Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Random Acts

So I go up to the McD's to get a movie at the Red Box on Saturday night. I was already tired and cranky, just having had a bout of strep and was in sweats with no makeup and I couldn't remember the last time I'd washed my hair, so I really just wanted to get in and get out.

There were 3 people in front of me.

The guy at the kiosk was having trouble deciding, and had to flip through the selections several times. The woman behind him was on her cell, obviously oblivious to everyone behind her, because she was really loud. There was another woman in front of me, then while the first guy was still trying to decide, 4 more people got in line.

This Red Box happens to be at the entrance of the McD's so we were pretty much blocking the door and were in everyone's way.

The guy finally got his selection out, and the woman on the cell moved up to the kiosk.

"OK, so what do you want?...Ummmm...let me see....something scary?...I don't know, I've never heard of it, hang on..." She then proceeds to read the description of several movies to whoever she was talking to. "OK, so what do the kids want?...Well, go ask them...They don't have that one..."

You get the picture.

Then, when she tries to check them out, she's over the limit and has to start over.

Meanwhile, you can just feel the tension build in the people waiting in line, myself included since I'm already tired, crabby and stinky.

When she finally checks out, this guy at the end of the line asks the woman in front of me, "Hey, would it be OK if I just returned this movie real quick?"

I wanted to punch him in the neck.

The woman said OK, and then asked the guy behind HIM if he just wanted to return a movie. He did and so she let him, too.

I was steaming by this time, but instead said to her, "You know, that was actually very kind."

While the woman in front of me was getting her movie, the first guy who returned his went over to the counter, then came back.

He had bought cookies for all of us.

There's a real lesson here, but the bottom line is, be kind, because you might miss out on cookies.

Friday, October 9, 2009

One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

We were sitting at the breakfast table when we heard a terriffic crash from upstairs. Before I could get there to see what it was, The Little One figured it out. "HENRY!"

The Almost Feral Cat had finally gotten to The Immortal Fish.

Luckily, the bowl did not break, as it somehow got wedged between the desk and bookshelf, but all the contents had tipped out onto the floor. All the contents including Henry.

I managed to scoop him up, plop him in the bowl and got the bowl filled up somewhat with water. He was still moving and I crossed my fingers he would at least last until we got home for the day.

When we got home, he was at the bottom of the bowl.

So while The Little One was at dance class, The Big One and I headed to Petco for a replacement. As best as I can count, I believe this is Henry V. We had so much drama when her goldfish, Jessica and Jr., didn't make it for 24 hours in our possession, that I keep replacing the betas.

Probably not the best example of teaching the Circle of Life, but one less drama I have to deal with.

Friday, September 25, 2009


About 3 weeks ago, one of The Big One’s friends’ dad (“Bongo” Barry Bernstein if you want to Google him) dropped dead of a heart attack. He was only 55, married and had two kids. I did not know him personally, but knew of him, because he was very involved with the band programs at the high school and middle school and was a children’s entertainer. He was also a music therapist with one of the school districts. I was looking forward to getting to know him when we got to the high school level bands.

We went to the funeral at the Unity Temple and it was truly one of the most amazing experiences of my life. There were about 200 people, mostly in tie-dye, because that was his trademark. The opening procession was a drum circle of about 75 musicians. There was a slideshow of his life and about several people talked about him. Both of his girls got up and spoke and were both so eloquent and poised. No tears from either girl, both talked about how much he loved life and making other people happy. There were several performances from his musician friends and the processional was everyone jamming to Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” Barry was one of those lucky people who found their bliss early in life, was able to make a living out of it, and share his gifts. It is a true loss and so sad that he died so young and left so many people with this hole in their lives, but on the other hand, what a great legacy to have so many people love you. I came out of that service feeling high.

He and his family performed around the state over the summer, and left “Bongo Barry” egg shakers at rest stops along the way. They were passed around for the processional and I keep mine in my purse to remind me that life is short, that I should not take every day for granted and that I need to hurry up and find my bliss.

My aunt died yesterday after a bout of brain cancer. She had had colon cancer in the mid seventies, breast cancer about 8 years ago, and 2 years ago, it metastasized to her lungs in the form of melanoma (she never smoked or lived with a smoker, BTW) and went to her brain last year. She had radiation and it shrunk the tumor and she was doing great until a few weeks ago. Up until then she was driving, taking care of her garden, entertaining with her husband and just about everything she normally did. She was on hospice at her home and died in her sleep in no pain.

Jo had a great life, too. She was married to her husband for 60 years last summer. When he should have been retiring, they took a job transfer to Southern Korea, then to San Diego. They were the kind of people who made immediate, lifelong friends. Jo was also one of those people who love life, and got excited about just about anything. She was also one of the kindest, generous people you’d ever meet. Because she always lived far away from me, I usually only saw her once a year, at the holidays. I made several visits to her and my uncle as an adult, and those are some of the best trips in my life. I took the girls to down to their home in Wimberley, Texas two summers ago, and the last memories I have of her are of her heading down the long, wooded driveway from their house on the hill to the river at the foot of the hill, pulling a kayak, then launching the kayak into the water and giving the girls a quick lesson. At 80, she was in great shape, and I should look so good in a swimsuit at half her age.

Barry and Jo are just reminders that we are here to make the most of the life we have now. I don’t believe in heaven, because what’s the point of using your time on earth as merely a ticket to something that is imaginary. We humans have a choice every day of what to do with our lives. It’s just practical to choose to be happy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Breakin' Up is Hard to Do

Maybe it's because I'm a Taurus, but I'm extremely stubborn when it comes to holding on to things. Old clothes, knick-knacks, magazines and especially relationships that don't work.

I really just want to "give it one more chance," because I hate admitting I wasted time on something I was wrong about all along. My divorce opened up a big can of worms in that area.

It showed me that not only can I break up with people I'm not even romantically involved with like my self-righteous former roommate, who has nothing to offer me but criticism, a counselor whose best advice was "get more girlfriends," or concepts like religion, but I can also break up with inanimate objects.

A few weeks ago, Good Neighbor Laura had a showing of her artwork. I MapQuested directions, printed them out and set out with the girls to her opening. I followed the map, and after about 10 minutes of driving around a residential neighborhood, looked at the address I'd put in, and compared it to the one on the invitation. MapQuest had led me to the 9600 block when I should have been on the 4300 block. I set off north, hoping I could get there on time and realized I had no idea where I was going so I gave up, and turned around because I knew I'd just get more frustrated and angry the more lost I knew I'd become.

So I officially broke up with MapQuest.

Keep in mind that almost EVERY time I use MapQuest, something similar happens, but I kept right on using it.

Yesterday, at the Wal-Mart, The Big One, The Boyfriend and I were checking out and the lines on the manned check outs were pretty long, so we used the self-check. I have the same history with self-check outs as I do with MapQuest. Every time I've used one, the red light goes on, and I have to wait for the checking supervisor to clear the machine. Plus, there's never enough room on the bagging table, and the computer always yells at me to check the bagging area.

But we were in a hurry and so we used it.

The red light must have gone off a half-dozen times, and the checking supervisor had to come over twice to key into the register so we could continue.

So I broke up with self-checkouts.

Today while at the Home Depot, there were lines at the manned registers, but all the self-checkouts were free. The supervisor motioned me to the self-checks, but I proudly proclaimed, "No thanks, I broke up with those."

So what if she thought I was nuts.

I think I'll break up with worrying about what other people think of me, too.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

True Story

I went into JoAnn's, picked out my fabric and headed to the cutting table. The sales associate was behind the table, and had no customers waiting. She pointed to the "take a number" dispenser and told me to take a number. I was the only customer there, but assumed there was someone ahead of me, wandering around the store. I got number 78.

She then looked up at the tote board, which read 77, clicked to the next number, leaned over into the intercom, and announced, "Number 78."

I kid you not.

I almost burst out laughing, then realized she was serious. I honestly expected Ashton Kutcher to jump out and let me know I had been punk'd.

I guess some people take control wherever they can get it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Again, the Bunnies Never Go Away

The Big One kept trying to charge her phone, and it wouldn't work. It's a fairly new phone, so we checked the battery to see if it was OK, and it seemed to be.

Turns out, the bunny that was under her bed, the one she and her BFF caught, had chewed the bling off her phone which was charging under her bed. Apparently, the bunny also chewed up the cord on the charger.

So thanks to the wildlife in my house, I'm out $15 for a charger and my closet STILL smells like something died in it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

There'll Be Peace When You Are Done

Well the dead bunny in the closet is still with us.

I took the box that The Ex put on the curb with the remains in it, put it in a garbage bag, tied it off, and put it in the trunk of my car as I backed it out of the garage to go to work. I took it to work to throw in the dumpster. The box was in my car for less than fifteen minutes, and my car still smelled like, you guessed it, something died in it.

After I got all the remains and creepy crawly things out, the smell remained, even after I doused the closet with air freshener and I sprayed everything down with vodka. (it's a theater trick - the vodka evaporates and eliminates the odor)

This morning I took all the clothes and coats from the closet outside, hung them on the table and chairs, sprayed them down with still more vodka, and am hoping the air and sunshine will take care of the remaining odors.

If this doesn't work, I may have to burn them.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Carrion My Wayward Son

Two evenings ago, The Big One, The Boyfriend and I came home from a show to a really weird smell in the front hall. I had cooked dinner earlier, and given my history in the kitchen, I just assumed it was a leftover cooking smell.

The following day, we smelled it again, just in one spot in the front hall. It was starting to smell like a really dirty garbage can. I thought maybe something had gotten caught inside the vacuum cleaner and rotted, so I cleaned it out and found nothing.

This morning, the smell was REALLY strong. I pushed back the coats and things, and moved the baskets and boxes around and still nothing.

So when I got home from work this evening, I was greeted with, "Mommy, Daddy found what was stinking up the closet."

Apparently, The Almost Feral Cat brought home yet another dead bunny, and instead of leaving it in The Big One's room, hid it under the baseboard in the back of the closet. It must have been in there longer than 3 days, because it was full of other sorts of flora and fauna that I'd just not rather go into right now. Let's just say it looked like something from one of Gil Grissom's crime scenes, and he was really happy about all the visitors who had taken up residence there.

So I scraped out the remains, and sprayed everything down with 1:100 bleach . I washed all the gloves, hats and scarves that were in the basket in hot water and did two cycles in the dryer, just in case.

The upside is that The Ex probably threw up.

So tomorrow I'm making a trip to the pet store for a break-away collar for the cat. With a bell.

Don't you cry no more.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Once Again, Wild Kingdom

Night before last, The Big One comes into my room at 12:30 AM: “Mommy, The Almost Feral Cat brought a bunny in my room. And it’s not dead.”

Honestly, it’s easier to deal with the dead bunnies than the live ones. The last live one we had got named, and practically moved in with us. I can just scoop up the dead ones and plop them in the trash.

So after about 20 minutes of trying to catch this poor bunny, I gave up. I told The Big One to get in my bed, closed my bedroom door, and figured the cat would take care of the bunny. After all, she’s the one who brought it home, so it’s her responsibility.

I didn’t find anything the next morning, so I figured we had a bunny corpse under the bed somewhere, so I told The Big One to have her dad look for it when he came over.
Apparently, they couldn’t find it, because when I came home from work, The Big One, The Little One and The Big One’s BFF, Genius Girl, were in her room, wearing oven mitts and trying to coax the bunny out from under the bed with brooms and whatever else they could find. There was a lot of screaming and squealing going on, so I left them to it.

After about 45 minutes, they managed to corner it and get it in a shoebox. We took it outside and let it go. I’ll bet that was one relieved bunny.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Heard from the backseat:

"Mommy, what's the hardest question in the world?"

I started in on "Well, that would depend on who you asked. It could be What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? What's the square root of 2,987,451? Do you love me?"

Then it hit me. The hardest question of the world is, "Who let the dogs out?"

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stupid Smart People

I had the following conversation with The Big One:

TBO: "Mom, can I use this empty laundry basket?"

Me: "What for?"

TBO: "To put my laundry in."

Me: "Where's your laundry basket?"

TBO: "It's full."

Me: "Um, then that would mean it's time for you to do your laundry."

TBO: "Oh. Yeah."

This is the kid with the 103 GPA. I swear, I'm raising the stupidest smart people ever.

Monday, May 4, 2009

I started my 3rd new job in the last 14 months today.

I think I learned more today than I have in the last 2 jobs I've had, and when I saw the "WTF?" rubber stamp in one of my new co-workers desk drawer, knew I was going to fit in just fine.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

I made the comment on my Facebook feed that "I am grateful for dandelions, because without them, my yard would be a big brown patch of dirt, filled with dogpiles."

The Little One and I passed an empty lot yesterday, full of dandelions. She said "Look Mommy, a field of wishing flowers!"

So technically, they're not weeds - they're wishes.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where the Wild Things Are

The Big One woke me up at 1:17 AM, "Mommy, The Almost Feral Cat caught something and is playing with it on my bed."

I went in her room, turned on the light, saw bird feathers all over the floor, and then something thup, thup, thupped at me.

I was in no mood to chase an injured bird all over the house with a broom at 1:17 AM, so I told The Big One to get in my bed, closed all the bedroom doors, and figured The Almost Feral Cat would take care of the bird.

When the alarm went off, I could hear a peep, peep, peep and followed the sound into the toy/storage room and found TAFC sitting on the windowsill, just watching the bird trying to fly out the closed window. Apparently, TAFC had just been playing with the bird for the past 5 hours.

So I scooped up the bird in a shoebox and let it go outside. It looked like it had an injured wing and leg, so I figure it will eventually be taken care of by one of the neighborhood cats.

The Little One was very upset when she heard all this, and wanted me to take the bird to the vet.

Never gonna happen in a million years.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Something New, 365 Days Later

It's exactly a year since I challenged myself to try or learn something new every day.

And, I know, I'm about 20 Something News short.

The truth is, I just got lazy about looking and realized, hey, this exercise isn't a REQUIREMENT, and let it go.

But, I'm glad I tried to keep it up.

It is really HARD to find Something New every day, but I feel like I have relearned to use new eyes in looking at the world. Just because you do something the same way 100 doesn't mean you should.

Some Something News I will continue, like not being afraid of buying sushi in a land locked-city, always carrying my camera with me (because you just never know), and adding different things to my coffee. (BTW, Dr. Pepper in coffee - AMAZING.) And I do feel I have improved my writing skills, which is very helpful in my profession.

And I will continue to keep my eyes open, head up and mind aware.

After all, since the women in my family live until at least 90, at 45 years old today, I'm just halfway done.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Something New, #346

I had an awesome job offer, when I wasn't really looking for a new job. The only thing that was holding me from accepting immediately was the fear of starting a new job. I mean, the first two weeks of any job suck, and this will be the third new job in 14 months.

But it was almost as if I created this job for myself, and it's a 20% bump in pay.

Yeah, like anyone would turn that down.

Because things at my current job are so shaky, and the boss is a little "moody," I was dreading turning in my two weeks' notice for fear she'd tell me to go before the end of the pay period. So I totally wimped out and gave notice by e-mail.

At least I'll have enough on this pay period to cover the mortgage.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Something New, #345

I taught The Big One how to "legally" download music.

I may never see her without the earbuds again.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Something New, #344

The Little One has had the eye/nose/throat goop for the past couple of days, and I ran out of the liquid medicine, so she was forced to learn to swallow a pill.

This did not go over well.

I found myself turning into The Other Mother from Coraline, and tears were on the way. So we compromised and I chopped up the pill and stuck it in a breakfast bar. That seemed to work.

Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that it's just allergies, and I don't get another call from the school nurse.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Something New, #343

I was so bored at work today, that I went to the building next to ours to use the restroom.

Freaky thing was, this building is a mirror image of ours, so everything was exactly the same, just backwards.

I felt kind of like Alice.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Something New, #342

I am not the most patient person in the world, especially when it comes to explaining or teaching anything.

This is a gift I inherited from my father.

As soon as my kids learned to read, they were pretty much on their own if they wanted to learn something new. This has saved us a lot of tears over the years.

But The Little One wanted to finish a latch hook rug her sister started, and the only way she could learn was if I showed her.


But we took it step by step, I took a lot of deep breaths, and she got it, and neither of us ended up in tears.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Something New, #341

I Enjoy Being a Girl

Even though I pride myself in being low maintenance, I did make an appointment for highlights, because there is just isn't a product in the stores that will cover my grays anymore.

It took a while, but I liked the results. Now I think I'm stuck doing it for the rest of my life, though.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Something New, #340

I learned that the elementary school has a policy that a student is automatically out for 24 hours if he/she reports to the school nurse with diarrhea.

"It's not really diarrhea! It's just from the drainage from her allergies!"

Nope. Out for another day.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Something New, #339

I learned that there is really no way to get a molly bolt out of the wall without taking out most of the sheetrock.

I also learned that several thin layers, with ample drying time between them, of spackle, will fill a hole in the sheetrock the size of a saucer.

Something New #338

We had a freak snowstorm and got 5 inches in about 12 hours. There was no point in going out, so I stayed in my pajamas for 39 hours straight.

It rocked.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Something New, #337

There's a fancy-schmancy grocery store near my office that is more like a food court than grocery store. I go in there about twice a month to pick up lunch.

I was wandering the cases, trying to figure out what I wanted, when I saw that one of the offerings was sushi.

Now I've had sushi before, but since The Ex worked in the food and beverage industry for 25+ years, and I live in a land-locked area, have never actually ordered it for myself. Someone else ordered for me, or it was an offering at a party or something.

So I figured I probably would not get food poisoning from California Rolls, so that's what I ended up with.

Still probably will not go for the raw offerings in this part of the country, though.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Something New, #336

I had a telephone conversation with a senator.

Definitely something I've never done before.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Something New, #335

I read an article in the paper about how to use everyday objects to fix things.

It used my aforementioned cure for drying out cell phones in a bag of rice, using the sticky end of a Post-it for cleaning between the keys of a keyboard and using cookie sheets to help the reception of a router.

My router is an eBay purchase, so probably not the most efficient and it takes a while for the laptop to find the signal. I put an old cake pan under it, and I'll be damned if it didn't pick up the signal right away.

Must be the same technology as putting aluminum foil on the end of rabbit ears.

Something New, #334

I learned that if you miss the contact lens storage case, and your contact sits on the bathroom shelf all night, you can resuscitate it by soaking it in saline again.

Handy, since this was my last pair.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Something New, #333

Office Alone

Both attorneys and the other paralegal were out of the office, so I was alone for 2 days.

The difficult thing about where I work is that there are only 4 people in the office to begin with, so I don't get a whole lot of human interaction. I think the only person I saw all day was the UPS man.

Thank Goddess for Hulu.

Something New, #332

I learned that when two eight-year-olds think it's a good idea to wash the dog without telling an adult, and the tub overflows, it drains through the bathroom floor to the garage below and onto my car.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Something New, #331

The girls had spring break, and were home alone most of the week, so we drove to my parents' in Oklahoma. When we drive down there, I usually take a half day off, because I hate driving in the dark, but because my counterpart at work was on vacation, we didn't leave until after I got of work. I got off late anyway, so we really had a late start.

This is one of those Something News that I will avoid at all costs in the future. I have terrible night vision, and the back highways we have to take have no shoulder. Plus, I got pulled over in Talala, OK (yes, that's the name of the town) for doing 58 in a 45 zone.

Just what I needed.

Although, because I had the kids and dog with me, I think the cop who pulled me over felt sorry for me, and "only" fined me $89 instead of the usual $212.

When we finally made it to Tulsa, The Big One wanted to go to a midnight release party of the Twilight DVD, so we went to the local Border's. I got in line to get the ticket to purchase the DVD for her, and she said, "I just wanted to get the free stuff from the party. Let's get the DVD at Target tomorrow because it's cheaper."

I'm not sure if that's a good thing or bad, but she did save me $13 on the price of the DVD.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Something New, #330

I listen to NPR pretty much all day during the workweek.

Talk of the Nation airs in the afternoon, and the host, Neal Conan, fields "tweets" from Twitter. Seriously, how self-important have we become that we think someone else cares about "What are you doing?", but after reading about Christopher Walken's Twitter page on another blog, checked it out and joined.

Just what I need. Something else to waste more time with on the computer.

Something New #329

I got a reply from the city, regarding the intersection where I got rear-ended.

I assumed it would be a standard "We're taking it into consideration, blah, blah, blah..." but instead it explained that there is actually construction that will begin at the end of the year that will hopefully fix the situation.

Maybe there were enough complaints to warrant a change.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Something New, #328

More Adventures in the Ladies

I learned that handicapped accessible bathrooms really aren't.

There was an elderly woman in the handicapped stall with a wheelchair. She was standing, and trying to maneuver herself back into her chair. It was stuck in the door frame, so I helped her move it around so she could sit and backed her out. I rolled her over to the sink, she washed & dried and we headed out the door where we really got stuck.

This restroom has two doors at its entrance with a small vestibule between them. I got her through the interior door, but then couldn't open the exterior with her in her wheelchair to get us out. There was no room to open the exterior door with the wheelchair in the vestibule, and there wasn't enough room for me to hold open both doors to wheel her out. I almost had to do an Austin Powers three-point turn to get her out, but her husband heard the racket, and helped us.

Seriously, I may have to write another letter.

Something New, #327

OK, another Something New, that technically isn't Something New, but Something New I observed.

When I was washing my hands in the ladies, there was another woman next to me, doing the same in the next sink. At the same time, we both turned away from each other to get paper towels out of the dispenser, then we both turned back to each other and said the same thing: "Were these always automatic?"

Apparently, the landlord changed out the dispensers within the hour or so that we'd both been in there. But we both had the same initial question, "Were these always here?" Both of us thought at first they were the same, and we just had not taken notice of them.

What this exercise is teaching me is to keep my eyes open and not to take things for granted or do things just out of habit.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spongebob Braintwinkle

The Little One was comparing characters from Spongebob Squarepants to those in her family:
"Sissy's Sandy, because she's smart, I'm Spongebob because I'm silly, and you're Mr. Krabs because you're cheap."

Pretty astute for 8.

Something New, #326

A friend of mine is a freelance reporter for our local paper, and she interviewed me for a story she's doing about Facebook.

I've been in the paper, even interviewed, but this is the first time someone actually wanted my opinion.

The story is about "Facebook Parties," where people gather at someone's house, take photos for profile shots and help those who are not on Facebook get started. She knew I'm on Facebook and a fan, so she wanted to know my opinion.

My answer? "It seems ironic to get together in person for a Facebook party, when the whole point of Facebook is you don't actually have to see the people in the flesh." She laughed and agreed.

The story comes out in a couple of weeks, so I hope I make the cut.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Something New, #325

I wonder at what point did my life become a sitcom without a laugh track.

This was my morning:
The girls had no school today, because it's the first day of Spring Break, so I thought "Yay! I don't have to get them up for school, I can sleep in until 6:30, only have to get myself together, and will be on time to work for once!"

My morning started at 5 AM when I woke up with The Little One's elbow in my eye socket. Which caused me to hit the snooze 3 times, so I didn't get out of bed until almost 7. I got myself showered, make-up'ed, blow dried in a timely matter, and made a sandwich for lunch. The my CFM called to ask if I had an extra hairbrush she could use. She was dropping off The Little One II for the day, and her bathroom is gutted at the moment, and she couldn't find her brush anywhere. I looked around, couldn't find anything, so offered her an elastic for a ponytail instead. While I was running the elastic out to her in her minivan, The Neurotic Dog counter-surfed and took my sandwich. I caught her in the act and wailed on her with the newspaper. I've never done that, because being a shelter dog, I don't want to trigger anything she may have happen in her past, but she KNEW she was wrong! Just gave me that sad, sad, "But I was STARVING!" look. Don't think she'll try that for a while.

So while I was beating the dog, The Little Ones I & II were screaming and squealing and woke up The Big One, who is as grumpy as I am when she's sleep deprived. Plus, she's 13 and grumpy anyway. I got everyone calmed down with a bag of donuts that CFM sent, made another sandwich and got out the door. Halfway down our hill, my stomach growled, and I realized I didn't eat breakfast, so I had to stop for McDonalds, which caused me to feel guilty for spending the money and calories.

So I was still about 5 minutes late to work, tired, cranky and hungry.

Plus I got a new computer yesterday, which is great, because the old one ran on hamster power, but it's Vista, so I'm not in the greatest state of mind to re-learn where all the buttons and settings are.

Can I just go back to bed? Please?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Something New, #324

I learned how flush toilets work on airplanes and trains.

After hearing a story about how a man in France got his arm stuck in a toilet, after reaching in to retrieve his cell phone, I wondered out how it physically happened.

Turns out, those toilets have a super suction and that's what trapped his arm. I thought all the waste went into a fluid, then was frozen and dumped. Didn't know about the suction part.

Good cautionary tale though.

The article does give readers the tip of how to dry out a cell by putting it in a bowl of uncooked rice to absorb the moisture. This really does work, as I did the same when I accidentally washed my cell and tried it. It took about a day, but then it came back on. Right after I washed my phone, one of the nurses where I worked dropped her cell in the toilet (fortunately, not on a moving train) and it worked for her too.

Maybe some entrepreneur could come up with a business of retrieving those 850,000+ cell phones that are dropped into toilets each year. Not any crazier than the guy who came up with the idea of scuba diving for golf balls in water hazards.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Something New, #323

I learned that it's possible for two very determined eight year olds to wash a car.

While it's inside the garage. With the good towels.

Something New, #322

I confirmed my position as an official old lady and wrote a letter to City Hall.

I did the research on the intersection where I was rear ended and learned that from 2005-2007 there were 59 reported accidents and of those, 64% were rear-end accidents. (I even got to practice my new knowledge of figuring percentages that I had learned, but forgotten.) I pointed out that there were probably even more accidents reported and made the argument that a flashing warning light would probably be more cost effective than sending out a cop after every call, and save drivers' time and aggravation.

I figure the official in charge will read it, and assume I'm an old lady or a student who has to practice writing letters for a school assignment.

My mother has a friend who was big on letter writing. Not just to her friends, but she would write if she had exceptional customer service or a complaint. She sent out more complementary letters than complaints, because she worked in customer service all her life, and knew how stinky it could be. I find myself doing the same, and recently wrote letters to the hotel in DC where we stayed and the DC police force. If anything, I feel like I'm working on writing skills.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Something New, #321

A couple of months ago, I noticed that a Paul Mitchell school had opened up near my house. I checked it out online and made an appointment for a haircut.

I've always had bad hair, and it grows so slowly, and since I've been growing it out, really only trust Cool Guy Joe to cut it. But it was only $10 for a haircut, and the students are supervised, so I took a chance.

I think I got lucky, because I got a shampoo, great haircut and blowout for $10. My hair had never been so flippy or shiny. The only downside was that after almost every step, an instructor had to sign off, so it took about an hour and a half.

I'm going back for highlights next month (another Something New, because I can't manage the grays on my own anymore) and because the school opened in an area that was almost a blight, am spreading the word.

Something New, #320

I woke up in the early, early AM and realized I couldn't move the left side of my body.

At first I panicked, because I thought I'd had a stroke, but then as I woke up, I realized that The Neurotic Dog was laying on top of me.

She ususally sleeps at the foot of the bed, but I guess she got cold or thought I was cold and was overdoing it on the snuggling. Then I realized that The Little One was wedged up against me on the right side.

This may also go a long way in explaining my sleep problems.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Something New, #319

A while back, I posted that I started unplugging appliances after seeing a bit on Oprah about energy vampires.

I don't unplug them every day, but do OK in keeping up with it. I am happy to report that my average bill pay for the electric bill reset this billing cycle, and it went DOWN $14 a month.

Not a huge drop, but it did make a difference.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Something New, #318

It's official. My kid is way smarter than me.

She got her score back from her ACT test. The one I didn't want her to take, because I thought it would be too hard for her, and she'd get discouraged, but she wanted to take.

She's in the seventh grade and got the same score I did when I took it as a high school senior.

And to further add to either lower my self-esteem, or make me proud of her and her friends, her brilliant, gorgeous friend A. got 4 points higher than the both of us.

I can't wait to see how she does when she takes the test for real. I sincerely hope she doesn't burn herself out before then.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Something New, #317

The radio station I listen to in the morning is conducting their annual Radio-a-Thon to raise money for Children's Mercy Hospital. It really is a good cause, and I have a continuing donation taken out of my checking account every month.

They offered a new option to donate this year. You can send a text message to a certain number and a $5.00 donation will be added to your phone bill. Since I already donate, I used The Big One's cell to make my text donation.

The Ex pays her cell bill, by the way.

I may be making several donations.

Children's Mercy and I will both come out ahead.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The Little One lost a tooth and apparently couldn't find her Tooth Fairy pillow, so she used a baggie instead. I guess it takes a lot of baggie for a little tooth.

At least I'm raising them to be resourceful.
I know the photo's dark, but that's the tooth in the lower left corner of the bag.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Something New, #316

In researching accidents at the intersection where I was rear-ended, I learned that in the years 2005-2007, there have been 59 reported accidents. I'm guessing there are at least as many unreported accidents.

Next step: analyze the data and present my idea to city hall.

Something New, #315

I got rear-ended the other day.

Nothing serious, no injury or damage, but it occured at a stop near my house where I've seen many accidents and near-misses.

The intersection in question is an off-ramp from one of the highways onto the frontage road. The ramp T-bones into the frontage road, so you can only turn right or left. There are stop signs on both sides of the exit ramp, but unless you live there and take that ramp daily, as I do, most drivers assume it's a clear exit, and just pull out into traffic. I see probably four accidents a year there.

So I started researching how to get a warning light installed at that exit ramp. NOT a stoplight, because Overland Park, Kansas is already lousy with them. Just something that gives the JoCo-ers who are talking on their cell phones, careening down the exit in their Lexus SUVs (which is what rear-ended me) a little something to catch their attention.

This could turn into a project within a project. Stay tuned.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Something New, #314

I don't have a lot of patience with telephone solicitors, but had a call today unlike any other I've received.

Telemarketers are getting trickier, because when I answered the phone, the person on the other end sounded live, and there were even pauses in his conversation that were appropriate. It took me a good 30 seconds to realize it was a recording.

That does it. I'm getting caller ID and checking again that I'm on the no-call list.

Something New, #313

I've heard that the sense of smell is the one that can invoke the most memories.

I was reminded of this at my cater-waiter job, when I caught a whiff of Palmolive dish soap and immediately thought of my grandmother. It was such a strong memory, that I had to stop at the 24-hour Wal-Mart and pick up a bottle on my way home.

I cleaned the house with it and it smelled great. I did learn, however, that while Palmolive may be tough on grease and gentle on your hands, it sucks as a floorcleaner.

At least my house smelled good.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Something New, #308 - 312

The whole group from Team Lenexa toured the Capitol. We had an abbreviated tour, because apparently, the Capitol wants to get as many groups in as fast as they can. We zipped through the main rotunda, old Senate and Supreme court. The Senate was out this week, so we didn't get to go in there, because as the Capitol cop explained, "It's like going to your grandma's house - when grandma's not there, you can't go." We did get to go into the House and sit in the galley for a while, and Officer McNeely gave us his personal overview. He pointed out the bullet holes in the ceiling from a shooting that happened in the late '50s and showed us where the President comes in for the State of the Union address. Trivia: The President has to be invited in writing by the Speaker of the House to speak there. It will be especially interesting to watch the State of the Union address next week, because we've now seen the actual space. I also learned that the high school pages who serve in the Senate and House make about what I do. I gotta get another job.

After that, The Big One and I went to the Library of Congress, which was by far, the most beautiful building we'd seen. Marble sculpture everywhere, and every surface either had mosaic work or decorative painting. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven when we saw the Reading Room. My number one choice for dream job would be to work there.

I also learned that each entity in the Capitol area has its own police force. They are federal police, but separate divisions, such as the Capitol police, Library of Congress police, Supreme Court police, etc. I think I got more information by talking to the cops than any tour guide or brochure. All that I talked to were friendly and helpful.

We went up the stairs to the Supreme Court, but got halfway up, and I realized I just couldn't bear another security check. I really wanted to see the inside, but we were running out of time, so I'll just look it up online.

We took the Amtrak from Union Station to BWI, so that was another first, as I'd never ridden on a train that wasn't at the zoo. I bought the tickets at the kiosk and we got on the right train on time and everything. That was just about the only place where we didn't have to go through security. Our mentor for the team, Aunt Kathy, said she was looking forward to getting back just so she could walk into a building and not have to show her purse to a guard.

Speaking of security, Homeland Security is just too much. I realize there are rules in place for our safety, but some are just ridiculous. The Big One had purchased with her own money a 3" snow globe of the Mall. She put it in her carry on, and they said it wouldn't pass. They gave us the option of going back to the desk and checking it, but we couldn't go through that again. So they threw it in the trash. Ironically, as we went to our immediate left, there was a gift shop that had a huge display of, you guessed it, snow globes. I was so mad, but found one for her on eBay, so hopefully that will make up for it.

We got home without a glitch and went straight to bed. I didn't even bother to start laundry, which is another first.

It was a wonderful trip and opportunity. I was so impressed with all the hard work that all the kids did on their models, research and presentation. Over 11,000 kids from all over competed, starting at the school and regional levels and 39 teams went to nationals. These kids really are the cream of the crop and I'd like to see data on how many kids from 17 years of this competition actually go on to become engineers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Something New, #306

I had my handwriting analyzed at the Future City closing party.

I have to admit it was scary how spot-on the gal was. She had every one of my traits, hands down. Considering that I was once written up by a crazy HR manager, Psycho Sarah, for having bad handwriting, I was glad she didn't say I was a potential serial killer.

I wonder what it would be like to do that. I would think it would get tiring, because you would constantly be analyzing any handwriting, whether you meant to or not.

I met my friend John B for breakfast for dinner. He said he'd meet me at a stop north of where I was staying and texted me directions on how to get to that stop. Apparently, even someone who hasn't seen me in over 25 years knows how much I get lost. I got on at the station where I was making my transfer, stepped into the car, and there he was! The funny thing besides running into him like that was that I had moved from one line to another to enter the car, and if I hadn't moved wouldn't have seen him at all.

Even in a new city, it's a global village.

Something New, #305

Heard myself say, "I don't have anything smaller than a fifty."

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Something New, #299 - 304

Still in DC:

Preliminary judging for the Future City presentation in the morning. The Big One is not a presenter, but is part of the team. I was very impressed with how well they did. They did a skit that explained how their model worked, and then the judges asked them random questions. They showed a lot of poise under pressure. Check out http://www.futurecity.org/ for the winners later.

The Big One and I then took the subway (we're practically natives now) and visited the National Archives. We missed the Emancipation Proclamation by a day, but did see the Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, and the Constitution. It was The Big One's idea to see these, so I have to again say, I'm impressed she's interested in doing these things.

Went to the Smithsonian and I learned that saccharine is derived from coal tar. I also learned that The Big One does not know who Fonzie or John Lennon are, so I feel like I've failed her in some way.

Visited the Holocaust museum which is humbling. It's still so horrifying that something like that happened in modern times. I do have an unanswered question, Internet - where did the Nazi party get their initial funding? I assume that after they came into power, they simply took what they wanted and had their victims as labor to build the concentration camps, maintain railroads, etc., but any organization, whatever its intent, must have some kind of start-up cash flow. Who funded the publication of Mein Kampf, covered the costs of printing the propaganda that was so widely circulated, fed and clothed Hitler's army, etc.? Shouldn't these people also be held accountable? Whenever I see that Fred Phelps and his minions have staged one of their "protests", I wonder who paid for them to get there. None of the members of his "church" really work; Fred himself was disbarred, so they have to get gas money somewhere. If anyone has any theories, I'd like to know.

Saw the Jefferson Memorial. It's big and marble-y.

Something New, #297 - 298

Another day in DC:

Visited the National Aquarium, where, ironically, there is a Lake of the Ozarks exhibit. My CFL has been generous to invite us to her lake house the last 4 summers, so I know Lake of the Ozarks. I also know it probably does not warrant an exhibit in the National Aquarium. The exhibit was mostly brown, and all that was missing was empty beer cans and Party Cove beads.

The Big One took a tour with the school group to one of the aerospace museums, so I took off on my own. Got off at the subway stop at Dupont Circle and realized I'd found my people. I walked over to Georgetown, which looked how I'd imagined DC to look, but was disappointed that like most of America, has become homogenized with the same stores, restaurants, etc., that you can find anywhere. I mean, we have an Urban Outfitters, American Eagle and Kate Spade in KC. I really was hoping to see something different. I did get slightly lost, which was a good thing, because I saw the Irish Embassy, the Greek Embassy and the embassies of a bunch of Slavic countries I'd never heard of.

Went back to the National Gallery to visit with the little Vermeers and the da Vinci.

Paid $16 for 2 slices of pizza. I swear, I've spent more on this trip for meals than our plane tickets.
Speaking of homogenization, it just doesn't stop with businesses. I swear, yesterday I heard a woman speaking in Russian, but she was wearing Crocs. If I'd just seen her on the street, I'd have assumed she was just another American.

Something New, #293 - 296

More of DC firsts:

Took the subway to Arlington Cemetery. We made it for the changing of the guards at the tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and also saw 2 wreath laying ceremonies. Both were very impressive. We also saw JFK, RFK and Jackie O's graves.

Went to the Natural History museum and saw lots of bones and the Hope Diamond.

Met my friend from the Phi Kappa Sigma house, John B. at the American Indian museum. My great-great-great grandfather's portrait was in the orientation film for about 3 seconds, but we go an eyeful of it.

Ate hamburgers in Chinatown.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Something New, #284-292

In DC for 9 hours now, and so many Something News, I'll be caught up for weeks!

Learned you really do need to get to the airport 2 hours early in a post 9/11 world.

Visited the National Gallery, and nearly wept in every room. I took so much art history in school, and grew up with so many art history books, it was almost surreal to see the works of art in real life. I felt like such a hick taking photos of them, but I didn't care.

Saw the Washington Monument, Lincoln Monument, WW II Memorial and Vietnam War Memorial. And yes, the Vietnam Memorial is as moving as they say. The Lincoln Memorial was packed, due to Abe's 200th birthday, but we got to enjoy it for as long as we wanted.

The Big One and I took our first subway ride. We also got lost for the first time on the subway, but that was to be expected.

I learned that in a pinch, the security lock on a hotel room door can be used to open a bottle of beer.

Can't wait to see what tomorrow brings.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Something New, #283

I learned that when I get only about 5 hours sleep, "cardamon" looks an awful lot like "cinnamon."

I also learned that cardamon/sugar toast will probably not be the next food trend.

I didn't even know I owned a jar of cardamon. It must have come with the spice rack.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Something New, #282

Reaffirming my status as a Slacker Mom...

The Big One wanted to attend dance class with one of her new middle school friends. I'll call this new friend "Maddie" because about 25% of her class is named Maddie. The rest are mostly Madisons.

I had to take The Little One to Brownies at the same time The Big One was being picked up by Maddie's family. She was OK with that, and when I got back to the house, there was a note with Maddie's cell number, her mother's cell number, her dad's cell number and the number of the dance studio, so I felt even though I'd let her go with strangers, she was in responsible hands.

Two hours later, I'm still waiting for her to come home. Her own dance class is only 50 minutes long, so I assumed Maddie's was about the same. It doesn't help that I watch way too much CSI and Cold Case, so I did start to kick myself for being so lackadaisical.

But she got home safely, and I learned to let go of her. Just a little bit. She's only 13, after all.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Something New, #281

I must be spending too much time with TNG, since most of my posts involve her.

Again, while I was walking her, I was inspired to try something new. A church in our neighborhood had just poured a new sidewalk. I managed to get TNG's paw in the damp cement, immortalizing her. Unfortunately, I didn't have anything to wipe it off with, so had to make do with leaves. I also did not get a good photo of it, but I'll check on it in a couple of days to see if it's still there.

Something New, #280

There was a perfect full moon out as I walked The Neurotic Dog.

It occured to me, I'd never taken a photo of the moon, so I did.

The camera phone does not begin to do justice of how beautiful the moon was. This is it rising over our library.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Something New, #279

A couple of years ago, my Kind Friend Bev, recommended I read Move Your Stuff, Change Your Life to help me get "unstuck."

I made some changes, but wasn't serious about it until last fall. That's when I'd make changes and see almost immediate results.

So when I started panicking about how to pay for this class trip, one of the first things I did was place notes reading "DC Trip" in my silver boxes in my Travel/Helpful People and Prosperity sections.

A friend of mine whose son is on the same team called me from out of the blue "I wrote some e-mails and made some calls and got your room comped."

Keep in mind this is someone I talk to about every other month, and I hadn't even whined to her about paying for this trip. Just like that, from out of the blue.

Read the book. It works.

I wonder what would happen if I wrote "Mr. Darcy" on a slip of paper and put it in my Love/Relationships section...

Something New, #278

There's a first time for everything, I've learned.

As someone who for years hated always being late, I finally embraced tardiness.

My Flippy Friend Jen turned 40 and a mutual friend planned a surprise party for her. However, I was the one surprised as I actually showed up early. 24 hours early to be exact.

The irony is, even if I had arrived on the correct night, I'd still have been 10 minutes late. Because, of course, I got lost.

But I didn't fall down.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Something New, #277

While walking The Neurotic Dog, I decided to act like Snoopy, and run along a picket fence with a stick. I figured that was Something New, because I don't think I've ever done it.

I also figured out why I probably fall down a lot, as I nearly tripped over TND while doing this, and looking up at the moon.

I don't pay attention to where I'm going. I'm too focused on looking at what is around me. Maybe I need to up the ADD meds and tell Tom Cruise, Bijou Phillips and the other Scientologists to just suck it.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Something New, #276

It's official. I am a crazy-old-lady driver.

About a month ago, a new flyover opened that pretty much takes me from my street to my office. It's awesome and I can get to and from work in less than 10 minutes, even in rush hour traffic.

Today I realized about a half mile from my office, I'd been driving on the shoulder.

In my defense, the lines have not been marked yet and I was driving straight into the sun.

I drove at least a half mile before I realized what I was doing.

The irony is, yesterday, I saw another driver doing the same thing, and thought to myself, "Dumbass. Driving on the shoulder."

Karma has a sense of humor.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Something New, #275

"I happen to know that in the future I will not have the slightest use for algebra, and I speak from experience. " Peggy Sue Got Married

This is one of my favorite movie quotes and my defense for having only gotten as far as Algebra 1 in high school, and earning a BFA with no math at all.

However, today I did use algebra. I had to figure out a formula on my own to calculate billing time (attorneys have their own version of time). I have no idea how I did it, but the point is I did, and it worked.

Something New, #274

I am officially the parent of a teenager as The Big One turns 13.

She's still sweet, and not too surly yet, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

I just remember pretty much all of those middle school years sucked.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Counting Down...

There are only 14 days until we leave on our class trip! Donations still welcome!

Future City - Team Lenexa
Westridge Middle School
9300 Nieman
Lenexa, KS 66214

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Something New, #273

Again, Americans have too many choices.

I decided to bite the bullet and get a mini-laptop. I've been wanting (not NEEDING) one for a while to check e-mails, etc. while away from my desktop and this upcoming trip was the deciding factor.

I did all my research online and picked a model and headed to the computer superstore with a list of questions.

I learned my lesson about asking questions at the computer superstore.

Apparently, if you don't know the answers to the questions beforehand, the sales people start to speak in some strange, foreign tongue with words I've never heard.

I just wanted to know what I needed to buy to get my e-mails away from home.

After a couple of calls to friends and relatives, I picked out a different model than I originally chose, and headed home, only to find it really wasn't "ready out of the box" like the salesperson claimed and thanks to Good Neighbor Charlie, who explained it to me in a way I could understand, have it up and running.

I hope I don't have to make choices for a while.

Something New, #272

I single-handedly discovered the reason there are so many anxiety disorders in America today while trying to find the best online deal for hotel rooms.

Americans have too many choices.

After checking out about 7 booking sites, I felt the beginnings of an anxiety attack. I had to call my CFL twice to have her talk me through it, because I'd get one answer from one site, and a completely different one from another. I'm trying to make reservations at the same hotel, for the same person for the same time, and I get 7 different quotes. Then I started nearly hyperventilating because I kept thinking I could get a better deal if I kept looking.

Finally I decided, "Screw it, just do it" and booked the damn reservation.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed it's a legitimate site, there will be a room for me and I'm not getting totally ripped off on the price.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Shameless Plug

Don't forget the class trip that needs your help, Internet!

Future City - Team Lenexa
Westridge Middle School
9300 Nieman
Lenexa, KS 66214

Something New, #271

Today was Pajama Day at The Little One's school.

Since I always feel like as a single mom, I'm being more harshly scrutinized as far as my children's appearance in concerned. It makes me nuts if their hair is a mess or they have stains on their clothes. I guess I have to prove to the world that they are being well cared for. So for previous Pajama Days, I've actually either gone out and purchased pajamas that they couldn't wear to school until after Pajama Day or washed, mended and IRONED a newer set.

I was too tired to deal with either last night, so just let The Little One pick out some that looked clean, had no rips and covered her up.

I even let her sleep in them and just get up and put on shoes and socks.

It saved us 10 minutes this morning.

I heart Pajama Day.

I may even toy with the idea of getting her fully dressed at night after her shower, letting her sleep in her clothes, then spraying her down with fabric softener to get the wrinkles out.

10 minutes is 10 minutes, after all.

Something New, #270

As I was taking the exit downtown to my cater-waiter job, there was a homeless man with his cardboard sign on the corner where I stopped for the red light. He was literally about 4 feet from my window, so instead of trying to avoid all eye contact, I opened my window and offered him the orange from my lunch sack. He took it, thanked me, and the light turned green.

When I work a catering event, we usually have a lot leftovers. Since the client pays for them, usually members of the wedding party or host will keep them, but not always. I usually end up taking home a doggie bag or two, but a lot gets thrown out. We ended up throwing out 2 pans of pasta, because no one wanted that much, and it really won't keep more than a day or two.

It occurred to me I should what would have been thrown out and bag it up for other homeless I might come across downtown. I did take some leftovers home for myself, but didn't see anyone on my way out from downtown to give it to. I'm going to do some research to see if there's any place nearby our event space that will take something like what we have.

Something New, #269

I always hated asking for help.

That is until I got so far into it with The Ex and there was no was of getting out of it alone. Now I'm really good at it.

So with the upcoming DC trip for my daughter, I sent out about a dozen letters to various companies asking for donations for her team.

Fundraising is not one of my gifts, as I found out last year when I headed up the bake sale committee to send The Big One's sixth grade to camp for a week. Even though we were netting over $100 per sale (which lasted about an hour an a half over the school lunch hour, once a week and we were selling things like Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Little Debbie snack cakes for a quarter a pop. That's a lot of quarters and Twinkies) apparently, according to the PTA president, I wasn't doing ENOUGH and should have been getting "corporate sponsors" to underwrite the bake sales. I found that laughable: "Dear Ginourmous Corporation, Would you provide Ho-Hos for our bake sale?"

So I'm asking for help. And since I have almost 2,000 hits on this blog, and I know it's not all me, I'm including the address to send donations to send these kids to DC. Seriously, this is the only opportunity most of these kids will have for a trip like this. About half of this school's students are from blue collar families, and a lot of single parents like myself. This team is mostly girls, too, and anything to encourage girls in the areas of science and math is a worthy cause. Even ten bucks will buy a Metro pass for kid for a day. Let's do it, Internet!

Future City - Team Lenexa
Westridge Middle School
9300 Nieman
Lenexa, KS 66214

Don't forget, donations are tax deductable!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Something New, #268

The Big One has been working for several months for her team at school's entry for Future City. They made a working model city, did research and presented it at K-State.

Her team won!

Now they go to the nationals in Washington DC next month. I had a major panic attack - can I get off work, how will I pay for this, what am I going to do with The Little One and The Neuortic Dog, etc. But I've calmed down now, and for the first time, booked a plane flight for myself. FOR ME! I get to go somewhere I've never been, and I don't have to visit relatives and can do what I want!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Something New, #267

I got this e-mail, so I thought I'd see what I came up with. Like I don't do enough self-analysis.

I wasn't clever enough to follow the posting directions, so here it is.

25 Random Things About Me

Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. (To do this, go to "notes" under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.)

1. I fall down a lot.
2. I get lost a lot. At least twice a week. (Does this count as 2?)
3. I am almost always ten minutes late.
4. I tie excellent floral bows.
5. I can curl my tongue into a U.
6. My second toe is longer than my big toe. Most people find this weird.
7. I can kick almost anyone's ass in the original Trivial Pursuit.
8. I have never had a balanced checkbook.
9. I hate tomatoes, but will eat it in sauces, stews etc. Just plain and raw, ech.
10. I can paint an awesome piggy bank www.aingellpresents.etsy.com
11. I have a tattoo.
12. I can drive a stick shift.
13. I named The Little One after the main character from my favorite childhood book, Miss Charity Comes to Stay.
14. I can do Columbia's tap routine from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but no one will ever see me do it. Not in a million years, so don't ask.
15. I shoplifted a lipstick on a dare with my BFF when I was in the eighth grade.
16. I wish I had more patience with my kids.
17. I love my meds.
18. I won the Best Legs award at summer camp my senior year in high school.
19. Geraniums are the only thing I can successfully grow.
20. I have Four Degrees of Separation to Paul McCartney- I knew a web designer who was the son of the drummer for Badfinger, on whose single "Come and Get It," Sir Paul sang background. Four, right?
21. I want to visit Greece.
22. I want to visit the Louve.
23. I'm 1/16th Creek, but due to a clerical error from the early 1900's, my card says I'm 1/32. (I really to have the documentation to prove this.)
24. I kissed a stranger one New Year's Eve.
25. I have 6 images of the Mona Lisa in my house.

Something New, #266

I took The Little One to see Paul Blart, Mall Cop, (which was actually much better than I thought it would be) to a theater that had the COOLEST hand dryers I've ever seen.

The Dyson Airblade.

This thing was awesome. We washed and dried our hands several times just to try it out, and I felt like such a hick, but it was such a rush.

It would be totally awesome to have a full size one at home so I'd never have to wash towels again.

Something New, #265

The Little One is just like her father (say that last part through gritted teeth) in the fact that she gets away with just about anything. Seriously, anyone else in the world would be doing time, but not him.

I've tried positive rewards, taking away privileges, and outright bribes, to get her to see that her actions have consequences, but with little affect. It must be some kind of perverse gift from the universe that she gets away with stuff like not turning in homework or losing school library books. She always gets a "Oh, that's OK, just don't do it again."

Seriously, these people are not doing her any favors.

So when she wasn't prepared for dance class by not having her hair up, correct shoes and attire, the teacher scolded her. Her dance teacher has taught for over 30 years and as sweet, kind and cool as they come. All the kids just adore her. Coming from Mrs. S, a scolding had an effect.

I thanked Mrs. S for it, and she totally got it. After all, her Ex is a scumbucket, too, so we have to stick together.

Something New, #264

In my effort to get my weight down to what it says on my driver's license and create multiple streams of income for my family, I've hit upon a sure-fire winner.

I invented a weight-loss plan.

I'm calling it the Dental Diet. Anytime I feel like eating junk or eating out of boredom, I'll brush my teeth. It's only been 2 days, but my teeth feel great.

If this fails, I guess I could eat less and exercise more, but where's the profit to be made in that?

Something New, #263

In my effort to fill time at the office when no one is there, and I LITERALLY have nothing to do, I did an online workout at my desk.

I would have never tried this if anyone was around, but everyone was gone, and I have to admit, the floor at the office is much cleaner than mine at home. No dog and cat hair everywhere. I'll probably do this again, next time I'm sure I'm alone.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Something New, #262

I learned that Spray 'N Wash makes a good spot cleaner for the carpet.

I also learned it's a good idea to put the box of Clementine oranges way up high so the dog doesn't eat them.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Something New, #261

I, along with probably millions of other Americans, watched my first live presidential inauguration.

I queued up early on CNN, and still had to wait for more bandwidth, and watched it with one of my associates at work. It was nice to have someone to share it with. On Talk of the Nation, callers were sharing where they watched it. One man called in that he had watched it while his fiance was getting her first sonogram. The cherry on top was that they figured out the date of conception was election night. He said that if it was a girl, they were seriously thinking of the name Sasha. Then later, Terri Gross had Shepard Fairey on Fresh Air.

Pretty much a perfect day of programming.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Something New, #260

I am a Good Pet Owner, because with the exception of inclement weather or lack of doggie bags, am fastidious about picking up the poo when I walk The Neurotic Dog.

We walk the route that we do, because it takes us by the park (and TCGIBS42Y's house) so I can dump the presents she leaves me in the bins there, rather than at home in my garage. I only have trash pick up once a week, so I don't relish the idea of poo being in my garage for a week sometimes.

But I was a Bad Neighbor tonight. Since tomorrow is trash pick up day, I dumped the doggie bags in a couple of the bins that were on the curb. If no one sees me do it, does it count?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Something New, #259

When I was little, I'd go spend a couple of weeks with my grandmother in Eufaula, Oklahoma.

Her house had no central air and if you've ever been to Oklahoma in the summer, you know it's brutal. So at night, she'd move the bed to the center of the room, so it was directly under the ceiling fan, and we'd sleep with our heads at the foot of the bed. The idea was that we were closer to the fan, and therefore would be kept cooler. I'm not sure if it worked or not.

Anyway, I thought of this last night and tried it. I figured with all my sleep issues, it couldn't hurt.

It didn't make a bit of difference, and because I have no footboard, the pillows kept sliding off and The Neurotic Dog was restless, because she didn't know where to lie. Plus, I really felt like my head was exposed without a headboard to ground it.

Maybe I just need to get over it and get that Ambien prescription.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Something New, #258

This is my 3rd year as The Little One's Brownie troop's Cookie Mom, and every year, I've sworn it would be the last.

It's really not that hard, but it involves a LOT of bookkeeping, which is NOT one of my gifts. I've managed to get the books balanced the past 2 years, but this year may prove to be different, since I've been introduced to what feels like the world of black market Girl Scout Cookies.

The problem started when one of the mom's gave me her daughter's cookie order after the main order went in. I didn't look at it, but just figured we could make up the numbers from the leftovers of our order.

I was wrong.

Not only were there almost 3 dozen boxes I had to pull out of my botto, she had accepted payment for most of them, so I HAD to find replacements. I cannibalized The Little One's order to fill hers and then had to track down replacements. I called and e-mailed around and managed to find some. I then had to pick them up and pay for them. WITH MY OWN MONEY.

I know I'll be eventually reimbursed, but meanwhile there's a lukewarm check made out to the Girl Scouts with my name on it.

Seriously, my last year.

Something New, #257

A little squirt of caramel sundae topping in my coffee. I keep it in my fridge for apple dipping, and can't believe I never thought to put it in anything else.

Something New #256

Take Your Daughter To Work Day

Since The Little One was banned from school for 24 hours and wasn't really sick, I took her to work with me. She packed up her crayons, books and portable DVD player and as instructed, stayed very quiet. Her dad came and picked her up mid-afternoon, so it went well.

But this is just another problem faced by single parents. I can see where the school would have a "no diarrhea" policy, but she wasn't really sick, just a little OD'd on Thin Mints. I can sympathize with the the school nurse who sees the kids who were sent to school, obviously sick, and think it's irresponsible of parents to knowingly send a sick kid to school. When I worked at the pediatrician's office, I couldn't believe the measures some parents took to keep their kids at school. I swear, I got a call from a mom who wanted to make an after school appointment because her kid had strep. I asked, "You mean he's at school now? With possible strep?" I should have told her to get his ass in the office right away, but HR would have frowned on that.

But she's fine now, and has learned her lesson about pacing herself on the Thin Mints. After all, they're only around once a year, you have to spread them out.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Something New, #255

I learned that The Little One's school has a policy that if a child has a fever or diarrhea that it means an automatic absence for the next 24 hours.

I don't think it was really diarrhea. She ate 2 boxes of Thin Mints in less than 24 hours without my knowledge. That would play havoc with anyone's bowels.

Great. Now I have to figure out a creative day care solution...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Something New, #254

I learned that's it's illegal to pump your own gas in Oregon and New Jersey.

Must be nice.

Thanks Car Talk guys for that one!

Something New, #253

Finally, after a 36-hour certification course and a year's work experience, I get to do some "real" paralegal work, rather than administrative stuff. In the limited exposure I've had of the law business, I'm amazed at how much menial work the attorneys do themselves. "Uh, I learned that in school, couldn't I be doing ______ instead of an attorney?"

Anyway, I finally felt challenged!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Something New, #252

Several months ago I purchased some prayer flags and hung them in my front tree. The directions on the bag instructed to burn them when it came time to dispose of them. My were looking pretty ratty, so I burned them up in a coffee can on my driveway.

I thought they'd blaze up and burn out pretty fast, but it took a good 20 minutes for them to burn out. This meant that I had to watch them because I need to do Something New, but burning down the house is not a choice. It was really hard for me to just sit and do nothing for 20 minutes. I kept fighting the urge to go back into the house and do the dishes, or vacuum, or bathe a kid but didn't. I just sat there and watched the flames.

Maybe that's the point of burning them. To just sit and be still for 20 minutes.

I'm not sure what to do with the ashes. Maybe I'll scatter them in the flower bed and then I'll get some new flags in the spring.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Something New, #251

I learned that a 1995 Toyota Corolla wagon will hold 56 cases of Girl Scout Cookies.

Thin Mints, anyone?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Something New, #250

I rarely have extended time off from work, and when I do, I feel obligated to visit my family. I was fortunate enough to get 5 days off over the holiday, and chose to stay home instead.

I have not had 5 days off in a row, with my kids at home in over 5 years. Whenever I do get time off at home (most people call these "weekends", but when you work as many odd jobs as I do, I call them "just another day") I have a long to-do list and spend most of my time frantically trying to complete projects and keep up with the house. I also spend a lot of my time nagging my kids, because they don't keep up with their chores during the week (the chore chart was a huge failure) and therefore, I end up doing their chores.

But this time, I paced myself. I managed to get everything done that I needed and wanted to, AND did it without nagging my kids to the bone. I just need to realize that if it doesn't get done, who the fuck cares.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Something New, #249

Apparently, I am not the only one in the house who is in a rut.

When I suggested to the girls that we switch our places at the table, they acted like I'd asked them to give up TV or something.

The funny thing is, the switched places made more sense than the ones we currently use. Only one person (me) has to squeeze in between a counter or wall, and they have more room. I think I'm going to give this one another try. Just because you've always done something a certain way, doesn't mean it's the best way to do it.

The whole undercurrent of this exercise.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Something New, #248

A few months ago a dog/car wash opened near our house. Since it had been about a month and a half since The Neurotic Dog had her "spa treatment," she was pretty stinky so the girls and I loaded her in the car and took her for a bath.

The dog wash had sinks set up with ramps so the dogs could walk up and were counter level. There was a nice set up just like at the car wash, where you put your money in the machine and selected what function you wanted. Wash, conditioner, skunk treatment, rinse, fragrance and my favorite, the vac-dry. That was a shop-vac with a nozzle like a diffuser for a hair dryer, and you could just vacuum your dog dry.

She didn't like getting up in the sink, and it took a couple of tries, but she didn't try to jump out. Since she hates the vacuum at home, I thought she'd freak out over the vac-dry, but took it pretty well. She smells great now, and is much softer and shinier.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Something New, #247

In the latest issue of Real Simple, there is a short cut card to getting a human being on the line when calling a business. It had the White House listed, and stated that an operator always answered.

I called, and sure enough, "White House."

Good to know my tax dollars are being spent on some one's salary.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Something New, #246

I love Christmas decorations.

This may be a holdover from my first career as a visual merchandiser. Even though we started in September with the Christmas rollout, I never got tired of it.

I have 10 of those Rubbermaid tubs filled with decorations in my basement. This does not include the 4 artificial trees and outside decorations. 3 of those tubs are just ornaments. My mom feeds my habit by getting the girls and I several Hallmark ornaments every year.

I have 121 Hallmark ornaments, 37 of which are just Barbie. (Barbie gets her own tree in our house.) This does not include home made or non-Hallmark ornaments. Those go in another box. 121 Hallmark ornaments that have to be unpacked and packed every year in their original boxes. If I threw out any of the original boxes, I'm sure something really terrible would happen like the earth's axis would tilt, bats would fly out of the sun or my mother would find out.

So this year, I got tired of the tedium of taking out all the ornaments out of the original boxes, then matching back up with the original boxes when the trees came down. I did something really out of my comfort zone.

I didn't store the ornaments in the original boxes. And lived to tell about it.

OK, I KEPT the original boxes, just stored the ornaments in a fancy-schmancy divided storage box (actually two), flattened the original boxes and stored them in another box. Hopefully this will expedite things next year.

And yesterday, I did manage to control myself at Target even though ALL CHRISTMAS DECORATIONS WERE 75% OFF. I only bought one dozen small blown glass ornaments to replace the ones that were broken from the Advent ornament tree.

Again, not a Something New that is earth-shattering, just out of my comfort zone.

Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps.

Something New, #245

Seems like most of my Something News deal with technology. I'm not a techo-phobe, just lazy.

I downloaded a whole CD onto my new fancy-schmancy MP3 player that has NO USB cord, just pops into the port. BTW, why can't all devices have this feature? I have about a dozen and half USB cords in a basket for various devices. It would be great to have a camera with this little extra.

Anyway, it was an album I'd heard about on Fresh Air, Feed the Animals, by Girl Talk. It had an interesting idea for the download, just pay what you wanted. I paid $2. I know. I'm a broke single mom. Throw me a friggin' bone.

Every track on the album is made almost entirely of sampled music, with a few original vocals thrown in. I can't imagine what their copyright fees were. Now I feel guilty about being cheap.

Anyway, it's an interesting album and will be great for walking the dog.