Wednesday, August 31, 2005

The twin engines of destruction that are the sinus cold and the sore throat

What do you get when you mix 19 children, the humid South, bacteria, and almost 3 weeks of incessant rain? Whiny, sick children. That's what you get. As a result, you have a class that's stuck inside with the air conditioner set so cold that PPB puts on a sweater, and all those germs just keep getting bonked all around like so many ping-pong balls.

So -- my kindergartners have done what ALL my kindergartners tend to do to me at one time or another -- they've made me ill. I have a sinus headache the size of the Grand Canyon, and my throat is as red as a baboon's bottom.

Why am I blogging, then, you might say? Why, might you also say, aren't you in bed, loaded up on chicken soup and NyQuil? I might tell you to stop fussing at me as if you were my mother, and tell you that I'm headed for bed in just a trice. I just wanted to let those of you who wander through here reading my drivel know that I shall probably be incapacitated for a day or two. I have the feeling that this so-called summer "cold" will be getting worse before it gets any better.

Hold the fort for me, and someone make sure to give me any assignments that I missed.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Let's do the Time Warp.....

It's just a jump to the, no! Not *that* Time Warp! While perusing Scrivener's place today, I decided to follow his top 100 songs of his graduation year with one of my own. The directions are to go to musicoutfitters and enter your year of graduation into the search bar on the left side of the page. then, strike through all the songs you hated, and bold any you liked. Here we go with mine: the Class of 1988!

1. Faith, George Michael Eh. I liked it then, but it's not aged well.
2. Need You Tonight, INXS Loved INXS....Poor Michael Hutchence...
3. Got My Mind Set On You, George Harrison Another one I was fond of, in the day....
4. Never Gonna Give You Up, Rick Astley
5. Sweet Child O' Mine, Guns N' Roses
6. So Emotional, Whitney Houston
7. Heaven Is A Place On Earth, Belinda Carlisle
8. Could've Been, Tiffany
9. Hands To Heaven, Breathe Liked this one...think I still have it on cassette single somewhere.
10. Roll With It, Steve Winwood
11. One More Try, George Michael All right, so I was a Wham! freak!
12. Wishing Well, Terence Trent d'Arby
13. Anything For You, Gloria Estefan and the Miami Sound Machine
14. The Flame, Cheap Trick Who doesn't like Cheap Trick?!
15. Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car, Billy Ocean Don't really care for the song, but all I can think of now is Homer Simpson saying this one...
16. Seasons Change, Expose NOOO!!!!!
17. Is This Love, Whitesnake I wasn't really a metal gal, and this was metal lite, but it was okay.
18. Wild, Wild West, Escape Club Good for dancing, but made no freakin' sense at all!
19. Pour Some Sugar On Me, Def Leppard Oh, yeah!
20. I'll Always Love You, Taylor Dayne
21. Man In The Mirror, Michael Jackson
22. Shake Your Love, Debbie Gibson Surely a sign of the apocalypse.
23. Simply Irresistible, Robert Palmer Didn;t really like the song, but the damn video was EVERYWHERE!
24. Hold On To The Nights, Richard Marx Liked it then, think it's smarmy now.
25. Hungry Eyes, Eric Carnen
Shattered Dreams, Johnny Hates Jazz Love this one -- still listen to it!
27. Father Figure, George Michael Meh -- this one gave off warning bells...
28. Naught Girls (Need Love Too), Samantha Fox
29. A Groovy Kind Of Love, Phil Collins
30. Love Bites, Def Leppard
31. Endless Summer Nights, Richard Marx
32. Foolish Beat<, Debbie Gibson
33. Where Do Broken Hearts Go, Whitney Houston
34. Angel, Aerosmith Gotta love Aerosmith!
35. Hazy Shade Of Winter, Bangles Liked this one til it was used in, what -- "Less Than Zero"? Then, all I could think about was drugs, Robert Downey, Jr., and fellatio. Ugh. No thank you!
36. The Way You Make Me Feel, Michael Jackson
37. Don't Worry, Be Happy, Bobby McFerrin It's got that island feel, and you can't helpp but dance. Or, at least crack a small smile.
38. Make Me Lose Control, Eric Carnen This song made me lose control. Of my lunch.
39. Red Red Wine, UB40
No. Ick
40. She's Like The Wind, Patric Swayze This is the reason that actors should NEVER try crossover careers.
41. Bad Medicine, Bon Jovi
42. Kokomo, Beach Boys Isn't there a law against playing this song, ever?
43. I Don't Wanna Go On With You Like That, Elton John
44. Together Forever, Rick Astley
45. Monkey, George Michael Eh. Liked this one better than ""Father Figure", though.
46. Devil Inside, INXS Yup! :)
47. Should've Known Better, Richard Marx
48. I Don't Wanna Live Without Your Love, Chicago
49. The Loco-Motion, Kylie Minogue
50. What Have I Done To Deserve This?, Pet Shop Boys and Dusty Springfield
51. Make It Real, Jets
52. What's On Your Mind, Information Society Okay, so I liked dance music....
53. Tell It To My Heart, Taylor Dayne didn't care about this one, one way or another, but she's got a set of pipes!
54. Out Of The Blue, Debbie Gibson
55. Don't You Want Me, Jody Watley
56. Desire, U2 Loved U2, still do!
57. I Get Weak, Belinda Carlisle
58. Sign Your Name, Terence Trent d'Arby
59. I Want To Be Your Man, Roger
60. Girlfriend, Pebbles
61. Dirty Diana, Michael Jackson
62. 1-2-3, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
63. Mercedes Boy, Pebbles
64. Perfect World, Huey Lewis and the News I liked them then, but I don't remember this particular song...
65. New Sensation, INXS Oh, yeah! I pretty much loved all of their stuff!
66. Catch Me (I'm Falling), Pretty Poison Okay, this was too bubblegum, even for me.
67. If It Isn't Love, New Edition
68. Rocket 2 U, Jets
69. One Good Woman, Peter Cetera ? I don't even remember this one!
70. Don't Be Cruel, Cheap Trick
71. Candle In The Wind, Elton John Who doesn't love this one? I know it got overplayed when Diana died, but it's still a great tune.
72. Everything Your Heart Desires, Daryl Hall and John Oates
73. Say You Will , Foreigner
74. I Want Her, Keith Sweat ???
75. Pink Cadillac, Natalie Cole
76. Fast Car, Tracy Chapman I liked this song, even though it was repetetive.
77. Electric Blue, Icehouse
78. The Valley Road, Bruce Hornsby and The Range
79. Don't Be Cruel, Bobby Brown
80. Always On My Mind, Pet Shop Boys Liked Pet Shop Boys, but can't remember this one.
81. Piano In The Dark, Brenda Russell Featuring Joe Esposito ???
82. When It's Love, Van Halen
83. Don't Shed A Tear, Paul Carrack
I don't even remember this one!
84. We'll Be Together, Sting
85. I Hate Myself For Loving You, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
86. I Don't Want To Live Without You, Foreigner
87. Nite And Day, Al B. Sure
I don't remember this one, either.
88. Don't You Know What The Night Can Do, Steve Winwood No, and I don't wanna.
89. One Moment In Time, Whitney Houston
90. Can't Stay Away From You, Gloria Estefan and Miami Sound Machine
91. Kissing A Fool, George Michael Liked it then, but probably wouldn't listen to it now.
92. Cherry Bomb, John Cougar Mellancamp
93. I Still Believe, Brenda K. Starr
I don't remember this one!
94. I Found Someone, Cher retch!
95. Never Tear Us Apart, INXS Loved it!
96. Valerie, Steve Windwood
97. Just Like Paradise, David Lee Roth
98. Nothin' But A Good Time, Poison
99. Wait, White Lion Metal lite, but all right.
100. Prove Your Love, Taylor Dayne

Monday, August 29, 2005

My dirty secret....

...I am totally and utterly addicted to craft stuff. Yes, I know that's not exactly a "secret." It's *MY* blog! Get off my case! JF gets so mad with me because I have project stuff spread out all over the house. I quilt, I cross-stitch, I do various other kinds of needlework, I make paper crafts, I scrapbook. The list is pretty much endless.

So, our big MegaCraftsStore just recently had me undergoing heart palpitations. First, I, junkie that I am, have been bemoaning that there has been no recent 40-50% off coupon in the Sunday Edition of the newspaper. This really chaps me, as I usually depend on that coupon to help ease the financial crush of my many craft habits. Then, I see that my store is *closing* (as many places in HLaBW seem to be doing lately....) which makes my heart race even faster. Luckily, the store planned on moving into a bigger space only about 200 yards from the old space. So, I wasn't all that distressed, but the last blow fell this weekend at my Leader's Retreat -- I found out that they had had a minor fire a few nights before the move, and had a GREAT fire damage sale, and I freakin' *missed* it!!!

This may not seem like such a big deal for some of you, and yes, my principles are very screwy, thank you for your unsolicited worry about my mental state. I am a very sad individual.

Well, the long and short of it is that the SuperMegaGinormoCraftEmporium opened this weekend, *and* they had a 50% off coupon in Sunday morning's paper. I walked in there Sunday afternoon (sucking my gut in, though, 'cause it was packed tighter than the proverbial sardine tin) and bought a new scrapbook kit (Disney, of course) and some paper, and all kinds of good stuff. I walked out of there significantly lighter of pocket.

All is right with my world. (Except for the fact that I was tired today because I stayed up way too late last night making scrapbook pages, but that's a whole 'nother issue....)

Friday, August 26, 2005

Weekend Update

Well, another weekend is upon us! Hope everyone made it through to Friday relatively unscathed. (I know there were a few close calls there....)

I will be MIA until late afternoon tomorrow -- got another Girl Scout function to go to. Hopefully this one is less hypertension-inducing than the last one! :) I will be back, so save some sangria for me!

An update to the Bad Baby Names post:

I saw, quite possibly, the Worst. Name. Ever. today -- this poor child at my school had on her nametag, so she could get on the proper bus, and the poor mite was named Goh' Norea. Oh. My. God. It was all I could do not to hunt down that mother and shake her senseless. What in holy hell was she thinking? Or, was she *not* thinking at all? The mind boggles...

Catch you guys later tomorrow! Everyone have a good night!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

It only confirms what I've always suspected....

Outcast Genius
78 % Nerd, 73% Geek, 56% Dork
For The Record:

A Nerd is someone who is passionate about learning/being smart/academia.
A Geek is someone who is passionate about some particular area or subject, often an obscure or difficult one.
A Dork is someone who has difficulty with common social expectations/interactions.

You scored better than half in all three, earning you the title of: Outcast Genius.

Outcast geniuses usually are bright enough to understand what society wants of them, and they just don't care! They are highly intelligent and passionate about the things they know are *truly* important in the world. Typically, this does not include sports, cars or make-up, but it can on occassion (and if it does then they know more than all of their friends combined in that subject).

Outcast geniuses can be very lonely, due to their being outcast from most normal groups and too smart for the room among many other types of dorks and geeks, but they can also be the types to eventually rule the world, ala Bill Gates, the prototypical Outcast Genius.


Also, you might want to check out some of my other tests if you're interested in either of the following:

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Professional Wrestling

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 90% on nerdiness
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 90% on geekosity
free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 92% on dork points
Link: The Nerd? Geek? or Dork? Test written by donathos on Ok Cupid

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

In Memory of Bushy

We are cat people. We have one cat who actually belongs to us, SheWhoAggravates. SWA is a Siamese whom we adopted from our local Humane Society. She is a totally-indoor cat. We have also managed to somehow acquire other cats from the neighborhood, who have come to regard us as their family. We feed them, take care of them, and love them, but they remain outdoor cats. We have long called the Offspring "the cat herder" because they all flock to her. She has that natural touch with animals, and has stated since the age of five that she plans to be a vet when she grows up. We've all grown very fond of our kitties -- Blackie, Grady, and Bushy. Offspring named them -- Blackie (she's black), Grady (he's gray), and Bushy (for her fluffery tail.) Blackie and Grady appeared at about the same time -- maybe word travelled on the cat network that these people were suckers for cats, and they had extra food. Both of these cats had been neglected, and we think Blackie had been outright abused. It took a long time for both to trust us, and to approach us without fear. Bushy was another story.

Bushy appeared about six months ago, skulking around the food bowls when she thought no one was home. She would tear off the minute we approached, and acted terrified if we made the slightest movement towards her. The other kitties would try and chase her away from the food bowl, sensing an interloper, but Offspring always made sure Bushy had her own little bit of food, and didn't have to fight the other two in order to eat. Bushy was getting to the place where she realized that we were good people -- we fed her, after all -- but was still not quite convinced that we weren't going to hurt her. We were firmly convinced that she had been very badly treated.

Yesterday, when we got home from school, Bushy was waiting for us on our porch with Blackie and Grady. (The cats have long since stopped caring that Bushy was hanging around...) We went through our feeding routine, and Bushy slunk to the hedge to watch. I tried to approach her, and she backed away. She didn't run this time, but she obviously didn't know what I was up to. I settled for leaving her in peace to eat.

On the way out of the door this morning, JF discovered Bushy had been run over in the night. Some poor excuse for a human being ran this poor, mistreated animal over, and left her to die in my front yard. JF managed to warn me before the Offspring saw her, but when I told her, she was just inconsolable. We plan to bury Bushy in the backyard this evening. We may not have been able to convince her during her lifetime that we were Nice People, but we'll at least give her a place to rest amongst our other much-loved family pets.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Another Crafty Item

This is the promised picture of the pocketbook I made recently. I'm not really a pocketbook kind of gal, but I wanted something that was all my own, so this was what I ended up with. Blue is my favorite color, so I knew I wanted the base unit to be blue.. The middle section is strip-pieced in various shades of hot pink. If I plan to make any more, I will tinker some with the strap -- too wide for my taste, and a smidge too long.

Otherwise, not bad for a couple hours of work on a rainy summer weekday!

Weird Baby Names

Wandering through cyberspace, I spent some time last night over at Not Without My Handbag's Bad Baby Names section. When I was done snorting up my lungs through my nose in utter hilarity (and utter shock) at what people choose to saddle their poor children with, name-wise, I began to ponder...

I've worked with children for about 10-12 years now, in one capacity or another. Here are some of the more interesting names that I've run across:

Wachovia -- these people named their child after a bank. What's next, Home Equity Loan, and her brother, Interest Due?

Lamarseillaise -- apparently, these parents saw the title of the French National Anthem, and though -- hm. That's make a good name for our son. Never mind that he'll never be able to fit it on any of his schoolwork! We'll just call him Lamar!

Sharmontez -- This child was teased unmercifully because of her name. It took her forever to learn how to spell it. Most people never did pronounce it right.

Pink -- This, sadly, was the name of a boy. And, also very sadly, because I live in the South, it almost always got pronounced "Pank." I'm not sure which incarnation is worse.

A trio of sisters named: Precious, Princess, and Heavenly Joy. I'm all for people finding names that mean a lot to them, but this was smarmy to the point of requiring antibiotics. Or, at least a hefty dose of insulin. And, following form, those kids were about the meanest little girls I've ever seen.

Quantonesha, and her big brother Quantavious -- nice kids. But, those poor, poor kids.

Then there was the kid that had about fifteen names : Michael John-Robert Alexander something something. After Alexander, I ran out of breath and had to regroup, so I never did learn his other two names. And, the *weird* thing about this poor child was that his parents wanted you to call him by ALL of the names! I told them "By the time I finish calling him, I forgot what I wanted him for!" They had run across so many baby names that they really liked that they finally chose them all.

Shamarlia -- I was just sorta wondering if they were trying to name this girl "Shalimar", but couldn't remember how to spell it....

There have been countless others, but if I reveal too many at one time, you'll all think I'm just doing it for comic effect. I won't hit you with the full load of them now....I'll just save them up to pop them into conversation to liven things up. We'll be chatting along, and suddenly, I'll just let fly with "Shawndreia AnJanae!" And you'll all bust a gut with mirth. :)

What are some of the names you all have seen?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Harry Potter Personality Test

As seen at Phantom's....

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys

Crafts and such

A quilt I did for my Mom awhile ago. She lives at the beach, and loves lighthouses, so this pattern was one I grabbed on quickly for her. It's the first piece I've ever done in both the "stained glass" genre, as well as the foundation piecing method. I was pretty pleased with it. It's small, just large enough to cover a tabletop, and I had intended it to be a wall hanging.

Blogging the Alphabet

The idea for this post was shamelessly stolen from Phantom Scribbler's blog, where Peripatetic Polar Bear mentioned that Phantom could probably blog on the alphabet, and she'd enjoy it. I have stolen the idea, brazen harlot that I am, and I'm not sorry about it. (See, Phantom, you aren't the only one who has lite blogging days...)

These are the things that make up who I am:

A: A is the first letter of my name. My real name -- my secret identity. It also stands for "amiable", which is something that I strive to be. I'm a relatively happy person, and I like to be surrounded by friends. A is also for acting, which is one of my loves. I haven't done any stage shows since my daughter was about 9 months old, but I love it, and I'd do it again in a heartbeat if the schedule was a little easier on family life.

B: B is for baby -- my daughter. She's nine at the time of this writing, but she'll always be my baby. She is the light of my life, and I could not imagine a world without her. B also stands for blue, which is my favorite color.

C: C is for chocolate, another thing I could not live without. I like all kinds of chocolate, as is evidenced by the size of my ample ass.

D: D is for dorky, which I was in high school, and if I'm totally honest with myself, still am now. I like dorky music, according to JF and Offspring, including Duran Duran. This is often a source of much conflict over which CD to listen to, or which station to tune in on the satellite radio while in the car.

E: E is for education. Education is very important to me, not only because it is my chosen profession, but I constantly seek to educate myself by reading anything I can get a hold of. I am also very interested in my daughter's education, and I seek to help her broaden her horizons in any way that I can.

F: F is for friends. You all are very important to me. My IRL friends, and my blog friends. you give me so much support, and I am constantly amazed by you all.

G: G is for grateful. I am so grateful that I am still alive, and that I have a family that loves me. I often have to remind myself that I have so much when there are so many out there who would pray to be in my shoes. I try not to take people for granted.

H: H is for home. My home is where I am comfortable and safe. My home would be anywhere my family happens to be. H also stands for HumidityLikeABrickWall, which is the city I have grown up in, and where I still reside. JF hates it here, but it's not as bad as I used to think. JF is also a self-admitted social recluse.

I: I is for ice cream. This is another thing that I am rather fond of. (No wonder I'm a quivering bucket of excess flesh....) I is also for inspiration, the lack of which led me to this post.

J: J is for Juggling Freak, the man who changed my life. He taught me to trust again, and taught me that love is something wonderful. We have been married for almost 13 years, and I'd do it all over again in a second. Of course, he is stubborn as the day is long, and has the memory of an elephant, and can tell me the contrary and annoying things I say and do back to our first date, but he's mine, and he taught me that love means accepting someone's faults as well as their good points. He also gets points because he puts up with my crap.

K: K is for KLee. I have been known by this handle in one incarnation or another for about 14 years now. JF got me into bulletin boards back in the day, and "Kayleigh" was my very first handle, and that's been my moniker ever since. As some of you questioned me, it's also the title of a song by my favorite 80's band, Marillion.

L: L is for love, which I see displayed in so many ways every day. I see a lot of love from the blog friends that I've made in just a short time, and I have come to love you all for all the wonderful people that you are.

M: M is for Mickey Mouse. I am an avid collector of all things Mickey, It's actually quite sad for a grown woman. We take a vacation to Disney World every year, and it is my time to be a kid. I love everything about our yearly trip. M is also for mother, which is the best job I've ever had, not to mention the hardest.

N: N is for night owl. I am a total night owl. Night is my time to unwind. I use that time to get crafty projects done. With the heat and noise of the day put to bed, that is my time to spend in pursuits that my family doesn't hold as dear as I do. When I'm on summer break, I get into a total nighttime schedule, and it's a bear to reverse when the school year starts. I've been back at work for 2 weeks now, and I finally feel as if I'm not the living dead when I wake up.

O: O is for optimist. I am a glass half-full type of gal. Looking for the silver lining keeps me from being a complete and utter drag to everyone around me. JF can't stand my upbeat behavior at times, but then, he's my polar opposite. O is also for outgoing. I like to meet people, and I figure I can't be too shy if I'm willing to make an ass out of myself on stage. And I frequently do. :)

P: P is for play. Everyone must have something that ties them, tethers them. I love to play. I play all the time at work *and* at home, and I find that if I have fun with whatever I'm doing, it makes my life that much more enjoyable. P also stands for people -- the people in my life add greatly to my happiness.

Q: Q is for quilting and quilling. These are two of my crafts that I find great relaxation in. JF is going to help me figure out how to post pictures, and I'll have to find some pictures of some of my projects to post. Quilting is like putting together fabric jigsaw puzzles, and I *love* jigsaw puzzles. Quilling is like paper filigree, and I make a lot of decorative pins/brooches to wear during the holidays. I also make a lot of Christmas ornaments for gifts this way.

R: R is for reading, which is another of my great loves. I read everything from pulpy, trashy romance novels to treatises on new practices in archaeology. I have spent WAY too much money in my life on books, and I can't seem to stop. I need a book intervention!

S: S is for singing. I love to sing, and I used to do a lot of musical theater. I sing in the car, in the shower, and everywhere in between. I can't seem to stop myself. It's in my blood.

T: T is for travel. I haven't been that many places, but I do love going anywhere I can afford to go. I have been all over the Southern US, and I spent almost a month in Germany when I was 18. I loved being in Germany, despite not knowing the language. (My language in school (chosen for me by my very tight-assed private-school teachers) was French.) Germany was an eye-opening experience for me. I loved knowing that I was standing where history was made. I visited the Gutenberg Bible museum, the Hofbrau Haus Beerhall in Munich, and made a side trip to Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. It was all gorgeous, and if I were wealthy, I'd go back in a minute.

U: U is for United States. While I love my country, and all the different people that make my country what it is, I don't like where's she's headed. I don't think that the US should be the world's policeman, nor do I think that that we have good, solid government these days. We are in such a tight spot because our fearless leader has chosen to stick his nose into another country's affairs, and we're losing far too many soldiers and wasting far too much money on people who don't want our help. Did we not learn anything from Vietnam? Why don't we worry about the millions of US citizens who can't afford healthcare? Why don't we clean up our cities before we go lecturing people about how they should run theirs?

V: V is for victim. I was once the victim of a violent crime, but I refuse to be labelled as a victim any longer. I *am* a victim no longer -- I am a survivor. I firmly believe that I did not succumb to the guilt and to the hands of another human because I was meant to pass on what I know. If I've helped one person, then what happened to me is made less painful. It will never be "okay" with me, but I will be able to take some satisfaction in the fact that my experience may help some other woman avoid hers.

W: W is for water. I have lived around water my whole life. I love to swim. I love to watch the rivers and oceans. It affords me a sense of peace. I don't think I could live in a climate where swimming wasn't possible. I would have to build a heated poolhouse so that I could indulge in a swim whenever I felt like it. (This would, of course, predicate my being extremely wealthy, so that I could not only afford to move, but could also afford a pool and a heated poolhouse. And, maybe a cute cabana boy to tell me I'm gorgeous, and worshop me from afar.....mmmmm. Huh? Was I drooling? Sorry.)

X: X is for xeriscaping, which is the process of conserving water to use in landscaping in arid or semiarid climes. If it gets much hotter here, I may have to resort to building a shower in every room so that I can shower off while walking from room to room. After a slew of days with heat in excess of 102 F, I can safely say that winter can drop a load on me tomorrow, and I'll be happy.

Y: Y is for yodeling. No, I don't yodel, but I couldn't think of anything for "Y", and I went to a movie today where yodeling was done, and it stuck in my mind. (An aside, for other parents, the movie was "Valiant", and it was great! Not only funny, but also teaching history without being treacly.)

Z: Z stands for zero. A lot of the times, zero is the credit I give myself. The number I rate myself. I have to try harder to like who I am, and I have to give myself greater credit than zero. I don't really like me a lot of the time, but I'm trying. With my wonderful family to help me see reasons to like me, it gets easier every day. Zero is also the number of ideas I had for a post for today before I read Phantom's blog and totally swiped the idea from PPB. (Thanks, Bear! We always said you were an inspiration, and you are, in more ways than one!)

Thanks for reading this far, for those of you that stuck it out. Those are the ABCs of me. I would love it if some of you stole this stolen idea, and did ABCs of your own. You are all fascinating to me, and I would love to get to know more about you.

Friday, August 19, 2005

As seen on APL and Halloweenlover's blogs....

I don't see myself as all that witty, but here are my results of the 3Variable Funny test...

the Wit

(52% dark, 34% spontaneous, 15% vulgar)

your humor style:

You like things edgy, subtle, and smart. I guess that means you're probably an intellectual, but don't take that to mean pretentious. You realize 'dumb' can be witty--after all isn't that the Simpsons' philosophy?--but rudeness for its own sake, 'gross-out' humor and most other things found in a fraternity leave you totally flat.

I guess you just have a more cerebral approach than most. You have the perfect mindset for a joke writer or staff writer.

Your sense of humor takes the most thought to appreciate, but it's also the best, in my opinion.

You probably loved the Office. If you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out here:

PEOPLE LIKE YOU: Jon Stewart - Woody Allen - Ricky Gervais


Link: The 3 Variable Funny Test

the horror that is family time...

Songbird mentioned that I needed to relate the trial that was my younger brother's graduation. I related this story back when it happened in a newsgroup we used to frequent, and it was met with much hilarity. I warn you -- bad language abounds, and some of you may realize that we might be related. :)

Here's the original message with a few edits for names and such....

I mentioned that I just attended my brother's college graduation -- let me share the full horror that it was to demonstrate the levels of Hell to our other members.

First of all, my brother went to Clemson. Which, while a nice picturesque school, is rather decidedly more *agrarian* than I had supposed. The first thing I saw when I drove up, on this, my very first visit, was a large barn and silo combination. Nice, but not really what I was expecting.

The ceremony was nice, but my father totally ignored the "please wait until the end to applaud for your graduate." He brings an air horn. Hoo-whee, we're a classy bunch! My father then breaks out the cell phone to call my brother to let my brother know that Dad was the source of the air horn. (Like it could have been *anyone else.*)

Then, after the commencement, it was my brother's intention to take us all to the restaurant where he's worked for the past three years. I'll admit that I was thinking along the lines of Bennigan's, or TGIFriday's, when I learned that he was waiting tables and tending bar. Imagine my surprise when the place was rather posh.

After the ceremony, we all troop over to my brother's girlfriend's for some wine and cheese and the like. It's only 1pm, and dinner reservations are for five, so we have time to kill. The libations start flowing freely. A bottle of champagne, a bottle each of Dewar's, Scotch, and Royal Crown are all liberally emptied, along with several types of beer. Keep in mind that there are only six adults in our party, and I'm not drinking.

So, we move along to the restaurant at about four, stopping to take the quick, two-wheel tour of Clemson. We arrive, and go straight to the bar because our table is not yet ready. The restaurant is beautiful. As dinner finally gets underway, we (what do I mean, we? *They*) consume two more bottles of wine, plus at least three mixed drinks each as well.

We are in an upstairs dining room of what was probably once a colonial mansion. There are, I would estimate, about thirty other diners there in the room. My mother gets up, and announces a toast to the room at large. When this goes largely ignored, she decides to *sing* instead. I was too busy being horrified beyond all rational thought to pay much attention. When this, too, goes
largely ignored, she goes around to various diners, hugging them, as she sings. My brother, larger of heart and more forgiving of nature than I am, stands up, and says:"My mother, ladies and gentlemen. Give it up for her."

Our table gets progressively louder, until my father, who by this time, is now close to a dull shout, announces, in one of those sotto voce tones that still manages to carry like a son of a bitch, "I'm feelin' my titties, and I feel *good!*" As if this wasn't enough, my father looks over to the foyer where a large Christmas tree is displayed, and says, "Hm." My stepfather sees his look
and estimates aloud that the tree is about a twenty-five footer. (We are on the second floor, looking down on the first floor, which is currently filled up with tree.) My father gets up, walks to the balcony, unzips his fly, and pretends to "measure" the tree. He then turns around, and says to the assembled crowd -- "Yup! That's a twenty-five footer all right!" Fly still unzipped and all.

My mother cries. Her baby boy is graduated. She then launches into a diatribe about how Clemson is a fine place of higher learning, and just because all her family went to USC, they can kiss her ass. It's mentioned that my brother, who graduated magna, was the only person who graduated with honors in his field. My father announces :"That's great. He got in with a bunch of dumbasses!"

After this, my father and stepfather both trade insults back and forth about what a bitch my mother is. I entreat my father not to say "fuck" so many times, or at least not as loudly. When this doesn't work I tell him that he's the one who will have to attend the conferences with Offspring's BattleAxe teacher when she repeats that in school. This ploy also does not work. I then begin to assess a fine of $20 for each "fuck" he utters. I collect a hundred dollars before the night ends. (Somewhere in here, he also mentions that my ass is large enough to show a movie on.)

As we (mercifully) leave the restaurant, I mention to my brother that I'm sure glad he'll be moving on to bigger and better things since we've certainly ruined his career here at this fine establishment. My father decides that he needs a drink "for the road." (No worries about open container laws at the holidays for us!) My father flirts with the bartender, who is younger than I am. My *brother* has to pry my father off of the bar so the poor girl can see to the other patrons. (Not to mention that he's scaring the hell out of her.) Leaving the building, my father falls down the stairs, only to come up cursing that he's spilled his drink.

As we all pile into my mother's van, my father feels up my stepfather's ass. I warn my stepfather not to take it all in drunken jest as Father *did* spend some time in the Navy.

They all troop back to my brother's for more drinks, and my father realizes that somewhere along the way he's lost his cell phone and his car keys. He tells my brother that he'll just spend the night on his porch, and proceeds to pass out on my brother's steps.

Not one word of this is embellished.

The capper of the story is that my husband, who had to work and could not attend, laughed his ass off, and said that he always missed the *good stuff.* He didn't feel sorry for me in the slightest.

So, you can see why "family time" make me very afraid.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

And the laughs just keep coming....

Sitting at home tonight, the Offspring asks me two monumental questions:

1) Mom, will you pull my tooth?

Now, this may not see like a lot to all of you out there in BlogLand, but it is here at the KLee/JF household. Our child is notoriously weenie about teeth, taking medicine, and putting ointment or other assorted medical-type stuff on owies. This is my child, the one who shrieks with pain when you bring the ointment into the same zip code as the aforementioned owie. My child, who once vomited at the mere *thought* of taking medication that would make her feel better. My adorable progeny who panics at the merest pinprink of blood -- and who also requires a bandage that would do an amputee proud, to cover said owie.

She had been worrying this tooth for a few days, and I hadn't been much concerned with it. This afternoon, when I pick her up from school, her tooth is the first thing she tells me about. It's hanging on by the slenderest of threads. I offer to pull it for her, knowing she'll refuse. It's another one of my ploys to become World's! Most! Horrible! Mother! (insert trumpet fanfare here.) We go home, getting to homework and other housely duties. When JF arrives home, she suddenly gets a big bout of cojones from some deep, inner recess and asks me to pull the tooth. She bites her lip and asks, "Will it hurt?" I told her it would be like a pinch - it would hurt for just a second, but it would be over just as fast, and then she'd have some money from the Tooth Fairy. (Yes, my child, at age nine, still believes in the Tooth Fairy, and I humor her. I figure that there's not enough magic in the world already; who am I to spoil it for her?) The tooth comes out quickly, and the Offspring proudly shows her father. *sigh* She's growing way too fast.

The second question comes as I'm helping her condition her hair.

2) "Mom, can you help me? I've been thinking about death a lot lately, and I'm worried that I'm gonna die soon." I try to calm her fear, but since death is very imprecise, I say I can't promise her that she won't die soon, but that the odds are greatly in favor of her living a long, wonderful life. All of her immediate grandparents are still alive. My grandmother, who is now 86, is still alive and vital. The track record would indicate that she's not due for a meeting with the pearly gates for a long, long time. I tell her that she should try not to think about it, because it will only stress her out, and there's no sense in worrying about something you really can't control or predict. Her response is another puzzling question: "Do you think I'm having a mid-life crisis?"

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Changes in Perception

My best friend is a great person. We've been friends for about 10 and1/2 years. She's an interesting mix of street smarts, bubbly energy, and take-no-crap from anyone. Her nom de plume for my purposes here is "OzChick."

I first met OzChick because both of our families were new members of a medieval reenactment group. Our local chapter was recruiting new members, and OzChick and her husband, Fuzz, were among the new recruits. They explained that they would not be able to do very much within the organization at first, since they had six-month-old triplets. The children had been born prematurely, and needed some extra care, so they weren't going to be out and about for long periods of time.

I felt like we hit it off immediately. We had several hobbies in common, and I loved kids, so I was immediately enraptured with hers. It turned out that she actually lived about six houses down from me, and we had yet to have run into each other before this. We started talking, and hanging out at local club meets. As we began to get more into the club, we began to see more and more of each other, and pretty soon, it felt like we were inseperable. She was there through my pregnancy, and our kids grew up together.

The club fractured after a year or two, but our friendship remained strong. She's got such a great sense of humor that even through the turbulence of the breakup with all of these people we held in such high esteem, she managed to find humor in it.

A few years ago, we started working together. The administration quickly learned that they had to seperate us, because we'd be in the back of the room, giggling like schoolgirls, and causing trouble. They also know that wherever we are, laughter is sure to ring out soon.

It's such a surprise that I'm so jealous of her. Last year, she decided that she was tired of being overweight, and went on a diet. She's lost about 75 pounds by dieting, exercise, and just plain stamina. She looks great. She's getting noticed by men again, instead of being passed over because of her weight. She feels happier, more carefree. She's happy that she doesn't have to go to "fat lady" stores any more -- she can buy things off of the rack, and not have to worry that they won't fit. She's started to enjoy who she is again. I have always loved her -- it didn't take a major weight loss for me not to see the great person she is. I love her even more because she feels so comfortable in her own skin. It's the first time I've ever heard her say: "I looked good!" I'm jealous, not only for the weight loss, but also for the freeing of her spirit. I'm jealous in the good way, the way that friends who are happy for you can be. I always told her she was great, but it took her all this time to believe it, too.

The only thing that makes me mad is that people will often pass you over because of superficial things -- looks, weight, hair color. How many of the men who wolf-whistle at her now wouldn't have even batted an eye at her a year ago? How many people passed up a friendship because she was "too heavy" for them? And, that only begs the question -- what the hell do they think of me? I am a fat girl, too. I make no excuses -- I'm lazy. I could lose weight, but I don't exercise enough, and I don't have a lot of free time. I'm sure that if I really wanted to, I could *find* time, and I know I could eat less, or even healthier stuff. I guess I just haven't hit the wall where it's too much for me.

I get the "you'd be so pretty if you'd just lose some weight" lecture from my mother all the time. What really gripes me about that argument is that that statement tells me: 1) I am embarrassed of you, 2) You *aren't* pretty now, and 3) Your self-worth should be tied up in how you look. She doesn't do it to deliberately wound me, I think, she says she's just concerned about my health. I just want her, once, to just tell me that she loves me for who I am. That I'm beautiful just the way I am.

I'm very lucky that I have a husband who thinks that I'm beautiful. He tells me all the time that I am beautiful, and while I don't personally agree with him, I'm very glad that he feels this way, and I'm eternally grateful that he treats me as if I were the most beautiful woman alive. (If you're reading this, honey -- thank you!)

I guess, in the end, it all comes down to perception. OzChick changed herself, and altered her perception of herself. She didn't change her personality, or the things that she'd always done, she just changed the outward shell. JF has a completely different perception of me than I do. I should do more about my perception of myself, but that's a long, hard road to travel.

We all see things within us that we'd rather not reveal to other people. Jealousy, greed, lust. All these things, we not only try to hide from the world, but also hide within ourselves. I am jealous of my best friend because she has been able to do something I fear I shall *never* be able to do: like myself. She has changed who she is, and now she finally likes herself. I hope that one day, I will be that strong.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Just my luck!

My school was hosting open house tonight, so everyone was running around like gang-busters, trying to get everything done before the parents started arriving. So, in order to have work ready for my little darlings for bright-and-early Monday morning, I head off to the school copy machine with a thick sheaf of papers to copy.

The machine repeatedly jammed. I could get three or four pages run, and the machine would jam again. I spent *two hours* dickering with the machine, and barely got some of the work I wanted run done. Not all - some. Meanwhile, other staff members are looking in, and wanting to use the machine as well. Finally, the secretary calls the Copy Man to come and fix the eternally-jammed machine.

The copier limps along. Everyone blames me for breaking it. Are we sure it's not actually Monday, and I'm just not aware of it? :(

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Tales of a Fourth Grade Offspring!

I took the Offspring to her teacher meet-and-greet today. She is excited to be entering the fourth grade, while her mother is still in shock at the fact that she's entering the fourth grade.

The Offspring was slightly shy upon meeting Mrs. Teacher, but once she got the vibe that Mrs. Teacher is pretty cool (like I'd ask her to be placed with some ogre, or something!), she came out of her shell a bit, and started asking questions. We talked about Mrs. T's expectations for the year -- the homework load, the schedule, the supply list. I like Mrs. T. She's been teaching gifted students for quite a few years, so I'm comfortable with my duckling being in her care. I know how many of her students in past years have gone on to successful middle school careers, so that's also another thing that set my mind to ease.

The Offspring was overjoyed to see that she knows 17 of the 28 other children in her class. I just marvel at the fact that you can *put* 29 children in a classroom. Thanks, Bush! That whole "No Child Left Behind" is really having an impact on lowering the size of classrooms! My district's student-to-teacher ratio went up this year! I'm not all that worried about these kids causing a lot of trouble, though. Most of them are classified as gifted as well, and they've all been in the program together for a while. I just hope that there isn't that one child who can throw the whole classroom off.

So, the Offspring finds her voice to ask the *really* important question -- "Will we have snack time and Fun Fridays?" She's happy to learn that the answer to both is "yes" but Mrs. T stresses that the Fun Friday is always optional, based on behavior. Good to know that she'll be a "fun teacher", but that she will also be a firm teacher.

Once Mrs. T starts asking her questions, my "shy" child busts out with: "I'm smart, too!" And, apparently, modest as all get-out. I warn Mrs. T not to seat Offspring with First Grade Friend as they will talk and get each other into trouble. I also warn Mrs. T of Offspring's propensity to read when she's not supposed to be reading. My adorable child then narcs me out, saying her Gifted Teacher (who was also *my* third grade teacher, lo those many years ago) Mrs. A., tells the tale that *I* used to get in trouble for that self- same thing. My own flesh and blood. Traitor. So, here I am, 34 years old, and still getting in trouble for stuff I did in third grade!

Offspring socializes with the other kids who've come to the meet-and-greet. She already has a crowd around her, and I realize that I will be seeing this sight more and more often -- my child, from across the room, living her own life. It's a rude awakening to think that just five years ago, she clung to my leg, and *begged* me not to leave her at school. Now, she's wishing for the first day to hurry up and get here. I used to joke with her that I plan to lock her in a closet, and put a brick on her head to keep her from growing; now, I just want to hold in my mind that picture of a teary-eyed toddler with a backpack full of promises and new school supplies. I still might do the brick thing, though.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

The blind leading the, well...the Blind!

My husband and I both wear glasses. Mine aren't nearly the strength of his, though. He's close to blind as the proverbial bat when he doesn't have his glasses on. Mine I really need for fine detail and night driving. I can do all other things relatively well. (JF swears that that statement is, at best, debatable.)

When the Offspring was much smaller, about age two, JF was working in the yard, and managed to poke himself in the eye with a stick. Now, all of you stop snickering *right now!* That's uncalled-for! He was wearing his glasses at the time, and the stick managed to work itself under the glasses and into the eye. Well, of *course* this was on a weekend, and we had to go to one of those Urgent Care facilities. Being after hours, they could not "verify" our health insurance, so we had to pay for his exam and prescriptions out-of-pocket. This was during really lean times, too. So, he has a corneal abrasion -- he can still see the scratch on his eye today, ew. -- and the eye, go figure, is infected. What, you mean a stick is *dirty*? Who knew?

Fast forward about a year. The Offspring is now slightly older, and is playing in her playroom. (Yes, she's so spoiled, she has an entire *room* in our house for her toys, and they're STILL everywhere...) She has a plastic stick in her hand that she wants to show me. And, wait for it, people! It goes right into my eye. I figure, least it's not a *dirty stick!* The eye really begins to bother me, , and of course, it's on the off we traipse, again, to the same Urgent Care place that JF had been to barely a year before. Now, *I* have an infected corneal abrasion. In the same eye that JF's was in. I mention to the doctor that my husband had the same thing happen to him a year previous, and he'd gotten treatment here. The doctor, clearly believing that we are trying to joke with him, pulls our files, and looks at both of us with jaws agape. We're at a loss to explain how, exactly, we've come to be the Blindbeard the Pirate family. The doc wants me to even wear a patch, but I get all loopy from the distorted vision, and I can't end up wearing it. I decided to deal with the eye pain -- that I could handle. The nausea the patch, thank you!

Fast forward to 2004. JF is out, once again, doing his yardly duties, and stops me on the way to the store -- will I pick him up a few things? Sure, and off I go to the store. When I return from the store, JF scuffs his toe in the dirt and says, "Um...honey? my glasses." Now, these were supposed to be the glasses to last a millenia -- they were the ultra-flexy spring kind, and made with composite plastic so they were light. I'm wondering how on earth he managed to break the darn things. He tells me that his face began to sweat while mowing the lawn, so he took them off. When he went to go put them back on, he realized that he'd laid them *on the trunk of my car.* When I had backed out to go shopping, I had slung them into the street, and they'd been crushed by traffic. He tortures himself, because now we have to go get him another pair of glasses, and they aren't cheap.

Fast forward to this Sunday. JF slogs away in the jungle we call a yard. (Now, that's not all together fair. It's now a denuded jungle, since it looks like he went a little Texas Chainsaw Massacre with the shrubbery. I'm not complaining, though. I was worried that I was going to be spirited away by howler monkeys for a while, there.) JF is mowing the grass. When he comes in, he tells me that he *has something in his eye.* This time, it's the other eye. He washes it out, and while it helps a tad, he's still very uncomfortable. So, now we make a trip to get groceries, and while we're there, we pick up some eyewash and some drops. JF washes out they eye, and we see all kinds of eye crud floating in the saline. We figure that's gotta be good -- that crud used to be IN his eye, and now it's not. Night falls. I put Pookiesnips (the Offspring) to bed, and JF falls asleep. I blog, and suddenly, I hear JF stir and stumble to the bathroom. Apparently, the short time he was asleep, the eye crusted over. This is *not* a good thing. So, we decide he won't go to the overpriced Urgent Care place (mainly because it was closed) but brave the wait, and go to the ER.

JF leaves at 12:30. I wait up, and finally fall asleep somewhere close to 2 am. At about 2:30, he makes it home. This one they think is also abraded, but didn't have the exact equipment to tell. It *is* infected, so he gets some eyedrops to put in it, and some pain medication. They tell him to call the Eye Specialist in the morning, and tell them that he's an ER referral. He goes to the Eye Gurus on his lunch break, and yes -- it's another corneal abrasion. He gets another round of eyedrops, and they want to see him again at the end of the week.

Apparently, our family is hell on our eyes. What have we learned from all this? Do yard work in Haz-Mat suits? Wear safety goggles everywhere? Buy stock in a monocle manufatcurer? I don't know. All I *do* know is that I'm clumsy, and I trip over stuff enough already. If I go blind, I'm in a terrible state.

Wish us luck -- I think we'll need it.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Question Meme

Phantom said I must meme, and since Phantom is Queen of the Cool Kids, I am her humble slave, and obey...

1. What is your first name? I can't give away my secret identity! Next, you'll want my address in Metropolis, too! Sheesh!

2. Were you named after anyone? Not that I'm aware of, but my father insists that my mother took my name from a movie she was watching. My mother counters "how would he know? He was tipping back beers while I strained to bring you into this world!"

3. Do you wish on stars? Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight....wish I may, wish I might....oh, damn. A satellite.

4. When did you last cry? The other night when I wrote out "the hardest truth."

5. Do you like your handwriting? No. I can only print. Well, I can sign my name in cursive, but I'm right-handed, and when I was 12, my right thumb was cut off in a car accident. I was rushed to the ER, where they reattached my thumb, but I had to learn to write all over again. I had some nerve endings die, so I still have reduced feeling in my thumb. Plus, I was lazy, and didn't practice writing cursive like my PT said I should. So, it looks all bonky, and I print everything. But, my print is pretty neat, so it's a tradeoff.

6. What is your favorite lunch meat? Roast beef. I love roast beef and provolone. After that, I'm really into oven-roasted turkey right now.

7. What is your most embarrassing CD? One that *I* own? Some of my daughter's make me cringe a bit, but I have to confess that I'm a HUGE 80's fan, and I have CDs (in my car, right now) of Duran Duran, Everything But the Girl, Glass Tiger, Marillion, and U2. I also just bought a cheesy "best of the 80s" compilation disc, and that's been getting some decent airtime.

8. If you were another person, would you be friends with you? Dunno. I would like to think so, but I'm never sure why people are friends with me now, so I guess I'm not the best one to answer this question.

9. Do you have a journal? Do you count the blog? If not, then no. Not anymore. I kept one in high school, and it was really painful to reread. So angsty. Erg.

10. Do you use sarcasm a lot? Does the pope poop in the woods?

11. What are your nicknames? Online, KLee (or Kayleigh, which was the original), and Amazon. In Real Life -- Mom, Ma, and Boo.

12. Would you bungee jump? If someone other than me paid for it.

13. Do you untie your shoes before you take them off? No, because then I'd have to bend my fat ass down to untie them. I just lever those suckers off, and throw them across the room.

14. Do you think that you are strong? Yeah, I'd say I am. I've been told what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, so I have to think I've been pretty resilient to get through all I have. I could be stronger still, but strength is still only a state of mind. Actual body strength, no. I'm a total wuss.

15. What is your favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate. Lately, Ben and Jerry's Cherry Garcia and The Gobfather.

16. Shoe size? 8 to 8 and a half. I sometimes have to go a half-size up because I have wide feet.

17. Red or pink? Blue.

18. What is your least favorite thing about yourself? Body. ALL of it.

19. What do you miss most? My cousin, who died when I was 17, and he was 16. If I had known that I only had a short time with him, I would have made every single moment precious. I'm sorry I wasn't nicer to him, and I'm sorry I didn't tell him how much I loved him. I still miss him.

20. Do you want everyone you send this to, to send it back? No, but others are welcome to steal it like I did. Memes for everyone!

21. What color pants/shoes are you wearing? No shoes, and no pants. Hey, I just walked in from work, and off came the clothes. Sitting here in a shirt and Big Girl panties.

22. What are you listening to right now? My air conditioning and a yowling cat.

23. Last thing you ate? A granola bar. Oats and Honey.

24. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Indigo. It's the color of my eyes.

25. What is the weather like right now? Frickin' Hot. I'm not sure of the temperature, but I swear I saw water burst into flames a little while ago.

26. Last person you talked to on the phone? My best friend, OzChick.

27. The first thing you notice about the opposite sex? Eyes. Well, when I was looking at other men in a lewd manner. :)

28. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Well, Phantom didn't actually *send* it, but she put the idea out there that I should do it. Yeah, I like her. She's not all snobby like the other populars. She lets us nobodys like me sit with her at lunch, and won't let Jughead make fun of us. I'm voting for her for Prom Queen.

29. Favorite drink? Sonic's Cherry Limeade.

30. Favorite sport? I'm not an athlete, by any means, but I used to swim. It's the only sport I was ever any good at. Having the Twins give me natural buoyancy.

31. Hair color? Blond. Clairol 103. Because I'm worth it!

32. Eye color? Dark blue. They can change to grey or black, depending on clothing or mood.

33. Do you wear contacts? Nope, my eyes are too small. I wear glasses, though.

34. Favorite food? Chocolate, fresh peaches, ice cream, and fried chicken!

35. Last movie you watched? Sky High. Before that, it was Madagascar. (See a theme, here? I'm like PS -- I only get to see animated flicks.)

36. Favorite day of the year? Christmas. It's the family being together, and the feeling of goodwill that comes over people. They are more polite to each other, and we could use more of that.

37. Scary movies or happy endings? Happy endings. I'm a total romantic, so I wish for happy endings.

38. Winter or summer? Winter! If I'm cold, I can always put on another sweater. When you're frying in the South on a summer day, and you're wearing the barest minimum legal standards for clothing, there's no recourse -- you can't take your skin off.

39. Hugs or kisses? From kids, hugs! It's a total body thing. They hug your with every fiber of their being. From other adults, don't touch! From JF, kisses. :)

40. What is your favorite dessert? I'm willing to try anything at least once, but I have seasonal favorites. A friend gave me a recipe this past Christmas for these praline cookies that I *adored*. I made about 8 batches before I got tired of them. But, for regular every day, you can't go wrong with chocolate or ice cream.

41. Who is most likely to do this meme? Uh...people who haven't done it yet?

42. Who is the least likely to do this meme and comment? Dead people. It's real hard for them to get access. Apparently, the Grim Reaper is waffling on whether or not to install a T-1 line.

43. What books are you reading? Kay Hooper -- "Hunting Fear", Lynda S. Robinson -- "Murder at the Place of Anubis", and Michael Connelly -- "The Closers."

44. What's on your mouse pad? JF's employer, Pretentious Art Kollidge.

45. What did you watch on TV last night? "Monk." Only partly, though.

46. Favorite smells? Chocolate, roses, gardenias, fresh bread baking, and magnolias.

47. Favorite sound? Pachelbel's "Canon in D."

48. Rolling Stones or Beatles? The Beatles, most assuredly.

49. What's the furthest you've been from your home? Germany.

50. Do you have a special talent? I sing, I act, and I do needle arts. (Quilting, cross-stitch, and hardanger embroidery.) I also quill, which is like paper filigree.

51. What is your ring tone? Whatever came with the phone. I have a bare-bones model. Just something that I can make emergency calls on if I need to. I'm not tied to the phone.


Okay. Do you people want a DNA sample and fingerprints, too?


UPDATE: JF *swears* my eyes aren't as dark as "indigo." He says they are darker than your typical blue, but not that dark. Feh. How often is he actually *looking* at my eyes? I'm surprised he doesn't think I'm a pair of breasts with feet. Anyway, I say they're dark blue. A pox on him!

Monday, August 08, 2005

The Twins: Bosom, or Chest-Level Shelf?

Every. Single. Frickin'. Time! I go out to eat with JF tonight, and, like always, I dribble something on my front. It's always upon one (or both!) of the breasts. I have come to the conclusion that there's a food magnet in there that just draws sauces and little foody, drippy bits to them. Why not? JF's hands are like boob-seeking missiles. Why can't the rational explanation be that instead of the fact that I am both bosomy *and* clumsy?

I am damn near 35 years old, and I have to wear a bib over nice clothes, or they don't remain nice for long! I don't have all that many "professional" clothes, since I mostly crawl around on the floor with kids, and skirts/pantyhose are an oppressive tool of The Man. (Also, if two legs' worth are "panty hose", is just one leg a panty ho?)

My hatred of the Twins is not helped by the fact that JF thinks it's the coolest thing since Star Wars that he can wedge a canned drink in the middle and it not only stays still and upright, but mostly cold as well. So, they can be shelf, bosom, *or* a drink coozie.

Oh, and JF wanted me to tell you all that the link on the right to Jason Garfield's site is just about the other coolest thing since Star Wars. JF is virtually in love with this man and his juggling ability. I told him that I'd post it, so -- there you go, Snookie Bottom!

I want breast binding to come back into fashion.

Do I really *have* to?

I start back to work tomorrow. Ugh. No, don't get me wrong -- I love what I do. I love the education process, and I love the kids. I just always hate having to give up the lazy days of summer to another year's grind of schedules and deadlines. I've decided I'm allergic to deadlines.

I do enjoy the promise of a new school year -- the bright faces coming in the door; the light bulb going off when they "get it"; the new supplies; and decorating the classroom. I just hate having to get up in the morning at dark thirty. I'm too much of a night owl.

Do I have to go? Can't I get my mom to write me a note?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

The Saga of the Vacation Inn Express

(homage due to "Paul Revere's Ride", by Longfellow)

Sit back, my children, and you shall hear
of the ill-fated journey of this poor Girl Scout here
For, on a weekend in August
to a conference I did go,
expecting fun, fellowship, and good cheer.

I carpooled with a friend --
my mentor, a Girl Scout true-blue, to the end
We loaded our packs, all stuffed to the brim
in the trunk of my car, and the journey we'd begin.
We headed down the interstate, past village and farm,
reveling in the weather and countryside charm.
In the afternoon haze we arrived on the dot
and searched out the hotel, hoping for a rest in one spot.
We checked in, and headed for the oasis upstairs
only to find the hotel was undergoing repairs!
The carpets, all tacky with some white residue
and no working light to be found in our loo!

It seems that the management was painting the rooms
(We thought we'd be overcome by the fumes!)
Doors along the hall are all swathed in plastic and sheets
and someone tracked paint all over with their feets! (sorry)
My mentor, too tired to stay in such a place
told me to pick up my things -- was she running a race?
She marched down to the desk, told them this would not do
The clerk just looked at us for a moment or two.
We ended up getting another room, so back upstairs once again
hoping that soon our journey would be at an end.

The new room was good, or at least we had light
but we had to go, for we had plans for the night!
Off to the conference we merrily roll
(though hunger was starting to take its toll)
Stopping for a bite to eat,
we discover that McDonald's is where the kids meet and greet.
We navigate the crowds, and finish our food
and scurry off to meet with our girls-in-green brood.
Once there, we say hello to friends from far-flung places
and we're offered a spa, and goodies for our faces
But mentor and I, we're ready to work!
(Or, at least to play!) So, out with our scrapbooks we jerk

We sit and crop happily, talking with pals
and admire the handiwork of the beauty-spa gals
And then they haul out the karaoke machine!
and set to singing and dancing like Rock Star queens!
(I sat in the back, not wanting to sing
and played cards -- who's hiding the King?!)
And when we closed up shop for the night
we cleaned up like good Girl Scouts might.
We all headed out for a well-deserved rest
at our hotel, the away-from-home nest.

On the way, I call home to talk to my spouse
who says the hotel staff treated him like a louse!
He'd tried to reach me to check that I was all right
only to have the clerk hang up on him with all her might!
This is another strike against our hotel crew --
they may have some refunding, or at least, explaining to do.
Once inside the quiet room, we find this
again, in the car, away to Wal-Mart we go!
We buy books, snacks, drinks and a stack of cards that are new
to take back to the room to ward off the feeling of blue
We play cards into the night, "Kings in the Corner" for us
and, finally, off to bed with a minimum of fuss.

I set the alarm for an early morning rise
(knowing that I am no first-up-in-the-morning prize)
and drift off to sleep with the cold air a-blowing.
At four in the morning, we're awakened by a fight someone's throwing!
The yelling, the stomping, the pounding on doors!
we're surprised they haven't awakened all the guests on *both* floors
we mutter, grumble, and I come quite close to a curse
until I remember, *good behavior*, not worst.
Sleep finally overtakes me again; happy dreams resume
until seven a.m. when we awake to ear-blasting tunes.
We get ready to go, packing up all our stuff
reflecting that our time there has been quite enough.

I console myself with the fact that breakfast is included
grab myself some grits, toast, and jelly that is fruited
We settle up the bill, and take our leave at last
and hope that, for the next conference, this dwelling is passed
I just thank my lucky stars that I didn't have to endure
the broken pool light that would have fried me for sure!
We Girl Scouts, we put up with a lot --
fights, not sharing, bugs, the cold, and the hot
But, my advice is -- on the horror hotel room,
try to look for the good, and not for the gloom!
It was clean, and we did end up getting some sleep...
and --most of all -- its one saving grace -- IT WAS CHEAP!


Many thanks to Longfellow, for being dead, and not caring that I totally swiped his poem. :) I wanted to think of an interesting way to tell you how odd this trip was, and I guess I was inspired by the Scrivener sestina that I missed. I know it's not exactly John Dunne, but then again, neither am I!

Thursday, August 04, 2005

You *can* go home again, but the food isn't as good.

I have returned my lovely, gnat-infested city after having spent the better part of two days in the city of my birth. Almost all of my relations still live in CityOfMyBirth, including my father, paternal grandmother, and my maternal aunts and uncles. My grandmother is 86, and I hadn't seen her in a year or two, so I felt we were overdue for a trip "home."

We call it "home", although I have lived in HumidityLikeABrickWall since I was 1 year old. Both of my parents hail from CityOfMyBirth, although my father was a military brat, and COMB was just the last stop in the military junket that was his childhood. I was shuttled to COMB for every major holiday until I was in my late teens. I have many a fond memory of family get-togethers in COMB.

My grandmother is so much smaller than I remember. When you are a child, you always remember the adults in your life as such forces of nature, and my grandmother was no exception. She was one of those old style take-no-prisoners kind of grandmothers. Sure, she *looked* like Mrs. Claus, but that's just her cover identity. Cross her, and you were liable to get whapped upside the head with a rolled-up (metropolitan) newspaper. When you walked into her house, you were immediately nagged to eat something, but woe be unto you who do not finish the vegetables! She'd snatch a slice of cake away from you so fast that you'd fork yourself in the hand.

Her health has deteriorated, but she's still feisty as ever. It was good to see her, even if I did get the "lose weight" lecture. (I'll cut her some slack on that one, as she waited until *I* brought it up on the second day of the visit. Only then did she let fly, since, apparently, I left the door open on that one.) She can still make me laugh. We dug out blackamail pictures of my father, which I plan to use ruthlessly. (Mwahahaha!)

I got to spend some good mom-time with my daughter, including a foray to Target in the early evening to pick out a stunning shade of lipstick. (For my daughter, not for me.) It makes me crochety to think that my nine year old is starting to get interested in lipstick. She also has become waaaaay too attached to her black platform sandals. I fear that I shall have to lock her in a closet soon. JF has already put his foot down and says that she's not dating until she's married. I hope her first date goes better than mine: my father borrowed a friend's shotgun, and was cleaning it on the front porch when my date arrived. Needless to say, I was brought home *early* and my date hardly slowed his car before pushing me out and hauling ass.

My father, daughter, and I had a lovely dinner in one of my favorite places in COMB. We also visited a maternal aunt, and cracked her up with the story of Mom and the fart-as-fight-ender. Since Mom is MaternalAunt's big sister, MA stored that information away for use at some other time. Sibling rivalry is alive, well, and hellacious to contend with in our extended family.

It was a good time, but I'm glad to be home. It's just too bad that I have to leave home again tomorrow. I even had to miss Phantom's whine. I'm glad to hear that P_K finally had Baby E, and I'm jealous that Corndog is the name on every Googler's lips. Hope all is well in BlogBurg!

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Dude, you're harshing my mellow!

Now that I have *completely* bummed everyone out with the serious stuff, it's time to get back to the stuff that isn't all depressing and gloomy.

Things that I've noticed and admired around the blogoshpere --

*Anne's "Big Talk" with her son about sex, complete with hand gestures, over at Tales From My Tiny Kingdom. Hilarious.

* Waiting anxiously for Purple_Kangaroo's baby to be born, but she's apparently very stubborn. (The baby, not P_K.) :) Best of luck, and wishes for quick labor, P_K!

*Phantom Scribbler, talking about inadequacy. Shyeah, riiiiight.

*Running2K's comment that the psychic who lived near her knew that her house was going to burn down? (For that matter, if 7-11 is open 24 hours a day, why is there a lock on the door? R-P)

*Friday Mom and her touching story of how she came to be a Friday Mom.

*Scrivener's *adorable little girls!

*Peripatetic Polar Bear's alter ego, Rational Bear. I say we market Rational Bear to Gund, or one of those big toymakers. Rational Bear would come with a no-nonsense outfit to wear, and when her belly was pressed, would say such things as:
"No, those pants don't make you look fat! Your *ass* makes you look fat!"
"I don't care if it was free -- throw it away!"
"Are you *really* going to eat that?"
"How many shoes, exactly, do you need?"
"You know, you have work to do...Why are you checking your blog again?"

We could make a killing and retire early!

*Songbird's new hair. Are ministers *supposed* to be sexy?

*Corndog, and damn near anything that comes out of his mouth. The man cracks me the hell up. Plus, he's got pretty decent taste in music.

You guys are killing me with the blogs. Going back to work is going to be awful, now that I've found you guys. How am I ever going to keep up with you all?

I'm heading out of town in the morning, so I'll miss Phantom's Wednesday Whine, but I'll catch up with you guys late Thursday. Everyone, take care, and thank you for all the moral support. You guys have been so welcoming that I just can't express how much I appreciate it.

I also want to say thank you to all who have expressed support for me on my "the hardest truth" revelation. You have all been unfailingly kind. I am touched by all of you who reached out in an effort to help lessen my pain.

the hardest truth

I've seen a lot of blog talk lately about some rather weighty issues: death, adoption, feelings about family, sexuality. What I've seen leads me to believe that the blogosphere is populated by hundreds of wonderful people who are courageous enough to share their pain. I've seen stories of great fortitude, harrowing decisions, and triumphant courage. I'm here to tell you that all of you have overcome the obstacles put in your way with such dignity and grace that I feel humbled and enriched.

It is with much trepidation that I will share a story that goes to the core of who and what I am. I feel it necessary that I divulge it simply because I feel like I am lying if I do not. I don't ask for sympathy. I don't ask for labels or judgment, either. I feel sure that no one I've met yet will grant me a harsh reception, but it's happened before, and I'm prepared for it.

I have always been fat. I have always been on the outside, looking in. I gradually got used to being ignored and made fun of, though it still hurt like a thousand tiny knives, nicking at sore flesh. In high school, I had few dates. I found out later that some of the one-time dates were of the "set her up so we can make fun of her later" variety. I soon became almost addicted to finding someone -- anyone -- out there who could love me for me. I lost my virginity very early, way earlier than I ever wanted to, simply because I had come to equate sex with caring. It didn't turn out well. The boy I gave my virginity to never looked back. I was another notch on his belt.

Fast forward a few years, to college. I was relatively happy in college. I wasn't dating anyone seriously, mainly because no one asked me out. I drove all of my frustration into doing college and local community theater. I performed 45 plays in about 5 years. I stayed busy. I took a full load in college, and worked three jobs, all the while, racking up theater credits. It was much more about my love for escaping into a role on the stage than it was about getting college credit. I met some great people. I was the happiest I had ever been, up to that point. Then, disaster struck.

I was working at a local movie theater, and one day, a guy buys a ticket. He gives me the once-over and says, "Don't I know you?" Great line, right? But, it turned out that he had dated a theater friend of mine, RedHair. We talked, he asked if I was performing in anything. I told him that I was, and he asked if he could come see the show. I said, sure -- anyone who can afford a ticket can come, right? So, he comes to see the show. Several people recognize him as RedHair's former squeeze. He goes along with the gang to our after-show hangout place.

While at the hangout, he asked me out for a date. I demurred, thinking it was another of those set up, date-the-friend-because-you're-desperate things. He begins to tell me that he's always been fascinated by me. I fell for it. (Can you believe that I freakin' *fell* for it? You'd think I would learn.) Anyhow, he says that he had always been attracted to me, but was in a relationship with RedHair, and felt it would be dawg-ish to ask me out while he was dating my friend. Now that they had not dated for quite a while, and he'd run into me, the time was finally right to ask me out. So, like a colossal dumbass, I begin to date him.

We date for a few months. One night, during a date, it begins to pour down rain. He says that he's worried about me making it home in the rain -- it's very bad out there. He'd like me to stay the night. I was anxious about staying the night, but he's been very gentlemanly up until now. So, I decide to stay the night. I end up sleeping with him. (*Such* a dumbass!) He says that he'll sleep on the couch so that I can have the bed. I think, my, how nice of him. I wake up at 3am, tied to his bed, while he has sex with me. I struggle, try to get away. I tell him no, I don't want this. He tries to reason with me, saying that I wanted it earlier, so it must be all right now. I begin to yell, scream and cry. He gags me. I beg him to stop. He tells me that I'm not so uppity now that I'm tied down, helpless. He has sex with me for two hours.

Once he decides to let me go, he tells me that no one will hold him responsible because I consentually had sex with him earlier in the evening. I am shell-shocked at this point. I, even more like a dumbass, go home, shower, and convince myself that he's right. That I *had* wanted it, and he was only taking advantage of what I offered. I continue to see the asshole. My life is so screwed up, and my vision is so distorted that I continue to date the man. I discover that I am pregnant. I go to this man, insanely believing that the two of us will make it all right together, to tell him that I am pregnant. He pulls a gun on me, throws $150 my way, and says "Kill it, or I kill you." I am so wracked with guilt that I don't leave the house for days. I miss my finals, and fail most of my classes that quarter. He follows me everywhere. He demands that I abort the baby, or he will kill me.

I have an abortion. I have my roommate take me to the clinic for the "procedure." I see him, standing on the opposite corner. I cry soundlessly as the life is sucked out of me by an engine of destruction. When I leave, in pain because I could not afford the anesthetic, he is no longer on the corner. He has changed his telephone number. When I go to the counselling session the clinic has set up, the whole story comes out. The therapist asks me why didn't I report the rape. I tell her that I wasn't raped. She makes me see that not only was I physically raped, I was also emotionally raped.

The police can do nothing. It's out of their jurisdiction, and any evidence that might have exisited is LONG gone. He has covered his tracks well. All the time we were dating, he was putting his plan in place. He had informed his coworkers that I was "some chick" who had recently been let out of the local mental institution, and formed some kind of attachment to him. He instructs them that when I call, they're not to "set me off," but just to take a message, and record it in a log. (I had always wondered why I could never reach him at work, and why his co-workers seemed so weird.) He says that he's been instructed by my doctors that I'm not to be angered in any way, as this will cause my fragile psyche to splinter, and I may end up doing myself, or others, harm. The night he raped me, he had clocked in to work, but had never clocked out. His job entailed a lot of out-in-the-field work, so if his timecard says he was there, there's no one to say that he wasn't on the job, and just out on the road. This is his alibi he uses when the police telephone him. He is never arrested, much less prosecuted. The police can do nothing for me. He is soon transferred out of town. Meanwhile, I am a basket-case, and a murderer to boot. My guilt is tremendous. It is a long while before I can sleep, much less date.

About a year later, I meet a very nice man who takes it so slow, and treats me with such care that I allow myself to trust, and to live, again. He never rushes me. He never makes me feel as if I am substandard. He treats me like a precious jewel. From the start, I tell him the whole story, and instead of disgusting him, and causing him to flee, he makes it his mission to change my perception of men. He tells me that not all men are violent freaks. He proves it to me.

That nice man was Juggling Freak. We were married in late 1992. I considered myself so blessed. And, then, in 1996, our daughter is born, and I see God's face in her. I now *know* I am blessed.

When the Offspring begins school, the Asshole Rapist returns to town. I see him one night, fleetingly, across a crowded restaurant. I am shaken, but I manage to hold myself together until the Offspring is in bed. I tell JF what had happened, and that I'm not sure if it was even him, but I am shaken enough that he's aware that *I* believe that it was him. Two weeks later, as I pick up a birthday cake for a co-worker, I am approached from behind. It is the Asshole, and he says, "Was that *my* daughter I saw you with the other day?" Him, knowing full well my daughter was not his, just wanting to turn the screws and mess with my head. I bolted from the store, praying that he didn't follow me. I was livid, and scared out of my mind. When I told JF that night, JF wanted to round up a posse right then, and turn over every rock in town until the Asshole slithered out from underneath one of them. I've never seen him again. Thank God.

The *only* thing that made this hellish experience any better was that a few years ago, I had an online friend who had a close aquaintance of his that had been raped. I was able to give him some helpful pointers about how to approach her, and gave him phone numbers and addresses of shelters and rape crisis lines. He said afterward that his contact with me was the most instrumental thing in his relationship with her -- that he got her the help she needed because of me, and that she wanted to thank me for sharing my experience with her through him. The idea that there was was life, and happiness, after this was the only thing that kept her going most days.

I had to convince myself that I did not deserve this, but the hardest truth that I will ever face is that I am a murderer. I will feel guilt until my dying day. Despite the mitigating circumstances, I am a killer. And I will die with that hard truth ringing in my ears.