Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Is It Over Yet ~ Almost?!?

One more day and it's over. We can ring in 2009, which, in my case anyway, has to be better... Hell, I'm due if nothing else! But I am not, by any stretch of the imagination, the only one that's due.

This year has been mediocre highs and low lows. Really, was it only me that found this year to only be so-so in the good department, any highs being left over from previous times? And somehow, it managed to present us with such sub-basement lows, that in the physical, would have been wholly impossible to accomplish within the laws of physics; you shouldn't be able to sink that far that fast without being up higher to start with, but 2008 overrode the natural laws that way.

And yet, the weird thing is, I'm not all excited to celebrate it's exit. Don't get me wrong in the slightest, I'm Happy As Hell to see this year gone, but it's left me wrung out... tired... mopey... I just want to go to sleep tomorrow night and wake up in the new year. Oh, I'll stay up and watch the ball drop, but I'm only doing it to make sure that I don't get caught in that Groundhog Day movie and have to live this year over and over and over again... with Bill Murray... and that would only be cool, if I could get him to do his lines as Carl from Caddyshack.

Because I'm hoping that 2009 will have me as the "Cinderella Story". That inspiration and purpose will renew itself once I'm freed of the shackles of 2008. So let me say goodbye to this year in the way that a multi-million-lotto-jackpot-single-ticket-winner would to her abusive boss if she were buying out the company...

Dear 2008,

You have been mean to us and we want you gone. You've given us just enough to bring a slight smile to our lips and then slapped us into the dirt when we got it into our hands.

You have rocked the foundation of our world, and almost never in the good call-your-girls-and-make-em-sick-with-envy-cause-you-don't-even-have-to-embellish sort of way. You've taken all manner of people and places and things and ideals from us. You've given us great hope and a peek of the sunny-blue-sky through the clouds for minutes; and had us heart-broken-crying surrounded by clouds darker'n'a sack of black cats for weeks.

Things that have happened under your watch, have taken us through the entire spectrum of our spirituality. We've begged, questioned, cussed, given thanks, praised, and talked earnestly in friendship with our God. We have left behind some old beliefs and found some new ones. Those beliefs that have remained are now entrenched. We have learned who we are in a deeper and more profound way than we expected, but that is a common occurrence when you walk fully through the fire.

We have endured the extreme ugly of your reign, we have made it through, and we have had enough. There is only one thing left to say to you;

2008, Get The Fuck Out...You're Fired!

*Nice little synchronicity, I just realized that letter would work being sent to W. too. (tee hee!)

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Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas Week and the Aftermath

We made it... We survived Christmas and can now double-down for ourselves instead of others on Black Friday Redux... The brand new shopping day brought on by the poor economy and the fact that news shows have nothing better to report on because they're on too many hours, too many times per day. And for me, this is Black Friday Redux on so many levels...

I'm not in the mood for "Shopping News" which is such a puff piece that Matt & Meridith didn't even show up to pretend to give a damn. Nor do I want to hear about the So Cal Santa gunman who burnt down the house, because it's horrific and sad ~ pass! Nor do I want to hear about any soul-searching, I've had enough introspective time this past week. I'm sure I'll get back to these stories later on, but for today... I don't have the energy, strength or want-to for any of these things.

You see, I spent a majority of the week dealing with my hubby's family; because his brother ended his 9+ year battle with MS. It was both highly depressing and a relief all at the same time. The poor man had been in a nursing home for 8 years. He is most definitely in a better place.

But, I had huge issues dealing with it all, because I was enduring all the quirks and emotions of his family, when I didn't make it home for my own grandmother's funeral, in New Jersey. Had I, I would have dealt with my own family and their particular Shade of Crazy. This was a completely different brand of lunacy. Although, there were enough similarities to give me some unexpected closure for Gran.

For example... once again, there were cameras snapping away in the funeral home. Yep. But this time, it was more than one person, and they were taking pics of the open casket. I just sat stunned and appalled as I watched this paparazzi-circus go on in front of my own two eyes. As much as I ranted about it being done at Gran's funeral, I know that it was done discretely. I know this. I know how my proper-etiquette-conscious family operates. What I witnessed here in Texas included angling for shots while standing in the middle of the aisle. I was totally looking for Alan Lundt or maybe even Ashton Kutcher... They weren't there. I wasn't hallucinating, and the Asian lady at the donut shop didn't spike my coffee with LSD. It was real.

On the plus side, the family squabbles/wars were all laid aside for the day as the eldest of five children was laid to rest on Christmas Eve. And I didn't have to chase down my turbo munchkin because our friends D & D took him for the day. God bless them for that! Taking care of Jas was both brave and compassionate on a level I can't even convey. Especially knowing that we'd be returning the next day to do Christmas there.

Aside from my gifties (THANKS for the computer chair, my hind end isn't even hurting yet!) which were awesome ~ the most fun of the day was walking in with D's big-ole package, which contained a super-manly-you're-in-the-country-now-you-need-a-gun present that I had wrapped with the most non-manly wrapping I could find ~ Tinkerbell and hot pink paper with as many curly-girly-frou-frou bows I could make before I ran out of ribbon.

So my agenda for today is simple, because it's Black Friday Redux. Hubby has to work, and I haven't cleaned house or done laundry in two days, which in a home as small as ours, is tantamount to not doing it for weeks in a larger house... I'm cleaning house. I've assembled and hooked up everything that needs it, I'm working on the second load of laundry because we've got new clothes that need to be done along with our two day pile-up. I'm going to vacuum up & mop all the leaves and mud that got tracked in without thought or care since Tuesday. I'm going to do dishes and clean out the refrigerator so that I can get to the leftovers from yesterday's delicious feast (that D sent us home with. Which means that I don't have to cook... you can't see it, but I am so doing the happy dance over here)!

And then, I'm going to get into a Looooooooooonnnnngggggg hot shower, and remove the braid-beads from my legs, and shave; because I got my first nightgown since I was twelve, and I'm going to wear it tonight with out making my husband think of Sasquatch.

Then tonight when it's all said and done, and I've fed hubby and son, and scrubbed the house and myself... I'm going to sleep... till New Years... don't call, don't write, don't bother... I'm worn out, exhausted and mentally, physically and emotionally drained. In my day planner, I'm writing in:

Saturday, December 27th
7:00 am ~~ get up, use bathroom, eat something, change munchkin, give him food and drink, put on Disney; make sure it's on fastplay and automatic repeat. Inform hubby that from here-on-out, any and all munchkin needs are to be handled by anyone other than me until the calendar reads Sunday, December 28th. Punctuate this with "The Look". Return to bed and bury self under huge comforter... emerge for bathroom and food needs every four+ hours as needed...

Sunday December 28th:
8:00 am-ish ~~ return to land of the living. Spend time with family, call everyone that couldn't be here in person this holiday season...

So I'll see y'all Monday... Happy Holiday Weekend!

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Monday, December 22, 2008

Crap-Wrap Christmas

And so my dear readers, we come to Monday on Christmas week. Aack! The shopping is done after braving the insanity on steroids that is the 'last shopping weekend before Christmas'.

Now comes the wrapping... and the hope beyond hope that you have gotten enough gift-wrap, bows, ribbons, name tags, and tape to get it all done without having to steel yourself against the brutal cold that's wracking the country today, not to mention the what-the-hell-are-all-these-people-doing-in-the-stores-don't-they-know-it's-a-weekday crowds. They, like you, are picking up the last odds and ends... as well as the last decent roll of gift wrap. So now you're stuck with that super-cheap-crap-paper. The kind that has ugly pics of Santa and snowmen in horrible, flat, off-red and strange-blue colors, and none of the ink matches up so the edges of the images are all blurry... and it's totally see-through anyway, so you have to double or triple wrap the gift or what's the point? And when you figure in all the extra paper and the frustration of triple wrapping, that cheap ass paper isn't so cheap after all.

And how are you supposed to get great pics of the kiddies unwrapping their gifties when they take one look at those Chucky-like reindeer
on your crap-wrap and start crying. If you think about it, is pretty impressive, that they've managed to make Santa and snowmen menacing. Those graphic designers should be showcased on the Christmas Edition of How Do They Do That?

You also had to pull diversionary-military-tactical-maneuvers to get the last bag of smashed up off-color bows that match the off-color crap-wrap. The ones that are so mashed up and hideous looking (especially when you consider that they're ribbon), that the stores don't even dare put them out until they are absolutely checked-the-basement-and-the-rafters-and-every-square-millimeter-of-the-loading-dock sure that they are out of every other type of ribbon.

And God help you if you run out of tape this week. You may, might, pray-hope-pray, find some duck tape left at the little hole-in-the-wall drugstore downtown~ the one Walmart has all but forced to close down... they have some supplies left from 1954. They have tape!!! It's about a pen-width wide and is so old that it's yellow... really yellow, like change the color of the wrapping paper yellow. The stickiness is a crap shoot, but hey, you've got tape.

So, last minute wrappers... if these are your options...

...Wrap your gifts in newspaper, it's cheaper, thicker, and the kiddies might actually learn something other than how to bling their facebook page... maybe.

...And as far as the questionable tape, use staples... so what if there's a cashmere sweater inside... staples leave clean holes, semi-sticky tape can become the bane of your wrapping existence.

For the recipients of such crap-wrapped presents, show some mercy for your crap-wrappees. They feel badly that their presents don't look like they should be placed anywhere near your shiny-foil-custom-name-tagged-Martha-Stewart-looking-perfect packages. It's not necessarily mean to tuck the crap-wrap presents behind the pretty ones... Unless you roll your eyes and sigh loudly as you put them as far back as humanly possible so they are thoroughly hidden until said gift exchange, and when you take said crap-wrapped gift from the distributing party, you don't act as though you've been asked to hold a tarantula that's been dipped in cow shit. Then, it's perfectly ok to tuck those presents toward the back...

So, Merry Christmas Y'all! And remember, when you're driving to Aunt Sherry's house that the driver in front of you is as big an asshole driver as the driver behind you thinks you are... so better late than dead.

Drive Safely and Happy Holidays Y'all!

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Packaging and Misdirection

Today is my ex-husband's birthday ~ Happy Birthday you old(er than me) coot, I know you're reading this... Hope your day is happy.

His birthday, for many of my years now, has signaled the last bell being rung on the pre-Christmas frenzy. December 19th... only 6 days till Christmas... and only 5 SHOPPING DAYS till Christmas... Sorry to cuss at you like that, but it's the truth.

It also makes me think of when I was an out-in-the-world-woman and had holiday parties to go to and how I'd always groan in January when I finally braved the scale to find I'd gained ten pounds in a month, and what seemed like several inches around the middle.

Along these lines, I was talking to my sister the other night. I was preparing dinner and she was getting ready to go out to eat and was calculating her points on the WW website. It was then that we started talking about 'Serving Size' as indicated by food packaging.

Serving sizes, on the most part, are the food industry's version of drug company deceit. Cause this is where they rook ya. The nutritional information facts are listed in such small print, that by the time you give a damn about what the numbers are, you can't see to read them. They are counting on this. Big time.

They're also counting on our busy lives for two reasons. First, because most of us wouldn't buy the shit we have to eat if we actually had time to make something decent. Second, running around like a chicken-with-it's-head-cut-off doesn't give a person time to read anything but the calories... OK and maybe the fat content.

We give a quick glance at the calories and or fat grams, rationalize that we'll just cut back and eat less at the next meal and pop it in our mouth. Here's the rub though ~ those are the calories for ONE SERVING. That's important people, because therein lies the root of the lie. (you need to imagine that last sentence being delivered by a southern-soapbox-lawyer ~ funnier that way, isn't it?)

With our super-sized-food world being what it is today, I doubt highly that any one of us eats only One Serving of anything unless on a disease-imposed-doctor-diet. And even then... it's iffy. Let me bring into evidence a few items here...

Let's start with the goodies... The two pack of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups that you just bought (and scarfed down with alarming quickness ~ my God man! It's a wonder you didn't eat your hands off!), you know the small package with only two, cause the king-sized pack has three, and hey, in the actual aisle instead of just here in the checkout, they have whole bags of individually wrapped cups just waiting to be bought, brought home and devoured by you, mindlessly while you watch the movie that showed up from Netflix in your mailbox today. They've got you by the chocolate-encased-peanut-butter cajones my friend. The calories on that little two pack that you thought you were being 'good' by buying...

Justify a whole lot more, friendo... those are the specs on ONE peanut-butter cup. ONE. Total bullshit, right? I mean really, who is going to eat one, and then gingerly wrap up the second one and save it for another day? No one larger than a mouse, that's who.

Here's another one for ya. As I mentioned earlier, I was making dinner when this conversation broke out. I was making Hamburger Helper, OK? Now, normally, I make two packages at once. Hubby and I both eat it the first night, and then he gets the leftovers the next night for dinner. That's two packages. Y'all got that part, right. Do you know how many 'servings' they claim are in one box... FIVE. Insidious lies.

With that in mind, I looked at the label on my box of so-sue-me-I'm-not-Kraft macaroni & cheese. One box... one box only fills one of my bowls (and not the mixing ones!) with a little mound over. Let me put it this way, if my 10 year old daughter and my 2 year old son had to share one box of mac'n'cheese, they're gonna leave the table hungry. Guess how many servings that little cardboard box of lies is proclaiming to contain?... THREE.

So, people, listen to me. When you're out at the Christmas parties with their sugar cookies and eggnog, don't worry about the calories. You'll most likely do less damage with that stuff than you will with Christmas dinner and it's ham and turkey, and stuffing, and mashed potatoes, and gravy and goodness only knows what else...

But on January 2nd, I think that we as a people should rise up in protest against the food companies. A two pack of Reece's should be one serving. A box of mac'n'cheese should be one serving. A box of Hamburger Helper should be two servings. These are the portions that the American people as a populace are used to. We should force them to put realistic serving sizes on the packages so we can have our heart failure over the calories and fat content without having to do the damned math! That just really adds insult to injury.

If they refuse to change the serving size, then they should have to buy us dish sets that hold only their "one serving" because everything they sell out there is designed for the current super-sized-minded consumer.

Aren't you outraged at these lies? Aren't you furious at being deceived and wondering why you have trouble loosing weight?

...almost makes you feel better about those 5 shopping days, huh?

That is also known as the art of misdirection ~ practiced shamelessly on the public by advertising executives and politicians for years... btw.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Alien Invasion

I'm convinced that aliens have invaded. They came to Earth in their spaceships disguised as big gray pouffy clouds. They infected us with their mutant-alien-cold-bug. When they want to get a close-up-and-personal view of how this bug affects us, they emerge in the cover of night and sit in the trees, camouflaged as branches. From there, they can look through our walls and gauge our reaction to said infection at all hours of the day and night, laughing to themselves and waiting to see how long it takes to kill us.

Oh yes, this is what's really going on, people. I know it! This is because in all my years, never have I encountered a cold bug such as the one I currently have. It has to be intergalactic germ warfare.

It starts with a sore throat and neck that goes up into a mild earache. You run a slight fever, and your energy level dips to the floor. Sounds normal-ish, right? Oh, little one, don't be deceived, this is no normal cold... The throat, neck, ear thing is only on one side. There's the first tip off. There is also no runny nose (saints be praised), only a stuffy one, but only like three times a day. After a few days, it will act like it's going into your chest. Your lungs itch and your breathing becomes more shallow than normal. But, you almost never cough, although when you do, foul-tasting-cesspool-like-vileness comes out. I'm also not in any way hungry, all day, at all, not hungry. All of this is weird enough, but the kicker... the one-hundred-percent-obvious-this-shit-isn't-natural symptom is the hot'n'colds.

We have all endured some illness that involves the hot'n'colds. First you burn up until you want to run outside in 3 degree weather naked with your arms splayed in the air so you can get the blessed coolness to reach every single crack and crevasse of your body. You'd swim in liquid nitrogen if you could. This lasts anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes where it is swiftly and cruel-joltingly replaced with the chills. A cold feeling that wracks your body from the inside out with shivers. Your internal organs shiver. Your teeth chatter until you break off all of your crowns and can spit them out like Chicklets. Your hands shake like you've instantly developed extremely advanced stages of Parkinson's Disease.

This is when your stupid-sick brain pops up with the idea to drink something hot, however, you're shaking so badly, that you wind up wearing more than you manage to get into your mouth. The hot liquid feels good for a minute, running down over your frozen skin. This quickly turns bad however, when the spill turns to ice on your shirt-front and exacerbates the chills. However, if you do manage to get some all the way down your throat and into your stomach, you will feel better, warmer... so warm in fact, that the hots return with a vengeance and the entire cycle repeats itself. You may endure this personal climate hell for a couple of days at most, and then it subsides.

This is not the case with this alien bug, oh no. This wretched beast of a cold turns your hypothalamus into a slow swing Kubrick-esque pendulum. For those of you that haven't seen Osmosis Jones, the hypothalamus is the gland that regulates body temperature.

First of all, you don't start out hot, you start out cold. You don't have the shivers or the teeth chatters or the quakes, you're simply cold. Like working outside all day in the dead of winter at the South Pole cold. You can manage to imbibe hot drinks, but they don't help one whit. You're simply full-block-frozen with no outward appearance of it at all, save one ~ your skin tone turns linen-sheet-white. As you can see by my picture in the sidebar, I'm already damn-near-albino. When the colds of this bug hit, I become glow-in-the-dark-friggin-white. And I stay this way... for two to three hours. Hours People! Then, without any warning or gradual warming, they turn into the hots...

The big down comforter that I've been huddled under, the one that can't possibly be wrapped around me tight enough to assuage the colds, turns into a nest of strangle weeds as I thrash desperately to escape it's searing heat. These hots have exactly the same feeling that I described above, but with a funky twist. Every square inch of my skin is burning-ass-hot and I look like I've got a sunburn... but only to the bottom of my neck. My ears, my scalp, my eyelids... bright new-sunburn pink. From the collarbone down, agoraphobic-white-girl-white. And, I'm burning up in my own personal summer. I don't care what hubby or the thermometer says, it's 112 degrees in the house. They're just lying to me.

After about 4 or 5 hours of being able to cook eggs on my legs, my internal heat gets turned down, slowly. The sunburned look fades. I get comfortable. For about an hour. That's how long it takes for the slow part of the pendulum swing to get back to the other extreme of cold. And we start all over.

You can call me crazy all you want, you'd have to feel it with your own body. But, I know that those little stick-looking-bastards are there, watching, laughing and waiting for us to die of this bug of theirs.

Where the hell are Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum when you need them?

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Homestyle Hurricanes and Tornados

This weekend, a hurricane met up with a tornado, they made fast friends, and decided to come on over to party and parade through my house.

I was sick, and instead of laying up in the bed like a vulture-picked-carcass, I decided to handle the blog envy and change up the layout... You know, to be productive even without much energy.

Sometime after I retreated to the computer room with my jacket and my coffee, hubby took dumb-ass pills and the home destruction began. Yes, I realize that I mentioned him working on stuff during the last post... He did... OUTSIDE. Because that's what he does. He works outside the house. Besides, reading the new Playboy that came in the mail while you're rider-mowing the already-short-grass does not qualify as a massive amount of work, even when you also duck tape closed the jalousie windows in the back room and *finally* caulk all the holes around the windows from when we boarded up the windows for IKE... He was finished, even with all his where's this'n'that (see prior post) in under 90 minutes, and that was, again for the cheap seats, OUTSIDE the house.
Once he pops over the front door threshold, it's all over for the work part of his personal world.

His focus is the only thing that does not get turned off...ever. Whether he's reading in the back room or watching TV, it is so intense that he ceases to be aware of anything else that is not majorly life-threatening. This is not good when you are charged with looking after a Turbo-Terror-Toddler-Tot, which our son has most certainly turned into. I should have anticipated the severity of the disaster-area that I was setting myself up for, but I was foggy-headed and hopeful in a delusional sort of way; kind of like that princess chicky from Enchanted, except that I would have killed any one of those NYC-style-creature-helpers deader'n'a doornail.

OK, so here I am, sick, but trying to be productive... It was a mistake, a big, fat, hairy, mistake. This is because hubby, even though he knew, Knew, KNEW I was sick, from both my fever And my pallor, And our discussion of it, And that we canceled the plans we had for Saturday with our friends... You get it; he knew. However, because I was not in bed, but in the computer room...hubby took it as a personal affront that I did not spend the day with him. (fucking-wah-baby-man!) ... and I'm not saying that it was a conscious decision, to retaliate for my neglecting his enormous ego, but I will tell you how the house looked when I came out the 'puter room...

First of all, I was lucky to open the door to come out, because my son, the tornado, had removed every single toy from the space that I've found to put them away, and left most of them there in a jumbled pile in front of the door to the 'puter room. Kind of like a cat does with dead birds and field mice; he brought me a present that made me want to shriek. Then my brilliant son, realizing that Daddy wasn't paying him more than the most rudimentary of mind, proceeded to empty every phone book from the bookcase (hubby is a total pack-rat, there are probably 15 of them from as far back as 2001...yeah.) along with the dominoes, which got opened and two-year-old-played-with.

The tornado then went into the kitchen, where I found my brand-new-econo-sized creamer, not on the table where it usually is, but in the garbage can next to where it usually is. This was quite a feat because the garbage can was full. Just enough of the toys have progressed this far and are spread out in a land-mine pattern that a toddler can navigate, but adults with adult-sized feet can not~ without a decent amount of pain. From the kitchen, there are blankets and socks that he's taken off of his feet and strewn down the hall floor.

The bathroom. The bathroom. OK, there's water splashed everywhere, including the toilet seat, which tips mommy off that someone was playing IN the toilet... (excuse me, I'll be right back, I just puked a little in my mouth) it's an even bigger tip-off than the fact that the toilet is still running. And finally back to our bedroom, where the tools under the bed (storage is tight here folks!) are sticking out, several items from my 'personal things' are on the bed. These items include, but are not limited to: a necklace, my pedicure kit and my tampons, all of which were pushed pretty far back on the shelf. I have come to my son's final resting place, where he is sitting on a laundry basket that I use for sheet storage, on said sheets, playing happily with all of the crystals/rocks that hubby had on the windowsill...

But wait, there's more... Turbo-Tot wasn't the only one running free-range while I was in the computer room... no. There was hubby, the hurricane too. First of all, when I emerge, hubby is staring somewhat-glassy-eyed at the TV upon which there is some completely-nonsensical-XYZ-OMG-someone-paid-someone-else-to-make-this-POS-and-put-it-on-DVD-WTF-for-incase-you-run-out-of-clays-when-skeet-shooting-and-what-possessed-you-to-rent-it-from-Redbox-have-you-lost-your-everloving-mind?!? movie playing. He doesn't even notice that I've come out even thought the door to the computer room is only 5 feet from him at most.

Aside from his terrible taste in movies, he is sitting on our couch, which requires a couch cover. We're Po'. Our couch cover is some yikes striped patterned lightweight bed spread thingy showcasing the beautiful colors reminiscent of the 1970's earth-tones collection from K-Mart. And every time hubby gets up off of the covered couch, he doesn't just get up. He slides his butt to the edge of the couch cushion and then gets up, dragging the cover with him. The couch cover, after an all day ordeal of being hubby-ized is half hanging on the floor in a crumpled pile at about the midway point of the couch, it is also all scrunched together in one of the valleys the cushions make when they join... my side of the couch, while intact, has a bowl and a plate and his empty mug on it along with several pages that our son ripped out of some of the phone books and left there for his father as a present. His father was oblivious.

I pick up the plate and the bowl and the mug and attempt to make it to the kitchen. Where I finally do, only to find that this plate and bowl are just the last in a long line of many. I have none left in my cabinets; Not One. On the rare occasions that
he has to fend for himself food-wise, the man eats constantly, and uses an ape-load of dishes~ plates, bowls, silverware... The only thing that he doesn't use tons of, are drinking glasses, because he's got his One Mug. So, now both sides of the sink are full, and I can't put either his plate or his bowl into the sink...AND my garbage can is packed-down-overflowing onto the table, counter and floor around it with food wrappers and packages.

In his defense, he would point out that he pulled a fresh loaf of bread out of the freezer and made more ice... Note to hubby: you're the only one that eats bread or requires ice. Did he stack and or rinse his dishes? No. Did he clean up the table or the counters from his full-kitchen-stuff-my-gullet-cause-I'm-bored-feeding-frenzy? No. Did he, at any time, say to himself, "My wife, who keeps this home of ours clean, and who serves me a home-cooked dinner every night that I work, and who does all of my laundry and who is back there trying to be productive instead of wallowing in the bed as sick as she is... why don't I just show a smidgen of consideration and empty even just this one kitchen garbage can, which is overflowing onto the floor." But, did he say that to himself, Y'all...

No, he didn't, he simply stacked anything that he couldn't fit into the too-full can around the can on the counter and table there so that it would all be in one central location when I got off my dead ass and took out the garbage... and washed all the dishes (still no dishwasher, fyi), and checked the cabinets to make sure that milk sippies aren't lost and fermenting in them, and picked up all the dominoes and the phone books and the Turbo-Tot toys, and put the socks in the laundry, and cleaned up the bathroom, and put back all the rocks and personal items and changed the Turbo-Tot's diaper and his onsie that he's spit kool-ade all down the front of cause that's his new trick (which totally stains the rest of your skin just like it stains your upper lip, and now the boy looks like he has Chinese-gang writing on his chest), and put his little rump to rest before he could do any more tornado-ing for the night and yeap, I was bitching the whole time, to keep from going completely postal on the man cause I DO know where the rifles and the ammo are.

I knew it was time to go to bed, hopefully with the aid of a horse tranquilizer, when I tried to discuss it with him later, and I got told that he understood that I was ONLY bitching because I was sick and grouchy, and that he forgave me...

So I consider the weekend a total success, for two reasons; first, the new template is up and seems to be fully functional and I didn't loose anything (deleted after adding to the new template is another story)...

And the second reason; because I didn't get arrested for murder.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Blog Envy

I have a big-time-bad-ass case of blog envy going on. I can't help it. I've gone green... and NOT in the environmentally friendly way.

As I have mentioned, (or you may have just seen the ad down at the bottom of the page here) I have another site that I've been working on, cussing at, revamping, and finally, finally come to terms with; the what and how and why it's going to look and operate...

OK. So, in the process of all that happy horseshit, I went round and round with several different free template sites to get WHAT I WANTED, and more importantly, get said "Chosen One" template to download properly and WORK. Hey, finding one that Blogger will save and not give me an error message about is a Novel Concept I know, but I'm picky. It took me three different templates from three different sites to find a template that could fulfill both of those needs. I got it handled, but...

But... this fantastic template that I really like (and works!) is pretty advanced for a site that is just being built. Crayzie Aria is in it's newbie stages (because, truthfully, I prefer to work on this site) since I wasn't happy with the original site, and now am reworking the entire concept to undo the pathetic disaster that it was. The layout gives me tons of room to build it, but in the newbie phase, it looks a little naked and not fully 'done'. I haven't even marketed it yet and won't really till it's right-enough for me to give it a proper coming-out party of networking and marketing.

However here, on the Aria'z Ink site, (my baby so-to-speak), which has been marketed and put out-there all over the net, I'm working with the same template I started with. I need all that room that I have on the other site for this one. My sidebar and footer are simply getting longer and longer, and I'm constantly moving things around to keep from having my sidebar extend 18 inches past my posts... and while adding another post to the main page would seem to be the easy thing to do, it still wouldn't help the footer at all. The only thing holding me up was that I was afraid of loosing everything I've put into and onto this site because of a template change over.

Then the blog envy took over in earnest this past week, because in my quest to be Oprah's favorite blog, I've been all over the place networking, marketing and surfing like a mad-woman. I've come across a whole lot of new sites that have great layouts and I'm just getting itchier and itchier every time I come back to my good-OLD-BORING-UNINSPIRED-Blogger-standard-layout. It no longer fits the amazingness that is Aria'z Ink! (yeah, I know presumptuous-cockiness, but, if you can't market yourself like the next best thing since sliced bread, who will?)

I'm on a mission this weekend to make the change that I so desperately need and want to make. This morning I have done all the prep work to swap templates without loosing all my goodies. Also, I'm sick and doing computer work is about all I'm going to be able to do today, and when you've got an itch all you can do is scratch-it OR suck-it-up... I tend to be more of the scratch-it variety person.

I'm on such a tear that, I could have it all done today, but hubby is doing some work outside, and for some reason turns into a semi-helpless-where-is-my-this'n'that-come-help-me-wah-pain-in-my-ass whenever I try to get on the computer during the weekend (which is exactly what I just told him so I don't fear this coming back on me at all!) Therefore, the swap might take until tomorrow. And, now the Advil + aspirin combo I take to kick the butt of this throat-ear-thing I'm trying to not-fully-get is also going to have to knock out my hubby-induced-headache...

It'd be so much easier at this point to just crawl back into bed and feign being on the brink of death, but I am WAY too stubborn for that... and I have to scratch my blog-envy itch even if I have to do it with barbed wire...

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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Hell Froze Over

Having spent only two and a half years in the south, I'm not sure whether it was Sam Houston or Stephen Austin who famously said (something along the lines of...) If the devil owned property in Texas and Hell, he would rent out Texas and live in Hell...

With that said, Hell froze over yesterday. With some parts of Houston racking up to four inches of snow and two of it's major bridges closed during the commuting hours this morning because they were iced-over-impassable. Local network news on one station refused to pass the mantle to the national morning talk shows so that they could keep everyone in the viewing area up to the minute (less commercials) with the latest weather conditions.

We went outside here at our own little prairie-trailer last night to find it snowing hard enough to dust the tops of garbage cans, some wood we have out back on saw-horses, and even enough to cover the hideous orange of my brother-in-law's broken-down-van that somehow managed to get parked in what is now my backyard, long before it was ever my backyard, and lessened the eyesore that it is. That is a bit of nature magic right there!

The snow quietly falling was quite a pretty site once hubby was safe at home and the new heater was plugged in and cranking out some warmth~without the aid of my oven being turned up to 400 degrees and leaving the door open since the old heater went out at 11-something the night before... which was just late enough to be too late to drive the 30 miles to Wal-mart and get another one. (we had another heater for the baby's room, it was just our bedroom that was colder-n-a-witch's-tit-in-a-brass-bra! Back off CPS vultures!)

Anyway, with the interior cold snap over, I can now concentrate on some of the great things coming my way! For starters, I'll be a size ten by New Year's Day. Oprah is on her way to call me right now, and she's even gonna put me on her speed-dial just cause I make her laugh... Oh, yeah, and the Mega Million Jackpot for Friday night... THE UBER-HUGE One Worth 207 Million Dollars...It's ours; single-ticket-winner guaranteed.

...I mean, since Hell froze over and all...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Happy Holiday Two-fer

I know that I have mentioned before, Judi's blog, [zany life + crazy faith]. Last month she asked me to do a guest post for her list of November Holidays (a complete explanation of this is available in my post Guest Posting on JLo's NO-HO This month, Judi is doing a much shorter guest series for the 12 Days of Christmas. I am featured today for, obviously, the 10th day of Christmas. I have been enjoying Judi's blog, [zany life + crazy faith] for nearly my entire blog career of a whopping 6 months...

I've decided today, that since this is the Hectic-Holiday-Hell-Season and most of us are running around like on-fire-chickens-with-our-heads-cut-off we need, more than usual, some down-time and some laughter. Also more than ever, we need less run around. Therefore, dear readers, I am reprinting here both guest posts for your pre-Christmas deep breath. They are both available with a pic on Judi's blog, [zany life + crazy faith]. By the way, Judi's blog is fantastic in it's own right, so just cause I've done MY reprints for you, don't be lazy and skip her blog... even if you have to bookmark it and check it out after New Year's it is well worth the read. Now, without further ado, here are Clean Out Your Fridge Day and On the Tenth Day of Christmas...

Clean Out Your Fridge Day

original work by Aria Douthat, reprinted from
[zany life+ crazy faith]
originally posted on November 15, 2008.

I have located Jimmy Hoffa. He is trapped in the back of my refrigerator.

The November 15th holiday; Clean Out Your Fridge Day gives me impetus to wade through the little wads of single chicken pieces in tin foil and last-hot-dog-in-the-pack packages; the ones that weren't closed correctly so they leaked on the shelf and dried up before being shoved to the dreaded no-man's-land of 'the back of the fridge'. The place where fridge things go to never-be-heard-from-or-recognized-again, just like poor Jimmy.

There are containers of what may have been stuffing (or possibly mashed potatoes) that were relegated to leftover status because there was too much left to throw out. Upon trying to use them later, it turned out to be not enough to use. Now, they sit in their many containers as monuments to science-experiments-gone-wrong brought about by ingrained guilt about starving children in Africa.

I need to throw out the peppers that I bought too many of when I made Italian-style sausage that got eaten once. I didn't know vegetables were capable of looking as though they have melted... And I know cheese is aged, but after 8 months in the meat drawer, it's not advisable that you actually eat it...although if I ever need penicillin, I'm all set. Which is a good thing, because I'm pretty sure there are bacteria growing in there that would rival a freshly opened Egyptian tomb for toxicity levels.

There is no order left within the doors that I keep spotlessly clean on the outside, to disguise the atomic fallout that is the interior. I have become an expert at balancing because I open the door with one hand, take out what I need with the other, and kick back the mold-monster-gnomes with my foot before they can jump out and abduct my son. I manage all this while blocking the view of within, as it would surely scar some peoples' psyches forever.

The shelves are chock-a-block full of things that have been shoved, wedged and jammed on to them. The drawers have comfy cozy beds of many, many layers of onion shells that were scraped off by the net bag they come in. There are mostly-used butter quarters left in their wrappers placed around the interior in an almost artsy way. There are too many half-drank 20 oz soda bottles to count, all of which are flat and have been for some time. The door is piled precariously with Chinese-food condiments and ketchup packets. There is a jar of hot sauce that was first put in there by Civil War Soldiers and grape jelly that is re-forming into raisins. And that is just what I can actually see... there is so much more buried in there.

So it is, with a clothespin on my nose, bio-hazard grade gloves and a triple-lined garbage can, that I will attack the festering disgrace in my kitchen. I'm optimistic that I will have it emptied, sanitized and put back together by Thanksgiving...so I can work on filling it with things to clean out next November 15th.

Hang on Jimmy, I'm coming...

On the Tenth Day of Christmas
original work by Aria Douthat, reprinted from
[zany life + crazy faith]
originally posted on December 10, 2008

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me... Ten Lords A Leaping...

Really? Ten Lords A Leaping? Think about that for a minute.

It wasn't until Judi asked me to do this post, that I stopped to consider this line, even though I'd sung the song many, many, (too) many times. Normally I do it in my head with a different Muppet character calling out each of the days, because I was cursed as a child with the Muppet's Christmas album, featuring John Denver. Don't ask, just marvel at me in wonder when you consider that I've never been institutionalized for insanity... But, I digress...

The rest of the song, while long and repetitive, makes sense:

Items one through five numbered, OK, I can understand that, and then...
Six geese a laying
Seven swans a swimming
Eight maids a milking
Nine ladies dancing
Eleven pipers piping
Twelve drummers drumming

All of those things were common enough then, to hold up today... But, ten lords a leaping??? Never once, in any historical document, book, or movie did I ever see or hear of a 'lord-a-leaping' never mind ten of them.

Is this what was supposed to make this particular gift special and rare? Because in the regular day-to-day a lord wouldn't be caught dead 'a leaping' anything. Lords were either members of the actual royal family, or at the very least, land owners... masters of their lands and anyone that worked for them in a feudal system.

I doubt they'd be taken seriously when they gave an order if they went about 'a leaping' all day... If that were the case, they couldn't get the maids to milk, the geese to lay, the ladies to dance, or anything else done on the list. And, any lords that were prone to 'a leaping' were most likely locked up for lunatics~ almost like they had spent countless childhood hours listening to the Muppet's Christmas album.

If they had been raised on said album, the lords would know that Lew Zealand the Muppet that juggled fish and spoke in the odd accent (and wasn't the Swedish Chef), sang the 'ten lords a leaping' part and they would still, some thirty years later, hear Miss Piggy belt out, " Fiiiiiive Gol-den Riiiiings... ba-dum-bum-pum " every time the song was played, so that even though the rest of the English speaking world does not do so, inside their heads they would add the ba-dum-bum-pum after five golden rings, even though, thankfully, they would no longer sing it aloud to their embarrassment in any carol-singing-groups...

Yes, I know, that's just me, but if it had been the lords, at least it would explain the 'a-leaping'...maybe.

I hope you got a kick out of the posts... Now, don't make me kick your rear to get you back out there... You can do it! Of course you can... as long as there's still Starbucks in the mall ~ or as long as your mouse-finger isn't in a splint!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Playing Well With Others

I do not play well with others. Not when it comes to my computer. I'm a greedy, selfish Catholic-school nun ready to smack your knuckles with a ruler for even letting the thought cross your mind of touching my keyboard.

And yet, with sis-n-law G, down visiting on some ugly family business, I was quick to say, "yes" when she asked me if she could use my beloved 'puter to check some email, account balances and finish the absolute-last-assignment for her college career to be over. I mean, c'mon, who wouldn't say yes to that?

I did. "Sure, G, come on, no problem!" I said enthusiastically, and with honest sincerity. Then my ego kicked in. And the longer it took, the more my brain said "Hurry Up! What is taking you so long?" Until it was finally screaming inside my head with the shrill loudness of a vexed banshee..."MINE!!! MINE!!! GET THE HELL DONE WITH YOUR CRAP AND GIVE ME BACK MY COMPUTER!!! IT MISSES ME AND I MISS IT, AND YOU HAVING YOUR GRUBBY LITTLE HANDS ON MY KEYBOARD IS LIKE WATCHING A DRUNKEN WOMAN FONDLE MY HUSBAND'S CROTCH!!! HURRY UP AND FINISH FOR PETE'S SAKE!!! ARE YOU DONE YET?!?!? MINE, MINE!!!"

Of course her hands weren't grubby at all, and she wasn't in any way being disrespectful of my 'puter, nor was she taking an exorbitant amount of time to do what she needed to get done... It was all me and my two-year-old inner child shrieking, "mine!" like any two-year-old does; even when it's holding something that is most definitely not theirs... irrationally hoarding the item as if they were a starving person in a lifeboat with other starving people and they just found a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup in the pocket of their life vest.

Two-year-olds also say, "NO!" when the answer is most obviously, "yes" like when you ask them if they want more milk... I had done the same thing in reverse, saying, "yes" when the real-me, my two-year-old self was saying, "No". Personally, I thought my inner child was much older than that. I was wrong.

Being a parent for over 10 years, my ability to give away, to my children at first, and then to others, things that I think I want has been honed to a level that is almost on par with breathing or blinking. I'm not totally out of balance, either. I have my one or two things that I'm selfish about... like watching Grey's Anatomy (don't call, don't write, don't show up, you will NOT get a hold of me when that show is on)... aside from that, I'll give most people anything that will not effect the care and well being of my children, and maybe my husband. I don't need a whole lot.

My inner-self throwing a balls-out-throw-down-temper-tantrum in my head as I worked with utmost concentration to keep the smile on my face came as a surprise to me. As we're chatting, I'm struggling with fever-pitch-jealousy because she was in my chair, and all I could manage to think was, "quit talking and pay attention to what you're doing, hurry up! Hurry UP!"

I'm starting to think that I'm going to have to go over to Craig's List and find a little cheapo used computer, just to have it on hand in case I come across this situation again. Kind of like inner-turmoil-badly-behaved-ego insurance. If my ego were a flesh-and-blood child, it would have gotten a spanking AND a time-out for the size and severity of the hissy-fit that it threw. Does anyone know how to do that; give your inner-child a good swat on the rump?

In the meantime, while I figure out how to shut-myself-up while G is here and I only have one computer and I will continue to let her check her email and accounts while she's here, I'm going to have to spend some serious time in front of the mirror... Looking at and re-shaping my inner self...and practicing my best I-got-botox-and-lost-all-expressiveness-in-my-face face.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Freezing Wimps

Do my hands work? OK, good... I wasn't sure they would because I am freezing my orbs off in here!

I have come to understand that south-east Texas weather is... simply Weather-By-Sybil. Yesterday, I was being blown three counties over by winds that bent trees, but it was warm-ish. By the time I cooked dinner, I actually had to kick on the AC for a bit to assuage the feeling of being burnt up in the fires of hell. This morning we woke up to 40 degrees that, with wind-chill feels like 32... the morning-news-weatherman's assessment, not mine.

I find it funny that I consider these temps 'freezing' when I grew up in NJ. I vividly remember winter storms that dumped so much snow that we had to work the front door back and forth to get it open in 40 inches of thick white powder so we could get to the shovel and un-bury ourselves from the house. After 17 years in Nor Cal and another 2+ in Texas, I've become a weather wimp. Visiting NJ in winter now would surely result in my being the new Ice-Woman-Cometh.

I look at my past, and a lot of it seems like 'just-yesterday' so I don't know how I got so weather-pathetic so quickly... then again, it wasn't quickly at all... There are babysitters out there who aren't as old as my residency in California. And yet, my past seems so vivid, so near... I know my age, but I don't remember that I'm that old, ya know? It snuck up on me. Right along with my wimpiness.

My little sister will be 35 in a few months, wasn't she just 7, playing around the corner with her friend when I went to call her in for dinner--which was cooked without any microwaving cause we don't even know what that was yet? Aren't I still living the 'latch-key-kid' life before they came up with the term? Aren't I still riding my Ross ten-speed with the saddle-bag type double baskets on the back down to the 7-11 to get my mom her morning coffee and paper, oh yeah, and her two packs of cigarettes? Or, how about on Friday, I'd be heading off to elementary school with my permission note and two-dollars so that I could go out to lunch across the street from school to the pizzeria with a whole bunch of other permission-note bearing 10 year olds...

My 10 year old daughter's school has such strict rules that I'd have to go in and retrieve her from the Principal's office for a school-time doctor's appointment. Every day when she gets to school and enters the grounds, the bell rings, and she's locked in like a detainee at Guantanamo. After school,
my daughter can only play outside if she's right in front of the house and only until the streetlights come on, and only with other kids out there with her unless one of us is out there watching her to make sure she is safe... I used to run and play and ride my bike with all the other neighborhood kids till 9pm on summer nights, and we could be absolutely anywhere in the neighborhood--two, three blocks over... parents only calling for you when the little commercial would come up on prime-time TV that said, "It's 8:23... do you know where your children are?" then you'd show your face and bargain for 20 minutes more...

My son gets strapped into his car-seat with more safety-restraints than a NASCAR driver. I'm not even sure if the Buick my mom used to own had seat belts in the back seat. I do know that if it did, using them was not something that got harped on. We'd get told once, and if we got into an accident, and weren't wearing the seat belt, causing us to go flying around the interior like a pinball then it was on us for not putting on the seat belt when we got told about it, and we could wait till we got home to get checked out fully, because we could answer the basic question, "Are you alive back there?"

Maybe we've all turned into a society of wimps, and not just about the weather...Oh I'm sorry, did someone take offense at being called a wimp? Was that not politically-correct of me...? Oh... I hurt your feelings? Really? Uh-Huh.

I'll cry about it next year if I find time. Until then grow some backbone, ya weenie!
*And I'll wear a warmer jacket, cause my whining is pissing me off...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Beginning of the End

Ahh, December. The beginning of the end of the year.

When all the things you've accomplished and changed and lost come into review; and you think about all the things you want to accomplish and change in the new year without any of the worry or grief of the losses to come.

It can be magical with the holiday season flashing it's pretty lights and joyous TV ad campaigns, or it can be so stressful on your finances and your time that you want to move to a third-world country and hide under a banana leaf. Usually it's a bit of both which can be incredibly overwhelming. With any luck, Santa will gift wrap your brain and leave it under the tree for you so you can begin the new year with a shred of mental clarity.

If you're like me, getting through December requires no less than two calendars, a day planner and enough post-it notes to wallpaper all of the Tri-State area. Not to mention enough Advil, Tylenol and Excedrin to knock out repeated bouts with 'The Headache That Ate Manhattan". And sleep is simply a daydream you get to haze in & out of for 31 days, unless you also suck down some NyQuil to battle the pre-requisite winter cold which will attack you because you're living on caffeine, sugar (in the form of holiday goodies) and sleeplessness while purposefully striding into the germ-warfare hotbeds of Target, Wal-mart and the mall--and the grocery store (did you see that report?!? Disgusting!)

Oh, yes, and we get to do all of this running around while freezing our ever-loving-asses-off! I guess the movement creates friction and warms us up making the hustle-and-bustle something of an exercise in survival... Yeah, I'll go with that. Makes me feel better about hitting 17 stores per day to find the perfect fluglehorn for Aunt Ida and the most-specific-call-number electronics item for Uncle Jack. Oh what I wouldn't give to only have to get the items on the 12-Days-of-Christmas list; I could get all that shit online!

This year is even more difficult though, because ~as the American public has known since last December~ we're in a recession, and now it's official. So when you only get little Jimmy one matchbox car with a single piece of track to put under your 4-foot-pre-lit-artificial-tree, you're no longer a cheapskate, you're simply trying to also make sure that little Jimmy gets fed... and if you're doing really well, he'll also have a roof over his head and heat.

I can't say that I'm sorry to see 2008 go. A lot of loss and change this year, and for me, anyway, a lot of those changes were huge and irreversible. I suspect I'm not alone in that. But you can't go backwards, you can only look to the future and try to maintain your hope for the best. Your hope that the Universe knows what it's doing, even if we can't see how it could possibly all work out. I will take several deep breaths and encourage you to do the same.

2009 is coming...soon. Good luck to you during the beginning of the end. And hey, when it get's really bad, you can console your self with the knowledge that W. is almost out of office too...

See, knew that'd perk you right up!