Thursday, July 9, 2009

I Gotta Start Somewhere!




Wow, I really let this blog go.  A couple of blog friends tried to nicely mention all the cobwebs building up in the corners and the dust covering everything, but it took me a while to get over here and clean it up.

So, my last post was ~ 2 months ago.  What have I been doing?

I can account for ~ 3 weeks, which were spent traveling.  Then, there's the packing before the trip and the unpacking after the trip.  There's the time it took to find a place for the dog .  .  .

Okay, okay .  .  .  honestly, I just got out of the habit.  I had planned to do a lot of blogging while we were in Europe, but obviously, that didn't happen.

Since, I have to start somewhere, I'll start by recounting the three weeks I can account for.  
I'll start with the Negresco.  

It's a hotel in Nice.  Let me rephrase that.  It's a sort of .  .  .  a crazy hotel in Nice, France.  My husband had a business event in Nice, and his company chose to put everyone up at the Negresco.  We actually started our trip in Germany.  I love Germany, but the German part of our trip was really short and to the point, 
and I don't have any interesting pictures from that part.  

So, without further ado (my mother's favorite word when I was young and able to cause much ado), if you haven't met, let me introduce you to the Negresco.


It looks beautiful.  It is impressive.  It's outrageously expensive.  Supposedly, celebrities stay here.  There were paparazzi outside taking video, hoping to capture me stepping out on the balcony .  .  .  or someone equally as impressive.  

If I had $700/night to spend on a hotel though, this probably wouldn't be it.  I'm not complaining, I'm just saying.

This is the wall inside the elevator.  Enough said.

This is the wallpaper in the hallway of our hotel room. 

This is the sink in our bathroom.  If you can't tell from the picture, it is glittery, sparkly gold.  The bathtub and the bidet matched the sink.


This is the antique bed in our hotel room.  Notice the canopy that matches the wallpaper from the hallway walking into the room.


This is an original Salvador Dali painting found on the Dali hallway, which was filled with original Dali paintings.

Did I mention that this hotel actually prides itself on being an art museum?

This unclear photo was taken in the Negresco in Salon Versailles (said with a pretentious French accent).  This is a portrait of King Louis IVX by his original portrait painter.  There are three of these authentic paintings in existence.  One is located in the Palace Versailles.  The second is located in the Louvre, and the third is here in the Negresco.  This room is complete with Louis IVX furniture placed the way it was placed at Versailles.  We know because we tried to move a chair and got yelled at by the Negresco's proprieter.


This is a massive and gorgeous chandelier in one of the main salons.  
The roof was designed by Eiffel.  Yes, that Eiffel. 

Is the Negresco unapologetically pretentious? Yes.  Is it ostentatious?  Yes.  
Is it a mix of art from the 17th century through to the 21st?  Absolutely.

Is it lovely and tastefully decorated?  Not so sure.

The absolute best part of the Negresco you see in the top photo.  
The view from our room was awesome.

I will continue recounting the parts of our trip that I feel like recounting 
until I find my 'blog voice' again.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Sorry about the dust - I'll try to be more attentive.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Birthdays - the good, the bad and the . . .


I have to start by saying I am not complaining. Really, I'm not. I am soooo blessed and I do know how blessed I am.

My birthday was on Sunday. Whenever anyone in our family has a birthday, we start the day with breakfast together. It doesn't have to be fancy, but we always set the table to make it feel that way.

This Sunday I knew that my daughter and husband had to leave at noon. They let me know that we would have breakfast together before they left, and they would be home to make me dinner and had invited my mother and friend to join us that evening.

So, Sunday morning we all enjoyed a much needed sleep-in. I was hungry when I woke up, but I didn't get myself anything to eat, because I was waiting for everyone. I was reassured several times that soon they would get breakfast together.

Finally, at 12:05 my daughter and husband apologized profusely that they had let the time slip up and ran out the door. My nine year old son had cut up a peach for himself. I peered into the bowl of mush. It looked like he had pulled apart the ripe, mushy peach with his bare hands, squeezing as he went. He held the bowl out to me and asked, "do you want a piece of my peach?"

Fast forward to the evening when the guilty culprits returned with tails between their legs. They both promptly disappeared to do 'important' stuff. I was worried because I knew people were coming over, and I generally prepare before someone walks in the door.

I couldn't just sit by and watch more crashing and burning. I grabbed some cheese out of the fridge and poured some crackers on a platter just as the doorbell rang. I sent my son to find the scoundrels that were supposed to be making dinner.

They came and sort of pulled it together. There was a lot of talking and joking as we waited and waited for food to be prepared. At every opportunity my daughter disappeared, and we had to call her back to join the festivities. Granted, she's a teenager, but she also LOVEs a party.

When I opened my gifts, there were potted herbs for my herb garden, some great placemats, a Barnes and Noble gift card that will be used before you know it. My son made me a gorgeous bracelet out of purple string and silver beads. My husband gave me the big finale - something I had been really wanting - the Bamboo fun tablet for doing artwork and crazy creative stuff on my computer. My daughter's gift was conspicuously missing. She said she was still working on it.

The next night there was a beautifully wrapped gift on my bed. Within the homemade sparkly paper I discovered an amazing photo album full of our family at different ages. Every page was completely covered with colorful clippings, creative doodads and scrapbooked sayings all straight from my daughter's heart.

It might be my favorite gift - ever. But, next year I want to eat before noon!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Soiled at 10 and 2


Today I was driving around on my normal chauffeur route, squeezing the errands in between.

I drove up to the bank drive thru, and as I sat in my car next to the pneumatic chute waiting for the receipt to come back, I realized my hands felt sticky (no, not like the lady in my WWUD post). 

Upon inspection, I realized my fingers were black. I surveyed the steering wheel and immediately discovered the source of my problem.

Black, sticky splotches of paint were strategically located in the 10 and 2 position on the back of my steering wheel, but now smeared blotchily around the steering wheel and my hands.

*Important background info that I knew* 1. The last time I drove my car I took it to the car wash, which I rarely do, but sooooo enjoy the aftereffects.   2. My husband used my car after I took it to the car wash and had to open our recently painted gate to drive my car through. (you guessed it - I don't have to tell you what color the gate was painted!)

I was pissed (putting it mildly).  The whole momentarily pristine state of my car was sullied.  I lost my 'moment'.  

I started fumbling for wet wipes, trying not to distribute the lovely blackness any more than necessary. Once I got the deposit slip, I slowly pulled into the closest parking space in order to clean up, take a breath and plot revenge on the guilty culprit.

I got it together and moved on.

When I got home, my home phone was ringing. Here's the phone conversation that followed, and this is absolutely true:

"Hello, this is Rena, the manager from the Wachovia branch you visited today."

"Okay" - immediately scrolling through my memory banks - did I leave my card in the machine again?

Rena: The teller who helped you today said that when you left the drive thru, you did not have a smile on your face. We were concerned that you did not receive excellent service.

Me - stunned : Uhhhh, the service was fine. I had other issues within my car.

Rena: So, is there any way we could have improved your service today?

Me, so in shock that I can't come up with anything snappy: No, I don't think so.

Really?!?

Is my bank now concerned about my emotional health? I find this whole phone call hard to swallow. I still haven't figured out the underlying angle. They can't actually be interested in customer service after all these years of not caring.  The economy must be horrible if the bank is actually having to resort to positive customer experience in order to retain clientele.

This personal service is making me uncomfortable.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Story of a Princess


This story is based entirely on actual events that have occurred in the life of my friend, Gem and her boyfriend, Duke.

Gem was born in a small town in Georgia. Gem was always bigger than the life she was born into. She loves to travel and has an appreciation for the finer things in life.

Into Gem's life, Duke sauntered. Duke was born in Nigeria to a prominent family. He is now living in Georgia and in Nigeria, where he maintains three homes.

Life in Nigeria is far different than life in America. Duke is accustomed to such things as having his underwear ironed. He has one person on his staff in one of his homes whose only job is to reset the switch (equivalent to flipping a breaker) whenever the power goes out.

Duke quickly swept Gem off her feet and they were drawn together into a full-swing romance, traveling frequently all over Europe and Africa.

After a year together, they decided to establish Duke's American residence in Gem's home. They officially moved in together, though he still had his three homes in Nigeria and work there kept him in Africa quite often.

During one particular extended stay, Duke walked into their Georgia home from the garage. He was overtly upset as he slammed the door.

He said to Gem, "something's wrong with the light in the garage."

She asked, "is the lightbulb burned out?"

He said, "I don't know. Can you get somebody to fix it?"

Upon further inspection, Gem realized it was simply a matter of changing a light bulb.

Gem said to Duke, "I'm on my way out. You can change the bulb - there are new bulbs in the cabinet, " and she left.

Duke was panicked. Duke had no idea how to change a lightbulb. Duke went to Gem's twelve year-old-niece and asked her how to change the lightbulb.

I dont' think I have to spell out who the actual princess is in this story.

I must admit. My son is afraid of any work. What I'm really saying here is, "I'm afraid my son may also be a princess."

Update on the whole horse debacle . . .


If you didn't read the previous post - this is just a follow-up.  

It was pretty anticlimactic.  

After many calls to Edna where she never answered, I loaded the kids into the car to drive over there with our gardening gloves and grubby jeans.  We knocked on her door to report for duty - still no answer.  I was beginning to worry about her.

We walked back to the barn and peaked into the stalls to see what was in store for us.

Those stalls were unbelievably, spotlessly clean.

So, we left, and I continued to call Edna until she finally returned my call.

This time it was a whole different story.  Her voice was bright and chipper, and she said she felt much better and had no problem now taking care of the horses.

So, it's the thought that counts, right?  I mean, I was willing to help her, and I didn't just hang up the phone originally, pretending that I didn't understand her, like my husband said to do.

So, God, do I still get all the points as if I had actually done the dirty deed of cleaning up behind the majestic creatures that are so much nicer when you don't have to clean up behind them?

I'm not sure though if I actually believe in domesticating animals like this.  Would I get more points for sneaking around at night and letting all the locked up horses run free?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oh No!


Yesterday I phoned my friend, Lane,  to let her know about the health of a mutual friend.

Lane still lives in a different time period than the rest of us.  She barely uses her cell phone. She barely emails.  I'm sure she has no idea what a blog is.  Her kids are in high school and, of course, techno savvy, but somehow she missed the whole technology bandwagon.  

Anyway, when I called her home phone, her mother-in-law, Edna, answered and told me that Lane was in Costa Rica.  I had forgotten about their family vacay this week.

I was about to hang up the phone when Edna, in a highly distressed tone, said, "Wait!!!"

She then asked if I knew who usually took care of Lane's horses.

I said, "no, why?"

Edna said (very distressed tone): "I can't do it any more.  I'm supposed to take care of them, but I'm 80 years old, and it has really messed up my arthritis.  I'm in so much pain.  I don't know what to do."

Me: "Gulp."  

Now, I'm trying to think of a way out of going over there and cleaning stalls.  What could I possibly say other than I'll be over to help you, poor little old lady?  I barely have time for my own life - now I have to become a farm hand? What the hell is Lane thinking?

I told her to do some research? (well, what would you have said?) and try to find out who helps Lane out.  I guess their cell phones don't work in Costa Rica.

So, I now have to call Edna in the a.m. to see how mad her research skillz are.  

Wish me luck, cause I'm thinking I'll be smelling like horse manure tomorrow evening.

DAMN!!!!  I didn't need extra chores this week!!!!




Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Haunted


When I went to see a movie the other day, I saw a preview for another movie. Well . . . I sort of watched it through my fingers. It was a scary movie.

This was a preview of a movie about a haunted house. These people buy a used house in Connecticut. The house is possessed by ghosts. There is a teenage boy who is also possessed by the ghost. I don't know what else happened, but it was scary. After this preview I vowed to never go to the state of Connecticut or even the adjacent states.

After watching this preview, I realized that maybe our house is haunted.

Incident #1: I had a 48 ounce bottle of Dr. Bronner's eucalyptus liquid soap in my shower, and it disappeared. It was a 48 ounce bottle, really - it was huge. It just vanished. No one in my house took it. It was not in the trash can. I even thought eucalyptus was some sort of ghost repellent, but perhaps it attracts ghosts, and this started the whole thing.

Incident #2: My son was possessed by the ghost and became obsessed with Mario Kart.

Incident #3: My daughter was possessed by the ghost and became obsessed with Facebook.

Occasionally, our cat is possessed by the ghost and bites whoever happens to be next to him.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

My daughter is destined for greatness, or at least a close-up of some sort


I now know that my daughter is destined to be a famous movie star - on the big screen.

How do I know this, since she is only fourteen and not interested in acting?

I know this because we went to the orthodontist today, and he informed me of a procedure that she will be getting in the near future.  

There was no consultation before he told me this today.  There was no question about how far we want to go in order to achieve dental perfection.  There was no mention of the cost of this procedure or weighing our options.

I was told that after the next visit, if the exactly particular spacing has occurred between the specific teeth, then we will make an appointment immediately following that ortho appointment with a dentist.  

Have you ever tried to get an appointment with a dentist immediately for cosmetic reasons?

Once we have successfully performed the phenomenal task and been granted the appointment, we are supposed to come back into the ortho office to have a bracket removed from the offensive tooth.  Then, we are supposed drive over to the cosmetic dentist that will miraculously give us an emergency appointment for the procedure.  Once the cosmetic procedure has been completed to perfection (and I still have no idea how much that procedure will cost), we are supposed to drive back to the orthodontist to have the bracket put back on so that my daughter's destiny can be complete.

She will be ready for the close-ups that her profession will require.  Why else would they have me jump through all these hoops?

I'm not even sure I really believe in braces.  But, since this investment will eventually pay off and replenish our retirement fund through the movie star's earnings, I guess it's all worth it! 


  

Monday, March 30, 2009

In Memoriam

Misha
1994? - March 30, 2009
You were sweetness personified and you will be missed

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Apologies in advance for lame post




My life today - 

"Mom, he's breathing on me!"

Overheard from the other room as my son was in his piano lesson:

Piano teacher playing a new piece of music - then loud, fake snoring noises from my son as he pretended to sleep when he was supposed to listen to his new piece of music.  (I'm so proud)

After my daughter's piano lesson -

Mo,ooommmmm, he came into my piano lesson wearing a grim reaper costume!!!!!  Then, he stood next to me and chewed in my ear, while I was in my piano lesson!!!  I pushed him away, but he just came back!!!

Me:  No pushing.



Later at dinner:

Husband: I called your brother today.

Me:  I know, he emailed me.

Husband:  Really, what'd he say?

Me:  Tell your husband to stop calling me.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

I fart in your general direction . . .


Disclaimer - If you have never seen a Monty Python movie or if you have no idea what Spamalot is, or if you did not know that Spamalot is a musical version of the movie, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (much of it word for word), then you may want to skip reading this post or skip down to an important issue in italics below.


My mom called me yesterday to ask if I would go with her to see Spamalot.  I enjoyed myself some Monty Python back in the day.  So I said - sure, why not.

I was never one to randomly spew quotes from the Monty Python movies as many of my friends did in high school.  Even though I had seen The Holy Grail and The Life of Brian, I could not figure out what they were talking about when a friend said something like, 
"Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of silly persons!"

So, I would say something ridiculous like, "huh, what are you talking about?"  and then they would act like they had a private club that I would never be cool enough to join or something.

So, anyway, my mom and I went to the show.

This brings me to one big, huge, giant major pet peeve -

Would everyone please rise up with me in protest of one thing - the standing ovation.  

I don't get it.  Regardless of how mediocre a show is nowadays - no matter what - there will be a standing ovation.  If you go to the crappiest hometown rinkydink show, there will be one. I get so frustrated by the whole thing that I try to sit them all out.  It's not easy.  My husband and I just look at each other as everyone starts standing up and both do a big eyeroll instead.  

The true big O was supposed to only be for those rare special moments when you just can't contain the amorous elation bursting through your veins due to a performance, it is an event where your mere mortal body cannot contain the vibrations coursing through your flesh.  The big O is then both spontaneous and unmistakable.

I'm protesting the whole 'fake Big O'.  I am afraid I will lose my grip on the difference between the real thing and all these little fako's if my fellow audience members are constantly faking it!  Come on, people!

I'm not saying Spamalot didn't deserve a Big O.  I'm saying I don't know anymore when it's real and when it's fake.

Stepping off my soapbox and back to the show with my mom.  We really enjoyed it - it was absolutely hilarious, and as we were leaving I mentioned something about how so much of the dialogue came directly from the movie.

Mom: "no, honey - it was originally a musical, then a movie."  

Me: "I don't think so, Mom."

Mom: "It was the musical, Camelot.  You do realize that the Lady of the Lake is NOT Guenevere, and I can't believe they called Merlin, Tim?  Why would they do that?"

Me: "Mom, have you ever seen a Monty Python movie?"

Mom:  "No, I don't think so."


Monday, March 16, 2009

Where did the time go?


My husband had a two week business trip through Europe. I have only 4 more nights until his return.

I hate when he goes - I so dreaded his leaving.

But, now that he's gone . . . I'm thinking of all the things I could have done, could still do before he comes back, and now I'm thinking I've been totally wasting a golden opportunity.

I do have the kids to take care of, but what about the rest of the time, like while they're sleeping? There are a lot of hours during the night where I could become a french pastry chef? or prolifically paint? or write a novel?

Of course, I had to google what I should be doing, because I hardly think for myself anymore. When one of the kids ask me what a word means, or how something works, I instantly turn to google.

I found this list of amazing things I should be doing. This is just a sample, the list goes on here!

Try to not think about penguins
(Amusement Potential: 1-5 minutes)
This is especially hard, because by trying too much, you remember what you were trying to avoid thinking of. If you try too little, you end up thinking about penguins anyway.

Use your secret mind power
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Pick a passing by and try to use your mind power to command them do something, like drop their bag or knock into someone. The law of averages dictates that sooner or later one of your mind commands will come true, so you can convince yourself that you really have super human powers and waste even more time trying them out.

Pretend you're a robot
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Walk down the street with mechanical movements, adding 'zzzzzt' sounds with each motion. Pretending to have a motor broken in, say, your left hand can add at least 30 seconds more entertainment.

Scratch yourself
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Go ahead, scratch yourself now. Even if nothing itches, go ahead. Doesn't that feel pretty good?

Repeat the same word over and over until it loses its meaning
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
Pick a random word out of a magazine and say it aloud to yourself until it becomes a meaningless set of noises.

Pinch yourself
(Amusement Potential: 1-3 minutes)
What is pain? Why is it unpleasant? There's nothing physical about it - it's all in your mind. Plus, after pinching yourself for awhile, boredom will seem nice next to being in pain.

Try to swallow your tongue
(Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
There's not much to say about this one. It is possible, but really stupid.

Pretend to be a car
(Amusement Potential: 5-10 minutes)
Make appropriate revving noises in your head as you walk along and add a racing commentary as you pass strangers in the street. Use blinking eyes as indicators for extra authenticity.

Make Star Trek door noises
(Amusement Potential: 1-2 minutes)
Stand by an electric door to a bank or something and make that silly "Scccccccchwop" sound heard whenever people popped on to the bridge to hang with Captain Kirk.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Today's Notes


Notes from today:

Note to high school dude who was late for practice while I happened to be sitting in my car in the parking lot - next time you're late for practice, could you please put your protective cup on before you get out of the car, so we don't have to watch you do it in the parking lot?

Note to my son's martial arts instructor - could you pick a time to end the class and stay within, let's say 15 minutes? Do you have any idea what I could have done with that hour? I am seriously deficient in internet surfing time, now.

Note to mother mentioned in the previous post - could we refrain from discussing personal stuff, such as sleeping habits until further notice? On second thought, could we just refrain from conversing at all until further notice?

Note to daughter - could you just listen to me and do exactly what I say, just for the next, say, 3 or 4 years? How about just 1 year? 1 hour? a few minutes?

Note to son - what did you do to the wii fit personal trainer that the video trainer told you to come back later since he wasn't feeling well?

Note to husband - if you go traipsing around Europe on 'business', and I'm here with our 'real life' and I call you, can you check the attitude?

Note to Teddy, cat - when you curl up next to me, purring, then you lay your head on my leg, and I pet you, immediately feeling the stress of the day melt away, until BAM - out of nowhere - I get nailed. Could you stop with the mean unexpected biting thing - and do you do it because you're mad that you don't have a tail? It isn't my fault. You were born that way. We have to learn to love the bodies we were given, Teddy.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Weird


A few nights ago I had a dream about an acquaintance. I really don't know her that well, but our kids are friends.

I don't remember the dream or anything about it. I know it was about her because I have this sick feeling whenever I think about calling her or even emailing her to arrange our kids getting together.

Remember that feeling you got back in school when the weird kid who sat next to you in chemistry started giving you candy and you struck up a friendship? and everything was fine until you found a note in your locker from that weird kid that asked you to be his boyfriend? Then you didn't know if it was really from him or if his friends were playing a trick on him or if your friends were playing a trick on you? but you got a creepy feeling, anyway, and you didn't know what to do. So you just avoided him and when he offered you candy, you said no thanks, and everything was really weird? You know that feeling?

That's the exact feeling I have about this poor innocent mother of my kid's friend when I have to interract with her.

I feel like she made an incredibly uncomfortable and unreciprocated move on me. I know she didn't.


I'm so weird. I can't communicate with her at all - not by phone or text or email or blog comment - please tell me she doesn't read my blog. I even canceled my kid's playdate with her kid!

I have issues.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Kids raising kids


Okay, okay . . . I might as well own up to it. I'm going to admit it. I know it's true. Deep breath, here we go:

I have no idea what I'm doing as a parent.

There, I said it.

When I first had my little babies, they were so cute and easy to snuggle. It all came so naturally to make sure they had food and sleep and . . . oh to be back there for those sweet times.



Fast forward to today. I have no idea how to handle a teenager or even my 9 year old. I feel like I am a teenager.

When I catch her 'chatting' with her friends on Facebook, and she's supposed to be defining terms for biology, what am I supposed to do? I have no idea.

As I sit here, typing in comments on blogs when I should be getting my husband's shirts out of the washer, so they don't get that sour smell, or wiping the kitchen counters, so the back cover of my book doesn't transpose itself there. I'm doing the same thing. Like mother, like daughter. She learned from the best.

By my senior year in college, I had the 'system' completely mastered. No classes on Fridays, Film Appreciation (watching movies) on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Human Sexuality on Mondays and Wednesdays, etc. It was awesome. Everyone I knew was in awe of my schedule. Isn't that what she's doing? Figuring out the system?

My son is 100% addicted to video games. The rest of his life is just superfluous and all about doing whatever he has to do to get back to his one true love - Mario Cart. He has to eat, sleep, do his school work and unload the silverware from the dishwasher - no problem, because somehow it will all lead to . . . (sound the trumpets, strum the harp) - maybe not today, but eventually - - - - - Mario Cart!!!!!!

What do I do? Give in to the indulgences? Get rid of all screened media in our household? (okay, you can forget that idea - we're all addicted) Restrict the times so I end up spending my life as a policeman? Lay guilt trips on them? Devise complicated charts and hoops to jump through in order to earn their respective addiction?

They actually used to be kind to one another!!!!

I know they're great kids. Really, they are. It's just me that's screwy and messed them up.

Monday, March 2, 2009

French Toast and . . . you don't want to know


Sorry, I'm exhausted because my good friends came to visit this weekend, and we had a little too much fun.

Fun can be exhausting and disgusting!

At one point during the weekend, they shared some photos with me. One of the photos depicted a brown blob on a plate. When I asked what it was, they told me they didn't know.

We were also enjoying a nice brunch of french toast at the time.

As I chewed a particularly eggy bite of the french toast, my friend explained to me that the blob had plunked out of a maple syrup bottle onto a plate.

Hmmmm, that's really weird.

My friend continued to describe the blob. Remember I had an extremely eggy bite in my mouth. She said, "it was exactly like a placenta that just came out of the bottle and onto the plate."



Thank you to all the top entrecard droppers in February!



Lola's Diner
Rocket Scientist
Starcasm
Not Your Ordinary History
Celeb Girlz For Charity
Crotchety Old Man
Stuff and Nonsense
Celebrity Body Gossip
Prague
MakesYouLaugh

Saturday, February 21, 2009

At least LOL cats aren't teachers, right?



I was helping my daughter format a biology term paper. I googled 'sample term paper format', so I could remember proper formatting. No, I was not trying to buy a paper for her online. But, I did find many, many sites willing to sell me one!!!

I finally found a website purporting to assist high schoolers in the term paper writing process.

Here is a passage from that website

When time for writing a high school term paper comes, you think that not everything is so good anymore, and you should do a lot of work. Writing a good high school term paper requires some time and your efforts. So, be ready to this.

What??????

In homeschooling my kids, I have come across this issue more often than you would believe.

How can you put yourself out there as an educator or a 'helper', when your grammar sucks? I really don't get it.

I have had two homeschool curriculum companies send me emails with attrocious grammar. I'm not talking about a simple apostrophe ommission or typo - I'm talking serious issues with grammar - like LOL cats bad grammar. Really - that bad.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Creepy and beyond . . .



There is a disturbing incident that I couldn't keep down and continues to bubble up in my memory coffers.

It all started in high school as most of these things do. There was a boy who had a crush on me, Mick. I considered him a good friend, but that was the extent of my interest.

He wanted us to be an 'item'.

The biggest problem with this issue was that all his friends were the only ones I was interested in dating. He had somehow forbidden his friends to date me (you know the ol' bros before hos' thing - not that I am or ever was a, you know, ho).

It was our senior year and all I wanted to do was date. I wanted to date every one of Mick's friend's. Somehow, I did manage to date quite a few of the forbidden friends, you know, on the downlow. (That whole 'bros before hos' thing can easily be gotten around.)

Anyway, I stayed in touch with Mick loosely through college and then we sort of drifted and lost touch.

Fast forward to our 20 year high school reunion. Yeah, I could have fudged and claimed it was my 10 year reunion, but I'm owning it. Anyway, my really good friend from high school called and asked me to come, so I did.

Once at the reunion, I was standing in the midst of all these strangers trying to remember who each of them is, and Mick walks up.

*note: I'm taking the high road here by not commenting on his appearance.

He came up to me and asked me if I still all had the poetry he had written to me in high school!!!??!! I know, creepy, but it gets worse.

I sort of stuttered that I could look in some boxes, but really didn't know what to say and found a way to wander off.

A little while later, Mick's wife approached me and introduced herself. She was sweet and soft spoken. She reminded me of a kindergarten teacher. She told me how highly Mick had spoken of me. This is a bit creepy in itself, as my husband has no idea who Mick is.

Then she dropped the bomb: "He keeps a picture of you in his bedside table!"

WHAT!!!!?!!!!?!!!!!!!!!!?

I haven't spoken to Mick in over 15 years. This is so wrong in so many ways:

1. Creeeeeeeeeeepppyyy!!!!!!!!

2. His wife knew this piece of information and actually told me.

3. Creeeeeeeeeeepppyyy!!!!!!!!

4. Creeeeeeeeeeepppyyy!!!!!!!!

Did I mention I'm having nightmares?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Note: If you didn't read the previous post, this is part 2

I know you've been anxiously waiting on the edge of your seat. Sorry you weren't able to sleep in anxious anticipation of what exactly was my daughter doing in the ladies' room at the ice skating rink.

So, without further ado, I bring you the conclusion to my last post.

Yes, folks. My daughter was running a tattoo parlor out of the restroom.

Okay, no needles were involved, but sharpies are permanent, right?

Her friend was leaving for Florida, so my daughter gave her a multi-colored custom design on her belly.

I can't wait to hear from the mothers of the tattooed victims.

Teen shenanigans . . . caught in the act!


I dropped my daughter off at the ice rink, an almost daily activity. As she was leaving the car, I received a phone call that changed my afternoon plans. I immediately called my daughter's cell to let her know of the change in time to pick her up.

No answer.

So, I park the car and actually have to get out and walk . . . on my two legs . . . all the way from the parking lot into the building to catch her.

I look in the main lobby area where she usually gets her skates on, etc.

She's nowhere to be found.

I walk down to the roller rink where she likes to warm up and find only five guys doing some crazy roller racing. No girls that I can see.

I walk to the next rink, which is the hockey rink. There I see slamming, pads, blood spattering, teeth flying . . . hard to tell behind all those pads but no obvious estrogen to be found.

I start to think about what sort of trouble she could have discovered - some unknown hockey boyfriend? some secret room of debauchery? pirate kidnapping?'

I continue to the second ice rink where I see figure skaters, but they're all little ones - she's obviously not there. I see her bag where she dropped it when she came in. Is that all that's left of her?

Last chance - the bathroom. It's most likely perfectly innocent. She probably had to use the restroom before getting her skates on. Why am I acting so crazy and jumping to conclusions?

So, I walk into the ladies room and first see my daughter's friend jumping around, nervously giggling and tugging at her shirt. Behind her I see my daughter with a guilty cheshire cat grin.

What did I catch them in the act of you ask?

Dirty pervs, go ahead and get your mind out of the gutter. This is not some cheap scene from Porky's. There was no girl on girl action happening here.

It was either:
a) my daughter was running an unlicensed tattoo parlor
b) my daughter and friend were engaged in underaged drinking
c) my daughter and friend were sneaking their first cigarette

Oh yeah, I'm gonna leave you hangin' stay tuned to find out the shocking conclusion, so you can judge me, my entire life and my parenting skills as well as the probable success of my offspring from one mere incident.

I know you will loose sleep wondering about this - sorry!

Monday, February 2, 2009

I'm ashamed

Cloud of selfishness last seen drifting above the clouds


My family was here visiting just last weekend. This weekend my brother-in-law arrived from Germany.

I guess all this family time made me a little edgy.

As I released some lovely pomegranate jewels from their skin to add to the salad for dinner, my brother-in-law was standing and chatting with me. I'm preparing and he is chatting and . . .

he ventures over to the bar stool.

Not just any stool.

There are four empty bar stools, but he is sitting at the bar stool facing my laptop!

Okay, breathe, it's fine. I'm fine.

He reaches toward the keys, and . . .

he actually touches the keys!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My kids are here. Be a good example. Sharing is good. Sharing is good. I have to be a good example for my kids. Sharing is the right thing to do. Breathe. Share.

I can't help it. I try to keep it in, but this huge dark stinky cloud of selfishness extends from me and surrounds my laptop. I'm trying desperately to pull it back. I'm hoping nobody notices.

I'm trying to continue chatting, but my voice has mysteriously gone up a few octaves.

Later in the evening he asks my husband if we have an old laptop he could possibly use.

Damn! He saw it - the greed induced cloud - or smelled it?

My selfishness is on display for all to gaze upon.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

People Unite



I apologize that I have to veer from my generally mundane post to address an issue of great concern. I try to veer away from politics as much as possible, but there is a movement that is growing. This movement could change our lives forever unless we stand up and act now.

I happened across this blog a few months ago, which is a, if not THE, gathering place for people taking part in this movement.

They call themselves the League for the Suppression of Celery. I have snuck over to secretly spy a few times and discovered that they are trying to eradicate (or irradiate?) celery!

Do you believe this?

Please, if you believe in all that is good about celery go over and let them know the facts. Let them know how great celery is and that we won’t stand by while they sneak about rallying people against that green noble vegetable.

Think about it, celery is great. Celery is . . . ummm,


okay,


celery is crunchy! yeah, what would we do without the crunchiness of celery?


and . . .


well


celery takes more calories to digest than it contains! So there! Celery IS good.




Just imagine trying to explain the lovely crunch to your grandchildren who will never have the opportunity to experience it.

Now is the time to take action. I’m urging you in the name of all that is thin and green and crunchy. Please go to this site and pepper it liberally with your praises of celery.

note: I have to warn you that they may follow you. Here is what happened to me.

Perhaps we can stop the madness before it’s too late.

How about People for the Ethical Treatment of Celery?


Anyone?

Monday, January 26, 2009

Boys2men


When my son was still a baby, one day while I was changing his diaper he would not stop crying. I tried the soothing voice or singing to him - okay, that was a bad idea. He just wailed more.

It was one of those arm flailing crying jags that babies have. He was crying so forcefully until one of his waving hands touched his penis. Suddenly, the crying stopped and all was silent. It happened instantly! He was soothed into silence while his hand held onto his newfound treasure.

In that instant I had a completely new understanding of my husband . . . and all men.

If you are a new wife and you are wondering how to soothe your husband - there you go.

I just saved your marriage.




I had originally planned to post on my experience in teaching sex ed to my kids inspired by this post which Art Sparker sent me to, but we haven't totally covered the subject, yet. Meaning my husband hasn't had time to teach it yet.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Rushin' to conclusions


My family was here for the weekend. It was supposed to be our Christmas get-together, but my dad hurt his back blowing leaves before Christmas.

This is something we all have to look forward to - hurting ourselves through mundane tasks?

Nooooooo - the opportunity to duck out of obligations at the last minute, inconveniencing dozens of people, changing everyone's plans with one simple, sorry excuse.

The weekend was quite uneventful. Well uneventful for everyone else, because someone had to get the house ready, make all the beds, plan all the food, buy all the groceries, do all the cooking, launder all the sheets and towels, etc., and I'm sure you know who did it all.

I'm exhausted. My butt is glued to the sofa, and I'm thinking of some simple, sorry excuses to duck out of my current obligations which include getting up to change the volume on the surround sound for the tv, or getting a blanket to cover my feet.

Meanwhile, we are watching the U.S. Figure Skating championships. My daughter skates and has high hopes for her figure skating career. Shhhhh, don't tell her there is no such thing.

Sample conversation:

husband: she must be Russian

daughter: this is the U.S. championships - Hellooooo, that means only people from the U.S. of A!

husband: she's a Russian immigrant

daughter: she's from FLORIDA!!!

husband: 80% of Floridians are Russian immigrants - they like to be warm. Those two must be married.

daughter: DAD!!!!!! She's only 15!!!!!

husband: Those Russians like to marry young, don't they.

I'm not making this up. This is what just happened in our humble abode while I sit with my butt still glued.

note: please don't take offense if you are Russian or from Florida or a Russian immigrant living in Florida or a Florida emigrant living in Russia. No harm was meant.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Successful Blogging



Since I have seen so many blogs recently that profess to help you . . .

Blog Successfully!!!!!

(Not to mention the books and websites)

I decided to write a post on the secret to becoming a successful blogger.

Now, before you accuse me of not knowing anything about successful blogging,
because my blog sucks -

just wait . . .

I do have a secret that is sure to make your blog successful.

If you're still here, then here it is. The secret to having a successful blog is this:


Write good stuff that people want to read!

Then - repeat and continue to repeat as long as possible.


Shhhh . . . Please don't tell anyone this secret - it's between my faithful reader and me.

What?!? I never said I use my secret, but you can!

Sorry in advance ec card droppers. I have family coming this weekend,
so I will be out of computer commission for a while.

Monday, January 19, 2009

It hurts to 'eat it' and to move


I gave my husband such a hard time for being sick. It was pretty ridiculous that he couldn't take his own tea bag out of his tea because it 'hurt to move'. But I do have to swallow some of that.

I had a fun girls' night out planned. I was meeting my friends for dinner in town. Since I live a ways out of town, I decided to get a room at a beautiful, centrally located hotel, so I wouldn't have to drive home.

It was a beautiful plan!

It was a fun evening, as it should have been. We met many characters. I'm not sure if a written description will do them justice, but I'll try for another post.

It went pretty well, until ~ 4:00am, when the sickness hit me square in the face . . . and in the stomach . . . and definitely in my head . . . and everywhere. Before you even start - no, I was not hung over!

It was the kind of sick where you start to think death is a good idea, and sleep is the only form of relief.

When I called my husband late in the morning to ask him what I should do. He didn't say anything like - see? How does that feel?

He immediately offered to drive down and pick me up, knowing it's no fun to be sick in a hotel room, especially when you forgot your toothpaste! Seriously.

So, now I have to eat all those snide accusations about what a baby he was. (later - I couldn't even keep water down at the moment).

Even though he wasn't completely recovered himself, he did climb on that white horse, don the shining armor and rescue me from myself!

Sorry, I know it's weak today, but I have to get back to bed.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Bedroom Design

This photo is a reenactment of an actual event, not to be confused with the actual event itself.

I was doing laundry the other day and must have accidentally dropped my red bra.

It happened to fall on my black boots that I had left on the bedroom floor the other day. I didn't notice and just kept putting my laundry away.

The next day I saw my bra laying across the boots and picked it up and put it away like I generally do with my laundry.

That same evening my husband asked me (in his most seductive tone, but he was still a little sick, so it was mixed with a sort of whiny, sick tone) "where's your red bra? "

Really?!?

He was completely disappointed that I put it in the drawer where it belonged.

I guess in his mind the 'dropped' bra was either a new bedroom design statement or some sort of subtly hinted seduction?

This incident shed some light on why guys always leave their underwear laying on the floor. Some heretofore unknown sexual ritual language? Or perhaps it is considered the perfect decorative accessory for a bedroom?

Hmmm . . . should I use these as a lamp shade or a crappy throw rug?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sick Day



My daughter has been sick with a cough and cold for the past week. Then last night my husband started with the waah waaah waah - my throat hurts.

I was all prepared to give up my important Monday activities in order to dote on my poor ailing family by cooking homemade chicken soup, brewing special healthy teas, distributing tissues and trash cans around the house, filling up water glasses and handing out meds.

However, I decided suddenly came down with a stomach ache. Man, I was so looking forward to spending my day in the kitchen, cleaning up after everyone, picking up the used, wet tissues from all over the house.

Instead I had to lay on the sofa,playing working on my computer while catching up on some of the important movies I had saved and occasionally holding my stomach.

Then, my husband woke me up in the middle of the night (okay it was 6 am, but it seemed like the middle of the night) with his sore throat noises and his frail voice complaining, 'I can't sleep, my throat hurts.'

Finally, after I realized I wasn't going to get back to sleep with all those noises, I offered to make him a cup of tea. Then comes the whiny, 'ok.'

He's the one who can't sleep - I could sleep fine, but I have to get up out of my oh-so-comfy bed and make him a cup of tea. While he lays there doing nothing - wide awake!

When it's all done and I'm snuggled back in the covers, he wakes me up again. Spoken in a frail and whiny voice, "Can you take the tea bag out for me?"

Me: "What?!?!! Why can't you remove your own tea bag?"

Him: "It hurts to move."

I won't go into the - God was smart when he gave the childbirth thing to women. You guys would never make it through the first cramp! I won't go into what babies men are when they get a little sick and how the mommy always has to still 'do stuff' whether or not she's sick. I won't get into any of that. I'll take the high road here.

I'll just give up. I'll just forget about my 'tummy ache' and be the nurse.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Late for church - again


This morning my daughter wanted to get to church early to show off her outfit. Being the devout parents that we are, we allowed her the opportunity to turn her church experience into a social opportunity.

Since we were there, we signed our son into his class early. We weren't in the mood to sit around waiting for our service to start, so we walked back to our car.

We sat in the car and looked at the clock.

17 minutes to waste.

Me: Wanna make out?

Him: Where should we go?

Me: Why not here in our car in the church parking lot?

Him: Everyone will be walking right by our car to get in.

Me: So?

So . . .

More than 17 minutes later, we walked into our service after it had begun. Everyone turned around and looked at us as we smoothed down our hair and straightened our shirts.


I know they were all jealous but trying not to be because of the whole 'thou shall not covet' thing.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Klink-a-dink



Today I went for a massage and went over to my friend's house for lunch.

I then decided to stop at Whole Foods for a quick grocery shopping. I happened upon a good friend there, klink-a-dink - so we took our time through the aisles. We were savoring the rare moments we both had to shop without our progeny tugging and begging.

I realized I had forgotten the lettuce so ran back to get it. I then found my mom in the produce section. Another klink-a-dink, so we had a nice chat next to the prickly pears.

On my drive home, a good friend I haven't spoken with in a while called. She's been hanging out with the Real Housewives of Atlanta. So she had to fill me in on the scoop!

It was a klink-a-dink day.

For once, I escaped the offspring and found some fun! Above you see the kids having fun too and making a little money while I did my important bidness.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Censored?


Have you ever heard that song, Foxtrot Uniform Charlie Kilo?

Have you heard that song, Sex in the Kitchen?

Did you know that that Gwen Stefani 'Bananas' song is really full of sh*t?

I hadn't heard any of these here in the U.S. I heard all of these in English over in Germany.

It's a little uncomfortable when I'm riding in a car with my kids and the profanity starts rolling out on the radio, but we have learned to use it while we're over there. We just replace the German word we don't know with a curse word - they don't seem to mind.

But, that Sex in the Kitchen song came on while my husband and I were shopping in a jeans store.

I found myself looking at the clothing while uncomfortably trying to pretend I didn't understand the words pounding out through the speakers above.

Censorship exists here, thank goodness?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Clueless


I admit it. I'm a new blogger, and I'm completely inept and clueless.

I nosed around on the internet to try to figure out how to make a button for my entrecard, but I cannot figure it out.

Most of my 'readers' find me through google because of the picture above from my post on 'White boots in Berlin'.

Hey, I just realized I could probably expand my readership by putting this picture in every post!

Maybe I'm on to something here. If you steal my idea, I may have to . . .

wait, you won't steal my idea because you are simply a poor prostitute trying to find a place to buy footwear.

Sorry, I guess I shouldn't be calling my most loyal readers names. Are you offended by the whole 'prostitute' thing since that's much better than other names you could be called? Or should I refer to you as a professional man-pleaser? Let me know the politically correct title, and I'm happy to use it for all future references to you, my dear reader.

I apologize if I've offended. I'll try to find some new pictures of things you might appreciate, how's that?

Are we good, now?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Is that really your son, ma'am?

For no apparent reason - a notsogood picture of an elephant kicking me in the butt!

We have been traveling to Europe since before my children were born, so they are used to the drill. We like to think that our family is savvy at getting through the airports.

We all prepare ahead and my kids know that they are only allowed one suitcase each, which cannot exceed 50 lbs. We set out our scale for everyone to weigh their suitcases, switching out heavy important stuff with light important stuff. Everybody gets their ipods loaded and charged. Winter coats go into the checked luggage, so we aren't schlepping them through the airport. We make sure we have the chargers for the laptops, cameras, ipods, phones, etc.

We expect our children to be pros at getting through security. We even have a family competition to see who can make it through security the quickest.

When we arrive at the baggage check-in, the agent asks the routine questions, "did you pack your bags yourself?"

Husband: yes

Son: No - my mom packed for me.

Agent now pointedly directed at my husband: Were the suitcases ever out of your eysight?

Husband: no

Son: Yes they were - when you were looking for which way to go, you weren't looking at the suitcases!

Annoying? of course. Harmful? not really - he was just the annoying kid at this point.

But then she gets to the other questions -

Agent: Do you have any weapons in your baggage or anything that could be used as a weapon?

To a nine year old boy who bites his sandwiches into the shape of a gun, everything can be used as a weapon!

Soooooo . . . when we get to the first passport checkpoint.

For some reason this is where my son always freezes. The little boy so eager to talk and tell the truth, has become mute. For some reason, the officers always pick him to question. They never expect that we are kidnapping my daughter or that my husband has kidnapped me.

They begin their questions after looking at the passports. It usually starts with, "what's your name young man?"

My son looks off into the distance, tapping his chin and acting like he's trying to remember what name these people told him to use so he can get some candy!!!

Then they ask him where he's going.

Again with the stare into the distance and the chin tap, as we nudge him and say with teeth clenched, "grandma's, remember?"

Not suspicious at all, right? Somehow, we always make it onto the plane, but we just have to go through the whole thing again on the return trip.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

What's brown and sticky?


The stick that Susan from Art Spark Theater sent me a while ago has finally been placed.

I originally planned to place the stick at the Nuremberg Christmas market.

However, the stars did not align . . .


Sooooo, together with my family we decided on this spot in Erlangen, Germany.

This is a bench holding flower boxes on an artsy street in the university town. It was placed on New Year's Eve around 5:00 p.m. All the small, quaint restaurants on the street were busy setting their tables for the big night ahead.



Thank you, Susan for sending me the stick and letting me take part in your guerrilla art project.

Oh yeah . . . 'a stick'.