Tuesday, September 30, 2008

If Things had been Different.....

Do you ever have flash backs (no, not LSD flash backs) to your childhood? To times that were so miserable that you wonder if they scarred you and you might have become a different person if things were different?

I had one really horrible year when I was a kid and I still recall parts of it vividly. I can't find things I saw 2 days ago but my mind is fresh on this.

When I was in first grade I was given an intelligence test and scored well. My parents were told I was brilliant and that the school wanted me to enter this program called Accelerated Primary - meaning I would do 2nd and 3rd grade in one year. My parents were thrilled and loved the bragging rights so off I went to a different school with no one that I knew. Back then, I was a shy quiet kid (truly I was!!) and right at the start I was scared and sad. I don't remember having any girl friends in the class and it seems like I sat alone on the steps during recess. I hated school especially when they discovered I wasn't brilliant. That somehow they missed that I didn't know how to read. I was taught the See and Say method instead of Phonics. So although I could memorize words really well, if I hadn't been told how to say the word I didn't have the skills to sound it out. So for the whole year I struggled with reading and had a teacher who didn't have time to work with me. I fell behind and became more miserable. My worse day was when I needed to use the rest room which were in the main building and we were in a portable. The teacher would not let me go to the rest room and told me to wait until recess. I tried to wait. I didn't. I remember sitting at my seat, tears running down my face and pee running across the floor. I remember the long wet march across the playground and the school nurse cleaning me up and giving me an old dress from their stash of clothes for such emergencies. Needless to say, kids are cruel and I was teased for the next few months about wetting my pants.

My parents were aware of how sad I was but told me to stick it out. When the end of the year came, the teacher told my mother she didn't think I was ready for 4th grade and wanted to place me in 3rd. They recommended I get reading help too. So 3rd grade I was back at my old school with my friends and although I had to go to the special room for reading help, it was a much better year. That is until my sister Cathy decided to play hairdresser and whacked off my hair. I wanted to wear a hat for a month. Cathy said it was my fault, that I asked her to do it. Now who listens to a 3rd grader?

Random Questions

Why is the last half hour of sleep the best?

Why are my children immaculately dressed each day but they can't seem to find the trash can or dishwasher at home?

Why don't cats have opposable thumbs and feed themselves?

Why is it that the toilet paper roll is only empty when I use the bathroom?

How come I don't check for TP before I sit down?

Why is there never any extra rolls of TP in those same bathrooms?

Why is it that I can't locate important papers I had in hand last week, but I can recite the preamble to the Constitution I learned in 5th grade?

Why do my sisters remember events in our childhood differently than I do?

How come I can't find that chin hair when I look for it daily and then I discover it while I'm in a meeting and I can't keep from touching it only to bring attention to the damn thing?

How come my son always calls me the moment I finish putting the groceries into the car with an urgent request for some item?

Why does my daughter always text me, then get mad when I don't pick her up on time because unlike her, I don't spend my day with my phone vibrating in my pocket?

Why is my hair curly just on one side of my head?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fun with Fauna

This is for Mary. I get home from work and the cats are all gathered in the backyard. They keep poking at something and jumping back. This means that whatever it is that they have, it's still alive. I'm okay with the cats when they kill mice, moles and rats. I hate it when they get birds. Charlie killed a humming bird once. And then there was the baby squirrel, that made me a bit unhappy. This time it's a garter snake. I don't really care for snakes so they can have their fun. I'll get Rob to toss it over the fence into the blackberry briar of death patch later.

Ross: Dress for Less, or Less than Less

Just after spending $60 on a new swim team suit, Nik mentions that M and S have cute dresses that sparkle and she doesn't. Her BFF is having her birthday this weekend and her parents are taking her and 4 of her friends to see The Phantom of the Opera with dinner first. So it's bling time! I'm an indulgent mother and I love seeing my girl decked out and being cute but we are on a budget, big time. I said, lets go but cheap or nothing! Off we head to Kohls. They had some sparkly dresses but frankly, I don't want my daughter to look like a hooker and that's all the special occasion dresses they had in Jrs. So off we go, Marshalls -nothing, Nordstrom Rack, nada. Then we see Ross. I don't like going into Ross. It's kind of shabby and the customers and staff always are rude (ok, maybe not always but every time I darken the door). The racks are all too close together and I hate having to try and slide by all the skinny gals who seem so put out that I ask them to scoot their cart over.

Nicole and I maneuver ourselves to the dresses and start sorting thru. They had a few very small dresses (Nicole is very petite, until she came around, I had never looked in a size 00 rack before) She finds 2 dresses that don't look like a street walker or Las Vegas showgirl might own and we head over to the fitting rooms. Nicole is in there about 30 minutes. It's 2 dresses, come on! I start texting her - do you need help? are you dead? wtf? Finally she's out and she loves this little black dress with a big rhinestone decoration just under the bust. It's all floaty and very nice. We head to the racks again to see if we can find some kind of coverup. We did find a wispy chiffon scarfy thing that's beaded.

We finally get in line and what a line it is. Everyone in front of us has a cart filled up and while we are waiting, they have family members adding to their ever growing pile of stuff. Our clerk is in no hurry and doesn't seem to know how to count cash. So she counts the cash she is given 3 or 4 times. I think one person gave her about 80 one dollar bills. Doesn't anyone use plastic anymore. I felt like I was in that Visa commercial where everything comes crashing to a halt when the idiot brings out cash. We waited another 30 minutes in line before we finally get there. I'm nearly comatose and my feet are achy. The clerk rings us up, I pay and off we go. As we head home, I asked Nik what the total came to. Yeah, yeah, I don't always pay attention. She says, $17. Wait a minute, the dress was $14 so what about the scarf? Nik, "oops, she didn't ring it up." So with the help of the clerk, we just sorta shoplifted from Ross a $10 scarf. And no, I didn't go back right then and there. This morning I asked Nicole where the receipt was and the tags from the scarf. In the trash, outside, at the curb, and just moments ago I heard the truck. I'm a poor excuse for setting a good example.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Our Swim Team Star

Nikki is on Swim Team. She loves to swim, enjoys competing and doesn't seem to care that she's not going to make the Olympic team, ever. So now is the start of swim team season, which runs until March. She still swims in the off season and competes but it's more for fun.

We started off with Fall Festival yesterday. Drove 2 hours to see her compete in 3 races. We were gone 8 hours. She spent most of her time playing DS with her friend. There were lots of teams at this event so that's why it was so long. Looking in the stands, there are the parents with notebooks in hand, charting their kid's times, checking against the standards, already playing the trip to regionals. We are not quite as rabid as that. We always say words of congrats or encouragement but mostly we check that she is having fun. This is a rec team and I thought that they were suppose to have fun. Just one word to parents: Don't make your kid feel bad in front of their peers. Nik is pragmatic, if she does well, she's cool, gives herself a pat on the back. If she doesn't make at least her best time, she says, "I'll need to work at that."

Would we like our daughter to be a star? The best at everything? Or anything? Nicole is a star to us. She's a great team player, she sets a great example, she's a nice person who believes in fair play and she always tries her best.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Food Fight: Mayo or Miracle Whip

I bought a jar of mayo the other day and Rob says "how come? the jar is almost full" I took it out of the fridge and showed him that is was nearly empty. He grabbed the other jar in there and said, "oh, I used Miracle Whip on my burger. That's why I thought it was full." I was aghast! "you put Miracle Whip on your burger, ick!" He said, "same difference." He shrugged, he was like "whatever".

There are huge differences and I use both but for different things and believe you me, if I used them indiscriminately like he does, it would not be pretty. Of course, growing up, I too thought Miracle Whip was Mayo. We didn't have mayo at our house. It wasn't until I moved out that I discovered the delights of turkey and mayo, burgers with mayo, pesto mayo.

Miracle Whip is technically a salad dressing and that's what I use it for primarily. Potato salad with hard boiled eggs and green onions - don't forget a squirt of yellow mustard. Macaroni salad with pickles and a shot of ketchup. And tuna fish. I can't eat a tuna fish sandwich or tuna salad (canned tuna of course) without that tangy zip of Miracle Whip. But the rest of my sandwiches, mayo all the way and a burger without mayo ain't cutting it with me. No, I don't use mayo with PB&J, get real here!

Nicole likes mayo as I do but Aaron is Miracle Whipped.

Ok, ok, I know that both are on the poster for foods to avoid, but it's a condiment and I'm not sucking it down like it's chocolate pudding.

My friend Mary just loves Mayo... I can hear her retching now.

In the movie "An Officer and a Gentleman", when Richard Gere gets called "mayonnaise" by the drill sergeant, I'm moved to get a sandwich.

Wake up Call

When Nikki was little, she used to come bursting into our bedroom, shouting, "The dark is over, the dark is over!" And thus her day had begun. This did not seem to matter if it was the middle of summer and the dark was over way too early and we considered this to still be night time. So one of us would peek out of the sheets and drag down to start the coffee so we could face the day. Nicole is 13 now and on non school morning, is not up dancing around at 5 am.

This does not mean that we get to sleep in tho. When you live with 3 cats at least one or all of them are going to let you know that they want to go out. NOW! Cleo likes to scratch. She has torn up the woodwork around our door and the carpet just in front of the door is now gone. Lovely Cat. Fig and Charlie just like to meow, meow, yowl, meow, ram the door, make your life hell, until you get up. This morning I threw, I mean, let the cats out at 6am and went back to bed thinking, yes, they can't bug me now. Somehow they got back into the house and instead of bugging the rotten kid that let them in, they all assemble outside my door and forget my sleeping in. Coffee first, then feed the cats.

We had an incident recently where we weren't paying proper attention to the cats and it was scary. Rob and I were still nursing our first cups of joe, the cats were fed but were starting to whine about going out. We were like, yeah, yeah, yeah, just give me time to wake up. Then we heard this sound - tinkle, tinkle, tinkle. WTF, and there is Figaro in the living standing among the stuff I had left off the book shelves in an attempt to declutter. Fig steps away and there is my beautiful Partylite votive holder filled to the rim with cat pee. Not a drop on the floor. Good Kitty/Bad Kitty. So now when the cats want out, I can't agree more.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Eye on Silver

Tonight I took my Girl Scout troop to the Silver Award Workshop. The Silver Award is a very involved project taking months of preparations just to get to the point you can do some worthy project for your community. You would have thought I'd dragged these girls to watch a politcal debate. We were by far the largest group there, our 8 girls and 2 adults being half the total there. And they did me proud. When asked what they knew about the Silver Award and why they were there, they all replied, "We know nothing, and our leaders made us come." So we learned about the steps we need to take, how long it might take us and some ideas and way to make our project good for our community.

So my thoughts on this:

Could our girls do a Silver Award Project? Yes. Will they? I'm not taking bets on it.
Do my girls understand more about the SA? HA! At least they have their handouts.
Will my girls come up with ideas on their own about projects? Huh? What's a project?
Out of 9 girls, how many can now identify the IP book and tell me what an IP is? Repeat the question?

So what are Jackie's and my goals for the troop? To supply them with opportunities to do great things, to have a place for fun and be safe.

Algebra and the Art of Forgetting

Algebra has become a foreign language to me. A million years ago I was an ace algebra student. I would pour over my problems. It was a puzzle and I was it's master. I was the secret agent who decoded the message. I knew how to figure out what x and y were. Now I look at my daughter's homework and it makes no sense to me. Did they change the words? How come I don't remember any of the terms she uses? The only x's and y's I can recall are from my amnio's. Where did all this information I knew so well go to?

I have a theory. My brain has filled up and to make room, it has stored this old data that wasn't being used. These are stored in that "safe place". Of course sometimes the old retrieval system overrides this and you have those deja vu moments where horrible embarrassing things relive in your mind and you have then anxiety feeling where your internal organs feel like they dropped out of your butt. Anyway, I can remember all kinds of random things that can be very handy when you are playing Trivial Pursuit (Rob and I make an awesome TP team) but don't do you much good when your kid needs homework help. Hurrah for my husband who never seems to forget anything but can't seem to see that tools need to be put away and my family room is not a bike shop.

So just like the rest of my life I can't find that "safe place" in my brain anymore than I can find that "safe place" I put important stuff to use later in my house. My only consolation is that those memories of where the safe places are are being stored in that safe place in my brain that is lost too. It's a vicious circle that frustrates me until I forget it.... What was I talking about again?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


I'm a stalker. I have become a blogoholic. I love to peek into the lives of people who I will never ever know outside of what I read about. I love the humor, the pain, the life that I read about. I feel lacking in my own blogging, that what seems easy to these others, is sometimes painfully hard for me to get my thoughts across. I've spent a lot of time recently reading blogs and choosing those I want to read again and follow their stories.

Writing isn't something I've ever thought about alot. I never felt I had the great novel in me, although I'm fascinated with the written word and get completely lost in a book. I read my old favorite books over and over and they feel fresh and new each time. I do think that life if funny and I like to share what I see as funny. Not everyone gets me. My friend Mary gets me. I think I started blogging to keep her laughing. She's a great audience and so very clever and funny herself. We can yuk it up together.

What gets me about blogging is that I come up with incredible stuff to blog about while I'm driving, far from home and keyboard. When I get home, do all my home stuff -kid, cats, husband, etc, I can't for the life of me remember what I was going to blog about. I have this big brain fart and everything is gone. Well, not everything. The edges are there, all fuzzy, unfocused. Maybe I just need to get new glasses. But then I'll see that damn dust again...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Cute Critters are the Next Flattened Fauna

How do those little critters make it in this big bad world? On any given day, I see the flattened bodies of the local fauna everywhere. Just today I saw a raccoon, 2 squirrels, a deer and a think it was a dog. One morning as I was heading down off my hill, I came across 5 dead opossums, all in the middle of the road. Did the front one say to the others, "Hey, I know the way, follow me!"? Just as I was leaving to go to work tonight, there were 2 raccoon (alive this time) on my front porch. And one evening this summer, there were 6 raccoons under the back deck. How do we know it was 6 of them. Because Robert thought it would be smart to lay on the deck, hang over the edge and look under with a flashlight. I've had raccoons charge at me, so I didn't think this way the best move, but, hey, Rob still has his face so no harm done.

Tonight as I was coming home from Renton, I suddenly see a cute little bunny run in front of my car. I dared not slam on the bracks as there was cars behind me and I couldn't swerve as there was a car next to me. The last I saw of the cute bunny was his right eye as he disappeared under my car. Then wham - bam. I didn't stop but the rest of the way home, I was sure I could smell cooking flesh. I made Rob look under the car to see if there were any bunny parts but he didn't see anything. I figure if there is anything, a opossum or raccoon will be feasting in my driveway tonight.

I feel awful about the cute little bunny. I didn't feel too bad the time I nailed an opossum. They look like giant rats anyway.

Sunday, September 21, 2008


Do you think about dust? I do. I hate it and the chore that goes along with it. Face it, I hate anything that has to do with cleaning. That's why I run around my house without my glasses on. I can't see the dirt that way. But dust is there. Everywhere. You can see it in the air when the light shines through your window. It's there floating. That's another reason I don't clean the windows. I don't want to see the dust that I am inhaling. Ignorance is bliss, eh? But there comes a time in each decade that I must DUST. I recently cleaned off the living book shelves and decluttered. There was quite a collection of dust there. The upper shelves and the top were the worst as I'm short so what I can't see may never get cleaned. But I worked hard, starting at the top, hoping that the dust would float down to the floor or stay on the cloth and not be ingested by me. I reloaded the shelves up with fewer items and breathed (ok, wheezed) a sigh of relief. Two days later, I noticed a layer of dust. Off came my glasses.

Last Friday we got a new bed. This meant strangers would be in our bedroom and see our mess. Rob was especially concerned about this and said this would be a good opportunity to declutter the bedroom. So each night, before bed, I would sort things, recycle, collect garbage, etc. I dug under the bed so no one would see my pulp fiction and old tissues that find their way under. I cleaned off my night stand and the top of Rob's dresser. Then I got to the huge enormous 9 drawer dresser with giant mirror that I call my own. It's been my catch all for 12 years and there were tags and cards, and books and pins, etc, etc, etc. It was deep with odds and ends but I got it cleaned up and wiped down the top and it looked good. Except where the TV sits. Well, I was tired and I went to bed and promptly forgot about the TV. Until today. I was looking at it and noticed that it seemed white under the blackness of the TV. So I moved it. Dust....thick dust. I decided to move the TV completely away from where it has sat for 12 years. Do you know that when dust gets thick enough, you can fold it? It was like dryer lint under that TV. So I folded up that dust and now my dresser is dust free. Well that part is, as the other side has been over 2 days and it's starting again. I'm going to just stop wearing my glasses altogether.

Us Against Them

The cats won again, at least some of them did. I needed to take the cats to the vet for shots this month. I try to do it in 2 trips as I only have 2 carriers and we have 3 cats. I was able to grab Charlie unawares last weekend, wrap him in a towel and slide him (okay, push him) into the carrier. Yeah!! One captured and off we went to the vet for shots. Charlie was pretty pissed off at me and ran the other way the rest of the day. By Sunday he was my friend again and was cuddling with me.

Tuesday I check my phone messages and it's the vet. They FORGOT to give Charlie one of his shots. This kind of pissed me off, okay, really pissed me off, because I now have to bring him in again on Saturday with the other 2 for shots. I'm thinking Charlie will never come near me again.

Come Saturday, while I am showering and dressing, Rob and Nicole decided to get the cats into the carriers (we borrowed a carrier so we were good to go). They got Figaro in and he started yowling. This triggered a response in Cleo and Charlie. They headed for the hills. In this case, the upstairs bedrooms. Now this is not normally a problem as you can use a broom to flush a cat out from under a bed but these are smart kitties. They head into Nicole's attic bedroom with super cool cubbyholes and deep pocket recesses. On one side of her room are 2 small doors into a finished crawl space we use for storage. On the other side is a door to the rafters over the family room - beams and insulation. Rob was going to put a latch on this door as there is a draft that causes it to open a crack. It must have been drafty as the door was a jar and after much searching this is where Charlie and Cleo lay hiding. Rob is half into the opening with his flashlight when the light catches and he sees their glowing eyes. They are not budging. So off we go with Fig to the vet and he is making that horrible yowlly noise that makes you wonder if your cat is possessed. He took his shots and he is done for a year.

Back home, cats are still in the crawl space. Charlie comes out shortly after 1pm when I'm sure he knows that the vet is now closed. Cleo is not leaving though. She stays hidden away until 5pm. As she slinks down stairs, Nicole runs up and blockades the crawlspace. Cleo sees Rob and takes off to avoid him. Her stomach eventually tells her to forgive and forget so she is back at her usual place at the food bowl.

My vet says to lock the cats into a bathroom and them get in there with them and the carriers and we should be able to get them in. I'm thinking the bathroom is a great place to be, as that is where the first aid kit is and I'm going to need it. I'll probably have to redecorate the bathroom after that as I'm sure that the wall paper will be in shreds and I doubt the blood stains will come out.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Police Work

My husband emailed me 15 photos from work. 15 photos of the new men's locker room at the station. More specificly, 15 photos of the bathroom stalls. They were having a grand opening celebration and dedication ceremony of some of the stalls. My hubby works with very uptight guys, who do much of their detective work from their favorite stall. It's well known that certain people can usually be found in their dedicated stall.

I'm not trying to say that I think my husband and the other officers are guilty of wasting time. I think it's just the thing they need to do to sometimes. Their job can be very despressing and can cause tension. I think it's great they can have so much fun and let their hair down.

It takes a special person to be a cop and a sense of humor, even potty humor is a plus.

Monday, September 15, 2008

I got a Job!

Rob told me that after the wedding, it was time for me to get a job, at least one that paid. For the last 6 years I have been a stay at home mom. Contrary to popular belief, I did not sit home and eat bon bons. I was on the go, eating bon bons. I've been volunteering. Mostly with the Girl Scouts as a leader and for 3 years as the Service Unit Manager (I kind of oversaw the other Girl Scout leaders in our city). And I would volunteer at the kids' schools for field trips etc. It was a good life, it was important and I'm still doing the volunteering. Of course now, I've got a job too.

After Rob told me to find a job, wouldn't you know it, but the Girl Scouts called me and offered me a job. This was right after I told my unemployed son that he needed to get on the ball because people don't just offer you jobs out of the blue. Then out of the blue, I got a job.

It's only temporary for a few weeks while they are busy and then I will be filling in for the Receptionist for a few weeks while she is on vacation. This will take me through most of November.

My job is helping to recruit new Girl Scouts and new Girl Scout Leaders. I get to print bracelets on the weird paper that is plastic fibers that you can't tear. I get to take these to the elementary schools and during lunch, put a bracelet on each girl as I talk up Girl Scouting. This is not hard with the little girls, they all want to be a Girl Scout and camp, sing, play etc. The older girls are not so easily swayed to the idea. Already by 4th grade, they are thinking it's not so cool to be a Girl Scout. I do get most of them to think about it after I talk about my awesome troop of 8th graders and all the fun they have and all their plans. These bracelets have information for the parents so they can bring their daughters to a Recruitment Event.

The Recruitment Event is in the evening at the girl's school or a neighboring school. We get the girls and parents to come with promises of fun activities and information. We even give out a free gift - a GS pencil or a GS chapstick. So everyone shows for this, the girls go off to have fun with a Girl Scout troop who is helping out and then I get to talk with the parents. I give them information about Girl Scouts - a brief history, some fun facts, etc. Then I get to the point and ask, "Who came here tonight ready to sign up to be your daughter's leader?" Sometimes there are warm bodies ready to go. Mostly, it's more a confused look of "what?? don't you have leaders waiting to take on our darling daughter?" I divide everyone up into age level groups and talk with each group. I find that a lot of parents lose their fear of leading if they can do it as a team. Some nights we are very successful on recruiting leaders, other nights not. Hopefully every girl who is interested in Girl Scouts, will have a troop to join.

So I like my job. I like getting to meet people, to see the excitement of the girls when they think about being a Girl Scout. I like it when a parent says, "yes I can do it, I can be a leader"

It takes a village to raise a child and many hands make light work.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


What is it about laundry that makes it an object of disdain? I love clean clothes. How they look, how they feel, how they smell. How they magically go from being laundry to being clothes again. My husband does laundry, he doesn't do clothes. He washes the laundry(puts into machine) and he dries the laundry (puts into machine). When he opens the door to the dryer they become clothes and are not part of the laundry experience. They now become part of the clean clothes pile in the laundry room. Everyone takes items from the clean clothes as they need them but never all their clothes. I will pick through it and take all my socks and underwear and a few shirts so the pile grows slowly.

Every once in a while, I decide the pile to too large and I drag all the clothes into the living room and I have a marathon folding session. I then instruct all owners of this clean folded clothes to put them away in their rooms. Since no one likes to fold the clothes, everyone will put their clothes away.

Suddenly the laundry room is pleasant and clutter free. You have counter space that can be used to fold the clothes as they come out of the dryer. Making it ever so easy for everyone to take their clothes to their rooms. This phenomenom lasts a day or two at the most. Then Rob does the laundry, into one machine then the next, then on to the counter. Laundry is done. Cycle of clean clothes starts again.

Ear Wax

Did you know that ear wax builds up in the ear causing the listener to hear things that are different that what is actually being said to them. I think my kids suffer from ear wax build up. This prevents them from understanding what you say. Of course I could be wrong and they just don't listen to me. I am positive that it must me an ear wax problem because no matter what I say to them, they all hear things differently. Aaron always hears me say, "Yes, I will buy you everything you want and always have money for you." Brianne always hears you say the time for something but for her it's in BLT - Brianne Losing Time and so she tends to be late. Although for her wedding, she was spot on and was very firm about starting the ceremony on time, which it pretty much did. And now Nicole is having similar problems. I asked her today if she had her pass to the water park and she said yes. I asked her if she needed anything at all, she said no. So I picked her up at her friend's house, drove to the park and as she is getting ready to get out, she asks me for her pass. I said, "you told me you had it". Her, "no, you asked if I needed it. And I said yes." But if that was true, why hadn't she told me where it was? So back home we went and then again to the park. Ear wax.

Do I indulge my kids? Sometimes. It's hard not to. They are my heart.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I had an incident at Starbucks yesterday. It's my own fault. I expect bad things to happen so they do and then I huff and puff about it. I should just know better.

I was on my way to work (I like saying "work" as I haven't "worked" outside the home for 6 years, I'm so proud) and I figured I had more than enough time to cruise thru Starbucks and get my favorite drink - Grande Mocha Frappuccino Light. They are only 140 calories, are artifically sweeten and I like the taste. Ok, a regular cup of coffee with splenda and coffeemate is only 35 calories but it's not as fun and tasty.

I pull into the drive thru and there are a couple of cars in line. The car in front of me goes to order and I've rolled down my window to wait my turn and can hear her ordering. She must have been the last person in the free world to have never been to Starbucks before. She is asking for descriptions of the drinks and the food and is getting feedback from the toddler in the carseat. Finally she completes her order and its my turn to order. I say "a Grande Mocha Frappuccino Light please". She says, "Grande Mocha Frappuccino." I say "a Grande Mocha Frappuccino Light". She says, "Grande Mocha Frappuccino." I say, "Light" She says, "Right" At this point, I should have figured out my order was doomed.

I pull up behind the lady with the tot and she is being handed her drink and goodies. She takes a sip of her drink and I hear her say, "oh, this isn't what I wanted, let me have a latte instead and could you make a cocoa for my son." The barista takes back her drink and makes her new ones, gets more money and finally they go on their merry way. I get to the window and pay. She says, "coming right up". She tries to hand me my drink and I say, "That's not a Grande Mocha Frappuccino Light!" She says, "It's a Grande Mocha Frappuccino." I said, "Light" She says, "You said Right" I said, "I can't have this drink, it has too much sugar and I'm not allowed to have it." She says, "Oh, I guess we can make you a new drink." It's now been 15 minutes in the Starbucks drive through and I am going to be so late to my job now. So I said, "Just give me back my money, I don't have time to wait for you to make me my drink." She says, "I'll have to get someone to open the register." Finally I get my money and go on my way. I'm 10 minutes late to work and it wouldn't have been a big deal except I had to pick up supplies and be somewhere ASAP.

And do you know what is truly pathetic? After I finished where I needed to be, I went to Starbucks for that damn Grande Mocha Frappuccino Light. I was fixated on it. I had to have it! And I enjoyed it thoroughly. And what is more pathetic, I am sitting here, practically drooling, thinking about going out and getting another Grande Mocha Frappuccino Light this morning before I do anything else.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Secret (sex) Life of the American Teenager

Nicole and I just finished watching the season finale of the show The Secret Life of the American Teenager. For those not in the know, it's about a 15 yr old pregnant teen and her school full of sex crazed kids. We have watched this together this past summer and we were both rather disappointed in it. First, the acting sucks. Or maybe it's the scripts that suck which causes the actors to act badly. All these teenagers spend too much time talking with adults about their feelings. They open up and spill it all. Oh, get real! You don't get information from teens without a crowbar and even then, it's full of holes. OK, I'm sure some teens talk about everything with their parents but I just don't know any.

Nicole and I have used this show though, to talk about the issue of teen sex and pregnancy. She is pretty open in our discussions and is very good about giving her opinion. Also, I just like that we have time together. We don't just talk about the show, we talk about school, friends, the future- in high school and college. We both respect each other and our opinions.

Although the show isn't living up to my expectations as far as content and reality, it has opened more discussions with my teenage daughter and that is always a good thing.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


It's the start of a month of birthdays. Nikki's is today, Brianne's on the 18th and Aaron's on Oct 9th. I have been a mother for almost 27 years.

Nicole is 13 today. I no longer have a little girl. She is now a teenager. I have been noticing the change for sometime now. There is that little "attitude" in the tone of her voice when I asked her something. Her obsession with clothes and her appearance. (of course this is better than not caring and looking and smelling the slob) She also doesn't want to hang out with mom and dad anymore. But that's ok. Our goal as parents is to make them into functioning adults someday and giving them opportunities of trust is part of it. Of course parents are important to take you places and pick you up later, as long as "hot guys" don't see you getting in or out of the minivan. We got her a camera for her birthday. She had a choice, a North Face jacket or a camera. She said the camera (good choice, we are doing our job!). She still needed a jacket and we got her the Columbia one, which is just as good as the North Face only it's $100 less. I hope that my kids can understand that we aren't rich and even if we were richer, we still want them to appreciate what we give them.

Aaron will be 18. He is a senior this year and this means we have added expenses related to that. He is obsessed with getting a different car. Only thing is, Aaron wants us to give it to him. He doesn't want to earn the money to pay for it. We got him the car he wanted last year and now it's not what he wants. I truly want to give my kids everything they desire but Aaron needs to do his part too. So for his birthday, he will get a new cell phone and not a car. He is still a work in progress and we won't stop until we see him become an adult.

Brianne will be 27 on the 18th. Yeah, she is married and happy and likes that we give her stuff she can use. She is an adult and we helped her get there. We will always be there for her and the others too.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Brianne and Marcus were in awe that at their age I was already a mother of a 4 year old (Brianne). They can't visualize themselves as parents yet at 26-27. They just got a second dog and think this is a big responsibility. But a baby?? They say someday but not soon.

How do you prepare for parenthood? You can read the books, you can observe others, you can babysit. But when it comes down to raising children, it takes you unawares. Every kid is different. How different? You can never tell. I thought both Brianne and Aaron would be fairly similar as they have the same parents but that wonderful blend of chromosomes yields a completely new person every time. And then there's Nicole, different dad but so totally different from the others and so unique. Are my kids like me, like Lloyd, like Rob? Yes but no. They are definitely their own persons and that's great. Imagine if you had to relive your life by watching your kids grow.

I think my kids are good kids. Brianne is an adult now although her kid side showed through during the year of the wedding. But that's a bride thing and we aren't going to count that in the larger scheme of things. She is doing good. She has a house - mortgage, car, 2 dogs, a husband and 2 jobs. They bought a time share in Vegas and now they have that cost, but they also have that vacation to look forward to also.

Aaron is coming along. He has been a high maintenance child his whole life. He is still in the me, me, me mode and can be very annoying. He is a senior this year and is looking at getting his real estate license next year or so. The thing I do worry about is that he doesn't have a lot of self confidence and this holds him back. He puts up a brave front, but I think he is scared a lot of the time and this effects his attitude. Maturity is on the horizon and we will help him get there.

Nicole. She is a great kid. Confident and caring. She's not afraid to try things and not afraid to speak her mind. She is very smart and has lot of common sense. She is messy tho and leaves a trail of destruction where ever she goes. We have hopes for college and lots of scholarships. I'm not too worried about her except for her recent obsession with clothing.

Life is good for us.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Defining a Clean House

Why can't my house stay clean? Why do piles of stuff seem to grow over night on every level surface? Part of my problem is I have no organization and too much stuff.

When we moved into this house we came from a much smaller place and we had rooms that had no furniture in them at all. Now all the rooms are furnished and in some cases, very pleasantly decorated where things actually appear to go together. But I have too much stuff that has no permanent place. Mostly I just have too much clutter.

Definition: clut·ter n. A confused or disordered state or collection; a jumble

This describes my house and how we live. I do try and make order of our home. I try to find a place for everything and everything in its place but would mean I had a place for everything. I do a lot of "let me put this here until I know where it really should go" or what we like to call "the safe place".

Definition: safe adj place n. Affording protection

We have many safe places in our house. Most of these are unknown to us. They were once a part of our memory but due to our enormous store of useless knowledge we seem to have permanent installed in our brains, we have no more room for other things. This useless knowledge comes in handy for showing off playing trivia games. My husband is especially good at knowing the most random facts about obscure things but he can never find his wallet which he had 30 minutes ago.

I have tried to create a place for "the safe place" like a drawer or shelf or box, but it then becomes the everything place and is no longer thought of as a "safe place" and quickly forgotten about.

Definition: lat·er n. Sometime is the future, never clearly defined as to what length of time this could be.

When we were frantically cleaning the house to make it ready for guests before the wedding, we ran out of places for everything and we started boxing things up for "later". I have a garage and a bedroom full of for "later" boxes and bags. These will sit sometimes for years until we have time to sort thru them. Then its like opening a Christmas present. I found a box recently. It was a "later" box. It was stored in a recently discovered "safe place". (My house is like an archaeological dig, with great shouts of "Eureka, I found it!") This box had been hiding since 1999 or so. It was full of memorabilia from our trip to Hawaii. I wanted to sift thru this plethora of great stuff but I was too busy. So I returned it to its "safe place", preserving the area for future generations to discover and marvel at this great find.

I am planning a trip to IKEA soon. IKEA is a haven for the storage conscious. They have so many options to choose from and I love to check them all out and bring a few home. My favorite solution to the clutter is to attractively house it in a drawer, on a shelf, in a box or a basket. And you know those socially conscious raising reusable shopping bags? They are the best for the "hurry, company is in the driveway and the clutter needs a home" solution. These are easily shoved into a closet or that last tiny space in the garage.