Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy for the Holidays

I had to run out yesterday to do some errands.  I didn't want to.  I try to adhere to a strict "do not go out one week prior to or post christmas" schedule.  I always fail, but I always try.  People get mean around this time of year, which is weird.  They also get stupid.  Which is also weird.
This is "the most wonderful time of the year".  Somewhere along the line people have forgotten that the season does that all by itself.  It is wonderful.  People come home (well not all people, it would be nice if everyone got to go home).  We are celebrating the birth of the lord Jesus.  Or we are celebrating a miracle over seven days if we are Jewish.  Or we are celebrating unity of a people if we are celebrating Kwanzaa.  Or we are celebrating the solstice.  There are as many winter celebrations as there are denominations.  Not a single one of them requires the level of stress and nastiness we place upon ourselves...and others.
I digress.  I went out yesterday to pick up a prescription from the doctor's office, dog food, and some sundry groceries.  I wouldn't have gone if the flu hadn't kept me from doing it earlier in the week.  I was dreading the experience.  I was still weak and tired and the thought of the stairs at the doctor's office and the forty pound bag of dog food were daunting.  As I pulled onto the main road I immediately noticed the marked increase in traffic.  There were people every where.....driving like they had never been behind the wheel before.  Crazy tailgating weavers.  Cell phone talking distracted drivers.  People driving 10 mph UNDER the speed limit.  People turning left from the main lane instead of getting in the turn lane.  Still I forged on.  The doctors office was quick in and out.  Petsmart however was slammed.  WTH....people need last minute pet gifts?  I parked a way aways and walked down the aisle towards the store.  Then I stood while six cars raced past me, refusing to let me cross over to the store.  There was a bigger gap after the sixth so I walked across 7 flipped me off.  Nice.  The aisle in the pet store were full of people who seemed oblivious to the fact that they and their cart took up the entire aisle....and that when someone said "excuse me" the evil eye was not an appropriate response.  I saw a poor woman with a picture printed from the internet wander the aisles the whole time I was in there, the staff finally helped her as I was checking out.
When I was on my way to the grocery store, I decided to smile at everyone I saw.  Since its a local grocery store, its pretty easy - I always see people I know.  I smiled at the old lady and old man who scowled at me as I passed them in produce (they were moving at the speed of snail).  I smiled at another teacher and at our tech lady.  I smiled at the lady trying to keep her kid in the cart.  I do owe an apology to the woman who offered me a sample of eggnog ice cream.  I grimaced.  It was too close to vomit time to even think that sounded interesting, I couldn't help it.
When I got home I was tired and frazzled.  Had I done enough?  There were so many things I didn't do, decorations I didn't put up, items I didn't buy.  Were my kids going to have the best Christmas?  Why did I have to get sick during crunch time?  Then I got online and read my facebook and the blogs I follow....
Here's what I learned - a friend's mom got admitted to the hospital, a friend's baby won't be home for christmas after all, a friend's crazy ex sent a christmas card (another in a long string of psychological abuses), a friend is missing her BFF who died earlier this year, a boy will be spending christmas in the psych ward after his father walked out on the family, several friends are just now getting this flu, a friend's brother got in a car accident....
I looked at my wacky boys, writing letters to Santa, wondering if they should make him a gift, if he will like the cookies.  They are excited to go see their friend in a Christmas pageant at church tonight.  They are excited to go see lights tomorrow.
The magic of the season isn't in what you did or did not buy.  The magic of the season is in your family and friends.  The magic of the season is in being imperfect.  For me, tomorrow is the day I celebrate that from humble roots, in a manger full of animals, in a bed of straw, a king was born!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

How I almost peed my pants in Walmart.

Walmart is the butt of many jokes.  The stuff there is cheap.  A lot of times the stores are trashed or dirty (although our new superwalmart seems to always be mostly neat and clean).  And the people of Walmart....well you know their website.

So yesterday I cleaned for an hour, moved boxes to storage for six, cleaned for another hour, then had to go grocery shopping.  I was lamenting the need to go to the store.  I was tired.  I hadn't showered.  And most of all I was in my sweat pants and a hoodie so I looked like heck (cuz I don't own a nice sweat suit).
I had an epiphany....I didn't need to go to the grocery store I usually go to...where I run into people I know all the time....I would go to SuperWalmart.

Every time I say SuperWalmart I think the store should be wearing a cape somewhere.  The cape would have a giant T on it for tacky.  So I haul my tired butt in the truck and drive with my big ole list to wally-world.  In addition to buying groceries I needed to get things to stage my house....a few more lamps, replacement bulbs, stuff to decorate a classy tree not the fun kid centered tree I usually do, air freshener en masse (I live with boys....they spread funkiness).  As I am looking for a parking spot I am almost hit TWICE by people on their cell phones....a man driving across the lanes in a big hurry to get who-knows-where and a woman who passed me later still looking for a spot.  I am feeling pretty confident as I walk in. I had seen about twenty people worse dressed than me as I was parking....including a pair in matching neon green pants.  Meander into the store, turn to grab a cart, and run into a girl from school and her mom who worked with my husband.  So much for going incognito.  Sweatpants, greasy hair in pony tail, no make up, big ole zit greeting people on its on....hellooo people I know.  Rats!

SO, midway through trying to choose some not tacky Christmas tree decor my phone rings.  I am meandering the aisles chatting with my bestie.  I am doing the time honored drive the cart with one hand and one elbow alternating with the two hands while precariously balancing the phone on my ear method.  Chat chat chat SCREAM "OH MY GOD!  Ohmygodohmygodohmygod"  My bff says "what happened"  I am still recovering from the shock of the small grey mouse that just ran right in front of my cart, leapt across the aisle and disappeared under the display on the other side.  My heart is racing and I am short of breath as I explain.  She laughs and says "that's unusual...they usually don't come out in the day time". daylight savings screwed up the mouse clocks too....  I put her on hold and tell the sales associate at the end of the aisle, who already is laughing at me.  He tells me its his pet.  I consider leaving my cart of crap and going to the bathroom, but am afraid of getting mice in my I trooper though it and scurry home to pee in the safety of my own home....where my hubby also found it quite funny....

A girl can't get any sympathy....maybe I'll start a FB support group for Mice attacks at Walmart.
Merry Christ-mouse :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

From my Facebook

This received a lot of compliments on FB so I thought I'd move it to here for my non FB friends and millions of followers (lol)

A soldier came home today to Chatham.  Not to cheers and joyous hugs but to tears and broken hearts.  This soldier came home not riding a grand parade of motorcycles or on a jeep but in the back of a hearse.  This soldier came home to the most amazing, saddest, most heart wrenchingly beautiful welcome I think I have ever experienced.

People gathered lining Route 4 as far as the eye could see.  Both directions.  Both sides of the road.  Boy Scouts in uniform.  Flags waving from strollers to senior citizens.  As the motorcade got closer to where we were standing and the police lined the intersections and stopped traffic the crowd moved to the very edge of the road.  The Chatham cherry picker fire engine raised its bucket displaying a flag and turning on its lights.  As the first glimpse of the motorcade itself people raised their flags and put their hands over their hearts.  The Illinois Patriot Guard roared through.  Probably fifty of the most diverse group of riders you'll see united for this cause.  Emergency vehicles from Chatham, Illinois State Police, Sangamon County Sheriff, and Rochester preceded the hearse.  People raised their flags and put their hands on their hearts.  As the soldier's ride came into view, silence covered the land.  Conversations stopped.  Children sensed the change in atmosphere and stopped talking.  Even the birds were silent.  Never have I heard the town square so quiet.  Even the car motors seemed muted.  My arms were covered in goose bumps and tears ran down my cheeks.

The rest of the procession was a line of distraught family and friends.  People my age.  An older woman, perhaps Grandma? crying while raising her hand and thanking the crowd.  Stoic soldiers, young boys who barely looked old enough to shave, dressed to the nines in their uniforms.  A large Harley riding man with tears on his cheeks streaming into his beard.

When it was over and the roads were open everyone paused for a second, the spell was broken and just like that we got to go back to our lives.  Just like that we were fine.  Just like that we were done.  

But today a soldier came home to his a box.  Today a momma had to prepare to bury her we could be do you say thank you for that?

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Why I hate the Iphone....and other cellular pet peeves

I have a pet peeve specific to the Iphone.  Don't get me wrong there are other phone users who make the same grievous faux pas but it seems that if you get an Iphone it becomes imperative that you do there is some mind altering frequency being emitted from the earpiece...
It goes something like this...

You are in a restaurant (insert other public place or social gathering) and of course everyone takes their phones out and sets them in sight in case the sitter/spouse (or someone more important than the people you are with) calls/texts.  Inevitably two people will have iphones.  They then grab their phones and start "bumping," comparing apps or looking through websites together.  Their need to show off their toy leads them to start this elite club and exclude them from the rest of the group.  Everyone else is chatting and socializing.  They are chiming in every now and again with a "look at this thing my phone can do" and show you a pair of rolling dice or a zippo you can light by shaking the phone.  When you get home you discover fifteen pics and status updates from the evening on their facebook which is funny b/c they would have had more fun actually interacting with the people there rather than having a playdate with their phone and five of their phone's closest friends.

I get irritated with the lack of social skills of many cell phone users.  My husband thinks I am overreacting and not changing with the times.  I truly think, however, that chatting on the phone while in the car is rude to the other people who might like to be chatting with you in person.  Texting and updating your FB status while in a small group social setting is also rude.  I have texted people while out socially but generally they go like this "where are you?" "when are you getting here" or "are the children ok and the house still standing"

Cell phones are great things.  Gone are the days of leaving sixteen emergency numbers for the sitters.   Gone are the days of having to find a pay phone and risking scary cootie germie bugs to call someone while out.  Gone are the days of having to answer the phone when my mother in law calls (now she calls my husband's phone exclusively...not sure she even has my number).  I just worry that we have created a huge umbilical cord to the cyberworld, so much so that we can't go more than a few minutes without checking email, FB, or blogs/message boards.  The world wide web is great but it will never replace an actual friend and a real social relationship.....

Sunday, October 17, 2010

The Greatest Show on Earth

Took the kids to see the circus yesterday.  We had the best time.  I had seen the Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey circus as a child and really wanted to take the kids to see it too.  I kept getting scared off by ticket prices.  This time I threw grown-up-ness to the wind and got them.

The boys were so excited to see their first circus.  Brian had never been to a circus before so this was his first as well.  We got there an hour early so we could see the all access pre-show.  They let everyone down on the floor and have different rings set up so you can see and try different activities and meet the performers.  We got to meet the girl who does the acrobat act in the rings while Dylan tried on some really LOUD costume jackets from the wardrobe.  Brenden got to have a tug of war with a couple of the clowns during one of their bits and had a hat juggler throw him a hat (which he totally messed up throwing back and almost hit another spectator in the face).  We got to see the stilt walkers up close and get tattoos from a couple dancers.  We watched Kelli the Elephant paint a picture with a paintbrush and easel.  We got our own clown noses.  It was quite the experience.  There was so much to look at I didn't know where to start.

Then we got to our seats.  The kids were mesmerized by the lights and sounds.  There were tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, a motorcylist tight rope rider, motorcycles in a metal ball, tigers, horses, a dog riding a horse, contortionists, elephants, llamas, ponies, clowns, singing, name it.  The show went on for two hours with only a short intermission.  The smoothness of the transitions between acts was so fluid you hardly noticed it.  The real stars of the show are the and silent like ninjas.....although enough can't be said for the way the physical stunts were done and looked so effortless despite the stamina they took.

 I did learn some things about myself at the circus... First, not all clowns freak me out.  Usually they make me uncomfortable and something in my head screams "potential pedophile".....don't know why.  I guess a combination of the news and Stephen King have ruined them for me for life....  Second, contortionists do freak me out.  During their bit I had to keep looking away.  There is something wrong with being able to fit three adult women in a tiny glass cube.  and your head should never be able to look upside down at your butt.  Third....either tigers, elephants, llamas, or ponies make my nose runny and itchy.  I have a dog so I ruled that one animal out.

After the circus we were going to go bum at the zoo since its free in St Louis.  However after thirty minutes of waiting in traffic, the lot for the zoo closed.  We instead went to a park in the area and played with our boomerang that we bought at the circus while waiting for dinner time.  When we were all tired out we went to the Hill neighborhood for dinner.  We ended up getting there kind of early so we wandered through an authentic Italian corner store.  We went back after dinner to pick up some real italian groceries for dinner this week and some gelato for dinner.

I would be remiss, however if I didn't tell you about dinner.  We went to Cunettos on the Hill.  OMG....homemade italian pasta.  I started my meal with one of the best house salads EVER.  Our waitress was this sweet italian lady (as in English is my second language) who doted on the boys and kept telling me how handsome they were.  I ordered some fettucini carbonara which came in this bathtub sized bowl.  I ate until I thought I was going to explode and had two more meals to take home.  Dyl got ravioli which he inhaled and then used a spoon to eat all the sauce off (which if you know captain picky pants never happens).  The waitress came by while he was spooning the sauce and then came back with a side order of spaghetti (gratis) because she felt worried that he was going to be hungry.

It ended up being close to 9pm when we got home (there was a closed expressway and a detour).  We had left at 8am.  (Brian and I had gone to see a band the night before so we were operating on about four hours sleep).  The most amazing thing was, there was very little whining, bickering, or yelling yesterday.  Our trip to the greatest show on earth lead to one of the greatest family days on earth that we've had in a long time....and I have 350 pics to remember it by :)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sandpaper People

God talks to me.  Not in that crazy, we have a glass of wine and he advises me on my stock options kind of way.  Not in the call the guys in the white coats with the straight jackets kind of way.  But he talks to me.

Yesterday I checked in on my favorite girlfriends daily devotional blog (which is only daily if I actually had time to check it daily instead of randomly).  The topic was loving others the way they are and loving unconditionally.  Including Sandpaper People.  You know Sandpaper people.  The ones who rub all your nerves raw.  The ones who you duck into a storage closet to avoid when you see them coming down the hall.  The ones who make you tense and uncomfortable.  As I read this I had an image of a person pop into my head.

Tonight I went to my Why Catholic? class.  As much as it sounds super geeky it is a type of bible study/catechism study group for adults.  We look at the church's belief tenets and their roots in the scripture and talk about them in terms of the real world.  We have a group of eight and have excellent, deep discussions.  It is one of my favorite two hours of the week.  Our discussion topic tonight?  Love one another as I love you.....and the 10 commandments. everyone?  Even the sandpaper people.

It is amazing though if you stop and think of the basic premise of the 10 commandments in terms of the big picture.  Have faith, don't want what you haven't got, be nice, don't take what isn't yours.   Hmmmmm....have faith.  Not kill people because they don't have YOUR faith.  Just have A FAITH in GOD....
Don't want what isn't yours, don't be jealous, don't take it if it isn't yours.  True riches are intangible things. Love, the laughter of children, the wisdom of elders, friendship.  No amount of money will buy you those things.  Jealousy breeds contempt, anger, competition.  Have you ever worked really hard on your house and fallen into bed at night full of satisfaction and exhaustion?  Was that feeling awesome?  How about when you have done something you know was probably not your shining moment of good-ness?  Was that feeling as good?
What if countries followed this motto? Here are our borders.  We'll stay out of yours and treat you like we would like to be treated.

What if I followed this motto?  What if I was kind to the Sandpaper Person in my life.  The one I have ranted and raved to my husband about.  The one I say is self centered and disrespectful.  What if instead of saying hurtful things behind her back and totally avoiding her I stepped up and treated her the way I would like to be treated, with kindness.  With respect and dignity.  With a smile and a compliment or kind word.  How would that change my days?

I will let you know....

Monday, October 11, 2010

Things that make you go "WHUCK?"

Whuck is my new favorite word.  I acquired it from my reading of a blog titled "Rants from Mommyland"
It rocks.  It is a curse without actually being a curse.  It works perfectly for describing some of the more ludicrous things I experience this:

My hubby bought me a new flat iron for my birthday.  It is fabulous because where as I go in and buy the $14.99 special he actually goes to the beauty supply and asks which one within a certain price range is the best and then actually spends money on it.  It came with a manual entitled USER INSTRUCTIONS which has helpful information in three languages.  I bet you didn't know that there were five pages of necessary instructions and safety warnings involved with a basic flat iron (I think I was even a huge rebel and and used it before reading the directions....despite the warning to really thoroughly before use).  Among the informational gems are:

*Do not use while bathing.   Damn...I was going to save time by shampooing and straightening at the same time.....

*Do not place in or drop into water or other liquid.   --- There goes my plan to iron my hair and stir my coffee with it

*Close supervision by an experienced adult is needed when this appliance is used by, on, or near children or invalids. ---- Hmmmm....not even sure what to say about this one

*This appliance is hot when in use (nahhh really?!?) Do not let eyes touch heated surfaces. -- I might have a larger than normal head but HOW THE HECK WOULD I TOUCH MY EYE TO THE FLAT IRON? Pretty sure unless it is popping out of my head the fact that the iron doesn't open flat would prevent that.....

*Never use while sleeping ---- This one is my favorite.  I am a secret sleep hairstylist...its a rare form of sleep walking.  Glad they warned me of the dangers.....

*Never drop or insert any object into any opening.  --- Does this mean I may not use it to insert the chocolate candy into my open mouth....

*Do not use outdoors or operate where aerosol spray products are being used or where oxygen is being administered. --- And I so like to take mine camping and to the ICU....  I am confused how to use my hairspray in a different room and then run back to the bathroom where I use the flat iron without the hairspray drying in the process.....

Now don't you feel safer already.  The scary part for me is that these were probably all written in response to some idiot's lawsuit.  I tried to pass it off as a bad translation from Chinese to English until I saw the fine print... distributed by ****, Omaha, NE......

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Big Slacker Weekend

Everyone who knows me is aware that the situation at work this year is sucking the life from me as quickly as Edward Cullen sucks the blood from a bear.  Not the best analogy but it at least puts a positive spin on the negative truth about my current situation.....
This weekend I decided to be big giant slacker girl.  After a month and ten days of working a minimum of two hours at home (and those nights were the ones I fell asleep at the keyboard) in addition to my fifty hour work week I did nothing this weekend.  I did not clean my bathrooms.  I did not work on my weekly plans.  I did not fill out any forms.
I did go shopping, but I sandwiched groceries in between a couple of stops that were purely for me me me.
I did do laundry....but just because I was about out of underwear and I wanted to wash my new clothes.

Instead I made Saturday a designated "I am not talking about work" day and my husband took the rugrats to my in laws.  He came home, we had lunch and nap time in the silent house.  I slept for TWO HOURS without once hearing a fight or a crash and then we went to pick up my sister at college.  After a nice dinner at Joe's Crab Shack we went to see Weezer christen Bradley University's new arena (which I believe still is without a name....).
The arena was clean and still smelled of carpet glue and paint....mingled with popcorn and nachos from the concession stand.  It was also SMALL.  Our seats were about halfway up off to stage right.  I could see facial expressions on the people up halfway on stage left!  I could see the sweat on the band members.  After a while of people watching (in which I saw a herd of peeps in black and grey striped shirts and an easy dozen of some of the skankiest dressed girls ever!  -- this is why God didn't give me girls.  Had my daughter ever walked out in something as short and tight and sparkly as some of these girls had on I'd have to bury her.....seriously one dress was so tight I swear I could see the chic's ass pimples) the opening act took stage.  Unicycle loves you....they sucked....and that's all I have to say about that....
Then came Weezer.  I have seen a lot of really really freakin' awesome concerts.  This one was the most ENERGETIC ever.  The drummer and the guitar player kept switching positions.  Rivers played guitar and drank water while jumping on a trampoline.  Then Rivers toured the arena.....
When I say this I mean he climbed off stage up chairs over railings and walked completely around the entire venue....including standing in the seat right in front of us!  He was so close the words of my friend Erin echoed in my head "you go give Rivers a big ole smooch from me".  I could have.  He was that close.  He held my sister's hand.  He shook my husband's hand.  I touched his butt....Yep.  Not my most mature moment.  BUT (pun intended) I couldn't just smooch him...too chicken...this was more stealth.
I am sure his security guards were having coronaries but it brought such an energy to the venue.  It was an amazing show and well worth the seven plus hours of driving total (between kid drop/pick up, sister pick up and return, and us driving to the venue) and getting in at 1am.
I rolled out of bed at 11 this morning.  I haven't managed to get out of my pjs or even put on a bra.  I put dinner in the crockpot and caught up on all my DVRed shows.  I feel almost ready to tackle Monday....I haven't prepared for it in any way but relaxing and for now that's just fine....cuz I touched Rivers Cuomo's hotness!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My dirty little secret

I know you have been waiting with baited breath for a gossipy dirt flinging post.  Here it is.  Just for you!

I went and bought DDR (Dance Dance Revolution) for my youngest who is perpetually making up dances to things like: kidz bop, commercials, his Ipod, elevator music, songs in church...etc.  SECRETLY I wanted to play too.

I know you are shocked and amazed.  Me the pudgy white girl wanted to play DDR....
Here's your next shocker....I really really suck at it.  Despite what years of dancing at bars and clubs with my friends may have lead me to believe....I really really can't dance.  Two years of sporadic Zumba attendance may have made me sweat but has done nothing for my coordination.  I have enough Irish to appreciate potatoes and alcohol but not enough to make my feet move in any specific pattern or in coordination with some blinky arrows.

On the upside, Brian can't dance either.  We did some versions of Ice Ice Baby and My Prerogative that I am positive made Vanilla Ice and Bobby Brown break out in old fat uncoordinated white folk hives.  There may have been some small seismic effect from our bad-ness.  I am sure there is some strange bubble in the space time continuum just from the sheer effort it took for us to be as bad as we were.  We failed on BEGINNER....we failed on dance school.

Despite the phenomenon known as my "really bad dancing"  I think I might crack out the mat again while the kids are out riding their bikes and my husband is napping.  I am sure it was their laughing at me that made me so bad.....

Monday, September 6, 2010

Second Verse

Worse than the first?
I decided to get over the accidental deletion of my first blog in the fiasco I have named "The Great Hacker Caper of 2010" and try my hand at this again.

We went camping this weekend.  It was supposed to be something we did a lot this summer but with Brian's injury it just didn't happen.  When the fliers for boy scouts came home the boys started clamoring for the chance to join.  Not wanting to sell our souls and mortgage our house, we asked for the things they thought they would get to do with boy scouts that they wouldn't get to do otherwise.  They want to shoot bb guns, race model cars, camp and canoe.   Except for the pinewood derby I can recreate all of that at half the price and without the uniform so.....

After church on Sunday we packed up the truck and went to Meijer to get all the things we forgot we needed.  Light packers we are not.  We managed to load the entire back of the Pathfinder with all the stuff we needed for an overnight stay at a "primitive" campground.  Among the "necessities" were some nerf dart guns that my husband had so enjoyed at the BBQ Birthday party Saturday night.   I am hoping that is as close to a BB gun my kids get.  Since my husband comes from a hunting family, I have my doubts.

But I digress.  We finally made it to the campground at just before 3pm.  Got everything set up.  Decided against putting the rainfly on the tent.  It was a gorgeous, cloud free day.  A breeze blew through the campsite and sent butterflies and dragonflies scattering through the clearing.  The boys decided to take a mountain bike ride (and no comments about the lack of mountains in know what I mean).  Dyl's first ride lasted exactly fifteen min from helmeting up and getting back.  Evidently he wiped out and cried and came back to camp.  I have one sports boy and one mini me....

We decide to play nerf guns, croquet, frisbee and just hang out for a bit.  Then it occurs to us that it will get dewy....THATs why we needed the rain fly.  By then the breeze had graduated to a mild wind.  We manage to wrangle the damn thing over the top of the tent and straight over the other side.  Take two....we pull it gently half way then quickly attach two hooks while the thing blows over.  We grab the unattached side and drag it across again.  At this point I should mention that I am five foot three.  Reaching over the top of our ridiculously big tent is not in my skill set without a step stool.  But with a combination of jumping and tip toeing we get it across and fastened on the other two corners.  Step back and look....ummm...its the wrong way.  We take it off.  It flies all whackamajammy.  We try to put it on again.  Wrong again.  Try again.  Finally four tries in we get the dang fly on.  The tent adventure was done till we had to put it up today.

Camping is not generally my thing.  The hole in the ground potties.  The lack of running water.  The weird bugs and strange night noises.  I really enjoyed this though.  Life has been so chaotic and loud lately it was nice to be surrounded by silence.  There were other campers at the site but we rarely saw or heard them.  For fifteen minutes I was sitting in the sun looking up at a scalding blue sky and just feeling balanced.  It was just what the doctor ordered....along with a side of benadryl....