Saturday, May 31, 2008

Something New, #34

Book 'em, Danno
I may have committed a breech of the law.

At the park where I walk The Neurotic Dog, there is a fence that is covered in honeysuckle. It smells just like heaven for most of the summer. I went to the local nursery to buy some and it was $20 a plant.

$20 for what is pretty much a weed.

So I just pulled up some by the roots, took it home and planted it by the back fence.

Not sure if I was defacing public property, but it will probably die anyway, so there goes the evidence.

I'm a baaad girl...

Friday, May 30, 2008

Something New, #33

Sometimes, the Something New I learn or try may be small, but something that makes my life easier.

Today, I figured out that my 2-hole punch that I use every day, has a lock to keep it closed, so I can put it in a drawer.

I know that's not much, but it's kind of like discovering the tabs on the end of the roll of aluminum foil that keep it from popping out of the box. Just one of those little details that makes things run smoother.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Something New, #32

Llama, Llama, Ding Dong

Sometimes I see things that other people don't see.

I don't mean hallucinations, I just notice stuff that other people don't, then when I mention it, they accuse me of being on crack.

Like last Christmas, I was working a wedding downtown, looked out the window of the space, and saw Santa Claus driving a convertible in the street below.

No one believed me.

Later, I heard two young women who were guests telling the people at their table they had seen Santa, and no one believed them.

Except me.

When I was at the Three Dog Night show, I saw two pirates. I told my friend Mel, and she said I'd had too many tequila shots. No more than fifteen minutes later, she said "Oh look! Pirates!"

So when I was driving out to our new office space, and saw LLAMAS in a field in the suburbs, I hopped out of my car and took a photo.

They really are llamas, it's just a really bad photo. The subdivision is behind them, so it's obvious we're still in town.

See, it's not the crack or tequila.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Something New, #31

OK, this one is totally lame, too, but I figured out how to get the top of the copy even with the image. The lapsed art major in me wouldn't let it go.

Now the OCD in me is going to want to go back to all my posts and even them up.

Maybe in all my "free time."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Something New, #30

Victoria's Secret
Today I bought a bra off the clearance rack, WITHOUT TRYING IT ON FIRST and IT FIT! And it's actually almost comfortable.

THAT will never happen again in a million years. Ask any woman.

Of course, since it was on the clearance rack in the first place, means the style is being discontinued.

I should have bought two.

As an aside as a Brain Twinkle, several years ago I either was insane or brave and took both The Big One and The Little One with me as I was shopping for bras. The Big One was about four, and The Little One was about 3 months old. (Hence the need for new bras.) Christmas was a couple of months later, and The Ex asked The Big One what she thought Mommy wanted for Christmas.

She said, "She wants one of those things she puts her things in."

He said, "You mean a backpack?"

I guess technically, they should be call frontpacks.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Enough Already!

This isn't Something New, just something I've had stuck in my brain the past few days, and like the guys in the Coors commercials, I have to vent.

When we were at the Jiggle Jam on Saturday, I passed one of the booths where a woman was making a presentation for her company, Inspiring Moms. I heard part of her speech and she was saying something like "...and what we want to do at Inspiring Moms is give you the TOOLS you need for your CAREER as a mom."

Give me a big fat break.

Why is it that the "feminist movement" is going on 50 years old, and we're still having the same conversations? Why are women constantly having to defend and justify their choices about career and motherhood? Why don't fathers? And why is it that we seem to have to defend and justify our choices to other women, not men?

Twenty years or so ago, there was a Designing Women episode that addressed this very subject. TWENTY YEARS AGO!!! IT'S TIME TO LET IT GO!!!

I have been on both sides of the fence. I stayed home full-time with both of my kids until my divorce. Actually, that's a little misleading, as I always worked a part-time job outside the home, and have had a home-based business for 9 years. When I started working full-time to support my kids, I always thought "Well, since I'm their only income, at least I can give a valid "excuse" for working full-time."

The thing is, I think I like it better working full-time.

Don't get me wrong, I'm glad I was able to be home when they were little. I got to do things like playgroup, field trips, etc. and not have to worry about a schedule or itinerary. But they won't remember those things, I will. Was it more for me or for them?

I've been blessed with awesome babysitters to be with them when I couldn't. Yes, I have missed some school programs, field trips and have sometimes had to arrange for carpools to get them to lessons, games, etc. Do they seem any worse for it? Not that I can tell.

Do I wish I wasn't divorced and working a full-time job, two part-time jobs and keeping a home business? Yes, no, yes, yes and no.

Am I exhausted and angry because I have to work so many hours, because The Ex won't? Does that need an answer?

The thing is, I think that all mothers and fathers love their kids and want to do everything they can to keep them safe and happy.

I just don't think that having a career or staying home full-time or both should even be an issue.

Years ago, I heard a comedienne do her routine about vegetarians. Her joke was something like, "Vegetarians should be vegetarians, and just shut up about it. Instead they go around Is there meat in this, because I'm a vegetarian and I don't eat meat. Is there meat in this water, because I'm a vegetarian and I don't eat meat."

Just be a good parent and just shut up about it.

And now back to your regularly scheduled program.

Something New, #29

Today I figured out how to load my MP3 player songlist onto my hard drive. Lame, I know, but it never even occurred to me to do that. I usually sit at my worktable/desk and paint with my ear buds in, but I'm usually interrupted with "MOM! I need..." Actually, sometimes it's not a bad thing to shut that out...

So now I can download my MP3 player onto my computer at work, so I won't be forced to listen to the live stream of the pop station, playing "No Air" at least three times an hour!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Something New, #28

Today I "fixed" the lawnmower. It stopped running about 3/4 of the way through the backyard. I checked the gas and it was full and as I had had it tuned last season, was holding my breath and praying for it to run another season. I've said that same prayer for several summers now, as I've had it for about 11 years.

I finally figured out where the air filter was, pulled it out and cleaned out all the crud. It sputtered, but started and ran long enough for me to finish.

Need to add "new air filter" to my list of A Few Small Repairs.

Something New, #27

We had cute houseguests over the weekend, my brother and his wife, and their two little girls, Thing One and Thing Two (my goddess daughter). Thing Two had never visited us, as she's not quite one.

It's been a long time since I had a baby in the house.

She thought the stairs were great fun, especially when her Daddy was engrossed in Mario Kart, and she could sneak up them.

We spent the morning at Deanna Rose Farmstead, where a calf had been born just that morning.

The rest of the afternoon, we went to the KC JiggleJam, where the grand finale of the evening was a performance by They Might Be Giants, who I've never seen live.

They opened and closed with 2 of my favorites, Alphabet of Nations ("West Xylophone, Yemen, ZIMBABWE") and Istanbul (Not Constantinople). ( very hard to spell. Can you spell it?)

I told my girls you can always trust a man who plays the accordion.

Also, as we were leaving, and Thing One was getting crabby, I started singing "Bed, Bed, Bed", The Little One said, "Mom, it's not cool when you sing it."

Something New, #26

About 4 years ago, I finally got sick enough of my outdated kitchen, and started redoing in myself. I started with paint and beadboard below the chair rail. Last year, my cooktop was down to one burner and only one oven in the double wall oven was working. (Try to cook Thanksgiving dinner with that!) So I just broke down and ripped the cooktop out and got a new range, and kicked the wall oven to the curb. I changed the oven space to the pantry.

But then the cabinet doors looked like sh*t, so I bought new doors on Ebay and painted and installed those.

So then the sink and 45+ year old countertop looked like sh*t, so THOSE had to be replaced. Problem was, I had a hard time finding a "guy" to replace them for me, as I do not have the tools or strength to change that out myself.

I finally found a "guy" and got the last few pieces of the puzzle of my kitchen replaced. And I can say that other than this last installation and rewiring for the range, I did it all myself.

Now after 11 years in this house, I can walk into the room where I spend most of my waking hours and not hate it.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Something New, #25

This Spud's for You

My brother and his family are coming in for the weekend, so that means I have to figure out what to feed them.

I hate to cook.

I hate to shop for groceries.

I hate to plan for meals.

Since it's a grilling kind of holiday, I thought that would be easy, and I'd make some sides to go with it.

I made potato salad. I cannot believe I've lived 44 years and never made potato salad. I had no idea it had vinegar and sugar in it.

Hope it's edible.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Something New, #24

When I walked The Neurotic Dog today, I took our usual route to the park and counter-clockwise laps around the park. We met The Cute Guy I've Been Stalking for Two Years (hereinafter, TCGIBS42Y) and his dog, coming around the park, in their usual way, clockwise around the park.

When we pass on our laps, we usually stop and chat for a few minutes, then continue on our respective clockwise and counter-clockwise routes. Tonight however, when we stopped to chat, someone started a leaf blower (AWESOME: see previous post on that!) and it was too loud to talk. So instead of just going on like normal, I thought, what the hell, and turned around and walked clockwise with him.

And it only took two years!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Addendum, A Few Small Repairs

Looks like I'll have to add "repair screen door" to my list, as The Neurotic Dog ran through it last night.

Actually, it was pretty funny to see the look on her face when she did it.

Something New, #23

Sometimes for Something New, you just have to keep your eyes open and believe what they see.

This morning as I pulled onto the parkway in front of my office, I saw 2 deer running across it, then up the hill. When I got to my building, and parked, I heard some shouting from the median in the parkway. They came running up the median, and the mowers who were working there, drove the mower off the curb in their surprise.

It was almost surreal to see the deer in this urban setting. I was startled at how fast they ran, and how quickly they disappeared.

I always feel like the universe is pulling my leg and making sure I'm paying attention when things like this happen.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Something New, #22

A Few Small Repairs

I have a running list of little chores I tend to ignore. Things that need to be fixed, but have been out of order for so long, I've learned to work around them.

Today I solved the problem of ramming into The Big One's bicycle nearly every time I go into the garage. I installed a bike rack that operates on pulleys, so the bike can be stored from the ceiling, without breaking your back, lifting it up and down. It looks like a Rube Goldberg device. And for a bonus, finally figured out how to use the cordless drill and not strip the screws. (drill the pilot holes deeper.)

Next project: put the gutter shields on the gutter so my basement doesn't leak every time it rains!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Something New, #21

More Power

I usually prefer to do things the "green" way. Example: I use a broom to sweep up the leaves and debris in the yard instead of a leaf blower. We used to own a leaf blower, until the Ex hocked it, but I had never used it. So, I figured I didn't miss what I never had.

But I was watching a friend use his and thought WOW. So I used my birthday money to buy a leaf blower.

I used it today, and one word:


I blew leaves all the way to Miami County.

I'll find another way to be "green," like hanging the laundry to dry.

Something New, #20

OK, I have always believed there is no such thing as bad cake. Even when it's not so good, it's still pretty good.

I was wrong.

I worked a wedding last night for job #4, and the wedding cake tasted just awful. We were clearing plates that mostly had literally one bite out.

Hope they can get their money back.

Also, what happened to the etiquette rule about waiting for the bride and groom to arrive before everyone starts eating? We had just put the fruit and veggie trays on the buffet, and had started passing appetizers. The guests swarmed the buffet table, and had literally picked it clean in about 5 minutes. It was like a swarm of locusts. We hadn't even put out the main dishes yet, because it was supposed to be appetizer and cocktail time. I'm not sure the bride and groom even got anything to eat.

Am I being old-fashioned?

Sonething New, #19

Rollin' With My Homies

I had the opportunity to go out on Friday night with some girlfriends to the new Power and Light District downtown. Usually, I say I'll go, then opt out because I'm too tired. So I actually went out this time, and didn't worry about how late I was keeping the Ex, because he was babysitting the kids. I figured he still owes me about a year's worth of nights out, to make up for all the staying-out-all-nighters he had.

The bonus was that there was a free concert with Three Dog Night. It's a great facility and the sound was great. We laughed and screamed and made fun of people.

Joy to the World, Jeremiah.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Something New, #18

I think in trying something new every day, I'm going to find that it will sometimes be it means NOT doing something.

I popped into Macy's today after work, and found a REALLY GOOD deal on tops. I'm a sucker for a good deal, whether I need whatever is the good deal or not. But I stopped, and thought, "Do I really want to wait in line and spend my money on new tops?"

Turned out the answer was no.

Now only if I can show the same restraint at the Target Clearance racks.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Something New, #17

Every now and then, I still get mail for my Ex. I got one today, with the return address as the State Department of Revenue. Just under the address, in the window, I could read part of the letter, "We receive a notice from a court of law that yo.....offense described below:"

Four years ago, I would have tried to open it (steaming open envelopes only works in the movies, BTW), ranted and screamed at him and my blood pressure would have probably gone up about a million points.

Four years later, I tossed it on the front hall table.

Time wounds all heels.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Something New, #16

The Naked Truth

When I go to work out, I always change in the bathroom stalls, not in front of everyone in the locker room. Never was one of those gals that could just strip down nekkid in front of strangers. It's a miracle I ever took a shower at summer camp, in the open shower room.

So when I worked out tonight, I changed in the locker room. Granted, I did not present the Full Monty (or Monica, I guess), but strangers did see me in my bra and panties. And, wouldn't you know, as I was getting changed, I saw a mom from The Big One's old preschool. I ducked behind the wall, so she didn't go blind at the sight of me.

Actually, it was a little easier to get changed with more room, and a bench to set my belongings on and sit down and tie my shoes. If I plan ahead, I could wear my sports bra to work, and make this a regular thing.

Sing Out Louise, Addendum

After I posted about singing in public, the next morning I was singing along with Taylor Swift. The Little One had gotten in bed with me the night before, and was all cute and sleepy-eyed in the blankets. When I started singing, she said "I gotta get out of here." and went downstairs to watch Spongebob.

Everyone's a critic.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Something New, #15

Show Me the Money

Today I held over $100,000 in my hand.

OK, it wasn't cash, it was a couple of checks from cases we closed. Still, it was more money in one place I'd ever seen. Enough to pay off my mortgage...

NO, I didn't, but took it straight to the bank. It made me nervous to have it in my possession, and I drove over VERY SLOWLY.

It wasn't mine, of course, but given the fact we're bringing in money, it DOES mean I still have a job!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Something New, #13 & 14

My Something New is over two days, because that's how long it took.

I started a new sewing project, and instead of rushing to get it done in one day, took my time and did it over two. Usually, I feel like I have to get it done "right then" or else I'll never finish, but I slowed down, and of course, had much better results. I even basted where the directions said to, instead of pinning, and lo and behold, my project turned out much better. Guess I really should have been following the directions for the last 30 years.

I even got over my fear of zippers and put in an inside zippered pocket.

My sister-in-law makes the best handbags and totes, but this one turned out pretty good, if I say so myself.

I also ate at the new Taco Bueno today for Mother's Day. Mmmmm... Happy Mother's Day to Me!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Something New, #12

Sing Out Louise!

In the spirit of Marc Acito's movement to encourage people to break out in showtunes, while taking my evening constitutional with the dog, sang out loud with my MP3 player.

I cannot sing. I once had a music teacher in the fourth grade ask me not to sing, and when the Big One and the Little One were teeny, would say when I sang along to the radio, "Please Mommy, don't sing."

So I Danced Around the B52s Mess, Didn't Go Breaking Elton John's Heart (the Kiki Dee part, of course) and Just Couldn't Get Enough of Depeche Mode. Thankfully, the only other people I passed also had ear buds so they didn't have to endure any torture.

I did feel a little peppier during my walk, though.

Next week, I'll try some showtunes.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Something New, #11

Random Acts

In the ladies' room at the department store I was shopping at today, was out of soap. There was another woman in there, and we both realized it at the same time. I whipped out a bottle of hand sanitizer and gave her a squirt. "Oh, thank you, you're so kind," she said.

I felt like a super-hero.

When I walked the dog tonight, I noticed the house across the street from the park had about a week's worth of newspapers in the driveway. I stacked them up on the front porch.

So I'm not a super-hero, but I can make small differences.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Something New, #10

You Gotta Work It, Girl

Several months ago, I saw Valerie Bertinelli on Oprah. She was praising the virtues of a product called the Walk Vest. The idea is you wear a weighted vest while you walk, and it tricks the body into thinking it weighs more, and therefore the wearer burns off more calories. I looked them up online, and the Walk Vest looked to me like it would burn off $50 faster than it would burn off calories. So I remembered it tonight when I found my old weights from Jazzercise and figured I could make my own Walk Belt.

I velcroed them together, then around my waist. It kind of looked like a bulletproof belt from the 80s. It was pretty comfortable, except I couldn't bend over to pick up the dog's poo very well. I was doing fine, until the whole contraption fell off about a half mile from the house. I then slung it over my shoulder, kind of like a bulletproof serape.

I did work up a sweat, but my shoulder did hurt after. I think if I tweak it, perhaps with the trusty old duct tape and/or hot glue gun, I could come up with my own product to hawk on Oprah.

And for a second Something New, I learned how to add links to this blog. Prepare to click yourselves silly.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Something New, #8 & #9

Having been laid up with the pukes for 48 hours, I have to admit that yesterday I did nothing new, or nothing new happened, unless I count going to the grocery store while still ill and not throwing up. But I HAD to go, as there was nothing in the house but a box of Hamburger Helper, and not even any hamburger to go with it.

Today, however I did several new things. I had to go to Pittsburgh and Ft. Scott, Kansas, to check out a couple of properties our firm is selling. So doing a slap and dash inventory of a home counts as one. This home was a MESS, so slap and dash was about all I could take. Then after, when we talked to the realtor, a really cool thing happened. I went with 2 attorneys from the firm, but while we were talking, several times deferred the questions to me, and I could actually answer or give my opinion and the other grown ups agreed with me. This doesn't happen to me very often. Maybe it's because I spend most of my time with people under the age of 12, or because I've always worked in "support" positions. Anyway, it was a bit disarming to be treated like a grown up. And it only took 44 years...

On the way down south, since I was still feeling queasy with what now I think may have been ebola, and not the stomach flu, I bought a bottle of red Gatorade and managed to spill it on my yellow shirt. NOT a grown up thing to do. My boss and I stopped at Wal-Mart in Ft. Scott to get snacks and she said, "Hey, just buy a new shirt." So I did, WITHOUT going first to the clearance rack or checking the price. Just pulled one off the rack that didn't need ironing and bought it. I ALWAYS go to the clearance racks first, and now, so do my kids. The only place I'll ever be able to do that will be Wal-Mart, but still, I was doing Something Different.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Something New, #6 & #7

Since I have been out for the last 24 hours with the pukes/fever/chills etc. I'm combining the last 2 days.

On Saturday, I attended a Feng Shui conference at Unity temple. I also met a new friend, Julie, who is a friend of Bev's, who is an old boyfriend's, Allen's, wife. I did learn the reason I was not sleeping was because my bedroom is facing the street. The consultant suggested I move my bedroom (NOT going to happen) or at least move my bed, close the bathroom door at night and put an octagonal mirror on the bathroom door. Moving my bed would entail getting a headboard and moving the cable hookup, so I'm going to have to just experiment with closing the bathroom door for now.

Since I was laid up in bed ALL day Sunday, The Big One and The Little One took care of me and each other. I can do a parental YESSSSSS knowing that they can take care of themselves enough to prepare two meals, bathe and get themselves ready for bed on their own. Kind of reinforces my parenting philosophy that I'm not trying to raise good children, I'm trying to raise good adults.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Something New, #5

Hanging Around

OK, technically, this wasn't something new, but it was something I hadn't done in about 30 years. We installed a circular swing on the sweetgum tree in the backyard and all took turns. My grandmother and I made one like this at her house in Eufaula, Oklahoma about 35 years ago. She cut the seat from a piece of scrap lumber, and hammered out the knothole for the rope to go through. At the time, she was probably in her late 60s, and she hung it up in the pecan tree in her backyard. I used to stand on top of a 6 foot ladder, hold onto the rope and jump off and then onto the swing.

Never in a million years would I let my own kids do that.

Anyway, it did remind me that adults should play on the swings more. And also skip.

And notice that while it is May 2nd, I am STILL wearing a sweatshirt.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Something New, #4

Since the Little One threw up at school this morning,I spent most of the day watching DVDs with her and emptying the trash can next to the bed. I did get a chance to put out the Prayer Flags I got in Lawrence last weekend, though. They're supposed to send good wishes out into the world.

Since it is the 5th anniversary of "Mission Accomplished", my wish is a Democratic president. I like this photo better.
This isn't Something New, just an awesome story I wanted to share.