Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Cereal Solution

Using swear words, cusses, potty words, and gutter talk is a personal vice. In the past I have celebrated that I have a very unrestrained vocabulary. Honestly, these are just words and somehow they got a bad reputation, I have no idea how or why or when. The fact is some words have a bad reputation. Such is life for these sad marginalized denizens of "word world".

I get the not taking the Lord's name in vain, it is after all one of the Ten Commandents. I also fall short on this one, but so you know, I feel bad about it and try really hard. The backstory on my blasphemy is my father invoked the name of the son of God very often throughout my childhood. He even had a middle name for Jesus, it is "Herman", in case you are wondering. Please do not run to your Bible to authenticate that, it's not in there. My father's blaspheming was a source of irritation for my mother, as it should have been. It is very hard to tell your children not to say or do something a parent does. It became a, "Do as I say, not as your father does", situation. It has become a bit of a family joke that my dad is perhaps the most religious man ever, since he calls upon the Lord several times a day. I however, I am working toward not misusing the Lord's name. It is just not right, and a horrible example for my kids.

However I still have the issue of the other "bad words" that I am prone to use, without any real shame. Admittedly I use them not just in moments of frustration, but in general conversation. I edit in situations. If I do not know you, I certainly do not get "colorful" in my speech. I am not a fool. However, I do not edit in front of my kids 100% of the time. In fact, I have gotten pretty lazy in the at home language edits. If I could have a seven second delay like live TV does, I am sure the censors could clean me up. Unfortunately, the technology is not likely to show up at my house for my daily use. My daughter has come up with a solution for me. The cereal solution. Everytime I need a swear word I am to substitute a breakfast cereal name. So an example would be, when a car pulls out in front of me I do not say, "son of a b****", instead I say "Capt. Crunch". I actually tried this exact thing yesterday, and it worked. I felt better, getting the frustration out verbally, and I did not have to say, "Pardon my French", to my daughter. She has long been informing me that "my French", seems a little sketchy. The "frosted flaking" dog also seems on board. She still moves out of the way when hearing a cereal command. I was slightly concerned she would just think I was going to feed her. It must have something to do with tone.

I am not sure how it is going to be in general conversation with people that have become accustom to my colorful language. I am not sure if I can pull it off without laughing in some instances, but who knows, it could start a cereal revolution. It's time to get off your Apple Jacks and clean up your Frankenberry mouth. Are you Nut Clusters with me? Can I get a, Wheaties yeah? It might work...maybe.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Making it Official

FYI- I am a writer. I am labeling myself based on self- reflection, (I always ask myself, "What are going be when you grow up?"...still not planning on growing up, anytime soon). It has been decided after years of writing journals, some blogging, and because writing is my preferred method of communcation (true fact, I love to text and e-mail socially). I am often asked by people to read a report or an article or even just a wedding invitation, before printing, for my opinion, "because you write". Technically, reading other people's written work and making suggestions and corrections would make me an editor, but they only ask me because I write fairly regularly. I am owning the "writer" part. Some people will say, you already were a writer...to you I say, sometimes I am slow to figure things out. To this end I am actually for the first time, going to submit writing to be published outside of my blog. It is scary and it is exciting. I will keep you posted since this blog is my favorite writing because it is whatever I want it to be. Wouldn't it be nice if the whole planet wanted to read my odd musings everyday? Just throwing that one out to the universe.

Also, since I am a writer now, it's official, I have started my novel. It's a idea, some notes, some characters (some that I am having my "consultant" help develop), but the story is growing in my mind and somewhat on paper more than any work of fiction ever has before. So, I'm totally a writer. A writer that is clever enough to seek out other smaller, less soul filling, but possibly better paying writing work, whilst I craft my novel. I guess I am a writer and a realist. That, my lovely reader, is a lot of revelation for a Monday morning.

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Gloom

Happy Monday...or is it? I have been ending my texts and e-mails today with "Happy Monday". As if to convince myself with each sent message that it will change my (slightly crabby) point of view. It is a gloomy, hopelessly grey day here in this part of the planet. The snow that fell over the weekend is slowly but surely being washed away by a murky rain. Ugh. Low motivation would be an understatement. Writing is my escape from bathrooms and other even gloomier chores. My kids have some silly game where they assign each other "spirit animals". I do not fully get the game or the purpose, but it is creative and it is not fighting...so my parenting instinct says let it go. Anyway, today my "spirit animal" is Eeyore. Yes, that glum donkey from Winnie the Pooh. My inner Tigger has been usurped by Eeyore. It is completely the fault of the weather. I have no problem assigning blame, actually it is one of my special talents. I was happily shoveling on Saturday morning, and today wading through slush. Very dismal. No, I should not let something as fickle and out of my control as the weather take over my mental state, but I have. I am owning it, swimming in the gloom, soon I will get out, dry off, and declare, "tomorrow is a new day". One crappy day only makes the others day look better. Oddly, just writing that made me feel slightly more Tigger-ish. So have a happy Monday...but only if you really want to.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Five for Friday

Express post....lots of fun and relaxation planned (and unplanned) this weekend. Hoping the same for all of you. Here are the five randoms...
  1. The snow is finally showing up on my part of the planet. I love it. Love winter clothing, it is so forgiving. If you have snow...go out and roll in it. Promise, I will do the same.
  2. Words with Friends. I have started playing this silly word game just this week. Crazy that a word lover has shunned this game for so long. I completely suck at it. Turns out I do not work well under strict letter limits. I need the whole alphabet. Also WwF does not accept many words that are in fact words. FYI, slut and skank are "not accepted as words". Go tell that to the kids at your local high school. You will probably hear a few more words that are "not accepted as words".
  3. What would be more embarrassing? Getting hit by a Prius or a Smart Car when crossing the street? I say the SmartCar, because of its tinyness, and the fact that hitting an adult may actually total that silly thing. No shame in getting hit by a Prius, since you can not hear those little buggers. Note to Toyota, install some engine noise software.
  4. I woke up to the cat staring at me a few mornings ago. It was very unnerving. I should say better things about her, since it felt like she was plotting my demise. Thankfully, she and the dog are on poor terms so a pet revolution seems to be an unlikely scenario. I will continue to foster the cat/dog rivalry. Solely for my own self preservation.
  5. Funniest sentence of the week. "I have a rash.". Explanation: My son had to use ten spelling words in a sentences. "Rash" is one of his words this week. Some may have had their child change this slightly embarrassing sentence. I am not one of those people. It is a gift to his teacher. She will get a giggle out of that one. This sentence also started a whole "rash" conversation with the kids and I. Someone, who shall remain unnamed, took the next step of doing a Wikipedia search on rashes. There are some bad ones out there. Do not read that article at the dinner table. Trust me on this one...just trust.
Happy (rash free) Weekend!!!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Gift of Bad TV

Do you have a television show you watch that makes you feel better about your life? I am not talking about Dr. Oz or other somewhat helpful shows that make you think about a new point of view or give helpful and enlightening advice. No, I am talking about bad television, brain candy, just drivel...but drivel that makes your realize your life is pretty top notch. I have a few shows that I watch when I am having a bad day that pretty much always bring me back to feeling good about being me. Here they are, with brief explanations...

  • The Millionaire Matchmaker. Why you ask? These people have millions and live big fabulous lives. Yes, and true. However, they are alone and a good share of them are nuttier than a damn fruitcake. God bless Patti Stanger (the actual matchmaker), she tries, and she is laughing all the way to the bank. Knowing that money can not buy love or sanity is a comfort on the days when even the dog is being disagreeable. Plus, it is just entertaining to see awkward dates. You can not get this up close look at first dates any other way. Well, I suppose I could go on first dates again...but my husband would frown upon that and I do not want to personally experience such awkwardness.
  • Gene Simmons Family Jewels. The name makes me smile and the sheer amount of dysfunction in that family makes anything my spouse, daughter, or son do, seem just fine. Mostly, Gene Simmons does a fine job of making any other man on the planet look like an amazing catch and a prince of a guy. Sure it is staged, and mindless, but it will make you hug your husband and thank him for not being the bass player of KISS. Although, I do have a soft spot in my heart for a certain bass player.
  • COPS. It is obvious why this show will make you feel better about your life. Lets face it not being wrestled to the ground, frisked, or having your vehicle searched for contraband is a good thing. Everyday I do not have an outstanding warrant for my arrest, or a suspended driver's license, is a simple win for me. Why, on occasion, I like to see people who are less fortunate in the eyes of law get caught seems mean spirited...but as mentioned, it is to make me appreciate what I have. And not being shackled in the back of a squad car makes my day.
  • Jerseylicious. This show is about a hair salon in New Jersey and the train wrecks that work there. The fake tans, big hair, crazy nails, and make-up & clothing that are the envy of every drag queen, makes for good mindless television. Dramatic and over the top are under statements about this show. The fact that this is anyone's reality boggles the mind. This show will not make you think about life or anything else. Its over drama has an anesthetic quality, that can not be denied. Warning, at the commercial break you will feel the urge to apply two or three coats of mascara...just go with it. Big lashes won't kill you.
Those are a few of my top picks for escaping my reality, and then realizing my reality is so awesome I should have my own show. Just kidding, this particular brand of crazy can not be captured on film. Mindless television watching has its place and function. Also note, none of these shows are kid friendly. Perhaps that is another reason they are pure, guilty pleasures.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Good Imagination or Bat Crap Crazy?

A good imagination is a sign of creativity. This has been a firm belief since childhood. This belief was fostered by my mother. She would always comment that I could entertain myself for hours playing with toys or other objects that were commandeered as toys...they may in fact have been poker chips, coasters, and straws. Anyway, being imaginative and creative was a valued or at least a highly praised activity as a child. My brother and sister and I all had imaginary friends that were talked about at the dinner table like a relative visiting from out of town. Occasionally, when I reflect on this from the perspective of an outsider the creativeness that was fostered may appear slightly crazy. Perhaps even absolutely bat crap crazy. Fast forward to 2012, none of us are certifiably crazy or even medicated. In general this encouragement of creativity has helped me think out of the box and generate ideas rather quickly. I can make up icebreaker activities (which I hate) faster than anyone else I have ever encountered.

Note: I defy you to introduce me to any person with a degree in education or social work that does not share my disdain for icebreakers. It is a too much of good thing situation.

I digress, as the creative are wont to do. So I often wonder how many other people had imaginary friends as children? I asked my freshmen year college roommates this question, only to get the reply, "I had real friends". Ouch! True and painful story. Thankfully twenty years, gin, and real friends have healed that emotional smackdown. Needless to say, I have not polled very many people on this question since then. My siblings and I still will mention the imaginary friends, by name, in a nostalgic way. My kids are very entertained by the stories. None of us hear from the imaginaries anymore, and have not since about age five. It is funny to recall the funny situations that imaginaries participated in. Often the imaginaries would take the heat for bad behavior or little whoopsies. Whether any of us really thought (in our child minds) that the imaginaries did any of this or not, is up for debate. The imaginaries may have just been the perfect scapegoats, when they were not participating in other adventures in our over active imaginations.

So who else had a fabulously awesome imaginary friend as a child? I firmly believe that it just makes you a person with remarkable imagination, NOT bat crap crazy.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Being Still...

I am not suppose to be writing this right now. I am suppose to be medating or being still or as I like to say "zoning out". The problem is I pretty much suck at being still. Well, I do sleep and I guess I am pretty still whilst sleeping...and occasional kick or flinch, but alseep I would say I am still. However, I have been informed that is a different state of conscience than meditating or being still, so it does not count.

The origin of my desire for stillness is from the current Bible study I am attending. The author of the study really seems to be into taking time to just be still and listen. Valid point, sounds great...except I am not a "still" person. Yes, that makes me sound like have adult ADHD (not that there is anything wrong with that). However, I do not. I have a laser like focus. I just can not empty my mind and just be still. I have lists that pop in my head. I have journal entries that start to write themselves. And I have a cat that wants to sit on my lap when I am still. Honestly, I would love to watch someone meditating and see what the trick to stillness may be. It sounds delightful to just open one's mind and let everything just breeze out for awhile. I am practicing, but as mentioned, I am writing this now...not in a meditative state. Although if my verb agreement is bad, then it is because I am in a transcendental state.

The biggest issue I have with stopping and being still is it seems impossible. It is not. I know many people who practice being still. They are wonderful, and they have a very peaceful energy that surrounds them. No one has ever noted how peaceful the energy around me is...ever. No, peaceful is not one of my discriptors. I get called organized and focused, which are very kind ways to say I have control issues. True, and I get things done. No one ever wonders if I will follow through with anything. My control issues will not let me be a slacker. Nor will those pesky control issues let me be still and meditate. However, I am working toward being peaceful. Sure, not today. Tomorrow I will try again to be still and find that inner peace that some achieve. Perhaps that is where my laser focus can help me. Or not.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lazy Monday: a rare gem

Today was a rare and special day. A Monday when no one worked or went to school. If it were not for my brother calling before 9 am and waking me up (thanks Adam), I may have slept the day away. Normally I admonish such activities as slothful, lazy, and a complete waste of time. Today, it felt right. The hungry, hungry, greyhound did not even wake up before the call. So if Ninja did not have a problem with sleeping in, it must have been the right thing to do. I always claim we are not "that family", the one with a crazy schedule and people running around all the time. It's a complete lie. I just looked at our calendar, more days than not one of us has something we need to do, or drive to, or plan. My new plan is to plan more super lazy days for this family. And call my brother to let him know not to call before noon on that day.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Five of Friday

My reward for publishing so much of my writing this week is my equivalent of Short Attention Span Theater. Just five wild observations, feelings, reflections, or just utter silliness. My challenge is getting to number five. Zero premeditation on this post. Here she flies...
  1. High heels are a girl's best friend and worst enemy. I love heels. L O V E them. I like to be extra tall. I like how a great heel can make a whole outfit. It is not even that I care what anyone else thinks, I like the look, for my own personal joy. I hate, H A T E, how horrible my feet feel after wearing my favorite shoes and boots. The burning, searing pain, that comes from walking, dancing, heck...even just standing in those beauties, is torture. Love, hate, love to hate, hate to love so much. Inner turmoil comes in many forms.
  2. Sweet pickles are a waste of time. That is right, I have opinions on such mundane things as components of relish trays. Dill and hot & spicy pickles are my favorites. I still have a jar of sweet pickles in the back of my refrigerator. Someone brought them to our home at least 5 years ago, and I still have them. I figure the pickles will not go bad, and someday someone who likes sweet pickles may show up at my house. That day has not happened yet.
  3. Two odd secrets. I secretly like ironing. Well, now the cat is out of the bag. It is a very satisfying process. Making a rumpled piece of clothing smooth and warm and fabulous is the bomb. Maybe I am more of a domestic diva than I admit. I also make my bed everyday. It sets the tone for the day, and is a simple thing that makes the whole bedroom look better.
  4. Fears. Ha. You thought I was going to list my greatest fears. Not going to happen. The secrets were enough for today. Needless to say we all have fears and anyone who says they have no fears...well they fear "fear" itself. And that, my enlightened readers is terrifying.
  5. Weekends should be relaxing. That being said, just in front of me is my jam packed weekend schedule. Thank goodness we have Monday off this next week. This crew will need that day for recovery. I am not a huge sleeping in person, but one day a week it is wonderful to not wake up to an alarm clock. That day will be Monday...so I am grateful for that small blessing.
Have a great weekend, busy or preferably not busy.
Live. Love. Laugh.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Blessings of Age

The New Year always brings a new year to my age. It is the blessing of being born on January 1st. Trust me there are very few other perks to having a holiday birthday. I am one year short of a significant birthday. I define "significant" as a number that ends in 0 or 5, all the other years are just birthdays...okay 21 was pretty significant, but that is certainly not my next big day. So anyway, I am approaching a significant age, and I oddly feel more youthful than I have in years. I never have felt old, well if I am sick then I feel old, otherwise I pretty much always feel about 27 years old. Why 27? Who knows, just liked that age. Lately I have been very energized and positive about life in general. Why I attribute this to feeling young, I do not know. Perhaps such confidence and vigor should be credited to life experience. I know for a fact if someone gave me a magical potion that could make me 27 again, I would not take it. Seriously. Even though the hair color would be all natural, the crows feet would be non-existent, and body would be rockin'...I am staying in the here and now. I feel like the best is yet to come, and I say that while relishing the present. My kids are fabulous, not perfect, but perfectly normal. My spouse is the whole package, handsome, hardworking, and hilarious. Really that is all a girl can ask for, except I have won some kind of powerball lottery in life, because I have amazing friends. They are the kind of people that are there no matter what. Honestly, if I broke my leg or was for some reason bedridden my friends would literally take care of me. How lucky? Insanely. Beyond blessed to have that kind of love and devotion from people that are not even related to me. Somedays it just occurs me that I have more than I deserve in the love and caring department. It also inspires me to put that love and positivity back out there. Not just to my friends and family, but to the world. So as I'm approaching a significant birthday, I am realizing that the most significant thing in life is the people we choose to welcome into our lives. When I was 27, I had no clue. So I will keep what I have and keep building.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The Stuff People Do in Cars

This morning I was taking a walk, organizing my thoughts, planning the attack plan for my day, and getting some excercise. I know that I should use the time to clear my mind, but you don't live I this brain so reserve judgement. Anyway what I observed people doing in there vehicles whilst driving made my walking mental jungle gym look like nothing at all. The crazy stuff people do while driving in thousands of pounds of metal with a gas combustion engine blows my mind. Let me also add a portion of my walk is along a fairly heavily traveled 45 mph suburban road, so this is not just going 20 mph in the subdivision stuff.
Here are some examples....
  1. Eating food with utensils. I saw three different people driving and spooning food into their mouths. The other hand holding a cup and the steering wheel simultaneously. I get it, they are busy, hungry, and late. We have all been there. Can't they pick a food choice that is more simple? Why not a breakfast bar? That is a food begging to be eaten on the go. You should not bring a spoon or fork into the driver seat with you. Imagine stopping short and lodging that down your throat...not good. Now imagine what the paramedics are going be saying about you as they cart you to the hospital. Seriously, lets think the eating and driving thing through.
  2. Reading. Yes, reading. At a stop light some guy picked up his morning paper from the passenger seat, laid it across the steering wheel and read at the light. I know, he was stopped. However, what is so interesting that he can not bear to sit at a light just waiting for the minute or whatever that it is red? Have we as a society become so short attention spanned that a traffic light is now "wasted time" that requires filling? The newspaper is a special moment for me. I would not like the distraction of having to stop reading to start driving. However, that may just reflect my priorities.
  3. Make-up application. Sorry sisters, do not put your face on while driving, the reasons are plentiful. It is not optimal lighting, so the results are not going be stellar. Also it is a single focus thing, you can not see the road and look up and to the left to get your eye liner on just right. Please also take into account that mascara wands are not something you want jammed into your eye. You only get two eyes in this life...or so I have been told. Don't stupidly poke one out doing 45 mph with some darkest brown lengthening mascara. Just one person's opinion.
  4. Texting. Okay, on this one I should add phone talking too, but I am guilty of the "talk and drive". However, I can see the road and talk at the same time...but I'm aware some conversations can be distracting. Okay driving texters, I feel your pain and temptation. I too am tempted to check my phone when the "text beep" sounds. I have the funny friend who always sends a funny comment or story and it begs a quick witty response. However, a person can not drive, see the road, and type a witty response all at once. Its is just not wise or safe. Confession: I have, on several occasions, thrown my phone to my third row of seating when the text beep comes through. I am too weak not to take a peak. Others need to be as wise, and have as good of an arm.
Driving is not a multi-task activity. Our minds are already geared with so many distracting thoughts, the food, newspapers, grooming, and phones really do not need to add to the "noise" that being human already generates. Keep it safe and I will work on zero phone usage in the car. Promise.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Winter Blues and Greys

As a lifelong Michiganian I am quite disappointed by the lack of snow on the ground this year. Honestly, snow is a special gift that I love to love and by the beginning of March, love to hate. The special relationship I have with snow is strained because I have not shoveled one single flake since...well I can not recall. It had to be sometime in the beginning of 2011. It is sad really. The kids are bummed about it. It just looks dead and grey outside. Sure the sky is a vivid blue and the sun is shining, but with no bright white snow on the ground to light up the whole of the outdoors. Yes, I am waxing poetic about snow, well the lack of it really. I like to shovel. I love to walk the dog through the snow. I love to see the snow forts my kids make. I even like to drive in the snow. I feel somewhat abandon by my lovely, white, flakey, frosty friend. The seasonal changes are my favorite thing about the marvelous mitten that is Michigan. It is Michigan's charm, the feather in her cap, if you will, is her wily weather. I miss her wily ways. I need some snow. I want snow. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and in this case it is true. I can not think of one bad thing to say about snow. It's pretty. It makes the whole outside look magical. And I miss it, so much. I am going to research some snow dances and rituals that will help lure some much missed flakes to my part of the world. Let there be snow!

Monday, January 9, 2012


I must completely endorse taking a couple days of "just for you time". My weekend with my girlfriends was BEYOND wonderful. I can not say we did anything extreme or crazy...well aside from not doing laundry or cooking a meal. Talking, shopping (not crazy, mostly looking), a comedy show, and fun dinners & drinks. Honestly, so simple and so lovely, and so temporary.

Now I must share that re-entry into domestic life has been sudden and harsh. I love my husband and kids...they are precious. They also are completely confounded by the most basic of household operations. Here are a few of the most confusing things about our household.

  1. The dishwasher is next to the kitchen sink. This is clearly too close for easy use. I left it empty and unlocked, this also seemed to make people believe it was broken or somehow not able to accept dirty dishes. Whatever the issue was I found that the dishes slipped quite easily into the machine upon my return.
  2. The magical chute for clothing located in the bathroom. Yes, there is a special chute that takes dirty clothes from the upstairs to the basement where a magical 5'8" elf makes it clean again. Somehow, dirty clothing is too heavy to make it off the bedroom floors in this house. It seems especially challenging for my daughter, who has a room right next to the room with the magical chute for clothing. I may have to look into a strength training regime for her.
  3. The magical 5'8" elf is not always in the basement doing laundry. Sometimes she is in Chicago
Today, I am household recovery mode. It is all worth it. I would not trade my life with anyone. Do I complain? Yes, I am human. I also completely celebrate that I have 3 humans, 1 cat, 1 dog, and a fish that need me to function. I will continue to try clear up all the "confusing" things that exist in our house, sometimes in a raised voice. Good, bad, or ugly, re-entry has happened, and I am okay with it...really, I am.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Girl Time

You know how a certain recently retired talkshow host always talked about making "you" a priority? Well this weekend, I am actually taking that advice, and heading out on a "girls weekend". The last girls weekend I had was in September of 2009....yeah, I know it is 2012. At least it is happening. I could not be more excited. Which I am totally containing around my family so they do not think I want to get away from them. I do. However, not because they are bad or defective, but because sometimes their many needs completely overwhelm my basic needs. Do you have any idea how many days around 10am I realize I have not eaten? Yes, some days the running about packing lunches, backpacks, finding clothes, and everything else makes me forget to eat. Yes, I am hungry when I wake up. The dog is hungry too, and she is more wiggly and persistent than I. She always has her breakfast by 7am, at the latest. Frankly, I need to adopt more of my family's persistent habits and learn to make them work on myself. I am pretty sure if I put my needs first they would all survive. I just have not put that into practice.
Anyway, this weekend is mine. Well, mine along with three other women who can also probably confess that they forget to eat and do a lot of other things for themselves. This weekend the Windy City should be on alert. We have made ourselves top priority. Yes, our husbands can handle the kids or they can't...I have decided that's not my problem. Perhaps I will call and check in, but I am not solving problems. I am not finding missing clothes from my mobile phone. I will not figure out a carpool (technically, I already arranged it). I am not telling anyone what to eat or when. I am resolute about this. I am taking the weekend off from the usual. This weekend is about my friends and me, being us...the us that we are are when we are not mom, wife, employee, and all the other titles we hold. This weekend we are The Girls.