Friday, December 23, 2011

Whew

If you've read this blog from the beginning, you know that one of the reasons I vowed to start writing on a daily basis was due to my cousin's wife, Carol.  Whenever I wrote something for my writers group, I'd send it to her to read, and she was enormously supportive.  Her presence among us has been missed greatly this past year, but when I meet up with her again I'll be able to honestly say that I worked hard at this writing thing.

The other reason I have been able to do this the last year is because of Mark.  He is very proud of what I've written, even when he is often cast in an unflattering light.  He has pushed this web address on everyone he knows, and I have picked up steady readers due to him.  One day, I hope to make some money as a writer, but time will tell on that one.  I daily feel guilt about not contributing to the financial obligations around here, and there are many.  When we recently talked about it he said, "You brought home the paycheck while I was in graduate school pursuing my passion.  I'm just doing what you did for me."

Well, I'd kind of forgotten about that.

I'm taking off until the end of the year to hang with my peeps and enjoy the holidays.  Thank you for reading this and passing it along to your friends.  As we head into the new year, I highly recommend moving any of those dreams from the back burner to the front.  Today.

In the meantime, when this guy sings this song.......oh my.  A most Merry Christmas and Happy New Year..............




Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Early Christmas

Teacher Girl and Prince Charming are headed to South Dakota to spend Christmas with his family.  Whom we happen to have a big crush on.  They did this last year, as well, so we celebrate early with them before they hit the road.  It could be my most favorite time of the holidays because we have so much fun.  Secret Santa comes to town, we play a board game and since it's a week before December 25th, nobody is tired and cranky.  The pics...

                          The Boy Child with wine glasses.  It's good to be 21.

Prince Charming seriously likes his new slippers.  That tree????  Sheesh.

                         The Big Daddy got warm socks for those cold biking days.

                                                     New book. Yeah!!!!!

                          The Teacher Girl is about to unwrap something good.

                                       Mallie Bee looooooves her accessories.

God bless us everyone.  Oh yes.

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Last One

My dad loved Christmas.  He was involved in all of it, and before Martha Stewart even gave it a thought, he would go out in the yard to cut evergreens for our Nativity set.  When it came to buying a gift for Mom, he'd take one of us girls with him to help pick out something.  The year his cancer had come back, and he was knocked flat most days by his treatment, he was still determined to go out and find her present.  A few days before Christmas, we all went to the mall, Mom included, to shop.  Because I didn't live close by and really hadn't been able to help much, I offered to go with Dad while Mom and my sisters did their shopping.

Walking with him was a slow process, but we got to Mom's favorite store and he took his time finding her something, and when he did he was pretty pleased with himself.  We had plenty of time left before we needed to meet up with everybody else, so I found a bench for him to sit on.  I still had some things to shop for and he told me he'd be content to rest and people watch.

I would go into a store, run out to check on him, go to another store, check on him.  This lasted nearly an hour and then we had to make the long, slow walk to meet Mom and my sisters.  He was exhausted.  Happy to have gotten out and more than happy to be going home to bed.

That was 22 years ago and I remember every minute of it, down to the gift he bought Mom.  I think we all knew that was going to be his last Christmas with us, and attempting to make it seem normal was a difficult thing to do.   For every time I approached that bench at the mall, I saw Dad......so sick and trying so hard.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Losing ####

I have been underweight my whole life.  Smallest kid in the class all the years I was in school.  Weighed 86# the first time I got pregnant.  I come from small women.

That changed a few years ago, when a few pounds crept on.  Then the next year, a couple more.  You get where this is going.  I can't blame menopause because that happened ten years ago due to ruptured ovarian cysts.  That was the summer I lost 13# due to the mess my body was.  The good old days.

Today I ran into someone who is about 5-10 years older than me and T.H.I.N.  Really thin.  I told The Big Daddy about her when I got home and said maybe she's one of those older woman who has an eating disorder.  Poor thing.  Or maybe she isn't stuffing Fannie Mae candy in her mouth every time she goes in the kitchen.  Maybe chips and salsa aren't her mainstay.  Maybe she exercises every day.  Really exercises instead of moseying around the neighborhood with her elderly dog.  Maybe she sweats.

I'm thinking that it's time for me to stop listening to that inner voice that's a complete whack job, and reverse course before I'm on the losing end of a bet to see if my fat ass could make it all the way to Des Moines.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Gift

From the archives of The Big Daddy Bad Behavior file..............

Years ago, we used to drive from Maryland to Illinois to spend Christmas with our families.  With little kids, it was a huge job to get them and everything they needed, plus all their Christmas presents, loaded up and into the car for the twelve hour drive.

We would arrive a few days before Christmas, and one or both of us would have to make a trip to the mall to finish up.  One year, The Big Daddy needed to make the trek on Christmas Eve to get a gift for me.  He was gone for hours, to the point where we were getting worried about him.  He finally made it back and went off to a bedroom to wrap his treasure.

And what could be this gift that took hours for him to find?  I couldn't imagine.

On Christmas morn, when the kids had finished their Santa gifts, he presented my present.  I was full of anticipation, and ripped off the wrapping to discover a Stitchery Kit of Two Deer In The Woods.  Well, that wasn't what I was anticipating.  Or wanting.

He explained that on the way to the mall, when he was driving by way of the Forest Preserve, he saw two deer in the woods and that's when it came to him.  That deer live in the woods, I asked.   No, no, he said, that a deer themed gift was a sign.  Too bad the mall wasn't by way of a diamond mine. 

My mom observed this and without saying a word, got up and went into the kitchen.  When I came in, she said, "I gave him plenty of ideas, even offered to go with him.  Who gets the mother of toddlers a gull damn project to do?"  My Big Daddy, that's who. 

By then it was 12:00 somewhere and she cracked open the wine and poured us a glass.  Separated by many years, we each had our crosses in life to bear.  Dad, who took NINE YEARS to remodel the kitchen, and me, married to a guy who goes to every store in town on Christmas Eve to find a wildlife kit for his wife to stitch.

Another day.  Another Christmas.  Another star in the crown.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Ken

You may remember reading about Ken on my walks with the dog.  Lonely Ken.  Looks for me to talk to Ken.  Married to Barbie.

I saw Ken the other day raking about five leaves in the yard, and he stopped to chat and wish me, my family and my little dog, too, the best Christmas ever.  And a wonderful New Year because I have been so kind to him over the years.  No, I haven't, Ken.  You're being delusional.  We talked about our plans for the holidays and all was friendly until he said this..........

"I had the idea to watch for you so I could run out with some mistletoe and give you a Christmas kiss."

Ken, Ken, Ken, that's a dumbass idea.  And if I were you, I'd be real careful because Barbie's watching you right now from the window of her dream kitchen, and sharpening the knife she's going to use to Bobotize your molded plastic Manhood if you don't stop hitting on chicks walking their dogs.

Merry Christmas.  You're welcome.  Now I have to find a new route.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh Christmas Tree

This is me trimming the tree......



and yes, my waist really is that small.   In my dreams.

We ditched our fake tree and have been buying real trees these last few years.  The Big Daddy Lumberjack likes to cut the trunk so it's nice and straight in the stand.  I cut a few branches to decorate with, and it's like a Norman Rockwell painting around here on Decor Day.

By day's end, when the house is a wonderland of Christmas, The BD and I sit on the couch with a glass of wine looking at our pretty, pretty tree.  Without fail, a strand of lights will stop working.  That's when we will try to jury rig it, check the bulbs, shake the tree, uplug and replug the strands, and check the outlet.  What we almost always do as well, out of sheer frustration, is give it the finger.  Which really doesn't do anything, but crack us up because we have the maturity level of ten year olds.  This year I checked every strand of lights, plugged them into one another to double check, plugged them into the outlet, unplugged them, put them on the tree, decorated the tree and plugged the lights in.  Half the tree was not lit and I let out a string of curse words that was as long as those crappy, made in China lights.

In this season of peace, love, and joy, that hunka evergreen irritates me every time I look at it.  I don't have the time to figure out what the problem is and turned it so the front and back are lit. The sides are scared of the dark and crying at night for some lights, but I DO NOT CARE.

No, I do not, for it is ELEVEN days until Christmas, and on day TWELVE, I can pitch that tree, lights and all, right out the front door.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Merry Everywhere

The holiday decor.......................I did the living and dining room in apple green and silver.



Our bar on top of the dresser I got for $20.00 at a yard sale.  The intent was to refinish it and sell it, but in the process I fell head over heels.



 The mantel.............

And mini ManLand was done in reds.............
 Including The Big Daddy's hockey trophies from back in the day...........

The hallway holds the AWESOME sheet music wreath that Nancy made me last year (and still available at the Prairie Girls Market at Good Company this weekend).   Shameless plug, but I can't help myself.  And what of the Christmas tree????  That story is tomorrow.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Precocious Pets

I'm a dog person.  I can tolerate cats, and I loved Beamer, but I'd much rather have a dog around.

The Big Daddy loves cats and and would much rather have them around than a dog.

Mars, Venus, kids, dog, cats, and fish all living under one roof.

The Big Daddy was in the kitchen when Henry decided he wanted a taste of some kitten milk, and you'd have thought the dog was holding the old man up in an armed robbery the way he tore into him.  He needed to wash down the snack from the garbage can.  I got mad at The BD for yelling at my dog, and who should come around to investigate, but Frank and Pip, and aren't they so fun, he says.  Oh yeah, they're precocious, I said.  Mallie Bee heard all of this and asked what that meant.  Little shits is what it means.  No, The Big Daddy said, they're mischievous.

The Mischievous Ones still have kidney issues and peed on our bed the other day.  The bed of the people who saved them from a shelter that may have been No Kill, but it wasn't a lifetime guarantee.  Who does that sort of thing?   Well, me that time I took Nyquil and was dreaming I was going to the bathroom and I was...........in the bed.  

When they're not getting into trouble, they're fast asleep, but don't let the innocent, sleeping baby pic fool you.  These two are a couple of Gang Bangers.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Wine-oscopy

You might be interested in knowing that small doses of a chemical used in laxatives has been approved for use in beverages to stabilize and thicken them.

Specifically, this kind of beverage.................

Source: bing.com via Amanda on Pinterest


WHAT THE WHAT??????

Is it not enough that when you're out having a good time and you don't want to get up to go pee, but you really have to, so you get up and OMG you have to go bad except you have no idea where the bathroom is so you search frantically like a mother who's misplaced her infant, and there's a line, and you can't even make small talk because now it's starting to hurt, and when you finally get into a stall, your pee starter thinks it's a go and starts to come out before you even unzip your Party Pants????

It wasn't enough.

Now a laxative additive has been included in our Wine Slushy, and have these people no mercy for those of us who have pushed out a couple of kids???   Who just by standing for a couple of decades have caused a gravitational pull that can only be reversed with some kind of sling up in Ladyland?

No, they have no mercy and beware the pitfalls of drinking.  DUI, roofies, a hangover and now the possibility of some added weight in your going-out-on-the-town underpants.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Lexus Shmexus

Could it be that it is only one week into December and I am already sick of seeing this.........


With this attached...............
Source: amazon.com via Xixi on Pinterest


Yep.

I've grown used to seeing the rich sitting around the tree in their designer jammies on Christmas morn and Dad saying, "Hey, everybody let's go out in the snow and see something."  And the little lemmings all follow because of the trust fund and Mom never gets bitchy and says, "What the hell?  In my new Tory Burch boots?"  She doesn't even look tired from running her ass off all month and she still has to put a Honeybaked Ham in the oven.

The newest commercial in Fantasy Gift Christmas features a couple about 30 years old in an elevator that plays the Lexus theme song.  When the door opens, there sits a new $50K car for the Mister and they must not have student loans to pay off.  Please go away.

Give me this lady any every day of the week.


She can hardly contain herself when the blenders go on sale, and with that jogging suit and pearls.......she's C.L.A.S.S.Y.  With a capital "T".......for the store that the Real Santa shops to make Christmas dreams come true.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Cheerleaders

This weekend Mallie Bee and I made a fast trip to Chicago.  She had an audition for Fordham University/Alvin Ailey School of Dance.  Be still our hearts.  We arrived on Friday, the audition was all afternoon Saturday and we left Sunday morning.

Whew.

This is our dancer's ideal school.  It is so expensive it's not even funny, but she dreams big and we need more of those kind in the world.  We have, however, told her on a daily basis that we cannot afford it, and true to her nature, she hasn't let that stop her one bit.

While she was doing that, my sister and her husband and I hopped a bus to the fun part of town, ate lunch and did a little shopping amongst the crowds in the city I will always miss.

When we got back we had a bit of a wait for her to finish so we took a look at the church next door.  This church................

It was an absolute stunner inside.  Old world Europe kind of a feel.  We went back to wait, and I answered a whole lot of texts from everybody wondering how it was going.

When we had gone inside the church, I asked God to assist in what was going on next door, and significant financial aid sure would be nice.  That last part was a little half-hearted since there are too many people in dire straits in this world for me to be greedy.  What wasn't half-hearted, though, was my gratitude for my family who went above and beyond to encourage her and get her where she needed to be all weekend long, and our friends here in Kansas City who cheered for her from many miles away.

She thought it went o.k. and come March we'll find out what they thought.  I'm hopeful about all of it and how could I not be?   She may have performed a solo, but those ballet shoes she danced in carried the grace and blessings of everyone she knows.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reserved Parking Only

I may have mentioned a time or twenty that The Big Daddy and I are from the Chicago area.   As you know, they get some mighty wintry winters.  What you may not know is that if you are a Chicagoan, and you shovel a space for your car, say in front of your house, and say you set up some 2 x 4s propped on some webbed lawn chairs, say in January, it means that you have reserved that area and are the rightful owner.   The law may say that it is public property, but street law says it belongs to the shoveler.  Messing with it and thinking you can park in a space you did not clear could get you one of those 2 x 4s upside the head.

When the kids were little, there was a new store opening in town called HQ.  It was like Home Depot, but more designery.  The Big Daddy offered it up for the team and agreed to take the kids and I there for a fun family outing.  On opening weekend.  With thousands of other people.  We circled the lot forever and finally found someone who was leaving.  The BD turned his blinker on and we patiently waited for them to pull out.  As they did, another driver whipped around the corner and beat us to the spot.  "SON OF A BITCH", The Big Daddy yelled.  "DID YOU SEE WHAT THAT BASTARD JUST DID?"  Oh my God, he stole his space.  With his blinker on.  He totally ignored Blinker Etiquette.  The Big Daddy was crazy, and I had his back.  This was Parking Space War and we waited patiently for the thief to get out of his car so we could lay down some ef bombs. 

With three young children in the backseat.

After a few minutes and off in the distance, we could hear sirens.  And The Little Boy Child said, "That's the police.  They're coming to get that guy and they're going to poke both his eyes out until they bleed and put him in jail for taking our space."    I'd like to thank the Academy on behalf of The Big Daddy and I for naming us Parents of the Year.  Again.  

A few years later, again with all the kids in the car, I was meeting a friend at a festive holiday shopping center for lunch.  We were running late, the parking lot was jammed and I was circling and circling until I finally found a space near the door.  I got the kids out and an older couple stopped and said, "Didn't you see the sign?  It says compact cars only."  Well, no, I didn't see the sign and there was my minivan and geez, it wasn't even a tight fit.  Kids, I said, we're just gonna leave it there.  The Teacher Girl was in a Mother Theresa phase and said, "No, Mom, you can't.  We'll get in trouble for not following the rules."  Oh, for God's sake.  I put all the kids back in the car and looked for a regular space.  A minivan space.  Which is how I scraped the entire driver's side when I pulled in too close to a concrete pole.

We got into the shopping center and I was so rattled and stressed and pissed that I needed a drink or three.  Instead I sat with my friend and six kids with a paper engineer hat on my head waiting for my burger and fries to be delivered by a choo choo train.  That I thought about punching.  I told her about my mishap with the pole and my encounter with the Parking Lot PoPo.  This is the kind of stuff I can't let go.  Gotta let it fester.  Build up. 

When we were leaving, I happened to spot Deputy Fife and The Mrs. and stopped them for "a moment of their time."  That's when I told them that when I moved my car the entire side was hit and maybe they should mind their own beeswax when it comes to people parking their car.  I did leave out the fact that it was me pulling in too close to a pole that caused this crime against my car because I like to blame other people when I mess up.   "Oh my, oh dear," the Mrs. said,  "Are the children o.k.?"

What are you talking about lady???  What children???  Oh, ya mean those three watching Mom get her crazy on.

As we enter the hap-happiest time of the year, it's all about parking, parking lots, parking etiquette.  For The Big Daddy and I, it means working hard to suppress that Chicago thing that's in our DNA.  Oh, but our hearts sure would be glowing with holiday greetings if only we could bring our lawn chairs and 2 x 4s to those gay happy meetings at the mall.

 
 
 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The First Noel

When The Big Daddy and I married, we lived about two hours from our parents.  He was in graduate school, I worked in a bank.  That year, Christmas Eve was on a Saturday.  The bank kept regular Saturday hours, 9 - 12, and I offered to work since we didn't have much of a drive.

It started snowing early in the a.m.and was a swirling, blizzardy mess as the morning wore on.  There was stories of accidents and bad driving conditions from customers, and one of my coworkers who was going in the same general vicinity as me heard that the interstate was closed.  Puhleez.  There wasn't all that much snow that could have accumulated in such a short time.

While that may have been true, in central Illinois there is nothing to stop the snow, and with the right wind conditions it certainly can close a highway.  So there we were, The Big Daddy and The Loan Processor spending Christmas alone in the dreary basement apartment.  With the roaches.

Because we had planned on being with the family, we had no tree.  Nor a Christmas dinner or gifts to open because we were broke.  Ho. To. The. Ho.  We dug in the fridge and came up with some cube steaks and a couple of beers.  Nothing celebrates the joy of Jesus' birth like chewing on some gristle off of t.v. trays while watching MTV.   I was DEEpressed.

Finally, The Big Daddy said, "Enough.  We are getting out and going to the movies.. Your pick."   That's how we ended up at "Terms Of Endearment" and I had no idea Debra Winger was going to die.  I boo hooed and it was a miserable 1st married Christmas except for this..............

In the movie, Jack Nicholson offers Shirley MacLaine a drink which she declines.  He tells her she should consider it "to kill the bug that crawled up your ass."  I believe it's one of the finest movie lines of all time and I have used it over and over.  In my head.  To people who make me nuts.

We went back to our place, killed some Christmas roaches in the bathroom and called it a night.  We eventually made it home to celebrate New Years with our families and we drank plenty.

Just to make sure.


Source: google.com via Sally on Pinterest

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Curb Your Enthusiasm

When The Boy Child came home for Thanksgiving break, I ran some errands and brought us home some lunch.  On the way back, I passed a desk on the curb with a free sign, so I slowed down for a look-see.  And was there anything on top of that desk, you ask????   Well, I'll tell you.  It was this...............


Oh dear God of Vintage Roadkill.  I couldn't believe it.  And it wasn't just this one, there was another.  I backed up the car and loaded 'em up along with that stinkin' cute typewriter table.  Let me tell you, they were FILTHY.  I put them in the back of my car and about ten pounds of dust settled into the crevices.

I came home with lunch and showed The Boy Child my finds.  Cuz he gets excited.  Not like the girls who say, "Why do you bring home this crap and then get mad when we don't love it?"  Because I am your mother, that's why.  Which has nothing to do with the conversation, but I like to throw down some discipline once in awhile.

Anyhow, I told him about the desk and asked if he wanted to go back and look at it for his apartment.  And he did, which seriously gets me so excited I can't even tell you.  We go back to shop and it was kind of rickety and not so cool so we passed on it.  However, up by the garage was the garbage can and a bunch of bags next to it.  Hmmmm......what could be in those bags?  And that is how I ended up digging through some trash on private property with the dog next door barking like a damn, furry fool.  Hey, Lassie, Timmy didn't fall down the well after all so no need to alert the authorities.

I told The Big Daddy about our Excellent Adventure and he said, "Jeezus, are you trying to get yourself shot?"  Negatory, BD.  Just shopping.  "Well, you can't go up to people's houses or they'll think you're robbing them."    Robbing them of potentially lucrative garbage that just may land me on Antiques Roadshow, thus securing our retirement at the mobile home park.  And that's the part where he's supposed to say "thank you" but never does.
 

A few days later, Black Friday comes along and it is a crazy nightmare with mobs and trampling and pepper spray in the midnight hour.  Pepper spray?   For an X-box.  I didn't participate in that madness.  I've got my own kind of madness to manage, and taking it into the crowds for a crappy two dollar waffle iron is not for me.  You know, standards and all.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Let's Label

When I decided to write a blog, the set-up took FOREVA.  Like forty days and forty nights.  The Teacher Girl came over and said, "Watch."  Then she did about 25 steps while texting with multiple sites getting maximized and minimized and music playing in the background and I had no idea what she did.

Even though it was all ready to go, I decided to change everything which explains the simple look I've got going.  Simple because it was all I was capable of.   Simple because I was Amish in another life.

This weekend I was talking to someone who has a different kind of blog and asked him a bunch of questions.  Foremost, how do you get your blog out there and attracting attention?  He gave me some advice that had something to do with something something zero or something something oh.  I can't remember because I was having fun and drinking and you know how that goes.   And then I wondered how you labeled your posts?   By typing whatever you want in the box that says "label" on the compose page.  Drrrrrrr.............Drrrrrrr............Double Drrrrrrr.............

I'm going to label everything I write now because I learned a new skill.  All Big Daddy posts will say, Hey, Why Don't You Put That On The Blog?  That's cuz whenever I think he's done something dumb, he says that to me.  In the meantime, the Nook that The BD got me last year for Christmas sits unused because turning the pages made me so nuts I wanted to fling it across the room.   I may have to tap into my skill set and figure out how to turn just one.  At a time.  Instead of thirty.  I would label that A Breakthrough.

This is The Big Daddy yelling at me to "put it on the blog."  So I did.


Monday, November 28, 2011

The Hofmeister Ham

Many years ago, my brother stopped by my mom's house, popped the trunk of his car and pleaded with us to take a ham.  Take two, he said, I've got to get rid of these things.  He is a salesman and his company gives a Hofmeister ham to its best customers during the Christmas season.  He had a serious overstock issue.

I took one, put it in a cooler and drove it back to Kansas.  We stuck it in the fridge until Easter and IT WAS THE BOMB.  Everybody raved about the Hofmeister.  I entertain a lot of people at Easter.  A free good ham is essential to my dinner being a success.  And to people liking me.  Really, really liking me.

Now I make it my business to get in touch with my brother in early December. Hey, how you doing?  How's Sharon?  The kids?   Good, good.  Work?  Good.  Yeah, well, since you brought up work, how 'bout securing me one of those hams?

Last year in exchange for a Hofmeister, I offered him a mint condition, collectible Scottish snowman in golf attire.  What could be more perfect for a guy who loves golf?   He emailed me back.  "Nice job trading crap from your basement.  You sure know how to make a guy feel special.....like-wearing-a-helmet-short-bus-special."  Always the short bus jokes with the brother even when you're both old enough to qualify for AARP.   I told him he's always been my my special boy and to go easy with the tinsel on his helmet this Christmas so things didn't short out upstairs.  If you know what I mean.

From there, the email got sent to my sister and all of his kids.  It was a hamstorm of activity....like chimps at the zoo flinging crap at one another.  There were accusations of me being cheap, regifting and of him only hearing from me during Ham Season.  I was offended.  I remained mature and generous (me Scotty Snowman was still on the table), but I really wanted a Hamosaurus for Christmas.  No crocodile. 

Sure enough, The Man In Brown shows up one day and I could hear the choir of angels singing as he walked up the drive.  The shepherds watched over their flocks, the people who walked in darkness had seen a great light, and unto us a Child was born.   Oh, and The Mighty Holiday Hofmeister in refrigerated packaging was sitting on my doorstep like the best damn gift ever.

Hit it angels..................

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Party City

The Big Daddy and I entertain often.  This requires a lot of work and planning to make sure things go smoothly.  BD?  He's flown by the seat of his pants from the second his Momma gave birth to him.  He plans nothing.

A few years ago, we had a chili party.   I sent out invitations and made two different kinds of chili ahead of time.  Moved furniture.  Cleaned the house and porch.  Scrubbed the bathroom.  Got wine, beer, napkins and glasses.   Decorated and strategically placed mood candles.   In order to help out, The Big Daddy left work after lunch, came home, changed his clothes and trimmed the trees.   When my neighbor saw him up on a ladder sawing branches she called to make sure we were having a party that night,  Yes, it's tonight.  Yes, in a couple of hours.  Yes, he's "helping" me.

Last year, we had a Christmas party with even more people invited.  The BD stayed home in the morning to help out before leaving for a meeting, and cleaned the backyard of dog crap.   A different neighbor called that time to see if I wanted her to tell him to get in the house.   You know, where the party was going to be.  

Pre-Entertaining Man Stupidity runs rampant at this time of year.   There is no known remedy, but symptoms can be managed with a shop vac, leaf blower or chainsaw.  Extreme cases may require a bobcat.

Party on.
Source: google.com via Kelly on Pinterest

Happy

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Processing The Food

Thanks to this.............
Source: howdesign.com via Meg on Pinterest


..........I've been branching out with some recipes, and it seems most of them require a food processor.  I had a small one at one time, but gave it away since it intimidated the hell out of me.  Just reading about pulsing gave me the heebie-jeebies.

The Big Daddy had a bumper crop of tomatoes that came in about hmmm.....October.  Tomatoes had taken over the homestead so I decided to make salsa which required a food processor.  I opted to use the blender instead with less than great results.  I told my tale of woe to my friend who offered me her food processor that she had never used.  Skerd, like me.  I put my big girl panties on, put that Mother on the counter and stared it down.

I have now made two new batches of salsa that The Fam is going crazy for and I AM IN LOVE WITH THE FOOD PROCESSOR!!!!  I returned it to my friend with a breathless description of its life changing power.  She wanted a piece of that action and made a sweet potato dish with the same results as me.  Now we talk about a kitchen appliance that has been around FOREVA, like we just lifted our skirts and got off the carriage from Amish country.

My mom has had a lifelong debilitating fear of yeast.  She's always referred to it in a low whisper, like gossiping about somebody whose husband is going to the Big House for tax evasion.  Her advice to her kids, "Stay away from it..  Don't even try it."

I think somewhere along the way she may have gotten the Just Say No To Drugs campaign confused with Yeast, and crazy is as crazy was raised.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hunter & Gatherers

When The Big Daddy decided to start farming the backyard, we had a difference of opinion on the aesthetics.  I know it's shocking.   He was going to leave the railroad ties to border it and I haaaaaaaate those things.  I convinced him that we should extend it, curve it and border it with rock. 

We are firm believers in not forking over money for things like rock, so we hunted the Great Plains in search of flagstone.  We would drive around on Sundays, pull over when things looked promising, open the hatchback and start loading.  Can I tell you how many people stopped because they thought we had car trouble?  No, just pilfering rock.  Move along.  Nothing to see..  We were getting puny amounts until The Big Daddy decided we should go to suburbia to nab our prey.

YABBA DABBA DOO!!!!  We stumbled upon a golf course under construction and it was like Bedrock.  Fred and Wilma loaded and loaded, and that car of ours dragged itself home and back many times.

We also believe that we should not pay for dirt.  Across the street, the city is putting in a walking trail to the park.  Suhweeeeeeet.  Bobcats start bright and early and this is what we've looked at for two weeks.  Finally, I said to The BD, "Did you see all that dirt over there?  We should go after dark and load up."  My thoughts exactly, he said.

Great minds and gardeners think alike, and when we're done stealing the dirt we just may bring home Johnny On The Spot.  I've heard that an extra bathroom always ups the resale value of a home.  Significantly.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A Revelation

In my obsession with reality shows about hoarding, I heard a pearl of wisdom from a professional organizer working with a client.  He said to her, "Life is about experiences, not things."

Oh my.

In a house and garage that has too much stuff, a closet that is full, kitchen cabinets that barf Tupperware every time you open them, a freezer with food that can no longer be identified, and a basement that is a holding pen for crap we have no need or use for......this was an eye-opener.  I may not be a hoarder, but I buy way more than we need.

Last week, the girls and I went to see The Alvin Ailey Dancers.  That Tiny Dancer of ours has led the way to a whole new world for this family, and those professional dancers proceeded to Rocka My Soul to the Bosom of Abraham.  I've been singing my prayers ever since, and oh my indeed............

It was an experience.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Doin' 40

The Big Daddy rides his bike back and forth to work every day, and has for many years.  On the weekends, he rides early in the morning with a group of guys who call themselves The Gravy Train.  I think it's because their wives are so frickin' awesome their life is GRRRRRRRavy.  This is the fast ride.  A Hard 40.  The Shawshank Redemption.

It never fails that if we are out socializing on a Friday or Saturday night, The Big Daddy will say, "Yeah, I'm doin' 40 in the morning."  And nobody ever knows what he's talking about.  This causes him to thump his chest and say, "40 miles.  6:30.  With The Gravy Train."  Which leads to lots of oohs and aahs.  As if a monkey couldn't ride a bike.

I've decided to play that BD at his own game.  Now when we leave a party, I say, "Yeah, I'm doing 10 tomorrow.  Maybe 12."   And when people ask me what that means, I say, "Sentences.  10:30.  Ish.  Sweats.  Chair with wheels."   However, if I was over-served by the hosts the night before, I write in fragments that I count as a sentence cuz I put a period at the end.  Like this.

I swear I can hear a little gasp, as if people are so impressed with me they can't form a word.  It might be a choke, but I'm pretty sure it's the Awe Factor.

Source: reddit.com via Cody on Pinterest

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's A BOGO

When our cute, little Beamer went to meet his Maker, we decided we were going to take our time finding the next family cat.  When barely a month had gone by, The Teacher Girl informed us that the shelter that she adopted Butters from was having a sale on adoptions.  HALF PRICE YOU GUYS!!!  YOU'VE GOT TO MOVE ON THIS!!

And move we did, because she has a way of getting the show on the road.  That is how we ended up with The Brothers.....Frank and Pip.  Not only was it half price adoptions, but it was also Buy One Get One Free.  How could you turn down a sale like that?

My aunt once told me that she's a real sucker for a sale.  Goes right to the sign, and dammit she'll find something even if she doesn't need it.  Oh, I know all about that, I told her.  I've got a closet full of good deals that have been worn once.  "I swear," she said, "if they put a turd on sale I'd probably buy it."

The Brothers have each been diagnosed with a kidney infection.  Urine sample.  Overnight stay.  Medication.  $150.00.  Next week is round two.  More medication.  Another urine sample.  $$$.

We're off to a stellar start with this great deal we got, and The Two Turds we acquired hang in the closet next to the leopard pencil skirt that makes me look like a fat, middle-aged hooker.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Giving Thanks For Cable

Many years ago, The Big Daddy and I traveled to my parents' house for Christmas from our apartment two hours away.  When we arrived, my dad pulled me aside to tell me they invited a nice, young couple for dinner that couldn't make it home to Minnesota to spend the holidays with their family.  Since they were about our age, Dad wanted me to make a special effort to make them feel welcome.  Sure can do, Dad, and who is this couple you befriended?

From the kitchen Mom yelled, "It's the cable man."  What???  "Well, we've had so much trouble with the gull damn cable.  We kept calling and every time they'd send out some idiot that would get it working for a day and then we'd be right back where we started.  This kid came the last couple of times and finally fixed it, and well, we couldn't have him and his wife celebrating Christmas by themselves."

The Big Daddy and I moved further away and haven't made it home for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner in many years.  We fill our table with a different kind of family on the holidays, and everything I know about welcoming strangers to your home I learned from Bill and Gerry.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Match.com

I walk every day in the park, along with some other regulars.  Through the years and in the neighborhood, I've met many people along the way, mostly retired men puttering in their yard looking for some distraction for a few minutes.

The Public Works Department is often in the park, mowing, trimming, emptying trash.  My girlfriend got to be chatty with one of the guys who took an interest in her dog.  He really, really liked her dog.  Loved her dog.  After months of conversing whenever they would see each other, he stopped to pet her dog and casually said, "We should go out for a drink some time."  She was a flustered mess, totally taken off guard and said, "Ummm, no, no, that's not a good idea.  I'm married."  To which he said...........
wait for it...............wait for it.............
"Oh, that's o.k. so am I."   Ya think he was faking the dog liking thing?

I never paid any attention to him, and have walked daily without being asked out by a city employee.  I take a different route home than she does and pass the home of Barbie & Ken every day.  I did not make that up.  Ken's been a friendly guy over the years, especially since the time his dog was running loose and tried to bite me in the leg.

Today when I walked by, he was in the backyard and called me over to the fence.  Can I ask you a question?  Sure.  Does it bother you that I stop you on your walk to visit?  No, not at all.  Well, I just wanted to make sure because you've been coming at different times lately and I thought maybe you were trying to avoid me.  No, some mornings I get out earlier than others.  Well, good because I really have enjoyed getting to know you and I wouldn't want to do anything to offend you.  Other than your dog leaving teeth marks in my thigh, we're fine.  To which he said........
wait for it.................wait for it.............
"Sometimes I get lonely.  That's why I look for you in the morning.  So we can talk." 

Sheesh. 









Sunday, November 13, 2011

Hockey Mom

My mom at her top height was about 4'10", and it would be a mistake to think her size made her anything but mighty.  Corralling six kids on a daily basis gave her nerves of steel, and each one of us can tell you stories of Mom going C.R.A.Z.Y when we were misbehavingAnd I use that term loosely because my three older brothers tended to swim in and out of the delinquent pool on a regular basis. 

Growing up, they all played hockey.  In the burbs of Chicago, hockey is King.  Most hockey games can get out of hand, even for the amateurs, and we were watching one rough match when a player from the opposing team shoved the butt end of the stick into my brother's face.  First, that is a low class, dirty move.  Second, he broke my brother's front tooth.  We witnessed all this from the stands and my parents were mad as hell.  Fortunately, it happened near the end of the game before a major brawl started.

My mom was worried there might be a fight near the locker rooms, so she told my dad they should head that way just in case.  As the opposing team started filing down the hall, my mom spotted the tooth-breaking, butt-end-of-a-stick-player, grabbed him by the jersey, threw him against the wall, and went C.R.A.Z.Y.  To the point, where my dad had to pull her off and get her out of there before a major brawl started. 

The ride home was especially quiet, and the Thought Bubble that hung over every head in the car was some  version of, HOLY SHIT!!!  WHAT HAPPENED IN THERE???  After a very long time, The Little Boxer spoke with a cracking voice, "It's just that of all you damn kids, he had the best teeth."

That was the night I learned the value Mom put on our choppers, and that if you dared to mess up one of her kids, you were going to answer to her.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Wrapping Up Crazy

I know about OCD.  When my brother was getting some counseling while going through a divorce, the  Perfection Gene we all inherited was discussed.  The therapist suggested that he let some things go, starting with the checkbook.  Don't worry about the color pen you're using, just write down your entry in whatever is available.  He told me this like it was some kind of breakthrough for the entire family.  No, no, no.  Neat.  Perfect slant to the handwriting.  Same color pen.  Every entry.  It's the anal foundation this family was built on.  She says it will set us free.   What would Dad say?  Dad who taught us how to line up baby food jars of screws on his bench like North Korean soldiers, and semi-annually scrubbed the garden hose.  You need to try it.

I never did.  It was too much to ask.

I also know about thumb sucking.  My mom was under the impression that she shamed me into stopping at the age of 12, but it was closer to 13.  I spent a year hiding in the closet taking a thumb hit every day after school.  Which explains the overbite. 

I read in the paper about a guy who had an extreme case of OCD.  He was 34.  He sucked his thumb every day, but first wrapped it in Saran Wrap to avoid the germs.

This is a mingling of mental disorders which can never lead to a good outcome, for there is no comfort to be had in sucking a thumb wrapped in plastic.  It has to be skin to mouth.  Alone.  In the closet.   Anxiously waiting every day for the mosquito bites to blossom right out of that training bra.  And praying for the boys to notice the quiet, freckled-face girl that was on the verge of some kind of wonderful.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Skank Meter

I think Herman Cain is an experienced, habitual groper.  I think everybody around him has probably been aware of this for years.  Oh, that's just Herman being Herman.  I think there's too many women to name who have been a victim of his, likely since middle school when he tried it, got away with it, and emboldened him.

This week, we have a stay-at-home mom who has had experience with Herman being Herman.  In the detailed account she gave in front of dozens of news cameras, did it matter that her kids were also hearing the graphic description of her encounter?  I'm all for nailing this guy for the farce he is, but this will sure make the next PTA meeting awkward.

Behind her during this accounting was Gloria Allred, who made a legitimate career of defending women until her train jumped the track and she started chasing every ambulance in town.  Now she calls more press conferences than the President, and I wonder what's in it for her.

There's all kinds of Five Minutes of Fame Pie to slice in this year before the election, and the list of characters sending The Skank Meter into overdrive goes on and on and on.

It makes me miss Joe The Plumber.

Monday, November 7, 2011

72

Kim K. and her Forever Love are calling it quits after 72 days.  Well, she is, anyways.  He doesn't seem to know much about it.  Does a husband ever know when anything is wrong? 

It was a fast courtship she had, not like The Big Daddy and I who dated for five years before we got married.  I knew EVERY SINGLE THING about him.  A day after we promised to love, honor and obey tolerate, we went to the beaches of South Carolina, where we rented a condo for a week.  And EVERY SINGLE THING he did drove me nuts.  The way he held a knife.  The way he chopped.  The way he'd cook with a flame so high I thought he was going to burn the place down.   The way he left every utensil he used on the counter instead of putting it in the dishwasher.  The amount of dressing he'd douse on a salad.  The wet towels on the floor.  The exhaust fan in the bathroom that droned on and on.  The way he ate his cereal.

Because it made me nuts, I had to comment on all of it.  Back home, we cut on an angle.  Back home, we simmer.  Back home, we clean as we go.   Back home we put our towels in the hamper.  Back home, back home, back home.   After the third day, he looked at me with stone cold eyes and said, "Well, you're not back home any more, are you?"  And those dead peepers of his kind of scared me.

That's when I understood that this marriage thing was more like legalized kidnapping.  Of course I knew at times that I could escape, but Stockholm Syndrome set in and I learned to love and depend on this man who took me away from everything in my life that made any sense.

Every now and then, though, I'll watch The Big Daddy out in the yard, throwing clods of dirt and cussing at the squirrels and think.........

I should make a run for it.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Slum Lords & Pirates

The Boy Child has had some issues concerning the apartment he lives in at school.  The end of August, he wrote a rent check that did not clear, and he made repeated calls to check on it so as to avoid late fees.  After leaving many messages, The Slum Lord finally called back and told him it was never received.  He wrote another check and took it to the office, asking that if the original check shows up to call him and he'd pick it up. 

Two months after the fact, The Slum Lord cashed the original check.

He called her and remarkably, she did not return his call.  In the meantime, his account has taken a significant hit, so I told him I'd handle it.  I made a call to The Slum Lord and she said gee, I guess I forgot about that, yeah there was a conversation about a lost check, I guess it was here in the office the whole time, it must have been put with the October deposits, I'll just put it towards the rent for November.  He's paid for November.  Oh, she says, did that check clear?  Yes.  Well, then I'll put it towards the rent for December.

Ummm, no you won't I said.  You'll write him a check and he'll be at your office Monday morning to pick it up.  The SL got High and Mighty after that, telling me she was going above and beyond even having a conversation with me since I wasn't her renter.   
  
I was retelling the story to The Teacher Girl who cut right to the chase and asked me if I called her a bitch.  I was about to and she hung up on me.  "Well, Mom," she said, "if you do have to talk to her again, you tell her she's nothing but A Dirty Pirate Hooker."

I guess there's no need for me to lay awake at night, kinking my curls over that one getting taken advantage of by anybody.

.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Trouble

These two keep parking their butts on the sofa.  After the hundredth time of yelling at them to get off, Mallie Bee said to me, "I don't think they understand what get off the couch means."

I believe they do.  I believe they're taunting me.  I believe these two are Trouble.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Walking With Eskimos

From the archives of The Big Daddy Bad Behavior File.................

I walk every day.  Sometimes I ask The Big Daddy to accompany me.  He does not.  Walking is for girls.  He likes The Biking that requires gear.  Thump-the-chest-look-at-me-I-wear-gear.  Walking requires gym shoes.  How lame is that?

On a cold, snowy day that wasn't suited to biking, I convinced him to go for a walk.  This was the perfect weather to wear his dad's Standard Issue Army Parka from back in the day.  He loves to haul out the parka.  He has gone in the basement during dinner parties to bring up the parka for Show and Tell.  That's nice, honey.  Now put that away cuz we have guests here. 

Off to the park we went and he couldn't hear anything I said because he had his parka hood on.  When he'd turn to look at me, his head would still be inside the hood because it was so big, so then he couldn't see or hear.  It was walking, yelling, and The Big Daddy saying, "WHAAAAAAAAT?"  Why, oh why, did I ask him to come along?

We got to the park and up ahead there was a guy walking towards us with a little dog.  We walked off the sidewalk to avoid a dog altercation, and as we passed, the guy said, "Thanks, I appreciate that."  To which The Big Eskimo Daddy said, "WHAAAAAAAAAT?"  And gets his face lost in his hood.  Again.  Next thing, I hear a yelp and BD's boot is in the air with a dog flying off the end of it.  I do not know you.  I've never met you.  Do not walk with me.  The Big Daddy is looking around in his hood saying, "What happened?  What happened"  Well, ya kicked the guy's dog in the ass, that's what happened.  

The guy scoops up his whimpering dog and gives The Big Daddy a big dose of stinkeye.  Which he couldn't see, what with the hood on and all.  By this time, Henry and I had walked on, the guy was carrying his crippled dog home, and The Big Daddy is standing all alone in the park in his Standard Issue Army Parka, shouting into his hood, "Hey, hey you guys, wait for me."

We did not.

A Dance Medley of Crazy Wedding Love

http://screen.yahoo.com/father-daughter-dance-medley-27138015.html

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Employment Diaries

The last year of my employment goes as follows:

Gave notice at Crazy Town in late December.  Wanted to quit after the 1st employee meeting four months into my Community Service Sentence when Crazy Owner showed her true colors and publicly ripped each employee.  Stuck it out for another year.  Gave a two week notice and two days later was told it was my last day.  There is a Santa.

Took time off to write and purge the toxicity from Crazy Town.  Purging took awhile.

Friend calls with opportunity to work at a local bookstore.  Love books, love the shop, but am scared off by one of the partners, who acts like he might be related to owner of Crazy Town.

Answer craigslist ad for retail/creative type who is able to sew.  Right up my alley.  Had great phone interview and owner wants to meet me the next day.  Hired the end of June for 20-30 hours per week.  Worked six hours the entire month of August and was fired by mail due to lack of business.  Never been fired before and by mail.  Really?

Fill out application for J. Jill after noticing A Unique Opportunity sign while shopping.  Turn it in and make a follow-up phone call.   They'll look it over and get back to me.  They don't and now they're dead to me.

Have interview at floral shop where I want to shoot myself during the process.  Got job offer, but declined.

Get lead on a home decor store that I LOVE.  They get the lowdown on me from a friend then interview me for an hour.  Decide I need to spend time "shadowing" at the store to get a feel for the place.  I spend a Wednesday morning pricing, cleaning, sorting.........  Tell me to call back in a week.  Call back and told they'll get back to me by the end of the day.  They don't and I need a tax receipt for the 3.5 hours I donated. 

Filled out an online app for the school district.  Within 24 hours get a call from a nearby school for an interview.  Sat at a table with two women firing questions at me.  Felt like I held my own and have years of volunteer experience to back me up.  Next day get a Dear Speckled Trout email regretting to inform me, and good luck in my search.

Good luck.  In an uncertain job market, I can say with certainty that luck is something I don't have lately, which explains why The Big Daddy and I are nearly done with our third liter of gin since the start of summer.  And what will be our cold weather cocktail?  I haven't decided, but I'd like to have one of these.

Now would be fine.