Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

It's the day after Thanksgiving and the biggest shopping day of the year. The malls are opening at 4am! WTF? This is ridiculous. The poor store clerks who make god awful wages and now they have to open the doors to those nuts who have given in to the hype and sales incentives that keep the insanity going. I will admit that I am going to Joann's later this morning to take advantage of their 50% off notions and the great deals on craft supplies, but hey, I'm a Girl Scout leader and I have a craft fair next week. But I will not spend hours at the malls.

Nicole wants to spend hours at the mall. She got her grade money (yes I pay the kids for good grades - it started out with Aaron as an incentive but backfired with Nicole as she is the straight A student!) I will be texting her later this morning to remind her that the spirit of the season is about giving and wouldn't it be a great day to buy gifts, especially something for her mom!

Today is also the day I struggle with if it is time for the Christmas Tree and decorations to go up. When we had a real tree we never put it or outside lights up until a week before Christmas. Now that we have artificial, we can decorate early. I have more time this weekend to do this as next weekend I have a craft fair and Rob is hunting all weekend. Then it's suddenly 2 weeks before Christmas and things get frenzied.

The thing about the Christmas Tree going up now is that I get to spend a month getting the cats out of the tree, not just out from under the tree but out of the tree. Yeah, yeah, they are a year older but Charlie was just as much an offender at this tree terrorizing as the younger two, so I'm nervous. Cleo has put on weight and I can see the branches not holding up under her weight. Fig will climb to test if we are paying enough attention to him and Charlie will lie in wait under the tree to only leap out at unsuspecting individuals walking by.

I love the drama and fun of the holiday season though and the smells of baking when I make my 60 loaves of pumpkin bread to give away. I guess I better get that tree up today, time, she is a wasting!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Hey, Hey, It's Turkey Day!

The Turkey is in the oven, the pies are baked and safe from marauding cats. The house is clean, ok, it's respectable. Thank god my friends and family are generous and not critical because, hey!! I'm the one doing all the cooking. Except the rolls, my friend Jackie is making homemade rolls. She is a bread baker, loves it.

So my son is serving dinner at a local church for about 4 hours today. Before you think that he is a warm generous person, he is doing community service to wipe 2 speeding tickets off his record and he needs com serv hours to graduate.

Nicole spend the nice at Jackie's house so she wasn't here to mess up the living room and bathrooms. Rob is learning and has been taking directions well with the response, "yes dear" so that's good.

My sister is feeling better, she has been sick recently so she is coming over. Brianne and Marcus will be here, I don't have to share them with too many other people although I'm sure they will be having a second dinner or dessert elsewhere.

My brother's kids are all sick so they won't be coming. This means that my house will not be torn apart and have sticky finger marks everywhere. The cats are happy about this too.

So I have lots to be thankful for. In fact, everyday I'm thankful for what I have, that I love and I am loved.

So Happy Thanksgiving to all even those like my sister in Norway for whom it's just another Thursday. Everyday should be Thanksgiving Day, just without all the food.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I have been following Google Analytics and here are some of the recent keyword searches that brought people to my blog site. Here are some of my favorites. For obvious reasons, cat and brain figure prominently.

when this shit get in my brain

projectile shit

brain moss

can't cope with defeat

cat ate raw thanksgiving turkey, can turkey be saved

cat ate shower curtain

how can you tell if cat ate a magnet

i ate my cat

my cat ate my food now i feel sick

prince butt

the cow ate my brain 2

What I find really interesting is that the first one "when this shit get in my brain" has visited my site 11 times since I set up tracking on Nov 15th. This means that one person is using these keywords to get to my site, or 11 people are searching Google for this phrase. I'd be very interested to find out which it is.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The High Cost of Living

I saved nearly $10,000 today.

Rob and I were out shopping and saw some great deals on Flat Screen TVs. The prices were really good but it's the hidden costs that get you every time.

I figure if we bought a flat screen tv we would need to get rid of tv cabinet that we currently have and get something that fits the new TV.

If we do that, it will not match our bookcases, so we would need to get new ones. Then there are the end tables and coffee table. Yep, gotta get new ones. This would look great but....

The sofa and love seat are looking shabby and with the new furniture we would need to replacement too. And what about those lamps?!? So last century!

Of course, then there's the walls. We would need to paint as it's been too too long and then there is the ceiling. We might want to finally remove that popcorn.

Don't get me started on the carpet. The carpet is so old that the pad underneath makes crunchy noises in places. So we need new carpet.

And of course those IKEA drapes won't work anymore and we probably could use new pictures for the walls.

All those hidden costs just add up!

We were both exhausted thinking about all the work a flat screen tv would cause plus the expense so I decided we should just get a new wii game instead.

I figure I saved us $9,950.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Doing Guy Stuff

Most of Rob's friends are the guys he works with. They like to do fun guy things together. Like fishing and hunting.

These all require state of the art equipment. And each of his friends have their passion that they spend the big bucks on. Rob's is bikes. On the fishing and hunting gear he tends to go on the cheap side. One of his friends likes to buy quality fishing lures although from the stories I hear, it hasn't helped catch more fish. Another friend is into guns and so he has quite a collection.

So for Rob's birthday, he got a ton of gift cards to places like REI, Joe's Sports, Sportman's Warehouse and of course Cabelas. Cabelas built a giant store not far from here. Complete with a mountain that has real stuffed animals and birds that these hunters never shoot and an aquarium of the fish that they never catch. But they have the gear here to keep that dream alive. And they always need more gear. Boys and their Toys.

So yesterday at 8:30am as I was heading off to work, Rob and 2 friends headed out with gift cards in hand. They have a hunting trip planned for December so they need to gear up. So off they go. ROAD TRIP!

I don't mind all this guy stuff, it keeps Rob busy and it's important to have friends to play with. But for all the planning and all the equipment, you'd think they would be more successful. Take the fishing. They spend hours and hours standing in rivers or sitting in boats and they come home with nothing. When they do catch anything at least while fishing from a boat, they are on a catch and release program. They let them go!! WTF and what's the point?!? They have never caught anything when standing in a river so I can't say what they might do there, but come on guys, don't you want to eat?

Now the hunting. They go bird hunting. For pheasants and quails. I have seen pheasants, I saw one in our town one day. They have never gotten a pheasant while hunting, they very seldom get a shot off while hunting. Rob has shot quail. Have you ever eaten a quail? They are small, tiny, you need about 20 per person for a meal. I placed a quail next to a cornish game hen once. The game hen looked like the size of a turkey, a large turkey. In the years since Rob has been hunting, he has gotten 3 quail. So why travel for hundreds of miles and tromp thru mud and wet cold fields? Because it's fun and then at night they get to watch guy movies, like Blazing Saddles, Airplane and the Jerk. At home. we have stopped looking forward to feasting after one of his trips.

So Rob went shopping yesterday for gear. He got a new fishing rod so he can catch and release more fish. And he got some new jeans. These jeans have special leg coverings to keep you safe from sticker bushes are you stalk those poor tiny birds that you won't get to shoot. He and those great hunters were out shopping until 2pm. 5 and a half hours of great guy fun. The testosterone was flowing. As he was getting into bed last night I peeked at him, yep, there is definitely a change in the appearance of his back. Back Hair, it's a guy thing, I guess.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Aaron's Piece of Shit

About a year ago, we got our son a car. A traditional POS car (for those not in the know, POS = Piece of Shit). He was just 17, a new driver and it was a good first car. We had to put a couple hundred into it for some body work and a few more recently for some engine work but it gets him around and that's what he needs. He had been complaining that it still looks like crap and he is embarrassed to be seen in it, so I told him get a job and you can get a newer car. Simple, right? Well, he hasn't gotten a job so he has resigned himself to driving this heap.

It had sustained some front end damage at one point and the front end is not very straight. We didn't realize how this might effect things until Aaron's hood flew up and was blocking his view out the windshield. Aaron managed to pull over without hitting anything. He was unhappy with his car and started complaining and called his car "gay". "My car is so gay!!", he declared. Since Aaron is gay, I figured that being gay was a good thing and told him so. "So you like the car." He just rolled his eyes and we fixed the car.

Last night Aaron calls me. "My car lost a whole lot of oil in Brandon's driveway" "and this can thing came off" I asked him where he was and he said he had just left to drive home. Of course I freaked out and screamed at him to stop driving now as his oil filter and all the oil was gone. I had to explain that this was a VERY BAD THING.

So Aaron got to use his AAA membership and had his car towed home. Today he called my friends who were home because it turns out there isn't a jack in his car and he needed to get under to replace the filter. They lent him a jack and took him to get the oil and filter.

So Aaron and the gay POS are back on the road for more adventures.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

What the Buck?? er, Starbuck

A while ago I wrote about a problem I had with Starbucks and that I did not have a satisfying experience at one of their stores. I had emailed their customer website to explain my situation. They promised me free drink coupons. This was in September.

Last week I emailed them again and said this: "I have to tell you that I did appreciate the sentiment behind the kind email that was generated due to my poor customer service experience. I was touched that you thought to send coupons for free beverages. I probably would have returned to Starbucks if I had ever received the coupons but after 2 months I figure it's become a non issue and I'm not going to get them. We had a great time together and I'm sure we will see each other from time to time but I'm just one customer and losing my business will not effect your company's bottom line and I do prefer other coffees and mostly just patronized your stores for the convenience."

Then the next day I read this in the Seattle Times: Profit takes big hit as Starbucks readjusts to bad economy
It's been a rough year for Starbucks, which saw a 97 percent profit drop in the fourth quarter and a sharp decline in traffic and spending at U.S. stores.

So now I'm feeling guilty that my boycott really may have effected the company and I feel badly for sending such an unfeeling email when they are definitely suffering. So I am going to go back to Starbucks and use those coupons that came in the mail yesterday. Okay, that won't help their bottom line at all, but I get free coffee and that's what is important.

Free Milk

I'm always reading about creative marriage proposals. You know what I mean, the skywriting, the billboard, the guy on a white horse. I didn't get any of those but it doesn't make the moment any less special to me.

Rob and I had been living together for about a year and we hadn't talked about the M word at all. Both of us had been married before and had a bit of "baggage" left over from that. Emotional Baggage. I had also come with a ready made family of a toddler and a pre-teen but I think Rob was very attracted to my having kids, he was so good to and with them. So we were just coasting along, shacking up but no long term plans.

This was starting to bother me. I knew I wanted to marry him when he came over to my house after we had been dating a few months and he found me struggling to clean my house gutters. I don't do ladders so I am on the 2nd step of the ladders, stretching up with a trowel, trying to dig the gunk out. He immediately climbs onto my roof with the hose and trowel and cleans off the roof and cleans out the gutters and down spouts. I was in love. No one had ever offered to clean my gutters before. I asked him to move in that day.

When I was young, my mother always warned us not to cheapen ourselves. That we should hold out for marriage. That the farmer won't buy the cow if you give the milk away for free. I was starting to feel after a year of living together that I was that cow. I wasn't unhappy, in fact I had never been happier in my whole life. But I was thinking it was time to tie the knot. Especially as we had been talking about extending that milk production by making a baby together. So I went off the pill.

I was now officially trying to have a baby and I was happy about that but I was grumbling to anyone who would listen (except Rob, of course) about the milk/cow issue. On one particularly sunny July day, I made dinner rather moodily, cleaned up and was sitting at the table reading a magazine, muttering to myself. Rob comes over to me and kneels down next to me. I'm thinking, great, what does he want? He's going to try and cheer me up with his Mr. Nice Guy humor. So I look over at him and he mumbles something at me. I instantly think he said," Will you marry me?" I shout "YES!" Then it hits me, maybe he didn't say that, maybe I just agreed to something else. He did kind of mumble. But I realized that Brianne who was on the phone with a friend is screaming into the phone, "Robert just asked my mom to marry him!" Yeah! I was going to become a happy cow!! No more free milk!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Pickup Artist

My kids have asked how I met Dad. I tell them we met through friends but really I picked him up in a bar.

Back in the '90's before AOL, they had chat rooms called BBS's - Bulletin Board Systems. Back when we had mono chrome monitors.... ok, it was a long time ago. This was a dial up connection and was normally local. I belonged to such a BBS called Hello Central. We would chat online but also plan BBS Meets or Get Togethers. One such outing was at a bar/restaurant called Spensers. I went as I didn't have my kids and I wanted a night out with friends and dancing. We met in our usual corner of the bar and I had the usual group of losers, unemployed geeks, men, trying to hit on me. I noticed a guy sitting by himself just observing us and thought he looked employed, normal, nice. So I decided to chat him up. Turns out he was employed, normal and nice. He started following me around and joined the group of losers, unemployed geeks,, men and I felt like the most desired woman in the place. I got the nice guys user name (we used our online names for security reasons – mine was Chris, okay, I wasn't trying to be clever, shesh!).

When I got home I emailed Case, as that was his userid, that I had enjoyed meeting him. This started an email relationship that went on for a few weeks. We were both leery of starting anything as we had both been thru dating hell and didn't want to invest too much too soon. I finally emailed him my phone number and we started a phone relationship for a couple more weeks.

One night I mentioned that I had gone to a local bar with friends for karaoke. He said that was in the town he worked and to let me know when we were going again and he would stop by after work. I of course said we would be there that weekend. I immediately called my friends to set this up. They all claimed poverty so I said I'd pay. You have to understand I was a poor single mom without much disposable income.

So the weekend comes, we head out. My friends picked me up with the understanding that if things worked out well with Robert, then he could take me home. Was this dangerous? I thought not as he was a COP! My friends turned out to be very hungry and thirsty that night and I had dropped about $60 before Rob even showed up. But he did show up and we sat very close as we poured over the song book decided what to sing. Now I am a horrible singer…. Truly awful. This night I was even worse as I was hoarse from a long lasting cough so my voice was, raspy. Rob has a great voice and sang wonderfully. I sang the song, “hey big spender” badly. He took me home anyway. We stayed up talking until about 4am. I finally sent him home and he shook my hand at the door. I was disheartened that he didn't at least try to steal a kiss after keeping me up so late. I was afraid he would never call me again. Obviously I was wrong.

Happy 14th Anniversary and Happy 50th Birthday Robert. This has been a great week because this had been a great life.

Blowing in a Group

As an extention of Rob's birthday weekend we went to a wine and cheese and blow party last night. No we were not using cocaine nor was this a group of swingers preforming oral sex on each other. We were blowing glass.

A group of cops and city workers have for the last 3 years gone to a Uptown Glassworks in Renton to make their own hand blown Christmas ornaments and have some food and wine, a social night out.

We were virgins on the blowing front, so we listened closely to the expert blowers who are the artists in resident at the glassworks as they explained our participation and theirs. Thankfully we were not going to be given the actually task of getting the molten glass from the furnace on to the blowpipe and sticking into the glory hole. Last night we were given a choice of making a glass ball or a bowl. Rob and I decided on balls for our Christmas tree. We were able to chose the color of our glass from about 2 dozen trays of crushed colored glass. Some were of one color or a combination of colors. We could chose up to 2 colors and then you could chose a smooth, ribbed or swirled pattern.

We all gathered around and watched as we each got our chance to create. Well we got to blow. They gave us each a sterile mouth piece (a 3 inch piece of a clear drinking straw) that we attached to a rubber tube. The actual blower then got a glob of molten glass onto the pipe got it orange hot in the glory hole, added the color and heated again. Now they attached the rubber tube and told us to blow slowly. We watched as out balls took on shape (with the help of the blowers with his wet newspaper and paddles. He then placed it in some fluffy stuff, snapped off the pipe and the other blower then brought over a rod with molten glass to fashion the hanging loops. She then took the finished ball to the annealing oven to slowly cool down. The glass bowls were similarly made except after the balls was formed, the blower instructed the blowee to suck causing the ball to collapse into itself. It was then placed on a small glob of glass to make a stand.

Of course with all this came the usual remarks about blow jobs. Hey there were cops here, they can be very raw in their humor (well, so can I so I was in good company). There was the reference to the classic SNL Chevy Chase line about blowing. The usual, "I can't get her/him to blow at home." You get the drift. The female blower said that male blowers love this job as they get to tell women to blow on command.

We had fun and can't wait to see our balls, cooled and able to be handled.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Happy Birthday to Rob!

I spent the week preparing for a huge event. My husband is 50! I had asked him months ago if I could throw him a party - just not a surprise party. I think after a certain age, you find that surprises lose their thrill.

Rob got really into it. He make a list of everyone he wanted to invite. I threw in a few of my friends that I like having around and we had our list. I sent out the evites and he called his parents who still refuse to use the computer his brother got them. Potentially we could have had about 55 guest, we had 37 RSVP's and 30 who actually came. A nice sized group.

So friday comes, I'm armed with my lists of what needs to be done. I give Rob the task of getting the family room in order while I tackled the living room, dining room, kitchen and bath. And I needed to prepare the food. Mostly the house was looking good, but I wanted it to look great as most of these people were from Rob's work and I don't want his co-workers to think our house looks anything different than what it does when we have guests. So the place looks great, I'm feeling especially proud and one of my friends shows up and she exclaims, "I love your house when it's clean" I'm franticly looking around to see who heard as now everyone knows we are slobs. Oh well, that's the way it goes.

The party was great. We had some great food, lots of beverages and great people. Quite the mix of cops and spouses, old drum corp friends, family and newer friends. Rob has been thanking me over and over again for his party. He was like a 6 year old for weeks. He was really looking forward to it. So was I, I love a good party and I was hoping to make a dent in all the leftover booze from the wedding. I'm going to have to have another party. We still have too much booze (if such a thing is possible?) I need to have an excuse to make more Articoke Dip.....mmmmmm!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us

Today is our 14th anniversary. This is my second marriage. My first ended after my 12th anniversary but we weren't divorced until after the 13th one passed without fanfare. So I feel this is quite a mile stone. Not because I doubted we would would get here. Robert is wonderful and we are wonderful together. He brings out the best in me and a day never goes by that I don't appreciate what I have.

We were married in a park in Renton on Lake Washington. The day started out rainy and dull but as it came time for our little ceremony on the dock, the sun came out and we felt the warmth of it on our faces (ok the wind was cold and I almost didn't take my coat off, but I didn't want to get married in my coat!). Brianne and Aaron stood by my side, our family and friends surrounded us and Rob and I pledged our love.

Together we can face anything, do anything. I have no fears on what life can bring because he is always there.

I know that I am fortunate. That not everyone has what I have. We are all those sappy love songs but for us, its just right.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Power of (Magnetic) Words

I cleaned off the refrigerator today. For years we have not seen the doors or sides of the fridge for all the things attached to it.

Over the years I've had art. Those oh so cute drawings that your kids are so proud of but after five years they are begging you to take them off. Funny how those pieces of art have disappeared, not by me but by embarrassed teens.

Then there are the photos. Mostly the photo magnets of your kids at sports. My son pulled off the ones of his from soccer years. He didn't want to be reminded of how chubby he was back then.

I like to cut stuff from the comics or a cute article from the paper. Those came down today, yellowed from age.

What I had the most of was magnets. Sport schedules, advertisements, calendars from the Insurance man, etc. Those cute little butterflies and the note pads. The cute Dilbert characters with the sarcastic sayings or the bubbles you could fill in with your own witty sayings. But what I had the most was those little magnet words. I didn't have those cool poetry words or anything like that. The ones from the Science Center were good but the freebie ones from Bank of America and from a United Way campaign made for a bit of creativity in the making.

"I deserve turkey"
"I came in your hat"
"special children are like potatoes"
"power full stomachs volunteer for Thanksgiving"
"my family is from outer space"
"we loudly support fun"

I might have to put these back. "empower positive thinking"

Saturday, November 8, 2008

My Daughter is a Super Hero

Rob let Charlie, my orange tabby, in from the back yard last weekend. Charlie came racing in and ran into the living where he dropped a very live mouse onto the carpet. I was upstairs in bed, trying to rest when I hear all hell break out.

Nik starts screaming at Charlie, who is confused now since all he wanted to do was play with his "toy" in the house where it was warm and dry. Charlie grabs the mouse in his mouth as Nik chases him around the room. What great fun! Charlie decides to let the mouse get in on the chasing fun and drops the mouse. Meanwhile Rob is standing open mouthed while this all plays out, trying to formulate a plan on how to capture this mouse. The mouse takes off running toward the TV cabinet and Nik dives in and grabs it with her BARE HANDS. She runs to the front door and tosses the mouse out into the front yard. So before Rob can do a thing, Nicole has saved the day!

A couple days later Rob lets Charlie in again. Does he check to see if Charlie is carrying? Nope! In runs Charlie, mouth full of mouse! This time he decides to head upstairs to the bedrooms and have his snack. Eagle eye Nik spots the dangling mouse and chases Charlie up the stairs and into her bedroom. In defeat, Charlie drops the mouse, which Nik snags and tosses out the front door.

This time though she was a little grossed out since the mouse was already dead.

Nicole scolded her irresponisible father for his lack of observation. He is a detective and has highly tuned senses, right? We are not letting Rob open doors to cats anymore.

Friday, November 7, 2008


Lots of people collect things. Teacups, vases, sports memorabilia, get the picture. One thing many of us collect is Stamps. I'm not talking about postage stamps. This is more of a metaphor.

Many of us compartmentalize our relationships with people like a page in a stamp album. We start with a nice clean page and we add that first stamp that represents this person. This can be a mint condition stamp or a common everyday stamp or a dirty, torn stamp that doesn't please us but we add it anyway. As our relationship builds, we add more stamps. This increases or decreases the value of our stamp album. The glue we use is strong, we can't remove some of these stamps. Some stamps are so big, there leaves no room for more stamps. Sometimes we try to cover over a stamp but find it hard when that stamp is so big.

I collect stamps. I'm not always happy about my stamp collecting. I sometimes collect other people's stamps for them. These are a sheer copy of their stamps and I let them color over my stamps. Sometimes I'm strong enough to redesign a stamp so I can't remember what it used to look like.

I hand out my own stamps, some of these are glorious stamps, some are decayed and rotting. I keep a page of my own stamps that I go over and over, adding more glue to some, picking at the corners of others. Sometimes a friend helps me remove a stamp, this can be difficult as traces of that stamp are always there.

I wish that I collect Chocolates instead.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

We The People

Today I voted.

Thirty two years ago I voted for the first time. I pulled the lever on a rainy night in New Jersey for my candidate. I was 18 years old. I was proud to be an American.

Today I voted. I cast my ballot on a rainy morning in Washington for my candidate. I am now 50 years old. I am proud to be an American.

One nation. My nation. Our nation.

The United States of America

We are a nation of many colors.

Red, White and Blue

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Halloween is the most favorite of all holidays for me. But this year was hell. I got sick and I didn't get as much pleasure out of terrorizing children as I normally do. My yard display was meager at best and my porch was creepy but not nearly as I would have liked. I just didn't have the energy to create realistic graves to go with my headstones. I only carved one pumpkin and it wasn't my best. I only put out 2 boxes of bones and my small dead body was lifeless (okay, that could be a good thing but he had no character) I didn't even put out all the black lights. I did get a new spooky sounds CD and that was fun.
And get this, I was too wiped out to put on my nun costume and chastize the evil children at the door with my ruler!

Next year will be better, I will plan early, I will not get sick. I will get Rob to help me make that wooden coffin I've be longing for....
These pics are after I took the headstones out of the yard and were letting them dry off from the rain.