Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolution Solution

I wanted to have a blog posting that was really deep today since it is the last day of 2010.  I wanted to wow you with my insight on 2010.  I tried reflecting back on my year and . . . well . . . there honestly wasn't that much to reflect on.  We went to Hometown a few times, Hubby went on a few business trips, our daughter did her thing with school activities but overall it was a rather uneventful year.  As I am typing this, I am looking at a sticky note stuck to my computer monitor with my resolutions for 2010 on it.  I didn't do bad at them but I guess I could have done better.  They were 1) Live simply, 2) Cherish that which cannot be seen, and 3) Find comfort in order and awareness.  When 2010 started, I was very proud of these what I considered deep, philosophical resolutions.  These were going to change my life I thought.  But while I have worked at these I realize that they should not be new year's resolutions - they should be a way of life period.  I should not think of it as what can I do to improve in this coming year.  I should think of it as what can I do to improve my life period.  I made some progress on those resolutions but not enough.  And I don't want to give up on them just yet.  I feel there is more work to be done in these areas and just because 2010 is ending doesn't mean I should just give up on them.  And it is not just making the same resolution year after year because I didn't fulfill it last year.  My life is a work in progress - something that is constantly changing and morphing.  I'm sure these ideas will be added on to as the year progresses but as far as new year's resolutions go, my resolution is to continue improving on my last year's resolutions . . . no . . . make that to continue with my new focuses in life - to live simply, to cherish that which cannot be seen, and to find comfort in order and awareness.  Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Insuring a Perfect Holiday

Dear Nationwide Insurance,

I would like to thank you for covering the recent copper pipe theft we experienced in the house which we are trying to sell.  You handled our claim swiftly even promising us that we were paying too much and adjusting our policy.  We appreciate all you have done for us including opening our eyes to your ridiculous practices and idiotic procedures.  Not being able to talk to an actual person at your office has been a true delight.  There is nothing I enjoy more than pushing buttons trying to get a real person.  Your front office staff has been remarkably unhelpful.  It seems they really excel at taking customers money and, if they are calling for any other reason, making sure they get disconnected.  I myself got to experience this wonderful skill during three consecutive phone calls - all within a fifteen minute span.  Now that's talent.  But most of all I would like to thank you for the wonderful Christmas greeting that arrived in our post box yesterday.  Most Christmas mail simply says "Merry Christmas" or "Happy Holidays" but no, you went with the much more original "We sincerely regret we are unable to continue your Homeowner insurance protection at this time".  Wow.  Never has a more eloquent Christmas greeting been uttered.  What an amazing gift - adjusting our policy so that our payments will be zero.  I hope you all had a magnificent Christmas break of four and a half days out of the office.  Nothing beats spending time with family especially when you drive together to your agent's office to find it dark and vacant.  Your holiday spirit in unmatched and your new year will be prosperous, without you even having to do anything to deserve it.  Thank you for making this a craptastic Christmas for me and my family.

quirky me

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Christmahanukwanzukah To You!

Today I have taken a break from all the wrapping and baking and planning and preparing to say Happy Whatever-It-Is-You-Celebrate to you!  I'm not sure with all of the excitement of the next few days that I will be able to get to blogging.  So I want to wish you, well, to be honest, a Merry Christmas.  Christmas is what I celebrate and I don't really understand what is so bad about saying Merry Christmas.  If I say Merry Christmas to someone who is Jewish are they going to slug me?  I doubt it.  If someone who is Jewish were to wish me a Happy Hanukkah, I would feel honored that they were sharing their celebration with me.  Same goes for Kwanzaa.  Same for the Winter Solstice.  Whatever you celebrate, you should be able to wish a friendly greeting to people in that time of year.  Its too hard to remember who to say what greeting to so as not to offend anyone.  Sharing your feelings of happiness shouldn't have to be politically correct.  Its all gotten way too out of hand.  My daughter came to me the other day confused.  She was wondering if Chanukah was a politically correct way to combine Christmas and Hanukkah.  After I set her straight (and had a quick chuckle), I really got to thinking about the term Happy Holidays.  I went from thinking of it as a polite way to encompass everyone's beliefs in one salutation to thinking of it as a forced means of regulating society into being too generic.  I think we've all just gotten a little too sensitive on the topic.  What's wrong with being proud of who you are and what you celebrate.  So to all of my peeps out there - Merry Christmas!  I send you a warm greeting inviting you to share in my celebration of the joy of the season.  Be proud.  Don't wimp out with Happy Holidays.  Share your feelings and if someone says "I don't celebrate that" then ask them what they do celebrate.  You may just learn something new about them and allow them to show their pride in their beliefs and celebrations.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Krogering

This Saturday is Christmas and yesterday I had to go to the grocery store.  I would have rather licked the parking lot pavement than gone into the actual Krogers but it had to be done.  I hadn't bought anything for Christmas dinner, Christmas Eve dinner, Christmas baking or, well anything food-like remotely related to Christmas.  Not to mention the usual milk and bread staples.  I was amazed at the lack of courtesy that was on display within the super mega-sized store.  I should have known not to expect much but I wasn't prepared for what I encountered.  People were acting like they were the only ones in the store - blocking aisles, grabbing items, crashing carts and generally being obnoxious.  It was like a pack of rogue monkeys was let loose in the store.  I thought maybe since its Christmas everyone will be filled with the Christmas spirit.  Apparently they checked their Christmas spirit at the door because no such luck.  I followed one lady (because there wasn't space to get around her) for at least five minutes as she strolled along at a snail's pace just to have her decide at the end of the aisle that she needed to suddenly do a 180 and hit into my cart at which point she looked at me like I suddenly jumped in HER way.  It took a total of an hour and a half to get through the store and I left without some of the things that I needed (their stock was well picked over).  And the wonderful Christmas carols that we all love just add to the aggrivation.  I really enjoy the carols when I am shopping but not in those kinds of crowds.  One cannot be calmed by "Joy to the World" when there is no joy in your world because someone just snaked the last pouch of sugar cookie mix as you reached for it.  I should have known better than to try to go to a store this close to Christmas.  This is why I shop for my gifts in September.  Too bad food expires.  Oh well, at least I don't have to go to the Wal-mart this week.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Jingle Fails

So I realized today that its the last day before Christmas break.  I remember when I was in school and it felt like we went to school all the way up to December 23rd every year.  But no, our daughter gets out of school on December 17th for Christmas.  That's over a week before Christmas actually happens.  But whatever, my complaining isn't going to change the school calendar.  It'll just make me feel better for about 2 seconds.  There - back to being annoyed.  Don't get me wrong.  I love my daughter and love spending time with her.  I just have way too much left to do before Christmas to have break start already.  I was so proud because my tree was up early but other than the tree, there's not a speck of Christmas to be seen.  Creating a holiday wonderland - Fail.  See once Christmas break starts, wrapping presents for her is not an option during the day.  So today, after my great realization, I spent over 2 hours wrapping Christmas gifts in every shape and size imaginable.  Now my shoulders hurt, my neck hurts, and I'm still not done.  Wrapping gifts early - Fail.  But hey, 2 hours now is 2 hours I don't have to spend wrapping in the middle of the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  But there is still so much more to be done.  There are still a few more presents to buy.  Shopping ahead of time - Fail.  It was much easier last year when we spent the week before Christmas in Florida at Disney World.  Everyone who wasn't bought for ahead of time got something cool from Mickey himself.  Then I had an excuse.  Most things were done well in advance and the things that weren't done ahead of time just didn't get done under the guise of "we weren't home".  Baking being one of them.  This year, I still haven't even bought the ingredients to bake anything.  Yummy Christmas cookies - Fail.  This year its back to the same old last minute wrapping and shopping and baking and decorating.  At the rate I'm going, I think I'll be done some time in - February!  But I love Christmas and I will make it happen and what doesn't happen oh well.  Christmas is about family and love and much more than cookies and presents and decorations.  Whatever happens I need to remember its my book and I write my own ending and I say it ends like this: Failing at having a wonderful Christmas - FAIL!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Wanted: Family - Must LOVE Horses

Apparently, all children in foster care get ponies for Christmas.  I don't intend to sound mean but this is my first impression of searching for children in the foster care system to adopt.  75% of the children I have found LOVE horses and enjoy riding horses and delight in tending to horses and want to live with horses.  I'm not kidding.  I have a severe allergy to horses.  So do I immediately rule these children out?  What if they seem perfect for our family in every other way except the horses?  Do you give the child an ultimatum of forever family or horse?  Should I even do that to a child?  By expressing interest am I putting them in a horrible situation?  Another 15% on top of the 75% want to be veterinarians when they grow up.  Again, allergic to animal fur here.  This is not a career choice that I can exactly promote.  Its probably the people at the stables where their ponies are kept that are encouraging this occupational path.  Wherever it is coming from its definitely not helping me.  I'm just feeling discouraged at the moment.  The whole process is frustrating.  There are so many children out there that seem like a good fit until I get to the horse and/or vet portion of their little bio.  I know they won't all become vets or olympic equestrians but how are you supposed to know which ones are truly in love with the idea and which ones said it just to have something in their bio.  Hubby came up with the idea that the horses may be a therapy thing.  Since many of the children have been through traumatic experiences or have disabilities this may be the situation, but that doesn't help me any.  Oh, and they apparently all get trampolines for their birthdays.  I don't have one of those either.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Right On Target

This is just a message for all you shoppers out there looking for those last minute Christmas prezzies.  Go to Target and then check your receipt.  It is apparently name your price time at Target.  At least it is at our Target.  We went the other night and bought two things.  When we got to the cashier with our items, he scanned the first one.  Ok fine.  He scanned the second one and it didn't come up in the system.  So he goes "Do you remember how much this costs?  Just take a guess."  Well, having the memory of an elephant and some morals worked against me this time and I answered with the correct price which he quickly typed in and charged me for the item.  Then he told us our total and it didn't sound quite right.  When I looked at the receipt on the way out, we had been charged ten dollars too much for item number one.  Before we even left the store we headed to customer service/returns and told the woman we had been overcharged by ten dollars for an item.  She said "Ok", hit a few buttons and ta-da ten dollars back in my pocket!  No questions.  No price check.  No problem.  I thought "Wow.  What a nice employee." as I left the store.  Then today we had to return something to the Target.  The people in front of us had the same problem.  They had been overcharged for something too.  Without even blinking an eye the employee (a different one than the one we had) refunded them their money.  Two theories on this - either A) Target is going with a "the customer is always right" motto for the holidays or B) Target knows that their items are scanning for the wrong prices and are trying to overcharge people without them noticing.  If they notice, good for them.  They get their money back.  If they don't, all the more money for Target.  Either way, the moral of the story is if you want to get a good Christmas deal, go to Target.  You may get to name your price.  But beware and check your receipt, or you may be out of luck!  Happy Shopping Everyone!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Who Am I Foolin'? Oh, That's Right, Me!

I have figured out a wonderful solution to my exercising dilemma.  You remember my exercising dilemma - I hated doing it and thus just didn't.  Anyway, the solution - music!  I forgot how much I like music.  There is no way I can have music on and not move.  Even while I am sitting here in my chair typing this, I have the music on and am grooving around.  I was a dancer for many, many, many years so I guess its in my blood.  And since I have experience as a choreographer, I have decided to choreograph my own exercise routine.  I'm not going to do 100 squats in a row.  That just won't work with me.  But I will move if the moves are dance related and moving is what counts.  My goal is to get this organized for the new year and start my self-choreographed dancercise program as one of my resolutions.  Its a bit ambitious for me considering I love to just sit on my couch, but I really have to do something.  I don't like the way things are at the moment.  I'd love to be the skinny little dancer girl that I was in college but I realize that's just not going to happen.  What I would like is to not jiggle when I wiggle.  Not resembling jello would be a great start.  The holidays are not going to help which is why I'm not even attempting this until after the holidays are over.  There's no point in making an attempt that you know will be thwarted through your own lack of self-control.  So that's my plan.  P!nk and Lady GaGa, among others, will serve as my personal trainers and will whip my butt into shape.  I just have to remember its not exercising, its dancing.  Can't wait to see how long I can actually fool myself with that one!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Guilt Blogging

Ok.  Today's blog is out of guilt.  I haven't blogged in a few days and I'm feeling guilty about it.  But when I stopped and thought about it, I really didn't have anything creative, pertinent, or even witty to say.  Its been a pretty normal past few days.  I had my Christmas party at work.  It was fun.  My boss, who is the only other person in the office, worked through half . . . well . . . most of the party.  So I sat and read a lot.  I've heard from some of the caseworkers but nothing more than "Please send us a copy of your homestudy".  I have to wait until next Monday to submit any more names to my case worker.  I didn't go to work today because I have a sinus headache that could bring down a bear.  I've been thinking a lot about my purpose in life again, but still haven't come up with any lightbulb moments.  I've been up to . . . well . . . not much.  I'm not quite sure why I'm telling y'all this but I am just blogging out of guilt.  Guilt.  There's one thing I'm good at.  I'm Catholic.  It's something we're taught from a very young age.  It is an amazing thing.  Not only do we know how to experience it, but we know how to inflict it as well.  We're masters at the art.  We use it to get what we want and then feel guilty for using it.  It amazes me how participants of other religions don't get the full experience of guilt that Catholics do.  My husband is perfectly capable of having no guilt.  I don't know how he does it.  He also has the ability to not place blame.  Something I have had to work hard to not do.  I think guilt and blame go hand in hand.  My family loved playing the blame game and for some reason, I always seemed to be get the brunt of it.  But I won't bother you with that right now.  I'm just babbling.  Today's blog is just not up to par and, Lord help me,  I feel guilty.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Number Two! Where are You?

Ok.  Let's not kid each other here.  I am not an everyday blogger no matter how hard I try.  Especially on weekends.  So I will no longer make promises about blogging every day.  I will simply say that each post I make will be from the heart.  And I will try not to have gaps that are too big.  Too big being subjective I guess.  I hope you will still read and follow along as I navigate my way through this thing called life.

Well.  Today kicked off the official "Search for Daughter #2".  Over the weekend, we as a family decided on seven girls to inquire about to our case worker.  It was a hard decision process but we actually were all happy with the girls we settled upon.  I turned the names in to her today and I guess now we wait and see.  I hate the waiting.  I also registered us on an adoption website.  Have to wait for that to be verified too.  It was a lot more intense than I thought it would be.  We had to write a family narrative about ourselves.  That was hard.  I'm hoping what I wrote will be good enough to intrigue the case workers on the other end.  I also added girl #8 at the last minute.  She was on a different adoption site and I was able to make an inquiry about her right away.  Quickly, I got a response that she already had a potential family identified and was visiting with them.  If she already has a family identified - take her off the site.  This process is hard enough.  The amount of children to sort through so vast that having children who are spoken for in the mix just complicated things even more.  I suddenly got this image of us parents-to-be swarming like sharks to bait as each child is dangled in front of us.  This is a whole turn to the process I guess I wasn't prepared for.  I mean I knew we would encounter children that we weren't a match for and that.  I didn't expect us to have our choice of any child we wanted, but I also forgot about the losing out factor.  I guess I better get used to it.  That feeling of being rejected.  I hate encountering that and honestly don't have much experience with it.  I better toughen up and get some thick skin because it looks like this will be a long, bumpy road.

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Different Kind of Christmas Shopping

Yay!  Shout it from the rooftops.  Alert the media.  It's official!  We are licensed to adopt!  We got the word yesterday and it still feels surreal to me.  All that work.  All of the requirements.  All the waiting.  Over and done.  Now we just have to find the right match and things will be on their way.  I'm excited to say the least but still scared at the same time.  What if I screw this up?  What if I get a child in my home and can't handle that child?  I can't stand the thought of having a child move in just to have it all fall through before the adoption is final.  The "child shopping" aspect comes into play again and I just don't know if I can handle it.  I also am scared financially.  If the rental of our house had gone through as we hoped, we would be in a much better place.  But it didn't.  We just couldn't risk having someone obviously financially irresponsible in our house most likely NOT paying rent.  We've really drained our finances and I am not sure how physically far away we can look for a child.  I would hate to miss out on the right child simply because they live at a significant distance from us.  There are just so many children out there needing homes.  How am I to pick just one?  I know that the social services agencies will help.  If we are not a good match for that child they will let us know.  But what happens if we're a good match for more than one child?  How would I ever choose between them?  I thought once we got to this point in the process that it would be smooth sailing from here on out, but it actually seems more stressful now than it did at any other point.  I guess that's because it is more real now than it ever has been before.  I know I should be to the moon happy, and I am, I just get knocked back down to earth every time I realize what a momentous step we are about to take.  I just can't seem to wrap my brain around it.  I guess its like any other life milestone - getting married, having a baby, moving across the country - you just have to jump in with both feet and hope for the best.  Ok.  I'm ready.  3...2...1...JUMP!!!!!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

How Great Thou Art

Today I had a wonderful conversation with a friend on what makes art art.  It all started with him asking me if I would be offended as someone who was raised Catholic if a crucifix was used in art.  Apparently there was a recent exhibit where a video media piece was removed because of complaints.  It had a shot of a crucifix with ants covering it contained in the piece.  I answered "It would depend.  First off, it is your choice to view the art.  If you don't like it, walk away but don't enforce your opinions on others.  Let them form their own opinions.  Art is art in the eye of the beholder.  Personally, if it is used in art with a purpose versus simply used for mockery and shock value then it would be ok, but if it is defiling the crucifix in some way I don't think I would agree with that unless the artist had another reason other than just defiling the religious object.  I believe each artist has a responsibility to create something that conveys something whether that be a message or an emotion or whatever.  Not that I think all art should be blatantly labeled or have an accompanying explaination.  I believe that art is an experience and each individual may get something different out of seeing that piece.  In turn, I think the viewer has the responsibility to educate himself on the art/artist hopefully prior to forming an opinion.  How do you know that which you are personally feeling will be the emotion or whatever invoked in others upon viewing the same piece?  You must consider the artist's intent.  When the responsibility of the artist to convey something and the responsibility of the viewer to educate themselves meet, that is the point where you find really great art.  Maybe that's why it is easier for someone to enjoy a Monet versus a Kandinsky - the Monet, being more blatant than the Kandinsky, is more easily conveying a message or an emotion to the viewer because the viewer can easily identify what is being conveyed.  When you take away that easy identification do you lose some of the viewers - yes because there is no way for them to relate to the piece unless they have done their homework or have a personal connection that they are making of some sort.  Would you feel that same why about a Monet if it were given a different title?  A more ambiguous title maybe?  Would you have a greater appreciation for abstract art if you knew more about why it was created or what it's purpose was expressed in the title?"  So the next time you go to a museum, pick out a painting that you just don't get, something that just doesn't speak to you, and do a little research on it later on.  You may just view the piece in a whole new light.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Say Cheese! III - Finally

First off, let me apologize yet again.  I broke my promise to you and didn't blog yesterday.  The truth is I was distracted by two things - 1) it snowed here in Suburbia for the first time this year and 2) my daughter's school picture retakes finally came home.  The snow was just flurries but enough to get me excited.  I am always thrilled by snow unless it is laying on the roads and I have to drive through it.  Then snow sucks.  But more importantly, the photographers finally brought the school picture retakes to Suburbia High.  Daughter was excited to get them until she saw them.  She says she looks drunk.  I don't think they are that bad, but I can see where she's coming from with her opinion.  They're not the best pictures she's ever taken.  They're not the worst pictures she's ever taken.  The photographers did their job.  Her eyes are open.  She appears to be smiling or talking.  (We can't decide which.)  And most importantly her hair is a normal color and not like a shamrock.  She seems disappointed in them but they're school pictures.  What do you want?  There's a reason these people aren't award winning photographers shooting magazine covers and superstars.  They're here to snap a picture and move on to the next child.  I give them credit.  They do take a couple of thousand pictures in one day when they go to Suburbia High.  They can't all be Vogue-worthy.  Do I think I got my moneys worth?  By school picture standards, yes.  By actual bang for your buck, no.  But it's a picture of my baby girl so it means the world to me.  Now I just have to cut, sign, sort, and stuff them into the Christmas cards so I can get those out of my living room and into the overpriced postal system.  Oh joy!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Oh Boy Santa!

Funny Flashback -
About a decade ago, we lived in rural England.  Having moved there in the summer and realizing we would be limited in our "Santa" options, my hubby and I made the best with what we could find come November and December.  Our daughter, who was three years old at the time, wasn't really raised with gender specific roles so we thought she'd be open to anything.  One of the gifts we selected for her was a Hot Wheels race track.  We happily stayed up late Christmas Eve wrapping the gifts rather proud of ourselves for accomplishing Christmas in a foreign land with limited resources.  The morning came and wouldn't you know that the first present our daughter opened was that Hot Wheels track.  She excitedly tore the paper off of it.  Upon seeing what it was, she threw it down on the floor and proclaimed in tears "Santa thinks I'm a BOY!!!!!"  After much reassurance, a few more gifts, and mom and dad "playing" with the "oh-so-fun" track and cars, she recovered and a wonderful Christmas was had by all, but we were left with a memory we will never forget :)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

R.I.P. Christmas Lights

Yesterday we finally got out the Christmas tree.  I have been waiting, as you know, a long time for this event.  Hubby and Daughter set up the tree and all was going well until Hubby plugged in the lights.  They didn't work.  Luckily he had not yet put them on the tree.  He plugged in another string of bulbs.  Nothing.  Not a shine.  Not a twinkle.  Nothing.  Come to find out thay most of our Christmas tree lights had died.  Now, we have had these particular lights for 17 Christmases so they definitely had a long life but I just wasn't expecting to have to put them to rest just yet.  (Sniff.  Sniff.)  They and the tree were a wedding gift from my grandparents.  But I gave in and headed to the store today to buy new lights.  Hubby said we previously had six sets.  50 feet of lights in each set.  Ok.  We get to the store and of course there are about 5,000 choices of lights.  You've got your minis and your traditionals and your spheres and your bulbs and even flame tipped ones.  And they all come in white or colored or all red or all blue.  There was even a set of all purple lights.  We located the lights that looked best.  Spheres - a change from the old traditional.  Wouldn't want my old lights to feel as though they're being replaced.  Just a change to something different.  Each box says that it holds a set with a length of approximately 20 feet.  Ok.  Time for math.  We previously had six sets at fifty feet each.  That's 300 feet of lights.  Ok.  At 20 feet per box we need 15 boxes.  15 seemed like a little much so we opted for 12.  Yeah, that's right we bought 12 boxes of Christmas lights for our tree.  We even weighed out the option of buying new lights versus buying a new pre-lit Christmas tree.  After dropping $120 some dollars, we head home to discover that each box of our old lights did not contain 50 feet of lights.  There were 50 LIGHTS per set not 50 FEET.  We bought enough lights to cover three trees.  Big mistake.  So, as I type this Hubby is wrestling with the lights and the tree.  I'm not sure who is winning.  Tomorrow I will hang my head and return seven boxes of lights to the Target.  We bought all the lights in this style the store had.  Hopefully they won't place an order to replace the stock we drained yet.  Glad we didn't opt to buy a new tree instead.  Oh well, at least I can smile.  My tree is up - FINALLY!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sorry Peeps, I Forgot

So, the last two days I completely forgot to blog.  I was ticked away in my cozy little home with my family of three (six if you count those with feathers) and we just enjoyed being together.  No facebook, no e-mail, no blog, nothing.  And I have to admit it was kind of nice.  While I love my cyber-friends dearly, it was nice to take a break and live like it was when I was a child - computer-less.  We played cards and games and Wii and it was awesome.  We missed our families but had a kick-ass Thanksgiving meal of our own.  We did get some rather good news.  If all goes as planned, we will be landlords by this time next week.  It has me nervous and excited at the same time.  It will be such a relief to have the rent coming in to us, but at the same the house is in such good condition that I'm scared to let anyone else live there.  I don't know why because its not like I'll ever live there.  I didn't venture out to the Black Friday sales.  Just didn't have the energy and was enjoying being here at home too much to leave.  Don't think I really missed anything except standing in line in the freezing cold for a few hours and I'm totally ok with that.  Other than that not much has transpired over the last two days.  I promise not to forget to blog again.  At least until Christmas :)

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Nacho Average Lunch

So today I had a girl's lunch with my daughter.  It was wonderful.  We bundled up and headed out to the local Mexican place and had us some south of the border grub.  We chatted about this and that and just about everything you can think of.  It was nice because there was no reason for it.  There was nothing to celebrate except us being us.  Relationships are work and the relationships we have with our children are no exception.  What does it tell your child if you are having lunch out with friends on a regular basis yet never have lunch with them?  And I'm not talking about grabbing a McCheeseburger and fries on the way home from the dentist office.  I'm talking real sit down with a waiter, takes longer than 20 minutes meal.  One on one interactive time.  No cell phone, no television, no distractions what-so-ever.  Just good old fashioned conversation.  You get to know your kid in a way you didn't before.  You get to see them in a new light.  While having lunch with my daughter, I realized what a capable, grown up young woman I have.  She has a good head on her shoulders.  It hit me especially hard when the waiter asked if it would be separate checks.  Wow!  We looked like two girlfriends out having lunch!  That's exactly what I wanted.  And yet at the same time I don't.  It means she is growing up and I'm not quite ready to let go yet.  Thank goodness I have at least another year and a half of girlfriend lunches till I have to deal with that and for that I say gracias!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

30% Off Your Sanity

Ok.  So I thought it was cool when someone in the Ukraine was reading my blog.  Now someone in Pakistan is reading it!  That is so cool.  If you enjoy reading it, please take a moment to choose a favorite post and share it on your facebook page or any other way that you may know how to share it (I can be techno-challenged so all I know is how to share it on facebook).  I love knowing that I am reaching people.  Too awesome!  Today I am prepping for Thanksgiving and trying to decide if I am going to venture out to the Black Friday sales.  Most of my shopping is done so I don't really need to go out.  I have just always wondered what it was like to be out in that mass of insane shoppers.  I want to see it firsthand.  All the fuss and craziness all for a cheaper price.  I don't really want to buy anything on the super sales.  I just want to watch the mass hysteria.  And would you believe that you don't even have to wait until Black Friday anymore?  Toys R Us opens on Thanksgiving Day at 10 p.m. with their sales.  Wal-mart's sales start at midnight.  Other stores are opening at 3 a.m. and 4 a.m.  There is no reason to set your alarm to get up when you never get the chance to go to sleep.  Apparently you are supposed to eat your turkey and take a nap so you can get up in the evening and head to the overnight sales.  I wonder what they do in the rest of the world where there is no Thanksgiving?  When is their Black Friday?  Anyone from the Ukraine or Pakistan care to  enlighten me?

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Wild Mouse is not a Fun Ride

I'm back!  After a weekend of computer dysfunction, I am once again able to put my thoughts into blog form for others to read, ridicule and/or relate to.  Hope you didn't miss me too much. 
Well, we took my daughter out to practice driving once again yesterday.  She has had her temps since October and due to scheduling conflicts and an early dusk (we figured we'd stick with daylight first) this is the third or fourth time she has been driving.  She had driven around the parking lot at a local vacant business and the high school at first.  When we first put her in the driver's seat, she asked "Which way do I turn it to start it?"  Yes, that was her actual first question.  No joke.  Nothing like upping my confidence in you baby girl.  After a quick lesson in how to start a car and a quick lesson on changing gears, she slowly inched forward and drifted about twenty feet.  She was then prompted to brake which led to a testing of the seat belt restraints.  After much more drifting, reversing and one scary moment when the gas was mistaken for the brake, we called it quits and headed home.  The second trip was a little better.  Then tired of making loops with no obstacles and hoping to go above 10 mph, I graduated her to the street.  She did ok.  Typical student driver.  We did go over 10 mph.  We went 15.  But for a first time driving on a road with other cars, she did really well.  Then yesterday, Hubby demoted her back to the parking lot.  He said he wanted her to get a better feel for controlling the car, but I think her confidence took a hit in the meantime.  She seemed more nervous than she did driving around the neighborhood and was right back to where she was when she first started driving.  I shut my eyes (to avoid becoming sick in the backseat) and we looped and looped and looped the parking lot.  With my daughter's style of sudden braking, it was like riding the wild mouse at the amusement park.  Turn, turn, turn, jerk to a stop.  Turn, turn, turn, jerk to a stop.  I think next time we go out, I'll insist on the roads in the neighborhood.  I think it does a lot for her confidence and her skills.  I know it is a lot better on my stomach.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Bigger is Not Always Better

Holy Kroger Marketplace Batman!  Today was our third trip to the new, improved, gigantic Kroger Marketplace here in Suburbia.  Its so big that they had to pass out maps the first week it was open.  I'm really not kidding.  We used to have a very nice Kroger, but they decided to knock it down to build a Kroger Marketplace (which is PR for Kroger with furniture and a sushi bar).  They closed the old one and plowed it over taking their good old time.  We suffered without a grocery store for about a month making trips to the Super Wal-mart.  It was difficult but we perservered.  The whole time I wondered - how are they going to afford closing for a month?  Well, now I know.  They jacked up all of their prices to high heaven.  Things that used to cost $6 now cost $8.  That's quite a jump if you ask me.  Whereas we used to be able to make it out of there with a full cart for $120, now we leave about $150 poorer.  I have a theory that is why they closed for an entire month.  So you could forget what prices you used to pay for everything.  Its nice I guess.  They do have a section I have dubbed "Cheeses of the World" where you can sample till your hearts content, but that's not worth an extra $30 a trip for me.  Now if I could only find my way out of the store without my frozens thawing out.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Flat Lining

I am unlucky.  Always have been.  I think its a family curse.  My mom and dad are unlucky.  My brother is unlucky.  I am unlucky.  I am so unlucky that not only did we have a copper theft at the house we are trying to sell this week, yesterday we got a flat tire.  Yup.  Drove over a nail randomly hanging out on the road.  No contruction.  Nothing.  Just a random nail.  Now I guess you could look at it and say I was lucky because it wasn't raining at the time we changed the flat, but that's not luck that's finding the silver lining if you ask me.  The saying is right there always is a silver lining.  The problem is that most of the time the situation sucks so bad that the silver lining is nothing compared to the storm cloud its hanging out with.  But nevertheless, I do try to always find the silver lining.  I haven't found it yet regarding the theft.  I'm trying to focus on the good things in my life.  I have a wonderful husband.  I have an awesome daughter.  I have a home and almost everything that I need (I say almost because I do need to get groceries at the moment).  I just have to stay focused on what I do have and let the bad things that happen, just happen.  If only those bad things didn't all turn out to be so expensive.  But I will look on the bright side.  Or at least I will convince myself that's what I'm going to do.  Focus on the silver lining.  At least its not a copper lining :)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are You on "The List"?

'Tis the season to be jolly.  Fa-la-la-la-la la-la-la-la!  Today is a better day!  I am here starting to write out my Christmas cards.  I've made a list and checked it twice and . . . what?  96 CARDS?  I am sending out 96 cards?  When did this happen?  I'll admit I added a few people this year but not more than ten tops!  When did my Christmas card list get so out of control?  So, I looked at the list again.  Ok.  Ok.  Ok.  Ok.  Wait.  Who is this?  Oh, that's right - my mom's best friend's mother.  Yeah that's right.  She's on my Christmas card list.  She sends us a card (and even a gift card for our daughter) every year.  I can't not send her one.  Then I realize.  If I can't bring myself to cut out someone I met once in my life, there's no point in even going through the list.  I try not to let it discourage me and forge on.  That's it.  The end.  There is one cousin that I got a random card from last year that I had added to the list who will not be getting a card this year.  I never talk to her.  Honestly I don't know why she even sent a card.  But outside of her, everyone stays on the list.  There are family members, friends, service providers and even a few people I haven't talked to in years but can't stop sending a card to.  But it makes me wonder - what is the ettiquette for Christmas card sending?  If someone doesn't send you a card one year can you cut them off for next year?  I've tried this before and end up getting a card from said persons the following year.   Nix that theory.  I can't possibily get a card without sending a card in return. However if there is no justified reason to cut someone off of your list, how do you keep your list from growing exponentially each year?  But I'll buck up and get my six boxes of cards addressed and signed and out in the postal system soon.  The real problem is when I think about the cost of postage - it doesn't make me feel very jolly at all.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Poor Me - A Post of Self-Pity and Financial Frustration

I've calmed down a bit from yesterday and have progressed to sulking.  It seems as though they have caught the people who were responsible for the copper thefts which is good.  That doesn't give us our pipes back though.  Insurance will cover some of it.  They're not sure just how much yet.  The window they think will be our responsibility because it is considered vandalism and vandalism on a house that is vacant for more than 30 days is not covered.  Bogus in my opinion.  Its not like they were just out to break a window.  It was part of the theft.  But whatever.  I'll be happy with whatever we get.  I let mom and grandma know that we won't be coming to Hometown for Thanksgiving now.  Mom took it better than expected.  Grandma was really disappointed.  Oh well.  Have to get the money from somewhere and cutting out a three night hotel stay and the cost of gas, food and pet boarding will help.  It will be a tough day but we'll get through it.  We also won't be taking our weekend vacation in December.  Right now the Christmas trip to Hometown is on hold.  We'll see how much this will cost us.  To be honest we didn't really have the money to go on those trips anyway.  I've lost track of my Five Weeks to Financial Betterification.  Can't really budget now that we have this huge expense to pay out.  Oh well.  Can you tell I'm sulking?  Got to find a way to get back to my snarky old self.  I promise a much more interesting and cheerful post tomorrow.

Monday, November 15, 2010

I'm Gettin' Nothin' for Christmas

So.  We live in Suburbia but we own a house we are trying to sell/rent in Next Town Over.  Ok.  Whoever it was that stole all of the copper pipes out of our house in Next Town Over - YOU SUCK!  Thanks for leaving our basement a wet mess with no plumbing.  All for a couple hundred dollars most likely to support your stinkin' drug habit while it will cost us a few thousand of our hard earned money to repair.  Now, trip to Hometown for Thanksgiving - cancelled.  Upcoming weekend vacation - cancelled.  Thanks Mr. Copper Pipe Stealin' Meth Head!  Way to ruin our holiday season!  I hope you enjoy your fix while we deal with the police and the insurance adjustors and trying to come up with the money to replace all that you stole.  If the insurance adjustor finds it in his heart or his insurance guy handbook to help us out, it will cost us at least $500.  Who has an extra $500 laying around in November/December?  Not me, I can tell you that much.  I sure hope you have fun with your . . . no wait OUR money.  How are we supposed to sell a house with no indoor plumbing huh?  I can see our realtor now - its a lovely three bedroom with a shed converted into an outhouse.  Nice.  I'm sure we'll get top dollar for that Mr. Taking Stuff That Doesn't Belong To You Most Likely In Broad Daylight.  You already hit a friend of ours house here in Suburbia, did you have to hit our house too?  It's costing them $5000 to undo what you did.  $5000.  Five . . . thousand.  How am I supposed to come up with that AND have a decent Christmas?  Suburbia police were optimistic that they will catch you.  Unfortunately our house is in Next Town Over where the men in blue barely seemed to care.  Makes me glad I don't actually live in Next Town Over.  Oh, and if you plan on coming back, don't bother.  I'm not fixing it with copper just so you can come back and leave me high and dry again.  I hope you rot in hell!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dia de los Pajamas

Today I would like to introduce you to something very important and close to my heart.  It should be a part of everyone's life every now and then.  Its fulfilling and enjoyable beyond your wildest dreams.  Its a pajama day.  In case you're unaware, a pajama day is a day where you stay at home in your jammies all day long.  That's right - all day long!  You relax.  You indulge in whatever your heart desires as long as you stay in your pajamas.  I'm not saying you can't be productive.  Catch up on your e-mail, pay some bills, do a load of laundry but do it all in your pajamas.  It's a sanity day of sorts.  Everyone needs to take a break from the rat race every now and then and its a forced break.  Whenever we try to plan a day where we just kick back and relax, it never fails.  We always remember something we forgot to go get or something we should have done.  We then end up going out and not relaxing.  With a pajama day, there is no choice but to stay home.  You can't exactly go get groceries in your pajamas (although I think I have seen some people do that at the Kroger).  You won't be as eager to run to Wal-mart or Target in your pajamas.  You can nap and read and do the things that you like to do.  So plan out some sanity time by scheduling a pajama day.  You'll enjoy it.  I'll bet my jammies on it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

I Can't Believe Its Christmas Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve Eve

Its November 13th.  NOVEMBER 13th.  And the stores today were packed with Christmas shoppers.  I'll admit it.  I am one of those people who goes straight from Halloween to Christmas mode.  I love the music, the decorations, even the shopping.  I love everything about it.  Its not that I don't like Thanksgiving.  I think it stems from living abroad.  When living overseas, we had to shop early to ship everything back to the USA.  They also don't celebrate Thanksgiving in other countries so immediately after Halloween, up goes the Christmas tree.  Our Christmas tree is still not up.  The debate rages on, but it will be up before Thanksgiving if I have anything to say about it.  I have started my Christmas card list and planned out the letter it will include.  I have even wrapped my first few Christmas gifts in festive red and green paper.  I am in full Christmas spirit, but I just couldn't believe that there were almost no parking spaces left and lines of people at the cashier stand.  The shelves were well picked over and its not even December yet.  Yes, I do realize that I was one of those people out Christmas shopping today, but usually I am ahead of the game.  I like to have my Christmas shopping done by Thanksgiving, but I do this to avoid the crowds.  I hate throwing elbows and pushing my way through stores, fighting over this or that all while being bumped and bruised and run over by oblivious shoppers with their overstuffed carts.  This year though I was right there in the thick of it all.  Grabbing the last toy off of the shelf.  Holding onto it for dear life.  I guess next year if I want to beat the rush I'll have to shop in October since apparently November is the new December.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Mortality Mix-up

Funny Flashback -
A bunch of years ago when our daughter was maybe 9 or 10, we got a new restaurant in Suburbia.  So we set out to the Chipotle in search of a tasty meal.  Upon arriving, we got in line to wait for our turn to order.  Then we noticed an employee coming down the line speaking with all of the customers.  When he got to us. he stated that he was very sorry but their rice cooker had died.  We were more than welcome to stay and eat but our burritos would be riceless.  Hubby and I talked it over and decided what's a burrito without the rice and chose to go elsewhere.  Upon returning to the car, our daughter stated how happy she was that we didn't stay and eat at Chipotle.  "Why?" we asked.  "Because I don't want to eat somewhere with a dead guy in the back," she answered.  After much confusion we finally realized that when we were told that the rice cooker had died, she thought the man who was cooking the rice in the back of the restaurant had kicked the bucket.  We informed her that it was the machine that cooks the rice that died but we still laugh about her mix-up to this day.  Love you baby girl!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

You've Got Mail

Some of you may think its geeky, dorky, childish or all of the above but I have penpals.  People I have met through one means or another (but not in person) whom I keep in contact with through good old-fashioned snail mail.  I enjoy writing letters.  There is just something liberating about sitting down, taking a pen and some pretty paper and writing.  Telling someone somewhere out there in the world what is going on with you and your family and your adventures and all of it.  It's therapeutic.  The time it takes to actually write a letter lets you figure out a lot in your own head while your writing.  I've solved problems, came up with ideas, all while writing letters.  It keeps me busy.  And there is nothing better than going to your mailbox to find something other than bills and junk mail.  It makes you smile.  It brightens your day.  To hold a piece of paper and think that a week ago this was being written for you somewhere in South Korea or Norway or Brazil.  Hearing the different customs and lifestyles.  Seeing the different art on the stamps.  Even exchanging little gifts.  Its an educational experience beyond words.  I actually know some of these friends better than I know my friends here in Suburbia.  Because they are at a distance and we don't really share many mutual friends, I feel I can tell them things that I wouldn't tell anyone else.  Some of them know my secrets and I know theirs.  There's just something more personal about snail mail than e-mail or telephone calls.  I don't know why but I like it.  For the price of a stamp, you get a wonderful friendship.  Here's to all of my penpals!  You make the world a better place!  Thanks for being friends with geeky, dorky, childish me :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

All I Want for Christmas

Remember as a child when you would get that Christmas gift that you didn't really want or already had or for some reason or other were not thrilled about.  Remember smiling and saying thank you and being grateful for the gift itself.  The other day we were in the Suburbia Target and I was dumbstruck by some lady - a mother actually.  She was telling her husband to make sure he got a good picture of the toy she was holding so that it would look good on her facebook.  That's right, she is going to take pictures of all the items her children want for Christmas and post them as an album on her facebook profile.  That's insane.  I mean, I guess it might be helpful in some twisted way, but really?  Then I heard on television this morning that this is one of the latest trends.  Parents making interweb birthday and Christmas lists for their children so that they get what they want.  I'm sorry but this has just gone too far.  Registries are for weddings and babies and times when you need certain items for your life, not want certain items for the heck of it.  It's ok for little Sophie and Hunter to get something that they didn't request on their birthday.  It's ok for little Matthew and Emma to get the wrong color of a toy under their Christmas tree.  With an established wish list, there is no thinking about what you want to get the child.  There is no personalization.  There is no fun in the gift giving when the gifts are pre-ordered.  And what will become of the manners of the children today when they never have to deal with a non-customized situation.  What ever happened to teaching children to be polite and thankful for the gift no matter what it is?  When I was young there was something we were taught that seems null and void in today's society.  Remember this? Its the thought that counts.  The question is if you are given a registry of gifts to choose from, don't you feel as though your thoughts don't much matter. 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Blogger's Block

So today I am at a loss as to what to blog about.  I want to blog about things I am passionate about and I am not having an especially passionate day.  In an effort to get some ideas, I tried to think about what my hubby (who requested that I not blog about him) and I talked about over dinner and realized that we didn't talk about anything.  We didn't talk about anything because the music in the Chipotle, (yes, we were eating out and yes, I know my Five Weeks to Financial Betterification is almost up) anyway, the music in the Chipotle was so loud that we couldn't hear each other.  Why do they do that?  Especially at eating establishments where you go for the purpose of dining and chatting.  It just seems to defeat the purpose to me.  I don't mind a little background music but this was ridiculous.  Now, the one type of music we experience when out and about that I do really enjoy is Christmas music.  There is something about Christmas music that just puts me in a good mood and makes the shopping process easier and more enjoyable.  I also will use the Christmas music as a limit of sorts.  See, they play the music on a repeating cycle.  So if you hear the same song twice, you've probably been in that store too long.  Its hard to believe there is such a thing as being in a store too long but even I will admit that can happen and shopping is something that I am passionate about.  Hey, I've blogged about something I'm passionate about.  Guess I've come full circle today.  Way to beat the blogger's block.  Go me.  I'll save blogging about Hubby for another day :)

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where's the Common Cents?

I was dreading picking my daughter up from her first winterguard practice today.  Why?  Because today was the day they found out how much it costs.  Yes, we live in a pay-to-play school district.  I don't know what it is like in other areas of the country but school is expensive here in Suburbia.  Back when I was in school, you know, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the worst thing was buying the required composition notebooks.  Now, at least in our area, you have to buy all of the supplies including classroom supplies like tissues and bleach wipes.  You also have school fees.  This is a bill they send you for the classes your child is in.  This year's school fees were $142 and we only have one child.  There was also the cost of the specialized supplies for mechanical drawing class which ran us $45.  And if your child wants to do an extra-curricular activity, look out.  Our daughter is in fall colorguard and we pay between $400 and $500 for the season.  Last year, winter guard was $20.  This year they have expanded the program so that it is $200.  Then there is the band trip to Florida which will run $900 at least.  And they do minimal fundraising.  Minimal.  Very minimal.  The Florida trip is optional but how do you tell your child that you can't afford it?  That's what we had to do.  If she were going. we would have a grand total of at least $1800 for the school year.  Wow.  No wonder dinosaurs are extinct.  They died of sticker shock.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Top Ten Things I Learned This Weekend

10.  My best girl friend is tops.  She is my Yoda.
9.  You can make your own buffalo chicken salad at LaRosa's restaurant. 
8.  Factory Card Outlet is the slowest store at putting up their Christmas items. 
7.  My father-in-law is tops.  I owe him some boneless buffalo wings.
6.  Apparently, winter style is layering camis until you are warm enough. 
5.  It is possible to feel your heart breaking. 
4.  My hubby is tops.  He's better than pizza with extra cheese.
3.  Don't do anything with anybody.  Do it by yourself.  Rely only on you.
2.  There is a point were even I wish I hadn't worn sandals.
1.  Always Always Always start every phone conversation with "Am I on speaker?"

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Hang in There with Me

Due to my apparently being a big bad bitch, there will be no blog today. 
Please come back tomorrow.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Do or Do Not, There is No Try

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, I was a skinny girl.  Nowadays, I need to lose weight.  The more things I try on from my closet, the more I know this.  Sure I joke around about it but I need to figure out a way to actually make this happen.  The problem is two fold: 1) I don't like to exercise and 2) I like to eat.  My weight problem is physics gone bad.  I am a victim of inertia - you know, where a body at rest will stay at rest and a body in motion will stay in motion.  So if I can just motivate myself off of the couch, maybe I can stay in motion and call it exercise.  I am also very persistent.  Well, ok, not persistent as much as stubborn.  Once I start something I will do it every day until I cannot do it one day then the body at rest stays at rest.  I just tend to give up.  One slip and I'm a lost cause.  I know my weight gain has a lot to do with my depression because it was the depression meds that made me gain the weight in the first place, but I think this whole thing has much more to do with my chronic depression than I realize.  When you don't see yourself as having value, why better yourself.  Why put forth the effort?  Which leads you to overeat, which leads you to be more depressed.  How does one break free of this vicious cycle?  I think I have been in denial.  We don't have a lot of mirrors in our house and the ones we do have I avoid.  I feel like the same skinny girl I was back in college and when I do catch sight of myself in a mirror, I am horrified.  To think that I (with the assistance of the meds) caused this.  We do eat out a lot and I'm sure that is not helping.  My Five Weeks to Financial Betterification is passing quickly.  I could easily kill two birds with one stone (a saying which I hate) by eating out less.  More money, less weight.  Win/win right?  So why don't I just do it?  I have to remember that inertia only happens until the object (me) is acted upon by an outside force.  An outside force.  That's it.  If I could just find the force to make me skinny again.  Where is Yoda when you need him?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

He's the Reason for the Season

With Christmas quickly approaching, my theological thoughts have turned once again to the one, the only - Jesus.  Today I had a great conversation with a friend of mine on the divinity of Christ.  See, call me the doubting Thomas but the one sticking point I have with Christianity is the whole "Jesus as divine" thing.  I have trouble getting from Point A, the place where I am in my belief system, to Point B, the place where one believes Jesus to be the son of God, without touching on the weak link that I consider the Bible.  I believe the Bible is a great tool and must be something amazing seeing as how it has survived throughout time.  The problem I have with the Bible is that I view it as fiction.  It was written by numerous different people with numerous different agendas over the course of many, many years.  It contradicts itself in places and has been cut and pasted and cut again.  It came from man not from God him(or her)self.  They may have been inspired by God but there is that little thing called free will that gets in the way.  It was not dictated as the events happened.  So my dilemma is how to get from Point A to Point B without touching on anything biblical.  I was asked by my friend to look at it from another point of view - how to get from Point B to Point A without the Bible.  To think that God as an all-powerful entity who is capable and if he is indeed all-loving (which I believe) why would he not want to grant that magnificent occurence.  If instead of looking at the glass as half empty and trying to figure out where the other water went, view it as half full and enjoy what is there.  See Jesus as divine and find the reasons to support that instead of saying "prove it to me".  This thought has brought me to a place of new found peace.  Who cares if it was a virgin birth?  Who cares if the miracles were legit?  I guess your initial viewpoint is where your faith actually comes into play - acceptance of the glass as half full in the first place.       Now if I could just have faith that my Christmas shopping will get done!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stuck in "The Middle" Again

So, I mentioned the other day that we spent Halloween in the car.  Well, we did.  Due to something beyond anyone's control, my parents could not leave Hometown to drive the 5 hours to Suburbia to see my daughter perform.  Instead, they had the great idea to meet in the middle of the journey for lunch.  We drive for 2 1/2 hours and so do they.  We have lunch in The Middle.  They wouldn't get to see her perform which was the whole point of the trip but I let that go.  I made an exception this time due to the circumstances, but ordinarily, I hate meeting in The Middle.  See the meal isn't a problem.  The problem is that once the meal is over - then what.  There is not much to do in The Middle.  There is no real place to go just to sit and talk.  We usually end up meeting at a rest stop, eating, loitering in the parking lot of the eating establishment, going to The Middle mall or other stores and then loitering in their parking lots.  Loitering not being one of the more popular ways to pass time, I am usually uncomfortable with this.  My parents don't seem to mind but it bothers me to be doing something technically illegal.  I just prefer to have a homebase whether that be my house or a hotel room, but my car does not qualify.  This time there was a crisis, but I feel as though if my daughter never had performances or a birthday, they wouldn't come out here at all.  They would be content to meet in The Middle every now and then and see us when we make one of our four trips to Hometown per year.  I am at a loss as to what to say but I am done meeting in parking lots and at rest stops.  My stress level just can't take it. 

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Poll Position

Today is election day and boy am I glad.  Not because I get to vote for the person whom I think should lead our state, county, city, etc.  I am glad because all things political will stop.  Finally, no more commercials telling me who to vote for or who not to vote for.  No more election signs cluttering up the landscape.  No more jumping up to get the phone just to find it is a pre-recorded message from someone asking me to vote for someone or something.  And I have to say that due to all of this unsolicited invasion of my privacy, I am not going to vote.  It's not because I feel that one vote can't make a difference.  I believe it can.  It's because I feel that none of the people who are running for office are actually worthy of holding that office.  I refuse to vote for anyone who slams their opponent in ads.  That rules out half of the candidates.  But I have to admit their ads are effective because they make me not want to vote for the other half of the candidates.  I feel that too many people go to the polls and vote without properly educating themselves first.  It's too easy just to push the button for someone because they're male or female or you just like their name.  I've done this in the past and regret it.  Not because the person was elected and failed me but because I participated in a process that I had no right participating in.  There should be a short quiz before you are allowed to vote proving that you know what the candidates stand for.  Maybe they should do it in essay format.  You can vote for someone but you have to then write a paragraph stating why.  Don't make everyone do it.  That would surely take too long, but more like random drug testing.  Make someone do it every now and then to keep everyone honest.  A lot of people also vote for the other guy.  They pick who they don't want to win and just vote for the opposition.  A friend of mine made the wonderful point that you shouldn't vote based on the lesser of two evils.  You should vote for the people you trust.  Trust is defined as assured reliance on the character, ability, strength and truth of a person or thing.  I'm not sure about the first three but truth and politics have no connection at all.  And trust me, I am sick and tired of the whole thing.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Say Cheese! II - The Continuing Saga

My daughter got her school pictures back the other day and, well, her hair is green.  Not completely green.  More like 1/3 green.  See they used a green screen and then inserted the background of our choice after the fact.  The problem lies in her blond hair.  Apparently the little wisps of hair as well as the edges of her hair were a problem with the green screen.  Great.  I called the company who said she will have to have retakes done and that she should brush her hair flat immediately before having the picture taken.  Gee.  Voluntary helmet-hair.  My daughter will be thrilled.  So after some discussion with the photography company, I was able to arrange for her to have her picture taken in the traditional way without the green screen.  This should solve the problem but the thing that upset me was their non-chalentness about the whole thing.  The woman I spoke to was in no way surprised that her hair was green.  She even asked right away if she is a blond.  So obviously, they have had problems with this process before on blonds.  Why offer a product that you know sometimes doesn't work.  They are not charging me for the retakes but it is a matter of principle.  If you made a car and the brakes worked pretty well most of the time, that wouldn't cut it.  So why are they able to offer a product that doesn't work sometimes.  I paid a pretty penny for those pictures and having them done right the first time was, forgive me, an expectation of mine.  Now, my daughter (and us for that matter) will have to go through the stress of another school picture day.  We can't get the pose and the background we wanted unless we go the hair-pasted-to-the-head route.  Maybe I'll choose the green background so we can remember the trials and tribulations of this year's school pictures.  Nah, why invite trouble.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pick a Date - Any Date

Last night was trick-or-treat here in Suburbia.  Two hours of sitting with my front door open and the glass out of my screen door to pass out treats to a total of seven trick-or-treaters.  Seven.  The funny thing is that's not even a record for the fewest trick-or-treaters to come to our house.  That record stands at one.  But it was nice to pass out candy to the kids who did come to our door.  Hubby was not in a very Halloween type mood.  He was quite disappointed that trick-or-treat was not on Halloween.  To be honest, I don't get it either.  Why not have trick-or-treat on Halloween?  Hubby says that without trick-or-treat, Halloween is just another day.  He's kind of right.  Today we spent five hours total in the car to drive half way across the state of Ohio to meet my parents for lunch.  (They like to do this.  I'll expain in a later post.)  They had Halloween gifts for us and that made it seem like Halloween but that was it.  Nobody at the restaurant was dressed up.  No wishes of Happy Halloween as we left.  Nothing on the radio to lead you to believe it was a special day.  Without all of the scary stuff on television to watch, it just seemed like any other day.  Rather disappointing I must admit.  I don't know what I was expecting but I agree with Hubby.  Trick-or-treating on Halloween is just the way it should be.  A friend of mine lives in Salem, Massachusetts on the road to Gallows Hill.  Maybe next year we'll go visit her for Halloween.  Somehow I think Salem would be a little more full of the Halloween spirit.  Happy Candy Day Everyone!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Come On. You Know You Wanna. All the Cool Kids are Doin' It.

Happy Blogiversary to me!  I can't believe I've been blogging every day for more than an entire month.  Even more unbelievably, I have been able to uphold a level of non-coma-inducing topics and have not lost every "peep" I have gained.  I appreciate all of my readers and encourage you to share with your social networking friends the blogs that you find particularly amusing.  I would love to expand my audience, the next step in my pursuit of world domination - I mean, spreading humor and cheer.  I love the feedback that I get and would like to create a more interactive environment by addressing some issues supplied by my "peeps".  Blogging has been a great way for me to do some real soul searching and almost has a therapeutic quality about it.  (I say almost because if I admit it is truly therapeutic I would feel obligated to pay you each as I pay my real life therapist.)  I have realized some things about myself over the last month that I was not even aware of.  I have learned by the labels with which I categorize each post that I am often filled with "frustration" and there is a bunch of "crap I don't understand".  Remembering that every post is public has been a challenge but for every subject I tackle, I become more secure in who I am and what I stand for - a great way to progress in the world of self-improvement.  So, if you've ever had the inkling, I encourage you to jump on the band wagon and become a blogonista too.  I'd love to hear what you have to share.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Brother Can You Spare a Dime?

Yesterday, my mailbox was full.  Full of crap.  All I got were solicitations for donations to charity.  Now I guess this wouldn't make me quite so angry if they weren't charities I have already donated to!  Every year for lent as a family project, we save our change and donate it to a charity (last year's winner was Reading is Fundamental).  We also participate in other charities throughout the year (like Operation Christmas Child at Christmas time).  The problem is that once you donate to these organizations, they aren't happy with your one donation.  It seems like every week they send you something asking for more money.  If I had more money to give you, I would have included it in the check I sent you last week.  It makes me not want to give to them in the first place.  The donation I just made merely covers the cost of all the mailings they will send me in the future.  What is the point of me giving them my donation?  I might as well donate it directly to the postal service.  They are the ones that end up with the money anyway.  Or send the request in an e-mail (this is what the WSPA does).  It's cheaper, more eco-friendly and easier to ignore if I so choose.  And I wonder at what point a charity decides to bump you off their harassment list.  We donated to Heifer International (a GREAT organization) so many years ago that I can't remember when it was but we still get their solicitations in the mail.  I could call and ask to be removed from their mailing list I guess, but the point is I shouldn't have to.  Keep my name, but try only asking for more money like a year later.  News flash - You're more likely to get donation once a year than once a month at least from me.  Not all charities are like this.  There are some out there who graciously accept your donation and put your money to actual use and not more mailings (Donkeys of the Holy Land being one).  I guess I will just have to focus my giving locally and purchase items with my money.  I can then physically take these items to the charities.  We did that one year for the local animal shelter and they were so surprised with the gifts they were speechless.  I wish my donations could render some of these other charities speechless - or better yet stampless.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Knock-Knock! Who's There?

Since I am in a Halloweeny kind of mood, I'd just like to say one thing.  I know some of you will not understand this but - I hate Halloween.  I like the pumpkins and the cute little trick-or-treaters but the rest I could do without.  I'm just not into the whole fear factor that many people associate with Halloween today.  I don't even like going to stores in the month of October because of some of the gory decorations.  Heck, I was wary of taking my daughter out to trick-or-treat when she was little.  But I'm not a total party pooper, I do buy candy and pass it out to the trick-or-treaters (all five that actually come to my house).  But let me state this right off the bat, if you are 10 years old or older and you want to come to my door and you're not wearing a costume, just forget it.  It really annoys me to no end when I have to pause The Nightmare Before Christmas and answer the door just to find a bunch of teens in sweatclothes with face paint on.  If you're not going to make the effort, why should I.  I'm thinking about buying something like toothbrushes or healthy snacks to give to these young hoodlums.  Maybe then next year they won't come back.  Don't get me wrong.  If you are in a costume, you get a treat.  Doesn't matter how old you are.  Heck, I give treats to the parents with the guts to dress up and take their children around the neighborhood.  Grown-ups like candy too.  My motto is if you're going to dress up and go door to door in the most likely cold Suburbia weather, you deserve something.  Heck, I even give treats to people at my door when its not Halloween.  Ask the Mormons.  They always leave with caffeine free soda and snacks.  I wonder if the Mormons decided to knock on your door at Halloween how would you know if they were real Mormons or just trick-or-treaters dressed up as Mormons?  Hmmmm . . .

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Adventures of Gimpy Me

I am finally off of my crutches.  After a week of assisted walking and lots of resting, I am finally doing better.  My torn calf muscle is healing and I can start getting my life back to normal.  There is one thing that my eyes were opened to while I was hobbling along this past week - How rude people are to the disabled.  While there have been a few kind souls who have held a door open, there are just as many if not more ignorant people with either have no hearts or no awareness of the world around them.  The worst experience I had was the day that we traveled to see my daughter in a band/colorguard competition.  Luckily, after being allowed to park in the handicapped parking area and being led through the handicapped entrance (at the top of the stadium), we were able to snag a few seats in the handicapped companion seating area saving me from falling down the bleacher stairs in pursuit of a place to rest my rear.  However, I was amazed at the number of non-disabled people occupying seats clearly marked for the handicapped.  There was even a lady standing in the wheelchair spot next to my hubby while a lady IN a wheelchair waited behind her for the spot.  She didn't move giving the poor lady in the wheelchair a nice view of her butt instead of the show.  We only stayed for three performances and upon our leaving, the lady who had been standing next to hubby promptly took our handicapped seats.  Later when we stopped on the way home for dinner, I was stunned that upon leaving the restaurant that a group of twenty-somethings standing on the sidewalk outside did not have the courtesy to move when I approached.  I was forced to crutch my way down off the sidewalk onto the road and make my way around them.  Are you kidding?  I have a nephew who is permanently disabled and in a wheelchair or on crutches.  He is not afraid to nudge someone with his crutch and ask them to move because he is disabled.  At first I found this rather rude, but after seeing firsthand how poorly I'm sure he is treated, I say kudos to you nephew!  Wish I had the guts to nudge them with my crutch and ask them to move.  Then again, nudge wouldn't have been the term for what I wanted to do :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Tornados are scary.  I don't care what anyone else thinks, they are scary.  I think its one of those things like hearing a bone break or being in a car wreck, you don't understand just how terrible it is until you've been through it.  Having lived in Tornado Alley, I have seen my fair share of tornados.  So every time there is the threat of tornadic storms, I batten down the hatches and head to the basement.  Which is exactly what I did today.  The line of storms with tornado warnings was racing eastward so I took all three birds and some necessary items and camped out in the basement.  The TV coverage was great.  Since there were tornado warnings, they stayed on the air constantly for about three hours.  I appreciate this and their ability to predict possible tornados but I have to say that the weather warning system is so good that its going to end up hurting itself.  They issue warnings for everything.  They even issue warnings for doppler indicated tornados.  Now, I for one will always abide by the warnings.  Its the public in general that I fear for.  They issue the warnings so often and then nothing happens that I fear it will cause a "cry wolf" effect.  People will just get immune to the warnings and not think anything of them.  I already know people like this.  They scare me.  Granted from the time I was little if the wind picked up, I was dragging the patio furniture into the house.  But I feel its better to be safe than sorry.  The fear is in my blood.  Hmmmm . . . Maybe I was Judy Garland in a previous life?

Monday, October 25, 2010

O Bother, Its Your Birthday

Today is the 40th anniversary of my husband's birth.  I was going to have a nice, witty, sarcastic blog today, but instead I would rather spend the time with him.  Wait, he's on the couch with ESPN on the TV.  Maybe it's best to just leave him be to do what he wants.  He seems happy at the moment.  If I go over there and bother him, he will most likely want to turn the channel to something that won't put me in a coma.  I would feel bad if he did that when he seems so content watching his little sports channel.  But then again, I'm sure he'd love to have me over there snuggling with him on the couch.  He looks quite comfortable by himself though.  If I go over there, he's just going to feel like he has to resituate himself so that I am comfortable too and why should he have to do that.  It is his birthday.  There's only ten minutes until we have to leave anyway so I guess I'll just finish up this blog posting and . . . well, now I'm done.  But if I stop typing he'll wonder why I'm not coming over and I'll feel all bad.  Then he'll feel all bad and I don't want him to feel all bad on his birthday.  So I guess I'll just keep typing so that he hears the noise and . . . wait . . . he's coming over here.  Oh, its time to go.  Problem solved.  Happy Birthday Hubby!   

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Coffee and Lattes and Booze - Oh My!

Starbucks has good coffee - overpriced but good nonetheless.  I like Starbucks.  I get sucked in on occasion usually by the scents wafting throughout the Barnes and Noble bookstore.  I just can't get with the program on their new concept though - booze at Starbucks.  Apparently, some marketing reject came up with the ridiculous idea of selling beer and wine at Starbucks and they are actually trying it.  They are testing the concept in at least one of their Seattle stores.  They claim their business is too slow in the evening.  Um, ok, then only stay open in the day.  What's so hard about that?  You are a coffee house.  Don't get greedy after 4 p.m. and ruin the place for those of us who like it the way it is.  I don't know about you but alcohol is the reason I don't go to bars and if Starbucks takes this nationwide, it will also be the reason that I don't go to Starbucks too.  The last time we went to a Starbucks, the service was awful.  We waited in line for five or ten minutes while the employee chatted with the customer in front of us.  Then, in front of an ever-growing line of people, she comped him his drinks.  And this gem was their "Barrista of the Month".  I'd hate to see the people who didn't meet that standard.  We left without any coffee and went to their website to complain when we got home.  About three weeks later, we got a letter in the mail with coupons for two free cups of coffee.  Two cups.  That's it.  It was barely worth the time we took to give them the feedback.  But hey, this is Starbucks so the retail value of those coupons is probably around $36.95.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Highway To Heaven?

Driving down Interstate 75 today to Cincinnati, I had a few thoughts like "Why is there a toaster lying on the side of the road?"  But that was put out of my mind when we passed the place where Touchdown Jesus used to live.  See, he was an icon around here.  A huge statue of the upper half of Jesus that stood many stories high with his arms outstretched to the sky (hence the name Touchdown Jesus).  He also went by Big Butter Jesus due to his creamy yellow color.  He was struck downin his prime, much like the real Jesus, when one night during a thunderstorm, he was hit by lightening.  Can you get more dramatic?  Jesus struck down by his father in his own front yard.  It made the local (and some national) news and was a temporary youtube sensation.  Touchdown Jesus got his fifteen minutes of fame.  The church where he resided says he will be resurrected.  There is much controversy surrounding this.  Often the comment is made that the money spent to restore Touchdown Jesus could do so much toward feeding the hungry or healing the sick.  I think their money is well spent for their cause.  Yes, it took him burning to the ground but Touchdown Jesus put Jesus back in the news.  People would pull off the interstate to take pictures of Touchdown Jesus.  People talked about it.  Whether they were for or against it, everyone had an opinion and was talking about Jesus and God and religion.  Great!  This is exactly what these people are trying to accomplish with their monument.  Goal achieved.  I hope they rebuild it.  I hope he brings about more controvery and more conversations.  I hope someday he will enlighten me on where that toaster came from.

Friday, October 22, 2010

WWGT - What Would Grandma Think?

My extended family is into gifts BIG TIME.  It's how we were raised.  Everyone has a birthday party where everyone else brings gifts that I feel are a little over the top.  Every year on certain relatives' children's birthdays, I buy, wrap, pack and ship gifts to them.  And when it is my daughter's birthday, she gets squat from these particular relatives.  Not even a card.  Nada.  Zippo.  Zilch.  I know they don't simply forget because other family members mention her birthday to them, and yet nothing.  The same seems to be starting to happen with Christmas.  Maybe it's because we live at a distance.  I can guarantee you that if she had a birthday party or was physically there at Christmas, she would be getting something because my grandmother would be there to see it.  What grandma doesn't see won't hurt her I guess.  And the worst part is when they see my daughter, they say "Oh, we need to send you a Christmas gift" (this was in June) "We'll double up on your birthday".  Yet her birthday rolled around and not a peep.  My daughter has been trying to understand this for all of her 16 young years.  Oh, and when we send our gifts, we don't even get so much as a little thank you note in the mail.  No thank you phone call either.  We have had similar situations with other people and eventually just gave up.  I am giving in and changing my rules starting in the new year.  No more birthday gifts for them.  I'll most likely still do Christmas next year but then my trial period is over and if they don't want to do it - fine.  I feel like Scrooge but its hard to go through all of that trouble when there isn't any reciprocation.  I know that its the thought that counts but when the thought is obviously not there, what's a mom to do.  So, as the holiday season approaches and you make your list and check it twice, be sure you're not forgetting anyone.  And at the bottom of that list add "Christmas Thank You Cards".  You'll be surprised just how much joy they can bring.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

And There is No Clearance Section

I am a shop-a-holic but there are two types of shopping I don't enjoy: grocery shopping and kid shopping.  I spent some time today, for lack of a better term, kid shopping.  Hubby and I have fulfilled all of our requirements, passed all of our tests and jumped through all of the hoops to complete our homestudy for adoption.  All we need now is the coveted seal of approval from our case worker's supervisor.  Once we get that, we are to give a list of children that we are interested in to our case worker.  This is where the kid shopping comes in.  I know that it sounds horrible, but that's basically what you are doing.  You get a wallet size picture and a few lines of type at an on-line site.  A child's whole life is based off of this little picture (often not the most flattering) and how good their case worker is at marketing them.  How are we supposed to say yes or no to a child based on this minimal information?  I feel like we would get more details if we were adopting a dog at the pound.  I definitely get more information about products I buy at the store and you can return them if you want.  You can't . . . well, I couldn't return a child.  (Apparently, there are some people who do!)  Of course, once we initiate the inquiry, we will most likely get more information, but you have to base your initial request off of the short blurb and a photo.  I almost wish they didn't have the photo.  That way you would base your pursuit of a child on their small biography and not on how visually appealing they are.  No matter how much anyone tries to deny it and no matter how good your intentions, the way they look in that picture does play a part in the decision.  I hate to think that we may miss the right child for us because she had a bad hair day and didn't take a good photo.  Too bad our case worker can't send out our homestudy to all of the children that meet our gender and age requirements.  Then the girl who is meant to be ours won't fall through the cracks.  I guess I'm just scared that as I kid shop, I will overlook her.  I like to shop but this just feels wrong.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Party of One Please

Group work sucks.  I don't care where you're at in your life or what you are working on - group work sucks.  I know that I tend to think that I can do everything myself and sometimes bite off more than I can chew but I just don't play well with others.  My daughter brought to my attention the other day a whole new concept in the world of education - the group test.  Remember when you had to study and take a test to prove what YOU understood and remembered about a topic.  My hubby has to work as part of a group at his place of employment on occasion.  He always ends up doing way more than his fair share of the work.  This is the problem with group work.  There is always one person in the group who simply doesn't care.  Someone always ends up picking up this person's slack.  Your choice is have a poor final product or do their work for them.  In my personal life, I am even encountering this even today.  I am planning a baby shower for my brother's wife.  Sounds innocent enough.  Then my mother, her mother and her sister all decided to "help".  Ta da!  Instant dysfunctional group.  Things were delegated and now we are waiting for the person handling invitations to actually send them out.  They were supposed to go out last weekend.  What am I to do?  I shouldn't have to call and check on this person but I know they are not doing their job.  It may be a baby shower but I shouldn't have to babysit a fully functional adult.  Maybe they should start to mark things like "excels at group work" or "happily pulls her own weight" on your driver's license.  Then you could ask someone to see their license and you'd know what you were getting yourself into.  There are so many possibilities that could be included.  "Shallow" or "tends to cheat" would be great ones.  Then we wouldn't have to worry about choosing a friend or even a mate.  Until that time, I will have to deal with group work.  But if asked how I would like to handle things, I will always request to fly solo.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Leave a Message at the Beep ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Beep!

Hello.  You have reached my blog.  My blog operates 24/7, 365 days a year.  If you are calling during this time, please pay attention as our options have changed.  If this is an emergency, please hang up and dial 911.  Press 1 if you would like to read my blog.  Press 2 if you would like to comment on my blog.  Press 3 for the location of my blog.  Press 4 if you would like to speak to a receptionist to make an appointment with my blog.  Press 5 if all of the above apply to you.  Press 6 if none of the above apply to you.  Press 7 if you are blond.  Press 8 if you speak english.  Press 9 if you are under 5'9".  Press 0 to reach the operator or simply stay on the line.  -click-  buzzzzzzz . . .  -  Can you believe something very, very similar to this is what I heard today when I called, of all places, the doctor's office?  I expect this when I call a school, a hospital, or Walmart, but the doctor.  Come on!  When you are sick, the last thing you want to do is push buttons trying to reach an actual live human being.  Luckily, I was not the sick one and had a small amount of patience which was quickly eroded by this wonder of automation.  All I wanted was an appointment.  If I wasn't getting disconnected, I was being rerouted back to the main menu or, even more frustrating, sent to the receptionist's voice mail.  She's the receptionist.  Her job is to ANSWER the phone.  Webster's defines the position as "one employed to greet callers".  What in God's name does a person that has the job of ANSWERING the phone need with voice mail?  What ever happened to answering the phone and putting the person on hold?  At least that way, you can hope they will return and talk to you.  Or even the dreaded busy signal, a thing of the past, would be more welcome than the receptionist's voice mail.  After twenty minutes of pushing button and starting over again, I finally reached someone who transfered me to the receptionist and made sure she would take my call.  I guess she was the receptionist to the receptionist.  I don't know.  All I know is my daughter was hacking up a lung beside me as I journeyed through the seven levels of automated hell.  But in the end, I got the appointment, she got the antibiotics and we got the heck out of there before I got sick and had to start calling all over again.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The E.B.A. - I'm Not Just a Member, I'm the President

There is an evil force that lies in almost every home in the country.  It is addictive.  It is easily accessible.  It is ebay.  Now, I know what you're thinking.  Ebay, how can that be dangerous.  But for those of us who do not enjoy the public but do enjoy finding a bargain, it is a dream come true.  I admit.  I am one of those people.  But I have two other personality flaws that make ebay even more of a hazard - compulsiveness and competitiveness.  When I go out on ebay, it is like a hunt.  I have to find something, anything to bid on.  The one-of-a-kind-ness of an item just adds to the urgency to obtain it.  I will try to come up with any reason to rationalize a bid.  (Of course I need that clock shaped like R2D2.  It'll look great in my bathroom.)  Once the bidding starts, look out.  I have to have it.  I mentally set my price limit, shipping included, and when I reach that I change it to that price without the shipping.  When I reach that number, I usually will set a higher number.  When I reach that number, I set an absolute highest number.  This last number usually sticks until the final minute or two.  Then all bets are off.  Its actually quite a scary process.  I get a high from beating other people's bids.  I love having bids on more than one item.  I will bid on things that I definitely don't need and sometimes don't even want.  I need to start the EBA (Ebay Bidders Anonymous.)  When I am not bidding on something, I feel a sense of emptiness.  A sense of despair.  That is why there is a rule in my house that I am not allowed to go onto ebay.  Absolutely not at all.  It is a self-inflicted rule, but a rule that I must stick by.  The problem is this afternoon I had to do some shopping for my hubby's birthday and I was lured to the dark side yet again.  So far I have resisted the temptation to bid but the pull is there and it is strong as ever.  So when you think of all the dangers that lurk on your computer, don't forget the evil that is ebay.  It can suck you dry mentally, emotionally and, most important, financially.  Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some more bidding . . . I mean shopping . . . I mean . . . hell, I'm playing it safe and logging off.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm Dressing Up as a Christian for Halloween This Year

I am not a huge fan of Halloween but since when did Halloween become a bad word as far as the school system is concerned.  When I went to school, we had Halloween parties, we dressed up in Halloween costumes and we ate Halloween treats.  And guess what, most of us didn't grow up to become heathens.  I went to a catholic school and one year we even had a haunted house.  Now, I can't vouch for how frightening the entire thing was because I didn't get any further than the first room, but I do remember our priest at the time, dressed in a dracula costume lying in what appeared to my first grade eyes to be a coffin.  He didn't burst into flames and he wasn't struck down by lightening.  He scared the crap out of me but that was about it.  The thing that gets to me is they still have the parties.  Sometimes they even let the kids dress up in costumes.  The only difference is they call it an Autumn Party or something equally idiotic.  Apparently, Halloween is a pagan celebration and thus can't be celebrated in school.  But what about Easter and for that matter Christmas.  They are christian holidays that public school's happily give up their academic time for without hesitation or a ridiculous name change.  Maybe its because there is no Halloween icon.  Easter has the bunny.  Christmas has the big guy in the red suit.  Maybe Halloween just needs a representative to speak up on its behalf.  Or is it just that the christian religion has that much of a stronghold on the world today that any beliefs that differ from theirs need to be stifled.  Isn't this unfair to the pagans?  Why don't we celebrate jewish or islamic or hindu holidays as well?  Or maybe we should just have quarterly parties to celebrate - well to be politically correct - nothing.  I say either call them what they are or don't celebrate them at all.  Your child isn't going to turn evil because she wears a Dora the Explorer costume for an hour or eats a cookie with Happy Halloween iced on the top.  Lighten up.  I don't like the holiday but at least I call it what it is.  I can't decide if its the power christians have in society today or Halloween itself that scares me more.