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?!)

So...here 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


Snarky

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!
Margie
Hey Susie!!!!!!
10:45am

Me
Hi Marge! [I'm confused and just a little excited because Margie has never chatted with me before]
10:45am

Margie
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!]
10:46am

Me
oh, how terrible! [Do you hear the sincerity in my reply?]
10:47am

Margie
got mugged last night in cardiff at gun point..cash 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!]
10:47am

Me
that's awful! what can I do to help?! [Sensing the sincerity?]
10:48am

Margie
You there?
10:48am

Me
i am
10:49am

Margie
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
10:50am

Me
oh dear! what will you do?! [Maybe a little over the top. I never say "oh dear!"]
10:50am

Margie
wondering if you could loan me some $$
10:50am

Me
how would i get it to you?
10:50am

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

Do you know any western union outlet around you?
10:50am

Me
just your name? where to?

I have one nearby.
10:52am

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

thats the details you'll need
10:52am

Me
OK, I can leave the house in a few minutes. How will you know it gets there? I wonder how long it takes?!
10:53am

Margie
I can receive it there within minutes right after you have wired the cash to my name
10:53am

Me
are you there?! [I am done playing and am afraid they've gotten scared off! I need more for a blog bit!]
10:53am

Margie
yes

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
10:55am

Me
where would you like it emailed?
10:55am

Margie
you head

Your Head [If there was any doubt before that this was a scam...]
10:56am

Me
what?

Marge are you alright? [Thought maybe I could suck him in for a little longer!]
10:57am

Margie
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]
10:57am

Me
Marge! What's wrong! Is everything alright?! [I'm not done playing.]
10:57am

Margie
Are you kidding

If you're serious go and send the money now while l will be here waiting [Watch the grammar, Crooky!]
10:58am

Me
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!]
10:58am

Margie
fuck u
10:58am

Me
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?!

video

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?

video


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

TJ That's the bestLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
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 ok...am 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. http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=teabagger
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!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Hat Quest 2010

I need a new hat since I can't be in the sun. Unfortunately, I forget how bad the sun really is for me until Spring is here.

So today was day one of Hat Quest 2010.

Shopping for hats alone is a miserable experience. Seriously, if you don't have someone to manically laugh with you over the absurd hats that are available, it's just not fun. Plus, the cell phone camera ensures that any really bad blunders can be digitally archived. And passed around. Posted on Facebook.

Sadly, a baseball cap isn't enough. I need more protection than that.

All the cute hats have narrow brims. Not enough protection.

Hats with a really wide brim made me look like a tourist. I don't know where...but I'm sure it's some place where tourists are horribly mocked for their choices in hats!

After Hat Quest, I am bring the Caftan Hunt. I need coverage for my entire body.

Such a pretty picture, eh?!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Power of Positive Thinking & Why I Forgot All About It

The past 24 hours have been pretty tense, especially the hours between 8:30 and noon.

Jim's company went through another round of lay-offs. It has been the most nerve-inducing event.

And I completely forgot my old mantra of, "don't worry until you actually need to!"

I did a pretty good job of being positive yesterday. I was soothing and calming. I would have even paid more attention to Jim if I wasn't in the middle of my Dennis Lehane love fest (aka reading his books--get your minds out of the gutter).

But this morning every positive thought and calming mantra I knew flew out the window. I called Jim for the regular morning check-in and the layoffs were happening. He had to hang up suddenly.

And the doubts and negative thoughts came flooding in. My stomach hurt. I had trouble breathing. I became--gasp!--bitchy!

I couldn't be my usual amusing self at bowling because I was too busy being worried about my future. Yes, mine! Selfishly, I am scared to death of losing our insurance.

Unlike many Americans, we do have incredible health insurance. And it doesn't cost us an arm and a leg. But I am tattooed with the big old PEC on my forehead.

You know...PEC=pre-existing condition. With my autoimmune disease, insurance could be hard to come by if something happened to what we have.

And I need my insurance. For the doctor visits. My meds. To monitor the problems they found because I went to a doctor. (These anomalies require CT Scans and MRIs to make sure they don't turn into full-fledged PROBLEMS!)

I just started feeling good and cannot imagine what I would do if we couldn't afford my meds. Or the blood tests to monitor my body on the meds.

Not that I wouldn't give them all up to feed, house, and clothe my family. It's just the thought of it happening that sends me into a tizzy!

But it seems Jim may have squeaked by yet again. And I can breathe. And the stomach ache has passed.

I'm just a little amazed how quickly I can fall into the pit of despair. It's not a place I like to visit very often.

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'd Like to Introduce You to MY God...

I've avoided writing this post for awhile because I don't want to offend any of the few who read my blog. But I can't avoid it any longer. Because people are getting crazier and nuttier...all in the name of religion and doing things for God.

This article is what started today's rant. I'm not going to condemn these people or even point out their stupidity. Instead, I am going to send them all loving thoughts.

What I am going to do is introduce you to my God.

My God, whom I just call "God," is a kind and benevolent being. Really, all he asks of me is to be a good person and to treat the Earth and her residents (human AND animal) with the kindness and respect they deserve. He really does believe in The Golden Rule.

He wants me to greet each day with love and laughter. It is my job to spread the love. With a smile. A kind word. A kind gesture.

I have not been given any special powers that allow me to judge my fellow beings in any way. Any judging will be done in its own time and way. By God. I would never dare to compare myself to God or to even consider myself worthy of judgement.

I'm astute enough to know that The Bible was written by man and open to his many interpretations. Which is why there are several versions of The Bible. It's a nice piece of literature, but it doesn't hold the key to who or who isn't worthy.

Now I know people will be muttering Bible verses condemning just about everything you can think of. And I will simply say, "yes, there are those who even believe that segregation was right because it said so somewhere in The Bible." And then I will look you in the eye and say, "any book or religion that says my children are not deserving of respect or the rights of others is completely and absolutely wrong." Oops, I guess I judged you. But that was in my mother role. And a mother crossed is a powerful, powerful force. (By the way, I would also defend your children's right to fair treatment also! Don't think I'm just looking out for my boys!)

Plus, if The Bible was wrong on one thing...what else has it misinterpreted?

My God thrives in the beautiful. Every blade of grass and every flower petal. Every rainbow and thunderstorm. Every animal, whatever their shape. Every person, whether they are short or tall, black or white. Every sunset and sunset. Every piece of art: music, painting, writing.

All he asks of me is that I be good. But sometimes when I see things done in the name of God and religion, it makes me want to be really really bad. Mostly it makes me sad that people find themselves in the midst of such ugliness, in the name of a God who created such beauty.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Pet Peeve Friday: Slow Drivers

Last week's drawing for the Pet Peeve Friday prize of Avon Oatmeal hand cream samples is Jamie Van Becelaere. Jamie, keep an eye on the mail...

This week's prize is another sample of the Oatmeal hand cream. Please comment and share today's pet peeve!

****

I actually thought I wouldn't even have a peeve today because I was so blissfully happy all morning. Then...I drove amongst the zombie drivers.

Yes, I'm talking to you!

Do you know how angry I get when you know there isn't another car behind me, but you insist on pulling out in front of me and not even driving the speed limit?

Do you know how many bad words I say (out loud, of course, because I am driving alone!) when you drive under the speed limit?! For goodness sake, this is Chiburbia* and we drive at least 7 miles over the speed limit at all times. Not under!

Plus, it's a nice sunny day, which means you just need to drive a little faster. It's the law...well, a mother nature law...well, a SusieLand** law.

So get with the program and don't get in the way of the ArtTrt (that's Art Tart because I am an artist with attitude) turbo mini van.
  • Don't drive in the left lane if you're driving slow.
  • Don't pay so much attention to the cell phone that you don't know what's happening to your speedometer.
I'm sure there are a lot of other don'ts. I am have a brain slowdown and can't remember them all. But you know what they are! You do!

* Chiburbia: I don't remember exactly where on Twitter I ran across this term. I am taking it to mean the suburbs of Chicago. I don't want to take credit for making it up. But I might have. See comment above about brain slowdown.

**SusieLand: the land where I exist that is gorgeous and peaceful. There are ducks, and bunnies, flowers and fluffy clouds. We do not talk about death, volcanoes, or any other topic of less than pleasant things. You are free to visit SusieLand at any time, but you must maintain a smile and a happy disposition at all times.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Family Rituals

Aaron's teacher sent home a list of activities that would start family rituals. That got me thinking...do you have any? Because I'm not so sure we do here in KlineLand.

We eat dinner together every night. That's our big one and I know it's supposed to make my kids bigger and better than all the rest. Hey, I saw that on TV!

Other than that, we're pretty open to suggestions. Jim always coaches something. That's been a steady ritual since the twins got into organized sports.

I used to attend all sports events until it came to pass that the sun kills me. Literally, I get rashes and flu-like symptoms. One afternoon in the sun takes three days to recover. Not worth it, really. But I do attend night games.

We used to have our Saturday night poker game. But that's fallen to the wayside since the introduction of the XBox Live into our home. It was fun though and I think it's time to bring that back!

I'm reminded of an episode of The Middle where Frankie, the mom, wants more family rituals. Except they all just end up sitting on the couch watching TV. We don't even do that! I take to my bed early so I can read without the background noise of the cartoon channel.

Jim's mom and dad took the boys every Wednesday night for years and years. It was a little mid-week date night. That doesn't happen any more, so we don't even get a regular night out with just the two of us. We save that for the biggie--the Anniversary! Wow, once a year...

So I am in need of some suggestions for family rituals. Because I don't think yelling, "brush your teeth, go to the bathroom, and for god's sake put on some deodorant!" every night counts.

Monday, April 5, 2010

What Keeps Susie Kline Feeling Great?

On the last page in Heath magazine, there have a piece where celebrities answer a series of questions. I started wondering if people really answer this honestly or are making themselves seem way more chic and deep than they really are. So here are my answers...and I'm being completely honest!

My favorite home-cooked meal: It's got to be grilled cheese because that's the only meal Jim cooks. And I'm not counting anything I make because I had to do the work.

Three things always in my pantry: olive oil, sugar, flour

The single best thing about working out is: when it's over

The body part I like the most is my: I like my feet because my toes are perfectly stair-stepped to create a 90 degree angle.

My go-to at-home spa treatment: WTF?! There's no spa-ing going on in my house of boys. Although sometimes I do remember to put lotion on.

Whenever I'm nervous I psych myself up by: Calling Kelly and having her tell me to snap outta it.

If I could change one thing about the world: Everyone would just be nicer.

My favorite book of all time: Is constantly changing. I'll read any and all Janet Evanovich and Jennifer Crusie. I'm working my way through the Nevada Barr and Dennis Lehane libraries at the moment.

My best quality: I am funny, dammit!

I wish I had more time for: Being a mother...the twins are almost 18! I'm getting a little twitchy over than!

My happy-life motto: Is this really going to matter in 5 minutes, 5 days, 5 months?!

We Survived Spring Break 2010

I should have a t-shirt printed with this. Moms all over the nation will be clamoring to buy them.

Although my spring break was woefully uneventful. I was all prepared to write a blog post, all peachy and happy on day one and then ripping out my hair by day 10.

But it really didn't go that way. It was calm and relatively peaceful every day.

Sunday evening we did come close to a melt down. Because Jermaine is addicted to the XBox Live. I didn't think it could happen, but it has. My 17 year old son is addicted to it. I think I need to find him a treatment program. Stat!

Other than that? No real drama. The twins had track practice almost every day. Coach Nihells sure knows how to tire them out! The man is a saint for introducing the heavy conditioning for the outdoor track season during spring break!

Aaron spent his time playing the Xbox and playing outside with friends. We did nothing remotely educational either. No reading. No writing. Just a little 'rithmetic.

I wonder if I can get the mellow troops to help in the Spring Break aftermath cleaning spree. They may not have been pills, but they sure are messy!

Pop Tart Wars

I am in the middle of a Pop Tart war with my youngest son, Aaron. He's the picky eater in our home and has been since his arrival. Once, I cut up everything into small pieces and served it with toothpicks. Like Costco does. He ate like a maniac that night.

But, the Pop Tarts might be the death of me. Because I am completely torn about them.

Some back story. I have, fairly recently, gone on a whole food kick. No boxed items. Which really means I'm making my own flavored rice instead of buying RiceARoni. Because I still buy a small jar of spaghetti sauce and doctor it with my own crushed tomatoes. And I had to buy taco shells because Aaron won't eat soft tacos. Of course, I buy pasta already made because I cannot see myself tossing together some homemade spaghetti. Hey, my pasta machine is for polymer clay!

Even though I have become an almost-whole foodie, I don't want to label food as "good" or "bad." After all, it's just food. Labelling is simply my own judgement. I don't want my kids going through life thinking of food as something to be conquered.

So that part of me says, "C'mon, you can get some Pop Tarts. They really aren't bad."

Then Aaron's chiming in my ear saying, "Pop Tarts are a fruit mom. Every body eats them..." Except he doesn't get the fruit flavored ones. He wants the S'mores. Ain't no fruit in marshmallows, buddy!

So, on occasion, I give in. I gave in this weekend because it could be an Easter treat.

Aaron got hold of the box and followed me around, preaching, "Mom, it has B vitamins! And is fortified! And, there's no cholesterol and no trans fats!" He points out that it says so right on the box.

I retort, "It's not real food." I mean I can say something is "real" instead of "good," right?!

"Yes it is. See, I'm chewing it. With my teeth." He stops short of opening his mouth and making me look at a dessicated pop tart.

I'm still not convinced Pop Tarts are good for you. I know, I know...in moderation anything is fine.

I'm just worried because Aaron has taken to hoarding the box from his brothers and eating the pop tarts one on top of the other, sandwich-like.

Convincing me even more that Pop Tarts might actually be a little evil...

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter...and I'm just not that happy with Yahoo mail right now...

OK, Happy Easter. For all you practicing Christians, enjoy the resurrection of Jesus! I don't really know what to say to my Jewish friends, because I was raised Catholic. And I'm not really Catholic anymore. I'm more a believe-in-God closet Buddhist. But this is all fodder for a different post.

What I really want to do is rant about Yahoo mail. They have "new" mail and "classic" mail. I am using "new" mail because it's got to be better, right?! Except I can't use any of the options in "new" mail.

So I switch back to "classic" mail and make my changes. Seriously, I need my filters to work because I am a cheerleader on Goals for Guppies for the next three months and I want the posts to go into their own folder. Except that it hasn't worked so far and I've tried and tried, but they keep going into the generic Guppies folder. Now, I really want them to go into my general Inbox folder so I can answer them within an appropriate time.

But when I switch back to "new" mail, none of my changes take! I can't even make changes to my contacts list and my brother Tommy changed his email address, and I really, really need to make the changes.

So I use the "comment" link and make a comment. At first, second and third tries I am polite. When the screen comes up offering to send my to customer service, I politely decline. Well, in my head anyway. I mean there's no one really there. It's just a screen.

But the last time, I'm not even sure I wrote in complete sentences. I just want them to know that their system isn't working for me.

And when I start my new on-line class this week about freelance writing, and I fail to keep up because I can't make a folder for the million and one posts that will be coming through each day, I will get more and more angry.

If anyone knows someone at Yahoo, could you mention my problem? Their comment page isn't working right...

Friday, April 2, 2010

Pet Peeve Friday...Annoying Co-Shoppers

Last week's drawing for the Pet Peeve Friday prize of Avon lipstick samples is Keri Bender Roberts! Keri, keep an eye on the mail...

This week's prize is still undetermined. But please comment and share today's pet peeve! It'll be good...I promise...

***

I just got back from Target and was crowded in the check out line by a middle aged couple (that means they were older than me). The man got so close I couldn't even swipe my card without bumping him.

Seriously, if you're in that big of a hurry to get out of Target, please don't shop there! It doesn't matter day or night, morning or afternoon, weekday or weekend, Target is always the same!

My Target is set up in a rather annoying way though. From the cash register to the end of the counter, where your bagged purchases get piled, is approximately 3-4 feet. The card swipe machine is by the cashier, then there are the empty bag hangers, then the landing pad for the purchases. In order to get things into your cart, you have to keep moving back and forth, while you pay.

So, Target's at fault for poor ergonomics. Whose bright idea was it to set it up like this? Why isn't the card swiper at the end where you can grab your bags and toss them into the cart? I know they probably paid some person lots of money to come up with a workable system. Well, it ain't working!

OK, so that was a little side rant about Target and their apparent stupidity. I've done my best to accept this as part of the price of shopping at Target. Some days are easier than others...

It's the rude people that really bug me! How come the person behind you in any checkout line feels the need to get as close as possible! Well, get their cart close, anyway!

If my groceries are piled to the end of the conveyor belt and I am still piling things up there, there's absolutely no reason you need to have your cart bumping into my hip. Having you bumping me isn't making me work any faster. In fact, it makes me slow down (you know, like an adolescent boy when you tell him to do something he doesn't want to do!).

Getting into my personal space doesn't make me pay faster. It makes me turn to you and try my damnedest to blow up your skull. Like in that movie Scanners. You might think I have a migraine or something, because I have to really screw up my eyes and wrinkle my nose to get the full power of my brain into the act. But I am just trying to have your brain explode.

Now for the people in the aisles actually shopping. Have you ever heard "be polite, stay to the right!" Even preschoolers are taught this. If everyone stays on the aisle to their right, people can pass by with plenty of room to spare.

Unless you let your kid hang off the side. Then that's just an invitation for someone (said child) to get hurt when I wing around you. Have you ever noticed that people with small children just shop slower than the rest of us? I know I did.

I also don't find it amusing when your small child is blocking my way and you stand in the distance begging her to move. While you are working on your diplomacy skills, you are preventing me from completing my least favorite chore. (See the above Scanners reference for an explanation of my expression.) I do not find misbehaving children amusing at all, and their spineless parents even less so. Go take little Johnny's hand and get him out of my way.

Just a little piece of advice. There is no reasoning with a three or four year old. Using a sugary voice as you try to convince them to do something isn't going to work. They need to be shown!

(In case you are thinking that I must believe I am a perfect parent, please don't! I have had kids act like total brats in stores. Hey, Aaron still does it, and he's 11! But, unlike some parents, I have come to realize the not everyone is enamored of my children. Especially when they are misbehaving. No one likes a brat. The brat's parent is liked even less!)

There is a special place in hell for the people who insist on parking their carts diagonally across the aisle. Are you undecided? Lost? Trying to shop with both arms off of shelves on either side of the aisle? Good luck and God speed. If my wing span was something greater than 60 inches, I might try that!

Wow, shopping really set me off today. I guess I'd better stick to PeaPod!

So, tell me about your latest Pet Peeve!