Tuesday, February 27, 2007

This is so not my week...

What? Why are those lights flashing behind me? Oh, no...I'm being pulled over.

Oh, no, no, no! What am I being pulled over for? For once, I am not speeding...I haven't had enough time to start speeding, rather, but still, that can't be it.

"License and registration."

Nervously pulling license from wallet and handing over.
Leaning over to glove box to grab registration and hand it to him...why couldn't this be happening tomorrow night after I've taken care of the expired registration and updated the license with my new name and address?

"When is your birthday?"
"July 20th."
"When does your registration expire?"

Are you kidding me?!? One more day and this wouldn't be happening.

"July 20th, but I just got married and then moved to a new place, so I was waiting to get everything taken care of at once. I planned to go tomorrow."
"You know there are penalties for being late."
"Yes, but that isn't until next week."
"If I see you tomorrow with these expired stickers, then I'll pull you over and write a ticket for everything I can find."
"I understand. Thank you."

That happened over six and a half years ago. I haven't been pulled over since...until last night.

I pick up my boys from daycare at five o'clock. Their daily reports indicate a need for "diapers" (pull-ups in their case).

Crap! I knew I'd forgotten something at BJ's on Sunday. Good thing tonight isn't a bath night, but I guess I won't be cooking dinner tonight.

"Boys, we're going to the store! Then, we can get some dinner. What do you want for dinner?"
"Hamburger." "Chicken."

As we sit at a stoplight on the way to BJs, they declare they also want french fries. They saw an "M store" (those stupid yellow arches), which is apparently synonymous with french fries...where do they come up with this stuff?

"We can get fries, too, but not from there. And, we still need to go to the store before we get dinner."

Pull-ups are successfully purchased through whines of what we're eating...hamburgers, no, chicken, no chicken, hambugers, etc. I manage to convince them they will each get their food of choice where we're going, including fries and chocolate milk.

I decide to go to the Chili's by BJ's, no sense in driving past our house to go to our usual Chili's when there's one close by. Damn it if I didn't regret that decision a few hours later.

Dinner goes well. Service was fast and efficient. We were on our way home shortly after 6:30; this emergency trip to BJ's hasn't put much of a damper on our evening after all. I choose to avoid the interstate and just take the short cut past the mall instead. Wrong decision again...fuck!

I am going 42 mph (that's what he claims, and I'd agree). I pass a driveway of one of the shopping centers where a police car is waiting to turn onto the same road I'm on. I don't think I'm speeding, so I don't slow down.

A minute later, I hear a brief siren and see the red and blue lights waving at the back of my car.

Shit! What the fuck am I being pulled over for?!?

I sit calmly to wait for the officer to approach my car. The boys find the flashing lights immensely entertaining. Maybe if they'd continued making noise (or if I'd had Big Dog with me, too), I wouldn't be in the predicament I'm in now...who knows. He finally strolls up to my car, shining his brighter than the sun flashlight into my side mirror to blind me a little bit.

"Do you have your license and registration?"

How old is this guy? I'm pretty sure I'm older than he is. Great...I've got some skinny little rookie cop that's gonna want to prove his authority.

"I do."

Hand over license. Retrieve registration and pass that through the window back to him...because he's standing behind my window instead of beside it.

"I pulled you over because you were going 42 in a 30."
"Oh my God. I had no idea it was only 30. I'm so sorry."

Most of that sentence was probably not even heard. I don't speak very loudly, and he'd already begun his retreat to his car. I figure I'll get a warning. I've never had a ticket. Considering that one time I got pulled over was in Florida and was over six years ago and wasn't even a written warning, I didn't see how this could go differently. Clearly I'd forgotten the date, the 26th day of a 28-day month.

So, I now have a speeding ticket. I want to fight it, I really, really do, because I just don't think it was the right thing for him to do. If he'd given a written warning, then I would have accepted it without a problem, but a ticket for someone with nearly 9 years of clean driving history, not even a speck of anything on it? That just doesn't seem like the right course of action.

My case against this would be something like this:

-I don't usually travel on that specific stretch of road. I live in another town and work in another city, which is where I do most of my shopping and conduct most of my personal business. The only reason I venture over to this other area is to go to BJ's, just as I had last night. Usually when I go to BJ's, my return trip is via the interstate back to the road I live off of, which has a speed limit of 55 mph and is the road directly parallel to this 30 mph road. I just remembered there was a back road that connected the two and thought that'd be an easy enough way to go.
-Most similar roads in this area (no residences, no bends or curves, no hidden driveways, two lanes in either direction, stop lights at major intersections that also included left turn lanes, no stop signs), the ones I am more familiar with, are 45 mph, and that is what I assumed this one was, not having seen a sign. (I still want to go back to see if there is a sign posted where I was driving because that would be my strongest case against the ticket if there isn't, but I doubt I'll be that lucky.)
-This was not a high-traffic time, not a weekend, not a holiday, not rush hour. This was Monday night, a little past 6:30.
-There were no cars in the other lane or in front of me. I wasn't passing people on the road, nothing to indicate my speed was too fast.

I'm so upset that this happened because had I made either one of two different choices as to where to eat or which way to go home, I wouldn't have been stopped because I wouldn't have been speeding on those roads, being that they are not 30 mph. I am also quite angry that it seems there may be truth to the rumor that there are monthly quotas to strive for and meet whereas being pulled over at the end of a month is more likely to get you a ticket instead of a warning. I am utterly pissed that it seems this baby-faced cop intended to write me a ticket the moment he decided to pull me over because he didn't even care to hear what I had to say about the reason he'd pulled me over nor did he comment on my spotless record. I want to show up for my court date and plead my case, but I don't want to end up regretting that, too, so right now, I don't know what I'm going to do. I've got until April 3rd to figure it out, though. April 3rd...I wonder if it was even possible to get a later date than that.

Monday, February 26, 2007

23 (or 32), what about 45 or maybe 76...

Friday night was quiet and uneventful. NS and I did some internet surfing while watching t.v. and found some great kitchen and bathroom items (you know, for that house we don't yet own but plan to someday) and some adorable Newfoundland puppies and doggies (no new additions yet, but it's fun to look, and we actually will get one after we move).

Saturday morning was spent lounging around, mostly in bed. Saturday afternoon found us with cars nearly busting open with tupperware storage bins that finally got transferred to the storage unit. Our apartment actually looks like a liveable space when you walk through the front door now. Before it was more like a storage unit with some furniture squeezed in between the boxes and tupperware. Saturday evening was our date night, the last one for several weeks since his boat is leaving today and will be gone for 6 weeks. We went to see a movie and finished the evening with dessert at Melting Pot (mmmm...chocolate-covered cheesecake;>). In case the title of this post doesn't fully give it away, we saw The Number 23. It wasn't a bad movie, but I think it was meant to be taken more seriously than we could take it. The overall storyline and plot were really good, actually, but the involvement of the number thing just made it laughable...seriously, some guy let out a huge belly laugh during the movie, and I can assure you, it wasn't supposed to be a comedic moment. The number was just a stretch, really. The way it was incorporated, it could probably have been a lot of other numbers as well; you'd just have to find the right mathmatic combination, like add or subtract, multiply or divide, or reverse the numbers, etc. So, we weren't disappointed to have seen it, but I can understand why some of the reviews are not very favorable.

Yesterday was decent enough. He did some preparation for leaving, and I went grocery shopping, mostly to get stuff to make our dinner. The dinner? It was fondue. You see, our original plan for Valentine's dinner was to go to Melting Pot (hmmm, wonder if there's one of those out west...we seem to like it a little bit;>), but the reservations were booked until 11:45 last Friday night. That doesn't work for people that usually eat dinner at 6ish, so we ended up at a nice little steakhouse, which had a melt-in-your-mouth white-chocolate raspberry cheesecake that made me wonder why I had bothered to finish so much of my meal because I just couldn't not finish this cheesecake and was then left feeling like a pair of elastic-waist, granny pants would feel so much better than the strictly constructed jeans I'd been wearing. That change of plans would probably have passed on unremarkably until last week when this recipe showed up on my Google page. Using a Double Gloucester instead of the Jarlsberg/Emmenthaler cheese, beer (Blue Moon) in place of the white wine, substituting 1 Tablespoon prepared brown mustard for the 1 teaspoon dried, and omitting the kirsch and nutmeg, we ended up with a fairly close replica of our favorite Melting Pot cheese fondue. We used green apples, french bread, celery, and carrots for dippers. Wonderfully delicious and oh-my-goodness filling. I had planned a dessert fondue as well but decided after the first course that it would have to wait a couple hours so we could recover some of the space in our stomachs. The two hours wasn't really long enough (I'm not sure there were enough hours left in the night to be enough), so we ended up with a lot of leftover melted chocolate (which, by the way, really dark, like 60% cacao dark chocolate is not the best tasting for this...unfortunately that was the first package of chocolate I opened and poured too much in before remembering that I wasn't using the full bags...who knew it would melt on contact?) and half-bowls of uneaten strawberries and bananas, not to mention almost all the brownies. We tried our best, though, and thus couldn't move for a little while, which was a good thing because we wouldn't have wanted to spill the melted chocolate on the bed.

That covers my weekend, well besides my middle-of-the-night-2-am outburst about J waking up for the fifth time in two hours Saturday night/Sunday morning. NS had been sleeping too soundly to hear the every-half-an-hour cries of terror the boy was belting out, but I got quite fed up at his screaming and my going to see what he's screaming about only for him to stop the very moment I opened the bedroom door. The outburst started when I shouted through the closed door for him to knock it off and go to sleep. When he didn't, I flung the door open and told him he wasn't allowed to scream any more without a reason, and if there was a reason, he needed to tell me right. now. if he wanted me to do anything about it. While it may not have been one of my most shining mommy moments, J muttered his agreement, asked for help getting back inside his sleeping bag, and didn't make a peep the rest of the night. And, he still loved me in the morning.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Sorry about all the hair talk...

Really, I am, but I haven't liked my hair in months.

Woo's former hair styling ritual, which hasn't been done since October 31st, went like this:

1. Shower. (est. time=20 minutes)
2. Wrap hair in towel while post-shower pampering is completed. (realistically, embarrassingly so, this takes another 15-20 minutes)
3. Apply color-preserving creme (newly found product...so far, so good) and leave-in conditioner, and comb hair. (2 minutes)
4. Break out the blow-dryer, mousse, and big round brush (30 seconds)
5. Plug in dryer and proceed to get nearly all moisture out of hair on high setting. (3 minutes)
6. Go to laundry room to reset the breaker because it can't take all that blow-drying power. (30 seconds)
7. Repeat steps 6 and 7 at least 3 or 4 more times to achieve said nearly moistureless hair. (14 minutes)
8. Brush hair and apply mousse. (45 seconds)
9. Use big round brush with dryer on low setting to smooth and straighten hair to complete dryness. (with another couple breaker resets, 7 minutes)
10. Apply smoothing serum/creme, whichever one is currently available under counter. (15 seconds)

Total time from start to finish=63-68 minutes
Results? Great hair for the 15 minutes immediately following until I leave the house. From then on, it is a decline in hair beauty.

Any question as to why I have decided to give this up? I can assure you that having to leave the dark bathroom, gingerly climbing and tiptoeing across my children's sleeping bodies on the floor outside the bathroom door, upwards of 5 times to reset the breaker is not a great way to start your morning, especially when you've had to lose some precious sleep to do this in the first place. So, I resolved myself to the wet and wavy, sometimes bordering on the verge of curly but mostly just really wavy, style that I can do in under 5 minutes.

That was until I found this.

The first morning I used it was Tuesday. I had showered Monday night after coloring my hair, so my hair wasn't wet, just slightly damp. It was an amazing experience. So simple and easy and effective. I will say that I was not floored by the results right away, but my hair was noticeably straight without any little strays flying away from the newly-tamed mass, so I was happy. I was decidedly happier when I saw myself in a mirror later that day...oh my goodness! Did my hair look this good this morning when I left? I must be overly critical that early in the morning because it looks so great, all flat and shiny! This hair straightener may just be my new best friend because Tuesday was before the hair was trimmed. I can assure you that I hadn't been happy with the appearance of my hair for months, styled or not, mostly because the ends looked damaged either way. But this? This was a day when I could say that I liked my hair, even with the slightly unhealthy appearance the ends had because that was all that they looked like...slightly unhealthy instead of the fuzzy poofballs that had been so elegantly crowning my shoulders and back before this day. I'd say total styling time that morning was 5-7 minutes, but that was because no showering needed to be done...

Today. Today was the real test.

1. Shower. (20 minutes)
2. Wrap hair in towel while post-showering pampering is completed. (15-20 minutes)
3. Apply color-preserving creme and leave-in conditioner, and comb hair. (2 minutes)
4. Take out hair straightener, plug in, turn on, and set heat temperature. (45 seconds)
5. Grab random sections of hair and straighten. (10 minutes)
6. Apply smoothing serum/creme, whichever one is currently available under counter. (15 seconds)

Total time from start to finish=48-53 minutes (This could probably be reduced if I start with a higher heat setting to begin with, but I wanted to use the lowest setting possible to minimize damage.)
Results? Acceptable hair when I leave the house. Fabulous hair for the rest of the day, seemingly perfecting itself as the hours pass.

I can spare 15 minutes of sleep for this rediscovered love of my hair;>

Thursday, February 22, 2007

At least they don't screw up the cut...

Is it part of cosmetology training to teach hair stylists to find some way to criticize your current hair while they're cutting it?

I thought going to the Walmart salon yesterday for my hair cut would help me avoid the usual critique I receive while in the chair; it worked the last time I went to one. Not so much this time.

Not only did I wait over twice as long as I was originally told, but the first question she asks after how I'd like my cut is, "What color were you trying for?" (in a tone that indicates she thinks it went hideously wrong but is trying desparately to not convey this message)

I just redid my color Monday evening, and I'm happy with it. I do my own color using L'Oreal Couleur Experte. While it may not quite look professional, I only spend $17 versus the $90+ I would have to pay for someone else to do color and highlights for me. I know it doesn't look terrible when I do it myself because I've gotten compliments on my hair. I certainly didn't think it warranted that kind of question; it's medium ash brown with highlights, not electric blue and hot pink.

This was actually the first time any stylist has questioned the coloring part of my hair. Typically, they go on an on about the condition of my ends and how I shouldn't color all the way down to the ends because it dries them out. Well, I believe the drying is from lack of regular trims more so than where I put color, but this sort of criticism isn't as big a deal to me because I know regardless of how they got that way, my ends are destroyed by the time I sit in a salon chair. Walmart salon lady didn't even mention the straw pieces that seemed to have been cauterized with the ends of my otherwise healthy-appearing hair.

Maybe I need to adopt a more complicated style or not describe it the way it's been described to me so that the stylists can feel more useful and stop finding faults with my hair. I've stopped asking for what I really want, the ends to be razored, because each and every time I've asked for it, it's never been done. The one and only time this was done to my hair was at a Walmart salon, and she did it because she felt it would look good on my hair, not because I asked. That was my favorite hair cut ever. It looked great whether or not I did anything to style it. I don't know why everyone else ignores my requests for the razoring, but I've stopped bothering to ask for it and just stick with the simple long-layers in back, angle-down from chin. Now if I could just get this done without additional commentary, I would be happy and might get my hair trimmed more often than once or twice a year. I suppose if I went for the trim more often, then the usual commentary would be unnecessary since my ends wouldn't be dehydrated and dead.

Anyway, I've been home all day with my boys because M had a fever yesterday afternoon and can't go back to daycare for 24 hours. I thought I might be able to take advantage of the home-time and get the apartment in order for a jewelry party I'm hosting next week, but this has proven to be very, very difficult with the two of them retrashing right behind me. I have noticed that J's picking up some quality vocabulary from NS and me: "totally awesome" and "that's what I'm talkin' 'bout" (as in he asks for cereal in his Nemo bowl and then receives cereal in his Nemo bowl...that's what he's talkin' 'bout;>). That "totally awesome" is probably mostly my contribution because I generally tell him this when he's done something I'm proud of or that he's proud of; the other phrase is fairly equal, I believe. At least he's not skipping around and shouting expletives;>

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Yes, I do have an opinion on that...

NS and I talked during our Valentine's dinner on Friday night about various topics, some of which seemed to have an underlying theme of marriage, at least us getting married at some point. I've discovered he doesn't like that I still have IFKAMH's last name, even though he fully understands why I kept it (simply easier if boys and I have same last name). We've had similar coversations before about women's last names after marriage; I've made it clear that I hold no attachments to any last name I've ever had. Quite frankly, I haven't really had any of them (three) long enough to have an identity formed around them, although IFKAMH's would be the closest since I've had that one most of my adult life. Somehow this veered our discussion into the boys' relationship, or lack thereof, with IFKAMH. NS has his own timeline for IFKAMH to actually get involved in the boys' lives before he would consider pushing for adoption. It's a couple of years. I don't know how much resistance we'd have to put up with to make that happen, but I can imagine that getting out of 13 years of child support might be enough to persuade IFKAMH to throw in the towel.

With all that Friday night and the honeymoon word being tossed around Saturday afternoon, it's sort of hard not to think about marriage. But, before the marriage can happen, there needs to be a proposal. With my jewelry pickiness being a concern, I think I'd really prefer not getting a ring with the proposal. I don't think a ring is the required finale to make a proposal memorable. What would make it special to me is not knowing how and when it's going to happen.

IFKAMH and I were engaged for several months before I received an engagement ring from him. His mom had been keeping a diamond ring for him that he'd bought for but never given to a former girlfriend; she suggested checking with the original jeweler to find out if it could be used towards the purchase of a new ring. He did; they agreed to give credit towards a new ring. The trip to his mom's place was about three hours away. I knew he was going down there when he left; I knew why he was going; I had specified that I wanted a white gold, princess-shape solitaire, figuring there was no way for him to mess that up. When he returned from the trip, he informed me the ring was not ready yet, so I'd have to wait another week or two to get it. What I didn't know was that that was not the truth. We went to dinner that night, and in the parking lot by our car, he produced a ring and proposed again. The ring was more elaborate than the solitaire I'd requested (the new ring had to be at least double the purchase price of the original for the jeweler to offer trade-in credit), but thankfully, he hadn't picked one I'd hate. If he'd done something similar with the first proposal, sans ring, I'd have felt that was at least as special; as it was, the first proposal was much more casual and was really more like an agreement.

So, I really don't see any downfall with getting the ring post-proposal, especially if it means I'll get to voice my opinion without feeling like I'm pushing a proposal that hasn't even happened. In fact, I think the man planning out a romantic day or evening that climaxes around his asking me to marry him is much more important than having a ring in hand at the same time. The way I see it, guys don't typically wear diamonds, or jewelry for that matter (mine don't anyway), so I would never expect them to know much about it. Even if he did all the research he could, unless he takes that specific woman with him or asks her a gazillion questions, he can't be sure that he'll pick the ring of her dreams because we women, well, we have different likes and dislikes...go figure.

I had to do some research for this post (of course) and found what I feel would be the absolute perfect ring for me here, even this would be a suitable, less expensive alternative. But then I started wondering...what is too expensive? Those beauties ain't even in the realm of inexpensive considering they're pricing is $2900 and $1325 respectively...y'all, that doesn't even include the center-of-attention (there's me slipping into my "hick accent" as NS so lovingly refers to it...at least he tells me he thinks it's cute). I guess that's yet another reason I don't think the ring should be something left up to complete surprise.

For something a woman's expected to wear for the rest of her life, gushing at the memory of the day her guy proposed, it would be nice to make a tradition of ring shopping being a joint, post-proposal celebration that allows for input on both sides.

This post was going to be my first sponsored post, but the PayPerPost opportunity for blogging about engagement rings is no longer available. So, any feedback on whether or not this seems too out of context would be appreciated.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Can't find that here...

Seriously, people search for the weirdest things. I think most of them are highly disappointed to see what they see here after clicking through.

Topping the list of how people get here through searching is "celebrate woo woo", so that is perfectly fine, and these people are probably not disappointed by finding this blog. I'd even venture to guess they are actually looking for this blog when searching for that.

Now, the more wacky interesting searches...

boys sucking worker
I'm sure I've got all those words floating around in posts here, but definitely not in that order
morning noon and night woo woo woo song
Sounds like a perfectly romantic love song
sex with confessions husband doesn't know
What? Confessing to husband during sex?? Seems an inappropriate time to start confessions, especially if they are sex confessions
two boys picture looking at each other
Not sure what they were trying to find, but I've got at least one of those, like this one
ticklishness
Don't know what information they're seeking about this condition, but I doubt I've been helpful unless they just need to know they aren't alone
morwenna meaning
"sea wave"...which was fitting for my corydora
fully clothed shower
um, I just don't know
blowjob contagious cold
Since contagious was thrown in there, I'll assume some poor soul was concerned about passing on a cold to their partner's penis...or maybe some guy thinks his penis caught a cold;>

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Take me away...

borabora

Bora Bora is my new dream vacation destination. I've discovered through these pictures that I now see every day as I log in to my personalized Google home that lagoons in the South Pacific are definitely top on my list of places to see before I die. I escape into paradise with miniscule snapshots; I can only imagine the peace and tranquility I could feel absorbing a tropical Tahitian sunset while lounging in a chair settled on a private balcony situated directly over the lagoon.

I spent a number of hours yesterday afternoon (how is it that I didn't really leave my bed for more than 10 minutes at a time until after 4 pm??) looking at different ways to get to Bora Bora, meaning different resorts, different cruises. Casually announcing that I want to go there, including a comment to NS that he should come with me, the afternoon turns into searching for honeymoon locations. He informs me that according to Travel channel, the Bora Bora Lagoon Resort is only number three on the list, resorts in Hawaii and Aruba ranking higher. Hawaii is paradise, too, I'm sure, but escaping to paradise without leaving the country doesn't quite make my eyes glaze over in the same way as Bora Bora. Aruba? Eh...doesn't seem to have the lushiest landscaping, which is important in my fantasies.

So, I've got NS sold on Bora Bora as an ideal honeymoon retreat...how did that happen?!? I'm certain he understands that honeymoons are simply called extravagant vacations unless you get married first...maybe he's hinting at something;>

Friday, February 16, 2007

Have you been paying attention?

I'm not sure how many of y'all have noticed the Online Community section in my sidebar, but there are buttons linking to two forums over there.

The first, Community of Bloggers, is a forum started by this guy, whom I've mentioned a time or two on here before. He started this because there are some things we blogger people might want to talk with other bloggers about but don't want to simply create a blog post about, hoping for feedback in comments. It's been great for me in the few questions I've asked (like how to have links open in a new window), so I highly recommend taking a gander at what's over there.

Girls Rule...Boys Drool is a forum specifically for women started a while ago by heather. It died out a bit, so through an appeal posted at the Community of Bloggers forum, she is trying to revive it. After checking it out, I was amazed and impressed at this perfect place for online women to commune and chat about anything and everything. So, I want all my ladies to go now and register! You can find out what I did for NS as a Valentine's Day surprise if you do...

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Let me count the ways...

Many people that complain about Valentine's Day being loathsome start their arguments with how commercialized it is. Sure it is, but isn't every holiday? Does any holiday's symbolism need to be diminished because some people support its generic commercialization? I don't think so. There are plenty of people and couples that put thought into their Valentine's Day celebrations, those that are simply taking advantage of a well-known holiday to pull out all the stops to woo the one they've been admiring from afar or to express the happiness their significant other brings to their life. I don't think the holiday needs to be hated in its entirety because there is an abundance of crap to buy with marketing campaigns vigilently attempting to impose guilt upon us for not buying every last piece of it...like I said, I can't think of any holiday we celebrate that couldn't fall into that same trap.

NS and I have been together for approximately 15 months. So, in honor of what this day is supposed to commemorate, I'm sharing a list of 15 reasons he makes me happy to have him in my life.

1. When I was so sick last month after we got back from Canada, he let me be sick and deathly and bedridden as much as I needed to be. He let me sleep all day, keeping the boys occupied and fed and clean, day after day until I was better.
2. He gets so much entertainment from tickling me. Considering this takes absolutely no effort on my part, it's endearing to see him derive that much pleasure in my hysterical laughter. It's a fun part of our nights.
3. Homemade cookies. Most recent batch included cheesecake (Yes! Cheeeeeesecaaaaake!!) pudding and white-chocolate/dark-chocolate as well as raspberry/dark-chocolate chips.
4. His vision of the future is ambitious but is not founded merely on leaps of faith. The plans are solid and well thought out. It's definitely a future I want to be part of.
5. Loves big furry dogs and could care less if they leave trails of slippery slobber on everything within their reach.
6. He doesn't hesitate to do laundry, vacuum, pick up toys...you probably get the point;>
7. Even if I mention or even sigh with dispair about clothes not fitting, he won't just join in my frustration. In fact, he doesn't say anything to agree with me. He doesn't ever comment on the extra fluffiness I've retained from the last pregnancy. That is one of the most important things a man can ever do for a woman...support any efforts she makes to lose weight or get in better shape, but never make her feel like she's not doing enough.
8. He was the greatest daddy-to-be, gentle and loving in caressing my bulging belly, excited about the ultrasound, catering to my culinary whims, making plans, and truly saddened when it all changed so quickly.
9. My boys are his boys in his mind and in his actions. Their care is not left solely to me. He will stay home with them for a few hours while I go shopping by myself. No matter how well-behaved they are in public, shopping is extraordinarily easier on my own. He thinks about what kind of school they'll attend after we move. He plays with them the way a dad should play with his boys, like I never can or could.
10. Monkeys are cute to him. I can totally play into this, being born in the year of the monkey and all;> I'm more than a little fond of these primates as well.
11. He doesn't settle. He's not opposed to waiting to get what he wants. This applies across the board, even in buying things for me. He will try to get the best price possible but won't sacrifice quality to do so. The likelihood that this goes deeper than materialistic things makes a girl feel special.
12. Discussing the disaster that is my mother's marriage one afternoon over lunch, he said that he would have no problem with her relocating with us next year, even staying with us for a while to make the transition easier. He said simply that my happiness is what is ultimately important to him, and it isn't hard to realize that helping my mother escape the drama with which she currently lives would make me happier.
13. The foreplay! It exists and is never skipped and is always effective...'nuf said.
14. The orgasms!! I think there's a chance I might break something if they were more intense or more plentiful;>
15. He appreciates the things that make me girlie, but he also acknowledges and appreciates the characteristics of my personality that aren't common traits for all women: the lack of need for drama, the lack of nagging, the fact that I love him as he is and don't expect nor want him to change.

Best laid plans...

If you need some almost completely unromantic stories this Valentine's Day, I encourage you to read here.

My valentine has to work through the night, so our loving celebration will not take place this evening. I'm quite disappointed that my excessively stressed over plan will not go as I originally hoped. I scoured my brain to come up with a halfway romantic idea for NS to enjoy, and I had it completely figured out on Saturday. Unfortunately, its successful implementation depended on too many out-of-my-control factors, like my having tomorrow off from work (not possible) and mom picking up the boys from daycare and keeping them through bedtime (nope). So, although I'm sure the final result will still be appreciated, it was disappointing and difficult to alter my perfect surprise into one that will hinge on his anticipation lasting until the boys are put to the floor for the evening. At least my lingerie binge doesn't have to go to waste, and my faltering best laid plan should still get me laid;>

Stupid sex filter...

The internet filters used at work seem to think Blogger is a porn site this morning. I hadn't yet figured out what I wanted to post for the almighty day of love and romance, but I was thinking of stuff and would have had something profound in 15 minutes only because I won't be able to post it. I can't even view comments, let alone make one.

I'm typing this on my Treo. Glad to have it, but I can't use this for an entire post...mostly because the battery's low and my charger here doesn't actually work. I knew I should've brought my laptop today.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

All this anticipation is killing me...

Some of y'all might remember an idea first mentioned way back in August about NS getting transferred to Hawaii. In case I haven't made it clear since then, because I'm pretty sure I haven't, that ain't gonna happen. Hawaii is not a cheap transport, and if they don't desparately need NS there, they aren't moving him with me and the boys in tow.

So, another option is Washington state. This is his top choice now, and I am, surprisingly, completely onboard with this idea. It may not be my tropical paradise, but they've got decent jobs for me there and gorgeous scenery (beach trumps mountains for me, but I need one or the other, and technically, we could have both there). Oh, and...ORCAS!! I wanted to make ocras my life not too many years ago, and I still have lofty dreams of making them a serious hobby in the future, so any place that has them is perfectly fine by me. Unfortunately, NS isn't so sure this is going to be where he gets to go. I don't think the Navy will care about my demands of being less than 20 miles (although I don't believe these distance calculations account for the water that separates the places on one side of The Sound from the other) from a Bahama Breeze instead of roughly 140 when making the decision, either. Damn them!

Which brings us to the fall-back plan of transferring to Kings Bay, GA. Less than 30 minutes from the FL border and within a few hours drive of my best friend? Why would I not be thrilled about this prospect? First, I don't like northern Florida. I loved my little nook in central FL (the amount of things to do and see is astounding) and love the southwest parts and would consider going as far into the northeast as St. Augustine because it is beautiful, but Jacksonville is not even close to a dreamy place to live, in my opinion. Second, no jobs in my field, at least not at the moment, which means searching through pages of listings for jobs that I'm either not qualified for or pay too little in hopes of finding that one odd opening that will suit my needs better than all the rest. And, lastly, need I reiterate...140 miles from Bahama Breeze. That is simply unacceptable knowing that the one in Washington is so much closer to their base.

To recap: Hawaii? Out of the realm of possibility. Washington? Yep. I'm excited about that one. Georgia? Eh, it's far from the worst place I can imagine going, but it isn't my preference. Also, my love of Bahama Breeze is unnatural, unreasonable, and, quite frankly, out of control;>

I know wherever we end up will have enough positive aspects to make it great, but I can still wish for one over the other until we know for sure.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Opportunity seized or blog prostitution?

I read a post on Jonathan's blog last night and then an article that was linked in one of the comments regarding people being paid to post about a company or product on their blogs. While I understand the hesitation in accepting these posts as legitimate personal posts, I'm still considering looking into the PayPerPost opportunities. The editorial piece done about this subject mentioned a campaign by Darden restaurants to promote Bahama Breeze*. Are you serious? Someone was willing to pay me to gush over what is probably my favorite restaurant ever?!? BahamaRita is the most delectable margarita ever made, even if it is served frozen instead of my preferred on the rocks. It was then that I realized that there are products and companies I've mentioned on here without being paid for my opinion; the one that comes to mind is Trader Joe's pomegranate white tea, not to mention the other post I put up about white tea. If these posts had been sponsored, then the brand would probably have been mentioned more clearly rather than just linking to their site, but still, the point is that I comment on products and companies regardless, so why not make a few dollars for doing so? This is not what I'd consider to be selling out. I understand that there are people that simply blog about the things for the money, but that might not be the case for everyone.

Sometimes you want to post something but are lacking inspiration. Ever notice my posts that don't deal directly with my activities usually contain a link to someone's post or a news item...or a tea product, as the case may be? When I want to blog but can't think of anything I want to write about, I start looking for things to piggyback off of, such as other bloggers or news items. From what I can tell, the opportunites available through PayPerPost might just be another avenue to explore for blog topics. There's at least one or two available now that I could post on, and one I've been meaning to post about because of some pending legislation in my state. I could see this blogging about a certain company or product as being out of place on a blog that truly does nothing but chronicle a person's daily activities, but quite honestly, I haven't read a personal blog yet that doesn't get into more than just that.

People naturally promote things in their life that are good, and even more often discuss experiences they've had, and that could easily include a company and/or its product(s), so I really wouldn't mind knowing that a blogger got some extra cash for posting about it. Granted, if the blog was dominated by such posts, then I'd have to second-guess the sincerity, but seeing one here or there doesn't seem insincere to me. Being paid to post doesn't have to turn you into a blogging whore, does it?

* This is not a sponsored post; I'm not even sure if they are still paying for posts about the place. The only reason it hasn't been mentioned here before is simply because I no longer live close to one. NS can certainly affirm my unnatural love of this place as I could barely stop oohing and aahing and drooling and informing that we must move to Washington to be near one long enough to close the web browser tab with the Bahama Breeze site in view and finish the original blogging-for-money item I'd been reading.

Friday, February 09, 2007

What? No pictures? Hmph...

Apparently a sex museum in Mumbai, India is doing a great job at educating local sex workers and their clients about HIV and AIDS. One prostitute has instituted a "no condom -- no sex" rule after visiting, saying that her tour of the museum made the information about AIDS clearer. They are now planning to build another sex museum outside of the red light district to reach a wider audience. The museum has free admission and has even taught the prostitutes a thing or two about sex. Sounds like a winning idea to me. Being greeted by a phallic-shaped symbol and walking on tile painted to look like sperm? I'm so disappointed there weren't pictures;>

E.T. is not a pothead...

A few of the Above the Influence ads are good. My personal favorite is S.L.O.M., and I think the kid in the Little Brother ad has a great comeback even if his big brother doesn't think so. Corny? Yes. Effective? I think it would be.

But, I cannot stand the new sketched ones; they actually irritated me enough to write this and to send an email to them. The main pot-smoking guy looks like E.T., and it's just all kinds of wrong to portray E.T. as a pothead. Besides that, they are outright stupid, and I have doubts as to their ability to be effective in any way because of that. The situations depicted are usually unrealistic and fail to even be amusing; I think when you're trying to persuade kids to change, you've either got to show something applicable to their lives or be entertaining enough to catch their attention and hold it. Who envisioned these things making a difference? The whole campaign has lost my respect because of these new ads, and I've now told them as much.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The weather sucks, and I've got nothing else to say about it...

Last week I read this post by jonathan and realized I am just not a "small talk" kind of person.

I can't tell you the last time I started a chat with some stranger in a grocery store line or in an elevator...perhaps it's never happened. Silence does not cause me any anxiety. I have no need to converse with someone just because they are in close proximity to me. I don't speak just for the sake of speaking. In fact, my skills in small talk are severely lacking since I can't even offer responses that would allow the conversation to continue to those who engage in this activity.

Stranger: "Wow, I can't believe how cold it's gotten these past few days."
Me: "Yeah. Me, either."

That's usually how it goes. Unfortunately, people don't often realize this is the extent of my ability in this arena and continue with these awkward exchanges until they are able to rid themselves of me.

Likewise, I tend not to comment on blogs simply to comment, and it seems many others may be the same way, reading regularly but commenting rarely.

This idea of briliant donkey's is a really good one, brilliant (hehe) even, but I can't bring myself to F.A.R.T. on people's blogs. I want something similar but different.

I'll see what I can come up with. Feel free to offer options in comments.

**UPDATE** I believe I may have found my own way to F.A.R.T. My comment can be I R.E.A.L., meaning: "I Read, Enjoyed, And Left."

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

10 pieces of advice...

Schnozz's post of advice to herself today struck a chord with me, so I decided to give the me of today some advice as well.

1. Remember that a crying spell is warranted some times, especially in rememberance of Baby Angel. It is good that you can accept her loss as being "meant to be", but she's still your daughter, and the brevity of her existence will always be painful, so don't be afraid to ackowledge that with some tears.

2. Always keep in mind the impact she had on your life in those two months. You finally know the answer to the question of whether or not you want more children in your family. You are more secure in your love of NS because he truly is the type of man you thought IFKAMH was going to be. These are monumental things to have been accomplished in so little time by someone the world could not even see, so always remember that the pain of her loss was not without purpose.

3. Go back to school already. It really doesn't matter what you go for; just go. You might now understand that the world is full of liars embellishers and dumb people, so don't expect any employer to realize what they're missing out on just because you say so. They've had to deal with too many of those other people to just put their faith in you. You need to have something to back it up, and for some reason you don't ever need to understand, a bachelor's degree in something, anything, will help.

4. Drag your sleepy butt out of bed on time more days than not. You may have lucked out in having jobs where your timely arrival isn't crucial, so it is allowed to slide as long as you put in the time one way or another, but it may not always be that way. Just think of how great it is when you get to work when you want to and get to take your full hour for lunch and still get to leave when you want to. You can do it; the extra 15-20 minutes of sleep isn't worth being 30-45 minutes late...obviously rushing through the early morning routine isn't working out for you. Having to figure out if you can shorten your lunch time or if you'll have to stay later than usual is NOT a good start to your day, so knock it off.

5. Yes, you do need to make the time to do your yogalates workout. You will feel tremendously better about yourself for doing it, and it should even help get rid of the extra weight you despise carrying around these days. If you want to continue eating some of that bad stuff you crave (and you know there isn't a chance in hell you could go without forever and ever), then you especially need the health benefits of the workouts. Your health should make it to the top section on your list of priorities, certainly over watching t.v. shows that you could watch another time and definitely over those you are indifferent to.

6. Make a monthly budget, and stick to it...otherwise, the budget is simply a waste of your precious time. Stop relying on your savings account as a back-up to your checking account. You should be transferring money from checking to savings every month, not the other way around. That safety net is getting smaller and smaller; it's past time to start worrying about preserving what's left and building it back up.

7. Try again to talk sensibly to IFKAMH about his involvement with the boys. What he's doing currently is selfish and not in their best interest. They are too young to remember him and old enough to start getting confused by his random and sporadic phone calls in which he refers to himself as "daddy". Remind him that his opportunity has passed but that they may decide in the future, when they are at an age of being able to understand the whole situation better, to include him in their lives and that you have no intention of preventing that from happening. It has reached a point where he needs to let go of what he wants to be to them since he isn't.

8. Find the time to discuss the future with your mom. The last time you half-heartedly spoke about it, she was willing to make the plans to move closer to you and NS and the boys wherever it is that you end up after he transfers, but this was concluded during a conversation that began because of another moody spell of her husband's. This move is something you really want to happen, so you need to figure out if she still wants to do this or if she's going to stay in her marriage. Don't be shy about expressing your feelings and your desires for her life as well as your own, but don't criticize her final decision if it isn't what you hoped it would be.

9. Continue being part of the blogging community. Writing the blog has brought a lot of support and friendship to your world that you wouldn't have had otherwise. Reading others' blogs makes you laugh and cry and think; it's no different than sitting down to read a book at night, but this is easier to make time for.

10. The ability to see the positive outcomes in life's events is a quality to cherish and hold on to. Knowing that whatever happens is happening for a reason allows you to have peace and to be genuinely happy, so don't stop interpreting things this way.

Monday, February 05, 2007

They're right...you never get over it

Other people having babies and other people having miscarriages finally broke me down. I'm sitting at my desk with tears on my cheeks, unable to stop them from continuing to fall. I don't like crying at work. Thank God I have my own office...and that my mascara is waterproof even if the eyeliner isn't.

Near the end of last year, a blogger that I'd found through the NaBloPoMo experience lost her baby. I felt like there wasn't enough I could type to offer my sympathies...and still don't.

Earlier this month, someone I have never met or even had any type of direct communication with had a miscarriage. My only reaction is to just want to hug her and let her know I understand.

On the 25th of January, a co-worker had her son. And, he's positively gorgeous. In our office "baby arrival pool" I had predicted her son to arrive on the 16th. I chose that date because I thought it would be very symbolic if my real-life pregnancy buddy's baby was born on Baby Angel's due date.

Saturday's mail contained a Huggies coupon for my "one-month old"...the one that never made it this far. The heavy tears collected in pools in my eyes that evening, but just for a minute because they weren't quite ready to be released.

While we ate lunch at the mountain lodge yesterday afternoon, we sat behind a family with a newborn baby girl. I don't think anyone noticed my lingering looks. She was so cute in her little pink outfit and hat.

I guess all of these things have just been building and building, and reading about the fight this woman's family and little girl are going through right now just collapsed my building, and now I'm crying. I sure could use a hug; at least I can go home in 20 minutes and get one from a little boy or two and a kind man.

No, don't touch there...ow...no, that hurts, too...

NS, a few of his friends from work, and I went snowboarding yesterday. Um, I'm very sore today, in fact, can barely move...we need a hot tub!!

I managed to make it off the ski lift once without falling. I'm not sure that's ever happened before. I'm starting to think I could jump off and run more easily than trying to slide off on my board like I'm supposed to. I'd like to start a movement for all ski resorts to have an alternative for snowboarders to get up the mountain. Lifts in no way help riders. We still have to go somewhere and stop and strap in our other foot, and most of us sit down to do this, which can create quite the obstacle course. I can see the benefit of lifts for skiers; it gives them a start and helps to get them going. Considering this little push just seems to help me fall, I'd prefer to do without. Whistler had these great gondola things that you would stand inside, board off, and ride up the mountain. You get off, walk to your preferred spot, put on your board, and go. That was just heavenly, and I wish it was the norm.

Anyway, I still had plenty of falls yesterday, but I was able to practice my turning, which I'm getting more comfortable with. One rather hard fall where I dove forward has caused some pain in my right shoulder. I knew immediately after falling that my arms and shoulders were going to pay the price, so at least it's not a shock. After lunch I apparently needed to have a terrible practice run. I just kept falling and falling, harder and harder, and even ran into a sign, burying my goggles and hat in piles of snow at least a few times (which, by the way, renders the goggles useless). Those falls have left me with a bruised left knee and what feels like whiplash. Yesterday was a day that a helmet would probably have been a good idea since I did bounce my head on the ground a little bit (um, more times than I'd like to remember). It's a good thing I don't give up easily, though, because the run right after that terrible one? Not one single fall and managed to turn more than a few times on my way down.

All in all it was a lot of fun, but I've realized that I'm a little afraid to go fast, which doesn't really work out well when you're riding on a mountain and runs with a lot of flat spots.

One of the things that really stood out from yesterday's trip? Blind skiers. I'm not sure what could possess someone that cannot see to want to go flying down a mountain at several miles per hour. They have guides with them, but they are not tethered together, at least the pair that I was behind for a little while wasn't, so the guide really can't stop the blind skier from hitting people or things; he just tells the skier to stop or to move. The pair I was behind seemed to still be in somewhat of a learning phase. The guide would try to direct the skier, "Left. No, left. More left!" The skier would move s-l-o-w-l-y and then stop. It took me a couple minutes to get to a place where I could get around them, but this was the gist of my brief encounter with them. Now, for someone that was perhaps very good at skiing prior to losing the sense of sight, I'd imagine this could be a much more dangerous situation. This person might be more comfortable with attaining movable speeds, which means the guide needs to pay very close attention to what the skier's doing and where he's going. I don't know how many of you realize this, but there's a lot of stuff to distract you on a mountain full of skiers and snowboarders, especially a smaller mountain that is only partially open, so everyone is contained to a few runs. There are races and jumps and just people falling (like someone falling facedown and somehow ending up spinning on their butt...ahem, like me;>). That stuff can get your attention and hold it for at least a second or two, but it only takes a second or two to run into someone that isn't going as fast as you or cuts in front of you or to find yourself not going straight down the mountain and instead straight towards a tree. What happens if the guide gets distracted? That blind skier is relying on his guide to be his eyes. Even if the guide doesn't really get distracted and focuses on the skier at all times, how can he make sure the skier does what is necessary, like stopping quick enough to avoid hitting a tree or swerving far enough, yet not too far, to not plow over a child in their path? I don't see how it could be done. I admire the attitude and the spirit of the blind skiers, but I cannot understand how that notion gets planted into their brains. Who told them it was a good idea? I cannot imagine thinking this to myself should I find myself no longer able to see.

Friday, February 02, 2007

Hoping they can all just get along...

Since getting Marmaduke as an early Christmas present, I've expanded my office aquarium. He's gotten a bigger (and oh-so-pleasantly quieter and cleaner) tank with live plants and a little pass-through cave in addition to a heater so that the water will stay warmer rather than colder in my not-very-stabilized office climate.

This week, he also got some friends: Murdock (meaning "sea man") - the plecostomus & Morwenna (meaning "sea wave") - the corydora

Murdock's introduction caused a bit of a scare. As I was trying to get my keys in position to lock and secure my car in the office parking lot, his bag rolled out of my arms and onto the ground. It didn't break open (had that happened, I probably would've dropped everything else in my arms and come running frantically into the building, crazily shouting for a cup of water...pronto!), but he didn't exactly enjoy the ride, either, obviously, since he immediately flipped over to his back and became deathly still. I rushed into my office as quickly as possible, trying not to jostle him any more than necessary, and got him out of the bag and into the tank after seeing that his sucker-mouth was still going. Looking back, I understand this certainly couldn't have helped relieve his shock. He remained very still for the rest of my day. I saw flinches a few times, so I dropped an algae wafer next to him before I left for the evening, knowing that these fish are nocturnal feeders, hoping he'd perk up overnight with some food.

The next morning, I was crushed to see him still in the same spot as I'd left him, still not moving, the wafer seemingly untouched and just a mush of tan stuff. I resigned myself to his death and got the net out to remove him and send him on his way to fish hades via the porcelain boat, but when I went to capture him, he began to move quite normally. I still suspected that it was perhaps just post-mortem twitches and so attempted to get a better look at his underside. Sure enough, his sucker-mouth was still in motion. A co-worker and I moved him to a more open spot, and I let him be for the rest of the day. To my delight he moved that day, noticeably moved, even though not a ton.

Yesterday, he was acting as normal as could be, sucking on gravel and the walls in several different places in the tank. However, he wasn't the fish I'd originally wanted as Marmaduke's companion because the pet store I went to on Tuesday didn't have any corydoras, so I decided to go ahead and get another fish. There were no life-threatening incidents with Morwenna; "she" (who knows if "she's" a "she" at all...I don't, but it seemed time to throw a girl's name into the mix) was busily exploring yesterday afternoon and ate quite well.

Marmaduke seems to be doing okay with his tankmates. The fish I bought are supposed to be non-threatening to him (not colorful or long-flowing-finny or aggressive and feed from the bottom, completely opposite to where he feeds), so he should be able to live peacefully with them. So far, he's been fascinated by Murdock. He seemed to be trying to figure out how to suck on the walls earlier yesterday and then looked like he was sniffing him as though they were dogs. That's been amusing. He's more intrigued by Morwenna since she actually moves a little bit, although most of her larger movements are as a direct result of his curiousity. It does seem to be more curiousity than aggression; he's not flaring at her and doesn't seem to be trying to nip at her, and I think he'd be satisfied if she would just let him "sniff" her. I figure they'll eventually determine whose space is whose and not swim around in circles, him behind her, so frequently. He even sort of listens to me when I tell him to take it easy on her by wagging my finger at him, shaking my head.

I think I'll be extra generous with Marmaduke's feeding this afternoon to ease any back-of-my-mind thoughts of him eating Morwenna over the weekend, though;>

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Anything for the sake of quality time with children...

This mother needs some help getting rid of some inventory since she's decided to close her shop and spend more time with her children, which was what she was trying to do in the first place by starting her own business.

50% off? You really can't beat that. And, c'mon...it's for the good of the children;>

Browsing from the comfort of my bed to be expected in about a week...

Why bother to give a product 1 star on a rating system where 1 star is awful but not bother to write a review? Especially considering the product in question has higher ratings and praise from other users and in general? If I'm going to take the time to rate a product poorly, then I will most certainly at least write a few brief sentences as to why I hated it.

I ordered a laptop yesterday after spending the best portion of my day researching and reviewing. For the price (if I'd thought of this before Christmas, it would have been like $150-200 cheaper...argh), this Sony Vaio was the one most users rated highly with minimal issues. The most negative things people said were that the mouse-clicks were loud and that you have to use two hands to open it because there is no screen-latch and the hinge is, therefore, very strong; I can live with that stuff much more easily than hard-drives and speakers dying in the first few weeks like some of the others in this price range had. Other complaints were from people doing things that I won't be doing, so they would not be an issue at all for me and couldn't be factored into my decision.

One site that popped up in my search for information and reviews was NexTag. Granted, the 1-star rating is for the other color choice, but it is still the same computer otherwise. Giving something 1 star without writing why you felt it only deserved that (or sometimes deserved less but most of the time you have to give a minimum of 1 to continue the review) is not at all helpful to other people, so why bother? I just don't get it. Anyway, the actual reviews people wrote at other sites were much more helpful and made me confident in my decision to purchase.

The reason I got a laptop? Well, my desktop hasn't been functioning properly since we got back from vacation. Everything I've tried to run gives me that oh-so-awesome error message that an error has been encountered and the program will have to close. I've been able to work around it by moving the error off to the side or to the bottom and continuing on my merry way, but I have a very uneasy feeling that it's a sick little computer even though the virus and spyware scans didn't turn up anything (I'm still going to try some others to see if the ones I have just aren't catching something that is there). So, since I didn't know what was wrong with it, I stopped using it, especially when it came to ordering something online or paying bills online...that's where NS's laptop came into use. Previously, I have hated using laptops. The keyboards weren't comfortable and that mouse just irritates me, but I did get more comfortable with it over the past week or so...and using the computer while laying in bed is just about the grandest thing ever! Besides, me getting a laptop will eliminate the need for my desktop, which will in turn eliminate the need for the desk in our bedroom. Have I mentioned how tiny the master bedroom of the apartment is? I know I have, but it's worth ranting about again. With the desk in the room and my little crate in front of it as a seat (because an actual chair has no chance of fitting in this space), one must either step over the crate or climb over the bed to cross to the other side of the room. I'm all for having some more floor space, and this conversion from desktop to laptop seems like a great way to get some since we won't be getting rid of the bed;>