Wednesday, August 31, 2005

In the news

I’m the first to admit that embarrassingly enough, I don’t keep up with current events, politics or the news. However, I have been watching the coverage of Katrina and of the 12-year-old girl that disappeared from Rocky Mount, N.C.

Katrina—these are the things that stick out in my mind. The looting, as my friend Donut would say, REALLY? This catastrophe has occurred and people are actually out there looting stores? That can’t be good karma on any level. Last night the media sunk so low they were reporting on the reporters covering the hurricane. Granted it has to be a gut-wrenching experience, but do we really need a news story on how they’re handling it? It’s sad, yes. But don’t make the reporters the story. The final thing that struck me was how dependent we are on our infrastructure. People there are wandering the streets not knowing what to do next. They can’t contact their city or state officials, or anyone “in charge.” It’s scary to think we’ve become such lemmings when we claim to be so independent. I’m not criticized the victims, I’m just commenting on how incredibly fragile society really is when you think about it.

Disappearing girl—An Amber alert went out last week for a missing 12-year-old girl from Rocky Mount, N.C. I heard the alert on my way to pick up the kids from daycare. She was suspected of being in the company of a registered sex offender. Last night they found her in Iowa, alone. The girl lives with her grandmother, who’s her legal guardian and the girl apparently knew this sex offender, a clerk at a local convenience store. It looks as if she left her house of her own accord. She’d met this guy, who’s 27, a year ago and they’d formed a friendship.

As a mother I have a million questions. First, how does a then 11 year old meet and become friends with a 26 year old without the parent/guardian knowing about it? It went on for a year—why didn’t the grandmother know? How does a convict get a job? I know they ask that question on most job applications, perhaps he lied? Don’t they do background checks? How does a kid get out of the house without your knowing about it? God forbid mine ever sneak out of the house. I know I had friends in high school that did that, but this kid is TWELVE! There is so much to this story that isn’t being told. Why would a 12 year old want to leave her family with a 27 year old? Am I that na├»ve to ask that question? I swear, the next time someone tries to tell me I’m too overprotective with my kids I’m going to tell them to get bent.

Words or phrases I like

Many people, like my husband, collect things, lots of things. He collects beer steins (because we lived in Germany back in the day), mementoes from the area we lived in, neon signs, etc. I do have a spoon collection and I used to collect penguins; I have a lot of Christmas ornaments but I don’t know if that’s considered a collection.

What I really collect are quotes (because someday I’m going to publish the world’s best quote book), words, phrases and pictures from magazines (usually gardening things).

Here’s a brief sample from my words/phrases collection. Most of these are either things I’ve heard people say or have popped up in my reading.

Intellectual eunuch
Chasing alligators
Hemorrhaging money
Monomania—excessive concentration on a single object or idea
Kef—state of dreamy tranquility (have thought this would be a great name for a retail store if I ever lose my mind and open one)
Hippocrene—fountain on Mount Helicon sacred to the muses and believed to be the source of poetic inspiration
Meliorism—belief that the world tends to become better and that man can aid its betterment.
Limn
Sine cure—an office or position that requires little or no work
Arrondissement—an administrative district of some large French cities
Paramnesia—memory discorder where proper meaning of words cannot be remembered
Paronym—word formed from a word in a foreign language
Paraldehyde—liquid used as a hypnotic
Hookah den
Faux bois
Geophagy—practice of eating dirt
Schadenfreude—enjoyment obtained from troubles of others; delight in others misfortunes
Couch candy
Omnia vincit amor—love conquers all
Multi-potential drifter
Buskering
wunderkamme

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Spitting on Destiny

Spitting on Destiny

An evil spirit that has come to reside in my five-year old son has disrupted life in my household over the last two weeks.

This makes me sad on many levels. This is my baby, the last child I will ever bear; the period on the end of my motherhood sentence. (I know, a bit dramatic, but hey, it’s my blog.) My last-born is my outgoing child; friends with everyone, mostly happy, affectionate, loves telling jokes, even the horrible ones he makes up (What do you get when you cross a hippo and a fish? A: A hiccup. How do you get a skunk to pee on your house? A: With a firequacky.)*

Because of this, it is especially hard to witness the possession I hold accountable for his behavior of late. Just this week, during assembly at daycare this cherubic, sweet little boy turned to the little girl sitting beside him and said: You know, both you and your brother are ugly. While shopping for his Dad’s birthday present this unselfish, charming lad sat down in the middle of the aisle and pouted because I would not by him a Batman toy. (Note: same boy has more Batman figures than I can count on one hand.)

That brings me to today. This morning we had his kindergarten orientation. We dropped my incredibly-well-behaved-beautiful-smart-sassy-third grader off at her classroom, she was excited and happy to be back in school; she even made up a little song and dance last night about going back to school, which she sang while twirling around in the sprinkler after dinner. (She does have her moments, but thank God she’s counter-balancing the evilness by being close to perfect lately.) After dropping the angel off in her classroom, the devil and I had to take care of some bus routing issues in the office. I finished and we had an hour to kill before we had to be back for his orientation. The devil threw a tantrum IN THE PRINCIPAL’S office the day before his first day of kindergarten! I quickly ushered him out, took him home and punished him. At that point I discovered he’d gone commando, yet again. Devil, go put on some underwear.

Alas, the day didn’t end there. After orientation, where he seemed oh so excited and glad to meet his teachers and interested in what they’d be doing I took him to daycare. His father got a call around noon. My dear, thoughtful son spit in Destiny’s face (she’s the little girl he said was ugly earlier this week I’m sure). Not just a raspberry, but a full blown loogie. Dad made a visit to the daycare; we’ll be talking sentencing, I mean punishment, this evening.

*These were two jokes he told all the time when he was about 3 years old. He made them up. I have no idea why one would want a skunk to pee on your house, but you have to give him points for creativity.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Depressing

One of my co-workers (a skinny young beeotch as I will call her now!) sent me this email with a life expectancy game in it. First of all, yes I realize it’s a game and you never really know when your time is up, life is a gift, live each day to the fullest, yadda yadda yadda and all that crap, but when faced with a number it can be pretty depressing.

I answered all of the questions (see the link below and take the test) honestly, and if I change nothing my life expectancy is 66! That’s 30 more years, well actually 29 because I’ll be 37 this month. That’s not enough time. So I went back and refigured some things and I can live to 90 if I lose 55 pounds, quit smoking, eat more than 5 portions of fruits and veggies a day and walk 30 minutes four times a week.

That’s a lot of life changes. Actually I think I do probably eat the right amount of fruits and veggies a day, maybe not everyday.

This is pretty interesting. Watch the age prediction on the top left of the screen change as you answer the various questions. How long do you think that you will live?
Click here: http://www.nmfn.com/tnetwork/longevity_game_popup.html

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

sounds to come

Ok, I just updated my queque on yourmusic.com and thought I’d share with you selections. (I’m sure you all missed me since last week, NYC was good, not as great as I’d hoped, but I did have a wonderful dinner Saturday night with some great people. You know who you are!)

Here's my queque:

Ben Folds Rockin' The Suburbs—because my friend Keri told me to experience Ben

Enya A Day Without Rain—love the feeling of this music

Soundtrack Out Of Africa—this is an awesome soundtrack, and i lost my cassette tape of it. The first time I saw this movie was with my friend Suzanne in high school on a trip to London. It was awesome and it moved me like only wonderful movies can.

Black Eyed Peas Elephunk (w/Bonus Track)—for growth, i think i might like them

Carly Simon Reflections: Carly Simon's Greatest Hits—replacing a lost cassette/cd; love carly

John Lennon The John Lennon Collection—another replacement. Imagine is my favorite song of all.

The Cure Disintegration—mood music from college

Peter Frampton Frampton Comes Alive! (Remastered)—oddly enough, the first concert i ever saw; i was in third grade and one of my aunts took me. I have the album, but no way to listen to it.

INXS Kick (Remastered)—mood music from college

Whitney Houston Whitney Houston—i know you’re probably laughing, but there’s a reason for this. when mike (the hubby) and i went on my senior class trip to paris i had this tape with me and hearing those songs brings back that time.

Helen Reddy Greatest Hits—another memory; i used to go to the VFW with my grandma and play the jukebox, delta dawn by helen reddy.

Soundtrack Spider-Man 2—this one is for ben, he loves spiderman

Soundtrack Moulin Rouge 2—loved the movie and have the first soundtrack

Dido Life For Rent—love the feeling of this music, so think i’ll like the cd

Counting Crows August And Everything After—one of my more recent favorite bands; i know they’ve been around, but i just experienced them about 2 years ago and my cd is scratched

Rick Springfield VH1's "Behind The Music"Collection—see previous blog on rick

Los Lonely Boys Los Lonely Boys—another cd i think i’ll like

Soundtrack The Sound Of Music (Remastered)—you just can’t beat julie andrews!

Sarah McLachlan Afterglow Live (1 CD/1 DVD)—think i’ll like this one.

any other suggestions?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

New York bound

Getting ready to head to NYC for work this weekend and the computer is still gasping for breath at home, so this may be the last you hear from me for several days. I know, I know, it will be hard to go without a dose of my wit, but try to persevere. Those of you lucky enough to see me in NYC will at least not be going through withdrawals.
I should have called this miscellany because the brain is off on several tangents today, but at least they aren’t bitchy tangents like my last post! : )

First, if you have ears you should check out these two Web sites. www.CDBaby.com and www.yourmusic.com. My friend Big T (NOT her real name) got an awesome note (see below) after she ordered from CD Baby.

Your CD has been gently taken from our CD Baby shelves with
sterilized contamination-free gloves and placed onto a satin pillow.
A team of 50 employees inspected your CD and polished it to make sure
it was in the best possible condition before mailing.
Our packing specialist from Japan lit a candle and a hush fell over
the crowd as he put your CD into the finest gold-lined box that money
can buy.

We all had a wonderful celebration afterwards and the whole party
marched down the street to the post office where the entire town of
Portland waved 'Bon Voyage!' to your package, on its way to you, in
our private CD Baby jet on this day, Tuesday, August 9th.

I hope you had a wonderful time shopping at CD Baby. We sure did.
Your picture is on our wall as 'Customer of the Year'. We're all
exhausted but can't wait for you to come back to CDBABY.COM!!

Thank you once again,
Derek Sivers, president, CD Baby
the little CD store with the best new independent music
phone: 1-800-448-6369 email: cdbaby@cdbaby.com
http://www.cdbaby.com

So I of course went to the site and am going to order some CDs to up my music IQ, expand my horizons and all that jazz. It’s a cool site because you can listen to samples of the CDs, always a good selling point for me.

Yourmusic.com is an offshoot of BMG or Columbia House or something, one of the many clubs I used to belong to but got fed up with the shipping/handling and overall horrible process of ordering CDs. But at this site you subscribe for like $6 a month and create your own music queue (what a great word!) and there’s no shipping and handling, you know what you’re getting, and it’s great. I think you can sample the tunes there too. Based on Keri’s suggestion I’m adding Ben Folds to my queue.

New York—ok, I’m not looking forward necessarily to going out of town right now. The kids are gearing up for back to school (the start of school for my baby), mine and the hubby’s bdays are coming up (he’s going to be 40!), he’ll be going out of town for his Dad’s wedding, etc. However, I can’t describe what being in NY is like for me. If I lose you in this (probably) cheesy diatribe, just check back sometime next week for more fun.

New York reminds me of the feeling I got when I lived in Germany as an army brat in high school. We’d catch the u-bahn to downtown Nurnberg (don’t know how to do umlauts) and spend the day. Walking down the streets you’d pass churches, cathedrals really, that had stood for hundreds of years, see street vendors selling fruits and vegetables, hear a cacophony of languages (mostly German then) and just feel like there was something much bigger than you going on. History I guess? I don’t know. And there’s a smell, not a stench, though all big cities have those, but just an overall mingling of scents that’s not good or bad, but New York smells like Germany, Paris and London to me. I know, it sounds weird. Maybe it’s more than the smell but the feeling of rushing people, cabs, tall buildings and modern and historic structures living side by side. I guess I’m just in awe when I’m in those places.
A friend recently sent me one of those test I so love taking, and one of the questions was about the biggest regret you have. I can’t remember what I said now, but I think I regret not being adventurous, or really brave enough, to have lived in New York for at least a year before becoming grounded. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I’d be happy living there forever, but I do think it would have been exciting and amazing to live there for some time, either single or as a couple. I read Pete Hamill’s Forever, and though it’s fiction, it takes place in NYC and it’s awesome. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, August 9, 2005

Bad things

TL commented on my good things list and it made me think I should do a bad things list. I’ve thought about it and can’t because then I’m always looking for the negative in things. However, I’m of the mood today to rant because for seemingly no apparent reason I’m pissed off. (Ok, I just had a little verklempt moment, which I’ll explain in a sec.)

First of all my computer at home is acting up. I can’t access email, can’t do my blog, the hubby can’t ebay and it’s just irritating. Last night it decided it does not want to read disks anymore. This is not an old computer, well I mean it’s maybe five years old, but it should not be doing the things it’s doing. I have work to do on that computer and now I can’t do it and I don’t know how to fix it and it pisses me off.

I’d been getting some phone help with the computer from my brother, who is a computer guy by trade (a little background—he’s six years younger than me; we have a sister six years younger than him). I emailed him this morning and told him everything he told me to do wasn’t working and I was up a creek and on a deadline and waaaaa, felt like crying. My verklempt moment was when he emailed me back and said he’d come over and fix it tonight, even though he’s busy, even though he has something else to do. So I teared up.

On to the next thing. My kids go back to school in 16 days. My baby is going to kindergarten. He got his class assignment Friday. I cried, just a tad. (In case you haven’t guessed I can be rather emotional.) For the last week or so my children have taken a page from How to Irritate Mom in Under Five Seconds, as every time I turn around they are arguing, tattling, whining or inflicting bodily harm. This is especially vexing in the mornings when I’m driving them to daycare.
Ben: Heidi, I’m a super hero but you’re just a sidekick.
Heidi: Shut up Ben.
Ben: Mom, Heidi told me to shut up.
Mom: Heidi, we don’t say shut up, Ben, quit harassing your sister.
Ben sticks out his tongue; Heidi throws her flip flop at Ben; Ben cries; Heidi laughs; Mom screams: SHUT UP!
Ben and Heidi: We don’t say shut up Mom.

This lovely family moment is repeated at the end of the day when I pick them up from daycare.

(Note—now my brother is going to copy the files I need and bring them to me at work! Sheesh, he’s too nice sometimes.)

They offset this behavior with moments of utter sweetness, further confusing my emotional well being. Heidi will come up to me, sit on my lap and nuzzle me like a kitten, rubbing her face on me, giving butterfly and Eskimo kisses. How can you stay mad at a sweet thing like that?

Last night, an hour after he’d gone to bed and was supposed to be asleep, Ben comes in and hugs and kisses me and hands me a piece of paper. He drew a picture for my friend Donut (not her real name) and asked me to give it to her at work the next day. He has a crush on Donut. She’s almost 27.

Then there’s my husband. For no reason at all this morning, I got snippy with him. I think he was trying to share his cigarettes with me since I’d run out. (Did I also mention that I can be a bitch sometimes?) I did call and apologize once I got to work. I think I must be PMSing (sorry for the guys who may be reading this.) I know some women hate that excuse, but usually when I flit from sobbing idiot to bitch in the same half hour, that’s a good indication that the hormones are in flux. When I called to apologize to the hubby he asked if he should bring some chocolate home for me. Is he good or what???

Then there’s the job. I’m burnt out. I’ve never been a morning person, but lately it is SUCH a chore to get out of bed. I lie there wondering if I could really call in sick today or try to think of something exciting to make me want to get up. Don’t get me wrong, for the most part I like my job; I like the idea of my job. But I’ve been doing this job (though for different companies) for about six years now and the honeymoon is over. I feel like I could do it in my sleep.

Monday, August 1, 2005

good things

I keep lists of different things (books to read, CDs to listen to, etc.) and one of my ongoing lists is good things. Here’s the list to date, started about 2 years ago.

Extra bubble gum—two pieces
Laughing at stupid things with friends
Riding a lawn mower
Dirty vodka martinis
Sleeping in late
Finishing a good book
Building a fire on a dreary day
Watching birds at the feeder from the kitchen window
Remembering the significance of each Christmas ornament
Hearing your kids say “Wow, that was fun!”
Planting your own Christmas tree
Boxers
Paint keys
Strawberries
Sweet tea
Kids after a bath
Burt’s Bees Beeswax lip balm
Pellet ice
Magenta
Peridots
White sneakers on tanned, sockless feet
Fresh pineapple
Sharpened pencils
New crayons
Adhesive stamps
Peonies
Houses covered in ivy
Silver bracelets
Warm muffins
Purple
La petit morte
The smell of mown grass
Sunflowers
Room service
Ben’s jokes (my son)
Quotes
Singing along to songs in the car
Chilly winds
The freckle on Heidi’s ear (my daughter)
Katherine Hepburn
Sarcasm
Homemade mac & cheese
Mike’s laugh (my husband)
Bath & Body Works lotions
Recordable CDs
Comfy slippers
Libraries
Roasting marshmallows
Train—Lincoln Avenue, Drops of Jupiter
Mike’s chocolate sourdough cookies
Journals
Planting flowers
Bulb catalogs
Finding just the right strand of hair to twirl around my finger
Spooning
Sunflower seeds
Starbucks
Scones
The smell of rain
Poetry
Crossing things off a list
Scrabble

Book and CD recommendations are always welcome.

I'm calling him Bubba Ass

I just spent the weekend with perhaps the most horribly irritating person I’ve ever met in my life. To get an idea of how onerous this person is, (I’ll call him Bubba Ass) think of all the people you know who have ever pissed you off, offended you or irritated the crap out of you and roll them into one person and that combination MIGHT be half as bad as my brother-in-law.

I’m a fairly laid back person. There are members of my husband’s family (and mine for that matter) who I don’t particularly relish being around, but I can find some redeeming quality in them or at least can carry on a halfway civil conversation with; not Bubba Ass.

He is a legend in his own mind. He’s a tad bit redneck, thinks he’s God’s gift to women and you can tell by his actions and words that he thinks women are second-class citizens and stupid.

Initially my repulsion of him stemmed from the way he talks to my husband’s sister. Not only does Bubba Ass make her the butt of jokes and stories he tells, humiliating her or making her look like an idiot, but when she talks he second guesses her and in some instances flat out tells her she’s stupid. This I cannot abide. They both obviously are so lacking in self-esteem they’d put a kid starring in an after-school special to shame.

Bubba Ass also knows something about everything under the sun, and he knows more than you do about it. I know a lot of people like this, and normally I can shrug them off and it doesn’t bother me, but this guy challenges everything everyone says. You could say, wow, I think it’s starting to sprinkle and he’s say, oh really? (like a lawyer cross-examining a guilty, lying witness) I don’t think it is, I think that was just a bird flying overhead.

Saturday night we made the horrible mistake of breaking out the Trivial Pursuit. I asked up front if everyone (meaning them) was familiar with the rules, we went over the basics etc. then started to play. So Bubba Ass starts playing the weirdest game of TP I’ve ever seen. I said Bubba, what are you doing? That’s not in the rules.

Let me read the rulebook, Bubba said. (I’m thinking to myself, go ahead if you think you can put all those letters together and make them into words you freaking idiot).

He reads the rulebook cover to cover and then proclaims that I must not have the complete rulebook because he has three different editions of the game and he knows how to play. His wife then asks to look at the rules, hoping I’m sure to find a loophole to appease her idiot husband so he will quit pouting like a two-year old, and he says, well here they are if you think you can understand them!

With that I got up and went to the garage to smoke (we don’t smoke in our house). Bubba Ass and my hubby (God he’s incredible—this I’ve realized the more I see other men and how they behave) follow me to the garage for a smoke. Bubba Ass then launches into why we should smoke in our house, we can get air cleaners, etc. and it’s not like the kids have asthma. And just the tone of his voice—you know the one I’m talking about—tells that he thinks we’re stupid for not smoking in our house.

We played the game for about another ½ hour, all the while he’s grumbling because we aren’t playing by his rules etc. Now I’m the type of person when I play a game, yes I like to win, but in Trivia Pursuit there are TONS of questions I scratch my head at and because they are trivial I do not feel like an idiot. Bubba Ass is the person who tries to make EVERYONE feel like an idiot—what? You don’t know the answer to that? Everyone knows that, it’s right on the tip of my tongue (turns the card over, reads the answer and says) yeah, that’s what I thought it was.

Ok, (see even writing about him makes my blood boil) not only was all of that not bad enough, but he offered my son (remember he’s FIVE) a drink of beer and he dared my daughter (remember she’s EIGHT) to stick her hand in a water-filled ashtray. Thankfully my children have more sense than God obviously gave Bubba Ass and declined.

Oh, and if you’re driving up and down the East coast on the highway, be careful. Bubba Ass is a truck driver who admitted he drives way more than whatever the law allows, and I’d be willing to wager he’s not always sober when he does it.

Though I did offer him a few sharp words and witty put downs (which went right over his buzz-cut, pock-marked, shit-for-brains head) I refrained from being too much on the offensive with him. You see Bubba Ass and my sister-in-law have only been married a few months. He was married before (actually when he started dating my sister-in-law) and his now ex-wife had a horrible “accident” when she and Bubba Ass were mowing the field with a bush hog. Somehow she ended up underneath it.