Saturday, December 30, 2006

Party in the potty, or not...

Today was day one of the get-down-to-business potty-training for M and J. That means no diapers or pull-ups were used all day, but instead, we went through six pairs of underwear before noon and six pairs of pants as well. Then, more underwear and more pants after noon, too. I don't think any urine was voided into the toilet today at all, in fact, and the only poops that got flushed were the ones that got dumped into the underwear first and then into the toilet.

At least tomorrow can't be worse;>

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Christmas recap...

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Since NS had to work all day on the day, Christmas for us and the boys was moved up to the 24th. I'm thinking more and more that it's a great idea to spread this holiday out over a few days;>

That picture was taken before I dragged NS's snowboard out because it was hidden in our closet, which meant I had to wait until he was asleep. I seriously considered not dragging it out to be on display and then pretending to remember one other gift in our closet after he'd opened his couple of books and laptop cooler. But, you know, Christmas stuff happens in the morning, and mornings aren't my prime time for cognitive abilities, so I thought my acting would not be very convincing and opted for the initial shock value afterall.

The boys received tricycles (those orange contraptions pictured), although both of which are missing a piece, a different piece on each, too...guess quality control isn't a primary focus for that company. They also received Leap Frog Word Whammer and Fridge DJ, two of each...the amount of magnetic letters we now possess is a little out of control. A Duplo Thomas the Train set for M and a limited edition bucket of Duplos for J, which were quite promptly split between the two Duplo zoo sets they received for their birthday. Sleeping bags with an astronaut theme since they refuse to sleep in those awesome beds Mommy wasted so many hours on searching and reviewing. Per M's last-minute request for Santa to bring airplanes, NS and I tracked down some matchbox airplane sets at ToysRUs, and my mom and her husband found a cute airport set at Kmart. More than a few Backyardigans toys were included in their loot...we now all know Pablo's pirate song very, very well;> Clothes, socks, underwear, battery-operated toothbrushes, doctor set, fishing set for bathtime, Doodle Pros and Travel Doodle Pros, Nerf rocket-looking footballs, a couple books, and I'm sure a multitude of other toys and gadgets that I've failed to include in this list. We'll just say they're not lacking for any toys or entertainment.

Big Dog got a blanket to lounge on along with several different treats and a container for those treats. Marmaduke got some living plants and a new cave-like thing to swim through and sleep on to replace his column.

Not all my presents arrived before Christmas, but that doesn't bother me in the least...again, I think this present-giving holiday should be stretched out over more than a day anyway;> I was able to open a lot of snowboarding gear: jacket, pants, socks, undergarments, gloves with liners, a stomp pad (the maroon floral) that beautifully matches my snowboard (the 146), goggles. So, I'm pretty sure the only thing I still need to be totally prepared is boots;>

My mom and her husband got me a gorgeous jewelry box that I just barely have room for on my nightstand, an ornament that will hold much sentimental value as the years pass since it is an angel with Baby Angel's name and birthdate engraved on it, several pretty shirts, pajamas, earrings, a necklace, lip glosses, cash, and very likely more things. Other family members contributed a book, a frame, candle and body butter, stocking holders for next Christmas, Target gift card, cash. Guess we'll say I'm not lacking for anything right now, either;>

The celebration lasted from Saturday to Monday night, and it was fantastic.

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Tuesday, December 26, 2006

A meaningful gift...

I got a Christmas present last night that I didn't need and wasn't actively wanting.

NS had to work yesterday, so I received a Merry Christmas wish via text message last night, and with that came an "i love u".

The fact that I feel loved by him without him actually spelling it out in words made this one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever gotten. I didn't need the words nor did I hold any specific desire for them because I already knew they were true. I just knew.

But, his making certain that I got them last night nearly took my breath away and definitely had tears welling in the brims of my eyes, threatening to spill over at any moment...especially the moments immediately after as I wished my boys their sweet dreams and good nights and softly whispered those same words in their ears. I imagine the memory of standing in the bedroom, reading the message, and then the overwhelming feeling of complete peace and happiness flooding over me as I was rendered unable to say anything but a barely audible "wow" for many long seconds will be a hard one to forget. I think that's the way it's supposed to be;>

Monday, December 25, 2006

By request...

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That is what was left of the dozens of cookies NS made last week when I took the picture on Saturday. We'd eaten a dozen or two, and I'd given away another dozen the day before at work.

Now, there is one lone cookie left, waiting to be consumed by its creator;> I gave away another couple dozen for Christmas, and we've eaten a lot of chocolate chip cookies lately!

Friday, December 22, 2006

The boy's got personality...

At least, he does things that I can equate with having a personality;>

I've only had one betta fish before, and I'm not sure that I remember him having so much personality.

Marmaduke greets me. I mean, the boy swims to the front of his tank and waves his fins at me. He does this upon my arrival in the morning and when I return after being away from my office for a while during the day. He even makes gulping faces at me somtimes if I talk to him. Yesterday morning he was quite still and facing me, so I waved; he promptly propels his fins into waving as if he's returning my friendly gesture.

He seems to be very happy in his little home, wading into all the crevices and through cracks between the plant's branches.

His coloring is so gorgeous and seems more vibrant than it was just 5 days ago when I first got him. It's like he tries to show it off to me by casually gliding from one side to the other, long, silky fins splayed so the light shines through them, highlighting the cobalt blue with deep crimson accents.

I'm such an easily-awed, captive audience for aquatic life;>

Thursday, December 21, 2006

And he bakes, too...

He opens the door, the boys rush inside, and I follow with a tad less rushiness, arms filled with gift bags and picture frames as well as my daily work tote, which is filled to capacity.

What is that smell? That smell that fills my mind with thoughts of sugar and dough and chocolate chips? It is cookies. Not pre-made cookies, not pre-prepared cookie dough made into cookies, not even cookies made by following the recipe on the bag of chocolate chips...cookies using a recipe he sought out and researched.

There was already a mound of cookies in the extra-large, stainless steel mixing bowl, but there were still about twice as many coming, each batch getting better as the timing was mastered and finally perfected. Oh, that last batch made the recipe reviews live up to their high praises for this cookie. They are soft and sweet and moist and, well, just marvelous.

Nothing like coming home to some warm, freshly-baked, chocolate chip cookies;>

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I almost got away with buying all Christmas gifts online...

My first unpleasant shopping experience this holiday season (hopefully the only one) involves both UPS and the Susan G. Komen Foundation for breast cancer research.

I received a call last night as well as this morning from a man with the Komen Foundation. I had ordered an ornament for one of my co-workers as a Christmas present since she is a breast cancer survivor. Well, he's calling me because the shipment was returned to them from UPS since UPS was unable to obtain my signature for it. His message this morning had a haughty tone that I found quite unpleasant, as though I had intentionally not signed for my package. He said UPS had made several delivery attempts over the course of two weeks and then more attempts to contact me for pick-up arrangements, finally forced to return the package since I did not respond to their attempts; he then asked that I call back, which I have every intention of doing.

First of all, who the hell requires a signature for a $10 ornament?!? That was my only beef with the Komen Foundation Marketplace until this message I received this morning. Now, I'm also quite displeased with the accusatory nature in his choice of words. The first message was left at nearly 9 pm last night. The second? Not even 9 am this morning. Think it might have been a good idea to give me a chance to call back before getting all bitchy on my voicemail? 'Tis the season, right?

Secondly, my never-before-experienced disappointment with UPS. UPS always delivers to my apartment after 5. At least they did before the holiday season came around. Fine. No problem. You're working harder to get people's packages to them before 10 pm, so you might get there earlier on some days...completely understandable. But, when you make the first attempt at 2:30 in the afternoon on a weekday (12/6) and leave a note that says the second attempt will be made after 5 the next business day, I certainly wouldn't expect you to attempt delivery at 4:30 the next day (12/7). Had UPS tried after 5 that day rather than at 4:30, the package would be with me, or in the hands of its intended recipient now. Regardless, another attempt is to be made after 5 the next business day; turns out that attempt wasn't made on 12/8, the next business day, but instead was on 12/11, my boys' birthday, so I wasn't home until after 8. The note was not quite clear as to what was going to happen since other packages had now arrived as well, and it was their first attempt for those. The next day, only the other packages were received. I had no note to call about the other package, no idea when it was going to be sent back. I try on 12/15 to make delivery arrangements on the UPS site after finding the tracking information, but it doesn't allow me to do it. When do I receive the note telling me to pick up the package before 12/18 or else it will be returned to the sender? Oh, let's see...12/18 sounds good. To be somewhat fair, I didn't check my mail on Saturday, 12/16, but even if I had, I wouldn't have been able to get the package from UPS after Friday, 12/15, because they are only open Monday through Friday and the package was being returned on Monday, 12/18, so even getting the notice on Saturday would have been useless. The notice was postmarked 12/12, so in essence they gave me 3 days to receive this and pick it up. Can't they at least hold the damn thing for a week before returning it? Apparently not. UPS apologetic at all when I call? Not really, just said that the notice was sent via regular U.S. postal service, but I didn't really complain, either. It didn't really dawn on me how much I could have complained about this until after the fact, but regardless, any amount of complaining from me to UPS would have done nothing to get that package to me now.

I'm also still a bit confused as to how this package never got signed for by my apartment office since both first and second attempts were made before 5:30 pm.

So, a little recap...
Komen Foundation man says UPS made all these attempts to deliver this package and contact me over the course of 2 weeks. He even admitted in the message that the first contact from UPS to me regarding this shipment was on 12/6, so two weeks would be today, and they have already received the return shipment, so not really an accurate timeline. And, he has no idea that UPS not only didn't attempt deliveries when they said they would but that the notice they sent to me to pick it up was not delivered until that was no longer possible to do. This is why assumptions make people look like asses.

At this point, if I don't find something else for her today, then I will have it resent and will just provide her a picture with a note that it's coming, but if I find something else that I find suitable for her gift, then they can keep their little pink ornament.

At least it doesn't burn holes...

Although nail-polish remover may not be harmful for skin, afterall it definitely touches skin while being rubbed all over my nails, I doubt it's even a remotely good idea to spill the bottle in your lap. What a pleasant surprise that was...shockingly cold, wet pants and panties is a comforting sensation for sensitive areas {said with much sarcasm}. Not to mention that it also got on my sheets, which are black; I'm sure the color won't be affected at all {again with the sarcasm}. Oh, and the aroma lingering in the walk-in-closet-sized bedroom was a fantastic sleep aid {I'm sure the tone is understood now}.

Will this experience prevent me from continuing to pretty up my toes in bed? Not likely;>

Monday, December 18, 2006

A little fishy...

Always wanting to make my work space comfortable and relaxing since I spend at least 40 hours a week there, I thought a small aquarium was in order. I told my mom about this plan of mine, and she surprised me with it today!

Marmaduke (meaning "leader of the seas"), the blue-with-hints-of-red betta, is busy exploring his new home, a 1-gallon acrylic with various shades of blue on the floor, decorated with a toppled pillar and plush green sprouts, also including an overhead light and under-gravel filter with air pump. That pump, by the way, creates a little vibration on my desk...not enough that I'd be content sitting on my desk when NS is away, though.

He's quite pretty, and I've caught myself fish-watching for a few minutes at a time already. I think one of the walls might be giving off a reflection because he kept approaching the same spot, smacking his fins around, and then promptly swam behind the plant, seemingly waiting to see if he was going to be chased. As if I need more distractions at work; I suppose this novel excitement will weaken as the days pass, and then the bonding can begin;>

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Perhaps it's part of the holiday season...

I've stumbled across several blogs discussing religion as well as the existence of a god: cagey's NaBloPoMo Sunday postings, m kennedy (aka fussy) on 12/7 and 12/9, and by way of fussy, I've read some of julia sweeney's blog over the past few days. And, then there's this silliness about putting "Christ" back into "Christmas"...Christ was forced into a pagan holiday celebration which has become Christmas, so I say you can put him there if you want, but please stop telling other people how to celebrate.

As I have mentioned before, I am no longer a religious person. I do not identify myself as belonging to any religion as I don't feel that any of them are necessary and am often disgusted by the actions of those who do claim to be religious. I was, for many years, a Christian. Nothing overly devout. My family didn't force church upon me as a child. Actually, it was I that attended Sunday school and childrens' service each week by taking the church bus; I was the one that requested to be baptized at the age of 8. My mom attended church with me for a couple years during my middle school era. It was a non-denominational church but most definitely upholding the teachings of Christianity. As many teenagers do, I more or less abandoned a lot of those teachings in favor of living by my own guidelines for moral behavior shortly after starting high school. I was still a good person, but I didn't really think it was meant for me to make sacrifices in lieu of having fun.

I haven't gone back to religion since then, but I never truly let go of the belief in a higher power. Therefore, I did return to prayer; that began the moment I learned of my first pregnancy. I prayed every night before I went to sleep that the pregnancy would result in a healthy child, and after finding out that I was having twins, the prayers were only slightly more involved in that I wanted them to stay put for as long as necessary. Although these wishes and hopes were expressed through my prayers, each prayer was begun and ended with gratitude for the blessings I already had.

I still do this. I never stopped after I started praying again. The only "requests" ever made are generalized good health, safety, and happiness. I put the quotation marks around "requests" because I don't believe they are actually requests. The things I "request" in my prayers are simply expressions of my hopes and wishes for the future, and again, these things are always preceded and concluded with thanks for my present good fortune.

The logical part of me understands why people don't believe in a higher power, but the part of me that sees the intricate cause and effect actions unfold in my life and the lives of others makes me hold on to my belief that a spiritual power is involved in this universe. That is my lack of ability to definitively chalk everything that happens up to pure coincidence. The fact that this Naval station was the last choice on NS's list of places to go combined with the fact that I had no intention of moving back to VA prior to unexpected change after change being thrown into my life resulted in our ending up together makes sense to me and not because of simple happenstance.

People that struggle with their belief in a higher power often do so when facing difficulties in their own life, such as cancer or death, or when looking at the tragic events that we are confronted with daily, like disaster and disease and poverty. They cannot grasp why these things are allowed to exist and happen. No, I don't believe the victims of these things deserve what they get, but I do believe that these things can be used to obtain a stronger will and zest for life as well as provide fellow humans the opportunities to be more compassionate and act accordingly.

Seeing or hearing of cruelty towards others, especially for superficial differences, I realize that we all need to learn that being different makes us better as a whole species. This helps make me more tolerable and accepting.

I generally believe that we all should take what life provides and make the best of it; I also believe I'm able to do this because I feel there is a purpose to it all. Things happen for a reason, even if I never know what the reason is. Do I look at a child with a disability or a town nearly demolished by natural forces and ask why it happens? No, I honestly don't. I know that the child will undoubtedly touch many people's lives with his strength and courage, giving them reason to be appreciative of life's possibilities. I have faith that the town will either be rebuilt by genuinely caring people or the people from the broken town will be dispersed amongst other towns, where they may have been needed for further success.

It seemed terribly judgmental when I read that those (at least a great many from julia sweeney's blog) who have abandoned the idea of a God existing consider those that have not to be irrational and/or non-thinking, and they also seem to generalize those who do believe in God into the group of religious Christians. I reached this point of spirituality by being very thoughtful of what I'd learned and experienced and by taking a few mental steps back to find a bigger picture than just my own life. Atheists (and it seems more so for naturalists) say God's existence cannot be proven scientifically and therefore cannot be believed in, to which I say it hasn't been disproven, so I'll just continue to believe what makes sense to me. Everyone else can continue believing what makes sense to them as well, but it might be best not to judge others for their beliefs because I doubt any of us will be around to witness the scientific proving or disproving of a spiritual existence.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

How to get here...

Usually people that get here by searching for something are actually searching for me. At least that would be my interpretation of search terms like "celebrate woo" and "celebrate woo woo".

A few searches leading here frighten me a little. Things involving "two boys" and "cute boys". Those are the ones I wonder about if I should and how I would report them to authorities.

Recently, though, I've gotten hits from more random things. Here's a little list:

fitting room miniskirt
That one's taking it back to July 2005.
skyqueen, florida
I believe they may actually be looking for this chic, whom I do have a link for in the sidebar.
two boys christmas video to mom
Not sure, but I think this may have been related to a commerical.
woman selling shoes to two boys picture
I doubt I've ever seen this picture...wonder if it's a good one.
lip balm machine
Who knew there was such a thing? Maybe there isn't, but they wish there was.
pull ups poo poop pooping pooing poopy pooped poopies
Potty-training? I am no help right now. I'm hoping to be able to offer some wise and experienced advice soon enough, though.
little boy peeing in the snow
Not yet. Thank goodness;>
since my husband physically abused me he has ignored me for 2 months
I am so incredibly saddened by this; I wanted to cry as I read it. I hope she finds the courage and desire she needs to escape before he stops ignoring her.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Now we can buy all the small parts and choking hazards...

M and J are officially 3 years old; that happened at 12:46 and 12:48 PM Eastern time, respectively.

They know the ABCs.
They know colors.
They know a lot of shapes.
They can count past 10, always to 11 and usually jumbled after 12.*
They are writing letters and pictures with a purpose, not just random scribbles...intentionally and legibly writing A or H or M and drawing smiley faces, although the smiley faces tend to have straight mouths.
They recognize their names on paper.
J (and possibly M, too) recognizes other words without accompanying pictures, for instance "strawberry".

So, they are quite accomplished little boys. I can't justifiably call them toddlers still; they are, in fact, children now. I realized this as I responded to some toddler inquiries cagey had recently. Toddlerhood is part of our memories (more mine than theirs) and childhood awaits. It's an exciting adventure that I hesitantly welcome with open arms.

What can't they do? Well, it's more like "won't" than "can't" because they have done it...stop peeing and pooping in diapers and/or pull-ups and using the toilet as a utility rather than a toy. So, the weekend after Christmas, I'm taking this advice and ditching all diapers and pull-ups and will wash load after load of laundry to get my point across. I know they can do it because they've stayed dry at daycare until after nap several days, but I see the reason they don't...why make the effort if no one's making them. Sure would be nice not to need to include diapers on my list of stuff to pack for our vacation in January.

*The jumble of those "teen" numbers is not specific to them, though. While buying that slurpee machine in ToysRUs, the little girl in front of me skipped 13, 14, and 15 just like M and J do;>

I didn't know they had a seasonal availability...

The building I work in is participating in the Salvation Army Angel Tree program this year as they apparently did last year as well. Our angels include name, age, clothing and shoe sizes, and a wish list. I chose a 3 year-old boy that had "educational toys" on the wish list. I have two 3 year-old boys that get educational toys regularly, so I thought I could easily manage that. I also chose an 11 year-old girl that had a snow cone maker as her wish. I know I've seen snow cone makers in the store before, so I thought this would be an easy one as well. I so thought wrong.

Walmart had snow cone machines available online, so I went to both the Walmarts in my area Friday night...no snow cone machines. I never realized how disorganized the top shelves at Walmart are before. I assumed the stuff on the top shelves corresponded with what was on the lower shelves in that aisle. Not so much, but still no snow cone machine found after carefully traipsing through each and every aisle with my head cocked back and rolling side to side. Okay. Well, I've still got most of the weekend to find one.

I spent many hours Saturday afternoon online, searching and searching and searching for a physical store that had a snow cone maker, hopes raised each time I found a local retailer that had them in inventory only to fall farther and farther each time I read those "not available in stores" or "online only" words. So, I found plenty of snow cone makers that I could order online, but none of the merchants would be able to guarantee delivery before noon on the 12th (our deadline). After paying the astronomical overnight/express/expedited/procrastination-is-my-first-middle-and-last-name shipping charges, I didn't want to be stuck with a snow cone maker that I would never have wanted in the first place and not have anything to give that little girl, and so I heartbreakingly come to terms with the fact that I will not be giving her the one item on her wish list. I even seriously considered buying a gift card for one of the places and including a note with information on the snow cone maker they had, but I don't think the gift card would provide the type of excitement her family hoped she'd be able to have by participating in this program.

I did get the next best thing (at least I pray it will be seen that way), a slurpee machine. It may even be a tiny bit better since you can make any flavor you want using juices, sodas, etc. No generic-flavored syrups to buy forever and ever.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

I don't think that's how they're supposed to work...

It's a good thing I left the party when I did. Apparently, the shots were taking their time working their magic on me. After a decent half-glass of red wine and, um, SEVEN shots, a mix of apple pies (wow...how can they make liquid apple pie like that?) and kamikazes, I still felt totally fine. Well, I feel a little off right now, 20 minutes after walking through my front door, relieving my mother from the couch to return to her bed a couple miles away. I thought the beauty of shots was that they went down smooth but had powerful effects. I guess that's true, but I thought it was supposed to be a quick, powerful effect.

I'm not going to admit how many times the backspace key was used for this post...not that my count would have been accurate anyway;>

Friday, December 08, 2006

Now he knows I know he knows...

As much a relief as that morning was, there was even more relief to be had that evening.

Stretched out on the bed next to NS, watching t.v., he also perusing the internet, he shifts his position slightly, the laptop screen no longer directly included in my vision although still part of the peripheral*. What I see from the corner of my eye is this very site.

I've known for months (and I mean months as in, let's say, since April kind of months...again because of peripheral vision as I passed behind him while he was using my computer one afternoon) that he knew I had a blog of my very own and wasn't just a reader of others' blogs, but I never knew if he ever read it again after his initial discovery.

Why would I be relieved that he does read it? Why would I try to casually let him know that it is fine that he reads it? Because I have learned to accept that I express myself better in written form. More of my true feelings are exposed and are better communicated when they are written (or typed, as the case may be) than if I try to verbalize them. I always forget things when I try to say them. I can't very well walk around with queue cards for life's conversations...can I? Anyway, last week when I posted about that Redbook article on love codes, I started wondering if he really knows how I feel about him. Does he recognize any simple, subtle things as gestures of my affection and fondness for him? It dawned on me that most of the talks about our future seem to involve my listening and agreeing without much actual contribution; at least, it seems that way to me when I think back to them, which makes me wonder if he truly understands how much I do want to be part of that future. So, basically, if he reads what I've written about him here, then he should know, recognize, and understand all of that. At least, I'll have to hope so;>

*He insisted the shift was not to prevent me from seeing the screen, though. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt, but the timing was rather coincidental.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

I'm not an addict but am a frequent user...

I can't explain why I conducted the search yesterday in the first place, but a search for Monkey's Lunch flavor of My Lip Stuff lip balm also popped up a result for the Lip Balm Anonymous site.

It never really occurred to me that the chapped feeling I seem to get more often now than before could be because I use lip balm daily, usually anywhere from once to three times. The addicts belonging to Lip Balm Anonymous seem to have a much more serious problem than I since I don't get any high feeling from applying lip balm or the smell of it, nor do I have panic attacks if I don't have it, but I have begun to realize how much more my lips seem to be peeling and cracking and bleeding if I have not applied any lip balm in the middle of the day but did in the morning and hating the half hour it seems I spend trying to smooth my lips out again by removing all that dried, cracked skin...but even then it doesn't ever occur to me to that I just need more lip balm, so I think it's safe to say I'm not quite an addict of it.

Since the age of thirteen I've used Vaseline from that big tub nearly every night before going to sleep. Back then I was also a nervous liplicker, so that's probably why I needed to use it in the first place. While that stuff does help heal, overnight, whatever plagues my lips are suffering, after reading the Lip Balm Anonymous site, I wonder if it isn't more harmful for me to keep using it when I don't actually need to. Maybe it shouldn't be used as a preventative treatment.

I am curious as to the role of lip gloss and lip stick as well. If I stop using lip balms as a prevention for dryness so that my lips can restore their own natural moisture, will I have to stop all forms of lip embellishment? Because that, that bare lip look, I'm not sure I can commit to...sometimes a girl just wants to add some color to her not-so-colorful lips, you know, and I just love to see the shimmer of gloss on my mouth. It's not an obsessive love, like I can't go an hour without checking my lips to see if the sheen is still fully present; afterall, I put on one layer of lip gloss this morning (without the undercoat of lip balm for the first time in, oh, I don't know, probably years) and haven't reapplied a single thing seven hours later. I don't need a constant freshly-applied look, but I like the traces of glitter left behind that somehow seem to better define my mouth. I am not a matte user at all. I like shiny things, even on my face.

I'll try to reduce my daily usage to just an occasional or this-is-too-painful (following the first few weeks of what was labeled by the addicts as physical withdrawl symptoms) usage because I would like to see if my lips actually have a decent amount of moisture all their own without my waxy interventions.

How very apropos that today's self-portrait for Flickr's 365 Days was a you-don't-get-much-closer-than-this close-up of my mouth;>

Tarot...

I'm not prone to being a blindly led sheep...I swear;> Found this on fringes's blog, too, though.


You are The Hierophant


Divine Wisdom. Manifestation. Explanation. Teaching.


All things relating to education, patience, help from superiors.The Hierophant is often considered to be a Guardian Angel.


The Hierophant's purpose is to bring the spiritual down to Earth. Where the High Priestess between her two pillars deals with realms beyond this Earth, the Hierophant (or High Priest) deals with worldly problems. He is well suited to do this because he strives to create harmony and peace in the midst of a crisis. The Hierophant's only problem is that he can be stubborn and hidebound. At his best, he is wise and soothing, at his worst, he is an unbending traditionalist.


What Tarot Card are You?
Take the Test to Find Out.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Why did I start this thing?

In response to the question fringes answered on her blog with an invitation to join in fun...

Well, it was a gradual domino effect. GA girl was coaxed by another blogger (also a former roommate of GA girl's), skyqueen, into starting her own blog to keep friends updated without having to compose and send emails (much easier to just compose and publish;>). I became a regular reader of her blog and since I'd created a Blogger account to make comments on hers, I thought I may as well create a blog while I was at it. That little fact was documented in the incredibly-creatively-titled first post I created.

At that point in time, my marriage had been on the path to its eventual end for over a month, nearly two, IFKAMH having stopped spending his nights at the house although not actually telling me where he was and pretending as though I and the boys didn't really exist. It took all of until my second post on the first day for me to start writing about my daily adventures with my boys and IFKAMH's deplorable decline from husband and father into ex-husband and strange guy's voice on the phone maybe once a month these days.

That has been over a year and a half ago, and I still find great comfort in having a place to share my thoughts and experiences in a way I've felt most at ease with...writing. My life is definitely not the same as it was when I started this, but I'm glad that I felt compelled to write about it then because it gave me this wonderful outlet to have and community to participate in now.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

My body is evil...

WARNING: Male readers may regret reading this.

I think my body and mind are playing some sort of game. My body seems to delight in using whatever methods available to scare my mind.

For the past two months, my period was the same, although strange. I would have a day or two of bleeding about 5-7 days before I should and then have another day or two when I should. Sucky, but at least it was consistent. This month? Let's see, I should have started 2-3 days ago. The skipping of the weird pre-bleeding was not a concern; I thought I was finally getting adjusted to these pills, but then not even starting on time...that did give me a little to worry over, especially considering I have had some days of overwhelming exhaustion and have been feeling nauseated on and off for nearly a week. While I can certainly attribute those things to other causes (exhaustion from illness, nausea from bug boys caught and passed around for 4 days), I did that once before and set myself up for a shocking discovery in later months, so I didn't want to be too quick to dismiss these things again.

So, naturally, I went to Dollar Tree last night to buy some pregnancy tests. I took one of them this morning. A bit of a side track...is a test that you can't pee directly on cheaper to make? Is that why these are a dollar when others are at least four or five? Collecting urine in a cup to then suction into a mini-sized dropper should not be the highlight of my morning. Back to the test...it was negative. As much as I'd love to be pregnant and have a baby, I am very thankful for this result. I think part of the reason my body is easily able to play these tricks with my mind is because I'm so paranoid about getting pregnant right now; the timing would be awful seeing as NS would be on deployment at the time of the birth.

Of course, after getting out of the shower, I pee once more and find those smears of red I'd been looking for for days...scheming, conniving, manipulative body;>

Monday, December 04, 2006

Please excuse me...

I may not post regularly, or read regularly, this week as I try to organize M and J's birthday as well as finish up my Christmas shopping.

My "babies" will be 3 years old in one week;>

Friday, December 01, 2006

It's all in the code...

As I sat in the waiting area of the doctor's office Tuesday morning, I picked up the issue of Redbook that was on the table next to me. One of the cover headlines caught my looking-for-distraction attention. It was about ways he says he loves you without saying it (very loosely and generally paraphrased). I decided to read those couple pages while listening for my name.

The article was actually about couples using code words and phrases in place of the "I love you" expression. The "relationship experts" commenting were very much in favor of this, claiming that it supported close and intimate bonds between the pair since it was something only the two would share.

One of the women interviewed told the story of her construction-worker husband that would say, "I like you," instead of, "I love you," when ending a call from her while he was at work...you know because of the embarrassment he might suffer from the other tough, manly men he worked with.

That, of course, got me thinking on NS and me. It seems his code phrases are: I like you and You're alright/okay. And those words always make me feel that warm feeling of love and make me want to hug him a little bit tighter. The emotion is completely sincere (and therefore powerful) when he tells me those things, and I guess I have always had at least an inkling as to what the real message was. Who knew it was such a good thing to have these codes, worthy of a Redbook cover article;>

A few changes...

The dark dots blogger template just wasn't doing it for me anymore, so I decided to test out some of the new beta blogger features. I'm satisfied right now. I still have all the things I had before with a lighter color scheme and a bit more organization.

Pssst...bet you couldn't guess that my favorite color is blue;>

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The stuff I somehow forgot to post about...

With a commitment made to post at least once a day this month, you'd think I'd have posted about anything and everything I could. Well, apparently I did not.

Earlier this month, NS's motorcycle was stolen from right outside our apartment. It happened either on a really rainy Sunday or a very vacant Monday; my bet is placed on the Monday. It's really not all that bad. Once it's gone 21 days without being recovered, the insurance payment will be made. Sure, he'll have to pay off the difference since he owed more than it was worth, but at least he won't have to continue making payments on something he won't be riding very much for the next year or so.

The night before Thanksgiving, NS and I went to see Cirque du Soleil. I think I failed to mention it because there isn't much to say other than Cirque really should be able to stake claim to being the greatest show on Earth.

My boys had daycare/school pictures taken, and they turned out fantastic. There is a positive side to having children that love to pose for pictures. I'm wondering how many more people telling me I should have them modeling it will take for me to give it any serious consideration. I'm sure they'd be great at it, but I'm not sure if it is something I want them involved in. Here are the pictures of the pictures...

This one of M was the worst of them since his smile was captured at the wrong moment:
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This was J's sitting pose:
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M's holiday background:
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J's holiday background:
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M's plain background:
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J's plain background:
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And saving the best for last, their brotherly love shot:
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Is it any wonder why I bought them all??

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

3 Coins...

Way back in the beginning of this NaBloPoMo journey, I read a post that looked like something interesting to do this month, and so I've finally done it.

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The year 2000 reminds me more and more that I haven't heard a peep or read a sentence from my dad since then. I got married that year, and for a while he seemed happy about it, but that changed quite abruptly. We were communicating via email at that point; he'd only re-entered my life as I graduated high school. Before then, it had been just phone calls made and gifts mailed for my birthday and Christmas. One of these emails asked if I was planning to do the traditional dad-give-away-the-bride thing. As gently and tactfully as possible, I let him know that my mother would be giving me away. He never replied to that response, never sent the RSVP for the wedding, didn't call or write after receiving birthday and Christmas cards and gifts from me that year. I guess he was hurt. He has the right to feel however he wants, but he wasn't a great father, and in my opinion, my mom was the only person that deserved to give me away. Like I mentioned, he was not a stable part of my life. He's not the sperm-donor that contributed to my creation, but he did adopt me when I was 7, so he is the man known as my father. He played that role in my life longer than any other man, from the age of 3 or 4 to around 9, which was when he and my mom divorced, so he is my father in my mind as well, just a poor one. He did the visitation thing for a brief period following the divorce; I'm not sure why it stopped, but at that point in time, I didn't mind...I didn't fully trust him still. He was not a good man; he abused my mother and me, albeit in different ways. So, it is not a great loss to me, but I sometimes wonder if he realizes what he's lost by not staying in touch.

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2004 brought a lot of new experiences into my life seeing as that was the first year of my boys' lives, my first year being a mother. A couple months in late summer are particularly notable; those were the months that central Florida was hit with three hurricanes between August and September. The first of those was Charley. That was the one we didn't leave for and the one that hit us the hardest. In the middle of the night, as the winds were picking up and starting to loosen panels from our fence and the speeding train sounds of tornadoes were getting to be frequent, IFKAMH and I gently lifted the boys out of their cribs and summoned Big Dog and Little Dog to join us in our closet. While it was a walk-in closet, it was crowded with two adults, two 8-month old babies, and two dogs. And since the power was out, it was also very warm, so warm that we were all sweating and finally had to strip the boys down to diapers and fan them so they wouldn't be awake for the rest of the night. Listening to the sounds coming from outside the house, the windows shaking and debris colliding and still the awful noise of tornadoes, was nearly terrifying, not knowing exactly what was happening and just praying that we would remain safe while huddled in our safe-room closet. The next morning we walked outside and found we no longer had a fence; we had some posts still up and less than a handful of panels remaining attached. Our neighbors across the street had their white vinyl fence pieces littering the grass of their backyard, seemingly more white than green; it looked like a giant's version of a pick-up-sticks game. Overall, we made out with little damage to our home, mostly just a majority of the soffit ripped off or bent. Later that day we drove around and saw much more devastating damage, usually to older homes, as well as tree after tree broken and lain across street after street and embedded in roofs. We were without power for just over a week, which was a miserable experience since it was August in Florida. When another hurricane threat loomed off the coast just a couple weeks later, we headed north. That one only caused a loss of power for a day. Then, a few weeks later, another arrived, and we went farther south and west but suffered no disruptions at home. For an area that is typically considered to be too far inland to receive a massive hit from hurricanes, we sure took a beating that year.

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Well, this year isn't even over yet but has definitely brought about changes. In January my divorce from IFKAMH was finalized. In March I started a new job that was actually a good fit for me and sold my house in Florida. Late June, I learned I was pregnant and told NS and my family and everyone else in July. Late August, I learned my Baby Angel had died and went through an induced birth to deliver her since my body would not willingly give up on her. Throughout September and October NS moved in with me and the boys. It's been a roller coaster of a year so far, having a great deal of impact on me and my family and creating everlasting memories.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sinusitis, maxillary...

I decided that my sinus pains needed to be kicked by some antibiotics and took a trip to my doctor's office this morning. Hopefully, they'll start working over the next few days and allow me to be feeling better by Friday for the company holiday party. After two in the afternoon, I'm wiped, so I'll work on a decent post tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'd like to remove my sinuses, please...

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I started feeling a bit icky about 9 days ago, the same day I started the 365 Day Flickr challenge. I had started feeling like I was on the road to recovery Thanksgiving morning. Today, it's like someone is driving a bolt in between my eyes, down into my nose. My nostrils are useless for breathing, and all I want to do is curl up in bed and close my eyes, which is what I'm about to do, but I couldn't forget either of my current daily challenges;>

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Random thoughts of the weekend...

* Saw Stranger Than Fiction...wondering if NS and I have a fantastic sense of humor or just a weird one.
How can you not laugh at a scene where questions like, Have you ever been made of wood or stone?, Are you the king of anything? (elaborated on with suggestions of being the king of the lanes or trolls living under baseboards), or Do you have any magical powers? are asked with earnestness?
* Watched Love Actually...mostly smiling and gushing at the triumph of genuine love, but saddened to tears by a woman's purposeful and persistent pursuit of her married boss and the fact that he could consider risking his marriage for an obviously immoral and unscrupulous tramp.
* Why am I craving ice cream so much with the chill of winter so close?
* Pumpkin pie, green bean casserole, and egg nog are my favorite tastes of the holidays.
* Maybe losing all my previous Christmas decorations and tree isn't too terrible. Starting over can be refreshing.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Wackiness...

I can't remember which blog I saw that linked to this Wacky Warning Labels site, but if I still had the curling iron with a wacky label, I'd definitely send it in.

The label on that curling iron read: "Do not use while sleeping." I guess someone once thought it was like a hot roller, but that would be a really ineffective way to style your hair since there's only one of them, and I don't really think you're supposed to sleep with hot rollers, either; that's why they make regular curlers.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanks...

Still in the Thanksgiving mood;>

Two boys who continually make me happy to be their mother
Handsome man who makes me feel special and proves again and again that he is special
Amazing experiences and memories from the past year
New experiences and memories to look forward to in the future
Kind mother who always supports me
Sweet dog who doesn't mind the boys taking over his space

Thursday, November 23, 2006

A time of thanks...

Simply a list of 10 reasons I'm thankful:

1. My boys are healthy, happy, and developing well.
2. I am recovering quickly from my recent cold.
3. NS is a wonderful man to have as part of my life.
4. I have a job that allows me the freedom to go to my boys' daycare to eat Thanksgiving lunch with them one day and attend a show&tell another.
5. My family is supportive and happy for me.
6. I have some great friends, both in real life and in the virtual world.
7. All my boys' birthday and Christmas gifts are crossed off the list.
8. My last post was received much more favorably than I'd thought it would be...must mean I did a decent job of communicating through my writing.
9. NaBloPoMo has given me a lot of good blogs to check out and add to my list of readings.
10. My life has continued to improve in the past year.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Confession of my soul...

It is time to come clean.

I need to share about how much my heart breaks each and every time I come across a woman that is pregnant and getting out of the "danger zone" of the first trimester. It reminds me of how I seem to fall into the small odds of statistics so easily.

It wasn't likely that I have twins. I didn't have a family history; I was 22; I was white (well, still am); I used no form of reproductive assistance. All of those factors gave me a 1 in 100 chance of having twins; that's only a 1% chance.

It wasn't likely that I get pregnant with Baby Angel at all. I was on birth control pills, which are supposed to be over 99% effective.

It wasn't likely for that pregnancy to end like it did. I saw the heartbeat; I was out of the first trimester before I barely had time to realize I was pregnant. Having no history of miscarriage before, my chances were fairly low. The chances of miscarriage after seeing a heartbeat via ultrasound are less than 5-7% and are supposed to be less than 3% (if even that high without history or other factors) following the 13th week of pregnancy.

Sometimes I want to scream, "You can't stop worrying! Look what happened to me!" But, I can't warn anyone that they can't stop worrying because for most, they can, and I am so happy for them that I wouldn't want to cause them any more worry. Sometimes it isn't good to beat the odds, so I'll hope I can just be average next time around;>

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

27...

A meme I saw in candyland. Because? I'm a bit bored at the moment.

1. Explain what ended your last relationship.
He's an idiot. More detailed explanations of that statement can be found in the early archives of this blog, and occasional reinforcements of that statement can be found as recently as last week.

2. When was the last time you shaved?
This morning.

3. What were you doing this morning at 8 a.m.?
Waiting at a stoplight on my way to work.

4. Are you any good at math?
Yep, but hate it with a passion.

5. Your prom night, what do you remember about it?
How much I loved my dress;>

6. Do you have any famous ancestors?
Not to my knowledge.

7. Have you had to take a loan out for school?
Not yet.

8. Last thing received in the mail?
Thing? I guess it would be my second pair of jeans from ebay unless the Sensational Beginnings catalog counts.

9. How many different beverages have you had today?
3 - water, perfectly pear white tea, and pomegranate white tea.

10. Do you ever leave messages on people's answering machines?
Most of the time (unless I know they don't usually check messages before returning calls) because I hate talking on the phone and have called for a reason.

11. Who did you lose your CONCERT virginity to?
Color Me Badd...I'm not ashamed; I loved those guys, especially Bryan Abrams.

12. Do you draw your name in the sand when you go to the beach?
I have in the past, but I prefer burying my feet and legs.

13. What's the most painful dental procedure you've ever had?
The fillings never really bothered me. The only other non-routine procedure I've had was removal of tissue between my two front teeth {all I want for Christmas is my two front teeth, my two front teeth, my two front teeth...sorry}, and I had drugs for that, so no pain. I think my least favorite part of dental visits is the cleaning with the metal pick that always pokes me in the gums.

14. What is out your back door?
This question could've been worded more appropriately, I think. There may still be boxes out my back door, along with some broken glass from the light out there.

15. Any plans for Friday night?
Nothing special that I know of.

16. Do you like what the ocean does to your hair?
After I get out of the ocean? When it's dry and salty and tangled? I think not.

17. Have you ever received one of those big tins of 3 different popcorns?
Unfortunately, yes.

18. Have you ever been to a planetarium?
Sure have, even volunteered at one for a couple weeks druing high school.

19. Do you re-use towels after you shower?
I was clean when I used it to dry myself, so yes, I do, many times. I have enough "real" laundry as it is.

20. Some things you are excited about?
My boys' 3rd birthday
Christmas
Trip to Whistler in January

21. What is your favorite flavor of Jell-O?
Lime. Can we add some tequila to that?

22. Describe your keychain.
I have a few: the remote-entry for my car, my YMCA pass, and a Purell hand-sanitizer thingie.

23. Where do you keep your change?
In the little outside zippered pocket of my wallet.

24. When was the last time you spoke in front of a large group of people?
More than just saying my name? Probably been close to 2 years.

25. What kind of winter coat do you own?
I have a tan, below-my-butt coat that has a furryish lining and a hood. I also have a precipitation-resistant one, which is dark and light blue with white stripings and is thicker than the everyday coat previously mentioned. It's the coat I wore for snowboarding the one time I went last year, but I will have another jacket for that before January's trip.

26. What was the weather like on your graduation day?
I think it was alright. High school graduation day isn't a high priority memory for me to keep fresh.

27. Do you sleep with the door to your room open or closed?
Closed. My children sleep right.on.the.other.side.

How to express love without saying, "I love you"...

Tell me, with believable sincerity, that I was cute when I was sleeping.

By "sleeping", he meant that half-hour that I was laying nearly face-down on the pillow next to him, with my tongue falling out of my open mouth every few minutes because with the drones in the snot factory working so much overtime that my nostrils can't drain fast enough and are getting backed up, my mouth was the only means of gathering oxygen for proper brain function. Yeah, I'm sure I looked cute when I was sleeping;>

He either wanted me to go back to sleep with hope that the extra rest would cure me or was afraid if I didn't go back to sleep that I'd be complaining all night in a charmingly nasal whine. Since he keeps asking if I feel better, it may actually be the former.

Monday, November 20, 2006

How to handle a boss's request...

As I drove to my boys' pediatrician office to pick up physical forms for daycare, I passed by a small business college. The sign out front read (NOT in small print):

"My boss told me to change the stupid sign. So I did!"

There was nothing else on the sign but these words. That has to be professionalism at its finest.

Now, I must start taking my camera with me at lunch because it is much more jaw-dropping, followed by a little understanding smirk, with the full visual effect;>

*Update*
Took pic on way home...
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Sunday, November 19, 2006

One year...

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I wait for the phone to ring so that he can tell me the time we're supposed to meet. We're going to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants and might go dancing after that. Getting anxious and impatient with hanging around the house, all dressed up, nothing to do until he calls, I head out to the store for gum and maybe a necklace since my outfit seems it could benefit from one. I find a great butterfly necklace, one that I've worn most days since that night and have gotten compliments on so many times that I've lost count. I get the phone call while I'm there, so I pay for my items and drive down the street to the restaurant to wait for him there.

I call him after I arrive because the lights to the place are off for some reason, and I know he'll never find it unless he knows some of the other places around it since he's never been there before. He finally walks through the door...doesn't look like he lied about his height, didn't wear a t-shirt or tennis shoes...so far, so good.

We eat and drink and talk and laugh. I'm sure we spent more time at our table than our waiter would've liked, but at least we were still drinking. Once we'd finished the drinks, we decided to continue the date somewhere else. We settled on bowling instead of dancing; the bowling alley was closer than the nearest club, and I hadn't been to that club in over 7 years, so who knows if it would even be a good place to go.

I bowl in my usual granny-bowling style, which I'm sure he found more than slightly entertaining as most people do when they see a grown woman launching a 12-pound ball from between her legs, getting strikes sometimes and spares regularly. We finish a few games and a couple of drinks and call it a night. We trade cordial goodnights in the bowling alley parking lot without so much as a hug; he's been quite the gentleman...either he's not interested, is very shy, or knows how to be respectful and patient.

It only took a couple more dates to figure out that it was the last. When I first decided to respond to the message on Yahoo Personals he sent, it was because he seemed like a fun guy. When I made the decision to go ahead and meet him in person, it was because we'd had fun email and IM exchanges. I never imagined he'd be the kind of guy I wanted to be with for a long time; I've never been happier that I didn't let my stereotypical opinions of younger guys prevent me from making those decisions or from seeing that he is not one of those stereotypical younger guys.

Last night, NS and I went to the Melting Pot to celebrate the mark of one year since our first date. That day is technically today, but he has to work today, so last night was the night. It was a wonderful meal with laughing, dreams for the future, and a magnificent bottle of merlot, the meager remains of which are pictured above. I can't think of a better way to have commemorated this occasion than with those hours of quality alone time. I'm not positive when it was that I knew I loved him, but I know I do; I love how I know that he loves me without him ever having to say it, and I love how he treats my boys as if they were his own and how they call him, "daddy", and I love that he is smart and cute and funny and how he calls me, "lady".

One year...with plans for many more.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Do you think you want this?

Earlier this week, there was a post by kristine detailing her lack of parallel parking skills. A few of the comments referenced those "new cars" that do it for you. Those "new cars" are the new Lexus LS luxury sedans. You may have seen the commercials. You may have even thought that sounds like a super luxury to have. Well, you might have also thought it could be too good to be true. Want a demonstration? Take a look* at this video clip.

* Warning: You may find yourself shouting at your monitor, over and over, in between bouts of laughter, "Just park it yourself!" (and other more emotionally expressive variations;>)

Friday, November 17, 2006

The guidelines for this place...

I read this post of fringes and because NaBloPoMo is bringing many more new visitors, I thought it a marvelous idea to post about the "house rules" of our blogs. So, these are mine:

I blog about all sorts of topics. This is a dumping ground for my mind. There are personal experiences, thoughts, and issues posted as well as just random musings, ponderings, and observations. Despite being able to focus quite well in real-life, this blog is not focused on anything in particular. If I've been inspired by a post on someone else's blog, then I will often incorporate a link to it in the post, just like I did for this one.

I post pictures of my children fairly regularly and will sometimes include pictures of myself and/or NS or even my canine called Big Dog. I've found a new appreciation for carrying a camera with me at all times in order to capture some moments of time that I hope never to forget.

I welcome any and all comments. I've tried to make it as easy as possible to comment if you'd like...no word-verification required. You don't have to have a blog or even identify yourself. Anonymous comments are enabled, so use it if you are so inclined.

I do not always respond to comments. I read them all (even if it is a new comment on an older post) as they are forwarded to my email, but unless a question has been posed, I don't specifically make a concerted effort to respond. I am, however, attempting to comment more often on the blogs I read and to visit the blogs of those that leave comments here.

If your comment is mean-spirited, ill-informed, or just plain immature, it will not be deleted and *usually* will receive no further acknowledgment from me. The reason it will not be deleted is because it is more embarrassing for and defining of the person that left the comment than me, and the reason I won't acknowledge it is because this blog is for me, and me only, so I don't hold judgmental, outsider opinions of my life in high regard. I am aware that opening up my life for others to read opens the gates for comments like these, but they don't offend me, so they've never made me want to curl up in a ball in the corner or stop posting.

That being said, I rarely delete any comments but certainly have had reason to do so in the past. Those that have been deleted include: duplicates, spam, and those that might reveal more of my personal information than I'd like to have readily available here (e.g. real-life name or more specific location than my state, which happened once and only once).

I believe those cover the loose guidelines I follow. These will now be known as The Guide to Woo-Woo's Blog and will be posted in the sidebar. Great idea, fringes (and everyone else that had the idea before;>).

Thursday, November 16, 2006

At least I didn't have to lay on the bed...

Frustration overcomes me as I bounce my lower body into a pair of jeans that I'd won on ebay for a fraction of the original retail price. There is no reason these jeans should not slide right over my thighs and hips and button comfortably around my waist, yet I am forced to transfer every bit of air from my tummy to my lungs, holding it in, in order to accomplish this feat. They'd look fabulous...if only I could breathe.

I am disappointed. I can't believe how random women's clothing sizes are, not even just with different makers but within the same label. (I have another pair in a different color but same size by the same designer en route now; hopefully, the sizing will be more favorable this time.) I have sizes in my closet ranging from 3 (waaaaay off on sizing on their part, but damn that's nice of them to want to make me feel so skinny;>) to 11. Usually I can pick up an 8 or 9 or 10 and be safe...used to be 6 or 7 or 8 before that last pregnancy (which is still hard to handle; it's easier to justify extra weight when you've got the baby, but when you don't and the weight you gained to nourish another life just shifts away from the belly to the rest of the body, it's more difficult to accept as a worthy sacrifice), so when I find something that is just obviously produced smaller than it's sized, I am irritated at the very the least. Because this is most often noticed in more expensive, more "prestigious" labels, it seems that they're just trying to feed some unhealthy and irrational obsession with being super-thin. I don't want to be, and probably could never be, a skin and bones girl. While I would love to drop those pounds I gained in recent months, I don't want to ever drop my weight much below what it was then. I want breasts and hips and a butt, and I don't ever want anyone to look at me and think I could break if they hugged me or if I pushed an elevator button with any amount of force. There are some people that are truly a size 1 or 2 (or whatever) while not appearing fragile and bony, but they are not as common as designers seem to think they should be. If I wanted to sell my brand, I'd assume I should make a woman feel as good as possible about her real size. I understand not making your size 3 fit a size 7 (seriously...what are the real size 3s supposed to wear?!?), but come on, you can make the size 10 fit a 10.

I have a feeling this rant will only be related to by other women, and that's almost as frustrating.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Well, there you go...

I've spent too much time today thinking about what I'd like to post. I just ended a telephone conversation with IFKAMH that just gave it to me.

Since our custody agreement is technically "joint" rather than "sole" as it appears to be, I need him to sign and have notarized a document of consent for me to obtain passports for M and J. The reason for the passports is to make our trip to Whistler, B.C., Canada in LESS.THAN.TWO.MONTHS as easy as possible. So, I needed to get his current address to send the forms to him. After giving me his address, he proceeds to ask if I would mind if he claimed one of the boys on his tax return. I responded first with a simple "no", to which he asked why. Besides what would seem to be the obvious reason that he is not actually a care-provider of theirs and they are not just walking, breathing tax write-offs, I explained the irrefutable logistics of my answer: he does not supply more than half of their expenses.

In order to claim someone as a dependent, you must provide more than 50% of their financial expenses. The minimum child support amount that is paid to me still leaves me $100 short every week for daycare tuition, so that leaves me to pay the remainder as well as all of their food, clothing, shelter, and miscellaneous expenses. Even though they are on his medical insurance with his employer, it is a lesser cost to him than it would be if they were on mine, and I'm still the one that covers the co-payments and medicines and the charges that his insurance hasn't paid for, which as far as I can tell is all of them (hopefully that's just an error, though, and I can get reimbursed). All of those details are what I told him when he asked about it being 40%...not even close.

He said we should work something out. I asked if he was going to be supplying more money. No, he's not. Then, there isn't anything to work out. He makes more money than I do yet shoulders less of the burden from child-rearing expenses than I do; I fail to comprehend how there's a compromise in which I don't claim them as my dependents come tax time when they are, in fact, my dependents.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

How important are social skills anyway?

Does it bother anyone else to get a puzzled gaze from a cashier when you give not-quite-exact change, such as $20.11 for a $5.06 purchase so I receive $15.05 back rather than $14.94 to limit the bulk of my wallet? Am I the only one that tries to keep my penny-count to a minimum since they serve me no purpose other than being able to occasionally provide exact change for those rare times I use cash? Or is it just that addition and subtraction skills are not valued or considered important anymore, so much so that the cashier doesn't realize what change I'm getting back until the machine spits out the calculation?

Instances like that make me worry about my children's future in school.

My officemate's daughter is a new middle school and high school music teacher. She can't write in cursive because some of the children can't read it, and forget about knowing how to write it...their signatures are just block-letter names or some block-letters with scribbles. Apparently, this skill is not deemed necessary since it isn't part of the standardized testing administered to children. Was I the only one that was taught to write checks using cursive for the spelled-out monetary value so they couldn't be altered as easily? And yes, I did learn how to write out a check in school; I'm guessing that's probably not part of the general curricula now, though.

I hear tales of the debilitating restrictions teachers must cope with to manage a classroom. No traditional or creative discipline is allowed. You can't have a child do a repetitive sentence-writing exercise to encourage a change in negative behavior. Some "not my angel child" parents probably sued a school system after they managed to get the kid diagnosed with carpal tunnel. (It's a serious affliction; I'm not trying to downplay its painful affects; I just have a hunch that there was some child who manipulated his parents into finding a way to get him/her out of a punishment rather than trying to correct the behavior that required punishment in the first place.) You can't have the child stand at the back of the class to ensure he/she stays awake during class. Well, that's just humiliating for the sleepy kid to have to stand while everyone else sits. The schools here (and I assume in most places) have a very lengthy documentation process for counseling disruptive children before the only punishment available can even be rendered...suspension. The thing is, most kids acting out at school really don't care about getting a few days off from the daily grind, so it's a highly ineffective means of resolving behavior problems, in my opinion. I haven't been out of school that long, but even in high school we had a government teacher that used her yard stick to slap desks, her own as well as ours, and launched erasers across the room at the chalkboard in order to get our attention and return our focus to learning. I'd bet she's not still doing that, or maybe she retired.

How can children really learn when others are blatantly allowed to interrupt class since there are no legitimate consequences given? I'm not going to rush to call my children geniuses, but I've always been in gifted and advanced programs, and despite his idiotic actions as an adult, their father was not a stupid child, either, so they are not likely to be at the lower end of the the learning curve. I am so very concerned about being able to be intensively involved in their schooling because I don't want to not be aware of things that might be going on at school that could inhibit their full potential for learning. I don't want them to be overlooked for possibilities of greater challenges because of a couple of clowns whose parents are clueless that take up the teacher's time, and I also don't want them to think that I don't know exactly what they're doing at school or that they won't be in trouble with me if they are disrespectful in class, regardless of whether or not the teacher's hands are bound by guidelines designed to coddle an overly litigious society. I'm building a portfolio of blackmail to unleash upon their peers in the future...that picture of J wearing my silver heels would make a lovely addition to his classroom's wall or the school's lunch room should he decide that he's too cool for school at some point; same goes for some awesome naked baby/early toddler pics of M; and I'm not at all above attending class with them if that's what it takes...I imagine they'll love that idea.

One of the districts in this area has even banned vending machines. While that may seem wise at first thought (hey, about time they stopped enabling children's eating nourishment-lacking foods all day), why not replace the usual stuff in vending machines with healthier alternatives to allow sensible snacking since snacks are actually a good idea? Forgo the Lays and Snickers and Coca-Cola? Sure. But to discourage snacks altogether? I don't think that's a brilliant idea (maybe lack of caloric fuel is what was making that kid fall asleep in class to begin with). Just put pretzels and granola bars, milk and water or juice in those machines instead. Those items are available in bulk, too. That particular school system also reprimands teachers if caught with any drink besides water at their desk. Water is a great staple of for hydration, but it is not the only good thing out there.

Good gracious. No wonder so many people are seeking to homeschool.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I just don't get it...

One morning as I drove into the parking lot where I work, one of the local morning radio shows was doing a segment on the apparent controversy of a Lyfe Jennings's song. While this song clearly spells out what it is about, it isn't about getting it; it's about keeping young girls from growing up too fast for no good reason. Even though the song references a 17 year-old, which I don't necessarily think is all that young for s.e.x. (I was 16 and still don't believe I was too young), it applies to all girls that are entering puberty and developing more womanly figures and being oogled and enticed by boys and men alike. Emphasis is made on not letting guys try to convince you to do something you're not ready for just because you think you're in love and also on thinking about what you're giving up because you can't get it back. I can't understand why there would be any reason to be upset that this song is being aired on radio stations when so many of us criticize the fact that girls are taught to act sexy from an incredibly young age, much sooner than the teen years.

Is it that those who are outraged at this song being allowed airtime on public radio waves are just not listening? Where's all that fury when it comes to songs that actually exploit women's sexuality as something casual? The #1 song almost every evening here has women acting like strippers and hookin' up with some random celebrity at a club to join the milehigh club on his jet. (I happen to love this song, so I'm not trying to say it shouldn't be on the air...it's just the principle of the argument.)

Is it only songs that incorporate colorful euphemisms with the word "sex" that are suitable radio songs? Things like "magic stick" and "rock the boat" are entertaining and amusing enough that we can overlook the parts where she's sexin' him so he'll pay her bills and buy her gifts.

I honestly don't understand why or how so many people find so many things offensive. More often than not, people should just tune out or turn off what they don't like and stop trying to prevent everyone else from making their own decisions about what's acceptable and what's not.

Unfortunately, I was only able to listen to the intro for that segment on the radio that morning and never got to hear anyone's reasons for disapproving of the song, but I doubt I would have gotten the point of why that particular song is obscene because I've listened to it closely and know that it is an accurate portrayl of a girl's experiences with a positive message:

Hold on, to your innocence
Use your common sense
You’re worth waiting for (You’re worth waiting for)

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I know this might drive me insane...

I'm sure most of the blogosphere that takes pictures has been introduced to the Flickr 365 challenge, the one where you take a self-portrait every day for a year. A year is a lengthy commitment that I'm not quite sure I'm up for making, but I figure I'd give y'all a chance to tell me what you think. So, click away, up to once per day, to voice your choice for the next week;>


Should I join the Flickr 365 group?
Hell yes!
Absolutely not.
Are you kidding? No one gives a flying frak.
  
Free polls from Pollhost.com

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Maybe not so girly afterall...

I read Rashendo's review of G NaBloPoMo participants yesterday. She mentions some of the statistics and notes how most of the bloggers are women, probably because we like to talk so much;>

While she's very right in that women have a reputation as the gender that enjoys talking and sharing our feelings, I can't help but feel out of place in that generalization of women.

I don't like to talk. I don't get upset if my significant other doesn't ask about my day because I don't usually want to talk about it, and if I do, I will. I'm the one saying my day was "fine" rather than elaborating on the details of all my encounters and projects. I don't feel the need to talk about "the relationship" on a regular basis (not that it's a bad idea, I just don't do it). I also don't like to talk on the phone. That is probably one of the main reasons that it's difficult for me to stay in touch with my friends. I'm an email and blog readin' and writin' kind of girl. I make phone calls when I feel it has to be done and not a minute sooner. While I don't regularly ignore phone calls coming in, I have definitely taken advantage of the silencer on my phone to put a looming conversation to rest for a while. Now, I can be a cackling little hen on the right subject, on the right days, but it's not one of my dominant traits, and I doubt anyone has ever described me as "talkative".

I'll post all about my feelings and thoughts on a blog...just don't expect me to talk about it;>

Shuffle Playlist from iPod...

25 randomly selected songs from my music library. Eclectic is good, right?

1. Freaky
Juelz Santana, classification: Hip Hop/Rap

2. Sugar, We're Goin' Down
Fall Out Boy, classification: Alternative

3.Rag Doll
Aerosmith, classification: Rock

4. Hysteria
Def Leppard, classification: Metal

5. Unpredictable
Jamie Foxx & Ludacris, classification: R&B/Soul

6. I'd Die Without You
P.M. Dawn, classification: Hip Hop/Rap (really?)

7. Everlong
Foo Fighters, classification: Rock

8. Brown Eyed Girl
Jimmy Buffet, classification: Pop

9. Jimi Thing
Dave Matthews Band, classification: Rock

10. Girl Talk
Kenny Burrell, classification: Jazz

11. Dimension
Wolfmother, classification: Alternative

12. My Mind is Ramblin
The Black Keys, classification: Rock

13. Shutterbug
Veruca Salt, classification: Alternative & Punk

14. My Fault
Eminem, classification: Hip Hop/Rap

15. Wet Sand
Red Hot Chili Peppers, classification: Alternative

16. I'm A Thug
Trick Daddy, classification: Hip Hop/Rap

17. Funky Shit
The Prodigy, classification: Electronica/Dance

18. To You I Bestow
Mundy, classification: Soundtrack (Romeo + Juliet)

19. Post-Modern Sleaze
Sneaker Pimps, classification: Electronica/Dance

20. Round Midnight
Thelonius Monk, classification: Jazz

21. My Sexual Life
Everclear, classification: Rock

22. Sunshine
Lil' Flip & Lea Quezada, classification: Hip Hop/Rap

23. Do It To Me
Usher, classification: R&B

24. Just A Girl
No Doubt, classification: Alternative & Punk

25. Someday After A While
Eric Clapton, classification: Blues

I sometimes wonder if my taste in music would be considered odd or if it is similar to most. There is certainly not any one type of music to which I'm devoted. I like songs based simply upon the song, but it doesn't mean they're always popular songs or even good songs. I haven't even figured out what draws me to any of the songs I like other than the R&B and Rap/Hip-Hop for the beats. So, am I a kooky, scrambled mess of a listener or just like everyone else?

Friday, November 10, 2006

Appealing to woman's logic...

I just returned from one of my visits to the office's ladies' room. I was disgusted to find used latex gloves on the floor next to the porcelain and drops of urine on the seat...and also with the fact that the woman in there with me turned the water on with a handle, washed her hands, turned the water off with that same handle, then used that same wet and recontaminated hand to repeatedly push the lever on the paper-towel machine.

You see, my post-flush routine (of course followed by the redress) is:

1. Push paper-towel machine lever once in order to produce a palm-sized paper-towel.
2. Turn on water.
3. Wash hands.
4. Tear palm-sized paper-towel produced in Step 1 from machine.
5. Use palm-sized paper-towel to turn off water and then to push machine's lever a few times to get hand-drying-sized paper-towel.
6. Tear away my hand-drying-sized paper-towel from machine with one hand, then use palm-sized paper-towel with other to produce another hand-drying-sized paper-towel for next hand-washer to be able to use.
7. Throw away palm-sized paper-towel.
8. Dry hands and leave ladies' room by using hand-drying-sized paper-towel to open door and then foot to prop door open as I throw hand-drying-sized paper-towel back to trash can.

This may seem a tad OCD on my part, but it just seems like a reasonable way to not waste the effort of washing my hands by re-exposing them to whatever germs I'd assumed were on them when I turned the water on in the first place.

And the pee spots on the seat...ladies, I'm thoroughly disappointed to encounter this sight in our own restrooms; we know better. Doesn't everyone check the seat before leaving the stall? It's the same rule I wish most men would follow: If you can't keep it inside the bowl, you clean up the overflow;>

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Frak...

I'm not sure how many people watch Battlestar Galactica regularly. Those that do usually have high praise for it. I'm not so in love with the show that I'm ready to go door-to-door trying to convert everyone into believing this is the best show EVER, but I don't consider it a collosal waste of my television-viewing time, either. There are some things that I do love knowing about because I've watched most of the shows, though.

First, I understand what all these CafePress shirts are talking about, and more than just a few are hilarious!! I would actually consider purchasing and wearing one in public except for the visions of people asking for an explanation and then shaking their heads at me while I dazzle them with my knowledge of a not-very-technologically-advanced future where we battle robots called Cylons, thinking to themselves things like: "Loser." or "Is she off her medication?" or "Why haven't her children been removed from her care?".

And mostly, I succumb to a swell little round of snickering from hearing them use the word "frak". This is apparently an ingenious method to incorporate profanity into television. Simply alter the original word that some find so terribly offensive and then abuse the hell out of it. It doesn't take much imagination to figure out what "frak" is. From now on, WTF is What the Frak (hint, hint;>).

Paging Dr. House...

I went to my doctor a couple days ago to have these red spots on my arms and legs checked out to determine if there was some serious problem or if there was anything to do to get rid of them since they'd been around for over a week.

These splotchy areas never hurt or itched, so I tried to just let them clear on their own, not really certain what they may have come from and having had them come on very suddenly. One afternoon while I was in the shower, I notice a patch of red spots on my thigh as I was shaving. After I got out of the shower, I caught a glimpse of my reflection and saw that the things were all over my arms and legs. They never got any worse but still hadn't gotten better after at least a week, and so I decided a visit to the doctor was in order, especially after my mom, the R.N., didn't have any idea what it was.

The nurse at the dr.'s office hadn't a clue what it was and couldn't believe they weren't at all itchy. A lot of them have a dry, scaly appearance (I know that's a super sexy image you've got of me in your head now;>), so I totally understand why anyone would think they should be itchy.

The first doctor didn't know right away what they were but thought they were probably a reaction to some virus. He searched his computer and came up with a couple of possibilities but none that really seemed to fit, so he called in the more experienced doc.

This one looked and asked more questions about whether I'd had a sore throat and what medications I've taken. At first I didn't remember having a sore throat, so he thought that my birth control pill may be the culprit since I'd just barely finished the second month. They both disappeared to consult some book of diseases and disorders to make sure it was what he thought it was.

As I sat for a couple minutes trying to think back over the past month or two, I suddenly realized that I had had a sore throat a little less than a month ago. I rushed out from my curtained room to tell them this. This meant I needed to be tested for strep since some poeple have reactions to strep with rashes or hives on their skin; in fact, my officemate's daughter can figure out when someone has strep before they do because she gets hives from the exposure before their symptoms ever appear.

If it wasn't strep, then it was erythema multiforme. My strep test was negative. I was advised to contact my OB/GYN in regards to the birth control pills in case they were the reason I developed this and to come back for a follow-up if more spots appeared. They said it should go away on its own in another week or two.

I spent a bit of time yesterday researching erythema multiforme. Apparently that sore throat I had was most likely the indicator of the spots' imminent appearance. Many people that develop this type of skin allergy have symptoms of a respiratory infection or sore throat or just general sick feeling 10-14 days prior to the rash breaking out on the skin. This thing could be my skin's response to any number of different stimuli: medications, bacteria, viruses, or even something like my latest tattoo. As far as I could tell, there aren't any tests to narrow down which of these were the instigator, so I don't know if I will just have to get a different birth control pill or if I won't be able to take them at all since the progesterone hormone that may have been the cause is in all birth control pills; that's how they work. The younger doctor didn't seem to think it was really the pill, though. He was still pretty sure it was exposure to some virus that brought it on.

Without knowing what my skin was reacting to, it's difficult for me to avoid exposing it again, which means I could have outbreaks in the future. While the spots aren't bothersome by being painful or itchy, they look weird, and I'd prefer they disappear and never come back again.

And on another weird note, I may have shrunk over the past 10 or so years. I first hit the height of 5'3" by age 10. I didn't grow again until 15, when I was measured to be 5'4" during a school physical conducted in the high school gym. People don't really realize that I'm actually only that tall because my shoes usually have about 3" in height. One day at work, the subject came up; I think we'd been discussing the length of pants since we're all less than average height. I took my shoes off to show just how short I was, and they were all rather shocked...and insisted they did not believe I was 5'4", more like 5'3". As it turns out, they were correct; I measured 5'3" at the doctor's office the other day. I either shrank or the measurement taken back in high school was wrong. Now, NS really is very close to being a foot taller than me, 11 inches instead of 10. I guess that's why it's easy for him to rest his chin on my head even with my shoes on;>

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Some of these I have no intention of adding to my list of "things to do"...

Seen at ElleBee's blog. Bolded are checked off on my list;>

1. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
2. Swam with wild dolphins
3. Climbed a mountain
4. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
5. Been inside the Great Pyramid
6. Held a tarantula
7. Taken a candlelit bath with someone {candlelit has always been just me}
8. Said “I love you” and meant it {always}
9. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game {I'm assuming that regular season NFL or NBA games aren't included as "huge"}
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby’s diaper {many, many}
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity {it felt like it, but I'm still not broke, so I guess not}
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk. {not as often as I've been taken care of, though}
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe.
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving {it's on the list...maybe next year}
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger’s table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero {only child, remember?}
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day {last Sunday}
60. Played touch football
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken {so far, so good}
69. Toured an ancient site
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played Dungeons & Dragons for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days {only 2}
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo {5 times now}
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an “expert”
83. Got flowers for no reason
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Kissed on the first date
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently well enough to have a decent conversation
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised (raising) children (child) {raising children}
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over {simply starting over wasnt' really the root reason}
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn’t stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn’t have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Touched a stingray {not in the wild, though}
110. Broken someone’s heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a facial part pierced other than your ears
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone’s mind about something you care deeply about {not that I know of}
130. Gone back to school {not yet, but that's the plan}
131. Parasailed
132. Touched a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad
135. Selected one “important” author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you’re living your dream {not yet, but pieces of it are there and the rest will just take time}
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn’t know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident {so they say}
150. Saved someone’s life {not to my knowledge}