Thursday, July 31, 2008

HARRY!!!! (A Public Service Announcement)

I don't know if y'all are aware of this yet, but......

there is now an official trailer for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince online!!! (This one, unlike the one posted on YouTube, is legit and not a Rickroll. Hubby laughed his head off at me when I excitedly clicked on the link on YouTube, before suggesting a wee bit snarkily that I just go to the official HP site. I let the whole groovy song play - and loudly, too - just to get even before I switched sites. Smartypants.)

So, Half-Blood Prince opens in NOVEMBER, woo-hoo! That's less than five months away! I oughta start trying to line up a babysitter now, considering that we've yet to get someone available to watch the kiddo so we can go see The Dark Knight this weekend.

Say hello to my leetle friend...

I'd like you to meet my new boyfriend.

He and I have been spending significant amounts of quality time together recently. I've spent much more time with him than I have my daughter or husband in the past few days, to tell the truth. Somehow, he's just been irresistible, so smooth and cool and quiet, willing to take anything I give him.

Yes, in other words, boy, have I had a baaaaad GI bug. Caught, as usual, from my kiddo, who loves to share her germies with mommy. She started a few nights ago with a bad headache - "Mommy, the water in the shower is TOO LOUD and it is HURTING MY HEAD" and a few hours after that, the barforama began. One more time to thank our lucky stars and the kiddo's hours of OT for the fact that she now knows she's going to vomit in time to get it into the barf bucket or the toilet, because the barfing? It happened every thirty minutes starting at 10 Monday night and continued, around the clock, for the next 36 hours. So, that's how I became acquainted with my boyfriend at first - the kiddo introduced us as I held her hair back during her time with him. Apparently, he's more of a cougar type than a jailbait type though, because within 24 hours of the kiddo's stomach upheaval, he was all mine. First, the headache, which I tried to blame merely on the lack of sleep the night before. When it got to the point that the kiddo's Hungry Hungry Hippo marbles seemed like jackhammers pounding directly into my skull, I knew it was a bit more than that. Only for me, my new boyfriend wanted everything. To put it somewhat more delicately, there were a few dicey moments when my addled brain had to quickly decide which end had priority dibs on the bowl. My boyfriend's siren call was strong; I didn't want to leave his side. It was just easier to curl up on the bathmat next to him and moan alluringly...

The good news is, 36 hours later I'm feeling fine. Well enough, in fact, to give my boyfriend the brush off. (Literally, and with a good amount of Clorox too.) So, virulent as this particular bug was, it didn't linger. It came, it kicked ass, it went. And, as Emily Blunt's character said in The Devil Wears Prada, "
I'm just one stomach flu away from my goal weight." ..... Well, not exactly, but I did seem to lose some serious (water?) weight over the past 2 days. Doubtless it will be rejoining me in short order now that the bug has passed and my appetite has returned, but hey, I'll take any silver lining I can find out of the past 36 hours of horror!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

100 Things for the 100th post

Here we go, the fabled 100 Things About Me for my 100th blog post. You've all been holding your breath waiting for this, right? Well, exhale and read on!
  1. I have a freakishly good long-term memory. I can remember things accurately going back to when I was just over 2 years old. I also can memorize things very quickly and easily.
  2. I will occasionally pretend not to remember something because people would find it weird/odd/stalkery for me to remember it/them, which I do thanks to #1.
  3. I studied the piano, flute and voice when I was growing up. Eleven years for piano, seven years for flute and eight years for voice.
  4. Today, I still sing regularly - mostly with the choir at my church, also in the car, the house, the shower, the grocery store... I used to be a soprano, but these days I am definitely much more comfortable in the alto-tenor range.
  5. I have a 3/4 piano and try to play it at least once a day - usually just to accompany myself while I sing. Someday, I'd love to have a baby grand piano, along with a house large enough to have a room in which to keep it.
  6. I'd like to learn how to play the guitar. This is my midlife crisis plan: no fancy car, just a guitar and some lessons.
  7. I studied Spanish, Latin and Italian in school. I used to be fluent in Spanish, but haven't used it more than to properly read the bilingual bits of the kiddo's Dora and Diego and Skippyjon Jones books in years. My Italian teacher told me that I speak Italian with a South American-esque Spanish accent. At the time, I was just pleased that I didn't sound American.
  8. I was the co-president of the Spanish Club back in high school. One of the highlights of my term was having a "Churros y Chocolate" movie night for which we watched The Karate Kid dubbed in Spanish. (See, told you I remember the most random things!)
  9. I'm kind of a nerd.
  10. I was a Brownie, then a Girl Scout, and also in 4-H and my church's youth group as a kid.
  11. I've been known to read the dictionary for fun.
  12. I started reading when I was two years old. By kindergarten, I was reading at a middle school level, by first grade, at a high school level.
  13. I was taught how to speed read in a Gifted and Talented program in kindergarten, and to this day, I read very, very, very quickly.
  14. I failed my driver's license test the first time I took it (on my 17th birthday). I failed due to parallel parking - the examiner measured and my front tire was within six inches of the curb but my back tire was seven inches away. (That particular examiner was, and I'm not just being biased here, a real jerk.) I passed it the second time I took it, thank goodness. I had a different examiner for my second attempt, not only was he a lot nicer, but he was a dead ringer for Denzel Washington.
  15. I met my hubby when I was 20 years old.
  16. We got married less than a month after my 23rd birthday. (Hubby was 22.)
  17. Yes, I married a (slightly) younger man. We're the same age for exactly 6 weeks each year.
  18. I'm really, really talkative. Gregarious. Outgoing. Loquacious. Chatty. Expansive. Verbal.
  19. I always dreamed of being a Broadway star. Alternatively, a star in the West End. Preferably in musicals, but if the RSC wanted me, I'd gladly do Shakespeare as well.
  20. I cannot dance.
  21. I've never smoked a cigarette. Actually, I've never smoked anything.
  22. Similar to #21, I've never ingested any sort of illegal drug. Yes, I am hopelessly square.
  23. I always wanted a huge family, lots and lots of children.
  24. I have one child, and have made my peace with having a "one and only" child.
  25. I have yet to spend a single, entire night away from my daughter, since the day she came home from the hospital.
  26. I used to be a certified Road Construction Flagger, and taught classes and gave the certification exam for the states of NH and VT.
  27. I can wiggle my ears, and also one eyebrow at a time. I actually practiced that as a child in front of a mirror.
  28. I have the ability to astound and amaze children under the age of 9 with my admittedly pathetic sleight-of-hand skills. Just ask any kid who's known me since they were younger than 9, and they'll tell you all about Heather's Magic Penny. (The downside of this is that the kiddo now frequently will request that I look for whatever it is she's misplaced "behind her ears" as if it might really be there.)
  29. I have lived in New York state for over half my life now. The second longest I lived anywhere was New Jersey, and I've also lived in New Hampshire and Maine.
  30. I dream of owning a vacation villa in Italy. Preferably in Liguria or Tuscany, but definitely on the coast.
  31. I once lived as an exchange student in Italy. This was three years before I first studied Italian in school. I made good use of my Italian-English dictionary, as well as my Spanish, to get by.
  32. I am a lousy but enthusiastic athlete. Tennis would be my best sport, but I'm no Williams sister.
  33. I played in co-ed softball leagues for about ten years as an adult. My position was usually right field. In all of my softball playing days, I made exactly one catch in the outfield. One. That day is forever known as "The Day Heather Caught A Ball" and if there'd been a Jumbotron, it would've been replayed on it many, many times.
  34. I once met Charles Barkley, Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. They were not wearing much - if anything - at the time. This was after a Rockets-Celtics game in the Rockets' locker room. Charles Barkley actually spoke to me for a minute, too - and called me "ma'am" even though I was just 25 at the time. (Side note: see how I made this one number 34?)
  35. I once made my family drag out a meal at a restaurant in Manhattan for over three hours, because the hostess had told us Paul Newman had a reservation for "a bit later" that night. My father drank approximately two dozen espressos, while my sister and I made approximately two dozen trips to the restrooms in order to case the restaurant. We did finally see Paul Newman, and he smiled at me as he walked right past our table. It was worth it, totally.
  36. I was once an extra in a series of videos for David Bowie's band Tin Machine. I was not as lucky as my friend Da Nator, however, because the night before (when I wasn't there), he stepped on her foot and then apologized to her. Yes, David Bowie actually spoke to her and touched her (albeit on the foot...), the lucky girl. We did manage to get into the very first row of the "concert" set-up for the shoot, so I was less than 3 feet away from the Man for several hours.
  37. I've never considered myself to be pretty. I've always been the smart one or the loud one, never the pretty one.
  38. I've seen Billy Joel in concert over a dozen times since the late 80s. (In case you weren't aware, he is a phenomenal live performer.)
  39. I've seen the Oak Ridge Boys in concert. Twice. (Hey and the first time, Lylah, didn't you go with us?) I've also seen Aerosmith in concert twice.
  40. My very first "popular music" concert was Duran Duran at Madison Square Garden when I was in high school - it was for my birthday that year. I brought two friends with me (Da Nator was one of them) and my dad went, too. I still have my ticket stub.
  41. I have saved ticket stubs from almost every concert I've ever been to, going back to that Duran Duran concert in the mid 80s.
  42. I have saved the Playbills from every Broadway show I've seen since the late 70s.
  43. The first Broadway show I went to was Peter Pan, starring Sandy Duncan as Peter and the guy from Mr. Belvedere as Captain Hook.
  44. I am a total theater stage door groupie, and have been for over 30 years now. I used to make my family wait with me after shows so I could meet the actors and get my Playbill autographed. I once got very irked when Tyne Daly was more interested in talking to my youngest sister than she was me. This was after a revival of Gypsy and my sister just wanted to go get dessert, whereas I was the one with the dream of becoming an actress.... Humph.
  45. My most prized autographed Playbill is from Private Lives. I actually managed to mumble a few inane and utterly starstruck words to Alan Rickman while I tried very hard not to pass out, as he graciously signed my Playbill.
  46. To this day, I regret not having brought a camera to get a picture of myself with Alan Rickman.
  47. I harbor a secret fantasy of someday being a seat filler at the Academy Awards. A close second would be the Tony Awards, especially if Hugh Jackman was hosting again.
  48. I've sworn that for my 40th birthday, I will apply to be a seat filler at the Oscars. If that doesn't work, I've sworn that I'm going to Vegas. (This gives me a little over 3 years to make my plans...)
  49. I make really, really good chocolate chip cookies (from scratch, obviously). So good that my hubby's boss once wrote a reference letter for him in which he stated that it should be made a condition of Hubby's future employment that I bake cookies for all his coworkers on a regular basis.
  50. I hate seafood. The only seafood I willingly order in a restaurant or eat are scallops wrapped in bacon.
  51. I love animals and if I were ridiculously wealthy, I'd like to own a piece of land large enough for a barn with a few horses and many more cats.
  52. I could be, without much pushing, a crazy cat lady. Hubby is the only thing keeping me away from that.
  53. I like dogs, but really only big dogs. I've always said "If you're going to have a dog, get a big dog. If you're going to get a small dog, get a cat." If I had the space, I'd love to have a Komondor or a Great Dane.
  54. The smell of dog poop makes me want to retch. This is the main reason why I haven't pestered Hubby for a dog. (I learned this the hard way one summer when I had a job housesitting for some friends of my parents who bred bulldogs and boxers. Cleaning their dog run and kennels made me physically ill.)
  55. I saw Kermit the Frog get his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in person.
  56. I have ridden horseback through the Alps and the Rockies.
  57. I have had the same recurring nightmare since I was six years old.
  58. I always dream in color. I didn't realize there are actually people who don't dream in color until one day at lunch when I was describing a dream I'd had to my coworkers and one of them stopped me to say he'd never dreamed in color in his life. I find that very odd, assuming one isn't colorblind, that one wouldn't dream in color. I mean, we LIVE in color, don't we?
  59. I once read the entire set of World Book encyclopedias.
  60. I was horribly, horribly unpopular until high school. As in, virtually friendless and picked on daily. I cried after school every day for almost four years when I was a child.
  61. I was a total music and theater geek in high school. Fortunately, I had friends who were, too.
  62. My left foot is a whole size larger than my right foot, and has been since I was 9 years old.
  63. The first time I ever played poker in a casino, I got a royal flush on my third hand. I still have the disgusting, plastic-y card room jacket I was given as a prize for getting the royal flush.
  64. I've been to 26 states in the United States.
  65. I want to go to every state in the US someday. The state I'd like to go to the most, to which I've never yet been, is Hawaii.
  66. I've always dreamed of renting a (suitably tricked-out) RV and driving across the country for a family vacation. Hubby thinks I'm somewhat insane, and I believe he is just waiting for Kiddo to be old enough to join him in voting this idea down.
  67. I can fall asleep anywhere, anytime.
  68. I have a fear of sleeping in public, and won't allow myself to fall asleep unless my hubby is there to stand guard.
  69. I talk in my sleep. I have had entire conversations while sound asleep, including answering the telephone and having a full conversation with the person calling. I have told Hubby many of his birthday and Christmas gifts while sleeping.
  70. I've always wanted to swim with dolphins. (The closest I've come thus far is seeing them from a boat in the Gulf of Mexico out of Tampa Bay and touching one at the Mirage in Vegas.)
  71. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an archaeologist and a linguist. At the same time - I thought knowing many languages well would help with the world travel required for archaeology.
  72. When I was a senior in high school, I played the role of "Smitty" in the school musical (we did How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying that year). A few years later, I began dating my hubby, who was nicknamed Smitty. I refused to ever actually call him that, though.
  73. I do a killer rendition of Barry Manilow's Copacabana. I perfected the routine when I was about five years old.
  74. The first movie I remember seeing in the theater is Snow White. According to IMDB, Snow White was re-released in December of 1975, which means that I was 4 years old.
  75. I have a serious fear of heights. Not heights, specifically, but of heights where falling seems possible. (For example, I've been to the top of the Empire State Building or similarly high places and felt fine as could be. When we went on a cruise once, I couldn't stand at the railing on deck because that didn't feel secure enough. Even watching a movie where a character or the camera angle is up high - like Cliffhanger - can make my palms sweat.) I'm not sure if "fear of falling from a height" is actually acrophobia, but whatever it is, I've got it!
  76. I'm more concerned than I ever try to let on about people liking me. This stems from the years as a child where I had no friends (primarily age 7-12) and was utterly miserable. Consequently, I find it hard to say no to people, because I just want to be liked!
  77. I can hang a spoon off my nose. I've also taught my daughter how to do this, because come on, isn't that an essential skill?
  78. I never broke a bone in my body for the first 18 years of my life, despite being a huge klutz.
  79. Two days after my 18th birthday, I fractured my skull and broke my nose while sledding.
  80. Ever since I broke my nose, I snore, especially so if I'm the slightest bit congested. (According to Hubby, I snore very, very loudly when I'm congested, too. Loudly enough to drive him to the guest room when I'm sick just so he can get some sleep.)
  81. I'm allergic to the sun. (It's called PMLE.) My sun allergy started when I was 18 years old, on a trip to Mexico. (Coincidence that it was the closest I'd ever been to the equator? I don't know...)
  82. I have been to eight countries outside the US (Canada, Mexico, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, England, Wales, Italy and Switzerland).
  83. I can walk down a flight of stairs while balancing a dictionary on my head.
  84. I have been in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans as well as the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea.
  85. I once came upon an adult (or at least it was quite large) octopus while swimming in the Mediterranean. I have never swum so fast in my life as I did to get back to the boat after encountering it.
  86. My nicknames in high school were Mugsy and Heddy. There are very, very few people who still use these names.
  87. The other name my parents were considering for me was Pamela. The reason I wasn't named Pamela was because my father has an aversion to nicknames and didn't want to give any of his children names from which a nickname was commonly derived. If I'd been a boy, I would've been named Derek.
  88. I cry very, very easily. Books, movies, TV shows (and not just the Lifetime channel), even newspaper stories and TV commercials have been known to turn me into a blubbering mess. Even just hearing a sad or touching story told in real life can reduce me to tears.
  89. I have been in the studio audience for both the Arsenio Hall Show and the Phil Donahue show.
  90. I'm a naturally upbeat and happy person. I'm cheerful a lot more than I'm grouchy, and I like it that way. Optimist and glass-half-full is my general mode.
  91. My favorite holiday is Christmas. I am a Christmas nut. My hubby had to enact a rule in which Christmas music is not allowed to be played except between the day after Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. Kiddo and I have amended that rule to "played in Hubby's earshot" and listen to it for much longer than that.
  92. I have a snowman figurine collection. I love snowmen.
  93. I do not, however, particularly love snow. I like snow for a couple of weeks in December, but by January, I'm over it. Unfortunately, I live in a corner of the world where it can start snowing in October and last through April into May. Seriously, Kiddo has been Easter Egg hunting in snowpants before.
  94. I would love to live on a beach somewhere.
  95. For our honeymoon, Hubby and I went to Disney World. The very first ride we went on during our honeymoon was the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. (Have I mentioned my fear of falling from a great height? Yeah. I thought so.) Somehow, not only did I not die from fright, but I enjoyed it so much that we spent the entire morning re-riding the ride.
  96. I have never ridden on a roller coaster (or any other amusement park ride) that goes upside down. I plan to ride on a roller coaster that does go upside down for the first time next month when we go to Disney World. (That'd be the Rockin' Roller Coaster starring my beloved Aerosmith.)
  97. I had two sets of adult teeth, and subsequently had 33 teeth pulled, not counting my wisdom teeth.
  98. I have ridden an elephant and a camel and petted a lion cub.
  99. I cannot stand pumpkin guts. The smell and feel of them makes me woozy. Real, animal guts? No problem, but pumpkin guts, ewwwww.
  100. I would love to someday be a published author. Of what, exactly, I haven't decided yet, hence the "someday" part of this one............
Whew. 100 things isn't easy. Did anyone actually read them all? I don't think I'll be repeating this for 200 or 1000..............

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Oh NOOOO!!!! (<-- as screamed by Mr. Bill)

First the kiddo was up barfing all night. By "all night" I mean every half an hour from 10pm until 3:30am, then a brief pause for exhausted parents to get a couple of hours of sleep and instill firmly in us the hope that the throwing up was over, and then the barfing resumed around 7 this morning, along with a new symptom - low grade fever!

As the harsh light of what appears to be a perfectly gorgeous summer's day seared my eyes, I called the kiddo in sick to farm school, cancelled our afternoon plans and settled the kiddo into my bed with a little Pinky Dinky Doo, fresh barf bucket and a cup of liquid (because yes, I am now officially freaked about dehydration with the all night barfing bonanza). Then I collapsed, blearily eyed and with a pounding headache (that predates the barforama but definitely was exacerbated by the lack of decent sleep), in front of my computer to catch up on my Scrabulous games on Facebook... and Scrabulous is no more (at least for North American users)! *wails of anguish* So, Julie, Sarah and all my other international Scrabulous buddies - I miss you already and hope that we will be able to play again either on Scrabulous or the official Scrabble...

So, to sum up my day so far:


In other news, this is my 99th post. I've been working on a 100 Things for my 100th post, but right now I'm a wee bit too braindead to finish it up, so it'll turn up later when the vomitorium has closed up shop and sleep or caffeine or both have cleared the cobwebs from the corners of my mind....

Monday, July 28, 2008

Now THAT is tired

So Mondays are the kiddo's busiest day for the summer. She has "farm school" in the morning as well as a PT session, then gymnastics for an hour in the late afternoon. Usually we don't do anything strenuous in between farm school and gymnastics - maybe a trip to the library (which is right up the road from the YMCA, Mommy likes to conserve gas in these days of $70+ tank fill-ups) but usually we just chill at home until it's time to head off to the Y.

Not so today, however. My BFF (who is also the kiddo's godmother) is on vacation this week and came into town to meet up with the kiddo and me for a trip to the zoo after farm school. Now, our local zoo isn't exactly laid out in a pedestrian-friendly way. I've been to other zoos that are more friendly to the walkers, what with being laid out in a loop so you can do the whole zoo and tada, you're back where you started and can head home. Our zoo? More of a long, wiggly line than a loop. Basically you walk alllllll the way down to the farthest point of the line, 'cause that's where the elephants (and now baboons) are and how can you skip the elephants??, then you have to hike your way alllllll the way back up the path (now uphill in a couple of places to boot) to get to the parking lot. I'm not complaining much here, just saying, it's a lot of walking, especially for a kiddo. I declined to lug the wagon out of the back of the van for her, so she walked it all. (She weighs almost 36 pounds these days, so Mommy doesn't carry her for any distance anymore. Occasionally she gets a shoulder ride from Daddy, but he wasn't with us.) We followed the zoo up with a trip to Friendly's where much ice cream was consumed (*urp*) by all, then home for a briefer-than-usual relaxing and resting period before we were off to the library and gymnastics.

The kiddo was her usual insanely energetic self for gymnastics - I don't think she was still for more than 10 seconds at any given point over the hour. By the time we got home, she was wiped.

(How wiped was she?)

She was so wiped that she fell asleep in the shower.

Yes, asleep. In the shower.

She climbed rather laboriously into the shower after the world's most sluggish brushing of teeth. I left the bathroom for maybe 90 seconds to go collect her jammies (which were, of course, under the beanbag chair in the living room) and get her some fresh undies. When I returned to the bathroom, I pulled back the curtain and grabbed the shampoo bottle and this is when I noticed that she was out cold. Sitting on the floor of the shower, knees bent and head down on them, asleep. Scared the living daylights out of her when I woke her up, too. She wasn't even under the water, but it scared me a little to know that she could actually fall asleep that quickly in such a spot.

Needless to say, we had the world's fastest shower, though she rallied valiantly to stay awake through one of her new library books before falling asleep again. It was literally one of those "asleep before her head hit the pillow" moments, too. She didn't even stay awake long enough to request a lullaby...

Sweet dreams, sleepy kid!


***I revised this a few hours after initially posting, down at the bottom with an ETA***

Up until the kiddo was born, I always worked outside the home. Other than when I was a full time college student, I worked full time from the age of 17. I'd always wanted to be a Stay at Home mom, and that was what Hubby and I planned for, and I've considered myself extremely fortunate that this is what I've been able to do for the past five years. Now that the kiddo will be starting full-day kindergarten in just over a month, the time has come for my hiatus from "working out in the world" to end and I'm starting to get a bit stressed out about that.

Not because I don't want to go back to work, mind you. I certainly don't want to just sit at home and my plan always has been to find a job - something part time, at least for the next year or two, then back to full time once the kiddo is older. I mean, sure, if we had the means for me to not have to work, I'd happily volunteer instead of finding a paying job, and I've always held the dream of someday getting an MSW, so if it was possible for me to go back to school, that'd be awesome too. Since we're not members of the idle (or any other kind of) rich, though, any money that is earmarked for college at this point is going into the kiddo's education fund, not mine.

So, it isn't a distaste for work. It's just that I am feeling a bit at sea when it comes to what exactly I want to do. I've done many things in my employment lifetime... I've done secretarial/administrative office work, I've worked retail (albeit briefly), I've worked in a grocery store, I even had a (thankfully short) stint in telemarketing. (That was enough to convince me I do not want to do that kind of outside or inside sales. *shudder*) I've nannied and done farm work (though that wasn't for pay as much as "because I lived on a farm and Mom and Dad made me...."). Back when I was fluent in Spanish, I once worked in an office where being bilingual was required. (Alas, my Spanish skills are now seriously rusty after decades of disuse.) I temped quite a bit in my early 20s, and enjoyed that. I didn't mind being the new face in an office and would happily take short-term or longer-term assignments. I also worked in the staffing industry as a recruiter/account rep, and so I know the industry from both sides.

In my most recent career, I worked in vocational rehabilitation for individuals with disabilities. Basically, that meant that I helped folks with disabilities (from high school aged on up to senior citizens) find and keep jobs in the community. I loved this job, I loved this line of work. I started in this area as a "Job Developer" which meant I worked with clients to help them identify a job, put together a resume and get ready for an interview. I'd identify a job that met their needs and desires, assist them with the application/interview process, and then if they were hired, I'd work with the employer to ensure success on the job. We had separate job coaches, but we were a small agency so I did a good bit of coaching as well. After a few years job developing, the boss of our department left and I got his job. That meant less working with the clients and more managing and paperwork and grant writing type stuff, but again, we were a smaller agency so I still carried a caseload.

So, considering that I used to write resumes and teach interviewing skills, that isn't the part of finding a job that I'm stressing about. It's more about finding a job that meets all the parameters I presently require. (I think that I might be considered "hard to place" by my old job's standards, sigh...) If I could have my dream job, it would at this point be something that I didn't have to take home with me at night. My old job was really a 24-7 on-call type of situation, as our clients worked all hours of the day, night and week. I'd stress about the old job, I'd expend energy thinking about it and planning for it and even dream about it. Now, when my first priority is my kid and not my career, I don't want that. When I'm home, I want to be home, if you know what I mean. That limits the job options a bit. I've heard from some of my former colleagues and even have been offered jobs in my old field. While I loved that type of work (if not the pay that came with working in a not-for-profit realm), like I said, I don't want to be bringing it home with me, not to mention that the jobs that have been mentioned have been full time. I've thought about just working per diem as a job coach or job developer, but the hours I'm available put a serious crimp in that.

That's the second criterion for my next job - the hours. Ideally, I'd want to work 20-25 hours a week. I'm envisioning something like a Monday-Thursday, 9-2 type position. I would prefer to have a day free each week to do things with the kiddo's school, and I absolutely need to be home to put her on and take her off the bus each day.

Thirdly, the job needs to be close enough to our home and school that I'm not spending whatever I earn on gas. Before Kiddo, I used to drive 20 minutes one way to get to work, and then for my job I was driving all over creation. Now, I want to be able to get to her school within 10-15 minutes at the most, so I'm geographically limited.

Then there is the question of money. There are some jobs I'd love to do, but the pay doesn't justify the effort. I've got a not-for-profit heart and need a for-profit paycheck. Benefits aren't important as I'm (fortunately) covered by Hubby, but even taking that out of the equation won't necessarily translate to a higher salary. In today's economy, I can't afford to work for minimum wage or close to it, like a nonprofit gig would pay.

Finally, there's the question of wardrobe. One of the benefits of my last job was that the agency I worked for was definitely "business casual" and my working wardrobe therefore was as well. I do own a few suits, but I don't want to have to wear them often. I'd actually rather not have to wear nylons and heels at all, truth be told. I certainly don't want to have to go out and buy a wardrobe so I have clothes to wear for a part time job...

So, while I harbor romantic ideas about working part time in a diner (without actually ever having waitressed, mind you - the closest I've come is working for a caterer at parties and country clubs, totally different ball game) or at a shop at the mall, likely I'm going to wind up doing some sort of office work. I just have to hope that I can find a part time, decently paying, business casual gig someplace where the coworkers are friendly and the work's not a total bore. (Yeah, I don't want to take it home with me but I don't want it to be mind-deadening, either.) Think that job is out there somewhere?

Practically speaking, I've already spoken to one of my two most recent supervisors (the other, sadly, passed away this past winter) and she is willing to provide me with a reference. I haven't yet dusted off my resume, but I have been perusing the classifieds. I think I may start inquiring at the various staffing agencies in town and see if they have any part time office positions. I'm also going to start networking to see if someone knows of something that I might be able to do. Hubby keeps telling me how he's heard of So-and-So that just hired someone for my exact "dream" job (well, the practical dream job of right now - the dream dream job, being George Clooney's personal assistant, of course, isn't really within practical grasp at the mo...) so he is fairly certain I'll be able to find something. We shall see.......

In the meantime, if you know of any job that fits my bill, I'm a quick learner, great at computer work and type over 100wpm, can handle a multi-line telephone, learn names quickly and file like nobody's business...

ETA: Oh, Jen just had an excellent point in the comments! I also need to be home during the summer when the kiddo is off from school! Crapola - that is another level of difficulty. I absolutely will not put the kiddo in daycare (and I mean no offense to those of you out there who use daycare for your kids - for our kiddo with her special needs, daycare isn't an option we could consider) so I'd need to be free around whatever her summer schedule will be next year. The more I think about it, the more I'm thinking that finding something in an office through a staffing agency might be my best bet. How else, unless maybe I get a job working at a school, will I be able to have the summers off?

Working from home would be a decent option, if the pay was good enough. I have a friend who just suggested the idea of doing freelance writing from home earlier today. That's something to consider, too. If I could get some sort of writing/computer work from home gig (that wasn't a total scam!) that would rock.

Well, I can't really start applying for anything just yet since I won't be able to start until September, so I guess I still have time to puzzle this one out. I know I'm not the first SAHM (which truly has been my dream job, other than the George Clooney personal assistant thing, of course) to re-enter the work force after a child-rearing hiatus, and I doubt I'm the only one who has requirements in a job like I do. So, fingers crossed that there is something out there for me with a paycheck attached!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


I just want to be sure everybody knows - I am THE MOST WICKED MOMMY, EVER. Yep, the wickedest. That title is alllllll mine, so back off. My five year old told me so via some very loud screams just now, as I was trying to rinse the shampoo out of her hair in the shower. (Clearly, I must be wicked for not wanting her to climb out of the shower all covered in suds. Sheesh!)

Kiddo's come up with some good barbs and insults for me over the years. Her standby is "Mean Mommy" but there are others, oh, are there others. For example, earlier this week, she called me a "crabby nut" in a fit of pique. (And yes, I did have PMS and probably was a crabby nut at the time, but that didn't stop me from sending her immediately into time out. Apparently I have a reputation to uphold, dontcha know.) I've also been naughty and unkind, but this was the first time I've been wicked. The wickedest, even.

Methinks the girl is watching a few too many Disney princess movies......

I wonder which Wicked One I most resemble, in her mind?


Naaaah, I may be pasty, but I'm not green. Also not quite that tall or skinny, alas. (Though I do seem to have a way with birds, given the constantly empty state of the bird feeders at our house.) Besides, we haven't let her watch Sleeping Beauty yet, so she wouldn't have the reference.

How about Cruella?

Hmmm, no, I don't think so. I don't smoke and I don't wear fur, plus I love animals. Also, again, neither tall nor skinny. (She does look to wear a large shoe, though, so in that we'd match.)

Medusa, from The Rescuers (which the kiddo just watched a week or two ago)?

Possibly, though I tend to wear less makeup and rarely wear earrings these days. Oh, but I am fairly certain that there have been moments while driving that I look very much like this:

I'm gonna have to go with Ursula, I think. She is my Wicked Alter Ego. Definitely.

Okay, I'm not purple and my hair doesn't have quite that much white in it (yet, though the kiddo is doing her best to get it there, it seems...). And I'm a bit envious of all her limbs, because there are definitely times when an extra arm or six would come in mighty handy. But from the boobs
(not to mention the rest of her curves) to the sass to the big volume both in hair and voice, yep, I think I can definitely channel Madame Sea Witch when I'm being wicked.

The kiddo (aka the Poor, Unfortunate Soul) eventually relented this evening and apologized for calling me wicked. This may've been induced partially by me informing her that Wicked Mommies don't read bedtime stories or sing lullabies. (When I was singing her a lullaby a short while later, she told me I sound a lot more like Ariel than Ursula. Awwwwww.) I'm sure there will be many more times when Kiddo thinks I'm wicked (or worse) in the future. Guess I'll have to get myself some evil animal sidekicks (think Swimmy could be converted? She already swims on the dark side...) and a sassy, magical shell necklace so I'm prepared...

Knock me over with a feather

Okay, I am in total, absolute, utter shock here.

I won.


*pause for crazy, giddy, happy dance*

Yes, for the second Saturday in a row, I sat down at my computer and found out that I won the SITS giveaway of the week. The prize I won this time is an awesome digital camera. Why, oh why, didn't I buy that Megamillions ticket last week? (Actually, my numbers didn't come up, so that would've been a dollar down the drain...)

You know you want to get in on this - you know you do! Here's how: head on over to The Secret is in the Sauce and check out the great blogging community that's based there. (Don't forget to pop by Heather and Tiffany's pages, too - they're the fantabulous duo that started SITS.) They're doing another giveaway this week and you can enter - the prize this week is an iPod Nano.

(I've requested to NOT be included in this week's giveaway, by the by.
I've heard rumors that Swimmy is willing to take payments in order to bump me off, so in case anyone is considering removing me from the contest that way, never fear. Seriously though, our entire family already have iPods and seriously, if I won by some slim, slim chance again, I'd probably walk outside and get hit by a truck or something. Well, at the very least, get pooped on by one of the zillion birds that hang out here at the house...)

Thanks to all the SITStas that have popped by my blog to offer congratulations. Having you drop by my little corner of the blogosphere and leave comments is like a terrific prize in and of itself!

I've said it before, but I'm saying it again - SITS rocks!!!

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday Five!

Okay, after a rough week of piscine assassination attempts, kiddo bad attitude and boo-boo crises, PMS, horrible weather resulting in being caught in even more horrible traffic and a case of the blahs, I'm so, so glad it is Friday!

In order to celebrate the end of this week (finally!), I'm going to try doing a Friday Five here. Hopefully folks will want to play along, either in the comments here or on your own blog (please let us know if you do)! For this one, I've gone with questions that can be more broadly interpreted, just to keep things interesting.

First Ever Friday Five (ideas from various websites - do a Google search and you'll find lots of websites devoted to the topic):

1) Where do you belong?
2) What do you carry?

3) What do you know?
4) What is strange to you?

5) Where are you going?

I'll be back to post my own answers in a bit - I promised the kiddo I'd play a round of Memory (Dora the Explorer version) and her patience is wearing thin with Mommy sitting at the computer.....

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Swimmy wants me to sleep with the fishes

Okay, I think I'm calmer now. Calm enough to type, anyhow. You see, I just narrowly avoided a murder attempt. The kiddo's pet goldfish, Swimmy, just tried to off me.

You think I jest? Allow me to elaborate. It was about half an hour ago. I was doing the weekly 20% water change in Swimmy's tank. Before I began syphoning out the water, I used the scrubby-pad-on-a-stick device that I found in the fish section of the pet store to scrub down the insides of the glass, because occasionally a slight buildup of algae occurs, and that's just gross. Now, Swimmy doesn't mind the water changes, usually - she'll swim around the vacuum end and whap the hand wielding this intrusion into her world with a tailfin, but she never bites or headbutts or anything. This is not the case with the scrubby-pad-on-a-stick, however. Swimmy apparently hates this thing the way I hate my kiddo having a splinter (or twelve). She gets agitated and swims around all angrily, attempting to get me to withdraw the SPOAS as fast as possible. (My attitude whenever I'm cleaning the tank, by the way, is always "Dude, this hurts me more than it hurts you. Seriously." More on that in a moment...)

Well tonight? The fish took it to the next level. I'd already begun draining the water out, with the kiddo assisting (she holds the end of the hose in the waste water bucket) and noticed a spot on the one wall I'd missed with the SPOAS. I grabbed it and went to swipe the offending algae spot when Swimmy decided this was it. The last straw. It was at this moment that Swimmy went from innocent, well-fed, carny goldfish to coldblooded, attempted killer.

Swimmy proceeded to SPLASH me with dirty, disgusting fish tank water. I'm not talking a little "splish" of water, I was absolutely DOUSED. As were the wall behind the tank, the light on the dresser next to the tank, the floor and, in what was probably an unintentional "friendly fire" sort of situation, the kiddo.


You see, I really have a thing about zoonotic diseases. It all started back in the day, growing up on the farm, when a member of our family caught a disease from our sheep. (I won't name names to protect the afflicted... *cough*Dad*cough*) This disease, we eventually learned from our vet, as the family physician and the ER docs were equally stumped, was called Orf. (Oh, total disclaimer here - click that link at your own risk. There are photographic illustrations and they are nasty!) (You didn't listen, did you? You clicked, and now you're sorry, aren't you? Told you so. Hey - I googled it so you wouldn't have to, don't barf in my general direction!) So, ever since those days, I've had a real thing about catching something horrible from an animal.

I'm not like ridiculously paranoid about it or anything though, I mean, the kiddo's going to a summer camp on a farm, we've been to umpteen petting zoos, we have a cat, we have friends with dogs, etc. (Yeah, I carry antibacterial wipes and a bottle of hand sanitizer with me at all times, but that's not crazy paranoid, sheesh.) But........ when it comes to the fish, I get a little squicked out.

See, number one? Fish are slimy and scaly. I mean, nothing about them looks terribly hygienic, right? Their very nature is gross. Then, there's the pet fish's environment. In Swimmy's case, a ten gallon, tricked out aquarium with a filter and weekly 20% water changes. But still, the pet fish is, essentially, perpetually swimming around in his or her own waste, you know? (And if you've ever seen Swimmy poop, holy Hannah, that's some very serious fecal matter. Long and gross and floaty so it hovers in the water for way too long before finally getting sucked into the filter or settling on the bottom.) I view the fish tank as essentially a fish-churned stew of potentially zoonotic bacteria and ick.

I try, as often as possible, to let Hubby do the cleaning honors. Unfortunately, there have been long stretches of time when Hubby just hasn't had (or made, ahem ahem) the time to do it, and the choice becomes: Swimmy dies of dirty water complications, thereby devastating the kiddo, or I suck it up and change it myself. The first time I cowboyed up to do it myself, I tried to wear gloves - like the kind your grandma wore to wash the dishes. Didn't work; the water poured in the top and I wound up with my hand marinating in the fishy ick. I pondered putting rubber bands around the tops of the gloves for the next time, but it was a bit too tourniquet-y, so I gave up. I've settled, therefore, for scrubbing like I'm about to perform surgery in the hospital (all those years of Chicago Hope and ER came in handy after all!) the second I'm done with the water change. I make the kiddo scrub up too, sometimes overriding her and scrubbing for her if I feel there may be fish ick germies lingering that she's overlooked. And don't even get me started on when I might have an open wound anywhere above the elbow - I super-bandage it and then basically soak the wound in rubbing alcohol afterwards if it gets the slightest bit damp. *shudder* Even a hangnail gives me the heebie-jeebies.

So, considering that on a normal week, I scrub myself post-tank cleaning until I'm practically down to the dermis, tonight's murder attempt had me flipping out. By some miracle, I didn't swear. I did scream like Ned Flanders (esp in the murder house episode) and then managed to hold myself to a stream of "EW EW EWWWWWWWs" as I assessed the damage. Fish water was dripping from my hair down my ear. My glasses were spattered, as was my face. My jammies were drenched. The kiddo wasn't as bad, as she was behind me so I took the full force of that evil fishy's assault.

I'm proud to say that I held it together - barely - long enough to finish the job and that I didn't immediately retaliate. The thought crossed my mind, albeit briefly, to see if Swimmy enjoyed the air as much as I enjoyed her water. As soon as I had the tank situation under control and had mopped up the wall and the light and the floor, I hightailed it to the shower. The only level of shower that really would've made me comfortable would be something akin to the decontamination shower in Silkwood (or alternatively, the decontamination scene in Monsters, Inc.) but I made do with a vigorous scrubbing in a hot, hot, hot shower with about half a bar of Ivory. After I'd scrubbed the kiddo down and she was playing in the (freshly drawn) bath, I decided to allay my fears by googling zoonotic live fish disease. This is what I found. See? My crazy paranoia isn't so crazy or paranoid after all, now is it?

Oh, yeah. Hubby's gonna have to start changing the water from here on out, no two ways about it.

(Incidentally, Swimmy turned a year old this month. We're not sure of Swimmy's exact birthday, what with her being a carnival fish and all, but the festival at which the kiddo won her last summer is this coming weekend. That day, I never imagined that Swimmy would still be alive a whole year later, nor that she would try to kill the hand that cares for her. Stupid carny fish.)

Taroo, Taroo, ta-ROAT

My dear friend Andy emailed me this after reading my whine about being a grouchy grump. It is a bit of an inside joke (well, I did tell y'all about Skeeter, the inside joke part just spirals off of that original story), but it made me laugh so I wanted to share.

And yes, I am feeling a bit less grumpy, hallelujah! I'm mostly just tired than anything, as opposed to tired and hormonally eeeeevil. (Goatlike, one might say....) I've told Hubby that I'm not waiting up for him tonight, but going to bed when the kiddo does. Hubby's softball team is playing in the semifinals of their league's tournament at 7:15, then if they win it's on to the final game in a doubleheadery sort of way. If they lose, he wouldn't be home before 9:00 and while normally, I wait for him to get home and then we eat dinner together, tonight, no way. Hubby was in agreement with this plan - I think he doesn't particularly want to see me at that hour in my mood! At least I got the front and side yards mowed (thunder started ominously rumbling before I could do the back) and took out my frustrations on some ginormous weeds as well as hacking back our Forsythia of Insanity. I have such a love-hate relationship with our forsythia bushes, which are the hardiest things, ever. I got them from a friend who was relandscaping her entire property. They'd been dug out and bagged in some garbage bags, then moved in a hot van and left on the side of the house for like a month, still in the bags and only occasionally watered, before we finally got around to planting them. Now, in the spring, I looooove my forsythia. It is the first thing to bloom besides my crocipetti (aka crocuses) and I always bring branches inside and force them even before they're blooming outside. But by midsummer? They grow in this psychotic frenzy and get gigantic and sprawly, no matter how severely we cut them back. Haaate that - the branches poke through the fence into the back yard and flop over to the side into our neighbors' property. When I was mowing that side of the yard today, I noticed that the leftmost bush was completely blocking the neighbors' access to the side of their house and back yard. I'm surprised they haven't hacked it down or at least (since they're very polite) asked us to cut it back, but I went to it with a vengeance. The forsythia retaliated with a vengeance as well, bitch-slapping me across my left side and tangling in my hair as I fought my way through the branches to a cutting point. Ow.

But forsythia trauma aside, I feel better about having accomplished that much yard work despite the crazy humidity and my bad mood. I cranked up A Chorus Line (the OBC) on my iPod and sang at the top of my lungs over the lawnmower. I was obviously loud enough that the mailman could hear me as he pulled up our block, because he turned onto our street during "Dance 10, Looks 3" and shot me a slightly more bemused look than usual. (Our poor mailman has encountered me out doing yard work with my iPod on more than once....)

For those of you who aren't show tune fans, here are the particular lyrics I was belting out to my audience of finches, cowbirds, butterflies, garter snakes and our lucky, lucky mailman:

Dance: ten; Looks; three.
And I'm still on unemployment,
Dancing for my own enjoyment.
That ain't it, kid. That ain't it, kid!

"Dance: ten; Looks; three,"
I'd like to die!
Left the theatre and
Called the doctor for
My appointment to buy

Tits and ass!
Bought myself a fancy pair.
Tightened up the derriere.
Did the nose with it, all that goes with it!

Tits and ass!
Had the bingo-bongos done.
Suddenly I'm getting national tours!
Tits and ass won't get you jobs
Unless they're yours.

Didn't cost a fortune neither.
Didn't hurt my sex life either.

Flat and sassy,
I would get the strays and losers.
Beggars really can't be choosers.
That ain't it, kid. That ain't it, kid!

Fixed the chassis.
"How do you do!"
Life turned into an endless medley of
"Gee, it had to be you!"

Tits and ass!
Where the cupboard once was bare
Now you knock and someone's there.
You have got 'em, hey.
Top to bottom, hey.

It's a gas!
Just a dash of silicone.
Shake your new maracas and you're fine!
Tits and ass can change your life.
They sure changed mine!

Have it all done - honey, take my word.
Grab a cab, c'mon, see the wizard on
Park and Seventy-Third

Tits and ass!
Orchestra or balcony.
What they want is whatcha see.
Keep the best of you, do the rest of you.

Pits or class - I have never seen it fail.
Debutante or chorus girl or wife.

Tits and ass,
Yes, tits and ass
Have changed my life!
Now for the complete picture, you have to imagine my yard work ensemble: scrungy, once-was-orange tank top (with bra showing more often than not), faded, bleach-spotted brown capri pants - actually, I believe technically they're cropped gauchos, not capris - white crew socks, ratty old sneakers, filthy green and white (at least once, long ago, they were white) gardening gloves - the rubber-and-fabric kind that always make my hands smell like a balloon for hours even with much scrubbing - iPod and gigantic sunglasses, dripping with sweat and bearing red marks up my one side from calf to cheek from the forsythia that looked like I'd been flogging myself. Hair curling out every which way from the humidity, too. I was looking hawt. I tried to restrain myself, as I was in public and all, but I believe the occasional shimmy escaped, too (behind the screen of my lawn mower, but still). That's the danger of playing show tunes on one's iPod in public - one cannot help but dance as well as sing along. Well, if one is me, at any rate.

Anyhow, thanks for my goat, Andy! I'm off to change Swimmy's water, then make a lasagna for dinner (that'll reheat well for Hubby whenever he gets home) and crash on the couch with a book while the kiddo eats.

Taroo, taroo, ta-rump

There's this song I made up a while ago to sing to the kiddo when I'm trying to nudge her out of a bad mood or away from the border of Meltdownia. I start by singing "Taroo, taroo, ta-rump, is Kiddo a grouchy grump?" and the goal is for her to sing back "Taroo, taroo, ta-rid, Kiddo's a happy kid." Most of the time, if I've gauged her mood properly, this can help her shake it off and cheer up. Sometimes she just wants to sing the "Taroo Song" making up lots of different lines. She'll bust out with a "Taroo, taroo, ta-rungry, I am really hungry" or her #1 favorite "Taroo, taroo, ta-rilly, Mommy is really silly!" Whatever floats her boat. Like I said, I started this one day to fend off the glowering eyebrows I was catching glimpses of in my rearview mirror, and over time, it's taken on a life of its own.

At any rate, today? Taroo, taroo, ta-rump, I am a ridiculously grouchy grump. I've been trying to shake my bad mood since I woke up. (Woke up, mind you, courtesy of the cat, who I thought I could hear gacking up a hairball someplace in the house. At not-quite-four this morning. I went on a hairball hunt to no avail, until just now when I shut off the central air and went to open the windows to let in some fresh air. Jackpot - hairball on the window ledge. Oy.) I don't like to be in a bad mood. I really prefer being a positive and upbeat kinda gal. I have different fixes for Heather's Crotchety McGrump alter ego... I dress in bright colors, I indulge in a piece of chocolate or other caffeine-infusing item, I listen to peppy music, I read the comics, I pet the cat, I goof around with the kiddo, play some Scrabulous, do the daily crossword, read some funny blogs, whatever I can do to shake it.

Today, alas, not so much. The grumps have taken over. Ploo. I know it is partially due to hormones (hello, PMS - sorry if that's TMI to my three (?) male readers...) and partially due to sleeping poorly and then the hairball too-early awakening, and my allergies are also going nuts - my eyes are itching despite being on prescription eyedrops, my nose is running and I'm sneezing my fool head off. I think the best I'm going to be able to shoot for is to be mindful of the fact that I know I'm ill-tempered and crotchety today and try not to take it out on Hubby or the kiddo, and then get to bed as early as I can tonight to sleep it off. I'm definitely scrapping my plan to go on another round of Quest for a Swimsuit '08 this morning, because that is just asking for a major dressing room meltdown. I think I'll just mow the lawn (allowing me to stomp about) and viciously pull some of the weeds that are thriving in every nook and cranny of my planting beds, all while listening to something inspiring on my iPod. Let's see if that does the trick.

*sigh* I do not like days like this. Anyone have a good trick to rid oneself of the mega-blahs?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Update round-up

First of all, we opted to stay home instead of going out in the pouring down, thundery weather to attend the Jimmy Sturr concert, so no polkatastic good time for us. I mean, had Noah floated his ark by us (or alternatively, Steve Carell - boy was that not a good movie, and Hubby and I both love Steve Carell) we might've hopped on board, but only if the ark had a lightning rod on top. Honestly, we figured there was no way the concert was still happening, Hubby's golf outing was cancelled, after all... I learned today, however, that the concert did happen and was extremely well attended (from the pictures I saw online, by a rather large bunch of quite hardy oldsters) so shoot, no rain date and we missed the fun. Maybe there'll be a repeat performance next summer...

The AC on my beloved Sienna is still not fixed. This last time (#5) that we brought it in, they ultimately determined that it is something to do with the evaporator, which is yet another crazy expensive part that requires ordering. To be fair, our dealership is going above and beyond at this point in terms of the neverending problems with the AC, and we very much appreciate all they've done. With any luck, the new part will be in tomorrow and then Hubby can drop the van off either Wednesday or Thursday, whereupon they'll have to take apart the entire dashboard area to replace this one bit. Hopefully they can dig out those fossilized Goldfish crackers, Cheerios and raisins that the kiddo hurled up into the air vents about three years back while they're in there. To be rid of that occasional rattling wouldn't be a bad thing! (No, I don't think her thrown-for-distance from the back seat snacks are the cause of all the problems. That's definitely a coincidence, right?)

The finches have long departed the petunia basket nest, and for that matter, the petunia baskets themselves are now departed. The heat and wind did them in faster than I could keep them watered, alas, and so I replaced them with some hot pink begonias for the remainder of the summer. All the perennials have been going crazy, especially my Russian sage and English daisies, both of which are almost as tall as the top of my head! The butterfly bushes are blooming and beginning to attract quite a few butterflies, which ties in to my later summer obsession of getting a cool and arty photo of them, something that's hard to do with my point-and-shoot camera.

Oh, and while we don't have the finches in the nest, they're still hanging about the house, either chilling out in our lilac bushes in front or perching on the deck and fence in back. Hubby is starting to grumble ominously about not restocking the feeders, as the amount of bird poop on the deck, fence and porch is getting a bit out of control. I've promised not to buy another bag of birdseed when the current bag (that I just bought) runs out, and I'm only refilling the feeders every second or third day now (they empty in about 12 hours). I am still keeping the hummingbird feeder full and fresh - love those hummingbirds!

The finches aren't the only birds chilling in our lilac bushes. This summer, we've had a mama duck and her five ducklings hanging out there, too! They bathe in the downspout runoff when it rains, eat the birdseed scattered off the edge of the porch by the finches, and sleep underneath the largest lilac. Then they march on down to the pond for a swim (and/or to bother the kiddo when she's fishing back there - they loooove to go after her bobber!) and we'll see them heading back up to our yard again when they're done at the pond. There's no nest under there and the ducklings are now almost as big as Mama, but they're still cute and I will confess to giving the kiddo the heels of the bread loaves to feed them. The ducklings come within mere inches of her feet, whereas Mama Duck is a bit more dubious and hangs back a bit further, though she will gobble up any bread bits that get close enough to her.

We've been reaping the fruits of our labors in the food garden and berry patch. Hubby actually ate some of the strawberries and proclaimed them tasty, but I've been leaving them for the birds in exchange for leaving the other berry plants alone. We've picked maybe a half pint of raspberries and almost a pint of blueberries so far, all delicious! The blackberry bush didn't take to the transplanting and doesn't look like it will bear fruit this summer, but there's a lot of new growth so I'm hopeful for next year. We've also had sugar snap peas coming out our ears, which is awesome because we all love them and last year's crop stunk. Speaking of ears, after being cautiously optimistic about the 6 corn seedlings we put in as they grew to about 2 feet high, our hopes were dashed as 2 feet seems to be the maximum and they've not gotten any taller. Not sure if the stalks are tall enough to actually produce any ears, but you never know!

What else? Oh, a splintery badness update - true to the doctor's word, the kiddo's hand has completely healed, without infection or further medical intervention necessary. So, WHEW for that!!

In other medically related news, I've pretty much been wearing my glasses exclusively, as my eyes have been crazy itchy and I definitely do NOT want a recurrence of the Eye Ick from Hell! Even in the pool, I rock my Jackie O-ish, crazy Magoo thick, prescription sunglasses. At least this way, I'll have more pairs of contacts to use up on our vacay to Disney World next month! (Hubby and the kiddo made a paper chain to count down the days, and while it seems really long, I know we're just over a month now which is bad news for my "amazing weight loss and getting fit and toned" plan. Oh well, I can still tone in the next monthish, anyhow...)

I think that catches me up on everything, except for the ongoing Hair Follies. I'm utterly depressed at how long it is taking my hair to grow out, but happy that most days now, it doesn't get too Wolverine, Farrah or Carol Brady-esque even when I only do a minimum of hair fussing. So I guess that is something!

Anyhow, that's what's been going on in my neck of the woods, how are you doing? Having a good summer so far? Hot enough for ya? Doing anything exciting, going anywhere exotic or enjoying a "staycation" instead? Do tell!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yay for my wonderful hubby!

Well, he doesn't actually read my blog (or so he says) beyond when I point at something on my computer screen and say "Hey, honey, look at this..." but my brilliant and patient, all around wonderful husband just allowed me to interrupt the actual computer work he was doing to help me go through ninety gazillion lines of template HTML code to fix the justification and margins for my new, cool template.

So, even though he'll never see this, a big THANK YOU to my hubby! He really is the best!

Whaddya think? (Part II)

Well, we all know I can't just leave well enough alone. As much as I liked the old new template, I found one I like better, courtesy of LeeLou Blogs. (Also free, so drop by her page and check her templates out!)

What do you think of this one? I feel like it is better on the eyes than the old new template... I may tweak further (I'm trying to get rid of the center justify and switch to a left justify) but I think this will be it, unless I win a custom template someday!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

In which Heather's thumb boo-boo has a "Revolutionary Bandage Experience"

One morning last week, I injured my right thumb. It was a stupid, stupid injury and I will not explain how it occurred. Suffice it to say a Barbra Streisand gospel CD case was involved and that I was driving on a 65 mph expressway at the time. Anyhow, the gouge on my thumb was pretty deep and immediately began bleeding profusely. Fortunately for me, I carry a fully stocked first aid kit in my minivan. (Seriously, this thing is just shy of a portable defibrillator.) Unfortunately, the first aid kit is in the way back, behind the kiddo's seat. I made do with a kleenex and applying pressure until I pulled in at farm school (aka Kiddo's summer camp), whereupon I did some first aid and bandaged it up.

It didn't stop bleeding for a good, long while. It bled through three bandages before it finally stopped, and that was with the aid of my trusty styptic pencil. (Which, by the way, OUCH!) I quickly learned that this particular wound is in a rather bad spot. It turns out that part of my thumb comes into contact with things all the time, so without being covered, it was getting repeatedly reopened and hurting like heck. (I like to let wounds breathe if at all possible, buying into the "fresh air" healing theory vs. the "covered up to avoid germies" theory.) This meant that I had to avail myself of our rather extensive collection of bandages. We have 'em all, from cheapo base models to waterproof, "tattoo" style bandages. We've got rainbow colored ones, bandages shaped like hearts and stars (also in rainbow colors!), clear ones (Mommy's standby, as the ones that are ostensibly "flesh" colored are actually only the color of my flesh when I'm sporting a deep - for me - tan), character ones (like the Princesses), ones meant for knuckles or knees, for wounds large and small - you name it, we have it. For my thumb, I tried an assortment of different bandages over the next two days. Nothing worked that well - apparently I make good use of my opposable digits because I was constantly catching the bandage on something and pulling it off/tearing it or soaking it off in water, etc. My boo-boo was not getting the protection or coverage it needed, and it hurt.

Three days after my wounding, I opened up our mailbox to discover a free sample of a new Band-Aid product. It seemed as though Fate had smiled upon me and my wounded thumb and sent me the answer! I began to read the accompanying literature..... This new Band-Aid Ultra-Strip is billed as "The Healing Hug" - that sounds good. Who doesn't like a hug? It claims to be superior protection to help you heal, well that sounds pretty good too! Inside, just next to the free sample was large, boldfaced type proclaiming this Band-Aid to be a revolutionary bandage experience! Wow! My thumb injury was obviously in dire need of a revolutionary bandage experience! The sample closed by inviting me to "Put it to the Test!," so I did. I stuck that Healing Hug right on my thumb first thing the next morning and took it for a test drive. To be fair to it, I didn't apply it until after I'd showered. Okay thumb boo-boo, time to start the test!

I suppose it says something for the Band-Aid that it lasted almost 5 hours on my thumb (I'm right handed, too, so this was my dominant hand), during a typical day. It snagged a bit and developed a wrinkle after about hour 2, but didn't give up the ghost completely until around hour 5. It lasted through such activities as emptying and reloading the dishwasher, feeding the cat, watering the plants, weeding the garden, picking berries, lots of typing and mousing at the computer (okay, so Thumb only really comes into play occasionally on the space bar for that) and applying sunscreen to the kiddo - twice. I also wash my hands a LOT, so it was subjected to many dousings of water. It did not, however, survive the pool. It was pretty comfortable, certainly more comfortable than the generic, base model bandages in our collection, and it stayed on better than the tattoo-style, waterproof ones. (Which, incidentally, also don't survive a trip to the pool with the kiddo. She and I both lose those types all the time in the pool. Humph.) When it finally gave up the ghost, I noticed my skin underneath it wasn't all shriveled and white the way it sometimes gets under other "heavy duty" bandages. So, I guess that says something for it.

Do I think my thumb had a revolutionary bandage experience? Hmmm, well, not exactly. Was my thumb a little let down after the hype of the Healing Hug? For sure.
Will I buy a box of these? Probably at least once - there was a coupon with the free sample, after all. Have I learned never to mess with the CD holder in my dashboard while driving? Oh yeah. That, I know for certain.

(By the way - I tried to photograph my thumb wound, before and after testing out the free sample bandage, as a means of documenting it for this post. Alas, I was unable to get a good picture using my left hand on the camera, and I felt just a wee bit silly asking someone else to photograph it for me.)

Not so wunnerful...

Oh nooooooooooo!!!! This is the weather forecast for the day of this weekend's Jimmy Sturr concert:

Scattered thunderstorms. High 81F. Winds E at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

How will the kiddo and I get our polka on? (Not to mention getting our swing and country on too, as promised in the flyer?) His website says that

The band constantly attracts crowds of screaming, adoring fans wherever their travels take them. Their tremendous popularity has resulted in not only numerous Grammy Awards, but also being voted “The #1 POLKA BAND IN THE COUNTRY” for the past ten years.

I get the feeling that the crowds of screaming, adoring fans may not mix well with the 60% chance of thunderstorms. The kiddo and I don't want to miss our big opportunity to see the #1 Polka Band in the country in person! I wonder if there'll be a rain date.....?

(You think I jest? As a kid, I used to adore, I mean ADORE, the Lawrence Welk show. I watched it with my grandfather all the time. Seriously.)

Fingers crossed for no rain!

Bullseye! I'm a WINNER!

So, how excited am I this morning? SO, SOOOOOOOO excited! I never win ANYTHING (heck, I even came in second when I was on Jeopardy) but this morning, I'm a winner! And not just a winner of any old thing, either, mind you, but the winner of a FIFTY DOLLAR TARGET GIFT CARD!


(Um, sorry about all the caps, but I'm really flippin' excited here!)

Boy, I loved SITS even before I won anything, but now? *swoooooooooon*

THANK YOU so very, VERY much, SITS ladies! Heather and Tiffany - you guys ROCK! And by the way, this week's giveaway over there is a super-cool, red digital camera! Check it out and join in on spreading the comment love!!

(I've typed this entire post with a big ole cheeeeesy grin on my face, and now my kiddo is a bit worried about mama, hee hee!)

Heck, I may go out and buy a lottery ticket today - the Mega Millions jackpot is up to $125 million..........

Friday, July 18, 2008


Is it wrong that I've been singing the theme song to Pinky Dinky Doo - aloud - all morning?

Sigh... I need to charge my iPod, stat! Just when I've vanquished one set of kid TV songs from my brain (I've lived through the Wiggles, Dora with that stupid "I'm the Maaaaaap!" song, Diego, The Wonder Pets...) another TV show's music gets embedded in my brain. It's just not right! At least back in my day, the kiddie songs were things like Schoolhouse Rock! Now that's something I can groove to, you know?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A concert event!

Last night, Hubby was perusing our town's website (he's part of the Chamber of Commerce, so I guess that gives him reason to be so perusing...) and came across a listing for an upcoming concert. He hadn't heard of the artist featured in this concert but was intrigued after seeing the poster on the town's website, so he did a quick Google search. He then called me in to the room so he could read me a few choice selections from the artist's official biography...

At the time that rock was reaching its crescendo, and in the era when Country was dazzling the nation, a strange phenomenon was taking place. In essence, this phenomenon was the rising popularity of JIMMY STURR as the hottest musical attraction in the polka field.

The reigning king of the field is a good looking, smiling charmer with brown hair, blues eyes and charismatic rays emanating from his presence. Sturr is the fellow in front of the orchestra.

If that isn't enough, check out Jimmy Sturr (I'm sorry - JIMMY STURR)'s photo:

Now this guy is no fly-by-night one hit wonder, either. According to his website, this "fellow"
has won seventeen Grammy Awards and has received more consecutive Grammy nominations that anyone in the history of musical awards

Needless to say, weather permitting, the kiddo and I will be loading up our lawn chairs and heading to the concert this weekend. (Hubby is so sad that he won't be able to join us, but he has a church golf outing.) I'll give you the concert review on Monday - unless the kiddo and I are so overcome by the charismatic rays emanating from his presence that we've become official JIMMY STURR groupies, in which case we'll be following his tour bus in our minivan............

(Seriously, we are totally going to go to the concert. Also seriously, has anyone ever heard of this dude? He's got more Grammys than my favorite three artists put together, for Pete's sake!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Shake a leg

Hubby was just talking to the kiddo about her day at "farm school" (the summer program she is attending is held on a working farm) and they got on the subject of what kind of feet various animals have: hooves, paws, claws etc.

While they talked on, I suddenly had a flashback, out of nowhere. Something I hadn't thought about in probably 20 years. It was completely unsettling to recall and therefore, of course, I must share it with you.

Growing up, I was in the 4-H sheep club for almost 12 years. Our club leaders (the adults) were all sheep farmers, as you'd expect. This one lady, who was older than Methusulah and seriously old school in her ways (like Pioneer Woman or Little House on the Prairie old school), was a leader for a while. One time at our monthly meeting, we were discussing the proper ways to trim sheep hooves - it's trickier than you might think. There were lots of questions and more than a few of us confessed that we didn't do the hoof trimming ourselves, but rather let our parents or other adults do it. (I was one of that number.) She was appalled to learn that we weren't all competent hoof trimmers and proceeded to lecture us about how these were our animals and we needed to take care of all their needs, on and on she went. The next month she turned up with these large, black, Hefty lawn-n-leaf garbage bags. She dropped the bags on the floor of the living room in which we were gathered (meetings rotated to a different member's house each month) with an ominous THUD. The meeting got underway as usual, and when it got to the "anyone have any other old business?" question, she spoke up. She explained that following the previous meeting's discovery that we were all hoof trimming slouches, she wanted us to practice. She proceeded to reach down and untie the first bag, then she stuck her hand inside and pulled out a sheep's leg.

A sheep's leg. A frozen sheep's leg. She had FOUR bags full of them. All different breeds - some were longer and black (like the Suffolks we raised), others smaller and white (Dorsets or Cheviots, most likely). As we gaped in silent horror, she began passing the legs out around the room. Next, she produced a few pairs of hoof shears and waited for us to get to work. We each had to trim hooves until we'd done it to her satisfaction.

Yes, picture that for a moment, if you will - a room full of children holding squeamishly onto rapidly thawing sheep's legs. More than a few of us were grossed out, and some kids refused to touch the legs. (I cowboyed up and took on the challenge, myself. I was such a goody-goody and so wanted to ace everything that I wasn't about to let a little thing like a dead animal's severed leg get in the way of earning top marks from the club leaders...) I can only imagine what the host member's parents thought of this sight - pieces of hoof flying everywhere around their living room, the smell of thawing legs, the sight of a circle of children holding said legs...........

(Incidentally, she'd gotten the legs from the local slaughterhouse. There weren't suddenly a bunch of quadruple amputee sheep flocks in the area. She'd called the slaughterhouse and asked him to save her the legs from the Easter lambs and mutton.)


I kind of wish I hadn't recalled that particular memory. I think that was, hands down, the most disgusting thing I ever had to do at a 4-H meeting. I did manage to trim a hoof satisfactorily by my second leg, at least, though I don't recall ever trimming a hoof on a live sheep in all my years of sheep farming. Dad and the shearer usually took care of that when the sheep were being sheared. Thank goodness.

Aren't you glad I shared that memory with you?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Well, that's not utterly ridiculous...

Remember last week's episode of Splintery Badness with the Worst Pediatrician's Office Visit, EVER?

Well, in today's mail came the notice from our insurance company detailing the cost for that visit. Wanna know how much the charge was?


Yes, you read that right. $156.48 for partial splinter removal, a squeeze of polysporin and a Tasmanian Devil band aid. Oh, and of course we can't forget the Tinkerbell sticker the kiddo chose out of the basket at the check-out desk. Less our copay of $10 and that is $146.48 that our insurance is paying the doctor's office. (Um, thanks, Preferred Care!)

You think it was because this counted as some sort of surgical procedure, or because of pain and suffering? I'm not thinking of the kiddo and her Screams of Doom here, either, I'm thinking more along the lines of the doctor's double-kicked groin. Hmmmm.

Monday, July 14, 2008

One Word Meme

Answer these questions with one word only. No word can be used twice.

1. Where is your cell phone? purse

2. Your significant other? golfing

3. Your hair?

4. Your mother?

5. Your father?

6. Your favorite time of day? evening

7. Your dream last night?

8. Your favorite drink?

9. Your dream goal?

10. The room you’re in?

11. Your ex?

12. Your fear?

13. Where do you want to be in 6 years?

14. What you are not?

15. Your favorite meal?

16. One of your wish list items?

17. The last thing you did?

18. Where you grew up?

19. What are you wearing?

20. Your TV is?

21. Your pet(s)?

22. Your computer? cluttered

23. Your life?

24. Your mood?

25. Missing someone?

26. Your car?

27. Something you’re not wearing?

28. Favorite store?

29. Your summer?

30. Your favorite color?

31. When is the last time you laughed?

32. When is the last time you cried?

33. Your health?

34. Your child(ren)? joy

35. Your future?

36. Your beliefs? heartfelt

37. Young or old?

38. Your image?

39. Your appearance? improvable

40. Would you live your life over again knowing what you know?

Wow, answering that with one word was hard (thank goodness I was raised in NJ and not NY) as was not being able to repeat words. Whew. I challenge anyone who reads here to do this, on your own blog if you have one (and please let us know you're participating) or just in the comments here. Any SITStas out there want to give it a shot, for example?