Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Waiting Game

Who likes to wait?  In an informal poll of my friends and acquaintances I found exactly zero people like to wait.  No one likes to wait at the doctor's or dentist's office, the post office, the line at the grocery, or even in their own home for a repair or service call.  No one likes waiting.  It stinks.  Today I am doing the "house arrest" wait.  Some may say waiting at home should not be that bad, its your house, you have your stuff.  However, when a service provider gives you a 4 hour window to be at your house, waiting for their arrival...well suddenly "home, sweet home" becomes a holding cell.  Perhaps because I have sat through some of the "wait windows" only to have someone from the scheduling department call and apologize that it will be a few more hours, or even worse the "reschedule call".  OH NO, NOT THAT!!!!  So I wait with some degree of trepidation, expecting the worst so I will pleasantly surprised when I only have to wait three hours of the four hour window.  If a service provider shows up in the first hour of the window it is almost like Christmas coming early.  I dare say I may seem over eager and giddy and I am pretty sure the poor, punctual soul sent to my home thinks I am slightly demented.  I start to consider making them coffee, or offering a soda, and a light snack.  I have done this before and the person always politely declines, and always has a puzzled look upon their face.  I am never sure if it is because no one else ever offers refreshments, or because it is against company policy to accept refreshments, or they are now 100% certain that I am demented.  I am just floored by the person being punctual.

As a rule I run early for most things.  It is just how I am wired.  I am early for doctor's appointments when I know that my doctor runs 15 minutes behind on a very good day.  It is who I am, it will not likely change.  I try to not hold my friends to my same punctual standards because it may be a slightly OCD thing.  I call if I suspect I may be as little as 5 minutes delayed by traffic or weather.  Yes, it is nutty. In my world it is okay to have a few (less than be exact) OCD tendencies.  No, I do not have a degree in psychology, it is just my rule of thumb.  I would be horrible in a job where I was the service provide that needed to show up within a 4 hour window.  I would feel as if I failed if I was not 10 minutes prior to the wait window.  The apologies would be flowing like a river.  I would probably carry goody bags to offer as some apology gift for not being early.  And once again, people would find me utterly demented.  I would never be good at making people play The Waiting Game.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Okay Already

I enjoyed my summer break.  I enjoyed it right through the second week of school being back in session.  However, there are people out there pushing me to blog.  Thank you, I am flattered.  I am a bit of a people pleaser,  so I will get back to it.  There are a stack of post-it notes with observations, musings, and utter foolishness for me to toss up for your consideration.

Last night I spent the evening at my daughter's middle school, holy loads of writing material.  Biggest observation, not all parents get their outfits approved by their child...clearly.  Or, some people do not have a full length mirror (FYI- such an item can be purchased for under $20).  I would have b**** slapped my mother if she would have dressed like me as youth.  Ladies, you do not have to wear "mom jeans", but you really, really, really, REALLY should not wear skinny jeans.  Accenting the thinness of your ankles really only draws attention to the fact that your hips have birthed children.  No shame in rocking the curves, just rock them in a flattering way.  The graphic tee-shirt is also for the weekend at home, the gym, and that is about it.  (That is my sermon of the day)

So that is a glimpse into the dangerous mind that has more than plenty to say about sooooo many things.  I may even have something nice to say...maybe.

Cheers to the weekend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Hello my neglected readers.  Now you have a glimpse of how the family goldfish feels.  I hope you were feeding yourselves and reading other things.  I would hate to think anyone became illiterate whilst I was on my hiatus.  I also hate to think reading what I write makes you highly literate, or even remotely well read. That would be extreme hubris on my part, and I will have none of it.  On this day I will catch you up on what I have been doing, and observing while I was not writing here.

  1. Relay for Life.  This will be my second year participating in my local Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society.  ACS provides education, awareness, and support for people with all types of cancer.  It is an event that I do with some of my friends from church.  We are decorating our tent around the theme Alice In Wonderland .  I have been dreaming the plan, and now need to revise it a bit, since the goal is to raise money for cancer, not to go broke decorating a tent.  Please feel free to support the cause by clicking on the following link and making a donation.  Thank you.
  2. Anacondas.  My sweetman (the 2nd grader) just completed a Talking Zoo project at his school.  He researched the Anaconda, made a great poster, wrote a paper, and then dressed up as an Anaconda and gave a brief speech about his animal for parents and other kids at his school.  As you may have guessed, a seven year old can not make a his sewing challenged mother made the costume for him.  I will post the pictures on a later post, since I do not have the pictures uploaded to this computer.  It turned out well.  It was a long process (16 feet long to be exact).  No tears were shed, but some red wine consumed in the process.  (by me, not my son).  If you need a 16 foot stuffed Anaconda, please let me know.  
  3. Yards of Yard.  We have a large lot for people living in the suburbs.  Often guests at our home comment on the large backyard.  I hear people talk about how they love to garden and do yard work.  Those people should have bought our house.  My beloved hates yard work.  I am allergic to grass, yet still mow the lawn.  I see the yard as a bit of torture.  None the less, I have been doing the clean up of the property.  It is wonderful to see when it is complete, but the process is time consuming and awful.  My parents love to garden and care for their lawn.  Sadly, the gardening gene did not get passed on to me.  So I have been very grouchy about the lawn care.  Good news, my son said he would like to mow lawn.  So in a couple years I may have partner on grounds keeping detail.
  4. Show Some Pride America.  Here is my meany observation of the week.  People have become too casual about how they dress in public.  Monday I was at the grocery store and I saw numerous people dressed in baggy sweats and pajama pants out in public.  It was early afternoon and these people were grocery shopping in what appears to be the same clothes they slept in the night before.  I am not asking everyone to be a style star.  I just want people to stop wearing pajamas and sloppy sweat pants out in public.  People have to see you, and you look really hideous.  Yes, the grocery store is a dull, but necessary place.  We all have to go the grocery.  Let us be civil to others by trying a little bit.  Quit wearing sleepwear outside your home.  Make it a matter of personal pride to get dressed EVERYDAY. No matter what.  Please. 
That, in a nutshell, covers what my April has been like.  I will now go put on proper day clothing, and start my campaign to keep the jammies at home.
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Writing by Force

Okay, so I have been slacking this week.  In truth I have just had a lot of little things that needed to get done.  It is funny how little things can add up and take a little longer than you thought and then is Thursday and you have not written a blog post all week.  That is how it goes sometimes.  However, I am writing this because a friend, who is a faithful reader, pointed out my blog neglect.  This friend also happens to be going through a bunch of changes and challenges right now.  Here is a sneaky peek...she is changing jobs (which is great) and the house she is living in with her spouse and two kids has a septic tank issue that the landlord is refusing to fix.  So now with a job change, she faces finding a house (in the same school district) before the sh** hits the fan.  Okay the sh** likely will not hit the fan, but it may well back up all over the floor...which is just as bad.  This makes my piddly little stuff look like child's play.  However, we all have sh**, not all of us have it literally, like my friend, but we all have it.

So I write by force today, because she looks forward to reading my crazy musings.  Too bad for her, it is her struggles that have made me realize that I have just a million little things, while she faces actual sh**.  This is the time when I wish I could have a village of all the people I love, that have touched my life, that mean the world to me all centralized.  My friend lives in Florida, so from Michigan all I can do is pray that everything will come together and work out...FAST.  I hate thinking that people I care about are struggling.  Even while I struggle.  We all struggle.  I just do not like people I care about to have anything but good things.  Yes, that is a fully impossible thought.  We can not only have the good and easy life.  Frankly, if life was only good and easy we would be miserable with it.  Seriously.  How would we know the good and easy times without the struggles & challenges?  It used to make me crazy when I would hear people say, life's challenges & struggles are the times when we, as humans, grow and build character.  Time, and this statement proving true, over and over again, has made me not only accept this statement, but somewhat embrace it.  Reflecting on past personal challenges that caused struggle and discomfort, and often extreme frustration...then great personal growth, makes me a little thankful for the challenge.  In the midst of any personal crisis, I know that it will somehow work out and I will have learned a thing or two.

I am praying for my friend's current struggle will come to a good resolution...soon.  I know that she is a smart woman, she is resourceful, and she is a fighter.  I am still sad that she and her family have this struggle, but I know that everything will work out for them...hopefully sooner rather than later.  And I thank her for making me write by force, because my own words have helped me put some perspective on my own life.  Thank you, my friend.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Five for Friday

This week has been unseasonably warm, forcing the spring cleaning to start a bit early...but hey worse things can happen.  Here are my five horribly disjointed thoughts for this week.

  1. The Hunger Games.  I read the book in two days.  I loved it, so I will likely be highly critical of the movie.  Why did I read it?  Good question.  I was going to NOT read the book and just see the movie with my 12 year old, who has read the whole series.  However, I have a reading problem, and I was between books, so I read it.  Honestly, from what my daughter had told me about the books, it was not in my general interest area.  Not a huge fan of post-apocalyptic fiction.  Pleasantly surprised that it held my attention.  It is a very disturbing world that this is set it, but does make one think.  Yes, I will read the next two books...eventually.
  2. The Vegetarian in My House.  I am very much enjoying finding meat-free meals for my daughter who gave up eating meat for Lent.  My favorite thing thus far are spinach/chickpea patties.  Very tasty.  The only thing holding this family back from being vegetarian is my beloved and bacon.  Yes, my daughter admits she misses bacon.  Not that she ate it everyday, but she has been known to order a veggie burger with bacon and cheese. Bacon is a delicious treat, but it is certainly not within the vegetarian realm.  Perhaps I will look into meat-bacon substitutes...that sounds disappointing already. 
  3. Telling Time.  I recently had an experience that made me realize that kids very much struggle with telling time on an analog clock.  Life is just too digital.  I know that this is a skill that is worked on in early elementary in school.  However, this skill is not practiced and reinforced at home, because clocks with actual hands are almost non-existent in homes.  Trust me, I have looked.  Most places have digital clocks.  It makes me wonder if this is even a necessary skill?  Just a odd thought.  I am not anti-analog clock, or telling time.
  4. Clowns are Scary.  I am afraid of clowns.  Yes, the jovial kid's party entertainers put me in a state of panic.  I have never been to a circus.  I often say it because I feel the circus is cruel to animals, the elephants, lions, and such.  I do think that is cruel.  Not as cruel as people painted up oddly, wearing large shoes, and horribly mismatched clothes.  Clowns are really freaky.  I break out into a cold sweat when see clowns.
  5. Follow me on Twitter.  I signed up for Twitter.  I am not sure why.  I blame the media for always talking about "tweets" and and everyone having an "@________".  So if you are a Twitter-bug follow me @AllieMomma99.  I have only composed but a few tweets, but I may get better.
Happy Weekend!  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

My Funny Greyhound

The great thing about greyhounds  is they sit still enough to
stack a toy on their head
Yesterday, it was confessed that we are bad fish caregivers.  However we are excellent dog caregivers.  We have photo proof of so many of Ninja's cute and sleepy exploits.  She is a wonderfully patient dog.  We have heard that greyhounds, as a breed, are just easy going and good family dogs.  This is very true.
Sometimes two toys

Occasionally she does naughty things like using the
pillow of my daughter's friend who put her sleepover stuff
on the floor. (She even fell asleep on the pillow)
Honestly, adopting the greyhound was one of the best  choices we have ever made regarding pets.  Ninja likes everyone, very seldom barks, and enjoys sleeping.  She also likes going for walks and running her fast laps in the backyard.  
Sure, we missed the puppy phase of her life because she was raised to race, then raced for a year or two. She came to live here as a 3 year old, retired racer.  Retirement suits her well.  If you need a breed of dog that is friendly, loving, and a source of comic relief...consider adopting a greyhound.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Wicked Wednesday

Fish Neglect.  Yes, our topic today is fish neglect.  Neglect is a terrible, wicked thing.  Even more wicked is to be brought into a home where someone pledged to properly care for you, but then forgets you almost completely.  This is the sad lot of our resident fish.  My son has a goldfish, Rutledge, and everyone, including my son forgets about the fish.  Terrible.  The poor thing gets fed, almost everyday, mostly.  Generally because I walk in my son's room and Rutledge starts kissing the surface of the water and it makes a splooshy sound.  Then I stop and think, "Huh, did anyone feed that little fellow?".  I always assume that everyone else forgot about him too, so I dash a healthy helping a fish flakes in the water, (who knows if anyone will remember to feed him tomorrow?)  I am usually correct, no one has fed him.  Fish are just too easy to overlook.  It is unfair that he lives with us, we are not good fish people.

Why do non-fish people have a fish?  Fair question.  My son this past summer got the notion that the cat and dog that live with us are not "his".  He wanted personal dominion over some pet.  What this wonderful boy did not realize is that the cat and dog have dominion over all of us.  Yes, the cat and dog dictate when we get up (the dog alarm clock) and when (and if) we go to sleep (the cat gets lonely and meows at night).  Pet care is very demanding at times.  The expelling of hairballs at 2am is unnerving, frustrating, and maddening.  A dog that barks, growls, and whines when sleeping is just creepy.  Especially considering that the dog does not bark, growl, or whine when she is awake, unless majorly encouraged with treats.  Cleaning up the poo in the backyard, and on walks... is not one of the joys of pet companionship.  I have said it before, I will say it again, the pets own us.  Sure, they are cute and sweet, but pets are a huge responsibility.  That is why I have never understood why people give pets as gifts to children.  Children can not fully care for the needs of cats and dogs.  I fully believe this, and yet, we got the boy a fish.  Just a goldfish.  I thought, he can handle a fish.  You feed it, change the water, and that is it.  Yes, that is pretty much it.  Oh wait, you have to REMEMBER to feed it and change the water.  That is the hardest part of caring for a fish.  A fish will not flop out of its bowl, fin along the floor to your room, and slap you with a cold fin to wake you up to let it out and feed it.  Nope, the fish just swims in circles in the bowl on the dresser.  A fish will not meow and yowl until you fill its food & water bowl.  Nope, the fish just swims in circles in the bowl on the dresser.  The fish gets neglected because it is not annoying enough.  It turns out around here you need to make your needs known in a dynamic way in order for those needs to be met.  Serenely swimming, waiting for someone to put away clothing in the dresser that is your perch is not enough for this family.  Perhaps a piranha would be a better fish for us.  A fish we would have to reckon with if it went unfed.  Rutledge just seems content to swim in semi-murky water and indulge himself in the guilty over-feedings.  He is too polite.  Polite pets finish last around here.  This is the home of the bold.  Negative and semi-obnoxious behavior gets awarded with attention.  Sweetly swimming in a bowl only earns neglect.  Sorry Rutledge, you deserve better, but you have us, the wicked people guilty of fish negligence.

Now I better go clean that fish bowl, before I forget about it. Oh, and maybe a dash of fish flakes too!

Monday, March 19, 2012

All Kinds of Blindness

Last night I was watching 60 Minutes, yes the durable television news show, and no, I did not then look for Murder She Wrote reruns to watch afterward, (but I thought about it).  First of all I love 60 Minutes, always have, even as a child.  This fact has nothing to do with my topic today, but I feel it necessary to let you know that if it is covered on 60 Minutes, it is relevant to me.  I also miss Andy Rooney, and felt like he was own crabby granddad (he was not).

Anyway, the wonderful Leslie Stahl did a piece on Face Blindness.  What?  Yes, some people can not visually discern between faces.  Even the faces of their own family members.  All faces just look like eyes, nose, and mouth.  Facial features between people are indistinguishable to those afflicted with face blindness.  This seemed so amazingly odd to me.  All the people that were interviewed for this piece were of normal (and a few of extremely high) intelligence, and had successful careers.  Some had families, one woman could not identify a picture of her own daughter's face.  Really these were regular people that can not recognize faces.  This was simply astonishing to me.  These people rely on voice, body shape, and other features to identify people.  So the changing of a hair color or style, could result in a face blind person not recognizing you at all, even if it is a close co-worker or spouse or sibling.  The kicker...most of these people did not realize they had an issue recognizing faces until adulthood.  They all admitted they were always challenged in social situations, but had (and still have) no idea what they are missing.

My son is colorblind.  It is a genetic trait so he always was and will see color in a way that most of the population will never understand.  Yes, most colorblind people can see color, but differently, a bit more muted in shading.  Their world is not black and white. Complete color blindness does exist, but is very uncommon. Honestly, I did not have confirmation that my little guy was colorblind until a year ago.  All through pre-school and kindergarten he identified colors on all assessment with no concerns mentioned by his teachers.  Looking back, this is pretty amazing because some shades of greens, blues, purples, and grays are all very similar for him.  He compensates by memorizing shadings and having reference items for colors.  It is quite amazing that at seven years old he does this.  Then I remember, that is all he knows.  He has no idea what he is not seeing.  I only know from doing some research how he does see things, but only in a very limited way.

 Normal color vision seeing
 rainbow colors.

 My son seeing rainbow colors with his
type of color deficiency.

These are the rainbow color pictures that I  found most helpful in understanding red/green color deficiency.  Which is my son's type.  There are several types of color deficiency.  Selfishly, I only care about the one that effects him.  Mostly because I have to help him in some situations.  I am completely amazed that we had no idea.  It really shows how much people can compensate for conditions.  I also feel sad when I look at the two different pictures of a rainbow, because I can see how many colors he will never see.  However, as I said before, he does not know, he will never know.  FYI, his favorite color is blue, which is cool because know we are seeing the same thing.

These two examples of blindness, that those afflicted have no idea what they are missing, remind me that we all have blindness in our life.  Most of our blindness can not be diagnosed by doctors like face blindness and colorblindness. Some people are blind to other people's feelings, some are blind to bad relationship patterns,  some are blind to their own ignorance.  We all are a blind in some way.  Perhaps going through our whole lives not knowing what we are missing and not seeing.  Sometimes this is good, sometimes it is bad.  I know that my son's color blindness has helped me understand him in a different way.  I admire how hard he has to work to compensate, and he has no idea.  My spouse often puts things in perspective for me at by saying, "You know, sometimes we don't know, what we don't know".  And I guess that statement covers all kinds of blindness.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Freshing Up

The old blog has undergone its Spring clean up. I applied a new design template. Moved and added some of the sidebar stuff around, added a topic cloud... I love clouds. I feel like I just redecorated. If only cleaning up my house was so easy and yielded such a quick result.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Five for Friday

Today I blog to you from my hair dresser's chair. It is color time. It has been a busy week...but I will get to that in my five things...maybe.

1. I am really bad about getting my hair done. I love the results. I hate the greys. However, sitting and waiting for the magic to happen drives me nuts. Thus, today I am writing while things develop or process or whatever they call it.

2. Chicken Shwarma. My beautiful daughter had a day off school yesterday and we went out for lunch. It was such good fortune on my part that she wanted Middle Eastern food. We also had a nice talk over our very garlicky lunches. She had felafel, since she is not eating meat currently. I got two fixes in one, yummy food and the best company in the world. What a blessing.

3. Planting & Growing with Wolves. I am a den leader for my son's Wolf Cub Scouts. Eight energetic 2nd graders planting vegetable and grass seed went better than I expected. I had a vision of soil and water all over. Fortunately we went outside to plant our tiny container gardens. The funniest thing was one boy having a minor fit over having dirty hands from planting. I am not sure there is a clean way to plant. If there is I have never learned it. Never before has this boy had an issue with being messy. It must have been the day.

4. Unseasonable warmth. It is a record. The furnace was turned off at my house on Monday. Never in the month of March, in Michigan, have I turned off the heat. We also opened the windows. I am starting to think I have moved into another climate. I only shoveled once this winter. ONCE. Crazy. I am not complaining, just a bit thrown off by the oddness of it all.

5. Looking for "Followers". Not actual people to follow me around and doing my bidding (although, if you know someone that is crazy enough to do that...I will meet them for coffee). Once again I ask you my sweet reader to follow my blog (look to the right and do what it says). Also if you really enjoy a post you read here, please share it with a friend, or on your Face Book or Twitter feed. I also welcome comments, always. Thanks for reading and giving me more inspiration to write.

Happy Weekend. Here is to new color and WiFi!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wicked Wednesday

This week Wicked Wednesday is dedicated to truly wicked people. You know the people I am talking about. They are always crabby and willing to share a heaping measure of  misery with others. In fact these people almost always seem almost joyful about being jerks. The miserable, truly wicked people are on my mind today because recently one of my dear friends had a run in with a very awful person. My dear friend Louise is honestly sweet to the core. She is kind, giving, and very seldom crabby. (And an amazing optometrist...highly recommended by this particular blogger)  This past week she was verbally assaulted by an extremely angry crossing guard by her son's school. Yes, a crossing guard that helps children cross the street.  Admittedly, my friend pulled her car across the cross walk while waiting in the pick-up line. Louise is not usually the "pick-up" person, she was helping out a neighbor, so when she did this she was unaware of her faux pas. The angry crossing guard who pounded upon her car window and proceeded to yell at her,  pointed out her mistake, while also hurling some very unfair and untrue assumptions about Louise. That is right, the woman yelled at her. Instead of making Louise aware of her pick- up line error in a polite way, this woman just yelled at her. I am sorry, but that is not okay. Yelling is just not an acceptable way to communicate anything, well I guess it communicates that the yeller is angry and unstable, but it does not convey a message very well.

When I heard about this incident it reminded me that civility seems to be optional in society. Not for me, but for many. Last week I shared about the cell phone yelling lady at Bed, Bath, and Beyond...she was scary.  Granted she was being uncivil to her own family, but one might imagine her ire could be turned upon a stranger as well.  In restaurants I overhear patrons talk in rude ways to the server when their meal or some aspect of service is not to their liking. I hear uncivil tones at the grocery, the gas station, and so many other places. Why? Why are people so rude? It does not matter if it is a stranger or a familiar person, the tone in society has become wicked. Not the fun, devilish scamp wicked that this blogger likes and highly endorses. No, there is an ugly wicked tone in society today. I do not approve or enjoy it at all.  It is downright awful.

Obviously, I do not advocate being a passive doormat. If you get a bad meal at a restaurant, please do let your server know in a polite way. If someone gets in front of you in a long line, give them the benefit of the doubt and nicely point out where the line starts. Generally, people are easily confused by crowds and lines. Most people are not trying to get away with cutting. I know that I am pretty embarrassed when I make a big crowd faux pas, like cutting or blocking an aisle. If someone kindly points out the issue, I am fine with correcting my error. If someone yells at me to point out my error, I correct the problem, feel embarassed, and then mentally plot what I would do to that person if I were an uncivil, angry, jerk.(Note: I am rather creative, and the jerks of the world should be grateful I am too civil to ever carry out any evil plots)  I do not like thinking mean thoughts about people. I like to believe people are good intentioned and do not try to make others feel like garbage. Sadly, some people do like to make others miserable. Some people live to make other people feel like garbage. I  feel bad for those people because clearly something I their life has turned them sour and wicked (again, not the good wicked, like your beloved blogger).  Life is not always a bowl of cherries. In fact it is seldom is ideal and serene.  Things go wrong.  Life is often messy, my life, your life, and the lives of angry, miserable, yelling jerks.  Often the only thing a person can control in a situation is how they choose to react.  I choose civility.  Sure, I get mad, frustrated, and even angry at times. I also firmly believe and strive to practice the old adage, "You catch more flies with honey".

I would have rather posted about a silly, wicked scamp of piece today.  However, for my friend who was a recent victim of an uncivil person, I felt compelled to write about something truly wicked in society.  Go forth and be gentle to others.  Nobody is perfect, but you do not need to point it out unkindly, or at high volume.

My friend agreed to the pseudonym "Louise" and kindly allowed me to share her brush with the uncivil crossing guard.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Whimsical Gargoyle Tuesday

This is a bit of child art.  We have a lot of kid art because my daughter is a very creative, artsy type person.   The gargoyle is one of my favorite pieces of her work.  I like the color, and the rather smug, self-assured grin on his face.  It is very whimsical.  She made this a couple years ago.  Lately her art has taken the form of  music.  She plays clarinet, bass clarinet, and recently picked up a saxophone and discovered she can play that too.  It is impressive to see how easily music comes to her.  Impressive because I never easily took to any instrument.  I tried a few and found frustration.  I love to listen to music.  My beloved is a musician and has clearly passed his musical aptitude to our daughter.  I am not sure where her visual arts ability came from (perhaps it is all her own). I do know that I grin much like this gargoyle when I hear her playing any of her instruments.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Test-Drive Challenge

Let us file this under "S" for sketchy...but it is only slightly sketchy...I blame it on TV.
On a Good Morning America segment there was an offer of a $25 gift card for test driving a particular make and model of car.  My car loving son was getting his shoes on for school when he heard this offer during the Freebie Friday segment.  He then insisted that I test drive that vehicle for the gift card.  Silly.  Not so silly that I would not do it, but silly none the less. It felt like a dare.  Dares are fun.   It has been mentioned here before that I lack a general sense of caring about vehicles.  I do however like a challenge. I figure going in and test driving a car I really know nothing, or care nothing about would be a challenge.  I needed to seem sincere about the vehicle, but no so interested that I walk out with a monthly payment.  I called the dealership and set up a time for a test-drive so I would not chicken out.  My son went to school so I would not have him pushing me to drop by the dealership.  I am a complete stickler for an appointment, it obligates me to follow through.  After I made the appointment I began to slightly panic because of my lack of caring about cars.  A person was going to ask me what I look for in a vehicle and I honestly have two requirements...

  1. The vehicle starts
  2. The vehicle moves
Really.  That is all I care about.  Sure I have colors I like and do not like, but even that is not very important.  Now I needed to appear that I cared about features.  It was becoming abundantly clear why I had never test-driven a vehicle before.  I am not picky about cars, as long as it fulfills my two requirements I am happy.  My dad or husband had test-driven and recommended all of my vehicles for the past 23 years.  YIKES!  

Furthermore, I was test-driving a foreign car.  I have only driven American cars.  Perhaps a couple rental cars were foreign, but as for ownership...I am a domestic.  But an appointment was set, so it had to happen.  And the $25 gift card, my motivator.  Oh, and I knew I would write about the experience.  Secondary motivation. son wanting me to do it, the whole reason I even considered it at all.  Full of motivation, and coffee, I headed to the dealership for my test-drive.  My very first solo-trip to a car dealership.  This was the loop in my brain on the 20 minute drive...
  • Ask smart questions
  • Emphasize that you are just starting the car shopping process
  • No dumb questions
  • No buying (okay that would be easy)
  • Have fun
Over and over those things ran through head.  Realizing I was doing something new and different was exciting.  Playing the part of someone who actually was interested in cars was a true challenge.  Until I pulled in the parking lot and saw the type of vehicle I would be test-driving. (Really, I had no idea what it looked like I knew the make and model when I made the appointment.  I never looked at any pictures on the website)  It was a lovely sedan.  A sedan.  No sliding doors.  Four hinged doors.  And a trunk.  Not a rear lift gate.  This car was everything that I do not drive, and I had only seen the outside.  I spoke with the salesman about my vehicle needs (I added more that my initial two needs) then he made a copy of my drivers license, grabbed the keys, and we headed out to drive.  Yes, I am describing this step by step, because never before have I been the person anyone talked to in the car dealership.  Up until this point I had been the backseat person.  The little lady.  The "Mrs.".  Pretty much all things that make me annoyed in most situations, but since I have complete apathy for motor vehicles, I have accepted my diminished role in the automotive selection process.  It was nice to be asked the questions about what I am looking for in a vehicle.  It was nice to be directly spoken to and told about features.  It was nice to be the driver during the test-drive.

The vehicle I drove was pretty "loaded" with nice options.  Sunroof over the driver and passenger seats, heated /cooled leather seats (front and back), heated steering wheel (that is nice), push button ignition (very suspicious of this feature...I like keys), and it was a lovely titanium color with a bit of metallic fleck in the paint.  It drove quite and smooth, accelerated nicely.  I felt rather luxurious as compared to my almost ten year old, very trustworthy mini-van.  This vehicle did not scream, I AM A MOTHER OF TWO, or I BAKED 3 DOZEN CUPCAKES FOR THE BAKE SALE, or SURE, I CAN DRIVE FIVE KIDS ON THE FIELD TRIP TO THE ZOO.  No, this vehicle really did not say who the driver was at all.  It was almost too anonymous for me.  Yes, it was fun and a little cool.  It takes a lot for a non-car person to find a car cool.  The new car smell was nice.  However, I only have two real requirements for a starts, and it moves.  The other features I like about my current vehicle is it gives my current credentials.  I am very okay with my three rows of seating, and the lack of coolness my vehicle projects.  I am not my car.  My car is not me.  It is a way to get from here to there and back.  It is all I need.  I will worry about projecting my own image outside of vehicle.

The added bonus is the $25 gift card that I will get in 6-8 weeks after I send in my test-drive certificate.  I did this as a lark, and to make my car obsessed son happy.  What I gained was a new experience, a writing topic, and a new found appreciation for my current vehicle. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Five for Friday

Ahhhh, Friday.  The day that this particular blogger's thoughts turn to the weekend family fun, a possible nap, and boxed red wine.  It also means I can produce five disjointed thoughts into one semi-cohesive blog entry.  I love randomness.  It may be one of my favorite things.

  1. I wish there was summer camp for adults.  Swimming, hiking, arts & crafts, singing, campfires, and staying up giggling until the crabby camper yells and makes people shut up. (There is always a crabby camper, they have grown up and now work at the post office or the DMV).  I envy my children heading off for various camps this summer.  I know I had my time.  I just want to do it again, as an older and wiser camper.  My lanyards would have so much more artistic integrity now.
  2. Taco Bell is gross.  I am in the minority in my family, and perhaps the whole world, in not liking the faux Mexican food. I lose the battle of where to stop for food on road trips because we are far too democratic for my liking.  I have learned that the bean burrito is the least offensive item on the menu.  In college I was also the lone inebriated person that did not want to indulge in a "run for the border".  As my fellow revelers consumed tacos by the dozen, I would eat crackers and pretzels or just go to bed.
  3. We had a beautiful, windy, 60 degree day  on Wednesday.  This day brought all the neighborhood kids outside to ride bikes, kick soccer balls, and just be kids.  I took the opportunity to open up both sliding doors on the mini-van and clean it out.  (I know. I am too much fun.  I should dial it back a bit).  Anyway, the van is cleaned and vacuumed.  When I hopped in my sweet ride on Thursday I had forgotten about the cleaning.  It was like a surprise party.  No joke, I was thrilled with the clean floor mats and lack of debris.  Who knew a person could surprise themselves?
  4. The Big Bang Theory, to say I love this show is a gross understatement.  The writing on this sitcom is so insanely amazing it makes me sick.  Who would think a show about university researchers could be so funny?  I do not understand what they do, all that science and theory and numbers.  Turns out it does not matter.  If you do not watch this show, give a chance.  It is a delight.
  5. Chicken Shwarma.  I have said it before, I will say it again.  I LOVE IT.  Sadly, chicken shwarma is not a food I can successfully prepare at home.  The pita bread, the seasoned chicken, the pickles, and the garlic sauce are just not ingredients I can properly do justice with at home.  There are two restaurants in the area that make slam dunk, perfect shwarmas.  I also do not eat it alone.  It is a food of friendship and sharing.  Okay, I do not share the shwarma in the way of a split order, but I do need to have someone with me to eat it.  This is the only food that I refuse to consume alone.  Why?  I am not entirely sure.  It is just a food that needs to be eaten with a friend.  That being said, I have not had any shwarma in 2012.  It is time for me to drum up some lunch buddies. Or change my silly rule  
All the best for a great weekend!
Live. Laugh. Love. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Fraud Alert

First of all this has nothing credit card or identity theft.  This has to do with math.  I am a math fraud that is about to be exposed.  I have never enjoyed math.  I have taught elementary math.  While teaching math I never let on that I am no fan of mathematics.  No, in fact I would talk about math like it was an old friend.  I would sing the praises of long division whist talking through the annoyingly long process.

  • Fractions are fun.  
  • Multiplication  is marvelous.  
  • Subtraction is sublime.  
  • Addition is amazing.  
Yes, I have said all of those things.  I may have even made bulletin boards about all the awesome functions of mathematics.  The truth is I really do not like math, at all.  I am just an expert at putting a good spin on a bad subject.  This fake love of math has served me well.  My kids think I like math.  I have helped them with homework over the years and they have heard the happy song and dance about how awesome numbers and math are.  However, they were young and the math was easy.  Now my daughter is in pre-algebra.  The terms she talks about sound familiar, but I can no longer keep up the charade that I am wise on all things mathematical.  I am likely to to be more of a hindrance than a help if she asks me a homework question now.  My daughter is about to learn that I am a math fraud.  No great confessions are going to made.  No, it will be a subtle realization on her part that her mother is not a math girl.  I wish were, but I am not.  My daughter is a math girl.  She has always liked math and science.  My husband is an engineer and a gifted math man.  She takes after him in her linear, logical, science based mind.  I am word girl, and now my words have gotten me in trouble.

Now, I am am a fraud.  Soon to be exposed.  Perhaps I should have never overstated my love of math.  My mother always said she hated math and was bad at it.  So it was easy for me to feel the same way.  I never wanted my daughter to feel the same way. In my zeal to turn the tides and have a math loving kid,  I overstated my case, and now I must live my fraud existence.  I know that my daughter will be good at math, even when she finds out I am not a math fan.  I am just feeling a little glum that she will know I am a fraud.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wicked Wednesday

It is time again to be wicked.  I can not help myself.  Actually, I could help myself if the outside world did not continually act foolishly when I am around.  This week my wickedness is based on a very loud exchange in the travel sized toiletries section at my local Bed, Bath, & Beyond.  Please note, I was an innocent bystander.  I was on a mission to get tiny toothpaste, shampoo, and hair gel for my beloved who is preparing for a trip.  The TSA and the tiny toiletry making companies are in cahoots.  Oh, and the quart sized zipper bag making companies are in on it too.  Those entities have collaborated to make travel extremely annoying.  The couple and their college aged daughter that were getting loud in travel sized section seem to be highly agitated and stressed  by their impending travel.  The wife was yelling at someone on the phone, whilst directing her husband and daughter on which tiny toiletries to select for their upcoming trip.  I have never seen someone get so worked up about hygiene products.  Her poor  husband and daughter were grabbing bottles, bringing them to phone yelling woman, only to have her chastise them on their selections.  Then they scurried back to the wall of tiny toiletries to try again to satisfy the angry phone talking woman.  The phone lady kept saying, "3oz or less!!!!".  She had clearly been driven wild by the TSA /tiny toiletry/ zipper bag conspiracy.  Now the wicked part, sure the yelling lady was pretty wicked, but that was her wickedness.  MY WICKEDNESS was staying in that section studying the ingredients labels on products I had no intent on purchasing. Yes, I was lingering to see how it all would work out.  Then I got tired of the yelling, and the calamity.  I was hoping to overhear where they were going, or something that would help make sense of the crazy behavior.  I learned nothing other than the phone lady is bossy and loud, and her husband and daughter live in fear of her.  Okay, I assume they fear her, because I was starting to fear her and I do not even know her.

The lesson to take away from all of this is, behave yourself in public.  You never know who is pretending to be interested in deodorant ingredients so they can hear your family conflicts.  It could be a wicked blogger and you could become her Wednesday fodder.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Places

Today I am dedicating my blog to happy places.  Places that just make me feel serene and at peace.  I know that I can not escape the general hustle and bustle of daily life.  However, it is nice to have pictures that transport me back to place that just filled me with joy.

 This is a waterfall in the upper peninsula of Michigan.  The best part of seeing this waterfall was the long walk on a trail through the woods.
 The Pink House in Savannah, GA.  It is not only lovely to look at, it houses a wonderful restaurant.  My beloved and I went to Savannah for our 15th anniversary.  It is a beautiful city to just stroll around and soak in the southern charm.
Okay, I probably do not need to say where this is or what it is, but it is beautiful.  Disney at Christmas, and at night is amazing.  The castle covered in lights is breathtaking.  Yes, it is very crowded, but if you stand on a bench at just the right moment you can capture a great picture.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Krazy Quote

"Drugs have no nutritional value." ---my daughter's 7th grade Health teacher
This quote has been soaking in my brain for about two weeks now.  This was how my daughter's drug unit in Health 7 started.  Those were the dynamic words that her teacher decided would impact his students.  Not since Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign have I heard a more lame anti-drug message.  So put down that spoonful of crack cocaine and hear me out on this one.  My daughter is 12 years old chronologically , but is a bit of  an old soul.  She is the kind of kid you can not snow with platitudes, and simple answers.  She can see through fakes, and smell lies.  I love her for it, and I struggle with her for the same reasons.  She finds her Health teacher to be an absurd person, not just because of the drug statement, but for a variety of reasons she has compiled since he was her PE teacher first marking period.  The issue at hand now is this teacher is trying to teach the approved curriculum for Health 7, and the curriculum appears to be very superficial.  I am fine with that.  I would prefer to have it as a jumping off point for our at home discussions on drugs, sexuality, and personal hygiene.  My concern is for the other students that have parents that are not as comfortable talking about sex and drugs.  What about the kids that are just getting the "Just Say No" and "Drugs have no nutritional value" as their messages?  Facts are good, and have value, but not enough.  I know that her teacher is very concerned with personal fitness and well-being, however 12 & 13 years old kids do not care about the nutritional value of things.  Okay, maybe a few kids care about the nutritional value of things, but probably not the kids that are confronted with the choice of using drugs.  As I see it, drug use in kids is tied heavily to feeling accepted and fitting in with peers.  Therefore, just saying no and nutritional value arguments are very unlikely to mean too much at the moment booze or a joint is being passed around.  It is in those moments that actual values need to come in play.  Values that can not be instilled by a class.  Values that need to be discussed, instilled, and practiced at home.

As much as I have mocked the quote by her teacher, I also embrace it as a place for us start talking about smoking, drinking, and drug use.  I am glad my daughter felt comfortable to come home and share that absurd statement with us.  It means that she feels okay introducing uncomfortable topics.  It is nice to not always having to be the one that brings up the tough topics.  If we can make it a little funny it is easier.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Crazy

This is my son doing his homework.  No, he does not always do homework with Bumblebee gloves and a mask. This was taken after his Halloween costume arrived in the mail, in late September.  He was extremely excited.  The cup of coffee is mine, although it makes for a funny picture.  The reason I posted this picture today is because the little fellow informed me that since it is Leap Day and I can do something crazy today.  Then he added, "Crazier than usual".  My son knows I am a little different.  Noted from the picture above I may have passed on some quirkiness.  The kind of quirkiness that doesn't not reserve itself for one day every four years.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Jealous Much?

 This is what makes me more jealous than anything in the world.  My greyhound, Ninja, falls asleep in less than one minute.  Honestly, I have timed it.  She lays on her bed and her eyes slam shut.  She also sleeps a lot.  I know, what else does a dog have to do?  Very little.  She also acts very annoyed and put out when I wake her with the vacuum or other household task.  The nerve of me.  I admit I have turned down the TV so as not to disturb the sleeping canine princess.
This is our geriatric cat, Yoda.  No, she is not dead.  She lays belly up in the middle of the living room.  We check for vital signs, she still has them.  I am also impressed with her ability to sleep constantly.  She also does not act much like a cat.  Yoda is bold.  She hides from nothing.  Perhaps it is all of her life experience that makes her bold, or she is just not that bright.  Whatever it is, I treasure this fuzzy little not very catlike, cat.  Sixteen years and counting!

Just a couple photos of two of my favorite furry gals.  They pretty much own us, and we are okay with that. I am also envious of very few, if any humans, but these two mammals have me down right jealous.  If I believed in reincarnation (which I do not) I would want to come back as one of my pets.  But not the fish, he is just odd.

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Bus Stop

Every school day I walk my son to his bus stop. I also pick him up each afternoon, well occasionally my daughter will go pick him up, but generally it is me. The thing I find remarkable is the amount of parents that drive their child to and from the bus stop. There are people who live just houses away from the stop that drive each and everyday, and then return home. This has happened for years. I have always thought it was odd, but to each his own. I happen to enjoy the time we are walking and talking. It is a small moment that we enjoy. Today two or the driver parents were standing by the line, their cars still running, complaining about gas prices. Am I the only one that finds it completely absurd that someone is STANDING next to their RUNNING car that is five houses away from their home complaining about gas prices? I was literally biting my tongue so I would not say something. I really do bite one my tongue to keep my words inside. Just thinking,"do not say anything", is often not enough for me. I honestly was shocked by the stupidity of the whole situation. First of all I am annoyed daily by having to stand in the exhaust of their vehicles while waiting for my son to get on the bus. I have never understood why they leave their cars running for the five, sometimes ten minute wait for the bus. (The bus driver runs on his own special time. As soon as we assume he will arrive later, he starts arriving earlier and busses get missed. It is what it is.) Anyway, knowing that gas prices actually concern these people that I have always assumed own stock in BP, just makes me shake my head. If I were at all savvy with numbers, I would calculate how much money they could save not driving to the bus stop, and also have numbers for how much money they could save not letting their care idle for five to ten minutes. I am not a numbers person, I am happy if my checkbook is within ten dollars of the actual amount. So no calculations will be made. Let us just agree they could save some cash by not driving unnecessarily. Not to mention they are missing out on great conversation with their kids on a walk to and from the bus stop. Proving my point, here are a few fun and funny facts I have learned recently in walks to or from the bus stop.

1. Some kid puked in the lunchroom (I have actually heard this on more than on occasion)
2. There is a kid in his class that looks up naughty words in the dictionary. (glad to know this is not my kid)
3. There is a fourth grader with the same shoes as his.
4. There is a kid in his class that stuffs himself in his locker to get out of going to art.
5. Some people have bad aim in the bathroom.
6. Various funny things his teacher says and does. She is a great person and a fun teacher.
7. Why anacondas are cooler than chimpanzees, and why he switched from being a chimp to an anaconda for a project.
8. Tooth fairy theories, there are many. A new one for each lost tooth.
9. Countless car facts and buying suggestions for my next vehicle purchase.
10. Utter disgust at how much I do not care about what I drive. I shame him with my belief that a car just gets you from point A to point B. He is a car guy, and this is poison to his ears. It is also a lively ongoing debate.

Theses are some, and just a very superficial few, conversations we have going to or coming from the bus stop. It is perhaps a few of the very best minutes of my day. I know that the jokes we have made up, the rabbits we have named, and the memories we have built are as precious as diamonds to me. And we are not polluting the environment with anything but our laughter.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fast Friday

I won't trouble you with the details of my week. In summary, it has been bad. I also have complete faith that next week will be better. Still, even during a trying spell I have some partially humorous and/or absurd things to share.

1. Teachers promising snow days. My poor kids were assured when they were in school Thursday that the weather was going to get so bad that school would be closed on Friday. Well, it was not. Yes, it snowed, issuing was such a paltry amount that closing school would have caused a parent riot. Kids hate broken promises. Shame on you teachers for giving them false hope.

2. Drug facts. Since I educated myself about drugs via a seminar last week, I feel it is my civic duty to share information with you, my dear reader. I will at some point, but here is a funny thing that happened. The presenters did a great job. Every so often they asked the audience questions. Just basic, "Have you heard of __________?", type questions. If you had heard of whatever, the proper response was to raise your hand. My spouse and I had heard of many of the substances and situations, so we would raise our hands. I guess that our "knowledge" bothered the person sitting next to me. At one point he whispered to me, "You two really know your drugs". Somehow I let this comment go with a smile and a shrug. Mind you these were, "Have you heard of ____________?", not "Do you run a meth lab in your basement?". I guess our lack of ignorance made this man uncomfortable. I think it is funny that he thought we were immersed in the drug culture.

3. Girl Scout cookies are being delivered. This time of year highlights how little my beloved and I communicate about some things. He orders cookies. I order cookies. Not until these cookies start showing up at the house do we ever mention to each other how many cookies or what type have been ordered. Thankfully, these cookies freeze beautifully.

4. Lenten sacrifices. I have officially given up swearing for Lent. Each swear costs me twenty five cents. I think I am at a cool 2 bucks in the tin. Not bad, not perfect either. I have some people and creatures that make me want to swear. Mostly my dog, Ninja. She is the darnedest thing. She insists upon herself. Always underfoot. She makes me nuts. I have also given up raising my voice with the kids. My daughter misunderstood this as I was going to stop nagging or correcting bad behavior...wrong, just doing it in a conversational tone. The tone with the kids is going well. I like not raising my voice in frustration. Yes, I still get frustrated. Yes, they still get corrected. Now I just do not have to apologize for raising my voice. It is a time saver!

Have a great weekend. Spend some time with the people you love and do not forget to tell them how much you love them and value them in your life. Live. Laugh. Love.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Calling Home

I currently live a solid three hour drive from my parents, siblings, and the town which I grew up. One would think after seventeen years of being in my current location, one husband, two kids, several pets, and a lovely group of friends that I love later, I should call this place "home". You would think, but I do not. Whenever I refer to going to see my sister and parents I always say, "I am going home". A friend called me on this point when I was telling her I was going home to see my sister and her baby. She said, "You always say 'going home' when drive you go across the state. Don't you think this is your home?"

I did not really answer her. This was a big thinking point for me. I do have a home here, in my current location. I have a family all my own and they are great. I do feel very at home here. However, when I am with my parents, sister and brother I feel completely at home. The five of us that compose my family of origin are my true home. My parents do not even live in the same house I grew up in, but the "home" I refer to is the people, not a brick and mortar structure. These are the people to this day I scarcely have to say a word and they know what is going on. My sister and I can say one word or gesture and we dissolve into laughter or tears. People around us just stare at the spectical we cause with our "Betty & Wilma" laugh. (My husband coined the laugh the Betty & Wilma after the Flintstone characters. It is a fairly accurate description). It is "home home" when I am there. It is certainly not a slight or a criticism of my current home. I created my current home. I have hand picked the husband, the friends, and so many other elements. The kids are clearly a shared production, and I give credit where credit is due, we did fine work. Building a new home took years and it was not easy. Plenty of times I went home to see my family and I just wanted to stay. Everything in my original home is easy. It was established before I was born and I just blended in seamlessly. I never have to explain to my family anything about me. They know me. They get it. Sure they may think some things are odd or silly, but to them it's just, "Allie being Allie". It is wonderful to have that place where things are easy and people are accepting. That is home. Home, sweet home.

My current residence and community are nice. I have grown accustom to the way things work, where things are, and it is good. However, like I already mentioned, it has been a lot of work. It is hard not seeing my mom and sister as often as I would like. We have built a network of close friends that feel somewhat like brothers and sisters. Our friends treat our kids like nieces and nephews, which is a great blessing. Finding that network of friends took a long time. Yes, this place is my new home. I feel bad that many of my friends do not understand my attachment to my home three hours away. Most of them grew up here, have parents and siblings here. They do not understand the attachment to home, because their adult home and childhood home are so close. I also know that this home I created over the past seventeen years is what my kids will call "home" when they get older. Hopefully, we have created a place that they can pine for as I still do to this day. No matter where a person goes in life, it always nice to have a place you can always call home.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Five for Friday

Ahhhh....welcome to weekend (almost).  It has been a chilly week here. Snow & ice and everything nice!  Hopefully you have some good stuff happening for your weekend.  Relaxing with a good book certainly counts as good stuff, in my humble opinion.  Here are five random thought or opinions...

  1. There is no way to gracefully fall in public.  I have been determined to go for at least 3 or 4 long walks each week.  I would love to say everyday, but that does not happen so 3 or 4 walks per week is satisfactory.  I also am a firm believer in the saying, "There is no bad weather, just bad clothing.".  This keeps me moving in the snow and cold.  I did not account for all the ice.  I took a major slip and fall on Wednesday morning.  I tried to stop myself by doing that odd helicopter movement people do whilst falling.  The helicopter arms did not help.  I still sat it right down on the sidewalk.  I think the arm whirling only made it funnier for the passing cars.  The thing that is the most damaged is my ego, and my left hip is calling in as a close second.  The bruises on my body will heal, the embarrassment of a public fall may last a lifetime.
  2. Middle school students do not wear outerwear.  Each cold morning my daughter and I have the same issue.  She tries to leave the house just wearing a hoody, and I tell her to put on her winter jacket.  When she leaves it is cold, when she returns it is cold.  It is winter.  It is cold. Her reasoning for not wearing outerwear is, "No one wears a jacket".  I thought she was kidding.  Who does not wear a jacket when it is cold out?  If you have access to a warm coat, you should wear it.  End of discussion.  Right?  Wrong.  I picked her up from school one day last week, a cold day.  As I waited in the parking lot, the bell sounded, and throngs of middle school students poured out of the building, mostly wearing hoodies, much like my daughters.  A hooded sweatshirt on a 28 degree day?  Ridiculous.  I know that these kids likely have outwear for this weather, and none of them wear it.  I can not wrap my head around this silliness.  My daughter must have read my mind as she entered the car because her first words were, "I told you no one wears coats."  Who knew?
  3. Book recommendation.  Anything by David Sedaris.  He is an amazing writer.  It is self-deprecating humor at its finest.  It is the perfect type of writing to read if you can not invest yourself in a novel or length type book.  Each chapter stands alone, so you can read a little put it down and not feel like you need to catch up because the last time you read was two weeks ago.  He also has a sophisticated vocabulary.  I like.  I like a lot.
  4. Lying to the dentist.  I went to the dentist this week for the general 6 month cleaning.  My dentist is under the impression that I floss regularly and avoid beverages that stain my teeth.  He always pays me a compliment about my great smile.  I always say, "Oh, thanks".  I never mention that I drink coffee like it is my job.  I neglect to inform him that I only floss when I have food caught in my teeth or  when I get the reminder call that I have a dentist appointment.  He probably would not want to see the box (yes, I said "box") of red wine on my kitchen counter either.  Lets face it I got lucky and have teflon enamel on my teeth.  God and my parents should take credit for my dazzling smile, not me.  However, I shall continue to let the dentist think I am a model patient.
  5. Sketchy.  My husband and I watched a show several months ago and the television presenter said, "It has been a while since I have done something sketchy".  The show was really stupid.  That phrase was the best part.  It has become a household catch phrase.  The cat runs through the living room, someone says, "Yoda is being sketchy".  I arrive late for a pick-up, "Mom, why you gotta be so sketchy?".  My son, in his underwear in the living room, "Pants make me feel sketchy."  He is then asked to go get some sketchy pants on, NOW.  It is such a fun word.  It actually makes me want to go out and be "sketchy".  Try it out.  Most assuredly you will enjoy it.
Have a great weekend, and send me a comment about anything sketchy you may have done.  Your secret is safe with me.  

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Parenting Advice

Don't think for one second that this is the post where she spouts all of her collective child rearing knowledge and advice. I have only been at this parent thing for 12.5 years. I can not claim any sort of victory in the parenting arena. That being said, you might think that I am open to hearing parenting advice. This would be erroneous. I am a live and learn kind of person. Things are going okay, so far so good. God also blessed me very easy children. Aside from some stubbornness and feistiness, that was likely inherited from the paternal genetic contribution, they are both really enjoyable people. If I were not their mother I would still think they were very cool people.

However, today, despite my general apathy toward parenting lectures, books, and advice in most any form, I am attending two parenting type events. The first is a talk by a man who has a lot of kids. I believe the number is 13 kids, a mixture of biological, adopted and foster children. Yes, 13. That is a crew. This man also writes. I am more interested in the writing perspective, but I also have a sick fascination with large families. God did not give me the uterus to produce, or the patience to handle more than two kids. It will be fascinating to hear what this man has to say about parenting a brood of such size. It will likely leave me feeling glad I just have two kids and two pets to manage everyday.

The second parenting type event is a presentation called Drugs 101. My beloved is accompanying me to this event. I currently have no drug concerns with my kids, but I also feel that information on such a topic is good to have. Knowledge is power in this situation. The flyer for Drugs 101 had a series of questions about the current drugs of choice for young people. I did not understand about seven of the questions at all, so I signed us up to attend. I will certainly let you know what I learn, or if anything silly happened. Hopefully, I will pay attention. In large groups I tend to start people watching, or pick up on the speakers vocal tics. If the speaker is an "ummer" I often tally mark all the "umms". Yes, this speech defect is distracting to me. It also makes it impossible to comprehend the content. Thankfully, my beloved will be there. He is a good listener, and has no public speaking training so he does not notice vocal tics; like, umm, okay, and yeah right. It is good to have such an unflappable wingman. Seriously, I do need to become more aware of the current drug culture. I have only heard excellent things about this program and it comes with a large amount of handouts. The handouts will be my saving grace because I am person that learns better through reading. Prepared to be dazzled by my drug information in future posts.

Parenting advice is still not my thing, but today will be informative. I know that I will learn something. If nothing else it will give me more topics to cover here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Change is Bad

Today I am going to lament the new format that I am forced to use because I updated my blogger dashboard. The screen features are less than the previous set up, or I just can not figure out where the features I liked are as of yet. I have also saved some posts that were not finished only to return to find them lost. Okay, perhaps I can cull them out somewhere, and if not they were just a few rough paragraphs, but still what if those lost items were my best writing ever? We shall never know now. So now I need to embark on learning more about this updated system. I pretty much hate change sometimes. Admittedly I am not tech savvy. This lack of savvy just adds to my frustration. Perhaps this exercise in relearning will help me embrace change. It is certainly not a life of death situation. I am sure than i can call for tech support. Though calling for help will mean I have to explain to some support person how dense I am about technology.

The funny thing about my tech-phobia is I really desire to understand all the gadgets, but from afar. My husband just got his first smartphone. He loves it. He keeps talking to some assistant telling it to remind him of this and that, to send text messages using voice commands...all sorts of cool stuff. He asked if I wanted a smartphone, and I have thus far avoided answering the question. It almost seems like it may be a waste of good micro-chips for someone who prefers pen and paper. Honestly, if I could write in a notebook and scan my blog entries to post them, that would be great. Although I do have a love / hate relationship with our scanner. The printer and fax features work for me, but the scans are sketchy at best. Should I blame the scanner? Probably not. It is likely me and my lack direction reading and /or following that is the issue.

Hopefully, with some concentration and desire to move forward with the times, I can work through this change. Perhaps it is not as bad as it feels right now. However, the old way was just peachy with me and if I can find my way back to the previous version, I am probably going take it. Sadly, I fear that is unlikely. Change is bad, but in a few weeks I may learn to adapt.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day. I have already stated that I am not a fan of this holiday. I am not a fan of a lot of holidays for a variety of oddball reasons. However, I feel like my reasons for not jumping on the Valentine wagon are better than most. Okay, maybe I am just saying that because the day is here and it is in the front of my mind. Well, not really in the front of my mind because, but I still need to get my kids some trinkets and treasures and a card (I am not heartless and inconsiderate). Anyway, these are my primary gripes against Valentine's Day.
  • It is non- inclusive. Sure when you are in elementary school everyone gets treats, cards, and the class has a fun afternoon party. I was all about a well planned class party as a child, and even as a educator. Valentine's up until fourth grade is very inclusive and focused on being friends. After fourth grade it becomes about " being in love". Do not get me started on how inappropriate grade school and even middle school age pairings are. It is a whole other post, perhaps even a book. This holiday includes people who are in relationships, and excludes singles. That is just mean. I say this as a person that has been "paired" for more years than I have not, and I still think its garbage. Single people should not be made to feel bad or stage anti-Valentine parties and dinners with fellow singletons. The only "exclusive" days that I have any respect for are wedding anniversaries and birthdays. So if you got hitched on Valentine's Day or if you were born on February 14th, then by all means celebrate the heck out it.
  • It is stressful. If you are in a relationship there is intense pressure to plan an event, and /or give a gift that shows you love and care for your significant other. I have heard people for years complain about what to get their partner, or the day after, people read into the gift they received as too insignificant, or too significant for their relationship phase. Talk about a "no win" situation. Frankly, I do not want my beloved to feel pressure from the calendar to do something nice for me. He is a great guy. I know he loves me. He knows I love him. We agree that this is a silly holiday, so we pretty much ignore it. (Except for stuff for the kids...because they are cute and not all jaded yet. In time they will develop properly. Their mother will see to that.)
  • It is a racket for the card, candy, and flower industry. Yes, this is just a reason for flower shops to raise prices on red roses. I get the whole supply and demand thing. I took Economics 101 in college. I also have a very warped idea that handing someone cut flowers that then wither and die as some symbol of love and devotion is messed up. I have always disliked cut flowers for this reason. Conversely, cut flowers at funerals are fine, but people tend to send live plants for actual deaths...that is also messed up. I know the flower shops and websites are raking it in, good for them. Making money on people's contrived view of what it means to be in a relationship and a date on the calendar is manipulative. You are evil geniuses along with greeting card companies and chocolate makers. I do love to buy half-price chocolate on the 15th (glass half full moment). Half price heart shaped chocolates are far more delicious than full price heart shaped chocolate.
That is my full indictment of Valentine's Day. I know I am in the minority. I know on the 15th people will ask me what my spouse gave me for Valentine's Day. I hope they are prepared for some really inappropriate answers. I am not above answering "none of your business" questions with answers that may make them wish they had never asked in the first place. In fact, that may be the only thing I like about Valentine's Day. Ask me...I dare you.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Power of Postive Monday

Last Monday my wonderful sister, Betsy, posted on her social media outlet that she was "keeping it positive on Monday". That is a paraphrase, but let us all agree that the first day of the work week is a challenge for many of us. We are not little rays of sunshine. We do not arise from bed doing cartwheels and joyful dance routines. If you say you do, I may call you a dirty, filthy liar. All last week I thought about being more positive about Monday. I decided this week I would be painfully optimistic when my alarm jolted me from bed at 5:45am. I indeed did feel cheery, tired, but cheery as I let the dog out, started the coffee, and commenced the morning routine. My daughter was her usual bleary eyed, slightly surly self, and I embraced that. I took the growled answers to questions in stride. She is not allowed to have two or three cups of coffee, so of course she is not as conversational as I am. Who could be? My spouse, who is allowed to drink all the coffee he wants was not buying into positive attitude Monday. It is my social experiment, not theirs. So I had two gloomy people, and yet my good cheer persisted. I was starting to think that I was on my way to being Little Miss Sunshine, and it was not even 7am! Then my favorite morning show started. I start everyday with Good Morning America. It is just what I do. I get to make lunches, ready others, and myself for the day with GMA as my background. It works. Well, today it was all about a recently deceased musician, who will remain nameless. (You know who it is). This was a direct challenge to my "stay positive" pledge. Why you ask? Here is why. Lots of people die everyday. If we as a society hype one person's demise more than another then the news would be a constant running obituary. Wouldn't that be a downer? Death is part of life. Certainly anyone who died this past weekend will be missed by their loved ones. Yes, tell us on the news of a notable person's death, but do not let it hijack the whole program. So that challenged me. I did complain, briefly, to a friend. Then I moved on with my positive day. (Face it, I was already impressed that everyone got to work and school and I had been painfully upbeat. I was already winning. One small complaint was not tarnishing my day, in my opinion) All was going well with my day. Being positive, productive, and kind. Then 5:00pm hit, and the universe attacked. First, my lovely dog stole and chewed up a tax document. She NEVER eats paper. She steals stuffed animals from the kids, but she does not eat paper. She does not even chew the stuffed animals, just kidnaps them into the back of her crate. Today, of all days, she decides to start eating paper. Nice. Why not just some junk mail? Do tax documents just taste better? So I flipped out. Not incredibly positive. However what happened next made the tax document situation seem very small. I noticed the message light flashing on the home phone. I am very bad at checking the messages on the land line. If you want to talk to me text me or leave a voicemail on my mobile. Anyway, I listened to the message. It was from 3:30 pm today. Cool, at least it was somewhat current. It was Chase fraud protection. Never cool. The whole please call us as soon as possible. Very not cool. So I write down the number and call. My chest had tightened and I felt like vomiting, this is never good. I am very intuitive. My bad feelings are seldom wrong. Yikes! I spoke with the nicest woman who informed me of several attempted charges on my account from yesterday and today. Charges in Texas, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and one from Michigan. Nothing I had charged. I had the horrible cold sweat rolling down my back, and my pits (your welcome for the TMI). The list was extensive. I am the only one on this card. There is only one card. I was holding it in my sweaty hand. I was about to flip out. Then the lovely woman on the other end of the phone said, "Well, we are just going close this card. Since you have our fraud protection, you will incur none of these charges." Positivity restored. This amazing woman then explained the process, the papers I will get, several other things I need to do. All very doable things. Sure it is a bit of a time inconvenience, but not as bad as taking a financial hit for some crummy criminal. Yes, I am really upset that some people steal. The places that this person attempted to use my card were not places that supply people's needed items. The places were all hotels, and stores that supply "wants". It is just so far from anything I would ever do. I know I am a total stranger to whomever did this. I am just 16 digits that could get them stuff. It is sad that the world has people that are so void of values. I am glad I am not none of them. I am glad I have family and friends that would never stoop to such levels. I am also glad that I have fraud protection on my credit cards and that it really works. I am also glad I can find so much positive in a pretty negative experience. Next Monday I will also choose to positive. I just hope the universe does not read my blog or social media posts if I decide to go public with my unflappable cheery outlook.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


First of all I need to backtrack to June 2010, when I started this blog. I believe I made some statement to the effect that I am not a "mommy blogger" and I was not going to write about my spouse and kids. I may have even have been indignant about absolutely not putting them in my blog. Epic fail. They get mentioned often, because they are funny...maybe funnier than I am (Perhaps? No. Even I know that I am a sharp witted force of nature. It is my one true talent.). I pretty much have reversed my opinion on leaving my husband and kids out of my writing. The fact is they are a rich source of material. Furthermore, writers produce better work when they write about what they know, and I know these people. These three people impact my daily life, for better or worse...mostly for better. I will continue to not name names, and I will never share a story that I am not directly involved. That would be telling tales out of school, and these people do deserve to have their private joys and failings...but if I play a key role in any of it, and it is funny, I am writing about it. I am not sure if that puts me in the "mommy blogger" genre or not. I will probably never share a recipe, as I do not use recipes when cook. I also do not bake, because a recipe is required. I do not take direction, or even suggestions very well. I am an independent spirit, which is a really nice way to say I am a pain in the ass. I make rules, then break my own rules. It is fun. I prefer to beg forgiveness as opposed to asking permission. It actually makes perfect sense that I set rules for my blog only to do a complete reversal.

It feels very refreshing and freeing to officially change the rules. A true renewal of writing. I was beginning to feel I had betrayed my original purpose for starting my blog. Okay, I am not even sure what my original intent was. I know that I had words that needed to get out. I had a worldview that demanded a wider audience. I guess I still do believe I have a worldview that demands a larger audience. People often tell me that I see the world in an interesting way. I am not sure if that is true...I only know what I know from my perspective. I have been stuck in this brain for 39 years, and know of nothing different. That is universally true of all of us. We are all special in the way we see the world. I am blessed that I can write my views, so you can catch a glimpse of the wild and wacky corners of my mind. Trust me when I say I know a few people that I would love to convince to write down their crazy thoughts and opinions. Not because I would mock them, but because it would make me feel like I had a kindred spirit. And then I would probably mock them...because that is what I do, and people still love me. (crazy, huh?) Serious, funny, opinionated, quirky, loving, bitter, family oriented, being an individual, friends, and all sorts of other crazy stuff...but no recipes, that is what my renewed focus is for my blog. This Particular Brand of Crazy, defines itself by being undefined.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Five for Friday

What a week! Looking forward to some fun this weekend...well it better be fun, otherwise I shall be massively disappointed. My five things for this week...
  1. Blogger stats. I have never been hugely concerned with how many people read me or who reads me. This is just my little place in cyber-space to be me and say what is bottled up in my crazy brain. (still not there haters) Anyway, just today I hit the "stats" button on my blogger dashboard. That was a mistake, because now I know people really do read me. More people than I thought. That being said, if you are mildly entertained by my writing, please feel free to share this blog on your social media (use the links at the bottom of the post) or recommend "This Particular Brand of Crazy" to a friend (or an enemy). You can even make a bold step and "follow" me. Just look to your right and do whatever it says. I will continue to try to keep it real and fun...maybe even real fun. Thanks, it is awesome to know people that are unrelated to me read this. I also appreciate my family & friends that read this blog. It proves that you just can not get enough of this silly woman. xoxo
  2. The cereal solution for swearing. Last week I shared my new method to curb my potty mouth. I would like to report it is going well, and I hardly say naughty words anymore. Yes, I would like to report that, however that would mean I am a liar. The blaspheming is much less. My convicted soul is taking care of that, which is good. The vulgar words are still here. Sometimes I just whisper them, but I am still swearing like a sailor for the most part. Furthermore, I think in swear words and most of my dreams could use a 7 second delay as well. I will try harder. Bad habits are hard to break. It's just so fruit loopin difficult.
  3. The messy room. I am still not nagging my daughter about her piggy mess of a room. I made one condition, she must put her dirty clothes in the hamper. She was dangerously close to going to school in pajamas or nude at one point. She is not so receptive to the clothing optional lifestyle so the clothes seem to be making to the hamper more often. The door is shut most days. It is my coping mechanism.
  4. Toothless people. My son is at that special age when he has lost his two front teeth. Yes, it was like that for Christmas this year. These teeth are growing in sooooo slooooowly. I had to actually stick my fingers in the gap to feel if teeth were under the surface. I was so nervous he had no adult teeth to fill the gap. I did feel tooth nubs, thankfully. He also did not bite me and was very good natured about it. My daughter would have bit me, for sure. She may have even tried to take a swing at me. She is really protective of her personal space. Just ask the nurse that gave her vaccinations before she could start 6th grade. I thought that nurse might have become a toothless person.
  5. Needy pets. Generally my dog drives me nuts with her needy needs. Lately, I have actually enjoyed her clinginess. The helplessness has become endearing. Never, ever thought I would enjoy that kind of desperate dependence. Am I becoming soft? Yikes! I will prefer to think I have been worn down and I now am accepting my fate as Ninja's dutiful caretaker. She is an exceptionally sweet dog, with soulful eyes. Ewww...that sounds pretty soft.
Happy weekend.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Night Walkers

Last night I joined a friend for an impromptu night walk through her neighborhood. I love to go for walks, but I am generally a day walker. Mostly a morning walker, occasionally an afternoon walker, but so very seldom a night walker. Yes, I have my dog that I could walk at night, but she is a sleepy dog. If it is dark Miss Ninja is curled up on her bed fast asleep. In fact I generally walk alone or with a dog, so a human walking partner is a rare and very enjoyable treat for me.

Anyway, night walking. It is a different world at night. The air is clear and brisk. The street lights cast shadows, some spooky, some ethereal. A few times both of us jumped because we saw our own shadows oddly cast by a passing car's headlights. Yes, that is silly. Perhaps that was the best part of the night walk. The sheer silliness that the darkness afforded us. We were walking, talking, and gesturing more wildly than a person would in the daylight. Maybe so we could see each other, or maybe because gesturing wildly is fun, but also embarrassing at times. I can not tell you what we talked about, because of privacy and the sheer number of topics we covered. I can tell you there is nothing better than having a friend that listens and shares without judgement. We talked about the things in life that burden us, and somehow through talking and walking we moved through our burdens. Just by giving those things a voice, it was possible to walk past them. Not that we solved any great issues, but somehow those issues became smaller in the cold, dark, night air.

Night walking with a friend may become my new favorite way to exercise. Sure, I get my thoughts sorted out, and my daily attack plan solidified when I walk alone. Solo walking is very purpose driven for me. However, when I walked with my friend I got my spirits lifted, my burdens lightened, inner peace restored, and my soul is still singing the praises of night walking.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Wicked Wednesday

Sometimes it is okay to just be wicked, as long as no one gets hurt. Okay that is completely my rule not anything official from God or anything. However, sometimes the wicked thoughts build up and they need to bleed out a little or things get ugly. We all have a dark side...not all of us are Darth Vader bad, but perhaps a little sketchy like the odd characters in the Cantina bar. Yes, that was two Star Wars references in on sentence. I will stop with them before the geek police promote me. is Wednesday and I am going to be wicked. If you don't want to join me leave now.

Okay all the goody goodies left...see ya suckers. Let's have some fun.

  1. Madonna almost falling at the Super Bowl half time show. So close to being the most awesome thing ever. She is not my favorite person. She indeed may be wicked everyday, not just on Wednesdays. Especially now that I have learned she is has no tour dates set in Michigan for her upcoming tour. Michigan is her home state. This is where she is from. Not New York. Not Great Britian. She is from Michigan. Quit being such an uppity shrew of a person. For some reason people still want to see your egotistical freak show. Just remember your roots. I will not be at any of her shows, anywhere, ever, even if I had free tickets and a limo.
  2. We have new people in our neighborhood. There is a rental house, (thanks crappy housing market and foreclosures) across the street. I believe in the (demented) rental agreement that there is a clause about making sure the police show up at least once a week. Seriously. It is some kind of messed up situation over there. In the sixteen years I have lived on this street I have seen the police drive by perhaps six or seven times. Now that the new tenants moved in in December, no joke, police cars, at least once per week. Not just one squad car either, sometimes two or three. I have no clue why such a strong police presence is needed. Between you and me, I am guessing it is domestic disputes. Which is awful, especially since there is a child living there. I am mostly annoyed at the police for not removing people from the house. I guess the wicked part of this is my judgement of these people. I can not understand why you would chose to live like that, especially when a child is involved. My secondary wickedness is just wanting the whole situation to disappear because I am sick of explaining to my kids why there are police cars on our street. Domestic tranquility....NOW.
  3. Spray tanning. It is wicked and ugly. A new season of Dancing with the Stars is around the corner. So looking orange is in fashion. Since when do people look better being the color of an Oompa Loompa? It is just stupid to me. Yes, I am as pale as a vampire. It suits me. Whatever color you are born is the color you are suppose to be. Please quit spraying and baking your skin different colors. It is gross. Not to mention unhealthy. Perhaps this is not being wicked, but just pointing out a general fact. However, I am using no tact or diplomacy in doing so, thus it qualifies as wicked.
So there. I bled a little of the awful stuff that has been building up. I recommend you also let go of some of the wicked thoughts, judgements, and opinions that you are holding inside. It is therapeutic and necessary to free yourself of these things. It will not make you the most popular person in the room, but could make you the most honest.