Thursday, December 29, 2005
This morning, because I am home sick for day #3, Owen decided to make me some fresh juice. We’d bought some juicing oranges at the grocery last night, and some frozen cherries and strawberries to try out with it too. Owen took a moment to look up the recipe online (during which I held back and kept silent a moment of joyful ridicule…apparently there’s more to it than “squeeze the juice”) and then took to cutting up oranges and popping them into the juicer. For mine, he also put in a few strawberries.
The strawberries came out all foamy and thick, but this didn’t bother me as I thought it gave them a bit of a smoothie effect. I scooped some up with my finger and it was delicious. The oranges also came out a little foamy. This, we assumed, was because the juicer “juices” them at such a high rate of speed that they just get themselves whipped into a froth of delicious excitement. He poured the contents of the two small glasses we’d been using into a large glass and stirred them into a lovely pinkish-orange foamy concoction, all thick and juicy. Truly, it looked fantastic. I took a sip…and nearly gagged. Actually, I did gag. I nearly threw up. It was AWFUL. BAD BAD BAD.
Because it is human nature to want to taste gross things (“Oh my God…this is disgusting…here, taste it”) and also, I think, because I am sick and my senses of taste and smell are out of whack, Owen tried it too. He promptly gagged on it as well and, without a moment’s hesitation, poured the whole thing down the disposal.
It turns out that in all that recipe reading (which now occurs to me may have actually been a very worthwhile use of time), he somehow missed the part that says, “First you have to take the skin off the oranges.” By the time we’d come to that conclusion, though, the morning juice-making allotment of time was well used up and we had to move on to making breakfast and getting ready for work. Owen made his lunch and I was left to clean the quite literally powdered orange rind out of the juicer.
Here’s a crafty little sidebar: when combined with water, orange rind dust makes a pleasant-smelling clump of clay-type substance. I (and you too!) may want to experiment with it as an artistic medium in the future.
We are not defeated, though! We have vowed to try making juice again just as soon as a.) the juicer and all remnants of the putrescence we tried to call juice has been thoroughly cleaned out and sterilized by the dishwasher, b.) we have time to try again and c.) we forget how truly awful that first batch was. After all, we’re part of the e-generation. We ought to be able to figure out a friggin’ juicer… recipe or not.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
We had quite a crowd opening gifts at HL on Sunday: 1 great grandpa, 1 great grandma, two sets of grandparents (that equals 4 of them), 11 of my generation (this includes spouses) and 5 of the generation we like to call the great grands – and that’s not even counting Sam! We also had six more people for dinner. What a houseful!
I feel I must apologize to them all now for being less than chipper on the big day. I was up all night on Christmas Eve not out of excitement, but due to severe pain in my left ear and a sore throat. After having finally made it to the doctor this morning, she has told me that I have “Severe Sinusitis” and am in the running for a bonus ear infection. She sent me home from work today and told me to take tomorrow off too. So, for once, I am writing from home. It feels odd.
But, back to the fun part! I also wanted to just sent out a preliminary thank you to everybody (the real thing will be coming along soon, promise) for once again being so generous to us this season, especially our parents.
Among his favorite items, Owen received a KISS bowling ball. I was unable to get my hands on it to take a picture (I think it may very well be in our bed where he’s been sleeping with it), but it is quite a sight to behold! He also got a handheld police scanner, which, he says, is quite enjoyable to listen to. We live just across the street from the local fire department and now he gets to know all the happenings. His buddy/golf league partner/bowling league cohort Kevin, says he has spent many an enjoyable evening hearing his ex-girlfriends getting picked up for DUI’s and the like. I also made him a book of essay's from NPR's "This I Believe" series, which we both love and which I highly recommend. They don't have a book out (yet) and so I copied and printed all of them and then bound them into a binder so we could keep adding them as they air new ones every week (check your local listings - ours is on Monday mornings). Owen also received, though he has generously offered to share it with Sam, a small nest full of baby dinosaurs. There’s a story behind it, but I’ll leave that for him to tell if he ever writes on his blog again (I’ll remind him).
Sam also received a number of baby-sized KISS items: a bib, a cap, a onesie and a twp-piece set. They’re quite funny though I have to admit that I don’t know anybody else who shops for their
baby at Hot Topic. Our thanks to Laura and Grammy Sylv for those awesome items!
As for me, my favorites were mostly smaller in nature. I got an iHome stereo into which I can plug my iPod to listen to in the kitchen. It has fantastic sound and also picks up NPR extremely well. One of the coolest things I got was a doorstopper in the image of the feet of the Wicked Witch of the East (from the Wizard of Oz) still wearing the Ruby slippers (this would be after the house fell on her and just before Glinda gave the slippers to Dorothy).
I also got several games (I LOVE family game night!) and a few books. My favorites of the books are the children’s books (nothing new there!): one called “Mooses Come Walking” by Arlo Guthrie and one called “Nothing but Miracles,” which is composed of pictures and the poem of the same name by Walt Whitman excerpted from his 1900 larger poem called “Leaves of Grass.” It’s an absolutely beautiful poem that seems to be especially appropriate during the holiday season. Perhaps it strikes a chord with me as I feel the kickings and flutterings of my unborn baby boy, who truly is a miracle, by any definition. (Whoever says that science and religion are a world apart ought to take a look at reporductive medicine - nothing but miracles!)
Nothing But Miracles
By Walt Whitman
WHY, who makes much of a miracle?
As to me, I know of nothing else but miracles,
Whether I walk the streets of Manhattan,
Or dart my sight over the roofs of houses toward the sky,
Or wade with naked feet along the beach just in the edge of the water,
Or stand under trees in the woods,
Or talk by day with anyone I love, or sleep in the bed at night with anyone I love,
Or sit at table at dinner with the rest,
Or look at strangers opposite me riding in the car,
Or watch honey bees busy around the hive of a summer forenoon,
Or animals feeding in the fields,
Or birds, or the wonderfulness of insects in the air,
Or the wonderfulness of the sundown, or of stars shining so quiet and bright,
Or the exquisite delicate thin curve of the new moon in spring;
These with the rest, one and all, are to me miracles,
The whole referring, yet each distinct and in its place.
To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle,
Every cubic inch of space is a miracle,
Every square yard of the surface of the earth is spread with the same,
Every foot of the interior swarms with the same.
To me the sea is a continual miracle,
The fishes that swim--the rocks--the motion of the waves--the ships with the men in them, What stranger miracles are there?
Friday, December 23, 2005
We love our cats. We do what we can to give them all the little creature comforts they deserve…within reason. (We have determined that snow blowing the entire yard is not within reason, sadly for them.) It turns out that they are part feline, part camel, and are constantly thirsty. This has proven to be a challenge here in northern Michigan because, as you might have guessed, it gets cold here in winter. Wet things outside tend to freeze when it’s 7 degrees outside. Now, because we are a good kitty mama and daddy, we bought them a heated water dish so that they would always have nice, unfrozen water to drink. The dish doesn’t make the water hot or anything, it just keeps the water temp above freezing to keep it liquid.
If you are a science geek like me (who recently got very upset with C.S.I.’s Gil Grissom for wrongly using the term “terminal velocity”), you might know that because of the humidity and the variation in temperature, standing water that cannot freeze tends to evaporate rather quickly (lake effect snow, anyone?). It follows naturally that, though the bowl holds 2 cups, between being ingested by the cats and the evaporation needs to be refilled every other morning to keep our babies in fresh water. This morning it was empty, as scheduled.
Also this morning, Velma made a brilliant discovery. There is never any snow inside the water dish. AND…when all the water is gone, not only is the bottom of the dish nice and dry, it is also vaguely warm. She then determined the empty water dish to be an absolutely perfect perch, keeping ALL FOUR paws nice and dry and, yes, even perhaps a little warm.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Saturday, mom, Rachel and I went to the salon for our girls spa day. Mom got a massage and Rachel and I got facials. This one didn’t hurt as much as last time because I was sure to tell the lady that I have sensitive skin. Rachel’s only complaint was that her lady put some kind of mentholated cream on her feet and she was cold much of the time. Mom could hardly walk after her massage…but she kept the masseuse’s card and plans to go back. After we were done at the salon, we went out for lunch and then met the boys at the theatre to see The Family Stone. Despite the fact that there were parts of it that were surprisingly sad, I liked it. It reminded me a lot of my family and parts of it really hit home but, on the whole, I thought it was good. After the movie, we raced home for quick dinner and then had to get changed to go to the ballet. Mom, Rachel, Jeff and I saw The Nutcracker. We had 5th row seats and I enjoyed it a lot. For the last couple of years, I have gone to the ballet at Christmas and I like the way it makes me feel so festive.
Sunday morning we all went out for breakfast together, which was nice. We got to revisit the Flap Jack Shack that caused so much trauma a few years back when we were too snowed in to make it to Houghton Lake for Christmas. None of us has ever forgotten that Christmas. Then Owen headed home and we all went back to the house. Matt replaced the faucet on mom and dad’s sink and I don’t know what else happened because I went to take a nap. Mom woke me up in time for a whole-family game of…um…the name of the game is slipping my mind. I’m drawing a complete blank. It was fun, though. The first time in a LONG time I can remember playing with the whole fam-damily. Oh, I know…it was “Imaginiff!” After that, everybody left and mom and I went to do some shopping and rent March of the Penguins. It was really good and I highly recommend it.
Monday mom took the day off and so she and I spent the day running errands with Joe. We’d originally planned to go paint pottery, but the place was closed. Instead, we took Joe for a haircut and also to run a few smaller errands. He was very displeased to discover that HE was the reason we were at the salon and grumbled at the stylist the whole time, even though I told him that she was a professional and she wouldn’t let him look stupid. I figured he’s young and naive enough to believe it. Her one saving grace was that she put gel in at the end, which Joe thought was VERY cool and made his haircut a little less dorky (but only a little). He also informed me, at age 9, that he now likes rap music (though he had no idea who Snoop Dog is) and also that he would like a spiked cuff for his wrist. He wanted to know what the rap stations around here are. I told him that we don’t have any up here and he was happy to settle for a country station. So he’s not that hard core. Yet.
Joe really wanted Grammy (what he calls my mom) and I to take him to see King Cong. I suggested that, perhaps, Grandma Kit might like to go with him to watch the 3-hour cinematic feat (since she is very big on beating out the rest of us and doing all the big, expensive things with him, I figured it served her right….um…I mean…it could be her privilege/penance).
Yesterday morning it was time to get up and get things packed up and cleaned up so he could go spend a couple of days with Grandma Kit before Christmas. We got him up and dressed and, most importantly, got his hair gelled (mom bought him some at the grocery after we went to the salon). Because I am practicing being a child-rearing expert, I told him as he was eating breakfast that I was going to go shower and then afterward he and I would need to get all his stuff packed up. However, by the time I got out of the shower, he’d done it all himself. So then I told him that he could watch TV for a few minutes while I dressed and then we would need to make his bed. By the time I was dressed he’d made his bed (both side of a big double bed) all by himself. It looked fabulous – he’d even remembered to put on the decorative throw pillows. Best as I can figure, it must have been the hair gel.
First, Owen’s company Christmas party was two weekends ago. People always complain about company Christmas parties and how much they suck but, really, I think it is their spouses who ought to have first dibs on the complaining. Not that I didn’t enjoy myself. I did, actually. I had a very nice time. His co-workers are all very nice and were all very eager to meet me (something about “the woman who can keep him in line” I heard…). I have to say that they’re a touchy-feely lot…I was given hugs by people whose names Owen couldn’t remember. As we were among the last to arrive, I choose to believe that many of them were already well into the egg nog. Also, I will have to remember that, next year, I will have to take my ball gown out of moth balls as it was VERY fancy…and I’m not kidding about the ball gown thing. Luckily, I have the excuse of the lack of ball gowns available to pregnant women to help cover up my faux pas this year. Whew!
I also wanted to mention that the owner of Owen’s company took some time before dinner to go through each division’s achievements through out the year and kind of pep them up for the year to come. Though he would never write about it on his own, I wanted to mention that Owen is the only person in the company (which includes 4 separately staffed divisions) to be mentioned by name. Even though he blew it off, I was and am very proud of him for all his hard work. At the beginning of the month he was promoted and is now the Director!
I also wanted to mention the food at the party. The salad was covered in condiment, so I could not eat it. It didn’t bother me as I expect this at almost every dinner. Owen and I RSVPed for the prime rib, which was pretty good. For dessert they served carrot cake, and that is what I wanted to talk about specifically. I am not a fan of carrot cake…and I’d had my heart set on some sort of sinfully rich chocolate something dripping in whipped mousse and chocolate sauce. But instead they served carrot cake…and in my opinion they might as well have served squash. The notion of parading a vegetable as a delectable and naughty dessert is just perverted…and offends me to the core. Vegetables and desserts come from two completely different food groups…and it’s a sham to try and sneak carrots into the one with all the fats, sugars, white flours and calories. It’s almost as offensive as how much fat there is in an avocado. Fat in a vegetable? You’ve GOT to be kidding me.
Next on the agenda: I am feeling very pregnant…and, moreover, very rotund all of a sudden. Christmas Day will also mark the six-month mark for the baby and I. (This past Sunday was 23 weeks.) It all seems quite sudden that I am not unable to find a comfortable position in which to sleep and also that my back hurts almost all the time. Incidentally…it isn’t really a secret anymore that we’ve decided to name the baby Samuel Evar Robert. I know, I know, two middle names. But we couldn’t pick just one and both felt that we’d like to recognize the significance of our Grandpas in our lives. So, two middle names is it, like it or kump it. Let’s hope he’s smart enough that he only has to take the ACT once or else he may spend the better part of his life filling in the little bubbles to spell out his name.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Seriously, though, I wonder if I might be able to sell some to local children's botiques.
Birthday? October 11
Current location? In my office at work, hiding behind a massive stack of donated Christmas gifts for a local family
Eye Color? Bluish greenish grayish (nobody can ever tell me)
Hair Color? Reddish brown. More red than usual lately…of its own accord.
Height? 5’1” on a good day (and taller when I wear my big-girl shoes)
Right Handed or Left Handed? Right
Your heritage? Scottish…and other less important nationalities (if You’d asked my Grandpa Em)
The shoes you wore today? Esprit shoes Owen called “cute” this morning. Freshly polished, even.
Your weakness? Sweets…and I’ve recently been told that I have inherited my mom and grandpa’s soft spot for helping the needy.
Your fears? At the moment? Never losing the weight I’ve gained in pregnancy.
Your perfect pizza? Ham & black olive with a sauce that’s not to sweet and a thick crust.
Goal you would like to achieve in 2006? I’d like to secure a teaching job.
Your most overused phrase on an instant messenger? I don’t know…haven’t used it in forever.
First thoughts upon waking up today? F*cking alarm clock. Is it Friday? Sh*t I hate Wednesday.
Your best physical feature? My imposing, super-model height. Heheheh….or my hair
Your bedtime? Usually sometime between 9:30 and 10:30
Your most missed memory? I miss my Grandma so incredibly much
Pepsi or Coke? Caffeine-free diet Coke until junior's born...and then regular Diet Coke.
McDonalds or Burger King? I’m ultra picky…so I will only eat McDonald’s chicken nuggets and fries or BK’s cheeseburger.
Single or Group Dates? Dates? I hate dates. Raisins are okay, though. And I LOVE dried cherries.
Lipton Ice Tea or Nestea? Neither…ick
Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate…except ice cream. Can’t gag down the chocolate ice cream.
Cappuccino or Coffee? I repeat: neither…ick
Do you smoke? Never…not even once
Do you swear? On occasion. I like to save them up and then use them when it counts.
Do you sing? Sure do…but only when nobody’s listening ‘cause I suck.
Do you shower daily? Why, do I stink?
Have you been in love? Sentimentality alert: Yes…I love my husband more than anything…and I’d be lost without him. Funny, since I’m often lost WITH him.
Do you want to go to college? Always. I love college. I’d do nothing but go to classes the rest of my life if I could afford it.
Do you want to get married? I think I’ll stick with this Owen. Thanks for asking, though.
Do you believe in yourself? I’ve always believed that I could do anything I wanted if I was willing to work hard enough for it. It’s motivating myself to get up off my ass that’s the hard part.
Do you get motion sickness? Sometimes if I ride way in the back seat of a van (like in the 3rd seat).
Do you think you are attractive? Honestly? Not really.
Are you a health freak? Nope. Too expensive. Plus, I like Oreos WAY too much.
Do you get along with your parents? Exceptionally well. With my in-laws too. I’m way lucky.
Do you like thunderstorms? They’re okay. I hate when they wake me up, though.
Do you play an instrument? Somewhere my 6th grade band teacher is laughing at you for even asking. My piano teacher too.
In the past month have you drank alcohol? Nope…not since our waitress in Chicago accidentally gave me a loaded daiquiri and then nearly started to cry when I freaked because there was alcohol in it.
In the past month have you smoked? Eh…no.
In the past month have you been on drugs? Just my prescriptions
In the past month have you gone on a date? No…we used to go to the movies all the time but lately it just seems like we’re too busy or too tired…usually both.
In the past month have you gone to a mall? Yeah…a lot.
In the past month have you eaten a box of Oreos? Well…not in one sitting, if that’s what you mean…
In the past month have you eaten sushi? Sushi is a violation of my “nothing that has ever lived in water” dietary rule.
In the past month have you been on stage? No
In the past month have you been dumped? No
In the past month have you gone skinny dipping? Yikes! It’s December in Northern Michigan. Are you freaking nuts?
In the past month have you stolen anything? No
Ever been drunk? Um…yeah…but not since two summers ago.
Ever been called a tease? (this is me blushing) Yes.
Ever been beaten up? No
Ever shoplifted? No
How do you want to die? Honestly? Quietly, at home…and before my kids or my husband.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Able to pay all my bills and get rid of all my debt.
What country would you most like to visit? Russia…without a doubt.
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Also, just a little upddate: this Sunday marked 22 weeks for me and the baby.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
There’s not much more surreal then huddling up to listen to a steel drum band play in 20-degree temperatures with 20 mph winds swirling the snow. In fact, the band had to take a break after every song to clean the snow off the drums. Apparently, it throws the sound off. And, apparently I’m tone deaf. In any case, imagine all the fun of listening to a steel drum band without the hassle of going someplace warm to do it. And, if you’re really lucky like me, you can wake up the next morning and, instead of having a sunburn, you can have a windburn. Yay!
We also did our holiday decorating this past weekend. As always, our Christmas tree sports an eclectic combination of vintage/antique ornaments, homemade ornaments from our childhoods, sports ornaments and modern licensed character ornaments. It’s very “us.”
Our outdoor decorating did not go quite as planned. Having only enough extension cords to do one bush, it was our determination that all the lights would go on that bush. It was also our determination that we did not have a ladder, and so all the lights go about as high up as Owen could reach. Then he got the bright idea of throwing the spool of lights up over the bush to put some lights up higher. Then he promptly ran out of lights. The result? Let’s just say that, in the dark, with the lights on, our bush looks like somebody spilled a bottle of Viagra right underneath it.
P.S. We got 14” of snow last night. We both got stuck trying to get to work this morning. We’re supposed to get 5” – 10” more by 6 tonight. We got a new snow blower this afternoon. Yay!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
Anyway, upon finally finding out the baby’s sex, I somehow managed to convince Owen that we should go make him (the baby) a bear at the Build-A-Bear Workshop when we were in Mishawauka for Black Friday. I have secretly always wanted to do this. I’m not sure why. After going there Friday, I have begun to question if it might be that I’m a closet masochist.
The moment we walked into the store, we both began undressing. Not out of any desire to go to jail, but we had to lose a few layers because we were now in tropical heat. Imagine…19 degrees outside with 50 mph wind gusts and sweating buckles at Build-A-Bear. There was a line but, given the staggering lines we’d been seeing all day, it didn’t seem bad. 20 minutes later, we had not moved one step and neither one of us could take any more of either the uppity yuppie couple in front of us who talked endlessly about some lecturer or the 17-year-old couple who were so disgustingly sweet I thought I might vomit (“Baby, how about we record your voice saying ‘I love you’ so I can hug it and hear you all night?”) or the speed-freak 7-year old at the sound station in front of us who kept pressing the talk buttons in rapid-fire succession, not even letting one message finish before she pressed the button again (“I…I…I…I…I lo…I lo…I…I…I love you.”).
While we were waiting, an employee came by and gave us a barcode to put inside our bear. “That way if it gets lost,” she said, “It will always come back to you! But make sure you name it and make it a birth certificate if you want us to mail it back!” And then she was off. Owen and I looked at each other, both of us feeling as though we had been slimed by sweetness. “Mail it back?” I asked him. How will they get the barcode? They’ll have to gut him…how charming. I can just imagine some basement somewhere with knee-deep stuffing on the floor where they gut these bears to find their barcodes.” “Are we really going to make it a birth certificate?” Owen asked, alarmed. “Hell no,” I said. If it’s gone, it’s gone. And then, wonder of wonders, the line began to move and about 5 minutes later, Owen and I were standing in front of our bear surgeon.
Now, we had been watching the drill while we waited…and the drill is that they make you press a foot pedal to blow in the stuffing and then you choose a little stuffed heart for it. Before you can shove it in, though, you have to do all kinds of things to it. There didn’t seem to be any particular script but, among the things I heard were, “Rub it on your arms so it never gets cold,” “Rub it on your head so it never has a bad hair day,” “Rub it on your cheeks so it always has a smile” and on and on. I made a mental note to tell her she ought to tell the kids behind us to rub it on their you-know-whats so it doesn’t get VD. You then shove the heart into it’s back and pull the stitching tight. In it’s back….whatever.
After we’d filled ours, I grabbed a heart out of the bin-o-organs and smiled at the surgeon. “Now we can just shove it right on in there, right?” I said, hoping to avoid the shenanigans. She looked at me, disappointed, as though I’d ruined her favorite part. She then hesitated, smiled tentatively, and said “first you have to kiss it.” I stared at her. She smiled at me, gauntlet thrown. This was not up for discussion. I wiped it across my mouth and handed it to Owen. “You too,” I said. He stared at me. I stared back at him. Reluctantly, he kissed it and then we handed it back to her so she could finish.
By this time the line at the checkout was as long as the first line had been, so we decided that Owen would go wait in line while I picked out an outfit for our bear. While I was off wrestling with 6-year-olds for the last pair of blue jeans, Owen waited. The barcode lady returned to him, asking him cheerfully what he’d named his bear. “We didn’t,” he said, matter-of-factly.” She looked horrified. “You mean you didn’t…” “Nope,” He interrupted her. “We don’t care.” “But…then….what did you put on the birth certificate?” “Didn’t make one,” he answered. “The bear doesn’t care.” She looked hurt, let down, like her belief in the goodness of humanity had been brutally shattered…and then forlornly moved on.
At this point, I returned, outfit constructed. Owen was smiling. “What?” I asked, knowing better…he hadn’t smiled since we passed through the doorway. “Oh nothing,” he answered. “I just told her we didn’t make the bear a birth certificate because it doesn’t care.” I smiled back at him. “Communist,” I said, and we both had a good laugh.
We actually got our bear two outfits…an every day one and a SPECIAL one…a Pistons jersey. Now that I think about it, though, it wouldn’t surprise me to come home one day to find that Owen had tried it on the baby…just to see what it might look like.
Wednesday, November 30, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
What time did you get up this morning? 6:30 a.m.
Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds…for sure
What was the last film you saw at the cinema? In Her Shoes. It was pretty good.
What is your favorite tv show? Law and Order, SVU and CSI. I’m a crime junkie.
What do you usually have for breakfast? Either cereal or a cinnamon raisin bagel and juice.
Favorite food? Pizza…with sauce that’s tangy and not too spicy. And thick crust.
What foods do you dislike? Anything white and creamy or that once lived in water.
What is your favorite chip flavor? I hate flavors.
What is your favorite CD at the moment? I don’t like CDs…I like play lists.
What kind of car do you drive? Chevy Cobalt
Favorite sandwich? PB&J with Smucker’s strawberry jam and Simply Jiff peanut butter (reduced salt and sugar)
What characteristic do you despise? Self-righteousness. Also smugness.
Favorite item of outfit? Definitely blue jeans
If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would you go? Russia
What color is your bathroom? Shitastic off-brownish white thingy
Favorite brand of clothing? I’m not a brand shopper.
Where would you retire to? I have this crazy feeling I’m going to be a bit transient if I ever retire.
Favorite sport to watch? Lions football…But I’m still learning how to watch sports.
When is your birthday? October 11
Favorite flowers? I love pale pink or white Peonies.
Are you a morning person or a night person? This is hard…since I think I’m neither. I go to bed at 9:30 and can hardly drag myself out of bed at 6:30.
What did you want to be when you were little? A writer
How are you today? Nervous…there’s a blizzard warning and we have a long drive ahead of us tonight.
What is a date on your calendar you are looking forward to? April 16. It’s technically my due date (though we all know how THAT works).
Today, I am trying to order replacement ink cartridges from Dell. Dell sucks because they do not let companies such as Quill or Office Max sell their cartridges. You must buy them directly from Dell. And, might I add, nobody at Dell speaks fluent English AND has a static-free telephone connection. As I write this, I have been on the line with them for 20 minutes and have been transferred through at least 3 different divisions and as many “customer service” reps including home office, government and medium and small business. This is because I am not allowed to order things from the internet directly. I must mail, phone or fax in my orders. But, alas, that is a blog for a different day.
So I have a brilliant flash back to this morning’s NPR story. (By the way, I am now on hold with a rep from India who is trying to find HIS fax number so I can fax in a tax-exemption sheet. 5 minutes because he doesn’t know his own fax number.) I pull up the link on NPR’s website and find the blog address only to open and it and see, alas, there is an entry for Dell’s system but, unfortunately, I now have other problems with Dell. I have just learned that they set up my account wrong and want to charge me sales tax. I can’t pay sales tax or it will reflect poorly in our annual audit. I can fax them a new tax-exempt form but, unfortunately, because of the holiday there will be nobody to approve it until next week. Bugger. I trudge on. Perhaps, if I’m lucky, I’ll be finished before lunch.
HHHHEEEEEEEYYYYY wait a cotton-picking darn minute! I know damn well they don’t celebrate Thanksgiving in freaking India. What a crock!!! They lied to me….and I fell for it. (Up to 40 minutes and counting. In fact, the call timer on my phone has given up keeping track….this would have been so much easier if the person needing the ink wouldn’t have waited until their cartridge was empty before telling me…)
Incidentally, the blog with the shortcuts is fantastic and has a TON of shortcuts on it. You should check it out.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
A big smile for the camera (above)
Can you guess what these pictures show? (above and below)
Monday, November 21, 2005
I know what you’re thinking: How are we going to keep warm, especially given the fact that we actually DO have clients who were born in barns (literally) and, therefore, never feel a need to close the door? As can always be depended on, the management has come up with a thrifty and logical solution: lap blankets. And no, I’m not kidding. We’ve been instructed to put blankets over our laps to keep warm in the frigid, raging winter winds.
In other completely true news: I’m proud to announce that we now have a new piece of artwork for the office. It’s a shitty, old, faded water color portrait of a Native American woman on a horse. The kicker? It only took $400 to have it framed and matted. Can you believe it? Hmm...I wonder…can we burn it for heat?
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
So…we need your help! For those of you who already own the highly collectable set, let me know what we’ve missed in the past that you think should be included. Or, perhaps, what has come out recently that you think deserves a fair shake. You can post your ideas here to the blog. For reasons of not wanting to be discovered and fired from my job, I’ll not post my email address here. However, if you already have either mine or Owen’s email address, feel free to drop us a line there as well. All submissions will be considered but, as creative directors, Owen and I will retain the final say on what makes the cut.
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
I have been away doing some work for school. I spent 3 days hanging out in 5th grade. This has inspired me to come up with the cure for adolescence: quaaludes. Seriously…these kids need to be drugged. Either that, or they need to be allowed to actually be kids again…they have energy to burn and no gym time or recess in which to do it. But, I digress…
I also spent two days at a conference on early childhood. I go to these conferences because of my work with education, though I don’t see myself working professionally with kindergartners any time soon. Still, it can’t hurt and it’s a lot of fun.
In trying to figure what to do by way of a make-up blog, I scoured my life for the most interesting tidbits that I could entertain you with. And so that’s what I have: some interesting tidbits. I like to lump them in together as a set of things I have recently noticed/discovered.
1. I have become so convinced that the shitty-slow drivers are driving that way just to spite me that I now turn on my turn signals at the very last possible moment. I do this in the hopes that they won’t know I’m turning and therefore won’t have time to turn in front of me on purpose so they can torment me that much longer.
2. Elfie is convinced that Velma (the cat) is her mama. I know this because she regularly tries to nurse on her. Keep in mind that Elfie is now well over six months old. Velma has come up with a solution to this irritating habit, though. She bites Elfie’s face.
3. Velma (again, the cat) has decided that the cold wet deck is no place for a lady of her stature to stage her groveling. She has, therefore, decided that the top of their water dispenser is the right elevation for her regal nature. It’s a small platform, about 6 inches by 6 inches and about a foot off the ground. She sits on it regularly now, looking much like a totem pole with a single, dumbfounded animal on it.
4. I passed my MTTC (Michigan Test for Teacher Certification) with flying colors. This is noteworthy only because I was almost positive I failed it and cried to Owen that it was, without a doubt, the most difficult test I’ve ever had to take. I was glad it was so hard, though. You ought to have to be smart to be a teacher.
5. Owen just doesn’t get it. I asked him to quit leaving his trimmed whiskers on the bathroom vanity because (duh) they’re disgusting and I don’t want to have to look at them or clean them up. He agreed. I caught him several days later, standing in our sunken tub and trimming his beard. This way, he figured, he could just rinse them down. Of course, he had also just finished watering the plants, which were sitting in the tub draining and, as it happens, being covered in whiskers.
Monday, October 31, 2005
In fact, I think she may have caught on to my ploys. When we went to check out, we were informed that our 18 week appointment had been POSTPONED from Nov. 14th to the 22nd. WHAT?!?!? The good news: we made sure to get all the way out of the office and into the parking lot before we let the expletives fly. Other good news: the baby’s ears aren’t well developed enough to have heard any of the swearing.
I should note that we did, by the way, get to hear his/her heartbeat lout loud for the first time today. It was incredible and I think I maybe could have laid there and listened to it all day. Also, I have gained a smidge of weight but am now right on track as far as that goes and my blood pressure is 100% fantastic. I have to go in for some blood work tomorrow – a glucose tolerance test and some routine screenings.
Tuesday, October 25, 2005
Oh...and it's 3 weeks and counting until we know weather to call the peanut "he" or "she!"
It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that I also often pass along relevant information to people within the agency when it concerns their area of work. One of the most frequent places I send info is to our community sexual assault prevention instructor. Basically, she talks to kids about healthy relationships, communication skills and things like that. In some schools, they also talk about sex and STDs.
When I came across a USA Today article about “Technical Virginity” and how kids are redefining sex, I thought maybe she’d like to read it. Just to make sure it was relevant, I skimmed through the article before sending it over to her. The article talks about how more and more kids don’t consider oral sex to be sex at all…and that, for many of them, it’s as socially acceptable to…um…experience it…as it is to kiss somebody. The article says the same logic follows that if you would make out with a bunch of people at a party, guess what? It’s now becoming okay for you to….um…experience oral sex with them.
Now, all this is very interesting and whatnot…but in explaining the background I have gotten off track from telling you what I really came on to blog about….which is that some people have very unfortunate last names. Case in point: read the following quote from the article:
“‘The implications are that teens who define themselves as abstinent may be engaging in oral sex,’ says Jennifer Manlove, a senior research associate with” blah blah blah.
Jennifer Manlove? Man love? Are you kidding me? It honestly makes me wonder if the reporter asked her name and she replied “man love” with sarcasm. I mean, seriously…it’s like interviewing a hot dog vendor who says is name is Chester wiener-biter.
Friday, October 21, 2005
For one, she nearly broke my neck. It now occurs to me that, perhaps Jean Claude Van Damme and Steven Segal, in their amazing ability to break one’s neck simply by jerking one’s head abruptly to one side, may have actually been trained as chiropractors along with the other various martial arts training…chiropractors gone awry.
Strangely, the appointment after that consisted mostly of two distinctly unusual (at least outside the world of chiropractic medicine) activities. One involved her gently hammering my back with what looked like a miniature pogo stick and sounded like a toy gun when the trigger is pulled. The other part involved her massaging my lower back (the area of my most acute pain) rather roughly and painfully while, at the same time, just about putting her thumb in my rear end. She assured me that this was a normal “tension point” or something like that where she could tell if the massage was working. Considering that the “massage” was so painful that it made my rear end clench, I think she may have been right.
In any case, when I asked her what sorts of thing I could do at home to help keep things in line, she suggested that I pick up a pregnancy yoga video and do my best to try and do it several days a week. This is already a stretch for me…first a chiropractor (who I’d always been told were quacks, by and large) and now yoga. Breathing and finding my center and whatnot. But whatever…I’m up to try anything. I’m trying to do a good job and be healthy for this baby, so I decide to try it.
We bought the video last Saturday at Target and it sat on my desk until last night, when Owen suggested we give it a try. That’s right…you read correctly…he said “we.” Owen has been extremely supportive with all the pregnancy-related stuff. Truly, he’s been fantastic. He’s read all the books and been to all the appointments with me. So when he said “we” I knew he meant it.
We both put on our PJ pants (not being in possession of “real” yoga clothes) and popped in the DVD after work last night. Actually, I should tell you that we had a snack first. In retrospect, I’m going to go out on a limb and give everybody a little piece of advice. Chocolate chip cookie dough and skim milk is not the best snack to kick off a yoga session. Believe it or not, the skim milk is not healthy enough to counteract the effects of the cookie dough.
In any case, we began the video and did what we could to follow along with the women modeling for us. You start out sitting cross legged on the floor and practice breathing. No biggie. Then you start to stretch. Stretching, it turns out, isn’t much fun. Turns out it hurts too. I did okay with it, though not even approaching what one would call “good.” But Owen had some challenges. We did this twisty thing that’s supposed to stretch your upper body and he began to whine…and moan. We did more stretches…something called Cat-Cow….to more moaning. I thought it felt kind of good at that point. Then we did this butterfly thing, which is a lot like the butterfly thing we used to do in gym class as a kid. Owen did fine with that…and I was the one whining.
I could see him out of the corner of my eye, tongue sticking out in concentration and folded up legs fluttering away like mad, and I began to giggle. I tried to keep it silent because he told me that if I laughed he’d quit…but I couldn’t help it. Something about his long, lanky body, all folded up and trying to be graceful…it just was too much and I erupted with laughter. He gave me a shove and I fell over (I’m not a weeble…I wobble AND fall down) just as the tears began to run down my face.
We’ve decided to keep trying the yoga, even though my back was pretty much screaming by the end and my knee is swollen from it today. I’m sure, once we’re used to it, it will be good for both of us. We need to get our bodies all stretched out and strong for a successful childbirth…both of us, apparently. I’m aware of why mine needs to be that way…Owen I’m not sure. But I figure it can’t be bad for him, even though he doesn’t have a belly to feel during the exercises.
We’ve also decided to make a few key changes. First, no cookie dough right before it. We both felt a little queasy from it. Second, we have to mute the sound and put one some other music. That lady talking all about breathing all the time and opening your heart and massaging your pituitary gland from the inside (I’m NOT kidding…) was just too much. It’s too bad, though, because one of my favorite parts was hearing her name the poses in Sanskrit. But I’m willing to give it up in order not to have to listen to her telling me to massage my liver. I suppose I’m too much of a skeptic. And I don’t want my liver to get spoiled and demand massages all the time like some out of control diva. We’ve decided to do the yoga at night right before bed since were both were completely wiped out by the end of it.
It reminded me of Rachel, who took yoga in college but had to drop it because she kept falling asleep. Personally, I think she should have gotten extra credit for being so utterly relaxed. I mean, that’s the point, right?
Thursday, October 20, 2005
Yesterday, as I was sitting on the couch, I saw one of Owen’s customers for the golf shop drive in. Not 5 seconds later, like a shot fired from the pine trees in the front yard, Velma was sprinting across the grass, our furry little welcome wagon. This is what she does the minute she sees ANYBODY drive in. It could be animal control and she wouldn’t care. She has been hard wired in her furry little brain to present herself immediately to anybody in the yard and make sure they know that a.) she loves them very, very much (whoever they may be…and they don’t even have to give her food) and b.) she would love it if they would reciprocate her sentiments by petting her.
It is because of this that we have nearly lost her on several occasions. I don’t mean lost her as in “Velma the flat cat,” although that happens too…mostly in our own driveway. She has determined that the best way to force us out of the car to pet her is to lie down in front if it while it’s moving. What happens next happens almost every single time. We honk. She pops up and trots about 6 feet and lays down again. We pull forward and honk. She pops up and trots about 6 feet and lays down again. This cycle repeats itself all the way down the driveway.
No, when I say lost, I mean lost as in “where the hell is Velma? Have you seen her?” What follows is a true story. Owen has a good friend and customer who is also the managing something-or-other of a golf course about 30 minutes away. He came over one day to pick something up and brought his golf bag into the shop with him. Velma proceeded to go through her elaborate welcoming ritual of rubbing and purring and, unable to resist the temptation, he picked her up and pet her for a minute. When it came time to conduct business, he set her down and went about his task. Velma continued to rub on his golf bag in his absence (are you beginning to get a feel for the kinds of bodily assault the poor gargoyle on the deck must suffer?).
When it came time for him to leave, he zipped up the bag’s various compartments, tossed the bag (literally) in the trunk, and hit the road. About half an hour later we got a call from him, back at the course. Apparently, Velma had climbed into the ball compartment of his bag and he hadn’t seen her when zipping it closed (she was much smaller then). He’d closed her in the bag, thrown it (and her) in the trunk, and driven her all the way to the golf course only to discover her in the bag when he went to tee off. He unzipped the compartment and out she popped, happy as a clam.
He asked us if we minded if he finished his round first, to which we replied “of course not.” And so Velma goes on record as being the first cat ever involved in a Golf Shop Study Abroad Program, however brief her trip. She hung out for the evening and he brought her back later that night when he was finished.
So you see? She is, without a doubt, a special, special girl.
Wednesday, October 19, 2005
Today I received a response answering my questions, with a final line that read: “Hey by the way I would consider limiting the use of the word ladies.” (BTW – that’s her punctuation mistake, not mine. I can make my own, thank you.)
Call me anti-feminist if you will (but everybody else will call you a liar), but I see nothing whatsoever offensive about the word “ladies.” Especially when used in such a jovial, friendly tone. I was incensed. Here is what I sent her by way of a response:
“Actually, I don’t have a problem with the word “ladies.” Both my grandmother and my mother were sticklers about the use of that word and drilled it in to my mind to use it as a sign of courtesy and respect. Since the Webster’s Dictionary agrees, I don’t take issue with it. Besides, I figure there are a lot more words out there in the American lexicon to get bent out of shape about. “Ladies” seems relatively harmless compared with these.”
For once, I actually sent back the response that I so often write in my blog but never say out loud. I’m blaming the hormones. In any case, I was quite pleased with myself.
So you can imagine the degree of my discomfort last night when I was ushered into a room full of animals in boxes. There were tarantulas, lizards and, God-awful worst of all, snakes…a python, which the guide got out to let us hold and which, I swear, kept giving me the evil eye.
The only critter I didn’t mind at all was Sheldon, a gigantic tortoise. I can’t remember his particular breed (do just dogs have breeds or can tortoises too?), but Sheldon is not full grown. He’s still well in his youth, measuring about 1 ½ to 2 feet across (I know that’s vague…I’m shit at estimating…English degree). Sheldon loves to come out and play. He does laps around the benches and loves to explore. As tortoises are herbivores, Sheldon likes the veggies. It’s safe to say that he loves them. They didn’t have anything to give him last night but squash. Ick. Sheldon didn’t mind, though. He dug into the slice they gave him with a degree of vigor and gusto rarely displayed by tortoises. In fact, he fed his little tortoise face so fast that, as the guide was showing us the tarantula, he let out a massive burp. You may have heard it…it was around 6:30 EST last night. I didn’t know tortoises could burp…had never heard of such a thing….but with Sheldon’s talents I’m sure he’d have a welcome place in any frat house.
Then I woke up in the middle of the night last night and remembered…I HAD heard of a belching tortoise before. Yurtle the Turtle, a gem of a tale by Dr. Seuss….is the story of a vain turtle king who builds his throne to the sky literally atop the backs of his fellow turtles until, one day, Yurtle, near the bottom of the stack, belches…and the whole thing comes tumbling down. Who knew Seuss had a scientific basis?
On a completely unrelated note…I think I might be watching too much crime TV. Lately I have this fascination with shows like Law and Order, SVU, CSI and anything similar. I have been fascinated by documentaries on coroners’ offices and medical examiners. I have the TiVo set to keep 5 episodes of CSI on tape at all times. I might be a little obsessed.
The other night, as I happened to be watching CSI and doing the laundry, there was a knock at the door. Owen, and most of his friends, were at bowling, so I knew it wouldn’t be anybody I knew. Besides…it was at the FRONT door….most unusual. Who knocks? And, moreover, who comes to the front door? It was a sales-dude (too young to be a salesman), something we almost never get at our house. Later that evening, as I was still watching CSI and still folding laundry (a different load by now) my cell phone rang. It was a number I didn’t recognize, but I answered it anyway. I figure, you never know when it might be the Publisher’s Clearinghouse letting you know that you’re the next million-dollar winner. The fact that it might be a serial killer like in Scream never entered my mind. “Hello?”
Him: “Hello, is Josh there?”
Me: “No, I’m sorry, you have the wrong number.” (Damn, there goes my million)
Him: “No I don’t…your number is on my caller I.D.”
Me: “I’m sorry…but that can’t be. I don’t know you.”
Him: “But it is…it’s been there for months.”
Me: “Well…I’m sorry, but it’s wrong” (Click…I hang up.)
So now I’m freaked. I can just imagine him out there in the dark, watching me through the lit windows of the house…waiting to pounce. I shut off the light (why? So he can’t see me….never mind that it means I won’t see him either) and walk briskly (because to run would indicate panic on my part…logically completely unwarranted) to each door and ensure that it is locked. I consider calling Owen…not to ask him to come home (again…coward!) but just to ask when he might be home…so I could know.
I decide against calling him, chastising myself for being so silly, and after finishing the last episode of CSI, go to bed to read a little while. But I hear noises. Was that the door? How could I be? I locked it. Was that a thud? What makes a thud? Oh God…
I decide it’s best to get up and leave the bedroom door open so that I could better hear any suspicious noises out in the other room. It also occurs to me that, since we never lock our doors, Owen doesn’t have a key. This means I will have to either wait up for him (until who knows when) or leave the door unlocked. I decide to wait up.
About half an hour later, I hear a pounding on the door. (The battery in the doorbell has been dead for over year. It’s purely ornamental now.) I practically jump out of my skin and then realize it’s just Owen, coming home. But what if it isn’t? The door is glass, the serial killer will see me and then he HAS to kill me. Unless I can kill him or knock him out first. I look around me for a weapon…I find pillows (and smothering takes WAY too long), books (kids books, not big enough)….nothing….except…my hairbrush! I’ll whack him with it bristle side out and that will hurt! Then I can turn the hard side on him and knock him out with it (it seemed logical at the time) if I hit him right in the temple or something.
Weapon in hand, I step from the bedroom and around the corner to see, in the light of the driveway I’d left on, Owen, standing there with his bowling shoes in hands, wondering why in God’s name I’ve locked the door. So…I let him in and apologized. He asked why I’d locked the door and I told him….most of the story. I didn’t mention the hairbrush.
We’ve both agreed that I’m watching too much crime television.
Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Yesterday I somehow managed to pull a single string and tie myself into my pants with a triple knot...and I had to GO. The hard part is that, because of certan other changes that have been occuring over the past 4 months or so, I can't really even see the knot to untie them. It bites...
In the past, I have been “spoken to” about wasting mileage (at a whopping .33/mile) by making unnecessary duplicate trips (or, come to think of it, making ANY trip when somebody else is already going somwhere). I therefore offered to the secretaries that, as long as I was already going there, I would drop off and pick up the mail. The shelter does not receive mail; everything comes and goes through the main office. They have a basket into which all outgoing items are thrown in the course of the day. Once each day, in the morning, the outgoing mail is picked up and the mail from the previous day is dropped off.
So, I packed up all the crap they had to take over there (donations, old cell phones, etc.) and headed over. I got everything straightened out and wrapped up in just a few minutes and then headed out to make a few other stops before returning to the office.
When I got back, there was a voicemail message from the shelter’s director:
“Hey, Sarah, it’s so and so. Um, Sarah, in the future, we really are going to need some advance notice before you come out to the shelter so early in the morning. The mail wasn’t ready and somebody is going to have to come back out and get it. Also, I need you to look at my computer because I don’t like how it looks and I want it changed but I can’t figure out how. So next time, could you please let us know ahead of time when you’ll be here? Thanks.”
My imaginary response:
“Sure. I can always give you advance notice as long as your server gives me advance notice that it’s going to misbehave and need to be dealt with. Please inform the server that from now on I am going to need at least 24 hours notice before coming out to put it back on track. I would also like to apologize for not knowing there was an official time when the mail is ready, nor that there was an official state of readiness for the bin. In addition, I would be happy to reorganize my entire schedule so that you don’t ever have to look at a desktop picture that in any way displeases you. I don’t do anything all day but wait for people to call me and ask me to come fix things for them anyway. I have no work responsibilities of my own whatsoever. (Insert grossly inappropriate expletive here).”
Author’s note: I think I may be entering a particularly hormonal phase of the whole pregnancy thing. I’m now at 14 weeks and almost perpetually grumpy. Also, Owen says that I am more sensitive and more easily offended. And I cry all the freaking time. Saturday I cried at the mall. Yeesh...
Friday, October 14, 2005
I was yelled at (by a therapist, of all people) for the existence of boxes in the conference room that neither belonged to me nor were my responsibility. Theoretically, they were taking up room needed by the evening class. They were stacked under to coat rack. Apparently the seating arrangement in there is…um…different. She kept asking me questions about them in the hopes of wearing me down into saying "okay, I'll just take care of it." I kept answering them and doing what I was doing in the hopes that she would wear down and just deal with it. I won.
A man came in to pay his step-child’s daycare bill (overdue since July). We have it on good authority that he is…well…not a nice man. He became so angry at learning that the finance director was out for the rest of the week that he actually began to twitch. We have since decided only to speak with his wife.
My boss yelled at me that something I wrote in the newsletter didn’t make sense. I told her that I had copied and pasted it from something she had written. She continued to yell, saying that I must have changed it. I walked away as she was in mid-yelling-sentence….stupefying her into shutting up. It felt fantastic.
My boss yelled at me for not turning a bill into her earlier. I had just gotten it the day before. She told me I was supposed to actually turn it in before I got it… Huh? (Are you confused? I was…)
We had a suicidal walk-in (the first in my tenure at the agency). She had pills in her pocket and was extremely intoxicated. She told us that if we did not help her, she would go across the street to the park (I’m not sure where there is a park across the street, but that’s irrelevant) and OD. We sent her in to see a counselor immediately.
I returned from lunch to find a roundish bag sitting in the flower bed by the front door and tied shut. It is my job to clean such waste up. I was gripped with the fear that it might be a big bag of poop. This is a rational line of thought in my line of work. I understand from some of my fellow human-services workers at the Health Department that there is somebody in this community who regularly comes in the middle of the night and poops on the ground in front of their front door. No kidding. The police are involved. She said it was definitely “human feces.” I didn’t ask how she knew. P.S. I don’t think it was poop…but I didn’t exactly check. I did wash my hands after.
A woman who had called me crying two months ago saying that somebody had stolen her armoire and said they donated it to us called back again today. Previously when she called, she had said that the armoire had belonged to her dead husband and now that her children were dead too, it was “the only thing (she) has in this world.” Apparently, the designer she had hired to remodel the house had told her that she donated it to us by mistake and the owner wanted it back. Now. Right now. And she was prepared to call the police to get it. We had no such item (and have not received one in the last year). She then decided the designer had stolen it. Today when she called she said that she had prosecuted the designer who stole it, gotten it back, and now wants to donate it to us to sell at the resale shop. What the hell?!?!?
And, lastly, we had an elderly client leave our office today and decide to go out and sleep in her car in the parking lot. Unfortunately, she was looking quite unwell. And she fell asleep sitting up. Her skin was waxy-pale and her mouth had fallen open. One of the secretaries noticed her when she went out to get the mail. The secretary came inside and there was much discussion about who had to go outside and see if she was dead. In the end it was decided that our boss should have to do the pulse-checking because she made the big bucks. Turns out she wasn’t dead, just sleeping like the dead. She said it was a nice day and she had decided to sit and enjoy it. In her car. In our parking lot. Asleep. Whatever…
Some days it’s obvious to me why I take anti-depressants. What continues to confound me is why more people don't.
And now, I am off to my first-ever chiropractor appointment. I’m nervous that she will break my neck by mistake. I’ll let you know how it goes. I bet things are never as crazy there as they are here.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Thanks to Rachel and Jeff, we had fantastic seats (they got us upgrades for my birthday – yay!). Truly, I think we had some of the best seats in the house (if your pocket book isn’t thick enough to afford courtside). We were on the “upper deck” (can you call it that in basketball? I know that’s a baseball term…) near the front. We could see everything and were close enough that my sister and I, who…let’s say…don’t come from a very “sporty” background, could still identify a great many of the players without seeing their jersey numbers. We could see all our favorite players and Rachel took some very cool pictures.
We also got sweet-ass pink Pistons hats (the profits from which, by the way, go to support Breast Cancer research). Unfortunately, they did not have any licensed apparel for sale at the event that was small enough to fit the baby any time before s/he’s ready for school so we had to pass on that. I was bummed. W were planning on buying the baby something at each “event” we attend from now on (except when we go to the Nutcracker this Christmas because…well…they don’t tend to have souvenir booths at the ballet) so maybe I will see if there is anything we can order from the website.
We also had the ubiquitous stadium/arena experience of sitting near somebody who was a.) very drunk and b.) very loud. Sometimes you can do something about that. For example, one man and his wife came and sat in front of us after half time (I’m guessing they were too trashed to find their way back to their own seats). The guy was way loud and way obnoxious and seemed to have some sort of aversion (or perhaps, as I recently learned in my Teaching Science, etc. class, an opposite magnetic charge – I didn’t actually LEARN it, but I had to pretend to) to his seat. I could only take it through the 3rd quarter and then I went and tattled (nah nah na boo boo) to one of the ushers who made them leave. He was almost too drunk to walk. Everybody cheered for me when I returned to my seat.
Of course, you can’t have them all removed. The one who was sitting behind us was also very drunk and very loud…and, unfortunately….spent the entire game proverbially talking out his ass. I liked to call him The Mouth. He kept yelling things that, to the outside person who knows nothing, might sound sensible but, as Owen informed me, were actually quite daft. For a while, he kept yelling “Come on! Push it!” But he stopped after a while; perhaps he may have herd me suggest to Owen that we invite him to the delivery room where his “Push it” yelling would actually make some sense.
Nonetheless, we had a fantastic time and are exhausted today, even though we stayed the night and didn’t come in to work until noon today. Thanks again to Rachel and Jeff for suggesting we go, going with us, getting us bad-ass tickets, and then letting us crash at their house.
Oh yeah…one more thing:
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
“It's the birthday of Eleanor Roosevelt, born in New York City (1884). Her father was an alcoholic and her glamorous mother made fun of Eleanor for her plain looks. She was in Italy visiting her grandmother when she bumped into her cousin Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and the two began a secret courtship that wound up in their marriage in 1905.”
It is also Bill and Hillary Clinton’s Wedding Anniversary. You may or may not wish to send them a card. Similarly, today is also the day that Anita Hill testified against Clarence Thomas before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
Other interesting notes? Today in 1868 Thomas Edison patented his first invention (the electronic voice machine), the great Chicago fire of 1871 was finally extinguished after three days, Alaska Davidson was appointed as the FBI’s first female special investigator in 1922, Saturday Night Live premiered with George Carlin as its fist host in 1975 and Jimmy Swaggart got caught soliciting a prostitute in 1991.
Thursday, October 06, 2005
The other good news is that I essentially have a degree in sociology. Most of my Women’s Studies classes were sociology classes. This is kind of a mixed blessing as I have now been put in a group with other students interested in doing a sociology lesson. The catch? They’re all elementary people (whereas I am a middle school person) and want to write a lesson plan for 2nd or 3rd grade. The problem? Sociology is a rather abstract concept, not often taught in k-12 at all. On rare occasion, it pops up in high school. There are no standards or benchmarks in the MI Dept. Of Ed. Manual at all for sociology and, actually, no Social Studies benchmarks for grades under 3rd. My job for this evening? Making my group members (who have no sociology background) understand why we cannot write a lesson for 3rd graders. This may involve teaching a brief SOC 101 class.
I have a strategy, though. My teacher instructed us to bring “something cultural” to tonight’s class. It could be a food dish or some kind of cultural artifact, “such as a sombrero.” I can honestly say that I looked high and low for a Czech recipe on the net that didn’t include any of the following: lard, yeast, liver or tongue. I can also honestly say that I came up empty-handed. I asked Owen what I should do. “What was your favorite thing to eat there?” he asked me. My answer: “Um….potato skins and TGI Friday?” Yeah…I didn’t love the Czech food. Maybe someday I’ll tell you about the scariest dessert ever (and a Czech favorite) called “dumpling.’ Dumpling – singular - as in “just on”e…because it was FREAKING HUGE (like as big as my head).
Then I had a brilliant idea. The Czech national drink is beer. They invented pilsner. And Glen’s sells Pilsner Urquel – the most common Czech beer. It’s like Bud Light over there. Thus, I bought a six-pack of Pilsner Urquel to take and share with my classmates. I am hoping if I can get them to imbibe a little, they’ll loosen up enough to just shut up and listen to me. Oh…did I mention? The school I’m going to is a Methodist university. We’re supposed to pray at the beginning of every class and stuff…think about Jesus when we teach. Do you think the Methodists like beer as much as us Catholics?
Tuesday, October 04, 2005
I am now 12 weeks pregnant. Though my understanding is that I do not technically enter the 2nd trimester until 14 weeks, it’s kind of nice to have 3 months down. Then again, the idea of 28 more weeks is daunting. I now buy extra-strength ibuprofen by the barrel and celebrate when my bodily functions work correctly and on a reasonable schedule.
Roxie is 75% as good as new. She’d be 100% if she wasn’t a tripod. Her incision has completely closed and her fur is growing back quickly. She is mobile and all over the place and back to her bitchy old “never gonna let you pet me” self.
We have a new baby – Elfie. She’s our calico kitten, born way back on July 21st to one of Tom’s cats, Punkie. I had some reservations about continuing the plan to take a 3rd cat because my self-esteem as a kitty-mama took a big hit when Rox lost her leg. Elfie is somewhat disconcerting – she does not have a motor. She never ever, ever purrs. Ever. But Owen swears she’s as happy-go-lucky as Velma.
I’m now 1/3 finished with my last teaching class. This makes me very happy because I am hating it immensely. It is called “Teaching Math, Science and Social Studies in Elementary School.” It’s no wonder our schools are falling behind in the global race – they cram the teaching of 3 core subjects into a single 1-semester class. I’m supposed to be doing observation hours for this class. I’m supposed to be keeping a log of my experiences during those hours. I’m supposed to turn that in for a spot-check tonight. I got nothin’. I haven’t started yet. Why, you ask? Because I work for a living and have been waiting for the fiscal year rollover so that I have enough vacation time and personal time to cover the hours. I just found out yesterday. NOW I can start. Yay.
I got my raise on October 1st. I got a 3% raise. I have no idea how much that is. Not a lot. Not enough. But it’s something, anyway.
I made Owen ask his boss about his raise that he was supposed to get a week or two ago. They told him he’d get a raise at 90 days. 90 days have cone and gone and what? No raise? Scoot on in there and ask them…and tell them they need to make it retroactive to your 90-day anniversary.
Mandy, my cousin, is gonna pop any day now. Her baby was due on Saturday and we’re all dying to see the new little muffin. Word on the street is that they might induce her tomorrow or Thursday. I’m so excited for her…and so jealous that she gets to be all done with the pregnancy part.
My birthday is a week from today and Owen and Rachel and Jeff and I are going to see the Pistons Play the Bulls at Van Andel in Grand Rapids that night. Should be a blast – my first pro basketball game. Owen thinks it doesn’t count because it’s preseason. Blah blah blah. Rachel and Jeff got us ticket upgrades for my birthday. Yay! (and thanks, Rachel and Jeff!)
Her stance: breast cancer is no big deal. It has a good prognosis and does not affect many women. It is no where near the killer of women people would think it was from all the media/marketing attention. It reflects (and I am not joking here) the nation’s obsession with the female body, most notably breasts.
My stance: Pardon my French, but who the f*ck cares? Are we really going to switch from complaining that women’s issues receive no attention and no funding on any comparable level to bitching about that fact that all they care about are our breasts? And, excuse me, but I have NEVER seen a man wearing a pink ribbon on ANYTHING. It appears me that the B.C. movement is an example of women supporting women. And, by the way, the KEY to attaining a good prognosis is early detection. Now, because women are 40% more likely than men to be poor, and because the poorer you are the less likely you are to have health insurance, and because according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, uninsured women are significantly less likely to have seen a doctor in the past year and are even less likely to have all the necessary health screenings done, LET’S NOT KEEP THEM FORM GETTING THE NECESSARY FUNDING TO PAY FOR EARLY DETECTION! After all, what would that to do the survival rate?
But actually, it was never my intention to write about breast cancer awareness month his morning. In my line of work, October means one thing: Domestic Violence Awareness Month. We spend months (and by “we” I mean people other than myself who work for this agency) preparing packets to mail out all over our service area and preparing for media interviews and speaking engagements. It’s a big deal…and it’s safe to say that, beyond the normal daily focus of doing what we do, it’s the center of our world during October.
I get that. I write our newsletter and normally devote two of the 3 ½ page spread to DV. In fact, last year it was my idea to have the newsletter printed on purple paper, rather than the usual gray fleck in order to garner more attention. It looked fab. It also saved us on postage: an added benefit.
This year, because of scheduling problems (which I won’t even get into!) I was not able to put out a newsletter in September. As I look back at last year’s files, the same was true last year. September is a very busy month for us. It’s the end of our fiscal year and so everything must wrapped up, reports generated, and closed out. It is also the month of our biggest fund raiser of the year and (for some stupid-ass reason), “staff appreciation day.” This is they day wherein we remind our staff how much we like them by forcing them to make small talk with their co-workers at lunch and then making them listen to a coma-inducing speaker who talks about stress management. The whole thing stressed me way out.
So October is now here, and now I am playing catch-up. There are things from October that must go into the newsletter along with the DV stuff, same as last year. So I work and I scrunch and I reshape and I manage to fit everything in PLUS all the important DV info. I finished it this morning, and this puppy is packed. There is only one picture and one little graphic in this month (which I know will gain me criticism. I was one told, “Sarah, please don’t put so much information in the newsletters. You should put more pictures.” Pictures of what? Anonymous battered women? Come on…) but I figure this is a month for special allowances – there’s a ton to fit in.
I haven’t had the thing done for more than, say, 10 minutes, when I get a voicemail. Every time I get a message and I pick it up and the display reads “my boss” I can feel the bile rising up in my throat. This is not going to be good. It seldom is.
“Sarah, I was thinking (here’s the part where I slap my forehead in a combination of dread and resignation – “What? What were you thinking, God help us all…”). I’d like you to get a copy of the presentation from the luncheon and put it into the newsletter this month. I know it’s not exclusively about DV but there’s a lot of good information in it and it kind of ties in because it has statistics too.” This I cannot believe. It ties in because it has statistics??? Um…the Lions have statistics too…should I put a picture of Sunday’s last-minute failed touchdown attempt in as well??? I mean…COME ON…It’s already full of USEFUL DV information….now I should put in statistics about global poverty? Not to mention that the thing is six pages long and the newsletter only has 3 ½ useable pages for text.
So I decide that we must have a meeting about this. I must gently break the news to her that her stupid-ass idea won’t work. But before I can go into my meeting, I get a phone call. It’s the DV Program Director telling me that she has her staff writing the DV stuff for this month’s newsletter and has given them a deadline of Thursday and oh, by the way, is that okay with me? Well no, actually, it’s not. It’s DONE. And I used their packet info to write it, so they basically wrote it anyway. Can it just be done? No…it will now be rewritten by people who don’t get the fact that you can’t pluralize with an apostrophe and who write almost exclusively in passive voice.
Now…I can admit that when it comes to writing, I’m a little bit of a grammar and style Nazi. I like it to be correct. Especially if people are going to think I wrote it. Notice I did not say spelling Nazi. That is because I know my limitations and I figure that anybody who needs a “Weather/whether, witch/which” cheat sheet on her bulletin board really ought not to get on her high horse about spelling. Besides, that’s why God invented spell check – so people could forget to use it, or mistype and then actually type real words by mistake, and look like fools. (This is me on a regular basis.)
So that is the end of my diatribe today. Because it is so…well….um….verbose, let me sum it up by highlighting these key points:
1. Breast cancer is a legitimate cause to support.
2. If you don’t think so you’re kind of an ass.
3. October is Domestic Violence Awareness month.
4. Stupid people are attempting to take over my newsletter.
5. Statistics are, apparently, a common bond that can unite any two subjects ever considered.
6. I cannot spell.
Thank you for reading today’s diatribe. Please come back and see us again.