31 January 2009

The Thing About My Folks - Mom Edition

My parents have been married for fifty-two years. I wish I could say theirs was a fairy tale marriage but it's more along the lines of Archie & Edith Bunker without the affection. It's not like they hate each other, they are just functionally dysfunctional.

Anyway, the reason for the definition of my parents marriage is to put the following into perspective. I've told stories about my dad previously, so you might already have a preconceived notion.

Friday nights are what Kevin & I call Forced Family Fun. It's dinner out with the Fam (the in-laws) because, really, we just don't spend enough time together being as we all live together. What? me? bitter? No, why do you ask?

We were on the way to dinner last night when my cell rang. It was my parents cell number on the ID so something was up. They always call on the land line and they never use their cell phone. I answered and it was my dad, whom never calls me. *warning! warning! Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!*

It turns out that my mom is in the hospital and is going to have her gall bladder removed. Wait, what??? My mom never gets sick. I actually thought "This is new..."

I asked him if he/she/they wanted me to come down and he said no. He said that I could just come down "sometime tomorrow."
Um, okay...
Usually I rely on Mom giving out the instructions & pertinent information but now Mom's on pain meds and, of course, doesn't want to talk, so I have to rely on my Dad: Mr. I Don't Listen To Anything Anyone Says Because I Don't Want To, to relay important information.

*deep Breath*

He tells me that she'll see the doctor in the morning and then they'll know when the surgery will be. Gall bladder surgery, all-in-all, is not a big deal. My mom is 73 and in relatively good health so this really isn't a freak-out kind of a situation. I get that.


My dad non-challantly says "Yeah, we've been sitting in the ER since 1:00 pm"

It's now 6:30 pm.

WTF is up with that? This is how my parents are. We are kept on a need-to-know basis and five and one half hours later is apparently when we need to know.

*deep breath*

So, we still go to dinner, as per my dads instructions, with the in-laws who were momentarily concerned upon hearing my mom was in the hospital. Then they flipped into that Old Person Attitude thing where they say "Oh, that? I've had THAT. That's no big deal At All."

*whatever* Life goes on...

Kevin and I have a routine Saturday mornings. He gets up early, I do not. Usually he will come wake me up around 8:30 and we'll take Missy to go get a mocha around 10. Kevin didn't turn my cell on this morning and I didn't think about it.

When I turned on my cell at 9:50 am, I had a waiting voicemail. It was my dad leaving a message (at 9:47 am) that Mom was going into surgery in a few minutes and I could come down whenever I wanted.

oh. my. God. seriously. He called the cell and left a message. Not the landline. And he called with minutes to spare prior to the surgery because apparently... I don't even know what to say at this point...

*deep breath*

I realize that it's now been almost a day since she went to the hospital and I don't know which hospital she is even IN. Luckily, there are only two in the county so my odds of finding her are pretty good.

I called Dad back and he said "They're taking her right now. There's no hurry."

*deep breath*

"Well, how long is the surgery going to last?"
"I don't know. Dear? How long is your surgery going to take?"
Oh, for the love of God and all things holy....
There's muffled conversation in the background and the nurse is saying that it should take an hour to two hours.

They are literally getting ready to wheel her out.

*deep breath and trying to use my big girl words*

"Tell Mom I'll see her when she gets out and I'll be there in a little bit"

It's not like hanging out with my dad is even in the top 10 of my most favorite things to do but this definitely falls into the "Things You Must Do With Your Parents" category. I told him I would be down (I live about 30 minutes from the hospital, btw) soon. "Oh, your brother is going to sit with me. You don't really have to come down if you don't want to."

*deep breath*

So, I admit, I do take the scenic route. I can't get there in time to say "see ya" to my mom so I picked up our mail at the post office and took the truck through the car wash because I couldn't tell what color it was anymore.

I get there about an hour later and Dad and Brother Dear are in the waiting room watching television. It's been about an hour since they took her and so it shouldn't be long now for the surgeon to come tell us how it went. No sign of Little Brother (the one who doesn't cope well) and I didn't ask as to his whereabouts because I've had just about all the fun I can stand at this point.

We're sitting there about thirty minutes and Dad starts fiddling with his cell phone. "Dad, what do you need?"

Are you sitting for this next part? Because, really, you should be.

"I have to call the Legion and tell them I might be late for my pinochle game."


*Deep breath*


"I have a pinochle game at 1:00 pm and I want to let them know that I might be late."

At this point, I looked at my brother who crooks an eyebrow and smiles.

Gritting my teeth, I dial 411 on my cell and ask for the Legions telephone number. They give it and it dials. I hand my phone to my dad.

"Hi, Stephanie? I'm in the hospital but I'll be there a few minutes late for my game."
I stage-whisper "DAD, you didn't say Who You Were and YOU'RE not in the hospital."

At this point, Brother Dear and I can't even look at each other. He's clearly trying not to laugh.

Dad hangs up and sits down, satisfied.

Sure enough, the surgeon comes a few minutes later to give us an update. This is the same surgeon that did the five-way bypass on my dad, pre-cancer diagnosis, so he's aware of the family dynamic. (defined as "Non-demonstrative, non-communicative, Functionally Dysfunctional ")

Mom's doing great and she'll be discharged tomorrow, no worries, the surgeon says. Then he asks how Dad is doing.
"I'm fine. I have cancer still."

Now, is it bad when the surgeon actually blanches? Yeah? Okay, I thought so too.

Dr. Mark the Wonder Surgeon rolls with the punches and acknowledges what my dad said and then steers the subject back to my mom. He advises that we go get something to eat as it will be an hour until we can see her.

"Oh, I have a card game in an hour" he says "I'll see her later today."

Again, my brother and I Do. Not. Make. Eye. Contact.

Brother Dear, the saint that he is with my parents, convinces Dad to go get something to eat at the cafeteria. Dad is in between chemo treatments right now (thank God for that) and so he's still fussy about eating.

We go down to the cafeteria and I obnoxiously point out "See, Dad? they have fruit and a salad bar!"
What does he get? a danish.
Sigh...at least he is eating something. "Choosing My Battles", I am singing in my head.

Brother Dear eats a salad and I had just drank Bucket O' Mocha so I didnt' eat anything. They finish and Dad is clearly watching the clock. "Well" he finally says "I have to go so I can be on time."

*deep breath*

Brother Dear offers to walk him to the truck and I head upstairs to Mom's hospital room.

We met a few minutes later and he's shaking his head. "It is what it is." has become his standard statement.

Not much time passes and they wheel my mom in. Now, this is a little disconcerting because my mom is rarely sick. And never has had any health emergencies. But we rolled with it. It's all good.

Oh, and Little Brother, freaking Prince of Darkness "I hope the gall bladder is all that's wrong", has made an appearance.

Brother Dear, very gently, says "Dad went to play cards. He said he'd be back in a little while to check on you." (I know, Brother Dear is such a sweetheart. I just love him)

My mom, post surgery groggy, says "Oh, I know. He asked earlier if he could go..."

That sound? Oh, that's me banging my head on the desk....

Brother Dear just looks at me and shrugs. I guess we should be glad that he asked (?)

It is what it is. And they're not going to change.

30 January 2009


One of the things I experienced when first becoming friends with my Canadian friends is that they curse more easily than the Americans do. Of course, there are demographics that effect this and it's not a blanket statement of Canadians. For example though, their television is not as censored as American television. But it took some adjustment to get used to and then took some more adjustment as I re-acclimated into American society.

So, I found it interesting the other day when I heard on Canadian radio that a study showed that people were cursing publicly more and it was becoming more socially acceptable. They were asking the question of "What's your favorite substitute curse word?" (as they couldn't ask what the favorite curse word was :-)

My BFF D had the tendency to say "G.D" a lot. It made me a little uncomfortable as that's breaking one of the Big 10 Rules. It's not like I'm a fragile blossom and it's not like I was raised that way. My parents often cursed in front of me. But D one day substituted GD with "God Bless America". I found that extremely satisfying to use! Because even though I have the belief of not saying GD, some situations just CALL for it.

I enjoy watching "Inside Actor's Studio" with James Lipton. One of his questions is always "What's your favorite curse word?" I love, love, love to hear the answers! Often it's"m. f'er", which I must admit is a satisfying thing to say even though I don't usually say.

I like "f*&k-all" I've mentioned this previously, so I won't delve into it again. My good friend M, who happens to be Canadian, "taught" me this word and I just love it.

Now, as Jess commented on the Shorthand post, language changes generationally. Cursing seems to be a perfect example of that. It used to be that women never...okay, rarely...cursed. And men didn't usually curse in front of women or children. Now, with the exception of children, everyone curses freely. My father-in-law is of the generation that men do NOT curse in front of women, ever. Kevin was pretty good about it early in our relationship but now, he doesn't worry about it so much.

*pause* for one of my fave Kevin stories:
Back in the day, he was working on the racecar and it was really, really frustrating him. He didn't realize, in his fuming, that I had come into the shop. After a particularly curse-word laden rant, he glanced over and saw my shoes. (he was under the racecar) He sprung up like nothing had happened and said "Oh, Hi" casually. I couldn't help but burst out laughing. Then he fessed up "You heard that, huh?" with extreme embarrassment.

I think there has always been a form of cursing in language. I think it's just grown and morphed with the times. It used to be that you couldn't say "suck" because it was so sexually aggressive. Or you coudn't say "butt". Now children say both of these words without thought.

It's been an adjustment to hear my nearly grown niece curse. It's nothing beyond the garden variety words but still.

My nephew, however, still just uses the initials. "What the H!" and "That's just F'ed up" which is kind of funny. I noticed Saturday Night Live used this technique awhile ago and it was genius.

There's just something cathartic about cursing. It's a stress reliever, it emphasizes a point or makes a punchline funnier. I appreciate the fact that there are levels to cursing and creativity is awarded. I don't know that it's a bad thing that it's becoming more acceptable. I find the "n" word or "hate" much more offensive than the "f" word.

And, of course, it's a personal decision and must be tailored for the situation. I wouldn't support dropping F-bombs while visiting Grandma in the nursing home.

29 January 2009

Show & Tell

The other day I experienced something that I am sure most bloggers have had to deal with: How to decide who to share the blog with and who not to share the blog with.

Just a re-cap for those of you just joining us: I started this blog a few years ago on a whim. I shared it with my BFF's first then opened it up to the big wide world of the internet. Slowly but surely, readers began to read regularly. Then I was accepted into the BlogHer world and so it goes. It's like that 70's shampoo commercial: "And they told two friends, and they told two friends."

Slowly, I've told people in my life about the blog but I've been really choosy as to whom. As I tell stories about my family a lot, my family isn't aware of the blog. It's not that I talk unkindly about them, I just feel it's safer to have them not know; less risk of anyone having hurt feelings or feeling uncomfortable.

Also, I respect my friends & family privacy and usually use initials or nicknames when I'm talking about them.

And then there's me. I've kept my profile anonymous, probably more because I'm a big chicken than anything else. And to be honest, it's a little fun being anonymous. Being Firegirl is much more interesting. One day I'll change my profile with my very boring, white bread, name and a current picture. But not today.

Meanwhile...jeez I get off topic easily...you should experience me in real life...

My co-worker J knows about the blog. I shared it with her about a year ago as I felt she'd enjoy it and keep it on the down low. And she did. (Thanks J!!!) Otherwise, I don't talk about it at work and I don't usually write while I'm working. (If you see week-day posts, it's usually because I've scheduled them)

Another co-worker accidentally found out about the blog. No big deal, really. She actually was kind of eaves-dropping over J's shoulder. Now, I'm not embarrassed, I'm not mad (stop feeling badly J!!!) but it is a little disconcerting.

And it puts me in a spot. She pointedly asked "I asked you if you had a blog and you said no." which is not quite accurate. I've actually demurred and changed the subject without actually answering when she's asked. She implied but didn't directly say "Well, "J" knows about it..."

Since then, she's been a little stand-offish. Not seeming mad, probably more has her feelings hurt. I feel a little guilty but simply, I don't necessarily want her to see the blog. I just feel like it would end badly. An inappropriate comment posted, something said during a staff meeting...my mind reels at the possibilities.

Now, I've been fretting a little about how to approach this. Do I say something? Or do I just let it go? Do I just cowboy up and give her the address? (the answer is already no but I wanted to list that as an option all the same) I bounced it off my boss, who is a no-bullshit kind of lady, and she said to just leave it. So I am. But still, I'll feel badly about it for awhile.

27 January 2009


Everyone has their own version of shorthand...
It's as easy as an eyebrow raise. It's a hand gesture, a word, an expression or a shrug. It's the ability to finish someone elses sentences or be non-specific. I've had many conversations that sound like complete nonsense. "You know, that place with the thing...the one where the guy looked at you..." It can tell a whole story yet leaves anyone else in the dark.

Each person has their own version of shorthand. And it varies from person to person, relationship to relationship.

With D, a simple glance will share volumes. That comes from years of friendship.

With Kevin, it's a word or an expression. It has grown over the years of living side by side."Dem tings" is a reference to a movie and we can never guess when it will pop into a conversation.

With my brothers, it can be antagonistic or sympathetic. A stuck out tongue when they get called to do a chore and I don't. An eye roll when you hear those parent-specific gems during the holidays. A shoulder-shrug when the parents are being particularly frustrating.

Sometimes it's just a word. I could say "crows" to B right now and he'd probably start laughing.

And sometimes it's just impromptu...a stream of consciousness that burst forth without preamble yet it makes sense to the person you're with.

Shorthand is a source of comfort. That moment shared between two people sometimes without a word being said. It is grown over years of connection, friendship, and love.

26 January 2009

Moments with Kevin

This weekend was an all Kevin, all the time weekend. As always, he's endlessly entertaining.

My top two favorite moments were:

We're walking through Home Depot and he is loudly singing along to Undercover Angel. Busting out with the part "I said "wha?" and giggling because this song reminds him of the Galloway sisters, who were his neighbors and he dated...all of them...

Excuse the kinda porny video but this anecdote is more fun with the music...

And then yesterday morning his hair got a little messed up...we don't need to say why...and he's standing in front of the mirror trying to fix it. He finally mutters "It's going to be a bad day..."
This negative kind of announcement is very unlike Kevin and I'm still half-asleep so I asked with concern "Why is that?"

Kevin turns to me and gestures in the most flamboyant way possible at his hair.
"My hair is a MESS!!""

24 January 2009

16 Things...the answers

1. I don't have "favorites" I am too undecided so I narrow my choices to Top 5's.

2. The first boy I kissed was Craig, at a boy/girl party in the 6th grade.

3. The number 3 and it's derivatives seem to be a pattern in my life.

4. I notice pairs, patterns and clusters in every day life.

5. I always get up in the right-hand side of the bed. Always.

6. If I ever get a tattoo, it will be a starburst on the back of my neck or shoulder.

7. My wedding ring diamond has a chip only the jeweler can see & I LIKE that it's flawed.

8. I will eventually go blind in my right eye because it is becoming less & less useful.

9. As much as I love my life, friends & family, I often day-dream of "running away".

10. I secretly like the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader show on CMT. (hugest thanks to N.Y.A.B for the suggestion!!!)

11. If I ever chose not to be blond, I would chose a coppery-brown color.

12. The first curse word I ever said to my parents was "It pissed me off" and I was maybe 6 years old. My mom just said "Don't use that word, it's not a nice thing to say" in response.

13. I would rather be left-handed. (I'm ambidextrous)

14. There are six blankets on my side of the bed, sometimes seven.

15. I love the song "We Belong Together" by Mariah Carey.

16. I can't believe it's taken me two weeks to answer this damn survey.

Fun With Graves Disease

Well, pull up a seat, I'll tell you all about Grave's Disease. I am now unfortunately an expert. The below are the easiest explanations I have found from the National Graves' Disease Foundation and the National Institute of Health.

What is Graves' Disease?
The leading cause of hyperthyroidism, Graves' disease represents a basic defect in the immune system, causing production of immunoglobulins (antibodies) which stimulate and attack the thyroid gland, causing growth of the gland and overproduction of thyroid hormone. Similar antibodies may also attack the tissues in the eye muscles and in the pretibial skin (the skin on the front of the lower leg).

Graves' disease occurs in less that 1/4 of 1% of the population.
Graves' disease is more prevalent among females than males. (Of course Kevin is unique)
Graves' disease usually occurs in middle age, but also occurs in children. Kevin was 43
Graves' disease is not curable, but is a completely treatable chronic auto-immune disease

Fatigue - He was exhausted to the point of depression. We couldn't figure it out.
Weight Loss - he weighed 160 lbs on a six-foot-tall frame at his diagnosis. He hit 155 after radiation. Healthy weight for him is 185.
Restlessness - yes, this was difficult to tell due to his ADHD but the symptoms were different.
Tachycardia (rapid heart beat) - Kevin was at risk for a major heart attack/stroke due to his heart rate. He had a ....I can't think of the name...test to check for heart damage. THANKFULLY, he had none although they expected he would.
Changes in libido (sex drive)...Oh. My. God. We won't get into details. (:-D
Muscle weakness...yes...Graves attacks muscle mass and it took him over a year to recover the strength he lost
Heat intolerance...he was sick during the summer and he still cannot be in humid situations.
Tremors...in his hands. He still has this symptom and always will. Did you know that the tongue will tremor as well? It's a sign of Graves Disease.
Enlarged thyroid gland...his was the size of softball and it increased when he had radiation.
Heart palpitations...yes, he scared me to death at the racetrack one day. I thought we were going to have to call the ambulance.
Increased sweating...just sitting in his chair.
Blurred or double vision...and still does if he's "storming" or overly tired.
Nervousness & irritability...my easy-going husband was the moodiest I have ever seen him. They say that divorces are often a result of a Graves Disease diagnosis due to the symptoms.
Eye complaints, such as redness and swelling...he didn't have this. It's like the only symptom he didn't have.
Hair changes...another sign of Graves is no hair on your shins. Weird, huh?
Restless sleep...he had insomnia, just like me. It's not too bad now but it is an ongoing symptom.
Erratic behavior...they told us that he couldn't sign any legal documents until he was in remission.
Increased appetite...he still has this. It's an after-effect.
Distracted attention span...we couldn't tell because of the ADHD. This was one of the reasons it took so long for us to go to the doctor.

Who develops Graves' disease?
There are several elements contributing to the development of Graves' disease. There is a genetic predisposition to autoimmune disorders. His mother's side and now the nephew has Crohns, another auto-immune disorder.

Infections and stress play a part. Graves' disease may have its onset after an external stressor. In other instances, it may follow a viral infection or pregnancy.
Kevin had a bad virus one year prior to his diagnosis that landed him in bed for a week. For anyone who knows Kevin, this was inconcievable that he was that sick. This created an opportunity for the Graves Disease. Because I keep everything and am a research nerd, I was able to determine this.
Many times the exact cause of Graves' disease is simply not known.
We're "lucky" because I could figure it out.

It is not contagious, although it has been known to occur coincidentally between husbands and wives. I have to be tested every year for Graves and for the first three-four years after treatment because of my exposure to his radiation. So far, so good.

How is Graves' disease treated?
There are three standard ways of treating Graves' disease. Choice of treatment varies to some degree from country to country, and among particular physicians as well. The selection of treatment will include factors such as age, degree of illness, and personal preferences. Generally speaking, from least invasive to most invasive, the treatments include:

Anti-thyroid drugs which inhibit production or conversion of the active thyroid hormone.
Not an option, Kevin's case was too severe & had to be treated IMMEDIATELY. They considered hospitalizing him which scared the sh*t out of both of us.

Radioactive iodine (I-131), which destroys part or all of the thyroid gland and renders it incapable of overproducing thyroid hormone.
This is called "oblating the thyroid" which is a nice way of saying killing the thyroid. Kevin's was the size of a softball and was very "angry". He luckily only had one radiation treatment but we were planning for two.

Subtotal thyroidectomy, in which a surgeon removes most of the thyroid gland and renders it incapable of overproducing thyroid hormone.
If radiation didn't work, this was the next step. Thankfully the radiation did the trick because we were told the surgery is gnarly.

In all cases, lifetime follow-up laboratory studies must be done, and in almost all cases, lifetime replacement thyroid hormone must be taken.
Kevin is on meds for the rest of his life and has check-ups every six months. His doctor is conservative in her treatment and hasn't cleared him for annual checkups yet. She may not ever.

Kevin is in his fourth year now. He's still has "storms" which is a barrage of some/all of the above hyper symptoms. I am hyper-vigilant about the eating thing, the tired thing, and not putting him in situations that can create a storm. (like the tropical area in the Woodland Park Zoo...yikes! that was a lesson well learned)

The most difficult thing, quite frankly, of Graves Disease was getting friends & family to understand the symptoms of the disease.
He is, thankfully, about 95% back to normal now. However, even though he's been treated and is considered in remission, he still has the symptoms. They will never go away. They will wax and wane but the reality is that there are simply things he can't do now. For anyone who knows Kevin, this was a jarring realization.

There's all you ever want to know about Graves Disease & then some more.

Okay, healthy snacks...well, um...

Um, healthy snacks...yeah...

This did not come easily to us. The whole adjustment to Kevin's illness had it's moments of sheer frustration. Luckily, now, he's healthy and although we still have to be vigilant, it's not so bad. (one day I will post about the Graves Disease adventure...*fun* she types sarcastically)

What was I talking about? Oh, yeah. Snacks...

String Cheese
Snack cheese...the brand here is Tilamook cheese here and it's like a 1 oz. piece. One of these & crackers will usually tide him by nicely.
Apples, grapes, oranges
Occasionally raisins
Peanut butter granola bars
Fruit bars..the 100% fruit kind.
Here is an interesting thing:
Snickers can be good for you! Snickers! They have just the same amount of everything as energy bars. And they have a higher content of protein than any candy bar. Of course they can't be eaten every day but it sure was helpful to know.

He tried yogurt and that was a bust. I can slip frozen yogurt past him, sometimes.

He likes fruit smoothies but that can give tummy trouble and the sugar content can backfire.

Popcorn...while not bad for you, isn't necessarily good for you. The carbs can get him by.

He's not a huge trail mix fan but that can be a good snack; even if it's a mixture of leftover cereals, pretzels, etc.

PB&J sandwiches

I am sure there are more but these are like the Top 10 ones that I can count on him eating.

Her Name is Greta

Guess who called yesterday? (Friday)

Rick, the owner of the dog that ran in front of my truck! I am so happy that he followed through and let me know how she was doing. If I could figure out the technology...and if it weren't highly illegal...I would post his voicemail message.

She's doing just fine. She's a little sore...I would hope so...but she's acting like nothing ever happened.

He was very sweet and thanked me profusely for returning the collar, the note and treats that I left for her. He absolved me from any further guilt with a "This will hopefully teach her not to go chasing."

So, whew! Breath of relief. Alls well that ends well.

23 January 2009

The Food Thing

Tonight, Kevin and I are going out on a date. One would think that we've been together almost 19 years that this would be no cause for excitement but it is.

1. No. Family.

2. He suggested it.

3. Olive Garden.

Now, I hear you, you're saying "But what about that whole eating healthy post a few days ago?"
Yeah, about that.

We've made two major changes this week. For us, both younger children in the birth order, this is big.

Change One...drumroll please....
He is eating a good breakfast. The first years of our relationship he had cinnamon sugar Pop Tarts for breakfast. (I know!) This is a huge change, requiring me to be up a little earlier and him to settle for three damn minutes and eat his breakfast.

Change Two...
We've banished...okay, maybe not banished but politely asked to leave... hamburger. We successfully managed ground turkey the other night. Whew! "D" says that if we can just manage that, we're doing good.

I made turkey breast the other night and while it wasn't our *favorite*, we didn't gag and die. So we'll try that again soon.

Kevin's mom is going to buy us salmon fillets from Costco so that will be a weekly thing...this I don't mind. And when the weather changes, Kevin will use his spiffy barbecue. So that checks two things off of the needs list: a) healthy food and b) someone else cooking!

The one detail that I forgot to mention and I don't know HOW I forgot is huge:
Due to the Grave's Disease and the side-effects, Kevin has to eat something every three hours. Seriously. Four hours, tops.
Luckily, it can be simple like string cheese or cookies or peanuts or fruit but this has gotten a little challenging now that he wants to eat "healthier" and he is slowly getting tired of everything.

So we've made progress. BFF "K" suggested a menu of sorts of everything he likes. Then I can extrapolate (I love that word and NEVER get to use it!) it into charts & graphs. Theoretically, that will help me figure out a system. I've already made a list of what he likes to eat in the form of a shopping list quite a while ago in an attempt to not have the same four things over and over.

The other thing that occurred to me was "What a horrible time to have a cholesterol check-up, three weeks after the HOLIDAYS." Of course it was higher than usual! Duh!

But *wistful sigh* we'll still make the healthier choices...*scuffing of foot*

22 January 2009

16 Things

The other day on Facebook, I was sent a note...as were dozens of others...to post "16 Things I Don't Know About You." The note was from my BFF D and she bravely posted her 16 things on her profile.

Here's the Thing:

She's my BFF. There AREN'T 16 things she doesn't know.
Well, if there are, they surely aren't very interesting
they are "deep dark secrets" as Kevin described them. And deep dark secrets certainly shouldn't be posted on Facebook for all to consume.
And...most of the time I've found deep dark secrets should remain just that: deep and dark and secret.

As "W" said "I'd do this but I'd rather still be your friend and I'm afraid we wouldn't be if I posted." That was a great response!

And I'm surely not going to post them for public viewing on FB. My cousins, nephew, co-workers, and/or acquaintances are on there. I already edit a bit when I post.

So then, not wanting to disappoint, I tried to back into it a different way. Casting my mind back to the sixth grade and those getting to know you notes that got passed in class. Favorite Color, favorite number, yadda yadda yadda. But then I fell into the "She Already Knows This Stuff!!!"
(or rather, she damn well better)

Now I'm stuck. I kind of came up with ten and they're kind of, I don't know, uninteresting. So I'm still thinking about them. It's an interesting little game and I'm sure she didn't mean for this to be such a burden and I'm sure that there *are* things she doesn't know. I knew about 75% of her posted things. But random facts do slip through the cracks. My BFF "K" didn't know I had certain food allergies, you know, stuff like that. I'm sure I'm making this much bigger than it should be but for some reason, it's bothering me. It's not a test for goodness sake.

Quick, blogger-friends, come up with 16 Things Your BFF Doesn't Know About You!!

See, it's not easy, is it?

20 January 2009

Today is A New Day

"America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

and it feels like the world has heaved a sigh of relief and satisfaction...a new day has begun.

19 January 2009

Technology is hard!

We converted over to wireless internet over the weekend. It is a most overdue transition and I'm so relieved to not have dial-up anymore!

Today, however, was spent switching everything over to the new ISP and email. Yikes. I started at 10:30 and except for a few breaks here & there, I'm still kind of plunking along. (it's 3:30)

Deciding on a new email addy is difficult! Kevin & I share email so it has to represent both of us. We also use it for racing & business. So I can't do something cute or use *Firegirl* or anything like that. Finally, I just used realname.and.kevin.lastname@gmail. com. It's terribly long but there's no forgetting it!

Oh, I skipped a step!!! Because of the wireless, I had to figure out which online-based email program I can make work with Outlook. Sigh............
It turns out to be GMail is the only one and it wasn't actually that difficult. Whew! I just had to get in touch with my inner computer geek and I was good to go.

Next is the fun blanket email to friends, family, and co-workers letting them know of the change. This has been fun because now I'm hearing from everyone.

THEN...I know! I've been a busy girl!

I had to call the telephone company to cancel the internet dedicated land line....then call the cell phone company to make sure Kevin can call Canada without the bill being slightly less than the National Debt (yes)

Now, the big debate left on the table to cancel the land line completely. We did an inventory of who actually calls the land line. It shouldn't inconvenience anyone, we *think*. But we don't want to jump to conclusions either.

Then there's the silly sentimentality of it. We've had the same telephone number since August 1991. We've had the same email since February 1998.

Finally, I swam through my email to resubscribe to all the newsletters and email updates/alerts that I get. Holy Cow Batman! I read way, way, way too much. Did this stop me from tacking a few new ones on? Oh surely not no.

I updated Kevin a few minutes ago and bless his heart - she types through clenched, yet grateful teeth - he asked "Did you call Direct TV?" I had to call them to make sure I didn't need a land line for the new satelite...and to see if they can come before Tuesday, February 3rd, between 8 AM and 12 Noon. To my relief, I don't need a landline and to my dismay, no they can't come any earlier.

I'm still extremely irritated with DISH Network and this stand-off they are having with Fisher Broadcasting. It's been a little over one month without an ABC affiliate. I've called again to inquire about a resolution and they're very "Meh" about it. So, I'm very "MEH" about keeping their service.

Now, theoretically, that I have wireless internet, I can post easier. Theoretically, this means I'll post more often. yeah. I'll try. (:-D

Welcome me to the 21st Century!!!

17 January 2009


Add another chapter to the "This sh*t only happens to me" file...

As I was driving home from my Very Merry Unbirthday celebration last night with my sister-in-law, I hit a dog.


It was extremely foggy and I was thankfully going slow (25 mph) and in fact, had just checked my speed because I was coming up on the llama farm that is across the creek from us. During the night, the deer often visit with the llamas so I was going slow for that and the terrible fog.

All I saw was black dog, shiney eyes and felt a "WHAM!" My sister in law grabbed the dash and yelled "What was that!?!?!" (later this made me feel better, if she didn't see it at all, then I know I couldn't have done anything)

We stopped after some tire skidding and awfulness. I put the truck in reverse so the lights would come on and my s-i-l jumped out to find the dog. It was no where to be found. I backed up, nothing. We turned off everything and listened, nothing. I turned around and retraced the path, nothing.

My s-i-l did find the collar in perfect condition. I was thanking God profusely that it wasn't a collar that I recognized. And cursing a LOT because I just hit a poor dog.

So, once again, I get to drive the last 500 feet home having hit something (this time I was heading south, when I rolled I was heading north. East & west isn't an option so I guess I'll be okay now) Kevin was still awake and I asked him what to do. That can be a comfort in having a husband, I realized. I'd just had something awful happen (again) and I immediately thought "Kevin will know what to do."

There was a tag on the collar, which Missy was Very Interested in. I felt even worse.
I called the long distance number and it went straight to voicemail. I was equally relieved and disappointed. I left a message that said "This is *Firegirl* and I believe I just hit your dog. We looked for her but couldn't find her. However I have her collar and was able to call you. I live *here* and please call me *here*. I'm really very sorry."

We waited about an hour then it was past 11 pm so we went to bed. I didn't sleep great. I know it's just a dog and the dog shouldn't have been out at that time of night but still. Kevin just kept telling me "Let it go, you couldn't do anything then and you can't do anything now." Which is very true.

The next morning, Kevin came in when I was showering and said "I don't know if this means anything but there are dogs barking across the creek." He was hopeful that one of them was the dog I hit. But all I could think of was two dogs "talking" to the dog I hit: "Hey man, wake up. Wake up! What are you doing?" UUUUGGGGGHHHHHH.

Kevin had to go bid a side-job for the race shop and it's over an hour away. This was good because we could just chill and spend some quiet time together. When Kevin started the truck he noticed my bumper. "Holy Sh*t Firegirl, there's a big dent there!" Sure enough, there was a big dent in the valance/brush guard that runs under the bumper. YIKES.

We went to this customer/friends house - who OF COURSE has dogs. I petted them and Kevin quipped something about trying to fix my Karma then whispered to the dogs, "Don't look at the bumper, guys." Funny.

We were there about three hours when my phone rang. It was a number I didn't recognize but it had the same prefix as the one I dialed from the collar.

The guys name is Rick and he explained that it was his dog that I hit. He was visiting his mom and the dog took off after coyotes. That explains why she just popped up on the side of the road.
((Kevin said "You did him a favor by hitting him with the truck because the coyotes wouldn't have been so kind." Which is a dark thought but true.))

I asked reluctantly, gingerly, how the dog was doing and he said "She's walking around. She's sore but she's doing okay." I just about dropped the telephone. I wouldn't have guessed that. He went onto explain that the dog made it home, they took her to the vet and she seems okay but really sore. They were still exploring her for injuries. So, I told him as non-graphically as I could, exactly what happened so he could tell the Vet. But it seems like the dog will be fine. It sounds like she was acting like a very old Boxing Champ, having had his bell rung too many times. Kevin said "You know if that dog could talk, it's first word would be 'Tylenol!".

Rick tentatively asked about the collar. "Is it intact?" I told him yes and then he asked if he could have it back. Well, duh. Of course!!! He asked if I would leave it in his mom's mailbox and thanked me for calling him. I apologized for hitting his dog and he was pretty cool about it.

I wrote a little note apologizing for the accident again, enclosed a baggie of treats "for when she's feeling better" and dropped the package off in the mailbox. I asked him to let me know how she was doing later. I'm assuming she'll be fine but I'd like to know. He promised that he would.

If this didn't have a happy ending, I wouldn't have told this story at all but it thankfully does.
And it fits so nicely into the "This sh*t only happens to me" theme that I couldn't not share.


A shout out to Dynamita on her blog post regarding the Food SOS.
She posted what I am certain our family & friends have wanted to say for years. (:-D To sum up: Grow Up and Get Over It.

To underline her sentiments, the topic came up over dinner with my BFF D, a long-time friend, & my sister-in-law. While they were kind, they are also very strong women and told me the same thing. Get over it. This is one of those things for which we count on our friends.

So, here we go. I'll try my best. I went grocery shopping today and bought some real food. I won't describe what raw ground turkey looks like to me *shudder* and Kevin has already said "I don't want to see it when you cook it" to which I laughed because *I* don't want to see what it looks like when I cook it. (:-D

At least this will give me more things to post about....

15 January 2009


Kevin went to the doctor the other day for his thyroid check-up. They also monitor his blood pressure & chloresterol. He's on meds for the cholesterol because his levels are a little high due to genetics, not poor choices. Other than the whole pesky Graves Disease thing, he's pretty doggone healthy. He has to have every-six-month checkups with the thyroid doctor and then yearly physicals for either his CDL license or his NHRA license. So, we have a pretty good grip on his health. He's six foot and weighs 180 lbs. for goodness sake.

The reason for this whole health history recap is this:
About once a year, sometimes a little more, Kevin forgets that he doesn't like ANYTHING and wants to improve how we eat. If you sense that I'm gritting my teeth right now, you might be right.

There are a few layers to this issue....

Firstly, he doesn't like anything. He eats like a six-year-old. You think I'm kidding...exhibit A:
Won't eat chicken unless it's in patty or strips form.
Doesnt' like pork chops,
Doesn't like steaks (or red meat other than hamburger) unless all of the gristle is cut off and even then he'd rather not.
Doesn't like most vegetables...corn, peas, beans- those are our choices. Oh, and salad. At least he is groovy with salad.
Doesn't like anything that he can't readily identify, so sauces of any kind = Not.
Pasta...he likes spaghetti, goulash, and I can get him to eat Fettucini Alfredo but it's not his fave. Mac & cheese, yes but usually only for lunch and it's not really a pasta.
Fish...fish sticks are fine. Salmon fillets are fine but he prefers how his brother makes them. (sigh) Salmon patties are fine but are usual the last chosen when choosing dinner options.
Turkey...he likes it but he uses salt as a dip so any health benefits are gone. And I have never made a turkey ever. (spoiled much? Why, yes, yes I am! :-)
Chili is okay but not often, Soup is more for lunch and then there's only four-ish kinds he will eat.
No onions. Ever. Mushrooms either. But he likes olives, what is that about?
Cereal! Cereal is Capt. Crunch, Frosted Flakes, and POPS or Smacks or whatever they're called.

Hmm, I think those are the major components, yes?

Now that you want to strangle Kevin, let's visit my issues:

I hate to cook. I would almost rather get a filling than cook a meal.
I am not necessarily good at it. If I am cooking, I have to only cook or the ADD kicks in and before we know it, dinner is unrecognizable and the fire department is on the way.
I would rather open a box, bag, can or order in than make something from scratch.
Despite what D would say, I am not as fussy as Kevin, but I do have my issues. Mushrooms are evil, as are olives.
I am allergic to apples, eggs and honey. Dairy or leafy vegetables in large amounts will kick my ass.

So, *rubbing of hands together* How does one cook for us? Oh wait, not just cook but cook in a healthy manner?
The in-laws (both sets) have the tendency to fry...or deep fry...a lot. I don't fry ANYTHING.
I already use the leanest hamburger.
We have fruit & vegetable at every dinner.
We eat at the table like big kids, no eating in our recliners.
No dessert beyond maybe a snack later, like popcorn or a cookie.
We drink 1% milk, I can't bring myself to non-fat. It reminds me of formula.

This is an official SOS. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Especially perhaps from a certain Mexican Englander who learned to be chef...or the mother of five children...or.............(:-D

14 January 2009


At midnight last night I finished a book that I found myself absolutely lost in. I'm a pretty good reader, I can read anywhere (racetrack!) and I'm usually able to multi-task a bit when reading but not with this book. It was all or nothing!

My BFF C recommended it to me and I finally ordered it on Amazon while enjoying my snow days. In fact, the snow delayed the delivery by a week thus the losing sleep during the work week instead of being able to leisurely read it on vacation but whatever, I digress.

"Love the One You With" by Emily Griffin is the book that has captured my attention for days.

I think this should be required reading for every woman who is married. Especially any women who wistfully sigh about "What could have been" with former boyfriends/fiances/lovers. It's a story about a woman, newly married, who runs into her former boyfriend on the street and the effects it has on her. (this is a really simplified summary)

We've all dreamt about the day one would run into their ex.
We plan little scenarios:
I'll look great, I'll have
a) my hot new husband next to me or
b) my three beautiful children with me or
c) both.
I'll say the exact right thing that I've been meaning to say for years.
I will feel better.
He will be disappointed that he's not with me anymore and I can go on with my life.
This is what we've planned.

Probably not gonna happen.

It will be when you least expect it, when you look like hell and said kids are screaming or your husband is wearing that torn sweatshirt that you hate but he won't let you throw away and your mind will turn to mush at the very sight of him.

But, if you're lucky, it will happen and it will be a benign conversation and nothing further - good or bad - will transpire.

What this book did was delve into the afterward. The feelings after seeing him, the decisions that a person would have to make regarding telling your husband or friends that you saw him, or deciding whether or not you can be "just friends" with an ex. It also makes you think about or perhaps realize how different relationships look from a distance.

The situation is rife with very personal decisions and I believe that one can only know what they'd do or how they'd react until it happens to them. Memories and feelings, sometimes long forgotten - sometimes no longer recognized, suddenly resurface. Yet they are different people now so theoretically everything has changed.

I've been in those shoes. I made some similar choices and some different choices. Reading the book made me feel better for reading it.

So, go order it now. I've linked it for you, what's stopping you? (:-D

11 January 2009

If I could...

As I was driving around yesterday doing my Saturday errands, I played the What Would I Do game. I don't know if it's just my brain or if it's everyone's but I have the tendency to wander deep into my imagination, especially when doing mundane tasks. Before I know it, the closet will be clean and I'll have this whole scenario playing in my head.

Hey, have you ever seen "A Passion of the Mind" with Demi Moore? It was recommended by a friend and I find it fascinating. She's a New York editor who lives a whole different life when she sleeps. If you haven't seen it, find it and watch it. Invest some time as it takes some attention but I think it's worth the watch.

The reason for that little impromptu movie review is because that's kind of how my brain works, without the split personality kind of thing. (that's not a spoiler!)


First I was thinking that running a small, out of the way hotel or bed & breakfast would be fun. Meeting lots of interesting people, having many rooms to decorate & lovingly care for might be fun. I was incorporating Swistle's Blogher House into my plans.

Then I was considering "J's" dream of owning a book store. I've secretly wanted to be a small-town librarian so this has some attraction to it. It would have to be quirky and offer something other than just books though. That idea kind of stalled out at that point.

Next up was a cafe. My brother-in-law would love to have his own restaurant. And he would be so excellent at it!! So, I had visions of the family-run restaurant. Kevin would be a great host, the S-i-l & B-i-l would be the chefs, my father-in-law would be the kindly man sitting at the counter drinking coffee, talking to people, and fixing anything that would need fixing. I could waitress, although I really like to do dishes...I know, it's not normal.

Finally, I thought of a photography studio. One to do family portraits, senior photos, and a gallery to post my random cell phone shots. This would be the best, as I could come & go as I pleased. It could also have a Blogher House capacity.

As I was turning into the driveway after shopping, I made a big mental leap: If I bought a big Victorian home, I could have all of those things in one building! How *cool* would that be!?!

And then I came back to reality while wrestling groceries and soaking wet dogs in the pouring down rain while tripping over icebergs of leftover snow.

10 January 2009

Random Item(s)

Today's random item is actually from my office!

I was given a birthday present from J, a most wonderful coffee mug!

It is one my favoritest presents! And it's a really good, large mug too! Not just one of those novelty mugs!!! In this picture, it is holding a strange mixture of leftover mocha, coffee & a instant cappuccino mix.

And then, after reading Swistle's post about Wallowing, I was inspired to do a little retail therapy myself. This is so unlike me. I am the Hunter when it comes to shopping, not the Gatherer. Get in, Get what you need and Get out. I am Commando Shopper.

But I was in the middle of my first week back to work and still recovering from the holidays and the snowstorm and needed a little something-something. I usually take a few hours after the holidays to return items and spend any gift cards I've received. But this year because of the snow, the Vegas trip, etc. I didn't really have anything to return or gift cards to spend. Sigh....

I gave myself an hour and $20 to spend. With post-Christmas sales & a budget, this seems like a good limit. The problem being is that Kevin & I are at the point of our lives where if we need something, we get it. So, this took a little thought and meandering.

This is what I purchased, eventually.

I'm cheating a little because I had ordered Dr Horribles Sing Along Blog from Amazon two days before but it arrived in the mail that day so I included it. I love, love, love living near Amazon!

I needed a calendar for work. I've had YWCA calendars the past two years and they're boring. So I took my lighthouse calendar that D gave me to work. This left me with no calendar at home. Usually, I buy them on sale at Barnes & Noble but I didn't have the energy to go across town so I browsed the leftovers and found the perfect one!

I have not had a pizza cutter since we've lived in the new house. I don't know why. So I finally bought one....and a frozen pizza to go with it.

Then I found, for $2 I might add, this fun dishtowel for when I'm ready to take the snowman one I bought during Christmas. It has puppy paw prints all over it.

And just like Swistle said: I did feel a little better!

08 January 2009

Dr. Drake Remoray

My nephew ... the grand one, not the grown-up one...was going to be named Gregory Evan or Evan Gregory. I really liked the name Gregory and it's not a name you hear anymore so I was pleased. (like that matters in the grand scope of things)

So it was to our surprise that he was named Drake. We were standing in the hospital room when his mom told us and we were both a little taken aback. Kevin turned to me at one point and said "How am I ever going to remember that name?" I shrugged, I had no idea.

Finally, Kevin is given the baby to hold. He's never held a baby and he was nervous. But he settled down on the edge of the bed and cooed appropriately to Drake so I wasn't that worried about them. Kevin also has this funny habit of talking to kids like they're adults so that's always entertaining. (for example: "You're drooling. How are you going to pick up chicks doing that?")

The first thing Kevin said after holding him a minute was "How can anyone look at this baby and say there isn't a God?"

Yeah, that was a good moment.

We chatted for awhile and I eventually got to hold the baby. Kevin all of a sudden snapped his fingers and exclaimed "I know how I'm going to remember his name!!!"
We asked him how and he smiled and nodded knowingly:
"Dr. Drake Remoray..."

Now, if you don't watch Friends, this is totally lost on you.
But if you do/did, you know that's the character that Joey played on the soap opera.

And it works. Drake is five years old and answers to Dr. Drake.

07 January 2009

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Snow melts, you know. Now imagine what two feet of snow turns into: A big ol' mess.

This morning, I had a Alexander kind of morning. You know Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? It was the kind of morning where not even the sweet nectar of the Gods could help.

We woke up to this:

While the sound of rushing water is soothing, the roaring sound not so much. And the thought of the creek overflowing it's banks not so much. In this picture, taken about 7:30 in the morning in the POURING RAIN, everything that is not white or black is water. What appears green = water.

Kevin, bless his heart, had to get bloodwork done this morning. (No worries, it's normal. It has to be done every six months) He left late which messes up *my* morning. Now the fun thing about ADD is the need for structure and schedule. Now my schedule is off and I'm grouchy....and it just occurred to me, six hours later that I forgot to eat breakfast. Great.

The Mustang wouldn't start....of course not. Now Kevin had to take my truck. Great.
This leaves me with the super-huge truck. No, seriously. 4x4, Crew Cab, longbed, dually. It's a monster. And it's still kind of buried in the snow. And everything is damp because it's been sitting unused.

I persevered. I muttered but I persevered.

Of COURSE the gas tank(s) were empty. Luckily, the gas station is one mile away and so is my beloved mocha stand.

I begin putting gas into the truck...the one that I can't get to go into two-wheel drive instead of four...and notice &*#$%!!!! the front tire is low. SIGH..............

I call Kevin...no answer
I look at the air station ten feet away. 75 cents for freaking air. AIR, the stuff that's oh, Everywhere.
I call Kevin...no answer.

I finish pumping gas and go get my mocha, dammit. I momentarily obsess about 75 cents for freakin' AIR.

Mocha in hand, finally in two-wheel drive...I had to use my foot and push on the shifter. NICE.
Kevin calls back. He's just as happy as I am that I have a flat.

Back home I go to air up the tire. Can I get close to the shop & compressor...ummm, NO. There is still a snowbank in the way.

Luckily we have an air tank and luckily my father-in-law who Loves to be a hero lives next door.
40 lbs of air...for FREE, I might add...I am back on the road.

Pouring down rain...have I mentioned that I'm wet? No? Oh, yes the Genius that I am didn't put on my hooded coat until I got back to the house to put air in the tire.

At this point, I'm calling Do-Over. Give me a mulligan. But after just having three weeks off from work, that wasn't a wise request.

There's water across the roadway everywhere and still snow piled up on the sides of the road, making the lanes narrow, which is fun in the world's largest truck.
Finally, I get on the freeway and it's bucketing down rain. Water is across the freeway in numerous places and the "waterfalls" (creeks created by run-off) are pouring off the hills. People are either a) doing 150 mph because they have an SUV and those are apparently indestructible...hahhaha or they're doing 45 mph and everyone is swooping around them. I wish I could have gotten pictures but that would have just been stupid.

Now, I park about a block from my work. It's a large, usually empty parking lot. I do this for two reasons: exercise and working in social services, if anyone is ever going to get a vehicle keyed, it's going to be me. Parking in this lot today is a necessity as I have the big damn truck. And guess what? It's nearly full. Of Course It Is. Why Wouldn't It Be?

Luckily for me there is a space available...or actually two because the truck won't fit in just one. So I wedge it in there and walk, this time with my hood on, the one block to work and resist the urge to emphatically stomp in the puddles.

05 January 2009

Name that Tune

Music seems to be a theme this week...

I was posed an interesting question today:

If I were to admit to really, really liking one song that I would normally
never admit
to liking, what would it be?

I had a fairly quick answer but then once I got home I was all Doggone It! when I thought of the real answer(s).

Answer #1 - Groove is in the Heart by Dee-Lite.
Answer #2 - Hey Mickey by Toni Basil.
Answer #3 - It's a tie: Air Supply & Barry Manilow. Believe it or not, no boy has ever ruined their songs for me. And really, what are the odds of that?

I really need to step away from the VH-1 Classic channel.

So, you're up! What song would it be?

Pretty Box O'Crap

I had to relocate a rather large jewelry box when I put up the Christmas tree last month. It is now taking up space in our closet and while not terribly intrusive, it's bugging me.

Eventually, I thought "What's even in here anyway?" Well, to put it clearly: crap.


I have a gold-plated unicorn pendant from THE SEVENTH GRADE. I think I'll see if my middle-school aged niece will like it, or if it's too uncool even at her age. Why I didn't think of this when she was in sixth grade, we'll never know. I think I remember who gave it to me, I think he's in jail now.

Then there's my high school class ring, which I'm allergic to. And the matching necklace. What the hell to do with that? My nieces go to the rival high school so I can't give it to them. Maybe I'll call the high school & see if they want it, though I can't imagine why.

There are also pendants that were gifts long ago. Costume jewelry, all.
Watches, I will never wear.
Bracelets that the plating has worn off.
Broken necklace chains.

Why, oh why, have I kept this crap?

A fake pearl necklace from a wedding I helped with when I was a freshman in high school. Fake pearls...why do I still have this? The marriage is long over, as is the friendship.

Gifts that mean nothing to me now...I can't even remember who gave them to me. A flag pin made of safety pins and beads...angel lapel pins from the 90's...teacher pin....novelty earrings.

A ring of no significance that I wore when I was married to Michael...amethyst? I don't even LIKE amethyst!

Three things I absolutely won't part with:
A multi-colored wire heart that Kevin wove for me one day way back when.
A heart shaped, black rock I found on a date with Kevin at Bayview State Park
Stained glass kite I made in junior high. It looks exactly as you just imagined. But I made it.

I guess the box has a little of the History of Me, but really?

04 January 2009

Let's Do The Time Warp Again

VH-1 Classic has been running music videos all weekend. It is a glimpse of old school MTV. You know, back when it was good and they actually played music videos. They've played everything from Hendrix & Bob Marley to Goo Goo Dolls.

It's a little disorienting though. One moment I'm in high school, then I'm married to Michael then I'm thrown back into middle school. It's making my head spin!

I think I've mentioned before that I use music as a timeline in my life. What I've noticed over the past few days is how often a song is associated with a *boy*!

Michael has forever ruined Journey for me. Chicago too.

I just heard Lunatic Fringe (Red Rider, a Canadian band) and it reminded me of a guy I dated who was 21 and I was 16. yikes.

The Who will remind me of Matt...one of those "What were you THINKING!?!?! boys that we've all dated.

In Your Eyes, the teenage girl eternal love anthem will always make me pause and take a breath.

Even Kevin has gotten sucked in a little. I noticed one song even made him a little quiet yesterday. I am guessing it was a memory from his ex-wife. Although usually Alabama songs that make that happen. Alabama is banned from this house forever. Seriously.

But there are fun songs too. Songs that remind me of cruising, skipping school, hanging out with friends. There are songs that I hear now and think "That is complete crap, I can't believe I listened to that" and songs that I hear and like more Now than then. (The Cure)

Music has that power, I think, to change along with us. To remind us where we've been and who we used to be. It's been a fun ride.

Sunday Fiction

So, guess what? On a whim, I've moved the Sunday Fiction posts over to Sunday Fiction

In my quest to be a grown-up and write regularly, I'm going to dedicate that blog for the Kelleigh story. This way, if you don't give a rip about Kelleigh, you can just not read that blog. Sound good, yes?

No worries, I'll be posting on this blog just like always. It was just getting too confusing to do Sunday Fiction on this blog and keep track of where we left off each time.

I hope you enjoy!!

03 January 2009

Back to the Chain Gang

Tomorrow (Sunday) is my last day of vacation. I've been home for 18 days. Enough time has passed that I've established a routine, a loose one but a routine all the same. I've gotten comfortable. While I am looking forward, a little bit, to returning to a regular schedule; to be truthful: I'd rather be home. ("J", you didn't read this :-)

I've worked a real job since I was 17 years old. (not just babysitting, etc) I took time off when I was married the first time (but went to school so it's a wash) and I've taken two years off in the 18 years Kevin & I have been together. 1993 after we got married and 2006 was spent trying to put my life back together and writing the book.

My bff "C" and I have discussed this at length. We're both in long term, childless relationships. Yet we would both prefer to be home. I know, I know some of you are saying "Well, duh, of course you do!" But the catch, I feel, with us specifically is that we don't have kids so the reason to stay home seems purely selfish. Although "C" is a world traveler (literally) so this would free her time up considerably to pursue that passion.

On the flip side: I do like my job. It's a good job with benefits. It's low-stress, most days. It's easy. It's exactly what I wanted when I did finally return to work. But it is boring. It is work. Some days I do feel like I'm just whiling my days away. But then, that's just location. If I'm home, I still would be whiling my days away. Just in a more comfortable chair.

So, even though I said I wasn't going to set a resolution this year, I've changed my mind. My resolution is to get the doggone book published. I have two friends on Facebook who are writers, which is prompting me to get off my ass and do something. So feel free, blogger-friends to harass me on a daily/weekly/monthly basis to get it done.

Meanwhile, it's back to the chain gang on Monday. But I'm thankful to have a job, when so many people don't. So there's that.

Commence harassing....

02 January 2009

It's Not About Me

Remember that scene in Grosse Point Blank where Martin walks into the radio station the first time? He leaves after a minute and Debbie says "Someone has reappeared from the past...what is this that I'm feeling? Pain? Panic? Pleasure? Hungry? Who's hungry?"

Years ago I lost a friend. It was drama-filled and probably a good thing at the time. But it left me heartbroken. I don't do unresolved relationships well and it's bothered me for oh, forever.

Now, with the magic of the holidays, this friend has reappeared rather quietly, calmly and offering a hand of friendship. Just what I've wanted. Yet I am still tentative. There's no anger there, no hurt anymore. It's just the risk, I guess.

In response to the question "How are things?" I replied "Everything is different yet nothing has changed." It's been six years? seven? Life has been a roller-coaster while we weren't friends. They missed so much. If I start to sum it up, I get overwhelmed.

Kevin was diagnosed with Graves Disease in 2004, we could have lost him. It took radiation treatment to get him back.
Numerous aunts, uncles, & friends have died
Bruce had a stroke but is better now. He's retired and sold the racecar because he couldn't drive it anymore.
Kevin's parents live next door now, as does the nephew.
I'm a great aunt now.
The nephew went down the wrong path but seems to be turning it around. He was just dignosed with Crohns Disease.
My family is the same but Dad has terminal cancer that they're keeping at bay.
We blew up in 2007 so no more fireworks.
I rolled my truck in February...I can check that off my list now.
We raced in Vegas at the PSCA race. Chevelle runs 9-teens at 149 mph, 1.34 60',
still on stock suspension. We bought Bruce's truck & car trailer.
"D" went to jail for almost two years for heinous crimes that made the news. We're not friends any more.
We live in a new house. It's *tight* as my nephew would say.
We have Missy Jo Dawg, I don't think you ever met her.
I don't work at the school anymore. I took
off a year & now I'm at the YWCA at the worlds easiest job, ever.
I wrote a book, working on another, and write this blog.
With the exception of drinking BFF D under the table on NYE, (poor choice!) I don't drink anymore.
D married Wayne.

The list goes on and on. It's like a Soap Opera. I feel like Erika Cane, less the 14 marriages.

But this is life, this stuff happens to everyone. And this list is all about me. So, I question myself: do I want to be friends again or is it just "I missed you and needed you and look at all what happened?" It can't be all about me. That's not friendship. That's selfish.

I will be their Facebook friend. That's one of the great things about Facebook: the finding of old friends. I will celebrate their return and not make it all about me. They were brave enough to contact me, I can be brave enough to grow & change and be a friend.

And because the universe is so funny, today I got this email quote:

Forgiving is not forgetting; it's actually remembering - remembering and not using your right to hit back. It's a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important.
Especially if you don't want to repeat what happened.
Desmond Tutu

01 January 2009

Happy New Year!

A happy New Year! Grant that I
May bring no tear to any eye
When this New Year in time shall end
Let it be said I've played the friend,
Have lived and loved and labored here,
And made of it a happy year.
~Edgar Guest