Friday, January 30, 2009

Affiliate Marketing and A Lot of Linky-type Love

Is it a good day or a bad day? Damn, I'm confused...

First thing this morning, I woke up with a pain in my arm. Not just any old pain, but a wincing , tear inducing, what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-me!?!?!?! pain in my forearm. Nothing I did made it better or very much worse aside from rubbing it ~ Don'tTouchIt! DONOTTOUCHIT! ~ which made it really hurt... I want hospital-grade-instantaneous pain relief! Why does Advil take so long to kick in?

Once I could move my fingers without becoming bleary-eyed, I got online, and found some great comments on my last post, one of which is from my bud over at The Retirement Chronicles that I want to answer ~ and I picked up an award from The Retired One. It goes along with another one that I got from Pehpot at Make or Break yesterday, so I'm all giddified cause I'm a blog-approval-craving-pleaselikeme-whore that way.

Then I get another comment from Can Can at Mom Most Travelled telling me that there is subsidized childcare at BlogHer '09 so maybe I can sign up for the fully-funded-free-ride contest over at Momma Findings... which was totally cool of her to let me know!

Then I go to refill my coffee and come out to a goldfish landmine field which was laid with great care, strength and dexterity by my turbo-terror-tot, all, and I mean ALL over the living room floor. On the upside, he had actually drank his milk, instead of spitting it all over the furniture and the floor, and himself as well. I actually remember, not so long ago, when I could walk into my house and it did not reek of old milk. Good times...

So, now you see my confusion... bad, good, good, bad... I don't know what kind of day I'm having! So I've decided to concentrate on the good (with a healthy dose of Advil) as any one of my new affiliate Hay House authors would tell me to do.

Which brings me back to affiliate advertising and answering The Retired One's comment question (completely paraphrased by me): What is affiliate advertising? But before I do, I have to let y'all know, that The Retired One reached out to me in December, when she was super-brand-new to blogging after she found me on LinkReferral which is a traffic exchange site. I fell in love with her wit and humor and writing straight off the bat, she leaves me fantastic comments all the time that crack me up, and if you're looking for a new blog to make you laugh, you really-seriously-doitorIwillhuntyoudown need to go over to The Retirement Chronicles and have a read. She's one of the cool people. You'll like her.

OK, now that my shameless plug of The Retirement Chronicles is over (for now, today) I'll explain affiliate marketing for anyone who doesn't know what it is yet.

While some blogs make money by "pitching" their site to large companies in an effort to get them to advertise on their site for a fee, I, who am stupid as a stick about pitching companies, chose to go with affiliate marketing. This is where you sign up with one main company, such as Link Share, who then hosts many other big-name companies. You choose which companies you'd like to run ads for, and then apply to said company through your account at Link Share. If you are approved, they have several types of ads that a site owner can run, such as text links or banners, etc. If someone clicks through one of your ads and buys something (this part depends on the company's terms, sometimes you just need to refer someone), you, as Jane Doe site owner makes a commission based (again) on the agreed to terms of your contract.

The trick to this kind of making-money-with-your-blog, is finding ads to run that will appeal to your audience and be utilized, thereby making sales, which is what makes you money. If no one buys anything, or signs up for anything, you get nothing. However, it is free for you, the site owner, to run the ads, so you're not paying out to make nothing. That is the upside. And, there are (supposedly) people out there who are making a fair monthly income running affiliate marketing. I, so far, am not one of those people.

Then again, I started doing it in hopes of maybe supplementing hubby's income and buying my own cheesecake. At the very least (cause when you first start, and you sign up for a bunch of newsletters on/about/from affiliate marketers, it sounds OMG- next-year-I-am-buying-a-mansion-and-a-pony lucrative), with my common-sense I hoped to (realistically) pay my dial-up Internet access fee. But, hey, like I said, it's free to join these programs, so no harm, no foul, just kinda disheartening.

So that, dear readers, is how affiliate marketing works, and how it's worked out for me. I want to thank all of you for your comments... If you have left a comment this month, you may want to check back and see my response. I've been adding my response comments, and will continue to do so ~ usually on the day that the new post goes up, so I can catch all of you at once. In line with expanding the whole comment concept, please feel free to ask any questions that you have, I'll do my best to answer them, or point you in the direction of someone who can. Who knows, you might wind up asking something that to answer, will take me most of a post, and you'll wind up with a buncha linky-love... So comment, and ask away!

I'll post the awards Monday, so I can start the new week and the new month on a YayMe note... as well as showing some more linky-type love, cause I love, Love, LOVE paying it forward, and isn't February (according to Hallmark) the month of love?

Good luck to whomever You are rooting for in the Super Bowl, and happy weekend everyone!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Blog Wahmbulance

OK, so I know you're asking yourself, "Self, WTF happened to Aria'z Ink? She said the writing was going to always come first, and here's this huge long POLL-Thingey all up top and in the way of my reads!"

Yes, I know, and I apologize ~ kind of.

The poll has a two-fold reason. First of all, my ad revenues suck big fat donkey rocks so I want to know what y'all like, cause obviously, my finger is not on the pulse. In fact, by my numbers, my finger is jammed up my ass, far from the pulse... Say, would you like a chocolate covered pretzel?!? (Non Kevin Smith fans ~ heathens! Get out!!! ~ that is a movie quote, not me being incredibly disgusting... that's Brody being incredibly disgusting. OK, back to the reality of writing this post) Anyway, so that is the first reason. Cause, while I love, Love, LOVE Amazon and housewares and the opportunity to make money with my blog, nobody else seems to be on the same page...

Secondly, my blogoversary is coming up in a few (several) months... And since I'm going to do a giveaway for that, I needed to know what'cha all wanted... even if you never buy anything from me... I don't judge... I won't hold a grudge... I'll still give y'all a great big WHOOT Thank You for showing up at all. Honestly. It just means that instead of normal channels, I'm going to have to sell a kidney or donate my breasts to science or something to come up with the money to fund the giftie giveaway... that's the other reason why I'm polling now for a June giveaway.

In light of these general-everyday-blog owner-delights (
bitchings), I've been having a kind of blog identity crisis. Signing up for a lot of different directories and working on SEO will do that to a person. How are my keywords? What do I need to change to get my Alexa ranking moving again, and moving in the right direction? Yay, I finally got an actual Google PR, as opposed to a non-ranked zero, but... um, how's Oprah gonna find me with only a 2/10. And the advertising simply reiterates the wrong-way-Jones feeling.

Another head-spin to compound the who-where-what-Me?-crisis; I've networked like a madwoman. And I'm still going, but I've socially networked so damn much that I scarcely have time to social-anything. And I'm burning myself the hell out... sorta.

I'm still totally addicted to writing the blog, but sometimes, even though I've got an apeload of sites listed under "saved to join" I forget to even go there, cause my mind is going blank to the refrains of "Happy (friggin) Working Song". And with all I've been doing here to promote, build, etc., the Crayzie Aria site may as well be dead ~ except that I'm extremely fond of that template, and the few articles over there, so I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it. Frankly, putting the kind of time into that one that I've put into this one makes me want to get very, very drunk. So, it's not dead, but it is very much in limbo... AGAIN. I should have just bought this domain name instead of that one, but I didn't. So... Live and Learn.

Anyway, if You, my valued, trusted, glorious readers, would like to give me any feedback on anything... Social networks that are must do's. Advertising that You want to see and would consider utilizing. Gift cards that You want to win on the blogoversary... Tell me. I'm pretty sure, at this point, I'm completely clueless.

I'm going to go do housework now. I know that I know how to do that! Registered & Protected

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Kiddie Crack

I have found the one and only way to keep my son from staging a playpen-jailbreak.


He has a toddler crush or something. I mean, I know Disney is just street code for 'kiddie-crack'. And as many times as I've seen Cars or Aladdin, I have never seen anything like this. I don't usually let him watch movies in the morning. In the morning, it's PBS Kids and all things educational. It isn't until 5pm that PBS gives way to the news, so that's when a Boo-Boo movie gets played, so mommy can make dinner uninterrupted, and it's over (or really close to it) when daddy gets home.

Today, Boo dove out of his pen so that he could get to the DVD shelf, get Enchanted and bring it to me. So, brilliant mommy that I am, I deduced that he wanted to watch it, and asked him if he wanted to see Giselle, because that's what I do with Disney flicks, I call them by their character names...

He goes running from me, down the hall and over to the DVD player saying, "yahyahyah" all the way. I catch up, and he's already trying to mash the open button to insert the movie, but aside from that, he's standing there, ever so slightly hunch-shouldered, like he's so excited he's peeing his pants ~ he's still in diapers, for all I know, he really was.

I bend over to set up the movie, which puts me eye-level with Boo, who is saying, "Aihn-ded" as I get it going. Normally, at this point, he tries to get the movie box back from me, and I decline since we have several movies that now have only black-sharpie-hand-written-movie-titles on their spine... some still have the plastic cover, some do not. But he had an entirely different look on his face today when he reached up for the box, and it was this look that made me let him have it...

It was reverence. Angels-descending-all-around-hallelujah-chorus reverence. He looked at the box lovingly as I allowed him to relieve me of it. He didn't even fuss when I returned him to the playpen. He sat right down with his treasure-Enchanted-box and proceeded to watch the all the previews.

After a request for more milk, he is once again sitting entranced by Enchanted. And call me a sap, but you remember when Mopey came to visit earlier in the month? Yeah, well a viewing or two of Enchanted, and that jerkface went running from the building like his hair was on fire. And not to bust Hubby's manhood-bubble, but he doesn't turn it off when he comes in and finds it on ~ he sits down and watches whatever is left of the movie's run with us.

The damn thing is infectious... waaaaayyyy too easy to watch ~ and even just to listen to from the other room. It's almost scary, the spell it has weaved over my entire household. And the happy-pop goddess-baseline beat of "That's How You Know" (DVD chapter 10, so you can find it quickly ~ in the event of an emergency) sticks in your head more than any other Disney song ~ ever... OK, maybe not EVER ~ "Supercalifragilistic" is pretty hard to top... but it's right up there. Now I've got that damned song running through my skull... Oh, whew, it'll be OK, "Happy Working Song" (DVD chapter 6) just started... I have to hurry up and finish this post so I can go watch it with him; even though I'm sure it won't be the only showing of the day...

Disney (crack), Disney (crack)... want some Disney (crack) Registered & Protected

Sunday, January 25, 2009


Ahhh, quiet. Blissful, pin-drop quiet.

No more dishes and glasses and bowls and spoons and forks and cookware making its way into the kitchen; transforming a not-so-long-ago naked sink into a mountain fit for a king.

No more towels being used for one hand drying and being thrown into the laundry basket; while the sink or the floor are still sopping wet from either a sloppy hand-washing or a toddler's giddy playtime in the toilet.

No more hearing my son running up the hall because he has, yet again, dove out of the playpen like he's trying to escape a quicksand-pit full of alligators.

No more louder-than-a-jackhammer-wolf-ticket cries because he got returned to said playpen.

No more music and or movies and or television shows blaring through the sound system; cause dammit EVERYTHING sounds better coming out of Krell speakers.

No more roosters crowing because they want you to throw out more cat food for them to eat even if they have to chase off the cats to get it.

No more cats mewling at you cause the chickens ate most of their food so they're still hungry.

No more sound of the road reverberating through the tires because you've run away from home for a brief bit, simply to drive around and get a break.

No more voices talking you deaf about nonsensical nothings cause they can't stand the silence.

Even the coyotes have stopped howling. Even the wind has stopped blowing. Even the cars have stopped driving past the house.

All is still. All is calm. All is a mess that I refuse to clean up until the morning, lest I awake the resting noises. I shall sit and enjoy the empty air and peace around me. It'll be just like one of those mythical Calgon moments ~ without the bubble bath...

Until I fall asleep out of sheer boredom... on the couch... with a crick in my neck to greet me in the loud sunrise of the morning. Registered & Protected

Friday, January 23, 2009

Replacing Perfection

I'm crushed. I'm heartbroken. Life as I have come to know and be content with is over. Devastated...

My coffee bowl broke.

It was a huge, heavy, ceramic twenty oz mug that had french writing on it, so that even in my bathrobe, I felt a little haute' coture. I'm aware that it was probably made in Taiwan, but I didn't let that burst my bubble in the slightest. I've had that mug for years. I had all my measurements and add to levels memorized to the point of complete and total morning automatic pilot. Another wonderful thing about that mug, was that I could empty the coffee pot completely in 3 cups.

Knowing that I'd only have to get up from the computer twice, which would be plenty to remind me to do laundry, take out meat for dinner and attend to my son's sippy cup and his butt-cover-changes. It also usually took about the time for me to empty a cup, for my bladder to fill, which created a nice and easy flow of pee-refill cup-drink-pee-refill cup-drink...

For an admitted coffee junkie, the number of return trips to the coffee pot to drain it's contents to the last drop is a critical assessment of a coffee mug. I haven't seen any specifically-a-coffee-mug nearly as large in my few and far between wanderings... then again, I wasn't looking. I mean, when you're perfectly content with something, you don't go looking for a replacement, do you?

It simply worked, perfectly in so many ways that I didn't realize them all until... until the morning I went to wash it out and found a full wall crack had developed that I could feel with my finger tips. It was time for the blessed perfect bowl to go.

Oh, for a couple of days I used my old Dunkin' Donuts mug. I got it the summer I was sixteen and worked there. It used to say "The Big One" on the side, cause back before Starbucks, 16 oz was a huge amount of coffee... do y'all remember those days? Well those words wore off years ago, so did the feeling that 16 oz was a large amount of coffee. I mean, come on, that was over half a lifetime ago... That was hair-bear, seamed fishnet stockings and granny boots ago!

Needless to say, with my new-millennium-maniac-junkie coffee needs, those 16 oz were too scrawny to fulfill my needs. I'd just sit down and have to get back up to refill the cup. I'd be deep into writing a post and have to sidetrack my train of thought to get more coffee. I was getting up long before I had to pee, or before the first load of laundry had even finished washing! This was so not going to work as a permanent replacement.

One morning, desperate to not have to get up every 12.2 minutes for more coffee, I used my new cold drink mug. It's heavy plastic, has a handle and is 32 oz of drink holding new-millennium technology. The whole pot in two cups! YEAH!!!-Completely-Wired-On-Coffee-YEAH!!! Oh so much better... kind of...

Now, I have a mug that holds too much coffee. Hang on, I have to make sure I said that... Yeah, it was me, I really did say that... it holds too much coffee, at one time anyway.

I still have coffee when my bladder informs me that it's time to take a break from the computer. I keep telling it to wait, I'm in the middle of something. I'm looking at this and signing up for that, and what are you talking about anyway, bladder, cause I still have coffee! Note to y'all when your bladder speaks ~ go to the bathroom; where you can question your sanity in private and where your bladder will not exact painful revenge upon you for not listening to it when it spoke to you. Your bladder's ego is far larger than the organ itself, and it's vindictive, do whatever it says.

The other problem that has emerged, is that when I do finally crawl out of my computer cave, it's so late, that dinner-meat has like a 50-50 chance of thawing in time to cook ~ at best 50-50. And my son, is making me suffer for not popping in to check on him more often... and then there's the flavor of the coffee itself.

I quit using sugar this year, in my coffee ~


and most of all

however, are still totally fair game!

But, in my coffee, I started using hubby's Sweet-n-low. You know, that pink-packet-chemical-will-give-you-cancer shit. That stuff. I started using that. So in the now defunct coffee bowl, 1 pink packet. I'm figuring in the new Big-Gulp mug, two. But two is not enough for the Big-Gulp mug, it's only 12 oz more than the bowl, but somehow, 1 extra packet of kill-you-chemical is not enough. So this morning, I broke down and added another packet, cause I totally want some tumors like a lab rat. Now, there's too much pink-shit in my coffee.

Now all I can taste is chemicals and I'm wondering how the FDA hasn't swooped down on the Sweet-n-low factory and shut them down for chemical warfare on the American public, or at the very least, as a toxic waste dump site. This was the poison that cartoon queens put in their rings and dumped into unsuspecting princess' drinks.

Hubby has been using this shit for years, and my mom has been using it since I was old enough to ride my bicycle to 7-11 and get her the morning paper and her coffee. How? That's what I want to know: How? As in how the fuck did you get used to this chemical tasting foulness that still has the balls to proclaim itself as 'sweet' when there are other substitutes that taste far sweeter and way less chemicaley (yeah, made that one up, kiss my ass spell check). They're also more expensive, which brings to mind the old saying about getting what you pay for...

Wow, see the effects of loosing one perfect mug? I didn't even mention the 32 oz-of-coffee-in-one-shot-over-caffeinated-rants... you probably figured that one out though, huh? Registered & Protected

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

History and the Human Race

So... what did y'all think of the inauguration speech? How about the over-all tone of the day?

Personally, I thought the speech was good, very good, but the 'Yes We Can' speech was better. Although, I'm thoroughly impressed that Obama was able to condemn the past administration and absolve them by putting the weight of the economic crisis squarely on the shoulders of the American public, all in one sentence. And I'm not saying he's wrong. Actually, I think he's right.

It's like that old line that your mother used to tell you... "and if your friends all jumped off the Brooklyn Bridge, would you do it too?" I mean just because mortgages were easier to come by than discarded pennies on the street didn't mean that every one of us should have picked them up. Some of y'all knew damn good and well when you were crunching the numbers, that your guts were telling you not to do this. Some of you knew that one false move in the workplace, and the bricks were gonna fall on your head... and yet, you bought anyway. Swept up in the Bush-iness and greed of the then mindset.

And I'm not trying to be insensitive about people loosing their homes ~ I have been there. Actually, yes, I have. I have lost my home. We managed to sell it one day shy of foreclosure... on paper, I guess that looks better, but bottom line, we lost the house. I have been where many are now... credit in the toilet, barely able to scrape your family into an apartment, after busting your ass to make a beautiful place to live for your children to grow up in. Desperate, disillusioned, and wild-eyed with every day feeling like Atlas suckered you into holding the world for him while he went out for coffee ~ and never came back.

This is how I know that Obama was right in putting some of the blame on American citizens and not crucifying only W. and his regime for tanking the economy. Even if he fucked-up ~ a lot ~ by running this country like a good ole boys club in order to carry out his own destructive agenda and line his and his buddy's pockets doing it. We still followed right along like lemmings.

And, not for nothing, but does anyone else think that Cheney really did pull his back out by lugging boxes during the move... I sure do! He wouldn't trust anyone else to move all those box loads of incriminating evidence against him, that's how the dumb asses get caught, don'tcha know.

And now on to Obama and the crowds... So, this is probably gonna get me knocked-off, or at the very least a whole lotta hate mail, cause I'm totally as white a white girl as white girls get without being albinos; but can people lay off the race card... with Obama, and in general?

He's a black man, actually he's a half-black man, half-white man. Still, the significance is not lost on me. I understand the monumentally historic life-as-we-knew-it-is-over-and-I-mean-that-as-a-really-really-good-thing significance of this man being rightfully elected (unlike W.) by the American citizenry. However, we elected him because we felt he was the best man for the job, not the best African-American man for the job.

I am not oblivious to the bigotry, the acceptable-in-certain-company jokes, the deep history of the African-American people. I really am not. But take a clue from the man himself. Obama didn't harp on the race card. WE should not harp on the race card. By continually bringing up race, we are keeping in the forefront of our view what should have been discarded so long ago. We have cultural differences. We have different ancestry. So do the Irish, the Chinese, the Spanish and every other race, creed, religion and culture in America. Please, stop self-segregating. Obama did not say he would do his job as president as a proud black man, just as Joe Biden didn't say that he would do his job as vice-president as a proud white man.

Because the bottom line is, we are all ONE RACE ~ The HUMAN RACE.

We all have to live on this planet. We all have to work like dogs to make ends meet. We all have to raise children that will one day be the adults running this country. We all have bones and blood and lungs and hearts and brains and finger nails. We just come in different packaging. I used to tell my daughter that the reason that people look different is because God wanted to have all kinds of different gift-wraps to look at, and marvel at, and enjoy under his Christmas tree. Because inside, he knew that all the packages were the same. But a Christmas tree would be very boring indeed if every single package underneath it were wrapped exactly the same.

I got the sense that Obama, as proud as he is of, and as much as he is mindful of ~ his history and his culture, is determined to look beyond it in order to come together in a peaceful community-union with all the other cultures and histories around the world.

With the explosion of the Internet, it's no longer Japanese people are in Japan, and Australians are in Australia, and Iranians are in Iran, and Germans are in Germany... We are all on the web, standing side by side as neighbors and customers and suppliers of each other's products. We read each other's blogs. We become Facebook friends. We listen to each other's music and view each other's photo albums. The world, as Obama said, has shrunk. It has shrunk to include every one from every nation on Earth.

Isn't it time we were all just PEOPLE.

Monday, January 19, 2009

You Like Me... You Really, Really Like Me

So, I'm embarrassed to admit, that Kaye from RandomWAHMThoughts gave me the Cute's Blogger Award in December... those of you that have been reading for a while can imagine why I didn't feel up to posting it at the time (see category: on a pale horse ). It was, and is very appreciated. Thank you, Kaye!

Then, Friday, Joan from The Retirement Chronicles won her very first blogging award, the Honest Scrap award, which, in my opinion, is very well deserved! And, lo and behold, she passed it on to me! Thank you Joan!

After which, I could hold out no longer, I had to claim my awards and pass them on to those seriously deserving blogs I have found... I apologize for laggin' the world y'all, and I thank you for deeming me worthy, of two more awards ~ I feel so special, but to keep myself from getting a big head (in the bad way *wink, wink*) I'll only admit to being special in the short-bus sense...

Luckily for me, the terms of both awards are the same... 10 things about yourself and pass the award on to 10 people each... Well, I'm a three kind of girl, so I'm doing 9 and 9... I know, I'm a Maverick in a maverickey sort of way because it's my blog, and Yes I Can...

First of all, the skinny on me...

1. I hate getting on the down escalators. I don't know why, but I've been damaged in this capacity since childhood... to the extent of having strangers lift me and place me on one of the fully formed steps (at some mall) when I was like 5 years old. BTW, up escalators don't bother me in the least.

2. My spice cabinet is pathetic; consisting of only salt, pepper, garlic powder, poultry seasoning and cinnamon... and I'm pretty sure I'm out of garlic powder cause I've been grating cloves instead. If you haven't clued in yet, I'm a really plain eater.

3. The only John Wayne movie I can stand to watch is The Quiet Man. I own it, but can't sit through any other one... not sure why, just is.

4. I can not play video games. I totally suck. I was OK at Pong once-upon-a-time, but that last statement alone says it all.

5. I sing in my car when I'm alone. I know all the words, but couldn't carry a tune with a handle. I don't care. I sing loud and with feeling as if I'm singing to end world hunger. I envision myself on stage singing to the cheering throngs as I do this.

6. I have discovered the Flair application on Facebook, and am hopelessly addicted. Not surprising, because before I found Flair, I could get lost in the greeting card aisle for hours...

7. I am way better on paper. I can write a witty, funny, easy to read post from first letter to final publish in under three hours, but in person, I'm the one over in the corner, hardly talking to anyone, and when I do, it's rare that I'm in any way funny, witty or easy to understand.

8. I've had, and wear faithfully, the same sneakers for 5 years. They're from Payless of all places, and they're men's sneakers. I've looked, and been unable to find another pair that fit me properly... I wear a women's size 13 wide; it's either the men's shoes or the boxes at this point.

9. I talk to my sister at least 6 times a week. We're now closer than two sheets of toilet paper. When we were growing up, we fought constantly and never, ever though this time in our lives would come; even though we were told we'd be best friends someday.

OK, and now the good part ~ I'm passing these awards on to...

Congratulations and YAY YOU to all the winners... and for your "rules" tell us in list form some stuff about you, and hey, keep the ball rolling and pass 'em on to those you think deserving... Registered & Protected

Friday, January 16, 2009

Where Are The Gypsies When You Need Them

So, here I am, busting butt on the 'puter, and thinking I am pretty damn uptown cause I finally got my business card program to work, with the graphic I wanted, without it looking all grainy and cheapo ~ and the font that I wanted, that I had to download from the site where I found it to begin with ~ and I got the text to fit properly, and I reset the printer to accommodate the card stock...and all the picayune-minuscule-detail-bullshit that comes with doing your own business cards. Needless to say, I'm pleased as punch. So pleased, in fact, that the thought briefly crosses my cranium to drive all the way to hubby's work, just to show him...

And then I made the mistake of getting up for more coffee...

That entails leaving the back room where the computer is, going through the living room, where my son is, and into the kitchen where the coffee pot is ( if I continue up the hall, I pass my bathroom on the right and the door to the back porch directly opposite it on the left and just past that, hubby & my bedroom ~ this knowledge will become important in a moment...). OK, so I go to get coffee, practically skipping cause I'm sooo impressed with my beautiful new business cards, right...

Walking into the living room was, to put it mildly, a bit of a shock to the system... Kinda like winning the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes, only to find out that the prize van ran over your 15 year old dog... The joyousness of the sitch totally gets buried by the WTF-are-you-serious-cause-this-totally-blows-big-chunks-if-it's-true feeling that overtakes your senses...

Kind of like walking in to find your almost-two-year-old has, stealthily as Tim Robbins' escape in Shawshank Redemption, and completely unheard by me, rocked his playpen ( from here out to be known as pen ) over to the bookcase, with all of the magazines, shells, and pictures from the top of the bookcase filling his pen, and strewn along the floor. The other table, which is on the other side of the door to the front porch, is completely naked of it's tablecloth, everything that was on top of it is M.I.A, and the curtain to that window is pulled out. The pen is cockeyed-landed between both bookcase and table, and has come to rest... Directly Against The Space Heater. Scared-shitless complete freak out ensues. Miraculously, I did not succumb to a massive coronary right then and there.

Realizing that I'm dangerously tripping over the whole pen against the heater thing even though moving him back to the original position in the middle of the living room was the very first thing I did... aaaannnnndddd here come the cramps to boot. So I head for the loo, and am taking my time-out, when I hear my son... not so silently this time, cause he's already been totally busted, and he knows it... scooting his pen back across the floor. People, we're in a trailer that is a total of 45 feet long. You can hear a mouse piss on cotton in the computer room from my bedroom, which is what made the silence of the original move so impressive. I give a, "You better knock it off, Mister!!!" shout from the bathroom, which does nothing, because I'm in the bathroom and my boy is too fucking smart. I come back out to him, again, against the heater.

This time I don't need the, "I'm going to fucking kill him induced Mama-Time-Out" and I chock the wheels with my tennies... Only to hear, less than 10 seconds later, PBS Kids getting louder and louder and louder... I whip around to find the remote being all mini-man-handled and a look of total satisfaction playing across the Turbo-Tot's face. The battery cover has been removed and he's mashing buttons like he's getting paid Bill Gates' salary to do so.

I recover and reassemble the remote, make sure he can not possibly rock the pen across the room, or reach anything else, even when he rolls up the pen mat, wedges it under one of the rails and proceeds to lean far enough over to reach things on the couch, or mess with the sound system and TV set... I walk over the magazines that are still on the floor but now removed from the potential burn radius of the space heater, on my way back to my computer, where I flop into the seat like a deflated beach-ball.

The business cards no longer hold the pride and joy they did only an hour ago, and I still don't have another cup of coffee. It's not even noon, and I'm worn out. These are the types of days that prompt parents to utter, if only in their heads, cause we really don't mean it, and don't want to scar the little *ahem* darlings for life...

"One more thing, and I'm selling you to the Gypsies... cheap! And I swear upon all that is holy, there will be a no return policy."

...honestly, sometimes... we mean it... a little... kind of. Registered & Protected

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Florence, and I Don't Mean Italy

Thankfully, there will be no gynecological lawsuits or calls to the Pope... The wretched beast that all women come to call the biggest bitch in their lives has arrived. Mind you Aunt Flo decided to show up at 9 pm for a 3 o'clock dinner... just as I was ready to lock up the house for the night and go to bed.

I would have liked to laugh in her face and slam the door in her witch-like-foul-breath-having-evil-eye-glaring-mole-speckled-gnarled nose; but at this stage of my personal game, her visits are better than the alternative.

I do, however think it's wholly unfair that she shows up late and treats me like it's my fault that she ran into traffic. This snapper has taken a ball-peen hammer to all of my joints and the interior of my skull... seems the end fits beautifully into my right eye-socket. She's also taken to my breadbox with brass knuckles, and I'd give anything right now to have breakfast delivered instead of having to stand at the stove for a full 6 minutes and cook a couple of eggs myself. She's stolen my energy like rims at a rap concert, and I look now, more than every before in my life, like the iconic teenage 'pizza face'.

Had I known the hell that I would endure at the post-fixed hands of the Medusa she's become, I'd have been spayed instead. I'd still have to endure the hormonal hell of Aunt Flo even without her actually showing up, but at least I would have regained my personal power and ended her reign on my own terms. Now I have to endure her terms, all the way to the bitter end. And Aunt Flo is mean... Junk Yard Dog Mean.

I've come to realize that Aunt Flo is a monster that thrives on fear. Think about it ladies, and tell me I'm wrong here... Before you get it, as a young girl, it's scary to think that you're body will turn on you and bleed, unchecked and on schedule for most of your adult life. Then you start having Aunt Flo call on you, and it's more fear... this time of accidents, and having the men in your life know she's there. As you get older, you become afraid when she's late. Even older, your biological clock starts ticking and your fear shifts to when she does show up instead of staying away. Towards the end of her visits, she'll pop in and out as she pleases, sometimes only sending unbearable personal climate changes in her stead. Again, the fear of accidents resurfaces because she's so damned unpredictable. In the end, when she finally leaves with all of her hellish luggage, you fear your womanhood is lost. Fear, fear, fear and more fear. And the medical community wonders why women have more heart-attacks and stress-based illnesses...DUH.

No man could stand that constant fear. A man would put a bullet in his brain with that kind of lifelong pressure. A woman gets flowery-frou-frou commercials as if that will make it better. I actually think they make the commercials like that so as not to scare the men-folk. Screw Freddy and Jason... Wes Craven and Leatherface? Total wusses compared to Aunt Flo. And there is no stopping her. Police aren't going to come... You can't shoot Aunt Flo with 50 caliber semi-automatic machine gun. 911 would arrest you for stupidity. She's the foe that cannot be stopped; and she shows up every month for 30+ years!

Men are scared shitless of Aunt Flo, and some of them are even man enough to admit it. The wise ones bow to the power of Flo and it's horrible possession of their women. No priest is showing up for that exorcism, I guarantee it. Aunt Flo is what convinced a lot of priests that it would be easier to give up sex forever, than battle that hell-beast every month. She has damaged some of the strongest men on the planet so severely that they can't even go down 'that aisle' of the store. Aunt Flo is too scary to be a Halloween costume.

With that in mind, parents, get out of your own selfish, pre-birth world for a brief moment and think about the future of your children... there are a lot of jacked-up names floating around these days, but the cruelest thing any parents could do to a girl child with siblings would be to name her Florence. No child, no matter how brilliant or beautiful, could live down that kind of stigma. Ever. Registered & Protected

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

HEY...I'm Ranting Here...

OK, first let me give y'all an update on the New Year's Day ticket I got in hubby's car. Hubby and Turbo-Tot and I went down to the courthouse around 8:45 am ~ yes around. We're in rural Texas; for my ticket I needed to "Show-up sometime before the 15th". We went into a little office with the judge, started talking, the munchkin started smiling and waving, and by 9 am it was dismissed in full, both counts. WHOOT!!! Turned out that yesterday was one of the best days I've had in a really long time. Great day. Today is a lot colder, but no reason yet for it to not be as good if not better ~ haven't checked the Mega Million numbers for last night, and 8 am is probably a little early for Oprah to start making calls...

However, I do have a mini rant about a few things, the first of which is an article I read on Yahoo Finance this morning. It was an article reprinted from, called Resolved: This Year, I'll Keep More Cash. Number four is by far the dumbest 'tip' I have read about keeping your money in your wallet...

And I quote:

4. Raise your insurance deductibles. Increasing the deductible on your car insurance from $250 to $1,000 can save up to 15% on your premiums -- or about $125 per year on an average premium of $829. Upping the deductible on your homeowners policy can slice your rate by about 25%, or $191 on an average premium of $764.

Stacy Rapacon wrote the article, and all I can say is, "Stacy, don't write before your full pot of coffee". WTF is this chick thinking? And they wonder why women had the stigma for years of not being able to handle money... Idiotic statements like this are the reason why. Congrats Stacy, you've blown us back to the pre-Suffragette days.

This tip suggests that putting $10.42 a month in your pocket (what a savings of $125 a year really breaks down to!) is worth spending an additional $750 on your deductible when something happens. Lady, put down the crack pipe! I could consider the advice as valid if you were saving $750 a year, but $125...? What the hell are you going to do when someone runs you down like the dog that they are and you have to come up with said deductible. For less than $10.50 a month? I'm happy to give up two cups of Starbucks and a Hamburger Happy Meal every month in order to not have to pay out an additional $750 when the texting teenager who is also headbanging to heavy metal doesn't see me (astonishingly!) when he or she takes off from their semi-stop like they just saw the green light during a drag race, and takes out my quarter panel.

See, I would've saved this rant for Kiplinger's but there was no where to comment on this article. So now you get it, but hey, umm, not for nothing, don't take that particular piece of financial advice from that particular article. It's ridiculously stupid... as in: the little people with the nice jackets are here to see you, Stacy, you forgot to take your meds again, didn't you honey?

On a completely different subject...

Aunt Flo, where the fuck are you? I know you're coming you cruel bitch, quit trying to pull a stealth maneuver on me. With the passing of hubby's bro last month, he wasn't in the mood. I don't cheat, my fingers aren't loaded, and I haven't been abducted by aliens as far as I know (only infected with their mutant cold virus) on top of all that, I'm Fixed!!! So c'mon you sneaky, wretched, vicious troll-monkey! I've got my cheesecake and Chex-Mix. Get a move on before hubby and Turbo-Tot and I finish them off before you make your grand and terrible entrance.

And speaking of troll-monkey makes me think of... Fuzzy Toe. I notice hairy toes on men, but they don't really bother me, but on women... Ladies, please, if you have fuzzy toes, Shave Them. You are not up for a part in the re-remake of Planet of the Apes. If your man isn't giving up the sex, or is acting distant, or simply doesn't like your cooking any more, you have a case of Fuzzy Toe, or as I sometimes call it, Monkey Toe. If you need a reminder, get your toes tattooed (facing you so you can read it) S H A V E (other foot) H E R E ! Please ladies with Monkey Toes, there's Women's Lib, and then there's gross. Shave the fuzzy feet.

Well, I'm going to go back to doing jumping jacks now... they're a two pronged approach; one they keep a girl warm which is a huge bonus today, and two, it has the possibility of bringing Aunt Flo out of hiding...

If I start lactating, I'm calling the Pope... and maybe Scully and Mulder... Registered & Protected

Monday, January 12, 2009

Beauty and the Globes

Among other things, I spent the weekend watching the Golden Globe awards and the new show from Kelso, I mean Kutcher, True Beauty... at least I think that was the name of it.

Kelso, I mean Kutcher's, show brings 10 'beautiful people' together to live in one house and through a series of challenges get themselves eliminated each week. The big twist to this one is that the contestants don't know that they're really being judged on anything other than looks because the challenges are day to day life experiences, and the contestants are filmed (unbeknown to them) handling these experiences; all of which are designed to showcase the inner beauty. This group is the most narcissistic buncha people I've ever seen. One of the funniest parts, is watching how the 'beautiful people' interact with other so-called beautiful people. In their little worlds at home, they are used to being the total center of attention because they are the most beautiful in their little bunch, which is obvious by their behavior. They've grown to think that being bitchy is cute

So what happens when everyone in the room is used to being the center of attention for their bitchy beauty? Me-friggin-eow. The biggest bitch of the bunch was voted off already ~ however you say the snapper's name. The other one up for elimination is very good looking, as long as she doesn't smile. Her smile is scary-beyond-all-reason. And the two male most beautifuls that tied and were safe from elimination... The blondie needs to win the competition by what's been shown so far, but the dark-headed one...? OMG that guy needs to get "Asshole" tattooed on his forehead to save people the time of talking to him for 27 seconds to find it out. Hot as he is outside, he is one ugly person inside... given the chance, I'd kick him in the gonads on principle alone.

On to the Golden Globes...

Ho-Friggin-Hum. Why do they televise this one? I needed meth to stay awake.

Heath Ledger rightfully won best supporting actor for the best Joker EVER in Dark Knight. And anyone who sees it and still says that Nicholson was the best... I have one word for you: Rehab. Nicholson's performance was a caricature of the actor himself. Ledger's, by comparison, was brilliance, genius, and only high lit how overrated Nicholson has become as he sits back and plays more and more irascible versions of himself.

Kate (of Kate & Leo) won both Best and Best Supporting Actress for two different roles, obviously. Historic. Anna Paquin won for something, and I liked her dress, but when the hell did she sprout a gap between her front teeth so wide it could hold two Susan B Anthony's? Drew looked very old-Hollywood-glamorous with her Marilyn Monroe hair.

Colin was sober. Mickey won Best Actor, even though with his 'new face' he looks more like a Best Actress ~ at least he thanked his dogs. Yes, his dogs. It got a huge laugh, but the man was serious. Stephen waxed poetic about technicalities during the acceptance of the Cecil B DeMille award... Whatcha gonna do? It's Spielberg for fuck's sake... You could totally tell he's used to being listened to (without interruption) adoringly by any and every one in Hollywood~or the film industry in general. The President of the Foreign Press said hello to 'everyone and Stephen' and looked like he was going to wet himself because Steven Spielberg heard him speak... you know, actual syllables and everything.

And lastly, I have to comment on Meryl Streep...

Meryl, darling,
I know that you are quite possibly the finest living actress in the world. Your mastery of accents and the play of emotions across your face is riveting to watch on screen. Your skills and natural talent make whatever role you play, completely engrossing. But darling, time is marching across your face with 2-ton tanks. Please, please, for the sake of all of my glamour fantasies about award shows, please, rethink the make-up angle. Wear Some. Say, "Fuck it, I'm Meryl Streep, I'll go where and do what I please in Hollywood. I am the female Spielberg." But for goodness sake don't say, "Fuck it, I'm Meryl Streep, and I don't have to wear make-up to awards shows". Sweetie, you're not in Kramer vs. Kramer anymore. You're not making Sophie's Choice. The time has passed where you look wonderful naked faced. So I implore you, by all that is holy, regain your regal stature, and put on some face for the Oscars. Thank you.

...said the pasty-faced-no-make-up-wearin'-haircut-looks-like-it-was-performed-by-a-Toro-weed-whacker-grossly-overweight-woman-in-sweats-and-socks sitting on the couch... Registered & Protected

Thursday, January 8, 2009


Do people seriously fall for this email scam crap? I mean really, you'd have to have the IQ of a turnip to get pulled into these things... then again, PT Barnum said, "There's a sucker born every minute."

Who would really think that someone in a foreign country would, with no prior knowledge of you or personal contact with you, entrust you with millions of dollars, or pay you millions of dollars or somehow got your email address in some lottery-type game and you have won millions of dollars. Even those of us faithful to playing the lotto know it's a Gajillion-to-One shot of winning, so to win anything that you didn't even put your name in the hat for should, by all rights, make every red-flag in your cranium wave like line-hung sheets in a hurricane.

And yet, someone somewhere must be falling for this shit because I get at least two emails with varying claims of my soon to be multi-millionaire status each and every day ~ in my business account... my personal email account gets more like 6-10 per day.

This is one of the actual emails I received yesterday, and although it's not from Nigeria, it still goes to prove why I'm incredulous to the part where Matt & Meridith & Ann & Al & Diane & Robin & even Harry ALL come on and talk about people getting bilked in these things... It's a gem, but... Seriously...?

In the body of the letter: I AM MR. FARAH GEBARA, A BANKER IN ONE OF THE REPUTABLE BANK (grammar mistake) IN BURKINA FASO (Really, Farah, which bank? And are you a 70's wing-headed-blond with questionable intelligence too?). I HAVE DECIDED TO CONTACT YOU ON A BUSINESS PROPOSAL OF US$18.5M (EIGHTEEN MILLION FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND UNITED STATE DOLLARS). (You don't say! Wow out of the many billions of people on the planet, including over 18.5 million with websites, my name came up, huh? Did my cousin's sister's half-brother's goldfish whisper my email address in your ear, Dognuts?)

THE DEPOSITOR OF THE SAID FUND (again with the grammar Farah) DIED WITH HIS ENTIRE FAMILY DURING THE IRAQ WAR IN 2006. (and now three years later, you've decided that I, Aria, am the correct person to handle this matter for you...) THE DECEASED CUSTOMER USED HIS WIFE AS THE NEXT OF KIN (missing the matching comma, Farah, you really fell asleep in English Comp class, didn't you?) BUT UNFORTUNATELY, THE WIFE DIED ALONG SIDE WITH HIM ( along side with him? WTF kind of sentence structure is that?) LEAVING NOBODY FOR THE CLIAM. ( CLAIM misspelled ~ no spell check over there, huh? Must be waiting for my money to get that installed...)

ACCORDING TO OUR BANKING LAW, IF THE FUNDREMAIN (spacing and grammatically that should be 'remains', Farah) UNCLAIMED FOR THREE (3) YEARS THEN, (punctuation) THE FUND WILL BE TRANSFER (ed, transferred, Dumbass ) INTO THE RESERVE BANK OF BURKINA AS (an) UNCLAIMED BILL. I DON'T WANT THE FUND TO GO INTO THE BANK TREASURY AND (comma) AS SUCH, LET US CLAIM THE FUND NOW. (Oh yes, LET US! I've always wanted to see the inside of a Turkish prison; I understand they're simply spa-like!)

I WANT TO PRESENT YOU AS HIS COUSIN OR BUSINESS PARTNER (It would have to be business partner, Farrah, I'm practically an albino, couldn't possibly pass for a relative) SO THAT THE BANK WILL TRANSFER THE FUND INTO YOUR BANK ACCOUNT FOR US TO SHARE IT. YOUR PERCENTAGE WILL BE 40% WHILE 60% WILL BE FOR ME. (Ya greedy fuck ~ it should be at least 50/50!)

AS AN INSIDER IN THIS BANK, I ASSURE YOU THAT, (no comma this time, Jerkenstein) THIS TRANSACTION IS 100% RISK FREE. (Really? Lying internationally for 18.5 million dollars is risk free? Damn! If I had known that, I'd have systematically wiped out Switzerland years ago!) IF YOU ARE WILLING FOR THE DEAL, (no comma and what the hell is up with the grammar again, you were improving there for an entire paragraph, and now you've gone straight down the toilet again!) CONTACT ME FOR MORE DETAILS (now you want the comma) BUT IF YOU ARE NOT CAPABLE, PLEASE NOTIFY ME. ( no comma after capable, and why would I notify you if I am not capable? I am very capable, I am simply unwilling, and therefore would not contact you even under duress.)

THE TRANSACTION WILL TAKE US ONLY 14 BANKING DAYS. NOBODY KNOWS (so) KEEP THE SECRET WITHIN YOU OK. ( Oh yeah, sure, I'm going to be getting 40% of 18.5 million dollars and I'm not going to tell every friggin' body in the hood that I'm coming into something ~ wink, wink ~ keep it on the sly, homegirl, or Sir Oinks-A-Lot will come sniffin' around, and you don't want that if you want your cut; 'cause you know I'm gonna kick down some bling an' bonz for my girlz!) YOU MUST KEEP THIS DEAL AS SECRET FOR THE SECURITY OF THE FUND. (Jeez-Louise... again I say... G R A M M A R... Look it the fuck up!) DO NOT DISCLOSE THIS DEAL TO ANYBODY BECAUSE I WANT THE SECRET TO BEBETWEEN US ONLY. (spacing... and Yes, Farah, because we're such good buds that I would gladly risk my freedom and my life to share a secret with you, and only you... Oh joyous, blessed day!)


(OH, well, if the whole thing was on CNN and BBC then I totally believe you now, whatever you want me to do, you've got it buddy, I'm One-Hundred-Percent-SOLD!)

FINALLY, I WANT YOU TO INDICATE YOUR BANK ACCOUNT DETAILS WHERE THE FUND WILL BE TRANSFERED TO: (a colon usually indicates that you're including information, you left me high and dry there Farah, and here I thought we were buds... And as far as MY account information, sure, no problem, let me get you that right this second... Do you want my Visa/Check Card numbers with the three digit code on the back and my PIN number too, just to make things easier? I'll tell you, Farah, I'm so glad you contacted me, it will sure be nice to have a daily average balance higher than $1.98!)

BEST REGARD, (regardSSS, Farah. Tell you what, I'll do it if you promise to go to English Comp classes...)


I briefly considered sending this response:

My dearest bud, Farah,

If you are the Bill and Exchange Manager, I think you would make sure your title is error free. Your grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and composition is shoddy at best. How you would think that I could trust anyone who is so sloppy on paper to be my criminal partner is beyond me. Thanks for the info, I'm quite capable of finding a much smarter, more trustworthy-to-not-get-me-pinched cohort to pull of this scam. And I won't be greedy with them, it will be 50/50. Not to mention, that the other person I find would have proper email manners and not SHOUT AT ME for the entirety of the letter. I thought this was a secret, and here you are shouting it to the friggin' rooftops! I bet you ding women at random in chat rooms and try to get them to marry you into US citizenship so you can import your entire family of 97 cousins to run one 7-11 too. I suggest you stick to trying to catch criminals with Kelly and Sabrina instead.

But, hey, can we still be buds, Farah Monkeyspunk?

Much buddy love to you and don't drop the soap,

I'm sure it comes as no surprise to you when I tell you that I talk to the news and commercials in the same manner... Registered & Protected

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Blah Tea and Sowhat Cakes

The day seems as disenchanted as I feel.

The rain is falling, it's nearly 8 am and it's still dark. The little raindrop-water noises are audible through the walls; as are the tires of the vehicles on the road outside which are made important in their loudness by the wet stature of the road.

My giveadamn is taking the day off to crawl back under the big down comforter and drowsily listen to the rain; where I'll update the Seven Dwarfs in my head starting with my current fave, Mopey, and his more modern tribe of Depressed, Disillusioned, Destitute, Hopey, Witty, and Semi-Selfish ( it is totally acceptable for Semi-Selfish to come out of the closet now, the magazines all say so). Recently, my Hopey got a little big for his britches, and was beaten up by Mopey and the three D's...

See, as an optimist, I come equipped with a very large natural reserve of hope. I'm not all flighty about it, I never expect things to happen until they actually manifest (no pre-hatched chickens for me!) but I always, Always, ALWAYS ~ hope for what I want to happen; and not in a little-kid way. I do manifestation visualizations among other things... The only thing kid-like about my brand of hope, is how fully I feel it. My common sense is always there to say, "uhhhh, we'll see..." like a parent that doesn't want to buy a child the cheapo toy in the checkout line. But my hope... my hope flies in the clouds of possibility, and it flies very, very high; I call it forever hope because it's so deeply a part of who I am that it is literally ~ forever there, waiting for my actions to culminate in all the best of whatever I want to happen.

However, there's a big problem with forever hope. Forever hope is bi-polar without it's meds. I can go along for quite some time being hopeful, and weathering any and all hope-induced-disappointments easily enough to maintain an even emotional keel. Recognizing that what I want may not be the best thing for me at this point in time and place... water off a duck's back.

But every once in a while, when too many hopes are dashed for too long, Mopey comes to call, with his dreary-dwarf-self, and sends my forever hope to bed without supper; which is pretty mean of Mopey, considering that by the time he shows up, forever hope has already been denied lunch.

It'll take a few days before I can convince Mopey that he's an unwanted house guest. I know when he shows up that I shouldn't let him in at all, but it's my process. I have to go through the few days of Mopey's visits once or twice a year. During our visits, I can analyze the things he's pointed out to me and make a game plan to correct them ~ how to proceed from where I stand ~ how to achieve what forever hope didn't get me... yet. But, it's still hurtful in a childhood-dreams-crushed sort of way to have so many things that you're working toward (and hoping for) not work out. It wears you down and numbs you all at the same time... until one day, you're sucking down Blah Tea and Sowhat Cakes during a visit with Mopey, except Mopey is a bully that makes you play games you don't like, and makes fun of you for still carrying hope in your pocket, and he's your cousin and your mom & aunt are having a grand ole time so you can't just kick him out...

Mopey isn't fun, but it's a whole lot easier ~ and better, to endure his short visit and move on, than it is to lock the door and pretend you aren't home. Then Mopey calls his big brother Depression and you wind up with battle-scars and a pair of black-eyes.

Excuse me, I need to refill my Blah Tea and Sowhat Cakes ~ my guest, Mopey is feeling neglected... Registered & Protected

Monday, January 5, 2009

Directionally Challenged

I am directionally challenged. It is a trait that I inherited from my mother. She used to say, "If you want to get lost, follow me." I have lived up to this genetic predisposition in spades.

I wasn't quite so bad when I was a newbie driver in New Jersey. I'd been riding in cars with others for years, and as a native, I knew when I was headed in the wrong direction. I'd take a jug-handle and head back the way I'd came, and within 10 minutes, I would have corrected the situation and be on my merry little way.

Then I moved to California. I had a leg up there too. The second year of my residency in Vacaville, I started working for Vacaville Tow as a dispatcher. Staring at a city map for the better part of 40 hours a week for a year straight, I had a general idea of where I was going. And as the town expanded, I kept up with the new roads. By the time I left the state, no one would even guess that I was completely lacking in directionality. Unless they knew me the year I lived in Mountain View. That year I worked three miles from home and I was lucky, daily, to not miss my cut-off for the apartment.

So, here I am now, for the last 2+ years in Texas. My directional disorder has expanded to epic proportions. This is mainly because I'm a suburbanite in the deep south countryside, but also because of the fact that until New Year's Eve, we've been a one car family for the entire time I've been here. And hubby, being the old-school Texan that he is, did all the driving whenever we would venture out together. At this point, directionally speaking, I'm screwed.

As it stands now, I get lost in strip malls ~ well, I would if I could find any strip malls.

The roads here, are unlike any that I've navigated (by the skin of my teeth) before. First of all, there's a whole lot of country. This equates to a whole lot of country roads. And let me tell you something about country roads around where I live ~ they're all numbered, and not sequentially. So just because the last road I passed was County Road 222, the next road will, in all likely-hood NOT be County Road 223, but quite possibly 387. And if I leave my county and go to the next county, their County Road 222 may or may not exist, but I assure you that it will not be in any way reminiscent of the other county's 222. Then there are Farm Roads, which are also numbered, but they maintain their number-name from county to county and tend to be (at least near where I live) four digits long. Then there are the main state and interstate highways of only two digits, but they have a bunch of 'not-quite' roads of the same name as those highways; like there's 90, but then there's Alternate 90. There's I-10, and then there's Spur 10.

And if you manage to make your way, in the correct direction, on any number of these number-named-mazes, you're still, usually, in the country. This leaves a lot to be desired in the way of landmarks... Do I turn right on (Austin) County Road 333 which is the third corn field on the left, or do I turn right on (Wharton) County Road 333 which is the fourth cotton field on the right? Or do I just take FM (farm road) 1963 to I-10 Eastbound and make my way into Houston, where there are many less of these numbered roads to make my directional-senses spin like a tornado, but many more narcissistic drivers who don't give a damn if they cut out in front of you and proceed to do 30 MPH less than you were driving ~ before you slammed on the brakes and prayed as quickly as possible that the big-rig who is so far up your ass that you want to give Mr. Trucker-Man some toilet paper cause he might as well wipe your hind end for you if he's that damned close behind you doesn't turn your Toyota into an accordion.

The other joyous thing about changing counties all the damned time, aside from being able to evade the county sheriff by simply jumping the line, is that they all have different speed limits ~ on the same road. If I go down Alt 90 in one county, it's 65 MPH ~ until I cross the county line, where for two miles it becomes 50 MPH and then after that initial two miles, it goes back up to 60 MPH. Guess where my out-of-state brother-in-law got his one and only speeding ticket for the entire road trip from (and back to) Oregon? Just guess... If you said, that one stretch of Alt 90, you've guessed correctly... 'magine that. I smell Boss Hogg and Roscoe P. Coltrane just thinking about it.

The other thing that's a little frightening about driving around here, is that I don't have a passport, and there is one state highway that will take you to Mexico, rather quickly if you go South. It may not even be really quickly, but by the time my driving intuition kicks in and I realize I've gone the wrong way, (because most things here just look the same to me) it is wholly conceivable that I'd be in Mexico with no way to get back, since I wouldn't know how to do anything other than taking the legally approved route.

In other words, I've totally got my work cut out for me as far as learning how to get where I'm going in Texas. On the plus side, I'm a really good driver. Not sure how that works exactly. Great driver; gets lost in strip-malls... Lousy driver; walking road map?

I guess I'll take being directionally challenged. Chances are good that I won't die in a car accident, it'll just take me 45 minutes to get 5 miles down the road... it's better than the alternative. Registered & Protected