Thursday, January 31, 2008

Morning carpool talk -- now with bonus material!!

Carpool Girl: Why does it smell like garlic toast in here?

The Roo-girl and Evil Mother: *in unison* Garlic toast?

CPG: Yeah, it smells like garlic toast in this car.

EM: *knows her car is messy, but really now -- GARLIC TOAST??*

TRG: *sticks her arm in the back seat so CPG can sniff her* Maybe it's my lotion.

CPG: Oh, yeah. That's it.

TRG: It's jasmine and roses.

EM: Jasmine and roses smell like garlic toast?

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

TRG: EVERYONE is reading those books now.

CPG: I think my sister is reading it.

TRG: You should really read it. And they're making a movie, but seriously, though, I saw the guy they cast as Edward. EW. He's ugly. And the whole Jacob-Edward thing ...

Evil Mother: Oh, I feel so WITH IT because I read the first book and I know who you are talking about and everything. I'm hip and happenin'!!

TRG and CPG: *synchronized eyeroll*

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

My friend ~JJ at Dirty Laundry found this What Care Bear Are You thingy. Her daughter is obsessed with Care Bears, and I remember long, long ago -- back when dinosaurs roamed the earth and my big boys were small -- that my Drama King was, as well.

He had stuffed ones AND the plastic kind (you know -- like the Mickey D's Happy Meal versions) and the movies (which made me want to go screaming from the room) ... and all the rest. This was, of course, before he became obsessed with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but I digress.

I have a vivid memory of him pushing two bears around in a plastic car at 22 months, looking up at me and saying this: "I go for a ride with Grumpy Bear and Cheer Bear!"

At that moment, I remember dissecting his vocabulary and sentence structure and marveling at his utter under-brilliance. Now ... I wish he'd shut up!!

So back to my point. After I found this Care Bear whoosiwhat on ~JJ's site, I of course had to do it. I'm not really sure what to make of this:

Your Not So Care Bear Name is

Couch Potato Bear

Get your Not So Care Bear Name at

Couch Potato Bear? Just because I spend my nights curled up in my bed with a laptop and the remote control?

Hmmmph. I'm offended!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Bite me

The Roo-girl is currently OBSESSED with a series of books written by Stephenie Meyer.

It is the story of a reasonably ordinary girl who finds herself involved with a coven (coven? is that what they're called) of vampires who attend her high school.

Roo is very funny when she gets involved in something like this. She wants to share.

After she finished the first book, "Twilight," she thrust it at me and insisted that I read it too. Meanwhile, she threw herself into the second book, "New Moon," and then the third, "Eclipse" (which was, in fact, was what led to the ... ahem ... nakiness story from yesterday).

I finished the first book over the competition weekend, and I must admit I was sucked into the world of vampires too. (Heh, sucked into the world of vampires. I crack myself up sometimes!)

So now that Roo and I have this cast of characters in common, we can discuss it indepth. And the questions keep on coming from her:

"Who was your favorite character?"

"What color do you think Edward's hair is?"

"Did you like Jacob? I absolutely hate him."

"Who do you think should play Edward if they make a movie?"

I didn't have anyone in mind for the role of the drop-dead gorgeous, eternally romantic 17-year-old vampire. But Roo did.

"Johnny Depp ... TOTALLY!"

Johnny Depp? I looked at her and rolled my eyes. "Roo, he's too OLD to play a high school student."

"Oh, Mom," she retorted. "Johnny Depp is perfect. He's TIMELESS."

I think I'm going to be ill.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

It's officially time to kill me now


We're home. In one piece. And it's amazing what I missed out in blogville in just 24 hours without internet. I'm trying to catch up with all y'all, but it's pretty overwhelming.

Moving on ...

Roo's cheer team did very well at the weekend competition, all things considering:

1. They have seven on the team (competing against other "small teams" of 16 to 20).

2. Two girls had never competed before.

3. Two others were newly brought up from the younger team.

4. It was their first competition of the year, which was out-of-town to boot.

5. They had to rechoreograph the entire routine two days before when one of the kids failed to get medical clearance for her previous knee injury.

6. They CONTINUED to rechoreograph and tweak the routine the morning of the first comp day -- up to and including being on the warmup mats backstage.

5. One of the girls nearly passed out on day one, and puked on the mats on her way offstage on the second. As Roo said, after the guys came out with wetvacs to clean it up: "At least we'll be memorable."

Enough excuses for ya?

Seriously, though, they took third place, out of four teams. They were thrilled to NOT be last. They got a big ol' trophy to take home. And their first competition of the seaon is DONE.

Her Roo'ness was grace herself, in the air, twisting, flying, stretching her little limbs up to heaven itself. I am amazed that I gave birth to this talented, coordinated creature. I am the quintessential klutz and can trip over a painted line.

Photographic evidence (of HER, not my klutziness) is coming in two weeks, when they send me the complete photo shoot on a CD (about 500 photos from the 2-day meet). Don't worry, only the best of my daughter will be posted.

The trip up ended up uneventful. The drive home with the coach and three girls was HIGHLY educational, as the coach had an epiphany about one of the older girls on the team and how she impacts the behavior of my daughter. Badly, of course.

Every penny I spent on that trip became worth it right there.

But truly, the most memorable moment of my weekend was not during the trip at all, but after we got home.

I walked down the hall to Roo's room to say goodnight. Her door was wide open and the lights on.

I stood in the doorway, and this is what I saw:

My 13-year-old daughter, sitting on her edge of bed, engrossed in a book.

Completely nude.

Had I truly been thinking, I would have backed quickly and quietly out of the doorway and down the hall. She hasn't allowed me to see her anything less than fully clothed since she was 6.


I was absolutely frozen in my spot by the incredible vision of her. She is a tiny girl and has only recently begun to develop, but she is toned and trim from cheer.

And gorgeous.

I didn't have my contacts in, so the vision was admittedly a little fuzzy, but OH. She was stunning. And I couldn't look away.

And then she saw me.

The shrieking and screaming were deafening, and I ran back down the hall like a frightened bunny.

She had been planning to take a shower and got stalled by the book she is obsessing over.

Apparently, I'm very RUDE.

Or so I've been told.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Fun Monday #50: the embarrassing bedroom nightstand edition

An update on our cheer weekend is coming, but first -- FUN MONDAY!!

AOJ of The Lurchers is our host this week. And ... um ... this week's goal, apparently, is to abjectly humiliate me in front of God, the internets and everyone. Here is the challenge:

So continuing in the spirit of "being interested in people", I would like to know, or see, what's on, in or under your bedside table! So open those draws and bare your soul to us! Is there anything special there that has a story or a memory that you can tell us about? Books that you keep there to delve into from time to time? Trinkets that you don't know where else to put? Let's see!

OK. So today, I reveal myself as a slob. Complete and total. And a lazy one, too.

Here is my nightstand (and by the way, I actually cleaned this up a smidge so the humiliation factor would be lessened slightly):

This was my first foray into doctoring a photo with type and arrows and such. It's a little small, I think, but if you click on it, it'll biggen and you can see the true depth of my humiliation.

As for what is special there? Well, here is one closeup:

Photos are very important to me. There are tons on my nightstand and the bookshelves and the fireplace mantle ...

But that's too obvious when you talk about what's important to me here. Here's something a little more obtuse:

The overview photo says this is the bank I used to collect change to save money for Roo's bat mitzvah.

However, that's merely the tip of the iceberg for this item.

I have actually had this bank and this "coin-collecting" fetish for about 30 years. Every night, I empty the change out of my pockets into this bank. Periodically, I roll the change up and deposit it in a separate savings account.

With this bank, I saved money for a trip to Israel in 1982 with my first husband. I also have saved my pennies (nickels, dimes, quarters ...) for other special things too, including Z-man's bar mitzvah, with this bank.

I have held onto this bank through five cross-city moves and three husbands. It's a pretty special little thing. Unfortunately, when I photographed the nightstand, the bank's not-so-pretty side was showing -- that is the residue from a sticker that one of my kids stuck on it and later was peeled off.

So there you have it. There's lots of stuff there -- pencils, my old glasses, a couple of necklaces. Even an ice cream dish ... that must have been put there by someone else, because let's not forget, I'm on a fitness binge! One day I'll clean it up a little more.

Or maybe I won't.

But one thing I will do is go visit the rest of the Fun Monday'ers to see if anyone else is as humiliated as I am today!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Weekly Winners: Jan 20-26

I'm posting my Weekly Winners a little early this week (although my post time is Sunday, it's REALLY only 8 p.m. on Saturday) because my internet connection has been so pathetically spotty that I'm not sure how long it will stay for me. (Someone wanna sign Lotus' Mr. Linky for me??)

Plus we check out of the hotel in the morning for another day of competition and then the drive home.

For the record, the girls did really well, with a few bobbles (expected since they were rechoreographing the routine merely hours before their performance time). The scores are cumulative for the two days, so I won't know anything until later in the day.

And what KILLS me completely is that I specifically charged my camera battery before I left ... and then somehow left the camera ON and it didn't go to "sleep" and so ... I ... have ... no ... photos. Dead camera. No charger. I'll have to order someone else's (professional) photos.

Nevertheless... I persevere for Lotus' Weekly Winners game. This week's are kind of Roo'ish-one-note.

My front door, the topic of Fun Monday this past week, was also front and center, along with my favorite model.

The mask:

She also jumped for joy:

Check out those muscular, cut upper arms!

And she reads, too:

But it always comes back to that front door:

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Live from cheerleader land...

Oh. My. Gawd.

Ok, we're here. I lived to tell about the idea of letting my daughter travel with her flaky coach while I sit around and wait for an airplane to take off. The weather held. We are five in the hotel room (three girls, the coach and me), and the estrogen level is a titch high. *snicker*

Coach ended up not leaving until 3 p.m. Um, hello? Six hours plus of driving in iffy weather, traffic and DARKNESS?

"Wow, I can't believe we got caught in an hour of construction traffic!!" (Really? At 5 or 6 p.m. on a Friday night? How unusual!)

Anyway, the girls compete twice -- today and Sunday -- and the scores are cumulative. I will update after I get home. Or if I simply CAN'T stop myself from relating amusing tales of cheerleader hell!

Meanwhile, I will leave you with these amusing tidbits from our flight attendant last night:

"In the event of a water landing ... SWIM!"

And my favorite:

"If we have a loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop down. Place it over your nose and mouth and breathe normally. If you are traveling with a child, please place your own mask first and then help your child. If you are traveling with two or more children, well... ONE of them is your favorite..."


Friday, January 25, 2008

Haiku Friday: the off-we-go edition

Haiku Friday

Rain, rain, go away,
Come again after we have
gotten out of town.

The Roo will be riding with the cheer coach and I will be flying ... and if the weather doesn't calm down, no one is going to go ANYWHERE.

Wish us luck ... both for the traveling and for the competition. Either they are prepared or they aren't. We'll see.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Turn around ... and she's a young girl going out of the door

Today, my mommy heart is crying just a little.

This one needs a setup, so bear with me for a minute. This weekend, the Roo-girl has a cheer competition. It's the first one of the season for her (they're a little slow -- uh, coach???) and it is out of down. Close enough to drive, yet far enough to fly.

Last year, she and I drove to this competition together, and it was the start of a lovely period of Mommy/Roo togetherness leading up to her bat mitzvah last August and beyond. Five or six hours in a car. Just the two of us. Stopping when we wanted to look at the sights. Buying souvenirs. Eating pistachios. Laughing at stupid jokes.

This year, I meant to put the date on the vacation calendar ... and it wouldn't have been a problem, except that my co-worker, S, needed a wisdom tooth pulled and picked THAT DAY to schedule it.

S also didn't really get the hint (and I really didn't feel like pushing it -- it's complicated at my office) that maybe she could reschedule for another day. But never mind.

So Roo and I made other arrangements. She was to drive up with the coach, and I would get an after-work flight and meet up with them later. Then we (me, Roo, coach) would drive home together on Sunday.

Fast forward to Monday. S is in terrible pain from her wisdom tooth and decides she cannot last until Friday. Tuesday morning she calls me to say that they can pull the tooth that day, and she wouldn't be into work.

Please note, I am now holding a $100 web-fare, nonrefundable airline ticket because the tooth-pulling was supposed to be the same day as get-away day for me.

And now it's not.

Hmmm, thought the mom, ever on the ball. What if I just blow off the $100 *whimper snivel cry* and then Roo and I can go back to Plan A?

So ... ever the happy mom ... I approached Roo this morning with the idea that I could now take Friday off.

"Oh, cool, Mom," she bubbled. "But, you know, I still need to go up with Coach. She needs me to organize the uniforms and all kinds of stuff."


"And then later, we're going out to dinner with T and K, and we get to kinda sightsee and stuff. It's going to be sooo much fun!!!"


"So you can take the day off and mess around and do whatever you want then!! How cool!"

"Oh. So ... uh ... then you want me to still fly up on the 9 p.m. flight and drive back with you and Coach?"



So if you're in the airport Friday night, and you see a short, dark-haired woman sniveling in a corner while waiting for a plane, treat her with kindness.

Her baby girl is growing up.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Saying no is still a choice

I think from the day I began this blog, I have been a day late and a dollar short.

I was late jumping on the blogger bandwagon. I was a day late for Delurking Day. I'm just late late late -- chronically late.

And so it goes for today. I am a day late. I am earnest, but nevertheless late.

Yesterday was the 34th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. BlogHer declared it Blog for Choice Day. Everyone who wanted to could sign up to blog about being pro-choice.

I didn't know about this because, frankly, I am a non-A-list, non-BlogHer blogger, and I tend to be clueless about these things. However, I was sucker-punched when I read Mr. Lady's contribution on her blog, Whiskey in My Sippy Cup.

I highly recommend you read her post. And my comment about how I had a similar but not really story, but I could not have told it as well as she did.


Of course, these things nag at a person. And the story I have to tell came crashing back.

I was newly engaged. We had five children between us. I had three boys. He had two.

We were the the punchline to that old joke from "The Cosby Show": "You know why we have five children? Because we don't have six."

I had a long history of infertility (yes, the woman with three children -- needed artificial reproductive technology to get them), and we just KNEW there was no way for me to get pregnant the "old-fashioned way." So we played it fast and loose.

And then, in my usual fashion, I was a day late.

And then two. And then three.

In a panic, I bought a pregnancy test. They weren't so commonplace then. You couldn't buy them at the dollar store.

Two pink lines.

Holy crap. Not possible. No no no no no.

We were getting married in four months. Now THAT would be an interesting sight in a wedding dress.

We talked. I cried. We talked some more. And I continued to cry.

My youngest was 5. His youngest was 17. We were both in our 40s. We had both been crystal clear when we got engaged that we didn't want any more children.

And now I was pregnant.

Every time we discussed "that word," I cried. Every time we talked about keeping the baby, I could function, at least marginally.

When we both came to that realization -- that the idea of NOT having this baby was making me miserable -- we decided to go ahead and jump back into the gene pool, and move the wedding three months earlier.

I know what you are thinking ... that this baby turned out to be the Roo-girl.

Well, you are wrong, my friends.

I miscarried that precious life at 13 weeks, just under the 2-week-miscarriage-risk mark for chorionic villi sampling.

Among the things that hurt was having to have my wedding dress altered to account for the missing baby bump. And the result of having been pregnant, albeit by accident, made me realize that I actually ached to have another baby.

And THAT was how the Roo-girl came to be.

So why does this make me pro-choice, you might ask. After all, I couldn't actually go through with it in the end.

But here is what I learned. After all my infertility struggles, I know what it is like to carry that spark of life within me and what it takes to raise the children that spark becomes.

I instantly knew that abortion is a personal CHOICE that I would never ever ever want to take away from another woman. I just chose to say no.

Mr. Lady said it better than me. But I know it in my heart as well.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Workout update

When I say I'm going to do something, wow. I really do!

I'm feeling exceedingly pleased with myself this morning.

Today is another day that I got my ass out of bed and into the pool. This makes at least 12 lap-swimming days since getting back from the skiing wonderland on Jan. 5. Plus two Saturday water aerobics classes and two Sunday aerobics/body-sculpting classes. (Oh.My.Gawd. Those are killers.)

End result? Two and a half pounds, people!

Take THAT, Fred and Ethel!

You may pat me on the backfat. Or don't. That's creepy.

I have tried to be a healthier me in the food department, but really, I haven't changed a whole lot -- other than adding Diet Chocolate Cherry Dr. Pepper to my intake. And I did turn down a bite of Roo-girl's banana-flavored Twinkie last night (ewwwwwwwww).

Seriously, though, I am inordinately proud of myself. I have said before that everyone has a different idea of what is considered fat ... for him/herself. I know that I am not considered fat by the rest of the world. However, I also know how I feel, though, and it didn't feel good.

So I'll take those 2 1/2 pounds ... and raise you a couple more.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Fun Monday #49: the first anniversary edition

Vicki, who is the original Fun Monday creator-like person, is our hostess for this first anniversary edition of this amusing game. In honor of a year's worth of Fun Mondays, she wants to see this:

For those of you who did NOT post a picture of your view from your front door, then your assignment is to post a view from your front door. To do this you stand in your doorway looking outside and take a picture. That simple. We (I) want to see what you see when you look out your front door.

Well, I'm one of those Fun Monday newbies, so I wasn't around for the first front-porch view, but I was here for a version of same, done last October.

Here is the link to that post.

And then, a link to my very first post last July.

Does this satisfy the requirements of this week's challenge? Honestly I wasn't sure. Unfortunately, without the dramatic change of seasons that other parts of the country have, my view today versus my view last October isn't all that different.

So today, in honor of the first anniversary of Fun Monday, I present you with this mildly rule-bending moment:

The view OF my front door. (Excuse the umbrella, which has lain there since the rains of New Year's week. Um, yeah.)

I get my inspiration -- and my Fun Monday logo -- from Swampy, who is the queen of the rule-benders!

Now, go see how the rest of the crew celebrated this auspicious occasion!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Weekly Winners: Jan 13-19

I'm back again, trying my hand at Lotus' Weekly Winners game.

Now I'm an old hand with two weeks of WW under my belt. Hey, hey. Look at me!

And now look at my pictures:

One fish, two fish, red fish ... orange fish:

Turn on your heartlight

For all the world to see
Let it shine wherever you go
Let it make a happy glow

The new addiction:

Stockpiling a "limited edition" is a good thing.

Blueberry hill:

OCD Dog doesn't have a lick of sense:

Pizza as big as her head!

Always necessary gratuitous Roo-girl beauty shot:

Followed closely by ...


'Nuff said!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A little bit of this ... a little bit of that

Oh, I am in love!

Diet Coke, you are SO five minutes ago.

Diet Coke Vanilla? Coke Vanilla Zero? HA! Your disappearance is mourned no more.

Check THIS out:

Limited edition, though, so I am buying just about every bottle I can find!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The Roo-girl needs a bunch of stuff for a science project, one of which includes a cup (paper or plastic) and some kind of stirring stick.

In search of the cup, I open the cupboard above the stove, where there was obviously some storage issues: a plastic knife comes flying out and lands at my feet.

"How about a plastic knife?" I ask, ever the optimist but knowing that my Roo would find some reason to object.

"Is there a spoon?"

Do I know my girl or what?

I reach up over my head and into the cabinet to rummage around. (God forbid I should get a stepstool so I, the evil, yet oh-so-short mother can actually see in.)

And I am treated to a shower of plastic knives. I looked over at Roo, who is trying not to laugh, and I quickly slam the cabinet door shut so the flood abates.

"Mom," she says. "You never bore me."

Bwahahahahaha! Back at ya, kiddo!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Haiku Friday: the writer's block edition

Haiku Friday

I thought and thought and
Thought and thought and thought and thought.
But I have nothing.

Seriously, I feel like I am in repeat mode right now.

Things that are going on in my life:

A lot of swimming.

Dogs that still poop in the house.

Mourning yet another Coke (hard-to-find Coke Zero Cherry) that seems to be going away.

More teen fashion emergencies.

New underwear.

Life is offering no new haiku fodder than I haven't already mined.

I do have more wacky conversations with my wacky kids (stay tuned), but haiku it ain't.

Though I can leave you with this:

My children have grown.
Some of them have left the nest.
Always my babies.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And then there was spewing

Remember this?

Following that, we had this IM exchange:

Evil Mother: look! it's my boy!

Z-man: no way

Z-man: where

Evil Mother: lol. you are so adorable.

Evil Mother: that's ok... cuz i got a phone call from drama king today ... "i dont want to freak you out, but ..." so i immediately went into freakout mode

Z-man: he's straight now?

Too bad this took place at work, because I TOTALLY lost it and there was NO explaining the shower of Diet Coke that I had to clean off my computer.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

How I scored a half a doughnut this morning

Driving out of the parking lot of our neighborhood supermarket, after a doughnut run, on the way to school:

Carpool Girl: Oh my God! Those people were making out in their car when we got here!

Evil Mother: They're still making out?

The Roo-Girl: Ew, yes. And they are SO OLD!

EM: How old? You mean like 30?

CPG: Oh yeah. Or maybe 40. Or even 50.

EM: Watch that!!

TRG: Yeah, you don't want to go there with my mom!

EM: *looking over at the offending car in question* Oh, you guys. Those people are not old. Give me a break. And they probably are just sneaking away from their kids to grab a smooch.

TRG and CPG: *unison gagging*

EM: Puh-leeze. Wonderhubby and I used to do that when we were dating. We used to meet at the McDonald's ...

TRG: ARRRGGHHHHH.... MOM! That's disgusting. I don't want to HEAR this.

CPG: Yeah, TMI, ya know?

EM: What? We old people are not allowed to make out?

TRG: MOM! I'm eating! Oh gag, don't talk about this when I'm eating! Now I've totally lost my appetite.

And that is how I scored a half a doughnut this morning!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Why my hair is prematurely gray ...


Mother: Hello?

Drama King: Mom? I don't want to freak you out, but ...

Mother: *fighting an instant adrenaline rush* What's wrong?

DK: Um...

Mother: *dying a million deaths*

DK: Well ... Did you get a collect call from lockup?

Mother: Did I WHAT?????????

DK: Well, um, I did. But I pushed the wrong button and disconnected it by accident. Have you gotten one?

Mother: *exhaling slowly* Uh, noooooooooooooo.

DK: Well, have you talked to Drummer Man?

Mother: *not breathing* Noooooo.

DK: I tried his cell phone and it went straight to voice mail.

Mother: *trying to swallow what little spit is in her mouth* He should be at work.

DK: Yeah, that's what I thought. But ... *pause* and I would think he would call you first anyway.

Mother: Unless he wouldn't ...

DK: Well, yeah, there's that. But I can't think who would call me to bail them out. I mean, seriously!!

Mother: Yes, I realize that, too. Let me know if you hear from him. I will try him too, and we'll meet in the middle.



Mother frantically pushes cell phone keys...


Drummer Man: Hello?

Mother: Oh thank GOD!

Now, please note that, in my heart of hearts, I KNEW that Drummer Man could not have been in lockup, needing bail. On the other hand, several of Drama King's friends could have been.

But seriously, people. Never ever start out a conversation with "I don't want to freak you out, but ..."

Because I will. This sort of thing could kill me or something.

(And to all my blog buddies who are living through the trials and tribulations of infancy and toddlerhood ... I can only shake my head and say, "Just wait, my friends!")

I'd like to thank the academy

Well, I'm just pickled Tink!

Tink of Pickled Beef (oh seriously, is that not the best blog name EVER?) has graciously awarded me a Golden Spork award for best-looking blog.

I am speechless. (Heh. Never!)

And humbled. (Me? Uh, ok.)

And the proud owner of some new sidebar bling.

Which brings me to my failures.

Failure to acknowledge and pass along the previous awards that I was given.

Oh please forgive me, Junebug and ~JJ!

These two bloggy friends looooong ago gave me these awards, and I have been remiss.

From Junebug, I received this beautiful award.

Thank you, my friend!

In return, I would like to share the love. I know many people already have this one, but too bad. If you already have one, now you have another ... from me!

I hereby bestow the Colors of Friendship award on Holly at Anglophile Football Fanatic and Blue Momma at Life in the Fish Bowl. Both of these chickies are killer Scrabble players and constantly put me in my place (umiaq??? subzones?? Seriously, Blue, where do you GET this stuff?), yet they still like me and want to hang around and play!

I also give this award to ~JJ of Dirty Laundry, who always has a kind word. She also is the one who gave me this:

Apparently she thinks I am helpful or something! Well, I think she is totally awesome.

I am going to pass this award to Karly of Wiping Up Snot (another amazing blog name!), who let me write my first-ever guest post (when I had only written four of my own), and recently set me up to have a feed burner or some such thing that I don't understand.

Also to Lotus at Sarcastic Mom, who is my inspiration for photos and has introduced me to Weekly Winners. Who knew I could take cool photos?

The other recipient of this award is a special person. She has been my personal blog sounding board and my mentor, letting me guest post and be a general pain. She also is a real-life friend who listens to my whining and who listens to me when I tell her to get her head out of her butt. Now that's a true friend, right?

She gets BOTH awards from me ... for being my mentor and being my friend. She's also feeling a little punky-puny these days, and I hope some new blog decor will cheer her up a smidgeon.

Melodyann? Come get your bling, honey. I luvs you.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Fun Monday #48: the helpful internet edition

Ann from For the Long Run is our hostess for Fun Monday this week. She nearly stumped me, too. Here's how that happened:

I want to hear about a web site and not just about any old web site. I want to hear about a web site that's changed your life. A web site that you can't live without. A web site whose inventor you'd like to see win a McArthur Genius Grant.

OK, so here's the thing. Other than the obvious (Google, Amazon, eBay), has any website changed my life?

Hmmm. Well. Possibly you could say that blogs changed my life, because it has led me to a world inhabited by many new friends and unusual characters.

I became involved in the blog world through a side door. I'm sure we all have stories of our "first time" -- finding someone's online writings and getting sucked into the life of someone you don't know.

My first addictionblog was the tale of the fake doctor who was (in his words) half-assing his way through four years of med school. I came into his world mostly through the end of his third year, went back through his archives and swallowed it whole. He finished school last May and went on to a residency ... somewhere. He reserved another blog for that, but if you click the link, you will see that he hasn't written anything there.

I miss the fake doctor. I think about him occasionally, but I have taken him off my favorites list since he has undoubtedly moved on from the sarcastic skewering style that I loved. I hope he is well.

In the meantime, I have him to thank for my entry into the world of blogging. Somehow from him (not directly, but somehow), I ended up at an infertility site.

As you know, one blog always links to another ... and then another and another and another.

After awhile, I wanted to join in the fun myself and the Planet of Janet was the result. I have found several communities (Fun Monday, Haiku Friday, Weekly Winners) to "hang out" in, and made friends with so many people in the computer.

And to try to make an already long story a little shorter, here I am, a blogger myself, with online friends and a blog roll and 126 posts under my belt (including this one) since the end of July.

Wow. I guess the fake doctor really did change my life! Thank you, Eli, wherever you are.

Now go visit the other Fun Monday'ers. I am looking forward to finding out some other ways to change my life!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Weekly Winners: January 6-12

Wow. I survived my first week at Lotus' Weekly Winners game. My photos were pretty well received, so I hope I don't have sophomore slump with my second effort.

Here goes:

Color coded

After the rain

You can't see the forest for the trees

I don't know. Roo really liked this one (it's in our back yard). I'm not so sure. It actually was pouring rain at the time, and I was going for the rain shot, but didn't really get it.

Rainy-day Roo

Doncha just love that face? I do!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Is it me?

I swear that I smell cigarette smoke.

It feels like it's in my freakin' nostrils. You know that feeling of smelling it? Like it's in your lungs and nose hairs?

Well, I work in a smoke-free office. Please explain this to me.

Is it an aura? A precurser to a seizure disorder? Some psychotic break? This has been going on for DAYS.

And it's not just at work. If it were, I would say that I'm probably sitting over the local smoking hangout and somehow I have become more than oversensitive. But I feel/smell it at other times too. Even at home.

Let's see how many people can freak me out with some weird explanation for what is going on here.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Haiku Friday: the rockin' swimmer edition

Haiku Friday

Waterproof iPod --
world's greatest invention for
lap swimmers like me!

Oh people, there is nothing more boring on this planet than swimming laps. Believe me, I know.

That's why I have a waterproof casing and headphones for my iPod. So I swim to the sounds of my would-be lover Toby Keith, the Dixie Chicks (I'm an equal-opportunity country fan -- the Toby-Chicks feud just annoys me), Martina McBride, John Michael Montgomery, Josh Turner, the Broadway cast recording of "Wicked," a barbershop quartet that ROCKS MY WORLD and a few other esoteric choices -- "Chasing Cars" by Snow Patrol, "You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown" and Donny Osmond (I'm sorry, I'm so ashamed).

Without the music, I spend too much time in my own head. And although I do enjoy my own company, sometimes I get a little too involved in my own mental morass.

Not a good thing.

So yippee skippy for being able to combine music and swimming and ... a happy Haiku Friday to you all!

(P.S. I found out too late that yesterday was Delurking Day ... and I missed it. So be a pal, eh? Delurk TODAY for me instead. Thanks!)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Absence makes the heart grow weepy

You would think I would be used to it by now.

But every time I put Z-man on a plane back to school, I cry.

And I mope.

And I am on edge.

Until he returns home again.

Wonderhubby just looks at me like I have lost more than a few brain cells and rolls his eyes. I know he knows that I hurt, but his sympathy for this is not at a high level.

I've been thinking about this ... and I think now I understand why.

I am a wuss who has always had full custody of all my children.

He has been a divorced father whose child was unceremoniously yanked more than 180 miles away.

J-bear and her father were/are very close. Before the mother of the year decided to move away and take her with, the two households were no more than about 2 miles apart. In fact, hanging out with me would have made them 25 miles apart, and there was some serious discussion about this while our relationship was developing.

And then the bombshell:

"I'm moving to Podunk, U.S.A., and I'm taking J-bear."

She was 11. Father and daughter were devastated, but the MOTY was determined.

It came to a crashing halt when a natural disaster scared the holy bejeezus out of the already skittish and almost clinically shy J-bear.

She started following the mama around like a lost pup. She refused to stay in the house alone. Her grades plummetted.

And then he got a phone call.

"I want to come and live with you and Janet."

It was midway through her eighth-grade year. We tried to convince her and the MOTY to wait till June and make the transition to high school, instead of a semester of middle school. But no.

They were determined.

That's how she came to live with us while the MOTY stayed in Podunk.

But the years that came before are, I believe, the reasons why Wonderhubby may understand my pain but thinks I should get a grip.

Divorced fathers live with this all the time. I have been spoiled for 18 years.

And even though I know this, every time I leave my boy at the airport, I cry.

And my boy does too.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Splish splash ... and other more important stuff

Wow, thanks for all the encouragement yesterday. I felt so loved and cared for!

I am nothing if not an attention hound, and I just lapped up all y'all high-fivin' me and patting me on the back for getting Fred and Ethel Backfat into the pool for something more than floating in a lounge chair with a mojito.

And after my swim, I felt so incredibly great that I can't even believe I took all those months off to laze and lollygag.

So I'm doing it again. Yay me!

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Jenni from Prairie Air left this comment as a side note to Tuesday's exercise orgy:

Now I'm curious about this bat mitzvah stuff. You said you got a part time job to help pay for it, so I'm thinking these things are pretty huge. I'd love to hear more about this tradition since I just know the very basics of it.

Some of you, I know, are Jewish (or know other Jewish families) and already understand what this was about, but for those of you who aren't/don't, here is the reader's digest (and HIGHLY simplified) version:

The Jewish community considers the age of 13 to be the dividing line between childhood and adulthood, and the expression of that leap from one side to another is the bar (for a boy) or bat (for a girl) mitzvah. Literally this means "son (or daughter) of the commandment" and, also, literally, just means that your child will stand in front of the congregation on a Saturday morning and read from the Torah, marking that entrance to Jewish adulthood.

Of course, in our society, 13 is hardly the harbinger of maturity and good sense, so this "adulthood" thing is purely symbolic in many ways.

There is an old joke that goes like this: "Today I am a man ... tomorrow I go back to the eighth grade."

And that, my friends, is the essence of it.

The date is selected three years (or more) in advance; the preparation for learning the prayers actually started in kindergarten, with tutoring to learn the chanted reading of the particular Torah portion for that week beginning about six months prior to the date.

The child's participation in the religious service can be just the Torah reading, or it can include more prayers and other religious moments.


There are trappings that go with. A party, mainly. And a lot of presents (mostly cash these days).

And in my humble opinion, that party has gotten waaaaaaay out of hand and can cost more than the gross national product of some small nations. This bothers me at its core, since truly the purpose of the synagogue ceremony is religious and symbolic, not materialistic.

Drummer Man had a respectably sized party. The Drama King's was way out of my comfort zone, but it was during bad marital times when the use of my money by my then-husband spiraled out of my control (a topic for another day).

Z-man opted for no party, but just an expanded version of the luncheon put on at the synagogue every week by the sisterhood, with the promise of something more "out of the box," like a trip to Las Vegas. At this point, if the boy ever learns to drive, the promise has morphed into a serviceable (and used) car.

When it came to the Roo-girl, however, she had ideas of her own. The "no-party" option was not in her vocabulary, and I started squirreling away nickels and dimes in anticipation.

Please do not get the impression that Roo was not completely involved in the spirit of this event. It's just that she wanted a party, and I wanted to give it to her -- within reason.

The second job idea kinda came out of nowhere. I was a dedicated Curves member, and it occurred to me that maybe I could make a few bucks by working the 4-hour Saturday shift. The owner of my location was amenable to this, even though it meant fully training an employee for limited gain on her part. The "opening shift" came as a fluke, when my boss mistakenly put out a flyer about changing the opening time about a month before she was really prepared for it.

So I volunteered to come in at 7 a.m. (30 minutes earlier than the previous opening time) and stay till 8 a couple days a week, when I would leave to drive the Roo-girl to school. That way, we both reasoned, I could get in my workout and make a few bucks. Since I was driving Z-man and J-bear to high school before 7 every morning anyway, it was no big deal.

Ultimately, it morphed into a six-day-a-week gig. Weekdays ended up being about an hour and half; Saturdays were four hours plus, including cleanup time.

I had my paycheck direct-deposited into a separate account that I never touched. And there it sat ... and grew.

It wasn't a ginormous amount. I made $8 an hour (which was, like, $12 a day for those weekdays, ya know?).

And I let Roo-girl know every step of the way that the Curves job was for her bat mitzvah. When the time came to plan the party, I spelled out the expenses. Some of those expenses were for the synagogue and non-negotiable. And some she got to choose.

This was not an unlimited budget, and I frequently told her things like: "If you pick the more expensive invitation, then there will be less for (whatever)."

In the end, we had about 50 or 60 people at a local rec center, with a kick-ass deejay (that's one place she and I opted to spend the bucks since the deejay will make or break the good time had by all).

She had a blast, even thought it wasn't the social event of the century. Even though we cut many corners. Even though we prevailed upon a party-planner friend, who gave us discount, and the photographer daughter of a Curves colleague, who ALSO gave us a discount.


All in all, the ceremony and the party together were an incredible experience that, although I had gone through it with my three boys before, was made sweeter by her dedication to her faith and her joy as she danced herself silly and her understanding of how this party came to be.

Whew. That went REALLY far afield from where I started. Ever had a post that wrote itself ... in a completely different direction than you intended?

Yeah, well, you just read one!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Exercising my good judgment


Ouchie. Oooh. Owies.


I hurt all over. I hurt in places I forgot (or never knew) I had.

Please kill me now. It would be the kindest thing to do.

Here's how this went:

On Sunday, I got a bug up my ass about getting OFF my ass.

That ass, though greatly appreciated and truly loved by Wonderhubby, has gotten progressively wider and has been joined by Fred and Ethel Backfat. No one invited those two, and I'm not gonna allow them to camp out in my mirror.

Before last December (that's 2006, people), I was at Curves for almost three years, including two years as an instructor. A fitness instructor!!!

Seriously. I worked this as a second (early-morning) job to pay for Roo-girl's bat mitzvah, and I was toned, man.

Then I messed up my back. Not the way I had previously messed up my knee (which was, ahem, from global positioning during ... um ... yeah, that). It was some sort of disk'ish problem that was kinda sorta diagnosed by a doctor, who gave me the following options for physical therapy:

1) Swim

2) Water aerobics

3) Walk in water.

4) Walk, period.

Notice a theme here? Yeah. So I went on a hunt for a gym with an indoor pool because swimming outside? in January? Not so much.

So I swam. I swam almost every freakin' morning at 5:15 a.m. (yes, A.M.) and then trouped over to my job at Curves to open and hang there for an hour or so, and then go to my real 40-hour-plus-a-week job. The one that pays the bills and allowed me to join a pricey club with an indoor pool.

Then Curves and I parted amicable company, and I got lazy.

After all those early, early mornings, it became too easy to lie in bed and read blogs until 8 a.m., and get up in time to jump in the shower, take Roo-girl to school before 9 and still be at work by 9:30.

And lazy + eggnog lattes = fat.

Just in case you didn't know.

I understand that fat is relative. We don't need to get into a philosophical discussion about what you consider fat and YOU consider fat and I consider fat. It's actually more about how you feel. And I feel fat.

So let us just agree to disagree. Plus I am, in actuality, heavier than I have ever been, except while pregnant, and I'm closing in on that, too.

Anyway, I have been going to a Saturday water aerobics class religiously for months (in place of multiple swim days ... one class a week + eggnog lattes = still fat).

But in a fit of -- oh, I don't know -- FATNESS? I sought out an low-impact aerobics/body sculpting class on Sunday morning.

Low-impact, my ass.

It was 45 minutes of high-energy, "you-can-do-it-honey," mind-blowing, ass-kicking jogs, jumps, slides, bounces and God-knows-what-all.

Followed by 45 minutes of weights.


I can tell you that those 5-pound thingies in my hands were not the only dumbbells in the room.

I am insane.

And I cannot move. At all.

A hot shower helped. So did 800 mg of ibuprofen -- which I reduced to 600 at a time today but am thinking that it's not enough.

Because, people! I hurt!

But I am nothing if not persevering.

I plan to be in the pool in the early moments of this fine morning.

And next Sunday, I'm going back for more torture.


Monday, January 7, 2008

Fun Monday #47: the furry and scaly edition

The chaotic Lisa is our hostess for Fun Monday this week. She picked a topic that I almost did when I hosted, so I'm glad I get to do this one. Here is her challenge:

Let’s meet your pets. I think most of us have at least one pet and I would like to see your fluffy or scaly pal. If you don’t have a camera you can tell us about him/her/them. If you don’t have a pet tell us about a pet you had or a pet you want. If for some weird reason you hate all animals we want to know why gosh-dang-it.

Frankly, I dealt with the menagerie that is the Planet of Janet here.

But a few things have changed since then. There was a third turtle in the tank that died while we skiing. The fish in the big tank ganged up on one of the oscars and ate it. J-bear was unhappy. Me? I'm mean enough to break into song: "The Circle of Life ..."

Everyone else seems to be alive and well, minus a couple of plecostomuses (plecostomi?) that ended up as fish food, too.

But all these finny things live in J-bear's room, and as long as I don't open her door, I don't have to see them. The pets that have the most impact on our daily life are the crapping-in-the-house dogs, Nike (aka OCD dog) and Domino.

These two ill-behaved lovies are half-chihuahua and half-maltese. We got the pick of the litter after one of Wonderhubby's co-worker's maltese knocked up his chihuahua. So, yeah, we picked 'em. Silly us.

Meet Domino.

The name came from the black and white theme of her fur. She is the bigger and more maltesey (aka hairier) of the two. She is also the smarter. One day she was trying to bring a stick in through the doggie door, but it wouldn't fit while in her mouth. So she dropped the stick, went through the door, stuck her snoot back outside, picked up the stick and maneuvered it through the opening. See? Smart.

I also believe she is the one who is crapping outside our bedroom door. Can't catch her at it, but I still think it's her, making a statement. Brat.

Now meet Nike:

We call her OCD Dog for a reason. She nudges the dog door four times with her snoot before she will go in or out. She sucks mercilessly on this green dog toy thing (someone said it was a peacock) and marches with her two front feet. Please don't suggest we took them from mama too soon. Both dogs were more than 9 weeks old before we took them home, and Domino isn't anywhere this weird. However, I do know that the nasty mama chihuahua apparently got tired of being harrassed by the four puppies and refused to sleep in the box with them at about 6 or 7 weeks. Nikester was obviously not ready to let her go.

Oh, and her name? Well, after the first time we saw the puppies, we started thinking of names. Drama King wanted to name them Death and Taxes. Uh, we declined that one.

Anyway, the name Domino came easy. But for the littler one? That was tougher. We remembered, though, that she had a white swoosh on her all-black back. Voila! Nike!

Everyone loved the name. We were set. But the day we went to pick them up, we realized ... oops. The swoosh was actually on the back of one of the boy puppies. Oh well. We had all agreed on the choice (not an easy task), so we went with it anyway.

Domino loves going for walks. Nike goes for drags.

Domino is brave and curious. Nike shakes if you look at her funny. Or if you feed her. Or if you pet her. Or ... well, you get the idea.

OK OK. I have gone on long enough here. I'm taking away from the time you could be reading other Fun Monday offerings. So go see everyone else's pets. God knows mine are too weird to get all this attention.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Weekly winners: December 30 through January 5

This is my first foray into Lotus' Weekly Winners game. Now that I have my totally groooooovy camera, it is time for me to get beyond snapshots and into IMPORTANT photography! (Oh yeah. That's me. Important photographer.)

So ... here we go:


Oh there is nothing better than a pedicure!

Guitar girl:

Love her. Totally.

New Year's kiss:

(Yes, Roo-girl took this one, but still ... the old farts still got it!)

New Year's whoop-di-doo:

(I won't tell you how many shots it took to get that one with the confetti! Shh. That's our little secret.)

Two versions of blowing snow:

or this way:

Which one do you like? The color or the black and white? I can't decide.
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