Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'm moving...

I've moved the blog over to the Motherhoot website. So please, follow!

See you there!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mission Monkey Minute

This week I am participating in The Daily Dose of Reality's Monday Minute. I want to show my support for Momma Pixie's Monkey. Visit The Daily Dose and Momma Pixie and play along. Let's all support this family right now!


The rules are simple. Copy the questions, answer them in your blog post, and link back to The Daily Dose.

1 - How old do you act?
I feel like I've been stuck in my twenties for a long long time. Maybe not my early twenties, but definitely mid to late.

2 - As far back as you can remember, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I've wanted to be a writer for eons. That's been a constant in the ever-changing dreams of what I want to be when I grow up. Although, I'm still not quite sure...

3 - If you were to write a book based on your life, what would the title be?
My Life with Boys. I've been writing it in my head ever since I saw the first hula hoop strung up in the tree many years ago.

4 - What's something that you do that's considered "childish" by most?
I'm addicted to my Ipod games. Bejeweled can make me lost track of time most nights. But I just read a study where the experts concluded that playing Tetris strengthened brains. So I'll throw in a few games of Tetris into the mix. Oh, and some might not think this is entirely childish. You would if you knew how competitive I get when I see my score dropping in the rankings!

5 - The last question isn't a question.  Write a story of a time of when you or someone you know overcame great adversity.
I don't think I know anyone who hasn't gotten through some great adversity. Seems like you live long enough, it's your turn for some heart ache and pain. Eventually you come out the other side and everything's fine. There's the day you realize the pain hasn't been constant, that you actually had some pain free moments. Soon the good moments out number the bad moments and you're moving on. You just didn't know it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day...Let's Make An Instrument

My Mother's Day has been lovely. (The preceding sentence was not sarcasm.) Don't get me wrong. I slept late. Got great presents and even better cards.


Friday I got a call from Aaron's music teacher that he did not complete his music project. It was due last Tuesday. They worked on it in class. She provided materials. I knew nothing about it.

I was so happy that I would be spending time this weekend making a musical instrument and composing a song. (The preceding sentence was sarcasm.) Because that was the whole assignment. And the finished instrument cannot look like the base material. For example, coffee cans have to be decorated.

I was so excited that I got to make music this weekend. Not.

I checkout the teacher's website and read the directions. I studied the how to make a drum page and thought I might have some ideas. But I wanted Aaron to do it on his own.

When Aaron got home from school, I interrogated him about his failure to complete the assignment. And like a lot of 11 year old boys (my twins were very much like this) he had no answer or explanation. Just a deer-in-the headlights-expression that I took as a major clue that his brain had stopped working. He had no ideas. None. He might have even forgotten his name. Apparently, he has started adolescence.

This time around I am not terrified by this revelation. Because I know it will pass in about four years--a very long four years.

Saturday Jim came home from running and announced he had solved the instrument mystery and got out an old milk jug. Aaron helped him cut it apart and throw on some rubber bands. The project included using a drill and tape. Except it didn't work.

I threw an empty shoe box at Aaron and told him to wrap some rubber bands around it after his dad cut off the cover. And we were all happy that an instrument had been born, (Note: my project did not require power tools. I'm just saying...)

And because that was so exhausting, we all took to our beds/television/xbox and let the subsequent steps of the project gel in our brains until today. Mother's Day.

Since the shoe box could not look like a shoe box, we started discussing disguises. Aaron suggested coloring it. Sounded really messy to me. He suggested stickers. Sounded like a trip to Michael's for me and I hadn't taken a shower yet. I suggested using the Sunday comics. Thus the box was decorated with a few strips of tape.

Aaron started writing his song, but he wrote on the bottom right hand side of the paper so I made him re-do it. He got another sheet of paper. He scribbled the numbers down that correlated with the rubber bands and I suggested he write more neatly. He got another sheet of paper. He copied down his first line. When he played it on his shoebox/rubber band instrument it didn't sound half bad. Then he added the second line and started writing it half-way down the page in the middle. I began to suggest he start over (perhaps with a piece of paper with lines) and decided I was stifling his creativity.

Now I'm wondering if Mozart's mother went through this with him as a child.
"Amadeus! Your treble cleft is all messy, re-write it!"

"Amadeus, that symphony would sound so much better if your posture improved!"

Aaron has written his first piece of music on Mother's Day 2010. And he's probably scarred beyond anything and will never again look at music in the same way. Another Mother of the Year moment.

Being a mom is so hard...

Friday, May 7, 2010

Let's Get Naked

At the gym, I came out of my shower in time to see a woman who usually attends water aerobics with me. I said hi as I carefully adjusted my towel so that no offending body parts were visible. Which means most of them because I learned at an early age that unless you are bone thin you keep everything covered.

The other woman, I'll call her "Eve," hung up her towel and began an intense 15 minute conversation with me about the new training program she is trying. The entire time, she is stark naked. And she isn't bone thin. She's an overweight 40-ish woman who is standing there completely naked.



I'm polite and maintain incredible eye contact throughout the conversation. Because I don't want her to be uncomfortable.

Because I don't want her to know she's my new hero.

Yes, this woman is my hero. Why? Because she stood there in all her glory, holding a conversation, without ever appearing to be self-conscious about her nakedness. She didn't use her hands to cover up anything. She leaned against the wall, she moved around. She was into the conversation and didn't appear to be constantly thinking, "how do I look?"

I was programmed at an early age to hate my body. The message I received from my mother and certain female relatives was that unless I was thin, I was not worthy. You could have warts all over every surface of your face and be the meanest, nastiest woman ever, but if you were, you were gorgeous!

As a young child, I remember having multiple conversations with these same women. They went something like this:
Them: If you don't lose weight no boy will ever ask you out. You'll never go to prom.

Me: (Since I was all of nine or 10, I wasn't as witty as I am now) Really?! (Even then I recognized the horror of not being worthy of a man's attention because it was so important to these women.)

Them: Yes, no one likes fat women. You need to do something about it now.
Or having my mother tell me how disgusted my father was with me because I was fat. "Dad's boss asked him if you were dating anyone and he told him 'she looks like a football player, who would ever date her?' " said my mother. Wow, that's a great way to boost your daughter's self esteem.

Or having the nickname "Suey" during high school. Of course, they didn't call it bullying then. And my mother wasn't sympathetic at all. Because she agreed with them.

Even after moving away from home and coming to ChiBurbia where I lived with one of these same women and her husband, the "little talks" continued. Too fat. Not pretty enough. Not date-able. I was 20 years old and being berated about my weight. By people who didn't even really know me!

This is why Eve is my hero. Because those voices, those snippets of conversation, apparently aren't running through her head. I would love to ask her how she got to this wonderful place. But I am afraid doing that will make her self-conscious.

Instead, when I see Eve in the locker room, walking around naked, I will mentally throw up my fist and cheer, "You Go Girl!"

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review...Dream in Color

Dream In ColorI "met" Sarah J. Bradley through my demand that Rick Springfield will follow me (which he hasn't, and I'm getting a little annoyed with him! Could someone mention that to him?!). Some Rick Springfield fans friended me and followed me; Sarah was one of them. When she told me she had written a book about Rick, I was all over it.

Dream In Color is a romantic adventure about Ramona, a thirty-something woman in a rut. When she gets the news that her beloved Jesse Alexander is coming out of retirement for a summer tour, she jumps at the chance to change her life.

I loved Ramona! She's surrounded by naysayers, but marches on to fulfill her dreams of meeting Jesse Alexander. I cheered for her when her witchy boss gives her hell. I wanted to hug her when he mother gives her a hard time. Mostly, I wanted her to meet Jesse and have him meet the real Ramona.

Sarah does a great job of describing the process of song writing. Ramona is lovable. Jesse is not a Rick Springfield clone. (Unless Rick really does drink root beer and...)

It's been a long time since I read a romance. Usually I stick with thrillers, suspense, and mystery. This was a welcome treat. I found myself reading most of the book in one evening, only stopping because I couldn't read any longer because I was so tired.

I wanted Ramona to win! I wanted her dreams to come true! I wanted Jesse to appreciate Ramona for her true self!

Do yourself a favor and take the time to read Dream In Color. You won't be sorry!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Microwave...Part Two

So we went to the store...

Have more frightening words ever been uttered?! Battling the weekend crowds. Looking for the best deal. Agreeing on a microwave.

I was frightened. Seriously, horribly, utterly frightened.

See, early in our marriage Jim and I had a bad shopping experience. We were new home owners in need of a lawn mower. I assumed one just bought a lawn mower. Jim looked upon purchasing a lawn mower as some medieval crusade. The lawn must be conquered by the biggest, the best, the cheapest lawn mower ever.

Five or six hours after we began The Hunt for the Perfect Lawnmower, we were back at the first store getting the first one we looked at. Why? Because no one had a bigger, better, cheaper lawnmower in all of ChiBurbia! (Obviously, I am still having issues with this and will work on finally forgiving Jim for this event.)

Please understand that this is what I was picturing. Another quest, only this time for the Holy Microwave.

I offered to go alone. Whip in and out of WalMart and pick up whatever I could find. Jim says he will go along. He tells me it's to help carry it. I am weak and he knows this, so it wasn't a completely unappreciated offer. I tell him someone from the store will put the microwave into the turbo minivan and he can bring it inside when he gets home from work. Nope, he's going shopping with me!

At dinner the evening before The Microwave Quest is scheduled, Jim says something about the impending shopping trip.

I don't even let him finish speaking before I snarl, "I'm not going to a million stores! Pick one and we're getting the microwave there." (Yes, sometimes I get testy.)

He doesn't really react. Just rolls his eyes (just a little because he knows that drives me nuts) and points out that all of our appliances are purchased at BestBuy because they seem to have the best prices. He agrees that BestBuy will be the place to buy a microwave.

(I've never loved him more.)

Saturday afternoon we go to BestBuy. It's not very busy. Jim goes to look at CDs. (He's really old fashioned and gets his music at the store on CDs rather than on Itunes!) I go to look at netbooks. I have an inkling I want one and want to check them out.

The netbooks are cool. I poke and play. Go to find Jim. He's still flipping through CDs.

I go to look at microwaves. There really isn't a big selection. There's cheap, middle range, and more expensive. Seriously, the cost of microwaves has come down a lot since we last shopped for one. See a few promising ones. Go back to Jim.

Then I make Jim go talk to the cell phone people so I can drool over the Iphones. The cell phone person tells me the Iphone is cool, sure. But Droids are better. Then she shows me some droids. We all agree the Droids are cool.

I say, "Maybe I should just get a basic phone and a netbook." She gets really really excited and asks me why I need a netbook. I tell her, without stuttering, fainting or anything, that I am a writer and want it to write with.

We go back to the netbooks. Play and drool over them. They make us a take it or lose it offer. I pass because I can't really justify a netbook. Sure the laptop battery sucks and lasts about 15 minutes. That limits my away from home writing. I just got the Sony ereader. Why must all of my toys cost so much more than Jim's?!

I drag myself away and we go to the microwave department. Ten minutes later, we have our microwave and are on our way home.

And that's why we decided to go microwave-less, changed our minds, went shopping, and now I need a netbook and an Iphone. Maybe an Ipad...

I'm gonna go eat some cereal. I bought some new boxes this one's been home to wipe them out.

Photo courtesy of

Monday, May 3, 2010

The Microwave...Part One

Our microwave broke last week. Who knows why. Actually, I'm guessing one of three young male family members knows why. But they're not talking.

Immediately, I declared that we would not buy another one. Frankly, I am both in awe and terrified of the microwave. Seriously, how in the hell does the metal and plastic box cook food from the inside out?! It's frightening!

I worry about standing too close to it. When I cook, I tend to move clear across the kitchen. I cringe when I see the boys peering inside as it cooks. What is it doing to their brains?! I nearly hyperventilate when they stand in front of it. I do want grandchildren some day.

So I was quite pleased that I was taking a healthy stand for my family. We will be healthier without one! We will not live in fear of the micro waves cooking our insides! We will no longer glow in the dark! (OK, we really don't glow in the dark and that actually might be kinda cool...)

I felt so eco friendly. So other worldly. I was rising above those of you who need your microwaves. Hey, I can be petty that way.

The first few days were easy. I ate out. Jim had evening plans. The microwave sat, ignored, in the kitchen in the exact spot in which it died. Occasionally, I would pass by and wonder what I could do with it. Diorama? Planter?

Then, I was home for lunch. All I had was a SmartOnes. And no freakin' microwave. There was no way I was going to put it into the oven for eight hours until it was done cooking. I did have some LeanPockets, but again, the microwave was broken.

I chose the easiest solution and picked up some cereal. I could have cold cereal for lunch. How much caloric damage can be done with rice and corn chex? I was pumped, yet again, at how my wonderful mind works.

Then came the evening we all ate together. Some of you might not know that Jim is, basically, a vegetarian. Our dinner table looks like two completely different meals are being consumed. The boys and I eat meat, starch, vegetable. Jim eats vegetables. Carrots. Salad. Jim is a stick. The twins and I are not. Aaron only wants to eat PopTarts. He might have rickets.

I told Jim he could boil the bags of veggies on the stove top. I remember my mom doing that before we had a microwave. I am not merely eco friendly, but also retro friendly. Taking a step back in time, to a simpler, happier place.

No one bothered to read the directions for the boil in bag vegetables before dinner. Otherwise, I would have known that they have to boil for 25 minutes. Seriously, cheese ice needs almost a half hour to defrost/cook?!

That night, Jim ate carrots. He was not in the mood for a cauliflower in cheese sauce Popsicle. I can't remember what the rest of us ate, but it was better than plain carrots.

The next day I went to get lunch, only to discover that the boys had eaten all my cereal. See, I thought cereal was a safe food (i.e., would not be consumed by boys) because they had never shown an interest in cereal before. If I buy cereal and tell them it's theirs, it sits, untouched for eons. If I brought home cereal and commanded them to eat it, they would snarl and growl at me. I would be afraid they would eat me.

But I bring home cereal and point out it's for me. It's corn and rice chex, unsweetened and must be safe. Instead, I find the ravished boxes sitting nearly empty on the counter top.

Now I am lunch-less and microwave-less. Jim is wasting away because he cannot subsist on carrots alone. Plus, I don't want him od-ing on Vitamin A and turning orange. Again, possibly cool, but maybe a little too Oompa Loompa like.

It has become clear that we need a microwave. Yes, need it. To hell with being eco and retro friendly! To hell with not glowing in the dark!
So we went to the store...

(to be continued)

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Yesterday I Modeled My New Tiara

I pranced (ok, limped) into the garage where Jim was preparing to battle weeds with the electric weed eater in the rain. (Yes, this just might require an entire post of its own. I had no idea he was suicidal...)

I said, "Does this tiara make you want me even more?"

(I might mention that I was in pretty bad shape as I had some kind of autoimmune disease relapse for a few days and was barely mobile. I probably wanted to re-think approaching Jim under these circumstances.)

I have to give him credit, he didn't look alarmed or roll his eyes. He stopped futzing with the weed whacker long enough to look, then shook his head. "Naw, tiaras do nothing for me." Then he paused, took another look, "Save it for Rick Springfield. I hear he likes that sort of thing."

Nice, Jim. Real nice.

Friday, April 30, 2010

I Passed My Test...

My Pap Smear/Test, that is. I even got a report card in the mail telling me I passed!

Have you taken yours?!

Seriously, girls, you need to see your gynecologist or internist and have this done. At least every few years.

We can't see these parts and we don't know when something goes awry.

Get to the doctor, put your feet in the stirrups, and think of something much more pleasant. Some of my doctors' offices have nice flourecent lights with pleasant outdoor scenes on them. It's so much better to have your pap smeared in the middle of a field with white-flowered trees floating overhead!

My doctor told me once that if getting a pap smear is the worst thing that happens to you in a day, then you're pretty darn lucky. Sounds like wonderful words of wisdom to me!

Go on. Pick up that phone. Make that appointment.

Do it for your husband and kids. Do it for all the people who love you. Do it for me. Just do it!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Creation of a Care Package

Recently, I put together a care package for my Cousin Cindy in England. That's in Europe.

It turned into a family affair when Aaron spotted the PopTarts. He declared them his, which is why we're at war over them.

Jeremy helped me get them back.

But, Aaron pulled his old trick of yelling "look, a bird!" and pointing. Jeremy fell for it, even though it's been years since a bird got into our house. I had to take matters into my own hands, tackling him to get the PopTarts back. Our dog Nikki was near at hand in case I needed assistance. Or maybe he was just trying to get some PopTarts.

Then Jim got into the swing of things and started suggesting items we might want to add to the package.

I said, "Jesus, Jim no one wants to get a care package with fruits and vegetables. Unless it's the pear gift from Harry & David's." Jim got a little belligerent and started lecturing Aaron on the benefits of eating healthy.

Aaron doesn't fall for it. He thinks eating healthy just makes you grumpy! So Jim tried to sneak in the stuff anyway.

Luckily, I caught it in time and was able to replace the vegetables and fruit with Peeps and other Easter candy!

We sure hope Cindy loves her Care Package!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dating Standards...Why Mini Vans are Out

I am in a fairly foul mood today and have been struggling with today's post. Do I whine? Do I whine enough so I get some sympathy? Nothing's really "wrong"; it's just a day when I'm whining "why, why, why" in my head. Yes, exactly like Jan Brady whining "Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!"

Instead, I will explain how Jim was able to date and eventually--lucky guy!--marry a cool woman like me. I mean, I wasn't wearing the tiara back then, but I was still so cool.

On Sunday we went to WalMart. For Jim this is a mentally tortuous expedition. It's crowded. The parking lot sucks because half of it has disappeared because the store is under construction. I like to make him go though because I want him to know what I face while he works (minus the crowds and bad parking). It's not all sunshine and light here, buddy! It's not all lunching and blogging. (Oops, that was some whining. I think I got it out of my system.)

I saw a guy wearing the grossest sandals known to man. I pointed out to Jim that had he ever worn sandals of any kind in the early days of our relationship, that he would have been kicked to the curb. And forget about ever getting laid. Lucky for Jim he has a nice collection of gym shoes. (That's a +)

I have, on numerous times, pointed out why driving a mini van or any type of van would have been the instantaneous death of our budding relationship. He had considered the mini van, but settled on a truck. Because single men who drive mini vans/vans are serial killers.

(Except for my brother Tommy. Who I am pretty sure isn't a serial killer. Go check out his blog and you can decide for yourself.)
Sure, they might not actually have started actual killing yet. But there's scientific proof that when men drive mini vans/vans, they want to kill. OK, the science is a little obscure, but when I read the book Mind Hunter, that's how I interpreted it.

(OK, it's more like serial killers like mini vans/vans because they can black out the windows, throw their victim inside, and then do whatever it is that serial killers do. Well, we all know they kill...)

In those days I was going to be a great profiler. I wanted to know what made the human mind tick. Then I got my graduate degree in clinical psychology, started working with regular people, got so damned scared that I had to stop. You are scary, people! (That's not whining, that's abject terror!)

So, the rules so far are 1) no sandals and 2) no mini vans. Well, those are pretty much the rules and Jim passed both of them and got to marry me--the best prize of all! (There are also the no-loafers-without-socks and the no-members-only-jackets rules. And the don't-bring-your-own-hard-liquor-on-a-date-and-fall-into-my-building-and-get-a-big-gash-on-your-face rule. Oh, and the don't-tell-me-how-much-in-debt-you-are rule. One of my favorites: the don't-expect-me-to-find-dates-for-your-best-friend-who-sounds-and-kinda-looks-like-a-vampire rule. Seriously, none of my girlfriends wanted to date a vampire...)

I guess my point today is that you ladies have to have standards! You need to know what your hot buttons are. Stick to them and you, too, can be married to a wonderful man like my Jim. No, not actually Jim, he's mine. I'm not into sharing! Get your own!

PS Before spell check I spelled it "sandles" and thought it looked funny. I kinda like it though...

Monday, April 26, 2010

Tardy Moment...How I spent $$ and Wasted Time

I posted on Facebook that I had done something so dumb and daft, that I couldn't even confess what it was. And I even spelled dumb wrong just to emphasize my tardy-ness. My post garnered many responses. And confessions. And pleadings that I confess to my dumbness. (Why do people want to see the worst?!) it is...

I heard about an auction site called QuiBids. (My experience was so bad that I am not even providing the link. Google it if you must.)

Jim wants a new Weber gas grill. Ours was broken (by an irate kid in this house of bliss) last summer. So we have been burger- and steak-less for months. And months. And months. I decided that I would try to win one on QuiBids.

Where else could I get a $700 Weber grill for a mere $10?! I would be the hero of the house. My men would pay homage! They wouldn't snicker if I wore my tiara outside for the first grilling of the new season. They would (once and for all) recognize the pure awesomeness that is mine and mine alone.

Instead...I failed. Completely and utterly failed.

I go to QuiBids and read the directions. I read the post on why people fail. I snort and laugh at the people who fail. I search for a grill. I am so pleased and smug that I found one. It is big. It is Weber. Jim will love me even more than before when I present him with this grill.

And the best thing of all...the auction is over in a mere 7 minutes! How could I get so lucky?

And anyone who's anyone knows that the real action on QuiBids comes in the last few seconds. Unlike ebay or other auction sites, the bidding goes on and on and on until everyone but the most prolific bidder (aka the one with no life) survives. Every time a new bid is made, the price goes up the set amount and the clock has another 10 seconds added on.

QuiBid auctions are penny auctions. Here's how I understand they work. You purchase bids. You use these bids to bid on auction items. Every time a bid is made, you see the clock go up another 10 seconds and the price go up (usually a penny, sometimes two).

I purchased my bids. First, I pick up a 45 bid pack. I should have had a clue because it is called the Baby Bid Pack. Then I bid on (and win! this is easy!) another bid pack. Just to practice the bidding. In total, I have 70 bids to place. Of course, some of these bids were used on bidding on the bid pack and a few random bids on a laptop and an Ipad. I got distracted.

I mean, those seven minutes were going by really really really sssllllloooooowwwwwwwwllllllyyyyyy. We're talking cold honey coming out of the bear's head slow.

Slow. Slower. Slowest.

After 45 minutes I started thinking, "what the fuck is going on?" I suspected there were bids sneaking in while I wasn't looking. Nope, there's only one bid. Nothing's changing.

So I stared at the countdown clock. And that's when I realized it wasn't 7 minutes. It was seven HOURS. Yes, hours.

In my quest to buy the grill in seven minutes I had wasted nearly an hour waiting. You can't get nothin' past me!

And there is my tardy moment. I cannot read a clock. Nor am I aware of the passing of time. I have transcended all means of time and space.

I was, however, still set on winning my man that grill. It would be mine! He would be Grill King of the Neighborhood. People would come from blocks around to watch him flip burgers!

I pulled out the laptop, crawled into bed, and was poised and ready when the auction was really ending. I had sixty bids and I knew how to use them.

We got to the final seconds...and more people began bidding. Every time the clock got down to just a few seconds, someone else would bid. The clock would raise. So would my blood pressure.

I clicked. I waited. I clicked. I didn't click when several people were bidding at once. I was saving my bids.

Suddenly, my sixty bids were gone. I was annoyed. The auction might be continuing to this day. I don't know because I haven't gone back to check.

Now I don't care if we ever get a fucking Weber. I don't care if we never grill again!

This is my totally daft moment, and how I spent $30 and three hours trying to win a $700 Weber grill. My fingers are sore from clicking the mouse to place bids. My pride is stung because I cannot tell time, nor do I have the patience or stamina to wait out my fellow bidders.

PS Everything I did was covered, I believe, in the QuiBids section on things not to do. (Well, not the losing track of and the inability to tell time.) They were upfront about it all.

PPS You can't get something for nothing!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I Am Obsessed with Nuns

Yes, you read that right. I. am. obsessed. with. nuns. The brides of Christ. The sisters of the cloth.

Having attended Catholic school for many years, you would think I would have had my fill of nuns. But I just can't get enough. (Even though I still break out in a cold sweat when I have to do two-number division because Sr. Mathilda smacked the crap out of me when I didn't get it right away. I had marks! A big chalk hand print on my royal blue jumper. I am mentally scarred, apparently.)

I even wanted to be a nun for about five seconds in high school. I remember a missionary nun came to talk to us and I was so impressed. Do you know the only thing that kept the ants out of the food was Tupperware!? Tupperware! Not jars. (I wonder if we had zip lock bags back in 1980?)

Then I found beer and boys. It's been downhill ever since.

Although I do feel quite nun-like. I'm a modern missionary. I am raising children and keeping house. My foreign land is the Land of Boys. And I have plenty of Tupperware to keep the ants out of the food. Actually, it's mostly Rubbermaid. Because we are a missionary family and can't afford Tupperware. Oh, and I pray. A lot.

I tried collecting nun things. But no one took the bait. Cats, yes. Lord, did I get a lot of cat things for awhile. I mean, I like cats. But, living ones! There's a lesson here: get a cat and expect to get cat paraphernalia.

Mention in passing as many times as possible that you like nuns and no one hears you.

Growing up, my dad's aunts, The Nuns would come to visit. I remember having to be on our best behavior because they were a) old and they were b) nuns. They wore the big habits. Hassocks? And had rosaries with them. And wimples.

Now those were nuns.

I saw a nun at the Mexican restaurant recently. I stared, in awe. She wore a brown jumper and a simple white veil. When she turned around I was relieved to see that she actually looked like a nun. You know what I'm talking about. They have a look.

I can't wait for the Roselle Farmer's Market later this summer. Because there's always a booth where nuns are selling pastries. Nothing like a gooey fruit tart from a nun if full regalia with a French accent! That's a double whammy treat!

Maybe instead of tiaras I should be investing in nun gear. Think there's a market niche there? Hell, full, retro nun gear can even be substituted for a burkha any day.

What do you think? Want to buy one?!

Oh yeah. Once we were driving into Chicago and passed a convertible with the top down and with a nun sitting in the back holding her veil on her head. That was a picture just begging to be taken. Could you imagine the poster it would have made?!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Snarky (and not so Snarky) Saturday


You can't show real boobs on TV. Or maybe just dancing boobs are allowed. And I ain't talking about Kate Gosselin.

As an aspiring writer I learned the wrong way to go about dealing with a rejection.

And, of course, found a little site that addresses this issue. Check out #16.

I haven't heard from Rick Springfield, yet. He's not following me nor has be friended me. What's up, Rick?!

Not so Snarky
Love this video (Incarnation being painted by Mark Ryden)and love the song with it (Dustin O'Halleran, Opus 28, Piano Solos No. 2). Amazing talent, even if the raw meat pictures made me slightly nauseous.

I love this! Now I really really want a walrus. Too bad we got rid of the pool...

If this ain't the picture of the week...

Pet Peeve Friday & Giveaway...Crooks

Last week's drawing for the Pet Peeve Friday prize of Avon's Moisture Therapy Skin Bump Minimizer (full size) is Show Me Mama. AS soon as I get an address I will be mailing this to her! She's a fellow blogger and you can find her here.

This week's prize is a full-size Avon's soft & sensual gelled body oil. Tell your friends! All comments to this blog post are entered for the drawing!

Winner to be announced next Friday!


Today's pet peeve is crooks. People who are out to rip people off. Yes, we are on the Internet. That doesn't mean we expect to be robbed. Sure, you don't do it with a weapon or a threat. You just do it. Why? I'm guessing because you can.

Shame on you. Shame on you for trying to get something for free. Shame on you for wasting my time. Shame on you. Shame on you. Shame on you.

My first official contact with these crooks (I am not counting the endless number of emails I have received over the years asking me to help smuggle all the money out of some foreign country) has been as an Avon lady. Yes, as an Avon lady.

It's well-known throughout the Avon community that these emails are commonplace. I get an email from Avon telling me a customer is interested in contacting me. I do not know at the point that it is a scam, so I get a little excited and compose the nicest email that I can. I really like to use the subject line "Ding! Dong! Avon Calling!" (And not just because "dong" is such a fun word to say!)

Then I get the return email from the crook telling me they have their own shipping company and will send me a mail order...yada yada yada. I always send another response politely pointing out that my website is available for their orders.

This morning I was part of the scam on social networking site and through email. A person from your address book or a friend on Facebook will contact you and explain how they have been victims of a crime in a foreign country.

I knew this was fake the moment it began became the person chatting with me on Facebook had never done so before. Because I was a little bored, I played along and copied the whole thing so I could blog about it! This really did happen this morning and I copied the Facebook chat when we were done!
Hey Susie!!!!!!

Hi Marge! [I'm confused and just a little excited because Margie has never chatted with me before]

How are you doing?

Not too good at the moment...Our trip to UK was messed up [social interaction means you wait for the inevitable "I'm good" before continuing your tale of woe]

Am presently stuck in cardiff,wales with my family as we speak and we need help in getting back home [Margie and I aren't the kind of "friends" who would ask each other for help. Plus, I've heard/read about this scam on yahoo groups. This is when I knew I could have some fun!]

oh, how terrible! [Do you hear the sincerity in my reply?]

got mugged last night in cardiff at gun and ccs were stolen off me by the muggers

Am so worried and scared right now [I don't even know where in the hell cardiff is!]

that's awful! what can I do to help?! [Sensing the sincerity?]

You there?

i am

the authorities are not being 100% supportive but the good thing is that we still have our passports but don't have enough money to clear the hotel bill here

oh dear! what will you do?! [Maybe a little over the top. I never say "oh dear!"]

wondering if you could loan me some $$

how would i get it to you?

You can wire the cash to me via western union to my name

Do you know any western union outlet around you?

just your name? where to?

I have one nearby.

Marge Xxxxxxxxx
3 The Balcony,
Castle Arcade,Cardiff,
United Kingdom

thats the details you'll need

OK, I can leave the house in a few minutes. How will you know it gets there? I wonder how long it takes?!

I can receive it there within minutes right after you have wired the cash to my name

are you there?! [I am done playing and am afraid they've gotten scared off! I need more for a blog bit!]


I can receive it there within minutes right after you have wired the cash to my name

you'll have to email me the confirmation details such as MTCN Number

where would you like it emailed?

you head

Your Head [If there was any doubt before that this was a scam...]


Marge are you alright? [Thought maybe I could suck him in for a little longer!]

fuck you

l know you're kidding me [This person is obviously new at this. Or already knows it will never work. He really should have continued. What if I had been a kindly old woman prepared to save her friend Marge with a MoneyGram?!]

idiot [I might be a lot of things...but I am no idiot! Plus, the nerve of the scammer to get irate at being scammed back! sheesh]

Marge! What's wrong! Is everything alright?! [I'm not done playing.]

Are you kidding

If you're serious go and send the money now while l will be here waiting [Watch the grammar, Crooky!]

OK, fuck you back you imbecile. Did you really think I was going to fall for this shit?! Don't you have anything better to do than hack Facebook accounts? [Hmmm, I obviously don't have anything better to do than play with crooks...]

I cannot wait to blog about this, you little freak! [Oops, I lost patience!]

fuck u

Perfect ending...
That's why I hate crooks. They have no sense of humor.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Yesterday The Hoots Took Over Lou Malnati's

Kelly, Jan and I went to Lou Malnati's for lunch. We needed to iron some things out about our communal blog. And, of course, we laughed. A lot. And, of course, ate a lot. (Have you seen Hyperbole and a Half's artistic rendition of alot?!) Let it be known that I suggested the individual pizzas...

Jamie, my sister, couldn't come to the lunch. Well, she does live in Arkansas and it's a land far far away. Plus, she recently (like on Tuesday!) had surgery (she can tell you for what). Now, if she taped any part of it or perhaps brought home a body part in a jar, I'll be happy to post any of those things!

Several things were decided at the lunch.

One, you cannot command people to be funny in front of the camera. Seriously, why is it so hard for some people to be funny on demand?!

If you keep telling people to be funny--whether in front of the camera or in writing--you get called names. Kelly has named me The Blog Nazi. I am taking this as a positive labelling. If you listen closely, you can hear me doing my best Nazi imitation. Is that tasteless?

We came across some boys and one of them was wearing a suspected piece of dirty clothing. Here "dirty" = sexual. I couldn't care less if his clothes were actually soiled. He's not my kid. I went to the bathroom and tried to read the t-shirt, but his arms were in the way. I tried to get Kelly to go to the bathroom so she could read it. (Again, Kelly refused to pee on demand for me. I'm re-thinking her best friend status!) Instead, she marched right over to the table and demanded to see the t-shirt. She even shook her finger at him! Just like a good, perturbed mother should!

Of course, I got the picture of the shirt. And I asked him if his mother knew he was wearing it. God, I sounded like June Cleaver. Or Carol Brady! I knew this shag wasn't a good idea just for that reason!

We're planning on making this a regular meeting. Of course, we need to map out a different location. Two restaurants in ChiBurbia down (i.e., they don't want us back)...several thousand to go.

Some of you might wonder where the video of me is. I did take one. It was horrific. I look really really bad on camera. So I deleted it. Hey, I'm the who's a Savvy Minx with the tech stuff (that's what Jan told me and I have it in writing!), so I can do whatever I want!

Wouldn't you like to come to a lunch with the Hoots? I'm telling you, we know how to have fun and can deal with the errant youth of America while we're at it!

And I promise to work on my video skills!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I'd Rather Be a Vampire

Last night I watched The Howling.

When Jim came to bed, I announced that I would never want to be a werewolf because they really are unattractive in their werewolf state. Plus, it really looks like it hurts to turn into a werewolf. Also, I have really really crappy fingernails, so my claws would be inferior and all the other girl werewolves would make fun of me.

He stared at me.

Then I told him I'd rather be a vampire. Vampires are sexier.

He turned away and folded something laundry-like.

I was afraid to even touch on zombies.

Monday, April 19, 2010

A Post with Two Goals: Rick Springfield Will Follow Me!

Ha! Sounds like a football reference, no? It's not. I am not a fan of the sport.

However, I do have two goals here.

First, I want a famous person to follow me on Twitter and I have decided it shall be Rick Springfield. Anyone who knows me knows my feelings about the man. I cannot say I am his biggest fan. I mean, I don't travel to see him. I do have a husband and kids. Someone told me they have to come first and I cannot follow Rick Springfield around in the turbo mini van. I still choose to believe this.

So I make do with seeing him in concert. Making certain I get great seats. Hey, last December at The Hemmens, I almost touched him. Yes. Almost.

So the least he can do is follow me on Twitter. Maybe even Facebook. Seriously, I'm pretty funny. Even if my most-loved tweets and updates get no laughs at all. (I mean, did you guys see the one where I forgot my phone and did updates with paper and pen?! Offered to mail them?! Now that was funny!)

Second, a documentary is being made about Rick Springfield and his fans. Tentatively titled "Affair of the Heart," filming begins in May and continues through 2010. Read all about it here.

I'm assuming the documentary will be about the hardcore fans (i.e, those who follow Rick Springfield around the country) and the softcore fans (i.e., those of us who go to a concert and then go home to the kids; it also kinda sounds like something you'd see on Cinemax). Of course it will also feature Rick Springfield, the best looking 60 year old in the world!

Watch for Rick Springfield concerts in your neck of the woods. Watch for the documentary. Be in the documentary. Listen to a Rick Springfield playlist on your IPod. But, most of all, tell Rick Springfield to follow me on Twitter and friend me on Facebook (I'm on there as Susie Harkness Kline)!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

It's Sunday Afternoon...

the pork chops are in the oven, gardening has been done. I'm sitting in front of the computer reading blogs while chowing down on Meijer Real Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips. I'm a little frightened by that...I mean, are there actually faux semi-sweet chocolate chips?! Why does Meijer feel the need to declare their chocolate chips as "real." Does Tollhouse identify their chocolate chips as "real?" Not that I care enough to even google Tollhouse to see...*

I'm feeling a little sad today. Because I finished the last book in the Dennis Lehane series featuring Patrick Kenzie and Angela Gennaro. I feel like dear friends have moved away and I know I won't be seeing them in a very long time. I'm going to miss them, but it's been oh so much fun knowing them.

I've now read everything Lehane has written except for the last two books and I've loved every one of them. Even if they make me question what is right or wrong and good or bad. He's made me think a lot of about the grey areas of life.

I think you should read something of his. If you're not up to a series, "Mystic River" is quite excellent. So is "Gone Baby Gone." And I'm still thinking about "Shutter Island."

Just read them all. Trust me on this.

*Of course I care! I google everything. By the way, I saw nothing on the Tollhouse website declaring any of their products as "real." Makes me wonder what's going on here. Who has the real chocolate chips?!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Pet Peeve Friday with Giveaway...Big Brothers

Last week's drawing for the Pet Peeve Friday prize of Avon Oatmeal hand cream sample is Cindy Pfannenstiel. Cindy, keep an eye on the mail...

This week's prize is a full-size Avon's Moisture Therapy Skin Bump Minimizer. Tell your friends. All comments to this blog post are entered for the drawing!

Winner to be announced next Friday!


OK, back to big brothers. I have four of them and I haven't had them all that long. Believe me when I am say completely in love with all of them and this post is completely tongue in cheek!

But, I am suddenly getting teased. Via Facebook. By my big brothers!

You're supposed to be nice to the baby (I also have three wonderful older sisters). Not pick on her!

It all started earlier this week when I asked my brother Tommy if he was a "teabagger" after he announced that "Republicans suck." Here's how it went from there. I can't even begin to make this up...

PJ #8 before you call someone a teabagger you might want to find out what it means..... LMAO
April 8 at 10:41pm

TJ LOLLOLLOLLOL, P, I was thinking the same thing!!1
April 8 at 10:52pm

TJ I'm still laughing.
April 8 at 10:52pm

April 8 at 10:52pm

TJ I think it should be lolrotfpub
April 8 at 10:53pm

TJ P, you piece of shit
April 8 at 10:53pm

TJ lolololololololol
April 8 at 10:53pm

ME I missing something here. Now I'm thinking "teabagger" means something dirty! Hey, stop picking on the baby!
April 9 at 8:10am

ME I found this site and found out everything I needed to know about teabagging. Including the sexual definition. And there was absolutely, positively no reason I ever needed to know anything about that. At all.
April 9 at 8:17am

[At this point I forwarded the link to Jim at work because I had absolutely positively NEVER heard the term "teabagger" used as anything but political identification. He couldn't open it; the company firewall blocked it.]

[Also, imagine my horror at learning a new sexual term at the age of 43. Where have I been? Under a rock? I thought I was hip! Wait, does anyone use "hip" any more?! Maybe we were sheltered in Western Kansas or wherever the hell Hays is located!]

TJ You poor thing, but it is Ps faullt, blame it on him.LOL
April 9 at 10:53am

CL Um...yeah....there are kids on here (like me) who read what the posts say between family members who obviously get curious and um.....yeah... I don't think I will click on another link that is posted! LOL

[CL is my poor scarred niece. I hope she recovers from this!]

Then something else starts today!

It started when I forwarded an article about my twins' track and field prowess last evening. The headline is Kline Eats Up the Competition at Fremd. (The article really is cool and there's an incredible picture of Jeremy mid throw.)

[My boys are big and they could eat you if they wanted to. Just so you know. But they're nice. So they won't.]

KJ I think sister susie's got busted for cannibalism. The story is newspaper and I only had time to read the headline. Keep her in your thoughts its gotta be a rough time - how do you face the neighbors

TJ you are bad!!lol
about an hour ago

ME My kids did not eat any human beings! lol They are getting accolades for Frisbee and cannon ball tossing! sheesh. This is how rumors get started! lol
15 minutes ago

KJ sorry that was not sister got busted but her kids... gotta keep the details straight not to defame the innocent
about an hour ago

KJ kids will probably need help with bail and attorney's. Donate into my paypal account and I'll see they get any help they need with this problem
about an hour ago

Identities have been hidden to avoid public humiliation when word gets out that my brothers tease people.

Oh, and I'm pretty sure any money going into KJ's paypal account will not go to my boys! Don't fall for it. Now, if you'd like to donate to the twins' college fund...

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Pre-Recorded Messages or A Flip Chart

I'm tired of repeating myself to my kids.

Honestly, how many times can I say:
  • "Clean your room."
  • "No candy for breakfast."
  • "Leave me alone."*
  • "Shut up."**
  • "Set the table."
  • "Get all the trash together."
  • "Get the dogs water."
  • "Put on deodorant."
  • "Brush your teeth."
  • "Take a shower."
  • "Do your homework."
And so on...because, as moms know, we spend a lot of our time telling people what to do.

I've tried asking. Even asking politely. That gets the same amount of reaction as just barking orders like a general with the troops. Why bother sugar-coating these requests with extra words and inflections that will just confuse the listenee and delay the completion of the request?

I'm thinking that a tiny tape recorder could help me. At least it would save my voice and maybe some of my sanity. The only problem with that would be keeping track of the recorded messages. I would hate to play "take the garbage out" when I really meant "brush your teeth." Kids are already so confused. Why add fuel to the fire?

I could get a flip-chart. I'm really big on visual aids since I am such a visual person. But, I might get paper cuts from flipping through the pages. Then I would just get even grumpier.

Oooo, I could get one of those scrolling signs! See, like this! It's small and I could just carry it around the house with me! At $39.99 it's a steal! (An added bonus would be to actually use it in my car, providing real-time commentary on the idiot drivers surrounding me!)

Anything would be better than the personal voice system I am using right now. No matter what I say, no one ever hears me nor are my orders followed through!

* I know there are moms who would never use this term. However, I reserve the right to use this when a) I am in the bathroom, b) I am in the shower, c) I am on the phone, d) I am doing taxes, etc.

**I know, I know, "good" moms don't use terms like this. But you tell me how long you can last without shrieking it when you are asked for the fiftieth time in five minutes "can I have some PopTarts?" If you can survive that without telling the child to "shut up" then you are a saint and surely have something better to do with your time than read my blog!