Monday, February 28, 2011

March in my library

I wrote my first library newsletter and I'm going to pass one out to each kid tomorrow. It's full of cool things I have planned for the month of March. I want the library to be a center of 'artistic learning' and not just all about books. I want my students to WANT to come to the library.

This month I've hidden paper shamrocks in books and if students find one, they can check it out, read it, take a Reading Counts test and if they pass it, then they get a full sized candy bar. I'm holding this contest until St. Paddy's Day.

Next week I'm hosting a fat Tuesday party. I got a local bakery to give me some donuts and I'm going to serve them all call 'em King Cakes. I've created a 4 minute Power Point presentation about Mardi Gras and how it's related to Christianity. I also have decorations and door prizes.

Every Friday we have a drawing. Kids who get awarded a good behavior award come in the library and their name goes in a drawing so they can win prizes. The "drawing container" is in pretty bad shape. I'm sponsoring a decoration contest. Students can submit a design and the winner will bring the design to life, and get a lunch out!

The last thing I have planned for March is an Art & Lecture activity. I'm having a guest speaker come in, show some greeting cards she's mad, talk about it and then the invitees get to make a card or two. this is happening on the Ides of March.

I was going to have a St. Patrick's Party but the only way I could think of tying it to the library was through Irish poetry. Usually written by drunks. So I thought I would pass on that!

I'm so excited about it all!

My only stupid moment was as the copier spit out copy #116 of my March newsletter and I thought I should've celebrated Dr. Seuss's birthday. On March 2. Ooops!


Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ma Bell would turn over in her grave

Answering the phone on weekends at Alcatraz is interesting. I never know what sort of calls I'm going to get. Oh, most of the stuff is standard like wanting to speak to an employee or someone calling to talk to a kid. That's normal. I also have to take care of intra campus calls, which are usually no big deal. (If a kid is running, we have lots of phone traffic I have to manage, between intra campus calls and I have to facilitate the police officers who are called in).

Otherwise, I get the 'usual' stuff. But sometimes, it does get weird.

People call and ask me for directions to get here. For our address. For our fax number. My favorite was when a woman called and asked me for our phone number. After a few seconds of silence I just gave it to her; she thanked me, hung up, and called back about 10 seconds later.

Since we do foster parent stuff, I get calls from foster parents who have kids with them. These are one of our very top priorities. These are often scary. One foster mom called to say her foster son was threatening to kill himself and they were in her car. Another time a kid wanted to come back here rather than stay in his placement.

I get new parents who call and have to tell me who they are and the name of their kid. And why the child is here. And that they aren't bad parents. All they really have to do is call and ask for "house [insert number]" and I connect the call. I don't even need the name of the kid; the house parents get paid to sort that crap out. But I feel badly when a new parent feels they need to explain it all to me, and I'm just the measly phone operator. And I really don't want to know why... trust me, you don't usually want to know the why. Ever. At all.

One parent wanted to know if she could bring a birthday gift and leave it with me to give to her daughter.

One dad asked me if swearing was allowed by the boys in his son's house because they cuss in the background all the time when he's on the phone with his boy.

I had one woman call and ask if a certain student had a home pass because she was calling the cops on him if he did because he molested her daughter.

One parent asked if I could watch her 3 year old for four hours while she visited her older son. She didn't have a babysitter and her son who is at Alcatraz has a "no contact" order with the three year old.

I've had people call and ask if my town has a mall or a specific restaurant so when they pick up their child they can take them there to eat.

I've been asked if pets are allowed so "Joey" could play with his dog that he misses.

Former students have called collect from jail.

Last night I had a call that "takes the cake." A mom called me, en route, and wanted to drop her kid off here because she was, and I quote: "done with her." Let me tell, ya I sent that to our on duty boss ASAP!


Saturday, February 26, 2011

The wheels on the bus go round and round, and the driver of the bus goes "grrrrr grrrrr"!

Princess and I rode the bus the other evening since Mac had the car. She had never ridden any sort of public transportation before and we ended up with a very mean bus driver. It was not our best riding experience. Actually most of the time when I use public transportation, I have crummy experiences. I don't know if it's the luck of the draw, or what. Sometimes I have no other alternative than to ride with them; I hate that rock and hard place feeling.

I know other people who take it all the time and never had any issues and that's great for them. I also know this is better than nothing when you need a ride. I just hate the fact I get some grumpy drivers who always blame me for their issues. Or are mad at their dispatcher and then are in crappy humor with me the entire ride. I usually try and schedule my rides 24 hours (or more) in advance. And I never call and say "can you come get me in 10 minutes?" If I need a same day ride, I call in the early morning for a late afternoon or evening ride. If I do call for a same day ride, I am always prepared for snafus. Ugh!

Our transportation isn't like a regular bus. There isn't a regular route it runs and you walk to a stop and get on. No, instead, you schedule a pick up and they come get you as close to the appointed time you ask for. The policy says, I think, the bus has a 20 minute grace period either way of your assigned time. Yes, they could be 20 minutes early or 20 minutes late. As a rider, you are allotted 5 minutes to get your butt out the door and into the bus from the moment they arrive, even if they are 20 minutes early. Because of this stupid 20 minutes policy, I rarely use them when I am on a time crunch. I make sure I can be flexible.

The other night Princess and I were at the downtown coffee shop waiting for our 6:05pm pick up. We were sitting where we could see the street and we also were laughing at how many open parking spaces there were for the bus to pull in. I had to pee and thought I could wait but nature called. Now, this may be more than you want to or need to know, but it must be said. I can pee REALLY quickly. I've worked in education for the past 11 years and am used to only having a 3 minute passing period to get to a bathroom, do my business, wash my hands, and get back to my room before a bell. So I'm a quick pee-er. I ran to the bathroom and did my thing. From the moment I left my seat until I got back was less than 3 minutes, tops. And the bus came during the time. Princess waited for me and we boarded. That bus driver had waited, according to us anyway, for maybe 2 minutes. We were allowed five.

And the bus driver was some little, old, gray haired, ANGRY lady. She said she has been waiting forever for us. Princess and I looked at each other. The driver went on to say she even called dispatch to see where we were. I asked her where she had been waiting and she said "right here" which was smack in the front of the plate glass window where we had been sitting. So she was completely lying. She slammed the bus doors and told us to sit down and she drove away while I was still walking to my seat, muttering at me. I was pissed.

I actually called the person who schedules the rides the next day to see what the problem was and to explain our side of it. She blamed the other scheduler and said our driver was supposed to be off work at 6pm. Well, whoopee shit. Like that was MY fault?

Daddy-O used to drive for this company and he used to be a dispatcher as well, for years and years. He quit when he retired. I know the other side of this gig so whenever I schedule a ride, I certainly try and always be timely, flexible and friendly. I know what the drivers go through. I wish the drivers would offer that same service in return.

Other bad experiences: I waited my allotted 20 minutes late and then called to see where my ride was. No one could figure out why I wasn't picked up so after some phone calls to some drivers, they figured out my name never was put on any drivers' lists. New computer software was blamed and it was 40 minutes after my scheduled time that anyone finally got me. And when the driver finally did get me, she complained she was supposed to be off work 30 minutes ago and there were other drivers doing nothing so she didn't know why she was stuck getting me.

Another time I needed pick up at school. We have an office building on one side of the street and the school is on the other. When I called for that ride, I stressed that I was IN the school. So at my pick up time I see the bus just drive right on by the school and pull in the office building entrance and head to the parking lot, which is behind the building. I call to the office and ask if they could send the bus to the school. They do. The driver immediately starts chewing my butt, telling me I need to let the dispatcher know where I'll be. I calmly BUT firmly told that driver, "Look I told them the school. I stressed that I was a teacher and would be at the school. Furthermore, my dad worked for this place and I know the procedure so back off. I suggest you call and see if [dispatcher name] wrote it down or not." Then she proceeded to complain about her job all the way home.

It's better than nothing when I need a ride, I realize that. It beats being stranded. And right now, I have free ride passes which are valid until March 31 so I don't have to pay for any of these rides- they're all free. I guess, in this case, I'm getting what I pay for. But these drivers need to learn some customer service finesse.

And Princess thinks public transportation is now mean and scary. She's kinda right about that...


Friday, February 25, 2011

29. Take a zumba class

Haven't I just turned into a little exercise queen? Swam 10 laps last week, as well as a yoga class. Took zumba last night... my body is probably wondering what's going on with me doing 3 cardos within 10 days. Heck, I wonder, too! I can't believe all the exercise/ healthy things I put on my "40 before 40" list so my subconscious must be wanting to be thinner and healtier too!

I took zumba last night. Again, I brought reinforcements with me: SisIL, XRay Girl, and a co-worker from Alcatraz. We all showed up on time and found spots together in the back row.

I like that the woman who taught/ led the class wasn't some tiny Barbie type. She was about my age and she was a little overweight but not a lot. She was friendly but not in that overly chirpy way that would make me want to smack her. I liked her. She also said zumba was about having fun and she didn't care if we went the wrong direction or needed a break, as long as we had fun. I liked that idea, too.

And she meant it. The four of us were going in all directions and were all twisted around at times and she didn't care. She was really positive and energetic.

Man, did I get the work out to end all work outs, though. Seriously. I shook body parts I forgot I had or didn't know I had. And I sweated a lot. I won't go into the amount of sweating details but if I were jogging in a rain forest in July wearing all wool, I don't think I would've sweated that much. I can say I got my cardo work-out down pat, without a doubt.

I have to say at about 10 minutes into class I was ready to die. I thought we probably only had 15 minutes left and then I looked at the clock: 45 minutes left. At once point, I told the girls to just zumba around my dead body or roll me out of the way. And that I wanted to be cremated.

About 40 minutes into the class I was ready to be finished but I didn't stop. Do the words Bataan Death March mean anything to you?

When the class ended at 7:10pm, (oh yes, it ran OVER- that was the meanest thing anyone had ever done to me, by the way!!!!) I was tired and hot and sweaty and tingly but yes, I did have fun. Yes, I want to do it again. Yes, this was a good thing. Oh, I wasn't as coordinated that I thought I was and no, I didn't always know all the steps or couldn't get the footwork combinations as quickly (let's be honest, or at all) as I wanted, but I got an amazing work out and had fun at the same time. None of us died. As a matter of fact, though XRay Girl and I were ready to pass out at the end, my SisIL who gave birth 9 months ago and spends her days chasing around a baby and a toddler (Fab Finn was having milk shake for dinner last night!!!) was still bopping around at the end of the class with as much, or more, energy as she had at the beginning!

I was really worried that I would be sore today. I honestly thought I wouldn't be able to move but I was wrong. My shoulders ache a little bit between my shoulder blades and spine. My neck is a bit sore from head poppin' but otherwise, I feel really good!

I'm proud of myself because I never stopped moving. Even when I didn't know the steps/ moves I just sort of danced in place and copied the arm motions. I "zum"-ed when I should've "ba"-ed but it was all good. But when I did get the moves, I was excited and danced along. And since it's so much Latin dance, I have the booty to shake, I was certainly a shakin' it! XRayGirl and the co-worker were teasin' me about "gettin' into it", but they were teasing in a good way.

We all had a good time and are planning on going back again. As a matter of fact I had such a great time that I signed up for a discounted Y membership so I could take the class on a regular basis, as well as use the rest of the facility. I know, I know...

So zumba was a rousing success! This is once of the most fun "40 before40" items so far!


(and yes, I do know "sweated" isn't really a word, but I sweat so much I added an ED to it...)

Oh, and in case you're not sure what zumba is, here's a youtube video. This is not my class and I don't know these people, but it's close to what it was like:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

More random Thursday thoughts from a tired brain

I zumba-ed tonight and am so tired that I can't string together coherent thoughts so you get random stuff. I'm not sure my fingers can type. I think I'm really gonna hurt tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow I'm supposed to appear in court on behalf of Princess; this is a typical thing that happens not because she was in more trouble. Her court hearing is 5 hours away. We're supposed to have 2 inches of ice and then 6-11 inches of snow on the ground by morning. Her caseworker, who is doing the driving on this road trip, said we're going no matter what. I told her over my dead body would I let her jeopardize the safety of Princess. She asked how I would stop her from going. i said I'd call our company President if I had to. I emailed her this morning, after she was dithering around to me that she didn't know "what to do if it snowed here tomorrow." I suggested that she call the judge, talk to his clerk. explain the situation and see what happens. The judge would either say call us tomorrow to see if you got the weather, tough crap and be here, or give us a continuance. I'm betting on option three. I'm frustrated. I don't think she did her job and I don't think she should endanger lives because she doesn't want to make a phone call. Ugh! Furthermore, I don't want to go tomorrow if the weather is that bad.

I still haven't heard anything about the job. Ridiculous.

I filed my taxes and I'm getting a return and I can now finish Mac's FAFSA. Please pray we get a ton of money.

Mac announced he wants to buy a MacBook Pro to use in college. He's opting out of prom since I said I would give him the cash I would spend on prom to put toward the computer. Those things are $1500. I hope he gets a lot of money for graduation gifts.

I like the word maelstrom.

Tons of movies are being released on DVD next month that I want to see: 127 Hours, Black Swan, Faster, Inside Job, Morning Glory, Next Three Days, Switch, Tangled, and Fair Game.

Okay this is it. My brain is yogurt. And I want chocolate. Now.


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I just want to party all the time

I love to plan and host parties.

I used to have Oscar parties. I don't know when it was that I stopped but I did used to have them. I think I hosted three or four at my house, when I lived in various places.

One time we all dressed in our Hollywood Glam, another time we had to dress as a famous Oscar MOVIE, and one time everyone came dressed as a favorite Oscar character.

We always had tons of food and drink. We would play games, mostly movie trivia. Sometimes, if the Oscar telecast was boring we'd play a drinking game. For example, everyone could drink a shot each time a presenter said "uh" or smirked at their own jokes and dialogue. Of course we would always try and predict the winners and I would give prizes to those who were right. We did door prize drawings for best costume or person who saw the most "best picture" nominees for the year. Two years I had trinkets as prizes and one year we did cash.

Good times.

I miss my Oscar parties. I used to love to throw parties. We had an awesome 4th of July party one year, complete with a clown for the kids, plenty of illegal booming fireworks, lots of booze and karaoke. We'll never let my dad forget his drunken chanting, "I'll have another one of those" each time a firework boomed. And we gave him another beer.

I hosted a surprise 30th birthday party for an old boyfriend. We had his family from Canada come as a surprise as well as plenty of friends. We grilled out, tapped a keg, and just a grand time. We even played softball in a field across the street. Fun times.

I was involved in a co-ed softball team and two years in a row we won the championship and had a big bash at our house.

One New Year's Eve I left Mac invite 10 boys to spend the night; they were 6. Every kid invited showed up. Who wouldn't want a free babysitter on New Year's, after all? We took a group photo of the kids and ironed it on tee-shirts, one for each boy. They had a midnight snowball fight. They had 1am pizza. They roasted hot-dogs and made smores over the fireplace. They watched ET. It was awesome.

When I lived in Northern Civilization, my home was like the old artist salons of yesteryear. I had people in and out all the time. We had poetry readings. There was always music playing or we played ball or Frisbee in the backyard. There was always much food and booze. We'd watch movies in front of the fireplace. We'd play board games. I had friends in and out all the time.

I used to host dinner parties, inviting a few friends and we'd dress up and share dinner. I'd drag out my "fancy pants" dishes and make something outrageous.

Next year I'm hoping to be in my own place and I plan on full scale parties. I want to do an Oscar party and of course a Fat Tuesday party. And a St. Patrick's Day. And 4th of July. And a Christmas open house. I love the decorating, the cooking, the planning, the people and the joy of hosting a an event and watching people have a good time.

Party girl,

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Here we snow again

Last week we were outside in sweatshirts. All the snow was melting. The sky was blue. It smelled nice. It was totally spring- like. We had the faux spring teaser for about 4 days.

Then yesterday happened.

It was raining when I woke up. Sometime in the morning I heard "ping" and "plunk" and "ting". The rain turned to ice. It was falling ice. Lovely. Not.

After the ice chorus segued into snow, it really came down. We had snow. Lots of snow. With flakes the size of George Foreman's fists.

Now everything is covered in ice with a nice layer of snow on the top. Nightmare weather.

Mac's school is on a two hour delay and Alcatraz is on a one hour delay, but we're all going to school.

I realize it's just February and we could have 2 more months of this crappola but I want to take this opportunity say I'm just tired of it.


Monday, February 21, 2011

Lady of Leisure day

Today I have no school. We have a 'winter break' day. We didn't have enough snow days to date to take it away so I actually have the day off tomorrow while all other schools in the county- Mac's included- have to go to school.

My big plan for the day involves doing nothing but things I want. Which means I'll probably spend quality time in my pajamas, reading, drinking coffee and reading some of my back dated fashion magazines (which is a 40 before 40 item...). I might scrapbook, or not. I might read blogs, or not. I might answer emails, or not. I might watch movies, or not. Whatever I do, it will be what I want and it will be fun.

I worked hard this weekend with ITSam's help. We cleaned the attic, and got about 80% finished. I can now see the floor again. We actually dusted and vacuumed. we found a place to put almost everything. I still need to clean my closet but this is a huge undertaking. We also overhauled Mac's half of the attic (with his help.) I've done copious amounts of laundry all weekend so there will only be about 2 loads left today and I may or may not do them. ITSam cleaned the bathroom and I did dishes. He mopped the floor and I put away all that laundry. We worked hard. We did play some but mostly is was a cleaning weekend, all so I can be a bum tomorrow.

I got some super nice sheets for Christmas with a high thread count; these are a luxury and feel like silk. We put them on my bed. I shaved my legs. I have clean jammies. I have some of my favorite creamer and a clean coffee cup. Let the relaxing commence!


Sunday, February 20, 2011

The joy of motherhood doesn't usually involve the police but this time is the exception

There were three boys. Mac, who is basically a good kid regardless of how much crap he gives me; his friend IP who is a good kid who is an honor student and an athlete; and Big N who is a good kid and an athlete and a member of the national honor society. They all make good grades. They all stay out of trouble, mind their parents and are just the type of "good" kids most other parents want their kids to hang around with.

Big N is a super sweetie. He's built like Michael Phelps (that's where the similarities stop) but is just a big teddy bear. Mac is like the heavier-set version of Seth Rogan, while IP is the cool stud kid (who actually really borders on nerd). And to be honest with you- all three of these boys are dorks. They are. They have no game. They play video games. Then still giggle when they talk about girls. Suave is not in their vocabulary. They would rather play a Halo tournament and eat pizza than have a date.

So ITSam and I are just settling down to watch a movie when Mac called, hysterical, because he said he was pulled over and was chased and the cops were sending him home and would be calling me. Wha??????????????????

So, the boys get here and the three of them tell me the story: Big N, Mac and IP were just driving around. They were downtown and Big N grabbed my umbrella out of the car and would jump out of the car and dance around and jump back in. A piece of the umbrella tip broke and Big N threw it out the window. A block later they were being chased by two guys in a pick up truck. The truck guys chased the boys all over town and then out into the country. The truck guys kept pulling up behind Mac's car, just inches from him. Then Mac sped off and suddenly saw lights and was pulled over.

I guess the boys sat there and three police cars showed up. Big N was asked to step out of the car and ushered into one of the police cars and questioned alone. Another officer talked to Mac. No one talked to IP. Then they told the boys to go home and the police would call me after they gathered information.

The boys where shaking and hysterical. They were worried they were going to jail. All they could figure out from the conversations with the police was that the piece of umbrella that Big N threw out of the car hit the truck windshield and broke it.

The sheriff deputy arrived and thank God it was a guy who used to work at Alcatraz and knew ITSam. As a matter of fact, deputy and Sam were in a church band together as well as working together, and they also used to work out together at a gym. Furthermore, this deputy just dropped his laptop off for Sam to fix, as a favor. This was a gift from the heavens, I must admit.

He and Sam chatted and basically what happened, according to deputy, was that the truck guys thought the boys threw a rock at them and were following them while they were on the phone with the police, staying with them so the cops could pull the kids over.

It was just a matter of timing that three cops answered the call at the same time. Deputy said as soon as he started talking to the kids they KNEW the boys didn't do anything on purpose. When they asked Big N to step out of the car, he got out with his hands up and asked if he should have lawyer. I guess the cops were trying not to laugh hysterically in their faces.

I told deputy what the boys said and he said he wanted to see the umbrella dance. He said the guys in the truck were just dumb rednecks who were pretty pissed off. He said the boys didn't do any damage to the truck and that he wasn't really happy with the truck guys for intimidating the kids. Deputy wanted to know how these boys knew each other since they were all different schools and grades and I said they all met at... church youth group. He asked which one and when I told him he said his father-in-law is in charge of that church. The deputy about peed himself with laughter.

Deputy then went to the kitchen to talk to the boys. Big N started crying, IP called his mom who was on his way, and Mac is trying to explain and calm everyone down. Big N was offering to pay for the wind shield and write letters of apology and then cried the deputy had to step away for a minute to compose himself. He asked Big N about the umbrella and he admitted to dancing and being "Umbrella Man." I had to leave the room and Sam was already in maniacal laughing fits in the living room.

Deputy told Big N he wanted to see the umbrella dance. (Big N grabbed the umbrella and was really going to do it until the cop stopped him and said he was joking). He also told him he should buy me a new umbrella! (It was a really nice, a collector's item umbrella of a Degas ballerina dancer painting that was pretty expensive, too). I have to admit- I would love to see the dance, too. He told them he knew they weren't gang bangers and typical trouble makers but next time to not throw things out the window.

Deputy came back in the living room with Sam and me to wait for IP's mom to get there so he could tell her to not worry, and that they boys weren't in any trouble. Deputy told us if he was friends with Big N he would never let him forget any of it- the crying, dancing or Umbrella Man. He said he couldn't believe what nice, nerdy kids they were. He also said all the cops all at the scene almost cracked up when Big N got out of the car with his hands up. (Later, Big N said that was what always happened on Law and Order which is as close to the police he's ever been) He said they were stuttering and sputtering and scared, so he knew it was all a misunderstanding. He said he had to smile when they all started giving their resumes about clubs and societies and athletics and they had never been in trouble with the law and had no idea what to do- he said that was pretty obvious.

IP's mom was relieved that there was no trouble, as was I. Everyone left and all is fine, but I have to say it was the funniest moment ever involving the police. I think they learned a very important lesson. Big N will never live down the crying. Usually mom's aren't happy when their kids and cops are involved with each other, but I have to admit this was a funny moment and I think it scared them a bit, which is good for the future.

Oh, and by the way... deputy and a bunch of other law enforcement offers were meeting for dinner after he left my house and he couldn't wait to tell this story to the other officers. He said it was awesome and he probably won't have to buy his own dinner because he'll have the best story. Cop humor.

Ah, the joys of parenthood!

Nerdy Mac's mom,

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Winter, spring... which of thee has forsaken me?

All this pre-spring weather is spoiling me. I'm jonsing for spring now, and it's still the middle of winter, still February and we have all of March to survive. We could, in reality, be hit with tons more snow. I feel like this is sort of a cruel trick of Mother Nature.

We went from having blizzard like conditions to sunny days that I thought would never end, with temperatures in the high 50s. It's supposed to be a little chiller today but still sunny and bright. Maybe in the high 40s.

The smell of the damp earth fills my nose and reminds me of daffodils and spring rain. I love when the earth has a wet, dampness to it and the warm sun shines and then the smell permeates everything. To me, that is the quintessential smell of spring.

I don't hate winter at all. It's been a nice winter, though I've occasionally be frustrated. I like spring, for the most part, but I am NOT a fan of summer. I think in the past I've dreaded spring only because summer follows. Here in the Midwest, it's so humid and hot. It's sticky and just.... hot. I don't like the heat. And when it does rain and I pray for a cooling reprieve, what usually happens is steam rolling off the pavement and the humidity goes up a few notches.

As I get older, my love affair with seasons change. Years ago I would say winter was my favorite season, hands down. I'm not so sure now. I like fall quite a bit. It's cool and brilliantly colored. I like spring because of the smells of the earth, the rejuvenation. I still love winter, but I'm not sure it holds the number one spot in my heart any more, though summer certainly does hold the lowly 4th place.

I love living in a place with seasons. I don't think I could live in the extreme south with no distinct seasons, though this winter would've been the exception, rather than the rule. I love the seasons and the changing and evolving.

Seasons here are certainly different than when I lived in the Wild West. I was a Plains girl so the summers were like the desert, little greenery and all brown and rarely did it rain. Winter was piles of snow and cold so cold it burned my lungs. If I blinked I would miss spring and fall. They practically didn't exist. Autumn had no color to speak of, primarily because we had no trees. One day it was hot and sweltering, the next day cold and blowing and the third there was a foot of snow. I'm not kidding. Spring was about the same. It would be freezing, or colder, then warm and muddy and then hot and desert like. The Midwest certainly kicks season butt because we get it all here.

So while I wax poetic about the spring, and I have certainly enjoyed the reprieve from the monstrosity of snowfall we've had this winter, I wish this little taste of spring hadn't been offered. Next week, when we get the predicted snow fall, I'll be pretty miserable. I suppose, a positive spin would be that now I have something to reflect upon and remember fondly-- my few winter days of 60 degrees, the warm earth, the sunshine that feels warm on skin, the light jackets rather than heavy woolens...

Thinking spring,

Friday, February 18, 2011

Guess which dwarf I am today? (Other title: The news that isn't)

A few weeks ago I made a vague reference to something that could be good but I didn't want to jinx it. Well, at this point, I've surpassed the good feelings and don't really feel like anything I say here could jinx anything, at this point.

I had a job interview on Jan. 31. An interview within the Alcatraz corporation but not on this campus, but in Northern Civilization. It would have amazing hours, killer benefits, be permanent full time, and make about double to double and a half (can I have double and a half???) the money as what I do now. When I interviewed it was like the job description was plucked right off my resume. I am PERFECT for this job. It was made for me.

I could barely constrain myself from drooling over this job (though I did manage.) I thought I interviewed like a pro. I was there for 3 hours, met the team, and given the tour. She told me she had 1 other candidate to interview and she would submit names to her director. She left me feeling like it would be my job but she was going through the process of interviewing because she had to. Of course, she didn't give it to me but it just felt like she was going to hire me. The interview was THAT good. At the end she said I should know an answer either way, by Feb. 11.

Well, Feb. 11 has come and gone with no answer because the director went on vacation. She got back on Monday, Feb. 14. Though a woman on my current campus who works with the woman I interviewed with said she liked me. The woman I interviewed with liked me, that is. Yes, with all these women and no names, I realize this is rather convoluted.)

Then, on Wednesday, I ran into the woman who interviewed me here on my campus (she was here for a meeting). We made small talk and I just bluntly casually said I was waiting to hear from her. She said, and I quote, "I submitted my candidate list to N***** and am just waiting to here from her." Then she wouldn't make eye contact with me. Our chat before had been fine before that but then she was all lack of eye contact and skittish with me. From her body language, intonation, her non verbal cues, and her word choice, I am pretty sure this is not going to be my job.

And we do not have some sort of company HR procedure that wouldn't let her tell me there. She could've said my name was on the list. I think the omission is the answer. She might not want to tell me in the middle of a cafeteria lunch that I didn't get the job but there would be nothing wrong with telling me I was on the list with the other candidates.

I've decided what's worse than the interview is the not knowing.

And I still don't know. I would be satisfied with a "no" at this point, just to put me out of my misery.

Guess it's not such a great, big, wonderful newsy possibility after all.

Grumpy Maggie

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday's thoughts (aka random stuff in my head)

One of the things on my 40 before 40 list is take ballroom dancing lessons. We called to arrange the first lesson and the instructor's name is... Sam. It's fate. I also get a new pair of high heels for this adventure. I'm nervous. I hope I don't barf on Sam the Dance Man. Nor on ITSam...

I chaperoned a field trip today. It was on a bus with all boys. I must be long on patience and have a higher tolerance for their stupid boy antics than I care to admit. Other teachers don't feel that same way. Tomorrow when we meet to do the behavior report, I am going piss off the other faculty members because I don't think the kids should be in trouble for doing "kid" stuff.

I have my first foster parent class tomorrow night and I'm really excited. And nervous. And scared.

Many folks have recommended CDs and I've been listening. Mumford and Son, Lady Gaga and Cherry Poppin' Daddies. I'm diggin' it all.

I saw a play today, as part of the field trip, and it was THREE and a HALF hours long. My butt really hurts. And I'm a gold medalist in sitting and this was even too much for me. But the play was freakin' awesome.

Does anyone else have "Angry Birds" as an app? Everyone I know said I should get it, and ITSam is playing it as I type and is having a hoot. I don't get it....

My big plans for Sunday are to read all the blogs on my favorite lists because I've been slacking. I'm really sorry for not reading you guys. I still love you even though I'm lame.

I cannot believe I no school Monday. I have an entire day off. I am NOT going to work any job at all. Mac has school and ITSam has to work. I might try and bribe Daddy-O to leave so I can use the house for the day.

Speaking of apps, I would take recommendations of apps that are MUST HAVES. I don't have nearly enough apps. I'm lacking in the app department. And speaking of apps, I need to promise myself to learn one a day because I don't know much about the ones I do have. UGH!

Today was a spring teaser as far as the weather goes because it was 61 degrees outside. that's right. You read it right. 61 flippin' degrees. I was one happy lady! I love the smell of wet, warm earth.

Can anyone else tell I'm really struggling to find blog topics lately? I've been waiting on an answer to my "big news" before I say anything. Because it might be sad, pathetic NO news. Ideas are welcome as far as blog ideas go.

random queen,

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

33. Take a Yoga class

I finally did it; I probably won't do it again, but I finally did do it once.

I went with four friends. I felt moral support was important. And I also thought having a number of friends along was a good idea so I had people who would carry me to the ambulance waiting in the parking lot if I couldn't get un-pretzel.

I don;t think I my mind works in the right way for yoga. I appreciate the stretching and relaxing. I appreciate the mind set people should have about yoga but... well, I just couldn't get centered. I was very self conscious and found it hard to focus on relaxing. I was worried about my big butt in the air, even though I had a friend behind me. I couldn't lay there in a room full of people with my eyes closed; that was weird to me. And the lingo, the name of the positions, and new age music made me want to giggle. I wanted to be serious but I couldn't find my focus or find my center.

I could do all the positions and the instructor gave some interesting information about yoga. I liked the bending and the stretching parts. But the quiet and the dim lights, the funky music, and the over all 'granola' mindset (that's Mac's terminology) wasn't my thing.

It was so much fun that all my friends- two people from Alcatraz, my SisIL, and XRayGirl- went with me, though. It was good camaraderie.

I think part of my problem, other than being self conscious, was we had all made so many jokes I was having trouble being serious when I needed to be. We made jokes about "Downward Facing Dog". We wondered what would happen if someone farted. We wondered if we could get tangled and never get un-tangled.

I saw a zumba class in progress and I think I'm more of a zumba girl than a sitting -in -the -dark- with- candles- on- a -mat- trying- to- get- my- leg- behind -my -head- in- a- weeping- tree- position -yoga girl.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Favorite lyrics

I love the following lyrics. They either make me laugh or cry or give me the good kind of chills.
  1. "Will ya hose me down with holy water, if I get to hot? Will you take me places I've never known?"- Meatloaf, "I'd do anything for love"
  2. "I'm a bitch, I'm a tease, I'm a goddess on my knees." - Meredith Brooks, "Bitch"
  3. "And in the midst of sailing ships we sink our lips into the ones we love, that have to say goodbye."- Train, "When I Look to the Sky"
  4. "She is frequently kind, and she’s suddenly cruel, she can do as she pleases, she’s nobody’s fool, but she can’t be convicted, she’s earned her degree"- Billy Joel, "She's Always a Woman"
  5. "To my heart he carries the key, Won’t you tell him please to put on some speed, Follow my lead, oh, how I need, Someone to watch over me."- Gershwin, Someone to watch over me

There is so much more to music than just the music. I love music and the performance part. I love in the song "I Don't wanna miss a thing" when Steven Tyler breathes on the lyric "I could stay lost in this moment forever", right on the word forever. It is so sexy.

Broadway show-tune lyrics get a category all their own. I love them separately but they compare differently because of the word choices. Broadway tunes string together stuff that could never make the mainstream but show tunes make me HAPPY!

One time a former Sam and I were split up. He went to drown his sorrows at our favorite bar. Well, the bartender called me at 2:23am and asked if I could please do something. (Yes, it is sad to know that the bartender at that Sam's favorite bar had my number since I had been called to get him so often). I asked what he had done now and she said he had played "Lady is a tramp" 13 times in a row on the jukebox. I dragged my tired ass out of bed, drove across town and picked him up. I didn't deserve it but I love the story. Every time he and I had split, he listened to a lot of Sinatra. That was his thing for me. (I was the only woman who drove him to Sinatra- that, my friends, is a damn compliment!)

There is a song called "Crash and Burn" by Sheryl Crowe. Every time I hear this song played, I cry. I sob. But I like it.

I am sure I will come up with more lyrics but right off the top of my head these are always reverberating around as my all time favorite lyrics. Do my lyric choices reflect my personality or some subliminal subconscious? Regardless, I just love music. What are your favorite lyrics?

Monday, February 14, 2011

9. Eat at a restaurant I've never been to before

On Saturday night, in honor of Valentine's Day, ITSam took me to a Japanese steak house to celebrate. I've never been to this place before but I had always heard good things about the food there. I had no idea what all it encompassed, either, so I was a little nervous but excited about it.

Not only did we have a great meal and lots of fun, I also have a chance to cross something off my list- eat somewhere I've never been!

And I had a chance to learn how to use chopsticks... that should've been on that list, too!

Four couples (that we didn't know) were seated family style around a HUGE grill. A woman (in a kimono) took our drink and dinner orders. Drinks first. I just had soda because Sam was going to drink Saki and I was going to drive. Then he changed his mind so I was going to have a mai tai but Sam mentioned something about dessert and I decided I didn't want to "spoil" my dessert.

Meal choices were steak, chicken, shrimp or combos of this. All dinners came with a house soup, a house salad, and a shrimp appetizer. I decided to have the steak and chicken combo.

The waitress brought our soup. I wasn't a big fan; it was very gingery and peppery, neither flavors am I a fan of. The soup was lettuce with shredded carrots on the top and some sort of weird orange dressing. I wasn't a fan of that either. Sam was worried. I didn't complain or make a fuss and I tried everything.

Then we had a shrimp appetizer and I swear I could've eaten about 174 of those. They were grilled and spiced with... good spices. I LOVED the shrimp. Then the main dish was steak and chicken which was grilled to perfection and seasoned impeccably. I was in food heaven. This came with fried rice and seasoned, grilled veggies (mushrooms, onions, bean sprouts, zucchini). It was all marvelous! My mouth is still watering over it all and I really do want more- now! While I loved it all, I think next time I go I'm getting the steak and shrimp! Yummers!

What was extra cool was the fact that we had our own personal chef who performed our food preparation! It was so cool. He chopped, sliced, diced, and cut all the meat and veggies in front of us. He tossed the food around. He tossed his knives around. He threw shrimp tails in the air and caught them in his pocket. He tossed a lemon in the air and caught it behind his back on the prong of a fork. He was just fun and creative. He told funny jokes. It was just a neat "cutting" performance, food preparation as performance art.

Next on our food agenda, was dessert. After dinner at the Japanese steak house, we went to a local chocolatier. They had three collections of chocolates they're featuring this winter. It's all gourmet chocolates and just divine. I had never been here either! I looked at the dessert menu and they had tons of elegant desserts with chocolate of all kinds and sorts, along with their homemade vanilla gelato. It's an amazing dessert list. One thing that's on the list is sipping chocolate; this is only on the list during winter while all the others are year around, so I chose something a little different!
I've never had sipping chocolate. It's 3 ounces of liquid. It's 80% melted chocolate with a shot of steamed milk. It's like drinking a melted chocolate bar. It's completely decadent and RICH! I had to finally have a glass of water with it. It was scrumptious. And did I mention Sam bought a box of chocolates and let me pick out a pick out a pounds worth of whatever I wanted to fill it?

It was a lovely, fun night filled with good food, fun entertainment, and a wonderful evening with a great guy!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Three down and 37 more to go,

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Tired, tired, tired

How is it that I can't get enough hours in the day to make my world go around?

I drove to the southern part of my state to pick up some kids who got a home pass visit. I get paid to make this trip. I got to bring Princess along to ride shotgun. It was almost 60 degrees. The sun was out. The girls were all awesome. I had a good car to drive. We rocked it out to Lady Gaga on the way home. We laughed and giggled lots.

But we left at 745am and arrived home at 5pm. I took Princess to get picture prints made so we can scrapbook on Wednesday. Then Mac and Princess went to church youth group together. I had to stay the entire time, because of Alcatraz rules. (I waited in the car for 2 hours) Then I took her home, got pizza, saw my Bro & SisIL then finally made it home to eat, blog, do a load of laundry and watch some Grammys (which suck). I just sat down; I even stood up to eat dinner and it's just now 9:55pm.

I love all the time with Princess.

I am soooooooooooooo tired.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Where did the time go?

Here's the deal. I forgot to blog. Well, let me clarify. I didn't forget I just kept running out of time.

Curly and I went out together and got caught up since we hadn't been together for months. We had lunch, coffee, shopping and a bookstore visit.

After I dropped her off, I met ITSam and we went to Northern Civilization for a Valentine's date. We hit Best Buy for stuff for dad, and then a bookstore, the bakery and then dinner. After that we went to a chocolate shoppe for dessert then home.

It's late and I suddenly thought I didn't have a post written and scheduled to post. I sat down to write one now and I can't think of a thing. I also don't have the brain power to write anything thoughtful even thought I have some really good ideas.

I thought I would write about one of my 40 for 40 items but it's going to involve pictures.

I could write about dinner late night but I don't have the energy to form coherent, angry sentences.

So, I'll be posting this post about why I'm posting a crappy post about nothing.

And I don't promise that tomorrow will be much better because I'm driving a transport and leaving early and arriving home late. But I'll try.

Upcoming posts will feature:
  • learning to say no and my busy schedule
  • a bad dinner at Applebees and poor service from, who else, Wally World
  • the horrors of job interviews
  • political hope
  • the refrigerator
  • a 40 before 40 item
  • Princess Update
  • age

So, until then, here's a apology post for writing about nothing...

Suffering from brain dead-ness,


Friday, February 11, 2011

What I learned last night

I don't know how this conversation even started. ITSam and I were talking and he was telling me something or asking me something but I got confused because of my apparent lack of knowledge. His story went by the way side when he learned he had to sort me out.

I didn't know I needed sorted.

Until last night I thought...

Well, I guess I was wrong...

My pop culture references short circuited somewhere.

Paul Hogan was the star of the movie Crocodile Dundee. This movie was a fake. Paul Hogan is an actor. And he's still alive. He isn't dead, and wasn't killed by a manatee. Also, he doesn't have a daughter who has her own TV show on the Animal Planet called To Catch a Predator. And The Rock is not the nickname of Vin Diesel. And Vince Vaughn was not in Walking Tall. That was Johnny Knoxville.

Okay so I thought Paul Hogan was in a movie about his life (Crocodile Dundee) and that he was the Crocodile Hunter. Paul Hogan was the actor in a movie that was not about the life of Steve Irwin who IS... well, WAS the Crocodile Hunter. And Steve Irwin is dead. He was stung to death by a manta ray. Not a manatee. They are two separate guys. And two separate ocean creatures.

And Steve Irwin has a daughter who does have her own TV show, about animals.

The TV show To Catch a Predator is about catching Internet child molesters. Steve Irwin's daughter has nothing to do with the child molesters.

Ummmmm, let's see.... what else?

Oh, I thought the Rock, who's real name is Dwayne Johnson, was Vin Diesel. Or, rather, I thought The Rock was a nickname for Vin Diesel. They are two different guys. And while I was trying to figure out which guy was in what movie, I thought that Vince Vaughn was the sidekick in Walking Tall. Uhhhh, nope.

I hate it when I'm an idiot.

All these years.... I was just confused. I was content in my ignorance.

The Rock was The Scorpion King and he was not Fast and Furious.

A manatee looks like the cow of the ocean.

And I laughed until I about peed myself.

I've no idea, either...
This is a manatee and it didn't kill Steve Irwin (or Paul Hogan).

This is a manta ray and it DID kill Steve Irwin (not Paul Hogan).

This is Steve Irwin. He is the real life Crocodile Hunter and he is dead, killed by the manta ray (not the manatee). The movie Crocodile Dundee has NOTHING to do with him, at all, ever.

This is Paul Hogan, an actor, who is alive and was not killed by a manatee nor manta ray and has nothing to do with Steve Irwin. Paul starred in the movie Crocodile Dundee, which is NOT about the life of Steve Irwin.

This is Vin Diesel who is just Vin Diesel. He was in the Fast and the Furious. He was not a wrestler, a pro football player, and was not in Walking Tall, nor was he the scorpion king. And lots of Internet sites speculate that he's gay.

This is The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson. He was a wrestler, and could've been a football player. He was in Walking Tall, and was he the scorpion king. No Internet speculation about his sexuality.

Does anyone other than me see I could at least get these two guys confused?

Johnny Knoxville who IS in Walking Tall

Vince Vaughn who is NOT in Walking Tall

Now that we have that all cleared up...

Thursday, February 10, 2011


Mac loses his car keys all the time. All. the. time. Daddy-O and I have tried many techniques to help him keep track of them keys. I'm to the point where I want to tie them around his neck.

So, Mac has lost his keys. Usually he says this and I can move 2 items on the bookcase or reach in his coat pocket under his glove and find them. or say, "they're in the bathroom". Or something easy. Mac can't seem to see them right in front of his face, but I generally can locate them.

Mac told me he lost his keys and I was determined to not "help" him find them this time. I've not looked. However, I've let him use mine repeatedly.

I gave some serious thought to grounding him until he found his keys but that's really more of a punishment to me and to Daddy-O than Mac. I thought about grounding him from the car until he finds them but then I become a chauffeur again. Isn't the whole point of being a teenager is driving? And isn't the whole point of being the mom to a teenager is to NOT drive them anywhere anymore? I threatened him within an inch of his life on Monday that he wasn't doing anything Monday until he found them. All to no avail apparently.

All that being said, my "teach him a lesson" laissez faire attitue about his keys bit me in the butt this morning. My school had a 1 hour delay so I rode with a co-worker. Mac's school had a 2 hour delay and I left him the car. Which did me a fat lotta good because HE HAD NO KEYS!!! He sent me a text after I was at school, reminding me of his lack of keys. I told him he better find them.

I got a text back he couldn't locate them still. I was going to make him take local transportation and then if he was late, then tough-noogies.

Daddy-O was the hero of the day!!!!!!!! He actually gave Mac a ride to school and then is going to pick me up (and Mac) after school today. (Thank you dad!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Then I'm going home and will find the keys. Then I will permanently attach them to Mac's person. It may or may not be painful. Okay, I'm kidding. Sort of.

How many days until he leaves for college?
Mac's mom,

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oooops, I did it again!

I swear I'm purposely NOT not taking a yoga class. I really WANT to take a yoga class!


(Yes, there's always a big "but." By not taking yoga, I have a big butt....)

But, on Monday I was asked to drive for cash for work. I looked at my Tuesday calendar and it was clear. I was searching the brain cells because it felt like I was supposed to do something but it wasn't written down so I thought I was mistaken. So I said yes to the driving (to the making cash.)

Then at lunch, my yoga partner asked if I would be mad if she backed out because it was the worst Tuesday for her: her son had a karate demonstration, her oldest daughter's violin lesson got changed, her youngest daughter had a doctor appointment, and then the two oldest kids had some sort of school open house thingy.

DOH- yoga! *head slap*

I told her what I did and we agreed it was fate to not go to yoga.

However, after school when I was getting ready to leave, I learned my drive was canceled- the parent couldn't make it due to the weather 2.5 hours of here was terrible. I already knew my yoga partner was out so I just bailed because I didn't want to go alone.

ITSam and I went out to dinner instead. Then we had what I thought was a discussion, which he turned into a disagreement, which somehow turned into a full fledged fight, because he's an idiot.

I should've gone to yoga and gotten all zen-ed out.

Next Tuesday......... yeah, I know. That's what I said last week!

Paving the road to hell with good intentions,

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tune me up!

One of the things on my 40 before 40 list is to listen to a CD of a band/ musician/ music group/ singer I've never heard before.

This is hard. It sounds dumb to say this is hard but it is. ITSam and I went to a really cool used record store, which also carries CDs, and found one and I don't like it. It's not even something I can remotely find interesting enough to listen to the whole thing. As a matter of act I had to text Sam while typing this post to even ask the name of the band: The Black Keys.

So, I'm appealing to all of you for help. Prizes will be given. I need some musical suggestions.

What I do NOT like:
  • country (however, bluegrass is okay... like Allison Kraus)
  • scream-o
  • rap
  • music that has rap or talking anywhere in it (Mac will play me some "Great band, mom" and I ask if it's rap. He says no and then half way through the song, it's totally rap. Yuck.)
  • hip-hop
  • emo/ Goth/ industrial
  • disco
  • most classic rock... uh, yeah I suck... (I do love all things Beatles)

I do like:

  • pop
  • Elton John, Barry Manilow, Rob Thomas, Matchbox 20, Billy Joel
  • 1980's
  • some rock
  • Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Dean Martin
  • 50s & 60s music
  • Glenn Miller, big band, swing, jazz, Squirrel Nut Zippers, Brian Setzer Orchestra, Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday

I obviously like so many other types and styles of music but I can't say too many more without adding some sort of clarification. I like "most" hairbands. For example, I love Bon Jovi but am not a huge G&R fan. I LOVE Green Day but don't care much for the rest of the Punk scene. I like about 4 John Mayer songs but don't care for the rest of his sound. I can say the same for Pogue Mahone, Flogging Molly, Red Hott Chili Peppers, Bruno Mars, Jason Mraz, Pearl Jam, Katy Perry, and the Black Eyed Peas. All of these, I love SOME of their stuff, but not all.

If you could make suggestions of bands/ songs/ stylings of anything that could be compared to what I do like, I'm open to suggestions. The name of a group plus a recommended album would be especially sweet.

I'll even give a prize to the blogger whose suggestion of band & album I buy and listen to all the way through!

This is a tough challenge, I know, since I listen to a wide and eclectic group of music. It has to be a band or group I've never heard. I'm thinking of amending it to to a singer or group that maybe I heard 1 song on the radio and should get the whole album?

Please help me with your musical stylin' sounds recommendations!

musically yours,


Monday, February 7, 2011

What's in your wallet?

Does anyone other than me have a whole bunch of crap in your wallet?

Daddy-O gave me one of my mom's old wallets, ironically one I had given her as a gift and he hung onto it since it was pink and covered in shoes. I was getting ready to switch all my stuff from one to another and I didn't realize how much crap I had stuffed inside this thing.

After throwing out expired coupons, by train tickets from Italy when I was there in March 2009, old receipts and gum wrappers, I started sorting all the stuff to see what I needed to keep and what I could toss out.

Of course I have the obligatory family and friend pictures but I think I need to update these. The last one of Mac, he's about 10 years old. I found a picture with an old boyfriend that I dated more than 10 years ago.

Then there are all the "cards" and I don't mean credit ones. Seriously, every business these days has a card for something. I have a Kroger card which nets me discounts in the store. I get frustrated because I think they should just sell the stuff for the discount price and do away with the card process. The times I've been in line when someone hasn't used a card either the cashier lets the person use hers or someone in line hands theirs over. Stupid idea, I think.

I have a Panera Bread card that nets me random free desserts or drinks. I have a Hallmark card that gives me free merchandise, and I have a Speedway card which lets me earn points to spend on stuff in their store from fuel to candy to food. I think it's my most profitable of the three because I've gotten free gasoline lots of times, and more free drinks than I can count. I like my movie theater card because I get free popcorn!! I also have some other "cards" for other stores but half the time I can't remember to get them out until it's too late.

I have a stack of coffee house punch cards. With each drink, get a punch and then the 11th is free; I have these for 4 locally owned "mom and pop" type of coffeeshops. Of course there's my special gold club membership Starbucks card. It has my name engraved on it, I'm such a good customer. Buy 15 drinks and get a free one. You have no idea how many freebies I got last year. I'm embarrassed to even admit it. Now they give me free oatmeal, pastries and product discounts because I'm such a good customer. My Gold Starbucks Reward Card is like other people's Platinum American Express Card- I can't leave home without it!

I also have my Chamber of Commerce card which gets me discounts all over town. I have a driver's license of course, insurance for my car proof card thingy of course, Mac's health insurance card (new and 2 old ones...), my ATM card, a prayer card with the B-Attitudes (I always like that phrasing- it sounds like a band), and my ACLU membership card. Yes, when someone accuses me of being a "Card carrying member of the ACLU" I can pull it out and say "Why yes, yes I am."
There's also the obligatory piles of receipts to enter in my checkbook.

No wonder there's no money; who has the room even if I had any?


Sunday, February 6, 2011

A winter moment I experienced years ago

We just keep getting more and more and more and more snow here. Yesterday I was supposed to take Princess to a baby shower for a friend of hers in the next town over. I got stuck in the driveway. I finally tunneled out of that and slid down the hill to town. As I was getting fuel in the car I watched cars sliding down the major highway road as they attempted to go up a hill. Finally a policeman showed up and prevented traffic from going in that direction. A guy at the service station who came from there said they were stopping traffic until a plow and salt/ sand truck could get there.

Since I had some time on my hands and I didn't want to do anything productive like clean or laundry, I was looking at some old- by old I mean 4 or 5 years ago old- blog material and I found the following. I wrote this about a winter moment I had when I lived in the the Wild West. I thought it was at least apropos for the season, if nothing else.

The arctic-like wind blows across the plains, sweeping the snow into swirls like sheets dancing on a clothes line. The barren land is white as far as the eye can see in the twilight. The peaks of the gumbo hills are covered in white fluff, standing proud and tall in the distance. But the hills cannot break the impressive line of whiteness that stretches for endless miles. It's the sort of day where dawn breaks but the haze in the sky hangs low and the clouds cannot be discerned from the contrasting sky; there is not a difference between in the heavens and the earth. We are stuck in a world of white and it seems as if the sky and land know no ending nor beginning.

The snow covers the world and cocoons it from any other colors. It seems as if heaven has collapsed into the Earth. There are not trees in this field nor in the distance. Just earth, covered in the cold blanket called winter. The plains slope and gently roll, but the whiteness is overwhelming and dominates the world. The fence line is hidden under the winter sheets, as are the scrub bushes and sage brush.

The only signs of life in this apocalyptic setting are two fold: the footprints of a deer, one single set of tracks, that almost daintily dot the lonely landscape leaving a trail which suddenly ends in a small dip in the distance. The other is the wind. The silent blowing has a noise, even as it sweeps across the desolateness. Though there are no trees to whistle through, there is a steady humming in the gale forces that add to the sheer aloneness of this winter land, that is wondrous in a sad way.

As I slowly turn away, my breath in a cloudy fog around my head, I gasp mouthfuls of the freezing cold air, tasting the frozen harsh earth, enraptured by what is winter.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

Random observations

ITSam and I were told about a house for rent in a neighboring little burg. It's a little town about 10 minutes from Civilization,15 minutes from Southern Civilization, and 5 minutes from Alcatraz. The house isn't available yet. We didn't know the address but I knew the name of the street, Sam said he thought the owner said it was yellow, and we both KNOW it has a 3 car garage and 4 bedrooms. We thought we would drive down that street to see if we could figure out which house it was. I mean, really, how many houses could be big enough to be 4 bedrooms, 2 baths, with a 3 car garage, that might be yellow? The answer is 9, to be exact. 9! There are 9 huge houses with three car garages--- and 6 of those are a "variation" of yellow. We'll know in a few days when it's going to be available.

I bought a cupcake, a gourmet one, at a specialty bakery. I was saving it for an after dinner, pre-bedtime snack. I told everyone to not eat it. When I went looking for it, Mac had eaten it, claiming he didn't "hear" me say to not. I wanted to kill him. Oh yes, over a cupcake, I know is rather stupid, but add this to all his bad attitude, "I-know-everything-because- I'm- a- senior," senior-itis and I really just wanted to smack him on a regular basis. Can't we just tape their mouths shut until graduation? I say "they" because I have hope that misery loves company and other parents of seniors feel this same way. Please don't let me be the only one...

I'm loading pictures in my phone of people so when they call me, their photo pops up. I find it strangely ironic that every single picture I have of each person, they are all wearing red shirts. First, how weird is that? Second, is that a sign? Third, do you have any idea what that does to the OCD side of my brain? And the people for whom I don't have pictures, with the whole red thing hanging over me now?

We have a small, locally owned coffeeshop and I will only go if a certain barista is working. Seriously, I call and if K isn't working, I don't get a latte. I drink regular old, black Folgers. Sad, isn't it? She makes my drink the best and the rest of the employees sort of suck at it so I refuse to go otherwise. She's taking a week off soon and I'm in a panic. I might have to get up 90 minutes early one day to drive to Southern Civilization to go to Starbucks. (Logically I should go on a day when we have a snow delay for the time but it's rather illogical because- duh- we have a snow day so I shouldn't be out that early... yeah, what a dichotomy!)

I woke up this morning to find that more snow has fallen. And I am not excited. At all. In fact, it makes me sort of tired to think of it.

It's a good thing I don't live in Alaska because then I would be able to have even more shoes that I do now- snowshoes to be exact. Like I need one more "style". I can't even find my warm snow boots, now though. Maybe I should go boot shopping?

It makes me ANGRY that people pay to have their driveways cleared or they work outside for hours with a snow blower clearing away so they can get out and then the stupid, rude city plows pile a bunch of snow at the opening of the driveway.

Speaking of snowplows and Alaska, the not quite "sex scene" in the movie Mystery, Alaska (one of the coolest movies ever) is hilarious and takes place in a snow plow.

Hey, I warned you it was all random...

Friday, February 4, 2011

Lipstick Jungle

Pardon the gratuitous product placement, but as you can see, I have lots of "lip products." I'm not sure how it happened. I used to have 2 identical lipsticks, one in my purse and the other in the bathroom in my cosmetic bag. I used to have 4 identical Chapsticks, one in my purse, one at work, one in the bathroom, and one in the night table drawer. I have no idea when my lip coverage started multiplying.

It took years for me to find the right shade of lip stick, that goes with my hair and skin coloring and that I actually like. It's a bit brown but it does look good on me. I used to buy Mary Kay but it's expensive so I found a nice L'Oreal that works and is about a third of the price!

This time of year my skin, lips included, are so very dry. I try to keep something on them at all times. I've been on the quest for the perfect lip balm (not lipstick, mind you) for years and I think I finally found it. But first, a recap of what's worked and what hasn't!

These'll do:
The blue Chapsticks are located in the bathroom and in the night table drawer. And I like the blue one because of the smell and because it feels softer going on, which I realizes sound silly. It doesn't feel like a layer of wax sitting on my lips; it feels like it sinks in and moisturizes, unlike the black label one.

I bought the pink Chapstick Not pictured- I used the last of the tube up- sorry!), straight up and honestly, because of the glitter in it. I thought that was cool. I'm an idiot. But once I bought it I liked it because it has just a touch of color, it smells right and it was glittery. It also serves its Chapstick purpose, too.

The Bath and Body Works lip gloss was a gift and I just threw it in my purse one day. I don't wear it very often because it makes my lips feel gooey. And it's not a good color for me. Yes, it had glitter but gooey trumps glitter. (Princess LOVES the lip glosses from B& BW and doesn't think they're gooey at all. I wish I would've just given it to her before I used it!)

The thin stick of lip balm is not the right shade of pink and doesn't last very long. But I can feel it working, to the point of a hot/ cold tingling feeling. Maybe that's the menthol in it? It feels funny.

The long pink lip gloss has a wand. Someone gave it to me. It's also gooey but it smells nice. It doesn't do anything for lip moisturizing, though.

I think the best lip balm of all time are the small round ones. No these are not sex toys, but lip balms from eos. I love love love these. I stumbled on them completely by accident. I was reading a back issue of Elle and there they were.

First, they are so cute and fun looking. They have a nice scent but not color. They're organic! There's sunblock, 15 SPF, in them. They really work for moisturizing AND they're long lasting. I don't feel I'm applying them every few minutes. There's Shea butter in it. It's gluten free, for those who need that, and it's NOT tested on animals- how cool is that!?!

Since I saw it in Elle I figured it wasn't going to be available around here, in my small Midwest town. I figured it was a Bloomingdales product or some other exclusive store. I also figured it was going to cost around $50 bucks. OMG- so not true! These are sold at Walgreens, Krogers, Meijers, Wally World, and CVS!!!!!! And get this, the price is just $3.49 each!!!!!!!! This rocks!!! (Bragger, you totally must get some of this for the biking season!!!!!!! And if you have none of these stores near you, let me know!!!!!)

I love love love mine! I have the Sweet mint, Summer Fruit, and Honeysuckle Honeydew. I want the Lemon and the Tangerine, but I can't find those around here, and I've been to about a dozen places for those two 'flavors'. I got Princess the Summer Fruit and I think she's going to need the whole collection as well.

This stuff rocks. I'm gonna toss the yucks in the trash, finish using the Chapsticks I have, and never buy anything other than the eos lip balms again!

And my lips are so kissable!

Pucker up,