Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Amazing Girl

Previously I blogged about how The Girl dropped the ball on singing in the school talent show. This Friday she more than made up for it by singing in the talent show at Brownies. I can’t even begin to tell you how proud and impressed I am with her performance. Since missing the school show, she practiced a lot. I now know several Radio Disney songs word for word and frankly am partial to the Naked Mole Rap.

The Girl was a hit. She had stage presence, she brought attitude, she gave a super performance. It’s not just me saying that either—lots of parents came up to her afterwards and told her what a great job she did. Granted, the other girls were not a lot of competition, but even so she totally kicked ass.

Here are the lyrics to the song Cinderella by Disney’s Cheetah Girls. (The Girl chose the song—something else that made me proud because it has a great message.) Enjoy!

When I was just a little girl,
My mama used to tuck me into bed,
And she'd read me a story.

It always was about a princess in distress
And how a guy would save her
And end up with the glory.

I'd lie in bed
And think about
The person that I wanted to be,

Then one day I realized
The fairy tale life wasn’t for me.

I don’t wanna be like Cinderella,
Sitting in a dark, cold, dusty cellar,
Waiting for somebody to come and set me free (Come and set me free)
I don’t wanna be like someone waiting
For a handsome prince to come and save me
Oh no will survive
Unless somebody's on my side
Don't wanna be
No, no, no one else.
I’d rather rescue myself.

Someday I'm gonna find Someone
Who wants my soul, heart and mind
Who’s not afraid to show that he loves me
Somebody who will understand I’m happy just the way I am
Don’t need nobody taking care of me
I will be there for him just as strong as he will be there for me
when I give myself then it has got to be an equal thing


I can slay (I can slay) my own dragons. (My own dragons)
I can dream my own dreams. (My own dreams)
My knight in shining armor (shining armor) is me.
So I'm gonna set me free.


Monday, March 27, 2006

In the end

I made up a test last week about funerals, I know, not a fun thing, but worth thinking about. Rather than answer my own test questions I will lay out my funeral arrangements here. Wow, what a happy Monday topic huh? Shut up and read.

I still am on the fence about cremation or burial. I like the idea of not taking up space if I’m cremated but then there’s the issue of what to do with the ashes and if someone wanted to visit me at the cemetery where would they go? Also, if I’m buried not sure where I’d want to be buried, other than beside the Hubby. There’s a cemetery on the road to our house, and I thought that would be convenient, but you know it’s not like the kids will live in my house forever. So this particular point is up in the air.

Funeral service. Obviously depending on my decision about burial this will either be with a casket or with a nice jar (preferably not a clear jar and preferably not a tacky jar). For the service I want to have two large peony bushes at either side. There will be a pink one for the Girl to keep and plant in her yard and a white one for the Boy to keep and plant in his yard. I would love to have people who feel so moved to get up and tell funny stories about me. As for music, here are a few selections that should be played:

Rod Stewart—(C’mon, did you REALLY think I could have a funeral w/out Rod?) You’re In My Heart, You’re In My Soul. This would be for the Hubby, whether he’s in attendance or waiting for me on the other side. Also Cyndi Lauper’s Time After Time.

James Taylor—You’ve Got a Friend. I have always thought that despite the obvious sentiment of friendship (something I hope to be remembered for) this also could be talking about one’s relationship with Jesus/God.

Bette Midler—Baby Mine from the Beaches soundtrack for my kids. There’s a Carly Simon song I also, but I can’t remember the name right now.

John Denver—Country Roads, gotta give some props to my roots : )
Train--Drops of Jupiter because it so describes me.

Let’s do plants instead of cut flowers because then people can take one home with them to remember me and cut flowers are such a waste of money.

I’d like it to be a big ol’ party also. Most importantly don’t make my son be a pallbearer if I’m in a casket. And, if I’m in a casket, it needn’t be an expensive one or silver (looks like a bullet) or anything like that, it’s going in the ground, who cares what it looks like! Make sure I’m wearing something comfy too, and preferably not a bra! Oh, and put a fork in my hand so I’m ready for what comes next.

Bagpipes are nice, add some of those. If I am buried bulbs should be planted on my grave, lots of tulips, daffodils etc.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Lame duckitus

Despite the fact I have a butt load of work to wrap up before vacating this job, I have to create something. I’m having lots of trouble concentrating.

So, we did this email thing, describe the person who sent you this in one word. Here are the words people used to describe me:

Psychic (I gave myself this one, though of course I’m not psychic)
LOVE (from Auntie)

Have you ever been totally grossed out by co-workers? Two true stories, if you’re squeamish, skip this post.

First—earlier in the week I was getting coffee in the breakroom. Coworker is in there making a sandwich, babbling on some nonsense that I’m trying to ignore, because, love her heart she’s just damn annoying. I glance out of the corner of my eye and she has clear fluid hanging out a nostril. I almost dry heaved. I’ve had uncontrolled runny noses, you can feel that shit. Apparently she didn’t’ because she made no attempt to either suck it up or blow it out or anything. I left before the fluid ended up as a condiment in her sandwich.

Second—coworker related this story of another coworker. Same breakroom, early in the morning. My friend is heating oatmeal when another coworker (a woman who is known to not wash her hands after she uses the restroom AND who cleans her glasses in meetings by LICKING THEM) takes a paper towel, wipes the counter with it, then blows her nose AND DIGS around for gold, THEN takes the same paper towel, wipes her coffee cup with it and throws it in the kitchen trash.

I’m getting outfitted for a hazmat suit this weekend to wear to the office.

Simile of the day or is it a metaphor? I forget:
We’re tight like virgins

Thursday, March 23, 2006

The gang fight, Auntie and more

Life has been crazy busy these last few weeks and I’ve had lots of blog entries in my head that haven’t made it to print yet so this is a catch all of sorts.

Gang fight—Last Thursday the Boy shamed me to no end and took part in the bullying of another child on the back of the school bus. The victim, a 3rd grader who’s been bullying the Boy (kindergartener) most of the year, got into an argument with a 4th grader on the bus. The yellow-bellied twit of a 4th grader incited seven younger kids, including the Boy and a sweet little 1st grade girl we know, to beat up the 3rd grader. I don’t know the extent of the beating but I suspect the 3rd grader was not seriously hurt, more likely his pride was destroyed. Regardless, it was horrifically wrong.

The Boy not only received a spanking that night (we don’t normally spank but this was an extreme case), stood in the corner and lost TV and trampoline for two days. Friday morning The Hubby took the Boy into the principal’s office and explained what punishment we’d handed down and tried to get more information on what happened. The Boy was suspended from riding the bus for one day as were the other younger kids involved. As best I can gather the 4th grader was suspended from the bus and school though I don’t know for how long.

My concern was two fold—first that my sweet little baby boy could stoop to such violence and brutal bullying behavior. It is so against my very fiber that I can’t comprehend it. Second it frightens me that at the suggestion of an older kid the Boy did something he knew to be wrong. I was thoroughly prepared to deal with him being a cut-up and a class clown, minor problems in the big scheme of life. I am not prepared to deal with a violent, bullying child. He just is not that type of kid.

Auntie—My kids call my favorite aunt Auntie. There were 7 kids in my Mom’s family (2 of them stepsons). Mom is the oldest and Auntie is second to the youngest. She is 10 years older than me and 10 years younger than my Mom. Since I was in elementary school I’ve looked up to her and she’s been my friend, most of the time being more of a mother to me than my own. I could and still can talk to her about anything under the sun. I was a flower girl in her wedding, spent weekends (when we were in the same state) at her house, helped with her twins when they were babies and I have always relied on her. She is the type of person you can tell anything and she doesn’t judge you, at least she never has me. She’s not perfect, but she’s real. She made my wedding dress. She lent me a shoulder to cry on when I thought I’d never have kids. When the Hubby and I first got back together with the intent of marrying, she and my uncle were the first people I took him to meet (outside my immediate family). The first time we went to visit them we got high on the way. Amazingly stupid because Auntie has always lived way out in BFE somewhere where the roads go up mountains and twist around like a deformed spine. When we finally got to their house we were giddy and giggly. We sat around the kitchen table and talked for hours (which always seems to happen when we visit her), drank endless glasses of soda (you’d have thought we were dehydrated) and of course ate everything we could find because we had the munchies. My Uncle took the Hubby out back and showed him the swimming pool and later the Hubby told me it took everything he had not to burst out laughing or jump in. A few years ago I finally told Auntie we were high that night and she laughed and said she had no clue. For some reason the bond I have with her reaches to my husband and kids. The Hubby likes few of my relatives, mostly for just cause, but he immediately took to them. My kids think Auntie walks on water and my uncle is tops with them because he can burp the alphabet.
Auntie is crafty, we always do some sort of painting project when we visit, something else the kids love. She’s not a painter like an artist, but rather a craft person, primitive designs, country, etc. but she’s very good at it. They’re a blue collar couple, neither have a college degree, neither have lived anywhere outside of WV, but they are the most giving, understanding, loving people you could ever know. Auntie worships my kids like they were her own grandkids. It’s simply amazing. She is the Scrabble queen. I think I play a pretty mean game of Scrabble, but she almost always beats me by at least 150 points. I don’t know why I decided to write about her other than they were coming down to visit last weekend. They were on their way to our house for a cookout when they got a call that my uncle’s dad has a heart attack and died. They turned around and went home of course so I didn’t get to see her.

And lastly, pretty much everyone knows at this point that I have a new job and will start it in a week. I am excited, scared, sad and ready. I have been burnt out with the current job for quite awhile now and am ready for a new challenge. At the beginning of the year the Hubby and I said this will be our year, and though I don’t want to jinx it, I really think it just might be. Not just because the job, but because we are getting along better than ever before and I think and we’re actually seeing light at the end of the financial tunnel. We have a plan, a workable plan. We’ll be able to send the Boy and Girl to college (or maybe a military school for him if he keeps it up), take real family vacations, do all the projects, both needed and the dream projects, on the house and retire and not have to eat cat food. If there’s one thing I will pass on to my kids it will be fiscal responsibility. I will choke them if the lift one finger to get a credit card in college. I will personally kick their asses if they ever whisper the words charge it.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Test fun

Ok, though I have about three blog topics in my head right now I don't have the time to write them down so here are a few fun test things instead.
I've never seen Easy Rider but I guess I'll have to now. Enjoy!

I can't even begin to agree with this one! I can hear The Hubby laughing his ass off as he reads this. Mother Teresa my ass!

Monday, March 20, 2006

Where I'm From

This came from a blog I stumbled across. It's an interesting writing exercise based on a poem. Here's my exercise. I wish I could pipe in the song Country Roads by John Denver as background, but you get the picture.

I am from snack cakes from Little Debbie and coffee cups filled with half coffee and half milk.

I am from government quarters, uniform, boring, always offering the hope of a new, exciting life with white-walls smelling at first like the cleaners the previous families used before they moved out and on to their next post.

I am from the azaleas, magnolias and ramps bursting forth in spring in fuchsia, creamy waxy whites and shocks of green.

I am from the home where windows were painted with holiday images, gifts were opened Christmas Eve and Santa came Christmas morning, camping trips in the summer taking the Nestle plunge, roasting marshmallows, fishing, listening to crickets and the crackle of the fire and from obstinate souls with dark secrets and pains from Roes and Williams.

I am from the matriarchal clutch of women who worry and meddle and the patriarchal pride of men who drink and fish and smell of Camels and Old Spice.

From the world where for years I was the only grandchild who waited until the last grandparent entered the hospital before being born.

I am from holiday churchgoers who’ve since “become” Christians who don’t need a church and seek guidance and comfort from TV evangelists.

I'm from West Virginia blue-collar workers who built roads, made chemicals, fought wars and survived, from Watergate salads and amazing cheeseburgers and spaghetti with cumin and peanut butter pies.

From the Reese’s Peanut butter cups from the VFW, Delta Dawn on the jukebox and the smell of stale beer, the uncle who “lost” his arm in a couch and the family dog that recognized the war hero come home.

I am from boxes and albums filled with old images, attics that held unknown wonders, elm trees that cradled me in their arms and fields and creeks that were the boundaries of my summers.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Scientia=to know

I’ve always been awed by science and scientists, thinking they have unusually large brains that hold lots of important information I’ll never understand. I remember little about science from school.

In middle school we lived in Pennsylvania so part of one semester was spent on hunting safety (we even went to a range and shot clay pigeons, which are not even shaped like pigeons), learning about the animals the hunters would kill, etc. From this I walked away knowing why the female birds are always the boring looking ones (because they sit on the nest protecting the eggs and need the camouflage) and the male birds are the pretty ones, to draw the eye and possible predator away from the nest. Another semester we studied ecosystems, like ponds and streams, which we had both of on the campus of the high and middle schools. I know what duckweed is and it’s not what you think. We also had to keep an outdoor journal. I forget how often, but we had to find a spot outside and return to it probably several times a week. Measure the grass, note any animals, insects, changes etc. It was during the spring. I enjoyed that; probably why I still enjoy being outside in the spring, finding a bird’s nest hidden in our bushes, seeing new life emerge.

High school science was pretty useless to me; biology, chemistry and physics. I did enjoy the formulas, it was like being in the know of some secret language, but I’ve forgotten it all. I liked mixing things in chemistry and looking at things under the microscope. I did not like dissecting, and therefore I did not, instead I volunteered to draw what the killers (a.k.a. other students) had dissected. In college I took the bare minimum requirements for science as a freshman. This was before I realized only freshmen were stupid enough to actually take 8 a.m. classes so I was faced with dissecting a sheep’s eyeball at 8 a.m. I skipped that class and several more like it; hence my B in college science. I liked studying animals, genetics, environments etc. I even took geology in college, don’t ask why, it was the same year, I think, in which I took Jewish studies and considered becoming Jewish.

Before I started college I had two very different careers in mind (well, different from what I do now anyway) and actually began in the college of science. I wanted to be an obstetrician so I could deliver babies or a cytotechnologist (they study human cells under a microscope). I bet none of you realized either of those huh? I’m sure the cytology thing came from something I read or did in school because I’d never have thought of that on my own. Fear prevented me from following either path, fear of blood, math, the “world of science” which seemed so distant and out of my intellectual reach.

I looked up science, such a basic word, in the dictionary: The observation, identification, description, experimental investigation, and theoretical explanation of phenomena.
I guess when you put it that way it’s not really that far off from a journalist.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sites to see

Hey there. Just sitting here not caring that there’s some sort of basketball tournament or something or another going on that my part of the world seems to be caught up in. I’m procrastinating again and wandering through my computer. From time to time I run across Web sites and had these tucked away in my favorites.

Being the caring, giving person I am (alright, don’t choke or anything I’m not quite sure I could really do the damn Heimlich maneuver) I thought I’d share a few of my faves.

Molecular Expressions—I think this one came from a forwarded email. No, I’m not scientifically minded but this has a pretty cool flash that zooms in on the earth by powers of 10.

Grounds for Sculpture—I totally dig this kind of art and would so love to go here someday.

Book Crossing—I haven’t yet signed up on this site but think it’s such a me kind of thing to do, leave books around for people, find books people have left around. Wouldn’t it be awesome if everyone in the county did this?

Reference Desk—I’ve had this page marked for years; it’s full of just about anything you can imagine, newspapers, sites of the day, quotes, trivia, history etc. Great way to waste a few hours.

Breast Cancer Site—A friend recently sent this to me and I forwarded it, but it’s always worth bookmarking and visiting as often as possible. Plus there are links to other charitable sites as well.

This site is just plain funny, stuff on my cat indeed.

The Pie in the Sky vacation!

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

You just call out my name...

and you know, wherever I am, I'll come runnin' to see you again. You've got a friend. (Thank you JT.)

I want to tell you about a friend of mine. It was my first REAL job out of college and she was my boss. Older than me by about 30 years, she was good friends with my Mom. She was one of those people faith oozed out of; her love of God was almost palpable but she didn't try to beat you over the head with religion.
Somewhere along the way we became friends. We ended up leaving that company and moving on to another, though not at the same time. She became my confidant and she and I became closer that she and my Mom. I could tell her anything. We joked that someday I should write her life story.

Julia B. (she never would divulge what the B stood for, I still like to think about that and try to figure it out) grew up in the 40s in a rural Southern town in a poor black family. They farmed other people's land, picked cotton and basically lived hand to mouth. Somehow she worked her way up and out, ended up in Washington, D.C. working as a secretary. She suffered through the Civil Rights movement and really made something of her life. She had her own apartment and car and made good money. Unlike most women in her generation she married later in life after a lenghty courtship. She wasn't a wild woman by any means, but she smoked and drank and partied with her friends.

Julia got married and several years into her marriage had a son, the light of her life. She was incredibly proud of her son and gave him every opportunity she never had. She gave to everyone she knew. Though she never made it to senior management or became rich, she led an incredible, worthwhile life. She LIVED her life.

When we were struggling to get pregnant with The Girl, Julia gave me a shoulder to cry on and words of comfort. She threw me a baby shower when it finally happened. She was at the hospital when The Girl was born. She was at The Girl's first birthday party.

One day she found a lump in her breast; she waited, too busy taking care of everyone else. When she finally started treatment it was really too late. She went through chemo, alone because she didn't want her son or husband to have to deal with it; she'd go for treatments on her lunch break. Many people didn't even know she was sick. By this time I worked in another company in another city, but we still were close. She'd come to the house for visits or we'd go visit her.

Julia knew before the rest of us that she was getting much worse; she knew she wouldn't get better. She was not distraught or angry or depressed. She knew she was going to Heaven and she was ready. She made all of her arrangements. She picked out everything she'd need, casket, funeral home, flowers, everything, though we also didn't know this until afterwards. On April 15, 1998 her son called me one morning, I was getting ready for work. Julia had died. The cancer had pretty much spread throughout her body. I was numb. He called back later and said his Mom had left instructions for her funeral, she wanted my husband and I to speak.

The day of the funeral I didn't know what to expect, but it was the most beautiful, most uplifting funeral I've ever been too. Julia picked out the music she wanted played, who she wanted to sing and a handful of people she wanted to talk about her. She touched so many lives, not only her family, but people from all walks of life through jobs, through her church and through everything she did. It was a celebration of her.

This, that and the other

So I thought I'd do a little house cleaning and bring you up to speed on a few things going on in my life, this is of course assuming you care, if you know me, and if you don't, I'm not quite certain why you're even reading this. Sometimes I feel committed to writing here because I no longer keep a journal, and I really should. I digress.

First and foremost, it finally happened. After Doc died I predicted it would be within six months until we got another dog; I was right, it was about four months though. Keely (named after a character on Disney's Phil of the Future) joined our family almost two weeks ago. She's a five month old Australian Shepherd (do you cap breeds?), but I think she's older than that actually. She's quite sweet, smells much better after her bath and still is puppy-like. The other animals have accepted her, some more warmly than others.

My Dad went to the ER with chest pains last week. Thankfully it wasn't a heart attack, which they knew within the first 30 minutes or so, but they kept him for three days and ran buttloads of tests anyway. I, the wretched daughter, didn't go to the hospital. I justified not going because it was not life threatening once they decided nothing was wrong with his heart; there's nothing I can do sitting in a waiting room waiting for results; each day he was in they assumed he'd be coming home, they never really knew from one hour to the next. Ah screw it, I should have gone to the hospital huh?

I may be getting another job, within the same company. It will be a step up (more $), hopefully a little better travel schedule and a step up the career ladder. I have to stand on my head while singing the national athem and writing a news story to get it...translation I have to send a resume to corporate, which is in God knows what state, so they can send it to the guy across the hall so I can then be formally approached and interviewed by several people, two of whom I've already talked to so I can then take a writing test (did I mention I've been writing with this company for four years?) so I can then be offered a job. : ) During one of the interviews the person asked that question I didn't really think people asked in interviews--where do you see yourself in the future? Right now I can't remember what I pulled out of my ass, but it's not like I could say, Well, in the future I hope to be sitting at home writing my next novel and picking up my royalty checks at the post office. Why do they ask such questions? Who's going to be honest?

The Hubby and I are doing great. We're in spring house mode. So far we've had a storm/screen door installed and a new doorbell, painted the hallway, ordered a wedding plaque for the front of the house and are choosing an exterior color scheme to paint the house.

The Boy and Girl also are great. The changes in them still amaze me, they are growing up too fast. The Girl actually told me she wanted Abercrombie & Fitch clothes. She's nine, she has no idea what A&F clothes even look like. Perhaps I could buy her an outfit and tell her it's A&F? She'd never know.

The Hubby thinks I have an unnatural hate for The Evil Empire (aka Wal-Mart). Perhaps I do. They've just started "leaking" information to bloggers who've been caught being pro-Wal-Mart in an effort to polish their image. Ha, it won't work. They also are trying to go after a richer customer, ones who'll buy the flat screen TVs etc. Ha, that's not working either. They make their money on food sales and while the company still shows positive gains, they're sucking wind in the sale of food.