Sunday, November 3, 2013


Once upon a time I fell in love with a beautiful stray dog.  She found us and chose not to leave. We tried unsuccessfully to find her original family.  However, we quickly knew she was our dog.  Our first family dog.  We named her Nicole Oreo.  'Cole wasn't the smartest dog.  In fact, Cole's trainer referred to her as "thick," but she really just fit in the the rest of us.  Seriously.

I wish I could say we lived happily ever after, but our sweet dog was tragically killed when she ran into traffic just three months after she found us.  We were devastated.  Devastated.

Her death left us all feeling grief-stricken, guilty, and .... desperate for another dog.  We had buried plenty of fish, hermit crabs, and toads, but my children had never experienced the death of a beloved pet.  The tears seemed endless, and I was tempted to run out and bring back a puppy for each of us.  I wanted desperately to make their grief end. I wanted my sad children to be happy again.

But we waited.  We waited until the daily tears turned into happy reminiscing.  We waited until Cole's ashes had been spread across her favorite stomping grounds.  We waited until her name brought us smiles instead of tears.

Then we started stalking the pound.  We were ready for another dog to love.

During all of this (finding a dog, losing a dog, wanting a dog), I learned about Friends of the Shelter Dogs.   They are group of local citizens dedicated to the welfare and rescue of dogs from the area Dog Shelter. All the dogs in their care are medically checked by a veterinarian, given all their immunizations and are spayed/neutered before being adopted into loving homes.  They also contribute to the medical welfare of dogs remaining in the shelter by donating vaccines or paying for veterinary expenses when the need arises and they have the ability to do so.  Truly an amazing organization!

Friends of the Shelter Dogs organized a fundraiser this past weekend.  These people know how to throw a party!  "Purses for Pooches" is a purse auction for ladies only.  Can you imagine?!?

I went with some of my favorite ladies. These gals are funny, smart, beautiful, and an all-around good time. Some may need a few lessons on how not to accidentally bid during a live auction, but I love them just the way they are!

Now for those of you who have never been, imagine climbing a staircase and when the doors open you are standing in a room full of purses, your favorite people, and a bar.  I'm pretty sure I heard a chorus of angels singing.  Talk about a stairway to heaven!  That's my vision of heaven, people. Purses, friends, and drinks -- not necessarily in that order!

To the talented organizers of the Purses for Pooches I say, WOW!!

AND...I'm happy to say, my family eventually found a wonderful dog from the shelter. Her name is Sandy, and she brings us happiness every day.

To the Friends of the Shelter Dogs, Sandy says, "bow-WOW,"

Sandy enjoying a nap after arriving home from the dog shelter

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Best Mom in the Universe Award

Sit down, other moms in the universe.  I got this one. This award is all mine.  Mine, mine, mine.

Whoohoo!! My tween is happy with me! I rock!
(I'm doing that cheesy, happy dance that moms sometimes do when no one is looking.  On the plus side, I am not wearing my mom jeans so it looks classy a little less cheesy.)

Why is my tween happy with me and thinks I am the "best mom in the whole universe," you ask?

After years of pleading, begging, groveling, demanding, and more pleading, I finally gave my daughter her first cell phone.

Yes, it cost me an entire penny, but remember it is the thought that counts.

Mostly, it's my thought that counts and here is what I think:
My 9 year old did not need a phone even though she wanted one.  My 10 year old didn't need a phone even though classmates had phones.  My 11 year old didn't need a phone even though she insisted she was the only person on the planet who didn't have one.  But my 12 year old needs a phone because I need her to have a phone.

Pretty simple logic, right?  She is starting middle school and is already off and about an awful lot.  I want to be able to contact her if needed, and I want to know she can contact me.

This phone is perfect, too.  Just ask her.  She'll tell you it's fabulous because it is red and she can text her friends and family.  I'll tell you it's perfect because we didn't pay for the data plan so she cannot access the Internet and she cannot text photos.  Also, the phone made my tween the happiest I have seen her in two years.  We are both quite pleased with this red phone.

It took her all of 3 seconds to figure out all of the the phone features and lack of features.  In the course of a few hours she had texted one friend over 53 times.  I sure hope we invested in unlimited texting.

So today I get the Best Mom in the Universe Award.  I've been told it won't last long enough to collect dust, but wow...what a moment!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Adult Summer Camp

Adult Summer Camp

So lets get this straight...
For the last several months moms and dads have been working feverishly to find summer camps for our kids. We don't have the time and/or stamina to watch these wild creatures during the summer months.  The public school system is exhausted from trying to educate them and needs a break, too.  This means we need to figure out a way to keep our children out of trouble during the endless summer days.

Are we happy to just let our kids zone in front of their electronic devices all summer long?  No.  That's what they want to do so clearly we want to avoid that option.

Instead we search near and far, high and low for the perfect medley of summer camps.  We want them to experience everything within the realm of reason and a few things that aren't. After all, as children, we spent our summers riding bicycles with no helmets and eating dirt. We demand better for our kids!

We pay hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars on summer camps.  The summer camps advertise they will create a wonderful, earth shattering experience for our kids. Our kids will fish, climb rock walls, dance, sail, learn archery, identify every tree in existence, learn which berries they can eat and which will poison them instantly.  They'll swim, draw, make masterpieces out of clay, learn a foreign language, play an instrument, and quite possibly become even more knowledgeable about insects than they were two weeks ago.

Wow!  That's a bucket load of fun for a child who would prefer to sit at home and watch YouTube videos.

This got me thinking which is always scary.

Why don't we take those hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of dollars and send ourselves off to Adult Summer Camp?  That's ASC for short.  As long as we leave some pizza in the refrigerator and chips in the pantry, I'm not sure our kids will even notice our absence.

In my imaginary world, ASC is geared towards parents and has the following arduous schedule:

Welcome to Adult Summer Camp (ASC).  Our mission is to treat you the way you deserve to be treated. Our camp is a relaxed, comfortable environment where you will be able to pee in privacy and have uninterrupted adult conversations.  Although we are a pet-friendly camp, children are strictly prohibited. The following is an example of a daily schedule, but your pleasure is our #1 priority so the schedule can be tailored to fit your needs...

Daily Schedule

- Wake up whenever you feel like it
- Eat breakfast if you want, but you have no need to prepare a darn thing for any living creature
- Begin reading whatever trashy novel you want without guilt or judgement
- At no point will you hear any whining, complaining, or noises that need investigated

- Eat lunch with a bottle of wine. No judgement if the content of your glass is larger than that of your plate
- Take a nap which will not be interrupted by tattle-telling or complaints of boredom

- Eat a delicious dinner which will not be peppered with any noisy, crying, or disgruntled children
- Following the delicious, uninterrupted dinner, campers will have the option of sitting in a hammock, hot tub, poolside, or by a blackjack table
- Go to bed whenever your heart's desire vs. being forced to pass out after a long day of herding cats. summer camp.  Who's in?

Monday, June 24, 2013

Warms the Cockles of My Heart

And who doesn't love warm cockles, right?

Do you ever read a new story or watch a news segment and start to think that maybe good does conquer evil?  Maybe there are more decent people in this world than bad?

Doesn't happen all that often, right?

Last week I watched Rock Center with Brian Williams and cried happy tears after seeing the segment on photographer Rick Guidotti.

That man is a winner.

Go get some tissues, get comfy, and watch this 7 minute clip:  Cockles warming news segment
Or go here: Warm your cockles.

Aren't your cockles just the warmest they have ever been?

Other than the word "cockles," I've got nothing funny to say about this.

I just wanted all of you to have a moment today that warms your cockles and makes you rethink beauty.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

DNA Not Required

The definition of "father" per Webster's Dictionary reads, in part:
"A man who has begotten a child."

That's pretty simple and not untrue. However, it's not altogether accurate either. After all, this same dictionary defines "begotten" as, "to procreate."

Definition of Father per me:
A man willing to work from sunup to sundown sunup.

He must be comfortable cleaning up all sorts of bodily fluids including urine, poop, vomit, and more poop.

He will, at times, know all of the answers but be patently ignored by those who love him most.  He'll handle this in stride.

He must be able to go from being dressed as a princess to playing the role of Spider-Man faster than a speeding bullet.

The man must be smart enough to know when not to speak, and silly enough to know how to make an assortment of inappropriate sounds.

He must be clever enough to read the body language of children, tweens, and his wife.

Although challenging, he has the ability to refrain from having the last word.

He must be man enough to be call dad, daddy, papa, or father.

Contributing his DNA to these wild little creatures adoring kids is NOT required, but being loving, understanding, forgiving, supportive, empathetic and kind is.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Beach Etiquette 101

Ok, people, it's the time of year when we need to review our beach etiquette.

Raise your hand if you've ever been to a beach and seen annoying behaviors?  Who hasn't, right?  This is my public service announcement as zillions of us load up our minivans and head towards the seemingly endless sea.

I've been paying attention to my fellow beach-goers, and I'm going to list some of the more egregious beach behavior I've seen in recent summers.

10.  You know that feeling you get when you are just nestling into your seat in a nearly empty moving theatre and some dipstick comes and sits in the seat right in front of you? "You have the entire dang theatre and you're going to sit on top of me?"  Same obnoxiousness exists on beaches up and down the coast. Miles and miles and miles of sandy beaches. Must you really put up your beach umbrella right in front of my beach chair?  Sure, I'm nearly passed out, but when I come to I would like to catch a glimpse of the water.

9.  I'm sure you're a lovely family, but I'd rather not know the names of all of your children as a result of you bellowing their names every 7 minutes. I'm going out on a limb here, but repeatedly yelling "Johnny, stop throwing sand at Emily," from 50 yards away is having no effect on Jonny. I, on the other hand, am thinking about how much enjoyment I would have throwing sand on you.

8.  Speaking of throwing stuff, everyone loves to throw a football on the beach. Sure, you're not in the NFL so you're prone to miss nearly all a few catches. When your ball hits me for the third time within five minutes, move away from me. I am thinking evil thoughts about what I'm going to do with the ball the 4th time it hits me.

7.  Shake out your towel in a location other than your neighbor's face.  You were just giving Johnny grief about throwing sand and then you stand up and shake sand directly into my face? Hello?  I'm about ready to get all public beach in your face. My airbrush tattoo may be 100% fake, but with just enough alcohol and this tattoo of a flamingo on my shoulder, I'm feeling kind of bad ass.

6.  Everyone pees in the ocean.  I get that. To the lady in North Myrtle Beach who, on at least two occasions, walked with her Budweiser can into inches of ocean water and blatantly squatted down to pee, I just want to say, "Really?  Squatting?  In inches of water? With your beer can?  That 7 foot walk to the ocean urinal really left you so parched you couldn't ditch the can for a moment and have the decency to at least get waist high in the water before emptying your bladder?"  For those of us debating about whether or not we want to go for a dip, please act like you're NOT peeing.

5.  Don't walk on the dunes. Seriously.

4.  Litter, and my children will totally call you out. At a volume that suggests the beach is on fire they will shriek, "Mom, that fat guy just littered!" Yeah, I'm trying to get them to find other ways of describing people, but since you're a litterer I'm letting the fat comment go.

3.  Nicotine is addicting, but I'm going to argue so is the smell of ocean breezes. If I can smell your addiction, it means I can't smell mine. If I wanted your second hand smoke, I would ask for it. Please go smoke somewhere else...or do your lungs a favor and quit.

2.  I love to fish! I see you love to fish, too.   See those kids on boogie boards? They are my kids, and you've decided to fish right next to them. You can either move to a safer fishing area or risk becoming bait. Seriously, don't fish near swimmers!

1.  See those seagulls you just fed? Amazing how it started as just two seagulls and within moments it now looks like a scene from Hitchcock's "The Birds."  Funny how two seagulls look enchanting and 50 seagulls looks like a gang of rats with wings. Please don't feed seagulls near my towel. It causes me to shriek and run, and I DO NOT WANT TO RUN IN MY SWIMSUIT.

Enjoy the beach and enjoy your summer!!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Husband's Foray into Shoe Shopping

My husband is hilarious.  And by "hilarious" I actually mean "clueless" but that just sounds mean and I am not a mean girl.

My husband discovered an awesome website that offers fabulously discounted items for those who bike, run, camp, and love being active outdoors.  In other words, it's perfect for people unlike myself.

If you want to learn more about this awesome site click here:

My daughter has complained for weeks that her shoes don't fit.
As it turns out her shoes don't fit.

This is at least the third time her feet have sprouted out of her shoes in the last six months. I'm not sure what we are feeding her?

I had the brilliant idea of buying her clown shoes and allowing her feet to grow into them.  My husband had the compassionate idea of buying her new shoes that actually fit her.

He showed me a picture of a pair of shoes from the fantastic website and asked, "Do you think she would like these?"

Isn't that just the sweetest, most naive thing you've ever heard?  Really, my hubby is just the nicest guy.  And by "nicest guy" I actually mean "nicest guy."

I gave hubby my, "Are you kidding me?" look.

He gave me his, "Why are you looking at me like that?" look.

I gave him my, "Seriously?  You don't get it?" look.

He then responded non verbally with his, "What is so strange about the question I just asked you?" look.

Yes, my husband and I communicate much more frequently nonverbally than we do verbally.  After all, we are married. We stopped effectively communicating verbally back in the late 1990s.

The point, seemingly lost on my hubby, is my our inability to predict what shoes our tween may or may not like.  Give me a zillion guesses and I would still guess wrong.  In part, I think my tween daughter prides herself on being unpredictable.  If I think she may like something it only provides her with more motivation to not like that thing.  I just love this developmental stage. I'll let you guess what I mean by "love."

On top of being a tween, she is a future women.  Other than Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, and Steve Madden, when in the history of mankind did a man predict what shoes a woman would buy?

I explained all of this to my dear hubby.

I added that our tween would love, love, love to shop online with him for shoes, but any attempt to guess what shoes she may or may not like would be best left to those who own a magic ball.

As her parents, our magic ball is broken.  From what I understand, it'll be fixed in about eight years.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The ABC's of Elementary School

Just yesterday my daughter entered kindergarten. I blinked a few times and now she's wrapping up sixth grade.

This means next Fall she'll go to a new school, meet new friends, and be in middle school. I keep telling myself this is awesome.

Seven years at one school is a long time. I have nooooooooo idea how it passed by so quickly. Seriously. How did it go by so quickly?

As a mom who has now officially experienced the K - 6th grade years, I've learned a few things. Let's call them the ABC's of elementary school.

A - Always bring tissues with you to the 6th grade graduation. Once upon a time you mocked parents who cried at meaningless events like 6th grade graduation. Now that your precious 6th grader is graduating, your ugly cry will require an obscene amount of tissues. What's wrong with me you?  Know that if your tween even sees a single tear in your eye, she'll disown you on the spot.  No questions asked. For this reason, once you can speak without choking out tears say to no one in particular, "Darn allergies!"

B - Be open-minded. Yes, your child is nearly perfect and you are the only person on the planet who is allowed to find fault with your angel. However, it just so happens that the teacher who is helping your precious child will see him in situations you're not privy to like recess, math class, and the lunch line.  It goes to reason that the trained professional may have helpful insights about your child. Sometimes that includes the good, the bad, the ugly.  If our children truly were perfect then we wouldn't need to parent them, right? It's sort of like job security for us parents. Be open-minded to the teachers' observations. They work with these little hellions children every day. They may actually know more about our child than we think.

C - Calm the heckaroo down!  This parenting gig is a marathon event not a sprint. If Susie Q doesn't win student government in 3rd grade, she'll cry, you'll cry, but her life isn't ruined. If Johnny gets a lousy grade in 5th grade science, this doesn't mean he's not college material.  Not every battle is worth fighting. Sometimes it's healthy for children to learn that life isn't fair. Breathing deeply and staying calm in the face of adversity is sometimes the best lesson we can teach our children.

To all the teachers who helped shape my daughter's elementary school years into a positive experience,  THANK YOU.

To those teachers she has yet to encounter,  I hope you're as awesome as the ones she's had so far.  I'll try to remain open-minded and calm, but that's hard work! I'd give myself a C+

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dear Mike Jeffries and Abercrombie and Fitch

Dear Mike Jeffries and your very bad, no good company,


Did you actually say all those things the articles are claiming you said?  You know, all those shocking things about not wanting fat or ugly people to wear Abercrombie and Fitch clothing?
(Click here to see one of many articles about Mike Jeffries' philosophy.)

I imagine you've taken a lot of heat for those comments, but you really got me thinking.  Let me take just a moment to thank you.  That's right, thank you.

Just as I strive to be a good role model for my children while pointing out other good role models for my children, I think it is equally beneficial to show children how NOT to behave.

Thanks to your words and actions I can tell my children:

"Don't be small-minded like Mike Jeffries and his lousy company."

"Some people never mature past high school, and they stay small and petty like Mike Jeffries and his lousy company."

"There's more important things in life than the way you look, and once you truly understand that you'll be smarter than CEO Mike Jeffries and his lousy company."

"Respect people for their insides not the way they look on the outside unlike Mike Jeffries and his lousy company."

"You're beautiful the way you are and anyone who tells you differently is being a douche bag like Mike Jeffries and his lousy company."

"Life is full of opportunities and people who will value hard work. Don't ever think you need to work for someone like Mike Jeffries and his lousy company." (Click here to read one example of why you don't want to work there.)

"There are plenty of people who think like Mike Jeffries and his lousy company.
Don't let them sway your opinion regarding what is fair and right."

"When you need new clothes, I'll gladly take you shopping anywhere other than at Mike Jeffries' lousy company."

So, yes, Mike Jeffries, thank you for being such a narcissistic Loser (yes, that "L" is capital).  I can teach my children lots and lots and lots of lessons just by looking at your hot mess of a corporate culture.


A normal-sized, average-looking mom with money in her pocket and a commitment to never buy from your lousy company again

PS - I googled your name because I was dying to see what you looked like. I figured you must be one handsome looking man.  Bwaaahaaaahaaaahaahaha.  Oh, the irony of your stance on ugly people!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thank You, Teachers!

Dear Teachers,

Happy Teachers’ Appreciation Week!  Boy oh boy, do I appreciate you!!

There are countless reasons for my appreciation, and I couldn’t possibly list them all.  Having said that, here are just a few of the reasons why I appreciate you:

I appreciate the fact that when you see me in the local grocery store buying a case of wine on a Tuesday, you don’t mention it.  You don’t even blink an eye.  

I know my little chatterbox has unloaded volumes of family secrets.  There is nothing that child won’t share.  You’ve no doubt heard about her father’s flatulence and my inability to subtract double digits.  I appreciate you not mentioning this during school conferences.  

I appreciate that, although my son’s shockingly cluttered backpack is a direct reflection on the state of his bedroom and the entire house, you have yet to report our family to the Health Department.

I know I have high energy kids who could benefit from a military-style boarding school.  I appreciate you not yet recommending they be sent away.

You have kept me from a host of crimes and you are blissfully unaware of it.  If it weren’t for you and your fearless teacher friends, people like me would be forced to homeschool.  Can you even imagine me homeschooling?  My children would still be learning to spell their names, and I would be in rehab.

You’re underpaid, underappreciated, and often overworked.

This week and all weeks…I appreciate you!

A well-meaning but nearly incompetent mother

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Shoeless Wonder

My hubby ran a triathlon this past weekend.

You know, just a refreshing 500 meter swim, followed by a leisurely 15 mile bike ride, ending with a simple 5k run.  Yes, that's what he wanted to do on a perfectly beautiful EARLY Saturday morning while I slept.

He trained for this event. He swam. He ran. He biked.  He even practiced the transitions between each event.

It turns out my hubby can run fast, swim fast, and bike fast, but he is painfully slow in terms of changing out of wet clothes to dry clothes and from taking off bike shoes to putting on running shoes.  I helped time his transition times.  I encouraged him by mocking his slow transition pace.  Honestly, there are preschoolers who can put on shoes faster.

The morning of the race arrives.  Perfect race conditions.  I wait anxiously at the finish line.  Eight runners cross the finish line, and then I see my hubby.

He looks great. He looks fit.  He looks...shoeless?

He crosses the finish line in socks.

Apparently, someone accidentally took his shoes.  Driven by foolishness his competitive spirit, he decided to run the 5k and finish the race in his socks.

After the race, he and his fellow wacky running buddies talk about Abebe Bikila, Bruce Tulloh, and Herb James Elliot.  Of course, I have no idea who these people are, but they must have all accomplished great things without appropriate footwear.

I hate to brag, but I once went to the mailbox in just socks.

Now who's impressive?

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Boston, You're Our Home

The Stendells sang it so well...

"Yeah, down by the river
Down by the banks of the river, Charles.
Aw, that's what's happenin' baby
That's where you'll find me
Along with lovers, buggers and thieves.
Well, I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston you're my home."

Today Boston is America's home.

On a sunny Monday while our East Coast brothers celebrated the 117th Boston Marathon, terror erupted.  Individuals went from cheering for runners to caring for the injured.  Lives were changed in a heartbeat.

On Monday our nation was left shocked, scared, stunned, and heartbroken.

The week was young.

As the week progressed, law enforcement in and around Boston worked tirelessly while Bostonians heeded requests to stay indoors.  The media nearly talked themselves into a babbling tizzy.

It culminated with an arrest on Friday.  Ironically enough Friday is Patriot's Day.  Yes, April 19th is Patriot's Day.  Patriot's Day, for those of you not in the know, celebrates the first battles of the American Revolution (the battles of Lexington and Concord).  The night before this first battle was Paul Revere's ride to warn the minutemen.

Boston, we love you.

I first met Boston when I was a high school teenager.  My parents took my sister and I on a vacation to Boston so we could "learn some American history." My mother insisted we walk the Freedom Trail. All of it.

We walked in and out of over fifteen historical places while my parents seemingly read ever placard they encountered.  It was the longest walk of my life.  I complained loudly during the entire walk.

As a surly teenager, I have almost no memory of the actual historical sites, but I do remember seeing one cute Bostonian boy after another.  My sister and I were convinced Boston was the hub of all beautiful young men.  I'm now 39-ish, and I still think this may be true.
Case in point: Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, Edward Norton, Matthew Perry, Steve Carell, and my hubby.

The point is I was a boy-crazy teenager I fell in love with Boston.  It was beautiful and full of life.  I'm not sure how you can visit Boston and not fall in love with it.  I suppose it only makes sense, in some cosmic way, that I would go off to college in Ohio, find the only young man from Boston on the college campus, and later marry him.

Boston, you made America proud this week.
You are wicked pissah!

Go Sox!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Dancing with the Stars Athens-Style

Anything you can do, Athens can do better.  
It's not our town motto, but it should be.  It would be, too, if we weren't such modest, affable people.  As it is, we just keep our awesomeness to ourselves. Yeah, it's just how we roll.

Saturday night is a perfect example of how Athens brings it in a big way.

What does a school nurse, military man, small business owner, and an insurance agent all have in common?

They sure can dance!

Saturday night in Athens, Ohio was the annual Dancing with the Stars event to raise money for the American Red Cross.

Much like the popular television show, local celebrities compete for votes.  They practice, practice, practice their dancing skills with the help of professional dancers for the hope of being crowned victorious.  It's all in the name of charity.

Several hundred people gathered on Saturday night to cheer on the dancers, support a good cause, and be entertained.

Oh, the moves!

Who knew the guy who makes my delicious sandwiches at Brenen's Coffee Cafe could shake his thang??  The local insurance agent is no clown when it comes to his dance moves.  My children's school nurse has an ass any 21 year old would covet, and a retired army officer can dance with or without his beautiful wife by his side.  On top of all that, yellow suspenders have never looked better, and the ladies who were there know exactly what I'm talking about!

The talent of these regular joes turned dance aficionados was amazing. Kudos to them for donating their time and talent in an effort to raise money for the American Red Cross.

The Masters of Ceremonies kept the audience engaged, and the performances moved along flawlessly.  The female MC really rocked it in a gold dress.  In my next life, I'm going to ask for her figure. And the ability to walk in heels let alone dance in them, but I digress....

Best of all, of course, was the opportunity to donate to a great cause while spending  quality time with two of the most hilarious ladies I know.  I mean, really,  it feels so great to laugh oneself to tears. Sure, one of them was a little gassy, but that's what happens when you eat a lot of cheese at dinner. No judgment.

Kudos to everyone involved in organizing and pulling off the event.  It was an amazing evening!

At the end of the night, the true winner is the American Red Cross.  They deserve not only our financial support, but our blood, too.

You can't see me blessedly, but I'm doing a little happy jig as I write this.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

It's a Roll of Toilet Paper Not the Holy Grail

Call me Indian Jones.

It's as if toilet paper is as difficult to find as the Holy Grail. I am seemingly the only crusader fearless enough to track down toilet paper rolls when an old roll is empty.

Yes, this talent is completely under appreciated.

We have three toilets in our home. I am 98% positive two of the toilets are sitting by their lonesome wondering where their friend, Mr. T. Paper, is hiding.   The third toilet is hanging out with an actual roll of toilet paper.    I know this because I usually only tinkle in one of the bathrooms, and I am 100% sure that bathroom is well stocked.

Where to begin?

For starters, I only tinkle in one bathroom because my two disgusting children use the other ones.  I've seen what they refer to as "washing hands" and I would rather not touch any bathroom surface after they've been in there.

Let's just say soap is optional and water is only required occasionally.

Yes, folks, waving your hands magically a good ten inches above the bathroom sink is "washing hands" to my children.  If you don't have time to wave them magically, then just skip the whole wiping and flushing tasks, too, and bolt for the door.

There's just so much fun stuff going on here! Who has time to wipe, flush, and wash?

As we all know, when a roll of toilet paper runs its course, it can be nearly impossible to find a new roll. After all, you're in a bathroom.  The hiding places are endless.

Toilet paper could be in the closet or under the sink or in the ... Nope. Pretty much in the closet or under the sink, people. Take your best guess. There are only so many "hiding" places in a bathroom, right?

I am the only one who can find the toilet paper in my home.

When I walk into the kids' bathroom and find empty toilet paper rolls, I am disgusted. Not so much by their inability to find a fresh roll, but by the fact I never know how long they've gone without toilet paper.  Without wiping. Ick.

This is gross.  I know.  As I've said, they are disgusting children.

Now, however, I've seemingly become the only person who can find the toilet paper at work, too.

I mean really, people?  It's a bathroom. There is NO SHAME in using the last of the toilet paper, but there is a special place in hell for adults who don't replace the empty roll with a fresh one.

Again, it's a role of toilet paper not a lost treasure!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

An Open Apology Letter to My Digestive Tract

Dear Digestive Tract,

I want to apologize for my behavior on Friday night.

In fairness to me, I had a really rough week.  Monday was Monday (need I say more?); Tuesday I had a flat tire; Wednesday was my annual exam where a nice gynecologist shoved her fist up and into my hoo-ha; Thursday I started PMS-ing like it was my job; and by Friday I was pretty sure everyone was out to get me.

After all of that stress, I met friends after work and decided to eat as if I were representing an entire college fraternity.

Why I thought eating fried pickles, fried mushrooms, potatoes skins, french fries, and something called "nachos from hell" in one sitting was a good idea, I may never know.  I can only say it was stress eating terribly, terribly out of control.

Incidentally, nachos from hell features not one, but two pork related toppings.  Imagine a plate of nachos covered in melted cheese, onions, bacon, ham, and more cheese.  Yeah, I ate that and then ordered fries.  I'm a health nut coronary heart disease waiting to happen.  Blessedly, the nachos did have a thin layer of tomatoes and lettuce on top so I'm counting that as a serving of vegetables.

I'd like to say I washed it down with water or some healthy beverage that wasn't full of empty calories, but who would I be kidding?  You absolutely know with what I washed it down.

Again, I seemingly forgot you are not the digestive tract of my twenties.  You are more sensitive, and you deserve demand my respect.  Although I would prefer you not wake me with severe gas pains at 2 o'clock on Saturday morning, I understand the difficulty I caused you earlier that evening.

I want to tell you I won't do it again.  I want to say I will never eat like a pack of starving college men again.  We both know I am weak.  Just writing about nachos from hell makes me suddenly crave bacon and cheese.

You've been a good digestive tract for the past 39-ish years, and I hope our friendship can continue. I'm sorry I made you work so hard this past weekend. I'll try to eat more thoughtfully this week today.

Yours Truly,

Emotional Eater

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Georgia on My Mind

Remember when schools were segregated?  

Me neither. I'm just such a young, vivacious thing that I wasn't even a twinkle in my mother's eye when the Supreme Court ruled in 1954 that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional.

I read about it in history books.  I know the transition from a segregated society to an integrated one didn't happen smoothly nor expediently.

BUT I did kind of think it already happened.

"We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself; a society that can live with its conscience."*

I'm a clueless white lady so I thought overt, organized racial segregation was a thing of the past.

Yes, I know racism exists. Yes, I know racism is alive and well in the hearts of some very narrow-minded, ignorant people. BUT I thought the days of organized, overt racism were over.

That all changed when I read "Georgia High School Students Fight Against Segregated Prom."

According to the article, "The segregated prom has been a tradition at Wilcox County High School, with separate dances for each race for as long as people can remember."

Now some students are trying to change that. Yes, now as in 2013.  A mere 59 years AFTER the United States Supreme Court ruled segregation in public schools as unconstitutional.

The article continues, "The idea hasn’t gone over too well with some people. Some students ripped down signs for the Integrated Prom. Last year, when a biracial student tried to attend the whites only prom, police came to turn the student away."

Georgia, what are you thinking?

I read this article and I actually thought I was reading one of those fake new stories from The Onion.  Please tell me this is just part of some really bad joke.  Please.

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."*

To the students planning the integrated prom in Georgia, you are making your community a better place. Do not be discouraged by the heartless acts of a few.  You are on the side of justice.

"True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice."*

* Quotes are from Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. They are also some of the quotes etched in stone at the MLK Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Monday, April 1, 2013

My Little Runaway

If you are one of those perfect parents with perfect children, please stop reading.  Stop reading. I hate you. Really.

If you are one of those parents who just hope you're not scarring your children too badly, then this is a feel good story you'll enjoy.

Today was the first day back to school after a lovely week off. There were tears, stomping of feet, and unabashed sorrow. And that was just me! The kids were sluggish and grumpy, too.

Hi ho, hi ho, it's off to work we go!

After a loooooong day at work, I return home to my kiddos.  My son is clearly annoyed with his day, cranky, and basically a total pill to be around.  His attitude, inability to listen, and overall lack of follow-through requires that I do a little something referred to as "parenting."  He hates that. He absolutely hates having me tell him obvious things like:

"You're room is a mess so clean it."
"Your homework isn't done so finish it."
"The toilet isn't flushed so flush it."

After a round of consequences which included him cleaning the toilet (honestly, one more unflushed toilet and I will come completely unglued), he decided he had had enough.

"You won't be talking to me for some time," he said as headed towards the back door while clutching his favorite stuffed animal.

"Where are you going?" I asked this calmly while handing him his jacket.

"Canada," he responded with a twinkle in his eye and a slight smirk surfacing on his young face.


"Canada or Washington, D.C. I'm not sure which."

"Hmmmm.  Well, you better decide soon because they are in completely different directions."


"Well, be sure to call me when you get there."

"Can I have a cell phone to take with me?"

"Oh, no.  You'll have to borrow a phone when you get there, but you can have a piece of fruit for your trip.  Do you want to take an apple?"

"No thanks."

And just like that, he was gone.  He got on his scooter and scooted down the driveway and out of sight.

I figured if he was going to Canada by scooter, I wouldn't get a phone call for a week.  If he decided to venture to Washington, DC, I figured I'd hear something within the week.

I continued reheating leftovers making dinner.

Imagine my surprise when my sweet son scooted back up the driveway three minutes later. Into the kitchen he walked with his stuffed animal.

"I'm still not happy about cleaning the toilet for free."

I ignore this statement because I am against child abuse and I couldn't think of an appropriate response at that moment.

Later he brought me a piece of paper with a graph on it.  The graph was clearly displaying a negative slope.

"Mom, your polling numbers aren't very good," he said with a twinkle in his eye.  "You should ask dad how to raise your polling numbers."

Funny boy.

Funny boy may just have the pleasure of cleaning another toilet tomorrow.
I'm a mom not a politician. I could give a hoot about my polling numbers!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

2014 Honda Odyssey

Have you heard the news?

The 2014 Honda Odyssey is going to include a vacuum cleaner.
This means you will always have a vacuum cleaner on hand when you realize your van has transformed itself from an automobile to the largest waste receptacle on the globe.

This exciting news proves I am "of a certain age."

The 16 year old me would have asked, "What's a minivan?"
The 21 year old me would have said, "I'm never owning a minivan; pass the beer nuts."
The 30 year old me would have said, "I'm never going to let my kids trash my automobile."

The me today knows nothing sounds sexier than schlepping around town in a minivan with a built in vacuum cleaner.

Sure, what I really need in a minivan is a self-cleaning option like some ovens have.  I want to flip a switch, walk away from my van o'crap, and come back to a spotless vehicle without having to break a sweat.

Short of that, an industrial sized vacuum cleaner, a built-in garbage disposal, and the ability to refrain all occupants from dropping trash on the floor of the van would work, too.  I congratulate Honda for adding a vacuum cleaner to their minivan.  It's certainly a step in the right direction.

I love to fantasize about being able to afford a 2014 Honda Odyssey what it might feel like to travel around town without being surrounded by crumbs, toys, and trash.   Sometimes at stoplights I fantasize about being in a clean vehicle. That new car smell coupled with the absence of debris just makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.  Again, proof I'm "of a certain age."

Instead, my vehicle looks like a good place to loose something. Like maybe my mind.  Seriously, you would be amazed and disgusted by the crap bizarro items I can produce from my current minivan.

Believe me when I say, it is possible for a family of four to live comfortably out of my van for at least three days. The van contains a countless number of water bottles, three clementines, one apple, two half eaten granola bars, an overripe banana, a completely crushed but unopened package of peanut butter crackers, stale french fry bits, and an assortment of chewing gum.  And that's just the edible stuff.

If you are ever in need of a napkin or Kleenex, my minivan is your go to place. Now I can't promise they're clean, but they are plentiful. I also have a small library of children's books, an equal number of DVDs, sidewalk chalk, one earring, a random assortment of crayons, a compass, seven glow sticks, a bicycle tire pump, a hairbrush which appears to have last been used on a cat, two neck pillows, six empty plastic grocery bags, one straw, a frisbee, three AAA guides from 2007, two different maps of South Carolina, and enough dried leaves and sticks to keep a bonfire going through the end of May.

The only item I can't seem to find in my minivan is a vacuum cleaner!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Mother Nature Needs a Midol

am not a fan of Mother Nature. 

We have a long ugly history with one another.  Just read "Surviving Heat Wave without Electricity" or "Sociology Experiment Gone Bad" or "The Essentials" to get a glimpse of our rocky past.  I don't think I did anything to deserve that kind of mistreatment.

I thought maybe she was just going through a rough patch, but now I'm starting to think Mother Nature either has a seriously bad case of PMS or she is a total b****.

I'm trying to monitor my choice of words because my children hear everything I don't want them to hear and seemingly very little of what I would actually like them to hear.  I'm not sure if asterisks count as swearing or not, but I'm cutting myself some slack because Mother Nature has really ticked me off!

What reason other than the end of times PMS can explain snow storms in late March?

Ladies, we certainly understand the emotional instability that comes with PMS.  The worst symptoms include rage, irritability, bloating, and the desire to eat your weight in ice cream. I suppose Mother Nature doesn't have easy access to Ben & Jerry's so what else can she do but shower us with snow and sleet?

I understand the desire to destroy things when PMS-ing. I really do.

But then Mother Nature had the audacity to kill my daffodils.

She just ruthlessly struck them down with cold wind, freezing rain, and snow.  That's taking the whole PMS thing to a new level.  Too bad we can't slip her a Midol. I'm sure she would feel much better, and we would have a chance at seeing Spring.

The good people of Butler County, Ohio are so sick and tired of this weather they have written an indictment against Punxsutawney Phil.  Yes, they are mockingly suing the groundhog because they are obviously bored tired of winter.  I was in total support of their mockery of the judicial system until I realized the prosecutor was seeking the death penalty. That seems like cruel and unusual punishment for the groundhog since, of course, we all know Mother Nature is the root of this evilness.

First the daffodils and now the groundhog. Mother Nature, how can you live with yourself?

Stop acting like a total female dog.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Pre-Trip Preparations

All of us have certain habits or regimens we follow before embarking on a trip.

We may stop our mail, make arrangements for a cat sitter, clean our dirty laundry, or do a host of other little tasks in anticipation for a few days or weeks away from home.

I have a little regimen I hope is not unique to me, but nothing surprises me. 

I “clean out” the refrigerator. 

And what I really mean is I personally consume all of the items in the refrigerator that may go bad before I return from my trip. 

This means earlier this evening I ate 2 hardboiled eggs, three strawberries, nearly three-fourths of a bottle of wine, a chunk of cheddar cheese, a handful of pretzels, a tomato, 2 spoonful’s of hummus, and 3 garlic-stuffed olives… wait… make that four garlic-stuffed olives.  Honestly, I can eat those suckers like popcorn. 

After the wine, it really just turns into binge eating.   

There is no need to point out that pretzels rarely “go bad.”  Sure they may get stale, but that’s never stopped me from eating them in the past.  After the wine, items don’t even necessarily have to be in my refrigerator.  I just need to see them in order for them to qualify for ingestion.

I will argue I am doing my husband a favor. 

Yes, I am a woman who sacrifices a great deal.  No one wants to come home to the smell of rotting vegetables or wasted wine, right?  I take that risk off the table by just consuming it all in a single evening. 

It’s my duty as the woman of this household to make sure we are prepared for our little vaca.  If that means eating everything within arm’s reach, well so be it. 

Let the vacation begin!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

A March Madness of Another Kind

I don't exactly understand all aspects of our nation's sequester, but I know I don't like it.  
I don't understand a lot of things so this should surprise absolutely no one.

In fact, I wasn't really paying attention to the sequester news because it all sounded too familiar.  Like children in a school yard, politicians started their name calling while refusing to take responsibility for anything.  Unlike school children, they did this while making a hefty wage.

Now my interest in the sequester is growing because the sequester has impacted me.  Yes, that pesky little sequester is putting a damper on my family's vacation plans.  We plan to go to Washington DC to see where nothing gets done while well-paid, arrogant, politicians fight cherry blossoms.

I was hoping my family could go on a tour of the White House.  No can do.  The tours have been suspended because of the sequester.  Yes, those tours are part of the trillion dollar cuts.  This makes perfect sense, right?  Those federal tour guides probably make beaucoup bucks.

The realization that the White House is closed to tours got me thinking more about this sequester.  While I was wallowing in self-pity about not being able to tour a big white house, I saw this article: "Popular stipend stripped for many U.S. military service members."

My "Is this a joke" attitude changed immediately to my uglier "Are you pooping me!?" attitude.

So let me get this straight:

The sequester is automatically cutting things like college tuition for our military service men and women.  You know those folks who travel to dangerous places, miss anniversaries, miss the birth of their children, and....DIE for their country? Yeah, those folks have their tuition reimbursement stipend taken away from them.

In the meantime, those charged with fixing this problem continue to get paid handsomely for their work failures.

Here's the thing about my "Are you pooping me?" attitude. I feel like screaming, ranting, and banging my head against a wall.  Blessedly when Amanda Harrison feels like screaming, she does something a little more productive and powerful. She started a petition on to right this wrong.

If you're reading this, please consider going to and signing her petition.  Then take a moment and let others know that they should do the same.

If your not angry enough to act, then read this:

If you're still not angry enough to act, then I want whatever drugs you are taking.

This truly is March madness.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Ant Farm Haunts Me

The Ant Farm Still Haunts Me

My son received an ant farm, minus the ants, for Christmas.  Santa brought him the ant farm.  I really need to have a little talk with Santa.

I bought him the ants.  I really need to sit myself down and have a little talk with myself.

I ordered the ants and they arrived dead.

This was not too traumatic because my son and I convinced ourselves they were just tired from their trip. The instructions did say they could arrive "sluggish."

Getting dead ants into a plastic ant farm is really easy. There is no screaming, sweating, or incontinence. However, it only took a few days for us to realize these ants had a bad case of death vs a sleep disorder.

I was hoping that would be it.  Bummer.  No ants for the ant farm.

My son had other ideas.  Under pressure from my son, I called the ant company. I explained about the arrival of dead ants and, unfortunately, that company offers really excellent customer service. They immediately shipped a new batch of ants free of charge.

This is when things got interesting.

The package arrived in the mail and it felt warm.  The nice ant company put some sort of warmer in the bag to keep this new batch of ants from freezing on their journey to my home.

Like the first batch of dead ants, the second batch arrived in a small, plastic vial.  Unlike the first batch, these ants were very clearly not dead.  In fact, they looked rather rabid and excited.

The warning labels were clear.  These ants will bite and they will try to escape.   Under no circumstances should they be released into the wild.  Oh goodie!

My children and I ceremoniously carried the vial and the ant farm outside.  No way was I going to open that vial of ants in my home.

The ant farm is about 6 inches long and one inch wide.  It has a lid that pops off the top. The plan to relocate ants from container A to container B seems simple enough.  Open the lid on the ant farm, open the lid on the vial and dump ants into their new home.


Here is reality.

"Calmly" take lid off ant farm.
Beg your son to take vial from you.
Watch your son shriek in horror while running in place at the mere thought of touching vial full of squirming ants.
Take a deep breath, open vial, ignore the shrieking sound you hear, watch ants crawl everywhere except into ant farm, pee your pants just a little, drop vial into ant farm, close lid, and realize the shrieking sound is coming from your own mouth.
Watch your son run around the porch squishing all the ants that managed to escape with his shoes.
Take another deep breath as you then watch your son carry the art farm BACK INTO YOUR HOME.

All of this to say, the experience has made me think differently about having "ants in my pants."