Friday, May 27, 2011

I whip my hair back and fo'th: Wedding Tale 4

My soon-to-be hubby sent me text messages all evening the night before our wedding. I kept myself busy on Facebook and talked to my MOH about all the little things that still kept my brain going. Who would fill the center pieces? Did I remember to charge my camera? I better remind the boys about the food. We covered it all, and said our goodbyes. We were all worn out, and though I was so excited, I was able to get to sleep before midnight. My alarm would be going off at 8:00 so I could get up and get things ready, but I was already awake when it buzzed.

Chloe and I had hair appointments at ten, and it was all we could do to get ready in time. She was exhausted, and didn't want to wake up, much less dress herself! I was trying to make sure that the boys got the food picked up, and that everything was loaded into my car for the big event.

We got to the hair salon right at ten, and Miss Hair was ready for us. I let Chloe go first, and she relished every minute.






And then it was my turn. Remember how I went and had a practice appointment a few days earlier? Miss Hair was expecting to do a more polished version of what she'd done previously. Did I have news for her.

"Remember how you did my hair Wednesday?" I asked her.

"Yes," she said, and started to tell me to get the book so she could look at it.

"I completely changed my mind," I told her with an ornery grin.

"OK, lay it on me," she said.

I explained that I wanted the top to be similar, but leave the bottom down, curl it a little, and pull the sides back. She whipped my hair into a general 'shape' and asked if that's what I envisioned. It was. She's amazing like that :)

By the time she was done, I had this:


I was really into the Kennedys series on Reelz, and had even been having dreams that I was marrying Bobby (he he), so I felt very in my element with this hairstyle, and I really loved it. Although Miss Hair sprayed it down good, my hair is notorious for falling, so I had my MIL and my MOH bring me hair spray, and I made sure there was no way it was moving...even if I got a wild hair to 'whip my hair back and fo'th!" 

When she finished, I paid her, and then I looked at my MOH.

"Well. That's done. Now I guess it's time to go to the church!"

Until that point, everything had been something on my 'to do' list. Just tasks to check off. But now? My last appointment was crossed off. It was time for the big show!

I'm kind-of back

I'm back. Kind of. I just haven't been in the mood for blogging lately. I've been kind of stressed, and while food used to be my "control" item, now it's social media. Odd? Kind of. It keeps me from getting stress skinny, though, which I dislike ;)

Anyway, it's a long weekend and I'm looking forward to it. Cooking out. Friends. Family. Being together with the people I love the most. That's what life is all about. At the end of the day, that's all that matters.

Anyway. I guess I will do Five Question Friday. I know, it is my only blog all week. I will try to get back to my regular blogging soon, but I'm going to guess I'll be in and out for the next two weeks or so. But don't give up on me! I am coming back. Just have lots going on in my "real" life that keeps me busy!

Ok let's do this.




1. Do you apologize to your kids?

Absolutely. If I over-react in anger, or say something hurtful, or knock her down trying to squeeze past her, I say I'm sorry. If she is just mad because I'm making her pick up her toys, which is SO! MEAN! then I apologize like this, "Well, Chloe, I'm sorry you feel that I'm being unfair, but everyone has to be responsible for their things, which means YOU have to pick up YOUR toys when you're finished." :) She treasures her feelings, and a sincere apology is very important to her recovery process if she's been wronged. Lord have mercy on her future husband.


2. What color are your nails right now?
The only time I have painted my nails in the last year was for my wedding. I just don't do it. I like them short and "clear." No one ever sees them anyway, and the polish always chips. I'm one of those people who has to have them perfect, or take it all off. I won't wear chipped polish, so it's pretty much a worthless effort. I keep my toes all painted maroon or some variation of it at all times, and that's just good enough for me.

3. When you were growing up, how difficult was it for you to stay home from school sick? (As in, did you have to vomit or just say "I don't feel good".)
Well, my mom didn't let me just "skip" school. She would never approve of me taking the day off for nice weather, or just because I felt like it. If we were out late for a youth group activity (which was rare) or if we were doing something as a family on a Friday or something she might, but that was it. But she also knew I was very self-motivated and independent. Even if I was truly sick, if I had too much to do at school, or a big test, I would go anyway, and she knew that. So when I did need or want to stay home, I pretty much just had to say I wasn't feeling well, and I wasn't missing anything too important at school. She didn't make me prove my temperature or save my vomit or anything outrageous like that.

4. When is the last time you bought a new comforter for your bed?
2005...but I don't have/use that one. I was ready for a new one, and hubby actually ordered me one for Christmas the first year we were together, but I ended up moving in before Christmas and leaving my old bed behind, so he sent it back.

I don't know when my hubby bought the one we use now, but it's been here since before we moved here. We could use a new one I guess, but I like the one we have.


5. Favorite website(s)?
I use 3 websites consistently.

Facebook
Blogger
Gmail

My Internet connection is via Smartphone, and living out in the boonies means I have very little service. So I don't really "surf" the web. I enjoy the occasional YouTube video, but for the most part, I guess Facebook is my number one.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Facial Hair and a Bad Vacation

ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I'm so tired of rain! This is NOT April anymore, Mother Nature. Remember how it was all sunny and 80s and BEAUTIFUL most of last month? Yeah. Haven't you heard April showers bring May flowers? You're really starting to bug me, lady! I can't get out of bed much less get in the mood to be all house wifey when it's pitch black in the house and thundering. So. Clean up your act, lady, or else!

Whew. Ok. I feel better. The good thing about this weather? I don't feel a bit guilty about snuggling up in my covers and spending the day with Gerard Butler. Not one bit. :)

Anyway, I'm between PS I Love You and Law Abiding Citizen, and Chlo is playing Polly Pockets (while blaring classic rock?), so I'm going to do some Five Question Friday for ya.

1. Do you and your spouse go to bed at the same time?

Pretty much. He has to get up early and I don't, so I could stay up a lot later. I'm a bit of a night owl. But if we want any good quality time together, we need to go to bed together. With the exception of Tuesdays (I watch 16&Pregnant/Teen Mom at 9 and Chelsea Lately at 10) I usually get Chloe in bed by 9 and we are in bed by 9:30. We spend a lot of time talking, whether it's mushy love yous or old grandpa-and-grandma-style bickery banter. That's when we have time to find that connection and wade through the separateness of our days back to a place where we're all in love. And...yanno...... ;)


2. A question for the ladies...What kind of facial hair do you like on your man?
NONE. I dislike facial hair and always have. I guess it looks ok on some guys, but I don't want it on my man. It's prickly and scratchy. I think it's just...gross. Ugh. The idea of growing hair on your FACE of all places just squeems me out. For real. I mean. You know it gets food and drool and Lord knows what else all caught up in it. Huh uh. No thank you. Keep it baby-butt smooth for me :)


3. What's the worst vacation you've ever taken?
Well, while no vacation is awful, of all the ones I've taken, there's one that was worst I suppose.

I'd been married to The Donor for a year. There was no baby yet. And we decided that a family vacation would be a good idea. We would rent a van and drive to Myrtle Beach with my mom and brother.

Good in theory.

But the truth is, it wasn't. Ok ok there were fun parts. We had a "nice time" so to speak. But I swore I'd never do it again.

The Donor was easily irritable and difficult to get along with. In a perpetual state of moodiness. Mom didn't always say the right things, which led to tension there. Tension I was left to bear ALONE. The Donor and my brother kind of stuck together doing fun "kid" stuff (night swimming, golfing, pool time), and I stuck with my mom. But I wanted to be a "kid" too, not another parent. So at night when they went out and about I was torn. I wanted to go with them, but felt bad leaving my mama alone to watch tv in the room. It was just a weird dynamic. And on top of it, we ended up with a real clunker of a van that broke down AND the AC went out while we were in SC. So the trip home was less than fun. It was June. It was sweltering. There were four of us who were sick of each other and hot and sticky. You do the math.

BUT. I got to go para sailing for the first time ever, and that was awesome, and you can't make the beach a bad place. You just can't. It was beautiful and I would love to go back.

Alone.

:)

4. What's the first-ever blog you followed?
I think the first blog I actually followed was Traveling Light. From there I looked through her readers, because she is someone I know personally and knew had good blog taste ;) 

The first blog I found on my own was Chibi Jeebs and the Neurotic Struggle, though that wasn't the name of it at the time, and she wasn't all supah-populah yet. Yeah. We go way back, me and the Cheebs :) I'm kind of fickle about what I will actually read, so I don't follow a whole lot of blogs, but the ones I do I absolutely love!

5. Do you enjoy amusement parks?
LOVE them. I can't wait until Chloe is tall enough to ride on the big rides. We took her to a big amusement park last year, and since it was just the three of us, we didn't get to ride any of the big stuff. We went back a few weeks later without her (shhh she still doesn't know!) and re-lived the fun on all the "big-kid" stuff. I love the whole atmosphere. I like the rides, the food, the sounds. Love it.

Well, I gotta get back to Mr. Butler now. Have a good weekend!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Appearance Isn't Everything

Now that we've lived together for almost two years, and I've been cooking for him that long, I find myself in the supper-rut. You know. I fix the same stuff all the time, and I get sick of fixing it. We have spaghetti, burgers, cube steaks, pork steaks, tacos and chicken. Then we turn around and do it again. Oh we might have a steak here and there, or a roast. I might make fettuccine instead of spaghetti, but for the most part we eat the same stuff all the time.

So I'm always looking for something different to fix that is easy and doesn't require any weird ingredients I don't have. I've added home-made meatballs to our menu, slow-cooker lasagna, and stroganoff (sp?).

Last night I knew we were having chicken. It was the only meat we hadn't had recently, so I laid out some chicken breasts. I had no idea what to fix, though. I could fry them, but that requires mashed potatoes, which we had the night before. I could grill them, but eating grilled chicken every day during my WWL stint pretty much burned me out on that, and hubby doesn't care one way or the other for it.

I got online and started searching recipes. I found a chicken and rice casserole that looked easy, and I had all the ingredients it called for. Score.

I threw it together quickly. I had to use cream of mushroom instead of cream of chicken, but no big deal. I threw in some boullion, the rice and the chicken and let it bake. It smelled pretty good, so I figured it would be a good addition.

Then I checked it. It was supposed to be "done," but when I pulled the foil off I saw a white, soupy mess. It literally looked like something the cat would hork up. About that time Hubby came through the front door.

"Babe," I said in a worried voice, "I did something bad..."

"What is it?" he asked in a tone that added "this time" without him actually saying it.

"I tried to make something I've never made before," I said, crunching up my face, "annnnnnd it doesn't look very good."

He peeped into the oven. "What IS it?"

"A chicken and rice dish," I admitted, though I could have passed it off as just about anything. I was ready to grab my purse and head to town to get a burger.

"Well, let's hope it tastes better than it looks," he said, and plopped in his chair, willing to give it a try.

I let it cook a while longer, then when the rice tasted done, I pulled it out and slopped it onto plates. I was certain Chloe wouldn't eat it. She's going through this 'I hate chicken' phase, and she doesn't want much to do with anything I cook. But, she has to try it, so I slopped her up a little plate, too.

I took a few bites and decided it DID taste better than it looked. It wasn't bad at all. We all worked on our plates, and I tried not to make eye-contact with anyone, afraid of the nasty faces that might be appearing.

"Mom, dis rice is really good. It tastes like chicken soup," Chloe told me. I was relieved. If nothing else I knew she'd eat the rice.

"Thanks, baby girl," I said with a smile.

"I fink I'll try da chicken," she said as she stabbed a bite. As she always does, she nibbled a little off the end. "Mmm. Not bad," she said, and shoved the whole piece in her mouth. "I don't usually like chicken, but dis kind is good. Will you make me dis every time we have chicken?" she asked. I smiled.

I cleaned up my plate and saw that hubby had done the same. I picked up his plate and headed for the kitchen.

"Will you put some more on my plate?" he asked nicely.

"Uh. You want MORE?" I asked, not sure if he was being sarcastic. He will almost always eat one plate of anything I fix, even if he doesn't like it, but it has to be pretty good for him to eat seconds.

"Yes, please. Is there more?"

"Yeah, there's more," I said, still leery. I slopped some more on his plate and put the last piece of chicken on top, and he finished it off.

There was a spoon-full of rice for the dogs when we were done. I had planned on giving them the whole pan and having to buy dinner, but I guess sometimes appearance ISN'T everything :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Decisions.

It's been a crazy week for my old blog.

It started when "Anonymous" came back from the shadows.

I didn't publish the comments, because they were nothing more than personal attacks. Name-calling. Allegations. And an attack on my guest-writer.

I was content to just keep Anonymous's voice silenced on my blog and continue as usual, but they just didn't want to give it up. When I posted my blog about the comment rules, this is what Anonymous had to say:

"Yes, it IS all about YOU. "Snarky" comments? The Beast, Idiocy, Fatbelly, Spawn....You really don't get it, do you? If you were telling tales from the "real" world, you'd use real names. What are you worried about? Surely not LIBEL, because everything you say is TRUE...er, well, hmm, ah...you can "demand respect" all you want, but you will never command respect."

I actually posted that comment and replied to it, pointing out that my blog IS all about me (duh), that spawn isn't snarky, that pointing out someone's fat belly or stupidity isn't snarky so much as truthful, that posting ANYONE'S full name without their consent is unethical and something I don't do EVER, and that person has no first-hand knowledge of anything I write and if it is, in fact, true "er well hmm ah" not (unless it IS The Beast behind that facade) and has no business throwing around words like libel, when this person was the one making allegations about me that actually COULD be prosecuted if they posted their damned name. I also asked if I should change my blog-title to True Stories with Pseudonyms to avoid being sued for "false-advertising" as well ;) heh heh.

But, after some words of wisdom and squooshy bewbie hugs via Internet, I decided to remove both of the posts. And then it started to fester. It didn't bother me what this person said, or what they thought about me, or that they were ball-less enough to continually come at me without owning their words. What bothered me was that this person, who is obviously acquainted with me in some way, is sucking up all this information about me. They know my favorite kind of peanut butter. They can pore over pictures of my family and read about my wedding. Those are things I don't mind sharing with the general public, but knowing someone malicious is out there sucking up every detail I write, that bothered me.

So I toyed with the idea of making my blog private. I would only let people I knew and approved peek into my life. I advertised it on Facebook and to my friends and family. Within 24 hours I had more readers than I could even accommodate! I had no idea how many readers I actually had, and I hadn't even mentioned this to most of my blog followers yet. I had many suggestions and pleas not to do it, and after a look at the privacy settings, I decided to keep it open. One person's negativity shouldn't over-ride the positivity of more than a hundred.
You know what? I can't control EVERYONE in the world. I can't keep mean, vicious people from looking into my life unless I stop blogging altogether. I can't do that. It's one of my favorite things in the world! I can't keep people from stalking me or voicing their opinions about me.

But I CAN control what comes across my desk.

So from now on, you have to be logged into SOMETHING to comment on my blog. If it gets too out-of-hand, I will limit it to blog followers only. The comments aren't really that necessary anyway. And I have a sneaking suspicion that if this person has to keep reading about my life and my opinions, but has no way to enlighten my supporters to his/her own opinion, he or she will lose interest. And if not, then what's that say about him/her?

Haters are gonna hate. And a reader is a reader, right? ;) I'm going to keep doing what I'm doing and not let anyone interfere. Worst-case scenario? I'll change the comment format to Diqus and nab the IP address every time someone comments. :)

Thanks for being a reader. Thanks for your support, and thanks for making blogging a successful pastime for me. I love knowing you're out there and I LOVE telling my story.

Losing My Mellow: Wedding Tale 3

By the time we finished decorating the church, we had roughly 45 minutes until rehearsal time. I don't know how that happened, but it did. Most of us hadn't had lunch at all, and though we planned to have pizza later on, the boys were starving. They took Chloe for a quick bite at a local diner, and my mom, MOH, and I ran to the Dollar Store for some MORE things we still needed.

Unfortunately the Dollar General doesn't sell tranquilizers or alcohol.  =/

We got back and I was glad to see everyone in attendance who needed to be there. We started running through things, though, and it went downhill from there.

To start, the boys had one job. Follow the preacher and stand. So they weren't *all* that worried about instructions. I, on the other hand, had questions. I had opinions. I wanted to make sure everyone knew what was going on. So when the boys were having their own conversations and goofing off, I came as close to a snap as I had all day. "SHUT. UP." I hissed through my teeth at them. "JUST SHUT UP!"

We survived rehearsal, though I was unsure if the music was going to pan out right, and I was extremely unhappy with the battle of wills over what hubby would be addressed as during the ceremony (his family calls him only by a childhood nickname while I use only his given name...and I did NOT want to marry that childhood nickname). I'd say my teeth lost a lot of length given all the grinding I did with them that night.

Finally we got a grip on what was going on, and my MOH assured me she would see to it that everything was as I wanted it.

We departed and headed to the reception hall.

There were many extended family members and friends in tow, which added to the stress somewhat. They weren't obligated to help in any way, but if they were sitting around eating, smoking, and chatting, my "helpers" thought they should be doing the same thing. We needed to move tables and decorate, but at one point the women were the only ones doing ANYTHING.

I reached my breaking point.

I marched outside, and cornered hubby.

"Are you guys going to help me or not?" I directed at hubby.

:"What do we need to do?"

"Well we've still got tables to move, I've got an arch I need put up, and I can't do it all myself. I'd like to go home sometime tonight, too!" I said. But I couldn't stop. "I don't smoke, but I'd like to sit outside on my ass for a few minutes while someone else does everything."

"Ok, we'll be in in a minute," he told me.

"FINE! I just LOVE how I'm in here doing all the work for a wedding I didn't even care about, and there are twenty seven other people sitting on their ass!" I would've slammed the door, but it's got one of those slow catches on it, so I had to let it slooooooowly shut behind me.

That motivated hubby, and he somehow got the other boys on board. I still had a lot of squatters, which made me nervous (I hate being watched when I'm doing stuff), but at least I had help.

There were still opinions.
Still aggravation.
 Still grinding teeth

But at least things were starting to move. I immersed myself in making my cake table perfect. And I still love looking at it.


And in the meantime, the boys were doing what I needed done.

Ok...kind of ;)

Slowly people started trickling out of the building, and I was close to having everything just how I wanted it. We turned on our music, dimmed the lights, and I saw it no longer as an abominable task, but as a beautiful reception hall. I was happy. And I still wanted to marry my Mister ;) We were even smiling when it was time to leave. Smiles of relief, but smiles still.


My belt makes my pants look like they're square or something...not sure what's up with that.

We all went our separate ways. My MOH went to her motel. Mama went home. Hubby stayed with his mom. Chloe and I headed home, and it was then I got the knot in my throat and started questioning my decision to walk down the aisle alone the next day.

Soon after that I got the e-mail I wrote about in A Walk to Remember, and everything fell into place. Now all I had to do was get my nails painted and get some good sleep.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Beast: Part 15

I walked to the meeting with Mr. President and The Beast with an odd sort of confidence. I had, after all, won. It had beaten me down all year long, but when it came to the big one, the battle that mattered, I won.

But what had I won?

Congratulations! You've won another year in Hell!

Even though I had survived, a part of me still didn't know if I'd try to stay. I had a month to decide whether or not to retract my resignation letter, and I didn't have any other job prospects, so I figured I would see how it would go.

I went to the meeting in hopes Mr. President wanted to get to the bottom of things. I hoped he would back me, or at the very least be supportive of BOTH of us and be the mediator to try and make a plan for the future.

I was severely disappointed. I was handed the following "contract" and asked to sign on the dotted line:

The following items are preliminary duties/responsibilites expected of Mrs. Lastname.
  1. Attend all professional development meetings requested and report back to The Beast on the Thursday following.
  2. Meet with The Beast every Thursday during 1st hour.
  3. When an absence occurs, Mrs. Lastname will leave lesson plans for the substitute and have a pictured seating chart. Lesson plans need to cover a full 50 minute period. The plans will be left with Mrs. Secretary for teh sub to pick up when they sign in.
  4. Give The Beast emergency lesson plans for every class, should an unexpected absence occur. This needs to be turned in by March 31.
  5. Mrs. Lastname will collaborate with fellow CA teachers at least once a week to devise common lesson plans and common assessments. This will be done during 1st hour.
  6. Mrs. Lastname will observe Mr. Junior Science, Mr. Senior Science, and Mrs. Math on the dates The Beast has arranged.
  7. Mrs. Lastname will meet with Mr. Senior Science or Mr. Senior Science II at 2:30 on April 2 to discuss proper lesson planning, including GLE's (grade-level expectations...and that shouldn't have an apostrophe, but The Beast typed this, and I wanted to make sure I didn't alter it in any way lol)
I completely understand the expectations that have been placed upon me. If questions arise I will consult wtih The Beast immediately.

What? So I was supposed to sign a document saying I would correct these things that I hadn't even DONE. Things that had been fabricated? And if I had questions or concerns I had to face The Beast? The one I'd gone head-to-head with? I had no liason? Nothing?

Nothing.

But. I signed it. I figured it was no big deal since I already had most everything ready to hand over. I was irritated that I was going to miss three hours of classes for these "meetings" where I was supposed to learn SO MUCH about teaching, but whatever. I was also quite irritated that I was being forced to sign a paper promising to meet with Fatbelly and Idiocy when I wasn't the one who had ducked out of those meetings. Idiocy had been told she didn't even HAVE to participate. So now I was back to planning for her? Fine.

I gave up 2 of my 5 planning hours every week. The Beast had given me a matter of DAYS to do the emergency plans, assuming I had none I guess. I handed in the emergency plans from my bottom desk drawer, where they'd always been, on the due date. I attached a seating chart with a diagram of the room and student names on it. When The Beast looked at it, It said, "I said a PICTURED seating chart." Yep. It wanted me to get into the grade program and use the students' school mug shot and copy/paste it to my seating charts. Honestly. I did it. It was dumb, but I did it. I was the only person in the school, I think, who did that, but I did it.

I showed up for my Thursday meeting the first week, and it went quickly. It didn't have much to say, and I made It sign my paper saying I had attended. The following weeks it cancelled the meeting, and each time I made sure I had e-mail verification as to why, or that IT had done the cancelling, not me.

The work of documenting was becoming greater, and It was working harder at trying to get me on a slip.

I met with Mr. Senior Science to talk about lesson plans. He didn't understand why my plans were in question. I showed him my plan book from the whole year, and how I had attached GLEs to every lesson. He thought they even looked better than his own. They had been on my desk all year. But I turned them in anyway.

Finally I went to observe these "Master Teachers" in their classrooms, and that's when I decided this whole thing was for the birds.

While Jr. Science set up a lab, he let the kids work on homework. The kids mostly just sat and talked. About half-way through the hour they traded and graded papers. The kids and the teacher argued for about five minutes on point values and kids argued for half credit on some of their answers. Finally he started the experiment, but it wouldn't work. He went to get another teacher to help, then ended up moving the whole class to that teacher's room. Before the experiment was complete, the bell rang.

And I have poor planning?

Nothing against him. He is a smart guy and did a good job. But it just proved MY point. They're kids. You can't always control them. Sometimes there is chaos. Sometimes plans don't go so well. But what could I say?

The math teacher was much the same. She let them argue about how much longer they had to finish homework. They talked out in class. Some of them didn't pay attention. It was a ridiculous waste of my time. The main thing I learned? These kids behave for me the same way they behave for all teachers. Good most of the time, but seeing what they can accomplish.

Feeling more oppressed than ever, I thought it would never end. I was still considering quitting without a back-up plan when I got a call. There was a job opening at a small school thirty miles away. And I had an interview.

Still thinking I would "wait and see," I made plans for the Interview. I didn't tell ANYONE.

The interview went well, and I would find out in a few days. I still wasn't sure what to do. I didn't WANT to leave that school, but I wanted to leave the persecution.

Then Mr. Assistant caught me in the hallway. The school had called him as a reference, so he knew (after we made amends he told me to use him as my reference from now on).

"What are you thinking?" he asked.

"I don't know," I told him honestly.

"It seems like things are ok, but gosh Andrea, I really think it's going to get worse. I mean, I'm not telling you what to do, but I'm afraid if you stay it will just start worse next year. I mean, I feel like It's setting you up to fail. You have all these stipulations and stuff, and now the board is watching. The Beast didn't cover Its bases last time, but this time It knows what It's up against and It will come back bigger and better."

I knew he was probably right. But at the same time, the lies had to stop now. It knew It could do nothing without documentation, right?

I decided to get a hold of my former principal, Bob Boss. I sent him an e-mail alerting him about the situation, and waited to see if he would respond at all. I knew that it was rumored he'd been run out, so I hoped he could offer some insight, but I feared he would not want a part of it. I bared my soul and told him pretty much everything in a nutshell.

I was shocked when he emailed me back within 24 hours, and even MORE shocked at what he had to say.

A Recipe..what??

I realize this is the easiest recipe in the Universe, and you're probably like, "Uh duh, Andrea. Why don't you just teach us how to make Rice Krispie Treats while you're at it?" But there are living breathing ADULT humans who haven't made this. My own Mister had never ONCE had it, even as a kid. WHAT?!?! Anyway it's super yummy...and it's way better than any recipe you'll find for it online.

So, let's make Puppy Chow. Or Muddy Buddies. Or whatever you want to call it. I call it buttery chocolatey peanutbuttery goodness.

What you'll need:
A couple sticks of butter (or margarine if you INSIST)
Half a bag of chocolate chips (semi-sweet really are best for this but whatev floats your boat)
A CUP of smooooooth peanut butter
A 12 oz box of Crispix (the BEST cereal choice for this in my opinion), or corn Chex, or rice Chex, or Best Choice corn/rice Crispys. You get the idea.

MELT the chocolate chips, butter, and peanutbutter in a big ol' pan on about medium heat.
Don't microwave it. Seriously. Just don't.

When it's all melted down and gooey, it's ready.

I like to use a big bowl for the next part, but if you wanna skip that and just dump the cereal straight into the pan, you can. I won't judge you.

BUT, I put a little cereal, then a little goo, then a little cereal, then a little goo...you know, get every nook and cranny.

IT IS VERY IMPORTANT YOU LEAVE ENOUGH CEREAL FOR TWO BREAKFAST BOWLS IN THE BOX. Why? Well that way they aren't hogging up chocolatey goodness that could be caked onto some other pieces. Really. Leave some out. You'll be glad.

Then when you get all that coated, you start sugaring. Again, you could just dump the gooey cereal and the bag o' sugar in a big ol' shakin' bowl and go for it, but I like to layer it.

Either way, use the WHOLE bag of sugar, and shake 'til your arms feel the burn. Then give it a couple more shakes for good measure.

Chill 'til it's all cold and set-up, then try to keep your family from eating it all before dinner.

Or do what I do: put it in several storage bags and hide it in the fridge behind stuff like lettuce and eggs. They  might find it eventually, but it'll buy you a day or two.

Most important? Enjoy :) Oh and don't try to make it all fat-free or anything stupid like that. It's all or nothin' folks.

Monday, May 16, 2011

I wish Big Brother would bring back PB&J...



1. Crunchy or smooth peanut butter?
You know I don't have a simple answer, don't you?

I like crunchy peanut butter but only with grape jelly and on honey wheat bread. I especially used to love to eat it while watching Big Brother back when they did PB&J rather than slop. I miss those days....

Anyway, if I have white bread, it has to be smooth peanut butter with strawberry or blackberry jelly.

And I always cook with creamy (cookies, candies, etc.)


2. What is your favorite color rose?
I love roses in every color, and I'm always intrigued by the unique colors like orange and purple, but if I have to pick one over-all, I like the traditional deep red rose. It's so romantic looking and beautiful in kind of a dark, brooding way (if a rose could BE brooding...). I'm not really one to be wooed with flowers, but the cliche red rose is still probably the most appealing to my eye.

3. Do you remove your shoes when you walk into your home?
Yep. Especially since we have hard-wood and I can SEE the dirt they leave behind. That, and the fact that I am the one who is going to have to sweep it up if I don't. Once in a while I will keep them on if I am just running in to get something, but for the most part I kick them off at the door. I'm not a shoe off snob to others, though. I don't demand that shoes be removed. Just don't track mud or cow poop in and I'll happily sweep behind you when you leave ;)

4. What is your favorite season?
Over-all I would say it's fall. I love sweatshirts and jeans, warm days and crisp nights. I love how the air smells, how the trees look, and how the breeze feels. The nights seem so clear and beautiful. It's the time of year to start simmering soups and chili on the stove, baking bread, and lighting cinnamon candles. I get in the mood for the approaching holidays, and love every part of fall!

Summer comes in a very close second, and if it weren't for the sweltering Mid-west heat and humidity in August, it would probably win. I love being outside, having the sun brown my shoulders, splashing in the lake or swimming in the pool. Grilling and long sunny days. Warm starry nights. Fishing and MOWING :) Sweet tea, strawberries, and watermelon...and corn on the cob!

5. Approximately how many hours a day do you spend blogging?
I don't really "blog" every day. If I am posting, it takes me about thirty minutes start-to-finish (which includes linking to Facebook). If there are some interesting looking posts up, I read those, too. Any typical day I blog could consist of up to three hours total, but it's not a daily thing. So if I averaged my blogging hours I would say probably an hour a day total.

Crappy Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

If you are alone, make sure you're not lonely....

The preparations started two weeks ago. Between our upcoming honeymoon and Memorial Day, there weren't many options for Chloe's birthday party. We decided to have it early this year, and send out invitations the last day of pre-school so she could invite some of her classmates.

She's hooked on Tangled right now, so I took her to Party City and let her get party supplies. She got invitations, goody bags, and all the pertinent supplies. We sent invitations to eleven kids, and we invited all her family to join us for a party in the park.

We baked a cake, and though my cake budget and creativity were minimal, this is what we came up with:

As the week passed on, we found out a few of her friends couldn't attend. Her granny (my dad's wife) had a work meeting and wouldn't be coming, but told Chloe Papa might come anyway. I've heard that phrase enough to know it wasn't going to happen, but Chloe still had hope.

The day of the party arrived, and though I was afraid there wouldn't be many kids, I was still hoping to see four or five that we hadn't heard from.

The temperature barely made it to sixty, and it was cloudy and windy, but we put up our hoods and toughed it out. We decorated the park and waited for the guests to arrive. My mom came, and brought my dad's mom (her ex-MIL) since my dad didn't come. Then my brother arrived, and finally Hubby's Mom and brother, and his dad. Chloe watched as each car approached, trying to see who was within. She was still saying, "But my Papa MIGHT come," and "I hope Dawson makes it."

By 3:15 we decided to go ahead and let her open presents and everything. If nothing else I hoped it would distract her from watching for guests.

She got all kinds of Rapunzel goodies, and was genuinely happy with all the nice gifts she got. Even the mayor stopped by to wish her happy birthday and bring her a gift (don't you LOVE small towns?).
She played. Her uncles pushed her on the swing, spun the merry-go-round, and played on the sea-saw with her. Her Nana swang back and forth beside her. She toted her new baby dolls around and passed out goody bags to all the family members, and everyone got in the spirit for her.





In the end, she had a good day. I was the one who had tears in my eyes as we drove home. Broken hearted because I know how she feels. Sad because the few good friends she has are far away. Hurt because some of her family didn't make her a priority. Defeated because I worry she has a long life of lonliness ahead of her. Guilty because maybe if I'd tried harder to befriend some of the parents they would've been more likely to come.

For now she is completely happy to have her family as her one and only. She calls me her bestest friend ever, and tells me she never wants to be away from me. She even suggested using duct tape to attach herself to me so "I never hafta be wiffout you!" For now that works for her, but one day it won't be enough, and I just hope that this lonely little kid-less party is the exception, not the rule of her social years to come.



I really wanted to do a look back for my 200th post (THIS IS IT!), but after the events of yesterday, I just didn't feel like it. Maybe 201 will be a little more upbeat...

Friday, May 13, 2011

5.13 5.Q.F.

1. Tube socks, calf socks, crew, ankle, none?

If I'm wearing my boots, it has to be tall socks.

Otherwise it's none, or below-the-ankle. I hardly ever wear socks in the house, and if I wear them [at all] with tennis shoes, they have to be the super-low cut ones.


2. Was your childs (children's) name a mutual decision or was it a debate? If you don't have children, do you plan on giving your spouse a say, or do you have a name you MUST have, regardless if your other half likes it or not?!

Um. I had always wanted Michaela for a girl's first name, and Chloe's dad agreed to that. However, when I was pregnant with her I was teaching and had a girl in class named Kayla who I despised. I worried people would shorten Michaela to Kayla and I would be eternally reminded of the scoundrel. So. We went with my second choice, which was Chloe. It took some arm-twisting, but in the end I got my way. And Mae was my pre-determined middle name for a girl no matter what.

3. What is your favorite type of weather?

A sunny, upper-70s day with a slight breeze, but no wind.

Or.

A super dark stormy afternoon. I hate nighttime storms, and I don't want any tornadic activity, but I love when it's almost completely dark in the middle of the day :)


4. If left to your own devices, what time would you wake up every day?

I pretty much am left to my own devices. Hubby's alarm goes off at 7 (several times) so I'm semi-awake then. If I want to go back to sleep, I do. The latest I usually sleep is 9am (unless I'm taking Benadryl or something, in which case, WHO KNOWS).

5. Have you bought your cemetery plots yet?
Uhhh. No.

The Circle of Life

"What are you doing?" I heard her little voice and immediately jumped.

"Noff-fing" I mumbled, trying to keep my lips closed.

"What. Is in. Your mouff?" she asked. I felt like *I* was the four year old and she was the parent.

"What?" I spewed cake crumbs from my lips. I smiled like a cat caught with a mouse in its mouth. "It's just the top of the cake," I finally confessed.

"What did you do to my cake?!?!" she asked with her eyes wide.

"I had to make the top flat. So I could stack them, see?" I showed her how I'd shaved the rough top off the round cake so I could make a (sort-of) level stack. She was ok with that, but I think she was thinking about how I told her she ABSOLUTELY! COULD! NOT! HAVE! ANY! CAKE! just a few minutes earlier.

"And why are you eating it?" she asked.

Hmmmm....

"You're supposed to. It's part of life. It's good luck," I said, "to eat the top of the cake before you decorate it."
"Dennn, shouldn't *I* have some?" she asked.

I surrendered and split the golden warm goodness with the birffday girl.

Cows eat their placentas, I eat my kid's birthday cake. It's part of the circle of life ;)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A Treacherous Journey

Chloe has had dental problems for a while now. Her little teeth have never been very strong, and despite my best brushing efforts, she's not here with me all the time, so she's developed some problems. I took her to the dentist in March, and found out she had more trouble than I knew.

She was referred to a pediatric dentist, and scheduled for oral surgery. They planned to put some crowns on her back teeth, and fill a couple of cavities, as well as cap a front tooth that had a cavity. They wanted to put her out and do it all at once to avoid multiple appointments and scary shots.

I agreed.

I thought it would be pretty smooth. I was told she'd wake up kind of groggy, but have much less oral pain than if she'd had a lot of shots. I signed the papers and scheduled her appointment.

And then I worried.

And worried.

And worried.

What if she was that one freak kid who was allergic to the anesthesia? What if they screwed something up? What if she died? I lay awake worrying each night, praying for the best, but having trouble not thinking the worst.

The trip to the clinic was long. She hadn't been allowed to eat since before bed the night before, and she had to stop drinking at 9am. She has a tendency to get car sick, especially on an empty stomach, so she wasn't feeling very well by the time we got there.

When we got checked in, however, I felt reassured. They told me what they'd do, and they took her back quickly to "blow up balloons" (inhale gas to go sleepy). The nurse checked in with me, telling me she fell asleep well (without crying or freaking out) and that they were doing fine.

Though I was still a little worried about the worst-case scenario, I felt better.

When she was done, the dentist reviewed the work with me, and told me to expect her to be very tired on the way home, and to probably sleep the rest of the afternoon off and on.

"Just watch some movies and do quiet things inside," she told me. "She can eat anything she wants, but usually soft foods are better the first day until she gets used to the feel of the crowns," she told me. I felt relieved. "As soon as she opens her eyes, we will come get you," she said. "Probably about thirty minutes."

I waited maybe twenty, and the nurse finally came to get me.

"She's crying and a little confused," she told me. "She'll be glad to see you."

I went back and was not prepared for what I saw. Her lips were puffy, her small mouth swollen. There was blood in her nose and on her teeth. Her lips were dry and her face was pale.

"Come here, baby," I said, cradling her like an infant. I rocked her in the chair while the nurse went over the "post-op" stuff with me. She wailed. Her tummy hurt. She felt sick. She needed a toilet RIGHT! NOW! We took her, but she had nothing in her belly. She screamed. She cried. She stomped her pretty little feet.

We finally got in the car to go home. I propped her pillow against the door for her, and she screamed all Exorcist style, "I DON'T WANT MY PILLOW!" By the time I put the car in reverse she was sound asleep on her pillow. I looked at her in the rear-view mirror. The crowns filled her mouth, and the front tooth looked so out of place. She looked awful, and it was all I could do not to break down.

I kept texting my bff, trying to keep my mind off it, and expressing my true emotions to her. I concentrated on the road and finally made it half-way home.

I pulled into Sonic. It was Happy Hour. Happy Hour Cokes at Sonic help EVERYTHING. She woke up, and I was a little scared, not knowing what her mood would be. She asked for her puke cup....and she let it all out.

Then she wanted a grape cream slush. Normalcy! I ordered our drinks and started home. She took a few sips, then crashed again.

When we got home, though, she took a turn for the worse. Her gut must have hurt something fierce. She spent a lot of time hovering over the toilet, screaming "I HATE THIS DAY!" or "I'M NEVER GOING TO DAT DENTIST AGAIN!" Things like, "YOU BETTER HIDE ME WHERE NO DENTIST WILL EVER FIND ME!" or "I'M NEVER LEAVING THE HOUSE AGAIN!" I asked her not to scream at me, and she looked at me with tears in her eyes, "How could you let dis happen to me?" she cried. And my heart shattered.

I text everyone she spends time with the rules. Brush them twice a day. No candy. No sugared drinks. No bedtime cup. And if she gets any more cavities, YOU get to pay for it.

She spent equal amounts of time sleeping and screaming into the toilet. She got a package from her friend Cameron in the late afternoon, and it couldn't have come at a better time. She napped again, then woke up crying for her Daddy-Mister. He came home soon after, but she'd already moved on to another screaming fit by that time. After she expelled all her grape slush last night, I suggested a warm bath. She agreed, and got into the hot water. I saw her melt. Her face relaxed. Her eyes drooped. She let out a sigh and let herself relax. I let out a sigh and felt the tension release from my shoulders.

After about thirty minutes she wanted to get out. And she wanted chicken noodle soup.

She ate almost a whole can, and while I worried she'd be screaming and puking it up, I knew she needed to eat. She chatted with me and with Hubby while we watched tv, and she finally seemed like her normal self again.

Soon she was ready for bed, and once I finished the story, she was ready to sleep. We snuggled, she drifted, and today I have my daughter back. She has a bucked-tooth and a little dull pain, but for the most part, she is better.

And I have never been so grateful.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Preparations: Wedding Tale 2

I knew the week before the wedding was going to be hectic; there was no way around it. But look at me. I don't have a job. My "baby" is in school half the day, and I was quite sure this was the kind of busy I would thrive on.

I was pretty much right.

The wedding madness REALLY started on Wednesday.  I went in for a hair practice, and this is what I decided on:


But the longer I looked at it, the less I liked it. I fussed with it for a couple of HOURS at home, and finally found a vision. I combed it out, got dressed, and picked Chloe up so we could go get my dress in Springfield. They had pressed it and it looked even more beautiful than I remembered (never mind the fact I saw another dress when I went in the store that I loved...they should NOT allow a bride in a bridal store a few days before her wedding!).

I made it home mid-evening, and talked my Mister into taking me to tan. Then I got my running and weights in late that night. I was a crazed monster!

The next day my BFF Jamie would arrive, and we had plenty to do! We prepared food, toured the area, got her checked in to her motel, and ran to Walmart for some last-minute items (read: nail polish, serving trays, and toasting glasses among other things).

We got the centerpieces done, though they didn't exactly go as planned. We anticipated filling little glass fish-bowl thingys with water, then floating a beautifully bloomed silk rose on top. Tie some ribbon around the lip and voila! Perfection.

Except....

Silk flowers don't float.

BUT. Fish-bowl thingys MAGNIFY, and we ended up with a really awesome look!

We went out to dinner, visited with the boys, then headed to bed quite proud of our progress.

Friday, however, was on its way and I had no idea what I was in for!

Early that morning we made a run to my former home town where I'd ordered a groom's cake for a wedding surprise.




I was pretty proud of my secret-keeping, and the fact that we got it back in one piece! While we did that, my groom picked up the wedding cake. We stopped and paid the deposit on the reception hall, then all headed to the church to decorate.

And that's where things got crazy! I'm not going to relive it, I simply can't. 

But I will tell you there was a blood-red curtain to cover.

And *someone* bought a fitted ivory sheet rather than a flat one....

And there were OPINIONS that contradicted the bride.

And whispering.

And boys who wanted nothing more than to escape the craziness.

Finally, though, I completed my vision, curtailed the opinions, and used the boys as place-holders. A job they took a LITTLE too seriously.


It seemed at that point we might just make it through the night, but I still had rehearsal to worry about, and decorating the hall. Suddenly this laid-back care-free "lets-just-elope" simple-minded bride became a groom's maid of honor's mother's mother in law's everyone's worst nightmare.


Monday, May 9, 2011

The Beast: Part 14

The day finally came for the board meeting. By that time my story was no secret. I mean, most people had no idea the horrors that had occurred throughout the year, but most knew I was being unfairly targeted and bullied at the very least.

Mr. Assistant had apologized for everything. He feared for his own job and his own well-being, and somehow I guess throwing me under the bus looked like a sure-fire way for him to avoid the wrath. He realized what he'd done, obviously a little too late, and I forgave him. After all, I would've done it too, I think. You think you know what your "line" is until you become a victim of every-day bullying, then suddenly you find you just MIGHT betray people you care about if it will end your own madness.

Anyway, I knew there had been a large number of people sign up to attend the closed session, but I don't think I truly believed they'd show up.

I arrived at the meeting a few minutes early. I wanted to speak to Monty before the ordeal started. When I got there, I heard the whispering. The board had decided against letting ANYONE into the closed session except for Monty. The guy who was supposed to have sixty-two people behind him was suddenly going to be thrust in alone. I wasn't surprised.

People poured in for the general session. The library was packed, and people even stood in the back and out in the hall. The poor shmucks who were there to present regular business and had no warning were caught completely off-guard. The transportation director stumbled over her presentation, baffled by the audience she wasn't expecting.

Ms. Fatbelly was there for some reason other than my ordeal, and I heard her whisper to someone, "What's giong on tonight?" It made me smile inside knowing it was all for me. Moreso that it was all ANTI-Beast.

Finally they decided to go into closed session, and shooed everyone out of the room but The Beast. We assumed they planned to take care of "normal" business first. It was hiring/firing time, and we gathered they were going to do all their re-hires first. George, one of the students from FCA, led a prayer among the mass of people.

Soon The Beast emerged, and in Its most Beastly voice sang, "Oh Monty, I think they're ready for you now!" He went in and read his letter to the board. They wanted to know who each and every signature belonged to, so he had to decipher some hand-writing. Then they had a few more questions, and finally asked him, "So which students told you It called Mrs. Lastname worthless?"

Monty must have swallowed hard. I imagine he'd tell you he didn't think twice about answering the question, but even for a split second, the thought had to cross his mind, "What am I doing?" He knew full-well what he was up against, and yet, he spoke.

"One of my best-friends, Mac. And the star-athlete, (also the beau of the Beastly Spawn) Bo."

Meanwhile, we'd all be chatting quietly in the hallway. It was an awkward atmosphere, because The Beast had remained in the hallway as well. It knew every person in that hall was there AGAINST It. It tried Its best to pretend that wasn't the case. It tried to strike a conversation here and there, but really to no avail.

Finally Monty came out, and The Beast was called back in. It carried a full file folder. I imagine it was the counter-stories to my full folder of documentation. The difference? My folder contained statements from several credible sources.

Students crowded the windows, trying to peer without being seen. I remember a few of them went to the windows behind the board (so not to be seen by them) and spied on The Beast.

"OH my gosh. It's flustered!" one reported.

"It's face is so RED!"

"I think they're yelling at It!"

"OOooooh it just raised Its voice!"

Finally It came stomping out of the room and klip-klopped up to Its office. Many speculated It was spying on the cameras, or listening via intercom. A couple of students even snuck up to Its office to see what it was up to, but couldn't get through the main office to see.

The board deliberated.

And deliberated.

And deliberated.

And then they left. None said a word to me, or to anyone else in the hallway. I don't know if they said a word to The Beast or not. And I can't remember if Mrs. SuperAssistant called me that night, or if it was in the morning she told me the news.

"The board voted not to accept your resignation," she told me. "You have a meeting with The Beast and Mr. President in the morning. The board expects the two of you to erect a plan that will allow for you both to do your jobs sufficiently and get along," she explained. Whew. I was sure that meant the board had agreed I was treated unfairly, and they were going to make sure It was put in Its place.

What I didn't know at the time, was that Mr. President was, how would you say it? Up The Beast's butt? That's a little graphic I guess, but that's what I learned. There were MANY rumors and speculations as to WHY that was the case, but none of that matters. All that mattered at that time was that I was going into a meeting thinking I had the board on my side and a neutral party to supervise the agreement with The Beast.

And I was wrong...

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Motherhood: No Escape Clause

It was a cold December afternoon when I was walking down the baby aisle at Walmart with my mom. I was almost four months pregnant, and starting to show a cute little baby-bump. As was my usual routine, I had come to Walmart with my mom to get our groceries together. Each week I was buying a pack of diapers if I had extra room in my grocery budget so that I would be ready when my little bundle of joy arrived the following summer.

I picked up the teeny diapers and put them in my cart. Being excited about the little rumbly in my tumbly, I decided to look up and down the other aisles. I saw baby toys and teething rings. There were cribs and bouncy seats and bottles.

Then I saw it. A potty chair. A big-kid booster seat. Baby food. Toddler food. Pull-ups. Panties.

My heart began to race. It was a thought that hadn't ONCE crossed my mind until that point. This little baby in my tummy was not going to be a baby forever. It was going to be a KID within a few years. Next year at this time I'd be buying baby food and size 3 diapers. In two years this precious bundle would be walking and talking. Entering the terrible twos. And within four years, it would be a pre-schooler. It would have toys and opinions. Soon it would lose it's teeth and grow awkward knees. It would back-talk and get mad at me.

I freaked out.

"OH MY GOSH," I said, my eyes widening.

"What?" Mom asked me.

"I just realized this baby is going to turn into a kid. I'm not ready for a KID!" I said, panicked.

"It will be ok," she assured me, "you've got plenty of time to get ready. It's not even here yet," she said. I tried to calm myself and not over-react, but the truth was, I was scared.

I had been so consumed with baby fever, I hadn't thought of the long-term effects of this pregnancy. What if this baby turned into a kid who was a brat? What if I didn't like it that much as a kid? You may think these are horrible thoughts, but the truth is I was anticipating sharing my LIFE with a kid I'd never met. It didn't matter that it was my child, I wasn't a parent yet and couldn't comprehend what was to come. All I knew was that a potential ornery boy or dramatic girl was going to enter my life, and I wasn't sure I was ready, but there was no turning back. No escape clause. No second-guessing.

I made peace with it, and as the time got closer, I focused more on preparing for the baby coming and less on the OH MY GOSH WHAT AM I DOING aspect of bringing this child into the world.

A few weeks after Mother's Day, I brought home this little bundle...




...and all my worries were gone.

Fast forward five years. Looking back I wish I could go back and comfort myself. I wish I could give that scared new mama a glimpse of the amazing little person she'd get to share her life with.

I have a little girl who adores me. She wants nothing more from me than love, hugs, and attention. Ok and the occasional Barbie doll or candy bar. She's smart, she's HILARIOUS, and she loves me more than anything. She would do anything in her tiny little power to make me happy or proud. She listens. She behaves. She is "new-yeek" as she would say, and she's everything anyone could ever want in a little girl.



On this weekend five years ago, I was a nervous mama waiting to see how the little person inside me would shape my life. Now, I'm a proud mama with an amazing daughter who means everything to me. On Mother's Day I am reminded of all those insecuriteis and uncertainties, and I am so happy they didn't get the best of me. I'm so glad I didn't weigh those options before I conceived. Maybe I'd have changed my mind.

And I can't imagine doing anything differently :)

Friday, May 6, 2011

The Beast: A Look at the Rules

Before I continue with the story, I just want to address a few things with regard to this series.

The Beast is not the only one who has been awful throughout this time, though It was the one who started it. Many jumped on board with It, casting stones, hunting witches, and crucifying people for their own warped reasons. They jumped to conclusions, aided in the manipulation, and contributed to the bullying. If burning at the steak were legal, they'd do it. "Give us Barabbas!" they'd chant. Mob-type holier-than-thou drones casting judgment and spreading gossip like wildfire kinda people.

For that reason, I changed my comment policy when I began posting this series. That policy is as follows:
  • All comments are sent to me for moderation before they are published. I can choose which ones I publish or delete, and when they are published.
  • I do allow anonymous comments, depending on the content. I don't like anonymous comments, because I personally feel you shouldn't say anything you don't stand behind, but I do realize sometimes because of time-constraints or lack of an active Google account, it's easier to post anonymously (I guess. I'm giving you the cop-out on that one). To me, at least put your e-mail address if nothing else, and own what you say. But whatever.
  • I will not, however, publish snarky comments by anonymous writers. If you wish to attack me personally, have the balls to put your name on it. I have my name, picture, and e-mail on my blog, as well as my Twitter link. My mark is on everything I write, and I own it. There is no point in saying something if you won't stand behind it personally.
  • If your purpose is to knock me down, sorry but you're not gonna throw anything at me I haven't already heard. You'd have to be pretty creative to come up with something I haven't heard before. If your puprose is to "enlighten" others to your point of view, you better own it because otherwise no one else will ever see it.
  • This is MY blog where I write about MY life and MY thoughts. Therefore, I have the power to choose what appears on this site. Comments are welcomed and appreciated, and they don't have to be in agreement with my views, but I do demand respect. And if you have the guts to attack me and put your mark on it, then I'll think about publishing it.
  • Finally, NO comments that personally attack my guest writers, subscribers, family, friends, or other readers will be published. If you have beef with them, find their blog/Facebook/Twitter, and take it up there. I'm not hosting a cyber-bullying ring.
I do thank you, though, for taking time out of your day to read my posts and comment on them. It actually helps me every time someone clicks on a specific post, and it makes my blog more marektable when I have unique readers. Whatever your purpose is, even if it's malicious, you're helping me, so I thank you for that. Happy reading :)

5QF 5/6/11

Ahhh it's Friday. Yay. It's been a busy week here at our house, and my poor house/dishes/laundry have suffered. But, there's always tomorrow, right? It's Mother's Day weekend, which I'm always excited about. I love being a mama, and I'm lucky to have a good mama, and now a super great mother-in-law. I feel blessed.

Anyway, it's time for Five Question Friday :) I have another post brewing, so stay tuned for that today or tomorrow.




1. Have you ever had roommates?

I had a great roommate my first year of college. Her name was Amy and she was sweet as could be. We had a mutual friend, so there were many fun times had in our dorm room that first semester. She left me, though, before the semester was even up, to marry a guy she had just met. Almost twelve years and three kids later, they're still together, and while I was sad to see her go, I'm glad she found her path in life!

The next year I had a roommate named Aundrea. Yeah. Who DOES that? Hmm Andrea and Aundrea. Let's put them in the same room! It was terribly confusing. She was a  nice enough girl, but she liked to be up late, and out late. She liked to party. She liked to talk. A lot. She got on my nerves. A lot. I was never really cut out to have a roommate. I like my own space and my own things. I have to really really love someone to tolerate living with them!

2. How many names do you/your children have? (i.e. Prince Charming William Phillip Arthur Louis John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt)
My Chloshmo just has the traditional three. Chloe Mae Lastname. I flirted with giving her two middle names, but decided against it.

3. Did you watch the Royal Wedding?
That's a big fat NO. I watched one or two clips of it just to see her dress, but the rest of it was of no interest to me at all.


4. What is the messiest room in your house?
Chloe's room. I clean it about every other month, when it has got to the point that I can't walk in there without my blood boiling. Then by day three she's undone everything I did. I leave her in there unsupervised for a matter of minutes, and she's done it. She lacks the skills to pick up as she goes, and I lack the vigor to punish her for it.


5. What is your ideal mothers day?
I would love to have breakfast in bed, spend the day doing something with my hubby and Chloe, like going fishing or out to eat. I would also like a gift certificate for a massage.

But that's not going to happen. We each have mama's who we need to honor, too, and I don't foresee a massage in my near future. So. I'll go to church with my mama and Chloe while he spends time with his mama, then hopefully we'll get together and spend the rest of the day as a family.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Take me out to the ball game...

"You won't need your camera. It's just a first practice," I told myself as I scooted Chloe out the door last night for her first t-ball practice. How I WISH I could've captured the events I'm about to unfold for all to see. No one told me that t-ball practice for four year olds would be such a hoot.

Now, if you know my Chloshmo (or if you know the gene pool from which she emerged), you know she's not so much coordinated athletic. She can't really throw, she can't catch, she can't even pedal for crying out loud. And it's not for lack of trying. It's a combination of her lack of interest, her lack of motivation (she doesn't care if she EVER learns to ride a bike), and her you know, coordination.

However, she loves social activities. She loves being on a team, being in the spotlight, and participating with other kids. When I asked her if she wanted to play t-balll, she sure did! So we signed her up and took her to her practice.

I sat in the stands and watched from afar. She does better when I'm far enough away she can't interact with me at all. Some moms sat very close and shouted instructions to their kids when they didn't listen to the coach, but I wasn't going to interfere. I watched them in the outfield first. They did some hitting and catching practice. Chloe squatted in the grass, picking tiny flowers from the ground, smiling each time she found another one. Balls rolled past her, people called her name, but she was pre-occupied.

She focused a little better when they came to the infield and began practicing "for real." Most of the kids ran to the wrong bases, didn't drop the bat, or commited other "first-timer" infractions. When Chloe grabbed a ball that had been hit and started running for first base two steps ahead of the runner, I was proud. I smiled as she beat him to the base, getting him out.

"Step on the base, Chloe!" the coach yelled. She put her foot on the base.

Then she put her other foot on the base.

Then she did a little dance, swinging her hips and singing a song I couldn't make out. She chatted it up with the base-runner who didn't know he was "out." Chloe didn't know either. She kept dancing. And singing. The coaches kept hollering at her. She kept dancing.

Finally she snapped back to reality and went to hit. She hit the ball right past another little girl sitting in the dirt drawing pictures with her finger. She made it to first safely, and back around to home. Then she joined the little dirt girl drawing pictures.

The coaches had done about all they could do with the short attention spans, and were losing the attention of all the kids. Finally the coach piped up, "OK how about we have a a snack and go home?!"

Chloe's head popped up, she shot to her feet and screamed, "WOOOOOHOOOOO! Snack time!" She hustled over to the coach, emiting so much team spirit. If only she had that zeal on the field :)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

"I'll NEVER...."

I happened to be in town yesterday during Sonic's "happy hour," and couldn't pass up a Sonic Coke. Chloe and I pulled in and ordered our drinks. She decided she wanted mozzarella sticks (why don't they have half-price appetizers??), so we sat there so she could eat her food.

While we were sitting there chatting, an old lady pulled up beside us. She got out of her car and headed straight toward the bathroom entrance.

When she first exited her car, I wondered if she'd chosen Sonic as a place to stop, or if she was planning on getting food there but had to use the bathroom first. Was she a resident, or was she passing through? Was she going to meet someone, or coming from her Senior Aerobics class? Did she crave Sonic Cokes too? My mind is a crazy place ;)

Then as she walked toward the door, I began looking at her crushed velvet pant-suit thing and wondered to myself if that was "one of those things." You know, the things you swear when you're a teenager you'll NEVER do when you get old?

Things that, when you get older, you realize you maybe have no control over, you can learn to accept, or you just don't care about?

For example. In my teen years, I likely said the following things:

"I'll always wear sunscreen. I'm NOT going to be wrinkly or freckly."

"I'll make sure I NEVER get stretch-marks."

"I'll never dye my hair. I'm going to age gracefully."

"I would NEVER consider owning a mini-van!"

"I'll never lose my temper with MY kids."

"Gravity won't affect MY perky boobs!"

"I would NEVER poop in a public bathroom!"

"I'll NEVER let myself get THAT fat. Even if I have kids, I'll get my body RIGHT back."

As you have probably guessed, I found that as I aged my attitude changed a little. Some of the things were uncontrollable. Things that, despite my best efforts, happened anyway. Things I've had to learn to accept about myself and my body. Things I've realized that, though they might not be "cool," are practical. So, will a velvet pant-suit one day be the comfortable, practical solution for my retirement body? I kinda hope not.

But then something else happened.

As I was eyeing the pant-suit thing, the lady began to fuss with the door handle. You have to turn it up instead of down, and it took her a minute to figure it out. And just as she figured out which way to turn it, I saw it.


Drip.


               Drip.



                                          Flow.

Yep. She was peeing her pants. I was immediately grossed out.

But then I felt bad. Obviously she didn't *mean* to pee her pants. If she knew I saw her, I know she'd be mortified (and here I am, telling the whole world). It's probably one of those things that you don't understand until you get old and get plagued by it.

What saddened me is that I could see that being me.

"I'm NOT buying Depends. I will stop as often as I have to, but I am NOT buying Depends."

Heck even after having a kid I've noticed my bladder is weaker than it once was.

Will I be that lady one day? Running to use a public toilet (something I do only in DIRE emergencies, and even then I hover) and peeing right there on the Sonic sidewalk as teenagers and young people snicker and point?

I hope not.

But I guess that's another one of those things I better think about as a possibility rather than being "SO GLAD THAT WILL NEVER BE ME!"

'Cause it could be me.

It could be you.

You just never know what age will bring, unfortunately. And I don't quite like making the best of it sometimes.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Meme Monday and a Celebration!

Ok, let's celebrate first! In April I broke 1,000 blog views for the first time ever! I know, to some of you that is small potatoes, but it's a first for me, and even though my blog popularity is gaining slowly, it's also steady! I'm really excited about this. I think my Beast series has upped my readership a lot, bringing folks back who might not normall re-visit. BUT, I only have two Beast posts in my top ten viewed posts, so I must be doing something right in other areas as well :)

Anyway, it's a quiet Monday night here at our house, and while I have a few good blogs in mind, I thought I'd end the day with Meet Me on Monday. I hardly ever do this one, because I prefer 5QF, but I like the questions this week, so here it is!

1. What is your favorite kind of muffin?
I like blueberry muffins best over-all, but my super most favorite muffin ever of all time was the Perkins chocolate chocolate-chip muffin! MMmmmm. It's like a big huge brownie muffin cross-bred breakfast super-hero! If they don't have the chocolate, though (ours rarely does anymore), I settle for their big ole' blueberry as a close second. They really do have the best muffins!


2. What was the first car you ever owned?
My first car was a 1989 Ford Escort GT. Hatchback. It was a maroon little two-door hatch that had 89,000 miles on it when I bought it in 1997. I worked at Harry's Place Soda Fountain inside the local pharmacy to make my 100.00 monthly payment and buy my gas. That Christmas my dad put chrome wheels and new tires on it, and though it wasn't the coolest car in town, I was proud of it. It felt good to have the freedom of not only a license, but a car I paid for myself. I loved it! Her name was Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang, and she was good to me for many years! In 2002 I finally let her go when I bought my Grand Am, and I still miss her from time-to-time and all the memories we had!

3. Which TV Show were you sad to see end?
I hated when Friends was over. I absolutely loved that show, and I watched it every week---wrapped up in the Ross/Rachel love story as any girl could be. It was new when I was in like 8th grade or something, so I really did grow up with it. I still watch the re-runs, and it seriously NEVER gets old!

I also hated to see ER go off, because I loved it, too, but by the time it ended, there wasn't much left of the original cast anyway, so it wasn't AS traumatic to me. Plus Grey's Anatomy came in and kind of took its place so that softened the blow!

4. What is your lucky number?
Seven. Not JUST seven, but seven in any number. For example, 17 or 27. I don't know that it's really "lucky," but it's one of those numbers I just really like. It's odd, which I prefer, and for whatever reason it's just appealing to me.
5. Pretzels or Potato Chips?
Ooooh remember Mrs. Phipps Pretzel Chips? Those were my FAVORITE! Best of both worlds...do they still make those??  Anyway, It really depends on my mood, but I think if I have to pick, I'd pick pretzels. I can eat them anytime and I don't really get tired of them. Ever. They're the perfect balance of crunch and salt. I especially like the pretzel sticks. Ooh and those big mall pretzels. Auntie Anne's? Aunt Annie's? Whoever she is she's got the pretzel makin' DOWN! YUM!

Here's to having a good week! Happy Monday (what's left of it)!

The Beast: A Guest Post

Guest writer, Landon Isabell, better known to you as "Monty," has written a post about his part in my Beastly saga. Although he was SO unaware of SO MUCH at the time, his perspective is an important part of the series. Enjoy, and please leave comments for him! I'm very proud of the writing skills I hope I contributed to!


I’d walked into her classroom every day of my freshman year taking a deep breath and feeling like I could relax. After going through six classes that comprised a schedule one might call hell for a freshman, I always felt like I could come into Mrs. Lastname’s class and take it easy while still learning something pertinent.

She was strict but kind; she taught a much more rigorous course than the alternative, Mrs. Idiocy. Some would ask, “Why in the world would you take the harder teacher?!”. However, I never regretted my decision to take her class. I actually thanked God every day that I had [taken it], even a month into the school year. All along I knew that the alternative would result in an easy A, but also quite the gap in my English education. Mrs. Lastname’s class prepared me in a way that no alternative could have, and I still use tools that she taught me.

Going through a single day at Hell High School was enough to make a kid want to go home and fret -- and that’s exactly what I did. Was it because of my teachers? Partially. But mostly, even my freshman year, my stress was due to the evil workings of The Beast. The PRINCIPAL of my high school. If It were reading this today (God knows, It probably is), It would chuckle. It would love that It made me unhappy; It would smile! It may do a little dance around a fire with Its Spawn not far behind. I don’t know what kind of rituals The Beast practices, but I know It makes it Its prerogative to make the lives of good people miserable.
One of those good people was Mrs. Lastname. She taught Shakespeare without missing a beat; every student understood Romeo and Juliet. She drilled grammar into our noggins until we could quote every participle form of every irregular verb diligently. But for some strange, strange reason, The Beast took delight in making Mrs. Lastname miserable. I’ve learned much more extensively over the years just how awful It really was to my favorite teacher, but I knew enough just my freshman year to get worked up and write a letter to the school board.

Now, here’s where I find this saga to be so ironic, and truthfully, quite sad. I wrote the letter that is now included in The Beast: Part 13, not yet knowing 95 percent of what actually occurred. A couple of my buddies had ridden to a sports event with The Beast at some point during the heat of the mass chaos Mrs. Lastname was experiencing, and The Beast (being the unprofessional, above-the-law albatross that It is) shared some confidential information with said buddies. She told them, “Mrs. Lastname is a worthless teacher and you should be so glad that I didn’t allow you two to take her class. But don’t worry, she won’t be around next year to mess anything up.”

Now, any respectable human being should see the shame and illegality of the aforementioned statement. It was not only unprofessional, tasteless, and immature, but it was downright unnecessary. Why did It need to tell these 15-year-old boys how It felt about Mrs. Lastname? What was Its prerogative? I’ll never know. What’s more frightening, however, is that upon examining this statement, one should be angered by more than the mere fact that It said such things to students of the high school which It ruled, that It shared privileged information.... But this statement proves that It actually had the gall to hand-pick Its favorite students (friends of Its Spawn), and insist that they not take Mrs. Lastname as a teacher the summer before they even entered high school. It undermined the staff, over-abused Its power (yet again), and set those students up to believe for the rest of their high school careers that they were “special” and “taken-care-of.” It’s disgusting.

This is the first piece of information that I had upon writing the letter. The second, was also a trivial piece of information in the grand scheme of things, come to find out. I was simply told by a friend that she had substantial evidence that Mrs. Lastname had been forced to resign and that the entire situation was against her will. Period. I had already heard enough at this premature point, and proceeded to type out what I was determined to use not only put The Beast to sleep, to put It in Its place, but to save Mrs. Lastname at the same time. She didn’t deserve it, and come to find out she suffered so much more. It simply wasn’t fair.

The day finally came for me to read my letter before the board, and I was quite nervous. After all, I’d still three years of high school to endure before I was out of there. But I'll never regret my decision. It was the most liberating experience, seeing those 70ish signatures embody into a group of supporters as I walked in to read my statement. It was the most amazing feeling to experience that support. Support for me became support for Mrs. Lastname, and vice versa. It was SO worth it.
 
Sure, I was nervous. What if The Beast found out? What if It went on to target me next? Oh, and did It ever. Until my junior year, at the end of which I would finally leave Hell High School for a “normal” high school experience, It turned to me in every way possible. It went to great lengths -- and succeeded -- in fudging my GPA so that Its Spawn could be valedictorian instead of me. And in that aspect, It sure won. Whoopie, Its Spawn has a nice lookin’ GPA from Podunk Hell High School, but absent from the bubble of HHS will likely never make it as anything more than a pretty face and an empty mind.But what do I have? I have a 3.989 GPA and a diploma from an ACCREDITED high school that just-so-happens to be the largest, most prestigious public high school in the state of Missouri.
 
Best of all? I’m out. And Mrs. Lastname is out. And The Beast is still there. Though It's no longer in full power, It has procured Itself a nice support group of superintendents, board members, and other Hell High School staff so that It may continue Its shenanigans in peace and without resistance. It's yet to be stopped, sure. But meh, Hell High School deserves her. In the mean time, we who escaped are living our lives without misery, stress, or constant ridicule. And I’d venture to say that we’re quite happy.