29 September 2011


A news report on Good Morning America stated that the average American owns twelve cars in their lifetime.  It made me stop and think "That can' possibly be."  The number seems just high.

So I thought about it. 

My very first car was a truck.  A Chevy LUtV truck. It looked a like a junky one of these:

 (all images from Google Images)

I ran the wheels off this truck.  I think I would still drive it if I could.

Michael's parents actually bought me a car just like this because they were horrified with my junky old truck.
I loved this car beyond all reason.  I put it in a ditch on icy roads & Michael refused to fix it so it's junk now.
If I ever get an opportunity to buy another one, I so would.

I drove one of these for a few months while I was married to Michael too.

This is the very first brand new car that I have ever owned.  It was a great little car that got awesome mileage but no power at all.  Kevin didn't like this car AT ALL.

This car was lovely but just too big for me. I also received a little too much attention from a certain ethnic demographic for my comfort level.

We bought a truck just like this when we bought this property because we needed a four-wheel drive truck. The only reason we sold it is because we needed a tow rig.  

Finally, we land on this truck.  This is similar to the truck that I drive every day.  It's also the truck that I rolled in the snow and we paid to get it fixed because it's such a good truck.  It has 346,000 miles now!!

So not quite twelve but still a few.  I'm sure there are a few that I had for a minute and didn't keep.  Oh yes, a 1965 El Camino that made me carsick to drive.  Or our towrig which is a huge Chevy dually crew cab four wheel drive truck.  

How many cars have you owned? Which were your favorite?

Happy Mail

I really hope that the US Postal Service doesn't stop mail because then I wouldn't be the recipient of such Happy Mail.  Happy Mail is an unexpected present, card, or note from a loved one.

After a day that was particularly frustrating, I opened the mailbox to a manilla envelope.  Happy, Happy, Happy!

I open it to find one of the most clever presents ever from lifelong BFF C.

Just seeing the handwriting made my day.  I saw this handwriting every day for so many days in my life.  Then the sentiment, oh the sentiment.  I could imagine myself in Levi's and Nikes while heading to English class.

Then there was this:

Peechees!!!!! OMG they still have these!!!

They are the same as back-in-the-day. They have the same characters which make me want to color them in.  They have the same conversion charts, which are wonderful now. I can practice my standard to metric conversions that I need now but not when I was 17.

Kevin looked at the multiplication chart and commented "It looks smaller than I remember."

So, here's to Happy Mail.  I hope this gives you a feeling of nostalgia and makes you want to send your own version of Happy Mail.

24 September 2011

Quote of the Day

If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than because he was he, and I was I.
Michel de Montaigne

This Is What Love Looks Like

When I said I wanted to get new plates for us, this isn't at all what I had in mind. 

This is what love looks like, ladies & gentlemen.  Because really? what do I care what the plates he uses if it makes him happy?  I choose to see the humor in it instead.

He also has one in racecar red!

Sweetie Baby Honey

Somewhere someone was talking about terms of endearment for their spouses. 

Ours isn't the normal "honey" or "dear".  I call Kevin "Pal".  I can't quite remember where it originated from but I'm pretty sure it was based around the whole two broken humans, one of which was a giant bucket of bitter, situation.  Something along the lines of "You're not my boyfriend, you're my pal".  Said in total jest, of course.

The only time that I can remember Kevin not wanting to be called a term of endearment was in Blockbuster, of all places.  Without thought, I called out "Kevin-honey" to which he walked over to me, frowning, and said "Hey, I know! When we're in public, how about Not calling me Kevin-honey!"   A total sitcom moment.

So of course I ante'd up with that.  "Sweetie, baby, honey" is what I call him when I'm trying to get rise out of him or if I'm just feeling sassy.  (100% of the time)

What do you call your loved one?

22 September 2011

The Coffee Experiment Update

The coffee experiment is going remarkably well actually.  I have to admit: I am surprised. I'm surprised that either of us hasn't caved yet.  However, with the oncoming Fall weather Kevin is now leaving for work in the dark and increasing cold then will work outside in total crap weather for ten hours.  I am curious if he will want to have a coffee on the way home or in the middle of the day.  I have to say that as hard as he works, I can't blame him.

Anyway, here's me: off-topic again.

This is what we've settled upon.  Kevin prefers Starbucks VIA, vanilla flavor.

 picture from starbucks.com

He takes two packages in a 16 oz cup with some sugar, french vanilla creamer, and a bit of chocolate.  For a guy that didn't drink coffee at all, this is remarkable.  He's made the transition easily while I still find myself a wee resentful.

I prefer to use our sparkling new coffee pot.  I finally chose Millstone Coffee, Chocolate Velvet flavor.
 picture from millstone.com

Like Kevin, I add a bit of sugar and french vanilla creamer.  I enjoy it quite a bit. My only complaint is that I'd like to have more later in the morning.  I need to find a Snoopy thermos or something to take extra to work.

Meanwhile, we still get coffee over the weekend because Missy would Lose. Her. Mind if we stopped doing that and it's not worth the drama. 

before treats

after treats

Anyway, it's also nice that if you're having a horrible day that it is a treat again to buy a coffee as an attitude adjustment.  Not to mention the little extra change in our pockets to spend on other stuff, like towels at Target.

21 September 2011

Like A Mirror

You know when you read a book and you realize that you identify with the character?  You know how usually it makes you feel normal or makes you more interested in the story?

I've read two books recently where that has happened. One is written by an author I'd never read before and one was written by one of my favorite local authors.

It wasn't necessarily a flattering discovery.  I was reading and thinking "Hmm, the person seems familiar"  then the character reacted to something just like I would - or have - and I realized it was Me that I was being reminded of.

Both protagonists are kind of control freaks.  I've realized that I do have that tendency. (stop laughing, friends in real life)   In many ways, it can be good.  I can channel those powers for good instead of evil.  In my job is an example, it's a good trait to possess.  In my personal life though, it can be challenging.

There are two ways to look at it:

The negative: it can seem like it has to be my way or that things have to be a certain way for my comfort and happiness.  Also, it can mean that people often think of say "Oh she'll take care of it, she always does." which can be crazy-making when I don't want to be there person to take care of it.

The positive: The books gave me perspective: a window into how others might view me, an example of how I can be difficult without meaning to, and a goal to strive toward.

Have you ever done this?  Read a book, or even saw a movie, and found the character very similar to you?

20 September 2011

Great Ideas in the Middle of the Night

You know when you think of a great idea as you're falling asleep then can't remember it upon waking?  I hate that. It happens more often than I'm happy to admit.

Articles suggest that a person journals.  I already kind of do that here.  Also, I've never been a Dear Diary kind of girl.

Or another suggestion is to keep a list of ideas, tasks, etc.; another way of journaling I suppose.  I tried that but it was too inconvenient.  Keep a pen & paper near the bed, having to turn the light on and put glasses on whilst trying not to disturb Kevin.  By the time I'm all ready to write down what it was, I'm annoyed and exhausted.

I've tried to repeat a word to remind me like ten times before I fall asleep but often that turns into counting sheep so FAIL.  Although sometimes it works.

Writing first thing in the morning is an option that also doesn't work for me.  I unequivocally hate everyone in the morning.  My motor skills take a bit to wake up as well. Bonus round: what I write first thing in the morning? total crap. 

Usually I just fall asleep with a sarcastic "That would be great, if I remember..."

19 September 2011

Random Item/Alternate Uses

I love reading (i.e. looking at the pictures) interior design magazines.  I also enjoy watching Nate Berkus because his style is very similar to what I like.

I can't remember where I got this idea but it is so easy...provided you have curtains...and inexpensive.

Donations of jewelry comes into work all the time.  It's mostly costume jewelry which is almost always out of date.  If a piece catches my eye, I will usually bring it home until I think of a use for it.  This is what I've come up with thus far: decorations on the curtain ties.

Please forgive the poor contrast on the pictures. It's nearly impossible to shoot into a window with my cell camera.

This is a pin that is too big to use as a pin without being scary

Another pin that is just too large to use as a brooch

 This is actually one of a pair of earrings that hangs on a dual window. 
I often find it's mate elsewhere. (thanks Kev, you're very clever)

 This is another brooch.  I love the amethyst gem.

I just love the little, eye catching detail that these brooches & earrings give to a room.  They're like a little treasure discovery when you see them.  One problem I'm having?  I'm out of curtain ties to put them on. 

18 September 2011

Dear Dog

I know that it started raining after nearly a month without it.  However, I don't appreciate being charged like George Costanza in an emergency so that you can get in the door before me.

Yes, I understand that the vacuum is very upsetting and interrupting your nap.  I also acknowledge that I did move your bed to vacuum and that's very traumatic.  You might want to go talk to the other dogs that spend 24/7 outside. I am sure they will be very sympathetic.

It's very helpful that you lay just in range of anything that might, perhaps, maybe, fall from the counter.  I am sure you remember the gabillion times we've discussed you being Not. In. The. Kitchen.

As you pretend to not be watching me eat dinner, I will pretend to not see you pretending.  You are very lucky that Kevin is not home right now. If you continue to be so good at pretending, I just might share my pizza crust with you.

17 September 2011

Retail Therapy

Kevin wnt to play with his friends at the racetrack this afternoon so I headed to Target for some retail therapy.

Because my life has been all *augh!* this summer, I missed out on most of the Target remodeling into a super Target.  I had the pleasure (not sarcasm) of discovering where everything had moved and to browse the clearance shelves.

I did have a regular shopping list with me but it wasn't a big one.  If the remodeling was complete, I surely would have been able to do the one stop shopping thing.  Next month!!

This is what I came home with...well, the fun things. Not the groceries.

Left to right....makings for chocolate cake because the kids watched Bill Cosby and have been singing "Dad is great! Eating chocolate cake!" for days now.  Cheap picture frames for the bazillion racecar pictures we got this season, Adelle "21",  (OMGAH...SO GOOD!) dark chocolate peanut m-n-m's because Freddys doesn't carry them anymore, yellow pillowcases because the egyptian cotton sheets I brought home are teh best but the pillowcases have shrunk and I hate that, and finally a bath towel for our bathroom that I took a risk with.  I only bought one in case I hated it when I got home. So. Love. It!  Totally getting another one, plus washcloths, etc.

I feel so much better.  All said & done,  I spent $38. Now that is inexpensive therapy!

15 September 2011

I Have to Do the Dishes

I just want to go straight to bed.  But I have to do this dishes. 

I am, sadly sometimes, not one of those people who can leave dishes in the sink.  No judgement to those of you normal folk who can.  In fact, tonight I am jealous of you.

I know that if I were to lose my mind and just go to bed, I would just get up later and do the dishes.  I don't believe I could go to sleep or, at very most, sleep through the night.

I have been known to get back up and finish laundry, finish writing a chapter, or on a bad night: clean the bathroom.  I know, I'm not normal. 

And thank you for all of those invitations to come stay at your house for awhile, it's very sweet of you.  If I knew you in reals, I totally would come visit.

What do you have to do before you can go to bed?

14 September 2011

Quote of the Day

While we try to teach our children all about life,
Our children teach us what life is all about.

~Angela Schwindt

13 September 2011


I have few warm & fuzzy memories of my childhood.  I know that I make some people sigh or cringe when I say that but know that when I say it, it's very matter-of-fact.  I can't change my past so I try not to waste my time in it.

Tonight struck me though.  Kevin isn't home yet and it's getting darker earlier.  I was home in a quiet house.
I flipped through the channels and there wasn't anything I was interested in watching. Looking for company via noise,  I finally landed on Wheel of Fortune of all things.  The sounds of this game show comfort me in the strangest way.

I can picture my childhood home and nearly smell dinner cooking.  Dark outside, windows wet with condensation, and the smell of navy bean soup filling our tiny home. I could also hear the theme song of Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie as I had a television in my room.  (rescued & repaired from the dump Sanford & Son style. Seriously) Also, (cringe moment ahead) we weren't allowed in the living room until dinner after my father arrived home so he could "relax".

 I decided on noodles for dinner; mixed with butter, pepper, and garlic.  Most definitely comfort food.  35 years dimmed this evening.  I feel like I should go finish my homework.  Oh wait, I am: by writing this post.

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

11 September 2011

I Wasn't Going To

I wasn't going to post today.  It felt disrespectful to post a regular post, frivolous even. 

I tried to keep away from the media over the weekend.  Even now, ten years later, it gets a little overwhelming.  I did relent and watch Dateline's tribute, which was actually very well done.  Reminded a person not only of the horror of the day but of the heroes as well.

I was reminded to not forget.  As difficult as it can be to remember, it's important to remember the people wo died that day, either by the hands of evil or by being superhumanly good.

Today is not about politics, religion, or who is right or wrong.  Today is about honoring those who have gone before us.

That's all I have to say about that. I wasn't going to post today.  Then I had to.

09 September 2011

Dear Abby...

So, I have recently met someone who doesn't have the same values as I do. That sounds holier-than-thou but it's the only way I can think to describe it.

Firstly, she's a man-hater.  It's been years since I've ran into one of those.  Mostly, I think, because I'm a grownup in my forties.  She seems to automatically assume that men are jerks and dumb.  I know that I am only going to be able to tolerate this for so long before Making A Statement.   I've been with Kevin for 21 years, I have two brothers and six nephews, and I live in Boy World.  I resent the blanket assumption and unnecessary mean-ness.

Secondly, when someone asks if I need something I will invariably say "Puppy, chocolate, coffee, alcohol, and a cute boy."  Today she told me that I needed to add money to my list.  I was momentarily speechless. (I know, right?!)  I thought about it for a split second and said "No..."  She looked at me like I'd lapsed into speaking Mandarin. I continued: "Money is not that important to me.  It wouldn't occur to me to ask for it."

So, that's awkward.

Finally, her currency is food.  Snacks, ice cream, lunch.  I'm not a big food person (okay, I'm picky and perhaps have some food issues. whatever)  She constantly offers snacks...chocolate a lot, almonds, etc.  I feel awkward turning her down until today when I just said "You know, I just don't snack much."  I am hoping that will stop the offers.

This is a person that I will know for a while and isn't to be avoided.  I'm going to need to concentrate on how to deal with her because her way of life is completely opposite of mine.  It's going to be a challenge, I fear.
Not to say that everyone has to think like me because they don't.  I can even find common ground with Republicans and atheists for goodness sake.  This is just not a personality, if you will, that I am familiar with.

How would you handle this, dear poppets?

08 September 2011

This Will Be the Day

The new boss has begun and my job is officially restructured.  It's going to be a process of trial & error and a bit of "Oh, you're doing that...? um well," and "How you do you the..." etc.

It will be an adjustment for me because I've been wearing a few hats over the last 120 days.  The fact that I can state in days how long it has been tells you that I'm ready to be done now.

We've had three inspections, reports due, grants due, arson, multiple items breaking, (hello Geek Squad & Best Buy dropping a 62" television) and a handful of big events that have dominated my days. 

I keep thinking that "This will be the day" that things revert to normal. This is will be the day that I can go back to doing my own thing.  This will be the day that nothing will break.

And the Gods laugh.

This week included a computer virus that took out our email system.  Our IP has been blacklisted on the world wide web and may take up to three weeks to repair.  Seriously.

Maybe tomorrow will be the day.

05 September 2011

It Seems So Long Ago Now

I was just sitting outside on the deck reading when I heard the kids playing in the neighborhood.  For the eleventy billionth time I felt grateful that those five kids are a part of our lives.

In six days, everyone will be asking "Where Were You Ten Years Ago?" with somber overtones.

I started to think about it.  Where was I?

I was in a job I was beginning to really hate. 

Kevin wasn't Pit Boss yet but well on his way.

Kevin wasn't sick yet. 

It's the year we won our first Championship in racing.  We were also on the staff of the organization we were racing with.

We were in the old house.

My dad was still alive.

The in-laws, all of them, still lived in town.

The Nephew was still in high school.  The Nieces were 10 and 6 years old.  The Littles & Bigs didn't even exist yet.

My then best friend  wasn't a convicted felon.

My life got dumped upside down starting in 2004 and seemed stuck in a blender until late 2007.  *knock wood* everything has settled back into place.  For the better on all fronts, I believe.  As much as everything sucked, now that we're on the other side of it, I see that it all had to happen. 

Where were you?

04 September 2011

From A Boy to A Man

One of our friends got married today.  It was a lovely, simple wedding full of laughter.  The only odd thing, for me really, was the absence of his older brother who was killed when I was 18 years old.  His brother and I knew each other since middle school.  He was the first classmate to die from my graduating class, having gone down on a fishing boat two months after graduation.

The boys became friends with our friend before I fully realized who he was.  My only memory of him was a smart ass freshman that was only allowed to live through his freshman year due to his big brother's cred.  I am relieved to say that while still a smartass, he's turned into a very nice man.  It's been a little weird from time to time, when he reminds me of his brother. Mostly, I am glad that he is in our circle of friends and amazed at how small this world really is.

 This is his second marriage, her first.  He married his high school sweetheart & they grew apart.  He changed again after his divorce, learning from his mistakes and markedly making an effort to become a better person. He has two kids, a teen & preteen, and she wants one of her own. He's totally excited about it and we predict a baby in nine months and counting.

The point of this ramble, I suppose, is that we all change.  He went from being a smartass kid to a really good man, possibly, likely, from the protection and then loss of his brother and the ability to learn from his mistakes & circumstances.  

 I can only hope to continue to grow the way he has.

02 September 2011

Pee Chees - A Guest Post

I received this email today from my nearly lifelong BFF.  I laughed so much I had to read it aloud to Kevin.  She gave me permission to reprint it here for your enjoyment:

So yesterday I am at work and I realize I need to a make a folder up for the captain of the boat.  I look in the supply closet for a folder and come up empty.  So I go over to the 26 year old receptionist and ask if we have some folders.  She asks what kind of folders.  I say pee chee style.  She looks at me blankly and says, "What's a 'pee chee'?  Is it like a fruit or something?" So I look back at her blankly and wonder why/how I could get a fruit flavored folder and if that is an option.  Anyway I digress.  So I go on to describe in vivid detail all about pee chees with their magical charts and multiplication tables.  Nothing.  So then I strike some of the classic poses as an illustration.  Cheer leader!  Track star!  Foot ball player!  Still nothing...well except for amusement because a 42 year old middle age woman is striking cheer leader poses.

So now I am annoyed, feeling old and still folder-less when I slink back to my desk somewhat defeated.  Then brilliance ascends.  Ah!  A wikipedia article about pee chees!


I send it around the office.  Pretty much anyone younger than 35 had no idea what a pee chee was and were way too amused by the old style drawings.  The 44 year old Admin Assistant and I then had a nice long chat about coloring in the sports stars during boring class and writing our proposed married names over and over on the cover.  Mrs. Skip Pawlowitz, Chantelle Pawlowitz (hi Skip!), etc...  Then we digressed into how the rich kids got Trappers and we were stuck with crappy old pee chees.  Then I might have thrown out a few bars of Footloose though I'm not admitting anything. 

Anyway now I am feeling very old and irrelevant so I thought I would pass on this story to my peeps so you can feel old too.  I'm really thoughtful like that.


(Chantelle Hilsinger....lifelong BFF)

I Got Some Ice Cream

I don't know when this began but the rule of the house is that if I forget to get milk at the store & we run out, I have to buy ice cream as well.

Not a bad policy, per se.  I just wish I remember how it started.

Kevin took pity on me tonight because it's been a long work week and it's been K-FAM- All Family All the Time lately so we didn't go out to family dinner tonight.  I brought home take-out instead. 

We ran out of milk after dinner.  Gah.  Pretty much the last thing I wanted to do was get back in the truck and drive three whole minutes to the store to get milk.

I persevered.  I drove to the store, only to realize that it's Labor Day Weekend and there's a World of Outlaw's race at the racetrack near our house.  (not the same kind of racetrack as we use. Because OMGAH wouldn't that be awesome?)  Needless to say: traffic and lots of people who don't live in my neighborhood.

Kevin's been a little symptomatic this week.  A combination of the heat, too much work and play, and not enough rest.  Because of this, he couldn't make a decision about ice cream to save his life. (nearly literally because FTLOG make a decision)

I stood at the cooler and chose vanilla & chocolate Hagen Daz.  Then I went to buy some root beer.  I wanted Barq's because it's the best. They didn't have it.  Then I spotted Henry Weinhard's Creme Soda and wanted Henry's Root Beer because it's better than Barq's actually.  They were out.  Sigh.

(He decided he wanted a root beer float, just in case you're wondering why I'm looking at soda. For once the ADD is not responsible.  Well, nearly)

Disappointed because now I wanted a Henry Weinhard Root Beer and couldn't have one, I paid for the ice cream and went home.

All the kids and THREE DOGS were out playing when I got home so it was a bit of an obstacle course.  Luckily, they are easily distracted ("Hey!  Who can run the fastest back to the house!?!?!") otherwise I was going to have to hide the ice cream in my shirt in order to get into my house.  (fun for Kevin, not so much me)

Finally, I make it in the house and am explaining to Kevin that all the kids were outside and yes, one of the boys bikes are still broken, when he asks.......

Do you have a guess?

"Where's the milk?"

I forgot to buy milk.

01 September 2011

News & Notes

Today was like the first day of school for me.  The new executive director began today.  The day that I've been waiting for for the past 120 days is finally here.  It was a good day. I feel relieved that it's not solely on me now.  There's someone else to help make decisions, there's someone to say "I've got this", there is someone there to let me have a life.  Whew.

Racing last weekend wasn't all that we hoped it would be.  Racing turned into camping as we broke the transmission.  This just wasn't our season as we had gremlins all year.  So *shrug* There's always next year.

The Nephew has managed one whole week without a trip to the ER or hospital, so that's good.  He lost 35 pounds in two weeks.  He's 6 ft 2 and weighs 183 lbs right now.  He hasn't bounced quite yet and the meds that he is on now make him a moody, tired, hot mess. 

What's odd is that the doctors here in the States are all Meds, Meds, Meds and according to our Canadian friends, surgery is a viable option that would vastly improve his quality of life.  It's interesting to hear their perspective.  I do wonder if the difference truly is the perspective between socialized medicine and our  broken, godforsaken healthcare system.

On a happier Nephew note:  One of the boys has been working on not going all HULK SMASH when his siblings bother him.  He's also volunteered to help with chores and just generally been a great kid.  (not to imply for one second that the others aren't...he just made such an effort) 

His reward was being able to go to the store alone with just daddy and choose ANY CANDY he wants.  He was so excited to go.  Prior to leaving he told Uncle Kevin all about it and even expressed concern about choosing candy that he could share with daddy & uncle Kevin.   He came straight over afterward to show Kevin what he choose and to share.  Sweetest doggone boy ever.

His daddy sent us this picture:

I am beginning to plan for our Vegas trip.  I'm researching tickets, considering rental cars, (because I am still in love with the Chrysler 300) and trying to decide what I want to see this time around.  I do want to explore Old Vegas during the day which is reportedly becoming an art district. 

Is it just me or has Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother making the name Barney cool again?  Oh, just me?  Very well then.

We have no plans this weekend, it is the first weekend since June.  Well, that's not entirely true though. We're going to a wedding on Sunday.  We're very much looking forward to it.  It's a good friend of the boys and someone I've known since I was 17 years old. He went through a divorce that really knocked him for a loop then he met a girl who is completely opposite of him and he fell hard.  She's a sweetheart & we're so looking forward to their wedding.

I hope all is well with you, poppets, and that you have a fun weekend planned.