maybe 6-8 inches across, someone had cleverly tucked handmade faux rocks with facial features into the mix. They appeared ceramic in origin, made of multiple shades of clay with various size and expression. Nothing about them was obvious.

I just don't think I can express how excited I got. True, I tend to find delight in odd places but this was a complete Nobel Prize for Cool, odd thing for me.

And what made it even cooler was the fact that no one else at that bus stop ever seemed to see what I saw. At first I was tempted to share this coolest, cool thing with my oblivious stopmates. But I didn't because first, there's the unwritten no-chatting rule at bus stops, which is very similar to the elevator etiquette that says: Everybody face forward and ignore each other! Secondly, it felt like the kind of thing that would lose magic if it had to be pointed out. Or possibly I was just feeling greedy, point is that I kept mum. Which is unusual for me.

Meanwhile, I'm sure those around me were all making mental Post-its that said 'Do NOT sit next to the crazy Bus Stop Mona Lisa Lady who smiles at rocks!!'

I'm not saying that I was the only one who ever saw those faces. That bus stop is visited by hundreds of people every day while I only know what goes on between about 5:04 and 5:09 Monday through Friday when the worker bees gather to head home from work - thinking about what's for dinner or how they're going to fake their way through another 8th grade Algebra homework assignment.

I badly wanted to get some pictures of this rock project because someone had gone to a LOT of work and wouldn't that make a great desktop background? Sadly I never remembered my camera and didn't think to use my phone camera.

And then one Monday the opportunity was lost forever. I got to the bus stop and found... pieces. Bunches of scattered pottery shards because some a$$hole had taken and smashed as many faces, I assume, as they could find.
Over the next week or so the rest either disappeared or joined the Humpty Dumpty club.

Months later, I am still kind of angry about it and I don't know what prompted me, but the other day I related the whole sad story to my husband. Now I didn't expect he would understand my excitement over fake rocks, but when I wondered what kind of a sleaze bag would do something like that, I did not expect the response that I got.

I said "I just don't get it. I mean, I can sort of understand people stealing them; I would guess that they like them so much, they want one for themselves, but I just can't make sense of someone who would just destroy them. What were they thinking?"

To which Homer shrugged and replied "I can't believe you would expect that they were thinking anything. I'm sure it was boys. Boys smash things."

Yeah, that's what he said. And don't yell at me because this is coming from a guy who once threw rocks to smash out half the windows of his neighbors' large passenger van. His friend did the other half. He was probably only 5 or 6 but he says he still remembers how much fun it was to see who could make the biggest spider in the glass.

Yeah. And suddenly I don't feel so bad that his Y chromosome won't be moving on to the next generation.

Friday, October 23, 2009

They are Pants-tastic!

One of the side effects of my summer of bicycle commuting has been a marked reduction in my assular acreage. Yay!
Except now none of my pants fit. Boo!
Since I haven't had two spare minutes to rub together, let alone the time it takes to tailor pants, I had to break down and go shopping.

Everybody say 'Ahhhh, poor you' in your most sarcastic voice.
Yeah well, when you are 5'11", most of your pants shopping is done via the internet where there are NO DRESSING ROOMS and have you bought pants lately?

It is no longer just a matter of size and stature. Nowadays you have to take into account your degree of curvi- vs. flat-assedness.
Do you want flare, boot cut, straight or my-feet-are-stuck!?
Above the waist, at the waist, slightly below the waist, low waist or free-bikini-wax-with-purchase waist?
And as long as we're talking mid-section, are you equipped to utilize the contoured waist, the secret expansion waist or the no-waist waist? Wtf's that? For women who go straight from hip to boob?

And they are so evasive about who they are designed to fit. They give them cute names like Mercer and Modern and Marisa and Diva cuts. They use obscure terms like generous and tapered and relaxed and slim. Can pants really relax?
Only if you spill a martini on them.

Anyway, by my calculations there are about 15 fidzillion possibilities so what are the odds that you are going to end up with something that fits well when you can't try them on? Probably 15 fidzillion to one. Duh, Jane.

I was so disheartened when I couldn't find a No-ass/Mini-muffin top/Poochie thighs fit that I was tempted to quit shopping and get back to work. Ah, but then I felt my baggy underwear sliding down inside my baggy pants and it's just not a splendid or professional feeling so I bucked up and reverted to my traditional pants shopping method: buy the first ones I find that are on sale and available in my size.
Did I also mention that I (now) have what seems to be the most popular tall size and therefore the one that is least available?

Well, my aggravation did not go unrewarded. Three new pair of pants arrived on Tuesday and can I tell you that already this week I have saved about half a day by not having to wrestle with a safety pin every time I visit the restroom. And today I am wearing a pair of stretch jeans that I have not had to pull up over my crack ONCE! And I'm not even wearing a belt!!! They are awesome and I think I now understand the concept of the other crack. If the feeling I get wearing these pants was only available on a street corner for 20 bucks, I would be rooming with Lindsay down at the Cir*que.
And if the latest magazines are forreals, I'd be prettier.

Have a skippy weekend, everybody!

Monday, October 19, 2009

It's a wonder she doesn't sound like Marge Simpson

A friend’s grandson had his tonsils and adenoids removed a last week and Grandma was very worried about the little guy going under the knife. Of course she was.

Me, being the tonsillectomy veteran that I am, told her ‘Bah! Don’t worry!’ Which she still did but she later reported that everything went ‘just fine - just like you said it would’.

As if I am an expert. I talk a good game because fifteen years is a lot of time to sort of smooth over my memory of Alpha’s surgery. I mean it really did go well but probably could have been better – if she had had a different mother.

Alpha had tonsils the size of Tootsie Pops almost from the time she was born – inherited from her father’s side, as most of the troublesome traits tend to be. By the time she was 5 they were so big that that little thingy that hangs at the back of your throat? Yeah, uvula or whatever. It had creases in the front and (I assume) back from being squished between the Tootsie tonsils. She also had nasty ear infections and snored like her grandmother (dad’s side again). Once she began dabbling in sleep apnea, her pediatrician called time out – as in TIME to take the tonsils OUT!

Aack! Cut up my baby? No, not my gentle little happy giant.

I’ll skip over all my neurotic second guessing and second opinioning and second third drinking and get to the actual surgery, which I did have the good sense to set up at the finest children’s hospital around (Okay, that’s where my health insurance sent me but I really would have picked it myself!) and a tonsillectomy was scheduled for June in hopes of working around ear infection season despite my definitely dragging heels.

I mean, it feels so wrong - handing over a strapping, healthy child to be surgically modified. By a knife! I know, I know, this probably edging into the great circumcision debate but really, you can live without a penis. I’m talking about my daughter’s throat! A necessary conduit for life! Besides, I have no opinion in the foreskin discussion. That is my reward for carefully harvesting only my husband’s X chromosomes.

Anyway, we showed up at the hospital at 8am and took Alpha through all the pre-surgical rigmarole, which included cute jammies and slippers and pink pony band-aids over the needle sticks that those tricky pediatric nurses seemed to pull off without even being noticed.

At 10 am sharp she walked bravely down the hall holding hands with the anesthesiologist. Gelp!

To avoid the uncool appearance of nervous, pacing parentness, Homer and I wandered down to grab a pop in the cafeteria and were still arguing about who was going to pay the tab when my cell phone rang - the doctor was looking for us. After only 20 minutes??? Oh no, they had lost her! And I didn’t mean misplaced. I had visions of her little throat bleeding uncontrollably after the evil doctor carelessly plucked out her tonsils - probably using some old rusty nail clipper and ragged tongue depressor.

We rushed back and met the surgeon who recapped the surgery as a smooth and simple tonsil- and adenoidectomy. He hadn’t known how dreadful her adenoids were until he got a peek behind the tonsils. Wow, two ectomies for the price of one co-pay. Christmas in June!

And now Alpha was ours to tend in recovery. As promised the recovery room had a Disney movie playing and offered popsicles and drinks. It was a dim, quiet room and quite peaceful in spite of the six or so other ectomy patients with loving parents hovering near.

Poor Alpha! So brave, but Mommy's here for you.

I leaned in toward Alpha and asked her what she would like. A drink? A popsicle? Her lips moved but I couldn’t hear what she was saying (keep in mind this was back when my hearing was 20/20). So I leaned in closer and asked again. She squeaked out a little something through her freshly butchered throat but, darn it, I just couldn’t make it out. So I asked once more.

And she yelled ‘Please MOVE!

I was blocking the movie.

And I made her yell.

All the parents turned and shot me those looks that said ‘What a rotten mother! To make your child yell in her condition!’ Or so I imagined. I felt this big so I sat down and shut up and faster than you could say happily ever after, the movie was over and we were on our way home. Not one tear had been shed. In spite of me.

After two hours Alpha had had enough of bed rest and asked to jump on the trampoline. Even I could see that might be a poor choice so I spent the next two days holding her down and demanding that she act sick. I was warned that the third post-surgical day could be the worst. And it was. By then it was like trying to hang on to a dozen stringless balloons in a hurricane. Therefore, on the 4th day I caved and let her go back to summer camp. She never looked back and I have chosen to file the experience in my head under the ‘delusions of good parenting’ category, thankyouverymuch.