Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I Think Television is Corrupting My Child

I smiled to myself as she started singing Christmas songs in the bathtub tonight. Then I realized, with dismay, that she was singing, "He sees you when you're in sleep mode..." a la the Mac commercials.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Interview Questions - V. Tricky!

I had to help interview some job candidates the other day since I'm a member of a local executive board. Most of the questions were pretty standard fare - including the "tell me about your strengths" followed by "tell me about your weaknesses." Most of the candidates were pretty honest and non-cheesy with their answers.

One gal, who said she was originally from Arkansas, had an intriguing answer when asked what her weakness was. "My accent," she said. "I get teased about it a lot, and I think when I'm on the phone people can't understand me."

I find it terribly amusing that, in a county where most people sound at least mildly accented to me, this poor woman is struggling to be understood. If people can't understand someone from two states over, can you imagine if they encountered someone from a whole other country? Like Mississippi?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Now With Medically Enhanced Fertility!

So, the secret is out. I'm taking a fertility drug. My once young, able-to-get-pregnant-on-the-pill-at-a-moment's-notice body has been resisting the valiant efforts towards procreation that we've endured these long months. And that is how it came to pass that for my 30th birthday, I received a gift of drugs that will hopefully bring me a gift of a new baby for my 31st.

The unfair part of it all is that fertility treatments are incredibly unsexy. The ones I've only read about - injections, sperm analysis, hysterosalpingograms, intrauterine insemination, in vitro insemination - all involve jabbing, prodding and poking by people that you barely know. Ready to sign up for that romantic stuff?

As for my new meds, I'm most alarmed by the "side effects" portion of the patient information sheet. Nausea, diarrhea and flatulence are the most common side effects. Wow. I'm sure it's a lot easier to get pregnant when you're barfing, running to the toilet, and farting. Nothing enhances fertility like a bit of sexy diarrhea, I say.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

For the love of ....

I don't curse very often now that I have a young soul to be responsible for. I now say things like "son of a biscuit!" instead of the choice expletives that may have exited my mouth at previous times of my life. My husband has cleaned up his vocab, too, although cursing is an art form among the guys he currently works with, so once in a while a *bleeeeeeep* will slip out at home.

The other day, M was in the living room, trying to change her clothes, when her shirt got stuck over her head. She's standing there, arms over her head, voice muffled by the shirt covering her face, and she says, in an irritated voice, "Oh, for the love of bitch!"

I guess I should be glad that she hasn't heard the more common phrases often enough to get them right.

I couldn't help myself when she said it. I laughed. Kind of a lot. There was no stopping it. But then I had to conjure up a straight face and tell her that she could never, ever say that again or she would get sent to the "think about it" area at school, or maybe even to the principal's office. She thought about it and said, "Oh, for the love of mama!" I let it go at that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Really? I Wouldn't Have Guessed!

Tonight, I wanted to watch a little TV, so I fired up the ole DirecTV guide and started browsing. I came across a re-run of Without a Trace and looked at the description to see if it was an episode I've already seen. I enjoy watching Without a Trace, but if you're not familiar with it, each episode deals with a new case with one or more missing persons. The detectives wander all over NYC until they find the person, and it always happens by 10 p.m. central. Yay!

So, I look at the description of the episode, and here is what it says: Girl goes missing.

Oh, wow! Thank you, DirecTV guide episode info writer! I would never have guessed that on a show about people who go missing that in one special episode, a *girl* would go missing. At least I know it wasn't one of the many episodes in which a boy goes missing. That does help me narrow it down quite a bit.

In the end, I couldn't find anything I really wanted to watch, so my husband and I put on a Jeff Dunham DVD and spent an hour giggling madly over puppets. None of them went missing, male or female.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Saddened, Dismayed, Shamed

I've come to the conclusion that the TV show "Sunset Tan" represents all that is wrong with the world. This pains me to admit, because it involves telling you that I have watched this horror of a "reality" show and because I feel compelled to tell you that I do not intend to stop watching it any time soon because, as with any train-wreck, I cannot look away.

If you haven't seen Sunset Tan, please do not go and watch it now. No. Take my word for it. It's terrible, and you will be able to feel your brain cells slipping out of your ears as you sit there, mouth agape, hoping that this show is not so much reality as someone's idea of a really sad joke. If you have watched it, though, you know what I mean. How much stupid can they pack into thirty minutes of TV? Oh, it's lots. Lots.

The employee drama represents a good portion of the show. It boggles my mind that in all of L.A., the owners of this chain of tanning salons are unable to find anyone to hire who does not appear to be missing key portions of their brain, completely lazy or who actually would perform some kind of work during their shift instead of claiming that 99 percent of what is asked of them is "not their job." Vapid doesn't even begin to describe the employee roster.

And then there are the customers. Ask yourself this. If you'd like to be bronzed and looking as though you've spent a week in the Riviera, would you entrust said bronzing to someone who is the color of an Oompa Loompa, or who accidentally forgets to spray tan part of someone's body (see Olly Girls)? Frankly, if I want to be orange, I can pick up some gloppy self-tanner at my local Walmart. But I digress....

Perhaps the worst offender in the customer realm was the mother who brought in her elementary-school-age child because she apparently didn't look tan enough in previous school pictures. Being the most tanned girl in the class is tres important for the vapid-in-training, according to this mom. Nice. So, despite the obvious discomfort on the part of the child, she is sprayed all over with the Oompa ink, and is later shown all ready for her school picture. When I gazed at this little orange child, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. It was truly a ridiculous sight, so I decided on laughter. But really? There should be a law against artificial tinting of small children. It's wrong on so very many levels.

Actually, "wrong on many levels" would be a great subtitle for the whole series.

Evil Eye

My daughter was in the back seat of my truck today as we cruised down the highway on our way to visit my sister and her husband for the afternoon. She was happily entertaining herself, as she often does on road trips. She's always been a good car baby. And yes, I get to call her a baby, even though she's six. She's *my* baby, after all.

I looked at her in the rear-view mirror once, and she had one eye closed, and was covering it with her hand. I figured it was part of her usual pirate act, though she didn't seem to have the opposite hand curled into her trademark "pirate hook finger."

After a while she said, "Mom, when I cover my eye up with my hand I can see spots. Red spots." I answered, "Yep, that sounds normal to me." Her face was serious, though, and she thought about it for a few minutes, occasionally putting her hand back up to her face. "Mom," she said, "that's how I can see my eeeeevil eye. It's red, with spots."

Evil eye, indeed.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I knew there was a reason...

Kindergarten-age girls have a lot in common with teenagers. The diva-like behaviors my own sweet princess has exhibited lately have left me alternately gasping with abject horror and wondering if she truly is the punishment for all of the attitude I gave my mother during my adolescent years.

She has lost two teeth in the last month or so, and has three more loose teeth, so her sassy soliloquies are now uttered in that distinct, lispy voice that only comes from having gaping holes where your fangs should rightly be. This lends a babyish but all-too-adult air to her conversations these days. From a parent's perspective, the constant spinning between behaviors befitting a toddler and a wisened grandmother is maddening and laughable and frightening, all at the same time.

This morning, however, my daughter woke up in the most pleasant of moods. She's everything that is good about age 6. She's huggy, and kissy, and Mom can we go pick apples at the orchard-ey, and hey Mom I brought you a cookie-ey(!!) and it's pure heaven.

A few minutes ago she was quietly working in the kitchen where I couldn't see her, and I became alarmed at her silence, wondering whether the sweet child had vanished and left a home-destroying demon-girl in her place. I asked her what she was doing in there, without the nerve to actually look, in case the ensuing mess was too much for my delicate sensibilities. She responded that she was just getting some water to clean the floor. Hmmm. Any parent will tell you that if a school-age child is cleaning it usually means a large mess has been created and they're now frantically trying to hide the evidence.

I put on a brave face and peered over the counter to inspect the damage, but there was none, save a few bits of soggy paper towel on the tile floor. I asked her what was on the floor that she needed to clean up. Her answer? "DIRT! Duh, Mom."

I'm glad one of us is concerned about eradicating dirt from the kitchen floor. I knew there was a reason we had kids!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Classically Beautiful

That's what my friend Susan called me tonight. Classically beautiful. I had a stressful day and didn't get enough done and had to get ready for a meeting tonight and my husband was late getting home to take over with Maya so I was rushed getting to town and was feeling very flustered. After my meeting, Susan said, "I was just looking at you from across the room when you were talking and thinking, man, she is just so classically beautiful."

That's the cool thing about friends. No matter what kind of crazy day you've had, a nice word from a friend can put a smile back on your face. :D

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Respect My Wishes. Yeah!

You know how some people say, "when I die, I don't want people to be sad. I want my funeral to be a big party and people should tell jokes"? Well, I am not one of those people.

Granted, I'm not planning on dying any time soon, so don't get any ideas. However, if there are people whooping it up and laughing at my funeral, I'm going to be really mad. Hello? I just died! Why are you laughing?

Also, if I die, no one should believe it if my family says to send donations somewhere in lieu of flowers. Screw that! I want loads of flowers at my funeral. Masses of them! That's not to say that you shouldn't also create a scholarship or something in my name, befitting the huge impact I had on your life. I'm just sayin' don't cheap out on my flowers. Heh.

Don't let my husband bury me in a cut-rate coffin, either, while I'm making requests. Our opinions differ on material goods. He's a saver. I'm a spender. Be sure he knows I require a high thread count lining if I am to rest on it for eternity.

If you're taking this post seriously and you're getting mad that I'm being demanding over a death that hopefully won't happen for many, many years, you should laugh. Because I'm kidding. Except about the laughing at my funeral part. I'm totally serious about that. Y'all better be cryin' it up.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


I generally try to keep things positive and amusing in my blog, but I don't have it in me lately. My husband and I have been trying to get pregnant for a year now, which for those of you not obsessed with all things baby, is the magical cut-off time between "normal couple trying to have a kid" and "ooh, sorry, you may have mystery fertility issues." I thought it would be easy, because, you know, it was with our first. Totally unplanned, in fact. And I was on the pill. But now, six years later, it's not the same.

We thought this was the month. In fact, last week I had a positive HPT. I called my husband immediately, and he was so adorably happy. However, that pregnancy was not meant to be, apparently. Now we're back to square one. And I so didn't want to tell my husband to stop being excited.

If only I were a crack whore or had a terrible home life and abused welfare. Then I'd have no trouble getting or staying pregnant whatsoever.

In other news, my daughter will be starting school next week. I can't believe she's so big and gorgeous. She lost her first tooth last month and has another loose one. She's starting to talk like me, which is funny and alarming at the same time. Poor child is just like her mama.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

And, more rain.

We're now stuck at home thanks to the constant rain. Current estimates are that we've gotten 19 or more inches since Wednesday. The creek near our house reaches flood stage at 23 feet. It's currently at about 29 feet. A town south of us has evacuated some people because they've now gotten over their hundred year flood levels. And the rain just keeps coming! I'm very thankful that our house is up high right now. The idea that we can't go anywhere kind of creeps me out. But, every road that leads to a town is impassable due to high water. A few cars have already been swept off the main road into town. The minor roads into town look something like this:
That's the road that goes by our house, at a low spot about a half mile from home. So yeah, we're not going anywhere. I'm kind of bored.

Rain. And More Rain.

Do you ever wonder what would happen if it just didn't stop raining? I'm wondering that right now. This is day four of nothing but rain. We've gotten at least twelve inches now, maybe more. I was judging from our swimming pool, since I knew where the water level was when the rain started. But the pool started overflowing yesterday morning, so now I don't know. My little garden is the closest thing to the creek that crosses our property. I knew the creek had been out of its banks because my corn is trampled over as though a herd of elephants meandered through. The rest of my garden is flooded, much like everything else. Thank heaven our house sits on a little hill. I saw a house on the way to town tonight where their garage was only inches from flood water. The Pottawatomie hasn't yet reached its peak there, so I wonder if they'll still have those two pickups in the morning?

I hope to go out tomorrow and take some pictures, if I can go anywhere. The river warnings are one thing, but the creeks, streams, ditches, flooded farm ponds and fields present another challenge. The water is still coming. It's pouring right now, in fact, and I can hear the water thundering in the creek and through the culvert at the foot of our drive. Tonight we had to drive over water twice to get home, only an inch or two deep, but this was on main roads. By tomorrow we may actually be cut off from going to town in any direction.

What will happen if the rain doesn't stop?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Hold Me.

There is a menace in my house. Some days I cannot even walk across the living room without being accosted. What is the evil that lurks inside these walls? Well, it all started about a week ago, when I was in Dallas.

You see, I have some imaginary online friends. Some of these friends have, in recent years, fallen victim to a cult. It can be found in many malls and possibly even on the internet (look out! It's behind you!). When I spent a weekend in Dallas, I had no idea that their lust for the tools of this cult would put me in such grave danger. I was but an innocent bystander, dragged into the Lush store, the intoxicating scents and cheery salesgirls overwhelming my senses. And in an instant, I too was hooked. I walked out of the store with a half-million bath bombs and some Happy Hippy shower gel, but those things were not the cause of my troubles. Oh no.

Seemingly innocent in its plastic bottle, the Flying Fox shower gel is a powerful agent of evil. I should have known, really, that buying a product that says "aphrodisiac" on the label was a bad idea, no matter how lovely the scent. When my husband spied the bottle in our bathroom, I was just out of the shower in my pajamas, combing my tresses in front of the mirror. He laughed as he read the label, and asked, "did you just use this?" I answered that I had, indeed, used the Flying Fox, and immediately wished I could take the statement back, because I could see by the evil gleam in his eye what was to come.

I ran from the bathroom just a step ahead of him, but he caught me in the hall. There, I had to endure the most horrible fate since my cousin's chihuahua took a liking to me. Yes, people. My husband pretended to hump my leg. I've rarely been so humiliated in my whole sad life. Since that time, I've taken to using the Flying Fox only when my husband isn't home. Most summers I could hide the telltale scent of jasmine easily, but this year, his allergy medications are working surprisingly well. Combined with his catlike agility, I don't stand a chance. In fact, I hear him coming down the stairs right now. Excuse me, I need to hide under my desk.


I'm trying to get comfortable with cameras again, after far too long away from my beloved hobby. My latest attempts are definitely better, as evidenced by the following shots of my sweet niece:

Sorry, but I am apparently not talented enough to make these images sit side by side. Know what else I am not able to do? Load photo editing software on my Mac. I've gone back to Mac love, and I'm sitting in my basement office right now instead of upstairs in my recliner with my laptop, just so I can be with my trusty Mac. However, I miss the convenience of the .exe file when it comes to downloading and installing crap on my computer. I lack the funds to buy Photoshop (because there's no freaking way I can justify $650 for editing hobby photos), so I use Gimp software, or a very old version of Photoshop that my old boss had a spare license for. The Gimp software is free, and pretty great, except that to install it on a Mac required several web-guru-software-writing programs, which I had to find and install just to get Gimp to install on a Mac. Then in order to get the plugins that I want, I have to download another program, and input a bunch of stuff in the terminal. Can you see how this is all quickly getting me in way over my head?

So, I get everything I need downloaded, I think. I open the terminal and type -
$ cd gimp-sharp-0.12 as I was instructed.
My computer tells me COMMAND NOT FOUND.

Sometimes I think my Mac really does understand me.

Monday, April 30, 2007

Miguel Speaks No English: Part 609

Scene - I'm in the kitchen, doing dishes. Miguel comes over and lurks for a few moments. He's oddly fascinated by my household chores.
Miguel: I need to borrow something. Is small, everyone has in the pocket. For working. (Motions to his pocket, and makes a carving type motion with his hands.)
Me: Umm, my pocket knife?
Miguel: No. Is in your bag. Is small and red. Everyone has. For the working.
Me: (Trying to think of anything small and red in my bag) Uhhh, my iPod? You want to borrow my iPod? I can't think of anything else I carry in my bag that is small and red.
Miguel: (With a WTF? look on his face.) No! Is for the working. (Goes to the front closet and looks in the tool bag.)
Me: Ohhh! The tool bag. I thought you meant *my* bag, like my purse.
Miguel: No, I no say your purse. I say bag. (Holds up a pair of pliers with red handles.) This is what I need.
Me: Those are called pliers.
Miguel: OK, pliers. Thank you.
Me, a few minutes later: (Yelling to him in his room, laughing.) Just so you know, not everyone has a pair of pliers in their pocket!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Me and John Deere

As you might guess, saying the name John Deere gets everyone's ears perking up around here. Or at least the guys, anyway. I spent my Saturday morning at the local dealership, and you'll be glad to know that I came away from that experience with my very own John Deere. Granted, it's a lot smaller than the ones my husband and father-in-law usually drool over, but it will keep my lawn gnawed down to the appropriate height, so we're all happy. Prior to Saturday, we either (a) didn't need to mow because our yard featured only mud thanks to construction and rain, (b) had only the smallest smattering of grass that didn't require mowing because it was too freaking hot for grass to grow, (c) finally had a lawn that was content to be mowed by an old beater mower, or (d) a lawn that was completely out of control because my husband sold the old mower and then we got our tax bill and suddenly freaked out about spending any money therefore rendering our mower shopping over until we could write a check without weeping and leading to a sad incident in which my 5-year-old was convinced that she could control the jungle that was our yard with a small pair of garden clippers.

All of that is in the past, though, thanks to my shiny new yard steed. Considering that our lawn was reaching a state of desperation, and might soon be beyond the help of any mortal mower, I wanted to hop on immediately and get to mowing. But first, I had to learn to use the mower. Remember, I'm a city kid. The lawns I grew up with were much smaller, and frankly, the neighbors would have laughed if you zoomed around your postage stamp twice with a riding mower. Plus, when there was mowing to be done, it was either my garden-obsessed father or industrious mow-for-$10 sister that took care of the business while I lounged poolside working on my tan or cruised the mall looking for a new Hypercolor shirt and pink jelly shoes.

My husband's lesson on the mower began something like this: blah blah hydrostat blah electric choke blah blah blah liquid cooled blah blah. I looked at him blankly for a while, and then said, "uhhh, sweetie? I think this mower might be a little complicated for me if I need to know the inner workings of the engine in order to cut grass." The look on his face was a cross between disbelief and utter pity. He explained again, using smaller, non-mechanical words, and all became clear. Thank heaven, because the daylight, it was waning.

So I mowed. I mowed fast, and mowed slow. I mowed really, really fast just to see what would happen. I nearly overturned the mower trying to figure out how to mow the lagoon dam. I did donuts in the back 40 and laughed kind of a lot. I even had my own little obstacle course going between the apple trees and the creek. After an hour or so on the mower, I got tired of bouncing around over terraces and going around the swingset 40 times and doing a Miss America wave when I passed the front of the house, so I quit. But I felt sort of impressed with myself as I deftly maneuvered the mower into its parking spot after conquering a few acres of unruly fescue. Only later did I learn that my wild mowing had actually managed to puncture one of the tires. Guess I won't be finishing the lawn tomorrow. My husband is being oddly protective of the mower now. See, he used to work at a John Deere dealership, and he serviced lots of new mowers. He's never known anyone before who managed to pop a tire on the very first day.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Splenda and Nutrasweet and Death! Oh my!

Someone on a message board where I'm a member recently posted "warning" other members about the dangers of artificial sweeteners. Frankly, this was enough to brighten up my day a whole bunch. Why? Because people who are convinced that these sweeteners are death machines usually rely on one or more of the many doomsday-predicting websites that have popped up all over the internet in recent years. And those website are funny!

Some of these websites have faux doctors preaching that artificial sweeteners will cause you to develop leprosy, typhoid fever, Ebola virus, fungus on your toenails, peeling lips, ringing in the ears, hair loss in good places, hair growth on inappropriate places, thirst, hunger, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, fatigue, the bird flu, weight loss, weight gain, instant death, to many bowel issues, not enough bowel issues, social awkwardness and foot in mouth syndrome, all at the same time. The good news is that if you buy the faux doctor's book on the evils of artificial sweeteners, you will learn that you can be instantly cured from all of the above ailments simply by not drinking any diet soda or chewing sugar-free gum. $24.95 plus shipping and the rights to your tell-all testimonial about how quitting Splenda saved your life! No medical evidence of such is necessary, naturally.

Other websites add to the hysteria by decorating their manifestos with spinning, flashing skulls and other graphics that convey the appropriate level of fear I should feel when confronted with 12 ounces of death in a Diet Pepsi costume. Because spinning, flashing skulls trump peer-reviewed medical studies every time!

No matter who is running the website, there are always testimonials. Lots of testimonials from people who apparently lack the insight to realize that just because they ate a tub of sugar-free yogurt and later developed the flu-like symptoms, it may not be the yogurt's fault. Sometimes flu-like symptoms mean, you know, the flu. Or that because they chewed 14 sticks of sugar-free gum and got hives, that maybe they're allergic to an ingredient (maybe even the sweetener! gasp!) and just should avoid that product, or at the very least not chew 14 sticks of gum in one day, for pete's sake. But no, hives mean that the product is evil and should be banned from human consumption, just like peanuts and shellfish.

Most of all, reading some of those websites reminds me of when I was pregnant with my daughter and was a member of some pregnancy boards where "is it OK to drink diet soda?" was a daily question from a newly pregnant mom. Some of the gals I met on those boards are still my friends to this day, more than 6 years later. I still giggle when I see mention of aspartame being evil, remembering the speculation over whether my poor, Diet Pepsi-influenced child would be born with five heads or six. As it turns out, she just has the one head, and it's functioning quite well, tyvm.

And as for me, I had thyroid disease before I started drinking artificially sweetened stuff. Recently, when I tried to cut back on sodas, my thyroid disease got worse. Could it be possible that, instead of being a death machine, that Diet Pepsi is actually trying to cure what ails me? I like to think so.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Notes from my Daughter

Yesterday, I was listening to music on my laptop, and apparently M was listening along with me. After "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol played, M said, "Mom, can you put that sad music on again?" After a few seconds, she said, "I really like that sad, sad love music."

Last week, in the truck:
M - Mom, I'm going to find a baby bird in the yard and keep it as a pet.
Me - That sounds like a fun idea. Good luck!
M - I'm going to keep it in the house, so maybe we would need to put Danny Phantom (the cat) in a cage.
Me - Well, normally, if you're going to have a bird and a cat in a house, you put the bird in a cage, not the cat.
M - Hmmm. That's interesting. I think I'd like to name the bird Chirp. Is that a good name?
Me - Yeah! I think Chirp is a cute name for a bird.
M - Oh good. Well, maybe I would like to name it Pecker.
Me - (stifling laughter) Umm, I really think I like the name Chirp better.

Friday, March 30, 2007

One of those days...

I'm almost 30 years old, and today, what I really want is my mommy. Do you ever have days like that? I would love to have a day to hang out at my parents house, eat my mom's delicious cooking, and have absolutely no responsibilities. My parents live on the coast (come to think of it, a beach is also on my list of things I want today), though, so getting there is not easy from my rural midwest location. *sigh*

In other news, the constant rain of the last few days has the wheat looking all lovely and lush, which makes me happy. I like looking out my kitchen window and seeing the wheat waving at me.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Oh Yeah!

I was just looking at one of my old posts, and realized that I forgot to mention that we do (finally) have television channels and (gasp!) high-speed internet here on the farm! We got DirecTV when we built our new house, so yeah, I waited more than a year to break this news on my fabulous blog. I procrastinate. Deal with it! The speedy internet came soon after, which is really, really good because it makes my job so much easier.

So I finally did get to see Sex and the City, though it was in re-runs by the time I saw it, so no one wanted to discuss it with me. Whatever. People here think I'm a movie star when I wear Old Navy, so probably they wouldn't have raved over Jimmy Choos with me. I love my friends in a big way, but I cannot think of even one of them who is even half as girly as me. No one else has shoe love. *sniff* Thank goodness Patty likes to get mani/pedis and shop. She's my only hope!

In other news, my cat is trying to chase the ceiling fan. Poor, dumb kitty.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Miguel No Habla Ingles, Part 10,348

This is the exact text of a message from Miguel that popped up on my phone this afternoon:


I don't even know anyone named Norma.

Friday, March 16, 2007

How Embarrassing!

Tonight, I entertained myself by watching a movie on HBO, and I really, really enjoyed it. If anyone had called me while I was watching it, I probably would have lied and said I was watching Gone with the Wind, or To Kill a Mockingbird, or maybe even Casablanca. I definitely wouldn't have admitted that I was watching Stick It. For the second time. And laughing really hard.

Now, I do enjoy a good cinema classic, and I've seen all of the movies I listed above. But there's something about Stick It that appeals to my completely juvenile sense of humor.

I think it's playing again tomorrow night, so if you were planning to dial me up, you may want to check the TV listings first. If you call while I'm watching Stick It, I'm totally lying to you about it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Miguel Speaks No English: Part 547

My husband told Miguel twice that he needed to set his clock ahead an hour for daylight saving time. Naturally, Miguel indicated that he understood this instruction. However, when the school bus started honking in the driveway at 7:15 Monday morning, Miguel expressed his confusion at why the bus had arrived an hour early. Since he was wearing only a towel around his waist at the time, he missed the bus. In retrospect, shoving him out the door in his towel might have encouraged him to listen more carefully and let us know if he doesn't understand something instead of just saying yes.

Travel, Exhaustion, Illness

I spent the last week in a panic, trying to get ready for a weekend trip to San Diego for work. My panic mostly involved attempts to get the house in a clean enough state that I wouldn't have to come home to a total wreck. After a few days of seemingly endless cleaning, I gave up, because every single time I'd finish one cleaning task, someone else in the house would re-make the mess. Tired of the vicious cycle, I finally decided that if my husband and children wanted to wallow in filth for a weekend, they could go right ahead. So they did.

The only problem with that plan was that when I staggered back to my home after a hellish day of travel, the state of my kitchen and living room was enough to make me weep and curl up in the fetal position in the corner. Of course, I had to move 47 My Little Pony toys, two Playstation games, three plates of stale pizza, nine socks and a homemade statue crafted from cat fur and masking tape in order to make room to curl up and suck my thumb.

Second problem - though I had an absolutely wonderful weekend in San Diego, my sinuses went into a tailspin while I was there, leading to extraordinary pain on the flight home. The extreme pain combined with one delayed flight, two uncooperative airport workers, one re-booking, daylight saving time and a very late night flight home has rendered me an unfunny and exhausted lump of laziness who has no real inclination to leave the comfort of my recliner to actually clean up the messes my uncouth family created while I was gone. So don't drop in just now, eh? Mount Saint Laundry will eat any unannounced visitors.

Enough bitching - here are the good things from my trip:
1. Great ideas for productive work gathered from meetings.
2. Met Carolyn and her adorable boys.
3. Ate sushi for the first time.
4. Met Jess and her adorable son, plus her sweet mom.
5. Wore "young and fun" top to cocktail hour and did not unintentionally expose any body parts or spill any substances down my shirt.
6. Had the bestest long layover ever because the three extra hours in Dallas meant that I got to meet Liesl and Jon.
7. Got a big hug upon my return and a sweet little voice saying, "Mommy, I missed you soooo much."
8. My absense rendered my husband so bereft that he started on our deck, a project that has been on hold for a year. Should I leave more often????

Friday, March 02, 2007

Well, Hello!

Since you're reading my blog, I will assume that you want to know more about me. You love me, I can tell! And since you love me, I will indulge your desire for H-related trivia. I know, you don't deserve this kind of goodness, my naughty little monkeys, but I will give it to you just the same. Yay!

So, where to start, things the average person may not know about me....
1. I'm afraid of sewer drains. Thank you, Stephen King.
2. I've met Stephen King. I won a writing contest and got to meet him during his Insomnia tour.
3. I love horror movies, paranormal stories and cheesy psychic detective TV shows.
4. My shoulders and elbows are double-jointed, or extra flexy or something. I can band my elbows backwards a little ways, and if I hold a belt or long stick behind my back, I can lift it and bring it up over my head and to the front without letting go.
5. I've been a magazine editor, radio DJ, agricultural news writer, baby products expert, copy shop clerk and menswear sales person.
6. I studied horticulture at the university (though it wasn't my primary area of study) but I cannot keep houseplants alive.
7. When I was little, I wished that my name was Margaret.
8. I've known how to sew clothing since I was 8 and taught myself to quilt a few years ago.
9. I'm a certified child passenger safety technician. Please buckle your kids!
10. I've been to Mexico, Costa Rica and China.

And since I've been practicing so hard with my new camera, I will treat you to a rare glimpse of me. Try not to stare!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Girl's Night

Every Friday night I meet a group of gals in town for a rite we call "basketball." This weekly meeting actually did start out on a basketball court, and involved sweating, jumping, showboating and trash-talking, but since we're all getting on in years, one of us was mortally wounded within the first month. Since Barb's doctor told her to lay off the b-ball for a while, we decided to preserve the girl time while she healed by meeting at a bar, so our families wouldn't get used to us being around on Friday evenings. An innocent beginning, yes, but after Barb's injury we've never made it back to the basketball court. In fact, there are women attending our faux basketball nights who have never even played real basketball with us. And it's raunchy. You would definitely not want to seat small children near our table.

I ran errands before basketballing today. I was in the hardware store, and saw my friend's husband, who asked if I was headed to play basketball. I was wearing stilettos, my hair was in an up-do and I had rather large, sparkly earrings on. The look on the cashier's face when I said I was headed to the court was priceless. I'm sure he wondered how I'd ever run across a basketball court in those shoes. :)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Valentine's Day - 1999

Eight years ago today, about this time in the afternoon, I was shopping for something red to wear on my first date with the cute guy I'd been chasing for months. He was adorably shy, and I was impressed that I had successfully lured him out of his quiet shell long enough for him to ask me out. My best friend Janet had helped a bit, too. He had stopped at my house to say hi one day in January, but I was at class. Janet, never one to mince words, said, "Heather isn't here. When are you going to ask her out?" Janet says he turned 8 shades of red and said a hasty goodbye. I love Janet.

He picked me up in his rusted pickup truck, and presented me with a card and a scented candle. The candle was a Bath & Body Works Juniper Breeze candle that his sister helped him pick out, because he was confused by the realm of possibilities for girly Valentine's Day gifts. The card had a hand-written poem on the inside that said:
Your hair is red
Your eyes are blue
Maybe that's why
I can't stop thinking about you.

We had a lovely dinner at a steakhouse, and I discovered that he wasn't really all that quiet once you got him talking. We had almost nothing in common, but we had a great time. When he took me home, he came inside for a bit and we talked until late in the night. As he started through the door to go home, I realized that he was far too shy to kiss me. I touched his shoulder as he walked through the door, and when he turned around, I kissed him. I can still remember the adorable look on his face afterwards. And I was hooked. Luckily, so was he.

About 8 months later he asked me to marry him, and another 6 months after that we walked down the aisle and promised to love, honor and cherish, 'til death do us part. He still has that rusted pickup, and every time I ride in it, I remember that first date and how I was nervous, and he was nervous, wondering if the connection we felt was real. And I still have that Valentine's Day card in my bedside drawer, a reminder of why I first fell in love with my sweet farm boy.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Miguel Speaks No English: Part 483

The other day, the school bus passed by our house without dropping Miguel off. Since I hadn't heard anything about him staying in town after school, I wondered where he might be, but figured an 18 year old was probably capable of finding himself a ride home after whatever post-class mischief he was making. About an hour later, I got a cryptic text message on my phone that said, "I'll be home in 30 minutes. I'll tell you why when I get there." Naturally, I suspected that a friend wrote this message for him, because it used reasonable sentence structure and a contraction, but I digress.

When Miguel arrived home, he explained that, unbeknownst to him, there had been some nominations and voting for winter homecoming royalty. Not only had Miguel been unknowingly nominated and in the running for homecoming royalty for the last week, his classmates had voted for him and he had won the junior class royalty spot. All without even knowing that there was an election going on. He was quite surprised when he was called into the office and asked to be in a picture with some other random people from other classes. He had to ask why they were taking his picture. Heh.

The thing that really irritates me about the situation is that the crappy newspaper in our town was the one that decided to take their pictures after school instead of during school hours like the decent paper does. So they called Miguel to come to the office at the end of school, with no prior notice, and then kept him there long enough that he missed his bus home. I wonder what would have happened if his friends hadn't still been there to drive him 20 miles home? Methinks I would have needed to give the rude newspaper lady a piece of my mind. And not the polite piece, either.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Crazy Sledding Fun

Earlier in the week, the temps in our neck of the woods were well below freezing. Our east irrigation lake was frozen five and six inches thick all the way across, so we spent a full three days out there sledding and ice skating and making merriment with our family and friends.

The boys enjoyed sledding as fast as they could down the hill. When I say boys, I mean all males under the age of 105, as evidenced by.......

this very pixelated photo of my husband riding a sled atop his beloved brother-in-law. The bigger version on my Flickr page is better, so you can see their expressions of sheer joy. Heh.

Even better than just sledding down the lake bank was sledding down the lake bank headfirst into a giant, fluffy pile of snow. No nephews were harmed in the making of this photograph.

Oh, and there were some crazy ladies that kept stealing sleds from the kids and careening wildly across the lake. What were they thinking? And yes, I did make those boys pay for throwing snowballs at the crazy ladies.

Not content to participate in the normal skating and sledding activities, the boys (lead primarily by their insane uncle, who may also be my husband, but I won't admit that for liability reasons) invented their own winter sport - extreme downhill ice skating.

Also, my husband relived the glory days of his youth by jumping over snow piles on his hockey skates to the wild cheers of his fans, a.k.a the nephews.

At the end of the winter fun, everyone was happy. Miguel was happy. Maya was happy. Even the dog was happy. Yes, that dog is smiling. Trust me.

Sometimes the freeze your butt off cold days are the best days. :) You can see the rest of the photos from our winter fun day at Flickr.

I Am My Mother

I find myself drooling over appliances today. Appliances. WTF? I'm a hip chick. I like pretty shoes and cool music and parties. And also high-end washers and dryers with flashing lights and noises and energy efficiencies beyond one's wildest dreams. Even sadder than my initial excitement over the amazing washer/dryer set was that I expected my husband to share my joy. Heh. He's a farm boy who loves meat, potatoes and action-packed Playstation games. Not laundry appliances. As I gleefully explained to him the merits of such a glorious pair of washing and drying devices, complete with hand motions and rising vocal volume, he just stared at me as though I was speaking a foreign language. Oh, but when I mentioned that my chosen appliances had direct-drive motors instead of belt-drive, he did, for one moment, seem to understand my happiness. He expressed his shared enthusiasm with a slight shrug and grunt of approval. Or, at least I'm going to accept that movement as approval, because I'm so buying that washer and dryer. I might even invite my mother to come and see it. I know she'll be just as excited as I am.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Nature, in Farm Boy Terms

My husband is delightfully uncouth in many ways. Since I'm still 12 years old inside, I laugh at the goofy and often impolite things that he says. This makes him happy, when I laugh at what he says Unless he's suggesting that I help with something gross. If I laugh then, I'm in a bit of trouble.

Yesterday, I was rudely awakened well before my customary hour of waking by my husband, who thought that I should go outside in the snow to take pictures of "the whore frost." Naturally, being awoken by such talk made me giggle a little. Whore frost? Really? What did the frost ever do to you!? Apparently, whore frost is what happens when it's foggy but really, really cold in the morning, and the fog freezes onto trees and grass and whatever else is standing still outside. I asked him why on earth the frost would be called "whore," and as usual, he had no idea. It's just what the old folks say, he tells me. I did a little research on the subject, and believe me, you don't want to know what happens when you Google anything with the word "whore" in it. *shudder* As it turns out, the term is actually hoarfrost, and it has nothing to do with sex trade workers at all.

My second favorite farm boy term is "dog pecker gnats." I first heard this term last summer while I was helping my husband put up guttering on our new house. A gnat flew by my face, causing me to swing my arms wildly around and shake the ladder quite a bit. My husband, irritated, informed me that I had nothing to worry about, because this was just a dog pecker gnat flying about, and it wasn't like it would sting me or anything. Umm, frankly dear, if anything that has been remotely near a dog's jimmy is flying in my face, I'd say I have plenty to worry about, thankyouverymuch. Of course, once the words "dog pecker gnat" had escaped his lips, I was laughing so hard that I couldn't adequately express my disdain at having said gnat near my head. I spent the rest of my time on that ladder making up genital-related names for other woodland critters that are commonly found near our home. Watch out for those bunny crotch ticks. I hear they're thick this time of year.

See also, piss elms.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Photo Nerds, Unite!

When I was in high school, I always had my camera with me. For the youngsters, you should know that back in the dark ages of my youth, a whole 15 years ago, that camera was not digital. No, it used a primitive format called "film." My SLR was my constant companion, and I took pictures of anything and everything. I even developed them myself, with no help from a computer or Photoshop. Fancy!

After high school, I put my beloved camera away for a long time. I thought occasionally about getting it out, but the reality of no longer having a darkroom and total control of my images was too much for my artistic little soul to bear. But now, thanks to the DSLR, I am happily snapping pics left and right again, and I get to maintain my control-freak hold on every single one. Woo!

I got my new camera before Thanksgiving. It's a Nikon D50, and I love it. I would really love to have a few thousand dollars to buy more lenses, but for now, I have 3 lovely lenses that do almost anything I want (I have the 18-55mm, the 55-200mm, and the 50mm f/1.8, for you other photo nerds). Don't wave any macro or wide lenses in front of me right now, though. I might bite. Hard.

I put together a collage of photos of my daughter, taken with my new camera, for my parents at Christmas. They promptly hung it on their wall, just like they used to do with my crayon scribbles of yesteryear. My dad called me today and said that a guest in their home looked at that collage and said, "Boy, you can sure tell a difference when a professional is taking the pictures." Be still my heart! Someone thought my pictures were professional-grade. I know they're not, but hey, I fooled one person. That makes me happy.

Flickr thinks I'm a pro, too. It says pro right there on my Flickr page. Yeah, yeah, I had to pay them to say that. Whatever, haters. I'm a pro now!

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

I Am Weeping

The dishes, they pile in the sink
Five minutes after my kitchen is clean
It is now filthy again
And I need more coffee

Now my daughter is sobbing
Because the cat will not
Let her paint his toenails
Or cut his hair

Laundry mountain creeps
Out of laundry room door
Husband's stinky clothes
I don't feel like washing

Friday, January 26, 2007

Have You Met Miguel?

Since I neglected the blog, again, for a loooong time, the two people who read this blog have probably not heard about Miguel. We decided to host an exchange student this year, because we needed just a little more chaos and distraction in our lives, really. Miguel is 18 and he's from Bolivia. He's a good kid, but we have a very big communication problem in our house now because Miguel does not speak English. We expected this in the early days after his arrival in August. I figured he'd catch up once school began. No such luck, although the kid did manage to play football with absolutely no prior experience, develop quite a following of friends at school, and even have a couple of girlfriends within two months of his arrival, so clearly he is successful at some sort of teenage nonverbal communication. He does send a mean text message. I know, because he sent me one the other day, and it took me a good 5 minutes to figure out why the hell my phone was making that sound. Then it took me another 15 minutes to carefully compose and send a response that read, as follows, "OK, thanks."

I was, at one time, fluent in Spanish, so in the first month or so, I'd try to speak in Spanish to him in order to ease the transition. Then I realized that the point of an exchange program wasn't to feel like I was the one in a foreign country, struggling to remember the words for "do you like to eat cheese" in Spanish while standing in my own living room. Also because I'm fairly sure that I told Miguel at one point that I was pregnant, but I'm not really sure. Those Spanish words, they confuse me a bit.

Miguel has been here for about 6 months now. He has acclimated to the weather, a little. He's from the hot part of Bolivia, so I laughed a little when the temps dipped to 45 degrees and he waddled out to meet the school bus wearing a full parka, snow boots, a hat, fleece gloves and a scarf. It's Kansas, sweetie. Call me when it's 20 degrees and I'll help you bitch about the cold. He much prefers the weather in Florida, where we spent Christmas with my family, but at least he isn't trying to turn the heat up to 89 in the house anymore. All of my blankets keep disappearing to his room, though. I'm counting them as loss for now, because I've seen teenage boy rooms, and I will not subject myself to that just for a few blankets. Remind me to put new blankets on my shopping list, eh?

So, after 6 months, you'd think the English would be flowing a bit more freely, right? No. Not so much. He does know how to ask me to use the computer. Fancy that. However, the other day, when I was going to drive him to meet some people to go to an event, here's what went down.

Me: Miguel, you need to be ready to go at 8 tomorrow morning. I'll drive you to town so we can meet the people who will drive you to the city.
Miguel: 8 in the night?
Me: No, 8 in the morning. And you'll have to live without my delicious cooking for 4 days. Too bad for you!
Miguel: (laughing) OK, 8 in the morning. Good night.
Morning arrives. I'm getting myself and Maya ready to go. Miguel is getting ready to go.
Me: OK, are you ready?
Miguel: Yes.
Me: Can you go start the truck?
Miguel: OK
Ten minutes later. Truck is not started. I stomp outside to start truck. Come inside. Miguel is making a sandwich.
Me: Maya, we'll be ready to go in just a second, so hang out here by the door and get your shoes on.
Waiting impatiently. It's 8:05. Miguel is leisurely eating his sandwich. Finally finishes.
Me: OK Maya, you can go get in the truck now while I get my coat on. I think Miguel is ready.
Miguel: Goodbye!
Me: ........

Sunday, January 07, 2007

It's Haaaaaard.

Because my father-in-law is still quite spry and capable of handling the daily running of our farm, my husband works off the farm for now. He is, in layman's terms, being paid to make hootch. My husband is a moonshiner. I'm so proud! It's legal moonshine, mind you, made from the finest corn and sorghum our state has to offer, and some of you probably put it in your gas tank occasionally. Thanks for that, because he's not only an employee, we're stockholders. Doesn't that sound terribly responsible of us? Investing. It's so sexy.

Currently, my husband is filling in for someone who works nights at the moonshining operation. So he has to sleep during the day. Honestly, I wish I could join him, because who doesn't love a loooong afternoon nap when it's 22 degrees outside and you can't venture out of the house for fear of falling in a ginormous pile of snow and being unable to dig one's way out. Not that this happened to me at age 4, leaving me with emotional scars and an irrational fear of snow. Not.At.All. As much as I'd like to sleep the day away, too, my primary job is to keep the house quiet enough for the husband to get adequate sleep before his next hootch-making shift. I only have one child, and one indoor cat. How hard can it be?

Let me give you a little sampling of my day.
9:02 a.m. - Husband goes to sleep.
9:30 a.m. - Child wakes up and has small tantrum because ice cream is not an appropriate breakfast food (she's not a morning gal, to which I can relate)
10:37 a.m. - Child waits until I've gone to the basement to climb atop the piano, playing it with her feet while reaching for an antique china tea set that sits on top.
10:37:05 - I run up the stairs as quietly as possible while hissing, "Nooooo! Daddy is sleeping!" Child hops off the piano with all of the grace and silence of a bull in a china shop.
11:00 a.m. - I wonder if I should even consider showering, because that would leave the child and unruly cat alone for too long. SpongeBob is a powerful attention-getter, but a whole 10 minutes without supervision may even be too much for the Great Absorbent and Porous One.
11:05 a.m. - I sneak, cat-like, to my bedroom door and slip inside, hoping that I can take the world's fastest shower. As soon as I close the door, the cat, who has suddenly learned how doors operate, begins leaping at the outer doorknob and pulling it with his feet, making a loud thwacking sound followed by a frustrated "Mrrrrrowww." He's part Siamese. Not a quiet kitty. Shower plans are canceled.
Noon - I put on a second pot of coffee, lest I doze off in the middle of my quest for silence. As I make lunch, the feline member of our household decides to investigate the meal prep, despite the fact that he has been forcibly removed from the kitchen every other time he attempted this feat. Child, knowing that feline is not allowed on the counter, leaps onto said counter, flapping her arms and hissing at the cat. Cat is alarmed, frightened by the flapping/hissing thing, and departs the counter rapidly, knocking over 3 coffee mugs and a pitcher of grape juice in the process.
1:28 p.m. - Cat finds himself trapped under a blanket and runs willy-nilly under the fabric of doom, making child laugh so hard and loud that I'm sure my husband will exit the bedroom, groggy and peeved, at any moment.
2:45 p.m. - I'm praying for 5 p.m. to arrive quickly, and don't want to start dinner for fear of setting of smoke alarms, or leaving my child unsupervised long enough that she discovers the brass band that is undoubtedly lurking in the messy basement.

Le sigh.