Thursday, July 31, 2008

Something New, #95

I tried using my stapler as a nutcracker today, on an especially ornery pistachio.

I learned a stapler does not make a good nutcracker.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Something New, #94

I faxed a document today, to an inmate in the state prison.


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Something New, #93

I watch a lot of TV.

Actually, I don't really WATCH that much, it's just that there's always a TV on somewhere in my home. I know, it's bad for the kids, but then I spout back that both girls are 3 grade-levels ahead in their reading and 2 in math, so shut up.

So, most of the programs I watch are of the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon variety. Actually, I'll seek out Drake and Josh and iCarly.

But when I get to choose the programming, it's always something I've seen. My television viewing is pretty much limited to CSI and Clean House. It takes me a while to catch onto a program, and that's only when it's been recommended to me. I am probably the only American who has not seen Grey's Anatomy, Lost, American Idol, Survivor, or Big Brother. Seriously. Not one episode.

So when I managed to catch the tail-end of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (IMHO, BEST last line of a movie ever: Willy Wonka: But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he he always wanted. Charlie Bucket: What happened? Willy Wonka: He lived happily ever after.) I was too exhausted to get off the fat couch, so I watched a program I'd never heard of or had recommended to me.

Shocking, I know...

It was actually a cute show, The Middleman. I'm not sure if it's serious science fiction or campy science fiction, but I'm gonna go with campy.

Wow, I'm really broadening my horizons...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Something New, #92

Again, a Something New I would have never come up with on my own...

I took a cicada out of The Neurotic Dog's mouth.

We were taking our nightly walk at the park, and were crossing the grass to the water fountain, and she stepped on a cicada in the grass. The cicada made this awful buzzing sound, and TND felt the need to eat it.

While it was in her mouth, it was making a REALLY awful buzzing sound. Since TND only knows one command, shouting "DROPITDROPITDROPITDROPIT!!!" did absolutely nothing.

So I stuck my hand in her mouth and fished out the cidada.

It was a very mad cidada.

Then I ran squealing like a 12-year-old girl to the water fountain to wash my hands.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Something New, #91

This is one of those Something News, where NOT doing Something New is Someting New.

Since the first of the year, the girls and I have been saving change in a coffee can. It was my original intent that with the money we saved, we'd go see the American Girls Place in Chicago. Because I started a new job in February, I forfeited my vacation for the year.

Plus, as of the beginning of June, we only had about $37.00.

So I changed course and suggested we save our change for a day trip to the Big Water Park in North KC.

Then I found out that the admission was about $28 a head, plus $10 for parking, not to mention it would take about a half tank of gas to get there.

So I found another public pool in a suburb much closer that had pretty much everything the Big Water Park had, minus the wave pool and and swim-up bar for adults only. And it was only $5 per person.

When I've shelled out what I would have spent at the Big Water Park, I always feel pressured to get the most for my money and keep everyone moving at a frentic pace to squeeze out all the "fun" I can.

Because I spent a fifth on what I was planning, I sat on my big botto all afternoon and finished one book, and read another.

When the kids wanted something, I just shooed them off by throwing dollar bills and quarters at them and sending them to the snack bar.


See how not doing Something New is Something New?

Friday, July 25, 2008

Something New, #90

Because I work one full-time job, two part-time jobs and have a home business, I'm tired. I feel like I'm in a constant state of exhaustion for most of my waking hours. Even caffinated up, I'm still sleepy.

So since this week was especially a sleep deprived one, with a sleepover for the girls on Monday, The Little One keeping me up most of the night on Tuesday, and working an event on Wednesday, I barely had my eyes open when I got home from work.

My friend, Paula, calls the time between 5 and 6 PM the "Suicide Hour," because that's when you walk in the door to the kids, and they want your attention, to be fed, and the dog feels the same. You do pretty much feel like killing yourself on some days.

Today I skipped the Suicide Hour, and told the girls I was taking a nap.

Of course I've had naps, but never right after work like that.

This Something New is definitely a keeper.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Something New, #89

I've had a home-based business for about 9 years now. I started out working for a local gift shop, and when it folded, continued on my own.

I was part of an online co-op,, for a couple of years, but that folded when the owner, DARCY VOLDEN HOAG, embezzled all the profits from the members. She got about $1,000 from me that I'll never see again.

But I'm not bitter...

So with the economy in the toilet, I have decided to promote my business again, and opened my own online store.

I got it started today,

Check it out.


Something New, #88

I learned how to run an elevator. Not the kind that you see in department stores or office buildings, but an old freight elevator, probably 75 years old. It had two wooden slat doors that raised and lowered manually and I had to actually hold the switch down the whole time for the ride, then give it a little bump to get it level with the floor I was stopping on.

I'm not sure that the elevator was entirely safe, or if the city knows of its existence.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Something New, #87

Today's Something New was purely unintentional.

The Little One got in bed with me last night, which is her usual custom. However, she was very restless, and it was like sleeping with a baby giraffe in my bed. Arms and legs everywhere. I had a dream I was a PA on Pride and Prejudice (the Keira Knightly version) and was trying to fix some wood trim on a piece of furniture that was a prop, and then later, there was a dancing Barbie doll on my stove.

Add to that, The Little One was on top of me most of the night.

It was not the most restful night's sleep I've had.

So apparently, in my sleep-deprived fog when getting dressed this morning, I neglected to put on a bra.

The sad thing is, I didn't notice until after lunch.

I'm a pretty big girl (see post #80), but carry most of that below the equator.

I'm backtracking my morning in my mind to double-check if I leaned over anyone's desk.

But lucky for me, my office is so cold, you could store meat in it, so I ususally have on a sweater.

Uh oh. I just realized another reason for leaving the sweater on all day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Something New, #86

The Something New I learned today is that if you leave an unopened can of Coke in a car when the temperature is 98, it will explode.

I don't feel the need to embellish this at all.

Something New, #85

This isn't really a Something New, just something I finally accomplished, so I now feel like I've done something.

I have to back up about 11 years, though.

When The Ex and I bought this house (he wasn't The Ex then), the backyard was in awful shape. The deck, which was about 10' x 20' was pretty much falling off the back of the house, and the patio was bordered with a 4' wall of rotting railroad ties. The Ex always said we couldn't take out the railroad ties, because it would cause the foundation of the house to shift.

Last summer, the deck got so bad and dangerous, that I took it off.

By myself.

With only a hammer and crowbar.

It took me about a week.

My CFL, knew a "guy" and had a dumpster delivered to me, gratis, to have all the wood carted off. I heart my CFL.

Four summers ago, after The Ex moved out, I had Good Neighbor Charlie take a look at my patio, and told him I'd been told the foundation would shift if I took out the railroad ties.

Good Neighbor Charlie pretty much said that was BS.

I think The Ex was just plain lazy.

I started digging out the railroad ties, of which there turned out to be about forty.

By myself.

With a crowbar and shovel.

By spacing it out over four summers, erosion helped a lot in digging them out. Most were so rotted, they crumbled.

I am happy to say, I finally took out the last five, so Phase 1 of the backyard renovation in finally complete.

Now on to Phase 2, which entails scoring about 16 cubic yards of fill dirt to fill in what I took out.

Anyone have free dirt?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Something New, #84

My sister-in-law is training for a 5K. I've decided to join her, at least in moral support, as I don't actually plan on running a 5K. But I need to lose weight, so maybe this will help.

She told me the program she's using will get the runner to a 5K in about 8 weeks.

I did Day One today. Walk 5 minutes, then run 60 seconds and walk 90 seconds for the next 20 minutes.

I thought it would be pretty easy, since I'm up to walking 4 miles a day now.

Yeah, running, even at a snail's jog, is NOT the same as walking. For one thing, I was not as diligent with my Kegel's after birthing two babies as I should have been. I did OK, so maybe easing into it 60 seconds at a time will help.

But, I'm determined to be consistent, and it is still my dream to weigh what my driver's license says by the end of the year.

I'll see if I make it through the next 8 weeks.

Something New, #83

This time of year is when the local farmers bring in their produce and sell it off the back of their pickups on the side of the roads.

I've never stopped at one, so I did.

Three young men were selling corn off the back of their pickup, so I bought a half dozen. I asked them is they picked it themselves, seeing how they were three white boys in Southern Johnson County. Only one was was responsible for the actual labor.

I then had to go into old lady mode and tell them when I was little, we'd go to my grandmother's and my mom, grandmother, aunt and uncle's wife would pick corn all day. They'd bring it home, and shuck it, blanch it, and put them in seal-a-meal bags to freeze.

I was recruited one summer to help shuck, but every damned ear I opened had a little green worm in it. I bitched about it so much, I was recruited to babysit the little kids.

One summer, my cousin Millie, who is about 10 years older than me, came to babysit. We spent the week painting plaster Christmas tree ornaments. I still have a set and put a few on my tree every year.

Guess I wasn't wasting my time at all.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Something New, #82

Again, another Something New that deals with food.

After my triumph of pulling a real meal out of what I had on hand, I tried it again. I made fried chicken and, drumroll please, gravy from scratch.

I know, lame.

But for some reason, making gravy from scratch is a mystery to me. Years ago, before I was even married or had kids, I even brought it up to my shrink. I was lamenting I couldn't be a good parent because I couldn't make gravy. Why gravy was so important, I have no idea. I'm not even a huge gravy fan, but maybe it represented that I could provide for my kids' nourishment or something.

Anyway, my shrink looked at me and said "Gravy comes in jars, you know."

Wise woman.

So I got out my red and white checked cookbook, and faced my fears and made gravy. And it was good.

Of course, The Big One and Little One didn't eat it, but The Neurotic Dog and I did.

I know this represents something on a different level, but I just felt like I accomplished something.

Yes, I know. I need a life.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Something New, #81

With my winnings from the armoire contest, I decided to blow my gift card to Home Depot on unnecessary items.

This is a big deal for me.

Since I'm pulled so tight financially, I initially thought I'd get practical things, like cleaning supplies, fluorescent light bulbs, home repair supplies, etc. I feel that any windfall needs to go to cover basic needs.

Instead, I bought plants.

I have absolutely no luck with plants. The only thing I have managed to successfully grow is English ivy. However, since we live in the 'burbs, there is some peer pressure to keep a landscaped house.

I have learned to buy only perennials, even though I've killed most of them. The Big One went with me, and I pulled a hydrangea plant off the bargain table. It looked a little sickly, kind of yellowish with some brown leaves. I asked her what she thought.

"It doesn't matter, Mom, you'll kill it anyway."

So I did another Something New, and instead of settling for the cheapest thing, bought something a step up.

I have it programmed into my DNA to always buy the least expensive. I don't know if this is a result of my upbringing or from living with The Ex. My parents are frugal, but don't buy junk. I had to learn to be cheap, living with The Ex.

Which goes back to my theory that all of mine and the world's problems can be blamed on The Ex. It keeps things tidy and consistent.

Anyway, I got the plants into the ground, and am committed on keeping them alive.

We'll see if they survive the summer and come back next year.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Something New, #80

Since I outright stole this idea for my blog, Something New, from Marc Acito, I outright stole this Something New from his blog.

I just discovered that my camera had a self timer, so I took a shot of myself. I also discovered that I had the sepia option.

You'll have to take my word for it that I'm actually naked.

I think for the next shot in sepia, I'll dress us all up as pioneers.

Something New, #79

For dinner, I had nothing planned. We always have the standbys of spaghetti or hamburgers, but was kind of burned out on that from the lake weekend.

I opened the fridge, and lo and behold, saw the ingredients for tacos. I even found an ancient box of taco shells in the pantry, that came back to life after I put them in the oven for a few minutes.

This may not seem like a big deal, but I don't think that I've EVER had all the ingredients for an unplanned meal like that. I make tacos about once a year, because only I and The Big One like them. But now The Little One will eat them, so I'll have to keep the ingredients on hand all the time now.

Beats spaghetti every three nights.

Something New, #78

For my last Something New of the weekend, I took the jetski out alone.

The girls love the jetskis, and I ended up taking several at a time, several times on really long rides. The Little One kept yelling "Wave, Mommy!", so I'd wave at the other jetskiers.

She meant she wanted me to jump the waves.

So I did.

After feeling like a taxi service, I took it out alone.

I'd done that before, of course, but this time, I lowered the dock, and got it off the dock without a push.

Yeah, so simple a 9 year old can do it, but there was always someone around to do that for me.

I love going out alone, because I feel like James Bond or Agent 99.

Something New, # 77

CFL's aunt lives year-round at the lake house next door to CFL's. Saturday she had a corn roast party for her friends.

Aunt D is 75 years old and apparently spending her golden years partying as much as possible.

She had CFL passing around a big metal container of Mint Juleps. She was passing it around to all the "old people" like some giant Communion chalice.

I'd never had a Mint Julep, so I had a sip.

Apparently, Aunt D's recipe for Mint Juleps is two gallons of Kentucky whisky, a cup of sugar and some mint leaves thrown in for good measure.

Aunt D knows how to party.

Something New, #76

We had our annual weekend with my cool friend, Linda (hereinafter, CFL).

Her family owns an awesome home at Lake of the Ozarks. Actually, it's nicer than the house I live in. They have all the bells and whistles, too. Two boats, two jetskis and a great dock for laying out or for the kids to swim off.

We've gone down four times now, and I feel so lucky to be able to go. Because of all the financial stress The Ex put on me, it's impossible for me to take the girls on a "real" vacation. Sometimes I feel like the Dashwood or Steele sisters, in that I'd have no society, if not for my more affluent friends.

There were fifteen total this trip, 5 of whom were adults. The great thing about that is that we didn't have to count heads so much. In fact, instead of feeling like I had to stay in the great room that evening and hang out, my Something New is that I went up to my room and read.

Hard not to feel obligated to stay up and visit or watch my kids, but they had enough adult supervision, and are old enough to get themselves to bed without being told.

And I had a reading time longer than 15 minutes.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Something New, #75

About two years ago, I got a Trail-a-Bike for me and The Little One. We've used it several times, and we both like it.

I got the bright idea of taking The Neurotic Dog with us for a ride.

Not my best bright idea.

We got to the top of the hill, and got tangled up with the leash about 6 times. So we turned around and coasted home and left the dog there, then finished our ride.

I've mentioned the humidity here. Yeah, it's a lot worse going uphill, towing an eight-year-old and wearing a helmet.

On the upside, my thighs were talking at me, so I need to keep at it.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Something New, #74

Since I started walking 2 miles on my lunch hour three weeks ago, I've lost 2 pounds. That's really good, but the problem is, it's now summertime in the KC area, where the humidity is usually 60-70%. The past few days, after my walk, I haven't' been the most pleasant person to be around.

So I tried bringing a change of clothes to work to walk in and a washcloth. Since I only get 45 minutes for lunch, I generally gobble down my lunch and walk for 30 minutes. I had to gobble extra fast today to allow for a costume change and spit bath.

I did feel fresher today.

Fortunately, the office where I work only has 10 people in it. Today, we were three, and I don't really sit close to anyone or have to come in contact with customers, so I'm probably not offensive to that many people. Just self-conscious about it.

I also noticed today how much I like the wildflowers in the field where I walk. So I pulled up a couple of handfuls of Queen Anne's Lace and thistles and put them in a coffee can with water and took them home.

It wasn't until I got home and got them planted and looked up online how to care for them that they are considered invasive weeds.

I don't consider them weeds. I prefer to consider them free perennials.

Maybe these are plants I can actually grow.

Something New, #73

My backyard is a mess, especially now that the area where my deck used to be has become a small jungle.

So, I tried to take out the shrubs, thinking I could at least clean it up.

I say tried, because after digging around the stump of just one of the 6 shrubs, for about an hour, I gave up. It was just too hot and humid. So I dumped about a half gallon of Round-Up in the moat I made around the stump, hoping that will kill it.

Only 5 more to go...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Something New, #72

I made it through a day without yelling at or nagging my kids.

Granted, I work full-time and are away from them for about 9 hours a day, but it usually starts first thing in the morning, when I'm trying to get them out of the house.

So, when the pool bag wasn't ready to go to the sitters, (the pool bag they are supposed to have packed the night before), instead of "Why wasn't this done?! It was supposed to have been done last night!", it was "Oh, I guess you'll just have to sit out while the other kids swim."

They had their pool things ready in about a minute.

Now I know as well as anyone that yelling and nagging don't work. It's just with so much on my plate, it's a habit.

And anyone can break a habit, right?

Wish me luck.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Something New, #71

Sit, Ubu, Sit
The Neurotic Dog is not the best trained animal in the world.

I know that it's mostly my fault, as I don't have the time or patience to train her. We took obedience classes, but didn't quite finish, because she kept trying to eat the other dogs. She's never met a child she didn't like, but is hopeless with other dogs, no matter how many times I pop her collar like I was taught, and give the command "Leave It!" whenever she goes after another dog. I just write it off to her past history that we don't know.

However, I just might have taught her a command.

Now that it's hotter when we walk, I'll lead her to the water fountain to get a drink. Tonight when I asked her, "Do you want a drink?", she pulled over and led me to the water fountain. I tried it from different points in the park, and she led me over to the water fountain every time.

Maybe I'll work on "sit" tomorrow.

Pavlov and Cesar would be so proud.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Something New, #68, #69 & #70

Something New #68
We went to the Fourth of July fireworks in Tulsa with my brother, sister-in-law, their kids, and my kids. It was a great show, and they had a moonbounce set up for the kids, so when my brother pulled a Clark Griswold and made us arrive two and a half hours before the fireworks started and park a mile away, the kids didn't get restless.

I was so exhausted after getting every one up and loaded in the car and driving 4 hours that I went to bed before my kids did. Even with slumber parties, that has never happened.

Something New #69
I noticed that The Big One's legs looked remarkably smooth. I asked her if she had been shaving them, and she admitted she had. I have no problem with this, but did have a problem with her using my razor. Did you know that every time you use a razor, thousands of microscopic bits of flesh are scraped off, and end up in the razor? So I got her her own.

That's one hurdle we've crossed into adolescence.

Something New, #70
I'm old enough to remember the "Energy Crisis" of the mid-seventies. (Although, I realized today that today's increase in gas prices and the "Energy Crisis both happened under Republican administrations. Coincidence? I think not. Just the Good 'Ol Boy Network at work. But that's another blog...)

So on the drive back from Oklahoma, I made the conscientious effort to use the cruise control the entire trip. I have, of course, used cruise control, but usually forget to turn it back on after I have to slow down through the small town speed traps, or for the rural drivers who HAVE TO COME TO A FULL AND COMPLETE STOP TO MAKE A RIGHT-HAND TURN.

I set it for 77, and I used just under a half a tank. It's a 236+ mile trip, and it usually takes about 5/8ths of a tank, so I figured I saved at least a gallon and a half or two of gas.

Every little bit helps and please vote Obama!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Something New, #67

Last month, the newspaper here did an article on how to recycle television armoires, since they are becoming obsolete because of flat panels TVs. They also posted a contest of readers sending in sketches of other ideas of how to refit armoires.

I'd never entered a newspaper contest and sent in 2 sketches.

I WON! $50 to Home Depot.

I do have to add, though, mine were the only entries. Still $50 to Home Depot will buy a bunch of plants for my yard.

I do have to add the anecdote I have about TV armoires.

The Ex and I were shopping at a chi-chi antique store on Lower Greenville in Dallas about 15 years ago, when this ultra-yuppie couple comes in and tells the salesperson they want to look at "antique entertainment centers."

I'm guessing those would have been the "antique entertainment centers" that Fred Flinstone used.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Something New, #66

When I went to get my oil changed today, I had a very interesting conversation with a stranger.

I sat down, and there were 2 men also waiting. The younger man looked at both of us and said, "Isn't it interesting how people's lives cross? I'd never known before today that you two even existed."

Not your typical oil change place waiting room conversation.

Instead of just smiling politely and nodding, I went with it.

I told him how I believed that every person you have any kind of relationship with, makes you who you are.

He said I'd just blown his mind.

OK, I don't think it's quite that mind blowing, but he then said he'd never thought of it that way. I went on that I believed it doesn't matter if it's a good or bad relationship, it influences who you are.

My car was ready shortly after that, but still, it was an extraordinary conversation in an ordinary place.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Something New, #65

I have followed the same morning routine since about the 7th grade or so. Get up, take shower, put on make-up, fix hair, get dressed, eat breakfast, brush teeth, leave house. Since I've had kids and started working full time, I've inserted after "get dressed", make coffee, make lunch(es), fix kids' breakfasts, wake up kids, get kids dressed, get everyone's teeth brushed, scream at kids to hurry up, because we're late, gather up belongings that kids need for the day, put dog in crate, leave house...

Since The Little One insists on getting in bed with me every night, I don't get much sleep because she's got her feet in my back. So I changed things up this morning, starting with the coffee first. Then I made lunch and breakfasts, took shower, etc.

It seemed to go a lot smoother. Maybe that caffeine jolt first thing helped.

We didn't get out of the house any faster, but I think we could. I might have to tweak it a bit. Wouldn't hurt to try. Anything to remove "scream at kids to hurry up, because we're late" from the lineup.