Well FOK you too!

I’m a sports mom again!

My kids’ sports are in full swing, or kick, or tackle because my kids don’t swing anything in their sports.

I have 3 kids, which means I won’t make it to all the sporting events. Last Saturday, I went to my daughter’s soccer game. My 5 year old HATES going to soccer games and would rather be at big bro’s football game… but he had to go with mom this time.

Because he makes it his life’s mission to not watch even one second of soccer, Riley decided he’d bring something required a lot of Mommy-attention: a preschool workbook. And! Because he knows I love when he learns, he got my attention.

We sounded out words like r-r-rug and m-m-mop together as I taught him about letter sounds, while also making sure I didn’t miss the moments when Anya got the ball (all other soccer is boring unless your kid has the ball).

Next came fog. F-f-o… whoa! Anya’s got the ball there she—

FOK!!

Riley mistook the G sound for a K and enthusiastically yelled what sounded like an expletive during what I would describe as the quietest moment in sports history. You could here a pin drop, and you heard “FOK!” as plain as day. What followed was the most boisterous laughter ever heard at a sporting event.

Red-faced I explained to Riley that it was “fog” and the parents were laughing at something else (I have a sensitive kid).

Some of the nicer parents came up after the game and told me to make sure to read him something a little less profane next time.

There goes Riley’s favorite bedtime story, “Go the Fuck to Sleep.”

Tell me I’m not alone.

Anxiety is a mother.

Anyone who tells me they have no anxiety is lying.

One thing that makes me feel better when I have anxiety is to know that I’m not alone. I think that’s how support groups and forums originated (?). As much as I dislike the term “normal,” when I’m in my anxiety spiral, I just want to know that what I’m experiencing is normal. I’m not alone.

So many people suffer in silence, alone. Afraid they are overreacting (hypochondria), overprotective, or experiencing anxiety for some unwarranted, unrealistic reason.
When I’m really worried, I’m amazed at the power of two simple words: Me too.

I thought about this today when a friend told me her insecurities and struggles. I knew that the physical anxiety symptoms  were a typical response to what she’d been through recently. (Sorry for the generalities due to privacy). In our conversation, I realized she was looking for some sameness. Some empathy. Some people don’t have a Kendra to say “Me too” or a Donnie to say “You’re normal.”

So I did her the favor. I said “Hey. Me too. I’ve had that exact same symptom when I’ve been extremely stressed.” I told her a personal story of a time when I’d been extremely overcome with worry. My legs went numb. My fingertips tingled. I had heart palpitations. Just. Like. Hers. She was shocked. She’d googled every possible disease associated with her symptoms and she never believed it was simply anxiety.

I could almost see the weight lift off her shoulders when she said, “Really?”

I told her about my vulnerable moments that caused the anxiety with the same symptoms. And she unfolded. I like to think she left my house a little bit less stressed, knowing that she didn’t have an incurable disease,  that she likely wasn’t dying, and that she was not alone.

Blaming Donnie

I am good at many things but I would say the thing at which I’m the best (in the world) is blaming Donnie.

I can turn any difficult situation into something that is Donnie’s fault. It’s a gift, really. I can tell Donnie doesn’t really appreciate my abilities. Case in point:

Logan announced at the dinner table that he searched “naked girl butt” on YouTube.

After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I quickly told Logan that he shouldn’t be searching those things. After dinner, Donnie and I had a whisper conversation about what could provoke Logan to search that. Sexual curiosity? Hanging with older boys? It was decided that he needed his curiosity quashed. I volunteered to do the quashing as I’m weirdly not awkward when talking to the kids about bodies and sex.

screen-shot-2017-01-26-at-1-48-28-pmI grabbed the “I’m special, you’re special” book with naked cartoons in it and mentally prepared for our talk. As we turned through the pages, there were giggles and questions, and when we got to the naked lady, Logan said, but where does the baby come out. I said, “there’ as I pointed at the extreme closeup cross-section. Logan didn’t get it. He hasn’t had biology yet, thank goodness.

Logan got more specific. “Well when Daddy told me we came out of your butt, I wanted to see how.”

Maybe most things really are Donnie’s fault.

News flash: It’s better to be impressed than to impress.

I was 9 years old the first time I remember trying to impress someone.

It was about 50 degrees outside.

I challenged my sister Dawn to a run around the block. More like, convinced her that if she didn’t go with me, she could just stay home and continue being bored and everyone would know that I was the fast one. Methods aside, I convinced her to go with me.

The block was probably about 1/2 a mile but at the time, it seemed more like 5. We took off. I loved running. I wanted to be fast. I was the fastest kid in the neighborhood. Note: I didn’t say the fastest GIRL in the neighborhood.

We circled the block and huffed and puffed up the driveway. Dawn’s relentless competitive nature helped her keep up with me, most of the way.

I remember grabbing a glass of orange juice. I knew that was the healthy option so that’s what I wanted to do. I wanted to be fast and healthy. Dawn casually grabbed a bag of Doritos despite my warnings that she was cancelling out her run with those Doritos. My dad (a known health nut) walked in as we were sitting down for our snack. I caught his attention “Hey Dad, Dawn and I just ran around the block. I’m drinking this healthy orange juice and she’s chowing down on Doritos.”

Dawn said, nonchalantly, “Yeah. Doritos are good.”

Dad nods. “That’s nice.”

Not quite the praise I was looking for. Wasn’t he impressed that we went all that way? Wasn’t he impressed that the healthiness continued with the orange juice?  I’m being who you want me to be, Dad! If I wasn’t doing this to impress someone, then why was I doing it? Why couldn’t I just eat the Doritos with Dawn?

Dawn didn’t care about impressing anyone. At the time, I just looked at her thinking, “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you care what he thinks?” In all honesty, I don’t think she did.

So then why did I care so much? Why do I still care?

It’s funny. I’ve spent a lot of my teen and adulthood trying not to care what other people think (especially my dad). This is a 25-year nagging feeling I’ve been fighting against. Yet, it’s made me challenge myself most of my life. Yes, I’ve accomplished things for myself, of course. But a small part (probably bigger than I’d like to admit) of that was trying to impress other people as well. Did it all start with orange juice?

It’s good to care a little bit about what other people think. Everyone cares about what other people think (except for the competely apathetic). As always, it’s about moderation. Spending all my time concerned about what other people think and letting that dictate all of my decisions is very unhealthy. As a teen, that behavior led me to be extremely susceptible to influence. And believe me, the influence was not as positive as my parents would have wanted. I was trying to impress anyone who would be impressed.

My dad wouldn’t be. Other adult figures were barely impressed. Other successful, athletically inclined kids were too busy thinking about their own lives to be impressed by me. I had to find someone who I could impress. This method definitely took my far, far out of the way of the path I originally intended on travelling. In fact, I’m lucky I made it back safely.

Knowing what I know now, I would say that trying to impress people is not a good way live your life. It may be better to be impressed by people. Other people appreciate people who appreciate them. Thinking back to my dad, maybe if he’d been impressed by the things I was doing specifically to impress him, I wouldn’t have gone down that darker path. Maybe I would have. Is this really just about orange juice? Probably not. But, I can’t really blame my parents for everything bad that’s happened in my life, can I?

Showing appreciation and that you’re impressed by another person is a great way to make them feel good about themselves. I know for a fact that I like to surround myself with people who make me feel good about myself, don’t you?

Today I spend more time trying to appreciate other people, notice their accomplishments (no matter how small), compliment them, let them know just how much of a bad ass they are. People need that no matter how much they deny it.

And, maybe sometime, try to impress them. It will fuels your competitive side. And without competitiveness, Dawn never would have gone on that run.

Everyday I’m hustlin’

I know how to play volleyball. I’ve played indoor 6s for two decades. I’m comfortable there. I’m good. I’m reliable. I’m confident. But beach volleyball is something I play a few times each summer with a few people who are just “messing around.”

I read somewhere that when trying something new, you should be humble. Learn all you can. Don’t pretend to know everything. If you do, people will resent you, overestimate you and you may not improve. Which is the ultimate goal when you’re learning.

So, when I started actually playing beach volleyball (no sideline beers), I took the humble route. I let everyone know “Hey everyone, I’m a beginner.” That was very hard for me to do. I don’t like failing publicly (I do a lot of that in Toastmasters… but I’m a beginner there so it’s ok). I don’t like sucking at things. It’s why I don’t bowl. Like, ever.

The reason I went the full disclosure route, is because I didn’t want those players to think that I’m a veteran who just sucks. This way the general consensus becomes “she’s really good for a n00b.”
If you’re gonna fail, it’s the best way to fail.

I made sure no one had lofty expectations of me. People gave me the benefit of the doubt when I messed up and made dumb moves.

It’s like when I used to wait tables and I’d have a bad night where nothing seemed to go right. I’d mess up so many times that finally I’d just tell the people, “It’s my first day.” The rough edges get smoothed, shoulders drop and people have a little more empathy for my errors. What? Everyone did it.

So when I went to my third high level doubles beach tournament, I told all my partners, hey, I’m a n00b. Among high verticals and even higher egos, it was the best approach.

It was a queen of the beach tournament. Basically, the idea behind that is: the best teammate wins. You are matched up with each person in your pool. You start each game with a new team. No prep time. No practice. Just playing. Whoever wins the most games with different teammates, wins the tournament.

This is very difficult because many partners spend years trying to find their mojo. We had 20 minutes and then it was over. But… we were all on the same playing field.

So back to me being a n00b. I was walking around all n00b-like. Putting my sand socks on the wrong feet and sunscreen in my hair (really selling the n00b-status). It was borderline hustling. I wasn’t the best among this group of women, but I definitely was not the worst, not even close. That’s the big problem with the n00b strategy. Employed in a competitive setting, like this cutthroat tournament among strangers, it becomes my glaring weakness.

My partners treated me like a toddler, coaching me and putting me in the least favorited positions. At this point, I know as much about strategy as they did. I’m not an idiot. But… I sure felt like one.

It was even worse that the other teams knew I was a n00b. That means, they picked on me. And BOY, did they pick on me. They served me every ball. Some nails (low and hard) and some lobs (high and easy). But, you better believe every single serve (and most attacks) went my way.

Typically, I can handle being picked on a little bit but this was a little boy on ant hill with a magnifying glass and I was writhing around in the scorching heat (this is an appropriate analogy because it was literally over 100 degrees that day). Even Kerri Walsh-Jennings couldn’t handle being picked on in Brazil at the 2016 Olympics. Competitors finally realized that maybe Misty May-Treanor was the amazing one and they should have been picking on Kerri all along. They more than made up for the misappropriation of serves by taking Kerri way out of her game by serving her off the biggest court in the world. She couldn’t pass, she couldn’t hit. Eventually, she fell apart. I, being a shorter player, never overestimated Kerri and always knew Misty was the real talent. But I felt for Kerri. It happens to the best of us.

So after hours of beatings and humiliation that July day, I was sunburned and dehydrated and so was my spirit.

I learned many lessons that day, which are as follows.

– Never underestimate your competitors or your teammates

– Be honest, don’t try to under promise so much people look down on you

– Be confident

– Hydrate

– Hustlin’ is only effective if you’re a phenom.

I think it’s ok to be honest about being new at something. It’s good to admit when you don’t know something. But maybe I took it a little too far with the n00b volleyball status.

Is today grey or chai?

Today is grey. After about as much sleep as a mom hosting an 8 year old sleepover is allowed, my eyes were swollen from the start, and my patience went on hiatus sometime between the midnight wrestling and the 3 a.m. nightmare announcement.

I shortchanged myself with one too few scoops of coffee in the maker. It was vanilla (not french vanilla) flavored water. Disappointment.

I drank it anyway. In desperation.

Coffee time went way too quickly as the herd of elephants demanded pancakes and tornadoed through the kitchen.

Ready for the kids to make their exits, I loaded up the car to make the drop-offs and we headed toward a day’s worth of basketball games. 

The fog-filled air made morning seem darker, denser. Sparkly white specs swirled around and around in the coarse wind before sticking to the dry grass. The blustery breeze stung my exposed skin.

After the last drop off,  the in-car sword fighting ended. It was at this point I was incredibly cognizant of the caffeine-less blood coursing through my veins.

Luckily, in Wichita, there’s a QT about every mile. “Chai. Latte.” Is all I said when the kids asked why we stopped.

I told the computer at the little cafe that I wanted a hot chai latte (unfortunately no soy… which most chai lovers know makes the chai latte so special) 

After I paid the very reasonable price for an average chai latte, I took a sip.

The clouds parted and the sun shone through. It heated my face when I looked to the sky. 
Glorious. 

There’s hope for this day after all!

I’m refreshed. Renewed. Revived!

Then smack! I ran straight into the side mirror of a huge truck. “OUCH!” I screamed, along with many other expletives. The sun’s not even out. What the hell? It’s still grey. It’s still windy. It’s still 10 degrees! I’m still standing outside!

I get in the car, trying to re-ignite the warmth that chai brings. I wrap my hands around my hot cup and breathe in the spicy, cinnamon, ginger, and clove black tea.

Ahhhh… is that the sun shining? I thought as I backed out and headed to basketball.

Perspective.

Let your creak flag fly

My bathroom door has a creak. 

Creak open. Creak close. With 3 kids, that door is revolving in my house. Creak, creak, creak, creak.

The creaking was about to drive me insane when I remembered that I have some WD-40. I grabbed the can from the garage and smartly sprayed the hinges. Then I patted myself on the back for a job well done.

I gloated about my problem solving abilities and demonstrated for Donnie. I opened the door. I closed the door. I opened the door. I closed the door.

Silence.

I smiled. 

Donnie made that face he makes when he’s really trying not to roll his eyes at me.

The next morning, as I’m getting ready for work, the door smacks me in the back of the head. Turns out, the un-lubricated hinge was keeping the door from closing on its own. So, now, when I get ready in the morning, I hold my arm behind me and push the door back every time it comes a swingin’. 

What is it called when you solve one problem and it causes another to appear? I’ve been trying to figure out if I can use this as a metaphor for something in my life. 

At this point, all I can think is that I wish I had my creak back.

White Chicken Chili… Pioneer woman inspired.

I hate baking, but I looooove to cook. I think it’s because, cooking is a lot more forgiving. If I mess up, I can easily tweak here and there to get it back on track. The people I’m feeding are none the wiser.

Here’s what I cooked last night and the adventure that got me to one of the best soups I’ve made… sort of on accident.

8ish cajun grilled chicken thighs (#darkmeatmatters)
3 or 4 cans of Northern beans (or Navy beans, which are also white, it makes no sense.)
1 red onion
A spill of garlic powder (if you’re out of fresh garlic)
8 CUPS of chicken broth or bouillion
1.5 TBSP of cumin or 3/4 tbsp of chili powder if you’re out of cumin because you use it so much
Salt and pepper
1 can of Rotel
3 TBSP of butter (not margarine, are you kidding me with margarine?)
2 TBSP of Masa or cornmeal (because who just has Masa in their cabinets?)
1 CUP of whole milk (It’s almost never ok to use Skim)
5 or so slices of monterrey jack or pepper jack cheese. The jack part is important.

This recipe is loosely based on Pioneer Woman’s White Chili.

As I recall from last night’s soup-making party, here’s how I compiled this soup.

1. I diced up the onion as much as I could until my eyes were burning so badly I was dancing around the kitchen. All parties must have dancing.
2. Toss all those onion bits into the crockpot quickly. Those heathens won’t get the best of me!
Note: My crockpot has a stovetop setting, so if yours doesn’t, better use a pot on the stovetop.
3. Sauté on medium heat with 3 TBSP of butter and a spill of garlic powder. Fresh garlic is preferred but I cook with garlic nearly every night, so I was out. The recipe said 2 minutes but I like to make sure there are no crunchy bits in my soup… so I held out an extra minute or two.
4. I went ahead and started tossing more stuff in. Like, the chili powder (or cumin) and the can of Rotel. Green chilis would have been better, but I always have Rotel on hand. Sprinkle a dash of salt and pepper in the pot.
5. Now seemed like a good time to add the chicken.
6. Then 2 cans of beans.
7. 8 cups of chicken broth. I used bouillion cubes and 8 cups of water.
8. Then I frantically started scooping out some of the water because I realized that my beans are canned and not dried. Then I Kendra that I’ve ruined my soup and am now hoping to save the beans from drowning. Leave about 2 cups of the water in the pot.
BONUS: If you use bouillons like me, you’ll have more concentrated flavor and less liquid… just go with it.
9. I took the temp to high and removed the lid until it started simmering and then dropped the temp and replaced the lid. I set the time for 30 minutes, which gave me just enough time to get Riley bathed and in bed and address 3 post bedtime visits to answer “What is tomorrow?” “Why is that light on?” and “Why do my eyes hurt?”
10. I returned to the pot to find the beans disintegrated. Hm. At this point, I added another can of beans.
11. Then, I let it simmer another 10 minutes while I made sure Logan got to bed and actually brushed his teeth.
12. I returned to the pot to find it disappointingly lean on the beans. I added another can of beans. That did it.
13. Then I went back to the recipe. I mixed (I mean, really mixed) the cornmeal with the whole milk and let it set for about 1-2 minutes.
14. After that I poured the mixture into the soup to help thicken it and to also give it a corn-y flavor.
15. Then I let it simmer for 10 minutes while I cued up Gilmore Girls for Anya and me to watch.
16. I tasted the soup but it was much to hot to determine the flavor so, as a precaution, I added 3 slices of pepper jack cheese. Fun fact: Jack cheese is the best cheese for soup because it melts to a liquid and not stringy.
17. I added two more slices of pepper jack for good measure and kept the soup on low for a little while longer before storing it in the fridge.

So, there you have it! A white chicken chili! So many mistakes… but it still turned out yummy. I love cooking.

Silence is golden-ish.

My yoga instructor tells me in her breathy voice, “Embrace the silence. Breathe deeply and let go of your worries. Put them all in a red balloon and then let go of that balloon. Watch it float toward the horizon. Silence your inner chatter.”

Me. Eyes closed.

Ok. Put my worries in the balloon. I prefer blue, but, she said red so maybe I’ll make sure it’s a red balloon. Poof! The balloon is red. That was fun. I changed it’s color with my mind. Wait. It’s blue again. Balloon: Red. There. It’s red. I just don’t like that color. It’s not right. I wonder if she had a reason for choosing the color red. Is red the color of silence or something? How about purple? Oh well. I get that we need to release our problems into the atmosphere but does she know it’s not a good idea to release balloons into the atmosphere? I’m not sure why. I just heard that somewhere.

I peek at my neighbor.

Dang. She looks peaceful.

I slowly turn my head to my other neighbor.

Is she snoring? What the? Silence is not peaceful to me. It’s nerve wracking. My inner chatter is made of pins and needles (which both pop silly red balloons). I can’t let it go. Has it been 5 minutes yet!? UGH!

Heavy breathing instructor, “Ok everyone.”
I snap my eyes shut and try to appear restful as if in danger of getting caught awake during naptime.
The breather, “Now slowly open your eyes. Enjoy your day. Namaste.”

I jump up. Eyes open. Thinking that meant class was over, I pick up my mat and head toward the door.

The whole class, amidst all the stretching and yawning, turn to watch me leave. Judging. I could cut the inner chatter with a knife at that point. I see several students go up to kiss the Yogi’s feet or whatever it is you do at the end of a yoga class when I’m usually long gone.

I pretend to have somewhere important to be by bursting out the door and speed-walking just past the glass windows until I’m certain they can’t see me anymore. Shamed by the yoga community grandmas, gay guys, a few college chicks on spring break and one super inflexible, muscle-bound dude who always puts his mat in the back of the room (wonder why?).

I just can’t sit there and dawdle. I can’t relax. It can’t be silent. I envy people who sit can sit there for 5 minutes and be all clear-headed. To me, silence isn’t golden. It’s like a poop brown. Silence is poop. And that’s why I don’t like being around it too much.

I once was a Vampire.

Being ever so wise and mature in my early 30s, I often think about how I handled situations as a kid. Usually I end that thought with, “Man that was dumb!” A particular memory comes to mind.

In my adolescent years, when everything was growing at different rates, I often heard comments like, “Don’t worry Danielle, you’ll grow into those monkey arms.” (followed by boisterous, ignorant laughter). Yes I was gangly; I was the epitome of awkward. Even my teeth came in weird. And that’s what my story is about. My teeth. I have always had a love-hate relationship with myself and my teeth were not loved.

You see, my canines thought they should enter through the top of my gums and not down with the rest of my teeth like civilized canines. Maybe they thought they were better than my other teeth and therefore they should sit higher up in my mouth? That is, if canines had brains, which they don’t; everyone knows that. You know which one are canines, right? If you were a vampire, your canines would be the long, razor sharp ones. My canines were not especially long, but they were razor sharp and they were out of place.

At the time, the more inquisitive kids would even ask me if I WAS a vampire. To which I’d reply, very seriously offended, “No. I am not.”

One especially mean kid would often continue with a followup question like, “Well, have you asked your parents? Maybe it’s in your genealogy.”

Kids are jerks. And freakin clever too. Who knows about genealogy at age 12?!

But, because of the constant commenting on my vampire teeth, I became very self conscious about my smile, and my laugh, and pretty much in talking to anyone anywhere that wasn’t in my immediate family. The evidence is in the especially awkward closed-mouth smile in all my old pictures.

It’s ok now to admit that I didn’t handle that, um, criticism very well. I was on the highway of insecurity and there were no exits nearby, not even those partial exits like on the toll road where they have a gas station and a McDonalds. It was a lonely, desolate road with me feeling like a fool and looking like a vampire.

Recently re-living that time in my head and silently cursing those cruel kids from my past, I thought: if I could go back to young Danielle, I’d tell her,

“Hey Kiddo, your teeth won’t be like that forever. And you’re NOT a vampire. I mean, you don’t even like the taste of blood (Ew!). And that one time, it really was just ketchup on your face. Don’t be afraid to smile, laugh, and for Heaven’s sake, speak! I will be thankful… or you will be thankful… or we’ll both be thankful when you thank yourself later. Oh! And your body will catch up to your arms.”

And then I’d say something really deep and philosophical that serves no purpose other than to impress my young self with all my wisdom and knowledge of big words.

Country concert or Fight night?

Last night, we were lucky enough to watch the Jason Aldean concert from great seats at Intrust Bank Arena. You can’t really tell from this picture because Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan walked all the way to the to the other side to give those peeps some attention.


As you can see, the place was packed!

It’d be great if the story ended there, but sadly, it doesn’t.

You see, my husband Donnie is a very tall man (6’9″) and constantly self conscious about his height, which I usually make light of and try to get him to do the same.

Having the great seats we did, he was worried about blocking someone’s view. I said, “Oh those stadium seats make it to where almost anybody can see over you.”

So we get to our awesome seats and we’re sitting, waiting for the show to begin. Luke Bryan comes out first and he friggin’ rocks! Everyone stands up. It looked almost like the wave. Row 1, then Row 2, then Row 3 and so on. Pretty cool effect considering it wasn’t choreographed.

When it was our turn, we stood. I turned around just to see if the people behind us could see. No one was there. Yes! What are the odds? Were those the only 2 empty seats in the house? We continued to rock out.

Randomly, I turned around again about 20 minutes in and saw two women sitting. The only two people sitting in the entire arena. Donnie said, “They probably think it doesn’t matter if they sit or stand because they can’t see over me.” I’m thinking, “Please. All these 5’7″ guys can see over him at this angle. No problem. These people are just party poopers.” (They had stink faces on).

Then, there was a lull in the performance. Everybody sits down almost simultaneously. From behind, I hear, “Finally, we can watch the show, sh*t!” I ignored that. Then, “F#c%!n& a-hole!” I’m thinking, did I just hear that?

I told Donnie. Immediately he stood up. (This is the guy I’ve seen sit through entire concerts to make sure people behind him could see, but they pissed him off).

I saw him take a glance as he stood, the little lady yelled out, “You’re an a-hole!” Donnie’s glance darted back and he said, “Just don’t talk to me. Why don’t you just enjoy the show and leave me alone.”

The lady continued to belt out expletives and derogatory comments as we stood with our backs to them, trying to enjoy the rest of Luke Bryan’s performance.

Donnie’s mom Annette was sitting next to me and leaned over, “What’s going on?” She could tell something was up but it was so loud in there, she couldn’t hear anything. I told her, “These ladies are bothering Donnie. They’re calling him names and being jerks. He’s just trying to ignore them.”

Suddenly, Annette pushes me forward and reaches over to the “ladies” and gives them a talkin’ to.

Annette is in a heated “Mind yer business” “He’s my son, he is my business” screaming debate them. Annette took off.

Donnie’s used to mama bear getting involved. She is very protective mom. Donnie was mad, “What is my mom doing? OMG.”

I turn around and they say, “What are you doing with him? He’s an a-hole.” Being a lover, not a fighter, I’m tongue-tied, “Because he’s awesome and you’re stupid.” Good one Danielle.

The fighting continues. Donnie’s like, “Can’t you just enjoy the show?” Then a bunch of fighting words were exchanged between Donnie and one of the ladies. She flashed her tattoo while the other one yelled out “5-O, 5-O.” Not sure what that meant.

One of them kept pounding her chest saying, “Let’s go! Let’s go” Donnie’s like, “Please.”

Annette returned and said she’d asked security to watch them. I wasn’t worried about these 5 foot nothing ladies but, the whole 5-0 thing and the fact they didn’t search any women in the search lines, had me thinking I was going to get stabbed in the back the rest of the show.

Annette asked if Donnie was mad at her and I said, “Well, he was trying to take the high road by ignoring them.” She said, “Well, when you told me that, I looked over and they were throwing popcorn at him and they opened their pop like they were gonna pour it in his seat or, worse, down his back.”

What’s with people? Donnie cannot help being tall, just like they couldn’t help being short. One step to the left or right and they could’ve seen just fine, but they had to be biotches about it.

Luckily they left before the encore (probably to round up the other 5-0 gang members roaming downtown with crowbars and pocketknives). Donnie turns to me, “You see why I’m self conscious now? I’ve been dealing with people like this my entire life.”

I felt bad. But, really, Donnie did not let those fun sponges ruin his night.

See? He even took a selfie of us after they left.

So, yeah, I had a good time at the concert, but if nothing had happened, this blog post would’ve been way shorter and way more boring.

Hollyweed

Is it just me or is there a more casual use of marijuana (and other drugs) in movies recently?

I know there have always been movies about drugs but it seems I can’t watch a decent comedy without there being at least one scene where the main character succumbs to an offer of some type of drug. (This is 40, Knocked Up, Hangover, Zoolander…)

Sometimes, it glamorizes the life of a pothead. It’s a false portrayal. “I’m ok, you’re ok and we’re all happily smoking pot every day with no job, no responsibility and yet we can somehow continue to afford this lifestyle.”

I feel like these movies send the message that blazing up or even selling a dime bag is no big deal (and legal for that matter). I’m not for or against the legalization of marijuana because I don’t think legalization will affect me and my family directly. (I could be wrong).

But, to me, it’s not a good message to send teens that are watching these movies that promote no-consequence drug use. I know where a lifetime of drug abuse leads, and it’s not pretty. People lose their jobs due to failed drug tests. No one in Hollywood… But people, real people pay consequences.

I know it’s up to me to make sure the right message gets to my kids but I can’t help but worry when I see some of my favorite actors smoking pot and taking ecstasy like it’s just another day.

Infrequent flyer miles

I woke up this morning 4 hours before my alarm. I’m flying to San Francisco today and I’m a bit of a nervous flyer.

I double check my carry-on to make sure I’m following all TSA regulations. I do not want to be singled out.

I pee. And then again about 6 more times before I leave the house. What is it about nervousness and the need to empty my bladder?

Donnie loads my suitcase in the car while I check my purse for the 10th time.

As we drive up to the airport Donnie points out all the construction. The incomplete state of the airport only heightened my nerves as I imagine balls being dropped by shady contractors and that somehow that may affect my flight.

I couldn’t figure out how to pre-check-in from the itinerary I was sent because there was no confirmation number. I had to wing it (pardon the pun). I hate winging it. Donnie told me to make sure to let him know when I had checked in that all was good. I think all the pacing and peeing got him a little nervous too.

I walk up to United self check in. I’m not sure I’m qualified for this but I proceed. And by proceed I mean, read and re-read the instructions while I fumble through my purse to find my ID. Sensing my pathetic incompetence, a latino man offers to help. “Thank you for choosing United. Ju have a beautiful smile, can I help you?”

I accept, trying not to look too stupid. He shows me how to use the incredibly simple device and says “Ju got it from here, right?”

I nod, looking at the two questions on the screen and having no idea whether I’m over 13 or if I am traveling with an infant. I panic and hit the answers, remembering that I am an adult and looking around to make sure I didn’t have Riley. He checks on me again and asks if I know where I need to go. “Yes” I say in my big girl voice. Wow, I’m a blubbering idiot.

I run outside to tell Donnie I’m good, kiss my babies, and feeling naked without my 40-pound suitcase, I head up toward my gate.

But wait.. There will be no relaxing at the gate yet. It’s TSA time. I know it sounds like a fun song like “It’s Hammer time!” But I assure you, this was not fun.

I show my ID and ticket and he tells me “Don’t worry about removing your shoes and jacket. This is a special line and we have Ninja technology” (It wasn’t actually called that but I can’t remember what it was called).

So I confidently step toward the Ninja scanner 5000. The TSA agent tells me to put my shoes and jacket in the bucket. “Oh and your scarf too. And probably your belt and watch.” I want to question the Ninja technology but I’m on a mission to not be singled out. I comply.

I walk through the metal detector unscathed! I made it! I look around. No one cares.

I go to grab my belongings from my buckets and the ray-of-sunshine TSA lady slides my bucket out of my reach and says unapologetically, “Sorry. We need to keep the line moving.” As if I were wandering aimlessly through the airport bottlenecking her line.

Irritated at my choice of tennis shoes over slip ons, I contemplated walking all the way to my gate in my socks. Instead I sit down on the paper thin carpet and put on my shoes. As I drape my scarf and pull on my jacket I’m wondering why I even got dressed before I came to the airport.

I trudge on. Checking my purse three times on the way to my gate.

I see a friendly face. Yes! The meeting planner booked me with another coworker because she knew I was a nervous flyer.

She asks me what seat I’m in, I check my ticket. It says, “See agent.” Shit! She says, “You better check in, it’s an overbooked flight, you may not get on.” I go into panic mode and hit the bathroom again before asking about my seat. It was no big deal, I just went up there and got an actual ticket, not a stupid “means to a ticket” with no seat number and no hope to get on the plane. Thank you friendly face for the unnecessary uncertainty.

Finally, I’m on the plane. I stow my purse and electronics. I look for my seat belt thinking I had to get buckled quickly. I mean, I only have 20 minutes. I don’t have a seat belt. What the hell?! There is no seat belt on my seat?! Noticing my short breaths, the guy next to me unbuckled his seat belt and handed me mine, which he was sitting on. the. whole. time.

I’m buckled. My things are stowed. I’m holding a water. “Is this legal?” Oh well, I’m thirsty… and now I have to pee again.

The pilot talks over the speaker. He sounds like a guy I dated in high school. I have no confidence in this pilot. Since when do we let people my age fly airplanes?? He’s saying something about possible turbulence (gulp) and names some ungodly number of feet that we will soaring through the air. Why do they do that? As if I’d be like, “um… I wondering how many thousands of feet we’ll be up in the air this time.” It’s useless. It’s only purpose is to reassure me that, if we crash, I’m a goner.

We take off. Suddenly, I can’t hold my head up. How is everyone holding their heads up?! I lean back trying not look nervous, which may be making me look a little more constipated than the “relaxed” look I was going for. “It’s ok. It’s just a normal day everybody.”

I’m lightheaded. Am I breathing? There. I breathed. It’s was one of those breaths that stay in your chest. I try to see the ground from my crappy, last minute aisle seat. The guy next to me is reading, all nonchalant. He probably thinks I’m into him because I keep looking his way, around him and out the window. Breathe. There’s the ground. This is helping. There’s no way that’s 35,000 feet.

The flight chick bumps my elbow for the 18th time without apologizing. I know she feels it. I have sharp elbows meant for a basketball player. However, my sharp elbow is inside the armrest. How does this keep happening? It’s ok, keep walking. No problem. I’ll get her next time, we’ll see if she keeps walking.

The 30-year-old I once saw do a keg stand announces over the speaker that I can now use my electronics and mentions the thousands of miles again. Is this a point of pride?

I pull out my phone to listen to a funny book I bought to ease my flying tension. A message on my phone reads, “You must have internet connection to use this app.” Really Audible? Really?!”

As the flight waitress spills and then proceeds to wipe water from her cart into my hair (now I have to pee again) I pull out my iPad thinking, “I guess I’ll just write a blog post.”

The accident

Today, I drove down Kellogg like I do every day. The sun was tauntingly shining just below my sun visor, directly into my eyes, like it does every day this time of year. The traffic wasn’t too bad (no accidents for the rubberneckers).

I scoot to the far right lane because to prepare to exit in about a mile. Almost to a fault, I typically give myself an ample amount of time to get to the exit lane.

Somewhere between my over-prepared lane change and my actual exit, a red Subaru Impreza hatchback – positioned just to the front of my driver’s side bumper – teeters over the white dotted line.

Whoa.

I swerve slightly. “Yep, on his phone.”

I start to slow down, but not soon enough, he swerves into my front bumper with just enough force to send me into the rail on the bridge.

I’m still going about 50 miles per hour along the rail. The screeching of metal on concrete is nightmare-ish.

I lose control of my car. I brace myself as my car topples over the rail and barrel-rolls in the air a couple times before smashing on the asphalt below.

My air bags inflate. The side of my face is severely burnt by the air bags, but nothing a little plastic surgery can’t handle.

Then I exit Downtown and continue heading to work thinking, “That totally could’ve happened.”

I was reprimanded by a teenager

Don’t worry, I wasn’t smoking cigs behind the middle school or anything. He was a lifeguard at the Y. It’s pretty much the only place where teens have authority (except for the intern scorekeepers at our Y volleyball games). Don’t worry I wasn’t trying to drown other people’s kids or anything (although…).

I attempted to use an air-filled floatation device (normally, I would just say “floatie” but I’m using lifeguard terminology for effect.) So after I carried this huge floatie passed 3 lifeguards at the front gate, gave it a little more air, fastened about 20 snaps and dragged into the water under one arm, 30-pounder under the other, sat down, fastened 3 more snaps, picked Riley up and stuck one fat leg through the hole, the head lifeguard comes up and tells me, “Ma’am you can’t use air-filled floatation devices.” I imagine all the lifeguards were pointing at me and sort of conflicted about who should approach the idiot breaking the air-filled flotation device rule.

“Me?” (Me being the only person holding an air-filled flotation device with a baby half-sticking out of it.)

He said, “Does that have air or foam in it?”
“Air.” (Clearly there was air in it. This kid was good.)
He said, “I’m sorry ma’am, you can’t have that here.”

I glanced at all the YMCA branded air-filled floatation devices on the lazy river. He ignore my passive aggressive glance and continued with an “it’s not you it’s them” spiel. You see, he’s protecting future kids from 1) being abandoned in an air-filled floatation device and 2) drowning due to an air leak in said abandoned air-filled floatation device.

He was good. Probably the most well spoken of the bunch. I imagine him teaching the others “use your words, not your whistle.”

I’m a rule follower, I wasn’t gonna put up a stink about it. Someone could have stopped me before i had put so much effort into it…. but… I’ll comply. After all, it’s to save all those other kids with neglectful parents and a staff of mostly incompetent lifeguards.

8 Seconds, Circle of Fear and Ball Stomping

We went to a bull-riding competition last night!
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Before last night, the closest I’d been to a rodeo was watching Luke Perry get his balls stomped on by a bull in 8 Seconds. Damn, that’s a good movie. Mental note: Watch 8 Seconds again.
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If it weren’t for those many, many hours watching 8 Seconds in my pubescent years (I was in love with Luke Perry at the time), I wouldn’t have had any bull-riding knowledge at all.. For example, that they have to stay on the bull for at least 8 seconds to get a score and also, how they get those bulls to buck. Spoiler alert: It has to do with their balls… Let’s just say it’s not nice. Maybe that’s why the bull in 8 Seconds stomped on Luke Perry’s balls? The bull’s all “Pay back, mutha-fucka.”

The actual bull-riding competition was very, very cool to watch. Mainly, I was concerned for the riders when they got bucked off. About every 8 seconds, I gasped and put my hand over my mouth, thinking “That’s what happened to Luke Perry in 8 Seconds!” It wasn’t really though, no one got hurt too badly.
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We decided we’d leave after the “short program.” I’m not sure why they called it that because it had been 2 hours already. Doesn’t seem short to me.

At the end of the not-so-short short program, they announced sort of an intermission entertainment called Circle of Fear. Or as I like to call it: Circle of Organ Donors. Basically, they brought out 9 volunteers from the audience who could stand their ground inside a hula hoop against a bull. Last man (or woman) standing wins $100! Even the bull riders jumped on the fence when the bulls were near. I’m guessing you had to be all kinds of inebriated to participate, but they got 9 volunteers! I was intrigued. It felt like we were in ancient times watching gladiators who are set up to pretty much fail. Internally, I questioned the morality of this entertainment, but we watched anyway.

The 9 hoops lay in a circle in the arena. The first volunteers went to the back of circle furthest away from the gate and were commended by the announcer for such a wise decision. It seemed as if some of the volunteers had backed out because they were asking for 2 more volunteers and upped the prize money to $200. The only woman to volunteer occupied the last circle (closest to the gate). I’m not sure she knew what she was in for but I’m guessing her last words before she entered the arena were, “Here, hold my beer.”

Check out this video. The chick is right in the middle of the screen. If you listen closely, you may be able to hear me yell, “OHMYGOD!”

Donnie’s phone died right after this but basically the bull pretty much bull-dozed everyone. They started crouching down at the end which seemed like a good strategy at first but the bull would just run right over them increasing the ball-stomping chances. The last guy who got bull-dozed stared down the bull for at least 10 seconds without flinching, once he flinched though, the bull charged. I thought for sure his balls were a gonner, but he hopped right up! It was awesome! To me, he was the real winner. But… the guy who crouched in his hula hoop last won the $200.

First bull-riding experience= win. Maybe next time I’ll join the Circle of Fear.

NAAAaaaaaaah!

Helga the hygienist

Trips to the dentist are bittersweet to me.

It’s bitter at first when the hygienist takes out all her marital issues, work stresses, overdue bill anxieties on me while I lie cringing in a pleather chair. It’s only one hygienist, the others are great. No problems.

And then sweet when my dentist tells me my teeth are beautiful and my kids’ teeth are too.

Today I walked in with two loud mouthed little people in tow (Yes, I called them loud mouths. I’m certain that if I went to the moon, I’d still be able to hear a faint, but clearly recognizable “Mommy” in the distance). I checked in and then quietly prayed that I wouldn’t get Helga (that’s not her name, but it seems appropriate). Five seconds later, Helga walks out and calls my name. Me, ever the martyr, volunteered to let one of my kids go first.

Hey, I had reasons: 1. She’s a psychopath (Ok bad one to start with.) 2. They only count the kids’ teeth. They don’t actually do anything.

Helga said no. “We must go in the order of the appointment listing.”
Me: “That’s BS Helga. Don’t be a slave to the process!!” is what I thought as I stood up and walked toward. Head down. My kids followed.

Helga made small talk. We laughed about our kids and husbands. It’s like we were old sorority sisters shootin’ the breeze. Then it was time to start. She was careful at first. I thought, “Maybe last time she was a fluke. She was pregnant however. I’ve been an angry prego before. I understand.” The kids peeked in and made comments like “Does that hurt my Mommy?” “Why is Mommy’s tongue doing that?” and “I think Mommy wants bubble gum flavor.”

Helga rolled up her sleeves (Or maybe I imagined that part). Was that a sneer? The mini sicle was her weapon of choice as she scraped and scratched at my teeth and gums. As she watched, Anya’s face turned to a horrified curiosity that sorta bothered me. I’m pretty sure Helga carved some sort of message in there that will be decoded once I can get a tiny mirror and magnifying glasses. If it’s possible, my teeth bled. I’m pretty sure. Once she finished applying pressure to get the bleeding to stop, she pulled the floss out. FLOSS? What is this? What were you just doing with the sicle?? Oh, she wanted to use the floss like a hacksaw on my gums. More bleeding. (Btw, if you’re judging me right now, I floss DAILY!) To top it off I get peppermint. Peppermint! Gross.

This could be considered torture in some countries. The “cleaning” is done. I breathe. Helga says, “You take care of that sweet baby.” What is this? Some kind of sick joke? Are we friends again?

The dentist comes in, “Teeth look great! Good job!”

Worth it.

There. That girl is an athlete.

I like to consider myself an athlete.

Although, sometimes I may not appear to be so athletic. Like when I fell down the stairs to the garage and skinned my elbow on the hood of Donnie’s car or, when I fell down the stairs at work, or when I caught my heel on the edge of my aunt’s driveway and did a tuck and roll down the concrete. (All of these instances happened in the past year, btw.)

One thing all of these instances had in common was that I was wearing heels. I admit, I’m no Kate Moss when it comes to wearing 5-inch stilettos, but that doesn’t stop me from wearing them… too often. “Don’t I look glamorous!” I think, with skinned knees and a bruise on my big toe.

It doesn’t stop there either. Skinny jeans, tight tops, clothes that effectively curtail my mobility. Sometimes, I swear I look like Bambi, just learning how to walk. How do all those other women do it? They galavant around as if those straps are not digging into their feet and their innards aren’t being smothered by that too-tight belted skirt. For a while, I was convinced it took “getting used to” and that I needed to “break in” my shoes. I squashed that idea with a Chinese Laundry stiletto I wore one time but refuse to get rid of “just in case.”

I have a theory. And, I think I’m right.

Most athletic women look awkward in fashionable clothing, sometimes a little like drag queens (with the exception of stylish workout gear). Maybe we’re used the breezy, loose fitting, sweat wicking clothing we wear when we workout. I don’t know what it is but, with a 90% confidence level, I can pick out an athlete when she’s disguised in her Clark Kent daywear.

Take Jillian Michaels for example. In the red dress, she’s wincing. “This dress is constraining and these shoes are killing my arches.”

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“Ahh. Much better”

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It’s not that they look more butch or anything (well sometimes). I bet people could pick me out too. It could be the constant falling or the fawn-like walk. Or it could be that constant look on my face that says “I’m uncomfortable and my hair is tickling my face.”

Athlete or not, ten seconds after my feet cross my home’s threshold, I’m in my running shorts, tank top and have my hair pulled back (under a baseball hat). And, yeah, that’s my get-up for all recreational events.

Anger Mis-management

I have a short temper. I’m working on it but I’m pretty sure rapid patience degeneration is genetic.

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What’s worse is I constantly put myself in situations that will make me angry.

For example: We need groceries. I wait until it’s just about Riley’s nap time to leave the house. Why did I do that? It’s almost like I subconsciously like the challenge. My patience level started this morning at about a 10. (that’s the max: most patient, loving mom ever)

We walk into the store and instantly Logan has to pee. I hate using public bathrooms. I hate using them even more when I have two little ones with me. My patience has already dropped to about a 9.5 after a disagreement with Logan about which cart to use. Logan reluctantly enters the women’s restroom. (He’s “not a girl” and feels a little emasculated entering the girls restroom, but what’s a mom to do?) It’s taking a little long so I peak in. The sink is filled to the brim with soapy water and Logan’s shirt and hair are sopping wet. “LOGAN! Shut that off! Get out here!” Logan cries quietly because he “didn’t get to dry his hands and was now cold.”

Patience level: 8

I struggle to open Riley’s puffs to pacify him. (I’m hopeful food will work for the next hour). Some employee waits behind me impatiently because he needs to dump the trash and my newly clipped fingernails were no help to rip off the seal from the puffs container. The air was getting heavier, what with all the sighing behind me. “Can’t you see I’m struggling here!?” is what I think. I just say “sorry” and continue on. It must’ve been restocking time because I’ve never felt more in the way at the store. Oh, excuse me. excuse me. Sorry my spending money here is an inconvenience for you.

Patience level: 6

I take a deep breath. At least my kids are being good, I tell myself in an effort to tame the anger sharks swimming in my head.

I grab some chicken. Slimed! Chicken juice on the bottom of the container. I frantically search for a Purel wet wipe. Didn’t they used to have these everywhere!? I ask 3 employees and am taken from Produce to Deli back to the Meat department holding my hands like a doctor who just “scrubbed in”. I wipe my hands thoroughly and Logan’s (for good measure).

Patience level: 5

My phone beeps. A twitter notification. “I rule. You suck because you haven’t blogged all weekend, ya loser” (I may have paraphrased a little) from a fellow blogger. I type several replies (all of them including 4-letter words) and decide to forget it and finish this shopping trip, because Logan is now asking an old lady to bag his celery.

Patience level: 3

I finally make my way to the cashier. Riley is crying and Logan wants a “treat.” The cashier makes some joke that I ignored and hand her my recyclable bags. Even in angry haste, I put all the groceries in my strategic order on the conveyor belt. The bagging should be fool proof.

I ask the chick if she can scan the chicken for fear I’d get slimed again. She says, “Why don’t you hand them to me and then I can spray your hands?” That sounds awesome. I mean, I only have a crying baby and a nagging 4-year-old in my cart. And if that lady behind me doesn’t stop giving me the stink face, I’m gonna throat punch her.

The sacker-boy finishes up and asks, “Do you need help out with this?” It must’ve been a rhetorical question because when I said yes, he and the cashier shared a look and then he rolled his eyes. Yes. Rolled his eyes and grabbed my cart.

My patience level is no longer a number. It’s simply symbols and grunts.

I let Mr. Eye-roller put all the groceries in my car. I don’t care to help him. I’m a snob now. He rides the cart away without closing the hatch.

I get out. Close all the doors. The next few steps back around to the driver’s side are the slowest of the day. I’m breathing and I’m walking. No crying. No nagging. It was like a Tahitian vacation. I’m not sure how long those steps took but they were glorious.

I now have something to blog about when I get home.

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Free tummy tuck anyone?

I have an umbilical hernia.

It’s ok. It’s ok. There, there. Don’t cry for me, fellow bloggers. I’m alright.

I went to the doctor last week and she confirmed, that yes, it’s an umbilical hernia. (OMG don’t Google “umbilical hernia.”  Mine is nothing like that and those pics are disgusting.)

“How does one get an umbilical hernia?” you wonder. Several ways. Here’s one: When a woman gets pregnant… (stop reading here if you’re being a little nancy-boy and can’t handle anymore prego talk). Eh-hm. When a woman gets pregnant – national geographic, hugely pregnant, like I did with Anya – and then she loses the weight really quickly, her abs may not come back together like they should. This leaves sort of a crevasse. When this happens, you can do all the abs you want, that crevasse will remain. It sucks! And if one more person tells me, “It’s the beauty of Motherhood,” I’m gonna punch them in the ovary.

Anyway, back at the doctor’s office, I asked if umbilical hernias are dangerous. Doc says, “Nah, well maybe if you were about 50 lbs heavier or did strenuous ab workouts” (you read my Insanity post, right?). So then I said, “Well I work out a lot, what should I do?” She says, “Well, lots of people get surgery to sew the abs back together, but insurance won’t cover it unless your intestines pop out, then it’ll be emergency surgery and insurance covers that.”

I’m thinking “Did she just say ‘intestines pop out’?” “Is that even possible?” “I wonder if I could get my intestine to pop out” “I could probably handle the pain for free tummy tuck, right?” This is literally what I was thinking. I know, I’m warped.

So, then the Doc said, “Does it hurt?”
Me: “Nah.”
Doc: “Oh because if it hurts, insurance would probably cover the surgery.”
Me: “Son of a –! Is it too late to say it hurts?”

For now, it looks like no surgery.

Welp. Gotta go do some abs.

Going going gone: a chair realized

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I want this chair. Not just one, though, 4. I need a set. Black ones for our garage parties. It is the perfect garage/driveway chillin chair.

My MIL bought one for Anya for her birthday to be her “reading chair.” It serves to be more of a clothes hanger. It’s a waste, really. I tried to pull the ol’ switcharoo on her, convincingly arguing that a bag chair is “just as good.” Didn’t work. She’s too smart for that.

But since I showed interest in the chair, Anya’s been dragging it out to the living room for family movie nights. I can’t quite tell if it is to show me how much she’s enjoying it, or if she actually enjoys it. (It’s likely the former).

I was waiting for the chairs to go on clearance before I spent any money. After walking past the chairs some 50 times at Walmart (yes, Walmart. I know!), I decided I’ll just go ahead, splurge and buy a set. So I went to Walmart.com (I avoid physically going to the store as much as possible). And this is what I see:
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Out of stock! In every color! I called the only two walmart stores in Kansas that said they had “limited stock.” Several call transfers and one rude “ethnic-sounding” customer service woman and it was like no one had even heard of the chairs. Dang it!

I guess this is what I get for being so cheap. Now I’m sitting in this stupid garage chair that is so itchy and uncomfortable. Sigh.

Diners, Drive-ins, and Duck Dynasty

Last night, I went out for the first time in a long, long, long (I have a newborn), long time. My neighbors’ favorite musician was in town for an impromptu gig at the local dive bar, the Lizard Lounge. Hankering for a night out (at a non work-related function), Donnie and I said “We’re in!”

Now, I never really knew exactly what is considered a “Dive Bar.” Other than what I’ve seen on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” But even on that show, it’s mostly Diners. As we pull up, I notice my neighbor’s car is the nicest one in the lot (maybe even within a 3-mile radius). We didn’t get to park too close because of the special parking spaces right up front for motorcycles only.

There was a sketchy-looking fella in a Toby Keith hat wandering around outside asking passersby about the location of the nearest ATM. Seems legit.

Playing a shoot-out scenario in my head with sketchy-looking Toby Keith as the lone gunman, we paid our $10 cover and went on in. One foot still in the doorway, Donnie got the “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto” look on his face. There wasn’t a clean-shaven face in the place. Not even Bradley Cooper stubble. We’d stepped into Duck Dynasty.

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We made our way to our table to join our friends and have a few drinks before the show started. A few drinks turned into 3 pitchers and the four of us wondering if the opening act was going “open” before 11 (we had a curfew with our sitter).

OPENING ACT
Finally, the bluegrass band of Calamity Cubes took the stage. I’m not much for bluegrass, but I’ve also never seen it live, so I was open-minded. The lead singer looked Al Borland with raspy voice and bad attitude. I liked him. The standing bass player stood 2 inches shorter than his bass and looked like he hadn’t slept in a week but rather thrived on a diet of cocaine and whiskey to maintain his scraggly, thin-boned look. The banjo player (because what is a bluegrass band without a banjo?) had a voice like Bob Dylan and 5-inch beard with an on-again, off-again hat that hid his long-hair like a magic trick.

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“Ok, they look like a hillbilly rock band, but how’d they sound?” you wonder. They were AWESOME. Their songs were meaningful and they were expressive. They were IN it! I bet my neighbor $10 that the standing bass player would hit his head on the bass during one of his head-banging solos. Didn’t happen. He defied all odds because his head got very close and he didn’t look sober enough to control that. For the grand finale, they came out to the crowd and walked among the many beards. The bass player actually stood on top of his bass at one point. Boy! These guys were entertainers.

MAIN ACT
Scott H. Biram was next. I didn’t know what to expect except he was a one-man band who played “Trucker Heavy Metal” and apparently the “H” stands for “F you.” Considering I have an affinity for french indie music, you can imagine, this was not really my style.

Let’s just say, “I’ve never heard anything like it.” He was very talented, funny, entertaining and the music was really unique.

Here’s a sample:

We only got to hear a few songs before our curfew. The time came right in the middle of a particularly throaty-screaming song (shucks). Not something I’d listen to every day, but seeing more YouTube clips, I may give him another chance.

So, for our first night out in a long time, I’d say this was a success. We didn’t get shot by the sketchy-looking Toby Keith; I guess he was the roadie. And, thanks to the solo cup in lieu of a beer glass, I was able to inconspicuously refill with tomato juice instead of beer. What? I have a newborn (and I had to work today!).

Insanity after 9 months of nothing

Wow. It’s been about 9 months since I’ve written anything on this blog. Hmm… what could I have been doing for 9 months? Oh right, I grew a person. So, yeah. That’s my excuse. But… since he’s almost 4 months old I can’t make that excuse anymore.

My new excuse will be “burnout”. I mean, I ran out of stuff to say. And if you ask Donnie, that never happens. Ok, ok. I was being lazy.

But here I am now, so let’s get to it. Remember the time I told you I was growing a baby? (see above) Well, now I’m determined to lose the baby weight. I started out doing my usual yoga and spin classes at the YMCA. The pounds were dropping. Then it stopped (a few pounds too soon if you ask me).

Meanwhile, Donnie was thinking he wanted to lose his baby weight also. It happens. One night, when Donnie couldn’t sleep during infomercial hours, he bought into and actually ordered the Insanity “program”.

insanity workout
Yeah… I do that.

Now, here I am in the second week and beginning to sort of enjoy it. I’m not quoting Shaun T. like Donnie is, but I DO put my New Balances on when I get home from work and I DO make it through 45 minutes of pure cardio hell. So yeah, I’m trying. It’s like college volleyball conditioning without my coach screaming “Passing and shuffling and passing and shuffling” in what I maintain is a “made-up British accent”.

The workout is tough, but not as tough as taking that before picture. Yikes! (and no you will never see it. Ever.) Next test/measure day is next Monday. I have yet to lose any weight; although, I care more about inches at this point. And if those don’t come off, then it would be insane to continue, am I right? I’ll let you know next week.

I know what you’re thinking. What’s the point of this blog post? And to that I say, “Give me a frickin’ break, I just had a baby.”

Libel vs. Slander

My husband recently had a “heated” discussion with a contractor. If you consider screaming and cussing “heated.” Then yeah, that was it. Anyway, my husband had a heated discussion with a contractor who accused me of “slander.”

There are soooooo many things wrong with his accusation I don’t know where to begin. Wait a minute. Yes I do. Let’s define slander. And then we’ll define libel (which is what he really meant to accuse me of). And then I’ll explain why I’m innocent.

I wrote a blog post about a contractor. It was more of a review really. In the post, I detailed the unfortunate happenings over 18 months (all of which were due to inexperience, irresponsibility and negligence on the contractor’s part). I was pretty proud of my post, as it was a very detailed, factual post laden with proof in photos, dates, and recounts.

In Googling himself, the contractor found my very informative blog post (er-hm review) and let’s just say he wasn’t too happy. I mean, who would be? It wasn’t exactly something you’d put on Angieslist.com

This brings me to the heated discussion. The said contractor accused me of slander and threatened to take action if I didn’t remove my “slanderous post” (review).

Here comes the education part of this post.

Slander:  the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation.

First, the word “spoken.” Unless I read the post aloud at a contractor convention of some sort, this post could never be considered slander. If he knew what he was talking about, he would have accused me of libel, which is: a published false statement that is damaging to a person’s reputation. As in “take down that libelous post!”

Second, the word “false.” Like I said, I only reported on the facts (like any good journalist).

And, sure, I bet it stung a little but (like any good reviewer) I wanted people to know the TRUTH.  I wouldn’t put my worst enemy in the situation my family and I had to endure for 18 months (Ok, maybe a certain contractor).

So what did we learn today?

Slander= False, spoken, damaging statement

Libel= False, written, damaging statement

My now-private blog post (review)= Neither one.

No one stands between me and my drugs.

Last Friday I went to the doctor with a terrible sore throat. He said it was probably strep and called in a z-pak right away (he didn’t want me to have to labor through the weekend with this pain).

I went to pick up the script (that’s medical speak for “prescription”).

First fail. After 30 minutes of waiting. The pharmacy “didn’t have” a prescription for me. I had to call and have it re-sent at about 4:50. Luckily they were still open. Got that taken care of.

Second fail. After 20 more minutes, and me with an empty pregnant belly (well almost empty), they told me that they couldn’t sell me the z-pak.

At this point I’m hot, hungry and little nauseous from the nasal spray Doc gave me. “What?!” I said in the nicest, most sane sounding way possible. The pharmacist repeated her exact statement. I replied, “I heard you. I was just shocked.”

I think she was expecting some sort of outburst because she sort of winced as she delivered the following statement, “Your insurance company won’t let us sell it to you since you’ve had this medication too recently.”

Shaking a little from anger and hunger (mostly hunger), as calm as I could possibly speak, I nearly whispered, “So the insurance company decides what’s good for me and not my doctor? Besides, it’s been over a year since I’ve had this type of medicine. How long do I have to wait?”

My throat hurts, my head hurts, I’m starving and nauseous. I’m desperate enough to leap over the counter and grab the meds myself. Can’t be too hard, I’ve seen it on the news a hundred times. You get the little stick and you count the pills on a plastic tray; then you collect your ridiculous paycheck.


I quickly squashed that idea since 1) my vertical leap isn’t what it was 6 months ago (I’d pull a hammy for sure) and 2) I’m pretty sure that’s illegal.

The pharmacist had no clue. To her, a computer software told her, “Don’t sell this medicine to this drug abuser”, or something like that.

I continued, trying not to sound like a drug abuser, “Can you just sell it to me and not tell them?”

She lightened up, “Oh, so you want to pay cash?” As if she’d offered me that option before and I simply opted for the cash route.

Shaking my head, rolling my eyes, and accompanied by a long sigh, I said, “Yes.”

That decision sent the process in motion. She replied, “Ok then, just give me about 20 minutes to fill that order.” Once again, I imagined myself leaping over the counter. (You do crazy things when you are pregnant and hungry). Instead I opted for a bag of corn chips and stood, as impatiently as possible, next to the counter eating handfuls of chips at a time – trying to ignore the looks of pity and disgust from other shoppers.

I spent the rest of the weekend miserable with strep and congestion, but happy because I had my z-pak. If there’s anything to take away from this post, it would be 1) Don’t ask Danielle how her weekend was unless you want a real, 15-minute, dramatic answer or 2) the insurance company never has the last word when it comes to your health.