Are optimists anxious?

Anxiety. We all have it. Some more than others.

I just read a blog post from Seth Godin that describes anxiety as “experiencing failure in advance.”

Basically…
If I’m anxious about failing a project, I’m experiencing my own failure when it may not even occur.

It’s really, really hard to be an optimist when I have anxiety. In fact, I would say those two things are opposites. Optimists may experience success in advance.

Optimists may plan for a celebration party halfway through a project.

Sometimes it’s difficult to think like that. Visualizing success and project completion can actually snap me back to the reality that I’m not where I should be or that I have a long way to go. Then I’m overwhelmed by what isn’t completed yet.

But if I am anxious about failure, it’s easy to stop trying, give up even; and then, when failure happens, that anxiety is justified. I think, “I knew all along I was going to fail.”

Seth Godin suggests writing fake testimonials and fan mail for myself. Imagine my work actually changing someone’s life. It seems like it’d be a good way to help me stay on track and to stay focused on making something great. Hell, it might even turn me into an optimist.

I think I’m going to go write some fan mail now.

No Guilt Sweet Treat: Banana Ice Cream

I’ve built up a pretty good discipline when it comes to saying no to sweets. But, I’m also a big fan of the “When in Rome” philosophy. For example, we’ve had two video shoots this week at work. That’s two donuts I wouldn’t have eaten otherwise.

So tonight when I was wanting something sweet, I reached for my frozen bananas instead.

I can hear you sighing. Don’t knock it. Try it.

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The peanut butter, honey one is my favorite!

The best part: no guilt.

The Defense Mechanisms of the Yada-Yada Sisterhood

Ever notice in a crowd of all men, if an debate ensues, the only few women will team up against the men?

To me, it’s almost instinctive. I never had many girlfriends growing up. I was always “one of the guys.” But if we were ever in a situation where one of the guys brought his girlfriend, and said girlfriend spoke up and said something pretty much every guy in the room disagreed with, I’d feel obligated to get her back.

Even if I disagreed with her.
Even if I judged her outfit from top to bottom as soon as she walked in the door.
Even if I didn’t like her.

I would stick up for her. I think it’s a woman’s natural instinct to show compassion for the poor, struggling, helpless, outnumbered (however silly, however dumb) female.

It’s a sisterhood.

It’s a fact. No one (and by that I mean, no man) gets away (completely unscathed) with poking fun, belittling or even arguing against a single girl in a group of men, if she has a “sister” in the room.

Of course, if it’s a group of women, all bets are off and she’s on her own. I don’t make the rules of the sisterhood, I’m just a member.

Over-sharer

The other day I told my doctor, my pharmacist and someone in line behind me at the pharmacy intricate details about certain embarrassing health issues.

Tonight, my neighbor came over and I repeated the same story to her along with what seemed like my health history. As I’m talking I’m thinking, “Shut up Danielle, you’re creeping her out.” But for some reason those thoughts just fueled my word vomit. Eventually she yelled to her kids in what sounded like a panicked voice but I couldn’t really tell what with all the talking I was doing.

She scooted her kids along as I finally ended my story. I’m watching her walk away thinking, was that TMI?

I told Donnie what I’d said and he goes, “YOU TOLD HER THAT?” He always thinks I over-share but he probably wouldnt even admit to anyone what he’d had for lunch.

As a matter of fact, most guys I know aren’t sharers. As another matter of fact, most women I know ARE sharers.

It’s totally how women build relationships. We share all our secrets. I think guys build relationships by sharing all their power tools. At least that’s what Donnie does. *shrug*

I just texted my neighbor apologizing for the over-share. She laughed. “Lol, never!”

She didn’t even care!

Good bacteria vs. bad bacteria

I’m a health nut. I’m always reading up the latest health trends.

Probiotics aren’t necessarily anything new but it is interesting: good bacteria, that is.

My doctor says, “Basically probiotics are good bacteria that kill bad bacteria that can make you sick.”

I imagine little transparent fried eggs with devil horns all trying to destroy my body and then enters the transparent warm fuzzy with a halo and angel wings and armed with a bazooka to destroy all those bad eggs.

“Taking a pill with good bacteria that will kill bad bacteria? It doesn’t seem right to me,” said Donnie. (But he’s always a skeptic).

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To be honest, it actually makes me a little squeamish knowing these little organisms are waging microscopic wars on each other in my stomach. The sales phrase for a good probiotic is “packed with 1 billion live cells.” What? Ew! I just don’t like knowing there are a bunch of warm fuzzies floating around in my vitamin or the food I’m eating. I mean, everyone’s ok with this?

What if one of the good bacteria goes rogue? He sees the lifestyle of the bad bacteria and thinks, “That looks like a lot of fun, destroying crap. I think I’ll do that instead.” And then, say he was in a gang of good bacteria and convinces several others to go to the dark side? I mean, maybe bacteria is really impressionable. Then you have yourself a serious problem. I mean, you let them in! You welcomed 1 billion live cells of two-faced bacteria into your stomach.

All I’m saying is, “I’m cautious about what I eat.” In all seriousness, I know probiotics are good for me (however gross). Well… in moderation, right?

Pinterest is the new honey-do

Donnie finished his volleyball season at the end of June. When I say season you’re probably thinking, a couple months, right? Nope. This club season started in November. Yes. November. That’s 9 months. You’d think he’d have a baby to show for that 9 months of labor. (get it?)

Anyway, I was so excited when he finished because 1) I like having him around. People were starting to talk. 2) I have a Pinterest board called “Donnie” that’s about 200 pins large.

I broke the news to Donnie gently asking him if he was bored and maybe wanted to do some projects for me (I’m not too smooth with power tools. Baby steps). He agreed, “as long as we didn’t have to spend a bunch of money.”

Here are some of the awesome things he’s made:

A pull out pantry!
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This thing is awesome. No longer do I have to get out a stool to reach all my spices. We did this project together. But, he did the heavy lifting, literally.

A bathroom upgrade!

Before
Before

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He did this in one day! He used gel stain to cover that nasty, honey-colored cabinet with a beautiful espresso, framed the mirror and repainted the walls.

It was a good Friday surprise.

I’m glad I saved all my awesome ideas on the “Donnie” Pinterest board. He only has one month off a year so I have to make it good.

P.S. He’s a good one. He’s in the other room changing a diaper while I blog. What a guy!

Delayed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

This morning I stepped over the same pair of jeans three times as I got dressed.

Then, I went to the kitchen and saw all the dirty dishes sitting there. I made my breakfast and walked right past.

As I ate my eggs and sausage at the table, I glanced at all of my sewing stuff, just sitting there on our bay window (which is supposed to be for seating but usually ends up as a place to throw remnants from my current projects).

I started feeling really irritated. The back my neck itches.

I looked around the house. Crumbs on the floor. Oatmeal cemented to the table. Random dirty clothes from the week strewn around the house (Logan prefers the mobile-changing method). My heart starts racing a little bit. Is my eye twitching?

I can’t do anything until I clean this.

I start cleaning. I can’t clean one thing at a time. I start with the dishes and run around picking up things only to find I left the sink on. It’s A.D.D. cleaning. I’m running around like a maniac spraying, wiping and in some cases, soaking (oatmeal).

I don’t know what hit me, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. This is classic Danielle. Donnie has no idea what happened. All of sudden, I’m mad and cleaning.

I like to call it Delayed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. (Do you like how, half-way through this post, I’ve already diagnosed myself with two behavioral disorders?) Here’s what Delayed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is: I have to have certain things certain ways, but I’m not going to go out of my way to clean. I’m just going to get all pissy for no reason. Then, when I feel like my head is going to explode all over the clutter, I’ll start doing something about it.

I do have some regular OCD tendencies too. Like how I check my purse about 20 times a day for my keys and phone. Sometimes, I even keep my hand in my purse, holding my keys.

And at the grocery store. I put items in the cart in a specific order. By location. For example, canned, refrigerated, frozen, pantry. One time, Donnie went grocery shopping with me. He just threw things in, willy nilly. I’m all, “The fuuuu—, Donnie?” He doesn’t go with me anymore.

I put my groceries on the conveyor belt in the same order. If they aren’t bagged together perfectly, it’ll be fine (I tell myself over and over as I watch biting my lip). But, if the sacker were to just throw random items all over the bags: bread with cans, raw, drippy chicken with my baby food, I may scratch his eyes out.

I’m totally OCD-ing the crap out of the this blog post right now but I’m not going to edit it anymore because Donnie’s waiting for me to watch a movie and my house is clean, my groceries are put away and my keys are hanging on the hook. At least, I’m pretty sure they are. I’ll go check on my way.

Who’s really missing out?

I just turned down another offer to go out this weekend. This one was to play pickup volleyball at a local watering hole. I said, “No thanks. I’ll be sitting at home, sad that I’m not playing and feeling like I’m missing out.” Not really true, but it made her feel good. The truth is, I’ll be at home with my family.

If Donnie and I were to play tonight, I’d have to get a babysitter and those are pretty hard to come by. We’ve worn out Grandmas and we’re already asking my sister to watch the kids on Sunday.

It’s difficult to do anything that’s not “family friendly.” It feels like we are constantly asking for help, here and there and three days next week. And if we’re not, we’re just “missing out.” Eventually, our old friends have stopped asking us to go out. We’re not really a big part of the group anymore.

Sometimes, it bothers me. I do miss the days when we could come and go as we pleased. And, I know those days will come again. I’m in no hurry for them. Even though we sometimes feel tied down, I still love it. I love spending time with my kids.

And when I see all the Facebook posts capturing “Heaven on Earth” and “I got my two loves: volleyball and beer” with a bunch of friends, I sorta laugh to myself and think, “They don’t even know what love is.”

 

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Small talk and social awkwardness

I was shopping at the mall the other day and saw someone I went to grade school with. We weren’t exactly friends but we weren’t enemies (unless, hypothetically, you were the type of person to hold onto bitterness about a another person telling you all the kids were saying you were a slut behind your back because you didn’t wear a bra in 3rd grade.) But, who holds onto grudges for 20 years? Not me, no way!

So I saw her walk in store where I was. She looks great! Dammit! I duck behind a clothes rack wishing I’d have worn my best wedges. The entire time we were in the same store, I avoided her glance. We were on separate sides of the store.

Eventually I didn’t see her and figured I was in the clear, I stepped up to the checkout to pay. I glance around one last time to make sure I didn’t miss a jewelry sale or something.

HOLY HELL! She’s right behind me. Did she see me? She’s acting like she didn’t. So this is what we’re doing, then. We’re acting like we don’t know one another. This is fine. I’m cool with this. I don’t know you, I don’t know you. Shit! I turned around again. Good, she purposely looked away.

I paid and flew past her to the exit thinking I dodged a bullet on that one. Would it have been the worst thing if I’d said hi? Or if she said hi? No, probably not. But for some reason, my first instinct was to hide.

This is no isolated incident. I happens ALL THE TIME. I avoid people I know when they are outside of the setting to which they belong. And if I don’t avoid them, I get all nervous and say dumb things.

For example, I ran into to my old volleyball coach last night and because she was smiling right at me, I decided to be a grown-up and say hello.

Me: Hey, how are you?
Her: Great! We’re in camp right now.
Me: I’m not.
Her: *Silence*
Me: I mean. [pointing at Riley] I’ve got my own camp right here!
Her: Yeaaaahh. Ok, see ya.

What the hell was that?! I’ve got my own camp? What does that even mean?

I panicked. I kept thinking. Don’t go all TMI on her. And then I literally cannot think of anything to say. Maybe I need to work on some small talk conversation topics but until then, I’ll stick to hiding behind clothes racks.
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Liar Liar

This morning Anya said, “It’s ok. My friend’s mom told me to just lie about it.”

At first glance this looks pretty bad, but that’s not the entire story.

Anya was irritated that the kids at her friend’s house hovered around her Kindle, asking “When is it my turn?” over and over in a way that sorta made me smile when Anya told me because I felt like she was getting a taste of her own medicine. Regardless, she was annoyed.

The next time she went to her friend’s house, she told her friend’s mom about the situation and the mom said, “Just lie to them and say you don’t have your Kindle today. Then go in the other room and play it.”

I guess it’s not thaaaat bad. It’s not like they watched rated PG-13 movies and fake-smoked candy cigarettes while chugging root beers and using pirate language. But still, it’s a GATEWAY lie.

I feel like telling Anya to lie about something small just tells her that lying is ok. Or even teaching her how to justify a lie. “Well, I didn’t want you to be sad mommy, so I told you I was going to the mall when really I went to a rave.”

I’m not really that upset about the whole situation. I mean. We all lie at some point in our lives. Even if it’s so you can surprise your spouse with an awesome birthday party. But at this time in her life, I don’t want Anya lying for no reason, or negative reasons.

I told Anya, “A lie is a lie. Next time, just tell them no. Or don’t bring your Kindle.”

Subway’s New Junk Sandwich

I saw this story about Subway’s new junk sandwich today. If you hadn’t heard, basically a guy put his junk on a subway loaf and took a self portrait and posted it on Instagram and Twitter.

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This gives a whole new meaning to “Meatball Sandwich”.
Are those really sprouts?
Is this how they measure the 6-inch?

But seriously, what is the deal with people tampering with fast food and documenting proof on the Internet? Remember the Dominos story?

The guy obviously wanted to get fired. What kind of “Sandwich Artist” is he?? I mean. I bet he didn’t even have a food handler’s license. Funny thing, I waited tables in several restaurants over the years and only had to have a food handler’s license at Dairy Queen. (Which was later involved in a class action suit for breaking child labor laws. But hey, that food was clean and untouched by body parts.)

I honestly want to know why they are doing this? Is it funny? 15 seconds of fame? (I imagine this guy saying to his grand kids “Yep, that there is my junk on that Italian Herbs and Cheese bread.”) A meme gone horribly, horribly wrong? Maybe it’s a sexual attraction to food? Remember Jim and the Apple Pie from American Pie?

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The future of Danielle + Subway does not look promising. I mean, before this incident, Subway already had one strike against it what with the dirty dishwater smell.

If I do return though, next time they ask if I want to “double the meat” on my club, I’m gonna pass.

An Ode to Garlic

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I love garlic.

I love it on bread.

I love it on pasta.

I love it in hummus.

It would improve Matza. (ick)

Cheesy rhymes aside, I think garlic is so underrated so I thought it deserved a little more credit. Did you know that garlic is one of the world’s healthiest foods?! And it’s often called “the stinking rose” (affectionately of course).

Raw garlic has many little known health benefits. It can improve metabolism. Research even suggests that garlic consumption can actually help regulate the number of fat cells that get formed in our bodies. Garlic can also keep your blood pressure in check (cardio-protective).

That’s not all. It’s an anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral, cancer preventer and will totally protect you from vampires.

So maybe next time, you’re cooking in the kitchen (Or if you EVER do), toss some garlic in that Meatloaf (Minced not in a powder, butter or salt). It will not only improve the taste, it could also improve your health.

Who knows? Maybe you’ll begin to love garlic too.

A little rain and a fun sponge.

It has become a yearly tradition to attend the Demolition Derby in Cheney. So we were pretty excited the weekend had finally arrived. We showed up an hour early to save our seats in the grandstand (they promised a packed house).
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Donnie sat in the rain for 45 minutes, but it was worth the front row seats. I’m pretty sure Donnie would say the same.

Sitting right up front, we get to watch everybody walk by. From a chick wearing a “Chicks dig me” shirt to cowboys in skinny jeans with plaid button-downs to a guy we often see at volleyball outings.

“Bob!” I yell, wanting to be polite. Bob waves back and asks if we have space near us.
Me: Yep. Come on up.” The more the merrier I always say. When I’m drunk, which I wasn’t. It was weird that I said that.

Bob introduces us to his wife. I say “Nice to meet you.”
She says, “We’ve met before. I was AT your wedding.”

I’m thinking, “Yikes how rude of me to not remember seeing her at my wedding.” She continues, “You looked WAY different back then.” I no longer feel bad for not remembering and now refer to her (in my mind) as “fun sponge.” She keeps talking, “How long ago WAS that?”
Me: “Se-seven years.”
Donnie: “6 years.”

She says again, “Well, you look VERY different.”
I straighten my nest of hair poking out the back of my hat. I mouth to Donnie “Very different?” He shrugs: “Glasses?”

I ask her why her son (who we also play volleyball with) didn’t come. Bob said jokingly, I think he either didn’t want to come or had something better to do.

I replied, “What could be better than this?!”
Fun sponge: “I could think of a lot of things.”

Silence.

I mention that we come every year and that we always had fun.
She said: “Well it’s way too dangerous. I don’t know why people do stupid things like this.”

Silence.

She continued: “And the bull-riding too. I don’t get it and I can’t watch it.”

Silence.

“Of course, it rains and we have to sit out here.” Really lady? I just told Anya that it’s more fun in the rain.

Silence.

She kept talking. “Oh great. Someone said we’d get hit with mud sitting this close.”
I finally responded, unwavering enthusiasm, “It’s all part of the fun!”

She changed the subject, “His name is Donnie?” Donnie: “Yes.” She mentioned that her brother’s name is Don, but it’s really Donald and he hates it.

Silence.

I’m frantically trying to find someone, anyone, talk to. “Riley, what is that in your mouth? A used lime from someone’s Sonic drink? Silly baby.”

She continues to talk but I pretend I don’t hear her. Eventually her daughter shows up so she can sponge her fun.

Due to the packed grandstand, I was sitting uncomfortably close to her. But I angled my body away and tried to constantly appear preoccupied by the kids, which wasn’t difficult.

We still had so much fun. I guess it rained too much for the fun sponge.

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!

To write or not to write

I’m writing this post as a shield to the ridicule I would endure had I not written today. An X is an X people.

I took half a day off for Anya’s program and various errands and did not have time to write one of the awesome random rants to which you’ve become accustomed.

I’m currently on my way to Cheney for the good ol bull riding show. I’ve never seen a rodeo so I’m pretty stoked.

Bet you can’t wait to hear what I have to say about it tomorrow. But. For now, I must hit publish because it took me 20 minutes to queue this up on my phone (stupid sprint) and my battery is almost dead.

Hope this publishes.

Do finer people shop at finer grocery stores?

I went to Green Acres whole foods store yesterday. As I pulled up, I said to myself, “We’re not at Walmart anymore, Toto,” when I saw a mother lovingly buckle her J. Crew toddler into his Burberry carseat in the backseat of her Jag. Feeling a little out of my league, I decided I’d go in anyway. At the least, I was in my bis-cas instead of my usual baseball hat with tank and running shorts.

As I entered, I thought, this place is so nice, it would embarrass Dillon’s. (In my mind, Dillon’s is the “luxury” version of Walmart with much fewer options and cheaper plastic sacks.) The produce looked so perfectly aligned and fresh (all organic, of course). I browsed for a minute, forgetting why I came there. Everything was about three times as much as I would expect. I’ve never even heard of this stuff. Xylitol is good for you?

As I browsed up and down the aisles I noticed, the fancy-pantsed shoppers carefully selecting their organic, no-GMO, ridiculously overpriced goods. I’m reminded of when Donnie worked at Collegiate (I always felt out of place in my Target clothes and cheap shoes). About 4 times in 10 minutes, I was approached by courtesy clerks looking to lend a helping hand. I must’ve looked like a lost puppy, but that store layout made no sense at all.

To the last clerk, I said, “Kefir?” Bemused, she said “Kefir.” I’m thinking, isn’t that what I said?” but feeling a little organic-food-vocabulary-inadequate, I nodded and followed her.

I grabbed the bottle that sounded the best tasting (relatively speaking). On my way out, I passed an old man sampling raw white cheddar. I took a sample. Which, for me, are not free because I instantly feel guilty for taking a free sample with absolutely no intention of purchasing whatever it was they were peddling.

“Mmm” I said.
“It’s on sale, only $4!” he replied eagerly.

I’m beginning to wonder if he gets a commission. I grab the small block thinking I’ll just put it down somewhere else in the store. Of course, there was no where to put it. “Shit! I guess I’ll buy this $4 block of cheese.” After all, I don’t want him to think I’m cheap, or can’t afford to spend $4 on what looks like 3 slices of cheese (not sliced). Do you think he noticed that my shoes cost $4?

It’s at this point in the post where I begin to wonder “What the hell is the blog post even about?” And then I remember that I wanted to point out that I felt awkward and uncomfortable around all those rich people. And that I was willing to spend more money to prove that I fit in, when it was painfully obvious that I did not. Maybe I’ll stick to buying my organic products from the nicer part of Dillon’s, where people still shop with a budget.

P.S. For now, I think I’ll go enjoy my meatloaf salad made with organic “freshwater” sprouts and baby kale (whatever that means).

When did “relax” become a swear word?

The other day I was cruising through the Walmart parking lot (I know what you’re thinking. “She sure goes to Walmart a lot for someone who hates it so much.” Shut up.).

So I’m cruising at a leisurely, appropriate pace, when “Good GOD! That car came out of nowhere!” A guy flies through the parking aisle (is that what they’re called?) and slams on his brakes just short of my fender. I shoot him a look that says “What the F dude? This is a parking lot!” He mouths the word, “Relax.” I could feel the steam spewing out my ears.

Relax? Relax?! I would have rather had him flip me the bird.

  • Relax is the word my masseuse says when she’s trying to work out a stubborn knot in back probably due to all the the douche-nuggets who tell me to “relax” when they almost hit me in Walmart parking lots.
  • Relax is the word my mom would say when I’d get all worked up about say, a boy who punched me in the back of the head and called me a freak.
  • Relax is the second R in “R&R” used on some beach travel destination websites.

It’s supposed to be soothing. It’s supposed to be a positive word. Used to console me. Ahh, yes. Relax. Breathe. And Relax some more.

Outside the aforementioned scenarios, when someone says to “relax,” it just fuels my fire. It feels condescending and rude. It’s used not necessarily to calm people down anymore but as another way of saying “You’re acting bat-shit crazy for no apparent reason.”

Hell, I use it myself in that specific, negative connotative way. I didn’t even realize it until one day I made dinner and Logan said it smelled “disgusting.” When I reacted, “What? It does not. It’s delicious!” Logan responded (before he could say his l’s): “Re-wax, Mommy. I will eat it.”

Logan’s words took me back to the Walmart parking lot where the carefree, reckless driver had (angrily) told me to “relax” but really meant something entirely different.

To Logan: “Don’t say that. Instead say, ‘I’m sorry Mommy, I will eat it’.” I’m pretty sure that worked in the short term but before long we’ll all be telling each other to “relax” escalating our fights (loud discussions) to whole new level psychological unrest.

Determination

I did not want to work out tonight.
I was intentionally shooting hoops and riding Anya’s scooter so I could justify it later.

These are all the excuses I made:

“I feel dehydrated.”
“It’s too sticky outside.”
“Look! The neighbors are here. They want to hang out.”
“It’s too late. I’m tired. I just yawned.”

I did the workout anyway. Donnie made me.
25 minutes of pure hell. That is, if hell were 25 minutes of fast paced cardio and calisthenics. If you think about it, hell would be doing this workout with no results. (I’ll keep you posted.)

Here we go. Right off the bat, Shaun T is yelling at me to kick higher. I can barely keep up. I’m so thirsty.

Fast jog.
High knees.
Plank.
Burpee.
Ew. Cotton mouth. Need water.
Downward dog.
Jumping jacks.
I’m gonna puke. I think I’m gonna puke.
High kicks.
Jabs.
My head is spinning and sweat is dripping from my hair.
Upper cuts.
Cross jacks.
Heisman.
And… Stretch. Whew! I made it through. That was tough.

I’m never drinking a beer before my workout again.

God needs better advertising.

I’ve gone back and forth a hundred times about whether or to write this post. I was afraid to offend, or even to start the conversation. But, I saw this post on Facebook last night and it lit my fire.

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Really? So, if I see this and don’t share with my friends, “all will go wrong”? What is this? Karma? A puppet-master? Remind me again where in the Bible it mentions chain-letters as a recommended form of spreading the Word? And further, being “condemned” if you don’t share the poorly designed image?

Of course, there’s Mark 16:15-16

“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”

But that’s more about believing, not about spreading the Word. I believe in spreading the Word, wholly. But I firmly believe that, in religion and politics (and any strong belief), “No one ever converted because they lost an argument.”

I watched a documentary recently: “Lord, save us from your followers.” I was a little leery at first because of the controversy of the whole thing. I consider myself a “woman of faith” and I prefer not to partake in rhetoric of the opposite persuasion (if that makes sense). It’s not because I don’t want to learn about other’s beliefs, it’s that it sorta makes me sad and, as a rule, I try to avoid being sad.

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Anyway, here’s the synopsis:

Whether someone is an Atheist, Agnostic, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or yes, even Christian – all can identify at times with the cry, “Lord, save us from your followers!”

Fed up with the divisive bumper sticker mentality overtaking America, director (and follower) Dan Merchant donned his “Bumper Sticker Man” suit and set out on the daring search for meaningful dialogue and the true face of faith.

Appearing in the film: Senator Al Franken, Dr. Tony Compolo, Former Senator Rick Santorum, Sister Mary Timothy, Paul Young, Bono, George W. Bush, and many, many more.

He covers topics like the “War on Christmas,” the “War on Christians,” confession and “Since when did Faith become more about being right and less about love?”

This documentary was really eye-opening (as are all documentaries I’ve watched to date – I think I need to watch more documentaries). It showed what real compassion looks like and what it doesn’t. Made me think about the things I say and think about others’ actions and lifestyles.

I’m not sure how exactly to tie that Facebook image into this documentary. All I know is it irritated me. Not the whole thing, just the last two sentences. Why must we go there? Why not just spread the Word? And the love? I guess that’s what I learned from this documentary.

Not-so-great Expectations

On the last day of eighth grade, my teacher handed out small sheets of paper with all my classmates’ names on it. The assignment was to put an occupation underneath the name. One that you thought suited that person. Looking back, I’m pretty sure he just couldn’t think of anything else to fill that hour. (Heads-up Seven-up, Pictionary, Open up and dictionary and start writing down words and definitions until the bell rang. All of those things would’ve been better options.)

At the time I thought it sounded fun. I took my time and thought of something perfect for each person, something complimentary and inspiring. (Other than the stinky kid, I’m pretty sure Trash Man was spot on. He could stink it up as much as wanted. It wasn’t mean, he knew it was his calling. It’s all he talked about. How proud his parents must be, I thought.)

When I got my envelope with all the torn sheets, I ripped it open, eager to see what my classmates thought of me: Doctor? Lawyer? Author? Fashion designer? Advertising?

The first sheet I pulled out: Secretary. Oh. Ok. Well, maybe they’d think I might be a good typist? (I barely typed 30 WPM in our typing class). Disregard.

I pulled out another sheet: Secretary. Oh. Ok. Well, maybe they think I’d be really organized?

Third sheet: Administrative Assistant. WHAT THE F! (I didn’t think that at the time because I never said bad words. It was probably something like “Aw, man.”)

Fourth sheet: Secretary.

This was really disheartening because, although I didn’t say much, I was a really good student and had absolutely no aspirations of becoming a secretary (I’m not even that nice). Maybe it was that I didn’t say much. I don’t know why? But that hour is a really strong memory to me. Maybe because I was hurt. I thought, “These people don’t know me at all.”

And so began my chipped-shouldered journey away from becoming a secretary.

Team bonding and team not-bonding

About 7 years ago, I was asked to be on a women’s volleyball team. Little did I know at the time that it was more about bonding and less about volleyball.

Season after season, we grew closer. It helped that we were the best team in the league and just got better every season. I looked forward to chatting it up on Thursday night while playing my favorite sport and getting a decent workout. We each had our own special cheer when served an Ace or scored a point. We played off each other’s enthusiasm, told jokes and just had a great time. Over the years, we would call on subs so we could get married, have babies and take vacations. But for the most part, we always came back to the same team.

I took off last Fall to have Riley. Then, I realized having 3 kids and a husband who works at night was too difficult to get away for several hours on Thursdays (I miss my MIL living with us). Finally, I have the time to play. Donnie’s out of season, I’m ready to rock and roll. My team is on a summer hiatus. One of our regulars moved to Colorado. One was out due to pregnancy. One moved to Coffeyville (Why would anyone do that?!). That’s half our team!

So, I am playing on another team. We’re not friends. At least, I don’t think we are. They don’t cheer. They don’t talk much if it’s not about the next play. I tried talking to one of them once and I kid you not, she walked away while I was mid-sentence. This is not fun.

I try to be positive about it.
To Donnie: “Yeah, they don’t talk to me or really smile, but we’re good. Pretty good, at least”

I miss my old team. I never thought I’d say it because I got frustrated with the lack of experience of some of them. Now, I have experienced players and I just want my old team back. Poor volleyball decision-making and all.

I miss my old team. I miss them.

I’m writing this while I dread yet another night of hours of silent volleyball. Like running and jumping robots with braids. We even have a 1 hour break between games. What will I do? Who will I talk to? Should I try another joke? (All my jokes have fallen flat with this team so far). Maybe I’ll act like I have to go somewhere and sit in the bathroom and listen to my audiobook.

At least it’s good exercise.

Do you recycle?

I had some neighbors over the other night for dinner. When it was time to clean up, my neighbor said, “Where’s your recycle bin?”

I didn’t hesitate, I pointed to the trash can. “Right there.”
She looked confused, “No, the recycle bin.”

I told her we didn’t recycle. She flashed a look of judgment that seemed involuntary. Donnie, sensing the judgment from the other room (ok he was drinking a beer in the driveway), yelled, “Yeah we don’t care about the environment.”

Neighbor laughs uncomfortably.

I add to Donnie’s comment, “He’s kidding. We like the IDEA of recycling.”
Donnie: “We’d do it if they didn’t charge us extra.”

So now, we’re not only tree-haters, we’re cheap too.

I try smooth things over a little with a, “Well, we don’t dispose of much.” (Not true) “We use a lot of reusable containers.” (Also not true) And then I follow with a bleak interest in purchasing a recycle bin and paying a monthly fee. I joke that I will use the money I usually deposit in my kids’ college fund. It didn’t go over well.

Now when I get home every day, I run inside for fear my neighbor will ask, “Did you get a recycle bin?”

Look before you leave: Wait, is that a kid in that car??

Yesterday I went to Walmart, my least favorite place ever. It’s worse than taking my kids the pool knowing full well that other kids pee in the pool and letting my kids swim anyway.

On my way in, this sign caught my eye and sorta pissed me off.
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As if kids are a purse that may not be safe due to the “ghetto” nature of the parking lot or perhaps a chocolate bar that may melt on the dash. Oops! Don’t forget your kids.

I just imagine some person with unkempt hair, a dirty white t-shirt (it looks gray now) and a velour mini skirt, that could use a little more material say around the hem, stubbing out a cigarette (likely not their first in the past hour) on the way in the door. She glances at this sign and shouts loud enough for everyone in the tri-county area, “SHOOT! I left my kids in the car! Thank God for this sign.”

It’s not really the sign that infuriates me. It’s the idea. I’m actually glad the sign is there. It’s sad that has to be there. Like the “Do not ingest” warnings on clearly inedible commodities. I’d imagine though, in reality, the people who leave their kids in the car know full well their kids are in the car and think, “They’ll be fine. It’s only 90 degrees.” It’s laziness, pure laziness, to leave your kids in the car! If people claim forgetfulness, then maybe they shouldn’t be in charge of any kids, or a car.

So, I guess, what I have to take away from this is that from now on, when I go to Walmart. I will “Look before I leave” to make sure there aren’t any occupied carseats in the hot cars around me.

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.

Shower thinking

The other night I couldn’t think of anything to write. I sat at my keyboard for 10 minutes (usually if nothing comes to mind in 10 minutes, it’s not meant to be).

So I continued with my evening routine. I put the kids in bed and walked passed a sink full of dishes three times before deciding to hop in the shower.

After wash, rinse and halfway through repeat, I’d come up with 5 fresh ideas. Typical. My best ideas come to me at the most inconvenient times. I just had to write them down before I forgot.

A trail of soapy water on the bathroom tile and a soaked notepad were the only real downside. After all, if I didn’t write those ideas down, I’d be writing posts about topics as meaningless as shower thinking.

Coffee please. Not too hot.

Remember the story about the lady who sued McDonald’s because she spilled coffee in her lap? It happened in the early 90s when I was about 10 so all I really remember is what my parents told me, which was basically that this crazy, money grubber is suing McDonald’s alleging the coffee was “too hot” and it “burned” her. “She sued McDonald’s for $30 million!” they’d say. I even remember making jokes about suing for no real reason. I mean. The coffee lady did it.Hot-Coffee-DVD-F

It wasn’t until this afternoon that I learned the real story behind the coffee lady and I will say, it opened my eyes. Shame on me for judging her. Poor 79-year-old Stella Leibeck did not deserve that.

Today I watched Hot Coffee, a documentary that happened to be more about Tort Reform than Ms. Leibeck. But… with that coffee lawsuit, she did start something pretty big. I thought it was going to be more about Stella’s story but it was sooo much more than that. Some called her case the “Poster child for Tort Reform.” The documentary answered more questions about Tort Reform than I could even fathom. At one point, I cried.

Here’s the story (as told by her family, various lawyers and other people involved directly with her case)

Stella was riding in a car with her nephew (who was driving). They stopped for coffee at McDonald’s and then parked so they could get situated and she could mix her creamer in her coffee before they hit the road. Stella started screaming and her nephew discovered she’d spilled the coffee in her lap and went to help her. The coffee was so hot (at least 10 degrees hotter than it is today), her skin was completely burnt and she had to have skin grafts. They showed the picture. It was awful (WARNING: Photos are graphic… if you decide to Google). I’ve spilled coffee on myself a number of times and have never been burned that bad. Not even close.

As part of the documentary, they asked random people on the street what they’d heard and their opinions on the case. Like me, most thought Stella’s story was a joke and this was frivolous lawsuit. Then they showed the picture of Stella’s scalded legs. Every person gasped. You could see the look of shame on their faces. About how I looked when I saw it on my TV screen.

First Stella asked McDonald’s to pay for her hospital bills and to make a coffee cup that had a more secure lid. They offered $800, which barely covers a hospital check-in process. McDonald’s had had about 700 cases (in the span over a year just before Stella’s suit) due to the coffee being too hot. Stella’s damage was too extensive. Her family convinced her to sue. The jury decided that the fault was 20% Stella’s for spilling the coffee and 80% McDonald’s for having such a high recommended “holding temperature”. The jury damages included $160,000 to cover medical expenses and compensatory damages and $2.7 million in punitive damages. Stella never fully recovered from the burns and passed away 11 years later.

It was extremely sad circumstance, but today, coffee is served that hot at other places. Without holding the cup myself, I can’t say that it’s McDonald’s fault (if the cup was defective, QT ought-a take a look at their cups). Not that I feel sorry for McDonald’s, but had they simply paid (out of compassion) for Stella’s injuries, they wouldn’t have had to foot such a healthy sum of money.

Stella’s case spawned the beginning of a long battle about “frivolous lawsuits” and Tort Reform. If you don’t know what it is, read this. (I’m sure there are other sources on the internet, but this one most coincides with Hot Coffee.)

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.

Cheeseburger Hoagies!

Now I know what you’re thinking, “I thought she was a health nut.” And “Did she lie about that whole salad thing?” To that I say: everything in moderation. Plus, I looooooove cheeseburgers. They happen to be one of my top 5 favorite meals.

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I love this recipe so much that I had to share it. It’s super quick and easy. You can make enough sandwiches for an army! Or a bunch of hungry kids. Honestly, I’ve made this so much, I don’t measure anymore, I just throw everything together and adjust until it tastes right.

Here’s what you need: (serves 4)
1 pound Ground beef (I prefer grass fed… Yep, there’s that health nut)
2 slices of cheese (shredded would work)
Hoagie buns (any bread will do though)
1/4 c Ketchup
2 tsp. Mustard
1 Garlic clove
Tomatoes (optional garnish)
Dill relish (optional garnish)

Here’s what you do:
1. Brown the beef and strain.
2. Add ketchup, mustard, cheese, and garlic. All at once.

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Think that’s too much garlic? Nope. It’s never too much garlic.

3. Mix and let it simmer.

Don’t forget to taste as you go. If there’s any pro chef cooking tip that I’ve ALWAYS followed, it’s that you must taste as you go. If you don’t, how do you know when it’s not enough garlic??

4. Put a 1/2 slice of cheese on each hoagie and then load them up with that meaty goodness. Then put them in a cake pan.
5. Bake for 15 min at 350.
You don’t have to bake them, but it makes the bread nice and toasty and melts the cheese on the sandwiches. In other words, it adds more awesome yummy goodness.

Sometimes I’ll put tomatoes or relish on my sandwich, but they’re good right out of the oven too.

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This meal is VERY popular with my kids. Logan ate 2 oversized open-faced sandwiches!

This meal is so quick, you can still make it for dinner tonight!

Friend or family?

When do parents start treating their kids like fellow adults (or friends)?

I’m not talking about those teen years, where your parents expect you to act like an adult but you still have to ask to watch TV, you can’t eat snacks before dinner and you must be home by 11 pm.

I’m talking about when you are 31 years old and you are at your daughter’s softball game and your parents sit by the nearest old couple and engage in a conversation that you “can’t possibly understand.” And “Besides, you’re not welcome in this conversation, maybe you should go outside and play.” At least that’s what I imagined they were thinking.

I’m not over-reaching here with my assumptions. Here’s a recent conversation with my mom.

For example, we are throwing our annual family Independence Day party. I call my mom to confirm times. She says, “Yyyyyeah, we’re having our own party with our own friends this year.”

*Silence*

So, not only are they “having their own party with their own friends” but we were most certainly not invited.

Me: “Ok.”

I didn’t really know what to think about this. Are my parents “too cool” to come to our party? Are they going to dance around with sparklers with their friends? I mean, that’s what they did with my kids on the fourth.

It’s like the tables have turned. I am now the parent and they are the teenagers that want to do anything but come to my lame-o Fourth of July party with “legal”, “kiddy” fireworks.

Mom: Have a good 4th!
Me: Have fun with your “friends” (the quotes here were audible air quotes, although I don’t think she got the hint).

A walk! A walk! Oh Boy! A walk!

Lately, I’ve been feeling really bad for Maggie, our black lab (or Donnie’s black lab when she pukes on the floor). Maggie’s been really down lately. The past few weeks, we’ve been so active, it’s like our house has revolving doors.

Tonight, I decided to take Maggie with us on our walk. She knew it too. It’s like she could read my mind! Or maybe it was the jingle of her leash. She perked up –  did that run in place thing they do in cartoons – and ran to me. Jumping and spinning and jumping and tap dancing around. She was so excited I worried she’d be bouncing around in her own puddle of excitement (if you know what I mean).

I wish I got as excited about anything as Maggie does about walks.

Logan manned his scooter and declared, “I’m going speed-fast the whole way!”
I replied (effectively deflating his bubble), “As long as Mommy can see you, you can go as fast as you want.”

I loaded Riley up in the stroller and we were off.

Halfway to the first sidewalk (about 10 feet), Maggie veered (drunken with excitement), cuts me off and I run her over with the stroller, Yipe! The handle bar jabs me in the ribs. Ouch!

“Well, I hope you learned your lesson Maggie.” As if she knows what “lesson” means, or “learned,” or “hope”. She got the message though. It’s all in the tone.

Maggie went on to cut me off about 5 more times over the 2 mile walk. She’s was just too excited (and she can’t hide it.)

About halfway, Maggie started getting tired. This was my favorite part, because she started falling in line. However, fatigue didn’t stop her from trying to beat Logan. (She’s very competitive). So now she’s walking straight, on the sidewalk like a good dog, but she’s picked up her pace. I’m doing that hip swing, speed walking you see only in the Olympics and at the mall on weekday mornings. In hindsight, I coulda picked it up to a jog.

We speed-walked past a couple of women. I waved awkwardly. Although, It looked more like I was swatting at a fly. I didn’t want to let go of either the leash or the stroller for very long. One woman called out, “Looks like you got a motor on that stroller.”

I tried to think of a clever comeback but only “YYYep,” managed to escape to my mouth as Maggie’s leash somehow disconnected from her collar. In seconds, Maggie was bathing in the nearby pond scum with what appeared to be a smug smile on her dogface. Me? I stood there, at a halt, holding a dog-less leash and looking dumbfounded .

Logan laughed.

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Maggie swam laps as the kids at the park giddily yelled, “Doggy, doggy!” but then screamed when she shook her pond scum at them. Ha!

Maggie’s swim was the perfect end to her favorite thing the world. She calmly walked the rest of the way home. Dripping all the way.

And so, the salad eater becomes the salad maker

For as long as I can remember, I have loved salad. I was that weird kid eating a salad when all the other kids were eating pizza rolls and pop-tarts.

I love all kinds of salads. Caesar, Wedge, Cobb (one of personal favorites), Greek, Fruit, bean… I love them all!

I think it’s the strategic combination of flavors that mostly appeals to my taste buds (I don’t like eating lettuce by itself. What am I? A rabbit?)

My experience eating salad has served me well, too. Yes, yes, it’s good for me. But mainly, it’s taught me what goes well together so now I make my own awesome salads (cheaper than $8/bowl).

For a while (after maternity leave when I was feeling especially productive), I made jar salads. My jar salads were the envy of the department. The colorful layers of produce drew attention from artists, even! I take pride in the aesthetic appeal of my salads. I take extra time to make my food pretty before I eat it. I think it tastes better that way.

This is my lunch today.
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Yes! That’s a brat! A turkey cheddar brat (no fillers). It’s the little surprises that make a salad great. This is a bowl full of yummy goodness topped with my homemade honey mustard vinaigrette.

Bon appetit!

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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I’m a writer. Go ahead, criticize.

Growing up, I always LOVED volleyball… but I wasn’t very good (at first). All my friends would have posters of volleyball players, motivational stickers with volleyballs on them, volleyball merchandise, etc… I never bought one thing with a volleyball on it. I guess I thought that, to love something that much, you would have to be pretty good at it, right? I didn’t want to put posters on my walls and then feel like a poser If I wasn’t any good.

If people asked me if I played volleyball, I’d say “I try” or some other weak, noncommittal response. I actually didn’t really want anyone to know that I play volleyball. Because the first thing they ask is are you any good. And then what would I say?

I loved to draw, paint and sculpt in high school, but I would never have considered myself an “artist.”
I loved to brainstorm, tell stories and write in college, but I would never have considered myself a “writer.”
I even loved learning about other languages and took 4 years of french in high school and tested in to a 300-level french class in my junior year of college, but I would never speak french in front of anyone, let alone admit that I knew french.
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What’s my problem? Shyness? Fear? That’s it. It’s fear. I was afraid to put myself out there. To be vulnerable and open myself up to possible criticism.

I even switched majors several times, because if I wasn’t excellent at something, then maybe it wasn’t for me. (Looking back, I wonder what it is that college counselors REALLY do.).

I chose Marketing after spending two years on a Graphic Design path. I figured that I’d have more career options when I graduated. I considered myself to be pretty creative, but I thought I sucked at writing. Sure, I could put big words in big sentences, but the biggest criticism of my writing was “NO VOICE.” I had no voice. At the time, I’m not really sure I knew what “voice” meant in (for example) a research paper about Women’s Suffrage.

When I graduated, I found a place in Integrated Marketing Communications. Small parts of my job consisted of writing and it was so DIFFICULT! I’d spend hours on a press release only to have it handed back in a bloody mess. It was discouraging. At the time, I didn’t want to admit to being a writer. If I admitted to being a writer, then people expect me to be good at it. And I sure wasn’t.

Of course you know what comes next. I worked super duper hard and now I’m awesome! Well, sorta. Through writing about what might be some of my least favorite topics (however, not worse than say, poop). I did become a stronger writer. And with that, came the confidence.

In fact, I can now probably say that “I’m a writer.” Ok, I do say “I’m a writer.” And others would say it too.

I. Am. A. Writer.

There, that feels good. Maybe I’ll should go put some posters of copywriters on my walls.

PS. I’m a pretty damn good volleyball player, too (Look at me! I’m growing).

The magic behind the Magic School Bus

I’m not a big fan of letting the TV babysit my kids, but I think sometimes, it’s ok. If the TV is the only thing standing between me and unleashing the fury, then so be it. Not that my kids were doing anything wrong. I just needed a little break. Wait, why am I justifying my actions? I’m not ashamed. Ok, maybe I am. DANG IT!

Anyway, I put Logan in front of the TV. It was Magic School Bus, so I told myself, “It’s ok self, at least he’s learning.” It worked! I’d convinced myself that TV sitters are ok (sometimes).

So I decided I’d use my “free” time to bake. I LOVE cooking, baking, sauteeing, souffle-ing (if that’s even a thing), I love it. To me, it’s therapeutic. And, I always like to make new things; it’s like an adventure. Now I sound pathetic.

Annnnyway, I made Banana Bread Brownies. These things are pretty good! But, definitely not on the low carb menu. Who knows? I may bring the leftovers to work tomorrow. 🙂

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And, I did end up getting a little “help.” Logan mentioned that these will go in his “large intestines.” Haha. Score one for moms letting their kids watch TV (sometimes).

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Logan: a bully?!

Yesterday, Donnie got a call from Logan’s daycare. Uh-oh. They told Donnie that Logan had “pushed a toddler to the ground and was holding ‘it’ down. (yes, they referred to the child as it) And then when we told him to apologize, he laughed about it.”

What? Not my Logan! Logan is incredibly non-violent. It’s not just mom goggles either, I can get written testimonials from his past teachers who would call him “a teddy bear” and “very loving.” So you can imagine my shock when the daycare lady then asked Donnie, “Does Logan hit your baby?” Logan? Hit? Baby? OMG, I was livid.logancowboy

Upon my insistance, Donnie went up to the daycare to get the whole story. After talking to Logan, who said, “The little kid was in my way and I was trying to go first,” Donnie talked to the lady who called him. He told her he didn’t appreciate the assumptions she made about Logan’s character, making him out to be some sort of baby-beater. Then he said, what really happened? She didn’t know. She wasn’t there. “But you can wait here for the teacher.” Donnie waited.

When Logan’s teacher got back from lunch she explained the whole thing:

Logan’s class went to a water park. The kids were all running through one of the tunnels and there was a 2-year-old in a tunnel. Rambunctious like he is, Logan pushed his way around the child. As he was getting passed, the toddler’s mom (suddenly realizing her 2-year-old was in the tunnel clearly labeled 5-8 years old) starts screaming “DON’T TOUCH MY BABY!!!” Logan freezes. His hand still resting on the toddler’s arm (caught redhanded, if you will). The mom, hysterical (with her mom goggles) yells at Logan and grabs her kid. She demanded Logan apologize to her. Logan just stood there. Then he sorta started smiling, probably because he was embarrassed. 

Logan’s teacher was empathetic with him. She said, “He was being a boy. They were racing. He should been more careful, yes. But the little one should not have been in the tunnel. That toddler’s mom made the whole situation much worse. And, I could tell Logan felt bad when he was put on the spot by her.”

Well, at least someone has Logan’s back. That front desk lady might have thrown Logan under the bus the first chance she had. B-word.

 

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.

I’m a DOer; but maybe not a very good cyclist.

I’m a doer. If I’m not DOing anything, I get stir crazy. Some call it ADD. I call it “being a doer.” Growing up, I was the one trying to get all the kids to play the new game I invented. Or any game for that matter. Or anything, anything at all. Come on… play with ME!

So now that I have I kids, it’s much easier to get the kids to play with me. I have more leverage at this phase in my life. And, it’s even worse when Donnie’s not here (You should see all the handmade things in my house). It’s worse when Donnie’s not here because he’s usually the voice of reason, doubting Thomas, negative Nelly. Ok, maybe not negative, but he’s sorta like the dad in Finding Nemo. I’m Nemo.

Today, when I got the marvelous idea of going on a bike ride, Donnie would have suggested a 1-mile ride to the park. Nope, not me, I think big. “Ok kids, let’s go to the farmers’ market.” It’s only 3 miles one way and 92 degrees with 41% humidity. It’ll be fun.

So I pulled the baby carrier behind me with a 22-pound butterball, sucking on his two fingers and buckled in nice and tight. My back tire was only slightly flat so I didn’t think it’d be that big of a deal. I really love the curvy sidewalks, they add a little fun flair to an otherwise pretty drab ride.

About 2 miles into the trip – with 5 water breaks and one tired 4 year old – my back tire was smashed against the pavement. It was like trying to ride a bike with a wheel made of slightly melted tar.
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At this point you may be wondering, “Why didn’t she just turn around and go home?” Well, that’s another thing you should know about me. Not only am I a doer, but if I choose to do something, I will MAKE IT WORK. (even if it seems moronic to do so). We rode on.

Nearing our destination, we played frogger at the crosswalk to the farmers’ market. You wouldn’t think I’d have to play frogger at a crosswalk (where they have red lights). Where people are required by law to stop. Anya nearly got hit by someone who decided that red means “go” and not “yield before turning right.”

We made it! My mom has a booth at the farmers’ market so we hung out for a few minutes. Then I kindly asked her to take Logan’s bike home, because that kid was spent. Then I threw him in the baby carrier with Riley (if you’re keeping track, that’s about another 35 pounds to my load.)

We made it back in half the time, drenched in sweat. Red-faced and breathless, I’m pretty proud of myself for dragging that tar-tire, butterball and mini-Donnie uphill on the pointless, inconvenient, mocking curvy sidewalks back to our house.

Of course, then I get on Facebook and see people clocking their 5K runs in the same amount of time as my bike ride OF THE SAME DISTANCE!

This is me:
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Don’t call my daughter beautiful

If you read the title of this post, you would probably infer that I’m jealous of my gorgeous daughter. NOT true! Maybe a little. Just kidding. (Or am I?) Read on…
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I took my daughter with me to a family event recently. I walked her around and introduced her to all my friends. Several of whom commented, “Oooh you’re so pretty” or “You’re beautiful!” Anya was beaming, grinning from ear to ear. I mean, who wouldn’t be? Everyone likes compliments (except maybe Blendra). It may have been my imagination but I’m pretty sure she began to strut a little after that. Oh sheesh, here we go. I overheard one woman say “You are so tan, you must play outside a lot.” Anya responded “Not really, this is my natural skin color.” OMG, she did NOT just say that.

It’s not that I really mind that people tell her she’s gorgeous – or any of my kids for that matter. I mean, they are cute, but that’s beside the point.

I don’t want Anya to think that being pretty is an accomplishment. “There, I did it. I was born. I played the genetic lottery and did quite well. So now I’m going to ride that wave until someone marries me for my looks and then when I lose my looks he’ll divorce me and I’ll be alone and only then (when it’s too late) will I realize that maybe I had something else to offer besides good looks.” Seems a little farfetched, eh? Well, this is how moms think.

I know. I know. At her age, it’s a little unrealistic for me to expect people to say things that may boost her confidence in other areas. I mean, if you don’t know anything about someone, it’s difficult to compliment them on anything past the cover of the book. So, for now, I (and, of course, Donnie) will continue to comment on her work ethic, creativity, etc…, rather than say, how well her molecules are formed.

A how-to for the fellas: How to make a ponytail

Do guys know how to make a ponytail?

My recent encounters with the bearded-kind tell me that “No, they do not.” You see, many men who have Duck Dynasty beards also have long hair that they pull into a low ponytail at the nap of their necks. Other groups of people who opt for the long beard/low pony combo include (but are not limited to) bikers, trailer homeowners and Walmart frequenters.

ponytail

I’ve never been present during the ponytail-making process but this is what I imagine.

  1. Wash hair.
  2. Apply some sort of grease that  smells like sweat.
  3. Wrap hair in ponytail.

Step 1 is completely optional and often ignored.

The result is an oily, rat tail of a pony as low as it can possibly go. It keeps these guys at their “cool” status among their peers. Well, I’m here to say that’s just not right. I’ll say what I say to my 9 year old daughter, “If you guys want to have long hair, you have to take care of it.”

Here, I’ll help. Below I’ve is a link to some steps to making a nice ponytail. TIP: You will need a brush so you better head to Walmart.

I hope I make a difference.

http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Ponytail

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.

calamity cubes

“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”.

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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.

Unspoken rules for stay-at-home moms?

So I visited my sister in Texas this past weekend. She stays at home with her kids and home schools. She’s always on the clock too. I’ll explain.

I was talking with her and her husband about a friend of mine (stay-at-home mom) whose husband does NOTHING around the house or to help with the kids. My brother-in-law interrupts with, “As he shouldn’t.”

This comment kind of got me thinking. Is there some sort of unspoken rule that stay-at-home moms do everything in the house and for the kids, 24 hours a day? I’ve noticed other couples behaving in a similar manner and just thought, “Wow. Those guys don’t help at all. What jerks.” (I really do think that).

On the other hand, it’s unfair for me to compare their situations with mine (one with two working parents). Our housework and kid-tending is equal (I see to that ;)).

I guess it mostly bothered me when we were all out and the women were assigned the task of bathing the kids and cleaning up while the men got dinner and beer. Maybe it was my feminist side speaking when I said, “You guys clean the house and take the kids home and bathe them. You haven’t seen them all weekend. We’ll go get the food and beer and be back just in time for everything to be done.”

That didn’t go over too well with Working Dad because he’d actually already helped with breakfast that morning. Check! Done for the day. I finally gave in with a “You owe me” to Donnie and everyone was happy.

Later that night, I considered myself a lucky woman as Donnie lovingly tucked the kids in bed while I lounged on the couch.

Logan goes to the dentist.

Logan had his first dentist appointment yesterday. It was hilarious. He was so stone-cold and shy.

Dentist to Logan: How old are you?
Logan: (Nothing. Not even a glance in her direction).

Dentist to Logan: Does Mommy help you brush your teeth?
Logan: (Nothing. Not even a glance in her direction).

Dentist to Logan: Do you like those birds in the window? (where he was averting his glance)
Logan: (Nothing. Not even a glance in her direction).

Logan knew he was there to have his teeth looked at, so he kept his finger in his mouth the entire time he was in the chair. Almost as an extra security measure to make sure his teeth remained in his mouth throughout the appointment.

The dentist had to pry his tight lips open to see his teeth, but let him keep that finger there. It was almost as if his finger was the pin to a grenade. Pull that pin, and we all knew what could happen.

The B in ABC

The other night, I’m watching Modern Family with Anya (8). I know, it’s not realllly a kids’ show but she caught it once and now it’s our thing when Donnie has to work late.

Anyway, these provocative commercials kept coming on for the following program. It was the series premiere, so ABC thought they should broadcast it at every commercial break. Anya instinctively closed her eyes each time. Really, ABC? At 8 o’clock I have worry about my kids seeing something they shouldn’t?

By the time Modern Family was over, I’d had it with “Don’t Trust the B- in apartment 23.”

And what’s with ABC’s new shows? The B in Apartment 23 and GCB? Both shows are on before our little ones go to bed. Is this what network television is coming to?

What a minute, what does the B in ABC stand for?

Healthy Chicken Tenders?

I found recipes for healthy versions of comfort foods and finally decided to make one tonight.

Anya had plans tonight and I wanted to make Logan’s favorite dinner, which is chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. OK, so I just made the chicken nuggets.


Easiest health food recipe ever.

Ingredients
8 Chicken fillets or 4-5 breasts (cut into strips)
2.5 cups of Cornflakes
1 tsp of Sage
1 tsp Thyme
3 TBSP of dijon mustard

Directions
1. Blend the cornflakes with the seasonings (but don’t use your Bullet if it’s about to die. It makes and awful sound and smells like burnt metal)
2. Use a pastry brush to put dijon mustard on chicken strips.
3. Then, dip them in the cornflake mix.
4. Lay them all out on a sheet of wax paper in a pan. (Use the wax paper, you will never get the pan clean)
5. Bake at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes (Although mine took about 15. So yeah, make sure they are done before you eat them).

I mixed up a little honey mustard for dipping and these things were awesome. In fact, Logan preferred them without the sauce. You know, so he could really taste the geniusly blended flavors.

Winner, winner chicken dinner!

Facegram

In case you hadn’t already heard, Facebook bought Instagram (my former favorite photo iPhone app) for a cool billion. Nope that’s not a typo, Zuckerberg paid $1 billion for an app where people edit and share photos for free.


Soon after the announcement, my favorite website: Mashable, published two articles with sort of opposing viewpoints Facegram FTW and How to delete your Instagram account. LOL. In fact, Mashable was all over this golden nugget of news. Article after article, angle after angle. (Here’s one of my favorites). You’d think there was nothing else to talk about.

Anyway, I can’t decide whether this will be good or bad but I’m considering avoiding my Instagram for a while, until I know for sure all my photos won’t be insta-posted to Facebook.

All trolls go to jail!

So, I just read that an Arizona House Bill passed both legislative houses and is now waiting for approval from Arizona’s governor. Sounds like basic government, right?

The interesting thing about said Bill is that it’s aim to prevent online bullying, discourage negative commenting (from trolls) on the Internet. You mean no more mean comments from those rude Arizonians (Arizonites?)?

Yes! I hate trolls, with their big ugly noses and course, brightly colored hair.

Here’s what the statute states:

“It is unlawful for any person, with intent to terrify, intimidate, threaten, harass, annoy or offend, to use a ANY ELECTRONIC OR DIGITAL DEVICE and use any obscene, lewd or profane language or suggest any lewd or lascivious act, or threaten to inflict physical harm to the person or property of any person.”

Wait a minute. Does that say “annoy” or “offend”?? I’m pretty sure almost any comment can annoy someone.

Say this bill does pass and become a law (if you’re not sure how that works, watch this video).

Then, say someone comments on my site, “You don’t know anything about volleyball,” Well, shoot, that is annoying. And offensive (I mean, I’m offended). That person could be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor (about $2,500 and up to 6 months in jail)!

It seems these legislators do not understand the internet. I mean, they have a good purpose. I don’t like trolls either, but they are going about it all wrong. It’s too broad. And what about free speech?

Go Kentucky

So here I am watching the KU vs. Kentucky and I can’t help but cheer against KU. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate KU. In fact, I used to like KU. A lot. I knew the players’ names and everything.

What changed?

1. Well, you know how when you like something and someone you abhor likes the same thing and completely flaunts it and uses it as a excuse to neglect their family and drink-and-(usually)-drive when they win? Ok, maybe not that exact scenario but you get my point. You begin to wish the team would lose just to avoid all that drama.

2. Then… you know how when you marry someone who used to play basketball at K-State? No? Oh, well maybe that one is just me. Donnie’s not a big KU fan.

I say all this to say:

Go Kentucky!

Need a guest poster

Today, I’m struggling to come up with content so I started googling and this is what I found.

I’m going to go with #5. Guest posts can add content effortlessly to your blog.

To get the conversation started, I’ll provide a topic suggestion for my followers to see if any of them bite.

Favorite reality show

Guest post must answer why? Who is your favorite character and why? Are you addicted? Are you embarrassed? Does your spouse know about this?

Who’s first?

My husband the DIYer

I just love when I leave my house in the morning, my yard looks like this:

And, my husband texts me a few hours later with this:

And, then I get home from work and this is what I see:

In the next picture, there will be a finished 50′ patio! It’s nice having a DIY husband (no flaky contractors like Jordan Heath Artisan Concrete to deal with). Donnie worked on this all day!

How to image map

About a month ago, I became a YouTube Partner.

If you don’t know what a YouTube Partner is, you probably don’t monetize your YouTube videos. Basically, I’m part of this exclusive YouTube Partnership Program. I applied and they thought my videos were totes awesome and now I get special YouTube privileges, such as a channel with clickable links in it. (Isn’t it pretty?)

This pretty background with clickable links in it is called “image mapping” and I’m going to show you just how simple image mapping can be.

1. Ok. I know this website isn’t pretty, but it works. First I select, “Choose file” on my PC (I don’t have nor will I ever have a PC again but nonetheless, this is the option to choose). Then, hit “Start mapping my image”.

2. This is what the next screen looks like (again, not pretty). You may have to wait a few seconds, then select “continue to next step”.

3. Now this page looks a little more intimidating. No need to read all that junk. All you have to do is select “Rectangle” or “Custom shape” depending on the area you would like to be clickable. I’ll choose rectangle for two reasons, 1) simplicity 2) the clickable area is not as tight as it could be. Last time I did this, my rectangle went a little further one way than I intended. In other words, a bunch of white space became clickable for no reason. Ipso facto, rectangle is the way to go in this situation.

4. Now I select which image I want to be clickable to send my fans to a specific link. I move the box around my logo and put my volleyball drills website link in. There are several other options down the right side of this page, but we are first timers and we are going for simplicity. If you ask me, I’d say leave those alone until you have time to really explore the options. Oh, and select “SAVE”.

5. Select “Get Code”.

6. When I got to this screen, I was like WTF? That is a lot of reading and none of it looks like code. Code is what we’re looking for here. So, up top, select the tab “HTML Code”.

7. There we go! That looks better. You’ll want to copy that code and place it wherever you want. I put mine in my YouTube Partner header.

See that warning in orange, seems serious, so (if anything on this page) you better read that. Basically, they don’t want your image on their website forever. So you’ll need to make sure your photo is somewhere else. For example, I put mine in my “Media” on my WordPress site like so. Make sure to copy the “file url.”

This is where it gets a teeny bit complicated. You’ll have to edit that HTML. Just a little. You have, in fact, uploaded your image somewhere else. So you’ll have to change that fact in your code. Don’t worry, I’ll show you how.

8. Now, paste your file url (the one from your wordpress site or wherever) in the code right here. Then select all and copy.

9. Now, I pasted that copy into my YouTube channel header (for Partners only).

Done!

side note: see where it says “Banner Height”? I made my banner 150 px tall and I made my channel start 150 pixels down the page, so my fans could see my entire lovely banner.

Wasn’t that easy? Once you get your image design, image mapping really takes no time at all.

Now, if anyone has any suggestions on how I can modify the HTML for the background on an Admired themed WordPress blog, please let me know! I would love to image map my background on my volleyball drills website.

At least there’s free Internet

Donnie and I are taking our spring break weekend in Kansas City. Well, not much of a break for Donnie, as he’s playing in a men’s volleyball tournament. Fun!

I let Donnie pick the hotel.

Here’s my criteria.
1. Nice and clean (maybe a bit luxurious).
2. Indoor hallways to the rooms.
3. Free Internet.
4. Extremely clean bathrooms.

Donnie’s criteria.
1. Close to the gym.
2. Cheap.
3. Free breakfast.

All I can say is, at least theres free Internet.

Does reading Hunger Games keep me young?

I know. I know. I’m almost 30 and I’m reading a book from the “Young Adult” section. I can’t help it. I’ve heard so much about this book and the upcoming movie. I was curious.

I’ll be honest. I’m not really into the whole gloom and doom. The future will be awful. I hated Waterworld (but who didn’t?).

I’ve only just started this book. I’m about 60 pages in and I’ve already cried about three times. I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait to pick it back up again.

Click here to get your own new copy for like $5. Good deal.

I believe the Hunger Games movie comes out tomorrow. I want to see the movie, but I’ll wait until after I finish the book.

Ps. I may also be reading her other books. Heck, there’s the trilogy right there.

Pps. I may be reading books from the “Young Adult” section from now on. It keeps me young.

Celebrity Apprentice: I actually learned something!

For some reason, Donnie and I are really into Celebrity Apprentice this season. It’s fun to have a show together. Plus lately, I’m especially interested because they’ve been doing projects I would like to/have tried to do.

Yesterday, they tried to make a viral video for a mop.

I was like, “Yes! Maybe I’ll learn something.”

I definitely did learn.

I learned…

1. Don’t make Tia Carrere a project leader. She doesn’t do much as well as she does singing. But, she sure rocked that Wayne’s World song. Am I right?

2. Don’t let Miss Universe brainstorm your concept.

3. Don’t put Lisa Lampanelli in charge of charming, well, anyone.

4. Who the hell is Aubrey O’Day? Ok I didn’t learn that but I did want to make a point that she shouldn’t be on this show.

Do you see a trend? They are all women. Yes. Sadly, the women lost this week. With the tagline “What’s your number?” Their viral video was provocative and confusing. They were trying to relate number of sexual partners with number of mops they’d gone through. To me, it was a little misogynistic. Insulting. And, it came from the women’s group.

The men’s team won with a tagline, “I’ll mop the floor with you” and starred Lou Ferrigno prancing, dancing, dipping, humping (you name it) with a mop. Now that, was a riot.

Here’s the outakes of Lou’s big dance.
http://www.nbc.com/assets/video/widget/widget.html?vid=1390701

The men’s team nailed the viral quality of “unexpectedness.” Lou nailed it. I’m now cheering for the men’s team, with Donnie (who was a loyal fan from the beginning).

Girl Scout squabble

My doorbell rang last weekend and at the door stood a 3rd grade brown-eyed neighbor holding a green order form. A girl scout. Anyone who lives in a neighborhood has seen these girls. They cruise the neighborhood to tug at the heart strings and wallets of good, giving people like me. Anyway, I bought a […]

Free iPhone App Saturday

I know. Free iPhone App Saturday doesn’t really have a great ring to it. It was supposed to be Free App Friday but I forgot until about my REM cycle last night.

Free App Saturday it is. (Until next week, in which, I will go back to Free App Friday).

So, now to the point. The Free App. Evernote. It is one of my favorite websites.

You see. I’m one of those people who love the idea of being organized but really suck at actually being organized. Evernote helps me do that.

I keep all my notes, links, phones, voice memos, pdf documents in my password-protected Evernote. I have the Mac App, the iPhone App and the iPad App. They all sync automatically.

So, if I’m at work and I see an article I’d really love to read (but don’t have time), I’ll clip it in my Evernote and read it later at home on my iPad or iPhone App. Sure beats my old method of emailing it to myself.

What’s even more important is that I can create notebooks and organized files and notes for projects at work. This definitely keeps me on top of my game (especially when my boss tries to catch me off guard).

The best part about this whole thing: Evernote is free! So, download it and let me know what you think.

Finish the game

Tonight I went to play volleyball. I usually play on Thursdays but we had a week off so I was really itching for a good game. I was really hoping for a good team, good night. We played best out of three. It was a slow start but we won the first. Barely lost the […]

Best abs workout ever!

I love planks. Not this kind. Or this kind. But this. Your body should be a straight line from heel to head. The key is to hold your hips up and keep your back straight. In doing so, you’ll get the best ab workout ever! Hold that pose for 30-60 seconds. Repeat, at least 3 […]

People surprise me

Whether we are stereotyping or we really know a person, I think, for the most part, we expect people to behave a certain way. But… occasionally, people surprise me.

For example, today, I went to my least favorite place to shop, Sam’s (click here for my story on Sam’s). Here I was shopping along, grabbing cases of canned fruit and a gallon of maple syrup, when a let’s just say “tactless, hillbilly” walks up behind me and belts out the most disgusting, unforgivable burp. I shuttered. I couldn’t turn around for fear that I would be able to taste what was probably KFC or BBQ in the belched air. I glanced at a lady walking toward me only see her “Did that just happen face?” I walked on. This person surprised me.

Then, tonight, I’m sitting in my bed, feeling sorry for myself, deciding whether I should take 20 minutes to blog or not. NOT! I finally chose. So, I’m sitting here playing Angry Birds on my iPad, about to doze off, when my dad calls.

Anyone who knows my family knows that he and I are (regrettably) not close. First thought, “Something’s up with mom.” I answer, trying to hide the worry (or surprise) in my voice. He was just calling to talk. Asked how I was doing. Asked how the kids were doing. Asked about my job. Talked about his job. It was nice. I hung up the phone 20 minutes later (yes, 20 whole minutes. I’ve talked less to him on a 10-hour car ride). I yelled out to Donnie, “You’ll never guess who called.” And he didn’t. My dad surprised me.

I guess sometimes it’s nice to be surprised.

Is this an Indian Summer?

When I was thinking about this beautiful weather, I thought “Is this an Indian Summer?” Well, maybe, maybe not, Indian Summers technically occur in the fall and here we are in the first week of March. I could say the typical Kansan thing and say “Well, we’re in Kansas, if you don’t like the weather, […]

Healthy fast food

I know, it seems like an oxymoron. Just too good to be true. But,when I got off work today I really wanted a juicy quarter pounder. Mmmmmmmmm…. Cheeseburgers. It’s all I thought about from 4 pm on. So, I’m driving to get the kids and I’m drooling over the thought of salty, crispy french fries. […]

Are you afraid of the dark?

Tonight Logan (3) asked where his night light was. It was a vaporizer-type night light so when the vapor scent ran out, I put the night light away. He’s never really cared about having a night light. He used to sleep in the dark (before his cold). He’s not scared of anything, let alone the […]

Estrogen music

I have a couple channels on Pandora that Donnie calls “Estrogen channels.” I can’t argue too much with that. They are my “Adele” and “Colbie Caillat” channels. You don’t see too many guys listening to these women (well, maybe Zipop). I don’t listen to this kind of music too often. But on Saturday mornings, you […]

Today, I almost bought an app.

Today I almost paid for an iPad app. Yes. You read that right. I said paid. Like actual money. For an app.

You’re probably thinking “big deal,” right? Well, it is for me. I’m super frugal. Some (my husband, of all people) would say I’m tight-fisted with my money.

And, when it comes to buying apps for my iPhone, iPad or Mac. Ok, I know, the pricey electronics are not really a statement of my frugality. Would you believe me if I said, Donnie bought them? All of them. He did.

Anyway, I won’t buy apps. I once mulled over $.99 for a good week. Eventually I bought the app and immediately had buyer’s remorse. How pathetic! This is me.

Boy, I’ve been wordy lately. Back to the app I almost bought. It looks sooo cool. It’s a kids’ book app created by an ex-pixar designer. Each page has a fun animation or interactive play for the kids.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore iPad App Trailer from Moonbot Studios on Vimeo.

It’s $5, but I think you only get one book… Debatable.

Do I spend $5 for this ultra-cool book and chance that it may include more ultra-cool books in the app? Would you?

I may have to consult my frugal friend, Blendra on this one.

Is homemade generational?

Growing up, I ate a lot of things from a box. Bisquick, Hamburger Helper, Betty Crocker, those were household names. I think it’s a generation thing. My mom grew up at a time where everything was made from scratch. Then when she was a mom, all these easy, just add water meals were coming out. […]

You are who you hang with

Man. My friends are funny. I just got back from playing volleyball and it was a laugh-fest. I love hanging with witty, funny people.

In fact, now that I think about it, my work friends are funny too.

And, my family. They’re pretty funny too (in their own way).

Come to think of it, I tend to surround myself with funny people. I watch funny shows, follow funny tweeters and read funny blogs.

A while ago, a sharp-witted friend of mine gave me what I thought was advice. I told him he was so funny (and he was, he was on all the time). He said, “You know what? I just surround myself with funny people. If you’re the funniest one in the room, you’re in the wrong room.”


I’d never really thought about it like that before. You pick up the behavior of the people around you. Is that what my mom meant when she said “You are who you hang with” Silly mom “hang with.” Who says that? But, I guess she was right (don’t tell her I said that).

Maybe it’s the challenging factor. These people are so funny. I want to be funny too, hence, I’m challenged to up my funnyness.

If you think about it though, it’s applicable in several characteristics. Smarter people make you smarter. Neater people make you neater. Motivated people make you motivated. It even worked for my ex. He surrounded himself with douchebags and now he’s the biggest douchebag of all.

I digress.

What an observation. With all the funny people in my life, I’m bound to be hilarious.

3… it’s a magic number

So, the other day, my eight-year-old (Anya) was taking her sweet time getting ready for bed. I mean, literally, it took her 15 minutes to brush her teeth (that’s including all the face-making in the mirror).

After her marathon teeth-brushing, she moseys out to the kitchen and says, “Can I have some water?” Now, I’m not too stressed because I start the bedtime routine a good 20 minutes before lights out. But this was getting ridiculous.

I gave her a glass of water and said, “Now get your booty in bed. I’ll be there in a minute to tuck you in.”

She slowly turns as if her feet are stuck in semi-dry cement. I’m near my wit’s end, I say, “One…” I don’t even know where that came from. I used to count to 3 all the time to get her to pick up the pace. I hadn’t used it in years. And, not with Logan at all.

So, anyway, I said, “One…” At that, Anya darts to her room. I didn’t know she could move that fast (and I’ve seen her play basketball). Then I thought, “It’s a magical strategy. I start counting, she starts moving. This is wonderful.”

This is what Schoolhouse rock was saying when they sang, “Three is a magic number.”

Ok, maybe the video doesn’t specifically send the message that this a good way to control your kids, but I’m reading between the lines here.

Me: “Logan, pick up that Play-Do”
Logan: “O…k.”
Me: “One…” Logan stares at me and doesn’t make a move.
Me: “I said, one…” Nothing.

Maybe Logan needs a little training on the 1-2-3 method. That, and he usually starts his counting at zero (which he pronounces “Oh”). So I’m sure he was wondering why I started counting in the middle.

Fad diets are insane

I’m so sick of hearing people promote fad diets like they actually work.

There’s Atkins, South Beach, no salt diet, only tomato juice, grapefruit and red meat. I’ve heard of a lot of them over the years. I’ve never actually tried any of them (I’m too smart for that). Here’s a website that lists a bunch the popular fad diets, some pretty funny (i.e. the amputation diet).

The picture below accurately represents the people who choose those diets.

I’ve witnessed people actually losing weight on these insane diets. They’re insane because the dieters always, always gain it back. And, what does it cost? These types of diets are a detriment to their health.

Livestrong says (in more technical wording) Sure, losing weight is beneficial, but you may increase your health risks by following a fad diet! Fad diets restrict the amount of calories and nutrients you take in, which can lead to no energy and undernutrition (no exercise for you). Consuming too few calories from carbs and too many calories from saturated fat could increase your risk for life-threatening conditions, such as diabetic ketosis and cardiovascular disease (yikes!). PLUS, removing certain foods and not replacing them with other foods that contain similar amounts of vitamins or minerals can lead to nutritional deficiencies and consequent metabolic problems (i.e. easier weight gain in the future)

See? Totes bad for you. Most of these people know they’re bad for you but they still do it. Why? Does the desperation to lose the weight trump long term health? Maybe. One positive thing about fad diets is that you will lose weight fast. However, you will also lose weight fast if you amputate your arm, apparently a good 10-25 lbs!

Despite my best efforts to talk these people into eating healthy and exercising, fad diets seem to be the path most traveled. If you ask me, these people are insane by the very definition (according to the great Ben Franklin): “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

Running is boring.

It was a beautiful day yesterday, too beautiful outside to be in a gym workin’ on my fitness.

So I decided to get physical on the sidewalks around my neighborhood.

I started running.

Yeah! This feels great. Rocking a little “I got a feelin.” Click below, if you’re running while reading and would like some motivation.

So then, the song is over and a less motivational one followed. I’m focusing on the sound of my steps, breathing… ok, I’m bored.

No one’s around. Maybe I’ll do some calisthenics. Take your basic sidewalk.

I hopped to the far right edge with my right foot. Easy, right?

Then I hopped right over to the far left with my left foot. This is easy. Like hopscotch, right? Fun!

Then, I hopped all the way to the middle of the next block.

Ok. That was a little tougher. A CHALLENGE! Now I need a goal. Hmm. How about that sign up there? I’ll do these side-to-side hopscotch steps until I reach that sign.

One I reached that sign, I decided it was time to run a little more. I ran for about 2 songs (or 5 minutes). Then I was bored again. How about some lunges? I love what lunges do for my body. Good, strong jumping legs (which is good for volleyball players like me). I can’t do too many lunges at a time or I’ll never make it home. How about lunging all the way to that old guy standing there? In case he moves, we’ll say that beautiful River Birch.

The old man moved. I think he was impressed with my use of calisthenics. After I passed him, I felt like running again. My legs were shaky and as my 3-year-old son says, “Shake your sillies out.” So I did. For about another 5 minutes.

Then it was time to jump again. This time, feet together, I hop forward from one line to the next. Only jump on the cracks (contrary to popular belief, this will not break my mother’s back). My goal is that white car (doesn’t look like it’s going anywhere).

And, this is totally how my feet would look if they were created in Skitch.

After I reached the car, I ran for a bit longer. I sprinkled in these three super fun calisthenics the rest of the run (which was only a total of about 45 minutes).

Today my legs are super sore, to be specific, my biceps femoris and gluteus maximus.

Next time, I’ll be doing some side lunges for inner thigh strengthening.

As I sprinted across the finish line (or my driveway) the other day, I felt awesome. Pleased with myself. Proud of myself. And, the best part? It wasn’t boring.

Chalked pink hair in 5 minutes

Last night, my MIL came up to me and said she was bored with her hair and wanted to do something wild, but not incredibly damaging.

I thought, didn’t I see some wild hair colors on Pinterest?

The answer is: Yes, I did. Pretty huh?

Luckily I had some chalk pastels from college art days.

All you do is twist the strands and color the hair. The girls on that website strongly recommended against wetting your hair unless you wanted it to last through a few washings. So, that was the first thing I did (my MIL requested it).

Logan even joined in.

Donnie was pleased.

Anya came home later added some classy streaks to her dark hair.

Such fun! If you try this at home, it washes out super easy. In fact, the kids’ hair lost the color by morning (I didn’t wet their hair).

About an hour ago, my MIL washed her hair and it’s back to blonde. I like to call that a blank canvas (cue evil laugh).

Laughing alone.

OMG, this show is funny!

I just lol’d again and when I heard that laugh echo back, I realized how weird it feels to laugh out loud when I’m the only one in the room.

Think about it, do you laugh out loud when you’re alone watching a movie or TV or even reading a book?

A long time ago, someone mentioned to me how weird it is to laugh out loud at a show or movie when you’re watching alone. I’d never really thought about it before. But, now I think about it every time I laugh out loud at one of my two favorite shows (Modern Family and Happy Endings).

I can’t hold it in. I can’t help but laugh out loud. Do I feel a little weird? Yes. Is this why they used to film before a live studio audience? Maybe. Do I still feel crazy? Sure.

I googled “laughing at a movie alone” and ended up on Psychforums.com under schizoid personality disorders where all these people seemed to think it’s pretty normal to laugh alone. I imagine a bunch of people in straight jackets laughing at the wall. Is that how I look? Crap.

If every day were Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a day for lovers.

Some say it’s a “Day for single ladies!” or “It’s a pointless commercial holiday invented by retail companies to prey on poor, pitiful romantics.”

Some say, “I don’t need a day to show my loved one how much I love them” (Those same someone’s wives haven’t gotten flowers since the courtship).

Even more say, “I show my special someone I love them 365 days a year.”

That one made me laugh a little. I imagined doing the over-the-top special things we do for Valentine’s Day on literally every day of they year.

If every day were Valentine’s Day…
– I’d have a house full of flowers with matching vases.
– I’d have Type 2 Diabetes.
– My husband would be constantly nervous trying to top the events from the day before.
– Kids would probably be able to pronounce Valentine’s Day correctly a lot sooner. I mean, if you say it every day you’ll get it eventually.
– E.L.E. Everybody loves everybody.
– There would probably be lot less naysayers. How many people do you know who hate every day?

See? Valentine’s Day isn’t so bad. So go out, and do something thoughtful for your loved one, for Valentine’s Day’s sake.

Just think, at least Valentine’s Day only comes once a year.

What happens in Vegas, makes you look like a fool.

I went to Vegas two weeks ago for work and boy was it tiresome. I know that makes me sound a little lame, but when you go to Vegas for work, it’s not all partying.

Anyway, because I was sober, I got to “enjoy” observing the actions of others who were under the influence.

When people are in Vegas, they go by the “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” mentality. This mentality gives them the inferred freedom to do whatever they want and “It’s ok because we’re in Vegas baby!”

Even at the airport, waiting for our plane to take off, groups of wild and crazies were boozing it up in the bar to pre-game for their big Vegas weekend. The pilot threatened to and I quote “Turn this plane around” if anyone got “out of hand.”

While cruising through the hotel casino, I had a few guys come up to me, look at my ring and say, “Oh, you’re married” (as if it would make a difference if I weren’t) I also had a couple offers for things I won’t mention on this PG-13 blog. I even had one Italian guy ask me to marry him and offered to pay for me to stay another night (Donnie’s not to happy about that one). It was sorta like Honeymoon in Vegas but a little more real and not really that funny or romantic.

I even watched a regular chick (wearing a not-so-regular completely lace see-through shirt) reverse motorboat the tops bald guys’ heads. I’d like to call it the reverse-dome-motorboat I’m not joking, the baldies were lining up for their turns. I won’t post a picture of that because I’m too nice.

Those guys probably don’t remember stumbling up to me with booze-breath or slurred catcalls, or getting a reverse motorboat to the dome. But, I’m blogging about this because I’m a firm believer of “What happens in Vegas, doesn’t stay in Vegas if someone remembers what happened.”

Super avocado to the rescue!

I love avocados. You can ask anyone. Well, if you knew anyone who knew me, I guess you could ask that person how I feel about avocados.

But, my brother in law hates avocados. I swear I’ve never seen him even try one. But he says, “hates them.” So I decided to do a little research and maybe sway his opinion with some facts about avocados (or as Donnie calls them “ah-vys”).

Why do I love avocados? Not just because they taste good, or because they are a staple with sushi (one of my favorite dishes), but also because they are sooo good for you.

I’m talking seriously good. for. you. They are a super food.


Some naysayers (my bro-in-law) argue that avocados are high in fat, but the truth is they are nutrient dense, which compares is the amount of nutrients a food versus the number of calories. Nutrient dense means, “yeah, ok, there are some calories, but check out all this good junk?”


Good junk in avocados

fiber
potassium
Vitamin E
B-vitamins
folic acid

So, what makes avocados so super? Well, there are 13 vitamins that your body absolutely needs: vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate). And, avocados contain a lot of these vitamins naturally. That means, it’s not injected and your not taking a pill to get these extra, totes awesome vitamins. They also help you absorb the “fat-soluble nutrients” in other (lesser) foods you intake. AND, they have no sodium, which we know is the devil.

Ok, I think I’ve more than proven that avocados are good for you, but so is wheat germ and you won’t catch me eating that.

Let’s talk about texture, versatility and downright delectability.

A ripe avocado is black on the outside, and soft and green on the inside. A texture that goes well in so many dishes. I put avocados on salads, burgers, pizzas, wraps and even banana smoothies. Let’s not forget guacamole!

Enough talk about avocados. I’ve hidden one under the cheese in my brother in law’s pizza. It will be a pleasant surprise, I’m sure.

I feel sorry for you

You say kids are annoying (other people’s kids, that is).
You say kids are expensive.
You say you want to enjoy your freedom.
You say you aren’t the parent “type.”

Enjoy your quiet house, your shiny wood floors, your pristine white walls.
Enjoy your dinner parties, your spa vacations, your sports cars, your fancy clothes and hi-tech electronics.

I just don’t understand why people make the decision to not have kids. I understand that everyone wants different things, but what they don’t understand is that they don’t understand.

They don’t understand that when you see your child for the first time, you are instantly in love. A deeper love that you can ever imagine.

They don’t understand that that love grows more and more each day you have with them.

They don’t understand how strong of a bond they could have with another person.
How good it feels to hold a tiny hand, or get a kiss from tiny lips or hear those tiny words say “Mommy.”

Hey, to each his own. I’m not here to judge (for once). But, I can’t help but feel sorry for people who decide not to have kids because it doesn’t fit with their lifestyle. They just don’t understand what they are missing.

Am-ah-zing almonds

When I received word that we’d be bringing food to work, my first thought was “almonds.”

So, I toasted some almonds with a little sugary goodness last night. Took a little longer than expected because I didn’t follow one step of the instructions.

But, wow. They were am-ah-zing! (I collected testimonials from several coworkers today-I’m proud of my skillz).

Per request, I decided to post the recipe (which I found on Pinterest).

Start with this:

Get all of this stuff.

Ingredients:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups whole raw almonds
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Do all of these things.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Line a 10×15 inch jellyroll pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl beat the egg white and vanilla until frothy but not stiff.
  3. Add the nuts, and stir until well coated.
  4. Mix the sugars, salt and cinnamon into the nut mixture. Toss to coat.
  5. Spread evenly on the prepared pan.
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden. Allow to cool. Store nuts in airtight containers.

And then you get this!

Ok, I scooped out an entire bowl to take to work. I didn’t plan to write a post until about an hour ago. But don’t they look yummy?

Everything she does pisses me off

You know how when you’re mad at someone (or if you don’t like them), everything they they do pisses you off?

I’m dealing with someone like that right now.

After only spending 1 hour with her today, I’d filed 7 mental complaints about her. 7.

Maybe it’s just the snowball effect. She does one thing that irritates me and then it just escalates from there… for several years.

Of course, I don’t want to come right out and be all “Shut up, you’re being annoying!” For two reasons: 1. people don’t usually handle words like that very well and 2. I don’t deliver words like that very well (unless I really hate them… like super bad)

So, instead, I’ve been extremely subtly trying to the get message across. There’s the stare.
The stern voice.
The silent treatment.
The segue, “AAAAAnnnyway”

Do people not know when they are being that annoying? I feel like I can read body language from about a mile away. Maybe I’m not being obvious enough with my body language.
.

When it’s time to stop carrying your baby

I love carrying my 3-year-old Logan around. I know, it’s way past due. I need to put him down. I mean, I don’t carry him all the time, just when I need some of that precious lovin’.

What’s weird is, I was strict about not holding Anya once she could walk on her own. It was easier to have her walk. I think it’s because she was always so independent.

Logan, on the other hand, is a mama’s boy. He loves the cuddle just as much as do, which makes it even harder for me to put him down. We both love it. Let me show you some of the good times.



Cute, I know?

But… lately my back has been hurting like the dickens. And I thought, “Could it be due, in part, to my incessant desire to reach over and pick up a 37-pound little boy?”

Geez, when I blog about it, it makes me seem like one of those moms who breastfeed until their kids reach the legal drinking age. I assure you, I’m not that bad.

So, I’ve been really trying to force him to hold my hand when he’s tired or sad. It’s been tough, but I know it’s good for him. My little boy is growing into a little man. Tear.

Hold on a minute…

Ok, I’m back. Just delivered about 32 smack-a-roos to Logan’s face. He’ll never be too old for that and it didn’t hurt my back at all. 🙂

Sam’s club membership: Waste or worth it?

I went to Sam’s today to pick up a gallon bucket of mayo, packs of 123 razors and some other things.

On my way in the door, I thought, “Is this even worth the yearly fee?” So, then I put my judgment hat on and walked in the door.

This is not any ordinary door. It’s a monsoon walkway. Does this annoying blast of air save energy or something? I barely got all my hair dug out of my mouth when some retired old man at the end of the wind tunnel tossed some flyers into my cart (which remained there until I gave the cart to the ginge’ parking lot attendant).

In my mind I’m comparing prices of things I see. I’ve never done this because I didn’t really know how much most things cost. Who does? Extreme stuponers?

It’s me and a store full of septuagenarians looking for bargain-priced bulk items.

Toward the end, I’m barely able to turn my cart without knocking out an endcap. I approach a sample station to see what the guy was cooking up. Olives? Yuck!

“You like olives?” he says through 5 teeth (2 of them gold).

And I said, “No, sorry.”
He replied, “You turned this way like you liked olives.”

At this point I’m wondering why this interrogation is even happening.

I throw all my weight to the left to get the cart going again and say, “Yeah, oops.”

He continues, “How tall are you?”
Me, “5’9”
He gives me the once-over and says “You got some good height on you”
Me, backing away, “… thanks.”

Ok, that was awkward. I could totally feel him watching me walk away. Is this what my membership fees pay for?

Then I went to check out. And this is the best part because you have to be on your toes. Have your membership card out, unload your own cart – no, not the heavy stuff, leave that there – so then you’re returning the heavy stuff from the conveyor belt back to your cart, while the cashier is scanning away smiling as if it’s painful. She’s trying to sell me on the membership upgrade (unsold by the way.)

I slide my card in the machine. One time. Two times. Three times to cancel for credit.

I reload my own cart and slowly head to door to wait in line for a receipt-verify. I’m surprised there’s not a metal detector or a full-body pat down. Wait, is that my membership benefit?

Fighting the wind to get the heavy double-wide cart to my truck without losing something, I’m grumbling at this point. I unload one item at a time (because you only get boxes if you go and get your own, or bring your own). About 10 minutes in, I notice a ginge teen boy across the aisle watching me unload my groceries. I finish and take the cart to him (with the wasted flyers). Thanks for helping me unload my groceries, ginge! No benefit there.

I know it’s beginning to seem like a long, judgmental visit, but I did warn you.

Then, I decided to get gas. What’s this? Wrong way? There’s one way to enter and there’s a guy standing out there watching to make sure the rules are followed. Seriously. He’s just standing out there.

See?

So, I pull in. Ran my card, hit cancel for credit, then, wait for it.

Wait for it.
Wait.
For.
It.

5 cents off per gallon! There it is! There’s my benefit. I saved $1 on gas this year.

I may rethink this whole membership thing.

Back to school

Back to school. Back to school, to prove to my dad I’m not a fool. Got my lunch packed up, my boots tied tight. Hope I don’t get in a fight! (Billy Madison) That’s right. Tomorrow, I’m returning to college for a one-day class on women and leadership and domination (or something like that). I […]

Can you bring me my Chapstick?

This morning my lips were a little dry. I didn’t think much of it as I used nature’s moisture (saliva) on my way out the door. Then, I was hit with a bitter, cold wind that burned my lips and turned them into shrively prunes. Suddenly, I was thirsty too. Real thirsty. Like, desert thirsty. […]

Naps make me cranky

Today, I felt like the chick in Tangled when she sang When will My Life Begin, about how she keeps herself busy at home.

Now, I understand I may lose a little credibility quoting a Disney movie song but it was the first thing I thought of when recapping the day. Sometimes, I feel like songs from these kids movies are catchier, more meaningful and more relatable than half the craptastic songs on the radio. And, be honest, you liked Tangled too.

20120121-184301.jpg
The purpose of that spiel was to describe the bored-busyness of my day. I cleaned the house from top to bottom, baked apple strudel muffins, toasted cinnamon sugar almonds (those were 5-star quality) and make baked potato soup from scratch. Not to mention the reading, and movie watching and poop cleaning (don’t ask).

By the time I sat down to watch that movie, I fell asleep, only to wake up 30 minutes later in crankytown. You see, I never take naps. This is why. I don’t want to cook dinner. I don’t want to do those dishes and I didn’t want blog, I didnt even want to Pinterest (and that is just unheard of).

What’s the deal with that? Why am I a bad napper? I’d love to enjoy a 15-minuter every now and then wihtout being cranky the rest of the day. It’s a disease really.

Logan just asked me to cuddle. Ok. I’ll do that.

Lose weight with one shake a day

Eat a big breakfast and then feel hungry for lunch by 10 am? This shake will cure that! It’s sweet. It’s packed with protein. It’s delicious. But I will warn you, it’s a Spinach shake. Yes. Spinach. Donnie all but refused to try it the first time I made it (some duct tape and a […]

Coffee Intolerance

Over the years, I’ve built a tolerance to coffee. I drink about 2 cups everyday. Recently I switched to half-caff. You see, I wasn’t really feeling the effects of the caffeine in the mornings anymore. No jolt. No get up and go. So I thought, “I can quit anytime.”

After failing miserably at quitting coffee, I decided to decrease my caffeine intake in an effort to lower my tolerance to caffeine. You know? It’s similar to a tolerance to alcohol; I used to be able to drink about twice as much as I can now (It was college… and high school. I’m not proud).

I was explaining my new strategy to my boss. A skeptic, he didn’t believe me. He says, “Uh-uh. not possible. You cannot lower your coffee intake to reduce your tolerance to coffee.”

It worked when I was pregnant. I didn’t drink any caffeine. Then, I had a cup of coffee – literally at the hospital after delivering Logan – and I was like a gerbil on diet pills (descriptive name courtesy of Zipop).

I don’t know if it’s because I really want this to work or that I just have this unrelenting desire to prove my boss wrong, but I did a little googling. Crap! Wikipedia is down! Of all days!

For a good cause though.

Checking elsewhere.

Boom.

BOOM!

Now. We wait, until my tolerance has lowered. Then BOOM again! Shock it with some caffeine.

This is SEWIOUS!

Logan’s had a favorite show for long time. It’s called Wonder Pets. He loves it. Always wants to watch it (please keep your judgmental “i-dont-let-my-kids-watch-tv” comments to yourself). Logan really only watches Wonder Pets while I’m cooking dinner or getting ready for work. Times like that.

Wonder Pets is the perfect show for toddlers. It’s engaging to them. There’s a lot of repetition. They sing the same songs in every episode. I’m singing in my head right now, “The phone. The phone is ringing. The phone! We’ll be right there!” Logan has them all memorized (as do I).

Anyway, it’s come to the end of the road for Wonder Pets as (after 1 full year) Logan has watched every episode available on Netflix. I can’t say I’m too disappointed. It’s incredible annoying. But, I do laugh every time that dumb duck with a speech impediment says “This is sewious!” (which is every episode). The speech impediment thing bothered me at first but now, Donnie and I will catch ourselves saying, “This is sewious!” to lighten the mood at our house.

Ok, maybe I’ll miss Wonder Pets a little. Maybe. Just a little. Probably not.

Logan just came up to me, “Mommy, can I watch Wonder Pets, the honey bear one?”

Dang girl, you got cuff!

I went out with friends Friday night for the first time in a while. Saturday morning I remembered why I don’t do that regularly. But it sure was fun! I was told that I have “nice cuff” and it made my night.

Let me explain.

We went to a club to see a live band (which was awesome). I was (responsibly) drinking blueberry vodka with sprite most of the night. Yum.

We were dancing, having a good time. At one point, my bestie Heather needed a partner for a bathroom trip. This is not uncommon.

So, we go. I’m standing there, waiting. I didn’t need to go. I was there purely for support.

There was a group of “thicker” women seeking validation from their black friend. Her name began with a “Sh.” I can’t remember what it was, so I’ll just call her “Sh.”

Sh says to the thicker girls, “I don’t want to be racist but, girl, the black guys would be all over you.”

I decide to join the conversation, “The thought of you being racist didn’t even cross my mind.” I mean. She was black, talking about black guys.

Then Sh turns to me, you got cuff girl. I’m like, “I have what?” She turns me around and grabs my butt (And yes, guys this always happens in the women’s restroom), Sh says, “See that? That’s cuff. And you got it girl.”

I’m beaming. Me. I have cuff? Yes! (and I learned a new word, which I later submitted to urbandictionary.com)

Heather comes out. Sh puts her hand over her butt and says, “You got cuff too girl!”
Another friend walks in the bathroom, and Sh goes, “I can tell you have cuff just looking at you.”

Then, you can see all the catfight, judgmental attitudes dissolving as everyone’s complimenting each other’s behinds saying, “Yeah, you got cuff too!” “So do you!”

Best time in the bathroom ever!

We walked back to our seats all giddy, wondering where our new best friend, Sh, had gone. She was nowhere to be found. We wondered if the bar hired her to make all the women feel good about themselves. Either way, we were all happy and headed toward the bar for another blueberry vodka and sprite.

Write like you talk: best or worst advice ever?

I’ve always thought I wrote like I talked. Well, ok, not always. In junior high, I used to score very low on “voice.” Since then, I’ve really worked on inserting as much of my voice as possible into my writing.

And the comments I get are, “I can totally hear you saying that.” and “It’s entertaining because the language has so much life.” So, I thought, writing like I talk is totes working. I like it. People like it (or the 10 people who read this blog — I’m being generous with that number).

Then I see this tweet today from a blogger I totes respect.


Could he be right? I should “never” write like I talk? I’m perplexed (which I never say out loud, so there).

Is “write like you talk” the worst writing advice ever?
The writer weighed in her comments here.


Here’s what I think. It depends.

Do you talk good?
Is the content about you?
Is it informal?
Are you funny? (be honest)

If your answers to the above questions are yes, I would say, “Write like you talk.” But lets use some common sense and not take this advice in it’s most literal form like this:

I lost Logan

Yeah. Did you see that title? It’s true. Sad. Frightening. Lesson-learning. And, true. I picked up Logan from my aunt’s house today after work. It’s been about 3-4 months since I’ve picked him up so I was pretty excited. I walk in, he runs up yelling my favorite word, “Mommy!” He gives me a huge […]

Monotone mouth

UGH! That guy over in the corner has been talking about video games for half an hour now in that tired, monotone voice! If we don’t turn the A/C on (I’m talking walk-in cooler), I will fall asleep. What’s with I.T. people and having tired, monotone voices? You know what I’m talking about? Ok, maybe […]

What type of driver are you?

Today I was driving to work and some guy cut me off, then he sped up, then he slowed down (like below the speed limit), swerved a little, then floored it again and changed lanes to cut off the next person. AGH! Jerk.

Then I got to thinking. He was probably just in a hurry and not paying attention because he kept getting texts and needed to finish shaving and not be late for work (or his court date, depending how you look at it). I kid. This guy probably wasn’t a jerk. But he was definitely in inattentive driver, which is the category many of us fall into at one time or another and which is also the first one in my list of “Types of Drivers.” You know how I like lists.

Inattentive Driver
Squirrel! The texting-calling-putting on mascara-shaving her legs-eating a bowl of soup-checking facebook while changing lanes driver is probably the most dangerous and most common type of drivers on the road. I admit, I check texts now and then (if it’s any consolation, I feel instantly guilty). I’m constantly talking the phone while I drive (Gotta stay connected). Admit it, you do too.

Passive Driver
This is the slow lane changing-sitting at stop light several seconds after it turns green-driving under the speed limit-never, ever pass anyone under any circumstance type of driver. Passive drivers are usually old people or drug dealers (they don’t want to ruin the whole operation by getting a speeding ticket). This person gets tailgated… a lot. It takes a long time to get everywhere.

Aggressive Driver
The aggressive driver is that guy who drives to the front of a long line and inches his way in at the front. He always passes. Always. He’s confident. He owns merging and is the king of turning left. He knows all the rules of the road. Donnie is an aggressive driver. He drives the car you want to be in and the one you don’t want to follow.

The idiot driver
Take the three above and combine them into one big idiot. The idiot driver is fickle. Sometimes fast and aggressive, other times slow. Almost always not paying attention. He’s careless (usually a teenager). He slams on his brakes and turns. He never uses a blinker. He’s a jerk.

I know, you can’t put people specifically in one category or another but I’ve done it twice now and look how much fun I’m having.

What type of driver are you?

It’s a coffee state of mind.

I am very particular about my coffee cups. I don’t know when this all started. Maybe when I started drinking more and more and more coffee. I’m not an addict. I can stop anytime I want.

But to me, coffee is not about caffeine (I drink 1/2 caff). To me, it’s about a state of mind. It’s routine, it’s comfortable, it’s delicious. Without my coffee, I’m not me. Or I’m me, just a very unpleasant version of me (and who wants that?).

I could talk about coffee all day. Today, it’s about the cup.

Let me introduce you to my top cups. The cream of the cups, if you will.

This is work cup.

I loooove the shape of this cup. It’s like 16 ounces and has a huge handle-space for my big man-hands. However, this cup is only OK to use on work days. You see, it’s got a work logo and I got it from work. Therefore, it cannot be used on non-work days. It’s just not the right vibe.

This is wonder woman.

Wonder Woman doesn’t have the best shape (well, the cup), but she’s got the right message. Wonder Woman is for days that I need to get a lot of work done. She is a great motivator, women empowerment and all that. Today is Wonder Woman’s day.

This is Mugsly.

Mugsly has been around the longest. He’s old. I bought him a garage sale. My favorite color. Perfect shape. The perfect round lip. He’s my go-to mug. There’s history there.

So, last night when my mother-in-law said, “She’s very picky about her coffee cups.” She was right, but there’s more to it than that. These mugs affect my whole morning-coffee experience. Like I said, it’s a state of mind.

Return of the V-neck

Today, I returned a shirt to Old Navy. I hate returning stuff. I always feel like I’m doing something wrong. Like shoplifting, but backwards. This time, OldNavy.com sent me the same shirt twice and I couldn’t just keep the exact same shirt. It’d be a waste of $7.99. So, my cheapness trumped my fear of […]

Mary Kay or Mary Jane?

Yesterday I went to QT and saw a pink cadillac parked at the pump. No big deal. Right? Mary Kay Rep getting gas. Wait, I’m pretty sure that 20-something black man doesn’t deal (Mary Kay that is).

Then, an Impala pulls up behind it (Cadillacs and Impalas are token cars in rap songs; so naturally I’m thinking something suspicious is going on).

And… usually when you pull up behind someone at a gas station it’s to wait to get gas, but the guy in the Caddy hadn’t even gotten out of the car. And… there were several other pumps available to the Impala.

OK, they caught my interest.

Then, the guy in the Caddy gets out and gets in the Impala.

Then, they just sit there for a while. (I’m eating my QT hot dog, sitting on the edge of my heated truck seat… sunglasses on)

No one got gas.
No one went into the building.
Then, they both left.
And, I don’t think it was rose colored lip gloss they were exchanging.

Dregs just being dreggy

My truck was broken into today at work (for the second time, by the way). This time they took a gym bag… just like last time. It’s really putting a dent in my gym bag supply.


After talking to a cop for a while, I didn’t feel much better at all. In fact, I felt worse. He said (notice the quotes), “I’ll turn your information in to the special forces but even if they do find the guy, they won’t hold him unless he’s hurt someone. They’ll just release him. And, with the economy, it will just get worse here in your parking lot.”

Sooo… not only will it get worse, but they also won’t punish the man for his crime if they catch him. I was tempted to point at the Cutco cut on my finger and say, “He did this. Now, go get him!”

To help soothe my own wounds, I thought I’d write a note to the man who is clearly trying to sabotage the Year of Danielle.

Dear dregs of society,
I bet you’re pretty proud of yourself for breaking into four cars in one private parking lot. Got a lot of loot, did ya?

Hope you’re enjoying my smelly gym clothes and my 10-year-old messenger bag. What? What’s that? No money in there? No wallet? Nothing of value? Yep. Just smelly old gym clothes, and I hope you’re not a size 8 and a half. I’m sure Secret for women will cover up your “dirtbag” smell.

I hope you cut yourself on my tinted window glass.

With disgust,
The victim of your selfish crime

Windows can be fixed and stuff can be replaced but dregs will always be dregs.

Nice try dregs. You can’t bring me down. Long live Year of Danielle!

BFF? I don’t think so.

The other day, when I was at home on New Year’s Eve, I starting thinking about what all my friends may be doing on this momentous occasion (in a not bitter, totally not depressing or in any way mad or disappointed way).

As I was thinking of them, I started placing them in these nice little categories. Sort of justifying why I was at home on New Year’s Eve instead of at a rockin’ New Year’s Eve party (aside from the fact that we had no babysitter).


Types of friends:

The location-based friend:
This person can be your best friend at specific locations such as school, work, volleyball, basket weaving, living next door to each other. And as much fun as you have with this friend at this location, for some reason you rarely take the friendship outside that location.

The lunch date:
This is the friend you never talk to other than to schedule a lunch date or at said lunch date. Lunch date friend could also be a location-based friend.

The Facebook stalker:
This person is not really your friend. She either wishes she were and stalks you, liking and commenting on all your photos, hoping that one day you may become friends. A relationship born from Facebook stalking. Or she only accepted your friend request because she’s nosy and wants keep an eye on you in the socialsphere and then ignore you publicly, should you cross paths in the real world.

The user:
You were friends with her at one point but now she only calls when she needs something. She only invites you to parties to take your money.

The evasive friend:
This person is always fun to hang out with (at least I think so, cant remember the last time we hung out). But, you’re constantly playing phone tag. When you invite her out and she texts back after the event with a sincere but lame-o excuse. Then, when you accidentally run into them all they talk about is how you should get together.

The guy friend:
This is the guy you hang out with all the time when you’re single and you find out later he had a crush on you (I hear this is only if you’re under 30 though :). It’s awkward every time you see him.

The party friend:
This friend is always up for a party. When you get together, she brings out the party animal in you. She is a bad influence and you love it (most of the time. sometimes you just divert her call.) And, you almost always have a hangover the next day… a bad one.

The bestie:
This is the person who can live in another state, hardly talk to you and almost never visit but she still gets you better than anyone. I miss her.

When I started writing this post, I only had 3 types of friends in mind but the more I thought about, the more fun it was to think about. I guess it could be a little immoral… considering I’m categorizing people. Well… at least I didn’t name names, right? I’ve got several more… but this could on for days.

Do you have these types of friends? Or more? Tell me some of yours.

When friends aren’t just friends

The other day, I was scrolling through old Facebook messages and thought, “Man, I sure was friends with a lot of guys” and “What happened to all of them?”

I mentioned something to Donnie and he said, “Well, they all stopped talking to you because of me.”

No way. Donnie’s just being self deprecating. He continued, “They all wanted to date you. You know that, right?”

No way. That’s silly. Typical husband talk. We were just friends. I just happened to be friends with a lot of guys. Less drama; more fun.

He continued (very talkative that day, especially for Donnie), “I’ve seen the messages they used to send you. It’s obvious. And they stopped talking to you because you were off the market.”

What? No. I’ve always been friends with guys. I used to play street hockey with the neighborhood boys in elementary school. I was the only girl who played bombardment and knockout. Did all those boys want to date me? No. Because I was one of the guys.

Then I got to thinking and read through a few more messages. Ok, maybe a couple of them. Do you think they were plotting the whole time we hung out? Maybe I should’ve taken Seventeen Magazine’s Is he more than just a friend quiz? Man, I feel dense.

Maybe that’s why they’re all awkward when we talk now. And, maybe that’s why they’re all EXTRA nice to Donnie.

We ran into one of my old “buddies” the other night. Same deal. He paid special attention to Donnie and barely talked to me. Donnie says, “Told ya.”

I guess I just wasn’t that into them. It’s a good thing too; because, if I had dated them, it would’ve been even more awkward when we ran into said “friends.” Or worse, maybe I wouldn’t have ended up with Donnie (gasp!).

Weird. I’m 10 paragraphs in and am now wondering “What is the point of this blog post?” I guess I just had one of those “what? no!” moments and I thought I’d share. This blog is starting to feel a little too much like a diary.

That is all.

Et tu, 2011?

This morning I was reflecting a little on the past year and I’ll be honest, 2011 was not my year. Far from it.

The year just wasn’t good from get-go. No one wants to start the year off with a heart-wrenching loss. But, as they say, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” I always thought that’s something people said to get me to eat my vegetables or work harder at practice. But, that saying definitely means more to me now than before. Through the worst time of my life, I developed ways to move on, or cope, I guess. I searched for things that make me truly happy and devoted more time and effort there. Got some perspective.

My family topped the list, naturally. I forgot how much fun it is just to be with them.

Yoga. I discovered yoga while I was searching for ways to relax and maybe aid with my newfound, 2011 allergy problem. It helped a little. Plus, it’s an easy, convenient way to get a little bit of a workout in.

Cooking and baking. Turns out, I’m a pretty amazing cook. As Donnie said the other day, “I don’t think you’ve ever made anything that wasn’t good.” To me, cooking is a relaxing and rewarding creative outlet.

Crafting. I love using my hands to create my own works of art (I prefer not to buy what I can make myself). This year, I finally got the courage to just start working on my projects. And you know what, they aren’t too bad. See the Dictionary Wreath below (which is not at all Christmas-y) Yes, Zipop, that’s the rest of your dictionary.

Fashion. I can’t tell you how many shirts, sweaters and pants I’ve recycled into something new and fabulous. I’d maybe say fashionista (if I said that word, but TJ Maxx ruined it)

So. I guess the year wasn’t all that bad. But I would declare 2011, “The year of adversity.” And through adversity, I grew stronger: emotionally, physically and spiritually. Let’s go ahead and close this one out. And bring on 2012.

I declare 2012 “The Year of Danielle.” I don’t really believe in New Year’s Resolutions because if it’s something you really need to do, you shouldn’t wait until January 1 to start doing it. Start now, on December 31. But if I were to make a New Year’s Resolution, it’d be to not catastrophize, to have more fun and to consume and poop a proportional amount.

Happy Year of Danielle everyone!

Christmas: the break continues

Guess what I had for breakfast?

BAM!

Yeah I made that.

I woke up thinking, “Don’t be a slacker. Don’t be a slacker” So I whipped up those yummy orange sweet rolls courtesy of a chick on Pinterest.

Then I spent the morning removing the spirit of Christmas from our home. Ok, just the decorations, maybe I’m being a little melodramatic (it’s more fun that way).

Then, I decided to take Anya with me to get my allergy shot. She has this weird fascination with watching me be stabbed. Her words, “Maybe they can give you 36 shots because I came with you?” Um… no. and. weird.

We swung by the mall on our way home (for 3 hours). I did some major bargain shopping, which means, if it was more than $10, I didn’t buy it (that’s including our 10-min chair massages–ahhh).

Donnie’s just about finished with the headboard. Check it out! Imagine a bed right there in front.

Yep, those are shelves in the middle and on both sides. I know! He’s an awesome carpenter.

You’re probably wondering why I’m blogging so early. Well. We’re going out tonight! When you have kids and a mother-in-law who has a life, you celebrate New Year’s Eve the Thursday before.

So, we’re off to party it up and watch my friend’s band. We own the night. (Ok, we’ll probably be home by 11 because Donnie will be falling asleep in his Shiner Bock but, hey, I’ve got a whole day of productivity ahead of me tomorrow, right?)

I sure love Christmas vacation.

I’m a Slacker

When I’m forced to write and am not inspired, it’s very difficult to sit down and write something awesome. My day is supposed to inspire me in some way… Today, I got flipped off at Walmart, prepared 6 dinners (including tonight’s), and now I’m enjoying company with friends (ok, I’m blogging, but in a minute […]

Staycation.

Ahhh. The good life. I’m on vacation this week. Usually when I take time off work, I’m either sick or going somewhere awesome. This time, I’m neither. Just chillin’ at home. Today, I slept until 7:30 and it felt like the crack of dawn. Then, coffee and a spinach omelette (don’t have time for those […]

Snowball effect of rage

Today, I woke up at 9. Yes, 9 am. It doesn’t happen often. Logan got up early as usual and watched cartoons in Grandma’s room.

I don’t think I woke up on the wrong side of the bed, but getting up at 9 am already makes me feel a little guilty. I don’t know why. Maybe because I feel lazy when I sleep past 7:30. Anyway, I’m well rested (and feeling a little guilty), so I offer to make homemade pancakes.

Got my music goin’, making the best pancakes I know how. Then I serve them up to the family like I’m Betty Crocker. Donnie says, “They’re a little tangier than usual. Not bad… Just different.” Everyone agreed. Great, too much nutmeg and cinnamon. Sigh.

We finish up our pancakes and I start in on my morning Pinterest browse. Nothing cool. Not motivated. Then, Pinterest won’t update on my iPad. Stupid app… double sigh. I text my sister to see when she wants to go shopping.

Then I start getting around. The unreliable toilet won’t flush at the most embarrassing time (if you know what I mean). Triple sigh… So I go get the plunger. It has cracks all around the edges. This thing won’t plunge. My blood pressure starts rising. I ask Donnie, “Where’s the other plunger?” He says that’s it. I sigh loudly. Mid-sigh, my mother-in-law asks if I want to clean out Logan’s drawers today. I groan, “First, I’ll have to plunge the stupid toilet.” Donnie says it’ll work, just keep plunging. I mumble, “See you guys next week,” as I storm off into the bathroom. Finally! I get it to go down. Yuck! I toss the plunger in the trash. “Donnie, put a plunger on your Menard’s list.”

On my way back to the kitchen, I step on a Hot Wheels I swear I’ve picked up 3 times this morning. OUCH! Then fall into Logan’s new racetrack.

Whew, I need a cup of coffee to calm down. What?! Someone took the last cup? UGH! Ok, I’ll just make some more. What? Someone didn’t close the bag last time they made coffee. OMG, I’m unapproachable now. Maybe a little red in the face.

I start my coffee and begin a cleaning spree.

My sister texts back, “I’m already shopping. Can’t go later.” What? We talked about this yesterday. Sighhhh… I’m hastily cleaning everything in sight. (It’s what I do when I’m angry). Danielle angry. Danielle clean! ARRGGGGGHHHHHH!

Then, I get this idea for my blog post and thought I better get to writing before I lose my idea. So far, I’ve been interrupted 5 times. Yes 5. For silly, figure-it-out-yourself questions.

That’s it. I better do some yoga or go shopping (retail therapy) before I take all this rage out on Donnie. What? It’s gotta go somewhere.

It’s Christmas for cryin out loud

Why can’t families get along? The holidays always remind me of how much families argue. It’s frustrating. Gossiping, bickering, nitpicking… It gets old. Today, I went to my Dad’s side without my dad (they don’t go anymore due to conflict). But I have to say, it was the most fun, stress less Christmas get together […]

Computerface crushing Christmas

This year I wanted to go the homemade route for gifts. I just feel like it means more. I can’t say it’s cheaper though. But i do have enough hot glue sticks and decoupage to last me years. Here’s almost all the things I made. 12 scented candles 11 sea salt bath salts 10 no […]

Christmas: a time for letters

My boss is being a Scrooge this year and hates Christmas form letters so I thought, “what better post than to write a Christmas form letter?” Dear family and friends, We’ve all grown so much over the past year. The kids especially. Donnie and I look pretty much the same. What a year it’s been! […]

I need a Pinter-vention

Hi. I’m Danielle and I have a problem. It’s Pinterest. It’s running my life. First, it was a hobby. A nice scarf with matching sweater socks, a few Christmas presents, a nice sweet treat. Then, I began checking it daily. “Pinning” and “repinning” and “liking” and loving everything I saw. My boards are full of […]

All I want for Christmas…

All I want for Christmas
is the bathrooms cleaned,
the laundry done,
see my clutter free house?

Gee, if I could only
have my pristine house,
then I could wish you
“Merry Christmas.” (without the sigh)

It seems so long since I could say,
“Wow, this house’s as clean as a whistle”
Gosh oh gee, how happy I’d be,
if Donnie’d just pick up the Bissel

All I want for Christmas
is a fresh, clean house,
a dust free ledge,
see my vacuumed floors?

Gee, if I could only
have my own housemaid,
then I could wish you
“Merry Christmas!”

Does being flexible make you more flexible?

I’ve been doing yoga for what, about 8 months now? And, I have to say, I’ve gotten quite flexible. I looooove it. It’s fun being able to put my hands flat on the ground while standing and hold all my weight on two hands in an arm balance.

But, the real reason I started doing yoga is for the relaxing, stress-releasing stretching and breathing. Let’s just say I needed to chill the hell out.

I think it’s helped somewhat. I don’t have the stress I did months ago, but I also noticed a change in perspective. I don’t really care as much when someone makes me mad at work or someone cuts me off in traffic or even of a friend ignores my call. Is it the yoga? Does the regular practice of yoga make me a more flexible, carefree person?

Maybe. Maybe not. But, sitting in this pose does help me breathe a little easier.

(Yes. I can do that)

I can do anything better than you

Do you ever witness someone doing their job and think, “I could do that way better (and with a smile on my face)…?”

I do. Almost all the time.

“I would totally carry all those plates out on one big tray.”

“If I were in IT, I’d know everything about computers. Mac and PC.”

“I would be more gentle with that floss in someone else’s mouth.”

“I’d lawyer the crap outta that guy.”

“I wouldn’t be putting that girl on the court, she sucks!”

“If I had my own practice, I wouldn’t hire any of these bizzos to work at the reception desk.”

“If I wrote tweets for their Twitter account, it wouldn’t be this lame.”

“If I received a complaint, I would at least respond and say ‘thank you for input.’”

I can’t help it. It’s just the place I go when I get frustrated with a company or an employee.

Does this make me a bad person?

As a consumer, I have considerably high standards. And if those standards aren’t met, I’m frustrated and think, “What would Danielle do?”

The other day, Donnie ordered jerseys from a random company and they told him “We can’t make your team logo that big because of the jersey design you chose.” Donnie was surprised and little confused when he got the jerseys and there was clearly enough space for the logo to be legible (which it wasn’t). Why didn’t they just admit that they underestimated the size? Or made a mistake? I mean, did they think he wasn’t going to look it at? He’ll never use them again. Good job, employee. You made one sale, but you lost a potentially long-term customer.

Then, one of my vendors messed up on hats I ordered and 1) admitted she messed up and 2) replaced all the hats with the correct hat, leaving us with a double order of hats. Now that is customer service. I guess that’s why I’ve kept her around for so long. She treats me so well that I expect that level of service from all vendors.

And, why shouldn’t I have high standards? I mean, if I can do a better job at your job than you, that’s a problem.

Logan’s Birthday of the Year

Logan’s birthday party was last weekend and I thought I’d get creative. It was easy. I had Pinterest at my fingertips.

Logan loves pretty much anything with wheels. So the party had a “transportation” theme.

First up, wiener mobiles. It’s basically a pig in a blanket with a pickle slice steering wheel and a gherkin driver (he has a mustard face). Then I served it with mac and cheese (Logan’s absolute favorite meal). This is good ol’ fashioned crockpot-homemade-bad-4-you-Paula-Deen-Food-Network mac n cheese. Unfortunately, Donnie didn’t follow instructions and turn it off when I was getting ready, so the wonderful cheesy fat filled noodles were overcooked. (Donnie knows what he did).

I made a racetrack out of masking tape. So much fun! My back still hurts.

There were presents.

Homemade ice cream cake. Last year he only stuck out his bottom lip and blew upward toward his eyebrows. It didn’t take as long to extinguish the candles this year.

Logan got his cake in a dump truck. You know. To go with the theme.

Stoplight Brownies! Just your run-of-the-mill brownie pre-mixed box with M&Ms (Don’t judge me I ran out of time)

We had a great time. And the party was a huge hit! Thanks Pinterest.

Tonight, Logan asked for his ice cream in a dump truck. I couldn’t resist.

Dipper

I’m a dipper. I dip fries in mustard. I dip nuggets in BBQ. I dip my cheeseburger in ketchup. Hell, I even dipped myself in my jacuzzi tub earlier. What can I say? I’m a dipper. (I also married a dipper) Lately, I’ve been obsessed with dipping fruits in yogurt and freezing them. Strawberries and […]

Bored? We got this.

Donnie and I are known for texting and playing games when we’re in boring situations. Example: last night’s Christmas party. See below post. Anyway, we got a new one. It’s a great time-passer. Here’s how it goes: 1. You come up with 2 movies. One has the same last word and the other’s first word. […]

You’re not too busy

I feel like I’m always hearing people complain about how they are too busy for this and too busy for that. Today, I left work and went straight to the store to pick up stuff for Logan’s birthday party. Then, got home an hour later, threw a pizza in the oven (my mother in law […]

Mean mommy

I hate days when I’m stressed and take it out on my kids (aka tazmanian devils) and then feel guilty when they’re in bed.

That is all. 😦

Ps. Maybe they will get I’m sorry pancakes.

The art of eavesdropping

Yes. It’s an art. I wouldn’t say I’m an artist. But, yeah, ok, I’ve mastered the art of eavesdropping. I can say that now because I’ve put in my time. I practice at work, at home, restaurants, Christmas parties. Chances are, if there are other people around, I’m probably listening to their conversations and usually […]

Make up: Does it though?

The other day, we’re having a video shoot at work. This time, we actually hired a model/actress. At one point in the script she says, “My daughter’s car–” and I stopped her.

“Wait a minute, you don’t look old enough to have a daughter who drives.”

I was partly being nice, but I did think. “Remove the caked makeup from her face; then I’d guess she’d probably be about 38, right?” (Which I guess would make her 21 when she had her “daughter.” That’s plausible. I’m just not good at math.)

She told me she’s 33 and that she could’ve possibly had a daughter at 17 (for the video’s sake).

I told myself it was for pancake makeup for the video shoot. Surely she doesn’t wear makeup this thick all the time (my face itches just thinking about it). I’m sure she chisels it off every night before bed. Or maybe sleeps with makeup on – you know, like they do in the movies? (Don’t do that. It’s very bad for your skin.)

Later, a colleague and I were discussing whether she had a “mom” look. He goes, “Well, she’s, what? About 43 years old?”

43? 43! 43. How could he see such an age difference? That’s 10 years older than her actual age.

Seems to me like make-up doesn’t really “make you up.” It almost does the opposite.

According to this Harvard study, a woman appears more credible when she wears some makeup… but then untrustworthy when she wears too much.

So, yeah, studies prove, there is a line. Use it sparingly, ladies. Otherwise, you look gaga.

Eat and poop. Then eat some more… then poop.

You shouldn’t eat more than you poop. It’s just not natural. Right? Or you’d have a tummy ache, I’m guessing. What the heck am I talk about?

Ok the poop thing is a metaphor (I was trying to find a way to work the word “poop” into my post tonight. Mission accomplished.)

But because my boss loves poop metaphors, he always tells me (in a sing-songy voice), “Always produce more than you consuuummme.” (poop more than eat)

He’s right though. I consumed quite a bit at Blendra Christmas 2011. So Saturday, I thought I’d do some producing.

I produced this (a pillow bed for Logan):

And this (a blanket for Anya):

And this (a cape for Logan):

Set aside a little time for this (“bad guy”):

And finished this (a pillow bed for Anya):

And yeah, Zipop, I guess you could say I was a little hungover.

But I definitely produced more than consumed.

That reminds me, I think I deserve a bowl of lowfat, sugar free banana ice cream. Yum!

Free oven mitts!

About 3 years ago, my boss got me started as a BzzAgent. It was so cool. At the time, I got packs of 5 gum, Listerine white strips and some other new products for free! All I had to do was talk (or buzz) about them. And I did to my friends, my family, etc… Eventually I got burned out and stopped reporting my BzzAgent field work (so to speak).

Then a few months ago, I decided to start up again. I thought, “Hey, would like free stuff now.”

So I got Blendra started too and we were off. Two BzzAgents on a mission to get free stuff.

Here’s how it works.

1. You sign up.

2. They invite you to be part of a campaign based on your psychographics. Yes, that means you’ll have to fill out some surveys. They’re easy though. Just a bunch of check boxes.

3. So, then you get invited to a campaign (yea!). You can choose to accept your mission as a BzzAgent, in which case, you would get your free stuff (So far, this time I’ve gottenCover Girl base and lip gloss, Purell, free Premium Select food and an oven mitt!).

 

4. If you don’t accept, no biggie, just wait for another one. But, if you do accept, get your free stuff and then don’t buzz, you probably won’t be invited to another campaign. (Nothing’s ever really free, is it?)

I know. I know. This sounds like a big advertisement for BzzAgent, but really, I just care about you and I want you to get a free oven mitt too (after all, it is the quintessential giveaway).

Ps. Join BzzAgent today!

Locker room lookers

I went to the YMCA for the first time today in a few months and it was awesome! I usually work out at home. I just don’t get that “I really kicked my own ass” feeling doing yoga in the middle of the living room while also being the “horsey” to Logan’s “cowboy.” Plus… For […]

Why haven’t I been writing as much?

Well… The truth is… I realized (after a few comments from those we won’t point out and those we won’t speak of) that my blog is sort of a b!tchfest. But they were good stories right? My stories have much more life when I write cranky. Maybe it’s years of practice, I don’t know, but […]

People of Black Friday

So I had my first Black Friday experience last night. Meet some of the people I encountered. The planner My mother-in-law is a planner. She combs through the ads over seconds of turkey and “dressing” and chooses which items are worth the fight. Then maps out her plan of attack. She. Is. Good. They know […]

Thanks!

Roasted turkey.
Toasted rolls.
Stuffing
Or, I guess, some call it dressing?
Mashed potatoes loaded with butter.
Veggies covered with cheese.
Pies, pies, pies

But the best part about Thanksgiving is hanging with family (even if we are gossiping).

Have a good one!

Wal-Mart: Lose your faith in humanity at this one-stop shop

I keep saying how I need to blog to improve my writing. Today I decided to practice another form of writing: business letter. This letter happens to come across in the form of a complaint, but who can plan these things?

I sent this letter to Wal-Mart today.

I’m writing this letter on behalf of my sister and her husband.

Two days ago, November 19, my brother-in-law visited the Wal-Mart in New Market Square in Wichita, Kansas. He was purchasing diapers for his son, who is seven years old and has quadriplegia.

Upon checkout, the cashier (he didn’t catch her name) told him, “Kids big enough for size 6 diapers should be in underwear” and when he didn’t respond her initial rude comment, she persisted with, “kids in size 6 diapers were in diapers because they are lazy.”

I was appalled to receive a tearful text from my sister after hearing of this incident from her, then livid, husband. I have never heard something as close-minded and ignorant as what came out of this employee’s mouth that day.

I realize this woman did not know the entire issue, but that does not give her the right to pass judgment and say what she did. If he was buying diapers for himself because he’s a 30-year-old man who is too “lazy” to ever be potty trained, then that’s his business.

As I said, I’m writing this letter on behalf of my sister and her husband because they’re too nice to complain. But, they do deserve an apology.

I’ve taken the liberty of attaching their contact information.

Regards,

Danielle Wallace

True story. Now do you see why I insisted upon writing a letter instead of blogging today?

Troubles in Tall Town

So I went to Target today to pick up a prescription and… well let’s just say a got a little lost over by the women’s apparel. I found a pair of khakis for $5, which I really didn’t take seriously because Target does not do pants well. Then I held them up. What? They’re long enough?!

Let me explain something about myself first. Since I began buying my own clothes, I’ve worn “long” pants. If you don’t get my subtle implication, I’m saying, my parents bought me flood pants, high waters. ” “Long” pants are too expensive and hard to find.”

Of course, being a bargain hunting fashionista (I hate that word), I’ve learned where to get cheaper, longer pants. (Still haven’t found long enough pants for Donnie under $70).

So (back at Target)… you can imagine my surprise when I held up those khakis and the bottom hem hit the floor. Welp, that’s it, I have to go try them on. On the walk back to waiting room, I’m beside myself. I couldn’t believe it. Has Target finally done it? Offered a pair of pants for someone with my build?! (27×35)

I put the pants on and didn’t want to believe what I saw. My hopes crashed tragically to the thin, gray, speckled carpet. WTH? The crotch is halfway down my leg. What woman needs a crotch that big? They fit around the waist? I’d like to take a look at a woman with a tiny waist who needs a crotch that big. Then it hit me. These were “mom khakis.”  NOOOOooooooOOOOOooooo! (I know. A bit dramatic, but you should’ve seen them, it wasn’t pretty.)

Then I thought, “When will Target get ‘pants’ right?” Or any store, for that matter, that doesn’t carry “long” pants? When will they get it?

I’m tired of paying extra for pants that fit. Or not being able to walk into a store and grab the first pair of pants I like on the hanger.

Until my pants hit the bargain stores, I’ll have to be on top of my game and find the best deals for these hard to find pants. Because, before I know it, I’ll be buying long pants for a mini-me. No daughter of mine will wear flood pants!

Public speaking: fear or unfamiliarity?

A few months ago, I was asked to give a presentation. And not just any presentation, the longest presentation I’ve ever done. I would be talking in front of a group of men, about women. What a great topic? I know tons about women. First, I am woman. Second, I have a daughter… Ok, that’s not all I know, I did quite a bit of research and I was ready. I wasn’t even really that nervous.

Then the day had finally come (today). I was on my way. Or… so I thought. Uh-oh, nausea. What’s that rumbly sound? I’m fine, I just need to down this bagel. Nope! Pull over. Oh no! Ew! Aww… That’s right. I puked. And no, I wasn’t that worked up about a public speaking event. I wasn’t even really that nervous (because I was ready). I think it was because I took my vitamins on an empty stomach, big mistake (it’s happened before). So maybe a little nerves in there too.

Ok, so I’m on my way.

 

I had a two and half hour drive to think about my presentation on the way there. We took a quick tour of the facility so I could meet some key people and take a few notes.

Then it was time. dun-dun-dun.

Everyone told me: Plan on your electronics failing you. So, I did. But luckily, they didn’t. Everything went incredibly smoothly (electronics-wise). It was easy to be open up because my colleague introduced me as “Wonder Woman.” He lightened the mood for me. Then I just went for it.

They laughed. They blushed. They shook their heads in disbelief. And when it was all over, they strategized.

They decided they needed a plan of action for marketing to women and asked my professional opinion, which I’m always more than happy to give (ask Donnie).

I’d done my job. And a pretty good job at that. They were so impressed, the head guy asked me to come back tomorrow and talk to the “big wigs.” My colleague quickly told him we’d talk about coming down another time. Whew! I just got this one out of the way. I’m not quite sure I’m ready for another one tomorrow!

I finally left after several handshakes and hugs (which I don’t do, but I was feeling extra jolly). As I’m driving home, I’m feeling like this

but probably seemed a little more like this.

Either way, it was a good day. I feel like I really accomplished something. I took a step in another direction. And I think that direction was up. 🙂

Cliffhanger conversation

What’s with people who talk in cliffhangers? You’re probably wondering what I’m talking about. My sister texted me earlier this week, “We really need your prayers today,” and then doesn’t respond to call or text. WTF happened? After the third call in 5 minutes, she answers, “Oh my husband just has an interview.” Is she […]

Are you ready for some football?

Great day for some football. Went to a an underdog takes all football game. I love those, well when we’re the underdog. Here’s me teaching Logan football: Me: Logan, see those guys with the yellow hats? Those are the bad guys. Logan: Yea! Bad guy fall down! That’s ma boy!

Fridays with old flames

I looooooove Fridays. Watched some basketball (8 year old girls, but elbows were thrown; it got heated). Stopped by Orange Leaf with the fam. Now I’m watching one of my ol’ fave flicks – another guilty pleasure one (starring one of my old flames). Got a wine glass in my hand (yes, wine) and the […]

Hoarders

We’ve been putting a bunch of, well, junk, into my mom’s garage sale. Most of the stuff is Donnie’s or his mom’s. I love ’em but these people do not throw away anything!

Don’t worry. That is not my house. 🙂 We hoard in neatly stacked totes… but still.

My husband, Donnie, pulls out his basketball shoes from 15 years ago. He said, “Put those back, each pair has sentimental value.”
Donnie’s mom pulls out all these old toys, “Let’s not let the kids play with those.” So, what? We put everything back in a box and think about it every so often?

Anya represented the non-hoarders and put a pair of too-small boots in there. “Good job Anya.”

We packed up everything, put it in the car and drove it to my mom’s. Wow. Feels good to clean house.

As I’m tucking Anya into bed that night, she says, “Mommy?”
Me: “Yes, Anya”
Anya: “I took the boots back. I just wasn’t ready to let them go.”

You’re welcome

I dropped in on a conversation the other day where the topic of discussion was favorite or least favorite places to buy groceries. I chimed in when someone said “I hate Dillon’s”. I mean, I loooove Dillon’s. What’s wrong with Dillon’s? Something about the packaged, highly preserved sugary fatty foods people buy. Which, to me […]

The snub

Tonight I walked in to Anya’s school generally in good spirits, despite the fact that it was suuuupper cold and windy and raining, despite the fact that my allergies were killing me and despite the fact that Anya was wearing flip flops, yes flip flops (the fault of those we don’t speak of – her […]

What’s your motivation?

I wouldn’t say I’m easily motivated but… I started this blog after reading a Jerry Seinfeld article. I started yoga after I read an article in Redbook. I tried to start running more organized..ly (that’s a word, right?) during the Couch25K craze. I started cooking more crockpot dishes in the eve of the “crockpot girls.” […]

Too busy to write. ;)

I really want to write something funny, inspiring or brilliant especially after Blendra’s compelling post yesterday. But… After a full day sword fighting, shopping, doing laundry and playing dragon with my 2-year-old. I’m too exhausted. Plus, I’m busy enjoying this vodka and orange juice and chick flick. Husband? What husband?

I really hate writing sometimes

I was scrolling along twitter and noticed this article: Why You Hate Writing, And How to Lust After the Blank Page Again and I thought, “omg, this blog is reading my mind” -insert interrobang here (look it up) Then as I started reading, I starting getting motivated, “ohhhh that’s why I’m struggling.” According to these […]

Hillbilly Halloween

When my son asked for to be a tractor for Halloween, I laughed. Then I retold that punch line to about 80 other people. But, then I thought, “I could make him a tractor and he could drive it or carry it.” I googled a little and discovered the idea was not as crazy as […]

Drop dead guilty pleasure

Guilty pleasures. We all have them. At least I’d assume everyone does. A guilty pleasure is something you enjoy despite feeling guilty for enjoying it. The “guilt” is sometimes just the fear that others will find out about your embarrassing tastes. My latest guilty pleasure is a TV show called Drop Dead Diva. It’s like […]

Self image and immaturity

Anya told me the other day that two boys told her she had an ugly face “and so does your mom,” they said. She didn’t even seem to care much. I asked, “What did you do?” She replied, “I told on them.” Me: Are you ok? Anya: Yep. What’s for dinner? I was more upset […]

One of the guys

Ever see that movie “Just One of the Guys?” Terri (that’s her below) dresses like a dude (pretty convincingly I might add) to get recognized as a writer. That was in the 80s, today it’s not as hard for women to be treated as “equals” in the workplace. Today, however, I thought of Terri when […]

Please don’t spit in my food

So, I’m waiting at a burger joint in a one horse town (and one burger joint town for that matter), just waiting on my dinner, wondering what I may find. You see, the two teens working in the back seemed busy and said they’ll be right with me. Ok. Cool. I’m not in a huge […]

Shut up and listen

Do you ever walk into a room with such a great story you think you may burst before you can get it all out? I do. Pretty much all the time. But, my amazing ability to tell stories is not what this blog post is about. It’s about the dreaded overtalker, that is, the person […]